Compare that to this pick-and-roll against the Mavericks from late January in which Ball surveys the floor after Dennis Smith Jr. sticks to Brook Lopez, leaving room to drive at full speed, create space and drain a fadeaway in rhythm. No offensive rebound necessary.
But that money will quickly diminish once they sign one and start thinking about extensions for players such as linebacker Anthony Barr, receiver Stefon Diggs and others who come due a year from now. As general manager Rick Spielman said, Minnesota has been planning its cap space for this offseason for the past two years. The Vikings will be prudent in ensuring the decisions made over the next few months help them maintain success on the field and don’t put them in a bind financially. — Courtney Cronin
Ball is more limited as an on-ball defender �� quicker guards have exposed him at times this season �� but he has the length to make up for some of the speed advantage his assignment might have on him and the motor to make up for some of his physical weaknesses. You can see it when he has to defend Kristaps Porzingis in the post, Kevin Durant in isolation and even Giannis Antetokounmpo in transition. Ball can’t be expected to single-handedly stop those players on a regular basis, but he usually puts up a fight by crowding their dribble and funneling them toward the nearest help defender.
On bad John Henson nights, the Bucks don’t get enough from their centers; they are space-clogging hindrances on offense who don’t frighten anyone on the other end. Maker is the only one with 3-point range, even if that range is mostly theoretical. He draws token attention when he stands in the corner, and that opens space inside for Giannis Antetokounmpo’s rampaging struts to the rim.
They have a lot invested in those two guys [McCollum and Lillard], and if they’re not making progress, they’re going to get a lot of good offers, one general manager said. They are excited about [forward] Zach Collins, but they need help at the forward spots long-term. And everyone likes C.J. McCollum.
With a fourth import spot now in place, intended to be used strictly for NBA draft-eligible prospects, there is little to no risk for teams. Depending on the deadline date to sign players (yet to be decided), they could potentially pursue older players such as USC sophomore De’Anthony Melton or Auburn freshman Austin Wiley, both of whom have been suspended from all competition by their respective schools in the wake of their involvement in the FBI investigation. This is especially relevant since any player who enrolled in college is ineligible to compete in the NBA G League during the calendar year without being ruled permanently ineligible by the NCAA.