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The NBA All-Star Game Gets A Makeover

This year, the NBA really shook things up by announcing that they are switching from their standard All-Star format to a new and exciting style. 

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This year, the NBA really shook things up by announcing that they are switching from their standard All-Star format to a new and exciting style. The teams are no longer divided by East and West, instead, all 24 players who get voted to the All-Star game will be placed into a pool and the two top vote-getters become captains. These captains then pick teams like a schoolyard pick up game. I expect things to get real petty as the teams are chosen and no one wants to be the last person picked.

Can you imagine if LeBron gets the captain’s spot, you think he will choose Kyrie? No Way. This is going to become a popularity contest and friends will pick friends and the teams will most likely not be equal.

Last year, LeBron James was the number one vote-getter in the East followed by Kyrie Irving and the Greek Freak Giannis Antetokounmpo. Steph Curry was the number one vote-getter in the West followed by Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook. This could get pretty dicey as the top players all have beef with other big players.

Imagine if you will if LeBron and Steph are the captains, will Kyrie possibly be the last pick? What if Westbrook is captain, you think he will pick up Durant? No way.  Will the NBA be turned on its head?

I expect people’s feelings to be hurt, some egos will be crushed and already deep divides will only get deeper. Whoever is the last pick will be hurt and will almost certainly use that as motivation going into the second half of the season.

This could be a good chance for people to solidify deals with pending free agents, the possibilities are endless. The NBA has a lot on this switch. Chances are that LeBron and Steph will have the captains spots, so how do you think it will all shake out?

The east will most likely have these players as All-Stars:

LeBron James (captain)
Giannis Antetokounmpo
Kyrie Irving
John Wall
Gordon Hayward
Joel Embiid
Bradley Beal
Kemba Walker
Kyle Lowry
DeMar DeRozan
Hassan Whiteside
Al Horford
Goran Dragic
Andre Drummond
Kristaps Porzingis
Kevin Love
Otto Porter
Khris Middleton

The West will have these players:

Stephen Curry (Captain)
Russell Westbrook
Kevin Durant
Kawhi Leonard
Draymond Green
Klay Thompson
James Harden
Paul George
Jimmy Butler
Karl-Anthony Towns
Damian Lillard
Blake Griffin
Mike Conley
Marc Gasol
Anthony Davis
DeMarcus Cousins
C.J. McCollum
Nikola Jokic

OUR MOCK DRAFT RESULTS:

 

For the first time in a long time, I’m actually excited for the All-Star Game, maybe they can just fix the dunk contest…

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Basketball

Biggest Takeaways From The NBA Draft

The 2018 NBA Draft wasn’t the most exciting one ever, but it had its fair share of surprises. 

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After all the hype, all the projections, and all the predictions, the 2018 NBA Draft is finally complete. And while a lot of it shook out exactly how people thought it would, there was still plenty of surprises.

With the first overall pick, the Phoenix Suns surprised no one when they took Arizona big man Deandre Ayton. Just about everyone saw him as the runaway best player available in this draft class, and he could become the next Karl Anthony-Towns if he plays his cards right and puts in the work. Or, could his own prediction come true? Could he and Devin Booker become Kobe/Shaq 2.0?! Wouldn’t that be something…

We didn’t have to wait long for the first big surprise of the draft either. The Atlanta Hawks drafted international star Luka Doncic at number 3, but before his name was even announced, we had already gotten the news of a proposed trade. The Dallas Mavericks would take Trae Young out of Oklahoma with the 5th overall pick and the two teams would swap picks, with Dallas adding another 2nd-rounder. It’s a move that looks like a risky one for Atlanta, and a home run for Dallas. But only time will tell.

The other major surprise of the draft was how far Michael Porter Jr. fell. It was just a year ago that he was thought to be the eventual number one overall pick. But he managed to fall all the way to number 14 to the Denver Nuggets. And to no fault of his own. Many teams were worried about his durability, as he has already had a significant leg injury that saw him miss a lot of time. They very well may end up being right, or, if they’re wrong, the Nuggets just got themselves a star.

Other notable picks included UCLA point guard Aaron Holiday falling all the way to 23 to the Indian Pacers, the Portland Trailblazers taking unproven 19-year-old Anfernee Simons at 24, the Los Angeles Lakers surprising everyone by taking Michigan big man Moritz Wagner at number 25, and Giannis Antetokounmpo’s brother, Kostas, being taken with the 60th and last pick in the draft by the Philadelphia 76ers (his rights were traded to the Dallas Mavericks).

All in all, it was an exciting draft. Now, all we have to do is wait way too long to see how they all pan out! Damn you, off-season!

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Hornets Trade Dwight Howard to Nets

The Charlotte Hornets have agreed to a trade that will send eight-time NBA All-Star Dwight Howard to the Brooklyn Nets.

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The Charlotte Hornets have agreed to a trade that will send eight-time NBA All-Star Dwight Howard to the Brooklyn Nets. The deal will send Timofey Mozgov, two 2nd round draft picks, and cash back to Charlotte. It will be his third team in as many seasons.

While Howard is still a relatively big name, the move didn’t come as much of a surprise. The Hornets were expected to move him and his contract that still has $23.8 million left on it. He had a decent season for the Hornets this past season, posting 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. But it still felt like a far cry from his 20-plus points and 14 rebounds per game days in Orlando.

The two picks they got from the Nets are the #45 pick in Thursday’s draft and a 2021 second rounder. Meanwhile, Mozgov is still working on the ridiculous $64 million contract he got from the Lakers a couple years ago. He still has $32.7 million due to him over the next two years. It seems like an absurd amount to pay someone who averaged 4.2 points and 3.2 rebounds while playing 11 minutes a game in Brooklyn last season. But perhaps getting rid of Howard was good enough for Charlotte.

You have to assume that this was all about getting rid of Howard’s contract and gather picks for the Hornets. But it’s tough to see any upward momentum for a team that went 36-46 this past season. This came as the second disappointing season in a row after they finished 6th in the East with a 48-34 record in 2016. They thought they were well on their way to a consistent winning season but now find themselves at a bit of a crossroads.

But, perhaps the biggest take away from the move, is that it will end up saving the Nets roughly $17 million for the 2019-2020 season. This means that they would be able to offer not one, but two max-salary deals to free agents that off-season. A list that currently includes DeAndre Jordan, Klay Thompson, Carmelo Anthony, and Lebron James.

Could the Nets be ramping up for some massive moves in 2019? Only time will tell. But given their location and the fact that Jay-Z is a part owner, it would make sense for them to try to establish themselves as a destination and a future dynasty. So why not go for it, right?

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Deandre Ayton Signs Massive Shoe Deal With… Puma?

Deandre Ayton, the projected number one overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft just signed an endorsement deal with Puma.

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That’s right. The projected number one overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft just signed an endorsement deal with none other than Puma. Puma has basically been nonexistent in the basketball work since they signed Vince Carter to a deal in 1998.

And while it may seem like a strange move for a player that might very well turn into one of the biggest stars in the NBA, it actually shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Ayton spent the first 12 years of his life in the Caribbean, where Puma is actually very popular. In fact, track superstar Usain Bolt of Jamaica also has a deal with Puma. So Ayton has a strong connection to the brand.

“Puma is pretty popular in the Bahamas,” Ayton said after the announcement was made. “I’ve always seen the brand growing up. Bolt is one of the first people I saw with the brand. It’s important to me that someone I identify with and admire as an athlete is with the same brand.”

Naturally, all of the other major brands pursued a deal with Ayton. He could easily be the next great big man in the league. He averaged 20.1 points and 11.6 rebounds will he was a Freshman star at Arizona. And ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla said he has “breathtaking talent and athleticism.” So it’s safe to assume Puma was ecstatic to sign him.

The signing of Ayton also comes as Puma has been putting their original big man, Walt “Clyde” Frazier, back in the spotlight. He received their first official NBA shoe deal in 1973, and his signature shoe, known simply as “The Clyde” is still popular to this day. And the moves by Puma don’t stop there.

They have also penned deals with likely first-round pics Zaire Smith and Marvin Bagley III. It’s a very bold move by the company as brands like Nike, Under Armor, and Adidas already have a very strong hold on the basketball shoe market. But with the way the NBA and basketball, in general, is growing around the world, it seems like as good a time as any to get in on the fun.

In the end, there’s really only one thing that matters: they better look cool!

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