Whew. 100 down. 100 to go. It’s been a helluva ride, but we almost there. This is where things get really interesting, as it’s a group where some starters still reside, but is mostly populated with bench players. Do you go with a specialist or someone that contributes across the board? Decisions decisions.
Yes! I’m freaking pumped now. Go do your thing right now! I’m going to finish this post then run like Forrest Gump.
In 2016, there were six teams that did not have a 20 ppg scorer: Pistons, Hawks, Magic, Nuggets, Mavs, and Lakers. The Pistons’ leading scorer was Tobias Harris at 16.1 ppg. The Magic had Evan Fournier at 17.2 ppg, while the rest of the teams had a leading scorer at 18ppg or higher. The Bad Boy Pistons of the late-80s proved that you don’t need a 20 ppg scorer to win a championship, but even those teams had two players in the 18 ppg range, Isiah Thomas and Adrian Dantley. If you were wondering, Joe Dumars was at 17.2. Anyways, I have a friend in Japan that makes fly-like drones with audio equipment embedded inside. We were able to place a few in the Pistons War Room during this year’s NBA Draft. Here are some of the snippets that we gathered. SVG (Stan Van Gundy): I’m a great defensive coach. Look, we were ranked seventh in points allowed, fourth in steals, and sixth in blocks. We need more offense gentlemen! 22nd in field goal percentage, 27th in three-pointers made, and 26th in points scored is not going to cut it! JB (Jeff Bower): Calm down Stan. I know you’re a great defensive coach because…well…I hired you. We will get you offense. SCOUT: Mr. Bower and Mr. Van Gundy. We as a scouting group are in love with Donovan Mitchell. He’s a great athlete, will help us on D, and can shoot the heck out of the ball. SVG: God damn it!!! Didn’t you hear what I said earlier??!! I am a great defensive coach and we were awesome on D last season! We need offense! SCOUT: But…but….but…Mitchell is. SVG: Get these clowns out of here! Why are you studdering mother bleep bleep bleeeeeeeep! I like this Luke Kennard kid. Exactly the kind of player we need. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2016 Detroit Pistons.
Since 1988, the year that Charlotte was blessed with a NBA presence, the team has had 32 first-round picks in the draft. There have been some good ones: Larry Johnson, Alozo Mourning, Baron Davis, Kemba Walker, and Kobe Bryant. Ouch. That last one must hurt for Charlotte fans. There have been some horrible ones: Adam Morrison. Is this where a mic drop is appropriate? Anyways, out of all the 32 first-rounders that the Hornets/Bobcats have selected over the years, Cody Zeller may be in the top-tier for most valuable. What what? Zeller missed 20 games last season. In those games, the Hornets went 3-17. In terms of ORtg difference, Kemba was +10.1. Zeller? +10.4. Nicolas Batum was the next closest with a +3.7. Ladies and gentlemen, your Charlotte Hornets.
The Wicked Witch from the West, Phil Jackson, is gone! Oompa loompa doompety doo! The one thing that he did well was to draft Kristaps Porzingis with the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Of course, the Knicks figured out a way to make KP a spot up, three-point shooter. Such a Knicks thing to do. Anyways, he gave Joakim Noah a four-year, $72 million contract and re-upped Melo for five years, $124 million, with a no-trade clause. Brilliant! Let’s not forget about trading away Tim Hardaway Jr. to the Hawks, which the new regime just re-acquired for four years, $71 million. He also signed Derrick Fisher and Kurt Rambis to be head coaches. Someone explain to me why Rambis has been a head coach in the NBA for three different teams? His career win percentage wouldn’t even make him a good baseball player. He must suck….I better stop there. It is said that the success of an organization always start at the top. Well, James Dolan is the man up top and his team is #1 on Forbes’ team value list. Grandmaster Flash knew what was up….
We’ve waited a month for the next big domino to fall in the NBA and it finally happened! Kyrie Irving’s trade request has been granted, as Koby Altman moved the former #1 overall pick for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the 2018 first round of the Brooklyn Nets unprotected. Today, Tehol and I break down the effects of the trade. What does this do to both teams now and in the future? What does it do to the fantasy values of the players on Cleveland and Boston? Does any of it matter with Golden State looming in the NBA Finals? How bad is Brooklyn going to be this year? All of that and more in the latest edition of the Razzball Basketball Podcast brought to you by League Safe!
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On Tuesday morning, President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge received an email. The sender was: email@example.com. You don’t become the President of Basketball Operations for the Boston Celtics by being a dummy. Knowing that it was a scam of some sort, he asked his secretary to dial up the IT department so that they could help him reconfigure the spam folder settings. He saw the light for the IT department flash three times on his state-of-the-art phone before Jane, his secretary, intercommed over that Art was on the line. “Hey Art. This is Danny.” “What can I do for you, sir?” See, Art, I received this email from a Nigerian prince this morning and I was wondering if you could fix the problem so I won’t receive these spam emails anymore.” “Sir, did you try shutting the computer on and off?” Just at that moment, Jane intercommed over to say that Koby Altman, general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers, was on the line. “Hey Art. Hold on a sec.” “Hi Koby, what can I do for you?” “Well Danny, I have a problem. You see….” Koby kept talking and talking and talking, but what Danny didn’t know was that the hackers that Dan Gilbert hired over the Dark Web a week earlier figured out a way to hypnotize an individual via their computer screen. Not to get too technical, but it required a specific state-of-the-art phone that had two lines open at the exact time with an email displayed from a particular address emanating from the screen. Unbelievable you say? Then how else can you explain the trade that went down?!
Ok, I kid. Just wanted to have fun with things. Before I get too serious, though, why was the first thing to pop into my head when the trade was announced this song?
Philadelphia has #TTP. Orlando has #??? Since they blew up the operation when they traded Dwight Howard in 2012, the Magic have drafted Andrew Nicholson, Kyle O’Quinn, Victor Oladipo, Romero Osby, Aaron Gordon, Dario Saric, Mario Hezonja, Tyler Harvey, Domantas Sabonis, Stephen Zimmerman, Jake Layman, Jonathan Isaac, Anzejs Pasecniks, Wesley Iwundu, and Ivan Rabb. They traded away O’Quinn, Oladipo, Saric, and Sabonis. So, they basically have Gordon and Hezonja and haven’t had enough time to trade away this year’s crop of rookies. The player they traded Oladipo and Sabonis for was Serge Ibaka, who they traded away to the Raptors. They just gave Evan Fournier a five-year, $85 million contract. What’s the vision here guys? I believe that languishing in mediocrity is the worst place to be in sports. You either have to tank to try and acquire a franchise player through the draft or go for it if you’re in the position to do so. What’s the point of trying to win 30 games?
I love videogames. I can’t play them as much now since I’m a father of two, but I’ll sneak in a game or two when I get a chance. Anyways, I especially enjoyed sports videgames: baseball, basketball, football, and even hockey. After spending countless hours…who am I kidding? After spending countless weeks drafting and tinkering with sliders, I’d finally embark on playing a season. At first, it’s a rush. Everything is fresh and vibrant. Over time, though, the monotony sets in. Things start to drag. You start seeing the same things over and over again. That’s where I’m at with these rankings. With that said, I love doing them. Like how I trudged through all those videogame seasons. I’ll admit, I’ve never been able to finish a complete baseball season, but c’mon!!! 162 games with more for the playoffs? I’ve come close, but I blame the corporate capitalistic videogame maker pigs for releasing a new version every year. I know I’m the idiot for buying it every year, but….I have no excuse. I’m just an idiot. Anyways, here’s my Top 75 for 2017.
It’s nice to live minute-to-minute. Riding the wave of life, experiencing the gamut of emotions, and acquiring a rolodex of memories with nary a stress in the world. A life lived like this is unfulfilling, though. To truly get the most out of life, one must try to achieve. And in order to achieve, one must have a plan. Look at the current NBA. So many smart people running teams, yet they navigate the landscape like a stoned teenager walking through a grocery store. Look! Twinkies! Mmmmm, I’m so hungry. These will taste so good. Oh! Chips.
Former general manager of the 76ers, Sam Hinkie, had a plan. If you haven’t read his Manifesto, I highly recommend that you do. There’s so much goodness there, but I wanted to focus on this excerpt:
“It is critical to be cycle aware in a talent-driven league. In a situation like yours at the Sixers, where a variety of circumstances left you near a trough in the cycle (and falling), amplifying this cycle became crucial. Today’s outcomes for every team are heavily impacted by decisions past (who to draft, sign, trade, hire, etc.). Jeff Bezos says that if Amazon has a good quarter it’s because of work they did 3, 4, 5 years ago-not because they did a good job that quarter. Today’s league-leading Golden State Warriors acquired Draymond Green, Andrew Bogut, and Klay Thompson almost 4 years ago, nearly 4 years ago exactly, and almost 5 years ago. In this league, the long view picks at the lock of mediocrity.”