Kicks On Court Diaries: Preseason Panel with NBA Experts

6. Who do you think will be the top dark-horse candidate to win Kicks On Court Champion this upcoming season (surprise player of the year)?

Sweeney: I think Draymond Green is a name to watch for a few reasons. One, Golden State’s colorways are dope and unique. And two, he really stepped up his game in the playoffs and might take on a bigger role with more minutes this season. That’ll only help get him noticed. I’d also throw J.R. Smith’s name in there if only because he has no problems at all with versatility.

McMenamin: Rajon Rondo. He just has swag. Simple as that. And based on the creativity we’ve seen out of him in the past, plus the fact that the Celtics are now clearly his team and his alone with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in Brooklyn and Allen in Miami, I could see Rondo’s shoe game rising to another level this season.

MacKenzie: Someone wearing a lot of Jordans because we all know that’s what gets us talking more than anything. Tony Wroten or Jordan Hamilton.

Twersky: Depending on if he stays in Toronto the entire season, Rudy Gay is a good name to throw out there. While we’re talking Toronto, keep an eye on Terrence Ross. But those aren’t really surprises, so let’s say Mavs rookie Shane Larkin, who wore unreal heat in college, and Nets rookie Mason Plumlee, a huge closet sneakerhead, are two guys to keep an eye on.

Kerby: Isn’t it about time for LeBron to start wearing retros of his old shoes? Seems like it, plus he’s winning everything else in the NBA, so we might as well just give him another trophy.

Kiel: Tony Wroten. He received little recognition due to lack of playing time in Memphis, but now that he has a chance to get on the court in Philadelphia expect to see a wide array of sneakers on court from him. He’s already worn Pink Foamposites (for Breast Cancer Awareness), Shadow Air Jordan 10s, Toro Bravo 5s and the Air Jordan XIX in the preseason. Look out for young Tony Wroten.

Wong: It’s hard to mess with the NBA players that know the shoe game. Surprisingly, many NBA players (more than you would think) aren’t too heavy in that game. You have guys who still see sneakers as sports equipment (which they are) and will just stick to what works, you have guys that are hypebeasts (even the NBA crowd is not immune to that) and you won’t get far just falling in line with the crowd, and many just don’t care. I might go with someone like LeBron. If he really wanted the crown, he’d have the clout to have Nike make up some crazy 1-of-1s on his LeBron 11 and obliterate the field. This is a dude that made a prime-time special on ESPN to announce his free-agency decision. But the King is focused on the real prize: a third NBA title. He’ll leave the Kicks on Court chip for the little princes of the NBA.

Whitaker: Rasheed Wallace. I know he’s coaching for Detroit now, but I’m hoping we see a Nike/Cole Haan collaboration with the Sheed silhouette on the heel. I’d totally cop those to wear to formal events.

Ungvari: I’m going with Pistons rookie Tony Mitchell. For starters, he’s a freak of nature who can jump out of the gym so we know he’s going to get attention for his dunking ability as long as he can get minutes. I remember him showing up to the NBA’s rookie photo shoot wearing Grape Vs.

Cason: I have three: Tony Wroten, J.R. Smith and Jared Cunningham.


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