Tag Archives: 2016-17 Season

The Cleveland Cavaliers Will Win The 2016 – 17 NBA Championship

By: Opinionated MJ



I have one question… Who’s stopping the Cleveland Cavaliers? I mean honestly? Who in the Eastern Conference can actually contend for a championship? The team that gave them their toughest on-court opposition isn’t in the picture. That would be my very own hometown Detroit Pistons. They’re still trying to match last year’s mentality. It’s getting late. The Chicago Bulls, the team that I considered one stretch four away from contention, isn’t in the picture. Dwayne Wade and LeBron still may NEVER meet in the playoffs in their ENTIRE career. Let that sink in… Carmelo Anthony isn’t doing enough with the New York Knicks to get them over the top and into playoff seeding. He’s only played LeBron one time as well.

At the top of the eastern mountains are the Cavs, Raptors, Celtics, and Hawks. I personally feel like you need a defensive big man to contend with any LeBron team. Dwight Howard is back out East and he has one big win against the old LeBron led Cavs from the past. He went to the big show that year as well. If any team has a chance, it’s Atlanta… But wait… They gave away Kyle Korver. Someone who actually helps the Hawks create space for Dwight to operate. Oh well.

There’s also the Celtics and Raptors. I’ll bundle them up together cause they’ve done the same thing the last 2 years: crumble when LeBron takes the floor against them. I’ve seen LeBron come in and literally CRUISE through those series without having to break a sweat. The Celtics seem to sadly, fold. The Hawks seem to implode and forget their style of play and their routine. Its very frustrating to watch. It’s like there’s no competition out east. Well, it’s not.

I think there are a number of west teams that could at least give the Cavs a good 2-3 games in a playoff series. Of course the top 3 can. I also think the Grizzlies, Jazz, Rockets and Thunder would have a decent chance, better than any east team. The west has forever been a Fight Club fight on the way to the finals. Injuries and grind show in the Western Conference playoffs. Just ask the Clippers, Warriors, and Spurs.

I picked Cleveland as the favorites for this season anyway. Now they’ve added a top shooter with this lineup and still don’t even have JR Smith back yet. This will be the year Kyrie shows his self-worth that has been overlooked since LeBron decided to go back home.
The Warriors are good but very vulnerable. They have patented their routine and they don’t know who’s going to shoot the last shot. I say Steph Curry every time.

Cavs vs Anybody in the finals. 4-1. LeBron coasts, Kyrie wins finals MVP finally, another ring for “The Land”. Comparison to Jordan ensues. Blasphemous commentary on this subject continues as LeBron gets closer to 6. He’s great, maybe he’ll wind up being second best. Maybe he’ll wind up winning the next 5 thanks to this garbage Eastern Conference. Man up Eastern Conference! Continue to slaughter them, Bron.

​Real Quick: Russell Westbrook for MVP


By: Opinionated MJ



Why not? The man has been on a tear lately and does not look to let up anytime soon. Of course everyone forgot he was trying to get a triple double record last season. I expected 2006-07 Kobe from him but he’s doing even better than that with overall game. He’s getting his teammates involved. He’s also kept his team in the top 5 of the west and is flirting with being a top 3 seed, if he and the Thunder continue to win games.

Let’s give him some acknowledgement for surpassing, tying, and constantly trading triple double leads with LeBron James. Let’s understand that the west is a bit weaker than last year and the year before due to the strengthening of strong teams like the Spurs and Warriors. The Mavericks also picked up a couple Warriors along the way. Only real exit that didn’t really impact the conference was Dwight Howard going back east. So let’s give him proper credit for elevating his team. I’m certain he’s on track to have the highest usage rate. All while still keeping a winning record.

The only thing I see wrong is his volume of shots but I’m sure they’re required, sort of how Kobe did with the Lakers, in order to make the offense work. Why wouldn’t the offense run through him? He’s got the teammates around him to help him at least get to the second round of the playoffs and should they hit a hot streak they very well could be a dark horse candidate to flirt with the conference finals. I wouldn’t bet against it. He’s staying ahead of Lillard’s Blazers and he’s jousting with the Harden’s Rockets at the current time. Should the Clippers face another losing streak, things could get interesting at the 3 & 4 seed.

I want to close by saying that we should consider Russell Westbrook a great player. I know he hasn’t done anything alone but he has the opportunity to do so now. He’s matured and he has the tools to carry this team. They should improve next off-season with the cap set to rise again. As it currently stands though, don’t be surprised if he wins MVP and maybe even lands the scoring and assists titles on the year and maybe the next couple.

He’s my early pick for MVP.

​Should Players Sit Out Games To Rest During the NBA Season?

By: Opinionated Reezy




One of the lessons from the Greg Popovich era of coaching is resting his key players during the season to rest them.  Coming from the Bad Boys Pistons era basketball this is a foreign concept; however, I must admit there are some strategic elements to it.  We are going to take a look at should players sit out games due to rest during the NBA Season.


How are NBA Seasons constructed?

Per ESPN the 82-game season started in 1967 to allow a team in the 12-team league to play conference rivals eight times and inter-conference foes seven times.  As the league expanded the number maintained and adjusted accordingly.  Additionally, 82 was chosen primarily to balance revenue and player salaries and secondary was the wear and tear on the athlete’s body.  In short, we have an 82-game season today because we have one in the past.  Dissecting the question of whether players should sit out games due to rest during the NBA Season is to first answer if an 82-game season is too much?  I believe it is.

What is the goal of a Team in the NBA?

The goal the NBA is to provide the best service and entertainment for their stakeholders, which would be the fans, media, and sponsors, not necessarily in that order.  The owners get a share of the revenue from media and sponsors, but that is not the only way they make the bulk of their money.

NBA Owners have their own subset of stakeholders, which would include Season Ticket owners, who buy into the direction of the team sight unseen so to speak, the actual players, the city, and sponsors.  Therefore, their goal mirrors that of the NBA, but they also want to win a championship for their city as fans want to see winning teams and will more than likely become season ticket holders if there is a pattern of success.

So, should a coach make decisions that would net a more favorable outcome to the end of the season?  Yes, they should.

To rest or not to rest

For the right reasons or result, I believe it is feasible that a coach would sit someone out due to rest.  Some of these reasons can be considered selfish, but again intended for the right purpose:

1. Preparation for the Off Season:

 You are already in position to be in the playoffs and the final games truly don’t have an impact on your position or seating, why over extend your star players?  This is a great time to limit their minutes or rest them and allow the seldom used talent to get in their rhythm.

2. Preparing for potential conference rivals:

 I know this is a weird one, but having your star players in the game can mask potential weaknesses in your team.  By resting them you can expose those weaknesses and between prepare your team for potential matchups once you get to the post season.

3. Protect players from injury:

  The NBA is a different game than it was years ago, and a body can suffer from wear and tear easier.  We notice the major injuries but not the minor aches and pains that can impact the game.  Successful teams go through all 82 games and some degree of a post season.  Resting players, especially older players, becomes smart to keep those players at optimal condition longer.

4. During an away game against a team of no consequence:

  Yep, selfish, but should the Golden State Warriors risk Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, or Kevin Durant against the Dallas Mavericks this year during an away game?  Maybe, but not always.  Sit one of them.  There will be people saying that the fans pay to see them play.  While I get that, the home fans of Golden State matter more than the away fans of Golden State in this example.  If resting the players for a few games means you get more out of them when they get to the playoffs, I would make that move in a heartbeat and ask for forgiveness during the championship parade.

Landscape of the NBA: Summer 16 (Part II)


By: Opinionated MJ

Welcome to another installment of the “NBA Landscape” series. Let’s jump right in to a few intriguing teams going into the 2016-17 NBA Season. Representing the Eastern Conference, yes, the conference I think possibly has NO chance to stop Cleveland regardless of how interesting they may get. I Like these teams but I believe they’re still one major piece short. That piece could be the growth of a player already existing on their roster.

 

Indiana Pacers

The Pacers have found themselves loaded with talent in their starting lineup now and actually look very scary with Paul George another year removed from injury and with an entire season of health under his belt. No Danny Granger curse here. The Pacers now consist of Paul George, Monta Ellis, Al Jefferson, Jeff Teague, Myles Turner, and Thaddeus Young just to name a few. They now have the depth that it takes to make a deep run in the NBA Playoffs. The only question is, will their new coach Nate McMillan be able to translate his defensive prowess into these players and onto the court while also finding an offensive system to get this collection of players to coexist in. I guess people will be saying Teague is declining because he won’t be finishing as much as he did in Atlanta, he won’t have to. Their X-factor that can bring them success is Myles Turner. He needs to grow and continue to expand his game. If he can successfully fit in around a bunch of ball dominant guards, this team can potentially contend against a LeBron James Cavaliers team. If not, they’re doomed to be defeated by King James as easy as Toronto and Atlanta have been in the past.

 

Boston Celtics

Very intriguing as well but they’ve also landed an ex-Hawk in Al Horford. I’m not too fond of that 60 win Hawks teams from 2 seasons ago because they still folded against LeBron when it mattered just as they did during the playoffs this past year. They still have Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford, Jae Crowder, Kelly Olynyk, Gerald Green, Avery Bradley, and the rookie Jaylen Brown. This team just keeps expanding their depth every year. I really think they just need to either find the formula the 2004 Detroit Pistons found by having depth and defense with sparky offense, or they need to try to find a way to land a superstar by DOING WHATEVER IT TAKES! Allegedly they could’ve landed Jimmy Butler, should’ve pushed for DeMarcus Cousins, and were in the running for Kevin Durant. A lot of people thought they would land Russell Westbrook but he decided to stay in OKC. I see Boston being more of the same since Al Horford doesn’t really want to play with his back to the basket. He’ll provide relief for Thomas. The Celtics need more perimeter defenders in case they fall to the injury bug again when it matters most. If you lose Bradley, Crowder, and even Thomas’ scoring when it matters most, you’re doomed. More depth may be the key. Maybe if Jaylen Brown can make an instant impact then they’ll be better than expected. He is their X-factor.

 

Detroit Pistons

My lovely DETROITTTTTTTTTT BASSSSSSKETTTTTBALLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!! I expect big things from this Pistons team coming into the 16-17 season. First things first, young Drummond. You must improve your free throws! This team is doomed unless… Stanley Johnson begins to find his inner Kawhi Leonard. I expect big things from him to go along with his attitude that he stands down to no man. I actually appreciate him for that reason. A lot of Cavs fans and NBA fans around the globe were saying that he should’ve kept his mouth shut. I beg to differ. What better to do being a #8 seed, underdog, gritty, new, young Pistons team making the playoffs for the first time in years and you get to see LEBRON JAMES as your opposition. It’s already win or go home. Sense of urgency from round 1! What better way to improve than to play against the absolute best team in the Eastern Conference and arguably the best player on the planet? Who better to talk smack to so you can be forced to elevate your game or be embarrassed. No matter the result, you win, due to the stage that this team is in. You automatically improve. He’s 19 (probably 20 now). He’s a kid! Already has the mindset of a man ready to put in the work to reach the goals and expectations set by his peers, the fans, and most importantly, his coach. Stan Van Gundy has a real diamond in the rough with Stanley Johnson. He IS the X-factor for the Detroit Pistons. I expect them to be top 4 in the East and as good as top 3. We stole Tobias Harris midseason, we’ve allowed Jackson a year to be the man running the show, we have Drummond who is capable of 20 & 20 on any night, and we also have Morris and KCP who can drop 20 without you expecting it at all. We have a well-rounded team. We just need Drummond to have a season where he plays better defense and can convert on 60-70% of his free throws. We were the BEST COMPETITION IN THE EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFFS against the Cavs. Everybody else tucked their tail in and cowered in fear. I say that with absolute confidence because it is true. LeBron hasn’t had any competition in the east but 1 team every year. The Heat were expected to be the competition but fell to the injury bug, piece by piece.

 

I’ll stop it at the Pistons. I’ll also get into the Knicks, Bulls, and express what I expect from teams like the Wolves, 76ers, Lakers, and more in upcoming articles. The Knicks are surrounded in mystique at this point. I also wouldn’t sleep on the Bulls. The defense I expect from them would resemble something like that of the Wade, Bron, Bosh Miami Heat. Durant, OKC, Pelicans, Jazz, Suns!! Can’t wait for this season!

Until next article!