Tag Archives: San Antonio Spurs

Warriors Still Not Finished

… Warriors Still Not Finished

By Opinionated MJ (Michael Tolliver Jr)

I’m still high on the Warriors thanks to last season. They’ve gotta add key pieces to seal it. They’ve got shooters, a big now, Steph & Dray healthy, Wiggins who’s overlooked in this current situation.

Maybe they fold, but I think something anew unfolds. The Spurs suffered similar fate. Injury to Robinson. Later, injury to their core 3. They were able to plug in pieces and adjust roles.

I just don’t like the negativity and everybody already calling it a wrap. Now if Steph went down, that’s different. Even then, Dray, Wiggins, Wiseman still sounds interesting to me.

Steph, Klay, Wiggins, Wiseman…
EP off the bench…
Bowman, Chriss, Lee, and the shooting squad.
They drafted shooters as well.

They need to plug in players that have pieces of Klay’s game.

Steph MUST elevate them the same way Tim Duncan did his teammates. Late in the careers of the Spurs run of greatness, it became, Mills, Danny Green, Kawhi, etc. Even Tiago Splitter was elevated by Duncan, Pop, the culture, the system.

This era of fans of the league is so… Super team, LeBron-KD, Lakers-Boston, and whatever, that they forget the Detroit’s, the Dallas’, the San Antonio’s… Actual culture, system, and organization is slept on.

Warriors in a good space. Deal with it emotionally, and let’s get ready. Everyone else is putting teams together for 4 year runs. Some just for 2. Rockets just literally did 1. Warriors been putting this together since what… 09? Organic. You don’t run from that.

Wiseman & Wiggins are VERY key. Could change everything.

They say the league caught up? Cool. Change and succeed another way, like the Spurs. Dynasty/Legacy in play.

Get well soon Klay.

MoneYBaLL Episode 6 NBA Podcast

 

Episode 6 with Opinionated MJ & NilClassic

 

 

LeBron, Kyrie, Celtics and more!

Enjoy the 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.

KD, Warriors Win 2016-17 NBA Championship

 

By: Opinionated MJ 




It was all on you KD.

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

This Is All On Kevin Durant

 

 

By: Opinionated MJ

 

Hey Kevin, it’s your time to put up or shut up!

The Warriors are currently seeing a growing lead in the first quarter against the Spurs, game 4. Klay Thompson is the only player who is experiencing some inconsistency but maybe the incoming rest will help him adjust to the physical nature and intensity that the Cavaliers will bring once they stop messing around with the Celtics. Adam Silver must’ve told them to chill and let the Celts get a game. Steph Curry has been taking the ball to the hole and he’s been having good looks from midrange than usual. He’s moving his feet well on the defensive end as well, although, he still endured some shaky foul calls in Game 3. Reminded me of the 2016 NBA Finals. I won’t forget Iman Shumpert running into him and the refs calling a foul on Steph who was already stationary in his position on the floor. Bets must have been placed, eh?

 

Steve Kerr is out and everyone is concerned about the progression of his health. He’s been traveling with the team and I’m sure that behind the scenes he’s doing what he must to keep this team rolling so they can win another championship. I didn’t mention that Draymond Green is looking like the greatest glue guy every assembled and placed on an NBA roster. Potential Defensive Player of the Year. He has my vote with Kawhi as a close second if I incorporate the playoffs into my vote. If I didn’t, then he’d be a distant second. I currently think highly of Kawhi right now. He’s not here to put a stop to any of this madness. LeBron is up next, so this leads me to what I really want to touch on. The finals will be about two men: LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

 

Can Durant elevate his game to another level? Will he be able to attain the eye of the tiger? I’m sure LeBron will matchup with Kevin, and this is where he will be depended upon to still perform and put up his usual stats and more. I have very high expectations of him if the Warriors want to have any chance to beat the Cavs. That’s the reason he came on board, right? To be able to get back at LeBron. What better way to win your first championship than to do it over LeBron? His own fans call him the Greatest of All Time. There’s no better way to win a ring than to add a win over LeBron onto your resume. Regardless of who you’re teamed with. They said LeBron would be better than Jordan if he beat this jump shooting Warriors team. Let’s not mention the league caters to an up-tempo game with much less physical play and he’s 6’9 250-260. Football! Elevate your game Kevin!

 

LeBron is bringing his well-oiled Cleveland Cavs machine to the war and he’s looking to repeat. Can you stop him on his way to creating a dynasty? Can you etch your name above those who should’ve won a championship but they seen the great Michael Jordan? Can you get that elusive ring that Barkley, Miller, Malone & Stockton, Payton & Kemp, Patrick Ewing, Allen Iverson, and many others don’t have? Should we add Carmelo Anthony to that bunch right now? Can you be the difference maker in this series? Can you take over the game when you need to and not be a spectator to the Steph Curry show? Will you be what this team was missing last year when they gave up a 3-1 lead? Ironically, the same lead you forfeited to the same team you now are a part of. Are you here just to get Golden State to the promised land and shockingly sabotage their plans and laugh in their faces when you go back to Russell Westbrook and OKC with all their plays, knowledge, and execution plans as you disappear in the Finals on purpose? That’s a conspiracy but I wouldn’t put it past you until you prove me wrong. This year it’s all about you, Kevin Durant. It’s time to put up or shut up. Period. Barring injuries or deficiency in team health, you have no excuses. Deliver!

“3 In The Key” Podcast Episode 5: The Becoming (Kawhi Leonard)


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


 

Has Kawhi Leonard become the best player in the NBA??

Also, a look into the 2017 NBA Conference Finals.

The NBA draft lottery.

Lonzo Ball, the Celtics, Lakers, Philadelphia, and more!

Twin Towers!?!?!! DeMarcus Cousins & Anthony Davis

By: Opinionated MJ
Cousins and Anthony Davis Will Make Big Men Relevant Again


The return of the big man is on the horizon. The respect for Big Men will return along with it. Once DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis hit the floor together, we’ll begin to see what a twin tower tandem can do together. The first true big man duo since David Robinson and Tim Duncan. Unless you want to count Andrew Bynum & Pau Gasol or Zach Randolph & Marc Gasol. There will be huge differences, including the fact they both are averaging 20 plus points a game and 10 plus rebounds a game individually. They can also both stretch the floor from mid range and from 3. I can imagine that if Alvin Gentry can adjust his playbook to benefit having both players on the floor at the same time, we’ll begin to see immediate results.

We know they need more roster moves, of course. I am one who believes they’ll be ready out of the gate, from the interior at least. How much more were the players the Pelicans traded away doing that DeMarcus Cousins can’t do? Nothing! Who do you prefer? Grinding always resulted in success, as recently as the finals, we’ve seen that. LeBron and the Cleveland Cavs worked inside out and dismantled the Warriors that way. So maybe there’s another kryptonite being constructed to take on the “invincible” (not) Warriors. They can be defeated. The Pelicans greatest strength is their greatest weakness, having two bigs that can get it done and definitely needing the supporting cast to play their roles to perfection. It’s the Spurs that they need to worry about. They don’t have an answer for Kawhi Leonard. That’s a fact.

I know you all probably think I’m getting ahead of myself in excitement, hell, they could lose all of the rest of their games and I’ll still be a newly minted bandwagon fan. I’m here for the long haul as long as this duo is together. I’m sick of the Warriors and Cavs, and the finals match-up everyone predicts between the two. I’m ready for someone to disrupt them both. Put them on notice. I think this will be the greatest threat to the entire Western Conference and to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the future. Funny how there’s no other east teams mentioned. Even the Rockets just got stronger. It’s time that another potentially strong team came up from the ashes in the entire NBA.

Bash this move while you can but the New Orleans Pelicans were not in any better shape going forward if they stood pat. They’ve been struggling for years and made the playoffs two years ago only to be ousted by the eventual champion Golden State Warriors. They’ve had no success other than that, not since Chris Paul. It’s been even worse that they’ve lost a key player in nearly every season since Davis became a Pelican.

Cut them some slack. Give them a chance and congratulate the New Orleans  Pelicans as an organization. Give DeMarcus Cousins a chance to grow fit those who don’t see the progress he’s already made in the maturation process. Kudos to the front office! No other GM’s decided to go in another direction entirely. A few deals at this deadline were made but the majority all opted to play it safe. I’ll even give the Kings organization credit for finally letting him go and allowing both the organization and Cousins to find other ways to succeed instead of accepting being stuck. Playing it safe though is fine, it’s job stability. For those who desire to win? It’s win or go home.

​Should Players Sit Out Games To Rest During the NBA Season?

By: Opinionated Reezy




One of the lessons from the Greg Popovich era of coaching is resting his key players during the season to rest them.  Coming from the Bad Boys Pistons era basketball this is a foreign concept; however, I must admit there are some strategic elements to it.  We are going to take a look at should players sit out games due to rest during the NBA Season.


How are NBA Seasons constructed?

Per ESPN the 82-game season started in 1967 to allow a team in the 12-team league to play conference rivals eight times and inter-conference foes seven times.  As the league expanded the number maintained and adjusted accordingly.  Additionally, 82 was chosen primarily to balance revenue and player salaries and secondary was the wear and tear on the athlete’s body.  In short, we have an 82-game season today because we have one in the past.  Dissecting the question of whether players should sit out games due to rest during the NBA Season is to first answer if an 82-game season is too much?  I believe it is.

What is the goal of a Team in the NBA?

The goal the NBA is to provide the best service and entertainment for their stakeholders, which would be the fans, media, and sponsors, not necessarily in that order.  The owners get a share of the revenue from media and sponsors, but that is not the only way they make the bulk of their money.

NBA Owners have their own subset of stakeholders, which would include Season Ticket owners, who buy into the direction of the team sight unseen so to speak, the actual players, the city, and sponsors.  Therefore, their goal mirrors that of the NBA, but they also want to win a championship for their city as fans want to see winning teams and will more than likely become season ticket holders if there is a pattern of success.

So, should a coach make decisions that would net a more favorable outcome to the end of the season?  Yes, they should.

To rest or not to rest

For the right reasons or result, I believe it is feasible that a coach would sit someone out due to rest.  Some of these reasons can be considered selfish, but again intended for the right purpose:

1. Preparation for the Off Season:

 You are already in position to be in the playoffs and the final games truly don’t have an impact on your position or seating, why over extend your star players?  This is a great time to limit their minutes or rest them and allow the seldom used talent to get in their rhythm.

2. Preparing for potential conference rivals:

 I know this is a weird one, but having your star players in the game can mask potential weaknesses in your team.  By resting them you can expose those weaknesses and between prepare your team for potential matchups once you get to the post season.

3. Protect players from injury:

  The NBA is a different game than it was years ago, and a body can suffer from wear and tear easier.  We notice the major injuries but not the minor aches and pains that can impact the game.  Successful teams go through all 82 games and some degree of a post season.  Resting players, especially older players, becomes smart to keep those players at optimal condition longer.

4. During an away game against a team of no consequence:

  Yep, selfish, but should the Golden State Warriors risk Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, or Kevin Durant against the Dallas Mavericks this year during an away game?  Maybe, but not always.  Sit one of them.  There will be people saying that the fans pay to see them play.  While I get that, the home fans of Golden State matter more than the away fans of Golden State in this example.  If resting the players for a few games means you get more out of them when they get to the playoffs, I would make that move in a heartbeat and ask for forgiveness during the championship parade.

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… 

73?

 

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By: Opinionated MJ

Can the Warriors win out the rest of the NBA season? With this win against San Antonio, I believe they could. Yes, it would take them to be rested enough to finish the season winning out but I think since they’ve lost to Boston that they have another level of motivation to get the job done and then get back to title chasing. Somehow, title chasing seems easier than attaining 73-9. We’ve been faced with all these comparisons of the 72-10 Bulls. Everyone has compared physicality, big men, shooting, and everything in between but we have yet to realize that there is no comparison. This is 2016, let’s live in the now.

They currently sit at 9 losses and the rest of their schedule has another stop at San Antonio who could dispel all of this at home where they have yet to lose, although I expect the Warriors to have a mental note of this and work towards actually beating the Spurs at home to make a statement and to also put everyone on high alert heading into the playoffs. The Memphis Grizzlies also aren’t a pushover with Lance Stephenson now adding to their grit but I’m not certain that they could stop the Warriors. Two games against the Grizzlies and one left against the Spurs. Steph has been forced to play differently against a few teams and I think they’ve learned how to adapt to Steph Curry having to drive more and look to finish as opposed to looking to only shoot, shoot, shoot while wide open. They aren’t giving him the same easy looks and they still cling to him and rotate over to help when he’s driving to the basket which leaves his teammates wide open. Take note that Harrison Barnes has stepped up and Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bogut are all in the lineup now, healthy.

I mentioned before that a healthy Golden State Warriors team may be unstoppable. They have too many weapons if you ask me. If Steph is in a slump, Klay can drop 30, 40 points. If Klay and Steph are going slow, Draymond Green can get going and facilitate the team. Harrison Barnes again has shown a resurgence with his shooting and Iguodala adds another element when stretching the floor, cutting and slashing to the rim for easy buckets. Andrew Bogut is the trump card for Golden State other than having the type of depth that they have. They also had a chance to get other players valuable playing time when they had to deal with injuries to key players. This will help them when the playoffs arrive and will allow for their rotations to be deep should they face any matchup problems down the line against different teams.

With this win against San Antonio, I see them having enough confidence to finish this with the magic number 73. They’ll definitely tie at 72-10 but I’m seeing 73. What will we have to say about this team if they reach this number? Will we proclaim this team as one better than the ’95-96 Bulls? Or will we continue to not let go of what once was and allow for things to change, records to be broken, and history to be made and actually appreciate it and the moment it matters?

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.

If LeBron wins the 2015-16 Championship for Cleveland, would he leave?

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By: Opinionated MJ

I know you think I’m causing an outrage, but let’s actually seriously take a look at this. I caught Stephen A. Smith during the aftermath of the finals saying something to the tune of, “Cleveland is lucky LeBron didn’t win this championship cause it would’ve given him the opportunity to leave.” Basically, story would be complete for Cleveland. LeBron leaves and leaves Cleveland heartbroken. LeBron comes back and everyone is happy again. LeBron wins a championship in his first year back. It can’t get any better. I doubt it could get better than that. Then he could go west and try to conquer getting out of the western conference which would cement his legacy in my opinion.

So how true was that statement? I believe a decent amount that Steven A. Smith says. He predicted alot of things that have come to pass and apparently has personal relationships with these players. Enough about him though, my point in making this a big deal is the fact that there IS something LeBron hasn’t done: Dominate the Western Conference.

How beautiful would it be if LeBron went to Phoenix last year? Los Angeles Lakers next season? Dallas? Maybe San Antonio? Memphis? Any west team would work. Could you imagine the dog fights he would have with the Warriors, Clippers, Spurs of the future, Grizzlies, Rockets, Thunder (if they keep both KD & Russell), Pelicans???!? I mean I could go on. It’s exciting. It’s also the only thing he hasn’t done.

LeBron hasn’t had competition in the east since my Detroit Pistons and ESPECIALLY the big 3 & Rondo Boston Celtics. Let’s be honest. The Bulls were supposed to be threats but have they actually come close to finally beating a LeBron led team? No. I like the Bulls so it’s no hate. Did the Pacers truly threaten the Heat? Maybe, but they never got the job done. Almost doesn’t count.

It was Boston legitimately and Indiana that (somewhat) make this list as the only true competitors over the last 5-7 years for LeBron. I mean, LeBron has been to the last 5 finals, so you can’t argue my point. Before that, it was Orlando and Boston twice. But wait… Cleveland before that. So he’s been to 6 of the last 9 finals. That’s 66%. Not even San Antonio has been to the finals that many times in that short of a span, 3 of 9. So let’s not say LeBron needs teammates of gold. He’s dragged two Cavs teams to the finals. They said lightening doesn’t strike in the same place twice. There’s a reason he made it that far even with team deficiencies and it’s because of HIS efficiency.

Watch the 2015 NBA Finals again and dare tell me LeBron couldn’t man a western team to the finals. The first “no-no” with this Tristan Thompson thing has come up. The beginning of building a way out. Something LeBron does rather discreetly when he’s going to make a move. If he does win and decide to go west, why not be a Sacramento “King”?