Phoenix Suns Center Deandre Ayton (Photo via the Arizona Republic-USA TODAY NETWORK)
2018 NBA Draft Analysis: Tar Takes’ David Matlock dissects the biggest moves in the NBA draft and the long-term impact on the NBA.
Who wins the Doncic-Young trade, Hawks or Mavericks? Is Colin Sexton the answer to keeping LeBron James on the Cleveland Cavaliers? Is Brett Brown’s decision to move Mikal Bridges the right one? What is the Phoenix Suns’ Future?
Cleveland Cavaliers F LeBron James (Photo via Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers were swept in the 2018 NBA Finals by the Golden State Warriors. Ryan Lipton discusses his takeaway from the Finals including LeBron’s hand injury and effort, KD vs. James and a quick preview of the 2018 NBA Free Agency.
LeBron James + Michael Jordan (Photo via Getty Images and Sporting News)
With LeBron James heading to his 8th straight NBA Finals, some (AKA Nick Wright) have proclaimed LeBron James to be the greatest player of all time. However, we shall see why many of the arguments that are being made on national television are false.
Philadelphia 76ers Guard Ben Simmons (Photo via Getty Images)
Watch the second Tar Takes broadcast with Ryan Lipton and David Matlock below! Tar Takes is presented by The JR Report and the brand new app Relevnt!
We discuss the latest in the sports world with debate segments of the hottest NBA/NFL topics of the week as well as the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Today, we take a look at LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ struggles against the Indiana Pacers, who we think the favorites are in the Eastern Conference, what we think of Luke Maye, Joel Berry, Theo Pinson and the NBA Draft, and the top storylines for the 2018 NFL draft.
Victor Oladipo vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers (Photo via David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)
Watch the first Tar Takes broadcast with Ryan Lipton and David Matlock below. Tar Takes is presented by The JR Report and the brand new app Relevnt!
We discuss the latest in the sports world. We have one take segment along with four debate segments. Three of those segments are on anything in the sports world and one of them, to keep in touch with our Tar Heel background involves North Carolina news.
Disregarding Thomas’s partial first season with the Celtics (21 games), Thomas has averaged 22.2 and 28.9 points per game with Boston, a major improvement from his time in Sacramento and Phoenix.
Thomas’s rise can’t be from getting an opportunity as he would have had plenty of time to prove himself before since the Kings and Suns were nowhere close to the playoffs.
As such, there must be another reason for Thomas’s sudden explosion. Remember, drastic improvements in a players’ sixth NBA season do not just happen.
If one breaks it down, Boston coach Brad Stevens is the answer.
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Avery Bradley and Shelvin Mack
Former Celtics guard Avery Bradley saw his numbers jump immediately upon Stevens’ arrival. Bradley’s points per game increased from 9.2 to 14.9 in only 2.2 more minutes per game. It was also a genius switch by Stevens to move him to point guard.
Without a doubt, Stevens presence improved Bradley’s performance and will do that for many guards, just like he did with Jordan Crawford who averaged 5.3 points per game less next season after Crawford’s departure from Boston.
Moreover, Stevens turned Shelvin Mack into a premier guard in the country during his Butler days. He also turned Butler into a premier basketball program by making back-to-back appearances in the National Championship game in 2010 and 2011.
History tells us guards improve under Stevens. Therefore, it would be idiotic for people to believe the trend would suddenly just stop with Irving.
The former Butler coach will make sure Irving gets a few easy shots a game off inbound plays, extra passes and screens, something that he never got in Cleveland as their offense often involved Irving trying to win in one-on-one situations.
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Even Nike Brand President Trevor Edwards said that Irving’s Kyrie 3 shoes were the best-selling shoe in the market, via Forbes.
In addition, Irving “is the new face” of the market, according to Matt Powell, an analyst at market research firm NPD Group.
Nonetheless, Irving still had to play basketball in the market of Cleveland. Now, he will move to Boston which occupies close to 300,000 more people, a more advantageous market (No. 7 vs. No. 17) and a large and loyal fan base who will buy his new shoes at any chance.
If LeBron is truly on his way out, Boston will run the East when LeBron departs from or declines with the Cavaliers. Nothing will further Irving’s brand more than winning multiple Eastern Conference Finals much like LeBron has done for the majority of the last decade.
In Boston, Irving has the set up to make a historic run rather soon.
For fans still holding out hope that James will come back to Ohio in 2018, it just is not realistic. Unless the team wins a championship this season, there is no hope James will re-sign. Even Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd is writing off a return.
With James assuredly on his way out, Cleveland can’t let James and Irving walk without getting something in return. As such, the Cavaliers should look to move Irving immediately, before it becomes a Paul George situation where they have to ship him off for worthless pieces.
Luckily, it is a little easier for the organization to move Irving as he would commit to signing an extension with the San Antonio Spurs, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Below is a plausible trade scenario that would send Irving to San Antonio.
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Cleveland receives: LaMarcus Aldridge, Dejounte Murray, 2018 first round pick
Moreover, the trade isn’t a win-win scenario since Cleveland is already in a losing situation. The team is bound to lose both of their superstars after the 2017-18 season. However, this deal would give the opportunity for Dan Gilbert to get something in return for Irving to help build for the future.
Currently, the Spurs are not the best option for Cleveland. They don’t have as many available assets as the Phoenix Suns or Boston Celtics, but it is the only place Irving would sign an extension.
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Why the Kyrie Irving deal makes sense
This could be the only trade, except with the Celtics, that would send a sure-fire all-star, LaMarcus Aldridge, to Cleveland in return for Irving.
As a result, the Cavaliers would have a star to pair with James for 2017 and would remain atop the Eastern Conference. For their future, they will have the young and talented Dejounte Murray, a 20-year-old 6-foot-5 guard from Washington, and a first round selection in the 2018 NBA draft.
In all honesty, it isn’t a great move for the Cavaliers. They will be in a tough situation in the future, pending LeBron’s departure. Regardless, this is a deal that makes sense and makes them better off for a post-James era.
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San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs are missing a superstar to combine with forward Kawhi Leonard. Without one, they will never have any realistic shot of beating the Warriors and will probably lose noticeable ground on the up and coming Minnesota Timberwolves and Houston Rockets, who have two superstars each.
If the aforementioned trade went through, the Spurs would have their second superstar in Kyrie Irving. Most importantly, they would have acquired him without giving up any valuable assets.
For example, Aldridge is a great player, but is not a great fit in San Antonio. The tension between him and the organization would likely make the Spurs jump at any reasonable opportunity to trade him away.
In this scenario, San Antonio could get rid of Aldridge while bringing in a better superstar in Irving. They would have to part ways with a first round pick, but losing a first round pick from where the Spurs are selecting will not hinder any future success.
As expected, San Antonio would come away as the major winner in this deal. The team getting the superstar usually is, just look at the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets.
Unfortunately for Cleveland, they will be on the losing end in almost any deal. It is time for them to get the best losing deal.
Ryan Lipton is the founder of The JR Report. For more news and JR Report updates follow him on twitter @rytime98.
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