An Early Look At The ACC

ACC Basketball

We are 51 days away from the college basketball season. While college basketball season is fast approaching, many of us cannot have the new season come soon enough. With that said, let’s take an early look at the ACC for next season. Here’s our 1 through 15.

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Kentucky’s Alumni Game May Come With a Twist

Anthony Davis, Kentucky

Kentucky’s 2017 Alumni Game May Come With A Twist

First, Kentucky played each other. Then, they played North Carolina. Now, Kentucky is looking to play an NBA team in their yearly alumni game.

It has been the classic Calipari question for nearly eight years running: could a team of all Kentucky alumni  really beat an NBA team? Well, according to Kentucky Athletic Director DeWayne Peevy, “I don’t care if they combine themselves, they’re not taking down Big Blue Nation.” However, whether or not Peevy will be able to pull off this seemingly difficult feat before the scheduled date of August 25th is another question entirely.

Say Peevy pulls it off.; he gets all the NBA talent he hopes to bring in, on both sides. Say millions of Americans across the country tune in to watch. How does the game go? The success of the game largely hinges upon one factor: whether or not Peevy’s “Big Blue Dream Team” faces up against an established NBA super team–we’ll use the Warriors as an example–or a combination of five of the league’s best players, barring Kentucky graduates. Why does this fact matter? It’s simple.

Could Kentucky Win?

Let’s line up Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and Zaza Pachulia on the court, face to face with what would likely be John Wall, Devin Booker, Anthony Davis, Karl Anthony Towns, and DeMarcus Cousins (sub in MKG for a big man if you want). Would Kentucky win? It’s unlikely; Golden State are NBA champions two of the past three years, they practice and play together on a daily basis, and know each other back to front. They have grit and determination, and after all, that’s what it takes to win championships. While the players cannot realistically be expected to give 110% for 48 minutes with the risk of injuries, there is no reason a roster of Big Blue talent like said team would go down without a fight. The game would be intense and interesting, nationally loved, no matter the outcome, so much so that the only sporting event that could possibly follow it up would be a boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor (set to take place on pay-per-view the following day).

Now, take those same five Kentucky alumni, and place them on a court with LeBron James, Russel Westbrook, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and Marc Gasol (or any combination of five NBA All-Stars you can imagine), and the dream game that DeWayne Peevy so greatly desires turns into a glorified All-Star game, with scores that toe the line of 200-200, as in the year’s past. Two teams of hand picked All-Stars pitted against each other see the game as nothing more than what it is: an All-Star game. The intensity and interest from the players drop exponentially, and the flashy and showy dunks with no opposition continue to flow; if you think defense is a dying art in league play, this game would put it in a mental coffin for you.

Though at the end of the day, no matter who steps on the court to face the Big Blue alumni, the game can only help the NBA. With each passing year, basketball becomes harder and harder to watch. Fans are tired of seeing the same small handful of teams provide the only real competition in the league; the past three championships have pitted the same two teams against each other each year, and the three prior to 2015 saw only one contest that was not between the Spurs and the Heat, and even that one included the Heat as well. The truth remains that the National Basketball Association doesn’t offer the fights and power plays of the NHL, or the relegation factor and cutthroat Champions League race of European soccer. A small yet necessary step in the right direction, games like the one Athletic Director Peevy has in mind have the possibility to peak fans’ interest and attract new viewers to one of sports’ most dynamic games.

 

Follow Andrew more on Twitter: @andrew_mck11

NBA Draft Lottery Prediction: Denver Nuggets

 

The NBA Draft is only a few days away, and everybody following is on the edge of their seats waiting to see who will go where. Last minute trades have thrown fans for a ride, and between multiple mock drafts and countless hours of ESPN arguing, no one can say for sure how the Lottery will turn out. Let’s take a closer look at one of the final picks of the Lottery, the Nuggets’. 

The Pick: John Collins – Wake Forest

Other Possible Picks: Zach Collins – Gonzaga, OG Anunoby – Indiana

In 2017, Denver returns to the stage coming off their best season since 2012-2013, much due to the continuing progress of young captain Nikola Jokíc. The 6’10” center anchored down the Nuggets’ defense, and averaged 16.7 points per game with 9.8 boards per game–impressive numbers for a big man as young as Jokíc. The Nuggets will most likely look to build their team again this year around the rising star and the scorers that surround him.

Returning talent will also be crucial for Denver. The Nuggets have not lost much talent in the offseason, if any. Keeping that talent that got them to their best record in five years last year, building off that talent, as well as acquiring a new young prospect from the Draft Lottery are the three key components to another successful season in the Northwest. But more importantly, who will the young prospect be that can lead Denver further?

With Jokíc anchoring down the middle of the court, the Nuggets will look to bolster their outsides. Kenneth Faried is undoubtedly a strong power forward, but he is quickly approaching thirty and only has two full seasons left in his contract including 2017-2018. Looking towards a future without Faried, the Nuggets will likely select a power forward with their pick: John Collins (Wake Forest). Standing at 6’10” with a wingspan even longer, Collins is a force both inside the paint and out. He dominated at Wake Forest, averaging 19.2 points per game, with a .622% field goal percentage. But above all, Collins is still only nineteen. In the next few years it is unlikely he won’t get bigger, faster, and stronger. With the right coaching style and preparation tactics while Faried’s contract expires, Collins can be molded into a threat up and down the court. Look out for the Demon Deacon’s move from North Carolina to the Mile-High City in a few days time.

 

Andrew McKiernan

Twitter: @andrew_mck11