NBA Free Agent Fits

By: Dylan Stagge

Now that the NBA Draft is over, it’s time to move into NBA Free Agency! In this article, I am coming up with 5 free agent fits that make sense (Not where I think they’ll end up, but a fit that is fun/makes sense).

REUNION IN PHILLY

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Andre Iguodala goes back to the place where he spent the first eight years of his NBA career, Philadelphia. The Sixers are able to make Iguodala a much bigger offer (probably about 3 years, $60 million) than Golden State will be able to. With two championships and a Finals MVP under his belt from GSW, Iggy bolts for the money and teams up with the Process to help mentor the young guys.

BLAKE & RUSS

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Although I don’t think this will happen and certainly hope it doesn’t as a Clippers fan, Blake Griffin teaming up with Russell Westbrook would certainly be fun to watch. Two of the most high-flying, explosive dunkers on the same team would create an insane highlight reel. Although OKC can’t afford Blake right now, they would probably do a sign and trade with the Clippers, parting with either Steven Adams or Enes Kanter to make room (which I’m sure they’d be willing to do).

BUTLER TO BOSTON

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Not Jimmy Butler, but a Butler University reunion in Boston. Gordon Hayward heads to Boston to team up with his college head coach, Brad Stevens and the Celtics. Jae Crowder can slide down to the 4 and the Celtics could create a starting lineup of IT, Avery Bradley, Hayward, Crowder, and Horford with Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum coming off the bench. The Cavs better watch out.

LOWRY CHASING LARRY

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Toronto Raptors

Tony Parker is too old and Patty Mills is a free agent. The Spurs need a spark in their roster and Kyle Lowry needs out of Toronto if he ever wants to see a Larry O’Brien trophy. If the Spurs can get rid of Tony Parker’s $15 million next year get back Pau Gasol, Dwayne Dedmon, and Johnathan Simmons along with Kyle Lowry, they just might have a chance at competing with the Warriors next year.

KING-TAVIOUS CALDWELL-POPE

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The Kings are losing Rudy Gay, Ben McLemore, and Tyreke Evans to free agency. Their only remaining wings are Buddy Hield and new draftee Justin Jackson. With only $50 million currently on the Kings payroll for next season, they might as well take a chance on a young wing with lots of potential.

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Final 2017 NBA Mock Draft

Check out Dylan and Jason’s final mock drafts before the NBA Draft tonight!

Check out our Live Mock Draft on our YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/WzPvGBkuINU

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

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.

Dylan Stagge’s NBA Big Board

  1. Markelle Fultz

Fultz is an elite offensive weapon. His ability to make tough shots and get to the rim with his height is amazing. Many of his weaknesses came from lack of effort, which I believe will improve leaving the terrible situation in Washington. His offensive skillset and defensive potential are unmatched by any other prospect in the draft.

Player Comparison: James Harden

  1. Lonzo Ball

Ball’s height, defense, transition, and range makes him one of the best PG prospects to come out in a while. However, I don’t see the quickness, and the lack of a mid range game along with some baggage in his dad (especially if he doesn’t go to the Lakers) pushes him below Markelle Fultz.

Player comparison: Jason Kidd

  1. Josh Jackson

Josh Jackson has a lot of versatility and athleticism in his game. He can score from anywhere inside the 3 point line and excels in making explosive plays. However, he is undersized to be able to truly be a defensive stopper at 207 lbs. Lebron James and big 4s will dominate him. Once Jackson fills out and improves the 3 point shooting, he will be an all-around great 3.

Player Comparison: Justice Winslow

  1. Jayson Tatum

Jayson Tatum reminds me of Melo, and I think that is exactly what he becomes in the NBA. He doesn’t have elite athleticism, but doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses either. Mid range game is strong and can continue to improve on defense.

Player Comparison: Melo

  1. De’Aaron Fox

In the time it took me to write this sentence, De’Aaron Fox just ran around Lonzo Ball again. Fox is speedy and is nearly unstoppable in transition and is a defensive stopper at PG with a 6’3.5 height. Once he fills out and develops a consistent jump shot, it won’t be the last time he drops 39 on Lonzo.

Player Comparison: Dennis Schroeder

  1. Dennis Smith Jr.

Smith is a great all around player and could be a top 3-5 pick in many drafts, but continues to fall down mock drafts. He is a great, explosive scorer, but an average passer and defensive player. With NBA players around him, he will become a better passer. Smith may not be picked until the end of the top 10 or even outside though.

Player Comparison: D-Wade

  1. Malik Monk

Monk has one of the most complete offensive games in the draft. He can shoot the ball from anywhere on the court, but is also streaky. Another downside to Monk is his size, only a 6’4 SG. I compare his game to CJ McCollum, another undersized SG that shoots from everywhere. I think Monk can be just as good in the NBA.

Player Comparison: CJ McCollum

  1. Jonathan Isaac

Isaac is a project, but has the tools to be an elite defender against positions 1-4. He shows flashes on offense, but still has a lot of work. He has a high ceiling that could go as high as Giannis, but could end up being a complete bust.

Player Comparison: Brandon Ingram

  1. Frank Ntilikina

Ntilikina is very raw, especially on offense. He can come in and contribute right away on defense with a 6’5 height and 7’0 wingspan. His offense is a work in progress, but his defensive potential alone gives him a floor of a defensive PG off the bench.

Player Comparison: Dante Exum

  1. Donovan Mitchell

Mitchell has risen quickly up draft boards with his combine performance and athleticism. He does it all: scores from all three levels, is explosive, and is solid on D. His ceiling would be Dwyane Wade and a floor would be Trey Burke.

Player Comparison: Avery Bradley

  1. John Collins

John Collins a a bouncy 4 that also shoots the ball well. He did it all for a bad Wake Forest team last year, so his numbers are a bit inflated. He is not polished defensively but has the body to guard both 3s and 4s. Overall solid late lottery pick with Blake Griffin potential

Player Comparison: Blake Griffin

  1. OG Anunoby

OG is a defensive stopper. With his quickness and 7’6 wingspan, he will be lockdown in the NBA. On offense, he finishes well and his jumper has potential. He will never be able to lead a team on the offensive side though, and his knee injury raises some concerns.

Player Comparison: Luc Mbah a Moute

  1. Lauri Markkanen

Markkanen is the Dirk/Porzingis stretch 4 type. He shoots the ball extremely well, and that opens up driving lanes for him. However, I believe Markkanen struggles greatly on the defensive side in the NBA. He can’t guard smaller, quicker stretch fours and big centers bully him. I think Markkanen has a role in the NBA, but won’t be a star.

Player Comparison: Ryan Anderson

  1. Harry Giles

Giles could have been the #1 pick in this draft if not for injuries. However, 3 knee surgeries limited his time at Duke and plummeted his draft stock. He still showed flashes post-injuries but if he can get back to what he was before, he will be the steal of the draft.

Player Comparison: Joel Embiid

  1. Luke Kennard

Kennard=JJ Redick- white guys from Duke that shoot the lights out. They also have the same weaknesses though. Kennard lacks athleticism (see: white guy) and only has a 6’5 wingspan. Kennard definitely has a role in the NBA as a shooter with all the 3s teams throw up these days.

Player Comparison: JJ Redick

  1. Zach Collins

Collins is a solid offensive player. He is good around the basket and shot the 3 efficiently when he (rarely) stepped out behind the line. However, he doesn’t do anything exceptional and his defense is below average. I wouldn’t spend a lottery pick on him

Player Comparison: Nicola Vucevic

  1. Jarrett Allen

Long, rangy, athletic rim protector. Not great yet on offense and is a bit of a project, but lots of potential.

Player Comparison: Tristan Thompson

  1. Justin Jackson

He shoots the ball well and went back to work on his shooting. He can also guard 3s and 4s in the NBA. He has average athleticism but could become at least a good 3 and D guy.

Player comparison: Matt Barnes

  1. Bam Adebayo

He tested well at the combine and is extremely athletic. He can provide a major impact on defense, but his offensive versatility does not match with the modern NBA big man. His athleticism and defensive potential could turn him into Deandre Jordan though.

Player Comparison: Deandre Jordan

  1. Semi Ojeleye

Ojeleye is big and extremely versatile. He can play 3 positions in the NBA (SG, SF, PF) and his shooting stroke and toughness will find him a role somewhere.

NBA Comparison: Jimmy Butler

  1. Terrance Ferguson

Ferguson decided to go overseas, and gained lots of experience playing against bigger guys at only 18 years old. He could end up being a great scorer in the NBA.

NBA Comparison: Terrence Ross

  1. Justin Patton

Good offensive versatility and scores well as a big man. He is limited defensively though as he is not super quick. Lots of potential though and could be a steal

Player Comparison: Jahlil Okafor

  1. TJ Leaf

Laef is a great, versatile scorer who will have a role somewhere as a stretch 4. However, his defense is limited and I don’t believe he ever develops into more than a bench shooter.

Player Comparison: Josh McRoberts

  1. DJ Wilson

Wilson is a bouncy 4 that can also shoot the ball. He does a little bit of everything and could probably play the 3 too. He isn’t very strong yet, though, and is not a great rebounder. If he continues to improve, he could find a Draymond Green type role in the NBA.

NBA Comparison: Aaron Gordon

  1. Ike Anigbogu

Anigbogu has the tools to become a solid offensive player and a defensive anchor. However, he didn’t play a lot at UCLA and struggled with much of his looks not at the basket. Lots of potential but is definitely a boom or bust prospect.

Player Comparison: Ed Davis

  1. Anzejs Pasecniks

Pasecniks is still underweight for an NBA center, but shows lots of potential to turn into a versatile big man who can step out and shoot the rock. Draft and stash candidate.

NBA Comparison: Myles Turner

  1. Ivan Rabb

Rabb is another guy with stretch 4 potential. He shoots it well and still grabs 10 reb a game. He didn’t do much to improve his stock (in fact dropped it) between freshman and sophomore year, but it could be due to a bad Cal team.

NBA Comparison: Andrew Nicholson

  1. Derrick White

White is a combo guard that can do a little bit of everything (18 ppg/4 rpg/4 ast/1 blk/1 stl). He can come off the bench right away to play either guard spot in the NBA.

NBA Comparison: E’twaun Moore

  1. Isaiah Hartenstein

Hartenstein has a body that can translate to the NBA. He is a good rebounder and is solid defensively. However, he struggles to finish and does not have the jump shot down yet. He has potential as a draft and stash candidate.

NBA comparison: Donatas Montejunas

  1. Tyler Lydon

Lydon does a little bit of everything, and will be a solid 3 and D prospect. He shoots it well and can defend other 3s pretty solidly.

NBA Comparison: Sam Dekker

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.

Michael Bailey’s NBA Mock Draft

2017 NBA Mock Draft

Michael Bailey

 

  1. Boston (From Brooklyn) – Markelle Fultz-PG/SG-Washington

Boston, coming off of the first seed in the East are in no place to start rebuilding, but definite changes are needed if they want to contend with the LeBron James-led Cavaliers team which is poised to return to the NBA finals seeking vengeance over the Warriors. Fultz could be the last piece of the puzzle for the Celtics and could be needed if they wanted to sign a stud in free agency like Gordon Hayward. Although I think it would be smart to trade this very valuable pick to gain a player like Paul George or Jimmy Butler, Fultz is the definite pick if they are to keep it.

 

  1. Los Angeles Lakers- Josh Jackson-SG-Kansas

After lucking out and keeping their pick this year, the Lakers are in a prime spot to help their team out tremendously at this number two pick. Many thought Lonzo was no doubt the guy to take here, it appears the Lakers weren’t that convinced by his workout with them. They like Jackson in his workout with them and it is likely that they will take him here.

 

  1. Philadelphia (from Sacramento)– Lonzo Ball-PG-UCLA

The Sixers have plenty of young talent with the likes of Simmons, Okafor, etc. But they have a dearth of talent in the backcourt. If Lonzo falls to them at 3, they should no doubt add his talent to their team. He has superstar potential and even if he becomes half the player his dad thinks he will be, he will be well worth the number 3 pick.

 

  1. Phoenix- Johnathan Isaac-SF-Florida St.

Isaac is a great athlete and if he can develop a solid jumper, could develop into a star in the NBA. The Suns could use a strong starting SF to go alongside Booker on the wing. Taking a chance on Isaac is the best move at 4 unless they want to trade down to get a center assuming they let Len walk.

 

  1. Sacramento (from Philadelphia)– De’Aaron Fox-PG-Kentucky

With Darren Collison and Ty Lawson becoming free agents this offseason, the PG position is the number 1 need for the Kings this offseason. Fox showed a lot of upside at Kentucky his freshman year and could be the next star of the Sacramento Kings organization if he falls to them at 5.

 

  1. Orlando– Jayson Tatum-SF-Duke

Orlando currently only have Terrence Ross and Aaron Gordon as their forwards for the upcoming season. Drafting Tatum will give them the opportunity to possibly develop a star SF and have Terrence Ross coming off the bench.

 

  1. Minnesota– Malik Monk-SG-Kentucky

Monk can socre. Averaging 19.8 points per game in his freshman year at Kentucky showed that he can put the ball into the basket. Minnesota has a lot of young talent and adding Monk gives them leeway when deciding if they want to give LaVine major mullah when deciding or not to extend his contract.

 

  1. New York– Frank Ntilikina-PG-INTL

Derrick Rose will be a free agent this offseason and it looks like New York will not bring him back. Ntilikina is a solid prospect at PG that the Knicks can hope for and develop alongside their other young star Kristaps Porzingis.

 

  1. Dallas- Dennis Smith Jr-PG-NC St.

Dallas is pretty limited in cap space this offseason so will most likely look to upgrade at PG in the draft and will grab whichever one between Ntilikina and Smith Jr. that the Knicks do not.

 

  1. Sacramento (From New Orleans)– Zach Collins-C-Gonzaga

After predicting them to draft De’Aaron Fox with the 5th pick in the draft, the Kings will try to find a full time replacement for Demarcus Cousins. Zach Collins can score and be presence for the Kings on the boards as well.

 

  1. Charlotte- Donovan Mitchell-SG-Louisville

The Hornets need to find some way to improve their team. Mitchell will give them good scoring off the bench and provide depth in the backcourt.

 

  1. Detroit- Luke Kennard-SG-Duke

The Pistons will most likely lose Kentavious Caldwell Pope in free agency due to another team offering him a crazy amount of money. Kennard can shoot and could be the SG for the Pistons next season.

 

  1. Denver- Justin Patton-C-Creighton

If the Nuggets decide to let Plumlee go in free agency, getting a center in the draft is necessary. Patton has some of the best upside out of all the centers in the draft.

 

  1. Miami- Harry Giles- PF/C-Duke

Although coming off of a knee injury, Giles still has great potential. If he can stay healthy he could blossom into a great starter in the NBA. At 14, I think the Heat can afford taking a risk on Giles and hope that he can stay healthy.

 

  1. Portland- Lauri Markkanen-PF-Arizona
  2. Chicago- Jarret Allen-C-Texas
  3. Milwaukee- Justin Jackson-SF-North Carolina
  4. Indiana- OG Anunoby-SF/PF-Indiana
  5. Atlanta- John Collins-PF-Wake Forest
  6. Portland (From Memphis via Denver and Cleveland)– Terrance Ferguson-SG-INTL
  7. Oklahoma City-Juwan Evans-PG-Oklahoma St.
  8. Brooklyn (From Washington)-Bam Adebayo-C-Kentucky
  9. Toronto (From LA Clippers via Milwaukee)-Tyler Lydon-PF/SF- Syracuse
  10. Utah- Ike Anigbogu-PF/C-UCLA
  11. Orlando (From Toronto)-T.J. Leaf-PF-UCLA
  12. Portland (From Cleveland)-Semi Ojeleye-SF/PF-SMU
  13. Brooklyn (From Boston)-Isaiah Hartenstein-PF/C-Germany
  14. Los Angeles Lakers (From Houston)-Jordan Bell-PF/C-Oregon
  15. San Antonio-Ivan Rabb-PF- California
  16. Utah (From Golden State)-Derrick White-PG/SG-Colorado

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