A World Cup Roster of NBA Players

Ever imagine how good the United States would be at soccer if the country’s best athletes decided to focus on soccer, instead of soccer or basketball? I know, it’s a popular talking point for Americans, who try to defend their country’s relatively weak soccer team. Don’t get me wrong: US soccer has made great strides. We’ve gotten out of three of the last four group stages, but imagine how good we could be if our best athletes were soccer players. Without even considering the NFL, let’s construct a World Cup roster from the current players in the NBA, who are American.

Goalie: LeBron James
LeBron would be the idea goalie, center defender, center-mid, and center striker. He would be perfect no matter where you put him. In goal though, he would never lose a ball in the air, and he’d be stronger than any striker he encountered on corner kicks. He’s also agile enough to dive and make quick stops. You can count on clean sheets with LeBron in goal. Continue reading

Top 75 NBA Trade Value (Part 3)

Here is part 1 and part 2 of the series.

Group M: “Come on! You Know This Guy Is One Of Our Cornerstones. Stop Laughing!”

48. Victor Oladipo
Usually the top rookies shoot up the trade value rankings. There’s almost always a few rookies who look good enough to be deemed untouchable by their team after the season. This past year’s rookie class may not really have anyone in that category. There are not any true stars. There were hardly any guys who will start for the majority of their careers. One of the only rookies to look halfway decent was Oladipo. He put 13-4-4, not exactly stellar. And he’s the same age as Favors and Valanciunas. He was the most athletic player in last year’s class, so that gives him a fair amount of potential. Hopefully the Magic won’t screw it up though, playing him at point guard any longer. Continue reading

Grading the Offseason Deals and More

As always on draft night, there were too many trades to count. We saw the top overall prospect traded, a 23 year old all star traded, two future Hall of Famers traded, and one of the worst contracts in the league traded. Since draft night, a flurry of other deals have been finalized as well. We’ve seen multiple trades in the past few days, and the top free agent in this year’s class resign. Already in this offseason, it looks like plenty of teams will be in full tanking mode in hopes of landing Andrew Wiggins in next year’s draft. The offseason is just beginning, but there are already plenty of deals to evaluate.

1. Celtics receive: Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, Kris Humphries, Kris Joseph, Gerald Wallace, and 2014, 2016, and 2018 first round picks.i
The Celtics are in full-fledged rebuild on with this deal. Celtics fans may be upset to see KG and Pierce finally go, but it was time to move on. Whether it was necessary to take on a 3 year $30 million deal in the process is up for debate, but Celtics fans shouldn’t be bummed.

They made out with three future first rounders, and two of those could be lottery picks. The Nets will be good for the next year or two, but when KG and Pierce retire and Joe Johnson gets old, the Nets will be back near the lottery. The pick in 2016 and definitely the pick in 2018 will be useful assets for the Celtics. Celtics fans couldn’t expect much more than three first round picks for a 35 year old Pierce and 37 year old Garnett, who probably don’t have more than one year left in their NBA careers. If not for picking up Gerald Wallace’s abysmal contract, Celtics fans would be parading the streets in ecstasy for receiving three first round picks for guys about to retire anyway.

Grade: B+ Continue reading

Rating NBA Draft Prospects’ Bust Potential

Kwame Brown. Darko Milicic. Adam Morrison. What do these guys all have in common? Well, besides the fact that two of them were drafted by Michael Jordan. They’re some of the biggest busts in NBA history, of course! Sometimes it’s easy to spot a potential bust, but other times they come completely out of left field. Take Adam Morrison for example. No disrespect to the WCC, but he was not exactly facing stiff competition. He dominated the NCAA his junior year, putting up over 28 points per game, but came up very small in the tournament. And then tried to spin that in a positive light. All of the comparisons to Larry Bird were based solely on Morrison being a far from athletic, white jump shooter. In retrospect, it’s absurd that Morrison was the #5 pick in the draft, just another one of MJ’s brilliant personnel decisions over the years. Hindsight is 20/20, but the Morrison pick should’ve been more obvious. He was a one tool player. He was a scorer, but he was used to touching the ball every possession and being the go-to-guy, a role he would clearly never have in the pros. Morrison couldn’t handle the ball, couldn’t rebound, couldn’t play ANY defense, and didn’t come close to making his teammates better.

Was it really a surprise that this guy was a bust?
Was it really a surprise that this guy was a bust?

And yet what makes the Morrison case so frightening was that he wasn’t even drafted on that dreaded word that gets GMs fired: potential. More often than not, GMs will salivate over super athletic players who’ve yet to completely translate their athleticism onto the court. In other words, they’ve underachieved and often look like they’ve never played Basketball before, yet teams still believe it’s just a matter of time before these guys figure it out. This is not to knock athleticism as a guiding principle of drafting players, but sometimes actual college production and talent are overlooked at the expense of athleticism. How do you know you’re dealing with one of these guys? Well, there’s a few key phrases are sure-fire signs. If you hear phrases like “he has an NBA body,” “he hasn’t figured it out yet,” “he’s a tweener,” or “he needs to improve his motor” then stop whatever you’re doing, cover your eyes, and run. Sometimes these guys pan out, but more often than not, their potential is nothing but a pipe dream.

Marvin Williams had no business being a top 3 pick, but his ideal athletic 6'9 frame was too enticing for scouts to ignore.
Marvin Williams had no business being a top 3 pick, but his ideal athletic 6’9 frame was too enticing for scouts to ignore.

 

This year’s draft has been called perhaps the worst ever. There are no obvious franchise players or even future perennial all-stars like most years. Most scouts though believe there are many rotation guys in this draft and that the 30th pick may not be much different from the 3rd pick. Let’s take a look at the some of the players projected to go in the first round to see who some of the safest picks are, as well as the most likely busts. We will evaluate each player’s bust potential on a scale from 0-10, with 10 being a definite bust.

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Four Prospects who should Go back to School

Every year a few college players declare for the draft and end up regretting their decision. Often, young players who aren’t ready will slip to the second round and be forced to fight an uphill battle of ever having a successful NBA career. However, other times it is harder to measure how poor the decision is when a player is drafted in the first round, receiving a guaranteed contract. When college prospects are gaging whether they want to declare for the draft though, they should focus on the chances they will receive a second contract, not a first. Last year, Austin Rivers was selected tenth overall, but hardly anyone would argue it was a good decision. He has had the worst NBA season ever.

Austin Rivers has been a bust so far.
Austin Rivers has been a bust so far.

Rivers has dodged criticism without a doubt, out of respect for Doc, who is among the most respected figures in the league. While Rivers managed to be a top ten pick, he has already been replaced by Greivis Vasquez, who has seized the opportunity, ranking third in the league in assists. Meanwhile, another player who managed to be drafted in the lottery, Kendall Marshall is also struggling to see the floor. Marshall was the most mature floor leader in the the country as a Sophomore at North Carolina, partly because he was surrounded by three other first round picks, but the Suns are a far cry from a competent NBA team. Running any offense through two borderline washed up big men in Luis Scola and Marcin Gortat, with absolutely insane Mike Beasley is never a good idea. This is the risk of declaring for the draft though. Being drafted by the right team is everything. No one expected Kawhi Leonard to be knockdown 3-point shooter this quickly in the NBA, but that’s what getting drafted by the Spurs will do. While every prospect would love to be drafted by the Spurs, unfortunately such teams as the Wizards and Bobcats exist and exist for the sole purpose of ruining players’ careers. Here are four prospects who would benefit from spending another year at college, despite possibly already being projected as lottery picks.

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