Category: NBA

Mitchell Robinson’s potential in the NBA

After being named a McDonald All-American, being a former Western Kentucky commit, and a former 2ndround pick in the 2018 NBA draft, New York Knicks rookie Mitchell Robinson has had the time to shine in the NBA as of late by proving that he can be a dominant scorer and a future DPOY candidate in the league. 

Mitchell Robinson, at the age of 20 years old, had declared for the 2018 draft without gaining any experience in the collegiate level. He was ranked #11 (3rd best center) in his high school graduating class and originally committed to Western Kentucky University, as mentioned earlier. But Robinson decided to decommit from WKU to train for the upcoming draft that he was a part of.

This 20 year old that didn’t play in college had the talent of becoming a late lottery pick but was passed on by multiple teams in the draft as he was selected in the second round (36thpick) by the New York Knicks.

Before the 2018-19 NBA season started, New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale believed that Mitchell Robinson wasn’t quite ready to play in the NBA and wanted to give him more minutes and experience by having him play with the Westchester Knicks in the G-League.

Obviously that was not the case for Fizdale as he immediately put Robinson to work by starting him in his 4th game (teams 6th) against the reigning NBA champs, the Golden State Warriors. 

Robinson’s current stats in his rookie season are 5.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg, and 0.5 apg. He also leads all rookies in blocks with 2.0 blocks per game.

Within the last week of NBA matchups, we have seen a different side of Robinson since the arrival of Dennis Smith Jr. and Deandre Jordan during the Kristaps Porzingis trade with the Dallas Mavericks.

The veteran presence of Deandre Jordan has helped shape Mitchell Robinson into the player that was once expected out of him since back in his high school days. 

“If you just go back to Mitchell’s last 4 games, there has been a big jump in what he’s doing out there and how he is doing it” – David Fizdale

Since acquiring Dennis Smith Jr. and Deandre Jordan, Mitchell Robinson has been averaging 11.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks within the last 4 games he’s played. This also included Robinson scoring his career high in points (15) in their last game against the Toronto Raptors and recorded 3 blocks in the last two games.

With this side of Mitchell Robinson during this time in the season, we can see his level improve with the help of Deandre Jordan by his side.

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Dennis Smith Jr. May Be A Diamond In The Rough For The Knicks

In Friday night’s loss vs the Pistons, Knicks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. scored a career-high 31 points and dished out 8 assists to his new teammates.

Dennis isn’t missing a beat after being traded from the Mavericks during the trade deadline. Coach David Fizdale has placed his trust in the young guard and it is showing in his recent play as a Knick.

“I’m enjoying playing basketball not enjoying losing, but I’m having fun going out there and competing,” Dennis said after Pistons game.

In Dennis’ first 3 games as a Knick, he is averaging 21.3 points and 6.7 assists on 46% from the field. Dennis has shown that he is already the best player on this team and is connecting with his team.

On the other hand, Dennis still struggles with shooting the basketball as he misses free throws and is shooting below 30% from 3 so far with the Knicks.

If Dennis finds a consistent shooting stroke, the Knicks may not need Kyrie Irving in the summer. Shooting is the key factor that will elevate Dennis’ game.

The Knicks let go of some big pieces during the trade deadline, Kristaps Porzingis being the biggest loss, but Dennis is already showing the potential that he can grow into a star and be the best player on a team.

The Knicks are looking forward to the summer as the draft and free agency takes place. They must look at the possibilities if Zion Williamson, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving don’t land there. Do the Knicks believe that Dennis can be a big-time player for them?

The Celtics win the Anthony Davis Sweepstakes

When Anthony Davis’ representative, Rich Paul, decided to announce that his client (Davis) was not going to sign the super-max extension New Orleans was going to offer him this summer and requested a trade, the announcement had a seismic feel around the league. Teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks began to clear house and free up cap space to go after the Davis via trade or for the summer.

As the trade deadline approached the Lakers desperately tried to get their hands on the superstar, but never succeeded. As a result, with Davis still in New Orleans the Boston Celtics are now in the driver seat to acquire Davis this summer.

The Anthony Davis Circus

The Lakers offered a package of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma, Lance Stephenson, Rajon Rondo and two first round picks for Davis and Solomon Hill. Six players and two first rounders was still not enough for the Pelicans to part ways with Davis.

The Knicks on the other hand traded away Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr and Cortney Lee to the Dallas Mavericks for DeAndre Jordan, Wes Mathews, Denis Smith Jr and two first round picks. After buying out Mathews on Thursday, the Knicks now have enough cap space to sign two superstar free agents in the summer. They currently have the worst record in the league at 10-43, and if awarded the number one pick in draft, the Knicks can built a package around it in exchange for Davis, while at the same time having the ability to sign two max players this summer.

Before the trade deadline, the Clippers traded away Tobiris Harris to Philadelphia, who will be looking for a max contract this summer. They also traded Avery Bradley to Memphis, who had a $2 million partial guarantee in his contract. As a result of these moves the Clippers have also created enough cap space to sign two max players this summer.

They still have interesting pieces to flirt with New Orleans in a Davis deal this summer such as Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, Shia Gilgeous-Alexander, a 2020 first-round pick and Miami’s 2021 first-round pick.

The Celtics pot of Gold

Somewhere in Boston Danny Ainge had a big grin on his face once the clock hit 3:00 p.m. on Thursday. New Orleans and The Lakers never agreed on a Davis deal, which means Ainge can open up his treasure chest to the Pelicans front office. Boston can offer New Orleans a number of interesting packages such as Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Robert Williams, Al Horford and two or three first round picks for Davis.

The toughest choice on Boston’s side will be if they’re willing to put Jayson Tatum into the mix. In his rookie season Tatum displayed his basketball excellence in the regular season and playoffs, helping Boston come one game shy of a trip to the Finals with Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.

Irving and C’s still on board with Contract Talks

On Friday, Ainge silenced all the talk about Irving and his pending free agency by saying he still believes the superstar point guard will resign with Boston. “The way I viewed the situation is that I think a lot of people, because of Kyrie’s announcement at the beginning of the year, thought that it was a marriage,” Ainge said on Boston sports radio 98.5 The Sports Hub.

“And I think that it’s more like an engagement. And we’re going to get married on July 1st. I think that engagement is still on, as far as I know.”

“In my individual conversations with Kyrie, we’re still engaged but we really can’t make those vows, sign that contract until July 1st.”

The Celtics stay intact, While the East Stacks up

The trade deadline came and went without any moves from Boston as General Manager Danny Ainge and the rest of the Boston Celtics front office have decided to stick with the nucleus intact in hopes of a trip to the Finals.

With many speculations now in the rear view about whether or not Ainge was willing to deal Kyrie Irving before the deadline after his questionable comments about his commitment to Boston last Friday. The Celtics will now make a run at the top spot in the East with the same roster with less than three months remaining in the regular season.

Making a Run at the top spot in the East

We can’t say whether or not Boston has finally found some consistency, we’ve seen them go on a winning streak and then lose a couple of games to team not in the playoff picture.

Boston has won 10 of their last 11 games, with the only lost coming against the Golden State Warriors. They’ve shown us they can be a championship level team based on their brilliant performance against the Warriors and against Oklahoma City Thunder last Sunday. They outlasted the dynamic duo of Paul George and Russell Westbrook, who both have been in the MVP discussion this season.

Boston currently sits in the third seed in the East just three and a half games behind Toronto for second place and five and a half games behind Milwaukee for the number one seed. Milwaukee currently has the best record in the East and NBA at 40-13, and the Philadelphia 76ers can’t be slept on after making a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers for Tobias Harris, who’s averaging a career high 20.9 points per game this season.

Boston’s Marcus Morris Sr, isn’t sold on the new look Sixers, “Great pick up, not enough though,” wrote Morris on the comment section of a Belcher Report Instagram post.

Are the Celtics still the Clear Cut Favorite to win the East?

With the East as stacked as ever, do the odds still play in the Celtics favor to represent the East in the Finals. We can argue that the top four teams in the East, in the Bucks, Sixers, Toronto Raptors and Celtics have a shot at giving Golden State fits in the Finals, even potential push them to seven games.

Head coach of the Bucks, Mike Budenholzer has unlocked the Bucks offense with Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the way putting up MVP numbers with 27 ppg, 12.4 rebounds a game and 5.9 assists per game. Before the deadline the Bucks added Nikola Mirotic from the New Orleans Pelicans. Mirotic was an important piece for the Pelicans during the postseason last year and has continued to play well this season averaging 16.7 ppg and 8.2 rpg.

The Sixers have formed their own big four of Harris, Jimmy Butler, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. General Manager, Elton Brand and the front office will stick with these four players alongside JJ Reddick for the foreseeable future, and will look to resign both Harris and Butler this off-season.

Just an hour before the trade deadline the Raptors landed Marc Gasol from Memphis, which improves their center position as opposed to having Jonás Valanciunas, who was included in the trade. A starting five of Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Serge Ibaka and Gasol will be interesting to see as the goal for President, Masaji Ujiri, is to make the Finals in hopes of resigning free agent to be, Leonard.

As for Boston, chemistry and consistency is what’s keeping this team from competition night in and night out at a Golden State Warrior level. We’ve seen them pick up big wins against the Sixers, Raptors and even sweeping the Thunder this season, but it’s their inconsistency that’s kept Boston from being mentioned as a clear cut favorite from reaching the Finals. Gordon Hayward has yet to find his groove, but on the bright side Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier have found their role coming off the bench.

The Celtics play LeBron James and the Lakers tonight at TD Garden, and will test out the newly formed big four in Philadelphia on Tuesday the 12.

The Dallas Mavericks Won The Trade Deadline

No one expected the Dallas Mavericks to make a bunch of moves during the trade deadline. But Mark Cuban, Donnie Nelson, and the Dallas Mavericks organization were extremely active and made some blockbuster trades that have turned their franchise around.

Also to mention the trade that brought Luka Doncic to Dallas last June in the draft. This was a callback to the 1998 NBA Draft where the Mavericks traded Robert Traylor for Dirk Nowitzki.

Now Luka has emerged as the star of the Dallas Mavericks franchise. As each day goes by, the Mavericks are looking like geniuses for making that trade with Atlanta.

The Mavericks have taken big risks and were able to turn expiring contracts and aging players into a young core plus cap space to spend in free agency.

Dallas-Sacramento Trade Details:

Dallas Receives:
Justin Jackson
Zach Randolph

Sacramento Receives:
Harrison Barnes

The Mavericks are now able to sign a big-time free agent this summer. After the Porzingis deal, one of the concerning factors was Dallas’ cap space going into free agency. After getting rid of Harrison Barnes’ contract, the Mavericks are now in contention to sign at least one big time free agent with around $30 million in cap space.

Possible free agent targets being Nikola Vucevic, Demarcus Cousins or Klay Thompson. The Mavericks are a dark horse team to sign one of these guys. Now that they have a core of Luka and Kristaps, Dallas may be a more attractive destination for free agents.

The Mavericks showed that they are geared towards free agency and could care less about how the season plays out now. The future looks bright in Dallas but there is still more work to be done. It will interesting to see how the Mavericks play their cards this free agency.

Irving, AD and New York shake up the NBA World during the Last Week of January.

Free agency does not start until July 1 and with the trade deadline less than a week away the final week of January has rocked the league with blockbuster trades, trade rumors and outspoken superstars concerning their future.

The New York Knicks shipped Kristaps Porzingis yesterday to the Dallas Mavericks, which freed room for two max contract spots on the roster heading into a loaded 2019 free agency class. The Memphis Grizzlies have made both Mike Conley and Marc Gasol available in trade talks for the first time, Anthony Davis has requested a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans and just this afternoon Kyrie Irving spoke out about his pending free agency this summer.

Should the City of Boston be Fearful of a Irving Departure?
Back in October 2018, during fan appreciation night at TD Garden, Irving said he planned on resigning with the C’s in front of fans, “If you guys will have me back, I plan on re-signing here.” This gave General Manager, Danny Angie some comfort room as to how he can potentially team-up Irving alongside Anthony Davis this summer, using his treasure chest of draft picks and young talent. But things got cloudy in Boston this afternoon as Irving seemed uncertain about his future with the Celtics.
“At the end of the day, I’m going to do what’s best for my career, and that’s just where it stands,” said Irving ahead of the match-up between Boston and New York later tonight.
When asked about his decision on whether or not he’ll resign with Boston, “Ask me again on July 1,” he said. “Just do the best for me. That’s what it comes down to. Obviously this has become an entertainment thing for everyone… I’m not worried about a reputation, not worried about a legacy in the league. I’m just trying to be a human being, trying to make the best decision for my family.”
Championship or Bust
Irving’s mindset for this season hasn’t changed as the goal is still a to bring a championship to Beantown, “And my focus this season is winning a championship with the Boston Celtics. Obviously, we had goals coming into the season and the primary goals is to win a championship. So that’s where my focus is,” said Irving.
Throughout the year the Celtics have had a rollercoaster of a season with frustration bubbling between players. Both Irving and Al Horford have questioned the teams determination and hunger, Irving on the other hand called out the young players inexperience.
The questions that should be in the mind of Angie and the rest of the Celtics organization is, should they trade Irving before the trade deadline or be fearful of him leaving during free agency to a team like the Knicks, Brooklyn Nets or Los Angeles Lakers. Time will tell what the Celtics will do between today and the February 7 deadline.

The Endgame For The Knicks/Mavericks Rebuild

With the recent blockbuster trade that was announced earlier today between the New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks, the two teams took franchise-altering deals that can either boom in their favor or blow up right in their faces.

The two franchises are in the midst of rebuilding and trying to contend in the near future. The 2019 NBA free agency will dictate the future of each franchise.

The question arises of how does this deal benefit each team in the long run?

Just a recap for the trade here are the full details:

Dallas Mavericks Receive

Kristaps Porzingis
Courtney Lee
Tim Hardaway Jr.
Trey Bure

New York Knicks Receive

Dennis Smith Jr.
Wesley Matthews
DeAndre Jordan
Two future First Round Picks (one unprotected, one protected)

Mark Cuban, Donnie Nelson, and the Dallas Mavericks are known to be major risk takers and this trade is a prime example of the Mavericks being a risk-taking franchise. The Mavericks will pair Kristaps Porzingis with Luka Doncic and they will be the core star players going into the future.

The Mavericks have had eyes on Porzingis for years and with the connections of Dirk Nowitzki and Luka to him, Porzingis to Dallas seemed very likely in the future. Porzingis looked up to Dirk growing up and also spent time working out over the summer in 2017. Also, Porzingis and Luka are close friends, both playing against each other while they were overseas.

Luka is now going to be the point guard for this team with Dennis Smith Jr. gone and now the Mavericks have some serious pieces around them to contend in the future.

The Mavericks will now look to free agency to chase Demarcus Cousins or Klay Thompson and that will be the end of the rebuild for the Mavericks.

Some sleepers the Mavericks may also have eyes on are that of Willie Cauley-Stein and Goran Dragic.

On the other side of this trade, The Knicks were able to secure a young developing guard in Dennis Smith Jr. along with two future picks and reliving cap space. This will put the Knicks in play to sign 2 max free agents and also draft a player such as Zion Williamson or R.J. Barrett.

The Knicks are confident they can land Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant along with a top 3 Pick in the draft. If they succeed in this, their rebuild will be complete and now you have a scary core of Dennis Smith Jr., Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Kevin Knox and either Zion Williamson or R.J. Barrett.

If the Knicks do not succeed in this trade then another year of mediocrity and losing will be in play next season. The Knicks are banking heavily that a top free agent will come, but the possibility of them landing no one is an unfortunate possible outcome.

This trade took a lot of guts for each side to pull off and it was impressive on how they got it done in a short amount of time. For a Mavericks fan, you are happy with the Luka/Porzingis duo. For a Knicks fan, you are hopeful all the cards fall into your favor in free agency.