We continue with part two of our off-season market watch. You can see part one here.
Stock Up: Phil Jackson
I don't care how you think his off-season is goink, the Zen Master earns an "up" grade by virtue of selecting Kristaps Porzingis in the NBA draft. Though the pick was booed by woe-is-us Knicks fans, it was a surprisingly level-headed decision for Jackson. Porzingis doesn't fit the triangle offense -- like, at all. He's the least triangle big you could imagine. And yet Phil resisted the urge to put his system before the talent. In doing so, he conceded (or rightly acknowledged) that three point shooting, even for a big, is kind of a big deal.
I don't care if the bar was set really, really low. The arrow is still pointing (barely) up.
Stock Down: Charles Oakley, Crotchety Old Man
The former Knickerbocker makes the list for basically following Phil in sticking his foot in his mouth about stuff he probably shouldn't comment on. Oakley's take on the NBA? It's just not fun to watch anymore, because the players don't care. Right-o. They also don't know how to play together either, because, well, I'm not quite sure. But things were definitely better in his day! Also, he thinks it's just terrible how now the same teams always win the Championship. Because that wasn't a problem back in his day!
Stock Up: Kendrick Perkins' Agent
For somehow conning yet another good team into wasting a roster spot on him. The dude's been a pretty useless scrub since before Rajon Rondo stopped being good (that's a long time). And yet teams continue to fling money at him to sit on the end of the bench and look upset. Wouldn't it be just as reasonable to bring in a young fringe center who you can at least pretend has some upside? In related news, Richard Jefferson somehow got a contract with the Cavaliers (do they even like money in Cleveland?), and Jimmer Freddette signed a training camp deal with the Spurs. All of these guys are pretty miserable players right now, but at least Jimmer has one NBA-caliber skill. You can't say that for the other two.
Stock Down: The NBA Player's Association
Because they're not even as smart as the writers, apparently. They voted DeAndre Jordan the defensive player of the year, while Kawhi Leonard and Draymond Green didn't even finish in the top four! For those who aren't aware, that's incomprehensibly stupid. And I'll give you three guesses where Steph Curry is putting the prestigious award he did get (hint: it ends in -rash).
Stock Up: Indiana Pacers Fashion
Some folks know how to do this right.
Stock Down: Los Angeles Clippers Fashion
The new Clippers uniforms. pic.twitter.com/xGMFtDJpPX— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) June 18, 2015
And some folks don't.
Stock Still Down and Staying Flat: Mark Cuban
Chalk this up as one of the more creative ways to ensure that the Dallas Mavericks remain a playoff team (hint: they won't). Cubes pitched the NBA owners to expand the NBA playoff field by four teams, all but assuring non-tanking teams of a playoff spot. And look! He even made it public on that app he started that no one has ever used. Sell, sell, sell.
Stock Up: Seth Curry
2015 Summer League was all about Seth. The younger, shorter, less attractive, less accomplished, less rich, less famous Curry brother poured in a league-leading 24.3 points per contest in helping the Pelicans squad to the semifinals. Seth parlayed that performance into a two-year contract with the Sacramento Kings. Despite the noxious front office, Curry should get plenty of opportunities to develop his game against NBA competition from now on. And he even gets to stay local to big bro!
Stock Down (Again): Ty Lawson
Stock Up: Schadenfreude
German for shameful joy, wherein we revel in the misery of others. And believe me, Warriors fans, it's going to be so fun watching the Clippers deal with their new personalities. Lance Stephenson, Josh Smith the winner, DeAndre Jordan, disgruntled Jamal Crawford, coach's son Austin Rivers...and toss in Paul Pierce for the hell of it. Sounds like a reality television show worth watching. And that's before you get to Chris Paul's endearing brand of passive aggressiveness.
Ty Lawson to the Rockets isn't too bad -- despite being a pretty crummy teammate, you can live with one of those guys. But the Clippers? They're going to be entertaining.
DeAndre Jordan's phone has been blowing up with Dallas and L.A. people trying to sway his decision: pic.twitter.com/4sIBgrz39w— NOT SportsCenter (@NOTSportsCenter) July 8, 2015
Stock Down: Shaq's NBA Insight
Stock Up: Shaq's Social Media Account
Shaq claimed that the all-time Los Angeles Lakers would beat the all-time Chicago Bulls by fifty points! I'm not entirely sure any team could beat any Michael Jordan-led team by fifty, but there you have it. I'm also not sure that no-defense playing legends like Magic Johnson, Elgin Baylor and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar would stop Michael Jordan from going bonkers. At any rate, the exchange that ensued was absolutely worthy of enshrinement in the basketball hall of fame, and you should read it.
Stock Up: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver
For quickly moving to correct the universally disliked division-winners-matter playoff format. Now, it looks likely that the playoffs will be determined solely by won-loss record, and you can bet that more format improvements will come in due time. In other news, the league will start selling single-game pay per view for $6.99, ensuring that any fan can see their team when they need to. Hats off to the most progressive, fan-friendly commissioner in America.
Stock Down: Joel Embiid
Even when he was drafted, folks knew he was a risk. Injury-prone, presently-injured seven footers tend to get injured a bit. But at this point it's just kind of silly. How do you break a foot while recovering the same broken foot? Were you kick boxing in rehab? Remember when your friend compared him to Greg Oden that one time? Well even Greg Oden had one playoff run. Pretty sure that's more than Embiid (or the Sixers, for that matter) is on pace for.
Stock Way, Way Up: Spurs Assistant Coach Becky Hammon
Basketball is the only major team sport that both men and women play, so it was only a matter of time before someone realized that a woman could be completely qualified to head a men's squad, just as men have coached women's squads for decades.
Congratulations to Spurs assistant Becky Hammon, who led the Spurs Summer League squad to a championship in Vegas. In doing so, she's jacked her stock up so high that she suddenly looks like the next brilliant Pop-disciple to fall from the San Antonio coaching tree (which is technically a part of the Don Nelson tree, but still). Hopefully, we see Hammon or another qualified woman get that opportunity sooner rather than later.