This Thursday is the NBA's trade deadline. Here are three moves that I believe need to get done.
1.Lakers guard Lou Williams to the Wizards in exchange for Andrew Nicholson and a first round pick. The Wizards need bench help. Don't just take my word for it. Earlier this season Wizards starting center Marcin Gortat said, "We've got one of the worst benches in the league." Williams, who is averaging close to 19 points per game with the Lakers, would certainly bolster Washington's second unit and could make John Wall and company a legitimate threat to the Cavaliers in the East. From the Lakers perspective, they are not going to the postseason this season so getting an additional first round pick in exchange for Williams makes perfect sense.
2. Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler to the Rockets in exchange for Corey Brewer, Sam Dekker, and a second-round pick. Despite being in third place in the West, the Rockets are 9-9 in their last 18 games. They need some perimeter help and with Wilson Chandler they would be getting just that. Chandler is averaging 15 points and 7 rebound per game in Denver and a change of scenery seems to be in the cards for the 29 year-old who has been reportedly upset with his role with the Nuggets.
3. Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio to the Cavaliers in exchange for Iman Shumpert. The Cavaliers need a backup point guard as LeBron James has alluded to on numerous occasions. Rubio would be an ideal backup to Kyrie Irving with his ability to distribute the ball. Surrounding him with the shooters that the Cavaliers have Rubio instantly becomes even more valuable. Minnesota needs to see what it has in Kris Dunn. Having Rubio forces Dunn into limited minutes. Getting Rubio out of town while also bringing in a proven wing in Shumpert is a no-brainer for Tom Thibodeau and company.
I have watched Kentucky a handful of times this season and each time I have been mesmerized by the offensive ability of Malik Monk. He possesses this uncanny ability to control his body depending on how the defender is playing him that enables him just enough air space to get his shot off whenever he so pleases. This ability deems defensive schemes to negate him utterly useless.
John Calipari has coached an ungodly number of freshman phenoms : Derrick Rose, Demarcus Cousins, John Wall, and Anthony Davis just to name a few. No freshman has posted the numbers that Monk has under Coach Cal, as he is averaging just a shade under 22 points per game.
Most mock drafts have Monk slotted in the mid-lottery. That is preposterous. i think that Monk's ceiling is just as high as anyone not named Markelle Fultz or Dennis Smith Jr. in this coming NBA Draft. In a league that values potential and three-point shooting more than ever, why is the most prolific shooter and a player with Monk's ceiling being glossed over?
Malik Monk is a combination of Klay Thompson and JR Smith. That is a befuddling player comp, but let me explain. He has Klay's ability to be absolutely lethal shooting off the catch and also has the ability to be an absolute menace on the defensive end. He also reminds me of JR Smith with his ability to utilize step-backs and other crafty footwork to create space. Like both Klay and JR, Malik Monk has the ability to catch fire and carry an NBA team. For that reason alone he should be a top-three pick in the NBA Draft.
Magic Johnson was just recently named a special advisor to Lakers President Jeanie Buss. What his role will exactly be is unknown, but ultimately Magic wants to be calling the shots. On First Take the other day Johnson said, "First call I make if I'm in charge? Kobe Bryant." Many Lakers fans are likely rejoicing upon hearing this. The idea of former greats Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant bringing the Los Angeles Lakers back to prominence seems promising on the surface. Don't be fooled.
Magic. Kobe. How many NBA General Managers, or General Managers in any sport for that matter, do you know of that go by one name? Theo.....maybe. Other than that, there aren't any. Being a General Manager and running an NBA franchise requires a lot of work, a brutal travel schedule, and constant criticism. Magic and Kobe have been pampered for much of their careers and so returning to such a demanding position might not be ideal for them or the fans, especially if they truly want the Lakers to be revived. Red-eyes from Europe, constant film study, non-stop number-crunching, those don't seem like the types of things all-time greats partake in. Instead they prefer steak dinners, and trips to Cabo, and being pampered. That is not the life on a General Manager.
The de facto GM of the Patriots who built the dynasty that is currently was Scott Pioli. The Spurs GM is R.C. Buford, the Yankees is Brian Cashman. This is not to say that a Magic Johnson-Kobe Bryant partnership would not work in Los Angeles, it just seems unlikely. Phil Jackson as a GM was a bust, as was Isiah Thomas and Kevin McHale, and Wes Unseld, and Elgin Baylor. Shall I continue? Even Michael Jordan owning the Charlotte Hornets has illustrated how even the most talented and will-driven player can be incompetent when it comes to constructing a team. Playing the sport at a high-level is one thing; having the oversight to build a team is entirely another.