2018 NBA Mock Draft

QMS 2018 NBA Mock Draft

Because of conflicting schedules, the QuarterMasters were unable to do a podcast for the 2018 NBA Draft, so we’re rocking it old school in the blog. The picks were handed out snake draft style and will be color-coded. (TreBabs, The Cannon, Rongy, TyGuy) Trades are accepted and will be explained when necessary.

1. Phoenix Suns – DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona

This seems like an easy choice. Ayton has the potential to be an elite offensive big in this league. Pair him with Devin Booker and the Suns will have a 1-2 punch reminiscent of Shaq & Kobe.

2. Sacramento Kings – Jaren Jackson Jr., PF, Michigan St.

The Kings out-King themselves once again. While Jackson Jr. has obvious talent and upside, leaving Marvin Bagley III, Luka Doncic, and Mo Bamba on the table at two seems like a very Kings move. However, Jackson would be a good fit along Willie Cauley-Stein in the Sac-Town frontcourt.

3. Atlanta Hawks – Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma

A reach but the Hawks get their superstar of the future. Young is the only player in NCAA history to lead Division I in scoring and assists in the same season. While ultimately I believe the Hawks will trade out of this pick to stockpile more draft chips, the Hawks could view Young as the next Steph Curry and take a risk here.

4. Memphis Grizzlies – Mo Bamba, C, Texas

The Griz get the fire to Marc Gasol’s ice. Good luck matching up with two seven-footers, one who can step out and make you pay from behind the arc and one that will punish you with athleticism inside. Even if Gasol bounces town when his contract expires, Memphis gets its big man of the future.

5. Dallas Mavericks – Wendell Carter Jr., PF, Duke

Carter is perhaps the biggest project among the top five picks; however, his intangibles are off the charts. A core of Carter with Dennis Smith Jr. will anchor the Mavs for years to come.

6. Denver Nuggets (via Magic) – Michael Porter Jr., SF, Missouri

With Trae Young getting nabbed at three and Mo Bamba at four, the Magic begin to field trade offers for the six. Enter the Nuggets, who part with the fourteenth and forty-third picks in the years draft along with the contract of Kenneth Faried to the Magic for the sixth pick. With the pick, the Nuggets get who they believe is the best shooting big man talent in the entire draft. Many questions surround the health of Porter’s back, but his upside makes it worth the risk for the Nuggets who are a star piece away from contending in the West.

7. Chicago Bulls – Marvin Bagley III, PF, Duke

Getting a player that many consider a top-3 talent in the draft at 7 would be a steal for the Bulls. Bagley might not be an ideal fit, but if he could work alongside Markkanen, they would make a tantalizing front court duo.

8. Cleveland Cavaliers – Luka Doncic, PG/SG, Slovenia

It’s likely Doncic will not fall this far on Thursday night, but if you’re the Cavaliers this is a dream situation. With or without LeBron, the Cavaliers get a guy who fits their biggest need, a legitimate primary ball handler with insane court vision.

9. New York Knicks – Mikal Bridges, SF, Villanova

In a very un-Knicks move, New York goes with a safe pick here. Mikal Bridges fills a big need at small forward and adds some much-needed wing defense.

10. Philadelphia 76ers – Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama

Though Ben Simmons is a great point-forward, the Sixers add a young true point guard to the mix picking Sexton at ten. The freshman from Alabama has the ability to be a good scorer in the NBA and would be a solid piece to continue the “process.”

11. Charlotte Hornets – Kevin Knox, SF, Kentucky

Michael Jordan, new GM Mitch Kupchak, and the Hornets have three options here; Shai Gilgeous-Alexander if they want to grom Kemba’s replacement, Miles Bridges if they’re looking for an MKG replacement or Kevin Knox. They end up opting for a little offense to give Kemba some help on the wing.

12. Los Angeles Clippers – Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State

Miles Bridges isn’t going to be able to replace Blake Griffin, but he’ll damn sure try. Bridges is too short to exclusively play power forward in the NBA, but his explosiveness and strength will allow him to hold his own when asked to handle such duties. In today’s NBA, players like Bridges can play a significant role on a championship team.

13. Los Angeles Clippers – Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami

Walker may be the best shooter in this draft, something the Clips desperately need. The “other team” in LA could also benefit from Walker’s South Beach flair. If the Lakers do indeed add 1-2 superstars to their young squad, the Clippers will need an exciting player to fill the stands.

14. Orlando Magic (via Nuggets) – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky

After trading away the sixth pick in the draft, the strategy pays off for Orlando and they get their point guard of the future. SGA is a freakishly long point guard with the ability get into the lane and finish in traffic. If the Magic can retain Aaron Gordon this offseason, the tandem would be a highlight machine.

15. Washington Wizards – Brandon McCoy, C, UNLV

McCoy is the best center still available. A big presence inside will go nicely with their current guard combo. McCoy’s free throw shooting upside could benefit the Wizards greatly, especially playing alongside an elite slasher in John Wall.

16. Phoenix Suns – Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech

With their second pick in the first round, the Suns select one of the smartest players in the draft to pair with Devin Booker. While his offensive game is still a work in progress, Smith is already an NBA-level defender. His shot isn’t broken and has the potential to develop into a solid scorer in the league. His high basketball IQ will help overcome some of the growing pains as his game formulates.

17. Milwaukee Bucks – Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA

Milwaukee picks up a guard that can be an on-ball PG or help space the floor when Giannis has the ball in his hands. As one of the few first round upperclassmen, Holiday will be capable addition to the Bucks playoff caliber squad.

18. San Antonio Spurs – Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova

With the Kwahi Leonard saga still churning, the Spurs find themselves in a bit of a purgatory. Regardless, shooting is crucial in the NBA and DiVincenzo can fill it up. A safe, yet solid pick for Greg Popovich.

19. Atlanta Hawks – Robert Williams, PF, Texas A&M

The Hawks pair last year’s first-round pick, John Collins, with a stout rebounder and rim protector.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves– Moritz Wagner, C, Michigan

Jeff Teague, Andrew Wiggins, Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns, Moritz Wagner. Enough said.

21. Utah Jazz – Omari Spellman, PF, Villanova

The Jazz select Spellman to pair with their current big man, Rudy Gobert. The forward out of Villanova is a strong defender and can all step out and shoot the ball when needed.

22. Chicago Bulls – Keita Bates-Diop, SF, Ohio State

Bates-Diop is the wing the Bulls need to complete a solid young core of Zach Lavine, Kris Dunn, Lauri Markennen, and Marvin Bagley. Look for him to be a Khris Middleton type player in the NBA.

23. Indiana Pacers – Elie Okobo, PG, France

There’s no way the Pacers pass on the explosive point guard from France. Okobo’s length and ability to play within a system make him a perfect option to pair with Victor Oladipo in the Indy backcourt.

24. Portland Trail Blazers – Chandler Hutchinson, SF, Boise State

Hutchinson offers a playmaking wing to link up with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. He’s not the greatest defender or shooter, but his ability to cut off-ball and take the load off the top two options make him a perfect fit in Portland.

25. Brooklyn Nets (via Lakers) – Hamidou Diallo, SG, Kentucky

*The Nets trade the 29th pick to the Lakers for the 25th pick & Luo Deng.* The Nets take on Luol Deng’s contract to come up and get a solid shooter who can play both ends of the floor.

26. Philadelphia 76ers – Gary Trent Jr., SG, Duke

Philly is filling their bench with this pick. Trent is a good young shooter who could be the answer to replacing JJ Reddick whenever he departs.

27. Boston Celtics – Jacob Evans, SG, Cincinnati

The Celtics take one of the toughest defenders in the draft that can guard multiple positions. If Evans develops a shot, he could end up being a steal for Boston.

28. Golden State Warriors – Mitchell Robinson, C, NONE.

If there is any team that can take a chance on a major unknown, it’s Golden State. Robinson is the ultimate unknown. He is the center that could open up Steve Kerr’s playbook. The only issue is he didn’t play anywhere competitively last season.

29. Los Angeles Lakers (via Nets) – Kevin Huerter, SG, Maryland

*The Lakers trade the 25th pick & Luol Deng to the Nets for the 29th pick* In a draft that’s all about attracting superstars to LA, the Lakers do two important things there; get rid of Deng’s contract and bring in a lethal shooter off the bench.

30. Atlanta Hawks – Khyri Thomas, PG, Creighton

By drafting Thomas, the Hawks get their Klay to Trae Young’s Steph. Thomas is highly-composed with a pure shooting stroke that should assimilate well with the current NBA.

Twitter Update: The NBA is Rigged

The NBA is Rigged

The NBA is rigged and everyone knows it. However, no entity seems to know it better than our friends on social media. So instead of telling you that the NBA is rigged myself, I’ll let Twitter tell you.

While I could go deep into the history of accusations of rigging against the league, in honor of this past weekend’s events, I’ll just focus on the 2017-18 season.

We Knew it in October 2017

November: Lonzo For MVP? No? Rigged.

Skip Ahead: Eastern Conference Finals Game 3

Eastern Conference Finals Game 4

Reminder: This was only Game 4, people.

Some were aware of it and didn’t even care. Side: He’s a Rockets fan.

Western Conference Finals Game 4

After some late Golden State miscues, they were given 0.5 seconds on the clock and had a shot to tie the game.

Even Kevin Durant knows things are rigged:

Eastern Conference Finals Game 5

Series tied at two.

Mid-game thoughts:

Some were still WOKE.

Western Conference Finals Game 5

It wasn’t a just a dream, it was a vision.

Eastern Conference Finals Game 6

After the first quarter.

Even the hockey guy sees it.

Western Conference Finals Game 6

Eastern Conference Finals Game 7

Another Hockey Guy…

Cleveland wins the Eastern Conference Finals. LeBron James clinches his 8th straight Finals appearance. 

Western Conference Finals Game 7

Golden State wins the Western Conference Finals and advances to their 4th straight NBA finals.

The Aftermath: May 29th

Shun the non-believers (and it was 27 threes missed in a row btw.)

Another non-believer…

Big Picture

With the impending Warriors-Cavs IV, I wonder: which way will the NBA tilt the scales this time around? Could they be setting up a potential tie-breaking 5th series in 2019? How will the NBA’s rigging of The Finals effect LeBron James’ off-season plans? Stay glued to these folks Twitter feeds to find out. 

Rongy’s Rankings: The Top 25 Players Left in the NBA Conference Finals

Ranking the Players Left in the NBA Conference Finals

We’re four games deep into the NBA Conference Finals. In the East, the Celtics and Cavaliers are tied at two as that series heads back to Boston for Game 5 on Wednesday. Out West, a tough fought Game 4 by the Houston Rockets have their series with the Warriors tied at two as well. That series heads back to Texas for Game 5 Thursday. Here’s my ranking of the top 25 players still playing in the NBA Conference Finals.

25. Jordan Clarkson

  • Despite not playing in Game 2 and only logging 4 minutes in Game 4, it’s hard to dismiss Clarkson from this list. Out of the three midseason Cavalier additions, Clarkson is most likely to impact the rest of the series. We all know what Clarkson is capable of given the opportunity.

24. George Hill

  • After joining the team late in the season, George Hill has logged solid minutes for the Cavs this postseason. His previous postseason experience is definitely a bonus. In four games, Hill is averaging 8.5 points per game in the Conference Finals.

23. Shaun Livingston

  • Since joining the Warriors four years ago, Livingston has been a solid force off the bench. These playoffs are no different. Livingston’s impact is felt more on the court than shows up on the stat sheet, but his 15 minutes per game are crucial to the Dub’s success. 

22. Marcus Morris

  • Marcus Morris is the Celtics’ goon but is quietly averaging 13 points and 5.8 rebounds per game in the Conference Finals. If Boston is going to win the series, Morris’ physicality will need to be felt.

21. J.R. Smith

  • We all know J.R. Smith is the ultimate microwave. Though he’s only averaging 6 points and 3 rebounds per game in the Conference Finals, it only takes one big three to go in to light Smith on fire. In Cleveland’s two losses, Smith did not make a 3 pointer. In the Cavs two wins, JR hit three 3’s in each game.

20. Kyle Korver

  • Korver’s defensive intensity in Game 4 may have been the difference in the outcome. The 37-year old was all over the court causing havoc for the Celtics, some of which are almost 20 years younger than Korver. KK is averaging 11 points and 3 rebounds per game in the Conference Finals.

19. Clint Capela

  • Capela has better stats in the Rockets two WCF losses than in the Rockets two wins. It most likely has everything to do with their opponent. Capela is still averaging close to a double-double with 9.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per game in the Conference Finals.

18. Marcus Smart

  • Marcus Smart is the spark off the C’s bench. He’s a defensive bulldog and one of the best full-court defenders in the league. In the Eastern Conference Finals, Smart is averaging 8.8 points, 6.5 assists, and 3.3 rebounds per game playing roughly 28 minutes per game.

17. Trevor Ariza

  • Ariza does a little bit of everything for the Rockets. In the Conference Finals, Ariza is averaging 10.5 points on 51.9% shooting to go with 3 rebounds, 2.3 assist, and a steal per game.

16. Andre Iguodala

  • The fifth member of the Hamptons 5 was absent from Game 4 with no soreness. His status for Thursday’s Game 5 is still up in the air. His inability to go in Game 4 definitely affected the Warriors rhythm and could be the reason Golden State couldn’t stop the Rockets late in the game. 

15. P.J. Tucker

  • In Houston’s two wins in the WCF, P.J. Tucker has been huge in one way or the other. In Game 2, Tucker poured in 22 points out of nowhere on 8 for 9 shooting from the field. Two games later, Tucker came up big on the glass, pulling down 16 boards. 

14. Tristan Thompson

  • I know. This seems high, but when you think about it, it’s not. When Tristan Thompson is involved, the Cavs usually play well. That was evident in Game 4 when he looked like the player we know he can be. He’s slightly under averaging a double-double (9.8/9.3) in the Conference Finals.

13. Terry Rozier

  • In Kyrie Irving’s absence, Scary Terry has been an unsung hero for the Celtics in the playoffs. Rozier is averaging 13.8 points, 5.8 assists, 5.3 rebounds in the Conference Finals. He’ll need to continue his big postseason if the C’s want to get past Cleveland.

12. Eric Gordon

  • Despite a rough 1 for 8 performance from three-point land in Game 4, Gordon still finished the evening with 14 points. Since his 27 point showing in Game 2, where he shot 6 for 9 behind the arc, EG has gone cold from downtown. On the road in games 3 and 4, Gordon combined for 3 of 16 from three-point. He’s going to need to find his stroke in Game 5 if the Rockets are going to take control of the series at home.

11. Jayson Tatum

  • JT had an awesome rookie season, but his game has risen to the next level in the playoffs. Tatum is scoring 15.5 per game on 47.8% shooting from the floor in the ECF. Not bad for a kid that was preparing for the combine this time last year.

10. Al Horford

  • After Gordon Hayward and Kyrie went down with injuries, the Celtics have turned to Horford for veteran leadership. Horford has delivered. Big Al is averaging 14.3 points and 7 rebounds per game in the ECF.

9. Kevin Love

  • Kevin Love is an enigma. Idk. He’s good, I just don’t like his fit with the Cavs. In the ECF games he’s contributed by scoring 17+, the Cavs lost. The two games the Cavs won, Love scored 13 and 9 points respectively. Love has been big on the boards throughout the series tallying 8-15-14-11 in the four games.

8. Jaylen Brown

  • A star has been born. JB is averaging 20.3 points per game in the ECF and has been the Celtics main scoring threat in the playoffs. Though Horford, Rozier, and Tatum have been outstanding this postseason, the C’s hopes ride with this kid and the genius of Brad Stevens.

7. Klay Thompson

  • Out of the Warriors Big 4, Klay has struggled the most in the Conference Finals. Aside from his 28 point output in Game 1, Klay combined for 31 in games 2-5. Furthermore, when Klay shoots better than 40% from the field in the WCF, the Warriors win. In the two games he shot below 40%, the Warriors lost.

6. Chris Paul

  • CP3 went for 27 in the Rockets Game 4 victory, including a 5 for 9 shooting clip from behind the three-point line. Houston will need more scoring like this from Paul the rest of the way if they hope to keep pace with the Warriors firepower. Harden can’t do it alone.

5. Draymond Green

  • Per usual, Draymond is up to his usual tactics. He’s annoying, yappy, and frustrating to his opponents on the court and I love it. On the stat sheet, he’s Mr. Everything for Golden State. In the WCF, Green is averaging 8 points, 11.3 rebounds, 7.3 assists, and 2 steals. 

4. Steph Curry

  • Chef Curry found his shot in Game 3 and went for 35 in the 40 point blowout. He then came back with 28 in the Game 4 loss. With every game, he looks closer to form. It could be at the perfect time, they’ll need a big performance from him if they want to survive the WCF.

3. James Harden

  • Harden vs. Curry is somewhat of a toss-up. Since Curry is still getting back into the groove following injury and Harden is playing at an All-World level, edge Harden. In the WCF, Harden is averaging 29.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 5.8 assists. 

2. Kevin Durant

  • KD is a walking 30 points a game. He had his worst performance of the Western Conference Finals in Game 4 where he shot 9-24 from the field for 27 points. I know, it’s weird to call a 27 point game a bad game, but I expect a much better game from Durant in Game 5. 

1. LeBron James

  • Did you think it would be anyone else? LeBron is doing LeBron things again, essentially willing his team to victory. He’s dropping 40+ like its nothing. He’s still the best player on the planet, people.

2018 NBA AllStar Game Mock Draft

2018 NBA AllStar Game Mock Draft

In honor of the 2018 NBA AllStar Game Draft, the first ever, we decided to have a little fun with it and conduct a mock draft of our own. Cannon will represent LeBron James as one team captain and I (Rongy) will serve as Steph Curry and the other team captain. Since LeBron earned the most votes, he will pick first. The first four rounds will be devoted to picking the game’s starters. LeBron will have the first pick in the first four rounds. The final seven rounds will fill out the respective rosters with Curry receiving the first pick in those rounds. 2018 NBA AllStar Game Mock Draft.

Team Captains: LeBron James (Cannon), Steph Curry (Rongy)

Starter Player Pool

East West
Kyrie Irving James Harden
DeMar DeRozan Kevin Durant
Giannis Antetokounmpo Anthony Davis
Joel Embid DeMarcus Cousins

Reserve Player Pool

East West
Kyle Lowry Damian Lillard
Bradley Beal Klay Thompson
John Wall Jimmy Butler
Victor Oladipo Russell Westbrook
Kevin Love LaMarcus Aldridge
Kristaps Porzingis Draymond Green
Al Horford Karl-Anthony Towns

Round 1

Team LeBron: Kevin Durant – Foward (Golden State Warriors)

Team Curry: Giannis Antetokounmpo – Foward (Milwaukee Bucks)

Round 2

Team LeBron: Anthony Davis –  Foward (New Orleans Pelicans)

Team Curry: DeMarcus Cousins – Foward (New Orleans Pelicans)

Round 3

Team LeBron: Kyrie Irving – Guard (Boston Celtics)

Team Curry: Joel Embid – Foward (Philadelphia 76ers)

Round 4

Team LeBron: James Harden – Guard (Houston Rockets)

Team Curry: DeMar DeRozan – Guard (Toronto Raptors)


Round 5

Team Curry: Russel Westbrook – Guard (Oklahoma City Thunder)

Team LeBron: Jimmy Butler – Guard (Minnesota Timberwolves)

Round 6

Team Curry: Kristaps Porzingis – Foward (New York Knicks)

Team LeBron: John Wall – Guard (Washington Wizards)

Round 7

Team Curry: Damian Lillard – Guard (Portland Trail Blazers)

Team LeBron: Karl-Anthony Towns – Foward (Minnesota Timberwolves)

Round 8

Team Curry: Victor Oladipo – Guard (Indiana Pacers)

Team LeBron: Klay Thompson – Guard (Golden State Warriors)

Round 9

Team Curry: LaMarcus Aldridge – Foward (San Antonio Spurs)

Team LeBron: Al Horford – Forward (Boston Celtics)

Round 10

Team Curry: Draymond Green – Forward (Golden State Warriors)

Team LeBron: Kyle Lowry – Guard (Toronto Raptors)

Round 11

Team Curry: Bradley Beal – Guard (Washington Wizards)

Team LeBron: Kevin Love – Forward (Cleveland Cavaliers)


Results

Team LeBron Starting Lineup

  • Kyrie Irving – G
  • James Harden – G
  • Kevin Durant – F
  • Lebron James – F
  • Anthony Davis – F

Team Curry Starting Lineup

  • Steph Curry – G
  • DeMar DeRozan – G
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo – F
  • Joel Embid – F
  • DeMarcus Cousins – F

Team LeBron Reserves

  • Jimmy Butler- G
  • John Wall- G
  • Klay Thomspon- G
  • Kyle Lowry – G
  • Karl-Anthony Towns- F
  • Al Horford- F
  • Kevin Love- F

Team Curry Reserves

  • Russell Westbrook- G
  • Damian Lillard- G
  • Victor Oladipo- G
  • Bradley Beal- G
  • Kristaps Porzingis- F
  • LaMarcus Aldridge- F
  • Draymond Green- F

 

While the results of the real All-Star draft won’t be made public, we can imagine the insanity that would ensue if it were. Next year they should televise the whole process.

NBA Power Rankings: Christmas Day

NBA Power Rankings: Christmas Day

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! Today is a day for family, friends, giving, and one of the best traditions in sports: NBA Christmas Day. Though we haven’t tried to power rank NBA teams since Thanksgiving, we felt Christmas Day would be the prime time to release new rankings. We all know the NBA season really doesn’t begin until Christmas Day. NBA Power Rankings: Christmas Day.

On tap for tomorrow, a five-game slate. 

  • 76ers at Knicks – Noon
  • Cavaliers at Warriors – 3 PM
  • Wizards at Celtics – 5:30 PM
  • Rockets at Thunder – 8 PM
  • Timberwolves at Lakers – 10:30 PM

Power Rankings

Bottom 5

30. Atlanta Hawks (8-25) [TG: 30]

  • The Hawks beat the Mavs on Saturday and still couldn’t get out of the bottom spot. Yikes. The rough season in the ATL continues.

29. Dallas Mavericks (9-25) [TG: 27]

  • Mark Cuban’s Mavs are in the midst of a tough stretch. Over their last ten, Dallas is 2-8. The Mavericks rank in the bottom tier of the league in both field goal percentage and offensive rebound percentage, an excellent recipe for failure.

28. Orlando Magic (11-23) [TG: 22]

  • After a hot 8-4 start, the Magic have gone ice cold. Since November 10th, Orlando’s record is 3-19 including two losing streaks of 8+ games.

27. Memphis Grizzlies (10-23) [TG: 20]

  • Since David Fizdale’s dismissal in November, the Grizzlies have yet to show any improvement. Expect a fire sale at the trade deadline. Gasol should be on the move, we’ll wait and see on Mike Conley.

26. Los Angeles Lakers (11-20) [TG: 23]

  • With all eyes firmly on Lonzo, the young Lakers are still experiencing growing pains under second-year head coach Luke Walton. Brandon Ingram’s emergence as a star is promising for LA. The Lake Show will be an intriguing watch at the trade deadline as they look to cash in on their young assets as well as positioning themselves to make a run at a marquee free-agent this summer.  

 

Middle 20

25. Phoenix Suns (12-23) [TG: 26]

24. Charlotte Hornets (12-21) [TG: 18]

23. Chicago Bulls (10-22) [TG: 29]

22. Sacramento Kings (11-21) [TG: 28]

21. Brooklyn Nets (12-20) [TG: 25]

20. Los Angeles Clippers (13-19) [TG: 24]

19. Philadelphia 76ers (14-18) [TG: 12]

18. Utah Jazz (15-19) [TG: 21]  

17. New York Knicks (17-15) [TG: 17] 

16. New Orleans Pelicans (17-16) [TG: 15]

15. Miami Heat (17-16) [TG: 19]

14. Portland Trail Blazers (17-16) [TG: 11] 

13. Indiana Pacers (19-14) [TG: 16]

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (18-15) [TG: 14]

11. Denver Nuggets (18-15) [TG: 13]

10. Washington Wizards (18-15) [TG: 10]

9. Milwaukee Bucks (17-14) [TG: 9]

8. Detroit Pistons (18-14) [TG: 4]

7. Minnesota Timberwolves (20-13) [TG: 7]

6. Boston Celtics (27-9) [TG: 1]

 

Top 5

5. San Antonio Spurs (23-11) [TG: 8]

  • The Spurs are just doing Spurs things. You know what I’m talking about it. If you don’t you’ve been under a rock for two decades.

4. Toronto Raptors (23-8) [TG: 6]

  • Whether anyone else knows it or not, the Raptors are silently proving their case as legitimate contenders in the East. While Cleveland and Boston get the headlines, Toronto has been on the cusp for years now.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers (24-9) [TG: 5]

  • LeBron and the Cavs finally figured it out in December and strung together a nice winning streak. They’ll get Isaiah Thomas back soon. Watch out.

2. Golden State Warriors (26-7) [TG: 3]

  • Cavs/Warriors today should be fun, as always.

1.  Houston Rockets (25-6) [TG: 2]

  • The Rockets are coming for the Warriors and they want them to know it.

Thanksgivings NBA Power Rankings

Thanksgivings NBA Power Rankings

Thanksgivings NBA Power Rankings

Happy Turkey Day folks! No. Not Enes Kanter, Turkey. Turkey as in Thanksgiving’s Day. Eat up, people. Unfortunately, there are too many good college basketball and football games this week to worry about early season NBA rankings, so I’ll keep it short and sweet. The Celtics, Rockets, and Warriors are on their own level right now. Detroit, Cleveland, Toronto, Minnesota, and San Antonio are all in the mix behind them. Dallas, Sacramento, Phoenix, Chicago, and Atlanta are all trash. Here’s how they rank in my Thanksgivings NBA Power Rankings.

Power Rankings
Rk. Team Record
1 Boston Celtics 16-3
2 Houston Rockets 14-4
3 Golden State Warriors 13-5
4 Detroit Pistons 11-6
5 Cleveland Cavaliers 11-7
6 Toronto Raptors 11-6
7 Minnesota Timberwolves 11-7
8 San Antonio Spurs 11-7
9 Milwaukee Bucks 9-8
10 Washington Wizards 10-8
11 Portland Trail Blazers 10-8
12 Philadelphia 76ers 10-7
13 Denver Nuggets 10-8
14 Oklahoma City Thunder 8-9
15 New Orleans Pelicans 10-8
16 Indiana Pacers 10-8
17 New York Knicks 10-7
18 Charlotte Hornets 8-9
19 Miami Heat 8-9
20 Memphis Grizzlies 7-10
21 Utah Jazz 8-11
22 Orlando Magic 8-10
23 Los Angeles Lakers 8-11
24 Los Angeles Clippers 6-11
25 Brookyn Nets 6-11
26 Phoenix Suns 7-12
27 Dallas Mavericks 4-15
28 Sacramento Kings 5-13
29 Chicago Bulls 3-13
30 Atlanta Hawks 3-15

 


NBA Power Rankings (11/7)

NBA Power Rankings (11/7)

NBA Power Rankings (11/7)

It’s way too early for NBA Power Rankings. I hate this. We all know 20 million different things are going to happen between now and the start of the playoffs. Screw it, I tried anyway.

Top 5

1. Boston Celtics (9-2)

After starting the season with two straight losses and losing their key offseason addition, the Celtics have won eight straight. Currently, the C’s rank first in team defense and first in point differential. Right now, Boston is clicking on all cylinders.

2. Golden State Warriors (8-3)

The defending champs are currently tied for first in the Western Conference. It seems the Warriors have gotten their legs under themselves after losing two out of their first three. To no surprise, they are ranked first in the league in scoring averaging a whopping 120 points per game. That ten more than the next highest team. However, their defense needs some work; they allow almost 112 per contest. While some of the blame can be contributed to the pace at which they play at it is a minor concern that I believe will be corrected as the season progresses.

3. Detroit Pistons (7-3)

The early surprise of the NBA season has to be the Pistons. Detroit currently sits second in the Eastern Conference. They are possibly one of the most balanced teams in the league. All but one starter averages 14 ppg or more. Since you can’t hone in on one guy, they’ve become a nightmare for opposing defenses. With three wins against the top four teams in the West, it is hard to name another team in the league with a better resume at this point. The main question: can they keep it up?

4. Houston Rockets (8-3)

After beating the champs on opening night, it looked like Houston had a legit chance to dethrone Golden State in the West. With the loss of CP3 to an ankle injury, it looked as if those chances slightly diminished. However, James Harden has picked up the slack and the Rockets have won three straight. They have had one of the easier schedules so far, but they have taken care of business and are still tied with the Warriors for first in the West.

5. Minnesota Timberwolves (7-3)

The T-Wolves currently own the second-longest winning streak (4) in the NBA, trailing only Boston. It is starting to look like the T-Wolves have figured out how to play as a team. After all they high-profile offseason acquisitions, they now rank in the top five in scoring. Coach Tibs has got them playing some solid defense too, ranking top three in the league in takeaways. If they can continue to keep building on their recent defensive play, they should be a force in the West with the collection of young talent on the roster.

Bottom 5

26. Phoenix Suns (4-7)

Just gonna leave this here. Step 2 of the rebuild complete. Deal the disgruntled veteran and stockpile draft picks.

Here’s one reason why the Knicks didn’t fall into the Bottom 5.

27. Chicago Bulls (2-6)

After his scrap with Bobby Portis, Niko declares this town isn’t big enough for the two of us.

28. Atlanta Hawks (2-9)

Dennis Schroder may be the Hawks best player at this point, but no one’s safe from Kyrie:

29. Sacramento Kings (1-8)

At least De’Aaron Fox is still optimistic. I mean he was a lottery pick.

30. Dallas Mavericks (1-10)

They can’t win now, but Dennis Smith gives them a bright future.

 

Time to Press the Panic Button in Cleveland?

Time to Panic in Cleveland?

The Cleveland Cavaliers have come out to a surprising 3-5 record to start the year. They also are currently mired in a four-game losing streak to the likes of the Nets, Pelicans, Knicks, and Pacers. Is this cause for concern? The answer is simply no. It’s way too early in the young season to panic on a team with LeBron. Listen up Cavs fans. You still have the best player on the planet surrounded by a cast of supporting vets. You’re going to be fine.

One thing everyone points to instantly is the absence of Kyrie Irving. There really does not seem to be anyone else on the active roster that has the ability to take over a game outside of LeBron. Until the Cavs get Isiah Thomas back, they may have some struggles at times on offense. LeBron will always have the attention of every defense. That means the rest of the team just has to hit their shots. It’s not that they are not getting shots or taking bad shots, they simply are missing wide-open shots.

When you replace Kyrie Irving with Derrick Rose and Dwayne Wade on the perimeter; neither of which has ever held anything sustainable behind the arc, you should expect some growing pains. You have to look at the Cavs defense outside of LeBron is there really anyone on the roster that is a lockdown defender? No, the cast LeBron has this year is essentially all scoring vets. The Cavs need to find some fire while creating some continuity.

Dwayne Wade Elaborates

Business As Usual at Practice

Another piece of the equation: do the Cavs really care about games in October and November? The answer: probably not much. Cleveland can go into the playoffs as a six seed and will still be favored out of the east. The main thing for the Cavs this season is their health. They are already without Isiah Thomas and there are multiple people on the roster with a history of injuries. If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the past few seasons is that LeBron will make it to the Finals. The King always finds a way to seemingly pick apart the Eastern Conference come playoff time. The only time you should ever hit the panic button if you are a Cleveland fan is if LeBron James sustains an injury, as long as he is in the lineup you always will have a chance.

Cavs Got Down on Halloween

Lakers Ball Out Behind Lonzo, Pull Out OT Win

Lonzo Ball meets John Wall

The Lead-Up

The Big Baller sideshow was back at it again Sunday. After a Lakers loss to the Pelicans, LaVar Ball was quoted saying, “[Washington] better beware cause Lonzo ain’t losing again. Not in the same week!” Another great sound byte to add to the Lavar Ball collection and another sound byte to add to the ammunition of Lonzo’s opponents. This time, John Wall and the Wizards decided to put Big Baller in their crosshairs and clap back. The battle started before the Wizards even got to LA. On Twitter, Marcin Gortat began stirring the pot with this tweet:

The next day, Wall spoke with the Washington Post’s Candance Bruckner on the subject:

“Nah, no mercy,” Wall responded when asked if he would show leniency to the 19-year-old rookie point guard despite his braggadocious father.

“Certain matchups you really get up for. Like when you play [Golden State Warriors guard] Steph [Curry], you definitely want to have a good game,” Wall said. “I’m playing against [Ball]. [Gortat] said what he said about me. I didn’t say anything. His dad has been talking. … That makes me want to go out there and lead my team and play the best I can play.

“His dad has gone on top of all that. Forget what the media is saying. ‘This is what my son is.’ Which, I’m not knocking him. He’s hyping his son up but he’s already getting all that hype. … He’s just taking it to another level.

“We didn’t say nothing about him, nothing to him, and he says, ‘The Wizards better be ready because he don’t ever lose two in a row,'” Wall continued, then scoffed at the absurdity of the father’s boast. “Like, this is the league now. It’s a different ballgame.”

Game Time

On Wednesday, the Wiz arrived in LA and the opening tip was thrown up at 7:30 PM PST. In the first quarter, the Lakers were able to hop out an early advantage behind Larry Nance Jr’s fierce start cleaning up the glass for his teammates. After one-quarter of play, the Lakers held a 23-18 lead. While John Wall got off to a slow start, Ball was already making an impact for his team. Here’s a look at their totals from the first quarter:

1st Quarter

John Wall Lonzo Ball
1/3 FG 0/1 FG
2 Pts 3 Reb
1 Ast 1 Ast
1 Stl 1 Blk
2 TO 1 Stl
2 PF
LAL leads 23-18

In quarter number two, John Wall was ready to make his presence felt. Though he missed his first three shots of the quarter, Wall was able to dish out two assists. Finally, Wall was able to get a shot to fall late in the second, a pull-up jumper from 13 feet to extend the lead to five with 44 seconds remaining. Jordan Clarkson answered back for the Lakers with a three-pointer with three seconds to go. That was all the time John Wall needed:

After two, Washington leads 49-45. Here’s a look at Ball and Wall’s totals through the half:

2nd Quarter

John Wall Lonzo Ball
3/8 FG 0/2 FG
0/1 3PA 3 Ast
6 Pts 4 Reb
3 Ast 1 Blk
1 Reb 1 Stl
1 Stl 2 PF
3 TO
1 PF
WAS leads 49-45

Washington and Wall continued to push Luke Walton’s young Laker squad in the 3rd. Wall poured in ten points and assisted on four Wizards baskets in the period. Lonzo, on the other hand, was just playing his game, not trying to do too much but helping where he can. In the quarter, the youngster dimed out three assists and scored his first bucket of the game to help keep the Washington lead close. The Wizards led by ten at the end of the quarter, but it could’ve been much worse. After three quarters:

3rd Quarter

John Wall Lonzo Ball
6/12 FG 1/3 FG
1/2 3PA 0/1 3PA
3/4 FT 2 Pts
16 Pts 6 Ast
7 Ast 4 Reb
1 Reb 1 Stl
1 Stl 1 Blk
4 TO 1 TO
1 PF 2 PF
WAS leads 79-69

Don’t be confused. Lonzo Ball is not a legitimate scoring threat in the NBA yet. He’s not going to average 20 points a night, at least this early in his career. However, Lonzo is still effective and proved that in the fourth quarter Wednesday night. In the last frame, the Lakers rallied around their rookie point guard and battled their way back into the game. Lonzo had his fingerprints all over the comeback assault. A big turning point in the game happened when Lonzo drew a foul on a three-point shot. Ball sank two of the three free throws to cut the lead to eight. Later in the quarter, Ball snagged a 50/50 ball off the glass for an offensive rebound that he quickly fired to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope who drained the 27-foot three point jumper. KCP’s three cut the Wizard lead to two points with less than four to play.

While Lonzo was helping orchestrate a comeback, John Wall was missing shots. The superstar missed all five of his shot attempts in the quarter.

Now a little over a minute to play, the Lakers found themselves down four and watching John Wall bring the ball up the court. Seconds later, Wall pulls up but misses the shot. The rebound gathered in by none other than Lonzo Ball. On the Laker possession, Kyle Kuzma misses a three-point attempt and the Wizards take over. With 29 seconds left, the Lakers force Bradley Beal to take a bad step-back jumper. He misses, Lonzo snags the defensive rebound again. This time, Lonzo quickly finds Julius Randle who unloads a three-bomb into the basket to cut the lead to one. The Lakers then put Bradley Beal on the line who missed the second free throw to leave the lead at two with twelve seconds left. As time expired, Brandon Ingram successful converted a tip-in and tied the game at 92-92. Wall vs Ball through regulation:

4th Quarter

John Wall Lonzo Ball
6/17 FG 1/8 FG
1/3 3PA 0/3 3PA
3/4 FT 2/3 FT
16 Pts 5 Pts
9 Ast 8 Ast
3 Reb 7 Reb
1 Stl 1 Stl
4 TO 1 Blk
1 PF 1 TO
3 PF
Tied 92-92

In the extra session, Los Angeles had all the momentum and Lonzo was the difference maker. Lonzo missed a three-pointer to start but then scored the Lakers first bucket of overtime on a layup. Later in overtime, Ball found Kyle Kuzma for a 25-foot three point jumper to give the Lakers their first lead of the second half,97-95. After a Lakers goaltending call, John Wall came back down an regained the Wizards lead with a layup. Ten seconds later, Lonzo dished to a wide-open Caldwell-Pope who nailed the go-ahead bucket. With eleven seconds remaining, Julius Randle blocked a John Wall layup. On the inbound pass, the Lakers broke coverage and Randle jammed home an easy dunk to extend the lead to three. With four seconds remaining, John Wall had an opportunity to tie the game, but his running three-point attempt wouldn’t fall. Lakers win. Lonzo wins.

Overtime
John Wall Lonzo Ball
7/22 FG 2/11 FG
1/5 3PA 0/5 3PA
3/4 FT 2/3 FT
18 Pts 6 Pts
9 Ast 10 Ast
3 Reb 8 Reb
1 Stl 1 Stl
4 TO 1 Blk
1 PF 1 TO
2 PF
-14 +13

While neither put up spectacular numbers, Lonzo wins this battle. By no means at all did John Wall “torture” Lonzo. Yes, Wall scored more points, but Lonzo was more effective, especially when it mattered. Most importantly, the Lakers won. A very impressive win for Lakers, as well. Heading into the game, Washington was undefeated and ranked 3rd in TyGuy’s latest Top 5. For now, out buddy LaVar was right. The next time these two team clash will be in Washington November 9th. Stay tuned.

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