NBA mock draft: 2012 1st round

Anthony Davis1. New Orleans Hornets- Anthony Davis PF (Kentucky): This is a no-brainer. It wasn’t a question of if Davis would be the first pick but who would get the lucky ping-pong ball to draft him. The Hornets will begin their rebuild with Davis, a future all-star, because of his defensive skills alone. If Davis continues to work on his mid-range jump shot and develop a post game…he could turn into a superstar.

2. Charlotte Bobcats- Thomas Robinson PF (Kansas): Although we have doubts on Robinson’s size, (6’8.75” with shoes) his heart, tenacity and strength will make him a good player. It is unlikely Robinson will be a bust but he isn’t the kind of player you build around. Barnes or Beal would be better picks here because of their ability to score. The Bobcats struggled mightily scoring last season. Also, look for the Bobcats to possibly trade out of this spot for more assets.

3. Washington Wizards- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist SG (Kentucky): Kidd-Gilchrist is a great talent but is inconsistent shooting the basketball. He is a fiery competitor and is excellent on the fast break however. He and John Wall would make an exciting backcourt.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers- Harrison Barnes SF (North Carolina): When the Cavs had the 1st and 4th picks last year, they were disappointed that Barnes had decided to stay another year. Well, there’s a very good chance he’ll be there this year for them at number four. Barnes is a great shooter and has even more talent than he showed in college. He might not be the next Kobe but I think he’s a rich man’s Danny Granger, and that’s a pretty good player to pair with Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson. Watch out for the Cavs in a few years, they seem to be on the verge of a Thunder-like rise.

5. Sacramento Kings- Andre Drummond C (Connecticut): The Kings apparently would like to trade back from this spot. If they stay, there are a lot of directions they could go. Despite the pick of Jimmer Fredette last season, they need a true point guard. Tyreke Evans is on the block. Marcus Thornton is producing at shooting guard and will be a King for five more years. So, the guard situation is a little messy for the Kings right now. Lillard would be a nice fit but I think they go for Drummond if he’s there. Drummond and Cousins would be dangerous together given their character issues. However, if both discover their potential (Cousins is well on his way) that could be a lethal duo. Read more here…

4 reasons Seattle gets an NBA team

Seattle SuperSonicsEver since 2008 when Clay Bennett wrongfully took the Seattle Supersonics to Oklahoma City, Seattle has been a city deprived of basketball. If there is any city in America that deserves a NBA team it is Seattle. The NBA needs to grant this city a basketball team it should have never lost. A team being returned to Seattle is looking more optimistic than ever now and here are four reasons why a professional basketball team will return to Washington.

Maloof Family– The Sacramento Kings owners that have no handle on their arena or teams future after what has transpired this week. The Maloofs did agree on a financial plan for a new arena that was also was agreed with Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, but this week the owners have decided to back out on the deal due to the fact that they do not trust Johnson. The Kings future is getting more bleak by the day and with owners that are slowly going bankrupt the Maloofs should be looking to sell. With the deal in Sacramento announced dead by Mayor Kevin Johnson the Kings future looks to be in the hands of another city.

Chris Hansen- If the Maloofs are indeed going to sell, then this Seattle native will be jumping for joy for the chance of owning a franchise. Chris has been in the process of trying to build a new arena in Seattle. He is trying to pass a 490 million dollar arena plan. If only Chris Hansen could have been here when Howard Schultz was selling the Sonics. Chris is someone who is dedicated to bringing a team to this town and would not care about the costs. He is going so far as to conduct a traffic study to see how the new proposed arena would affect the area. When a team does get a team in seattle it will most likely be because of this man and his large check book.

The Irony– The head of the Relocation Committee is none other than the man who stole the Sonics from seattle, Clay Bennett. He does not make the call on whether or not a team gets to relocate, David Stern who is open about bringing a team back to Seattle does. If Clay Bennett was involved at all in the process of getting a team in Seattle will be priceless. Clay Bennett could use helping bring a team to Seattle as a good PR move as well, because ever since 2008 he is the most hated man in the state of Washington.

Other Locations- The city of Anaheim really wants this franchise. The thing is though the Lakers and the Clippers would be within 35 miles away from the Kings. How is  a team in Anaheim going to sell tickets with two top five teams in the West just minutes away? How will this team compete for regional television time? Vancouver has been reported as another possible location, but hasn’t the NBA learned that teams in Canada won’t work. Big name stars do not want to re-sign back their. Seattle is proven to support a NBA team for 40 years. Anaheim seems like a huge gamble, something that the Maloofs are doing with the future of the Kings franchise every day.

Morgan Grimmett is a NBA writer for The Sports Blitz and can be contacted at MGrimmett@SportsBlitz.com or on Twitter @Morgan_Grimmett 

Sacramento Kings headed to Seattle?

Seattle SuperSonicsSeattle hasn’t had an NBA team since 2008 when the Sonics were moved and renamed Oklahoma City Thunder, but the city has turned over documents to The Seattle Times stating they may be searching for one.

Turning over records under a public records request, news has now surfaced that Seattle has been working behind the scenes the past eight months to bring back an NBA team to town. Possibly as early as next fall if the Sacramento Kings fail to get a stadium deal.

The documents requested included an agenda for a meeting that took place on December 13th, with topics including “Review of Basic Deal Structure,” “City Debt Capacity” and “Financing Issues.”

Christopher Hansen, a Seattle native, approached the city about his desire by buy an NBA team and build an arena south of Safeco Field, the documents show. Hansen told city officials an arena could be built with minimal impact on taxpayers.

“I really appreciate it and look forward to making this happen in Seattle. I genuinely mean that and am confident that with a little effort and creativity we can find a solution that meets our needs and the City’s/State’s desire to get a team back to Seattle without a large public outlay,” Hansen wrote in a June 16 email to Julie McCoy, chief of staff to Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, and Ethan Raup, the mayor’s director of policy and operations.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said Saturday he is taking the proposal seriously, but doesn’t want the city left “holding the bag.”

“It’s a pretty substantial commitment that would have to be made by the investors,” McGinn said, emphasizing that the city budget can’t be tapped to fund an arena.

He added that any offer also must honor the will of Seattle voters, who in 2006 overwhelmingly approved an initiative that says the city must make a profit on any investment it makes in a sports arena.

NBA should be talking contraction; The first five teams to go

Josh Smith

Josh Smith

The NBA isn’t losing money, but NBA franchises such as the Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers are.

Fans and media alike are complaining the game is watered down and NBA Commissioner David Stern has said contraction, which would eliminate at least one struggling franchise, should be on the table.

Last season league-wide losses hit the $350 million dollar mark and the NBA’s overall revenue is threatened each game by its weakest franchise.

With NBA players joining forces and making super teams, the NBA’s timing of contraction talk could be just smoke screens and mirrors to scare owners who are not pulling in a profit. But if it becomes a reality, these are five cities that could be out of an NBA franchise.

Atlanta Hawks
One figures if you make the playoffs four consecutive years in a row it might bring the fans to the arena….think again.
The Hawks have called Atlanta home since 1968 and even though they have playoff appearances, victory’s and a solid roster they still finished 22nd in overall attendance.
The ownership overvalued their assets and knowingly went over their budget. They handed out huge contracts after advancing in the playoffs but still weren’t even filling the seats in the area with those players.
California developer and pizza chain owner Alex Meruelo was to buy the Hawks but an investigation into his financial records put an end to his dream to be the first NBA Hispanic owner.
Instead, the group known as Atlanta Spirit remains in charge of the team it has owned since 2004, when it acquired the Hawks and the Thrashers of the NHL from Time Warner.

The Thrashers are now in Winnipeg playing as the Jets.

Sacramento Kings

The Kings have been in Sacramento for 27 years and now have turned into the Brett Favre of the NBA

Once ready to pack up and leave for Anaheim to become the Royals the Kings minority owner George Maloof Jr. changed his mind.

The Kings long-term future in Sacramento remains uncertain beyond 2011-12, the L.A. Times reported, citing league executives.

Co-owner Joe Maloof says his family is still deciding whether to move the franchise to Anaheim or stay in California’s capital city.

Maloof told The Associated Press  that no decision has been made and he’s “as anxious as anybody” to find out if Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson can deliver on his promise for more sponsorship support and finally finance a plan for a new arena.

Let’s not rule out Las Vegas either as the Maloof brothers also own the Palms Casino and have major ties to the valley.

Indiana Pacers

Conseco Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis is losing that name more than a year after the namesake company dropped its use.

Executives of the Indiana Pacers and Carmel-based CNO Financial Group announced in 2011 that the arena will now be known as Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

It doesn’t matter what the name of the stadium is because the Pacers have lost money in 27 of the last 29 years of existence.

That also includes 11 of the last 12 seasons inside Conseco Fieldhouse. The Pacers are currently losing more than $6 million annually.

New Orleans Hornets

The Hornets were 26th in attendance per game last season only averaging 14,709 per night.

Since the NBA took over and the eventual loss of Chris Paul, it is going to take a number of moves to make this team a contender.

The Hornets, a playoff representative in the 2010-2011 season should never be at the bottom of attendance numbers.

The New Orleans economy is still trying to recover from the economic situation that were placed on them by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The city isn’t ready to support a football and basketball franchise.

Charlotte Bobcats

Even the great Michael Jordan can’t save the Charlotte Bobcats. Seven years ago, Robert L. Johnson paid an expansion fee of $300 million dollars to purchase the Bobcats. Two seasons ago, Jordan purchased the Bobcats for $175 million. Charlotte has already lost one NBA franchise; the Hornets left following the 2002 season. The Bobcats ranked 21st in attendance last season.

Charlotte is one of the league’s smallest markets and even when clinching a playoff berth in the 2009-2010 season they were 26th in attendance. 

DeMarcus Cousins is a ‘throwback’ player

When people hear the word throwback they immediately get an image of some legendary player back in the days when an athlete’s heroic feats were captured either in black-and-white footage or that grainy Technicolor stuff. Well there is no need to harken that far back. No need to waste your time envisioning the exploits of Bob Cousy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, or even Michael Jordan and Larry Bird, at least not for the purposes of this story.

No, DeMarcus Cousins is a throwback from a different era. When a person watches Cousins play his size and skill are undeniable. With the athleticism he possesses and the lack of talented centers in the league it should take no time to work his way into the top five or even top three centers in the league but he has one fatal flaw. His attitude.

Cousins has had numerous clashes with his head coach. He fought a teammate last year for not passing him the ball and now he has demanded a trade from the Sacramento Kings. Management has worked to diffuse the situation and adamantly deny they will trade him but if Cousins can’t get his act together it may be just a matter of time before they ship him out of Sac-Town.

As much as people hate guys like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kris Humphries you have to admit; those guys play their asses off when they are on the court. There was a time though when the NBA was filled with talented, un-coachable, underachieving head-cases like Cousins.

Remember Derrick Coleman? Coleman was a star at Syracuse and the New Jersey Nets drafted him with the first pick in the 1990 draft.

Coleman could flat-out score and racked up 20-and-10 seasons like it was nothing but refused to play defense. He would also have run-ins with coaches, management and even his own teammate Kenny Anderson (another talented head case) during his time in New Jersey. Tired of his antics and lack of conditioning, the Nets would do away with him after only five years sending him to the Philadelphia 76ers for Shawn Bradley.

Then there was Isaiah Rider. The Minnesota Timberwolves drafted Rider fifth overall in the 1993 draft but it didn’t take long for Rider to find trouble. Rider clashed with management, was convicted of fifth-degree assault after an incident with a woman at a bar and was facing a marijuana possession charge by the time the Timberwolves shipped him to Portland three years later.

Antoine Walker is another guy that came into the league during the 90’s who possessed a lot of talent. He won a championship at Kentucky before the Boston Celtics drafted him sixth overall in the 1996 draft. At 6’9” he could shoot, post, pass and handle the ball but instead of trying to expand his game he fell in love with the three-point shot.

Walker had probably the worst shot selection of all the talented players that came out of college during the 90’s. He shot just over 41% overall for his career and mastered the art of “matador-defense” which was an epidemic for many players during this period. He did last seven seasons in Boston before the Celtics traded him to the Dallas Mavericks. He would bounce around the league after that.

Trust me, when you go back through the NBA team rosters during the 90’s you will find a lot of these guys who were more concerned with big contracts and padding their stats than they were about winning. There were a lot of guys who couldn’t seem to stay off the police blotter either which is one of the reasons why the league started to institute more rules to govern the conduct of players on and off the court.

What’s sad is despite how these guys acted, many of them still had long careers in the league because teams are willing to gamble on a talented player. Rider and Walker even received championship rings as reserves on championship teams later in their careers.

So is this the kind of career we can expect from DeMarcus Cousins or will he get his act together in time to fulfill his tremendous promise and make the Kings a contender again? Call me a skeptic but personally, my money is riding on both Cousins and his coach being out of Sacramento before the Kings become winners again. Let’s just hope he doesn’t bring the whole franchise down with him before Kings’ management decides to give him the boot.

Roosevelt Hall is an NBA Featured Journalist for The Sports Blitz

Jimmer Fredette the Tim Tebow of the NBA

Jimmer FredetteNo matter how one looks at Jimmer Fredette of the Sacramento Kings and Tim Tebow of the Denver Broncos there is a blaring similarity between the two. Both players bring something different to the table for their sport and have their criticism’s along the way toward success. Many may think the similarity starts with religion because of Tebow’s beliefs and Fredette attending Brigham Young University, but that is not the case.

Jimmer Fredette was a polarizing figure in college sports for BYU and played all four years for the Cougars, leading them to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances. He was named the 2011 National Player of the year by many sporting outlets and broke a number of records along the way. His name “Jimmer” started a viral trend of “Teach me how to Jimmer” which led to support for the campaign to name him the MVP. Even opponents on whom he scored large amounts of points were considered “Jimmered.”

Tim Tebow was also a polarizing figure at the University of Florida and Urban Meyer. Playing for the Gators all four years it wasn’t until his second year that he started but the hype had already begun as he was named by  Sporting News to be one of college football’s “Breakout Players of 2007.” In 2007 Tebow would win the Heisman Trophy as he finished the regular season as the only player in FBS history to rush and pass for at least 20 touchdowns in both categories in the same season. In 2008 his team won the National Championship  and Tebow decided to play his final collegiate year. At the end of his college career, Tebow held 5 NCAA, 14 Southeastern Conference, and 28 University of Florida statistical records.

Fast forward to the NFL and as a first round selection by the Denver Broncos, Tim Tebow is now the starting quarterback and has led the Broncos to many unbelievable comebacks, wins and a shot at the 2011 NFL Playoffs. His name has been translated into many different versions including “Tebowing” and “Tebow-Time.”

Both players have seen success in their careers so far, but they have also seen their share of haters. Many said Jimmer wasn’t worthy of a Player of the Year award and questioned his potential in the NBA.

SI stated “Jimmer Fredette is not the best player in this NBA draft, or the tallest, or the quickest, or the fastest, or the shortest. But he is the most controversial.

Sound familiar?

The same can be said for Tim Tebow as almost everyone knocked the Broncos for taking Tebow in the first round. He became the most celebrated fourth-string rookie quarterback in NFL history. Even during his eventual success at the NFL level it is still said his arm strength, accuracy and decision-making do not make him a starting quarterback in the NFL. Brian Urlacher of the Chicago Bears called him an excellent runningback.

No matter what is said both continue to succeed not only on the court and on the field but in popularity.

Tebow set an NFL Draft record for jersey sales. He also had the best-selling jersey in the entire NFL each month since being drafted. The Broncos, as a whole, led the NFL among all teams in jersey sales in 2010 and 2011.

As for Fredette, Kings merchandise sales, according to CNBC, is up 540 percent from December of last year. Three-quarters of the increase is due to the presence of Fredette. He currently leads the team in jersey sales and stores in the Sacramento area are often sold out of No. 7 jerseys.

The first two home games of the season sold out and merchandise sales are through the roof something both the Kings and Broncos needed.