The Oklahoma City Thunder Should Target Michael Beasley At The NBA Trade Deadline

Throughout this season, the Oklahoma City Thunder have implemented an offensive system that is centered around the pick and roll and post-ups for the second unit. For instance, the point guard would bring the ball up to the three-point line and then a big man would set a screen. Once the pick was set the point guard would pay attention to his defender to determine the next course of action, for instance, if the defender went under the screen, the point guard would go over it and take the wide-open shot. On the other hand, if the defender went over the screen, the point guard would go over it as well and drive towards the basket where he would score or pass the ball to the player next to him or to the perimeter depending on whether he was double teamed or not.

However, there are occasions when the Oklahoma City Thunder will send a big man in the low block to post up. For instance, the point guard will bring the ball up to the three-point line and passes it to a big man in the low post area. Once that happens, the big man will attempt to back down the defender with one of his shoulders to get within comfortable range to shoot a jump hook. Another example of this is when the point guard will bring the ball up to the three-point line and passes it to another perimeter player. The second perimeter will either dump the ball into the post or give it to a third perimeter player, and he will throw it into the low to mid-block to start the process of attempting to get a jump hook. Unfortunately, the second unit for the Thunder is struggling to score points as they’re currently 28th in the league in bench scoring averaging 24.9 points per game.

As a result of this, the team should target a Michael Beasley trade at the NBA trade deadline. This is because Beasley has been primarily known for his ability to score the basketball in various ways like post-ups. For instance, when Michael Beasley receives the ball in the mid to low post he likes to shoot a turn around jumper, face up to shoot over the defender or face up to drive to the basket and shoot a layup. Not only can Beasley score in the post but he has also shown the ability to score as the screen in the pick and roll.  For instance, if his defender decides to come up and defend the point guard, Mike will roll to the basket to shoot a layup or dunk the ball.  On the other hand, if his defender decides to stay back he will pop out to the three-point line to act like he is going to shoot, but once the ball is in his hands, he drives.

In conclusion,  Michael Beasley’s skill set is a perfect fit with the Thunder’s system which can immediately help the team’s bench scoring. As a result, Billy Donovan can afford to give his superstars more rest because he won’t have to worry about the bench, not scoring points. Furthermore, the team does not have to worry about being in a long-term commitment with Beasley as he is on a one-year deal.

The Sacramento Kings Should Acquire Jahlil Okafor

Over the past two NBA seasons, the Sacramento Kings have implemented an offensive system that is centered around the pick and roll and post-ups. For instance, the point guard would bring the ball up to the three-point line and then a big man would set a screen. Once the pick was set the point guard would pay attention to his defender to determine the next course of action, for instance, if the defender went under the screen, the point guard would go over it and take the wide-open shot. On the other hand, if the defender went over the screen, the point guard would go over it as well and drive towards the basket where he would score or pass the ball to the player next to him or to the perimeter depending on whether he was double teamed or not.

However, there are occasions when the Sacramento Kings will send a big man in the low block to post up. For instance, the point guard will bring the ball up to the three-point line and passes it to a big man in the low post area. Once that happens, the big man will attempt to back down the defender with one of his shoulders to get within comfortable range to shoot a jump hook. Another example of this is when the point guard will bring the ball up to the three-point line and passes it to another perimeter player. The second perimeter will either dump the ball into the post or pass it to a third perimeter player, and he will throw it into the post to start the process of attempting to get a jump hook. Unfortunately, most of the big men for Sacramento don’t have the body strength to back down the defender which means that they end up taking contested jump hooks or turn around jumpers.

Therefore, one can argue that Jahlil Okafor and the Sacramento Kings would be a perfect match for each other. This is because Okafor has been described as a player who possesses exceptional offensive skills in the low post. According to draftexpress.com, Jahlil Okafor “has the size to establish deep post-position, and the strength to move players around inside the paint once he catches the ball…body control”. For example, Okafor will receive the ball in the mid to low post area and starts to back down the defender with one of his shoulders. When the defender is about to reach the restricted area, he will spin in the opposite direction to create space for a jump hook or layup.

If the Sacramento Kings decide to keep their current offensive system, they should try to acquire Jahlil Okafor at the deadline or in the off-season. This is because it forces the opposing team to double team him which opens the three-point shot and backdoor cuts to the basket.

Jimmy Garoppolo Will Do More Harm Than Good To The San Francisco 49ers

Earlier this week, there were several reports that the San Francisco 49ers had acquired Jimmy Garoppolo from the New England Patriots. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the 49ers traded a “2018 2nd-round draft pick to New England for Patriots’ QB Jimmy Garoppolo”. Although Garoppolo joining the team seems like a move that would help the team ahead in the right direction, that is not necessarily the case.

Throughout the first two games of last season, the New England Patriots coaching staff knew that the opposing team would stack the box in an attempt to shut down the running game. This defensive strategy was implemented to see if Jimmy Garoppolo could put the offense on his shoulders and carry the team to victory. Unfortunately, the Patriots had a different plan in mind as they implemented a game plan where Garoppolo was in charge of handing the ball off and throwing quick passes. For instance, during the first half against the Cardinals, the Patriots called a bunch of passing plays centered around slant routes, out routes, routes to the flats and screens. These plays are quick to develop and allow the team to exploit a tiny window where the receivers have one or two steps on the defenders. This is because defenders aren’t used to back peddling for more than five to ten steps hence they have to take one or two steps to turn their body around.

Furthermore, these plays allowed the team to reduce the amount of pressure, hits, and sacks he received from the opposing team; because the defense didn’t have enough time to get to the offensive line. Another benefit to running a conservative offense is that the Patriots gave their defense a chance to rest between possessions. According to teamrankings.com, over the first two games of the regular season, the offense was on the field for 35:22 which means that the defense was only on the field for 24:38. As a result, they were in a better position to make a defensive stop because the unit isn’t fatigued.

However, it will be an entirely different story for Jimmy Garoppolo during his tenure with the San Francisco 49ers. This is because Kyle Shanahan/John Lynch want to give Garoppolo as many opportunities as possible to prove that trading a 2nd round pick and negotiating a long-term extension is the right decision. Due to this, the team would call a lot of passing plays to give him a chance to demonstrate that he isn’t just a game manager and is capable of making all the necessary throws to lead the team to victory. While it is reasonable to expect an organization to give their new investment many opportunities to prove themselves at a certain point, it will affect the performance of the rest of the team. For instance, if Garoppolo gets the chance to throw a lot, the offense will spend less time on the field because of incompletions, interceptions, sacks or big plays that result in short drives. As a result, the defense would have to go back on the field without the proper amount of rest which leads to the unit being more susceptible to giving up yards and points. Since they would be unable regain some energy between possessions to be able to stop the opposing offense.

In conclusion, the constant evaluation process to determine whether Garoppolo is a franchise quarterback will elevate his statistics; but will hurt overall team success causing them to miss the playoffs for multiple seasons.

Magic Johnson Would Need To Trade Lonzo Ball For LeBron James To Join The Los Angeles Lakers

Over the past few months, there have been several reports that LeBron James is leaning towards signing with Magic Johnson’s Los Angeles Lakers. According to Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck, “the general belief around the league is that, if he does leave, he’ll land with the Lakers.” Although these rumors are picking up more steam each day, Magic Johnson would’ve to trade Lonzo Ball; to turn the rumor from a dream into reality.

Throughout the past seven seasons, teams who obtained the services of Lebron have incorporated an offensive system; that is meant to showcase his ability to pass the ball and get to the basket. As a result, he usually walks the ball up until the three-point line and evaluates how the defenders are positioned. For instance, if a defender is playing off of a three-point shooter, he is supposed to pass the ball to the wide-open shooter. On the other hand, if all the defenders are staying close to their man he is expected to evaluate the size of his defender. If the defender is smaller than him, he should post up in the mid to low block and back him down until he can to a spot where he can shoot a jumper. But if his defender is the same size as him he should use his speed and strength to get around him to attack the basket. However, there will be some instances where the defense will collapse on him, and he should pass the ball to the perimeter for the wide open three. Furthermore, on occasion, the team will break out some different sets within their playbook to prevent from becoming a predictable offense. For example, the team may have LeBron act like he is going to post up at the free throw line and have him pass the ball to a teammate doing a backdoor cut to the basket.

Due to this, the Lakers would have to surround LeBron with players who can catch and shoot or know how to move without the ball. Unfortunately, both of these skill sets nullify Lonzo Ball’s best attribute; Ball has been described as a player who possesses excellent court vision and passing ability. According to DraftExpress, “Ball showed he has the vision, timing, accuracy, and overall foundation to eventually make every read necessary at the NBA level… and locate shooters”. Due to this, he needs to be on a team where he would be the primary ball handler; and is allowed to analyze the defense to determine what is the right pass. For instance, the traditional pick and roll offense would be an ideal system for him because he can bring the ball up to the three-point line and ask for a screen. Once the pick was set Ball can pay attention to his defender to determine the next course of action, for instance, if the defender went under the screen, Ball can go over it and take the wide open shot. On the other hand, if the defender went over the screen, Ball can go over it as well and drive towards the basket where he can score or pass the ball to the player next to him or to the perimeter depending on whether he was double teamed or not.

As you can see, both of these players need to have the ball in their hands for a significant amount of time to be effective. Due to this, they would need at least one season to figure out where everyone is supposed to be on the court and to develop chemistry. For instance, there would be many possessions in the early portions of the first season, where one player will bring the ball up the floor and hold it for the majority of the shot clock. Meanwhile, the other player is standing behind the three-point line acting as a spot-up shooter. This is because the duo will need multiple games to develop timing as to when they should move without the ball and where to end up. Unfortunately, neither LeBron James or Lonzo Ball can be productive in the spot-up shooter role; because they have a below average shooting percentage from behind the arc. According to Basketball-Reference, LeBron has a career three-point shooting percentage of 34.2 percent, while Lonzo is shooting 23.1 percent. Consequently, opposing teams will leave the shooter wide open and use the extra defender to provide help defense.

Therefore it would behoove Magic Johnson to trade Lonzo Ball for some more shooters to stretch out the defense thus giving LeBron more room to maneuver.