The 10 Worst NBA Drafts in the Lottery Era

The calendar now reads June. In the NBA that means it’s time to crown an NBA Champion. However among the biggest of NBA nerds, it also means it’s time to get ready for the NBA draft. We’re only two weeks and a few hours away from the 2011 NBA Draft. This year, it’s preparing for the likes of Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams, Enes Kanter and Brandon Knight to join the greatest basketball league on the planet that has us basketball geeks totally psyched.

Wait, what?

By Peter Christian

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NBA Free Agent Signings: McGrady, Dunleavy, Prince, Jerebko

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Our resident NBA nerd David Kay is on vacation this week; in a much warmer place. However, being out of the country hasn’t stopped him from being on top of the news. He’s got a lot to say on what’s been going on with the league this week.

Detroit Pistons re-sign SF Tayshaun Prince to 4-year, $27 million contract

I thought for sure Prince was going to move on in his career and not want to return to a Pistons team that seems to be in re-building mode.  Financially, this was probably the best deal Prince was going to get as other teams were reportedly offering him a shorter deal.  He must be happy in Detroit otherwise he wouldn’t have signed this deal and chose to take less money from a contender.

Detroit Pistons re-sign F Jonas Jerebko to 4-year, $16 million contract

Jerebko missed all of last season with injury but showed enough in his rookie season to warrant this type of contract extension.  He is an energy player who can do multiple things on the floor and is worth the investment for Detroit.

Atlanta Hawks sign G/F Tracy McGrady to 1-year deal worth league minimum

For a Hawks team that is massively over the cap and losing their sixth man, Jamal Crawford, this deal makes a lot of sense.  T-Mac had a rejuvenation of his career last season, showing he was healthy and still had some gas left in the tank.  He will ultimately replace Crawford as the team’s top reserve on the wing and comes at a cheap rate.

Los Angeles Lakers sign SG Jason Kapono to 1-year deal worth league minimum

The Lakers did just lose Shannon Brown to Phoenix so maybe Kapono can serve as a back-up to Kobe Bryant.  MAYBE.  I wouldn’t expect him to be a major contributor for the Lake Show this season.

Milwaukee Bucks sign SF Mike Dunleavy to 2-year, $7.5 million contract

In trading Corey Maggette and having Chris Douglas-Roberts and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute as free agents, the Bucks were searching for a veteran small forward.  Dunleavy is still a serviceable player at this point of his career but injuries are always a concern since he has only played more than 70 games once in the past five seasons.  He will likely serve as Carlos Delfino’s back-up until first round pick Tobias Harris is ready to be a contributor at the NBA level.

More NBA free agent signings

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft on the web.

You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.

Detroit Pistons Facing an All Out Mutiny

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Wisconsin isn’t the only Upper Midwest state seeing an uprising right now. They’re fighting the power in Michigan too. Except here the venue for rebellion is the NBA and the stakes are much lower.

The Detroit Pistons right now are a shell of what they were last decade. They have terrible bloated contracts like Ben Gordon’s all over the books, and things are getting so bad that an insurrection against the coach is going down.

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Tracy McGrady looks like Next Chicago Bulls Signing

Douchebracket Peter Christian Regional

By Peter Christian

We’ve expanded the field to 65 Douchey entities this year, which means only one thing: Play-in game. Yep, you read that right. Of course, I lobbied and begged and pleaded to get the play-in game in my bracket just because I had the perfect matchup of awful that would fit perfectly into a Douchebracket play-in game. It helped that no one else really cared enough to take the play-in game away from me too. Let’s get to that match-up first.

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Artest Joining Kobe in Hollywood

Rockets Lakers Basketball

by: David Kay

When it comes down to it, the Lakers and Rockets pretty much swapped Ron Artest for Trevor Ariza straight up.  Thursday, Artest reached an agreement with the defending champs on a 3-year deal worth about $18 million.  Houston responded by stealing the Lakers’ Trevor Ariza for the mid-level exception which will net him around $33.5 million for the next five years.  So who gets the advantage?

From the Lakers’ standpoint, signing Artest brings in a veteran defensive stopper who can also provide toughness and offensive firepower.  Yes, there is the whole “Artest is crazy” argument, but for the most part; he was the ideal citizen in his one year in Houston last season.  Snagging Artest at a VERY reasonable price increases the Lake Show’s chances of once again claiming the Western Conference crown and making a run at a second straight NBA title.

He was a thorn in Kobe Bryant’s side when the two teams met in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs, so it will be interesting to see how Artest and the Mamba co-exist in Hollywood.  I would assume that Artest understands that by signing with L.A., he will play second fiddle to Kobe and must become more of a role player if he wants to win a ring.  If the Lakers are able to re-sign Lamar Odom (which may be more difficult now that Artest will steal some of his minutes), they will clearly be the favorite to once again be the best of the west.

83010071NG020_LAKRS_CLIPSWhen the Rockets realized they were likely losing Artest to the Lakers, they turned their attention to Ariza.  The five-year pro found a home in L.A. and was vital to the Lakers’ success in the post-season, which ultimately led to him becoming a sought after free agent this summer.  He is a tenacious defender, runs the break well, and doesn’t try to do too much on the offensive end.

I am not sure he is a better option for the Rockets than Artest though.  With Yao Ming’s career-threatening injury and Tracy McGrady’s brittleness, Artest provided an offensive ability the Rockets needed with their two big guns un-reliable.  Signing Ariza means Houston takes a hit on the offensive end, and if T-Mac cannot stay healthy this season, the Rockets might be one of lowest scoring teams in the NBA.  Also, giving Ariza their entire mid-level exception limits what Houston can do in the remainder of free agency in terms of finding a replacement for Yao.  They may have to find a suitor via trade for T-Mac’s expiring contract as to fill a couple holes on their roster.

Advantage: Lakers (unless of course Artest goes back to his old, “run in the crowd and punch fans” ways.)

Is Tyreke Evans the next Big Thing?

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By Paul M. Banks and David Kay

I wouldn’t call it “love at first sight”, but when I was in Milwaukee for the 2008 McDonald’s All-American High School Basketball game, I was enamored by what I saw.  At the time, Tyreke Evans was undecided as to where he would play his college basketball, but I knew that his impact at whatever University was fortunate enough to land him would be felt immediately.

That certainly was the case as Evans eventually became the catalyst for John Calipari’s dribble-drive motion offense at Memphis.  A few weeks into the season, Coach Cal made the decision to put the ball in Evans’ hands and let him run the team as their point guard instead of playing him at the two; a move that catapulted the Tigers back into the national title picture after they had fallen out of the Top 25. “I felt comfortable getting my teammates the ball making other people better. I think I’m a better player with the ball in my hands, but I’ve also been playing the two all my life. So either one, it won’t really matter to me,” Evans said at the NBA Draft Combine.

It was no surprise that Evans was a “one and done” at Memphis.  If the NBA didn’t have their current rule, Evans likely would have made the jump from high school straight into the NBA.  And you wouldn’t have blamed him for doing so.  His physique is NBA-ready as demonstrated by his measurements at the NBA combine; 6’5” in shoes, 220 pounds with a 6’11” wingspan, the longest of any guard prospect in the draft.  Evans’ ability to attack the basket seems almost effortless, to the point where I have no problem comparing his game to that of a young Dwyane Wade.  (That’s quite the comparison coming from a Marquette grad.)  Similar to Wade, Evans has a fearless mentality when taking the ball to the basket and tremendous instincts when it comes to scoring.

“I studied Penny Hardaway and Tracy McGrady. They were two of my favorite players growing up. But I watch LeBron, D. Wade now everybody and try to take a little piece of their moves,” Evans said before later adding that T Mac is the probably the most accurate player to compare him to.

Evans also has the same knocks against him that Wade did when coming out of college; most notably the inconsistency with his jumper and questionable shot selection.  Like most young college players, both of those areas should improve over time as Evans matures.  The former Tiger is also sometimes careless with the basketball, often trying to do much by himself which resulted in a less than desirable 1.1/1 assist-to-turnover ratio.tyreke-evans

Evans is still learning the importance of being a nuisance on the defensive end.  He has a great read on the ball and uses his length to get in passing lanes and create fastbreak opportunities off steals.  His strength and size also allows him to be physical against equally strong opponents.  If the work is put in at the next level, Evans could develop into a Wade-type defender, able to be a factor on the perimeter or in the paint.

Since the lottery was determined, I have thought Evans would be a perfect fit in Minnesota.  The T-Wolves already have a combo guard in Randy Foye, but Evans could step onto that team and take over some of the ball-handling duties, opening up Foye for more perimeter shots.  Evans could potentially go as high as #4 to Sacramento and won’t slip past Toronto who owns the ninth pick.

While the comparisons to Dwyane Wade are admittedly quite hefty, I have no doubt that ten years from now when we look back at the NBA Draft class of 2009, Evans will be one of the top 3 players to come out of this class.