Tag Archives: Al Horford

XVIII

By: Opinionated MJ

XVIII

You have got them growing green with slight envy while you’re looking notoriously Grinchy… You moved a man who came back from a knocked out tooth and a very close loss in his life, his sister. You also moved a man who lost his mother moments after the deal was struck. It seems like it voiced the feels this deal left on many hearts of NBA players, agents, and fans. You’re a mean one. Chasing gold. All business. No soul? Mr. Grinch.

You’re asked constant questions pertaining to people that are now apart of your past. You didn’t mention them, they were mentioned to you… The reaction to your response is full of anger. Full of wanting you to remain a boy. Wanting you to remain a “cog”. For the fans. For the city.

You? Yes you. You didn’t sign up for this. Are you willing to accept the change in reality that this has awarded you? Was the risk worth it? Did you forget the business end? Do you want him as your teammate after assuming there would be another point guard to run the show? You said he recruited you before. I seen a smile on your face. You said its now full circle. I believe you. I believe in both of you.

You though sir, you’re now hated for wanting to be your own man. As a man, we all want to get away from the nest. We don’t always end up with step brothers, but sometimes we do. They’re not blood. So how much do you care for them, really? We’ve seen this before. Although it differs. A few good men escape from their situations in order to reach a common cause. Chasing gold. Leaders. Leaders of their very own before they sacrificed to overcome the very man that mentors you. The very man who dropped 60 on you too, sir. From the organization your current organization hates. Their sworn rival. Some would say after a certain move next summer, we’ll be setup to see a potential finals match-up featuring the two of the classic rivalry.

You. You left your team after beginning to reach your potential. You’ve been through constant downs, with one up. Then you leave to be with someone who will expand your game. Someone you’re familiar with. That’s the thing that’s missing from this entire equation in people’s minds. We’ve forgotten about the coach. We’ve forgotten since Erik Spoelstra, Steve Kerr, Luke Walton, Tyronn Lue, and David Blatt, have been the coaches we’ve seen reaching the mountaintop. Rather they’ve won or lost, they’ve been there. We haven’t seen Greg Popovich reach the finals in the last 3 off-seasons. Phil Jackson never came back to coaching. Pat Riley hasn’t come downstairs again. The others? They just have yet to reach the promise land. Though they represent that promise to the fullest extent.

Enough third person. This isn’t a tale. This is truth: Brad Stevens will bring out even more in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. You can bet that. Danny was cold in his moving but also very bold. Numbers lovers! Don’t you remember Isaiah Thomas numbers before arriving in Boston? Do you remember Al Horford playing any truly meaningful ball in Atlanta? Do you remember believing Marcus Smart wouldn’t develop? What happened that even allowed the Celtics to become the #1 seed in the east last year? I believe the Cavs let them have it at the end. How did they even attain that positioning at all? It’s simple: coaching.

I remember when Brad Stevens first got hired in. He had Rajon Rondo. Truthfully, he held a winning record in the east with Rondo up until a little after they decided to trade Rondo. I’m saying this to remind you of the different players he’s coached. The different minds and styles he’s had to accommodate. He’s succeeded at every turn. Isaiah Thomas didn’t become valuable until Brad Stevens. Prove me wrong. Brad Stevens has done well with every roster, every piece thrown at him.

Now he’s got a bunch of something he hasn’t had since he accepted the Celtics coaching role: scorers. That’s why the went after Isaiah Thomas. Isaiah helped them each this point now. Everyone has been waiting for a big Boston deal. This has huge implications and I think will exceed everyone’s expectations. Potentially out of the gate.

Here’s the names on the 2017-18 Celtics:

Kyrie

Hayward

Horford

Morris

Brown

Smart

Rozier

Baynes

Larkin

With 7 Rookies! 7!:

Tatum

Peak

White

Theis

Yabusele

Nader

Ojeleye

Easily a 10 man rotation with Tatum heading up the bench with Smart. They’re also hunting for another vet to add to this team. Don’t think they’re done dealing either. This isn’t a finished product by any means but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. They could be the quiet killer out east. They don’t have too much of anything and you know that can kill you sometimes. They have enough to complement the next set. After the starters set the tone you could easily begin to mix things up. A rotation with Kyrie, Morris, and Tatum. A rotation with Gordon, Smart, and Al. Whatever combination. Add Brown in with both in flashes. It makes it unpredictable. What’s also unpredictable is how Stevens will put this altogether.

We’ve got to stop looking at players like they aren’t coached. They never reach their true potential without them.

The NBA Eastern Conference Folders, The Cavs, Wiz, and a Dark Horse Bulls Team

By: Opinionated MJ

 

The Eastern Folders Division

Who in the Eastern Conference can actually win a series against the Cleveland Cavaliers? My gut tells me that its not the Pacers, Celtics, Bucks, Raptors, or Hawks. They’ve all been considered so-called threats. Only thing is, they’ve all folded in the past or simply flared out when it was time to bring their A game in the playoffs. I’ll get into it a little for why I believe they all fold in prime time.

The Bucks don’t have enough experience to me. They are one piece away. Jabari Parker. They need their team in full health. Thats when I’ll consider them a true threat out east. No need to even talk about more. Yes, Giannis is the truth, but he’ll need that extra player to really be what he can be. It’s nothing like another player taking the pressure off of you. Nothing like it. Especially with what Parker brings to this team. Reminds me of a young Carmelo Anthony.

The Pacers simply don’t have enough experience. I think they need Myles Turner to become what he will become. At least a consistent 18 & 10 from him and that would do wonders for them. Plus, who really believes in a team that has Monta Ellis? Paul George already blew a game, he and CJ Miles, and then he continued to point fingers. Then we found out he was 0 for 20 in those situations anyway. He’s not even clutch enough to command the ball. Enough said.

The Celtics seem like the one who would burst through the wall and actually make it interesting. As we’ve seen through the first 2 games, they don’t really have anyone who can create for themselves outside of Thomas and Al Horford. They have enough defense but they haven’t even been able to stop Jimmy Butler, so we know they’re not stopping LeBron. I don’t forsee them making it out of this round now.

The Raptors… I’m very disappointed in Kyle Lowry. Knowing that going forward, he has the potential to have a meltdown at any given time. He’s not reliable enough to actually consider a true All-Star, that alone screams volumes to me. Demar Derozan on the other hand, he’s stepped into some mid-range bloodline only seen by a few greats. He just arrived there this season, so before I get too impressed, I’ll depend on his consistency over time. He is the only true reliable offensive option on this team. Meanwhile, Jonas, Serge, and Lowry are all here and there. They need a point guard who can really command the team and improve the other players all while being consistent himself. Chris Paul anyone?

 

Can the Wiz Reach The Cavs in the Conference Finals?

This is the presumed matchup going forward. I believe that they’ve been eliminated enough and they have enough playoff scars that they’ve built a foundation on. The only problem would be Bradley Beal being guarded so well that he’s taken off of his game and the only dependable player becoming John Wall. They have enough role players to push them ahead and to keep most opponents honest but I’m looking at the Bulls right now and they may have enough defense, scrappy play (at times) that they turn into transition buckets, and focus on execution that can put them over the top. I still consider the Wizards a roadblock, if not, the team that will meet Cleveland.

Can The Bulls Reach The Cavs in the Conference Finals?

I’ve been a fan of the way the Bulls began the season and also how they ended it. They now have a 2-0 lead over the #1 seeded Boston Celtics. Who would’ve knew? We watched the Celtics grind hard all season led by Isaiah Thomas who dazzled in many 4th quarters. I’ve been led to believe that the Celtics would’ve been formidable against the Cavs and the entire east until they fell flat towards the end of the season. Condolences to Mr. Thomas loss in his family. That aside, I truly believe that the Bulls are fully equipped and able to not only beat the Celtics but also make it to the Conference Finals against the Cavs. That alone would be scary.

The Bulls have Jimmy Butler, Dwayne Wade, and Rajon Rondo, all of which have been contenders, and champions in the past. They have alot of veteran leadership on this team between those 3 and that has been why they’ve been able to put together two great performances against the Celtics. Everybody forgot Wade has a playoff switch. I also don’t know why people try to write Rondo off as if he’s washed up. He’s the perfect pass-first point guard that many teams in the league need. It’s just he commands the ball and to be the centerpiece of your offense. That’s the only reason why many teams didn’t gamble on him. Collectively, I think they have enough to make it there. I think they can even matchup well against Washington. The Wizards would have to be on all cylinders and the Bulls would have to be flat on offense for them to put the Bulls away. What i’m noticing is that Wade, Rondo, and Butler have put their differences aside and have turned on playoff mode in order to succeed. They weren’t considered a threat to make the playoffs and now they’re the biggest threat out east. I don’t think I’m just speaking with excitement either. I’ve been watching them all season. They clicked at the perfect time and took it right into the Playoffs. Watch out.