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Friday, July 18, 2014

2014-2015 Cleveland Cavaliers Projected Starters and Rotation Bench

One of the most interesting teams in the entire NBA next season to watch will be the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron is back, Kyrie is committed, owner Dan Gilbert and GM David Griffin won the battle of "Riggin' for Wiggins" and it is now finally starting to come together.

There are some rumors swirling around right now about the possibility of NBA superstar big-man Kevin Love being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for newly drafted Andrew Wiggins. However, in reality, the likelihood that CLE trades Wiggins away is highly unlikely. LeBron, although he would probably like playing with Kevin Love, would maybe really enjoy helping Wiggins grow into one of the best players on the planet. With one of the NBA's best young point guards in Irving. and one of its most talented newcomers, Wiggins -- cough, cough, you still have Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson and Anthony Bennett, cough, cough -- could really have one of the NBA's brightest futures in a long, long time.

Here is a projected depth chart for the Cavs next year:

PG - Irving
SG - Wiggins, Waiters, Miller
SF - James, Jones
PF - Thompson, Bennett
C - Varejao, Haywood

Look for the Cavs to maybe add more shooting and locker room experience with Ray Allen and add a true point guard, and one more big man who is long and can score with their back to the basket.

LeBron Back to Cleveland Mixtape Celebration


About a week delayed here, but it's no biggie.

I have been a Cavaliers fan for about ten years now and can honestly say I have never been more excited for a season. LeBron will bring something back to the franchise it has been sorely missing since The Decision. Kyrie, Wiggins, LeBron, Thompson, Varejao would be deadly.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Mr. Do-It-All

As most NBA teams will be looking for that "guy" on Draft night, I am sure that one of the "guys" will get passed on and could be great pick-up for any team outside of the lottery.
Anderson at UCLA in 2014

Kyle Anderson is the guy that I would love to have on my roster.  Some will slot him at the three position, but he could play the one, two, or the three in my eyes.  He will probably end up being a three like most say at the moment, but the guy is a tall point forward that can get a triple double whenever he wants to.

After watching him come up through high school and then two seasons at historic UCLA, Anderson has shown me that he could be one of the five starters on an NBA Championship-level team at some point in his career.  He will score well enough to make an impact in terms of scoring at the next level, probably give you five to seven rebounds a night, as well as in the neighborhood of seven assists.  The guy just flat out fills up the box score.  I do understand and realize that one cannot always look at the stats when looking at a player, but Anderson fills it up.  It is something that just cannot be noticed.  His ability to cause havoc for the opposing team is endless.  Put a smaller player on him, he has the ability to post them up.  Due to his length and size, he will be able to shoot over nearly all guards in the NBA as well as some forwards.

The guy just simply gets it done out on the court.  The ability to get a defensive rebound, start the break yourself, and then either score and finish at the rim or create a shot for someone else in transition is such an empowering tool that some players in the Association have today.

Anderson could have the potential to be a very problematic player on both ends of floor due to his size and skill set.  While most may say that he looks slow and does not obtain the proper quickness or athleticism in general to survive and do make great strides in the NBA, I say that will not be too big of deal to worry about with Anderson.  His size is just too much to handle from my point of view.  If he can pack on some weight over the course of his NBA career, he could potentially become a real scare and hair-puller for the head coaches around the league.

Now, how about we get down to the part that matters...

Strengths:

  • Plays under control
  • Plays within himself
  • Can be disruptive in passing lanes due to his long arms
  • Possibly the best ball handler and passer in the entire draft
  • Great vision and has a high basketball IQ
  • Shows that he can improve his jump shot and three point shot
  • Can post up, drive, and spot up at a decent clip
  • Rebounds extremely well

Weaknesses:

  • Does not possess great speed or quickness, just an above average athlete in terms of pure athleticism
  • Not the greatest shooter, but not the worst
  • Not sure about his NBA position

Grades: (A-F)

  • Shooting: B
  • Rebounding: B
  • Play making: A
  • Defense: B
  • Size: A
  • IQ: A
  • Athleticism: C
  • Potential: B
  • Intangibles: A
NBA Comparison: Boris Diaw in 2004-2006

Need video for proof of this?  Here:


Me, personally, I would take Anderson as early as late in the lottery, but I am sure he will slide on down to one of the current playoff teams.

Kyle Anderson could come in right now and be a terrific role player on any team.  Just some adjusting to the NBA game, the lifestyle, and the players will be all Anderson needs before he is a starter.  I could see him playing fifteen to twenty seasons mostly injury free due to his lack of athleticism.

Making the All-Star team maybe four or so times at the most could happen as well as being one of the key players to a Championship winning team at some point in his career.  I have yet to come across anything negative about Anderson off the court, so selecting him would be a safe pick.  You know what you are getting on the court and you will not have to worry about him off the court.  

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Simple Kevin Love trade machine possibilities (Eastern Conference)

There is no escaping the wild truth that Minnesota Timberwolves star Kevin Love is potentially on the trade market and is trying to figure out a way to possibly force his way out of Minny. Although Love isn't a household name when it comes to those high-flying superstars that countless fans have
Could Love be leaving
the Wolves?
Fatheads of all around their walls, he's still a very, very good basketball player. Not a superstar, but a perennial all-star without a doubt.

Some likely destinations have been Chicago, Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns and now the Warriors and the Cavaliers have worked their way into the conversation. Cleveland is supposedly offering up picks and players to maybe make good ol' LeBron James to make his way back to NE Ohio; meanwhile, the Warriors and new head coach Steve Kerr could see Klay Thompson and (an overpaid) David Lee sent to the northern reaches of the US for Love's ability.

So, in the spirit of Kevinlovestmas, let's breakdown what each team in the Eastern Conference could offer for Kevin Love, that made sense.

Atlanta Hawks (trade machine)

  • ATL gets: Kevin Love, Shabazz Muhammed
  • MIN gets: Paul Millsap, Dennis Schroeder, Lou Williams

In this trade, the Wolves would see a minus four win result as the Hawks would seemingly improve by four wins. All-in-all though, I like this deal. The Hawks get Love and a former highly-coveted prospect in Shabazz -- who I think will have a similar career line to Lance Stephenson -- to add to Al Horford, underrated point guard Jeff Teague and sharpshooter Kyle Korver. The Hawks would have a very open-minded floor spacing offense and be able to attack with ease. With Love and Horford, there's no worrying about rebounds either I might add. On the other hand, you have Minnesota who actually gets a lot better with this trade if you ask me. Millsap is your immediate starting power forward as Lou Williams solidifies himself as your glorified super-sub and Dennis is full of potential and a great fit to be Rubio's backup or replacement plan here in a few years if Ricky gets a little tired of the cold, not to mention the whole losing thing.


Boston Celtics (trade machine)


  • BOS gets: Kevin Love
  • MIN gets: Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, Phil Pressey

Just like the Hawks improved with four wins, so did the Celtics. If the Celtics could pair Rajon Rondo and Love together, you would see the Brad Stevens era in Boston get a whole lot sweeter and
really fast. Meanwhile, Minnesota decreases their win total by six games this time. Why? I have no clue, with this trade they would add a solid versatile wing in Green, two up-and-coming big men and Pressey who could be a very serviceable back-up behind Rubio. I'm a little baffled by this one. But in all honesty, the likelihood of Love going to Boston is rather low so I am not going to sweat too much about this one.

Brooklyn Nets (trade machine)


  • BKN gets: Kevin Love
  • MIN gets: Brook Lopez

Lopez and Love make almost exactly the same amount of money that the other makes. One is 7-feet tall and can score with ease while the other is one of the NBA's top players right now. Hmm, do I hear Kevin Garnett for Al Jefferson all over again? I think I do. This trade would catapult the Nets into legitimate title contention as it would drastically drag the Wolves to twelve less wins if they rest of their roster stayed put. But in reality, taking just one more bad year to let Rubio, Lopez and Nikola Pekovic grow together, you'd certainly have something there. Not quite enough to hang banners, but enough to stop holding your fingers crossed at the lottery.

Charlotte Hornets (trade machine)


  • CHA gets: Kevin Love
  • MIN gets: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Cody Zeller, Bismack Biyombo, Jeff Taylor, slew of draft picks

This trade would mean two things. For Minnesota, R-E-E-B-O-O-T. For Charlotte, C-O-N-T-E-N-D-I-N-G. Wait, did I really just say that Charlotte, the actual NBA team in Charlotte would be
I wouldn't want to be stung by that
roster if it was a bee.
contending? Pending a healthy year for all parties, yes. There's no way you can sit there and tell me that the likes of Kemba Walker (proven winner) beside Kevin Love and Al Jefferson couldn't contend right away? Sure the other pieces would need some major working on, but the Charlotte brass has publicly spoken that they plan to make some big moves this summer due to their sizable cap space and solid roster core. This trade would make the Wolves one of the NBA's worst but would give them a solid foundation to build on moving forward. Those picks and players would all be young and relatively cheap assets.

Chicago Bulls (trade machine)


  • CHI gets: Kevin Love
  • MIN gets: Carlos Boozer, Jimmy Butler, Tony Snell

Minnesota doesn't drop off too much with this deal, but it gives them enough young talent on the perimeter to know they'll get better as Boozer's enormous contract will fizzle out and end soon. As for Chicago, this deal would set them up to pull off something like getting Melo or another good player. Rose, Love, Noah, Gibson, Hinrich, Dunleavy is a solid group of players to build around.

Cleveland Cavaliers (trade machine)


  • CLE gets: Kevin Love
  • MIN gets: Picks or Anderson Varejao, Anthony Bennett, Dion Waiters

Are the Cavaliers ready to give up on Bennett so fast? Are they willing to scrap the Irivng-Waiters combo so quickly too? Do they really feel comfortable giving away their top pick in the draft? Who knows any of these answers. Outside of team officials, no one probably has the slightest clue as to what the will do. My gut is telling me that they will draft Jabari Parker and deal away Dion Waiters, but not for Kevin Love. The only way I think the Cavs would try to do something like this is if they think there is more than a 99.9% chance LBJ would come back. As far as that situation goes, who knows. LeBron has lots of thinking to do between now and contract opt-in or opt-out time.

Detroit Pistons (trade machine)


  • DET gets: Kevin Love
  • MIN gets: Greg Monroe, Rodney Stuckey, Kyle Singler

Both teams really don't get a whole lot better or worse with this deal. Although, I look at would Detroit would be with this change and you'd have Brandon Jennings, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Josh Smith, Kevin Love and Andre Drummond all in your starting five. Not one of those guys would be older than 28 and three of them shoot the lights out of the ball (Jennings, KCP, Love) and three of
Better starting five than Miami?
them are outstanding rebounders (Smith, Love, Drummond). Statistically speaking, I think it's a wash, but imagine putting that team on the floor together in Auburn Hills. The Smith-Monroe-Drummond ordeal just couldn't work because you had three guys that dominated the paint and the floor was just too clogged up. But with a Love for Monroe swap, you have some versatility as Love is a great passer and shooter from the perimeter and could widen the floor up a bit for Jennings to get to the rim, Smith to roam freely and Drummond to be big down low. Oh did I mention that Stan Van Gundy would coaching this team and Chauncey Billups would be playing too? I guess not. Add those factors and you have yourself a contender. Minnesota would be basically adding doppelgängers to their team. Singler is incredibly similar to the already rostered Chase Budinger as Stuckey resembles some of Alexy Shved and Ricky Rubio's "big guard" game and Monroe is the equivalent to a really sore and tired Kevin Love at this point in his career.

Indiana Pacers (trade machine)


  • IND gets: Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic
  • MIN gets: Roy Hibbert, David West

The Pacers seemingly become the best team in the NBA with this trade (according to projected wins). Meanwhile, the Wolves get close to being the worst. Again, that's okay. They're just projections. Minnesota would be acquiring some size and a culture of winning with Hibbert and West wearing their uniforms. Meanwhile, Indy would probably have enough talent and efficiency to beat the Heat in a playoff series. But looking at everything now, I think the days of the Pacers-Heat rivalry are over. One of these two teams will fall off and go in a different direction within the next two years. Due to their extreme youth and forward thinking strategy, I think that the Pacers will be just fine in a year or two. Unless the Heat can pull another "YES. WE. DID." moment out of their behinds, we could see them on lottery night by 2017.

Miami Heat (trade machine)


  • MIA gets: Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic
  • MIN gets: Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem, Norris Cole, Greg Oden, draft picks out the wah-zoo, Erik Spoelstra

This would mark the beginning of the LeBron James-Kevin Love era. Essentially, if this were to happen. Love would be 26 and LeBron 30. Just like Kobe rattled off two titles with a much more spry Pau Gasol beside him in his early thirties, expect to see The King do much of the same but probably
Could Wade help pull off getting
Love to Miami?
better seeing as though, at these ages, LeBron is probably a bit better than Kobe was, and Love is probably a sizable amount better than Gasol was. Minnesota would be getting another stretch big man in Bosh, proven veteran in Haslem, solid backup in Cole, proverbial journey man and the future Brendan Haywood in Greg Oden and last but not least lots of picks and the option to add Erik Spoelstra as their head coach. Now, you might be thinking to yourself, why in the world does that make sense? Well, if your trading away Kevin Love to contend for championships wouldn't you want a coach that has done it a time or two back in return? The likelihood if something like this happening is slim to none, but still fun to talk about.

Milwaukee Bucks (trade machine)


  • MIL gets: Kevin Love, Dante Cunningham, Shabazz Muhammed
  • MIN gets: Ersan Ilyasova, Larry Sanders, Brandon Knight, Giannis Antetokounmpo

Milwaukee pairs OJ Mayo and Kevin Love up along with a top two pick in the draft to contend in the east but not for a title. Meanwhile, just a state or two over, the Wolves get a huge reboot to their roster that would give them a lot of assets to work with moving forward. Sanders, Knight and GA (for short) are very talented young players that could fit in Minnesota's culture with Rubio running the point. Not to mention Ersan would be getting a fresh jersey and new scenery, something that probably wouldn't be too bad for him. He is a lot like Kevin Love in a sense that he can score from the perimeter and is a good rebounder, he just hasn't done it on that level of consistency or efficiency yet.

New York Knicks (trade machine)


  • NY gets: Kevin Love, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
  • MIN gets: Amar'e Stoudemire, Iman Shumpert

The Knicks get the perfect Phil Jackson big man along with some versatile toughness to backup Carmelo Anthony. Out in Minnesota, STAT gets a new lease on life and Shumpert may finally get that
I know what the fans
are yelling: throw it to
Kevin!
upgraded offensive role he's been wanting for two years. Shump-Shump would be a great piece to compliment Ricky Rubio. Shump doesn't need the ball, but he can handle it and defend so that will relieve lots of pressure off of Rubio. STAT's contract will also expire in Summer 2015, so that could give Minnesota some added motivation to make something like this. Then again if you put Melo and Love on the floor together, you're probably going to be able to win a lot of games. Factor in some of the new potential faces in New York (names like Kyle Lowry, Jared Sullinger, Shaun Livingston and more) we could see Jackson's classic long-ball triangle offense come to fruition.

Orlando Magic (trade machine)


  • ORL gets: Kevin Love, draft picks
  • MIN gets: Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic, Mo Harkless, Tobias Harris

Yes, I know. Orlando is practically trading away it's future. But in all respects, a future with Kevin Love may be more rewarding. All of the four above players are going to be very good with age. But, when it comes to getting a perennial all-star back on your team, you feel good about yourself, and you get to sell tickets. Kevin Love would thrive at being the central beacon to get good players to come to Orlando. When you factor in that they are already going to be getting a solid draft pick and tons of cap room, the chances of the Magic's magic restoring are high. On the other side of things, I think that the Wolves set themselves up for a big time future with those young players. A rebounding machine in Vucevic and a potential future all-star in Oladipo, you could make a case that Minnesota wins big here on this deal.

Philadelphia 76ers (trade machine)


  • PHI gets: Kevin Love
  • MIN gets: Thaddeus Young, No. 3 draft pick in this years draft

I've refrained from singling out specific picks in previous deals I've mentioned, but with this one, I have to cut right to the point. Thad Young and an Andrew Wiggins, Dante Exum or Joel Embiid should be enough to be won over by the Sixers and send their star to them. Meanwhile, Michael Carter-Williams Kevin Love, Nerlens Noel (accompanied by lots and lots of cap room) would start a new in Philly making them an immediate playoff contender.


Toronto Raptors (trade machine)


  • TOR gets: Kevin Love
  • MIN gets: Jonas Valanciunas, Terrence Ross, Greivis Vasquez, Steve Novak

Toronto teams up two young all-stars in Demar Derozan and Kevin Love with the possibility of Kyle Lowry returning. The likes of Derozan and Lowry practically almost won a playoff series this spring so the addition of Kevin Love would only make them better. Except, losing Terrence Ross, is kind of a big deal. The guy kinda dropped 50-some in a game this year. (Pssssssss, he's pretty good.)


Washington Wizards (trade machine)
Wall + Beal + Love =
Lots of wins


  • WAS gets: Kevin Love, Shabazz Muhammed
  • MIN gets: Nene, Otto Porter, Kevin Seraphin

In this deal, Kevin Love gets to play with John Wall and Brad Beal -- something that is going to get him a lot of open looks and assists. Beal can score and Wall can run a team. With Love, they contend for a top-3 seed in the East and compete in the conference semis. Back in Minnesota, Nene, Porter and Seraphin would be decent replacements for Love, Corey Brewer and Ronny Turiaf respectively given that they have to live with the fact why have to trade Kevin Love.

That was our entire breakdown of what teams in the east could possibly offer up for Love. Checkout for our look at the Western Conference coming up here in a few days!

Darin Ford is the founder and president of Officially Hoops. Ford is a n aspiring college basketball coach who has worked in sports media off and on since 2011. Follow him @realdarinford on Twitter.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Heat advance to Finals; send Pacers packing!

Fans of 29 NBA Teams felt defeated Friday night as they watch LeBron James' Miami Heat advance to the NBA Finals for the fourth straight year (fifth in his career). Miami's apparent dominance seemingly enriches after tonight as they will undoubtedly raise the Eastern Conference Champions banner in October. However, that's not their ultimate goal, now is it? Oh no. They want the big one.

Odds are they will rematch against the San Antonio Spurs who played them to 7 games last year in the Finals before falling to the dreaded Heat. But lets not get carried away, there is no guarantee that the Spurs will win their conference. You see, Oklahoma City has someone named Kevin Durant, and he's pretty damn good.

Lots of questions moving forward are revolving around the Pacers and watch their future looks like. Yes, it could be bright, but at the same time, extremely dangerous. This is a team that traded former franchise-face, Danny Granger, for Evan Turner who has seen limited burn during the playoffs. 

So where do the Pacers turn next? Hibbert? George? Hill? West? No one knows quite yet, and in all honesty, some are even saying head coach Frank Vogel could be looking at unemployment (which would be an outrage). 

The Pacers lack two key things: scoring and toughness. Sure Paul George and David West can both get you 22 and 15 a night respectively but neither are primetime end-of-game closing guys. Not saying they need Melo, but someone they can trust to always be able to score and give them some extra added talent. (Boy, would Danny Granger would've continued to work out nice for them for sure. 

That's another huge question on our minds too, will Evan Turner be back? He's a restricted free agent and should be hoping that Lance Stephenson signs with another team, which I honestly wouldn't be shocked to see.

The Hibbert and West combination is starting to scare me. West not nearly as much as Hibbert, but whose going to take him? Nobody that I can think of. The best type of idea that I have is swapping him for Kevin Love and draft picks for the next 3 or 4 years. However, Minny already has Pekovic and probably isn't going to look to move him away from the 5man spot any time soon. The only other idea I have is to swap him for Tyson Chandler, which would probably be a sizable downgrade for New York, but still give them a better inside scoring presence. 

I am scared for Indy, I really am. If they don't figure out a way to upgrade some holes or clean off some dirty countertops, they are going to be in some deep doo-doo come next season. 

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