NBA

Three takeaways from 2019 NBA Draft

By Sports Desk June 20, 2019

The 2019 NBA Draft is over, and quite a few interesting things happened.

Picks were swapped and players rose on the boards, while others remained unclaimed longer than expected.

Here are three takeaways from Thursday's draft in Brooklyn:

 

Pelicans and Hawks came up big

The New Orleans Pelicans and the Atlanta Hawks both brought in sizable hauls of young talent in 2019.

The Pelicans secured the field's most coveted player in Zion Williamson and managed to turn the fourth pick into two more first-round selections, via the Hawks. The Big Easy also added Texas big man Jaxson Hayes and a poised Virginia Tech Guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker. Not a bad night's work considering they will form a young core alongside Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and other promising youth.

Atlanta, on the other hand, moved up from eight to snag one of their top targets — Virginia's De'Andre Hunter. They also got Duke's Cam Reddish at number 10 to compliment budding stars like Trae Young and John Collins. 

Both sides appear to be stacking valuable assets for the future.

Phoenix made some questionable decisions

The Phoenix Suns made some interesting choices on draft night.

Phoenix are clearly in serious need of a point guard and probably had the worst depth at the position last season. But they neglected to pursue a floor general, despite entering Thursday with the sixth overall pick. The Suns instead elected to trade back and surprisingly drafted UNC's Cameron Johnson with the 11th pick and passed up on top prospect Coby White. They also parted ways with TJ Warren in an apparent salary dumping effort.

It appears like Phoenix could be preparing to pursue 23-year-old Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell, who is close friends with Suns star Devin Booker. Russell is coming off a career year and made his first All-Star appearance in 2018-19. He could become a restricted free agent this offseason and could drastically improve Phoenix's backcourt if Brooklyn move on from him. 

The Suns are reportedly interested in acquiring a veteran point guard as well though.

Some notable names saw big drops

Some players were projected to be drafted in the lottery, but fell further back than expected.

Among the draft's most notable names to slip were Brandon Clarke, Nassir Little, Kevin Porter Jr., and Bol Bol.

Clarke could have gone anywhere in the first round and was expected to be picked in the lottery in some mock drafts. But the undersized forward out of Gonzaga landed with the Memphis Grizzlies at number 21. Little and Porter dropped to the Portland Trail Blazers and Cleveland Cavaliers at 24 and 30 respectively.

But one of the biggest surprises was Bol, who dropped to the second round. Worries about the foot injury that kept him out for a large chunk of 2018-19 and his slim frame were likely significant contributing factors to his slide.

All of these players are talented and could turn out to be huge steals in this draft. 

Plenty of pieces could be still be moved in the coming weeks, but next season's NBA rosters are beginning to take shape as next month's summer league approaches.

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  • Ashes 2019: Fragile batting, but options with the ball - assessing England and Australia after the series Ashes 2019: Fragile batting, but options with the ball - assessing England and Australia after the series

    So, what did exactly did the 2019 Ashes series tell us? Steve Smith can definitely bat, Jofra Archer is seriously quick and no cause is ever seemingly lost when Ben Stokes is still at the crease.

    Delving a little deeper, the five Tests made clear the obvious flaws in both teams, but also demonstrated their strengths. Now, though, they can draw breath, recharge their batteries and start thinking about the future.

    Australia, who retained the Ashes courtesy of a 2-2 series draw, return to the Test arena against Pakistan in late November and with spots up for grabs, all eyes will be on the start of the Sheffield Shield season. England, meanwhile, have tours to New Zealand and South Africa to look forward to before the year is out.

    Having examined the state of both squads at different stages during the year, we now offer one final assessment while also looking ahead to the future.

     

    BATTING

    Not even retaining the urn has been enough to silence the questions that were already there before the Ashes about Australia's batting.

    Smith's heroics were enough on this occasion, but coach Justin Langer has work to do going forward.

    David Warner, who should be Australia's second-best batsman, became Stuart Broad's bunny, making just 95 runs at an average of 9.50 during the series and falling to the England paceman seven times.

    Between Warner, Cameron Bancroft and Marcus Harris, Australia's opening stands during the Ashes were an average of 8.50 runs, immediately putting themselves under early pressure.

    Marnus Labuschagne was a revelation after getting his chance, scoring 353 runs at an average of 50.42 to cement his place in Australia's top-order. But, going forward, places are up for grabs.

    Matthew Wade combined two centuries with eight scores of 34 or less, while Travis Head (who averaged 27.28) and Usman Khawaja (20.33) were both dropped during the series.

    Harris and Wade top-scored in the Shield last season, but the likes of Kurtis Patterson, 26, Will Pucovski, 21, and Jake Lehmann, 27, should all be sensing an opportunity.

    Given the others have failed to take their chances, albeit in tough conditions, perhaps the time has come to build around Smith and Labuschagne while preparing for the future.

    Like their opponents, England have gaps to fill in the top six.

    Rory Burns (390 runs at 39) had success at the top of the order, but the gamble on Jason Roy failed to pay off. Joe Denly may have received a stay of execution with his 94 at The Oval, but it is hard to see how a 33-year-old who has spent recent domestic seasons further down the batting list is the long-term answer.

    Joe Root had made clear in the past that three is not his favoured role, so it will be interesting to see if Trevor Bayliss' replacement is happy to drop him one position lower.

    The team's success in the longest format has often come courtesy of rearguard actions in difficult situations, but the time has come to start batting big.

    Stokes (441 runs at 55.12) showed the way with two second-innings hundreds, but Jonny Bairstow has reached 50 only once in his last 14 Test innings and Jos Buttler is in the strange position of being picked as a frontline batsman that comes in at seven.

    A busy winter schedule offers an opportunity to blood some fresh faces. Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley are the two openers regularly talked about as possible candidates to have a go alongside Burns. 

    Ollie Pope is waiting for another crack at international cricket, while Ben Foakes could return behind the stumps for the struggling Bairstow, who should perhaps consider giving up the gloves to focus completely on his batting. 


    BOWLING

    Unlike their batting, Australia's bowling is far more settled and with good reason.

    Pat Cummins won the Allan Border Medal in February and the paceman showed he can lead his nation for years to come. The 26-year-old played all five Tests – a fine feat for a player with his injury history – and was comfortably the leading wicket-taker in the Ashes with 29.

    Cummins took his 29 wickets at an average of 19.62 and economy rate of 2.69.

    Such is the depth and talent in Australia's attack, Mitchell Starc played just one Test, selectors perhaps looking elsewhere to capitalise on the English conditions.

    Josh Hazlewood has long been expected to be the man in such situations and he grabbed 20 wickets at 21.85 in four Tests.

    Peter Siddle and James Pattinson played three and two Tests respectively and while their spots are far from certain, the ability of the attack to deliver as a unit would have pleased Langer.

    They were helped by Nathan Lyon, who bowled more overs than anyone else on his way to 20 wickets at 33.40.

    Siddle (34) is the oldest of the group, but Cummins, Hazlewood (28), Starc (29) and Pattinson (29) look to have several years ahead of them in an excellent sign for Australia. Even Mitchell Marsh took his chance with the ball in the fifth Test, grabbing seven wickets, although the all-rounder is often criticised for his performances.

    The bowling was expected to be Australia's strength during the series and it proved just that, with few signs of it being an area of concern going forward.

    Similarly, for England, there are reasons to be cheerful over the attack. Broad benefited from the chance to hone his skills in county cricket prior to the Ashes - and went on to torture Warner and the rest of the left-handers.

    While his regular new-ball partner prospered, James Anderson endured a wretched campaign. Forced off after four overs of the opening Test with a calf injury, the Lancastrian failed to reappear in the rest of the series. He remains committed to playing at the highest level again, but England should not need to rush their leading wicket-taker back.

    That is mainly because of the emergence of the blistering Archer. He claimed 22 wickets in four Tests, knocked down the seemingly immovable Smith at Lord's and provided an added dimension to an attack otherwise lacking variety.

    Sam Curran's patience was finally rewarded with an outing in the fifth Test, where he again demonstrated his knack of making things happen, but Chris Woakes flattered to deceive, both with bat and ball.

    Craig Overton's selection at Old Trafford was an unexpected call and maybe brother Jamie, as well as another Somerset bowler in Lewis Gregory, may get a go ahead of him in future.

    As for the spin department, Jack Leach became a cult hero among fans and an easy fancy dress costume for a day at the Test.

    The captain-coach axis must also work out what they see as the future role for Moeen Ali, a player far too talented to be left languishing outside of the national set-up.


    CURRENT OUTLOOK

    Smith's form tilted the balance enough in Australia's favour to secure a 2-2 result, but now it will be fascinating to see how both nations develop as they go their separate ways.

    For England, the preparations for the tour Down Under in 2021-22 should begin immediately, or else they may be waiting a little longer to get the urn back.

  • David de Gea 2023: Rating the Man United goalkeepers signed under Ferguson David de Gea 2023: Rating the Man United goalkeepers signed under Ferguson

    After many, many months of speculation, David de Gea has pledged his future to Manchester United in the form of a new contract.

    The Spain international has agreed to fresh terms that will run until the end of the 2022-23 season, with the option of a further year.

    De Gea is one of United's senior players these days, having joined the club from Atletico Madrid as a 20-year-old in 2011 as one of the final major signings made by Alex Ferguson before his retirement two years later.

    Fergie brought in a fair few goalkeepers during his 27 years at Old Trafford. Some of them proved shrewd, pivotal signings. Some did not.

    Here, we run the rule over all the keepers to join during the reign of the great Scot...

    Jim Leighton (1988-91)

    Leighton followed Ferguson to United from Aberdeen two years after his manager made the move. A fine player in Scotland, Leighton could not replicate that same form and was dropped for the FA Cup final replay in 1990 after some clangers in the first game.

    Verdict: Miss

     

    Les Sealey (1990-91, 93-94)

    The man who replaced Leighton for that victorious replay against Palace, Sealey also played in the 1991 European Cup Winners' Cup final victory over Barcelona. He sadly died at the age of just 43 in 2001 but is fondly remembered by United fans.

    Verdict: Hit

     

    Peter Schmeichel (1991-99)

    Arguably United's greatest ever goalkeeper, Schmeichel won 11 major trophies with the Red Devils, including the famous treble in 1998-99. Even joining Manchester City before retirement has not tarnished his legacy at Old Trafford.

    Verdict: Hit

     

    Tony Coton (1996)

    Better known as a goalkeeping coach than a player at United, Coton never made a first-team appearance for the club. Considered Watford's best ever keeper and a top player for City, his United playing days were forgettable, to say the least.

    Verdict: Miss

     

    Raimond van der Gouw (1996-2002)

    Coton's replacement as understudy to Schmeichel and then Fabien Barthez, Van der Gouw was an astute signing who served United with aplomb - even if he didn't play too often.

    Verdict: Hit

     

    Nick Culkin (1997-2002)

    Signed from York City, Culkin took the record for the shortest Premier League debut when he came on as a substitute against Arsenal just before full-time. At the end of his career, he turned out for FC United of Manchester, the team formed as part of the anti-Glazer protest movement.

    Verdict: Miss

     

    Mark Bosnich (1989-91, 1999-01)

    After a brief stint at the club as a teenager, Bosnich was signed back to replace Schmeichel in 1999. He won a Premier League title but rarely looked convincing, particularly with his kicking, and Ferguson later criticised his professionalism. 

    Verdict: Miss

     

    Massimo Taibi (1999)

    Taibi cost a reported £4.5million, a sizeable fee at the time. It's fair to say it was not justified. Taibi had a good debut in a win over fierce rivals Liverpool, but utterly wretched performances against Southampton and in a 5-0 loss to Chelsea more or less ended his United career before it started.

    Verdict: Miss

     

    Fabien Barthez (2000-04)

    France's World Cup-winning goalkeeper from 1998, Barthez was both an exceptional talent and an eccentric prone to too many mistakes. He was twice a Premier League champion but simply could not be relied upon. Still, we won't forget the Laurent-Blanc-head-kissing routine in a hurry.

    Verdict: Hit - just

     

    Roy Carroll (2001-05)

    Say 'Roy Carroll', and you think of Pedro Mendes. A Premier League and FA Cup winner with United, it was Carroll's error against Tottenham that sticks most vividly in the mind, even if the goal was somehow not given. At least it helped pave the way for goal-line technology.

    Verdict: Miss

     

    Ricardo (2002-05)

    On his Premier League debut against Blackburn Rovers, Ricardo conceded and saved a penalty in a 3-1 win. He didn't play in the top flight again. He still considered his time at Old Trafford "a lovely experience", though.

    Verdict: Miss

     

    Luke Steele (2002-06)

    Snapped up from Peterborough United, Steele's days with the Red Devils comprised of reserve-team matches and time on the substitute's bench. His best days came in a Barnsley shirt.

    Verdict: Miss

     

    Tim Howard (2003-07)

    A promising talent, Howard struggled in the United limelight and infamously dropped a free-kick that led to Porto's decisive goal in a Champions League tie, leading to Jose Mourinho's wild celebratory sprint down the touchline. He had a much better career with Everton and the United States.

    Verdict: Miss

     

    Edwin van der Sar (2005-11)

    It took six years, but United finally got their Schmeichel replacement. Van der Sar runs the Dane close as the club's greatest goalkeeper, winning four league titles and the Champions League as part of the most formidable side since the treble season.

    Verdict: Hit

     

    Tomasz Kuszczak (2006-12)

    Another United keeper to concede and save a penalty on his debut, Kuszczak was a back-up to Van der Sar who never truly inspired confidence. He did win seven major trophies, though.

    Verdict: Miss

     

    Ben Foster (2005-10)

    A bright talent who joined United from Stoke City, serious knee injuries hampered Foster's early career. A good goalkeeper who just wasn't quite good enough, certainly to wrestle the number one shirt away from Van der Sar, he has been a fine servant for West Brom and Watford.

    Verdict: Miss - just

     

    Anders Lindegaard (2010-15)

    A reasonably dependable presence while De Gea adapted to life in the Premier League, Lindegaard won the title in 2012-13 in a United career that mostly went under the radar.

    Verdict: Hit

     

    David de Gea (2011 -)

    He had some tricky early days, but De Gea soon developed into one of the world's elite goalkeepers. A dip in standards over the past 18 months does not diminish his overall standing at the club, and he is showing signs of recapturing his best form.

    Verdict: Hit

  • David de Gea 2023: The Manchester United keeper's best Premier League Opta numbers David de Gea 2023: The Manchester United keeper's best Premier League Opta numbers

    It is official. David de Gea is going nowhere!

    The Spain goalkeeper penned a new contract with Manchester United until 2023 on Monday, with the option to extend the deal by a further year.

    De Gea's future at Old Trafford has often been the feature of debate, with Real Madrid most famously coming close to securing his signature in 2015, while Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain have also been reported suitors.

    But the 28-year-old, who has become recognised as one of the world's best goalkeepers during his time at United, will be with the Red Devils for the foreseeable future.

    Below, we have analysed Opta data to take a look at De Gea's best Premier League stats with United.

     

    MORE CLEAN SHEETS THAN A HOTEL

    Since De Gea made his debut in August 2011, no other goalkeeper can boast more than his 102 clean sheets from 280 top-flight games. The nearest rival is Tottenham's Hugo Lloris ( 87 from 244 ), while Joe Hart ( 85 from 216 ) and Petr Cech ( 84 from 221 ) also feature highly on the list.


    A GLOVE-LY RECORD TO HOLD

    De Gea arguably enjoyed his best campaign in a Red Devils jersey during the 2017-18 campaign as he kept 18 clean sheets to clinch the Golden Glove award. In that same campaign, Ederson ( 16 ), Lloris ( 15 ) and Thibaut Courtois ( 15 ) could not match De Gea's efforts. That season saw De Gea make 14 saves in a single match against Arsenal – the most in one game (same as Tim Krul and Vito Mannone) since Opta started collecting shot save data in the 2003-04 season.


    ONE HUNDRED NOT OUT

    It took De Gea 264 appearances to rack up a century of Premier League clean sheets. That pales in comparison to the 180 it took former Chelsea and Arsenal stopper Cech to reach the milestone. Pepe Reina ( 198 ), Peter Schmeichel ( 212 ), David Seaman ( 225 ), Edwin van der Sar ( 247 ) and Joe Hart ( 259 ) also achieved the feat in fewer games. De Gea's best run without conceding was a streak of six between February 2 and March 30 2013.


    THE VITAL PREMIER LEAGUE STATISTICS

    280 – De Gea has racked up an impressive 280 top-flight appearances since making the move to Old Trafford from Atletico Madrid, playing 25,184 minutes in the process.

    102 – The Spain international has frequently kept opposition attacks frustrated with 102 clean sheets to date.

    282 – De Gea has picked the ball out of the United goal on 282 occasions in the Premier League. The most in a single season was the 2018-19 campaign where he was beaten on 54 occasions.

    785 – You do not earn the nickname "Dave saves" for nothing and De Gea has 785 to his name so far, with an impressive save percentage of 73.27.

    2 – One slightly surprising area of his game is penalty saves. De Gea has stopped just two of the 24 Premier League penalties he has faced.

    10 – In his eight-and-a-bit seasons to date, De Gea has been personally culpable for 10 errors leading to goals. The most in a single campaign came last term with four, while he impressively was at fault for zero in the 2013-14 and 2017-18 seasons.

    158 – Of the 280 Premier League games he has played, De Gea has been on the winning side on 158 occasions.

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