Hello everyone and welcome to Fonz’s Sunday Summary, where I ramble on-and-on about certain topics regarding basketball. After a couple of weeks hiatus and a Super Bowl party I’m back and better than ever. Let’s get started.
1. The mess called the Sacramento Kings
It’s no secret that the Sacramento Kings have been atrocious these past couple of seasons. The question is, who’s to blame? Some say it’s the management, some say the coaches, and some say DeMarcus Cousins. On paper Cousins has not been terrible, averaging 19.8 points and 10.7 rebounds in six career seasons. He is the leader of this team, but at times, has been questioned about his leadership and maturity. Since 2010, Sacramento has gone through five different coaches (Paul Westphal, Keith Smart, Mike Malone, Tyrone Corbin and George Karl) and have missed the playoffs in all five seasons. They are currently 10th the West with a tough task to make the playoffs.
Reports have indicated that head coach George Karl could be fired in the near future. Karl would be the team’s fifth fired coach since drafting Cousins. At times, both Karl and Cousins have been bashing heads during games. I could see the Kings moving on from their star player.
Bottom line, they need to find an identity and start from the ground up. Trading away Cousins seems like an option, but teams might want to take a second look at him because of his maturity issues. Karl also has $11 million guaranteed, so firing him would cost the Kings a huge chunk in their salary cap. Whose to blame for this mess you call a franchise? Owner? Management? DeMarcus? Karl? or maybe its their mascot Slamson the Lion.
In all seriousness, things need to change for the better in Sacramento. Whether it’s finding the right coach for their franchise player, letting him go or completely rebuilding from the ground up. It needs to get done fast.
2. The 3-point contest should be a good one
Last week the participants were announced for the 3 point contest during All-Star weekend. There are some familiar faces we expected to compete in this competition. It starts for with defending champion Stephen Curry (shooting 43.5% from downtown this year), who is on pace to break his own most three made this season. It is then followed by his teammate Klay Thompson (43%), Clippers J.J. Redick (48%), Rockets James Harden (34.8 %), Raptors Kyle Lowry (39.7%), Bucks Khris Middleton (40.9%), Suns rookie Devin Booker (41.7 %) and former Raptor Chris Bosh (36.3 %).
This will be Curry’s fifth time in the contest. Thompson, Harden and Redick are competing for the second time in their careers. With the league having a lot more shooters evolving, it’s hard to pick the top eight to battle it out. This is the third year in a row they expanded the contest with eight, previously having six since 2003.
Everyone expects Curry to take home to title but I think it won’t be easy. My prediction is Thompson, but I think a guy everyone should watch out for is the rookie. Devin Booker, already the youngest player in the league at 19, is set to become the youngest to ever compete. Booker leads all rookies in three-point percentage and ranks in the top 15 overall. It is also nice to see the former Raptor Chris Bosh in the shootout. Expect a lot of cheering from him as he is still playing despite almost having a career potential blood clot in his lung. Two guys I feel got snubbed were Atlanta’s Kyle Korver (37.7 %) and Cleveland’s J.R. Smith (39.9 %). However, with so many great shooters, I think everyone named above deserved to be participating.
Overall, this has the potential to be one of the most competitve 3-point contest we will witness.
3. The Dunk Contest is back
Zach LaVine will be defending his title after dominating last year. This year will have some tough competition, facing Nuggets Will Barton, Pistons Andre Drummond and Orlando Magic’s Aaron Gordon.
Drummond is the most interesting one in this group. He is one of the biggest guys to ever participate in this contest (6′ 11″, 279 lbs). It’s not everyday that you see centers compete in the dunk contest.
As much as everyone says Zach LaVine is going to win, my sleeper pick is Will Barton. Barton is currently having a breakout year with the Nuggets and has shown flashes of what he might be able to pull off in the dunk contest.
People have criticized the Dunk Contest for the past couple of years, but after LaVine and Oladipo’s performance last season, people will be tuning in. The athletic ability between all four participants is insane and will be fun. If I had to change anything it would be to expand it to six players like back in the 2000s. As far as other players, it would be nice to see a guy like Russell Westbrook or John Wall participate in this event. Hey, maybe even LaVine’s teammate (cough cough, Andrew Wiggins, cough cough). Seeing superstars compete could make the dunk contest more appealing for everyone to watch.
4. Big men can dribble
The skills challenge can often be overlooked every year. Not this year. Instead of making it a competition between point guards, the league decided to add big men to compete against the smaller guys in a passing, dribbling and a shooting obstacle course.
Defending champion Patrick Beverley headlines the guards, along with Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, Lakers Jordan Clarkson and Blazers C.J. McCollum. Draymond Green, who leads the league in triple-doubles, is also in the competition. Green is with Kings DeMarcus Cousins, Pelicans Anthony Davis and Timberwolves rookie Karl-Anthony Towns. There is no word yet on if they changed up the format to fit both types of players. If it stays the same like it always has, the advantage should go to the guards. In my early prediction, I see Jordan Clarkson taking home the trophy.
Don’t overlook the big men.
5. The Kevin Durant sweepstakes
Why is it that every NBA superstar whose contract does not expire for another year or two get all of this “speculation” that they are leaving their team and moving on somewhere else?
Because it’s fun. We all like to imagine our team landing a superstar like KD, LeBron or even Stephen Curry (no one get your hopes up about that, he will never leave Golden State).
But Durant’s situation is interesting. He’s been involved in rumors that he will sign with his hometown Washington Wizards. Then there were talks that him and teammate Russell Westbrook will go to the Lakers. More recently, there were talks of him joining Curry in Golden State. Maybe that’s why he was at the Super Bowl taking pictures.
I kid. I really do not think he’ll go there. One, he is a scoring guy and I know he won’t take a backseat role to Steph Curry. Second, there will be hefty price for him. The Warriors would have to shed a lot of salary with possible pay cuts.
Look, I do not know Kevin personally (I wish), so I don’t know what is going to happen. I think he’ll stay in OKC for a little longer because the massive amount of potential this team has. Going to teams like Washington, Los Angeles or even Golden State requires him to learn a whole new system and get acclimated with new teammates that might take months to develop chemistry. There is a lot of time between now and free agency in June. We need to wait and see what decision Durant makes.
6. Shoutout to my Bonnies
Finally, a shoutout to my school St. Bonaventure as the team won a close game yesterday against Atlantic-10 rival Saint Louis, resulting in a buzzer-beater by sophomore Jaylen Adams.
— Bonnies MBB (@BonniesMBB) February 7, 2016
To see it in person was made it ten times better. Simply amazing. Don’t sleep on the Bonnies.