Trade Grade: De’Anthony Melton to Sixers

The Trade

The terms of the trade are: Philadelphia 76ers receive De’Anthony Melton

Memphis Grizzlies receive: 23rd overall pick, Danny Green

Analysis

Philadelphia essentially gave up their first round pick to trade in Green for a younger, healthier shooting guard. That is not a bad price to pay given that late first round picks typically do not have a ton of value. Also, Green just turned 35 and is coming off an ACL injury. He likely wouldn’t return until late in the season and even then it’s impossible to tell what he will look like at that point. Swapping him out for Melton is the responsible thing to do for a team with championship aspirations. Also, the offensive production shouldn’t change at all. Both Green and Melton had almost identical field goal and three point percentages this past season. Defensively, there isn’t much of a difference either. On top of that, Melton will be almost two million dollars cheaper this year.

Grade

Sixers: A

Grizzlies: B-

This was a home run for Philly without question. Even if Melton leaves after this season, it’s not like the Sixers gave up much in this trade. If he has a breakout season, then they get the first crack at signing him. For the Grizzlies, this trade largely hinges on what their draft pick (Colorado State forward David Roddy) brings to the table. Green should get a bunch of open looks playing with Ja Morant, so that’s a solid fit. For now, they get an above average grade.

Paul Maurice Hired as Florida Panthers Head Coach

The Florida Panthers hired Paul Maurice as their head coach. Here is what he brings to the team.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Winnipeg Jets’ head coach Paul Maurice discusses Patrik Laine’s concussion during a short press conference after the pre-game skate.

After weeks of searching, the Florida Panthers have landed on a coaching decision. In a somewhat surprising move, the team chose Paul Maurice to be the Florida Panthers head coach. Maurice replaces interim coach Andrew Brunette, who lead the team to a 51-18-6 record since taking over last season.

This move comes as quite a shock to the Panthers faithful, as Maurice was not a name floated around during the hiring process. Still, the organization views Maurice as someone who can take the team forward. Here is what he brings to the organization.

Paul Maurice’s coaching history

Paul Maurice has been a head coach in the NHL for 24 years. His most successful season came in 2002 where he took the Carolina Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup Final. Most recently, Maurice spent the past nine seasons as the head coach of the Winnipeg Jets. In those nine seasons, Maurice made the playoffs five times. His most successful season with the Jets came in 2018, where he made the conference finals.

Since the NHL has changed drastically in the last five years, it really only makes sense to analyze his last stint in Winnipeg to see what he will offer as the Florida Panthers head coach.

Since the 2017-18 season, the Jets averaged 3.18 goals per game. That places them eighth in the league over that stretch. The team also gave up 2.79 goals per game under Maurice, a figure that places them 10th.

In that same time frame, the power play hovered around 23%, which places them fourth league wide. The Penalty kill had a success rate of around 80%, which is below league average.

The Macro numbers suggest a consistently good offensive team with defensive questions. This is exactly what those Jets teams were. Maurice does deserve credit for implementing a system which allowed his offensive talent to thrive. However, the same defensive lapses plagued his teams year after year with little adjustments from him. The Jets became predictable and it ultimately led to his ousting there.

Maurice’s fit with the Panthers

The Panthers wanted experience with their new coaching hire, and Maurice has plenty of experience. This Panthers team can also be thought of as an upgraded version of Maurice’s Jets. Both are gifted offensively and lack the lockdown defensive ability of many of the perennial cup contenders. In this sense, the learning curve shouldn’t be too steep for Maurice as he adjusts to his personnel.

Still, Maurice will need to change some things if he wants to be successful as the Florida Panthers head coach. For instance, the Penalty kill needs to be sharper. Too often in Winnipeg were the Jets caught flat footed leading to good scoring chances for their opponents.

The Panthers had similar problems last year. The virtue of a veteran coach is the ability to make adjustments quickly and seamlessly. Hopefully Maurice can provide this, but it was not apparent through many of his seasons with the Jets.

Another, and perhaps larger, problem is his handling of personnel. Specifically, his reputation as an authoritarian. Players such as Patrik Laine have been at odds with Maurice in the past, and it led to Laine demanding a trade. Much like former panther coach Gerard Gallant, Maurice tends to favor grizzled veterans over promising youngsters, which stunted the growth of many players in Winnipeg. Could the same happen to players like Anton Lundell and Spencer Knight in Florida? Only time will tell, but that could be disastrous for the franchise.

My Take

Ultimately, I do not think this was the right hire for the Panthers. Part of what made the team special last year was how much the players loved playing for Andrew Brunette. Every single one raved after the season about how much they loved him as a coach and how much they wanted him back behind the bench.

Of course, the flameout in the playoffs left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. It certainly led to management’s decision to change coaches. Still, to abandon what the team had been building together after just one playoff failure is not the mark of a good organization.

Think about the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2019. After a 62 win regular season, they suffered an embarrassing first round sweep to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Despite this, the team made no drastic moves in the offseason. Jon Cooper returned as the coach and the core remained the same. They grew together and won the next two Stanley Cups.

Why the Panthers did not try to emulate the Lightning in this sense is beyond me. Great teams become great through continuity. Coaches, like players, are capable of growth. Bruno looked outmatched in these playoffs, no doubt, but not having the patience to stick with him and let him make mistakes portrays a palpable lack of trust that the players are certainly affected by.

Keep in mind this is not an indictment of Paul Maurice as a coach. He has a proven track record of success in numerous circumstances and his experience has value. But the damage done by uprooting the leader of this team outweighs the potential schematic improvement that Maurice can provide.

Andrew Brunette should have been the coach again. The team was absolutely dominant during the regular season due in large part to the work of Brunette. The Panthers did not need a change of direction, they just needed more time to learn. I do hope I am wrong, but I think this was the wrong decision.

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Prospect Draft Profile: Paolo Banchero

With the 2022 NBA draft just mere hours away, there are a ton of things NBA fans should keep an eye on. With rumors swirling all around regarding teams, players, and possible trades, it’s easy to get lost in the rumor-mill. Let’s get back to basics, and examine one of the most exciting players in this class; Paolo Banchero.

Banchero averaged over 17 points per game and nearly eight rebounds in his only season at Duke. Paolo helped lead the Blue Devils to the final four in Coach K’s penultimate season, and he impressed greatly.

Banchero’s trophy case is at max capacity right now. In just one collegiate season, Paolo was named the 2022 ACC Rookie of the Year, First team All-ACC, and the ACC All-Rookie team. On the national level, he was named a second-team All American. Lets begin to Look at Paolo Banchero’s strengths.

Paolo Banchero’s Strenghts

Paolo is considered the consensus top forward in the entire class, and that’s due to his sheer size and athleticism. Standing at 6’10”, Banchero is a big guy who has a ton of finesse for his size. With his tall stature, he shouldn’t see any trouble guarding or scoring against big men in the league, and his athleticism may give him an advantage over many. Watching the clips below, Paolo’s combination of size and athleticism will jump off the screen.

Overall, Paolo Banchero is a great scorer especially around the basket. His finesse gives him a nifty ability to score down low, and in the fast-paced league the NBA currently is, Banchero should thrive. Thanks to his size as well, Banchero is a solid rebounder. Paolo is pretty creative off the dribble as well, especially when it comes to passing and setting up his teammates.

Paolo Banchero’s Weaknesses

For all of his agility, one thing Banchero must improve on at the NBA level is his perimeter defense. Paolo is a bit slow moving laterally, which isn’t surprising for somebody of his size. His wingspan gives him a chance to still block shots after getting beat on the dribble. However, in the NBA players are much better at finishing near the basket so he won’t be able to have that crutch anymore. Paolo could also do better at reading the offense as well, but both of these issues can certainly be improved in the NBA.

Paolo is a confident shooter, and he’s not a bad one. Still, his shot selection will need to improve. As the best player on a championship contending team, it is possible that Banchero felt the need to force some shots. With NBA-caliber teamates, that likely won’t be as much of an issue.

Paolo Banchero’s NBA Outlook

Paolo is one of the safest picks in the draft, and will more than likely go in the top three. He has hardly any holes in his game, and his size and athleticism leave a ton of potential still untapped.

Paolo has an ability to score at all three levels, and that will instantly translate to the pro game. His defense and shot selection still need some work, but Banchero is still only 19 years old, so he’ll have plenty of time to improve. Paolo Banchero has a long road ahead of him, and it will be very exciting to watch his career play out.

Lakers Draft Prospects: The Finals Power Rankings

As the NBA draft approaches in less than twenty-four hours, the team has worked out a large number of possible prospects. Some have even returned for a second workout. With a view to the future, these are the top four best prospect suitors for the Lakers.

4)Terell Brown Jr – Washington, Guard

Brown Jr. is a true two-way player who would significantly improve the Lakers’ depth at point guard. He is a hound on defense who scores and makes his teammates look good because of his excellent playmaking abilities. Brown Jr. should be high on The Lakers prospects draft board, as new head coach Darvin Ham wants his players to be versatile and give their best on both sides of the ball.

3) Johnny Juzang- Guard, UCLA

Juzang, a former UCLA Bruin, would not have to relocate if picked by his hometown Lakers. He is a high-level scorer who will rapidly become a fan favorite due to his ability to score. He would give instant scoring off the bench, which the squad desperately needs. It would be a special sight to see him off the bench with Austin Reeves and Stanley Johnson. With the addition of new coaching staff member Schyler Rimmer, who specializes in shooting, his career will take the next step.

2) Jabari Walker- Forward, Colorado

Walker, a big body, two-way player who can grab rebounds in bunches, would be one of the keys to the Lakers’ future if the Lakers front office is able to secure him. Walker has the potential to develop under the Lakers coaching staff, who understand how to bring out the best in young players, and he might be a key player for the Lakers in the post-LeBron future. He would contribute everything the squad requires, as a hardworking player who works hard on both sides and is eager to progress and learn.

1)Cole Swider- Forward, Syracuse

Swider, has wowed Lakers scouts so much that he has landed a second workout with the team this week. During his time with the Orange, he was a product of Jim Boeheim’s high-level scoring attack. He made 41.1 percent of his three-point attempts. Swider is the definition of a walking bucket, as he can score from everywhere on the court. His ability to make big shots would impress fans. With the Lakers giving him a second look, it appears like he will be one of the prospects wearing purple and gold very soon.

Lakers Workouts: Prospect Power Rankings 3.0

With The NBA draft taking place this week, the Lakers workouts have continued with the third round of potential prospects. With news of teams willing to offer the team a chance to obtain their second-round pick, here are rankings based on fit.

6) Phlandrous Fleming Jr – Florida, Guard

Fleming Jr., is a 6’4 210-pound guard, who transferred from Charleston Southern before finishing his career at Florida. He averaged 11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals a game during his time as a Gator. Fleming Jr. had a number of accomplishments throughout his college career, including being named Big South Defensive Player of the Year twice and being named to the All-Big South Team twice.

He’s a terrific defender as well as scorer and could fit the Lakers’ need for defensive players who can shoot.

5) Darius Days- LSU, Forward

Days, the former Tiger, averaged 13 points, 7 rebounds, and one steal per game during his final season. In 2021, he was also named to the Preseason All-SEC Team. What distinguishes him is his versatility in playing either ball or on ball. On ball, he excels at knocking down shots, scoring in the post, and is ideal for pick and roll scenarios.

He can also spread the floor, creating opportunities for others, and he battles for rebounds. At 6’7 and 245 pounds, he really plays above his frame.

4) Fabian White Jr- Houston, Forward

Last season, White averaged 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists per game. During his five years at Houston, he also received a variety of honors, including being named to the All-AAC Team for the 2021 season and being awarded The AAC Tournament MVP.

He is recognized for his scoring variety and stands 6’8 and weighs 225 pounds. He can score from everywhere on the court and generates instant offense the moment he walks on the court due to his excellent shot IQ.

3) Michael Steadman- UMass, Power Forward

Steadman averaged 7 points and three rebounds for Massachusetts last season. He stands a towering 6’10 and weighs 215 pounds. While his stat line may not immediately capture your eye, it is his presence on the defensive side that makes people attacking the paint second-guess their decisions. He excels at pick and roll and stretching the floor. With the Lakers’ track record of developing small-school or lesser-known players, he might be one of the draft’s many steals.

2) Terrell Brown Jr -Washington, Guard

Brown Jr. stands 6’3 and weighs 185 pounds. Last season, he averaged 21 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals. He was also chosen to the All Pac-12 First Team as the lone representative from his institution in 2021. Aside from his scoring and playmaking, what stands out most about him is his great defense, with him being a pest on whoever he’s defending, nothing simple comes his way.

With the Lakers in need of depth at point guard and pesky defenders, if he’s available, the Lakers should call him. One thing is certain, he’s a do-it-all sort of player and is the ideal player in today’s NBA.

1)Jabari Walker- Colorado, Forward

Jabari Walker is the son of former Laker Samaki Walker. He is 6’8 and weighs 200 pounds. He averaged 14 points and 9 rebounds last season while playing at Colorado. In his sophomore season, he was awarded to the All Pac-12 First Team, and in 2020, he was named to the All Pac-12 Freshmen Team.

Looking at his game, he can score in bunches in any situation, whether it’s being fed the ball for a mid-range shot or displaying his range for a three. Walker isn’t afraid of a little contact, and he’ll muscle his way to the rim.

This potential draft pick would be well mentored by Anthony Davis because they have similar body types and play styles. With the Lakers hiring a whole new staff, he’s one that might bloom into a component of the team’s future, not to mention being a local talent from Inglewood, it’ll be the perfect homecoming.