Ric Bucher spent 14 years as a senior writer with ESPN The Magazine and NBA sideline reporter and studio analyst for ESPN. He previously worked for the San Jose Mercury News and the Washington Post. He currently lives in Northern California, where he co-hosts a SiriusXM daily morning show on the Bleacher Report channel (Sirius 93/XM 208) and a solo show on NBA Radio (Sirius 207/XM 86) Monday afternoons.
Hey Ric, I've got a question about the Warriors offseason, which I think could be a lot more chaotic that people realize. They've got the obvious approaching free agency of Draymond, which will unquestionably be a max deal. However, the window for Harrison Barnes to get extended will also open. I think Barnes is a huge, underrated part of the future of this team: how many 22-year olds are two-way players, have ample playoff experience, and still have plenty of upside? He can guard FOUR positions on defense and is a 40% three point shooter, plus he can create offense when the opponent tries to hide someone on him. He's a major part of their switch-heavy defense too. I just think he's a part of Golden State's core.
GSW has Iguodala and David Lee's contracts on the books for 15-16. At what point to the conversations begin about moving BOTH to try to resign Draymond and Barnes? Everyone knows that they will explore Lee trades this summer, but Iggy's contract is a lot worse than people realize. He's big in that locker room, but he's declining every year. $12 million per for a declining 6th man is steep, especially for a team with future contract questions.
Should the Warriors look to extend Barnes (and Ezeli maybe?) this summer/fall? I think the Alec Burks contract in Utah really put a lot of players in position to make big money. If Burks is worth $42 million, I think Barnes will make at least $45 mil. If you start to add that up with a future Curry mega-max, Klay's max, Green's max, plus Bogut/Ezeli...it gets pricey fast. What do you think Golden State might do this offseason? Might they even trade Barnes? What do you think the Warriors offseason looks like.
I'm a 14 year old freshman who is absolutely obsessed with the NBA and have read many of your articles. I spend nearly all my free time reading, watching, and analysing anything basketball related. I understand that I am much too young to even consider professional sportswriting, but I would like a little bit of advice. If you could, what would you tell the 14 year old you? What would you do differently if you had a second chance? Finally, is there anything at all I can do in the summer for Bleacher Report or otherwise to make me a better writer? Are there any internships available at B/R?
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org, so please reach me there anytime.
sorry bruh... didn't take the time to read your comment. Mine was better though
Thank you for the explanation, bruh. I guess we have different definitions of the LVP "award", but with your definition I suppose the selection of Wiggins makes sense. I just think it is a strange time to say something remotely negative about Wiggins, who has pretty much exceeded all expectations for him this year, especially offensively. Also, feel no need to respond to the buffoon below, who basically copied and pasted my comment and changed a few words around.
I have a lot of respect for you as an NBA analyst, but I truly do not understand how you can dub Andrew Wiggins the least valuable player in the ENTIRE NBA. You have fallen into the trap that is the flawed media. Surely you had to have made that decision to generate buzz around your article, which clearly it has. With that said there is no valid argument you make to support your bold assertion. To bash Wiggins for his teams record is unbelievable. This is a team that for much of the season has missed 3 of its starters, possibly there three best players, and has started 4 players that are rookies or sophomores. So all of a sudden it is Andrew Wiggins' responsibility to make them a competitive squad?
I guess we don't share the same understanding of the word value. Flip could trade Wiggins right now and receive a bevy of riches in return.
In the time it takes you to say "least valuable player" I can think of 100 guys that are surely less valuable. Lance Stephenson, Melo, J-SMoove. Come on. Amare is making 23.4 mil right now!!
I would love to hear your rebuttal Ric.
It's a fair question; picking a least valuable player is almost as open for interpretation as picking a most valuable player. Let me clear up what it doesn't mean, at least to me: the worst player in the league or a bust. I thought I made clear in my explanation in the roundtable that Wiggins is pretty darn good and in a tough situation, but I've come to accept that a lot of fans saw LVP attached to Wiggins and didn't bother to read anything else. That, at least, is the only explanation I have for the vast majority of comments. I interpreted LVP as being the player who, as the best player on his team or likeliest choice to be MVP, was having the least impact. In that context, his age, what he has around him and his individual stats are meaningless. Carmelo would've been the other candidate, but he's both missed games and played injured. That, of course, is not the case with Wiggins. If I made a mistake, perhaps it was in seeing him as the best or most talented player the Wolves have; I'd still make the case that he is. I wouldn't say the TWolves are devoid of talent, even in their current state, to the degree that, say, the 76ers are. The combo of Wiggins and LaVine would have me excited if I were a TWolves fan; Dieng is further along than Noel and Mo Williams is a better shooter/scorer than anyone in Philadelphia. I'm not even sure who Philly's MVP should be. Yet, last I checked, the Sixers somehow have more wins than the TWolves. Hope that provides some clarification. Thanks for the kind words.
Hey Ric. I have been following the NBA for a while and have come to really respect you as an analyst and journalist. However I must ask for further explanation and clarification on something you said that confounded me. On a recent NBA expert roundtable article, you made the claim that Andrew Wiggins was the Least Valuable Player of the 2014-15 season thus far. I don't know if the editors wanted you to say something controversial to get more comments and reactions, but I simply don't understand your position. The Timberwolves are in a self admitted "rebuilding" mode with a roster completely devoid of talent. Wiggins, a 19-year-old rookie, has been everything expected of him this season and more. He has unexpectedly shown he can be an efficient number 1 scoring option for a team that currently has Robbie Hummel and Chase Budinger playing meaningful minutes. He is 19 YEARS OLD. I simply don't understand how you can argue that a 19 year old who has NO help on his pathetic roster is the "least valuable player" of the season. Can you further explain your argument? I am not trying to start a debate, I am just curious and want further clarification of your position. Thanks.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Keith. I don't see any reason to defend my motive for writing the piece or the point of it. My friend, who I respect, was offended by what Lacob said and his color has everything to do with that. To suggest otherwise, as you do, is curious. I don't know if I would've written the piece if my friend hadn't played in the league and continues to work in it; that he does, though, makes it safe to raise the thought that Lacob offended a lot of people of color who play or work in the NBA. Based on other responses -- not yours, of course -- a lot of people of color, inside and outside the NBA, shared my friend's anger. I felt compelled to give them a voice. You always have the option not to read what I write or listen to what I have to say. Fair warning: I don't plan to shy away from addressing topics I feel are important.
Ric, I just read your aticle on Joe Lacob. pretty irresposible journalism to turn the owners words around and turn this into a race issue. "My friend is black"? Who Cares Ric, if your friend is black It has nothing to do with the comments made by Lacob. I've read the comments of Joe Lacob and NOWHERE did I see the words "refused to hire assistants to make him SMARTER". What he said was, he refused to hire the best and went on to say "You can't have a staff underneath you that isn't that good and if you're going to get better, you've got to have really good assistants. You've got to have people that can be there to replace you. We all know this from all of our companies. It's . . . Management 101". The reason there was silence was because race was never an issue but of course people won't read your article unless there is controvery and you made stuff up just to start something. Since when is it a race issue to want the very best coaching staff you can get to lead your team. I think you should apologize for your stupid article.
BR is lucky to have you!