Free The Guys - A Basketball Thread

Winning in sports is the ultimate goal. Point-blank, period. You are in it, to win it. Not everyone can win at the end of the day, but working towards the end goal of a championship is what athletes across the world strive to do. Looking at the NBA, certain teams have been extremely fortunate to win. When compared to others, only two sit at the top, when talking about claiming championship gold.

Maybe Celtics vs Lakers in this seasons finals?
Photo via Fadeaway World

We can look at the Boston Celtics, who have won 17 NBA Championships, the most in NBA history. This is the most successful franchise in the league. Boston has had championship runs led by all-time greats, such as Bill Russell, Larry Bird, and Paul Pierce. Historical players who have had their will over the league, more times to count.

We can also look at the Los Angeles Lakers who have won 16 NBA Championships. The Lakers are arguably just as successful as Boston. The Lakers have also been led by legends such as Kareem Abdul Jabaar, Magic Johnson, Jerry West, and Kobe Bryant. Both organizations were lucky to have players who could help deliver a championship.

But for every great franchise, there must also be foolish and misguided franchises to take advantage of. Certain organizations have top-class players wasting their talent and efforts every night just to lose by 25 points consistently. It is truly an evil world. I have come up with a list of ballers who need to be freed from the shackles of poor General Manager moves and lackadaisical trades. Free the guys. Here we go.

This is not the look you should be showing when you just achieved your career-high in points.
Photo via NBA on ESPN

Bradley Beal

The Washington Wizards are an abomination to this league. They only stand any chance in a basketball game because of Bradley Beal. Yes, someone had to say it. With his fellow backcourt partner John Wall out for a considerable amount of time, Beal has been forced to carry the load (a heavier load than Zion Williamson) to ridiculous circumstances.

The Wizards sit 9th in the Eastern Conference with a 21–36 record (this conference is weaker than Brandon Ingram’s frame) looking to make a playoff push which seems highly unlikely. In February, Beal has averaged 36.2 points a game shooting 47% from the field and 35% from the three-point line. Not to mention dropping back to back 50+ points, becoming the first player in his franchise history to do so (His team still lost both games by the way). At the age of 26, Bradley is coming to his own and truly showing he is an All-star in this league. But frankly, his team is straight up trash and offer little to any contribution at all. Washington is not the place for him to thrive and succeed but ultimately, Beal caused this himself…

In 2019, Beal signed a two-year- max extension with the Wizards for $72 million, potentially forcing himself to stay with the team up until 2023. There it is right there. 72 million? Talk about securing the bag. Maybe if Beal took a little less money, it could be shared across the organization to where they could attract free agents? Listen, what’s done is done and no one in their right mind would trade for that contract (Unless you are the Boston Celtics and magically turn it into draft picks).

Beal is in a tough spot. While things look like they will get worst first before it gets better, he is still young. At age 26, there’s still a chance he can end up on a contender in the next four years. Or not, and he’ll continue to rot dropping 30 a game in the capital of the US. Best of luck to him and I hope to see him prosper sooner rather than later.

“What will make you stay Zachary?”
Photo via Darren Cummmings/Associated Press

Zach Lavine

Next up, we have the two time Dunk champion (Aaron Gordon still got robbed twice, let’s not forgot please), Zach Lavine. The 24-year-old was originally drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2014. Unfortunately, Lavine was forced to find a new home in Chicago. Traded in 2017 and now playing for the Bulls (Who have been trash for a while, no one wants to play for them anymore) Lavine’s production has been all-star like.

Averaging 25.5 points a game, 4.8 rebounds a game and 4.2 assists a game, Lavine has been on a roll this season. Proving to be a top tier shooting guard in this league, Zack has continued to progress year after year. Showing he is much more than just a dunker (a spectacular one at that) playoff teams would kill (metaphorically) to have someone like Lavine on their team. Destinations that would suit Lavine’s expertise could be the Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat, Denver Nuggets, and the Utah Jazz. I just got your GM thinking caps on and working. Imagine a link up with Doncic, Porzingis, and Lavine in Dallas? Wow, do not let me get ahead of myself here.

Plagued with injuries throughout the year, The Bulls have struggled to gain any type of rhythm. Sitting with a 20–39 record, 11th in the Eastern Conference, it is clear to see the Bulls suck and will continue to suck for the near future. Some things in life are not fair. Oh, they do have one bright spark though, Coby White. The rookie was drafted 7th in the 2019 NBA Draft and is averaging 12.3 points a game but has recently stepped up to assist Lavine with the scoring production. Scoring 30+ in their last 3 games off the bench (they still lost 2 games out of the 3, ha) Coby is growing into his own and showing that he is capable of being a productive bench player. Look for him to be starting the next few games. Well hopefully, we never really know what the Chicago Bulls are capable of. This is the same team that almost boycotted practice a couple of years ago… (We talking bout practice??)

“Why am I playing tonight…”
GIF via NBA Giphy

Devin Booker

I have been preaching about this guy for years. His talents are being neglected and are slowing washing away in the valley of the Sun (did you see what I just did there?).

Enter Devin Booker, a 23-year-old averaging 26 points a game, 4.1 rebounds and 6.5 assists a game for the Phoenix Suns. The Suns have been irrelevant ever since Steve Nash left in 2012 (yes, the Canadian guy) and when they drafted Devin Booker, things were finally looking to come together. Or so many NBA fans thought.

Drafted 13th in 2015, Booker has shown flashes of greatness since his arrival in the NBA, most notably with his 70 point game against the Boston Celtics. I mean, The Suns still lost, of course, nevertheless this is an outrageous achievement. Booker became the youngest player to score over 60 points at the age of 20. What did you do when you were 20 years old? Exactly. Moving on, Devin Booker is a rare gem that has unfortunately been put in a losing situation time and time again. From the 2014–15 season to the 2018–19 season, the Phoenix Suns have had a losing record. Devin Booker has never been a part of a winning NBA team in his career so far. What a shame. Get this man some help. Urgently.

Look, the Suns have made improvements. A little development here and there has helped a bit? Adding Ricky Rubio, Kelly Oubre Jr, Deandre Ayton and , Aron Baynes over the last few years have made the Suns a somewhat competitive team. It is tough in that Western Conference though, it is not easy making a playoff spot there. But imagine Booker in the right scenario. I see Booker with the Brooklyn Nets, you can throw Dallas in there as well. It could be something special right there if one of those situations happen. But we will ever see Devin Booker appreciated and in a winning situation? I hope so, I do.

I want to progress and add more blessings this year. Not only for me but for all of you reading this right now. Also, I want it for the guys I just mentioned, suffering and deteriorating their skills for these good-for-nothing franchises. Unlock the shackles, break every chain. Maybe together we can do something for these guys. Probably not, but one can dream. Thanks for reading, share with a fellow basketball lover and take care. Answer the question below, you know the drill. All my guys are ballers. 

“Which one of the players in this article has a better future ahead of them?”


Published by michaeloka

A writer that says it how I see it. Here to bring you a different perspective to something that may have crossed your mind. I also want to introduce you to ideas you may not be familiar with and how I feel about them. Here for a long time and a good time.

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