Category Archives: Basketball

Finally Portis Gets Unleashed?!?

The two worst 3-pt shooting teams in the NBA made a deal at the deadline involving multiple players that specialize in perimeter shooting. The Bulls trade of Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott, and a 2018 2nd round pick to the Thunder for Cameron Payne, Joffrey Lauvergne, and Anthony Morrow doesn’t make a whole lot of sense on the surface. The Bulls shoot a league worst 31.6% from downtown while the Thunder shoot next to last in the league in 3-pt shooting at 32.1%.  The players involved in the trade should fit better in their new respective teams to improve those 3 pt percentages.  Gibson should help provide the Thunder some toughness up front with Steven Adams and Enes Kanter.  McDermott should be able to break thru as the starting small forward in OKC. His 37.6% from downtown should improve playing alongside Russell Westbrook.

The 2014 NBA Draft saw the Bulls give away the 16th and 19th overall pick along with a 2015 2nd rd pick to the Nuggets for the rights to Doug McDermott. The Nuggets ended up getting the better end of that deal drafting Jusuf Nurkic, Gary Harris, and moving the 2nd rd pick to the Cavs. (Nurkic has since been moved to Portland in another weird trade.) McDermott’s Bulls career was marred by injuries and a lack of athleticism to play on the defensive end.  With the additions of D-Wade and Rajon Rondo, McDermott was blocked from starting this year in Chicago. I wasn’t a fan of the trade of McDermott at the 2014 NBA Draft and hope the Bulls can muster something out of Cameron Payne. I’d take Nurkic over anything that was drafted or acquired at this point. However I’m not relevant.

Jerian Grant and Cameron Payne have the opportunity to battle to be the “Point Guard of the Future”. The exodus of Gibson allows the Bulls hopefully unleash Bobby Portis. Nikola Mirotic and Lauvergne will be fighting for backup minutes off the bench to fling 3’s. Lauvergne is shooting 35% from the 3-pt line this season. Morrow will help in the short term as an effective perimeter shooter to help in floor spacing off the bench. Having started just 142 of 555 career games played, Morrow should be comfortable in his role. Morrow is only shooting 29.4% from downtown this year, but is a career 41.7% shooter.   The trade should help the Thunder immediately while defining roles on the current Bulls roster and providing hope for the future.

Fantasy implications of this trade are that daily fantasy players or categories leagues players may view McDermott in a better light. Portis’ value goes way up with the opportunity to start. Payne was road blocked behind Westbrook, but keeper league owners out of the playoffs should instantly cut bait on a filler to speculatively add Payne.

Investing In Lin?

Brooklyn Nets Point Guard Jeremy Lin is one of my favorite players to own in fantasy basketball this season.  Each year a player needs to be evaluated off their situation.  Lin wasn’t a franchise savior in Houston after coming over from the Knicks for the 2012-13 campaign.  Lin put up decent numbers in Houston, but didn’t live up to the contract. Lin lost playing time in Houston in part to his defensive deficiencies.  Also Lin didn’t complement James Harden as well as Patrick Beverley.

After two seasons Lin was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for a forgettable season.  In Los Angeles Lin’s skill set did not complement Kobe Bryant.  Head Coach Byron Scott also started using Jordan Clarkson more in the starting lineup since he was a future building block for the organization.  Coming off the bench in Charlotte last season, Lin rehabbed his career coming off the bench behind Kemba Walker.  His PER was a career low 13.8 with the Hornets last season, but I believe Lin played with more confidence in Charlotte.  Lin is better suited to be a complimentary piece not a franchise building block for a winning team.

In Brooklyn Head Coach Kenny Atkinson will attempt to use Lin to his strong suits.  Atkinson was an Assistant Coach with the Knicks during “Linsanity”.  This situation in Brooklyn is perfect for fantasy owners because Lin has very little competition for shots.  His usage rate of 28.1 during the breakout season with the Knicks is closer to what it should be this season than his career usage rate of 21.7.  This season the Nets will be one of the worst teams in the NBA.  Lin will play a lot of minutes and put together statistics that won’t equate to winning basketball.  In categories leagues Lin can be downgraded a little bit due to percentages and turnovers.  I spent $2.00 in a seasonal league with weekly scoring.  I believe Lin will be one of the best values in that league.  I received some teasing due to my purchase of Lin.

Sometimes fantasy owners overlook players on bad teams, I don’t care what their team does I’m just chasing statistics.  I am a Fantasy Owner, not a real one. The fact of the matter is in Brooklyn; Lin should be able to surpass his career averages of 11.7 PPG, 4.4 APG, 2.8 RPG, 43% FG%, 35% 3-pt%, and 80% FT%.  Lin may be better equipped to handle the pressure of being a focal point in Brooklyn after his experiences in Houston and Los Angeles.  Owners need to evaluate Lin’s situation this season, instead of his career numbers. “Linsanity” won’t happen again, but a solid mid-round production very well could be in the cards.

bestbetscasino.net

What’s Next For Skiles?

With Scott Skiles resignation from the Orlando Magic, that makes 4 NBA jobs in which Skiles has flamed out.  Skiles was fired into his 3rd season in Phoenix and fired into his 5th season in Chicago.  Milwaukee was an alleged mutual parting in year 5. The relationship between Skiles and the front office was a problem in each case.  Personality conflicts between front offices and coaches are often a reason for termination in every major professional sport.  With 4 NBA head coaching jobs under his belt, Skiles is what he is at this point.

In 14 NBA seasons as a head coach Scott Skiles owns a career 478-480 record. Skiles has coached 11 full seasons with 6 playoff appearances. The farthest a Skiles team has gone in the playoffs is the Conference Semifinals.  Skiles X’s and O’s is a great coach.  His teams also play tough defense.  The problems with Skiles’ teams were the lack of scoring and his personality seems to wear on players.  The parting with Orlando includes a 2 year no-compete clause.  I would be very surprised if Skiles was offered another NBA head coaching job.

I believe Skiles should go to college for his next coaching position. There are a few former NBA head coaches applying their trade back in college. Skiles style of play and personality are better suited for that arena at this point of his career. A major D1 program could be scared off by Skiles personality and the turnover of his NBA tenure.   A mid-major D1 school with an administration that will let him run the show would be his best fit.  Larry Brown at SMU is the first one that comes to mind.  Brown always seemed to be looking for his next job while working his current post. Brown had a lot of disagreements with front offices much like Skiles.

Avery Johnson led the Mavericks to the NBA Finals along with 3 other playoff appearances.  Johnson was fired from the Mavericks and flamed out in New Jersey.  Johnson took stints at ESPN after getting fired from both NBA jobs.  Johnson wasn’t a toxic personality in his NBA jobs and is now applying his trade at Alabama.

Eric Musselman flamed out in Golden State and Sacramento in the NBA.  NBA personalities seemed to be too difficult for Musselman to manage.  Musselman then moved around the NBA D-League and worked as an assistant in college at Arizona State and LSU before landing the head job at Nevada.

Skiles will have some time to figure out his next move.  Maybe after 4 NBA jobs, Skiles has had enough of coaching.  Once you’re a coach, you’re always a coach. If that itch ever comes back, Skiles should head back to college.

Lakers Have Hit Rock Bottom

Kobe Bryant’s Farewell Season will go down as the worst season in the history of the Lakers franchise. Not exactly what the Buss family and GM Mitch Kupchak had in mind. Head Coach Byron Scott has not been able to fix the squad that has been a failure since Phil Jackson left. Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni were high profile signings that flamed out quickly.  There are 3 major problems with the Lakers organization at this point, in-fighting between the Buss family, the ghost of Phil Jackson, and the massive presence of Kobe Bryant.

Jim and Jeanie Buss need to figure things out and get on the same page as another chapter in Lakers basketball starts with the retirement of Kobe Bryant. The final seasons of Kobe’s career hindered the Lakers ability to be competitive. Building one last championship squad was the goal with the acquisitions of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard in 2012. Those aspirations never came to fruition with Nash getting hurt and Howard seeking greener pastures.  The fallout led to the Lakers starting a rebuild with culmination of the Kobe Farewell tour in full on rebuild mode. Unfortunately the youth movement doesn’t seem to have paid off as the young players haven’t progressed under Byron Scott’s tutelage.  The million dollar question is how much of it is on the players and how much is on Head Coach Byron Scott?

In my opinion Byron Scott is a major roadblock as to why the Lakers younger players haven’t developed.  This season was supposed to be focused on development.  Tough love and making players earn their minutes is understandable at the beginning of the season.  Playing your young core should have been the priority.  Scott has one year left on his deal and very well could have received an extension if Russell, Clarkson, and Randle showed growth.  The Lakers would be foolish to bring Scott back for another season.  The best thing Scott can do for the Lakers is continue to mismanage the team to improve the chances of not having to give their top 3 protected pick to the 76ers.

Who is the coach to fix this mess?  As GM of the Lakers these are the guys I would talk to for the job and avoid contacting.  Luke Walton and Tom Thibodeau are the rumored leading candidates for the job. Walton gained steam coaching the Warriors while Steve Kerr was away from the team.  Walton will be on a lot of coaching short lists having worked his way up thru the ranks.  I put more stock in his resume and IQ than his handling of the reigning champs early this season.  Walton will be a successful NBA head coach at some point.  Are the rebuilding Lakers the best spot for his first head coaching job?  I believe Walton should take a page from Steve Kerr in terms of choosing his first job.  Kerr left the rebuilding Knicks at the alter and took over a Warriors team with more talent.  It’s sometimes difficult to wash the stink off of a failed first job.  Derek Fisher and Jacques Vaughn are currently finding that out.

Tom Thibodeau had a successful run with Chicago Bulls come to an end due to in-fighting with upper management.  Thibodeau was criticized by upper management for playing his players too many minutes.  The shorter rotations hurt the Bulls as they often limped into the playoffs after spectacular regular seasons. Derrick Rose’s health played a part in the Bulls failures as well.  Thibodeau is a phenomenal X’s an O’s coach and will get another job at some point. A .647 career winning percentage with a 255-139 record puts you on many short lists for coaching jobs.  Has the 2011 NBA coach of the year learned to play politics better than he did in Chicago?

Nate McMillan has a 478-452 .514 career coaching record with the Seattle Sonics and Portland Trail Blazers. McMillan won 2 division titles as a coach.  The problem was McMillan’s teams often got bounced in the opening round of the playoffs. McMillan is currently an assistant coach for the Pacers.  His experience in different roles around the game may give McMillan another shot.

Monty Williams had a losing record 173-221 .439 as head coach of the New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans.  In 5 years Williams had 2 first-round exits and 3 seasons missing the post season during his time in New Orleans.  Currently Williams is the Associate Head Coach of the Thunder.  Williams did a good enough job in New Orleans to qualify for another shot at a lead chair.

Mark Jackson helped to turn around the Golden State Warriors in his 3 seasons at the helm. The career 121-109 record .526 is impressive considering the first season featured a 23-43 finish.  Jackson got the Warriors from point A to point B, but the organization felt someone else was better to suited to get the team to point C.  Steve Kerr did just that in his first year at the helm.  Jackson had some run-ins with the front office which led to his dismissal. I’m not a fan of Jackson and the way he conducted business in Oakland.  I’d like an explanation as to what went wrong and if he’s learned from the experience.   His resume does merit consideration for head coaching vacancies.

Other former coaches don’t fit the Lakers for various reasons.  Jeff Van Gundy wants full control which won’t happen in LA.  Former Laker Derek Fisher looked completely overmatched in New York.  Working for Phil Jackson wasn’t as beneficial to Fisher’s career as many would have expected.  David Blatt’s resume overseas is impressive, while his NBA resume has a bunch of question marks.  Getting neutered by LeBron James is the first problem.  Star players often do that to players, but Blatt didn’t seem to relate well to his players or the NBA game.  His innovate offense overseas was squashed by King James. Blatt was in a really tough spot in Cleveland.  He needs to be really selective in pursuing a 2nd NBA head coaching job.

The Lakers job is one of the premier coaching jobs in all of sports.  Others may view it otherwise as the mighty have fallen in recent years. Whether someone has ties to the organization or not should outweigh their qualifications for the job.  First the Buss family and Mitch Kupchak need to get their affairs in order.  Then they should look for a new coach.

Len Stealing My Sunshine

The Phoenix Suns are in full tank mode and finally have decided to unleash Alex Len. Attempting to build up the trade value of Markieff Morris delayed the process a bit. Len injury problems during his college and professional career may be one of the reasons Tyson Chandler was signed this off-season. I’ve been impressed with Len’s ability to score down low and facing the basket.  Defensively Len has been more willing to mix it up down low.  His defense from 10 ft and in is solid but foul trouble causes problems.  The Suns have started Len at Power Forward and played the twin towers together more in the recent stretch.  Small ball lineups can possibly negate the Twin Towers. However Chandler not Len should lose minutes at this stage of the season.

Fantasy owners tracking Len should have taken notice of his steady increase in usage rate.   January saw a usage rate of 17.1, February jumped to 25.2 and so far in March its 27.2. February was a good month for Len as he averaged 12.23 ppg and 9.2 rpg. The fantasy basketball playoffs often come down to schedules as Len in weekly leagues ends the season with 3, 4, and 4 games.  The added eligibility of PF in some leagues only sweetens the deal.

I picked up Len a few weeks ago due to Zaza Pachulia’s drop-off in production.  Len’s play has impressed me to the point where I may consider him as 1 of my 2 keepers for next season. The keeper prices jump 1.5 times and owners can only keep a player for 2 years.  My keepers entering this season were Jimmy Butler for $8 and Chandler Parsons at $ 11. Draft pricing for Kawhi Leonard $25, Carmelo Anthony $31 and Marc Gasol $26 are too rich for my blood. Karl Anthony-Towns $12 is set as one of my keepers. D’Angelo Russell $8, Thaddeus Young $2, Myles Turner $1, and Aaron Gordon $1 are also lost cost keeper options.  I like to have inexpensive young keepers so I can spend more in my draft. I’m leaning towards Butler for one more year, but Len’s play has questioned my thought process quite a bit.

Deng Trade Has Potential Ripple Down Effects For Mike Dunleavy and Kirk Hinrich

The Chicago Bulls are a team in transition with the first domino dropping as Luol Deng gets moved the Cavaliers for the right to release Andrew Bynum and draft choices. The Bulls probably aren’t done talking trades as Mike Dunleavy and Kirk Hinrich are strong possibilities to get moved before the February 20th trade deadline. Expect to see Tony Snell to take over Dunleavy’s minutes and D.J. Augustin to see plenty of playing time when Hinrich gets traded.

Dunleavy may see more of the playing time with Deng’s departure as a trade showcase. His contract is worth roughly $3.3 million dollars next season. Teams looking for a cost effective veteran perimeter scorer could be interested in Dunleavy. His True Shooting Percentage of .569 and Player Efficiency Rating 13.7 could certainly help contending teams. Dunleavy is an asset on a tanking team that could net more cap relief, a 2nd rd pick, or maybe an inexpensive young player in return.

Owners should track Snell for the near future as his role after the trade is yet o be determined. Snell struggles with shot selection and is just finding his bearings at the NBA level. Snell does bring effort on the defensive end and could help fantasy owners looking for defensive stats. The effort on the defensive end should lead to more playing time down the road this season.

The Bulls would be best suited to move Hinrich as soon as possible before his body breaks down yet again. Hinrich’s offensive win share of -0.1, True Shooting Percentage of .459, and Player Efficiency Rating of 9.3 are unacceptable for a team that is in the process of rebuilding. Hinrich is under contract this season for $4.059 million dollars. The Bulls could save more money and acquire maybe a 2nd rd pick or inexpensive young player in return. What Hinrich does bring to the table at this point is a 1.2 Defensive Win Share and veteran presence. The 33-year-old combo guard could help contending teams off the bench in a capacity of around 20 minutes-per-game.

Fantasy owners should look to add D.J. Augustin as a bench stash at this stage of the season. Augustin is averaging 12.3 points, 7.2 assists,and 1.7 steals per 36 minutes. The .541 True Shooting Percentage and 13.3 Player Efficiency Rating give Augustin a leg up on Marquis Teague for more playing time. It will be painstaking for Coach Tom Thibodeau to watch Augustin on the defensive end. Augustin is a player that could end up being more valuable in fantasy basketball instead of real basketball.

Enes Kanter Provides Good Late Round Value

Jazz PF Derrick Favors is expected to be one of the biggest breakout players for the 2013-2014 season. Fantasy owners may be tripping over themselves to acquire his services in drafts. For those that miss out on the prized Jazz big man, remember there’s 2 young bigs in Utah ready to take off this season. C Enes Kanter is one of my favorite breakout players for the season. Kanter enters my Circle of Trust in 2 of 4 leagues this season.

A deeper look into Kanter’s bio shows he’s been viewed as a blue chip prospect. Kanter was declared ineligible to play for Kentucky and entered the 2011 NBA draft. The Jazz used a pick acquired from the New Jersey Nets in the Deron Williams trade. There’s a reason Kanter was so heavily recruited in college and selected with the 3rd overall pick in the draft. Thru 2 NBA seasons Kanter has been a bench player due to the presense of Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap in Utah. The veteran duo is gone and Kanter’s time to shine starts now.

His career 36 Min avg. 14.9 PPG, while shooting 53% from the floor, with 10.7 RPG, and 1.0 BPG. Bargain basemen shoppers looking for value at the end of drafts should target Kanter. I expect his value to surpass the $3 I spent in an auction draft and pick 107 of a snake draft. In a league with more emphasis on stretch bigs and an uptempo game, Kanter is mauling back to the basket center. Kanter is a similar player to Nikola Pekovic of the Wolves in terms of a bruising style of play , but much less polished on the offensive end. Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors are options 1a and 1b in the Jazz offense. Kanter should be able to contribute on the offensive end with the help of good guard play and on put-backs. Fantasy owners looking for a big toward the middle to end of their drafts should target Kanter.

Fantasy Owners Rejoice Trade Of Thomas Robinson

Opportunity has knocked for Thomas Robinson with a trade from the dysfunctional Kings to the playoff contending Rockets. Robinson goes from averaging 15.9 MPG with the Kings to a possible 25-30 MPG gig with the Rockets.  There’s not much competition for PT in Houston at this point.  Patrick Patterson was averaging 25.9 MPG and Marcus Morris saw 21.4 MPG this season in Houston.  They are now in Sacramento and Phoenix. Royce White is out of shape in the D-League while Chandler Parsons, Francisco Garcia and Carlos Delfino could take away minutes if the Rockets decide to go with smaller lineups.

Robinson was averaging 4.8 PPG and 4.7 RPG so far this season. His per 36 minutes rates are 11.0 PPG with 10.6 RPG.  The number 5 overall pick of the 2012 draft inexplicably couldn’t find a role in the Kings rotation.  I thought Robinson would make a significant impact right away due to his NBA type body, skill set, and high level of college competition.  The more experienced Jason Thompson takes up most of the minutes at power forward in Sacramento.  However, Thompson can be inconsistent and I believe doesn’t have as high of a ceiling as Robinson. What the Kings are trying to do at this point is anyone’s guess. I was confused why Robinson couldn’t play more in Sacramento, but the move to ship him out after half a season is a head scratcher.  Saving a bit of money shouldn’t supersede putting out a competitive team.

The Kansas product lacks a consistent mid-range jumper and polished post moves.  Playing with James Harden should help to elevate his offensive game around the basket.  His ability to defend bigs in the pick and roll will certainly help Kevin McHale’s squad.  Rockets GM Daryl Morey has added another solid move to his resume.  Fantasy owners looking to add a solid move to their resume should race to waivers and pick up Robinson.