Three Reasons Why the Tukwila Arena is a Good Idea

  1. Location, Location, Location

While an arena in SoDo would be amazing and add to an already sporting atmosphere with Safeco Field and CenturyLink field, it can be tricky getting to the stadiums. It shouldn’t be, but coming from the south, it can be a bit of a hassle to get to Safeco from the highway. In other words, it shouldn’t take long, but it does. It also makes games more accessible geographically for fans south of Seattle.

  1. Privately Funded

The arena project, spearheaded by the “Russell Group” will be privately funded. This means the public won’t be paying. This has been an issue in the past, not just in Seattle, but in other locals.

  1. Hockey First?

Seattle is no doubt interested in the NHL making the Pacific Northwest a permanent home, but the NBA is likely a bigger draw given the city’s history with and yearning for professional basketball.

The hockey first would also solve the city’s Catch-22 situation with the NBA were the city (specifically the Seattle Arena project) needs a team to break ground on an arena, but the league wants an arena in place before it can send a team our way.

Having an NHL team first would also give the area time to get behind hockey in the same way the team threw their lot in with the Sounders.

Tukwila Arena Updates

With news breaking recently that a potential NBA/NHL arena to be built in Tukwila is in the works, their has been plenty of news on the subject of late. The arena group includes former Sonic legend Fred Brown as well as all-time NBA great Bill Russell among others.

Here’s the latest. 

  • According to King 5 News, the arena has been “in works for months”.

Here are some shots of the land in Tukwila and what an arena might look like-

Here’s more specifics from Chris Daniels

Not to be outdone, the Seattle Arena is on track to make progress as well.

To read why I think the Tukwila Arena is a good idea, click here. 

NBA Playoff Teams with Local Connections

With the NBA playoffs underway, here’s a look at the NBA players with local connections playing on teams that made it to the postseason. Without an NBA team in Seattle, we tend to cheer on local players or players with connections to the state of Washington. It should also be pointed out that the team from Oklahoma missed the playoffs (insert synonym for the word “happy” here).

Eastern Conference

Atlanta Hawks: Austin Daye

Austin Daye isn’t from Washington, but spent his college years at Gonzaga where he was a prolific shot blocker and led the Zags to NCAA tournament berths in each of his seasons in Spokane. Daye was the 15th overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons and now suits up for the Atlanta Hawks. He’s also played for the Memphis Grizzlies, Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs. He won a ring with the Spurs in 2014.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Joe Harris

Joe Harris was born in Chelan, Washington and attended the University of Virginia where he played for four years under former Washington State head coach Tony Bennett. The former All-ACC performer has per-game averages of 2.7 points, .8 rebounds and .5 assists in his first season in Cleveland and in the league.

Chicago Bulls: Aaron Brooks

One of the NBA’s best “instant-offense” guards (which tends to be a common trend among Seattle-area guards), Brooks has had a fairly successful NBA career with the likes of the Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets, Sacramento Kings, Chicago Bulls and Phoenix Suns. He currently plays for the Chicago Bulls where he has averaged 11.6 points a game off the bench this season in a similar role to the one fellow Washingtonian Nate Robinson played for the Bulls.

Toronto Raptors: Terrence Ross

Oregonian Terrence Ross played two years at the University of Washington before going pro and being selected with the eighth overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft. He’s started at least 61 games per season over the past two years for a successful Toronto club. He’s averaged 9.8 points and 2.8 rebounds a game this season and is a prolific dunker.

Washington Wizards: Martell Webster

After being drafted sixth overall by the Portland Trailblazers in the 2005 NBA draft, Webster has carved out a role as a bench scorer. After scoring 9.7 points a game for the Wizards last season, he’s down to 3.3 points a contest this year.

Boston Celtics: Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk

Starting with Tacoma natives Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley, Boston has some strong ties to the Pacific Northwest. Thomas has joined another Washingtonian, Jamal Crawford, among the best offensive options off the bench. At 26-years-old, he looks to be part of the Celtics core for the long haul and is already off to a promising start as his level of play propelled the Celtics from a lottery-bound team to the Eastern Conference’s seventh seed.

Joining him in the Boston backcourt is Bradley who is a lock-down defender and solid offensive threat. The former McDonald’s All American averaged 13.9 points a game to go along with 3.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.1 steals per contest.

Rounding out Boston’s group of players connected to the Pacific Northwest is Thomas’ partner in crime on Boston’s second unit, Kelly Olynyk. The former Gonzaga big man continues to improve in the NBA after averaging 8.7 points a game in his rookie season, he’s up to 10.3 points a contest this season. The center can step out to the three-point line and has a solid, low-post game.

Western Conference

(RELATED: Twitter’s Reaction to the team from Oklahoma missing the playoffs)

Golden State Warriors: Justin Holiday

The brother of Jrue Holiday, Justin played his collegiate ball at the University of Washington and has played for pro teams everywhere from Belgium to Hungary to Idaho. The wing has stuck on the Warriors’ roster where he’s scored 4.3 points a game and 1.2 rebounds per contest.

Houston Rockets: Jason Terry

The longtime Dallas Maverick is now suiting up for another Dallas team where he’s averaged 7.0 points a game to go along with 1.9 assists and 1.6 rebounds. The Jet has had a ridiculously productive NBA career with long stops in Atlanta and Dallas preceding shorter stars in Boston and Brooklyn. He won a ring with Dallas in 2010/2011.

Los Angeles Clippers: Jamal Crawford, Spencer Hawes, C.J. Wilcox

It’s probably fitting that the Steve Ballmer-owned Clippers have a large contingent of players with connections to the state of Washington.

Similar to Terry, Crawford has had a long and extremely productive career. He’s averaged 15.6 points a game throughout his career, which isn’t far from his 15.8 points a contest this season. He dropped 18.6 points a game last season and is widely regarded as one of, if not of if not the best sixth men in the league.

Another Seattle product, Spencer Hawes is a versatile big man who has found success as both a scorer and rebounder. He’s had a down season this year with a stat line that includes 5.8 points and 3.5 rebounds per game, but is still a productive and talented player. The former Husky has range on his jumper and is a solid source of offense from the center position.

Another former UW player suiting up for the Clippers is C.J. Wilcox, the developing wing player only got into 21 games on a stacked Clippers team, averaging 2.0 points a game.

Memphis Grizzlies: Jeff Green

One of the last former Sonics in the league, Jeff Green played his rookie season in Seattle, averaging 10.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.

San Antonio Spurs: Aron Baynes

Former Washington State Cougar Aron Baynes played in numerous countries before landing with the Spurs. He made stops in Lithuania, Germany, Greece and Slovenia before joining Gregg Popovich’s team. The center had his best season to date this year with 6.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per contest.

New Orleans Pelicans: Quincy Pondexter

Former Washington Husky Quincy Pondexter started his career with the New Orleans Hornets in 2010/2011 before spending four seasons in Memphis with the Grizzlies. He’s back in New Orleans with the Pelicans and averaged a career-high 7.2 points per game this season.

For more NBA pieces, click here. For pieces relating to Seattle and the NBA, click this here link.

All stats courtesy of http://www.basketball-reference.com/ unless otherwise noted.

 

#NBAPlayoffs Teams with Local Connections: Western Conference

After looking at players in the NBA playoffs with local connections from the Eastern Conference (which you can view here), it’s now time to check in on the Western Conference teams.

(RELATED: Twitter’s Reaction to the team from Oklahoma missing the playoffs)

Golden State Warriors: Justin Holiday

The brother of Jrue Holiday, Justin played his collegiate ball at the University of Washington and has played for pro teams everywhere from Belgium to Hungary to Idaho. The wing has stuck on the Warriors’ roster where he’s scored 4.3 points a game and 1.2 rebounds per contest.

Houston Rockets: Jason Terry

The longtime Dallas Maverick is now suiting up for another Dallas team where he’s averaged 7.0 points a game to go along with 1.9 assists and 1.6 rebounds. The Jet has had a ridiculously productive NBA career with long stops in Atlanta and Dallas preceding shorter stars in Boston and Brooklyn. He won a ring with Dallas in 2010/2011.

Los Angeles Clippers: Jamal Crawford, Spencer Hawes, C.J. Wilcox

It’s probably fitting that the Steve Ballmer-owned Clippers have a large contingent of players with connections to the state of Washington.

Similar to Terry, Crawford has had a long and extremely productive career. He’s averaged 15.6 points a game throughout his career, which isn’t far from his 15.8 points a contest this season. He dropped 18.6 points a game last season and is widely regarded as one of, if not of if not the best sixth men in the league.

Another Seattle product, Spencer Hawes is a versatile big man who has found success as both a scorer and rebounder. He’s had a down season this year with a stat line that includes 5.8 points and 3.5 rebounds per game, but is still a productive and talented player. The former Husky has range on his jumper and is a solid source of offense from the center position.

Another former UW player suiting up for the Clippers is C.J. Wilcox, the developing wing player only got into 21 games on a stacked Clippers team, averaging 2.0 points a game.

Memphis Grizzlies: Jeff Green

One of the last former Sonics in the league, Jeff Green played his rookie season in Seattle, averaging 10.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.

San Antonio Spurs: Aron Baynes

Former Washington State Cougar Aron Baynes played in numerous countries before landing with the Spurs. He made stops in Lithuania, Germany, Greece and Slovenia before joining Gregg Popovich’s team. The center had his best season to date this year with 6.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per contest.

New Orleans Pelicans: Quincy Pondexter

Former Washington Husky Quincy Pondexter started his career with the New Orleans Hornets in 2010/2011 before spending four seasons in Memphis with the Grizzlies. He’s back in New Orleans with the Pelicans and averaged a career-high 7.2 points per game this season.

For more NBA pieces, click here. For pieces relating to Seattle and the NBA, click this here link.

All stats courtesy of http://www.basketball-reference.com/ unless otherwise noted.

#NBAPlayoffs Teams with Local Connections: Eastern Conference

With the NBA playoffs underway, here’s a look at the NBA players with local connections playing on teams that made it to the postseason. Without an NBA team in Seattle, we tend to cheer on local players or players with connections to the state of Washington. It should also be pointed out that the team from Oklahoma missed the playoffs (insert synonym for the word “happy” here).

Eastern Conference

Atlanta Hawks: Austin Daye

Austin Daye isn’t from Washington, but spent his college years at Gonzaga where he was a prolific shot blocker and led the Zags to NCAA tournament berths in each of his seasons in Spokane. Daye was the 15th overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons and now suits up for the Atlanta Hawks. He’s also played for the Memphis Grizzlies, Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs. He won a ring with the Spurs in 2014.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Joe Harris

Joe Harris was born in Chelan, Washington and attended the University of Virginia where he played for four years under former Washington State head coach Tony Bennett. The former All-ACC performer has per-game averages of 2.7 points, .8 rebounds and .5 assists in his first season in Cleveland and in the league.

Chicago Bulls: Aaron Brooks

One of the NBA’s best “instant-offense” guards (which tends to be a common trend among Seattle-area guards), Brooks has had a fairly successful NBA career with the likes of the Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets, Sacramento Kings, Chicago Bulls and Phoenix Suns. He currently plays for the Chicago Bulls where he has averaged 11.6 points a game off the bench this season in a similar role to the one fellow Washingtonian Nate Robinson played for the Bulls.

Toronto Raptors: Terrence Ross

Oregonian Terrence Ross played two years at the University of Washington before going pro and being selected with the eighth overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft. He’s started at least 61 games per season over the past two years for a successful Toronto club. He’s averaged 9.8 points and 2.8 rebounds a game this season and is a prolific dunker.

Washington Wizards: Martell Webster

After being drafted sixth overall by the Portland Trailblazers in the 2005 NBA draft, Webster has carved out a role as a bench scorer. After scoring 9.7 points a game for the Wizards last season, he’s down to 3.3 points a contest this year.

Boston Celtics: Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk

Starting with Tacoma natives Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley, Boston has some strong ties to the Pacific Northwest. Thomas has joined another Washingtonian, Jamal Crawford, among the best offensive options off the bench. At 26-years-old, he looks to be part of the Celtics core for the long haul and is already off to a promising start as his level of play propelled the Celtics from a lottery-bound team to the Eastern Conference’s seventh seed.

Joining him in the Boston backcourt is Bradley who is a lock-down defender and solid offensive threat. The former McDonald’s All American averaged 13.9 points a game to go along with 3.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.1 steals per contest.

Rounding out Boston’s group of players connected to the Pacific Northwest is Thomas’ partner in crime on Boston’s second unit, Kelly Olynyk. The former Gonzaga big man continues to improve in the NBA after averaging 8.7 points a game in his rookie season, he’s up to 10.3 points a contest this season. The center can step out to the three-point line and has a solid, low-post game.

All stats courtesy of http://www.basketball-reference.com/ unless otherwise noted.

Up Next: Players with local connections on Western Conference playoff teams.

Gonzaga Bulldogs: 2011 Recruiting Class Paying Massive Dividends for Mark Few & Zags

The Gonzaga Bulldogs have never quite been able to recruit the same level of talent out of high school as the likes of Kentucky, Duke and Kansas, however GU has firmly cemented its place alongside those three schools in the College Basketball hierarchy by recruiting players who not only fit their system and culture, but players that they can develop.

The Zags also tend to find gems on the international market with future NBA players Ronny Turiaf, Kelly Olynyk and Robert Sacre all coming from outside the states. The Zags have two future NBA players on their roster in European big men Przemek Karnowski and Domantas Sabonis.

Despite the lack of McDonalds All-Americans, Mark Few has put together impressive recruiting classes in the past. 2007 brought Sacre and another future NBA player in Austin Daye as well as fellow top-100 recruit Steven Gray who flourished as one of the team’s best players.

While the 2011 class didn’t bring the size that 2007’s brought, the group of players to arrive in Spokane in 2011 has helped propel GU to its first Sweet 16 since 2009. This year’s incarnation of Gonzaga may be Mark Few’s best, and could reach the school’s first Final Four. While a lot of this has to do with the Zags’ daunting frontline, featuring a three-headed monster of Karnowski, Sabonis and Kyle Wiltjer, a lot of it has to do with the backcourt.

Starting guards, and products of the 2011 recruiting class, Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. have sacrificed a lot in order to make the team better. Both have seen their per-game scoring numbers drop by nearly three points each. Bell Jr. is often tasked with checking the opposition’s best permitted defender while Pangos rarely gets a breather, playing 35 or minutes on 22 occasions this season.

Despite their sacrifices, Pangos and Bell Jr. form one of the best backcourts in the country.

Pangos is an unflappable floor-general who is lethal from three-point land (44.9% this season) and can beat you off the dribble with a potent array of layups and floaters. If Gonzaga weren’t incredibly blessed with a wealth of scoring options, it would surprise no one to see Pangos’ per-game scoring approach 20 points. Oh yeah, he’d probably start on just about every team in the country… including Kentucky.

His backcourt mate Bell Jr. is one of the best defenders in the country. Despite a 6’2” frame that puts him at a height disadvantage, Bell Jr. can lock down almost anyone on the perimeter. Just ask BYU’s Tyler Haws, who despite having a height advantage of three inches and being one of the best scores in the country, struggled mightily against the Zags due to the presence of Bell Jr. Haws’ bread and butter is the contested mid-range jumper, but he managed shooting nights of 6-14, 3-11 and 4-12 against Gonzaga. And oh yeah, Bell Jr. can knock down the three as well. He shot 47.7% as a freshman and still manages a similarly deadly 37.7 clip this season. Similar to Pangos, if GU had fewer weapons or if Bell Jr. were at a bigger school with less firepower, he’d likely be a 15 point-per-game scorer.

In addition to Pangos and Bell Jr., Few also brought in Idaho native Kyle Dranginis as well.  Dranginis operates as the team’s hustle monger off the bench, always challenging for offensive rebounds, loose balls and blocked shots despite being shorter than a good portion of the opposition. He only averages 4.1 points a contest, but if it weren’t for the presence of USC-transfer Byron Wesley, Dranginis would be starting and easily averaging double-figures in points per game. Despite only scoring three points in the team’s round-of-32 win over Iowa, he had a steal, a block, two rebounds and four assists. He fills the stat sheet for the Zags. In win at Sweet Sixteen opponent UCLA in December, Dranginis totaled five points, six rebounds and five assists. He also had a steal and a made three pointer.

Due to freshman Josh Perkins’ broken jaw and Eric McClellan’s acclimation process, Few has largely depended on a backcourt rotation of Pangos, Bell Jr. and Dranginis down the stretch.

In addition to those three, GU’s 2011 recruiting class is also paying dividends elsewhere. Forward Ryan Spangler transferred to Oklahoma to be closer to home and has helped the Sooners to the Sweet Sixteen with 9.9 points per game and 8.2 rebounds per contest. He posted seven double-doubles this season and reached double-figures in rebounding in 12 contests.

The remaining members of the 2011 class have propelled the Zags to a point where they can reach the program’s first final four. They’ve definitely earned it.

Seattle Links: NBA, Michael Bennett, Seahawks, Mariners, Gonzaga

NBA Talent Pool: Why The League Can Sustain Expansion

One of the big downsides to NBA expansion, according to some pundits and fan, is the lack of talent. The feeling is that the NBA can’t support another team(s) because of a lack of talent available. The “tanking” theory has only supported this theory.

However, it is possible for the NBA to support another team or teams to field a competitive roster. Recent signings around the league have only supported the theory that the NBA can field new teams from a talent level standpoint. These signings have quickly turned into major contributors, or have experience. There are also a number of quality free agents on the open market as well as a number of examples of players who went from sitting on the end of the bench to contributing in the NBA.

Here’s a look at some of those players:

Recent Signings From Out of Nowhere (Relatively Speaking)

Langston Galloway

  • The Saint Joseph’s product has been a positive for the Knicks with 10.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and one steal per game.

Hassan Whiteside

  • He’s been a little out of control with his cheap shot on Kelly Olynyk and his take down of Alex Len, but foolish decisions aside, Whiteside is a talented player who has shown he can be productive in the league. Averages 10.9 points and 9.8 rebounds per contest.

Tyler Johnson

  • Whiteside’s teammate in Miami, the guard averages 8 points a contest, he dropped 26 in a win over Phoenix.

Recent Signings with Experience

Nate Robinson

  • The 5’9” Robinson brings instant offense as at the point guard spot, averages 11.1 points per game in NBA career.

Michael Beasley

  • The former number two overall-pick may be more of a role player at this point in time, but he’s a pretty productive part-time player. Miami has gotten good value out of Beasley on a pair of ten-day contracts. The Kansas State standout has scored a respectable 11 points a game in 24.9 minutes per contest.

Bernard James

  • James has only ever played for the Mavericks in his NBA career. In Dallas he’s proved himself to be a quality back-up center.

Free Agents/ Available Players

Ray Allen

  • One of the best pure shooters of all time. Considered signing with a contender this season before choosing to sit the year out.

Back End of the Bench to Quality Contributor

Tony Wroten

  • The Seattle product went from averaging 2.6 points per game in Memphis a couple seasons ago to scoring 16.9 points a game this year with Philadelphia. Is Wroten going to score 17 points a night on every NBA team? Probably not, but his statistical output on a better team is likely to fall closer to his numbers in Philly than his showing in Memphis.

Miles Plumlee

  • Went from averaging less than a point per game with Indiana (0.9) to scoring 8.1 points and grabbing 7.8 rebounds a game in Phoenix his second year. Now with Milwaukee, he’s proven that at the very least, he’s a serviceable rotation big.

Robert Covington

  • Similar to Wroten and Plumlee, Covington was receiving little playing time with his first club (Houston). The wing player moved to Philadelphia where he has flourished, averaging 13 points a contest to go along with 4.7 rebounds a game and a 37.7 shooting percentage from three.

All of these players are either available or were available at a certain point in time.

An expansion team would also have the benefit of having two draft to supplement their roster. One of those picks would likely be in the high lottery. The other pick would likely be near the onset of the second round, providing additional value.

If the success stories of Galloway and Whiteside have taught us anything it’s that there is talent for the NBA to make use of when expansion comes. This isn’t even considering the concept of an expansion draft where the new team would get to pluck unprotected players from other teams’ rosters.

The expansion team would likely find themselves with a young building block to construct a team around al a Giannis Antetokounmpo, Andre Drummond or DeMarcus Cousins.

All stats courtesy of http://www.basketball-reference.com/ unless otherwise noted.

David Stockton Destroyed the D-League

Anyone who has watched Gonzaga basketball over the years knows that David Stockton is more of a pass-first point guard. The son of the legendary Hall-of-Famer John Stockton, David got his first taste of NBA action on a 10-day contract with the Sacramento Kings. After totaling one point, two rebounds and an assist in seven minutes of action, the younger Stockton returned to the D-League and promptly destroyed the competition.

During his first game back he totaled 44 points, 10 assists, eight steals and seven rebounds. Did I mention he’s a little under six feet tall?

The second outing brought 37 points, 22 assists (no typo) and five rebounds.

In his third game back he poured in 35 points, nine dimes and eight boards.

If he keeps this up, he’s going to stick with an NBA team at some point. His overall stat-line for the trio of games? 38.7 points per game, 13.7 assists per game and 6.7 rebounds per game.  NBA guys generally put up inflated numbers in the D-League, but this is just ridiculous.