Tag Archives: LeBron James

2018 NBA Draft Team Needs: Central Division

Cleveland Cavaliers

Team needs:

Wing

All of Cleveland’s offseason moves begin and end with LeBron James.  If Cleveland loses James, it creates an obvious wing need.  Jeff Green and Rodney Hood are also entering free agency and they could look to add another wing capable of playing off the ball and contributing defensively.  Villanova’s Mikal Bridges is a “three and D” prospect who can shoot the ball at a high clip (43 percent from three last year) and figures to log heavy minutes covering the opposing team’s best wing player.  Bridges, who should be available with Cleveland’s eighth pick, would fit nicely alongside James and could help space the floor for the Cavs.

Offensive creator

With the absence of Kyrie Irving, James took over the role of initiating the offense. As he gets older, it would be wise for the Cavaliers to explore options to have him play more off the ball.  If he chooses to remain in Cleveland, the team may work to utilize his strengths on the elbow and on the block.  Tyreke Evans enjoyed a strong season in Memphis averaging 19 points and five assists per game.  He has the type of offensive versatility that Cleveland has lacked beyond James.  Despite being an intriguing free agent prospect, he won't garner as much money as some of the upper echelon free agents.

Cap space: -36 million, $136 million

Free agents: Rodney Hood, Jose Calderon, Jeff Green, Kendrick Perkins, LeBron James  

Indiana Pacers

Team needs:

Forward

Behind a balanced attack, Indiana played Cleveland as well as any of the other top teams in the Eastern Conference.  The Pacers will return all of their key players and have the 23rd overall pick in the draft.  At that stage of the draft, most teams target the best player on their board and care less about a specific need.  However, Glenn Robinson III and Trevor Booker are free agents and Indiana could look to bring in another wing/forward.  Cincinnati’s Jacob Evans is a stout defender who can also spread the floor with his shooting and passing skills.  Evans seems like a perfect player as the NBA transitions to small ball lineups.

Cap space: 5 million, 95 million

Free agents: Glenn Robinson III, Trevor Booker

Detroit Pistons

Team needs:

Guard

Detroit is set in the frontcourt with Blake Griffin,  Andre Drummond and Stanley Johnson.  Jameer Nelson averaged 20 minutes a game a season ago but he will be 37 years old midway through next season. Luke Kennard is also the only true shooting guard on the roster.  It would make sense for Detroit to look for a combo guard who can play on and off the ball. The Pistons have the 42nd pick in the second round and if they choose to take a flyer on a combo-type, Wichita State’s Landry Shamet is a 6-foot-5-inch option.  Shamet -who ran the show for the Shockers- averaged 14 points and five assists per game in 2017-18.

Cap space: -19 million, 119 million

Free agents: Anthony Tolliver, James Ennis, Jameer Nelson

Chicago Bulls

Team needs:

Shooting guard

Free agents Zach LaVine and David Nwaba both averaged more than 23 minutes per game.   LaVine appeared in 24 games while Nwaba saw action in 70 contests. The Bulls added Dwyane Wade two years ago but look for them to stick with their youth movement and either re-sign Nwaba or LaVine.  Another option is to give former Michigan State guard Denzel Valentine more minutes.

Athletic forward

Paul Zipser is the only true small forward under contract for next season. Chicago has a lot of forwards, centers and guards under contract but the Bulls could use more athleticism.  Big men Lauri Markkanen, Cristiano Felicio and Robin Lopez  can be picked on in pick and roll situations defensively.  Texas’ Mo Bamba should be available at the seventh pick and has elite defensive tools to contribute immediately. With the Bulls, Bamba would have time to develop his offensive game as he plays alongside scoring big men like Bobby Portis and Markkanen.

Cap space: 10 million, 90 million

Free agents: Noah Vonleh, Zach LaVine, David Nwaba, Ryan Arcidiacono

Milwaukee Bucks

Team needs:

Scorers

Out of the 16 playoff teams, Milwaukee finished 13th in three pointers made per game last postseason.  That number could drop with shooters Jabari Parker, Jason Terry and Shabazz Muhammad set to enter free agency. Milwaukee has limited cap space and its core is already under contract for the foreseeable future. The Bucks have the 17th pick in the draft and could look to add another scorer. Maryland’s Kevin Huerter is 6’7” and possesses the height and shooting ability that the Bucks covet (shot 50-percent from the field and 41 percent from three last season).

Cap space: -17 million, 117 million

Free agents: Jabari Parker, Jason Terry, Shabazz Muhammad

*The 2018-2019 NBA salary cap sits at $101 million and the luxury tax sits at $123 million.

Player stats are courtesy of ESPN.com.

Financial outlook is courtesy of Spotrac.com.

---By: Troy Jefferson, DraftNasty Staff reports

Thirsty Thursday’s ‘Hot Spot’: Cavalier fans in the ‘Hot Spot’ with LeBron’s return

There are so many things for the NBA to consider later tonight when the Miami Heat travel to Quicken Loans Arena to face the Cleveland Cavaliers.

What type of fanfare will arrive at the game?  Were the tickets swallowed up by the most ravenous fans?  How are they being bargained off outside of the arena?  Will we have enough security on site?

There is one question that hasn’t been asked up to date about LeBron James’ much anticipated return to his former high school and professional stomping grounds.

Is this just what James and the Miami Heat need to get going after starting the season lethargically at 11-8?

As Aaron Goldholdhammer from ESPN 850 WKNR, Cleveland said on ESPN’s Mike and Mike this morning, “This is going to be kind of anti-climatic.  In the last few days, I’ve heard from a few fans that say I’m going to run out on the floor tonight, I don’t care if I get arrested.”

If you’re a Cavalier fan, the last thing you want to hear is that this is anti-climatic.  Especially after people in the streets burned jerseys, threw away James memorabilia and essentially blamed the league’s back-to-back MVP for a potential economic downfall.

Fans are energetic, focused and often insistent on making their points when they feel an opposing player is truly a villain.  But do they have the energy to remain as volatile for 48 minutes as say a Robin Ficker?

Ficker, infamously known as perhaps the most intimidating fan in the history of sports, was even given a nickname-“The Heckler.”  The former Washington Bullets’ diehard fan would often show up to the arena with more information on an opposing team’s players and coaches than an entire NBA staff.  Perhaps his greatest technique was his ability to have the exact same seat directly behind a team’s bench for an entire night.

Let’s face it, this was a guy who even got under the skin of Hall of Famers Charles Barkley and Pat Riley.  Barkley once talked about Ficker in his book. Take this excerpt from the renowned “Heckler” in an article in Dan Steinberg’s DC Sports Blog from November 1, 2006 as an example:

“Some people said there were two Pat Rileys,” Ficker recalled, “because I would make him beside himself.”

His research was never incredulous and it would often serve as the team’s sounding board during an era (1985-’86 through 1996-’97) when they were at least respectable, making the playoffs four times, this despite an eight-year absence in between appearances from 1988-’89 to 1996-‘97.   Through it all the man known as “The Heckler” displayed the venom expected from angry Cavs fans later tonight.

Despite his legendary antics, some owners and coaches didn’t feel his enthusiasm had a place in the game.  Although he was generally clean and didn’t have to be censored, he would show up with megaphones behind opposing benches and even read aloud quotes taken on individual players.  As stated by former Celtic legend Red Auerbach and found in an August 23, 1997 article (Ficker Won’t Be the Mouth That Roars at MCI) by Washington Post writer Thomas Heath-Ficker represented a “disgrace” to the game.  Even with his naysayers, Ficker was able to withstand his critics and stand the test of time for over a decade.

Cleveland Cavalier fans could take some pages from the legendary fan’s notorious capers later this evening.  While many expect them to be vile and disgraceful, the ‘Heckler’ proved time and again that you can have just as much success with good natured anguish and furor.   After all the Bullets simply weren’t that good.

And isn’t that really what the Cavs fans are upset about at the end of the day?  Sure, they feel betrayed by James, but to think that they are happy about his new team being three games over .500 when their own team is currently 3 games below .500 and losers of seven of their last ten games.  It seems perfectly symmetrical with Ficker’s true dispair as a Bullets’ fan for over 12 years behind opposing benches.  Years of futility, or the inevitable possibility in the Cavaliers' case, can make even the most diehard fans of their team very temperamental.  I'm experiencing it right now with the Detroit Pistons.  It's perfectly normal.

What an ingenious thought by Ficker or Cavs fans?  Fans actually showing some frustration over their team not meeting expectations for their own city or organization.   Still, anything the “Heckler” said didn’t involve foul language or need to be censored.  During the late ’80s, he was often featured on NBC’s NBA Inside Stuff and even during NBA highlights on CNN, sometimes even weekly.

But as he stated in that same Heath article (Ficker Won’t Be the Mouth That Roars at MCI) referenced earlier, “Anything I have said could be printed in a family newspaper,” Ficker said.  “I never said one thing I regret.”

Hopefully for the Miami Heat and the NBA we will be saying the same thing around 11:00 pm about the performance of the Cleveland Cavalier fans.  If not, the story involving the game could be a backdrop to a much dirtier scene surrounding it.

---Corey Chavous, DraftNasty staff reports