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Tom Clarke

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Joined July 2014

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Long suffering Dragons and Clippers fan, slightly less long suffering Cats fan

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I actually think there are elements of Zion’s game that are underrated. Obviously his athleticism and dunks get all the attention, but his defense is just as impressive as AD’s was for Kentucky, and his basketball IQ is far higher than Davis’ was at the same age. He is a really clever player with a great passing game that will only flourish in an NBA system. Duke really misused Zion this season. He could be a legitimate point centre. Right now, Blake Griffin looks like Zion’s floor, and his ceiling could be a player we’ve never seen before in the league.

A phenom sandwich: Ranking the number one picks between LeBron and Zion

Honestly, I can’t see how Carmelo would make a positive impact on any team He’s made it perfectly, excruciatingly clear that he has no interest in playing a reduced role. There is a role in the NBA for him, as a bench scorer and veteran presence. But he still thinks he’s a star, and he refuses to take a step back and realize he isn’t. On the Rockets, he could have come off the bench, jacked up shots and scored 15-20 points a game on a genuine contender. But he thinks he’s better than that. He is a minus defender. He seems to a be a disruptive locker room presence. And he can’t put the ball in the basket the way he used to. Any team who takes him will have to be very desperate, and they will be making a mistake.

There's still life in Carmelo Anthony's career

Yep, they still pick the squads based on equal numbers from the East and West, but once they have the squad they just pick two captains and then then have those two draft the teams they want. Last year the captains were Steph and LeBron, this year the East captain is less obvious – you’d have to imagine it’s down to Giannis, Kawhi or Embiid.

Also, Khris Middleton is playing much better than Kyrie this year. He has to make the squad if he keeps up his form.

Predictions for the 2019 NBA All-Star Game selections

Always tricky to make assessments this early on, but this seems like a pretty good redraft. Markelle is fascinating – he could still be the best player in this draft class, or he could flame out this year and never get a another contract. I would have put John Collins from Atlanta in the top 10, probably ahead of Josh Hart or Markelle – Collins was awesome last year on a truly garbage team, he will be exciting to watch develop.

I think #9 was fair based on how he [played last season, but Josh Jackson has all the potential in the world. In a few years time, he could end up the best two-way player out of this class.

Re-drafting the 2017 NBA draft

Chicago has been expectedly bad this season, with the exception is that bizarre stretch where Mirotic played like a perennial All Star. But the idea of Markkanen and LaVine playing with Bagley or Doncic next season is very exciting. I agree their rebuild could be relatively quick.

From the wreckage of Derrick Rose, the Bulls are finally becoming whole again

Karl Anthony Towns is not a superstar yet. Jimmy Butler is and he’s proving it this season with the Wolves. KAT should be an All Star in the near future, and Wiggins might be too, but right now the Wolves are Butler’s team and he alone has forced them into contention in the West.

Jimmy Butler is making the Timberwolves matter again

Brandon Ingram is one of the most interesting young guys in the league right now. Not as fully developed as Simmons or Embiid, but with a higher potential ceiling than Ball. Even if he never becomes Durant 2.0, Ingram looks like he could still maybe be an All-NBA talent one day.

From the Ritz to a promising rubble: The Lakers’ future is bright and unsure

Have to agree, Coen Hess is already a great talent and will only get better, especially if he gets to keep playing with and learning from Taumalolo. He could be scary good in a few years time. Great article regardless Riley.

How will the Kangaroos line-up in England 2021?

He’s taken a bit of time to adjust to the role (as you would expect), but as the season goes on and LeBron spends less time on the court, Wade could very well enter the Sixth Man conversation. He’s obviously got the talent to be a high level performer off the bench, and his body seems to be holding up ok.

Handing out the NBA's end of season awards after one month, part 2

So much young talent – there is virtually no team in the league that can’t put on a show on their day. Even garbage teams like Dallas and Sacramento have exciting guys like Dennis Smith Jnr and DeAaron Fox.

Ball was a reasonable scorer in college. I’d say at the least his free throw shooting will improve, and he’ll develop a decent jumper once he can create his own shot rather than just shots for others.

Handing out the NBA's end of season awards after one month, part 1

Hard to argue with much here. Porzingis is definitely the front runner for Most Improved, he’s finally starting to look like the generational superstar most thought he could be. It’s fantastic to watch him develop.

Brown and Tatum have been so good for the Celtics, they are as important to that team’s success as Irving or Horford. At this stage last season Embiid was so far ahead in the ROTY race that it stopped being a conversation, and that’s how it feels with Simmons this year, hopefully with a happier ending.

People want so badly for Lonzo to be a bust, but he isn’t. His dad is terrible and has brought so much unnecessary pressure on the kid, but Lonzo’s passing skills are supreme and his on-court intelligence is so high. Too talented to fail.

Handing out the NBA's end of season awards after one month, part 1

The level LeBron is playing at in his fifteenth season in the league is absolutely crazy. His minutes will have to level out if he wants to avoid burning out, but he is playing so well. The problem for the Cavs is that LeBron doesn’t have any help, so they are relying entirely on the freakish efforts of a 32 year old, playing in his fifteenth season (plus seven consecutive full playoff series). Hardly sustainable.

A way-too-early look at NBA MVP candidates

The Thunder have been so disappointing this season. They don’t seem to have any workable system in place, so they’re just wasting so much talent. It’s a long season, so maybe they’ll fix it and put up a challenge to the Warriors and Rockets, but it’s hard to see how they keep this team together after this year. If Westbrook cant learn to share then Paul George will move on, and Steve Adams might want to move to a team more deserving of his talents too.

A way-too-early look at NBA MVP candidates

Next year’s draft looks to be stacked at the top end and then drops off pretty significantly. Can only assume Chicago are going to look to shed Wade this season, tank and try to draft Marvin Bagley III and then try to build around him. There’s no other way to understand why they would trade Jimmy Butler for peanuts unless they’ve decided on a total rebuild.

The Chicago Bulls story: the NBA's most recent fall from grace

Damn – that is actually a huge oversight on my part. He is such a talented player with ridiculous upside, if he can get his body right he will be one of the most exciting prospects in the NBA. He could have been Rookie of the Year last year even though he played less than 40 games. Philly could be a really good side to watch this year if Embiid can get on the court with Fultz and Simmons. Big ‘if’ though!

Centre stage: Who will be the NBA’s last great big man?

Hodge is undoubtedly the most talented athlete on this list, but I maintain he was a better captain than he was a player and that leadership and toughness were his most important attributes on the field.

Realistically, there were times when Hodge wouldn’t have been a top 5 player at his club, let alone in the league, but he’ll still be remembered as a legend because of his success as a captain.

Professional captains: Men who were better leaders than players

Brearley certainly fits the mould of a “professional captain”, but I had to limit the list somewhere – Australians from the past decade is where I ended up

Professional captains: Men who were better leaders than players

Team USA Carmelo is a top 10 player in the league, NBA Carmelo is a different story altogether. Given what Houston would likely need to give up in order to get him, I don’t think it would be worth it over the course of a season. But if Harden and Paul could carry him to the playoffs, I’d back Carmelo to then explode and play the sort of ball he plays for Team USA for at least a couple of series.

Quest to be best of the rest in the West

I’ll be honest, it’s definitely a fantasy to see Blake Griffin unleashed as a point forward. His body has been too broken for too long and Doc isn’t the most inventive coach, so I can’t see it happening. I think if Blake plays between 60 and 80 games, Clippers make the playoffs, but that’s a big if!

Good points regarding the Jazz- Quin Snyder is a quality coach and if anyone can make playoffs with that roster, it’s him. Would love to see Dante Exum play to his potential, he could be really great and is playing well in the Summer League.

The Portland ceiling is good, but they were 8th last season and there’s not much higher that McCollum and Lillard can carry them. If Minnesota and Denver climb, which they should, that knocks Portland down a couple of rungs.

Huge question marks over New Orleans, but I’m banking on Davis and Boogie combining better than they did last year. They are both looking to get seriously paid in the next couple of years, so it would help them to play nicely together and boost their individual values. Not sold on Holiday either, but he’s got to start playing like a $100m man now.

Quest to be best of the rest in the West

Houston looked great last season and I think they’ll step up this season. Will be very interesting to see how Chris Paul and James Harden gel on the court. Can’t see why they would chase Carmelo though – he won’t fit in with D’Antoni’s offence given his preference for the mid-range over shooting threes, and to get him they’d surely have to lose Ariza or Gordon (who both just became more valuable after Lou Williams was traded). I’d never rule out the Spurs as contenders while they have Leonard on the court and Pop calling the shots, whereas Houston have a couple of question marks.

Quest to be best of the rest in the West

Haha the article would have been a lot more braggy in tone if I’d actually won the bet! But yes, bandwagonner all the way

Why can’t I believe in fairytales?

This is such a true comment. Whereas one could probably compare Churchill and Slater, or Gasnier and Inglis (albeit with much difficulty), it would be virtually impossible to accurately compare Cam Smith with Noel Kelly for example. Hooker has changed immensely over the last fifty years.

Is Cam Smith still the best hooker in the NRL?

A lot of people seem to be forgetting that the Eels managed to make the 2009 decider entirely on the back of Hayne brilliance, and even then only lost to a Storm side laster stripped of the title. Warriors also surprised with their 2011 GF run. Finals are a whole different game….especially these days where the comp is so close

Winners, losers and total write-offs: Where your NRL team's season is heading

The salary cap is a good point, and one I failed to mention but should have. You’re right, you can’t have him as a back up on 400 or 500k

In the interests of the Knights, Kurt Gidley should step down

I didn’t mean to suggest that Gidley was the sole reason the Knights had dropped of the perch, but he is definitely not the player he used to be, and I think not knowing where to put him has become a problem for the team.

In the interests of the Knights, Kurt Gidley should step down