All posts by Justin Weiss

Justin Weiss has been covering sports and politics for six years. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports and Elite Sports NY, and he's been quoted in the LA Times and USA Today.

Mets Trade for Tyler Clippard

The New York Mets have traded Casey Meisner to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for RHP Tyler Clippard, who has developed the reputation of being one of the best relievers in the game. Continue reading Mets Trade for Tyler Clippard

Steven Matz Promotion Good for Mets

Stony Brook native Steven Matz is set to make his major league debut Sunday, and it’s about damn time.

All the #freematz shtick, all the bickering of watching Jonathan Niese pitch so often, all the anti-Sandy Alderson chants, have finally resulted in something that you, the fans, wanted.

It took a long time for the Long Island native to ingress on the brink of the big show due to many injuries, including Tommy John surgery. But since he resumed pitching professionally in 2012, he has boded his lean, lanky frame with impeccable command, an impressive fastball, and a plus-changeup. In the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, Matz was 7-4 with a 2.19 ERA and a 94/31 strikeout/walk ratio.

He certainly knows how to pitch in the big game. He took the Binghamton Mets to the Eastern League Championship game in 2014, where he took a no-hit bid deep in the clinching game.

“He’s ready to come up and slot himself with the other young guns,” a scout told Newsday this week.

“He attacks the strike zone,” Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard, who was also called up to the big leagues this year, said. “He has three plus pitches that he can throw at any time and get results. He’s got lights-out stuff.”

The truth remains a constant (thanks to the transitive law of geometry): The Mets can’t hit, and if you can’t hit you can’t score and if you can’t score, you can’t win.

However, Matz will likely put the Mets into a situation that they have a greater opportunity to win if he’s in the game. Also, if you’re one of those the-season-is-over-and-there’s-nothing-you-can-do-about-it people, then rolling the dice on a young pitcher definitely isn’t the worst thing the Mets can do.

Remember, reverting to a six-man rotation means that once again we will only have to see Niese pitch once every 6-7 days.

And that, in case you can’t tell, is a good thing.

And let me tell you something: from my MiLB.TV subscription, I can tell you that what you’re about to see from Wally Backman’s coveted young lefty is something special.

2015 NBA Draft Live Thread

Jan 13, 2015; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Karl-Anthony Towns (12) celebrates after dunking the ball against the Missouri Tigers in the first half at Rupp Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 13, 2015; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Karl-Anthony Towns (12) celebrates after dunking the ball against the Missouri Tigers in the first half at Rupp Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Stars will be born at the 2015 NBA Draft, which takes place Thursday night at 7pm EST on ESPN.

The talking point of the past few weeks has been the fourth pick of the draft — the Knicks’ selection — which many “analysts” believe will have a domino effect on the rest of the draft.

NYSH Draft Coverage

NBA Mock Draft 3.0
Will the Knicks pull off a trade?
Who will the Knicks select?
Will Mason Plumlee be traded on draft night?
If the Nets trade up, who will they select?

Where will Jahlil Okafor come off the board? Will Justice Winslow be a Knick or Laker at the end of the draft? Will a local product, Syracuse’s Rakeem Christmas, hear his name called by commissioner Adam Silver?

Scouting reports via CBS Sports.

Updated by the minute, this is New York Sports Hub’s 2015 NBA Draft Live Thread:

Delon Wright had all the starpower to be a great PG in the NCAA. Will that carry over to the big show?
Delon Wright had all the starpower to be a great PG in the NCAA. Will that carry over to the big show?


Point Guards

1. Emanuel Mudiay — China

2. Jerian Grant — Notre Dame

3. Tyus Jones — Duke

4. Cameron Payne — Murray State

5. Delon Wright — Utah

6. Terry Rozier — Louisville

7. Oliver Hanlan — Boston College

8. Andrew Harrison — Kentucky

9. Cedi Osman — Macedonia

10. Quinn Cook — Duke

One of the fell good-stories of March Madness, R.J. Hunter is hungry to succeed.

Shooting guards

1. D’Angelo Russell — Ohio State

2. Mario Hezonja — Croatia

3. Devin Booker — Kentucky

4. R.J. Hunter — Georgia State

5. Rashad Vaughn — UNLV

6. Norman Powell — UCLA

7. Michael Frazier II — Florida

8. Joseph Young — Oregon

9. Michael Qualls — Arkansas

10. Josh Richardson — Tennessee

Sam Dekker wants you to know that Wisconsin's success was an indicator of his potential.
Sam Dekker wants you to know that Wisconsin’s success was an indicator of his potential.

Small forwards

1. Justice Winslow — Duke

2. Stanley Johnson — Arizona

3. Kelly Oubre Jr. — Kansas

4. Justin Anderson — Virginia

5. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson — Arizona

6. Sam Dekker — Wisconsin

7. Anthony Brown — Stanford

8. Jonathan Holmes — Texas

9. J.P. Tokoto — North Carolina

10. Daniel Diez — Spain

Trey Lyles may not be the biggest name coming out of Kentucky -- but he is the
Trey Lyles may not be the biggest name coming out of Kentucky — but he is definitely a name worth knowing.

Power forwards

1. Karl-Anthony Towns — Kentucky

2. Kristaps Porzingis — Latvia

3. Bobby Portis — Arkansas

4. Trey Lyles — Kentucky

5. Kevon Looney — UCLA

6. Jordan Mikey — LSU

7. Chris McCullough — Syracuse

8. Jarell Martin — LSU

9. Christian Wood — UNLV

10. Cliff Alexander — Kansas

Myles Turner is an impressive all-around center.
Myles Turner is an impressive all-around center.


1. Jahlil Okafor — Duke

2. Willie Cauley-Stein — Kentucky

3. Myles Turner — Texas

4. Frank Kaminsky — Wisconsin

5. Robert Upshaw — Washington

6. Guillermo Hernangomez — Spain

7. Nikola Milutinov — Serbia

8. Arturas Gudaitis — Lithuania

9. Dakari Johnson — Kentucky

10. Rakeem Christmas — Syracuse


Trade 1

Blazers get: Gerald Henderson and Noah Vonleh

Hornets get: Nicolas Baum

Trade 2

Magic get: Janis Timma

Grizzlies get: Luke Ridnour

Trade 3

Grizzlies get: Matt Barnes

Hornets get: Luke Ridnour

Trade 4

Hornets get: Jeremy Lamb

Thunder get: Luke Ridnour, 2016 2nd round pick

Trade 5

Bucks get: Greivis Vasquez

Raptors get: 2017 1st round pick, No. 46 pick

Trade 6

Wizards get: Kelly Oubre

Hawks get: Jerian Grant, 2 2nd round picks

Trade 7

Knicks get: Jerian Grant

Hawks get: Tim Hardaway Jr.

Trade 8

Timberwolves get: Tyus Jones

Cavaliers get: 31st pick and 37th pick

1. Minnesota Timberwolves — Karl Anthony-Towns, PF, Kentucky

Towns is the No. 1 prospect because he’s the most versatile one. Need a guy who can score in the post? Towns can do it. What about someone who can step away from the hoop in the pick-and-roll and knock down an 18-footer? Despite not getting a chance to do that this season, Towns has terrific potential there. A guy to protect the rim and block shots on the other end? He averaged 4.3 blocks per 40 minutes. Basically, Towns is the modern NBA’s dream big man prospect, and has a very high ceiling.

2. Los Angeles Lakers — D’Angelo Russell, SG, Ohio State

Russell is possibly the smoothest player in this draft class, a shooting guard capable of sliding over and taking over lead distribution responsibilities as well as getting his own shot from both the outside and mid-range. Some have looked at his offensive toolbox and see a potential star. His shot will translate, his ball-handling is sublime, and he has the height/length combination you look for in a guard. A season averaging 20 points and five assists per game at his peak isn’t crazy.

3. Philadelphia 76ers — Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke

Okafor is likely the best post scorer to enter the NBA draft in the past decade. He has a vast array of polished moves that make him virtually unstoppable on the block, as well as the length to finish over defenses. However, he’s a flawed prospect. His defense this season was questionable as Duke had him avoid fouls at all cost, and his ability to move on the perimeter is questionable. Still, he is an elite talent that will likely be an NBA all-star someday.

4. New York Knicks — Kristaps Porzingis, PF, Latvia

Some teams believe he has as much potential as anyone. This fluid, mobile 7-footer can move well on the perimeter defensively, has potential to protect the rim, and shoots the ball on offense. He knocked down 37 percent of his 3s, and that profiles well to a league where spacing the floor is as critical as anything offensively. He’s not perfect. He needs to put on a lot of weight, and that could end up derailing his all-star potential. But he could be a major steal in the back of the top-10.

Knicks draft coverage

Knicks swap Hardaway for Grant
Porzingis the right pick
Fans don’t like Porzingis
Knicks select Porzingis

5. Orlando Magic — Mario Hezonja, SG, Croatia

If you want star power and personality, this is your guy. Hezonja is a perfect mix of athleticism, shot-making ability and confidence. Hezonja averaged 14 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.4 steals per-36 minutes in the second-best league in the world this season as a 20-year-old on a near-900 minute sample. That’s impressive by itself, but then you look at his skill set and wonder why he wasn’t playing more. Hezonja’s range of outcomes as a player is wide, but he’s still worth a high pick.

6. Sacramento Kings — Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky

With Cauley-Stein, it’s all about defense. The Kentucky center was the best defensive player in the NCAA in 2015, capable of both locking down the paint as well as moving onto the perimeter to slow down opposing guards. The offense is still a work in progress, but with his high level of athleticism he should be able to find a role. Cauley-Stein may never be a star in the traditional sense, but he’s the kind of guy every team would love to have as a defensive anchor potentially for the next decade.

7. Denver Nuggets — Emanuel Mudiay, PG, China

Mudiay is a potential all-star caliber point guard with great height, length and athleticism for the position. His ability in the pick and roll figures to feature well in the NBA, as he’s able to get to the rim and finish as well as make terrific passes out of the lane. He’s not in the class of athlete that John Wall or Russell Westbrook are, but he’s just in that next tier down, and should have fewer problems adjusting to the speed and physicality of the NBA after spending a year in China.

8. Detroit Pistons — Stanley Johnson, SF, Arizona

Johnson does a lot of things well, and should at the very worst become a strong role player in the NBA. At 6-7 with a long wingspan and fully developed frame, he has potential to play anywhere from the 2 to the small ball 4. As a player who can both shoot and slash, Johnson has a real chance to be a solid scorer in the NBA. His time at Arizona under Sean Miller also helped his defensive intensity, as there were times where he looked like a two-way dynamo.

9. Charlotte Hornets — Frank Kaminsky, C, Wisconsin  

The NCAA’s national player of the year, Kaminsky is an intriguing prospect in the modern NBA. He’s a skilled big man with the ability to step away and shoot, but that’s not his only skill. He’s terrific at attacking closeouts, and he’s also a strong passer with a decent post game. At 7-1, he has great height, but his defensive fundamentals are questionable and he’ll need to work hard to become passable on that end. Still, the whole package is very intriguing, and he should be picked highly.

10. Miami Heat — Justice Winslow, SF, Duke

Winslow is one of the better two-way players that you’ll see come out of college. He is the consummate teammate, someone willing to do whatever helps out his coaching staff. He’s also, put simply, a winner. He’s won on every level he’s ever played on, and it’s not a surprise given his effort level, basketball IQ and ability to fit into any situation. Adding Winslow would make any team better from Day One, even if he’s not the most skilled or polished guy you’ll find entering a draft.

11. Indiana Pacers — Myles Turner, C, Texas

Another player that profiles as a perfect modern NBA big man, Turner has the size, shot-blocking ability, and shooting skill that teams crave. He led the Big 12 in block percent at 12.3, and was in the top-10 of all of college basketball. Despite his 27 percent 3-point mark, his shooting mechanics are good and point to potential for development. There are questions regarding his athleticism, running mechanics, and potential for injury, but he could turn into a starting NBA center.

12. Utah Jazz — Trey Lyles, PF, Kentucky

Lyles was a top-10 recruit that was forced to play out of position due to the multitude of options the Wildcats had in the frontcourt. Often playing the 3 next to Karl Towns and Willie Cauley-Stein, he was forced out of his comfort zone and onto the perimeter more than he should have been. However, that cuts both ways, as playing out of position helped Lyles develop essential perimeter skills. He profiles as a potential high-IQ, floor-spacing 4-man. But to become that, he’ll need to improve as a shooter.

13. Phoenix Suns — Devin Booker, SG, Kentucky

Booker might be the best shooter in this entire draft class. He knocked down 41 percent of his 3s this season, and can shoot from basically any spot on the floor. Given how valuable shooting is in the NBA right now, it’s hard to see a scenario where he doesn’t become a useful player. There are some defensive questions as he really struggled sometimes this season, but Booker is really young and quite skilled.

14. Oklahoma City Thunder — Cameron Payne, PG, Murray State

Payne seems to be one of the risers of the draft process, as more people watch him. He has terrific scoring instincts, as well as strong shooting ability and an understanding of the pick-and-roll. He’s also a solid passer that can make some plays for others. There are some questions, such as strength and pure athleticism in reference to getting to the rim, but Payne should at least play well as a solid scoring backup point, if not more.

15. Atlanta Hawks — Kelly Oubre Jr., SF, Kansas

Oubre is this draft lottery’s blank canvas. He could turn into an all-star in four years, or he could settle in as a Corey Brewer-type that defends and feeds off of transition plays. Basically, his long wingspan and frame profile extremely well in the NBA, as does his athleticism. If he irons out his shooting and slashing and continues improving his defensive awareness, he could end up becoming the next two-way star.

16. Boston Celtics — Terry Rozier, PG, Louisville

Rozier flourished at Louisville as the Cardinals got to the Elite Eight despite only featuring he and Harrell by the end of the year as impact players. His ability to get into the lane is unquestionable due to his athleticism, and he’s a great defender due to motor and length. Problem is he’s not really a true point guard, but he’ll need to guard 1s on the next level. Heart, motor and athleticism often overcome size though, so Rozier developing into a tough bench player wouldn’t be a surprise.

17. Milwaukee Bucks — Rashad Vaughn, SG, UNLV

Vaughn is one of the younger players in the class. He was the third-highest scoring freshman of the season, averaging nearly 18 points per game. He has great scoring instincts and a very translatable shot that is impressive both on the move and in spot-up situations. However, he’s still a bit of a chucker and will need to work on his shot selection in order to get to the NBA. He’ll need some time in the D-League, but this prospect may be one worth stashing in the first round.

18. Houston Rockets — Sam Dekker, SF, Wisconsin

Dekker catapulted himself up draft boards with a terrific NCAA Tournament, but I might express a bit of caution before going overboard and drafting him in the lottery. He’s a really smart player with good size, but he’s not a great defender yet, is kind of in-between forward positions, and was inconsistent shooting the ball. The athleticism and basketball IQ should play well, but the small Tournament sample size shouldn’t outweigh the full seasons we’ve seen.

19. Washington Wizards — Jerian Grant, PG, Notre Dame 

Grant’s a bit older as a senior, but boy what a year he had. The first-team All-American led Notre Dame to the Elite Eight as the maestro of their wide-open offense reliant upon shooting. He’s a playmaker both for himself and others, and has displayed the ability to play in the type of offenses that NBA teams want to run. The shooting is a question, but Grant has the size, athleticism, instincts and versatility that teams like out of modern guards.

20. Toronto Raptors — Delon Wright, PG, Utah

Wright was a consensus All-American this season, showcasing great distribution skills. Defenses were unable to keep him out of the paint, as his first step is quite strong with his long strides due to his tremendous length for the point guard position. He also was an all-league defensive player, really causing some issues for opposing players. However, he’s already 23, so what kind of upside does he have? Tough call for teams here.

21. Dallas Mavericks — Justin Anderson, SG, Virginia  

Anderson burst onto the scene this season, as he morphed into a knockdown 3-point shooter after being known as simply an athlete early in his career. His mechanics underwent significant improvement between his second and third seasons, and he shot nearly 50 percent from 3 prior to breaking his finger. If you think he’s an elite shooter from 3, he should go a lot higher. If you think he will revert to something worse, he should still have use due to his defense and athleticism.

22. Chicago Bulls — Bobby Portis, SF, Arkansas  

Yet another modern big man entering the NBA. Portis is a power forward at nearly 6-11 who can legitimately shoot the basketball as well as defend. The SEC Player of the Year might never become a superstar due to some limited athletic ability, but his ability to do multiple things like post up, shoot, and play in the pick-and-roll will make it tough for defenders to play him. Plus, he plays harder and angrier than possibly any other player in this draft.

23. Portland Trail Blazers — Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, SF, Arizona

If you want a potential all-NBA defender, this is the guy to pick. Hollis-Jefferson has elite quickness for a player his size, as well a tremendous length and size. His positional versatility will be a major calling card to coaches that are looking for guys who can defend multiple players and seamlessly switch. But he’s a tough prospect to build around offensively due to a total lack of jump shot. The team that drafts him needs to have a strong developmental staff in place to help him out.

24. Cleveland Cavaliers — Tyus Jones, PG, Duke

Jones is a smart point guard that just knows how to run a team. He helped lead Duke to the national championship, and was possibly the main cog given that he won most outstanding player. He has improved as a shooter and the distribution skills will always be there. The questions revolve around his athleticism, as he might not be quick or explosive enough to defend or get into the lane consistently.

25. Memphis Grizzlies — Jarell Martin, PF, LSU

Martin is an interesting prospect that still hasn’t put it all together yet. He’s a great athlete at 6-9 with the ability to slash and shoot from the midrange. But neither of those skills are elite, and his defense isn’t particularly strong. Combine that with the fact that his wingspan is extremely short for a potential power forward, and he has his work cut out for him. The good thing is he’s extremely physical, and has skills worth taking the time to develop. But he’s far from a finished product.

26. San Antonio Spurs — Nikola Milutinov, C, Serbia

Milutinov has been a starter on one of the better teams in the Adriatic League for the past three seasons. This year, he averaged nearly 10 points and 7.7 rebounds per game while posting strong efficiency marks. He needs to put on some weight and continue to develop his face-up game, but if things go right he could become a solid backup after being stashed for a couple of years.

27. Los Angeles Lakers — Larry Nance Jr., PF, Wyoming

Like his father, Nance is just one of those freak athletes. Possessing great quickness and a 37.5-inch vertical leap at 6-9, Nance has a shot to be a very versatile defensive player that can do a lot of different things in the NBA. That, along with his potential as an above-the-rim finisher and decent shot mechanics, make him a very intriguing prospect in the NBA. However, he needs to improve his overall skill level to make it at the highest level.

28. Boston Celtics — R.J. Hunter, SG, Georgia State

Hunter had a bad shooting season, but that doesn’t mean that he isn’t still one of the best shooters in the draft. Hunter has an effortless stroke with range out to about 30 feet, and that has tremendous value in the league. He needs to work on his body so that he can defend in the NBA, as his lower body isn’t great. But between his terrific feel for the game and potential to be an elite shooter, he’ll have a very good chance to stick as a role player.

29. Brooklyn Nets — Chris McCullough, PF, Syracuse  

McCullough is one of those risky “upside” picks. He has great size, length and athleticism, but that hasn’t translated to production yet as the big man was struggling along a little bit even prior to his torn ACL that sidelined him for the rest of the season in January. He should be ready for training camp and get some guaranteed money to develop for a couple of years, but he’s certainly a project.


Nets draft coverage

Nets draft McCullough

30. Golden State Warriors — Kevon Looney, PF, UCLA

Looney is going to be a bit of a tough nut to crack. Many got very excited about him early in the season as he became a double-double machine. However, near the end of the season he started to hit a wall with injuries that sapped a lot of his explosiveness. Given his skinny frame, there are questions about if he can translate as a rebounder. Still, he handles the ball well for a big man, his shot is developing, and he seems to play hard. A lot to like as a mid-first rounder.