NBA Draft: League Needs To Stop Reporters From Tipping Picks

NBA Draft 2021

There are two instances in the NBA where I become irrationally angry and channel my inner “old man yells at cloud.” The first occurs when the home team doesn’t wear white uniforms. The second occurs on draft night when reporters tip picks before they’re announced on stage.

I love the NBA Draft. Seeing teams potentially draft their next superstar is great television. The first few picks are usually predictable, but the first “oh shit” moment at pick 4 or 5 can make my jaw drop. Despite reading countless mock drafts in preparation for tonight, the suspense and “what if” questions keep me on the edge of my seat.

However, the NBA Draft has a massive problem with tipping picks on the Internet before they’re announced on television.

Woj, I’m sorry brother, but this is my least favorite day of the year to follow you. I just finished lunch earlier today and Woj decided to tweet out the first three picks of the draft.

People will say “But Dan, we already knew Cade, Green, and Mobley were going 1-2-3.” I agree with you, but to tweet it out seven hours before the telecast ruins the draft experience.

Once the draft starts, Woj and Shams will be tweeting out picks as soon as they receive them from their sources. Sometimes, these two reporters will be two, sometimes even three picks ahead of the telecast. It drives me insane. How can people support this practice?

I’m fully aware that Woj and Shams are only doing their jobs. If they receive information, they report it. That’s what good reporters do. Now part of the reason why these two race to tweet out picks is to see the other one looking silly when they’re late to the news. The rivalry between Woj and Shams becomes personal on draft night. At times, it’s entertaining to watch, but my draft viewing experience worsens because of the rivalry.

The NFL Draft is the best in sports partly because of its league mandate to discourage tipping picks. Reporters from ESPN and the NFL Network agree to not tip picks during the NFL Draft. The result is a television product that’s filled with more excitement and drama than most procedurals.

The NBA tried to follow suit with a mandate for ESPN reporters to refrain from tipping picks. However, once Shams, Marc Stein, and other reporters started to spoil the draft, Woj turned to his thesaurus and rattled off adverbs on adverbs on adverbs.

In Woj’s defense, it’s not fair that other reporters can tip picks while he’s forced to sit on these scoops. This problem stems from the fact that ESPN is the only network that holds the right to broadcast the draft. Many basketball reporters work for outlets like Yahoo, Stadium, or the NY Times, where there is no mandate to withhold spoiling picks on Twitter.

For the crowd telling me to just stay off Twitter, it’s gonna be a no from me, dog. I love NBA Twitter on draft night. I love reacting to the big moments of the night especially from my team, the New York Knicks. I’m a social media manager and blogger so, therefore, I’m not logging off for the night. I have unfollowed and blocked Woj and Shams during the draft, but if they tweet out a pick, someone on NBA Twitter will tweet about it and I’ll inevitably see it.

I’m not naive. Reporters aren’t going to have a meeting and decide to not tip picks during the draft. A mandate has to come directly from Adam Silver. One way to solve this problem is to give other media outlets the right to broadcast at the draft. If the league is worried about the ratings going down with more broadcasts, think again. The draft ratings continue to decline. People don’t have to watch the draft if it’s spoiled on Twitter. Allowing more outlets to do their own broadcast at the draft means a league mandate could prevent reporters from spoiling picks, which means the draft becomes appointment television again.

Obviously, giving rights to other outlets is not cut and dry since money will always be an issue. But the league has to get more creative to stop reporters from tipping picks.

Make The Draft Great Again. Print the hats.

P.S. Feel free to tip all of the trades. That I will allow.

New York Knicks: Solid Draft Night Leads To Unpredictable Offseason

Obi Toppin of Dayton / New York Knicks

As a fan of the New York Knicks, there are a few things that I’ve grown accustomed to when it comes to this organization. First and foremost, the Knicks will always make the wrong move, and it will surprise no one. Hiring Isaiah Thomas, trading for Eddy Curry, hiring Derek Fisher, drafting Jordan Hill, and empowering Phil Jackson only represent a small percentage of a laundry list of poor offseason moves in the last 20 years.

Since the 21st century, the Knicks are Murphy’s Law. Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. Besides a brief stint from 2010-2013 that included Melo, Amare, and Linsanity, it’s been a dark time as a Knicks fan, which is why what I’m about to say is foreign territory for most of us.

The Knicks had a solid draft night.

In other words, they didn’t mess up, which is the next best thing.

With the 8th pick, the Knicks selected Obi Toppin, the National Player of the Year out of Dayton. Toppin had a stellar season for the Flyers, averaging 20 PPG and 7.5 RPG. Toppin is a 6’9″, 220 pound highlight reel with a great motor and spectacular ability to finish at the rim.

The Knicks are desperate for a playmaker at guard, which is why many believed the team would select Tyrese Haliburton with the 8th pick. I would’ve picked either guy, but it appears Tom Thibodeau and Leon Rose wanted Toppin all the way.

I understand fans who wanted a guard, but I’m at a loss for words with the Toppin slander. His defense and footwork must improve or he will become a liability on the defensive side. However, Toppin is a high-character, hardworking player that went from a 6’1″ high school prospect to a 6’9″ lottery pick. Work ethic will not be a problem. I’m tired of seeing players shy away from the bright lights of MSG. Toppin is a New York native who WANTS to be a Knick. You can’t put a price on that passion. This kid is going to shine as soon as he steps foot into the building.

After the Toppin selection, the Knicks then made a few head-scratching decisions. They traded up to pick 23 but then traded back to get pick 25 and pick 33. At 25, the Knicks selected Immanuel Quickley. The sharpshooter won SEC Player of the Year and will look to light it up behind the arc. However, the Knicks need a distributor, and Quickley only averaged 1.9 APG last season. Quickley does support the theory that the Knicks are becoming the “Kentucky Pipeline.”

I would’ve loved to take a chance on RJ Hampton at pick 23 and I’m disappointed it didn’t happen. I can defend the Quickley pick, but I’m speechless with the Daniel Oturu trade. I thought Oturu, a walking double-double in college, was a good value pick, which is why trading him for a 2023 second round pick makes no sense.

Overall, the Knicks drafted two guys that should play right away. Now, the attention turns to free agency. Cue up the theme song from Jaws because Leon Rose is set to make a move.

First, he cleaned house. Rose created $40 million in cap space by waiving and declining a number of guys like Wayne Ellington and Bobby Portis.

Rose was not done.

The Knicks have roughly $35 million in cap space. “Leon, the Launderer” is accumulating ammo for his next move. How big will it be? It appears he has his eyes on a few targets.

If I’m being honest, I’m not crazy about trading for Westbrook. The 40m+ cap hit over the next 3 years is unappetizing. I wouldn’t overpay for Hayward, who’s been a shell of himself since the major injury. I’m not convinced Fred VanVleet can be “the guy.” I like Malik Beasley and would try to make that trade work.

Despite all of my doubts, am I really in a place where I can be picky? Have you watched the Knicks since 2013? Maybe it’s time to say, “Fuck it,” throw it all on red, and let it ride.

Trading for Westbrook and signing Hayward to a long deal may be foolish, but what is the alternative? Every Knicks fan is quick to say what the team shouldn’t do but slow to offer a viable solution. They won’t accumulate picks like Sam Presti. They don’t draft well like Bob Myers. Masai Ujiri is not walking through the door.

I’m tired of watching the Knicks tank and strike out in the offseason. Is a starting lineup of Russ, RJ, Hayward, Obi, and Mitch a bad thing? That could be a potential playoff team. I’d kill to watch basketball that matters. Maybe I’m delusional. Maybe I’m just tired of the same old shit. Perhaps I should embrace the idea of taking chances on expensive players.

There’s no right answer, but for the first time since 2016, the Knicks have my full and undivided attention.

What should the Knicks do in the offseason? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

The NCAA’s New Agent Rule is About Maintaining​ Control

NCAA Rich Paul Agent Rule

The NCAA sent the sports world into a frenzy when they announced their new certification process for sports agents who wish to represent college basketball players. The new rule comes as a part of the recommendations made by the Commission on College Basketball (Commission) last April. After the 2017 college hoops scandal led to an FBI investigation and criminal trial, the NCAA created the Commission to help resolve the problems in college basketball. One of the Commission’s recommendations was that the NCAA allow some college basketball players to enlist the guidance of agents. Accordingly, the NCAA released the process for an agent to become NCAA-certified.

To become an NCAA-certified agent, one must have a bachelors degree, be NBPA certified for at least three consecutive years and in good standing, maintain liability insurance, and submit an application by the appropriate deadline. The requirement that agents have a bachelors degree did not sit well with many in the sports industry. The bachelor degree requirement received instant criticism. LeBron James was at the forefront of the criticism as he viewed the rule as a snub at the success of his friend and agent, Rich Paul. He even dubbed the rule the “Rich Paul Rule.”

Why Would LeBron James Think That the Rule is a Snub at Rich Paul?

Rich Paul is a close friend of LeBron James who later became his agent. Paul does not have a bachelors degree but has been ultra-successful as a basketball agent. He learned the agent business through practical real-world experience. Paul then became an NBPA certified agent and created Klutch Sports. In addition to LeBron James, Paul represents Anthony Davis, Ben Simmons, and a host of other top NBA talent. Given Paul’s client roster it is clear that he has totally disrupted the basketball agent industry. He has become an NBA agent powerhouse. Not only has Paul and Klutch Sports disrupted NBA basketball, but he also ruffled some feathers in college basketball.

Darius Bazley was a top high school basketball prospect who was committed to playing at Syracuse. Bazley ultimately changed his mind and opted not to attend Syracuse and to forego his college eligibility. Instead, Bazely worked out on his own to prepare for the NBA draft. With the help of Rich Paul, Bazley landed an internship with New Balance. Paul helped Bazley garner an internship deal where Bazely received a shoe deal and a guaranteed $1 million.

Once Bazley decided not to attend college many wondered if he would be drafted into the NBA. In June that question was answered when Bazely was drafted in the first round at number 23 by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Paul and Bazley raised a lot of eyebrows with their unconventional newly charted path to the NBA. Given the disruption that Rich Paul has caused in both professional and college basketball, it is very clear why King James thinks the NCAA’s new agent rule is targeting Rich Paul.

Is it Simply Targeting Rich Paul or is the NCAA Seeking to Prevent a Broader Phenomenon?

Changes in College Athletics

Sports fans will never know for sure if the NCAA created the agent certification guidelines with Rich Paul in mind. However, what is known is that change is afoot in college athletics and in professional basketball. One thing that is for sure is that the NCAA and others at the top of the sports industry are threatened by innovators and disruptors like Rich Paul. They have much to gain by ensuring there is a system in place to make it more difficult for future Rich Pauls.

In college athletics, the NCAA’s model is being attacked on all fronts. The NCAA is defending the farce of amateurism in court. Recently, the NCAA was forced to create a working group to address the various federal and state-level bills. The bills seek to allow college athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness. With the many challenges to the current college sports landscape, the NCAA is willing to do whatever it takes to retain control. Requiring a bachelors degree is one way that the NCAA seeks to accomplish that goal.

Having a College Degree Does not Automatically Equal Quality Representation

Yes, it is true that requiring agents to have a bachelor’s degree is a move to safeguard the players. However, simply having a degree does not automatically make a person qualified to negotiate a sports contract. Nor does it automatically mean that the person will not take advantage of the athlete. Furthermore, classroom education does not beat out real-world experience. Hence, the reason entry-level and recent graduate job postings still ask for one to two years of experience. One thing the bachelor’s degree requirement does is make sure others like Rich Paul have another hurdle to cross.

Lack of a college degree does not automatically equal sub-par representation. The clearest example of that is Rich Paul. Furthermore, the degree requirement could automatically preclude those closest to the athletes and with the athletes’ best interest at heart from representing them. Is that in the athletes’ best interest in all cases? The NCAA should have an option where a certain amount of experience takes the place of the degree requirement just as the NBPA does.

Certainly Benefits Those Already at the Top of the Agent Industry

Paul’s willingness to help athletes go after their goals in their own way has made him attractive to other players. This phenomenon has lead to some disruptions in professional basketball player representation. The most telling example of this is Anthony Davis and his attempt to force his way to the Lakers this past season. Other agents are threatened by Rich Paul. Creating a rule that requires a bachelors degree is a way to make sure disruptors like Rich Paul have a harder time getting started in the business.

The bachelor’s degree requirement puts Rich Paul and similarly situated agents behind because it precludes them from building relationships with college basketball players. While requiring a bachelors degree can help safeguard college basketball players, it is not foolproof. For that reason, it is likely that the rule may have been more about the NCAA and other top sports industry leaders retaining their power than protecting the athletes.

HTH: Le’Veon Bell Robbed Naked, Jake Mangum, NBA Draft Underclassmen

Leveon Bell gets robbed by naked women, Jake Magnum Mississippi St Baseball, NBA Draft

Three recent robberies have made the news recently, and we must address them. Le’Veon Bell got robbed. Mississippi State player Jake Mangum pointed out the fact that NCAA baseball coaches and players are being robbed. College Basketball underclassmen are being robbed of their draft and educational opportunities by declaring for the NBA draft too early.

#1 Le’Veon Bell had a Sleepover with His Robbers

Le’Veon Bell just got heisted for $520k in jewelry. But thieves in the night? Nope. By two women, his “girlfriends” as he referred to them. The best part about this is when police asked for a description of what the suspects were wearing, he told the police he didn’t know because he left them naked in his bed. Come on man. Now I’m not here to judge his threesome or whatever. But he needs to have some common sense. You can’t just leave strangers in your house with all of your stuff. This is a major blow considering he didn’t get paid last year.

#2 The NCAA is Robbing College Baseball Players and 3rd Assistant Coaches

https://twitter.com/courtkrobb/status/1141927023008473090

Jake Mangum of Mississippi State recently brought up yet another NCAA grievance. Baseball has a third assistant coach that is unpaid. They get a university email, phone number, and role, but no pay. This is absurd. At least shell out a stipend for room and board. For an organization that makes millions upon millions, they are slow to pay those that bring value. It’s the same for athletes. Of 35 players on each team, only 11.7 scholarships are dispersed. Just like congress continued to drag their feet over paying the heroes of 911 (thank you Jon Stewart for bringing awareness and accountability), the NCAA always avoids paying their players.

#3 Underclassmen in the NBA Draft are Being Robbed

Who is advising these underclassmen to leave early and enter the NBA Draft? Now, I’m not talking about the lottery picks. I’m talking about good, not great players. There are so many of these players that are likely to go undrafted and end up in the G League or overseas. They need to stay another year or two, gain experience and perfect their skills. Teams have more money invested in higher draft picks and give them a longer leash to live up to expectations. But, if these athletes don’t get drafted, they should be allowed to go back to college and play. The NCAA and a new NBA CBA need to allow this. Don’t make them lose out on chances for education, maturity, and careers. Give them another shot. It’s too easy for broke college students to bite on the prospect of an NBA contract.

LeBron James Impact Review 2018-2019: The Cleveland Cavaliers Fallout and the Los Angeles Lakers Future

LeBron James Impact Review 2018-2019: The Cleveland Cavaliers Fallout and the Los Angeles Lakers Future

With LeBron James, Four Straight NBA Finals. Without LeBron James, Nothing

The fallout from LeBron James’ departure from Cleveland is massive. After advancing to the NBA Finals four years in a row, the Cleveland Cavaliers are at the bottom of the league. It is no secret that the Cleveland Cavaliers have been in turmoil without James. After his departure, their 2018-2019 season has been nothing short of a disappointment. The 2018-2019 Cavaliers lowlights include:

A question remains: Just how different are the Cleveland Cavaliers with and without LeBron?

Strictly Looking at Wins and Losses

After compiling win/loss records from the last 20 seasons, there is a stark difference between the Cavaliers with and without LeBron James. The following two tables illustrate this chasm. In the first table, the Cleveland Cavaliers season are split into different eras to depict LeBron’s impact historically. Then, the second table looks strictly at the overall record of the Cavaliers during James’ NBA career, in seasons with and without him.

RecordWin Percentage
Pre-LeBron (1999-2002)108-22033%
First LeBron (2003-2009)349-22561%
Post LeBron (2010-2013)97-21531%
Second-Coming (2014-2017)211-11764%
Post LeBron II (2018)19-6323%
RecordWin Percentage
w/o LeBron (2003-2018) 116-27829%
w/ LeBron (2003-2018 )560-34262%

Following a look at those records, LeBron’s effect on the Cavalier’s is even larger than expected. In seasons with James on the roster, their win-percentage more than doubled. What other star’s departure can be seen in such a resounding way? Then, looking past regular season records illuminates LeBron’s Hand of Midas in playoff pushes. In 11 seasons with the Cavaliers, he led them to 9 playoff appearances, 5 NBA Finals and 1 NBA title over the prolific Golden State Warriors. With LeBron, the Cavaliers were a team of legend. Without him, they have been nothing but bottom-feeders.

Did the Los Angeles Lakers see the same LeBron bump?

Well, no. Here’s why:

Lack of an Efficient Supporting Cast

However, there are a few reasons to explain this. First off, the players surrounding LeBron James in Los Angeles did not have an efficient season. According to numberFire’s nERD Score, which measures a player’s efficiency and contribution to team wins, only LeBron James and JaVale McGee ranked in the top-100. The next closest was Johnathan Williams, who ranked 144th. The team around him needs further development and building.

LeBron is, in Fact, Human

Granted, LeBron has taken seemingly-untalented teams to the playoffs before. But this year was different. LeBron was plagued with injuries. Perhaps it was all of his extra playoff minutes that caused him to break down. In terms of playoffs, LeBron played the most minutes of any player in the NBA since 2010. Recently, in his four Cavalier seasons from 2014-2018, James played a total of 81 playoff games. He basically played an additional season. To top it all off, he averaged 41.1 minutes per game in those appearances. All of those extra minutes had to contribute to this poor outing.

Because of the nagging groin injury, James played just 55 games. Late in the season, the Lakers and LeBron reached an agreement to limit his minutes, with no more back to back games. Then, when playoff chances were infinitesimal, the team decided to sit James out the final six games of the season. This first year with LeBron was not pretty.

Hope for Lakers Fans To Cling To

Nonetheless, there still is hope of the Los Angeles Lakers return to glory. Obviously, the Lakers still have LeBron James, one of the greatest players of all time. That definitely helps. Even in his injury-riddled season, he still averaged 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game. Additionally, the Lakers record with James in the lineup was actually 28-27. Therefore, James still has yet to experience a losing record since his rookie season.

Furthermore, the disappointing season of the Lakers has a few benefits. The first comes with a lottery chance. Their overall record gives them a 2-percent chance to win the first pick and a 9.4-percent chance to win a top-four pick. The lowest spot the Lakers can pick in the upcoming 2019 NBA Draft is spot 14. They have a chance to reload the roster with some young, fresh talent. The 27 games sans-LeBron also gave the other players on the Lakers a chance to develop more. Without LeBron being the focal point of the offense, the rest of the cast could gain vital experience. Magic Johnson also stepped down as team president. His tenure with the Lakers has been a failed dream for a Lakers legend. But, stepping down was the right thing to do and allows a genuine executive to step forth. Last, LeBron’s 2018-2019 campaign gave him rest. In the playoffs, his off-season is essentially extended. 2019-2020 LeBron James can start the season revived.

Rebuilding LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Cleveland Cavaliers

At the end of their seasons, both the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Lakers are in need of a better team. Fortunately for the Lakers, they have LeBron James for at least three more seasons. Their losing record also granted them a higher chance to hit in the 2019 NBA Draft. Lakers fans can have high hopes for playoffs next season.

On the other hand, the Cleveland Cavaliers are far behind. According to an article early in the NBA season by Scott Davis of Business Insider, the Cavaliers have severe, systemic issues.

“Issues within the organization were only thinly veiled in recent years, even with James on the roster. The Cavs went all-in to build around him, and the aftermath was always going to be ugly. But at least in recent years, the winning masked some issues.”

Building a team around LeBron with big contracts and again veterans was highly criticized. “GM LeBron” was a nickname offered up by many and both the Cavaliers and James were given negative reviews on cap spending. It worked well and didn’t matter as much when LeBron was on the team. Advancing a team to the NBA Finals four years in a row offset the penalties. But, those problems became maximized the second James left. As Davis put it, “Salary-cap relief could finally come in 2020, but that would essentially be the start of the rebuild”.

Last, we all need to reflect on the rarity of this LeBron James/Cavaliers relationship. It is absolutely incredible that one player can impact an entire franchise so significantly. The sudden quick uplifts and sudden drop-offs the Cavaliers experienced were very easy to see. How much credit/blame goes to LeBron or the Cavaliers organization is up for debate. Regardless, this story has been remarkable to witness. From NBA fanatic to a fan of mild interest, LeBron James made the Cleveland Cavaliers interesting. Let’s just hope that we can see an equally compelling storyline in the next two decades.

Three Biggest Takeaways from the 2018 NBA Draft Night

by: Daniel Girolamo

Mavericks And Hawks Both Get Their Guys Via Trade

On the top of the Maverick’s board was Luka Donic. On the top of the Hawk’s board was Trae Young. It must have been their lucky night as both teams’ wishes came true.

The Mavs have had some luck with foreign players. Ever hear of Dirk Nowitzki? I heard he’s pretty good… Plus, Dirk will mentor Donic this year so it’s a dream scenario for Dallas. On the flip side, Trae Young will be given the keys to the offense for an Atlanta team that is undergoing a complete rebuild. Dennis Schroeder will most likely be traded so Young has a chance at starting right away. Can Young live up to expectations and become the next Steph Curry?

The Sixers Trade Hometown Hero Mikal Bridges In One Of The Most Cold-Blooded Moves In Draft History

“With the 10th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select Mikal Bridges, Villanova.” You could not have scripted this better. Bridges won a National Championship at Villanova. He’s dreamed of playing for the Sixers. His mother is the VP of HR with the Sixers. The local product gets to stay home and play in Philly. It was a true storybook ending.

Then, this happened.

I’m still speechless. You would think a team that just fired their GM for having burner accounts would want to get back in the good graces of the public. Wrong. Credit to Phoenix though because they acquired a talented player in Bridges who will make an impact right away.

Michael Porter Jr.’s Medical Report Was Worse Than Expected

Going into the start of the college basketball team, Michael Porter Jr. was at the top of most draft boards. Porter was not only a guaranteed lottery pick, but a lock for at least the top five, maybe even top three. However, a back injury caused Porter Jr. to miss the majority of the season. Despite returning at the end of the year, NBA teams had concerns over his health, and rightfully so. However, last night proved that those concerns were worse than we thought. Not only did Porter slide out of the top five, but the top ten as well until he was selected by the Denver Nuggets at 14. If healthy, Porter Jr. has superstar potential and will be the steal of the draft.

Now, we are officially moving on to The Decision, Part III this offseason. Stay tuned.