NBA Free Agency: A Time of Change

Summer-a time of change. Power shifts mostly from the GM and the team to the player. A player can go to any team when they are a free agent. This year, we had some huge signings and trades and we are ranking the top 10 biggest moves and then predicting their ranking and where they will be and exit in the playoffs.
*Note: The KD signing was big for warriors but it was expected

10)Jabari goes home
Jabari Parker signed a 2 year 40 million dollar deal to come home and play for the Chicago Bulls. He had experienced interest in coming home and playing for the Bulls since he entered the NBA. His dream came true to play for his home team. This move makes it clear to the world that the Chicago Bulls are not tanking this year to get another high draft pick. The Bulls think they have what it takes to be a playoff team in a weak Eastern Conference that just lost LeBron to the Lakers. The Bulls also are paying him a large amount of money for a player that had major acl injuries and was out for a great period of time. The Bulls also assigned a bunch of money to Zach Lavigne by matching the offer that the Sacramento Kings gave him for a 4 year 78 million dollar deal for someone who has yet to prove himself as a superstar player that can lead a team to the playoffs. He is still young however and has upside potential, but his injury that he faced might hold him back.
Prediction: 7-8th seed in playoffs; first round exit

9)Isaiah Thomas signs with Nuggets
IT was a player that was supposed to get a max contract this year from a team after his MVP caliber year one year ago with the Boston Celtics. He averaged 28.9 ppg leading the Celtics to the 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. He was expecting the big bucks this summer when he became an unrestricted free agent. Instead, his hip injury held him out till January and when he came back, he didn’t fit In with the Cavaliers organization and playing will LeBron and led to a trade with Lakers. With the Lakers, he was playing decent, but not worthy of a max contract. This summer he signed a 1 year deal for the veteran’s minimum which is 2.1 million. He can prove himself this year and get some money next year, but for right now, the Nuggets got a snag for a cheap price and he can be a great bench scorer.
Prediction: 7th seed; first round exit

8)Butler declines extension from the twolves
The rumors about Jimmy Butler have risen since his decline of a 4 year extension with the Timberwolves for 110 million. Rumors have sparked statements saying that he doesn’t like the attitude by the young players and that he wants to play with Kyrie Irving and team up with him in the summer of 2019. These rumors might be true, but the rumor that says he wants out of Minnesota should not be spread yet. He might have declined the extension because he can get a huge paycheck this summer if he resigns with the Timberwolves for 5 years 187.9 million dollars. He could get paid 78 million dollars more for an average salary of almost 38 million per year instead of 28.5 million per year.
Prediction: 5th seed; first round exit

7)Evans signs with Pacers
Tyreke Evans impressed most of us last year when he signed a one year deal with the Grizzlies to get his career back and get a paycheck this year. Evans is a point guard/small forward who can be very useful for the Indiana Pacers as a secondary ball handler and scorer next to Victor Oladipo. Evans would be better off used as a point guard. All the teams he has played for played him at small forward wasting his gifted playmaking and ball handling. Pushing collision to the bench to lead the bench unit as a scorer and set up man would also be great for the bench.
Prediction: 4th seed; second round exit

6)Lakers sign side pieces for LeBron
Lakers made many moves to their roster after their huge signing of LeBron James. They decided to put other play makers and high IQ players to help LeBron. In my opinion, this was a bad decision for the Lakers. LeBron maximizes his playmaking and value when he is surrounded by shooters. At Miami and Cleveland he was surrounded by shooters like Ray Allen, Chris Bosh, Kyle Korver, JR smith, Kevin Love and more. Having players that can’t shoot or that shoot at a poor rate is bad for him when he wants to drive and kick. Lakers signed Rondo, Stephenson, and McGee all to one year deals and they got rid of Julius Randle in the process. None of the players they signed expand the floor, but are all high IQ players that can reduce stress on James in making on the court decisions.
Prediction: 6th seed; second round exit

5)Cousins signs w/ Warriors
One of the most surprising and most hated moves this offseason was when Demarcus Cousins signed with the Golden State Warriors. Signing with the Golden State Warriors was only part of the problem that people hated in the signing. Everyone hated how he only signed for 5 million dollars when he could have gotten a max deal or at least 15-20 million somewhere else for a 1 year rental. Cousins made the Warriors starting 5 full of 5 all-stars. He could have just made the greatest team in NBA history. To sign Cousins, Warriors didn’t lose any assets that were important to the team like Iguodala because he just took up the mid-level exception. This move made Warriors the clear favorites to win the championship this year after an almost slight late exit to Rockets. They just got way better while stealing an asset that the Lakers were gonna put next to LeBron to win a championship for the city of LA.
Prediction: 1st seed; NBA champions

4)Mega deal between Raptors and Spurs
Today morning, news broke of the deal between the Spurs and Raptors to send Kawhi Leonard to Toronto and Demar Derozan, Jakob Poetl, and a 2019 first round pick back to the Spurs. The rumors of Toronto trading for Kawhi rose when the odds to land Kawhi put Toronto at the top without any inside knowledge. This move was great for the Spurs. They were able to get a star player even after the news broke that Kawhi didn’t want to play there along with a nice young center that is good defensively to pair along with Aldridge. This move will pay off for the Raptors if Kawhi does embrace the culture that is there in Toronto and resigns for a long-term deal. If he plays , Raptors could be a top seed and have a legitimate chance of reaching the finals. Spurs have a good team and will be a playoff team, but in a tough Western Conference, they won’t have a chance at the finals.
Prediction:
Raptors: 2nd seed; ECF exit
Spurs: 6th seed; first round exit

3)Chris Paul resigns with Houston
Chris Paul resigned with the Houston Rockets this summer for 4 years 160 million. This signing was worth more than that of LEBRON JAMES. The Rockets overpaid him a lot and will be paying a 37 year old Chris Paul around 40-45 million dollars when he will be washed up. This will be a good signing for the first two years of his deal when he is still in his all-star form. He was huge for the Rockets this year and if he didn’t get injured for games 6 and 7 in the Western Conference Finals, the Rockets could have been the NBA Champions. This signing however did hurt them a bit because they couldn’t retain Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute.
Prediction: 3rd seed; second round exit

2)Paul George resigns with OKC
OKC pulled off a miracle in the eyes of most NBA fans. Most people thought Paul George was for sure coming to LA after he expressed interest during the 2017 offseason after disappointing season in Indiana. The Lakers didn’t pull the trigger on a Paul George deal then and then missed out on a meeting this year because George signed a deal immediately with OKC for a max contract. Despite his family wanting to move to LA, he stayed because of unfinished business with Russell Westbrook. OKC boosted their roster this year so they can maybe contend with Golden State. They signed Nerlens Noel which is a huge upgrade for a backup center than Nick Collison was in the finishing years of his career. They resigned Felton and Grant, two promising backups. Grant could start after Melo gets traded or bought out as he brings defensive intensity to the starting lineup that Melo couldn’t bring. This Thunder team has the potential to go deep in the playoffs.
Prediction: 2nd seed; WCF exit

1)LABron comes true
LeBron James has officially come to LA. People have been predicting this the entire year. This was obviously not a basketball decision because he would have waited for Kawhi, George, or Cousins to sign first to join him and actually make this team a championship contender. I believe that he went to LA to expand his out of basketball life. He had expressed interest in making movies and starring in movies and LA is the perfect place for that. This LA team has become a playoff team, but it isn’t a championship contender just yet until they add another star player via trade or free agency.
Prediction: 6th seed; second round exit

Boom or Bust: The NBA Draft

As the summer league playoffs approach, I have decided to give my opinion on the floor and ceiling of each of the lottery picks in this year’s draft. This year’s draft has many potential star talents like Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley, and Luka Doncic, but could have some huge busts as well.
*Note: These are solely my opinions
1)Deandre Ayton
With the first number one pick in Phoenix Suns history, the team selected Deandre Ayton, center from University of Arizona. Many people speculated that Ayton was the lock for the number one pick. A 7’1″ monster down low with offensive skills and strength compared to shaq, many believe he is the next greatest center. Ayton is an offensive monster and can easily get you 10 rebounds a night, but his liability is his defense in what’s becoming a guard dominant league. Ayton will struggle on defense against most players in the pick and roll and will have tough time even guarding some of the league’s best bigmen like Cousins. Ayton, however, is agile and can move with grace, but his defense could prevent him from being a superstar player like shaq.

Ceiling: Karl-Anthony Towns(all-star-superstar player)
Floor: Brook Lopez(starting center who can score the ball at a consistent rate)
prediction: all-star player

2)Marvin Bagley
The Sacramento Kings took Marvin Bagley with the second pick in this year’s draft. Bagley attended Duke university for his freshman year averaging 21 ppg and 11.1 rbg. Bagley could struggle in the NBA because of his unknown position. He could play power forward, center, and even small forward. He will fit in immediately, however, because f his shooting capabilities which stack up much better than others at his position. He is also very athletic and was the best player on a stacked Duke team even though he skipped his senior year of high school. He could have defensive problems against stronger centers but is very agile and could beat them on the offensive end.

Ceiling: Chris Bosh
Floor: Patrick Patterson
Prediction: all-star

3)Luka Doncic
The Atlanta Hawks selected Luka Doncic with the 3rd pick but then traded his draft rights to the Dallas Mavericks. Luka Doncic played in the Euro league this past year and averaged 14.5 ppg, 4.6 apg, 5.2 rbg. He has proved himself to be a quality player in the Euro league which is the second hardest league in the world. He won mvp and a championship there as well. He has great vision and can shoot the ball although his defensive skills lack a bit. He is only 19 years old and can develop to be one of the best players the game has seen.

Ceiling: LeBron James
Floor: Jalen Rose
prediction: superstar

4)Jaren Jackson Jr.
The Memphis Grizzlies drafted Jaren Jackson Jr. Jackson is a defensive beast. He is a complete defensive player and even as a power forward, he can guard any position on the floor with ease.  He can knockdown a 3 as well in transition. He is the best 3 and D player out of all the prospects in this draft. He wasn’t that successful in college however and can struggle to create his own shot. He averaged 10.9 ppg 5.8 rbg in his freshman year at Michigan St. His offensive game could hurt him in the NBA. He could disappear on offensive plays, but can hit a knockdown 3 if left open.

Ceiling: Serge Ibaka(prime)
Floor: Andre Roberson
prediction: starter/borderline all-star

5)Trae Young
Trae Young was the 5th pick in the NBA draft originally drafted by the Dallas Mavericks
but his draft rights were sent to the Atlanta Hawks in the Luka Doncic trade. Trae Young led the country in points and assists this year in college. Trae Young can shoot from anywhere on the court. He can also miss from anywhere on the court. This showed in summer league in his first two games. He shot terrible from 3 point land, but then showed up the next game. These inconsistencies can hurt him in the NBA. He isn’t as strong as other guards and will have to get crafty in traffic and use his body to shield off defenders. He has great vision similar to that of Jason Kidd.

Ceiling: Stephen Curry
Floor: Jimmer Fredette
prediction: all-star

6)Mohammed Bamba
The Magic selected Mo Bamba with the 6th pick in the NBA draft. Mo Bamba is a 7 foot center who set the record with the longest wingspan in combine history at 7’10”. His length was used on the defensive end in college as he led the country in blocks. His length can be used against guards as well and shouldn’t have a tough time on the defensive end on pick and rolls. His offensive game is a question mark, however. He isn’t as strong as some of the other centers in the draft like Ayton. His game is similar to that of Clint Capela except he has a ceiling of an all star. He doesn’t have a post up game because of his strength, but could develop that as time goes on.

Ceiling: Clint Capela/Dikembe Mutombo (all-star)
Floor: Thon Maker
prediction: starter like Capela but never all-star

7)Wendell Carter Jr.
The Chicago Bulls took Wendell Carter Jr. with the 7th pick in the draft. Immediately after the selection, many bulls fan were disappointed with the pick as Michael Porter Jr. was still on the board. This wasn’t as bad a pick as it may seem. Carter would fit perfectly with the Bulls playing along side Lauri in the front court. Both of these bigs can stretch the floor making it easier to drive to the basket for the guards like Kris Dunn and Zach Lavine. Carter isn’t a ball dominant player as well which makes him fit right in and could be a great piece in the future of this young Bulls team. He played along side Bagley but was still solid averaging 13.5 ppg and 9.1 rbg.

Ceiling:Al Horford
Floor: Nerlens Noel
prediction: starter

8)Collin Sexton
Collin Sexton was the 8th pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Sexton led an Alabama team to the March Madness tournament until they ran into Villanova. Sexton is an explosive player, but his shooting struggles could hold him back in the NBA. The NBA is becoming more of a shooting league and Sexton could fall behind if he doesn’t develop a shot. He isn’t as dynamic of a playmaker but his explosiveness can get him to the basket and cause chaos for opposing defenses. His defense is good enough to be efficient in the NBA however. His speed will help him a lot against fast point guards.

Ceiling: Russell Westbrook
Floor: Patrick Beverley
prediction: starter

9)Kevin Knox
The New York Knicks took Kevin Knox at number 9 to pair along side Kristaps Porzingis. Similar to Porzingis, Knox got booed by fans on draft night. Once again, fans were wrong about him. During summer league, Knox has proved that he is a legitimate scorer in the league as he is dominating summer league. A do-it all scorer, Knox could develop to be one of the best scorers the NBA has ever seen. He lacks in every other area of the game, however. He isn’t a good rebounder although playing with Porzingis could hide his lack of abilities. He isn’t a playmaker and isn’t good with setting up his teammates for good shots. He is similar to a young Kevin Durant. Kevin Durant has developed into a player that can rebound, defend, and play make and the same can happen with Knox.

Ceiling: Kevin Durant
Floor: Rudy Gay
prediction: starter

10)Mikal Bridges
Another player in a trade on draft night, Mikal Bridges was drafted with the 10th pick by the 76ers and then sent over to the Phoenix Suns to play with Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker. Mikal Bridges is a defensive monster and will haunt most of the players he guards. Bridges is ready to guard any of the top small forwards in the league right now. He can also knockdown the 3 ball at an extraordinary percentage at 42%. His play style is a lot like Klay Thompson. He will fit in perfectly with the Suns as well because he doesn’t have to be an elite scorer because of Booker and Ayton, but he can spread the floor and make up for the defensive weakness that Booker displays.

Ceiling: Scottie Pippen
Floor: Lance Stephenson
prediction: starter

11)Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
The Charlotte Hornets selected him with the 11th pick, but then immediately traded him to the Clippers for the draft rights of Miles Bridges. His height greatly benefitted him on the defensive end when matching up against opposing point guards. He is 6’6″ and his length along with speed is a defensive nightmare against small guards and shooting guards. His offensive game is decent, but can easily develop a shot. He will play behind Patrick Beverley this season and will learn a lot more on the defensive side of the ball and will become more aggressive.

Ceiling: Ben Simmons(all-star)
Floor: Michael Carter-Williams
prediction: 6th man

12)Miles Bridges
Miles Bridges is going to be playing for the Hornets this season. Bridges has a complete offensive skill set which is going to help him succeed in the NBA. He averaged just over 17 ppg in college as a freshman. He is also a good rebounder for his height getting 7 rbg. He can easily switch onto any position as a wing and will succeed both offensively and defensively. He is the perfect 3 and D player like Miles Bridges, but he has a much better offensive skill set which will help on the Charlotte Hornets, a team that needs players to score the ball apart from Kemba Walker.

Ceiling: Paul George
Floor: Tyreke Evans
prediction: starter

13)Jerome Robinson
An unexpected pick at 13, the Los Angeles Clippers selected Jerome Robinson. Jerome Robinson. He wasn’t rated very highly on the pre-draft rankings. He had a good season at Boston College, however. He averaged 20 ppg and is a developed scorer who can shoot the 3 ball so he should fit in nicely with the Clippers. He can provide scoring off the bench on a Clipper team that is going into rebuild and lost all their scoring options.

Ceiling: Louis Williams
Floor: Ian Clark
prediction:bench scorer

14)Michael Porter Jr.
Falling all the way to the last pick of the lottery was Michael Porter Jr. The Denver Nuggets selected him at 14 which was one of the best picks in the draft. The Nuggets have a hole at small forward, but they are a borderline playoff team so he has no rush to get healthy. There is no question about his talent that made him drop to 14. His talent is a top 2 or 3 player in the draft, but his back injury that he suffered this year was severe. The surgery was similar to that of Steve Kerr and Tiger Woods both of whom took long time to return. He has a complete offensive game though and, if healthy, could be the biggest steal of the draft and help push the Nuggets to a playoff team.

Ceiling: Kevin Durant
Floor: Danny Granger
prediction: all-star(until he gets injured and then falls off like Granger)

All of these players could be great if they are in the perfect scenarios. The scenario, coaching, and the amount of work they put in will determine how great their career will be and how long it will last.