Tag: NBA Free Agency

The Houston Rockets Championship window is closing

With the Golden State Warriors era of basketball running amuck on the league, the difficulty to win a championship for any team is tough especially for the Houston Rockets.

Winning against a team with 5 all-stars, in a 7-game series, is not only a daunting task but an impossible one for many teams. With Demarcus Cousins set to return on Friday against the Clippers, The Warriors now have 6 all-stars playing on their team.

Organizations around the league were forced to adapt to playing against Golden State’s brand of basketball. The three-point shot has evolved, becoming the most valuable way of scoring in today’s era of basketball. Post ups and Mid-range shooting are a thing of the past.

The Houston Rockets were one of the organizations who had to adopt a new style of basketball centered around 3 point shooting. Houston’s offense is the closest to the Warriors and even the Rockets couldn’t beat them in the Western Conference finals.

Last year, the Houston Rockets were only one game away from reaching the NBA Finals. But when Chris Paul went down with a hamstring injury, all hope was lost for the Rockets.

Chris Paul has been plagued with injuries playing in only 26 games this season. With the recent news that Clint Capela is out for 4-6 weeks with a thumb injury, James Harden is forced to carry the load for this team.

Chris Paul and Clint Capela are key pieces to the Rockets’ success. This team will go far as these two players go. If they can’t stay healthy or consistent, the Rockets will not be in contention for winning the championship this year.

The best shot the Rockets had to win a title was last season. It seems that the Rockets hasn’t mentally recovered from the western conference finals and free agency.

Chris Paul isn’t getting any younger and there are signs showing that father time is catching up to him. The Rockets are a struggling team this season. They had stretches where they were extremely bad, then they played good, and then bad again.

This team simply can’t stay consistent. If you can’t stay consistent in a Western Conference of the Warriors, Thunder, Nuggets, and Trail Blazers, you are bound to end up at the bottom of the pack.

 

With last night’s loss to the Nets, James Harden scored 58 points and the team attempted an unbelievable 70 three-pointers only making 23 of them. This raises concerns of if this team is even on the same page as they were up against the Nets late in the fourth quarter until giving up three straight 3 pointers from Spencer Dinwiddie to force overtime.

We have seen this same situation a couple weeks back against the Dallas Mavericks as rookie Luka Doncic capped off a comeback scoring 11 points in the final minutes of the game to defeat the Rockets.

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The Best Center in College Basketball: Breaking Down Bol Bol’s Game

Bol Bol is taking college basketball by storm, leading the Oregon Ducks to a 9-4 record.

Bol is a freakish 7’2, 234lb athletic player. His ability to space the floor, and be a consistent scorer is helping Oregon to a winning record. Along with his freakish stature, Bol has a 7’6 wingspan which helps him defend and block shots.

Bol is currently averaging 21 points, 9.6 Rebs and 2.7 blocks on 56% shooting from the field and an unbelievable 52% from 3.

Bol’s strength lies in his ability to score, defend, rebound, and block shots. He can do a lot of damage anywhere on the court. His ability to space the floor will make him a valuable asset for any team come the 2019 NBA Draft.

Bol’s most underrated skill is his IQ, he knows how to be an efficient scorer, as well as a smart defender. These skills will translate well in the NBA.

Bol’s weaknesses stem from his skinny stature. Ultimately, he needs to bulk up and work on being a force down low. Bol has a tendency to get knocked out of place by stronger opponents. Also, he isn’t the best screener and he isn’t keen on setting picks and rolling to the basket much.

Bol has to work on being a force as a big man, he sometimes looks for the jump shot rather than taking his opponent inside. His inability to do this is due to his lack of strength as he doesn’t feel enthusiastic about playing inside. He is very raw in this area, and to be a great center in the NBA, he must develop a consistent inside game.

He also isn’t the best decision maker as he currently averages more turnovers at 2.0 a game than assists at 1 a game. Sometimes when he is given the ball, he would look to dribble and go for a midrange shot rather than looking for a better shot.

The biggest question with Bol’s game is his heart to play. Does he really want it? He doesn’t always hustle and is sometimes the last man up the court in offensive and defensive possessions. Bol doesn’t always box out players and plays at one speed. He isn’t the toughest player at this point in his career, and that will get exposed at the NBA level if he doesn’t show the willingness to do the little things on the court.

Overall Bol’s value will lie on his defensive and offensive abilities. He is a remarkable athlete but needs to get stronger if he wants to play at the next level. Bol is a point guard’s dream, he is the ideal stretch big that NBA teams want.

Bol’s upside is unclear at this point, as it seems this may be the peak of his game. His work ethic and ability to play consistent minutes in the NBA will determine how better he will get.

Bol Bol may find more playing time at the power forward position more than the center position in the NBA, as his ability to stretch the floor will be a huge asset to teams.

Bol is the son of Manute Bol, who is famous for playing for the Washington Bullets in the late 1980s. Manute was 7’7 with an 8’6 wingspan but struggled to find consistent play timing.

Bol has a lot of the skills that Manute had but better. Bol is a better offensive player at this stage then his father was.

Bol has drawn comparisons to New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis. They both are similar in their strengths and weaknesses going into the draft. The biggest question with Porzingis was his strength, toughness, and feel for the game. Bol has similar question marks at this point in his college career.

Are The Brooklyn Nets Future Championship Contenders?

The Brooklyn Nets currently sit at the 9th seed in the Eastern Conference, winning 8 of their last 10 games and are 16-19 on the season. The Nets are quietly sneaking up into playoff contention in the east.

The Nets had impressive wins over the 76ers, Raptors, and the Lakers in their 10 game stretch. The play of D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Jarrett Allen have been key to the Nets’ success.

“I still think the defense can be better,” said Kenny Atkinson, Nets Head Coach. “we are in an “ok” place, not a “great” place.”

The Nets currently rank 19th in team defense per game. They are falling below average in this category. This has been a weak spot for the Nets all season as they haven’t figured it out defensively yet.

Their bench production has also been something to take note of, including the impressive play by their 2018 2nd round pick, Rodions Kurucs, who is averaging 10 Points and 3.4 rebounds in the month of December.

“We play like a team, we support each other, we got each other’s back,” said Kurucs after defeating the Phoenix Suns on Sunday afternoon, scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. “We are helping each other, we are pushing each other.”

The Nets have been turning heads as they’re not far from being in the playoffs. Right now, they are currently behind the Detroit Pistons for the 8th seed. But if the Nets keep up their level of play, they may surprise everyone and grab the 6th seed.

The Nets are only a couple of years away from being true championship contenders, and it may come as a surprise due to their lack of draft picks and activity in the free agency.

Through the years, they were able to draft diamond in the rough players. After trading multiple draft picks for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett back in 2013, they quietly were able to build a team of quality hard-working players during the aftermath of that trade.

The Nets traded their franchise center in Brook Lopez for a young and promising guard in D’Angelo Russell. They drafted Caris Levert, Rodions Kurucs, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and Jarrett Allen. They all proved to be productive players on the team.

The Nets are still missing something, and that is a franchise player. The Nets need a go-to scorer to compliment D’Angelo Russell and Caris Levert. Luckily, the Nets will have their draft pick this year as well as money to spend in the 2019 NBA Free Agency.

With names such as Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler, Demarcus Cousins, Kawhi Leonard, and Kevin Durant testing the free agency waters, the Nets wouldn’t look like a bad option if they are able to contend in the east this year.

The development of D’Angelo Russell is crucial to the Nets’ future. Right now, he isn’t a consistent scorer to be a franchise player. He is still extremely young, 22 Years old, so he will have more time to develop.

Russell is averaging 17.5 points and 6.3 assists while shooting 41% from the field and 36% from 3pt land. These are promising numbers from Russell, but if he wants to take that leap to stardom, he is going to have to be a consistent scorer in the league.

Should the Knicks trade for John Wall?

The New York Knicks have been waiting for ages for a dynamic point guard. Rumors and speculations have surfaced online that the Knicks are currently gathering assets to make a trade for Washington Wizard’s star John Wall.

The Wall era in Washington has been rather disappointing. The team has underperformed the past couple of seasons and struggled to make it to the conference finals in the weak eastern conference. In addition to that, Wall signed a $170 million contract extension back in the summer of 2017 and that contract may haunt the Wizards if they continue to hold on to him. Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter are currently the highest paid players on the roster. If the Wizards want to land a big fish in free agency, they are going to have to let go of one of these players.

Wall has gathered a bad reputation in Washington through the years, butting heads with coach Scott Brooks, former teammate Marcin Gortat and calling out his teammates. With the Wizards not playing up to standards and constant frustration going on in the organization, a new home for Wall may lie in the Big Apple.

The duo of John Wall and Kristaps Porzingis along with Tim Hardaway Jr, Kevin Knox, and Allonzo Trier sounds like a stepping stone into a winning culture for the Knicks. The Knicks need a dynamic point guard who is going to slash up the defense and make plays. Wall can help the Knicks in an area they have been suffering in for ages.

The Knicks have plenty of assets to use as trade bait, particularly, Enes Kanter, Lance Thomas, Frank Ntilikina, Trey Burke, Courtney Lee, and Emmanuel Mudiay. The Untouchables would include Kevin Knox, Tim Hardaway Jr., Mitchell Robinson, Kristaps Porzingis and rising player Allonzo Trier.

Wall, 28, is entering the prime of his career. He is currently averaging around 21 points and 8 assists on the season. Despite all the drama surrounding him, Wall is still a special player who may need a fresh new start.

Whatever the Knicks decide to do, winning should be the priority. If the Knicks do trade for Wall, they need to build right away for playoff contention. If they don’t, developing their young talent and rebuilding for at least two more years isn’t a bad option. The Knicks would have to take on a contract that will last all through Wall’s prime. Either way, the Knicks decide to go, there isn’t a bad route in this situation.

The Next International Basketball Star: Meet Sekou Doumbouya

The NBA has already been accustomed to witnessing great French basketball talents such as Tony Parker, Rudy Gobert, Evan Fournier, Boris Diaw, and Nicolas Batum. But when the 2019 Draft hits in June, the NBA may witness another great French talent in Sekou Doumbouya.

At 6’9 230 pounds, Sekou’s athleticism is the first thing that jumps out when watching him play. His ability to defend multiple positions, drive, post up and use crafty moves to get by his opponents make him a very promising young basketball talent. Sekou is an explosive athlete who at times can even help protect the rim, blocking shots and grabbing rebounds to start a fast break.

He is currently 17 years old and will turn 18 in late December. His youth will give him time to grow more in height and length. Sekou is really fast with a good frame for a forward. His frame will give him the ability to defend multiple positions in the NBA.

 

Sekou has almost a Lebron-like aggressive mentality when driving to the basket. He can slash up a defense and uses crafty moves to finish around the basket.

With all his athletic abilities, Sekou is a streaky jump shooter as when playing with Poitiers Basket 86 in the 2017-2018 season, he shot 29% from 3 point range through 28 games. He isn’t the best shooter, but his shooting mechanics look smooth and fundamental. Sekou must look to improve on his shooting consistency.

Sekou isn’t the best defender and tends to get lost on that end at times. Sekou has the length and shows the ability to be a top-tier defender but he will have to polish some of his defensive mistakes to reach that level.

Sekou is a lottery-level talent as his upside will be appealing to NBA Teams. It will be interesting to see what team drafts him, he is likely to a #4 pick – #9 pick in the draft.

NBA: Where will Kevin Durant land in the 2019 NBA Free Agency?

On July 5th 2016, Kevin Durant shocked the NBA world when he opted to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder to sign with the Golden State Warriors. Immediately after it was reported, sports journalists, NBA executives, and fans alike, all began to ridicule Durant. “How can he go to the team that he was up against 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals?” How many times have we all heard that?

Well, eventually, Durant’s decision would pay off and the ridicule would turn into praise as Durant ended up leading the Warriors to back-to-back championships, earning both Finals MVPs in the process. With this being Durant’s final year of his contract, the question of where Durant is going begins to loom over us all. With that in mind, what are the top destinations for Kevin Durant?

Well, there are certainly plenty of teams who would love to have Kevin Durant in their lineup and if we take an objective look at the field, a lot of teams can be in play. But, the biggest factor in determining where Durant will land has to be Durant’s reasoning. Does Kevin Durant want to win more championships, or does he value having his own team more? Questions like these will lessen the playing field for Kevin Durant. Regardless, here’s a list with the top teams that Kevin Durant could be playing for in October of 2019.

#11 Portland Trailblazers 

If Kevin Durant is tired of the Warriors and wants to join a team that’s looking exactly for a player of his caliber, the Portland Trailblazers are the perfect fit. Every season, the Trailblazers continue to dominate, but they falter in the playoffs. For the last five years, the Blazers have made the playoffs, but have failed to make any noise, at best reaching the 2nd round. Kevin Durant will be welcomed with open arms by the by CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard and certainly by the fans. It’s a very interesting team to think about, but it seems very unlikely and that’s why it’s #11.

#10 New Orleans Pelicans 

Just like the Blazers, the Pelicans are a talented team with two all-stars in Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday. If KD wants to join a team that’s in need of his exact skill set, this is another perfect fit. It’s very unlikely that it will happen because it’s the Pelicans. No one goes to the Pelicans and ultimately, that’s why it’s #10. But, can you imagine KD with Anthony Davis?

#9 Milwaukee Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks are a team on the rise with a talented group of players including the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. Right now, the Bucks are sitting as the #2 seed in the Easter Conference with a record of 14-6. After LeBron’s departure from the East, it’s anyone’s Conference and KD joining the Bucks will be more than enough to make it to the Finals. What will it take to land KD and how many pieces must be moved? That’s not known.

#8 Philadelphia 76ers 

It’s unclear how this can be done and that’s why it’s low on the list, but if it can be done, watch out. Can you imagine Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler, and Kevin Durant on one team? This will be the new and improved Golden State Warriors. To make matters worse for other teams, who is going to compete with them in the East? The 76ers are 3 rd in the East right now with a 14-8 record. Adding KD to the mix will obviously lead to Finals appearances over and over and over again.

#7 Toronto Raptors 

The Toronto Raptors are currently 1 st in the East with a 17-4 record. If KD comes over to Toronto and Kahwi Leonard resigns, who will stop this team? Let’s not forget about all the other talented players they have including Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, and others. If it’s possible, this will be the new King of the East.

#6 Oklahoma City Thunder 

If Durant wants to bring back a championship to his home team after learning how to win elsewhere, this is the time. Westbrook is still in his prime and Paul George is no scrub. The team is tied for 4th in the West with a 12-7 record. Adding in KD will make the West much more interesting and who doesn’t love a homecoming story?

#5 New York Knicks 

The New York Knicks haven’t been relevant ever since Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler. Fortunately for them, they have a talented young group of players and an All-Star caliber player in Kristaps Porzingis. Furthermore, rumors have been circulating that Kyrie Irving is looking at the New York Knicks. If the Knicks are able to land KD and Kyrie while keeping Porzingis, this will be a major contender in the East. If KD wants to be “the man” in a big city, this is the perfect team.

#4 Boston Celtics 

The Boston Celtics are in a weird place right now, with a mixture of veteran players and a nice young core. Unfortunately, they can’t seem to find the right mixture of the two. If some pieces move around and KD is able to sign, this could not just be a winning team, but this could be KD’s team. With Kyrie, Horford, Hayward, Tatum, Morris, Smart, Brown, and Rozier, the Celtics can definitely make some moves to not only land Durant but give him a talented group of players to work with. Not to mention, do we not want to see the Lebron led Lakers rival the Durant led Celtics? How would that Finals go?

3 Los Angeles Clippers 

The Los Angeles Clippers have been surprising everyone this year as they sit atop the Western Conference with a 13-6 record. If KD really wants to win championship and have his own team, this would be the perfect fit. The Clippers are already talented enough to win games in the regular season, but they need KD for the playoffs. KD will definitely be “the man” on this team and wouldn’t he just love to ruin LeBron’s Lakers by being the better team in LA?

#2 Golden State Warriors 

That’s right, the Golden State Warriors are 2nd on this list. The Warriors are still an amazing group of players when they work together, but with Green’s attitude and drama, the beginning of the end seems near. Thompson is up for free agency and Green will be in the final year of his contract. Furthermore, they’re all aging, and Green’s negativity seems to be starting to outweigh his productivity. The “fun” play is quickly getting boring and we witnessed that first hand between Durant and Green. Simply, what happened between Durant and Green can never be forgotten or forgiven and that’s why this team not #1.

#1 Los Angeles Lakers 

Come on down to LA if you want to win. Wherever LeBron goes, the chance of success increases significantly. The Lakers are young, talented, have the money, and have LeBron James. Without KD, this team will be making significant playoff runs, possibly upending the Warriors. With KD, the Warriors will be forgotten about as this Lakers team will demolish everyone. I mean, who can mess with a team that has both KD and LeBron?

Is Kevin Durant-OKC Reunion Possible in the 2019 NBA Free Agency

In the 2016 NBA Offseason, 9x All-Star Kevin Durant shocked the entire world when he signed with the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors were just coming off two finals appearances and the core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green already achieved a championship back in the 2015 Finals and was out for revenge after losing to a Cleveland Cavaliers team led by Lebron James back in the 2016 Finals. 

Durant’s decision sparked disappointment and anger from the fans of Oklahoma City and general fans around the league. Fans labeled him as a “snake”, “cupcake” and a “coward”. With recent videos of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook showing friendly gestures such as hugging and shaking hands, all might be forgiven in OKC. The question rises could a possible reunion between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant happen come this year’s free agency?

 

Durant, in his time with the Golden State Warriors, went on to captured 2 NBA Championships as well as 2 NBA Finals MVP’s in back to back years. Durant finally captured the championship he has been chasing his whole career. At this point, it seems highly unlikely he leaves the Warriors.

With the recent clash of Durant and teammate Draymond Green, it seems that Durant may have his foot out the door in Golden State. Draymond, in an interview with ESPN, expressed uncertainty but support in the future of his teammates Durant and Klay Thompson’s decision in free agency:

“You know, at the end of the day, as I’ve said before, whatever Kevin decides to do, whatever Klay decides to do, whatever who decides to do, we had great years together and I support everybody wholeheartedly, 100 percent,” Green Stated. “Because as a man, as a human being, you got the right to do what you want with your life. So I will never question that.”

In a scenario that Durant joins OKC in free agency, the team would be complete and the Thunder would have everything to be championship contenders. The core of Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Steven Adams, and Kevin Durant sounds like a dream come true for Thunder fans.

Ultimately, this scenario does not seem likely to happen and this is due to OKC not having the cap space to make this happen. Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Steven Adams are the top paid players on the team and with Westbrook and George earning over 30 million a year, there is no flexibility that the team has to bring in Kevin Durant unless they trade one of those three guys.

Durant is looking for a big payday come free agency and teams such as the Lakers, Nets, Knicks, Mavericks, and Clippers have the cap to give Durant big time money. Durant’s decision comes down to how satisfied and happy he is. It doesn’t make sense leaving a situation where he is winning championships in Golden State unless he is unhappy with the team.

Durant may possibly be interested in rejoining the team that drafted and molded him at some point in his career but the odds seem low due to OKC’s lack of cap flexibility. But from history, we have learned that the NBA is unpredictable and a scenario such as this doesn’t sound too far-fetched.