Black Lives Matter: The Importance of Black Activism and A Shoutout To Stephen Jackson

In the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, we’ve witnessed iconic images of the United States that will define this time in history.

We’ve seen everything from the ugliness of police brutality, to images of citizens uniting across the country, expressing their first amendment rights.

In a changing world, and amidst a potential return to play, the NBA is finding itself at the center of the social issues currently captivating the Nation’s attention.

Boston Celtic Jaylen Brown protesting in Atlanta

The political mobilization of Black athletes in the U.S impacts the young generation of African-Americans. An impact I’ve witnessed firsthand through experiences with my father.

Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising their fists on the world’s stage at the Olympics in 1968, along with Muhammad Ali making his stance against the Vietnam war were both images of Black pride that occurred during my father’s youth.

I could always tell these moments carried weight for him, and I firmly believe the images of athlete activism that we see today will hold the same weight for the youth going forward.

The importance of seeing the most visible athletes take stands for what they believe in will forever lie in the beauty of children seeing their superheroes fight for them.

black power salute – Good Black News

Some recent examples of this include a moment in 2012, a brief moment when the Miami Heat posed with their hoodies up to show solidarity after the killing of Trayvon Martin.

In the time following their message, we’ve seen NBA players wear “I can’t breathe” warm-up shirts and slowly increase the use of their platform to speak about the need for social change.

We should not always look to athletes when we have societal issues, but due to the clout they hold in our society, their voices and actions matter, and can amplify the words echoing in the streets.

LeBron James' and other athletes' protest over Trayvon Martin ...
The Miami Heat Showing Solidarity With Trayvon Martin

Black athlete demonstration is also important because it combats the destructive idea of Black Exceptionalism, or in layman’s terms, the idea that being seen as exceptional is enough to omit an individual from many issues plaguing the community at large.

Unifying with the people shows that it is impossible for us to “Talented Tenth” our way to progress, it’s going to take as many bodies as we can get to push for change.

Stephen Jackson

Stephen Jackson and Karl-Anthony Towns

NBA Champion Stephen Jackson is the man in the middle of it all.

He’s the closest big name in sports connected to George Floyd, and as a result, he has decided to use his platform to pressure the nation to improve.

Jackson has marched in the streets, taken interviews across the country, and mobilized NBA players to fight alongside him.

Recently, Jackson expressed his opinion on the NBA returning. He mentioned a return to play could steal focus from what is going on in the streets.

Jackson was the type of player who brought an edge to every team he played for.

Every game, his opponents would feel his presence, and he brings the same energy to the sports media world on his show “All The Smoke” and to his role in the fight for social justice in the United States.

In honoring his friend George Floyd, Jackson is doing whatever he can to make the world a better place.

I’m with him, I hope you are too.

Derrick Rose of Chicago Bulls wears 'I Can't Breathe' shirt in reference to  Eric Garner

District of Buckets 2K20 Challenge: ’96 Bulls Vs. ’13 Heat (Games 1 & 2)

In the 70 plus days since the NBA shut down operations, the same old conversations comparing basketball eras have been recycled incessantly. I decided I was tired of it and started lining up hypothetical matchups between NBA greats on NBA2K20.

NBA 2k20 is a cool tool to visualize how in-game matchups might work. For all the negativity I talk about the game 2K does an adequate job of programming tendencies and abilities to get an accurate view of play styles, and the way players work within their teams.

Naturally, I created a poll on twitter to decide which matchup to try first.

The 72-Win Chicago Bulls and the Big-3 Miami Heat are both impressive teams in their own right, and a matchup between these teams allows for us to also look at how a matchup between Prime LeBron James and Michael Jordan might play out.

Rules and Notes:

The Bulls have home-court advantage due to having a better regular season record (72-10)

I am playing as the home team in every game and making adjustments as the games continue, as would happen in an actual playoff series.

9-min quarters due to the increased speed of 2K in comparison to an actual game.

Game 1: Bulls 104-92 Heat (Bulls Lead 1-0)

Matchup Notes:

I started the game with Rodman on LeBron, didn’t go well. I then Switched Pippen on LeBron, Pippen could bother him on the perimeter with his combination of size, quickness, and strength. Rodman helping on the drive proved to be effective. I strayed away from putting Jordan on LeBron defensively because I needed him to use more energy on offense.

Despite LeBron’s injury at the start of the 3rd, Wade and Bosh were able to hold their own, but without LeBron, Jordan’s offensive output was too much to match.

A Mario Chalmers/Ron Harper matchup at the PG spot is intriguing. Harper was an incredible defender, but Chalmers is more than capable of taking advantage of his opportunities when teams have to focus on stopping the Big 3.

The Heat threw Shane Battier and Mike Miller at Pippen, Battier is the better defender of the two, but Guarding Pippen is a whole other level. Even though Battier is a solid defender, Pippen can exploit any mistakes on the defensive end better than most.

Wade v. Jordan: Wade will still get his points, but dealing with Jordan for the majority of the game tired him out and limited his offensive scoring output. Wade put up a great fight and carried the Heat offensively after LeBron got hurt, but eventually, he runs out of steam having to deal with the G.O.A.T.

Chicago Bulls Luc Longley and Bill Wennington are looking at a LONG SERIES of dealing with the slashing of James and Wade, along with the skill of Chris Bosh. Despite being outmatched, these two get a boost for having Rodman crash the boards with them. This combination allows Chicago to clean the glass, and as a result, they have won the rebound battle through two games.

Notable Stats: (Bulls)

Jordan: 51/4/5 (20pts in the 4th)

Pippen: 19/4/2 (7-14), (2-4) from three

Rodman:15/14/2 (7-9)

Luc Longley:9/15/5/1 (4-5)

48-34 Rebounds, Trailed by 17 before LeBron left game.

(Heat)

LeBron: 27/6/5 (Left in 3rd) +17 +/-

Wade: 25/2/1 (11-21) from the field

Bosh 10/15/3 and 1 block

Udonis Haslem +13 +/-

Game 2: Heat 117-110 Bulls

The main differences between Game 2 and Game 1:

  • LeBron played the whole game and caught fire in the 1st with 24 points
  • Pippen was cold (6-15) from the field

Matchup notes: Pippen was not holding his own against LeBron early and it took me switching MJ on him to slow his production down. LeBron still dropped buckets on buckets en route to a 60-point game.

Miami ends game on 27-13 run.

Chi- 12 turnovers

Mia- 20 points off turnovers

Scroll to 2nd tweet for game 2 highlights.

Notable stats: (Bulls)

Jordan: 44/6/4/1/3 (18-31), (1-4) from three

Pippen: 16pts on (6-15), (2-3) from three (-21) +/-

Longley: 12/5/1/3/1

Kerr: (0-4) from three

Kukoč: 6/7/6

(Heat)

LeBron: 60/9/4/2/1 (22-44), (2-4) from three (10-12) from the line

Wade: 22/8/5 (10-18)

Bosh: 16/11/1/2 (6-9)

Mario Chalmers: 8 assists, (+23) +/- (Highest on team)

After two the series heads to Miami all tied up. 1-1.

I’ll be bringing you the rest of the series with detailed analysis in the coming days and more DoB content every week on this site, twitter, and Instagram.

Walking Bucket: Devin Booker

I was planning to have a long-winded post about how we need to watch more Devin Booker, but the only way to truly appreciate DBook is to watch the man work.

Booker is already in the upper echelon of NBA scorers, and game after game finds efficient ways to put the ball in the bucket.

And just in case you needed another reminder, Devin Booker has the highest single-game scoring output for active NBA players with 70 points in a game. He definitely would’ve liked the win, but landing on a list next to guys like Kobe and Wilt Chamberlain is a consolation better than most.

Walking Buckets: 2020 NBA Draft Prospects

In the past week, we learned the NBA Draft process, like much of life, will face a few setbacks. The dates of the NBA Draft Combine, Lottery, and Draft are moving to a later undetermined date.

Even though we don’t know exactly where teams are picking, or the final opinions teams my have on prospects, there has been plenty of time to evaluate the talent in the current class. This class lacks some of the polish that we’ve seen from classes in the past few years, but with the NBA’s recent commitment to developing young players, the ceilings for many of the prospects seem reachable in comparison to past draft classes

Today, we’re taking a look at Anthony Edwards and James Wiseman.

Anthony Edwards (6’5 220lb Guard) Georgia

Michigan State vs. Georgia score: Bulldogs freshman Anthony ...

Georgia freshman Anthony Edwards has been talked about as a potential #1 pick. However, in this class, there isn’t a clear cut #1 at the moment. Without the traditional draft process timeline, it is hard to have a gauge of where these guys will call home in the NBA (especially without knowing which team holds the #1 selection).

In the midst of all of the uncertainty there is one consensus, the potential for Anthony Edwards is seemingly boundless.

The first thing that stands out for Edwards is his size for the guard position. At 6’5 225, he would already be one of the bigger guards in the league. He also is incredibly tough to stay in front of for opposing defenders, and he has all the tools offensively to make games infuriating for his matchup.

The main critique of his game is his shot selection and playmaking. In the few Georgia games I have watched this year, there were times where he would settle for jumpers and get tunnel vision at the basket. This shot selection led to Edwards shooting 40 percent from the floor and roughly 29 percent from three.

None of his issues draw from his basketball ability, and many of his decision-making skills will improve after he becomes a pro. He demonstrates a willingness to improve his game, and while I don’t expect him to make a Luka or Trae Young type of impact in his first two years, he has promise that can lead him to a successful career in the NBA.

James Wiseman (7’1 240lb Center) Memphis

James Wiseman leaves Memphis, will prepare for NBA Draft | Yardbarker

Right now, if the lottery odds hold, the Golden State Warriors would receive the first pick in the draft. With a need for frontcourt help, it makes all the sense in the world for the Warriors to take James Wiseman #1 overall.

If you read my last draft post, I mentioned Obi Toppin is a good fit for the Warriors. I stand by that statement, but I am adding that he is the right choice if Wiseman is off the board. (This assumes the Warriors have a pick other than #1)

Due to issues with NCAA eligibility, Wiseman had limited opportunities to show us what made him the #1 prospect in the nation in 2019.

In the games he played this season, we saw that he moved incredibly well for being 7’1, 235lbs. He also showed an understanding of where to be on the court at all times, and finished everything remotely around the bucket at a whopping 76 percent from the field.

This combination allows for him to feast on opposing teams offensively and defensively in the interior.

During his brief collegiate career, Wiseman averaged 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks per game. In his 3rd regular-season game, he had 14 points and 12 rebounds in 22 minutes against Oregon, a team that finished ranked 13th in the country before the end of the NCAA basketball season.

The short glimpses are enough to decide that Wiseman should be able to help any NBA team as soon as the next season tips off.

Like Mike: Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant dead at 41: Michael Jordan pays tribute

Episode 5 of “The Last Dance” gave us a look at the public image of Michael Jordan. The highlight of his marketability, in the public eye, was without a doubt his “Like Mike” Gatorade commercial.

The importance of this ad is the way it lifts Jordan on the highest pedestal for athletes. Reaching this pedestal is a seemingly unmatchable goal, but one kid born in Philly did everything in his power to be like Mike.

In the short amount of screen time we saw Kobe last night, we witnessed the basketball connection he had with Michael Jordan. We saw a young Kobe picking Jordan’s brain during the 1998 All-Star game and the reaction the latter had to a young player with a “Killer instinct” much like his own.

The importance of those small moments of recognition were the building blocks of a relationship that helped build up the next player to inspire a generation of hoopers to pick the ball up and start playing.

“I don’t get 5 championships without him” – Kobe Bryant on Michael Jordan

Kobe’s game emulated Jordan in ways we may never see again.

The main similarity on offense is the fadeaway jumper. On defense, a calculating mind, tenacity, and pride in defending the basket linked MJ and Kobe.

The biggest takeaway for me from the limited screen time in episode 5 for Kobe is the instant recognition of the dedication to the game MJ recognized in him.

Mamba Forever.

Walking Buckets: 2020 NBA Draft Prospects

Due to the postponement of major sports, and the release of “The Last Dance” Jordan documentary, basketball fans are stuck in the past. It can be great to reminisce about those who made us love the game, but now is the time to focus on players that can give fans the same feeling in the future.

The 2020 Draft is full of talent, and today I decided to focus on three of my favorite players who will hear the commissioner call their names on draft day.

Isaac Okoro (Auburn Tigers) 6’6 220lbs SF

Okoro’s stats at Auburn

Isaac Okoro will bring a high level of effort and intensity that is amplified by the high level of physicality he can bring to a game.

Offensively, he needs to refine his outside shot, but he showed great touch around the basket and is one of the most fluid athletes in the class. One area of his game I’ve seen analysts overlook is his passing ability. Okoro showed brilliant decision-making that shined in the open court during his time at Auburn.

Defensively, Okoro is a BEAST, and that should easily translate to the next level. He can guard multiple positions due to his combination of quickness and strength. Okoro is adept at anticipating where ball handlers are going and using his quick hands to help with steals and blocks.

When you combine his strengths on both sides of the floor, you have a complete prospect who, if developed correctly, has the making of a Swiss Army knife at the NBA level.

Obi Toppin 6’9 220lbs PF

Obi Toppin Stats, News, Bio | ESPN

Easily the best name in the draft class, Obi is a player fans enjoy watching because of how electrifying he can be. He’s a guy that often made ESPN for his in-game dunks, but his game has so much more than that.

On offense, Toppin was über efficient. He shot 63 percent from the field and 39 percent from 3. As a Power Forward, his ability to stretch the floor is one that has NBA teams salivating at his potential. He also finishes everything around the rim. With all of these tools, I am interested to see how an NBA offense is going to use him.

At Dayton, Toppin was a rim runner in transition. He would sprint down the floor and often was the recipient of a lob that forces one-on-one with a smaller defender. If this didn’t work, Dayton would reset their offense. Dayton kept great spacing and often took Toppin out of the paint and allowed for him to use his dribbling ability and off-ball movement to beat opponents. And if all that wasn’t enough, defenders would have to worry about him shooting a deep trey.

Depending on what the Warriors decide to do in the draft if he’s available, I could see them taking Toppin instead of Wiseman because of how well he fits the way they play. (They could find a center without going through the draft)

Defensively, Toppin relies on his vertical and wingspan to make life tough for his opponents. His lateral quickness is the weakness in his game. If he switches on pick & rolls, NBA guards will make him pay every time. If his offensive game isn’t as efficient as it is in college, it might be hard to keep him on the floor in certain matchups.

Overall, I’m not too worried about him on the defensive end, but it lowers his ceiling, and his strengths on the offensive end have the potential to outbalance his weaknesses.

LaMelo Ball 6’7 181lbs Guard

There was no way I was going to start talking about the 2020 draft class without mentioning LaMelo Ball. We’ve all been hearing plenty about him for years, and it’s time for him to test his talent against the best in the world.

LaMelo has some of the best handles in the draft class. He can go wherever he wants on the floor, and he shares the passing vision his brother Lonzo has. What separates LaMelo from Lonzo is how much the kid loves to shoot, and during his time playing in Australia, that love turned into 37 percent shooting from the field, and 24 percent from three.

He has plenty of confidence in his lightning-quick jumper. Combine that confidence with a few mechanical issues, and you have a perfect recipe for a volume shooter.

His percentages don’t alarm me as an 18-year-old playing against pros in the NBL. If he shows effort to improve his game all of his shortcomings are fixable, he has limitless potential as a true combo guard.

On defense, his strength can be an issue. Bigger and stronger offensive players can move him around with ease. His main asset at his position defensively is his size. His size can allow him to contest shots well. Also, I’ve read that his effort can sometimes wane on defense, but when he decides to play D, he can lock down on the perimeter.

LaMelo is a player that is worthy of the attention he’s been getting. All of the experience he has overseas is a bonus to whatever team drafts him. He should be ready to play day one in the NBA.

LaMelo Ball, Obi Toppin, and Isaac Okoro are only a few names in the NBA’s 2020 draft pool, and I’ll be back next week with a few more names you can get familiar with before draft day.

How The NBA’s Interests In China Gave The League Foresight On The Impact of COVID-19

COVID-19 is re-writing daily routines across the globe. The response to the pandemic differs across the world, but no group is handling the crisis with seamless flexibility like Adam Silver and the NBA.

Commissioner Adam Silver discussing the NBA suspension on ESPN

The NBA’s response is impressive due to how league prioritized instant isolation and testing, as well as general care for the health of their laborers and consumers. One important note to add is how intensely the NBA has reviewed data from respected health organizations, their employees abroad, and even ex-US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy to figure out how to best maneuver during these trying times.

The steps the NBA are taking to prevent the spread among their employees after shutting down games is showing a small scale blueprint of the type of action that can be taken to prevent the spread in other areas, if the resources are there. The league instilled temperature checks at team facilities before eventually shutting those down as well in response to the news that 14 players have now tested positive for COVID-19.

The NBA shutdown before most of the country and prevented more community spread of the disease. The day the NBA stopped is also the point when Americans seriously saw the potential damage COVID-19 could have on their lives.

Side Note: ESPN Writer Ramona Shelburne did a fantastic job recapping the NBA’s response to Coronavirus earlier this week.

To get to this point it is important to understand how the NBA’s relationship with China influences how they make decisions regarding operation in the United States.

In the preseason, the NBA’s relationship with the PRC strained when Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey tweeted about China’s actions during the Hong Kong protests. The decisions made by the league at that time were scrutinized, but this post is focusing on how the NBA’s relationship with China impacts the response to COVID-19.

The NBA still has ties to China through offices in Beijing, Shanghai, and Taipei. The correspondence the league has with employees in China and the observation of how the Chinese Basketball Association handled the outbreak gave the NBA a sense of urgency and preparedness that lacked in the United States.

The NBA’s commitment to repairing relations with China allowed for the league to analyze the severity of COVID-19 and act accordingly to protect itself so that when this is all over basketball will be in the international spotlight as a milestone of recovery from this disaster.

The probability of restarting the NBA this season looks bleak, but hope can be found by looking at the Chinese Basketball Association. The CBA is planning to restart in mid-April, and former NBA players Jeremy Lin and Lance Stephenson will return after a two-month absence.

Hopefully, recovery efforts across the globe go well so it won’t be too long until we get to see NBA basketball in 2020.

All-Star Friday Night Mini-Recap

NBA All-Star Weekend 2020 tipped off in Chicago last night, and fans witnessed the basketball prowess of pop culture icons and the raw ability of the best young players in the game.

The All-Star Celebrity game gave us exactly what we were expecting. From sideline antics from Stephen A. Smith and Michael Wilbon as coaches to slight hooping from Famouslos, Common and Quavo. Former NBA player Darius Miles added to the fun by proving that he should never possess a hot mic.

Image result for common MVP

Before we dive into the antics of the Celebrity Game, it is important to focus on the pregame ceremony.

Just like the rituals that took place in games across the country, the All-Star Celebrity game began with honoring the lives of the Late Kobe Bryant and David Stern. Stern and Bryant influenced basketball from different sides but provided a legendary impact on the game that so many love.

After the heartfelt tribute, it was time to play basketball. Here are a few of the best moments of the game that saw Chicago rapper Common take home the MVP.

Rising Stars Challenge

The best young players that the NBA has to offer were also on display Friday night in the Rising Stars Challenge.

Image

Team USA bested Team World 151-131 behind MVP Miles Bridges. Aside from the box score, the real intrigue of the game came from watching the jaw-dropping feats of skill and athleticism that occurred in a low-effort exhibition game.

Here are a few of the highlights that caught the eyes of many last night.

Can’t wait to see what Saturday has in store.

Pre-Weekend Posters

We’re nearing the end of the week, so here are some poster dunks to help get you through the day.

Vinsanity on Alonzo Mourning

This Vince Carter dunk is forever in my top 5 of all time. This dunk easily checks all the boxes for a legendary poster.

  • Hangtime
  • Contact
  • on a 7-footer
  • Power

Just another example of the physical anomaly that is Vinsanity.

The Human Torch on Kenneth Faried

Terrance Ross aka “The Human Torch” showing off the highlight reel athleticism that helped earn him his nickname.

PG24 on Birdman

Players can become superstars in the eyes of the public overnight, and Paul George is no exception. During his 3rd season in 2013, George was having a breakout year.

That season, George averaged 17.4 points per game, a huge improvement from the 12.1 he averaged in the previous year. George was also slowly getting introduced to superstar minutes as he played 37.6 per game.

Even though he received an uptick in minutes and production, George was relatively unknown to casual fans, that was until his breakout against the Big 3 Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.

George burst onto the national stage by leading the Pacers in a competitive series against the Heat, and the exclamation point on his emergence was this dunk on Chris “Birdman” Anderson.

Madison Williams Vs. Valparaiso

As if dunking on someone wasn’t enough, Madison Williams, the former Illinois State Redbird, taunts his victim while still under the basket and earns a technical foul.

Shaq on Chris Dudley

I don’t have to say much about this one. Dudley got so mad he threw the ball at Shaq. Just another prime example of why Shaq was the most dominant force in professional basketball.

Baron Davis on AK-47

Baron Davis is one of the most well-rounded guards in NBA history. Not many players had this combination of skill and athleticism. A vicious combo that made him able to compete at the rim despite being only 6’3.

This dunk came during the Warriors playoff run in 2007, the last time the Warriors were in the playoffs before Steph, Klay, and Draymond returned Golden State to the playoffs in 2013.

The “We Believe” Warriors team that Davis spearheaded is also the first and only 8-seed in NBA playoff history to defeat a 1-Seed in a 7-game playoff series. The Warriors bested the (67-15) Dallas Mavericks in six games and then went on to play the Utah Jazz in the next round, where this happened.

These are exactly what you needed to power through the day and get to the weekend.

All-Star Reserve Reaction

Yesterday, the reserves for the 2020 NBA All-Star Game were released. As the names dropped, people across the globe have offered their opinions on if the pool of players was an adequate representation of All-Star level talent in the league.

Image

Every season, a few players get snubbed from the All-Star game, but before we get to that, we should acknowledge the players who achieved their goals by playing at an All-Star level and were selected.

All the players selected had compelling cases, the reward goes beyond just playing in an exhibition game, and a top tier player not being selected can have ramifications that impact the entire league.

Long story short, if a player feels disrespected on a national scale, they might look elsewhere to play in the offseason. If the NBA can’t keep top tier talent spread around the league, the potential for parity in the NBA is low.

Sabonis & Bam

Before we get to the snubs, take the time to acknowledge two players that made a surprise run into the All-Star team this season.

Domantas Sabonis and Bam Adebayo were not on the radar of many fans to be all-stars at the beginning of the season. Despite not having the initial hype, these two excel every time they step on the floor and got the reward they deserved.

Beal & Booker

Several players have been mentioned in lists by many as All-Star snubs, but Bradley Beal and Devin Booker are at the top of mine.

Beal and Booker are both in the midst of two of the most impressive seasons that NBA players can have, and both produce enough to be considered a part of the top players in their respective conferences.

Beal and Booker are the 6th and 8th highest scorers in the league respectively, Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (Currently 12th) is the only other top 15 scorer that is not an All-Star.

Devin Booker might be one of the most disrespected scorers in NBA history. (by fans)

Beal is currently averaging 28.7 points, 6.4 assists, and 4.5 rebounds per game. Those who feel it was fair to Beal attribute his non-selection to the lack of Washington’s success as a unit.

The argument of team success or missing a few games here is understandable, but the NBA has consistently allowed players who play on bad teams, miss games, but have good numbers, into the All-Star Game.

The Wizards are 16-31 and hold the 10th seed in the Eastern Conference. The team success argument should be a bit quieter when selecting a player who has individually placed himself within the top of his conference with the way he is improving his level of play this season.

Without Beal, the Wizards wouldn’t even compete to the level they have been, and they still are only 4.5 games out of the last playoff spot in the east.

Devin Booker

Devin Booker averages 27 points on 51 percent shooting from the field. Booker also has a true shooting percentage of 63 percent.

A list of other NBA players with similar points and true shooting for an entire season consists of Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Charles Barkley, and Adrian Dantley.

Five out of the six names mentioned are MVP winners, and two are currently in the Hall of Fame. (Dantley, Barkley)

Booker is in elite company and should receive the recognition he deserves for his play.

Ja Morant

Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant is another name that is on the list of All-Star snubs. Yes, I know the raw numbers aren’t the most flashy, but his play on the court is both flashy and effective.

Morant is the floor general for a 24-24 Grizzlies team that is riding a 4-game winning streak and sitting at the 8th seed in the Western Conference.

Morant is averaging 17.5 points, 7.2 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game. He has a hand in everything positive or negative that happens on the floor in Memphis and unites with fellow rookie Brandon Clarke to make one of the best rookie tandems we’ve seen in a long time.

That’s all there is to say about the All-Star reserves.

Feel free to battle me in the comments or on twitter @BucketsDistrict.

Image result for ja morant kevin love"