Sunday, June 25, 2017

Basketball Christmas 2017

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Well... it's been a long, long, long time. Basically work has been busier than usual (basically they're cutting people back while simultaneously taking on more work while at the same time being less efficient overall... you know, capitalism) and doing a lot more things with the Everything I Learned From Movies podcast (check it out at and this will probably be part of my first Everything I Learned From Sportsball episode... and of course it's about one of my favorite times of the year... Basketball Christmas aka the NBA Draft. So here are my thoughts on some of the picks. Be sure to call me out on my misinformation in the future but... looking back... haven't been too terrible at this.

1.       Philadelphia – Markelle Fultz – Guard from Washington

The Sixers have been talking about “The Process” for years now… and they got the #1 pick two years in a row! He has the potential to be the next Russell Westbrook kind of athletic scoring point guard… and is now surrounded by last year’s #1 Ben Simmons (probably his top competition for ROY), Joel Embiid & Dario Saric (2 of top 3 rookies this year), Jahlil Okafur will probably be traded soon, but then again they’ve been talking about that since they drafted him two years ago, and they still have cap space for potentially signing another big star around these SUPER young stars. Oh my god, the Sixers Dynasty starts today!!! Oh wait… I just remembered… these stars are injury prone… and one knock on Markelle is… he lost his last 13 college basketball games in his one year against real competition. One thing’s for sure though, it could be really interesting and ANYBODY can get an 8 seed in the East / first round exit to the Cavs. They also used later picks on giant Latvian center Anzejs Pasecniks & Australian 6'10" small forward Jonah Bolden so we'll see.

2.       L.A. Lakers – Lonzo Ball – Guard From UCLA

The Ball family is probably going to be a thing in the NBA for a while. Lavar Ball, the patriarch of the family, has done all he can to set this up for his eldest son Lonzo to be the point guard of the Lakers… and the younger brothers are already committed to UCLA as well, and that’s all well & good. With my stepdad being a fellow Lavar, I’m okay with him being in the limelight… but it’s probably not for the right reasons. I think we can all agree that his reaction last night was pretty f**king smug. As for the marketing campaign that he’s been doing, it doesn’t matter at all. Sure, it sounds like Marinovich 2.0 but with a social media twist… but it’s all going to come down to whether or not Lonzo can play. I only watched the Kentucky game where he was definitely not at his best… but he seems to be a great passer and coordinator of the offense that could really blossom with the other pieces that the Lakers have with Ingram, Randle, Russell, Clarkson & even Mozgov there for putbacks. Then again, it could all be a hype machine. Only time will tell whether Showtime is back in L.A.

I also like their selections later in the 1st round with U of Utah alum, forward Kyle Kuzma… representing Utah to the fullest… and of Villanova guard Josh Hart… if only so we can see him talking on the sidelines to his brother from another mother, Kevin Hart. HOLLYWOOD!!!

3.       Boston – Jayson Tatum – Forward from Duke

I LOVE the trade that Boston was able to pull with Philly where they exchanged the #1 pick that they had for this #3 overall pick AND another 1st rounder that’ll likely be a lottery pick. Mostly because they’re already the 2nd best team in the East and now they’re gonna pick the same person that they really wanted at #1 anyway… then potentially another top pick next year or the year after… AND I kind of have to love when a BYU grad like Danny Ainge does good. It’s a Utah thing. Now, as for Tatum, Duke makes some great role players in the NBA. Coach K has done his best to be the next Kentucky with all of the one-and-dones but that’s only recently. In the 90’s & 00’s aside from Grant Hill… you have a lot of Laefftners, Brands, Hurleys, Battiers, and more high end role players versus superstars like they were in college. However, with Brandon Ingram last year, Okafur the year before, and Tatum this year, that trend could change… but we’ll see. He’s another good all-around player but based on a limited sample & the team didn’t fare well in the tournament when pressure was on. We shall see but… he’s 19 years old, great size & athleticism, and the draft is really about potential anyway, right? This guy should be good as long as he can stay healthy. However, keep an eye out for other moves to be made with the ridiculous cap space that the Celtics have too… they’re not done. Gordon Hayward… plenty of good draft picks… watch out!!!

4.       Phoenix – Josh Jackson – Forward from Kansas

For Jackson, the games that I’ve seen he’s been pretty good. Good on offense, above average defender, just a good all around player that’s NBA ready… and he’s adding to a good young core. It may take a few years for them all to take off but this guy seems NBA ready from Day One.

5.       Sacramento – De’Aaron Fox – Guard from Kentucky

Speed, speed, speed… in my opinion, probably the best point guard in this group based on what I’ve seen. Great size, ridiculous speed, decent decision making, my only concern is that he was surrounded by great talent in Kentucky against lesser competition usually so it’s hard to know how he’ll react to the NBA’s speed… and maybe injuries taking that speed away, but that’s always a concern. Great pick! I hope to make fun of his name for the next decade-plus. Now… Sacramento in my opinion WON this draft. They got the point guard that I think will end up being the biggest star… then they turned traded the #10 overall pick that ended up being raw freshman Zach Collins to Portland for two of the next ten picks in this SUPER deep draft… and so then they got another one of my favorites in lanky, awkward, bucketmaker Justin Jackson of champion North Carolina… and a player who would’ve been the #1 pick outta high school but hurt his knee a few times at Duke, center Harry Giles! THEN!!! THEN!!! In the early 2nd round, they picked Frank Mason III who was probably the best college player in the country… but because he’s essentially an old man at 21 years of age, he dropped to the 2nd round.

Speaking of Justin Jackson, the OLD MAN of the draft because he had the audacity to stick around Chapel Hill for three whole years to play great college basketball… the FOOL!!! OK, sarcasm should be obvious… but yeah, it’s weird that somebody who’s been in college more than a year is considered a has-been in draft terms nowadays. The draft has become ALL about potential. That being said… JJ here has long range capabilities, good size & length, and showed that he could handle pressure on the college level… so yeah, he should be ready for the big time, even if as a sixth man or something to start.

6.       Orlando - Jonathan Isaac – Forward from Florida State

The first real big guy of the draft and he made it this far. That’s just the way of the NBA nowadays. You want guys as tall and as fast as possible that you can teach the rest to… but if you have to pick height over dash… dash is going to win in this league with the rules in place. That being said, this guy is young & probably still growing… still agile for a big man… so he could cause some serious problems for future opponents. Tall, nimble, good rebounding, great interior defense, he could be a beast. They also picked a potential steal in Ivan Rabb at #35 in the 2nd round. Now this guy… I actually watched him play in high school on TV for the California state championship… and then he played a year of college here in Berkeley last year… and he was going to be a Top 5 pick last year… but decided to come back for one more year as his freshman teammate Jaylen Brown went #3 and is now riding the gravy train with the Celtics. But after this sophomore year, he hasn’t shown a lot of improvement… and he’s (gasp) a year older… so now he’s drafted here. Probably lost millions by staying in school an extra year. Well, at least he has his degree in…  what am I saying? College is a scam! Get woke! College robbed Ivan Rabb… don’t let it Rabb you! Tall, athletic, raw… great potential… yackity yak… you’re going to sense a theme hear… just a heads up…

7.       Chicago - Lauri Markkanen – Forward from Arizona

A Scandinavian seven-footer that pop three-pointers like tic-tacs… welcome to the NBA that Dirk built for you! Now… since Kyrie Irving has shown me that guys with girls names can still have game, I’m not going to dwell on that with Lauri here… but in the right system he could be a great stretch-four. I’ve never seen him play personally, but hear good things… and the stats at least show that he’s made for a spread-out offense. I’m sure he’ll be around for a while. The next Dirk? Probably not… but he could pass for a Mehmet Okur or Ryan Anderson kind of player for a long time.

Unfortunately what’ll always be the question… is the price that Chicago paid for this pick, as they traded All-Star forward Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves, along with the 16th overall pick (Creighton center Justin Patton) in exchange to get Markkanen, recovering super athlete Zach Lavine & lottery pick last year point guard Kris Dunn. If we were to put these players on a scale of 1 to 10, Butler is a 10 & the 16th overall pick in this draft is probably a 5-6 right off the top, totaling 15-16 points for the Wolves. #7 pick we’ll give 7 points to (even if Markkenen may not have been my pick), Lavine is a 6 if he fully recovers as he showed a lot of promise last year… and Dunn, I’ll still give him a 5 but he hasn’t adjusted well as a rookie. That totals 18 on that side. So did Chicago win this trade? Was it fair? Throwing in Butler’s large contract may sway a point or two in either direction as everybody else is on a rookie contract but… He’s already a star & was disgruntled in Chicago. Hopefully this trade will work out for everybody… but only time will tell. On paper though, it seems like a good trade.

8.       New York - Frank Ntilikina – Guard from France

Leave it to the Knicks to make the first controversial pick, all while allegedly shopping its future superstar from last year Kristaps! Everybody is hoping that this guy is the next Tony Parker (unknown French guard that leads sports’ greatest franchise to 5 titles in a decade in spite of a commissioner’s hatred for small markets) but I’ve never seen the guy play… and I’ve been burned by too many Dante Exums, Nikolai Tschkidivitilis, Jan Veselys, and other overhyped international players to get too excited just yet. Again though, young, athletic, we’ll see how it works out. The Knicks seems to be in serious trouble…  I’m actually surprised when they win against tanking teams.

9.       Dallas - Dennis Smith jr – Guard from NC State

Dallas lucks out!!! This draft has a LOT of good to great point guards that should be able to lead teams in the next year or two. Mr. Smith here was originally thought as a #1 pick until some injury issues & bad performances towards the end of the season… but with pro trainers, I think that he could be a VERY sneaky steal of a pick in the late lottery. Keep an eye on this kid.

10.   Portland – Zach Collins – Center from Gonzaga

As mentioned earlier, Portland traded the 15th & 20th picks to get up here to grab him… and Zach had some great spurts in the Zag games that I saw in the tournament… and he’s got great height, but he’ll have to beef up for the big boys & play more than a few minutes a night… but still young & can flourish in the right environment. They also grabbed Purdue forward Caleb Swanigan later in the round too. Portland has had a lot of trades & seems to have a lot of players on contract though around centerpieces Damian (WEBER STATE) Lillard & McCollum… and maybe Jozef Nurkic? The Blazers may be looking to make a few more moves the next month or so… keep an eye on them.

11.   Charlotte - Malik Monk – Guard from Kentucky

Now… Malik can light it up! It seems every game that I saw of him in his freshman year, he ended up scoring 30-40 per game! He can get straight buckets!!! He’s a little undersized for a two-guard… and he’ll need to beef up to really keep it going in the NBA... but I see good things with him. Basically he’s at worst a kind of JR Smith assassin role player… but he could also become an undersized overachiever with a mean streak like Dwayne Wade with just a little work. How he ups his defensive game will definitely help with the latter… and it doesn’t hurt that Michael Jordan may be around to help him out & bring out the competitive nature in him. I really like this pick for the Hornets… and with the trade to get Dwight Howard at center, Nic Batum, they could make some real moves in the East.

13.          Utah - Donovan Mitchell – Guard from Louisville

I’ve never heard of this guy before… but he pops up on a bunch of mock drafts because of his long arms. As Izzy would say here, there’s a lot of arm talent in this draft… but young, freak athlete, I’m sure somebody’s going to take a chance on this guy. I’m seeing him as more of an Avery Bradley that a Kawhi Leonard but either way, supposed to be a great defender. Utah has other things to worry about now with Gordon Hayward’s pending departure to Boston (stay tuned) and how to handle Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert & their other young stars… but good luck, Jazz! I like this pick. I also like them helping themselves on the Favors / Gobert front by drafting UNC center Tony Bradley late in the round. He didn’t get a lot of playing time in his one college year but… young, tall, raw, blah blah blah…

14.          Miami – BAM Adebayo – Forward from UCLA

Now… I feel like the Heat may have reached a little bit for BAM here… but I love the way this guy plays. He’s just a big raw athletic beast who grabs rebound, plays defense, and occasionally will dunk it back in. I LOVE those kinds of players in the right system. So where he might be a reach as I would expect him later in the 1st round, he may also end up being a bit of a steal. He’s 19 so… yeah, that’s a theme with this draft. So far 13 of the 14 players picked this far… one year removed from high school. Jesus…

18.          Indiana - T.J. Leaf – Forward from UCLA

I was REALLY hoping this guy would get drafted by Toronto at #23 & then he was going to change his name to Toronto Maple Leaf… instead they oddly enough ended up picking Indiana guard OG Anunoby… however, this works too. Hmm… maybe they can still work out a trade to bring TJ to Toronto & OG back to Indiana… anyway,  I like Leaf’s game in college, mostly centered around rebounding, distributing, and attacking when needed. He’s no Kevin Love at this point but he could be a Luke Walton kind of player & a great role player for the team. They also drafted UCLA center Ike Anigbogu who was big on everybody’s draft board but… I never saw his appeal other than he’s large. Not shocked that he fell…

22.          Brooklyn - Jarrett Allen – Center from Texas

There needs to be more afros in the NBA!!! They were making a renaissance there for a while but the fro/headband combo game has been in serious decline since Ben Wallace and others have tied their natural hair up in cornrows & whatever the hell Iman Shumpert has been doing with his hair recently. I’m so insanely jealous of people who can properly maintain their hair in that manner… and that’s why I want Jarrett Allen to be a superstar in this league for years to come… and never forget where he comes from… keep it real playa! Oh… tall, athletic, raw… blah blah blah…

31.          New Orleans – Frank Jackson – Guard from Duke

The Pride of Alpine, Utah not only went to Duke, but is now the 1st pick (of the 2nd round) of the NBA Draft by the New Orleans Pelicans… well, by Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Hornets then immediately trade to the N.O. Pelicans but… you get  the idea. UTAH STAND UP!!! Not only did the Big Easy draft a Utah guy… but they also drafted a guy named Dwayne Bacon from Florida State in the 2nd round… Frank & Bacon!!! Delicious!!!

38.          Golden State – Jordan Bell – Forward/Center from Oregon

The World Champions just may have snagged the STEAL OF THE DRAFT!!! They went into the draft with nothing… dropped  a few million bucks to “rival” Sacramento for the pick… and walk away with exactly what they needed… a physical rebounder & solid defender that can finally make the likes of Zaza Pachula’s crooked ass expendable (and Bogut before him). How often does a 2nd rounder step immediately into starting? Rarely… and probably won’t here… but it shouldn’t be long before he’s the odd center out surrounded by Olympians.

Now as for the Spurs… they drafted Colorado point guard Derrick White late in the 1st round & everybody assures me that he’s good but I’ve never seen him play … and then Clemson forward Jaron Blossomgame but… I don’t expect him to even make the team… but Pau Gasol decided to go free agent so that opened up cap space for us to go after a big dawg who wants to help them win a championship next year… so let’s go Spurs!!! Anyway, hoping to add a bunch of pictures from our trip to Iceland shortly but... oh did I not mention that before? Yeah, we went to Iceland. Sorry, I've been neglectful... but I'm looking to get back into this. So until next time, have a great day everybody!!!

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