Tag Archives: Klay Thompson

Coaches Facing Uphill Battles : Toughest Assignments for 2012

When ESPN and Sports Illustrated start handing out their Coach of the Year awards late in March or April, typically they are handed out to one of two types of coaches: a big name coach leading a powerhouse to an exceptional record or a coach on the rise leading a non-traditional power to new heights. The awards are great recognition for coaches who undoubtedly have done a tremendous job with their respective teams. But more often than not, they aren’t the coaches doing the best job coaching that season. The awards are earned from compiling a couple good years of recruiting together and developing players over time; not for just their successful records that year.

But if you want to really look for the best coaching jobs of the individual season, you need to start looking at the bottom of the barrel. Look at the squads who have almost no returning talent in the power conferences, where legendary coaches are on the opposing bench two to three times a week. Graduation, transfers, and early entrants to the NBA draft can leave coaches with rosters full of question marks. When expectations are at their lowest, that’s when a great coach can really make his mark and show his excellence in his craft. Finishing in with a .500 record might not mean a lot to the national audience, but the basketball junkies will recognize a job very well done.

With that said, let’s look at some coaches who will be trying to prove all those preseason prognosticators wrong.

Steve Donahue, Boston College 

Donahue will have to lead a young BC squad against the heavyweights of the ACC this year.

Here’s all you need to know about the daunting task Steve Donahue is facing this year: his top returning scorer is preferred walk-on Danny Rubin (4.1 PPG), who saw his playing time diminish in the middle of the ACC regular season. With Reggie Jackson’s early departure to the NBA and the graduation of six seniors, Donahue will realize how bare Al Skinner left the cupboard. Along with Rubin, guard Gabe Moton and junior Oregon-transfer Matt Humphrey will be the welcoming seven scholarship freshmen and a few other walk-ons. Although some of the freshmen will certainly be talented, Jeff Bzedlik learned last year how hard it is to compete in the ACC with a young, inexperienced Wake team. If Donahue can get this group to win more than five ACC games and show player development throughout the season, most Eagles fans will be thrilled.

Ed Cooley, Providence

A native of Providence, Cooley will try to resurrect the Friars and make them relevant in the Big East again. Losing first-round pick Marshon Brooks to graduation leaves quite a scoring gap for Ed Cooley’s young team and will be the reason most pundits are down on Providence. Throw in guard Duke Mondy being released from his scholarship and most will expect another bottom half finish for the Friars. But guards Gerald Coleman and Vincent Council have shown flashes of their talent and potential. But the Friars inability to consistently play team defense cost them in Big East play (8-28 Big East record previous two years) and ultimately Keno Davis his job. Cooley will be looking to build an identity that the Friar faithful can rally around and hopefully inject some life into the floundering program.

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NBA Draft: Mock 3.0

The NBA Draft is now less than 24 hours away and we here at Every Month Should be March wanted to take one last stab at predicting this year’s outcome.

After two attempts to lock down this year’s draft class — taking an in depth look at teams needs, player ratings and scouts opinions — we have finally compiled all our thoughts into one Final Mock Draft.

Consensus #1 Overall, Kyrie Irving, leads us off but after that it’s about any bodies guess as who will be taken.

So, take a trip with us here at EMM and find out who our experts are predicting your team will select…

MOCK DRAFT 3.0:

  1. Cleveland CavaliersKyrie Irving, PG, Duke: The rumors have already begun that the Cavs have committed to Kyrie Irving, confirming what the vast majority of draft pundits have suspected. Irving has a lot to prove after missing most of his only season at Duke. Still, most believe that he is one of two players in this draft with any potential to be consistent all-star selections. Irving wins out because the league is becoming a point guard dominated league. (Mayo) 

 2. Minnesota Timberwolves Derrick Williams, PF, Arizona: With Kyrie going 1 overall, it’s pretty much a sure thing that Williams goes to the Wolves here. Long, athletic and good upside he could be a great addition to Kevin Love in the front court. He would also make Beasley an expendable commodity. Any takers? (Luke)

Brandon Knight will be ecstatic if Utah calls his name at number 3.

  3. Utah Jazz – Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky: Everyone has Irving and Williams going 1-2. After that, no one is quite sure yet between Knight and Kanter. I have doubts whether the Devin Harris will actually be anything more than what he is (a starting point guard for a lottery team). Knight is the pick as they try and replace Deron Williams. (Giblin)

4. Cleveland Cavaliers – Enes Kanter, PF/C, Kentucky, C, Turkey: Kanter gets taken 4th overall but maybe won’t fall this far. Utah is strongly considering him with the 3rd pick. If that is the case, Tristan Thompson may be the pick here (a reach). But for now we are giving the Cavs Kanter. Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams are considered the only blue chip prospects in this draft, but Kanter is the top player of the next tier. This would be a coup for the Cavs.
(Dalton)

5. Toronto Raptors – Kawhi Leonard, SF, SDSU: Some believe that the Raptors might go point guard with this pick, but I contend that they give Jerryd Bayless a shot at running the show. They have a big need for a swingman who can defend and provide some toughness to a team who definitely was lacking in that category last season. (Mayo)

6. Washington Wizards – Jan Vesely, PF, Czech Republic: The lengthy swingman is probably the most polished foreigner in this year’s draft class. If Leonard isn’t available here or unless the Wiz move up a few spots, Vesely is the best option and could be tossed into the starting lineup right away. (Luke)

7. Sacramento Kings – Kemba Walker, PG, Uconn: Rumor has it the Maloofs want Jimmer, but Kemba is the better player and can sell tickets too. With Walker running the point, Tyreke Evans can move to the 2 where he’s a better fit. (Giblin)

Long, athletic, everything teams are looking for in a 2-guard, right?

8. Detroit Pistons – Alec Burks, SG, Colorado: The Ben Gordon experiment (and his contract) has not exactly payed big dividends for the Pistons. With a solid foundation of Greg Monroe at the post, the Pistons need to look to get younger. Burks is a good start. (Dalton)

  9. Charlotte Bobcats – Tristan Thompson, PF, Texas: Thompson is one of the better all-around players in this draft. He can guard multiple positions, is a versatile scorer, and hits the boards on both ends. He doesn’t jump out of the gym, but he plays with a blue collar attitude. Charlotte might see higher upside elsewhere, but they can’t afford to whiff on these top-ten picks. Thompson doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses in his game and should provide some stability. (Mayo)

10. Milwaukee Bucks – Jonas Valanciunas, C, Lithuania: Sure, Valanciunas won’t be playing in the NBA next season, but come 2012-13 Andrew Bogut may also not be on the Bucks roster anymore. He may have the highest ceiling of any player in this draft. Look for a team to grab him in the top-10 regardless of contract issues. (Luke)

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NBA Mock Draft 2.0

Round two of our mock NBA Draft comes with the NBA less than ten days until the June 23rd draft. We changed the draft order up a bit and added Dalton to the mix. And to the shock of no one, it looks completely different than our first go at it.

After the first two picks, the Luke thinks the Jazz go big and the ripple effect changes everything after…Cavs up first with Giblin making the pick…

  1. Cleveland Cavs – Kyrie Irving, Duke: Dalton explained why he likes Kemba over Kyrie because of experience and production, but he forgot that NBA G.M.s don’t draft based off of your collegiate performances. Kyrie has the skills to be an elite point guard in the league. As talented as Derrick Williams is, Dan Gilbert and the Cavs get their floor general of the future. (Giblin)
  2. Minnesota Timberwolves – Derrick Williams, Arizona: This pick is a no-brainer. Although the Timberwolves seem to only have SFs and PFs (William’s natural positions), Williams is one of the precious few blue chip prospects in the draft. He’s a poor man’s Blake Griffin but, in this draft, that warrants immediate consideration at number two. They could also go PG here, but David Kahn wouldn’t dare try to bring in another first round PG after the Timberwolves have basically said it is a done deal Ricky Rubio is coming over. (Dalton)
  3. Utah Jazz –Enes Kanter, Turkey:  Kanter has been a hot name among Scouts and GM’s over the past few weeks and even with a logjam in the middle for the Jazz, Kanter’s potential is too good to pass up.  A year or two behind Big Al and Milsap and the Kanter/Favors combo could be a force to be reckoned with. (Luke)

    The Turks got some ups, but is it enough to get the Jazz attention at #3?

  4. Cleveland Cavs – Jan Vesely, Czech Republic: With Kanter off the board, the Cavs have to shuffle a bit, but Vesely is widely considered a top-5 pick and would give Cleveland a versatile wing with size to pair with Kyrie Irving in the rebuilding project. If there was any issue with Vesely’s buyout with his European team, the Cavs should be able to wait a year or two given that this team is very likely not going to be contending for a playoff spot for at least a few years. (Mayo)
  5. Toronto Raptors – Brandon Knight, Kentucky: Many people feel Toronto G.M. Bryan Colangelo wants to go international for this pick; but if Brandon Knight falls out of the first four picks, he won’t hesitate grabbing the gifted Wildcat. He’ll replace Jose Calderon in no time giving Raptors fans a legitimate one in a growing point-guard dominate league.  (Giblin)
  6. Washington Wizards – Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State: Leonard has been falling in many mock drafts, but he shouldn’t be. Leonard is extremely athletic and has the ability to be a Bruce Bowen like defender. I don’t want to continue to disparage this draft, but this year that warrants top ten considerations. Leonard will give the Wizards a tough, defensive presence that they have not had since Deshawn Stevenson left. The Wizards should focus on defense this year then get offensive firepower next year in a loaded 2012 draft. (Dalton)
  7. Sacramento Kings – Jonas Valanciunas, Lithuania: Kemba seems to be the popular pick here, but with Tyreke Evans, Beno Udrih and a rising stud in Marcus Thornton all playing a combo-guard role already, taking a big here would be beneficial. Not to mention, the 6-10 Lithuanian teamed with 2010 #1, Demarcus Cousins, in the middle, should help the Kings add to the win column and fast.  (Luke)
  8. Detroit Pistons – Tristan Thompson, TexasThompson provides some toughness and versatility for the Pistons to pair with Greg Monroe in the front court. Thompson can add a low-post scoring threat that Monroe doesn’t quite bring on a consistent basis, and the two could do some great things together. (Mayo)
  9. Charlotte Bobcats – Jordan Hamilton, Texas: The Bobcats need a scoring star for their future. I have heard that Michael Jordan and company have talked about “drafting for doubles instead of home runs.” That doesn’t sound like MJ does it? Bobcats try and find a player that can develop into an elite scorer with improved shot selection. Alec Burks could be the pick here too.  (Giblin)
  10. Milwaukee Bucks – Marcus Morris, Kansas: Morris is a very athletic and skilled big man who should be able to contribute right away. He is not particularly tall, but he is young (doesn’t turn 22 until September), and would give the Bucks a solid front court pairing of Morris and Bogut. (Dalton) Continue reading

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NBA Mock Draft 1.0

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Memorial Day Weekend slowed us down along with the tornadoes in central Massachusetts last night (very weird). Nevertheless…

With less than 22 days until the NBA draft, we throwing up our first mock draft. This one will be quick on the analysis and we’ll go more in depth in the coming weeks. Disagree with any of our picks and think we’re idiots? Tell us.

Irving is the consensus #1 by the experts, but after him this year's Draft is really a crapshoot.

  1. Cleveland Cavs – Kyrie Irving, Duke: The Cavalier staff is apparently in love with Irving and sees him as a likely superstar in the league. The Cavs need some star power to not only get buts in the seats but to rebuild after the Debacle; a flashy young point guard, a Chris Paul clone in some ways,seems to be the likely remedy for many of Cleveland’s basketball woes. (Luke)
  2. Minnesota Timberwolves – Derrick Williams, Arizona: David Kahn still runs this team and there are rumors out there that he’s looking to move this pick; but if he can’t find a suitor, he should draft Williams. The former Wildcat is one of the few prospects who has the chance to be an annual All-Star that can carry a team in the playoffs – you can’t pass on that. But David Kahn will. How’s Rick Rubio doing? (Giblin)
  3. Utah Jazz – Brandon Knight, Kentucky: Everyone is touting Knight to the Jazz, which almost makes me nervous making this pick. The Jazz wouldn’t mind moving apparently, but if they stay at 3 they need to address their backcourt, and Knight simply is the best guard available here. Knight is young, but he won’t have to play big minutes immediately with Devin Harris currently in the fold. Or, he might make Harris expendable. (Mayo)
  4. Cleveland Cavs – Enes Kanter, Turkey/Kentucky: They say you need a point guard and center to win in the NBA, well the Cavs filled both of those needs in the first 4 picks. The year away may hurt Kanter, but his potential is through the ceiling. Dan Gilbert would be stupid to not take the Turk here. (Luke)
  5. Toronto Raptors – Kemba Walker, Connecticut: If Bryan Colangelo picks another European, the Raptor faithful are gonna lose it! But in all seriousness, Toronto needs some star power and Walker has it. He’ll be an instant fan favorite and will bring some excitement to a franchise that hasn’t had it since the Tracy McGrady/Vince Carter days. (Giblin)
  6. Washington Wizards – Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State: The Wizards have plenty of needs, and an athletic, hard-nosed swing man would certainly be one of them. They might try to trade up to snag Derrick Williams or possibly Enes Kanter, but if they are unable to do so they’d be pretty happy snagging Kawhi Leonard at number six. Their track record with drafting European players hopefullypossibly scares them away from the overseas prospects here. (Mayo)

    The Czech forward is drwaing a lot of comparisons to Dirk, but will Vesley's game translate over to the NBA as well?

  7. Sacramento Kings – Jan Vesely, Czech Republic: At 6’11”, 240, the Czech forward has the size of an impact forward in the league. Agood jump shooter and great finisher at the rim, he possesses the look and skills to be a Dirk clone.  Give him a few years to learn and slap some muscle on him, Vesely could be a steal at this point in the Draft. (Luke)
  8. Detroit Pistons – Bismack Biyombo, Congo: Joe Dumars can bring in Biyombo to be the energetic shot-blocking forward that the Pistons need. The next Ben Wallace who can’t possibly be as abysmal on offense. Let’s hope. (Giblin)
  9. Charlotte Bobcats – Jonas Valanciunas,  Lithuania: The Bobcats need everything, and Valanciunas may not be available for a year, but they should have the time to wait given their rebuilding status. Valanciunas could very well become the best international player in this draft. At 19 years old his upside is huge, and he could become a premiere center in this league in five years with the right development. (Mayo)
  10. Milwaukee Bucks – Tristan Thompson, Texas: Larry Sanders was a solid pick last year but the Bucks are still in need of a stud at the 4. Thompson is a terrific rebounder and a versatile offensive player, with a developing jumper. There are tons to like and not much to hate about Thompson, so there’s not as much risk as with some other players on the board. (Luke) Continue reading

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Pro or No, Episode 4: Pac-10 Volume 1

Here comes our fourth edition of Pro or No and now we are looking at some Pac-10 (or do we now start calling it 12?) prospects. I reached out to one of my good friends who lives on the West Coast and is a HUGE basketball fan for these previews. Trusted his judgement and he didn’t disappoint. Some pretty comical best/worst case scenarios.

Isaiah Thomas, Washington, Jr. – PG

No doubt this shot was COLD BLOODED!


Overview: Isaiah Thomas is an interesting case to open the Pac 10 Pro or No series.  He has said he has no intention to return to Washington for his senior season, but he has not hired an agent.  The multi-talented Thomas faces an uphill battle to become a professional.  The main hurdle he must overcome is convincing NBA teams that his height (listed at 5’9”) is not a detriment to his game.  Beyond that, Isaiah must continue to improve his jump shot, which was markedly improved this season but is still not NBA caliber.  Despite these two knocks, Thomas brings a lot to the table.  As someone who watched every game this year (biased Husky fan), I can say that Thomas plays the game at 110 MPH an hour with one intention: winning basketball games.  Look no further than his play in the Pac-10 tournament this season.  Washington entered the tournament mired in a second-half slump, partially attributable to the loss of fellow PG Abdul Gaddy (actually a blessing in disguise for Thomas who got to play a ton of point and showed NBA minds what he can do) and the suspension of G Venoy Overton.  All Thomas did was play every minute but 2 in a 3-game in 3-day stretch while averaging a red-hot 19.6 points and 10 assists.  By the way, he ended the tournament with a shot for the ages, hitting a step-back, fadeaway jumper as time expired in overtime to deliver his ultimate goal: a win and the Pac-10 tournament title.

Best Case:  Isaiah Thomas’ best-case scenario is that a general manager falls in love with him during the pre-draft process and wants him on his team.  Thomas possesses the personality to accomplish this.  His passion for the game and will to win could find its way to an old-school GM who wants to take a chance.  If this happens, I fully expect Isaiah Thomas to become a fan favorite.  It’s easy to fall in love with a diminutive guard, but fans will really come to love his style of play.  Thomas has the ability to make a mid-December home game against the Raptors exciting.  Isaiah can come off the bench and score 15 points in 8 minutes, combining fearless drives with timely jumpers as he whips a lifeless crowd into a frenzy.

Worst-Case: Thomas fails to show any improvement in his jumper in the next two months and gets outplayed at pre-draft events.  In this scenario, Thomas could potentially go undrafted and face a much tougher road to fulfilling his hoop dreams.  I’d argue his game has too much upside for him to go undrafted, but experts seem to disagree.

A Wazzu Cougar and the potential number 1 pick after the jump!

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