Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green and still the top two; Warriors capture a trading chip in Jonathan Kuminga – News Sky Sport 2021

Golden State could have a new option in 7th place, which makes the decision even more difficult

The end is finally near. But in a philosophical way, the end is really the beginning. All views and rumors will come to a conclusion on Thursday, when the 2021 NBA Draft will finally be played. However, the careers of the 60 recruits are yet to begin.

This is my last trial before the big day and, although there could always be surprises and replacements, I’m pretty sure how I feel about most of the looks at the moment. The biggest change in my latest draft includes the Golden State Warriors, who could have a new option on the board now that the Oklahoma City Thunder reportedly likes James Bouknight more than Jonathan Cumming. If Kuminga is available, the Warriors will have a difficult decision between the tempting perspective that needs development and other options that could immediately affect the victory.

If the Warriors still choose Cumming, as I do, it will send wave effects throughout the draft. Also keep in mind that the selection order below doesn’t necessarily mean my big board. I take into account the fitness and style of play of the team when I project when they will take, and sometimes it is not the player I think is the most talented.

Okay, enough talk. It’s time to make a draft, starting with the last joke, and then the real thing in a few days.

I preface everything I will say with confession: I am obsessed with different feelings of different basketball. When Lonza Bola College statistics revealed a markedly different percentage of shots from one ball to another, some people dismissed the finding as random or a product of relatively small sample size. Not me.

After all, there is a reason why Tom Brady (allegedly) deflated his soccer balls, and MLB pitchers are angry about the ban on sticky things. The importance of feeling the ball in the athlete’s hand cannot be overestimated. This is the instrument of their genius. If a world-class golfer were to start rocking with a heavier-or-lighter-driver than he or she is used to, we would all hopefully accept that significant adjustment would be required, either mechanically or mentally or both, the golfer said. to rediscover his normal feeling. As with all adjustments, some will make them better and at different rates than others. Consistency will be hard to come by.

Which brings me to the Olympics and FIBA ​​basketball, which is significantly different from the NBA ball that USA team players are used to. Could this have been a factor in the US team’s fights in the exhibition and the Olympic game so far? Absolutely. It seems impossible that it would not have at least some kind of effect, honestly.

That’s not the only factor and probably not the biggest. The way the international games are organized – allowing for more defensive contact – and the pressure of the Olympic stage can certainly repel the shooter. There is also a standard variation with shooters. They have bad nights, sometimes all at once, as happened against France when the Americans shot only 36 percent from the field and 31 percent from 3.

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But don’t throw away an unknown ball as at least part of the shot equation. The FIBA ​​ball is the same size as the NBA ball (range 29.5 inches), but some will swear to you that it feels smaller and lighter. There are more stitches and those stitches are closer together, which is in the center of the shooters, who usually try to align their fingertips with the stitch whenever possible and are used to being able to locate those stitches in the dark. The NBA ball has a harder, almost stony feel and is known to become more sticky as it gets wet from sweat, but the FIBA ​​ball is often described as spongy and slippery, as Deron Williams told Star-Ledger in 2012.

“It’s a HUGE job,” former NBA player Raja Bell said of the international ball in an article for CBS Sports on Tuesday. “I’ve always said that FIBA ​​balls have had a huge impact on my shot and the shots of other NBA players. I hate that ball!

“It’s lighter, it looks smaller, it has a different texture,” Bell continued. “I mean, when the art of shooting is based on muscle memory, and you change all the factors except the size and height of the rim, it’s going to be difficult.”

In another exchange with a Western Conference scout, the conclusion was similar.

“[The ball is] definitely a factor,” the scout said. “How big a factor I guess depends on the particular player. But it’s an adjustment for everyone. Some guys will make [the adjustment] easier than others.”

And another text from Eastern Conference scouts with international playing experience: “It’s quite different and it takes some getting used to. It’s much softer than basketball in the NBA league or college.”

Not everyone agrees with this. In 2019, Brooklyn Nets scorer Joe Harris told The Athletic that he “would not put anything on the ball” in terms of any variant of shooting that could appear in the international game.

“If I had to guess, you could probably go to every guy on the team and ask them how the ball feels in the game, and no one would comment that it’s so different because you don’t really think about it or notice it,” Harris speculated. .

It’s easy for Harris to say. He scored 50 percent on 3.3 attempts of 3 points per game at the 2019 World Cup, where the United States finished in seventh place. Kemba Walker hit 38 percent of 3. Donovan Mitchell hit 40 percent. Despite his poor performance against France, Kevin Durant has traditionally shot from the FIBA ​​ball during his Olympic career: At the 2016 Games, he shot 58 percent in over five attempts at 3 points per game, supporting 52 percent has achieved. shot at the 2012 Olympics. Damian Lillard shot 42 percent outside the arc (19 to 45) at five U.S. exhibitions and the Olympics this summer.

But there are others, like Stephen Curry, who shot only 40 percent of the field at the 2014 World Cup, who never felt exactly like firing a FIBA ​​ball. Klai Thompson shot 32 percent from the 3rd at the 2016 Olympics. Paul George shot 28 percent. Kile Lovri hit 27 percent. Jaison Tatum scored 25 percent at the 2019 World Cup, and is only 3 to 18 out of 3 more with the U.S. team this year.

Again, it varies from player to player, and let me repeat, the ball is certainly not the only factor here. International rims are considered to be less forgiving. Perhaps most importantly, Americans are still getting used to playing with each other. No one looked so comfortable in terms of when and where to shoot, and even a split second of indecision can have a big impact on results. Variance is part of the deal. The United States could come to turn off the lights by the end of the tournament. That doesn’t mean the ball hasn’t been a factor all along. This will only mean that an adjustment has been made.

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