Posts tagged NBA Draft
Ruthless Aggression - NBA Draft Picks as Pro Wrestlers

Chris is out this week, so no Ruthless Aggression week shows. Our friend Courtney (@19Phranchize) joins Rob and Pierce to preview Stomping Grounds and give our pro wrestling comparisons for some of the newest NBA draftees.

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music:

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here:

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Apple Music:

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop

The Third Pick EP 11: Bane broke MPJ's back

Scott & Mariano recap the NBA Draft, the Bulls' selections of Wendell Carter Jr. at No. 7 and Chandler Hutchison at No. 22, and what it means for Chicago going forward. Plus, Deandre Ayton to the Suns, Michael Porter Jr. slips, and more!

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The Third Pick Lottery Wrap-Up
Just Not Enough: How the NCAA is still getting over

Last month, the NCAA appointed Commission on College Basketball proposed sweeping changes to current NCAA policies in response to the FBI’s investigation into mass corruption in college basketball recruiting.

The Commission, which is lead by Condeleezza Rice, took six months to comprise a 60-page report Wednesday that broke down issue in the sport. An excerpt from the report said the following in regards to the current state of college basketball.

“It is the overwhelming assessment of the commission that the state of men’s college basketball is deeply troubled. The levels of corruption and deception are now at a point that they threaten the very survival of the college game as we know it.”

As a result of their findings, the commission recommended 5 changed they felt should be enacted immediately.

1.   End one-and-done rule

The one-and-done rule is pointless, and everyone involved with it knows. It serves no purpose for a player to spend one year in school, which is really one semester. Most one-and done players withdraw from class during second semester to focus on basketball anyway, so to mandate that they delay their professional careers despite being 18 is unfair and un-American.

While many focused on the end of the one-and-done rule, there was one part of their recommendation that should have garnered more attention than it did.

Since the one-and-done rule was created by the NBA, the commission suggested that if the NBA/NBAPA refuses to change the rule that freshman ineligibility will be recommended to the NCAA.

This would basically force players to stay in school at least two years.

2.   Allow undrafted underclassmen to return

Any player who was not selected in the draft and decides against pursuing a career overseas right should be allowed to retain his eligibility and turn to college basketball. 

3.   Allow Agents

This would be a 180 from the current rule, which bans players from any contact with agents before declaring for the NBA draft. The goal of this rule change would be to eliminate some of the corruption found in the FBI’s report by streamlining the certification process, thus allowing the NCAA to ensure players are talking to certified agents and not being misled.

4.   Increase Penalties

This is a scare tactic the commission believes will deter coaches/schools from cheating in the future. A five-year postseason ban as well as possible loss of revenue sharing are a few highlights of the increase, but as long as this remains a billion dollar business, there will be someone willing to bend the rules.

5.   Combat shoe company corruption with summer league of their own

The AAU circuit is currently ran by the three major show companies, and many have accused the three of using their money and influence to lure players to sign with their brands.

In order to stop this, the commission suggested that the NCAA team with the NBA and USA Basketball to develop a summer program of their own. 

While the changes would be much appreciated, they don’t address the real issue with the relationship between the NCAA and its athletes.

Profits keep rising, and the people earning the profits are being shut out of the spoils. 

According to Athletic Director University, D-1 Athletic Directors salaries are now averaging more than $500,000, with AD’s at power 5 conferences (and Notre Dame) pull in over $1 million annually. 

Schools make millions, coaches make millions, Athletic Directors make millions, but if a player gets one two many meals he can be considered ineligible. 

In 2013, the National College Players Association and Drexel University released a study to determine how much college athletes would be worth in an open market. The study borrowed revenue sharing models from the NBA & NFL to calculate the value of collegiate athletes in the respective sports. 

The results were quite shocking. According to the study, the average FBS football player is worth $137,357, while the average men’s basketball player is $289,031 per year.

When this study was conducted, the average player earned $23,031 in scholarship money. 

The days of rationalizing this unfair treatment by suggesting a college education is some mystical accomplishment that you can’t put a dollar amount on. If that was the case, Navient wouldn’t call me three times a week (I don’t have it bro).

I'm not advocating for players to be paid millions, or even game checks. What I am suggesting is a system that creates an account for each player that can be cashed out once a players career is over.

Another solution would be to give players control of their image and likeness in order to earn money. Marquee athletes should be given the same opportunities to make money off their hard work that the Universities have.

And what will the NCAA do about athletes in non-revenue sports who feel like they should be paid too? 

Tell them they played the wrong sport.

What should the Bulls do with the Pelicans' first round pick?

Hello Bulls fans,

As we are all well aware the Chicago Bulls have two first round picks in the 2018 NBA Draft. I’ve discussed the possibilities of what can happen with the first of these two picks, but have not yet gone into detail about how the second pick, courtesy of the New Orleans Pelicans, can be utilized. It is very important that the Chicago Bulls hit on both of these picks in this draft to expedite the rebuild process with quality, high-upside players.

There’s no telling how things will shape out in the Western Conference but as of right now the Pelicans' pick sits at 18th overall, and can move anywhere from 14th up to the twenties. The Pelicans have lost four in a row, and are in competition with the Denver Nuggets for the final playoff spot in the West, but their remaining schedule is mostly against lottery teams.

In the event the Pelicans do miss the playoffs, the Bulls will have some pretty good players to look at. Alabama PG Collin Sexton is a very interesting prospect. He has excellent burst and is dynamic in transition, and doesn’t need a ball screen to get to the rim. He is very explosive in space and would fit well in Fred Hoiberg's uptempo offense. Both Sexton and incumbent PG Kris Dunn both get after it defensively and would be fun to watch them battle for the starting job in camp.

If the Bulls are fortunate enough to grab a Mo Bamba, Marvin Bagley, or DeAndre Ayton with their first pick, then small forward suddenly becomes a position of need. Enter Kevin Knox, a combo forward from Kentucky into the mix. He’s 6’9 with a 11.5 wingspan and wide shoulders than can fill out in the NBA. He’s a multi-positional defender and can make shots with and space. Players that aren’t ball dominant will greatly benefit from this system and it will also take pressure off them to perform. There has no official word on if Knox will stay in college or skip his sophomore campaign to join the NBA. A decision will be made by this Friday.

The worst possible scenario is the Pelicans moving up in seeding, which would send that pick down to the late teens or early twenties. One of the players who could get a look late in the first is Villanova PG Jalen Brunson. I know I’m beating a dead horse when I say Kris Dunn needs a back up point guard to relieve him, but Jerian Grant doesn’t cut it. You need player who can keep things moving and has basketball IQ. Brunson can read the defense and make the right plays.

Ultimately the direction we elect to go with this pick depends on how these next couple of weeks go. I will have a better idea about what positional players make the most sense by where we are sitting. We can go from finding potential starters to adding in serviceable back ups or “camp bodies” to add competition.

The Bulls find themselves mired in a close tank race for the top picks in the draft
(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Hello Bulls fans,

It’s become abundantly clear these last few weeks of the season what the set plan was for the franchise. Fred Hoiberg has been instructed to play the younger guys more than vets to see what they can offer the team in the future. Winning hasn’t been the idea because the better players including the big 3 of Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn, and Zach LaVine have been held out for “minor” injuries. I’m sure there is a percentage of this that is factual, but I believe the prize in mind is a higher lottery pick for the franchise to jumpstart the rebuild this offseason.

We have yet to see what Zach LaVine will be because he is still coming back into form from his 2017 ACL injury. It is typically the second year that the player fully recovers from the injury and get their confidence back. He is only 23 years old so there is a lot more that can be added to his game. Zach LaVine still looks like he isn’t being acclimated into the offense. There were a lot of moments when he looks like he’s forcing shots up and not getting open looks. I believe once he gets a full offseason in this offense, which is must different than what the Minnesota Timberwolves run he will be okay.

I mention Zach LaVine just to say that he is an important piece to this rebuild, and him playing not as well as expected isn’t that bad of a thing. He needed to knock that rust off in order to fully come back from the ACL injury. It was a bonus benefit that they are failing to win games

The Chicago Bulls have lost six straight games and are sitting at 8th overall in the pick selection, and can possibly move up to the 5th or 6th overall selection before it’s all said and done. If Chicago can do that and get some lottery luck, they will have a chance to pick Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, Michael Porter Jr, Luka Doncic, or Mohamed Bamba.

The Nets draft pick belongs to the Cavaliers via the Celtics trade with Kyrie Irving, so Brooklyn doesn’t have any motive to try and purposely tank and lose out. Dallas' win over the Kings gives the Bulls a very strong chance at least finishing with a tie for the 4th seed if they can lose their remaining eight games, although it's highly unlikely they go on a 14-game losing streak to finish the season.

If they are as serious about tanking as the player personnel that is deployed every night shows, then I have no doubt they can get in the top 5. Also, keep in mind that the Bulls own the New Orleans Pelicans first round pick as well. This should be a very interesting close to the season.

The NCAA's one-and-done problem is the NBA's fault
(Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

(Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

The One and Done era is a timeframe in which no entity, organization or person wants to take credit for.  No one wants to take credit for 17 & 18- year-old basketball players in America not being allowed to make an honest living for themselves and their families.  When it is worded like that, it sounds worse than the NBA wanting their players to be a year removed from high school to enter their league.

Lots of people have thrown blame on everyone for this rule that the NBA instituted in 2006; agents, the NCAA (whom I love blaming for just about everything but this is not that time) and even the media.  Unfortunately, the blame lies with none of them but with, surprise surprise, the NBA.  More specifically, the front offices of all 30 teams in the NBA.

In the spring of 1995, pre-social media, there was a rumor that a high school senior out of Farragut Academy in Chicago was going to enter the NBA Draft.  Prep hoops back then was not the money hype machine that it is today so high school players weren’t big celebrities like they are today (see Williamson, Zion.). No one nationally had heard of this kid but thanks to these rumors, Kevin Garnett was starting to become a known name.

Garnett would not be the first player to go from high school to the NBA, as Moses Malone had that distinction in 1974, but he would be the first to make the leap in over 20 years. The Minnesota Timberwolves took a risk by drafting Garnett fifth overall in the 1995 NBA Draft but that risk soon paid off as he made his first All-Star team in only second season and looked to be the next evolution at the power forward position.

You may have heard in reference to all professional leagues that “it’s a copycat league”. That definitely fit the NBA from 1995-2005 when, due to the arrogance of the NBA front office execs they ushered in the One-and-Done era that required a basketball player to be one year removed from high school before they can declare for the draft.

Yes, the Timberwolves struck gold with Garnett in 1995, the Lakers did the same in trading for a young Kobe Bryant on draft night in 1996, the Raptors unearthed a diamond in the rough with Tracy McGrady in 1997 and in 2003, drafting LeBron was a no-brainer for any team, especially for the home state Cleveland Cavaliers.  The problem with those success stories during the decade is that NBA execs kept trying to recreate that by drafting high school players at a rapid rate who did not come close to the measurables of the prior four.

See, the problem isn’t that high school players entered the draft, the problem that they were drafted in hopes of being the next KG or Kobe or T-Mac or LeBron; or even the next Dwight Howard, JR Smith or Al Jefferson. But they won’t get someone else in another player, they won’t even get the second coming of another player; however that will not stop them from drafting a high school player high.

Think back to when you were 17 or 18 and the mindset you had. Now imagine one of the biggest organizations or companies in the world notices your talent and offers to make you an instant millionaire to work for them. You will have $10 million dollars in your bank account before you turn 21. The only catch with the job because, of course there’s a catch, is that you have to be the face of the company, improve rapidly, mature much sooner than you’re expected to and don’t do anything to embarrass the company even though you’re a kid. If that catch isn’t met, no big deal, your contract won’t be renewed and you’ll be seen as a bust and your ability to be hired elsewhere will be spotty at best. Sounds pretty unfair to me.

That is exactly what high school players are asked to do when they are drafted into the NBA, especially if they’re drafted in the lottery. Drafting an athlete into your league is risky no matter their age and background. Drafting an athlete that has experience, assumed maturity and has seen ups and downs throughout a brief career is a safer bet than a teenager that can jump high.  Be smarter NBA execs and remove your ego.  High school basketball players should be able to enter the NBA Draft and be afforded the opportunity to provide for themselves and their family. Doesn’t mean they should have the weight of the world on their shoulders.

Tear it all down: why the NBA should eliminate the Draft Lottery

Last week, NBA commissioner Adam Silver fined Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban $600,000 for what was labeled as making public comments deemed detrimental to the league.

While appearing on NBA legend Julius Irving’s podcast “House Calls with Dr. J”, Cuban acknowledged something that many have always known; some teams lose on purpose.



“I’m probably not supposed to say this,” Cuban said, “but, like, I just had dinner with a bunch of our guys the other night, and here we are, you know, we weren’t competing for the playoffs. I was like, ‘Look, losing is our best option.’”

Cuban tried to justify his position, but the damage was already done.

“Adam would hate hearing that, but I at least sat down and I explained it to them. And I explained what our plans were going to be this summer, that we’re not going to tank again. This was, like, a year-and-a-half tanking, and that was too brutal for me. “

Despite his attempt to walk back his admission, the league office still fined Cuban and issued a stern warning to all teams suspected of tanking;

“The latter (tanking) – which we have not found and hope to never see in the NBA – has no place in our game. If we ever received evidence that players or coaches were attempting to lose or otherwise taking steps to cause any game to result otherwise than on its competitive merits, that conduct would be met with the swiftest and harshest response possible from the league office.”


Zack Rosenblatt | For NJ Advance Media

Zack Rosenblatt | For NJ Advance Media

While talk of tanking may have reached an all-time high due to the Philadelphia 76ers and there call to “Trust the Process”, this is not the first time teams have been accused of intentionally losing in order to strengthen their draft position. In fact, the only reason the lottery was introduced in 1985 was to prevent teams from tanking in order to gain the number one pick.

Despite these latest tweaks to the lottery (now the worst three teams will have equal odds at the number one pick), team with no shot at a championship will still tank and take their chances with the draft. With that being said, there is really only one way to end tanking, and it doesn’t involve manipulating percentages or fining teams for losing games;

Completely eliminate the draft lottery.

When you think about it, the draft lottery is a lot like government assistance for wealthy team owners. Your team struggles all year, whether voluntarily or otherwise, and as a result you’re rewarded with the opportunity to add top young talent at a discounted rate.

The new system would do away with the weighted lottery system, and instead each NBA team would be granted an equal opportunity to land the number one pick.

So if the drawing is held and the final selection just so happens to be the San Antonio Spurs, then the Spurs would select first in the draft, no questions asked.

Now some may see this as a fast track to ruining the competitive balance of a league that is already completely out of whack, but a system like this would actually help to spread talent around the league in a few different ways.

Now, instead of your young talent being forced to play for a losing franchise during years that are pivotal to their development, players would be placed into an environment that will increase their chances of being successful.

While others will argue that this simply allows good teams to stack their rosters, this is a shortsighted way of viewing things.

The ability to add quality young talent to a playoff team would actually create some interesting scenarios come contract time. Despite the recent influx of cash from the new TV deal, teams owners have shown us time and time again that paying the NBA’s luxury tax is to be avoided if possible.

Choosing between young players on a team friendly deal may lead to some veterans being forced to chase their big payday somewhere else. General managers would now have the option of keeping a young player as opposed to paying a guy who may be trending down during the second half of his contract.

Instead of focusing on the impact this may have on the top and bottom tier teams, the biggest impact could be seen with teams stuck in the middle. Imagine a draft where teams like Washington, Miami, Portland, New Orleans and Denver comprised the top 5.

Each of these teams has made the playoffs in recent years, but none have enough firepower to dethrone the best teams in their conference. The opportunity to add elite young talent would help these franchises immensely, as well as inject new energy into teams that may be stagnant.

Instead of incentivizing futility, lets really put the pressure on owners, scouts and player personnel to use their resources to find the best talent available.

No more handouts.

Hitting the reset button on the Lakers using NBA 2K
(Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)

(Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Lakers have been playing inspired ball recently & it hasn’t gone unnoticed that this has coincided with the team not having its biggest conundrum in the lineup due to injury. To my excitement, it’s allowed people to be reminded of the talents of the players around him.

In this, the age of 35-foot pull-up threes, scoring point guards, & stretch bigs, everyone is expected to impact the game in the same kind of way or they’re labeled obsolete or old-school.

However, while the players & puppeteers change, the name of the game doesn’t: You must have a team of cohesive players with unique personalities all working towards a singular goal. THIS is where I think Lakers brass has gone wrong.

Granted, this isn’t the work of any singular entity. Mitch Kupchak & Jim Buss were stragglers from an era of basketball that was dope but also monotone & bland as the world caught up to the United States. There was a complacency in all aspects & the rat race we call existence is the result of such laziness.

But as we millennials shift to the vanguard, I had hopes that Magic Johnson & Rob Pelinka had seen enough of both the real & inside the NBA world to appreciate that you cannot buy into the hype if you want to build a successful business brand.

Ask Golden State & Minnesota.

Call up Koby Altman, ask him how he’s doing.

Then, do the same to Danny Ainge. Then let’s chat.

There’s a huge difference in swinging for the fences when you’ve put in the work versus taking a chance & hoping it works. Don’t get me wrong. Koby Altman has a dope story & he’ll be just fine. But Danny Ainge is a multi-sport athlete. There’s transferrable qualities you look for in athletes of the old school vein.

Danny also understands & knows what it’s like to fail at the highest levels.

He traded fan favorite Antoine Walker, who never truly recovered & even publicly clashed with former head coach Jim O’Brien. Meanwhile, Koby hasn’t experienced much difficulty.

Unfortunately, Koby, this is your tape. Reconfiguring the decision 2.0: From Man back to Luh Boy.

Best wishes.

Meanwhile, back in LA LA Land, the purple & gold brass is trapped in the upside down themselves. They got it right retiring both of Kobe Bryant's numbers. Being that Rob is Kobe’s former agent, that was a sitter.

But everything else? ShamWOW.

Even the Bogut experiment didn’t encompass the entire season.

Not a great sign.

Not a great start.

Luke Walton flexed his basketball mettle & in my limited purview, showed more when faced with adversity than Steve Kerr has with a lot of the same pieces that are in Oakland now. And yet Luke is now being discussed as an average or subpar basketball mind, partially due to the spotlight he accepts as being the Lakers coach but also the fact that nobody is holding management accountable for shaky decisions.

I don’t have enough words to rant on Mozgov & Deng’s contracts now but let’s just say this: I’ve never seen a more pathetic waste of money & I watched someone voluntarily spend money on a Keri Hilson concert. DO BETTER KINGS & QUEENS!

Mind you, what you’re about to experience is a three-part journey using a medium that you probably brushed off: NBA 2K video games.

Going as far back as the Julius Randle draft, I’ve had issue with Lakers picks.

It has been understood for a while now that one of the LA threesome of Kevin Love/Paul George/Russell Westbrook would potentially be interested in coming home while knowing Kobe couldn’t play forever. Yet management has been piss-poor in at least sustaining an entertaining product in the meantime. Randle’s grown on me over the last few seasons – which you’ll see later - as his skillset grows but I had hopes of getting Jabari Parker in his draft.

While that was unrealistic, everything I speak of next was wholly plausible:

I called ESPN radio on the day after the 2014 draft from San Antonio, Texas to ask the panel if the Lake Show would regret passing on Okafor for Russell & it was a resounding “no.”

Yet, they trade him & the Mozgov contract for a player with nothing more than NBA production to show that Okafor doesn’t. Ingram was the grand slam pick. They couldn’t get it wrong. Simmons would’ve been beautiful but he wasn't falling past the first pick & I’m okay with that.

But that latest choice is the one that drives me most nuts.

Byron Scott tried to warn folks & got sacked for it. But Russell wasn’t made for this spotlight.

Neither is Lonzo. There’s character flaws, maturity questions & quite frankly, now that I have numbers that can back it up: Lonzo’s intangibles are really nothing more than what you ask the average basketball player to bring to the table in a normal sense.

He seems the anomaly in the age of Steph, Kyrie, Dame & Russ at the one but hit-ahead passes & looking up the floor first are simply old school ideals. I know because I’m an old school athlete. I’ll never win a sprint or high jump, but I have a strong IQ. Well, Lonzo plays like me except with no jumper.

Meanwhile Tatum literally checked a ton of boxes, mainly off the court in his capacity to do & say the right things. Not to mention, that single mom’s plan would be a super hit in LA.