What three goals should the Sacramento Kings set for second-year shooting guard Buddy Hield?Buddy Hield is heading into his second NBA season and the Sacramento Kings are expecting big things from him. After trading away DeMarcus Cousins last season, Hield immediately became the face of the Kings’ franchise. He has a lot of work to do on his game, but the Kings firmly believe that he will reach his full potential. Looking ahead to the 2017-18 NBA season, expectations for Hield have risen dramatically. After being traded to the Kings last season, Hield ended up averaging 15.1 points per game to go along with 4.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists. He shot 48.0 percent from the field overall and knocked down 42.8 percent of his three-point attempts. Hield only played in 25 games with the Kings to put those numbers up, and started 18 of those contests. There wholesale nba jerseys is no question that the Kings are headed in the right direction, especially after snagging De’Aaron Fox, Justin Jackson, Harry Giles and Frank Mason III in the 2017 NBA Draft. Hield may not be the hot name in Sacramento right now after drafting Fox, but he is still their most talented piece. With all of that being said, what three goals should the Kings be setting for Hield heading into the 2017-18 season?
Archive for December, 2016
On Day 25 of free agency, the Brooklyn Nets had the most remaining cap space. And they used it to add more young talent to their roster. The team announced the trade for Allen Crabbe in exchange for Andrew Nicholson.Crabbe, a 25-year-old wing who shot 44 percent from 3-point range for Portland last season, is one of the four restricted free agents Nets general manager has signed to an offer sheet over the last 13 months. In all four cases (Tyler Johnson, Donatas Motiejunas and Otto Porter were the others), the player’s original team matched the offer. But after last year’s spending spree and with big contracts for Damian Lillard ($26 million this season), C.J. McCollum ($24 million) and Evan Turner ($17 million) on the books, the Blazers are in a position where they need to shed salary. Crabbe’s 2017-18 salary is almost $13 million less than that of Nicholson, who the Blazers will waive to save even more money this year. The $19.9 million left on his contract will cheap nba jerseys be stretched over the next seven seasons. The Blazers lose some depth on the wing and their best complementary shooter, but gain, along with a ton of tax relief, some flexibility going forward. That could be critical with Jusuf Nurkic set to be a restricted free agent next summer. With Crabbe, DeMarre Carroll (also acquired with cap space) and Caris LeVert, the Nets have some starting-caliber talent on the wings to complement their backcourt of D’Angelo Russell and Jeremy Lin. Nicholson had originally been acquired with the No. 22 pick from Washington for Bojan Bogdanovic in February. Having arrived in Brooklyn with no assets, Marks continues to make moves to inch his team toward being competitive. The Nets will be without their own first round pick for one more year. Only Kyle Korver (45.1 percent) shot better than Crabbe (44.4 percent) from beyond the arc on at least 200 attempts last season. Brooklyn ranked fourth in the percentage of their shots that came from 3-point range, but 26th in 3-point percentage.
After sitting back and collecting young talent alongside an ever growing collection of assets, the Phoenix Suns are in a position to acquire a star without hurting their future. Rarely, if ever, do those opportunities come around, especially for someone who wants out with a guaranteed two years remaining on their contract.Kyrie Irving has put my plan for Phoenix to eventually acquire that star talent into overdrive, albeit a year or two in advance. And Irving was one of the star-caliber players I outlined a few weeks ago when mentioning who they could eventually go after. For Phoenix — who according to Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro will not include No. 4 pick Josh Jackson in any discussions for Irving — this is a risk they should be willing to take if they want to not only push their timeline forward but also be in position for attracting other stars around a 25-year-old Irving with Devin Booker and Jackson as formidable options who can grow alongside him. Now, the question is, though, what will it take to acquire a disgruntled Irving? The end game will be a tug of war between Cleveland’s front office and whoever is interested in taking on this risk. Cleveland believes Irving is a superstar who will be entering the prime of his career, which means obtaining him will cost more than an arm and a leg if someone complies to their high demands. However, other franchises will see this as a two-year rental opportunity trying to convince the Cavaliers’ point guard to stay on long-term. As ESPN’s Brian Windhorst has mentioned on multiple occasions, a deal could be made with Phoenix for Irving if they wanted him. With Jackson not on the table, general manager Ryan McDonough could still offer Cleveland’s newest in command, Koby Altman, his most tantalizing offer. Out of Irving’s four preferred destinations — Miami, New York, San Antonio, and Minnesota — all encounter a possibly debilitating hurdle. Let’s go through those four and find out where that hurdle is. The Knicks refuse to include Kristaps Porzingis in talks, while Carmelo Anthony seems hell bent on joining Chris Paul and James Harden out west in Houston instead of getting stuck in Cleveland by himself in 2018 if LeBron James leaves for greener pastures.
Minnesota, meanwhile, has Andrew Wiggins to offer in an Irving package but head coach and general manager Tom Thibodeau’s defensive philosophies might nix a possible deal. Alongside that notion, the Timberwolves signed Jeff Teague on July 1 so they would have to wait until December to include him in any deal. Gorgui Dieng would have to be moved, too, and his contract is viewed around the league as a non-desireable contract.
Miami has Goran Dragic and Justise Winslow to offer for Irving, but that won’t be close to enough without giving up multiple first rounders. Compared to Dragic, Bledsoe far and away is the better option for a LeBron-led Cavs squad.
San Antonio could offer a bevy of young prospects in Dejounte Murray, Bryn Forbes, Davis Bertans, and Justin Anderson around Danny Green, for example, but, again, not close to what Cleveland is looking for in terms of value in return. And the Spurs will have a hard time finding any partner to take on Tony Parker and or LaMarcus Aldridge in a three-way deal.
This leads back to Phoenix, where all roads tend to head towards when a star player is on the trading block at the moment. As McDonough mentioned on Wednesday, they had the artillery to acquire DeMarcus Cousins, Paul George, and Jimmy Butler if they wanted to. None of those three coincided with the roster, but, with Irving, I think that mindset flips when a package around Bledsoe is what it will take to obtain one of the best 1-on-1 scorers in the Association. Will the Suns roll the dice on trying to convince Irving on the Valley for the next two years? With the addition of Vice President of Basketball Operations James Jones this month, who was Irving’s teammate from 2014-2017, alongside an extension for McDonough, shows him there is stability moving forward. That includes a roster full of youth led by Booker, Jackson, Marquese Chriss, and Dragan Bender. The security, in terms of future roster intentions and flexibility, is already set for a player like Irving to take it by the reins immediately upon arrival. If I was in McDonough’s shoes, here’s the offer I would throw at Dan Gilbert and Altman: Eric Bledsoe, T.J. Warren, Tyson Chandler, and a top five protected first rounder in 2018 (Phoenix’s original pick). If Cleveland doesn’t bite on that offer, I would counter with Chriss and Bledsoe alongside their 2018 first via Miami. Cleveland, if they part ways with Irving, would want to obtain either a package around young prospects, preferably Jackson, and draft picks. The expectation from their side is two unprotected first rounders, at least one, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe on his podcast this week with Windhorst. The Cavaliers hold the leverage in this situation, but if Irving sticks to his word about not wanting to play Robin to LeBron’s Batman any longer, that value Irving has will slowly depreciate the longer this drags out. Advantage, again, cheap jerseys nba toward the Suns if they want to make a move. Another note when thinking of the value that could be sent to the Cavs in an Irving deal: Brandon Knight’s season-ending ACL tear opens up a need at the backup two-guard spot unless they believe rookie Davon Reed and Derrick Jones Jr. can split the duties. With that being said, Phoenix could include Iman Shumpert to help Cleveland shed salary which opens the door to Knight heading toward the door next summer via trade or stretch provision. Phoenix offers Irving both stability and a roster built for contention throughout his prime. For what Irving desires, being the lead man, the Suns put forward that opportunity if he buys into their family-oriented environment and coinciding with Booker in a backcourt. Even though McDonough, Jones, and majority owner Robert Sarver (he might be salivating at adding a star presence in Irving to the Valley again) preached patience earlier this month, they should not be when it comes to Irving. It’s a perfect storm to acquire an All-Star guard who fits into their extended future alongside a roster mimicking more of a college team at the moment in terms of youth. Kyrie Irving’s fit in a Suns uniform
Sure, the defensive fit for Kyrie alongside Booker in a backcourt would be rather abysmal, to say the least, but he comes to a franchise where their head coach already mimics what happens out in Portland with two score-first guards. Earl Watson and Terry Stotts both prioritize getting up and down and trying to win through their offensive firepower. Sliding in Irving for Bledsoe actually makes sense for Watson if they want to move even more towards a warp speed up-and-down attack. Personally, I think Watson would welcome Irving and be better off with said addition. He’s a splendid fit for a team who needs more scoring and wants to push the pace. This roster is built to allow both Irving and Booker to get theirs respectively, in terms of touches and shots. Irving, as we all know, is an elite guard in terms of putting the ball in the hoop. The value he’s able to add as an isolation scorer and off of pick-and-rolls is immense. Far and away, Irving’s inclusion into PnR sets with a gifted passer such as Bender could unlock fascinating potential from him as a playmaker. Even with another above-average passer, for a wing, in Jackson should allow Irving to find openings off the ball, too. As a slasher to the rim, Irving could grow upon that if sharing touches with Booker compared to the most ball-dominant forward in recent memory, LeBron. With the way Phoenix has constructed their roster thus far, it opens up opportunities for a score-first player like Irving to develop beautiful ball movement on and off the ball. Another positive in the Suns favor for selling Irving on staying is that the would be core five can grow together for an extended period. Irving, Booker, Jackson, Chriss, Bender, if they do a package around Bledsoe/Warren/1st, is one of the more promising cores if everything goes to plan with each prospect’s ceiling of potential. Not only would McDonough and Co. now have five players all yet to hit their primes, four not even close to theirs, but he also would still have control over the majority of his future draft capital. Immediately, Phoenix becomes a desirable free agent destination even next summer and steadily improves as the core continues its upward trajectory. After all of this, I would be surprised if Phoenix isn’t working to acquire Irving. They have two years to sell him on having a contender extending throughout his prime especially, and begin to make them a destination to contend for top free agents year in, year out if Irving commits to a now edited, more win very soon sort of timeline. With reports coming out about Irving refusing to speak to Cleveland throughout this process speaks of how ugly this might get here soon if nothing happens. However, the longer it goes the more it helps a team like Phoenix as Cleveland begins losing leverage. Even if Irving ends up in Phoenix and bolts after two years, the original four would be ready to compete for the playoffs on their own. That shows how great of a position they are in to take this shot on the Cavs’ star ready to have his own leading role. And with how flexible McDonough has made their roster now and into the future allows for them to go all-in on Irving whether he stays after the 2018-2019 season or not. McDonough has said on multiple occasions this offseason how he would look to acquire the right player if they could “accelerate their timeline,” and Irving is one of those who could help set a new road map to a title whichever way they take.
Joel Embiid has said it. Charles Barkley has said it. And Markelle Fultz has heard it.The Sixers will make the playoffs this year. And on Thursday at the Sixers’ day camp at Valley Forge Military Academy, it was Fultz’s turn to utter that one word that Sixers fans haven’t heard since 2012: Playoffs “We’re going to be in the playoffs this year, and I think everybody is willing to put forth their best effort and listen to the coaches and listen to the bench. We’ve got to just do whatever it takes to get there,” Fultz told CSNPhilly. “That’s practicing even harder, that’s doing extra work in the gym by ourselves, I mean, we’re going to do whatever it takes.” As a newcomer, Fultz hasn’t had to suffer through the worst years of The Process like others on the team. But now that things are looking up, Fultz understands the weight of 253 losses in the last four years and thousands of more jokes online hang over the team like a rain cloud. “I think we all know that we’re going to go against the odds, really,” Fultz said. “Everybody thinks we’re not going to do it, but I think we know we’re going to make mistakes and we’re just willing to work through them.” Last season, the Sixers finished 28-54 and 13 games out of the 8-seed in the Eastern Conference. But with a revamped roster that includes Fultz, a healthy Ben Simmons and the big free-agent signing of JJ Redick, that dark cloud hanging over the Sixers has turned into a perfect storm for the team to grow now and add key pieces in the future. On LeBron James potentially joining the Sixers
Could LeBron James be one of those future pieces the Sixers need to capture their first championship since 1983? “Definitely, he would be a great fit,” Fultz said. “I think he would be good, somebody else I can pass the ball to. Everybody, I think the whole city will love him, but I mean, at the end of the day you gotta do what you gotta do, but we’ll love to have ‘Bron in Philly. Anyone else on the wish list? “We’ll take anybody right now, LeBron, Kyrie (Irving). If they want to come, come on. (Carmelo Anthony), anybody. James can opt out of his contract following the 2017-18 season. He’s also raised the eyebrows of Sixers fans everywhere with a back and forth with Simmons. Even Mike Trout has gotten in on the recruitment. On expectations for his rookie season
But regardless of what happens next offseason, Fultz is focused on what happens on the court this season. “My expectations are really just to give it my all,” Fultz said. “I don’t really have any set goals or anything like that. Just play as hard as I can and live with the results. But also, getting us back on the winning side, getting us to the playoffs and everything like that. But in order to do that, you’ve got to play as hard as you can and that’s what I’m looking forward to doing.” On rehab
Fultz considers himself lucky to even be on the court this season. Fultz had to be helped off the floor in his Las Vegas summer league debut, as the entire city of Philadelphia let out a collective, “Not again.” As it turns out, it was just a sprained left ankle, and Fultz appears on track to be a full participant in training camp. “Rehab’s going real great,” the rookie said. “Everybody knows I sprained my ankle, but my ankle’s a lot better thanks to the training staff. I give big props to them, one of the best in the business. … I’ve been working out. I’ve been jumping, shooting, everything like that, so I’m real healthy, so I’m happy.” Fultz sat out the remaining four games of summer league while rehabbing. “Not even being the No. 1 pick, just being a basketball player and having a love for the game, it was bad, really,” Fultz said. “Just being out there with my team, of course, it was fun being there with them, but I wanted to play every game. And not just to prove myself, just because I love the game. I don’t feel like I have to prove anything to anybody. I think it’s just me going out there and doing what I want to do and have fun and doing what’s best for the team. It was disappointing when I got hurt but everything happens for a reason. That’s how I looked at it.” On Lonzo Ball
And of course, that meant missing out on the highly-anticipated showdown with No. 2 pick Lonzo Ball and the Lakers. “Me and him are cool,” Fultz said of Ball. “I’m pretty sure we’re going to meet each other during the season. The NBA, I think, is going to do a good job of making that happen and I look forward to it. I wish him the best of luck this season, just like I’m pretty sure he does to me, but it’s going to be good. I’m looking forward to it.” On the hype surrounding the Sixers
When Fultz takes the court for the Sixers’ home opener (the regular season schedule has not yet been released), it’ll be in front of a sell-out crowd — a rarity the Sixers haven’t seen in quite some time. But with the team seemingly on the uptick, Sixers fans have already bought a franchise record number of tickets. The hype is real. “Definitely, we feel all the hype. You can tell just walking around, everybody knows who you are. Just the hype is real. And I can’t wait to get in the crowd and just hear the packed out, sold-out arena and I think that just fires us. We stand behind our fans, especially me. I love the fans here and I think we’re going to put on a show for them and start winning.” Fultz was able to experience the frenzy surrounding Embiid and the Sixers firsthand in April when he attended a game during the pre-draft process. The Sixers were a longshot to land the No. 1 pick and nab Fultz then, but with some Hinkie-esque maneuvering, the Sixers jumped up to No. 1 to select Fultz in June. From that one game, Fultz knew he was meant to be in Philly. “It’s kind of crazy, but at the end of the day, like cheap jerseys China I said, I think God does everything for a reason. That’s the reason I took that visit, really. People were like, ‘why is he in Philly?’ But you never know what might happen. “I kind of had a feeling that I was going to end up here. It’s kind of crazy, but I’m just glad it happened, really. I don’t wish I was anywhere else. I think this is the perfect spot for me. A young team, coaching staff is great, the training is great, everything. The fans are the best in the world.”
Khem Birch has crisscrossed North America and Europe during his basketball odyssey.