NBA Lord's NBA Blog

NBA Lord's NBA Blog

Monday, August 14, 2017

NBALord.com Podcast: Kyrie Irving is still in Cleveland; Paul Millsap is a great fit in Denver



On this week's episode of the NBALord.com Podcast, I address the very latest in the Kyrie Irving saga, Paul Millsap's future with the Nuggets, and more. Click here to listen to the podcast.





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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Wednesday Windmill: Does signing Michael Beasley mean the Knicks will trade Carmelo Anthony?


Earlier today, it was announced that the New York Knicks signed Michael Beasley to a one-year contract for the veteran's minimum ($2,116,995). Since being drafted #2 overall in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Miami Heat, Beasley has bounced around the league, playing for the Heat (twice), Timberwolves, Suns, Rockets, Bucks, and now Knicks. While not living up to the expectations that come with being a #2 overall pick, Beasley has found a way to stick around the league and carve out a nice career for himself, averaging 12.6 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.

While not an all-star level player, Beasley is still a very solid NBA player, capable of scoring both inside and out. Last season with the Bucks, he averaged 9.4 points per game in 16.7 minutes of action, shooting 53.2% from the field, 41.9% from three-point range, and 74.3% from the foul line. If placed back in a starters role and given 30 minutes of action per night, Beasley could average right around 17 points per game, which is pretty good for a starting small forward.

What a lot of people are wondering is whether or not the signing of Beasley indicates that the Knicks are open to trading Carmelo Anthony. When you consider all the money that Carmelo is scheduled to make next season ($26, 243,760) and the fact that Beasley can be a decent starting small forward for a fraction of the cost, there's good reason to think that moving Carmelo is in the Knicks' best interest.

Of course, if the Knicks decide to keep Carmelo, Beasely could still be a solid off the bench type of scorer, similar to what he was for the Bucks last season. What the Knicks have to weigh is whether or not they think they can make a run for the playoffs over the next two seasons if Carmelo sticks around. If they do, then it might not be a bad thing to hang on to him for the next two seasons and then let him walk in free agency. If on the other hand, the Knicks don't see themselves making the playoffs or they have no interest in being an 8th seed in the East, then it probably does make sense for them to trade Carmelo and try to get some quality pieces back for him.

Personally, I think the Knicks will look to move Carmelo. They've not accomplished what they hoped they would during his tenure and it's largely due to their own incompetence. While they've failed to put a quality team around him, the very least they can do for Carmelo is trade him to a team that can contend. They need to retool and build for the future and Carmelo deserves a shot at playing for a contender. It really makes sense for both sides.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Tomahawk Tuesday: What does Paul Millsap bring to the Denver Nuggets?

                                            (Credit: David Zalubowski, The Associated Press) 

This summer, the Denver Nuggets made a splash of their own in signing Paul Millsap to a three-year, $90M deal. Millsap spent the past four seasons with the Atlanta Hawks after playing his first seven seasons with the Utah Jazz. Millsap was an All-Star in each of his four seasons with the Hawks, averaging 17.4 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game. Despite his success, the Hawks didn't feel they could contend with Millsap as a cornerstone of their franchise, ultimately deciding to let him walk in free agency.

The Hawks' decision shouldn't diminish what Millsap has accomplished during these past four years. He's established himself as one of the best players in the NBA, earning every bit of praise that he has received. They've been in need of a legitimate go-to option and Millsap certainly fits the bill.

The first thing that Millsap brings to this Nuggets team is toughness. Outside of Kenneth Faried, the Nuggets haven't had a lot of toughness on their team. Millsap is a guy who will battle for loose balls and never give up on a play. He plays with tremendous heart and gives it his all every time he steps on the floor.

Millsap also brings lots of experience. He's been an All-Star four straight seasons and has played in 87 playoff games, reaching the conference finals twice ('07 with Utah and '15 with Atlanta). The Nuggets haven't even sniffed a conference finals appearance since Carmelo Anthony left. To have a guy with that kind of experience and leadership will be huge.

In terms of his on the court abilities, Millsap brings versatility. At 6'8", 245 pounds, he can play both the small forward and power forward positions due to his combination of size, quickness, and all-around skill. He can shoot from the perimeter and take opponents off the dribble, creating a lot of mismatches on the floor. He'd be a really nice complimentary player for a guy like Kenneth Faried, who is more comfortable playing as a power forward.

The big question surrounding this Denver Nuggets team is whether or not they'll make the playoffs. Given the depth of the Western Conference, it's no guarantee that they do, but they definitely got a shot. While the Nuggets still need a lot more pieces to become a serious contender, adding Paul Millsap is a solid start. We've seen him anchor a very good Atlanta Hawks team and with the addition of a couple more pieces, there's no reason to doubt the Nuggets' ability to put a similar type of squad around him.

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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Saturday Slam: How big of a blow is Brandon Knight's ACL injury to the Phoenix Suns?



Earlier this week, it was revealed that Phoenix Suns point guard Brandon Knight suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during a pro-am game. Due to the nature of the injury, it is anticipated that Knight will miss the 2017-18 season after undergoing surgery.

On the surface, this appears to be a pretty significant blow to the Suns. Knight's name has been frequently mentioned as one of the rising stars in the league. He averaged 19.6 points and 5.1 assists per game for the Suns in the 2015-16 season and was billed as a cornerstone piece of the franchise when he was acquired from the Milwaukee Bucks.

                                          (Yahoo! Sports) 

After having what appeared to be a breakout season in his 2015-16 campaign, Knight has since struggled to replicate that same type of success, largely due to injury. Last season, he played in only 54 games and averaged 11.0 points and 2.4 assists per game. He only saw 21.1 minutes of action per game and never was able to get into a rhythm. Now that Knight has suffered a torn ACL on top of the struggles he had last season, it's fair to question whether or not he'll ever return to his former self.

As far as what this means for the Suns, this is a significant blow in the sense that they acquired Knight with the hopes of becoming one of their franchise players and he is clearly not living up to the hype. What also is unfortunate for them is that Knight is scheduled to make $13.6M in the 2017-18 season, $14.6M in the 2018-19 season, and $15.6M in the 2019-20 season before hitting unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2020. It'll be hard for them to move a guy whose contract requires teams to pay him more with each season.

On the flip side, it's not like the Suns are holding their breath on Knight being their franchise player for the future. Guards Devin Booker and Eric Bledsoe, both of whom scored over 20 points per game last season, are viewed as the franchise centerpieces for the future along with rookie small forward Josh Jackson. The Suns can continue to build around those guys and focus their attention on getting them the pieces that they need to succeed.

Ultimately, the loss of Brandon Knight is significant for the Suns because they've invested a lot of money into him and have him under contract for the next three seasons. When you acquire a guy with the hopes of him being a franchise centerpiece and he doesn't deliver, that always stings. The good new for the Suns is that they have Devin Booker and Eric Bledsoe to build around in the backcourt instead. They're already used to playing without Knight and appear to already be preparing for the future with him not in the picture. What would soften the blow even more is if the Suns could find a team willing to roll the dice on him, but at this point, the odds of that happening appear to be pretty low.

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Monday, July 24, 2017

NBALord.com Podcast: Kyrie Irving requests a trade; John Wall extends with the Wizards

                                          (Akron Beacon Journal) 

On this week's episode of the NBALord.com Podcast, Brian Kaiserman joins me to discuss Kyrie Irving's trade request and also John Wall's 4 year, $170M extension with the Wizards. Click here to listen to the podcast.



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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Saturday Slam: Making sense of Kyrie Irving's request for a trade

                                                   (Akron Beacon Journal) 


The big story of the week is the report that Kyrie Irving wants out of Cleveland and is pushing for a trade. The New York Knicks, San Antonio Spurs, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Miami Heat are said to be the teams that he is most interested in joining, though the Cleveland Cavaliers ultimately control his fate.

When I first heard the news I was surprised given the sheer magnitude of the story and what it could mean for the NBA, but upon further reflection, I'm not surprised at all. Irving has always wanted to be the number one option on a team and so long as he played alongside LeBron James, he wasn't going to get his wish. He's won a championship with the Cavaliers and has been to the NBA Finals three straight years. He rightfully feels like now is a good time for him to move on to a new city and forge his own path separate from LeBron.

Whether you feel like this is the right move for Irving or not, one cannot deny that the Cavaliers were never his team with LeBron around. While there's no shame in being second fiddle to a guy of LeBron's magnitude, one can certainly understand why Irving would ultimately want to spread his wings and fly away. He's proven himself as one of the top players in the NBA and as such is deserving of having a franchise built around him.

As far as where he might land, I don't see the Cavaliers trading him to another Eastern Conference team. It just wouldn't make sense for them to help out a team that competes in the same conference as them. Rather, it would make more sense for them to ship him out West and allow him to make the Western Conference even more of a logjam than it already is.

Out of all the teams in the West that he could go to, the Spurs seem to make the most sense. They could use another superstar to go alongside Kawhi Leonard and they also have an attractive trade chip in LaMarcus Aldridge who has been rumored to want out of his situation as well. A trade sending Aldridge to the Cavaliers and Irving to the Spurs would make sense for both sides. Aldridge would be a very nice number two option for LeBron to play with while Irving would be a nice upgrade over Aldridge, giving the Spurs more versatility in the backcourt.

During the coming weeks, it will certainly be interesting to see how this all plays out. I expect Irving to be traded relatively soon since the Cavaliers won't want to have to deal with him as a distraction come training camp. At the same time, the Cavaliers shouldn't rush to make a move, either. Irving is a very valuable piece and if you are going to trade him, you better make sure you get back something really good.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wednesday Windmill: The Atlanta Hawks are tanking and I don't know why


The Atlanta Hawks are tanking and I don't know why. To be clear, I know why teams tank. They tank to get higher draft picks so that they can be better for the long term. The Atlanta Hawks, however, are a team who seemed to tank for no good reason. They went 43-39 last season, which was good enough for 5th place in the Eastern Conference. The year before that, they were 48-34, which was good enough for 3rd place in the Eastern Conference, though they fell to 4th place due to a tiebreaker. In the 2014-15 season, the Hawks finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference at 60-22 with Paul Millsap, Al Horford, Jeff Teague, and Kyle Korver as their core, all of whom are no longer with the team.

Since the 2014-15 season, the Hawks have gone downhill, wholesaling their best players to other teams without wanting anything good in return. Rather than trying build around a core that won 60 games, the Hawks decided to blow the whole thing up and start anew, believing that what they had wasn't going to produce a championship no matter what moves they made.

While I understand the tanking philosophy and acknowledge that it has its place, the Hawks were not a team in need of embracing it. They should have instead embraced the quality roster that they had in the 2014-15 season and done all they could to enhance it for the purposes of better positioning themselves for a championship run.

By embracing the "If you're not first, you're last" mantra of Ricky Bobby, the Hawks have robbed their fans of witnessing deep playoff runs year in and year out. While it is true that the ultimate goal is to win a championship, it's not like the only successful seasons are the ones that result in a championship. Reaching the conference finals is a successful season that gets your fans excited. Winning a playoff series can also be considered a successful season, especially if you are a young and up and coming team.

My point is that if your ceiling is to reach the conference finals for a few years in a row, ride that ship out and see where that takes you. You never know, maybe someone gets hurt and you find yourself in the NBA Finals. If you are positioned to make those kind of runs year in and year out, tanking is not the solution to getting over the hump.

With most teams that tank, I understand why they are doing it. They're far from winning a championship and are in need of replenishing with young talent. The Hawks however were not in either of those camps. They were close to winning a championship and had a talented core that had plenty of years left. Taking a nosedive like this is very perplexing and difficult to understand.

Wednesday Windmill is a weekly piece that focuses on the Eastern Conference 

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