2015 NBA Summer League Roundup

With so many NBA prospects from the area participating in the NBA Summer League it is difficult to follow all of them.  If you find yourself saying “I really wish I could just go to one place and see how all of those guys are playing!”, it’s your lucky day.

Summer League will be wrapping up at the end of the week. Here is how each of our local guys have fared thus far.

Wayne Blackshear (San Antonio Spurs) – 18.3mpg 11.7ppg 3.7rpg 1.3apg

Keith Bogans (Portland Trailblazers) – 15mpg 0.0ppg 2.0rpg 1.0apg

Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns) – 28mpg 8.0ppg 4.5rpg 1.5apg

Willie Cauley-Stein (Sacramento Kings) – 21mpg 13.0ppg 3.0rpg 1.5bpg

Earl Clark (Brooklyn Nets) – 18.8mpg 6.3ppg 3.0rpg 0.5bpg

Archie Goodwin (Phoenix Suns) – 28mpg 21.0ppg 5.5rpg 1.0apg

Montrezl Harrell (Houston Rockets) – 26mpg 11.0ppg 8.0rpg 1.0bpg

Josh Harrellson (Phoenix Suns) – 16mpg 3.5ppg 3.5rpg 1.5apg

Aaron Harrison (Charlotte Hornets) – 29.0mpg 13.4ppg 4.8rpg 3.4apg

Andrew Harrison (Memphis Grizzlies) – 23.2mpg 5.4ppg 2.0rpg 3.0apg

Scotty Hopson (D-League Select) – 26mpg 23.5ppg 3.5rpg 1.0apg

Dakari Johnson (Oklahoma City Thunder) – 26.8mpg 7.6ppg 8.6rpg 0.4apg

Doron Lamb (Golden State Warriors) – 12mpg 5.0ppg 2.0rpg

DeAndre Liggins (Sacramento Kings) – 20mpg 6.0ppg 3.5rpg 2.5apg

Trey Lyles (Utah Jazz) – 22mpg 9.0ppg 2.5rpg 1.0spg

Darius Miller (Dallas Mavericks) – 16.0mpg 6.5ppg 2.0rpg 1.0apg

Daniel Orton (Portland Trailblazers) – 21.5mpg 5.5ppg 5.0rpg 1.5bpg

Julius Randle (Los Angeles Lakers) – 21mpg 11.0ppg 1.0rpg 1.0bpg

Terry Rozier (Boston Celtics) – 29.6mpg 13.2ppg 3.0rpg 3.8apg

D’Angelo Russell (Los Angeles Lakers) – 30mpg 11.0ppg 6.5rpg 4.5apg

Peyton Siva (Orlando Magic) – 23.5mpg 5.0ppg 2.0rpg 4.5apg

Russ Smith (Memphis Grizzlies) – 29.2mpg 14.8ppg 2.4rpg 6.2apg

Marquis Teague (Oklahoma City Thunder) – DNP

Karl-Anthony Towns (Minnesota Timberwolves) – 32.5mpg 10.5ppg 6.0rpg 2.5apg 1.5bpg

James Young (Boston Celtics) – 20mpg 7.3ppg 2.0rpg 0.3apg

That is a lot of NBA talent that has passed through the area and it’s good to see so many of them having success at the next level. Hopefully they can keep it up and ink some contracts.

If there is anyone I left out feel free to call me an idiot in the comment section.

 

 

NBA Draft: The Local Guys

Basketball season doesn’t end after the NCAA Tournament or the NBA Finals. Not around here, at least.  For the year-round basketball fan one season doesn’t truly transition to the next until the NBA Draft.

The city of Louisville and state of Kentucky are no strangers to the draft.  With the 7 guys from the University of Kentucky, 2 from the University of Louisville, and 1 who grew up in the city of Louisville, you can bet all eyes around here will be tuned in.

On that note, here is a brief round-up of what all the talking heads have to say about our favorite future pros leading up to the big night..

Karl-Anthony Towns (University of Kentucky) – Projected #1

This year was shaping up like those debates, as Jahlil Okafor and Karl-Anthony Townswere said to be neck and neck for the top spot this year. But in reality, this is not a two-man race. Towns is the best player in the draft, and it isn’t particularly close.

What’s really jarring is that Towns doesn’t appear to have any glaring weaknesses. Scouts can question Okafor’s defense, D’Angelo Russell’s athleticism, Emmanuel Mudiay’s shooting and Kristaps Porzingis’ frame, but there’s nothing to nitpick with Towns. After watching him at a private workout, ESPN’s Chad Ford described Towns with the most ridiculous hypothetical imaginable: “What if Dwight Howard could shoot, dribble and move the way James Harden does?”

SB Nation

D’Angelo Russell (Ohio State University/Louisville, KY) – Projected #2-4

“He is such a smooth operator,” Blake told SN’s Sean Deveney. “He can make plays for himself and others. He is not an elite athlete in terms of hops and speed, but he’s got that elite brain. … The numbers are off the charts on him. When you have a player like that who rarely had a bad game, it’s so hard to ignore.

Sporting News

Willie Cauley-Stein (University of Kentucky) – Projected #4-11

Willie Cauley-Stein is a player you can plug in your system in order to play high level defense, and provide both versatility guarding perimeter players and the ability to guard the rim … His one side of the ball type of play will cause him to be drafted below players that have two way potential, but he has the ability to be very good, or possibly elite as a defender if he can harness his improved metal focus, and grow as a professional …

NBADraft.net

Devin Booker (University of Kentucky) – Projected #8-14

One of the best shooters in the draft, maybe even the best, and the Heat certainly could have used that kind of firepower last season after the loss of Ray Allen. Booker has good size and could do plenty of damage off the bench in support of Wade, but is he too one-dimensional?

Fox Sports

Trey Lyles (University of Kentucky) – Projected #10-16

What makes Lyles a potentially special offensive weapon is that he can’t be put in a box. He has the size of a traditional NBA power forward, but showed he’s just as comfortable playing the perimeter. He isn’t a big man who wants to play like a guard; he’s a 6’10 force of nature that can adapt his game from inside-out depending on the matchup.

SB Nation

Montrezl Harrell (University of Louisville) – Projected Late First Round

That finishing ability, as well as physicality, energy, and rebounding is what he hopes to bring to an NBA team. Harrell made 58.7 percent of his shots overall for the last two seasons, including 72 percent of his shots within five feet of the hoop. Harrell was able to make shots around the hoop in a variety of different sets and situations, although one aspect stays the same each time:

He will try to dunk the ball nearly every time.

CBS Sports

Dakari Johnson (University of Kentucky) – Projected Late First Round

Some NBA team will almost certainly look at Johnson’s relative youth, apparent desire to work hard and 9-foot-4 standing reach and see a project worth taking on. ESPN Stats & Info estimated that although Johnson’s chances of achieving superstardom are very slim, he has the lowest risk of becoming a bust of any player in the draft.

NY Times

Terry Rozier (University of Louisville) – Projected Late First Round/Early Second Round

Rozier has the physical tools to match up against NBA guards and nice size to boot. Measured at 6’2.25” with a 6’8.25” wingspan at the NBA Draft Combine, Rozier has a strong frame, long arms and good size for a point guard which will allow him to compete on both ends. Additionally, he possess excellent speed, agility and explosiveness to round out his strong athletic profile.

Draft Express

Andrew Harrison (University of Kentucky) – Projected Late First/Early Second Round

The better of the two Harrison twins is a strong combo guard with a great ability to finish. He can handle very well for a bigger guard, and his ability to creatively finish in the lane is tough to guard. Obviously, after two years at Kentucky, you know you’re getting someone who knows how to win.

USA Today

Aaron Harrison (University of Kentucky) – Projected Second Round

Teams love his fearlessness—who can forget the three game winners he made in the 2014 NCAA tournament—but poor three-point shooting numbers last season (31.6%) have scouts uneasy about his future.

Sports Illustrated

Ten potential draft picks with ties to the area.  Something not many other places can say.  We hope the best for all of these young men as they take one more step toward their dream Thursday night.

 

 

Arizona Coyotes Lose Arena, Relocation Likely

The last 24 hours hasn’t been fun for the Arizona Coyotes and fans of the NHL franchise.  It was announced earlier today that the Glendale City Council has voted to terminate the team’s current lease agreement citing “financial burdens”, which will likely end their time in Arizona.

The Coyotes will likely appeal the termination, but things certainly look bleak for the those hoping to keep the team put.  According to SI.com,

After [termination], relocation would be inevitable—most likely to Quebec City, where the Centre Vidéotron is about to open its doors.

Of course this is a story that has no real significant meaning to the city of Louisville and their lack of a professional sports franchise, but it is still interesting nonetheless.

Most interesting is the possible relocation spot, Quebec City.  A hockey crazed city that just so happens to have a $400 million dollar arena waiting to be filled.  Or in other words, a city whose residents are passionately in favor of a sport and has the infrastructure to support a potential team.  Sound familiar, Louisville?

Also worth noting that Louisville was once home to a professional hockey team.  How cool would it be to bring an NHL version of the River Frogs back?

FWIW, I just discovered that the River Frogs logo was ranked the 4th worst hockey logo of all-time by some website named ginandtacos.com, which is absurd because I have it ranked as the best logo of all time.

river-frogs

 

#BringEmBack

D’Angelo Russell Wants Louisville to Have an NBA Team

Louisville native, and top NBA Draft prospect, D’Angelo Russell has some thoughts on Louisville’s lack of an NBA franchise.  And just like you and me, he wishes there was one.  Russell, who recently worked out for the Los Angeles Lakers, had this to say about where he wishes to begin his professional career,

I don’t think he is alone in thinking that would be great.

The Lakers have the second pick in this year’s NBA Draft and Russell is expected to be drafted anywhere from the first pick through the third.  He is an extremely rare talent, one such we haven’t seen come out of the city of Louisville since Rajon Rondo.

Cheers to hoping we can one day make his wish come true.  In the meantime, I’m sure the entire city will be behind the kid wherever he does land.

Louisville Named College Basketball Capital

A new Wall Street Journal article, which examines the major TV markets for all major sports across the country, has dubbed Louisville, KY “The College Basketball Capital of the World”.  According to the article..

People in Kentucky don’t just watch their own teams more than anyone else. They watch every team more than anyone else. Louisville has registered the country’s highest television ratings among metered markets in college-basketball programming for at least the last dozen years, according to ESPN data.

This should come as no surprise to the people of Louisville.  The entire state, and specifically its’ largest market, is obsessed with college basketball.  Even the most anti-basketball resident couldn’t deny that fact.  But bring up the NBA’s popularity in the city though, and you’ll get mixed reviews.

There is a certain purity to college basketball.  Student-athletes playing the game we love is often more emotionally fulfilling than millionaires playing it.  It’s a fair argument for favoring the college game over the professional game.  But basketball is basketball, and the fact of the matter is the city of Louisville loves the basketball they have more than anyone else.  I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that they would feel the same way if they had the NBA as well.

The people of Louisville love their basketball. The trick is making the NBA theirs again.

#BringEmBack

AR-AJ050C_TVCAP_16U_20150305105717

 

NBA Trade Deadline: What the Hell Just Happened?

If you’re looking for my thoughts on the NBA trade deadline (and why wouldn’t you be) then please refer to the title of the post.  In a day where a record 37 players were swapped and there were 16 teams involved, it was easy to give up on trying to keep track of what was going on.

Because I don’t want to bring a massive headache upon myself, I’ll refrain from recapping each move and how each team fared.  Instead I’ll just post other people’s reactions because stealing opinions from other people is so much easier than having your own.

Here are the five best reactions to the madness:

5) One of our beloved local NBAers, Patrick Patterson, lets us know what being traded is like.

4) Spencer Hawes is just as lost as us.  Hope you didn’t just get traded, bro.

3) Comedian Frank Calendio is always keeping it real.

2) Perfectly sums up everyone’s emotions.

1) At least the guy used multi-colored pens to keep things clear I guess.

Trade deadline in a nut-shell, ladies and gentleman.  I still don’t know what the hell happened to be honest.

A Changing NBA: What Exactly Are We Witnessing?

The NBA game is constantly changing. It’s easy to look back through the history of the league and see the not so subtle differences in style of play, defining moments/players, etc.

The 1960s NBA was defined by pure finesse; a ballet of offense which produced league averages of over 115 PPG.

The 1970s was defined by the NBA/ABA merger.  An era that introduced raw power and athleticism into the league.

The 1980s were defined by showtime.  Magic Johnson and the Lakers brought us a brand of basketball that broke all the rules.  Later in the decade we saw teams who couldn’t play showtime basketball adopt quite the opposite style; a bruising, defensive, and borderline dirty style of play.

The 1990s were defined by Michael Jordan. And only Michael Jordan.

The 2000s were also defined by Jordan in a way.  Teams were desperate to find the heir to the Jordan throne, drafting young upside guys straight out of high school.  This greatly diluted the talent in the NBA as a whole, and the league suffered to an extent. That’s not to say there weren’t bright spots though – the Kobes, Garnetts, and TMacs.

But what era are we currently in?  What is the state of the current NBA? And what will define the basketball we are watching right now?

To me, that answer is obvious.  Today’s NBA will be defined by the 3pt shot.

(Let me note that we have also been witnessing a clear-cut top 3 player to ever play the game in Lebron James.  I don’t mean to downplay his greatness during this era in any way.)

Shooting.  The best shooter of the era, Ray Allen, is without a doubt the best shooter of all time.  That being said, when it’s all said and done he probably won’t be.  With guys like Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kyle Korver ripping the nets at clips never before seen, it’s important to realize the greatness we are witnessing.

Last season, when compared to every league leader in 3 point shooting percentage since the adoption of the line, Kyle Korver attempted more than 100 more 3 point shots than the next greatest ‘attempter’.  And he did this while still shooting 47%.  He is currently on pace to shoot even more 3 point shots this season while shooting 53%.

Korver is doing something very rare.  If he finishes at or above 53% he will hold the NBA record for highest single season 3pt FG percentage.  The current record holder is Steve Kerr, who shot 52% during the ’94-’95 season.  Kerr attempted 170 3pt shots that season.  Korver has already attempted 254 3pt shots this season.  *Mind blown*

What Klay Thompson and Steph Curry are doing with the Warriors (under Steve Kerr nonetheless) is of the same mold.

The duo have been so great many are already pondering whether they might be the best shooting backcourt ever.  Guess what… neither is older than 26 years old.  There are a lot of 3s left in that duo.  If you haven’t seen the two play, I suggest you change that quickly.  They will be two you tell your grandkids about.   Don’t believe me? Watch for yourself.

There is a premium being put on the outside shot in the NBA.  Strictly looking at percentages might not suggest the 3pt shot is any better now than it has been in past decades, but the fact of the matter is players are shooting significantly more and still hitting at an impressive clip.

The aforementioned guys are hitting shots at all-time great levels.  Meanwhile, other top players around the league like James Harden, Kevin Durant, Wesley Matthews, Damian Lillard, and Kevin Love are utilizing the deep ball at an exceptionally high rate as well.  When we look back at this current era of the NBA I think we will say two things:

A) There was all-time great talent. (Lebron, Kobe, KD, possibly Anthony Davis).

B) The 3pt shot was being successfully utilized like we had never seen before and possibly will never see again.

Rajon Rondo Saves Ball At Marc Gasol’s Expense

The city of Louisville’s favorite son, Rajon Rondo, was part of an odd exchange the other night in the Mavs/Grizzlies game. Explaining what happened between Rondo and center Marc Gasol honestly just wouldn’t do it justice. Thus, we watch..

This is great on so many levels. One, it’s classic Rondo. Making the savvy play while kind of being an ass about it is what Rondo has done his whole career. Two, Marc Gasol ‘daps’ up Rondo after the fact.  This guy just got his rocks rocked and is seemingly unfazed. Three, it’s pretty ironic, right? Rondo saved the ball while sacrificing…something else.  Overall a pretty funny exchange in my very mature opinion.

In all seriousness though, it’s good to see Rondo returning to his old self again. He is averaging just under 10 points and 10 assists per game since being traded to Dallas, with a couple monster games mixed in.  If the team is able to keep it up (and there is no reason to think they won’t) we should at least get to see flashes of the vintage playoff Rondo that was so fun to watch during the Celtics’ Championship runs.

 

 

Growth, Development, and Buckets

Alright.  Let’s talk Louisville.  It really gets on my nerves when people are against an NBA team here.  NBA fan or not, it would make sense.  Let’s address several arguments I hear against a NBA team in Louisville.

PEOPLE HERE LIKE COLLEGE BASKETBALL AND WON’T SUPPORT NBA

What?  So much evidence suggests otherwise.  First of all, people in this city love basketball.  As a former high school player I played in many packed and high energy gyms across the city.  I never heard anyone say, “High school players play with more heart, they aren’t worried about scholarships and money.  It’s more honest basketball”  (You may sense some hostility to this comment; as you should.  I’ll address that later).  No. Let’s address that now. You can’t tell me that without the regulations from the NCAA some of these college players would be going directly to the NBA. You may also consider their choice of playing at Kentucky or UL is directly related to the ability of the coach to get them to the league.  Therefore, for some of these kids it’s all about the money.

As a repeat season ticket holder to UL you see the same passion but on a larger scale.  Instead of high school loyalty dividing fans, they can unite under the University of Louisville.  This city is still divided.  I don’t even have to mention the rivalry that divides us when it comes to sports.  Imagine the energy and pure magic that could be instilled in the city if we actually had something we can all root for as one.  I cite December 8th, 2010.  The Louisville home game in the Yum! Center that evening had an attendance of 21,000 fans.  Simultaneously the University of Kentucky hosted Notre Dame in Freedom Hall with an attendance of 18,000 fans.  That is a total of 39,000 fans in the same city, miles apart, at the same time, supporting a team that they love.  This is almost double the seating capacity of the Yum! Center for basketball games.

Lets task October 4th, 2014.  The Yum! Center hosted an NBA exposition game between the Miami Heat and New Orleans Pelicans.  Even in the wake of Lebron leaving the Heat more than 21,000 people attended the game.  This was in competition with a waterfront/river road music festival and events on Fourth street as well.  You don’t have to take it from me, see what the Heat have to say about their experience in the Yum Center.  I sat in the fifth row at the game.  The energy when Russ Smith and Anthony Davis took the floor was unparalleled to any energy I have felt at any NBA game I have attended.  Moral is that the Heat think they can make money playing in our arena…. why can’t we have our home team to keep that money in-house?

I also would like to refer you to an earlier post talking about former UL and UK players in the league and further reasons why Louisville would support the NBA.

Also, remember that exhibition game that occurred on October 4th, 2014?  81% of the people who attended were from Louisville or Southern Indiana.  Take a look at the population trend of this region.

WHERE IS THE CORPORATE MONEY TO SUPPORT THIS?

By no means can I speak for any corporation.  What I do see and would like to point out is the commitment corporations in Louisville have made to the city.

The obvious one is the fact that our arena is named the YUM! center.  If Yum! did not anticipate success, they would not have put the 100 million plus into the arena to have it build.  It is and will be their contribution and legacy in the city.  They are rooted in the town and seem to be itching to have something to get the city behind and excited about.  With a market cap of 33.69 billion dollars as reported by Forbes, I am sure that they can find a way to give support to the potential team.

Brown-Forman is another local name that has taken interest in our town here.  Our city is growing, especially downtown.  Neighborhoods are improving, remodeling, and trying to contribute to the growth that the Yum! Center may seem to be helping.  For example Whiskey Row downtown just east of the arena is continuing to grown.  With a name like that, who would you guess is having a hand in this directional growth? If you guessed Brown-Forman you would be correct.  This shows their dedication and involvement with the growth of the city.

NuLu is another neighborhood on the rise!  They host a variety of events and festivals for the citizens here.  The NuLu fest that occurred over the summer tops that list.  I encourage you all to attend next summer to see the new-found energy in an all but seemingly forgotten part of the town.

Louisville will continue to grow.  Current plans for a new Omni Hotel to be built shows that not only I, but parties outside of the city believe in the growth that we are kick starting in the city.

IT WOULD MESS WITH UofL AND THEIR SCHEDULE

I believe in this city and its potential.  It is impossible to ignore the positive economic result of bringing an NBA team to Louisville.  That is why I am such an avid supporter.  The University of Louisville does not own the Yum! Center.  I fear that is what people are expecting.  They are merely a resident.  If you do not think we could coordinate schedules of the teams then I laugh and would like to direct you to the Staples Center in LA.  If they can handle coordination of hockey, 2 NBA teams, concerts, and other national training type events, we could handle a couple of basketball schedules.

I close with simply this.  If you don’t like the NBA, that is fine.  I am not here to directly turn you into a die-hard fan.  There is however no reason why would should be opposed to this prospect.  Maybe you are scared of change. I will warn you though.  The worst way to run your business and life is with a “This is how we have always done it attitude.”  That prevents growth, efficiency, and profit.  You can choose to not attend, but I’ll be at the game with a beer, apparel, plenty of heckling, and 22,000 other people.

Junior Bridgeman Linked to Atlanta Hawks

A well-known Louisville name has recently been linked to the purchase of the Atlanta Hawks.  Per a number of media outlets, an investment team consisting of Junior Bridgeman, Grant Hill, and Jerry Colangelo will be making a play to acquire ownership of the franchise.

Bridgeman, who is well known in the area for his playing days at the University of Louisville and with the Milwaukee Bucks, is currently the head of Bridgeman Foods.  The company owns several chain restaurants nation-wide and is headquartered in both Louisville and Milwaukee.  Bridgeman and his company were highlighted in Fortune Magazine just this past July. He has an estimated net-worth of over $200 Million, according to Louisville Business First.

While this news may not directly impact the city of Louisville, it is promising to see a powerful individual with ties to the city showing invested interest in the NBA.