Tag Archives: Anthony Davis

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The Biggest Blundering Of a Deal In Recent NBA History

By Opinionated Reezy (Ronald Stovall Jr)

Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers!! Stop the presses there is collusion, LeBron is tampering, OMG!!! He needs to be stopped!!

S L O W D O W N!

Let’s be clear, I am a LeBron James fan, often called Reezy Sharpe, a play on Shannon Sharpe, LeBron’s starch defender, but I am aware of business and I do think there is fishy business here, but not where we think it might be. Strap in and let’s walk through the real problems with this deal.

Where did this start?

This is the question and shout out to deadspin.com for helping with the answer. On a December interview on ESPN Woj said the following:

“They’re not going to give away picks and their top young players in some deal that makes them incrementally better this season because they’ve got to save all those assets for Anthony Davis, a big trade this summer pre- or post-free agency. That’s why they’ve looked at players who are on one-year deals who don’t have money going forward.”

That is very specific. Why would Woj say that? We all know he is reliable, but by all accounts, this is the moment that world knew what the Lakers intentions were. This is the problematic moment.

From that LeBron James said the following to Dave McMenamin during pre-game activities regarding Anthony Davis possibly coming to the Lakers that same evening:

“That would be amazing, that would be amazing, like, duh. That would be incredible.”

Why did he say that? Was he asked either directly about Anthony Davis being traded or about Woj’s interview? Did he find Dave McMenamin to issue an unprovoked statement? The ESPN articles are interestingly vague on the matter, but the intended response was not.

Instant “Outrage” for $200 Alex

Media ran with the juicy take and let it flow out to the world, On cue General Managers are accusing Lebron of tampering and prohibiting the smaller markets from keeping talent. Charles Barkley has requested that Adam Silver intervene and veto any deal. All of the attention is set on this deal which makes any negotiation that much more complicated. That is rather intriguing to me, so I ask why?

Sometimes where this smoke, there is simply smoke.

The Lakers have been fined for tampering before, so they deserve a scrutiny in the eye of the public as it is public record that the Lakers are looking to add talent to their roster but is this collusion. The very short answer is no, the longer answer is its complicated. Let’s break it down.

Did LeBron James signal the Lakers to do something? No, Absolutely not! According to Woj, Anthony Davis was already on the Lakers list, which would imply that the Lakers were already planning something. With LeBron James locked into a 4-year deal and no signs of requesting to be traded himself (Twitter would have exploded if he did), at best LeBron James is being coy about not knowing it was in the plans, at worst he is merely reacting to what he heard.

Did the Lakers signal LeBron to say something? Possibly, but it depends on a lot of things happening. Woj would have needed to have been fed information that he would of course report on, which would have aired at the time LeBron was set to play, which in turn would require ESPN to give LeBron the opportunity to say what he said. In other words, ESPN would either be the co-conspirator or the unwitting pawn.

What about Rich Paul? Complicated as hell but let’s navigate through it. Antony Davis did sign with Rich Paul over the summer who is also LeBron James’ agent along with numerous other players. If LeBron James had ownership in Klutch Sports we can then talk about conflict of interest, and higher degrees of ethical violations, but he does not, so LeBron is merely a client and advocate. Yes! LeBron and Rich Paul are friends, but there are no legal implications about clients being friends with each other or their agents.

But LeBron James went to dinner with Anthony Davis? They also played together on the Olympics, which the NBA sanctioned. Im sure they established a friendship. Here is where the gray area comes in. Could Lebron James be coaching Anthony Davis? I have absolutely no clue and will not speculate. If LeBron James provided information to Anthony Davis that would indicate the opportune time to make a move, that would be where the fire is! There are no reports about that happening so we shouldn’t feed the flames with fake information.

In short, I have never been a fan of business seeping into the game of the NBA during the season, but that is the reality as we have seen it with the Pistons, regarding Coach Larry Brown, the Cavaliers on multiple occasions regarding LeBron and Kyrie, Carmelo Anthony during whatever year pops in your head, Kyrie with Boston, etc, etc. If I put my tin foil hat on, I suspect that there is a push to repopulate the superstar map to normalize and rebalance the team structure and this is the first attempt. There is a high chance that this deal won’t happen as everyone is on high alert and to be clear on where the fault lies, I would list in order:

ESPN – Notorious for mishandling information, this one is completely botched by them. It is their norm to attempt to own both sides of the argument and they are not disappointing here. The entire preface of this situation feels orchestrated

LA Lakers – You simply cannot be fined for tampering and then allow information to leak that you are seeking specific talent. Poor management here! You must have multiple strategies in place and the front office is single minded right now. They must do better.

LeBron James – His reputation for understanding the business and being steadfast in doing it his way will always precede him. Because he has and uses his influence folks are apprehensive of all actions surrounding him.

The Writing’s On the Wall

By: Opinionated MJ (Michael Tolliver Jr)

You have got to know when it’s time. It’s definitely time. After watching the first half of Lakers game, I couldn’t bare to watch the rest. In the aftermath, memes galore. Memes that represented the state of the team. It’s deep to see what it looks like from the outside looking in. It’s deeper to know what it feels like for someone to consider you expendable.

This leads me to this…
Magic, you must make this deal by any means. You’ve already alienated the players that have been carrying that Lakers logo on their jerseys for years. It’s time to move into build mode. Not a rebuild, but building around LeBron. Period. He always demands certain types around him. I wish he never got injured, this wouldn’t have happened.. Or would it? This isn’t foreign. This is the norm. It just isn’t the norm for these Laker kids. So now, you have to do what you must got AD, cut your losses, and build on that foundation. No looking back, no going forward on what you have. It’s been destroyed from within. Imploded.

LeBron doesn’t look like he wants to play with these players. I speculated that he sat longer in order to come back with new teammates. Didn’t happen. So now you’re faced with damage control. No way to fix this. These Lakers were already fatigued with the idea of this happening A WHOLE YEAR AGO! Guess you thought it was all about what you wanted Magic. Now it’s time to do what must be done to move forward.

Trade everybody, the entire core, minus the veterans, for Anthony Davis, and build around LeBron and Davis. You already acquired Reggie Bullock from my Pistons. A move that hurts me but it’s business, right? So business as usual, do what you gotta do now. Don’t hesitate, don’t be greedy, don’t be selfish, do what must be done in order to progress or risk wasting the fact that LeBron signed here in order to win, cause honestly, I prefer he’d still be in Cleveland at this point. Take that how you want.

Make the deal Magic. The Lakers future depends on it.

Suns Should Go After Anthony Davis

Article By: Opinionated MJ (Michael Tolliver Jr)

Devin Booker. Deandre Ayton. Kelly Oubre. Anthony Davis. I can see it all coming together for the Suns with this deal. They will still need a point guard to relieve Devin from those duties unless he actually transforms into a point guard that can get his team fully involved and can be a heat-check type of point guard. Maybe if he had a good facilitating 2 or 3. Something like what Draymond Green is to the Warriors but slotted at a different position. Only matching in skill.

The fact that they’re in the tough Western Conference is what still makes it seem impossible for them to have a breakthrough meaningful enough to break into any of the 8 playoff seeds now or in the near future unless they make a really big move like this. I’m not sure what assets they have that would actually convince the Pelicans that they’re the team to make a deal with. Honestly, I don’t think Davis is getting moved until his contract year. If I’m Phoenix, maybe I make a move on draft night depending on if they could land Zion Williamson or not.

The question then becomes, Zion or AD? If I’m the Suns, it’s gotta be AD because he’s a veteran presence. If I want to have a foundation of youthful players that would grow together, I’ll keep Zion. He proves to be an explosive problem and would be great next to Ayton so he wouldn’t get pushed into playing small-ball center.

Be on the lookout for Phoenix. A reality like this could actually be on the horizon once the lottery balls fall and it’s time to see who has the #1 pick. Good luck Suns. You’re going to need it in the wild wild west.

MoNeYBaLL Episode 19 NBA Podcast

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West Coast Folders: Part 1

By: Opinionated Reezy (Ronald Stovall)

For all this talk about the west being the tougher conference the first team to fold is….

THE PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS!

Honestly Im not surprised and don’t even start with all this talk about scheduling. The Blazers are the number 3 seed in the west and couldn’t win one game, ONE! Pathetic.
Its time to do two things:

1. Change the Trailblazer logo to a dustpan

2. Break up the entire roster and start over

Last year the excuse reason was that Portland was without Jusuf Nukic, despite the fact that Golden State was without half the team, including the coach. This year Rajon Rondo just went to town. No, how about Portland is not built for the Playoffs. They are a Regular Season ready. They will peak mid-season and get everyone excited and then fold just in time to give a real team a warm up for the real playoff round.

Now I have respect for Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum and let’s face it. RaSheed Wallace didn’t win a chip until he left so here is my advice. Do what he did:

• Go to Detroit – They would love you!

• I will admit, Cleveland may get bounced in the first round too, but they fought. Don’t listen to the analyst, come to Cleveland, you and LeBron would make magic happen

• Go to the Lakers, Hell everybody else is apparently.

Either way, its ok to pursue a championship.

Now this isn’t all about Portland, but the west because this fallacy about the tougher conference has got to stop. It is the more popular conference yes. A tougher conference would suggest longer series between the teams fighting and clawing for position, not absolute, but in general. Not lopsided victories like we are about to see.

My one rule for a team in the playoffs is that you should win ONE game; otherwise, you shouldn’t have been there to begin with. That is absolute. Watch the board as the week progress and then watch for part two….

Twin Towers!?!?!! DeMarcus Cousins & Anthony Davis

By: Opinionated MJ
Cousins and Anthony Davis Will Make Big Men Relevant Again


The return of the big man is on the horizon. The respect for Big Men will return along with it. Once DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis hit the floor together, we’ll begin to see what a twin tower tandem can do together. The first true big man duo since David Robinson and Tim Duncan. Unless you want to count Andrew Bynum & Pau Gasol or Zach Randolph & Marc Gasol. There will be huge differences, including the fact they both are averaging 20 plus points a game and 10 plus rebounds a game individually. They can also both stretch the floor from mid range and from 3. I can imagine that if Alvin Gentry can adjust his playbook to benefit having both players on the floor at the same time, we’ll begin to see immediate results.

We know they need more roster moves, of course. I am one who believes they’ll be ready out of the gate, from the interior at least. How much more were the players the Pelicans traded away doing that DeMarcus Cousins can’t do? Nothing! Who do you prefer? Grinding always resulted in success, as recently as the finals, we’ve seen that. LeBron and the Cleveland Cavs worked inside out and dismantled the Warriors that way. So maybe there’s another kryptonite being constructed to take on the “invincible” (not) Warriors. They can be defeated. The Pelicans greatest strength is their greatest weakness, having two bigs that can get it done and definitely needing the supporting cast to play their roles to perfection. It’s the Spurs that they need to worry about. They don’t have an answer for Kawhi Leonard. That’s a fact.

I know you all probably think I’m getting ahead of myself in excitement, hell, they could lose all of the rest of their games and I’ll still be a newly minted bandwagon fan. I’m here for the long haul as long as this duo is together. I’m sick of the Warriors and Cavs, and the finals match-up everyone predicts between the two. I’m ready for someone to disrupt them both. Put them on notice. I think this will be the greatest threat to the entire Western Conference and to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the future. Funny how there’s no other east teams mentioned. Even the Rockets just got stronger. It’s time that another potentially strong team came up from the ashes in the entire NBA.

Bash this move while you can but the New Orleans Pelicans were not in any better shape going forward if they stood pat. They’ve been struggling for years and made the playoffs two years ago only to be ousted by the eventual champion Golden State Warriors. They’ve had no success other than that, not since Chris Paul. It’s been even worse that they’ve lost a key player in nearly every season since Davis became a Pelican.

Cut them some slack. Give them a chance and congratulate the New Orleans  Pelicans as an organization. Give DeMarcus Cousins a chance to grow fit those who don’t see the progress he’s already made in the maturation process. Kudos to the front office! No other GM’s decided to go in another direction entirely. A few deals at this deadline were made but the majority all opted to play it safe. I’ll even give the Kings organization credit for finally letting him go and allowing both the organization and Cousins to find other ways to succeed instead of accepting being stuck. Playing it safe though is fine, it’s job stability. For those who desire to win? It’s win or go home.

Landscape of the NBA: Last Day of Summer 16 (Part 3)

By: Opinionated MJ

Last day of the summer! Welcome to the third and final installment of the Summer 16: Landscape of the NBA series. Let’s jump right in.

 

Knicks

I cannot wait to see the Knicks this season. I have even higher expectations hanging over them for the season. I expect a few boosts in different forms. I think Derrick Rose will perform like Kobe did when he was coming into the season in a similar situation. I think the time Melo spent with Team USA and also him getting the team together early now will serve the team well. I see Porzingis getting even better and more consistent this year and not hitting somewhat of a wall like he did in year one. Couple that with a new coach and bench depth and the Knicks should be a playoff team. I see them winning at least 41 games. Hold it against me.

 

Bulls

Butler, Wade, Rondo. I expect them to win 20 games off perimeter defense alone. I would say 30 since they’re in the Eastern Conference. That’s where the game is most played from in this era. Everybody wants to shoot and dribble, perimeter oriented. Everyone attacks from that point and they have someone to defend every perimeter star. They don’t have an answer for DeMarcus Cousins, Marc Gasol, Andre Drummond, and other big men, but that doesn’t mean they won’t acquire someone who can nor does it mean they can’t succeed without one.

 

Wolves

This will probably be one of the top 5 most watched teams in the NBA this year. I’ve seen pictures from NBA2k17 that shows them drunk off of the potential of the Wolves. Wiggins, Towns, Dunn, LaVine, coach Thibs! Oohwee! This team will be young, tough, gritty, and poised to make noise this coming season. With all the shake ups taking place, I expect them to compete for a playoff spot. Should they make the playoffs, they would be my dark horse candidate to upset many teams. They’re very versatile. I expect them to be .500 as well. 41 wins at least, potentially off of Thibs always squeezing a whole gallon of lemonade out of one lemon.

 

Lakers

They’re expected to be the worst team this year. I’d say maybe the third worst team. Look for the Lakers to make strides once they learn the offense. We see what happened with the Warriors when they were given freedom. Analytics also favor many of the Lakers players since Kobe won’t be there to jack up half of the shots. I can see them being a player in acquiring Okafor from the Sixers. Ingram for ROTY if he gets acclimated to the game fast.

 

Sixers

They have young pieces. They have better management. They could probably use better coaching and an installment of veteran players to guide the young players. Trade Okafor for a veteran scorer (Maybe Rudy Gay?) and they’ll be fine. Especially if Ben Simmons is as advertised and will impact his teammates in a LeBron like fashion. He could facilitate this team to a top 5 watched spot with the Wolves and lock up ROTY if he can be the glue missing for this franchise. Go Philly!

 

Durant

I expect something huge to happen in Golden State. Kevin Durant will takeover this team and it will become his OR he’ll play 1B to Steph Curry. One of them will be LeBron, one will be Wade in this situation. Looks like Steph will be a very trigger happy Wade. Klay will be a young version of Ray Allen, Draymond will be the engine and the bench will fit in as needed led by Iggy and Livingston. I can agree with Vegas, 66 wins. Actually, let’s say 63.

 

OKC Thunder

This team now belongs to Russell Westbrook and they will be successful under his watch. They’ve had success with Durant before and that was adjustment on the fly. This time they’ll have the luxury of a training camp and full health from the start. Victor Oladipo will make them interesting on the defensive end along with Roberson. I think the loss of Ibaka will show early on unless Adams and Kanter both start together. Russell will be the second coming of 2006 Kobe and will receive the MVP award if the Thunder can land a top 5 seed.

 

Quick Observations

I expect strides to be made by the Jazz, Suns, and Pelicans out west. The return of Exum to the Jazz, Bledsoe returning to the Suns who also have a sleeper star in Devin Booker, and Anthony Davis to the Pelicans, this will make the west very interesting going forward. Currently though, it’s still a two headed race for who will make the finals from the west.

Be on the lookout for upcoming articles. We’ll be entering training camp next week! I’m so excited! Been waiting for the season to begin! Basketball lovers, unite!

 

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!

The Early MVP race: Stephen Curry VS Russell Westbrook

Russell+Westbrook+Stephen+Curry+Oklahoma+City+ScsKl_48RiGl

By: Opinionated MJ

The Early MVP race:

Stephen Curry VS Russell Westbrook

We’ve gone about a week into the season and we’ve already seen quite a few mid-season performance from all around the league. Last night, Andre Drummond posted 25 points and 29 rebounds, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant Posted 48 and 43 points respectively combining for 91, and Stephen Curry has been a fire that continues to burn more and more furiously as each game comes and goes. They all said he wasn’t real. They all said that the championship the Warriors fought for was a fluke. They’ve said a lot of things but we’ve received a taste of what would’ve been, it just decided to be in place at the beginning of this season.

I’ll start with health since that was the biggest outcry from people who denounce the championship won by the Warriors. Stephen Curry has already faced the Rockets, Grizzlies, and the Pelicans (TWICE). He’s currently facing the Clippers which is the team everyone thought they would’ve faced, but the fact that didn’t happen definitely isn’t the Warriors or Curry’s fault. That’s all 3 opponents they seen en route to the NBA Finals. This time, the opposition (of the Warriors) had all of their point guards healthy. Mike Conley, Jrue Holiday, a combo of Ty Lawson and Patrick Beverly, and none of them could stop Steph Curry. If anything, they did worse than they did last season and post season trying to stop him. He’s been a wrecking ball since tip-off. They’ve been playing without Steve Kerr and it’s as if it doesn’t matter who their coach is. They continue to keep dealing the total package to opponents. If they stay healthy throughout this season the same way they did last season, I honestly expect to see them only challenged by the Thunder and Spurs but still fully able to come through with a Finals berth.

This takes me to Russell Westbrook. The Thunder just lost to the Raptors but my case with Russell is more individual than team oriented. Russell being able to play last season with all of his new teammates gives him a leg up on Durant when it comes to chemistry with the team and also knowing where he can pick his spots without being a detriment. If anything, the Thunder are Russell Westbrook’s team this season (and last). Durant is like a scoring Scottie Pippen to Westbrook’s driven, assassin-like Michael Jordan. He’s been facilitating, he’s been the reason they won a double overtime game against Orlando. In that game, something weird happened. Russell was the reason why they put themselves in position to win that game with Durant surprisingly sitting on the bench. Russell has been his usual self but he’s also been who we’ve always wanted him to be since the Thunder made that trip to the Finals.

I believe Russell Westbrook may be the reason why the Thunder have a chance at winning the title also. I’m very interested in seeing how he and Steph Curry matchup. That is looking to be a very exciting game and if that would be a playoff series in the west, it could look to be the best series of the playoffs no matter which round it’s in. The growth of Russell Westbrook is the probably the third biggest story this season behind the question of whether Steph Curry can get another MVP award (it’s looking that way) and whether the Warriors can repeat and shut up all of their naysayers. Russell Westbrook’s story could prove to be the most intriguing if he can land an MVP award, facilitate the Thunder in a way that he’s always been expected to, and also lead them to a much overdue championship. Yes, LeBron always looms in the lowly east conference with teams still figuring out their way. Anthony Davis is still a dark horse MVP candidate depending on if the Pelicans can spread their wings or not. Russell Westbrook has the ice-cold veins and newly found pacing to actually impress and run away with the award if he can get momentum and get his team some major wins along the way. James Harden is the self-proclaimed and the MVP of the players association but he’s got major flaws that proved Steph Curry to be the one truly deserving. It’s already showing. Who do you have for MVP? My ballot goes to Steph Curry. Russell in 2nd.

Is Kevin Durant Really the Best In the World?

image

By: Opinionated MJ

Burning question,
Is Kevin Durant truly the best player in the world? Russell Westbrook thinks so. He let it fly out his mouth right after he led the Thunder to an opening night win over the Spurs. Let’s break this down a bit and figure if this can be proven across the board.

Scoring

Kevin Durant is arguably one of the top 3 scorers in the game along with Stephen Curry and Carmelo Anthony. If I had to pick, right now, I’d put him third. Yes third. He’s not as effective a shooter as Curry from distance and he hasn’t yet become a force once he gets in the paint like Anthony. Anthony can start in the perimeter area and work himself all the way to the rim by grinding his way there with post moves. It’s not fair to judge him after just one game this season but we do measure players by success against great defenders. Kawhi Leonard simply denied Kevin and many of the Thunder anything easy.

Defense

I’m going to get straight to the point with this topic by saying that I have not seen Durant lock down anyone and I haven’t seen him play defense that limits the opponent’s best player or the opponent’s best 2 way player. He didn’t stop Kawhi tonight, I haven’t seen him make Carmelo uncomfortable, LeBron, Jimmy Butler, Paul George, I could go on. So is he like James Harden with defense? No, but he definitely isn’t Scottie Pippen.

Does he make his teammates better?

I don’t know if I could say he’s even better than Russell when it comes to this. Yes, I’ve seen Durant make his teammates better, when Russell was down which was the reason he won an MVP award. He definitely made the team better two seasons ago but not so much when everyone is healthy. His presence does allow for better spacing for shooters that share the floor with him and for Russell to dart wherever he pleases at will. One game doesn’t tell it but we’ll see in about a month or two. Right now, Russell is bringing it on a nightly basis, creating opportunities for others, setting his teammates up and also putting his team is position to score. This comes down to one thing though, chemistry and rhythm. Durant didn’t play much with the new faces of the team. Russell nearly willed them to the post-season. Durant makes his teammates better but in order for him to win another MVP, of course he has to score, set his teammates up, get at least 7 assists per game and make it look pretty. It’s called the LeBron rule.

I think I’ve covered enough to say that Durant is probably tied for second with LeBron in the newly minted MVP race. Steph Curry is clearly the front runner, yes, after one game. He’s defending his honor. Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins fill out that top 5 in the MVP race in my honest opinion, with Westbrook and Harden right there too. Interesting MVP race we’ll have if they all stay healthy. So to answer Russell Westbrook’s claim that Durant is the best in the world, well, nothing is given. Unfortunately, Durant was out much of last year. He’s in line again and just like everyone else, he has to earn it.

Just Another First Day In The NBA

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By: Opinionated MJ

Just another first day in the NBA. New season, new year, opening night (currently the Warriors are receiving their rings, Congrats!). I just experienced what could just be a rusty day in the NBA, or maybe not. Surprisingly, two teams came out victorious that I’m sure everyone would’ve bet against on this opening night. All the big media outlets have been turning a cold shoulder to teams like my Detroit Pistons and to the always competing Chicago Bulls. Tonight seemed to be a statement of sorts if we look at things progressively. You know, picking up where they left off.

Right now as I write, Steph Curry is already showing out and very efficiently! Which can take me right into the new playing style of the Bulls. I think they may have found themselves a two-man game with Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler and have parts around them like Gasol, Mirotic, and others that definitely make for great depth. Noah has been moved to the bench in favor of starting Gasol at center, at least for now. Gasol didn’t disappoint either as he blocked LeBron’s game tying attempt at the rim. Looks can be deceiving and people get too caught up nowadays in who’s getting along and who isn’t. Didn’t Kobe & Shaq win 3 titles “not getting along”?

Today I seen LeBron hobbled. I don’t we’re ready for that. Last year they were trying to say that he has taken a step back, but I never agreed. I don’t want to see LeBron injured cause that’s even more fuel for his die-hard fans to spew about him being 2-4 in the Finals. We swept the San Antonio series under the rug, everyone else said that the Golden State win was a fluke although Cleveland led 2-1, took home court and didn’t take care of home. No way can 67 wins be cut up as a fluke. It CANNOT. Enough blah blah, LeBron didn’t look 100% tonight but was still good for 25 & 10 rebounds. So much for that right? I still don’t think he’s taken a step back but I did look at him allow Jimmy Butler to go right past him a couple of times when he could’ve easily denied him. I also hope he’s not about to channel his inner Steve Nash by laying on the ground the rest of his playing career during games. I also hope he doesn’t get hit with those back issues that destroyed the rest of Tracy McGrady’s career in his prime. I do enjoy watching LeBron and being a Kobe fan, I’ve learned to appreciate different forms of greatness while it’s here and performing at elite levels. *Knocks on wood*

I also watched my young Pistons play a very defensive game against the Hawks… until the fourth quarter. It’s like the tide turned but I still came away very impressed with our newly minted 1-0 record. I’m used to seeing 0-1. I also seen a lot of bright spots like Caldwell-Pope making shots, Morris making shots and moving around in a way that seemed impossible for Greg Monroe to move. I seen a few good things from Reggie Jackson but I also seen him hold the ball too long a few times. It made it seem as if he wanted to be responsible for every converted play like he couldn’t live without being responsible for the assists. He’ll have to get over that individual mentality and not fall into selfishness if he’s to be a true help for this team. I’m sure Jennings will distribute when he returns. Drummond was an absolute rebounding BEAST! As far as the Hawks go, I think that alot of people see them as garbage because of them being swept by the Cavs in the east finals. I guess having injuries to their top 2 defenders didn’t matter though right? Nor did the Wizards losing John Wall for a couple games against the Hawks, huh? It only mattered when LeBron played the Warriors. Sure.

Exciting night with a few different looks from teams who seemed to be looking forward to a slump early on but actually look promising. It could be rust but this season we could see more of this with the East getting slightly better by growth and expansion for teams like the Wizards, Bucks, Heat, Pistons, and Raptors. We’re due some surprises. We could also expect to see more of the same out west with all of the sluggers getting better with San Antonio adding LMA to its rotation after allowing Tiago Splitter to walk. I expect to see it come down to Golden State, OKC with a driven KD & Russell and San Antonio. Everyone else has to prove it.

Early June Prediction: Warriors vs Cavs II, with the Heat & Thunder looking to steal those spots.