Monday, June 30, 2014

Draft day

As a kid I always wanted to attend the spectacle that was the NBA Draft. The players, the suits, the coverage, the realization of dreams; the draft had it all, and it was always something I have been interested in.

Growing up a 76ers fan, I may have taken a liking to the lottery and draft day more than most, as my hopes often hinged on who the Sixers would select. Sometimes, their draft day moves caused extreme happiness and optimism (see: Allen Iverson). Other times, their draft day decisions caused emotions like sadness, anger, disappointment, and confusion (see: almost every draft other than 1996).

Thus, the draft always remained one of the most exciting sports days of the year.

Watching the draft growing up, I never knew that I would have the opportunity to cover it live and in person three years in a row as a media member. Being able to attend the highly-hyped 2014 NBA Draft was a special experience, and served as one of those moments that made me realize that I am lucky, and made me appreciate what I do.

Looking forward to covering the draft again next summer.

Courtesy: Michael Kaskey-Blomain 

2014 NBA Draft grades

Thursday was an exciting and eventful night in Brooklyn. After the draft had concluded I arrived back in Philadelphia at around 4:00 a.m., and began working on the following draft grades.

It is always of course difficult to judge how a team fared directly after the draft, as it is much easier, and probably more productive to assess a team's draft a couple years down the road after the players have had an opportunity to play professionally for a while.

But still, that doesn't stop of from trying to immediately give grades to teams for their draft day selections. So, without further adieu, let's take a look at some of the grades:

(Note: Below are the draft grades for the first 8 teams in the lottery, the rest of the grades, along with the original article can be found on here).
Cavaliers: A: With so much talent in the 2014 Draft, it would have been difficult for the Cavaliers to mess up the first pick, but it’s tough to put anything past Cleveland. With Wiggins, the Cavs got an athletic wing player with sky-high potential. He has some learning to do, but he has the potential to blossom into one of the game’s better players. The Joe Harris pick in the second round doesn’t necessarily fill a need, but it at least provides Cleveland with a solid shooter. Pretty solid draft day.  

Bucks: B+: The Bucks got their guy in Parker, and he seems genuinely excited about being a Buck. Parker will provide the Bucks with an excellent offensive option and someone they can build around. Milwaukee’s two second-rounders,Inglis and O’Bryant , don’t move the needle too much, although O’Bryant could develop and provide the Bucks with some decent depth up front.

Guest post: Top 10 Free Agents of this summer and their potential destinations

Editor’s Note:

This is a guest post from Ron of For more NBA news and updates, visit Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues today.

The summer of 2014 will most probably include lots of movement in the NBA. Free agency starts on July 1 and that’s the day we’ll start learning more about the next destinations of some of the best players in the league like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. Let’s examine who the top 10 free agents of the 2014 summer class are and where they may end up playing next season.

No.1: LeBron James

As if there was a question about who the top free agent on our list would be. The Los Angeles Lakers, the Houston Rockets, the Chicago Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers are some of the potential destinations for LeBron this summer. However, the Miami Heat still stand the biggest odds to re-sign him.

No.2: Carmelo Anthony

Melo’s final decision may be affected by LeBron’s potential movement. But of course Carmelo will have to decide for his own sake this summer. The Chicago Bulls seem to be the best destination for Melo, who both wants to play in a big market and have a chance to win a ring. The Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets are also chasing him. The New York Knicks have currently lost the title of the favorite to re-sign him.  

No.3: Chris Bosh

James is taking all the attention when it comes to the Heat’s free agents. However, Chris Bosh just recently announced that he will also opt out of his contract thus becoming an unrestricted free agent. Though Bosh stated he wants to stay in Miami, there will be several teams knocking on his door with potentially more money to offer than the Heat.

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No.4: Dirk Nowitzki

The German superstar will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. But we all know where he will be playing next season; for Mark Cuban’s team.

No.5: Dwyane Wade

Wade will also be an unrestricted free agent this summer, as he became the third member of the Big Three to opt out of his contract. There is a very slim chance for the 32 – year old superstar to leave South Beach and the Heat. Almost zero.

No.6: Luol Deng

The Cleveland Cavaliers know Luol Deng will most probably be a goner this summer and that’s why they drafted Andrew Wiggins to replace him. Deng will draw much interest from a bunch of different teams around the league. The Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks are considered as top destinations for the forward.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Andrew Wiggins & Juicy J mean-mugging

Andrew Wiggins isn't a Sixer, and neither is Juicy J, but this picture from TMZ of the two hanging together in Canada is pretty funny, especially the name arrows pointing directly at their heads. 

After being selected first overall on Thursday night, Andrew Wiggins will have plenty of 'bands to make her dance.'

Hoping AND 1 sponsors another Summer Remix Tournament in 2014

No word yet on whether AND 1 will be hosting another Summer Remix Tournament in Philadelphia this year or not, but it would certainly be cool if they did.

Last year's event was won by Lance Stehphenson's Born Ready squad, and boasted an extremely competitive field.

The event also afforded me the opportunity to meet two legends: Shawn Kemp of Seattle Supersonic and dunking fame, and wordsmith Bun B, half of the classic rap duo UGK.

Here is a (cartooned) flash-back Friday of my run-in with Bun, and here's to hoping that AND 1 will sponsor another exciting basketball tournament in the City of Brotherly love this summer.

Michael Kaskey-Blomain and Bun B at the 2013 AND 1 Remix Tournament

Sixers 2014 draft pick projections

There is certainly a lot to discuss after last night's exciting and eventful NBA Draft. Draft discussion will continue into the coming weeks, when free agency will also be added into the conversation.

Of course, it will take years before Thursday's draft selections can truly be evaluated, but it is never too early to project the picks' impact on the future of the franchise.

Check out the entire, original article from here.
The Sixers may have made themselves better in the long term on Thursday night, but those looking for instant impact were likely disappointed.

The Sixers top two picks in the draft, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric, won’t appear on the court for the team until, at the earliest, January and the 2015-16 NBA season, respectively. The team did snag some talent in the second round that could contribute on the court this season however, in forwards KJ McDaniels and Jerami Grant.

Let’s take a look at how each of these picks project for the future of the franchise:

A Sixers draft day wish list that didn't come true

Prior to Thursday's draft day I made a wish list of players I would like to see the Sixers select, rationally or irrationally.

I really did, you can check out the original list on here.

Image from
The Sixers however, had other plans. The team did not select any players that I had on my wish list, and instead went with the patience plan.

But just for kicks, or to revel in my inaccuracy, below is my draft day wish list for the Sixers. Considering the team's picks last night, it looks like I should start compiling one for next year also.

Sixers draft day wish list:

Andrew Wiggins, SG, Kansas – Elite athleticism, sky-high potential.

Noah Vonleh, F, Indiana – Nice skill set, could be a nice fit in the Sixers’ system.

James Young, SG, Kentucky – Could stretch the floor and provide the Sixers with another offensive option.
Rodney Hood, SF, Duke – Great size and a solid stroke.

T.J. Warren, F, N.C. State – Flat-out scorer; those are always good to have.

Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan St. – Could provide the Sixers with some frontcourt bulk and depth.

P.J. Hairston, G, Texas Legends – NBA-ready, solid shooter would could be a scorer for the Sixers.

Glen Robinson III, SF, Michigan – Sixers already had Jr., so they might as well grab the III.

DeAndre Daniels, SF, UConn – Athletic shooter. Could be a value pick in the second round.

Lamar Patterson, SG, Pitt – Some Pitt-bias with this one. Patterson has a solid offensive skill set, might make a decent role player.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Some potential draft day scenarios for the Sixers

A lot of possibilities heading into draft day. 

Check out the entire original article from here
Stay put: The Sixers stand pat at their selection spots of third and tenth and use their picks to select the available players that best fit the franchise. Considering Sam Hinkie’s [short] draft history with the Sixers, their reported interest in Andrew Wiggins, and their desire to stockpile assets, this scenario seems somewhat unlikely.

Make a move to acquire the top overall pick in the draft: The Sixers making a trade to move up to the draft’s top pick seemed unlikely a little over a week ago, but Joel Embiid’s latest injury issue has certainly impacted the Sixers’ draft plan. Originally it looked as though Cleveland would select Embiid first overall, and that Milwaukee might make Jabari Parker their pick, allowing Wiggins to slip to the Sixers at three. Now however, it is very likely that Wiggins and Parker will be the first two players selected, and if the Sixers really want Wiggins they very well may have to make a move to get him.

Andrew Wiggins is still in play for the Sixers

It's a long shot, but nothing is out of the question with Sam Hinkie calling the shots.

Check out the original article from here.
Although the Joel Embiid injury complicated things, it did not knock the 76ers out of the running for Andrew Wiggins.

Prior to Embiid’s injury, it seemed that the Cavaliers were leaning towards selecting the center first overall, and that Milwaukee might make Duke’s Jabari Parker the second pick in the draft, allowing Wiggins to slide to the Sixers at three.

While Embiid’s injury has certainly re-shrouded shrouded the lottery in speculation, it does not eliminate the Sixers from Wiggins contention. There are still several scenarios that could play out that would allow the Sixers to walk away from Thursday’s draft with Wiggins, it may just become a matter of how deeply the organization wants him.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Guest column: How the Spurs dominated the Heat in the 2014 NBA Finals

Editor’s Note:

This is a guest post from Ron of For more NBA news and updates, visit Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues today.

Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs trolled LeBron James and the Miami Heat after winning “not one, not two…” but five NBA Championships. And they have every reason to feel proud, satisfied with themselves. So, what did the Spurs really do so well and managed to beat the Heat? How could they close out the series after just five games?

Team vs Stars:

First of all, we are talking about two radically different teams. On the one hand, the Miami Heat is a team which heavily relies on its Big Three and especially on LeBron James. Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron are the three players through which most offensive possessions run if not all of them. Only if the Big Three don’t have an open shot or get stuck in traffic do they kick outside to the role players for an attempt. On the contrary, the San Antonio Spurs is a team which is characterized by plurality. They also have their own Big Three, in Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili but almost any player can make the difference on offense. Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, Boris Diaw, Marco Belinelli and Patrick Mills did have the green light to take as many shots as they wanted as long as those shots were high – percentage ones. And of course Gregg Popovich deserves much credit for turning almost any member in his roster into a confident player, ready to give his 150 percent every time he hits the floor.In short words, the San Antonio Spurs proved this year that a great team can beat great individuals and in fact, in most cases that’s exactly what happens.

Image from
Size and quality inside: 

The Miami Heat knew well that they had a hole in the middle. Chris Bosh is a great player but he is not a center. And he didn’t play the center spot much although he was listed as one. On the other hand, Tim Duncan is one of the best big men the league has ever seen, arguably the best power forward. Duncan exploited the Heat’s lack of size and quality inside. He was able to score easy baskets, or to put it more correctly, baskets that he makes them look easy.  No matter which defender the Heat threw on Duncan, he couldn't be stopped. Tiago Splitter contributed, too, for the Spurs and he took advantage of his smaller match-ups.

Defensive system – defensive intensity:

If we break down the Heat’s defensive system, it’s one that is proven to work but it requires a constant effort from all five players on the court. It also works best against teams which attack from close and mid-range but it’s a bit risky against great three – point shooting teams. That’s no news about the Heat. They have been using this same system ever since the Big Three came together. Up to now, thanks to LeBron’s heroics and with a dose of luck the Heat managed to win two championships over the last four years. Nonetheless, the Spurs have such a quality as a team that they managed to take advantage of the way the Heat play on defense. They found several great looks from beyond the arc and they simply killed the Heat from downtown. At the same time, the Spurs played with such an intensity and focus on their defensive end that apart from LeBron, no other player managed to truly damage San Antonio. 

Sixers interested in drafting a point guard

Check out the original article, from, here
The days leading up to the 2014 NBA Draft have been anything but dull.

In the wake of the news that potential top pick Joel Embiid has yet another injury issue, the draft’s order becomes even less clear, and teams with top picks may begin having to consider back-up strategies.

While Wiggins may be plan 1A for the Sixers, it is safe to assume that Sam Hinkie has plans 1B-1Z up his sleeve. One of those plans may include grabbing another point guard.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

2014 NBA Mock Draft

The draft is just over a week away, and I just completed the third edition of my 2014 NBA Mock Draft for 

Below is a preview of the top two picks, with a link to the full mock draft following the previewed picks. 

One way or another, the Sixers will be adding some promising pieces to the puzzle on June 26th.

2014 NBA Mock Draft 

1. Joel EmbiidInjury issues are the only thing that can keep Embiid for being selected first overall. Despite some conflicting reports, it seems that the center’s workout and interview in Cleveland went well, and the Cavs appear likely to select him first overall.

2. Jabari ParkerThe Bucks will have a lot of options at second overall, and they can reportedly see any of Embiid, Wiggins, Parker, or Exum fitting with the franchise. Parker appears to be the most NBA-ready however, and he projects to be a legitimate NBA scorer, something the Bucks need. 

Check out the full first-round mock draft on, here

2014 NBA Mock Draft 3.0 via Michael Kaskey-Blomain


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Thaddeus Young being shipped to Cleveland on draft day is not 'out of the question'

Check out the original article from, here
Thaddeus Young may be approaching his last days as a member of the Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers.

Late last week, I discussed the possibility, and the likelihood that the city’s favorite multi-faceted forward may be moved for future considerations come draft day, and as the big day approaches, it continues to look likely.

It was reported last week that the Sixers had contacted the Cavaliers about a trade that would send Young and the draft’s third pick to Cleveland in exchange for the top pick in the draft. The Sixers are interested in the top pick in order to ensure the selection of Andrew Wiggins, the highly-hyped freshman out of Kansas.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Has Thaddeus Young played in his last game as a Sixer?

Check out the original article, from, here
As the 2014 NBA Draft draws continuously closer, it seems less and less likely that Thaddeus Young will be a Sixer at the start of next season.

Trade speculation has swirled around Young since last summer, when fellow Sixer mainstay Jrue Holiday was traded for the betterment of the franchise’s future. Since draft day, it has seemed like only a matter of time until the flexible forward was moved for picks or pieces. Many expected Young to be moved on trade deadline day along with Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner. In the end however, Young remained on the roster.

Young being traded from the only team he has known in his seven seasons as a professional will have little to do with his true talent, or his character. It will be strictly about franchise fit.

There are just too many intriguing options in the upcoming draft for the Sixers not to explore, and to maximize their potential picks.

Andrew Wiggins to work out for the Sixers in Philadelphia on Monday

Some exciting news for Sixer fans who want Embiid Wiggins.

Check out the original article from here.
Andrew Wiggins, the Sixers’ top target in the 2014 NBA Draft, will work out for the team in Philadelphia on Monday, June 16, according to ESPN’s Chad Ford.

Wiggins, who spent a single season at Kansas after a highly-hyped high school career, is a consensus top-three pick in the stacked 2014 Draft, and seems to possess true superstar potential.

Image from 
The Sixers have had Wiggins atop their big board all season, and the team has reportedly had conversations with Cleveland about obtaining the first overall pick in order to ensure Wiggins’ selection. 

Barring any trades the Cavaliers and the Bucks will both select before the Sixers on draft day, and thus have the opportunity to snag the freshman phenom first.

According to Ford, Wiggins worked out for the Bucks in Santa Clara on Friday afternoon, and will work out for them again in Milwaukee next Friday. He will also work out in Cleveland for the Cavaliers on Wednesday.

The Cavaliers, who worked out potential top pick Joel Embiid earlier in the week and will work out Jabari Parker next Friday, will have a big decision to make come draft day. Who the Sixers select third overall will depend largely on how the top two picks shake out, which makes these upcoming prospect workouts of extreme importance. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Andrew Wiggins' camp prefers 76ers

Check out the original article, from, here.
It is no secret that the Sixers are interested in Andrew Wiggins. They have reportedly had him atop their big board all season, and recent reports suggest that they have contacted Cleveland about moving up to the draft’s first selection spot in order to ensure Wiggins’ selection.

If the freshman from Kansas is unavailable, the Sixers will take whoever is left between Joel Embiid and Jabari Parker, according to ESPN’s Chad Ford, but Wiggins is the top target, and apparently the feelings are mutual.

According to Ford, of the top three teams (Cavaliers, Bucks, Sixers), Wiggins camp sees the Sixers as the best possible fit.

Considering the premium the Sixers place on athleticism, IQ, and ability to get out on the break, all strong suits for Wiggins, it makes sense that his camp would see the Sixers as a solid franchise fit.

While Wiggins possess an unbelievable upside and true superstar potential, he is not the most NBA-ready player in the draft, and would likely benefit from growing alongside other young guys like Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel.

With the Sixers, pressure wouldn’t be placed on instant impact. Instead, Wiggins would be afforded the opportunity to grow with the team as they build back into a contender. The ability to develop at a practical pace without high pressure is a luxury he may not be granted with the Bucks or the Cavs; teams with more immediate expectations.

Although the Sixers have inquired about moving up in the draft to secure Wiggins, there remains the possibility that he will still be there at three, as Embiid’s health and Exum’s hype will have a pretty big bearing on how the top picks shake out.