Thibodeau presents coach-GM problem
Wagner is a solid player who should give them a return, but there were better options on the board from my vantage point. That said, not everyone viewed Shamet as a first-round caliber talent because of his average athletic ability and defensive shortcomings. This is great value for the Celtics, who might be getting a starting-caliber talent and do a good job developing players.
Evans should be a natural fit here. The Nets are making an interesting play here, and Musa is a talented scorer at just 18 years old who has lots of room to develop. The concerns stem from his defensive shortcomings. The Bosnian forward aims to come over to the NBA next season and will be an interesting experiment for Brooklyn. This is a surprise pick for the Hawks, but there was some chatter Spellman might sneak into the first round and Atlanta ultimately got their guy here.
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Quickly The NBA draft is in the books. How did your team do? The Crossover's Front Office grades each pick from the first round and dishes analysis on every selection.
By Jeremy Woo June 21, So how did your team do on Thursday night? Scroll down to find out. Luka Doncic, Slovenia via Atlanta. Atlanta Hawks via Dallas: Philadelphia 76ers via Lakers: Los Angeles Clippers via Pistons: Charlotte Hornets via Clippers: Miles Bridges, Michigan State. Jerome Robinson, Boston College. Phoenix Suns via Heat: Zhaire Smith, Texas Tech. Lonnie Walker IV, Miami. Atlanta Hawks via Timberwolves: Minnesota Timberwolves via Thunder: Josh Okogie, Georgia Tech.
Chicago Bulls via Pelicans: Chandler Hutchison, Boise State. Los Angeles Lakers via Cavaliers: Landry Shamet, Wichita State. Dzanan Musa, KK Cedevita. Atlanta Hawks via Rockets: While the book on Michael Porter Jr. In a converation with the Front Office, the future lottery pick explains who he is and who he wants to be. Mikal Bridges was on top of the world when he won an NCAA title, but when it was over he knew another world awaited him.
The Breakaway podcast explores every step players take between their last college game and the night of the NBA draft. After a week of speculation, the Atlanta Hawks have traded the No. The Crossover graded the deal. Some players use the NBA draft to show off just how good their suit game is while others just want to show off their creativity. Sign Up for our Newsletter Don't get stuck on the sidelines! Sign up to get exclusives, daily highlights, analysis and more—delivered right to your inbox!
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The trusted voice in sports straight to your inbox. Hot Clicks, viral videos, pop culture and more. Your destination for all things Swim. Personalized daily email with your favorite topics sports and entertainment. You have successfully created your Sports Illustrated Account. MVP always requires a balancing of interests and definitions of "value", but for me the two basic questions are these: Who was the player who defined the regular season?
Years from now, when we look back at this season, what should people know about what it was like to watch basketball that year? Smack in the middle of the Warriors-Cavs era, this was the season where, after years of polite acknowledgement, and quiet skepticism, and complaints about fouls, the dominance of James Harden and the Rockets became impossible to ignore. Now let's see what happens in the playoffs. At 25, he transformed from a twice-traded complementary player who was invisible in the playoffs to an All-NBA level guard making star-like contributions on both sides of the ball.
If anyone was going to seriously push Oladipo Now, he is an All-Star, a franchise player and the obvious winner of this award.
He improved his diet, cut his weight and regained the explosiveness that once convinced the Magic to draft him second overall. Orlando never trusted Oladipo with its offense, and neither did Oklahoma City, installing him as a sidekick to Russell Westbrook. Indiana returned Oladipo to his college roots and handed him the reins. The results, for player and team, have been transformative. Free from the shackles of Russell Westbrook, Oladipo put together one of the more surprising seasons in recent NBA history.
The Pacers performed like an elite team with Oladipo on the court, with a net rating of 6. It's unclear if he can do this for his entire career, but Oladipo carried the Pacers practically like a superstar this season. Indiana looked like it was headed for the lottery after trading away Paul George. Oladipo almost single-handedly thrust this team into the playoffs. It would have been impossible to predict this kind of year from Oladipo after he struggled in his supporting role in Oklahoma City.
Apparently, simply asking him to be the star brought out the best in him. And this is a category where Fred VanVleet deserves all of the second-place love in the world. This feels like a shoo-in: Oladipo posted career-highs across the board, lifted the Pacers to the playoffs and assuming a true alpha dog role with aplomb. Not many words need be wasted here.
At the same time, he would rank second all time in assists for Sixth Man winners, behind only Darrell Armstrong 6. His career-best assist numbers are worth highlighting, as they reflect how much attention he commanded on a nightly basis. Williams should have been an All-Star, keeping the Clippers in the playoff hunt despite the defection of Chris Paul, the trade of Blake Griffin and injuries to almost everybody of significance on the roster.
Williams probably locked up this award at midseason, but Gordon has been close behind, an expert complement to Paul and Harden for his ability to score without the ball and hit from up to 35 feet. Williams will take the trophy from Gordon this year, and expect Gordon to take it back in There are a couple good choices for this award, but it's hard not to reward Lou Williams here. Lou Will and the Clippers had no business fighting for a playoff spot for as long as they did, but L.
This was a team that was routinely toyed with by Golden State until Williams dropped 50 in Oakland for the Clips' first win against the Warriors in four seasons. With Williams on the court, the Clippers and their no-name, patchwork roster has a The only knock on Williams's case is that he started 19 games.
But if there's one thing we know about Lou Will, he's an expert in having it all. Fred VanVleet has been incredible, but let's not get crazy. Lou Williams is the only correct answer to this question. Williams became the first player ever to lead his team in scoring and assists in a bench role this season, offering surprising stability over the course of a tough season that could have been far more tumultuous for the Clippers, all things considered.
This is the Sixth Man award—what other qualifications really are there? The first wave of takes, launched from Philadelphia and Utah, asserted that there was only one possible winner: The second wave of takes, via scolding media members, assured everyone that the race was actually very close.
Simmons won on this ballot. It was close—but not agonizingly close. Both players also largely cancel each other out when it comes to team success and their ability to withstand key injuries to teammates. Although Mitchell has been a superior individual scorer, a much more effective shooter, and an incredible late-game performer, Simmons has simply been the better overall player.
His package of skills—speed, size, power, ball-handling, finishing, play-making, vision, feel—draws comparisons to all-time greats for good reason. Simmons took control of the race in the last couple weeks, hauling the 76ers to the top half of the Eastern Conference with Joel Embiid injured.
Simmons does not shoot at all from outside, which in some ways makes his accomplishments even more impressive, since he is able to shred defenses that sag back on him. The Sixers are left to daydream about what Simmons will be capable of when he does develop a jumper. I flipped on this award this week after Donovan Mitchell wore his now-infamous hoodie that defined the word rookie. I've had you picked for this award for months. All you had to do was keep chucking threes and maybe help the Jazz steal the third seed in the West.
Instead you hinted you should win Rookie of the Year because Ben Simmons is Look, I'm actually not comfortable giving this award to players who've had a redshirt year, but Simmons clearly qualifies within the rules, and his case is damn good. I think the degree of difficulty for Mitchell this season was higher, which was my original case for him.
But it's hard to ignore the all-around game of Simmons, who makes a bigger impact than Mitchell in areas less sexy than scoring. Rebounding, passing and defense are all pretty damn important as well. Also helping Simmons's case is Philly's recent success without Joel Embiid. I'd be happy if either player won, I just wish Mitchell hadn't worn that hoodie. Strictly by the numbers, Ben Simmons is more valuable.
But I think it's a little reductive to claim that the numbers make this easy. If there's one thing I've hated most about this rookie of the year debate, it's the notion that this choice is obvious, or that someone can quantify a definitive correct answer.
The question isn't who's the better player—probably Simmons—but who had the better season? Simmons did a little bit of everything, and picked his spots, and was great. Mitchell was asked to do more. He was the catalyst for a playoff team's offense, and there's a steeper learning curve for that job.
Mitchell responded over and over again by exceeding expectations. Some of what he accomplished, and why it was impressive, can't be quantified. If Utah had been counting on Ben Simmons instead, the Jazz wouldn't be as good. And therein ends my argument that everyone who said "This isn't close!
I went with Simmons in the end. He played the best version of his game more often than Donovan Mitchell did this season. He's been better on defense than Mitchell, and on offense, his skills make the entire Philly team unlike anything else in the NBA.
So he's rookie of the year but it's close. Yes, Simmons is a fake rookie and had the benefit of what was effectively a redshirt year due to injury. Simmons did it in his first year in the league.
This voter firmly believes in the adage that the greatest ability is availability when it comes to year-end awards. In most cases, a player that misses more than 25 games would not be considered. Rudy Gobert, however, deserves to be one of the rare exceptions. The Defensive Player of the Year runner-up missed two long stretches this season, and Utah faltered without him.
Gobert ranked first in Defensive Real-Plus Minus by a mile , he placed among the league leaders in blocks 4th and defensive rating 2nd , and Utah won games at a win pace when he was available. This is not a new phenomenon.
The Jazz have a Gobert's biggest knock is that he missed 26 games, but injuries should not automatically disqualify players from awards. Gobert is the biggest reason for the Jazz's midseason turnaround, even more so than Mitchell.
The Jazz have been one of the best teams in the league with Gobert playing, and there's something to be said about him doing his damage in the loaded Western Conference. Few players can take over a game defensively like Gobert, and perhaps even fewer give the type of consistent effort The Stifle Tower does every night. There are stretches in nearly every game when opposing offenses just refuse to go in the paint and try to challenge the Jazz. If Utah's shocking turnaround was fueled by Gobert's dominance on the defensive end, then I have no problem recognizing it, no matter how many games he missed.
Rudy Gobert will haunt your dreams. Watch him scare the crap out of Paul George here ; it's beautiful. He's so much bigger, longer, and faster than any defensive player should be allowed to be. He's so unfair, he makes it defense almost as entertaining as offense. After two Gobert weeks-long injuries led to premature eulogies for this Utah season, he came back to life so dominant that the Jazz are on pace to win 49 games.
He's the best defender in the league, and I can't wait to see what he does in the playoffs. There were plenty of overachieving coaches with credible cases for this awards, but Brown gets this vote based on his degree of difficulty.