Tag Archives: Stephen Curry

MoNeYBaLL 52 NBA Podcast: Steph 62

By Opinionated MJ

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!

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!

​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.

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.

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.

ViLLaiNy

By: Opinionated MJ



Villainy. 

Hated by Cavs fans around the world. They won’t stop trolling the Warriors at every turn although they won the championship coming back from a 3-1 deficit. They want to believe that LeBron is why Kevin Durant went to Golden State when truthfully, that process started in the FIBA games from two summers ago, before Durant withdrew. If you ask Andre Iguodala, it was when he played with Durant and also developed a relationship. Sounds like the formula that made a big 3 in Miami. 2 attractions relocating though. Durant is alone in this one.

Villainy.

Stephen Curry. Baby faced assassin. Family man. Son of a baller. Riley Curry. God fearing. Not big enough to survive the NBA.

Klay Thompson. Smooth criminal. Ladies man. Silent threat. Plays well on both ends. Almost traded for Kevin Love.

Draymond Green. Heart of the team. Good defender. Good facilitator. Loud mouth irritation for the opposition. Risen from doubt. Doubtful he will adjust well to the NBA.

All drafted by the Warriors.

Villainy.

Winning the 2014-15 Championship while being called too young. Too inexperienced. Too lucky. Helped by injuries to all important guards in the playoffs other than Steph himself. Landed a championship over a depleted Cleveland Cavaliers team that required LeBron to play a bit different and to much praise. No criticism against him becoming a volume shooter in order to attempt to carry this team to a championship. I seen percentages I’ve never seen from LeBron. Only from the likes of Russell Westbrook, Kobe, and Iverson. They have always walked the volume path and get verbally shredded.

Villainy.

James Harden being voted MVP by the players but not the official MVP. Peers didn’t like, don’t like Stephen Curry. Many fans disliking the Warriors winning, following up their accomplishments by telling them, “it was a fluke.” Warriors reacting in incredible rage to the naysayers by having a 73 win season that no one wanted them to achieve. First ever Unanimous MVP in Stephen Curry.

Villainy.

Stephen Curry injuring himself in the first round of the playoffs. The initial injury actually occurred mid-season. Forgotten. It would serve as a detriment going forward. Draymond Green doing Bruce Lee kicks (LOL) in order to contain his opposition and maintain an intimidation factor. Klay Thompson rising to the occasion to save their season by exploding. Going to the finals again against LeBron James, carrying a beautiful 2-6 finals record. 2-1 if you ask die-hard LeBron fans. I call them “god-LeBron” fans. They don’t count the Spurs sweep, the second Spurs beatdown cause Mr. Wade wasn’t 100%, or the Warriors loss because Kyrie and Kevin were out.

Villainy.

Arrive to the finals. Steph limited by injury. Draymond getting suspended for being stepped over like he’s not there inciting everyone to think he punched LeBron in his lower extremities. Watch the tape again. LeBron request, suspension granted. Bogut stopping LeBron at the rim, injured. Iguodala able to defend LeBron well, limited by back injury suffered in game 6. A low IQ exhibition of decision making by Ezeli and Varejao. The greatest block ever by LeBron? His fans say so. Also, maybe not enough changes by Kerr? Why should you bail on your gameplan? Stay the course. Give up a huge 3-1 lead. Should’ve won the series. Lost 4-3. Failure. Congrats to LeBron for his ring for Cleveland!

Villainy.

When Steph Curry received MVP, LeBron dismissed that Steph was MVP. Wanted to redefine what MVP and best player is. Only to Steph though. No prior MVP award winners. Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and Kobe.

Villainy.

Successfully defeating the team that holds the best regular season record. Wearing an Ultimate Warrior shirt in celebration. Claiming the “high road” during the war. Now trolling with the internet trolls with a 3-1 lead drum (beating) subliminal setup. Funny indeed. Tombstone cookies for Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Uncharacteristic of LeBron, from my perspective. High road? Fun times. Gloating about a team that didn’t gloat about beating you the year prior. Maybe they did. Maybe I missed it. Definitely no trolling.

Villainy.

The worst loss possibly ever converted into the best free agency win possibly ever by landing Kevin Durant to play alongside your drafted stars. Durant had to leave OKC behind for this. Leave Russell Westbrook behind for this. Joining the team he lost to, that lost too. Especially after nearly handing them defeat one series earlier. Ring chasing with the best team that didn’t win the championship. Why not? Being trolled by fans for his decision.

Villainy.

Steph being told he choked. They forgot he was injured. They said don’t complain but complained while they were missing their stars. Double edged sword. New season upon us. Narrative this year is that the Warriors are villains. How they arrived here was by pure hard work and dedication coupled with a few mistakes and bumps. 1-1 in the last 2 finals over the last 2 years. Chosen as the favorite at season’s beginning. I don’t think the favorite should be anyone but a champion unless catastrophic changes took place.

Villainy.

Cleveland vs Golden State III predicted by oddsmakers and analysts all over.

Villainy.

I don’t think the Warriors represent villainy. 1 Championship in 2 tries, 3 all stars, 2 MVP’s awarded, Coach of the year, 73 win team coming off a championship run… 

Villainy.

Sounds more like success. More like victory. This time with a chance of redemption amidst a bloody sea of hatred.

Villainy.

The Durant Warriors

 

By: Opinionated MJ

Durant will takeover the Warriors by season’s end. He will pry away the grip of the team away from Stephen Curry. Yes, the back to back, unanimous MVP will be dethroned from being king of the Golden State. He will step down, WILLINGLY, and allow Kevin Durant to take the reign. This doesn’t mean that there will be friction. This doesn’t mean that there will be egos clashing or silent envy brewing, no, not at all. It’s just the order of things. In order to have proper success, things must have an order.

 

You can’t have the same Steph Curry shot selection from the playoffs and have a thriving Kevin Durant in all of this. Not productively anyway. I’m sure he wants to maintain something north of 20 points per game. Lets look at this on the base level: Kevin Durant will take Harrison Barnes shots, plus more. With that being said, there needs to be a pecking order then. I think Steph needs to become a swap option with Klay Thompson. They need to exchange 2nd and 3rd option amongst one another (and maybe even 1st option with Durant on many nights) depending on who has the hot hand, depending on who is defending who, depending on what lineups are in. Everything is situational with this team now. If you know Steph Curry can pull up from 50 feet and make a shot on you and you still have to guard Klay, Kevin, and Draymond also keeps you honest, then what can you honestly do as far as stacking up on defense? There will be no double team that isn’t dissected. There will be no mismatch that can’t be instantly exploited. Let’s not mention the new death lineup. We’ll call it that now. I wish someone credible could read this. Commentators could say, “Uh oh, looks like the Warriors are going with the ‘New Death’ lineup!” New Death. Death you haven’t seen before cause it’s so many ways to kill opposing teams now. Enough sounding like I’m brown nosing. Pistons will sweep the Warriors in the finals. Neutral?

 

New Death… because Kevin Durant brings them about 3 new dynamics. I’ve come across things that say that he was the #1 player in post efficiency last season and I personally thought that it was their only weakness last year. Not being able to slow down the game and grind it out. They also have Kevin Durant, who can play isolation and create for himself without intimidation or hesitation. I’ve watched Steph avoid contact (guess he was hurt) in the finals, and I also watched Klay avoid it as well and pull up from the elbow. Durant will take the ball to the rack, with authority, and he’ll probably embarrass some opposing defenders and make some nice posters with his new digs on. The shot. The Drive. The Post. The Warriors sacrificed their defense for the opportunity to have what I’d call a “Super Offense”. Their defense should pick back up as the season goes along.

 

Once Draymond gets through to everyone on the team, everyone gets familiar with their place on the floor in those sets and how to help Durant, Steph & Klay when they run someone off the perimeter. Draymond will now be a rim protector. I think he should be anyway. He did a nice job of fouling LeBron from totally removing his soul in game 7 of the finals. Impressive if you can stop him from hammering you and instead you hammer him. I watched him tangle with Dwight Howard and come out on top. I watched him only be drowned out when there was a Serge Ibaka, Steven Adams combo on the floor to deny him rebounds and the ability to help on certain plays. It takes 2 baby!

 

They’re vulnerable, though. Everything has to go smooth. They have to iron the kinks out. I think we’ll see some things that we seen with the Big 3 in Miami. This time they’ll figure out the puzzle earlier on because they all lack the ego where they just HAVE to be the #1 Alpha on the team. The thing that everyone is on Durant about will be the same thing that could bring them good success. This is a TEAM sport right? It’s about having help and teammates they said. It’s about having a #2 they said. Jordan couldn’t do it without Pippen and without Rodman they said. Kobe couldn’t do it without Shaq they said. Wait, Shaq couldn’t do it without Kobe and shooters I said! LeBron couldn’t win a ring without Wade, Bosh, and Ray Allen, then Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, JR Smith they’ll say. Everybody needs somebody. Russell Westbrook was a ball hog that had everyone screaming for him to pass the ball to Durant before Durant fell to injury, right? How soon some forget some things. With that said, Russell Westbrook will be your 2017 NBA MVP… IF he can land the Thunder a 1-4 seed. Maybe even a 5 seed depending on his numbers and in-game performances. Especially if he dominates. I can’t wait to watch. I hope to see 2006 Kobe reincarnated.

 

Just my opinion.

“The Decision II featuring Kevin Durant”

By: Opinionated MJ

Oddly, I believe that these last few hours will serve as a calm before the storm. I expect Kevin Durant to change the landscape and odds of the NBA by deciding to sign with the Golden State Warriors. Yes, the same Warriors I expected to win the championship. Congrats to LeBron! I doled out a lot of venom in his direction and he delivered. I’ll save him for another post. Now, why would Kevin Durant sign with Golden State? It’s almost written on the wall.

I’ve heard things like, “Kevin Durant has personal relationships with many of the Warriors players.” Then I think about articles I’ve come across where the Warriors players were quoted saying things like, “I don’t know why they want him here.” Of course that’s a valid statement, but so is this… WHO WOULDN’T want Kevin Durant on their team? KD on the Warriors would change the Western Conference and make the Warriors even stronger. Now, this doesn’t guarantee a championship but it does guarantee that they’ll be a contender for years to come, if he signs a deal longer than 1 year.

Why should KD waste another year in OKC with Russell if their destiny is uncertain? Who knows what to make of the Oladipo/Ibaka deal? I see it as a step back due to how they were able to handle the Warriors in the conference finals. When they were up 3-1, they were playing like champions and I actually thought they would put the Warriors away, then Klay Thompson happened. With that said, imagine a lineup with Steph, Klay, Dray, and KD. It’s like a fantasy video game. That roster could only be obtained by forcing trades on the offline mode on NBA2K. LOL! Who wouldn’t expect this team to win? This leads me to his other options that he’s already broken down to 2 teams (OKC & GS).

He met with the likes of Miami, Boston, San Antonio, and the Los Angeles Clippers. He decided to turn them all down and left the Warriors as an option. In San Antonio, there would’ve still been the issue of consistency with the bench players, mainly Danny Green and Patty Mills. There would’ve been the questionable production from Manu, Tim, and Tony. Why go somewhere with so many question marks and with a Big 3 past it’s prime? Of course there would be a new Big 3, but LaMarcus doesn’t want to play center and I’m sure he wouldn’t want to see his touches diminish. Nor would Durant.

Miami would’ve been a good option.. if Chris Bosh was healthy. We can stop there with the Heat. The Clippers seem to be plagued by the usual “Clipper Curse”. They can’t ever stay healthy enough to make noise beyond the 1st and 2nd round of any playoff. PERIOD! At this point, health is a problem during the regular season for them. Then you have Doc Rivers who may have too strong a handle on things for KD’s liking. So he scratched them off the list as well.

Boston would’ve been a great place to land especially after Al Horford decided to sign there. KD would’ve easily become the #1 option and the leader of the team and they would’ve been strong enough to get to the NBA Finals. I only say that because we don’t know what Cleveland’s final roster will look like. Delly is already gone, so is Mozgov. Would they get the same production out of their aging vets? Would LeBron take a baby step back? Would Kyrie want to have more say on how things are dictated in the offense considering he did what Russell couldn’t do? Yes, in my opinion, the Thunder lost that series because Russell wanted to put out the fire that is Steph Curry all by himself. He wanted to take the credit. He wanted to be able to boast and be able to do it while still in the series. He’s matured as a player and as far as his knowledge of the game, the pacing, and getting his team involved, but he has to keep his ego in check until the job is done. The only time that it’s done is when you’re already hoisting up the Championship trophy and on your way to receive a championship ring. He’ll be better next season (Westbrook) but will the Thunder mesh fast enough? Will the offense be efficient enough to produce better results than what happened this past season? That is where things get gloomy for me.

This boils it down to joining a team that already has continuity and is very unselfish in Golden State or going back to Oklahoma and jousting for the #1 option spot with Russell Westbrook. I expect that Steph Curry wouldn’t care to be #1 option with KD in the fold. He didn’t care for a finals MVP Award, he didn’t force anyone to vote him unanimous MVP, and he didn’t say anything that would suggest he receive the hate and backlash that he did from fans of rival teams and from his peers in the NBA. Crazy how success is followed by criticism and hate. Too squeaky clean? I guess everybody is used to the Kobe story or how LeBron made himself a villain by joining the Heat. No one likes things that are too good to be true because they don’t see that in themselves. Truth. They don’t want to see the squeaky clean look of KD on the depth chart of the Golden State Warriors either, and I’m sure if he makes the decision to sign there, the anger and hate will follow, the media scrutiny, the rumors of locker room issues, and everything that comes with being a super team will follow. It more recently happened to the Lakers, Celtics, Heat, and Cavs super teams. Why wouldn’t it in this situation right?

I think KD would’ve already made his decision if he were going to stay in OKC. With that said, I expect when we wake up, maybe in 5 minutes he’ll decide, maybe late tomorrow night, that Durant will have joined the Golden State Warriors. If this happens, expect an NBA arms race like you’ve never seen before. Expect LeBron to recruit Dwayne Wade. Expect San Antonio to make a move along with various other West Conference playoff teams. Expect a crazy offseason that’s already been crazy to begin with!

Rambling Thought: LeBron Hating on Steph? Wow

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By: Opinionated MJ

Since Kobe is gone, LeBron apparently wants to be the villain of the NBA. There is no other candidate anyway. Who else? Kevin Durant? Russell Westbrook? Maybe even James Harden? No. Just LeBron.

We watched as Stephen Curry won his 2nd consecutive NBA MVP award after he came back from injury, OFF THE BENCH, to score 40 points in a winning effort against the Portland Trailblazers. Humble act indeed. We watched this man score 17 points in 5 minutes! Come on LeBron! How could you not respect the body of work and the offseason work put in to improve by the current reigning MVP Steph Curry? How could you not respect him being knocked down time and time again, including by himself with those ankles, to become an NBA Champion? How could you not respect him becoming MVP and being seen as the BEST PLAYER IN THE GAME? Last time I checked, you needed shooters around you. ALL shooters because that’s the only shaky thing in your game. Everyone has a weakness. I’m stating that to put out the obvious, everyone needs SHOOTERS.

Now, let’s talk about the shooters. You have to respect them. Steph, Klay, Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Mike Miller, Channing Frye, Kevin Love, I could go on. We have a player who is the size of Allen Iverson with handles that rival Kyrie Irving and James Harden, but with a shot so golden that he has become the standard of shooting, period! All within 2 years. Last time I checked, you were shooting Kobe percentage levels during the regular season. You’re very much improved during the playoffs. I give you credit. I want to dive in to the times your peers respected you, LeBron.

  • Dwayne Wade WILLINGLY becoming 2nd option, Chris Bosh becoming 3rd.
  • Kobe being seen as the 2nd best player during his PRIME only to you, LeBron. He put up astronomical numbers during this time and was flat out the best scorer, but you outlasted him with your unselfish play and how you incorporate your teammates. Maybe it was the whole Denver thing that accelerated your status past him. They never gave Kobe the same treatment after the case. NEVER! Until he decided to want to have a retirement tour. They didn’t love him last year, LeBron.
  • During your MVP runs, everyone was saying you deserved it, you earned it! No one said that it didn’t mean that you were only the “Most Valuable” not the “Best”.
  • During your championship runs, everyone saying it took hard work and a great effort from LEBRON JAMES! They said the only reason the Heat won was because of LEBRON JAMES!

 

I think LeBron has lost touch with the “respect” aspect of the NBA. He doesn’t seem to fully respect his own teammates at times. Let’s not forget his rants during the year, especially in March. Talking about wanting to play with Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwayne Wade before it’s all said and done instead of riding out the rest of his career in Cleveland. He did this during a time where Cleveland was losing but still were 1st place in the Eastern Conference. Let’s not forget the friction he caused with Kyrie and Kevin in order to try to pull another level of play or attitude out of them. Wait, sounds like Kobe’s tactics! I bet your fans will hail you for it but your fans bashed Kobe for having that attitude. You seem to have learned how to be more of a leader through it all although you’ve definitely had your rough patches as far as “vocal” leadership is concerned. You managed to get your coach fired, well, you fired him. You also managed to trade your buddy, your pal, Anderson Varejao. Crazy to think. You did it at the expense of finding another shooter to help stretch the floor for your unstoppable play going to the basket.

I’m expecting hate from your fans for this. I’ll finish by saying, I’ve watched you dismantle teams. I’ve watched you rise. I’ve watched you become a great player and remain at that level. I’ve told people that you haven’t fallen out of your prime, you’re controlling it, you’ve harnessed it. I want you to win a championship in Cleveland. Here’s the fun part. Not this year. Now, with this little small, potentially media-altered piece from you, I want Golden State, Steph Curry, to three-peat. First though, Finals rematch (although I prefer OKC/GS vs Heat), and I want the Warriors to dismantle your healthy Cavaliers. Matt and Tristan defense > Kyrie and Kevin defense. Good Luck LeBron!

 

 

Rambling Thought: Homing In On the Playoffs

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By: Opinionated MJ

The lay of the land currently has Detroit down 0-2. We’ve got heart and we will beat Cleveland. Home cooking is ours next! LeBron’s team showing life. I know what LeBron can do but what can his team do going forward?

I see Dwayne Wade is transforming into his old self. I predicted the Heat would meet and beat the Cavs in this playoff. I thought Charlotte would serve up better competition but the Heat are home. I believe in home court. It’s a reason why they play for it. Losing game 1 on your floor is the only possible problem.

Toronto has given me reason to believe that they can’t make it from just being in the playoffs, early rounds. I guess Stephen A. Smith is saying that DeRozan is gone to the Lakers. So who will follow? That could lead to all types of deals or maybe the Lakers then go draft a big man or Ben Simmons. I’ll go with my cousin on Simmons. I also think the Lakers will land the #1 pick. The league loves them and that’ll be their reward for themselves to find a way to keep relevance in L.A. post-Kobe. How else would they? Are the trio enough going into next year? I believe Randle, Russell, and Clarkson could have a future together.

Paul George has been playing big for the Pacers. Literally. I don’t think anyone has given any real attention to his ascension since Larry Bird wanted him to play the 4. Results for sure.

Boston is one player away. When will Danny Ainge trade some of his picks away to lure in a player? Carmelo to Boston by any chance? Could that be what Boston is missing or do they need more defensive wings to couple with Isiah Thomas?

Tom Thibodeau has become the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Look out league. KG ties into the defensive philosophy from the Boston Championship team. Could provide even more boosts to the grow of their young core. Expect them to make noise in the league next year and be like Utah from this season. Except, I actually expect PLAYOFFS from them. I’m a big fan of Thibs. Wonder if D-Rose for Ricky Rubio would work for both teams? They’re playing a good Atlanta team with some experience.

Does Mark Jackson actually land in Sacramento? Would that be a good fit? You’d think he’d need some shooters or change their philosophy to such. Wait, Seth Curry & Mark Jackson! STORY TO WATCH!

I’m a Lillard fan and I believe he will perform as always. He probably needs another option in case someone else deflates in some games. I see him making a huge push in the future with another piece. Durant? Dwight? DeRozan? Maybe not. Doesn’t have a ring to it. Maybe a rookie big man whose two-way abilities are already with him. Chris Paul is a monster and with Blake having had to watch while he was hurt, we all got to see who needs to dictate the Clippers offense. They need Blake just the same too. I’d like to see Portland’s home-stand.

The Spurs have an easy series. They will sweep. Nor am I worried about the Warriors. Sweep with or without Stephen Curry. The prospect of that is dangerous, if you see it how I do.

What exactly are KD & Russ going to do? It’s Russ’ team due to him being healthy with this new group of players acquired last year all while Kevin Durant was out with injury. Notched triple-doubles, massive scoring nights, facilitating, MVP consideration, almost a playoff berth, and learning his teammates and their spots. He’s racking assists cause he finds them in their hotspots directly from an offensive attack. KD must fit in more and become the Assassin always or we should begin to want Russell to take those big shots equally as well. This series is crazy. Dallas with a win going back home. This will definitely be some fun basketball. Quiet rivalry, in my opinion. I won’t be able to call this series til the 5th game. It’ll go 6.

Early Prediction: Warriors Vs Heat in Finals. Warriors in 6. Would be an amazing story for their team if they beat LeBron then Dwayne Wade for their back to back titles.

 

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?

Steph Pressured, Uncomfortable, Reeling, Slipping?

NBA: Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs
Mar 19, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) passes over San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green (14) at the AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

 

By: Opinionated MJ

NO! It’s only one game. We already forgot the Spurs suffered a 30-point loss too, I see. With a win against the Golden State Warriors, albeit shorthanded due to injury (excuses everyone says), we believe the Spurs are now a legitimate threat to the Warriors? They are, but the game Saturday night did not make me believe that they will be able to sustain that type of performance over a 7 game series. Not against a fully healthy Warriors team. No.

The Warriors have another dynamic they could run with Andre Iguodala on the floor. He can push the ball, has been shooting well, can cut and slash to the hole and can make big shots when they need it most in order to relieve pressure on the others. He’s also capable of defending 4 positions on the floor and even the center position if something happened where it was LeBron or Kevin Love playing that position in a finals rematch of sorts. Although, for the third time, I don’t see Cleveland making the finals anyway. Iggy can help contain or at least attempt to contain Kawhi Leonard. He can definitely put the brakes on Danny Green and Manu Ginobli. I also think he may be able to do a better job guarding the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge. Let me not continue on this point like that’s what I expect him to do. He’s just a major piece is all I’m trying to state here. He’s the 2015 Finals MVP. Simple.

I see a weakness Saturday, a blatant weakness. The Warriors had nearly NO INTERIOR GAME AT ALL! Well, there’s a reason for that. No Andrew Bogut, no Festus Ezeli, and that meant NO INTERIOR DEFENSE! Draymond Green is good but he can’t defend LaMarcus Aldridge or Tim Duncan. I won’t forget some of the things Duncan did to DeAndre Jordan in last year’s playoffs. Vintage Old Man Riverwalk. They’ll not be another like him.

These teams currently sit at 1-1 against one another and have 2 games remaining that are sure to be entertaining unless both teams are resting by this time. What if Golden State doesn’t lose another game leading up the April 7th game against San Antonio in order to clinch 72 wins? This makes this game beyond must see! This would probably be the most watched game along with the next if the Warriors win this game. The next game would be win #73 if they could streak. It’s no guarantee but they’ll regain a few pieces along the way towards trying to achieve their goal.

I think the Spurs are the ONLY team that can do anything to this Warriors team. No one in the east can hold a candle to them. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook tried and tried in this regular season but haven’t managed to get a win. LeBron didn’t manage to pull out any win either. I’ve seen no guard do anything to Stephen Curry offensively demeaning except Damian Lillard, and that list includes Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker, James Harden & Patrick Beverly, Mike Conley and everyone else who was injured last year or just in competition with Steph. All the NBA haters have turned their hate into respect since Steph has been explosive this year. I wonder who the players will vote as MVP this year at their own little award show this time.

The NBA Championship this year only can be obtained by 5 teams, at least from my perspective. The Warriors, Spurs, Thunder, Cavs, and Heat are the contenders. Well let’s say 6, I’ll throw the Raptors in there for good measure since they’re making a lot of noise and they are a matchup problem as long as Lowry and Derozan play well. They have a lot of good pieces surrounding them which make them a threat to make the Finals also. Although still, this is Steph and the Warriors championship to lose, if fully healthy. Congrats to the Spurs on a big win. I’m looking forward to the next two games between these two.