Steven graduated Cum Laude from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mass Communications, focusing on film studies, journalism and theatre arts. Dubbed a "prolific" writer by Hollywood icon Kenneth Johnson (The Incredible Hulk, V, The Bionic Woman, Alien Nation), Steven has been honored by the Arkansas College Media Association for his story writing prowess. He has also received recognition for his dramatic writing from the Eerie, Shriekfest and Screamfest horror film festivals. Publications include: Carroll County News, Saline Courier, Forum, Echo and Moroch.
New Orleans A.D. 2019: The Anthony Davis, Lebron James era begins
Posted Sunday, June 16, 2019, at 1:22 PM
Photo credit: AP
LOS ANGELES — Did you feel the Earth move? Don't worry because it wasn't an earthquake. It was simply the landscape of the NBA shifting toward the West Coast immeasurably.
Lebron James joining the Lakers in 2018 was supposed to shift the balance of power in the NBA's Western Conference. That change never happened thanks to injuries and chemistry issues LA. And after Golden State's postseason woes, who knows. Perhaps, Los Angeles might have tangled with the Toronto Raptors for the 2019 NBA title if James were at full strength.
Could have, would have, should have.
Now, the reality is James has a legitimate co-star in La La Land's Showtime. And the Lakers are one step closer to challenging the Golden States and Houstons of the NBA's Western Conference.
The New Orleans Pelicans traded their franchise player, and arguably the best big man in the NBA, Anthony Davis to Los Angeles in a blockbuster trade which should benefit both franchises. No details have been released on Davis' contract, but the deal should be finalized by July 6 according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Lakers should see immediate results while the Pelicans will have to wait for their young talent to mature.
New Orleans already has the top pick in Thursday's NBA Draft, and are expected to select Duke's Zion Williamson. Williamson is often compared to the Greek Freak Giannis Antetokounmpo. Williamson exhibits a similar skill set, but there are some glaring differences which the Pelicans hopefully have considered.
First, Williamson is only 6'7 while Giannis stands 6'11 with a wingspan of 7'3. Second, while very talented, Zion won't create match-up nightmares for other players like Antetokounmpo. Big men rarely match the Greek Freak's speed — certainly they fizzle against Giannis' ball-handling skills — while guards are overwhelmed by Giannis' size in the post.
Consider this: In college, Zion performed like Antetokounmpo on the court because of his vast physical superiority. At a diminutive 6'7, Zion will need a bit of time to adjust to the NBA. The A-List power forwards and centers of the league are likely to force Zion into exclusively becoming a small forward, at least in his rookie campaign.
Is he up for the challenge?
Part of the AD trade also gives New Orleans the No. 4 pick. The Pelicans have a wealth of talent to select from to pair with Williamson including prospects like Virginia's 6'7 De'Andre Hunter who shot a torrid 44 percent from 3-point range.
Other possibilities include Texas Tech sophomore guard Jarrett Culver, Vanderbilt freshman guard Darius Garland — another 3-point gunner at 48 percent — and North Carolina's freshman guard Coby White. Duke fans are hoping that fellow Blue Devil RJ Barrett will join Zion in New Orleans, but he will most likely be off the board.
Now, here are the trade details: The Lakers receive Anthony Davis while the Pelicans get Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round picks:
2019 No. 4 pick
2021 first-round pick protected for positions 9-30 (unprotected in 2022)
2023 first-round swap rights unprotected
2024 first-round pick unprotected (option deferred to 2025)
For the Pelicans, the front office must be hoping for a quick rebuild fueled by the monster talents of Williamson and whoever management selects at No. 4 in the upcoming draft. However, the Lakers are looking to contend in 2019-2020, with the dynamic duo of Lebron and AD, especially with a free agency period that could dismantle one of the NBA's greatest super teams: the Golden State Warriors.
Los Angeles doesn't need to rest on their laurels. This free agency period will have a collection of the NBA's very best players to pick from. Kevin Durant, NBA Champion Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson and Kemba Walker will all give teams the opportunity to court them.
If the Lakers can scoop one or two of these prominent names — the salary cap will play a large part in how management proceeds — Showtime could indeed return after a long absence in LA.