Final Standings: 14-13-7 (W-L-D), 49 pts, +3 GD, 6th in the West In one word, the 2019 Portland Timbers season was draining. It was an endurance test for the players. It was an endurance test for even the most ardent supporters. And it was certainly an endurance test for a Front Office that invested serious capital into organizational infrastructure. Bookended by snowy affairs in the Rocky Mountains, a year filled with tantalizing potential melted away, leaving a passionate (some might say capricious) fanbase searching for explanations. So, what went wrong? Well, it was always going to be an uphill battle from the opening kick. Starting with the coldest game in MLS history in Colorado, the Timbers faced a daunting 12-match road trip to accommodate the impressive renovations to Providence Park’s East stand. After accumulating 1 pt from the first six matches, including blow out losses to both FC Cincinnati (!) and then-winless San Jose, the fanbase collectively smashed the panic button entering a match against ex-coach Caleb Porter and his Columbus Crew. However, for the next few months, we witnessed a different team and a different mentality. Three consecutive quality victories against Columbus, Toronto, and RSL brought the team back from the abyss. And a subsequent win against upstart Philadelphia saw Portland finish its road marathon at a respectable 14 points. Suddenly, the narrative flipped. Pundits consistently listed the Timbers at the top of their power rankings, and with 17 of the final 22 matches at one of the best home-field advantages in MLS, it seemed the positive momentum would prevail indefinitely. More importantly though, the Timbers had found their final piece to the puzzle: an elite, ruthless, and fiery DP striker in Brian Fernandez. Fresh off an impressive campaign with Necaxa in Liga MX, the Argentine became the first player in history to score in five consecutive regular-season games to open an MLS career. His clinicality and intensity raised the level of the squad, leading Steve Clark to don the classic Michael Myers mask from Halloween, declaring Providence Park as a “House of Horrors” for the opponent. But as it turned out, the team never truly reacclimated to the friendly confines of its home pitch. After four months (incl. preseason) away from home, the squad’s lethal counter-attacking style was far more suited for road matches which provided no impetus to play attractive soccer. Away victories at elite opponents including NYCFC, Seattle, and LAFC provided a stark contrast to disheartening home performances against the likes of Colorado, Orlando, and 10-man Chicago. And soon, the atmosphere off-the-field began to match the team’s sudden struggles on the pitch. Political viewpoints aside, the Iron Front protests and Diego Valeri’s contract impasse ignited an already contentious relationship between the Timbers Army and FO. Meanwhile, as the squad racked up disappointing home results due to uninspired offensive play, home attendance began to waver more so than years past. While the home sell-out streak remains to this day, the increased number of empty seats in Providence Park was a pretty blunt indication of increased apathy towards the organization. And then, there was the cherry on top. After missing consecutive matches due to a reported “stomach bug,” it became pretty clear Brian Fernandez was not the same player he was in the early summer. With a complicated and somber family history, Fernandez had struggled with substance abuse issues in the past but seemed to be on the path to full recovery during recent years. However, in October, Fernandez entered the league’s Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program, and just as his story arc in green-and-gold faded to black, the Timbers season finished with a whimper. Jefferson Savarino’s 87th-minute goal in snowy Utah knocked the Timbers out of Cup contention. Eleven months following an exciting run to MLS Cup, Portland entered the 2020 offseason weary, drained, and searching for a new beginning.
Giovanni Savarese I expected 2019 to provide more clarity on Giovanni Savarese’s coaching aptitude, but as I sit here one year later, I’m still left with more questions than answers. Gio’s passion and fervor was a refreshing juxtaposition to Caleb Porter’s often smug demeanor, but his far more conservative style still ruffles the feathers of fans who yearn for the days of “Porterball.” While Savarese implemented a high-pressing, dynamic, and open style during his time at the Cosmos, he has yet to find similar success doing so in the Rose City. The past two seasons have exhibited nearly the same progression: start the season trying to play pressing-style soccer, get beat badly, and then resort to a conservative, counter-attacking approach. The truth of the matter is the conservative style fits the Portland Timbers. When the defense is solid, Diego Valeri and Sebastian Blanco are talented enough to win the game on the counter by themselves. However, this tactical inflexibility is essentially the sole on-field contributor for why the team struggled so mightily down the stretch. When teams packed it in and eliminated the possibility of counter-attacks, Portland could not break down the opposition, resorted to launching an MLS record number of crosses, and got scorched on counters going the other way. A taste of their own medicine if you will. In 2020, Savarese has no excuse. There’s no road trip to start the season, he has a loaded arsenal of complimentary attacking weapons, and now it’s abundantly clear the Timbers must learn how to control games from the front foot. An identity is useful, but flexibility is a requirement to be great. The club wants to (has to) win now, and they’ve invested significantly into personnel and infrastructure to do so. Now, it’s up to Savarese to lead the team to silverware.
Brian Fernandez (ST): This one hurts. There are no two ways about it. Fernandez truly convinced GM Gavin Wilkinson and TD Ned Grabavoy that he was past his struggles, but unfortunately, it didn’t turn out to be the case. As Wilkinson stated in The Athletic, “if we could go back and do it again, we wouldn’t have done it,” adding “what I will say is the word fraud exists for a reason.” Rumors suggest Necaxa covered up a failed drug test, and MLS is currently launching a lawsuit to help the club recoup the transfer fee. While Wilkinson suggests Fernandez was a bust, the truth is he scored 15 goals in ~25 games in all comps, showing a ruthlessness in front of goal that rivaled the Martinez’s and Ruidiaz’s of the league. As people who have met him can attest, he’s a vibrant and kind individual regardless of the fact he continues to face difficult obstacles off the field. It's just such a disappointment that it didn’t all come together, and I pray for his health and safety. Zarek Valentin (RB): This one hurts too. Zarek was a staple of the community, someone who embraced Portland as his home, and was as approachable as any professional athlete. With initiatives like wearing a rainbow ribbon in his hair to fundraise for homeless LGBT+ youth, Zarek was an ideal steward for the club and community. With our lack of fullback depth, leaving him unprotected in the expansion draft was far from a popular decision - one that strained an already frayed relationship between the Front Office and some fans. That said, as amazing as Zarek is, his lack of athleticism was starting to catch up to him. He even admitted some struggles down the stretch, and as more talented/athletic wingers enter the league, his minutes might soon reflect it. Zarek’s versatility, eccentricity, and civic involvement will certainly be missed though. Houston, you’ve got a great dude. Claude Dielna (CB): The most puzzling move of 2019, it didn’t take an acute observer to recognize that Dielna struggled in MLS. Wilkinson and Grabavoy took a one-year flier on Dielna to be the 4th-stringer, and the outcome was fairly predictable. He possesses a silky left foot which allows him to pick sharp passes out of the back, but he can’t run, can’t jump, and can’t defend 1v1. All of those attributes are pretty essential requirements for playing CB in any league, so it’s no surprise to see the organization not renew his contract. In the end, I wouldn’t suggest Dielna self-immolated like many horrific Timbers CBs of yesteryear (see McKenzie, Raushawn), but I highly doubt anyone will be pining for his return. Foster Langsdorf (ST): Langsdorf may be used as an example of a Homegrown the Timbers failed to move through the ranks, but letting him go makes sense (unfortunately.) In a 2019 season essential for his development, he failed to make any significant impact at the USL level, and at 24, he would’ve entered the 2020 campaign in the exact spot he did the previous two seasons. Despite some clever finishes in the 2018 USL season, he’s not a legitimate option for the first team in this day in age - especially when similarly-aged strikers Felipe Mora, Jaroslaw Niezgoda, and Jeremy Ebobisse boast far more developed skillsets. Modou Jadama (CB/RB): Jadama made two total appearances for the first team over two seasons, including one start at RB at Montreal in 2019. To be frank, he didn’t particularly shine as an MLS-caliber player during that time, so his opportunity to cement himself in the organization’s plans came and went. Now at Atlanta United 2, I think he’ll be a good fit for a full-time USL position, although we probably could have used CB depth with Bill Tuiloma’s injury. Kendall McIntosh (GK): McIntosh was an undersized goalkeeper whose frame and athleticism is reminiscent of the likes of Nick Rimando. For the most part, he was a career T2 netminder that was far too raw in some areas to mount a challenge against experienced keepers like Jeff Attinella and Steve Clark. Now a member of the Red Bulls via the Re-Entry Draft, I doubt McIntosh finds many more minutes outside of the USL, but he seemed like a good dude and we all wish him the best.
So, where does that leave us for the 2020 season? Well, pretty close to the same spot we found ourselves last year. In the preceding two seasons, it was clear the Timbers possessed enough talent to capture silverware, yet surpassing the final hurdle proved to be too much. As a result, continuity in terms of roster management remains among the league’s most stable. Ultimately, Portland took the field March 3 in Colorado with 10 of the 11 starters from MLS Cup the previous December, and this season, the only departure considered a surefire starter was Brian Fernandez. However, the main difference in 2020 comes down to the acquisitions. The Timbers FO utilized the abnormally long break to load up with an arsenal of talent, providing a stark divergence from the quiet transfer window in 2019. As much as I want to compliment the FO for its hard work this offseason, acquiring fresh blood was essential. Key pieces of the core including Larrys Mabiala, Diego Chara, Sebastian Blanco, and Diego Valeri are all exiting their prime window, and the Timbers must capitalize before that window slams shut. Consequently, four of the five names you’ll see listed in the acquisitions section below were brought in to have an immediate impact and elevate an already talented squad. As a result, in terms of pure on-paper talent, this is a Top 5 caliber MLS team. Whether Savarese can coalesce that talent into a functioning, dynamic, and successful unit is an entirely different story however. It honestly feels like a boom-or-bust type season, and I’m worried about how they’ll navigate the natural roller-coaster swings that MLS’s parity generates. So, I’ll leave you with this: if the Timbers figure out how to maintain defensive structure without resorting to a conservative shell, they’ll be one of the best teams in the league. If not, all bets are off.
Jarosław Niezgoda (ST): The Polish DP doesn’t have to single-handedly replace Brian Fernandez’s goal contributions, but make no mistake about it, the Timbers brought Niezgoda in to make an immediate and profound impact on the scoresheet. At only 24, Jarek arrives with a high pedigree having notched double-digit goals in multiple seasons for one of Poland’s powerhouses in Legia Warsaw. Ultimately, it makes sense European clubs like Bordeaux and Torino were sniffing around the striker, as he’s quite mobile for his size, can finish well with both feet, and is clever with his movements inside the box. And say what you will about the Ekstraklasa, it has a strange knack for producing efficient goalscorers, including Niezgoda’s Legia predecessor Nemanja Nikolic. However, there is a massive catch: Niezgoda has struggled with injuries throughout his career. In a league famous for physical play, and on a team that has experienced its fair share of injury-riddled seasons, Jarek’s fitness is a legitimate concern. While his congenital heart issues seem to be held in check, Legia fans are quick to mention “he's made of glass, and it's hard to keep him in shape for the whole season.” The Timbers’ physio staff will have their work cut out for them to keep Niezgoda on the pitch and scoring goals. Note: Niezgoda has yet to feature in preseason due to the recovery timeline from a heart ablation procedure during his medical. We likely won’t see him in the XI for the first few weeks of 2020. Felipe Mora (ST): Niezgoda’s injury-checkered past is an important factor for why Mora’s arrival is such a critical addition. The 26-year-old Chilean seemingly fell into the Timbers lap in a series of fortuitous circumstances, as they acquired him on a TAM loan deal from Pumas in Liga MX. Normally, Mora would be a DP caliber acquisition, and in fact, he was considered a serious target for the final DP slot last year before the club opted for Fernandez. However, after falling out of favor, Pumas were willing to let him go in a manner that accommodated Portland’s limited remaining budget space. Mora provides a divergent style from Niezgoda’s channel-running and Ebobisse’s hold-up ability. He operates on a true poacher’s instinct, and his industrious approach will provide a complementary presence to any of the other strikers. Dario Župarić (CB): If there’s one offseason acquisition that is more critical to the team's success than the others, Dario Župarić is that guy. Throughout the Timbers MLS history, CB has easily been their most troublesome spot, and they’ve yet to replace Liam Ridgewell’s contributions since his departure last year. Say what you will about Liam’s off-the-field persona: his magnetism, leadership, organizational skills, and distribution were undoubtedly influential to the club’s performance. Župarić, for lack of a better statement, is essentially the true Ridgewell replacement. At 27-years-old, the Croatian arrives with 90+ matches under his belt at Pescara in Italy and Rijeka in Croatia, a club that has already produced productive MLS players like Héber and Damir Kreilach. Early reports in training regard him as “smooth and confident,” and even if that confidence has gotten the better of him occasionally, those characteristics exemplify why Gio had never received “more messages from friends saying you’ve brought in a very good player.” In the end though, the pressure is on Dario to perform on the pitch. MLS athleticism poses a unique challenge, and there’s little flexibility to compensate for any struggles. His adjustment to MLS must be quick. Yimmi Chara (RM): Recognize the last name? In a courtship that has lasted as long as the Timbers MLS era itself, Wilkinson finally brought the youngest Chara brother to the Rose City. Acquired as a DP from Atletico Mineiro, there is concern about whether Yimmi’s G+A output will justify the reported $6 million transfer fee. Throughout his career, he’s never been the type of player to light up the scoresheet, but it’s difficult to dispossess him and he provides lightning-quick pace that this roster lacks. With multiple attacking options, I honestly don’t anticipate much pressure to fill the stat sheet, and his familial connection to the organization should facilitate a more seamless transition. Plus, it’s difficult enough for the opposition to face one Chara - it’ll certainly be a pain in the ass to confront two. Blake Bodily (LM): The HG left-footer is a fairly highly-regarded prospect coming out of the Pac-12, and he showed flashes of quality during his time at T2 a few years ago. With the depth on the wings, I can’t imagine he’ll see much of any first-team minutes. I could be wrong, especially if things go south for any reason, but let’s revisit this signing a year or two from now.
A word on everyone else:
Goalkeepers: Steve Clark (GK): Without a doubt, Clark was the surprise player of 2019. Boasting the highest save percentage and second-lowest GAA in the league, Clark made numerous highlight-reel saves after taking over for Jeff Attinella in late April. While the occasional mental lapse defined much of his career up to this point, the 33-year-old was nearly flawless in all phases of play last season. However, there’s legitimate concern that this outstanding form is not replicable throughout the next campaign. After Attinella’s regression to the mean following a career year, one can understand why the Front Office might have been apprehensive to give him a sizable pay raise - even if his performances warranted it. That said, Clark’s got the new deal in his pocket and will certainly be the starter opening day vs Minnesota. Jeff Attinella (GK): As highlighted above, few Timbers had a more ill-fated 2019 campaign than Jeff Attinella. After a torrid 2018 season, Attinella’s performances were marred by poor decision after poor decision until his year concluded with season-ending shoulder surgery. You have to feel for the guy too, as for the first time in his career, he entered an MLS regular season as the unquestioned starter. We’ll see how he recovers from the shoulder injury, but if Clark’s consistency remains and Aljaž Ivačič shows promise, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Timbers move him while he still has some value. Aljaž Ivačič (GK): If there’s a Timber who had a more disastrous 2019 than Jeff Attinella though, it’s probably Aljaž Ivačič. The 26-year-old Slovenian was acquired last offseason to be the goalkeeper of the future, but a significant leg surgery last February took him out of team activities for most of the year. When he did return with T2 in late summer, things did not look great to say the least. It is undoubtedly difficult to adapt to a new country, but Ivačič’s struggles were worryingly apparent. Most of his goals conceded for T2 looked similar to this, where he was either in the wrong position, extremely hesitant to come off his line, or strikingly late to react to the opponent. These are fundamental issues that can hopefully be chalked up to rust and then addressed with a full preseason. If not, Aljaž might go down as one of the worst signings in club history. Defenders: Jorge Moreira (RB): Moreira possesses the talent to be the best RB in the league, but sporadically found himself a liability last season. After years spent with Argentine powerhouse River Plate, the 30-year-old Paraguayan was naturally inclined to push up the pitch since his teams had often dominated the game’s flow. As a result, the Timbers’ conservative style and league’s athleticism caught him off guard, as he had an unfortunate propensity to be out of position early in 2019. However, he mostly adjusted over the course of the year, and his power, crossing ability, and dynamism are crucial to the team.Even with the occasional poor clearance, Moreira is a lockdown starter and few RBs in MLS have his offensive weaponry and pedigree. His loan only lasts until June 30 however, though I’d fully expect the Front Office to lock him down on a permanent deal. Update: the Timbers right-side defense has been tragic this preseason, and much of that has to do with Moreira’s play. He’ll have to re-adjust or else he’ll revert back to being a liability again Larrys Mabiala (CB): With his pearly-white smile, cool demeanor, and commanding aerial ability, the big French-Congolese CB is one of the most respected players in the Timbers’ locker room. In a position that is a perennial revolving door of underperforming wreckage, Mabiala has been the one “written-in-ink” starter since mid-2017, and his veteran savvy is integral to the squad’s success. But at age 32, Larrys’ value is not embodied by his individual qualities but more so the partnership he forms with Župarić. His physical presence will always be vital to an otherwise undersized team, however, he lacks the turn of pace and distribution ability that would place him among the elite CBs in MLS. As a result, Larrys and Dario must discover how to paper over each other’s weaknesses by performing to their unique capabilities: Župarić covers ground well and can initiate attacking movements while Mabiala handles physical strikers and cleans up loose balls in the 18. In the end, his consistency will be as influential as any player on the roster. If for any reason he performs below the norm, there is simply not enough quality depth behind him to overcome it. Bill Tuiloma (CB): Tuiloma is not spectacular by any means, but he’s an ideal player to provide sporadic minutes. The 24-year-old Kiwi is cheap, versatile, and possesses enough technical quality to score the odd banger. It’s a shame a calf injury will rule him out for the next few weeks, as the team could use his flexibility for spot duty at CB, RB, and even defensive midfield. If he recovers fully and Župarić struggles to adapt to the league’s athleticism, expect him to mount a challenge for starting minutes. Julio Cascante (CB): The Costa Rican CB is best described as a high-ceiling, low-floor player whose ceiling continues to lower year after year. As far as backup CBs go, he’s probably adequate, but the guy went from a fringe national-teamer to virtually off-the-radar since his arrival in Portland. Though his height and build forge a formidable aerial presence, he’s yet to resolve occasional mental lapses and improve his subpar distribution. But Julio’s most maddening characteristic is his inconsistency. Perhaps the best thing you can say about a Cascante performance is that you didn’t notice him. Unfortunately, he tends to stick out for all the wrong reasons. Maybe a little more familiarity with the league will help the 26-year-old raise his level in 2020. I’m not exceedingly hopeful though. Jorge Villafaña (LB): El Sueño hasn’t been the same player since his departure to Santos Laguna after MLS Cup 2015. Still an excellent crosser, Villafaña really struggled with pacey wingers towards the beginning of the season, although there are some whispers he was often gutting through minor knocks. Even with an uptick of form over the course of the campaign, there is legitimate concern he’s lost a step and will be a liability in the backline. I love the man as much as the next guy, but I’d say the uneasiness is valid. Let’s hope he proves us all wrong. Marco Farfan (LB): The lack of confidence in Villafaña would be less of an issue if Zarek Valentin were still suiting up in the green-and-gold because Marco Farfan is as fragile as a potato chip. The HG LB is not the most athletic individual, but his technical quality is probably proficient enough to play at this level. Farfan still has to evolve as a 1v1 defender, though he’ll certainly get looks this year if he can manage to stay healthy. Note: We still need a backup RB. It could be former NYRB, IMFC, and Dynamo player Chris Duvall. 20-year-old Venezuelan Pablo Bonilla is another option, but he’s at T2 for the meantime. Midfielders: Diego Valeri (CAM): When all is said and done, I hope MLS fans and media take a moment to appreciate just how good Diego Valeri was. Since 2015, we’ve witnessed impressive names take home the Landon Donovan MVP award including Giovinco, Villa, Josef, and Vela. Sandwiched in between those names you’ll find Diego Valeri. Only the ninth MLS player to reach the elusive 70G, 70A Club, Valeri took the Timbers from a hapless expansion side to a perennial playoff contender. And from my admittedly biased perspective, I don’t think he gets enough credit for doing so. But don’t take it from me, take it from Albert Rusnak, who accurately captures the true essence of the Maestro in this interview. For the miracles performed on the pitch, his importance and presence in the community are just as admirable. However, times are changing for Valeri, and it’s best exemplified by the fact we almost lost him over a contract dispute this offseason. By taking a TAM deal, Diego not only affirmed his commitment to the organization but allowed them to make moves to best ensure he doesn’t retire with only a single major MLS title to his name. I’d expect the Timbers staff to exercise more load management with him this campaign, but by no means does that change his status as a pillar of the club and community. Build the statue. Sebastian Blanco (LM/RM): Sebastian Blanco is one of those guys who never seems to score a bad goal. The fiery Argentine may not be the face of the franchise off the pitch, but the decision to extend his DP contract over Valeri is a hint towards Blanco’s importance on the field. After posting his second consecutive double-digit assist campaign, Blanco’s quality across all attacking midfield positions is unquestioned. That said, 2020 is a pivotal season for the Timbers’ oldest Designated Player. Soon to be 32, the clock is ticking on Blanco’s heyday, and he’ll certainly aspire to outperform 2019’s underwhelming tally of six goals from 106 shot attempts. Now surrounded by a wealth of complimentary attacking pieces though, I’d expect a rejuvenated Seba come March. Bet the over on six goals. Diego Chara (CDM): If there’s anyone who can conquer the inevitability of fathertime, Diego Chara is the guy. Soon to be 34-years-old, Chara’s performance metrics — involving areas such as speed and distance covered — reached all-time highs last year. His importance to the club over the past decade cannot be overstated, and we were all ecstatic to see him finally partake in an MLS All Star Game last season. The Colombian possesses a pillowy first touch, an immense soccer IQ, and a fearless presence in the middle of the park, and there simply will be no replacing him when he finally does choose to retire. But to be honest with you, I think he’s still got a few more Best XI caliber seasons in him. He just ages like a fine wine. Andrés Flores (CM): Hell, I’m just gonna copy and paste exactly what I wrote last year because it’s still just as applicable. Andres Flores is like a Toyota Camry - solid if unspectacular. He doesn't have the sexy style that will garner all the attention, but when push comes to shove and you need to get from point A to point B, he’ll do the job (at a very low price too!). Look for him to assist in spot-duty once he returns from injury, but his most important contributions will likely be found in the little things off the pitch. Cristhian Paredes (CM): At only 21 years of age, the full Paraguayan international started over 30 matches the past two seasons and has also emerged as the surefire midfield partner to Diego Chara. After a 2018 campaign that saw a significant adjustment period, Paredes looked far more composed in 2019, adding late-runs into the box into his arsenal midway through last season. However, no longer on loan from Club America, Paredes will face more organizational pressure to be a day-in, day-out starter this campaign. His ranginess and ability to break up play are unquestioned, but he needs to become a bit cleaner on the ball and more confident playing out of tight spaces. That said, there’s a reason the club has invested more capital into the promising midfielder: he has the potential to be a significant contributor for years to come. Marvin Loría (LM/RM): In the next few seasons, I’d wager Marvin Loría will become the poster child for the Timbers youth development structure. With a comparatively underdeveloped and shallow Homegrown talent pool, Portland picks up guys like Loría out of foreign youth programs to develop through the Timbers pipeline. The 22-year-old Costa Rican international showed significant promise last season, and he can play a true inverted winger role - a unique style in terms of this roster. While he may see time at LM and CAM, I love him cutting in from the right, as he can deliver bangers like this and allow Jorge Moreira to bulldoze forward. At a league minimum salary, Loría provides the cheap and talented depth which makes this attack’s outlook so promising. I can’t wait to see what strides he makes this season (once he returns from an underpublicized/undisclosed injury). Andy Polo (RM): Not many people in the Timbers fanbase understand why Andy Polo is still on the roster, let alone competing for starting minutes. In 2,860 MLS minutes, the Peruvian winger has only managed a dismal one goal and three assists - a statline that is considerably worse than ineffective wingers of the past including Kalif Alhassan, Sal Zizzo, and Franck Songo’o. He’s not an outright liability, and occasionally puts in a shift defensively, but he essentially exists solely to occupy space. Now entering his third season, Polo’s best string of matches came as the third CM in a 4-3-2-1 just before the 2018 World Cup. He’s since gathered looks in preseason as a #8 in a 4-3-2-1 and showed flashes but is still incomplete. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Tomas Conechny (CF/LM/RM): The 21-year-old Argentine enters the 2020 campaign a relative unknown, and though the club thought enough of him to exercise his full-time purchase option from San Lorenzo, his fit on the squad has yet to be fully discerned. Rumored to be one of the better headers-of-the-ball on the team, he showed occasional creative sparks in late-game situational appearances but has yet to prove he deserves starting minutes. We hear quotes akin to “he doesn’t yet know how good he can be,” but it still isn’t obvious that a particular position suits him well or if he even possesses a skillset that allows him to be a difference-maker at this level. For all intents and purposes, he’s likely to end up Diego Valeri’s understudy even if Conechny has yet to show the same precision and danger at a playmaking second-forward role. As a result, it remains to be seen if the high-rated prospect grows into a significant piece of the puzzle or if his lack of positional clarity ultimately hampers his development. Dairon Asprilla (RM): Dairon Asprilla plays at an all-star caliber level if one of two things are true: the Timbers are on the verge of postseason elimination or he’s playing on T2. If neither of those two things are true, he’s often more useless than a turn signal on a BMW. Some wonder if he possesses compromising pictures of Wilkinson or MP, otherwise there’s very little to explain why he’s one of the longest-tenured Timbers - especially considering he’s been in-and-out of the doghouse almost every year. Word out of training suggests he’s been one of the best players in camp, but we’ve been down this road before - if it’s not Oct. or Nov., Asprilla often looks lost on the pitch. Sidenote: 99% of Dairon’s shot attempts get thwarted due to his foolishly long windup, but when he does get a hold of one, they stay hit. Eryk Williamson (CM): The HG midfielder (by way of D.C.) found starting minutes in spot appearances last fall, and he looked competent if unremarkable. For T2, Williamson often occupied more advanced positions, but I think he projects best as a ball-shuttling #8 in this squad. In particular, I can see him fitting into Andy Polo’s old role as a CM next to Chara and/or Paredes in a 4-3-2-1, as his passing and combination play provide a diverse look from the other two. Overall, Williamson finds himself in a decent situation to get game action this year, and I’m interested to see how he develops and grows in confidence in 2020. Renzo Zambrano (CDM): Another international brought through the T2 pipeline, Zambrano is essentially Diego Chara’s backup at the #6. Since George Fochive left following the 2015 season, the Timbers have struggled to find a suitable defensive backup in the central midfield. Renzo is now that guy. The 25-year-old Venezuelan appeared in 10 matches last season and struggled immensely in fixtures against Colorado and Atlanta, but showed flashes of positivity in thrashings of Houston and Vancouver. 2020 will require more consistency from Zambrano who doesn’t possess the same physicality or power as Chara - but then again, few do. As a result, if I were Savarese, I’d try to mold Zambrano into a fulcrum/anchor type midfielder in the form of a Uri Rosell or Scott Caldwell. He’s a capable passer, and if he simplifies his game to shield the backline, he’ll be an asset to the team. If not, he’ll likely over-extend himself, and his midfield partner will be forced to work more tirelessly to maintain solid defensive shape. Renzo is likely the first option off the bench whenever Chara or Paredes are unavailable, so his growth is critical to the team’s success this year. Forwards: Jeremy Ebobisse (ST): Since Niezgoda and Mora’s arrival, some fans and media have denounced the organization for burying the 23-year-old American on the depth chart and hindering his development. Here’s why I think that’s an overly-sensationalized viewpoint:
As Wilkinson has correctly identified, Ebobisse will miss a good chunk of the early season for Olympic qualification, and with Niezgoda’s injury history, there needs to be other legitimate options to start upfront (i.e. not Dairon Asprilla).
In 2018, Ebobisse entered the season ‘stuck’ behind two DP-type strikers in Fanendo Adi and Samuel Armenteros. Guess who emerged on top? Ebobisse. There will be multiple competitions, two-striker formations, and rotations that allow him to earn quality minutes.
This idea that the organization is almost trying to sabotage his development is an outrageous claim. Ebobisse was the only player on the squad to play in every match last season and only finished behind Chara, Blanco, and Valeri in terms of total minutes played. Granted, he played a fair few matches at LW (not ideal, but he wasn’t outright terrible), but the team did have its best stretch of success with him and Fernandez on the pitch together.
But the one factor people must acknowledge is this: Ebobisse still hasn’t developed the it factor that other MLS strikers have - at least not yet. When Fernandez arrived, his ruthlessness was a stark contrast to Ebobisse’s often less-goal-hungry runs and occasional lack of clarity in the final third. Jeremy is a decent finisher, even with a few missed sitters, but he’s still not consistent enough with the direct runs off the shoulder that separate good from great. He’ll hopefully continue to develop a wider range of skills, but he’s not yet the guy to put this team over the top. Predicted Starting XI: Primarily: 4-2-3-1 Other likely options: 4-3-2-1 or 4-4-2 Best Case Scenario: A top playoff seed and a challenge for either the Supporter’s Shield or MLS Cup. Savarese effectively implements tactical flexibility, Niezgoda and Mora combine for 20+ goals, and Cristhian Paredes takes the next step forward in his development. While Župarić locks down the defense, one of Valeri or Blanco mounts a Best XI campaign, and Diego Chara makes a second consecutive All-Star Game appearance. Sprinkle in a Cascadia Cup alongside a harmonious relationship between the Front Office and Timbers Army, and you have a damn successful year. Worst Case Scenario: Pretty much the opposite of what you see above. Niezgoda can’t stay healthy while the core pieces’ form collectively falls off a cliff. Those in the Army who hold a personal vendetta against Merritt Paulson blow a trivial issue out of proportion causing a full-on revolt from the supporter’s group. Savarese proves to be an average coach with exploitable flaws, and the team fails to qualify for the playoffs in a competitive Western Conference. Significant spending, no tangible results. A wasted year. Realistic Scenario: Well, either of those two scenarios could qualify as realistic. But like all Timbers seasons, it’s most realistic to be somewhere in between. There’ll be stretches of outright panic, and there’ll be other times where we all convince ourselves the Timbers will win MLS Cup. Some of the signings hit: let’s go with Župarić - while other signings underwhelm due to extenuating circumstances: probably Niezgoda (and his glass skeleton). The team finishes in the middle of the pack - a team that no one wants to face in October - but one that is equally liable to beat themselves. Prediction: Even for someone as pessimistic as I am, I won’t predict the worst-case scenario. Nevertheless, I can’t shake the discouraging feeling that the Timbers will squander its immense talent again. A disappointing 6th or 7th place finish is in store after another taxing roller-coaster season. However, I’ll go out on a limb to say Portland does win a Cascadia Cup or USOC - some sort of silverware that convinces everybody the obvious flaws can be overcome in 2021. Blanco has a great 2020 season. The other pieces show flashes brilliance, yet can’t quite string together enough consistency to let the attack fire on all cylinders. Savarese will keep his job but enters the 2021 campaign on the hotseat. It’ll be another case of “close, but not close enough.”
On our MTV Challenge Accepted podcast (link in bold) we have a segment where we discuss this question. Whose stock went up? Whose stock went down? Here were our winners and losers this week.
[OC] Which awards are locked in? Which are still up for debate? a glance through the odds and campaigns in each category It feels like it's been 5 years since we've seen actual NBA basketball, which may make awards debates and campaigns more difficult. Wait, who was playing well again...? Dennis Schroder? Seriously? Huh. Okay then. As we soldier back into the bubble, there's a risk that awards voters will forget about that early part of the season (aka the vast majority) and fall victim to recency bias. Given that, we wanted to glance through the major races and determine which -- if any -- awards may still be in debate. For this exercise, I'm using the current odds as listed by an online betting site (bovada). Note: the percentages do NOT add up to 100% because online betting sites like your money. MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo: - 3500 (97%) LeBron James: +600 (14%) is the race over? This betting site heavily favors Giannis Antetokounmpo, although some other metrics have it closer than that. Basketball-reference's MVP tracker lists Giannis at 50.7% and LeBron at 17.3%. I'm more inclined to believe the latter and that LeBron James would be closer to 15-20% odds. No doubt, Giannis is a worthy MVP. He's been a dominant force (again) for the top statistical team in the league (again.) He's racking up 30-14-6 in only 30.9 minutes per game. In most circumstances, he'd win this award in a walk. That said, you can never discount "narrative," and LeBron James has a few of those going for him. The Lakers have vaulted up to the # 1 seed in the West, outperforming preseason expectations. James has played exceptionally well, and even led the league in assists. Partly because of that, James' camp has successfully gotten the media to buy into the storyline that he made a sudden transition to point guard (ya know, because he had always deferred to his point guards like Mo Williams and Mario Chalmers in the past...) More than that, James may benefit from this strange corona-bubble. He's been a leading advocate for continuing on, and as always, players tend to follow his lead. I can see more than a few media members giving James an MVP vote for "saving the season." All in all, I expect this vote to be closer than it should be (and I expect poor James Harden to finish well behind where he should as well.) So James will get some votes, but can he actually win the award? I wouldn't rule it out. The Lakers are currently 3 games behind the Bucks for the # 1 overall seed. It's hard to imagine Milwaukee losing enough to slip, but it's not Wallace Shawn inconceivable either. If the Lakers somehow manage to catch them, then I actually think LeBron will win MVP. Of course, it's more likely the Bucks will hang onto the # 1 seed, and Giannis will hang onto MVP. But again, I don't think it's a stone cold lock -- yet. Rookie of the Year Ja Morant: - 3500 (97%) Zion Williamson: +850 (11%) is the race over? It should be. Zion Williamson is freakin' amazing, but he's played 19 games so far. That's 40 less than Ja Morant, who has played stellar ball for a rookie from a small school, and somehow led the Memphis Grizzlies to the 8th seed. Still, we can't rule out the risk of recency bias and a wild overreaction from the media. Williamson has a chance to lead the Pelicans up to the 9th spot, at which point they'd play Morant's Grizzlies. If Williamson can lead New Orleans to two victories over Memphis in a row -- and thus leapfrog them in the standings -- then it's very feasible the media would throw their vote his way. The media (and the league as a whole) tends to like this Zion fella, if you haven't noticed. Sixth Man Dennis Schroder: - 220 (69%) Montrezl Harrell: +190 (34%) Lou Williams: +450 (18%) Derrick Rose: +3000 (3%) is the race over? Simply put: no. It's still a three-man race in my book. The Clippers' Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell finished 1-2 last season, and are right back in the thick of things this year. Among the two, it's harder to justify Williams' winning for the third season in a row. He hasn't played as well as last year, and hasn't been as big of a focal point for the Clippers' game plan. He hasn't looked as engaged this season, and even debated missing the bubble. With Sweet Lou taking a slight step back, it's opened the door for Dennis Schroder. He's having a career season in terms of efficiency. In fact, it's hard to understate his jump this year. In his six previous season, his career high TS% was only 53.3%. This season? He's vaulted up to 57.3%. The question is: have enough voters noticed? OKC has been a feel-good story this year, but Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander tend to get the most credit for that. Overall, I wouldn't be surprised if voters get lazy and just fall back on the highest scorer among the three. And even by those standards, the race is wide open. Schroder is at 19.0 PPG, Williams is at 18.7 PPG, and Harrell is at 18.6 PPG. A strong (or bad) week or two in the bubble may tilt this race in any direction. Defensive Player of the Year Giannis Antetokounmpo: -500 (83%) Anthony Davis: +200 (33%) Rudy Gobert: +2800 (3%) is the race over? Even among savvy and analytically-inclined media members, "defense" is still something of a mystery to quantify. We see a lot of herd mentality emerge for DPOY voting, with candidates needing to stake their claim early on and campaign all season long. In terms of storylines and narratives, it felt like Anthony Davis had the early momentum. He's a wrecking ball (1.5 steals, 2.4 blocks) who helped improve the Lakers' defense from # 12 to # 3 this season. Still, Giannis Antetokounmpo has steadily built his case for a double MVP + DPOY, and currently ranks as the betting favorite on this site. Personally, I believe it's a closer race than these numbers suggest. At the same time, I'm not sure what their play in the bubble is going to do about it. More likely, it'll be an influential media piece (like Zach Lowe pushing for Marc Gasol) that may get voters ushering on one side or another. Most Improved Bam Adebayo: -150 (60%) Brandon Ingram: +250 (29%) Luke Doncic: +500 (17%) Jayson Tatum: +900 (10%) Devonte Graham: +1000 (9%) is the race over? Again, this race feels "too close to call" to me. John King and David Chalian may be tallying up the counties all night long. Earlier this season, I looked back at previous Most Improved winners and tried to find some common threads. On average, the winner improved from 11.7 PPG to 19.6 PPG (roughly +8 points.) Historically speaking, Brandon Ingram and Jayson Tatum fit close to those templates. Ingram has swelled from 18.3 PPG to 24.3 PPG in his first season in New Orleans (+6). Tatum has made an even bigger leap, going from 15.7 PPG to 23.6 PPG (essentially our exact +8). Of the two, I may lean more to Ingram myself. Tatum's taking more shots and more threes, but he was already considered a proven star prior to this. Ingram had been more of a question mark before, but has now established himself as a potential max player. The key for him has been an improved FT%. In his first three seasons, he shot 62%, 68%, and 68% from the line. This year, he's up to 86%. That's major progress, and represents a massive difference in his efficiency "floor." Still, you wonder if Ingram's momentum peaked too early. Ever since Zion Williamson came back, it feels like Ingram has been an afterthought in the media. Conversely, Bam Adebayo's reputation within the media is still surging. He's been a major reason for the Miami Heat's success this year, nearly doubling from 8.9 PPG to 16.2 PPG (+7.3 overall.) He's also doubled his assists (from 2.2 to 5.1). If you wanted to nitpick Adebayo's candidacy, you may suggest he was pretty darn good already. A lot of the statistical upswing comes from an increase in minutes, from 23.3 to 34.4 this year. Overall, I'd say Abebayo is the favorite, but I wouldn't lock it in yet. A player like Brandon Ingram could get hot and have a few 40 point games, at which point the momentum may swing back in his favor. When anthropology professors 99 cent store free agents: Point Guards The NBA offseason is always filled with exciting storylines like star free agents and blockbuster trades. But rather than dwell on the obvious, this series intends to do the opposite: focus on the lower-profile free agents who may have some value to teams. No NBA player is actually "99 Cents," of course, but these are all players who may be bargains based on their perceived market. This "99 Cent Store" series has been open for business for the last two offseasons. In the past, we've highlighted names like Fred VanVleet (pre breakout), Christian Wood, and Davis Bertans. Not all of the items turn out to be gems (is Nerlens Noel still not a DPOY candidate yet?), but the returns have been largely positive so far. Let's see if we can keep that momentum going this season.
99 cent store
Langston Galloway, Detroit Pistons, UFA, 28 years old In last year's 99 Cent Store, we hyped up Seth Curry (Steph's brother) as a possible value free agent. Seth didn't have the size and skill set of a traditional point guard, but the NBA isn't always craving traditional point guards these days. A lot of star SGs, SFs, PFs, and even Cs have the ball in their hands, so teams need to fill the court with a supporting cast that can complement them and provide spacing. Effectively an undersized SG, Seth's excellent shooting appeared to be a perfect complement to a ball-dominant superstar. Seth ended up going to Dallas on a moderate contract, and had a strong season for them in that role. For those same reasons, we'd recommend Langston Galloway as a potential bargain add. We're not going to suggest that Galloway is as good as Seth Curry as a player or as a shooter, but his skill set is related. He's not Steph Curry -- he's not Seth Curry -- he's on the opposite side of the family tree. He's like the random third cousin who shows up at the barbecue and hogs all the mac n' cheese. Still, if he got the address, then he must have some relation to the family we know and love. Galloway would share some DNA in the sense that he's also a "point guard" who's more of an undersized shooting guard by nature. He doesn't have the ball skills or playmaking to run an offense. At all. However, he can be effective if operating as a 3+D guard. Players like Patrick Beverly and George Hill are the premium prototypes of that skill set, and Galloway is the 99 Cent store generic brand. He's an above-average as a shooter (36.7% from three for his career), and above-average as a defender, where his 6'8" wingspan helps his cause. And while it feels like Galloway has been around forever, he's still only 28 years old. He probably has 2-3 years left of usefulness in his role. There may be 1 or 2 teams that would start Langston Galloway (in a limited role), but almost every team could use him as part of the rotation. possible fits HOU. Russell Westbrook and James Harden are ball dominant and salary-cap dominant players, making depth a constant struggle for the team. Backup PG Austin Rivers can probably get more money than he's due on his player option ($2.4M) even in a COVID-market, possibly creating another hole. Galloway would make sense as a replacement here, seeing as how he'd be able to play in a lineup with either Westbrook or Harden. LAL. Avery Bradley may be skipping the playoffs, but there's still a chance the Lakers can win the title with some combination of Alex Caruso and Rajon Rondo at PG anyway. But what happens if it doesn't work out? What happens if Bradley and Rondo (both of whom have player options) get shuffled out? In that case, Galloway and Caruso could tag-team and provide a decent and low-cost 3+D guard spot for next year. MIN. The Timberwolves tried the "no PG offense" for a majority of the season, and it didn't work out so hot. Now, they'll be handing the reins over to D'Angelo Russell full time. Galloway could be a nice backup for Russell; the two would have enough size to play some minutes alongside each other as well. You have to figure Gersson Rosas will prioritize shooters like Galloway as well. The team wants to play MoreyBall (top 3 in 3PA), but doesn't have the personnel yet to pull it off (bottom 3 in 3P%). Yogi Ferrell, Sacramento Kings, UFA, 27 years old He may be fairly anonymous now, but there was a time when the name "Yogi Ferrell" was a big deal in college basketball. The bluechip recruit immediately stepped into the starting lineup for Tom Crean's Indiana Hoosiers, helping to lead the team to a # 1 seed that first year on campus. But then a funny thing happened: the college star actually stayed in college. Ferrell would go on to play all 4 years (starting 137 of 137 games) for Indiana. Through it, Ferrell developed the negative narrative that he was a "college player." Only 6'0" with average length and athleticism, he didn't have the look of a future pro. The NBA dismissed him, leading him to get undrafted. He's hung around since then, but his buzz has dwindled and dwindled. He played this past season as Sacramento's 3rd PG, only logging 11 minutes per game. Maybe they were right -- maybe he was never cut out for the NBA. Then again... are we sure about that? Ferrell may not be the prototype, but he still has some virtues. Among those strengths: "basketball." He's a savvy, steady field general who has an above-average shot. He's hit 36.5% from three and 83.8% from the line over the course of his NBA career. He's not going to carry the load (14-4-4 per 36 minutes), but he's not going to rock the boat either. In fact, he only averages 1.5 turnovers per 36. The concern with a player like Ferrell would be his limited size and athleticism, a combo that tends to translate into awful defense. But again, we haven't seen much evidence of that. Effort and basketball IQ can help overcome athletic weaknesses, and that appears to be the case with Ferrell. Limitations and all, Ferrell has registered only a -0.2 defensive box plus/minus. Overall, this profile doesn't suggest any huge upside or any hidden "star" potential. But at the end of the day, this store isn't about star potential -- it's about value. Ferrell is a high-end third PG who can potentially be a true # 2. He'd make sense on a team like Orlando as a potential replacement for their own steady eddie backup D.J. Augustin (also a free agent.)
Gary Payton II, Washington Wizards, UFA, 27 years old On paper, you may wonder why Gary Payton II wasn't a bigger deal entering the NBA Draft. After all, we're talking about the son of an NBA superstar who had been productive in college. In his last season at Oregon State, he averaged 16.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, 7.8 assists, and 2.5 steals (!) How the heck did someone with that pedigree go undrafted? Unfortunately for Payton, two factors worked against him. For one, he was a poor shooter. Second, he was "over-aged." After spending some time in community college with Jeff Winger and Dean Pelton, Payton would be a 24-year-old rookie, a major knock against him and his perceived upside. That criticism may have proven apt; Payton has not improved as much as a young pup may have. His three-point shooting has sagged around 25-30%, a major problem in today's NBA. In general, he's a below-average offensive player, averaging just 10-6-4 per 36 minutes. That said, Payton does have some virtues on the other end. He's not quite "The Glove" (basketball-reference even dubs his official nickname "The Mitten"), but he's definitely a good defender. He's 6'3" with a 6'8" wingspan, and has proven to have sticky hands himself. After averaging 2.8 steals over two years at OSU, he's at 2.2 per 36 in the NBA. He makes some sense when paired together with a ball-dominant SG like a James Harden or Devin Booker or Bradley Beal. No, we're not talking about as a starter, or even as a lead backup, but as a 3rd PG who can add a different skill set to a bench. In that context, he's worth a roster spot. Is a 13th man not worth reading about to you? Well then, get the F out of our store, ya snob! This is what the 99 Cent Store is all about.
E'Twaun Moore, New Orleans Pelicans, UFA, 31 years old Collectively, NBA fans scratched their heads in confusion when the New Orleans Pelicans doled out $8.5M a year for anonymous E'Twaun Moore. After all, this was an unheralded a player, a R2 draft pick, a player who hadn't cracked 10 PPG in any of his first six seasons in the league. For all we knew, he was an NBA2k generated player. Three years later, the contract doesn't look much better. Moore got buried this past season in a crowded Pelicans lineup, averaging only 18.8 minutes per game. He doesn't appear to be a part of the franchise's future plans at all. Moore will be tossed out into the darkness, left with no home, and perhaps no chance of matching that $8M salary ever again. However, we have to be mindful as NBA fans not to lump in an "overpaid" player as a synonym for a "bad" player. Someone like Tobias Harris may not be worth his salary, but he's still a good starter. On a lower level, E'Twaun Moore may be the same way. Perhaps he's not worth $8-10M a year, but he's actually a solid addition to a rotation (even if the Pelicans squeezed him out.) Moore's primary virtue is as a 3+D wing. At first glance he's not big enough for that role at 6'4", but he's aided by a pelican-like wingspan that stretches to near 6'10". He's not a great defender (now at age 31), but he's passable at both the SG and SF spots. Offensively, he'll help you as a spacer. He's hit on 39.0% of his threes for his career, and had actually gotten up to 42% and 43% the prior two seasons before he lost some rhythm this season. That combination of skills makes Moore a good rotation player, and perhaps even a low-end starter on the right team. I wouldn't expect him to get "overpaid" again, but that's precisely what earns him a place in our store. He's a potential bargain buy right now. possible fits BKN. SG Joe Harris is an excellent shooter, but he's also a free agent. Will the Nets pony up to keep him around? Or will he be jettisoned like others from the pre KD-Kyrie era? If he is, then E'Twaun Moore makes sense as a cheap replacement. MIL. The shooting guard spot is the biggest question mark for the Bucks, and this offseason may add to the murkiness if Wes Matthews (player option) or Pat Connaughton (UFA) leave town. E'Twaun Moore would be a sensible filler, and platoon with Donte DiVincenzo. SA. Do Gregg Popovich and the Spurs want to contend for the playoffs in 2020-21? Do they want to blow it up? TBD. But if their intention is to go for that 8th seed again, Moore may be an upgrade on smaller Bryn Forbes, who struggles on the defensive end.
99 cent store
Shaquille Harrison, Chicago Bulls, UFA, 26 years old Coaches and front offices love to tout that "defense is half the game!" That is, until it's time to actually pay a defensive player. Or draft a defensive player. Or even invite a defensive player onto the roster for a fully guaranteed contract. Shaq Harrison has been dealing with that struggle for his entire professional career. Coming out of Tulsa, Harrison always had the chops defensively. He's long and agile enough to guard 1s and 2s and even some 3s. The trouble is: shooting was never his strong suit. Even as a senior, he only hit 19.5% from deep in the NCAA. Yikes. That's a surefire recipe to go "undrafted," which is exactly what Harrison did. Since then, Harrison has been trying to improve his shot, the key for him to stick on an NBA roster. This past season, we've started to see some glimmers of progress there. He shot a career-high 38.1% from three, and a career-high 78.0% from the line. Now to be fair, those were both extremely small sample sizes (16-42 from three, 39-50 from the line), but it's still encouraging nonetheless. Because if Harrison can become a passable shooter, then his defensive abilities give him inherent value. He's legitimately one of the better perimeter defenders in the league. ESPN's real plus/minus listed his impact as a +2.5 on defense, which ranked as the 9th best player in the entire NBA (out of 503 qualifiers.) If a coaching staff feels confident in their player development and their shooting coaches, then Harrison would be an intriguing investment to make.
John Konchar, Memphis Grizzlies, 24 years old Last year, I included Philadelphia PG-SG Shake Milton in this column, causing Sixers fans to riot and demand that I mention the team had the right to extend his two-way contract if they wanted. The team did, and Milton will prove to be a bargain for them over the next few years. Similarly, the Memphis Grizzlies will have that opportunity to keep two-way player John Konchar on the team should they want. But if they don't, I'd be eyeing Konchar as a possible roster addition. No doubt, there are reasons to doubt John Konchar's NBA prospects. He comes from a school that's so small that they didn't even know what to name it (shifting a few times before settling on "Purdue Fort Wayne"). And at the risk of being politically incorrect, we should also mention that he's white. NBA GMs don't exactly sit up and salivate when they see an undersized (6'5") white wing player walk into the gym. All that said, Konchar has been productive time and time again. As you'd expect, he can hit the three pointer. But what's most intriguing about Konchar is his playing strength. He may be only 6'5" (6'7" wingspan) but he plays much bigger than that. As a college senior, he grabbed 8.5 rebounds a game and blocked 0.9 shots to boot. He also converted 62.9% of his field goals in two-point range. It may have been low level competition, but he flat-out bullied his opponents. Naturally you'd presume: there's no way he can do that in the pros! But so far, so good. Konchar put up similar numbers in the G-League this season, hitting 56.5% from the field and grabbing 8.3 rebounds per game (in 30 minutes a night.) From there, you'd presume: there's no way he can do that in the actual NBA! Well, in his 160 minutes of NBA action, Konchar shot 65.7% from the field and averaged 9.9 rebounds per 36 minutes. Clearly, it's too early to take this as gospel. But eventually, we're going to have to presume something else: maybe this dude is actually good. If I ran an NBA team, I'd want to run that experiment with Konchar in our uniform and not someone else's.
99 cent store
Josh Jackson, Memphis Grizzlies, UFA, 23 years old Like most of us on this sub, I have moments when I watch the NBA, watch the roster moves, watch the draft, and think: I could do that. Not play, of course, but perhaps build a team and winning roster. I've had a long and successful career in fantasy sports, so naturally a GM job would be the logical next step. The 2017 NBA Draft was one of those moments for me. Prior to the draft, I wrote a few posts on here, explaining why consensus top prospect Markelle Fultz wouldn't have been my personal # 1 pick. Clearly, I am a genius operating on a higher plane than the Bryan Colangelos of the world. Unfortunately, the alternative prospect that I advocated for wasn't Jayson Tatum. Or De'Aaron Fox. Or even Lonzo Ball. Instead, I thought the # 1 prospect in the class was... Josh Jackson. Whoops. Turns out, Jackson became an even bigger bust than Fultz (for his original team), causing the Phoenix Suns to dump him and wash their hands clean. Turns out: I have no clue what I'm talking about after all. But while I may have given up on my hidden genius, I'm still not ready to give up on Josh Jackson as a player. After all, no one expected Jackson to be a finished product. Back at Kansas, his shot looked funky and in need of an overhaul. Still, he had athleticism, defensive tenacity, and flashed some ball skills and passing ability. All in all, I thought he may develop into a player in the mold of a Jimmy Butler in time. Unfortunately, his NBA career stumbled out of the gates. If you're going to be the next Jimmy Butler, you need to work at it. Jimmy Butler may be a polarizing media presence, but he's undoubtedly a hard worker. In contrast, Josh Jackson had some issues off the court that made you doubt his dedication. His shooting hadn't improved much either. Even now, he hit on only 31.9% of his threes (29.8% career.) Still, if you're a stubborn Jackson optimist like I am, then you can see some flashes of progress here. After being humbled by a trip to the G-League and a trade to Memphis, Jackson has started to be effective again. This past season for the Grizzlies, he averaged 19.0 PPG, 5.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.8 steals, and 0.9 blocks per 36 minutes. He's never going to be Kawhi Leonard as a shooter, but there are ways he can be effective offensively. He converted 77.5% of his field goals inside (0-3 feet), which was up from 55% in the past, showing how improved strength and bulk may aid his game. He also shot 34.8% on corner threes -- still below-average, but better than before. So where do we go from here? What can Josh Jackson become? If he continues to work on his craft without any problems behind the scenes, he looks like a good prospect again. After all, this is a kid who's still 23 (younger than rookie teammate Brandon Clarke.) Maybe it's too optimistic to think he can be the next Jimmy Butler, but maybe he can be a solid starter in the mold of a young Wilson Chandler. There's still some risk involved here, but it's worth an investment and gamble in the right circumstance (and for the right price.) possible fits MEM. Jackson staying in Memphis is the most likely scenario. While the Grizzlies are in the 8th seed right now, they're still a young team. Ja Morant is 20. Jaren Jackson in 20. Jackson can fit into their timeline. The only question here is whether they already have a similar (and better) player in house in Justise Winslow. CLE. The Memphis Grizzlies are a good young team. The Cavs are a bad young team. They need to add some more talent, especially at the wing. In theory, Jackson would be a nice complement to their undersized bomber guards like Darius Garland and Collin Sexton. CHA. The Hornets need to find a star, somehow, some way. It's unlikely Josh Jackson becomes that star, but it's worth a shot. He's comparable to current forward Miles Bridges in terms of his worth/upside. Daulton Hommes, San Antonio Spurs, 23 years old Marial Shayok, Philadelphia 76ers, 24 years old NBA general managers have a lot in common with Chris D'Elia: they like 'em young! They tend to dismiss college veterans as "over-aged" and salivate over teenagers instead. And to be fair, there's some logic there. A 22 or 23-year-old rookie likely doesn't have as much upside as a 19 or 20 year old. At the same time, not every NBA players needs to ooze with Giannis Antetokounmpo upside. Sometimes, you set the bar lower; you're just looking for a serviceable role player. To my eye, Philadelphia's Marial Shayok is trending in that direction. He spent 5 years at college (gross!) -- the first 3 at Virginia, before transferring and playing for Iowa State in 2018-19. That last season, Shayok looked solid -- averaging 18.7 PPG with great shooting splits (50-39-88). The 6'6" wing also sported a 7'0" wingspan, which naturally makes you consider him as a potential 3+D prospect. Still, the "age" issue prevented Shayok from going high -- landing at pick # 54 last season and earning only a two-way deal. That leverage puts the Sixers in the catbird seat here; they can bring Shayok back on a team-friendly deal, and likely will do just that after he played very well in the G-League. In fact, he averaged 27-7-5 per 36 minutes, hitting 36% from three and 89% from the line. Teams don't just let players like that go, especially when their depth is an issue already. However, if the Sixers decide to cast him aside, then Shayok should wash ashore on another team in a hurry. Marvin Williams, Milwaukee Bucks, UFA, 34 years old Chris Boucher, Toronto Raptors, RFA, 27 years old Frank Kaminsky, Phoenix Suns, 27 years old Bonzie Colson, 24 years old Back in college at Notre Dame, Bonzie Colson felt like an anomaly. Here was a stocky 6'5" player who largely played as a smallball 5. He utilized his strength and wingspan (7'0") to bully opponents, averaging 19.7 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks as a senior. Still... a 6'5" PF/C? You didn't play like that in the NBA. Or do you...? The Houston Rockets are changing the paradigm with heavy minutes for P.J. Tucker (also 6'5") at center. Zion Williamson (6'6") will likely play a good amount of center as well for New Orleans. It may not ever be the norm, but it's not a ridiculous concept anymore. If you're an NBA team, it makes sense to at least have a lineup like that in your back pocket to break out in case of emergency. Colson can capably fill that role (on the back-end of a roster) due to his natural savvy and his passable shooting (34% from 3 in the G-League.) Better still, he'd be dirt-cheap after some G-League and overseas stints. In fact, he may not cost much guaranteed money at all. If he shows up at camp in good shape, then there's a chance he sticks around. And let's be honest, the NBA -- and all of our lives -- are better off when there's at least one Bonzi/e around. Nerlens Noel, Oklahoma City Thunder, 26 years old Jakob Poelte, Mason Plumlee Ekpe Udoh, 33 years old Ivan Rabb, 23 years old Langston Galloway, Detroit Pistons, UFA, 28 years old
Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy (January 23, 1998 – June 18, 2018), known professionally as XXXTentacion[a] (/ˌɛksˌɛksˌɛksˌtɛntəˈsjɒn/), was an American rapper, singer and songwriter. Although a controversial figure within the hip hop industry, Onfroy has been regarded to have left behind "a huge musical footprint" due to his impact on his young fanbase and his popularity during his short career. The most notable aspects of his appearance were his tattoos and his distinctive half-colored hair, which was inspired by the One Hundred and One Dalmatians antagonist Cruella de Vil. XXXTentacion ￼ XXXTentacion's mugshot in October 2016. Born Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy January 23, 1998 Plantation, Florida, U.S. DiedJune 18, 2018 (aged 20) Deerfield Beach, Florida, U.S. Cause of deathGunshot woundsResting placeGardens of Boca Raton Memorial Park Boca Raton, FloridaNationalityAmericanOther names X XXX Triple X Jah Young Dagger Dick Occupation Rapper singer songwriter YouTuber Partner(s)Geneva Ayala (2014–2017) Jenesis Sanchez (2017–2018; his death)Children1Parent(s) Dwayne Onfroy (father) Cleopatra Bernard (mother) Musical careerGenres Hip hop lo-fi R&B punk rock heavy metal Instruments Vocals guitar piano drums Years active2013–2018Labels Bad Vibes Forever Caroline Empire Capitol Associated acts Denzel Curry Joey Bada$$ Members Only PnB Rock Ronny J Ski Mask the Slump God Travis Barker Trippie Redd YouTube informationChannel XXXTENTACION Years active2015–presentGenre Let's Play
music Subscribers21.6 millionTotal views5.2 billion Play buttons ￼100,000 subscribers2017￼1,000,000 subscribers2017￼10,000,000 subscribers2018Updated August 30, 2019Websitexxxtentacion.com Born in Plantation, Florida, Onfroy spent most of his childhood in Lauderhill. He began writing music after being released from a juvenile detention center and started his music career on SoundCloud in 2013, where he soon became a popular figure in SoundCloud rap, a trap scene that takes elements of lo-fi music and harsh 808s. Onfroy rose to mainstream fame with the single "Look at Me" which is now certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Onfroy's debut album, 17 (2017), debuted at number 2 on the US Billboard 200, receiving a mixed response from critics, some of which lauded the album for its personal narratives and diverse musical style. On August 15, 2018, the album was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. His second album, ? (2018), debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, with its singles "Sad!", "Changes" and "Moonlight" all reaching the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100, and the album was certified Platinum. In the week following his death, Onfroy's highest-charting single, "Sad!", went from 52nd to 1st on the Billboard Hot 100, making him the first artist to top the Hot 100 posthumously since The Notorious B.I.G., with "Mo Money Mo Problems", in 1997. A few months after his death, he won the Best New Hip Hop Artist at the BET Hip Hop Awards and won the Favourite Album-Soul/R&B for 17 at the American Music Awards. Onfroy's third studio album, Skins, was posthumously released in December 2018. On June 18, 2018, Onfroy was fatally shot at the age of 20, in a robbery at a motorcycle dealership in Deerfield Beach, Florida. The attackers fled the scene in an SUV after stealing a Louis Vuitton bag containing $50,000 from Onfroy; four suspects were arrested and are currently awaiting trial. On June 18, 2019, one year on from Onfroy's death, an official documentary on his life was announced. It will feature footage of Onfroy from before his death telling biographical details. At the same time, Onfroy's estate announced a new posthumous album. Early life Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy was born on January 23, 1998, in Plantation, Florida, to Jamaican parents, Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy and Cleopatra Eretha Dreena Bernard. XXXTentacion has stated he has Egyptian, Syrian, Indian and possibly Italian ancestry in an interview on The Beat in 2017. He had three siblings with one being half, shared paternally. XXXTentacion was mainly raised by his grandmother Collette Jones—due to his mother's personal problems—in Pompano Beach, Florida, and Lauderhill, Florida. When Onfroy was six years old, he tried to stab a man attempting to attack his mother and was eventually put into a youth program before being forced[clarification needed] to live with his grandmother. XXXTentacion's interest in music initially started after his aunt persuaded him to begin attending school choir and later church choir. He was soon kicked out of the school choir after attacking another student. XXXTentacion attended Margate Middle School from which he was later expelled after a series of physical altercations. He was subsequently enrolled into Sheridan House Family Ministries by his mother for over six months. XXXTentacion began to listen to nu-metal, hard rock and rap during his time at Sheridan House Family Ministries, which led to him to learn the piano and guitar. XXXTentacion attended Piper High School until he dropped out in the tenth grade. He described himself as a "misfit" during that time, citing how quiet he was despite being popular and regularly involved in physical confrontations. XXXTentacion was not the athletic type and said that he was insecure and depressed during his time in high school. Career beginnings and "Look at Me" (2013–16) XXXTentacion's career as a music artist began in June 2013 after the release of his song "News/Flock". While in juvenile detention for gun possession charges, he met Stokeley Clevon Goulbourne, another artist known as Ski Mask the Slump God. During their time together, XXXTentacion and Goulbourne became good friends and began freestyling. Recalling his time in detention, XXXTentacion said that he was respectful to the officers and staff and used to protect people from other inmates, including a homosexual cellmate, whom Onfroy later attacked for allegedly staring at him while he was changing clothes. That same year, following his release from a juvenile detention center, he and Goulbourne met up again under the belief they were going to commit a string of home invasions for monetary gain though XXXTentacion eventually bought a Blue Snowball microphone and began recording music, which convinced Stokeley to do the same. After Onfroy adopted the moniker XXXTentacion, he uploaded his first official song, called "Vice City", on SoundCloud. Speaking on his decision to abandon a life of crime for music, Onfroy said that he felt like music was a better outlet for his feelings and then-girlfriend Geneva Ayala was someone who helped him realize that. He would then continue uploading small snippets of his songs that he would either soon release or keep unreleased. Onfroy eventually joined Ski Mask the Slump God's group Very Rare, before breaking off and starting the Members Only collective, which Ski Mask then also joined. The word "tentación" in his stage name is the Spanish word for "temptation". Onfroy released his first official extended play (EP), called The Fall, on November 21, 2014. In 2015, Onfroy released a collaborative mixtape with Ski Mask the Slump God, Members Only Vol. 1, before releasing Members Only Vol. 2 with several members of the growing Members Only collective. On December 30, 2015, the original version of "Look at Me" was uploaded to the SoundCloud account of the song's co-producer, Rojas. On April 28, 2016, Onfroy released the EP Willy Wonka Was a Child Murderer, with music heavily inspired by heavy metal and indie music. In 2016, Onfroy quit his job as a call center operator due to his growing music career and moved in with rapper Denzel Curry. In July 2016, Onfroy was arrested and charged with robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. After posting $10,000 bail, Onfroy continued to work on his debut independent album, Bad Vibes Forever, which had a slated October 31, 2016, release date. The album missed the release date and was delayed due to Onfroy being arrested in early October on charges of false imprisonment, witness tampering and aggravated battery of his pregnant girlfriend. Release from prison, Revenge, 17, and A Ghetto Christmas Carol (2017) In 2017 "Look at Me" gained traction, peaked at number 34 on US Billboard Hot 100 and the top 40 of the Canadian Hot 100. The single helped him gain more popularity due to accusations of Canadian rapper Drake using a similar rap flow in his song "KMT". During his jail stint, Onfroy signed a deal to be managed by Soloman Sobande (who would remain his manager until his death) and despite Onfroy being in jail during "Look at Me"'s initial breakthrough, major-label scouts began offering six-figure contracts and Onfroy eventually signed for Empire Distribution for lower royalty rate, full creative control and a smaller upfront payment. After his release from prison on April 18, 2017, he released three more songs on SoundCloud. In an interview with WMIB, Onfroy announced that he was working on the studio albums Bad Vibes and 17; as well as a mixtape, I Need Jesus. In an interview three days after his release from prison, Onfroy said to XXL, "I got this really, really, really good album called 17. That's more of an alternative, R&B sound—then I've got this mixtape called I Need Jesus, which is mainly rap and the underground sound I did." Onfroy announced his first nationwide tour on April 28, 2017. The tour, titled "The Revenge Tour", had 26 tour dates overall and generated much media coverage, included that of a rapper being assaulted, Onfroy being knocked out after an altercation on stage, an audience member being stabbed, Onfroy being thrown into a barricade by security, and Onfroy punching a fan. He announced the cancellation of the rest of the tour dates due to his cousin being shot on June 24, 2017, though the final tour date in Broward County, Florida, still went ahead and was later streamed on the watchthemusic (WAV) app. Onfroy was named as the tenth pick on XXL's "2017 Freshman Class". Onfroy released his debut solo mixtape, Revenge, on May 16, 2017. The mixtape consists of eight previously released songs. The collaborative mixtape, Members Only, Vol. 3, with Members Only, was released on June 26, 2017. Onfroy's first opener for a major act happened when DRAM brought Onfroy out at a concert on April 9, 2017 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles during Kendrick Lamar's DAMN. Tour. Onfroy released his debut album, 17, on August 25, 2017. The album debuted at number 2 on the US Billboard 200, selling 86,000 album-equivalent units first week. The album received a mixed response from critics, some of whom lauded the album for its personal narratives and diverse musical style. On September 3, 2017, Onfroy announced that Bad Vibes Forever, his second album, was still in production. 17 gave Onfroy's seven songs—"Jocelyn Flores", "Revenge", "Fuck Love", "Everybody Dies in Their Nightmares", "Depression & Obsession", "Save Me" and "Carry On"—that debuted in the Billboard Hot 100 at number 31, 77, 41, 54, 91, 94 and 95, respectively. Jocelyn Flores became Onfroy's highest-charting song since "Look at Me", which peaked it at 34. Onfroy then had his ninth song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, in turn with his being featured on Kodak Black's song "Roll in Peace", taken from Project Baby 2. The song debuted at 52 and peaked at 31, matching "Jocelyn Flores." On September 12, 2017, Onfroy released his first official music video for his 2015 song "Look at Me", as well as sharing a music video with his 2015 song "Riot". The song generated controversy hours after being posted due to the video depicting a white child being hanged by Onfroy, as another black child observed. The music video was removed from YouTube months later. Onfroy's label, Bad Vibes Forever, signed a distribution deal with Capitol Music Group subsidiary, Caroline, on October 19, 2017. The deal, reportedly worth $6 million, was for one album only. Shortly afterwards on October 25, 2017, Onfroy announced he was terminating his contract with Caroline despite a representative confirming he was still signed. Two days later, he announced that he was retiring due to negativity and backlash though some publications noted that Onfroy made similar statements before and not followed through. On October 30, 2017, Onfroy announced that he would make music again if fellow Broward rapper and "former best friend," Ski Mask the Slump God, was his friend again. Later, Onfroy answered a fan's question on Instagram Live about his retirement, saying, "Am I quitting? Yes, I'm quitting—I don't know for how long, but I'm just not going to make music right now." On September 21, 2017, Noah Cyrus released her single titled "Again", featuring Onfroy's vocals. Onfroy previewed new music on November 2, 2017, signaling a return to making music. Onfroy announced a new album titled Bad Vibes Forever on November 17, 2017, speaking on the album, Onfroy said "It will be a mix of genres you have seen me dabble with, if you are not a fan of me this is not an album for you, it is for core fans only". The album title shares its name with his label. On December 11, 2017, Onfroy released the A Ghetto Christmas Carol EP on SoundCloud. A day before his hearing for witness tampering charges, Onfroy announced that he was preparing three albums to be ready for 2018, and after being released on house arrest, he announced the titles of all three albums, Skins, Bad Vibes Forever and ?. YouTube channel and ? album (2018) On June 22, 2015, Onfroy began to use his long-time YouTube channel "xxxtentacion" (now stylized in all caps), previously used to upload music, to upload gaming videos and vlogs. The channel has 13 million subscribers and 2.6 billion total views as of October 2018. On January 22, 2018, Onfroy announced on Instagram that he and New York rapper Joey Badass had been creating a project together and the two released a freestyle to the song "King's Dead" on SoundCloud on March 9, 2018, in preparation for the collaboration. The "xxxtentacion" YouTube channel uploaded the video "#THEHELPINGHANDCHALLENGE" on the same day. The video included Onfroy donating musical instruments, video game consoles, and other gifts to a foster home. Shortly afterwards, Onfroy declared his album had finished and he was preparing to release it but would only do so after the hashtag #HELPINGHANDCHALLENGE reached one million mentions on Instagram. Onfroy released his first single of 2018 on February 2, titled "Shining Like the Northstar". He was also featured on long-time collaborator and producer Ronny J's track "Banded Up". Onfroy released the song "Hope" on his SoundCloud account on February 21, 2018, dedicated to the victims of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, which had occurred in Parkland, several miles north of Onfroy's native Plantation. Onfroy announced that he was releasing two songs at midnight on March 2, 2018, both the first singles for his upcoming album ?. The lead single for ?, "Sad!", was released several hours later alongside "Changes", which features fellow 2017 XXL "Freshman" PnB Rock. "Sad!" debuted at number 17, becoming his highest-charting song in the United States, and eventually peaked at number 1 after Onfroy's death before releasing its official music video on June 28. "Moonlight" and "Hope" also charted after his death, peaking at number 13 and 70. Onfroy announced the release date for his second studio album, ?, on March 12, 2018. He shared the 18 track track-list with features from Joey Bada$$, Travis Barker and PnB Rock. ? was released on March 16, 2018. ? debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, becoming Onfroy's first number one in the country, losing out with his debut album 17 due to Lil Uzi Vert's Luv Is Rage 2. Shortly following the release of ?, Onfroy signed a new album deal with Empire Distribution for his third solo album worth ten million dollars. Posthumous releases On June 21, 2018, the first posthumous song featuring Onfroy was released, "Ghost Busters", with Trippie Redd featuring Quavo and Ski Mask the Slump God, and was uploaded on Trippie Redd's SoundCloud. XXL released a series of freestyles that Onfroy performed as a part of his "2017 Freshman Cypher". Ugly God released a song titled "Tear Drop" on June 22, 2018, which featured Onfroy's aforementioned unreleased cypher verses, as a tribute to Onfroy. A few months later, he won the Best New Hip Hop Artist at the BET Hip Hop Awards and won the Favourite Album-Soul/R&B for 17 at the American Music Awards. On August 31, 2018, Houston rapper Sauce Walka released his Drip God mixtape which featured a collaboration with Onfroy titled "Voss" produced by Carnage. On August 17, 2018, iLoveMakonnen announced a collaboration between Lil Peep and Onfroy titled "Falling Down". A reworking of "Sunlight on Your Skin" made by Makonnen and Peep, the new version features verses by Onfroy that he recorded after Peep's death to pay tribute to Peep. The single was officially released on September 19, 2018. On September 27, 2018, Kanye West announced Onfroy will be a featured artist on his ninth studio album, Yandhi. The same day, it was reported that Onfroy will also be a featured artist on Lil Wayne's twelfth album, Tha Carter V, which was released the next day. Onfroy was featured on the song, "Don't Cry". A music video was later released on what would've been Onfroy’s 21st birthday. On October 22, 2018, Onfroy's manager Soloman Sobande stated in an interview with Billboard that Onfroy's third album would come "very soon" and that he had more than two album's worth of material. On October 25, 2018, EDM DJ-producer Skrillex released the song "Arms Around You", which is a collaboration he made with Onfroy, Lil Pump, Maluma and Swae Lee. The track was originally recorded in 2017 with Rio Santana, who appeared on Onfroy's ? album, but was later changed to add bigger star co-features. Specifically, Lil Pump contacted Onfroy's mother to ask to use Onfroy's vocals on the track as a tribute. Following the release of "Arms Around You", the song's producer, Mally Mall was interviewed by Power 106's The Cruz Show where he confirmed that nine Onfroy song's were going to be released soon with one having a Rihanna feature and another having a Weeknd feature. On November 8, 2018, the release date for Onfroy's first posthumous album and his third studio album, Skins, was announced as being given a December 7, 2018. The first single from Skins, titled "Bad!", was released on November 9, 2018. Onfroy is featured on Lil Wayne and Ty Dolla Sign's track "Scared of the Dark" from the soundtrack album Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. On January 23, 2019, the Members Only collective and Onfroy's estate released the album Members Only, Vol. 4. On June 12, 2019, Craig Xen released the song Run It Back! which featured Onfroy on the track. A month after on July 21, 2019, another posthumous song was released, titled "Royalty", which featured one of Bob Marley's children, Ky-Mani Marley, Stefflon Don, & Vybz Kartel. The dance-hall inspired track was the first song released from the upcoming album, "Bad Vibes Forever, which is releasing in Fall, 2019. On October 21, 2019, the song "Hearteater" was officially released by Onfroy's estate.[128 Onfroy had two half siblings – an older sister named Ariana and a younger brother named Aiden. Onfroy lived in Florida and lived with rapper Denzel Curry and producer Ronny J in the past. Before his death, Onfroy was moving into a 6,000-square-foot (560 m2) mansion in Parkland, Florida, which he bought, in November 2017, for US$1.4 million. In February 2018, Onfroy posted on Instagram that he was preparing to return to school and went on to announce in March 2018 that he was going to a community college to get his GED. Onfroy was public about his struggle with depression. Onfroy's ex-girlfriend Geneva Ayala has accused Onfroy of torturous abuse. According to Ayala's statement, Onfroy beat her at times, choked her, broke clothes hangers on her legs, threatened to chop off her hair or cut out her tongue, pressed knives or scissors to her face, and held her head under water in their bathroom while promising to drown her. “His favorite thing was to just backhand my mouth,” Ayala says. “That always left welts inside my lips.” The first incident of domestic violence occurred when Onfroy slapped Ayala and broke her iPhone 6S, because she had complimented a male friend on his new jewelry, Onfroy later repaired the phone. In one incident recounted to a prosecutor, Ayala said Onfroy asked her which object she wanted him to force into her vagina: a long-handled barbecue fork, or a wire barbecue brush, she chose the fork and Onfroy told her to undress. Onfroy was lightly dragging the tool against her inner thigh when she passed out, he did not penetrate her with it. Onfroy would often guilt her with near-attempts at suicide. Ayala said he used to fill a bathtub with water then fetch the microwave and dangle it over, threatening to let go. Another time he reportedly dangled himself from a 12th-storey balcony by his legs and threatened suicide again. Before his death, Onfroy entered a relationship with Jenesis Sanchez. Three days after his death, Onfroy's mother announced on Instagram that Sanchez was pregnant with his child. The baby was confirmed to be a boy on August 22, 2018, and his family had confirmed that it was Onfroy's wishes to call his child "Gekyume" if it were a boy and Xiorra if it were a girl after a word his father made up meaning "a different state or next universe of thought." Gekyume Onfroy was born on January 26, 2019, three days after what would have been his father’s 21st birthday. Gun possession charges in 2014 In 2014, Onfroy was sent to a youth detention center for a year on gun possession charges. According to Onfroy, during his time in detention, the district attorney was attempting to try him as an adult for gun possession. Charges which Onfroy said, would have had a sentence of 5–10 years in prison. Robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and home invasion charges in July 2016 In July 2016, he was arrested and charged with robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and home invasion. According to the arrest report, Onfroy entered the home of Che Thomas with three other people, armed with a firearm. After pistol-whipping Thomas three times, Onfroy escaped the home with an iPad, an iPhone, a Sony PlayStation Portable and $20. Onfroy was arrested in Orlando originally until he was transferred to Orange County. False imprisonment, witness tampering, and domestic abuse charges in October 2016 After posting the bail of $10,000 in early October of the same year, while awaiting trial, the rapper was arrested again later that month on charges of false imprisonment, witness tampering, and aggravated battery of a pregnant victim. On March 26, 2017, Onfroy was released from jail on bail while facing charges of robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. His trial for aggravated battery of a pregnant victim was originally going to take place in May 2017 and was pushed back several times, and was set to take place on October 5, 2017. On September 8, 2017, Pitchfork leaked the testimony of the victim in Onfroy's aggravated battery case. The trial was then delayed again with a date of December 11, 2017, announced. Controversy arose once again following Onfroy's choice to donate $100,000 to domestic violence prevention programs, and then further when Onfroy announced an event to support rape victims though it was later canceled due to vandalism. ￼ ￼ Onfroy's mugshot in December 2017 Onfroy's trial was delayed again after an affidavit was filed asking for the charges to be "completely dropped". The victim in the case also declined to testify in court. In reaction, the prosecution moved to split the case into two, with witness tampering charges filed against Onfroy and a new trial date announced for December 15, 2017. On December 10, 2017, Onfroy posted a message to Instagram, writing "Court date is on the 15th 9:00 am here is my court information, if I am taken into custody, I want to tell everyone I've let down I apologize, I tried my best, I really did ..."; he then released the information of the court hearing. Onfroy pleaded not guilty on December 14, 2017, and was taken into pretrial custody after a motion was filed by the prosecution on the grounds of Onfroy having violated his bond. He was held without bail. It was confirmed on December 20, 2017, that Onfroy was being released on house arrest. Onfroy was released from house arrest on March 21, 2018. Snapchat video controversy Shortly after being released from house arrest, a Snapchat video surfaced of Onfroy hitting a woman in 2013. Onfroy's attorneys claimed the video, which features a caption written by the woman that sardonically reads “I hate this nigga” along with Onfroy dancing to some music before striking the girl, was "obviously ... in jest". Onfroy claimed afterwards that he was afraid he was going to be financially extorted by the woman and that members of her family had already called him requesting money. The woman shown with Onfroy in the video came forward several days later saying she was "terrified for her life"; however, according to TMZ, Onfroy intended to sue the woman for fraud and defamation after her family allegedly demanded a large sum of money in exchange for her silence. The woman later released a statement saying that the version of events described by Onfroy was correct, and that she "hope[d] that people see the video in the playful context in which it was recorded and nothing more". His domestic abuse charges, which he was awaiting trial for, were dropped following his death. Leaked audio of confession to domestic abuse and a stabbing incident On October 23, 2018, Pitchfork released secretly recorded audio of Onfroy talking with acquaintances around the time of his October 8, 2016, arrest. In the recording, he allegedly confessed to domestic abuse, and described an incident in which he stabbed nine people. The tape was considered a confession by both the prosecution and defense. One especially fraught conversation about Onfroy’s ex-girlfriend took place on the afternoon of October 26, 2016 when he told a woman, “I already got what I wanted, I already bashed her face—her face on the internet, bruh, I done made her look bad on the internet, bruh.” Later that day, an audio clip from the call was posted on Instagram of Onfroy saying he “bashed her face” without the hurried clarification. On June 18, 2018, Onfroy was leaving the Riva Motorsports motorcycle dealership in Deerfield Beach, Florida, and, at 3:56 p.m., was blocked from exiting the car park by a black Dodge Journey SUV. Two armed men exited the SUV and approached the rapper while he was sitting in the driver's seat. A brief struggle occurred, and the armed men reached inside Onfroy's vehicle, stole a small Louis Vuitton bag containing $50,000, and shot Onfroy multiple times. The shooters fled the scene in their SUV and Onfroy was transported by paramedics to the nearby Broward Health North hospital in Deerfield Beach, where he was pronounced dead. Onfroy's death was announced by the Broward County Sheriff's Office at exactly 5:30 p.m. Suspect Dedrick Devonshay Williams of Pompano Beach was arrested two days after the shooting, shortly before 7 p.m. Held in the Broward County jail, he is charged with first degree murder without premeditation. In the weeks following the event, three different people were arrested for their actions involved with the event, including trigger man Michael Boatwright. In his will, Onfroy named his mother Cleopatra and brother Aiden as the sole beneficiaries of his estate. Onfroy's future child, with whom his girlfriend at the time of his death was pregnant, was not named in the will as it was written before the pregnancy. Funeral An open casket service for Onfroy took place at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida on June 27 where fans were allowed to pay their respects. His private funeral took place on June 28 where rappers Lil Uzi Vert and Lil Yachty and singer Erykah Badu were among the attendees. He was entombed in a mausoleum at Gardens of Boca Raton Memorial Park, Boca Raton, Florida. Well known for his "depressing, and at times devastating" music that brought attention to mental health, XXXTentacion employed styles and techniques that were unconventional in hip hop during his career, such as distortion and heavy guitar-backed instrumentals drawing inspiration from third-wave emo. This influenced fellow artists such as Lil Pump, Trippie Redd, Ski Mask the Slump God, Smokepurpp, Comethazine and 6ix9ine with the lo-fi mixing of his early career. He was also credited with giving artists their first taste of fame and helping them with their careers through features and co-signs. Onfroy left behind what Rolling Stone called "a huge musical footprint" due to his impact on his young fanbase and his popularity during his career. Given his immense influence only to die young, the article compared his cultural impact with that of Ritchie Valens and Darby Crash. The most notable aspects of XXXTentacion's appearance were his tattoos and his distinctive half-colored hair, which was inspired by The Hundred and One Dalmatians antagonist Cruella de Vil. On June 18, 2019, exactly one year on from Onfroy's death, an official documentary on his life was announced; it will feature footage of Onfroy from before his death telling biographical details. Controversy Onfroy's success as "a zeitgeist-grabbing, industry-defying, boundary-destroying phenomenon" is "overshadowed" by his reported abuse of his ex-girlfriend, and the latter is the focus of his life story. Nonetheless, the article[clarification needed] contends that despite media attempts to suppress him, Onfroy's "impact on music will be felt for years to come" and his recordings have "helped signal a new era of post-streaming, post-genre teenagers". Onfroy's personal life and history are also noted as prominent parts of his legacy. An article in The Guardian described his legacy in more critical terms, stating that "[h]e will be remembered mostly for the unusually cruel violence he committed on vulnerable people, particularly his ex-girlfriend, crimes for which he never expressed remorse." According to the article, his music "reflected a life lived with disregard for humanity, both other people's and his own"; and rarely attempted to engage in bravado or bragging, instead focusing on "mental illness, suicide, extreme misogyny, and a prevailing feeling of numbness." An article in The Atlantic expressed similar criticisms, though it also noted that Onfroy "reminded young fans in particular that their hurt was valid but that it did not form the sum total of their lives" and that he "gave voice to their insecurities." Contrasting these elements of his legacy, the article acknowledged that though he spent his career encouraging young fans to recognize their greater worth, Onfroy's legacy is nonetheless characterized by the trauma he both experienced and caused. In The Washington Post, Chris Richards commented on Onfroy's complicated legacy, contrasting how he "encouraged his fans to find hope in the fog of their despair, but bragged enthusiastically about the joy he felt in brutalizing others." According to Richards, Onfroy's music "brought solace to the depressed" while validating the sort of violence he practiced and legitimized the pain of his fans while erasing the suffering of domestic violence victims. Onfroy's music serves as an example for Richards of how "a hateful song" might normalize such feelings in "hateful people," which contributes to the profound paranoia in society about the hatred that might be in the minds of others.
This situation baffles me to this day. The incident took place in 2015, the wounds still run deep. I felt taken advantage of. Depleted emotionally, physically, and financially. This isn’t a quick read btw. I met this girl on Match during the summer of 2014. I was separated from my wife at the time, we had an agreement that we would date and live normal, “separate” lives. While seperated, we didn’t live together. About the girl… I signed a legal document that keeps me from smearing her name all over the internet. So, I’m going to call her “Narc” (for narcissist). Her ex-husband had another name for her… which was Hitler. And another popular nickname for her is cunt. But I’ll call her “Narc”. Although I might use “cunt” a few times to describe her. Narc and I traded texts and emails between the months of July thru November 2014. She knew I was separated and preferred that I file for a divorce before meeting. I had every intention of filing. Amy and I were not going to work out, and I really wanted to see where things would go with Narc. I was traveling for work and didn’t have enough time to organize all of the necessary documents for filing the divorce. However, Narc and I began to get close through texting and phone calls. Long phone calls… the ones that start at 9pm and end at 5am. We were really hitting it off. So even though I hadn’t technically filed, Narc and I decided to meet up in January 2015. Instant love. She was everything I wanted in a woman. She wasn’t without flaws, however. One thing that stood out the most was that she informed me she had a condition called bipolar II. She explained the only side effect, was that she gets restless leg, plus a little anxiety… and that her condition was very mild. BULLSHIT it was mild. I later found out the hard way... like when she couldn’t get her way, she’d launch a bipolar rage! Screaming at everyone in the room. I have never met someone so volatile. These ugly little things didn't start until 2-3 months in. From this point forward, I’m going to only write about the RED FLAGS that I ignored. And at the end I'll expand further on the legal document. - When I wanted to buy her a promise ring, she asked, “what does it look like?” I explained, “it’s about 250.00, and it’s a commonly used promise ring with two hands and a heart.” I just wanted her to know I was committed. She explained, “I’m never going to where cheap jewelry like that.” And went on to say that she wanted a 1500.00 Neil Lang ring in Rose Gold. I made good money, and she knew this, she also knew that I was still paying for my apartment, my house that I owned with Amy, both car payments, bills, everything. So, I was tight on money. I ended up borrowing the money for the ring. I wanted to make her happy. This was the first red flag. Materialistic. - She told me that her divorce decree required that ANYONE she lives with, needs to have a background check. (I later found this to be a lie – because she let me read her decree when she needed advice about visitation rights for her son) With nothing to hide, I said of course. But not only did they run an NICS FBI check, her parents also ran a credit check… I DID NOT APPROVE a credit check. Her mom calls me and starts reading off ALL of my personal debt that AMY and I had together. I should have run for the hills right there. - Narc told me her dad worked for CIA. This is probably bullshit, but it didn’t bother me, I had nothing to worry about. I have no criminal record, no judgements, lawsuits, or anything negative to report. I was just a good guy wanting love and family. - We got engaged. I let her design the ring… which cost around 15k and has about 60 diamonds. She has no taste, and the ring kind of looks like a Superbowl ring in my opinion. It’s a red flag because I was starting to see how materialistic she was. She was constantly asking me to buy things. She once asked me to pull 2k out for a neighborhood garage sale! Who does that?! She was in competition with her mother, who has everything. Beautiful home, antiques from all over the world, beautiful furniture, etc… So, Narc constantly asked me to buy antiques, artwork, furniture, etc… Although she wanted us to buy a house together, she never allowed me to save any money. It was constantly shopping. The second I got a check for my freelance work, it was off to an antique shop, or an art fair, the mall. I couldn’t fucking believe how materialistic she was. At this point, after making final payment on the ring, and all the antiques I bought, I spent about 40k in a matter of 3 months. By this time, I was having serious doubts about marrying her. I asked her to change her ways, I needed her to be less spendy. She lived with her parents and wanted to quit her job to have a baby and become a stay at home wife. Her job paid minimum wage and it wasn’t even full time. I made about 200k a year, so of course I didn’t want her working for minimum wage if we didn’t need the money. But I wasn’t ready to take on the responsibility until we got married. And by now, I was having serious doubts. She would manipulate me by saying, “I already told my parents that you said I could quit my job.” And “if you back out, they’re going to lose confidence in you, and not support us getting married.” This is called “Gaslighting” and it’s a textbook narcissist maneuver. Very shrewd to use her parents to manipulate me, because she knew how important it was to me, that her parents approved. So, she ended up quitting. I didn’t approve, but it was her choice. She knew I would take care of her either way. - Another weird thing that would happen in public. She would see an attractive man and would stop holding hands with me. She’d pull away and act distant. Almost as if she wanted me to go away. I thought this was strange behavior… if you truly love someone, you don’t go around intentionally trying to make them feel jealous. It just seemed like she was looking for something better. - Drinking and driving with a two yr old in the car... So, what I’m about to say is backed up through text messages and a polygraph. Her family never saw the texts. But if I had my day in court, the texts would have been evidence against her. (More on that later). The texts will be a part of this thread. - So, she’s no longer working, I’m out in Orlando working an 80hr week. On my last day in Orlando, it just so happened that she had a cooking party to attend. But the plan was for her to leave the party and come pick me up when I landed. Oh no, nothing is that simple with this psychopath. I land and let her know I’m here. She tells me she can’t get me because she had too much to drink. Then asked ME to go get her sons car seat, and then go pick him up from the cooking party. I was so pissed that I had to work an 80hr week, and she couldn’t bother to keep her shit together enough to pick me up. It made me feel so bad about myself. I felt worthless to her. And I was trying to give her the world. Working hard, making lots of money, hoping to buy us a home, and gave her everything she asked for from a financial point of view. I was disgusted with her. We argued over the phone while I was in the Uber. Uber dropped me off at the Jeep, and then I was off to her parents’ house to get a car seat. Her parents were on vacation… and I promise you, this shit never would have happened if they were home. So anyway, I’m at their house, car seat is loaded into the Jeep. I’m about to leave to go pick Paddy up from this cooking party. However, as I’m leaving, this bitch pulls into the driveway with her fucking son in the car! I was livid!! She got out of the car stumbling, tried to hug me. I pushed her away and ran to the other side of the car to check on the boy. He had shit in his diaper, he was hot and sweaty, and looked extremely tired. As I go to get him out of the car, Narc retreats to the toilet, where she spent the next two hours throwing up. I wanted to leave her right that second. Like literally run for the proverbial fucking hills! But I wasn’t leaving a two yr old alone with a drunk psychopathic bipolar cunt. I took the boy inside, changed his diaper, cleaned him up, made him dinner, read him a book, then he fell asleep maybe around 8 or 9pm. Meanwhile Narc is off the toilet and now passed out in her bedroom. She left her phone on the counter. A text popped up on her lock screen from a guy named “Michael-Tinder” So she was talking to guys on tinder. I went through her phone; I found many inappropriate texts. One in particular from someone she used to date but are now only “friends.” His name is Jonathan. She was trying to get him to meet up with her, go see a movie or something. She said she missed him. He said wouldn’t your fiancé mind. She said, no he wouldn’t mind. YES, YOU CUNT, I FUCKING MINDED. By this point I was fed up with her shit. The next day I drove up to Austin to drop my motorcycle off for shipping. I used her dads F250. I knew I was leaving her, so I put a deposit down on a condo. I wanted to wait until her parents got home from their vacation, because I wasn’t leaving this cunt alone with her son. - So, since I didn’t leave right away, Narc and I had a chance to reconcile. I did not want to leave her high and dry with no job, and a two yr old son. So, we talked about getting counseling. Since she made me swear to never tell her family about the drinking and driving, they had the impression that I was getting cold feet. And that they were now losing confidence in me, because they had no idea what really happened. They just think I’m changing my mind. So Narc started spinning the situation around on me. Went on a smear campaign. She told them lies upon lies. They were starting to lose respect for me, and it began to make my time there very uncomfortable. - The final straw that broke the camels back…. My ex and I had a miniature pincher. He was sick, we thought it could be cancer. But we wanted to keep running tests to make sure it wasn’t cancer. But Narc kept telling me to just “put that dog down!” Her mom was texting me, saying shit like, “we don’t treat animals like family in this house.” “they’re just pets.” Implying that my dog wasn’t my family, and that because Amy and I are divorced, I had no business helping with the testing. When Amy and I decided that putting him to sleep was a real option, this cunt told me I couldn’t be there when he went down! Who does that?!?!? Since I was in Vegas working, I really couldn’t do anything about either situation until I got home. But I vowed that when I got home, I was leaving this woman for good. - So the night arrives, I call her up, we’re talking a bit… and then she asks if I’m coming over to stay the night at her parents house. I said “no.” I then went on to tell her the relationship isn’t working, and that I’m not happy. I told her it was over. She cried, begged, pleaded, convinced me to stay for one more week, and go to counseling in a couple of days. Man, I wanted it to work so bad. I felt terrible about everything. So I agree to counseling. In a gesture of good faith, I transfer 3,000.00 to her bank account... This wasn’t a fucking departing gift. (in case her parents ever read this!) I sent the money, so that she could feel comfortable knowing that I was committed to trying the counseling. And I felt the counseling could work. The money was intended to pay her car loan off, so that we could keep our monthly bills lower. I want to reiterate. The money was NOT A FUCKING PARTING GIFT! Otherwise why would I have fucking sent that money at all?! - So, I go to sleep shortly after transferring the money. I wake up the next day to a text from her. “call me” She ended the relationship right there. I immediately asked about my ring, and the money. She said her parents already used the money to pay her car off. I couldn’t fucking believe what I was hearing. She said they were keeping the ring and the money… and because I yelled at her, she hung up on me. We never spoke again. She blocked me on facebook, blocked my phone number. Everything. I go to shut off the credit card I gave her- checked the balance to make sure she didn’t charge anything… This cunt paid her health insurance premium with my credit card at 8am. Knowing full well that she was ending the engagement as soon as I called. I was devasted! I couldn’t believe that someone I was about to marry, could just run away with my money and property. They went to my storage unit and collected the antiques that I purchased. And whatever else that she took ownership of. This was done behind my back. - I didn’t think I could do anything about the ring. Or the money. I wanted to stay friends at least with her dad. By this time, her mom wasn't very happy with me. Probably because I yelled at Narc... WHAT DO YOU EXPECT IS GOING TO HAPPEN WHEN YOU TAKE A 15K DOLLAR RING, AND 3K DOLLARS, AND THEN BREAK UP WITH SOMEONE??? That is a legitimate question to her mom. Her dad is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. I thought maybe if I told them the truth about what happened. About the drinking and driving incident… I thought they would see I’m a good person and that I had good intentions, and that I just struggled with the relationship because of that particular incident, as well as her bipolar fits of rage. I also struggled with the inappropriate texts. So, I called her mom… I told her the entire story about the drinking and driving. She didn’t believe me. She berated me, screamed at me, and told me never to call again. So that blew up in my face. Narc completely defamed me, mischaracterized me, lied about me, and played victim. Textbook narcissistic behavior. - So now my ring is gone, my money, my good name, my pride. Everything, gone. I went into severe depression. I was sick that I allowed them to take advantage of me like this. I was devastated that they didn’t believe me. All I did was give, give, give. I never asked them for anything, ever. I bought them all gifts constantly. I helped them with their home projects, I took her son to daycare every day. I bought Narc everything she asked for. I did everything. I asked for love and family. That’s all I wanted. Because her family believed her word over mine, I became PNG’d (persona non grata). They grew to hate me. I believe they hired a private investigator to get all in my business. I couldn’t say for sure, but my trash was sitting outside of my apartment before I went to bed. But when I got up at 6am, my trash was gone, but everyone else’s trash were still sitting there waiting for the trash guy. This is just something they do. They’re extremely "curious" people. Narc did say her dad did some, "CIA Shit." in her words. - Several months go by. A friend told me that Narc had no right keeping the ring. He said, “that ring is not a gift, it’s a contract.” He went on to tell me about a college quarterback that gave his girl a 100k dollar engagement ring. She ended the engagement, kept the ring… paid off her debt. The quarterback lawyered up; the judge awarded him 100k to make him whole again. I wanted to become whole again. I was so happy the cunt was out of my life. But I hated that she got away with my money and ring. I despised her and despise her to this day. Good people don’t take advantage of other people the way she did. How could she go from begging me to stay, offering counseling etc… with the intention of leaving me the next day. Why? Because it’s what narcissists do. It’s literally a textbook narcissist move. Once I finally got myself back to a good place, I decided to go after her, through the legal system. I lawyered up. My lawyer drafted a letter explaining that I wanted my ring back. I knew I couldn’t get back money she already spent, but the ring was not hers. It was a contract that went unfulfilled. So, my lawyer advised me to only go after the ring. We sent Narc a letter. The letter described the drinking and driving as being the cause for me wanting to end the relationship. This posed a unique issue for Narc and her family. Because if this goes to court, a Texas judge is hearing that a woman drove under the influence with a two yr old. She could have lost custody over this. They had no idea I kept the string of texts that described mine and Narcs conversation about the incident. Of course, she had her parents there to shelter her. Like they always do. They also got a lawyer. We went back and forth for months. Her mom sent me an email asking for money. The money was for my seat on a trip to Alaska that we were all taking together. Without question, and without hesitation, I offered to give her the money. And that we would also settle on the ring. I’m thinking to myself… “didn’t the money they took from me, cover the seat on the cruise?” (guess not) So, I brought this point up through my lawyer and he followed up with them stating that I wanted the 3k back. Or we could make it a wash. This way, they can be made whole, and I could be made whole. That’s all I wanted! I just wanted back what was rightfully mine. In the end we settled on the ring, and all of the antiques and artwork I bought. That was it. We agreed never to speak again. For all reading this… to this day, I wish I could have had my day in court. But I was tired of spending money on lawyer fees, and tired of dealing with it. So, I settled once we came to an agreement on the ring. It wasn’t completely about the ring. I don’t need a ring like that. And I would never give another woman a cursed ring. But I didn’t want her to have it. Especially after the way she treated me. I wanted my day in court, so that I could prove to her family that I wasn’t lying. I had the texts, and I also took a lie detector test. (the test obviously wouldn't have been used in court) but at least I could have shared the results with her parents. It wasn’t fair that she got away with her actions and committed a smear campaign against me. It’s like nothing I have ever seen. All I wanted was the truth. To this day, her parents absolutely despise me. They would love to see me perish. How dare I accuse their precious baby of drinking and driving. Yeah, I’m such a terrible person, right? I absolutely loved her family. I did everything I could. Took them to expensive dinners, gave them a touch screen computer, gave her son an iPad, gave her dad an Antler Trophy. I did acts of service, like helping her dad move tons worth of rocks around their property for various projects. I loved giving them my time. I never once asked for anything in return. I just wanted to be loved. I just wanted a family. And in the end, All they did was take, take, take. I never would have believed that good people like her parents could ever just take my ring and money like that. And to add insult to injury, turn the tables to play victim. I’m still broken inside… to this day. But not because Narc is gone. I wanted that. But I’m broken because this family thinks I fabricated the entire story, they PNG’d me. To Narcs parents; you would think, that if I wanted to make up a BS story about your daughter, I would have made up a better story… you know, something like maybe I caught her cheating- or something really terrible like that. Furthermore, I could have just told you she was trying to get her ex, Jonathan, to go out and see a movie behind my back. This was an actual text message between Narc and Jonathan that I read from her phone. Remember, I went through her phone out of curiosity because I saw “Michael-Tinder” pop up on her locked screen. Curiosity… the same kind of curiosity that caused you to run my credit without my permission. You think you’re so much better than me. Don’t you? Didn’t you hire a PI to spy on Narcs ex-husband? I suspect you hired one to spy on me as well. So, ask yourself, why would I make up a story about drinking and driving??? And why didn’t you just check the security footage at your house? You never thought to check the footage? You can clearly see her stumbling around. I bet you never considered looking into this. Or why not look at her texts? It’s all right there in her phone. Let me just say this, if you’re actually in the CIA, then you know that everything you do digitally, is permanent. The texts are permanent. The record of this incident is permanent, and true. And you let her manipulate you, and you let her get away with it. Smearing me in the process. Epilogue; Until recently I had no idea about this type of mental disorder, and what I was dealing with. I knew she was bipolar II. But I thought it was a mild version of bipolar disorder. At least that’s how she described it. I can deal with minor mood swings and things like that. I can deal with her getting a little anxious at times also. At the time, I knew nothing about narcissism. I didn’t know anything about the disorder, nor any red flags associated with it. But one day during the Spring of 2015, Narc said, “my mother just called me a narcissist.” They were out shopping, and maybe arguing about something stupid. And her mom straight up called Narc, a narcissist. I blew it off, mainly because I had no idea what that meant. Oddly enough, recently, I started watching videos about the disorder. Each and every review are identical. The symptoms are all the same. Now, I’ve watched at least 20 hours’ worth of Youtube reviews on this. My ex-fiancé is a textbook narcissist. Even her own mother called her out on it. Her mother is one of the smartest people I ever met, and she was a nurse and served as an Army Officer in Iraq. Why didn’t I look further in to the bipolar II and narcissism? I cannot believe I didn’t look into this stuff. But by definition, the reference below fits her to a tee. It’s a stunningly accurate description of Narc. It’s fucking scary actually. Now I know what a narcissist means… and I know what to look for. And I know to stay very far away from anything like that for as long as I live. nar·cis·sist/ˈnärsəsəst/📷Learn to pronouncenounnoun: narcissist; plural noun: narcissists
a person who has an excessive interest in or admiration of themselves."narcissists who think the world revolves around them"
· Have an exaggerated sense of self-importance. · Have a sense of entitlement and require constant, excessive admiration. · Expect to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it. · Exaggerate achievements and talents. · Be preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate.
[OC] Two Round Mock Draft with Pick Analysis: Draft Day Edition - (6/21/2018)
Phoenix Suns DeAndre Ayton C Arizona
Phoenix selects local Big Man - DeAndre Ayton. In May, The Suns hired their new Head Coach - Igor Kokoskov. Kokoskov is familiar with Doncic, coaching him and the champion Slovenian team in the EuroBasket2017. However, Head Coaches usually don't have too much leverage in the draft and Suns owner, Robert Sarver, is a big Arizona Basketball booster, so the organization has ties to both top prospects. After his only draft workout, with the Suns, Ayton told the media "I know I'm going No. 1" - it appears exceedingly likely at this point that he is correct. Ayton has sky-high potential due to his size (7’1” height, 7’5” wingspan, 9’3” standing reach, broad shoulders) and athleticism. He has a good looking jumper considering his size and an effective Mid-range and post-up game. IQ and motor on defense as well as finishing through contact and polishing his Pick-and-Roll game on offense are big questions. Can he put it all together for the Suns?
Sacramento Kings Luka Doncic SG/PG Real Madrid/Slovenia
Surprise! Vlade was pulling a ruse! There is a stigma when drafting European players. It mainly stems from public perception of the person making the selection. If one drafts a European prospect who busts, it is seen as more foolish because you may have missed out on an American prospect who was in your 'backyard' so to speak. However, Vlade Divac, GM of the Kings and former NBA player, was born in Serbia. I'm sure Vlade doesn't experience the stigma to the extent that others do, considering his background. Ultimately, the Kings can't resist taking Luka. The 19-year-old Slovenian excels in the pick-and-roll game on offense, great in transition (1.38 PPP), and is comfortable taking a vast array of jumpers -off ball screens (1.43 PPP) spot-ups, and pull-ups. He can be an effective team defender at times. Below average lateral quickness/vertical as well as inconsistent play are Doncic's main questions at this point in his career.
Atlanta Hawks Jaren Jackson Jr. C/PF Michigan State
With Luka off the board, the Hawks take Advanced Stats Jr. out of Model Projection State. Jackson may be the safest pick in the draft. He has phenomenal defensive instincts, a decent outside jump shot, and as mentioned before - posted a great statistical season at MSU. One must keep his very small sample size (35GP, 21.8MPG) in mind when interpreting stats. With that in mind, Triple 'J' is a defensive monster, leading the Big Ten in BLK% at 14.3% and Defensive Rating at 86.4. Very balanced on offense, though he doesn't have the strongest post game. A high foul rate may be an issue. Look out for the Hawks to trade up and select Trae Young after this selection, possibly in the 10-13 range if Young falls that far.
Memphis Grizzlies Marvin Bagley III PF Duke
MBIII falls to Memphis. Bagley is an athletic beast, great standing dunker, decent shooter, and underrated passer. A first-rate scorer on rim dives (1.43 PPP) - I see Bagley developing into a PF offensive role. Defense will be an issue, at least to begin with. Bagley only has a roughly 7'0" wingspan, and his defensive perimeter instincts aren't pretty. Memphis, like Sacramento, have struggled to get top prospects to work out for them and it's unclear what their relationship is with Bagley at this point. However, there seems to be some mutual interest between them and MPJ. Look out for Memphis to trade down and acquire Porter.
Dallas Mavericks Mohamed Bamba C Texas
Dallas takes Texas Big Man Mo Bamba. Bamba has good size (7’ height, 15’ wingspan). His easiest-to-project trait is rim defending (13.0 BLK%). He is somewhat weak at traditional Center tasks (Setting screens, being physical, etc.). Appears to have improved his below average shooting mechanics over the offseason. It would be very interesting to see how Carlisle works with Bamba and DSJ. Could they be pieces of the next great Mavs team?
Orlando Magic Wendell Carter Jr. PF/C Duke
The Magic add a Big with great measurements (wide shoulders, 6'10", 7'4.5" wingspan), a very smart player - Carter rarely found himself out of position defensively at Duke and offensively he is an able passer. He also can finish well at the rim (70% as a Blue Devil), stretch the floor (41% on limited attempts) and can put the ball on the floor if he needs to. If Orlando selects Carter, I think Magic fans can look forward to some great frontcourt play between him and Gordon (That is, before they let AG walk in FA).
Chicago Bulls Michael Porter Jr. SF/PF Missouri
Porter's high-end potential may be too much to pass on for a franchise looking for a star wing. Michael Porter Jr. was seen as the #1 pick before the CBB season started - value! At this point, MPJ's biggest question mark isn't his on-court play, it's his health. Porter has a hip/back injury and he's currently at 5090 50%. On the court, MPJ has a great looking shot for his size (6'10", 7' wingspan). His best usage in the NBA, in my opinion, will be at the PF/C position because of his lack of elite ball-handling, perimeter defense and upright (body stance) play.
The Cavs select the 6’6" point guard from Kentucky. Great standing reach for a guard (8’8”). Not extraordinarily quick. Played a lot of pick-and-roll scenarios at Kentucky. Yet to prove he can hit from outside at a high rate. Lauded for his leadership qualities. Overall, lacks glaring weaknesses which makes him an attractive option for Cleveland and others. Will be a valuable selection if he earns starter minutes. This pick fits a positional need for a LeBron Cavalier team, but with a versatile player like SGA, they aren't tied to a particular rebuild path if LeBron migrates elsewhere.
New York Knicks Kevin Knox SF/PF Kentucky
New York's future depends a fair amount on Porzingis's longterm health. With reports and speculation that the Latvian big may miss the entire season, that future seems marginally shaky. Selecting Knox is surely a bet on his development. He did not have an efficient Freshman season at Kentucky, but he has shown some nice shooting touch and has ideal size (6'9", 7' wingspan) for a modern 4. Knox is still very young (He will still be 18 years old when drafted) and may be able to develop into more of a 2-way player than he is now.
Philadelphia 76ers Mikal Bridges SF/SG Villanova
Philadelphia will look to move some picks during the draft. If they keep this one, Mikal would be a virtual no-brainer. Bridges has familial (mother works in HR) and geographical (Villanova played its home games in the Wells Fargo Center) ties to Philly. The Sixers tack on a wing who is more experienced than anyone in this projected lotto. Mikal is a terrific spot-up player (1.34 PPP, 31% of OFF possessions). A versatile defender, appears to be able to guard most 2-4s at the next level.
Charlotte Hornets Trae Young PG Oklahoma
The future of Kemba in Charlotte is unknown. There is a decent chance Kemba will be moved on draft night. With the Dwight Howard trade and possibly a Walker trade, the Hornets are looking for a speedy rebuild under new Head Coach James Borrego. Selecting Trae would be a flashy start to such a rebuild. Young has an elite shooting stroke, can pull up from anywhere, has shown the ability to find success on off-ball screen situations (1.39 PPP on a limited sample size). He finds open teammates well (48.5% AST%) and has shown a high comfort level in making a variety of different passes. He may be a defensive liability due to his lack of toughness, normal-human-like 6’3” wingspan, and overall disinterest in it. To be fair, a 37.1% Usage Rate is a valid excuse for some of his defensive short-comings. It will be interesting to see how Borrego incorporates Young into his system. As I mentioned beforehand, the Hawks are looking to move into this position in order to take Young, so he may be snatched from the Hornets or maybe the Hornets are the ones to make a deal with the Hawks - who knows.
LA Clippers Collin Sexton PG Alabama
At 12, the Clippers select Collin Sexton. The Clippers have a large range of possible outcomes in '18-'19. They have question marks surrounding DeAndre Jordan - $24M player option, Montrezl Harrell - $1.7M club option, Avery Bradley - unrestricted free agent, Gallo and PBev - injury concerns. The Clippers have let it be known that they're considering moving up in the draft, possibly to take MPJ. If they don't, Collin may be a befitting selection. Sexton is a better passePick-and-roll player than he gets credit for. Can push the ball quickly on fastbreaks. Can handle a high usage rate. Great on-court body language. No glaring weaknesses - his shooting is suspect and he has tunnel vision at times. I’m a little worried his hair will morph into Elfrid Payton 2.0.
LA Clippers Miles Bridges SF/PF Michigan State
At 13 the Clippers take an explosive player who can play off ball. Miles was a well-rounded player on offense for the Spartans. Able to score off of spot-ups, off of screens - off ball and on ball as a roll/pop man. Not afraid to dunk the ball when given the opening to do so. He’s a little undersized at the SB4 spot (6’6”, 6’9.5” wingspan). Miles Bridges has arguably more upside than his namesake, Mikal. Personally, I think 13 is tremendous value for Miles.
Denver Nuggets Lonnie Walker SG Miami (FL)
Denver had an underwhelming defensive season to say the least - 25th in DRTG, and having a limited wing rotation looks to take someone who could potentially help in those areas. Walker is very quick, has a great frame (6’4”, 6’10 wingspan) and a good looking shot - capable of playing off ball. He has the ability to get his body in positions to score, but his touch needs work - he shot 59% at the rim in his Freshman year at Miami. If he can consistently hit from the outside - and therefore pose a threat to closing-out defenders, he has the first-step ability to murder those defenders on over-closeouts. Defensively he can guard on-ball fairly well. He'll need to learn how to be an effective team defender. Look out for the Nuggets to dump salary (which would likely entail a move down) tonight.
Washington Wizards Robert Williams C/PF Texas A&M
Washington has no long-term options at Center. They may take a shot at Robert Williams with the 15th pick. There are some questions about Williams' attitude, so he should fit right in with Washington. Williams draws comparisons to DeAndre Jordan - a former Texas A&M Aggie. A prototypical rim-running big. 7-4 wingspan. Comfortable with finishing the rim (including full windmills in clutch-time on an NCAA Tournament game). Hack-a-Williams might be a thing at the next level - 47.1% last season at A&M. Never got to play much at the Center - where he’ll play in the NBA - in college, because of the more-polished Junior Tyler Davis taking those minutes. Prone to making dumb decisions on offense. While an overall solid defender, he sometimes lost trying to defend the perimeter.
Phoenix Suns Zhaire Smith SF/SG Texas Tech
Phoenix should be looking for a versatile player who can contribute in a wide variety of line-ups - which is a very long-form way to spell Zhaire Smith. Smith had some underwhelming results at the combine. He’s 6’2.75” without shoes and got out-leaped by Donte DiVincenzo, though I wouldn’t look too far into that. He is a dynamic defensive player who can guard 1-3. On offense, he is an active screener a smart passer, He can lift off the ground in a hurry and excels at offensive put-back dunks.
Milwaukee Bucks Jerome Robinson SG/PG Boston College
What the hell is happening with Jerome Robinson? I remember a time when Jerome was seen as a mid-second round pick. It appears scouts have just started to look into this guy and they like what they see apparently. Milwaukee takes fast-rising 21-year-old guard Jerome Robinson. A natural bucket-getter, the 6'6" Guard scored 20 PPG and shot 41% from 3 on 5.7 attempts in his Junior year at Boston College.
San Antonio Spurs Troy Brown Jr. SF/SG Oregon
San Antonio's wing rotation is up in the air. There's Kawhi who appears to want out, Kyle Anderson - RFA, Danny Green $10M player option, Rudy Gay declined his $8.8M player option and is a UFA. They may want another option at that spot. TBJ is a player with smart passing vision (19.1 AST% in conference play), a good mid-range game, plus rebounder for his size, is a logical defender and was third in the Pac-12 in steals as a Freshman.
Atlanta Hawks Aaron Holiday PG UCLA
If Atlanta doesn’t use this pick to move up and take Trae Young, they may select Aaron Holiday at 19. Aaron, brother of Justin and Jrue Holiday, is a 6’1 guard, with a 6’7.5” wingspan. He shot well in his Junior season at UCLA on high volume. He is also a great transition player and slasher.
Minnesota Kevin Huerter SG Maryland
Tom Thibodeau and crew look for their next victim draft pick. Kevin is a young Sophomore (19.7), younger than Bamba and Ayton. He was expected by most to return to Maryland for his Junior year until his very impressive Combine showing solidified himself as a 1st round prospect. The 6’7” guard shot 41.7% from 3 on 5.5 attempts. He has a quick release and is always a threat anywhere behind the 3pt line. In addition to his great shooting strength, he is an able passer. Defense will likely never be a plus, but he hustles.
Utah Jazz Donte DiVincenzo SG/PG Villanova
Utah struck gold with Mitchell last year. They add another combo guard in DiVincenzo. He is 6’4”, 205lb guard from Villanova, possessing a 6'6" wingspan. Relatively under the radar by most until scoring 31 in the National Championship game. Recorded a Connaughton-esque 42” vertical at the Combine. Shot 40% from deep on 5.3 Att./G. in his Sophomore year at Nova.
Chicago Bulls Elie-Franck Okobo PG/SG Pau-Lacq-Orthez/France
Chicago takes Pau-Lacq-Orthez's Elie-Franck Okobo. Okobo can score in a variety of ways - able to pull up off the dribble and shoot off-ball - has the size (6-3, 6-8 wingspan) to potentially be a competent defender.
Indiana Pacers De'Anthony Melton SG/PG USC
Indiana gave Cleveland a run-for-your-money Series in the first round. Kevin Pritchard looks pretty smart in the aftermath of the Paul George trade. The development of Oladipo, Sabonis, and Turner will be interesting to watch and they may take a combo guard like De'Anthony Melton to amalgamate with that grouping. Due to details released in the FBI investigation into various college basketball programs, Melton didn't play his sophomore year at USC. He's an incredibly smart defender who can defend 1-4 and hold his own as an offensive creator. His shooting remains a question.
Portland Trailblazers Josh Okogie SG Georgia Tech
Whether Portland has one or two of their star guards next year, they should consider drafting Okogie. As a Sophomore, the 6'4", 215lb. Okogie averaged 1.8 steals and 1.0 blocks at Georgia Tech. The 19-year-old Nigerian uses his 7ft. wingspan well on defense. Offensively, he could use some work in different facets of his game - ball handling, touch around the rim, etc., but his shooting stats (38% from 3 on 4.2 Att./G, 82% FT shooter) are promising.
Los Angeles Lakers Mitchell Robinson C United States
LA could use a defensively-capable Center. Is Robinson that, or a failed project in waiting? Mitchell has a prototypical Center’s body - stands 7’1”, with a 9’3” standing reach. He is also a versatile shot blocker. An intriguing personality to say the least. Dropped out of Western Kentucky after committing to play there. Dropped out of the draft combine after supposedly receiving a draft promise.
Philadelphia Dzanan Musa SG/SF KK Cedevita/Bosnia and Herzegovina
Philly selects the 6’9” Bosnian wing who, at 19, is already a positive contributor playing for Cedevita. Musa is a confident scorer, a great ball handler for his height, and an able distributor - However, his thin frame, below average wingspan, and defensive questions could be what holds him back from keeping a spot in the NBA.
Boston Celtics Keita Bates-Diop SF/SG Ohio State
Boston is in a very positive situation. The addition of Jerome Bates-Diop, an older, easier to project rookie fits with their timeline. Balanced player on both sides of the floor. Keita Bates-Diop is a four-year forward from The Ohio State University. While in his redshirt Junior year there, he had great shooting efficiency at all 3 levels. Measured well at the combine: Nearly 6’9” in shoes, 7’3”+ wingspan. That size + high defensive IQ = defensive versatility.
Golden State Warriors Grayson Allen SG Duke
Golden State wins their 3rd title in 4 years. With that said, it's apparent their roster has no obvious weaknesses. Well, now that I think of it, they could use a player that makes borderline dirty plays and is despised by most outside the fanbase of the team that he plays for. Having a back-up guard rotation of an aging Livingston, G-League star Cook, and injured McCaw GSW could also use a guard. Grayson Allen tested well athletically at the combine - 10.3s lane agility, 41 in. vertical. Grayson can contribute outside shooting and hustle* plays to the Warriors. The ability to hit shots consistently will make or break Allen’s NBA career. Despite his repetition, I like Allen and I think he would make a positive impact for the Warriors.
Brooklyn Nets Chandler Hutchison SF/SG Boise State
The Nets hold their own first-round pick in the 2019 draft, the first time in four years. There's a rumor that Hutchison received a promise to be drafted at this spot. Hutchison is a 6'7" wing with a 7'1" wingspan. Hutchison lead the MWC in Defensive Rating (93.3) and PER (25.9). He is noted for his great work ethic.
Atlanta Hawks Jalen Brunson PG Villanova
Is Schröder the Hawks long term PG? Almost certainly not. In fact, Dennis may not be on Atlanta's books by the time the draft reaches a conclusion. Atlanta takes another guard, this time, Jalen Brunson. ATL makes a safe pick in the AP POY Brunson. I would bet a small sum of money that TV analysts will use the “Crafty” when breaking down his tape after he is drafted. His size (6’2” height, 6’4” wingspan) and athleticism are his biggest, and nearly only, knocks. I can see him becoming a 5th man player on a good team, paired with a long, defensive guard in the backcourt.
Phoenix Suns Melvin Frazier SF/SG Tulane
Phoenix selects a defensive minded G/F from Tulane. Tested well at the Combine: Nearly 7’2” wingspan, 40.5” vertical. Frazier has great hands of defense and led the AAC in steals last season (65) and FG% (55.6). He is a bit turnover prone on offense and is not a very capable shooter at this point in his career.
Memphis Grizzlies Khyri Thomas SG Creighton
Memphis selects the gritty combo guard from Creighton. Thomas is an on-ball shutdown defender. While being projected as an archetypal 3&D off-ball guard, Thomas can distribute the ball fairly well.
Atlanta Hawks Moritz Wagner PF/C Michigan
The Hawks select the German March Madness star, Moritz Wagner. Mo solidified his place in the draft with his postseason play. Elite Pick-and-roll/pop player. A good spot-up shooter, can extend to 3-pointers (39.4% on 4.1 Att./G). Poor FT% is concerning 69.4%. Below average defender, might get stuck between Center and Forward due to the inability to defend the perimeter and his lack of toughness/length.
Dallas Mavericks Omari Spellman PF/C Villanova
Dallas takes NCAA Champion, Omari Spellman. Old for a Freshman; will be nearly 21 on draft day. Good frame - 6’9”, 245lb, 7’2” wingspan. Can stretch the floor on offense. Likes to spot up and plays well off it (1.41 PPP). Weaker on other big-man tasks - P&R, Post-ups, Put-backs, etc. Not very quick laterally on defense, but makes some vertical plays.
Orlando Magic Jacob Evans SG Cincinnati
Orlando selects a big guard who uses his strength to defend the perimeter, is a capable passer, and can hit the 3 reliably (37.7% on 4.4 Att./G during his 3 years at Cincinnati). I'm a big fan of Evans and I think he has a shot to contribute to an NBA team.
New York Knicks Jevon Carter PG West Virginia
The Knicks take a ball-handler-hounding guard, Jevon Carter. Carter regularly shut down opposing guards at WVU. He has a high motor and can find his teammates well on offense. I'm sure New York would love this guy.
Sacramento Kings Bruce Brown Jr. SG/PG Miami (FL)
The Kings take a combo guard from Miami. Coming off a foot injury and taking a step back in 3pt% (34.7 on 2.9 Att. - 26.7 on 3.2 Att.) in his Sophomore year, Brown is still a coveted prospect due to his defensive prowess and explosiveness. Brown Jr. is an older Sophomore (21.8 at time of the draft). An explosive leaper, active on-ball defender, times blocks well, good shooter off the catch - very poor on pull-ups.
Philadelphia 76ers Anfernee Simons SG/PG IMG Academy
Philadelphia selects a five-year highschool player and part-time Markelle Fultz impersonator, Anfernee Simons. Simons is a young (19.0 at draft) CG from IMG Academy. He’s 6’4”, 180lb., and has a 6’9” wingspan. He will need to get stronger, jumps forward significantly on 3s. Handles the ball well and sets himself up for mid-rangers nicely.
Los Angeles Lakers Rodions Kurucs SF/PF FC Barcelona/Latvia
What is up with all the Latvian NBA prospects? Rodions got limited minutes with Barcelona last year, but the 20-year-old but regardless, he's a coveted 2nd round selection. He's a 6'10" forward with a 7-foot wingspan, good shooting mechanics, and decent athleticism.
Brooklyn Nets Landry Shamet PG/SG Wichita State
Brooklyn takes a dynamic deep-range scorer at No. 40. Landry Shamet has a pretty shooting stroke and shot very well (44.2%) from three at a high volume (5.9 Att./G) in his redshirt Sophomore year at Wichita State. Surprisingly, measured a nearly 40 in. vertical at the Combine, though he was only so-so in scrimmage play.
Orlando Magic Gary Trent Jr. SG Duke
Orlando selects Duke Freshman Gary Trent Jr. Gary Trent is 6'6", has a 6'9" wingspan, shot 40% from three and 87% from the line in his Freshman season at Duke. The Magic potentially add a shooting threat.
Detroit Pistons Devonte' Graham PG Kansas
The Pistons have no first round pick due to the Blake Griffin trade. They recently hired former Raptors coach and COY candidate, Dwane Casey. The first rookie selected in the Casey era is Devonte' Graham. The Pistons could use some point guard depth and they'll get some immediately with Graham. The Big 12 POY is slightly undersized (6'2", 6’6” wingspan) and old (born 2/22/95), but he has shown many things teams want in a PG. He's a good shooter (40.6% on 6.9 Att./G) a solid distributor (2.8 Ast/Tov) and an active defender (1.6 Stl/G).
Denver Nuggets Jarred Vanderbilt PF/SF Kentucky
The Nuggets could use some wing depth and they may get some with Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt excels in rebounding and passing. He hasn’t shown any sign of developing an outside shot.
Washington Wizards Hamidou Diallo SG Kentucky
Washington has some roster decisions to make. After taking their hopeful Center-of-the-Future in Williams, they move on and select Diallo. “It’s f---ing raw!” - Gordon Ramsey sums up Hamidou’s game. Diallo didn't show much this year and he'll likely fall to the Second Round. He’s a good offensive transition player. Great athleticism and size (45in. vertical, 7ft wingspan) - and that’s why a team like the Wizards will draft him.
Charlotte Hornets Shake Milton SG/PG SMU
The Hornets take Malik "Shake" Milton. Shake Milton is an oversized guard (6’6”, 6’11” wingspan) from SMU. He can shoot off the ball well (1.34 PPP, 1/3 of OFF possessions) and is a solid on-ball defender. He struggled at in combine play where his lack of athleticism was apparent.
Houston Rockets Rawle Alkins SG Arizona
Houston takes Rawle Alkins. He has a great body profile. Wide shoulders, 6'9" wingspan. High motor athlete. Good shooting mechanics. Questionable decision-making on both sides of the floor. The Rockets add a powerful Guard in Alkins.
Los Angeles Lakers Kevin Hervey SF/PF Texas-Arlington
The Lakers select a wing with excellent length - 6’8”, 7’3.5” wingspan. Young Senior - won’t even be 22 at the draft. Played four years for the University of Texas-Arlington in the Sun Belt Conference - not the best competition. Shot 33.9% from 3 on 6.9 Att./G, 80.7 FT%. Rebounds well on both sides of the ball. 27.8 Career USG% at UTA, will he be able to translate to a more refined role?
Minnesota Timberwolves Trevon Duval PG Duke
Minnesota selects Trevon Duval. Duval’s stock has plummeted since High School. Still, he’s a good ISO ball handler. He can finish pretty well using his length (6'9" wingspan) with a variety of finishing shots. Overall poor decision maker and a poor 3pt shooter. He’s an athletically gifted player who a team like Minnesota may take for his potential.
San Antonio Spurs Chimezie Metu PF/C USC
San Antonio selects Chimezie Metu. Metu is a 6’10” F/C with a 7’0.5” wingspan. Metu has a fairly good post game and has been working on his 3 point game. His mechanics are projectable as a player that you don’t want to leave absolutely wide open. Metu averaged 18 and 8 with 2 BPG per 36 minutes in his Junior year at USC.
Indiana Pacers Isaac Bonga SF/PG Frankfurt Skyliners/Germany
The Pacers take a draft-and-stash point forward. Isaac Bonga is the second youngest players eligible to be drafted - 18.6 on draft date. Struggles from 3, not the greatest release. 90+ FT percentage is encouraging. Good passer.
New Orleans Pacers Justin Jackson SF/PF Maryland
Only one pick for the Pelicans this year and it's at 51. New Orleans selects Justin Jackson. Jackson's stock dropped after a lost Sophomore season at Maryland. He was inefficient before ending his season due to injury. The Pelicans take a chance due to his potential upside (6’7”, 7’3” wingspan).
Utah Jazz Issuf Sanon SG/PG Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk/Ukraine
The Jazz take Issuf Sanon - the youngest player in the draft. He's a 18.6-year-old Ukrainian guard. 6’4”,185lb. Not the most athletic guard in the class but can finish at the rim fairly well. Sanon can shoot with confidence both on/off the ball. Throws his feet forward a little on jump shots. Will need to get stronger.
Oklahoma City Thunder Tony Carr PG Penn State
The Thunder take a guard from Penn State. The 6'5" Sophomore Point Guard has a slightly unconventional shooting execution, hopping forward and making a pushing motion high in the air. It has worked thus far. He killed the Big Ten last year averaging 20PPG on 43% 3-point shooting. Decent spot-up player. Should be able to play off ball.
Dallas Mavericks Malik Newman SG/PG Kansas
Dallas takes Malik Newman. The redshirt Sophomore transferred from Mississippi State to Kansas after his Freshman year. A five-star recruit out of high school, Newman didn’t quite live up to the hype. However, he showed in flashes last year why he was ranked so highly. He can pull up from range and hit the 3-ball efficiently: 41% on 5.3 attempts this last year.
Charlotte Hornets Kostas Antetokounmpo PF Dayton
Brother of Bucks star Forward Giannis, Kostas is one of four physically gifted basketball-playing brothers. Kostas is a 6’10 forward with a 7’2.25” wingspan and a 9’2.5” standing reach. The 20-year-old was largely unimpressive in his one year at Dayton, though he did post a notable 8.3 BLK%. Charlotte swings for the fences with this pick, hoping Kostas can become a versatile defender and improve in a Giannis-like trajectory.
Philadelphia 76ers Brandon McCoy C UNLV
The 76ers take a shot on a project. Brandon McCoy is a 7’0” Freshman Center with a 7'2" wingspan. Played last season for UNLV. A bit stiff and lacks instincts, but can rebound and finish fairly well.
Oklahoma City Thunder Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk SG Kansas
OKC takes Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk. Mykhailiuk is a 6’7” guard with a minus wingspan (6’5”) who shot 44.4% from 3 on 6.6 attempts in his Senior season at Kansas, and despite being a senior, he will have just turned 21 by the time the draft rolls around.
Denver Nuggets Raymond Spalding C/PF Louisville
Ray Spalding is a Junior big man from Louisville. Spalding is 6’10” and possesses a 7’5” wingspan - which he uses fairly well to get blocks (6.3 BLK%) and steals (3.1 STL%). Spalding was also a capable offensive rebounder at Louisville (2nd in the ACC junior year) and can throw down dunks on the move. He doesn’t have much of an offensive game outside of that, however.
Phoenix Suns Kenrich Williams SF TCU
Very smart player, also very old (23.6 on draft date). No glaring weaknesses, though not elite athlete, FT shooter. Rebounds well for position. A versatile player who should contribute positively right from the get-go.
Philadelphia 76ers Arnoldas Kulboka SF Betaland Capo d’Orlanda/Lithuania
Kulboka is a 6’10” forward from Lithuania. The 20-year-old played 29 games for Betaland Capo d’Orlanda in Italy’s Lega A last year, shooting 36.7% from deep on 4.4 Att./G.. He has excellent shooting mechanics and is a consistent FT shooter. He will have to continue to gain strength and learn to be physical if he wants to make it in the NBA.
Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat: Both these teams have been rumored to be shopping for picks. I wouldn't be surprised if all 30 franchises made a selection tonight.
Undrafted Free Agents I like
Barford, Jaylen Fun to watch. The Senior (22.4 at draft date) is an absolute 3-point threat, lighting up SEC opponents while shooting 43.1% on 5.8 attempts. Built-up frame (6-3, 205), he can finish through contact. Only had 2.5 AST last season.
Clark, Gary The four-year Forward excels in rebounding (lead the AAC in both OFF and DEF rebounding - all-time leader in career OFF rebounds) and defense (career 1.2 STL, 1.3 BLK for Cincy) shot 43% from three on 1.7 Att./G.
Colson, Bonzie Poor man's Draymond. Played the undersized 4 in at Notre Dame. Can do a little bit of everything and has good defensive numbers: 7.4 BLK%, 5.1 DBPM in Senior season.
Edwards, Vince Edwards is a four year forward from Purdue. During his tenure there, he provided the Boilermakers with offensive versatility and defensive rebounding. On offense, he can handle the ball in transition and find open teammates (19.6 career AST%) - in half court situations, he is a nifty cutter (1.44 PPP senior year) and he should be able to stretch the floor at the next level, scoring 39.8% of his 6.8 3pt Att./G. Defensively he may struggle to keep up with the quickest 3’s and hold his ground against the best 4’s, but his 7’0” wingspan and decent frame and defensive IQ may allow him to play rotation minutes in the NBA.
Hall, Devon An NBA ready redshirt Senior guard. Devon Hall was an effective defender for Virginia last season and a capable shooter, making 43.2% of his 3.9 3pt attempts per game.
Omot, Nuni Senior from Baylor. Listed 6’9”, 210lb., 7’3” wingspan. Will be 23.6 on draft date. The Kenyan grew 8 inches since his junior year of high school. Shot 43.3% from 3 on a 53.8 3PAr. Shot 85.5% from the line. 64.2% True Shooting Percentage. Good looking release for his size, a little slow. Likes the corner 3. Has several dribble moves (behind the back, dribble-jab) that allow him to get separation. High release, can easily shoot over wing defenders. Defense isn’t the best, but certainly has the length to help him.
Penava, Ajdin A skilled shot-blocker (had an NCAA best 3.9 BPG last season) who may be able to stretch the floor (34% from 3 on 2.9 Att./G, shot 75% from the line). Ajdin is extremely comfortable with the ball in hands - playing guard before having a major growth spurt. He frequently shows off his passing vision on offense, which is an encouraging sign for translatability. I love prospects like Peneva (unique/skilled) and I hope he gets an NBA contract.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to correct any mistakes. There are a ton of teams looking to trade up or down, so I can't wait to see how fast this mock becomes useless.
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