Tag Archives: Los Angeles Lakers

MoNeYBaLL 43 NBA Podcast: Lakers Win the NBA Title

Featuring Opinionated MJ

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The Writing’s On the Wall

By: Opinionated MJ (Michael Tolliver Jr)

You have got to know when it’s time. It’s definitely time. After watching the first half of Lakers game, I couldn’t bare to watch the rest. In the aftermath, memes galore. Memes that represented the state of the team. It’s deep to see what it looks like from the outside looking in. It’s deeper to know what it feels like for someone to consider you expendable.

This leads me to this…
Magic, you must make this deal by any means. You’ve already alienated the players that have been carrying that Lakers logo on their jerseys for years. It’s time to move into build mode. Not a rebuild, but building around LeBron. Period. He always demands certain types around him. I wish he never got injured, this wouldn’t have happened.. Or would it? This isn’t foreign. This is the norm. It just isn’t the norm for these Laker kids. So now, you have to do what you must got AD, cut your losses, and build on that foundation. No looking back, no going forward on what you have. It’s been destroyed from within. Imploded.

LeBron doesn’t look like he wants to play with these players. I speculated that he sat longer in order to come back with new teammates. Didn’t happen. So now you’re faced with damage control. No way to fix this. These Lakers were already fatigued with the idea of this happening A WHOLE YEAR AGO! Guess you thought it was all about what you wanted Magic. Now it’s time to do what must be done to move forward.

Trade everybody, the entire core, minus the veterans, for Anthony Davis, and build around LeBron and Davis. You already acquired Reggie Bullock from my Pistons. A move that hurts me but it’s business, right? So business as usual, do what you gotta do now. Don’t hesitate, don’t be greedy, don’t be selfish, do what must be done in order to progress or risk wasting the fact that LeBron signed here in order to win, cause honestly, I prefer he’d still be in Cleveland at this point. Take that how you want.

Make the deal Magic. The Lakers future depends on it.

MoNeYBaLL Episode 19 NBA Podcast

Featuring NilClassic, Steve, and Opinionated MJ

#nba #Zion #Knicks #Lakers #KD #DubNation #Warrios #okcthunder #StephCurry #LeBron and more

Listen to MoNeYBaLL NBA Podcast Episode 19 Featuring Steve, NilClassic, and Opinionated MJ by Opinionated Media #np on #SoundCloud

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

LeBron, Lakers, and Low Expectations..?

I don’t really understand why all the major media outlets believe that this is an “off year” or “honeymoon” season for LeBron. That’s wild. Must be the new narrative for the year to continue this LeBron/Jordan debate.

By: Opinionated MJ

Low Expectations Bron. You like what I did there? Let’s talk. Best player in the world. Best player in the NBA. Best player by far, right? Better than Steph, KD, Kawhi, and whoever else you would argue is second. Wait, distant second, right? Okay. If that’s the case, why is everything thinking this Lakers team won’t be a top 4 seed in the West this upcoming season. I’ll go on a limb and say that they will be a top 3 seed this upcoming season.

Who is standing in LeBron’s way besides Golden State, Houston, OKC, and Utah? Yes, Utah. They have a good wing player in Donovan Mitchell, a great rim protector in Rudy Gobert, and a point guard who seems to still be improving in Ricky Rubio. Not to get off subject, these are the only teams I think truly are a threat. With that being said, I see the Lakers landing at the 2 or 3 seed.

Golden State may get bored like they did last year. Houston may take a step back. OKC may hover and be where they have been the last 2 seasons. The wildcard here is truly the Spurs. I’ve got to see what product they put on the floor once training camp is underway. It’ll take time for things to transition smoothly for the Lakers, the Spurs, and maybe the Rockets as well. The Warriors didn’t retain everybody either and may face growing pains. Let’s not ignore the shortened preseason either. It’ll be less time to gel when it doesn’t count and they’ll all have to get it together as the season progresses.

This narrative that this is an “off year” for LeBron only sets up the idea that if he wins this year, many will raise him above Michael Jordan. I don’t know how many still expected LeBron to make the finals in the east but there were many. We just watched him carry a team that was constructed in FEBRUARY throughout the rest of the season and the entire playoffs. He landed the Cavs in the finals. The NBA Finals! I don’t care Kyrie and Gordon were hurt. I don’t care the Pacers were inconsistent when it mattered. I don’t care that the Toronto, Barney, LeBronto Raptors really loved LeBron so much that they just let him walk by, untouched. Then he came up against the mighty Warriors. Mistakes by George Hill and JR Smith, then a total collapse that followed. The Cavs were also loaded with old, but highly depended upon Kyle Korver, a troubled Tristan Thompson, and coaching inconsistencies with Ty Lue.

Excuse my sarcasm. I had to use it to make my next point. How does anyone really expect that this Laker team will struggle and that the Laker youth will struggle next to LeBron? I think LeBron will reinvent himself. He’s already done so by luring in a team of rivals. The signings of Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson show me that LeBron is ready to try a different approach to his style of play and to how he incorporates his teammates. LeBron will have those playmakers that he’s asked for. There’s also this myth about the Lakers, that they can’t shoot. I’ve seen numbers that were just under 40% from 3 from a few Lakers during the second half of last season. It will easily go into the 40 percentile with LeBron, Lonzo, and Rondo at the helm. Rondo alone will be enough to ensure better flow.

How about we realize how much you guys scream that he’s the greatest active player, and then turn around and actually give him credit for carrying Cleveland to another 50 win season all by himself. Translate that to the west, along with the fact that anyone out west will need to win Game 1 to stand a chance against LeBron in the Playoffs. Period. I don’t think any of you die hard LeBron fans truly believe that anyone outside of the Golden State Warriors will dust the Lakers off. You can be honest. Let’s stop the Kobe slander as well. LeBron hasn’t even played a preseason game as a Laker yet. Let’s just focus on LeBron in his own version of purple and gold. You’ll realize what these Lakers are by game 40. They’ll be 29-11. That’s when everything will click in and run like a well oiled machine, if not sooner. Let’s give LeBron credit for his maturation as well. I expect to see his game mature this season too. He may just take MVP.

I predict a 53 win season. Once this happens, you’ll realize why I call him, “Terror”. Welcome back to the playoffs LakerNation!

Kevin Durant To the Lakers 2019? Hear Me Out

I think Kevin Durant Matches LeBron’s Ring Total, Then Decides To Play Alongside Him.

By: Opinionated MJ

In the famous words of his ex-teammate Russell Westbrook, “Why Not”? I think that once we learned about the failed phone call LeBron made to KD, I believed that it potentially still had the makings of some type of team up down the road. We seen them hanging out shortly after. Let’s play in fantasy land a bit. We didn’t hear real news about KD just slamming him with a thunderous “NO”, so why not believe that maybe he told him he’d team up after he matched him? Food for thought!

KD could leave the Warriors, go to the Lakers and still maintain focus towards the following season once he becomes a Laker. The motivation will be simple: “Steph, Klay, Dray… They have 4 rings. I have to surpass them and take LeBron with me”. This could set KD up to usurp LeBron and the Warriors all at once. You defeat LeBron in the finals 3-1 individually. Then, you defeat the team you beat LeBron with, but this time you do it WITH LeBron. At least to the tune of 1 Championship more than them for all-time. LeBron’s ring count is elevated because of you after you eviscerate whoever is on the opposite team and you become the reason why LeBron got closer to Kobe and Jordan in ring total. Maybe even surpassing them both.

This really could be the only way Durant receives the level of acceptance that could keep him from continuously taking shots at random people on Twitter. Laker fans could defend him if he brought titles to LA. This could also go down as one of the greatest stories in NBA history. Beat the mighty Warriors and potentially have another showdown with their bitter rival, the Boston Celtics. This would be great theater, great history, and great for basketball.

Think about it.

Dear Kobe

By: Opinionated MJ

Dear Kobe,

It began for me as a Detroit Pistons fan but a lover of Michael Jordan. I didn’t cling much to Grant Hill, I didn’t cling to Penny Hardaway, and I didn’t come to terms with choosing Iverson, Carter, or McGrady as my next most favorite player. You were my choice. Since I seen you play in high school. Highlight reels about some teenager who would eventually decide that the NBA was his next step, I became a fan of yours, through thick and thin.

I stayed glued to my TV watching Jordan slowly exit and watching you rise at the same time. It’s almost as if it was seamless, the transition from Jordan to you, Kobe. I watched you fail countless times. I endured hearing Iverson fans, Vince Carter fans, and Tracy McGrady fans say that those players were the heir to the throne Jordan left behind. Apparently, he gave you the torch, or as you would say, you have to take it. You did that.

I seen Shaq fail in Orlando with Penny Hardaway, I seen Scottie Pippen travel to the west in hopes of landing another championship playing with other really good players. There was flair missing from all of their games. There you were, fighting for minutes over the likes of Eddie Jones and Nick Van Exel. I watched you continue to rise. “He’s a ball hog. He’s too selfish. He will never win a ring!” Then I watched as you beat Jordan’s nemesis to land your first ring. I watched you beat the legendary Allen Iverson to win your second ring. I watched as you win 3 straight. Who could say they defeated the mighty Spurs? Who can say they beat the Rasheed Wallace Blazers? Who can say the finally became better than the Karl Malone Jazz? The Gary Payton Sonics? They all had Kobe stoppers right? No, not Chris Childs throwing a punch. Not Reggie Miller throwing you over a table. Not Raja Bell, once you would compete without Shaq. Not Ruben Patterson. Not Doug Christie. Not Bruce Bowen or Shane Battier. Not even Ron Artest.

I think your greatness is wholly forgotten in this era. They didn’t see what I seen. They didn’t go from rooting for “no rings” Kobe to a superstar who measures himself on rings attained. Only Jordan set those kinds of bars for himself. Those expectations. You stayed a Laker. You proved everyone wrong and you excelled, even in times of desperation. I’m sure everyone remembers your huge mistake. That seemed to create a new you. A new purpose and appreciation for basketball that not many have at all. You never took a second on that floor for granted.

I seen you dominate the Phoenix Suns, practically alone. I even gave you a pass that you didn’t deserve when you decided to let the media see what your team could do if you didn’t shoot. I watched you fallout with Phil Jackson and makeup with him in preparation for another run. I watched you elevate the games of so many players around you. You didn’t have to do it like Magic or LeBron. You succeeded the way only Kobe could. You led by example and set yourself up in your own lane. You gave us great strings of performances. You gave us 81. We’ll probably never see it again. It was a perfect storm in the perfect situation. Your team needed it and you provided it with the most focus I’ve seen in a basketball player.

You became an inspiration to giving oneself to something to reach a goal. You gave us a mental blueprint on how to attain excellence without needing to do what people say, in any profession. Maybe it was the triangle. I still seen greatness after it, before it, in the midst of not having it before your injury during Rudy Tomjanovich tenure as coach. I watched you torch Jordan as a Bull and especially a Wizard. I seen countless game winners. The two against Portland. The ones that followed a championship against the Spurs, Dwayne Wade and the Miami Heat, against the Toronto Raptors. I could go on.

There’s only one problem. Those are now afterthoughts. Those are memories. I wasn’t done watching you. The game isn’t the same without you. There’s no single player that is worth watching every game for, like it was with you. You could play on a team full of 10 year olds and it would be fun to watch you still find ways to win because you always went with what you had. Same expectations: champion. True dedication and will.

I hope that you enjoy your life now that you’ve given most of your youth to the game. It was just yesterday I seen you with Brandy. Now I’m going to watch as the Lakers organization hangs your jersey in the rafters? There’s pain there. There’s age there. There’s time there that I can’t get back. Time I can’t relive. All I’ll have is moments. I guess this one is second to last. This moment means more than you becoming a hall of famer, because this means that you are truly done. No comebacks. No resurgence. No more blood, sweat, broken bones, and no tears.

The game and the fans of the game itself will always appreciate you. We will never forget exactly what you did, at least not us die-hard fans. I won’t ever let go of the amazement I felt when watching you play. I don’t think I’ll get that again. I don’t think anyone will harness that ability and maintain it throughout a career. I hope you enjoy watching the game the same way I do now, as a fan. I’ll never forget what I felt as an 11 year old watching greatness unfold. Watching you fight for your spot. I’ll also never get to see you suit up in real time again. I guess this is it. They can wear your shoes but it’s still not you, Kobe. So, I guess this is goodbye.

MoneYBaLL Episode 6 NBA Podcast

 

Episode 6 with Opinionated MJ & NilClassic

 

 

LeBron, Kyrie, Celtics and more!

Enjoy the podcast!

 

 

 

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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!

​Why LeBron James Should Be In the Conversation As One Of the Greatest Basketball Players Of Our Lifetime


By: Opinionated Reezy




Let me begin with a disclaimer saying this is not, let me repeat, NOT an Anti-Jordan, Anti-Kobe, Anti-Anyone blog, rant, etc. It is a pro Lebron post and once you read till the end, I hope you will at least agree that Lebron James should be in the conversation as one of the greatest Basketball Player of our lifetime.
Let’s first get the stats out of the way. In this case, we will compare the stats for Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Lebron James.

Michael Jordan

1072 Games  30ppg  6.2rpg  5.3apg  49.7%fg  32.7%fg3  83.5%ft  50.9%efg  27.9 PER  214 Win Shares

6x NBA Champ, 11x All-NBA, 3x AS MVP, 5x MVP, 6x Finals MVP, 9x All-Defensive


Kobe Bryant

1346 Games  25ppg  5.2rpg  4.7apg  44.7%fg  32.9%fg3  83.7%ft  48.2efg  22.9 PER  172.7 Win Shares

5x NBA Champ, 15x All-NBA, 4x AS MVP, 1x MVP, 2x Finals MVP, 12x All-Defensive


LeBron James

998 Games  27.1ppg  7.2rpg  6.9apg  49.8%fg  34.0%fg3  74.4%ft  53.2%efg  27.6 PER  194.4 Win Shares

3x NBA Champ, 12x All-NBA, 2x AS MVP, 4x MVP, 3x Finals MVP, 6x All-Defensive




LeBron James has a PER on par with Michael Jordan while exceeding in rebounding and assist averages. His scoring is down, but in favor of his assist averages. One thing to keep in mind is that he is still going so I imagine his scoring numbers may drop slightly, but only because his rebounding and assist numbers are increasing. Yes, I am predicting that in the game, LeBron will be changing his style of play once again to increase his longevity, but to also make him even more of a threat on the court. This is not the only reason I am saying he is one of greats, so let’s dig in.

For starters, LeBron James is in great company with Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, as it is common place to hate greatness in the moment. Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James have each had their fair share of criticism during their rise to greatness. I for one participated in some of it as we all did. Some of the comments were:

Prima Donna

Ball Hog

Can’t be touched without the refs fouling

Over rated

Can’t win without…..

Every time this happened the players shouldered through and proved the doubters wrong. They showed how great they were. LeBron is doing that very thing now and the haters are waiting for him to fail. He will need to embrace becoming the villain in order to completely shoulder through.

Second, LeBron James came into the league in 2004, 7 years after Kobe and 20 after Michael Jordan. LeBron had the blueprint of what to do and what not to do by watching the trailblazers before him light the world on fire, on the court. LeBron is great because he is a student of the game and would have patterned himself after greatness. He also had the ability to watch Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and others whom he would adapt his style of play to. We all know his Basketball IQ is off the charts and because of that he would already have his body prepared to counteract the “Jordan Rules”, he would know at a certain point he would have to adjust his weight like Kobe to make his body respond better, and that he would need to have a consistent team around him like Magic and Bird had. Remember, when LeBron James entered the league from High School the highlight of his game was not his scoring, it was his court vision and passing. His first commercial for Nike had nothing to do with him scoring, but him assisting. The NBA (more so the Cavaliers) forced him to play more like Kobe and MJ. He is not playing as he intended to, more like Magic Johnson.

Third, despite all that was mentioned above you still have to play the game and having all the raw potential won’t prepare you for the actual rigors of an NBA Season and seasoned talent that is there. It took Michael Jordan seven seasons to get to the NBA Finals. Those prior years he was losing and learning, getting better, but more importantly, so was his team. His major benefit, even to his admission, was that he was playing in an ultra-aggressive conference at the time. Once he got there he couldn’t be stopped and it was a sight to see. Kobe Bryant took three seasons to get there and he benefitted two ways. The first was having Shaq who went through hard knock life lessons of playoff basketball in the East and the second was learning in a now ultra-talented western conference that was tired of losing to Michael Jordan and adapted to beat him even though he was gone.

Lebron James had to take his lumps as well. Prior to his time in the NBA he hadn’t really lost or experienced what that felt like. Yes it took him four seasons to get to the NBA Finals and he did that with a team comprised of Boobie Gibson, Mo Williams, Drew Gooden, and Donyell Marshall. Additionally, LeBron was playing in a decimated eastern conference after the void of Jordan’s absence and the NBA’s obsession with finding the heir apparent. LeBron James finally has a team that would be considered on par with what Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant had (yes, I am including the Miami years) in terms of consistency and overall synergy. This is not to make excuses for LeBron, but I don’t want to frown on success either.  We love posting memes about Jordan failing X number of times and coming back without realizing that LeBron needs to fail to get better. What is unfortunate for him is that failure only seems to occur when the title is on the line.

Fourth, is the future! LeBron just broke the top ten in career scoring and can easily get to sixth place based on his current trajectory. What is equally fascinating is that he is eighteenth in career assists and is a little over 1000 away from cracking the top ten. With his current trajectory, he is on par to hit that in two seasons. Once that occurs he will be the first player in NBA History to be in the top 10 of both offensive categories (scoring and assists).

There is no denying that Michael Jordan is the best and I believe that his overall contributions to the game would make him a great candidate to replace Jerry West as the logo; however, we should never be afraid to see someone else rise to greatness. If we did that we would still be heralding Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics as the greatest ever and there are a multitude of reasons why that is simply not true. There will come a time when a player will perform on the court and will rightfully be considered the greatest ever. When that happens, we should look at more than just the number of championships they have. We should look at the moments, battles, the moments within a season, all of it. It is for all of that I would say LeBron James deserves to remain in the conversation as one of the greatest players of our lifetime.

The Kobe Kids and How Kobe Made Them Better

 

 

 

By: Opinionated MJ

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

WHY THE MARRIAGE OF KD AND THE WARRIORS WILL BE GREAT FOR THE NBA

By: Opinionated Reezy


Let’s take a walk back in time for a moment.  Forget how the team is assembled and think about what comes to mind when you hear names Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Michael Cooper, and Karem Abdul-Jabar.  I will ask you again to forget how the team is assembled and think about what comes to mind when you hear the names Larry Bird, Danny Ainge, Robert Parrish, and Kevin McHale.  These were the Showtime Lakers and Dominate Celtics teams from the 80’s that dominated the decade and ultimately suffered from old age.  These two teams were dynasty’s both in their depth and starting rosters and would be considered super teams in today’s NBA.

I can’t remember much about that era, but I imagine that people were shocked when either the Lakers and/or the Celtics were not in the finals.  History would show the following (The champion is bold):

·         1979 – 80 Season: Lakers v 76ers

·         1980 – 81 Season: Celtics v Rockets

·         1981 – 82 Season: Lakers v 76ers

·         1982 – 83 Season: 76ers v Lakers

·         1983 – 84 Season: Celtics v Lakers

·         1984 – 85 Season: Lakers v Celtics

·         1985 – 86 Season: Celtics v Rockets

·         1986 – 87 Season: Lakers v Celtics

·         1987 – 88 Season: Lakers v Pistons

·         1988 – 89 Season: Pistons v Lakers

·         1989 – 90 Season: Pistons v Trailblazers

We literally had to go a full decade before we had an NBA Finals that did not feature the Celtics or the Lakers and that forced teams to get better.  It made players think strategically about how they were going to win.  No one was tired of the NBA, in fact being from Detroit, it became a unified front to watch your team develop into a legitimate threat and watch that team rise to greatness.

ALL THAT BEING SAID.  I see it happening again!  Let’s wind back the clock a few years:

·         2010 – 11 Season: Mavericks v Heat

·         2011 – 12 Season: Heat v Thunder

·         2012 – 13 Season: Heat v Spurs

·         2013 – 14 Season: Spurs v Heat

·         2014 – 15 Season: Warriors v Cavaliers

·         2015 – 16 Season: Cavaliers v Warriors

LeBron is the common element in this scenario in that for the past six seasons, LeBron led teams have been in the Finals.  Now a consistent team in the West has a legitimate chance to be consistent.  The last two seasons alone have been exciting for all the plotlines interwoven in the season.  I AM NOT SUGGESTING THAT THE NBA IS SCRIPTED; however, the story is one of note.  The rise of Golden State in the West, the Apology tour of LeBron James coming home and taking a team destined for the lottery to the FInals twice and Championship once.  Many were already anticipating the Trilogy reminiscent of Lakers and Celtics of old and then KD throws his name in the hat and now all we can say is.. IT’S ON!! 

This season may be dull for a moment, that will pass once Golden State faces their first real loss.  You see it now and LeBron sees it with the fevered insistence on bringing the band back together.  The pleas to sign JR is a message that we are going back to the days where teams determined success and not just one or two players.  Owners can no longer gamble on the notion of a star player and a bunch of role players.  Left unchecked, Golden State has the chance to win multiple championships and other teams will be forced to used their resources wisely to counter that.

KD didn’t hurt the league, he probably singlehandedly saved it… 

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!

Tim Duncan: Year of Appreciation

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Tim Duncan: Year of Appreciation

By: Opinionated MJ

 

Tis the season for old Kobe. How quickly we forget the possibility that this is also Tim Duncan’s last season. We won’t be giving him a farewell, we won’t get a chance to say a proper goodbye, we won’t get a chance to marvel at his bank in jumpers, his surprising defense, and his footwork that could only be matched by Kobe himself IF he would actually work the post. Enough of Kobe now. Let’s actually talk about the man who could walk away from the game with 6 NBA Championships if his team could win this year.

Tim Duncan is arguably the best Power Forward to ever play the game. Some would debate that Larry Bird is, but he didn’t have the same longevity that Tim Duncan has. We could say that it’s because of the organization, we could say that it’s from having selfless players around him who are all focused on the prize, willing to take pay cuts, willing to sacrifice individuality for a greater cause, not being a part of a big market, seemingly walking around without egos, and always being slept on every year until they ultimately reach the Conference Finals or the NBA Finals en route to an NBA Championship. It’s always the same story, honestly. Season begins and someone else is chosen as the #1 cream of the crop. Cleveland was last year’s favorite although the Spurs hoisted the title the year before over the Miami Heat, Golden State was the champion during the more recent season and they are now considered the favorite, and we could honestly say that Miami was the favorite two seasons ago after repeating as NBA Champions. When are the Spurs ever the favorites anyway? Seriously? Before the last 3 titles were handed out we had the Cavs, Heat, Lakers and Celtics, considered as favorites over the previous 5-10 years.

You look at this team now and it has the makings of a continued dynasty. They have a Kawhi Leonard who has emerged as a two-way star, they have a LaMarcus Aldridge who is basically the next to take over the reins inside once Tim Duncan is gone. They still have Tony Parker who should be able to keep going at a good rate over the next 2-3 years (potentially 5 solid years). Ginobli will be gone after this season, right? I think this will be his last go round. Tony Parker could honestly retire in 3 years if he wanted to and he’ll ultimately need to pass the torch to someone who’ll fill in as his replacement, like Kawhi is to Ginobli, like Aldridge is to Duncan. They need a replacement for Tony and they’ll be fine. They have depth and they also have the personnel behind the players to continue this dynasty. I think it’s legal to call it that right? They do have the most wins as a trio (Duncan, Parker, Ginobli) in NBA history, they do share 5 titles together, and they all are cut from the same selfless cloth. Now Kawhi, LaMarcus and an anonymous PG of the future will carry this team into the future. For now, though, they are a legitimate threat to the NBA landscape and they are a legit championship contender. We still haven’t seen the best of the Spurs yet. They haven’t fully meshed with Aldridge and West coming in, not yet. They fight hard and get it done when they need to like they did the other night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, closing out that game while Cleveland was pushing like a bull to steal a win.

We need to appreciate Tim Duncan and we need to start watching him the same way we watch Kobe… Like this is his last year. Don’t wait till it’s too late. I’m enjoying what I’m seeing from him. We’ll probably never see someone so fundamentally sound ever again. Champion on all levels.