2nd Edition (2016-17)
TURMOIL IN NEW YORK ALREADY
Well, this didn’t take long. After only 2 weeks into the regular season and some very poor defensive performances, general manager and President of basketball operations Phil Jackson, has made a major change to the coaching staff. Kurt Rambis, who Jackson apparently loves, has put him in charge of the defense. We haven’t heard of a move like this in basketball. We thought defensive coordinators were only for football.
First year head coach Jeff Hornacek can’t be happy with this move. Jackson has already under minded Hornacek. Why would Jackson put Rambis in charge of the defense after only 2 weeks? Yes, it is a fact that the Knicks haven’t played well, however, it is very early in the season and this is a move that can tear a team apart. Jackson, who jettisoned former coach Derek Fisher last year after only 1 year and a handful of games under his belt, looks like he is doing the same to the former NBA veteran in Hornacek.
Phil Jackson is universally recognized as one of the greatest coaches in NBA history. However, his job with the Knicks has been a failure to this point. While it is very early into the season, let’s see if this move sparks the Knicks. We clearly have our reservations about it.
GREG ODEN CALLS IT A CAREER
The sad basketball saga of Greg Oden is finally over. The number 1 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft was regarded by many as the next great center and was a basketball prodigy. We remember watching Oden in high school and his 1 year at Ohio State and thought we were seeing a multiple time NBA All-Star. He had everything you could possibly want in a basketball player.
The Portland Trailblazers selected Oden over Kevin Durant in the 2007 NBA Draft, and most people agreed with the selection. While Durant has gone on to be a top 3 player in the entire world, Oden got hit with the injury bug time after time.
3 microfracture surgeries in his right knee, a fractured left patella tendon, and other debilitating ailments doomed his ability to perform on the basketball court. This past week, at only 28 years old, Oden called it a career and retired from basketball. Instances such as this just goes to show how one minute you are on top of the basketball world and how the next minute it can all be taken away from you.
It is a shame that NBA fans never got to see this wonderful talent play when he was healthy. We firmly believe Oden would have been a superstar, however, it just wasn’t meant to be. We wish Greg Oden the best in his future endeavors and the fans who got to see him play when he was healthy will always have the memories of such an extraordinary talent.
JABARI PARKER COMING ON
It took a while but it looks like it has finally come together for Jabari Parker. The former number 2 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft looks like the player the Bucks envisioned he would be when they selected him out of Duke. The former Gatorade National High School Player of the Year battled injuries and inconsistency in his first 2 years.
If the first 2 weeks of this NBA season is any indication, the Bucks might have a future All-Star and a main building block of the future for their franchise. Parker is now in better shape and the results show it. The 21-year old is averaging 19pts, 6reb, and 2ast per game.
We have always like Parker’s overall game, ever since we saw him on T.V. as a high school senior. Bucks Head Coach Jason Kidd is putting the Illinois native is spots to succeed. Perhaps most importantly, besides getting into better shape, is the improvement of his jump-shot. Parker made only 8 3-pointers in 2015-16. He already has 9 this season. His improved shooting has opened up the rest of his game.
Jabari Parker is still very young and improving. The Bucks now have a potential lethal 1-2 punch with Parker and rising star Giannis Antetokounmpo. Milwaukee fans are going to enjoy watching these 2 play together for years to come.
WALKER IS ON FIRE
Point guard play is crucial in today’s NBA. Good to great PG play go hand in hand with winning. That is why it is no surprise that the Charlotte Hornets are off to a 6-3 start.
Kemba Walker has been on fire throughout the first couple weeks of the 2016-17 season. On Friday, 11-11-16, the former UCONN star became the first player in Charlotte’s franchise history to have at least 40 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists in a game.
The PG is, in our opinion, playing his way to his first NBA All-Star Game berth. He is averaging 26pts, 5.6ast, and 3.9 reb for the young and talented Hornets. The NYC born Walker burst onto the national basketball scene in 2011 when he led the UCONN Huskies to the NCAA Championship. His stellar play in the NCAA tournament led to him becoming the 9th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. Despite being only 6’1″, he is starting to live up to his high draft selection.
The knock on Walker and NYC point guards has always been the ability to shoot. In his first few years in the NBA, that perception rang true. However, through hard-work, the 26-year old is proving his critics wrong. Walker shot 43% from the field last year but has increased his shooting percentage to 49% so far, albeit it is only a handful of games. However, this bodes well for himself and his teammates as his shooting will keep opposing defenders honest.
With talented players such as Nicolas Batum, Frank Kaminsky, Cody Zeller, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Walker has some nice options around him. While the Eastern Conference looks improved than in years past, with Kemba Walker leading the way, the Hornets have the ability and talent to make some noise.
Pelicans rookie Buddy Hield came into the NBA after a stellar career at Oklahoma. After guiding the Sooners to the Final Four last season, the 6’4″ shooting guard was selected with the 6th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. He was asked to come in and provide help for All-Star Anthony Davis.
Hield has struggled in the early going, along with the Pelicans, who are off to a 1-9 start. While the 22-year old is averaging 10.2pts per game in 21 minutes, he is only shooting 38% from the field and 24% from the 3-point line. We believe a big part of his struggles relate to his below average ball-handling ability, which makes it hard for him to create his own shots. With the absence of PG Jrue Hoilday, who is attending to his ailing wife, the former All-American hasn’t found his groove yet. With this being said, we still have faith that he will adjust to the physicality of the NBA and start doing what he does best, which is put the ball in the hoop.To read a previous full length featured article on Buddy Hield, please CLICK HERE.
KINGS SEND ALL 3 1ST ROUND PICKS TO D-LEAGUE
The Sacramento Kings are clearly in a rebuilding mode. They added 3 first round picks to their roster on draft night. All 3 of those picks are now playing for the Reno Bighorns, which is their NBA D-League affiliate. Rookie SG Malachi Richardson, PF Skal Labissiere, and C Georgios Papagiannis are the 3 rookies and this couldn’t have been what they had in mind after having their dreams come true of being NBA draft picks.
We personally look at it 2 ways. If they weren’t going to get playing time in the NBA, they will now and can improve on their weaknesses. The other way of thinking is maybe they are just far off from competing in the NBA. Is this an indictment of the Kings front office? We don’t know. However, for a bad team like the Kings are, we would think they would let these 3 rookies take their lumps in the NBA. Hopefully, for their sake as well as the organizations, they play well and get called back up to the main roster.
In our opinion, the 2016 NBA Draft was average in terms of the overall depth of talent. The 2017 NBA Draft is shaping up to be the most talented since the famous 2003 draft, which had the likes of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwyane Wade, to name a few. Although the season is roughly 10 games into the 82 game schedule, we are going to take a look at who is on top of the statistical charts.
Here are the top 3 rookie leaders in points, rebounds, and assists through Monday, 11-14, 2016.
2. BUDDY HIELD (N.O) 10.2
3. DARIO SARIC (PHILLY) 9.6
1. JOEL EMBIID (PHILLY) 6.8
2. DARIO SARIC (PHILLY) 6.0
3. JAKOB POELTL ( TORONTO) 4.4
2. MALCOLM DELANEY (ATLANTA) 3.9
3. WADE BALDWIN IV (MEMPHIS) 3.1
To view all 70 of our NBA Rookie Player profiles, CLICK HERE.
To read our 1st edition (11-8-16) of “NNT”, please CLICK HERE.
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