Tag Archives: NBA

Looking back at the top NBA performances of all-time

On January 2nd, 2023, Donovan Mitchell had the performance of his life. In a game against the Chicago Bulls, Donovan Mitchell scored 71 points in an overtime thriller. The Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Bulls 145-134 after the Cavs were trailing 65-47 at halftime. Donovan Mitchell’s insane second half led his team to victory, and he impressively finished with 71 points, 8 rebounds, 11 assists, and a block while shooting 64.7% in 50 minutes.

But this game got me thinking. Where would I rank this single performance with the all-time great performances in the NBA? This NBA season alone, there have been 89 40+ point games through January 5th. In fact, a week before Donovan Mitchell’s great game, Luka Doncic dropped an insane 60-21-10 game against the New York Knicks. So, I am going to be ranking the 5 best NBA performances of all time, in my opinion, in no particular order. This list will not include Mitchell or Luka’s game because I just mentioned them above, although I would consider putting them both in my top 5 NBA performances of all time.

Michael Jordan’s 1998 Finals Game 6

Picture this: Late in the 4th quarter, up 3-2, Jordan with the ball against the Utah Jazz. The rest is history. This NBA finals performance by Jordan featured what some consider to be the best shot in NBA history. Jordan finished with 45 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, and 4 steals in an 87-86 victory to clinch the series win for the Chicago Bulls in the finals. Obviously, this isn’t the greatest stat-padded game, as he didn’t spark many rebounds or assists, but this game was too iconic for me as a basketball fan, not to mention. This win marked the 6th title for the Bulls in 8 years, and it was the last game for Jordan and Coach Phil Jackson, who retired after this NBA finals.

Photo credit: Howard Chai at Unsplash

Kobe Drops 81

There is no denying this is one of the best NBA performances we’ve seen in recent memory. On January 22nd, 2006, Kobe Bryant gave the Toronto Raptors and basketball fans worldwide a game they would never forget. He dropped 81 points, which was the most in the NBA since David Robinson dropped 71 points. After Wilt and Robinson, it was a mystery whether or not anyone would be able to score within that scoring margin, and Kobe did not disappoint. In addition to the points, Kobe finished the night with 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, and a block. Another insane fact about this game is that Kobe Bryant was leading the NBA in points per game, with 35.4 entering his game against the Raptors. Safe to say that this game was vintage Kobe.

Photo Credit: Ramiro Pianarosa at Unsplash

Giannis Antetokounmpo 2021 NBA Finals

Call me biased all you want, but this was a game that I will never forget as a Milwaukee Bucks fan. Alongside Luka and Mitchell’s performances, this is one of the best NBA performances within the last 5 years. It was game 6 of the 2021 NBA Finals against the Phoenix Suns, and Giannis Antetokounmpo (try to say that 10 times fast) was hungry to lead his team to a championship, which is precisely what he did. Giannis dropped 55 points, 14 rebounds, 5 blocks, and 2 assists. He is only the 5th player in NBA history to record a 50-10-5 game with blocks since blocking was added as a stat to the NBA in 1973. Giannis represents the phrase “hard work pays off” very well, and he put all of his hard work on the court that night.

“Oh, and it’s blocked by James!”

This quote mentioned above is probably one that you recognize, and if you are anything like me, you can hear exactly what it sounds like. This quote brings back many good memories, and if you asked Lebron James and the 2016 Clevland Cavaliers, they would honestly have to agree with me. Game 7 of the finals, and it was a win-or-go-home game. Lebron had already led the Cavs from a comeback this series, as they were trailing the series to the Golden State Warriors 3-1 prior to this game. Lebron recorded a triple-double, finishing with 27 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, 2 steals, and 3 blocks. One of the blocks came late in the game against Andre Iguodala and influenced the iconic quote. 2016, what a time to be an NBA fan.

Photo Credit: Project 290 at Unsplash

The Game that Shocked the World

And finally, a game that needs no further introduction. Well, I guess it does, actually. March 2nd, 1962, Wilt Chamberlian scored 100 points as he led the Philadelphia Warriors to a win against the New York Knicks. Of course, it was the Knicks on the losing side of this game, but that is something I can save for a different writing piece. Despite it being so long ago, 100 points is still really crazy. I’m sure that won’t happen in today’s league, but the fact it happened is all that mattered. This is a game that many NBA fans know, and this is one of the most historic performances of all time. This definitely helped put the NBA on the map. Wilt ended with 100 points, 25 rebounds, and 2 assists.

This list was pretty hard to make because so many performances could have made this list, but I hope you enjoyed it and agreed with my opinion. The NBA is transitioning into a high-scoring league now, and I cannot wait to see what that will bring to the future of the sport. Maybe we will have another 100-point game in 2050, mark my words.

David Cohn is a Senior member of the MultiMedia Journalism Class.

NBA surprises & disappointments so far

Over the past few years, the NBA has faced a difficult competition problem. Unlike the other professional sports leagues, the championship teams have been mostly predictable, and the talent level converged. Recently, however, smaller market teams have stockpiled young talent and created an entertaining, competitive balance for the league. After passing the halfway point of the season last week, several teams sit at unexpected parts of the standings.

Starting on the positive side of the standings, the Indiana Pacers have improved drastically from last season. They sit at 23-21 (8th in the Eastern Conference). Since the Pacers came into the season with the tenth-youngest roster in the NBA, most experts thought this team would be playing for a lottery pick at this point of the season. Also, the Eastern Conference is stacked this season, and the Pacers did not fit anywhere near the playoff conversation.

Acquiring Tyrese Haliburton at the trade deadline gave Indiana an up-and-coming superstar, and their young players have seen a major improvement. The Pacers’ guard depth has given them a boost from the bench, with Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Ben Mathurin, Andrew Nembhard, Chris Duarte, and TJ McConnell averaging 15+ minutes per game. This team’s youth could carry them to a play-in appearance and pose a struggle to some playoff teams.

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Over in the Western Conference, the Sacramento Kings might be the most surprising regular season team in years. Their 23-18 record puts a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in sixteen years at fourth in the conference. Following the win-win trade with the Indiana Pacers at the trade deadline, which landed them Domantas Sabonis, the Kings have developed a potent dynamic duo with Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox. At the beginning of the season, I do not think many people saw these two evolving into a superstar tandem.

Like Indiana, this team stockpiled young talent through trades and the draft. Keegan Murray has risen to the Summer League hype, averaging about 12 points and 4 rebounds per game. Also, former Atlanta Hawk and Maryland star Kevin Huerter is averaging 16 points per game, a drastic improvement from last season.

Finally, and probably the least surprising out of the three, the New Orleans Pelicans have solidified a superstar big three and are creating a case to be one of the top teams in the West Conference. After the hard-fought series with Phoenix last season, fans expected a substantial improvement with Zion Williamson returning from injury.

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Zion, newly-acquired CJ McCollum, and young star Brandon Ingram all average over 20 points per game. The youth coming off the bench for this team creates a difficult group to compete with on the court. With Jonas Valanciunas locking down the middle and players like Herb Jones, Jose Alvarado, and Larry Nance Jr. bringing great energy, New Orleans poses a potent threat to many Western Conference playoffs teams.

On the other hand, the Chicago Bulls’ locker room drama has caused a difficult first half of the season. Fans saw Demar Derozan and Zach Lavine as one of the most formidable duos in the league when the season started. Still, a scoring feud between the two stars has generated unnecessary attention.

The lack of playmakers on this team, though, creates a problem only Lonzo Ball can solve. Many people thought he would be back by the start of this season, but injury setbacks have left a massive hole in the backcourt. They hold a reasonably strong frontcourt, with Nikola Vucevic and Patrick Williams locking down the basket, but it hasn’t been enough to lift their record.

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Staying in the Eastern Conference, the Miami Heat’s performance has caused lots of surprise around the league, considering their great star power. Following an Eastern Conference Finals run last season, the Heat kept their core of Kyle Lowry, Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, and Tyler Herro together. Looking at the Eastern Conference at the beginning of the season, Miami looked poised to finish in the top six of the standings. They sit at 24-20 and are seventh in the Eastern Conference.

Last season, we saw lots of their depth come alive in the playoffs to help carry Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry in the backcourt. That depth hasn’t stepped up to their prior levels, and most of their bench players have specific roles. Now that Butler and Lowry have entered their thirties, this team may find some difficulties as these veterans face fatigue toward the end of the season.

Finally, the Los Angeles Clippers are difficult to explain, considering their performances over the past few seasons. With Kawhi Leonard finally returning from injury, many experts expected a resurgence from the Clippers. His limited appearances so far this season raise a serious question about the future of him and Paul George. Their management assembled a solid supporting cast for these superstars during the 2019 offseason, but they cannot seem to rise to an elite level.

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We saw last season that without Kawhi Leonard, the Los Angeles Clippers are average, which speaks to their 23-22 record this season. If he cannot return completely healthy by the end of this season, the Clippers may be looking at another low seed in the playoffs. To climb out of this disappointing stretch, Kawhi must provide this team with more scoring and production.

Alex Kwas is a sophomore member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

How Victor Wembanyama is changing the game of basketball and what he needs to do to adjust to life in the NBA

Ahead of each NBA Draft, experts and fans have a look at the top prospect to see who could possibly be the No. 1 pick in the draft. This year, France prospect Victor Wembanyama is the likely No. 1 pick for more reasons than one. He is 7-3 with an 8’0 wingspan and has natural basketball ability. He shoots the ball like Steph Curry and quickly goes into the paint on big guys. My main concern is whether he can put on more weight because it’s obvious the talent is there. My closest comparison would be Chet Holmgren because both of them are in a spot where they need to add more weight to succeed in today’s NBA.

I was shocked to discover that Wembanyama does not have his own personal trainer and didn’t play AAU basketball. Now, on Metropolitans 92, a professional team in France, he is continuing to dominate the competition he goes up against. I think he will only get better and put on more strength, and if he does that, it’s a problem for the rest of the league. His talent will help him be a consistent 15-20 PPG scorer in the league when he is healthy. Playing against the G League Ignite in Vegas only helped his development. While they aren’t an actual NBA team, it was good for him to showcase his skills against NBA-level talent. What he’s doing now is as rare as it gets, and in that time, he’s done an incredible job representing France and putting French basketball on the map.

I have never seen someone like Wembanyama since I started watching basketball. I think the fact he’s 7-3 and shoots it so naturally is the scariest thing. He’s not your average big man, and he’s so dangerous in so many ways, making him almost impossible to guard. For as talented as he is, for him to succeed in the league, he will have to add some weight and muscle so he doesn’t miss extended periods during the season. He’s also going to have to realize that teams are going to make him a considerable part of their game plan, so he’s going to have to adjust to what different teams are throwing at him in terms of defensive looks or double teams. If he adjusts to this, he could be one of the best players to come through the league.

Wembanyama had already gone viral before he stepped foot in the league. French prime minister Lionel Jospin recently attended one of his games in France. The hype is real in France, and I already feel it from watching two of his better games. He is putting French basketball on the map with his rise to the top and is already making France a favorite to win the Gold Medal in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

We all know prospects have much to learn before they step foot in the league. In Wembanyama’s case, he’s got more to learn than people think. He’s going to have to realize that all teams will make him a focal part of their game plans, and they will try to take his strengths away. He’s going to get doubled a lot, so he will have to adjust to double teams on the fly because most NBA teams are trying to double him. We all know that defense is big in today’s NBA because offenses are becoming more well-rounded. For Wembanyama to influence his team besides the offensive end, he will have to assert himself in the paint and be a formidable presence so opponents know that he’s there. With his length, he’s automatically going to get blocks, but in today’s NBA, only getting blocks can get you so far. He’s going to have to be able to do the little things like going after loose balls, making certain switches onto different guys, and having a good enough level of conditioning to sprint up and down the floor.

If Wembanyama can do everything I just mentioned, I think he can make us, as fans, look at the game differently than we ever have. No matter what, we should be blessed that someone as naturally talented as him will be one of the faces of the NBA for the next decade.

Harry Kennedy is a senior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

Predicting the NBA Eastern Conference standings

The 2022 offseason saw many teams in the NBA Eastern Conference improve significantly. Most of the teams were actively looking to upgrade different spots on their teams. Many high-level free agents resigned with their current teams on big contracts. Zach LaVine was one of the most notable players to stay in his city, signing a new 5-year contract to commit his future to the Chicago Bulls. Another player loyal to his city was Darius Garland, who signed a multi-year contract extension in Cleveland to stay with the Cavaliers. Meanwhile, the months after the free agency frenzy involved a lot of trades; the most notable one occurred on September 1, 2022, when the Jazz sent All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell to Cleveland. Incredible talent and many good teams make this conference challenging to predict. 

1: Boston Celtics (Prediction: 54-28) 

Coming in as the No. 1 seed, we have the Boston Celtics, who come into this season as the defending Eastern Conference Champions. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart headline the talent returning to a team who lost to the Golden State Warriors in six games in the NBA Finals. They also traded for 2016-17 Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon to add some crucial depth they missed last season. A big blow is Danilo Gallinari, another notable acquisition that is unfortunately out for the season with a torn ACL. Although it’s a challenge, Boston has high-level talent at every position. Second-year coach Ime Udoka can lead this team to great things, as proved by his ability to take Boston to the finals last season. He’s the right coach for the city of Boston and for this Celtics team. It won’t surprise me if the Celtics get off to a really good start. They’ll be the No. 1 seed, but I don’t think they’ll get out of a loaded Eastern Conference. 

2: Cleveland Cavaliers (52-30)

Next, we visit Cleveland, where the Cavaliers currently have one of the best young cores in the NBA. Evan Mobley, Darius Garland, and Jarrett Allen are returning to a team who lost to the Atlanta Hawks in the Play-In tournament last season. When you add a player of Donovan Mitchell’s caliber into the fold, you’re in an even better spot than before, and the expectations are only getting higher. Mobley and Allen showed massive potential in the front court last season and could be one of the best front-court duos in the NBA in the next five seasons. Both of those guys need to increase their production this season, especially Allen, who is in the second season of a 5 year $100m contract extension. Mitchell joins Garland in a suddenly loaded backcourt, and the Cavs could potentially have four starters in the All-Star game in Utah in February 2023. This Cavs team is loaded but isn’t experienced enough to win the East. 

3: Milwaukee Bucks (51-31)

It wouldn’t shock me if the Bucks and the Cavs swapped places in the standings at the end of the season. The Bucks are coming off a disappointing exit in the second round at the hands of the Celtics. This is a big season for head coach Mike Budenholzer. While he won a championship in 2021, he needs to go far into the playoffs, or he could lose his job. Milwaukee’s veteran core, which isn’t getting younger, is in a prime position to contend. Jrue Holiday, who was a difference maker in the Finals against the Suns and has played a considerable role since coming to Milwaukee, turned 32 years old in June. Khris Middleton, who missed the entire second-round series against the Celtics with an MCL sprain in his knee, is 31 and is coming off surgery on his left wrist in July. Time is running out, and if Giannis Antetokounmpo, who turns 28 in early December, wants to win a ring, this is the year. The Bucks need to go far, and they will go far because their experience will be crucial in the later rounds. 

4: Philadelphia 76ers (51-31)

In Philadelphia, the vibes are good. PJ Tucker was the most notable free agency signing as he signed a 3-year $32m contract on the first day of free agency. They also signed Danuel House, who was notably kicked out of the 2020 NBA Bubble for multiple hours having a guest in his hotel room. Daryl Morey executed an excellent draft night trade as he traded the 23rd pick in the draft and Danny Green to the Memphis Grizzlies for De’Anthony Melton, who had a significant impact off the bench for the Grizzlies last season. Joel Embiid has to stay healthy if the Sixers want to go far. Embiid, a dominating force in the previous season, came up big in some playoff games, although he struggled with injuries. If this sixers team doesn’t make it out of the second round, I think it’ll spell the end for Doc Rivers. As a Sixers fan myself, I have been very critical of his decisions in recent years, and most recently, he left Embiid in a lopsided elimination game for too long. Embiid suffered a mild concussion and a right orbital fracture against the Raptors in the series-clinching Game 6 and wasn’t 100% in the next series against the Heat. I sense that in the offseason, the Sixers will be looking for a new head coach. 

5: Miami Heat (51-31)

The Heat are among the favorites to win the Eastern Conference. I could see them challenging the Cavs for second place this season and maybe even challenging Boston for the regular season title. Tyler Herro will be eager to prove that last season wasn’t a fluke. Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, and Omer Yurtseven will all hope to prove they can build on last season. In terms of developing talent, Miami is among the best teams in the NBA. It’s easy to see why Erik Spoelstra has won multiple Coach of the Year awards. I think Miami will take a step back because of the talent in the East, but they’ll be fighting for first place until the end of the season. 

6: Atlanta Hawks (49-33)

This Hawks team has turned a corner under Nate McMillan. When he was hired as the interim coach, I was unconvinced he could bring the best out of a young core that included Trae Young and John Collins. However, the Hawks roared back, going 27-11 in their last 38 games and making it to the Eastern Conference Finals. They took a step back last season as they went 43-39 and were bounced in the first round by Miami. Dejounte Murray takes an already good backcourt to another level. The expectations will be high in the ATL, but with the talented teams in the East, it’s going to be hard to get the top seed in the conference. 

7: Brooklyn Nets (47-35)

This Nets team is an utter mess. While Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant are scary for other groups to go against because of their scoring abilities, they don’t play well together and don’t play a lick of defense. The Nets traded for Ben Simmons but didn’t play a game and were a spectator as the Nets embarrassed themselves last season by being the only team in the NBA to get swept out of the playoffs after losing to Boston in the first round. The Kevin Durant trade request shocked the basketball world, but he decided to stay in Brooklyn after months of trade rumors which refused to die down until he decided to stay. I still don’t know why Steve Nash is employed by the Nets. The man refuses to coach and doesn’t hold players accountable, and his team was swept out of the playoffs embarrassingly. It’s going to be a long season in Brooklyn. 

8: Charlotte Hornets (43-39)

It’s been an offseason of turbulence in Charlotte. First, James Borrego was fired after another disappointing season ended with another loss in the opening round of the Play-In Tournament. Then, they thought they had hired Kenny Atkinson off of Steve Kerr’s staff in Golden State to try and turn them around, only for Atkinson to back out of the agreement and remain in the Bay Area. And in the most stunning development outside of free agency, starting forward Miles Bridges, who was eligible for a contract extension, was arrested in Los Angeles this summer on charges of domestic violence. They rehired Steve Clifford to be their head coach, which I still don’t understand. He’ll keep them in these play-in spots but not any higher. 

9: Washington Wizards (42-40)

After a disappointing end to the season, this Wizards team needs to find out who they really are. We praised him at the start of the season when the Wiz were flying high, but Wes Unseld Jr. has a lot to learn. He made several bad substitutions last season and didn’t call timeouts promptly. Bradley Beal returns to headline a young team that has potential. Daniel Gafford needs to prove that he can produce consistently in a conference loaded with talented bigs. The wizards could sneak into the last Play-In Spot. 

10: Chicago Bulls (41-41)

The Bulls have a significant problem. They can’t beat good teams and lost in five games to the Bucks. Granted, Billy Donovan is a good coach, but Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan can only do so much, and I still don’t know if Lonzo Ball will be at 100% after a knee injury ended his season. The Bulls went from first in the East to sixth in the span of a couple months, and they could struggle after missing out on big pieces like Rudy Gobert. Most of last year’s team is back, but they’ll run into a lot of obstacles along the way, and if LaVine or DeRozan gets hurt, they’re in trouble. 

Regarding who will be eliminated in the Play-In tournament, I think the Wizards and Bulls could miss the playoffs after the PlayIn Games. The Net’s scoring ability and the Hornets getting more experienced will be major factors. 

The Pacers, Pistons, Magic, and Knicks will all struggle. The Pistons and Magic have drafted well the last couple of years, so they could be positioned to make a lot of noise in the future. The Knicks are mediocre after a surprising fourth-place finish in 2020/21. The Eastern Conference has the chance to be really, really tough and competitive. We’ll see what happens on October 18.


Is the NBA overpaying its players?

Photo by Vladislav Reshetnyak on Pexels.com

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is one of the most profitable sports in the entire world. Generating $8 billion dollars in revenue last year, the league holds the world’s third highest income across all sports. It has been America’s most heavily followed sport. Aside from its national popularity, the NBA yields roughly $500 million in international media agreements every year. The individual franchises themselves are valued at an average of $2.12 billion dollars, and that number continues to climb. So with the league having such a high income year in and year out, it makes sense that the average NBA player’s salary is $7.7 million dollars, right? This question is still unanswered and is debated every day by hoops junkies and experts alike.

To be able to properly address whether there is an issue with the league’s current average salary, we must first understand how salaries are determined. There are various levels to different salaries players can make. These include the rookie scale contracts, veteran-minimum contracts, and ‘SuperMax’ contracts.

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Jalen Smith, MSJ Class of 2018. Photo Credit: MGoBlog / Flickr (https://flic.kr/p/2dVykFA)

For example, first-round draft pick out of the University of Maryland, and MSJ Class of 2018 graduate, Jalen Smith received a ‘Rookie Scale Contract’ after being drafted 10th overall by the Phoenix Suns. The ‘Rookie Scale Contract’ is the first contract negotiated by a team and their first round draft pick. This contract entails a minimum length of 2 years, with a 3rd and 4th year option. The salary of said contract is determined by the rookie salary scale and can vary depending on minutes played, injuries, suspensions, etc. In Jalen’s case, he inked a 4-year deal worth $19.3 million dollars, an average salary of $4.825 million. However, a contract is much different for that of an undrafted rookie. The least amount of money an undrafted rookie player can make in his first year with their team is $893,310 dollars. That number typically goes up when the player’s minutes increase, points per game (ppg) increase, rebounds per game (rpg) increase, etc. The rookie salary scale continues to grow as the “salary cap” grows and other various elements to a team’s spending budget increases. That being said, does the NBA have a serious problem on its hands, or is this just the nature of the beast?

If there is one thing that the NBA should be commended for, it’s the fact that they do not sell league veterans short on their ‘vet-minimum’ salary. The base ‘vet-minimum’ salary a player with 10 or more years of service in the league can receive is $2,564,743 million dollars annually. If the ‘vet-minimum’ deal said player was signed to is a multi-year deal, they will receive the above salary each year pending the contract’s terms and conditions designated by the franchise. For example, longtime NBA center Marc Gasol signed a 2-year, vet-minimum deal last offseason with the Los Angeles Lakers. The league encourages teams to sign veteran players to deals by lessening the amount of “real money” the veteran accounts for on the franchise’s payroll. The NBA will reimburse teams for signing veteran players by paying off a certain portion of the vet’s salary that is equivalent to a 2-3 year player’s minimum salary. Basically, a vet can sign a 1-year contract worth $2.8 million, but the team that signed him only has to pay $1.6 million of that deal. Alleviating a franchise of a portion of a veteran player’s salary helps the NBA continue to keep veterans on rosters and a part of the league’s community. 

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Oklahoma City takes on the Golden State Warriors in NBA action. Photo Credit: Derrick Story / Flickr (https://flic.kr/p/9if3DY)

A gray area of the league that is arguably the most debated and talked about aspect of salaries is the ‘SuperMax’ extension that can be given to all players regardless of age/years played. The ‘SuperMax’ contract extension is the largest amount of money a team can offer a player, typically a superstar of the league. The terms of the contract vary depending on how long the player has been in the league. For example, a player that has been in the NBA between 7-9 years can earn an extension worth greater than 30% of the franchise’s overall salary space. This means that the ‘SuperMax’ itself has to be worth at least 30% of the entire team’s payroll. Another option the team has is to increase the player’s salary by 105% of what they earned the previous year. Aside from the numbers aspect of the ‘SuperMax’ deal, it can cause division in locker rooms and between teammates.

Players who make the league minimum or significantly less than that of a ‘SuperMax’ player can feel undervalued and unappreciated. Some can even be envious of their teammates. For example, former Houston Rocket shooting guard James Harden was traded to the Brooklyn Nets after having a fallout with the Rockets. Harden was adamant about not playing for Houston, turning down a 2-year deal worth $103 million dollars. As a player on the Rockets at that time, it would have been easy to feel discredited and overlooked by the coaches and management. Even though he was later released, former center for the Rockets DeMarcus Cousins voiced his displeasure with management and with James when it came to how the situation was handled. This is a prime example of how ‘SuperMax’ contracts can rip a franchise apart.

After analyzing and reviewing the NBA salary and how it works, do you feel that the players are overpaid, underpaid, or paid just right? Should franchises continue to dish out ‘SuperMax’ deals, or should the league regulate how many players can receive these contracts? With the NBA having a “soft” salary cap, meaning the cap number can be stretched and adjusted, should the league switch to a “hard” cap to limit super teams and “big threes”? All these questions I have presented all stem from one, single major debate…are NBA players overpaid?

Brayden Spurgeon is a member of Mr. Dan Peightel’s Honors Freshman English class.

Why high school athletes should be able to go straight to the NBA

In the basketball world, there is a lot of controversy surrounding the topic of athletes going pro straight out of high school. The current rule to enter the NBA draft is that you need to be 19 years old and one year out of high school. This was not the case until the rule was created in 2005. If athletes are physically ready to go pro and mature enough to handle the spotlight, then it should be up to them to decide what their future holds. 

For many of the highly recruited players, they will only spend one year out of high school before entering the draft. This is known as the one-and-done rule. Their goal is to get to the NBA and they are looking for the most productive way to get there. The typical route is to attend college for one year and then declare for the draft. This route however is becoming less common for the highly rated athletes who are either going overseas to play or playing in the NBA G league. These alternatives are becoming more common because they replicate the NBA game more than playing in college would. The college game is taking a hit by not getting every star player that it used to get year in and year out. 

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Some people may say that these high school kids are not mature enough to play in the NBA at such a young age but one year will not make much of a difference or not any difference at all. Also, the college game is much different than the NBA. There have been some great college players who have turned out to be busts in the NBA. The quicker these players can get to the league then more experience they will get.

One of the main problems about not allowing an athlete to go straight to the pros after high school is the risk of injury. If a player were to get an injury during that year before they are eligible, their draft stock could be heavily impacted in a negative way and could have a long-lasting impact on their whole career. Take Kevin Ware for example. Ware was a guard for the University of Louisville basketball team and during the Elite Eight of the 2013 NCAA tournament, he suffered one of the most horrific injuries in sports history. After a long recovery, Ware decided to enter the 2016 NBA draft but unfortunately went undrafted. His injury definitely stalled his progress and might have cost him a chance to play in the NBA. 

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To go along with the risk of injury, college athletes do not get paid. These athletes have spent their entire lives working to play the game they love for a living and one injury could leave them walking away with nothing.  Also, the quicker these athletes can get to the pros, the quicker they can get through their rookie contracts and earn a more lucrative contract. 

Another reason that this rule should be revised is that the ones who are going to college spend half of their time in the classroom. These athletes have to take classes that they are not going to use as a career and they spend half of their day in class when they could be working on their game instead. There are also restrictions on how much college teams are allowed to practice whereas in the NBA there are no restrictions. 

There have been multiple players who went straight to the pros out of high school when the rule was not in effect. Take Lebron James as an example. Lebron was one of the most hyped players of his generation coming out of high school.  Some may argue that he is the best basketball player of all time. Kobe Bryant is another prime example. Kobe went straight to the league from high school and ended his career with five rings. There have been many players that have done perfectly fine with the transition from high school to the NBA when there was no rule.

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The argument of whether the NBA should allow players to go straight to the league out of high school is one that has been going on for decades. There have recently been talks around this topic so it will be interesting to see if they update the rule in the near future.

Sean Thompson is a senior member of the Multimedia Journalism class