400 Reasons Lonzo Is The Lakers Future

Check out This Thread, we are currently over 40 out of 400 tweets into our journey to prove Lonzo Ball is Lakers Showtime.


NBA 2K Blacktop 1-on-1: Chris Paul vs Allen Iverson

Welcome to the first ever UniqueSportplus NBA 2K 1-on-1 Simulations!

Have you ever wondered who would win a 1-on-1 game between two NBA legends, past or present? Have you every wanted to see Kobe play against MJ? Or LeBron against Magic? Well, now you (kinda) can!

Inspired by YouTuber Smequle, we will be placing 2 NBA legends against each other to see who would come out victorious. Here are the details and rules:

  • 1-on-1, first to 11
  • Best-of-7 Series
  • NBA 2K19 Blacktop Mode (CPU-controlled)
  • Player that starts with the ball alternates

With that being said, let’s jump right in. For this particular battle, we will be seeing a 1-on-1 between two of the greatest 6’0″ players of all-time. We have “The Answer” himself, Allen Iverson, taking on Chris “CP3” Paul.

Iverson is one of the best offensive players the league has ever seen. He’s capable of scoring over taller defenders, not to mention his insane handles that allow him to get past his defenders. The 2001 MVP is an extremely difficult opponent, with some calling him the best pound-for-pound NBA player of all time. Will CP3 be able to prevail?

CP3 is well-known for his playmaking, but his skill on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court is no slouch. He has great handles, allowing him to get to the rim or create space for a jumper. He’s a good shooter, both from the midrange and the three point line. He’s also a pretty good on-ball defender for his size, in addition to his high basketball IQ. Is that enough to take on The Answer?

Well, here are the results:

Game 1: CP3 11 – 4 AI

Game 2: CP3 10 – 12 AI

Game 3: CP3 11 – 4 AI

Game 4: CP3 12 – 14 AI

The first 4 games of the series end with a 2-2 split between the two guards, with CP3 holding a much more dominant edge with two 7-Point victories, as opposed to AI’s two 2-Point victories. CP3 held his own against one of the greatest ball handlers of all-time with his own array of dribble moves. Paul played incredible defense against AI as well, which led to the two low scoring games of Iverson.

Game 5: CP3 7 – 11 AI

Game 6: CP3 11 – 6 AI

Game 7: CP3 11 – 5 AI

CP3 ended up taking the W over AI. I initially predicted that Paul would win based off his on-ball defense being much better than Iverson’s in my opinion. With both having the same height, it was fair ground for the two to battle. While Iverson is a better scorer, Paul proved that he was no slouch offensively, as he got to the rim with ease in addition to a few fadeaway jumpers that helped him get the win.

And there you have it! The winner of the first-ever UniquESportplus NBA 2K Blacktop Simulation is Chris Paul! Who do you think should have won? Who should match-up next? Comment below or tweet at us @UniquESportplus

If this does well enough, I will do another one, so definitely show support by sharing it!


NBA Rookie Award Predictions! Luka, Trae & More!

This rookie class has been impressive, to say the least.

In each rookie class, there would eventually be future greats and superstars, future award winners, and future Hall of Famers. With the departure of greats such as Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki from the league, rookie classes are depended upon to be the future of the NBA. The 2018 Draft Class features promising young talent from all over the world, and this article would focus on the best of the best. Here are the rookies who I think deserve to win some hardware.

Rookie Of The Year: Luka Dončić

Luka entered the season with high expectations, and it’s safe to say he’s fulfilled them all. He led the rookie class in scoring as the primary ball handler for the Dallas Mavericks, and dazzled all season long with his incredible play style. He can dribble, create plays for his teammates, and score from nearly anywhere on the court. Having recorded one of the greatest rookie campaigns in the last decade, Dončić will surely be entertaining fans of the NBA for the rest of his career.

All-Rookie First Team:

G: Trae Young – 19.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 8.1 apg, 0.9 spg, 41.8% FG

G: Luka Dončić – 21.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 6.0 apg, 1.1 spg, 42.7% FG

F: Jaren Jackson Jr. – 13.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 0.9 spg, 1.4 spg, 50.6% FG

F: Marvin Bagley III – 14.9 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.0 apg, 1.0 bpg, 50.4% FG

C: DeAndre Ayton – 16.3 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 0.9 spg, 0.9 bpg, 58.5% FG

Joining Luka Dončić on my All-NBA Rookie Team prediction are essentially the rest of the 2018 Draft Class’ Top 5 draft picks. Young started off the season slowly, but eventually put up an impressive 2nd half with improved efficiency and playmaking.

Moreover, we also have three extremely promising bigs in JJJ, Bagley and Ayton. JJJ was injured for most of the 2nd half, but showed great skill on both ends of the floor. Bagley flipped the switch for the 2nd half of the season, becoming a double-double machine. In contrast, Ayton started off the season strong, and cooled down during the second half, as he started to take less shots.

All-Rookie Second Team:

G: Collin Sexton – 16.7 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 3.0 apg, 0.5 spg, 43.0% FG

G: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – 10.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.2 spg, 47.6% FG

G: Landry Shamet – 9.1 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 1.5 apg, 0.5 spg, 43.1% FG

G: Allonzo Trier – 10.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.9 apg, 0.4 spg, 44.8% FG

C: Mitchell Robinson – 7.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 0.8 spg, 2.4 bpg, 69.4% FG

Much like Trae Young, Sexton began the season with high expectations, with some expecting him to take home the ROTY award. He started off the season slowly, but eventually became a beacon of hope for the Cavaliers franchise. His playmaking could use some improvement, but he has shown his capabilities as a scorer.

Shai was a great draft pick by the Clippers, as he has proven his skill as a playmaker and defender. He started a lot of games and contributed to the Clippers’ recent success. Another Clipper rookie makes the list in Shamet, one of the trade returns from the Tobias Harris trade earlier in the year, who is showing flashes of becoming an excellent shooter that every team needs.

Lastly, we have two Knicks making the team, with the undrafted Allonzo Trier and 2nd-Round Pick Mitchell Robinson. Rumored locker room issues aside, “Iso Zo” had himself a pretty good rookie season as he showed continuous promise of developing into a scoring machine, especially in isolation situations (hence the nickname). On the other hand, Mitchell Robinson looks like a future DPOY, with his rim protecting ability and defensive IQ. His scoring looks pretty decent, his rebounding is impressive, and he has proven himself as a solid bright spot for the young Knicks.

Honorable Mentions:

Kevin Huerter (ATL), Josh Okogie (MIN), Jalen Brunson (DAL), Kevin Knox (NYK), Wendell Carter Jr. (CHI)

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed and stay tuned for more!


Alex Caruso Has Proven Himself

The past few weeks have been an exciting ride for Alex Caruso, who has become the Lakers late season hero in what adds up to a bunch of meaningless wins for everyone, except Caruso. It has become very clear that not only is Caruso an NBA caliber player, but that he has more than earned the opportunity to be resigned by the Lakers.

Caruso is not only in the best stretch of his NBA career, but his career as a whole. He has been able to put all of his hard work to good use in the Lakers late season streak, and he has perhaps unlocked his best form.

Don’t get me wrong, Alex Caruso will most likely never be a consistent starter in the NBA, but at the very least he has earned a real NBA contract and the option to fight for the backup spot in the Lakers PG rotation behind Lonzo Ball. This form could be to good to be true for Caruso, but it is difficult to argue that he is still not good enough for an NBA deal.

What do you think, should Alex Caruso be re-signed for next season by the Lakers?


The Eastern Conference Playoff Race: Which Teams Will Get The Final Three Spots?

The race for the final three seeds in the Eastern Conference Playoffs will likely come down to the last day of the NBA regular season. Five teams are currently vying for three spots, with seeds six through ten currently separated by just three games, while seeds six through nine are currently separated by just one game. Unlike the Western Conference, where all eight teams are already set, the Eastern Conference regular season should be exciting through the final day of the regular season, as all five of these prospective playoff teams will play, and four of them will actually play each other, with the Magic going to Charlotte to face the Hornets and the Heat going to Brooklyn to battle the Nets.

Just by looking at the Net Rating of the Pistons, Nets, Heat, and Magic, we can see truly how close together these teams are in terms of performance this season.

Detroit Pistons (season): -0.4 Net Rating (16th in NBA).

Orlando Magic (season): +0.0 Net Rating (14th in NBA).

Brooklyn Nets (season): -0.5 Net Rating (17th in NBA).

Miami Heat (season): -0.3 Net Rating (15th in NBA).

The Pistons currently hold the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference and are currently just one game up on the ninth seeded Miami Heat, with each team having just four games remaining. Despite this razor thin margin of error, the Pistons have a great chance to finish the season in the playoffs.

Detroit Pistons (since the All-Star Break): +2.7 Net Rating (9th in NBA), 55.7 TS% (16th in NBA) 50.0 PIE (14th in NBA), 13-9 W-L (7th in NBA).

While they have been mediocre in their past ten games, the Pistons were without Blake Griffin for a chunk of that span, and as a whole have been pretty good since All-Star Break. But, the primary reason they have a great chance at being a playoff team is their remaining schedule. The team’s schedule is relatively easy. The Pistons have a better Net Rating than their final four opponents both since the All-Star Break and over the past ten games.

Detroit Pistons (remaining four games): -2.44 SOS (best in Eastern Conference).

Opponents (since All-Star Break): -2.1 Net Rating (Oklahoma City Thunder), -4.5 Net Rating (Charlotte Hornets), -2.3 Net Rating (Memphis Grizzlies), -10.3 Net Rating (New York Knicks).

I would be shocked to find the Pistons out of the playoff picture when the season ends.

The Nets currently have the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference because they own the tiebreaker over the Orlando Magic. The Nets have just three games remaining and hold just a half game lead over the Miami Heat. I don’t like their chances as much as I do for the Detroit Pistons, but the Nets still have a decent chance to make the postseason.

Brooklyn Nets (since the All-Star Break): -1.1 Net Rating (17th in NBA), 55.1 TS% (20th in NBA) 49.4 PIE (17th in NBA), 9-11 W-L (16th in NBA).

The Nets haven’t seen the same success as the Pistons since the All-Star Break and have struggled even more over their past ten games. In addition, they have a fairly difficult remaining schedule.

Brooklyn Nets (remaining three games): 3.76 SOS (2nd worst in Eastern Conference).

Opponents (since All-Star Break): +7.7 Net Rating (Milwaukee Bucks), +0.1 Net Rating (Indiana Pacers), +0.5 Net Rating (Miami Heat).

Their chance of making the postseason could greatly increase if either the Bucks or Heat rest some of their key rotation pieces against them, however, since we don’t know whether that will happen or not, it’s better to assume everyone that is healthy on those teams will play. Assuming no one is rested, the Nets have a difficult road to make the postseason, however, it certainly helps that they own the tiebreaker over the Pistons and the Magic.

The Magic are currently the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference by virtue of the aforementioned lost tiebreaker to the Brooklyn Nets. Despite this disadvantage, the Magic have a better chance at making the postseason than the Nets because they have been better as of late and have a much easier schedule to close out the season.

Orlando Magic (since the All-Star Break): +3.2 Net Rating (8th in NBA), 54.7 TS% (25th in NBA), 52.3 PIE (9th in NBA), 12-8 W-L (10th in NBA).

It is clear by their True Shooting Percentage that as a team the Magic have been fairly inefficient since the All-Star Break. They have been winning games by playing great team defense, which is expected by Steve Clifford coached clubs. Also, they have a slow pace of play, which generally (the Houston Rockets, an all-around excellent team, is an exception) favors defensively-oriented teams.

Orlando Magic (defense): 107.5 Defensive Rating this season (8th in NBA), 106.6 Defensive Rating since All-Star Break (5th in NBA), 105.4 Defensive Rating over past ten games (7th in NBA).

Orlando Magic (pace): 98.56 Possessions/Game this season (25th in NBA), 98.14 Possessions/Game since All-Star Break (28th in NBA), 98.33 Possessions/Game over past ten games (23rd in NBA).

In addition, the Magic do have a very easy schedule to close out the season when compared to both the Brooklyn Nets as well as the rest of the league.

Orlando Magic (remaining three games): -1.24 SOS (5th best in Eastern Conference).

Opponents (since All-Star Break): -0.6 Net Rating (Atlanta Hawks), -1.3 Net Rating (Boston Celtics), -4.5 Net Rating (Charlotte Hornets).

Despite being at a disadvantage because they lost the season series to the Nets, the Magic do have a very good chance to make the playoffs. They have a better chance than the Nets but not the Pistons.

The Miami Heat are currently sitting in ninth place in the Eastern Conference. They are pretty close to entering the playoff picture, however, it will be even tougher for them to make the postseason then it would’ve been otherwise with starting guard Josh Richardson sidelined for the next two weeks.

Miami Heat (since the All-Star Break): +0.5 Net Rating (12th in NBA), 54.9 TS% (23rd in NBA), 51.2 PIE (11th in NBA), 12-10 W-L (13th in NBA).

Similar to the Magic, the Heat’s offense has been relatively inefficient. Also similar to Orlando, the team counteracts that inefficiency on offense by playing stout defense and slowing down the game.

Miami Heat (defense): 107.1 Defensive Rating this season (7th in NBA), 108.5 Defensive Rating since All-Star Break (10th in NBA), 105.2 Defensive Rating over past ten games (6th in NBA).

Miami Heat (pace): 98.61 Possessions/Game this season (23rd in NBA), 97.82 Possessions/Game since All-Star Break (29th in NBA), 97.75 Possessions/Game over past ten games (26th in NBA).

While the Heat have been solid since the All-Star Break, their schedule to close out the season is extremely difficult.

Miami Heat (remaining three games): 1.49 SOS (3rd best in Eastern Conference).

Opponents (since All-Star Break): -5.1 Net Rating (Minnesota Timberwolves), +7.1 Net Rating (Toronto Raptors), -0.2 Net Rating (Philadelphia 76ers).

While this schedule could look a lot easier if any of these teams elect to rest some of their key players, they will have to face all of them without their best two-way player (Josh Richardson). Because of this tough schedule and the Richardson injury, it will be difficult for the Heat to make the postseason.

The Charlotte Hornets, unlike the aforementioned teams, are practically out of the playoff race. They are mathematically still alive, but it is going to be difficult for them to close the two-and-half game gap between themselves and the eighth seed with just four games left for them to play.

Charlotte Hornets (since the All-Star Break): -4.5 Net Rating (24th in NBA), 54.7 TS% (26th in NBA), 46.7 PIE (25th in NBA), 9-12 W-L (17th in NBA).

The Hornets have been relatively subpar since the All-Star Break. Their playoff hopes are kept somewhat alive because their remaining schedule is somewhat good.

Charlotte Hornets (remaining four games): -1.11 SOS (7th best in Eastern Conference).

Opponents (since All-Star Break): +7.1 Net Rating (Toronto Raptors), +2.7 Net Rating (Detroit Pistons), -5.5 Net Rating (Cleveland Cavaliers), +3.2 Net Rating (Orlando Magic).

That schedule could be even easier if the Raptors rest some of their key players. However, the Hornets almost have to go a perfect 4-0 or close to it to have a shot at the postseason. They almost have to win against the Magic and Pistons. The Hornets certainly have a small chance of making it to the postseason.

If I had to choose, I’d say that the Pistons will finish as the six seed, the Magic will finish as the seven seed, and the Nets will finish the eight seed.

Buckle up your seatbelt folks; we are going down to the wire in the Eastern Conference!

Dylan is a NBA analyst who loves the game, has been covering it since 2015, and became a UniquESports+ contributor this year. You can reach him and enjoy more of his content via his Twitter and his Instagram, @topnbaanalysis.

The statistics listed in this article are from nba.com and basketballreference.com.


Top 3 Overseas Teams For Lamelo Ball

With the news that Lamelo Ball has decided to take his talents to either Australia or China, we have decided to choose three teams that are in ideal situations for Melo to thrive in. When deciding teams that Lamelo could potentially play for you need to look for 2 things, a team that is in a position to win, and have a commitment to Lamelo. He, as well as Lavar, will want a premier role in order to prove himself to NBA teams and improve his draft stock.

1. Shanghai Sharks

With Jimmer Freddette back in the NBA at last, the Shanghai Sharks are in a dire need for a new star PG and Lamelo is the perfect player to fit that role. Like Jimmer, Lamelo could easily put on a scoring show in the Chinese Basketball League, and carry the Sharks on his back. Lamelo would attract unprecedented attention to the team and to the league, really this move would be great for all involved. For Lamelo, he would get a chance to prove himself in one of the better leagues outside the U.S and lead a team that is craving a new star, This is certainly the team Lavar and Lamelo should be calling first if he is playing overseas.

2. Brisbane Bullets

The Brisbane Bullets are a playoff team in the NBL of Australia that are one star away from winning a league title, Lamelo could be that star. Lamelo would bring loads of media attention to the NBL for the Bullets, and would impact winning in a positive way. Lamelo would bring play making to the Bullets that they did not have at all last season, with their leading assist man averaging just 4 a game, Lamelo could easily double that, not to mention everything else he brings to the table. The Bullets could go from a fringe play off team to a championship contender just by adding Lamelo.

3. Melbourne United

Like Brisbane, Melbourne are in need of a man who can move the basketball, and Lamelo fits the bill, Melbourne made it all the way to the final round of the NBL playoffs last season and Lamelo could go there to prove he is the missing piece.Lamelo’s goal should be to prove to NBA teams that he is the missing link that they need, and that he is worthy of not only being drafted, but being a lottery pick, he has an opportunity to pick a team where he can openly impact the success of the program, Melbourne is that choice. No matter what team Lamelo chooses, he must perform well to make sure that he will be drafted, his talent is unquestionable, as long as he shows the effort and drive to win overseas next season, the sky is the limit for him.  

Lonzo Ball Sues Alan Foster For 2 Million

Lonzo Ball is suing former business partner and manager Alan Foster for allegedly stealing 1.5 Million from his business and personal accounts.

The lawsuit will Be For 2 Million Dollars as Lonzo Ball is looking to recoup what he lost and the expenses for any lawyers, and what the money could have been if invested properly rather than being stolen.

Apparently when Lonzo Ball confronted Alan Foster, Foster threatened to expose and letout misleading and false information about the Ball Family. Lonzo’s response has been to sever all ties and sue for the entire amount and then some. If this is true Foster is criminal and absolutely needs to be charged in criminal court after this Vivian court ruling comes out against him.

Foster has already been convicted and given 7 years (which he didn’t serve the full length) for financial crimes in the past. Now he went from scamming churches to scamming the Ball Family.


Western Conference Playoff Preview: OKC’s Fate Is Already Clear

The excitement fans have had because of the play of the Oklahoma City Thunder, led by Paul George, during the first half of the 2018-2019 season was misplaced. Yes, we saw a similar OKC team last year thrive and play good basketball. However, it was clear that the team still was not in that upper echelon of teams in the league. Now, with this recent skid, the Thunder’s glaring issues have been exposed and the team has put itself in a bad situation. The team now currently sits at 44-33, 8.5 games back of first place in the Western Conference, and nearly locked in as a bottom four seed in the conference and as of now the eighth seed in the conference.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK- NOVEMBER 24: The Oklahoma City Thunder celebrate during the game against the Denver Nuggets on November 24, 2018 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)

Now, the Thunder are a better basketball team than we’ve seen since the All-Star Break. They’ve been severely underperforming, which is made clear by the statistics:

Oklahoma City Thunder (since All-Star Break): 109.8 PPG (23rd in NBA), 105.8 Offensive Rating (28th), -3.0 Net Rating (22nd), 51.9 TS% (Last), 45.3 PIE (29th), .350 WIN% (25th), -3.4 +/- (22nd), -1.0 eFG Diff% (eFG% – DeFG%).

The team has been struggling. But, possibly more important, Paul George has been struggling since the All-Star Break as well.

Paul George (since All-Star Break): 32.3 PTS/100 POSS., 10.7 REB/100 POSS., 4.9 AST/100 POSS., + 0.0 Net Rating, 54.4 TS%, 14.3 PIE, -0.5 +/-, -4.7 FG Diff% (FG% – DFG%).

Post All-Star Break – Pre All-Star Break (P. George): -3.5 PTS/100 POSS., +0.7 REB/100 POSS., -0.3 AST/100 POSS., -10.4 Net Rating, -5.4 TS%, -2.5 PIE, -8.8 +/-, -8 FG Diff% (FG% – DFG%).

Now, I do think that OKC can turn it around, at least compared to where they are now. But, I still don’t trust either Westbrook or George during the postseason.

Russell Westbrook (career postseason): 34.9 PTS/100 POSS., 9.4 REB/100 POSS., 10.6 AST/100 POSS., +3.3 On Court/100 POSS., 51.6 TS%, +7.0 BPM, .143 WS/48.

Paul George (career postseason): 26.9 PTS/100 POSS., 9.9 REB/100 POSS., 5.3 AST/100 POSS., +2.0 On Court/100 POSS., 55.9 TS%, +4.6 BPM, .136 WS/48.

Again, the Thunder can bounce back from this recent dry spell. However, I can point to last postseason (where the stats are even worse than what I showed) to indicate why I cannot trust this Thunder.

The reason why the fate of this year’s Thunder team is clear is truly because of where they will likely end up in the Western Conference standings. If they end up as the eighth seed, where they are at the moment, they would have to play the Golden State Warriors in the first round. I would expect the Warriors to take care of the Thunder in five games, and while OKC could make it a more difficult series than their previous first round matchups, the chance they would win would be next to slim.

Oklahoma City Thunder (vs. GS this season): 1-2 W-L, -1.3 Net Rating, 45.5 PIE, 47.7 TS%.

Now, that is just one of the many possibilities. They could also play either Houston or Denver in the first round, in which I would also expect an OKC loss. I’d have a similar attitude that I have towards a Warriors/Thunder series towards a Rockets/Thunder series. Considering they would have home court advantage, I’d expect Houston to dispatch OKC in five games. As for the Nuggets, the series could go six or seven games, and I could see the Thunder winning, however, I’d still be shocked if it happened.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK- JANUARY 22: The Oklahoma City Thunder huddle up during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers on January 22, 2019 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)

Other than those three teams, the Thunder could face either the Utah Jazz or the Portland Trailblazers in the first round.

Unlike the Warriors, Rockets, or Nuggets series, I could legitimately see the Thunder beating either Utah or Portland.

As for a possible Jazz/Thunder series, I would pick the Jazz in seven games. We saw the Jazz beat the Thunder last season in the playoffs in six games, and now, with home court advantage, I’d be a bit surprised if the Thunder won.

As for a possible Trailblazers/Thunder series, I actually would take the Oklahoma City Thunder. This is one first round matchup we could see OKC find itself in that I would pick them to win the series. Nurkic being gone for the season is certainly part of it, as the Thunder should be able to dominate the glass at both ends. But also, the Thunder’s defense should disrupt Portland’s offense. And, I’m not sure anyone on Portland can effective guard a Russell Westbrook/Steven Adams or Dennis Schroder/Steven Adams pick and roll. And, of course, it’s almost impossible to truly stop Paul George.

Oklahoma City Thunder (vs. POR this season): 4-0 W-L, +6.6 Net Rating (3rd in NBA), 53.2 PIE (5th), 57.1 TS% (9th), 1.134 PTS/POSS (8th), 4.7 eFG Diff% (eFG% – DeFG%).

But, even if they did get past Portland, they would likely have to face either the Warriors, the Rockets, or the Nuggets in the next round, which would result in the end of their season, assuming no major injuries happen.

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – MARCH 11: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder shoots the ball against the Utah Jazz on March 11, 2019 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)

The writing is on the wall for this iteration of the Oklahoma City Thunder. The fans will have a similar feeling towards the result of this season for their franchise: true disappointment. 

Dylan is a NBA analyst who loves the game and has been covering the league since 2015, and became a UniquESports+ contributor this year. You can reach him and enjoy more of his content via his Twitter and Instagram, @topnbaanalysis.

All statistics are from either nba.com or basketball-reference.com.


Lamelo Ball to Play Overseas

Lavar Ball announced at the half time of the BBB All American game that his son, Lamelo Ball will be playing overseas in either Australia or China in preparation for the NBA Draft in 2020. This news is a big reveal as we have all been waiting to see where Lamelo Ball would decide to play in the next year. There were rumors of College, G-League, and Overseas and now it seems Lamelo Ball has decided on the latter.
This news could also have an effect on Liangelo Ball’s future, as they are always better when they play together, could Gelo join Lamelo overseas? Either way Lamelo will once again be playing professional basketball and I for one could not be more excited. Australia and China are both leagues that many players have played in and made the jump to the NBA, his performance in these leagues will be vital for his draft stock. What do you think, will Lamelo have success overseas?

Big Baller Brand Merchandise Drops To Half Price!

Big Baller Brand dropped all of its merchandise to 50% off in light of some of the news circling Big Baller Brand. Lavar Ball did come out recently saying that Big Baller Brand is still a family Brand and that one snake won’t ruin eveything they’ve built.

Big Baller Brand looks like it isn’t going anywhere, but with the price drop of some of their footwear and Zo2 clothing line you may just want to cop you some of their BBB gear just Incase it does become obsolete.

However, given Lavar’s comments I think all of this may just help them be out actually. If they remain intact they can use this publicity to sale all of the old merchandise they have the rest of this summer at half the cost. I’d have to think if they are trying to get rid of all the product they can now while staying in business it must also mean they likely will be restocking the shelves with new Big Baller Brand merchandise this summer. A 3rd Lonzo Signature Shoe and new designs for their merchandise are likely In Order.


BBB Has Stopped Selling Lonzo’s and Lamelo’s Shoes

It seems that Lonzo and Lamelo Ball have officially left Big Baller Brand, with their signature shoes being taken off the market by BBB. With Lonzo and Lamelo now separated from Big Baller Brand we now must wait for Liangelo to finally have his signature kicks taken off the market as well. However, if any of the brothers were to stay with BBB it would certainly be Gelo, he has no chance of obtaining a shoe anytime in the near future and is still a long way from the NBA, he could still need the help from BBB. Footwear This move by the BBB website signifies the end of their relationship with Lonzo and Lamelo Ball, meaning they are now free to sign with another company when they choose to, rumors have it Lonzo could be on his way to Nike. Either way, the Ball Brothers could soon all find themselves away from Big Baller Brand and free to choose their own path, something that was impossible when apart of their fathers company. While Big Baller Brand was a good idea and could certainly work in the future, it is time for the Ball’s to move on to bigger and better things in their own way. What do you think, should Lonzo and Lamelo head back to BBB or make their own path?    

NBA’s Top 25 Defenders 2018-19

Before we get started I wanted to say like always we are going to take a unique outlook on the situation, except this time to introduce our new Defensive Stats for the 2019-20 NBA Season we are going to use one of those stats here today applied to this season.

Now I didn’t want to use this stat across every NBA player as that would have taken a ton of time, so I decided to make two requirements too be considered a top 25 Defender this season.

  1. Must be in the Top 60 DFG% For Players with atleast 45 Games and 9.5+ FGA Defended Per Game
  2. Must also be in the Top 75 in DRating For Players with at least 45 Games and Playing 24+ Minutes Per Game

Top 60 NBA DFG% (Req. 45+ Games, 9.5+ FGA Defended Per Game) In Order

  1. Pascal Siakam
    Derrick Favors
    Giannis Antetokounmpo
    Jayson Tatum
    Kevin Durant
    Mitchell Robinson
    Brandon Ingram
    Eric Bledsoe
    Khris Middleton
    Klay Thompson-10
    Nicolas Batum
    Lebron James
    PJ Tucker
    Hassan Whiteside
    Patrick Beverley
    De’Aaron Fox
    Mike Conley
    Maxi Kiebler
    Marcus Smart-20
    Draymond Green
    Montez Harrell
    Lonzo Ball
    Kevon Looney
    Ben Simmons
    Jaren Jackson JR.
    Kemba Walker
    Robin Lopez
    Dorian Finney-Smith
    Johnathan Isaac-30
    LaMarcus Aldridge
    Aaron Gordon
    CJ Mcollumn
    Josh Hart
    Derrick White
    Nemanja Bjelica
    Damian Lillard
    Jusuf Nurkic
    Paul George
    Josh Richardson-40
    Jerami Grant
    Malcolm Brogdon
    Jonas Valacunis
    D’Angelo Russell
    Dennis Smith JR.
    JaVale Mcgee
    Kyle Lowry
    Avery Bradley
    Rudy Gobert
    Nikola Mirotic-50
    Derrick Rose
    Justin Holiday
    Brook Lopez
    Zach Lavine
    Joel Embiid
    James Harden
    Dwight Powell
    Deandre Jordan
    Kawhi Leonard
    Russell Westbrook-60

Top 75 NBA D-Rating (Req. 45+ Games, 24+ Minutes)

  1. Giannis Antetokounmpo
    Corey Joseph
    Malcolm Brogdon
    Brook Lopez
    Domantas Sabonis
    Jaren Jackson JR.
    Rudy Gobert
    Donovan Mitchell
    Khris Middleton
    Paul George-10
    JJ Redick
    Eric Bledsoe
    Myles Turner
    Ricky Rubio
    Joel Embiid
    Pascal Siakam
    Justice Winslow
    Danny Green
    Jae Crowder
    Victor Oladipo-20
    Josh Hart
    Gordon Hayward
    Monte Morris
    Chris Paul
    Jerami Grant
    Paul Millsap
    Terrence Ross
    Jayson Tatum
    Dennis Schroder
    Gary Harris-30
    Marc Gasol
    Josh Richardson
    Jaylen Brown
    Terrence Ferguson
    Nikola Vucevic
    Thaddeus Young
    Demarre Carroll
    Lonzo Ball
    Mike Conley
    Bojan Bogdonavic-40
    Kyle Lowry
    Fred Vanvleet
    Steven Adams
    Jusuf Nurkic
    Draymond Green
    Marcus Smart
    Rudy Gay
    Al Horford
    Jonathon Isaac-50
    Garret Temple
    Darren Collison
    Russell Westbrook
    Dwayne Wade
    Derrick White
    Stephen Curry
    Kyrie Irving
    Serge Ibaka
    Nikola Jokic
    Lebron James
    Kawhi Leonard-60
    Jamal Murray
    Bojan Bogdonavic
    Jimmy Butler
    Nikola Mirotic
    Kevin Durant-65
    Dennis Smith Jr
    Damian Lillard
    Tyler Johnson
    Marcus Morris
    Brandon Ingram
    Montrezl Harrell
    Buddy Hield
    Patrick Beverley
    Ben Simmons
    Klay Thompson-75

Players In Both Top 60 and 75 List (33 Total)

Giannis Antetokounmpo
Pascal Siakam
Paul George
Lebron James
Lonzo Ball
Nikola Mirotic
Kevin Durant
Eric Bledsoe
Klay Thompson
Brandon Ingram
Ben Simmons
Patrick Beverley
Kawhi Leonard
Draymond Green
Montrezl Harrell
Joel Embiid
Damian Lillard
Dennis Smith Jr
Russell Westbrook
Marcus Smart
Jusuf Nurkic
Kyle Lowry
Mike Conley
Derrick White
Khris Middleton
Brook Lopez
Malcom Brogdon
Josh Richardson
Johnathan Isaac
Jaren Jackson JR.
Jayson Tatum

This is a mighty fine list of defenders as is and before we get into ranking the Top 25 in this Pool Of Defenders We’d like to give a shoutout to some Honorable Mentions That Made 1 Of the 2 Lists and are recognized as Great Defenders.

Honorable Mentions:
Myles Turner, PJ Tucker, Mitchell Robinson, Anthony Davis, Jaylen Brown, Hassan Whiteside, Robert Covington,
Derrick Favors, Jimmy Butler, Bojan Bogdonavic

Alright now that we are trying to evaluate the Top 25 Defenders in the NBA we decided to play around with the some numbers and while it still isn’t perfect, we plan to have a similar stat next season to include strength of competition. However the way we calculated each players Unique Defensive Score is we said, “Unique Defense= Defensive Rating X DFG% – Combined Total of Assists and Blocks”

On this Unique Scale a Perfect Defender Would be somewhere around a 35 (the lower the score the better the defender).

Too put that theory to the test we decided to use Ben Wallace’s Career too see how close he would be to 35. He was pretty close for his career as he posted an astounding 36.9 Unique Defensive Score. (95.7 X .42 – 3.3= Unique Defense)

The reason this scale seemed to worked out, is Centers and Forwards are usually guarding different shots than Guards which can make only looking at their DFG% lean heavily towards Guards, however by subtracting their total steals and blocks you can account for the additional possessions they are giving your team as Centers tend to have a higher combined BLK/STL Total.

25. Kawhi Leonard

Unique Defensive Score- 46.3

Many expect Kawhi to be much higher on this list, and I’m not sure if he is saving himself in some possessions for the playoffs or what, but Kawhi hasn’t been one of the best defenders this season. In spurts I’m sure and if I needed one Defenive stop there may only be 2-3 players in the entire NBA I’d want over him in that situation, but this is Rankings for this season not our expectations.

24. Russell Westbrook

Unique Defensive Score- 45.8

Westbrook said he was the best Point Guard Defender in the NBA, But by our calculations he comes in at 9th Amongst Point Guards for the 2018-19 season. Most of which is being hurt be a middle of the road ranking for DFG% (60th) and DRating (53rd).

23. Kyle Lowry

Unique Defensive Score- 45.3

Simply put the raptors aren’t the same team without Kyle Lowry in the game. They need him in both ends, he is vital to them winning and having a chance in the East. He has to show up in the playoffs for them to have any shot.

22. Patrick Beverley

Unique Defensive Score- 45.2

Beverley had a great season defensively, and while I had him right above Lonzo Ball for the season in my original list I chose to go an alternative route once I saw how closely this Unique Defenive Score matched my rankings of the players.

21. Ben Simmons

Unique Defenive Score- 45.1

Having him above Beverley is iffy but even if you give Beverley the edge for On ball pressure you have to give Simmons the clear advantage for size, stats, and versatility which is why him beating Patrick by the slimmest of margins was fine by me.

20. Derrick White

Unique Defenive Score- 44.9

Derrick White has been great all season long and seeing his name up here may surprise anyone that isn’t a Spurs fan. But don’t be fooled getting this recognition is well deserved, Show time the other Spur that made this list… I’ll wait.

19. Klay Thompson

Unique Defenive Score- 44.9

Klay is one of the best on Ball Defenders in the NBA and virtually always guards the opponents best Guard as Steph is a liability on Defense. Klay should be at least 5-10 spots higher on this list if it took into account Competition level.

18. Montrezl Hartell

Unique Defenive Score- 44.8

17. Malcom Brogdon

Unique Defenive Score- 44.2

16. Joel Embiid

Unique Defenive Score- 44.1

He is one of the best defenders in the game and comes in as the 3rd best Defenive Center this season. With Philly having multiple capable defenders I have to wonder why he isn’t higher on this list and why Philly doesn’t Have a better Team Defense.

15. Mike Conley

Unique Defenive Score- 44.0

Conley has always been a good Defenive Guard, and while he doesn’t benefit from a slower pace than most the players on this list, but he still deserves recognition for forcing tempo, slowing the game down and forcing those stops and possessions.

14. Lebron James

Unique Defenive Score- 44.0

Many believed Lebron to be an issue for the Lakers on defense, when the real problem was Everything around him. Lebron is +7 since Returning from injury while the rest of the Lakers (not named Ingram and Lonzo) have been outscored by 173. +7 compared to -173 is an awfully big swing for someone who doesn’t play defense.

13. Lonzo Ball

Unique Defenive Score- 44.0

This Season Lonzo is
-9th Best DFG% Amongst Guards
-13th Best DRating Amongst Guards
-6th in Pace Amongst Guards
-8th Best Rebounding Guard

Lonzo prompted a faster pace for the Lakes all while allowing opponents to Score Less Points when he played. The Lakers went from a top 7 Defense in the NBA to a bottom 5 Defense since his injury, and can’t seem to find a way to win ball games.

12. Brandon Ingram

Unique Defenive Score- 43.8

What Ingram lacks in steals and blocks he makes up for in DFG% and on ball pressure. He is one of the best Isolation defenders in the Entire NBA, this was in large part because he was guarding smaller players all season. However that also shows his versatility as he can guard the 1-4 with ease.

11. Marcus Smart

Unique Defenive Score- 43.8

Smart has been amazing all year for the Celtics and while I had him a few spots lower on my list due to his height, his effort and strength make up for that greatly on the Defenive end. He is also having one of his best years yet defending and getting into passing lanes.

10. Draymond Green

Unique Defenive Score- 43.7

No surprise to see Draymond Green this high on the list as he won DPOY 2 years ago and could have won the award 2-3 times by now. He has been a consistent anchor and force for the Warriors Defense.

9. Rudy Gobert

Unique Defenive Score- 43.3

Gobert being the 2nd center on this list is because of the lean towards Forwards in this metric, however I’d argue that should be the case as forwards can guard and switch multiple positions while Centers are slightly more limited in their capabilities. Gobert however is as close to an exception to that as you could get Being last years DPOY.

8. Paul George

Unique Defenive Score- 42.7

He had some DPOY hype that I believe has started to taper off along with his MVP talk but PG13 prior to his injury was having a top 3 season in the league but he has sense dropped down on the Defenive and Offensive ends.

7. Khris Middleton

Unique Defenive Score- 42.5

He is a long and capable defender and again the DRating helped Middleton to a large degree like Brogdon and Bledsoe, but he was an All-Star for a reason he can do a lot more than shoot the basketball.

6. Jaren Jackson JR.

Unique Defenive Score- 42.3

JJJ is the only rookie on this list and while the Grizzlies weren’t very good this season, that had absolutely nothing to do with Jaren. He was superb on Defense this season, being one of the best shot blockers as a Rookie.

5. Kevin Durant

Unique Defenive Score- 42.1

Durant is Easily a Top 2-3 Defender in the world if you need one defensive stop; one on one for your basketball lives. He’d be on my short list with Giannis and either Kawhi or Lebron depending on who’s Healthier and if it is playoffs or not. He hasn’t seemed fully engaged either and still has a high Defenive Score.

4. Eric Bledsoe

Unique Defenive Score- 41.6

This may Be boosted by Middleton, Brogdon, Giannis and Lopez a good amount but Bledsoe has always been a good Defenive Guard and on this team he is having one of the best season of his career. I was shocked he was so high, as I had more about 24th on my personal list but none the less he should be given credit for his season.

3. Jayson Tatum

Unique Defenive Score- 40.6

He hasn’t always Guarded the other teams best player and he does stick more on to wings than guards but the stats speak for themselves but he did qualify and his DFG% speaks for itself, now I just want too see him lead his own team guarding the bet players on a nightly basis.

2. Pascal Siakam

Unique Defenive Score- 39.8

His Defense May have improved more than his offense, which isn’t hard to do. It’s a strong reason why he should still be right i the MIP conversation. There is a reason the Raptors don’t miss a beat when Kawhi goes out.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Unique Defensive Score- 38.0

#1 in D-Rating, #3 in DFG% while Averaging 1.5 Blocks and 1.3 Steals. We didn’t need to make up a metric too see he was the best and most versatile defender in the NBA but I’m glad our metric held up.