Who Will Win Most Improved Player In 2018?

Whether if it’s Giannis Antetokounmpo leaping from 16.9 points per game and being all hype to 22.9 points per game and a legit borderline superstar in 2017, or Jimmy Butler at one point being a 2.6 points per game scorer and now one of the NBA best players, the Most Improved Player award generally goes to the player that has the most significant increase in production from the previous year.

  1. The award is usually awarded to a young player in his early 20’s. Potential and opportunity has played a huge role in each of the past winners. The most impressive winner to me was when C.J. McCollum leaped from averaging 6.8 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 1.0  assist per game to 20.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game in 2016. The biggest note was the 15.7 minutes per game compared to the 34.8.
  2. When Kevin Love won it in 2011 his production leaped from 14.0 points and 11.0 rebounds to 20.2 points and a league leading 15.2 rebounds per game. All of these players were under the age of 27.
  3. Here are a few players who are in changing situations that may give them the opportunity to win the award in 2018, all under the age of 25:
  4.  Devin Booker, at only 20 years old is already one of the best scorers in all of basketball. Only in year two he became 1 of 4 players in NBA history to record at least 70 points in an NBA game. From year 1 to year 2 Booker leaped from 13.8 points to 22.1 per game.
  5.  Joel Embiid missed the first two seasons of his career. In year three, he only played in 31 games, and in those games Joel Embiid averaged 20.2 points and 7.8 rebounds in only 24 minutes per game. When healthy, Embiid is one of the best centers in the NBA. He’s never healthy though, so that’s the only question mark. Hopefully playing with the potentially great young core of Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz, and Dario Saric, Embiid can stay on the floor.
  6.  In three years, Andrew Wiggins is a career 20.4 points per game scorer. In 2017, Wiggins averaged 23.6 points per game on a sub .500 win Timberwolves team. In order for Wiggins to win the award, he would have to lead the Timberwolves to the playoffs. Even with the addition of Jimmy Butler and keeping Karl Anthony-Towns, Wiggins should still be a more focused offensive player.
  7.  Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been one of the more consistent 2-way shooting guards in the league since he was drafted back in 2013, but he has pretty much hang his hat on potential. The former Detroit guard was the defensive ace for a young Pistons squad and has been amongst the league leaders in minutes player over the last 2 years. He’s one of the more consistent defensive players, but his career 40% shooting from the field and 33.4 from 3-point range while averaging 11.7 points for his career is why Detroit was hesitate on making Pope a max contract player. Pope has had explosive games, he scored 38 points including 8 3-pointers, then scored 2 points the next game. Playing in the open court with the Lakers should give him more freedom and more of a consistent green light.
  8.  After the departure of Carmelo Anthony, the weight of the New York Knicks franchise is now in the hands of the 3rd year budding star, power forward Kristaps Porzingis. In 2016-2017 he averaged 18.1 points with 7.2 rebounds per game in the dysfunctional Knicks offense. He’s only 21 years old, but in 2 years he’s been one of the 10 players at his position. The offense will clearly be built around him, so I expect for him to average in the mid 20’s points per game and be an all-star in the star-less Eastern Conference.

Who Will Be The Lakers Best Player In 2017-2018?

After a miserable ending to the Kobe Bryant led Lakers’ era and a 26-56 season for 2016-2017, the Lakers will look to reclaim the Los Angeles city as the premier NBA team.
The Lakers finished at the bottom of the west each of the last several years and are expecting a major increase in excitement in the area, and most importantly the win column. Lakers’ owner Jeanie Buss started the process by naming hall of fame player and Laker great Magic Johnson as the president of basketball operations, along with former Lakers’ small forward and former Golden State Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton as the head coach. The first question of the “New Era” is, who is the best player in year #1?

Jordan Clarkson stealing the ball from Jamal Murray.
Guard, Jordan Clarkson will be entering his 4th season in the league. He was a 2nd round pick by the Lakers in 2014 and once Kobe got hurt and Clarkson received the opportunity, he exploded immediately as the point guard. In 3 years with the Lakers his averages are at 14.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists,  and 1 steal per game on 44.1 percent shooting from the field. He has become one of the more explosive players in the league, and although he’s an undersized shooting guard, he can play both positions and play off of the ball. He also has a wingspan of 7’0. Clarkson will more than likely serve as a spark off of the bench, and perhaps a future 6th man of the year.

Julius Randle posting up Warriors’ forward Draymond Green.
Julius Randle was the 7th pick of the 2014 draft, but suffered a season ending leg injury during the season opener. He bounced back the following season averaging 11.3 points and 10.2 rebounds per game as a power forward. His career averages entering his 4th season are at 12.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 2.6 assists. It’s difficult calling him a stretch 4 with that 27.3 percent from 3 point range, but he has displayed some great ball handling skills and the ability to start a fast break for a big man. With Magic Johnson running the show, expect to see many fast breaks ending with a show-time slam-dunk from Randle.

Brandon Ingram at the top of the key.
The 2016-2017 season was a disappointment for the 2016 #2 overall pick Brandon Ingram. After drawing comparisons to Kevin Durant, at 6’9 with a 7’0 wingspan Ingram only averaged 9.4 points, and 4.0 rebounds in  28.8 minutes per game on 40.2 percent shooting from the field. My excuse for him would be he started the season playing behind Luol Deng, who’s a highly respected veteran, but that 72 million dollars guaranteed for 4 years was a head scratcher by the Lakers front office. He’s 32 years old and was never a star player. But back to Ingram. Ingram has a skinny frame that forces him to play the guard positions, which is why he never was truly playing his natural position which is small forward. His weight has been a concern since his college days, so it’s a must that he gets stronger or else it’s going to be very difficult imagining him being able to compete on defense against the best.

Jan 8, 2017; Portland, OR, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (5) goes up for a dunk over Portland Trail Blazers center Mason Plumlee (24) in the first half at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope just signed a 1-year deal worth 18 million dollars with the Lakers and will be the starting shooting guard. This is a make or break season for the 8th overall pick of the 2013 draft by the Detroit Pistons. Pope spent his first 4 years in Detroit and emerged as the team’s best defensive player and a good outside shooter. The only question about his game is his consistency on offense. Pope has a career average of 11.7 points on 40.5 percent shooting from the field. I personally believe that Stan Van Gundy wasn’t utilizing him correct by forcing him to become a spot up shooter. His highest scoring output was 38 points, hitting 8 3 pointers. Pope is one of those players that stats don’t tell you the entire story. He has improved as an overall basketball player every single year since he entered the draft and became the go-to man in the clutch for Detroit. He has game winners against several teams. Pope is also an underrated passer, tallying a 10 assists game. His best attribute is his defense and energy at 6’5 being able to guard 3 positions. He’s one of the best young 2-way players in the league, and if he breaks out this season he’s due for a major payday.
Lonzo Ball, the hometown kid, the UCLA Bruin, the #2 pick in the 2017 draft is #2. It’s difficult proclaiming a player will be #1 before they play a single game in the NBA. After a miserable first summer league game where he shot 2-15 from the field, Ball averaged a triple double the rest of the way and quickly became the MVP of the summer league, and what it looks like to be the best passer in all of basketball. Whichever comparison you wish to make either if it’s to Jason Kidd or Magic Johnson, the 19-year old kid can ball. At 6’6 he’s already a great passer, rebounder, and athletic. He’s unselfish and has made his teammates better since he started playing basketball. He’s also a winner. He averaged a triple double in high and won, won in college, won in the summer league, and will look to win in LA.

Jan 12, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) is fouled as he moves by New Orleans Pelicans power forward Terrence Jones (9) during the fourth quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Brook Lopez, a surprising #1 for most people, but he’s underrated and was playing for a terrible Brooklyn Nets franchise that had traded away all of their draft picks. Lopez was the 10th pick in the 2008 draft and spent his entire career with the Nets while being named to the Eastern Conference all-star squad once in 2013. His career averages are at 18.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.7 blocks on 50.6 percent shooting from the field. He averaged 20 or more points during 4 different seasons, and has not averaged less than 17 points since his rookie year. With Lonzo Ball as the point guard wanting to help guys score the basketball, Caldwell-Pope and Randle being the defensive aces, and  Brandon Ingram still developing, there’s no reason Lopez should take a step back in his 9th season.


The ZO2 Lonzo Ball’s signature shoe will be released in Sept. 2017 and the preservation price is $495. It might as well be $500. 

That’s outrageous!

Not only the price, but the thought process and the man behind the plan, his dad, the infamous LaVar Ball. The fact that the greatest player in NBA history Michael Jordan and his brand sells the most shoes for an average of $150. The Jordan brand, along with NIKE, and ADDIDAS make prices affordable for the average customer. Those are established brands that been in the game for dozens of years. Nike recently declined the opportunity to co-brand with Big Ballers’ Brand(BBB). 

Note that Lonzo hasn’t even been drafted yet, but his dad has the upmost confidence in his childrens’ abilities. So much confidence that he said that, “my boy is better than Stephen Curry”. That’s not all. “If the Lakers draft Lonzo, he’ll have the same impact that Magic Johnson had”. 

The madness has to stop!

The pressure that LaVar is placing on his son is by far the most in pro sports history. Lonzo must play great right away. He must perform at levels that LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Karl Anthony-Towns, and Michael Jordan played at as rookies. Lonzo averaged a triple double in high school and led UCLA to the tournament before coming up short against Kentucky, and being out-played by D’Aaron Fox, another top 10 prospect. IF, and ONLY IF Lonzo does exceed expections, LaVar would have hit the jackpot. Even though he rubbed many people the wrong way by saying, “if you can’t afford the shoes, you’re not a big baller”, there will be some people who will be idiotic enough to buy the shoes.

LaVar indeed has made himself a household name, appearing on major talk shows spitting the confidence.

Reggie Jackson May Be On One Way Ticket Elsewhere

It is time for the Pistons to trade their starting point guard Reggie Jackson and allow the backup floor general Ish Smith to run the offense.

The Pistons started the season without Jackson due to a knee injury. During that time the Pistons were a top 5 defensive team and had an overall record of 11-10. They are currently 25-28 and the number 8th seed in the Eastern Conference with Jackson returning as the head man.

Jackson is more of the prototypical “modern-day point guard”. He’s  6’3 208lbs, averaging 16 points, 2 rebounds and 6 assists per game, with a score first mentality . Ish Smith is a tradional pass first point guard who thrives in getting the entire team involved and pushing the tempo. He’s only listed at 6’0 but regardless of his size, he’s the better defender.

The players have expressed more happiness with Ish on the floor rather than Reggie. Reggie is a solid player, but he tends to have the tunnel vision and head-strong mentality and shot selection that his former teammate Russell Westbrook plays with every game. Ish is a below average offensive player, but with him on the floor players like Marcus Morris, Jon Leuer and Tobias Harris played some of the best basketball of their careers.

NBA Analyst and former hall of fame player Charles Barkley stated on TNT after a Detroit loss to Boston that “the problem with Detroit is that they have players there who thinks they’re better than what they really are.”


Head Coach Stan Van Gundy signed Reggie Jackson two seasons ago to a 5-year 80 million dollar contract. The Pistons reached the playoffs and were expected to make that leap into conference contention this season. It has easily been the exact opposite and it all starts with the primary decision maker.

Starting shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is in his contract year. He’s averaging 14 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists, and he’s only 23 years old. Sources have confirmed that he will be demanding 20 million dollars this upcoming offseason. With the core being young the Pistons have major decisions to make about the future.