Archive for nba

Calamity, Corruption & Collusion: Repairing The Fantasy Of Amateur Basketball

Posted in Basketball, nba, NBA Draft, NCAA, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2018 by MtAiryPhil

University of Arizona head coach Sean Miller (via Arizona Daily Star)

Don’t blame Dwane Casey. 

Casey, the Toronto Raptors’ longest-serving and winningest head coach, who is enjoying a notably good season. He recently celebrated his 300th win with the franchise and is seen by many as as a top contender for the NBA’s Coach of the Year. But at one point, he was an assistant at University Of Kentucky, where he had played for and captained the National Champion Wildcats under Joe B. Hall. Then a Fed Ex envelope addressed to a recruit split open mysteriously revealing $1,000. Though the University and Casey both denied that they had any role in this incident, the NCAA banned Casey for five years and he would spend his basketball exile in Japan, where he coached for 6 seasons all the while expressing no remorse, and claiming it was a set-up. Coaches all over the country took umbrage and most immediately took the opportunity to remind their base that “we do it the right way,” even as their top players tooled around campus in new luxury autos, including one notable freshman who arrived in a drop-top Ferrari, fully loaded with a sticker price of 89K and not an eyebrow raised.

Maybe it was Chuck Taylor, the great basketball player of the early 1900’s who would, after his playing career ended prior to the existence of the NBA we know today, convince a sneaker company to put his name and a star on the side of their shoes. He would become synonymous with basketball and one of the most recognized names in America as he spent the next forty years criss-cross in America selling sneakers out of his car to teams, while simultaneously running  clinics on each campus. What we know today is that Chuck used these clinics to develop relationships with the top high school athletes and coaches. Taylor became the de facto agent for these high school All-Americans, and if your University wasn’t wearing Converse, and running Chuck Taylor clinics annually, you had no shot at the top players. But don’t blame Chuck, I just like get to play the begat game, and Chuck fathered Nike, Adidas, and ultimately the seven figure shoe deal that provides generational wealth for the athlete whose skills and personality are marketable to a global audience of “sneaker heads” hungrily buying these iconic shoes via the Internet, and lining up hours before the shoe is released to drop a paycheck for them.

Lew Alcindor aka Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at Power Memorial High School (via Getty Images)

Pay to play, despite the phony outrage accompanying each new disclosure, isn’t new! We’ve all heard tales of families wooed by street agents when their teenager reaches 6’5″ in 7th grade. You’ve heard the rumors of certain schools who suddenly have a national ranking because of one amazing freshman who changes the arc of a mid-major school while everyone wonders why they chose Anonymous U. Think back to 1969, when a 7-foot phenom out of Power Memorial High School in NYC turned down a million-dollar offer from the ABA to sign the next day with UCLA. Yes, they had a incredible run of NCAA titles and the legendary John Wooden at the helm, but today we know that Sam Gilbert, a wealthy booster, matched the ABA offer to Lew Alcindor, aka Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and had been doing so with other players throughout the course of the “dynasty” shepherded by the “Wizard of Westwood.” Not to single out UCLA, but just to point out the fallacy and fantasy of the “clean” and amazingly successful college program. Everyone is dirty. Believe it or not, they all cut corners, otherwise they wouldn’t recruit a player who they KNOW is only staying for a season, with no pretense of being a student-athlete. The entire team wouldn’t be wearing sneakers provided by one company in exchange for “promotional consideration” and coaches wouldn’t have contracts that are far more lucrative than the university’s president.

Meanwhile, the NBA sits atop this conspiracy. The collusion, calamity, and criminal acts committed along the way all have the same end goal. While we knew that the odds of all the manipulation, shenanigans, and flat out deceit that are perpetuated along the way are paying off at about a million to in, it hasn’t stopped it. In fact, the basketball community has mostly been able to turn their heads away as long they weren’t getting caught themselves. The NBA cannot. Their desperation to maintain control over the entry and distribution of talent into the league has been massaged, manipulated, and re-fashioned as they felt necessary to stay one step ahead of the courts. From the “hardship rule” of the 70’s to Moses Malone and Bill Willoughby coming straight out of high school, to today’s 2-round edition. The National Basketball Association has exhibited a deathly fear of a player challenging the draft’s legality, (highly unlikely, considering it would wend its way through the courts for years and an athlete would be finished by the time he won) and having their process abolished. What other professional cannot choose where they hone, or practice their craft? Engineer? Pharmacist? Sanitation Worker? Nurse? Nope. Their ability as a league to slot their picks and control their location and income is something most fans take for granted, but the league doesn’t. Not for a moment. The NBA owners, watching the cost of contracts skyrocket over the last 3 seasons to ridiculous levels, need desperately to control entry level costs. Which also drives the value of the first ten picks in the draft. It’s a complicated but simple machine that’s lead to where we are today. Kids, parents, coaches and hangers on committing criminal, selfish acts to preserve and further the NBA dream. Can it be fixed? Yup. I’ll do it now. Here at N THE ZONE NETWORK we play chess, not checkers.

Arizona freshman standout and potential #1 overall NBA draft pick DeAndre Ayton (via USA Today)

Here’s your solution. Thank me later.

Eliminate the fantasy of the “amateur” NCAA basketball player. The NCAA and it’s member teams are raking billions of dollars off the play of these teenagers. It’s time to compensate them, thus eliminating the possibility and/or necessity of them being corrupted. Here’s the scale. Pretty simply, each athlete on scholarship would receive a monthly stipend based upon the cost of living. THAT plus their academic scholarship would allow for a comfortable collegiate life equal to that of their on-campus academic peers. When they’ve graduated or completed, whatever commitment the player made to the university, they would receive a check equal to the tuition average of every member school on the NCAA times the number of years they spend academically eligible in school. This guarantees that every school’s compensation is equal, eliminating any incentive to go where the payoff is better. This ensures and encourages the kids to work towards a degree, while being able to do so without financial pressure. Simple way to finance. Each member school donates 5% of their basketball revenue to a pool. When a school wins an NCAA tournament game, 10% of their winnings go into the pool. Do the math. You could build a league. No one is going broke in this machine. Time has come to stop pretending and fix what has been broken for years on end. The NCAA also will contribute. The TV contracts are ridiculously lucrative. Thus, we’re going to need this association of dedicated institutions to kick in 5% of the TV money, and a share of the commercials featuring these kids in their promos. That money can buy an island and start a league now and no one has missed a meal. But we’ve gotta compensate these kids above the street money.

Here’s where the true payoff comes. Now that we’ve figured out how to pay the elite, and those who we know are in it only for basketball, let’s address the true student-athlete. Each member school will be required to maintain 4 roster spots for walk-ons. Those kids for whom a scholarship was not offered, who may never play but are more reflective of what the collegiate athletics experience is alleged to be. However, once this kid makes the roster he’s compensated the same as the McDonald’s All American. Graduates and receives the same check from the same financial pool as the kid who’s going first in the draft. Now we’re making progress.

Sports agent Christian Dawkins (via NY Daily News)

Finally, it’s time for the NBA to right their wrongs. Step in and help fix what’s so horribly broken. Here’s what the league can do. Expand the draft from two rounds to 7. Why? Because we’re going to open a true developmental league. I’m not talking about that “G” League that’s going now. But every NBA team will have a farm team. They can choose their geographical location. But the team must underwrite it 100%. Stop whining. The NBA’s new TV deal is worth 29 billion dollars over 8 seasons. That’s 3.5 billion per team spread over the length of the contract. That’s more than enough to stock, maintain and develop a roster of 12 “minor leaguers” and actually utilize the opportunity to refresh their talent pool from within, and just maybe find and build a late round gem instead of whispering “go to Europe, call me in 2 years, work on …….” Each player will receive 100k per season plus insurance and housing. This will prevent kids from having to schlep around Europe, China, and other foreign outposts to keep their NBA dream alive. The deals will all be uniform. Two years at 100k each, team and player option for year 3. I don’t see how this isn’t successful. Now we’ve provided a landing spot for all the kids dedicated to getting better over the course of their college careers and beyond, lessened the need to be “one and done” and disrupted the narrative that a player who stays four years in college isn’t NBA material. You can graduate from your school, play two years in a “REAL” developmental league and still be just 24 years old and ready to contribute to an NBA franchise. This is progress. Will it eliminate all the problems, kill off the parasites? Probably not.

Here’s the final step.

Keep it real.

Create a real ZERO tolerance policy in NCAA.

It goes like this. If you get caught cheating, your basketball program is closed for three seasons. Period. That’s progress. This is my solution and I believe it is viable. Simple, yes, but that’s just what we need to create an umbrella that protects everyone, establishes an environment of healthy sports at the collegiate level and not a dumpster fill if used up broke 20 year olds wondering “what’s next for my life if the NBA can’t use me.”

Your thoughts are as always welcome, but that’s my theory and I’m all in with it…..

Follow me on Twitter @MtAiryPhil


N The Zone Takeover on Girl Chat Sports

Posted in Basketball, Eagles, Football, Girl Chat Sports, Hockey, nba, Podcast, Social Media, St. Louis Surge with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2018 by ALNTheZone

Well not really…

But myself and Palmer Alexander joined Melissa Ferris on their podcast. We touched on a lot in just one hour of time. Plus there was a surmountable amount of laughs spread within the hour. It was a lot of fun.

We touched on Marvin Lewis, Jon Gruden’s chances with the Raiders, medical marijuana in professional sports, professional sports in Las Vegas, NFL Wild Card weekend, the all-SEC national championship, and the NBA. Plus we give a shoutout to co-host Stephanie Washington.

Check out the links here below.

Girl Chat Sports Episode 61 on Podomatic

Girl Chat Sports Episode 61 on ITunes

The A-Train

2017 NBA Combine: Measurements vs. College Listings

Posted in 101 ESPN, 2017 NBA Combine, 2017 NBA Draft, Basketball, Bleacher Report, Draft Express, nba, NBA Draft, NCAA, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 22, 2017 by Shane Gray

Shane Gray (@RealShaneGray)

Earlier this month, the NBA held its annual Draft Combine, where dozens of NBA hopefuls and representatives of all 30 NBA teams gathered for player interviews, athletic and strength tests, 5 on 5 scrimmages and, yes — official length and height measurements.

For decades, fans have taken interest in discovering just how tall some of the NCAA’s biggest stars actually were/are. Some of the measurements over the years have been eye-opening and — in some cases — hurt a prospects draft stock.

Way back in 1992, Oklahoma State stud Byron Houston — a collegiate All-American who was listed at 6’7″ with the Cowboys — measured just 6’4″ barefoot at the Combine, putting him closer to 6’5″ in shoes than his supposed 6’7″.

More recently, Kansas State standout Michael Beasley — who was billed at 6’10” in college and has continued to be listed at 6’10” at his various NBA stops — measured just 6’7″ in socks and 6’8″ 1/4 with shoes at the 2008 Combine.

As you can guess, some teams showed diminished interest in Houston and Beasley after their measurements. For Houston, who primarily played the post, 6’5″ in shoes wasn’t nearly as attractive as 6’7″. For Beasley, a classic tweener who can play a little at both the three and the four, his 6’8″ in- shoes measurement wasn’t as appealing to some clubs as a 6’10” measurement would have been.

At this year’s combine, as has long been the case, many of the players came up significantly shorter than advertised. I took the time to compare every prospect measured at the Combine to their college listing, checking at least two to three sources to ensure accuracy. Here are the results — first as a group and then individually.

Of 66 players measured both with and without shoes early in day when people are significantly taller (1/3 inch to 3/4 inch+ in some cases than afternoon/evening due to spinal compression), here are the results of the NO SHOES measurements:

-13 of 66 prospects (19.6%) measured 2 to 2.5 inches below their listed college height.
-29 of 66 players (43.9%) measured 1.75 to 2.5 inches below listed college height.
-41 of 66 prospects (62.1%) measured 1.5 to 2.5 inches below listed college height.
-50 of 66 players (75.7%) measured 1.25 to 2.5 inches below listed college height.
-59 of 66 players (89.3%) measured 1 to 2.5 inches below listed college height.
-62 of 66 prospects (93.9%) measured .75 to 2.5 inches below listed college height.
-65 of 66 players (98.4%) measured .5 to 2.5 inches below listed college height.
-1 of 66 players (1.5%) measured same height as listed college height.

In terms of IN SHOE measurements — players play in shoes, after all, and thus in-shoe measurements are completely valid and appropriate — just 25 of 66 measured as tall as their listed college height. Even with shoes on, 41 of 66 were shorter than their listed college height.

Individually, the results were as follows:

Player                     No Shoes     In Shoes      College Listing  College
Jonathon Jeanne   7’0 3/4″         7’2″                 7’2″                       France
Thomas Welsh      6’11 1/2″        7’0 1/2″          7’0″                       UCLA
Omer Yurtseven   6’10 1/2″        6’11 3/4″       7’0″                       N.C. State
Zach Collins           6’10 1/4″        7’0″               7’0″                       Gonzaga
Justin Patton          6’10”              6’11 1/4″       7’0″                      Creighton
Moritz Wagner      6’10”              6’11 1/4″       6’11”                    Michigan
Thomas Bryant      6’9 1/2″         6’10 3/4″      6’10”                     Indiana
Tony Bradley          6’9 1/4″         6’10” 3/4″     6’11”                     UNC
Harry Giles             6’9 1/4″         6’10” 1/2″     6’10 & 6’11”         Duke
Jarrett Allen           6’9″                6’10 1/4″      6’11”                     Texas
Bam Adebayo        6’8 3/4″          6’9 3/4″        6’10”                     Kentucky
TJ Leaf                     6’8 3/4″         6’9 3/4″         6’10”                     UCLA
Kennedy Meeks     6’8 3/4″         6’10 1/4″       6’10”                     UNC
Ivan Rabb               6’8 3/4″         6’10”              6’11”                    California
DJ Wilson                6’8 3/4″         6’10 1/2″       6’10”                    Michigan
Ike Anigbogu          6’8 1/2″         6’9 3/4″         6’10”                    UCLA
Eric Mica                 6’8 1/2″         6’9 1/4″         6’10”                    BYU
John Collins            6’8 1/4″         6’9 1/2″         6’10”                    Wake Forest
Tyler Lydon            6’8 1/4″         6’9 1/2″         6’9″                      Syracuse
Chris Boucher        6’8″                6’9 1/2″         6’10”                    Oregon
Kyle Kuzma            6’8″                6’9 1/2″         6’9″                      Utah
Jonathan Motley    6’7 3/4″         6’8″ 3/4″        6’10”                   Baylor
Caleb Swanigan     6’7 1/2″         6’8 1/2″          6’9″                     Purdue
Isaiah Hicks            6’7 1/4″         6’8 1/2″          6’9″                     UNC
Alec Peters              6’7 1/4           6’8 3/4″         6’9″                     Valparaiso
Jordan Bell             6’7″                6’8 1/2″         6’9″                      Oregon
Justin Jackson        6’7″                6’8 1/4″         6’8″                      UNC
Cameron Oliver     6’7″                6’8 1/4″         6’8″                     Nevada
Devin Robinson     6’7″                6’8 1/4″         6’8″                     Florida
Svi Mykhailiuk      6’6 1/2            6’7 1/2″         6’8″                    Kansas
OG Anunoby           6’6 1/4″          6’7 3/4″         6’8″                    Indiana
V.T. Beachem          6’6 1/4″          6’8″                6’8″                    Notre Dame
Nigel Hayes            6’6 1/4″          6’7 1/2″          6’8″                    Wisconsin
Jaron Blossomgame 6’5 3/4″      6’6 3/4″          6’7″                    Clemson
Justin Jackson        6’5 3/4″         6’7″                 6’7″                    Maryland
Jamel Artis             6’5 1/2″         6’6 3/4″           6’7″                    Pittsburgh
Terrance Ferguson 6’5 1/2″       6’7″                 6’7″                    Abelaine 36ers (pro)
Wesley Iwundu     6’5 1/2″         6’6 3/4″           6’7″                    Kansas State
P.J. Dozier               6’5 1/4″         6’6 3/4″           6’6″                    South Carolina
Semi Ojeleye          6’5 1/4″         6’6″                 6’7″                    SMU
Dillon Brooks         6’5″               6’6″                 6’7″                    Oregon
Dwayne Bacon      6’4 3/4″         6’6 1/4″           6’7″                    Florida State
Damyean Dotson  6’4 1/2″         6’5 1/2″           6’5″                    Houston
Luke Kennard        6’4 1/2″        6’5 1/2″           6’6″                    Duke
Davon Reed            6’4 1/2″        6’5 1/2″           6’6″                    Miami
Peter Jok                 6’4 1/2″         6’5 3/4″          6’6″                     Iowa
Edmond Sumner   6’4″               6’5 3/4″          6’6″                     Xavier
Hamidou Diallo     6’3 3/4″         6’5″                6’5″                     Kentucky
Josh Hart                 6’3 3/4″         6’5″                6’5 1/2″              Villanova
Sindarius Thornwell 6’3 1/2″     6’4 3/4″         6’5″                    South Carolina
Kobi Simmons        6’3 1/4″         6’4 1/2″         6’5″                    Arizona
Derrick White        6’3 1/4″          6’4 1/2″         6’5″                    Colorado
Tyler Dorsey           6’3″                6’4 1/2″         6’4″                    Oregon
Andrew Jones         6’3″                6’4 1/4″         6’4″                    Texas
Rawle Alkins          6’2 1/2″          6’3 3/4″         6’5″                    Arizona
De’ Aaron Fox        6’2″                 6’3 1/4″         6’3″                    Kentucky
Frank Jackson        6’2                  6’3 1/2″         6’3″                    Duke
Nigel Williams-Goss 6’1 1/2″       6’3″               6’3″                    Gonzaga
Isaiah Briscoe        6’1 1/4″           6’2 3/4″        6’3″                     Kentucky
Donovan Mitchell  6’1 1/4″          6’3″               6’3″                    Louisville
Monte Morris         6’1 1/4″           6’2 1/2″        6’3″                    Iowa State
Melo Trimble         6’1 1/4″           6’2 1/2″        6’3″                    Maryland
Kadeem Allen        6’1″                 6’2 3/4″         6’3″                    Arizona
Frank Mason         5’11”                6’0″               5’11”                  Kansas
Derrick Walton     5’11”                6’0 3/4″         6’1″                   Michigan
Jawun Evans         5’10 3/4″          5’11 1/2″       6’1″                  Oklahoma State


The View From Mt. Airy 07-29-16

Posted in Basketball, Football, Los Angeles Rams, nba, St. Louis Rams with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2016 by MtAiryPhil



Legends of The Dome appeared to be wildly successful. Looked like a repass for a loved one who was loved by all and left here far too soon. Kudos to the many Rams all-timers who came out, mixed, mingled and reciprocated the love and adoration of the St. Louis faithful who gathered more than likely, for the final time, to express their love and respect for the “Greatest Show On Turf.”

That being said, it’s time for the Arch Angels to redirect their collective sports energies.

Once upon a time, there was a wildly successful St. Louis sports franchise. They dominated their division, owned the Lakers, and are one of the few NBA franchises that can claim a win over the dynastic Boston Celtics in an NBA Final. The St. Louis Hawks, who landed in the Gateway City in 1955 after 4 last place finishes in Milwaukee ( and immediately turned around their fortunes behind a young Bob Pettit, who in the Hawks first season would win the 1st NBA MVP Trophy and lead them to the NBA Finals with a 33-39 regular season finish followed by an upset of the Lakers in the Western Division finals which was one of the most remarkable playoffs ever. The Hawks won Game 1 by a  single point. Lost Game 2 by 58 points, and won the decisive Game 3 by a single point. Total aggregate of -56 points but they moved on. The early Hawks would win consistently and would leave St.Louis for Atlanta in 1968 after winning the division with a 56-26 record under coach Richie Guerin and an imposing roster led by Paul Silas, Sweet Lou Hudson, Lenny Wilkens, Jumping Joe Caldwell and the Pride of Prairie View, Zelmo Beaty. For years I heard the story of failed attendance as the reason for their departure but upon further review that doesn’t resonate as truth. The Hawks didn’t break records, averaging just 6800 paid per game, but the ENTIRE league avg. in the Hawks final season was just 6,749 paid including the champion Celtics, whose paid attendance average was just 8,670 per game. Look it up. The New York Knickerbockers were the only team over 10k in average attendance in the ’67-68 season and I still can’t figure out the move to Atlanta, especially when you factor in that in the Hawks first season in Georgia, they would average just 4,427 per game and wouldn’t crack 6,000 per until their 6th season in the south. Why this walk down memory lane? Why this opening of a nearly 50-year old wound? Because if I’m a St. Louis sports fan, I’d be thinking its time we got our focus off the traitorous, despicable Rams and their carpetbagging owners who will soon find that not only is the grass NOT greener in the City Of Angels, but the bank account isn’t either. There is a reason why the Rams and Raiders left, and yes I know that TV pays the bills in today’s NFL, but empty seats resonate still. Goodbye.

Beat the NBA drum. Remind them of the storied tradition of the St. Louis Hawks. Show Adam Silver the St. Louis Blues history of drawing huge crowds in a market where everyone assumed the NHL had lost their collective minds expanding into, despite having never won a Stanley Cup. The Blues now have nearly half of a century of selling out the St. Louis Arena (CheckerDome), Kiel, oops I mean, Scottrade Center.

The infrastructure is there. Beautiful NBA ready arena. Lustful fanbase that has been simmering for years in the shadow of the Chicago Bull dynasty, and now looking over their shoulders and seeing the sold out crowds partying in OKC. It’s time St. Louis. Gather your elbows and begin to beat your NBA drum. The league will expand in the next the next four years under the billions and access to every market guaranteed by their historically wealthy 24 billion dollar, 9-year deal. The league wants always to expand by two, maintaining an even number of teams that makes scheduling and conferences sure numerically. Seattle gets the first franchise. Write it down. Until Kevin Johnson rode to the rescue of the city of Sacramento, the Kings were headed to the Emerald City 2 seasons ago. The city had broken ground on a new arena and the league was prepared to welcome back am amazing an supportive fanbase that had nothing to do with the Sonics departure to Oklahoma City in the first place. The city of Seattle still owns the rights to the colors, name, all trophies and records of the original franchise under the settlement allowing the ownership under Clay Bennett to jump ship in 2008. They are a lock to be the first city in any future NBA expansion.

That leaves St. Louis. The natural geographic location for the second team. What other choices are there. Adam Silver and the NBA don’t need Vegas in the way that the NHL does. NBA history has been littered with hints and instances of manipulation. I don’t think they want their product across the street from a sports book as a playoff Game 7 takes a left due to a referee’s whistle.

I’ve gotta believe the NFL thirsty  citizens would grab 10,000 NBA season tickets on day 1, even with the knowledge that the expansion product in year one would most likely be an assembly line of end of the benchers (think Nik Stauskas) and problem contracts and everybody’s NBA knuckleheads (think Nick Young). Sounds like fun to me.

St. Louis, from over here in the land of Ben Simmons, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid, Dario Saric and the emergent Philadelphia 76ers, we’d welcome you back. Turn the page. Raise a collective middle finger to the pirates who stole your NFL team. Bury ’em. You had a great sendoff with the legends game.
Finally, you’ve got an owner in waiting. The two brothers Ozzie and Daniel Silva, who have made $800 million since signing away their rights to the St. Louis Spirits in the ABA contraction and merger which netted them $2 million and an NBA TV share in perpetuity (the best business deal ever made anywhere) that still reaps major benefits. Bring ’em to the table.
Times yours St. Louis. Can’t you hear the Scottrade Center in Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference semi-finals? Surely you can feel opening day. This one’s a natural. How about this? The St. Louis Sounds. Stop the NFL nightmares and begin the NBA dreams. Goodnight.


Russell Westbrook headed to The Big Easy?

Posted in Basketball, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 5, 2016 by kaleelweatherly


To the fans of the Oklahoma City Thunder, this statement will resonate with you: It’s so hard to say good-bye. Kevin Durant, the team’s star small forward, is now a part of the Stephen Curry-led Golden State Warriors. Durant has been a model of consistency for the Thunder, and his presence on the court for them will be missed. Fans in Oklahoma City are not pleased with Durant’s decision to take his talents to Golden State.

However, the fans are not going to like what happens next. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City’s All-Star point guard, is scheduled to become a free-agent in 2017. Since Durant is no longer with the team, no one knows if he is willing to sign an extension. Brian Windhorst of reported this: “If Westbrook chooses not to extend his contract this summer, multiple league executives told ESPN they believe the Thunder will consider fielding trade offers for Westbrook.”

Let’s be honest. Westbrook is not going to sign an extension, so the Thunder should just look for trade offers now. The New Orleans Pelicans is a team that may try to trade for the five-time All-Star. New Orleans is on the cusp of being a great team in the West. Led by power forward Anthony Davis, the Pelicans are ready to go deep into the playoffs and compete for a championship. Davis, a three-time All-Star, is arguably the best big man in the NBA. He can play with his back to the basket, rebound, stretch the floor, and play incredible defense.

Davis isn’t the only player on the Pelicans with a lot of talent. Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday are exceptional players who can score and play defense on the perimeter. New Orleans also drafted Buddy Hield out of Oklahoma with the sixth pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Hield can score from anywhere on the court, and he is lethal from beyond the arc.

New Orleans should trade Evans, Holiday, and multiple draft picks to Oklahoma City for Westbrook. You are probably asking yourself this question right now: Why should this trade happen? Well, the Pelicans need another player to take some of the pressure off of Davis. Furthermore, Evans and Holiday are not stars, but they are good players. Oklahoma City needs to start rebuilding. Evans and Holiday are both young players who have experienced success in the NBA.

Last season, Evans averaged 15.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 6.6 assists. Holiday averaged 16.8 points, three rebounds, and six assists. Both players are quality starters.

Having a team that consists of Davis, Westbrook, and Hield would immediately strike fear into the hearts of opposing players in the NBA. Teams are not going to double-team Davis in the post if Westbrook and Hield are on the perimeter.

New Orleans deserves to win a championship. Westbrook would increase the Pelicans’ chances of winning one because of his scoring and passing abilities, explosiveness, and defense. Davis and Westbrook would make a great one-two punch. Don’t you agree? 


“The Big Four” in Golden State?

Posted in Basketball, Sports with tags , , , , , , , on June 29, 2016 by kaleelweatherly


The Golden State Warriors already have two phenomenal sharpshooters like point guard Stephen Curry and shooting guard Klay Thompson. Shouldn’t that be enough? Don’t forget to add in power forward Draymond Green, one of the best two-way players in the NBA. Sure, the Warriors suffered a heartbreaking NBA Finals defeat to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but that’s all in the past. Golden State is looking forward to making a huge splash in free-agency by luring in Oklahoma City Thunder’s small forward Kevin Durant.

According to’s Ananth Pandian, the “Warriors’ front office is planning on sitting down once free agency starts with Durant to discuss the opportunity in Golden State.” Golden State, along with other suitors, are scheduled to meet with him when free-agency starts on July 1. Durant is one of the best players in the NBA, and he is a lethal scorer. He stands at 6-foot-9 and weighs 240 pounds. Durant is a threat from beyond the arc and in the paint.

He can shoot 3-pointers as well as anyone in the NBA, and he is fearless when driving to the hoop. Durant’s playing style is reminiscent of George Gervin because he is smooth and patient with the ball in his hands. Last season, he averaged 28.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, and five assists per game.

You are probably asking yourself this question right now: Why should the Warriors pursue Durant in free-agency when the team does not need any more scorers? If you were watching the NBA Finals, then you saw the Cavaliers play tight defense on Curry, Thompson, and Green and left players like small forward Harrison Barnes open from beyond the arc. While Cleveland allowed him to take uncontested shots, he kept missing. He shot 35 percent from the field in the Finals, according to’s Tommy Birch.

Imagine if Durant was the one attempting all of those open shots. He would have made most of them. Barnes’ abysmal shooting percentage in the Finals is one of the reasons why Cleveland forced a Game 7 and avoided losing the series 4-1.

If Durant does sign with the Warriors, he would bolster their starting lineup and take a lot of pressure off of Curry. Besides, Barnes is scheduled to become a free-agent, and the Warriors are not interested in re-signing him.

Durant would give the Warriors another lethal scoring option, and a player who attracts double-teams. Some fans do not want to see Durant play for the Warriors because they believe the team already has a lot of talent.

Those fans are correct, but great teams are always looking for ways to improve. It’s clear that Durant wants to play on a team that has the talent to win multiple championships. Is there a better team to sign with than Golden State? No.’s Rusty Simmons said, “Thompson and Curry will be part of the Warriors’ full-court press to reach an agreement with Durant when free-agency opens this week.”

The Splash Brothers are trying to help the Warriors’ front office make a splash in free-agency. Will it work? Golden State better hope so. If it does, folks, say hello to “The Big Four.”

Follow me on Twitter @KaleelWeatherl1


The View From Mt. Airy – NBA Draft Preview 2016

Posted in Basketball, Sports with tags , , , , , , , on June 23, 2016 by MtAiryPhil
Ben Simmons, potential #1 overall pick

Ben Simmons, potential #1 overall pick




The most heated draft in recent NBA history is now a few hours away. If you know Phil at all, than you must know already I like it new and shiny, whether right or wrong or even in working order. This NBA draft gives me all that and more and this final few hours will be my Ritalin, my Adderall acquired suspiciously from a former BALCO operative.

What’s not to love?

You’ve got LeBron James Jr. in Ben Simmons.

The Phenom.



How much did he care as me-marked time at LSU waiting for his NBA destiny? Why couldn’t he accomplish at least a visit to the NCAA tournament if he’s truly the “next big thing?”

Projected at #2 is Brandon Ingram out of the storied program of the man who invented basketball, as he’d have the world believe. For me the Ingram choice goes beyond talent and directly to his alma mater. I’ll wait as you make a list of the great NBA players from Duke taken in the first round. You should be finished. However, if we assign the same quiz to the “bust” container then pack a lunch. May not scare you, but I believe an NBA GM has to have a moment of pause as he ponders precedent with the value of the 2nd overall. Ultimately the pick by the Lakers will be Mr. Ingram, barring a bone jarring trade by the 76ers.

Trade? Yup.

According to my Sixers’ source, despite their open declaration Tuesday that they would be selecting Simmons with the 1st overall pick, there is a scenario brewing where Philadelphia (who own six 1st round picks over the next 2 drafts) are being courted by multiple teams. These deals all involve the 76ers ending up with 2 of the first 5 selections tonight. Sixers will not, if they acquired the 2nd of two first fives, select Simmons. The whispers in my ear say they would select Ingram 1 and either Kris Dunn or Buddy Hield depending on how high the second pick is. The preference obviously would be Dunn and that trade partner would have to be the Celtics, who openly covet Jahlil Okafor yet seem to on the verge of sending that pick to Utah.

That enough intrigue for you? I got more. There are some x factors in the top of the draft that will make for scintillating, cell phone ringing, Twitter exploding moments. Who is really the 3rd pick? My heart screams Jaylen Brown as the default 3rd. Yet many NBA scouts believe there is not a possibility Dunn goes beyond three. Phoenix takes Brown without hesitation and tier 1 of the 2016 NBA DRAFT is complete.

Buddy Hield kicks off tier-2. After his selection you got to own a crystal ball. Exactly why today will be an amazing run of NBA TV. There will be exactly zero moments that allow for an exhale. Who drafts the man child Thon Maker? What top ten projections will slide precipitously out of the lottery and into the green room of misery? Who wears the most outlandish suit/outfit? What player will we ignore in the bottom ten of round 1 who becomes Paul George or the emergent beast for whom simplicity demands I identify simply as “the freak?” Denzel Valentine scares me and I want it on record. Taurean Prince too. Both will be drafted tonight in round 1.

Tier 3 seems simple. Dragan Bender seems slightly overvalued to me. Those who profess to know have him in their first 5 but I don’t see a fit. Most likely he belongs at 8 to Sacramento and he well should. Tier three will also feature the Celtics taking over the draft with 4 of the first 31 selections barring a trade. One of those picks will be an enigmatic Skal Labissiere who seems to grow in stature despite a resume that belies this late love. Finally, what does the Hawks trade of Jeff Teague do to tier 3 as they also own pick 21 and this is why tonight will be “Must See TV.”

Finally, what makes the NBA DRAFT 2016 the spectacle I truly believe it will be is that, by the time you read this, things will have changed. Again.

N The Zone promises to have a full recap and breakdown of NBA Draft 2016 online and on air. Stay tuned.

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