2016-17 NBA Eastern Conference Preview

Written by :
Published on : October 20, 2016

 

 

Another NBA Season is upon us! While there was some notable events last year (Warriors breaking the single season record, retirements of Kobe, Tim Duncan, and Kevin Garnett), there was a lull in action before the All Star break. There wasn’t a lot of great basketball being played and it was boring at times. I think this season will be much different with a surge in talent across the league.

 

With that in mind, let’s delve into my preseason rankings for the NBA Eastern Conference.

 

15. Brooklyn Nets

The “star” acquisition this summer was point guard Jeremy Lin. Yes, that Jeremy Lin! Aside from the creative hair styles, he offers nothing in regards to actually leading a basketball team. Center Brook Lopez has continued to struggle to stay healthy. Coach Lionel Hollins is gone. Insert coach Kenny Atkinson who I had to Google to find out who he is. There is not one player that could vie for All-Star recognition. This team is an instant dumpster fire. Tanking isn’t even an option as the team may have surrender it’s first round draft pick to the Celtics.

 

 

14. Philadelphia 76ers

Another year of “The Process.” The team has an overload of young big men and no point guards. They are still paying Elton Brand to play basketball at his advanced age. There is some excitement around the arrival of power forward Ben Simmons. However, it will be a few months before he will be on the court due to injury. The team must decide which big man (Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, or Jahlil Okafor) they can package in a trade to get some backcourt help. It should be a slight jump in wins for this team but anything above 25 wins would be remarkable. Another top 3 lottery pick awaits.

 

13. Milwaukee Bucks

This is the team of intrigue. Head coach Jason Kidd has brought in guys so tall that if they stood on top of one another they could possibly touch the ceiling of the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Long wingspans and crazy height across the board on this roster. The projected starting point guard is 6’11” Giannis Antetokounmpo. The question is how do all these players mesh together? The team drafted relative unknown Thon Maker in the first round of the draft. They still have to find a role for former first round pick Jabari Parker. There are trade rumors around center Greg Monroe. This team may have a lot of intriguing talent but no clear direction.

 

12. Orlando Magic

My gut is telling me that this team should be lower in my rankings. The only reason I have them this high is because of Head coach Frank Vogel. I truly believe he’ll maximize the talent that’s currently on the team. Power forward Serge Ibaka should be a great veteran addition on a young team. Point guard Elfrid Payton has to make a quantum leap in production for this team to be successful.

 

 

11. New York Knicks

Phil Jackson should be to blame for this team’s failures, but I will start by shifting the blame to the former regime for poor salary cap management. When they inked Amar’e Stoudamire and Carmelo Anthony to lucrative contracts they also ensured that the team could not obtain good free agents or bring on young talent to mold. Now with a new coach in Jeff Hornacek, should we expect the triangle offense or the three guard sets he ran in Phoenix? If he does run three guard sets, how effective will it be with ball dominant point guard Derrick Rose in tow?

 

10. Charlotte Hornets

Simply put, this is point guard Kemba Walker’s team. They will go as he goes. Beyond that, they don’t really have an identity. Can Roy Hibbert return to All-Star form? What is the role of former number two overall pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist? Will head coach Steve Clifford survive the entire season? This is definitely a sleeper pick for the playoffs but also a team that could tank its way to a top pick in next year’s draft. Low floor and low ceiling here.

 

9. Atlanta Hawks

Head coach Mike Budenholzer has done a great job with this team in two seasons on the job. Led the conference in wins in year one and playoff berth in year two. Even with the loss of center Al Horford, this team will be in contention for a playoff appearance. The team also let point guard Jeff Teague go, handing the keys to the franchise to Dennis Schroder. This team could be a non-playoff team or a division leader.

 

 

8. Miami Heat

Team President, Pat Riley, seems hell bent on rebuilding this team. First, there was the departure of Dwayne Wade to the Chicago Bulls. Now, he is not allowing Chris Bosh to play for the team because of concerns with blood clots. There are even rumors of a trade involving Goran Dragic. Riley clearly wants to go younger and build through the draft. Shooting guard Josh Richardson shows promise, Small Forward Justice Winslow is still developing, and Center Hassan Whiteside is emerging as one of the league’s best big men.

 

7. Chicago Bulls

This is a team that has a great mix of young and veteran talent. The issue is that head coach Fred Hoiberg does not look equipped to handle the job. Sure, you have future Hall of Famer Dwayne Wade, perennial All-Star Jimmy Butler, and facilitator Rajon Rondo on your roster. The problem for Hoiberg is how do you generate enough offense with such poor three point shooters in your starting lineup?

 

6. Detroit Pistons

It’s been a while since the Pistons were regarded as a top-tier team but the time has come. If the talent surrounding All-Star center Andre Drummond can fulfill their responsibilities then this team could be dangerous. Team president and head coach Stan Van Gundy’s style fits Drummond’s strengths. The team is loaded with catch and shoot players that will allow Van Gundy to deploy the same system he used when he coached a young Dwight Howard to the NBA Finals.

 

andre

 

5. Toronto Raptors

The league’s best overachieving team. Last year, they pushed their way to the Eastern Conference Finals. Two wins against a stacked Cleveland Cavaliers team might make you believe that they could possibly be destined for the Finals this year. However, despite having All-Stars and Gold Medal Olympians Kyle Lowry and DeMar Derozan, they did little to upgrade their roster in free agency. It will be hard to for the team to duplicate the success they had last year with playoff breakout star Bismack Biyombo defecting to the Orlando Magic. Unless there is a great trade in the works during the course of the season, the team is a second round playoff team at best.

 

4. Washington Wizards

The team will fare well with a coaching change from Randy Wittman to Scott Brooks. Brooks does not get the credit deserved for handling the egos in Oklahoma City for so long. John Wall and Bradley Beal seem to genuinely like one another and play well off of each other. There’s a lot of hype around the emergence of small forward Kelly Oubre Jr. This team is set at the backcourt and just need solid frontcourt play to be contenders for the Eastern Conference Finals.

 

3. Indiana Pacers

With all respect to Kawhi Leonard, I believe small forward Paul George is the third best 3 behind LeBron James and Kevin Durant. The fact that he moonlighted as a power forward makes George an even better player. The knock on this team has been the fact that they have never had a traditional point guard during George’s tenure. The team acquired former All-Star point guard Jeff Teague. Teague has tons of playoff experience to help this roster. Furthermore, center Myles Turner is becoming one of the best versatile big men. Add in proven vets Al Jefferson and Monta Ellis, and this team has enough scoring at all positions to push the number 1 team out of the playoffs.

 

 

2. Boston Celtics

There are a few teams that can leapfrog the Celtics but with head coach Brad Stevens, this team has been on the rise. The addition of center Al Horford will solidify an already great lineup. Moreover, the team brought in Gerald Green for more scoring and added versatile player Jaylen Brown through the draft. I believe that this team is LeBron’s kryptonite. This is the only team I feel can ELIMINATE the Cavaliers in a playoff series.

 

1. Cleveland Cavaliers

LeBron + Six straight NBA Final Appearances + A Healthy Kevin Love + The “Ankletaker” (Kyrie Irving) = Another Championship?

 

 

There you have it for the SBS preview of the Eastern Conference of the NBA. Stay tuned for the Western Conference preview coming soon.

 

 


The integrity of Pro Basketball is worth about $100 Million a year

Written by :
Published on : April 16, 2016

 

 

Here in the United States, our team sports are pretty badass. The uniforms are, for the most part, well designed and sleek. Kids look up to our modern day gladiators and dream of donning the jersey of their favorite team in front of thousands of adoring fans. The clean style of our pro sports apparel is part of the allure. Sure, there’s the occasional Jaguars or old-time Astros uniforms, but they are the exceptions to the rule.

 

But the supremacy of American pro sports fashion on the world stage may now be in jeopardy. After threatening fans with the prospect for the past few years, the NBA owners have agreed to a deal to become the first of the four major U.S. sports to allow advertisements on jerseys. The “NASCAR-ificiation” of pro basketball begins with the 2017-2018 season, and will be the first of a three year pilot program. Teams around the NBA will be allowed to sell a single 2.5-inch-by-2.5-inch patch to companies, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said that the program should generate an extra $100 million for the league.

 

 The guilty party.

 

Is that all the aesthetic integrity of the NBA, and really American pro sports as a whole, is worth? And are we really to believe that it’s going to stop here? I think not. Once the league gets a taste of the cash that can be generated by a single small patch, what’s to stop them from turning our source of pride in our respective cities into something resembling soccer jerseys in Europe, or heaven forbid, the jumpsuits and cars that characterize NASCAR?

 

Perhaps I don’t represent the vast majority of NBA fans, or sports fans in general, but I have the sneaking suspicion that I do. Most people I’ve spoken with HATE the idea of seeing our sports heroes covered in the trademarked logos of our corporate overlords. I remember the first time I saw a European soccer jersey and thought that “Fly Emirates” was an actual team name. When I finally found out that it was just a sponsor I was dumbfounded as to why on earth the corporate funding would take precedence over the club itself. Who wants to be a fan of the McDonald’s Knicks or the Whole Foods Lakers or the GM Pistons. Sure as hell, not me.

 

 “Hey, what’s the name of that really talented pretty boy who plays for Fly Emirates?”

 

The whole prospect seems totally bush league if you ask me, and I hope that it’s not here to stay, but I’m a realist before anything, and we should probably get used to the idea. In a league where revenues are estimated to be $7 billion during the 2017-2018, it’s nice to know that they are willing to whore out their teams and go against the wishes of fans and pundits for a few extra dollars.

 

I just hope that this trend doesn’t spread to other sports, because it has a chance to disenfranchise not only the fans, but the players too. How long is the players union going to allow the teams to make money off the advertisements that the players themselves have to wear, without rightly wanting a piece for the players. And as we already know, ownership isn’t eager to give more money to the players who make the sport possible. Sounds like perfect fodder for a new players strike.

 

Let’s all just hope it doesn’t actually come to that. Instead, let’s do a rain dance or get a voodoo doll of Adam Silver or sacrifice a lamb, and pray to the gods that our pro team jerseys don’t end up looking like this.

 

 Gross

 

 

 

 

 


Fishing for Trouble: The Derek Fisher and Matt Barnes Drama

Written by :
Published on : October 29, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey Buddy!

 

I have enjoyed meeting your family and being allowed in your home over the years. Remember when we played ball together? That was pretty cool. We’ve have been spotted out on double dates with our wives. It’s the kind of camaraderie that brings a locker room together.

 

It’s unfortunate that you and your wife have hit a rough patch. I know filing for divorce is hard and the most difficult part is shielding your children from the controversy. It’s not like your wife is a stranger to social media or reality television so clearly this is a private matter that is in clear view of the public. Having just concluded a divorce proceeding myself, I can empathize with your trouble and as a brother, I will be here if you need someone to talk to.

 

If you need me, I’ll be at your house with Gloria. I’ll make sure that our private parties are away from your boys and that they are in their rooms during the festivities. The best way to get over a divorce is to par-tay! So I’ll make sure she’s doing right by you in your house. I got you Matt! You’re my boy Blue! Did I forget to mention she makes a bomb Margarita!?

-Big Fish


 

 

I’m sure if New York Knicks head coach, Derek Fisher, had at least written the preceding (satirical) letter to former teammate, Memphis Grizzles SF Matt Barnes, that Barnes would have been more understanding of Fisher’s relationship with his estranged wife and reality tv star, Gloria Govan. The former couple have been married since 2012. Multiple media reports state that they separated last October and that Govan and Fisher have been dating for months.

 

It all came to an abrupt halt in early October when (depending on whom you believe) Barnes drove to his home after FaceTimeing his kids and finding out the Fisher was there with his wife. His sons said their mom was with her “friend Derek”. Some reports have Barnes driving 95 miles to his home. Allegedly, Barnes entered, found the party, and physically confronted Fisher. He is also said to have spit in Govan’s face.

 

Matt-Barnes-Derek-Fisher-fight-details-sports-1008-1
The cast of the NBA’s newest soap opera.

 

Regardless of who you believe, the damage has been done. Barnes described Fisher to ESPN’s Ramona Shelbourne as a “good friend”. As long as I can remember, my friends and I operated by one unbreakable rule when it comes to women; Bros before (females). In high school this was the mantra as we navigated the hallways and girlfriends parent’s homes. If I liked a girl and my friend liked the same girl, she chose her suitor and then the odd man out had to move on. If one of us would develop feelings for a girl after a friend had dated her then it was understood that you kept those feelings bottled up. It was a considered a “No Fly Zone”.

 

Even as an adult, I know there are things you don’t do and places you don’t go. If a woman considers herself separated, estranged, married, or if her significant other is in the military and deployed; under no circumstance would I allow myself to get involved with her. Maybe my upbringing is different than Fishers’.

 

There is no excuse for him to be in the home of a NBA player, let alone date the wife of one of his ex-teammates and friends. As a professional athlete and coach, Fisher could garner the attention of a totally different class of female than I’ve ever had access to. He doesn’t have to make an account on Tinder. He doesn’t have to hit the club every weekend. He doesn’t have to try speed dating.

 

Derek-Fisher-Matt-Barnes-1
You were supposed to be boys.

 

There are plenty of women that are just as beautiful Govan. Maybe there is an intellectual or spiritual attraction that Fisher and Govan share. However, when a man considers you his friend you have no business “house sitting” for him when he is going through a divorce. If anything, as a friend, I am trying to to help you move on. I’m going to try as much as I can to help you get through it. We are going to be campaigning and champagning until you find another muse.

 

Then again, I am not Derek Fisher. The way he chose to recover from his own divorce was to further complicate his friend’s ongoing divorce. There are a lot of women out there, Fisher. A lot of fish in the sea.

 

 

 

 

 


Most Annoying Fan Bases in Sports

Written by :
Published on : August 5, 2015

 

 

I’ve been all over. So this is the truth. Here is a list of the most annoying fan bases in sports:

 

Bay Area Fans

Don’t you just hate them?

 

Whether you’re a “die hard” Warriors or Giants fan or a fair whether flipper between the Raiders & 49ers, just shut up about all of it. Being a die hard fan of anything by inductive reasoning makes you extremely annoying. The Bay Area is a particularly spoiled sports region that most people don’t think of as a hardcore sports region. The term “sore winners” comes to mind. Don’t forget to recycle those empty fair trade, organic beer cans after you shotgun them while tailgating.

 

Boston

A fan holds up a ‘Free Tom Brady’ sign at a Red Sox game.

 

Another spoiled sports region. All 4 major sports franchises from here have won championships in recent years. The fan base most likely to physically fight you over a minor disagreement. Shout out to Philly fans on violence too.
A city of “die hard fans” meaning they have so little going on in their life that they pour their whole personality into devotions to a team of millionaires. Millionaires competitors who care less about winning than their loyal fans who talk like they all had strokes.

 

Chicago

Put your shirts back on!

 

Shockingly worse accents than people from Boston. The perfect storm of spoiled (Blackhawks, 90s Bulls, Black Sox from not long ago, 80s Bears) and tortured (Cubs, Derrick Rose, current Bears) to combine for an infuriating brand of in-your-face pride & loser’s lamenting. Go eat comfort food from anywhere within 5 feet of you & shut your yapper!

 

New York

Less than a year ago they wanted A-Rods head on a spike in the Bronx. Now it’s all Happy Birthdays and rainbows.

 

Ok, you do have the right to be genuine Yankee fans unlike 85% of Yankee hat wearers. Hearing New Yorkers belly aching about sports is like hearing your rich friend complain about their BMW.  You live in an overwhelming metropolis – find something better to complain about than Carmelo, Gino Smith/Eli Manning & ARod. I’m walking here!

 

Los Angeles

Lakers fans.

 

Similar to NYC fans, but worse because of general vanity & lack of self awareness; not to mention the entitled mentality all fans of big market teams are stricken with. Lakers fans are the hardest to stomach, directly followed by Trojan Fans or Dodger fans* who will beat the living shit out of you then fair-weather Kings fans. What a cross section of fair-weather & spoiled.

*non-violent Dodger fans are legit though

 

Ohio

I hope these drunks aren’t driving after the game.

 

Ohio State fans, the ones who are so enthusiastic/spirited/aggressive/loud – it makes you love U of M even if you have no rooting interest whatsoever. Cleveland fans who burned their Lebron James jerseys & welcomed him back with open arms. Bengals fans when they’re a fringe playoff team. They are the best of the worst, only because they’re consummate losers/silver medalists, but Ohio State fans are the worst braggarts about their success. These fans are those kids who get trophies despite losing.

 

Portland

Fair weather as fuck in a city with pretty fair weather. And I’ll never get behind a team that does this:

Recycle

 


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