By: Opinionated MJ
Derrick Rose, LeBron, Kyrie, Celtics, and more!
By: Opinionated MJ
Derrick Rose, LeBron, Kyrie, Celtics, and more!
By: Opinionated MJ
2018 could be havoc for the NBA, especially the Eastern Conference. I want to start by predicting that LeBron James will win the 2018 NBA MVP award. I also want to add that I handed LeBron the nickname “Terror” while watching him play against the Indiana Pacers during the 2017 playoffs. He’s very imposing to those who easily fold. We seen the teams falter and fold that stands in his way. Only two or three teams out east will be able to compete with him and his Cleveland Cavaliers. Those teams include Boston, Washington and Miami. I don’t think anyone else stands a chance.
Getting back to the MVP talk, let’s take a look at who may stand in his way.
I had him as my MVP last year until he got injured. He had fixed all of the shortcomings that were expected of the Golden State Warriors. Everyone expected them to fall apart on the defensive end and for their bench to not be as potent as usual. They expected him to bump heads with Stephen Curry & Klay Thompson on the way to hijacking the team from them. He did the exact opposite and also became a more efficient player on both sides of the floor. This year, I expect the Warriors will play an even more balanced style and this alone will eliminate him from beating LeBron for the MVP award.
We all expect Kawhi to continue to do what he does on both ends of the floor. He’s already been a defensive player of the year multiple times and has been the engine, body, and wheels for the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs have added Rudy Gay and I anticipate that this may cause a decrease in scoring for Kawhi, although, it may actually give him easier opportunities on the floor and allow him to be more efficient. What’s truly stopping him from winning. You’ll see why when I get to explaining why LeBron will.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have acquired Paul George and many expect that Russell’s numbers will take a dip. I actually expect him to maintain his numbers. He’ll be able to be more efficient and rely on someone to pick up the load when he burns out as we finally seen in the playoffs. This also gives Russell another player to facilitate to cause this is clearly Russell’s team. I’m still anticipating 30, 8, and 11 assists this year from Russell. Still great nonetheless. Again, I’ll explain how LeBron still still overcome another great year from Russell as well.
Two words, Chris Paul. Enough said.
Why LeBron will win
LeBron has new teammates, has a few challenges to face in order to keep Cleveland afloat. They’ll be awaiting Isaiah Thomas to be at full health. They’ll have the injury prone Derrick Rose on the floor alongside him and he’ll most likely start at point guard to begin the season. Both not Kyrie Irving, which adds to how LeBron will be able to win the award.
LeBron does not have another superstar next to him and could actually help every player increase their efficiency and numbers this year playing alongside him. I think Isaiah will take a scoring hit but will still be more efficient with LeBron having most of the attention from opponents to free him up offensively. I’ll also add that LeBron will have to be a defensive anchor for this team now. I know they added Jae Crowder, but he actually declined a bit on defense last year.
The Cavs will now be able to feature Kevin Love in a more prominent role with Kyrie gone and Isaiah out early on. Expect a rise in his numbers courtesy of LeBron. I also believe that LeBron still be hyper motivated considering how Kyrie left, how much social media hate he’s been receiving, how much criticism he’s been receiving from sports analysts, and simply because now, not only do the Warriors stand in his way, but another true rival has arrived. His old rival, the Boston Celtics who now host Kyrie Irving. Hypothetically, LeBron is also in a contract year. He will deliver. You can bet on that.
All factors considered, I expect “Terror” James to land the MVP award for this upcoming season for all the reasons above. I also believe that he will have to be more of a coach on the floor with this new team while developing new chemistry and keeping his team ahead in the win column. Coach Lue will finally be exposed. He’s either a good coach or a LeBron figurehead. LeBron’s numbers should be similar to last year but it’ll be the storyline and the seeding that’ll determine rather he receives the award or not. What better story could there be for this year? My early prediction is that LeBron will win this MVP.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
By: Opinionated MJ
Let’s start first by stating the obvious, Russell Westbrook has gone back to the Thunder. It will be OKC for at least 3 more years. I anticipate we’ll see an 2006 Kobe playing. Can’t wait for that. He’s got an opportunity to prove that he can do this all by himself without another star and with good role players. I was saying all last season amongst friends that the team felt like Russell’s anyway. He had that time without Kevin Durant when Durant was injured. That’s when it became his team. Durant didn’t naturally fit in when he came back. He’d get the ball and Iso most of the time. It’s Durant though, he provided another punch scoring wise and provided help for other teammates to have looks. I anticipate the NBA makes this an opening night game. Warriors-Thunder.
I want to talk about this New York team. Are we sleeping on Derrick Rose? Did we not pay attention to his efficiency during the second half of the season? I honestly think Jimmy Butler bricking shots put them out of the playoffs. Enter Carmelo Anthony, scorer. The Knicks have basically created what the Bulls could’ve had if Melo had signed with them minus Butler’s defense. In theory, Porzingis is a young Gasol, they have Noah, Melo, Courtney Lee is playing Butler’s spot, and they have Derrick Rose. Why aren’t we excited about this? Was it Jalen Rose that says we should call them the “Ice Bath Boys”? Lol! Maybe that’s why. I won’t sleep. They’re all hungry.
Let’s switch over to Chicago now since we’re talking about Butler. He now has Wade and Rondo! Crazy! They could resemble a perimeter defense like one employed by the Bron-Wade Miami Heat. Say I’m reaching. I’ll say do your research. All they need is shooters and serviceable backup role players. Maybe some insurance on Wade although I expect the same health from him that he endured this year. Pretty good stretch. Father Prime indeed. Question is, if Rondo dominated the ball, what kind of offense could they run? Top 6 team in the east, top 4 at best.
Next, I’ll talk about the Celtics, Pacers, Pistons and more.
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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.
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.
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.