This is my new series “10 Questions” that I will be doing ideally every week! There will be a football and a basketball one each week. Hope you enjoy and let me know if you want to see anything else!
- What’s next for the Ball family?
Lonzo will keep doing what he’s doing with the Lakers. The latest development with LiAngelo will not alter his status. For the other brothers, obviously, LiAngelo is most affected. According to Lavar, he will not be transferring to another school, so that begs the question as to what his other options are? Well, he can go overseas and play for a living in Europe. He could also train here with his own people and get ready for the draft. The only issue with that is that he was only a 3-star prospect, so he was not as highly touted as some people think. He will have to improve tremendously in order to have a legitimate chance to get drafted. Mitchell Robinson is also not going to college and preparing for the draft, but the difference is he was a 5-star and a top center in his class. For LaMelo, his eligibility is definitely in question. The Ball’s will have to prove he did not receive any compensation from Big Baller Brand, but more importantly from his signature shoe. He is also helping set up “pop-up shops” with Lavar, so with all the money and deals swirling around him, they will have to prove his eligibility. If he is eligible the plan, as of now, is for LaMelo to still attend UCLA.
2. Which Arizona team is legit?
Who knows at this point? We do know they have the talent to run the table. Allonzo Trier and Deandre Ayton are top 25 players in the nation and they have good surrounding pieces. The confusing part of the Wildcats is just consistency. They are coming off a huge win over the #7 team in the country in the Texas A&M Aggies. Only Allonzo Trier only took 7 shots and 7 points. Yet, Dusan Ristic had 13 points and was a big reason Arizona stayed in the game. On the flipside, when the Wildcats played NC State and lost in the 1st round of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, Trier was on fire. He had 27 points and 5 rebounds. Ristic had 11 points and 6 rebounds, so not a bad game but still was not as dominant. We know Ayton will be the leader of the team, but why is Trier not producing in wins? That’s the confusing part. Arizona will still be an elite 8 team come March, but it’s definitely a storyline that needs to be watched.
3. What’s the ceiling for the Michigan State Spartans?
Michigan State comes in 7-1 and their only loss coming to the #1 team in the country Duke. As conference play begins, they routed Nebraska and got by Rutgers. This team has some ironing out to do, but this might be the most talented team in East Lansing since the infamous Flintstones. Jaren Jackson is a stud defensively and is finding his role in the offense. Miles Bridges is a superstar and one of the most fun players to watch in college basketball. Cassius Winston and Nick Ward being two of the most underrated players in the country, is a reason the Spartans are a legitimate contender to the Blue Devils and Jayhawks come tournament time. They could win the title.
4. How big is the gap between Duke and everyone else?
Every team goes through growing pains this early in the season. We’ve seen it with Arizona, Kentucky, Michigan State, Notre Dame and others. What’s the difference with Duke then? They find ways to win. Look at the Texas game… they did not play well in that and were down by 16 at one point. The difference is three people that are unlike any other in college basketball. Marvin Bagley III. Grayson Allen. Mike Krzyzewski. Bagley is the best freshman in the country and can take over games. Grayson Allen is the best senior in the country and has four years of success, heartbreak and growing pains to use as a base. Coach Krzyzewski is the best coach in college basketball. All of those three things add up as to why Duke is far and ahead the best team in college basketball.
5. What college basketball game are you most excited for this week?
Oklahoma vs. USC. Trae Young is leading Oklahoma with 28.7 points per game and a win over USC could be what Boomer Sooner needs to get rolling going into conference play. USC has extremely high expectations on them and this game will be a big one to help them move up the rankings if they can take down the Sooners.
6. Which player surprised the most so far?
Aaron Gordon. Who expected this? Aaron has had multiple 40 point games already and is surprising everyone. His points average is up 7 points and is shooting a better percentage. The Magic got off to a hot start and a lot of that is due to Gordon. The Magic might have found a true gem in the draft that just took some time to develop.
7. What to make of all the injuries?
Gordon Hayward, D’Angelo Russell, Zach Lavine, Derrick Rose, Nikola Jokic, Paul Millsap, Danilo Gallinari, Blake Griffin, Mike Conley, Hassan Whiteside, Jabari Parker, Anthony Davis, Kristaps Porzingis, Markelle Fultz, Jonathan Isaac, Kawhi Leonard, Rodney Hood, John Wall, Stephen Curry, Devin Booker… That list is a list of better than average players who have missed a significant amount of time. I probably missed a few as well… The injuries really have piled up and depleted some teams AKA Clippers. When these guys get back, the league will only get better.
8. Are the Rockets the best team in the West?
The Rockets are 7-0 since Chris Paul returned, and they’ve led by as many as 20 points in each of those seven wins… they have been unstoppable. CP3 and Harden are gelling and the team is forming around them. D’Antoni’s system is now in its 2nd year and coming together. The Rockets are finally putting pieces in place to rival the Warriors… They need one more addition and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a star but they just need one more solid piece to truly compete with the Warriors.
9. Who won the Pacers-Thunder trade looking back?
I don’t think either team won or lost. It was a great trade for both teams. I was one of the big believers in the Pacers got swindled. But looking back, both teams got what they needed. The Thunder got Paul George, which put them in the race for the West. Oladipo and Sabonis were not going to get them there. The Thunder have crunch time issues, but they wouldn’t be in crunch time without PG-13. The Pacers got youth and scorers. Sabonis is in his 2nd year in the NBA and Oladipo is a scoring machine. He is averaging more points than Paul George did for the Pacers. I know it’s early, but Oladipo could be an instrumental part of the return to greatness in Indiana. Both teams got better and are in a good position.
10. Is Bradley Beal enough to keep the Wizards competitive?
Bradley Beal DESTROYED the Trail Blazers Tuesday night and dropped 51. The night before Beal and the Wizards got DESTROYED by the Jazz and lost by 47. So which Beal is the real one and can he get the Wizards going? Well, we knew Beal needed to pick it up when John Wall got hurt and was sidelined for two weeks. I don’t think we should expect to see 50+ points from him a game, but 25-35 a night isn’t unrealistic. He was the #3 pick in the draft for the reason, and it’s now or never for him to fulfill that potential and keep the Wizards in the top 5 while Wall is sidelined.