Tag Archives: Damian Lillard

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.

MoNeYBaLL 38 NBA Podcast: Game One Playoff Preview

Featuring Opinionated MJ

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MoNeYBaLL 37 NBA Podcast: First Round Playoff Preview

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MoNeYBaLL 34 NBA Podcast: Return of the NBA..?

Listen to MoNeYBaLL 34 NBA Podcast: Return of the NBA..? by Opinionated Media on #SoundCloud

#NBA #CoronaVirus #BLM #LeBron #KD #Lillard

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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….

​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.

King of the Ring: LeBron, the Cavs, and a Look Around the League

 

By: Opinionated MJ
Congratulations to LeBron and the Cavaliers! Cleveland, embrace this moment! You’ve been waiting for this. To finally see one of the best players ever, fulfill his promise to bring Cleveland a ring has got to be a breath of fresh air. I remember the feeling of living through a championship with my Pistons in 2004. The Red Wings were also prosperous. The Tigers were doing well as well if I’m not mistaken, I think we may have made the World Series that year. We had the Super Bowl here as well and I think a WrestleMania or something like that. Final Four NCAA basketball around this time as well. Great Year! Enjoy it!

 

LeBron has been preparing for season’s opening since Kevin Durant decided to become a part of the Golden State Warriors. They seem to be the only team that stands in the way of a repeat for the Cleveland Cavaliers. I’d like to add that, if I were Carmelo Anthony seeing this ring ceremony tonight, I’d probably cringe and play with nothing but anger and hunger in my heart. Knowing I had the chance to be a part of the Miami team that won a ring and to be able to finally experience that level of success. It must be fulfilling for LeBron for sure. He has one ring by himself now as well. Kyrie pitched in BIG! I even thought Kyrie would win finals MVP after closing out Steph Curry and the Warriors in crunch time of those last few games.

 

I’m not big on picking another team except the current reigning Champions as the favorites to win it all. I’m going with the Cavs but I will admit I want my Pistons to win and if they can’t then I would love to see the Warriors win one for KD while he’s on a LeBron-esque mission to obtain a ring and put that on his resume. That would solidify him with other future Hall of Famers. I’d also like to see if they Bulls could somehow someway pull a rabbit out of a hat. Although, I think Chris Bosh is the only way they could achieve such success. I would also like to see the Spurs acquire DeMarcus Cousins for LaMarcus Aldridge. You heard it first. Chris Bosh to the Bulls, Cousins to the Spurs.

 

LeBron wants to win the MVP this year and that is making waves throughout the league. I think Paul George may have mentioned MVP first but he’s driven to do so as well, Damian Lillard wants to, and I’m very certain that Russell Westbrook wants to as well without saying it. Westbrook was chasing Magic Johnson’s triple-double record last year and didn’t admit it until someone asked him. I think LeBron should relax and let Kyrie and Kevin prove themselves and let them man the battleship until it absolutely requires LeBron to come in and take over. I know things used to fall apart fast when he exited the game last season and they would struggle to extend their lead over other teams at times. Let’s not forget their struggles en route to their triumph. Up and down season with LeBron thinking of his Banana Boat squad being teammates one day, social media jabs at some of his teammates, and a few other things. Maybe he also took a few pointers from Kobe about challenging your teammates. You do have to PUSH others to get something done more times than not. He successfully pulled that off and led his team to a Championship after being down 3-1. Congrats again to the Cavaliers! Good luck to the Cleveland Indians!

Steph Pressured, Uncomfortable, Reeling, Slipping?

NBA: Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs
Mar 19, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) passes over San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green (14) at the AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

 

By: Opinionated MJ

NO! It’s only one game. We already forgot the Spurs suffered a 30-point loss too, I see. With a win against the Golden State Warriors, albeit shorthanded due to injury (excuses everyone says), we believe the Spurs are now a legitimate threat to the Warriors? They are, but the game Saturday night did not make me believe that they will be able to sustain that type of performance over a 7 game series. Not against a fully healthy Warriors team. No.

The Warriors have another dynamic they could run with Andre Iguodala on the floor. He can push the ball, has been shooting well, can cut and slash to the hole and can make big shots when they need it most in order to relieve pressure on the others. He’s also capable of defending 4 positions on the floor and even the center position if something happened where it was LeBron or Kevin Love playing that position in a finals rematch of sorts. Although, for the third time, I don’t see Cleveland making the finals anyway. Iggy can help contain or at least attempt to contain Kawhi Leonard. He can definitely put the brakes on Danny Green and Manu Ginobli. I also think he may be able to do a better job guarding the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge. Let me not continue on this point like that’s what I expect him to do. He’s just a major piece is all I’m trying to state here. He’s the 2015 Finals MVP. Simple.

I see a weakness Saturday, a blatant weakness. The Warriors had nearly NO INTERIOR GAME AT ALL! Well, there’s a reason for that. No Andrew Bogut, no Festus Ezeli, and that meant NO INTERIOR DEFENSE! Draymond Green is good but he can’t defend LaMarcus Aldridge or Tim Duncan. I won’t forget some of the things Duncan did to DeAndre Jordan in last year’s playoffs. Vintage Old Man Riverwalk. They’ll not be another like him.

These teams currently sit at 1-1 against one another and have 2 games remaining that are sure to be entertaining unless both teams are resting by this time. What if Golden State doesn’t lose another game leading up the April 7th game against San Antonio in order to clinch 72 wins? This makes this game beyond must see! This would probably be the most watched game along with the next if the Warriors win this game. The next game would be win #73 if they could streak. It’s no guarantee but they’ll regain a few pieces along the way towards trying to achieve their goal.

I think the Spurs are the ONLY team that can do anything to this Warriors team. No one in the east can hold a candle to them. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook tried and tried in this regular season but haven’t managed to get a win. LeBron didn’t manage to pull out any win either. I’ve seen no guard do anything to Stephen Curry offensively demeaning except Damian Lillard, and that list includes Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker, James Harden & Patrick Beverly, Mike Conley and everyone else who was injured last year or just in competition with Steph. All the NBA haters have turned their hate into respect since Steph has been explosive this year. I wonder who the players will vote as MVP this year at their own little award show this time.

The NBA Championship this year only can be obtained by 5 teams, at least from my perspective. The Warriors, Spurs, Thunder, Cavs, and Heat are the contenders. Well let’s say 6, I’ll throw the Raptors in there for good measure since they’re making a lot of noise and they are a matchup problem as long as Lowry and Derozan play well. They have a lot of good pieces surrounding them which make them a threat to make the Finals also. Although still, this is Steph and the Warriors championship to lose, if fully healthy. Congrats to the Spurs on a big win. I’m looking forward to the next two games between these two.

Real Quick: Damian Lillard (the New Iverson?)

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Philadelphia 76ers
Jan 16, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) shoots a foul shot against the Philadelphia 76ers during the first half at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

 

By: Opinionated MJ (Michael Tolliver)

Before we go into sniping me and leaving me to die on the curb with my thoughts and opinions, let me tell you why I believe this to be somewhat true. I’ll give you clarity first. I don’t mean he’s the new Iverson by hairstyle, dress style, in speech, in the way he approaches the media, teammates or his coaches. No. What I mean is that he is driven to lead his team to the promised land one way or another and he is determined to fight through all the doubts thrown his way.

I’ve been watching his story develop over the last couple years from a distance. It’s come full circle now with him carrying his team. He’s lost LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews, and Aaron Afflalo and Robin Lopez and somehow he has still kept the Trailblazers in the playoff picture and his team inspired enough to compete against the best teams in the game. He’s wrongfully compared to Stephen Curry, he’s wrongfully snubbed when it comes to the All-Star games and to Team USA Basketball. He’s basically seen as 3rd tier. Let’s be honest. I think he’s had a better year than James Harden. I think he’s had an MVP-type season for the hand he’s been dealt and the success he’s mined along the way.

Damian Lillard is like Iverson cause where people say that he won’t succeed, he does. Where people think he’ll come up short, he’ll exceed expectations. I guess they both rap, right? LOL! But Damian Lillard has an opportunity to begin crafting a legacy. If he can push this team deep into the 2nd round, he should be applauded. If he can’t get them out of the first round, he should be regarded as a good NBA player with a “don’t quit” mentality. A player with heart. The first player I’ve seen since Iverson to actually go against the grain. He puts in the work to improve and to ultimately prove people wrong. Fighting through adversity instead of letting it swallow him and make him a shell of who he is potentially supposed to be. They said he couldn’t play defense, he’s improved. They said he couldn’t facilitate, he’s improved. They said he wouldn’t be able to keep his team above .500, he’s done that. They said he couldn’t closeout, he does. They said he couldn’t explode, he has! I believe in him too much to throw the “he won’t win a championship” stone. I believe he will. I’m a fan that respects his struggle and rise because I can relate to having to overcome something and being surrounded by people who believe that you can’t rise to the occasion.

He’s not even comparable to Iverson, so let’s bury that though altogether. I think he will be better than Iverson. I think his career will flourish and he will reap more success than Iverson. As long as he stays focused on improving his game and making sure that he doesn’t fall into the pit that is the media, and scrutiny, Lillard will continue to shock the world.