4 Surprising NBA Players on the Market

Trade rumors around the NBA swirl on a regular basis, season after season, so it’s not uncommon to see a few stars mentioned throughout the chatter. Now less than a week away from the all-star break, there are a number of players rumored to be either interested in other teams, or being used as trade chips by their respective organizations. Below are some of the biggest names on the market.

Carmelo Anthony

Recent controversy surrounding the New York Knicks has left the organization in turmoil. After an unorthodox scuffle between former player Charles Oakley and a security guard, the Knicks banned Oakley from Madison Square Garden, leaving most fans up in arms. That incident combined with the seemingly endless talk of Carmelo Anthony being traded has created a great amount of tension between the organization and its fans.

Now at the age of 32, Anthony is being consistently critiqued by both coaches and fans, who are concerned the once-beloved forward is now considered overrated. After 14 years in the league, Carmelo Anthony has won numerous awards, including the NBA scoring champion in 2013, and being named an NBA all-star 9 times. Though his talents seem to be slowing today, Anthony is still a very marketable trade prospect. Few players can shoot a 54.3 true shooting percentage while averaging 23 points per game; statistics that have left the Knicks organization undecided as to whether or not a trade will do them any good.

Jahlil Okafor

The only reason Okafor being on this list is surprising is the fact that the Philadelphia 76ers drafted the college star just two years ago. Aside from that, his past two seasons in the NBA have been average at best. Though his numbers were impressive during his short time at Duke University, the Sixers are looking to opt out of Okafor, as they already have a number of impressive centers on their roster.

Joel Embiid has been nothing short of a superstar in his first active season with the Sixers, solidifying his position as the team’s starting center. Him, Nerlens Noel, and Dario Saric all provide the power and height necessary for success in the paint, effectively rendering Okafor as nothing more than a backup. Both the New Orleans Pelicans and Chicago Bulls have expressed interest in the young center, so the Sixers have a number of options.

Wilson Chandler

The Denver Nuggets have had trouble utilizing Chandler’s role on the team, who joined after the Carmelo Anthony trade six years ago. Chandler remains a willing player with enough skill and physicality to take advantage of smaller defenders, as well as bigger ones. Only 46.3% of his two-point shots are assisted, showing his individual capabilities. The Nuggets, however, have switched his position over and over, making it look as though he is the one to blame for the team’s weaknesses; a possible reason as to why Chandler is rumored to be asking for a trade. Now at 29 years old, Chandler is no longer in his prime, but still brings a lot to the table. His skills would fit well with a younger, less versatile team that may be in need of leadership.

Jimmy Butler

Though it has yet to be confirmed that Butler is actually available for a trade, the Chicago Bulls have expressed interest in hearing what other teams would offer for the 27-year-old star. At the beginning of the 2016-17 season, trade rumors surrounding Butler began, though the Bulls reportedly decided otherwise after their strong start.
After acquiring 3x NBA Champion Dwyane Wade from the Miami Heat this past offseason, and trading their star player Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks, the team seemed to rely on Butler to step up and become even more of a playmaker. However, now that the upcoming draft class from this year’s NCAA basketball season has proved a number of players are more than capable of being successful in the NBA, the Bulls are reportedly in talks with the Boston Celtics on a potential trade for even more draft picks. If any team is able to offer more than what the Celtics can, Butler would most likely prove to be a true asset to any given roster.

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Youth Basketball Drills for Coaches

Coaching a youth basketball team is a challenging task, but perhaps one of the most rewarding experiences you can take part in. Regardless of the age of the players, or the reason for why they are playing, effective coaching is key in guiding them to success. Below are a few drills you can teach these young athletes to improve their play, and most importantly, allow them to have fun.

Footwork

Drills involving players’ footwork are essential. Basketball is all about quickness and agility, and to lack proper footwork would destine one for failure. These simple drills can greatly enhance a player’s footwork for the quickness needed in-game.

  • Quick Stance
    • This drill teaches the importance of positioning one’s self for speed. With the weight spread entirely across a player’s feet at shoulder-width, bending all joints allows for a quick burst of speed on both defense and offense. Keep your arms in tight as an offensive player to protect the ball, but follow the ball with your hands if you are on defense.
  • Jump Stop
    • Jumping from one foot and landing on two is an important drill for dealing with a strong defense. Landing in the triple threat position, players must get their heels down and their backs straight. A proper jump stop should be heard. If your shoes squeak upon landing, you’ve effectively stopped in the correct stance.
  • V Cut
    • Sometimes called the “offensive zig zag,” this drill begins in the triple threat position. Players should drive to their right with their weight on the outside foot, then plant and step, cutting back to the left. This is a great escape move that players can eventually manipulate in their own ways for better agility.

Ball Handling

Dribbling and handling the ball is a cornerstone in basketball elements. Sloppy ball handling skills can translate directly to steals, traveling, or a variety of other simple mistakes. The following drills are very effective in developing players’ ability to dribble, pass, and drive.

  • Dribble Drive
    • Broken into two parts, the dribble drive skill can be either direct, or crossover. For right handed players, going to your right is a direct drive, and to your left is a crossover; the opposite being for left handed players. Beginning in a ready position, the direct drive involves taking a long, low step forward with your right foot and keeping your back leg straight, holding this position. For a crossover drive, begin in the same stance, but cross your right leg over to the left in a long and low step, keeping the ball firm in your left hand.
  • Two Ball
    • Dribbling two balls with each hand, bounce them at the same exact time for about 20 reps. Then, bounce them interchangeably to develop a better feel for dribbling. While this may be more of an advanced drill, it is certainly helpful in improving a player’s ball handling skills.

Just For Fun

If players are beginning to show signs of exhaustion or just plain loss of interest, get them motivated to keep moving with the following drills that are not only fun, but beneficial in developing skills that can be applied in actual games.

  • Loose Ball Scramble
    • As a coach, have players line up at half court. Throw the ball toward the foul line and have every player race to get it first. Vary how you throw the ball by rolling it on the ground, throwing it straight ahead, or high up in the air. This can simulate in-game situations of a loose ball.
  • Monkey-In-The-Middle
    • A classic childhood game applied to basketball, this can improve both defensive and passing skills. Have 3-5 players form a circle with one player in the middle. That one player must attempt to steal the ball from the others who should be varying their passing strategies to avoid having it stolen.
  • Blind Shooting
    • Have your team compete to see who can make the most foul shots blindfolded. Not only can this generate a lot of laughs among teammates, but it can develop a better sense in how and where to shoot the ball when standing at the foul line.

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