T.J. Warren’s Game Well-Suited For Phoenix Suns
By Jesse Blancarte
The Phoenix Suns selected T.J. Warren from North Carolina State with the 14th pick in this year’s NBA draft. Last season, Warren averaged 24.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.8 steals, while shooting 52.5 percent from the field. He had the third-highest scoring average in the nation, was named the ACC Player of the Year and was selected as a second team All-American by the Associated Press.
In the Las Vegas Summer League, Warren got a chance to show off his versatile game and get used to playing with his new Suns teammates including Miles Plumlee, Archie Goodwin, Alex Len and Tyler Ennis while also interacting with veterans like Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris, who were in attendance to support the team.
A Look at the Top 2015 NBA Draft Prospects
By Yannis Koutroupis
Last month, the 2014 NBA Draft featured a number of players who had become household names after years of being hyped up as potential stars. Players like Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker were selected and the class was regarded as one of the best in recent memory.
Well, the 2015 NBA Draft is shaping up to be loaded with talent as well. The class features a number of potential franchise-changing players, particularly in the paint, and it’s never too early to start looking ahead at the next wave of draft prospects. Here are some players to keep an eye on over the next year, as they may be top picks in the 2015 NBA Draft:
Updates on Bledsoe, Monroe and Love
By Steve Kyler
Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe grabbed some headlines last week when he told a local TV station in Alabama that he felt like the Phoenix Suns were using restricted free agency against him.
While the tone and connotation of the comment seemed negative, it’s hard to say that getting a $12 million per year contract offer is somehow unfair when the rules don’t require it.
The truth of the matter is that while Bledsoe and his camp were seeking a maximum contract from the Suns, the Suns didn’t feel like he was going to command that on the open market and were right. Most teams in the NBA knew that had they tendered an offer in the $13 to $14 million range, the Suns would likely match it anyway, so Bledsoe did not get an offer sheet.
How NBA Free Agency Will Impact Fantasy
By Joel Brigham
The NBA draft wrapped up a month ago and most of the top free agents have been off the board for at least a week now, which means teams have more or less made all of the major roster moves that they’re going to make this offseason. For fans of the game, things are settling in.
For fans of the virtual game, however, things are just now starting to heat up. Now that we know who’s landing where, we can look at how some of these additions and subtractions will affect players’ value in the world of fantasy hoops.
Here are a few players who should see an uptick in value, and a handful that might not be as draftable as we’d like:
Grizzlies’ Stokes a Diamond in the Rough
By Alex Kennedy
Jarnell Stokes had mixed emotions on the night of the 2014 NBA Draft.
On one hand, he was disappointed. He had hoped to be a first-round pick, but he slipped into the second round and was ultimately selected 35th overall. Stokes watched as player after player came off of the board before him, many of whom hadn’t experienced the success that the 6’9 forward had at Tennessee. It was frustrating for the 20-year-old, but he remained patient and waited to hear his name.
On the other hand, when he was finally picked, he was thrilled because he landed in a perfect situation. The Utah Jazz drafted Stokes, but traded his rights to the Memphis Grizzlies shortly after. Once he realized that he was landing in Memphis, where he was born and raised, Stokes cheered up. Now, he could stay close to his family and friends and continue to play in Tennessee. He was also excited about the opportunity to play for the Grizzlies, a playoff team in need of a reserve power forward. Suddenly, slipping to the second round didn’t seem so bad, since he was staying home and entering a situation where he could potentially play from day one.
Anthony Davis Is Ready For The Next Step
By Jabari Davis
At just 21 years old, Anthony Davis is already poised to stake his claim as one of the NBA’s more versatile and complete big men. In a league where a growing trend of utilizing a stretch-four rather than a more traditional back-to-the-basket or post player at the power forward position has almost become the norm, Davis already both literally and figuratively ‘towers’ over the competition on many nights.
Davis was top-10 in just about every statistical category among power forwards in 2013-14 including being first in blocks (2.82 BPG), third in steals (1.33 SPG), fourth in rebounds (10.0 RPG) and fifth in scoring (20.8 PPG). Davis also shot just under 80 percent (79.1 percent) from the charity stripe on the year for good measure.
Put simply, the young man is a problem regardless of the matchup due to his tremendous combination of size, speed, agility and new-found power – up to about 240 pounds after entering the league at rail thin just under 220 pounds. Beyond the size and favorable intangibles, Davis is a bona fide athlete as a big man. Fans of the Pelicans can attest to scenarios where Davis will routinely protect the rim, provide weak-side support, find a way to secure the rebound, and still end up finishing on the other end in transition. Unlike many of his contemporaries that are also similarly athletic big men (e.g., DeAndre Jordan, JaVale McGee or Miles Plumlee), Davis also has the footwork, ball skills and all-around offensive game to be highly effective in the halfcourt set as well.
Durant Free Agency Watch Begins
By Lang Greene
It is an inevitable part of the process these days. NBA superstars headed to free agency aren’t just talking about their future during contract years anymore. Now, in this player-movement obsessed world, the speculation typically begins two summers before the player hits the open market.
With the current collective bargaining agreement discouraging signing early extensions, most elite players understand that testing their value in free agency is the most lucrative option for them financially.
This summer, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and LeBron James were the primary drivers of the free agency frenzy. Anthony and Bosh ultimately elected to re-sign with their original teams, while James bolted Miami to head back “home” to Cleveland.
James’ sentimental decision to rejoin the Cavaliers almost immediately turned the speculation toward reigning MVP Kevin Durant and his future in Oklahoma City.
What To Make Of O.J. Mayo?
By John Zitzler
O.J. Mayo will begin his seventh year in the NBA when the 2014-15 season kicks off and the question still remains – will he ever fulfill the promise he showed in the early stages of his basketball career?
Coming out high school, Mayo was a McDonald’s All-American and a consensus top-five prospect, renowned for his ability to score the ball in a variety of ways, most notably his smooth jumper that he could knock down from seemingly anywhere on the court. He appeared well on his way to becoming a prototypical NBA two guard and possibly an All-Star-caliber player. After one year at USC, where he averaged 20.7 points per game shooting 44.2 percent from the field and 40.9 percent from three, he was selected third overall in the 2008 NBA Draft. Mayo was chosen ahead of now established stars like Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook.
5 Players to Benefit from Change of Scenery
By Jessica Camerato
Change is inevitable in the NBA, and often times a new team can give a player a much-needed change of scenery. Amid the carousel of offseason transactions, several players have landed opportunities for a fresh start. Here is a look at five players who will benefit from playing for a new team. Who do you think will thrive the most by changing uniforms? Let us know below in the comments.
Pending Rookie Scale Options, Extensions
By Eric Pincus
Kevin Love is still with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the futures of restricted free agents Eric Bledsoe and Greg Monroe remain unclear, but most of the summer’s free agent decisions have been made.
At some point the Phoenix Suns and Detroit Pistons will have resolution with (or without) Bledsoe and Monroe, respectively. The remaining free agent stragglers will find homes as well.
Most teams still have a bit of business to resolve before the start of the 2014-15 NBA season, regarding rookie scale options and extensions.
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