Tag Archives: D’Angelo Russell

Gold D-Lo

By: Michael Tolliver Jr (Opinionated MJ)

THANK YOU Bob Myers for letting everyone know, “We have no intention of trading D’Angelo Russell.”

I feel like this organization has something hidden up it’s sleeve with this move. Both parties wanted each other in order for this to have even transpired. You lose KD but get back DLo? I’ll take that every time. He walked away from OKC for nothing.

Y’all once said “light years”. Still have a great chance of proving it true. I anticipate Steph will take a pay cut next time he can re-sign which will continue to extend the life of this group.

It’s crazy how everyone is so focused on trying to dismantle this team by throwing around all this “dynasty” talk but last time I checked, the Spurs had Duncan, Ginobli, Parker, and successfully built around them over 15-plus years in totality. Their greatness wasn’t only determined by the 5 titles, but the longevity. I think the warriors deserve the same respect.

The silenced haters don’t want to see this team gel, mesh, and succeed with D-Lo. So they think the front office will banish him away for WHOM exactly?

I don’t see any intelligent individual giving up Giannis, Kawhi, KD, LeBron, PG, or any franchise player for D’Angelo Russell. Steph IS the franchise player here. No need for another. Honestly, no one outside of the untouchable players on opposing teams would fit with the Warriors either. My personal fit would be for Jokic, but Denver isn’t sending Jokic to Golden State. Get real. D-Lo will become the 3rd Splash brother. Fifth technically, if you count KD & Boogie as Splash past.

Can’t wait to see it all come together for this team with the West being bolstered with talent this off-season. I didn’t mention the acquisition of Wille Cauley-Stein and the sleeper news of Kevon Looney being retained. He’s becoming a better player. We seen that in the finals. He may have developed into a double double guy that can defend the post well. I’m sure this roster will still make another signing or two, no matter how big or small.

In my view:

  • Klay will become KD (more touches)
  • D’Angelo will become Klay (offensively that can create off the dribble better)
  • Steph gonna Steph like crazy
  • Draymond will forever be the glue that continues to find ways to be better at holding everything together

DubNation has got to be sitting back laughing while the world expects their team to not only successfully integrate Russell, but also miss the playoffs entirely.

The Kobe Kids and How Kobe Made Them Better

 

 

 

By: Opinionated MJ

 

Who would’ve thought? An Article about Kobe making his teammates better. Although, yes, he’s retired. He’s no longer a member of the Lakers roster. He’s no longer in the locker room. He’s no longer giving anyone the infamous death stare. He’s no longer just jacking up jumpshots with a focus on increasing his total points number to etch himself in the top 5 of scoring for years to come. He’s no longer handing down his criticisms and showing no emotion when the kids are excited and jumping around. He was like a father to these Lakers for a couple seasons and it paid dividends.

 

I read an article and seen video from NBA analysts that explained how the whole Kobe rebuild experiment worked. Let Kobe shoot away, increase the chance for lottery picks, and develop the young players while he is still there. Let that Mamba Mentality rub off and let’s see how they perform once he’s gone and they are unleashed. Here we are now. Luke Walton brought the championship culture from being a member of the Golden State Warriors coaching staff. He also brought championship experience, playing experience, and even having been apart of a Phil Jackson team (if that matters), allows him to relate and give great advice to the young Lakers. Maybe his coaching last year while Kerr was out wasn’t a fluke. This offense is nearly identical to the offense run in Golden State. Just different players who share similarities with those on the Warriors.

 

Back to Kobe. They say he was never able to make his teammates better. In theory, this is true. He didn’t set them up well unless he wanted to, he didn’t increase their numbers, blah, blah, so on, so on. He made Lamar Odom better, he made Andrew Bynum play to his potential, he made Gasol tough as a Laker, he made Shaq step his game up and compete with him as well in the past. Isn’t that making your teammates better? Fast forward. He jacked up shots but led by example. Having a killer instinct that is all over these Lakers now, right now. He left them with a sense of freedom now to play their game and know that execution is everything. He didn’t have to have gaudy assist numbers, he didn’t flirt with triple-doubles every night, he didn’t shoot lights out from 3, he didn’t shoot beautiful floaters over big men constantly, and he wasn’t the one to shy away from the blame, from the final shot, from being hated. He wasn’t even appreciated until he declared retirement. Yet, he still found a way to improve the young Laker kids and help propel them to this surprising start to the 2016-17 NBA season.

 

If you look at the holdovers from the past couple of seasons, those are the players affected the most. Julius Randle, Nick Young, and Jordan Clarkson are those affected the most. They have come out and been surprising individually while also playing well within Walton’s team concept. They defeated the Warriors handily. They had a major comeback against the Sacramento Kings. They’ve also competed in every game this season. They’ve been highly competitive. Which wasn’t expected at all. Everyone expected another lottery season. Why has no one expected this team would rise like last year’s Utah Jazz? Maybe everyone had higher expectations on the Minnesota Timberwolves. They have saavy veterans who will help with the growth of the Kobe Kids in Luol Deng, Timofey Mozgov, and Lou Williams. They have consistency with their offense now that they have a coach that won’t limit them and not use their strengths, sorry Byron Scott. They can now spread their wings, and the ball, now that Kobe is gone. What he left behind was will. Will. Something that can carry you when the odds are against you. He left behind professionalism. A way to carry yourself from game to game, media conference to media conference, practice, and games. He left behind Mamba Mentality. I’m sure you Cleveland Cavs and Kyrie Irving fans know about that. Even he gave Kobe praise. Kobe taught the young Lakers, and others, to push the button and not care if the shot falls or bricks. He taught them to go for it. Leave it all on the floor and deal with the success and/or ramifications later. He taught them how to be leaders and how to translate that to the basketball floor. He left his imprint on this current Lakers team. It’s up to you to see it. If you were never a Kobe fan and didn’t watch him from day 1 up to now, you wouldn’t understand what he left behind and how he affected these Lakers. They’re exceeding expectations. Russell Westbrook can set his teammates up from drives, LeBron as well on drives and from the post, Steph sets his teammates up from 40 feet away by being a threat to shoot anywhere and simply find an open man or angle, but if you take them away from their teams they will surely lose their way and won’t play the same. The difference is, Kobe improves you individually and that will trickle down and around every which way. The proof is in these Lakers. Watch, enjoy, and remember how they became this way. Imagine if Ingram had a season alongside Kobe.

 

I predict they’ll win 30+ games this season. I won’t be surprised if they make a big move and land a star either now or in the upcoming offseason that will put them over the top. It’ll be fun to watch them rise in the west again. It is much more wide open this year from 4 thru 8. Let’s see if they can land a playoff berth and make some noise.

Rambling Thought: Homing In On the Playoffs

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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.

 

Rambling Thought: Dating, Sports, Celebs, and Culture

 

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By: Opinionated MJ

Well, we are in the midst of a scandal between D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young where D’Angelo basically exposes Nick Young for infidelity. Nick Young is engaged to Iggy Azalea and you would like to believe that with the smile they share together in photos, everything is peaches and cream on their end. Maybe not any more. I’d like to first say that I’m grown enough to know that if I’m going to want to be promiscuous then I would simply be single. I want to follow that up by saying that I’d also be pissed, just as a man, if I were in Nick Young’s shoes. Yes, there is guy code. I’ve been violated against many times when it comes to the “guy code” in my lifetime, not that I’m the story here though. Most men don’t follow it if they have motives and intentions anyway but the way this situation happened just happens to be actually awkward. The whole video thing, especially with snapchat, I don’t have snapchat so I don’t have an actual knowing or opinion as to how it works. I do have friends that have it and I was under the belief that you could share it directly with particular people privately. So I’ll question this just as others have, “who did he send it to that wanted money from him?” Apparently they wanted a payday, so they violated his trust, which in turn put him in violation with Nick Young, which violated Iggy Azalea. Domino!

 

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I think that across sports we’ve seen codes broken everywhere, nearly every year. I’m sure it’s every year. I just heard something on the radio within the last month about some football players where a player’s teammate was dating his ex-wife/girlfriend. I forget exactly what she was prior but this exists everywhere. Guy code is if I’m your friend, co-worker, teammate, etc., then your woman is supposed to be off limits. Period. Even if she comes to my house sporting nothing but a trench coat, it’s still a resounding, NO! OFF LIMITS! We’ve had this happen with Tony Parker didn’t we? Currently we have some news buzzing about Kyrie Irving. He’s saying that he wasn’t dating Kehlani when she was shown in a picture with PARTYNEXTDOOR via Instagram. Thanks internet. Everyone is a part of the real live, real time Truman Show. Everything you do is watched and calculated and broken down by people who don’t even know you, or worse, media. All the media wants to do is get viewers, watchers, and money so they follow any story they can without a regard for the actual effect on people. Allegedly, Kehlani attempted suicide after the picture was posted. Then she finally spoke and Kyrie just spoke on the matter today as well. The thing we’re forgetting as human beings while we’re holding our favorite athletes and musicians, actors, and celebrities, is that they all have lives and emotions as well. Action, reaction. Why not live and let live?

 

Matt Barnes Charity Event Hosted by Maserati of Manhattan
(L – R) Matt Barnes, Gloria Govan and Derek Fisher attend the Matt Barnes Foundation Charity event hosted by Maserati of Manhattan by Maserati of Manhattan, December 11, 2010, Masrati of Manhattan, New York City.(Photos by Bennett Raglin)

This lastly brings me to the Derek Fisher and Matt Barnes story. Derek Fisher has been with Matt Barnes ex at Matt Barnes house where Matt Barnes children lay their heads and where I’m certain that Matt pays the bills. No one cares about any details except that there was a fight and the continued display of hate and anger that Matt Barnes continues to spew out towards Derek and about this situation altogether. I guess we forgot how to respect people’s property, wait, we’re down with other people’s property. Your ex girl, at your house! I get a W for that! We’ve been birthed into a culture where infidelity, sleeping with each other’s wives and girlfriends, and just finding a way to one up another is accepted and seen as a good mark on someone’s reputation. I don’t mean to get biblical but thou shall not covet. I don’t judge, I won’t judge. Women are the same as well in many instances. I’ve heard about what’s going on with the Hip Hop Wives or it may be the Basketball Wives where the one woman is being adulterous with a married man and refusing to stop her pregnancy out of spite. Then that would lead to a topic of pro-life. That just leads me to the end of this article. Let’s focus on respecting one another and being mindful of trespassing. We have enough broken homes, especially in the black community. I’m not a preacher, nor a speaker, I’m just a sports fan with an opinionated mind.

 

I’ll leave you with a positive image of relationships, dating, families and something our culture no longer values!

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MESSAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

FoR Kobe

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By: Opinionated MJ

I am a Kobe Bryant fan. I have been there throughout all his ups and downs. From his draft day and continuing through now. He was the next in line after Jordan to me. He stepped into Jordan’s space when Jordan retired for me as a fan. Now I see KD or Russell Westbrook carrying that torch when Kobe is done. More likely Russell. Anyway, I’ve been a fan throughout all of the criticisms and throughout all of the early naysayers. You know:

“He’s not better than AI. He’s not better than T-Mac. He’s not better than Vince Carter. He’s not going to win a championship. He’s a ball hog. He doesn’t pass the ball. He won’t win like Michael. He won’t be a leader. He won’t win a second championship. He won’t win a third championship. That thing in Denver, yeah, he did that! He did that! He’s going to jail. He’s a r*****. He’s not one of the best of all time. He won’t win without Shaq. He doesn’t impact his teammates. He’s not a likable person. He’s egotistical. He’s too selfish. He only wants to win on his terms. He took too much money. No one wants to play with him. No one likes Kobe.”

The charges are almost endless. I didn’t agree with those as a super die-hard fan of Kobe’s. I’ve since cooled but I am still very much in Kobe’s corner but now I’m also very realistic. My reality is simple though and looks past all of the prior things people would’ve said, past all of the personal things, past things that don’t relate to Kobe Bryant when he is on the court. Super simple: Facilitate or Retire.

Let it rain in, “Oh! You’re no Kobe fan!!” I very much am. I’ve been a witness to all of his successes and all of his failures. The only time you could question that is when he played the Detroit Pistons and lost. Come on, it’s the home team. He had to lose that one. You can’t win them all right? I’ve seen the duels against everyone they tried to make be “Kobe Stoppers.” HAHAHAHAHA! Ruben Patterson, Raja Bell (did the best job on him, IMO), Ron Artest, Bruce Bowen, Doug Christie, Matt Barnes, Tony Allen, and I know there’s more I’m missing but you get it.

He’s overcome all the obstacles and things people said he couldn’t do. He even used it in a manifesto for inspiration, twice. The man’s work ethic is second to none, literally. So why, really, how could I call on Kobe to retire? Well, he isn’t truly known to facilitate but he does have a nickname as “facilitator Kobe” that we’ve all forgotten because he is a scorer first, second, and third. He needs to be more of a player that’s going to threaten defenses near the rim and set his team up for easy shots, cuts, and drop in passes. He’s built to do this. He’s known widely as a scorer and no one would dare leave him open unless he was shooting 10% from the field on the season.

Imagine what he could do if he operated from where LeBron operated in the NBA Finals. Mid-post area to either score close to the basket, get to the basket using his footwork and fundamentals, or kicking it to an open or cutting teammate. It’s almost too easy. I’m not asking him to be LeBron, I never did. There are things that LeBron can’t do, Kobe can and vice versa at this point. Prime Kobe could do anything, but not now. I also think that Kobe may actually be one of the most dominant post players in the league only 3rd behind Tim Duncan and Demarcus Cousins. May sound like a reach but do your research. We can argue and debate, but do your reasearch about Kobe close to the basket. I’m not too interested in seeing him hoist Steph Curry distance 3 pointers, nor super contested long 2 pointers.

Kobe needs to understand that simple is better as his career winds down. He needs to allow these rookies to prove and teach them how to overcome their mistakes and become better players. Kobe has always improved his teammates whether you believe it or not. His hard bargain driving, superman work ethic, and dedication to the game rub off on everyone unless you’re just a super lazy, weak-minded individual. It’s gold to be able to be playing alongside Kobe. Practicing, watching film, and everything else that comes with it. He’s one of the last students of the game who can actually untap your potential without even actively being LeBron-esque or Jason Kidd-esque, Steve Nash-esque, or Magic Johnson-esque. I’m not asking him to turn into some superhero point guard either, I’m asking him to allow his teammates to become, well, his teammates. He doesn’t have to hijack every game if they brick 7 straight shots. He doesn’t have to let his takeover gene kick in when they fail on a few assignments. Jordan Clarkson wouldn’t have developed if it wasn’t for Kobe having to sit the rest of the season. That’s my honest opinion. No All Rookie First Team for him. He statistically matched Andrew Wiggins during the second half of the season. Having Kobe is gold, having Kobe be a mentor and a guide as you play is almost like having a diamond. His knowledge is worth more than anything else that anyone could provide. Who could better teach them? NO ONE! Phil Jackson doesn’t coach, LeBron doesn’t want to teach kids nor sit through a rebuild or he would’ve at least kept Wiggins around, and Durant, Russell, and other teams don’t have someone who could honestly teach these kids the ropes better than Kobe? Who would actually improve them by being hard on them, like a parent? Who would actually DEMAND that they show up or shut up? Who would actually tell them that they’re as soft as Charmin during practice? LOL! KOBE! KOBE! KOBE! KOBE! KOBE! KOBE!

Enough. Kobe… Facilitate or retire.

Un-Common Ground

Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks and Kobe Bryant (from www.newsday.com)
(from http://www.newsday.com)

By: Opinionated MJ

Regarded as the biggest two markets in the NBA, these two teams find themselves struggling to maintain an identity although they possess two of the games biggest names. The Lakers and Knicks find themselves stuck while the rest of the NBA acquires big names and stars elsewhere. Prior to the latest CBA, would those players have actually made themselves available to the smaller markets? I guess this is a win for David Stern who pushed to make the league more marketable from top to bottom, and Stern who also may have single-handedly put the Lakers in the situation they’re currently in. At this point though, that’s water under the bridge.

Looking at some of the players both teams have acquired, you can blatantly see desperation. Once you take off the “hate” glasses and allow these teams to soak in their own messy situations, you can see that they still are actually trying to be as competitive as possible. What more could you ask for? Lakers miss out on LaMarcus Aldridge and they go after Roy Hibbert. When was the last time they actually had a defensive center? Bynum? That’s not a bad look to me. Low risk, high pay, high reward. What’s better, Robert Sacre? I’m not too sold on the Lou Williams deal, but then again, his deal will be a bargain in the long run and he’s already acclimated to coming off of the bench. Not too big of an ego I’d guess. I’d think if his ego was inflating, it was satisfied by simply becoming a Laker. They’ve also acquired Brandon Bass who is a hard worker. Who’s better? Was Boozer better? Maybe offensively. So why not?

Everyone loves to kick the Laker dog while it’s down, which is usually never. Not the way it is right now. This is the worse. They’ve hit bottom as of this past season and can only go up from here. I’m a longtime Kobe fan/supporter but I am ready for him to ride off and pass the torch myself. Friends question my status as a true Kobe fan when I say that amongst them. I guess the front office still wants to help Kobe believe he’s going to be able to compete in the playoffs, for championships specifically, and to help satisfy his eventual retirement. Maybe this will help fulfill his drive or whatever is pushing him to continue. Maybe just to be professional and fulfill his contractual obligations. Who wouldn’t at the tune of $25 million? I’ll ease off the Lakers by asking them to let D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, and Julius Randle start, play huge minutes, and hopefully develop into something like Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. Far-fetched? I’ll touch on this in another story down the line.

Now, the New York Knicks! NEW YORK, NEW YORK! Let me start by saying that I also am a Carmelo Anthony fan/supporter. I guess I love some volume shooters, eh? The more, the bigger the individual score, the merrier! Damn Carmelo has got to be thinking about his decision to stay in NYC turned out bogus, at least in the short-term. He would’ve competed for a championship with the Chicago Bulls or Houston Rockets. I prefer he had gone to Chicago. I mean, Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Carmelo Anthony, Pau Gasol, and Joakim Noah?!?!?!?!!??

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The Knicks are also trying to make some moves. I actually expected Phil to go after Roy Hibbert. Guess he told Jeanie about his intentions a little too soon! At least they acquired Arron Afflalo which should serve as a replacement for losing Iman Shumpert. I do NOT understand WHY they traded Tim Hardaway Jr. If he was still apart of this team as it’s being constructed, I could actually see them trying to compete.. for an 8th spot in the East. Isn’t that good enough? Why not see LeBron in the first round? Develop your team that way, through disappointment. Let them know what it feels like to go against a juggernaut. Learn, improve next summer, add to the team, come back with everybody knowing what it’s about. Throw them to the wolves! Let me pose my first question… What is Derrick Williams going to do for this team, in thee (yes, “thee”) triangle offense, and with Calderon potentially still starting? Why not start Jerian Grant? He’s a Grant for godssake! Coveted by Phil Jackson himself. Or, wait! Maybe it’s another move to coddle to the people he’s fond of. I thought when Phil arrived to NY that he’d bring Fisher, Shaw, Clemons, and everybody he’d been associated with. I definitely didn’t see Derek Fisher as a fit for coach. Second question, would Derek Fisher have led Golden State to a championship? Meh. The Robin Lopez move, to me, was made to lure Aldridge and ended in an epic FAIL! At least they acquired a big man who can defend and rebound. Let’s not talk about Kyle O’Quinn. He averages 5.8ppg, 3.9rpg, and 1.2apg. Those numbers may fall with Melo on his team. No disrespect to my boy but he truly IS a ball-stopper. Deservedly so considering he will have only Afflalo as a decent weapon. I hope the Knicks aren’t done dealing because they need another scorer. Maybe they should request Nick Young from the Lakers who they oddly share NBA dungeon space with.

Hold on to hope cause there’s light at the end of the tunnel for both teams. They have to trust in their youth (yes Knick fans, even Kristaps Porzingis), let them all soak up as much experience and knowledge as they can early, and hopefully resemble cohesion by the time mid-January rolls around. The Lakers have much more upside in their youth, especially with Clarkson having a season under his belt running the show. He should be the example of my “throw them to the wolves” theory. They can only get better. No one wants to constantly embarrass themselves every night on the biggest stages. If someone told you that you had to do the Apollo or audition in Hollywood studio every night for 9 months, you’d get better. I don’t see it any other way. Unless you’re stuck behind the curtain.