Battle for the Future
Victor & Scoot Battle for the Future
Plus, NBA GMs surprising survey
Generational Talents Face Off: Projected top-2 picks Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson faced off on an unforgettable night. What happened, and what can we take away?
Boss Knows Best: The NBA released its annual General Manager Survey. Which takes from last year aged horribly? Which answers this year are the most compelling?
KAT's Illness: Why is Karl-Anthony Towns sidelined?
What can the preseason tell us about players' upcoming seasons?
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Latest NBA News
Battle for the Future: Wembanyama vs. Henderson
Last night was the biggest night on the 2022-2023 scouting calendar. We just saw the clear top-2 prospects match up in a professional environment, and they put up some crazy numbers. Scoot Henderson's G-League Ignite topped Victor Wembanyama's Metropolitans 92 by a score of 120-115. If anything, these hyped-up guys are even better than advertised.
Wembanyama: 37 PTS | 4 REB | 5 BLK | 55 FG% | 63.6 3P%
Scoot: 28 PTS | 5 REB | 9 AST | 52.3 FG% | 66.7 3P%
We cannot stress how amazing these highlights are. PLEASE watch these two battle NOW and Enjoy the future of Basketball:
Victor is officially an alien, stuffing Scoot at the rim and then taking an on-the-run 3-pointer on the other end of the court. However, Scoot also showed he could finish around Wembanyama niftily with two great layups and relentless attacking. If you missed it last night, the two squads rematch Thursday the 6th at 3:00 PM EST!
Also, let's take a second to acknowledge the fact that we are discussing the projected top two picks in the NBA Draft facing off ... and this is NOT a college basketball game. This further shows how it's no longer essential for young talent to go the college route. Instead, both players are 18 years old and making real money playing professionally, Wembanyama in his native France and Henderson on G-League Ignite.
KAT's Health Scare
According to ESPN, star big man Karl-Anthony Towns was hospitalized last week with a throat infection. As a result, he was bedridden for days, had trouble breathing, and lost around 17 pounds. Towns did not play in last night's preseason game against the Heat and says he is "still recovering" and "still getting better." EB sends prayers up to KAT!
NBA General Manager Survey
What Happened: Every year, the NBA polls teams' general managers at length. We will review some of the more surprising results and laugh at how some of last year's takes have aged like milk.
Projected MVP: Unsurprisingly, 48% of GMs think Luka Doncic will win Most Valuable Player. What is surprising, however, is that Giannis Antetokounmpo (34%) comes in second ahead of Joel Embiid (14%). General managers are definitely sleeping on Joel, but do you know who they slept on even more last year? NIKOLA FREAKIN' JOKIC! The back-to-back reigning MVP didn't make the top SIX rankings last season! Wow. Just wow.
Projected Breakout Player: GMs voted a medley of young talent to have a breakout season. Evan Mobley led the vote with 21%, but Cade Cunningham (17%), Anthony Edwards (17%), and Zion Williamson (14%) weren't far behind. Last season, Jaren Jackson Jr. won the vote with 17% and had a very good season. Ironically, his teammate Ja Morant won Most Improved Player (and fellow Grizzlies player Desmond Bane was a top candidate too.) Sidenote: is Bane a top 3 shooter in the league? After watching THIS, we think so.
Most Underrated Move: When asked which was the most underrated player acquisition of the offseason, 28% of GMs said Malcolm Brogdon, P.J. Tucker and John Wall tied at 14%, 10% said De'Anthony Melton, and 7% said Bojan Bogdanovic. We'll leave this one to y'all:
What was the most underrated player acquisition?
Diamond in the Rough: When asked which rookie was the biggest steal at where he was selected in the draft, 14% of answers said Jalen Duren at #13, another 14% said Tari Eason at #17, 10% said AJ Griffin at #16, and 10% said Shaedon Sharpe at #7. We'd also love to shoutout MarJon Beauchamp who has the heart of a ... champ.
Defensive Dominance: For the THIRD year in a row, Giannis Antetokounmpo won the vote for best defensive player in the NBA. And it wasn't particularly close, again. With 48%, he received twice as many votes as the second-place candidate, Draymond Green (24%). But it had us thinking: is Giannis truly the consensus best defender in the league? The general managers seem to think so, but we don't observe his unanimity in the popular discourse of the NBA. Maybe we should.
Knicks pound Pistons 117-96: For Detroit, Jaden Ivey looked promising as a scorer with 16 points on an efficient 6-9 shooting. Isaiah Livers gave analytic heads a dream performance with 4 of his 11 shot attempts coming at the free throw line and the remaining seven behind the 3-point arc. On the other side, the Knicks' lefty trio balled out. RJ Barrett led the way with 21 points on 3-5 shooting from three-point range, Julius Randle added 15 points, and Jalen Brunson gave Knicks fans excitement with his ability to create his own offense, putting in 16 points. Watch the full highlights HERE.
Wolves handle Heat 121-111: The Timberwolves led for most of this contest. In just 23 minutes, Anthony Edwards scored 24 points (which is about 84 points by preseason standards.) Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro each scored 22 points for Miami in Jimmy Butler's absence.
Pelicans pull past Bulls 129-125: Zion looked so happy to be back on the court today, and his first bucket was fittingly powerful. Truly some Enjoy Basketball content.
Jazz trump Trailblazers 118-101: Dame looked good in his return, including a hot start to remind everyone just how good he still is.
Before the Warriors Defend Their Title, They Must Figure Out Their Future - Logan Murdock (The Ringer)
Thunder rookie Holmgren learns ways of NBA while on the mend - Cliff Brunt (Associated Press)
What we could see in Marcus Smart's second year as Celtics point guard - Ethan Fuller (Basketball News)
If this newsletter's talk of voting and projections should teach you anything, it's that we don't know what's going to happen this season. 365 days ago, we would've bet that the Lakers and Nets would have faced off in the Finals in June. Look how that played out. Still, we'll take our stab at it, because that's half the fun.
Make this day a good one,
Trivia Answer: The three current Japanese-born NBA players are Rui Hachimura, Yuta Watanabe and, surprisingly, Cam Thomas!
Trivia Question: Which active NBA player has been voted "Best Future Coach" three times in a row by general managers? Don't cheat!