Why Calipari to the NBA makes so much sense.

John Calipari has become one of the most recognizable coaches in college basketball.  Bringing the Kentucky Wildcats storied program back to the prestige it was held. Calipari revolutionized the one and done rule to the point that other coaches were forced to adjust their mentality to compete.

Calipari is kind of a turd. He’s cocky, loud, conceded and a winner.  These traits, are the traits of a coach that can make it in the league now.  His confidence makes him relatable to players.  He has the confidence that is the way society is, most recently shown by the comments of the “GOAT” Lebron James.

Let’s look at the potential for Cal in the NBA.  The Washington Wizards will most likely move on from Scott Brooks at the end of the season.  Why not make a call to coach Cal and see if he would be interested in working with his old buddy John Wall again? Wall has shown immaturity throughout his career, but he has a respect for his old college coach. If the Wizards are committed to making it work with Wall bringing in a coach of his choosing like Calipari would be a smart move. They can move Bradley Beal for a mid-level player and clear some cap space for impending free agent DeMarcus Cousins in 2019 or potentially wait for the big piece in two years with Anthony Davis. Both former Calipari guys and both would show interest in matching up with their former coach.

Let’s not act like bringing Calipari to the LA Lakers wouldn’t be completely crazy.  Luke Walton has not made himself indispensable.  Adding Cal would work to help them recruiting Anthony Davis as well as make huge headlines for an organization

Ok, maybe that idea is farfetched.  Why would those guys want to go to Washington?  Well why would Paul George stay in Oklahoma?  Why did Lebron go back to Cleveland?  What is the deal with Kawhi Leonard?  There are a lot of things that are hard to explain, the NBA continuously has players, coaches and teams that make questionable decisions.  Is it so crazy to think that these players aren’t drawn to Calipari and his loose style and demeanor?

Why would Calipari leave Kentucky?  Being one of the most successful college coaches of my generation is no joke.  He was able to take UMass and Memphis to heights that they have never been.  Now he is at one the most prestigious universities of all time.  The reason he may leave is that the one and done rule is on its way out.  New developmental leagues are going to attract players that want to make money instead of spending a year being forced to go to classes that they do not care about.  This change will have an impact on the way Calipari has been building his teams.

While the changes in the NCAA can have an impact, I think it is the past failures in the NBA that will drive Calipari to the NBA.  During his time in New Jersey he was the definition of inconsistency finishing with a career record of 72-112.  This has to sit in his mind.  His personality will drive him to make an impact in the NBA before he calls it quits.  If Calipari was going to the NBA it should happen now.

NBA DFS Picks- December 27

Unlike most in the DFS world I really enjoy a smaller slate. Five gamers allow you go play a stars and scrubs lineup and have a great chance to win. You can highlight a few players you want to watch. Here are the picks for tonights slate.

PG: Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors ($8,900)

I am drawn to a Warriors stack after the embarasment from Christmas night. The Blazers have been underwhelming to say the least and have a serious issues guarding the three. Damian Lillard on the other end seems like a solid play but I am going heavy Warriors tonight.

SG: Brandon Ingram, Los Angeles Lakers ($5,800)

No Lebron, this becomes Ingrams team again whether the fans want it or not.

SF: Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors ($9,300)

I reference my Steph Curry reasoning.

PF: Noah Vonleh, New York Knicks ($5,600)

Vonleh seems to be the only matchup the Knicks have against Giannis. He has played like the player people thought he would be coming out of Indiana. Vonleh also just put up 36 points on Christmas day against the same Bucks team he is playing tonight. Low cost for a solid matchup.

C: Ivica Zubac, Los Angeles Lakers ($5,400)

This pick could change depending on the health of Javale McGee, no matter what Zubac has been very impressive when given time to play. Centers versus Kings are also always a solid play.

G: Lonzo Ball, Los Angeles Lakers ($5,500)

Ball is a similar play to Zubac. With Rondo out he will be the primary point guard. Again PG’s versus Kings is also a solid play on most nights.

F: Gordon Hayward, Boston Celtics ($4,700)

Not gonna lie this one is a wildcard pick against a poor Houston defense. Hayward has been streaky all season, but brings multiple potential options for points. Hayward has been consistent with 25 minutes per game and could have a couple of nice matchups in this one.

UTL: Nemanja Bjelica, Sacramento Kings ($4,800)

Bjelica is a solid player and the Kings will need to use their bench playing back to back games.

I will look to make changes based on injuries. Also may look to stack more Kings/Lakers players. Want to stick with Durant and Curry as my star plays.

NBA Trade Candidates

Hassan Whiteside is a talented player at a position that has become devalued with the emergence of the run and gun offense.  Heat GM Pat Riley gave Whiteside a lot of money giving him a 4-year/ $98 million in 2016 placing him as a franchise player.  Clashes with Coach Eric Spoelstra, “injuries”, and further emergence of Bam Adebayo have put Whiteside on the outside of the future plans for the Heat.  Who would take and him? 

Unlikely but interesting: Cleveland Cavaliers.

I know the Cavaliers have a player named Tristan Thompson that is very similar.  Thompson though doesn’t bring the star power or the offense that Whiteside can bring.  2018-19 is a lost season for the Cavaliers but a trade for Whiteside would give the a core that would be very formidable in the East.  Kevin Love, Colin Sexton, Cedi Osman and Whiteside would give the Cavaliers a starting lineup that could be bottom tier of playoff eligibility.  Not to mention the Cavaliers will be looking at potential top five pick next summer.

Moving George Hill and releasing JR Smith can be a bit of a problem for the potential of moving money.  But if the Cavaliers put up Thompson and another piece they can realistically move money that would make it acceptable for the Heat.  Would Spoelstra and Riley be willing to move one locker room problem for another potential problem?  Unlikely but why not.

Makes sense: Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers jumped out to a nice start during the 2018 season.  The illusion of their ability is starting to show after a couple lopsided losses to the Raptors w/o Kawhi and the rebuilding San Antonio Spurs. Adding a player like Whiteside can make them a real threat in the West.  Pairing him with the rising star of Tobias Harris and multiple ancilary players can make them a tough matchup at multiple positions.

The Clippers appear set on not giving Montrez Harrell full starter minutes so its safe to say they don’t believe he is the answer at the center position.  Whiteside can not only help them of offense but can handle the paint allowing the guards to move the ball out after a defensive stop. The Clippers have a ragtag group of players, adding a potential star like Whiteside could be just the boost they need for the remainder of the season. 

Picking up Whitesides remaining contract could make it tough to add two players in the offseason, but if their target is going to be Kawhi Leonard they could add to his interest by having one of the best two way big men in the league.  

Should do it: Charlotte Hornets

The Hornets are at a crossroads. They are good enough to make the playoffs but are not good enough to win anything.  They have a built in star with Kemba Walker as well as a strong set of role players.  They are missing a piece to pair with their star.  Enter Hassan Whiteside. Charlotte may be turned off at the idea of adding another troubled center after the Dwight Howard experiment did not pay off, but with the veteran presence of Tony Parker on the bench and the leadership of MJ this move could be the ticket to the next level for a Charlotte franchise that has seen limited success.  

Cody Zeller and Bismarck Biyombo have filled in the role of center during the 2018 season, clearly Whiteside would make for a upgrade on multiple levels.  His presence on the offensive end would open up opportunities for Kemba Walker and allow Zeller to move to the bench, which can strengthen the second unit.  Unlike the previous teams listed it would be tough for the Hornets to make an offer that would be intriguing for the Heat.  Charlotte does not have the expiring contracts potentially needed to make the move. They do however have their first round picks for the next two seasons.  Moving one of those picks and two expiring contracts could be all it takes to get the Heat to move on from a player they do not see a future with. Whiteside has his negatives but the potential for stardom is their.  Charlotte will have to make the first move.

I Talk Sports DFS Picks Oct. 29

The NBA has a nine game slate tonight marred by injury.  No Giannis, Kawhi, potentially no AD makes this slate a little tougher to pick.  It’s up to us to find the mid- level players that can make up for the loss of the bigger studs.  Who is going to step up for these teams and put up the big points.  This is the lineup I am looking into.

*all DFS games are played on Draftkings

PG: Goran Dragic, Miami Heat ($6,200)

Dragic and the Heat have a matchup with the hapless Sacramento Kings.  Dragic brings multiple skills into this game with the injuries that the Heat continue to have Dragic is the one consistent player the Heat can rely on.

SG: Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors ($5,600)

When Klay is this low you have to buy in, especially against the Bulls.

SF: Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks ($6,900)

No Giannis and no Kawhi in this game.  Middleton will be the go to scorer for the Bucks, while also not having to deal the the Leonard defense.

PF: Kelly Olynyk, Miami Heat ($4,900)

Olynyk is a boom or bust player.  Kings defense stinks so tonight should be a better chance of a boom.

C: Jarrett Allen, Brooklyn Nets ($5,400)

Very big chance of a double double tonight.

G: Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors ($8,000)

Lowry without Kawhi becomes the best option on offense for the Raptors.

F: Demar Derozan, San Antonio Spurs ($9,100)

Demar Derozan has been great early in his tenure with the Spurs.  A matchup with the Mavericks is great for any player with skills like Derozan.  Rim protector Deandre Jordan will be busy dealing with Lamarcus Aldridge.

UTIL: Zach Collins, Portland Trailblazers ($3,900)

Zach Collins seems to play better on the road averaging 15PPG on the road compared to just 8 at home.  The Blazers have a tough matchup with the Pacers but Collins should get some run in this game.

Good Luck Tonight!

 

 

 

 

Devin Booker- The League’s Next Star

The Phoenix Suns have been the definition of disfunction over the last decade.  Nine seasons in a row with zero playoff appearances.  They haven’t won more then 24 games in the last three seasons. The years of Charles Barley, Kevin Johnson and Steve Nash have become a distant memory, a mirage of greatness in the the Phoenix desert.  But suddenly you see civilization, water, food and air conditioning!  Brought to you by the leagues newest star Devin Booker.

Over their first three NBA seasons:

Steph Curry Devin Booker
PPG 16.3 PPG 19.8
RPG 3.93 RPG 3.3
APG 5.6 APG 3.5

Devin Booker was drafted by the Suns out of Kentucky in 2015.  There was small fanfare to his pick at number 13.  Booker seemed like a solid role player that could be a piece to help an NBA team.  Booker quickly proved to be more then just a role player. Shooting 40% and averaging over 20 points a game in his sophomore season Booker became the quiet leader of a Suns team that had been lacking a star.  Not since Steve Nash’s final season in 2012 has there been a player that was putting Phoenix on the map. Booker took the role and ran with it during troubling times.

2017 was a season to forget for the Suns. Eric Bledsoe took to twitter proclaiming he no longer wanted to play in Phoenix last season causing issues in the locker room.  The problems in the locker room continued into the front office as the Suns fired Earl Watson just three games into the season.  With Watson gone the Suns decided to move on from their troubled guard Bledsoe.  Moving Bledsoe to the Bucks weakened the roster but signaled a change in the culture.  The Suns went into tank mode.  But losing sometimes has its advantages in professional sports.

Phoenix selected Deandre Ayton out of the University of Arizona with the first overall pick in the 2018 draft. Adding Ayton has given the Suns a player to build along side Booker.  The presence of an inside force will allow freedom for Booker to work against one-on-one matchups. Adding sharpshooting veterans Jamal Crawford, Ryan Anderson and Trevor Ariza will provide the leadership for the team and guidance for a young emerging star.  The addition also puts Josh Jackson and TJ Warren to move to the bench creating tough matchups for second units.

Phoenix showed their commitment to Booker in the offseason signing him to a five-year, $158 million maximum contract extension over the summer.  Booker is now locked up for the future.  The pieces are being put into place around him with with Deandre Ayton, Josh Jackson, TJ Warren and Mikal Bridges.  The Suns will not be great this season but people will see the greatness of the next big star in the league.  Booker opened up the season showing the ability of an elite player, finishing with 35 points and 19 in the fourth quarter with the game still on the line. Booker’s 35 was the most by a Suns player in an opening day night game since Kevin Johnson put up 35 in 1993.

Phoenix got the win on opening night against a fellow rebuilding team in the Dallas Mavericks.  If Booker can avoid injury and play a full season the league will see a rise in every statistic.  Booker will take the next step in his career, remember he is just turning 22 at the end of October.  The next great star is in Phoenix and his name is Devin Booker.

 

Don’t Blame Boogie

Unless you live under a rock you probably saw that DeMarcus Cousins has signed with the Golden State Warriors.  The 4-time All-Star joins the two time defending champions creating arguably the best lineup in the history of the NBA.  In the eyes of most fans the NBA title was wrapped up before the end of most teams first summer league games.  Outrage broke out in the social media community ridiculing the Warriors and especially Boogie Cousins for his choice to join the dynasty that has ruled the NBA for the last four years. The world can be as mad as they choose at DeMarcus Cousins but he is not to blame for this situation, NBA GM’s have to be given the blame for the way this situation worked out.  Don’t blame Boogie for making the best choice for himself.  Look at you team’s front office.

One of my greatest pet peeves is when I am drafting a fantasy team whether it is football, baseball or any other sport.  You hear another person yell “I was gonna take him” after you make a pick.  I always say the same thing to that person, if you were going to take him then you should have with your first pick.  DeMarcus Cousins was a free agent, 29 other teams had the chance to make their offers to the skilled big man but they didn’t want to commit their money to him.  Whether it was his injury or his locker room history, Cousins was not looked at as a cornerstone piece deserving of a mutli-year contract.  Cousins, one of two players ever to average 25 PPG, 10RPG, 5APG, 1.5BPG, 1.5SPG, the other  being Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, thought he was a high level player that deserved a max contract.  But when teams thought they could low ball him he decided to turn the table on them.  Instead of allowing front offices to have control he took it upon himself to control the outcome.

The Warriors are the lucky recipients of a market that undervalued a great asset.  Cousins achillies injury could hold him out of the start of the season, by signing with the Warriors he will not need to rush back. He will be able to make sure he is fully healthy before returning and for once not watch his team fall out of a playoff hunt.  Those who question whether Cousins is hurting his chances of getting a max deal because his numbers will most likely take a dive during the 2018 season are not taking into account that this move is more of a public relations decision rather then a professional one.  The former Kentucky big man skills have never been questioned, his ability in the block is second to none, but teams worry about his ability to keep his head straight, front office personal have labeled him as a “cancer”.  Playing with the personalities that the Warriors have will be a great test to see what kind of a person he is.

Adding a fifth All-Star to an already dominate team is scary for the NBA.  I argue that watching greatness is what I look for when I watch the NBA. The only thing better than greatness is seeing David conquer Goliath.  Now the entire NBA is David, the ratings to watch the potential upset will be earth shattering.  There is always the chance that the mix of talents doesn’t work.  Just ask Karl Malone and Gary Payton what happens when you try and make a super team and it doesn’t work out.  There will be more pressure then ever on this Warriors team.  If they don’t win a championship their legacy will be forever tarnished.  This will make blowing a 3-1 lead in the finals look like losing an AAU season game.

I will admit that seeing DeMarcus Cousins signed a 1-year 5.3Million dollar deal with the best team in the world was deflating as an NBA fan.  Blaming Cousins for this is not fair to him.  If he signed with Boston would they not be the clear favorites in the East making that conference all but pointless?  Everyone can have their own opinion but this was a mistake made front offices that they will regret for the upcoming season.  It will be a nice learning experience for everyone.

What should the Spurs do with Kawhi?

Kawhi Leonard established himself as arguably the best two-way  player in the league.  He has the ability to shutdown the other teams best player while also carrying the scoring load. Due to a nagging quad injury, he missed most of last season and only played nine games. That injury has caused a stable relationship to completely fall apart. The Spurs medically cleared Leonard, but he chose to sit out and rehab the injury away from the team. The dissention between the Spurs and Leonard had become uncomfortable.  Long time Spurs star Tony Parker publicly commented on Leonard not playing “My quad was 100 times worse.”  Uncharacteristically the Spurs dirty laundry was being aired out in public.  Suddenly the all mighty Spurs had become a headline for something that had nothing to do with winning.  They were more about drama then basketball.  The story has continued in the offseason, Leonard has announced that he would like to like to be traded from the Spurs during the offseason.

The Spurs sit in an interesting place.  They have a team that has been built around Kawhi Leonard.  Successfully they have supplied a group of rising roles players around him with Dejounte Murray, Kyle Anderson and Davis Bertans.  They have also given him a co-star in LaMarcus Aldridge.  Leonard has two years left on his contract but an opt out clause at the end of the upcoming season.  If Leonard decides to opt out at the end of the season the Spurs will lose one of the top stars in the league without anything to show for it.   The Spurs must act now.  The Indiana Pacers were dealing with a similar situation last summer when star Paul George made it very clear he would be leaving Indiana when he becomes a free agent.  Instead of just letting the star walk the Pacers were able to land a potential star in Victor Oladipo and solid role player Domantas Sabonis.  The Spurs have to find a way to cover themselves for the coming seasons.

The first and obvious answer for the Spurs is to give Kawhi what he wants.  Send him to the Lakers for Kyle Kuzma, potentially Julius Randle (RFA) and their first round draft pick.  Lonzo Ball’s name has been put into that conversation but let’s live in the real world.  Gregg Popovich will not have any interest in dealing with the Lonzo/Lavar Ball situation. Popovich is well known for not being interested in helping out team in the West.  While Kuzma may be a nice piece he would still not be acceptable as the centerpiece of a trade for a top 5 NBA player.  Kawhi May want to go to LA but being under contract gives the Spurs the power in this situation.

The move that makes the most sense for the Spurs would be to make a call over to Danny Ainge.  The Celtics are loaded with future draft picks as well as young stars.  With the return of Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving for the 2018-19 season the Celtics will be the favorites in the East.  A player the caliber of Kawhi Leonard could be the player that gives them a real chance against the dynasty of Golden State.  The Spurs can make a call and ask for Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier and one of the many Boston owned draft picks.  This trade would give the Spurs two young cost controlled players that are on the verge of superstardom.  The Spurs would also have their pick of numerous future draft picks that the Celtics hold.  The Celtics would be fools to ignore the call fro, San Antonio, with their surplus of extra talent they can afford to move on from a few of their exterior talents.

The Spurs have to move Kawhi now, but this is not an organization that is going to panic.  They will wait and make the move when they need to make it.  This is still a team that made the playoffs last season even though Kawhi spent the season on the bench.  They still have a star they can build around.  The Spurs will make the right decision but don’t expect it to happen right away.

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.

 

 

Warriors vs. Pelicans Preview and Pick

The first matchup of the Western Conference Semifinals has one team that is supposed to be there and one that seemed to mature over night.  The Pelicans were two losses aways from potentially not making the playoffs. It felt like New Orleans might be left for dead when DeMarcus Cousins suffered a season ending rupture of achilles tendon, but the Pelicans persevered and found a new identity over the season’s final two-plus months. They have adjusted to their personal, finding success with their upbeat fast style.

The Pelicans were able to jump out on the Blazers each game of the first round, immediately taking control of each game allowing them to dictate the pace.  The Blazers did not possess the depth of scoring that could overcome early deficits.  That will not be the case with the Warriors, even without Steph Curry they have more then one asset that can carry the load of the scoring.  Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant carried the load in the first round averaging 22.6 PPG and 28 PPG in the first round versus a tough but undermanned San Antonio Spurs team.

Jrue Holiday will be a key for the Pelicans without Steph Curry, he will likely be forced to handle Kay Thompson.  If Holiday can continue to defend the opposing teams best guard as well as keep up his offensive production from the first round then the Pelicans will have a great chance to make this a series.  Holiday was sensational in the first round averaging 27.8 point and 6.5 assists per game during the entire series. The difference in this series will be Klay Thompson.  Thompson will be tasked with handling the dynamic Pelican guard. Holiday stands 6’4″, but it will be the 6’7″ Thompson with the height and length advantage in the series ahead. If Thompson can shoot the ball effectively while using his length to force Holiday into disadvantageous positions, it could significantly hamper New Orleans’ ability to score.

Anthony Davis is going to get his numbers, he will give the Pelicans a chance to win a few games in this series.  I worry that he Zaza Pachulia effect may become a factor in this series, he could be the Warriors version of Lance Stephenson.  If he can annoy and effect Davis getting under his skin enough to disrupt him at any point during the series it will cost the young Pelicans any chance to pull off the upset.  Kevin Durant will be a problem for the Pelicans.  Durant played 3 of 4 games vs the Pelicans in 2018, averaging 27 points and 8 rebounds per game, shooting over 50% against them. The Pelicans have now answer for Durant.  Their roster s not equipped to handle the length and ability that Durant brings to the table. Etwan Moore is to small and Nikola Mirotic is not fast enough to handle Durant. The Pelicans may try and take away other Warrior stars similar to the way the Utah Jazz handled the OKC Thunder, shutting down Paul George an Carmelo Antony.

The Pelicans, along with the Warriors, were the only teams in the league to rank in the top three in both points scored and assists per game during the regular season, but that’s not the only tie that binds them. Former Golden State associate head coach Alvin Gentry is now in his third season as Head Coach of the Pelicans, and this upcoming series will offer the first chance for he and Steve Kerr to go head-to-head in that time. The in season series was won by the Warriors 3-1 but the three Warrior wins came before Christmas when Boogie Cousins was still a part of the Pelican rotation.  The Pelicans have become a different team since that injury.  Alvin Gentry will have his team ready to compete but right now the young Pel’s do not have the depth to handled the high powered an experienced Warriors. These games are going to be full of offense and fun to watch but I just think that the Warriors will be to much especially if Steph Curry is able to play at any point during this series.  New Orleans is very close to be a real contender in the West and they have already proved me wrong once.  I won’t be wrong about them twice.

Warriors in 5

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NBA Draft Preview

The 2018 NBA Regular Season is coming to an end next week.  As the race for championship continues the battle for the bottom is s till very interesting. Let’s begin our mock draft

Phoenix Suns select Deandre Ayton, Center, Arizona

Deandre Ayton tenure at Arizona was not one the university will not be one of that many will remember for positive reasons.  Fact is that Ayton is the clear #1 selection for a Suns team that is in full rebuild mode.  Devin Booker and Josh Jackson give them some light at the end of an extremely dark tunnel but with the addition of a player like Ayton that tunnel may have an emergency generator that keeps the lights on for at least the extent of a rookie contract.  The Suns last attempt drafting a big man was not successful, former Maryland big man Alex Len has not developed into an impact player that they hoped when they used their 5th overall pick on him in 2013.  Ayton though is considered to be that blue chip prospect that can help this team back to relevance.  This is a no brainer at #1, the only way to screw it up is to not do what everyone thinks you should do.

 Memphis Grizzlies select Luka Doncic, Guard, Real Madrid

Luka Doncic enters the 2018 NBA draft as one of the most respected Euroleague resumes. Doncic also led Slovenia to last summer’s Eurobasket title. Doncic is comfortable in the lead guard position but will most likely need to learn to play a wing role along side Mike Conley. The Grizzlies have to find a direction for the franchise as they begin to see the decline of Marc Gasol, a young talented import is the answer, he can be the next star in a Grizzlies uniform.  The Grizzlie will probably still stink next year but at least they will get nice media coverage with this pick.

Dallas Mavericks select Marvin Bagley, Forward, Duke University

The Dallas Mavericks are one of the two teams that have been openly tanking to help their draft position.  They find themselves picking number three on draft day and will score themselves a marquee forward to build their franchise around. Marvin Bagley was one of the most productive college basketball prospects all season long at Duke, utilizing his athletic mismatch to score in the paint and manufacturing easy baskets on the offensive glass at an elite clip.

Atlanta Hawks select Jaren Jackson, Forward, Michigan State

The Hawks stink, but they really stink defensively. The answer for them is Jaren Jackson. His shot blocking numbers (5.5 per-40) are off the charts, and teams are intrigued by has ability to protect the rim and defend in space while also being able to space the floor (39.6% from three). The Hawks have no identity, they are looking to build around point guard Dennis Schroder.  They need to cut bait with everyone over 25 and build their team around the length of Jackson and the continuing development of Taurean Prince. The Hawks are still very far away from being a competitive team.

Orlando Magic select Michael Porter Jr., Forward, Missouri

The Orlando Magic have a couple of nice pieces to build around with Evan Fournier and Nikola Vucevic. The impending free agency of cornerstone Aaron Gordon leaves an opening at the power forward position, the perfect fit will still be available with Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr. Porter Jr’s injury derailed what could have been a fun year for the Tigers in the now basketball strong SEC.   Porter Jr is a scorer with the size of a power forward and the movement of a point guard.  While I could see the Magic taking a shot on Trae Young here, they would be wise to go with MPJ his size and skill will make him an immediate impact.

Sacramento Kings select Trae Young, Guard, Oklahoma

This is a dream for the Sacramento Kings.   A draft full of centers! Hopefully they make the intelligent decision and take the best player n the board for them.  Trae Young is a captivating player that will give the Kings some attention in the California market. Trae Young alongside De’aron Fox may not work out in the long run due to the fact that both players are very ball heavy.  But if I am the Kings and a talent and marketable asset like Young falls into my lap I have to go with it.

Chicago Bulls select Mohammad Bamba, Center, Texas

The Chicago Bulls greatest dream would be for Trae Young to fall to them but that is unlikely. So they will have to go to plan b.  Luckily for the Bulls plan b is Mo Bamba! All-league defensive potential is the center of Bamba’s appeal, and while Texas’s season wound up a disappointment, he’s shown plenty of ability and held steady as a top selection. The Bulls have a built a nice core of young talent lead by 2017 first round pick Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn, and Bobby Portis.  The Robin Lopez stop gap is coming to an end.  Plug in Bamba and let him swat shots all over the arena.  His skills will continue to grow on the offensive end.

Cleveland Cavaliers (from Brooklyn) select Wendell Carter, Forward, Duke

Wendall Carter is a man at 6′ 10″ 260lbs. Carter was as solid as possible for the Blue Devils last season and is ready to make the transition to the NBA.  Carter has the ability to spread the defense with mid range shooting as well as be a stable force in the middle. Pairing Carter with the range of Kevin Love will give that Cavaliers a solid punch in the middle and from the outside. His impressive skill level, passing and on-court feel should help him find an NBA fit, and a different system might unlock more of his skills.

New York Knicks select Mikal Bridges, Guard/Forward, Villanova

The Knicks shocked everyone last season going with Frank Ntilikina with the 8th overall pick in the 2017 draft. Ktilikina showed glimpses of his potential during the season, but it has been the emergence of Trey Burke that has brought the most impact to the Knick during the season.  The Knicks have a strong core with the Unicorn, Enes Kanter, and a few different options at the point.  A great addition will be some 3 and D wing help like Mikal Bridges.  His upside could very easily point him in the top 5 so this could be a steal for the Knicks.

Philadelphia 76ers (from LAL) select Jalen Brunson, Guard, Villanova

I am going to be honest in saying this probably is a long shot, the realistic pick for the Sixers would probably be Lonnie Walker from Miami or Miles Bridges from Michigan State.  Brunson doesn’t have the traditional tools of an NBA top ten pick, his athleticism has been questioned as well as his size. He relies on his considerable craft to compensate for a lack of top-flight quickness and understands how to pick his spots, change speed and direction and score the ball.  Brunson brings a lot of grit as well as considerable leadership to whatever team he plays for.  With the talent the Sixers have put together strong leadership is something that they have to value.

Brunson is a long shot in this spot, the Sixers really need a defensive stopper at the guard positon, Walker from Miami really does make a lot more sense but to see Brunson in Philly would be awesome for everyone.

 

That’s my top ten at this point…things always change this time of year I will continue to update a we get closer to the draft.