Sixers Could Have Done More
Philadelphia selected Ben Simmons at the top of the draft, as expected. What I didn’t like is that they held onto their third big guy, the 24th and 26th picks, rather than going for the home run and trading back into the top 10 like they were interested in doing. Whether the target would have been Kris Dunn or not, it would have been the ultimate draft win if the 76ers had gone all the way and pulled the trigger to bring two lottery starters to Philly. Knowing that Simmons is a distributor, how about adding Buddy Hield to the youth movement they got going on? Too late for that now, but for them, that’s what I was rooting for. Maybe they should have kept GM Sam Hinkie after all, rather than push him out the door. However, there’s still a bright side and that’s their current nucleus: Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor, and Nerlens Noel. Even though I would have pulled the trigger, they came away with Simmons and by keeping all three bigs for the time being, it allows Embiid to ease into things on the court.
Simmons is going to be their centerpiece. He’s the guy that is going have the keys to the offense and get everyone involved. Already equipped with some bigs down low, teams may sag off and challenge him to shoot since the lane may be cluttered by his teammates. Then again, the Sixers play in the east and they’ll be able to control the game and beat up on teams inside.
Lake Show Coming Soon
The Lakers picked Brandon Ingram second, another thing that we expected on draft night. The Lake Show looks like it will be coming back to a television near you. Ingram joins a young core consisting of D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance, and Julius Randle. Luke Walton has to be excited about coaching such a young and talented team. Talk about a young nucleus that should be fun to watch grow together. Even in a tougher conference, I would rather be in the Lakers’ position. Their location and talent development may attract some that used to live in L.A., like say Russell Westrook next summer. Whether they keep them all together or not, amidst trade rumors of Russell going to Sacramento on draft night, they will definitely interest other teams in trade talks with all of that talent. Not to be forgotten, a lot of people like the 2nd round pick of the 7’1 Ivica Zubac, who many consider a steal coming out of Croatia.
Ingram’s only job should be to score when he gets the ball. He doesn’t have to be the decision maker or shoot 20+ times per game. Walton is going to implement a Warriors-style offense so that these guys run up and down the court as much as possible. They’re going to play fast and Ingram will get to go one-on-one until he commands a double team. Most players need to add muscle when the enter the league, Ingram is no different in that regard.
Celtics Should Consider Trading Thomas
Boston on the other hand, they selected Jaylen Brown third, the player I believed to be the third best prospect in the draft. I really like the pick because of his features, the potential, plus he fits an immediate need. Even if the Celtics were able to trade picks for a veteran like Jimmy Butler or Paul George, they would still be another good player or 2 away from competing for the championship. Most may look at the lack of a trade as a disappointment, but I mean, they’ve been so desperately trying it got to the point that the other teams were probably trying to fleece them in a deal. Sure, you have to give up something to get something, and I would have traded Isaiah Thomas to land a star player because he’s really the main asset another team would want in a package.Trading Thomas might hurt, but it’s a calculated risk that would have made them a lot better in the long run.
T’Wolves Are the Team to Watch
If you didn’t watch Minnesota last season, or if you weren’t excited to watch them before, I really hope that you tune into their games next season. In 3 years, they have acquired Andrew Wiggins, Zach Levine, Karl Anthony-Towns, Kris Dunn, and head coach Tom Thibodeau. Wow, all young two-way players that are a couple of years ahead of what the 76ers and Lakers are trying to do. The T’Wolves have a coach that never missed the postseason in Chicago, a team that just missed it mind you, along with a pair of Rookie of the Year award winners. Dunn, the latest edition, is a gritty defensive player that should fit right in with what Coach Thibs wants to implement. Dunn’s presence is also a signalthat Ricky Rubio won’t be around for too much longer. I called the Vikings winning the NFC North last season upon Adrian Peterson’s return, and I feel that the T’Wolves are playoff-bound in 2017.
Thunder Strikes Before Other Contenders
Hold up, how in the world did the Oklahoma City Thunder land Victor Oladipo and a pair of skilled bigs? Trading Serge Ibaka also landed a stretch-4 in Ersan Ilyasova, and the best rebounder in the draft Domantas Sabonis. So, Sabonis’ father is in the FIBA Hall of Fame and used to play for Portland, his son is someone absolutely worth the pick and Orlando went ahead and traded him anyway. Ibaka was clearly the odd man out. Not only did OKC shed his salary, but they picked up a pair of skilled bigs that we have a role on a team that was one game away from appearing in these past NBA Finals. Oladipo will be the first two-way shooting guard that the Thunder has ever added to Russell Westbrook, and yes, free agent Kevin Durant would be insane to leave town. In case you couldn’t tell, OKC is my favorite to win the west next season. Heck, they’re my favorite to win the title in 2017.
As for Orlando, Frank Vogel is a defensive-minded coach and he gets an anchor in Ibaka, one of the best shot blockers in the league to pair alongside the super-athletic Aaron Gordon.
Pacers Are Contenders Again
Instead of going being sellers this offseason, Indiana smartly decided to build around a resurgent Paul George. I like how they drafted Myles Turner last summer, and I love that they finally upgraded at point guard from George Hill. Hill is a serviceable vet that can log some minutes and do a little bit of everything in spurts, but he’s not in command of the position or someone that can lead a team in contention for the title. I believe that draft picks in the NBA are overrated, clearly the Celtics disagree with me there. After acquiring Jeff Teague and Thaddeus Young, tell me who improved their team more in the eastern conference?
Lineup: Jeff Teague – Monta Ellis – Paul George – Thaddeus Young – Myles Turner
Young my or may not start, but either way he will be heavily involved in the rotation. The other team better come to play when the Pacers are on the schedule. I watched how Toronto won a pair of home games against the champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the fact that they couldn’t win a road game hints that it was never really a series. I thought the Cavs would sweep, they didnt, but I don’t think the Raptors are better than the Pacers heading into next season. Especially, if they lose free agent DeMar DeRozan.
D-Rose to NYC
So, I caught the Derrick Rose introductory press conference. Unlike most, I actually like how honest Rose is, even if I don’t necessarily agree with something that he says. I’m not a fan of robotic responses, that routine jock talk, or being over-politically correct. So, Rose drops a couple of expletives as the newest member of the New York Knicks. He says that he doesn’t know why he was traded but thanked Chicago for doing so. When asked about his last memory of the Knicks, he responded with “losing, f—in losing, we lost right.” And when talking about his comeback from the knee injuries he shared how “s–t hurt.” Those are answers I would expect to hear in the locker room or at practice if I’m around Rose, and I like his liberal attitude. Of course, we will see how he and the NY media get along this season.
On the court, I am all for Rose returning to all-star form. He finally gets an entire offseason to recover, prepare his body for the season, work on his rhythm and consistency, something he couldn’t do heading into last season so it’s no wonder he still looked off. And, he started the season with some vision issues that kind of got lost in the fold. I like this fresh start for him and the Knicks, even though I hate the move for the Bulls. Rose, by the way, was hanging out with former teammate and current free agent, Noah. Who says that Rose doesn’t recruit? Maybe it’s just a matter of who he wants to recruit.
Around the Association
After Sacramento’s first round selection, DeMarcus Cousins tweeted out, “Lord give me the strength.” When Cousins was asked about the tweet, he replied with “a hot scultpign class.” After Cousins won the internal battle with former coach George Karl, will the Kings finally consider a trade for the All-NBA 2nd Teamer?
More on Noah. Washington is supposedly set to offer the free agent center a 4-year deal worth $120 million. With the salary cap increase, is the 31-year-old big man worth $30 million per season? There is a lot of interest in the former Defensive Player of the Year’s services, and the spike in salary cap will soon reveal his true value around the league. I get that his minutes and participation has decreased over the past 4 seasons, but I still think a team will get a healthy two-way player that can play at a high level next season. How many seasons he can play up to that level is the real question.
Steve Kerr and the Warriors will announce a replacement for assistant coach Luke Walton by the end of the week. Free agents that the Warriors are reportdely interested in are: Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki, Noah, Al Horford, Hassan Whiteside, Nicholas Batum, and Evan Turner. Nowitzki is believed to end his career in Dallas.
Detroit is shopping around shooter Jodie Meeks.
There’s a lot of chatter going around that links free agent point guard, Rajob Rondo, to the Brooklyn Nets.
Something interesting that I saw on The Herd with Colin Cowherd this morning, is where he flashed the spotlight on Washington University and coach Lorenzo Romar. Why? Cowherd calls Romar a great recruiter but not a great coach for consistently missing the NCAA Tournament, since he is tied with the 5th-most first round picks, dating back to the 2012 draft: Terrence Ross, Tony Wroten, C.J. Wilcox, Marquese Chriss, and Dejounte Murray. Washington also has another top-10 prospect projected for the 2017 draft.