Barstool Basketball Mailbag: LeBron's Free Agency, Mavericks Draft Pick, UConn Expectations & More


With the college basketball season ‘over’ we’re going to expand the mailbag to a little bit of everything. We’re still going to run this every Friday like we do during the season, but we’ll be talking about college hoops, transfers, NBA Draft, NBA and recruiting questions. Reminder you can always submit questions on Twitter @barstoolreags

This is a complete guess because quite frankly no one knows. But, it was reported by Marc Stein that it seems like the Sixers have increased their chances to get him. Now, we don’t know what the growing confidence really is and by that I mean are they going from 1% to 10% or 10% to 40%? Part of the reason as to why there’s so much LeBron to Philly talk is Ben Simmons. They’ve talked before about how LeBron is a mentor to him and they share an agent. LeBron however is an absolute freak and I truly believe could be MVP for the next 7 seasons and I wouldn’t be surprised. He’s simply not slowing down. That said, he’s not going to go to a rebuild, which is why Cleveland is a bit intriguing to stay at. He left his hometown team once to all the backlash. He may not want to deal with that again. Plus, throw in the fact they could land someone like a Michael Porter or Trae Young or Mo Bamba and he may want to stick around with that talent. There are a ton of moving parts here, but I’ll put the odds at the following:

1. Cleveland – 40%
2. Philadelphia – 30%
3. Houston – 15%
4. Field – 15%

UConn fans are probably going to be mad that I’m not saying title here, but I don’t think that’s a reasonable expectation. Remember, Hurley is a good coach but it’s not like he’s been WILDLY successful, especially in March. I think reasonable expectations for the 5 year plan (shout out Big Daddy) would be consistently finish top-3 in the AAC, make the second weekend twice of the NCAA Tournament and win 2 AAC Tournaments. I don’t think that’s necessarily outrageous, especially with the league kind of shifting. Wichita will be rebuilding. Cincinnati should still be the favorites next year, but after that who knows. UCF should be decent next year, but then there’s a likely drop off. Next year, I think you have to look at making the NCAA Tournament. That’s the realistic expectation. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 10 seed, you have to get back to the NCAA Tournament, especially with Jalen Adams returning. If Adams is truly as talented as he’s talked about, you now have a coach that won’t run one of the most simplistic and terrible offensive schemes on the sidelines, you have to make a run there. Again, the AAC really only has two teams right now that you can pencil in at the top. That’s Cincinnati and UCF – assuming everyone stays healthy.

I actually really like the fit of Wooten and Bol together. That’s mostly due to the fact Bol can step out and shoot while Wooten is one of the better interior defenders. That allows you to still stay spread offensively and you have that size on the defensive side of the ball. I also think Oregon is going to be a good team. I was bullish on them this year and that was mostly due to Troy Brown, which obviously didn’t work out as planned, but this team has better roster fit. You return an experienced point guard in Pritchard. You have that one-two combo on the interior. But, you also add Louis King, who is one of the more underrated players in the class. The question will be can Altman get these guys to figure out quickly? That was part of the problem last year. They always looked a bit off playing together as you had a combo of transfers, Brown and Pritchard. I think this is a top-25 team and NCAA Tournament team though.


Marvin. Bagley. Well, assuming they don’t get the top pick and then it’s Deandre Ayton. The thing here is going to be pairing one of these elite athletic bigs with Dennis Smith Jr., especially in Rick Carlisle’s pick and roll heavy offense. The Mavericks currently have the No. 3 odds to get the top pick, so assuming they stay in the top-3 Bagley should still be there. That has to be the pick. Remember, they are also going to lose Nerlens Noel this offseason – granted it was a terrible year for him – but you’re still losing that young, big that people expected to fill this role. Bagley doesn’t bring the defense that you thought you were getting with Noel, but he brings a way more polished offensive game. I’d say the Mavs big board should be:

1. Deandre Ayton
2. Marvin Bagley
3. Mo Bamba
4. Jaren Jackson Jr.

So here are my comps and then we’ll get into it. Note, there are never perfect comps, but this is what I have

Mikal Bridges – Otto Porter/Trevor Ariza
Bridges is sort of a hybrid between these guys. He’s a way better shooter than Porter was coming out of college, but Porter can guard fours a bit better than Mikal. At the same time Bridges can slide over to the one spot defensively better than these two. He has the same build as someone like Ariza and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him turn into this sort of player, but even better. One thing to remember is these guys are also doing what their teams are asking them to. I think Porter is a better 1v1 scorer than Bridges, but he’s not asked to do that on the Wizards.

Jalen Brunson – Andre Miller/Jameer Nelson
Brunson just has the consistency with these guys. Now, I think his career arc is more Chris Duhon than Miller/Nelson, but that’s who his game resembles. He has that old man, back you down, play physical type set that Miller made famous coming out of Utah and in early NBA career. Then with Nelson, it’s the mid range and threes off the bounce. They both have a similar ability with ball handling and their moves leading up to jumpers.
Donte DiVincenzo – JR Smith
This is one that will draw some eyes, mostly because it’s a cross-racial one, but I figured calling DiVincenzo, Michael Jordan would just be repetitive. That said, he has some JR in him in the sense that they are both athletic, especially younger JR. They both are guys that like to shoot off the bounce as Donte is actually a better off dribble shooter than catch and shoot. They both don’t have great handles to be the lead guard, but enough to be a secondary ball handler. They both like to gamble a bit defensively, especially off ball. On ball they can get in your shorts but are inconsistent.
Omari Spellman – Ryan Anderson
Another weird comparison to make is Spellman. To me he has that Ryan Anderson ability to stretch the floor with good size at 6’10″* (pending measurements at combine/workouts). He’s a great rebounder and can protect the rim. However, he struggles guarding on the perimeter. That’s where I think Anderson might be the best comparison for him. Now, Anderson can’t really protect the rim, but he’s a career 5 rebounds per game guy and 38% shooter from three. 


No, I don’t they leave if I’m guessing. I’m assuming both are gathering information to see what they need to improve. As for contend. Contend for what is the better question. I don’t think they’ll contend for a national title, but I think they can contend for the Big 10 title and contend in the second weekend. Again, I think the core of Cowan/Huerter/Fernando plus the incoming recruiting class is damn good. There’s no reason for this team to finish outside the top-3 in the Big 10, assuming Huerter and Fernando do come back.