The Last 2nd Overall Pick to be an NBA All-Star

The last no. 2 overall pick to be an All-Star was back in ’07. From 2008-2017, I go in-depth with a list of the other no. 2 overall picks. Some are going to be exciting to watch in the future and others are easily forgettable.

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So, who exactly was the last 2nd overall pick to be selected an NBA All-Star? That player is none other than Golden State Warriors small forward, Kevin Durant who was drafted back in 2007 by the Seattle Supersonics (Now the OKC Thunder). Despite his controversial decision to take his talents to Oakland  and assemble, arguably, the greatest team ever and change the NBA landscape as we know it (I’m gonna stop before I go off on a tangent…), KD is a once-in-a-lifetime talent. I don’t know if we’ll ever see another 7-footer who has the skills and coordination of an elite guard and is deadly from all three levels on the floor. And, I guess I have to mention that he now is the 2nd youngest player (behind LeBron James of course) to reach the 20K-scoring benchmark. The following players who I will mention in this list, have been the no. 2 overall picks that have proceeded KD. Some have great potential and have the opportunity to make a name for themselves, while others are an afterthought.

  • Michael Beasley 

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No. 2 overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft

Michael Beasley is quite the journeyman after playing for 6 different teams throughout his career. You’d think as a promising lottery pick, who was able to make the All-Rookie 1st Team during his campaign with the Heat, that he would blossom into the great player we all thought he could be. But, let’s just say that Beasley was “riding on Cloud Nine” and watched his superstar-potential go down the toilet. However, Beasley seems as though he has found a home in New York where he has become a key rotational player for the Knicks. Beasley is averaging 12 points per game (while shooting 52% from the field) and 5 rebounds per game; which nearly mirrors his career average. Although Beasley has no chance of being an All-Star, he and the Knicks have the opportunity to compete, in the playoffs, as an 8th-seed in the eastern conference.

  • Hasheem Thabeet
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No. 2 overall pick of the 2009 NBA Draft

To put Hasheem Thabeet’s NBA career into perspective: “The shoes he had to fill were too big” (pun fully intended). After developing the reputation of an interior defender back at Louisville, we all assumed that he would do that sufficiently in the league. However, Thabeet only ended up playing 224 games in his brief NBA career and now is playing overseas in a Tanzanian basketball league… enough said!

  • Evan Turner 
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No. 2 overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft

If anyone would like to prove to me that Evan Turner is a decent guard in this league and deserves every penny, then I’m all ears. However, if you told me that an NBA shooting guard, who shoots 43% from the field for his career, was getting paid $70 million then I would like to think that you were crazy. Turner is an average NBA guard with an inconsistent jump shot. And, unless his shooting woes are miraculously resolved by a jump-shooting guru, he will eventually become expendable after his contract with the Trailblazers expires; however, his trade value probably won’t be as high as the Trailblazers would like it to be.

  • Derrick Williams
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No. 2 overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft

To be honest, I thought Derrick Williams would be a pretty good NBA player coming out of Arizona. If I had to compare him to anybody coming out of college, I would have thought Williams reminded me of Larry Johnson. They both are undersized power forwards with exceptional athleticism and pose somewhat of a threat, stretching the defense with their outside shooting. However, Williams has had an underwhelming NBA career to say the least. In his 6 years in the league, Williams has managed to only average double-figures in one NBA season which was back in 2013 where he averaged 12 points per game with the Minnesota Timberwolves… *sigh*

  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 
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No. 2 overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft

In my eyes, MKG is a late-first rounder at best (not a no. 2 overall pick). He has the capability and intangibles to be a great perimeter defender in the league for many years to come. However, his awkward shooting limits his perimeter game significantly which makes it harder for him to do what he is very capable of offensively which is… attacking the rim. MKG has a lot of potential and time (most importantly). So, will and can he become an All-Star? Probably not, however I think MKG can have an extended, mediocre NBA career (like Tony Allen) if he continues to have prove himself as an elite defender.

  • Victor Oladipo 
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No. 2 overall pick of the 2013 NBA Draft

Departing from Russell Westbrook, according to numerous sources via friends, family and media, may have been the best thing for Victor Oladipo. However, I also think that his short stint with Westbrook was crucial due to the fact that Oladipo inherited the “killer instinct” that defines Westbrook’s game as well as other NBA greats. Since establishing his alpha-role in Indiana (where he also played college ball), Oladipo has proven that he has star and maybe even superstar potential. He’s averaging 24.6 points per game (which is 11th amongst all active NBA players), 5 rebounds per game, and 4 assists per game; he’s also shooting 49% from the field and 41% from three-point range. If Oladipo isn’t an All-Star this year than he will definitely be one very, VERY soon. He’s also a dark horse in the MVP race this year.

  • Jabari Parker
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No. 2 overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft

I, personally, am a big fan of Jabari Parker. He just amazes with what he can do out on the floor. With Parker’s body frame, at first glance, it looks as though he shouldn’t be able to do athletic moves at all. But, then you see him get a rebound, start the break, beat everyone down the court and then posterize and humiliate interior defenders with ease! But he not only can finish strong at the rim, he also has great touch near and around the basket 20 feet and in. He’s literally a walking mismatch! But (there’s always a but), Parker, like I stated before, has a body frame that is not compatible to his play style. The man weighs 250 pounds, so that constant stop-n-go, dunking fiasco causes unnecessary and uncomfortable pressure on his knees which is the main reason as to why he has had numerous ACL surgeries (which has sidelined him this season as well). In all 4 seasons Parker has played in the league here are the number of games he has played (out of 82 games): 25, 76, 51, 0. Injuries have haunted Parker, but I still believe he can have a significant impact in this league especially on the Bucks who have the potential to be title contenders in the near future. If you don’t believe me the proof is in the pudding, here’s Parker’s point average from 2014-2017: 12.3, 14.1, 20.1.

  • D’Angelo Russell 
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No. 2 overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft

Now, barring the fact that D’Angelo Russell sabotaged his career as a Laker after snitching on former Laker shooting guard Nick Young, he came into his own for a little bit after he was shipped to Brooklyn to play for the Nets. Before he suffered his season-ending-left-knee injury, through 12 games, Russell was averaging 21 points per game, 4.7 rebounds per game, and 5.7 assists per game. Could he have kept this up if he had not gotten injured? To be honest, I believe Russell could. He is a very ball dominant guard and, unlike his first 2 seasons with the Lakers, he was able to be the focal point of the offense which he is accustomed to doing. Another element that hindered Russell’s game was the fact that the Lakers were forcing him to be a playmaker, knowing very well that he is a score-first guard. I think Brooklyn is a perfect place for Russell to showcase his offensive talents, develop as a legit NBA guard, and make a name for himself.

  • Brandon Ingram
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No. 2 overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft

Brandon Ingram isn’t an All-Star just yet however he has proven himself to be a valuable asset to the Laker organization. After his first season, which was disappointing, he quickly has shown the league he can produce and be effective after going from a point average of 9.4 points to 16 points. Now, Ingram has been getting comparisons to KD. Is it a bit of a stretch? Yes, very much! Ingram has intangibles and physical traits that makes his play style complementary to that of KD but Ingram is a long, long ways from even being eligible to this comparison. In KD’s first 2 seasons in the league, he was a far better shooter, a more versatile scorer, and a lot more efficient. Now, can Ingram drastically improve his game and devastate the league? Of course. He probably has the highest ceiling out of all the players on this list. Its up to Ingram to continue to be diligent and work to perfect his craft.

  • Lonzo Ball 
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No. 2 overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft

As the most scrutinized rookie to step foot in the NBA since LeBron James (thanks to his outspoken father), Lonzo Ball has been closely observed and criticized on a consistent basis. Personally, I see Ball being a decent starting point guard for an extended amount time. And, his role would be to push the pace, control the tempo and help put other guys in a position to score. Do I see him as a Hall of Famer and having his jersey retired (as Magic Johnson so eloquently put it)? No, not at all. Ball struggles with shooting the ball consistently (which is a necessity in today’s NBA game). He also struggles sustaining his confidence when his game takes a turn for the worse; and, on numerous occasions, we’ve seen Ball take a front row seat at Staples Center while watching Jordan Clarkson do his job. To be brutally honest, Ball just keeps things simple. And, his simplicity can be a gift and a curse. Nonetheless, he has plenty of time and the Lakers aren’t fully invested in him for nothing.

 

Where do I get my stats?

 

 

 

NBA Offseason Trading Bonanza!

The NBA offseason has been filled with excitement that we, basketball fans, have been longing for, for the longest time!

There’s been a lot of ground-breaking trades this season. To be honest, these offseason transactions are receiving more attention and excitement than this year’s NBA regular and post seasons. Here are some recent and old NBA trades that took place so far:

  • Chris Paul, Clippers make sign-and-trade deal worth $24.3M with Rockets

Chris Paul and James Harden? How will it work in Mike D’Antoni’s point-guard-dominant system? It will definitely be an adjustment for the two who both were a part of teams where they were “the guy.” But these are pros and WILL find a common ground on how to compliment each other’s games.

If I’m Mike D’Antoni, my primary ballhandler will be CP3. First, CP3 is far too small to take on the responsibilities that come with being an NBA shooting guard. Second, Harden led the league in turnovers; plus, I don’t think he’d mind increasing his scoring responsibilities since he doesn’t have to go out his way to set up teammates for buckets. This brings me to my third and final point which is, CP3 understands pace and has a unique ability to control it. He knows when to score and when to facilitate. Hey, Mike D’Antoni! I trust your judgement. Don’t make me look stupid!

  • Paul George to OKC, Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis to Pacers

How do you want two role players over Kevin Love? Or, how do you pass up a 2018 protected first-round pick, Jae Crowder, and Marcus Smart from the Celtics? So many questions, so many better solutions. Everyone in the Pacers’ front office should be fired for letting George walk away for practically nothing!

  • Andre Iguadola resigns with Warriors for $48M/ 3 years

Steph Curry has the richest contract in league history, Shaun Livingston resigned for another 3 years, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are still secure under their contracts, and KD is expected to resign a deal worth $31.8M. The Warriors have once again successfully kept their championship core without losing any assets. The Warriors have complete control over the league and know they have the opportunity to be one of the league’s greatest dynasties. No surprise here…

  • Serge Ibaka signs deal worth $65M/ 3 years with Raptors

A free agent actually signed with an eastern conference team! Serge Ibaka is actually a decent player and will have a pretty good shot at making the Eastern All-Star team due to the fact that everyone is leaving to play in the Western Conference (no knock on Serge’s game though!).

  • Taj Gibson signs deal worth $28M/ 2 years with Timberwolves

After getting Jimmy Butler in dramatic fashion, on draft night, the T-Wolves sign free agent, Taj Gibson, to play under Tom Thibodeau once again. Butler, Gibson, and Thibodeau are like one big, happy family again!

The T-Wolves future looks bright with the personnel they have been acquiring. Butler and Gibson will bring grit, that of which Thibodeau preached back in Chicago, and veteran leadership. Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns will add youth and make the team multi-dimensional with their versatile skill sets. To add as a final note, Jimmy Butler’s career can be greater than Kevin Garnett’s T-Wolves career if he is able to lead this franchise back into title contention.

  • JJ Redick signs deal worth $23M/ 1 year with 76ers

76ers made a really good decision to pick up Redick who is a knockdown shooter who can compliment nonshooting playmakers like Ben Simmons, spread the floor for a potentially high-volume scorer in, Markelle Fultz, and strengthen the supporting cast surrounding the team’s leader, Joel Embiid.

The 76ers have a lot of young guys who have high ceilings. To name a few: Jahlil Okafor, Dario Saric who was a Rookie of the Year candidate and has the ability to stretch the floor, Robert Covington who is another decent shooter, etc. The 76ers coaching staff has a lot of weight on their shoulders in that they have to be flawless in player development. And then ditch players who don’t show any progression and pick up proven prospects like they did with Redick through trades and/or free agency. The 76ers have a lot of potential. I really hope the 76ers front office doesn’t blow this!

This offseason has been crazy good so far! And, with the moves that have been made and the moves that will be made in the future, it makes it that much harder to wait for the 2017-18 NBA season to begin.

 

Bust A Move!

With the epic meltdown in the 2017 NBA Finals, the Cavs have realized that their team is not strong enough to compete against Golden State. This offseason, the Cavs have to make some BIG moves to keep the future bright in Cleveland for as long as possible.

In the 2017 NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers were dethroned as “defending champs” after the Golden State Warriors almost effortlessly defeated them in 5 games. The Cavs team payroll is at a whopping $128,492,467 (Hoops Hype). Awarding the Cavs as the NBA team with the highest team payroll in the NBA. So, from a logical standpoint, the Cavs should have never been severely outplayed in these Finals if they paid the most money in order to attain “best team to contend with these juggernaut Warriors,” right? Wrong! In all and utter honesty, the Cavs have simply overpaid some of these rotation players that look appealing on paper but cannot get the job done when an NBA title is on the line. As a result, in the offseason, don’t be surprised if the Cavs make some jaw-dropping transactions in order to make a more legitimate title contention and pose a real threat to the new-found dynasty we identify as the Warriors.

  • Iman Shumpert

Iman Shumpert is currently under a contract where the Cavs will have to pay him around $10.33M this upcoming season. Now, on a good note, Iman Shumpert is a good defender and is a gifted athlete with phenomenal leaping ability, however, Shumpert is an unreliable shooter. In the 66 minutes he played in the Finals, his true shooting percentage was just 42.1%. He only connected on 4 field goals (2 of them being 3 pointers) (Basketball-Reference). So, just having Shumpert out on the floor did more harm than good because his shooting inconsistencies caused the floor to shrink significantly making the Cavs offense even more painful to watch.

  • Channing Frye

The 2017-18 season will be the finale of Channing Frye’s current contract where the Cavs have to pay him $7.42M (Hoops Hype). Over-paid? Without question, Frye is over-paid! Arguably, Frye was at his best and putting up career-best numbers when he was with the Phoenix Suns (2009-2014); they only paid him, at most, $6.4M (Spotrac). For Cleveland, Frye is merely a reserve getting paid to sit the bench. In these Finals, Frye only played a grand total of 11 minutes (Basketball-Reference). Sure he’s a 7-footer who can efficiently shoot three’s, but he is a great defensive liability further proving that he is severely over-paid.

  • Kyle Korver

Cavs had only signed Kyle Korver for this season only paying him $5.23M (Hoops Hype). In his career, Korver is #7 all-time in 3-point field goal percentage (43.1%) in the regular season. However, he is #72 all-time in 3-point field goal percentage (38.6%) in the post-season (Basketball-Reference). Not the most reliable shooter when it counts most. Korver played about 19 minutes per game (97 minutes total) in the Finals. In the time he played he shot 16 three’s connecting only on 5 of them resulting in him shooting just 31% from beyond the arc (Basketball-Reference). Korver is 36 years-old unclutch shooter and I will be very surprised if the Cavs sign him to an extension.

  • Richard Jefferson

Cavs gave 36-year old Richard Jefferson a multi-year $2.5M contract which expires in 2019 (Hoops Hype). MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR DEAL FOR 2 MORE YEARS?! RICHARD JEFFERSON?! Mind you this is the guy who contemplated retirement last year. I don’t know what Cleveland was thinking with this one. Why sign a 36-year old who is a shell of himself? They would’ve been better off signing a guy from the D-League! But on a serious note, Jefferson does bring veteran leadership and tried to somewhat contain Finals MVP Kevin Durant who averaged 35 PPG, shooting 55% from the field, 47% from 3, and 93% from the free throw line. And, in the 83 minutes he played, he only made 1 3-pointer shooting just 11% from beyond in the entirety of the series (Basketball-Reference). Father Time is undefeated and Richard Jefferson is not getting any younger or more dynamic as a ball player, so once again: WHY SIGN THIS MAN TO A MULTI-YEAR CONTRACT DEAL?

  • Deron Williams

Deron Williams signed the veteran minimum which is worth $400K for this year only (Hoops Hype). Supposedly, Williams was deemed to be the playmaker LeBron and the Cavs were desiring in order to put them in the best position for a repeat. But the exact opposite happened. Williams, who is 32-years old going on 40, looked completely outmatched the entire Finals. In the 61 minutes he played, Williams only made 2 field goals, dished out only 6 assists, and turned the ball over 5 times (Basketball-Reference). There’s no assessment needed after seeing the terrible stats Williams posted in these Finals. If Williams wants to save face and not slip a disc while trying to walk the ball up the floor, I suggest he do one thing, and one thing only: RETIRE ASAP!

  • Kevin Love

Kevin Love is currently under a multi-year contract with a player option in 2020 worth about $25.5M (Hoops Hype). The reason why Kevin Love is on this “doomed” list of players likely to be moved in the offseason is because he has consistently come up small in moments when the Cavs need him the most. In a must-win Game 3, Love only recorded 9 points. Cavs loss 118-113. In Game 5, Love had the same amount of points as Warriors rookie reserve, Patrick McCaw, which was 6 points. Cavs loss the game 120-129! Imagine if Love doesn’t underachieve and actually makes an impact in those key moments in these Finals… But those hypotheticals aren’t important as of now. Now, the real hypothetical is: where will the Cavs trade Love this offseason? In a perfect world, Love will get traded to the Indiana Pacers for Paul George who won’t mind taking a pretty big pay-cut and shapeshift his role in order to play best with James and Irving.

All in all, the window to win championships is closing steadily and LeBron’s 3-4 years of dominance is gradually declining in a similar fashion. Cavs have put themselves in a bad spot by overpaying mediocre players and has-beens, but with a little luck and execution, the Cavs can still be a legit contender against the Warriors for several more years.

 

3 Time’s a Charm

Cleveland has their work cut out for them. Last year, they had to grind out a series victory versus the best regular season team in NBA history. Now, the Cavs have to go up against the best team ever assembled which includes the core of the 73-win Warriors team with the addition of Kevin Durant. Despite the odds being against Cleveland, they still do have a chance to win.

The time has come. On June 1st at 9 PM, the Cleveland Cavaliers will travel west to face off against the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors are heavily favored to win the title but the Cavs could be the opponent to spoil their anticipated champagne showers. Why do the Cavs have the best chance to defeat the most talented team ever assembled? Here are the reasons:

  • New Acquisitions

Over the course of the season, the Cavs acquired Derrick Williams, Deron Williams, and Kyle Korver (Andrew Bogut was also a major addition but his season was ended in literally 2 minutes so I guess it wasn’t meant to be). I doubt that Derrick Williams will play major minutes in the Finals, but if the Cavs should play him, he is a versatile, athletic forward who has the ability to shoot the ball and spread the floor. Now, Kyle Korver will be a major component for the Cavs. Since he will most likely be a liability to Cleveland on defense, Korver will have to sink just about every single three-point shot he attempts. If Korver is able to consistently be a threat from the perimeter, he will force the Warrior’s defense to stay at home which will help Kyrie and LeBron do what they do best. Deron Williams is obviously the other primary ballhandler which will help take pressure off Kyrie and LeBron. With Deron, he will need to be aggressive when the opportunity presents itself (like he was vs. BOS in Game 5) and not defer immediately to LeBron or Kyrie; it will make the Cavs’ offensive attack not solely based on isolation play which can become oversaturated and predictable.

  • Cleveland vs. The World

The core of this 73-win Warriors team still remains intact with the addition of the league’s second-best player, Kevin Durant. Logically, if the Warriors team, prior to KD, was up 3-1 in a series they eventually lost, then surely this year’s Warriors superteam will be destined to win now with KD coming to save the day. However, the beautiful thing about sports is the unpredictability and drastic shift of momentum from game-to-game. Right now, everyone is counting the Cavs out and giving them no chance. Surely, the players are aware of this and will be intrigued to silence all the doubters. During interviews with the media, LeBron and the Cavs are innately-trained to be humble, acknowledge and praise the extraordinary talents of the Warriors. But, from a competitor’s standpoint behind closed doors, the Cavs don’t find the Warriors intimidating at all. At the end of the day, the Warriors have home-court advantage but the Cavs are the defending champs.

  • Kyrie “Uncle Drew” Irving

He’s already deemed the best ballhandler to ever play this game. And, without question, he has proven that he is the go-to guy during critical moments in the game (“The Shot” in game 7 vs. Warriors during 2016 Finals, the 42-point performance in game 4 vs. Celtics during 2017 ECF). Since game 1 of the 2015 NBA Finals and the entirety of last year’s NBA Finals, Kyrie has proven to be a far better asset and leader to his team than Steph Curry. In last year’s finals, Kyrie averaged 28 points per game while shooting 48 percent from the field. On the other hand, Curry averaged only 22 points per game while shooting only 42 percent from the field. With Kyrie on the floor, the Warriors have to worry about an explosive-scoring guard who is very capable of taking and making any shot, anywhere, at any time. LeBron put it best when he stated: “He [Kyrie] was born to perform and make big plays during key moments in the game.”

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  • LeBron “The King” James

LeBron is the best player in the game. He just passed The G.O.A.T, Michael Jordan, to become the leading scorer in NBA playoff history. Just to add, LeBron needs to make only 2 three’s to pass Reggie Miller and become the second-leading three-point scorer in NBA playoff history. And, I almost forgot! This finals appearance in 2017 will be LeBron’s 7th in a row! So, LeBron is used to this stage. However, this will be LeBron’s biggest challenge thus far in his career. KD is licking his chops, in the west, waiting to carry out his revenge after getting swept by LeBron in the 2012 NBA Finals. KD is obviously one of the best/unique scorers this league has ever seen. LeBron and the Cavs will have to try and contain KD and the Warriors’ high-octane offense to the best of their ability. If everyone plays their role and remains fundamentally-sound defensively to create more offensive possessions, then there’s no doubt that LeBron can and will find gaps in the defense in order to exploit the Warriors from the inside-out.

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Without a doubt, this will be one of the most anticipated matchups in the history of sports. The series between these two juggernauts is tied 1-1 and this third meeting at the grand stage could potentially be the conclusion to an amazing rivalry. Players on both sides are healthy so the matchups are very promising ensuring an ultra-competitive series. Like ESPN analyst, Stephen A. Smith, declared: “THERE ARE NO EXCUSES!” Players’ legacies will be on the line. Who will rise to the top and be the cream of the crop?