Tag Archives: Dwayne Wade

MoNeYBaLL Episode 14 (August 10, 2018)

Featuring NilClassic & Opinionated MJ

We Cover LeBron and the Lakers, Kawhi and the Raptors, Jaylen Brown’s statement, iPromise, Wade, Shut Up and Dribble, and even provide the NBA with some ideas for the All Star game inspired by Team USA drills.

Enjoy!

https://soundcloud.com/user-85278876/moneyball14-081018-omjnc

MoneYBaLL Podcast Episode 10: The MyGM 2K Cavs (and Other Deals)

Featuring NilClassic & Opinionated MJ

NBA Media Day: MoneYBaLL Episode 5 Podcast

By: Opinionated MJ

NBA Media Day Podcast

Enjoy!

NBA Overload (Stats VS Effect): MoneYBaLL Episode 3

By: Opinionated MJ & NilClassic

Stats vs Effect

LeBron vs Kobe

Tim Duncan

And everything NBA!

Enjoy and thank you for the support!

KD, Warriors Win 2016-17 NBA Championship

 

By: Opinionated MJ 




It was all on you KD.

Congratulations to Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors! They are your 2016-17 NBA Champions! Redemption, revenge, and recovery all wrapped in one! Kevin Durant has endured a high level of scrutiny and came out on top. He faced a lot of friction from the media, especially from a few high-level media types right before Game 5. Debate that! If it were not for his injury, I don’t think this Warriors team would’ve had the bench ready to go to war with Cleveland. They didn’t band together until KD went down. Steph didn’t find himself until KD went down. Draymond Green didn’t tap into another level again until KD Went down. Let’s not mention the fact that even I believed Golden State would fall off defensively. They posted league highs in efficiency this year, not only on offense but defense as well. How? KD.

Coming into the year, KD was hated for going to the team that ousted him. Now that he’s got the title and he will have a ring, let me break this down for you. If KD opted to stay in OKC, he would’ve had to deal with finding out who was the #1 option with Russell Westbrook. He would’ve been without Serge Ibaka who I though enabled them to take down the Warriors and Spurs. With that said, had he stayed in OKC, he would’ve still had to see both the Warriors and Spurs in the playoffs on the way to seeing LeBron in Cleveland. What would’ve been his odds? Be honest. NO ONE THINKS KD COULD’VE BEATEN LEBRON WITH OKC! That’s a fact. Doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen.

 

He coasted most of the year, trying to fit in early and not be imposing. Steph, Klay Thompson, Dray, everybody took a backseat to making him feel comfortable. Steve Kerr did a good job in putting a roster together after losing so many pieces to obtain Kevin Durant. Got to tip our hats to the Golden State Warriors organization. They brought in a few journeymen in David West, Matt Barnes late, Zaza Pachulia (the Kawhi killer), and even Javale McGee. McGee had a hard time staying on any teams’ roster since he and George Karl were split apart. This is the best I’ve seen him play since then. There’s no other team that would gamble on him. It paid dividends, especially in the first 2 games of this final.

 

No one is talking about how Andre Iguodala stepped up in KD’s absence either. We must, MUST, give this man respect for being willing to take a bench role for the better of the team overall. No one mentioned the Warriors depth as being a threat. Come on now. Livingston, Iggy, Barnes, West, McGhee? Throw Ian Clark and Patrick McCaw in there and you’ve got something that you can develop into something special indeed.

 

I want to give LeBron and Kyrie their due respect for carrying their team this far. They put it all on the line. I personally think they should’ve obtained some different pieces and I can imagine that half of this roster will be completely different going into the 2017 season. Maybe Carmelo, maybe Paul George, maybe Chris Paul, Dwayne Wade, even DeMarcus Cousins could end up here. They’re all in the rumors. My sleeper here is Blake Griffin. LeBron and Kyrie were scoring at will but did tire out and their team, their bench, just couldn’t give them enough of a cushion. I think Bogut would’ve paid dividends and may have been enough for Cleveland to win this series. The Cavs aren’t as far away from being as talented as this Warriors team. Don’t forget that. Be humble with this Championship, Warriors fans. Congratulations on another great season. I’m sure we’ll see you here next year. Currently, the only threat out west is Kawhi Leonard. The basketball gods shined down on you!

The NBA Eastern Conference Folders, The Cavs, Wiz, and a Dark Horse Bulls Team

By: Opinionated MJ

 

The Eastern Folders Division

Who in the Eastern Conference can actually win a series against the Cleveland Cavaliers? My gut tells me that its not the Pacers, Celtics, Bucks, Raptors, or Hawks. They’ve all been considered so-called threats. Only thing is, they’ve all folded in the past or simply flared out when it was time to bring their A game in the playoffs. I’ll get into it a little for why I believe they all fold in prime time.

The Bucks don’t have enough experience to me. They are one piece away. Jabari Parker. They need their team in full health. Thats when I’ll consider them a true threat out east. No need to even talk about more. Yes, Giannis is the truth, but he’ll need that extra player to really be what he can be. It’s nothing like another player taking the pressure off of you. Nothing like it. Especially with what Parker brings to this team. Reminds me of a young Carmelo Anthony.

The Pacers simply don’t have enough experience. I think they need Myles Turner to become what he will become. At least a consistent 18 & 10 from him and that would do wonders for them. Plus, who really believes in a team that has Monta Ellis? Paul George already blew a game, he and CJ Miles, and then he continued to point fingers. Then we found out he was 0 for 20 in those situations anyway. He’s not even clutch enough to command the ball. Enough said.

The Celtics seem like the one who would burst through the wall and actually make it interesting. As we’ve seen through the first 2 games, they don’t really have anyone who can create for themselves outside of Thomas and Al Horford. They have enough defense but they haven’t even been able to stop Jimmy Butler, so we know they’re not stopping LeBron. I don’t forsee them making it out of this round now.

The Raptors… I’m very disappointed in Kyle Lowry. Knowing that going forward, he has the potential to have a meltdown at any given time. He’s not reliable enough to actually consider a true All-Star, that alone screams volumes to me. Demar Derozan on the other hand, he’s stepped into some mid-range bloodline only seen by a few greats. He just arrived there this season, so before I get too impressed, I’ll depend on his consistency over time. He is the only true reliable offensive option on this team. Meanwhile, Jonas, Serge, and Lowry are all here and there. They need a point guard who can really command the team and improve the other players all while being consistent himself. Chris Paul anyone?

 

Can the Wiz Reach The Cavs in the Conference Finals?

This is the presumed matchup going forward. I believe that they’ve been eliminated enough and they have enough playoff scars that they’ve built a foundation on. The only problem would be Bradley Beal being guarded so well that he’s taken off of his game and the only dependable player becoming John Wall. They have enough role players to push them ahead and to keep most opponents honest but I’m looking at the Bulls right now and they may have enough defense, scrappy play (at times) that they turn into transition buckets, and focus on execution that can put them over the top. I still consider the Wizards a roadblock, if not, the team that will meet Cleveland.

Can The Bulls Reach The Cavs in the Conference Finals?

I’ve been a fan of the way the Bulls began the season and also how they ended it. They now have a 2-0 lead over the #1 seeded Boston Celtics. Who would’ve knew? We watched the Celtics grind hard all season led by Isaiah Thomas who dazzled in many 4th quarters. I’ve been led to believe that the Celtics would’ve been formidable against the Cavs and the entire east until they fell flat towards the end of the season. Condolences to Mr. Thomas loss in his family. That aside, I truly believe that the Bulls are fully equipped and able to not only beat the Celtics but also make it to the Conference Finals against the Cavs. That alone would be scary.

The Bulls have Jimmy Butler, Dwayne Wade, and Rajon Rondo, all of which have been contenders, and champions in the past. They have alot of veteran leadership on this team between those 3 and that has been why they’ve been able to put together two great performances against the Celtics. Everybody forgot Wade has a playoff switch. I also don’t know why people try to write Rondo off as if he’s washed up. He’s the perfect pass-first point guard that many teams in the league need. It’s just he commands the ball and to be the centerpiece of your offense. That’s the only reason why many teams didn’t gamble on him. Collectively, I think they have enough to make it there. I think they can even matchup well against Washington. The Wizards would have to be on all cylinders and the Bulls would have to be flat on offense for them to put the Bulls away. What i’m noticing is that Wade, Rondo, and Butler have put their differences aside and have turned on playoff mode in order to succeed. They weren’t considered a threat to make the playoffs and now they’re the biggest threat out east. I don’t think I’m just speaking with excitement either. I’ve been watching them all season. They clicked at the perfect time and took it right into the Playoffs. Watch out.

The Cleveland Cavaliers Will Win The 2016 – 17 NBA Championship

By: Opinionated MJ



I have one question… Who’s stopping the Cleveland Cavaliers? I mean honestly? Who in the Eastern Conference can actually contend for a championship? The team that gave them their toughest on-court opposition isn’t in the picture. That would be my very own hometown Detroit Pistons. They’re still trying to match last year’s mentality. It’s getting late. The Chicago Bulls, the team that I considered one stretch four away from contention, isn’t in the picture. Dwayne Wade and LeBron still may NEVER meet in the playoffs in their ENTIRE career. Let that sink in… Carmelo Anthony isn’t doing enough with the New York Knicks to get them over the top and into playoff seeding. He’s only played LeBron one time as well.

At the top of the eastern mountains are the Cavs, Raptors, Celtics, and Hawks. I personally feel like you need a defensive big man to contend with any LeBron team. Dwight Howard is back out East and he has one big win against the old LeBron led Cavs from the past. He went to the big show that year as well. If any team has a chance, it’s Atlanta… But wait… They gave away Kyle Korver. Someone who actually helps the Hawks create space for Dwight to operate. Oh well.

There’s also the Celtics and Raptors. I’ll bundle them up together cause they’ve done the same thing the last 2 years: crumble when LeBron takes the floor against them. I’ve seen LeBron come in and literally CRUISE through those series without having to break a sweat. The Celtics seem to sadly, fold. The Hawks seem to implode and forget their style of play and their routine. Its very frustrating to watch. It’s like there’s no competition out east. Well, it’s not.

I think there are a number of west teams that could at least give the Cavs a good 2-3 games in a playoff series. Of course the top 3 can. I also think the Grizzlies, Jazz, Rockets and Thunder would have a decent chance, better than any east team. The west has forever been a Fight Club fight on the way to the finals. Injuries and grind show in the Western Conference playoffs. Just ask the Clippers, Warriors, and Spurs.

I picked Cleveland as the favorites for this season anyway. Now they’ve added a top shooter with this lineup and still don’t even have JR Smith back yet. This will be the year Kyrie shows his self-worth that has been overlooked since LeBron decided to go back home.
The Warriors are good but very vulnerable. They have patented their routine and they don’t know who’s going to shoot the last shot. I say Steph Curry every time.

Cavs vs Anybody in the finals. 4-1. LeBron coasts, Kyrie wins finals MVP finally, another ring for “The Land”. Comparison to Jordan ensues. Blasphemous commentary on this subject continues as LeBron gets closer to 6. He’s great, maybe he’ll wind up being second best. Maybe he’ll wind up winning the next 5 thanks to this garbage Eastern Conference. Man up Eastern Conference! Continue to slaughter them, Bron.

ViLLaiNy

By: Opinionated MJ



Villainy. 

Hated by Cavs fans around the world. They won’t stop trolling the Warriors at every turn although they won the championship coming back from a 3-1 deficit. They want to believe that LeBron is why Kevin Durant went to Golden State when truthfully, that process started in the FIBA games from two summers ago, before Durant withdrew. If you ask Andre Iguodala, it was when he played with Durant and also developed a relationship. Sounds like the formula that made a big 3 in Miami. 2 attractions relocating though. Durant is alone in this one.

Villainy.

Stephen Curry. Baby faced assassin. Family man. Son of a baller. Riley Curry. God fearing. Not big enough to survive the NBA.

Klay Thompson. Smooth criminal. Ladies man. Silent threat. Plays well on both ends. Almost traded for Kevin Love.

Draymond Green. Heart of the team. Good defender. Good facilitator. Loud mouth irritation for the opposition. Risen from doubt. Doubtful he will adjust well to the NBA.

All drafted by the Warriors.

Villainy.

Winning the 2014-15 Championship while being called too young. Too inexperienced. Too lucky. Helped by injuries to all important guards in the playoffs other than Steph himself. Landed a championship over a depleted Cleveland Cavaliers team that required LeBron to play a bit different and to much praise. No criticism against him becoming a volume shooter in order to attempt to carry this team to a championship. I seen percentages I’ve never seen from LeBron. Only from the likes of Russell Westbrook, Kobe, and Iverson. They have always walked the volume path and get verbally shredded.

Villainy.

James Harden being voted MVP by the players but not the official MVP. Peers didn’t like, don’t like Stephen Curry. Many fans disliking the Warriors winning, following up their accomplishments by telling them, “it was a fluke.” Warriors reacting in incredible rage to the naysayers by having a 73 win season that no one wanted them to achieve. First ever Unanimous MVP in Stephen Curry.

Villainy.

Stephen Curry injuring himself in the first round of the playoffs. The initial injury actually occurred mid-season. Forgotten. It would serve as a detriment going forward. Draymond Green doing Bruce Lee kicks (LOL) in order to contain his opposition and maintain an intimidation factor. Klay Thompson rising to the occasion to save their season by exploding. Going to the finals again against LeBron James, carrying a beautiful 2-6 finals record. 2-1 if you ask die-hard LeBron fans. I call them “god-LeBron” fans. They don’t count the Spurs sweep, the second Spurs beatdown cause Mr. Wade wasn’t 100%, or the Warriors loss because Kyrie and Kevin were out.

Villainy.

Arrive to the finals. Steph limited by injury. Draymond getting suspended for being stepped over like he’s not there inciting everyone to think he punched LeBron in his lower extremities. Watch the tape again. LeBron request, suspension granted. Bogut stopping LeBron at the rim, injured. Iguodala able to defend LeBron well, limited by back injury suffered in game 6. A low IQ exhibition of decision making by Ezeli and Varejao. The greatest block ever by LeBron? His fans say so. Also, maybe not enough changes by Kerr? Why should you bail on your gameplan? Stay the course. Give up a huge 3-1 lead. Should’ve won the series. Lost 4-3. Failure. Congrats to LeBron for his ring for Cleveland!

Villainy.

When Steph Curry received MVP, LeBron dismissed that Steph was MVP. Wanted to redefine what MVP and best player is. Only to Steph though. No prior MVP award winners. Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and Kobe.

Villainy.

Successfully defeating the team that holds the best regular season record. Wearing an Ultimate Warrior shirt in celebration. Claiming the “high road” during the war. Now trolling with the internet trolls with a 3-1 lead drum (beating) subliminal setup. Funny indeed. Tombstone cookies for Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Uncharacteristic of LeBron, from my perspective. High road? Fun times. Gloating about a team that didn’t gloat about beating you the year prior. Maybe they did. Maybe I missed it. Definitely no trolling.

Villainy.

The worst loss possibly ever converted into the best free agency win possibly ever by landing Kevin Durant to play alongside your drafted stars. Durant had to leave OKC behind for this. Leave Russell Westbrook behind for this. Joining the team he lost to, that lost too. Especially after nearly handing them defeat one series earlier. Ring chasing with the best team that didn’t win the championship. Why not? Being trolled by fans for his decision.

Villainy.

Steph being told he choked. They forgot he was injured. They said don’t complain but complained while they were missing their stars. Double edged sword. New season upon us. Narrative this year is that the Warriors are villains. How they arrived here was by pure hard work and dedication coupled with a few mistakes and bumps. 1-1 in the last 2 finals over the last 2 years. Chosen as the favorite at season’s beginning. I don’t think the favorite should be anyone but a champion unless catastrophic changes took place.

Villainy.

Cleveland vs Golden State III predicted by oddsmakers and analysts all over.

Villainy.

I don’t think the Warriors represent villainy. 1 Championship in 2 tries, 3 all stars, 2 MVP’s awarded, Coach of the year, 73 win team coming off a championship run… 

Villainy.

Sounds more like success. More like victory. This time with a chance of redemption amidst a bloody sea of hatred.

Villainy.

​Real Quick: Why the Bulls NEED Chris Bosh

By: Opinionated MJ

I’ve taken a look at Chicago’s roster since they made the Michael Carter-Williams acquisition and I see a team that’s built to drive to the paint without a team being able to stop them from doing so. They’ve got cut & slash options galore. They are the opposite of the Warriors, in my opinion. If Steph, Klay, and KD are the Splash Brothers, then Wade, Butler, and Rondo are the “Slash Brothers”.

The Bulls also have a few players who can stretch the floor. Mirotic, McDermott, and Taj Gibson can hit long jumper and the former two can hit 3’s. Only problem is, they seem really streaky. Sometimes they just seem like rhythm players. 

Enter Chris Bosh.

The Bulls would have a good team that could actually see Bosh as its 2nd option behind Butler, and maybe he would give Bosh the chance to be the focal point of the offense and they play off of him. He can stretch the floor, shoot threes, and play pretty good defense. He would be a godsend for these Bulls who seem to lack a fully versatile big man. Maybe Rondo and Wade will help develop Bobby Portis into some kind of Garnett-Bosh style player. They would know what spots he would need to be in to be successful individually and within the offense. Bringing in Bosh could only help that progression.

Lastly, this move would make them an instant title contender in my eyes. They’d go from being a total wildcard to being a team that could contest the Cavs, as long as they stay fully healthy. They have two champions on their team that are required to help lead teams deep into the playoffs. Bosh would make a third champion. This could really be a move that could shake things up out east. It could be a waste though if Wade, Rondo, and Bosh couldn’t remain healthy.

Come on Pat Riley! Let Chris Bosh go so that he could team with Wade. I doubt he go play with LeBron which is what believed by fans league. He still believes he could be a major player on a team. He’s capable of that when healthy for sure.

The Durant Warriors

 

By: Opinionated MJ

Durant will takeover the Warriors by season’s end. He will pry away the grip of the team away from Stephen Curry. Yes, the back to back, unanimous MVP will be dethroned from being king of the Golden State. He will step down, WILLINGLY, and allow Kevin Durant to take the reign. This doesn’t mean that there will be friction. This doesn’t mean that there will be egos clashing or silent envy brewing, no, not at all. It’s just the order of things. In order to have proper success, things must have an order.

 

You can’t have the same Steph Curry shot selection from the playoffs and have a thriving Kevin Durant in all of this. Not productively anyway. I’m sure he wants to maintain something north of 20 points per game. Lets look at this on the base level: Kevin Durant will take Harrison Barnes shots, plus more. With that being said, there needs to be a pecking order then. I think Steph needs to become a swap option with Klay Thompson. They need to exchange 2nd and 3rd option amongst one another (and maybe even 1st option with Durant on many nights) depending on who has the hot hand, depending on who is defending who, depending on what lineups are in. Everything is situational with this team now. If you know Steph Curry can pull up from 50 feet and make a shot on you and you still have to guard Klay, Kevin, and Draymond also keeps you honest, then what can you honestly do as far as stacking up on defense? There will be no double team that isn’t dissected. There will be no mismatch that can’t be instantly exploited. Let’s not mention the new death lineup. We’ll call it that now. I wish someone credible could read this. Commentators could say, “Uh oh, looks like the Warriors are going with the ‘New Death’ lineup!” New Death. Death you haven’t seen before cause it’s so many ways to kill opposing teams now. Enough sounding like I’m brown nosing. Pistons will sweep the Warriors in the finals. Neutral?

 

New Death… because Kevin Durant brings them about 3 new dynamics. I’ve come across things that say that he was the #1 player in post efficiency last season and I personally thought that it was their only weakness last year. Not being able to slow down the game and grind it out. They also have Kevin Durant, who can play isolation and create for himself without intimidation or hesitation. I’ve watched Steph avoid contact (guess he was hurt) in the finals, and I also watched Klay avoid it as well and pull up from the elbow. Durant will take the ball to the rack, with authority, and he’ll probably embarrass some opposing defenders and make some nice posters with his new digs on. The shot. The Drive. The Post. The Warriors sacrificed their defense for the opportunity to have what I’d call a “Super Offense”. Their defense should pick back up as the season goes along.

 

Once Draymond gets through to everyone on the team, everyone gets familiar with their place on the floor in those sets and how to help Durant, Steph & Klay when they run someone off the perimeter. Draymond will now be a rim protector. I think he should be anyway. He did a nice job of fouling LeBron from totally removing his soul in game 7 of the finals. Impressive if you can stop him from hammering you and instead you hammer him. I watched him tangle with Dwight Howard and come out on top. I watched him only be drowned out when there was a Serge Ibaka, Steven Adams combo on the floor to deny him rebounds and the ability to help on certain plays. It takes 2 baby!

 

They’re vulnerable, though. Everything has to go smooth. They have to iron the kinks out. I think we’ll see some things that we seen with the Big 3 in Miami. This time they’ll figure out the puzzle earlier on because they all lack the ego where they just HAVE to be the #1 Alpha on the team. The thing that everyone is on Durant about will be the same thing that could bring them good success. This is a TEAM sport right? It’s about having help and teammates they said. It’s about having a #2 they said. Jordan couldn’t do it without Pippen and without Rodman they said. Kobe couldn’t do it without Shaq they said. Wait, Shaq couldn’t do it without Kobe and shooters I said! LeBron couldn’t win a ring without Wade, Bosh, and Ray Allen, then Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, JR Smith they’ll say. Everybody needs somebody. Russell Westbrook was a ball hog that had everyone screaming for him to pass the ball to Durant before Durant fell to injury, right? How soon some forget some things. With that said, Russell Westbrook will be your 2017 NBA MVP… IF he can land the Thunder a 1-4 seed. Maybe even a 5 seed depending on his numbers and in-game performances. Especially if he dominates. I can’t wait to watch. I hope to see 2006 Kobe reincarnated.

 

Just my opinion.

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!

​Current Landscape of the NBA: Summer 16 (Part 1)

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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“The Decision II featuring Kevin Durant”

By: Opinionated MJ

Oddly, I believe that these last few hours will serve as a calm before the storm. I expect Kevin Durant to change the landscape and odds of the NBA by deciding to sign with the Golden State Warriors. Yes, the same Warriors I expected to win the championship. Congrats to LeBron! I doled out a lot of venom in his direction and he delivered. I’ll save him for another post. Now, why would Kevin Durant sign with Golden State? It’s almost written on the wall.

I’ve heard things like, “Kevin Durant has personal relationships with many of the Warriors players.” Then I think about articles I’ve come across where the Warriors players were quoted saying things like, “I don’t know why they want him here.” Of course that’s a valid statement, but so is this… WHO WOULDN’T want Kevin Durant on their team? KD on the Warriors would change the Western Conference and make the Warriors even stronger. Now, this doesn’t guarantee a championship but it does guarantee that they’ll be a contender for years to come, if he signs a deal longer than 1 year.

Why should KD waste another year in OKC with Russell if their destiny is uncertain? Who knows what to make of the Oladipo/Ibaka deal? I see it as a step back due to how they were able to handle the Warriors in the conference finals. When they were up 3-1, they were playing like champions and I actually thought they would put the Warriors away, then Klay Thompson happened. With that said, imagine a lineup with Steph, Klay, Dray, and KD. It’s like a fantasy video game. That roster could only be obtained by forcing trades on the offline mode on NBA2K. LOL! Who wouldn’t expect this team to win? This leads me to his other options that he’s already broken down to 2 teams (OKC & GS).

He met with the likes of Miami, Boston, San Antonio, and the Los Angeles Clippers. He decided to turn them all down and left the Warriors as an option. In San Antonio, there would’ve still been the issue of consistency with the bench players, mainly Danny Green and Patty Mills. There would’ve been the questionable production from Manu, Tim, and Tony. Why go somewhere with so many question marks and with a Big 3 past it’s prime? Of course there would be a new Big 3, but LaMarcus doesn’t want to play center and I’m sure he wouldn’t want to see his touches diminish. Nor would Durant.

Miami would’ve been a good option.. if Chris Bosh was healthy. We can stop there with the Heat. The Clippers seem to be plagued by the usual “Clipper Curse”. They can’t ever stay healthy enough to make noise beyond the 1st and 2nd round of any playoff. PERIOD! At this point, health is a problem during the regular season for them. Then you have Doc Rivers who may have too strong a handle on things for KD’s liking. So he scratched them off the list as well.

Boston would’ve been a great place to land especially after Al Horford decided to sign there. KD would’ve easily become the #1 option and the leader of the team and they would’ve been strong enough to get to the NBA Finals. I only say that because we don’t know what Cleveland’s final roster will look like. Delly is already gone, so is Mozgov. Would they get the same production out of their aging vets? Would LeBron take a baby step back? Would Kyrie want to have more say on how things are dictated in the offense considering he did what Russell couldn’t do? Yes, in my opinion, the Thunder lost that series because Russell wanted to put out the fire that is Steph Curry all by himself. He wanted to take the credit. He wanted to be able to boast and be able to do it while still in the series. He’s matured as a player and as far as his knowledge of the game, the pacing, and getting his team involved, but he has to keep his ego in check until the job is done. The only time that it’s done is when you’re already hoisting up the Championship trophy and on your way to receive a championship ring. He’ll be better next season (Westbrook) but will the Thunder mesh fast enough? Will the offense be efficient enough to produce better results than what happened this past season? That is where things get gloomy for me.

This boils it down to joining a team that already has continuity and is very unselfish in Golden State or going back to Oklahoma and jousting for the #1 option spot with Russell Westbrook. I expect that Steph Curry wouldn’t care to be #1 option with KD in the fold. He didn’t care for a finals MVP Award, he didn’t force anyone to vote him unanimous MVP, and he didn’t say anything that would suggest he receive the hate and backlash that he did from fans of rival teams and from his peers in the NBA. Crazy how success is followed by criticism and hate. Too squeaky clean? I guess everybody is used to the Kobe story or how LeBron made himself a villain by joining the Heat. No one likes things that are too good to be true because they don’t see that in themselves. Truth. They don’t want to see the squeaky clean look of KD on the depth chart of the Golden State Warriors either, and I’m sure if he makes the decision to sign there, the anger and hate will follow, the media scrutiny, the rumors of locker room issues, and everything that comes with being a super team will follow. It more recently happened to the Lakers, Celtics, Heat, and Cavs super teams. Why wouldn’t it in this situation right?

I think KD would’ve already made his decision if he were going to stay in OKC. With that said, I expect when we wake up, maybe in 5 minutes he’ll decide, maybe late tomorrow night, that Durant will have joined the Golden State Warriors. If this happens, expect an NBA arms race like you’ve never seen before. Expect LeBron to recruit Dwayne Wade. Expect San Antonio to make a move along with various other West Conference playoff teams. Expect a crazy offseason that’s already been crazy to begin with!