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Offseason Blueprint: The Detroit Pistons are an NBA basketball team. Hopefully, they can remind fans of that in the next few years.
The playoffs continue to rage on, but there are 26 teams sitting at home with nothing to do but twiddle their thumbs, watch the Conference Finals, and wait for next season to start. For their sake, we wanted to look ahead with the next edition of the OFFSEASON BLUEPRINT series. In each, we'll preview some big decisions and make some recommendations for plans of attack along the way. Today, we're looking at the Detroit Pistons. step one: weave a new narrative Some teams are good, some teams are bad -- but almost all of them have a general direction. Are you a young team on the rise? Or a veteran team trying to squeeze out as many wins as possible? Right now, the Detroit Pistons are in a wonky grey area. They're missing an identity. When they tried to make the playoffs, they were fairly mediocre (records of 37-45, 39-43, 41-41). When injuries hit this past season, they plummeted down to 20-46. While that generally suggests a young and rebuilding team, the roster doesn't reflect that yet. Their marquee players are Blake Griffin (age 31) and Derrick Rose (age 31.) They also have a veteran coach in Dwane Casey who's more accustomed to competing than rebuilding. All in all, they feel like a confused, forgotten franchise. Fortunately, there's a new sheriff in town. The team hired a new GM in Troy Weaver, who had been Sam Presti's right-hand man in Oklahoma City. Weaver's been on the verge of a GM job for several years now, and his hire represents something of a coup for this embattled organization. Going forward, the franchise needs to hold the keys over to Weaver and allow him free reign to do whatever he wants. Back in OKC, he had experience with a variety of makeups: with a rebuilding team, with a contending team, with a rebuilding-wait-whoops-we're-accidentally-pretty-darn-good team. It's up to him to look at this roster and this payroll and determine the best path forward from here. step two: hold a garage sale for your old homeowner's property Presumably, Troy Weaver will treat this project as more of a teardown than a remodel. Mainstay center Andre Drummond is already out of the door, and the other veterans may join him on the bus out of Detroit. Unfortunately, that may be easier said than done. It makes a lot of sense to trade star PF Blake Griffin to a veteran team, but his injuries and his contract ($37M + $39M player option) would make that difficult from a logistical perspective. There's a chance that a desperate team may be willing to roll the dice on Griffin. Throughout his career, he's been one of the more misunderstood players in the league. People want to treat him as an athlete-dunker only, but he's actually a skilled ballhandler and passer. In his last healthy season in 2018-19, he averaged 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 5.4 assists, and even showcased an improved three-point shot (36.2% on 7.0 attempts per game.) If healthy, he'd be a major difference maker to a team like Portland. Still, teams aren't going to give up major assets for Blake Griffin until he proves that he is healthy. From Detroit's perspective, it makes more sense to wait to trade him. They need him to come back, put up some good stats, and then float him in offers. Right now, you'd be trading Griffin for 20 cents on the dollar. In contrast, Derrick Rose's stock may be at a high. He put up good raw numbers this year (18.1 points, 5.6 assists), and he's on a reasonable $7.5M expiring contract. He'd be a positive addition to a playoff team, best served as a Sixth Man scorer. The Pistons and their fans like Rose (and he likes playing here), but it'd be irresponsible for them to not consider trade options. If they get any decent offers, they have to pull the trigger. If the offers are weak -- R2 picks or so -- then the team can keep him around as a veteran leader and placeholder starter. step three: don't let your breakout break out As bad as the Pistons were, they had a few bright spots. Derrick Rose played better than expected. Luke Kennard looks on track to be a rising starter. And, most surprising of all, rando Christian Wood broke out as a legitimate NBA player. As a starter, Wood averaged 21.9 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. Wood is a springy, energetic player who also has an improving range (40% from three as a starter.) You can read a longer deep dive about Christian Wood here, but to sum it up. A) His production looks legitimate, as he's been putting up numbers in virtually every stop as a pro. But B) His breakout may be poorly timed for the Pistons, because he's slated for free agency and about to get more expensive. He's a 24 year old whose best days should be ahead of him. Based purely on his stats and scouting profile, you could talk yourself into a contract closing in on $15M a year for Wood. However, players with his "pedigree" (undrafted, limited sample size) rarely get that type of contract right away. To me, paying him somewhere in the range of 3 years, $36M would be a fair deal on both sides. There's too much uncertainty to justify much more of a commitment. Of course, the Pistons should know better than any of us whether to trust Wood. Prior to this year, he had a mixed reputation in terms of his basketball IQ and work habits. If Coach Casey can sign off on Wood's character, then the team can feel more comfortable with him as a building block. If there are still red flags, perhaps it's better not to get too attached. The Pistons have more cap room than most teams this offseason, so the money shouldn't be a major deterrent to this decision. It should be entirely about Wood as a person and a player. If you believe that he's the real deal, then you keep him around. step four: find your next field general Christian Wood is a solid young player -- Luke Kennard is a solid young player -- but these aren't franchise players. They're secondary scorers and members of a supporting cast. To truly advance to the promised land, the Detroit Pistons are going to need to find transcendent talent, somehow and some way. Unfortunately, the NBA Draft Lottery didn't help. The Pistons slipped down from the # 5 slot to the # 7 pick, making it unlikely that they'll land a future star. On the bright side, the "supply and demand" may be on their side. This draft class happens to be heavy with point guards. There's LaMelo Ball (the # 1 prospect on ESPN), Killian Hayes (the # 1 prospect on The Ringer), and Tyrese Haliburton (one of the safer picks in the class.) If any of them slip down to # 7, the Pistons should strongly consider them. It usually takes a point guard a year or two to find their footing, but they can sit behind Derrick Rose for a year and then get unleashed in 2021. From a personality standpoint, Rose isn't going to mentor and educate like Aristotle, but he's capable of soaking up 25 minutes and allowing the next PG some time to develop. If those top guards are not available (and they are unlikely to be), the Pistons may have to take some chances. One name I'm intrigued by is R.J. Hampton. On face value, that'd be a "reach." Like LaMelo Ball, Hampton was a top high school prospect who went off to play in the Australian league. Unlike Ball, his NBA stock suffered as a result. While Ball put up numbers (17-8-7), Hampton put up weak stats -- 8.8 points, 2.4 assists on 41-30-68 shooting splits. As a result, Ball is now locked into top 3 pick status, and Hampton is seeing his name ranked around the 10-20 range in mock drafts. However, I'd defend Hampton to some degree. We have to consider the context here. LaMelo Ball joined a struggling team called Illawarra. With Ball, the team went 3-9 (and finished 5-23.) When you're playing on a bad team like that, you can be the "star" and jack up as many shots as you want. In contrast, Hampton joined the New Zealand Breakers, a better team that relegated him to 20.6 minutes a night and a more limited role. His raw stats may not do him justice. No doubt, Hampton has a long way to go, especially as a shooter. At the same time, he's a big lead guard (6'4" with a 6'7" wingspan) who flashes a lot of explosive scoring ability when he's getting downhill to the hoop. He's also a smart kid and allegedly a good worker. There's some legitimate "star" potential here, even if it's a narrow bull's eye. Hampton doesn't have the same athleticism as Russell Westbrook (hardly anyone does) but maybe there's a parallel here. After all, Weaver and OKC selected Westbrook after he'd been a little under the radar after playing off the ball at UCLA. To be clear, I'm not urging Detroit to take R.J. Hampton at # 7. I'm not endorsing him as a future star like Westbrook. I don't know enough to do that; I don't sit around and splice up tape of New Zealand basketball. Still, the point is, the Pistons should be looking at upside players in that vein, knowing that they're going to need to hit a home run in the future. step five: keep one hand on the detonator The Detroit Pistons only have $68M committed on the books for next season, which means they could be players in free agency even if they re-sign Christian Wood. If the team decided to go "all in" in a desperate attempt to compete, then you could maybe talk yourself into retaining Blake Griffin, handing out a big contract for Fred VanVleet, and shooting for the playoffs. That may work. But to what end...? The 7th seed? The 8th seed? Is that the end goal here? More realistically, the team should (as discussed) try to get Blake Griffin back and fully healthy in order to showcase him for a trade. After that, they'd then dive into a full rebuild. Presuming that's going to be the ultimate destination, then the Pistons may as well get a jump on that with free agency. With their remaining cap space, they can take on a toxic asset that comes attached with future picks, or take some fliers on young and promising players. Among my favorite gamblers of this offseason may include PG Kris Dunn (CHI), SG Denzel Valentine (CHI), SF Josh Jackson (MEM), and C Harry Giles (SAC.) None of them should draw huge money offers, making them reasonable purchases and lottery tickets. If the Pistons end up blowing it up, then they should play their younger players over the course of the season. That should mean a lot of Sekou Doumbouya (entering Year 2) and even some Thon Maker (entering Year 42). If that means you only win 25-30 games, that's all right. It'll only help your odds for next year's lottery. I've mentioned this before with some potential tankers (CLE, CHA, etc), but next year's draft could be quite strong. The group is headlined by point forward Cade Cunningham (heading to Oklahoma State) and scoring swingman Jalen Green (heading to the G-League), but there are about 4-5 other players who have the potential to join the # 1 pick conversation in time. The Detroit Pistons aren't likely to be bad enough to get a top 3 pick on their own, but the flattened lottery odds make it possible for the 7th or 8th worst team to leapfrog into that territory. Of course, before Weaver and the Pistons officially press the detonator and go into full-blown rebuild/tank mode, they need to have a heart to heart with Coach Casey. He's 63 years old already, and entering the third year of a five-year deal. Is he going to embrace the rebuild? Is he going to be the scapegoat if they rack up losses? They need to get on the same page, out of fairness to Casey and out of fairness to this franchise. A reasonable solution would be to promise Casey that, if he does tank like a good soldier, he'll still be retained for next season. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will chrome. previous offseason blueprints ATL, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, IND, GS, LAC, MIL, MIN, NYK, POR, SA, SAC, UTA
I submitted my DNA sample to a famous website and I just found out that I have a 52 year old first cousin who lives in California.
This is going to be a long read.....TL/DR at the bottom. Curious about my heritage, I submitted my DNA to two very reputable companies that asks you to basically spit into a little tube, secure it in a little zip lock bag and mail it out to them. I received my results about six weeks later and when I went to the actual website to check out my results, I clicked on a tab that gives you the option to see who else has submitted their DNA and how we are matched (genetically). I found that many relatives that I know were at the top of my lists (on the two sites). The way it works, is that the person whose DNA is closest to mine will appear at the top of the list as "potential" relatives. On both sites, I saw the name "John Doe" - name changed obv. - at the very top of my list. He was listed as a first cousin. I decided to check my inbox and saw that he had sent me a message weeks ago. (I rarely check those sites). He sent me a message stating that he saw that I was listed as his first cousin and if possible, could I contact him to see if I had any information about his birth father. He went on to explain that by this point, he had already connected with his birth mother's side of the family and they all accepted him and he is now considered part of their family. I decided to make the call. My cousin told me that he was born in California, put up for adoption and was raised in foster care until he was finally placed with a nice family. Since our genetic profile was so similar, he wanted to know if I could give him any information about his birth father. When he started asking questions, he told me that he was able to find his adoption paperwork from a Christian adoption agency. I thought, "hmmm, that's interesting. Maybe I can provide some insight about our side of the family." I wanted to help him as much as I could since I knew he was desperately trying to piece together any bit of information involving his father's side of the family. My mother (RIP) has three brothers. My oldest uncle is like a second father to me. He actually married my dad's sister so his three kids are my "double first cousins." We all grew up together as one big happy family. We shared all four grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc. We live in Texas so NEVER did I think that he could possibly be the son of any of my mother's brothers. I was thinking that he was most likely the child of one my mother's many first cousins who lived in California then and continue to live there now. Then, he emailed me the adoption records. His biological mother had provided all of the information to the agency; thus leaving this as an open adoption situation. When I read the summary, his bio mom stated that the father didn't know about the baby and that he had already left California to return to his home state of Texas. I didn't think much of it until there it was in black and white, my uncle's name was listed as the biological father. I almost fell off my chair. He was 19 years old when he fathered my cousin. At the time, my uncle (and my mom) would go to California in the summers to work as migrants in the fields alongside my grandparents. At summer's end, both he and my mother would travel back to Texas to resume their studies at their respective universities. I sent him a picture of my mom and my uncle. I heard my cousin's wife let out a loud gasp. She told me that my cousin looked exactly like my uncle. Soon thereafter, my cousin and his wife started sending me pictures. I was gobsmacked. He looks more like my uncle than my first cousins that live here. He is basically my uncle's doppelganger. I was in shock. My uncle is like a second father to my brother and me. I don't think I would've been as shocked if my younger uncles had fathered this young man. They were wild in their younger years. But no, as it turns out, my "second father" has a son he never knew about. As it turns out, he (my uncle) has four beautiful grandkids, one of which (was a semi famous) football player at a Big Ten University. My uncle has two great grandchildren. A son, grandchildren and great grandchildren that he never knew about. My cousin had so many questions. He knew absolutely NOTHING about his paternal side of the family. In a matter of two hours, I provided a door into our lives. He and his wife were crying. I was crying. I felt a connection to him. His voice sounds like my uncle's. His sense of humor and his love for his family and tender heart remind me so much of my uncle. Now comes the hard part. I called my father to tell him about everything that I had just uncovered. My father isn't an asshole but he is a very private person who doesn't take to change well. As I gave him more information, he interrupted me and demanded that I CEASE communication with my cousin. He stated that I've lived 45 years without knowing him so why should I begin to even care now? He warned me that this could be a scam to extort money from our family. We are not rich. My father lives forty miles away and I asked him to drive to my house immediately because I was NOT going to go through this alone. When he arrived, he was still quite skeptical about the whole thing. Being a man with a Master's Degree and an IQ of (not sure what it is but it's high), he insisted that this could be a hoax. I told him, "even if this was some random man claiming to be my uncle's son, GENETICS AND DNA DON'T LIE." I had printed out all of the pictures my cousin sent me because I wanted my father to see them on paper; rather than scroll through my camera roll on my phone. Every time he tried to deny that this man wasn't my uncle's biological child, BAM, I'd place a picture of my cousin on the table for him to see. Still, stubbornly, he'd say, "he looks nothing like your uncle or your cousins." Then, BAM, two more pictures. His eyes widened, he looked uncomfortable and continued to deny that this man was related to us. Again, BAM....more pictures. After that, I presented my father with the adoption agency's summary. As he read it, I could see that he was trembling. Keep in mind, as I mentioned earlier, his sister is married to my uncle. Finally, he placed the pictures and the adoption papers to the side and looked me in the eyes. He said, "You are never to speak of this. You will cease all communication with this young man TODAY. Yes, I do know that he is genetically tied to you and your mother's side of the family but SO BE IT."He stayed quiet, most like processing everything and finally said, "If my sister finds out, SHE WILL DIE." (My aunt suffers from high blood pressure). I started crying, calling him a "cold and insensitive man." I asked him, "what would you do if you found out that there was a HUMAN BEING out there that could possibly be YOUR SON?" I told him that this occurred when my uncle was NINETEEN. Yes, he was engaged to be married to my aunt but nonetheless. He was a kid who made a mistake. My father replied, "It would devastate me." However, he reiterated that we will be taking this information to the GRAVE. I talked to my brother about it and he said the same thing (my brother is an asshole). I know that dropping a bomb like this would shake up my family to it's core. However, my heart breaks for my cousin. He wants to know so much about his dad. I'm 45 years old. I'm old enough to make my own fucking decisions. My father, as much as I love and respect him, is NOT going to dictate who I allow, and don't allow into my life. My father ended up telling my uncle. I couldn't stand not knowing what my uncle was thinking or feeling so I finally made the decision to call him. I asked him to please go into a room where we could have a private conversation. I didn't have to say a word before he began speaking. The first thing he said was, "Mi'jita, I had no idea about any of this. It was the 60's. We were hippies." I kind of chuckled at that but then he told me, "If this gets out, your aunt will kick me out of the house. I WILL LOSE EVERYTHING. My wife, my children, my grandchildren." As tears were streaming down my face, I promised him that I would, indeed, take this to the grave. I have to respect his wishes. This is not my story to tell. Since then, my cousin and I have been communicating on a daily basis. I told him that sadly, we may not have the "happy ending" that we were hoping for. He understood. I'm sure it hurt him but I assured him that I would always be there for him as an extension of the one side of his family that he knew NOTHING about before. He asked so many questions. It saddened me to think that our whole lives, we grew up in a loving, nurturing, and stable environment. The irony in this situation is that during this exact time, I had a first cousin who was entangled in the foster care system. I'm not knocking the system itself, but he did share some very sad stories from his past. I gave him our family's medical history. He shares many of my uncle's afflictions. He promised me that if his father decides to never reach out to him, he would leave it at that and not create chaos within our family. He is a kind, hard working family man. I feel such a strong connection to him but this is NOT about me or how I feel. I need to respect my uncle's wishes; however, I am not going to be cruel and cut my cousin out of my life. Our daily conversations have turned into daily texts now. In a perfect world, we'd invite my cousin, his wife, his kids and grandkids to come and meet us all. I'd love to be at the airport holding up signs welcoming him to our city (and metaphorically, family). I know that that's never going to happen. Edit: I realize that this is an "Advice" Subreddit and some have pointed out that I haven't asked for advice. I apologize for that. I feel like I'm drowning here and desperately need your advice. I've read through many replies who have offered a lot of advice and that's exactly what I was looking for. Thank you so much for helping me. TL;DR: I submitted my DNA to two reputable companies. My results came in and as it turns out, I have a first cousin who lives states away who was fathered by my uncle 52 years ago. My family wants me to cease communication. I refuse to.
Source: https://www.bungie.net/en/News/Article/49527 On this day, six years ago, players all over the world began a grand adventure. Since then, over 167 million Guardians have joined our ranks and championed the Light for over 8.6 billion hours. During that time, this community has answered the call time and time again, raising over $8.5 million for Little Lights and worthy causes all over the world. So, when it comes to defending humanity, whether you’re in the 31% that smash, the 31% that love space magic, or the 38% that make cloaks look good, we’re humbled that you have chosen to make the Tower your home. And now, as we stand at the precipice of a new era, ready to step beyond the Light, we should at least have some cake first. So, let’s light the candles and celebrate with the friends we’ve made in this truly incredible community. From the Farm to the Moon, it’s been a wild ride and we’re incredibly proud to have you at our sides for all of it. Here’s to the future – happy birthday, Destiny. Keep reading for a few birthday surprises to help you join the celebration as well as a couple of updates on new ways to play our favorite game.
Destiny Birthday Cake
Infinite cake technology still eludes us, but Victoria Rosenthal is getting closer! Not one to slow down after knocking it out of the park with the official Destiny cookbook, she’s here to share her “Infinite Forest” Chocolate Cake with all of us. Find all the instructions you’ll need to transmat yours below. Image Linkimgur Difficulty: Hard Prep Time: 24 hours Cook Time: 2 hours Servings: 1 cake Dietary Notes: Dairy Cherry Filling Ingredients: ¾ pound cherries (fresh or frozen), pitted and cut in half 2 tbsp water 3 tbsp honey ¼ cup sugar Image Linkimgur
The night before, combine cherries, water, honey, and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes (if using frozen cherries, simmer for about 45 minutes). Cook until the liquid has reduced by ¼. Place the mixture in a bowl, cover, and allow to rest in the refrigerator overnight. Cake Ingredients: ¾ cup cocoa powder ⅓ cup cherry fruit spread ¾ cup hot water 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp salt 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 1 ½ cups sugar 2 eggs, room temperature 1 tbsp vanilla extract ¾ cup sour cream Image Linkimgur Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk together cocoa powder, cherry fruit spread, and hot water in a small bowl. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Image Linkimgur Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time. Mix in vanilla extract. Add the cocoa powder mixture. Image Linkimgur Mix in half of the flour until it just comes together. Mix in the sour cream. Add the remainder of the flour and mix until fully combined. Image Linkimgur Spray two 9-inch baking pans with nonstick spray. Split the batter between the two pans and place in the oven to bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until done. Remove the cakes from the baking pans and allow to cool completely. Frosting Ingredients: 1 ½ cups butter, room temperature 16 oz cream cheese, room temperature ½ tbsp vanilla extract ¼ cup maraschino cherry liqueur 4 cups confectioners’ sugar Image Linkimgur Place the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl and mix together. Add the vanilla extract and maraschino cherry liqueur. Once mixed together, begin to slowly add the confectioners’ sugar. Whisk until the frosting thickens. Additional Ingredients: Fresh cherries to top, optional Image Linkimgur To assemble the cake, make sure both cake layers are level. Place the bottom layer on a plate and top with a portion of the frosting. Add the cherry filling in the center, spreading it close to the edge but not completely. Cover the filling with additional frosting. Top with the other layer of cake. Top with the remaining frosting. Decorate with fresh cherries on top. Image Linkimgur Image Linkimgur
A new poster inspired by some of Destiny’s most beloved characters went live on the Bungie Store today (US/EU), but if you can’t wait for shipping to get it to you, here’s a glorious digital HD preview. Image Linkimgur
Starting on September 22, both Forsaken and Shadowkeep are coming to Xbox Game Pass! That makes this the perfect time to binge the story before it’s time to get your passport stamped and head off to Europa.
Beyond Light Stasis Deep Dives
Last week, we began unveiling details around the three new Stasis subclasses in Beyond Light. Starting with the Warlock Shadebinder, we followed that up with the Titan Behemoth. The final deep dive focusing on the Hunter Revenant went live yesterday. They're a fantastic read if we do say so ourselves and (much like a fireteam) function as three pieces of a whole. So, in case you missed any, you can find them here: Warlock Shadebinder Image Linkimgur Titan Behemoth Image Linkimgur Hunter Revenant [[[data-content-id='49519' data-template-type='Inline' ]] Now let’s blow out these candles, get our coats, and dance with the Darkness.
While this season has been massively impacted by COVID. I am probably the most hyped for the QB's than I have been in a while. Easily my favorite class since 2018 and easily the best since 2012 which is 1983 of all QB classes. 1983 featured six quarterbacks were taken in the first round—John Elway, Todd Blackledge, Jim Kelly, Tony Eason, Ken O'Brien, and Dan Marino. Three ended up as Hall of Famers. 2012 featured first-round draft picks Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, and Brandon Weeden, as well as third-rounder Russell Wilson. By season's end, three more rookie quarterbacks would start their first games – third-round draft pick Nick Foles, fourth-rounder Kirk Cousins, and sixth-rounder Ryan Lindley. While Luck retired early due to injuries ended what would be a hall of fame career, Russell Wilson looks like a lock for the hall and potentially the greatest QB in NFL history if he continues at this pace. Cousins and Tannehill have solidified themselves as legit starting QBs and Foles is a super bowl MVP. This class features 12 guys to really watch and to me, four really special QBs in Trevor Lawrence, Trey Lance, Justin Fields, and D'Eriq King. Brock Purdy, Iowa State, Jamie Newman, Georgia, Sam Ehlinger, Texas, Kyle Trask, Florida, Shane Buechele, SMU. Kellen Mond, TAMU, K.J. Costello, Mississippi State and Tanner Morgan, QB, Minnesota. Sunshine (Lawrence) is probably the most talented QB prospect to enter since Elway. Elite arm, arm talent, mobility, size, field vision, and has tremendous Football IQ. He has flaws, he has the Elway/Cutler syndrome where instead of anticipating where the WR is going to be, he sees them open which he can get away with but not always. He gets happy feet at times in a muddy pocket and wants to run. He needs playmakers more than he MAKES playmakers. Lance has the best tape of the four horsemen. Best deep ball. 2nd best anticipation (King), 2nd best athlete (King), best system flexibility, 2nd best decision-maker (King), the closest prospect to Andrew Luck they say and I agree. His tape is amazing but like Luck, has flaws. Lance barely had a muddy pocket, only 14 sacks in 16 games. He was a big part of it with his pocket mobility but it wasn't that damn good. He rarely had to go to 3rd and 4th options but he did so well. 0 INTs but without elements, it's kinda hard to really evaluate is it real or not. Fields has tremendous talent, size, the athletic ability for his size, arm strength, and is a solid decision-maker. What I like the most about Fields is his projectability and how well-coached he is as a prospect for a dual-threat guy. While I don't think he's superior QB wise to Haskins, he's a McNabb like athlete and I think he will translate as a solid starting QB in year 1. I do think translating to the NFL will be harder for him than people think but like Josh Allen, he has just enough athletic ability and size to really make things happen in the NFL and his arm is crazy strong as well. Just pure God-given talent and really well-coached. King is the best QB in this class to ME overall. He reminds me the most of Burrow who was the best QB in the draft to me last year. A system QB who's best in a spread like Kyler Murray. He was PFF's best QB in 2018 in college football and he's on his way to being the best QB in 2020 as well. Like Burrow, he's an older QB, in fact, he's the same age(23) as Burrow and I think that gives him a lot of advantage over TL, JF, and TL who are all 20-21 years old. While he is similar to Burrow, he has elite elusiveness and break tackle ability like a running back. His flaws to me is his size, system flexibility, unlike Burrow, I would like him to have more pocket mobility like Wilson to counteract the lack of size, and he could still work to improve his arm talent like we have seen Wilson do when he joined the Seahawks. When I like a guy, I like him and I gave him a 1st round grade last year if he entered so why not again. Others: Brock Purdy, Iowa State, Jamie Newman, Georgia, Sam Ehlinger, Texas, Kyle Trask, Florida, Shane Buechele, SMU. Kellen Mond, TAMU, K.J. Costello, Mississippi State and Tanner Morgan, QB, Minnesota. Purdy has a lot of Baker Mayfield in him including being bad in a muddy pocket. I just don't like him as much as Baker because well, Baker's production was insane. I think Purdy realistically is a 2nd round grade. Newman has shades of Daunte Culpepper with his deep ball and his tremendous playmaking ability. He lacks the ability to just simply move the chains so personnel will be key with him. The talent and playmaking ability is exceptional but does he fit the modern NFL if he doesn't land on one of these big-play teams is the question. He has tremendous value in the 2nd or 3rd round. Trask never started a HS game but that's okay because D'eriq King was their QB. Still, Trask got major SEC D1 offers and King did not. Trask had a good first year with the Gators and showed that he's a NFL level QB. I really feel he's in the mold of Kirk Cousins but with more size to boot which will impress scouts. 2nd or 3rd round grade. Sam Ehlinger, Texas, Shane Buechele, SMU, Kellen Mond, TAMU, K.J. Costello, Mississippi State, and Tanner Morgan are all 4th to 5th rounders to me. Ehlinger's best shades are a better throwing Tebow which I disagree with because Tebow was a much better football player than Sam is and Taysom Hill which I think actually makes some sense. As a backup, I like him overall. Buechele is a tremendous system QB in the mold of Case Keenum. Keenum has had a tremendous career as a 2012 undrafted QB. In today's NFL where they are looking for QB's like Buechele as backups over the game managers. I expect Buechele to be taken in the 5th round as the game is changing for backup QBs. Mond has raw but impactful arm strength, productive, and is an athletic QB who some teams love to bet on as a 1st rounder type. Some will say he's as talented as Jordan Love but I will argue that Love is a far better NFL prospect as he can throw into tight windows and while his decision making needs to improve as well as his mechanics, his arm talent is not off the charts as well. Now, he's a better prospect than someone like Kizer because he is productive, I have a tough time with inconsistent Black QB's almost all either have to produce or they are career backups. They don't get the time that white QB's get. I do think he's a 2nd round talent but I gave him a 5th round grade. Morgan is a damn relic to me. The Matt Hasselbeck QB's are on the way out. Matt Ryan is the last of the Mohicans. My big issue with him for his style of QB, I would prefer he would be 6'4-6-6. Being that he's 6'2, he needs to be a lot more mobile than he is and I do think he has a strong NFL future but he's a backup at best to me. 4th to 5th round grade. Overall, I love this QB class. It's deep, has tremendous top-heavy talent, and is worth talking about. I wasn't hyped at all about last year's class and Kyler Murray is a system QB and thankfully went to the right system. This is a class, you have a chance to hit big with a QB. I think teams should consider a QB this year even if you have one already entrenched.
Ranting about every single SSBU character - Day 37 : King Dedede
SSBU is agreed to be the most balanced of all the smash games, so naturally all the characters are broken beyond comprehension and I hate them all. Keep in mind that this is not a serious post, I am not directing this at anybody, this is just for fun and to relieve the immense amount of salt I've accumulated Day 37 : King Dedede As a Hammer main in Monster Hunter, I really wanted to like King Dedede. But I just don't gel well with zoning styles. Wait, why am I being kind? I don't fucking like camping, is what I'm trying to say. Why did I bring up Monster Hunter? I'm just beyond hyped for Monster Hunter Rise. Generally, changing a single move isn't going to have a massive impact on a character, unless that move was a mainstay in their playstyle (Corrin's Pin comes to mind). But, in my opinion, it was a huge mistake to make Inhale a reflector. I can already feel the ground quaking from all the Dedede mains rushing in to defend their monarch, but we'll get there when we get there. Dedede's playstyle is all about having a Gordo out and about as much as possible while they run in whirling their hammer. It's a very linear and dull plan, but you can't really fault them here, since their slow speed spells a death sentence if they attempt to engage in fisticuffs. "Wait, is this the right series?" you may be asking, "This is rants, right? When did you start lactating the milk of human kindness?" Let me finish. Gordos have a huge weakness that even I can't be mad about, because it's one of those rare instances where a move is properly balanced and thought out. In return for their solid stage control, they can be reflected by any move dealing at least 2%, which is literally most jabs. Previously, Dedede would have to keep an eye out for a returning Gordo, and airdodge or side B at the right time to throw it back, which was a pretty good strategy play. Do they pressure, or do they be wary. Now of course they get Inhale to reflect, so as soon as their yeeting animation is over they just have you stand there, mouth gaping like an avian Sarlacc pit, waiting for you to hit it in. It's absolutely stupid because either you hit it and get it reflected into your eye sockets or you try to get around and, which they can punish. This has now become the standard Dedede gameplay, and it's sad to see what it has devolved to from 4. Outside of this, Gordos are especially frustrating when you're offstage since they can just toss them forever, and if you manage to grab to ledge, they keep a Gordo out while they charge a smash. This is, according to Dededes, a tight ledgetrapping game, because as everyone knows they were the first to ever discover that an independent projectile is excellent for forcing ledge options which they can punish with wide range smashes. Just Mensa level IQ, these guys. Dedede mains, having a not entirely unexpected lack of understanding of how much to use a joke, will crouch on you at whichever chance they get, which, why would the game not let you taunt online but then leave that in? The Dtilt comes out real fast too, so you're not gonna be able to curbstomp them for being little pricks. The crouch helps Dedede mains convince themselves that a BMI greater than a regular national income is somehow attractive, because you can see them memeing their character in every Smash comment section and vicariously trying to live out these fantasies through a fat penguin. Dedede's airspeed is slower than a quadriplegic in honey, so most Dededes will simply hover in place, waiting for you to come close, before fastfalling with a fair or bair. Uair takes just long enough for me to consider if there are any upcoming games that can save my Switch from being snapped over my knee. Thanks to his weight, multiple jumps and armored, long distance Up B, Dedede is going to be living longer than most bloodlines. You thought KRool was hard to kill, wait till you do absolutely everything to a Dedede and they just come back and continue tossing Gordos. His Fsmash is the go to for Dedede's top level higher thinking process ledge gameplay, and this move, once it starts charging, comes out deceptively fast. And it's one of the strongest Smashes in the game, which doesn't really check out for a wooden hammer being swung by flabby flippers, but alright. There's nothing much to say about Usmash and Dsmash, but for some reason, nearly all the time after a Dedede does a Smash they immediately Dtilt. I don't really understand why, seeing as most of the time I'm well out of the way, but then I wasn't blessed with the intelligence to figure out that more hitboxes at the ledge = better coverage. Jab allows him to draw you in so he can cancel out and get a grab. I think that covers it all, really. Dedede just isn't that memorable for me, since most Dedede players have a crippling lack of imagination, having used up most of their brain cells figuring out ledge strategies and memes that sing the glory of the only fictional character they could identify with, a rotund, incompetent despot. Hmm? Jet Hammer? People actually get hit by that? Oh my, um, sure... Jet Hammer bad Index of the previous rants
I built a new rig and chose this case for its price, looks, and impressive airflow. My last rig was in a Fractal define R4 and wanted to stick with a brand that was easy to build in with a great reputation. I know there's other cases that are similar (Phanteks, CoolerMaster, Lian Li all have good options for mesh cases).
Is it big enough?
One of the great things about the Meshify C is its smaller size. I loved the idea of building a more compact rig until I watched the 3080 announcement and read the various specs for the AIB cards. Some AIB RTX 3080s are really long and might not fit in this case! Here's the limitations for various configurations of the Meshify C:
Max Card Length (mm)
No front fan
Case fan (25mm)
Anyone looking at the RTX 3080 will find that most variants are longer than 285 mm with the FE coming in exactly 285 and the EVGA XC3 variants at 285.37mm.
AIO Size and mounting location
I wanted the largest AIO that would top-mount in the Meshify C, but I goofed. I ended up getting a 280mm rad (Kraken X63), which only fits while front-mounted. 2x140mm fans will fit on top, but not a 280mm radiator with fans because the brackets that hold the to panel onto the front and rear get in the way. 280mm or 360mm radiators must be front-mounted in the Meshify C.
Problem: My case is too small!
Panic mode. Bought all the parts and now there aren't any RTX 3080s that will fit. Stupid stupid! Time to buy a new case...
Solution: Mount Intake fans outside the case
Rather than mount intake fans on the inside of the case, they can actually be mounted on the outside behind the mesh on the front. There's some limitations though:
Only 120mm fans will fit outside the front of the case
Fans that are 25mm thick require modification (cutting) the plastic behind the front mesh
The first point is simply because the fans are offset and the front panel that houses the front IO won't be able to snap onto the rest of the case. This meant I could not mount the stock 140mm fans on the X63 Kraken to the front outside. 120mm fans do fit, but 15mm slim fans are the way to go if you don't want to modify the case.
Configurations for maximum GPU length
Max Card Length (mm)
120mm intake fan mounted outside the case
240 or 360mm radiator with fans mounted outside the case
280mm radiator with 120mm fans mounted outside the case
Since I had a 280mm radiator, I ditched the stock fans, bought some Noctua NF-A12x25s, and cut up the front panel plastic so it would all fit. This gives me plenty of options of buying an ASUS TUF (300mm), to the EVGA XC3s (285 mm), and the FE (285 mm). Here's a few tips that should help anyone else with new RTX 3080 build in Meshify C:
I recommend 15mm thick fans if mounting outside the case. The front mesh just barely fits with the mod, and even then the fans are pressing the front mesh panel.
Don't pull the filter from the front! I did this and the poo poo brown Notcua fans were showing through, so I had to put the mesh back. Extra work, don't do it.
If you can, just top mount your radiator and front-mount some good slim fans. This is the best setup since you can fit a card up to 340 mm without modding the case. Or heck, get an air cooler because they are cheaper and better :)
Before posting a case pic on Reddit, make sure you flip your radiator so everyone that watched that GN video doesn't crucify you.
In a nutshell: 30 y/o, Miami Heat SF/PF, 6-7, 230lb, All-NBA Candidate 2020 regular-season stats: 19.9/6.7/6.0/1.8/0.6 with 2.2 TOVs on 45.5/24.4/83.4 shooting splits (58.5 TS%), 58 games played 2020 postseason stats: 22.0/4.7/4.0/2.5/0.8 with 3.3 TOVs on 46.8/54.5/85.7 shooting splits (63.0 TS%), 6 games played Nerd stats:25.1% Usage, +6.4 On/Off, +3.54 PIPM (16th) , +6.1 RAPTOR (10th) , +4.1 BPM (Backpicks) (13th) , +5.4 BPM (BBRef) (9th) , +3.08 RPM (23rd) , +2.21 Luck-Adjusted RAPM (12th)
🟢 The Good:
🟢 Efficient volume-scorer; "Jimmy G. Buckets, The 'G' stands for 'Gets'": 21.6 Points/75 on 58.5 TS% (+2.0 rTS%) in the regular-season, 23.8 Points/75 on 63.0 TS% (+5.7 rTS%) in the playoffs thus far
Butler finished the regular-season as Miami's leading scorer. He's highly resourceful at racking up points, utilising strength, speed, craft, handles, and deft touch in the paint to compensate for a jumper that deserts him on occasion. Per Basketball Index, Butler is in the 95th-percentile at off-ball movement and finishing among wings, and in the 93rd percentile for post-scoring. Jimmy Buckets's scoring-breakdown by zone in the 2019-20 regular-season:(per stats.nba.com)
38% of his shot attempts come in the restricted area, where he's finishing at an above-average rate for forwards (64 FG%)
24% of his shot attempts come in the non-restricted area of the paint (a.k.a. "floater range"), where he's also scoring at above-average rate (43.4 FG%)
22% of his shot attempts come from the midrange, where he's unfortunately shot at the 2nd-worst rate in the league (31.7 FG%)
16% of his shot attempts come from 3, where he's shooting at the worst rate in the league (24.8 FG%)
Jimmy uses his strength/speed/footwork combination to bulldoze or finesse his way to the rim and finish through contact, capable of athletic finishes through multiple defenders. When in the post/paint, Jimmy utilises hesitation moves and jab steps effectively, has an effective handle, excellent at keeping defenders on his hips before exploding forward and finishing either at the rim or a bit further out, with a nice little floater off two feet to finish over shotblockers. Butler is also highly physical, using his body to create space - he dips his shoulders on drives, throwing his momentum into his defender's body; he doesn't lack craft, however, using ball fakes and spins a lot (he even throws a spin-fake in there sometimes!). To quote the great Evin Gualberto:
(Butler's) foundation is his phenomenal footwork. He’s got the poise and patience to pivot and pump, and twist, and then rip through and power to the paint. He can use his force or finish with finesse; he’ll go any way he needs in order to get to the basket, whether that’s under the defender, over, around, or even through them. He’s got the ability to hit from distance, his post game is pretty with the pristine pivoting he does, but he can also go full bully ball. Speaking of, he’s an absolute bull when he wants to get to the rim. He can score any kind of way, so as a defense, all you have to do is make him take the toughest shot possible…the only problem is, yeah, he can make those with worryingly regularity as well. He is Jimmy G Buckets after all, the G stands for gets.
In previous years, Jimmy has been a decent 3-point-shooter (36 3P% in the previous 3 seasons, on 3.2 3PA/game) and has generally shot in the high 30s from midrange, which isn't fantastic but is still a value-add to his versatility as a scorer. In the playoffs thus far, however, Butler has been money on his jumpshots, connecting on over half his threes (though on low volume - 1.8 3PA/game) and 42% of his midrange shots (again, low volume - 12 midrange attempts) so far. As an overall scorer, Jimmy is:
A hyper-competent and -active cutter (8% of his possessions, 97th percentile efficiency)
Fantastic in transition (12% of his possessions, 92nd percentile efficiency)
A competent post-operator (7% of his possessions, 80th percentile efficiency)
A passable PnR finisher (36% of his possessions, 56th percentile efficiency)
Solid in isolation situations, likely buoyed by his very good rim-finishing (10% of his possessions, 68th percentile)
Below-average scoring from spot-up scenerios and handoffs
Despite his jumpshot having deserted him in the regular season, Jimmy ekes out efficient scoring options via drawing fouls and very solid rim-finishing in transition, isolation, and by cutting often and decisively. To quote Zach Lowe:
(Butler) can blend into a broader offensive system as a shoulder-checking cutter, and supersede that system when the situation requires.
Accordingly, 41% of Butler's buckets are assisted, a very solid rate for a primary ball-handler who had a non-existent jumpshot during the regular-season, that showcases his off-ball activity as a ferocious cutter.
🟢 Free-throw rate that would make Shaq blush
Jimmy Butler's foul-drawing rate this season has been, to put it mildly, something of an outlier. Butler is 29th in the NBA in Points/game (19.9), but 5th in the NBA in FTA/game (9.1), and just to emphasize how absurdly often Butler's been finding his way to the line relative to his total shot attempts, here's a fun little table comparing Butler's FTA/game and Points/Game to the league's other elite free-throw-attempters: [TABLE]. To try and add even more context, Free Throw Rate (FTr) is a very simple statistic that gives the ratio of free-throw attempts to field-goal attempts. Just to ballpark the sort of numbers we expect from high-volume free-throw shooters: famed foul-shot-aficionado James Harden's FTr this season is 0.528, meaning that he averages 0.528 free-throw attempts for every field-goal that he takes. (The Beard's career-high was 0.592, set in 2013.) Paint-destroyer Giannis Antetokounmpo has a FTr of 0.508 this year, and low-post monster Joel Embiid has a FTr of 0.543. A pretty dominant fella who went by the name of Shaquille had a career-average FTr of 0.578, averaging an incredible 0.653 in a 5-year span from 2001 to 2005. Now, keeping all of this in mind ... Miami Heat All-Star wing Jimmy Butler's Free-Throw Rate, in the 2019-20 season, is0.693. (If you're wondering, Butler has more than managed to maintain this in the playoffs too -- after 6 games, Jimmy is 2nd in the entire playoffs in Free-Throw Rate, posting a ludicrous 0.810 FTr. Small sample size, obviously, but wow.)
🟢 Good playmaker
First, some numbers: 6.0 Assists/Game, 7.5 Passer Rating, 7.4 Box Creation. Miami have a fairly strong offense (+1.9 rORTG, 6th) which improves by +4.1 points with Butler on the court. Per Basketball Index, Jimmy is in the 91st percentile for playmaking among wings. For a few seasons now, Jimmy has been a very solid passer and playmaker. Mimicking another former well-known Chicago wing who went by the name of Michael, Jimmy is a low-turnover player (career 1.5 TOV/game; this season: 2.2 TOV/Game, excellent 2.73 AST/TOV ratio). He is a decisive and relatively low-error ball-handler and shot-creator, hitting bigs and shooters well off PnDHO-action. Butler manipulates defenders with his eyes to unlock shots for teammates, and is also adept at punishing help defenders who have to react to his bruising drives to the rim by kicking to shooters and dropping it off to cutters. He's developed especially good chemistry with Bam (25% of Butler's 6.0 AST/game go to Adebayo), Duncan Robinson (who receives 17% of Butler's assists), and rookie Kendrick Nunn (18%). Some clips of Jimmy's playmaking:(Source: stats.nba.com)
Jimmy at his peak is easily an all-league defensive talent, with tremendous instincts and effort on D, generally remaining incredibly active on that end both on- and off-the-ball. Miami's 12th-ranked defense (-1.0 rDRTG) improves by 1.0 points with Butler on the floor. Butler’s defensive awareness is top-tier, as is his lateral quickness - he's comfortable chasing speedy guards around the court; Jimmy is also uber-switchable for his size, guarding positions 1-4 at least 18% of the time each, and guarding centers for 10% of his possessions, when switched onto bigs in Miami small-ball lineups. Jimmy is in the 82nd percentile of post defenders, fantastic given his position, and players shoot a whopping 4.4% worse on 3s when Butler's the closest defender, demonstrating his defensive engagement and closeout-speed. Butler is a very physical defender as well, often "bodying-up" larger players the post, Marcus Smart-style, crowding their space and making scoring uncomfortable. To again quote Evin:
(Butler's) ability to stand up powerful post-up players, coupled with the quickness to stick with the shiftiest wings, and the instincts and IQ to know when to stay down and when to jump to contest, make him a dynamite defender... (he) frustrates opponents with foot speed and anticipating with active hands, he’ll blow up pick and rolls, or send his man one way only to remarkably beat him to that same spot. You’ll see jumping in passing lanes, but you’ll also just see him holding his ground a lot; in one, he even holds Melo off with one arm while grabbing the rebound with the other. His intelligence shines through when he avoids getting screened and when he forced ball handlers into help.
Butler is quite disruptive off-ball (7th in Deflections/Game, 7th in Steals/Game, 13th in Steal-%, 14th in loose-balls recovered/game), often jumping passing lanes or making crisp rotations to cut off offensive angles. He's also a plus-rebounder for his position, snagging almost seven boards a game; the Heat's defensive-rebound-% spikes by almost 3 percentage points with Butler on the court. He's generally very engaged on D, providing hard closeouts to shooters (players shoot almost 4.3% worse from 3 when Jimmy is the closest defender) and providing help when the primary Miami defender is beat. Along with Adebayo, Butler is one of the main reasons Miami's defense is still better than league-average even though many of their lineups prioritise shooting over defense (see: Robinson, Herro, Leonard, Olynyk). Most defensive metrics (taken with a spoonful or two of salt, of course) think of Butler as a very solid positive on defense (+1.0 to +2.0); Basketball Index has Jimmy as the 4th-best Wing Stopper at Passing Lane Defense, and ranks him in the 90th percentile of perimeter defenders in the league overall. It also has him in the 71st percentile as a defensive rebounder, and in the 47th percentile as an interior defender. Here are some clips of Jimmy's defense:
Namely: spot-up shooting, handoffs, and PnR scoring, all likely related to his regular-season shooting woes.
🔴 Some areas of playmaking
From my very limited film study (~15 games), Jimmy doesn't seem to try advanced passes often (though that might be a Miami Heat scheme-related issue), rarely slingshoting cross-court skip-passes to corner shooters like LeBron/Luka/Trae do (please correct me if I'm wrong, Heat fans!). He can occasionally miss cutters while hunting for the kickout pass for 3. Butler's delivery can sometimes be a bit wild or inaccurate as well.
🔴 Some areas of defense
Jimmy's activity does dial down on occasion. He also lacks size/strength/length to defend larger wings consistently, and his gambles can blow up on him at times too when he's springing passing lanes, with the player he's supposed to be guarding getting an open 3 or cutting to the rim as Butler isn't there to recover in time. Jimmy is also vulnerable to size at the rim - despite posting one of the best block rates in the league for a guard/forward, these are mostly on smaller players and he doesn't seem to influence shot attempts at the rim too much in general - opponents shoot almost 6% better within 6 feet of the hoop when Butler's the closest defender. It also appears that Butler's pick-and-roll defense may have some room for improvement as well (46th percentile in defending PnR ball-handlers), he may have trouble negotiating man and ball occasionally.
🔴 A fewregular-seasonclutch woes
Jimmy shot 45.1 TS% in the clutch this season, with a -10.4 individual clutch net rating, while Miami as a team were 24th in clutch net rating. However, the team still broke even in the wins column (18-18) and had a 14-10 clutch record when Butler played. In addition, I say "regular-season" for a reason (keep in mind the usual "low sample size" asterisk, of course): Miami have been the 4th-best clutch team in the playoffs by net rating, winning all 3 of their close games so far, while Jimmy himself is sporting a blistering hot 88.7 clutch TS% and +29.8 clutch net rating at the moment, with an absolutely scorching +137.5 clutch offensive rating.
🔴 Few durability questions
Jimmy G. Buckets (the 'G.' stands for 'Gets') has played >67 games only twice in his 9-year career. HOWEVER, he's been very available for the Heat this season, missing 'only' 11 games. Indeed, Butler played heavy minutes in his last playoff run for Philadelphia (38mpg in 2nd round) as well, performing admirably in a razor-close loss to the eventual champion Raptors in the 2nd round (22/7/6 on 56ts%, +1.0rTS%, vs Toronto), very nearly pulling through a Sixers team otherwise starved of late-game offensive-creation into the Conference Finals.
That's it for today, thanks for reading!
(P.S. Here's Butler's playoff career-high 40-point performance against Milwaukee in Game 1 for your viewing pleasure: LINK.) BONUS heres some other things I've written (if you're interested in this sort of stuff or just wanna pass the time while waiting for the games to begin)-
Fellow Command & Conquer fans, Today we’ll be launching our second major update for the Command & Conquer Remastered Collection. As I’ve been sharing with you over the past month via our Beta Patch updates, this Patch focuses on the following items:
Balance adjustments to address several key issues
Incorporating community maps as official Quickmatch maps
Dozens of QoL improvements and bug fixes across the board
Upcoming Quickmatch leaderboard reset
Below you will find the full list of Patch Notes for this update. Note: the Quickmatch changes will likely go into effect a few hours after the Patch goes live. But before we get too deep into the detailed list, let me provide context on each of the key items in this patch. LAN Play: As requested by the community over the course of the project, this update includes our official implementation of LAN Play. LAN Play allows players to enjoy Mod content in multiplayer, and should be an evergreen way to enjoy multiplayer far into the future. We did our best to test this feature amongst the Covid situation during development, along with attempting to get feedback from the community via Beta patches. But given the variety of ways people could play over VPN and with Mods, we expect there still to be some quirks in the system. Please continue to provide feedback so we can make any refinements going forward. Balance Adjustments: Over the past several weeks we’ve been collaborating with the community to tackle a few key balance items in the game. To see further context for these adjustments and read the full community discussion, please refer to my previous post here. Community Maps: A few weeks ago we announced the initiative of incorporating community made content into the actual game update so they can be officially utilized in Multiplayer and Quickmatch. We have decided to keep the first batch of Community maps as revealed, but have also made a few adjustments of the previous maps based on community feedback. The full details of these maps can be seen in the patch notes below. Quickmatch Leaderboard Reset: As mentioned in my previous post, we are getting ready to reset the Quickmatch ladder to get a fresh start on all these Quickmatch changes. This reset will likely happen in the next 48 hours if the patch launch here goes smoothly. In addition, one new feature of this patch is the ability to view the Leaderboard results of previous seasons (which should take a snapshot of the final results of this first season). However, on this note I wanted to address a key topic with the leaderboard. We’ve seen reports, evidence, and even people admitting about “boosting” their leaderboard rank with alternate accounts. We feel this breaks the ethics of the Quickmatch landscape and undermines the leaderboard system. Being part of the C&C community should be a positive and fair experience for all players. So here’s the deal, we’re going to give a pass on this previous season, but this behavior will not be acceptable after the leaderboard reset. I respectfully ask everyone to please engage in ethical play behavior going forward, and if you are not sure what that means, I think reading our Positive Play Charter is a good place to start. Mod Compatibility: I’ll then reiterate this message from our previous Patch Notes. Because this patch includes updates to the TiberianDawn.dll and RedAlert.dll files, it’s likely that some previous mods will no longer be compatible with this updated version of the game. Modders will need to update their mods with the latest code and refresh their mods on the Steam Workshop. Once a mod has been updated on the Steam Workshop, players will need to follow a few steps to update and reactivate their mods:
Disable the mod in the Mods Menu
Unsubscribe from the mod in the in-game Workshop Mods menu
Quit and restart the game
Re-subscribe to the mod via the Workshop Mods menu
Activate the mod and restart the game as prompted
The updated mod should then work as intended
Players may experience some issues if they try to activate mods which are not updated to the patch version. Detailed Patch Notes: With those items in mind, please see below for all the updates made in this patch: New Features:
LAN Play has been added to the game, including the ability to play LAN games with Mods enabled and over certain VPN networks. When browsing LAN games, the UI should display which Mods are required to join each game. LAN Play can be accessed directly from the Main Menu.
Added the ability to change the resource regeneration speed in Skirmish and Multiplayer games. This is now a slider in the Rules section of the game lobby (With value “1” being the legacy default)
Added a shortcut “Download” button to the Join Game and Lobby screens to quickly download a selected Custom Map by the host. This should make it much easier to grab Custom Maps and try them out. Along with this change, we are adjusting the lobby list so games with Custom Maps should appear alongside all other hosted games.
Added the following community maps into the official game:
"Elevation" (TD) by AchromicWhite & Lovehandles
“Quarry” (TD) by AchromicWhite & Lovehandles
"Heavy Metal" (TD) by FeRReT666 & Lovehandles
"Electric Avenue" (TD) by FeRReT666 & Lovehandles
"Canyon Pursuit" (TD) by AchromicWhite
"Tournament Arena" (RA) by [UF] freezy
“Tournament Ore Rift” (RA) by [UF] ^^ZxGanon^^
"(WHT) Canyon" (RA) by AchromicWhite & FeRReT666
Quality of Life Improvements:
Balance adjustment - In Tiberian Dawn the APC now has the Repair Facility as a pre-requisite to build, in order to help mitigate the early APC + Engineer rush
Balance adjustment - The GDI Weapons Factory health has been increased by 30%
Balance adjustment - The Naval structures have been removed the the victory condition
Balance adjustment - The Nod Cargo Plane delivery time has been normalized to 5 sec
Added the ability to Quickload with a Hotkey
Quicksaving should now work in Custom Missions and Skirmishes with Custom Maps
The USSR sub-faction price discount should now display properly in tooltips
Improved the Harvester logic so it will more reliably collect Gems in the adjacent cell
Added a flash back to the Nuke explosion in both games
The Stop and Guard hotkeys can now be held down
Made it so the “Insufficient Funds” dialog will no longer play if you’re not building anything
Increased the priority of the “MAD Tank Deploying” voice over so it can be immediately heard
Made a slight adjustment to how the enemy Airstrike targets in Nod Missions. The A10s should now focus on a single-target instead of splitting to multiple targets. This was a tough issue to track down and still looking for player feedback on how it feels in this new patch.
Harvesters should now properly respond to a docking queue and override if a manual docking command is given
Improved the readability of the text on the score screen in Tiberian Dawn
Updated the Radar visuals for when its being jammed by a Radar Jammer or Tesla Tank
Enabled the Hell March and Act on Instinct Achievements to be unlocked via the Main Menu Jukebox
Added a download window when subscribing Mods via the in-game Mods browser
Fixed an issue in Tiberian Dawn where aircraft could force fire into the shroud
Fixed an issue where the Transport Helicopter wouldn’t land if the spot was occupied
Fixed an issue where Custom Missions were not loading if the number of sub-folders were greater than the number of custom missions
Fixed an issue where the AI would sell the Temple of Nod in the final GDI mission and prevent the Ion Cannon ending
Fixed an issue where Civilians and Technicians were not being automatically targeted by player units
Fixed and issue where players could not see allied stealthed units, including Submarines and Stealth Tanks
Fixed an underlying issue which may have been causing units to be uncontrollable at the start of a Quickmatch game
Fixed an issue where the signal flare would stop animating after loading a saved game
Fixed an issue where the Aftermath mission “Brothers in Arms” was near impossible to beat on Hard difficulty due to increased speed of Attack Dogs
Fixed a legacy issue where turreted units would perceive their range differently depending on the unit’s facing, sometimes causing units to unnecessarily move into enemy range
Fixed an issue in the Map Editor where several ital Red alert options were missing, such as MaxInfantry, MaxVessel, TechLevel, and IQ
Fixed a legacy exploit where units could get stuck in a building if constructed while a unit was pathing through the tile
Fixed a crash when trying to host a Custom Map game when there were subfolders in the custom map directories
Fixed an issue where the User Maps dialog screen was taking an incredibly long time to load previews
Fixed an issue where Harvesters would pause outside the Refinery before unloading upon receiving a docking command
Fixed an issue where enemy units would become invulnerable in Soviet Mission 12
Fixed an issue where a highlighter was seen when hovering over mission briefing text
Fixed an issue where sometimes infantry controlled by the AI wouldn’t play idle animations
Fixed an issue where replays weren’t generated if the AI won certain games
Fixed an issue where the Save Button was getting disabled upon dismissing the overwrite save confirmation pop-up
Fixed a typo in the description of Tiberian Dawn Bonus Gallery #047
Fixed an issue where Sarajevo East and Sarajevo Center were swapped on the map selection screen
Fixed an issue where Quicksaves were being overwritten between Tiberian Dawn and Red Alert
Fixed an issue where the Introduction video button was getting disabled at times
Fixed an issue where players were getting stuck in an error message when joining a full lobby game from the desktop
Fixed an issue where the Badajoz map was incorrectly listed as a Snow climate
Fixed an issue where the Sonar Pulse was only available for one time when infiltrating a Sub Pen with a Spy
Fixed an issue where the Harvester wouldn’t follow orders after being moved off a repair pad
Fixed an issue where aircraft were not getting destroyed once all player structures were destroyed
Fixed a crash when destroying Ant nests in the ant missions
Fixed an issue where Visceroids were dying immediately after spawning
Fixed an issue where Custom Mission Briefings were empty on the Load Game tab
Fixed an issue where the health bar would reveal hidden Submarines in legacy graphics mode
Fixed an issue where reinforcements wouldn’t arrive in Spec Ops mission M1 if the Commando was in a specific location
Fixed a subtitle typo of Mobius in the GDI Mission 12 briefing
Fixed a subtitle typo in the GDI Mission 8 briefing
Fixed an issue where the tech level was set too low in Funpark Mission 2
Fixed an issue in the Map Editor where several scorch marks and craters were shown as large cells
Fixed an issue in the Map Editor where the default setting for Mission units was set to “Sleep”
Fixed an issue in the Map Editor where the default New Map creation was set to Cancel
Fixed an issue in the Map Editor where the bottom tile picker was unavailable
Fixed an issue in the Map Editor where the toolbox would go behind the Windows Taskbar
Fixed an issue where Mission Briefings were getting scrambled text display
Fixed an issue where the Spec Ops missions had inconsistent tech levels
Fixed an issue in the Map Editor where Red Alert custom missions couldn’t use the @@ to force line breaks
Fixed an issue where the Chem Warrior was not available at build level 98
Fixed an issue in the Map Editor where players couldn’t resize the bottom tile picker
Fixed an issue where the player name would occasionally show up as an AI player name in the player panel
Fixed a crash when sometimes using the Ion Cannon
Fixed an issue where the Player Panel would appear in single player custom missions
Fixed an issue where the voice over for the Repair Facility wasn’t triggering
Fixed an issue where enemy GDI Airstrikes were not disabled upon destroying the Communications Center in Nod Mission 13
Fixed an issue in the Map Editor where the internal length limits for team types and triggers were not being enforced
Fixed an issue in the Map Editor where checkboxes were being re-ticked upon reloading the map
Fixed an issue in the Map Editor with the underlying Player settings
Fixed an issue where right-click on a wall would cause an exception error
Fixed an issue where the host couldn’t launch a match if all players had set their faction to Random
Fixed an incorrect description in the tooltip of Parabombs
Fixed a typo in AIPlayer1 in Observer mode
Fixed an incorrect description in the mission objective of “Don’t Drink the Water”
Fixed an issue where infantry were blocking the Ore Harvester from spawning
Fixed a crash when sometimes loading the next Nod campaign mission
Fixed an issue where the EVA dialog “Our base is under attack” was not playing for all allied players
Fixed an issue where a camera bookmark was moving one cell to the right
Fixed an issue where the Retry Mission dialog box was not appearing for Funpark Missions
Fixed an issue where the Retry Mission dialog box was not appearing for Custom Missions
Fixed a tile display issue on the Badajoz map
Fixed an issue where structure health bars were not showing in Yellow when they should be
Fixed an issue where the Spy was playing boxing animation frames when killed by Grenadiers
Fixed an issue where units were not getting repaired on the Service Depot in Soviet Mission 10
Fixed an issue where Submarines were not submerging after finishing an attack
Fixed an issue where the Nod briefing text was becoming corrupted after Alt-Tabbing
Fixed an issue where an enemy Medic would health the player infantry on certain missions
Fixed an issue where air units would disappear when flying too close to the top map border
Fixed a crash when sometimes opening the Options Menu
Fixed a crash when sometimes opening the Player Panel
Fixed an issue where the Sell and Repair sound FX were heard by other players
Fixed an issue where certain VFX were not showing up in Multiplayer games
Fixed an issue where the scroll bar in the Mods UI menu would pop back to the top
Fixed an issue where a faction icon wasn’t displayed in the replays tab when choosing Random
Fixed a crash when playing Aftermath mission “Harbor Reclamation”
Fixed a crash when using the Quicksave command in rapid succession
Fixed an issue with saved games from Custom Missions not appearing if they were the only save file present
Fixed an issue in the Map Editor where some trigger values were seen as “0” after re-opening a saved map
Fixed an issue in the Map Editor where the active size of the map was not visible when dragging to resize the map boundaries
Fixed a typo in the final Nod Mission Briefing
Fixed an issue where the Custom map list was being improperly indented
Fixed an issue where infantry were automatically coming out of a Barracks without being purchased
Fixed an issue where the Civilians were not revealing the shroud
Fixed an issue where no music was being heard in GDI Mission 15
Fixed an issue where the incorrect starting units were displaying in the Replays / Observer menu for Quickmatch
Fixed an issue where the timer would disappear when loading a saved game on Allied Mission 10
Fixed an issue in the Map Editor where tile P15 was not a complete terrain piece
Fixed an issue where no sound FX was playing when activating / deactivating the Radar Map
Fixed an issue where loading a Skirmish game would enable super weapons even if they had been disabled at game start
Fixed a crash when trying to host a Multiplayer game with a Custom Map
Fixed an issue where the “Primary Building Selected” voice over was not being heard in Tiberian Dawn
Fixed an issue where several Red Alert assets had incorrect spaces in their filenames
Fixed a crash when toggling Sell mode on certain missions
Fixed an issue in the Map Editor where the trigger editor had no buildings listed for the “Built it” event
Fixed an issue where the allied AI team members were not revealing shroud when attacking
Fixed a crash when multiple MiGs attack a target in Soviet Mission 12
Fixed or improved dozens of mismatched terrain tiles in a variety of multiplayer maps across both games
Increased the default resource regeneration rate to value 3 in the new slider
We are then making the following Map Pool adjustments based on community feedback:
Removing “Eye of the Storm” from the pool
Removing “Nowhere to Hide” from the pool
Removing “Tiberium Garden” from the pool
Removing “Four Corners” from the pool
Removing “Red Sands” from the pool
Adjusting “Monkey in the Middle” to be Top Left vs Bottom Right spawns only
Adjusting “One Pass Fits All” to be Top Left vs Bottom Left and Top Right vs. Bottom Right as the only viable spawns
Adding “Elevation” community map to the pool
Adding “Quarry” community map to the pool
Adding “Heavy Metal” community map to the pool (Opposite corner spawns only)
Adding “Electric Avenue” community map to the pool (Opposite location spawns only)
Adding “Canyon Pursuit” community map to the pool
Removing “Things to Come” from the pool
Removing “Shallow Grave” from the pool
Removing “Equal Opportunity” from the pool
Adjusting “Bullseye” to be Top Right vs Bottom Left spawns only
Adding “Path Beyond” to the pool with Top Left vs. Bottom Right spawns only
Adding “Tournament Arena” community map to the pool
Adding “Tournament Ore Rift” community map to the pool
Adding “Canyon (WHT)” community map to the pool
Thanks to everyone who contributed their feedback during our Beta Patch process, and we hope this update improves your experience with the Command & Conquer Remastered Collection. Thanks for your ongoing support, and please continue to provide your feedback here on the subreddit, in social channels, and with our support teams. Cheers, Jim Vessella Jimtern * Hi everyone, we’ve noticed some online stability and performance issues since we launched the patch yesterday. Specifically, the game is freezing during certain matches or suffering from slowdown / lag on large scale maps on large scale maps. Over the past 24 hours the team has worked to identify areas which may have been causing these issues, and we just deployed a server hotfix in an attempt to improve these items. We’re going to monitor the game throughout the weekend and see if this hotfix improves the stability and performance. If we feel good after the weekend, then we’ll plan for the ladder reset early next week. Thanks for your patience and ongoing support, and looking forward to hearing everyone’s experience over the weekend. *Hi everyone, we saw increased stability over the weekend and have officially reset the ladders as of Monday at 11:15 PDT. We're then continuing to investigate the input lag / framerate issue, but may have a lead thanks to some videos from the community. In the meantime, good luck in the new Season! This [announcement] [roadmap] may change as we listen to community feedback and continue developing and evolving our Live Service & Content. We will always strive to keep our community as informed as possible.
Offseason Blueprint: it’s time for the young/Young Atlanta Hawks to leave the nest and take flight
The playoffs continue to rage on, but there are 26 teams sitting at home with nothing to do but twiddle their thumbs, have nightmares about getting blocked by Bam, and wait for next season to start. For their sake, we wanted to look ahead with the next edition of the OFFSEASON BLUEPRINT series. In each, we'll preview some big decisions and make some recommendations for plans of attack along the way. Today, we're looking at the Atlanta Hawks. step one: grow up and play D, because you can’t be forever young Two summers ago, the Atlanta Hawks hired coach Lloyd Pierce on the basis of his defensive reputation. So far, that hasn't translated to the court. Last season, the Hawks ranked 27th in defensive rating. After a year in the system to improve their habits and chemistry, that ranking jumped all the way up to... 27th. What's wrong here? A few factors, of course. The one that gets the most attention and the most blame would be the deficiencies of Trae Young. His lack of length and athleticism will always be a problem, but it shouldn't be this bad. ESPN RPM ranks his defensive impact as a -6.2 per 100 possessions, which ranks 520th out of all 520 qualifiers in the NBA. According to that metric, his defense is even worse than Isaiah Thomas (at age 31.) Isaiah Thomas may be a helpful comparison though, because he does illustrate that one bad defender shouldn't be able to sink a team on his own. In IT's great season in Boston, his individual defense was poor, but the Celtics ranked in the top 5 in defense overall. Clearly, some teams are able to overcome liabilities like that. The Hawks may have to consider hiding Trae Young on defense like he's in the witness protection program. Other lead guards like Allen Iverson defended off the ball often, which is an approach that worked for his team defenses in Philadelphia and Denver. So what else is wrong here? The second major factor would be a matter of youth. Yes, we have a "Young" and a "young" problem here. Inexperienced players tend to be bad defensively, and the Hawks were one of the youngest teams in the league. Their top 5 players in minutes played (Young, De'Andre Hunter, Kevin Huerter, Cam Reddish, John Collins) were all in their age-22 season or younger. There are some college rosters older than that starting five. That aspect should improve in time, especially because some of those young players like Hunter and Reddish project as good defenders. Although it may sound counterintuitive, another issue with the defense is the offense. The Hawks play fast (top 5 in the NBA in pace), and shoot a bunch of threes (top 10 in three point attempts.) The problem is: they don't make a lot of those threes. As a team, the Hawks shot 33.3% from three, dead last in the NBA. These issues naturally affect their defense. The Hawks are playing fast and missing threes, which tends to lead to transition baskets for their opponents before the Hawks can get back and get set. If the Hawks improve their offense, then their defense should improve by proxy. To do that, they may have to slow down their pace to some degree. Modern teams love to run and gun, but if you're not very good, you're only giving your opponents extra possessions to allow their talent to win out. The fourth potential issue is a matter of coaching. As mentioned, Lloyd Pierce had a good reputation as an assistant coming over to Atlanta, but we haven't seen that manifest so far. It's a tough job assignment coaching up a young team, but it's a talented group of players. If we don't see tangible improvement in Year 3, then I would presume it's time to fire Pierce and look for another answer. There are a lot of good coaches on the market right now, so Pierce needs to step up his game to avoid getting replaced. Rebuilding teams can afford to be patient, but they can't afford to give their coaches tenure. step two: use it before you lose it The 2020 free agent market is going to be quieter than an indoor mall during COVID quarantine. Hardly any teams have cap space... except for Atlanta. In fact, the Hawks have the most cap space in the entire NBA, committed to only $58M on the books for next year. This is going to be a bad free agent class, but that's okay. In a sense, the Hawks are like the best looking guy in a dive bar. There may be slim pickings, but at least he gets his pick of the litter. You don't want to throw your money away foolishly, but you don't want it to burn a hole in your pocket either. Eventually that cap space is going to dry up when you extend your young players, so this may be a great opportunity to "use it before you lose it." The first option should be to throw a big offer at restricted free agent Brandon Ingram. Ingram has great length for a wing player, and his scoring prowess would make for a -- wait, what was that? The Pelicans just matched my offer in mid sentence? Okay then, let's move on to our next options. I'd also consider making sizable offers to free agents Bogdan Bogdanovic and/or Jerami Grant. Bogdanovic is a skilled scorer who averaged 18-4-4 per 36 this past season, and has the potential to thrive as a secondary scorer or 6th man. At 27, he also fits the general timeline here. While Bogdanovic may not be the defensive stopper we're looking for, you can never have too many quality wings in today's NBA. Jerami Grant doesn't have the same shooting ability or skill set, but he's an energetic player and an impact defender. He's 26 now, and should retain his value for the next 3 years. Having Grant as a complementary starter or rotation player would help the team on and off the court; from what I understand, he's a hard worker and a team-first player. On the lower end, it wouldn't be a terrible idea to punch some lottery tickets and hope they pay off. Josh Jackson (former Suns bust) still has potential at age 23. Chicago SG/SF Denzel Valentine has an intriguing skill set. And fellow Bull Kris Dunn is one of the premier defenders at his position. Dunn would make for a great yin/yang backup to Trae Young. step three: have some faith in John the Baptist One of the reasons that the Atlanta Hawks' cap size will dwindle in the future is the potential extension for PF John Collins. A year or two ago, the team may have thought long and hard about whether or not to commit huge money to Collins. There were some indications that he was a "good stats / bad team" kind of player. He was a tweener who struggled on defense, and didn't stretch the floor reliably on offense. These days, it's harder to hate on Collins. The raw stats are as good as always (20-10 this year), but he's also playing a more desirable brand of basketball as well. He's worked to improve his range and shotmaking. His three-point shooting went up to 35% in year two, and swelled to 40% in year three. His FT% has also gone up each year, from 72% to 76% to 80%. You appreciate when a young player improves his game, as it indicates a lot more potential still in the tank (as he turns 23 next week.) Defense is becoming less of a concern for Collins as well. The trend towards smallball allows him to play about 50% of his minutes at center. In turn, that allows Coach Pierce some flexibility. Depending on the matchup, he can go with the traditional bigs like Clint Capela or Dewayne Dedmon, or he can play a smaller, more dynamic 5 in Collins. Collins will never be Kevin Garnett, but if he's at least average on defense, then he's a net positive player. Going forward, there's no immediate rush or urgency to extend Collins this offseason. The team will have matching rights next summer, so they can wait and see Collins "prove it" over a full regular season before committing to him. Still, if he's willing to sign a reasonable extension this offseason, the Hawks may be able to avoid the headache. Atlanta's a good situation for a young scorer like Collins, so the hope is that he'd be amenable to a reasonable deal that locks him up as part of this core. step four: remember you're playing the long game, not Tetris The Atlanta Hawks will have the # 6 pick in the draft, giving them the chance to add another young prospect to the team. We had been concerned about too much youth on this roster, but it's not worth giving up that pick for a veteran because we're not in "win now" mode yet. The team may as well keep collecting youngsters like they're pokemon. With that top pick, they should keep that mindset, and not fall victim to the desire to find the right "fit" (hence the Tetris analogy.) Best available player. That's a good philosophy when you're drafting in the top 10 regardless, but it applies to this team more than most. The team needs to get a lot better, but there are no glaring issues in terms of positions or rotations. Trae Young will have PG on lockdown. Kevin Huerter will have a role as a wing. Better still, Cam Reddish and De'Andre Hunter are the types of BIG wings that can fit across several positions. The frontcourt should be fine as well between John Collins and Clint Capela. Given that, almost any position would be fine for the Hawks to select. At PG, the top prospects (according to ESPN) are LaMelo Ball (N.Z.) and Tyrese Haliburton (Iowa State). Both players would be fine picks for the team, because both have the size and length to guard 1s or 2s and can play alongside Trae Young in that regard. Offensively, LaMelo and Trae may fight for the ball, but both have dynamic scoring potential that would make a tag-team dangerous. Haliburton would be an even easier fit, as he's had experience playing off the ball. At SG/SF, the top prospect is Anthony Edwards (Georgia), who is likely to be off the board. I'm also a fan of Devin Vassell (Florida State), who projects as a good 3+D player that could soak up minutes at SG and SF for this team. He's one of the safer prospects in the class to me. I also like Deni Avdija (Israel), a ball moving forward with the size to play either SF or PF. The hardest debate may be whether to select a big man that falls to them, be it James Wiseman (Memphis) or Onyeka Okongwu (USC). After acquiring Clint Capela (and potentially ponying up for a John Collins extension), the team may not want to invest much more into the position. Still, I'd hold firm to my "best player available" idea. Wiseman and Okongwu have major potential as defenders, which has been a problem area as discussed. It could be worth bringing them in and seeing how they develop. If they turn out to be the real deal, then it's perfectly fine to trade Capela or even Collins after the fact. I'd have a harder time justifying the selection of two other top prospects: Killian Hayes (France) feels like too much of a pure point guard to me, and Obi Toppin feels like too much of a duplication to John Collins. Still, we've discussed 7 prospects that I've already given the "greenlight" to draft, which means at least 2 of those should be available when the Hawks are on the clock. step five: give the kids some big brothers We've harped a lot on the youth of this team already. Usually, that's seen as a positive. Rebuilding teams are supposed to be young, right? Sure. But there's some danger there of going overboard. If you're too young, and too inexperienced, then it's hard for the young pups to learn from those around them. It's hard to hold them accountable if there's no one else around to play their minutes. We can't have the blind leading the blind here. Oftentimes, teams try to solve this issue by adding older veteran mentors to the locker room. The Hawks found the MOST veteran of them all by adding Vince Carter (age 43.) In theory, that's exactly what we're talking about. Wise old sages like Carter can help the kids grow up and learn to be professionals. Still, I'm not sure that's enough. As respected as an old vet like Vince Carter may be, there's only so much influence he can have on a team if he's not playing. There's only so much influence he can have on a kid's habits if they're not in the same peer group. It's unlikely that 20-21 year olds are hanging out with guys in their mid to late 30s. They're in different stages in life, and probably have different interests and lifestyles. Given that, I believe there should be more of a priority placed on "big brother" teammates in addition to older mentors. What do I mean by big brothers? I mean veterans who have good work ethic and character, but aren't over the hill. Young vets (ages 25-27 or so) who can still contribute on the court, and can still act as friends and peers to the kids. True role models. Consider this: who influenced your behavior more in high school: Your teachers? Or your friends? We need friends / big brothers that will spend more time with our kids, and teach them through osmosis if not outright lectures. Consciously or not, the Memphis Grizzlies showed the value of this principle with their current season. They surrounded their rookies and sophomores with "big brother" vets like Tyus Jones (age 24) and Kyle Anderson (age 26.) Those guys happen to be high-IQ players and high-character teammates, but they're still young and good enough to play 20+ minutes a night. When you're checking all those boxes, you can influence the young players on your roster more effectively than the salty old dog who's basically an assistant coach. It's hard for me to give recommendations for "big brothers" because I don't know these players behind the scenes outside of public reputation, but the idea would be to add smart, hard-working veterans in that 25-27 age range. We want vets who play unselfishly on offense, and play hard and disciplined on defense. Even if they're not great, they can help instill good habits with the team, on and off the court. previous offseason blueprints CHA, CHI, CLE, IND, GS, MIL, MIN, NYK, POR, SA, SAC, UTA
The Strangest, Yet Most Common Criticism of the ST
So that Recent Daisy Ridley interview made me want to dust off an old thesis statement of sorts I’ve been saying since The Last Jedi was released. Not so much what she was saying but the reaction to it. I was going to include this in my post about why I wondered #ReleasetheEdwardsCut was never a thing but it didn’t seem right at the time. So Here Goes Nothing: This is an observation I began to notice about March 2018 or so, when the “””backlash””” for TLJ really began to take form and start getting ugly. A lot of signs went in different directions so it was hard to point to one exact thing. Then, just after Solo’s release Jeremy Jahns uploads that video, the really dumb one where he says TLJ promotes too much Social Justice or some crap like that and tried to justify everything by saying “I like the movie mother!” (because nothing says good movie like a painfully obvious allegory my neighbours ten year old could figure out in addition to watching Jennifer Lawrence have the shit beaten out of her. Also a Baby gets eaten, yeah.) and something he said in to really stuck with me. First he Says Star Wars is a cinematic universe (it isn’t) then says “Did anyone know what RJ was doing!?” And that was it right there, he managed to summarize what I've been observing these last few months but couldn't put into proper words. Star Wars Fans are mad that the ST is too Directo Artistic Driven then Franchise/ Design by Committee/ Business driven. It’s as if Jeremy was saying that he wants more studio control on these things and that directors should just follow orders and shut up. Now obviously he didn’t say those exact words I just typed but he sure as hell seemed to imply it. Now that seems like an oddly specific thing to say people are criticizing them for and I seriously doubt you will hear that exact phrase mentioned anywhere. But Think About it For a Moment.... How many times have you seen variations of these comments: “Rian Johnson should be on a tighter leash” “They should have had a stric plan for the ST from the start” “One person should have written/ directed the whole thing” “They should only do what the fans want” "Take a page from Marvel." Or some comment that eludes to the notion that Disney/ Lucasfilm should have stepped in more and not let the directors do as they were hired to do. What's funny to me is how "They should have had a plan" always translates to "I fucking hated The Last Jedi!!!!" Now that might seem like an odd way to look at it all but this isn't the first time Star Wars has been "criticized" like this. Look at the PT for example. In just about every review I’ve seen, both in print and YouTube, there’s always a moment where the reviewer says something along the lines of “Did no one tell George this was a bad idea?” or “Did no one challenge George on this?” This is RLM’s most common talking point. Or those claiming Lucas surrounded himself with yes-men who would do everything he wanted and that was it. Lucas did pay for the entire PT out of his own pocket mind you. He had an entire VFX company at his disposable to make any crazy thing he imagined. Who’s to tell him what he can and can’t do? Rick McCallum sure as hell wasn't going to. There is a certain "tragedy" for lack of a better word, when comparing Lucas in the 70s/80s to what he became in the 90s/00s. He ultimately became the very thing he rebelled against, the film producing machine where he could call the shots, order people to do as he wanted and no one could tell him otherwise. This is the entire thesis of The People Vs. George Lucas documentary. Very few directors working today occupy the same zeitgeist that Lucas once did. Abrams certainly doesn’t and neither does Johnson or Edwards or even Howard for that matter. How many can say they changed the medium of film with just one movie? I’d imagine anyone who wanted to seriously challenge Lucas would probably be fired on the spot for it. It would be like trying to challenge James Cameron or Steven Spielberg or David Fincher. You’d get about one inch before being kicked out of the door or in Cameron’s case, yelled out till your ears bled while your phone was nail gunned to a wall. You just couldn't do it. The situation the new films have found themselves in pretty much sets up that criticism though. George Lucas is gone, never coming back. He was THE BOSS and nothing was going to change that. Disney now owns Star Wars and will continue to own it until Kingdom Come. It has now crossed the rift from Filmmaker’s creative vision to Valuable franchise used for profit. Another IP to add to Disney's ever growing roster. So now with every new director they have to answer to Lucasfilm, to Disney, to the Mouse but they aren’t treated as servants but as guests. They aren’t ordered around, they aren’t told what they can and can’t do and they have all the resources imaginable at their disposal. A blank canvas and a $200 Million dollar cheque. For better TFA is very much JJ Abrams from start to finish. He loves his mystery boxes and stories about young women trying to find their place in the world and male supporting characters with father issues while ultimately being a pastiche of what he loves . If you seriously think TFA was made to be a remake of ANH (It really isn't) because Disney wanted it that way for a quick buck, welcome to your first JJ Abrams film. For worse, TROS is very JJ Abrams in the most frustrating way possible… but still very much a film made by him. Every decision made in TROS, good or bad(mainly bad), is something that has appeared in all his movies/ tv shows. You see the gear turning in his head with some of the more... questionable choices. Even behind the scenes, when things seem iffy is never feels like “The hand of the Mouse is stepping in.” It always feels like Abrams listening to feedback from his colleagues like Spielberg and DuVernay. Or in TROS's case, bad impulses.... TLJ is pure Rian Johnson from frame one up until the credits roll. TLJ is eerily similar to the Breaking Bad episode The Fly, the first episode he directed. An entirely character focused story that examines who the characters are and what they ultimately want and their greatest fears. And just like TLJ it is still talked about to this day. Frigg, TLJ and Knives Out both have the same ending twist… The Last Jedi’s production however is where things get interesting. TLJ might just have the smoothest and cleanest production of any Star Wars film probably ever. The Story was set and locked before TFA was in theatres. No massive reshoots, no extreme rewrites, no behind the scenes meddling, no studio oversight, no on set drama, no crazy editing changes and finished under budget with months to spare. That doesn’t happen for like 99% of movies made today, blockbuster or not. The PT on the other hand, oh boy.... TPM got off reasonably well. Some bad weather that destroyed sets didn't send them back too much. Some like to point to everyones reaction to the Rough Cut being the ultimate sign that everyone working on TPM knew it was going to be awful. That's the thing though, it's a rough cut, that's the whole point. It doesn't matter how good or bad any movie is at the end of the day, rough cut screenings are brutal.... ATOC and ROTS on the other hand didn't even have a finished script until about a month into shooting. And most importantly Anakin's entire motivation to turn to the dark side was added after the fact during reshoots. Which were done in late 2004 mind you. No Comment. It was funny for a while when I’d glance at STC throughout 2018 to see where the narrative was going and the most common one for a good month was always some variation of “Did Disney mess with TLJ!?” Trying to prove that something must have gone horribly wrong during the making of the movie... except there wasn't. And I’ve seen this play out in real time with in-person conversations, but after realizing that not only is that not the case but they can’t point to any other of the “usual suspects” to say “this is why thing bad” their only option is to say “RJ Shouldn’t have been allowed to do that!!” If anyone is wondering why RJ is getting his own trilogy this is the reason. The dude gets shit done with no issue. Even the death of Carrie Fisher didn’t put a damper on anything(the amount of comments I’ve seen that said “why didn’t they kill of Leia” got comical). It’s what makes watching The Director and the Jedi such a fascinating experience because everyone is looking at everything going “Is this gonna work or no?” With Emphasis on Hamill the most. TFA’s production was kinda messy but manageable. News about TROS's production has been revealed throughout the year and most of it points to it being messy and chaotic. The making of Docs try to hide this by showing us happy faces, people passionate about what they are doing and saying “hey this is awesome!” Then there’s the horrible realization that we live in this shitty era of movies dictated by film franchises that we watch out of obligation and internet culture creating a massive hyperbolic bubble around everything. I remember a time whenever information about any film was released (franchise or not) and if it was revealed that there was some form of behind the scenes drama between director and studio or changes made that the director wasn't part of people got mad. But now whenever we hear that the response is almost always “Hey they probably saved the movie from being a disaster.” A Real Paradigm Shift. It’s just accepted that Franchise Films are the result of produce studio oversight and that’s ultimately a good thing(that’s not to say there aren’t examples where this hasn’t been the case but that’s a discussion for another day). Which Leads Us To... Marvel immediately comes to mind with regards to this. After 23 movies the MCU has gone through 15 directors. Those who left after one or two movies don’t have nice things to say about it and it’s easy to see why. It’s funny seeing some put the MCU on some pedestal for “How Franchises should be,” which I find head-scratching. The MCU might just be the most micro-managed film franchise of all time. The amount of times I’ve read some behind the scenes piece about how scenes were shot literally weeks before release or were in six months plus of reshoots after the fact is staggering or how directors get screwed over and told to take a knee. And that’s not even getting into the nitty gritty of it all like how they don’t allow directors to shoot their own action or characters being shifted roles because it would affect toy sales. They also sure as hell don’t plan everything out. The amount of times the MCU has retconned entire films out of existence or just pretended certain developments didn’t happen could be its own drinking game. Character development in thrown out the window for the sake of appearance. The writers of Endgame can’t seem to keep their answer straight as to where and when Captain America ended up when he wanted to spend his life with Peggy. If anything Marvel is really good at giving the impression that everything is a well maintained car while running on fumes. Compare the Avenger’s Home Base between movies and then tell me with a straight face “Marvel Pays attention to continuity.” As an aside, what exactly do Marvel and Star Wars have in common? Aside from being owned by Disney what do they have in common? Nothing..... The approach, risks taken, sense of awe, the types of stories of told. It's like comparing a nice tasty burger from that one restaurant in town to an all you can eat Buffet. Sure it's all food at the end day but theres a difference. There’s also the matter of the type of directors that Marvel has picked. They largely go for Indie or TV directors with very little experience making films this scale. They also don’t have a huge amount of clout to their name so they can’t make huge demands for what they want. Sure some have more of a style and clout to them but those are the exceptions that proves the rule. For every Ryan Coogler or James Gunn there's The Russo Brothers or Jon Watts. Star Wars on the other hand has actively sought out directors with experience in films this size and those who have their own style that is reflected in the ones they make. To summarize JJ Abrams is Diet-Spielberg while Rian Johnson is Quirky American Auteur. Gareth Edwards could be the next “mostly” poignant blockbuster director while Ron Howard is a seasoned Veteran. Star Wars could have easily have grabbed any number of pencil pusher directors and gave them ultra strict guidelines to follow and nothing else. Have them make movies that are nothing more than giant fan service reels aimed at getting all the fan dollars in the world. And I think that's what so many kind of expected we were getting from the get go and are confused and out right mad that isn't the case. To Quote u/friedAmobo "Disney and Lucasfilm, regardless of what some people may think, are not stupid - they know the best way to make money is to do what the fans want. That would mean Luke being the main character in TFA, the main trio reuniting, and other fan service moments that would make Rogue One blush. The fact that TFA\ ***isn’t*** *about any of that is telling. It means they had an idea for something different, and they made it."* "TLJ is even more condemning for the cash grab argument. Rian Johnson was the sole writer and director of the movie, and as we all know, the movie was very divisive. But how was that a cash grab, then? If Lucasfilm wanted to make tons of money, they could have a powerful Luke train Rey, and then have him beat the First Order on Crait with super Force powers. It’d have made an easy couple hundred million dollars more. The fact that they didn’t do that, but ended up going with a story that had the potential to be divisive is, again, telling." But…. then you have the complete 180 with the anthology films. Rogue One and Solo and reading into their production is mind boggling. For as much as TROS’s production seemed like a nightmare, the production of these two seemed like fighting Nightmare from Metroid: Fusion. No one wants to come clean with what the hell happened with Rogue One. What movie completely reshoots it’s final act with a little over 6 months before release(not saying it doesn’t happen just bare with me here)? Gareth Edwards is probably never going to talk about how he was basically fired from it and replaced with Tony Gilroy. You think it’s anyway surprising that he has nothing to do with this Cassian Disney+ series? Solo had its directors fired midway through production then reshot the entire movie with someone else. That Doesn't Happen…… I remember hearing that during the summer of 2017 and my coworkers and I just laughed our heads off at it. The notion of a Han Solo movie (without Harrison Ford) was such a ridiculous idea at the time and then this happened on top of it. There’s also the uncomfortable truth that no one wants to admit about the Anthology Films. They Aren’t About Anything. Not that they aren’t about “anything” in the literal sense, but more so in the “these films exist to shove Star Wars nostalgia in your face and nothing else.” They are set during the OT era for frigg sake and throw LORE and CANON junk at you to make up for their complete lack of emotional/ dramatic meaning(I say this as someone who enjoys Solo greatly). Because they are side stories you the viewer don’t have to worry about anything of major consequence happening in them that would affect the main narrative (Skywalker Saga in this case). They can do whatever they want and basically a safe bet for an audience. You don't have to worry abut your favourite characters being killed or doing things you don't agree with. It’s like a video game side quest where all you get is a shiny new item by the end of it that’s good for a while until you get something better an hour later. This might not seem like much but I think fans seriously underestimate the power that comes with these being a side story. The Mandalorian fits into this category as well and something that Hello Greedo has praised the show excessively for. Add on the fact that Disney/ Lucasfilm is going to keep making Star Wars content in the form of movies/ Live Action series/ animation until the ice caps melt and we all die. It's not out of the realm of possibility that something you've always "wanted" might one day happen. To quote my very good friend u/SorryNotSpartacus: “They also, very simply, are not the main saga, and I think people underestimate how much of a difference that makes to the fan audience that by and large seems to respond more positively to the anthology films. Most fans are used to reading or watching EU material.” I recall seeing multiple comments early 2018 “RJ should have been given an Anthology film(s) instead.” As if to say “That way he can do what he wants and I don’t have to worry about it,” or something to that affect. But there’s also the sad fact at the end of day that’s all Star Wars fans “Want.” They don’t want a story or anything meaningful but a shrine to their nostalgia, a two hour fan service reel or a big “thank you” for being fans. Fulfill their own expectations and make them feel nothing but superficial joy. Don't let them think or feel anything else in the process. To quote Frank Oz: “All the people who don’t like this ‘Jedi’ thing is just horse crap. It’s about expectations. The movie didn’t fill their expectations. But as Filmmakers, we’re not here to fill people’s expectations.” He’s talking about The Last Jedi if that wasn’t clear. You’d think this would be obvious but so many fans seem to think it’s the other way around that these things exists to validate them as fans and nothing else. Don’t believe me? Go to any Star Wars sub reddit and search “this but un-ironcally,” or just type any number of words followed be “fans.” The results might surprise you… or won’t. Better yet just Search Rogue One and look for the most upvoted post. It's why I take issue with that recent quote from Jon Favreau that's been floating around for the last few weeks. “We alway knew, and this was something I learned from over at Marvel and working with Kevin Feige, is you always want to keep core fans in mind, because they have been the ones that’ve been keeping the torch lit for many, many years, but there are also stories for young people and for new audiences. These are myths, and you always want to have an outstretched hand to people who might not have that background . And so you’re really telling two stories at once. You’re telling the story for the people who are fresh eyes, and you’re telling the story for the people who’ve been there with the property and with the stories and characters for many years, and make sure you’re honouring them as well.” Almost as if he's saying "Just shove enough fan-service onscreen, someone will recognize it and it will make up for our lack of story telling abilities." It's funny how he uses what he learned from Marvel as "collective wisdom" when he got screwed hard when trying to make Iron Man 2 a movie about Tony Stark dealing with his own death. Stop treating these very corporately controlled entities like they are your best friend, they are not and never will be. Even if you think you have, it's not real. You think this wouldn’t have to be said but it needs to: You as a fan do not own Star Wars. Buying all the stickers and Funko Pops doesn’t make you an owner no matter how you stretch it. You do not have a say on how these things go, you do not get to say what can and can’t happen, you are not the writer, you are not the director, you are not the person who wipes the table off after a meeting because same jack-hole split coffee all over it.You are the person who buys a ticket then bitches online about it. Then again there is always the obvious “fans have no fucking idea what the hell they even want anymore.” Not that I’m free from this, I sure as hell don’t know what I want. I could give some vague answer like “More Babu Frik” but even that seems too broad. I saw a really dumb tweet around February 2018 that showed two posters, The Last Jedi and Justice League and the tweeter said "Filmmakers of these franchises should be actively aware what fans want and go out of their way to ensure that." Naturally most of the replies were ridiculing the guy for his flawed logic. The most liked reply came from someone who said the following "This implies that Star Wars fans actually know what the hell they even want." Also Justice League failed because it didn't do what the fans want? Oi Vey....) None of this is to say anything you yourself have criticized any of the ST films isn’t valid to you or someone else. Unless you’re one of those people who thinks “They have a secret political agenda!” in which case please stop. For as much as I talked about the ST being filmmake director driven they are still very much films released by Disney for the sake of profit. It’s just as much an art form as it is a business. Just as much of a product as they are a piece of fiction. For as much as RJ and his cast and crew have talked about the freedom he was given, he's not going to kill off all the characters and have Rey become a film scholar and analyze the works of Zack Snyder. The ST films are not art house epics and never will be. Neither is the PT or OT for that matter. Lucas is a much better businessman than director. He knew damn well the PT was his ticket to make up losing half his fortune after his messy divorce. Keep things going so he can basically retire once ROTS was done. But that’s all I have to say on the matter. This was based entirely on observation and conversations with others. Also there is no JJ-cut of TROS. There is no version of The Rise of Skywalker in which all the past Jedi appear as ghosts and start doing all the kick flips imaginable that was cut because CHINA. It Doesn't Exist.
Should the Golden State Warriors gamble on a draft pick? Or cash in their chips for a proven player instead? A look at potential trade packages
Back in 1978, "The Gambler" Kenny Rogers gave all NBA general managers some sage advice. "You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em." Golden State decision makers Bob Myers and Steve Kerr are clearly fans of Rogers, because they acted quickly and decisively this season. As soon as they saw the writing on the wall that a playoff push wouldn't happen this year, they made sure to rack up as many losses as possible. As a result, they'll enter the offseason with a 15-50 record, in the catbird seat with the # 1 slot in the draft heading into the lottery. When a strong team winds up with a high pick like this, there's a natural reaction: this is the Spurs and Tim Duncan all over again!" Realistically speaking, that's not what's going to happen here. After 4 years in college, Tim Duncan came into the NBA as one of the most pro-ready prospects of our lifetime. As a rookie, he averaged 22-12 with 2.5 blocks and earned All-Star status right out of the gate. He even finished 5th in MVP voting (as a rookie!). Golden State shouldn't expect that. More realistically, you're looking at a top pick that could be an "average" player as a rookie, and hopefully work their way to All-Star status in year 3 or 4. The question for Golden State is: can they afford to wait that long? Steph Curry is 32. Klay Thompson is 30 and coming off a serious injury. Draymond Green is 30 and perhaps on a decline already. Given that, the Warriors have a choice to make. Should they utilize this top 5 pick as a way to supplement their playoff roster now, with the expectation that the prospect could develop into their next franchise player down the road? Or should they cash in their draft assets for a "win now" approach? In order to answer that question, let's take a look at more of the specifics.
What kind of package can they offer?
There's no way the Golden State Warriors will trade Steph Curry or Klay Thompson, especially given how well their skill sets should age over time. In theory, they could debate trading Draymond Green (still owed 4 more years) for younger legs, but I imagine he's too important to the franchise from a culture and historical standpoint. Other than that...? All bets are off. As we peek through the Warriors' cupboard for potential assets, here's what we find: THE LOTTERY PICK. Currently slated at # 1, there's only a 14% chance it stays there. That pick could land anywhere from 1-5, with 3 or 4 being the most likely outcome. While this isn't a very strong draft, there's inherent value to a top 5 pick. I would estimate that the top 3 is especially valuable this year, with three potential bluechip prospects emerging from the pack in SG Anthony Edwards (Georgia), C James Wiseman (Memphis), and PG LaMelo Ball (facebook). Minnesota's 2021 R1 pick. This had been included in the D'Angelo Russell deal. The pick is top 3 protected, but could still be a valuable asset. Under Ryan Saunders, the Timberwolves have gone 36-70 overall. With Karl-Anthony Towns and a full season of D'Angelo Russell (not to mention another top 5 pick), the Wolves may get closer to .500 range, but there's also a good chance the pick lands in the top 10 regardless. Andrew Wiggins. Sadly, Young Mr. Wiggins would be used mostly as contract filler at this stage. He's not a bad player, but he happens to be overpaid on his current contract. He'll get $29.5M next season, $31.5M the following year, and $33.5M in the final year. He'll need to take a massive step up in efficiency to be worth that type of money. Eric Paschall. The forward from Villanova had a solid rookie year, averaging 14.6 points and 4.6 rebounds. Realistically, there may not be a huge amount of upside left in the tank for the 23 year old, but the price makes him appealing. He's only due $1.5M next season and $1.8M the following year. Kevon Looney. The 2019-20 campaign was a lost season for Looney due to injury, but he's still a potential asset on his current contract ($4.8M + $5.2M player option.) When last healthy in 2018-19, he averaged about 12-10 per 36 minutes of action. He's one of the few "middle class" contracts on the books, so he's going to be a common throw-in to trades. Damion Lee. Steph Curry's brother-in-law is a personal favorite of mine. He's worked his way up through the G-League and 10-day contracts and proven to be a legitimate rotational player. The Warriors locked him up on a team-friendly contract ($1.7M + $1.9M) that makes him a positive asset as well. Marquese Chriss. Amazingly, mega "bust" Marquese Chriss flashed some improved play for the Warriors last year. Teams will still be wary of trusting him, but his salary ($1.8M) makes him a decent throw-in and flier. Alen Smailagic. The 20-year-old Serbian only played 139 total minutes for the big league club this year, but did pretty well (15.2 PPG in 25.9 minutes) in the G-League. He's a decent flier of a prospect who at the very least can be an extra contract ($1.5M) to throw into a deal. other picks. The Warriors also own the # 48 and # 52 picks in this year's draft, and could throw in future R1 picks of their own as well. If we throw in ALL of these players (hard to do with roster constraints), we're talking about a salary package of about $40M. More likely, you can make anywhere from $30-35M work presuming you include Andrew Wiggins as a major component of the trade. Overall, I'd say the Warriors have three levels of trade packages to offer. THE GOLD PACKAGE: Would be this year's lottery pick + Wiggins (for contract purposes) + a solid young player like Pascall THE SILVER PACKAGE: Minnesota's pick next year + Wiggins (for contract purposes). THE BROWN/TURD PACKAGE: Wiggins + minor picks and assets (but no high picks.) With this package, the Warriors would be looking to acquire other "toxic" assets more than anything else.
Potential deals for the THE GOLD PACKAGE (Wiggins + this year's lottery pick)
Bradley Beal (WAS) ($29M + $34.5M + $37M player option) Look, I don't want to do this any more than you do, but the United States Congress just passed legislation (Provision BB-3) that requires every single trade post to mention Bradley Beal. For this to actually happen, a number of events would have to fall in line. The first is that Beal formally demands a trade, forcing Washington's hand. His recent extension makes that unlikely, but not unprecedented given today's NBA climate. Secondly, the Warriors would have to grab a top 3 pick -- likely # 1 or # 2. If they do that, then they would have a legitimate offer to make the Wizards for Beal: that top pick + Wiggins + maybe Eric Pascall as an additional piece. They could even throw in a future R1 pick to sweeten the pot if need be. You may question whether another shooting guard (emphasis on shooting) would even fit on Golden State, but we shouldn't overthink this one. Shooting is like peanut butter -- it goes with everything. Moreover, Klay Thompson could easily slide out to SF if need be. The defense would take a hit, but the offensive firepower would be devastating enough to make up for it. Myles Turner (IND) ($18M + $18M + $18M) + $10M in trade filler If the Warriors' pick lands in the 4-5 range, they may have to set their sights lower in trade talks, and look towards near All-Stars like Myles Turner instead. The Indiana Pacers went into this season with an unconventional two-big lineup, and it actually worked pretty well overall. That said, they've been playing without Domatas Sabonis in the bubble, and it's given scorers like T.J. Warren more room to operate. Looking ahead, perhaps the team decides they need to break up the big guys in order to maximize their spacing and spark their offense (ranked 18th pre-bubble.) And hey, maybe they decide they don't want to pay Victor Oladipo (a FA next summer) big money and lock into a core that may top out as a 4-5 seed no matter what. Acquiring a young starter like Andrew Wiggins and a top 5 pick would give them some more options and potential upside. From the Warriors' perspective, Myles Turner (or Sabonis) would give them a very good center that can play without the confines of their offense. Turner is also particularly stout on defense, and would pair with Draymond Green for a formidable duo inside. Originally, I had listed Jeremy Lamb ($10M + $10M) as the trade filler to make it work, but his ACL injury complicates that math. Presumably, the Warriors would like some healthy bodies to help a team that would be dangerously thin. They'd likely prefer Doug McDermott ($7.5M), but may have to settle for lesser white dudes like T.J. McConnell ($3.5M) and T.J. Leaf ($4.5M) instead.
Potential deals for the THE SILVER PACKAGE (Wiggins + MIN 2021 pick)
Blake Griffin (DET) ($37M + $39M player option) Blake Griffin has been in the NBA for 10+ years now, but he's still one of the more misunderstood players in the league. He still has the rep as an athlete/dunker, despite the fact that he's a highly skilled ball-handler and passer as well. When last healthy in 2018-19, he averaged 24-7-5 and helped push the Pistons into the playoffs. Griffin's (offensive) potential on this Warriors team would be terrifying. From Detroit's perspective, this would represent a reset and rebuild. They'd hand the reins of the PF spot from Griffin (31 years old) to Christian Wood (24) and go with a younger approach. Andrew Wiggins may never be the All-Star we hoped, but he still fits that timeline at 25 years old, and has proven to be more durable than Griffin (who isn't?). With this "silver package," the Pistons would also get that Minnesota draft pick to help their rebuild. There's some uncertainty to that pick, so they may prefer some type of pick swap this season instead. For example, let's say Golden State lands at # 2, and Detroit comes in at # 4. The two teams may negotiate some deal that would allow the Pistons to jump up to 2 and grab their preferred prospect. Aaron Gordon (ORL) ($18M + $16M) + Terrence Ross ($13.5M + $12.5M + $11.5M) After six seasons in the league, it may be time to give up on the idea that Aaron Gordon will develop into a go-to scorer. Instead, he may be best served as a 3rd or 4th starter who's going to be a movable piece on defense and an energy scorer on offense. That doesn't sound like what the doctor ordered in Orlando (with Jon Isaac already there), but it could fit well in Golden State. Gordon and Draymond Green would be a "small" PF-C combination, but it's a mighty switchable tandem. Terrence Ross would be included for salary and depth, although Orlando may try to push for Al-Farouq Aminu instead. Why would Orlando be interested in Andrew Wiggins? They wouldn't, necessarily, but this package would also offer them that extra Minnesota draft pick. Moreover, it would help clear some logjam in their frontcourt. Aside from Jon Isaac, they also have Nikola Vucevic, Mo Bamba, and this past year's rookie Chuma Okeke. Personally, I'm excited to see what Okeke can offer when healthy next year.
Potential deals for the THE BROWN/TURD PACKAGE (Wiggins + minor picks and assets)
Kevin Love (CLE) ($31M + $31M + $29M) Can we possibly go full circle here? Andrew Wiggins started his career by being traded for Kevin Love, so it'd be fitting for the two to swap places once again. From the Cavs' perspective, this move would be all about a rebuild. Kevin Love (31 years old, turning 32 in September) never felt like a great fit for their very young team. While Wiggins isn't an ideal building block, he's younger and easier to slide into a lineup at the wing. They'd also be getting off a contract that's naturally risky given Love's age and injury history. The Warriors had resisted adding Kevin Love before (for Klay Thompson), but his "fit" would be interesting right now. Offensively, his ability to rebound and stretch the court would make their lineup even more potent. Defensively, your hope is that Draymond Green could cover for any potential weakness he may have. Love is also a good team-first player who shouldn't have any problem fitting in and chasing another ring. Al Horford (PHI) ($27.5M + $27M + $26.5M) Another skilled big man in his 30s, Al Horford could be an option if the Warriors want to make a quick push to win now at the expense of their future. Horford is past his prime, but he's still a heady player who would fit into the offensive system and culture well. That said, Horford carries sizable risk to him given the length of his contract. He recently turned 34, so he'll be paid $20M+ into his age 35-36 seasons. It's almost guaranteed to be an albatross contract by the end, but perhaps the Warriors can talk themselves into it if they believe their window is only 1-2 more years anyway. For the Sixers, Andrew Wiggins isn't ideal either (as a mediocre shooter), but he'd at least offer them more depth at the wing. Paying a big man like Al Horford to go along with Joel Embiid never made a ton of sense in the first place. LaMarcus Aldridge (SA) ($24M) The San Antonio Spurs haven't embraced a full-on rebuild yet, but they're verging on that territory. That'd be especially easy at center, where Jakob Poeltl is more than ready to man 25-30 minutes. Given that, LaMarcus Aldridge would be an easy piece to push aside. Would the Spurs want a player like Andrew Wiggins back in return? Probably not. Still, they may have the faith that their player development system can get Wiggins to tap into his full potential. From the Warriors' perspective, this would be another push to "win now." Despite being 35 years old, Aldridge can still be an offensive weapon, as illustrated by his 18.9 points per game this season. In some ways, he could be a bootleg version of what Kevin Durant gave the Warriors -- bailing out their offense in half-court possessions when needed. Defensively, he should be able to play alongside Draymond Green as well. While LaMarcus Aldridge may not sound like a needle mover at this stage, this is a good time to remind the reader that these latter packages don't include those valuable draft picks. Julius Randle (NY) ($19M + $20M) + SG Wayne Ellington ($8M) You're not going to find more polarizing players than Julius Randle. The raw stats suggest he's a star (he neared 20-10 again with averages of 19.5 and 9.7 this season.) The advanced stats suggest he's a net negative. Still, you'd like his chances of success playing with this Golden State offense. Randle is an underrated ball-mover himself, so he may fit in well with their lineup. For his part, Wayne Ellington would be a contract filler and a potential depth play. Would the Knicks want Andrew Wiggins? Eh. He's probably a little better than Julius Randle, but he's about the same age (both 25) and would be on a more expensive, longer-term deal. Their decision here may come down to the draft. If they have a chance to take another big (be it James Wiseman or Onyeka Okongwu) they may want to jettison Julius Randle sooner than later to clear room. Kyle Anderson (MEM) ($9.5M + $10M) + Gorgui Dieng ($17M) This would certainly be the lowest profile trade option, and it would essentially be the Warriors' way of admitting that they never wanted Andrew Wiggins in the first place. I like the idea of "Slo-Mo" Kyle Anderson on the Warriors given his basketball IQ, while Gorgui Dieng may be good enough to give them 20 minutes a night. Still, the only reason the Warriors would make a trade like this would be if they viewed Wiggins as a toxic/negative asset. From the Grizzlies' perspective, this deal would represent some risk as well. This is a young and talented team that doesn't necessarily need more help on the wing. They have a full plate already with Dillon Brooks, Justice Winslow, Grayson Allen, Josh Jackson, etc. Still, it's never easy for a market like Memphis to draw in "big names," so perhaps they view Wiggins as that type of star material.
Undertaking a fairly large project here. The aim is to give each team a plausible trade, signing, and draft pick over the 2020 NBA offseason in order to boost each team's prospects in the upcoming 2020-2021 season. While I can't promise they all will be, I'll try and keep the trades as player-specific, rather than something like "Knicks trading up to draft Ball" or something like that. I will also try (no promises) to do the trade in conjunction with one another. So it would ideally be proposed as 3-moves to make together, not 3 separate moves to make. Again, no promises, and I'll clarify if I'm suggest one as an alternative, but that will be the aim if I can find a pattern I like. Also, some players listed in free agency signings do have player options, so we'll treat them all as possibilities to a certain degree. And also, just because your team's player is listed as a trade move for one team doesn't mean they are moving them, just that there either have been rumors they'd be available, or simply that the listed team would be interested in acquiring them.
Draft Pick: G/F Isaac Okoro, Auburn With plenty of promising scorers, the Hawks should target Okoro to add to their defensive capacity on the wing. Okoro is a very selfless player, and would fit well into a lineup with Trae Young, John Collins and Clint Capela, amongst other promising young players. While ultimately, the Hawks may actually be best suited packaging this pick in a trade, if they stick at #6 overall, Okoro sure would be a good addition for Atlanta. Signing: F JaMychal Green, Los Angeles Clippers The Hawks have a few players who can fill minutes behind John Collins at the 4, such as De'Andre Hunter. But adding a clear backup for Collins would round the depth a bit cleaner. Insert JaMychal Green, a quality shooter (39% last season), who still be able to keep the post clear for Clint Capela, will giving Atlanta an excellent depth addition should he decline his player option in LAC and seek out a new opportunity. Trade: G Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers Oladipo would be interesting backcourt partner with Trae Young. In addition to being a high-caliber defender, Oladipo also has the ability to handle the ball when Young isn't on the court. While Indiana risks losing Oladipo down the road for nothing, shipping him off to the rising Hawks, who will be angling for a playoff run next season. Oladipo could be a big piece of that run, and perhaps even help them contend for more if returns to his All-Star form.
Draft Pick: F Patrick Williams, Florida State The Celtics have one of the deepest rosters in the NBA, and selecting back at #13 overall means they'll really just be able to target the best player available. If Patrick Williams is available at 13 however, he should definitely be considered, as his versatility would help continue loading up the Celtics bench. And with Williams being a bit raw offensively, the Celtics can afford to take a chance on his upside and develop him under Brad Stevens further. Signing: F Joe Harris, Brooklyn Nets A 6'6 sharpshooter, Harris would be a fun add to the Celtics rotation. It may take some small moves to create the space for him, but adding the career 3-point marksman would fit in well with the versatile athletes around him like Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, and help the second unit stretch the floor when he comes off the bench. Trade: C Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers Turner seems like he has been connected to the Celtics for a little while now, and it makes plenty of sense. The Pacers will likely be looking for players who fit better around Domantas Sabonis, and that could give an opportunity for the Celtics to move for Turner. Turner would fit well in the Celtics lineup at the center position, where right now the Celtics have some quality role players, but no star. By adding Turner, the Celtics would have one of the best all-around starting 5's in the entire league (Kemba-Smart-Brown-Tatum-Turner).
Draft Pick: G Josh Green, Arizona Finding players who can work alongside Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant will be key, and Green's defense and off-ball ability make him well suited to this role. Picking #19 overall will make it difficult to add an instant impact rotation, but Green would have a good chance to find minutes with his skill set. Signing: C Aron Baynes, Phoenix Suns Should the Nets see themselves dishing out C Jarrett Allen in a blockbuster trade for a third star (see below), then a backup center becomes a big priority for the Nets. The solution here is Baynes, a hard-working center who had a career season shooting the ball. He'd fit nicely behind DeAndre Jordan. Trade: G Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards If Beal is available, the Nets should be keen to add him to the mix. Able to offer the most enticing players to any blockbuster package (Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen), the Nets could find their third star to pair with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant when the two return next season. Adding Beal to the mix would immediately vault the Nets all the way to Finals contenders, if the return of Durant and Irving themselves don't already accomplish that.
Draft Pick: PG LaMelo Ball, Australia If he's on the board at the #4 overall pick, the Bulls should be keen on bringing LaMelo in to the Windy City. Perhaps the Draft's best playmaker, he could fit well with scoring guards like Coby White and Zach LaVine, while operating a dangerous pick and pop with big guys like Markkanen. With the size and athleticism to match up well defensively, LaMelo's playmaking ability would help turn the Bulls into a legitimate playoff threat in 2020-2021. If LaMelo is off the board, the Bulls could go in several direction, perhaps even trading the pick if they find a suitable offer. Signing: C Meyers Leonard, Portland Trail Blazers The Bulls could use some depth in the frontcourt, and Leonard's range and 3-point ability make him a great player to add into a rotation that ranked in the bottom third of the league in their percentage from deep, and could potentially lose F Otto Porter if he opts out, one of their better marksmen. The question will likely be centered on how much money Leonard is aiming for, but if the numbers work, Leonard should be a serious target for Chicago. Trade: C Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers Embiid may or may not be available, there have been reports going both ways. But if the former Jayhawk is on the block after the 76ers quick exit from the playoffs, then Chicago should be very interested in acquiring him, even if means shipping out Wendell Carter and some other assets. With Markkanen capable of spacing the floor (34.5% shooter from deep), an Embiid addition would give Chicago two versatile bigs, given Embiid's proficiency from deep as well (34.8%). But most importantly, he'd be a scoring machine that would be the focal point of a fun, versatile Bulls roster that could push into playoff contention quickly with him leading the way.
Draft Pick: F Obi Toppin, Dayton With it almost assured that neither LaMelo Ball nor Anthony Edwards reaches Cleveland at #5, their hope should be in Toppin making his way past the Hornets and Bulls. A dynamic forward who excels in multiple facets of the game, he'd represent the best player available at this point in the draft, and an ideal addition for a talent-needy Cavaliers team. Whether replacing Kevin Love, or playing alongside him in looks, Toppin should stay in Ohio if at all possible. Signing: F Derrick Jones Jr., Miami Heat The Heat need cap space for upcoming extensions, so it's likely that Jones Jr, a versatile role player, will hit free agency. Cleveland is already reportedly interested, and it makes sense why. Providing quality defense on the wing, he's 23 years old, which fits Cleveland's rebuilding timeline, and should have time to round out and improve his offensive game (8.5 ppg, 28% from 3). The name of the game for the Cavs is to acquire talent, and Jones Jr. provides them with an intriguing piece with room to grow. Trade: Moving Kevin Love for Assets After landing a dynamic replacement for him, the Cavaliers are a team that doesn't necessarily have a specific player to target, but rather figure out what they could get for someone like Love, who shot 37% from deep last year. His salary could be problematic here, but even adding second round selections has proven useful for Cleveland (Kevin Porter Jr.).
Draft Pick: G Tyrese Maxey, Kentucky Maxey may not be a lethal shooter by any means, but his defense should make him a desired player for a Mavericks team that could use a defensive stopper to pair with Luka Doncic down the role. Maxey brings athleticism, ability to finish at the rim, and a decent mid-range game to the table, which should be enough, along with his defense, to make a desirable player for Mark Cuban's Mavericks. Signing: SF Bogdan Bogdanovic, Sacramento Kings Limited to what they can make happen with the Mid Level Exception or in a sign-and-trade, the Mavericks should get creative and add Bogdan Bogdanovic to the roster. The 27-year old wing would fit right at home with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, a high caliber shooter, especially on catch and shoot situations. If Sacramento doesn't believe they can fit Bogdanovic in with upcoming deals for Fox and Bagley, along with Hield potentially, landing some assets in a sign-and-trade would make sense. If no sign-and-trade, perhaps a 3&D wing like James Ennis (Orlando) could be an easier fit financially. Trade: PF Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic Whether Kristaps Porzingis fills more time at the four or the five, finding a way to pair him and Gordon together in a frontcourt would be fun to watch. Gordon's resurgence for the Magic this past season was a large reason they managed to make it into the playoffs. His defensive versatility and 3-point ability would make him an ideal third star to pair with Luka and Kristaps.
Draft Pick: F Jaden McDaniels, Washington The Nuggets were patient in bringing along Michael Porter Jr., who has stepped up big time during the Bubble. And with several Nuggets wings likely to depart in free agency (Millsap, Torrey Craig), adding a high potential piece like McDaniels to develop and even rotate in behind Grant and Porter Jr. would give Denver the opportunity to take a chance on someone like McDaniels. Signing: C Thon Maker, Detroit Pistons If Plumlee is in fact priced out of a return to Denver, finding a suitable replacement at center will be important. While Bol Bol could claim that spot, it's not a certainty, and thus, adding a three-level scorer at the 5 would be a wise insurance policy for the Nuggets. Trade: G Jrue Holiday, New Orleans Pelicans A high caliber veteran on a rebuilding roster, Holiday could be a great partner to pair with Jamal Murray in the backcourt. Less costly than someone like Bradley Beal, Holiday would be a much more realistic third star to bring in. A lineup with Holiday-Murray-Porter Jr.-Nokic and whoever else you want in that fifth spot seems deadly. With Gary Harris and plenty of other assets available, the Nuggets could offer an intriguing package for Holiday.
Draft Pick: G/F Devin Vassell, Florida State This may break from the mock drafts a bit, which usually have the Pistons adding a point guard. However, Vassell could be an interesting piece for Detroit to select, especially considering that the top point guard in the draft (LaMelo Ball) will not likely be available for Detroit at #7 overall. Instead, Detroit adds a long 3&D piece that could fit nicely in between Luke Kennard and Sekou Doumbouya long-term. And as for a point guard. . . Signing: PG Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors Reuniting Dwane Casey and VanVleet seems like an ideal pairing, especially the major need Detroit has at point guard. With Blake Griffin still a high caliber player when healthy, adding a win-now veteran like VanVleet could perhaps boost Detroit all the way to the playoffs next season if Griffin is playing. And at 26-years old, he's both an instant impact veteran as well as a possible long-term solution at the position. Trade:C Mo Bamba, Orlando Magic The Pistons may have found themself something with C Christian Wood, who emerged as a quality option for them in the wake of the Drummond trade. However, Wood's emergence was a very small sample size, raising some questions over how much stock Detroit would put into it. Acquiring Bamba would give them another starting caliber option, who has proven himself as a decent player off the bench behind Vucevic if Wood does manage to build on his promising play.
Golden State Warriors:
Draft Pick: C James Wiseman, Memphis (kinda) Should the Warriors not move this pick, Wiseman makes more sense than LaMelo Ball in terms of fit and need. Though both have questions of maturity and consistency, Wiseman's size and length would offer the Warriors a weapon they haven't really had alongside Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. If Wiseman can fit in the frontcourt with forward Draymond Green, and Golden State makes the pick, it should be Wiseman. Signing: PG D.J. Augustin, Orland Magic At 32-years old, Augustin likely won't command more than any of the exceptions that Golden State would be able to muster up. However, he still can make an impact, running the Warriors second unit when Curry and Thompson (both returning from injury) need a breather. A quality shooter as well (35%), Augustin to the Warriors makes plenty of sense as they attempt to return to their place at the top of the Western Conference. Trade: PF John Collins, Atlanta Hawks While the Warriors seem to be another team interested in acquiring All-Star G Bradley Beal, perhaps a move for John Collins would be more feasible. The beauty for Golden State is that they would likely be able to orchestrate this trade more along the lines of a pick swap than an outright deal using their #2 selection. If the Hawks are interested in pairing Trae Young and perhaps LaMelo Ball or Anthony Edwards, this could the way to get there. Collins' 3-point shooting and athleticism would make him a quality fit in Golden State.
Draft Pick: - - - No Selection in Upcoming Draft - - - The Rockets could always try buying a second round pick to add someone like C Nick Richards (Kentucky) or F Paul Eboua (Italy), but for now, they do not possess a pick. Signing: C DeMarcus Cousins, Los Angeles Lakers The Rockets have found success operating without a center, but should look to find a big man or two who fits alongside Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Cousins' season was derailed by injuries, but his ability to stretch the floor as well as battle big men like Davis or Jokic in the West make him an appealing option for the Rockets. Trade: F/C Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers Likely dependent on whether or not they made the signing above, the Rockets could also choose to trade for a big man to help stretch the floor. A decorated veteran, Love has plenty of experience playing with ball-handling stars, and so long as he continues to shoot a good clip from deep and rebound the ball, he'd be an invaluable piece for Houston as they attempt to win a title.
Draft Pick: F Killian Tillie, Gonzaga The Pacers do not posses a first round pick this year, so finding a useful rotational piece at #44 overall will be the challenge here. For the Pacers, finding a clean backup for Sabonis would be a welcome add. Tillie is a floor-stretcher at the four, hitting over 40% from deep every season at Gonzaga. Mixing him into the second unit with Doug McDermott on the wing and Gaga Bitadze at center should give the Pacers the depth they need to make a run. Signing: G/F Kent Bazemore, Sacramento Kings Should the Pacers decide to move Victor Oladipo before he departs in 2021 free agency, then adding a wing like Bazemore should help fill in the depth after Jeremy Lamb steps into Oladipo's spot. Bazemore saw his 3-point percentage climb after moving to Sacramento (38%), and if he's able to continue hitting at a quality rate like that, he'd be a valuable two-way wing that would be helpful for a hopeful contender like the Pacers. Trade: G Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards The Pacers have several very intriguing pieces that they could potentially move, notably G Victor Oladipo and C Myles Turner. Should they move Oladipo, perhaps using him as the centerpiece to a Bradley Beal piece would give Indiana a shot at the player who would most likely elevate their team beyond first-round playoff exits. Swapping Oladipo for Beal should be discussed if the Wizards find themselves willing to move Beal.
Los Angeles Clippers
Draft Pick: F/C Kaleb Wesson, Ohio State If JaMychal Green departs, finding another power forward would make sense for the Clippers to look for. Picking so late in the draft, #57 overall, limits their options in terms of finding an immediate contributor. Rather, targeting someone more developed like Wesson would be their best bet of finding a contributor, though they could easily opt for someone with more raw potential. Either way, Wesson's 3-point ability makes him an interesting option to develop into a rotational piece. Signing: F/C Marvin Williams, Milwaukee Bucks While the most likely signings for the Clippers will revolve around internal free agents, notably Marcus Morris and Montrezl Harrell, they still will have a bit of room for a smaller addition like Williams. If Harrell does depart, the Clippers could use another big to add to the rotation, and Marvin Williams would be a quality small ball center option for any teams looking to contend for a title, like the Clippers. Trade:G J.J. Redick, New Orleans Pelicans The Clippers have a very deep roster already, but Redick is exactly what you'd want to bring in to bolster your chances of winning it all. An elite, established marksmen, his shooting off the bench would be a big plus, and the defensive-minded Clippers already can compensate for him on that end of the floor. If they can make the money work, reuniting Redick and LAC would make sense as they chase a title.
Los Angeles Lakers
Draft Pick: G/F Desmond Bane, TCU Picking at #28 overall, the Lakers would be wise to target Bane here, as his crazy 3-point rate (43%) would make him an energizing option off of the bench. The Lakers have a handful of wings as well on expiring deals, and should they lose someone like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, bringing in Bane to boost their mediocre 3-point numbers could help LeBron win another title. Signing: C Bismack Biyombo, Charlotte Hornets The Lakers have had DeMarcus Cousins, JaVale McGee, and Dwight Howard all on the roster in 2019-2020. McGee has an option for 2021, so the Lakers could see some turnover at the center position if any of the aforementioned don't want to run it back with LeBron and AD. If they need a new center, Biyombo's defensive chops would make him a good fit as a backup or rotational center to help the Lakers win a title. Trade:PG Derrick Rose, Detroit Pistons Ensuring that the Lakers can generate offense with their stars getting a breather is crucial for any contender. Derrick Rose may no longer be the star he was, but he's still a valuable piece off the bench, and would fit quite well leading the Lakers second unit, should Rajon Rondo decline his player option.
Draft Pick: C Jalen Smith, Maryland The Heat have found tons of success with Bam Adebayo at the five, but for a team as deep as Miami, bringing in a high potential big man like Jalen Smith could give them a fun piece to develop. A quality three point shooter already, ironing out his defensive inconsistencies would give the Heat a quality contributor with the #20 overall pick. Signing: F Dario Saric, Phoenix Suns With Adebayo more of a playmaking Energizer Bunny, bringing in another big who can play alongside Adebayo, or relieve him, would be wise. The Heat will likely focus on bringing back players from their current roster, which would likely take them out of the running for Danilo Gallinari, for example. Instead, Saric could provide the same style of play at a more affordable cost. And that's important because.... Trade: Nothing Big...for now Miami has a claim to one of the deepest rosters in the league. Their system works and they have the financial flexibility and assets to go big game hunting. With a poor free agency market this year though, the Heat should hold tight for another season and take a shot at a superstar like Giannis Antetokounmpo, and then pair him (or whoever) with one of the stacked free agents on the docket (Kawhi, LeBron, Beal, Gobert, Paul, etc). Adding DeMar DeRozan right now may be tempting, but don't do it, hold tight...for now.
Draft Pick: PG Devon Dotson, Kansas With multiple guards on expiring contracts, the Bucks should aim for a guard capable of providing them minutes in the Draft. An absolute blur, Dotson is one of the most physically impressive prospects in the Draft, though he'll need to work on deep range shooting before pairing up with Giannis. For now, he'd be a fun piece to add off the bench, able to push the ball in transition opportunities. Signing: F Joe Harris, Brooklyn Nets With a physical freak like Giannis leading the charge, surrounding him with shooters is the best course of action, and Harris shoots incredibly well. The Bucks may need to get create to afford Harris, but if they can make the money work, they likely won't find anyone as impactful as Harris in their pursuit of an NBA title. Trade: F Nemanja Bjelica, Sacramento Kings Bjelica had a quality season for the Kings, and while they'd likely want to hang onto him, the Bucks should consider making a call and working something. A 6'10 big with fantastic floor stretching ability (42% from 3), he'd represent a significant upgrade from the older Ersan Ilyasova. All about adding shooters, and even relative upgrades should be considered if the Bucks can afford it.
Draft Pick: SG Anthony Edwards, Georgia This is a fairly easy one, as the Timberwolves hold the top pick and will have their choice of player here. The most likely, and most logical, is Edwards, who would pair with D'Angelo Russell in a high upside backcourt in Minnesota. While not an elite shooter, Edwards finds plenty of ways to score, and should continue to do so in the NBA, as Russell and Karl Anthony Towns take up the most attention from opponents. Signing: F/C Montrezl Harrell, Los Angeles Clippers The Timberwolves could give themselves a defensive boost by bringing in Harrell, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year. Whether playing the four or five, Harrell would give the Timberwolves a high intensity option that can play alongside Karl-Anthony Towns or relieving him when he's off the floor. Trade: G/F Josh Richardson, Philadelphia 76ers If the 76ers do enter a fire-sale, the Timberwolves should put in a call for two-way wing Josh Richardson. Still only 26-years old, Richardson has plenty of upside for a relatively young team like the Timberwolves. Adding him to the mix would give them another capable weapon around their stars.
New Orleans Pelicans
Draft Pick: F Aaron Nesmith, Vanderbilt A 3-point marksman to fill in on the wings would be the exactly the type of player to put around a playmaker like Zion Williamson. Nesmith's large wingspan (6'10) would be an asset as he develops into a top two-way wing, and doing so in New Orleans would be an excellent move for the Pelicans to pursue with the #13 overall selection. Signing: PG Austin Rivers, Houston Rockets If the Pelicans look to accumulate assets by moving Lonzo Ball or Jrue Holiday, than bringing a quality shooting point guard makes a lot of sense. Rivers shot 36% on 4 attempts per game in Houston, and showed the ability to play with more ball-dominant players in Russell Westbrook and James Harden, which would suit him well in a lineup featuring Zion Williamson. And at 28 years old, Rivers still has plenty of good years left in him as the Pelicans work towards contending status. Trade: Whatever Assets They Can Get From Redick or Holiday The Pelicans don't bring a specific target to mind, but rather as a team who should aim to accumulate assets. Gathering picks or promising young players would position them well to make a move for a bigger superstar down the road, one who, paired with Zion Williamson, would propel them into championship contention. And with both Redick and Jrue Holiday in town, the Pelicans have some intriguing pieces to dangle for teams looking to win now.
New York Knicks
Draft Pick: PG Tyrese Haliburton, Iowa State Unless the Knicks trade up to acquire PG LaMelo Ball (which they are reportedly looking at), the Knicks should feel comfortable picking the best guard on the board at #8 overall, as there are several quality options. Haliburton, however, is the ideal target here, as he's a high IQ player with a good 3-point shot and excellent defense, he would fit Thibodeau's style pretty well, and presents less of a risk than Cole Anthony or Killian Hayes for example. Signing: F Danilo Gallinari, Oklahoma City Thunder With Mitchell Robinson not a shooting threat in the slightest, the Knicks should target someone who can stretch the floor from the four position. The best name available there is OKC's Danilo Gallinari, who nearly went to the Heat, but now is a free agent. Whoever the Knicks end up with at point guard will be well-aided by the floor stretching capacity of Gallinari, a 40% shooter the past two seasons. Trade: PG Chris Paul, Oklahoma City Thunder Another name out of OKC, the Knicks should feel no issues drafting a point guard and trading for Chris Paul. First and foremost, the Knicks need to rebuild a winning culture, and bringing in Paul and Tom Thibodeau are good first steps towards that end. Likewise, even if the Knicks do select a point guard in the draft, Paul has shown himself quite adept at sharing the floor with other ball-handlers, like he did in Houston with James Harden, and as he did this past year in OKC with Shai-Gilgeous Alexander and Dennis Schroeder. A great leader, player and mentor, Paul would help the Knicks build the right environment to end their playoff drought.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Draft Pick: C Isaiah Stewart, Washington If the Thunder move Chris Paul and Danilo Gallinari walks, they could be in for a rebuild. Stewart may be raw and underdeveloped offensively, but at 19-years old, he has time to develop his offensive game. Meanwhile, his wingspan, strength and motor give him major upside as a defensive stopper in the post. With Nerlens Noel potentially departing OKC, there could even be minutes for Stewart to step into as a rookie and get his feet wet. Signing: F Otto Porter, Chicago Bulls The Thunder could possibly be losing their best shooter (Gallinari) and their best defender (Roberson). Finding someone who can provide a little bit of both could work for them, with Porter shooting 38% last year in Chicago. An easy fit in between OKC's high powered guard duo and center Steven Adams, Porter could serve as either a reinforcement for another playoff run, or a piece with some long-term upside. Trade: F Nemanja Bjelica, Sacramento Kings If the Thunder aren't able to retain Danilo Gallinari, perhaps bringing in Bjelica could give them a similar styled replacement. As mentioned already, Bjelica is a floor stretching forward (42% clip) that would put another dangerous shooter around Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous Alexander.
Draft Pick: G Theo Maledon, France The Magic need someone to boost their struggling offense, and Maledon's craftiness as a ball-handler and off-ball shooting ability (37% from deep) should peak the Magic's interest. While Markelle Fultz has rebuilt himself into a potential long-term point guard, Maledon should seamlessly fit in next to him, and even provide minutes backing him up when Fultz heads to the bench. Signing: G Wesley Matthews, Milwaukee Bucks If Evan Fournier opts in, the Magic won't have the money to add bigger names, but Matthews would fit in well after finding a role as a rotational two-way guard. And even if the Magic do see Fournier depart elsewhere, Matthews' veteran experience could help their young core figure things out. Trade: G/F Caris LeVert, Brooklyn Nets If the Nets have interest in bringing in Aaron Gordon to add to the Irving-Durant duo, the Magic should be intent on getting Caris LeVert shipped to them as part of the deal. Only 26 years old, Levert averaged 19 points per game while fueling a KD-less Nets team to the playoffs. A young core of Fultz, Levert, Isaac, and Bamba is a group that you can build around.
Draft Pick: G Cassius Stanley, Duke The 76ers could use guards and shooting, and with limited financial flexibility, may need to find it in the NBA Draft. Thus, Stanley to Philly, where his elite athleticism and quality range (36%), would be a welcome addition to the 76ers. If he's still on the board at #21 overall, Stanley would make plenty of sense for the 76ers. Signing: PG Goran Dragic, Miami Heat The 76ers management has said they intend to keep Simmons and Embiid together, but if they don't keep that intention, bringing in Dragic to run the offense could be the move to make. Still productive for the Heat at 33-years old, Dragic would likely pair with Embiid better than Simmons did, as indicated by his shooting ability (37%). Trade: PG Chris Paul, Oklahoma City Thunder Breaking the mold here, should the 76ers decide to move Simmons, but not bring in Dragic, perhaps a bigger move would solve the question better. While the Knicks are the one most often linked to a move for Paul, the 76ers may want to consider adding the veteran PG to the mix, especially if they decide to breakup the Simmons-Embiid duo, and ship Ben Simmons out. Paul's veteran experience and versatile game should make him a much better sidekick for Embiid than Simmons managed to be.
Draft Pick: PG Kira Lewis Jr., Alabama The Suns needs someone in the backcourt, preferably someone who can work with Devin Booker, and run the offense when he's off the floor. That someone could be Lewis Jr., who averaged 19 points per game at Alabama and was able to knock down over 36% of his threes over two seasons. Finding a quality playmaker to carry the load could give them the breakthrough they need. Sigining: F Moe Harkless, Los Angeles Clippers Current starting wing Mikal Bridges was a solid compliment to Booker and Ayton this past season, but adding some more depth, especially a defensive geared piece, would give the Suns some switchy wings who can help them slow opponents down in the playoffs next year. Harkless will be a fairly cheap way of doing so. Trade: F Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls Putting Markkanen in an offense led by Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton could give him the space he needs to regain some of the production he had earlier in Chicago. Able to shoot off the pick-and-pop, Markkanen won't need to crowd in on Ayton to be an effective piece to the Suns offense.
Portland Trail Blazers
Draft Pick: F Saddiq Bey, Villanova With two picks in the first round (16 and 29), the Blazers will have the flexibility to fill multiple needs with the most talented players on the board. For that first selection, Bey would be a quality addition, giving the Blazers wing defense and reliable shooting. A second team unit featuring Trent, Little and Bey would be very versatile. Then, with that second first rounder, targeting a big man like Jalen Smith would be a quality Draft for the Blazers. Signing: C Mason Plumlee, Denver Nuggets With Hassan Whiteside hitting free agency, it's likely the Blazers could find themselves in need of a backup center if Whiteside is unwilling to accept a role as a backup. Thus, Mason Plumlee could be an option, as a veteran big with a quality motor who has been a serviceable option for Denver. Plumlee may not fill up the stat sheet, but in Game 6 of the Playoffs, made a direct impact for Denver with a handful of offensive rebounds and high energy. That kind of team player who work well for the Blazers rotation. Trade: PG Patty Mills, San Antonio Spurs. The Blazers have a quality starting lineup with Lillard-McCollum-Ariza-Collins/Melo-Nurkic. What they still could use is a backup point guard to help generate some points when Lillard takes a breather. Perhaps swinging a deal to bring in Patty Mills to an actual contender would be a good match. Mills currently backups Dejounte Murray in San Antonio, but his quality production and veteran leadership could be a boost for the Blazers.
Draft Pick: G/F Devin Vassell, Florida State With De'Aaron Fox running the point, the Kings need to surround him with shooters like Vassell. A 6'10 wingspan and 42% clip from deep, Vassell would be an ideal fit on the wing, and could help the Kings make the push into the playoffs by bolstering their offense and defense. Signing: F Jerami Grant, Denver Nuggets If Grant opts out of his deal in Denver, he'd give the Kings a two-way option at the 3 or 4, an excellent depth addition to add in rotation with Jabari Parker, Bjelica, and Harrison Barnes. And of course, important to note when playing with De'Aaron Fox, Grant has a quality shot from deep, hitting 39% for the Nuggets this season. Trade: F Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles Lakers If the Kings are moving G Buddy Hield, then perhaps he could interest the Lakers, who would likely want to acquire a more high profile guard to compliment LeBron and Davis. Thus, a move for Kuzma could be in play, as he'd give the Kings a versatile wing to pair with Harrison Barnes. Kuzma would also compromise a promising young trio along with De'Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley III.
San Antonio Spurs
Draft Pick: F Deni Avdija, Israel If there's any team that should be angling to move up should Avdija slide, the Spurs would likely be one of them. An excellent distributing big wing, capable of giving the Spurs minutes at the 4, Avdija seems like a tailor made fit for a Gregg Popovich offensive system. Between his schematic fit and his upside, he'd be the ideal player for the Spurs to come away with on Draft day. Signing: F/C Bobby Portis, New York Knicks Portis has plenty of upside if he can get straightened out, and if anyone is going to get the most out of Portis and teach him to play in a system, it's Gregg Popovich. If he succeeds, the Spurs find themselves with an offensive forward who can score in multiple ways, or even another trade piece if they want to sell high. Either way, taking a gamble on Portis could pay off for a program needing a new direction. Trade: As Many Picks as They Can Get The Spurs run is over for now. They did well to bring in some fun pieces in the Kawhi trade, but the Spurs need to enter a rebuild or risk an extended play in no man's land. Selling on DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay, Patrick Mills, and Marco Belinelli should be the aim. Get picks, get promising young players, and set yourself up to rebuild quickly. If one of these guys can even help you move up and select Avdija, do it.
Draft Pick: F Robert Woodard II, Mississippi State An athletic forward with a good build, Woodard could be a steal if Toronto is able to land him at #29 overall. After taking a major leap in between his freshman year and sophomore year, Woodard developed an outside shot (43%). For a team that may not be able to retain Serge Ibaka, finding another big to provide some range on the outside would give them a quality replacement. Signing: PG Austin Rivers, Houston Rockets Should Toronto be unable to retain Fred VanVleet, finding a guard capable of picking up minutes at point guard and shooting guard would serve them well. Rivers may not the same caliber of VanVleet, but can provide the versatility needed, along with a quality enough shot from deep (36% in 2019-2020). Trade: SG Luke Kennard, Detroit Pistons Thinking outside the box here, if the Raptors aren't comfortable paying VanVleet the rate it'd take to retain him, perhaps a sign-and-trade for a team like Detroit could send them back something useful, rather than letting VanVleet walk entirely. A sharp shooting guard (40% over his career, Kennard could fit well in Toronto, either as a long-term solution, or a piece to flip as part of a package at the deadline for a bigger star post-Kawhi.
Draft Pick: C Aleksej Pokusevski, Serbia A unicorn big-man, Pokusevski is a mobile center with fantastic height (7'0) and the ability to knock down shots beyond the arc (32% shooter). While he'll need to get bigger (only 205 lbs and lanky), he's still very young and should be able to develop into a starting caliber player down the road. And selecting at #23 overall, that's really what you're looking for. Signing: G Langston Galloway, Detroit Pistons While the main signing priorities for Utah will be re-signing Jordan Clarkson and extending Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz could also look to add another guard into the rotation, and Galloway's versatility and shooting make him an easy player to fit into any rotation. Trade: PG Dennis Smith Jr., New York Knicks The Jazz would have some quality offers if they did move C Rudy Gobert. But assuming they keep Gobert, the Jazz target someone to give their second unit a boost, especially as an aging Mike Conley drops off from the All-Star player he was. Smith looked much better earlier in his career, averaging around 15 points per game through his first three seasons. If he can recapture that, he could even play his way into the direct replacement for Conley.
Draft Pick: F Isaac Okoro, Auburn This one makes more sense than a lot of these other picks, in my opinion. The Wizards are horrendous on the defensive end, and Okoro is the best wing defender in this year's Draft. Being able to lock up opposing team's top scorer will allow Beal and Wall to go to work on the offensive end, lightening their load a good deal. Signing: F Moe Harkless, Los Angeles Clippers Bringing in one defensive minded rookie won't solve the defensive woes of the Wizards. With not a ton of cap flexibility, the Wizards should aim for someone relatively cheap, who can fill a clear role, and help develop young players like Rui Hachimura. That someone would likely be Moe Harkless. Trade: The Biggest Haul They Can Get for Beal I know the Wizards have said they want to see what Beal and Wall can do next season, rather than moving Beal now. But I personally think that's a mistake, and that cashing in on Beal, and getting a jump start on the rebuild is the way to go. The Wall-Beal duo didn't accomplish anything before Wall tore his Achilles, and the longer they wait, the more likely they get screwed over. If they can land two of Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, or Jarrett Allen from the Nets, I think that would be the best package, but the aim is less so a specific target than just hoard what they can get. Anyways, this took a little while to put together, so I hope you don't totally hate it. Let me know if you agree, disagree, think someone would fit better!
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