What up world? It’s me EJ, still known as Young Blognado, back with another edition of The Blog About Nothing. This is the blog where I piece letters together and get to talking reckless. Even when I’m serious, I still throw in a playful jab at someone. Just my nature. This week feels like an all roundball edition. I’ll talk a little Knicks shooting guard “competition”, I’ll also pick a sleeper team, and a sleeper candidate for Rookie of the Year. If you disagree with me please feel free to call me an idiot in the comments. Let’s get it.
You know what really grinds my gears? Bench players talking like starters. I hate it. That was the 2nd Drake referrence in this blog. Keep up. Anyway, I do hate players who don’t know their role and won’t shut their mouth (all props due to The Rock). That’s my issue with the Knicks shooting guard “competition”. Mike Woodson, head coach of the New York Knicks, is insisting that there is a “competition” for the starting spot at shooting guard between Iman Shumpert and reigning 6th man of the year J.R. Smith. The reason I put quotation marks around the work competition is because I don’t believe the coach. In J.R. Smith you have a player that is instant offense but also someone who is streaky, and reckless with the ball. He also isn’t known for his defense. That’s not a starter. That’s a 6th man. Someone who can come off the bench, and score points. To me J.R. Smith is today’s Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson. For those who don’t remember The Microwave, he came off the bench for the Isiah Thomas-Joe Dumars led Detroit Pistons of the late 1980’s and put up buckets while those guys rested. Vinnie was just as important to Coach Daly’s squad as his starting guards were.
The Knicks will need that guy off the bench. Their 2nd unit right now is looking like it will be Amare Stoudemire, the artist formerly known as Ron Artest, Pablo Prigoni, and Kenyon Martin. You’re going to need J.R. with that crew. Likely, the Knicks are going to need Shumpert and his defensive abilities in the starting lineup. With Tyson Chandler, Andrea Bargnani, Carmelo Anthony, and Raymond Felton it will be up to Shumpert to lockdown the opposing teams best guards. Shump would also be the 2nd best defender in the starting 5 since Bargnani leaks like a sieve, Felton doesn’t give 100% effort on that end, and Melo is a bit too concerned with his offense. Of course, I’m not even mentioning the fact that J.R. is coming off a knee injury and is out the first 5 games due to a drug suspension. Leaving that out of the equation it makes no sense to even contemplate not starting Iman Shumpert. Their games have long defined their roles, and Iman’s role is as a starting shooting guard.
Enough about the Knicks. They’re a playoff team. I promised you a sleeper team. My sleeper team might make the playoffs as the 8th seed in the West, but even if they do not they’re young enough that they will eventually get in. No, I am not talking about the Portland Trailblazers. My sleeper team was 27-55 last season which gave them a 14th place finish in the Western Conference. That’s next to last y’all. My sleeper team? The New Orleans Pelicans. The Pelicans are a team in transition. They have a new point guard in former Philadelphia Sixers all-star Jrue Holiday, and a new 6th man in former Sacramento King Tyreke Evans. The Pelicans also hope that their star acquisition in the Chris Paul deal, Eric Gordon, is finally healthy. There are a lot of iffs with the Pelicans but what I love about them is their youth and their athleticism. Gordon and Evans are both 24 years old. Holiday is 23 years old. Austin Rivers, a player who’ll likely be the 2nd man off of the bench but with a whole lot less pressure on him, is only 21 and star forward Anthony Davis is only 20.
These kids are young, and they are super freaky athletic. The downside to Monty Williams crew? As young as they are they might not be ready to move up in a tough Southwest division. The Spurs are still the Spurs, the Rockets will be better with Dwight Howard on board, the Grizzlies are still solid, and no one knows what Dallas is capable of. If the Pelicans are going to make any noise this season they are going to need their young stars to shine, get contributions from players like Ryan Anderson, and Al-Farouq Aminu, and hope that the Grizzlies and Mavericks fall back to them. If that happens the Pelicans can be in great shape this season. If not, the franchise and their fans should be comforted by the fact the Spurs are long in the tooth, and the Mavs and Grizz are both in flux. If they don’t get in this season, they will make the playoffs soon. Keep an eye on New Orleans folks. The Pelicans will be a long term joy to watch.
Finally, I’ll give y’all a sleeper pick for Rookie of the Year. My player came into the draft being labeled as raw, and not ready for the NBA. There was some talk that he may be sent off to the D-League. However, he’s putting up solid numbers in the preseason. Now, I’m sure you’re reading this and saying “preseason games don’t count EJ” and you would be right about that, but I like what I’m seeing so far from Milwaukee Buck Giannis Antetokounmpo. I bet you can’t say his name 3 times fast. Antetokounmpo is 6’9″ shooting guard/small forward from Greece, by way of Nigerian parentage. He comes into the league fresh out of Greece’s 2nd division, which I’ve seen compared to lower levels of college basketball. Clearly, the NBA would be a huge step up for him. So, why do I like him as a sleeper?
For one, he reminds me a lot of Kevin Durant. When Durant came out of Texas he was rail thin, a good athlete, but was nowhere near as the all world player he is right now. It took time for Durant to develop a consistent offensive game, and he needed time in the weight room. I feel the same is necessary for Antetokounmpo. Giannis is going to need time on the court but he has a high ceiling. He has a wingspan of 7’3″, played a lot of point-forward in Greece so he is comfortable handling the ball, and he is a perimeter player. Now, the Bucks might do what the Sonics/Thunder did for Durant and play him at the 2 guard but I think he’s a small forward long term and with Caron Butler manning that position with the Bucks, I think Giannis is going to get the playing time early where he can shine just enough to take the position from Caron. The 2013 draft was known as a weak one, and I really believe it was weak enough for the #15th overall pick to make a serious run at the Rookie of the Year trophy.
That’s it. Hope y’all enjoyed this and I’m gone. Thanks for supporting www.7poundbag.com. Peace.
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