What To Do About Nerlens Noel

By Darreck Kirby
Project Shanks Creative Director

When the Dallas Mavericks sent Justin Anderson, Andrew Bogut, and what should end up being two second round picks to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for a young rim protector in Nerlens Noel, the storyline surrounding the deal was that Dallas had swindled the Sixers front office. Over the remainder of the season, Noel would see action in 22 games for the Mavericks, averaging 8.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, and a block per contest. In those 22 games, he would start just 12 times and continue battling nagging injuries. It wasn’t stellar by any means, but there were flashes of what could be, and for Dallas, that was more than enough.

Feb 25, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks center Nerlens Noel (3) plays in his first game as a Maverick during the second quarter against the New Orleans Pelicans at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

[Read more…]

Law Nation Film Study: Dennis Smith Jr.

Captivated by the immense athletic potential of Dennis Smith Jr., Law Nation breaks down NBA film for the Mavs top pick.

Strengths
Smith is likely the most explosive athlete in the 2017 NBA Draft. He has an elite first step to pair with terrific vertical explosiveness. That, along with his advanced ball-handling ability and terrific footwork in the pick-and-roll, allows him to get separation from opponents with ease. He knows how to use screens, can use that first step to blow by mismatches in isolation and can get out into transition. In all of these cases, Smith can finish above the rim, where his 60.7 field goal percentage in half-court settings around the basket is extremely high for a guard. He’s a confident shooter who can hit shots off the catch.
Smith is also a creative passer, a player who excels at a higher level creating looks for teammates within the flow of the offense rather than out on the break. He can hit teammates with wrap-around passes underneath the basket, kick-out passes on drives or quick looks to open players from a standstill. His 34.2 percent assist rate was top 30 in college basketball, despite his teammates shooting just 33.8 percent from 3-point range in ACC play, which would have been last in the conference.
In terms of the rest of his floor game, it’s worth noting that Smith is a good rebounder, and a pesky defender when he wants to be. He’s good at getting into passing lanes and using his quickness despite length that would be slightly below average for a point guard.

Weaknesses
Size and durability is the primary concern here. At 6-3, 195 pounds, Smith isn’t the biggest guy in the world, and he won’t post elite length measurements to make up for it. He also tended to avoid contact this season, although it’s difficult to judge whether that was a reaction to the injury and a decision out of self-preservation (which, well, I can’t blame him). He’ll need to be willing to use his athleticism to embrace contact in the NBA, where he should be a magnet for fouls after he gets past his initial defender.

Overall Thoughts/Best Fits
Athleticism and the ability to create separation consistently from defenders is the most valuable skill a point guard can have in the modern NBA. Throw in the fact that Smith can also pass it as well as score at all three levels, and it’s hard not to like the upside. He isn’t quite as safe a pick as De’Aaron Fox due to some of the makeup questions, but if he hits, he’s going to be an All-Star because of the ability to get space for himself.

BREAKING: Paul George Traded to Thunder

By Darreck Kirby
Project Shanks Creative Director

In a stunning move just hours before the opening of NBA free agency, the Oklahoma City Thunder made waves in acquiring the 27-year-old superstar. As with any trade, there are at least two outlooks moving forward. So let’s break down this blockbuster piece by piece, shall we?

[Read more…]

D&B Radio Talk Stanley Cup, NBA Finals

After a short hiatus, D&B are back to discuss the recently completed NHL and NBA Playoffs. Click here to give it a listen!

Podcast Shanks – Mavs and Thunder Free Agency

NBA free agency is always one of the more excitement and in many cases, tense times of year. Contenders can be reduced to bottom feeders with the devastating loss of a superstar while other teams who may be on the bubble could surge ahead thanks to a key acquisition. Or, you could just be the damn Warriors and Spurs and sign everybody…

For teams who don’t have that luxury, however, Darreck Kirby and Brennan Scala of Podcast Shanks take a look at the prospects for the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder and discuss how they can try to get back in the thick of contention.

NBA-Free-Agency-2017

Wesley Matthews Returns To Line-Up vs OKC

By Darreck Kirby
Dallas Mavericks Beat Writer

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Minnesota Timberwolves

After missing the past two games with a hip injury, Wesley Matthewws is finally ready to return to the Mavericks lineup tonight vs Oklahoma City. The timing couldn’t be much better as OKC, even without explosive two-guard Victor Oladipo, still boasts the triple-double machine that is Russell Westbrook. And given Yogi Ferrell’s disadvantage in size and athleticism, don’t be surprised if Wes draws the proverbial short stick. Furthermore, with this being the second game of a five-game homestand, Dallas needs a win if it’s going to remain in the hunt for the Western Conference’s 8 seed. Wes Matthews returning, even if not immediately into the starting lineup, should help that cause. [Read more…]

Here’s The Larry King’s Things

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
PSDC Funnyman And Brad Pitt Doppelgänger

I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

Good day to you, friends and neighbors, and here’s hoping this 24 hour rotation of the planet bring you joy, laughter and artificially generated endorphins. As I write this, I’ve been away from home for two weeks, with one more to go. I realize that’s not a terribly long time, but being separated from my family always makes a little crazy. OK, craziER. Shut up, you. [Read more…]

Here’s The Thing – Not From Cleveland? You Can’t Understand. (And That’s Good)

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
PSDC Funnyman And Brad Pitt Doppelgänger

I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

[Read more…]

Here’s The Thing – One Bad Call And Indiana Jones

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
PSDC Funnyman And Brad Pitt Doppelgänger

I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

[Read more…]

Here’s The Thing – KD Is Staying In OKC

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
PSDC Funnyman And Brad Pitt Doppelgänger

I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

So the NBA Free Agency period is just around the corner, pallies, so lets take a look at the biggest name and where he might end up. I should preface this entire episode by stating for the record that my official position remains “The Cavs Are The Champs, So I Don’t Give A Crap,” but let’s go through this exercise anyway, shall we?
See, Here’s The Thing; There’s one big name free agent every year, and this year it’s Kevin Durant. Let me just say, Durant is going nowhere and I can give you five reasons why: Money, Money, Money, Money and (oddly enough) Polar Donuts in Oklahoma City (locals know it). The difference in cold, hard cash that can flow to the Durant estate by signing a one year deal in OKC and then a long term hometown deal next year when the salary cap explodes makes it a virtual certainty that KD will continue to gear up in the Land Rush. He also came within a game of the Finals in a series they should have won (and would have had Draymond been suspended like he should have), so there’s no competitive reason to leave either, unless he’s convinced that he could team with a resurgent Derrick Rose, Melo and Porzingis to give King James and the defending champs a run in the east, and really – are we buying that the Knicks luck could ever run that good? Remembering back to when “Kevin Durant or Greg Oden?” was a thing is a fun exercise in seeing how silly we all are pre-draft in any sport, but take a lesson from that and apply it to “Championship Contender In The West or Possible FEMA Disaster In The East?” Yes, he could go to Golden State as well, but are the Warriors really willing to retool their entire roster? I don’t know, if I were them I wouldn’t, and if I were Durant I wouldn’t either, because I don’t believe it’s that’s much of an upgrade over his current situation, and the pressure to deliver multiple titles if he went to The Bay would be soul-crushing. Stay put. Win. Endorse cowboy boots for millions.

Look, anything can happen and I’m certainly no expert, but when there are literally tens of millions of dollars worth of difference between staying and leaving, my money is on the money being the deciding factor. Kevin Durant stays in Oklahoma. Also, The Cavs Are The Champs, And I Don’t Give A Crap.

Find my Twitter, Facebook Fan Page, comedy schedule and buy my CD all on my website at MiddleAgedMarriedGuy.com. For Project Shanks, I’m Stephen Thomas, and that was The Thing.

HeresTheThingArt

Here’s The Thing – NBA Finals: Pop Quiz

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
PSDC Funnyman And Brad Pitt Doppelgänger

I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

[Read more…]

Here’s The Thing – Mortal Lock Friday Comes Early For The NBA Finals

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
PSDC Funnyman And Brad Pitt Doppelgänger

I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

[Read more…]