Sports fans all over the Washington DC and surrounding regions are set to follow their favorite teams at a whole new level, following the release of Monumental Sports Network’s new OTT subscription service.
Having finished one-third of the regular season, the NBA is once again fashioning a number of different storylines to garner the attention of its fans. The upheaval with some teams that saw plenty of turnover take place during the offseason is matched against the franchises that remain in contention to capture the title in June.
One of the storylines that’s now in its third year is the rivalry between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors. The two teams have met in the NBA Finals in each of the last two seasons. Should they again reach that summit in 2017, it will mark the first time ever that the same two squads have reached the finals three consecutive seasons.
Right now, that projection is on target since both currently possess the top conference record. The first of two regular season meetings took place in Cleveland on Christmas Day, with the Cavaliers forging a late comeback to win. Some of the officials’ late actions and inactions were later found to be in error, which should stoke the embers even more when the two teams play in Oakland on January 16th.
On an individual level, Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook is currently the favorite to win Most Valuable Player honors. The key reason is that he’s currently on pace to finish the season averaging a triple-double. If that becomes a reality in April, he’ll join the legendary Oscar Robertson as the only two NBA players to ever accomplish that feat.
Yet the competition for that top individual honor is tight enough that any statistical slide by Westbrook might move someone else into the favorite spot. Chief among those players is Houston Rockets guard James Harden, who’s currently averaging 28 points, just under 12 assists and eight rebounds per game.
More importantly, Harden has served as the centerpiece of a Rockets team that’s re-emerged as a strong postseason contender. They’re currently situated just three games behind the Warriors for best record in the league.
The team that’s currently in between Golden State and Houston is a familiar one: the San Antonio Spurs. At 27-7 after the games of January 2nd, the Spurs haven’t missed a beat after the retirement of future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan and the slowing down of two other Hall of Famers-to-be in guards Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.
One of the surprise teams thus far has been the Utah Jazz, which currently has the sixth-best record https://www.acheterviagrafr24.com/prix-viagra-pharmacie/ in the league. Their success has primarily been due to a stifling defense that’s only allowed a league-best 94.5 points per game. While they likely lack the depth of lasting through the postseason, a strong defense may be able to taken them farther than expected.
Another surprise possibility might be the Los Angeles Clippers, though navigating through the competitive Western Conference will be difficult. In the East, the only two teams likely to challenge the Cavaliers are the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics.
Image: J.Pat Carter/Getty Images
Continuing our grading of the 2016 NBA Draft, we pick things up with the Dallas Mavericks –
In: A.J. Hammons (#46)
A good shot blocker and defender down low, needs work if he has to be stretched to defend further out. The Mavs needed a centre and they have one with some good potential here.
In: Jamal Murray (#7), Juan Hernangomez (#15), Malik Beasley (#19), Petr Cornelie (#53)
Out: Daniel Hamilton (#56)
The Nuggets needed shooting to be able to create more room for Emmanual Mudiay to do his thing and they certainly got that. Murray, Hernangomez and Beasley are all very good shooters and the 1-2 combo of Murray and Mudiay should be the future back court for this team.
Hernangomez will likely stay overseas for a year, mostly due to the glut of bigs on the Denver roster at the moment but he projects as a solid stretch four type of player.
Beasley is another guard who is able to create his own shot and is a solid defender, he will keep the pressure on Gary Harris to keep his spot.
The Nuggets needed to get some more shooters for their floor spacing and better offensive flow, they went out and did that with all of their round one picks.
In: Henry Ellenson (#18), Michael Gbinije (#49)
The Pistons picked up a good player here in Ellenson but I’m not a fan of the pick overall, it doesn’t fit with what the Pistons need.
When you look at the Pistons roster, they have plenty of big men and have also just brought in Cameron Bairstow from Chicago, who could prove to be a worthy player off the bench if given court time. Ellenson now joins a growing group of bigs vying for playing time.
What the Pistons needed, especially early in this Draft seeing as it wasn’t the deepest, was a backup point guard. The guard spots for the Pistons drop off significantly after Reggie Jackson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
In terms of Ellenson himself, next to Andre Drummond his lack of athleticism can be hidden to some effect and he can also develop into a solid shooter from range, something that we know Stan Van Gundy likes in all his player when he has a dominant anchor.
Golden State Warriors:
In: Damian Jones (#30), Patrick McCaw (#38)
The Warriors might be expecting Festus Ezeli to go walkabout during Free Agency (possibly to the Lakers with outgoing Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton?) and they have brought in an athletic big man in Damian Jones.
A solid player who needs to work a little more on his endurance and he should be a good back up big man for this team.
McCaw was a good pick up early in the second round as well, a long guard who isn’t bad at setting up plays and defending.
Nothing flashy about either of these picks but they can certainly make the roster for next season, both of them, to keep the Warriors thereabouts.
In: Chinanu Onuaku (#37), Zhou Qi (#43)
The Rockets needed to select at least one big man in the Draft and they picked up two. Dwight Howard, Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas could all be on the way out in Free Agency so they needed someone to act as cover.
Unfortunately for them, Onuaku is extremely raw on the offensive end. Fortunately for them, Onuaku is a very good defender and rim protector.
Zhou Qi is a solid prospect from China for the Rockets. Tall with soft hands and a nice touch around the ring, he is also a competent shot blocker. Whether he can manage with the daily grind of the NBA is the biggest question.
In: Jeff Teague, Thaddeus Young, Georges Niang (#50)
Out: George Hill, Caris LeVert (#20)
The Pacers have gotten better, no doubt about that but unfortunately it doesn’t have much to do with the drafting of Georges Niang. It’s got everything to do with their deals around Jeff Teague and Thaddeus Young.
In Teague they get a legitimate point guard who is able to break down the defender and charge the lane which should create more open opportunities for Paul George and Monta Ellis. In Young, they get a very good power forward to pair with Myles Turner.
While drafting Niang could prove a steal or a bust depending on his status as a “tweener”, the moves involving Teague and Young (which had draft picks involved) make the Pacers a better team.
It seems a little redundant to grade a Draft without seeing how players have gone in their new environs but it’s always fun to speculate based on the body of work seen by those players so far and the make up of each teams roster.
So, here is the grading of the NBA Draft Part 1:
In: Taurean Prince (#12), DeAndre Bembry (#21), Isaia Cordinier (#44)
Out: Jeff Teague, Kay Felder (#54)
The Hawks seemed to restock wing players when what they really could have used was some suitable big men to back up Paul Millsap and/or replace Al Horford if he ends up on the move.
Instead they went with a shooter and defender in Prince, who was a huge reach for the #12 pick. Bembry could be a good slasher for them but is unreliable as a shooter and Cordinier will be in France for a while still.
Picked up some good players but none who fit their needs right now. A big man, as stated, or a point guard to replace Jeff Teague so Dennis Schroder has some cover.
In: Jaylen Brown (#3), Guerschon Yabusele (#16), Ante Zizic (#23), Demetrius Jackson (#45), Ben Bentil (#51), Abdel Nader (#58), 2019 Clippers first round pick
Out: Deyonta Davis (#31), Rade Zagorac (#35)
So many goodies for the Celtics in this Draft and they do….this…
At number three they selected Jaylen Brown, a player who is physically/athletically gifted but aside from his athleticism he isn’t the most skillful player that was available (e.g. Kris Dunn, Dragan Bender, Buddy Hield). The Celtics need shooting, specifically wing shooting, and Brown at #3 doesn’t do that for them.
They then pick Yabusele and Zizic as their other first round picks, Zizic could probably play minutes now but he could be bothered by the length in the NBA so his production is questionable at the moment. Yabusele on the other hand is not likely to be in the NBA next season. In my mind, three wasted picks so far.
They then trade out Deyonta Davis, who was projected as a lottery pick, when they got him at #31 BUT they did make up for it with drafting Demetrius Jackson at #45, a steal.
Did the Celtics fill any of their needs? No. Should they have taken the Philadelphia package offered to them? Probably.
In: Caris LeVert (#20), Isaiah Whitehead (#42)
Out: Thaddeus Young, Marcus Paige (#55)
LeVert is an injury prone first round talent that feels a bit of a reach by the Nets here. When this pick came from the Indiana Pacers in the Thaddeus Young trade, I’m not so sure. The biggest question mark over LeVert is staying injury free, if he does that he is a talented prospect with a good scoring punch that could become the number two option to Brook Lopez.
The same can be said for Whitehead, he is a definite scorer and everything else on the court takes as back seat.
GM Sean Marks is going straight to the rebuild, trading out Thaddeus Young and drafting two “potentials” shows that clearly. They still missing a whole lot of pieces but LeVert could prove very valuable.
In: Marco Belinelli
Out: Malachi Richardson (#22)
Ok Charlotte, bring in a 30 year old shooter worth $13 million over the next two seasons and who is just coming off his worst shooting season since 2010 and avoid this Draft.
I wouldn’t say it’s the right way to go BUT they decided they needed perimeter shooting and got someone proven as a shooter (regardless of his poor season just gone)
In: Denzel Valentine (#14), Paul Zipser (#48)
The Bulls have got a very good pick in Valentine with the 14th pick, as long as his knees hold up. Valentine averaged 19.2ppg, 7.5rpg and 7.8apg during his last season in Michigan State.
He is a perfect fit for this team, can pass, defend, knock down the three ball and covers what they’ve lost in Derrick Rose (including the poor knees…).
Zipser may not be stashed overseas but at the same time he appears to provide exactly the same as Doug McDermott, so doesn’t fit a need or provide anything new to the team.
Valentine is a steal and could have a long and productive career in the league.
In: Kay Felder (#54)
The Cavaliers bought their way to this pick, sending $2.4 million off to the Hawks. A 5’9″ point guard who can throw down alley-oops, is a very good athlete and can shoot the ball. If he was taller he’d have gone much earlier.
Cavaliers could have a steal here, could provide minutes if Matthew Dellavedova is headed out.
With the NBA Draft set to take place tomorrow morning (Friday) from 9am (AEST) and Ben Simmons looking the likely number one pick, it’s time to look back at how previous Aussies have fared in their quest to make it in the NBA.
The list below is of Australian players who have played in the NBA, if they were undrafted a * will be shown next to their name.
2009 – 2011
Andersen was drafted 37th overall by the Atlanta Hawks in 2002 but it wouldn’t be until 2009 when the Hawks traded his rights to the Houston Rockets that he’d set foot on an NBA court. He played a total of 103 games in the NBA with the Rockets, Toronto Raptors and New Orleans Hornets (at that time they were not the Pelicans).
He has NBA career averages of: 4.9ppg, 2.8rpg, 0.6apg, 0.2spg and 0.2bpg.
1997 – 2000
Chris Anstey was selected with the 18th overall pick by the Portland Trailblazers in the 1997 NBA Draft however he never played for them. He played in the NBA for three seasons with the Dallas Mavericks and the Chicago Bulls, amassing 155 games.
NBA career averages: 5.2ppg, 3.4rpg, 0.9apg, 0.4spg and 0.3bpg.
2014 – present
Drafted in 2014 with the 49th pick by the Chicago Bulls, Bairstow stepped up his game his senior year of college to get the attention of NBA scouts. In recent weeks he has been traded by the Bulls and is now with the Detroit Pistons (along with Aron Baynes). In his two seasons in the NBA he has seen very little court time thus far.
NBA career averages: 1.2ppg, 1rpg, 0.2apg, 0.1spg and 0.1bpg.
2013 – present
Born in New Zealand but grew up in Australia and represents Australia internationally, makes him Australian. He was undrafted but picked up by the San Antonio Spurs in 2012 and becoming an NBA Champion in the 2013/2014 season. Before the 2015/2016 season he has moved onto the Detroit Pistons team where he has himself a nice role behind Andre Drummond.
NBA career averages: 5.4ppg, 3rpg, 0.6apg, 0.2spg and 0.4bpg.
2005 – present
The first Australian to be selected with the number one pick in the NBA Draft, Bogut was picked by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2005. Injuries have not been kind to Bogut, particularly a freak elbow injury that has really limited his offensive game. One has to imagine what his career would have been like if not for those injuries. Since the joining the Golden State Warriors in 2012, Bogut has become an NBA Champion with them (2015) and also been selected to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team (2015). With the Bucks he led the league in blocked shots (2.6bpg in 2011), was selected to the All-NBA Third Team in 2010 and the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2006.
NBA career averages: 10.3, 8.9rpg, 2.3apg, 0.7spg and 1.6bpg.
1996 – 1997
Bradtke played with the Philadelphia 76ers during the 1996/1997 NBA season. He appeared in 36 games for them before returning to the Melbourne Tigers in the National Basketball League.
NBA career averages: 1.6ppg, 1.9rpg, 0.2apg, 0.1spg and 0.1bpg.
2013 – present
Australia’s newest NBA Champion, Dellavedova was undrafted and then picked up by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2013 after being an absolute standout player for St Mary’s College of California. Delly took over the basketball world with his display in the 2014/2015 NBA Finals before being crowned champion last week as the Cavaliers won the 2015/2016 NBA Finals.
NBA career averages: 5.7ppg, 1.9rpg, 3.4apg, 0.5spg and 0.1bpg.
2014 – present
Drafted at the number five spot by the Utah Jazz in the 2014 NBA Draft, Exum has already missed one full season to injury. Looking very much like a rookie in his first season with the Jazz, the 2015 Summer League showed that Exum was more confident in himself and his abilities. He was then unfortunately injured while representing Australia which caused him to miss all of the 2015/2016 NBA season.
NBA career averages: 4.8ppg, 1.6rpg, 2.4apg, 0.5spg and 0.2bpg.
Signing with the Washington Bullets (as they were then known) in the 1993/1994 NBA season and played seven games with them. Returned to Australia and the NBL before having another short stint in the NBA in the lockout shortened 1998/1999 NBA season where he won an NBA Championship with the San Antonio Spurs. Considered Australia’s greatest ever basketball player, Gaze has been inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame.
NBA career averages: 1.7ppg, 0.5rpg, 0.4apg, 0.2spg and 0.1bpg.
Born in the United Sates but became an Australian citizen and represented Australia internationally. He was drafted in the 1988 NBA Draft at pick number 67 (third round) by the Utah Jazz however failed to make their active roster at the time. He played the majority of his career in the NBL with the Perth Wildcats, setting a range of records for the team. In 1993 he played three games in the NBA with the Atlanta Hawks.
NBA career averages: 1.3ppg, 0.3rpg and 0.3apg.
1996 – 1997, 2003
“Hammer” is one of the great shooters of Australian basketball and he was picked up by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 1996/1997 NBA season to do just that, just not very often. He had a second stint in the NBA during the 2003/2004 NBA season with the San Antonio Spurs. Most people, from an international viewpoint, would remember him and Charles Barkley going at each other in a warm up game for the 1996 Olympics. Heal hit 8/12 three point shots in that game to lead all scorers with 28pts.
NBA career averages: 2ppg, 0.4rpg, 0.8apg, 0.1spg and 0.1bpg.
2014 – present
After plying his trade in the NBL and then in Europe, the Utah Jazz picked up their second Aussie (Dante Exum). He’s now played two seasons with the Jazz and has had some great games coming off the bench. He played every game of the 2015/2016 NBA season.
NBA career averages: 4.6ppg, 2rpg, 1.7apg, 0.8spg and 0.1bpg.
2011 – present
Born in Australia but has dual citizenship with the United States and has represented the United States internationally (youth). Describes himself as an American but throw him in here anyway as a player born in Australia to be taken in the NBA Draft. Selected first overall in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
NBA career averages: 20.8ppg, 3.4rpg, 5.5apg, 1.4spg and 0.3bpg.
2008 – 2010
Selected with the 41st pick overall in 2008 by the Indiana Pacers before having his rights traded to the Toronto Raptors, Jawai became the first indigenous Australian to play in the NBA. He has struggled throughout his career with injuries and fitness, specifically during his NBA run he had to “rest” due to a cardiac abnormality which limited his movement. He has since returned to Australia and the NBL, recently signing a three year deal with the Cairns Taipans (where he started his professional career).
NBA career averages: 2.8ppg, 2.7rpg, 0.6apg, 0.2spg and 0.2bpg
1991 – 2001
Longley was selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the seventh pick in the 1991 NBA Draft. He played there for two and a bit seasons before being traded to the Chicago Bulls. It was here he became a well known player, winning three consecutive NBA Championships between 1996 – 1998 alongside Michael Jordan. He was the starting centre for that Chicago Bulls team and became the first Australian to win an NBA Championship. He also played for the Phoenix Suns and the New York Knicks to round out his NBA career.
NBA career averages: 7.2ppg, 4.9rpg, 1.5apg, 0.5spg and 1bpg.
1993 – 1995
Born in the United States Mee became and Australian citizen and represented Australia internationally. Mee was selected by the Golden State Warriors in the 1993 NBA Draft with the 34th overall pick. He was traded to the Denver Nuggets though and never played for the Warriors. He played 40 games in the NBA before making his to China, Australia and parts of Europe.
NBA career averages: 1.9ppg, 0.9rpg, 0.5apg, 0.4spg and 0.3bpg.
2009 – present
Selected with the 55th overall pick by the Portland Trailblazers in the 2009 NBA Draft, Mills became a household name for his enthusiastic towel waving on the bench. In 2012 he moved to the San Antonio Spurs where his career has begun to flourish. Now renowned as a “sparkplug” and high energy scorer, Mills has found a home with the Spurs and won the 2013/2014 NBA Championship.
NBA career averages: 7.5ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.9apg, 0.6spg and 0.1bpg.
2006 – 2007
Originally undrafted, Schenscher signed with the Chicago Bulls in 2006 and the Portland Trailblazers in 2007. Played in 31 games across those two seasons before making his way back to Australia and playing in the NBL.
NBA career averages: 1.8ppg, 1.7rpg, 0.3apg, 0.1spg and 0.2bpg.
Other Australian’s to be Drafted:
These Australian’s were selected in an NBA Draft but have never played an NBA game – CJ Bruton (1997, #52), Paul Rogers (1997, #53), Ben Pepper (1997, #55), Brad Newley (2007, #54) and Ater Majok (2011, #58).
The Cleveland Cavaliers have run over the top of the Golden State Warriors to win the 2015/2016 NBA Championship! The first time in 52 years that a sporting team from Cleveland has won a Championship.
Here’s how the players went –
Played very few minutes the longer the Finals series went but when he’s on the court he’ll give 110% the whole time. A pesty defender who gets under the skin of his opponents. With Irving playing this time around we didn’t get to see him reach the same heights as last season.
Finals averages: 2.7ppg, 0.5rpg and 1apg
Used half as much in the Finals series compared to the Eastern Conference Finals (8.3mpg compared to 16.3mpg). Didn’t set foot on the court in any of the final three games of the series.
Finals averages: 0.5ppg, 0.8rpg and 0.5bpg
If LeBron James wasn’t in the team then Irving would have been the NBA Finals MVP, he had a phenomenal series. This now begs the question, if Irving played last year would the Cavaliers now be back-to-back Champions? However, that’s not getting answered here. Had less than 20pts in only one of the seven games, played tight defense on Steph Curry and had his shooting stroke going strong (46.8% from the field and 40.5% from deep). Displayed his awesome ball handling ability as well, would be challenging Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford for best handles.
Finals averages: 27.1ppg, 3.9rpg, 3.9apg, 2.1spg and 0.7bpg
What can be said here? I’m not necessarily a LeBron James fan but his display throughout the Finals was absolutely amazing! There was no doubt he was going to be named Finals MVP. Flirted with a triple-double in almost every game, passing was on point, rebounding vicious and he was even hitting a number of his jump shots. Simply a great performance over seven games.
Finals averages: 28.7ppg, 11.3rpg, 8.9apg, 2.6spg and 2.3bpg
Given more court time during the Finals series after Kevin Loves concussion, made the most of it. Used primarily as a floor spacer on the offensive end he was able to hit his shots when he needed to. On the defensive end he showed that he could still do a job when required. Has now retired and what a perfect way to end a very good career in the NBA.
Finals averages: 5.7ppg, 5.3rpg, 0.4apg, 1.3spg and 0.1bpg
Signed with the Cavs very, very late in the season and picks up a ring. Not bad for a 35 year old journeyman. Played only 19 minutes throughout the series.
Finals averages: 1.3ppg, 0.3rpg and 0.2bpg
Got 20 minutes to run around the court during the Finals, put up one shot only and missed it. Did make one free throw though so I guess that counts. Has followed LeBron James around the last few seasons and has picked up a couple of rings because of it.
Finals averages: 0.2ppg, 0.4rpg and 0.4apg
Didn’t have quite the impact people would have hoped but his presence on the floor is enough to worry defences with his shooting range and rebounding ability. Only scored in double figures twice and only pulled down double figure rebounds twice. Missed the third game with concussion and then came off the bench behind Richard Jefferson for a couple.
Finals averages: 7.3ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.1apg, 0.6spg and 0.3bpg
Played three minutes in game three, hit his two shot attempts and pulled in a rebound.
Finals averages: 0.6ppg and 0.1rpg
The little court time he did have throughout the Finals he managed to foul a whole lot. With Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love, then also Richard Jefferson jumping ahead of him, he didn’t have much to do.
Finals averages: 1.6ppg, 1.6rpg, 0.6spg and 0.2bpg
Was brought into the team as a defender and floor spacer, unfortunately he failed at both of those tasks during the Finals. Made questionable decisions on defense that often led to a Warriors bucket or a silly foul. Shooting was also missing from his game (30.4% from the field, 26.7% from three).
Finals averages: 3ppg, 1.6rpg, 0.1apg, 0.1spg and 0.3bpg
What a turnaround it has been for Smith! He has turned himself into a very good two way player when before there was only one way (shoot). Played good defense, hustled back a number of times, hit long range bombs and even had some great assists. Tyronn Lue has truly done something amazing with Smith.
Finals averages: 10.6ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.6apg, 1.4spg and 0.3bpg
The man is an absolute beast on the boards and he knows that’s his role on this team; rebound, rebound, rebound and rebound some more. Even provided some good offense in a few of the games; Game 3 and Game 6 in particular with 14pts and 15pts respectively.
Finals averages: 10.3ppg, 10.1rpg, 0.7apg, 0.3spg and 0.9bpg
Played sparingly but when he came on he did what he does, shoot the ball. Offered a little defense on occasion as well.
Finals averages: 1.5ppg, 0.5rpg, 0.2apg and 0.5spg
Coach, Tyronn Lue:
Outcoached Steve Kerr, something that probably wouldn’t have been said before the Finals series. Played the well organised pick offenses that the Warriors couldn’t seem to work out and kept James and Irving as the focus of the offense. Even his substitutions seemed to be the right calls and the right time.
The Golden State Warriors couldn’t hold on against a rampaging Cleveland Cavaliers in the final three games of the NBA Finals and as a result the Cavaliers have brought a sporting championship to Cleveland for the first time in 52 years.
Who could have stepped up more for the Warriors, who tried their heart out, who played better than expected; let’s find out –
Had a great Game 1 and Game 2 at home as he came off the bench. In only 11 minutes in Game 1 he finished with 11pts (a perfect 5/5 from the field). Game 3 he also played well, better on the defensive end than the previous two games and also made his way to the free throw line. However for some reason, he saw minimal time in Games 4 (zero minutes) and Game 7 (four minutes) and he could have provided a needed spark off the bench. In limited game time he played well, so his grade is respective of that.
Finals averages: 8.2ppg, 1rpg, 0.8apg, 0.5spg and 0.2bpg
Games 3 and 4 in Cleveland were the highlight of this series for Barnes, after that it went downhill in a big, big way. Over the last three games of the series, when the Warriors were in need of someone to stand up and score he vanished. Over that time he only managed 5/32 shooting (3/15 from deep). With the Cavaliers defense swarming Curry and Thompson, the Warriors needed Barnes to hit his shots (a number of which were open shots) and he couldn’t do it.
Finals averages: 9.3ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.4apg, 0.7spg and 0.4bpg
What if Bogut didn’t get injured? That will be a question asked when analysing this Finals series however it won’t be discussed here. He’s stats don’t read all that well, or at least they don’t jump out at you BUT he played the anchor role very well for the Warriors. In Game 5 before he was injured he was on track for a big game (except for the foul trouble that limited his minutes from the get go), he had three early blocks to combat the Cavaliers driving the lanes. On the offensive end the Warriors really under use him in the post as an offensive threat down low BUT where they do use him is as a passer and that was something they sorely missed in Games 6 and 7.
Finals averages: 2.3ppg, 2.1rpg, 0.4apg, 0.3spg and 1.4bpg
Saw a grand total of 20 minutes throughout the Finals series and really only had the one game where he made any sort of impact; Game 2 with 7pts, 3rbds and 1ast off the bench.
Finals averages: 2.6ppg, 0.6rpg and 0.4apg
The back-to-back MVP didn’t really get it going during the Finals, only having the one Steph Curry-esque shooting display; Game 4 in Cleveland where he finished with 38pts on 11/25 shooting (7/13 from deep). The Cavaliers played swarming defense around Curry and also made him work on the Warriors defensive end in an effort to tire him out (and get him in foul trouble). Only cracked 20pts in three of the seven games and his turnovers (30) outnumbered his assists (26). Definitely a down series for Curry.
Finals averages: 22.6ppg, 4.9rpg, 3.7apg, 0.9spg and 0.7bpg
With Bogut going down with an injury the Warriors needed Ezeli to be that inside presence but he wasn’t. He had one block for the entire series and was hardly a battler down low for rebounds. Doesn’t offer much on the court except for energy plays and they didn’t make an appearance this time around.
Finals averages: 2ppg, 1.9rpg, 0.4apg, 0.1spg and 0.1bpg
Had an exception Game 7 (32pts, 15rbds, 9asts and 2stls) but will be remembered in this Finals campaign for getting rubbed out for Game 5. With Green missing and Bogut going down injured, the Warriors defense all but disappeared as the Cavaliers started their comeback from 3-1 down. Shot poorly in a couple of games but found other ways to contribute whether that be rebounding, assists or general defense.
Finals averages: 16.5ppg, 10.3rpg, 6.3apg, 1.7spg and 1bpg
Didn’t play at the same level as he did against the Cavs in last seasons Finals series and was hampered by a back complaint in the final two games of this series but he still had a solid crack at it. The Warriors didn’t get that offensive outburst from him that they would have liked and he did miss a couple of open shots (not at the same level as Barnes) that could have swayed games the Warriors way. Defensively he was solid, getting his hands in without fouling but there just seemed to be something missing at the same time.
Finals averages: 9.1ppg, 6.3rpg, 4.1apg, 0.9spg and 0.7bpg
Had that career night in Game 1 (20pts, 4rbds, 3asts and 1stl) and then sort of shuffled into the background. From Game 4 onwards his shot didn’t fall as much as it should with his length/height; he has his favoured shots/spots where he will pull up from the free throw line or turn and shoot over his opponent down low that he hits at a great clip but that disappeared. Serviceable off the bench without being great.
Finals averages: 8.3ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.9apg, 0.3spg and 0.3bpg
James Michael McAdoo:
Played 18 minutes in the Finals series after not playing at all against Oklahoma City in the Western Conference Finals. Didn’t do much of anything in those few minutes of play. Fouled pretty good though.
Finals averages: 0.7ppg, 0.7rpg and 0.2apg
Surprised that Rush didn’t see more time on the court, particularly with Harrison Barnes not shooting the ball well in the final three games. Rush is a shooter and time could have been found for him to provide some knock down shooting off the bench. In his 28 minutes for the series he attempted only three shots. With defenses collapsing on Curry/Thompson having Rush open on a wing and giving him the green light to shoot could have been a good play.
Finals averages: 0.2ppg, 0.8rpg, 0.3spg and 0.2bpg
Had a couple of offensive outbursts in the Western Conference Finals that could have been handy in the Finals but didn’t happen. He does love to shoot when he gets on the floor and in this series, he was throwing up bricks. Doesn’t offer much defensively normally and ran true to form here which was unfortunate because he needed to stand up when Bogut was injured.
Finals averages: 2ppg, 1.3rpg, 0.3apg, 0.1spg and 0.3bpg
Like Curry he just didn’t have it going in this series and like Curry really only had the one game where you could say he was Thompson-esque (Game 5; 37pts on 11/20 shooting and 6/11 from deep). Other than that he was inconsistent throughout games and scored less than 15pts in three of the seven games. Had good moments of defense throughout the series but didn’t string them together enough over games and too often made the wrong choice on the offensive end.
Finals averages: 19.6ppg, 3rpg, 1.9apg, 1spg and 0.6bpg
Still gets a ring but like Ezeli and Speights, didn’t stand up when needed for the team he is currently playing for. Came on, fouled a lot, flopped around a bit and then sat down. Warriors needed him to hit his mid range jumper and grab those rebounds like people know he can.
Finals averages: 1.2ppg, 1.3rpg, 1apg and 0.2spg
Coach, Steve Kerr:
Out coached by Tyronn Lue and never seemed to even look for an answer to the constant pick plays the Cavaliers were using (not to say they didn’t try but there was no obvious changes). If the Warriors were to play under the screens instead of try to fight through/over them then the defenders wouldn’t have been switched so much (e.g. Curry onto James or Livingston onto James) and drives to the lane wouldn’t have opened up so easily.
Also as mentioned earlier, keeping Barnes on when he was ice cold and not trying something different (e.g. Brandon Rush who can fulfill the same role) is also a point against him.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have for the second straight year taken out the NBA Rookie of the Year award, at least one of their players has.
Karl-Anthony Towns has taken away all of the possible first-place votes to unanimously win the Rookie of the Year award for the 2015/2016 season. New York Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis finished in second place and another big man, Denver Nugget Nikola Jokic, rounded out the top three.
Towns had the best rookie season for a number of years, since Tim Duncan in 1998 in fact, finishing the season with averages of 18.3ppg, 10.5rpg and 1.7bpg and he was also named Western Conference Rookie of the Month in every month that the award was issued this season.
However, in the best show of the type of person he is, Towns has donated his new Kia (the Rookie of the Year winner also gets a new Kia car) to the Minnesota Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He has made that donation in honour of the late Flip Saunders, who was the Timberwolves coach when Towns was drafted.
There is a big future ahead for Towns, this is simply the start of a very long career in the NBA.