Basketball is back! It's been some time but we're bringing back the Basketball Mailbag. Shit, it can be about anything you want - college hoops, NBA, Draft, hypotheticals, not even hoops if you want. We did this every Friday when we had basketball in our lives so we'll bring it back every once in a while.
Alright so I wanted to start with this question specifically with Tyrell Terry announcing he's staying in the NBA Draft. That's a HUGE blow to Stanford, who had a legit chance to be preseason top-10. Yep, Stanford and the top-10 in basketball. Terry was likely going to be on a preseason All-American team, after scoring over 14 per game last year and was a former top-50 recruit. They won 20 games last year and was supposed to return Terry, Oscar De Silva (All-Pac-12 player), Daejon Davis and was going to pair all that with a top-10 recruit in Ziaire Williams. Terry was a borderline pick. Some guys love him in the Draft and can be slotted to go in the late teens to the early second round. It all depends what front office people think of his body type - he's a bit scrawny right now and there are concerns about his size.
Other than that no one will really surprise. This weekend will really dictate the season. Xavier Tillman is supposed to make his decision on Sunday. I guess it'd be surprising if he returns since he's a projected 1st round/early 2nd round pick and already graduated. Luka Garza is going to decide soon, but it won't surprise me either way what he does. The biggest ones for me then are Jared Butler (Baylor) - if he returns Baylor is going to be a consensus top-3 team. Gonzaga is waiting on Corey Kispert and Joel Ayiayi - if they return, they join Baylor and Nova as the consensus top-3 in the preseason. We're still waiting on the Illinois guys too in Ayo and Kofi. They return, I like Illinois to win the Big 10. But the surprises are gone.
The million dollar question because everything I just wrote could be irrelevant. Coaches that I've talked to and the feeling is there's going to be a season, just starting delayed and conference only. It makes sense, it's going to be weird, but I get it. I know we can't do it, but I still want to pitch the idea of doing this in a bubble to guarantee it happens. Like just put the Big East in NYC or whatever, where they have a hotel to themselves and an arena to themselves. Play a round robin style, declare a regular season title, play the Big East Tournament and then go right to the NCAA Tournament. No travel and you can keep testing these guys. Boom, problem solved.
But yeah, I think we're going to get a season. It's just not going to be what we're used to. I don't even care. I just need hoops man.
The goddamn Knicks man. There's a 100% chance we end up outside of the top-3 because we're the Knicks. So let's assume Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman and LaMelo are gone in the top-3. Give me Obi Toppin. He's versatile enough, he's athletic. Let's get freaks with him and Mitchell Robinson. If not him, Tyrese Haliburton would be the guy I want. He's long, he's got good size, he's really damn skilled. He fits what the Knicks need at that lead guard spot and can play alongside RJ, etc. Those would be the top-2 for me after those top-3. I really don't want Avidja, I'm cool not drafting a true big like Okongwu, so give me those two.
It's going to be a Chris Beard team man. They are going to defend their ass off, he'll turn someone into a first round pick and they'll run some high ball screens. I think they are a preseason back end top-10 team. If McClung gets a waiver and is eligible right away that'll be something man. I really like Kyler Edwards and Terrance Shannon, but if McClung can get eligible, that offense becomes more consistent. They have a guy that can go get a bucket, which is key for Beard's offense - whether it was Culver or Keenan Evans, they always had a guy like that. If Santos-Silva or Ntambwe can turn into a better defender and really protect the rim, they jump up a bit to a top-5ish team.
Assuming Saddiq Bey goes in the lottery, we'll rule him out since he's the popular pick. I'll go a bit off the radar with Desmond Bane from TCU. I think he's a dude who can find a role and stick. He's 6'6", shot 44% from three this past year (35th in the country). He's a decent defender. He's the type of dude who can be the 8th man for a decade and I'll never bat an eye. He's also a better playmaker from the wing than he typically gets credit for. Other picks would be someone like Peyton Pritchard, Grant Riller or Skyler Mays.
Yeah, it's gotta be coming. Everyone in the country is getting cleared for a waiver and it makes no sense why Sarr doesn't have one yet or why he wouldn't get one. From what I've gathered Wake is cool letting him accept one and he left with Danny Manning getting fired. It makes sense to me that he would be a typical waiver approval. If not you will hear me bitch and moan more than ever.
The answer is always the Celtics. Fuck the Celtics.