Tag: Orlando Magic

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

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NBA Trade Rumors: Will the Mavs trade Dennis Smith Jr.?

On Monday January 14th 2018, it was rumored in the basketball world that the Dallas Mavericks have been interested in trading away their starting point guard Dennis Smith Jr., who was their 9th overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft.

Since arriving to the league back in September of 2017, Smith had made quite a name for himself in his rookie season averaging 15.2 ppg, 5.2 apg, and 3.8 rpg. In his 2ndand current season in the NBA, Smith went a little downhill in each three categories of his stats. It may be due to the fact that the Mavericks had traded for their new future star, Luka Doncic, during the 2018 draft.

In many eyes of Mavericks fans around the world, Doncic has been the player that was expected out of Dennis Smith Jr. Luka is currently averaging 20.3 ppg, 6.7 rebounds, and 5.1 assists and is a soon to be NBA All-Star.

Luka is listed at 6 feet and 7 inches tall that can play any position from point guard through small forward. He was also put to start at the power forward position for Dallas earlier this season. So if the Mavericks do plan on trading away Smith, Luka can be the next starting point guard, depending on who they get in return.

When this news was first reported, two teams in the NBA have sparked interest in trading for the young point guard. Adrian Wojnarowski originally reported that the two teams that are interested in Smith are the Phoenix Suns and the Orlando Magic, which both teams are in need for a promising young and rising point guard.

A couple of days after this news broke out, it is now being reported by John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 that the Phoenix Suns have “no interest” in a trade for Dennis Smith Jr.

The Suns are a team that is in need for a point guard and it is quite odd for them not to be interested in a point guard with a bright future ahead of him. Smith Jr. can be the missing piece to the Suns starting lineup and hopefully get the team a couple of more wins and get Devin Booker to stay in Phoenix.

This leaves the Orlando Magic and other NBA teams to have a chance on getting DSJ. The Magic is the only team in the NBA that has been struggling with filling in that point guard spot in their lineup within the past couple of seasons. Yes, Phoenix does too but they may have a shot on drafting Murray State PG Ja Morant in this upcoming draft.

The current starting point guard for the Magic is D.J. Augustin who is currently averaging 11.4 points, 4.8 assists, and 2.2 rebounds per game. They’ve had many point guards in the past that did not workout with them. Without giving Augustin up for DSJ, the Magic can use his veteran presence as their 6th man and help develop Smith Jr for his future.

The trade deadline is currently three weeks away and who knows what teams will be interested and where Dennis Smith Jr. will end up. This also leads the question on everyone’s mind right now which is, “Will Dennis Smith Jr. get traded at all?”

Tensions Flare In Boston, As the Celtics Loss Again

The roller coaster of a season for the Boston Celtics goes on as tensions continue to raise amongst players, and in last night’s 105-103 loss to the Orlando Magic a brief disagreement was caught between head coach Brad Stevens and superstar point guard Kyrie Irving.

First it was Marcus Morris and Jaylen Brown’s brief scuffle during a timeout in Thursday’s loss to the Miami Heat, and last night an argument was witnessed between Stevens and Irving over a drawn up play for the last shot of the game. At the end, Gordon Hayward inbounded the ball to Jayson Tatum, who then attempted a fade away over Magic guard, Wesley Iwundu, with 2.7 seconds remaining in regulation. After the game, Irving seemed frustrated over Hayward’s decision to give the ball to Tatum for the last shot, Irving can be seen telling Hayward, “You had Al,” who was open at the top of the key.

Irving Critical of Young Teammates over Lack of Experience

After the game Irving and Al Horford both questioned their young teammate’s inconsistent play, “We play hard at times. We don’t play hard all the time,” Horford said.

We’ve reached the mid-way point of the season and the Celtics continue to show inconsistency on both sides of the floor. Boston seemed to have figured it out after their team meeting occurred after their loss to Milwaukee on December 21. The Celtics won 7 of their last 9 games after the meeting took place, but their losses to non-playoff teams in the Heat and Magic over the week have the players thinking if the problem has resurfaced.

Irving was critical of his young teammates and how they’ve played this season, “The young guys don’t know what it takes to be a championship-level team. And if they think it is hard now, what do they think it will be like when we’re trying to get to the finals?” said Irving.

Time heals all Wounds

Even throughout these low points in the season Irving still believes in this team’s potential, “I know from the majority of the fact that we’re better than most teams in this league,” said Irving. “It’s just going out and proving it every single night and demanding it and actually showing it.”

Irving emphasized how experience has been a major issue to why this club hasn’t lived up to their potential. This is the most stacked team in the NBA and Brad Stevens has to find a way to mesh the egos of nine legit starting players into accepting new roles, which includes less playing time, low productivity and bench roles. Guys like Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum who were playing at an All-Star level last season have seen their productivity decline since Irving and Hayward returned this season.

Time will tell if the Celtics can bounce out of their inconsistency and FINALLY make a run at the number one seed. Home court advantage is going to play a major role in the playoffs with teams like Milwaukee, Toronto, Philadelphia and Indiana gunning for a spot to represent the East in the Finals since LeBron James departure to the West. We’ll see if Boston can get it together before it’s too late.

Should the Knicks be concerned with Frank Ntilikina?

In the last two games New York Knick’s guard, Frank Ntilikina’s play has looked erratic. Scoring 0 points in back to back losses is not a good sight for the young developing guard. His erratic play on offense this season is leaving Knicks fans displeased.

Ntilikina’s role with the Knicks seems out of place this season. With the Orlando Magic being interested in trading for him, a fresh start may be ideal for Ntilikina.

When scouting the play of Ntilikina, the only positive and consistent aspect of his game is his defense. His ability to play aggressive defense and lock down opposing players are his biggest strength. On the other hand, when on offense Ntilikina does not look confident at all.

The stats say it all for Ntilikina. Through 23 games into the season, he is playing 23 minutes per game and averaging around 6 points per game shooting 33% from the field and 25 % from 3 point land.

Sloppy offensive numbers from the second year player from France. Ntilikina isn’t a bad player, but he does need time to grow. He has the tools to become a great two-way player but he just hasn’t found his offensive niche in the NBA.

Ntilikina may have a similar case with Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antentokoumpo as a late bloomer in the NBA. It took 4 seasons for Giannis to adjust to the league and become a dominant scorer, only time can tell if the same may happen to Ntilikina. Giannis came out of Greece as an extremely raw prospect and lacked experience playing against elite level basketball talent.

Ntilikina’s struggles stem from the offensive side of the floor. His lack of aggression, consistency, and inability to create offense is concerning. Defensively you can’t teach effort, and his effort on defense is one of the best in a league where lockdown defense has become a lost art.

The Knicks shouldn’t look to trade him just yet in his young career, but try to mold and push the young 20-year old into developing a consistent offensive game. Ntilikina must look to tighten up his handle, learn craftier moves around the basket and find a go-to move if he wants to survive in the NBA as a starting point guard.

NBA Free Picks for February 8th, 2018

Last night we saw the Rockets fight the strong Miami wave of attack as the Rockets covered by 8. We also saw the Spurs absolutely destroy the Suns. What I tell ya? Booker makes that team. At one point the Suns were down by 40. The Pelicans somehow rained out being postponed.

2-0 since yesterday. I have 4 picks again tonight. I feel like tonight may be the strongest for the favorited teams.

Raptors -13.5 vs the New York Knicks

DeMar-DeRozan-road-uni-reacts

The Knicks are coming off the heart breaking game against the Bucks where they lost their superstar Kristaps Porzingis. The Knicks have gone 3-7 the past 10. The Raptors have gone 7-3. If Porzingis didn’t get hurt, the spread would be a little outrageous. Without KP, the Knicks are an even worse team that struggles to find a main point in scoring for their offense. They struggled even with KP. I expect the Raptors to continue their dominance at home possibly by a 20 point blowout here. The Raptors are 22-4 at home.

Hawks +1.5 vs the Orlando Magic

The Magic and the Hawks enter on a 2 game winning streak. The Magic have a terrible record going 17-36 this season. They are their “best” at home going 10-14. The Hawks also have a terrible record going 17-37. They are 8-21 on the road this year.

Kent+Bazemore+vAxx7YusQDvm

Apparently Elfrid Payton was just traded. That impacts the Magic on offense terribly. They acquired a pick in exchange from the Suns, which will help the Magic next season just not this season

The Magic will be without Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic, and possibly Jonathon Simmons as well so do your own research before the game. Without all of these players, the Hawks have a good shot to beat the Magic tonight in what should be a close gam between 2 struggling teams.

Celtics+1.5 vs the Washington Wizards

The Wizards have been playing absurdly better without John Wall. The Wizards have won 4 out of the last 5 games, the same for the Celtics. This matchup honestly could go either way here.

kyrie-irving-24e90a39cddeba23Kyrie Irving is rumored to come back tonight. If he does, the Celts should win this in a back and forth game.

It will definitely be a challenge as the Wizards have been hot as of late. They are home tonight too. The Wizards will cool off eventually, maybe starting tonight against the East’s best in the Celtics. The Celtics main concern is the big man game. The Celts will need heavy production from their bench to top the Wizards tonight.

Mavericks +13.5 vs the Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors are the best team in the NBA right now. However, every once in a while the Warriors find themselves at times dazed from teams that are awful. The Kings upset last year, this year against the Nuggets.

Golden State Warriors v Minnesota Timberwolves

The Mavs are 2-8 the last 10. The Warriors have also struggled considering their talent going 6-4. The Warriors are looking to stop a 2 game skid, which should probably happen against an injury riddled Mavs team. KD is also questionable for tonight but as I stress, you should always do your own research. I see Dub nation getting the W easily here, but will they cover the spread? The Warriors are bad this year ATS going 23-30-1 this season. I say the Warriors win by 8 or 9 with the Mavs losing the entire game while coming back to threaten the Warriors slightly. If you can take the points, add them here against the NBA’s best team.

good-luck

Free NBA Picks for January 31st, 2018

Last nights card we saw the Thunder fail to win against the Wizards, the Timberwolves covered against the Raptors, the Cavs underperformed once again looking very scary, and finally; the Trail Blazers beat the Clips outright pushing for an even night.

I have 2 suggestions tonight

Lakers -2.5 vs the Orlando Magic

Screen-Shot-2017-11-03-at-11.30.30-PM-e1509777087763

The Lakers ride into Orlando on a 7-3 streak the past 10 games, opposed to the Magic who are 2-8 the past 10. Lonzo will be out tonight, but I think the Lakers will have enough production to pace the Magic.

The Lake show is 7-16 on the road. But the Lakers are on a hot streak and I expect it to continue at least tonight agains the struggling Magic.

It should be a close game considering the Magic were embarrassed last night by James Harden and the Rockets.

Celtics -5.0 vs the New York Knicks

NBA: Boston Celtics at Orlando Magic

The Celts and the Knicks clash as the Knicks look to continue a short 2 game winning streak. The Celtics at home are 18-8. They are 5-5 in the last 10, but I expect Kyrie Irving to serve up tonight against the Knicks. I also can see Michael Beasley having a big game for the Knicks.

The Celts are disgusting at home, I trust them to have a big game against the Knicks if the Knicks make it interesting. Send it

 

NBA Week in Review: 11/1/17

After the first full week of NBA action, though it is still early in the season, a couple of clear points of analysis have come to light. In what most fans thought would be another season where it was clear that only four teams had a true chance at winning an NBA title, it can be argued that the dynamic of only a few dominant teams has been turned on its head.

Today we are going to take a look at six specific teams; one overachiever in each conference, one underachiever in each conference, and one team in each conference that is exactly where they should be.

 

Overachievers

 

EASTERN CONFERENCE: ORLANDO MAGIC (5-2)

Magic Happy

At the beginning of the season, many experts had the Orlando Magic finishing at the bottom of the conference, given that they have a younger team with a lack of real chemistry together. However, led by a 3-0 start at home and the core of forwards Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon and center Nikola Vucevic, along with the defensive efforts of guard and recent signee Jonathan Simmons, Orlando has been able to put up a fight against ‘better’ teams, most notably with victories over the San Antonio Spurs and the Cleveland Cavaliers thus far.

Their 5-2 record has earned them second in the Eastern Conference, however this is likely a circumstance from a struggling Cleveland Cavaliers team being absent from the top of the standings. Though they do seem to be better than expected, it seems that their fortunes against elite teams seems to just be a hot streak, and we’ll see the team cool down in the next week or so.

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE: MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (5-2)

Miami Heat v Memphis Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies had finished last season with a 43-39 record and the seventh seed in the West. Though the roster from last season is very similar the roster of this one, there is one gaping absence in forward Zach Randolph. Randolph was a tough player with a lot of hustle, and with his absence it was thought that many close games would fall out of favor for the Grizzlies. Despite these speculations, the Grizzlies have been able to carry on as a team that seems to be even better than that of last year’s team. To go along with contributions from their usual stars in guard Mike Conley and center Marc Gasol, Chandler Parsons has returned to form as the offensive threat the Grizzlies wanted him to be when signing him in 2015. He has been a vital scorer for the team, capped off by a 25 point performance in 19 minutes in a huge win over the Houston Rockets.

It is still a bit early to say for sure, but it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the Grizzlies keep this play up. It is almost certain that this team won’t finish the season as the first seed that they are now, but a fifth or sixth seed finish should, at this point, come to no surprise to fans anymore.

 

Note: These two overachievers go head to head Wednesday night in Orlando. A preview from nba.com can be seen here:

Preview: Magic vs. Grizzlies 11/1/17

 

Underachievers

 

EASTERN CONFERENCE: CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (3-4)

Cavaliers Lebron and Shumpert

The Cavs are stacked. Even though they lost their star point guard in Kyrie Irving, it is undeniable that the additions of guards Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade make a huge impact on the team. To most experts, this change meant domination in the East, and a sure ticket to the NBA Finals for a fourth straight year. Despite this, the term “too many cooks in the kitchen” doesn’t ring more true for this franchise right now. Chemistry has not been at its best, especially for players like Rose and Wade who are trying to adjust to having smaller roles on the team. This on the fly adjustment has led the team to losses against mediocre squads like the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks.

If you are a Cleveland Cavaliers fan, I wouldn’t be too worried. The Cavs struggled for a lot of the first half of the season last year, and turned it around after the All-Star break. With a squad led by LeBron James, who has been in the finals each of the past seven seasons, Cleveland looks poised to turn this team around and keep his streak alive.

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE: SAN ANTONIO SPURS (4-3)

BKN Spurs Rockets 24

At the middle of last week, it seemed the San Antonio Spurs would make the list of overachievers, starting off the season 4-0. However, the Spurs followed that with three straight losses. This can be attributed to the Spurs’ changes to the bench, most specifically the loss of guard Jonathan Simmons, as seen after the Spurs suffered a blowout loss to Simmons’ new team in the Orlando Magic.  Without key players that the Spurs had last year off the bench, the defense has been lackluster, which comes as a huge surprise for a team led by Gregg Popovich.

The San Antonio Spurs have appeared in the playoffs for an astounding 20 straight seasons. As long as Gregg Popovich is coach and forward Kawhi Leonard is leading the team, there is no doubt that San Antonio will find a way to turn things around and even finish in the top four seeds of the conference.

 

Right Where They Should Be

 

EASTERN CONFERENCE: BOSTON CELTICS (5-2)

Kyrie Boston Signing

Gordon Hayward’s injury on opening night against the Cleveland Cavaliers was a devastating blow to the Celtics that left fans disenchanted. However, the Celtics have been as dominant as predicted before the injury in his absence. After an 0-2 start, Boston has found their stroke, and are currently on a five game winning streak, and hold the first seed in the East. Point guard Kyrie Irving and center Al Horford have been performing as expected, while guards Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and forward Jayson Tatum have all broken out as young, potential stars that contribute to the team on both sides of the floor.

Brad Stevens has done an amazing job coaching this young team, and even without the services of Gordon Hayward, the Boston Celtics look mentally poised to maintain this elite level of play throughout the season and into the playoffs. The Cleveland Cavaliers should be very afraid.

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE: MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES (4-3)

Oklahoma City Thunder v Minnesota Timberwolves

The offseason was very kind to the Minnesota Timberwolves, most notably with the additions of guard Jimmy Butler and guard/veteran sixth man Jamal Crawford. Though it is evident that the young team still needs a bit of time to really gel together, the young players that lead the team are progressing right on schedule. Forward Andrew Wiggins is budding into an all star, and center Karl-Anthony Towns is arguably the best at his position in the league.

Once this team’s chemistry really molds together, they are going to be making frequent visits to the overachiever section of this list. Minnesota has many offensive and defensive weapons, and once they are able to use them as a unit, this will be a team to watch this season.

 

After a wild week in the NBA, it can be expected that we are in for a ride for the entire season, and regardless of team records, fans everywhere are winning right now.