Category Archives: NBA Basketball

Unsung MVP: Donovan Mitchell

By: Michael Tolliver Jr (Opinionated MJ)

How is it that Nikola Jokic is being considered for MVP, I personally have Steph in there, LeBron is always in there, and Embiid is my #1 for MVP, but many are simply NOT including Donovan Mitchell for MVP? 15 wins over the last 16 games? Spida can’t get any consideration right now although he is apart of the best team in the league? Are we rewriting the narative for MVP right now? Are we considering his teammates? If that’s the case, we need to eliminate LeBron from contention as well. Why won’t you plug Mitchell into this discussion?

Shaq should’ve been enough to put all eyes on Donovan. He has delivered. He’s been seamless alongside Conley this season. Yes, he has Rudy Gobert, and I’ve seen a list that features Rudy for MVP but not Donovan. Steph Curry isn’t even on that list. Validity killed, right? Ha. What is the requirement now? It seems like everyone is all over the place. The typical voters will likely still choose LeBron since AD is playing more like Kevin Love with half a Minny & Cavs jersey on nowadays. It happens when you’re playing next to one of the biggest stars in the game. Unless you’re on the Brooklyn Nets.

He should at least be at #2. If we’re going on “best player, best team” as of right now, Utah is 19-5, Philly is 17-7. Why are we not considering Donovan Mitchell for MVP? I need answers. Are we still stuck on following LeBron’s age, years, and mileage? Are we suprised with a focused Embiid? Are we too in love with the numbers Jokic is putting up? I’ll ask a real question. Are we stuck on assists being the pathway to an MVP? Why pass more when you can score more, that’s my take. If we’re enamored with ball movement, then LaMelo Ball and Steph Curry should be the frontrunners. Yes LAMELO BALL. Let’s not ignore the fact the everyone has totally cemented the mentality that Giannis can’t get another until he can make 3’s and make the finals, although he also doesn’t have a flat out second star like DONOVAN MITCHELL!

Eventually these narratives will turn into harsh truths and won’t be able to be denied. Kind of like Giannis latest MVP award. If you fully remove Donovan from this team, are they #1 in the league right now? Are they looking like a team that can give any team an issue in the West? Did we ignore what happened in the bubble for him? If so, then the entire bubble doesn’t matter.

I think it’s on another level. No one believes the Jazz can take a series from Denver, or any of the LA teams. Is that what is fueling the idea that Donovan doesn’t fit the mold? Too early? Too young? That shouldn’t creep into your mind when you think of him. He’s arrived and he will only continue to get better. I like Jamal Murray, but Donovan has been more consistent this season. It’s time to give him his respect. I could play the seconds a drinking game with this. Would you rather Gobert or PG? Gobert or AD? Gobert or CJ? Gobert or Kyrie or Harden? I personally can’t put a player with another superstar at the forefront of the MVP race. I have many mottos. The one that applies here is that “great players make great players greater.”

Donovan is doing this for his whole team. Take notice before it’s too late and give him his proper respect. #1 in the league.

Why Doesn’t Mainstream NBA Media Shine a Light On All the Other Stars?

By: Michael Tolliver Jr (Opinionated MJ)

Dear NBA Media, this is for you.

We know that Steph Curry is the greatest shooter ever. We know that KD is one of the best scorers ever. We know that LeBron James is in the goat conversation in the minds of many. Why dont we know anything about the other stars around the league? Maybe I’m overexaggerating. We hear about Kawhi, Jokic, Embiid a bit, Harden, Kyrie… I just dont hear enough about the other good players in the league to my liking.

We know about the Boston duo of Tatum & Brown. I haven’t seen any articles or Twitter posts or polls about Tatum. I haven’t heard anyone trying to insert Brown into the MVP conversation. He’s consistently ascended every year and has yet to really be given his proper due. Currently, I have Joel Embiid as my front-runner for MVP. He’s been slighted if you ask me. Still sitting behind LeBron because of year whatever and add in the playoff games, it’s however many more season. He’s been labeled as the second best center behind Jokic since the Joker passes more. They both are on the same level if you ask me. I’ll ignore standings since it isn’t game 65 and say that Embiid and Jokic are my top 2 for MVP regardless of record. If you remove both from their teams roster, which team is more likely to succeed in the playoffs? Neither.

I haven’t heard anything about what Jerami Grant has been doing for the Pistons. Team losing more than winning so his output doesn’t matter to you? Detroit has been very competitive. That’s step 1. I haven’t heard about the fact that my dark horse Orlando Magic, year in and year out, still make the playoffs. The Key? Nikola Vucevic. NOBODY talks about him at all. Only Aaron Gordon. He’s cool too. The team just can’t stay healthy. While I’m speaking about the Magic, I seen more articles about Markelle Fultz being injured than I seen about him actually ascending. Overcoming his jumpshot woes or whatever the media made me adopt within my perception. I always remained a fan. Get well soon.

I haven’t heard much about Donovan Mitchell until Shaq made it his business to try to rile him up to turn into Kobe. Everybody reacted in a soft manner. Nobody is built for the harsh criticism that makes you breakthrough. The things that give you even more to play for. Everybody are “yes men”. I was raised different and I loved every second of it. I expect a supernova now. Ja Morant, Jamal Murray, Jimmy Butler. I’m all over the place. Media was all over them in the bubble. Now it’s back to the usual? Mainstream media seems to only bash the players when they don’t live up to “their” expectations. See Pascal Siakam. See Shai Gilgeous Alexander. Even Zion Williamson. Fans turned on him cause they thought the NBA was trying to force him into the bubble. Cue my favorite line, “YOU STILL GOTTA PLAY!”

I won’t mention Dame since you finally all give him his respect. It was well overdue. I guess Giannis isn’t an MVP candidate anymore because he won 2 in a row. He’s got to win a title before you give him another? Sure. Based upon how the media awards MVPs, I’m sure he should still be top 3 with Embiid and Jokic, but you’ve got motives, right? This dude turned Brook Lopez into a defensive threat and his presence allowed for Lopez to comfortably extend his range. Keep sleeping.

At some point, you’ve got to acknowledge the star power that exists throughout the entire league. When LeBron, KD, and Steph retire, I anticpate you’ll all become chickens with your heads cut off. Your only attachment at this current moment is Luka, but he’s been losing so you can’t crown him. Maybe your strategy is flawed. Watch the players over the entire NBA and realize there’s more to be consumed than what you’ve been watching for an extended period of time.

We paid heavy attention to Grant Hill, Jason Kidd, Kobe, Iverson, T-Mac, Vince Carter, LeBron, KG, Dirk, Tim Duncan, and others that came before and after them as soon as they hit the league. Mainstream media has Luka in this space but this time with NO variety. I think it’s time for you to skip a few games of whoever you love and to watch what’s happening across the league before you end up scrambling to acknowledge them… Once it’s too late and you’re the last to report on them. That’s the true definition of being a bandwagon fan and front-running. Then you’ll oversaturate everything. Don’t say I’m not telling the truth. Don’t run into the rookie wall.

Blake Griffin: Valuable or Useless

By: Christopher Wilson

Blake Griffin: Valuable or Useless

It seems to me the consensus on Blake Griffin is that he’s done. No lift in his legs, slow, no explosiveness, defensive liability etc.. I have seen these statements posted several times on a few Piston community’s comments. Of course we all wish he’d return to the all star from years past however, I believe he can still be a valuable asset not only from a veteran leadership standpoint but production as well.

As a big fan of Griffin, I will try to be as unbiased as possible while pleading my case for why the Pistons have a good asset in the former all star. Let’s take a look into his statistical performances so far, starting with the first few games before his concussion protocol absence. In 3 outings he shot 45.9% from the field while going 43.5% from beyond the arch which he was taking 7+ 3’s a game, 5+ boards per and very few turnovers.

Up until his concussion protocol he showed flashes of the all star Blake we grew accustomed to from the 2018/19 season. Defensively he was still a liability giving inconsistent effort and bringing little to no energy unlike Tasmanian Stewart. However, teams not named the Celtics or Bucks have struggled at the PF position against Detroit shooting 15-59 (25%) from the field. I’m sure Blake was not the primary defender the entire time but his veteran defensive savvy helps him recover when he gets beat and close out on open forwards after helping on D, especially when the ball is kicked out for 3. After the concussion protocol his production was dismal, shooting 31% from the field in his first 4 games back. Defensively he looked lethargic and helpless especially against Giannis (who doesn’t), he bounced back in his next two games defensively but still struggled on offense.

Finally, In his last couple of games his performance has resembled pre-concussion Blake. He’s been on the floor constantly for loose balls, attacking the basket more and distributing like he was a couple of years ago. I don’t expect him to be the 24-7-5 guy who carried us to the playoffs, but I also don’t think he should be getting the amount of hate or disrespect either. His attitude has been very professional and positive which is great for the young guns, also most guys with his stardom in a similar scenario would have some sort of issue or become a locker room distraction trying to get traded to a contender. Going forward if he continues to adjust well with being the #2 guy to Grant I think his value would increase exponentially around the deadline.

MoNeYBaLL 52 NBA Podcast: Steph 62

By Opinionated MJ

MoNeYBaLL 51 NBA Podcast: Big Man Reign

Featuring Opinionated MJ

MoNeYBaLL 50 NBA Podcast: What Defines An NBA Organization

By Opinionated MJ

MoNeYBaLL 49 NBA Podcast: In Defense Of Giannis (Part 2)

By Opinionated MJ

MoNeYBaLL 48 NBA Podcast: Early Individual NBA Awards

Featuring Opinionated MJ

MoNeYBaLL 47 NBA Podcast: Early NBA Power Rankings

Featuring Opinionated MJ

Part 1

Part 2

MoNeYBaLL 46 NBA Podcast: League of Agents (Part 1)

By Opinionated MJ (Michael Tolliver Jr)

Listen to MoNeYBaLL 46 NBA Podcast: League Of Agents by Opinionated Media

Warriors Still Not Finished

… Warriors Still Not Finished

By Opinionated MJ (Michael Tolliver Jr)

I’m still high on the Warriors thanks to last season. They’ve gotta add key pieces to seal it. They’ve got shooters, a big now, Steph & Dray healthy, Wiggins who’s overlooked in this current situation.

Maybe they fold, but I think something anew unfolds. The Spurs suffered similar fate. Injury to Robinson. Later, injury to their core 3. They were able to plug in pieces and adjust roles.

I just don’t like the negativity and everybody already calling it a wrap. Now if Steph went down, that’s different. Even then, Dray, Wiggins, Wiseman still sounds interesting to me.

Steph, Klay, Wiggins, Wiseman…
EP off the bench…
Bowman, Chriss, Lee, and the shooting squad.
They drafted shooters as well.

They need to plug in players that have pieces of Klay’s game.

Steph MUST elevate them the same way Tim Duncan did his teammates. Late in the careers of the Spurs run of greatness, it became, Mills, Danny Green, Kawhi, etc. Even Tiago Splitter was elevated by Duncan, Pop, the culture, the system.

This era of fans of the league is so… Super team, LeBron-KD, Lakers-Boston, and whatever, that they forget the Detroit’s, the Dallas’, the San Antonio’s… Actual culture, system, and organization is slept on.

Warriors in a good space. Deal with it emotionally, and let’s get ready. Everyone else is putting teams together for 4 year runs. Some just for 2. Rockets just literally did 1. Warriors been putting this together since what… 09? Organic. You don’t run from that.

Wiseman & Wiggins are VERY key. Could change everything.

They say the league caught up? Cool. Change and succeed another way, like the Spurs. Dynasty/Legacy in play.

Get well soon Klay.

MoNeYBaLL 45 NBA Podcast: Come Back Like Jordan

By Opinionated MJ

New Podcast up

MoNeYBaLL 45 NBA Podcast: Come Back Like Jordan

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Villainy V: The Reaper

Photo credit: Connor Ernst

https://www.behance.net/gallery/82949351/SLIM-REAPER?tracking_source=search_projects_published_date

By: Opinionated MJ (Michael Tolliver Jr)

For some reason, everyone hates you. You really could’ve been a Blazer but that wouldn’t have resulted in Lillard being a sure thing for your team. Everything would’ve been different. It is what it is. You could’ve stayed in OKC, only to still have to worry about being trusted in moments that decide games, albeit, by your own teammate. Burner account? So what. What they fail to realize is that you’re all basketball. That is the very thing that I respect the most.

They decided that your path to prominence wasn’t the path usually traveled. Everyone is upset because you lost after being up 3-1 and going to the team that beat yours. Well, Ray Allen cried on the podium and wanted to be coddled by management in order to return. Then, HE WENT TO MIAMI! You left. You allowed Russell Westbrook to spread his wings. The team traded away Harden and Serge anyway. Cheap perspective, if you ask me. The funny thing is, they thought less was more but those two players were key when fighting against the Spurs, Mavericks, Lakers, and Warriors. Even the Clippers and Grizzlies at the time as well. Hell, the entire conference. No way that it would’ve been an easy road to stay while the team kept sending away the very assets that swung a series.

You set out with direct sights on taking out LeBron. That’s a road that’s not traveled at all. Only you. Your desire to win was burning blue and you didn’t see Golden State as a legacy busting move, but a legacy setting one. You were right in your decision, at least to me. It will only be magnified as the years continue to pass. Everyone only looks at you and that team with ultimate fear. Haven’t really felt that since Jordan played. Even had people not wanting to think about playing you. IYKYK

They wanted you to stick it out alone or with Russ. That’s cool. I see it differently. Especially as a Kobe fan who endured going through the Achilles injury with him as well. I’m happy as hell you made the decision you did. To win. To dominate. You worked for those rings by approaching the finals with one goal in sight. You could see it in your eyes and body language. I seen it. Meanwhile, it seems everyone was caught up in saying to went to a 73 win team. The roster was not the same. That statement is not accurate. Also, you were up against LeBron. You WON! Was it fair when Bron, Wade, and Bosh teamed up and beat you for their first championship? Let me not get the trolls riled up by hitting them with facts.

I could only imagine what you were feeling when the general wouldn’t crown you as the best player in the world. I watched you instill fear in many. I watched you give an interview and go from 25 to damn near 50. You had a switch. I hope you still got it. It’s time to shut everyone up once and for all.

The most recent noise has been around your podcast. Kyrie this, Kyrie that. Everyone knows that you two are lock step. They’re now unloading pressure onto you two. For me, simply making it to the finals would be enough. You decided to come to the east thats full of fully grown players entering their primes, some still just outside of it by a year or so. Giannis, Ben Simmons, Embiid, Siakam, the Heat, Celtics, and I’ll throw the Magic in there because I think they’re a superstar away from truly fighting in the east. Right now, you’re the villain of the league. You’re the main attraction. I hope that you come back at least 85-90% of what you wre before you left. 100% would just simply be unfair. It’s time to take the NBA back to the morgue and remind them that you are the Slim Reaper. Rather you like that name or not. Embrace it.

MoNeYBaLL 44 NBA Podcast: California NBA Bubble

Featuring Opinionated MJ

New Podcast 10/27/20

MoNeYBaLL 44 NBA Podcast:

  • California NBA Bubble
  • Early MVP
  • Asterisk?
  • No More Goat

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