Monday, May 29, 2017

NBA 17 Big Board

2017 NBA Draft Big Board

Editor's note: I am a huge 76ers fan, so (unfortunately) I pay very close attention to the draft prospects throughout the college season (seriously, I’m likely one of six people who watched Washington more than once this past season. Okay I watched them only two times). My big board rankings are not based on the Sixers needs but I am sure there is some influence on these rankings, no matter how hard I try to shield that from my thought process (PROCESS, TRUST IT). I also did my very best to compile these rankings based off my eyes and thoughts, not “consensus” rankings. It’s hard to throw out the “experts” takes, but I did my best. And while I watch more college hoops then the average fan, it’s certainly tough to watch enough to get a good sense of certain players, so I relied heavily on YouTube (seriously, what an amazing tool). With that noted, here is the 2017 #KunkelBigBoard, going from 15 to 1.

15: Zach Collins: As Gonzaga made their run to the title, the nation saw just how good this kid is. I’m probably a little low on him, and won’t be shocked if he gets drafted in the top 10.

14: Harry Giles: This dude was the number one recruit in the country before a bunch of injuries killed his freshman year at Duke. I think he should have returned to school and refined his game, but he oozes potential with his frame and physical tools. We’ve seen the impact a guy like Tristan Thompson has had in Cleveland. Given time to develop, Giles could be a steal for a team outside of the top 10.

13: Justin Jackson: Speaking of going back to school, Jackson certainly showed that he made the right call. On way to a national title, he developed almost every aspect of his game. There are some very good playoff caliber teams that could eye trading up for Jackson, who doesn’t have the ceiling like some in this class, but will be ready to contribute right away. Jackson could be a very good “3 and D” wing if he can refine some of the defensive tools.

12: Lauri Markkanen: The first real wildcard for me. The jump shot is elite, and at a legit 7’0 that is scary. But he stinks on defense and can’t really rebound well for his size. In the right role, I think he could really thrive. I think it’s funny that many have him going to Dallas to replace Dirk. I would bet a lot that he won’t be “the next Dirk” as some have compared. With that said I do think that’s a great spot with Nerlens Noel running the floor, cleaning the glass and protecting the rim.

11: Frank Ntilikina: If Markkanen is the first wildcard, Ntilikina --so happy this is an article not a podcast. I have zero idea if I’ll ever be able to pronounce that-- is the biggest wild card. He’s long. SUPER long. But he’s also very young, and needs a lot of work offensively. He’s the only guy on this list that I did not get to watch live. Most scouts who study Europe think he’s got the tools to be a versatile, elite defender. He has a 7’0 wingspan and is still just 18 years old. All indications are that side of the ball won’t be a problem. But can he play on this level offensively? If he can, he could be one of the best players in this loaded draft.

10: Jayson Tatum: Shocker! No seriously, I’m a little shocked I ended up here. I loved Tatum for most of the season. He took game’s over. But hear me out. He relies so much on having the ball to be effective. It was like I was watching Rudy Gay 2.0. Folks Rudy Gay is a really good NBA player, but there is a reason he keeps getting moved. That type of player isn’t what the new NBA is about. The jump shot is streaky, he’s a below average passer, and the defense went in and out. There are not 10 players more talented than Tatum, but can he be efficient enough?

9: Luke Kennard: And you were just thinking “this Duke hater.” I am HERE for Luke Kennard. The stones man. The fucking stones on this dude. Watch Luke Kennard for more than a few minutes. He is a BALLER. Smooth lefty. Best shooter in the draft, 6-6 wing and a ton of DOG in him. Sure, he might not be the next incarnation of Khawi Lenoard on defense (okay not even close), but he has size and tenacity to be effective on that side. Luke Kennard will be one of the best 10 players from this loaded draft. BOOK IT.

8: Malik Monk: Monk can flat out shoot it and take over games. He loves the big shot. If he’s a more efficient version of JR Smith I don’t think any team would be mad. He’s a little small, and there are a lot of other questions. Can he guard? Is he a little small to take games over in the playoffs, when play is much more physical? Maybe his biggest issue is versatility. The NBA is all about versatility, and Monk is a small (6-3ish) and doesn’t feature elite athleticism like his backcourt mate. But man, he can shoot. And that’ll get you far in the NBA in the year 2017.

7: Jon Issac: There is a chance that I (and many others) look back in five years and wonder why the hell they didn’t pencil Issac in at number one and start from there. The tools are incredible. 6-11, can shoot it well --35 percent from three, 78 percent from the line-- and is basically a more athletic and taller Draymond Green on YouTube. But does Issac want it? He disappeared at times while playing for a very deep FSU team. I don’t think Issac has the offensive talent to ever be a superstar, but he could be the best “3 and D” wing in the league while screwing over opposing coaches game plans.

6: Lonzo Ball: This is probably the worst place to put Lonzo. He’s either going to be a superstar, or a huge bust. I’m convinced. Let’s look at just the basketball stuff. Great size, good athlete, incredibly unselfish. His passing is so fun. The jump shot is WEIRD. No other way to put it. Will that work in the NBA? Great question. It hasn’t hurt him yet, but now he’ll be defended by bigger dudes and the three point line is farther. He lacks blow by speed in the halfcourt and that could be a huge issue in the NBA if his jumper is a problem. Either way, in transition you can see why he gets Magic comparisons. Next, we can’t simply ignore the off the court stuff. His Dad could be the toughest defender he’ll face. The pressure will be IMMENSE from day one. I’m still not sure if going to LA would be a good or bad thing for Lonzo. I do think we’ll find out. I would be shocked if the Lakers passed on him.

5: De’aaron Fox: He’s so so so fast. He’s so so so John Wall 2.0 athletically speaking. But he cannot shoot. Probably number one or two on my list if he could. However, with good coaching and hard work he could develop the shot. Form looks good. Shot 74 percent from the free throw line. That’s a good place to start. But he needs to develop the shot, then develop the confidence to actually use it. I would love to see Phoenix take him and move Eric Bledsoe for a good big man or wing. There is a reason the Lakers are taking a look at number two, and Philadelphia will take a hard look at three. He checks every single box for the modern day point guard….except the most important one.

4: Josh Jackson: Explosive as hell. He’s the wing version of Fox. I have him higher because of the size difference. Jackson is a 6-8 combo forward that can guard one through four. I think he’ll be the best defender in the draft. He’s going to absolutely YAM on some people. He *copy/pastes from above* checks every box...but the most important box. And unlike Fox (form wise) the jumper looks like it will need major work. There is a major hitch in it. The 38 percent three point percentage is a little misleading because he got very hot at the end of the season. 56 percent from the line makes me puke. I penciled Jackson in at three for the Sixers the moment I saw the logo pop up on lotto night. I’ve backtracked a bit. Name one elite NBA wing that flat out can’t shoot. Kidd-Gilchrist might be the best, and he is far from elite. Jackson will be a very good player, but will need to either A) Develop at least a reliable shot or B) go to a team where the shot won’t hold him back. Not to harp on it too much, but it’s the difference from a Paul George/Jimmy Butler type player, and MKG type player.

3: Donovan Mitchell: We’ve gotten to the guy that will make or break my big board (accuracy wise). I had to sit down many times and stop using national consensus in anyway here. Donovan Mitchell is made for the NBA in 2017. He is a BALLER who can do just about everything well, and some things great. As I watched I kept thinking a mesh of Brad Beal and Avery Bradley. At 6-3, he has super long arms that allow him to play longer than his height suggests (6’10 wingspan!!!). He’s so smooth offensively, has a beautiful shot (36 percent from three last year, 80 percent from the line). Defensively, he’s a flat out beast. This is where I kept seeing Avery Bradley. The length (again, 6-10 wingspan!!!!), the body (he’s freaking chiselled) and smarts (first team all ACC and first team all defense). He’ll be ready to contribute from day one on that end. Give the offense some time, and you’re looking at a multi time all star. Let’s go Donovan Mitchell.

2: Dennis Smith Jr: All the tools, can score from anywhere on the offensive end, features a very nice looking shot. If he didn’t waste away at NC State I think he would be getting more national coverage. There is no way there are three better players in this draft. Some suggest he has some effort issues, and maybe the attitude could use some work, but I can’t fault him too much. NC State was a train wreck. He’ll also be two years away from an ACL tear that may had limited him some last season, which is scary because he was already a top three pure athlete. He’s too athletic to not be at least a decent defender. He might be a little short (6-3, and 6-3 wingspan) but the hops make up for it. I see a ton of Dam Lillard in his game, and he’s certainly a better athlete. Yikes! I’ve officially started my #GetDSJtoPhilly campaign.

1: Markelle Fultz: How many of you have actually watched Fultz? I hope the answer is low, because it takes a sick minded human to want to stay up and watch that Washington team. They were TERRIBLE. But Fultz was not. The hype is real. He is a STUD. He can score from all over. Great athlete. Super smooth. Just watch this, and you’ll see why he’s the consensus number one pick. That won’t change here. Link:

Monday, April 10, 2017

MLB 17 picks


NL East

1. Nationals
2. Mets
3. Marlins
4. Phillies
5. Braves

NL Central

1. Cubs
2. Pirates
3. Cardinals
4. Reds
5. Brewers

NL West

1. Dodgers
2. Giants
3. Diamondbacks
4. Rockies
5. Padres

AL East

1. Red Sox
2. Blue Jays
3. Orioles
4. Yankees
5. Rays

AL Central

1. Indians
2. Tigers
3. Royals
4. Twins
5. White Sox

AL West

1. Astros
2. Rangers
3. Mariners
4. Angels
5. Athletics

MLB Playoffs

National League

1. Cubs
2. Nationals
3. Dodgers
4. Mets
5. Pirates

American League

1. Red Sox
2. Astros
3. Indians
4. Blue Jays
5. Rangers

Wild Card Round

Pirates over Mets
Blue Jays over Rangers

NL Divisional Round

Cubs over Pirates
Dodgers over Nationals

AL Divisional Round

Red Sox over Blue Jays
Indians over Astros


Dodgers over Cubs


Red Sox over Indians 

World Series 

Dodgers over Red Sox


AL MVP: Carlos Correa
NL MVP: Bryce Harper

NL Cy Young: Noah Syndergaard
AL Cy Young: Marco Stroman

AL Rookie of the Year: Andrew Benintendi
NL Rookie of the Year: Manuel Margot

AL Manager of the Year: John Farrell
NL Manager of the Year: Dave Roberts

NL Comeback Player of the Year: Bryce Harper
AL Comeback Player of the Year: Michael Brantley

Bold Predictions: 

Giancarlo Stanton, Josh Donaldson, and Bryce Harper will all hit 50+ homers this year. Stanton is the x-factor because of his injury history but I believe this is the year he finally stays healthy. Bryce Harper is going to bounce back in a huge way obviously. Everyone already expected him to return to prominence, but an MVP and 50 home run season will put a cherry on top. Josh Donaldson's 50 homer season is basically because he plays in Toronto and that stadium just launches balls. I still feel he is one of the most underrated players in the game.  He's overshadowed because of the abundance of young stars in the game so it seems as if he's forgotten a tiny bit. A 50 homer season will remind people of his greatness. 

Andrew McCutchen wins the gold glove in right field. After all the craziness surrounding him and the Buccos this offseason with trade rumors and the shifting from center to right field, he's going to get the last laugh and win the gold glove in right field. He would have won comeback player of the year too if Bryce Harper doesn't have the season I think he has. At least Cutch will remind us that he's nowhere near done playing the game at a high level. If Bryce does not hit my 50 homer plateau prediction though, Andrew McCutchen will win comeback player of the year.

Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw are going to strikeout 300 batters but neither of them is going to win the NL Cy Young. That just says the faith I have in Noah Syndergaard. This is crazy though because last year, Kershaw was the 1st pitcher to strike out 300 guys since Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling in 2002. 


MLB Predictions:

Kansas City

-Wild Card:

Los Angeles

-Wild Card:
San Francisco

World Series: Astros vs Pirates.
   -Winner: Pirates

Cy Young:
Chris Sale
Kenta Maeda

Mookie Betts
Corey Seager

Andrew Benintendi
Josh Bell


AL: Cleveland, Baltimore, Houston ALWC: Boston, Texas

AL Champ: Baltimore

NL: Mets, Cubs, Dodgers NLWC D-Backs, Pirates

NL Champ: Dodgers

World Series: Orioles over Dodgers

AL MVP: Manny Machado
NL MVP: Kris Bryant
AL Cy Young: Chris Sale
NL Cy Young: Jacob deGrom
AL ROY: Andrew Benintendi
NL ROY: Dansby Swanson


World Series: Mets OVER Red Sox, 6 games
Let me open by saying OF COURSE I am picking the Mets to win the World Series. Any time there’s even the slightest possibility going into a season that one of my teams could win a championship I’m picking them. Yes, I will be bitching and moaning when the Mets are 54-53 in July about how their offense sucks, guys are hurt, blah blah blah. This is all part of the process. Trust it, baby. 
Instead of texting everyone all season, I’m just going to list my Mets grievances here and let them be (for the most part). They cannot hit lefties. There are too many damn left-handed hitters who don’t hit for average on this team. I have no idea what they’re going to do with future all-star Michael Conforto. Health will be a problem. I mean, you can’t sign a bunch of old guys with injury problems and be surprised when they get hurt. But time and time again, this happens. Surprise! Of course David Wright is going to get hurt! Neil Walker probably will too! And Duda! Back problems are bad. It might not ever work for Steven Matz in New York. Lugo has a torn UCL. Who knows what they’re getting from Harvey (I think he finishes in the 3.30-range). And the team is incredibly dependant on Yoenis Cespedes. 
WITH THAT BEING SAID I like so much about this team. Thor-DeGrom-Harvey-Wheeler-Gsellman is a hell of a starting five. I trust their bullpen more than anyone else in the NL. Salas-Reed-Familia 7-8-9 is dynamite. The Nats don’t have a closer! They might trade for a high-end one, but that’s a big concern. Their talent should carry them to a 95+ win season, but in a small sample size like the playoffs, with no closer against really good teams, that could really fuck them. I think no matter how the outfield situation shapes out between Granderson-Bruce-Conforto, they’ll hit a shit ton of home runs. Cespedes might be the NL’s best outfielder (that’s right, Bryce Harper). There are just a lot of talented vets who know how to get the job done day in and day out. 

AL East – Red Sox (1): Stacked rotation, extremely talented outfield
AL Central – Cleveland (2): Made the WS despite their rotation getting destroyed. Lindor might win AL MVP. Edwin Encarnacion is a huge signing. 
AL West – Houston (3): The amount of young talent in that day-to-day lineup is overwhelming. Pitching staff behind Kuechel is a concern. Should be enough for 90 wins. Need to get off to a decent start, unlike last year.
WC1: Baltimore (4): Every year people doubt the Orioles. And every year they’re in the playoffs. Never count out a team with an awesome bullpen who can hit home runs. 
WC2: Detroit (5): Fulmer-Verlander-Zimmerman at the top of the rotation prevails.
Just missing out: Texas, LA Angels (a team with Mike Trout on it has to come close to making the playoffs at least once, right?), Seattle Mariners .
Wild Card: Baltimore over Detroit WC (4-3)
ALDS: Red Sox OVER Baltimore, 4 games
ALDS: Cleveland OVER Houston, 5 games
ALCS: Red Sox OVER Cleveland, 7 games
NL East --Nationals (2): Bullpen is concerning, as is health of Scherzer and Strasburg, but they have some really top-end talent up and down that lineup.
NL -- Central: Cubs (1): I mean… yeah. 
NL West -- Dodgers (3): The window is closing.
WC1 -- Mets (4): YUP
WC2 -- Rockies (5): I BELIEVE IN YOU ROCKIES. They’ll have to withstand some early-season injuries. That lineup can mash in any park in the country. They hung around last year. If they’re close, they might pony up for a top-end starter, even if history suggests it probably won’t work at Coors field. 
Just missing out: Marlins (great lineup, incredible outfield, strong bullpen, pitching over the course of 162 might not be good enough), Pirates (same), Cardinals (they’ll probably have some AA guy we’ve never heard of hit 20 home runs).
Wild card: Mets OVER Rockies, 7-1
NLDS: Mets OVER Cubs, 5 games
NLDS: Nationals OVER Dodgers, 5 games
NLCS: Mets OVER Nationals, 6 games
AL MVP: Francisco Lindor
NL MVP: Corey Seager, Dodgers… If Freddie Freeman played on a better team I think he would win it. He could put up a monster season.
NL CY Young: Thor… People love a big man with flowing golden locks. I’d still take Jacob deGrom in a do-or-die game.
AL Cy Young: Chris Sale… Now that he’s in Boston people realize how good he’s been and feel bad he’s never won Cy Young before. 
NL ROY: Dansby Swanson, Braves. He does it all. True story, the Braves held him one at-bat short of qualifying as a rookie last year so he could win it this year. Glasnow and Gsellman get votes. 

AL ROY: I don’t know shit about AL prospects. AL baseball is stupid. Everyone seems to think Andrew Benintendi is going to win it. Does that ever go as planned? There has to be some foreign player out there. I’ll go Aaron judge, Yankees.