3x3: Jimmy Buckets, Shump & the Brow

The 2014-15 NBA Season is rolling along.  It’s still early, but teams are beginning to show their true colors, players are figuring out their roles, and fans are beginning to form their opinions.  So in case you’ve missed out on the action, the Franchise is here to break down three hot topics from the NBA in three days.  This is Part 2, but you can find Part 1 here.  So without further ado…

Who is the most improved player so far this year?

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Big Buck Ballin'

Some time passes and a lonely Bleu Mont Dairy wrapper floats by aloof. Is there anything in Wisconsin other than cheese I wonder? More importantly, does Jabari Parker like cheese? Would the ever-stingy O.J. Mayo share his provolone sub with Ersan after practice? These questions are profound but only cheese related.  I think something else, a bigger interest, is “brewing” in me (Milwaukee also has good beer…I think). There is something about the Bucks that is tantalizing when one dives into the pool of possibility. Often, I am a blind optimist to my own demise, but sometimes, just sometimes, my feral instincts direct me to the brink of something special. I strongly believe there is more to the Bucks than the eye can see, and I openly declare they will be title contenders in 4-6 years. 

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Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: More Than a Number Game

The 2013 NBA Draft class didn’t exactly take the league by storm…. Of the top 7 picks, Victor Oladipo seems like the only player to truly meet expectations thus far.  Anthony Bennett became just the 5th number 1 overall pick in 26 years to miss an NBA All-Rookie team; Otto Porter was kept out with a hip injury for the first half of the year and was stuck behind Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster upon his return; Cody Zeller and Alex Len still look like big reaches as the 4th and 5th picks respectively; Nerlens Noel has yet to play a game due to an ACL tear during his one-year stop at Kentucky; and the most memorable part of Ben McLemore’s season came courtesy of LeBron James.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the 8th pick, doesn’t seem much different from his aforementioned fellow draftees….  Well, at least on paper he doesn’t: he averaged just 5.9 points per game on 39.6% shooting and not much of anything else, but quietly displayed his defensive prowess.

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All Quiet on the Lakers’ Front

Magic.  Kareem.  Shaq.  Kobe.  Jeremy Lin?

As the days pass, the free agent market is slowly drying up.  James, Anthony, Bosh, and Nowitzki have already figured out their plans for the 2014-15 season, Wade looks ready to re-up in Miami, and Gasol looks like he’s headed to Chi-Town.

But where are the Los Angeles Lakers?  Well, they made some moves after the King announced he was going home, but these aren’t the marquee moves you Lakers fans are used to seeing (yes, I’m a Clippers fan).  Rather, they made an array of smaller moves that seem to reveal the front office’s strategy going forward: a patient rebuild.

With only Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, and Robert Sacre under contract for the upcoming season, the Lakers have a lot of work to do.  So let’s break down the recent deals made by Mitch Kupchak, Jim Buss & Co.:

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