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A new hoops connection

So this morning we received an email from Howard Kelsey. Kelsey appeared in over 400 FIBA games at a time when Canada was consistently ranked in the world’s top-five. He was a  two-time Canadian Olympian (1980, 1984). He and another Team Canada alumni Dave Turcotte have formed a new foundation to connect current and former national basketball team members. (http://canadaonefoundation.com/cba)

Based upon my follow up conversation with Kelsey, he is very passionate about this new project, and sees great potential within it. He’s not wrong. Based upon blogs, chatter on twitter and other social media sites there’s an appetite to talk about basketball in this country.

I for one, always think it’s important to remember our past and to link our future with those who began the journey before the likes of Wiggins, like Nash, Triano, Kelsey and Turcotte.

The site is still very new and raw. But over time the mission is to really ramp up the site and provide great perspective into the past and future of Canada basketball. Along the way to connect those coming up in the ranks and those with played in the past as well.

The site does have some wonderful photos under the Womens and men’s tabs and links to some Basketball Canada related articles, and more.

For those of you interested in the history of the game, and the players who have or will represent team Canada in the near future should go to the site.

Get your tickets now!

So for the past few years, all the talk has been, just wait until Canada’s basketball youth matured. Well, the time could very well be close, especially when you get to play at home. This summer, Toronto will host the Pan AM games, and within the competition of sporting events lays men’s basketball. A great opportunity for coach Jay Triano and GM Steve Nash to get all their “guys” playing together under the Canadian flag at home. While some have tweeted out some roster suggestions, let’s take a look at how the roster could project this summer and how the Canadians are fairing against the world’s best this season. The thought is you’ll need 12 players, so there will be cuts to the roster solely based on need to depth in short comings of players available at their position.

POINT GUARD

STARTERCORY JOESPH / NBA / SAN ANTONIO SPURS

8.1 PPG / 2.7 REB / 2.6 AST

TYLER ENNIS / NBA / MILWAUKEE BUCKS

3.7 PPG / 1 REB / 1.9 AST

SHOOTING GUARD/SMALL FORWARD

STARTERNIK STAUSKAS / NBA / SACRAMENTO KINGS

3.4 PPG / 1 REB / 0.7 AST

STARTERANDREW WIGGINS / NBA / MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES

15.6 PPG / 4.3 REB / 1.9 AST

ANDY RAUTINS / EUROBASKET / ITALY

13.1 PPG / 4.4 REB / 2.4 AST

ANTHONY BENNETT / NBA / MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES

5.2 PPG / 3.8 REB / 0.8 AST

POWER FORWARD

DWIGHT POWELL / NBA / DALLAS MAVERICKS

3.3 PPG / 1.7 REB / 0.3 AST

STARTER: TRISTAN THOMPSON / NBA / CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

9 PPG / 8.2 REB / 0.5 AST

ANDREW NICHOLSON / NBA / ORLANDO MAGIC

3.3 PPG / 1.3 REB / 0.4 AST

CENTRE

STARTER: KELLY OLYNYK / NBA / BOSTON CELTICS

11.1 PPG / 5.4 REB / 1.7 AST

ROBERT SACRE / NBA / LOS ANGELES LAKERS

4.6 PPG / 3.5 REB / 0.8 AST

JOEL ANTHONY / NBA / DETROIT PISTONS

1.2 PPG / 1.5 REB / 0.1 AST

JUST MISSING OUT

LEVON KENDALL / EUROBASKET / SPAIN

6.5 PPG / 3.2 REB / 1.6 AST

TREY LYLES / NCAA / KENTUCKY WILDCATS

7.9 PPG / 5.1 REB / 1.3 AST

KEVIN PANGOS / NCAA / GONZAGA ZAGS

11.7 PPG / 2.8 REB / 5 AST

KYLE WILTJER / NCAA / GONZAGA ZAGS

17.0 PPG / 5.7 PPG / 1.9 AST

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1 step back….

So to say the least this season has been a disappointed for Sharks fans and players alike. The off season was one where management took the stance to remove any doubt from the fan base that it blamed it’s leadership group, and was now looking to rebuild on the fly. Well, the rebuild has begun, and unlike how Detroit was able to rebuild while still tasting the playoffs year after year. 2015 looks like a lost year for a Sharks team that came within a game of beating the eventual 2014 Stanley Cup champions.

Sharks management wanted to see what they had in some young prospects within the system, but unlike the Red Wings system which had won the Calder Cup (the American Hockey League’s championship trophy) The Sharks system has yet to come close to winning in the AHL, and currently sit sixth in their conference, thanks to winning 17 of their last 21 games.

While contractually the Sharks are in great shape, sitting well under the cap, and paying all of their top players under 7 million dollars a season. The lack of depth, and the lack of development is very apparent this season. Players like Matt Nieto, Tommy Wingels and Tomas Hertl are prime examples of this, while it’s fairly standard for players to have sophomore slumps. Under the teams current system all were to be relied upon too heavily given the direction of the team.

While free agent pick ups in Barclay Goodrow and Melker Karlsson have had glimpses of great success this season, neither can be relied upon to carry much weight when it comes to statistical contribution. Both Chris Tierney and Mirco Mueller seem to have bright futures, however their ping ponging in and out of the lineup can’t help their confidence nor development in the long run. Had they been in the Red Wings system, both would’ve played solely in the AHL this season, gaining confidence, playing major minutes and progressing in their development long term.

This offseason doesn’t signal a changing in direction either. Players like Antti Niemi, James Sheppard, Andrew Desjardins, Scott Hannan and Tyler Kennedy will all be replaced with younger, cheaper and unexperienced players. Most likely with players within the system to showcase them to the show, management will say they are all “knocking” at the door or pushing their way into the lineup.

What will happen is players like Thornton, Pavelski, Couture, Marleau, Burns, and Vlasic wait until the teams youth progression catches up with their projected talent. Major issue with this is there is no saving grace in the system, and the team isn’t bad enough this season to reach a top end choice in this June’s draft.

The heat cannot be placed on those players either, while top end teams spend to the cap floor, and ensure the 3rd and 4th lines are balanced and contribute. An issue last year,  and in many past seasons too when in many peoples eyes teams were built for a long playoff runs. Alas, a stunning loss, turned the off season into a circus and in turn hampered this year’s rosters confidence. Not that it needed the help mind you.

While Marleau has had a down year, which happens. Thornton for all the talk this summer, is once again in the top 5 in NHL assists, and could very well be leading the team in scoring had a shoulder injury not taken him out of four games earlier this season. The future hall of famer has taken being stripped of the captain in stride and players like Pavelski, Vlasic and Couture have tried to stepped up with clearly not a lot of success. Meanwhile, Burns has had a beast this year in terms of point production on the back end, however, his defensive flaws and the lack of depth upfront has clearly dismembered last year’s successful strides the team made.

Meanwhile, Niemi has yet to regain his vezina form from a few seasons back, and though better than last season, Nemo is not the goalie of choice moving forward as this team truly rebuilds. The net will be handed over to Alex Stalock and Troy Grosenick, which is a scary thought. Both are very unproven, and neither have ever had top end pedigree attached to their names. A trade for a unproven yet, top end pedigree should in order, but in all likely hood won’t be considered.

Anything is possible and the playoffs are clearly not out of reach by any means this season, but any thought that this team will be competitive in short order is fools gold. It takes time especially when the Sharks development and drafting record is one that doesn’t necessary hold confidence like those of the above mentioned Detroit Red Wings. And top end free agents are readily available any more via free agency, as teams are now locking up their talent to long term deals. The only way you can get that talent is via trade when teams need to give up prospects (something management has stated they won’t do) and two have cap space, which currently they do have.

This entire mess has to be placed at the feet of Doug Wilson, his draft selections have not produced at a productive rate and his lack of player movement this off season has moved San Jose to become a have not team from a have.  In all likely hood Todd McLellan will be replaced as well, but he should remain on. He has done an excellent job to this point, and is the only reason this team is even close to making the playoffs this season.

It’s a tough pill to swallow, but this rebuild on the fly could be a lot longer then 1 step back.

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A new project

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So I haven’t posted in a while, which sucks mostly because there has been so many things going on in sports. Most important of them, no not Ray Rice, no not Adrian Peterson, and no not even Roger Goodell. Boy it’s been a great week for the NFL hasn’t it? The best story in sports is the Los Angeles Angels having the best record in baseball, and winning their last 10 GAMES! If you didn’t already know I’ve love the Angels since I was a wee little boy, and are my favourite team in any sport.

But what I’m here to write about today is something very exciting for me and my family. My wife and I are going to open up the first of its kind advanced sports analytics facility.

What does that mean? Well, here is a brief description of what we are going to try and accomplish.

BASEBALL

Within the indoor baseball area, players are going to be able to bat, pitch, and a team will be able to practice. We can now provide real time advanced analytics statistics for those players. Imagine being able to see where you would have hit a ball on the field even though you are in a batting cage. Now, imagine that field is your favourite major league ball park. Yes, that is now possible.

Here’s all the information you’ll be able to discover when you hit or pitch at the Park Sports Facility.

Batting

  • Exit Ball Velocity
  • Distance of Hit
  • Launch Angle/Elevation
  • Batting Average
  • Hard Hit Average
  • % of Line Drives/Fly Balls/Ground Balls
  • SLG and OPS
  • Spray Charts
  • Strike Zone Analysis
  • Performance Trends

Pitching

  • Pitch Velocity
  • Late Break Measurement
  • Pitch Location
  • % Strikes
  • % of Line Drives/
    Fly Balls/Ground Balls
  • Spray Charts
  • Batting Average Against
  • Analysis by Pitch Type
  • Strike Zone Analysis
  • Performance Trends

In addition to all of this analytic information, we will also do a video analysis session afterwards. Trainers will now be able to go over all of your analytic data with you or your team and show the video evidence of what you did right and wrong by breaking down your swing or pitch. Players will be able to save their sessions and compare them to future ones at the facility. You can even be able to see the progression by being able to take the data and video home before your next session by USB, DVD or on paper.

HOCKEY

Within in the indoor hockey area, players are going to be able to shoot, stick handle, and skate on the highest quality of synthetic ice. The players will be given data on how they are shooting, skating, and how their body movement affects those areas of the game.

Shooting

  • accuracy
  • speed
  • trajectory
  • reaction time
  • puck speed

Skating

  • balance
  • speed
  • stops and starts
  • stick handling with puck
  • stick handling without

Stick and curve

  • stiffness
  • curve
  • length

In addition to all of this analytic information, we will also do a video analysis session afterwards. Trainers will now be able to go over all of your analytic data and show the video evidence of what you did right and wrong by breaking down your shooting, skating, and your equipment. Players will be able to save their sessions and compare to future ones at the facility. You can even be able to see the progression by being able to take the data and video home before your next session by USB, DVD or on paper.

GOLF

With in the indoor golf area, players are going to be able to play rounds of golf or play golf combine or a driving range. Teachers will now be able to go over all of your analytic data and show the video evidence of what you did right and wrong by breaking down your swing and your equipment.

Swing Analytics

  • Club Data
  • Ball Data
  • Club Speed
  • Attack Angle
  • Club Path
  • Swing Plane
  • Swing Direction
  • Dynamic Loft*
  • Spin Loft*
  • Face Angle*
  • Face-To-Path*
  • Ball Speed
  • Launch Angle
  • Launch Direction
  • Spin Axis
  • Spin Rate
  • Smash Factor
  • Height
  • Carry
  • Side
  • Side Total*
  • Landing Angle
  • Hang Time
  • Last Data

Up to six cameras can record your session, including your own cell phone! Giving you the most advanced, and in depth video analysis on the market. You can even be able to see the progression by being able take the data and video home before your next session by USB, DVD or on paper.

OTHER SPORTS

While we may not offer you an indoor site for your sport, be that tennis, soccer, basketball, lacrosse or football to name a few. Which may be added in the future. The Park will still be able to offer you a video breakdown of your game. Just bring a digital copy of your game footage, and the park will be able to provide you a full video analysis breakdown of your personal or team game. So if you are sending a video to scouts or collegiate teams or maybe you are looking to improve your game. The park staff can show you where your game falls short and help you improve them.

 

 

 

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Kevin Love to Cleveland just doesn’t make sense

Listen, Kevin Love is a great player. His statistics are proof, he averaged 26.1 points per game, and over 12 rebounds a game last season. In his career the stretch power forward averaged more than 19 points a game and 12 rebounds a game in six seasons of play in Minnesota. While, those statistics are impressive what they don’t show is Love in those six seasons, has never made the playoffs, not once. In his six seasons, the Californian native has played in 364 games missing 128 games during that span. While Love hasn’t been tagged with an injury prone tag, the games missed is alarming. Especially, when considering that which ever team gets Love will have to guarantee him a maximum contract of five additional years to this next season, meaning Love will be 31 years of age at the end of the deal. Not exactly an old age by any means, but for a guy who’s missed over a season and a half in his first six years (those are normally your healthy ones) it’s a bit of a red flag.

The other issue with Love is his defence. While not exactly a liability, he has never been known as a good defender and moving him over to an already poor defensive team in Cleveland surely doesn’t help matters. Team defence was a stumbling point for the Heat last season, this was on full display when Miami came up against the Spurs in the finals, they were absolutely destroyed by San Antonio’s spacing. The same will hold true on a team who’s secondary players in Irving and the proposed Love would be make a title run for the Cavaliers a difficult one against any Western conference team.

The other questioning issue for me, is that the Cavaliers already have Tristan Thompson, Cleveland’s fourth overall selection the same draft year as Kyrie Irving. While Thompson has never been considered a defensive stud, like Love he is a double-double player. Last season, the power forward averaged 11.7 points per game and 9.2 rebounds a game. Adding in Love would either push the 23 year old Thompson to the bench or move the 6’9″ forward to the centre position, making a very weak defensive pair with Love and Thompson on the floor together. As a side note, Thompson is also a client of James’ agent Rich Paul. In other words, Thompson isn’t going anywhere.

Meanwhile, under the proposed trade from Cleveland, the Cavaliers would give up on Anthony Bennett, last years number one overall selection. Who has the ability to himself to become a stretch four. Looking trim and more polished, Bennett looked much better in Las Vegas during the summer league. Now, I get it, summer league only show’s us players that can’t play in the league, rather than who can. Bennett played much better and looked far more in shape that he did in his first year in the league. While he is a far, far way off a Kevin Love, and will most likely never get there, he does provide some of the same intangibles that Love would provide. The ability to stretch the floor, and provide rebounding could help the Cavs in the long run. Many scouts had compared the young forward to Larry Johnson, who also came out of UNLV like Bennett.

Meanwhile, the addition of Andrew Wiggins to the discussion is the biggest no no, in my opinion. While Wiggins won’t provide you the instant satisfaction that Love would provide for this upcoming season. Wiggins does provide top level defence, which is something the Cavaliers would be in desperate need of. Under the mentorship of James, Wiggins should be able to fully grow into his wild expectations as he heads into his first year in the league. The Vaughn, Ontario native is fully capable of being Cleveland’s third option behind James and Irving, even as early as next season. He won’t have to carry too much, as the Cavaliers would still have Thompson, Bennett and Dion Waiters who will also get touches. While this upcoming season would be one of growth and understanding for Wiggins. Under the guidance of James, Wiggins should quickly grow into the greatest option for James in the long run, and give him the best opportunity to bring a championship to the North east Ohio market.

While giving up on Bennett and Wiggins alone seems like an awful lot, the addition of another of one or two first round draft selections, is absurd. If this trade gets completed, I truly feel by the middle of the year the Cavaliers will regret the decision to draft so much future for Love. By that point in the season, Wiggins should be more comfortable in the league, and putting up numbers especially with a healthy Rubio feeding him the ball. While Bennett who I see as having a bounce back year after the last, could be show signs of vase improvement. While neither project to be impact players this season, both are very, very young, and their learning curve should be drastic given playing time. The addition of two first round draft selections could just add to the pain of giving up the past two first overall NBA selections.

While, most think James is in a win now mindset. He would be far better off to weight it out with the young core, than be hamstrung by three maximum contracts like what happened in Miami.

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LeBron James will end up in Cleveland

Sure, the story title doesn’t exactly mean much. I’m not an insider, I don’t pretend to be in the know. No I don’t have a “source” but, I think it makes the most sense.

While many NBA experts suggest the Cavaliers lineup is too young to contend for a title, what they aren’t saying is that, with LeBron on the team, the Cavaliers won’t be talented enough to win.

Kyrie Irving is the best player currently on either roster (Cavs or Heat), and the depth of Cleveland is far superior to that of the Heat. Andrew Wiggins will at the very least provide solid defense in his first season in the NBA, Anthony Bennett looks to be in really good shape and ready to prove those who doubted him wrong this up coming season. Dion Waiters is still on the roster the fourth overall selection in 2012, who last season averaged almost 16 points a game. Just those four are far better than what the Heat can offer next season.

Then you add in the 2011 fourth overall selection Tristan Thompson is still on the roster, is a double double machine, and oh by the way, a Rich Paul client. (Rich Paul is LeBron James agent as well) Thompson is also a good friend of James, and could be recruiting hard right now.

In addition to Thompson, the Cavaliers also has Anderson Varejao to make the teams front unit a fairly strong one. That was a huge weakness of the Heat last season, and doesn’t look to improve this off season. And no, Josh McRoberts doesn’t compare to either Varejao or Thompson.

Yes, Bosh still has game, but he has never been a focal point of the offense in Miami, and Wade’s days as a NBA all star are numbered. (Chris Bosh has decided to sign with Rockets if LeBron James leaves Heat. (via & )

Two reports already have him in Cleveland (Sheridanhoops.com and a sports blog site barstoolsports.com) That doesn’t guarantee anything, but it has be concerning to the Heat and Heat fans, that LeBron had a meeting today, and didn’t commit.

The Cavaliers are the only one’s making meaningful moves this offseason as well. Signing Irving to a 5 year extension, and trading out Zeller, and Jack to free up space for LeBron to sign a max deal, if he decides to join Cleveland.

All of this, and there is a constant thought that the Cavaliers will go after Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves, at this point Andrew Wiggins on Minnesota’s wish list as a return. But Love has stated he won’t sign an extension with Cleveland, and if that doesn’t change, Love isn’t being traded for. And Wiggins agents have been told, he will not be traded. So something has to break if James joins the Cavs.

If you are the Cavs, would you trade Waiters, Varejao, and two first round picks in next years draft (they have three) if you got Love out of it? Maybe sweeten the pot with Bennett if you have to, but I think they’d like to see what they have in a finally healthy Bennett before they give him away. But if you get Love out of it, you do it!

Let’s also remember, the Cavaliers won’t be in this position in a few seasons, let’s say for argument sake that LeBron goes back to Miami on a one or two year contract with Miami. Irving’s contract extension will kick in, as will Thompson and most likely Waiters if he is resigned by the Cavs. In two seasons, the Cavaliers won’t have the cap space to sign James, and have the roster to surround him with the talent to win a title if they choose to sign James at that point. They would have to trade away those guys.

But if they sign James now, they can keep all of their players if the team is willing to go into the luxury tax range down the road.  There is also a report that a former teammate Romeo Travis was a player under David Blatt, and quite enjoyed playing for him. But, as his twitter feed states.

“Stop asking me if lebron coming home. I DONT KNOW!!!!!”

At the end of the day, LeBron James can’t do this to Cleveland again, he just can’t. I’m quite sure he doesn’t want to go back to being the bad guy, and what a story it would be if James returned to the Cavs. Redemption could be the headline for James and his nike marketing team, and the Cavaliers would look to become the first champion the city has seen since 1964!

Just go back LeBron, go back!

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2014 NBA MOCK DRAFT

ANDREW WIGGINS

Nat: Canada College: Kansas HT: 6’8″ WT: 200 POS: Small Forward/Shooting Guard

Wiggins has to be the choice here, he makes the most sense long term for the Cavaliers. While others may have better rookie years, Wiggins projects to be a multiple all-star down the line. What Wiggins shouldn’t struggle with is his defence, exactly what the Cavs are in desperate need of, especially at the 2/3 position. Where Wiggins will be helped most is new Cleveland coach David Blatt is considered a offensive mind, and should really help Wiggins offensive game quite well. Add in the combination that he is very familiar with other Canadians on the roster in Tristan Thompson and Anthony Bennett, making for a very easy transition.

JABARI PARKER

Nat: USA College: Duke HT: 6’8″ WT: 255 POS: Small forward

Most would consider Parker the front runner already for rookie of the year. His offensive game should translate quickly to the NBA game. Parker was said to have “tanked” his workout with Cleveland in the hopes of landing with the Bucks. Parker, a Chicago resident, playing in Milwaukee would make he would be a hour away from home, and be the face of the franchise. His defensive game needs a lot of work, there were times a Duke, where coach K would play him at centre to protect him against one on one match ups.

 

JOEL EMBIID

Nat: Cameroon College: Kansas HT: 7’0″ WT: 250 POS: Centre

For the past year most considered the 76ers were trying to tank to draft Andrew Wiggins, after the NBA draft lottery occurred the Philadelphia management has been making all kinds of efforts to get the number one selection to pick Wiggins. To this point, they have been unsuccessful.  In the end, the Sixers should gamble on Embiid, like they did last season with Noel. Assuming Embiid missing the entire season after his foot surgery, the Sixers would be in line to draft high again next season as well. After which, a healthy Embiid, Noel, Carter-Williams (2013 ROY), the number 10 pick in this draft, and their 2015 draft selection should make for a very bright future in Philly.

DANTE EXUM

Nat:  Australia College: Australia HT: 6’6″ WT: 196 POS: Point Guard

Most consider Exum a player who could either end up being the best player in the draft, or a complete flop. Due to the fact Exum hasn’t played against top line talent in Australia, and therefore most don’t know exactly what to think of his game to this point. What is not question, from what we have seen in international competition is outstanding (averaged 18.2 PPG, and 3.8 APG in the FIBA Under 19 tournament last year in 9 games) He is still very young, entering the draft at 18 years old. But a back court of Exum and last years number one selection Victor Oladipo could be dominate for years to come and a real force in the Eastern conference.

NOAH VONLEH

Nat: USA College: Indiana HT: 6’10” WT: 247 POS: Power Forward

I really think if the Utah Jazz could get into the first two selections of the draft they would, but so far giving up the fifth pick and Derrick Favors doesn’t seem to be enough. As the Jazz roster is currently constructed, they are in need of a small forward. But none are really available or worthy of a top five selection. Meaning the Jazz could look to move down the draft and look at the 9th or 10th selection where the two skilled shooters of the draft are available in Michigan’s Nik Stauskas and Creighton’s Doug McDermott. In saying that, if they stay exactly where they are, Vonleh will be the selection. While at Indiana Vonleh would wow, and disappear, he hasn’t disappointed in draft workouts, quickly raising to within the top five of the draft. A front court of Favors, Kanter, and Vonleh should be very difficult to handle for most teams, but without a presence at small forward, the Jazz will be hard press not to find themselves back here next season looking for that small forward they desperately need.

JULIUS RANDLE

Nat: USA College: Kentucky HT: 6’9″ WT: 234 POS: Power Forward

Even though many people are hearing a lot of “negative” talk about Randle from the Celtics camp, but I just don’t buy it, even with the foot injury. Randle was the second ranked player heading into the 2013-14 NCAA season behind Wiggins. Randle had an outstanding year, averaging a double double for a star sudden Wildcat roster, and led them to a final four appearance, almost winning it all, losing out to UConn in the championship came. Randle adds a new presence up front for the Celtics who are not built to be competitive for a few seasons, adding a piece like Randle is just the first step in making the Celtics relevant again in the future.

 

MARCUS SMART

Nat: USA College: Oklahoma State HT: 6’3″ WT: 227 POS: Point Guard

Had smart entered the 2013 NBA draft, he was probably the first overall selection. Smart is a beast, a very solid point guard, and a big body. While no player here truly makes the Lakers a contender, a point guard of the future, who can add some meaningful minutes this season. Could the pick be moved, certainly, but Smart helps now and down the line for the Lakers, while Aaron Gordon is intriguing, Smart has a year to grow under Steve Nash, and/or Kendall Marshall, and then fully take over next season, when the Lakers hope to land some big names on the free agent market, none of who are point guards, making the Smart selection well smart.

AARON GORDON

Nat: USA College: Arizona HT: 6’9″ WT: 220 POS: Power Forward

The Kings are an intriguing teams, this past season Thomas took a step forward, the team has veterans in Terry and Gay, and good pieces in Cousins and McLemore to build around. Bringing in an explosive players like Gordon helps in the growth of the franchise, especially with most mock draft having Gordon sitting a little higher then 8th to the Kings. While Gordon is not a very good shooter, if Gordon can figure that part of his game out, his energy, and basketball IQ could make him a multiple all-star during his career.

NIK STAUSKAS

Nat: Canada College: Michigan HT: 6’7″ WT: 207 POS: Shooting Guard

While Stauskas projects to be a shooting guard, at 6’7″ he does have the height to guard small forwards. In his first NCAA season, Stauskas was a beast from behind the three point line, in his second he turned into an all around player. Stauskas a gym rat, continues to improve his game, a while McDermott had a wonderful career at Creighton, the younger Stauskas makes more sense for his overall game. He is a better play maker and on defence. His shot is on par with McDermott, and played within a much tougher Big 10 conference, where he was named the player of the year last season in his sophomore season.

GARY HARRIS

Nat: USA: College: Michigan State HT: 6’5″ WT: 205 POS: Shooting Guard

As I talked about earlier the Sixers should take a gamble on Embiid at number 3. With their second selection, picking a player who can slide in beside Carter-Williams on the back court, gives the Sixers an immediate partner in crime for years to come. Harris will have the year to grow after his 2014 Big Ten Rookie of the year season. The Sixers have time to wait on Harris if needed.Embiid would be missing the entire season anyways, and Noel would be entering his first season after missing last season. Both would have room to grow, and allow the Sixers another high selection next season. Future is bright in Philly.

ELFRID PAYTON

Nat: USA College: Louisana of Lafayette HT: 6’3″ WT: 185 POS: Point Guard

When you are a team like the Nuggets, and nothing looks wonderful, a quick fix is a wonderful point guard. That could be exactly what they are getting in Payton with the 11th overall selection. While Payton is not a shooter, he is a wonderful play maker and quick point. Some consider him the Damien Lillard of this years draft. If the Nuggets are able to get a player like that at 11, that’s a wonderful start to a team that is in need of an identity.

DOUG McDERMOTT

Nat: USA College: Creighton HT: 6’8″ WT: 218 POS: Small Forward

In the Magic’s wildest imagination, they would expect to see McDermott on the board at 12, but taking Exum at 4 and McDermott. Combining both of them with Oladipo gives the Magic a solid back court to build a future on. McDermott could certainly be selected higher than 12, but he doesn’t really fill the need for those teams in front of the Magic other than the Hornets who I have selection Stauskas over McDermott. An outsider sharp shooter opens up the floor for play makers like Exum and Oladipo, coming that with the inside presence of Vucevic, makes the Magic an intriguing team in the upcoming and near future.

 

JUSUF NURKIC

Nat: Bosnia College: Bosnia HT: 6’11” WT: 280 POS: Centre

With Kevin Love looking at the door, and awaiting for it to open to head off to another team, the T-Wolves will be in need of another big man to replace his numbers. While Nurkic doesn’t translate to be another Kevin Love, he does look to resemble his “new” team mate in Nikola Pekovic, and what a way to improve your game then play with the guy, that you are most compared to. And if Nurkvic can average close to Pekovic 17 and 9 stats, that’s a hell of a front court for Rubio to find.

RODNEY HOOD

Nat: USA College: Duke HT: 6’9″ WT: 208 POS: Shooting Guard/small forward

The surprise of the West last season, the Suns will look for another piece with the 14th overall selection. In Hood, the shooting guard would provide good competition against Gerald Green and Eric Bledsoe for playing time. His ability to play either shooting guard or small forward will really help him for playing time on the Suns. Hood’s shooting ability will really help the Suns playing style and should space the floor as well. As a shooting guard, he would be quite different a handle, as Hood is listed at 6 feet 9 inches tall.

JAMES YOUNG

Nat: USA College: Kentucky HT: 6’8″ WT: 213 POS: Small forward

There is a report that Young was involved in a small fender bender which caused him to miss five NBA workouts leading up to the draft. In the end, Young is too talent, and the Hawks are in need of a small forward presence that Young makes sense with the 15th selection. The Hawks will hope for a healthy return from Horford next season, and an improved second season from 2013 NBA selection Dennis Schroder would help as well.

TYLER ENNIS

Nat: Canada College: Syracuse HT: 6’3″ WT: 182 POS: Point Guard

I just don’t buy Ennis sliding on all of these draft boards. At first Ennis was a lock in the top 10, and now he slides all the way to 20. Nope, don’t buy it. The Bulls need a backup plan in case Rose can’t return to form from years past. Ennis led the Orange to a 25 and 0 mark to start the NCAA season, and sees the floor very, very well. In a team based defensive system like Chicago, he fits ideally after playing for the Orange last season.

 

ZACH LAVINE

Nat: USA College: UCLA HT: 6’5″ WT: 181 POS: Point Guard

After Exum, Payton and Ennis off the board, the Celtics look for a replacement for Rondo, who is suspected to be on the trading block. Lavine has been compared to Russell Westbrook, while I find it hard for the possible 17th overall selection to be Russell Westbrook, the young point guard, does have good size and court vision to help the young Celtics move forward, especially adding Randle with the 6th overall selection earlier in this draft.

ADREIAN PAYNE

Nat: USA College: Michigan State HT: 6’10” WT: 239 POS: Power Forward

You take the best player, no matter the position. Payne was  beast in college, and helps the Suns front court big time. With the teams second overall selection in the draft, the Suns build on a season that surprised most. The addition of Payne to the front court and Hood to the back court gives the Suns two more rotation players heading into next season.

T.J. WARREN

Nat: USA College: NC State HT: 6’8: WT: 220 POS: Small Forward

After the Bulls traded away Deng last year to the Cavaliers, it left a hole at the small forward position on the roster. With the return of Rose, the back court should be set, but you need a player to fill the small forward position if you are unable to convince Carmelo to sign with you. While Warren doesn’t project to be a big name out of this draft, he is a scorer and capable of spreading the floor for the rest of his team mates. A pretty good pick up at the 19th pick.

DARIO SARIC

Nat: Croatia College: Croatia HT: 6’10” WT: 223 POS: Power Forward

Had Saric not signed a three year contract to stay in Europe, he would be off the board well ahead of 20. But like the Raptors did with Valancunias, the team waits for their player to arrive in the NBA by trying to buy out his contract next season. Saric would fit the Raptors style perfectly, and while an additional player would be great for this up and coming franchise, choosing to select a player with the most upside, should help the future greatly, rather than being concerned with the now. But lots of teams with multiple selections above the Raptors, who will most likely pick Saric, willing to wait out the process.

SHABAZZ NAPIER

Nat: USA College: UConn HT: 6’1″ WT: 175 POS: Point Guard

By selecting Napier, it could ideally allow Westbrook to run the floor. Napier is fully capable of breaking down the opposing team, as we saw during the NCAA tournament. Napier really helped his case for the NBA with his performance in the tournament, but as we have seen before, the tournament is such a small sample of the players actual ability, so buyer beware.

KYLE ANDERSON

Nat: USA College: UCLA HT: 6’9″ WT: 230 POS: Power forward/small forward

Anderson plays like a power forward point. Capable of seeing over small guards, and savy enough to beat bigger players. He is not a wildly great athlete, causing him to slide in the draft. But Anderson is a good fit in Memphis, where they could try to play him at the 3, however, with his lack of speed being an issue at the marquee position in the league.

JORDAN ADAMS

Nat: USA College: Missouri HT: 6’5″ WT: 186 POS: Point Guard

With the Jazz in need of a back up point guard Adams fits that bill. Adams has impressed most teams with his workouts, he is capable of sliding over to the shooting guard position as well. That makes him an ideal draft selection at the 23rd selection in the draft.

CLINT CAPELA

Nat: Switzerland College: Switzerland HT: 6’11” WT: 222 POS: Power forward

Even though Capela is a very raw talent, but a really good place to pick your second selection for the Hornets. Capela is capable of bringing energy, and rebounding right off the hop, and should find minutes with any team that drafts him. While it may take a few seasons to fulfil his projection, he is absolutely worth selecting him with the 24th selection.

JARNELL STOKES

Nat: USA College: Tennessee HT: 6’9″ WT: 262 POS: Power forward

Stokes averaged a double double last season for Tennessee. He provides a different look than what Terrence Jones gives the Rockets, which makes the selection a good one. He should be able to play along side Howard, which is important as well.

 

JERAMI GRANT

Nat: USA College: Syracuse HT: 6’8″ WT: 214 POS: Small Forward

If James leaves, the Heat will need a small forward, but if he stay, Grant should help with the Heat depth. Some mock drafts have him higher, but his jump shot lacks that touch, and in the end could cause him to slide right out of the first round entirely. But he’s the best player available here, and that’s exactly what the Heat needs.

P.J. HAIRSTON

Nat: USA College: D-League HT: 6’5″  WT: 229 POS: Shooting guard

After playing in the D-league last season, Hairston should be ready to go right off the get go. He was an over 21 a point game player this past season. With the Suns having three selections in the first round this year, look for the Suns to move one or two of their picks.

K.J. DANIELS

Nat: USA College: Clemson HT: 6’6″ WT: 195 POS: Small Forward

Daniels is the best player available at this spot in the draft. Very athletic, Daniels should be able to join right into the Clippers style, giving coach Doc Rivers a great option to play along side Chris Paul and Blake Griffin assuming LBJ or Melo don’t sign with the Clips.

PATRIC YOUNG

Nat: USA College: Florida HT: 6’10” WT: 247 POS: Centre

A glaring need when Ibaka went down, was the lack of depth on the interior. Young won’t blow you away with his skills, but he is capable of doing the little things. Young could be the ideal player to help with the interior needs of the Thunder, and give the Thunder another piece from this 2014 draft to play along with their other selection of Napier, giving OKC more depth, something they are in desperate need of.

DAMIAN INGLIS

Nat: France College: France HT: 6’8″ WT: 240 POS: Small Forward

What do you do after you win the NBA Championship, you add another frenchman to your team, that was helped greatly by two others to your title (Parker, and Diaw) Inglis is an excellent young player, at 6’8″ and a wingspan of 7-3, Inglis is very capable of playing small forward, and backing up finals MVP Kawaii Leonard. His ability to communicate with Parker should help him develop quicker coming over from France.

37th. Toronto Raptors – Khem Birch

Nat: Canada College: UNLV HT: 6’9″ WT: 209 POS: Power Forward/Centre

The Raptors are in need of front court depth. While Birch is not a “scorer” he is a terrific defensive player, winning back to back defensive player of the year in his conference. His ability to block shots, and rebound could be an intriguing choice at 37 for the Raptors.

52. Philadelphia 76ers – Dwight Powell

Nat: Canada College: Stanford HT: 6’10” WT: 234 POS: Power forward/centre

Powell is the least spoken about Canadian, but his four years at Stanford were all productive. His skill set translates well to the NBA, and his size also doesn’t hurt.

56. Denver Nuggets – Melvin Ejim

Nat: Canada College: Iowa State HT: 6’6″ WT: 220 POS: Shooting guard/small forward

Most NBA drafts don’t have Ejim being drafted, but I really think they are mistaken. Ejim is fully capable of playing in the league, and should be select, even though late in the second round of the draft.

58. San Antonio Spurs - Jordan Bachynski 

Nat: Canada College: Arizona State HT: 7’2″ WT: 254 POS: Centre

At some point Duncan will retire, and while Bachynski won’t replace the best power forward of all time in the game, he is great on the defensive end, and should help fill in from time to time off the bench when needed.

60. San Antonio Spurs – Sim Bhullar

Nat: Canada College: New Mexico State HT: 7’5″ WT: 360 POS: Centre

If you are going to make sure your front court is stacked, why not take the biggest player in the draft. The 7 foot 5 inch centre, would be the first Indian decent drafted in the NBA. We will see if that happens.

shark-wallpaper-3

Sea change… in San Jose?

So it’s taken me a few weeks to gather my thoughts about the disappointing game seven loss to the Los Angeles Kings who are currently leading the Stanley Cup finals two games to none against the New York Rangers. After roaring out to a three game to none lead the Sharks lost four in a row, and another season lost for the Sharks faithful. Most felt that the 2013-14 team had everything it needed to make a long run at the cup, perhaps even bring the trophy to the Bay area for the first time in clue history. Unfortunately, some untimely injuries, lack of game plan play and goal tending derailed that from happening again this season.

With that GM Doug Wilson is calling for a change in leadership, and turning the team over to the youth in the organization. Feeling as if the “veterans” let down the team, in not only play, but not getting the coaches message across the team, especially in game five.  

I’m happy with the return of Todd McLellan and GM Doug Wilson, I think both have done a great job with this team, and in my opinion making them a top 5 team in the NHL this past season. Unfortunately, the lack of production come playoff time, has led the GM to speak harshly towards his team and his leadership group.

Then today comes a story from the Toronto Sun, saying that the Leafs are amongst six teams interested in the current Sharks captain. Some fans get excited, pinning the blame directly on Thornton’s shoulders, while others would rather close their eyes, and wish the team was still playing today. Word is though, neither Thornton nor Marleau are on the market.

If you are to make a “bold” move, I think you trade Joe Pavelski. After having a 40 goal season, the 30 year old forward, brings you the biggest return and distractedly the team. A bold move such as this, could be exactly what the team needs to make the overall group better.

Although, it’s my opinion that this team is far too close to winning to rebuild, and in fact, with a few subtle moves, the Sharks are actually closer than the collapse appeared to show.

The Sharks out shot the Kings in the first round on average per game 36 to 32. While the Sharks save percentage ended up being second last in the playoffs ahead of only Dallas with a .883 percentage of shots saved.  The Sharks power play (a sour spot all season) finished the series at 12.5%, which ranked 12th amongst 16 teams. While the penalty kill (which in the regular season was ranked 6th in the NHL) finished with a 75% kill rate, ranking them 14th out of 16.  Hits per game averaged out to be 47 for the Kings in the series, and 43 for the Sharks. For all the talk of the Sharks just not being able to keep up physically, these  hit statistics prove otherwise.

Digging deeper the Sharks regular season statistics in corsi (Coris is essentially a plus-minus statistic that measures shot attempts. A player receives a plus for any shot attempt (on net, missed, or blocked) that his team directs at the opponent’s net, and a minus for any shot attempt against his own net. A proxy for possession.) were fifth best in the NHL regular season at 53.8%, in the playoffs the team ended up with a 48.1%, good for 10th overall. Meanwhile, fenwick (follows the same concept as Corsi, but doesn’t include blocked shots. Fenwick is considered to have better predictive value for future goal differential than Corsi. The removal of blocked shots is also valuable since blocked shots are a proven skill worth of being seperated.) stats in the regular season were third at 54.6%, and 7th in the playoffs at 50.7%. Meanwhile, Los Angeles in the regular season were first in both, and sit 5th in Corsi with a 52.7% (5th) and 51.0% in Fenwick (6th).

The leaders up front did not all have great series to say the least, which was the biggest difference in comparison to the Kings in the series. After years of driving the Sharks, Joe Thornton ended up with only 3 points in seven games, finishing the series at minus 6. Line mate Brent Burns also had 3 points, and finished with a minus 5 statistic. Meanwhile, Logan Couture also only had 3 points, after breaking out the previous year against the Canucks and the very same Kings team. The team did have bright spots in though, Patrick Marleau ending up with 7 points in 7 games and Joe Pavelski with six points.

On the back end, a cheap shot from Jarret Stoll, ended Marc-Edouard Vlasic playoff run in game five. Vlasic, the Sharks shut down defence man ended up with three points in 5 games. While Dan Boyle ended the series with four points on the back end.

My problem is, the sense amongst some fans is to pin this on Thornton, who in the past previous three seasons was the Sharks top playoff performer. Meanwhile, he ended up with 76 points in the NHL season playing all 82 games, that’s good enough for 13th overall in the NHL. Sitting second in assists only behind Crosby, sitting three assists short with 65 helpers.

You also can’t pin this on Marleau either, he had a great year himself, not only making team Canada (winning his second Olympic gold medal), but finishing the season with 70 points, and hitting the 30 goal mark once again, finishing with 33 on the season.

Losing or trading Thornton and/or Marleau changes the look of the leadership group of course, but does it make you better? Its hard to figure that it would. Both players were outstanding this season, and when both signed three year club friendly deals in January most fans, and analysts agreed it was an excellent move for the Sharks organization. Hell, days before the Sharks collapsed, many analysts in the Canadian market who didn’t stay up late and watch Sharks games in the regular season, said the Sharks were the best team in the NHL.

The loss of Dan Boyle was an easy decision for Wilson. It’s a change in the leadership group, that doesn’t affect too much. Not saying, Boyle can’t still play, but he isn’t the player he was a few seasons back, and at 38, he most likely isn’t regaining that form.

Meanwhile, Niemi was outstanding in the shorten 2013 season, but this past season, he just wasn’t very good. The Sharks starting goalie let in far too many easy soft goals, deflating the teams moral time and time again. The teams goaltending statistic of .883 save percentage in the LA series is a very good example of how poor Niemi played this past year. Had the Sharks had the 2013 version from the Finnish goalie, they would most likely still be playing today.

While Sharks fans are calling for blood, mostly that of the teams captain and assistant heads. My eye is solely on the goal tender and improving the teams defence. Luckily both are achievable at very little cost to the active roster.

Niemi is tradable even after a lack luster year. He was a finalist for the Vezina in 2013, and he is a cup winner. With a salary cap of just over 3.8, Niemi could easily fetch you a good return, and opens the door for Alex Stalock or a free agent/traded for acquisition. With so many options on the free agent market it wouldn’t be difficult to find either a quality starter or a veteran back up to Stalock. Niemi is fully capable of returning next year and preforming well, but if you are looking to make changes, Boyle and Niemi are easy choices in my opinion. Miller, Brodeur or even Hiller, all offer different skill sets, and could all help the team in the short term.

On defence, adding in a player like Pittsburgh’s upcoming UFA Matt Niskanen makes a lot of sense, but he’ll be coveted heavily. So maybe Pittsburgh’s other UFA D-man Brooks Orpik could help with a now very young defence core with the loss of both Boyle and Hannan. Orpik a Stanley cup champion, still plays a heavy game, and is known for his defensive play.

Up front some very simple moves could help greatly, by bringing back Manny Malhorta, it allows you to keep Joe Pavelski up with Joe Thornton and Tomas Hertl. Malhorta isn’t a point producer, but when you are going up against a team like the Kings year in and year old, Malhorta is one of the best face off men in the game. A much needed skill against a very good faceoff team in the Kings. He is also very responsible defensively, and gives you depth up the middle. Keeping Pavelski up front beside Thornton makes a lot of sense especially with Burns heading back to defence to help with the loss of Boyle. Finally adding in Ryan Callahan could bring you some added leadership with a new voice, and a gritter player inserted into the second or third line. Callahan was rumoured to be a target of the Sharks at the NHL trade deadline, and is unrestricted. The former New York Rangers captain was very good for the Lightning in this years playoffs.

Cap space is not an issue for this team by losing Boyle, Hannan and Havlat the Sharks have about 17 million dollars to spend this off-season. With Stalock, Wingels, and Sheppard as the only players to re-sign to the active roster.

Ultimately, the Sharks will try to make a splash to shake up their team, with either Thornton and/or Marleau heading out the door. The return should be a good one as both players are still top line assets, but the Sharks string of consecutive playoff appearances will be on the line, and the team will no longer be considered a Stanley Cup contender. Rather a fairly good team, trying to fight their way into the 7th or 8th spot in the Western Conference, a very tough spot to finish if you are indeed looking to truly rebuild, and not retool.

 

 

 

stadium

Baseball trip 2014: Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio

Progressive Field is a baseball park located in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. It is the home field of the Cleveland Indians, and together with Quicken Loans Arena, it is part of the Gateway Sports and Entertainment Complex. 

The Cleveland Indians play in the Central Division in baseball’s American League. Since 1994, they have played in Progressive Field (formerly known as Jacobs Field). Since their establishment as a Major League franchise in 1901, the Indians have won two World Series championships, in 1920 and 1948.

profield1

The Cleveland team originated in 1900 as the Lake Shores, when the American League (AL) was officially a minor league. One of the AL’s eight charter franchises, the major league incarnation of the club was founded in Cleveland in 1901. Originally called the Cleveland Bluebirds, the team played in League Park until moving permanently to Cleveland Municipal Stadium in 1946. At the end of the 2013 season, they had a regular season franchise record of 8,930–8,611 (.509). The Indians have won seven AL Central titles, the most in the division.

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What I really love, is you are able to walk right up to the field from the street just on the other side of the Quicken Loans arena (where the Cleveland Cavaliers play).

Last season we went to Chicago and Wrigley Field. Before Chicago, we went to Rogers Centre (Hometown of Toronto), then to Detroit (Comerica park), then headed to Pittsburgh (PNC Park), then Boston (Fenway) and finally before Chicago it was Washington (Nationals Park).

Progressive field in my opinion would be ranked fourth amongst these parks, but I really enjoyed the atmosphere a lot, and fourth is not a statement of how nice the park actually was. Its hard to compete with Fenway and Wrigley in a stadium ranking. 

We caught the June 1st game against the Colorado Rockies. Where the Indians won in a 9th inning walk off homer by Michael Bourn in a 6 to 4 win by the Indians.

Our tickets were great, sitting in row Q in section 340 (the Club Lounge) at Progressive field. The sight lines for the game was excellent sitting directly above the first base line. In the club lounge, you basically pre pay for your food and drinks by paying a premium for your tickets in advance about 110 dollars each Canadian. But well worth it! Provided was a breakfast buffet, as the game was set for 1 pm eastern start, hot dog stand, burgers, pizza, onion rings, nachos, peanuts and fries. As well as ice cream and snow cones stands. Let’s remember its all you can eat! You still have to pay for beer/alcohol, there is a full service bar within the lounge, including indoor sitting if the game happened to be in a rain delay. If you are planning a trip to Cleveland for a game, I would highly recommend the club seating, a really great experience. 

profield2

 

This was the sight lines from our seats for the game.

Overall, the experience of the game and the park really surprised the six of us who attended the game. I think we all expected not to fall in love with the park, but as soon as we arrived we quickly realized how nice the park was. We all thought the park was beautiful right up there with the newer parks we had attended during earlier baseball trips. The Indians team look pretty good for the most part, and the Rockies team look really good, but clearly are in need of better pitching to compete long term.

The night life in Cleveland wasn’t outstanding but we did have a good Mexican dinner at Zocalo on East 4th Street. East 4th street is a pretty cool scene that runs north south very close to the ball park. The street was lined with white lights as you walked amongst outdoor patios. The Cleveland streets were clean, and the area close to the park was very sports friendly really making the experience for out of towners and home town fans a like, a pleasant one. 

We ended up staying at the Renaissance hotel just outside Cleveland’s public square. The hotel was very nice, lots of old charm, and both rooms were a good size. The hotel offered a large bar, restaurant, very big lounge, casino just outside the side entrance, a pool and a very large workout area. The hotel was in a great location for attending the game, and very close to restaurants and bars in the downtown core. I would recommend it as well.  

Next year might be a biggie! It’s a city that has two teams! Already looking forward to that! 

Andrew-Wiggins-of-Kansas-Declares-for-NBA-Draft

NBA Draft: The Canadiens

Coming up on June 26th, Canada basketball could make history. Not only could their a Canadian selected first overall for the second year in a row, but three Canadians could be selected in the top 15 of the draft, and a possibility of seven all together by the time the second and last round of the draft is done that evening. Seven out of sixty, that’s historic stuff. With that kind of infusion of Canadian basketball players entering the league, it would make Canada the second largest import of NBA players in the league, surpassing France, and only behind the United States. So let’s meet the players who will make Canada proud this upcoming NBA season.

ANDREW WIGGINS

Born. February 23rd, 1995 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

H. 6 ft, 8 inches. W. 200 lbs

NCAA: Kansas Jayhawks Stats: 17.1 PPG, 5.9 RPG

Position: Shooting guard/Small forward

Draft predictions

Chad Ford (ESPN): 1st, Jeff Goodman (ESPN): 3rd, Gary Parrish (CBS): 1st, Zach Harper (CBS) 2nd, Matt Moore (CBS) 1st, Chris Mannix (Sports Illustrated) 1st, Fox Sports 1st, Draft Express: 1st, NBAdraft.net: 2nd, Bleacher Report: 2nd, Hoops Hype: 2nd, and mynbadraft.com: 1st

Wiggins is predicted to be drafted in the top three in this years draft. Most consider Andrew to have the biggest upside of anyone in the draft, and by far the best athlete. Most concerning for scouts is his laid back nature. The concern is he won’t be able to an alpha dog type player when needed. His defensive play, might be the best of any player coming into the draft his season, and his ability to stay on the floor as a rookie as a result of his defence should help bring along his offensive game quickly.

Get to know Andrew here:

TYLER ENNIS

Born. August 24th, 1994 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

H. 6 ft, 2 inches W. 180 lbs

NCAA: Syracuse Orange Stats: 14.6 PPG, 7.1 APG

Position: Point Guard

Draft Predictions

Chad Ford (ESPN): 16th, Jeff Goodman (ESPN): 13th, Gary Parrish (CBS): 19th, Zach Harper (CBS) 16th, Matt Moore (CBS) 13th, Chris Mannix (Sports Illustrated) 13th, Fox Sports 20th, Draft Express: 16th, NBAdraft.net: 25th, Bleacher Report: 16th, Hoops Hype: 25th, and mynbadraft.com: 16th

Ennis ranges anywhere from 13th to 25th. The biggest concern with Ennis is scouts perception that he lacks athleticism. Enough though in the NBA combine, Ennis proved that shouldn’t be a concern. In the end, the point guards in this league, don’t need to be the best athlete on the floor but need to be able to call a game as the coach on the floor, that’s one thing that Ennis does very well, probably the best of any point guard in this draft. While as a writer from Toronto, I would love to see him in a Raptors uniform, Ennis figures to go between 13 and 16 in my opinion and have a long successful NBA career ahead of him.

Get to know Tyler here:

NIK STAUSKAS

Born. October 7th, 1993 in Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada

H. 6 ft 6 inches W. 207 lbs

NCAA: Michigan Wolverines Stats: 17.5 PPG, .442 3P%

Position: Small forward/shooting guard

Draft Predictions

Chad Ford (ESPN): 10th, Jeff Goodman (ESPN): 10th, Gary Parrish (CBS): 11th, Zach Harper (CBS) 12th, Matt Moore (CBS) 16th, Chris Mannix (Sports Illustrated) 14th, Fox Sports 10th, Draft Express: 13th, NBAdraft.net: 13th, Bleacher Report: 13th, Hoops Hype: 13th, and mynbadraft.com: 13th

Stauskas thrived in Ann Arbour this season. Averaging more than 17 points this season, up more than 6 points per season than the previous season. Stauskas preformed very well at the NBA combine, and should be looked upon highly early in the first round, especially teams looking for a deadly shooter at the shooting guard or small forward position as Nik does have size, listed at 6 ft 6 inches. His ability to stretch the floor and also make plays should give him a good opportunity to start on most teams looking to draft him within the top 13 of the draft.

Get to know Nik here:

 DWIGHT POWELL

Born. July 20th, 1991 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

H. 6 ft 11 inches W. 240 lbs

NCAA: Stanford Cardinals Stats: 14.0 PPG, 6.9 RPB

Position: Power Forward

Draft Predictions

Chad Ford (ESPN): 51st, Gary Parrish (CBS): 52nd, Zach Harper (CBS) 57th, Matt Moore (CBS) 43rd, Draft Express: 50th, NBAdraft.net: 51st, and mynbadraft.com: 56th

Powell is listed as being a very good face-up four (power forward), good range on his jump shot and a good ball handler for his size. He has to work on getting bigger to be able to see minutes in the NBA and can sometimes be considered inconsistent. He led the Cardinals in assists this year which is a good sign for a power forward. He is the one consistent on most mock drafts going for sure in the second round.

Get to know Dwight here:

KHEM BIRCH

Born. September 28th, 1992 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

H. 6 ft 9 inches, 220 lbs

NCAA: Pittsburgh Panthers/UNLV Rebels: 11.5 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 3.8 BPG

Position: Centre/Power Forward

Draft Predictions

Chad Ford (ESPN) 53rd, Gary Parrish (CBS): 54th, Draft Express 56th, NBAdraft.net 45th, and mynbadraft.com 54th

Birch was a surprise to enter into the NBA draft this season. After entering the NCAA with Pittsburgh a few seasons ago, he was then considered a lock to be a lottery pick the next season. Some disagreements with coaching decisions and a NCAA transfer to  UNLV. Birch is now entering the NBA draft where he is either a late second round selection of not selected at all. Fortunately for Birch, some are convinced, as they should be, he could help in the low post with his defence. Posting an impressive 3.8 blocks per game this past season, and averaging a double double makes him an intriguing selection for those with late second round choices. While most think Birch needs to work on his offensive game, his defensive game is certainly NBA worthy.

Get to know Khem here:

MELVIN EJIM

Born: March 4th, 1991 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

H. 6 ft 7 inches, 220 lbs

NCAA: Iowa State Cyclones Stats: 18.1 PPG, 8.5 RPG

Position: Shooting guard/small forward

Draft Predictions

Chad Ford (ESPN) 60th, Gary Parrish (CBS): 58th, Matt Moore (CBS) 53rd, NBAdraft.net 57th

Ejim had a very good year at Iowa State including a 48 point, 18 rebound game in early February against TCU. Ejim is a long, athletic forward who has a strong NBA body. He is an explosive leaper, a good rebounder and emerging permineter player. During NBA workouts, Ejim has proven his ability to shot the ball, surprising many NBA teams. Ejim might be crosing his fingers as the end of the draft nears, as only four mock drafts have him even being drafted this year.

Get to know Melvin here:

JORDAN BACHYNSKI

Born: September 6th, 1989 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

H. 7 ft 2 inches, 254 lbs

NCAA: Arizona State Sun Devils Stats: 11.5 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 4.0 BPG

Position: Centre

Draft Predictions

Chard Ford (ESPN): 63rd, NBAdraft.net 81st

Jordan is the eldest player entering the draft for Canada, at 23 years old, most NBA teams would want him to be fully developed. But then again, most players aren’t seven foot two inches, and averaged 4 blocks pre game this season. Backynski will be hard pressed to be drafted this year but with his size, and defensive ability, he could sign as a free agent, or continue playing in Europe.

Get to know Jordan here:

SIM BHULLER

Born: December 2nd, 1992 in North York, Ontario, Canada

H. 7 ft, 5 inches, 350 lbs

NCAA: New Mexico State Aggies: Stats: 10.4 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 3.4 BPG

Position: Centre

Draft Predictions

Chad Ford (ESPN) 60th, NBAdraft.net 88th

I was completely taken back when I saw Chad Ford had Bhullar being drafted at the end of the second round. But size makes a big deal I guess in the end. At 7 foot 5 inches, Sim has the size to play centre in the NBA but the sophomore might have been better off staying another year in school to improve his game. He will find a team most likely in Europe to play for, with his size, there will be numerous teams lacking size who would love to have him join this team next season, unfortunately, none of those will be in the NBA.

Get to know Sim here: