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….
In the wake of the draft, I embarked in many interesting conversations with people in the industry. I wanted to share with you a conversation that I found fascinating with a good buddy of mine, Steve Connell, an independent scout who also happens to be a Boston Celtics fan, on his theory as to why the Celtics traded the No. 1 overall pick and why it wasn’t just to stockpile more assets.
Wow. What a riveting week for basketball fans. And not a single game was played! It harkened me back to the days of drafting on the PS2, then sitting back and simming the season. Then making my big board for the incoming rookies. Then drafting, with a bite of pizza here and a sip of Coke there. I would zone out for hours, enthralled by the team building process. And that’s what makes the NBA Draft so great. The new crop of players are entering the league and the general managers are filling in the pieces of the puzzle. Hope and optimism pervade fan bases across the country. Sorry Bulls fans. I didn’t mean you. Which segues nicely to my first rant…
How the flying F does Jimmy Butler get traded for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and the No. 7 pick (Lauri Markkanen)? AND the Bulls threw in the No. 16 pick (Justin Patton). The only explanation I can come up with is that Tom Thibodeau has a suitcase worth of “things” that he’s been waiting for the proper moment to utilize. I believe I’ve just figured out what’s in the Pulp Fiction briefcase. Remember, back in 2015, the Bulls kicked Thibs to the curb in a rather unceremonious way. Finally, Thibs got his revenge. I mean, what other possible explanation could there be? LaVine is an explosive athlete, but he tore his ACL last season. Kris Dunn….I think this tweet explains it all:
Ok maybe not significant news for you, but I return after a 2 week hiatus in which life turned itself upside down and got uglier than a Byron Scott rotation attempting to play the pick and roll; and what better way to return than once again putting on those oxygen tanks for a dive so deep that not only will you be needing those oxygen tanks, but may also be in fear of being diagnosed with the bends.
Now diving deep is not everyone’s cup of tea of tea, and of course some of you readers will be thinking ‘dude, these guys are years away’, but as a basketball purist who follows the game globally, let me guide you through my specialist subject and through some of the most talented players playing their trade in Europe who will be draft eligible in 2017; after all, it never hurts to stay ahead of the game and knowing who those rising stars of the future are. Especially given the mystique every year of those unknown ‘toolsy’ projects who do not grace the floor in the NCAA.