Tag Archives: Jimmy Butler

Why Doesn’t Mainstream NBA Media Shine a Light On All the Other Stars?

By: Michael Tolliver Jr (Opinionated MJ)

Dear NBA Media, this is for you.

We know that Steph Curry is the greatest shooter ever. We know that KD is one of the best scorers ever. We know that LeBron James is in the goat conversation in the minds of many. Why dont we know anything about the other stars around the league? Maybe I’m overexaggerating. We hear about Kawhi, Jokic, Embiid a bit, Harden, Kyrie… I just dont hear enough about the other good players in the league to my liking.

We know about the Boston duo of Tatum & Brown. I haven’t seen any articles or Twitter posts or polls about Tatum. I haven’t heard anyone trying to insert Brown into the MVP conversation. He’s consistently ascended every year and has yet to really be given his proper due. Currently, I have Joel Embiid as my front-runner for MVP. He’s been slighted if you ask me. Still sitting behind LeBron because of year whatever and add in the playoff games, it’s however many more season. He’s been labeled as the second best center behind Jokic since the Joker passes more. They both are on the same level if you ask me. I’ll ignore standings since it isn’t game 65 and say that Embiid and Jokic are my top 2 for MVP regardless of record. If you remove both from their teams roster, which team is more likely to succeed in the playoffs? Neither.

I haven’t heard anything about what Jerami Grant has been doing for the Pistons. Team losing more than winning so his output doesn’t matter to you? Detroit has been very competitive. That’s step 1. I haven’t heard about the fact that my dark horse Orlando Magic, year in and year out, still make the playoffs. The Key? Nikola Vucevic. NOBODY talks about him at all. Only Aaron Gordon. He’s cool too. The team just can’t stay healthy. While I’m speaking about the Magic, I seen more articles about Markelle Fultz being injured than I seen about him actually ascending. Overcoming his jumpshot woes or whatever the media made me adopt within my perception. I always remained a fan. Get well soon.

I haven’t heard much about Donovan Mitchell until Shaq made it his business to try to rile him up to turn into Kobe. Everybody reacted in a soft manner. Nobody is built for the harsh criticism that makes you breakthrough. The things that give you even more to play for. Everybody are “yes men”. I was raised different and I loved every second of it. I expect a supernova now. Ja Morant, Jamal Murray, Jimmy Butler. I’m all over the place. Media was all over them in the bubble. Now it’s back to the usual? Mainstream media seems to only bash the players when they don’t live up to “their” expectations. See Pascal Siakam. See Shai Gilgeous Alexander. Even Zion Williamson. Fans turned on him cause they thought the NBA was trying to force him into the bubble. Cue my favorite line, “YOU STILL GOTTA PLAY!”

I won’t mention Dame since you finally all give him his respect. It was well overdue. I guess Giannis isn’t an MVP candidate anymore because he won 2 in a row. He’s got to win a title before you give him another? Sure. Based upon how the media awards MVPs, I’m sure he should still be top 3 with Embiid and Jokic, but you’ve got motives, right? This dude turned Brook Lopez into a defensive threat and his presence allowed for Lopez to comfortably extend his range. Keep sleeping.

At some point, you’ve got to acknowledge the star power that exists throughout the entire league. When LeBron, KD, and Steph retire, I anticpate you’ll all become chickens with your heads cut off. Your only attachment at this current moment is Luka, but he’s been losing so you can’t crown him. Maybe your strategy is flawed. Watch the players over the entire NBA and realize there’s more to be consumed than what you’ve been watching for an extended period of time.

We paid heavy attention to Grant Hill, Jason Kidd, Kobe, Iverson, T-Mac, Vince Carter, LeBron, KG, Dirk, Tim Duncan, and others that came before and after them as soon as they hit the league. Mainstream media has Luka in this space but this time with NO variety. I think it’s time for you to skip a few games of whoever you love and to watch what’s happening across the league before you end up scrambling to acknowledge them… Once it’s too late and you’re the last to report on them. That’s the true definition of being a bandwagon fan and front-running. Then you’ll oversaturate everything. Don’t say I’m not telling the truth. Don’t run into the rookie wall.

Kawhi & Jimmy Butler to the Clippers?

By: Michael Tolliver Jr (Opinionated MJ)

It could very well happen.

There’s rumblings all around the NBA about a few teams being major players in free agency. Namely, the Lakers, Nets, Knicks, and Clippers. Honestly, who in their right mind believes the Clippers will actually make a big splash and land two free agents to fill those max slots? Well, me. Let me explain why. There are a few factors.

Steve Ballmer

He’s the financial engine behind this team now. His pockets are filled with enough money to own a few NBA teams. He’s also redistributed power throughout the organization and formed a hierarchy. He’s got a great front office. That’s something that is constantly overlooked when it comes to picking a franchise to play for. Nobody really wants to play for a franchise that doesn’t have structure. I look at them like the Dallas Mavericks from the early 2000s. Owner with big pockets and a stable structure going forward. I’ll elaborate further.

Doc Rivers

A championship coach, regardless of who was on his roster. He’s coached many greats and has been to two NBA finals. He’s coaches the likes of CP3, Tracy McGrady, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce just to name a few. He has been at the helm for consistent playoff runs in his time coaching and also has this current a Clipper team exceeding expectations. I think he is also one of the few respected coaches around the league. I expect him to be able to lure players in.

Jerry West

The actual trump card in all of this. He assembled great rosters for the Lakers and helped the Warriors recruit Kevin Durant. That alone let’s me know that the Clippers are about to make some noise. He might be the most respected executive around the entire league. The only teams that may actually take the threat of the Clippers acquiring two top tier free agents is the Lakers and Celtics. For the same reason: Jerry West.

So once free agency hits on July 1, don’t think for a second that they won’t secure free agents to come to this team. Kawhi Leonard wants to come back to LA and might not want to be a Laker alongside LeBron and I could honestly see Jimmy Butler coming along. Those two could form the greatest two-way wing combination the league may have seen since Jordan and Pippen. That thought alone should be enough to scare the entire league, not just the western conference. They could be the true threat to the Warriors even if they retained Kevin Durant this off-season. Things are looking bright for the Clippers going forward.

MoNeYBaLL Podcast: Episode 17 featuring NilClassic & Opinionated MJ

Listen to MoNeYBaLL Podcast: Episode 17 featuring NilClassic & Opinionated MJ by Opinionated Media #np on #SoundCloud
https://soundcloud.com/user-85278876/moneyball-podcast-episode-17

MoNeYBaLL 16 Podcast: NBA Opening Day 2018-19 Season Preview – Opinionated MJ/Opinionated Media

Listen to MoNeYBaLL 16 Podcast: NBA Opening Day 2018-19 Season Preview – Opinionated MJ/Opinionated Media by Opinionated Media #np on #SoundCloud
https://soundcloud.com/user-85278876/moneyball-16-podcast-nba

NBA Media Day: MoneYBaLL Episode 5 Podcast

By: Opinionated MJ

NBA Media Day Podcast

Enjoy!

The MoneYBaLL Sportscast: NBA Offseason – July 1, 2017

By: Opinionated MJ

NBA Trades and Free Agency: MoneYBaLL Podcast

By: Opinionated MJ


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.

​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.

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!

Is Kevin Durant Really the Best In the World?

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By: Opinionated MJ

Burning question,
Is Kevin Durant truly the best player in the world? Russell Westbrook thinks so. He let it fly out his mouth right after he led the Thunder to an opening night win over the Spurs. Let’s break this down a bit and figure if this can be proven across the board.

Scoring

Kevin Durant is arguably one of the top 3 scorers in the game along with Stephen Curry and Carmelo Anthony. If I had to pick, right now, I’d put him third. Yes third. He’s not as effective a shooter as Curry from distance and he hasn’t yet become a force once he gets in the paint like Anthony. Anthony can start in the perimeter area and work himself all the way to the rim by grinding his way there with post moves. It’s not fair to judge him after just one game this season but we do measure players by success against great defenders. Kawhi Leonard simply denied Kevin and many of the Thunder anything easy.

Defense

I’m going to get straight to the point with this topic by saying that I have not seen Durant lock down anyone and I haven’t seen him play defense that limits the opponent’s best player or the opponent’s best 2 way player. He didn’t stop Kawhi tonight, I haven’t seen him make Carmelo uncomfortable, LeBron, Jimmy Butler, Paul George, I could go on. So is he like James Harden with defense? No, but he definitely isn’t Scottie Pippen.

Does he make his teammates better?

I don’t know if I could say he’s even better than Russell when it comes to this. Yes, I’ve seen Durant make his teammates better, when Russell was down which was the reason he won an MVP award. He definitely made the team better two seasons ago but not so much when everyone is healthy. His presence does allow for better spacing for shooters that share the floor with him and for Russell to dart wherever he pleases at will. One game doesn’t tell it but we’ll see in about a month or two. Right now, Russell is bringing it on a nightly basis, creating opportunities for others, setting his teammates up and also putting his team is position to score. This comes down to one thing though, chemistry and rhythm. Durant didn’t play much with the new faces of the team. Russell nearly willed them to the post-season. Durant makes his teammates better but in order for him to win another MVP, of course he has to score, set his teammates up, get at least 7 assists per game and make it look pretty. It’s called the LeBron rule.

I think I’ve covered enough to say that Durant is probably tied for second with LeBron in the newly minted MVP race. Steph Curry is clearly the front runner, yes, after one game. He’s defending his honor. Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins fill out that top 5 in the MVP race in my honest opinion, with Westbrook and Harden right there too. Interesting MVP race we’ll have if they all stay healthy. So to answer Russell Westbrook’s claim that Durant is the best in the world, well, nothing is given. Unfortunately, Durant was out much of last year. He’s in line again and just like everyone else, he has to earn it.

Just Another First Day In The NBA

stephen-curry--the-nbas-mvp--has-the-biggest-bargain-contract-in-the-league
By: Opinionated MJ

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.