August 20, 2017, 10:19 pm
Hoop Ball Kings is proud to bring you the second installment of a brand new series that we are rolling out in the lead up to the 2017-18 NBA season. Over the next two months we will be doing a roundtable series which involves all three of our writers here at Hoop Ball Kings. We’ll be discussing various topics including season projections for each player on the Kings roster, record predictions and more.
First and foremost, we will run through every player currently on the Kings roster and provide our personal predictions for their output this season.
Our second installment features Buddy Hield, Sacramento’s young shooting guard who blossomed in his time with the Kings last season. After being acquired in the DeMarcus Cousins trade during the 2017 All-Star game, Hield compiled averages of 15.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 29.1 minutes per game (25 games) on 48 percent shooting from the field (42.8 percent from three).
Hield was terrific on the whole, knocking down jumpers and creating his own shot with ease. His ball handling was his only detriment and it led to him turning the ball over 2.1 times per game with the Kings. The 23-year-old was a completely different player with Sacramento than he was with New Orleans. Hield shot just 39.3 percent from the field in 57 games with the Pelicans and looked lost at times on both ends. With that said, which Buddy Hield will the Kings get this season?
Stat-line Prediction: 14.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.6 steals and 0.1 blocks. 43.9% FG, 37.1% 3PT, 86% FT.
At this point, you kind of get the sense we may see a mixture of both Hield’s from last season. Hield could start the season as the starting shooting guard, but with guys like Temple, Bogdanovic and Richardson not far behind him it won’t take much for Hield to lose minutes. It’s going to be hard for him to match the efficiency he produced at the end of last season so don’t go expecting him to shoot over 40 percent from three again.
He’s proven he’s capable of achieving it, however, I fear an increase in usage is a bad thing for Hield. It’ll be interesting to see how his ball handling has improved over the summer too, because if he hasn’t made much of a leap in that department we may not see Hield on the floor much.
Stat-line Prediction: 11.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.1 blocks. 41.5% FG, 38.5% 3PT, 85% FT.
Hield is one of the tougher players on the roster to pin down. The team has plenty of talent at shooting guard, and his lack of size and playmaking ability limits his opportunities to find minutes at other positions. On the other hand, Hield showed plenty of promise as a scorer after the All-Star break, so he’ll be given plenty of opportunity early on.
Also, while it’s never likely to be a major aspect of his game, I’d expect Hield to get some opportunities to show what he can do as a passer in year two. Either way, Hield will likely be given the green light whenever he’s on the court, and is still going to hover around 20 minutes per game.
Stat-line Prediction: 17.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.5 blocks. 46.7% FG, 39% 3PT, 85% FT.
Hield made the most of his opportunities with Sacramento after being traded for DeMarcus Cousins, and he should continue his advancement this year coming into his second season in the league. Look for Hield to be an integral part of the Kings offense and don’t be surprised if he hoists upwards of five 3-pointers per game.
May 27, 2019, 8:52 amDan Gilbert - Team - Cleveland Cavaliers
Cavs’ owner Dan Gilbert was admitted to the hospital yesterday morning after experiencing stroke-like symptoms.
“He received immediate medical attention and is currently recovering comfortably,” a Quicken Loans company spokesman said.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
May 26, 2019, 10:12 pmJimmy Butler - G/F - Philadelphia Sixers
According to Tom Moore, it's a good move for the Sixers to sign Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris to big deals over the summer.
Moore points out that the move to acquire Butler at the NBA trade deadline was with the intention of keeping him with the team long-term. Butler was one of the more reliable Sixers players in the playoffs and his experience and composure shined through. Both he and Harris are expected to get a lot of suitors come free agency so it will be interesting to see how much the Sixers will be willing to cough up to retain their talented veterans.
Source: Tom Moore on Twitter
May 26, 2019, 4:01 pmBrook Lopez - C - Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks have multiple decisions to make when free agency starts but re-signing Brook Lopez is a priority, according to Malika Andrews.
The Bucks will likely lock up Khris Middleton first and then will have to decide on Malcolm Brogdon. He is a restricted free agent, but keeping him may vault Milwaukee into the luxury tax. After those two, Lopez is a priority over the other pending free agents such as Nikola Mirotic and George Hill. The Bucks won't have Bird Rights on Brook Lopez meaning they'd only have the mid-level exception to offer him, and if they go into the luxury tax, the mid-level exception drops from about $9 million to about $5 million. He'd almost certainly be taking a discount to stay in Milwaukee, but it's still possible he remains a Buck.
Source: Malika Andrews on ESPN
May 26, 2019, 3:53 pmNick Nurse - Team - Toronto Raptors
According to Peter Yannopoulos, Nick Nurse will be the coach of Team Canada this summer at the World Championships in China.
Nurse will be succeeding Hornets assistant coach Jay Triano, and will be in a similar position that Gregg Popovich has with Team USA. Nurse has had a meteoric rise since being the innovator of the Raptors new offense in 2017-18 as an assistant, to being promoted to head coach, to making the NBA Finals and now being named Team Canada's head coach.
Source: Peter Yannopoulos on Twitter
May 26, 2019, 11:48 amOG Anunoby - F - Toronto Raptors
The Raptors are expressing optimism that OG Anunoby will be able to see the floor for their NBA Finals matchup with the Golden State Warriors.
Anunoby's size and defensive versatility could make for a very valuable weapon against the Warriors' small-ball lineups. That being said, he has been out for nearly a month and a half, and the Raptors' eight man rotation has hit its stride in the crux of this playoff run. It remains to be seen if he will make it back, but in the event that he can, there is no guarantee that he will be able to crack meaningful minutes in Toronto's tight rotation.
Source: Ryan Wolstat on Twitter
May 26, 2019, 11:19 amMichael Porter Jr. - F - Denver Nuggets
As a symptom from his back surgeries, Michael Porter Jr. developed drop foot, and will wear to a leg brace to help stabilize it when he makes his professional debut in Summer League according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post.
Drop foot makes it hard for one to lift the front part of their foot and is a common symptom of back related ailments, of which Porter Jr. has had two surgeries to address over the last year and a half. Porter Jr. remains an unknown commodity with a laundry list of health concerns as an NBA player. There has been some recent success with young guys being able to bounce back in big ways after suffering year-long injuries, but Porter Jr. will remain a mystery until we see him on the court for his inaugural season.
Source: The Denver Post
May 26, 2019, 11:04 amJonas Valanciunas - C - Memphis Grizzlies
Jonas Valanciunas said that he wants to see who the Memphis Grizzlies hire as their next head coach before deciding on his $17.6 million player option.
Valanciunas saw his role increase in Memphis after being traded from Toronto, and actually played to compete with the Grizz trying to win enough games to convert their, at the time, low-end lottery pick to Boston. Valanciunas made it clear that he doesn't want to return to Memphis if their plans are to pivot to a rebuild and not compete again next year, saying, "I want to know, how we gonna look in 82 games. I don't want to be a tourist. I want to win.". The Hoop Ball favorite will be hard pressed to find a situation that will give him as much run, and fantasy value, as Memphis did, making this a decision fantasy owners everywhere should monitor.
Source: Dontas Urbonas on Twitter
May 26, 2019, 10:06 amKawhi Leonard - F - Toronto Raptors
Kawhi Leonard held Giannis Antetekounmpo to just .353 shooting from the floor with an offensive rating of 89.4 when guarding him in the Eastern Conference Finals.
This is needed to emphasize just how dominant of a defensive player Leonard really is. For reference, Giannis shot .578 from the floor with an offensive rating of 121 through the regular season. A total swing of nearly 23 percent and 32 less points per 100 possessions is preposterous for any player, especially an MVP caliber offensive juggernaut in Antetokounmpo. Keep these numbers in mind as the debate over Leonard being the league's best player continues to heat up.
Source: Micha Adams on Twitter
May 26, 2019, 1:17 amKawhi Leonard - F - Toronto Raptors
Kawhi Leonard posted a monster line in Saturday's 100-94 Game 6 win, scoring 27 points with 17 rebounds, seven assist, two steals, two blocks and six turnovers.
Leonard put the Raptors on his back and carried them into their first NBA Finals appearance. After losing the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals the Raptors stormed back to take the next four to seal the series. Kawhi has been simply marvelous for this team and found a way to crank it up another notch, averaging almost 30 points per game this series. He was all over the court this game and dominated the Bucks from inside the paint. A 4th quarter dunk over Giannis Antetokounmpo punctuated this dominance and sent the hometown crowd in a frenzy. The Raptors will try to keep their hot streak going as they face the Warriors in the NBA Finals.
May 26, 2019, 1:14 amGiannis Antetokounmpo - F - Milwaukee Bucks
While Giannis Antetokounmpo will be eligible for a five-year supermax contract worth over $247 million, ESPN's Malika Andrews is reporting that the 2020 playoff run could swing whether or not Antetokounmpo stays with the Bucks long-term.
The Bucks have three of their starters and two key bench pieces heading into free agency this summer, so they might have to make some bold choices to keep the necessary parts around while also improving the team on a budget. It's possible that this is the Antetokounmpo camp's way of encouraging Milwaukee to empty the wallet and keep the current group together, but it goes against what Giannis has said publicly about the team and city from day one. The Bucks were eliminated mere hours ago but we're already having this conversation. The NBA news cycle is perpetual.