The Brooklyn Nets and the Boston Celtics both made statements on Thursday, with a trade that signals the intentions of both teams going forward.
The Nets are going for a Championship.
The Celtics are starting over.
The basketball world was shook to it's core when the Celts dealt Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry and Paul Pierce to the Nets for three first-round picks (2014, 16, 18), Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries' expiring contract, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph and a sign-and-trade deal with Keith Bogans. This deal, subject to confirmation from the league, represents yet another bold move for the Nets as they look to establish themselves as an NBA super-power, while it signals the end of an era in Boston.
Although it was far from the biggest surprise of the 2013 NBA draft, the Chicago Bulls’ first-round pick raised plenty of eyebrows. Armed with a pair of selections in the hunt to build a team that can challenge Miami in the postseason, Chicago appears to have whiffed on at least one of the two.
Here’s a look at both new additions to the Bulls’ roster and what they bring (or fail to bring) to Derrick Rose’s team.
SG Tony Snell, New Mexico (Round 1, No. 20 overall): D+
In principle, Tony Snell checks off most of the boxes the Bulls were expected to look for in their first-round selection. He’s a big shooting guard who can play the 2 or the 3, knock down the three-pointer and play a little defense.
He just doesn’t do any of it all that well.
The New Mexico product is coming from a solid defensive team, but he’s not a playmaker who will force a bunch of turnovers. He’s a good long-range shooter but not a great one, and he’s a dreadful rebounder for his 6’7” height (2.6 boards per game).
The Miami Heat have now won two consecutive NBA Championships and will be looking for the elusive 'three-peat', something that hasn't been achieved since the Shaq and Kobe Bryant-led Lakers in 2002. It is the Holy Grail in the pursuit of a dynasty, which is what LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh predicted when they controversially joined forces in the summer of 2010.
If they thought back-to-back titles was hard, then the 'three-peat' will be a monumental task. There are so many challengers to the Heat's throne that are set for improvement next season, making their quest fraught with danger.
Here are the main obstacles standing between them and immortality:
1. Chicago Bulls:
The Bulls did remarkably well last season when you consider their talisman, Derrick Rose, missed the entire season with an ACL injury. There was talk that Rose would return for the Playoffs, but the Bulls decided not to risk him and they were defeated in the conference semi-finals by the Heat in five games.
If reports are to be believed, the Chicago Bulls are actively pursuing a trade involving their All-Star Small Forward Luol Deng, a deal that could possibly be concluded before Thursday's NBA Draft. Sources suggest the Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards are putting together packages involving the number one and three picks respectively. With no obvious quality atop the draft this year, this would be a small price to pay for a player of Deng's ability.
The former Duke Blue Devil has long been one of the most underrated players in the league. An efficient scorer who has evolved into one of the better perimeter defenders in the NBA, swingmen like Deng are hard to find. This makes the decision by the Bulls to explore possible trade possibilities an extremely strange one.
As most of the major sports throughout enjoy a well deserved off-season break, we can focus on the debate as to who are the top sportsmen alive today. There have been outstanding displays of athleticism during the past 18 months from each of the individuals mentioned in this list.
Here are the top ten male athletes in the world today, in my humble opinion.
10. Jon Jones (UFC):
Jon 'Bones' Jones is widely regarded as the best pound-for-pound athlete currently competing in any mixed martial arts organization. The UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion has destroyed his opposition over the last 18 months, as he has done throughout his time in the octogon. He is the youngest champion in UFC history and, at only 25 years of age, promises to get even better.