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The Shot: 2/16/18

Photo Illustration By: Shane Hoffmann

*Yes, the Olympics are happening, yet for the most part they will not be covered in The Shot.

Old faces, new places

stat lines, quotes, highlights, and more from newly traded NBA player's debuts
The Cavaliers look to be back on track after several key trades.

Isaiah Thomas sparks Lakers off the bench

Thomas dropped 22 points and six assists as the Lakers fell to the Dallas Mavericks 130-123. After the game, he told media he felt like he got his "powers back."

"That was the first time I was able to have the ball in my hands and make a play and have guys, I don't know... You see the bench every time I was shooting, they were standing up cheering. That was the feeling I had in Boston where we were playing for each other and had happiness and joy for each other and that is big... I am going to continue to build on that."

His impressive outing didn't stop the internet from mocking his height.

the new cavs impress lebron

George Hill got the start as Larry Nance Jr., Rodney Hood, and Jordan Clarkson came off the bench in Cleveland's 121-99 thumping of the Boston Celtics.

Hill scored 12 points in 21 minutes, but his defense is what stood out. While its not hard to look like an upgrade defensively over Isaiah Thomas, it appears Hill can be a defensive stopper for the Cavaliers.

Clarkson came off the bench as the sixth man and sprayed shots, going 7/11 from the field including 3/4 from three for 17 points. Hood was effective too, dropping in 15 points himself on 6/11 shooting.

Nance was perhaps the least impressive but still played a decent all-around game with five points, four rebounds, and three assists.

The new Cavs are dangerous, and have certainly reenergized LeBron.

Jae Crowder finds a new home

Don't look now, but the Utah Jazz have won 10 straight and newly acquired forward, Jae Crowder isn't having any trouble fitting in.

Jae Crowder a long-time Jazz fan? Who would have known?

Crowder knocked in 15 points to go along with five rebounds and three assists in Utah's 115-96 win over the Portland Trailblazers. "I got back to having fun playing basketball with a great group of guys," Crowder said after the game.

"We're playing off one another. Once I get better with these guys, it should be better," Crowder said. "We're playing free—Coach gives a lot of freedom to these guys, some structure but a lot of freedom, and I love it. I love playing within a system. It'll be fun."

The best of the rest

Emmanuel Mudiay drops 14 points and ten assists in the Knicks' 113-121 loss to the Pacers.

Dwayne Wade struggled, scoring only three points in his debut, but received a huge welcome home.

Elfrid Payton secured the starting job, scoring 19 points along with nine assists in the Sun's 10-point loss.

James Ennis and Jameer Nelson provided the Pistons with production off the bench, scoring 14 and six, respectively.

NBA draft Prospects pt. 1

A quick introduction to three of the top prospects in the NBA draft
Luka Doncic is a top prospect in this year's NBA Draft, yet few know of the mysterious Slovenian guard's potential.

DeAndre Ayton | Center | Freshman | Arizona

At 7-foot, 260, with an all-around offensive arsenal and a more-than-ready NBA body, DeAndre Ayton represents both the past and the present for NBA big-men. He averages 19.5 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per games.

Upon first look, Ayton appears to fit the mold of an old-school big man who bangs down low. He catches every rebound that comes his way, finishes with ease around the rim using both hands, and certainly looks the part with an imposing build. What makes Ayton so dangerous though is his fluidity and athleticism for his size.

Strengths:

  • athleticism and ability to run the floor (7’5.5 wingspan and 9’3 standing reach)
  • advanced inside-outside offensive skill set
  • rebounding on both ends

Weaknesses:

  • durability and focus (prone to disappearing from the offense for stretches)
  • good, not great defender (given his physical abilities, Ayton has loads of defensive potential)
  • doesn't always use strength to his advantage and can often get too fancy

NBA Player Comparison: Karl-Anthony Towns

Video Highlights: Career-high 29 pts, 18 rebs

Marvin Bagley | Power Forward | Freshman | Duke

Marvin Bagley is a versatile scoring forward with prototypical NBA size, at 6'11, 260. Bagley can do a bit of everything and has the potential to be not only the best player in the 2018 Draft, but a generational talent.

Despite his size, Bagley can handle the ball with ease. He often initiates Duke's offense and while he's not an amazing playmaker (averages only 1.7 assists per game) he gives defenses nightmares with his perimeter game. He averages 21.2 points and 11.4 rebounds per game.

Strengths:

  • athleticism and size (7’0.5 wingspan)
  • improved outside shot (35 percent from three)
  • offensive versatility, ability to attack basket off dribble, post up, cut, etc

Weaknesses:

  • occasional overreliance on jump shot
  • turnover prone (2.4 turnovers per game)
  • lacks calling card; good at everything, but doesn't excel in a certain area yet

NBA Player Comparison: A more skilled Chris Bosh

Video Highlights: 32 pts, 21 rebs vs. Florida St.

Luka Doncic | Guard/forward | 18-years old | Real Madrid

Luka Doncic has been playing professionally in the Euroleague since he was 14. Now as an 18-year old, he is arguably one of the best players in the world's second best basketball league. While he's not a new name in Europe, Doncic has scouts buzzing about his potential to be the best prospect to come out since Lebron James.

It's hard to analyze Doncic as a prospect because of how much he does on the court. He stands at 6'8, 225, yet often runs the offense for Real Madrid, one of the Euroleague's most decorated teams. He possesses a strong handle for his size, great court vision, a beautiful jump shot, and has much more experience then his fellow prospect peers due to his extended time with Real Madrid. Doncic averages 17.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 1.2 steals per game.

Strengths:

  • shows an above average ability to create shots for himself as well as his teammates
  • mechanically sound jump shot, not afraid to pull up from deep
  • Euroleague experience

Weaknesses:

  • lacks explosive leaping and quick lateral movement
  • questionable defensive potential
  • occasionally struggles to beat elite athletes in isolation situations

NBA Player Comparisons: Manu Ginobli

Video Highlights: 2017-18 offensive montage

Michigan vs Wisconsin Basketball

Hot shooting helps give the Wolverines a much needed road win
John Beilein and the Wolverines won their 20th game of the season on Sunday.

The Michigan Wolverines stormed out to an early 20-6 lead over the Wisconsin Badgers as they showed just how hard they are to guard when hitting from deep, shooting 4/5 from three to that point.

Wagner and Duncan Robinson rained in threes while Michigan repeatedly forced turnovers leading to transition buckets. With the Wolverine offense clicking on all cylinders and the Badger offense struggling to create shots with star big man Ethan Happ missing almost every shot, Michigan finished the half strong, leading 44-22 at the end of the period.

Both team's Barstool accounts went at each other throughout the afternoon.

In the opening minutes of the second half, Michigan's offense sputtered, yet their defense kept the game out of reach as they led 53-28 with just under 15 minutes to play.

With a steady lead, coach Beilein even mixed up the rotation as Ibi Watson and Austin Davis saw several minutes of playing time. It didn't take long for them to get yanked, however, as Happ sparked a Wisconsin comeback. Happ single-handedly matched the Wolverine offense shot-for-shot. Wisconsin fought back and trailed by only 11 with seven minutes remaining. That's when Michigan turned to their upperclassmen to get close the game.

Robinson hit a pair of free throws, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman sunk a pull-up jumper, and Charles Matthews slashed to the basket for a lay-in and converted an and-one. The lead was back to 15, but the Badgers weren't done as they again made a run, pulling the game within single digits.

Luckily for Michigan it was too little, too late. The Wolverines were strong from the line to finish the game, sinking a majority of their free throws — something they have struggled with all year — as they defeated the Badgers 83-72.

Ethan Happ finished as the game's leading scorer with 29. Meanwhile, a trio of Wolverines scored in double digits including 20 points and 11 rebounds from Wagner, 16 points from Robinson, and 15 from Abdur-Rahkman. Michigan shot 56 percent from the floor including 9/20 from deep. They improved to 20-7 on the year and 9-5 in conference play.

Michigan Vs. Iowa Basketball

The Wolverines played a second game this week, which was also quite forgettable

On Wednesday, the Iowa Hawkeyes came to Ann Arbor to meet Michigan in the Wolverines' second-to-last home game of the year. Iowa has been an up-and-down team all year and it showed. The Hawkeyes, who take pride in their uptempo offense, were run out of the building.

The Hawkeyes kept the game within reach early, managing to tie the game at 14 midway through the first half, after beginning the game on a 9-2 run. Michigan finished the first half strong though, outscoring the opposition 23-10 to close out the first period with a 37-24 lead.

The Wolverines spent the second half in cruise control as they were able to keep Iowa's offense at bay, limiting them to 20 percent from three. Freshman center Luka Garza posted an impressive 22 points, but the Hawkeyes' next leading scorer managed only 12.

For the second game in a row seniors Robinson and Adbur-Rahkman carried Michigan's offense, scoring 18 a piece. Robinson hit six three-pointers, including a solo run of three-in-a-row from the same spot on the floor. He also held forward Tyler Cook in check for nearly the entirety of the game. Wagner pitched in another 14 points one the way to a 74-59 win for Michigan.

#22 Michigan (21-7) will face off against #8 Ohio St. (22-5) this Sunday at 1 p.m. in Chrysler Arena as the Wolverines look to avenge their early season loss versus the Buckeyes.

NCAA top-16 college basketball bracket reveal

It has been a wild year in college basketball and this bracket encapsulates it perfectly. Several seedings are shocking at first glance. For one,the fact that Michigan St. is a three seed is surprising given their 25-3 record and February 10 win over Purdue, who earned a number one seed. After Ohio State's recent upset of Purdue, it would be expected not only for Purdue to fall, but for Michigan St. and Ohio St. to rise. Villanova also lost Wednesday in a 76-71 upset to Providence.

Oklahoma will undoubtedly fall out as they have been losing more than winning over the past weeks. Additionally, in a year where the Big-12 looks like one of the strongest conferences, it's expected that Kansas will continue to fall after a loss to to Baylor. Kansas doesn't have the resume of a second seed as it is.

The newest AP Top-25 poll was released and it seems reminiscent of what this bracket should have looked like, or at least a little closer.

  1. Virginia
  2. Michigan St.
  3. Villanova
  4. Xavier
  5. Cincinnati
  6. Purdue
  7. Texas Tech
  8. Ohio State
  9. Gonzaga
  10. Auburn
  11. Clemson
  12. Duke
  13. Kansas
  14. North Carolina
  15. Saint Mary's
  16. Rhode Island
  17. Arizona
  18. Tennessee
  19. Wichita State
  20. West Virginia
  21. Texas A&M
  22. Michigan
  23. Oklahoma
  24. Nevada
  25. Arizona St.

- All photos courtesy Wikipedia commons.

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