Kevin Durant Should Go to the Wizards, But Not Because It’s Home

What I’m going to say will not be popular. And I will probably be derided as a deluded homer, just rationalizing fake reasons as to why Kevin Durant should sign with the Wizards in two years. But I’ll say it anyway: Kevin Durant should sign with the Wizards in a couple of years, and not because he is from Washington D.C. Of course, that it is home adds to the allure, but plenty of basketball reasons are more responsible for why Durant should come to D.C.

The Wizards will make a strong push to sign the hometown hero Durant.

The Wizards will make a strong push to sign the hometown hero Durant.

Mind you this could all change relatively quickly if the Thunder win a championship this upcoming season. Before explaining why Durant should sign with the Wiz in a few years, let’s first remember how unlikely that is, and how many things would have to go right (or wrong, for Thunder fans) for KD to end up in Washington. With LeBron out of South Beach, the pecking in the NBA looks like this: 1) Spurs, 2) Thunder, 3) Everyone else: Clippers, Warriors, Grizzlies, Mavericks, Blazers, etc. The Thunder may even be 1B, ever so slightly trailing the Spurs. During the regular season, the Thunder were 4-0 against the Spurs, and if not for Serge Ibaka’s injury, the Thunder may have ended up hoisting the Finals trophy instead. Which is all to say, there is a very good chance that the Thunder win the title this season. And if that happens, there is just about a zero percent chance Durant leaves. Just for the sake of argument though, what if Russell Westbrook gets hurt again. Then what? Supremely talented as he is–easily one of the ten best players in the NBA–Westbrook has undergone three knee surgeries already at the tender age of 25. Each time, Westbrook has returned from injury just as effective as before, but how many more blows can he take?  Even if Westbrook does stay healthy, that’s no guarantee that the Thunder are going to win a title. It’s not like Westbrook and Durant are natural fits next to each other. There’s the constant subplot of whether they can coexist, always present just below the surface, adding tension after failed fourth quarters. Continue reading

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 4)

Here’s Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of the series.

Group H: “He’s Young, Puts Up Great Stats, And Isn’t A Winner. We Hate Ourselves For Listening To Your Deal”

24. DeMarcus Cousins
Cousins should be in the top 10. He has that much talent. How many 23 year old centers averaged 23 and 12, with a PER over 26? If only Cousins could be surrounded by well-respected vets. The Kings made the poor decision of building their entire team around Cousins. He’s good enough to build around, but at this stage in his career, he needs other All-Star caliber vets to show him the ropes. Despite Cousins’ attitude problems, he’s still one of the best players in the league. Cousins needs to be on a good team with good players. Liken him to Zach Randolph. Cousins is more talented and a little crazier than Randolph. Remember though: Randolph had his share of issues when he was on the JailBlazers. It wasn’t until he joined the Grizzlies that he really turned his career around. Cousins could do the same if in the right situation. Continue reading

What does the Future hold for the Thunder and Bulls?

After the short-handed Thunder and Bulls both lost their respective series in five games, it’s unclear where they’re headed. Even with the return of Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook, the Bulls and Thunder will need to make moves if they plan on being real title contenders next season. While getting healthy will be the main way the Bulls and Thunder improve next season, they still need to make moves, even with their minimal cap room and late draft picks.

Durant had no help as soon as Westbrook went down.
Durant had no help as soon as Westbrook went down.

Thunder
Coming off of a disappointing second round exit, the Thunder may believe a healthy Russell Westbrook will bring them back to the Finals, but seeing the series against the Grizzlies, it’s clear that the Thunder have some more work to do. With Westbrook, the Thunder will surely be the favorite to come out of the West, but it’s now clear that the Thunder are a very average team without him. Serge Ibaka, the guy Sam Presti decided to pay instead of James Harden, has proven to be a 13 and 8 guy who looks like he’s already hit his ceiling. Ibaka is only 23, but his failure to step up in Westbrook’s absence is just another reminder that the Thunder absolutely made the wrong choice picking him over James Harden.

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Who would you build an NBA Franchise around? (Part 2)

If you missed it, Click here for Part 1.

Group 7a: Dinosaurs That Somehow Aren’t Extinct 

35. Kevin Garnett
34. Paul Pierce
33. Kobe Bryant
32. Tim Duncan
Despite KG’s injuries this year, he’s still one of the most reliable defensive anchors in all of Basketball. With KG, anything short of beating the Heat seems possible for the Celtics in the playoffs. Without KG? We’re talking about a five or six game series in favor of the Knicks. As far as Pierce is concerned, I’ll let Bill Simmons do the talking. Want to know how good Kobe was this year? Before getting hurt, even being owed $30 million as a 36 year old next year, it would have been hard to put outside the top 20. Kobe was on everyone’s MVP ballot until the day he got injured. And Duncan is one of the most remarkable players in NBA history. This guy just doesn’t wear down. He’s 36 years old and has a PER over 24. He’s putting up 18-10-3 in just 30 minutes per game. Would anyone really be shocked if three of these four guys were using deer antler spray?

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Who would you build an NBA Franchise around?

Here’s the situation: you’re an NBA GM and you’re trying to draft from entire pool of NBA players to make your team as successful as possible. This obviously slightly rates how players are valued. Would you rather select Kobe Bryant at age 34 with a $30 million salary coming off of a torn achilles, or 24 year old James Harden, set to make $15 million next year? Would you rather have Dwyane Wade at age 31, making nearly $19 million, or 20 year old Kyrie Irving who’s still on his rookie deal? Further, would you rather have Russell Westbrook or Derrick Rose, coming off a torn ACL? Age, contract size, injury history, and potential all factor into your decision. Position matters too. Point guard is a very deep position, but center is not. But as the Heat showed us last season, small ball can work fine. If you have Lebron James, at least.

Running a successful NBA franchise isn’t easy. Well, it might be, but we’ll never know, when teams are run by people like this. After all, only nine different franchises have the title in the past 32 years. Going into each season, there’s usually only 3 or 4 teams that have a realistic shot at winning the title. Underdogs stand little chance when they have to beat a team four times out of seven. Usually the better team will advance in the playoffs. The league today is very top heavy– so much, that LeBron recently advocated contracting the league. The league wouldn’t be so uneven if not for teams habitually overpaying bad players (looking at you, Wizards), teams having to deal with whining superstars (sorry, Magic), and teams trading all their young assets for injured players (we know how you feel, 76ers). That’s why the size of contract, character of the player, and the injury history are all important in deciding who to build an NBA franchise around. Without further ado…

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