Kemba is Krazy

March 10, 2011

by Jack Maidment

Kemba Walker. 12 Seconds. UConn versus Pitt. The Garden. The Big East Tournament Quarter Final.

Inbounds. Ball Back. Pitt Screen Switch. Big Man. Cross. Cross. Ankles. Floor. Step Back. Jumper. Money. Buzzer. UConn Win. Number 4 Pitt Gone. Semi Final.

Kemba is Krazy.


Lance Stephenson is Born Ready

August 12, 2010

by Jack Maidment

Last year this blog stated in no uncertain terms that Brandon Jennings would rock the NBA. And he did. Better than any rookie not named Tyreke.

For that reason, and because you can build a better future by learning from the past, it is time to pick out this coming season’s Draft sleeper.

If Brandon Jennings was looked off last year, dropping towards the bottom of the lottery, this year’s man is even more of a dark horse.

Lance Stephenson, the 40th overall pick of the Indiana Pacers, is a player who some how slipped to the point of near anonymity despite a career to this point heavily laden with records and accolades.

There is a reason why the Coney Island, Brooklyn, native was given the nickname Born Ready at Rucker Park: he has been playing at a professional level since he was 15, bullying people with his 6-5 bruiser of a body.

His style of play is almost a mirror image of a certain ROY from the Sacramento Kings, perhaps with a little less polish.

But talent is not the question here.

On talent alone Stephenson would be a top ten rookie, maybe even top five, but because of how easy the game was for him until he went to college his game is raw and at times frightening: Especially for a coach contemplating point guard minutes.

And herein lays the gamble. Given minutes and a slice of patience Lance Stephenson will be a very, very good NBA player, maybe even great. Maybe even a ROY contender.

The Pacers’ trade for Darren Collison means no start for the Cincinnati product, at least at the point, but with a looming buyout of TJ Ford there should certainly be minutes for Stephenson somewhere in the backcourt.

Born Ready is ready for the next step.

Evan Turner or John Wall? Good question.

March 28, 2010

by Jack Maidment

His Ohio State Buckeyes may have been ousted prematurely by the Tennessee Vols but now seems about the right time to jump aboard the Evan Turner bandwagon.

The Chicago native had been walking around like his name was Atlas since his return from a broken back early in the season.

The weight of carrying a mediocre team only became too much for the junior in the Sweet 16, proof that one man can only do so much.

There is not a player in the world who can and has delivered every single time they take the court.

It’s just not possible, but Turner gave it a pretty good go.

He has averaged just over 20 points a game while running the point for Ohio, a position he had never played before.

Combine that with 9 rebounds and 6 assists every game and it is easy to appreciate why Turner is considered to be the most versatile player in college basketball.

In what could well be his final collegiate outing Turner put in the kind of performance to make John Wall’s status as the consensus #1 pick in this year’s NBA draft seem a lot less secure.

31 Pts, 7 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk.

A simply stunning night of heroics that is sure to have boosted Turner’s draft stock.

It is entirely conceivable that Evan Turner will go #1.

And the decision to pass on John Wall, which just weeks ago would have been laughable, is now far from fanciful.

Turner or Wall?

That is the question.

If you are a monumentally bad team (The Nets or just about any team in the lottery) you take Wall.

If you are the Utah Jazz or another ok team who possesses a lottery pick and already has a good pg, you take Turner.


John Wall: Do Believe The Hype

December 5, 2009

by Jack Maidment

Hype: the one thing absolutely guaranteed in American sports today.

The media’s insatiable appetite for The Next Big Thing has created a society that awaits the coverage of any upcoming special athlete with bated breath.

However, the majority of those people who are thrust into the spotlight at an early age and are instantly labelled The Future, rarely attain the type of success predicted for them. In fact, most achieve relative sporting mediocrity at best.

It is rare indeed for an athlete to absolutely fulfil and then proceed to go way past the expectations bestowed upon them in their teenage years.

It is because of this that an air of cynicism now accompanies those who are tagged for greatness.

A frown and a ‘yeah right’.

John Wall, however, is as advertised. Absolutely.

The University of Kentucky freshman will play college ball this year safe in the knowledge that expectations could be no higher.

Final Four. #1 pick. NBA Franchise Saviour.

That is his future.

Or at least it should be. And now that he has such goals associated with him, anything less will be seen as a failure.

Luckily for Wall and basketball fans around the world, there can be little doubt that he is firmly on the path to greatness as prophesied by so many.

At 6’4, Wall is a big guard. He is tall for a 1 and solid for a 2, especially at the college level, and as such proposes opposing college back courts with real match up head aches.

Combine his size and strength with his blistering speed and there is simply no way to play him: he will go round you, through you or if he has to, or rather wants to, over you.

His ability to slash and finish at the rim are Wade-esque: normally the kind of comparison which would raise considerable eyebrows. In Wall’s case it is entirely appropriate. He is that good.

John Calipari has said that Wall is further along the development scale at this stage of his career than his ex students Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans. Considering the impact that both of those players are having in the NBA, there can be little doubt as to where Wall is headed and the kind of career that he could experience in professional basketball.

His performance against UNC officially announced his entry onto the national consciousness, a place where he is destined to stay and grow for a very long time.

Don’t believe the hype?

No really, do.