Should The Lakers Target Grant Golden?

The Los Angeles Lakers have worked out a number of prospects over the previous two weeks. When looking at the list of players, one caught my eye that was a fairly slept on possibility in Grant Golden. Could he be the next new Laker?

Who is Grant?

Golden is a 6’10, 225-pound power forward from Richmond. Last season, he averaged 13 points, six rebounds, and three assists per game.

He was also named to the Atlantic 10 Conference team three times between 2017 and 2022. He was also named to the All-Conference Tournament team in 2022.

What stands out the most about him is his exceptional shooting ability. He can shoot from everywhere on the court thanks to his towering body. Golden also has excellent passing skills for a prospect his size. He also performs amazingly in the pick and roll.

He possesses abilities that will only improve if he could be mentored by players such as LeBron James and Anthony Davis, as well as the entire Lakers coaching staff, who understand how to develop young players.

Golden’s skill stood out and built a reputation for himself despite being at a small school with minimal media coverage till it was time for the tournament.

Player Comp -Kelly Olynyk With Playmaking

After seeing him play at Richmond, I noticed that he is extremely similar to current Detroit Piston Kelly Olynyk in terms of scoring and floor spacing. One area where they differ is in passing, as Golden has been one of the finest passing bigs in college without receiving national recognition.

It is obvious that he can be a second-round pick or end up on a summer league club. But, if the Lakers determine Grant Golden, expect the Lakers scouting team to turn him into the next big draft steal.

Jayson Tatum Is Finals Ready and Going For Gold

The Boston Celtics’ rising star has been a dominant force throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs. Now, Jayson Tatum is headed to the finals after putting the NBA on notice. From sweeping the heavily favored Brooklyn Nets to dethroning the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks, to now engaging in a spectacular battle with Miami Heat superstar, Jimmy Butler.

While many expected Tatum and his team to fail, he has greatly outperformed expectations and now confronts another difficult obstacle. That next obstacle comes in the form of the Golden State Warriors, who will provide nothing but fireworks on Thursday.

There is No Question Tatum Is a Superstar

If there was any doubt about Tatum’s ability to take the next step or whether he is indeed the Celtics’ next big star, those doubts have been dispelled. In a win or go home game 7, he big shot after big shot and stepped up on defense. He had 26 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, one steal, and two blocks in last night’s triumph.

Whenever there has been a challenge in front of him, he’s gladly accepted the task. When it came to the first round of the playoffs, it was expected that Kevin Durant would send Tatum packing early, but spoiler alert, the exact opposite happened. Tatum played outstanding defense on Durant, making it difficult for him to function as well as he often does. Tatum averaged nearly 30 points per game in that series, indicating a strong will to win.

The defending champions, the Milwaukee Bucks, were up next. This was a difficult undertaking since eliminating a team that has just won a championship is not easy. While this series went to seven games, it was in their sixth playoff matchup when Tatum once again put the world on notice. He scored 46 points to force a game 7 with his team trailing 3-2 in the series.

Finally, to cap off his spectacular performance in these playoffs, he was the first to win the Larry Bird MVP award while leading his Celtics to the Eastern Conference title. This award is given to the best player in the Eastern Conference Finals.

More Awards On The Way?

It would be ridiculous to think Tatum is content with the two awards he received last night. He has his sights set on the bigger prize, which is the Larry O’Brien Trophy. The only thing standing in his way is a very tough opposition in the Steph Curry-led Golden State Warriors. NBA fans are already giddy at the prospect of back-and-forth battles between him and Curry.

While the Warriors have the experience, Tatum and the Celtics have exceptionally good defense and youth, which will be the difference in this series. If Jayson Tatum in the finals can replicate these spectacular performances on the greatest stage of his career, expect him to be mentioned among the elite players in this league. Battling the Warriors will not be easy, but Tatum has proven time and time again that he is ready for anything.

Lakers Potential Head Coach Power Rankings

Potential Lakers Head Coach Darvin Ham
Photo Credit: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

As the Los Angeles Lakers prepare for the final stages of hiring their next head coach, three candidates are seeking to lead the famous Purple and Gold. While all three are excellent candidates, only one may be hired. Here’s how each one differs.

Darvin Ham

Darvin Ham is a former NBA player who is also familiar with the Lakers, having previously worked for them in 2011. He began his coaching career as an assistant to then-Lakers head coach Mike Brown. Ham worked with Lakers stars Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Dwight Howard.

He was also a helpful hand in building some of the best teams we’ve seen. He was involved in the Atlanta Hawks’ amazing success in 2014 and 2015. During his time as an assistant, the team reached the number one seed in the East and won the division title.

Last but not least, he has a championship on his coaching record as a pivotal figure in last year’s NBA Finals defeat of the Phoenix Suns. Ham could use what he’s learned throughout the years to help the Lakers.

2) Terry Stotts

Terry Stotts, the former Trailblazers head coach, coached some of Portland’s best seasons, leading them to many playoff appearances and forming one of the top backcourt duos of the 2010s with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. During his time in Portland, several “Dame Time” moments occurred. Lillard’s clutch game winner over Paul George in the playoffs is one of the most memorable.

The question now is what sort of transformation he can bring to the Purple and Gold? The answer is a mix of his free flow offensive style and his “Horns” offense. This would be ideal for the Lakers, as the Horns offense has the majority of its players spread out around the court, creating multiple scoring opportunities.

Terry Stotts would be a strong backup plan if the Lakers failed to sign Darvin Ham.

3) Kenny Atkinson

Kenny Atkinson is currently on Golden State Warrior’s head coach Steve Kerr’s staff in an assistant role, where he has been instrumental in the team regaining its former dominance. Atkinson’s brilliant basketball mind has aided the growth of young sensation Jordan Poole, who has had a breakout season.

Atkinson formerly coached the Brooklyn Nets for four years, missing the playoffs three times. In his lone playoff season, he turned the franchise around, winning 42 games and transforming point guard De’Angelo Russell into an All-Star. His guidance also aided the development of Caris LeVert and Jared Allen, both of whom are excelling.

All three are great choices to be the next Lakers head coach. They can’t go wrong with either one, and whomever they land will accept one of the best jobs in the league.

Nick Saban’s Comments On Rival NIL Deals Sparks Drama

Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders drew criticism from Nick Saban over NIL and star recruit Travis Hunter
Photo Credit: JSU / Edward Waters

During a media interview, Alabama head coach Nick Saban attempted to reveal his competition’s unscrupulous techniques in bringing recruits — mainly concerning NIL practices — into their institution. During said interview, Saban accused SEC rival Texas A&M of “buying every player,” while also pointing the charge at Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders for paying top recruit Travis Hunter one million dollars to commit to his school.

The college football community was incensed by these accusations, and both head coaches were enraged by what was said about them. Jimbo Fisher was the first to answer, and he delivered a Nas-worthy ether, calling Saban a “narcissist” and saying that some individuals believe they are God.

It’s one thing to poke fun at a competitor, but to accuse them of nefarious business practices is plain unprofessional and makes you appear entitled. The next person who quickly responded was Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders and his number one recruit, Travis Hunter.

These claims were swiftly debunked, with Sanders writing, “We as a People Don’t Have to Pay Our People to Play With Our People.” Even the millionaire recruit chimed in, tweeting, “I got a mill, but my mom still lives in a three-bedroom house with five kids.”

What Does All This Mean

This essentially implies that when it comes to recruiting, every school’s football program is on an equal playing field. While pay-for-play has been practiced in college sports for many years, Saban should not be concerned; if anything, it raises the level of competitiveness.

This coach is known as the Bill Belichick of college football, having sent countless Crimson Tide players to the NFL. It simply appears he feels as if the pressure is coming, and has real challenges ahead.

The SEC has grown a little stronger, and if Alabama is still the powerhouse it has been for the previous ten years, what happens inside another school’s program shouldn’t be their business. Saban’s remarks have undoubtedly made their games against Texas A&M a little more personal this season.

Jackson State Is A Huge Threat

When Jackson State hired Deion Sanders, he immediately transformed that program, putting all eyes on the HBCUs. In his debut season, he led his team to a near-unbeaten season and the SWAC conference championship. He also gained a number of recruits, the most notable being Travis Hunter, the nation’s number one recruit, who switched from Florida State to Jackson State.

Simply put, HBCU football programs are back, and Deion is leading the fight. With him at the helm, it is evident that prospects do not need to attend a big school to flourish; it is possible to do so at an HBCU.

If Hunter can flourish at Jackson State, the sky is the limit for Deion, as countless recruits will follow suit and leave a legacy rather than simply being a part of a winning program. It’s clear that NIL has changed the landscape of college football, and the comments from Nick Saban clearly reflect that.

Washington State Cameron Ward Is The Player To Watch This Season

Washington State QB Cameron Ward is a darkhorse top QB in the 2023 NFL Draft
Photo Credit:

With all of the buzz about quarterbacks to keep an eye on this season — a list that could include potential first-round picks like Miami’s Tyler Van Dyke or Kentucky’s Will Levis — let me shine a light on a Pac-12 quarterback who recently transferred from an FCS school where he set multiple records. That quarterback is current Washington State quarterback Cameron Ward, a blazing talent cannon-slinger who is a vastly underrated prospect for the 2023 NFL Draft.

Ward most recently attended Incarnate Word, where he starred in head coach Eric Morris’ air raid scheme. The same offense he utilized at Texas Tech when he was coaching a valiant young Patrick Mahomes.

Under Morris, Ward had some of the most jaw-dropping games that captivated college football fans, and he garnered a lot of notoriety. He led his team to a nail-biting overtime triumph over rival Stephen F Austin in the first round of the FCS playoffs at home in front of thousands of fans at Gayle and Tom Benson Stadium.

This man is absolutely fantastic on the field, whether it’s tossing a 40-yard bomb to his favorite target, Taylor Grimes, or making plays with his feet. He concluded the season with 47 touchdowns, 4,648 passing yards, and only 10 interceptions, which are incredible stats. He was among the most anticipated prospects after expressing his intention to enter the transfer portal.

Easy Transition From FCS TO FBS

While there will be many questions about whether his talents can transition from FCS to FBS, there really shouldn’t be. When you have talent in you, it stays with you forever. It also helps that his former head coach is currently with him at Washington State. Ward will join a Pac-12 conference that includes Caleb Williams of USC, Bo Nix of Oregon, and Cameron Rising of Utah.

When the college football season begins, expect to witness a bunch of duels. He begins this season as the sleeper, the underdog, which just adds to his determination to improve as a player.

Ready For The Big Moment

Cameron Ward is more than prepared for the big moment and deserves just as much acclaim as the other quarterbacks receiving media attention for the 2023 NFL Draft. Just keep in mind that once he starts turning heads in the Pac-12, don’t be surprised if the bandwagon becomes a little too heavy.