Tag Archives: Thunder

MoNeYBaLL NBA Podcast Episode 32 – Whats Next

Listen to MoNeYBaLL NBA Podcast Episode 32 – Whats Next by Opinionated Media on #SoundCloud

#NBA #Coronavirus #MVP #Kawhi #Raptors #Vegas #TrainingCamp

MoNeYBaLL Podcast, Ep 11: Playoff Preview/LeBron Standard Pt. 2

Featuring NilClassic & Opinionated MJ

Playoff Pod

Covering our opinions on they playoffs, the LeBron NBA Standard, and more!

NBA Outlook: One Month In

By: Opinionated MJ

Well well, how the mighty have stumbled. Both the Warriors and Cavs came out of the gate stumbling over their own feet. We just seen LeBron have to drop 57 in a performance that exhibited his paint domination, especially when you don’t have a rim protector. You need that to beat LeBron. We’ve seen the Warriors lose to teams that are truly suiting up to take their best shot at them. They didn’t get it together until they played the Spurs this week. We’re about 4 weeks in.

The surprises of the first month to me are the Clippers, Magic, Celtics, Pistons, and Grizzlies. They’ve all come out and have tried to set a tone for the beginning of the season that they can only build upon. No one expected the Grizzlies to be putting on such a strong start. Especially out west. The Pistons sat atop the east for a second, so did the Magic. Extra shocking indeed. The Clippers have shown what their new culture is since they’ve moved on past being “Lob City”. They seem to be more about ball movement and defense all while playing through Blake Griffin. Lastly, who would’ve thought that the Celtics would’ve endured the loss they suffered in the first game to Gordon Hayward? They’ve run off on a win streak, including a huge comeback against the OKC Thunder. Their youth along with Kyrie Irving and a surprising start from Al Horford have carried them along.

My early picks for MVP are Giannis Antetokounmpo and Russell Westbrook. Giannis is leading by far with me giving the other nod to Russell because of his willingness to incorporate his teammates while still very closely averaging a triple-double, again! Giannis came out the gate like a man on a mission. Maybe Kobe challenging him to become MVP has given him a straight path in the focus department. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s in the east and because of it he can surely attain this feat if he continues this trend. He’s got to land his team in the top 2 seeds out east and top 5 in the NBA and he’ll receive my vote.

My early vote for Rookie of the Year is Ben Simmons with Jayson Tatum following behind him in second. I’ve got Kyle Kuzma as my sleeper. He’s sneaky good and even reminds me of Kobe sometimes. Guess it just cause he’s a Laker. It’ll be interesting to see what November will bring us. October was a bad month. Numerous injuries, bad starts to strong teams, and slow beginnings to some big name rookies.

My pick for Most Improved Player is clearly Kristaps Porzingis. No argument at this time.

I’ll provide more insight on these topics and more in the next podcast. Be on the lookout for that.

Hello November! Don’t forget to set your clocks back!

The LeBron Standard: “3 In the Key” Podcast: Episode 2

“The LeBron Standard” – Featuring Opinionated MJ & Sean Legend

Episode 2

The Cleveland Cavaliers Will Win The 2016 – 17 NBA Championship

By: Opinionated MJ



I have one question… Who’s stopping the Cleveland Cavaliers? I mean honestly? Who in the Eastern Conference can actually contend for a championship? The team that gave them their toughest on-court opposition isn’t in the picture. That would be my very own hometown Detroit Pistons. They’re still trying to match last year’s mentality. It’s getting late. The Chicago Bulls, the team that I considered one stretch four away from contention, isn’t in the picture. Dwayne Wade and LeBron still may NEVER meet in the playoffs in their ENTIRE career. Let that sink in… Carmelo Anthony isn’t doing enough with the New York Knicks to get them over the top and into playoff seeding. He’s only played LeBron one time as well.

At the top of the eastern mountains are the Cavs, Raptors, Celtics, and Hawks. I personally feel like you need a defensive big man to contend with any LeBron team. Dwight Howard is back out East and he has one big win against the old LeBron led Cavs from the past. He went to the big show that year as well. If any team has a chance, it’s Atlanta… But wait… They gave away Kyle Korver. Someone who actually helps the Hawks create space for Dwight to operate. Oh well.

There’s also the Celtics and Raptors. I’ll bundle them up together cause they’ve done the same thing the last 2 years: crumble when LeBron takes the floor against them. I’ve seen LeBron come in and literally CRUISE through those series without having to break a sweat. The Celtics seem to sadly, fold. The Hawks seem to implode and forget their style of play and their routine. Its very frustrating to watch. It’s like there’s no competition out east. Well, it’s not.

I think there are a number of west teams that could at least give the Cavs a good 2-3 games in a playoff series. Of course the top 3 can. I also think the Grizzlies, Jazz, Rockets and Thunder would have a decent chance, better than any east team. The west has forever been a Fight Club fight on the way to the finals. Injuries and grind show in the Western Conference playoffs. Just ask the Clippers, Warriors, and Spurs.

I picked Cleveland as the favorites for this season anyway. Now they’ve added a top shooter with this lineup and still don’t even have JR Smith back yet. This will be the year Kyrie shows his self-worth that has been overlooked since LeBron decided to go back home.
The Warriors are good but very vulnerable. They have patented their routine and they don’t know who’s going to shoot the last shot. I say Steph Curry every time.

Cavs vs Anybody in the finals. 4-1. LeBron coasts, Kyrie wins finals MVP finally, another ring for “The Land”. Comparison to Jordan ensues. Blasphemous commentary on this subject continues as LeBron gets closer to 6. He’s great, maybe he’ll wind up being second best. Maybe he’ll wind up winning the next 5 thanks to this garbage Eastern Conference. Man up Eastern Conference! Continue to slaughter them, Bron.

Rambling Thought: NBA January 2017

By: Opinionated MJ





The New Year has featured Russell Westbrook dropping a triple double in 19 game minutes. James Harden dropped a monster triple double as well with 53 points. Giannis Antetokounmpo dropped a monster statline reminiscent of something we seen in smaller packages from Andrei Kirilenko. LeBron and Kyrie are running the Eastern Conference. The Warriors are still the best in the West, although stumbling in places they once succeeded. MVP candidates throughout those teams.

DeMarcus Cousins will be apart of the Boston Celtics. The Bulls will land a stretch 4. The a Pistons will find themselves. The Jazz will continue to amaze with their silent rise. It’s also scary that Memphis is always competitive and playing in between all the other top 8 out west. They’re a star away, maybe Paul George.

Typically, the Cavs will make the finals as they usually do. It’s crazy out west once you get past Golden State and San Antonio. I think we may see the Jazz, Rockets, and Thunder all make the playoffs. They’re in the thick of things. It’ll be fun to watch who will occupy the 8th seed leading up to a fun playoff. No one out East to contest Cleveland. They await. Rightfully so, since they’re the defending champs. As long as their big 3 is healthy. 

Russell Westbrook will win the MVP award if his team stays a top 4 seed. He’s a given if that is achieved. I don’t see how anyone else wins it, rightfully. The league could get hacked right? Vote in all the bigs for the All Star game. That’s justice.

The Knicks are currently on another skid, as well as the Clippers. This is only fueling Melo for Blake rumors. I think it would actually work for both teams although that would cause some more rotation issues I think New York finally has figured out. The Knicks honestly just need bench depth. A scorer here, defender there, enforcer there, and boom! They’re a contender. The east is weak enough that they could rise to number 3. Even the 2nd seed isn’t a foregone thing to me.

I expect the second half of the season to be exciting. I’m looking forward to seeing what east team will take a risk and stop being afraid of failure. No risk, no reward. Someone needs to chase Cousins. Someone needs to go after Blake, CP3, Melo. I want to see a great competitor developed to truly contest Cleveland. Make it interesting to see them against someone out east. Instead of it being the “leastern” conference. The “feast on” conference, the “least strong” conference. I could go on. We’ll see where the season goes from here. Starting with wondering if Rondo will be in the NBA anymore after the latest news.

I love this game.

​Real Quick: Russell Westbrook for MVP


By: Opinionated MJ



Why not? The man has been on a tear lately and does not look to let up anytime soon. Of course everyone forgot he was trying to get a triple double record last season. I expected 2006-07 Kobe from him but he’s doing even better than that with overall game. He’s getting his teammates involved. He’s also kept his team in the top 5 of the west and is flirting with being a top 3 seed, if he and the Thunder continue to win games.

Let’s give him some acknowledgement for surpassing, tying, and constantly trading triple double leads with LeBron James. Let’s understand that the west is a bit weaker than last year and the year before due to the strengthening of strong teams like the Spurs and Warriors. The Mavericks also picked up a couple Warriors along the way. Only real exit that didn’t really impact the conference was Dwight Howard going back east. So let’s give him proper credit for elevating his team. I’m certain he’s on track to have the highest usage rate. All while still keeping a winning record.

The only thing I see wrong is his volume of shots but I’m sure they’re required, sort of how Kobe did with the Lakers, in order to make the offense work. Why wouldn’t the offense run through him? He’s got the teammates around him to help him at least get to the second round of the playoffs and should they hit a hot streak they very well could be a dark horse candidate to flirt with the conference finals. I wouldn’t bet against it. He’s staying ahead of Lillard’s Blazers and he’s jousting with the Harden’s Rockets at the current time. Should the Clippers face another losing streak, things could get interesting at the 3 & 4 seed.

I want to close by saying that we should consider Russell Westbrook a great player. I know he hasn’t done anything alone but he has the opportunity to do so now. He’s matured and he has the tools to carry this team. They should improve next off-season with the cap set to rise again. As it currently stands though, don’t be surprised if he wins MVP and maybe even lands the scoring and assists titles on the year and maybe the next couple.

He’s my early pick for MVP.

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.

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.

Landscape of the NBA: Summer 16 (Part II)


By: Opinionated MJ

Welcome to another installment of the “NBA Landscape” series. Let’s jump right in to a few intriguing teams going into the 2016-17 NBA Season. Representing the Eastern Conference, yes, the conference I think possibly has NO chance to stop Cleveland regardless of how interesting they may get. I Like these teams but I believe they’re still one major piece short. That piece could be the growth of a player already existing on their roster.

 

Indiana Pacers

The Pacers have found themselves loaded with talent in their starting lineup now and actually look very scary with Paul George another year removed from injury and with an entire season of health under his belt. No Danny Granger curse here. The Pacers now consist of Paul George, Monta Ellis, Al Jefferson, Jeff Teague, Myles Turner, and Thaddeus Young just to name a few. They now have the depth that it takes to make a deep run in the NBA Playoffs. The only question is, will their new coach Nate McMillan be able to translate his defensive prowess into these players and onto the court while also finding an offensive system to get this collection of players to coexist in. I guess people will be saying Teague is declining because he won’t be finishing as much as he did in Atlanta, he won’t have to. Their X-factor that can bring them success is Myles Turner. He needs to grow and continue to expand his game. If he can successfully fit in around a bunch of ball dominant guards, this team can potentially contend against a LeBron James Cavaliers team. If not, they’re doomed to be defeated by King James as easy as Toronto and Atlanta have been in the past.

 

Boston Celtics

Very intriguing as well but they’ve also landed an ex-Hawk in Al Horford. I’m not too fond of that 60 win Hawks teams from 2 seasons ago because they still folded against LeBron when it mattered just as they did during the playoffs this past year. They still have Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford, Jae Crowder, Kelly Olynyk, Gerald Green, Avery Bradley, and the rookie Jaylen Brown. This team just keeps expanding their depth every year. I really think they just need to either find the formula the 2004 Detroit Pistons found by having depth and defense with sparky offense, or they need to try to find a way to land a superstar by DOING WHATEVER IT TAKES! Allegedly they could’ve landed Jimmy Butler, should’ve pushed for DeMarcus Cousins, and were in the running for Kevin Durant. A lot of people thought they would land Russell Westbrook but he decided to stay in OKC. I see Boston being more of the same since Al Horford doesn’t really want to play with his back to the basket. He’ll provide relief for Thomas. The Celtics need more perimeter defenders in case they fall to the injury bug again when it matters most. If you lose Bradley, Crowder, and even Thomas’ scoring when it matters most, you’re doomed. More depth may be the key. Maybe if Jaylen Brown can make an instant impact then they’ll be better than expected. He is their X-factor.

 

Detroit Pistons

My lovely DETROITTTTTTTTTT BASSSSSSKETTTTTBALLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!! I expect big things from this Pistons team coming into the 16-17 season. First things first, young Drummond. You must improve your free throws! This team is doomed unless… Stanley Johnson begins to find his inner Kawhi Leonard. I expect big things from him to go along with his attitude that he stands down to no man. I actually appreciate him for that reason. A lot of Cavs fans and NBA fans around the globe were saying that he should’ve kept his mouth shut. I beg to differ. What better to do being a #8 seed, underdog, gritty, new, young Pistons team making the playoffs for the first time in years and you get to see LEBRON JAMES as your opposition. It’s already win or go home. Sense of urgency from round 1! What better way to improve than to play against the absolute best team in the Eastern Conference and arguably the best player on the planet? Who better to talk smack to so you can be forced to elevate your game or be embarrassed. No matter the result, you win, due to the stage that this team is in. You automatically improve. He’s 19 (probably 20 now). He’s a kid! Already has the mindset of a man ready to put in the work to reach the goals and expectations set by his peers, the fans, and most importantly, his coach. Stan Van Gundy has a real diamond in the rough with Stanley Johnson. He IS the X-factor for the Detroit Pistons. I expect them to be top 4 in the East and as good as top 3. We stole Tobias Harris midseason, we’ve allowed Jackson a year to be the man running the show, we have Drummond who is capable of 20 & 20 on any night, and we also have Morris and KCP who can drop 20 without you expecting it at all. We have a well-rounded team. We just need Drummond to have a season where he plays better defense and can convert on 60-70% of his free throws. We were the BEST COMPETITION IN THE EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFFS against the Cavs. Everybody else tucked their tail in and cowered in fear. I say that with absolute confidence because it is true. LeBron hasn’t had any competition in the east but 1 team every year. The Heat were expected to be the competition but fell to the injury bug, piece by piece.

 

I’ll stop it at the Pistons. I’ll also get into the Knicks, Bulls, and express what I expect from teams like the Wolves, 76ers, Lakers, and more in upcoming articles. The Knicks are surrounded in mystique at this point. I also wouldn’t sleep on the Bulls. The defense I expect from them would resemble something like that of the Wade, Bron, Bosh Miami Heat. Durant, OKC, Pelicans, Jazz, Suns!! Can’t wait for this season!

Until next article!

​Current Landscape of the NBA: Summer 16 (Part 1)

By: Opinionated MJ

Let’s start first by stating the obvious, Russell Westbrook has gone back to the Thunder. It will be OKC for at least 3 more years. I anticipate we’ll see an 2006 Kobe playing. Can’t wait for that. He’s got an opportunity to prove that he can do this all by himself without another star and with good role players. I was saying all last season amongst friends that the team felt like Russell’s anyway. He had that time without Kevin Durant when Durant was injured. That’s when it became his team. Durant didn’t naturally fit in when he came back. He’d get the ball and Iso most of the time. It’s Durant though, he provided another punch scoring wise and provided help for other teammates to have looks. I anticipate the NBA makes this an opening night game. Warriors-Thunder.

I want to talk about this New York team. Are we sleeping on Derrick Rose? Did we not pay attention to his efficiency during the second half of the season? I honestly think Jimmy Butler bricking shots put them out of the playoffs. Enter Carmelo Anthony, scorer. The Knicks have basically created what the Bulls could’ve had if Melo had signed with them minus Butler’s defense. In theory, Porzingis is a young Gasol, they have Noah, Melo, Courtney Lee is playing Butler’s spot, and they have Derrick Rose. Why aren’t we excited about this? Was it Jalen Rose that says we should call them the “Ice Bath Boys”? Lol! Maybe that’s why. I won’t sleep. They’re all hungry.

Let’s switch over to Chicago now since we’re talking about Butler. He now has Wade and Rondo! Crazy! They could resemble a perimeter defense like one employed by the Bron-Wade Miami Heat. Say I’m reaching. I’ll say do your research. All they need is shooters and serviceable backup role players. Maybe some insurance on Wade although I expect the same health from him that he endured this year. Pretty good stretch. Father Prime indeed. Question is, if Rondo dominated the ball, what kind of offense could they run? Top 6 team in the east, top 4 at best.

Next, I’ll talk about the Celtics, Pacers, Pistons and more.

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​East for Russell WestBrook?

By: Opinionated MJ

Image credits to BamBamBam99 on facebook! Follow him! Also check his instagram: BamBamBam.99 and twitter: BamBamBam_99!

Your move Russell!

Why not move to the easy conference and position yourself to run for a championship? If you can land on Boston, Miami, Detroit, Indiana… you could easily compete for a finals berth. The only obstacle in the east is LeBron. That’s it, at least for now. Indiana and Boston look more promising now since free agency has began and they’ve made trades and free agency moves up to this point to add to their teams. Westbrook landing on one of these teams would be golden.

 
I include my hometown Pistons as well. I’d trade Reggie Jackson in half a heartbeat to land Westbrook and have him in Piston blue. Imagine what the pick & roll would look like with him and Drummond and with all the shooters that would surround both of them. Scary. They would be very scary good. Plus I trust Westbrook’s decision making more than Jackson’s. Jackson would pass too late and try to play hero ball late to makeup for it. We will be better next season as well. Top 5 in the east.

 
I don’t see what team honestly gives up better assets than Boston without knowing if he stays or not. I can see him dominating alongside Thomas and Co. This would definitely be exciting basketball. It would also allow them to run “super small ball” (yes I made that up) with Thomas & Westbrook in the backcourt and Horford at center. Having Crowder gives them someone to “cover” the unstoppable LeBron when it’s time to put up or shutup.

 
If I’m Russell, if not the Lakers, then I’m looking east. Easiest path to the finals. I know he’d like to go home, which could prevent a Boston deal depending on how much of a homeboy he is. His loyalty may only reside with Los Angeles. I expect to see Russell play for one of the historic rivals real soon. If OKC is smart, they make the move ASAP so they can retool before the season begins…

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“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: 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.