Tag Archives: Ben Simmons

MoNeYBaLL 45 NBA Podcast: Come Back Like Jordan

By Opinionated MJ

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MoNeYBaLL 45 NBA Podcast: Come Back Like Jordan

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What If the Philadelphia 76ers Won the 2018 NBA Championship

By: Opinionated MJ (Michael Tolliver)

Why not?

This would quickly accelerate Ben Simmons to a conversation with the great Magic Johnson. It would turn the attention from LeBron, KD, Steph Curry, Kawhi Leonard, Giannis, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Kyrie, and anyone else you want to throw in there as elite. It could also make Embiid just as important as Kareem, Hakeem, Shaq, and a few others. This would put the league on it’s head really fast and also change the dynamic when it comes to how Championships are won and how teams are rebuilt. This would even make Danny Ainge look like he’s a step back when it comes to reloading his Celtics after the Big 3 era.

Imagine the collective shock that this would bring upon the NBA world. LeBron would no longer be able to consider Philly as an option in the off-season or he’ll look like Kevin Durant, minus losing to the team 3-1, unless this actually happened. He’d become a ring chaser. This would also remind the rest of the league and the fans that the big man is very important to the dynamic of building a team. A skilled big man but still a big man nonetheless. We could see Ben Simmons have immediate success although media has been fairly quiet when it comes to Simmons, Embiid, and the Sixers. This would put Philly back on the map as a sports town as well since the Eagles beat the Patriots in the NFL Super Bowl. What could be better than the Sixers beating the Warriors? Let’s say, victory in 5 games? That is a reach but we have to acknowledge that nothing is set in stone here. Any team can have a bad injury, a bad shooting spell, or simply have a macthup problem with a certain team or teams.

The Sixers are full of everything you need to be successful: shooting, defense, post play, playmaking, transition O, transition D, rim protection… I can’t think of a weakness. They have vets, although their vets haven’t been to a championship, they are still vets. They have a very good blend. Right now, their core looks to be very durable, even Embiid is playing more and more. I personally wouldn’t sleep on this team at all. Who’s to say that Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid aren’t mature enough to lock in when the playoffs start and play at a higher level than we currently see now? Lets say that they also elevate the overall team play because of this, who can’t they beat? I know everyone wants to say inexperience, but this is what everyone said about the Warriors that beat the Cavs, although minus Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, but this could very well be the next team to make a splash that would be entirely unexpected. Nothing is worse than looking down on your competition, thinking that they wouldn’t be able to beat you over the course of 7 games. Then all of a sudden, they do.

What team in the East is actually a sure LOCK to end up in the finals anyway? If the Heat make the post-season, can they beat the Cavs? Can the Sixers? Celtics? Raptors? Bucks? I actually couldn’t definitively answer this question like I could during the past 4 seasons. I think that there may be a new team to rise. I wouldn’t mind it being the Raptors or Celtics, but I think the team much more equipped to make it and succeed are the Philadelphia 76ers. Don’t sleep. Go Sixers!

MoneYBaLL Episode 7 NBA Podcast: Derrick Rose, Lonzo Ball & More

By: Opinionated MJ

Derrick Rose, LeBron, Kyrie, Celtics, and more!


MoneYBaLL Episode 6 NBA Podcast


Episode 6 with Opinionated MJ & NilClassic



LeBron, Kyrie, Celtics and more!

Enjoy the podcast!





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NBA Outlook: One Month In

By: Opinionated MJ

Well well, how the mighty have stumbled. Both the Warriors and Cavs came out of the gate stumbling over their own feet. We just seen LeBron have to drop 57 in a performance that exhibited his paint domination, especially when you don’t have a rim protector. You need that to beat LeBron. We’ve seen the Warriors lose to teams that are truly suiting up to take their best shot at them. They didn’t get it together until they played the Spurs this week. We’re about 4 weeks in.

The surprises of the first month to me are the Clippers, Magic, Celtics, Pistons, and Grizzlies. They’ve all come out and have tried to set a tone for the beginning of the season that they can only build upon. No one expected the Grizzlies to be putting on such a strong start. Especially out west. The Pistons sat atop the east for a second, so did the Magic. Extra shocking indeed. The Clippers have shown what their new culture is since they’ve moved on past being “Lob City”. They seem to be more about ball movement and defense all while playing through Blake Griffin. Lastly, who would’ve thought that the Celtics would’ve endured the loss they suffered in the first game to Gordon Hayward? They’ve run off on a win streak, including a huge comeback against the OKC Thunder. Their youth along with Kyrie Irving and a surprising start from Al Horford have carried them along.

My early picks for MVP are Giannis Antetokounmpo and Russell Westbrook. Giannis is leading by far with me giving the other nod to Russell because of his willingness to incorporate his teammates while still very closely averaging a triple-double, again! Giannis came out the gate like a man on a mission. Maybe Kobe challenging him to become MVP has given him a straight path in the focus department. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s in the east and because of it he can surely attain this feat if he continues this trend. He’s got to land his team in the top 2 seeds out east and top 5 in the NBA and he’ll receive my vote.

My early vote for Rookie of the Year is Ben Simmons with Jayson Tatum following behind him in second. I’ve got Kyle Kuzma as my sleeper. He’s sneaky good and even reminds me of Kobe sometimes. Guess it just cause he’s a Laker. It’ll be interesting to see what November will bring us. October was a bad month. Numerous injuries, bad starts to strong teams, and slow beginnings to some big name rookies.

My pick for Most Improved Player is clearly Kristaps Porzingis. No argument at this time.

I’ll provide more insight on these topics and more in the next podcast. Be on the lookout for that.

Hello November! Don’t forget to set your clocks back!

The Return of the Philadelphia 76ers

By: Opinionated MJ

I’m not predicting a championship with team full of hypothetical rookies, but I’m very excited and on board to ride with a new true underdog! Congrats to Philly on making this trade in order to acquire the #1 pick! I expect big things and major surprises from this team going forward.

There’s still a few things that’ll need to be addressed. I’m only concerned about the defensive end of the floor. They’ll need to acquire another defender or two and they may be able to give many top teams a great challenge. I’m not going to expect injury, I’m not a pessimist at all. I’m truly so optimistic that it sickens those around me at times. I’ll carry that attitude into the season with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Of course once the off-season gets fully underway, I’ll expect them to get a couple veterans to teach this group how to be professionals and how to prepare. It doesn’t hurt that they’re very talented already individually and that even Ben Simmons has a legendary tutor. We all know who. Let’s hope Robert Covington can continue to elevate his game as well. I can’t wait to see if they move the ball the way I believe they definitely can. Coaching will become a factor as well but I expect it to be a success.

The only real question I have now is, “Does Philly keep Jahlil Okafor?” They could flip him for a couple good players that’ll help develop these young players into very good players early. They could flip it into those defenders I speak of as well.  They do have Dario Saric at the 4, so do they need Okafor? Then again, they could just use Okafor off the bench and maintain an advantage that many teams don’t have: having multiple scoring big men.

I don’t want them to land any veterans that’ll take away from the young players development. I see them developing like the Rose-Noah-Deng-Gibson Bulls, the Durant-Russell-Harden-Ibaka Thunder, and they could become the Steph-Klay-Dray of the East but with a much different twist. I hope Fultz and Simmons turn out to be as anticipated out the gate! That’ll definitely cause matchup problems galore with “The Process” having distance shooting and post presence apart of his arsenal. If Ben Simmons can be a force on the defensive end along with his court vision and passing abilities, with Embiid rim protecting, they really could shock the league.

It’s about time Philadelphia! Congratulations! It’s on now! 
Long live Hinkie! Go Sixers!

“3 In the Key” Podcast Episode 4: SemiFinals and a Look Around the League

By: S Dot Legend, NilClassic, and Opinionated MJ
Episode 4: SemiFinals & More


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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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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!



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!


Rambling Thought: Homing In On the Playoffs


By: Opinionated MJ

The lay of the land currently has Detroit down 0-2. We’ve got heart and we will beat Cleveland. Home cooking is ours next! LeBron’s team showing life. I know what LeBron can do but what can his team do going forward?

I see Dwayne Wade is transforming into his old self. I predicted the Heat would meet and beat the Cavs in this playoff. I thought Charlotte would serve up better competition but the Heat are home. I believe in home court. It’s a reason why they play for it. Losing game 1 on your floor is the only possible problem.

Toronto has given me reason to believe that they can’t make it from just being in the playoffs, early rounds. I guess Stephen A. Smith is saying that DeRozan is gone to the Lakers. So who will follow? That could lead to all types of deals or maybe the Lakers then go draft a big man or Ben Simmons. I’ll go with my cousin on Simmons. I also think the Lakers will land the #1 pick. The league loves them and that’ll be their reward for themselves to find a way to keep relevance in L.A. post-Kobe. How else would they? Are the trio enough going into next year? I believe Randle, Russell, and Clarkson could have a future together.

Paul George has been playing big for the Pacers. Literally. I don’t think anyone has given any real attention to his ascension since Larry Bird wanted him to play the 4. Results for sure.

Boston is one player away. When will Danny Ainge trade some of his picks away to lure in a player? Carmelo to Boston by any chance? Could that be what Boston is missing or do they need more defensive wings to couple with Isiah Thomas?

Tom Thibodeau has become the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Look out league. KG ties into the defensive philosophy from the Boston Championship team. Could provide even more boosts to the grow of their young core. Expect them to make noise in the league next year and be like Utah from this season. Except, I actually expect PLAYOFFS from them. I’m a big fan of Thibs. Wonder if D-Rose for Ricky Rubio would work for both teams? They’re playing a good Atlanta team with some experience.

Does Mark Jackson actually land in Sacramento? Would that be a good fit? You’d think he’d need some shooters or change their philosophy to such. Wait, Seth Curry & Mark Jackson! STORY TO WATCH!

I’m a Lillard fan and I believe he will perform as always. He probably needs another option in case someone else deflates in some games. I see him making a huge push in the future with another piece. Durant? Dwight? DeRozan? Maybe not. Doesn’t have a ring to it. Maybe a rookie big man whose two-way abilities are already with him. Chris Paul is a monster and with Blake having had to watch while he was hurt, we all got to see who needs to dictate the Clippers offense. They need Blake just the same too. I’d like to see Portland’s home-stand.

The Spurs have an easy series. They will sweep. Nor am I worried about the Warriors. Sweep with or without Stephen Curry. The prospect of that is dangerous, if you see it how I do.

What exactly are KD & Russ going to do? It’s Russ’ team due to him being healthy with this new group of players acquired last year all while Kevin Durant was out with injury. Notched triple-doubles, massive scoring nights, facilitating, MVP consideration, almost a playoff berth, and learning his teammates and their spots. He’s racking assists cause he finds them in their hotspots directly from an offensive attack. KD must fit in more and become the Assassin always or we should begin to want Russell to take those big shots equally as well. This series is crazy. Dallas with a win going back home. This will definitely be some fun basketball. Quiet rivalry, in my opinion. I won’t be able to call this series til the 5th game. It’ll go 6.

Early Prediction: Warriors Vs Heat in Finals. Warriors in 6. Would be an amazing story for their team if they beat LeBron then Dwayne Wade for their back to back titles.