Anthony Brown Jersey

Anthony Brown Jersey

With free agency looming in March, roster turnover isn’t far away. However, the majority of the 2019 roster is already in place. In the coming weeks, DallasCowboys.com will feature players who are currently under contract for next season, analyzing their past season and their future prospects.

Today, we continue the series with cornerback Anthony Brown.

What’s Been Good: Anthony Brown clearly didn’t care about the expectations in 2018. Conventional wisdom said he was going to lose his nickel back job to Jourdan Lewis, who appeared to come on strong at the end of his rookie year. The one problem was that Brown bucked conventional wisdom, holding on to the third cornerback job throughout OTAs and training camp. In his third season, he started 10 games — and those he didn’t start came when the Cowboys opened their games in base defense. In 15 appearances, he managed 46 tackles with two sacks and an interception. His eight pass breakups ranked third on the team, trailing only Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie. For a guy who was supposed to lose his job at the outset of the season, it was a strong effort from the former sixth-round pick.

What’s Been Bad: Cornerback will always be a relatively thankless job, and Brown has his moments. He cut down on the penalties in 2018, only drawing three on the year. But it seemed like a lot of his mistakes came from over-aggressive play. Nothing better exemplifies this than his coverage of DeAndre Hopkins in overtime against Houston. Trailing Hopkins on an outroute, Brown appeared to undercut the Pro Bowl received to attempt an interception. Instead, he missed on the play and Hopkins powered his way upfield for a 49-yard reception that would set up a game-winning field goal. That’s an interesting dilemma, because you typically want cornerbacks to have an aggressive mindset, but it has bitten Brown at times in the past.

2018 Highlight: There are a couple options to choose from. Brown made the fourth down breakup that won the Week 17 game at New York, but his efforts in the statement game against the Saints can’t be forgotten. Brown was lights out against the best offense be Cowboys faced all season, registering three tackles, a sack and two pass breakups. The sack came on a crucial fourth quarter possession, disrupting a Saints drive that had entered Cowboys territory. Brown also surrendered the Saints’ only touchdown of the night, though it’d be easy to argue that play featured offensive pass interference. Still, it wasn’t enough to put a damper on a fantastic outing, as the Cowboys’ coaching staff named Brown their MVP of the game.

What’s Next: It’s hard to believe Brown already finds himself in a contract year. It seems like just yesterday he was picking off Tony Romo in his first-ever training camp practice. Regardless, 2019 will be an interesting year for the young nickel back. Brown has enjoyed a productive career to this point, but the Cowboys have a lot of contracts to get signed over the coming year. Can he play his way into their list of priorities. This front office hasn’t been afraid to sign role players to long-term deals, as Orlando Scandrick managed a 10-year career as the Cowboys’ third corner. Perhaps Brown will follow that path, or perhaps the Cowboys will continue to look toward the draft as they use their cap space elsewhere. That probably depends on how well Brown plays next fall.

D’Angelo Russell Jersey

While in the midst of his best month of his career, D’Angelo Russell has proven it’s time for the Brooklyn Nets to see him as the future of the franchise.

Imagining a backcourt of D’Angelo Russell and Caris LeVert for the next decade should get Brooklyn Nets fans excited.

In nine games this month, Russell is averaging 23.2 points, 7.4 assists per game, 3,7 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game, all while shooting 50.3 percent from the field and 43.8 percent from 3-point range.

While it’s only been a half of a month of greatness from Russell, the past stretch of 10 games have not been easy games. With games against the Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics and New Orleans Pelicans, Russell has shown he’s willing to show up in the big games.

With Spencer Dinwiddie getting more attention from defenses, he hit a shooting slump recently and Russell was there to pick up most of the offensive responsibilities.

Russell has clearly done a fine job as the Nets have held on to a playoff spot while defenses pay more attention to Dinwiddie.

The Nets have also been battling a ton of injuries, with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Allen Crabbe and Jared Dudley missing time recently and LeVert has missed more than two months.

It’s time for the Nets to fully commit to Russell as a main piece down the stretch of games, even when his shot may not be falling. His offensive prowess makes defenses key on him, opening up shots for other players on the floor.

The one caveat somebody may have on Russell is his “carelessness” with the ball late in games, but being just 22 years old, Russell will have time to learn ball security and defensive schemes late in games.

Russell enters this offseason as a restricted free agent and it would be awful for the Nets to allow a team to sign him before they can.

Even in restricted free agency, it seems as if when a team just matches a contract given to their free agent by another team, the relationship that player has with his original team can be fractured.

The Nets shouldn’t risk this because Russell should be a mainstay in Brooklyn. Russell becoming an All-Star caliber player has made the 2017 deal with the Los Angeles Lakers look like a steal for Brooklyn and that’s not something you should let walk out the door.

It’s time for the Nets to show real commitment to their young core and make sure they are able to retain Russell for the future.

Jose Calderon Jersey

Jose Calderon Jersey

With Ish Smith sidelined for the next three to six weeks, after suffering an adductor muscle tear on Wednesday night in Milwaukee, the Pistons’ already flimsy backcourt rotation becomes substantially more fragile. This injury occurs at the most inopportune time so far this season, as Detroit is currently in the midst of an already brutal December schedule – with the Sixers (again) Celtics (again), Bucks (again), Timberwolves and Pelicans all up in short order.

No matter how Detroit tries to remedy this situation, they won’t be able to reproduce Smith’s token freelance offense. His jitterbug style of play – penetrating the paint with ease and pushing the ball in transition, finding easy looks for himself and others – is uniquely his. There are guys on the Pistons who play fast, but there’s not a player on this roster that can reproduce what Smith provides for the Pistons second unit.

The traditional approach to replacing Smith is to give the bulk of his minutes to Jose Calderon, the fourteen year vet who was signed this past offseason for this exact situation – an injury to one of Detroit’s two point guards. Let’s look at the good and the bad of Jose Calderon, backup point guard.

The Bad

Calderon is an aging, unathletic guard, who’s unremarkable at best on the defensive side of the floor. He’s shooting career low numbers both from the three-point land, and from the field entirely. Calderon’s 16 percent three-point shooting this season, is thirty (THIRTY!) percentage points lower than his three point shooting percentage last season, and twenty four percentage points lower than his entire career.

Perhaps his shooting last season should not be seen as his standard – it was a career year playing alongside LeBron James in Cleveland, a player who has boosted his teammates shooting numbers on almost every team he’s been a part of.

With that being said, no one would blame you for being concerned that a 37 year old point guard (who’s seemingly falling off a cliff this season, as 37 year old players tend to do), is being given the bulk of responsibilities on the second unit.

The Good

For Calderon’s entire career, he’s always taken care of the rock. He boasts a career 4-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. This year, he’s averaging 3.6 assists for every turnover, which ranks him 12th for guards in the entire NBA.

About that three point shooting: Should you be concerned about his current shooting percentages? Yes. Is there hope, or better yet, evidence, that this will turn around? Yes.

Last season (Calderon’s three point percentage career year), in the 23 games where he played less than 15 minutes per game – he shot 42 percent from the floor and just 28 percent from three. In the 35 games where he played more than 15 minutes, he shot 50.3 percent from the floor and 47 percent from three.

Calderon is only averaging nine minutes per game this year, and hasn’t even played in six of the Pistons’ 23 games. Smith is averaging twenty-four minutes per game as the team’s primary back-up. Perhaps Calderon is a player that simply needs more minutes to find his shooting groove, and Smith’s injury will give him the opportunity needed to turn his season around.

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It should be noted that Calderon as the primary backup is just one of Detroit’s options to replace Smith. They could task Luke Kennard or Stanley Johnson with point guard duties. They also have Langston Galloway, who started his career at point, on the roster, and have given Bruce Brown Jr. a look now and then to bring the ball up the floor. Initially though, expect Calderon to be the first PG off the bench.

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Your turn, DBB – who would you want to see run the second unit?

Nick Young Jersey

Nick Young Jersey

The worst place for an NBA team to be is stuck in purgatory. Being a championship contender is always the ideal, but in a way, the best path to get to that point is to bottom out and build through the NBA Draft than it is to perpetually win between 38 and 44 games and get bounced in the first round of the playoffs every year.

This leads to teams tanking, a practice that is rather controversial in the eyes of some. While it might not always be as blatant or drawn out as when the Philadelphia 76ers enacted The Process, you can still usually tell when a team has decided to jockey for positioning in the NBA Draft Lottery over winning games. It has led to the league enacting reforms to discourage the practice, like introducing new lottery odds for 2019.

Will that work? Time will eventually tell, but in the eyes of Nick Young, there is one prospect in each of the next two NBA Drafts who make it worth bottoming out. In 2019, that name is Zion Williamson. One year later and Young endorses a “Lose for LaMelo” strategy.

Williamson is as exciting of a prospect as we’ve seen in years, and whatever team ends up getting him will get a unique basketball player who very well could turn into a star. Ball is a bit of a different case — he was a five-star recruit prior to his father’s decision to pull him from high school and send him to Lithuania to play professionally, but now, he’s somewhat controversially back in the United States at a high school in Ohio, ostensibly to get him back in front of American scouts with the hopes of making it to college and the NBA.

The NBA Draft is something of a crapshoot, so it’s possible that Williamson and especially Ball never develop into All-Star talents or anything like that. Still, Young thinks it’s worth the risk, and we here at Dime fully endorse a team going through with this plan just to see how it would work out.

Julius Randle Jersey

Former Los Angeles Laker Julius Randle can take the New Orleans Pelicans to new heights this season.

Bringing in Julius Randle was such an underrated signing from this past offseason. The kid can get you 20 points, 10, rebounds and five assists on any given night without ever running a play for him; this is the kind of guy the New Orleans Pelicans need at the moment.

Since breaking his leg opening night of his NBA career, Julius Randle has methodically improved his game each season, little by little adding new tweaks. Being drafted for his ” bull in a china shop ” mentality, Randle has added respectable midrange and three-point shots, while improving on his passing skills.

Playing with Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis, there will not be many sets designed for Julius, and if we are being frank, he is not that kind of player. Randle will not do very well-being isolated five to ten times a game on the wing expecting to get a basket. The primary offensive weapon he has is ” bully ball,” which is physically tolling and easy to stop with schematic preparation.

Julius is perfect to play off Davis and Holiday as a complimentary piece. Grabbing offensive rebounds, getting the defensive board and pushing the pace, or just being a solid screen setter are all skills Julius naturally possesses. Randle can get by at center for the Pelicans as well, which cuts down on the wear and tear Anthony Davis would absorb trying to bang with centers down low.

The one knock has been that Randle will occasionally get ” tunnel vision,” meaning he can become too focused on the basket when attacking, as opposed to attacking and reacting to the defense. This can cause him to force up bad shots, or miss open opportunities to hit a teammate for a nice pass. With Davis, Holiday and Elfrid Payton on top of ball-handling duties, this should diminish the chances Randle has to force the action.

The former Kentucky WildCat stand out is in the perfect position for his career growth. Julius has to continue the pace he is on while doing his best to stay healthy, if he can do this, there might be a nice contract in store when his two-year deal is up.

Larry Nance Jr. Jersey

Cavaliers big man Larry Nance Jr. may be closing in on a long-term contract with the organization.

The Cavaliers are continuing talks on a contract extension with power forward Larry Nance Jr. and both sides are confident a long-term deal will get done, according to The Associated Press.

The Cavs and Nance have been holding extension talks for most of the offseason. Nance Jr. was acquired in a February trade with the Los Angeles Lakers, along with guard Jordan Clarkson.

The son of Cavs legend Larry Nance, the younger Nance is now the lone Akron native on the team following the departure of LeBron James to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Nance Jr. averaged 8.9 points and 7.0 rebounds in 24 games with the Cavs last season, his third in the league. He is also the team’s one true rim-protector and resident high-flyer.

He is due to make $2.3 million this season, and has a qualifying offer for about $3.4 million in 2019-20. It appears those numbers will increase soon.

The Cavs tipped off training camp Tuesday, with their annual team scrimmage scheduled for Sunday in Dayton.

Jordan Clarkson Jersey

Filipinos may finally get the chance to see NBA player Jordan Clarkson represent the country.

Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Ricky Vargas told a few reporters on Tuesday that Clarkson’s name was included in the 18-man list for the 2018 Asian Games submitted to them by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).

“That’s true. We’re interested in inviting Jordan. But I think the one that’s arranging that is Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas,” Vargas said. “Clarkson is on the list.”

The Filipino-American is currently playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA where he averaged 13.9 points, 2.7 assists, and 2.7 rebounds in the 2017-18 regular season.

The SBP, however, is still in discussions with the Cavaliers management to get Clarkson released for the Asian Games.

The next NBA season is not until October, while training camp for all teams open on September 22, giving Clarkson — should he choose to represent the Philippines — a window to play in the Asian Games.

Vargas said the SBP emailed the names for the Philippine men’s basketball team to the POC on Tuesday morning, including Rain or Shine’s core players. But the POC president refused to divulge any further information on the other players part of the list, which they will forward to the organizers of the Asian Games.

Initially, members of the TNT KaTropa, Andray Blatche and select Gilas Cadets composed of the team the country would send to Indonesia, but because of the FIBA ruling on some players, the Philippine Basketball Association and the Board of Governors are leaning toward sending the bulk of Rain or Shine instead.

Asked if the Philippine contingent already has a flag bearer for the opening ceremonies, Vargas indicated it would be a “good possibility” if Clarkson shoulders that responsibility.

“If Clarkson will join us, why not him?”

Magic Johnson Jersey

Magic Johnson Jersey

Magic Johnson reportedly played a big role in the Los Angeles Lakers landing LeBron James.

According to reports, Johnson showed up at James’ house one minute into free agency and recruited him to the Lakers for three hours.

James’ advisors reportedly said James was “enthralled” with the idea of playing under Johnson and wants to help build a contender in Los Angeles.

Magic Johnson reportedly got the first jump on recruiting LeBron James to the Los Angeles Lakers before getting him to agree to a four-year, $154 million contract.

The Lakers were already viewed as a heavy contender to sign James this offseason, and according to Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins, James and his agent and advisors had been speaking at length about his options.

But when free agency began, Johnson may have made a considerable impression on James. According to The LA Times’ Brad Turner, Johnson showed up at James’ house at 12:01 ET/9:01 PT on July 1, the minute free agency began, to recruit James to the Lakers. According to Turner, the two men talked for three hours about building the Lakers into a championship team and about off-court business.

According to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, James’ four-year contract is a sign that he is committed to building a contender in the Lakers. When Johnson and James met, they reportedly discussed how to build the Lakers into a contender, with James understanding that at the moment, they are not close.

Jenkins also reported that Johnson came to James’ Brentwood home late on Saturday night. As Jenkins noted, James has never played for a team owner or president he can relate to as much as Johnson, both on the court and off of it. Johnson’s influence may have been a huge part in the Lakers landing James.

“James’s associates could sense that the idea of a partnership with Johnson enthralled him,” Jenkins wrote.

The Lakers’ next steps are unclear, and though James may be patient about building a contender, he’s 33 years old. The team is on the clock.

The relationship between Johnson and James as the team goes forward, and how their respective legacies stack up, will be an interesting subplot to James’ time with the Lakers.

Kobe Bryant Jersey

The sixth edition of Jimmy Kimmel’s NBA-themed Mean Tweets came with an added musical moment. Kobe Bryant (that’s Oscar winner Kobe Bryant to you) was getting dunked on for looking like he cries to Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose,” so the basketball star tested that theory.

“I’m not crying, but I’ll sing this s—,” he told the camera, humming along to 1994 hit.

Other athletes, both former and current, who got ripped by tweets included Jalen Rose, Tracy McGrady, Draymond Green, Ben Simmons, Glenn Robinson, Jimmy Butler, DeAaron Fox, Andre Drummond, Stephen A. Smith, Rachel Nichols, Scottie Pippen, Kevin Love, and Charles Barkley.

Barkley had a particularly snappy comeback, too, for his Twitter troll. “Charles Barkley looks like he has pancake t—s,” he read aloud. “That’s not true ’cause I would eat ’em.”

Kimmel joked on a recent episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live that ABC doesn’t “have much” without Roseanne. “We’re hoping the NBA Finals goes 11 games this year,” he riffed. This latest round of Mean Tweets helps fill in the gap, at least.

Brandon Ingram Jersey

Los Angeles Lakers small forward Brandon Ingram is ready to put in the work and take the next step to becoming an elite player.

The Los Angeles Lakers have high hopes for small forward, Brandon Ingram. They like Ingram so much they were refusing to even discuss him in any trades during the offseason when they were in the Paul George sweepstakes. Ingram made the front office look better in his second season.

Ingram took some big steps forward in his second season in the NBA from his first season. After struggling throughout a majority of his rookie season, Ingram looked much more confident in himself during his sophomore campaign.

Ingram put the work in during the offseason to improve during the regular season. Ingram improved his statistics across the board, as the added strength improved his efficiency and performance.

Ingram improved to 16.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.7 blocks per game. Those are an impressive jump from his rookie season numbers of 9.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.6 steals and 0.5 blocks per game.

His shooting numbers also all improved, as Ingram shot .470/.390/.681 in Year 2 compared to .402/.294/.621 in Year 1.The biggest difference was in games played, as Ingram played 79 games as a rookie and only 59 games in his second season.

If the Lakers are going to take that next step as a team, Ingram will be a driving force behind that. It is something that he is ready to take on.

“I think I have the confidence to do that,” he said.

“I live in the moment for the player I am now, but I always look down the line to see how much better I can be.”

And what is it that Ingram sees when he looks down the line? “A two-way player, a guy that can do everything on the basketball floor,” he said.

“Whether it’s on the defensive end, getting deflections, getting steals, blocking shots, rebounding the basketball. On the offensive end, it’s shooting beyond the three, having an in-between a game, get to the basket, a guy that lives on the free throw line. Just different ways to manipulate the game.”

Ingram has shown that is willing to put in the work. He did it after his rookie season, coming back looking like a different player in some aspects, such as his confidence level. If Ingram makes another jump similar to the one he made last offseason, the Lakers could have an All-Star on their hands.

The organization is behind Ingram. Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka refusing to make him a part of trade packages showed they are confident in him. Head coach Luke Walton also has confidence in Ingram, saying he believes that the former Duke product can become great.

Ingram is one part of the Lakers young core. Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart and potentially Julius Randle all bring something to the table. However, Ingram has arguably the highest ceiling of all of those players.

If Ingram reaches that ceiling, it will help take pressure off the other youngsters on the team and help elevate the Lakers back to being playoff contenders.