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2017 NBA Mock Draft

By Zach Malamud

In what could be one of the strongest draft classes in NBA history, the night is finally here for the 2017 NBA Draft. With that in mind, here’s a look at my first round mock draft:

1 Philadelphia Markelle Fultz PG Washington
2 LA Lakers Lonzo Ball PG UCLA
3 Boston Malik Monk SG Kentucky
4 Phoenix Josh Jackson SF Kansas
5 Sacramento De’aaron Fox PG Kentucky
6 Orlando Jonathon Isaac SF/PF Florida St
7 Minnesota Lauri Markkanen PF Arizona
8 New York Dennis Smith PG North Carolina St
9 Dallas Frank Ntilikina PG France
10 Sacramento Zach Collins PF/C Gonzaga
11 Charlotte Jayson Tatum SF Duke
12 Detroit Luke Kennard SG Duke
13 Denver OG Anunoby PF Indiana
14 Miami Donovan Mitchell SG Louisville
15 Portland John Collins PF Wake Forest
16 Chicago Bam Adebayo C Kentucky
17 Milwaukee Justin Patton C Creighton
18 Indiana Jarrett Allen C Texas
19 Atlanta TJ Leaf PF UCLA
20 Portland Harry Giles C Duke
21 Oklahoma City Tyler Lydon SF/PF Syracuse
22 Brooklyn Semi Ojeleye SF/PF SMU
23 Toronto DJ Wilson PF Michigan
24 Utah Anzejs Pasecniks C Latvia
25 Orlando Ike Anigbogu C UCLA
26 Portland Derrick White PG/SG Colorado
27 LA Lakers Caleb Swanigan PF/C Purdue
28 LA Lakers Terrance Ferguson SG/SF Australia
29 San Antonio Kyle Kuzma PF Utah
30 Utah Tony Bradley C UNC

 


Zach Malamud is a contributing writer for Dabuzzza. He is a radio host of The Plainview Blitz on WPOB 88.5 FM. He loves soccer and basketball and finds himself watching Manchester City on a regular basis. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Kevin De Bruyne. You can follow him on twitter at @Zachmalnyy

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With The Trade Deadline Looming, Are The Knicks Looking To Unload?

By Brett Malamud

When Knicks Owner Jim Dolan brought in Phil Jackson to be the President of Basketball Operations, Dolan expected Jackson to do two things:

A) Take the pressure of being a New York team off of Owner Jim Dolan

B) Attract marquee free agents to New York

Last June, Jackson attempted to do both, and the Knicks acquired three-time NBA All Star and 2011 NBA Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose from the Chicago Bulls for Jose Calderon, Jerian Grant, and Robin Lopez. The Knicks also received guard Justin Holiday and a 2017 2nd round pick in the deal. To take the words of former Knick Amare Stoudemire, the Knicks were back. At the time, the thought was that the deal would turn the Knicks into a new era, and all would be well in the Big Apple.

By trading for Derrick Rose, Jackson took a flier on a former MVP and a former number one overall pick. If it didn’t work out, that would be ok too, as Rose’s $21 million salary comes off of the books at the end of the 2016-17 season. At the time, the Knicks decided that if Rose isn’t worth the headaches, they can just let him walk at the end of the 2016-17 season, and go chase a marquee free agent player. That said, the Knicks set themselves up to have over $60 million in cap space for the summer of 2017, where player of the like of Blake Griffin, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, Paul Millsap, Gordon Hayward, Greg Monroe, Rudy Gay, Andrew Bogut, Jrue Holiday, Danilo Gallinari, Andre Iguodala, J.J. Redick, Taj Gibson and George Hill would all be available. Or so they thought.

After all, the move created an attractive place for summer 2016 free agents, and Kevin Durant would be sure to look at the Knicks a little harder than he would have the week before. Players like Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, and Joakim Noah, who were all linked to the Knicks after the trade was made, were being mentioned as plan-B options if they didn’t get Durant.

Fast-forward a week, and they didn’t. Instead, Durant joined the Warriors, and the Knicks came away with two-time NBA All Star and former Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah, on a four year, $72 million contract. Suddenly, a pipe dream was gone. The Knicks were giving $72 million to a player coming off major shoulder surgery, and whose numbers declined in almost every category each season since he was named the Defensive Player of the Year in 2014.

Fast-forward eight months, and that’s a contract that the Knicks wish they never handed out. In fact, it was totally unnecessary, because the big-man that they wanted was already on the roster. That was 22-year-old rookie Willy Hernangomez, who has averaged 11.0 points and 9.4 rebounds in the month of February, all well Noah tweaked his hamstring just five games before the All-Star break.

The Knicks find themselves without that $70 million in cap space for this summer, but rather anywhere from $20-25 million. Yikes. Yes, the Knicks still have their first round pick for this season, but with Russell Westbrook off the market, and reports that Chris Paul will stay in Los Angeles for north of $200 million, the point guard market is slim pickings. Sure the Knicks could always re-up with Derrick Rose, but do they really want to spend most of their remaining cap space on Rose? Rose apparently is seeking a max contract this summer, and after multiple knee injuries, paying him a max deal wouldn’t be a wise investment. Instead, the Knicks should seek a trade, so at least they can get something for Rose. One proposed deal sees Rose being shipped to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Ricky Rubio. The move is intriguing from both sides. For Minnesota, the Tom Thibodeau-Derrick Rose reunion could work, as Rose attempts to rekindle his career in the hopes of landing that max-deal that he desires. If Rose leaves at the end of the year, Minnesota has rookie point guard Kris Dunn waiting in the wings. On the other side, the Knicks would get a solid player in Rubio, and wouldn’t lose Rose for nothing, The 26-year-old Rubio is also under contract for the next two and a half years, averaging a reasonable $14 million. Yes, the deal would take the Knicks out of the running for a marquee free agent in the summer of 2017, barring an extremely unlikely major cap dump. Normally the Knicks wouldn’t sign up for being out of the running (See Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, and of course LeBron James) before the sweepstakes begins. But the timing is right and Rubio would be a good young piece to place with Hernangomez and Kristaps Porzingis.

MeloRose.jpg

Both Derrick Rose and Carmelo Anthony could be on their way out of New York at the trade deadline (Via CHI Tribune)

But then we come to the bigger issue at hand:

The Melo Conundrum. 

Yes, Carmelo Anthony has been shopped around by Phil Jackson. That much is confirmed. The Cavaliers, Clippers, Celtics, and Lakers are rumored destinations but it all hinges on Anthony waiving his no-trade clause, and at this rate, Melo has been stating his desire to stay in New York. But let’s explore the scenario for a bit, as Anthony is hungry for a championship, and clearly won’t get that scenario in the near future with the Knicks. The only realistic piece that would change the culture of the Knicks by trading Carmelo Anthony (if actually trading him at all) is Blake Griffin (sorry Austin Rivers fans). Of course, the Knicks would have to trade Rose first, because of the CBA rule stating that two players under a certain rookie contract extension can’t be paired on the same roster. That said, the Clippers are holding on to the hopes that Griffin stays with the team and does not view the Clippers as an aging team with a window closing fast. A fresh start with the new look Ricky Rubio Knicks on a max deal sign and trade wouldn’t be the worst thing for the soon to be 28-year-old Griffin, and as for Carmelo, he’d get a shot to go for a title with his good friend Chris Paul. The pipe dream reopens for Knicks fans, and the Knicks are back.

But it’s not looking as if Carmelo will be traded, and the idea remains—yes—a pipe dream. It’s still worth returning to the reason why all of this is happening: Phil Jackson. With a series of cryptic tweets bashing the team’s superstar, Anthony, the Knicks are quickly becoming a toxic wasteland, and as a result, the pressure is on owner Jim Dolan again. Jackson may have to make a few moves before Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline to save the Knicks ship from sinking, or it could be his job on the line.


Brett Malamud is a graduate of Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy

Quick Reaction: Robin Lopez to the Knicks

By Brett Malamud

This morning we received news from Yahoo Sports Insider Adrian Wojnarowski that the Knicks have agreed on a four-year, $54 Million contract with free agent center Robin Lopez. The deal is pending DeAndre Jordan’s decision on his destination. However, the Knicks are not expected to sign Jordan, who is reportedly “50-50 and torn” between the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers.

robin-lopez-nba-sacramento-kings-portland-trail-blazers

Let me say that $13.5 million a year is an absurd amount of money for a player that cannot play offense. Lopez averaged 9.6 points per game last season. While he’ll definitely help on defense, I’m not sure that the signing was a good move. Signing Lopez to this lucrative deal leaves the Knicks with just $5.5 million of cap space. Well what’s next?

Do the Knicks really think they’ll contend with the likes of Kendrick Perkins and Derrick Williams alongside Carmelo Anthony and Lopez? Instead, the Knicks should have stayed patient and waited till next year where they could have built themselves in an intriguing 2016 free agency class. Instead we’ll see a team that will struggle…again.


Brett Malamud is an English Rhetoric Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy

Philadelphia Has 76 Problems, and Trading is One of Them

By Alex Horowitz

The 76ers are a bad team. Everyone knows that by now. They own one of the worst records in the NBA, which included a historic 0-16 start to the season. However, the one bright spot they had was second year point guard Michael Carter-Williams, who has the potential to be one of the next bright stars in basketball. The former Syracuse guard was averaging 15.0 points, 7.4 assists, and 6.2 rebounds for a struggling Philadelphia squad until he was dealt to Milwaukee in a four-team deal today. It is unclear at the moment what Philadelphia will be receiving in return. Other major pieces of this deal involved Isaiah Thomas heading Boston and Brandon Knight becoming the newest Phoenix Sun. In a separate deal, Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported that another young Philly guard, K.J. McDaniels, will he on the move to Houston.

Michael Carter Williams is on his way out of Philly (Via AP)

Michael Carter Williams is on his way out of Philly (Via AP)

Now we are all left to wonder what Sixers management was thinking with these moves. Even if they were “tanking”, why trade their most valuable asset for basically nothing in return? They still have Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid in town, both who have loads of future potential, but with these deals it appears as if the timetable for a successful team in the City of Brotherly Love has been pushed back by at least several years.


 

Alex Horowitz is a senior at Briarcliff High School and is an aspiring sports writer. As a lifelong sports fan, he has rooted for the New York Knicks, New York Mets, and Detroit Lions. You can follow him on Twitter @alexhorowitz3

 

Thunder Up

By Alex Horowitz

For the first time since Russell Westbrook’s rookie season, the Oklahoma City have stumbled out of the gate. Currently sitting at 5-13 and 3rd place in the Northwest Division, the Thunder have much reason for optimism; their sights are set on an NBA championship this season.

Why would a team with such a poor record have such a lofty goal? Having two of the league’s most talented players in reigning MVP Kevin Durant and the aforementioned Westbrook certainly helps. Unfortunately for OKC, both stars have missed the majority of this young season. Westbrook did not make his debut until last week versus the Knicks, while Durant played his first minutes in Tuesday’s loss in the Big Easy.

It may already be a month into the season, but then again, it is ONLY a month into the season. The Thunder have plenty of time to get their act together and will climb their way atop the Western Conference standings at ease. As usual, the conference is stacked with contenders such as Memphis, Houston, San Antonio, and Portland, but among those clubs, only the Spurs have more playoff experience than this young Thunder team.

Yes, even though OKC has been among the league’s elite since 2010, they are still a relatively young group of players. Their average age of 25.8 years is ninth youngest in the association. But don’t let that fool you; the Thunder are a team with a veteran-like attitude. They will not fret over a difficult start to the season, because they understand it’s a process, a grind, and that many more months of regular season play are yet to be played. When asked about turning around the team’s season around, Durant oozed with confidence

“We’ve got a great locker room, we’ve got a great team, we’ve got a great group of guys. No doubt,” Durant said. “We’ve really got to put on our hard hat every game and grind ’em out, (via Royce Young, NBA writer for ESPN.com).

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will have to lead if OKC wants to win a championship (Via AP)

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will have to lead if OKC wants to win a championship (Via AP)

Westbrook added onto Durant’s optimistic attitude, understanding the reality of where the Thunder current stand in relation to the remaining length of the season.

“How many games we got left? Sixty-something?” Westbrook said. “How many games we out of eighth place? Five, six? Not worried” (via Royce Young).

A tough start and a bad stroke of luck has doomed the Thunder to start their seventh season in the Sooner State. But backed by the leadership of its star players, the team appears to be in good hands. Larger goals lie ahead as they aim to win their first championship since their Seattle days, while a healthy starting lineup will attempt to reestablish the chemistry they’ve flawlessly executed throughout the past several years.

Lil Wayne once featured in his song “Kobe Bryant” that no one was starving for a world championship more than Kobe. Today, that title now falls on Kevin Durant. In Oklahoma City, it’s finally #ThunderUp time again.


Alex Horowitz is a senior at Briarcliff High School and is an aspiring sports writer. As a lifelong sports fan, he has rooted for the New York Knicks, New York Mets, and Detroit Lions. You can follow him on Twitter @alexhorowitz3

Despite Rough Start, Knicks Future Looks Promising

By Alex Horowitz

For the first time ever, Phil Jackson is at the helm of a losing team.

Entering December 1, the Knicks stand at a dismal 4-14 record and are 9.5 games out of the first in the division. Despite my overly optimistic feeling entering this season, this is simply not the Knicks year at all. One would think that a team with a star in Carmelo Anthony would lead his team to a decent record, especially when surrounded by players with enormous potential and leadership like Tim Hardaway Jr. and Jose Calderon, respectively. Not these Knicks, though. Even after acquiring Calderon from Dallas, a new point guard has not changed the team’s fortunes. Their offense ranks 23rd in the league, while the defense is even worse at 26th. But could this have all been a part of Jackson’s long-term plan for success?

 

Can Phil Jackson turn it around for the Knicks this summer? (Via USA Today)

Can Phil Jackson turn it around for the Knicks this summer? (Via USA Today)

Fast-forward ahead six months. It is right before the NBA draft and the Knicks have a first round selection. Yes, you read that correctly. Even though it seems as if the Knicks trade their prized first round selection each year, the NBA luckily prevents such foolishness from occurring on a yearly basis; teams are unable to trade away a first round pick in consecutive drafts. With a first round pick in their arsenal, the Knicks will have a shot at drafting Duke’s Jahlil Okafor or Kentucky’s Karl Towns, among other top prospects. The catch is, though, that they’ll need to be bad in order to have a chance at grabbing one of those guys- and really bad, at that. Okay, maybe not 76ers bad. But nonetheless, bad enough to be at the top of the lottery.

 

So, let’s theoretically say that Okafor comes to New York. Already a huge improvement over Samuel Dalembert. Jackson won’t be done just yet, however. It has long been known that the Knicks will heavily pursue Marc Gasol, who is one of the top available big men in the 2015 free agent class. His brother Pau played with Derek Fisher and was coached by Phil, so he’d be key in convincing Marc to come to Manhattan. The Knicks will have ample cap space too, so a max deal is definitely in the realm of possibility. Let’s go with 4 years / $85 million. Let’s also assume that they fill out the remainder of their roster through low key and minimum salary contracts. Here’s what the 2015-16 opening night starting lineup could look like:

PG: Jose Calderon

SG: Iman Shumpert

SF: Carmelo Anthony

PF: Jahlil Okafor

C: Marc Gasol

 

Playoff caliber? No doubt.

Championship contender? For sure.

Realistic? Maybe. Obviously I’m banking on a ton of good stuff to turn in the Knicks favor, but hey, it’s the Knicks; they’ve been without a championship since 1973- they need some good luck for once. Knowing the capabilities of the Zen Master, this dream scenario may be anything but a dream come this summer.

 

During a lost season, it’s tough to find positives to look forward. And, quite frankly, I hate to root for my favorite team to tank. But I see what the Knicks’ plan is leading towards. It’s a process, and not one for the hasty minded fan, but if all goes according to plan, the end results will be basketball paradise.

 

For the first time ever, Phil Jackson is at the helm of a losing team. Hopefully it’s his last.


Alex Horowitz is a senior at Briarcliff High School and is an aspiring sports writer. As a lifelong sports fan, he has rooted for the New York Knicks, New York Mets, and Detroit Lions. You can follow him on Twitter @alexhorowitz3

2014-15 NBA Predictions

As you know, the NBA season began last night. However, we decided to release our predictions today marking our ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY. Thanks for your continued support over the last year and thank you in advance for your support in our second year! Feel free to comment with your own opinions, as these are simply ours. Without further ado, we present our 2014- 2015 NBA Season Predictions:

EAST
Place Sam Breiter Brett Malamud
1 Cleveland Cavaliers Cleveland Cavaliers
2 Chicago Bulls Chicago Bulls
3 Toronto Raptors Washington Wizards
4 Indiana Pacers Toronto Raptors
5 Washington Wizards Miami Heat
6 New York Knicks New York Knicks
7 Brooklyn Nets Charlotte Hornets
8 Charlotte Hornets Brooklyn Nets
Bubble Team (9th) Atlanta Hawks Atlanta Hawks
ECF Cleveland Cavaliers vs New York Knicks Cleveland Cavaliers vs Chicago Bulls
West
Place Sam Breiter Brett Malamud
1 L.A. Clippers San Antonio Spurs
2 San Antonio Spurs Oklahoma City Thunder
3 Dallas Mavericks Golden State Warriors
4 Oklahoma City Thunder  L.A.Clippers
5 Houston Rockets Portland Trail Blazers
6 Portland Trail Blazers Houston Rockets
7 Phoenix Suns Dallas Mavericks
8 L.A. Lakers Phoenix Suns
Bubble Team (9th) New Orleans Pelicans Minnesota Timberwolves
WCF L.A. Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks Golden State Warriors vs. San Antonio Spurs
Champion and Awards
Sam Breiter Brett Malamud
FINALS Cleveland Cavaliers vs LA Clippers Cleveland Cavaliers vs. San Antonio Spurs
Champion Cleveland Cavaliers Cleveland Cavaliers
Defensive POY Dwight Howard Joakim Noah
Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins Andrew Wiggins
Coach of the Year Doc Rivers Gregg Popovich
Most Improved Tim Hardaway Jr. Anthony Bennett
MVP Blake Griffin LeBron James
Sixth Man of the Year Isaiah Thomas Jamal Crawford