BLACKSHEAR DECISION TOMORROW

Breaking news from our friends over at KSR as Kerry Blackshear will make a decision tomorrow according to Evan Daniels. It’s either Kentucky or Tennessee but the saga is ending tomorrow. Let’s go!

I have said Kentucky since day 1 and I still believe that. Kentucky has the ability to get players to the NBA, put players in the national spotlight, and has the best chance to win a title. In the John Calipari Era, 38 players have been drafted with 29 going in the first round. With Keldon going to the Spurs, all 30 franchises in the NBA have had a Calipari Era player on their roster at some point during the last 10 years. Their ability to get players to the NBA is unparalleled and ultimately that is what Kerry wants for his future. Not to mention the 8 National Championships as well as being the winningest program in College Basketball. To me, the decision is easy. But again, Kentucky is not for everyone and we all need to respect his decision regardless. 

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2019 Mock Draft (T-minus 2 hours)

This originally started as a piece that would be done by the whole staff. Life and plans got in the way for all of us, so I will be doing this myself. However, expect the final version to be staff-wide come pre-draft night where we play the part of multiple teams and their GMs. For now though, this is just a mock draft with no trades whatsoever. This is a mock where, instead of predicting what the teams are GOING to do, I am predicting what they SHOULD do.

…well, sort of. If it was up to me, I would not touch Bol Bol or RJ Barrett with a 50 foot pole, and that is reflected in this. I have to keep this somewhat realistic, so even though it will pain me to do some picks, I will make them. I won’t do any trades in this, but I will note where they should if it applies.

1) New Orleans Pelicans – PF Zion Williamson

Can I get a “Duh” here? Might be the easiest pick ever. No need to explain since every outlet covers him like it is their job (R.I.P. Goga Bitadze’s pre-draft presser).

2) Memphis Grizzlies – PG Ja Morant

Another “Duh” moment here. Ja is the most complete prospect to come out this year, and he reminds me a lot about how the dynamic was last year. Even though Luka Doncic was the best player in the draft, he still dropped due to knocks against the level of his competition. Same can be said for Ja. Sure, he may have played in a weak conference all year, but that doesn’t discount what he did in the tournament. He is the first guard since Dwayne Wade to have a triple-double in the NCAA tourney. That is no slight thing, considering the next round he was triple teamed and his other 4 teammates couldn’t beat the 2 guys guarding them.

3) New York Knicks – SG/SF RJ Barrett

I will absolutely hate this selection. Is it because I hate RJ Barrett? Nope, love the guy, think he may be one of the nicest people in this draft. However, I do not see the how the hype relates to the production. Zion shot better than him from 3; he can’t drive right; he shows an inability to pass due to his horrible assist rate; he shows horrible decision-making due to the fact he always took the last shot in every close game instead of Zion. Personally, I think the Knicks would be better served to draft this guy I have slotted at #7 instead, but the Knicks are a horrible franchise. Can’t expect logical decisions from one of the worst owners in the NBA. Comp is Josh Jackson, and stats back in up (+/-, Synergy, literally any stat).

4) Atlanta Hawks – SF DeAndre Hunter

An amazing defender capable of getting his bucket whenever he wants, he is capable of playing the 3 or the 4 in the NBA. He can play on or off the ball, and essentially won Virginia the championship this past year.

5) Cleveland Cavaliers – SG Jarrett Culver

Culver is not going to drop out of the top 5 in no way, shape, or form. The Cavs will take the defensive wing if he drops to them, and that seems like an inevitable thing. They can place the ball-dominant guard next to Sexton, providing relief for the 2nd year point guard in terms of playmaking and spacing.

6) Minnesota Timberwolves – PG Coby White

The Twolves need a point guard more than I need a haircut (which I always seem to need, but I cannot cut the glorious mullet just yet). The Wolves SHOULD take Garland here. White is good though, and will be able to provide additional playmaking and shooting, alleviating the burden slightly off of Tyus Jones and Jeff Teague.

7) Chicago Bulls – PG Darius Garland

Reports have been coming out that, even though the Bulls love White, they won’t be able to get him due to White “receiving promises from a team above the Bulls that they will take him”. So yeah, expect them to land Garland, who was regarded as the best point guard in this draft before going down with an injury earlier this year. He has a Kyrie Irving handle and shot-making ability, and he apparently does not believe the Earth is flat. Sounds like a win to me, especially considering that the Bulls need someone else besides Lavine to create shots for them.

8) New Orleans Pelicans – SF Cameron Reddish

Good size, good shooting, and willing to not be the first option? I’d personally like to have the next player with this pick, but this is not how I would do it, but how others are going to do it.

9) Washington Wizards – PF Sekou Doumbouya

I could expect the Wizards to drop down in the draft in order to save a bit on their projected tax bill. Maybe go down to Miami or Boston’s pick. Until them, expect to take the French Stretch in the draft. Many comps (comparisons) have him likened to Pascal Siakim or Serge Ibaka. I view the Serge mold more, seeing as he is not as athletic as Pascal. However, stretch big is definitely in his future.

10) Atlanta Hawks – C Jaxson Hayes

I also don’t think Hayes is the best center in this draft, but the NBA media seems to (sorry Goga). A lengthy center with a reach that can block out the sun, Hayes projects as a rim-running shot blocker. Can’t really rebound or score, but he can block shots…then again, with Zion, do you really need to rebound or score? Think of Rudy Gobert as his comp.

11) Phoenix Suns – SG/SF Nassir Little

Suns desperately need a wing option that can score, and Nassir is the best one available.

12) Charlotte Hornets – PF Brandon Clarke

Better defender than Rui, and a lot younger. Fits their projected rebuild they will have to do in 4 years.

13) Miami Heat – PF Rui Hachimura

The Heat desperately need a better defense and a new big, seeing as Olynyk and Whiteside are kind of “meh”. Rui gives them switch ability on the defensive end AND also the ability to run the court more.

14) Boston Celtics – SG Tyler Herro

Herro has been skyrocketing up the boards today. I do not know if the Celtics will be able to take him, seeing as the Heat and Hornets do need shooters. He would fit well into their lineup, since they desperately need a bench scorer/three point bomber on their team.

15) Detroit Pistons – SF Keldon Johnson

The Pistons desperately need a small forward, seeing as they don’t have one on their roster. Easy pick to be honest, would get a lot of minutes for them.

16) Orlando Magic – SG Nickeil Alexander-Walker

Another easy pick. Nickeil has been dipping recently, and I would rather see him go to the Celtics. He would get a lot of minutes in their lineup, and may even turn out to be their point guard. I see a lot of Donovan Mitchell in his game, potential, and this situation.

17) New Orleans Pelicans – C Goga Bitadze

The best center in this draft may slip this far, yes. Perfect situation though. Zion needs another center on his roster at the end of this draft. Unfair for the future NBA that the next Jokic and the next LeBron may be on the same team after this draft.

18) Indiana Pacers – PF PJ Washington

Pacers need someone to replace Thad Young, and PJ is the best one. He will be amazing in the Pacers system.

19) San Antonio Spurs – PF Nicolas Claxton

Perfect Spurs player, and one that I can see enjoy playing in San Antonio. Dejounte Murray and Derrick White with the former best player from Georgia? Sounds deadly.

20) Boston Celtics – C Bol Bol

Boston loves Bol Bol, and I don’t get it. I see the benefits of taking him, but he cannot play center in a conference that has big centers. Think he can play bully ball with Embiid, Griffin, Drummond, Whiteside, and Vucevic? Doubt that he could even beat up Myles Turner. Good luck with this pick.

21) Oklahoma City Thunder – PF Eric Paschall

They need someone that can shoot the three, and Paschall is the best available unless they want to go the Romeo Langford route.

22) Boston Celtics – C Mfiondu Kabengele

I am saying this solely because they probably will not trust Bol Bol and Robert Williams to stay healthly. Kabengele is a good rim protecting center.

23) Memphis Grizzlies – SG Kevin Porter

Capable guard that can get buckets? Perfect for a team in desperate need of a rebuild.

24) Philadelphia 76ers – PG Ty Jerome

Wing defender that has the potential of hitting the three? Yes please.

25) Portland TrailBlazers – SF KZ Okpala

Definitely need a wing defender that is better than Evan Turner, and that is what this pick is.

26) Cleveland Cavaliers – SF Darius Bazley

I think the Cavs will go with an outside shot that can switch with Cedi Osman on the defensive end. He’s a bit better than the remaining for what the Cavs need, seeing as they already drafted a defensive stopper in Culver.

27) Brooklyn Nets – PF Luka Samanic

Again, another outside shot. They need a PF that can score after having dealt with RHJ’s (Rondae Hollis-Jefferson) unproductive a** on the offensive end.

28) Golden State Warriors – SG Matisse Thybulle

They will take the best available, and that is who Thybulle is. Defensive wing/guard that has the potential to develop a three point shot.

29) San Antonio Spurs – C Bruno Fernando

They need a center that can at least give them better minutes at backup center than Poeltl. I do think they could take SF Isaiah Roby here too.

30) Detroit Pistons – SG Romeo Langford

They just need a scorer desperately here.

Outside Looking In: The Notables That Dropped
SF/PF Chuma Okeke = Another great kid that has nothing bad against him at his time in college. While the former Auburn Tiger would have easily been the best option at SF/PF for a lot of teams in this draft, his leg injury will keep them all away. I still hope he gets drafted though, since he is an amazing player.
PF Jalen McDaniels – I am not really buying a lot of the hype surrounding the PF from San Diego State. However, all I have watched so far are his highlights, so I will have to do more digging. However, his stats are pretty good, he has good size for his position, and he was able to beat up his bad conference.
PF Grant Williams – Another great guy that I hope gets drafted. Even being a Kentucky fan, I did love me some Grant and Admiral. While I don’t think he will have a good NBA career, I still think it is noticeable he isn’t going in the first round. He should land on a decent team that needs a really good bench player, and I think Grant can be that.
SG Admiral Schofield – I absolutely love Admiral Schofield. I completely see the old Marcus Smart kind of player that will absolutely dominant in the NBA. I think Admiral is better on the offensive end than Marcus, I still think that the Schofield’s defensive potential mirrors that of Smart when he initially went to the league. I will see him off the board early in the second round, and probably before his counter-part from Tennessee.
SF Isaiah Roby – Just like with McDaniels, I am not buying the hype around Roby. I see Roby as a capable bench player in the 24-28 minutes a game range. He has a good range on both ends of the floor, but is too foul-happy for my taste. However, he would be perfect for a team like the Brooklyn Nets, Portland Trailblazers, or Oklahoma City Thunder. However, lots of people are saying he is quick enough to be a 3 in the NBA. I’ll check the tapes more.
SF Ignas Brazdeikis – As a pure-blood Ohio State fan, I already despise this guy. However, Ignas is a super skilled player. He has nothing to show on the defensive end, but he is one of the most talented offensive ones to be in this draft. He led the Wolverines on the offensive end, being their option in the clutch moments of a game multiple times. While I am terrified that my Cavs may be stupid enough to draft this man with the 5th pick since they hired his college coach, I’ll just keep my fingers crossed on draft night.
SG Kyle Guy – If Kyle Guy wrote a book, I would not only buy it, but invite him on my (upcoming) podcast to talk about it. The man has a story that needs to be heard, and I recommend you seek it out. However, many NBA teams may not seek him out due to his size. He may be THE BEST three point shooter in the draft, him being 6’2″ will pose a lot of issues to many teams. I hope he can stick on a roster as a corner specialist or something of that ilk, since I know he will be a great player wherever he lands.
PF/C Jontay Porter – Another guy I am not buying the hype for. Coming from the horrible gene pool the Michael Porter, Jr. is from, Jontay played like 5 minutes for Mizzou this year. I do find it concerning that the Porter family keeps getting hurt, but I do not know whether that is due to their vegan diet or bad genes. However, the 6’11” Porter is just as skilled as his brother. A team will take a flyer on him late solely for the family name, but the injury history is showing signs of making him slip in the draft process.
SG Terance Mann – Terance Mann is another player I view like Marcus Smart in this draft. Terance is super athletic and talented, and I don’t see lasting long in the second round. I don’t know if his speed or shooting will be the factor that keeps some teams away from him, but he will be worth the risk for some. Many are saying he is going to climb the boards, and I can see it happen.
SF Brian Bowen – I hope Brian Bowen doesn’t slide outside the first round. I think he is amazing, and he unfortunately took the fall for the whole Under Armor fiasco. He is super athletic, super talented, and super fresh since he didn’t play a single minute last year. I would consider him a steal right now wherever he goes, but that is subject to change right now.
PG/SG Aubrey Dawkins – Dawkins played well on the biggest stage, and I hope teams remember that. He comes from a basketball family, and he was THE guy on his team (sorry Tacko). He’s a good combo guard, and I am viewing him a bit like D Rose when he was at Memphis. He is going to slip, and a team will be very lucky to acquire him. I think he has the drive to become a solid bench player in his rookie year, and that would be great for a lot of teams.
SG Fletcher McGee – He is a guy I bought the hype for in the tournament, but am now selling out. He jumps into his shot in workouts, and he couldn’t perform on the biggest stage. I see a touch of Jimmer in his game, and I think the NBA is rightfully apprehensive of those guys.
C Tacko Fall – I love Tacko. I want him to succeed. But the best thing people are saying about him is, “He moves really well for a guy his size.” However, I do think his tape against Zion will only help his stock. I think he will get the proverbial cup of coffee with a team and move on. I keep circling back to Yao and Boban molds, but I do not know how Tacko will do. He’s not fast enough and doesn’t have the best endurance. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for him though.

TWOLVES TRADE FOR #6!

Again, another trade. Woj is absolutely blowing my mind right now.

Suns Receive: #11 pick in 2019 NBA Draft, PF Dario Saric
Twolves Receive: #6 pick in 2019 NBA Draft

Very beneficial for the Twolves. They never really saw the benefit of Saric as a long term option for their team, so it makes sense.This puts them in prime Coby White, Sekou Doumbouya, and Darius Garland range. All three make sense, but I am hearing that they are targeting a point guard with this pick.

Bad trade for the Suns, proving once again that they are idiots. They need a point guard, but trade out of getting one? And all you get is the #11 pick and Saric? Jesus, at least you traded one of your wings/bigs away before this (good move adding wing depth Pacers). At least the #11 pick puts them in Nassir Little or a center/power forward range

HAWKS TRADE FOR #4 PICK!

Yes, it happened. The Pelicans have officially traded out of the #4 pick. To make this even better, I called this exact situation happening…with incorrect details haha. Details are as follows:

Pelicans Receive: #8, #17, and #35 picks in the 2019 NBA Draft
Hawks Receive: #4 and #57 in the 2019 NBA Draft, a future 2nd round pick, and PF Solomon Hill

Catch me and @soft7juice popping bottles for predicting this, but this is exactly what the Pelicans wanted to do. This gives them cap space to pursue an All-Star or absorb an All-Star via trade. It also puts them in line to grab Zion’s other college teammate, Cam Reddish.

Hawks wise, this gives them the ability to draft DeAndre Hunter, aka the player they always wanted. Cannot wait to see this all go down in about 2 hours.

Buck’s Big Board – My 2019 NBA Draft Player Rankings

With the draft occurring in just a few hours, it is time to finally release my rankings with a mock on the way later. I don’t care if you on’t like it, since these are my feelings on who will be good based on what I have seen on film. Enjoy!

  1. Zion Williamson
  2. Ja Morant
  3. Darius Garland
  4. DeAndre Hunter
  5. Jarrett Culver
  6. Coby White
  7. Sekou Doumbouya
  8. Cam Reddish
  9. Goga Bitadze
  10. RJ Barrett
  11. Brandon Clarke
  12. Rui Hachimura
  13. Nickeil Alexander-Walker
  14. Nicolas Claxton
  15. PJ Washington
  16. Nassir Little
  17. Keldon Johnson
  18. Kevin Porter
  19. Jaxson Hayes
  20. Tyler Herro
  21. Matisse Thybulle
  22. KZ Okpala
  23. Ty Jerome
  24. Cameron Johnson
  25. Romeo Langford
  26. Mfiondu Kabengele
  27. Dylan Windler
  28. Isaiah Roby
  29. Carsen Edwards
  30. Chuma Okeke
  31. Terrance Mann
  32. Naz Reid
  33. Admiral Schofield
  34. Grant Williams
  35. Jalen Hoard
  36. Louis King
  37. Brian Bowen
  38. Jalen McDaniels
  39. Daniel Gafford
  40. Bol Bol
  41. Jontay Porter
  42. Bruno Fernando
  43. Luka Samanic
  44. Eric Paschall
  45. Kyle Guy

Comment down below if what you like or disagree with. All hardcore logic will come more in the mock GM piece.

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BREAKING: Mike Conley to Utah Jazz

Yes, Woj dropped yet ANOTHER bomb on all us unsuspecting fans of the NBA. The breakdown is as follows…

  • Jazz Receive: PG Mike Conley
  • Grizzlies Receive: SG Grayson Allen, SG/SF Kyle Korver, SF/PF Jae Crowder, 23rd pick in 2019 NBA Draft, future 1st round pick (being reported as a late lottery pick 2020 pick to translate to a lightly protected lottery in 2022)

This. Is. Amazing.

…well, for the Jazz. Conley and Mitchell are a 1-2 combo that people have been wanting to see ever since the Grizzlies said they were willing trade him. The defensive potential is ridiculous, and the offensive firepower will be able to run through a depleted West. Throw in the fact they will still have Ingles and Gobert on the team? Doubly amazing. Add the cherry on top with rumors coming out they are looking at pursuing a combo forward (like Trevor Ariza or Harrison Barnes) or 4-5 big that can space the floor (like Al Horford or Paul Millsap)? Sweet baby Jesus the Jazz are now legit contenders in the West.

Sure, the big downside to this trade is the haul that the Grizzlies got for Conley. Korver and Crowder are dead money, filler contracts, and they will be off the books at the end of next season. That’s good, since they can’t afford to have anymore bad money long-term. However, I do not think Grayson Allen is that good of a fit for their team. He does the same thing as their projected #2 pick Ja Morant, but he is way worse. He isn’t even that good of a shooting guard. The future pick could be good, but I don’t see it turning out into something special. The real value, unfortunately, is the 23rd pick. The 23 puts them in prime range to draft someone like Tyler Herro, Admiral Schofield, Isaiah Roby, PJ Washington, or Kevin Porter. This could be huge for the franchise, since they could get a really solid player to pair with Ja and 3J (Jaren Jackson, Jr.). Hopefully they make the right decision there, since that could likely spell out (in clear and bold letters) how the franchise will fair in this upcoming rebuild process.

Jimmy Butler to…Houston?

I personally love this move. I want to get that out of the way first. However, the only way this move can occur is if the Rockets can find any takers for Chris Paul’s albatross of a contract or the absolute negative value contract of Clint Capela. However, with Chris Paul likely out of Houston sometime in the near future, this would give the Rockets plenty of space to target Jimmy Butler this FA.

Jimmy Butler would be the ideal fit next to Harden. Jimmy can play both shooting guard and small forward, can move without the ball, and can actually score on his man (regardless of who is guarding him). He is a two-way player, so he is automatically an upgrade over Chris Paul on the defensive end. A Rivers-Harden-Gordon-Butler-Tucker small ball lineup to come in after a Harden-Gordon-Butler-Tucker-Capela one (barring a Capela trade)? The defensive potential would be extraordinary, and I find it hard to envision a lineup that can score on anyone (besides Harden) in it.

This is obviously assuming the Jimmy does not wish to return to Philly next season. I believe that he truly does want to return to Philly, but the fit there is questionable to say the least. Simmons can’t shoot, and Embiid can’t stay healthy. Philly’s cap is gona be crazy to manage, and that is with the fact they only had 5 people that could play playoff basketball this year. The Rockets, on the other hand, have shown numerous times they are a playoff basketball team. They maximize their cap, and can turn any roster into a contender. Sure, the owner is not willing to spend to win, but having a contender with healthy players is better than being on a contender with unskilled/injured ones.

Can easily see Jimmy take this offer seriously, or at least leverage it to get more from the 76ers. Personally, with how dismantled the Warriors are looking, I would make the trek out to the West if I was Jimmy. The East now runs through Milwaukee, and the Nets may turn into a power house. This is all assuming the NBA champion Toronto Raptors can’t resign Kawhi and decide to blow the team up. The East is starting to look formidable, and this is all without Danny Ainge having a chance to work his Ainge-magic and form a contender of the Celtics (with or without Kyrie and Horford) overnight.

Right now, the best team in the West is either the Nuggets, Rockets, TrailBlazers, Lakers, or Clippers. If Jimmy were to join the Rockets?

I think the title would go back to Houston next year.