Detroit Lions 2018 Season Preview


Giving my season preview for the Detroit Lions 2018 NFL Season including my win-loss record prediction, bold predictions, statistical projections and analysis of the team’s strengths, weaknesses, and key players Matthew Stafford, Golden Tate and Marvin Jones. Will the Lions return to the playoffs in 2018?

NBA Rookie Mini Scouting Reports and Stat Predictions: Picks 45-31

NBA Rookie Mini Scouting Reports and Stat Predictions: Picks 45-31

Now that Summer League has passed, rosters are being filled out and roles are being competed for as we get closer to training camp. How will each rookie drafted in June produce and who has the potential to become a star in the NBA?

 

 

45. Hamidou Diallo – Oklahoma City Thunder

Diallo after a play for Kentucky.

Photo Credit/si.com

 

After only one year at Kentucky, Diallo comes to Oklahoma City with a chance to grab some rookie minutes at the shooting guard position. With the Thunder’s two stars at the point and small forward, this puts 3 or 4 of their young players in position to compete for minutes at the 2. Diallo might have what it takes to become the future shooting guard for Oklahoma City with his athleticism and defensive potential, however his offensive game is very raw and he’ll likely struggle shooting the ball early in his career.

PPG: 4.2   RPG: 2.1   APG: 1.3   SPG: 1.1    BPG: 0.6

NBA Comparison: Frank Ntilikina

 

 

44. Issuf Sanon – Washington Wizards

Sanon in the Euro League.

Photo Credit/eurohoops.net

 

Sanon is another late round draft-and-stash and will spend the 2018-19 season in Slovenia. The 6’4″ combo guard would likely see almost no playing time with Wall and Beal occupying minutes with the Wizards. The Ukranian is still young and may come over to Washington in a year or two, but with the guard depth in Washington his rights may be traded away.

PPG: N/A   RPG: N/A   APG: N/A   SPG: N/A   BPG: N/A

NBA Comparison: Jonathon Simmons

 

 

43. Justin Jackson – Orlando Magic

Jackson still at Maryland.

Photo Credit/dbknews.com

 

After two years at Maryland, Jackson comes to a rebuilding squad in Orlando. The 21-year old forward is coming off of an injury in his last season in college and did not play in Summer League for Orlando. He had a far more promising freshman year for the Terps and it seems Orlando is hoping they have a steal if he returns to that form. His defensive potential is as big as can be with a 7’3″ wingspan, but if he continues his shooting struggles he’ll likely spend this year in the G-League.

PPG: 2.3   RPG: 2.1   APG: 0.9   SPG: 0.8   BPG: 0.7

NBA Comparison: Trevor Ariza

 

 

42. Bruce Brown – Detroit Pistons

Brown during a dead ball for Miami.

Photo Credit/bostonherald.com

 

The Pistons bring in another young shooting guard in this draft after taking Luke Kennard last year. After letting go of both Avery Bradley and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Detroit is looking for a guard to compliment its star front court. While Kennard had a promising rookie year, there’s plenty of room for Brown to make his way to some court time this season.

PPG: 5.1   RPG: 1.9   APG: 1.7   SPG: 0.7   BPG: 0.4

NBA Comparison: Shabazz Napier

 

 

41. Jarred Vanderbilt – Denver Nuggets

Vanderbilt dribbling up the court for Kentucky.

Photo Credit/seccountry.com

 

Out of star-studded Kentucky, Vanderbilt will struggle to find playing time on a Nuggets team looking to get back in the playoffs for the first time since their Ty Lawson days. Will Barton, Torrey Craig, and fellow rookie Michael Porter Jr. will occupy almost all the minutes at the small forward position leaving Vanderbilt off the court for most of the season. The 19-year old swingman has promising playmaking ability and the length to guard multiple positions on defense someday, but his shooting struggles and the depth of Denver’s roster will prevent him from showcasing this just yet. His talent gives him starter potential.

PPG: 3.6   RPG: 2.9   APG: 1.8   SPG: 0.7   BPG: 0.4

NBA Comparison: Jae Crowder

 

 

 

40. Rodions Kurucs – Brooklyn Nets

Kurucs for Barcelona.

Photo Credit/nba.com

 

Kurucs was one of the few international players signed to an NBA team in this draft after agreeing to a 4-year deal with the Nets. He’s a winger with a solid jumper and a good feel on the other side of the ball, however his playmaking ability has been disappointing. The 20-year old Latvian has the athleticism and jumpshot to develop into a nice bench option for Brooklyn.

PPG: 4.3   RPG: 1.7   APG: 0.8   SPG: 0.9   BPG: 0.2

NBA Comparison: Joe Harris

 

 

39. Isaac Bonga – Los Angeles Lakers

Bonga practicing for LA.

Photo Credit/nba.com

 

Bonga was traded to LA after being selected 39th by Philadelphia. The 6’9″ German is a forward/center with guard skills who’ll learn perfectly from LeBron James. He’s extremely raw at only 18-years old but his talent is evident early on. His feel and vision are tremendous at his size. While his shooting must be fixed to get him significant minutes on the Lakers his unique skill set could make him a steal.

PPG: 2.3   RPG: 2.2   APG: 1.9   SPG: 0.8   BPG: 0.6

NBA Comparison: Ben Simmons

 

 

38. Khyri Thomas – Detroit Pistons

Thomas in college.

Photo Credit/omaha.com

 

Coming out of Creighton, Thomas had a very solid Summer League for Detroit. The 22-year old shooting guard is one of the best long-range shooters in the draft shooting at a mark of 41% for the Bluejays this past year. With several other young shooting guards on the team we’ll see if Thomas can carve out some minutes in the Detroit lineup.

PPG: 4.9   RPG: 1.8   APG: 1.0   SPG: 0.7   BPG: 0.1

NBA Comparison: Gary Harris

 

 

37. Gary Trent Jr. – Portland Trail Blazers

Trent Jr. shooting at Duke.

Photo Credit/goduke.com

 

Trent Jr. could end up being one of the steals of the draft. A highly touted prospect out of high school, his shooting ability could be very valuable to the Blazers this year. It’s possible we see them play Trent at the 3 if he shows he’s capable of ample playing time early on. To get a high potential, young shooter in the second round is rare and Portland should give him time to blossom before moving on.

PPG: 7.2   RPG: 2.7   APG: 1.3   SPG: 0.9   BPG: 0.3

NBA Comparison: Jeremy Lamb

 

 

36. Mitchell Robinson – New York Knicks

Robinson dunking in an NBA Summer League game.

Photo Credit/sny.tv

 

Robinson looks to be another second round steal as he’s part of a terrific summer by New York. The 7-footer has unbelievable potential as an athlete and defender, putting on a blocking spree in Summer League. He’s extremely raw and needs to put on weight and develop an offensive game but he has all the tools to be the Knicks starting center for the next decade. He’ll see some extra playing time early in the year as KP nurses his injury.

PPG: 5.3   RPG: 4.1   APG: 0.7   SPG: 0.3   BPG: 1.8

NBA Comparison: Tyson Chandler

 

 

35. Melvin Frazier – Orlando Magic

Frazier at Tulane.

Photo Credit/nbcsports.com

 

After 3 years at Tulane, Frazier is another wing added to the handful of youthful swingmen in Orlando. Frazier is the prototypical modern NBA shooting guard as a 6’6″ 3-and-D guy. The 21-year old should get a shot at the court this year, depending on what the Magic intend to do with Evan Fournier. It’s unlikely he’ll ever be a top scorer on a team but a bench player who can fill in in the starting lineup when needed is attainable with his potential.

PPG: 5.2   RPG: 2.3   APG: 1.1   SPG: 1.2   BPG: 0.5

NBA Comparison: Josh Richardson

 

 

34. Devonte’ Graham – Charlotte Hornets

Graham for the Jayhawks.

Photo Credit/kshb.com

 

After one of the most successful careers ever at Kansas, Graham comes home to North Carolina to back up Kemba Walker. With Michael Carter-Williams leaving for Houston it leaves court time for Graham. The 23-year old is an experienced player with a great shooting stroke. His leadership qualities will transition over to the NBA and benefit the Charlotte second unit.

PPG: 6.1   RPG: 1.9   APG: 3.2   SPG: 0.7   BPG: 0.1

NBA Comparison: Fred VanVleet

 

 

33. Jalen Brunson – Dallas Mavericks

Brunson for Villanova.

Photo Credit/cbssports.com

 

Another very successful college guard taken in the second round, Brunson could be a valuable bench player for Dallas this year. With Dennis Smith Jr. likely to retain his starting point guard spot, barring where the team decides to play Luka Doncic, Brunson could see backup PG minutes. His leadership and shooting ability will be reliable for the Mavs as they try to build back into contention.

PPG: 4.7   RPG: 1.8   APG: 2.2   SPG: 1.1   BPG: 0.2

NBA Comparison: D.J. Augustin

 

 

32. Jevon Carter – Memphis Grizzlies

Carter at a Grizzlies press conference.

Photo Credit/commercialappeal.com

 

The first of 3 straight veteran college guards, Carter looks to fit perfectly with the Griz after a career at scrappy West Virginia. His defensive toughness is exactly what Memphis is known for and his energy off the bench will relieve Mike Conley and give the team a boost when their stars are off the floor. The Grizzlies won’t be contending this year but Carter is another piece that can help them get back to the postseason.

PPG: 4.3   RPG: 2.4   APG: 2.1   SPG: 1.7   BPG: 0.8

NBA Comparison: Patrick Beverley

 

 

31. Elie Okobo – Phoenix Suns

Okobo overseas.

Photo Credit/brightsideofthesun.

 

The first pick of the second round, Okobo comes from France to the Suns bringing athleticism and a creative offensive repertoire. He’s able to create shots on his own and facilitate the pick-and-roll well. If he picks up his defensive intensity and polishes his all-around game he’s in the running to be the second part of a backcourt pair with star Devin Booker.

PPG: 5.7   RPG: 1.8   APG: 2.6   SPG: 0.8   BPG: 0.3

NBA Comparison: Tyus Jones

 

 

 

Click Here: Picks 60-46

32 Teams in 32 Days: Detroit Lions

32 Teams in 32 Days: Detroit Lions

 

 

Associated Press

 

What to Expect

The Detroit Lions have been seen as fringe playoff contenders the last few seasons. After a tough loss in the 2015 playoffs to the Dallas Cowboys, 24-20, some pieces of the puzzle began to scatter. The primary strength of the roster, the defensive line, was a difficult situation. Essentially, most of the players on the line, including key reserves were set to become free agents. Nick Fairley parted for New Orleans, and Ndamukong Suh headed for Miami, chasing a huge contract. The strength of the team had been shattered. In the 2016 season, they missed the playoffs after a generally mediocre season. Come 2017, Calvin Johnson had retired. Stafford began to become more of a leader and showed just how valuable he was to this team. He even set the single season record for 4th quarter comeback wins. In the 2016 playoffs, the Lions were outmatched by the Seattle Seahawks, losing 26-6. Now, this game was a one-score game in the 4th quarter, and if not for Stafford playing through an injury to his middle finger, then we might have a different story here. So the question remains, can the Lions become legitimate playoff contenders and get past the 1st round of the playoffs? Expect this team to be competing for a playoff spot, and potentially the division title as well.

The Offense

This offense isn’t fully discovered just yet. It is yet to be seen if rookie WR Kenny Golladay is to have a key role. Also, Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick appear to be back healthy, ready to go. This offense was explosive with both of them together last season, as was seen in Week 1, against the Indianapolis Colts on the road. Unfortunately, Abdullah was injured last season in Week 2 against the Tennessee Titans. The key to unlocking more potential in the offense is going to revolve around whether Abdullah and Riddick can stay healthy. Abdullah may even have his sights on a feature back type of role, but that is yet to be seen. For now, it seems that Riddick will have his share in the offense, which isn’t a disadvantage by any means. This offense also features new key players on the offensive line, including T.J. Lang and Ricky Wagner, who were signed in free agency. However, Taylor Decker’s injury is a major blow. The Lions traded to bring in Greg Robinson who is likely to fill in for him until he is healthy enough to return, and maybe Robinson and Decker might even be playing together soon, rather than filling in for each other. The additions to the offensive line are going to be quite intriguing. The Lions’ decision to avoid drafting a running back shows just how much confidence the Lions have in Abdullah and Riddick when they are healthy.

 

The Defense

On the defensive line, Hyder proved that he can be a starter in this league, and a very good one at that. If Ansah can stay healthy next season, watch out for the pressure from the edge with this tandem. The interior part of the line revolves around A’Shawn Robinson. Can he develop his game to be more versatile this season?

The Lions spent a first round pick on Jarrad Davis. He appears to be the man who will be leading this LB group. With Davis, it is important to note his versatility and explosiveness. He has the tools to be an impact player in the NFL. They also drafted Jalen Reeves-Maybin, but his role on the team is still unclear, whether he will be starting, or be a key reserve.

In the secondary, Darius Slay has evolved his game to be an elite corner, and Glover Quin is still bringing it. Who will win the job to start opposite slay? Potentially Teez Tabor, or maybe even DJ Hayden. Who will form a tandem with Glover Quin this season? I’d like to see Miles Killebrew as he might just be the best tackler on this whole defense, a very underrated player.

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NBA Season Outlook and Standings Predictions: Central Division

The Cleveland Cavaliers have won this division three years in a row. Will we see them capture a fourth straight Central title in 17-18?

 

1. Cleveland Cavaliers

Photo Credit/www.si.com

 

16-17 Record: 51-31

Major Additions: Jeff Green, Cedi Osman, Derrick Rose, Jose Calderon

Major Losses: Dahntay Jones, likely Kyrie Irving

The Cavs biggest question mark this offseason is by far the status of PG Kyrie Irving. Irving recently requested a trade from the team, citing New York, San Antonio, Miami, and Minnesota as his preferred destinations. Despite these being the teams Irving would LIKE to play for, the Phoenix Suns currently have the most attractive assets to offer Cleveland for Irving. The presumed trade would be Eric Bledsoe, rookie Josh Jackson, and a 2018 1st round pick in exchange for Irving, though the Suns are reportedly not willing to include Jackson in any trade (per CBS Sports). In my opinion, Koby Altman and the Cavs front office must find a way to make this trade happen. Not only would declining to trade Irving make for a sour locker room but likely Phoenix trade asset, Eric Bledsoe, is very close with LeBron James. Bringing Bledsoe to Cleveland gives them better defense at the point guard position while increasing their chances of retaining James in free agency next summer. If this deal is made, along with the other playmaking pieces the Cavs signed this summer, I see them atop the Central Division again.

17-18 Record Prediction: 49-33

 

2. Milwaukee Bucks

Photo Credit/www.si.com

 

16-17 Record: 42-40

Major Additions: D.J. Wilson

Major Losses: Jason Terry, Terrence Jones

The Bucks come into this season with a similar roster compared to last year. The team drafted Michigan project, D.J. Wilson, in the first round of the 2017 draft, adding to their plethora of length already in the lineup. Milwaukee will likely not re-sign veteran guard Jason Terry and will also lose PF Terrence Jones to China. As for their core, we all know what Giannis Antetokounmpo brings to the table with length, defensive versatility, playmaking ability, and an innate slashing attribute, all at around 6’11”. PF Jabari Parker is coming off his best season as a pro despite suffering a season ending injury. Expect him to put up 20+ppg on high percentages this year. Two other young talents for the team, Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon, should both have increased roles next year as Milwaukee improves. As for the frontcourt, reports are swirling that big men, Greg Monroe, as well as John Henson, are available via trade (per Bleacher Report). We’ll have to wait and see how the rest of the summer shakes out for the Deer, but they should finish next year higher in the East, grabbing a home-court playoff spot.

17-18 Record Prediction: 48-34

 

3. Detroit Pistons

Photo Credit/www.slamonline.com

 

16-17 Record: 37-45

Major Additions: Avery Bradley, Luis Montero, Langston Galloway, Anthony Tolliver, Luke Kennard

Major Losses: Marcus Morris, Darrun Hilliard, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Aron Baynes, Beno Udrih

The Pistons made several franchise-changing moves this off-season. They acquired guard Avery Bradley from the Boston Celtics in exchange for F Marcus Morris. This move led to the departure of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope from the Motor City, as it looks as if Detroit has found its shooting guard for the future. The team also added Duke G/F Luke Kennard with their 1st round pick in the 2017 draft. It’s possible we see Kennard play at the 3 with Bradley at the 2. Last season, the team voiced its uncertainty of the future of its two biggest pieces, Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond, though with the team yet to move either at this point in the summer, it’s likely the two are in Detroit to start the 17-18 season. Despite the loss of frontcourt depth in the offseason, I don’t think the Pistons will fall completely off the table this year. I predict they challenge for an 8 seed in the East barring injury.

17-18 Record Prediction: 39-43

 

4. Chicago Bulls

Photo Credit/www.youtube.com

 

16-17 Record: 41-41

Major Additions: Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, Lauri Markkanen, Justin Holiday, David Nwaba, Antonio Blakeney

Major Losses: Jimmy Butler, Michael Carter-Williams, Rajon Rondo

The Bulls made one of the biggest trades of the offseason earlier this summer when they moved All-Star guard Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn. The team also added to their young backcourt with the additions of Justin Holiday, David Nwaba, and Antonio Blakeney. This summer was really about out with the old and in with the new on the Chicago roster. The most intriguing new Bull is rookie Lauri Markkanen. Markkanen has achieved Dirk Nowitzki comparisons dating back to last college ball season when he was with Arizona. His silky-smooth long range jumper and post-potential along with his length on defense were enough for Chicago to select him number 7 overall in the draft. As their rebuild begins it will be interesting to see if one of the high-expectation prospects turns out as a star or whether we see a surprising young player shine. Despite retaining Dwyane Wade, the Jimmy Butler deal made the playoffs well out of reach for Chi-Town.

17-18 Record Prediction: 29-53

 

5. Indiana Pacers

Photo Credit/www.fadeawayworld.com

 

16-17 Record: 42-40

Major Additions: Victor Oladipo, Cory Joseph, Domantas Sabonis, T.J. Leaf, Ike Anigbogu, Darren Collison, Bojan Bogdanovic

Major Losses: Paul George, Rakeem Christmas, Rodney Stuckey

Indiana’s worst nightmare came true earlier this summer when their star, Paul George, gave them notice he would not be re-signing with the team next offseason. The Pacers made the right move getting him out of Indianapolis before the start of the season, but was it the best they could do? In return for George, Indiana received Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis from the OKC Thunder. Though these two players are fairly young with considerable upside, it’s hard to believe the team couldn’t have squeezed a player like Jamal Murray out of Denver or a fairly high lotto pick from this year’s draft. A young core of Oladipo, Turner, and Leaf could turn out getting them a playoff appearance in 5 years or so, but if I were leading that front office, I would’ve been looking for a younger guard than Oladipo with much higher potential. What Oladipo is now and what he’ll likely be for years to come is a much, much lesser version of a Dwyane Wade type guard. I believe Myles Turner could turn into an Eastern All-Star in even as soon as two years, but as of now the Pacers are probably just praying Marvin Bagley lll is able to re-classify to be available in the draft next year, rather than having their eyes on the 2018 playoffs.

17-18 Record Prediction: 24-58