Cleat Geeks

NBA Top 10 Thursdays: Top 10 City Jerseys.

Hi everyone, this is my first article in a while so I hope you like it!  It feels good to be back home here at CleatGeeks!

One of the best things the NBA did recently is the creation of it’s City Jerseys. They bring out the unique flavor and attitude of each city or state that the team proudly represents. Today, I go through and list my Top 10 City Jerseys. This list is purely my opinion and I would love to hear your thoughts on it.  Ok, let’s jump right in!

 

 

Number 10: Phoenix Suns.

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This one draws it’s inspiration from the rich Hispanic community in Phoenix and Arizona. This is such a clean look with the 2 shades of purple and the word fonts. Definitely hope they keep this one for a while.

 

 Number 9: Orlando Magic.

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This one is just fun. According to the team’s website, “The Magic’s City Edition uniform celebrates the magic that exists in our solar system and beyond.” This is by far one of the coolest uniforms not just in the NBA, but sports as a whole.

 

Number 8: New York Knicks.

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This one is very cool. It pays tribute to the city’s fire department and really, what’s better than that? New York’s fire department is one of the finest in the country and this jersey is a great way to show how much they mean to the people of the city.

 

Number 7: Washington Wizards.

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This one is pure fire! For me, white is one of the best looks and this jersey pulls it off perfectly. The side designs are shaped like the Washington Monument and the dot on the i is a basketball. This has a very D.C. feel to it and  should even be their main uniform I think.

 

Number 6: Philadelphia 76ers.

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This one is on this list not so much for it’s looks, but it’s historical background that I love. The color is a nod to the paper that the Declaration of Independence was singed on. The word “Phila” is written in cursive font like the words on the Declaration as well. Add the red and blue stripes on the arms and collar and this makes one very patriotic outfit.

 

Number 5: Toronto Raptors.

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This one is a far cry from the Raptors regular colors. The black and gold is not only really awesome looking, but a nod to one of Toronto’s favorite sons, Drake. The gold arrow pointing up north is a really nice touch.

 

Number 4: Golden State Warriors.

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The Warriors did a really nice job on this one. The jersey pays tribute to the Chinese culture of the Bay area in California. This is not only an important nod to the city, but also honors the teams relocation to the Bay area, which was the same year that San Francisco’s China Town opened up. The blue dragon design over looking the Golden Gate Bridge is such a sick look for the champs.

 

Number 3: Memphis Grizzlies.

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The history behind this jersey is by far the best of any of these uniforms. The bold white look with black lettering pays tribute to the civil rights struggle that took place in the 1960s.  The Grizzlies press release on these says it all

“The story behind the uniforms dates all the way back to February 1, 1968, when two Memphis Sanitation workers, Echol Cole and Robert Walker were crushed to death by a garbage truck. This incident and years of dangerous working conditions led black sanitation workers to strike. This strike coined the slogan ‘I Am A Man’ and eventually brought Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Memphis only weeks later to march alongside the protesters. It was on that very trip that he was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel on April 4, 1968.”

The wording is in the same font as the wording that was on those signs. Hopefully this uniform stays in their line up for a while.

 

Number 2: Denver Nuggets.

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Ok, this might be the homer in me that put this jersey so high, but the Nuggets really did a great job on these. The Nuggets overhauled their whole look for the 2018-19 season.  These uniforms embrace the colors of the Colorado state flag, (red, blue, and yellow.) and the word mark proudly displays the nick name of Denver. As a Nuggets fan myself, I will definitely be picking one of these up.

 

Number 1: Miami Heat.

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This one is it. It is clean, it is fire, and, it is just as cool as it gets. The Heat decided to go with one of the greatest parts of Miami history by designing this jersey with the iconic TV show Miami Vice in mind. The light blue and pink, coupled with the word font are direct throwbacks to the show. As a huge fan of Miami Vice, this one was a no brainer for me.

 

Well, what do you think of this list? Hit me up on Twitter @GeeksportJosh and tell me what jerseys you think should be on this list.

 

Thanks for reading!

Lakers Rookie Summer League Recap and Draft Grades

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The Lakers had another great summer league finishing 6-1, unfortunately losing to the Portland Trail Blazers 91-73 in the summer league final. Although that loss snapped their 12 game summer league win streak dating back to last year, it was another year of players showing what they’re capable of and surprising a few people.

We were able to get a look at all three players drafted and see who could potentially grab that 15th spot on the Lakers roster and let’s not forget Josh Hart, summer league MVP who has shown he’s much more than a three and D player.

Now that we’ve been able to see a glimpse of what these players can do and the players drafted around them can do I felt it was the perfect time to give out some grades on all of the Lakers picks.

Mo Wagner

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Wagner had a shortened summer league, only playing in three games, he was shutdown after suffering a left knee contusion injury.

He did impress though in his few appearances, averaging 10.3 points 8 rebounds and 2.7 steals. Although he had 2.7 steals he did struggle defensively, it’s something he needs to work on but offensively Wagner was about to score well down low, showing he’s more than just a three point shooter.

Wagner is a seven foot sniper, he had a great march madness which led to his rise on many draft boards but 25 still may have been a reach.

I like Wagner and his fit for LA but I would’ve loved to see them grab Mitchell Robinson and then draft Wagner at 39. But I understand you can’t always play the waiting game, if that’s your guy go and get him.

Grade: B

Svi Mykhailiuk

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Svi is looking like the steal of the draft, almost Kyle Kuzma like. He balled out in Summer League, making the Summer League 2nd team averaging 16.6 points 4 rebounds and shooting 48% from the field.

The four year player out of Kansas joined the team at only 16 years old and has steadily improved every year. The kid is a sniper from deep but this summer he showed his skill set is much more diverse than that, he can handle the ball, get to basket and even play some defense.

Mykhailiuk really stood out this summer, lights out shooting is just what the Lakers need to space the floor, he shot 42.9% from deep in Summer League.

The Lakers are extremely deep at the wing but the 6’8 sharpshooter will surely find some minutes if can play half as good as he did this summer

Grade: A

Isaac Bonga

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Isaac was a surprise on draft night, the 6’9 18 year old German forward is coming straight to the league from Europe. His combination of size, defense and playmaking is what intrigued the Lakers so much, they were the only team he worked out for.

He played in seven summer league games only playing 9 minutes per game putting up 2 points and 1 rebound. Even though he’s played pro overseas he took some time to get adjusted, turning the ball over seven times in first game but that’s fine.

Bonga was initially viewed by most as a foreign stash player but on July 6th he signed to the Lakers for three years.

He didn’t get stashed but I believe he’ll likely spend some time in the G-League developing before he steps on the court the Lakers.

Isaac Bonga is an interesting project, he’s the most unknown out of all three picks but I like what he could potentially bring to the table.

Grade : B

A lot of experts were very critical of the Lakers draft but I liked it. I genuinely felt that they were moves based around what would work best with Lebron and we signed him. Bron loves shooters around and the Lakers drafted two sharpshooters.

The Lakers already have one of the best young cores in the league and these three could add to it soon. It’s early but I really liked what I saw out of summer league, I could definitely see some of guys making an impact early on and earning a spot in the rotation.

How Does The Dominance In The West Impact The NBA?

LeBron James, Demarcus Cousins, Paul George, Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo. All of these players either moved out west, or re-signed with their current teams, making this year’s Western Conference a star studded group. They have arguably 8 out of the top 10 players in the NBA, and that’s facts, not opinions. The Lakers are relevant again, Houston is still a powerhouse, Oklahoma City managed to hold onto PG13 and keep a solid core intact, and do I even need to bring up Boogie joining the Warriors? So how does this impact the NBA itself?Image result for last 10 nba champions

The last 10 NBA Finals have either been won by a Western Conference team, or a LeBron led team. Now that he is in the west, it clears a path for teams such as Boston, Toronto, and Philadelphia to make it to the Finals. It seemed like Boston was going to bully their way past the Cavs this year, but of course, LeBron pulled out his bag of tricks and knocked them out in 7 games. Philly has rising stars in Embiid, Simmons, and Fultz. Toronto still has Lowry, plus they now have acquired Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard and let’s not forget they were the #1 seed in the east. The east is going to be much more competitive, and yes Boston has to be favored with the return of Irving and Hayward, but the conference championship is very much anyone’s to grab.

What about the west? How does this impact this conference? Clearly, the Lakers are contenders, Houston is still strong, and Golden State could win 70+ games. But these signings make this a much more competitive conference. The Warriors have formed this team to beat LeBron, and now that he will meet them in the second round or conference finals, anything is possible. Competition brings in fans, and fans bring in money. These moves will pay off for the NBA more than people think. The Warriors do have a few more years at the top of the league, but if LA lands Kawhi or another stud, keep an eye out. Oh, did we mention Image result for nba western conferenceHouston and LA are both favorites to sign Carmelo? Watch out Golden State.

Which Eastern Conference team could now benefit the most?

The Eastern conference is up for grabs, so who is going to take it? With the Cavaliers running out of talent, they will likely slide down the rankings of the conference. The easy answer would be, “Boston is going to bulldoze their way to the Finals, they nearly did last year without their top 2 stars!” Clearly. But, that’s not the question. So, who really does benefit most? This answer is crystal clear, it has to be the Toronto Raptors. For the past few years, Toronto has dominated the regular season, only to get torched by Cleveland each year in the playoffs. They match up well with any other team, and now with their biggest threat out of the conference, who is going to stop them from making this a competitive year? Every team benefits from the shift in dominance, but Toronto ultimately comes out on top here.

5 NBA Stars Still Available At A Bargain Price

Now let’s be clear here, none of these 5 players are going to make your fan base run out and buy season tickets, they are bargains, not steals. Most of them are the best players on a team’s second units. These are guys that are good, guys that can still play a role on established teams or guys who can mentor young players on young teams. They are not taking a four seed to a number one seed, but these are players who could possibly take the right eight or nine seed and get them to the six or seventh seed and possibly at least respectability or best case scenario, one play-off series win.

DWYANE WADE

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If he returns to Miami — and that’s no lock — the sense is that it’ll be for $5 million. A Hall of Famer who can still play and willingly accepts a bench role for small money is a steal, especially when considering how much he means to Heat fans. He played in 67 games last year and still averaged over 11 points and 28.8% three point field goal percentage, which is right in line with his career average.

VINCE CARTER

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He’ll almost certainly get the veteran’s minimum from a good team, give it good minutes off the bench and use his experience — the 41-year-old has basically spent half his life in the NBA — to become the sage of whatever locker room he calls home next season. If he doesn’t score a point, he’ll still be worth the $2.4 million. His three point field goal percentage is higher than Wade’s at 34.5% but his points per game are much lower at just over 5.

MICHAEL BEASLEY

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He was really good at times for a really bad Knicks team last season. And he’s still a gifted scorer. Put him on a good team, and the second unit will immediately get better. He is a left handed shooter who impressively played in 74 games averaged 13.2 points and has a higher three point field goal percentage at 39.5%.

MARCUS SMART

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Many would be surprised if Boston lets the restricted free agent go elsewhere, and Smart’s value to the Celtics is clear. But it’s been one of the soap operas of this summer: What is taking so long? Smart improved on most of his career numbers last season. He improved in points per game, assists, field goal percentage, and three point field goal percentage.

DIRK NOWITZKI

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He’s “out there” on paper only. Nowitzki is eventually going back to Dallas, probably for about $5 million once again, but it’s impossible to list NBA bargains and not include him. He’ll spend what may be his final NBA season grooming Luka Doncic. The best player in Mavs history is about to become the best mentor in Mavs history.

The LAbron Effect

Lebron James is the star the Lakers have been searching for since Kobe left. After years of free agent failure and getting rejected by stars like Lamarcus Aldridge, Demar Derozan and Kevin Durant it’s all finally happening, things are really looking up in LA. Magic Johnson spent roughly three hours on Saturday night just after free agency tipped off at James’ house, closing the deal and he delivered his promise to bring a star back to Los Angeles. Lebron has been welcomed to LA by everybody with open arms from Kobe Bryant to Kyle Kuzma.

 

The impact of Lebron goes deeper than what he himself brings to the table though, not only does adding him launch the Lakers into the playoffs but LA is now the most appealing destination on the market with the combination of adding James and having cap space. Shortly after Lebrun’s signing the Lakers brought back Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, then also brought in Lance Stephenson, Rajon Rondo and Javale Mcgee all on one year deals. While none of those signings make or break Los Angeles, they add some much needed depth and give them flexibility to trade some of their youth for another superstar *cough* Kawhi Leonard *cough*. Bringing in two, two-guards leads me to believe Josh Hart is going to be part of a deal San Antonio for Kawhi. Leonard announced that he had no interest playing for the Philadelphia 76ers, which takes LA’s biggest competition away. Also reports came out stating Kyle Kuzma is off limits, add that in with Lonzo having a torn meniscus, it only leaves Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram and Ivaca Zubac left as young assets the Lakers could part with. A combination of those three and some picks should be enough to get a deal done at this point, San Antonio will understandably not want to trade Kawhi to their rival Lakers but with no leverage taking away assets from Los Angeles would be more beneficial to them than letting him leave next year for free. Trading for Leonard would benefit the Lakers by acquiring his bird rights. Kawhi also is rumored to sit out next season if he remains a Spur, as time passes it gets worse for the Spurs. The Lakers are in a great spot, I’m happy they didn’t fold when rumors came out Lebron didn’t want to Los Angeles without at least one other star there already. Demarcus Cousins is still on the market and plans to meet with the Lakers so I wouldn’t rule him out either. With Julius Randle signing to the Pelicans Cousins to Los Angeles is looking even more likely. The future has been bright in Los Angeles for a few years now but it just got a whole light brighter when Lebron signed… I have a very good feeling they aren’t done yet though, stay tuned for moves from the Lakers.

Free Agency Fantasy: Lebron to NOLA

For the first time in four years, the basketball world doesn’t know which team LeBron James will be suiting up for the next season. Lebron’s been the best basketball player in the world for at least eight years and has spent each one of them terrorizing any Eastern Conference opponent that walks in his path. The King has made a fifteen season claim for the legacy of putting together the greatest basketball career the NBA has ever seen, and the next chapter of his chase of Michael Jordan begins on July 1 when free agency opens. Nobody other than Lebron himself really knows what his interests are as far as possible destinations are concerned, but teams such as the Lakers, Rockets, 76ers, and more are speculated to be serious contenders. One team that nobody is talking about that would be a great fit for King James is the New Orleans Pelicans.

There are two main reasons that this pairing works. The first is pretty obvious. LeBron James paired with another top five player in the world in Anthony Davis is a tremendous support system and a huge upgrade from Kevin Love at the power forward position. Anthony Davis would give 2011 Dwyane Wade a run for his money for being the best player to ever team up with Lebron. Following a season where James struggled mightily in finding a consistent supporting cast, joining another superstar would lift a tremendous burden off of his shoulders. The levels to joining superstars in New Orleans are twofold. Demarcus Cousins is a free agent this summer, and his return to the Pelicans organization is questionable. Lebron James signing with the New Orleans Pelicans would ensure the return of Boogie and would hold together the second greatest power forward-center duo of all time for at least a few more years. Anthony Davis singlehandedly took the Pelicans to the Western Conference semifinals. The addition of Lebron James and Demarcus Cousins to an already competitive team could lead to a championship trophy.

 

The second biggest reason that Lebron should go to the Big Easy is because he can easily get away with resting on defense. Lebron James was the best defender on all of his Cleveland teams, but he was the equivalent of 2017-18 Russell Wilson for his offenses. Lebron could not afford to expend an excessive amount of effort on the defensive end, because he had to save it to carry the offensive load. In New Orleans, however, Lebron would have the privilege of playing alongside one of the league’s best defenders in AD. Playing with an elite defender would no longer cause Bron’s team defense to suffer as heavily while he paces himself.

Not everybody is going to be thrilled about the Pelicans fantasy. There’s no guarantee that Lebron will ever win a championship again. If that’s the case, staying in the East and reaching the NBA Finals as many times as possible may be better for his legacy. In the interest of NBA history, Lebron going to Philadelphia isn’t ideal because it could stunt the growth of Ben Simmons. Simmons has the chance to join Kareem, Magic, Bird, and Shaq in a rare class of great immediate success in the league. But that’s an article for another time. Also, fans might be turned off by the idea of having such little talent surrounding the “Big 3” in order to be able to afford everyone. Some of the current Pelicans will have to be traded prior to a theoretical acquisition of LeBron James. The roster would likely have to take the shape of Lebron’s Miami Heat teams that featured a few superstar caliber players and some cheap three-point specialists. Could that lineup take down Golden State? It’s definitely possible.

Lebron James will not be suiting up for the New Orleans Pelicans next season. In all likelihood, he’s going to either stay in Cleveland, prepare for life after basketball in LA, or go to a team that’s already set up for title contention without him. But watching Lebron James, Anthony Davis, and Demarcus Cousins all playing on the same team sure would be a blast. 

Do The Cav’s Need To Get Another Star By Sunday? If So…..Who?

Do the Cleveland Cavaliers have a chance to keep LeBron James? That is up for debate until free agency starts on July 1. The Lakers seem to be the favorites to land King James and it looks as if the Cavaliers would have to make a major off-season move to keep their star.

Per Ken Berger of Bleacher Report, the Cavaliers are looking at a deal that would bring Hornets guard Kemba Walker. A league source took it a step further when it comes to the Cavaliers keeping James and the source said, “is the only way LeBron stays.” However, Hornets GM Mitch Kupchak has said that he wants Walker to be a “focal point” of the team in the future.

The issue the Cavaliers have is that besides drafting Collin Sexton with their first pick, there are not many other assets that would attract the Hornets to give up Walker. James’s deadline whether to opt in or out of his last year of his contract is Friday, which could signal his plans by then.

Walker, 28, is slated to be a free agent at the end of next season, unless the Hornets sign him to a contract extension. However, the Hornets are not in a great place to sign Walker to an extension as the team is on the verge of exceeding the 2018-19 luxury tax threshold, even with Walker being owed $12 million. In short, the team has little choice but to let his contract expire before deciding his future next summer. From that point forward, Walker can sign with the team for five more years, or four elsewhere. If he decides the latter, Kupchak gets nothing in exchange.

It is hard to figure out what Walker wants to do, but I’m not sure he will win as long as he is with the Hornets. Furthermore, he has a better chance to win in a place such as Cleveland. He is one of the most talented point guards in the NBA, but does not get much notoriety because of where he plays. His scoring game has improved in the last couple seasons, scoring over 20 points a game and averaging over five assists a game. If Walker does not end up in Cleveland, the chances of the Cavaliers keeping King James are just about next to zero. In addition to his improving scoring game, his ability to dazzle the crowd with his sick moves are so exciting to watch. He has the moves of a street-ball player and if he had been known better, he would be sought by more teams.

The Hornets should trade Walker because they are going nowhere in the near future and the team they have assembled is not talented enough to make headwinds in the eastern conference. Whether I think he will be traded, I would assess the odds at less than 50%. The Hornets are adamant that they will have to get 100% of what they want in return for trading their superstar. Anything is possible, stay tuned.

James’ Decision To Opt Out

Don’t think that since James decided to opt out, that means that Cleveland is no longer an option for his services. Had James opted in on Friday, the Cavaliers’ brass would have considered that a bad sign, as they believed that his biggest motivation to do so would be in order to accommodate a trade to another team that didn’t have the cap space to sign him outright, such as the Houston Rockets.

By declining his option, James positioned himself to be able to choose where he’ll play next and Cleveland, his basketball home for 11 of the past 15 seasons, remains a strong possibility. Remember, the Cavs, can offer him a five-year, $209 million contract. James can also sign a short-term deal with Cleveland, something he has done each year since returning in 2014.

How To Get Kawhi To LA

Kawhi Leonard has made it very clear he wants to be a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. A LA native, Kawhi wants to come home and rock the purple and gold. Sounds great right? No so fast, the Spurs have said that they don’t want to trade him out West but there is hope Laker fans. Trading for a player of Kawhi’s caliber is difficult, especially with one of your rivals but the Lakers do have some leverage. He only has one year left on his deal, and has made it known he’s not worried about the five year $219 million dollar contract the Spurs could offer him and has said the Lakers are where he wants to go. Teams will be hesitant to unload assets for a rental. The Kawhi-Spurs relationship took a turn for the worse this past year. At the start of the season it was announced he had an unknown injury and there was no timeframe, he eventually returned to only play nine games on and off and throughout the year. After that rumors stemmed he gave up on his team, that he wasn’t really hurt and the Spurs doctors cleared him. While throughout the season it was all speculation, on June 15th multiple sources including Chris Haynes of ESPN confirmed he wanted out. It’s going to be hard for the Spurs and Lakers to find some middle ground a third team will need to be involved but here are a few scenarios that both teams could benefit from.

Sun’s

Lakers: Kawhi Leonard, Troy Daniels, Bryan Forbes

 

Suns: Lonzo Ball, Luol Deng

 

Spurs: Jared Dudley, TJ Warren, Marquese Chriss, Kyle Kuzma, 2019 LAL 1st

 

Although it hurts to see Kuz and Lonzo go, LA is free from Luols terrible contract and get the star the Lakers have been searching for since Kobe left. Not only is Kawhi the star LA has been searching for, he makes the Lakers a much more appealing landing spot for Lebron, Paul George or even Demarcus Cousins. He also provides a safety net if they can’t land another star.

 

The Suns were infatuated with Lonzo Ball, they would have loved for him to fall to them at number 4 in last year’s draft. This is their chance to get their guy, taking on Deng’s contract is rough but the addition of Lonzo gives them a nice youthful starting five to look forward to in Lonzo Ball, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Dragan Bender and DeAndre Ayton.

 

Although they would hate to keep Kawhi in the West it’s likely no team other than the Lakers can/will offer them a solid haul for Kawhi. Kuzma looked like the steal of last years draft and would flourish under Greg Popovich. TJ Warren is a solid player who is only 24 and could slide right into Kawhi’s spot, people overlook he averaged 19.6 ppg in Phoenix last year. Chriss is a former top ten pick with a lot of potential. Greg Pop has a knack for getting the best out of players and could develop Marquese into a future starter. Dudley is tagged along for cap reasons but could provide some veteran minutes off of the bench. Also they get the Lakers 2019 first which would likely be in the 20’s but the Spurs tend to draft very well.

 

                       Mav’s

Lakers: Kawhi Leonard

 

Spurs: Brandon Ingram, JJ Barea, Dorian Finney-Smith, Mo Wagner, 2019 LAL 1st

 

Mavericks: Luol Deng, Kyle Kuzma

 

The Lakers get their guy but give up their best young player Brandon Ingram. Bringing in Kawhi would definitely improve their chances with Lebron and if they sign him Ingram would be expendable anyway so it’s not the end of the world to let him go.

 

Spurs get a potential perennial all star in Brandon Ingram back. He took a major step his second year and could easily take one next year and be an all star. Mo Wagner is a sniper, his shot is very smooth and stretch bigs are the future of the league. Playing behind Lamarcus Aldridge could greatly benefit his development learning from one of the best stretch bigs in the league. Dorian Finney-Smith is young rotational player and JJ Barea is a solid backup PG.

 

                       Hawk’s

Lakers: Kawhi Leonard

 

Spurs: Brandon Ingram, Dennis Schroeder, 2019 LAL 1st

 

Hawks: Luol Deng, Kyle Kuzma

 

The Lakers give up a very similar package as their deal with the Mavericks. They do retain Mo Wagner this time, as the Hawks give the Spurs a starting point guard.

 

San Antonio may have their future point guard in Dejounte Murray but he can slide up to shooting guard and pair up with Dennis Schroeder. Schroeder is a vet that helps keep the Spurs competitive while Ingram is still growing and gives them a nice mix of vets and youth.

 

It’s not a secret the Hawks are looking to move on from Dennis Schroeder. They made it very clear when they drafted Trae Young with the 5th overall pick. While they are in rebuild mode it is a good idea to take on a bad contact to receive some assets back. Kyle Kuzma, John Collins and Trae Young is a young core the Hawks should be excited about.

 

Getting a deal done will be a challenge but involving a third team is definitely the only way for it to happen. With teams hesitant to deal for a rental, I expect the Spurs to take back some assets rather than letting him walk next year for nothing.

 

Are The Warriors A Dynasty…….Now?

The Warriors easily won their third championship ring in four years as they swept a best-of-seven series against the Cavaliers, and the debate is well underway, are the Warriors a dynasty? In a nutshell, it is as clear as the new white Curry 5 sneakers.

The Warriors had to defeat the Rockets in seven games to get to the finals, but the end of the western conference finals helped catapult them over the top. Even LeBron James was impressed with the Warriors during the finals. “They’ve got four Hall of Famers on their team in Klay, Dray, Steph and KD,’’ said James.

BJ Armstrong, who played along Michael Jordan for the first three-peat said that the Warriors are on the cusp of being considered a dynasty. “They’re right there,” Armstrong said. “For them to have a sustained level of excellence like they’ve had, I don’t take that for granted and I think anyone who’s played or observed this game knows how difficult that is for one, let alone to be here four times and have an opportunity to win three speaks for itself.”

Curry was on the Warriors when they won an abysmal 26 games in his rookie season in 2009 and while it took a few years, he was able to predict what the future would hold.

I would characterize the Warriors as better than an NBA team, they are closer to being a street-ball team if not a street-ball team already. They are so good that to beat them, you can not make many mistakes and expect to beat them. Opposing teams can play as perfect as possible and the Warriors will still find a way to inch out a win. When Curry makes insane shots, it is fair to ask, is this man human and that is one of the ways how you can describe the Warriors since they became a dynasty.

A keen observer would think that as the playoffs come around that eventually the Warriors may lose some of their basketball swag and start to struggle in some key stats such as points scored and three-point field goal percentage. That has not happened. Curry got injured for a few weeks towards the end of the season and there was some concern, would he be able to play to his full potential once the playoffs came around. While he missed the first round, Curry continued his consistent play in the playoffs. He averaged over 25 points a game, while dishing out 5 assists a game and he played some solid defense as he averaged nearly 2 steals a game.

For some teams that win a championship in any sport, it is so easy to conclude, we are satisfied with winning one or two championships, but that is not how the Warriors roll. The Warriors could have easily won their fourth consecutive ring and if that had happened, there would be no plausible reason why they are not a dynasty. In the 2000’s the Warriors had some real bad teams and while they have won six championships, their overall record in 72 seasons is still below .500.

During the western finals, there was some concern whether the Warriors would be able to advance, but they were able to play through their mistakes and they caught fire at the right time. After game one of the finals, there was little doubt that the Warriors would win another ring.

It has been well chronicled that the western conference is extremely competitive and the ability to go into hostile environments such as Houston and San Antonio and come out stronger than before is nothing short of impressive. For some players, going into hostile environments will eventually catch up, but it does not scare anyone in a Warriors jersey, it motivates them even more. There is no debating whether the Warriors are a dynasty, they have been consistent for a sustained period of time and have not lost any of their greatness along the way.

2018 NBA Mock Draft

Round 1

  1. Phoenix Suns – C Deandre Ayton (Arizona)

Phoenix has a great variety of Guards in Elfrid Payton, Trevor Booker, and Josh Jackson but they are very underutilized at the bigger positions. Deandre Ayton is one of the most dominant offensive Center in the NBA Draft since Karl-Anthony Towns was selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2015 NBA Draft. C Tyson Chandler is 35 years old and the Suns are getting ready to move on to repair their team that is ranked 21st in points per game (103.9) and 30th (last) in points allowed per game (113.3).

  1. Sacramento Kings – PF Marvin Bagley III (Duke)

The Kings need help all-throughout the court but the frontcourt is an area that needs to be addressed the most. More talent and productivity needs to be added as well for Sacramento. Bagley will supply efficient playmaking on both sides of the ball as well as become a very productive product with PG De’Aaron Fox. Adding Bagley gives the Kings the ability to spread throughout the court and create more scoring situations.

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  1. Atlanta Hawks – SG/SF Luka Doncic (Real Madrid, Spain)

Of the teams with early picks in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks have many options (especially with three 1st round picks) to take but they also can’t afford any mishaps. The Hawks need talent and productivity at every position on their team. Although C Mohamed Bamba (Texas) would be an excellent player for the organization, the Hawks need a consistent yet explosive offensive scorer like Luka Doncic. Last season, Atlanta was ranked 25th in the league in points per game (103.4).

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  1. Memphis Grizzlies – SF Michael Porter Jr. (Missouri)

Of the top needs for the Memphis Grizzlies in this Draft, they need a Wing, a playmaker, and a consistent scorer. These are all things they can take care of in one pick by selecting Michael Porter Jr. who has huge potential despite his injury history. Porter only played in 3 games last season in his freshman season at Missouri due to a lower back injury. If Porter is healthy, the Grizzlies might quickly take him, especially with Memphis eagerly shopping SF Chandler Parsons.

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  1. Dallas Mavericks – C Mohamed Bamba (Texas)

Among the teams in the NBA, the Dallas Mavericks were one of the guiltiest teams in terms of tanking. They saw the potential of the huge talent that this 2018 NBA Draft has to offer. Even though the Mavericks were 12th in the league in points allowed per game (105.4), they could use paint defending the paint. Bamba is one of the best defenders in this Draft with his huge size at 7-1 and his incredible wingspan of 7-10. Bamba accounted for 3.8n blocks per game while at Texas last season. He would also move Dirk Nowitzki at his natural Power Forward position.

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  1. Orlando Magic – PF/C Jaren Jackson (Michigan State)

The bad news for the Orlando Magic is that they need help all across the board. The good news is that they could potentially get a steal in selecting Jackson with the 6th overall pick. Jackson is one of the best overall players in this 2018 NBA Draft and not be dropping very far. The Magic need high caliber talent as well as someone who can improve their scoring offense that is ranked 24th in the league (103.4). They also need help accounting for rebounds as they were ranked 26th in rebounds accounted for per game (41.6).

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  1. Chicago Bulls – SF Mikal Bridges (Villanova)

Chicago is desperately for a change in the right direction. One of those changes is effectiveness from being the 3-point arc. While a case can be made for Oklahoma PG Trae Young, the Bulls might be better off with Villanova’s Mikal Bridges. Last season with his National Championship winning team, Bridges accounted for 17.7 points per game while shooting for 43.5% from behind the 3-point arc. It also helps that Bridges is multi-purposeful by being able to play multiple positions.

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  1. Cleveland Cavaliers – PG Trae Young (Oklahoma)

The Cavaliers have not been the same ever since they lost they traded away PG Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics.  A lack of productivity from the Point Guard position was the downfall of the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors. Adding a player in Young, who accounted for 27.4 points per game and 8.8 assists per game last season will improve the Cavs performance dramatically. SF LeBron James is also very favorable to Young so this could be a big plus for James to stay with Cleveland.

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  1. New York Knicks – PG Collin Sexton (Alabama)

While Jarrett Jack is not a bad playmaker for the Knicks, they can’t refuse the intensity and scoring potential of Alabama’s Collin Sexton. The former Crimson Tide is a nature scorer and a player that can score on the spot thus getting the intense pressure of PF Kristaps Porzingis. Last season, the Knicks could not figure out who to start at Point Guard between Emmanuel Mudiay and Trey Burke.

  1. Philadelphia 76ers – SF Kevin Knox (Kentucky)

The Philadelphia 76ers were one of the most improved teams in the NBA by accounting for a 28-54 record in the 2016-2017 season to becoming the #3 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 52-30 record. One position that they know they can improve on is the Small Forward position where Robert Covington is good but they have been eying to acquire Kevin Knox with the 10th overall pick. Knox will fit into the young and talented 76ers based on his natural playmaking ability.

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  1. Charlotte Hornets – SG/SF Zhaire Smith (Texas Tech)
  2. Los Angeles Clippers – PF/C Wendell Carter (Duke)
  3. Los Angeles Clippers – PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Kentucky)
  4. Denver Nuggets – SF/PF Miles Bridges (Michigan State)
  5. Washington Wizards – C Robert Williams (Texas A&M)
  6. Phoenix Suns – SG Jerome Robinson (Boston College)
  7. Milwaukee Bucks – SG Donte DiVincenzo (Villanova)
  8. San Antonio Spurs – G/F Chandler Hutchinson (Boise State)
  9. Atlanta Hawks – C Mitchell Robinson (USA)
  10. Minnesota Timberwolves – SG Lonnie Walker (Miami)
  11. Utah Jazz – SG Kevin Huerter (Maryland)
  12. Chicago Bulls – PF/C Omari Spellman (Villanova)
  13. Indiana Pacers – PG Aaron Holiday (UCLA)
  14. Portland Trailblazers – SG Khyri Thomas (Creighton)
  15. Los Angeles Lakers – PG Elie Okobo (France)
  16. Philadelphia 76ers – SG Troy Brown (Oregon)
  17. Boston Celtics – C Moritz Wagner (Michigan)
  18. Golden State Warriors – SF Melvin Frazer (Tulane)
  19. Brooklyn Nets – G/F Jacob Evans (Cincinnati)
  20. Atlanta Hawks – PG Jalen Brunson (Villanova)

 

Round 2

  1. Phoenix Suns – PG De’Anthony Melton (USC)
  2. Memphis Grizzlies – PF Kieta Bates-Diop (Ohio State)
  3. Dallas Mavericks – SG Anfernee Simons (High School)
  4. Atlanta Hawks – G Grayson Allen (Duke)
  5. Orlando Magic – SG Gary Trent Jr. (Duke)
  6. New York Knicks – SF Isaac Bonga (Germany)
  7. Sacramento Kings – SF Jarred Vanderbilt (Kentucky)
  8. Philadelphia 76ers – F/C Chimezie Metu (USC)
  9. Philadelphia 76ers – G Shake Milton (SMU)
  10. Brooklyn Nets – G Bruce Brown Jr. (Miami)
  11. Orlando Magic – G/F Dzanan Musa (Cedevita, Croatia)
  12. Detroit Pistons – G Jevon Carter (West Virginia)
  13. Denver Nuggets – SF Rodions Kurucs (Latvia)
  14. Washington Wizards – G/F Rawle Alkins (Arizona)
  15. Brooklyn Nets – SF/PF Kevin Hervey (UT-Arlington)
  16. Houston Rockets – G Issuf Sanon (Union Olimpija)
  17. Los Angeles Lakers – C Brandon McCoy (UNLV)
  18. Minnesota Timberwolves – PF Raymond Spalding (Louisville)
  19. San Antonio Spurs – PG Landry Shamet (Wichita State)
  20. Indiana Pacers – F Kenrich Williams (TCU)
  21. New Orleans Pelicans – PG Devonte’ Graham (Kansas)
  22. Utah Jazz – SF/PF Justin Jackson (Maryland)
  23. Oklahoma City Thunder – F Gary Clark (Cincinnati)
  24. Dallas Mavericks – PG Tony Carr (Penn State)
  25. Charlotte Hornets – SF Arnoldas Kulboka (Lithuania)
  26. Philadelphia 76ers – G/F Svi Mykhailiuk (Kansas)
  27. Oklahoma City Thunder – PF Alize Johnson (Missouri State)
  28. Denver Nuggets – SG Hamidou Diallo (Kentucky)
  29. Phoenix Suns – SF George King (Colorado)
  30. Philadelphia 76ers – C Thomas Welsh (UCLA)

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