NBA rookies

Three Players to Watch (Atlanta Hawks)

The “Three Players to Watch” series is brought to you by the OuttaTownClowns, covering each of the league’s 30 teams providing you with insight on three guys that should demand your attention next season. As you can always expect at the OTC, not every player noted are a team’s top player, instead it may just be a player’s particular situation that’s worth following if you’re a die-hard NBA fan. Up first, the Atlanta Hawks featuring the Three J’s: Jeff, John, and Josh…

1. Jeff Teague

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Teague’s future in Atlanta after next season is definitely up in the air

A quick glance at Teague’s year-by-year regular season statistics shows steady improvement each year. Naturally his overall statistics also have to do with receiving increased playing time that hit an all-time high this past season as Teague started in all of the Hawks 66 games last season averaging 33 minutes per outing. However it’s likely Teague won’t be seeing yet another improvement in his performances next season due to the Hawks offseason moves. This summer the Hawks’ two biggest additions came at the guard positions adding Devin Harris via the Joe Johnson trade with Brooklyn and signing free agent guard Louis Williams. It’s unclear as to whether or not the Hawks organization are left unconvinced Teague’s their point guard going forward in the future; but this upcoming season surely is a make or break season for Teague that should determine whether he’ll be considered starter quality or one of the NBA’s best backup point guards come next offseason. Unfortunately Teague may be facing a challenge too tough to overcome, as it’s likely his minutes of opportunity will be decreased with both Harris and Williams on board. In order to prove his worth as a starter Teague must continue to improve his three-point shooting percentage (34% last season) and most importantly his distribution rate as he averaged just below 5 assists per game last season. It’ll be tough and interesting task to watch Teague try to improve yet again next season.

2. John Jenkins

ImageUndoubtedly one of the more NBA-ready rookies in this year’s draft class Jenkins will get a chance to shine in the Hawks rotation next season. Reviewing the Hawks depth chart that includes Anthony Morrow and DeShawn Stevenson, there’s a decent chance you may even see Jenkins starting in the shooting guard slot if Head Coach Larry Drew decides to go against the idea of a Teague/Harris backcourt that would lack the 3-point shooting threat that Jenkins certainly provides. Just recently, Jenkins received 48.6% of his peers votes as best shooter in a rookie poll that was released by NBA.com. Jenkins led the nation in three-pointers made per game last season connecting on nearly 4 treys a game. If Jenkins can quickly transition his consistent long range shooting ability to the NBA, he’ll earn a spot on one of the NBA All-Rookie teams.

3. Josh Smith

Last year he was an All-Star game snub, this year he enters a contract year. Watch out folks, Josh Smith is on a mission to get paid! Fantasy basketball players should jump on the opportunity of drafting this guy early into the first round. Last year J-Smoov nearly averaged a double-double putting up 18.8 ppg and collecting 9.6 boards a game, not to mention also averaging 1.4 spg and 1.7 bpg respectively. With the departure of Joe Johnson, Smith will average 20 points and 10 rebounds a game with ease next year. Rest assured he’ll also continue to hold down a 1.5 steals per game average and don’t be a bit surprised to see him get raise his blocks average to 2 per game. With that here’s the first bold statistical prediction for next season: 22.5 ppg, 11 rpg, 5.3 apg, 1.5 spg, 2.1 bpg= Josh Smith.                                                       

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J-Smoov will produce eye-popping numbers this season

Young Bucks Take the Diamond

By: Ross Geiger

They’re known as Milwaukee’s “Yung Bucks” and for a change it’s nice to be able to be proud of the Bucks first round draftees of the past two years. It’s almost even safe to say these two, unique talents may be (for the Bucks sake of success) the last “Yung Bucks” worth noting. Next year, Bucks fans around the globe should hope that their future first round picks aren’t selected in the first half of upcoming NBA Drafts.

With the praise, comes expectations, of course when it comes to Larry Sanders the expectation level isn’t as comparable to a Brandon Jennings but then again, did we really expect Jennings to blossom this quick? Absolutely not, though I was one who was very high on Jennings future and his contributions as an NBA rookie, I never would’ve expected some of the outbursts he had his rookie season. While I far from expect Sanders to be as jaw-dropping good as Jennings was in his rookie campaign, the two share some similarities.

One being that they both entered the league with a ton of question marks and for the other, well let’s just say they’re equally good at throwing out first pitches!

This past Tuesday, July 27th, the Bucks 15th pick was honored in Richmond, Virginia by the city’s minor league baseball team. The Richmond Flying Squirrels was honored with a ball game noted as “Larry Sanders Night” and as part of the festivities Sanders threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Much like Jennings’ latest ceremonial first pitch at a Brewers game on June 28th against the Houston Astros, inside Miller Park, Sanders’s first pitch was quite the sight to see.

Both not only received loud ovations upon being announced and taking the mound, but they also both provided unnatural deliveries that humored their respected home crowds. Take a Look:

While the duos future on the court will remain uncertain until the coming years, one things for sure: When it comes to baseball and ceremonial first pitches they know how to get the crowd laughing. It’s clear that they were both born basketball players by their tosses out on the baseball diamond, which is a good sign (cough…Joe Alexander….cough) and they definitely know how to get Bucks fans excited for the upcoming season. With that being said, it’s time to “Play Ball!!!” inside the Bradley Center next year. Fear the Deer should very well continues for many years to come.