Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo was visibly frustrated with his teammates after the Bucks’ defense basically got embarrassed by Trae Young and his antics. The former DPOY had to wake his team up in a dead ball situation, suggesting his team should do a better job in closing out the Hawks’ shooters – especially the red-hot Young.
July 27, 2021 | 2:28 pm EDT Update
Bobby Marks: Toronto had until 5PM ET. on Tuesday to make a decision on the $10,851,246 contract for 2021/22. The guaranteed date has now been pushed back to August 3. The guaranteed dates of Baynes, Boucher, Watson, Bembry and now Hood are after FA begins.
So while Cunningham may share traits with Magic and Bird, the view of him as a can’t-miss prospect is much easier to process because of current-day players like Jokic—and, in particular, Luka Doncic. In broad strokes, Cunningham and Doncic may well be geminis of a very specific playmaking archetype. It’s rare to see perimeter players leverage their size, strength, and stride to create space in the way that both players seem innately aware and capable of. “As prospects, I do think Cade has a pretty similar baseline in terms of the vision and the way he sees the court, the way he processes how everyone is moving,” Zaucha said.
One watches Cunningham expecting a beeline to the right decision; one watches Doncic expecting the seas to magically part, showing another way. But the stylistic difference may not have much effect on substance. “I wonder if there really is a gap in their creativity—the way they manipulate defenders, especially—or if it’s some sort of aesthetic bias at play,” Zaucha said. “Because Luka loves to make those creative decisions, and then sell it with a behind-the-back pass or some wild delivery that the defense doesn’t expect. Whereas I think Cade—from a decision-making perspective, I think Cade solves problems in creative ways, he just doesn’t always make them look creative.”
Who are some of the NBA guys that you like to watch to help improve your game? Jeremiah Robinson-Earl: Two players I really like to watch are Draymond Green and Bam Adebayo. Draymond is a two-way player but defensive-minded and gets everything going for the team. He is very much a facilitator and he is able to find guys but still be aggressive to get his shot or to attack the goal. He is the glue to the team that is really important. I enjoy watching Draymond a lot because he’s just elite at facilitating, defense and being able to guard one through five. Bam, offensively, he is able to score at all three levels. He is able to have mismatches in the post and he is quick on his feet. He is able to hit tough turnaround shots. I like how he gets a lot of play out of the mid-post. I got a lot of that at Villanova this past season. I’m able to watch him get a lot of plays out of the midrange area with jab jumpers and rips to the goal for a dunk. He’s a playmaker, too, and he’s able to stretch to the three.
What about your game do you think will translate best to the next level in the pros? Jeremiah Robinson-Earl: I take a lot of pride in defensive and rebounding. I feel like, at every level, those are two things that can get you on the court. Coach Wright had a triangle for success and at the bottom of the triangle was defense and the next one was rebounding. If you can’t defend or rebound for Coach Wright, you’re not going to be in a position to be on the court. I know that’s gotten me to where I am today. I take a lot of pride in it and I want to keep doing what got me to this position today and keep being myself. I’m in a position to be drafted. Now is not the time to start doing things that I don’t normally do. I just need to keep focusing on doing what I do really well and knowing that what’s gotten me here has gotten me here. I’m going to keep excelling at that to the fullest. My weaknesses, I’ll get better at those on a year-to-year basis. I want to just keep gradually getting better and better.
Junior Robinson might be the only player in the history of college basketball to actively reduce his height in college, only to get taller as a pro. But the notion of players and coaches fudging their proportions is nothing new. Indeed, the basic assumption is that everyone is lying. This is college basketball, after all. Everyone’s looking for any tiny edge. Why would this be any different? So when I explain this idea to some coaches — that I researched the last 11 seasons of NBA Draft Combine height measurements, compared that to the prospects’ college figures and put it all in one big spreadsheet to see where the data would take us — they chuckled knowingly. “This is a great idea,” one coach said, “if you want to see how full of shit coaches really are.”
“It’s not always the kid,” Xavier coach Travis Steele said. “You’ll get a mentor or a parent in there saying, ‘Our Jimmy Joe is 6-foot-5!’ And you’re like, no, he’s 6-foot-3.’ We’ll get hit by parents who are sure their kid is taller than that. And it’s like, no, he’s really not.” There are other gambits, too. “You get kids who are 17 and they’re 6-foot-3, and they say, ‘Oh, (the doctor says) I’m going to be 6-foot-6,’” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “You know, ‘My growth plates are wide open.’ When I first got into coaching 30 years ago, I believed those kids. None of them — OK, very rarely — do you get a David Robinson. It just doesn’t happen.”
Fred Hoiberg might have some, well, let’s call them unresolved issues with NBA Draft Combine measurements. “I got kind of screwed with mine,” he says. Here’s the story: At the 1995 combine, Hoiberg and his fellow hopefuls were separated into groups, rotating among four stations. One was for measurements. At Hoiberg’s station, there was a cord under the carpet. He noticed it and stood on it. “It was definitely to inflate my height,” he said, laughing. “I thought it was smart.” And it totally worked: Hoiberg measured 6 feet 5 3/4 without shoes. “I’m absolutely not that size,” he said. “This was a wise business decision.”