Season of Kevin & Carmelo




By: Opinionated MJ

With the 2015-16 season on the horizon, I wanted to put the focus on free-agent-to-be, Kevin Durant, and the player everyone thinks is most likely you be traded this season, Carmelo Anthony. These two players are arguably the two most prolific scorers in the game. The major differences reside in their respective teams position before and after the season. Oklahoma City is expecting to compete for a championship, New York is expecting to compete for a playoff spot and grow on the go en route to their goal.

There is chatter about both players being potentially traded with the most likely being Anthony. He is the offensive crust for a Knicks team looking to implement new players, proceed with the heralded triangle offense, and hang their hat on an inexperienced coach in Derek Fisher. This has all boiled down to Anthony, who many has said is selfish for taking his money, selfish for not sharing the ball more, not a bonafide star cause he doesn’t play on both sides of the ball (unless being motivated to defend a superstar on the opposing team), and basically a waste to have with the Knicks in rebuilding mode. Despite who they selected in the draft, who they selected for a coach, the offense they selected that takes 2-3 years to understand routinely, the murky off-season they’ve had, they end up aiming all of their collective frustration guns at Anthony. He’s the only one that could save them.

I actually expect Carmelo to come out with some fire in him with all the criticism he’s been receiving as of late. Fans questioning him, people making rumors about his wife, people having things to say to him through different media forms, you would think it’s going to give him a huge chip on his shoulder. Not to mention the criticism in comparison to his peers. No MVP awards, no championships, no significant playoff push since his Denver days, this all has to be boiling him. Or maybe he’s just coasting and isn’t taking any of this seriously nor using it as a tool for motivation. We’ll find out soon enough.

I wouldn’t be shocked to see Carmelo moved to Chicago, Dallas or (SURPRISE) Sacramento since there’s loads of chatter about him going to be shipped away. Depending on the season the Knicks have early on throughout the first half of the season, this all could turn out to be true. We’ll begin to feel the pulse in about two weeks.

On the other side of things, there’s good ol Kevin. Setting an early goal to be on Russell Westbrook’s good side and not get cussed out, saying the right things although Scott Brooks was fired and replaced, and coming off a season where he sat cause of foot issues and watched Westbrook rise to another level that may be impossible to coexist with. You have the Washington Wizards maneuvering to lure Durant to their team with them hiring people close to him into the organization. You have the chance of he and Russell suddenly not getting along. You have the chance that they’ll be intact but will lose in an early round to a stacked Spurs or Clippers team, although any team in the west is capable to be honest.

Kevin is seen as a potential next in line torch bearer from LeBron’s dominance to his overdue arrival by finally winning a championship. Should he fail at this during this season, would it drive him from the team he’s been with since day 1? OKC would be crazy to trade Durant knowing it can retain him but possibly crazier to let him potentially walk, so what do they do?

Durant just proclaimed himself the best in the game and didn’t flinch in saying so. That’s loud and clear enough to get the attention of the likes of LeBron, Russell, Anthony Davis, and Stephen Curry. He was clearly the game’s best player during his lone MVP season but can he regain the same magic (and possession of the ball) in order to carry himself to that mountaintop again? If so, would it be at the expense of the growth of not only his teammates but specifically, Russell Westbrook?

I expect to see both of these players of interest succeed this year. Oklahoma City may be the only team that could stop a Spurs team that could become an unbeatable machine with its parts once they all mesh. The Knicks could be a playoff team IF Carmelo is able to will them to a plus-.500 record. I don’t expect the east to become any easier with many teams having longevity and teams making decent off-season moves and drafts that should lunge them further into routine competitiveness amongst the rest of the conference. This may be one of the best seasons this era has seen thus far.

Rare Footage Of Blake Griffin Vs. Derrick Rose & Eric Gordon (Video)

BY CHRIS TERNATE via http://behindthearc.collectivepress.com/

Rare Footage Of Blake Griffin Vs. Derrick Rose & Eric Gordon

Detroit Pistons VS Everybody

Stanley-Johnson-1

By: Opinionated MJ

Everybody has an opinion about the Detroit Pistons for the upcoming year. I don’t agree with any of them but the positive ones. The ones that talk about Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson becoming first time All-Stars. The one about Stanley Johnson being a dark horse Rookie of the Year candidate. The ones about Stan Van Gundy finally having a team that represents his build. Then I hear the negativity. I hear that we won’t make the playoffs. I hear that the Reggie Jackson signing wasn’t a good signing. I hear that Brandon Jennings accepting coming off the bench may be a “lie” in order to appeal to coaches, players, etc. I hear that Drummond will be exactly like Dwight Howard and won’t learn any more moves and be a hustle, pick and roll, and points-from-offensive-rebounds player ONLY (Yeah I made that up). I hear that people dismissing us and saying we can’t get it done. Pessimism is unattractive.

First, let me address the Reggie Jackson signing. Who would’ve been better or available for us going forward? Rondo? Russell Westbrook in 2 years? WHO? Answer me that then also answer if Detroit is a target market for free agents going forward. I believe that we can get a big time player in free agency. We’re one Superstar away from being a very good team. Lets say Drummond, Jackson and Johnson become a big 3, Detroit will be a contender for sure. We can have a homegrown superstar instead of having to sign one. It would’ve been nice to land LaMarcus Aldridge. I think if we would’ve landed Carmelo in free agency last offseason, we would’ve been fine. Stan like his teams to shoot and he’d find a way to insert defense around Carmelo to fill in for his “deficiency” doing so. I’ve seen him play defense, he only wants to defend big time players, you know, LeBron, KD, etc. I’m accepting of the Reggie Jackson deal because there is no one else available and more importantly, HE PLAYS DEFENSE. When Westbrook, Curry, Harden, and others come to town, who did we have to defend them? No one. He also averaged about 17 and 9 during his time in a Pistons uniform thus far. So I’m not upset at all. Coaching is everything.

Next up, Stanley Johnson. The kid says he’s ready to see LeBron. He went up 1,000 notches in my book for this statement. We didn’t have anyone to defend LeBron, Carmelo, KD, now we do. He can also defend different positions AND he is strong. He’s not little, he’s not weak, he’s not scared. I wanted Winslow but when I took a deeper look at him and watched him during the summer league, I fully accepted the pick and I think we have a player who should have been top 5 in the draft. Once he grows into his role and grows as a player under Van Gundy, he will be a force. Mark my words. I don’t know his ceiling but I know it’s high. He can facilitate, shoot, post, pick and roll, defend, rebound, the kid can do it all. Only thing is that he’s a rookie. So he’ll burst onto the scene, then he’ll possibly encounter a rookie wall. Once he breaks it, he’s going to become something special. He’s already embraced the city and as a hometown Detroit kid and a Piston fan, I’ve embraced Stanley Johnson. Good things will come from him. Stay tuned!

Now to Drummond. We know that he’s in control now that Monroe is gone. This is now Drummond’s team to lead. He has embraced that and has already seemingly become a vocal leader and understands that he’s the man now in Detroit. With Jackson facilitating and having shooters around him to give him more space on the floor, it’s time for him to show his growth. I particularly paid attention to his work with Monty Williams from the Team USA practices from last year and he helped Drummond develop post moves. He was pushing Drummond to do more with his game. If Williams helped Anthony Davis, I’m sure he’s able to help Drummond develop in such a short period of time. Let’s also not forget what Van Gundy did for Dwight Howard. Giving certain players the green light allows them to develop in a way that they couldn’t otherwise. He has geared this team towards Drummond, just time for him to step up now. I expect to see him have his best season yet with no Monroe and Smith hogging up his space and touches.

Lastly, our depth and our coach. We have a lot of stretch shooters, decent defenders, and a coach that knows how to make it all fit together. With Morris, Tolliver, Meeks, Cadwell-Pope, Jennings, a few bigs to get a few fouls, I think we have the build of a playoff team for sure. Weak Eastern Conference full of teams with potential (Celtics) and a few teams that have retooled (Pacers), we should be able to find ourselves in the top 5-6 teams of the east. I see it shaking out top to bottom with Cavs, Heat, Bulls, Bucks, Hawks, Pistons, then you can insert two teams after. They’ll have losing records anyway so just take your pick. Just don’t sleep on the Pistons this year cause we are set up to make a run to the 2nd round and maybe the Conference Finals depending on how the seeds fall. Don’t be surprised if we’re able to become the weakness of a Miami, Chicago or Cleveland team with our playing style and depth. We will surprise a lot of people this year. Low expectations but loads of hidden upside. We won 32 games last season, just think about what would’ve happened had we traded or released Josh Smith before last season began. Should leave you confused with what we’ll be able to do. Last time Van Gundy achieved his build, he coached a team to the NBA Finals with ONE Superstar type player, a strong guard, and a bunch of players that can stretch the floor. The formula is proven and still fits and applies to today’s run and gun style.

Prediction: 45-37, 5th or 6th seed in playoffs. Be on the lookout for a possible big trade for us that could put us in the 50 win range.