10/18 Heat @ Wizards Rapid Reactions

Final Score: Heat 113, Wizards 112

Miami Heat:

• The so-called “chemistry issues” reported previously in the week as a result of the Jimmy Butler trade talks don’t appear to be an issue among the team. Josh Richardson, a mentioned trade asset, played the most minutes and was the teams top scorer.

•Goran Dragic, while struggling in the scoring department, still made his presence felt greatly on the court tonight. The point guard has never been quite known to be a scoring machine, but it was good to see Miami can still rely on him in that role.

•Key bench players produced tonight, with three producing nine points a piece, while creating assists and grabbing rebounds. Dwayne Wade struggled tonight however shooting once again.

Miami’s Play of the Game: With .2 seconds left in the game, Kelley Olynyk scores the game winning bucket off a Dwayne Wade miss. Olynyk was known for being a “Wizards Killer” already, draining 3’s to put Washington away in the 4th quarter of their series against Boston a few years back.

Washington Wizards:

•Not having Dwight Howard or the presence of a starting-quality center hurt the Wizards greatly tonight. Ian Mahimi, who Scott Brooks had previously talked about having his trust, only played 15 minutes tonight. Howard will bring a defensive presence to the backcourt on his arrival.

•Austin Rivers’ role could be seen more clearly tonight, and it was evident he will be a great asset in keep John Wall and Bradley Beal fresh. He can play both guard positions and allowed for the offense to run smoothly, keeping whichever player he was teamed with in the backcourt, aggressive throughout.

•Tomas Satoransky may have a lesser-than-expected role this year. Sato found his minutes reduced last year in the playoffs and did not seem to have Scott Brooks’ trust even with his play throughout the year in John Wall’s absence. The guard played only 14 minutes tonight, and while that may be attributed to the starters’ production, it is something to watch.

Wizards’ Play of the Game: With 4:50 left in the second quarter, John Wall drove to the basket and threw down a beautiful slam over Tyler Johnson to take the lead.

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3 “Don’t Give Up On Me” players to watch next year

NBA Sleepers

We all have that player.

I was convinced that Jared Sullinger was going to be a superstar. The dude was a man among boys in college and I thought it would translate to the NBA. Plus, he had soft touch you rarely see in big men. Welp, I was wrong. Dead Wrong. As of now, Sully is playing in China AKA basketball’s version of The island of misfit toys.

Who else could be headed that way? Time will tell. As of now, I am here to tell you all about some players you should not give up on yet. We begin with a former lottery pick who plays for the Miami Heat.

 

Justise Winslow

It seems as even though his own team wants to move on from him…

Fortunately, Winslow survived the draft day trade rumors and is still playing ball in Miami. This is certainly good for the former Duke product, as playing alongside someone like Coach Spo can only help Winslow achieve his potential.

Why am I still so high on Winslow? Although he has failed to display them consistently, the lefty has all of the traits you want in a starting wing. Take his shooting ability, for example.

On paper, Winslow’s shooting stats don’t pop out at you. Take a deeper look, however. Justice took 54 percent of his triples from the corner last season, and nailed 40 percent of them. He has the potential to stretch defenses, which is covetable in today’s game.

Winlow can do more than simply bang corner threes, though. Miami can and has run some of its offense through Winslow. His passing vision is underrated, but I like Winslow more for his ability to score via the pick and roll. I lined up this YouTube video so all you have to do it click play, then watch Winslow consecutively weave his way into nice scoring opportunities off of screens.

Defensively, Winslow has some hidden tools as well. Sure, we know about his strong frame, quick feet, and solid wingspan. Yet, his timing as a shotblocker may prove worthy as coaches turn to super-small ball lineups. Again, I did the work so you don’t have to. Click play and watch until the end to see how Winslow can serve as a Jerami Grant/Draymond Green rim protector.

With his spacing, pick and roll potential, and defensive versatility, Miami should continue to be patient with Winslow. Other teams would be wise to poach him as well.

 

Willie Cauley-Stein

Before last season, people were ready to give up on WCS. The former Wildcat has loads of potential, but reports suggested that he may be obtainable. Check out what the plugged in Marc Stein had to say about Cauley-Stein during the 2016-17 season.

“Keep an eye on Kings big man Willie Cauley-Stein. Word is Sacramento is open to moving the second-year big man, who wants more of a role than he has under new Kings coach Dave Joerger’

Interesting, indeed. Of course, WCS stuck around and had a good year as a starter last season. Still, Sacramento is stacked with big men. They already have Harry Giles, Skal Labissiere, Deyonta Davis, and drafted Marvin Bagley III. If Giles and Skal take steps forward this year, Sacramento may choose to let WCS walk in free agency and opt to retain future cap space.

Yet, Cauley-Stein is certainly worth an investment. WCS is as nimble as they come for big men. He is a near 7-footer with a 7’3″ wingspan and runs like a wide receiver. Probably because he used to be one. The athletic tools are there for him to switch on screens and also defend the paint.

We catch a glimpse of this nimbleness in Cauley-Stein’s per-36 numbers. Now, there is a reason guys do not play 36 minutes, but this statistic can still be a useful projection tool. So, what do his numbers look like?

Per 36 Minutes Table
Season Age Tm G STL BLK PTS
2015-16 22 SAC 66 1.2 1.7 11.8
2016-17 23 SAC 75 1.3 1.1 15.5
2017-18 24 SAC 73 1.4 1.2 16.4
Career 214 1.3 1.3 14.8
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/4/2018.

Glance at his steal and block numbers, also known as STOCK. Averaging over one steal per game and one block per game indicates that WCS has active enough hands and feet to switch onto guards. There is another number which stands out to me, however.

Cauley-Stein may be more than a gravity puller on pick and rolls. The guy may actually be a facilitator as well. When I saw his assists numbers from last year, I was encouraged to go back and watch some more film. After all, big men who get 2.4 or more assists per game deserve more film study.

To clarify, I do not expect Cauley-Stein to operate from the pick and roll the same way Al Horford and Blake Griffin do. Yet, WCS can make the right pass. He often finds himself with a tons of space, because opposing teams want him taking jumpers. What happens when WCS finds himself in these situations. Good stuff.

Consider this clip of him playing against the Warriors and their tough defense. WCS is actually be pressed really hard by Andre Iguodala. What does he do? Cauley-Stein actual does a little crossover, then fires a bullet pass to a cutting Bogdanovic for a floater. I know. I had to watch it a couple times too.

Fast forward to the 1:03 mark of that same clip. David West is giving WCS a lot of space, and for good reason. The Kings decide to run some off-ball stuff for Bogdanovic again. This time WCS makes a smart bounce pass to BB as he cuts in for a layup.

The Kings know that WCS only draws attention as a screener. Everyone dares him to shoot, so Sacramento has drawn up some off-ball stuff for other players to do when WCS has the ball near the free throw line. If they were smart, Sacramento would look to do more of this and even get Marvin Bagley involved in some big-to-big passing as well. Don’t give up on the guy just yet, I expect him to turn his career trajectory around during the 2018-19 season.

 

Shabazz Napier

I know. Here goes my UConn bias again. Despite having earned another contract, Napier hasn’t lived up to the hype of a former first-round pick. Yet, I would argue that Napier has 6th man written all over him. Think Dellavedova during the Cavs title run.

Why am I still high on Napier? Excellent question. Yes, I know he has bounced around to four teams in what will be five years. But, Napier has a skill set that matches what today’s head coaches are looking for. Plus, he experienced a minor breakout year in Portland. As the stats tell, last season was his best yet.

Per Game Table
Season Age Tm Pos G MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT% TRB AST PTS
2014-15 23 MIA PG 51 19.8 1.7 4.5 .382 0.8 2.3 .364 .786 2.2 2.5 5.1
2015-16 24 ORL PG 55 10.9 1.2 3.7 .338 0.6 1.9 .327 .733 1.0 1.8 3.7
2016-17 25 POR PG 53 9.7 1.4 3.5 .399 0.6 1.7 .370 .776 1.2 1.3 4.1
2017-18 26 POR PG 74 20.7 3.0 7.2 .420 1.1 2.9 .376 .841 2.3 2.0 8.7
Career 233 15.7 1.9 4.9 .395 0.8 2.3 .363 .802 1.7 1.9 5.7
2 seasons POR 127 16.1 2.3 5.6 .415 0.9 2.4 .374 .824 1.8 1.7 6.8
1 season ORL 55 10.9 1.2 3.7 .338 0.6 1.9 .327 .733 1.0 1.8 3.7
1 season MIA 51 19.8 1.7 4.5 .382 0.8 2.3 .364 .786 2.2 2.5 5.1
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/4/2018.

Even more impressive are his numbers as a starter. When filling in for Dame Lillard, Napier put up a stat line of 16, 4 and 4 while banging 38 percent of his triples. Not bad.

So why wasn’t Napier more successful in Portland? I will answer my own question with another question. If C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard were your two best players, would you try and squeeze in more minutes for Shabazz Napier? Me neither.

It may be hard for Napier to find minutes in Brooklyn as well, but I like his chances. The Nets have done a wonderful job with player development as well as targeting under-the-radar guys with untapped potential. If the Nets acquired Napier, they did so for a reason. He will play behind Russell and Dinwiddie, but Napier will wiggle his way into some playing time eventually.

What will he bring to this squad? Napier can facilitate, but is more of a scoring guard. He takes 41 percent of all his shots from three, and drains a good amount of them. Napier’s assist percentage is not too high for a distributor, but this is because he is often asked to lead the second units in scoring. Yet, he is a natural scorer who relies on his shiftiness and sneaky athleticism to get buckets.

Oh, and the shiftiness is real. Watch this eurostep and pass which leads to a three-ball.

In fact, I recommend watching the whole clip.

If Napier can find minutes next season, he can display his talent. Not only is he one of the most clutch players out there, he is also one of the hardest workers. Don’t bet against this man.

 

Recent Articles:

Why Carmelo will continue to struggle in Houston

The next step for Russell Westbrook

The most untouchable player for every Eastern Conference team

Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons

This is it. We can do this, ladies and gentlemen. Free agency is winding down, the NBA draft has been done for what seems like ages, and summer league is wrapping up as well.

Now more than ever, we need thought provoking NBA content. Well, say no more fam.

 

1. Atlanta Hawks – Trae Young

When I first glanced at this roster, I threw up a little in my mouth. But then I took a deep breath, dry heaved some more and decided to look again. Things aren’t as bleak as they seem.

Trae Young, John Collins, Taurean Prince, Kevin Huerter. The Hawks have the start of something promising or at the very least, intriguing. Is anyone on this roster truly untouchable? Probably not. Still, with management trading back and still drafting Trae Young, all signs point to him as being the least likely to be traded.

 

2. Boston Celtics – Jayson Tatum

The rookie standout is the obvious answer here. Do the Celtics want to trade any of their core? Nope. Still, I cannot imagine Danny Ainge trading Tatum for any realistic option out there right now. (Anthony Davis cannot come to the Cs via a DPE rule.)

Tatum’s duel with LeBron in the game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final is something we could see in a 30 for 30 one day. The kid is that special.

 

3. Brooklyn Nets – Jarrett Allen

Just when I thought I was done throwing up…

All jokes aside, the Nets are finally headed in the right direction. They own their future picks and have acquired then developed some good prospects. Spencer Dinwiddie revived his career in Brooklyn, and other reclamation projects await.

Jarrett Allen has looked like a good gamble so far. There is a reason he only played 20 minutes per game last year but, his per-36 minutes suggest a bright future lies ahead.

Per 36 Minutes Table
Season Age Tm G FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% TRB AST STL BLK PTS
2017-18 19 BRK 72 5.8 9.9 .589 0.1 0.4 .333 2.8 3.7 .776 9.7 1.2 0.7 2.2 14.7
Career 72 5.8 9.9 .589 0.1 0.4 .333 2.8 3.7 .776 9.7 1.2 0.7 2.2 14.7
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/16/2018.

4. Charlotte Hornets – Miles Bridges

So this is the question: What makes Miles Bridges more untradable than Malik Monk?

Monk had a disappointing rookie season. Sure, he showed flashes during the last month or so of the season. Yet, Monk proved to be more of a project than what scouts originally thought.

Bridges may not project as the safer long term prospect however, he has a two-way ceiling higher than Monk’s. Offensively, Bridges looks to be equally as dynamic as Monk, despite these two having different skill sets. It is on the defensive side of the ball where Bridges separates himself, as he has the potential to defend four positions on the court.

 

5. Chicago Bulls – Wendell Carter Jr.

I struggled with this selection as well. Lauri Markkanen set rookie records for three-pointers last year. Plus, Coach Hoiberg ran a bunch of the offense through him, something that displayed Markkanen’s playmaking ability. So why did I side with Carter Jr here?

Lauri Markkanen may learn NBA defensive spacing but, he simply lacks to physical tools to be an effective two-way player. With the game getting quicker, I can imagine future playoff scenarios where Markkanen gets played off of the court. Who does Markkanen guard when a team like the Sixers trots out Embiid, Simmons, Redick, Fultz and Covington. Carter Jr won’t ever get played off of the court. His three-point stroke and playmaking look to be just as good as Markkanen’s as well.

 

6. Cleveland Cavaliers – Collin Sexton

Has anyone made an “I wanna Sexton you up” meme yet? No? Great.

Cleveland has players that are the opposite of untouchable. They should be looking to gain value for Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson and others. Yet, Sexton remains untouchable. The former Alabama guard is a locker room blessing. Sexton can reset the culture in Cleveland while becoming their point guard of the future. Cedi Osman was in contention here as well.

 

7. Detroit Pistons – Andre Drummond

If I were the GM of the Detroit Pistons, Andre Drummond would not be untouchable. That does mean I would be looking to unload him however, I prefer my centers to be able to switch pick and rolls, as well as space the court. Yet, Drummond is probably the most unlikely player Detroit is willing to part with.

Blake Griffin was a Stan Van Gundy guy, not someone new management particularly wanted. I am not suggesting his trade value is high enough to warrant a move but, crazier things have happened. This summer, Drummond has posted videos on his Instagram account draining threes. Perhaps he will bring this skill to the Pistons this year, and truly earn this hypothetical untouchable title.

 

8. Indiana Pacers – Victor Oladipo

I won’t get into too much detail about this because Josh Eberly of HOOPmag already did it for me:

9. Miami Heat – Josh Richardson

Why not first time All-Star and former All-NBAer Goran Dragic? Dragic can opt out of his contract after next season and will be a 33-year-old point guard. If anything, Miami should be tryingto ship Dragic off to a fringe contender looking for that next piece.

Bam Adebayo came to mind here but, paint protecting rim runners are becoming easier and easier to find nowadays. 24-year-old defensive wings who drain 37% of their threes and hit 45% from the field are not easy to find, however. Throw in Richardson’s cheap contract and Miami has a piece they should hold onto.

 

10. Milwaukee Bucks – Giannia Antetokounmpo

Ask Tim Hardaway Jr to explain this one.

11. New York Knicks – Kristaps Porzingis

Want to know how many NBA players shot 39% from deep last year while also blocking 2.4 shots per game? One. Don’t overthink this one, people. Kevin Knox will be an awesome player and is on a cheap deal. Frankie Smokes is already an elite perimeter defender with promising offensive development. Still, KP is the way to go here.

 

12. Orlando Magic – Mo Bamba

Rookies seem to be dominating this list, and I do not know if I am comfortable with that.

Aaron Gordon took a step forward with his three-point shooting ability last season yet, he still has so much more to develop if he wants to truly take advantage of his elite athleticism. With both Bamba and Jonathan Isaac looking great in summer league, I would move off of Gordon for a top-20 pick.

Jonathan Isaac has shown promise lately however, he does not have the ceiling that Bamba has. Bamba is the most boom or bust player of this bunch, but Orlando needs a star and Bamba is worth making untouchable.

 

13. Philadelphia 76ers – Ben Simmons

Let the debate begin!

I love Embiid’s game and potential. In my opinion, he has a higher ceiling than Simmons. Embiid could be an MVP and  DPOY winner. Yet, I like my untouchable players to be on the court. Out of 328 possible regular season games, Embiid has played 94 of them. Folks, he has only played in 28 percent of his games. Unfortunately, 7’1″, 260 lbs centers tend to progress towards injuries, not away from them.

Ben Simmons has an MVP ceiling as well. At one point during his career he will be the best passer in the game. Defensively, he can be elite too. Simmons has all the tools to be transcendent and a gambling man will bet that Simmons will find a way to fix that jumper. Factor in his health, and Simmons is my pick here, although I would not trade either.

 

14. Toronto Raptors – No one

Why should anyone on this roster be untouchable? Toronto is at a crossroads. With LeBron out of the East, they need to take a risk and go all in.

I have been a fan of the “DeMar for Kawhi” fake trades. Kawhi is simply a better player than DeMar DeRozan and would raise Toronto’s chances of winning. If the team can package Lowry and other assets for an upgrade, do it. Could they need to sell off OG and other young prospects for an experienced difference maker? Go for it.

If not now, when? Toronto has a very small window to win. If there is a move out there that makes them better for even one season, they must do it.

 

15. Washington Wizards – Bradley Beal

Surprised you, right?

Bradley Beal had a better year than John Wall last year, straight up.

Per Game Table
Rk Player Season Age GS FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% eFG% FT% TRB AST STL BLK PTS
1 Bradley Beal 2017-18 24 82 8.3 18.1 .460 2.4 6.5 .375 .527 .793 4.4 4.5 1.2 0.4 22.6
2 John Wall 2017-18 27 41 6.8 16.3 .420 1.5 4.1 .371 .466 .726 3.7 9.6 1.4 1.1 19.4
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/16/2018.

 

I will take Beal’s numbers here over Wall’s any day of the week. Plus, Washington should be looking to move off of Wall’s contract. John Wall will be paid $37 million dollars in 2019-2020. Compare that to Beal who will be making $10 million less! Remember when I was throwing up earlier…

…John Wall will be making $43 million when he is 31-years-old! That type of money cripples franchises from making other important acquisitions. The point guard position is the saturated one in the game today, making Wall expendable in the long term. Bradley Beal is the guy to hang onto.

Day Two NBA Summer League Studs and Duds

Derrick Jones Jr.

Day two of the Utah and Sacramento NBA Summer League provided less enticing basketball. The first night brought excitement in Sacramento with the Kings playing what will actually be their NBA lineup competing in front of a packed Golden One Center. Night one was also the debuts of many high-profile rookies including Jaren Jackson Jr., Trae Young, Marvin Bagley III, Lonnie Walker IV, Grayson Allen, and more. However, night two saw some players take a rest. De’Aaron Fox, Lonnie Walker IV, and Grayson Allen were all among the players who didn’t play in the second night of the Summer League. Teams were being cautious as they don’t want to overwork the young players and cause an injury early in their career. But, there were players that did play. Let’s get into the studs and duds from day two of the NBA Summer League.

 

Studs:

Justin Jackson – Sacramento Kings

The second year player out of UNC showed out against the Golden State Warriors. The Kings team managed to score just 54 points, but 20 of those points were recorded by Jackson. The forward shot 7-11 from the field, including 2-5 from three-point range. In addition to his scoring, Jackson managed 5 rebounds and limited his turnovers to just one. It was a solid performance for Jackson one night after scoring just five points.

Deyonta Davis – Memphis Grizzlies

Deyonta Davis is looking to make a big jump for the Grizzlies this upcoming season. Davis appeared in 62 games for Memphis last season recording 5.8 points per game playing just 15.2 minutes per night. Davis dominated the Utah Jazz in night two of the Utah Summer League. Solidifying himself with 17 points, Davis shot 8-9 from the field while playing just 23 minutes. Davis also grabbed 6 rebounds and was a game-high +18 when he was on the court. If Davis can continue to prove himself in the Summer League and the NBA, it won’t be long before Davis becomes a household rotational player in the league.

 

Tony Bradley – Utah Jazz

Tony Bradley had himself a game against the Memphis Grizzlies. The 2017 first-round pick was projected to be a project, and he was just that in his first season with the Jazz. Bradley appeared in eight games with Utah and it was clear he needed to mature his basketball skills. Well, if his second game in the 2018 NBA Summer League is any indication, Bradley did just that. Posting 18 points and 14 rebounds in 23 minutes was single-handedly the best performance by any Jazz player. In addition, Bradley was a +16 in the game, one that the Jazz lost by three. The rest of the Summer League will be big for Bradley as he continues his development as an NBA center.

Derrick Jones Jr. – Miami Heat

The high-flying Derrick Jones Jr. did it all for the Miami Heat on Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Lakers. The high-flyer finished with 21 points, 5 rebounds, 4 blocks and 3 steals. Jones didn’t have his three-point shot falling, but it didn’t matter. He got looks at the rim with ease, and he looked too good to be playing in the Summer League. If DJJ can continue his development, he can turn into a solid rotational player for the Heat this upcoming season.

 

Duds:

Josh Hart – Los Angeles Lakers

Josh Hart should be dominating Summer League action, plain and simple. After logging meaningful minutes with the Lakers last season, there is no reason Hart shouldn’t be killing the competition. However, Tuesday night, Hart recorded just one point on 0-4 shooting from the field. He only played 14 minutes, but Hart needs to be better, especially when he’s been talked about as an asset in a Kawhi Leonard trade package.

 

Marvin Bagley III – Sacramento Kings

One night after electrifying the hometown Kings crowd, Bagley laid an egg. Was it because De’Aaron Fox wasn’t getting him easy looks? Was it because he was playing in a back-to-back? Who knows, but it was not a good game for Bagley in his second pro outing. Bagley shot 3-16 from the field and 0-5 from three recording a lackluster 7 points. While Bagley had a rough night, it was his second pro game, no need to worry in Summer League.

Trae Young – Atlanta Hawks

Another game, another rough Trae Young experience. For the second night in a row, Young struggled, especially shooting the ball. Connecting on just 5-16 shots from the field, and just 1-5 from three, Young is looking like the guard from the second half of the Oklahoma season, not the first half. On a positive note, Young played better in the fourth quarter getting to the basket and finishing in the lane. He also made some nice passes to teammates, who didn’t convert their shots. With it being just his second pro game, give Young some time Atlanta.

Day One of NBA Summer League is in the Books

Marvin Bagley III

A look at some of the performances from this years top prospects:

Sacramento Kings (98) vs Los Angeles Lakers (93):

Image result for kings vs lakers summer league

Marvin Bagley:

While De’Aaron Fox might’ve been the best player on the floor and posted the prettier statline for the Sacramento Kings on Monday night, it was Marvin Bagley who was the games main attraction. Bagley had himself an impressive debut. He poured in an efficient 18 points along with 6 rebounds and a game-high 3 blocks in 24 minutes of action. Oh, and he also had a filthy poster in the first quarter.

Harry Giles:

The Kings first-round pick from the 2017 Draft also made his Kings debut yesterday after missing his entire first year with a knee injury. He played 25 minutes and finished with 13 points and 3 rebounds on a 6-10 shooting night.

Moe Wagner:

Like Fox for the Kings, Josh Hart was another returning player in this game who had himself a big game, but we’re not here to talk about them. We’re here for the rookies, specifically, Moe Wagner. First-round pick Moe Wagner gave his team 23 points and 7 rebounds, but struggled shooting the ball (6-18 from the floor, 2-9 from three). He did go 9-10 from the line however and had a team-high 2 steals and 1 block in 27 minutes.

 

Atlanta Hawks (88) vs Memphis Grizzlies (103):

Image result for hawks vs grizzlies

Jaren Jackson Jr:

Jackson showed out Monday night. He gave Memphis fans a glimpse of what’s in store for the regular season and even amazed fans with his tribute to Steph Curry, burying 8 threes on 13 attempts and even sinking a hail mary half-court buzzer beater to end the 2nd quarter. It was the complete opposite of Trae Young’s performance. Jackson finished the contest with 29 points (9-15 FG), 3 rebounds and 2 blocks in 23 minutes.

Trae Young:

Young had a less than spectacular start to his NBA career. He started off the game by air-balling his first two three-point attempts, then ended the first quarter with an 0-6 shooting performance before ending the game 4-20 from the floor and 1-11 from three with 16 points. His playmaking didn’t make up for his woeful shooting either, dishing out just 3 assists and turning the ball over twice in the process. The good news is Trae Young will have a chance to bounce back from that performance later today when his Hawks take on the Spurs.

 

Miami Heat (68) vs Golden State Warriors (79):

Image result for bam adebayo

No rookies to watch out for in this one, but Derrick Jones Jr. (24 points, 11 rebounds on 4-5 from three) and Bam Adebayo (14 points and 14 rebounds) had themselves big games that Heat fans can get excited about.

 

San Antonio Spurs (76) vs Utah Jazz (92):

Image result for spurs vs utah jazz

Grayson Allen:

Allen was the crowd favorite Monday, and despite not shooting the ball well (4-16 FG, 2-6 3PT), he did contribute in other ways. He had 8 rebounds, 7 assists, and 1 steal in just 16 minutes. Allen’s court vision was on full display in this game and his gritty hustle should please Jazz fans as his game has the makings to be a perfect fit in Utah’s system.

Lonnie Walker:

Like Young and Allen, the Spurs 18th pick just couldn’t find a rhythm. He played 24 minutes and recorded 7 points, shooting 3-16 and had the worst plus-minus among all players in the game with a -20. Walker didn’t do much to get himself high percentage looks in this game and that was the result.

 

Summer League schedule for Tuesday, July 3rd: 

San Antonio Spurs vs Atlanta Hawks at 7:00pm ET 

Miami Heat vs Los Angeles Lakers at 9:00pm ET

Memphis Grizzlies vs Utah Jazz at 9:00pm ET

Golden State Warriors vs Sacramento Kings at 11:00pm ET

Creating the best NBA Lineup from LeBron’s Teammates

Dwyane Wade and LeBron James

It’s week two of the “Creating NBA Lineups” column. Week one was a huge success in the launch creating the best NBA lineup from players on non-playoff teams. This week, the goal will be to create the best NBA lineup from LeBron James’ teammates. LeBron has had a lot of great teammates, so let’s see if we can build a superteam from his teammates to dominate the NBA.

Disclaimer: The talent level of the players is based on their talent when they played with LeBron, not at the peaks of their career.

 

PG: Kyrie Irving

This is an obvious choice. Irving is the best point guard LeBron has ever played with and probably the best point guard he will ever play with. Kyrie can do it all on the offensive end of the court. He has the ability to not only find his own shot, but to knock the shots down at ease. Although his defensive ability lacks, his offensive firepower makes Irving one of LeBron’s best teammates in his storied career.

 

SG: Ray Allen

Although Allen wasn’t LeBron’s teammate for long, he is one of the King’s best teammates. The shot that Allen hit in Game Six of the 2013 NBA Finals is still to this day one of the most talked about shots in NBA Finals history. Allen will give this squad a three-point sniper to sit on the perimeter and knock down shots. Although the team doesn’t have much defensive talent to this point, it might not matter when they score 130 points per game.

Ray Allen

SF: Dwyane Wade

Similar to Kyrie Irving, this is an obvious choice. D-Wade is not only one of LeBron’s best teammates ever, he is also one of LeBron’s best friends. The two future Hall of Fame players had a great run together in Miami, winning two titles in four seasons together. Without LeBron, Wade is no joke either. Teaming him up with Kyrie and Allen gives this superteam one of the best scoring trios in their prime.

 

PF: Kevin Love

Power forward was tough. Going back between Chris Bosh and Kevin Love was a very difficult decision. I landed on Love for one main reason: his ability to stretch the floor. Bosh also had the ability to stretch the floor, but not like Love does. Furthermore, Love’s rebounding ability at the four provides this team with a much-need glass cleaner. Love is not strong on defense, but as I alluded to earlier, it won’t matter when this team puts up 130 points per game.

Kevin Love and LeBron James

C: Zydrunas Ilgauskas

What better way to finish off a superteam than with “Big Z?” A stat-stuffing center is just what is needed to round off this superteam. Ilgauskas will also provide the team with something they lack: defense. Ilgauskas’ ability to grab rebounds and protect the paint on the defensive side of the ball make him a must at the center position.

 

Recap/Prediction:

People often complain about LeBron’s teammates abilities. Obviously that was a bit different this season when he was left with much of the work to do himself. However, if we combine all of his teammates throughout his career, a team can be created that would win not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, everyone knows where I am going with this. The point is, even though this team will not play a lick of defense, the offensive potential is through the roof. If the NBA ever allows time machines to be used in basketball, watch out, a new superteam is coming for Golden State.

Be sure to come back next week when a new “Creating NBA Lineups” column is posted!