Shabazz Napier’s Social Media Breakup With LeBron

Remember a couple weeks ago when the Heat selected Shabazz Napier with the 24th pick in the draft to appease LeBron? Shabazz wasn’t going to be the reason that LeBron would stay in Miami, but making the effort to trade up and get Napier would be a small gesture to LeBron. Not a big shiny anniversary ring or anything, but a small little gift as a token of their appreciation for what LeBron had done–just an example of the commitment they had to LeBron and his vision of the team. Pat Riley claimed he was a fan of Napier’s game anyway, and that the move was not purely to appease LeBron:

“I know LeBron tweeted something out in the NCAA [tournament] about him. Why not. If LeBron and I have the same taste in talent, so be it. But he didn’t call me on the phone, or he didn’t make a point to me about it.”

But everyone knew that was BS. Ever since the NCAA tournament, LeBron had been complimenting Napier’s game and ability to run a team. Napier seemed to be profoundly lucky. Not that he wouldn’t have already been selected in the first round of the draft, but to having the best player on the planet so fond of you is definitely good for pro prospects. Continue reading

LeBron Leaves, Miami Moves on… Quickly

You lose LeBron James. You have two options: wallow in self-pity, or shell out a max deal to Chris Bosh! That’s sort of like those annoying hypotheticals you’d hear in the 8th grade: “would you rather die of a shark attack, or a lightning strike?” There’s no right answer. There’s only two wrong answers, one maybe a little worse than the other.

Miami fans did their best Cleveland impression, showing no class after LeBron announced he was leaving.

Miami fans did their best Cleveland impression, showing no class after LeBron announced he was leaving.

That isn’t to rip on Cleveland fans. They’ve heard it enough, and yeah, they took the anti-LeBron stuff too far in 2010, but if I lived in Cleveland, I probably would’ve reacted similarly. As would any real sports fan. But it is to say that there is another way of dealing with the loss of the greatest player in the league. After LeBron announced his return to Cleveland, nearly every sports fan in the country cheered. And per usual, when Miami fans saw other fans cheering, they naturally joined in. (Cue clueless Heat looking around confused, seeing people clapping, and then slowly joining, and then grinning widely, having no idea why he’s clapping.) Continue reading

NBA Draft Losers

This year’s NBA draft didn’t see as many crazy picks as usual. The lottery went as scripted, for the most part. And then by the middle of the first round, things got interesting. The Raptors took some guy named Bruno, who no one had heard of. And he was called “the Brazilian Kevin Durant!” Then the Thunder took a big man, who hadn’t played in over a year due to back surgery–a guy that we only know about because of two or three games in the NCAA tournament two years ago! The Grizzlies then took a shooting guard who may or may not be able to dunk. That was just the beginning of the madness. Here are the players, fans, and teams that lost the NBA draft.

Toronto Raptors
That’s what you get for drafting a guy 20th overall that wasn’t even on one of Chad Ford’s ten big boards. Bruno Caboclo could be really good. In like four or five years! For a team that finally turned itself around, winning 48 games, you’d think the Raptors would be looking for a player that is NBA-ready and could be in their rotation next year. Caboclo might never make their team. Continue reading

NBA Draft Winners

It’s officially time to overreact to the NBA draft results and hastily hand out make-believe grades. Rather than grade every team, I’ll focus on those teams that won the draft. It’s almost impossible to tell who won the draft, until we look back on the draft in a couple of years, but we’ll go ahead and try anyway. Here are the teams and players that made the Deans List for last night’s draft:

San Antonio Spurs
Obviously. They always win the draft. The Spurs are the smartest team in the league. They always walk away from the draft with a player that will help them. It’s no wonder that the Spurs are the most successful team in the league in the past decade. They don’t waste picks. Last night, they got Kyle Anderson with the last pick of the first round. He was projected earlier as a mid-first rounder, but probably due to his lack of athleticism, he slipped. Anderson is a unique player that wouldn’t fit on many teams. Hell, on the Wizards, they’d probably stick in the corner and expect him to be a corner 3 guy. That’s obviously not his game. The Spurs will improve his shooting, no doubt, but they drafted him for his passing and playmaking. He’ll create even more open shots on the perimeter, which is scary considering how open most of the looks were against the Heat in the Finals. In a couple of years, or maybe even months, teams will be kicking themselves for letting Anderson slide so far. Continue reading

NBA Draft: Who is NBA-ready?

The issue of “NBA-ready” is always sort of a backhanded compliment when it comes to the NBA draft. It is sort like saying a player has already peaked. Or that he doesn’t have as much potential as other prospects in the draft. Usually, it’s a way of saying the player is one of the less sexy prospects. You know what you’re getting. As if that’s a bad thing. The rosy-red delusions about how good a prospect could be in 3 yearsin 5 years, in 10 years guide many teams’ drafts. But the most NBA-ready prospect is rarely also one of the best players in the class. Sure, this year Jabari Parker fits that description. Usually though, the most NBA-ready prospects are found at the end of the first round, or beginning of the second. They slip because their game is too predictable. Too translatable. Sometimes, NBA-ready simply correlates with age. The more seasoned prospects are more ready because they stayed in college longer and developed more. Think Taj Gibson (26th), Arron Afflalo (27th), Jimmy Butler (30th), and Draymond Green (35th). Everyone knew those guys would make it in the league. They contributed whenever they got on the court. But for some reason, they slipped. They’d never be the all-too-coveted superstar that would lead a franchise to the promise land. Those are guys though, that every good team has. Continue reading