Column

Skyler’s Swishes: California Love

This week’s top NBA moments revolve around players and teams from Los Angeles.

“Skyler’s Swishes” is a column by Skyler Trepel recapping the top three events from the past week of NBA play.

This week’s swishes features a former Trojan, the Lakers acquiring a third star and a surprise swisher who will be NBA-bound in a few months.

Former Trojan Nikola Vucevic gets an all-star trade

Nikola Vucevic is one of the most successful NBA stars to come out of USC, having just made his second All-Star appearance this season. This appearance was with the lowly Orlando Magic, but now Vucevic has been paired on The Chicago Bulls with fellow All-Star Zach LaVine.

Together, these two form a little-man/big-man duo that should make the Bulls perennial playoff contenders for years to come. With young, motivated talent around him, Vucevic has found himself in a situation that should only get better with the passage of time.

Vucevic defines the modern-day big man as he is able to step out and hit the three, hit mid-range jump shots and score inside. Before being traded to the Bulls, “Vooch” was averaging a career-high 24.5 points, a career-high 3.8 assists and 11.8 rebounds.

Vucevic may be a modern big-man, but the Lakers got exactly what they needed with a more traditional big man making his way down to Southern California.

Lakers pick up Andre Drummond on the buyout market

The Lakers’ experiment of starting Marc Gasol at center hasn’t turned out exactly as they planned, so they needed a consistent starting center who could provide rebounding and defense. This is where former All-Star and lifelong Kobe Bryant fan Andre Drummond comes in.

With Anthony Davis and LeBron James currently out with injuries, the Lakers are struggling to keep up with teams well below their level of play. Drummond should help clog up the paint and allow the Lakers to focus on having a more potent offense by creating space for others.

Davis has never liked playing the traditional big man role as he wants to focus more on utilizing his unique, unicorn-like talents to run the floor, score from anywhere and defend multiple positions. Drummond should allow Davis to utilize his full talents while giving James an excellent partner to finish off his signature alley-oop lobs.

After this weekend, the Lakers will have some serious incoming talent to worry about as early as next year.

Evan Mobley gets an early swish

No, he’s not in the NBA yet, but March is the month where we focus on the next generation of big league talent. After Bleacher Report already predicted him to be an All-Star in the next five years, it’s time to give Mobley an early swish with his monstrous dunk to give USC its first Elite Eight appearance in 20 years!

Mobley is all the rage in NBA circles right now, so we might as well get him on here early. The unicorn big man is already one of the most athletic seven-footers to step on a basketball court with his ability to dribble and run the floor like a point guard, score from anywhere on the court and provide his signature defense and rebounding with the best of them.

Mobley recently became the first player to win conference player of the year, conference freshman of the year and conference defensive player of the year in the NCAA since the aforementioned Anthony Davis did so nine years ago.

He threw down one of the greatest poster dunks in NCAA Tournament history (and maybe basketball history) after dribbling and pretending there was no one in front of him. Air Mobley took flight from the launching pad for the massive exclamation point on USC’s win.

USC is quickly becoming a Cinderella story, and Mobley is catching the eyes of every single scout in the NBA for how special a career he is primed to have in the big leagues.

“Skyler’s Swishes” runs every Monday.