Well, so much for the offseason. Thursday had a ton of news and most of it involved some high-profile players. The NBA offseason is a little different than some of the other sports. While things really die down for MLB and NFL following the season, the NBA’s draft is the very next week. After that, we’ll have tons of analysis of the rookies and younger players at summer leagues from July 6-21.
Check out the last section of this article for my latest Mock Draft.
Kawhi was actually awesome in isolation, making 42-of-84 attempts to rank fifth in the NBA (Synergy). He also ranked in the top seven for scoring as the PNR ball handler, post ups and off screens. Yes, it’s kind of crazy Pop didn’t go to him more often.
As you’ve probably heard 100 times by now, Kawhi ranked fifth after he returned from his hand injury on Feb. 26. There is no way he should go past the second round and I’m planning on targeting him in the top 10. I wouldn’t be shocked if he finished in the top three.
The Knicks are believed to be interested
in unrestricted free agent Patty Mills
. Why wouldn’t they be? He ranked in the top 10 among qualifiers for effective field goal percentage last season at 56.5 — no Knick backcourt/wing player ranked in the 50 — and was also at 56.0 in the postseason.
Many of Phil Jackson
’s teams had a sharp-shooting, score-first point guard while he’d let his system create the assists. Building off the eFG% points in the first Mills paragraph, he had a ridiculous 65.5 effective field goal percent on his 216 spot-up shots last season. *Ace Ventura voice* Yummy!
If he gets starters minutes with the Knicks, it could be a stat fest. He’s only played over 30 minutes just four times in his career, so it should be interesting to see if he can get that kind of playing time. Regardless, I’d put him as a top-70 guy should be get 26 or more minutes. He did come in at No. 80 last year in just 18.9 minutes despite a somewhat average usage rate of 22.5 percent.
In his press conference on Thursday, Pat Riley said Dwyane Wade
should absolutely “reinvent” himself. Riley didn’t get into it, but it’s not too tough to figure out what he means. It is about being able to stay on the court.
Earlier in his career, Wade would go to the rim at will and would take on too much contact. It’s led to a lot of bumps and bruises and his knees just aren’t strong enough to take the impact from playing around the rim. In his first two seasons, Wade attempted 47.3 percent of his shots at the rim. Those numbers have trended down and he hasn’t attempted more than 42 percent in any season since.
He was taking many more mid-range jumpers this past season with 38.0 percent of his shots coming from that range, which is his highest percentage since 2008-09. He didn’t really come off screens or as a spot-up shooter with those attempts accounting for just 18.8 percent of his shot total in 2013-14 (Synergy).
He’ll need to be able to score more without using his dribble, and I’m not too sure he can do that. Wade didn’t really suffer any bad injuries and he was still only able to play in 54 games in 2013-14. You have to be crazy to draft him, especially in weekly leagues.
Roses are ready
His season-ending meniscus tear is small potatoes compared to his ACL tear from back in 2012. Typically, meniscus tears will sideline a player from 4-8 weeks depending on the severity and whether it was to the medial (inside) or lateral (outside) meniscus. Rose’s was a medial tear, which has a usual prognosis of 4-6 weeks, so he’s obviously taken an absurd amount of time to get healthy.
If Rose is just getting to 100 percent now, that means he’s taken almost seven months to recover. That’s at least five times as long as how long it should have taken. He was going in the first round of drafts last year and I wouldn’t even consider him in the top 15 in upcoming drafts. Someone in your league will take him in the top 10.
What’s Love got to do with it?
Another deal is the Celtics offering the sixth pick, 17th pick and someone like Kelly Olynyk
or Jared Sullinger
. Recently, those reports have been shot down, saying it’s not enough to get it done. That’s kind of obvious because they aren’t getting a stud back.
The Wolves aren’t in a great position because Love’s desire to be traded has lowered the trade market on him because of how there is such an obvious need to trade him. There should be some better offers on the way.
Hey, we actually went a few days without a Melo update. That changed on Thursday with the likely UFA saying he had a “great
” meeting with Phil Jackson
and Derek Fisher
last weekend. What else is he supposed to say, though? If he said he had a terrible meeting, that could potentially have cost him money and would ultimately hurt the Knicks this summer.
Secondly, Melo isn’t LeBron. He’s not the kind of player you bring on your team and you’re instantly a championship contender. The Knicks went 37-45 for the 19th-best record in the NBA. Plus, they even won the last two games of the year without him — the Nets and Raptors were resting guys, but still.
On top of the Knicks, there were some recent developments in Melodrama with the Rockets and Heat. Dwight Howard
has said he’s always been a fan of Melo and there are reports of the Rockets as the frontrunner to get him. In case you were under a rock last summer, they pulled off the biggest news of the offseason to reel in Howard. General manager Daryl Morey is as crafty as they come and will figure out some way to get Melo, assuming the All-Star wants to join.
Pat Riley said getting Carmelo Anthony
would be a “pipe dream” in his press conference on Thursday. However, he did add the 2010 scenario of getting LeBron and Chris Bosh
was also a pipe dream. In other words: Ignore this one.
Another LeBron decision
On top of those reports, there was a bogus report flying around the internet that he enrolled his kids in an Ohio school, but that was shot down moments later from some of the team beat guys. I don’t think he’s going anywhere and I’m sure you’re just as tired of reading about him as I am. OK, maybe not as tired as me.
Oh Rage, Julius?
The news on Randle won’t die down and he seems to be as mad as the Mad Rapper. Every day he’s responding to how he doesn’t need foot surgery. In case you missed it, Yahoo! Sports reported that
Randle will need foot surgery following the draft. The Kentucky forward has vehemently denied this report and even gave Woj an @ mention on Twitter.
Not smart, Julius.
He has been working out for a lot of lottery teams and it’s been mostly positive news. The power forward absolutely shouldn’t slide out of the top 10 and he could make an impact in his rookie year as a top-five player in this draft class. Randle would obviously need to be in the right situation.
To the surprise of nobody, the Bucks are looking to make some moves. They had one of the most disappointing seasons in recent memory after they were believed to have a solid offseason. As it turned out, just about every signing was a major failure. Larry Sander, Ersan Ilyasova
, O.J. Mayo
, Zaza Pachulia
, Gary Neal
, Carlos Delfino
and Luke Ridnour
. That's basically NOPE⁷.
When teams have such a massive offseason fail, it’s going to take a few years to bounce back. Remember when the Sixers traded for Andrew Bynum
? Yeah, they know they have their hands full. That seems like the plan for the Bucks and there are rumors that they will be trading Brandon Knight
or Larry Sanders
The problem is that they don’t have any young depth behind those two guys. Ramon Session was a success for the Bucks in his time with the team, but it’s hard to believe the team trusts him as their franchise ball handler. Meanwhile, the Bucks had one of the worst interior presences of any NBA team because Ersan Ilyasova
— also on the block — doesn’t know how to get to the rim. John Henson
seems like a safe bet and did show some signs of life as an offensive weapon.
If the Bucks are able to pull off a deal for a lottery pick, the two players they select are likely going to be favorites for Rookie of the Year. They really had no offense and coach Larry Drew
should try to get his new guys up to speed quickly.
was spotted at the World Cup and said his knee is 100 percent. This shouldn’t be a surprise after there was speculation for much of the season that he would make it back on the court. The news on Kobe started to go south until early February before he was officially ruled out for the year on Mar. 12.
Being ruled out did come as a surprise as his initial prognosis to return was on Jan. 28. Obviously, we have to give Kobe the benefit of the doubt here. This is the same guy who was ruled out “indefinitely” with an ankle sprain and he was back out there for the very next game last season. Plus, he missed the two following games because his ankle was so bad.
It’s pretty obvious that Kobe will be at 100 percent after a catastrophic 2013-14. It’s going to be really tough to say what he might do as far as being one of the best players of the world goes. He was actually getting to the basket more in 2012-13, which led to a fantastic 46.3 percent from the field. What’s more, his 1.7 triples per game led to a career-high effective field goal percentage of 50.4.
I don’t think you can take him in the first round and maybe in the top-20 picks, but I’d be looking to pounce in the third depending on which other players are there.
Charlotte Hornets are back!
If you grew up in the 90s, you probably had a Larry Johnson
Charlotte jersey. The Hornets brought ‘em back on Thursday and they look pretty cool (except no pin stripes!).