Tag Archives: James Harden

MoNeYBaLL 48 NBA Podcast: Early Individual NBA Awards

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MoNeYBaLL 45 NBA Podcast: Come Back Like Jordan

By Opinionated MJ

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MoNeYBaLL 45 NBA Podcast: Come Back Like Jordan

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YOU WILL NOT WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP THAT WAY!

By: Opinionated MJ (Michael Tolliver Jr)

This is a PSA to James Harden.

YOU WILL NOT WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP THAT WAY.

You will not win a championship by taking almost double the shots as Russell Westbrook. You won’t win by taking the ball out of his hands. You won’t win the title by going full ISO. You just can’t do it. You heard Kobe earlier this year. It will not work in the playoffs.

The team banished away Chris Paul and you didn’t even try to keep him thoroughly involved. He is the tone setter. He gets everyone going. Surgical at times. He was also always looking to get the team involved and engaged. He might’ve been hard on you guys but that comes with the territory. You made him look 38, Mr. Harden. Chris Paul is a walking 20 & 10 without you. You made him look like 15 & 6.

You need to expand your game to catch and shoot. You can be Kobe, but let the offense develop first. You can be the bailout. You can be Kobe. He should’ve been called “8 seconds or less”. He was always given the ball in the toughest positions with no clock and he succeeded. I’ve seen your body of work. You’re capable. Let’s see it happen. You’ve got Russell Westbrook and Clint Capela. You’ve got Eric Gordon. That’s your core. A very talented core. Don’t waste it.

I don’t want to see this season play out where you’re scoring 40 and Russell has 14. That was a loss. You guys won the game where you took 16 shots and he took 17. There must be balance. Can’t be one of you putting up 25 shots to 13 shots from the other. Haven’t you learned? The Warriors, your enemy, have succeeded with ball movement. Spurs as well. Recently, the Raptors won with enough ball movement and trust in teammates. Allow your teammates to inherit bigger responsibility. Kobe did it with Gasol, Odom, and Bynum. Even Sasha & D-Fish. LeBron did it with Kyrie, Kevin, JR, and Tristan. Take notes. I have high hopes for this team. I can see a championship. The only way is balance.

Don’t turn Russell into Chris Paul. Don’t stand around while he works. Work harder. It’ll pay off. Learn to move off the ball. You’ve seen what Steph accomplished with Klay? With Kevin? You’ve got the blueprint, except it’s for 2. There’s enough basketball to go around for both of you. Now be this leader you claim to be. This MVP you claim to be. Scoring 50 will get you a scoring title. Scoring 30 might get you an NBA championship.

Good luck. I’ll be watching.

Will the Rockets Dethrone the Warriors?

By: Opinionated MJ (Michael Tolliver Jr)

Rematch set.
Rockets healthy? ☑
Warriors hobbling? ☑
Warriors without rest? ☑
Rockets focused? ☑

Game 1 will go to Houston unless KD has another big game in him. Of course he does. Then it will be about limiting the others. I watch plays. It’s something hard to do but easy to do when their rotation players are in the game. I hope Kerr is gameplanning cause the Rockets will be a threat to take the first 2 games, easy. Especially if Klay isn’t ready to go.

James Harden, defending MVP. Will he be able to be effective and get his teammates involved while also scoring big and in bunches? He’s still the player who gets the most calls. Imagine Draymond or Kevin getting 2 early fouls. It’ll be like the 2016 finals all over again.

Is Steph healthy enough to help Kevin force wins at home? That’s what this will be all about. The Warriors MUST protect home court or they will be in trouble. No other way to put it. If they drop any game and give away momentum, then we will see an upset. That will open up the entire league to a new champion. It doesn’t guarantee the Rockets anything. Just revenge. The Rockets need to control their emotions in this series. That’s the only thing I see as a problem. It won’t be easy.

Can’t wait to see it all unfold. I expect 7 games unless Durant has about 4 40 point games in him, ready to go. That could actually be Kerr’s plan with Steph hobbled a bit and Klay hurt to begin the series. Not a bad plan.

Stats vs. Effect: The Best Debate With the Poorest Examples (Part 1)

By: Opinionated Reezy (Ronald Stovall Jr.)

Before we begin, I know when people say effect, they mean impact, but for the purpose of the conversation I am going to stick with effect.

So the emerging debate in the basketball world is stats versus effect and I understand why that is, but we are using extremely poor examples on either side. I’ve seen posts on YouTube attacking NBA FG% Twitter, which I completely agree with, but when I saw my favorite station, ESPN, weigh in on the argument I couldn’t take it anymore. Here they go again trying to own both sides of the argument.

ESPN is notorious for using stats like crystal balls, which has diluted the impact of its usefulness and in turn most people rely on effect as a mystical means of determining success. Here is the reality:

Stats can not and will never be a sole predictor of future wins or success.

Effect does not always transfer between games and in all scenarios, it is a predictor of behavior and response.

Here is the secret – You can use stats to measure effect, but you must use the right ones and frame the narrative you are trying to tell.

Why are we getting this argument wrong?

We have been conditioned to see the game as efforts of individuals who all just happen to be on a team.

We have been conditioned to look at basic stats and not the full picture.

We haven’t been told what the stats are used for or how to properly use them.

We sensationalize certain player types and only look at one side of the ball.

We have been conditioned to believe that if our superstars did more, the results would be different.

We have been conditioned to only look at key aspects of a game and not the entire game.

How should we use stats?

If you are using stats it must be framed properly to explain a specific situation. Here is a bad example using the most improperly used stat ever the +/- rating.

What is the stat telling us? +/- rating tells us the point differential in the game while a player is on the court. That stat is useless in the moment as there are so many variables as to why a team is scoring or not scoring.

There was a segment on Undisputed where Skip Bayless was concluding that LeBron James just wasn’t good enough because his +/- rating was negative for a stretch of games. That is an empty narrative because it does not take into account what is happening on the floor.

The +/- rating is better used over a large segment of games, i.e. season or possessions to gain an understanding of tempo and scoring flow. It, however, cannot tell you if a team will be successful.

The next stat is P.E.R, Player efficiency Rating.

What is the stat telling us? P.E.R is an attempt at measuring a player’s efficiency on the court. That is it. John Hollinger even says so himself:

“Bear in mind that PER is not the final, once-and-for-all evaluation of a player’s accomplishments during the season”

I think we all know the infamous segment on first take where Skip Bayless tried to infer that Kobe Bryant wasn’t the Black Mamba because his P.E.R rating was in the 90’s and then Stephen A. went off. Stephen A. was 100% correct although he was arguing the point from an effect standpoint, a statistician will tell you:

You haven’t factored in the number of games Kobe played (or didn’t play) in comparison to everyone else on the list.

You haven’t factored in the number of shots Kobe took or overall production Kobe needed to create for the same level of success.

You haven’t factored in the previous success of the team Kobe is on.

In other words, P.E.R can absolutely tell you that Kobe Bryant at that time was less efficient than others, but P.E.R can not tell you that Kobe Bryant was less effective than others.

This is definitely a multi-part topic and both areas of discussion are absolutely valid, but years of poor use of stats has eroded its usefulness.

I’ll conclude part one with this – I said effect or effectiveness can be measured. Here is how:

Set the frame of reference for which you are making your statement, i.e. number of games, seasons, shots, possessions, etc.

Establish the direct statement you are looking at. Words like ‘better’ or ‘worse’ are relative so those are no good, efficient, effective, productive are better words.

Never use basic stats as the foundation of your argument and while you can speculate wins, stats, especially individual stats, are not to be used.

Taking everything into account. Using the stats of players this year between Golden State, Houston, and the Lakers who have taken more than 15 shot attempts per game here are your effective players in order

Steph Curry – by far

LeBron James

Kevin Durrant

James Harden – tie

Klay Thompson – tie

Kyle Kuzma

If I tighten my statement to include that the players must have played at least 80% (41) of games this year. I take LeBron James off the list. Prove me wrong.

Quick NBA Podcast: All NBA Players Are Created Equal

Featuring Opinionated MJ

Just a quick podcast before the NBA Playoff Preview Podcast coming later today (April 13, 2018). Recorded on the morning of April 12, 2018.

I cover LeBron, Russell Westbrook, Harden, and more… All while on the road.

MoneYBaLL Episode 6 NBA Podcast

 

Episode 6 with Opinionated MJ & NilClassic

 

 

LeBron, Kyrie, Celtics and more!

Enjoy the podcast!

 

 

 

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NBA Media Day: MoneYBaLL Episode 5 Podcast

By: Opinionated MJ

NBA Media Day Podcast

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Terror James (LeBron) Will Win the 2018 MVP Award

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.

Kevin Durant

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.

Kawhi Leonard

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.

Russell Westbrook

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.

James Harden

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.

NBA Playoffs 2017: “3 In the Key” Podcast Episode 3

Featuring: S Dot Legend, Crispy Chris, and Opinionated MJ

Episode 3

 

 

Oh yeah, Boston beat Chicago.

 

 

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The LeBron Standard: “3 In the Key” Podcast: Episode 2

“The LeBron Standard” – Featuring Opinionated MJ & Sean Legend

Episode 2

“3 In the Key” NBA PODCAST! 2017 NBA Playoffs: First Round Predictions/Possibilities

 

 

By: Opinionated MJ

This Episide covers the 2017 NBA Playoffs, the NBA MVP Race, the new developments with Carmelo Anthony & Phil Jackson, and a peek into the 2017 NBA Draft.

 

The download link is below.

http://www.buzzsprout.com/95625/501105-3-in-the-key-nba-podcast-ep-1.mp3

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I present to you the first podcast from Opinionated Basketball Minds. We’ve been hard at work and still have some kinks to work out. Nonetheless, I give you, 3 IN THE KEY! Featuring Opinionated MJ & Sean Legend!

 

Enjoy the first podcast!!!

I’ve Been Tough On The Beard… 


By: Opinionated MJ


I’ve been very hard and critical on James Harden. I haven’t liked his game since his first season as a Houston Rocket. I loved the first season cause I love scorers. I also like players that can play on both sides of the floor to some capacity. I mean, don’t stand there and watch players come stroll into the lane and you’re just looking up at them like, “oh well”. That’s not real basketball if you can dip your shoulder or twitch everytime you drive to the basketball to draw a weak foul. I love the 80s and 90s rules and level of physical gameplay. I hate flopping. I hate the idea that players who think that if they score crazy that they deserve MVP awards. The MVP is based upon total game to me.

With that being said, James Harden should be considered for MVP. I’m biased towards Russell Westbrook due to the importance for him to put up those numbers for them to succeed PERIOD! That means he should be MVP, if he can secure a top 5 seed. If not, go ahead, give James the MVP. Why not? Although I will ask this question.. Will be able to get his team being the first or second round playing this way? Has D’Antoni actually found a way to get to a championship with Harden running his offense? Does Harden have enough help to get past the major teams?  The Warriors, Clippers, Spurs, and Grizzlies are very formidable. Can he get past those teams? Will he be defeated in the first round by another upstart team like the Utah Jazz? I remember what Damian Lillard did to Houston? So do I.

I think this team is an official dark horse. I think Harden may have tapped into a certain willpower he never attained before. We’ll get to see it once they playoffs come around. I hope he isn’t a fluke cause the fans will then continue to consider him a joke without remembering he was once the key piece for the Thunder when they wanted to win a championship. I don’t envision him defeating LeBron, but just making it out of the west would be like winning a championship as well. I’ll be easier on him unless he gets bounced early in the playoffs. He’s injured now so maybe that may make him ineffective and eventually lead to Westbrook being the MVP. We’ll know soon enough. Legendary season anyway. 

Rambling Thought: NBA January 2017

By: Opinionated MJ





The New Year has featured Russell Westbrook dropping a triple double in 19 game minutes. James Harden dropped a monster triple double as well with 53 points. Giannis Antetokounmpo dropped a monster statline reminiscent of something we seen in smaller packages from Andrei Kirilenko. LeBron and Kyrie are running the Eastern Conference. The Warriors are still the best in the West, although stumbling in places they once succeeded. MVP candidates throughout those teams.

DeMarcus Cousins will be apart of the Boston Celtics. The Bulls will land a stretch 4. The a Pistons will find themselves. The Jazz will continue to amaze with their silent rise. It’s also scary that Memphis is always competitive and playing in between all the other top 8 out west. They’re a star away, maybe Paul George.

Typically, the Cavs will make the finals as they usually do. It’s crazy out west once you get past Golden State and San Antonio. I think we may see the Jazz, Rockets, and Thunder all make the playoffs. They’re in the thick of things. It’ll be fun to watch who will occupy the 8th seed leading up to a fun playoff. No one out East to contest Cleveland. They await. Rightfully so, since they’re the defending champs. As long as their big 3 is healthy. 

Russell Westbrook will win the MVP award if his team stays a top 4 seed. He’s a given if that is achieved. I don’t see how anyone else wins it, rightfully. The league could get hacked right? Vote in all the bigs for the All Star game. That’s justice.

The Knicks are currently on another skid, as well as the Clippers. This is only fueling Melo for Blake rumors. I think it would actually work for both teams although that would cause some more rotation issues I think New York finally has figured out. The Knicks honestly just need bench depth. A scorer here, defender there, enforcer there, and boom! They’re a contender. The east is weak enough that they could rise to number 3. Even the 2nd seed isn’t a foregone thing to me.

I expect the second half of the season to be exciting. I’m looking forward to seeing what east team will take a risk and stop being afraid of failure. No risk, no reward. Someone needs to chase Cousins. Someone needs to go after Blake, CP3, Melo. I want to see a great competitor developed to truly contest Cleveland. Make it interesting to see them against someone out east. Instead of it being the “leastern” conference. The “feast on” conference, the “least strong” conference. I could go on. We’ll see where the season goes from here. Starting with wondering if Rondo will be in the NBA anymore after the latest news.

I love this game.