This Better Work– The Latest Lakers Edition

One month later and Laker fans are saying the same thing, “This better work”.

 

It started off mid-season last year when Jeanie Buss fired her brother and Mitch Kupchak, for the glamorous Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka. The 2nd half of the season gave fans reason to hope.

D’Angelo Russell made a game winner and scored 40 on the defending champs, Brandon Ingram put up new career highs on a nightly basis along with a poster dunk, Ivica Zubac showed flashes of potential to be the next Lakers center of the future, Jordan Clarkson looked prime to be the sixth man of the year, and the list goes on and on.

The offseason consisted of questions about Lonzo Ball and D’Angelo Russell’s fit and questions about whether or not Paul George would be a Laker. The season couldn’t start soon enough.

The only knock on Magic Johnson as the new president of basketball operations was could he be patient enough to let the young guys develop? He seems to love Brandon Ingram, as he has stated multiple times he is untouchable. D’Angelo Russell didn’t get much praise since the new regime came in.

On June 20, 2017, the Lakers future and plans changed drastically. No longer would the Lakers be developing young talent and turning into “the next Warriors”. Magic and Pelinka shipped D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets for Brook Lopez and pick 27 in the draft.

D’Angelo was the first player to bring the Lakers out of the Kobe era. His “Ice in my veins” and flashy plays, brought Laker fans excitement. The front office didn’t think Russell was a good enough leader, so they shipped him off for an expiring deal above average center and a deep 1st rounder. Lakers Outsiders put it best, “He gave the Lakers Ice in His Veins and they responded with the cold shoulder.”

Mozgov was also traded and that part of the trade shows the Lakers new focus. Get stars to come back to La La Land. By getting rid of the god-awful Mozgov, the Lakers cleared up 56 million dollars in cap. They can now sign one and possibly two max deals in 2018. LaMarcus Aldridge, Carmelo Anthony, and Kevin Durant didn’t make it clear enough. The Lakers don’t have the appeal they used to anymore. Yes, Paul George’s situation is different because he has publicly told the Lakers and Pacers he wants to go there. But is the Lebron scenario that much different?

These type of moves were the ones that us, as Laker fans, were worried about. Magic pulled the trigger on a two-year removed #2 overall pick, to HOPE that the Lakers can get Lebron. The new gameplan is sign stars, but let’s hope Magic and Pelinka have a different way of doing it than Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss. We know how that worked out.

This better work. Because if not, it could be a LONG process back to the top.

Jason Gandhi’s NBA Big Board

 

  • Lonzo Ball (1)

 

      1. Lonzo’s court vision and his ability to set his teammates up are the reasons he is my #1 player. He makes guys want to share the ball and orchestrated the fastest offense in college last year. Defensively, there is some work to do, but defense is a mentality. With his shot making ability, court vision and length, Lonzo, on the right team, could be a superstar in this league. My player comparison for him is Steve Nash or Jason Kidd.

 

  • Markelle Fultz (2)

 

      1. Everyone’s number one guy on their big board. I am not as high on him purely because of how dependent he is on having the ball and not having the winning pedigree. He can still score from anywhere and is very comfortable in pick and roll, something he has over Lonzo. He has superstar potential but needs to get more disciplined on defense and be better off the ball. My player comparison is D’Angelo Russell.

 

  • Jayson Tatum (3)

 

      1. Tatum, in my opinion, is the most NBA-ready prospect in the draft. He is 6’8” with a 6’11” wingspan, which will allow him to play the stretch 4 at the next level. He is very polished offensively but really needs to be more consistent on offense. He lacks elite athleticism but makes up for it with his length. This guy could be a perennial all-star. My player comparison is Danny Granger.

 

  • Josh Jackson (4)

 

      1. Jackson’s defense is the best in the draft. He is able to consistently guard 4 positions and is a freak athlete. His offensive game is where I’m hesitant. His shot needs a lot of work, and I’m not sure he can ever develop one. If he does, I think he could be the best player out of the class, but I personally do not buy that he develops it. My player comparison for him is Kawhi Leonard assuming he gets his shot.

 

  • De’Aaron Fox (5)

 

      1. De’Aaron Fox is hard to get a read on from NBA scouts. Some like him more than Ball, but others will put him below Dennis Smith Jr. I like him in the middle because of his potential to be a star in the league. His shot is below average, but he can still hit mid-range and floaters. His athleticism is phenomenal but weighing only 170 pounds factors into whether or not his athleticism will be put on display. He needs to get stronger in order to be able to take it into the paint in the NBA. My player comparison for him is John Wall.

 

  • Malik Monk (6)

 

      1. Monk is one of the safest picks in the draft. If nothing else develops, teams at least get a solid shooter to instantly score. If his defense and basketball IQ can develop, he can be a steal in the draft. He is this class’s best scorer so whatever team gets him at least gets an offensive stud. My player comparison is Devin Booker/Eric Gordon

 

  • Dennis Smith Jr. (7)

 

      1. Dennis Smith is another prospect who is very NBA ready already. He fits the modern NBA very nicely, being able to run PnR as well as score when necessary. He is on the rise for me right now as I watch more and more of his film. He has elite bounce and athleticism and that will make him a lot of people’s favorite player to watch out of this draft. My player comparison is Derrick Rose in his prime.

 

  • Jonathan Isaac (8)

 

      1. The best athlete of the draft. His freakish body and athleticism along with stellar defense this year has some scouts liked him as a better prospect than Jayson Tatum. Isaac’s offensive game needs too much work for me to put him that high, but I do like his potential in the right system. My player comparison is Giannis Antetokounmpo or Rashard Lewis

 

  • Frank Ntilinka (9)

 

      1. Ntilinka has a very raw offensive game. He struggles to shoot from deep but can drive the lane if needed. His defense is the reason he is so high on draft boards. The Mavericks are a team that has scouted him very thoroughly and the Knicks are another team that is in play, in the early lottery, to look at Ntilinka. My player comparison is Dante Exum.

 

  • Harry Giles (10)

 

      1. Giles’ is the hardest prospect to gauge. His talent puts him as a top 5-10 player easily. It’s the medical side that is the problem. With multiple ACL tears, teams have to be worried about. He has had three knee surgeries since 2013, so a major flag. If his tests come back showing no issues, he could be a late riser on draft night. My player comparison is Chris Webber or Julius Randle with a longer body.

 

  • Lauri Markkanen (11)

 

      1. Some people have said Markkanen has the best shot in the draft. I’d say he is second to Monk. He is the definition of a stretch 4 but really can’t go inside even if the team needed him to. He is very weak inside which limits his value to me, but his shooting makes him a definite lottery pick in the draft. Stretch 4’s are the most coveted position in the NBA right now. My player comparison is Dirk Nowitzki or Ryan Anderson

 

  • Zach Collins (12)

 

      1. Although Collins only attempted 21 threes (made 10), many project Zach Collins as a stretch 4 in the NBA. I don’t see it yet, but with his size and athleticism that could be his future. A lot of his position depends on where he is taken on draft night. To me, Collins is a lock to be a lottery pick on draft night, but where is the real question. My player comparison is Bill Laimbeer or Gorgui Dieng.

 

  • OG Anunoby (13)

 

      1. Giles is very similar to Giles in the respect that his talent his lottery-worthy, but the question mark pops up with his health. After injuring his ACL in January, teams need to decide whether a lottery pick is worth a player with injury history. His defense, pre-injury, would rival with Jackson for best in the class. The only concern was offensive consistency and getting a shot down. Very similar to Josh Jackson pre-injury. My player comparison is Stanley Johnson.

 

  • Donovan Mitchell (14)

 

      1. Coming into the combine, I, along with others, was not this high on Mitchell. He had the best testing at the combine without playing a minute of basketball. He showed his 6’10” wingspan and a better athlete and defender to a very similar Luke Kennard. Kennard and Mitchell are battling it out to see who will get called first. My player comparison is a less athletic Dwyane Wade.

 

  • Luke Kennard (15)

 

      1. As mentioned above, Kennard and Mitchell are very similar. Both are rising up draft boards as the day nears this week. Kennard is a better shooter than Mitchell but doesn’t have the athleticism. I think Kennard has more defensive potential, but right now Mitchell is a better defender. My player comparison is Klay Thompson with less defensive ability.

 

  • Justin Jackson (16)

 

      1. I like Jackson more than others. I think his potential as a 3 and d prospect is one that can keep in the league for a long time. If he can consistently defend 4 positions, and shoot the 3 in the high 30%’s, he can be a starter in this league for many years. My player comparison is Evan Turner.

 

  • Justin Patton (17)

 

      1. I think he has potential to be a steal in this draft. He isn’t a great athlete, but he can score in the post and rebound very effectively. The only concern I have with him is his lateral movement. He has poor foot speed, which could hurt him against quicker bigs. My player comparison is Myles Turner.

 

  • Terrance Ferguson (18)

 

      1. Ferguson has spurts in his game that make him look like a lottery pick, but there are also times when he looks like a 2nd rounder. He is VERY inconsistent. But he has potential to be an offensive stud. He was able to score at will some games so scouts have reason to be excited. My player comparison is Terrence Ross.

 

  • John Collins (19)

 

      1. John Collins had a phenomenal offensive season for the Demon Deacons. He was the focal point of Wake Forest’s offense last year and he blossomed nicely. His testing at the combine helped his stock rise, including a 38.5 inch vertical. He played a small center in college but being only 6’10” with a 6’11” wingspan, he will have to transition. Defensively, he isn’t long enough. He needs to show his shooting ability this summer and if he can get that going, he has a long future in the NBA.  My player comparison is Nikola Mirotic.

 

  • Jarrett Allen (20)

 

      1. Jarrett Allen’s length is his main selling point. He has a 7’5” wingspan and is going to be a defensive nightmare. The only real issue is his raw skill. He could be a major project in the league, similar to Roy Hibbert for the Pacers, but if he develops, he could be special. My player comparison is Robin Lopez or Rudy Gobert

 

  • Bam Adebayo (21)

 

      1. Edrice “Bam” Adebayo has risen and fallen throughout the year. For me, when I would study Fox or Monk’s tape, I couldn’t help but watch Adebayo and all the energy and athleticism he brought to the game. He tested well at the combine and might be rising again. He could go anywhere from late teens to end of the 1st. My player comparison is Tristan Thompson.

 

  • Jordan Bell (22)

 

      1. My 2nd favorite player in the draft. Bell seems to never run out of energy. He is going to make a team with his defense and shot-blocking ability and the rest is gravy. Seeing his workout, he is focusing heavily on his offensive game and a jump shot. I believe the team that gets Bell, is getting a top 5 defender in the draft and the potential to be the #1 steal of the draft. My player comparison is Thomas Robinson or Javale McGee with a better shot.

 

  • TJ Leaf (23)

 

      1. I am not a huge fan of Leaf and Anigbogu. Both players benefitted from Ball running the show at UCLA. Leaf has a lot of skill, but I have questions about his defense and length. I’m not sure he can play the 3 or the 4, so he is in a tough spot for an adjustment to the NBA. If he can play either position consistently, then he would rise, but I’m not convinced he can. My player comparison is Channing Frye.

 

  • Tony Bradley (24)

 

      1. Bradley has A TON of potential. In limited minutes at UNC, he showed flashes of greatness. My only concern is his lack of foot speed in the lane. He needs to improve his agility and speed to become a force to be reckoned with down low. He needs to go to the right team, but if he does, he could start for many years on a team. My player comparison is Andrew Bynum or Rudy Gobert.

 

  • Ike Anigbogu (25)

 

      1. I am not as high on Ike as others. I think he benefitted greatly off of Lonzo running point, and if he wasn’t there, I don’t think Ike would be a conversation until the end of the 1st round if not 2nd. With that being said, he has a 7’6” wingspan so his potential is high purely based on his body. He can rebound very well, just offensively, I am very hesitant. My player comparison is Bismack Biyombo.

 

  • Anzejs Pasecniks (26)

 

      1. I think he is the most NBA-ready international player after Ntilinka. He just needs to get stronger and bigger, but his workout at his pro day in LA, had him shooting up draft boards. I’m not sure if he will pan out to be another Kristaps Porzingis, but he can shoot the ball from anywhere and is crazy long. My player comparison is Donatas Motiejunas.

 

  • Isaiah Hartenstein (27)

 

      1. The perfect draft-and-stash project. He has the size and skills to play but needs some time to really refine those skills. If Hartenstein develops a jumper, he could be a dominant player in a year or two. I like him more than Pasecniks long-term, but Hartenstein isn’t as NBA-ready yet. My player comparison is Nikola Jokic.

 

  • Semi Ojeleye (28)

 

      1. Ojeleye, a transfer from Duke, really impressed scouts this season. He showed his ability to stretch the floor averaging 18.2 points per game. He could even shrink down to the three if a team wants to go with a tall lineup. Ojeleye’s success in the league varies on the team that takes him. If he finds the right team, he could be a sixth or seventh man and instantly provide scoring. My player comparison is Draymond Green.

 

  • Ivan Rabb (29)

 

      1. Rabb is all over the place on teams boards. Last year, he was a projected lottery pick and scouts hoped he would refine his game and be a top pick. Throughout the season he was very underwhelming which has led him to fall to a borderline 1st-2nd rounder. I still like his skill set due to his 7’2” wingspan and how fluid he moves offensively. He is 6’10” and needs to bulk up as he weighs only 220 lbs.  I’m higher on his game, but consistency is going to be huge for him. My player comparison is Chris Bosh.

 

  • Caleb Swanigan (30)

 

    1. Swanigan was a monster last year for Purdue. I like his game a lot, I just worry about his transition to the NBA. I think he will be a small-ball 5, similar to Draymond’s role in Golden State. In order for that to happen, he needs to be put in the right organization and get a lot quicker. The team he is drafted by will have a major impact on how his career plays put. He can shoot the ball already which helps him, his body though is the number one concern for teams. He is too short to play the 5 and is too slow to play the 4. My player comparison is a much shorter KG or Draymond Green.

NBA Mock Draft– Post Celtics/76ers Trade

2017 NBA Mock Draft

Jason Gandhi

  1. Philadelphia 76ers (from Kings)- Markelle Fultz
  2. Los Angeles Lakers- Lonzo Ball
  3. Boston Celtics (from Nets)- Jayson Tatum
  4. Phoenix Suns- Josh Jackson
  5. Sacramento Kings (from 76ers)- De’Aaron Fox
  6. Orlando Magic- Jonathan Isaac
  7. Minnesota Timberwolves- Lauri Markkanen
  8. New York Knicks- Frank Ntilinka (nee-lah-kina)
  9. Dallas Mavericks- Dennis Smith Jr
  10. Sacramento Kings (from Pelicans)- Malik Monk
  11. Charlotte Hornets- Luke Kennard
  12. Detroit Pistons- Donovan Mitchell
  13. Denver Nuggets- Zach Collins
  14. Miami Heat- Justin Jackson
  15. Portland Trail Blazers- Harry Giles
  16. Chicago Bulls- OG Anunoby
  17. Milwaukee Bucks- Jarrett Allen
  18. Indiana Pacers- John Collins
  19. Atlanta Hawks- Justin Patton
  20. Portland Trail Blazers (from Grizzlies)- TJ Leaf
  21. Oklahoma City Thunder- Terrance Ferguson
  22. Brooklyn Nets (from Wizards)- Ike Anigbogu
  23. Toronto Raptors (from Clippers)- Isaiah Hartenstein
  24. Utah Jazz- Andzejs Pasecniks
  25. Orlando Magic (from Raptors)- Tyler Lydon
  26. Portland Trail Blazers (from Cavaliers)- Rodions Kurucs
  27. Brooklyn Nets (from Celtics)- DJ Wilson
  28. L.A. Lakers (from Rockets)- Bam Adebayo
  29. San Antonio Spurs- Semi Ojeleye
  30. Utah Jazz (from Warriors)- Derrick White

NBA Mock Draft

6 days away from the NBA Draft! Our latest NBA Mock Draft is here with all the guys putting one out today. We will put one more out on Wednesday hopefully! Enjoy!

Check out our podcast for analysis over every pick: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDueMwRK7vs

NBA Team: 6/16/17 Jason Gandhi: Dan Magers: Dylan Stagge: Zach Munson: Michael Bailey:
1.     Boston Celtics Markelle Fultz Markelle Fultz Markelle Fultz Markelle Fultz Markelle Fultz
2.     Los Angeles Lakers Lonzo Ball Lonzo Ball Lonzo Ball Lonzo Ball Josh Jackson
3.     Philadelphia 76ers Josh Jackson Josh Jackson Josh Jackson Josh Jackson Lonzo Ball
4.     Phoenix Suns Jayson Tatum Jayson Tatum Jayson Tatum Jayson Tatum Jonathan Isaac
5.     Sacramento Kings De’Aaron Fox De’Aaron Fox De’Aaron Fox De’Aaron Fox De’Aaron Fox
6.     Orlando Magic Jonathan Isaac Jonathan Isaac Jonathan Isaac Malik Monk Jayson Tatum
7.     Minnesota Timberwolves Lauri Markkanen Lauri Markkanen Lauri Markkanen Jonathan Isaac Malik Monk
8.     New York Knicks Malik Monk Malik Monk Dennis Smith Jr. Dennis Smith Jr. Frank Ntilikina
9.     Dallas Mavericks Frank Ntilikina Frank Ntilikina Frank Ntilikina Frank Ntilikina Dennis Smith Jr.
10.  Sacramento Kings Luke Kennard Zach Collins Malik Monk Lauri Markkanen Zach Collins
11.  Charlotte Hornets Dennis Smith Jr. Luke Kennard Zach Collins Zach Collins Donovan Mitchell
12.  Detroit Pistons Donovan Mitchell Donovan Mitchell Donovan Mitchell Donovan Mitchell Luke Kennard
13.  Denver Nuggets Zach Collins Dennis Smith Jr. OG Anunoby OG Anunoby Justin Patton
14.  Miami Heat Justin Jackson OG Anunoby Harry Giles Luke Kennard Harry Giles
15.  Portland Trailblazers OG Anunoby Justin Jackson John Collins Justin Jackson Lauri Markkanen
16.  Chicago Bulls Harry Giles Jarrett Allen Luke Kennard Jarrett Allen Jarrett Allen
17.  Milwaukee Bucks Jarrett Allen Justin Patton Jarrett Allen Justin Patton Justin Jackson
18.  Indiana Pacers Terrance Ferguson TJ Leaf Justin Jackson TJ Leaf OG Anunoby
19.  Atlanta Hawks TJ Leaf John Collins Justin Patton John Collins John Collins
20.  Portland Trail Blazers Bam Adebayo Harry Giles Bam Adebayo Harry Giles Terrance Ferguson
21.  Oklahoma City Thunder John Collins Ike Anigbogu TJ Leaf Ike Anigbogu Jawun Evans
22.  Brooklyn Nets Justin Patton Terrance Ferguson Ike Anigbogu Terrance Ferguson Bam Adebayo
23.  Toronto Raptors Ike Anigbogu Tyler Lydon Tyler Lydon Tyler Lydon Tyler Lydon
24.  Utah Jazz Isaiah Hartenstein Andzejs Pasecniks Semi Ojeleye Semi Ojeleye Ike Anigbogu
25.  Orlando Magic Jordan Bell Bam Adebayo Frank Jackson Bam Adebayo TJ Leaf
26.  Portland Trail Blazers Andzejs Pasecniks Isaiah Hartenstein Andzejs Pasecniks Isaiah Hartenstein Semi Ojeleye
27.  Brooklyn Nets Tony Bradley Ivan Rabb Terrance Ferguson DJ Wilson Isaiah Hartenstein
28.  Los Angeles Lakers Tyler Lydon DJ Wilson Ivan Rabb Jordan Bell Jordan Bell
29.  San Antonio Spurs Ivan Rabb Caleb Swanigan Isaiah Hartenstein Andzejs Pasecniks Ivan Rabb
30.  Utah Jazz Derrick White Derrick White Derrick White Derrick White Derrick White

 

Magic and Bird: The Rebirth of Basketball

By: Jason Gandhi

 

The Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics have a well-known rivalry in professional basketball. It stemmed from the early 1960’s up until today still with the two teams squaring off every year. The reason the Lakers—Celtics rivalry has remained consistent throughout history is largely because of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. The rivalry of Magic vs. Bird went from 1979-1992 in basketball but it stemmed much further than just on the court. “Bird and Magic would meet face-to-face in a celebrated NCAA title showdown that contributed as much as anything to making college tournament play finally a primetime “made-for-television” event”.[1] Converse came out with a commercial in 1986 pushing consumers to either purchase the “Magic shoe” or the “Bird shoe”[2]. There was also a Broadway show on them called “Magic/Bird” directed by Eric Simonson[3]. This seems to suggest that the men were not only basketball icons but also made an impact on pop culture. Basketball was on the decline at the turn from the 1970’s to the 1980’s. Ratings were down and people were just not interested in NBA basketball like they used to be. Magic Johnson and Larry Bird changed that, and revived basketball to where it is today. Without Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Larry Bird, the NBA might not be around today. Magic Johnson and Larry Bird not only effected the game itself, but they brought basketball’s popularity to a whole new level.

 

NBA Basketball was on the decline in the 1970’s. “Attendance had already been dropping, as had television ratings. CBS routinely tape-delayed its games, even playoff games, which meant most markets saw these games on TV after midnight. The NBA was in a significant down period.”[4] In the 1960’s, it was mainly Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain, but in the 1970’s the skill level was more balanced. None of the fourteen teams in the league were that much better than the next[5]. The NBA used to have a TV deal with ABC but at the end of the contract ABC declined to renew it[6]. CBS purchased the rights to show the NBA, but they could not market the product as well as ABC did[7]. Because there were no teams that were exponentially better than the next, fans did not have the desire to watch subpar basketball. It was hard for fans to rally behind the league, when they weren’t producing high-level basketball. The 1979 NCAA national championship between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird still has the highest TV shares, which is the estimated amount of televisions tuned in, to this day.[8] The correlation between the growth in popularity and the rise of Magic and Bird cannot be denied.

 

So, the NBA was at a low point in its popularity as stated previously. When Magic Johnson and Larry Bird burst onto the scene, they helped the ratings and the popularity go up. Magic said after his playing days were over, “Everybody knew that one of the main reasons for the dramatic increase in salaries was the presence of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.[9]” When the men got drafted into the NBA in 1979, the arenas were more empty than full, TV ratings were lowering and “the average player made less than $150,000.[10]” This evidence shows that before they burst onto the scene, NBA basketball was on life support. The two men had to try and revive the brand of professional basketball. Then once Magic Johnson and Larry Bird established themselves as the future in the NBA, things began to improve. By 1984, “Attendance had soared. TV ratings were way up-–especially during the 1984 Finals. The average salary was now well over half a million dollars.[11]”. This all demonstrates the clear correlation between the rise of popularity and the two men. Magic had his “Showtime” Los Angeles Lakers, and Larry had his grind-it-out Boston Celtics. Yet every time the two teams squared off, everybody had to watch because Magic Johnson and Larry Bird made basketball fun again. The two teams met three times in the NBA Finals always on national television, as well as numerous times in the regular season. The uniqueness of an individual rivalry that repeats itself year after year because of team success, but also the men being friends off the court was something fans had never seen before. The Los Angeles Lakers or Boston Celtics won eight of the ten championships in the 1980’s[12], so Magic got the upper hand on Larry in the team rivalry.

Some could argue that the rise of the NBA would have happened with or without Magic and Larry. David Stern, former commissioner of the NBA, believed it to be “more of saving the NBA than Bird and Magic”[13]. They believe it could not have gone any lower so the rise was inevitable. This claim cannot be true because of the evidence that the TV contracts rose from $500,000 in 1969, to over 1 million dollars just under 12 years later[14]. Their national championship game began the rise and their success in the NBA, just took it to the next level. The summer after the Laker beat the Celtics in the Finals, “the NBA signed a three-year, $1.5-million-dollar deal with the USA Network for Thursday night doubleheaders and early round playoff games”[15]. This all demonstrates the men had a clear impact on the growth and popularity. Others could say that Magic and Larry are the only reason that the NBA grew in popularity. That is also not accurate, because players such as Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Shaquille O’Neal and other polarizing figures could have also boosted the popularity. In 2017, the NBA regular season attendance record was broken again for the third straight year[16]. So although they did impact the popularity, they were not the sole factor.

Larry Bird and Magic Johnson are now in the front office of NBA teams, sprinkling their magic on the NBA even without playing. They are a reason that the NBA is growing as one of the most popular professional sports in the United States today.

 

 

 

Works Cited:

 

[1] Peter C. Bjarkman, The Biographical History of Basketball (Chicago, Illinois: NTC/Contemporary Publishing group, 2000) pages 48, 49

[2] Josh Mapes, “Magic Johnson and Larry Bird’s Rivalry,” Bio, last modified April 12, 2012, http://www.biography.com/news/magic-johnson-and-larry-birds-rivalry-20795891

[3] Josh Mapes, “Magic Johnson and Larry Bird’s Rivalry,” Bio, last modified April 12, 2012, http://www.biography.com/news/magic-johnson-and-larry-birds-rivalry-20795891

[4] “Magic, Larry and Cable Television:” Basketball Origins, Growth and History of the Game, accessed October 24, 2016, http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/basketballhistory.html.

[5] “A Decade of Parity” NBA Encyclopedia Playoff Edition, accessed October 26, 2016, http://www.nba.com/encyclopedia/decade_of_parity.html

[6] “Magic, Larry and Cable Television:” Basketball Origins, Growth and History of the Game, accessed October 24, 2016, http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/basketballhistory.html.

[7] “Magic, Larry and Cable Television:” Basketball Origins, Growth and History of the Game, accessed October 24, 2016, http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/basketballhistory.html.

[8] Peter C. Bjarkman, The Biographical History of Basketball (Chicago, Illinois: NTC/Contemporary Publishing group, 2000) pages 48, 49

[9] Earvin “Magic” Johnson and William Novak, My Life (New York: Random House, 1992) pg. 204

[10] Earvin “Magic” Johnson and William Novak, My Life (New York: Random House, 1992) pg. 204

[11] Earvin “Magic” Johnson and William Novak, My Life (New York: Random House, 1992) pg. 204

[12] “Magic, Larry and Cable Television:” Basketball Origins, Growth and History of the Game, accessed October 24, 2016, http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/basketballhistory.html.

[13] Bill Simmons, The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy (New York: ESPN Books, 2009) page 138

[14] Peter C. Bjarkman, The Biographical History of Basketball (Chicago, Illinois: NTC/Contemporary Publishing group, 2000)

[15] Bill Simmons, The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy (New York: ESPN Books, 2009) page 139

[16] “NBA Breaks Attendance Record for Third Straight Season.” NBA.com. April 13, 2017, http://www.nba.com/article/2017/04/13/nba-breaks-all-time-attendance-record-third-straight-season

 

Why the Lakers Should and Shouldn’t Take Lonzo Ball

By: Jason Gandhi

Lonzo Ball is down-to-earth and not very outspoken. His dad, Lavar Ball, is the complete opposite. With exalted expectations, outlandish statements regularly, and a lofty shoe price, Lonzo, and Lavar have dominated the sports talk the last few months. It is no secret that the Ball’s want Lonzo to go the Lakers in this year’s draft. Lonzo told multiple analysts he would rather play for the Lakers than to go #1 in the draft. He also will not work out for the Celtics, so that the Lakers have the highest chance to take him. That all sounds great… but does he really fit and do the Lakers want him? Here is why the Lakers should and shouldn’t draft Lonzo Ball:

 

Why They Should:

There is no question on Lonzo Ball’s talent. This article isn’t being written if not for Lavar and the Big Baller Brand fiasco. Lonzo is a perfect fit for the Lakers on a pure basketball level. He is a playmaker. He and D’Angelo Russell could form a dynamic backcourt together with both being able to run the point or play off-ball. D’Angelo Russell played off-ball the last few games of the season, one that included 40 points against the defending world champs. If the Lakers decide Lonzo is their guy, it brings a chance to “revive Showtime” and jumpstart the offense.

With Magic Johnson in the front office, it is assumed he would love to have “Showtime” back in Los Angeles. Magic was asked which player in the draft reminds him most of himself and he said, “That’s easy Lonzo Ball”. He is consistently creating open shots for his teammates, and his vision and creativity is what has people comparing him to Magic. Bringing that type of player in will help any team, because of the selflessness he plays with. It is hard to imagine another player in the draft that fits so well with the Lakers. The Lakers have two (hopeful) budding stars in Russell and Ingram, but also lots of good shooters to fill out their roster. It’s not just his passing though. He can shoot the rock efficiently as well. He ran the second-highest efficient offense in the NCAA last year. Ball was 45.6% on “catch and shoot” shots and shot 41% from 3 last year.

Why They Should Not:

The concern with Lonzo is defense and his dad. The publicity is nothing new for Los Angeles, but all of the headlines and statements from Lavar would be. When someone becomes a Laker, they know about the media and how public their life will be. What can be a red flag is when Lonzo has a bad game, will Lavar be able to keep quiet and not make a big deal about someone else making it happen? Back to on the court, the Lakers were not good

Back to on the court, the Lakers were terrible on defense last year. They had the 6th worst defense since 2000. Drafting Lonzo at #2 does not fix this problem. Lonzo and D’Angelo both do not have the “twitchiness” or the quick movements to keep up with the point guards in the league. Josh Jackson, De’Aaron Fox or if Markelle Fultz falls, all have shown that they are much better defenders. Watch the Sweet 16 game. De’Aaron pesters Lonzo all game long. The Lakers will be a defensive nightmare no matter who they draft, but drafting Lonzo definitely, does not take a step in the right direction. If defense wins championships, the Lakers can’t afford to have Lonzo on their team.

 

Decision:

It is worth the risk. Ultimately, a team drafts the player, not the family. Although his defense is sub par, the energy and aura he would bring back to Los Angeles would be too great to pass on. If Coach Walton and the Lakers really want to “run-and-gun” like the Warriors, Lonzo needs to be the pick. He would be the best player available as well as fill a need. Lonzo Ball should and needs to be the #2 overall pick to the Los Angeles Lakers.

NFL Mock Draft 2017… The Last One

Here is our final mock draft! Dylan, Dan and Jason have come together to put our thoughts on where everyone will go. Enjoy!

 

  1. Cleveland Browns-

Jason- Myles Garrett, DE Texas A&M

Dylan- Myles Garrett, DE Texas A&M

Apparently Mitchell Trubisky is still in play here, but I think the Browns are bluffing to try to get a crazy trade from a team in exchange for Pick #1. There is no reason the Browns should pass on the best athlete and best defensive talent in the draft. The Browns need an upgrade at literally every position, and Myles Garrett is the best player available. There is no reason to pass on him, and they won’t.

Dan- Myles Garrett, DE Texas A&M

2. San Francisco 49ers-

Jason- Jamal Adams, S LSU

The 49ers front office led by John Lynch have been trying to trade down all week. They believe that there is not too much of a gap in talent from picks 2-12. If they are unable to trade, I think they go Jamal Adams. He is a plug-the-gap type safety who can really make a difference on the 49ers and be a cornerstone of the rebuild. What better way to start a rebuild than to draft a guy who gets comparisons to the GM of your franchise.

Dylan- Solomon Thomas, DE Stanford

Dan- Jamal Adams, S LSU

3. Chicago Bears-

Jason- Solomon Thomas, DE Stanford

Dylan-  Jamal Adams, S LSU

Dan- Marshon Lattimore, CB Ohio State

4. Jacksonville Jaguars-

Jason- Leonard Fournette, RB LSU

Dylan-  Leonard Fournette, RB LSU

With the three best defensive players off the board and the first three picks and no glaring holes (at least on paper) in the Jags defense, they go with possibly the best offensive talent in the draft at #4. The Jags have a hole at the RB position with T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory underperforming, so Leonard Fournette seems like a good fit at 4. Jonathan Allen or a reach for O.J. Howard or Mike Williams are still in play for the Jaguars, but Fournette makes the most sense.

Dan- Leonard Fournette, RB LSU

5. Tennessee Titans (via Rams)-

Jason- Mike Williams, WR Clemson

Dylan-  Mike Williams, WR Clemson

Dan- Solomon Thomas, DE Stanford

Many predict Thomas to go to Chicago with the third pick. It’ll be hard for them to pass on him, but if Thomas is here for the titans at 5, there is no doubt they will take him. They need help on the defensive line and he would be perfect in their plan for the future.

6. New York Jets-

Jason- Marshon Lattimore, CB Ohio State

Dylan- Mitchell Trubisky, QB North Carolina

Dan- O.J. Howard, TE Alabama

Many experts have the Jets taking a QB with this pick, but OJ Howard might be too hard to pass on for New York. He is gifted athletically and has the tools to be one of the top TEs in the league.

7. Los Angeles Chargers-

Jason- Malik Hooker, S Ohio State

Dylan-  Malik Hooker, S Ohio State

The Chargers need some help in the secondary on a team that could come back and have a nice season this year. With Mike Williams off the board and no offensive linemen worthy of the #7 selection, the Chargers will decide to get help in the secondary and get good value for Hooker at #7.

Dan- Malik Hooker, S Ohio State

8. Carolina Panthers-

Jason- Christian McCaffrey, RB Stanford

The Panthers took a major step back last year, after reaching the Super Bowl. Their secondary needs a lot of work, but with Jonathan Stewart constantly banged up, they need a new young running back. McCaffrey’s ability to catch out of the backfield is intriguing to teams and it seems like a perfect fit for Cam and McCaffrey to help lead the Panthers back to the playoffs.

Dylan- Christian McCaffrey, RB Stanford

Dan- Christian McCaffrey, RB Stanford

9. Cincinnati Bengals-

Jason- Jonathan Allen, DE Alabama

Dylan- Jonathan Allen, DE Alabama

Dan- Reuben Foster, LB Alabama

 

10. Buffalo Bills-

Jason- Haason Reddick, LB Temple

Haason Reddick is one of the best stories in this year’s draft. Walked on to Temple after playing just one season of high school football, and now will be a 1st round pick. He can play either as a LB or DE depending on the scheme, and Reddick would help bolster the Bills d-line.

Dylan-  John Ross, WR Washington

Dan- Mike Williams, WR Clemson

11. New Orleans Saints-

Jason-  Reuben Foster, LB Alabama

Foster was regarded as a top 5 pick by some before the combine. After the off-field concerns, some teams are still willing to take the risk, and some are hesitant. We really don’t know how the Saints feel about him, but if he is still there at 11, he is worth the risk. Great value, and possibly a great player.

Dylan- Haason Reddick, LB Temple

Dan- Marlon Humphrey, CB Alabama
New Orleans could use help in the secondary, and Humphrey could be big for them. He is a great athlete and is excellent in coverage. There’s a good chance the Saints will pick him up at 11.

12. Cleveland Browns (via Eagles)-

Jason- Mitchell Trubisky, QB North Carolina

As Dylan mentioned, Trubisky is in play for the #1 pick and even the #6 pick to the Jets. I think the Browns get their ideal scenario and are able to snag Trubisky at 12. I would not be surprised if the Browns trade up to be certain they get their guy, but I think no matter what, Trubisky becomes a Brown.

Dylan- O.J. Howard, TE Alabama

Dan- Mitchell Trubisky, QB North Carolina

13. Arizona Cardinals-

Jason- Deshaun Watson, QB Clemson

Dylan- Deshaun Watson, QB Clemson

Arizona could go defense at #13 to fill the holes left from Calais Campbell and Tony Jefferson, but I think they take their QB of the future. Carson Palmer had a pretty bad year in 2016 after his best year ever in 2015. If he struggles again, Bruce Arians could throw the National Champion in at QB this year, the first of many successful ones for Watson.

Dan- Patrick Mahomes II, QB Texas Tech

14. Philadelphia Eagles (via Vikings)-

Jason- Marlon Humphrey, CB Alabama

Dylan- Marlon Humphrey, CB Alabama

Dan- John Ross, WR Washington

15. Indianapolis Colts-

Jason- Derek Barnett, DE Tennessee

Dylan- Reuben Foster, LB Alabama

Dan- Jonathan Allen, DE Alabama

Allen is maybe a top 5 prospect in the draft, but there are questions about his shoulder problems that teams don’t want to risk with a top pick. Now if he falls, a team will be lucky to find this much talent this late in the draft.

16. Baltimore Ravens-

Jason- O.J. Howard, TE Alabama

Dylan-  Corey Davis, WR Western Michigan

Dan- Corey Davis, WR Western Michigan

With a glaring need at WR, the Ravens seem inclined to sit back and take the best available of the three WRs: Williams, Ross, or Davis. With Williams and Ross already gone, the Ravens go with the consistent WR from Western Michigan who can contribute right away.

17. Washington Redskins-

Jason- Charles Harris, LB Missouri

Dylan- Charles Harris, LB Missouri

Dan- Derek Barnett, DE Tennessee

Barnett became a standout at Tennessee as he was the first freshman to ever start on the line for the Vols. Washington will need him to fill a whole at DE.

18. Tennessee Titans-

Jason- Corey Davis, WR Western Michigan

Dylan- Chidobe Awuzie, CB Colorado

The Titans reach a little bit at 18 for Awuzie, but he has the potential to pay off. With some dangerous weapons in the division such as T.Y. Hilton and Deandre Hopkins, the Titans go with the athletic corner from Colorado.

Dan- Charles Harris, LB Missouri

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-

Jason- Dalvin Cook, RB Florida State

Dalvin Cook, similar to Reuben Foster, has off-field concerns that has caused his stock to fall. Some think he might fall out of the 1st round, but I think that if he is there at 19 for the Bucs, pairing Jameis with his former teammate could be a deadly combination.

Dylan- Dalvin Cook, RB Florida State

Dan- Dalvin Cook, RB Florida State

20. Denver Broncos-

Jason- Ryan Ramczyk, OT Wisconsin

Dylan- Cam Robinson, T Alabama

Dan- Ryan Ramczyk, OT Wisconsin

Ramczyk is arguably the best OL in the class. He is the perfect fit for Denver and will use his size and strength to be great at the next level.

21. Detroit Lions-

Jason- Takkarist McKinley- DE UCLA

McKinley is someone who’s draft stock is constantly fluctuating. He could go anywhere from 15 to the Colts all the way down to a early 2nd-rounder. He had back surgery this offseason which led to scouts not being able to see him workout for them. The Lions could be a good fit because the Lions need someone who can help Stafford not have to carry the team on offense.

Dylan- Derek Barnett, DE Tennessee

Dan- Jarrad Davis, LB Florida

22. Miami Dolphins-

Jason- Forrest Lamp, G Western Kentucky

The Dolphins took Laremy Tunsil last year, and once again are in the offensive line market. Tannehill got knocked around last year, and if they want to go back to the playoffs, they need to protect him Lamp can do that.

Dylan- Forrest Lamp, G Western Kentucky

Dan- Forrest Lamp, G Western Kentucky

23. New York Giants-

Jason- Patrick Mahomes II, QB Texas Tech

Mahomes has been one of the biggest risers of the draft class since the season has ended. Teams including the Chiefs, Steelers, and Giants have all expressed interest in Mahomes. The Giants have the #23 pick and can snag him before the other teams do, so Mahomes is now the Manning successor.

Dylan- David Njoku, TE Miami

The Giants continue to fill out their array of weapons, bringing in an athletic TE in Njoku to complement OBJ and Brandon Marshall. Njoku will fit well and the Giants will have a very dangerous passing game this year.

Dan- David Njoku, TE Miami

24. Oakland Raiders-

Jason- Jarrad Davis, LB Florida

The Raiders have all the pieces they need on offense. Defensively, they are a mess. Karl Joseph, Bruce Irvin and Khalil Mack are the only cornerstones of the defense. Jarrad Davis would fit in nicely in the Silver and Black and he could be a good middle linebacker to help take some pressure of Mack.

Dylan-  Kevin King, CB Washington

Dan- Haason Reddick, LB Temple

25. Houston Texans-

Jason- Cam Robinson, T Alabama

Dylan- Patrick Mahomes II, QB Texas Tech

Dan- Cam Robinson, T Alabama

26. Seattle Seahawks-

Jason- Garret Bolles, OT Utah

Dylan- Ryan Ramczyk, OT Wisconsin

Dan- Garret Bolles, OT Utah

Seattle’s top need is at OT right now. Bolles could fill that perfectly with his great footwork and athletic ability. If he is here, they will take him.

27. Kansas City Chiefs-

Jason- Kevin King, CB Washington

Dylan-  Taco Charlton, DE Michigan

The Man, The Myth, The Taco. Although Charlton was inconsistent at times at Michigan, he will provide some much-needed pass rushing to the Chiefs to go along with their great secondary. Lots of potential from him- the Chiefs see it and pull the trigger at 27.

Dan- Deshaun Watson, QB Clemson

28. Dallas Cowboys-

Jason- Taco Charlton, DE Michigan

Dylan- Adoree Jackson, CB USC

Dan-  Gareon Conley, CB Ohio State

There are many questions with Conley as he is now a part of a sexual assault case. A lot of analysts are reporting that he could fall to the third round, but I still have Dallas picking him up at 28.

29. Green Bay Packers-

Jason- Tyus Bowser, LB Houston

Dylan-  TJ Watt, LB Wisconsin

Green Bay will find a fan favorite in Watt. The man from Wisconsin has a lot of potential with his brother as one of the best players in the league right now. He even put up better numbers in the combine then JJ. The Pack might’ve found themselves a steal this late in the round.

Dan- TJ Watt, LB Wisconsin

30. Pittsburgh Steelers-

Jason- David Njoku, TE Miami

Dylan-  Obi Melinfonwu, S UCONN

I don’t know what kind of training they do over at UCONN, but they’re doing something right after the combines put on by Byron Jones and Obi Melifonwu. Melifonwu could easily slide into the end of the first round, and I think the Steelers are the team that snags the 6’4 athletic freak to help fix an atrocious secondary.

Dan- Evan Engram, TE Ole Miss

31.Atlanta Falcons-

Jason- Adoree Jackson, CB USC

The Falcons won the Super Bowl…. Oh wait. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots crushed the Falcons dreams last year, but the Falcons are looking to be  back again. Adoree Jackson can help lead that charge as he is someone who can defend in the slot, outside or even return kicks if needed.

Dylan- Takkarist McKinley- DE UCLA

Dan- Taco Charlton, DE Michigan

32. New Orleans Saints-

Jason- John Ross, WR Washington

Ross is a prospect others are much higher on than myself. He could realistically go anywhere from 10 – early 2nd round. He has got unbelievable speed (obviously) and he can really stretch the field for an offense. Brees could love him in this offense.

Dylan- Jarrad Davis, LB Florida

Dan- Adoree Jackson, CB USC