Tag: NBA Draft 2019

Nike Blamed For Zion Williamson’s Injury

In what might be the most bizarre moment of the year, Duke star Zion Williamson suffered a leg injury after blowing out his sneakers on Wednesday’s night game vs North Carolina.

At the start of the game around 19:30 in the first half, Zion Williamson came off a handoff play. As he was driving to the basket, he did a half spin move and collapsed. Zion blew out his sneakers and suffered a mild knee sprain leaving him out the rest of the game.

The Blue Devils went on to lose against North Carolina 88 -72, R.J. Barrett took on the scoring load ending the game with 33 points and 13 rebounds in the loss.

Nike is hoping to have an investigation on the incident and has issued a statement on Zion’s injury and shoe blowing out:

“We are obviously concerned and want to wish Zion a speedy recovery. The quality and performance of our products are of utmost importance. While this is an isolated occurrence, we are working to identify the issue.”

Nike’s stock has started to drop since the accident and they are being viewed in a negative way.

One of the more notable things about Zion is his size, at 6’7 284lbs he is a human truck. With his crazy athleticism and force exerted on that play, maybe the sneaker was not to blame for his injury.

It should be noted, that this injury could be a combination of both poor manufacturing of the footwear as well as the force Zion exerted on the sneaker.

Furthermore, this injury sparked a conversation on if Zion should sit out the rest of the season or play. Zion is projected to go #1 in the NBA Draft in June. This injury has raised concerns of if this might affect his draft stock.

Zion has gained the support from Lebron James and former President Barack Obama for a speedy recovery.

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Ja Morant And The Phoenix Suns Are A Match Made In Heaven

The Phoenix Suns have been abysmal halfway through the NBA season. They rank dead last in the Western Conference with an 11-48 record.

The young Suns are still learning how to win as a team. With the core of Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker, the Suns should be a competitive team in the next couple of years. Unfortunately, they are still missing some pieces to turn them into a championship contending team.

With their projected top 5 pick in the upcoming draft, the Suns should do anything by any means necessary to acquire Ja Morant, the Murray State point guard that is dominating college basketball.

At 6’3, 175 pounds, Ja Morant is going to be the next promising young point guard in the NBA.

Morant is a physically gifted, and all around polished player. His playmaking ability, athleticism along with his ability to create his own offense will complement Devin Booker in the backcourt and make scoring at the basket easier for Deandre Ayton.

The Suns have been looking for a point guard to help lead the team to championship contention ever since the departure of Steve Nash. The Suns need a dynamic point guard, someone who is going to score the basketball and be a playmaker.

At one point, the Suns had 3 point guards on the team that was all-star caliber players in Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas but the Suns eventually traded these players away. This created a hole at the point guard spot that they have been trying to fill ever since.

Ja Morant is everything they need in a young point guard to complete their core. Ja has soared up the draft boards this year and is leading a lower tier school in Murray State to a 20-4 record. Morant is heavily compared to the likes of De’Aaron Fox and Russell Westbrook.

With a playmaker being their biggest need, it just so happens that the best playmaker in this draft, Ja Morant, may fall into their laps. A Morant-Booker-Ayton duo would be an interesting big 3 to watch for years.

King James Can’t Save The City Of Angels Alone

The Los Angeles Lakers easily were the biggest losers coming out of the NBA trade deadline after striking out of Anthony Davis. With this loss, the Lakers face the possibility of missing the playoffs.

The Lakers are at a crossroads at the halfway mark of the NBA season. They struck out on landing Anthony Davis and the chemistry of the team has been up and down. The team is so out of it that they may not even make the playoffs and not even the best basketball player in the world may be able to save them.

Lebron James, 34 years old, is easily the best player on this Laker team and has helped them to improve drastically this season, but other than Lebron what other options do the Lakers have?

Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma are considered to be the two complementary pieces next to Lebron, but their play has not been up to standards this season.

The Lakers are 3-7 in their last 10 games, getting blown out by teams such as the Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers.

The Western Conference has been tough and with hungry teams such as the Clippers, Kings, T-Wolves, and Mavericks creeping up to the 8th seed, this leaves the Lakers with minimal room to throw away games.

If the Lakers end up making the playoffs, it will most likely be as an 8th seed which means playing the Golden State Warriors in the first round. The Warriors are currently rolling and barring any injuries, it is more than likely they will steamroll through the Lakers and the entire Western Conference.

If the Lakers miss the playoffs, Lebron’s legacy may be called into question as this will be the first time since 2005 that he will miss the playoffs.

The young Lakers must step up and close out games without Lebron. Players such as Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and Rajon Rondo has to step up as leaders. If these guys want to be Lakers next season, they have to take charge and win by any means possible.

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 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.

New York Knicks and Anthony Davis Should Stay Far Away From Each Other

With recent news of Anthony Davis wanting out of New Orleans, many fans and analysts have put out trade destinations such as Davis going to the Lakers, Raptors, Celtics and even the forever struggling New York Knicks.

The Knicks should not look to entertain a trade for Anthony Davis as this would mean sacrificing talents such as Kevin Knox, Allonzo Trier, Kristaps Porzingis and even potentially the #1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft which can turn into Zion Williamson or even R.J. Barrett. Two players who can elevate your franchise.

A core of Zion/Barrett, Porzingis and Knox would be a great core to build off of for the Knicks. It’s a core that could potentially be a big-time threat in a couple of years.

If you are the Knicks you have to ask yourself is Anthony Davis really worth giving up your future for?

The Knicks necessarily hasn’t been a winning situation for anyone and this should raise concerns on Anthony Davis’ end. What is the difference between the situation in New Orleans and the Knicks?

Trading for Davis would be a risk for the Knicks end as you would have to give up a lot of young assets for him. Davis would be paired up with no one once he gets there. The Knicks would have to pray to the basketball gods that a top free agent will come there in the summer.

The Knicks haven’t been serious contenders for a long time and is looked to be one of the laughing stock franchises in the NBA.

If a trade does go down and the Knicks land Davis, you are going to have to be 100% certain Kevin Durant or Kawhi Leonard will come to the Big Apple. If there are any uncertainties that with these players not coming, you are setting Anthony Davis up to fail.

Ultimately, the Knicks shouldn’t throw away the years they are rebuilding for Davis. From the history books, winning championships come from building through the draft and the Knicks have plenty of young players with upside. Don’t throw those years away.

Early NBA Mock Draft 2019 (Picks #1-10)

 

1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Zion Williamson

Strengths: Unique Physical Attributes, Finishing ability, Motor/Aggressive play, Upside
Weaknesses: Shooting consistency, Discipline on Defense

NBA Comparison: Charles Barkley/ Larry Johnson

2. New York Knicks – R.J. Barrett

Strengths: Scoring Ability, Creating Offense, Defensive Potential, Slashing ability, Upside
Weaknesses: Streaky shooter, Decision Making, Shot Selection

NBA Comparison: Andrew Wiggins/Demar DeRozan

3. Phoenix Suns – Ja Morant

Strengths: Point Guard Polish, Creating Offense, Scoring Ability, Athleticism, Upside
Weaknesses: Strength/Frame, Shooting Consistency

NBA Comparison: De’Aaron Fox

4. Chicago Bulls – Cameron Reddish

Strengths: Athleticism, Scoring Versatility, Playmaking Potential
Weaknesses: Motor, Consistency, Competitive Fire

NBA Comparison: Rudy Gay/Tyreke Evans

5. Atlanta Hawks – Rui Hachimura

Strengths: Offensive Versatility, Upside, Motor
Weaknesses: shooting ability, defensive consistency

NBA Comparison: Wilson Chandler

6. Memphis Grizzlies – Romeo Langford

Strengths: Scoring Ability, Defensive Potential, Athleticism
Weaknesses: Suspect Ball Handling, Streaky shooter, Motor

NBA Comparison: Khris Middleton/Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

7. Orlando Magic – Darius Garland

Strengths: Scoring Ability, Shot Creator, Playmaking Potential
Weaknesses: Decision Making, Shot IQ, Turnovers, finishing ability

NBA Comparison: Kemba Walker

8. Detroit Pistons – Jarrett Culver

Strengths: Offensive Versatility, Rebounding, Defensive Potential, Upside
Weaknesses: Shot IQ, Creating Offense, Defensive Discipline

NBA Comparison: Courtney Lee/Nicolas Batum

9. Washington Wizards – Kevin Porter Jr.

Strengths: Scoring Ability, Finishing ability, Ball Handling Ability, Upside
Weaknesses: Playmaking ability, Shooting ability

NBA Comparison: Kelly Oubre Jr./Justise Winslow

10. New Orleans Pelicans – Nassir Little

Strengths: Athleticism, Defensive Versatility, Motor, Physical tools
Weaknesses: Shooting Consistency, Offensive Polish, Creating Offense

NBA Comparison: Gerald Wallace