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The 2017 NBA Draft Preview

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The dust has settled on the NBA lottery, with all pick swaps and positions finalized. Throughout this 10 part series, the potential selections of all first round picks will be deduced.

Widely regarded as the deepest draft since 2003 where future Hall of Famers LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwayne Wade, to name a few, were selected.

The lottery itself presented two dramatic changes to the order; Sacramento jumping into the top 3 only to have Philadelphia enforce their pick swap thus becoming the 5th selection and Phoenix tragically falling two spots to number 4.

As a result, the future of the lottery teams have become considerably clearer now, however there are still major questions surrounding the future of the teams personnel and potential draft selections.

Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics are currently in the midst of a deep playoff run. About to challenge the juggernaut that is the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston has been able to bury the demons of the past in the Brad Stevens era to potentially cause a major upset.

Looking forward to the draft the selection of Markelle Fultz which seems imminent.

Yet, with the inspirational play of Isaiah Thomas and the growth shown by Terry Rozier, Boston may want to address other needs such as wing scoring to solidify their potent offense.

Jayson Tatum could offer a surprise selection at #1. Tatum is a smooth combo forward with great size (6’8) and length (6’11). Tatum is able to operate from all level using advanced dribble and step back moves to create separation and abuse mismatches.

Conversely, his poor defensive mentality and versatility could hinder the switching scheme of Boston.

Markelle Fultz, on the contrary, is an NBA ready prospect with no glaring holes in his game. Fultz’s dimensions (6’4 height with a 6’10 wingspan) mixed with a stern frame (196 pounds) gives him the physical gifts needed to guard multiple positions at the NBA level. Similar to Tatum, Fultz is able to score at all levels in addition to being a strong rebounder.

The only flaw (if there is any) is his lack of intensity. This concern was a by-product of playing on a terrible Washington team that disregarded the defensive side of the game.

Fultz has been the consensus #1 pick since day 1 yet there is a slight potential for Boston to decide to lean totally on Thomas and select a scoring forward likened to Danny Granger.

Los Angeles Lakers

Following the settlement of the lottery order, Lavar Ball, father of UCLA standout Lonzo Ball, stated Ball is “only working out for the Lakers” thus cementing all the preconceived ideas that Ball will be a Laker.

Ball has great size and has become an efficient Jason Kidd-esque passer.

Ball also finishes at an extremely high rate in the restricted area (75%) due to his uncanny cutting skills for a point guard.

Complied with his high basketball IQ, selfless decision making and defensive instincts, Ball is the perfect backcourt partner for D’Angelo Russell.

With the selection of Ball, the Lakers will be able to play D’Angelo off ball allowing him to focus on his strengths; secondary ball handling and weak side pick and rolls.

However, questions of his build are raised. His slender frame will prohibit him from guarding bigger and stronger guard while his unorthodox shooting mechanics may plague in as an off the dribble shooter.

Although the Lakers should be attempting to solve their defensive issues with the selection of Jayhawk swingman Josh Jackson or defensive minded point guard De’Aaron Fox it is seemingly set in stone that Lonzo Ball will become a Laker.

Philadelphia 76ers

Through the infamous Nik Stauskas trade Philadelphia were placed in a great position.

The final stages of Sam Hinkie’s notorious “process” are brimming with potential and excitement.

After the Sacramento Kings shockingly jumped into the top 3, Philadelphia invoked their pick swap clause.

The glaring hole in the 76ers roster is elite shooting.

Last year’s 76ers shot an abysmal 34% from 3 with only Joel Embiid and Nik Stauskas shooting above 36.5%.

Philadelphia, with Ball and Fultz seemingly already drafted, can fulfill their shooting needs or a fly on a high defensive upside prospect with a poor track record of outside shooting.

Malik Monk and Josh Jackson propose a difficult choice for Bryan Colangelo and Co.

Kentucky’s 6’3 deadeye shooter Malik Monk has the potential to be the next Ray Allen. A supremely athletic guard with NBA range and pick and roll capabilities Monk has the tools needed to become a secondary ball handler next to Ben Simmons.

His poor length (6’4 wingspan) prevents Monk from being able to defend shooting guards such as Klay Thompson and DeMar DeRozan. However playing next to Simmons in the backcourt will allow Monk to defend point guards which in itself may be an issue.

On the other hand, Josh Jackson, a 6’8 swingman with a 6’10 wingspan, is an energetic forward who has the defensive versatility of an Andre Igoudala.

During his single season at Kansas, Bill Self employed Jackson as a power forward to minimize his shooting flaws.

Although he shot an impressive 37.8% percent from 3, his free throw percentage (56.6%) questions Jackson’s shot making ability in the NBA.

For a team who is desperate need of a lock down shooter the 76ers will likely select Monk, however defensive talent such as Jackson is rarely seen.

A 20 year old aspiring sports writer and journalist from Sydney, Australia. Concerned with all sports with a distinct passion for all forms of basketball

Boston Celtics

Cavs’ Tyronn Lue Stresses Maintaining Urgency In Game 4

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Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue is making sure that his team doesn’t get too ahead of themselves after their Game 3 blowout win over the Boston Celtics, and is looking for the Cavs to maintain their sense of urgency ahead of Game 4 on Monday.

It will be interesting to see how the odds stack up as the Cavs and Celtics series continues, especially if Cleveland can even the series, and sites such as BetStars will certainly be worth keeping an eye on as the Eastern Conference Finals plays out.

“We know what it takes,” Lue said on Sunday, according to ESPN. “We did it before. We’ve got a lot of veterans, a veteran crew and they know what it takes to win. We can’t get satisfied with just one win, it’s just one, we’ve got to come out [Monday] night and duplicate it again.”

Lue used the film study to show his players the exact type of effort he wants to see as things progress in the series.

“Just remind them that this is the way we have to play,” Lue said of his approach with the team.

Naturally, the Cavs will be leaning on LeBron James’ performance to guide them in Game 4, and while James has been his usual, super-productive self offensively, he has amplified his play on the defensive side of the court, which sparked the rest of his teammates in Game 3’s victory.

“I thought [Saturday] night was one of LeBron’s best games I’ve seen in a long time as far as helping, closing out to Jaylen Brown’s chest, making him put it on the floor,” Lue explained. “Closing out to [Marcus] Morris. Closing out to [Marcus] Smart, so he did a really good job of just setting the tone of multiple efforts and that was good for us.”

The Cavs will be turning to their bench to put in another solid performance, mainly Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.

Clarkson in particular saw an uptick in his shot volume, but struggled, shooting just 3-for-11 from the field and 3-for-7 from 3 point land

“I don’t think he’s nervous,” Lue said. “He’s not scared or afraid at all. When you take 11 or 12 shots off the bench in the playoffs, you’re not scared, you’re not afraid, so that’s what he does.

“He’s just got to be smart, time and score when to do it, but he’s doing a good job of just trying to be aggressive and attacking and I think he will make shots.”

“When I’m on the court, it’s always just basically shooting it with confidence,” Clarkson said. “The more looks I get, I feel like they will go in.”

“Larry knows his job,” said Clarkson. “He’s going to screen, he’s going to roll, he’s going to get rebounds and he’s going to defend. I think his time is coming in this series.”

“His energy, his athleticism, his ability to switch and guard multiple positions is good for us,” Lue said. “When he’s rolling to the basket, he got a couple dunks last night, and when they pull in to help, now you’ve got Kyle Korver and JR making 3s. His athletic ability and his force rolling to the rim is really key for us.”

“We’re starting to figure out that LeBron doesn’t have to take 20-some shots to beat a great team by 30,” Nance said. “The rest of us are very good basketball players in our own right and it’s nice to show that.”

 

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NBA Playoff Schedule 2018

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Are you ready for the NBA Playoffs? Well, we have you covered with the full NBA Playoff schedule including game times, TV coverage info, matchups and dates.

Here is how things are breaking down, schedule wise, per NBA.com. NOTE: * = if necessary

Western Conference

No. 1 Houston Rockets vs. No. 8 Minnesota Timberwolves

Game 1: Minnesota Timberwolves at Houston Rockets: April 15 at 9 p.m. ET on TNT

Game 2: Minnesota Timberwolves at Houston Rockets: April 18 at 9:30 p.m. ET on TNT

Game 3: Houston Rockets at Minnesota Timberwolves: April 21 at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

Game 4: Houston Rockets at Minnesota Timberwolves: April 23 at 8 p.m. ET on TNT

*Game 5: Minnesota Timberwolves at Houston Rockets: April 25 at TBD

*Game 6: Houston Rockets at Minnesota Timberwolves: April 27 at TBD

*Game 7: Minnesota Timberwolves at Houston Rockets: April 29 at TBD

 

No. 2 Golden State Warriors vs. No. 7 San Antonio Spurs

Game 1: San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors: April 14 at 3 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 2: San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors: April 16 at 10:30 p.m. ET on TNT

Game 3: Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs: April 19 at 9:30 p.m. ET on TNT

Game 4: Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs: April 22 at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC

*Game 5: San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors: April 24 at TBD

*Game 6: Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs: April 26 at TBD

*Game 7: San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors: April 28 at TBD

 

No. 3 Portland Trail Blazers vs. No. 6 New Orleans Pelicans

Game 1: New Orleans Pelicans at Portland Trail Blazers: April 14 at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

Game 2: New Orleans Pelicans at Portland Trail Blazers: April 17 at 10:30 p.m. ET on TNT

Game 3: Portland Trail Blazers at New Orleans Pelicans: April 19 at 9 p.m. ET on NBA TV

Game 4: Portland Trail Blazers at New Orleans Pelicans: April 21 at 5 p.m. ET on TNT

*Game 5: New Orleans Pelicans at Portland Trail Blazers: April 24 at TBD

*Game 6: Portland Trail Blazers at New Orleans Pelicans: April 26 at TBD

*Game 7: New Orleans Pelicans at Portland Trail Blazers: April 28 at TBD

 

No. 4 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. No. 5 Utah Jazz

Game 1: Utah Jazz at Oklahoma City Thunder: April 15 at 6:30 p.m. ET on TNT

Game 2: Utah Jazz at Oklahoma City Thunder: April 18 at 8 p.m. ET on NBA TV

Game 3: Oklahoma City Thunder at Utah Jazz: April 21 at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN

Game 4: Oklahoma City Thunder at Utah Jazz: April 23 at 10:30 p.m. ET on TNT

*Game 5: Utah Jazz at Oklahoma City Thunder: April 25 at TBD

*Game 6: Oklahoma City Thunder at Utah Jazz: April 27 at TBD

*Game 7: Utah Jazz at Oklahoma City Thunder: April 29 at TBD

 

Eastern Conference

No. 1 Toronto Raptors vs. No. 8 Washington Wizards

Game 1: Washington Wizards at Toronto Raptors: April 14 at 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

Game 2: Washington Wizards at Toronto Raptors: April 17 at 7 p.m. ET on NBA TV

Game 3: Toronto Raptors at Washington Wizards: April 20 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2

Game 4: Toronto Raptors at Washington Wizards: April 22 at 6 p.m. ET on TNT

*Game 5: Washington Wizards at Toronto Raptors: April 25 at TBD

*Game 6: Toronto Raptors at Washington Wizards: April 27 at TBD

*Game 7: Washington Wizards at Toronto Raptors: April 29 at TBD

 

No. 2 Boston Celtics vs. No. 7 Milwaukee Bucks

Game 1: Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics: April 15 at 1 p.m. ET on TNT

Game 2: Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics: April 17 at 8 p.m. ET on TNT

Game 3: Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks: April 20 at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

Game 4: Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks: April 22 at 1 p.m. ET on ABC

*Game 5: Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics: April 24 at TBD

*Game 6: Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks: April 26 at TBD

*Game 7: Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics: April 28 at TBD

 

No. 3 Philadelphia 76ers vs. No. 6 Miami Heat

Game 1: Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers: April 14 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN

Game 2: Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers: April 16 at 8 p.m. ET on TNT

Game 3: Philadelphia 76ers at Miami Heat: April 19 at 7 p.m. ET on TNT

Game 4: Philadelphia 76ers at Miami Heat: April 21 at 2:30 p.m. ET on TNT

*Game 5: Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers: April 24 at TBD

*Game 6: Philadelphia 76ers at Miami Heat: April 26 at TBD

*Game 7: Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers: April 28 at TBD

 

No. 4 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. No. 5 Indiana Pacers

Game 1: Indiana Pacers at Cleveland Cavaliers: April 15 at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 2: Indiana Pacers at Cleveland Cavaliers: April 18 at 7 p.m. ET on TNT

Game 3: Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers: April 20 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN

Game 4: Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers: April 22 at 8:30 p.m. ET on TNT

*Game 5: Indiana Pacers at Cleveland Cavaliers: April 25 at TBD

*Game 6: Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers: April 27 at TBD

*Game 7: Indiana Pacers at Cleveland Cavaliers  April 29 at TBD

 

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Celtics’ Jaylen Browns Says Donald Trump Made It ‘More Acceptable for Racists to Speak Their Minds’

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Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown is speaking his mind about racism ahead of the Celtics game against the Philadelphia 76ers in London on Thursday, mainly pointing a finger of blame at President Donald Trump.

Brown asserts that Trump has only exacerbated racism issues, not helping.

“Racism definitely exists across America today. Of course it’s changed a lot—and my opportunities are far greater than they would have been 50 years ago” Brown said in an interview with Donald McRae of the Guardian.

“So some people think racism has dissipated or no longer exists. But it’s hidden in more strategic places. You have less people coming to your face and telling you certain things. But Trump has made it a lot more acceptable for racists to speak their minds.”

“Racism definitely still exists in the South,” Brown said. “I’ve experienced it through basketball. I’ve had people call me the n-word. I’ve had people come to basketball games dressed in monkey suits with a jersey on. I’ve had people paint their face black at my games. I’ve had people throw bananas in the stands.”

Brown had praise for Colin Kaepernick and Brown pointed toward Trump’s Twitter feud with LaVar Ball regarding the detainment of LiAngelo Ball for shoplifting in China as one of the issues he has with the president.

Brown also talked about his own experience with racism during his upbringing in Marietta, Georgia.

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