Posts Tagged ‘John Wall’

The word following up the NBA Finals hasn’t been in the spirit of celebrating the victors; rather it has been towards the promise unfilled by one LeBron James of southern Florida fame. There has been a world of talk and example made about his shortcomings, and I’ve already addressed that here, so I wont’ go any further into that. Rather lets take a look back at some the fails that took place over the course of the entire season here.

Jennings couldn't recapture his rookie magic, and the Bucks couldn't continue to grow either.

From the a much discussed free agent carnival in the summer of ’10, all the way through a quite unpredictable season on the court, the 2010-11 NBA was full of all sorts of highs and lows, deliveries on promise and M.I.A. missions as well. While there were a few teams and players that came up short on what was called for them this year (the Bucks, Rockets, David Lee and Deron Williams/Jerry Sloan to mention a few), below are what I see as being the biggest “WTF?” moments and performances of the season. On Monday, we’ll take a look at the biggest surprises and overachievers from the year past as CSP moves into NBA Draft week….and perhaps some off court struggles that could be the #1 moment on this list next year.


5. Los Angeles Lakers: The Lakers seemed like they were on cruise control all season and never really showed the flare to have the push that everybody was waiting to see out of them. Even Kobe kind of seem to go through the motions this year (which still lead to him being a top 5 MVP finalist). In the end, they caught a sweep in the Western Semifinals, and ended it in a classless manner that proved they were only the team they had been the previous two seasons in appearance only.

In the end, even Bryant couldn't will his Lakers to finding their stride for long this year.

4. Milwaukee Bucks: This was a team a year ago that made a surprisingly strong push behind Brandon Jennings major debut, and even touched the playoffs after some good trade deadline moves around John Salmons. However, a year later after adding to that core and getting a monster year out of Andrew Bogut around the rim, they got worse in a division that got much worse too…very strange.

3. Carlos Boozer: He was brought in to give the Bulls a front court scoring threat for the first time since Elton Brand was jettisoned, but often was more obstacle that asset. Running in the pick and roll based attack Jerry Sloan deployed in Utah, his jump shot based offense was perfect, but he was asked to create more of his own offense this year and struggled to do so against the variety of athletic forwards in the East. Either the Bulls have to tweak their attack or Boozer has to find a way to get new openings because he wasn’t brought over for 17 points and 9 rebounds a night.

2. San Antonio Spurs: It’s rare that you see a veteran team just absolutely lose their way like the Spurs did down the stretch; let alone one that has the championship pedigree this squad does. The Spurs raced out to what remained an insurmountable start to be the best club in the West all season. They lost 21 games on the season, but 10 of them came after March 1. By March that was just by record as they began a collapse that followed them into the Playoffs and showed them an early door. What’s more alarming, yet shouldn’t be surprising, is that the young Grizzlies pushed them to several clutch moments in their first round matchup that should have favored the Spurs, but they couldn’t capitalize on them and became the third #1 seed to lose in the first round ever. Never has a team began to look it’s age so quickly over the course of a season.

1. The 2010 Draft Class: Blake Griffin’s success in his debut masked the fact that his fellow rookies (that he wasn’t even drafted with mind you) did little to nothing. John Wall had a solid debut and shows exactly what he can be for the Wizards, but the rest of the group? It was nothing to write home about if you like to give good news. Of the All-Rookie team, Gary Neal was a free agent signing and Landry Fields was a second rounder. Of all Draft picks from last April, only Wall and DeMarcus Cousins managed to average double figures. While it’s still early to doom them to complete Bustville, they could be the first leg to the worst back to back years of new talent in NBA History. Stay tuned.

Wall showed up all season in D.C., but the rest of his fellow true rooks didn't have the best attendance.



Don’t see the biggest failure of the season from your seat here? Somebody taking an extra amount of heat they don’t need here? Comment and let me know. Also follow-up over on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan AND @STLSport360


The NBA free agent frenzy is at a all-time high. Everywhere there are different “insiders with knowledge of the situation” saying where Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson and another certain reigning MVP from Cleveland, will land. Come Thursday at midnight, the rumor mill will push to another level all the way to the July 8th signing date begins.

There are so many different scenarios that have been placed into the mix at this point that it gets made to be a foregone conclusion on some players intentions. I’m looking at it from a totally open perspective from the information available from financial perspectives and player intent. For the next few days leading into the July 1 cutting of the ribbon for the free agent race, I will be breaking down individual players roles from THE CHEAP SEATS, continuing with player that could push his new mates to the next level, if the puzzle is just right….

Joe Johnson

The Basics: Small Forward/Shooting Guard, 29 years old, 6’7, 240 lbs

The Numbers: 21.3 PPG, 4.6 APG, 4.3 RPG (2010); 17.6 PPG, 4.6 APG, 4.2 RPG (Career); 4 time All-Star

Johnson is an aggressive finisher that can contribute at two spots equally.

Best Suited For….a team with other athletic options. Johnson has always been a great option on teams that have other athletic forwards to play off of, starting with Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion with the Suns, followed by Josh Smith, Al Horford and Marvin Williams in Atlanta. Johnson is not what you would consider a player that can carry a franchise by himself, but with a supporting cast he can push a team to quick success. This allows for him to play his more individual based game still, while having other options.

Prime Candidates: New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, New Jersey Nets, Washington Wizards, Los Angeles Clippers, Atlanta Hawks


New York Knicks: With the Knicks rebuilding efforts and young core, Johnson could step in immediately and make his own niche. It would help by re-signing David Lee or adding Stoudemire to the mix to shared the lead role with Johnson, as he won’t turn the tides for the Knicks by himself. Danillo Gallinari is emerging as a shooting threat and Mike D’Antoni’s scheme is one that will lend itself to his style of play. But without another addition to join him it would be pointless for him to go there, because he won’t lift them to the next level himself. It’s worthwhile noting that Johnson’s representation has floated he may be willing to play for less to join the Knicks as well.

Chicago Bulls: Chicago seems to be in play for everyone out there this offseason, but Johnson doesn’t fit well into what they currently have there, as both Derrick Rose and Luol Deng are the same style of player. A better long-range shooter would be the best non LeBron or Wade perimeter addition for the Bulls. However, Johnson would add experience to a Chicago backcourt that has been depleted with the exits of Ben Gordon and Kirk Hinrich in the last few years. Joe would be a definite worthwhile pursuit if they miss out on the whole Chris Bosh, James and Wade race. 

New Jersey Nets: The Nets are going to be active this offseason in every area as well and have a lot of the pieces thatwould be the best for Johnson to pair with. Brook Lopez and Derrick Favors are athletic post players that can score and rebound. Devin Harris is a great shooter and playmaker. Also they are currently moving out more contracts to be in the position to add more frontline talent, which could be Stoudemire, Lee, or Carlos Boozer. The addition of Johnson alone could push the New Jersey to the brink of immediate playoff contention in the changing landscape of the East.

Washington Wizards: The Wizards are in a full rebuilding mode and it started with selecting John Wall with the first pick in last week’s draft. Johnson may not be ideal for the team with Gilbert Arenas in mix still, at an uncertain position. However, if they unload his contract, Johnson would be a versatile and experienced hand that could help to be a sure option for Wall to gain his confidence with.

Los Angeles Clippers: The Clips are being floated around as players that are looking to make an addition to an emerging core. This would be a good fit for Johnson to go into, as he would have each type of player that brings out the best in him. The Clippers feature a strong scoring backcourt with Baron Davis and Eric Gordon, a frontline that features All-Star Chris Kaman and is adding Blake Griffin and Al-Farouq Aminu to its mix. Johnson could play his isolation office on the wing and push the Clippers (of all teams) into the consistent playoff picture in the West. Whether the Clippers are overall buyers, or just in the LeBron market (as they have been interested in) remains to be seen, but Johnson would make great sense (not one of the Clips strong suits).

Atlanta Hawks: Johnson didn’t leave the Hawks under ideal circumstances. He had some harsh words for the fan base on the way out and the Hawks are looking to make small, but big changes to their structure and Johnson is part of that change. While the money is there to give him a slight raise if they decided to, it’s not comparable to the potentially max contract that Johnson is seeking, and they most likely will use their funds toward reshaping the current roster, post-Johnson.

Johnson helped push Atlanta and Phoenix to new levels during his tenures.

Johnson is in a unique position amongst the more notable free agents, where he fits in several scenarios and does it as a stand-alone player. While he can write his own ticket, he won’t be able to turn around most of the teams in the free agent market by himself. He is a reliable and balanced contributor, but the team that selects him will need to be ready to make moves towards the top quickly, as he is turning 30 soon and could be headed for a decline, yet not an immediate one.

The day is here and the NBA Draft is on deck in a few hours. It’s all a big guessing game for months, but the picture is clearing up and some sense is being able to be made of the big picture. After #1, all hell could break loose, but the top of the draft, barring any last second trades, is looking solid. But anything could happen and there are lots of teams on the phone with each other. Some are trying to crack into the heralded Top 5 area, many are trying to package multiple late first round picks into earlier slots. Memphis and Oklahoma City are chief among these teams, with 3 picks each in the round.

Here is THE CHEAP SEATS prediction on where how the pieces will fit together, if the current order held (as we know it will not). This shows the needs of the teams and what could be available in what range to fit them. Enjoy and COMMENT!

  1. Washington Wizards: John Wall-PG-6’4, 195 lbs, Kentucky (Freshman): The obvious pick for the Wizards, Wall follows in the footsteps of other recent franchise cornerstone point guards drafted from the John Calipari system needed to lead their franchises back to prominence. (Derrick Rose, 08 and Tyreke Evans, 09)
  2. Philadelphia 76ers: Evan Turner-SG-6’7, 215 lbs, Ohio State (Junior): Turner is not the best fit for Philadelphia, but can do whatever is needed along the wing and is the clear best talent after Wall.
  3. New Jersey Nets: Derrick Favors-PF-6’9, 245 lbs, Georgia Tech (Freshman): This pick has been debated between Johnson and Cousins, but in the end New Jersey should go with Favors, who can add an another huge frontcourt youth and potentially form a devastating duo with Brooke Lopez in a few years.
  4. Minnesota Timberwolves: Wesley Johnson-SF-6’8, 205 lbs, Syracuse (Junior): The perfect player for a Timberwolves team that needs help everywhere. Johnson will add a definite inside/outside scoring touch and will help on the boards as well, where Minnesota has struggled due to recent injuries.
  5. Sacramento Kings: DeMarcus Cousins-C-6’11, 268 lbs, Kentucky (Freshman): The most debated player in the draft, Cousins will fit in next to newly acquired Samuel Dalembert along all big front line and will be the go to post player to offset the Kings’ Tyreke Evans penetration based game.
  6. Golden State Warriors: Greg Monroe-PF-6’11,240 lbs, Georgetown (Sophomore): There is some debate on if Monroe will land here over either Udoh or Aminu, but Monroe is the best talent available here and fits the best into what the Warriors currently lack. An athletic post scorer who is a LaMarcus Aldridge type.
  7. Detroit Pistons: Ed Davis-PF-6’10, 220 lbs, North Carolina (Sophomore): Detroit is on the verge of cleaning out their aging roster and Davis is big the can replace the loss of Rasheed Wallace a year ago and can develop into a versatile scoring option. Aldrich and Aminu are possibilities here too.
  8. Los Angeles Clippers: Al-Farouq Aminu-SF-6’8, 215 lbs, Wake Forest (Sophomore): One of the players that has the most possible endpoints, Aminu lands in LA to fill out an ever improving Clippers core with a rim attacking forward that the current roster lacks. Could bring new energy to the Clips with the returning Blake Griffin.
  9. Utah Jazz: Luke Babbitt-SF-6’9, 214 lbs, Nevada (Sophomore): The Jazz are said the be very high on Babbitt who has the size to help out at either small or power forward, but has a shot that fits a shooting guard. With Kirilenko, Korver and Boozer all potentially gone, this makes solid sense.
  10. Indiana Pacers: Ekpe Udoh-PF-6’10, 237 lbs, Baylor (Junior): Udoh is not the point guard that has desperately been needed in Indy for years, but gives an athletic front court rebounder and is the best shot blocking presence in the draft. Adds to an ever improving young core of the Pacers.
  11. New Orleans Hornets: Cole Aldrich-C-6’10, 245 lbs, Kansas (Junior): Aldrich isn’t the best talent available, but adds depth to the Hornets front court behind Emeka Okafor and David West. An investment in the core of a team that will improve greatly with a healthy Chris Paul next season.
  12. Memphis Grizzlies: Eric Bledsoe-PG-6’2, 190 lbs, Kentucky (Freshman): Memphis has talent everywhere as a result of living in the top of the Lottery since forever it feels like, but needs to add depth, and a potential new starter, at point guard due to Mike Conley not living up to expectations thru year 3.
  13. Toronto Raptors: Patrick Patterson-PF-6’9, 240 lbs, Kentucky (Junior): Toronto needs to re-establish themselves in both size and scoring in the frontcourt with Chris Bosh’s impending departure. Patterson is great scorer that will ease the irreplaceable Bosh’s move.
  14. Houston Rockets: Hassan Whiteside-C-7’0, 225 lbs, Marshall (Freshman): A very raw shot blocking talent, Whiteside needs some time to develop, but adds some insurance behind the risky return of Yao Ming from foot surgery. Whiteside has great potential regardless and could have been top 5 in 2011.
  15. Milwaukee Bucks: Larry Sanders-PF-6’11, 220 lbs, VCU (Junior): Milwaukee is transitioning their roster daily leading up to the draft and Sanders gives them what they haven’t acquired: a long, defending post player than can run the floor, in the mold of Charlie Villanueva. He is said to have a promise if available here.
  16. Minnesota Timberwolves: Gordon Hayward-SF-6’8, 211, Butler (Sophomore): Hayward is an attractive option to many teams, including LA at #8. However, if he falls to the Wolves here he give them both depth and another versatile scoring option the can score from anywhere on the court.
  17. Chicago Bulls: Xavier Henry-SG-6’6, 215 lbs, Kansas (Freshman): In a bit of a slide, Henry adds a backcourt scoring threat from land range that can also rebound and play off Derrick Rose. Anything can happen in Chicago in next few months and Henry adds immediate punch to the developing roster.
  18. Oklahoma City Thunder: Paul George-SF-6’8, 215 lbs, Fresno State (Sophomore): Many teams are high on George and for good reason, but he seems to be the odd man out on what fits into the scheme of several teams in front of OKC, who is looking to add depth on the wing behind Durant at forward. A great coup at 18.
  19. Boston Celtics: Avery Bradley-SG-6’3, 180 lbs, Texas (Freshman): The East champs are drafting high for a team that went as far as they did, and it is good considering the turnover that could take place there. Bradley is a quick scoring guard that paired with Rajon Rondo could run many teams out the gym.
  20. San Antonio Spurs: Kevin Seraphin-PF-6’10, 258 lbs, France: It seems cliché to say the San Antonio will take the first international player of the board, but they need to add more size at both power forward and center. Seraphin has the size to do both and ease the last years of Tim Duncan some.
  21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Solomon Alabi-C-7’0, 240 lbs, Florida State (Sophomore): The Thunder need to add a long defensive presence under the rim and Alabi is a natural shot blocker. He will need some work and development, but projects well for OKC, where all he will be asked to do is alter shots.
  22. Portland Trailblazers: Terrico White-SG/PG-6’5, 203 lbs, Mississippi (Junior): Its said that Portland sees White as the draft’s premier athlete and loves his versatility in the backcourt, comparable to Rudy Fernandez. With Fernandez potentially on the way out-of-town, this is a suitable replacement and value pick.
  23. Minnesota Timberwolves: Daniel Orton-C-6’11, 268 lbs, Kentucky (Freshman): Orton’s stock is all over the place, but it seems to be permanently down head into the draft. If Minnesota snags him here, they add young depth to a thin frontline behind Al Jefferson and Kevin Love.
  24. Atlanta Hawks: James Anderson-SG-6’6, 220 lbs, Oklahoma State (Junior): With Joe Johnson on the way out, Anderson adds a long distance scorer to play off the frontcourt based Hawks and depth behind the resurgent Jamal Crawford. With Mike Bibby aging, Atlanta could look to the point guard position here too.
  25. Memphis Grizzlies: Craig Brackens-PF-6’10, 229 lbs, Iowa State (Junior): With a frontline that features Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and the developing Haseem Thasbeet, the pick of Brackens gives even more spring to a Grizzlies team on the verge of breaking through.
  26. Oklahoma City Thunder: Damion James-F-6’8, 230 lbs, Texas (Senior): James would be the first senior off the board and is one of the most versatile talents in the forward pool. Helps the Thunder at both forward positions and was a college teammate of Kevin Durant.
  27. New Jersey Nets: Jordan Crawford-SG-6’4, 200 lbs, Xavier (Junior): With their second pick of the first round New Jersey could look to the back court and couple the athletic Crawford with Courtney Lee and Devin Harris, to replace the departed Chris Douglas-Roberts.
  28. Memphis Grizzlies:  Lance Stephenson-SG-6’5, 225 lbs, Cincinnati (Freshman): An addition to an embarrassment of riches in perimeter scoring. Stephenson is a young tremendous talent that could land much higher, as Milwaukee has eyes on him in the 15th slot as well.
  29. Orlando Magic: Devin Eubanks-SF-6’8, 208 lbs, West Virginia (Sophomore): Orlando needs to get stronger in the front court, but at this point the talent isn’t there for that pick. Eubanks worked out well for Orlando and gives a true scoring small forward to put with Michael Pietrus.
  30. Washington Wizards: Gani Lawal-PF-6’9, 233 lbs, Georgia Tech (Junior): Washington needs to add some size and Lawal has the experience and size to fit in with the Wizards direction.

What do you think? How do you see it working out? COMMENT AND LET ME AND US KNOW. Tune in to the 2010 NBA Draft on ESPN at 6 PM and follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan for updates throughout the entire draft.

The 2010 NBA Draft is coming up on Thursday night and the stars (and flameouts) of tomorrow are in line.  

Wall is secured at the top of class, but how the rest of the bricks stack?

 There are many teams making moves in this year’s edition of the amateur basketball auction, and by the time the Washington Wizards go on the clock Thursday night the order of the bidders could look totally different.  

What won’t change are the competitors for each teams courting. Below are THE CHEAP SEATS ranking of the prospects for the upcoming Draft, by position. Below is the current order of the first round. Thursday morning, the conclusion of lead up to my NBA Draft coverage will feature my final mock draft.  


  1. DeMarcus Cousins: 6’11, 260 lbs, Kentucky (Freshman)
  2. Cole Aldrich: 6’10, 245 lbs, Kansas (Junior)
  3. Hassan Whiteside: 7’0, 225 lbs, Marshall (Freshman)
  4. Daniel Orton: 6’10, 269 lbs, Kentucky (Freshman)
  5. Solomon Alabi: 7’1, 240 lbs, Florida State (Sophomore)*redshirt

Center Summary: This is a solid class for the center position, which is fleeting in true talent many years. It features tough rebounders such as Aldrich, pure shot blockers in Whiteside and Alabi. Cousins and Orton both present strong upsides as overall pure talents who add scoring, but have several concerns about their approaches and true potential.

Late Look: Miroslav Raduljica: 7’1, 250 lbs, Serbia (22 yo, International): One of the few international entries in this draft, Raduljica shows good movement for his size and can give quality bench play and front court depth, even if it isn’t immediate.

 **Power Forward**  

  1. Derrick Favors: 6’9, 245 lbs, Georgia Tech (Freshman)
  2. Greg Monroe: 6’11, 240 lbs, Georgetown (Sophomore)
  3. Ed Davis: 6’10, 220 lbs, North Carolina (Sophomore)
  4. Ekpe Udoh: 6’10, 237 lbs, Baylor (Junior)
  5. Patrick Patterson: 6’9, 240 lbs, Kentucky (Junior)

PF Summary: This is the deepest position in the draft, with legit talent into the early second round. All of the top 6 players have potential spots in the lottery, with a second grouping being available immediately after this group. Favors value is high enough to place him potentially in the mix for the 2nd overall pick. Monroe and Davis are others with spots most likely within the top 10 as well. 

Late Look: Larry Sanders: 6’11, 222, Virginia Commonwealth (Junior): Sanders is a lengthy frontcourt presence, which while he does not have the talent of the upper tier, could be a difference maker immediately as a depth player. Sanders should add defensive presence, as he was a two-time Colonial Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year.

**Small Forward**

  1. Wesley Johnson:  6’8, 205 lbs, Syracuse (Junior)
  2. Al-Farouq Aminu: 6’9, 215 lbs, Wake Forest (Sophomore)
  3. Gordon Hayward: 6’8, 211 lbs, Butler (Sophomore)
  4. Paul George: 6’9, 214 lbs, Fresno State (Sophomore)
  5. Luke Babbitt: 6’9, 214 lbs, Nevada (Sophomore)

 SF Summary: There is plenty of size at the 3 this year, but there also as much youth at the spot as well. Each of the top players has a unique upside and there is a variety of talents available, but Syracuse’s Johnson is easily the most well-rounded of the bunch. After he’s off the board there is much division on the value of the other players and each is more specified to what each later lotto-to-mid first round team needs.

 Late Look: Damion James: 6’8, 230 lbs, Texas (Senior): One of the most consistently productive players in the NCAA over the last four years, James is the highest ranked senior in the class. Can contribute in all areas of the game and will be an instant boost to the depth of any team in the late first round.

**Shooting Guard**  

  1. Evan Turner: 6’7, 215 lbs, Ohio State (Junior)
  2. Avery Bradley: 6’3, 180 lbs, Texas (Freshman)
  3. Xavier Henry: 6’6, 215 lbs, Kansas (Freshman)
  4. James Anderson: 6’6, 220 lbs (Junior)
  5. Jordan Crawford: 6’4, 200 lbs (Junior)      

SG Summary: A rather regular year in the backcourt, shooting guard takes on a bit more talent than point overall. Turner is the most versatile player in the draft, which is criticized as being a bit of a “tweener”, without a home. Bradley and Henry are more traditional scorers and fit with many late Lottery different teams, while Anderson may be the best shooter in the Draft.

Late Look: Lance Stephenson: 6’5, 225 lbs, Cincinnati (Freshman): A raw talent, Stephenson shows the ability to be a dynamic scorer after his runs at Cincinnati and as the all-time leader scorer in New York high school history. First round talent, but a questionable attitude and approach are larger concerns which could drop him down team boards.

**Point Guard** 

  1. John Wall: 6’4, 195 lbs, Kentucky (Freshman)
  2. Eric Bledsoe: 6’2, 190 lbs, Kentucky (Freshman)
  3. Armon Johnson: 6’4, 195 lbs (Junior)
  4. Terrico White: 6’5, 203 lbs (Sophomore)
  5. Willie Warren: 6’4, 210 lbs (Sophomore)

PG Summary: John Wall is the definitive talent of the entire draft and a lock to join the Wizards at the top of the draft. After Wall however, it gets interesting. Bledsoe played in Wall’s shadow at Kentucky, but has started to separate himself some. After those two the falloff is somewhat steep, so it should not be a shocked to see point hungry teams jump to take Bledsoe higher than expected.  

Late Look: Sherron Collins: 5’11, 217 lbs, Kansas (Senior): Collins is the winningest player in the history of the Kansas Jayhawks, and that’s saying a lot. He is full of intangibles and can be a solid creator of the bench for a second round team needing a solid backup ball handler. 

**2010 NBA Draft Order (Lottery Teams in Bold)**   

  1. Washington Wizards:
  2. Philadelphia 76ers:
  3. New Jersey Nets:
  4. Minnesota Timberwolves:
  5. Sacramento Kings:
  6.  Golden State Warriors:
  7. Detroit Pistons:
  8. Los Angeles Clippers:
  9. Utah Jazz (from New York via Phoenix)
  10. Indiana Pacers:
  11. New Orleans Hornets
  12. Memphis Grizzlies
  13. Toronto Raptors
  14. Houston Rockets
  15. Milwaukee Bucks (from Chicago)
  16. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Charlotte via Denver)
  17. Chicago Bulls (from Milwaukee)
  18. Miami Heat
  19. Boston Celtics
  20. San Antonio Spurs
  21. Oklahoma City Thunder
  22. Portland Trailblazers
  23. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Utah via Philadelphia)
  24. Atlanta Hawks
  25. Memphis Grizzlies (from Denver)
  26. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Phoenix)
  27. New Jersey Nets (from Dallas)
  28. Memphis Grizzlies (from LA Lakers)
  29. Orlando Magic
  30. Washington Wizards (from Cleveland)