Could LA be the Next Golden State.
by Steve Samek
Lots of shock coming from the days leading up to the NBA draft. No team seems to be getting hit like The La Lakers. The Lakers hold the number two pick in the daft for the third year in a row. Last year the Lakers went with Brandon Ingram and the year before that D’Angelo Russell. The intent to use them as corner stones of the rebuild. http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/LAL/draft.html.
This will not be the case Russell has been shipped to the Brooklyn Nets along with Timofey Mozgov. The return Brook Lopez and pick number 27 for 2017. The move looks to be for salary cap room as the Lakers have been trying to get Paul George from Indiana. http://www.latimes.com/sports/lakers/la-sp-lakers-trade-20170620-story.html. Lebron James and Russell Westbrook are also big name free agents on the Lakers radar for 2018. http://www.latimes.com/sports/lakers/la-sp-lakers-trade-20170620-story.html. Letting Mozgov and Russell go saves LA around 22 Million for next summer. http://www.latimes.com/sports/lakers/la-sp-lakers-trade-20170620-story.html
The Lakers also lost Nick Young to free agency. Young elected not to sign and test the market after four seasons with LA. Young averaged about 13 points a game for the Purple and Yellow and made 71 starts. http://www.nba.com/lakers/releases/170621-nick-young-declines-option. Though by not picking up the option the Lakers save $5.7 million.
The popular pick for the Lakers at number two is Lonzo Ball from UCLA. Though the Lakers have also worked out possible number one pick Markelle Fultz. http://www.nba.com/lakers/news/170615-draft-workout-markelle-fultz.
According to recent mock drafts that is the case. It would play well for the Lakers to take ball, as he is a local guy from UCLA and a great talent. With a swagger to match. https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/2017/06/21/nba-mock-draft-markelle-fultz-lonzo-ball-deaaron-fox-trades/417590001/. Even going so far as to try and recruit James to join him in LA, before he has been officially drafted by the Lakers. http://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/lonzo-ball-makes-sales-pitch-for-lebron-james-to-join-him-with-lakers/. Bold move, premature, but bold.
The other pick at number 27 seems to be expendable for George and has played out in numerous scenarios for him. http://www.latimes.com/sports/lakers/la-sp-lakers-trade-20170620-story.html. So, the Lakers may not have made all their moves yet. Stay tuned, but the plan is to contend for serious in 2018.
By Steve Samek
Everyone loves a winner. So why not love these winners in what is looking to be a year of records for the WNBA.
Sue Bird is entering the top 10 in all time points scored. Bird scored 10 against San Antonio on June 6 to become the 10th best point scorer. Bird has tallied at least 5,565 career points. Bird isn’t just happy to score point either. She is the league runner up in all time assists. With 146 more helpers, she can pass the mark of 2,599 held by Ticha Penicheiro. http://www.wnba.com/news/sue-bird-enters-wnba-time-top-10-scoring/
Bird is also among the league’s best in three-pointers and steels, ranking in the top 10 in both stats. Though most notable is Bird’s four Olympic gold medals for the United States of America, most by any player male, or female. http://www.wnba.com/news/sue-bird-enters-wnba-time-top-10-scoring/
Speaking of three pointers, its Diana Taurasi. The Phoenix Guard broke the all-time three-point record on June 1,2017. Taurasi is also chasing the all-time scoring record sitting in second place. The all-time points mark is 7,488 and is owned by Tina Thompson. 29 points is all the separate the two. http://www.wnba.com/stats/alltime-leaders/#?stattype=points&stype=02&sort=pts&permode=tot&dir=1 Taurasi’s next shot at the record is Friday when Phoenix plays Chicago. http://www.wnba.com/
The next record to fall was all time wins by an individual. This mark now belongs to Lindsay Whalen. Whalen has amassed 295 victories and counting in 14 seasons in the WNBA. Swain Cash was the former record holder for wins with 294. http://www.wnba.com/news/lindsay-whalen-becomes-winningest-player-wnba-history/. The historic win is coming during a strong winning streak for last season’s runner up Minnesota. http://lynx.wnba.com/news/three-observations-sundays-lynx-win-wings/
The final record is for collecting awards. Tina Charles snags this honor for winning WNBA player of the week 23 times. This comes after Charles was awarded this week’s player of the week award. The mark bests Tamika Catchings’ 22 awards. http://www.wnba.com/news/tina-charles-sylvia-fowles-named-wnba-players-week/.
Lots of winner’s here with lots more to come during this young season.
Mystics improving team in off-season.
By Steve Samek
The Washington Mystics are on the move up. After finishing the 2016 season in 10th place in 12th team with an 13-21 record. The team has been making movies to turn themselves into the favorite in 2017.
The biggest move the Mystics made was the acquiring Elena Delle Donne from the Chicago Sky for Stefanie Dobson, Kahleah Cooper and the 2nd overall pick in 2017. After getting Delle Donne the Mystics also added Kristi Toliver via free agency from defending champion Los Angeles.
Toliver is a veteran player who can light it up from three- point range. Toliver hit 42.4 percent from behind the line last season. A mark which was good for fourth in the league in three-point percentage. Interesting enough Delle Donne was ahead of Toliver in three-point percentage, ranking third with a 42.6 percent made.
Delle Donne also contributed a tied for the league lead 21.5 points per game while playing in the fourth most average minutes per league at 33.1. Also on Delle Donne top five offensive ability is her free throw percentage at 93.5 good for second best in the WNBA. http://www.wnba.com/stats/
Complementing the new acquisitions is Emma Meesseman. Meesseman was the WNBA’s top three-point shooter by percentage at 44.8 percent. Additionally, Taylor Hill was resigned by the Mystics. Hill averaged 15 points per game in just above 29 minutes per game for the Mystic last season. The 15 points per game to go along with 32 games started are career highs for the player drafted a couple slots after new acqusion Delle Donne. http://www.wnba.com/player/tayler-hill/#/career
The Mystics should improve on offense and be more accurate on three pointers. This can make them hard to defend from deep. With multiple shooters, able to hit threes as accurate as anyone in the league even a double team would leave other players wide open.
Delle Donne and Toliver also bring playoff experience. Toliver was part of the WNBA champion Sparks last season and Delle Donne’s Sky was the fourth seed in the tournament before losing to the Atlanta Dream in round one. Making this one of the intangibles the Mystic’s could use to make a long playoff run.