Ranking the top 5 NBA Draft Teams 2020

5. Miami Heat-

Precious Achiuwa, Memphis 

The Heat made the most of their single pick in the draft by grabbing Memphis big man Precious Achiuwa.  This is a classic Pat Riley making the most of what he has pick at #20.  A player that is comparable to Bam Adebayo in size and energy level, will fit right into the scheme that the Miami Heat want to play.  Achiuwa is still young, if he continues to grow and fill out he can develop into a nice transition center for a team that doesn’t want to sit in the paing.  

Achiuwa’s size could be a problem at times in the middle but in today’s NBA and his inconsistencies from mid-range and behind the arc.  He can still develop a shot over time but his energy will make up for his shooting trouble.  This was a great pickup from late in the first round, he will enter the rotation immediately. 

4. Boston Celtics-

Aaron Nesmith, Vanderbilt

Payton Prichard, Oregon

Yam Madar, Israel

The Celtics have long had a lot of draft night assets that they can never move.  They have had to find a way to make the most of each draft pick.  This year they found a way to address a serious need by grabbing Vanderbilt’s Aaron Nesmith with the #14 pick.  Many consider Nesmith the best shooter in the entire draft.  If he had not gotten injured while at Vandy he could have found himself breaking into the top ten.  He will give Boston an immediate threat off the bench for a team that needed the long range help. 

Boston was looking for a backup point guard and landed four year Oregon Duck Payton Prichard.  Prichard will fit right into the Celtics system.  He will compete with fellow youngster Carsen Ewards, giving the Celtics some stability behind Kemba Walker.  He isn’t flashy but should be a solid ball handler and can play well in a great existing team defensive strategy.  

3. Dallas Mavericks-

Josh Green, Arizona

Tyrell Terry, Stanford

Tyler Bey, Colorado

Dallas made a lot of headlines by adding Josh Richardson from Philadelphia.  They had to give up the shooting of Seth Curry to obtain the talented guard.  They added two players that will likely compete for that role.  Arizona guard Josh Green and Stanford Guard Tyrell Terry.  Terry is a great off the dribble 3-point shooter that many saw as a potential first round sleeper.  Green is a great potential 3 and D player that will fit in nicely on the outside while Luka Doncic drives the middle. Finally they grabbed Colorado forward Tyler Bey who is a serious defensive worker that can handle some of the mistakes that others make on the court.  Three solid additions to a playoff ready team.  

Charlotte Hornets- 

LaMelo Ball, USA

Vernon Carey Jr, Duke

Nick Richards, Kentucky

Grant Riller, Charleston

Micheal Jordan may never get over his past draft blunders.  His career will always be linked to the Trailblazers selected Sam Bowie ahead of him.  Much like Bowie bad draft decisions have followed him.  Kwame Brown and Adam Morrison standout as just a few swings and misses from the former professional baseball player.  Grabbing LaMelo Ball with the #3 overall pick was taking the best player available no matter what their need was.  The Hornets got arguably the best player in the draft without being forced to move up.  Ball has great size at 6ft 7inches, instead of going to college he took his talents to Australia where he averaged 17 points, 7 boards and 6 assists per game in his first twelve professional games before the season got cut short by Covid-19.  Ball will have a chance to run the offense in Charlotte and they will build around him. 

Charlotte continued to grab great value by adding Duke’s Vernon Carey.  A preseason top ten pick in most mock drafts has shown the ability to do a little bit of everything on the offensive end.  After Vernon came interesting prospects Nick Richards, a big with some versatility and four year Charleston guard Grant Riller that projects to be a valuable piece in a rotation next season. 

Detroit Pistons-

Killian Hayes, France

Isaiah Stewart, Washington

Saddiq Bey, Villanova

Saben Lee, Vanderbilt

Beasts of the East: Preview of Eastern Conference First Round

#1 Milwaukee Bucks versus #8 Detroit Pistons- Season Series 4-0 Bucks

Detroit took care of business on the final game of the season locking in their matchup with the East’s best Milwaukee Bucks. Detroit will make their first playoff appearance since the 2015-16 season, only the second time in the last ten seasons. 

This matchup will be tough for the Pistons as it showed in the regular season with Milwaukee sweeping the series.  Brook Lopez is a tough matchup for Andre Drummond because to his developed 3-point shooting.  Lopez will draw Drummond away from the basket on the defensive end which will open up offensive boards for Giannis and Khris Middleton.

To sum it up Giannis and company are a matchup nightmare across the board for the Pistons with a banged up Blake Griffin.  If Detroit is able to pull out a single game it should be considered a victory.

Prediction: Bucks in 4

#2 Toronto Raptors versus #7 Orlando Magic- Season Series 2-2

The Orlando Magic make their return to the playoffs for the first time in six years.  They will get a matchup with the Toronto Raptors and Kawhi Leonard.  The Magic are one of just seven teams that beat the Raptors twice this season.  Both Magic victories had small asteris’s next to them as Kawhi Leonard was out for a game and Kyle Lowry also missed one game.

Orlando and Toronto are both defensive minded teams that have premier players that lead the way.  Toronto’s mid-season acquisition of Marc Gasol could play a big factor in defending Magic Center Nikola Vucevic who has owned the Raptors this season 20.0 points (55% shooting, 45.5 % 3-point shooting), 15.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists.

The Magic have a punchers chance due to their defensive ability but they lack the guard play to win a major series, Terrance Ross has been their most consistent guard throughout the season but if he goes on one of his classic cold streak it will be too much offensive from the Raptors for Orlando to keep up.  Orlando will make it tough but Raptors have Kawhi Leonard this year and that means a win in the series.

Prediction: Raptors in 5

#3 Philadelphia 76ers versus #6 Brooklyn Nets- Season Series 2-2

When Philadelphia picked up Tobias Harris from the Clippers it seemed like the final piece that was needed to finish the puzzle.  That puzzle would be the Eastern Conference Championship.  Unfortunately for the 76ers their proposed “super team” starting lineup of Reddick-Embiid-Harris-Simmons- Butler has only played a total of ten games together this season. Heading into this series there are questions about the health of Embiid which could be disastrous for a team that has very high ambitions. 

The 76ers will have a tough series ahead of them facing a young Nets team that has nothing to lose, they have already exceeding most expectations up to this point.  D’Angelo Russell has shown the NBA why he was the #2 pick of the Lakers back in 2015.   The Nets are a tough team to figure out, they are the only team in the entire NBA with a winning record and a negative point differential.  The Nets are ahead of schedule but they still tend to be lazy on the defensive end and if Embiid is healthy they will have no answer for the big man.  Anyone in the DFS community knows what bigs can do to the Nets. 

The key though will be Jimmy Butler most likely matching up against D’Angelo Russell.  Butler will be able to handle the size Russell brings from the point and at the very least will slow down their offense.  The Nets will make games close because of their superior second unit lead buy Spencer Dinwiddie.  I will be watching this series to see some fireworks from both ends but if Embiid can play 76ers will take the series. 

Prediction: 76ers in 6 (If Embiid can’t play Nets in 6)

#4 Boston Celtics versus #5 Indiana Pacers- Season Series 3-1

The Celtics had an underwhelming 2018-19 regular season.  The clear favorite in the East seemed to go into funks every other week.  A change to the starting lineup has seemed to spark the Celtics though as Aaron Baynes replaced Marcus Morris providing more punch off the bench and more size in the starting lineup. 

The Pacers have been overachievers all year especially since the injury to Victor Oladipo. They have survived due to their defensive efforts allowing 108.0 points allowed per 100 possessions.  Indiana has also feasted on the lower level teams going 11-1 against non -playoff teams since the Oladipo Injury. 

The Pacer have played at a high level despite the loss of their star and team leader Oladipo.  They enter the playoffs with a lot of talented role players similar to the Celtics team of the previous season. Boston will come out to a 2-0 lead a home and ultimately win this series.  I would go with a sweep but the Pacers are good enough at home to feed off the crowd.

Prediction: Celtics in 5

NBA Trade Candidates- Where should Terry Rozier go?

Jimmy Butler is finally out of Minnesota, as he heads to the Sixers to create perhaps the biggest 3 the NBA has seen since Lebron and Bosh took their talents to South Beach what is going to happen to the other big names on the trade market. Terry Rozier has been rumored to be on the move as the Celtics don’t seem to have a place for him . Kyrie is cemented as the starter, as he enters free agency the Celtics will be forced to open up the check book, Marcus Smart just signed a 4-year, $52 million contract.  With no money for Rozier they Celtics and Danny Ainge will look to try get what he can for the talented point guard.

Unlikely but intriguing: Indiana Pacers

The Celtics wouldn’t likely be in the business of making a fellow Eastern Conference contender better but if the shoe fits sometimes you have to put it on.  The Pacers have a lot of young talent a well as role players they could move in order to make this work.  If the Pacers were to send Cory Joseph and either Thaddeus Young or Dom Sabonis to the Celtics for Rozier both teams would win.

The Celtics would have veteran backup that doesn’t need to play big minutes in Joseph and provide better depth in the front court.  Both Young and Sabonis would be able to fill a need that the Celtics have, which is established depth behind Al Horford.

The Pacers would be able to pair Oladipo with Rozier and create a dynamic guard tandom that can play on both end of the floor.  This deal would be great for both parties but unlikely with both of them contending.

Makes Sense: Orlando Magic

The Orlando Magic are pretty set on big men.  Mo Bamba, Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic and Johnathon Isaac are the cornerstones of the organization.  With a litany of bigs to build around the Magic have a need for points and leadership at the guard position. DJ Augustin has been a solid NBA player for a number of years but is simply a ball control point guard that will limit mistakes but not make the big plays.  Rozier would walk into Orlando and immediately be the best guard on the roster.  He can initiate offense at a high level and be a perfect fit to work along side Aaron Gordon.

Rozier could be in attack mode the entire game, fitting the perfect style of new Head Coach Steve Clifford.  The Magic have young pieces as well as vets that could intrigue Ainge to make a move.

Makes to much sense: Phoenix Suns

The Suns have been in rebuild mode since Steve Nash parted ways with the organization. Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton are the pieces to build around, adding a hard noised defender with the ability to run a proficient offense could be just the ticket that the Suns need.  Booker has been working the point a lot during the 2018 season which is not ideal for a shotmaker of his caliber.

Bringing in Rozier would give them two guards that can compete every night forcing opposing defenses to utilize their best defender on one while the other can be freed up. Rozier running the pick-and-roll with the explosive Deandre Ayton would also be an exciting form of offense for Phoenix, were they to acquire the Celtic guard.

The Suns are not afraid to take on big contracts so signing Rozier long term wouldn’t be a problem for the rebuilding franchise. A piece like Trevor Ariza could be intriguing to move.  Ariza on the Celtics could can add toughness on both ends of the floor as well.  Win/win for both teams.

Should do it: San Antonio Spurs

Losing Dejounte Murray was a big deal to begin the season. The third year guard was set to take the place of long time great Tony Parker. A torn ACL ended his season and put the Spurs guard options behind DeMar DeRozan very limited. Young guards Derrick White and Bryn Forbes have filled the role admirably but are not difference makers.  Both would be served better playing a bench role or spot start during rest days.

The Spurs are not a team that likes to make changes in season.  Adding a player like Rozier along with the veterans and rising stars can make a huge impact on a team that has played above expectations so far.  Rozier is a grinder that would be worth a flyer for the right cost.

Rozier is a star in the making if given the chance.  With the leadership in place for San Antonio the transition from Boston to San Antonio would be seamless.  This move would put the Spurs in a better place, making them a legit playoff contender.

 

 

I Talk Sports DFS Picks: Opening Night NBA

The NBA is back opening with a two game slate.  The Celtics taking on the Sixers and the Warriors vs Thunder.  Love a two game slate.  Was able to win big last year on opening night.  Heres my favorite lineup tonight.

PG: Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics ($7,600)

SG: Raymond Felton, Oklahoms City Thunder ($3,700)

SF: Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder ($8,000)

PF: Dario Saric, Philadelphia 76ers ($5,500)

C: Joel Embid, Philadelphia 76ers ($8,800)

G: Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors ($8,600)

F: Kevon Looney, Golden State Warriors ($3,600)

Utl: Marcus Morris, Boston Celtics ($4,200)

This is one of three lineups I will be playing tonight.  This lineup being the one I have put the most money into. With Westbrook most likely out tonight Dennis Schroder will be looking at big minutes but I think the veteran Raymond Felton could see just enough to create value.  If Felton and Kevon Looney can give us any return on our value this can lead to some cash for tonights lineup.

Being a two game slate you have to have those wildcards work out for you because you know players like Joel Embid and Kevin Durant will be very popular.  Steph Curry and Kyrie both have a flare for the dramatics and opening night should be an exciting event.

Good luck tonight!

Jayson Tatum- Make Basketball Great Again in the STL

The last time the city of St. Louis had a professional basketball team was in 1976.  The ABA’s St. Louis Spirits did not make it into the NBA when the two leagues merged.  As the Spirits left so did the spirit of professional basketball in the Gateway City.  It is time for the city to recapture its passion for the sport by watching one of its native sons emerge on the grandest stage professional basketball has to show.

Celtics GM Danny Ainge made a controversial move when he traded away the #1 overall pick to the 76ers. Washinton’s Markelle Fultz was looked at as the can’t miss star of the draft.  His length and athleticism was thought to be elite on all levels.  Ainge took the gamble moving down to draft Duke Freshman  and St. Louis native Jayson Tatum. Jayson Tatum has emerged as an underrated rookie star for the Boston Celtics. If you are not sure who Jayson Tatum is, he is the guy  from the Imo’s commercials.

While flashier rookies  like Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell have been getting the headlines Tatum has quietly brought his team to the verge of the the Eastern Conference finals. Tatum, a graduate of Chaminade Preparatory School in Creve Coeur, Missouri, has given St. Louis sports fans a reason to watch the NBA playoffs.  With key stars, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward going do with season ending injuries Tatum was forced to take a more prominent role on a team that finished  with the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference. His scoring and defense have transitioned perfectly into the professional level.  Unlike most lottery draft picks Tatum has not been forced to be the savior of the organization.  Instead he was put in a position that allowed him to play a role, he was able to develop throughout rather then burden himself with the weight of the organization.  The regular season went well for Tatum averaging 13.9 PPG, 5 RB, shooting 43% from three and an astounding 53% shooting overall.  Tatum’s production has been taken to the next level for the Celtics in the playoffs.

In Game 1 of the second round series against the third seed Philadelphia 76ers, Tatum had a career-high 28 points in a 117–101 win, becoming the first Celtics rookie to score 25 or more points in a playoff game since Larry Bird (Maybe you have heard of him) during the 1980 NBA Playoffs, also against the 76ers. Tatum continued his strong play in Game 2 of the series scoring 21 points, those points would be the fourth game in a row Tatum reached the 20 point mark, making him the youngest player ever to accomplish that surpassing a guy by the name of Kobe Bryant (Maybe you have heard of him).  Brad Stevens has been called the best coach in the NBA for his ability to develop players, having them exceed expectations by putting them in a place the helps them excel.  The best example of the Stevens approach has been the production of Jayson Tatum.

St. Louis has had its fair share of NBA talent over the last few years.  Players like Larry Hughes, Darius Miles, and Bradley Beal have made an impact at the NBA level but Tatum is showing that he may end up being the best of the bunch.  He goes about his business quietly and professionally.  He plays in a major market and will be put in the spotlight as he develops and he will develop under the leadership of Brad Stevens.  Next season the Celtics may be the favorite in the Eastern Conference when their injured stars return but for now Tatum is the guy leading the charge of the dynamic Boston offense.  Tatum is the star that the St. Louis fan base needs, giving the fanbase a player and a team to follow.

Tatum is becoming the face of St. Louis basketball.