By:Tyrone Montgomery Jr.
Many people felt that Donavan Mitchell was the most underrated player in the 2017 NBA Draft. Those individuals now look extremely intelligent. Mitchell was drafted 13th overall, by the Denver Nuggets. He was later traded to the Utah Jazz on draft night. He is a bonafide scorer in the league. The kid makes big shots! Standing at 6’3, he is averaging about 20 Points/Game. At such a small size, you ask yourself is he a PG or a SG? The bottom line is he is an impactful player on both ends of the court and he deserves to be a player to build a franchise around. I love Ben Simmons. I mean Simmons is a transcendent player and will be around for a very long time. However, Donavan Mitchell may be our Kia NBA Rookie of The Year. He makes big shots, he makes the game easier for his teammates by his explosive scoring abilities. Oh, and by the way, he’s our Slam Dunk Champion this season too! Let’s not forget that 11 Game winning streak that The Utah Jazz had in the month of February. Who do you think led that? The Jazz added veteran PG Ricky Rubio over the summer. Rubio is good, however, he doesn’t bring that explosive scoring to the table. Mitchell does. Rubio has been in and out of the lineup this season due to injury. The Jazz has actually played better without him. Donavan Mitchell has been running the point. If you put the ball in this kid’s hand, good things will happen. I can’t stress this enough. As much as I love Ben Simmons, Donavan Mitchell may be our front runner for Rookie of The Year. Also, he may be our very next “Superstar.”
Success isn’t always measured by a record. Sometimes, you have to go beyond the numbers, and shy away from the analytical approach. The Chicago Bulls had a long season to start the year. Bobby Portis broke Nikola Mirotic’s nose. That formed a beef on the team that forced The Bulls to trade Mirotic to The New Orlean Pelicans. That was actually a big deal because Mirotic is a really good player who has the ability to stretch the floor and create offense at a good size of 6’10. Mirotic can also take over games offensively as he has a good knack for getting buckets and being a pivotal part of the offense. The Bulls also added a stretch big via NBA Draft last summer, Lauri Markkanen. He has grew on me over the season big time. Once he gets hot, its over. He struggled a bit on the defensive side but he is a rookie so that’s expected. He started the season on fire, but he has cooled off a little before Allstar Weekend. Its safe to say he has hit the rookie wall. To add on to their frustration, PG Kris Dunn has missed a bit of time as he suffered with a concussion. Those concussions are no joke so it’s understandable why that happened. Dunn is having an amazing season this year averaging 13 Points/Game, 6 Assist/Game, along with 2 Steals/Game. He struggled to find time where he was at last season (Minnesota Timberwolves), so it’s always good to be somewhere where you’re actually wanted. Another player was involved in that trade that sent Dunn to the Chicago Bulls too, SG Zach LaVine. LaVine was a 3rd wheel in Minnesota, but somehow still managed to average over 20+ Points/Game last season. The SG does have 2 Dunk Contest Trophy’s as well as he won back to back Challenges in 2015 & 2016. He is however, coming off a major knee injury but it doesn’t seem to be bothering him at all as he is averaging nearly 18 Points/Game on minute restrictions. It’s not always how you start, but it’s more so how you finish. This Chicago Bulls team needs one more good player, preferably through the draft. They have some talent, and when fully healthy, I think they may be able to compete for an 8th seed next season.
Boys Amongst Men
After the month of February (NBA Allstar Weekend), the playoffs seem to be right around the corner. This is the time when teams play their best basketball, the actual contenders that is. As you look at the Western Conference standings, there are only 2 teams that stand out the most and catch the human eye, Golden State and Houston. The Rockets, led by MVP Frontrunner James Harden, are leading the West in the standings, but it’s tight as a tick. Harden has been cheated out of the MVP Award for the last 2 seasons. This year, I think he gets it. It’s well deserved too. There’s no question who the best team in the league is, yet somehow, he still has managed to keep them in first place all season with the league’s best record. That takes us to the Golden State Warriors. Surrounded with tons of talent, this Warriors team is the best team they have ever had within the “Curry Age.” Not only do they have an extremely talented Starting 5 that has 4 NBA Allstars, they also have tons of talent, youth, and experience on their bench. And that leads me to my next point. When you look at seeds 3-10 in the West, those teams are beating up each other and its really close in the standings there. The Spurs are another year older without their best player. Who knows if he’s playing again this season? Minnesota just lost Jimmy Butler. The Pelicans lost Boogie. Portland is a player short from being a true title contender. OKC has chemistry issues and quite frankly, they’re just not that good. And Denver is young and inexperienced. To add to the list, The Clippers gutted their roster, trading away their best player and Utah’s best player is a 21 year old rookie (Donavan Mitchell). Houston is good, but this is only the regular season. Teams led by Mike D’Antoni always proves to be a fluke. I’m sorry! But the man doesn’t believe in defense. He’s a heck of a coach, and is worthy of being a Hall of Fame Coach, but he will never win a title, yet alone beat The Warriors. GM Bob Myers of the Golden State Warriors was right. We all were mad and offended when he said it. But let’s be honest, The Warriors are lightyears ahead of the league.
A Short Story
There’s nothing worse than having a major disadvantage along with having unwelcoming circumstances too. Standing at 5’9, Isaiah Thomas have been in a ton of terrible situations but still have somehow managed to be productive and have success. He’s the shortest player we’ve seen play in the NBA since Muggsy Bogues (5’3). Thomas started his career in Sacramento with The Kings in 2011. There, he was drafted with the very last pick in the draft. He had to fight for time with a bad team at that time. Eventually, there season was over early on, so they handed him the green light and the keys to the car. Thomas made the most of his opportunities there. He averaged 12 Points/Game and managed to make the All Rookie NBA Second Team. In his 3rd season with the Kings, Thomas improved his scoring average to a little over 20 Points/Game. Still, the fact remains that this PG is only 5’9. Many GMs wonder if they really can build a team around such a player of that size? That following season, The Kings traded Isaiah Thomas to another bad team, the Phoenix Suns. The Suns initially didn’t trust Thomas either. He was actually a “3rd Wheel” as they has 2 other star Guards in Goran Dragic and Brandon Knight. Thomas found himself as a starting PG in Sacramento to a 6th man in Phoenix. Eventually, The Suns moved on from Dragic and traded him to the Miami Heat. But still, The Suns still didn’t see a long term future in Thomas. Only spending a year and a half in Phoenix, The Suns moved him to The Boston Celtics. There, Isaiah Thomas finally became an Allstar and made the Allstar Team in 2016 and 2017. He averaged a career high 29 Points/Game that season. He also was named to the ALL NBA Second Team in 2017 as well. Suddenly, things begin to go downhill during the playoffs that season. His little sister passed away in a horrific car accident. This was a really sad situation not just for Isaiah Thomas but for the entire association. Thomas showed how tough he was and still managed to play in the playoffs despite his loss. Playing against Lebron and The Cavs, they came up a bit short. That summer, the Celtics decided to move on from Thomas and traded him to play with Lebron James in Cleveland. To make matters worst, he had a major hip surgery that many doctors thought would sideline him for a substantial amount of time. Thomas actually managed to beat his expected timetable and returned quite early for the struggling Cavaliers. He only appeared in 15 games with Cleveland, and was then traded to The LA Lakers. The Lakers already have PG Lonzo Ball, so this makes you wonder, how long will Isaiah Thomas be with this team? Where may he play next season. Most teams already have “Franchise PG’s”. While a liability on the defensive end due to his size, he also has a bad hip, and he isn’t getting any younger. Thomas is averaging 14 Points/ Game this season, his lowest since his rookie season. All good stories unfortunately must come to an end. This makes you wonder, how much longer will Thomas play in the NBA…?