NBA Lord's NBA Blog

NBA Lord's NBA Blog

Monday, January 27, 2020

Mamba Monday: Reacting to the death of Kobe Bryant

                                          (Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images) 

Monday on is typically dubbed "Mock Draft Monday," taking a look at the NBA's up and coming talents and prospects. Today I thought I would dub my Monday article "Mamba Monday" to honor the life and legacy of Kobe Bryant, who tragically passed in a helicopter crash yesterday along with his daughter Gianna. I should also add that this helicopter crash killed nine people in total, so by no means do I want to make it sound like Kobe or Gianna's life had any more meaning or value. Every life is precious and holds the same value. I believe that as a believer in God and follower of Jesus Christ. As such, I want to say that times like this make me grateful for the faith and knowledge that all of us will be resurrected and will one day see our loved ones again.

Still, that doesn't soften the initial pain of losing people close to us or people who we admire. Kobe Bryant influenced millions of people through the game of basketball and his death is a tremendous blow to the basketball community. Those that are grieving or still in shock have every right to be. It's important to go through the four stages of grief or whatever process you need to go through.

Speaking for myself personally, my initial reaction to the death of Kobe Bryant was that of shock and disbelief. I found out about his death while at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, covering the Cal men's and women's basketball Sunday doubleheader. It was weird to be at a basketball arena covering the game that he had such a profound influence on while simultaneously processing the fact that he was in fact gone. It was weird. I didn't feel like covering basketball.

What also added to the weirdness of it was conflicting reports about what was going on. There were some false rumors that all of Kobe's kids were on board, that Rick Fox was on board, etc. It was weird trying to process that information and hearing conflicting things. Especially when you're also trying to cover a basketball game that's happening in real time in front of you.

But, with the dust having now settled, all I can say is that I am really sad we lost Kobe, his daughter, and everyone else that died in that crash. Nobody should have to go out like that and yet that's life. Sometimes shit happens and we have to figure out how to deal with it.

On my Saturday Slam piece, I will take a look back on Kobe's legacy and what he meant to basketball, but for now I wanted to share my condolences and what my initial reactions and thoughts were at the time that this was happening. It was a weird day and one that I along with every other person in the basketball world: Fans, coaches, players, and media alike, will never forget.

Note: I did get instant reactions from Cal players and coaches about the death of Kobe Bryant. Click here to check that out on

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Saturday, January 25, 2020

Saturday Slam: Assessing the NBA All-Star starters

Earlier this week, the NBA All-Star starters were named. In the East, Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (captain), 76ers center Joel Embiid, Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, Celtics guard Kemba Walker, and Hawks guard Trae Young are the starters. In the West, Lakers forward LeBron James (captain), Lakers forward Anthony Davis, Mavericks forward Luka Doncic, Rockets guard James Harden, and Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard are the starters.

Ultimately, I don't have much beef with this list. I feel like with the East, arguments could be made for Zach LaVine on the Bulls (I actually voted for him), Jaylen Brown on the Celtics, Ben Simmons on the 76ers, and Kyle Lowry on the Raptors. I'm sure there's a couple others I'm leaving out in the East, but those guys spring to mind as guys who one could argue a case for. I feel like Antetokounmpo and Embiid are the only two that should be on the starting five for sure. The other three spots I feel are up for debate.

In the West, I feel like it's much more tight. James is a no-brainer as is Davis and Doncic. Harden I don't really have a quibble with and after what he did in the NBA Finals last year,  I'm not going to leave Leonard out, either.

Every year, there's going to be debates about who should have made the All-Star team and who shouldn't have. Who should have been starters and who shouldn't have. It goes with the territory. This time though, I think the voting process delivered.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Wednesday Windmill: The Boston Celtics sent a message to the Los Angeles Lakers

On Martin Luther King Day, the Boston Celtics destroyed the Los Angeles Lakers 139-107. It was Kemba Walker's first win against LeBron James (he was 0-28 against James before Monday night) and the most lopsided victory in the regular season series between the two teams since the 1960s. That's kind of mind blowing considering there was a time when the Lakers were really good and the Celtics were trash. Anyone remember the Rick Pitino Celtics years?

Anyways, Pitino is in Greece coaching Panathinaikos, so I don't need to write more about him. What I want to write about is the statement win the Celtics had on MLK Day. Was it a statement win? If you ask me, it most certainly was. Jaylen Brown's dunk on LeBron James (click here to check that out) was absolutely FILTHY. And I'm not just saying that because he went to Cal. That alone made it a statement win along with the fact that it was a 32 point win.

Of course, this is just one game and the Celtics need to make sure this game isn't just a one-hit wonder for them. They need to make sure they can build off this win and become more of a force in the Eastern Conference. At the moment, they are 28-14, which is 4th in the East and 9.5 games back of the top seeded Milwaukee Bucks. They definitely have their work cut out for them. Still, you gotta start somewhere. If you're trying to establish yourself as a legit contender, blowing out the top team in the West isn't a bad place to start.

Looking at the big picture for a moment, what remains to be seen is if the Celtics will stand pat at the trade deadline or if they'll make a move. Their front court is a bit iffy, so perhaps they'll move one of their guards to shore up their front court. I know the Pistons are open to moving Andre Drummond. Maybe the Celtics will explore that option.

Ultimately, this win will either be the start of something great for the Celtics or it will just be one win that doesn't have much bearing on the rest of the season. Personally, I'm gonna roll the dice a bit and say that this win propels the Celtics to bigger and better things. I'm not saying they win the East, but after what we saw, I don't see why they can't be in the conference finals.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Tomahawk Tuesday: Zion Williamson's debut is overhyped

                                          (Credit: NBAE/Getty Images) 

On Wednesday, New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson will make his NBA debut against the San Antonio Spurs. Game time is 9:30 PM EST on ESPN for those that want to tune in. Speaking of ESPN, if you've been watching ESPN this week like I have (E.g. Australian Open), you've seen a lot of adds about Zion's debut and the hype around this game. I don't want to be a kill joy for those that are excited about this, but if I can be real, I don't think this is that big of a deal.

I understand Zion's a number one overall pick and that he's been compared to LeBron James and other surefire hall of fame players, but that is precisely why I want everyone to pump the brakes on this. Zion hasn't played in a real NBA game yet and for the second consecutive year has missed time due to precautionary reasons. I mean, his handlers had to sign off that Wednesday night against the Spurs would be the date as if he's a prized fighter that doesn't want to get hurt in the ring.

I'm not saying Zion is soft and pampered, but then again I kinda am. No, I'll be more definitive. I think he's soft and pampered. Everyone has said this dude will be the next great player in the NBA and quite honestly, he hasn't yet done anything to back up the hype. Instead, he keeps finding ways to put off his debut, avoid playing, as if the grass is greener somewhere else.

I understood it at Duke because he didn't want to get hurt before the NBA draft, but he's in the NBA now. The vibe I'm getting is that he doesn't want to be in New Orleans for the long-term and that he just wants to make sure he doesn't get hurt so as to not ruin his chances of playing for the Bulls, Knicks, or Lakers when he hits free agency.

Maybe I'm off my hinges, but this is how I read the situation. Zion is a very talented player with a ton of upside, but there are legitimate questions about his work ethic, his diet, and his commitment to the New Orleans Pelicans organization. Just like how there were questions about his commitment to Duke when he went down with that blown-out shoe. Hopefully he'll prove me wrong and turn out to be a really good NBA player, but for now, he has to back up the hype. Enough of the commercials. Go out there and hoop.

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Monday, January 20, 2020

Mock Draft Monday: LaMelo Ball's Australian career is over

                                         (Credit: Getty Images) 

If you are a loyal reader of, you know that I've spent a fair amount of time addressing LaMelo Ball in my recent Mock Draft Monday pieces. First he was out for a month due to a foot injury, then it was reported he was donating money to help with the fires in Australia, and now it's been revealed that he is in fact done playing for the Illawarra Hawks of the National Basketball League in Australia, choosing to instead get ready for the 2020 NBA Draft. For more on that, read Jonathan Givony's story here.

In my first blog post on Ball (which you can read here), I expressed cautious optimism that so long as his foot injury isn't that big of a deal and that he can return to finish his season, his draft stock shouldn't be affected much if at all. However, I did also raise the possibility that his injury could be worse than advertised and that NBA teams will take note of his injury and track his progress.

This latest development in the LaMelo Ball saga isn't a good one, even if his camp is insisting he's just rehabbing as expected. For starters, this gives NBA teams less chance to evaluate him. It's already hard enough to fly down to Australia to scout him, but when he only plays half the season, that catches teams by surprise, many of which weren't able to send an international scout to watch him yet. If Ball was a surefire lock to go #1 overall in the draft and was deemed the second coming of LeBron James, this wouldn't be a big deal. However, he's not the second coming of LeBron James. There are some questions about whether or not he's really as good as advertised and if he's perhaps hiding his flaws by going overseas and cutting his season short.

As an extension of that, there have to now be questions about his toughness and durability. Especially after what we've seen from New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson. If you aren't able to play a full NBA season and are constantly in and out of the lineup, it doesn't matter how good you are. I know it sounds obvious, but in order to help a team win, you have to actually play!

Another issue for Ball is he's running the risk of a couple college players perhaps leaping ahead of him in the draft if they have a good NCAA tournament. While he is projected to be a top three pick at the moment, that could change if someone has a killer tournament and boosts their stock. We've seen guys expected to go in the top five fall outside of the lottery. I'm not saying that will happen to Ball, but it is conceivable teams pass on him over concerns of him being too much of an unknown. E.g. Dante Exum.

One final issue for Ball is the fact that his brother Lonzo isn't exactly lighting the world on fire. Lonzo is averaging 12.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game in his third year with the New Orleans Pelicans. Those are solid numbers, but not numbers you would expect from a number two overall pick in his third year in the NBA. NBA teams could see LaMelo as another version of his brother and that's not a good thing if you're trying to get picked in the top three.

So, where does this leave us? Ultimately, that remains to be seen. It's totally possible that LaMelo still gets picked in the top three or even goes #1 overall. If that happens, then all of my concerns were for naught. However, given that we can't predict the future, the possibility that LaMelo slips in the draft also remains. It'll be interesting to see how this all shakes out for him.

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Saturday, January 18, 2020

Saturday Slam: It's about time the WNBA started treating their players better

Earlier this week, the WNBA announced a new CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) that gives its players an opportunity to make way more money ($250K+ salaries), paid maternity leave, an upgrade from coach to economy plus or comfort plus on flights, private hotel rooms, etc. Click here for a full breakdown.

What I wanted to quickly do in this blog post is express my happiness about this news and also frustration that it took this long for WNBA players to get treated better. Let me first talk about my happiness.

What makes me happy about this news is the fact that WNBA players are really really good at basketball. It's a ridiculously competitive league. When you are one of only 150 people or less in a profession, you should be treated really well. These WNBA players have made the same sacrifices as NBA players and deserve to get treated way better than they have as a result. They also grew up with dreams of playing pro basketball, practiced for hours on end, played on their travel ball and high school teams, played college basketball, etc. They've taken a very similar path to get to where they are and its about time they get better compensation for it.

Some of you know I also cover Cal men's and women's basketball for, so I've gotten to appreciate the women's game over the years. I've seen up close how hard they work. Trust me. They put in the same work as the men.

As for why I'm frustrated that it's taken this long, my frustration stems from the fact that the NBA makes LOADS of money and the NBA runs the WNBA. Why the NBA couldn't have used some of their revenue to give WNBA players a better situation years ago baffles me. It's good it's happening now, but once again, this should have happened a while ago.

Finally, I want to say that while I'm glad this CBA is being implemented, I feel WNBA players deserve even more than what they're getting. I don't understand why they can't fly private jets. Like, seriously? Give me a break! However, when you are hoping for progress, you gotta be happy when progress is being made and that is most certainly happening here. Hopefully this news will steer more young women into basketball and give them more reason to follow their dreams and become the best athletes and role models that they can be.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Wednesday Windmill: The Atlanta Hawks need to get Trae Young some help

                                         (Credit: Getty Images) 

Hawks point guard Trae Young is in his second year in the NBA, averaging 28.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 8.4 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Yet despite his amazing season, the Hawks are 9-32, possessing the worst record in the Eastern Conference and only half a game up on the 9-33 Golden State Warriors. The Hawks are bad and it's not Young's fault.

The only player who the Hawks can have confidence in being a quality piece to build around Young is third year power forward John Collins (17.0 points & 9.7 rebounds). Collins was suspended for the first 25 games of the season due to failing a drug test, but now is back, helping to take some of the pressure off of Young.

As for the rest of the team, it's a bunch of unknowns. Jabari Parker (15.0 points & 6.0 rebounds) is playing well, but it's unclear if he'll be able to stay healthy and be a part of their long-term plans. Second year shooting guard Kevin Huerter (11.2 points) is looking like a promising player, but I'm not sure what his ceiling is. As for rookie forward Cam Reddish (8.3 points & 3.8 rebounds), he had a ton of hype coming out of Duke, but so far, it's too early to tell whether or not he'll be a reliable building block.

Perhaps the best path to getting Young some help is through the 2020 NBA draft. If the Hawks could add Anthony Edwards or James Wiseman to the fold, maybe that will do the trick. At the same time, you don't want to put all your eggs in the basket of the draft. Especially when you want to build a competitive team in the near future.

The good news for the Hawks is they have some time to think this through. Young doesn't hit restricted free agency until the summer of 2022 and by that time, they should have better pieces around him. At the same time, they can't procrastinate. They need to actively be thinking through all their options whether it's making a move at the trade deadline, clearing cap space for free agency, or going through the draft.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Tomahawk Tuesday: The Utah Jazz are on fire

                                          (Credit: Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune) 

The two hottest teams in the NBA right now are the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz, who have both won nine games in a row. I've blogged a lot about the Lakers this season, so it's time for me to focus on the Jazz. At the moment, the Jazz are 27-12, putting them at third place in the Western Conference standings.

During this nine game winning streak, the Jazz have posted the following results (home in bold; road in italics): Jazz 121 Trail Blazers 115. Jazz 120 Clippers 107. Jazz 104 Pistons 81. Jazz 102 Bulls 98. Jazz 109 Magic 96. Jazz 128 Pelicans 126. Jazz 128 Knicks 104. Jazz 109 Hornets 92. Jazz 127 Wizards 116.

As you can see, the Jazz have won most of these games away from Salt Lake City, which is scary considering the fact that they are historically not a very good road team. On that note, the Jazz are now 15-3 at home on the season and 12-9 on the road. If they can keep up their success on the road and continue to dominate at home, they'll be serious contenders come April, May, and possibly June.

What's made this streak all the more impressive is the fact that the Jazz are doing this without their big offseason acquisition Mike Conley (13.6 points and 4.6 assists), who is out indefinitely with a hamstring injury. This is truly a testament to their depth and versatility. Donovan Mitchell (24.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.1 steals), Bojan Bogdanovic (21.0 points and 4.3 rebounds), Rudy Gobert (14.8 points, 14.4 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks), and Joe Ingles (10.8 points) have done a great job at picking up the slack.

Ultimately, how far this Jazz team goes will come down to whether or not Conley and Bogdanovic make the impact in the playoffs that everyone thinks they will and whether or not Mitchell and Gobert can raise their level of play. If this team stays healthy and continues to ball out like they have been, there's no reason to doubt their ability to make some serious noise in the playoffs. I'm not ready to deem them the favorites to come out of the Western Conference, but I could absolutely see them reach the conference finals. Pending on who they face, it's conceivable they play their way into June.

Note: This blog post also appears on my Utah Jazz blog. Click here to check it out. 

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Monday, January 13, 2020

Mock Draft Monday: Georgia freshman Anthony Edwards looks like the real deal

                                          (Credit: Joshua L. Jones, AP)

If you haven't heard about Georgia freshman guard Anthony Edwards, it's probably time that you did. Edwards is projected to be the #1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft on, averaging 18.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.4 steals per game on 41.3% shooting from the field, 31.1% shooting from 3-point range, and 69.2% shooting from the foul line. Listed at 6'5", 225 pounds, Edwards has ideal size for an NBA guard, possessing tremendous athleticism to go along with it.

At the moment, the Bulldogs are 10-5 overall and 0-2 in the SEC, looking to get back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015. Given how talented Edwards is, I don't see why not. When you have a guy as gifted as him on your team, you have a chance to beat anyone at the college level.

Touching more on why he's so good, Edwards is a great two way player due to his size and athleticism. He can score, rebound, and defend. Offensively, he looks pretty polished, possessing a good stroke on his jump shot. While some guys may take a little bit of time to adjust to the NBA, Edwards looks like a guy who will make an immediate impact.

While there's a lot he's good at, there are some areas Edwards needs to improve in. For starters, his rebounding numbers could be a little higher. Given his physical tools, he should be grabbing around 6.0 rebounds per game. 4.8 rebounds per game isn't bad, but he could be doing more in that department.

Also, his free throw and 3-point percentages need to improve. His percentages aren't bad for a freshman and I'm confident he'll get better, but still, he'll have to put that work in. LeBron James for example shot 75.4% from the foul line his rookie year and is shooting below 70% from the line for the second consecutive season. It's not like more years in the NBA means you'll shoot better.

As for whether or not he's worthy of the top pick, a lot of that will come down to what team has the pick and what their needs are. A team needing a point guard may choose LaMelo Ball while a team looking for a big man may opt to select James Wiseman. Regardless, Edwards is positioning himself to get drafted in the top three and quite honestly, he'll probably go number one.

What will be interesting to see is how far Edwards takes Georgia and if they are able to do some damage in March. Before Tom Crean took the head coaching job, the Georgia men's basketball program had been wandering aimlessly in the woods for quite some time. If he is able to get the Bulldogs to their first NCAA tournament win since 1996 (2002 win was vacated), that could cement his status as the top pick in the draft.

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Saturday, January 11, 2020

Saturday Slam: Can the Philadelphia 76ers survive without Joel Embiid?

                                         (Credit: Matt Slocum/AP Photo) 

One of the major stories this week in the NBA is Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid tearing a ligament in his left hand, requiring surgery. Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, he'll be re-evaluated in 1-2 weeks and is out indefinitely. Even though the 76ers are used to Embiid getting hurt, that doesn't mean it's easy for them to soldier on without him. He's averaging 23.4 points and 12.3 rebounds per game, which are big numbers to fill when he goes down.

Assuming he's out for only a few weeks, his absence is still significant given where the 76ers sit in the Eastern Conference standings. They're in 5th place with a 25-15 record, just a half game up on the 6th seeded Indiana Pacers and a full game back of the 4th seeded Toronto Raptors. When things are as tight as they are, going without your top player for any stretch of time hurts.

With Embiid out, Tobias Harris (19.4 points & 6.5 rebounds), Ben Simmons (15.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, & 8.4 assists), and Al Horford (12.4 points & 6.5 rebounds) will need to step up. The 76ers do have enough depth to keep the ship afloat, but all of these guys, especially Horford, will need to step it up. They're certainly capable of doing so, but they're still going to have to go out and get it done.

Of those three guys that I mentioned, Simmons probably needs to step it up the most. Alongside Embiid, he's billed as the main attraction on this team and now is his time to really shine. He needs to start playing like a guy who is capable of carrying a team. Now is his chance to show that he can do that.

While the 76ers do have the pieces to weather this storm, it's still going to be interesting to see how they do over these next few weeks. With how close this race in the Eastern Conference is, these next couple of weeks could make or break their season. It's the harsh truth.

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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Wednesday Windmill: Do the Brooklyn Nets have a Kyrie Irving problem?

                                            (Credit: Getty Images) 

Kyrie Irving has played just 11 games in a Brooklyn Nets uniform and it is unclear when he'll return from his shoulder injury. He might go the route of surgery, he might not. It's anybody's guess how this will end and the longer things remain murky, the more one has to wonder whether or not Irving is being entirely truthful about his injury and his sincerity to get back on the court.

If Irving didn't have a history of being a head case, I wouldn't be writing this blog post. I might instead be writing about how terrible the Atlanta Hawks have been this season. But I'm not writing about the Hawks. I'm writing about Irving and the Nets. Precisely because he's the kind of guy to pull off a stunt like not being honest with the Nets about the severity or lack of severity of his shoulder injury.

As for how the Nets can proceed, I'm not sure there's a whole lot they can do. Irving when healthy has been balling out this year, averaging 28.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 7.2 assists per game. Those are really good numbers. On top of that, they're still waiting for the return of Kevin Durant, who is missing the entire season due to a ruptured right Achilles tendon that he suffered in the NBA Finals last year with the Warriors. Irving and Durant were a packaged deal to Brooklyn, so they really can't trade Irving if they want any hope of keeping Durant for the future.

The long and short of it is the Nets do have a Kyrie Irving problem and what's worse is that he seems to hold all the cards. They just have to hope that he's being truthful about his injury and that he does actually want to get back on the court as soon as possible. Otherwise, this whole Irving/Durant experiment could blow up in their face before it even really got started.

As Hunter S. Thompson once wrote: Buy the ticket, take the ride. The Nets bought their ticket and now they have to take the ride.

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Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Tomahawk Tuesday: Chris Paul has been a good fit in OKC

                                          (Credit: Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) 

At the moment, the Oklahoma City Thunder are 21-16, comfortably in the 7th spot in the Western Conference standings, a good 5.0 games up on the 8th seeded San Antonio Spurs. A major reason for their success has been the presence of veteran point guard Chris Paul, who everyone initially thought would only temporarily be with the team after getting traded from the Rockets in the deal that sent Russell Westbrook to Houston. Instead of packing his bags before training camp for some other destination, Paul has settled in and done a nice job for this Thunder team, averaging 16.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 6.6 assists, and 1.5 steals per game.

He could have complained and demanded a trade, but instead he went to work and is reaping the benefits. While not a championship contending team, the Thunder are a playoff level team that is not content being the 7th seed. Just 4.5 games back of Paul's former former team Los Angeles Clippers, the Thunder could end up with a top four seed in the playoffs if everything shakes out like they hope.

I haven't written much or perhaps anything about the Thunder this season, so I should make it known to all of you that it isn't just Paul that's playing well for them. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (19.8 points & 5.4 rebounds), Dennis Schröder (18.6 points), Danilo Gallinari (18.0 points & 5.6 rebounds), and Steven Adams (12.0 points, 10.1 rebounds, & 1.2 blocks) have been doing their part as well. With Paul inserted into the mix, the Thunder have five players scoring in double figures on average that are all capable of doing different things. Paul brings the facilitating, Alexander brings versatility at the wing, Schröder brings some depth at point guard, Gallinari brings perimeter shooting, and Adams brings a sound post presence.

This Thunder team is pretty well-rounded and as a result are playing very well. They're exceeding everyone's expectations and looking like a team that will not only make the playoffs, but perhaps win a series as well. What remains to be seen is what this team will do at the trade deadline. Whether they'll stand pat or make a move. Personally, I would expect them to stand pat and certainly not part with any of their top scorers, including Paul. Things are going well for them and they should see where this train ends.

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Monday, January 6, 2020

Mock Draft Monday: LaMelo Ball to donate one month salary to help Australian bushfire victims

                                          (Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images) 

In last week's Mock Draft Monday piece, I addressed LaMelo Ball's foot injury and why it shouldn't be a concern (click here to check that out). This week I'm addressing LaMelo Ball again, but this time for something he's doing off the court. Ball is currently playing for the Illawarra Hawks of the National Basketball League (NBL) in Australia and has pledged to donate one month's salary to help relief efforts with the bushfires on the South Coast of Australia. Below is the statement released by the Illawarra Hawks on their team website.

"Illawarra Hawks' LaMelo Ball has pledged to donate one month of his NBL salary to help victims of Australia's devastating bushfires. The projected NBA number one draft pick stated: "It's sad to see what's happening on the South Coast of Australia. People have lost their homes and everything they own. My parents taught me to help out wherever I can, so this is my way of helping out." 

I just wanted to draw attention to this because it shows that these athletes do care about the communities that they live in and they're not all about the money and being detached from society. Even though one month of pay in the NBL is peanuts compared to what he'll make in the NBA, it's still a nice gesture on Ball's part. Hopefully other young athletes will take note of this and follow his example when they are placed in a similar situation.

Also, I did want to quickly provide an update on the condition of Ball's foot. Per Jonathan Givony of ESPN/DraftExpress, Ball is still in a walking boot and will be out for at least a couple more weeks. He's out indefinitely. As I said last week, you never know with these injuries. Hopefully he'll get back on the court soon and that it's not any more serious than initially thought.

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Saturday, January 4, 2020

Saturday Slam: Remembering David Stern

                                          (Credit: Tony Gutierrez/AP Photo) 

On New Year's Day, former NBA commissioner David Stern passed away after undergoing surgery to address a brain hemorrhage. He was 77 years old. In this blog post I want to quickly share my thoughts on Stern and the impact he made on both the NBA and the game of basketball.

David Stern was the NBA's commissioner from February 1, 1984 to January 31, 2014. In those 30 years, the NBA transformed itself from a league known for its rampant cocaine use (R.I.P. Len Bias) to a league that had global appeal and the biggest stars in all of sports. It's fitting that just a few months after Stern took office, Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, and John Stockton were drafted into the NBA. Those guys became the face of the post Bird/Magic NBA along with Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, David Robinson, Scottie Pippen, and Shaquille O'Neal who were all drafted in subsequent drafts. Stern taking over as commissioner truly ushered in a new era of the NBA.

For me personally, David Stern is the NBA commissioner of my childhood. In some sense, he still feels like the commissioner even though Adam Silver I feel has done a wonderful job replacing him. I still feel like Stern's name should be on an NBA basketball. He's that ingrained into the fabric of the league. In a lot of ways, he was and still is the modern NBA.

While the players I just mentioned along with many others took the NBA to new heights with their talents, Stern gave them the platform by which they could do so. He cleaned up the image of the NBA, had a vision for where he thought it could go, and he took it there. He felt the NBA could become a global brand and he made sure that it happened.

What says it all I think, is the response from players around the league. Scottie Pippen was just one of many who tweeted about Stern's impact on the game.

Pippen's words I feel sum it up the best. Stern was "an innovator who helped our sport grow into a global game and his impact will never be forgotten." Truer words could not be spoken about the subject. When we look back on what the NBA has become and the genesis of where it all started, in many ways it begins with Stern. Before he became commissioner, he took over as executive vice president for business and legal affairs under commissioner Larry O'Brien in 1980, the same year Larry Bird and Magic Johnson not only entered the NBA, but began to save it as well. Stern was primarily responsible for the marketing, media relations side, something he would continue in full force when he became commissioner.

If you are a fan of basketball and especially the NBA, David Stern has played a very important role in your life. Without him, the sport and game we all love wouldn't be what it is today. On behalf of all NBA fans around the world, I want to say thank you to David Stern. You will not be forgotten.

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