Connect with us

NBA

Basketball Insiders Week in Review 9/6

Basketball Insiders looks at some articles from last week in case you missed any the first time around.

Kyle Cape-Lindelin

Published

on

Are the Bucks Contenders?

By Moke Hamilton

The calendar turns to September and NBA lifers officially begin to think about the upcoming season. As fans continue to bide time until training camp and preseason play begins, we spend copious amounts of time thinking about what transpired over this past offseason and, more importantly, what could lay ahead for this coming season.

One thing I am expecting, personally, is for the Milwaukee Bucks to emerge as a legitimate contender in the Eastern Conference. This coming season, so long as health permits, the Bucks will take a significant stride forward. And if things break right for them, who knows how far they could go? After all, nobody thought that the Atlanta Hawks would have had a chance at winning 60 games entering last season, but look at what happened there.

The Bucks have everything they need to make some serious noise, and they have it at this very moment.

Click Here For More

 

Not Easy To Break Into The NBA With Baggage

By Steve Kyler

Making it into the NBA is not easy to do. While it’s often assumed that being talented and skilled is enough to get you considered, history has proven that a lot of super talented players simply don’t have what it takes for NBA teams to make a commitment to them.

This surfaces a lot among fans, who openly question, “Why hasn’t this guy been signed?”

There are a lot of factors that go into a player getting the chance to play on the big stage and, while talent is one of the biggest, it’s not the only one and it’s usually not enough to trump red flags or known baggage.

Click Here For More

 

Redrafting the 2012 NBA Draft

By Joel Brigham

Now that we are a few years removed from the 2012 NBA Draft, it’s fair to start reevaluating the talent and determining which players are gems and which are duds. One way to organize those thoughts is to put together a redraft of that year, dropping players onto different teams in a way that explores how that draft could have turned out differently were guys drafted in an order of actual NBA success rather than how things really played out.

It’s all a hypothetical game, but we’ll be doing it all week. Today, we start with the 2012 NBA Draft, which turned out quite a bit differently than anybody could have expected:

 

Click Here For More

 

Davis Still Finding Ways to Improve

By Alex Kennedy

Last season, New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis emerged as basketball’s newest superstar. Despite being just 21 years old for much of the campaign, Davis was dominant on both ends of the court and finished his third NBA season averaging 24.4 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.9 blocks and 1.5 steals with an insanely efficient 30.89 PER.

It seems inevitable that Davis will be one of the NBA’s best players for the next decade, especially since he is still so young and (somehow) has untapped potential. While it seems crazy to think that Davis will be even better next season when you look at his numbers, his age and the work he’s doing this summer suggest he’s poised to make another significant leap in 2015-16.

Click Here For More

 

Redrafting the 2011 NBA Draft

By Ben Dowsett

As we at Basketball Insiders take turns re-picking some of the most recent NBA drafts, I can’t help but feel a bit giddy at receiving 2011 as my year. There might not be a single draft in the last decade more intriguing to reconsider a few years down the line, with legitimate NBA talent all the way from first overall to, literally, the 60thpick of the draft.

In the following re-draft, I’ll consider all the elements involved – player value, future ceiling, contract situation, team fit, you name it. I’ll list their actual draft slot in parentheses. Here’s how they’d stack up today:

Click Here For More

 

Sixers are Ready to Begin Competing

By Cody Taylor

Over the past two seasons, the Philadelphia 76ers have been among the worst teams in the Eastern Conference. Although they have yet to finish in last place in the conference during that time frame, they have been near the bottom of the standings.

For all of the attention that they’ve received in how they’ve approached their rebuilding effort, the franchise is only three years removed from their last playoff appearance. The negative publicity they’ve endured since that last playoff appearance feels as though it’s been much longer since playing in the postseason. After all, this is a team that has won just 71 games combined over the previous three seasons.

Click Here For More

 

Redrafting the 2010 NBA Draft

By Eric Saar

This week, Basketball Insiders has been redrafting recent NBA drafts. We’ve been jumping in our time machines, taking a look at some older drafts re-ranking that class of players after several seasons. We’ve already done 2012 and 2011. Today, we’ll redraft the 2010 class.

The 2010 draft ended up being pretty top heavy, as it got mediocre in a hurry. This draft sure gave the NBA a bunch of bench players as well as a bunch of busts who are already out of the NBA.

Click Here For More

 

Who’s Reaching 10-Year Milestone?

By Jessica Camerato

The years in a player’s career can fly by in the NBA. Sometimes it feels like players go from being a rookie to a veteran leader seemingly overnight since time goes by so quickly season to season. But it is a feat to make it to the double-digit season mark. Only 10 of the 60 players selected in the 2006 NBA Draft are currently on rosters for their 10th seasons.

Many have made early departures along the way. Third overall pick Adam Morrison was out of the league after only three seasons. The career of sixth pick Brandon Roy was cut short due to injuries. Only 25 players from the draft class competed in five or more seasons.

There are still those looking to join rosters for the 2015-16 campaign, such as free agent Ryan Hollins, who played for the Clippers last season and is entering his 10th year in the league.

Making it to the NBA is hard enough, staying in it for 10 seasons is even harder. Here are some players about to enter their 10th season:

Click Here For More

 

Cap Watch: The Tradeable Contracts

By Eric Pincus

In May, the Cleveland Cavaliers held one of “The Best Trade Chip Contracts” in Brendan Haywood’s non-guaranteed $10.5 million salary.

In late July, the Cavaliers cashed out Haywood, turning his salary into a large trade exception via a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers – giving Cleveland another spending tool that will last for additional year.

Player contracts are often instrumental in trades, especially non/partially-guaranteed deals that can be shed quickly, helping teams open up cap space when needed.

Expiring contracts can also be valuable, although not as much as non-guaranteed deals or trade exceptions.

Click Here For More

 

Class of 2012, Early Extension Talk

By Lang Greene

As training camp looms, franchises around the league have big financial decisions to make regarding their respective members of the 2012 rookie class. Some guys have already inked new deals while others are looking to secure their first post-rookie-deal payday.

Let’s take a look at the status of the 2012 first-round lottery picks. Remember, teams have until the end of October to ink these guys or they’ll head to (restricted, in most cases) free agency next summer.

Click Here For More

 

Lawson May Make Rockets Top-Tier Team

By Jesse Blancarte

On July 19, the Denver Nuggets traded point guard Ty Lawson to the Houston Rockets. Along with Lawson, the Nuggets sent Houston a 2017 second-round pick in exchange for Kostas Papanikolaou, Pablo Prigioni (who was subsequently waived), Joey Dorsey (bought out), Nick Johnson and a lottery-protected 2016 first-round draft pick.

Lawson, age 27, has been in the NBA for six seasons and has established himself as one of the league’s best playmakers and a solid overall point guard. Lawson has career averages of 14.2 points, 6.6 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game and was ranked third in assists per game last season, outpaced only by Chris Paul and John Wall.

Click Here For More

Kyle Cape-Lindelin is based out of Portland, OR covering the NBA while being one of the newsline editors and contributor to "Out of Bounds."

Advertisement




Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

NBA

Looking Toward The Draft: Power Forwards

Basketball Insiders continues their NBA Draft watch, this time with the power forwards.

David Yapkowitz

Published

on

We got some updated NBA draft news this week when the league announced that several key dates have been pushed back including the draft, the start of free agency and the beginning of the 2020-21 season.

The 2020 draft was originally scheduled for Oct. 16, but it will now likely occur sometime in November. Obviously, with the COVID-19 pandemic still wildly out of control in the United States, all of these potential deadlines are fluid and subject to change.

With that said, we’re continuing our position by position breakdown here at Basketball Insiders of some of the top 2020 draft prospects. We looked at the point guards and shooting guards last week, and this week we’re covering the small forwards and power forwards.

The power forward crop, like the draft overall, doesn’t appear to be as strong as recent years, that doesn’t mean there aren’t potential contributors and high-level NBA players available, as well as one who might just turn out to be a star-caliber player.

Onyeka Okongwu, USC – 19 years old

Okongwu is the player who just might develop into a star on some level. He was actually underrated in high school and was snubbed for a McDonald’s All-American selection his senior year. He established himself early on at USC as the team’s best player as a freshman and now appears to have turned some heads.

He’s been mentioned as a lottery pick and in some mock drafts, he’s top 4-5. He possesses a great all-around skill-set; he can score in the post, he can put the ball on the floor and attack and he can shoot. But perhaps his biggest attribute is his versatility on the defensive end. He’s got quick feet and mobility and can guard multiple positions.

Okongwu might actually play center in the NBA, especially in small-ball lineups, but he’s mostly played power forward and so he’ll probably see time there in the league. His skill-set fits perfectly with today’s game.

Obi Toppin, Dayton – 22 years old

Toppin is one of the older players in the draft, and in recent history, players that age tend to slip on draft boards. In Toppin’s case, it looks like the reverse might actually be true. He’s been projected as a lottery pick, and even going in the top 3.

He’s an incredibly athletic player who thrives in the open court. He looks like he’ll do well in an up-tempo offensive system that has capable playmakers who can find him in transition. He’s extremely active around the rim and he can finish strong. A decent shooter too, something he’ll need at the next level.

Toppin has the physical tools to be an effective defensive player, but that’s where the questions marks on him have been. In the NBA, he’s likely going to have to play and guard multiple positions. Whether or not he can adapt to that likely will answer the question as to what his ceiling can be.

Precious Achiuwa, Memphis – 20 years old

Achiuwa is another intriguing prospect. this writer actually got to watch him play in person while he was in high school and he was very impressive. He looked like a man among boys. He’s projected to be a late lottery pick.

He has an NBA-ready body and he’s got some toughness around the rim and in the paint. He was a double-double threat during his one season at Memphis and his knack for rebounding is something that should translate to the NBA. He’s a very good defender too, in particular, as a rim protector. He’s very quick and has the ability to guard multiple positions.

One of the main knocks on Achiuwa is his shooting ability. He didn’t shoot that well in college and power forwards being able to space the floor is almost a requirement in today’s NBA game. It’s something he can certainly work on and improve on though.

Honorable Mentions:
Paul Reed, DePaul – 21 years old
Xavier Tillman, Michigan State – 21 years old
Killian Tillie, Gonzaga – 22 years old

Continue Reading

NBA

Looking Toward the Draft: Small Forwards

Basketball Insiders’ examination of the 2020 draft class continues with a look at the small forwards.

Drew Maresca

Published

on

It was announced on Wednesday that the NBA Draft would be delayed from Oct. 16 to Nov. 18. The rationale is that the extra month gives the league and its players association more time to negotiate changes to the CBA. It also grants teams additional time to procure information on prospects and allows the NBA to establish regional virtual combines. But nothing is set in stone.

Still, draft prep must continue. This year’s draft class has more question marks than usual – which was complicated by the cancellation of the NCAA tournament (along with the NIT and a number of conference tournaments). There are incredibly skilled offensive players with limited offensive upside and jaw-droppingly talented defenders with incomplete offensive packages. But if (recent) history serves as a guide, there will be a few guys who make an immediate impact – and some of them very well could be small forwards.

The small forward position is key for the modern NBA. Want proof? Survey the league and you’ll find that most – if not all – contenders have an elite small forward – Milwaukee, Los Angeles (both), Boston, Miami, Toronto.

But the list of can’t miss small forward prospects feels smaller than usual. Scanning the numerous legitimate mock drafts (including our own by Steve Kyler), it becomes apparent that we lack a consensus on which small forwards will be selected (and in what order) after the top 3 or 4. Can any of them grow into a star? Maybe. Maybe not. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s identify what the top few bring to the table.

Deni Avdija, Israel – 19 years old

Avdija is a relatively well-rounded prospect who’s played professionally since he was 16. He boasts good height (6-foot-9) and uses it effectively to shoot over and pass around opposing defenses. Further, Avdija is an exceptional playmaker and he’s incredibly confident, enabling him to take chances many players would be apprehensive trying. Avdija is a high-IQ player. And what’s more, he’s a surprisingly strong defender. His height and above-average athleticism allow him to block shots, and he’s more physical than you’d expect him to be.

But there are drawbacks to Avdija, too. His main issue is around shooting. Avdija shot only 28% in the EuroLeague last season, and he shot only 60% from the free-throw line. Further, while he’s a decent athlete, he’ll struggle to secure a role in the NBA. He’s going to need to add speed to stay with modern wings, and he’ll also have to bulk up to bang with power forwards.

Still, Avdija’s upside is alluring. He’s only 19, and his smarts, confidence and grittiness should provide him cover for much of his rookie season. Avdija should be the first small forward off of the board.

Isaac Okoro, Auburn – 19 years old

Avdija might be the flashier name currently, but Okoro will give him a run for his money in terms of which small forward is first off the board. Okoro is built like a traditional NBA wing; he’s 6-foot-6 with good strength packed in his muscular frame (215 lbs). Okoro finishes well around the rim and he converts well through contact. He’s an exceptional athlete who excels catching the ball on the move. Like Avdija, Okoro has the poise and composure of a more experienced player. Also, like Avdija, Okoro looked the part of a high IQ player in his lone season at Auburn.

And while all that is great, the main allure of Okoro is his defense. He’s a fairly advanced defender given his age, and his athleticism and timing make him an effective weak side help defender.

While Okoro’s raw abilities are exquisite, his refined offensive skills leave something to be desired. Okoro shot 28 percent on three-point field goals and he struggled from the free-throw line (67.2 percent). His mid-range jump shot also needs work, and he struggles in isolation situations.

If Okoro can hone his offensive game, he could grow into an All-Star. He has the ability to guard multiple positions, and his strength and athleticism give him a leg up on most prospects. But even if he doesn’t become an All-Star, he possesses a fairly high floor given his defensive abilities — and the guy definitely fills the state sheet (12.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, .9 steals and .9 blocks). He has lockdown defender potential and he’ll put his stamp on the game beginning on night one.

Devin Vassell, Florida State – 20 years old

Vassell played two seasons at Florida State, but he came into his own in his Sophomore season. He averaged 12.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. He shot a more than respectable 41.5% on three-point attempts, and he demonstrated a strong stroke from the free-throw line (73.8 percent) and on two-point field goal attempts (53.2).

Vassell is an extremely athletic leaper, who can rise up for a highlight dunk and sprint down the floor with ease. He has good body control and demonstrated a strong mid-range game, especially his step-back jump shot. But Vassell must generate more free throws through decisive moves to the hoop, which would be bolstered by a more muscular frame. Additionally, he must improve his ball-handling to get more from isolations.

Vassell will have an adjustment period in terms of scoring the ball at the next level. Fortunately, his defense and shooting should get him by. If he can bulk up and improve his handling, Vassell could grow into a serious player.

Aaron Nesmith, Vanderbilt – 20 years old

Nesmith probably has a lower floor than any of the other top small forward prospects given that he’ll be 21 by the draft. Still, he looked quite good in his Junior year, averaging 23 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game on a scorching 52.2 percent shooting from deep. Nesmith is an incredibly gifted shooter who has impressive range. His ability to catch-and-shoot and create space with fakes makes him a promising prospect – for the right team.

Nesmith is a high IQ player who uses his smarts on the defensive end. He’s also quite strong, can get buckets in the open floor and demonstrates above average ball-handling skills, as long as he’s not taking the ball to the hoop.

But there are inherent limitations in Nesmith’s game. He’s doesn’t create for his teammates too effectively and he turns the ball over more frequently than one would like with. Further, Nesmith is plagued by robotic movements that limit his athleticism. His ball-handling breaks down when taking the ball to the rack – something he’ll certainly have to work on in the NBA if he wants to be a versatile scoring threat against the bigger and stronger competition.

Still, Nesmith’s positives give him an excellent chance at being selected in the first round. His range alone will intrigue teams in need of a shooter.

Honorable Mentions:

Saddiq Bey, Villanova – 21 years old

Jaden McDaniels, Washington – 19 years old

Robert Woodard II, Mississippi State – 20 years old

With the uncertainty around small forward prospects, expect to see a revolving door of names enter the discussion after the first four wing prospects are off the board prior to Nov. 16 – assuming the draft is held then. But regardless of how you have them ranked, all of the aforementioned prospects have question marks. But all have had far more time to improve than they would have in years’ past. Let’s hope that shows come next season.

Continue Reading

NBA

NBA Daily: Opposite Plotlines for Today’s Matchups

With the two matchups going on today, Matt John examines the two teams who could be in the most trouble because of one of their individual stars for opposite reasons.

Matt John

Published

on

The second round of the NBA playoffs was hyped up to be one of the most entertaining we’ve had in years. So far, they haven’t fallen short of expectations. We knew that Houston and Los Angeles’ battle of opposite philosophies would make for some twists and turns. We knew that Boston and Toronto would duke it out in an Atlantic Division showdown. We knew that Miami would push Milwaukee to new heights. We didn’t really know if the Nuggets would give the Clippers a good series, but the fact that they have so far has made an intense postseason all the more gripping.

Anyway, today we’re getting two games from two series in completely opposite places. The Lakers and the Rockets will face off for the series lead, while the HEAT will try to finish off the Bucks once and for all. Below, we’re going to focus on two teams who have an individual star that either may be more flawed than we thought or one that may not be as flawed as we thought.

Bucks vs. HEAT: Giannis is great and all, but…

We all pretty much knew this was going to be a good series. We did not expect this.

The buzz surrounding Bucks v. HEAT was that Miami was going to make Milwaukee earn every win they got in this series. If that was the plan, then Miami has failed miserably, because until Khris Middleton went supernova on them on Sunday, Milwaukee had come up terribly short.

Let’s first give Miami the credit that they are due and more. With Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler alone, Miami was going to be a tough matchup for Milwaukee – but to see the Bucks all but roll over in this series is an unpleasant sight. Acquiring Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala has paid huge dividends and it’s showing. There are other factors involved, but Miami’s defensive efforts have limited Giannis to 21.8 points a game and that’s played a role in the HEAT being in the driver’s seat of this series.

Speaking of Giannis Antetokounmpo, this series has not been a good look for the Defensive Player of the Year. Especially since it looks like his second consecutive MVP (presumably) is right around the corner. So, to see both him and Milwaukee, once an unstoppable force without an immovable object in sight, get stopped by a sturdy but not immovable squad is saddening.

Nearly a year ago, Basketball Insiders compared these current Bucks to the Dwight Howard-led Orlando Magic from the late-2000’s/early 2010’s. To oversimplify things, both were contenders led by a superstar with a rare physique that made them tough to stop. To put the superstar in the best position, they surrounded them with playmakers and three-point shooters.

While the teams’ roster constructions weren’t exactly the same, their strengths as a team certainly were. Now we’re seeing the Bucks’ flaws just as we did the Magic 10 years ago. If you have the personnel to make the lone superstar uncomfortable, the team doesn’t function as well.

Giannis is near impossible to stop, but the one major flaw is that if you take away his ability to drive and force him into a jumper, he loses his rhythm. Even if his shot is on – never a guarantee – his opponents will let him beat them that way until he makes them pay. Hardly any team can pick on this, but the HEAT are one of them, and now they’re one win away from their first Eastern Conference Finals since LeBron James took his talents out of South Beach.

This ultimately is what puts Antetokounmpo below the likes of LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard for now. Those guys are rare physical specimens like him, but their elite games don’t revolve entirely around their natural gifts as he does or Dwight did. At 25 years old, there’s plenty of time for him to change that and, for all we know, he will, but to see him struggle at a time when the conference was supposed to run through him has ignited tons of questions.

Milwaukee’s technically not out yet, but they’ve shown their mortality against Miami. If this really is it for them, then they’ve got to find a quick fix for this problem because if they don’t, then the unspeakable may happen.

Lakers vs. Rockets: Westbrook has been bad and all but…

Shaking off the rust and recovering from a balky knee would be tough for anyone. For Russell Westbrook, it’s killing his productivity and, in turn, the Rockets’ playoff chances. He’s averaging 15.6 points on 39/16/47 splits with a most recent 10-point, 4-of-15 effort from the field which included seven turnovers and air balling wide-open threes sticking out like a sore thumb.

It also doesn’t help that he’s playing the Lakers of all teams. When Westbrook has been in, the Lakers have taken advantage of his shortcomings offensively and it shows both on the court and the stat line.

Most of Westbrook’s damage is hurting Houston on the offensive end. With the All-Star guard in the game, Houston is minus-13.7 with him on the court, the worst offensive rating on the team. The 12 turnovers he’s coughed up in this series probably have something to do with that.

With Westbrook’s struggles and his predecessor Chris Paul coming off of his best individual season since 2016, this, of course, has led to many second-guessing the swap last summer. Or let’s rephrase that: People have been second-guessing that trade since the moment it was announced and, in light of recent events, they’re piling on now more than ever.

Maybe they’re right. Even after playing in the NBA for over a decade now, Westbrook still hasn’t proven that he can control himself enough to reach his potential as a team player. We’ve seen glimpses. On the other hand, Paul showed that he can still pick apart defenses while holding his own on that end.

But replacing Paul with Westbrook was Harden’s idea. He didn’t want to play with Paul anymore and chose to play with one of his closest friends. You may think that the better fit is what’s best for the team, but we’ve seen the damage that can happen when your team’s best players have friction with one another. It hurt Utah this season. It hurt Boston last season. It destroyed the Lakers back in 2013. There’s no telling what it could have done to Houston this season.

Besides, we know that as bad as Westbrook has been, he’s capable of being better. Not a knockdown shooter, not even an efficient scorer, but he has done better in the past when the focus was on him. The more days he takes to shake off the rust from his knee, the more optimistic the Rockets ought to be.

The Rockets have to take the glass-half-full on this one because they don’t really have a choice otherwise.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Online Betting Site Betway
Advertisement
American Casino Guide
NJ Casino
NJ Casino

NBA Team Salaries

Advertisement

CloseUp360

Insiders On Twitter

NBA On Twitter

Trending Now