Lance Stephenson will be missed by the Indiana Pacers next season

Stephenson is capable of becoming the leagues greatest second round pick of all time. He gets paid though like the last guy on the bench. Stephenson is pretty much playing for free and for Larry Bird to complain about Stephenson doesn’t make sense.

I don’t think Bird understands how good of a player Lance Stephenson really is. Sure, Stephenson made himself a public target after hitting Lebron James in the chin and blowing in his ear, but Bird criticizing him I think was uncalled for. Without Stephenson, the Pacers lose to the Atlanta Hawks in the first round.

People have been underestimating Stephenson his entire life. He quickly became one of my favorite players of all time when I heard about him in Sports Illustrated as a freshman. He is the same age as me so it gave me someone to follow. He was at the same high school that Stephon Marbury and Sebastian Telfair went to. Telfair is a guy who I really admired because he jumped straight to the NBA from high school and was featured in a book and a movie.

Stephenson was the top player in his class. Then he got in trouble and lost all of his scholarships. He looked primed to attend Kansas before that offer was pulled. He went to Cincinnati for one year before jumping to the NBA. He missed time in college and didn’t put up flashy numbers. He ended up falling to the second round which pretty much means you don’t really have much of a chance to be successful in the NBA.

He had to earn every single second of playing time. He is a big part of this team and his play isn’t getting the credit it deserves. Paul George just said, “I don’t know” when he was asked if he wanted Stephenson back on the team next year. George will eat his words, I guarantee it.

The Lance Stephenson versus Paul George rivalry will be a great one because Stephenson will dominate it. Stephenson will get way better. George on the other hand is about to lose pretty much his only weapon. Have fun with that. Between Stephenson and Lebron, I don’t think George will ever get to the NBA Finals.

Kevin Durant would be on the Bulls if David Stern didn’t change the high school to the NBA rule

The worst rule change in sports history has to be when David Stern announced the NBA would no longer accept high school basketball players to go straight to the NBA.

The number two high school sophomore in the country Harry Giles in the grey shirt will have to attend college (Thomas Frey)

The number two high school sophomore in the country Harry Giles in the grey shirt will have to attend college
(Thomas Frey)

The first class of high school players that weren’t allowed to the NBA was the Greg Oden and Kevin Durant class. Oden would have been number one pick to the Toronto Raptors and probably wouldn’t be this injured. The Chicago Bulls had the second pick which they traded to Portland. Lets assume that Chicago hadn’t traded that pick, because frankly, if Durant were available they wouldn’t have traded most likely. Chicago fans, your team had some decent guys, adding Durant would have meant championships. What a perfect place for Michael Jordan’s heir to play.

The 2004 and 2005 McDonald’s All American games were great. The practices of those years were more competitive then the 2006-2013 McDonald’s games combined. Their was so much on the line. Stern pretty much made the McDonald’s game pointless to watch. It is a great honor to be named a McDonald’s All American, but when the NBA isn’t on the line, it isn’t as important. It used to be the best.

I salute players like Brandon Jennings, Jeremy Tyler and Latavious Williams. Instead of going to college and making the greedy NCAA tons of money in exchange for pretty much nothing, they turned professional. Jennings and Tyler went to Europe while Williams played in the development league.

Why should a player risk millions of dollars and go to college? Lets take a look at some former rivals.com number one rated high school players.

Josh Selby was the number one prospect in 2010. He had eligibility issues and had to miss part of the season at Kansas. Then when he was able to play in mid-season he was out of the mix and could never get in the groove. He then declared for the draft. Instead of being a high pick out of high school and being richer then he could have ever imagined, he had to waste a year of his life in college and has never made more then a million dollars in a season.

Shabazz Muhammad exited high school as not only the top player of his class, but one of the best high school players in history. He had to miss time like Selby and had trouble in college. Muhammad would have been the first pick in the draft out of high school. After a year at UCLA he still was a first round pick, but he wasn’t a top ten pick.

I believe that Selby and Muhammad would be NBA stars if they didn’t have to go to college.

Their are many players who were ranked as top ten high school players that couldn’t go to the NBA and lost their draft stock in college.

Imagine if you knew you were going to make a minimum of ten million dollars in the NBA, would you want to take college classes?

One of the rarest feats in basketball

Not many active NBA players have won both a NCAA and NBA championship. Here they are.

Jason Terry helped lead Arizona to a championship in 1997. After being drafted tenth overall, he had an alright career, then he got to Dallas and picked up a championship ring in the 2011 NBA Finals.

Nazr Mohammed helped take Kentucky to two NCAA championships in 1996 and 1998. He has been all over the NBA and won an NBA championship with the San Antonio Spurs in 2005.

Richard Hamilton played magnificent for UCONN and for Detroit. In 1999, UCONN beat Duke in the finals to pick up the title. Hamilton was then drafted seventh overall and he hit his stride with the Detroit Pistons and helped lead them to the 2004 NBA championship.

Shane Battier was apart of the Duke team that lost to Hamilton and UCONN. Battier stayed at Duke and picked up a championship in 2001. He was then drafted eighth overall and had an okay NBA career. He eventually won back to back championships as a part of the Miami Heat. Even though he came off the bench, he was a key part of the team.

Corey Brewer helped Florida win back to back national championships in 2006 and 2007.  He starred with Joakim Noah and Al Holford, while Taurean Green and Lee Humphrey were the other Florida starters. Brewer was also a teammate of Jason Terry on the Mavericks when they were champions in 2011.

Mario Chalmers left Kansas right after he won the national championship. Chalmers hit a huge three that is one of the greatest plays in college basketball history. Without his shot, Kansas doesn’t win the game. He was a second round pick and is the point guard of the Miami Heat. Even though Lebron James and Dwayne Wade are on the team, Chalmers had his part in the last two NBA championships.

This is a rare list to be on.

 

 

5 NBA players who I thought would be way better

Over the years, I have thought certain NBA top ten draft picks would be team changing stars. Here are five that I was wrong about.

When the Portland Trail Blazers drafted Martell Webster sixth overall in 2005, I thought he would be the franchise savior. In the two drafts before that, guys like Lebron James, Dwight Howard and Josh Smith showed that high school basketball players could be good. But I was wrong. He is still in the NBA and he isn’t terrible, but for a player drafted that high, I thought he would do more. He has averaged just over nine points per game throughout his career.

Adam Morrison of Gonzaga is next on my list. Outside of J.J. Redick, I haven’t seen a better college basketball player. I wasn’t the only one who thought he was great. He was compared to Larry Bird and the Charlotte Bobcats drafted him third overall. He averaged 7.5 points per game in his NBA career and is presently an assistant coach for his alma mater.

Michael Beasley had a very good freshmen season at Kansas State. The Miami Heat drafted him second overall. He has averaged 13.7 points per game throughout his career. That is okay, but I thought he was going to be one of the greatest players in NBA History.

Each of my final two disappointments were from the 2009 NBA Draft. Hasheem Thabeet, is 7’3 and he had a very successful career at UCONN. Memphis thought he could turn them around and they selected him second overall. It never worked out. Thabeet has bounced from team to team and has only averaged 2.2 points per game in his career.

Jonny Flynn is one of my favorite college basketball players. He was so much fun to watch at Syracuse. I didn’t think there could be anyway that he wouldn’t be a great NBA player. The Minnesota Timberwolves found out the hard way when they took him sixth overall. He isn’t in the NBA right now and he averaged 9.2 points per game in his career.

There are other players who I was also wrong about like Josh Childress, Tyrus Thomas and Shelden Williams, but those five are the most shocking to me.

Top 10 High School Draft Picks from 1995-2001

From 1995 until 2005, 12 high schoolers were drafted in the top ten of the NBA Draft. Some became legends, while most are now forgotten.

Kevin Garnett was the first player since 1975 to go straight to the NBA out of high school. The Minnesota Timberwolves rolled the dice and took him fifth overall in the 1995 NBA Draft. It was a great choice. He made Minnesota a good team every year he was there. After Minnesota, Garnett went to Boston where he won an NBA Title. He is currently on the Nets and he has averaged 18.8 points per game in his career. Other highlights from the future hall of famer include being a 15 time All-Star, the 2004 NBA MVP and a gold medalist in the 2000 Olympics.

The next high schooler to go in the top ten was Darius Miles who went third overall to the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2000 NBA Draft. Miles had an average career where he bounced around between the Clippers, Cavaliers, Blazers and Grizzlies. With an average of 10.1 points per game, Miles is generally known as a draft bust.

In 2001, four high schoolers were drafted in the top ten and it started with number one overall pick, Kwame Brown who was drafted by the Washington Wizards. Brown is known as one of the worst number one picks of all time. Between the Wizards, Lakers, Grizzlies, Pistons, Bobcats, Warriors and 76ers, Brown only averaged 6.6 points per game. 

Tyson Chandler was drafted second overall, right behind Brown. Starting with the Bulls, Chandler has played on five teams and is currently with the New York Knicks. When Chandler was the starting center on the Dallas Mavericks they won an NBA championship. Chandler has also won an Olympic gold medal. In the NBA, Chandler has averaged 8.7 points and 9 rebounds per game.

The fourth overall pick, Eddy Curry also went to the Bulls. Curry was compared to Shaq. Many people called Chicago, ‘The Baby Bulls’, because Chandler and Curry both were straight from high school. They had very high expectations. Finally in 2005, the Bulls went to the playoffs, but Curry was sidelined because of an irregular heartbeat right before the playoffs. That Bulls team was fun to watch, but it was done. In the 2006-2007 season with the Knicks, Curry averaged a career high 19.5 points per game. He battled injuries his whole career but was able to average a respectable 12.9 points per game in his career and he even won a championship with the Miami Heat. 

Cleveland selected Dasagna Diop eighth overall. Diop was expected to develop into a great player but it never happened. He averaged only 2 points per game in a career where he only got 93 starts with four different teams.