Tag Archives: Jerami Grant

Triple Zeros: Role Players Play Better at Home

Triple Zeros

Role Players Play Better at Home

In this episode of Triple Zeros: The Milwaukee Bucks have knotted up the NBA Finals, but they haven’t completely seized the momentum from the Phoenix Suns…yet. All eyes should be on Chris Paul after his poor performance in Game 4. Also, is Giannis Antetokounmpo the best player in the NBA? He’s certainly playing like he thinks he so.

Elsewhere around the Association, Team USA Men’s Basketball lost Bradley Beal and Jerami Grant to health and safety protocols, but it was the reactions of Ja Morant and Trae Young to being left off that were most surprising.

On the NFL side, Tom Brady reportedly played the entire 2020-21 season — that ended in his seventh Super Bowl victory — with a torn MCL. Travis Kelce pulled a fast one on all of us, including his own teammates. Plus, Jalen Ramsey talks about his time under Tom Coughlin, and so much more!

Be sure to follow on Facebook and Twitter (@JoshGBuck, @3ZerosPod, and @ClockerSports) today!

Anchor | Apple

 

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Well-Deserved 2021 NBA All-Star Nominations and Snubs

When the NBA All-Star reserves were announced on Tuesday, there was a lot to talk about. There were a couple of first-timers who have ground in anonymity for some time but are finally getting their due. Some are putting together quality and even breakout seasons but find themselves on the outside looking in.

You’ll never satisfy everyone. Some fan bases say their guy was snubbed. Others get indignant at the thought their guy doesn’t belong. It’s almost as if the league does this on purpose to keep the conversation going. By the way, this is all in the East. We can address why the West got it right next time.

Best 2021 NBA All-Star Game Selections and Snubs in the Eastern Conference

The Noobs

Zach LaVine – G – Chicago Bulls

It’s been a tumultuous career for Zach LaVine. Since entering the league in 2014. He had four different head coaches over his first four seasons in the NBA. Then he dealt with Fred Hoiberg and Jim Boylen; back-to-back! They tried turning him into point guard as a rookie. But he’s turned himself into one of the best scorers in the NBA. This season he’s averaging a career-high 28.6 points per game.

But while we’ve known LaVine could score for some time, his efficiency has taken him to another level. A career .438 shooter, he’s up to .518 this season. He’s extended that beyond the arc, too. LaVine’s canning threes at a .434 clip; also a career-high. Many felt he was snubbed last season when the game was in Chicago. There is no such controversy this time around.

Julius Randle – F – New York Knicks

The New York area has done well with reclamation projects from the Los Angeles Lakers. First, it was the Nets and D’Angelo Russell. We see where they are now. But now the New York Knicks are making waves in the East with one Julius Randle at the forefront. Randle is averaging 23.3 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 5.5 assists.

He’s one of just three players this season averaging at least 20 points, 10 boards, and five assists; Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic are the others. Randle has been a 20-point-per-game scorer so he’ll likely miss out on winning the Most Improved Player award, but he and the Knicks are rolling towards their first playoff appearance since the 2012-13 season.

The Snubs

Trey Young – G – Atlanta Hawks

How does one go from starting the All-Star game one year to being completely left off the roster the next? One word: regression. Last season, Young averaged 29.6 points on .434/.361/.860 shooting. His effective field goal percentage has also taken a hit this season, dipping to .498 after being .519 a year ago. This despite his increased playmaking and a better record for Atlanta.

You also have Kyrie Irving back healthy and Bradley Beal who led all Eastern Conference backcourt players in all voting categories. For Young personally, he’s seen his average ranking between the three votes go from second to about seventh. His largest dip? In player voting. His peers have a lesser opinion of what he’s done this season than last. That’s pretty damning.

Jerami Grant – F – Detroit Pistons

This one stings as someone who has been rooting for Jerami Grant since he entered the league with Philadelphia. He’s the current betting favorite to win Most Improved Player this season, but he wasn’t good enough to make the All-Star roster? It’s actually very on-brand that Grant, despite the breakout campaign that’s seen him double his points per game and more than double his assists, remains an All-Star hopeful.

Just as it was with LaVine before him (and Beal before him), voters obviously need to see it done consistently to not write it off as an anomaly. LaVine had to improve his efficiency before being selected as a reserve this season. Beal had to prove he could be a primary scorer, when teams would know he was getting the ball, before earning his nod. Grant will have his time, eventually.

City of Brotherly Snubs

The Philadelphia 76ers offer the singular best display of the depth voters actually have when picking these rosters. Ben Simmons is averaging 15.7 points, 7.9 assists, and 8.3 boards a game. The former two numbers represent drops over his previous season’s output. But Simmons’s defensive presence and playmaking are empirically vital.

Tobias Harris is averaging career-highs in points, assists, field goal percentage, and three-point percentage, and is averaging the second-most rebounds of his career. One has to believe it’s Simmons’s defensive prowess that offset and overtook what Harris has brought this season. That isn’t to diminish Harris’s contributions, just to say there’s more nuance to the voters than we give them credit for.

The East’s NBA All-Star Nominations and Snubs

All in all, the East got it right. We just may not like how they got there. But even that shows a level of depth to the voting process that we have long felt was missing. Who was your favorite NBA All-Star selection or worst snub?

NBA Offseason Aftermath Pt. 2: Just the Worst

We already know who’s had the best NBA offseason, but which teams have had the worst so far? It’s been a little over a week since the NBA Draft and free agency has hit its lull.

Restricted free agents like Brandon Ingram have even signed after seeing no movement outside of Bogdan Bogdanovic who ended up with Atlanta.

There was a surprising amount of activity but not all offseason moves are created equal. There was also at least one team with a disturbing lack of activity.

Who Had the Worst Offseason in the NBA?

Honorable Mentions:

Utah Jazz

Perhaps this is being nitpicky. But a team that finished sixth in the Western Conference and got bounced in the first round (albeit in seven games) didn’t add anyone of consequence to their roster this offseason?

Outside of the return of (another) defense-oriented big in Derrick Favors and adding another in Udoka Azubuike with the 27th overall pick they must be counting on more 50-point explosions in the playoffs from Donovan Mitchell.

Or maybe they’re relying on the return of Bojan Bogdanovic and perhaps second-rounder Elijah Hughes (that’s sarcasm, though he was a near-20 PPG scorer at Syracuse last season). We may have seen this group peak already.

Milwaukee Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks listing here is even more nitpicky as they did manage to do some very nice things with their roster. Trading for Jrue Holiday is a move very much akin to bringing in another Khris Middleton.

A player who can handle the ball, perform off the dribble, or as a spot-up shooter. He is also a very capable defender. Milwaukee was also able to unload the albatross contract of Eric Bledsoe in the process.

Can he, D.J. Augustine, and Bobby Portis keep Milwaukee in contention for not only a championship but also retaining the services of Giannis Antetokounmpo next offseason? Their little snafu with Bogdan Bogdanovic probably didn’t help the situation.

5. Charlotte Hornets

It’s pretty hard to have a roster as bad as the Charlotte Hornets, take arguably the best players in the draft, and add a former 20-point per game scorer to the roster and still be considered among the worst.

Drafting LaMelo Ball third overall was a no-brainer. But that former walking dub, Gordon Hayward, will cost Michael Jordan and the Hornets just shy of $40 million a year. That’s his $30 million deal (already grossly overspending) plus an additional $9 million from stretching the remainder of Nicolas Batum’s horrendous contract.

And that’s the rub, this isn’t abnormal for the franchise formally known as the Bobcats. Cody Zeller has never averaged more than just over 11 PPG and has never averaged close to double-digit rebounds yet is making upwards of $15 million this season. And has anybody checked on Terry Rozier?

4. New York Knicks

Can anyone answer why a team that has been searching for a point guard since Linsanity was a thing decided to pass on arguably three of the best and go for an older prospect with questions about his fit at the next level? One Kevin Knox isn’t enough so you go and get one with a lower ceiling?

Never mind Tyrese Haliburton, Cole Anthony, and Kira Lewis were all still on the board. Austin Rivers is here to join Dennis Smith in the endless recycling of once-promising lead-guard prospects. The additions of Alec Burks and Omari Spellman are cool in a vacuum for a good team.

The acquisitions for the Knicks, at least in Burks’ case, are puzzling. Then again, this is the Knicks we’re talking about. That’s why they aren’t higher on this list. You can only be so upset about something you expected to happen.

3. Detroit Pistons

Here we have a team that, while expected to do silly things, actually provided a glimmer of hope in the draft just to sabotage their own work with odd free agency decisions. The easier path to the playoffs in the East has the Detroit Pistons drafting for the future but working free agency largely for the now and overpaying in the process.

Jerami Grant’s deal will see him average $20 million based largely on his bubble performance. He’s a valuable, versatile player. But no one expected to see him sign a deal worth that much. We haven’t even gotten to Mason Plumlee and Jahlil Okafor. Just why?

Again, you expect them to screw things up for themselves. But their promising draft which included Killian Hayes and Saddiq Bey out of Villanova (one of the most underrated prospects in this draft) is overshadowed by poor free agency decisions.

2. Indiana Pacers

How have the Indiana Pacers done so little in the offseason check-in so high on the list of worst offseasons? That’s exactly how, actually. Indy finished fourth in the East but, like Utah, was a first-round out via sweep at the hands of the Miami Heat.

Their saving grace was that arguably their best player in Victor Oladipo wasn’t at full strength and they were without Domantas Sabonis who also has a claim as their best player. But since their elimination, it has been reported that there is a rift between Oladipo and management resulting in the two-time All-Star seeking a way out.

For an organization that didn’t do much to add to its early-exit roster, losing an All-Star caliber player seems less than ideal. The entire thing looks even worse considering Oladipo could have opted out to preserve himself but played to help in the playoffs.

1. Los Angeles Clippers

A second-round exit and subsequent implosion (that may have been taking place all season) are why the (still) star-studded Los Angeles Clippers find themselves atop this unflattering list.

Getting bounced by a one-legged Luka Doncic is bad enough, but to have all the tea spilling about players dissatisfied with the treatment of stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

Montrezl Harrell was a name continuously mentioned among those displeased and found his way to the rival Lakers; making his feelings on the situation very well known. They replaced him with Serge Ibaka and Landry Shamet with Luke Kennard.

Consider what the Lakers added. And the fact the Clippers blew a 3-1 lead with many of the same players they’ll have this season. The latter has dropped the ball on what may be a pivotal offseason. Both Leonard and George can opt out and become free agents after this season.

It’d be a shame if both left for greener pastures.

 

A Piece (Mostly) About Actual Live Basketball

There are actual, real-life NBA games taking place today. They’re scrimmages but, at this point, who even cares? When the NBA scrimmages begin, it will mark the first NBA-sanctioned on-court action since March 11; more than four months ago. While these games are just the ramp-up to the ones that count, their significance is no less important.

Actual Live Basketball  is Returning

The Morale of the Story

A return of sports in America has been pushed by a great number of people and for many different reasons. Some of those reasons are valid and just while others, not so much. The only thing that has been consistent is the inconsistency. But no one argues against the impact sports have on the overall morale of the country.

In fact, that has been an argument against re-starting for some. They fear sports will serve as a distraction from what they say ails the country. If people can escape into yelling at their favorite sportsball team, they won’t concern themselves with the plight of others. Conversely, the argument has been made (and flexed by several NBA players) that both can be accomplished.

We have already seen the likes of Jerami Grant, Tobias Harris, CJ McCollum, and Josh Hart use their media availability to seek justice for Breonna Taylor and Pamela Turner. The latter was what Hart desired to put on his jersey but can’t due to the NBA creating a list of approved messages.

The imminent return of the NBA has even put that PR flub in the rearview. No one is even talking about how players, including LeBron James, aired their frustrations with the list and the lack of inclusion in the process to come up with it. Instead, aided by the aforementioned players taking it upon themselves, the focus has been on the court and who will or won’t be playing when things tip-off.

For those keeping track, Marvin Bagley won’t, Victor Oladipo might. Regardless, starting with Wednesday’s four-game slate, all of the focus will be on the NBA. Major League Baseball has already begun their season, but the NBA is already the bigger spectacle under normal circumstances. The bubble just puts them that much further out in terms of intrigue.

From The Cheap Seats

The one (MAJOR) negative to all the leagues returning to business? None have plans for the foreseeable future to have fans. The New York Jets and Giants of the NFL sent out a joint statement following notification from the governor of New Jersey about capacity limits. Likewise, social media was rife with screenshots from fans about game cancellations from their favorite teams.

Baseball has pumped in crowd noise and utilized cardboard cutouts of actual fans. They will have to figure out what to do with the Toronto Blue Jays, though. The NBA, being in the bubble, will obviously also be without fans. That means we all get to enjoy our favorite sporting events from the cheap seats of our living rooms.

There is another connotation of that, and it has been swept under the rug. No fans is insurmountable for vendors and hourly employees at stadiums. Most organizations have agreed to pay their hourly employees, even while slashing the earnings of those in executive roles and requesting players to help alleviate some of the financial burdens.

Jerry Reinsdorf, owner of the Chicago Bulls and White Sox, recently spoke of facing losses in the nine-figure range (more on the baseball side) with expenses for stadiums and no income. Owners, players, and media alike have also pondered the impact this will all have on future seasons. All of them agree tough times are likely ahead.

The subject of the quality of testing available to athletes while the rest of the country lags is also a reasonable gripe. In other words, like in many aspects of life, the concern is centered around a select few at the upper end. Meanwhile, those on the other end are left to figure things out once the initial plans run their course.

Two Sides, One Coin

There is plenty to pick apart with all of this. The fact remains that when the Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Clippers tip at 3 p.m. EST, all eyes will be on the NBA. We will once again have real-life, NBA basketball to dissect. For all of the flaws with the process, this will be a welcomed thing. Especially if players keep the energy they have brought to social justice early on.