Tag Archives: Magic Johnson

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.

​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.

Thru Their First ​Five Games… Which Team Do You Think Is Better?  Is There a Better?


By: Opinionated Reezy



At the time of this writing,we are five games into the NBA and so far the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors are picking up where they left off.  They both are number 1 in their respective conferences and they are winning games pretty decisively.  That being said there are elements to take note of when trying to determine which team is doing better.

So let’s first look at the overall numbers

Cleveland Cavaliers

Total Pts: 572

Effective FG% 54%

Total Turnovers 61

PPG 114.4 2nd in NBA

OPPG 104.0 15th in NBA
Golden State Warriors

Total Pts: 577

Effective FG% 55%

Total Turnovers 78

PPG 115.4 1st in NBA

OPPG 108.6 22nd in NBA

Source: http://www.basketball-reference.com



Note: The effective field goal statistic adjusts for the fact that a 3pt field goal is worth one more point than a 2pt field goal

Despite how you may feel about the roster and who has the edge, the math tells you that both teams are closer to equal than you may think.  Now there are many who will say that Golden State still has the edge because they are in the west and the one loss may suggest that as being accurate, but let’s look at the numbers again to justify that.  Remember that we are five games in so all teams are 95 – 98% healthy, there is only one basketball, and all records are set to 0 – 0 at the beginning of the season.

Cavaliers Opponents Record PPG Effective FG%

NY Knicks 1 – 3 96.8 48%

TOR Raptors 3 – 1 104.5 50%

ORL Magic 2 – 3 96.4 46%

HOU Rockets 3 – 2 110.2 55%

BOS Celtics 3 – 2 110.8 56%




Warriors Opponents Record PPG Effective FG%

SA Spurs 4 – 1 105.2 50%

NO Pelicans 0 – 5 98.2 45%

PHX Suns 1 – 4 104.0 46%

POR Trailblazers 2 – 3 110.6 51%

OKC Thunder 4 – 1 102.0 46%

Source: http://www.basketball-reference.com



Again with minor differences on both sides, the opponents have been fairly similar in their respective output.  I cannot in good conscious place an edge on any team without being biased so for the purpose of this article let us place emotion aside and say we are looking at two teams who are literally two sides of the same coin.  This means when they meet up, we have to consider the strengths and weaknesses.   Here are some observations on where both teams lie.

Golden State Warriors

Strength – 

Offensive Power house:  Golden State has the ability to shoot from anywhere, with a starting lining capable of holding that effort from anywhere.  They are fast break nightmares because they can stop and pull up on you from virtually anywhere.

Kevin Durant: With an effective FG% of 64%, Kevin Durant will shoot the lights out on you.  He is balling without regard for anything and that makes him dangerous.

The Splash Brothers:  They are still there and they are angry.  Not good for teams in their path.  Kevin Durant creates the perfect smoke screen for them too.  They don’t need to be the scoring leaders, just provide the mental haymakers to teams who think they are going on a run.

Weakness – 

Defense:  The Cavaliers aren’t fairing that much better in Opponents Points per game, but where the points can be scored makes all the difference in the game of momentum.  Slashers have the ability to have a field day with Golden State as their defense stoppers aren’t as effective in keeping guys out of the middle.  A key component in the warrior’s loss was the lack of Andrew Bogut in games 6 and 7.  The loss to the Spurs came in part because Kawhi Leonard had a field day from inside.  Momentum…

Ball Movement:  Surprised, don’t be.   Golden State is top heavy from the points perspective.  It is their main strength, but when the ball doesn’t move, defenses can disrupt things.  This is becoming evident with Golden State.  Currently Draymond Green is the leader in assists with 7.2 per game, but the funny thing with assists is that it represents two things, a pass to the open player and that player successfully executing on that play.  Despite how easy Golden State makes the three ball, it is still a low percentage attempt (generally speaking) and if they get sloppy, those can become easy 2’s on the other end.

The Bench: Doesn’t mean anything now, but can and will mean a whole lot as the season progresses.  Golden State lost and as a result they depleted their scoring power on the Bench to a degree.  Now, they have to rework them into the rotation.  Running a team to the brink has its pros and cons and if the bench can’t fill the void when needed it can pose to be an issue.  We have seen great teams fall due to lack of a bench.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Strength –

Lebron James:  At the moment, Lebron is averaging a near triple double and solidified his role as being the facilitator with 22 10 and 9.  That is scary because he is forcing the cavaliers to be a cutting team and to always be ready for the ball.  He is also trying to reduce the number of minutes he is on the floor to prepare for the off season.  Lebron is ultimately playing a Magic Johnson type game right now, which is what he should been doing for a while.

Defense:  When looking at the activity around the basket there are three players dominating the rebounds, Lebron James (9), Kevin Love (8), Tristan Thompson (10). Rebounds lead to second chance attempts or potential fast breaks, and represents that the lane is clogged.  Now, this means very little if you shoot from 15 ft and out like Golden State prefers to do, but you at least cut off options to score in General and you increase the chances against softer interior teams of recovering the ball.

No Pressure:  The Cavaliers brought a title to the city of Cleveland and made millions happy.  Lebron did what he set out to do 13 years ago.  Now the team can truly have fun.  Their goal, not matter how they get there is to get back into the playoff race and secure home court for as many rounds as possible.

Weakness – 

Lebron James:  How is this possible you ask?  Currently, the Cavaliers go as Lebron goes.  Now, it may be appropriate to say that the weakness is Kyrie, but not true.  Lebron moves the ball and is the better facilitator.  If something happens to him the Cavaliers have a greater chance at nose diving than Golden State would if something happens to Kevin Durant or any of their starting five.  If the CAV’s can find another facilitator then things are ok, but if not… watch out.

Bench:  Better than Golden State, but not necessarily good for the duration.  There are glimmers of hope in Channing Frye and Iman Shumpert, but you will need more for the long haul.  With minor exception, the bench is relatively the same so it should make for easier inclusion into the system, but they cannot slouch.

Ball Movement:  Yup, equal opportunity here.  The Cavaliers are unstoppable when the ball is moving because they will make the defense work, but when the ball stops, they go from being Hulk to Bruce Banner almost instantly.  Golden State can flirt with the hero ball because of who they have on the roster, but not the Cavaliers.  If they want to win, they need to learn to keep that ball moving and keep defenses on a swivel.

At the end of the day, emotions will place you in any bucket in terms of you believe has the edge; however, I suggest we all buckle up for an exciting NBA Season because the numbers say that the unstoppable force is gearing up to meet the immovable object.

King of the Ring: LeBron, the Cavs, and a Look Around the League

 

By: Opinionated MJ
Congratulations to LeBron and the Cavaliers! Cleveland, embrace this moment! You’ve been waiting for this. To finally see one of the best players ever, fulfill his promise to bring Cleveland a ring has got to be a breath of fresh air. I remember the feeling of living through a championship with my Pistons in 2004. The Red Wings were also prosperous. The Tigers were doing well as well if I’m not mistaken, I think we may have made the World Series that year. We had the Super Bowl here as well and I think a WrestleMania or something like that. Final Four NCAA basketball around this time as well. Great Year! Enjoy it!

 

LeBron has been preparing for season’s opening since Kevin Durant decided to become a part of the Golden State Warriors. They seem to be the only team that stands in the way of a repeat for the Cleveland Cavaliers. I’d like to add that, if I were Carmelo Anthony seeing this ring ceremony tonight, I’d probably cringe and play with nothing but anger and hunger in my heart. Knowing I had the chance to be a part of the Miami team that won a ring and to be able to finally experience that level of success. It must be fulfilling for LeBron for sure. He has one ring by himself now as well. Kyrie pitched in BIG! I even thought Kyrie would win finals MVP after closing out Steph Curry and the Warriors in crunch time of those last few games.

 

I’m not big on picking another team except the current reigning Champions as the favorites to win it all. I’m going with the Cavs but I will admit I want my Pistons to win and if they can’t then I would love to see the Warriors win one for KD while he’s on a LeBron-esque mission to obtain a ring and put that on his resume. That would solidify him with other future Hall of Famers. I’d also like to see if they Bulls could somehow someway pull a rabbit out of a hat. Although, I think Chris Bosh is the only way they could achieve such success. I would also like to see the Spurs acquire DeMarcus Cousins for LaMarcus Aldridge. You heard it first. Chris Bosh to the Bulls, Cousins to the Spurs.

 

LeBron wants to win the MVP this year and that is making waves throughout the league. I think Paul George may have mentioned MVP first but he’s driven to do so as well, Damian Lillard wants to, and I’m very certain that Russell Westbrook wants to as well without saying it. Westbrook was chasing Magic Johnson’s triple-double record last year and didn’t admit it until someone asked him. I think LeBron should relax and let Kyrie and Kevin prove themselves and let them man the battleship until it absolutely requires LeBron to come in and take over. I know things used to fall apart fast when he exited the game last season and they would struggle to extend their lead over other teams at times. Let’s not forget their struggles en route to their triumph. Up and down season with LeBron thinking of his Banana Boat squad being teammates one day, social media jabs at some of his teammates, and a few other things. Maybe he also took a few pointers from Kobe about challenging your teammates. You do have to PUSH others to get something done more times than not. He successfully pulled that off and led his team to a Championship after being down 3-1. Congrats again to the Cavaliers! Good luck to the Cleveland Indians!

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…