Taking His Talents To…

(Photo: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)

It’s no secret that Lebron James is looking for a change of scenery this summer. Lebron has a strenuous relationship with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. It’s rumored that he has been touring prep schools in Los Angeles and Philadelphia for his kids to attend. While the Sixers and the Lakers would be great destinations for the King, I’ve been wondering where the best place for Lebron to go would be.

I broke down all thirty teams into separate tiers based on where Lebron is likely to go. From the ‘hell no’s’ to the ‘go buy your jerseys’, I’ll be breaking down why, and how, every team could or could not convince Lebron to bring his talents.
The teams on these lists are in alphabetical order.
No Chance to Make the Finals
Atlanta Hawks
Atlanta is another team in rebuild mode. Mike Budenholzer is (probably) a good coach when given talent. Building around a core of Dennis Schroeder, Taurean Prince and John Collins is not ideal for Lebron.
Brooklyn Nets
This is the only “bad” team I could see Lebron go to for fun. It won’t happen, but playing for Jay-Z’s team in New York would be kind of dope.
Chicago Bulls
You think Lebron rules over coaches like Ty Lue and David Blatt? Put him with Fred Hoiberg. Plus, they’re rebuilding too.
Dallas Mavericks
Wesley Matthews still can’t stay healthy and Harrison Barnes is your fourth or fifth best player on a championship team. Dennis Smith Jr. is intriguing but not enough to lure Lebron.
Memphis Grizzlies
Memphis is pushing the rebuild button. Marc Gasol is likely on his way out and that leaves a core of Mike Conley, Chandler Parsons and… Plus the Western Conference is not a place he’s going to be willing to go without legitimate talent around him.
Phoenix Suns
Speaking of a lack of talent, the Phoenix Suns everybody! Sure, Josh Jackson is a rookie and Devin Booker has some room to grow. Unless some of the other young guys (Dragan Bender, Marquese Chriss) make the leap people expected, the Suns will continue to be what they are.
Roster Doesn’t Work
Boston Celtics
Kyrie Irving is in Boston, which means Lebron is not going to Boston. Whether it’s because of Gordon Hayward’s injury or not, Boston is Kyrie’s team now. Lebron won’t want to go into that situation. Plus, a large part of the fan base can’t stand him and their roster is loaded with talented wings.
Miami Heat
It’s awful to say, but until Chris Bosh’s contract comes off Miami’s books in 2019, this team is a bit hamstrung. Hassan Whiteside is the third best player on a championship and Miami doesn’t have a second. Lebron would have to bring another superstar with him, which would clear the roster out. Plus, that first press conference with Pat Riley would be a bit icy for South Beach.
Minnesota Timberwolves
Minnesota is exactly where it wants to be. Would they give up Andrew Wiggins for Lebron James? Sure. But Lebron isn’t going to play 40 minutes a night for Tom Thibodeau.
Oklahoma City Thunder
This is Russell Westbrook’s team. Paul George is about to leave town. Carmelo Anthony isn’t built for today’s NBA. The team is in Oklahoma City. Not happening.
Portland Trailblazers
Portland is a weird city with a weird basketball team. Lebron doesn’t fit into that weirdness. It’s nothing against Portland, I love their team, and the city for that matter. Late career Lebron is looking for power and influence as much as he is money. Portland isn’t it.
Toronto Raptors
Toronto is another team that is on it’s own island. They play in a different country than everyone else, and they are more of a homegrown team. Signing a big free agent doesn’t fall in line with that. Plus, they already have the edge on Cleveland as it is this season.
Washington Wizards
Another weird team in a less weird city. Do John Wall and Bradley Beal get along? Is Otto Porter Jr. there to stay? Is Scotty Brooks a good coach? The world may never know. And Lebron won’t be finding out either.
Traditionally Bad Organization
New Orleans Pelicans
Somehow the Pelicans front office will mess up the Anthony Davis situation. They’ll either wait too long to trade him or let him walk. Either way, until they start showing they know how to make smart decisions (like the Boogie trade), Lebron won’t be picking up that phone call.
New York Knicks
It’s kind of sad. Lebron and the Knicks should fit together well. Kristaps Porzingis is a unicorn. James Dolan has ensured the rest of the roster is so bad, Lebron won’t look this way.
Orlando Magic
Remember when the Magic started this season by beating Cleveland and San Antonio? Good times. Remember when Rob Hennigan lost his job because of a whiteboard? Lebron James remembers.
Sacramento Kings
On top of not being good enough to compete right away, Vlade Divac and Vivek Ranadivé could still be calling random bloggers for advice. Run Lebron. Don’t let De’Aaron Fox and those dope City jerseys lure you into that trap.
Charlotte Hornets
A ‘meh’ team with no discernible future and the greatest player to ever do it running the team? Nah. Lebron has better things to do than live in that shadow.
Detroit Pistons
Detroit is a more northern version of Cleveland. Even Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond can’t convince Lebron to go there.
Indiana Pacers
Nap Town? Nah.
Los Angeles Clippers
“But it’s in LA!” True, but so are the Lakers. Never forget that Lebron gets to choose his next home city as well as the team he plays for. No one is telling him no.
Utah Jazz
Utah is a great organization, has great talent and a great coach. It’s a great mix of youth and experience and has a need for a legit wing player. The catch? It’s in Salt Lake City, Utah. Sorry Jazz fans. At least you still have Donovan Mitchell.
The Contenders
This list is in order of least likely to most likely destinations for Lebron. Every NBA team has a $99.093 million salary cap number this season, so it won’t rise much more than that next season. The teams also have a $119.266 million tax level. Let the debate begin!
8. Golden State Warriors
Golden State has $128 million committed to next season. Andre Iguodala is due $16 million, but outside of that, the Warriors would have to clear out one of their stars. Lebron would be worth it to dump, say, Iguodala and Klay Thompson’s $19 million, but I doubt the Warriors would mess up their chemistry. Lebron also definitely doesn’t want to join the enemy. It’s an unlikely scenario, but if a championship is Lebron’s motive, there’s no better place to get one.
Percent Chance: 0.5%
7. Denver Nuggets
Denver seems like it shouldn’t belong on this list, but bear with me. They have Nikola Jokic on a $1.6 million team option next year, along with most of their young talent on rookie deals. Paul Millsap makes the most per year at $29.2 million, with the next closest being Mason Plumlee at $12.9 million. With only $106 million committed next season, the Nuggets wouldn’t have to move too much to sign Lebron. Mike Malone is at least a decent to good coach, and Dwayne Wade took a meeting with them in 2016. Again, not a likely scenario, but to rule Denver out is a mistake.
Percent Chance: 2%
6. Milwaukee Bucks
The only rational is Giannis. And Giannis could be the pull enough for Lebron to go to Milwaukee. A starting lineup of Eric Bledsoe, Malcolm Brogdan, Khris Middleton, Lebron and Giannis. How’s that for a death lineup? That team is running the East, no questions asked. You can say that about most teams in the East if they add Lebron, though. The Bucks are in a great cap situation, with $103 million committed, so they could move a couple low level contracts to get within range. It’s not impossible.
Percent Chance: 2.5%
5. San Antonio Spurs
Ah, the top 5. That doesn’t mean the odds are in these teams favor. San Antonio hurt it’s chances with the way it’s handling Kawhi Leonard. Gregg Popovich is a huge selling point, especially for someone who revers him as much as Lebron. Lebron and Kawhi on the wings with LaMarcus Aldridge down low is deadly. San Antonio only has $98 million committed next season and could put a strong offer out for Lebron this offseason.
Percent Chance: 5%
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland’s chances keep plummeting. The latest story, about coach Tyrone Lue’s health, is hurting Cleveland’s chances. I hope Lue finds the balance he needs in his life, but related to Lebron, it doesn’t bode well. Lebron is going to have every team available to him in free agency. Returning to cold, wet Cleveland with Dan Gilbert sounds less than appealing. Still, Cleveland can offer a larger contract next season than anyone else. Lebron could also sign another one year deal and wait until next season. Stranger things have happened.
Percent Chance: 10%
3. Houston Rockets
Houston is actually a kind of great situation for Lebron. They owe Ryan Anderson $20.4 million next season. If Lebron announced his intent to sign with them, they would dump that contract to re-sign Chris Paul and sign Lebron. The Rockets only owe $78 million next season, so they have a lot of room to play as far as acquiring free agents. Clint Capela is only owed $3.4 million, which is a huge help. Add in the fact that Houston is without state tax, like Dallas and San Antonio, and they can make a real pitch to Lebron’s camp.
Percent Chance: 15%
2. Philadelphia Sixers
I can’t decide between the final two teams so I’ll file all my thoughts under…
Percent Chance: 34%
1. Los Angeles Lakers
Which twosome would you rather have next season: Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid or Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball? I’d take Simmons and Embiid but Ball and Ingram aren’t a bad option either. Lebron would rather be in Los Angeles, but Philadelphia isn’t exactly a small market. Los Angeles would need more than Lebron, but Lebron and Magic Johnson would definitely bring in more talent. Philadelphia has a less stable front office, as strange as that sounds, which would lead me to lean toward LA. Los Angeles only has $34 million committed next season, and Philadelphia only has $43 million. It’s the battle of two up-and-coming heavyweights and it should get interesting. If Lebron is looking for another championship (or two) he’ll sign with Philadelphia. If he’s looking to expand his career outside basketball, he’ll sign with Los Angeles.
Percent Chance: 36%

NBA Over/Unders and Playoff Predictions

Alright, the season is finally starting up (officially) in just over a week, and I cannot wait. It’s been probably the most entertaining offseason ever, and hopefully that translates over to the regular season. We’ll be looking at the over/under’s on Bovada, the standings in each division and my playoff picks.

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division

  1. Boston Celtics 55.5 (over)
  2. Toronto Raptors 48.5 (under)
  3. Philadelphia Sixers 41.5 (under)
  4. New York Knicks 30.5 (over)
  5. Brooklyn Nets 27.5 (over)

Central Division

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers 53.5 (over)
  2. Milwaukee Bucks 47.5 (over)
  3. Detroit Pistons 38.5 (under)
  4. Indiana Pacers 31.5 (over)
  5. Chicago Bulls 22 (under)

Southeast Division

  1. Washington Wizards 48 (over)
  2. Charlotte Hornets 42.5 (over)
  3. Miami Heat 43.5 (over)
  4. Orlando Magic 33.5 (under)
  5. Atlanta Hawks 25.5 (under)


Western Conference

Northwest Divison

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder 50.5 (over)
  2. Denver Nuggets 45.5 (over)
  3. Minnesota Timberwolves 48.5 (under)
  4. Utah Jazz 41 (over)
  5. Portland Trailblazers 42.5 (under)

Pacific Division

  1. Golden State Warriors 67.5 (over)
  2. Los Angeles Clippers 43.5 (over)
  3. Los Angeles Lakers 33.5 (over)
  4. Sacramento Kings 27.5 (over)
  5. Phoenix Suns 29 (under)

Southwest Division

  1. Houston Rockets 55.5 (over)
  2. San Antonio Spurs 54.5 (under)
  3. Memphis Grizzlies 37.5 (under)
  4. New Orleans Pelicans 39.5 (under)
  5. Dallas Mavericks 35.5 (under)


Eastern Conference Playoffs

  1. Boston Celtics
  2. Cleveland Cavaliers
  3. Washington Wizards
  4. Milwaukee Bucks
  5. Toronto Raptors
  6. Charlotte Hornets
  7. Miami Heat
  8. Philadelphia Sixers

Western Conference Playoffs

  1. Golden State Warriors
  2. Houston Rockets
  3. Oklahoma City Thunder
  4. San Antonio Spurs
  5. Los Angeles Clippers
  6. Denver Nuggets
  7. Minnesota Timberwolves
  8. Utah Jazz

2017-18 All-NBA Teams Preview

This is my picks for the All-NBA First, Second and Third Teams, the All-Rookie First and Second Teams, and the All-Defensive First and Second Team. Check it out:

All-NBA First Team

BC: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

BC: James Harden, Houston Rockets

FC: Lebron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

FC: Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

FC: Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors


All-NBA Second Team

BC: John Wall, Washington Wizards

BC: Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors

FC: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

FC: Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors

FC: Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers


All-NBA Third Team

BC: Chris Paul, Houston Rockets

BC: Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics

FC: Jimmy Butler, Minnesota Timberwolves

FC: Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

FC: Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves


All-Rookie First Team

BC: Dennis Smith, Jr., Dallas Mavericks

BC: Lonzo Ball, Los Angeles Lakers

FC: Ben Simmons, Philadelphia Sixers

FC: Josh Jackson, Phoenix Suns

FC: John Collins, Atlanta Hawks


All-Rookie Second Team

BC: Markelle Fultz, Philadelphia Sixers

BC: De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings

FC: Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz

FC: Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

FC: Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls


All-Defensive First Team

BC: Patrick Beverly, Los Angeles Clippers

BC: Danny Green, San Antonio Spurs

FC: Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

FC: Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors

FC: Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz


All-Defensive Second Team

BC: Avery Bradley, Detroit Pistons

BC: Andre Roberson, Oklahoma City Thunder

FC: Jimmy Butler, Minnesota Timberwolves

FC: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

FC: Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

Louisville Fans Should Hope For the Death Penalty

It has been one hell of a week for the University of Louisville. Head basketball coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich were both put on administrative leave this week following reports from the FBI that most recent signee Brian Bowen had received improper benefits from Adidas, the schools athletic apparel sponsor.

First things first: Pitino and Jurich both deserve to lose their jobs and if you think otherwise, you’re delusional. They are both some of the dirtiest characters in college athletics and have finally been outed for it. Good riddance to both. Which leads me to my second point: this situation could have been avoided (or at least lessened) by paying college athletes. It’s a disgrace that the NCAA is still a middleman to all this and I hope this will be a catalyst toward getting these athletes paid.

Something that Louisville fans may not be thinking about, or fans in general, is that this latest scandal raises questions about the legitimacy of the past 20 years of Louisville athletics. It’s pretty clear at this point, given his handling of the situation, that Jurich is not running his programs in a way that is acceptable by NCAA standards and when you look at the entire athletic department, some questions that should have been asked before now become more glaring. How does a university like Louisville develop all it’s sports into top 25 programs in under 20 years? The statistics counter Jurich hiring outstanding coaches in every sport, especially to a midwest city like Louisville. But let’s pretend he was able to lure all these coaches above the board. One is Pitino and another is Bobby Petrino, so you’re not off to a great start character wise. And maybe Dan McDonald is the Nick Saban of college baseball, but how is it that the biggest programs in college baseball are essentially the teams from California, the teams from Texas, the teams from the south, and then Louisville. Maybe McDonald is that persuasive, but I’d rather play in one of those other places for a variety of reasons. Women’s basketball came out of nowhere when it hired Jeff Walz in 2007, who had been a lifetime assistant. Again, maybe Walz is THAT DUDE. But you’re now talking about a university essentially lucking into TWO top 3 coaches in two separate sports, and neither of those sports is basketball, which your university was built on. This is obviously all speculation on my part, but I have serious questions about how some of this stuff got done.

Now, getting out of the politics of it, where does (and should) the university go from here? You have a top-10 program who was about to go into the season expecting a run at a title now facing the likely possibility of receiving the death penalty. They are looking for a coach for this season, because they will still compete this year despite the FBI and NCAA looking into everything. I think there is almost no chance, given the Katina Powell situation earlier this year coming to a close, that Louisville avoids the death penalty. So, what should Louisville be hoping for?

Honestly, I think at this point, the death penalty would be the best case scenario for the basketball program. To be clear, this would destroy a lot of money coming into the university and the city, but last time I checked, the FBI doesn’t care about your cities economics. But, in terms of the program itself, you need a reboot. Louisville is a top 7 all-time basketball program, with a storied history and a big following. I believe that if you don’t clean house completely and sit it out a few years, you will forever have a cloud over the program. The new coach will have an absolute disaster of a mess to clean up, plus the NCAA penalty will be so harsh, it will feel like a death penalty while still being able to play the game. It’s college purgatory and will set the program back much farther than it already is.

So let’s paint a much prettier picture. It’s 2023. Louisville got the death penalty. All the players on the roster, who may or may not have received benefits as well, are all gone. The entire coaching staff, gone. Assistants, secretaries, everybody is gone. You have a new athletic director, one who is going to build it right. He’s already run Petrino out of town, because at this point the university can’t afford to take anymore PR hits, and because Petrino isn’t as good a coach as he was. He’s already hired a young upstart for the football team (Jeff Brohm?) and now, he’s looking for the same for the basketball program. David Padgett did an admirable job for the 2017-18 season, the team made the tournament as a six seed and got beat in the second round. He was playing against a stacked hand. The new AD goes to hire another young guy as the basketball coach, one without any direct coaching ties to Pitino (Bashir Mason, Matt McCall, Will Wade?) and he is given a 7 year contract. Plenty of time to build it his way and evaluate as they go. Louisville has been scrubbed clean of all the dirt it accumulated and the reputation has been (somewhat) restored. I like that picture a whole lot better than letting Padgett flounder for a few years trying to salvage a burning ship. He may stop the fire, but the ship needs some major work before it’s operational.

2017-18 Top 10 NBA Players by Position

We’re just about a month away from the start of the season, so we’re going to start looking at some of the bigger picture stuff to get you through the last bit of the offseason. We’re starting with a look at the top 10 players at each position. These are in order based on what I project for the upcoming season, not a projection on how good anyone will be beyond that, or a claim on past abilities. So, let’s get into it!

Top 10 Point Guards

  1. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
  2. Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors
  3. John Wall, Washington Wizards
  4. Chris Paul, Houston Rockets
  5. Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics
  6. Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
  7. Damian Lillard, Portland Trailblazers
  8. Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies
  9. Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets
  10. Isaiah Thomas, Cleveland Cavaliers

I gave a slight nod to Westbrook this season because I think Steph won’t have to consistently be on his A game, especially given that the Warriors are completely comfortable with each other now. I think we’ll see a lot of the starters sitting in fourth quarters again, and Westbrook, with the addition of Paul George, will be gunning for a top 4 seed in the West. The only other thing I’d like to note is Isaiah Thomas. If he were coming into the season fully healthy, I’d probably have him slotted around 5-6. However, he loses some spots because of his hip.

Top 10 Shooting Guards

  1. James Harden, Houston Rockets
  2. Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
  3. Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
  4. Demar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors
  5. CJ McCollum, Portland Trailblazers
  6. Avery Bradley, Detroit Pistons
  7. Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
  8. Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Timberwolves
  9. Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks
  10. JJ Redick, Philadelphia Sixers

This is where I expect the most differences. I think the league is split up between three actual positions. You have primary ball handlers (point guards essentially), wings (shooting guards and small forwards, and some power forwards) and bigs (centers and non-stretch power forwards). So to get caught up in whether Andrew Wiggins is listed as a shooting guard or a small forward isn’t the point. Wiggins and Jimmy Butler will play on the wings, and Butler will guard the other teams best wing player. That will usually mean he’s guard a small forward, just based on the depth of the two positions in the league.

Top 10 Small Forwards

  1. Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors
  2. Lebron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
  3. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
  4. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs
  5. Jimmy Butler, Minnesota Timberwolves
  6. Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder
  7. Gordon Hayward, Boston Celtics
  8. Carmelo Anthony, Oklahoma City Thunder
  9. Ben Simmons, Philadelphia Sixers
  10. Harrison Barnes, Dallas Mavericks

I wanted so badly to put Giannis over Lebron. I really did. I think this is Giannis’ leap into superstardom and if that happens to full effect, he’ll be the second best wing in the league. I know it’s strange to think about Kawhi being the fourth best small forward in the league, but I think he’s on a better team this season than last and won’t have to exert himself like he did last season. If he plays like he did last season though, it’ll go Durant, James, Kawhi, Giannis. At least for one more season.

Top 10 Power Forwards

  1. Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
  2. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
  3. Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
  4. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
  5. Paul Millsap, Denver Nuggets
  6. Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks
  7. Jabari Parker, Milwaukee Bucks
  8. LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs
  9. Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers
  10. Serge Ibaka, Toronto Raptors

Draymond is the glue to the Warriors and Davis is hurt consistently and on a terrible team. Sorry, but Green gets the nod. I expect Kevin Love to be huge this season. It will basically be just he and Lebron until Isaiah comes back, so I’d imagine they’ll both look great. I’m also expecting Blake Griffin to look pretty good without Chris Paul in LA, and if Jabari can (finally) stay healthy, we may see why he was the second pick in the draft. Lastly, as I said in my Most Improved Player piece, I love Julius Randle going into this season and he could rock the boat in this category.

Top 10 Centers

  1. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
  2. Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies
  3. DeMarcus Cousins, New Orleans Pelicans
  4. Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
  5. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia Sixers
  6. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
  7. Hassan Whiteside, Miami Heat
  8. Deandre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers
  9. Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers
  10. Al Horford, Boston Celtics

I’d expect Gobert to improve a bit with Gordon Hayward’s production leaving town. I love Jokic, but I’ve got high expectations for Gobert. Embiid’s position is solely based on the fact that I need to see him healthy for the whole season. If he manages to have a fully healthy season, he’ll probably end up somewhere in the top 3. I think with Myles Turner being the focus in Indiana, he could start to shine.

NCAA Football Week 4 Picks

My picks for the games coming up this weekend. I’ll be picking weeks going forward, and giving you my Games I’d Bet at the end. All selected winners are in bold, and all lines were accurate as of 1:00 PM on Thursday.


Games I’d Bet



Temple @ #21 USF -19.5

I like the work Charlie Strong has done already in Tampa, but as a head coach, generally Strong’s teams don’t blow out opponents. 19.5 points is a lot to give a not-terrible Temple team, especially on a Thursday night.



Kent State @ #19 Louisville -44

I know Kent State is not good, at all. But the Louisville defense is ripe for the picking and the offense is still limited by a struggling offensive line. 44 points just seems too high, especially the potential for a letdown after a rough game against Clemson.


#17 Mississippi State @ #11 Georgia -5.5

This one is tough. I love Georgia this year, and they are playing well. But Mississippi State is on FIRE and I’m expecting that to carry over.


#20 Florida @ Kentucky +1.5

This line has been shrinking all week and I just have a gut feeling Kentucky manages to pull this one off, finally. Florida isn’t good, and I think Kentucky figured some things out last week against South Carolina.


#4 Penn State @ Iowa +13

Another team I love this season is Penn State, and I’m not sold on Iowa at all. Trace McSorley is starting to steal some Heisman shine from his backfield mate Saquon Barkley, and James Franklin is bringing some serious swagger to State College.


Best of the Rest



Virginia @ Boise State -12.5

#23 Utah @ Arizona +3.5



Texas A&M  @Arkansas -2.5

UMass @ Tennessee -28

West Virginia @ Kansas +21.5

Texas Tech @ Houston -6

Army @ Tulane -2.5

UNLV @ #10 Ohio State -40.5

NC State @ #12 Florida State -13

Pittsburgh @ Georgia Tech -8.5

New Mexico @ Tulsa -11

Old Dominion @ #13 Virginia Tech -27.5

Idaho @ South Alabama -4

Ohio @ Eastern Michigan -2.5

Central Florida @ Maryland -3.5

LA Tech @ South Carolina -8

#1 Alabama @ Vanderbilt +18.5

#16 TCU @ #6 Oklahoma State -13

#5 USC @ California +17

Georgia Southern @ Indiana -24

Rutgers @ Nebraska -12.5

Boston College @ #2 Clemson -34

Duke @ North Carolina +2.5

Toledo @ #14 Miami (FL) -13.5

Wake Forest @ Appalachian State +5

Cincinnati @ Navy -11.5

Miami (OH) @ Central Michigan -1.5

#8 Michigan @ Purdue +10

UL Monroe @ Louisiana -6.5

Nevada @ #18 Washington State -28

Georgia State @ Charlotte +1

Akron @ Troy -15.5

#3 Oklahoma @ Baylor +27.5

UAB @ North Texas -13

Syracuse @ #25 LSU -21

FAU @ Buffalo -2

Ball State @ WKU -8

Arkansas State @ SMU -5.5

#22 San Diego State @ Air Force +3

#15 Auburn @ Missouri +18

FIU @ Rice -2

UTSA @ Texas State +12

Utah State @ San Jose State -1

Notre Dame @ Michigan State +4

UTEP @ New Mexico State -19

#24 Oregon @ Arizona State +14

#7 Washington @ Colorado +11.5

Hawai’i @ Wyoming -6

UCLA @ Stanford -7



East Carolina @ UConn -4.5


2017-18 Rookie of the Year Preview

Last seasons rookie class took a big hit with Ben Simmons missing the entire season and Joel Embiid getting hurt about halfway through the season. It was definitely one of the least exciting Rookie of the Year votes in recent memory, but this season is going to be much different. I mean, when Malcolm Brogdon (who I love) wins the award and Buddy Hield finishes fourth, after basically not existing in New Orleans until the All-Star break, behind Joel Embiid, who literally missed half of the season, it’s a bad year. But we move forward. The top 5 this year is a great class and should make this a great race as long as everyone stays healthy.

1. Ben Simmons, Philadelphia Sixers

Last seasons expected winner of the award is expected to be back with a force this season, and he’s got some talent around him. Embiid proved what he could be last season in his limited time, and if he stays healthy, will help Simmons and fellow rookie Markelle Fultz bring the Sixers back to prominence. I will go ahead and say, Fultz isn’t on the list. If anyone wins it from the Sixers, I believe it will be Simmons, and I think there’s a chance that if both perform well, they’ll split some votes anyway. Either way, it’s clear the Sixers were smart to Trust the Process.

2. Dennis Smith Jr., Dallas Mavericks

A lot of the ROY award is attributed to who gets opportunities. Simmons and Fultz are going to start, and the same can be said about most of the players on the list. Smith Jr. is in that category. Yogi Ferrel was a fun experiment, but DSJ is the future and if he can embrace coach Rick Carlisle’s system, he could become a force quickly in the league. He has better talent around him than they do in Philadelphia and if he plays his cards right, he could be going on stage to receive the award in June.

3. Lonzo Ball, Los Angeles Lakers

The last starter that I believe has a real chance at winning the award, Ball displayed his potential in Summer League. I would expect to see similar stat lines in the season (low scoring triple doubles and double doubles) and if the Baby Lakers make a bit of a jump, expect to Lonzo in the conversation at the very least.

4. Malik Monk, Charlotte Hornets

Monk is not a starter this year, and barring injury, which isn’t unlikely given Michael Kidd-Gilcrest’s history, won’t crack the starting lineup. However, he is a dangerous offensive player and could earn a lot of minutes coming off the bench. If he can light people up on the second unit and work his way into 20-ish minutes a night, Monk could jump into the conversation.

5. Josh Jackson, Phoenix Suns

The way I see it, there’s a slim chance Jackson wins the award. But it’s a chance. He’ll have to come in playing lockdown defense on the perimeter, stabilizing the Suns defensive efforts. In addition, he’s going to have to be an aggressive scorer in an offense surrounded by talented scorers and prove that he has put in the work in the offseason on that end. He doesn’t necessarily need to be draining three’s and knocking down mid range jumpers, but he does have to show glimpses of at least becoming, one day, a version of DeMar DeRozen. But it is a long shot to be sure.