The NBA has a problem

Written by :
Published on : June 17, 2017

 

The NBA has been nibbling at its own tail for some time now and it has finally caught up to the league. During the playoffs, while entertaining at certain points, the debate began as to if the league was conceding to one team (the Golden State Warriors). Over the past several years, the NBA has implemented many measures to the CBA to ensure all the teams have a fair chance at acquiring, and more importantly, keeping superior talent. There have been teams that intentionally tanked to get the players they want. The NBA has even intervened to keep star players from forming a “Super Team” (i.e., the NBA nixed the Chris Paul to Los Angeles Laker trade).

 

By putting so much effort into spreading the wealth of talent around the league, the NBA has caused the one problem it looked to avoid. The owners of the teams are crafty. Beyond analytics and cap crunching they are also in the business of making as much money as possible. Professional sports teams are a club of the elite. There are 30 to 32 teams per league and there’s not for sale signs in front of those stadiums and arenas that often.

 

 Super Team?

 

In the case of the NBA, almost every team has a franchise player. You could say “well, every team has the best player that the team can build around!” I would counter that statement by listing the Brooklyn Nets, Orlando Magic, Sacramento Kings, and the Denver Nuggets as a few teams that do not have a franchise player or one that projects to become one. Yet, these teams have consistently picked in the upper half of the draft and had cap room to lure a top free agent.

 

The talent is at an all-time high. Most fans think of eras chronologically. I tend to think of eras in terms of the most dominant player(s) during an extended period. So in my lifetime, I’ve been through the Magic/Bird, Jordan, Kobe/Duncan/Shaq, and now the LeBron eras. The transition from the Kobe to LeBron is when the league changed language and incentives in the CBA that helped teams keep their homegrown players. Moreover, the new TV contracts produced such an enormous cash flow that it has increased the cap significantly each year. This created a dilemma that while teams have been able to offer their players (with Bird rights) up to $75 million more over the course of a contract than other teams can offer, it also drove the market price of players up to stay above the cap floor. There’s a lot of teams acquiring players that they do not need at salaries that, under past conditions, they would not warrant.

 

So, how does the league fix this?

 

That’s harder than one would think. This past summer, players received such high salaries that in the upcoming years it will be hard to trade them and receive equal value. To actually trade player for player will be even harder. No one is trading Luol Deng straight up for Paul George. The salaries match up though and these are the kind of salary trades that would have worked in the past but this scenario is such a drop off in talent.

 

If I was in NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s ear this is what I would suggest:

 

Change the one and done rule: I would allow EXCEPTIONAL players to enter straight from high school. When I say exceptional I am talking about for sure first round selections. I would have a committee of non-partisan members (Rivals.com, NBAdraft.net, college recruiting services, etc.) that give all potential high school prospects a grade. If the grade is that they would be a first round pick then it would be passed to NBA GMs and scouting departments. They would grade the select few that passed the first process. If the player passes through the second phase then he can submit his name for the draft.

 

 Listen up Adam.

 

The team has done its due diligence and the player is almost ensured of being selected first round. However, the players that did not make the cut must do the following. A) Attend a public university or college for 2 years. Two years is important because it gives the player more time to develop and it increases the chances that the player can graduate from college. Instead of taking a year of classes, it gets the player at least closer to major level courses if he chooses to stay in school or go back when he goes pro. B) If a team really wants to sign a player out of high school, the player must be signed to a 2 year guaranteed minimum contract and the player has to spend at least 90% of contract duration with NBDL affiliate. C) International players must be 19 before they can enter NBA draft. The International players have more opportunities to play professionally than US players. So a starting age of 19 is more than fair and would put them on par to enter the league with the 2-year players previously mentioned.

 

I think the NBA has done well in growing the sport. The issue now is that the league has too much talent spread around. The league should want three or four “Super Teams.” I fully anticipate the Cleveland Cavaliers to make a move to keep them in contention for the championship. The San Antonio Spurs are rumored to have an interest in Chris Paul to pair with LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard. What about the other teams though? Could Kyle Lowry take Paul’s spot on the Los Angeles Clippers and form a super team with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan? Maybe a year from now could Paul George and DeMarcus Cousins link with the Lakers to create a team with Brandon Ingram and possibly Lonzo Ball? More super teams is the solution not no super teams!

 

 


MVP or not, no one is more valuable than LeBron

Written by :
Published on : April 15, 2017

 

 

I normally don’t get too worked up about MVP awards in any sport. They are fun to argue about, and I’m sure they look nice in a man cave, but true great athletes strive for championships, not personal awards. And in the NBA, we’re reminded who the best player is in the playoffs and the Finals, and it’s pretty much always LeBron James. This year the NBA MVP conversation has been particularly interesting. No player has averaged a triple-double at the end of a season since Oscar Robertson in 1962. Russell Westbrook just did it while leading the league in scoring. James Harden’s stats were equally impressive (29.1 points, 11.2 assists, 8.1 rebounds). So they’re the top two scorers in the league, one averaged a triple-double, the other led the league in assists. One of these guys is going to win MVP. But should they?

 

First, let’s define the “V” in MVP. I often hear people claim that the award should go to the player who is most valuable to their specific team. In this case, it would be Westbrook, since he doesn’t have the talent around him that the other candidates do and his team would be out of the playoffs without him. I interpret the word “valuable” as the player who has the most value in the league in general, and that player is LeBron James. I think we all agree that the Thunder and Rockets would both be better teams if they swapped Westbrook or Harden for LeBron, and either team would make that trade in a heartbeat, because LeBron is simply more valuable than any other player in the NBA.

 

russell-westbrook-james-harden-960-e1482467995353

 

I know what you’re thinking, even though LeBron is the best player in the league, Westbrook and Harden had more impressive regular seasons. Just look at the stats! Not so fast.

 

In an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Dennis called out Mac for only working out his glamour muscles. Much like Mac, Westbrook and Harden have been padding their glamour stats all year. Let’s just compare LeBron and Westbrook. It’s hard to get past the fact that Westbrook is ahead of LeBron in all of the three major categories (Westbrook: 31.6 points, 10.4 assists, 10.7 rebounds vs. LeBron: 26.4 points, 8.7 assists, 8.6 rebounds). But let’s take a closer look and find out who’s been working out their core. Westbrook is shooting 42.5% from the field vs. LeBron’s 54.8%. A pretty massive difference. Harden comes in at 44%, just under the league average of 45.7%. And while so much attention has been paid to Westbrook’s record-breaking year, LeBron quietly became the first player in NBA history to average over 25 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists, while shooting over 54% from the field. I know, that’s an obscure list of numbers to combine in order to create a milestone, but a triple-double is no more relevant to success in the NBA.

 

With all the positive milestones Westbrook and Harden have reached this year, there’s one record they would rather not hear about. James Harden’s 464 turnovers were the most in a single season in league history. In case you were wondering who was number two on that list, it was Russell Westbrook, also this year, with 438. That came out to 5.7 per game for Harden, and 5.4 for Westbrook, compared to 4.1 for LeBron. Typically the guys who lead league in turnovers are the guys who are asked to do the most on offense, so it makes sense that two players with such historic offensive numbers would break this record. On the other hand, if other players were asked to keep shooting and creating offense on every play, even if it meant shooting below the league average and giving the ball to the other team more frequently than anyone ever has, maybe we would see more players average triple-doubles.

 

tumblr_mmcpcc9vxY1qa5y2jo1_500

 

No, I’m not trying to discredit the incredible seasons Russell Westbrook and James Harden have had. Nor am I trying to claim LeBron James should win the MVP. If I had a vote, it probably would go to Russell Westbrook because he tried so damn hard to win it. My point is, if LeBron James really dedicated a season to averaging a triple-double regardless how many shots he missed, or how many turnovers he committed along the way, he would’ve done it three times by now. Russell Westbrook will likely win the MVP, but LeBron James is the most valuable player, and has been for over a decade.

 

Oh, and I almost forgot about the all-important “rest” debate. LeBron only played in 74 games out of 82 this year, while Harden and Westbrook both played 81. If he was more devoted to the game, and not so soft, he wouldn’t take so many games off, right? Let’s not forget, LeBron James has played 199 career playoff games, compared to 82 for Westbrook, and 77 for Harden. If resting in an occasional regular season game against the Hornets is what it takes to stay fresh for six-straight NBA Finals runs, I think we can all live with that. As for Westbrook and Harden, they’ll get plenty of rest after the second round, when they can kick back with a cold one and watch LeBron make yet another run at an NBA title. Sure, in the regular season it was all about Westbrook and Harden, but in the playoffs, it’s always all about LeBron.

 

 


Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson: Someone has to go

Written by :
Published on : February 17, 2017

 

 

 

To say that this year’s Detroit Pistons have underachieved compared to what everyone expected prior to the season would be an understatement. As we enter All-Star weekend the Pistons have a 27-30 record and currently sit in the 8th seed in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. That’s right around how they ended last season when they entered the playoffs as the 8th seed and got swept in the first round by the eventual champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Right now they seem to be headed for a similar fate and most people think that the team will make some kind of trade to shake things up on the roster and try to jump start a playoff run.

 

The NBA trade deadline is next Thursday, February 23rd at 3 p.m. ET. The Pistons won’t play another game before then so it’s possible that this roster as it is currently assembled may have played their last game together. In a year when this team was supposed to take the next step towards competing for a championship it would be a giant disappointment to the players and the fans to see the season end the same way it did last year. There’s no doubt that this team needs a spark, but from where should that spark come?

 

Many people think it should come from trading away a marquee player in order to obtain multiple pieces that fit into coach Stan Van Gundy’s system. The two players who would seem to garner the most interest, Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond, are also two of the more controversial players among fans of the team. Both players are young and have a ton of potential so they should be able to get a big return in a trade but both also have some flaws and have disappointed this year.

 

 

These two should be the cornerstone of many a successful playoff run but instead the team seems to be worse with both of them on the court. The Pistons defense ranks 11th in the league but sadly this is coming almost entirely on the backs of the bench players. When Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson are on the floor together the Pistons are giving up 110 points for every 100 possessions and when it’s Drummond alone on the floor that number only drops to 108 points. Clearly they both shouldn’t be on the team but less clear is which one should go.

 

When Andre Drummond came into the league in 2012 he was a physical freak with a ridiculous amount of potential. His game was raw and there were concerns about his offensive skills and his overall effort. He couldn’t shoot the ball and couldn’t hit a free throw to save his life. He was a project to be sure but in the mean time could be a great asset in the interior defense and rebounding department. And he was. But his growth has not been what many people had hoped it would be.

 

There are still times when he looks lost on the offensive end and ever since he signed a 5-year max deal last summer it seems as though is effort and attention to detail have tapered off. Sure, he’s only 23-years-old and players like him don’t usually blossom until 25 or older, so there’s a good chance that the Pistons are going to want to hang on to him. It also helps him that there isn’t a huge market for players like him right now.

 

 

Reggie Jackson on the other hand could net some really good value in a trade and many people, including myself, would say that the team was actually better before he returned from his early season knee injury. Back up, Ish Smith, has played well all season and with Jackson off the floor the offense moves much more smoothly. Jackson is only 26-years-old and has the ability to take over a game on offense, but for some reason it hasn’t worked this year with the Pistons.  There’s a good chance he is still working back to 100% from the knee injury that kept him out for the beginning of the season but coach Van Gundy could be under pressure to improve this roster immediately and start putting together more wins.

 

The time to make a move might be right now and while I think that trading away Drummond could be better for the future, trading away Jackson could provide more substantial immediate returns. If the team does make a move before they return to action next Thursday against the Hornets it seems much more likely that it will be Reggie Jackson who is wearing another jersey. We are a society of instant gratification and trading away Reggie could provide just that. The right deal could provide an addition-by-subtraction type boost and help the Pistons obtain a higher playoff seed, thereby avoiding another first round exit at the hands of the Cavaliers.

 

Sorry Reggie, but your time in Detroit might be over. And that might be best for everyone.

 

 


Being butthurt over Durant’s departure is not a good look for Westbrook

Written by :
Published on : January 20, 2017

 

 

In today’s professional sports landscape, loyalty isn’t something that rules supreme. With the salary cap, and the very limited window in which pro athletes have to capitalize on their talents, one can’t afford to risk being loyal to a team. It has been made clear over the last few decades that it is a business before anything else. And the players with real longevity and success do themselves the biggest favor by recognizing that fact. As an individual player, you have to do what is best for you and your family, whether that means chasing the money or chasing a title.

 

Aside from maybe your agent, no one is going to be looking out for your best interests. Not your teammates, and certainly not ownership or management. They are all too busy looking out for their own personal best interests. That’s why the narrative that Russell Westbrook was somehow betrayed by Kevin Durant seems like complete bullshit to me. And for some unexplainable, childish reason, Russell Westbrook seems to be buying into it.

 

 

Russell Westbrook is now the face of the Oklahoma City Thunder after years of being second-fiddle to Kevin Durant. When Durant chose to take his talents to Oakland, Ca and join the Golden State Warriors last offseason, there were groans in OKC and the rest of the country about having another “super team.” Russell Westbrook has been mostly silent on the issue but stated after the Thunder’s loss to Warriors a few days ago that he was not on speaking terms with Durant. This is despite the fact that Durant has maintained that he and Westbrook are still friends.

 

Westbrook is in the middle of an insane season in which he has posted an eye-popping 21 triple-doubles. In fact he had another one during the Thunder-Warriors matchup, but it wasn’t enough and the Thunder fell by a score of 121-100 behind Kevin Durant’s 40 point effort. After the game, Westbrook was so salty that he referred to Durant as a “bitch” when Enes Kanter made a move to speak with his former teammate while the players were leaving the court. Further evidence that Russ has some growing up to do.

 

 

I don’t understand what Russell Westbrook could possibly be so mad at Kevin Durant about. The guy made the best choice for himself and his career. Did he think that they were both going to stay on the same team for their entire careers? In today’s NBA, or any pro league for that matter, it doesn’t work like that. And the fact that he is obviously holding a grudge against his ex-teammate is making him look like a little baby.

 

He should grow up and start to worry about how he can take HIS Thunder team to a championship because Kevin isn’t coming back. And staying mad at him isn’t going to change that. Russell Westbrook is one of the greatest players and if he can become one of the greatest teammates then maybe he can help elevate the Thunder to the next level. Then maybe he will be healed because all the triple-doubles in the world aren’t going to fill the hole in his heart.

 

 


The Pistons are going back to Detroit!

Written by :
Published on : November 23, 2016

 

 

For the first time since 1978, the Detroit Pistons will play basketball in the city of Detroit. The team announced on Tuesday that they would begin playing games within city limits beginning next season. It’s a big win for citizens of the city and basketball as a whole. All four of the Detroit’s professional sports franchises will be located in downtown Detroit, a mere stone’s throw from each other. The team will share the Red Wings’ new home, Little Caesars Arena. The inclusion of the Detroit Pistons in the state of the art arena and entertainment complex known simply as, The District, means that downtown Detroit will be popping almost every single day/night of the year.

 

Not everyone is thrilled about the idea, however. Though it may seem like a no-brainer that the Detroit Pistons should maybe actually be located in the city they are named for, there are some people who think that the move is just a money grab for team owner, Tom Gores. So let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of the Pistons’ move to Detroit.

 

Pros

Pizzarena
                                                                                  Home Sweet Home

 

– The first pro is one that I’ve already touched on. The Pistons will now call Little Caesars Arena home and will be located in less than a mile from both Comerica Park and Ford Field. This will be an premier destination for people in Southeast Michigan and the entire state and will be a centerpiece of downtown Detroit.

 

– The major pro here is that the Detroit Pistons will now be located in the actual city of Detroit. Since 1978 they have played at The Palace of Auburn Hills, almost 30 miles from the city that the team claims to represent. It’ll be nice for the team to stop lying about what city they are from. It just makes sense to come back home.

 

– Team owner, Tom Gores, has pledged that the team will be committed to helping the city of Detroit grow and prosper. He has highlighted a 10-point plan that will underscore the team’s commitment to the city. This plan including funding for the construction of 60 community basketball courts over the next 6 years, providing 20,000 free tickets per season to Detroit youth and residents, and employment of Detroit residents in the construction of the team’s new practice facilities in the city, among other things.

 

Cons

Owners
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Ilitch Holding CEO Chris Ilitch, Pistons Owner Tom Gores and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.

 

– The Pistons will be leaving behind a perfectly good and beautiful facility in Auburn Hills. The Palace was opened in 1988, relatively new as far as modern arenas go. It’ll be a shame to see it go. There was a time not so long ago when the team sold out 235 consecutive games, during the Pistons’ last dominant run with Chauncey Billups and co. The Palace used to be one the most rocking basketball venues in the game. Thankfully the arena will be quickly demolished and redeveloped, avoiding a fate similar to that of the Pontiac Silverdome, which still sits vacant since the Lions left in 2002.

 

– The major con that I see for this move it that somehow Tom Gores convinced the city of Detroit’s downtown development authority to foot the $34 million dollar bill for converting Little Caesars Arena from a hockey only venue to a hockey/basketball venue. I’m sure the city sees it as a good investment considering the amount of money that will come in with having another major sports team, and they’re probably right. But that just adds on to the already enormous amount of public funding that the new arena has received (a couple hundred million at least), and helping to pay for billionaire’s stadiums never seems like that good of an idea.

 

 

There are always going to be conflicting opinions when something like this happens. The Detroit Pistons’ move from Auburn Hills to Detroit will be sure to help some people and hurt others. But with the renaissance that is currently happening in downtown Detroit, the time is ripe for the team to move back to its original home. After years of losing citizens and resources, people are finally starting to flock back to the city. It’s only right that the last holdout of the flight from Detroit (at least as far as sports teams go) comes back home and bring some truth to those famous words…

 

Deeeeee-troit Basketball!!!!!

 

 


2016-17 NBA Western Conference Preview

Written by :
Published on : October 27, 2016

 

The NBA season is underway. I’ve already given you my forecast for the Eastern Conference, so let’s head to the Western Conference and see where it stands. There are some new faces in new places that may alter the pecking order of the conference.

 

15. Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets are a team without a clear leader or direction. Head coach Michael Malone has a tough task ahead of him to get some production from often injured stretch 4 Danilo Gallinari. Gallinari has been viewed as a player with the potential to be one of the best shooters in the game. He has yet to live to the hype. Kenneth Faried has been in the rumor cycle for years and has yet to be traded. This year would be the best year to start a total rebuild with second-year player Emmanuel Mudiay and rookie Jamal Murray developing chemistry in the backcourt. Nikola Jokic has shown promise and received votes for rookie of the year last year.

 

14. Los Angeles Lakers

walton coach

 

Head coach Luke Walton has several pieces with which to implement the scheme he learned from the Golden State Warriors. Brandon Ingram and D’Angelo Russell were selected number two in the past two drafts. Russell is expected to lead the team under Walton’s system. Once the team trusts in Walton and Russell they will start to vie for a playoff berth. It may take a few seasons but the team is young and athletic. Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle will help keep the team competitive. The best outcome is a year to let this current roster gel and build through the draft.

 

13. Phoenix Suns

A team with a ton of young talent at nearly every position. Also a strong Kentucky Wildcat presence with four former players on the roster. The team has NBA Champion Tyson Chandler on the team and he has always been respected as a leader in the locker room. Devin Booker was the youngest player in the league last year and his post All-Star break stats were great. If he can build on his rookie season and new coach Earl Watson can learn quickly on the job, this will be a very competitive team. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of offense Watson will implements with rookie Dragan Bender in the lineup.

 

12. Dallas Mavericks

The Mavs benefited last year from a top-heavy Western Conference. The team was not good and squeaked into the playoffs. Now with various players moving to different teams within the conference (including former Maverick, Chandler Parsons) it will be very hard for the Mavs to make it to the playoffs again this season. Dirk Nowitzki is in the final years of his Hall Of Fame career. Unfortunately, the roster is void of a star player to lessen the load on the aging Nowitzki. The team paid Harrison Barnes a max salary to become the focal point of their team. Unless he becomes the next Kawhi Leonard, that money will become another example of the Mavs wasting away the years of Nowitzki.

 

11. Sacramento Kings

demarcus cousins

 

This team is so dysfunctional that I have to be equally crazy to give them a ranking this high. The Kings could very well be the worst team in the league even with DeMarcus Cousins. The saving grace is that I believe they picked up a good coach, in Dave Joerger, that willed a depleted Memphis Grizzles team to the playoffs last year. Cousins is becoming legendary for his coach killing ability. At some point, he will be held responsible for all the bodies that were laid to rest on his watch. The team does have some good veterans as well as some intriguing young talent. It could make for another interesting year in “Boogieworld.’

 

10. New Orleans Pelicans

Aside from the horrible team name, this team should be better under second-year head coach Alvin Gentry. The main issue is the health of Anthony Davis. If he is healthy, this is a team that could contend for a playoff spot. Without him they’re looking at a top 3 draft pick. Another team with some good veterans to go with some talented young players. Will Buddy Hield become the scorer they’ve been looking for?

 

9. Utah Jazz

I had Jazz fans coming for my neck last season because I picked them to be last in the conference. I do feel head coach Quin Snyder is on the hot seat this season if he does not get this team to the playoffs. Gordon Hayward is regarded as one of the most underrated players in the league. If he can bring his level of play up this season I think this team may sneak into the playoffs.

 

8. Memphis Grizzles

mike conley

 

A veteran team that got annihilated by the injury bug last season. They went into this offseason with a new coach (David Fizdale), gave Mike Conley the richest contract in history, and acquired Chandler Parsons in free agency. This team, when healthy, is easily a contender for the Western Conference Finals. The Grizzles still have to acquire someone who can score on the perimeter and create his own shot. Having Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph in the frontcourt has proven successful but at some point, the style of play of their competitors will make the two big men nonfactors.

 

7. Minnesota Timberwolves

The death of Flip Saunders last year possibly derailed this team from making it to the playoffs. I’m very intrigued by this team and the hiring of new President of Operations/Head Coach Tom Thibodeau. This team will make the playoffs. A few years ago Anthony Davis was expected to become the premier big man of the league. Due to injuries Davis has since been supplanted by DeMarcus Cousins and Timberwolves center Karl Anthony-Towns. Anthony-Towns is the reigning rookie of the year and a franchise talent. Add in former rookie of the year Andrew Wiggins, Slam Dunk Champion Zach LaVine, and point guard Ricky Rubio, this team has the legs to endure the push of Thibodeau’s system.

 

6. Houston Rockets

Moving James Harden to the point guard position and adding Mike D’Antoni to coach the team will be a fun car wreck to watch. The uptempo system of D’Antoni will surely help put Harden in the MVP race. While the team will suffer defensively, they will be able to run a tempo that will rival that of the Golden State Warriors.

 

5. Oklahoma City Thunder

Russell-Westbrook-Desktop

 

Russell Westbrook or die. That sums up the roster. Head coach Billy Donovan does not seem like a good fit for the NBA but he would be wise to just let Westbrook go to work. They do have two quality big men in Steven Adams and Enes Kanter that can cause problems for opposing teams. Victor Oladipo may be the shooting guard this team has needed since the departure of James Harden. Westbrook will put up amazing stats but the team will have to monitor his health over the course of the year.

 

4. Los Angeles Clippers

This team has one more year to make a championship run or it will possibly start over. There have been trade rumors for years around Blake Griffin. This season may be the year that he and Chris Paul could be moved in order to start over. Team President and head coach Doc Rivers has yet to deliver on championship promises despite having a pretty stacked roster. It’s put up or shut up time for Mr. Rivers and Co.

 

3. Portland Trailblazers

Last year, everyone wrote the Blazers off (including myself). They were expected to be one of the worst teams in the league. They overachieved and made it to the playoffs with one of the youngest rosters. This year they’ve added some veterans and re-signed some of their own to contract extensions (Allen Crabbe and C.J. McCollum). Damian Lillard is out to prove he’s one of the best point guards in the game after being snubbed of an All-Star berth last year. They’re young and athletic. Most of all, they’re coached well by Terry Stotts. This team will shock a lot of people and possibly upset the Spurs or Warriors.

 

2. San Antonio Spurs

kawhi-leonard-1

 

Life post-Tim Duncan. No one knows how it will unfold but Kawhi Leonard looks as if he is ready to take over the franchise. He’s only 25 years old and they’ve added superior front court help in consecutive seasons (Lamarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol). The most boring yet consistent team in league history will continue to give people fits.

 

1. Golden State Warriors

Last tear this team won 73 games. It is now a league record. They lost in the NBA Finals after being ahead of the Cavaliers 3-1. They let the majority of their role players leave via free agency (including Harrison Barnes). Then they added Kevin Durant. Stephen Curry took the summer to get healthy after battling knee problems during the playoffs. Oh and they still have Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. Head coach Steve Kerr will probably scale back the minutes to preserve his players for a long playoff run. This should be the first of a few championships for the new look Warriors.

 

 

There you have it everyone. That’s how the NBA Western Conference will shake out come playoff time. Now it’s time to sit back and enjoy some basketball. Drop a line in the comments and tell me where you think I’m on point and where you think I’m way off.

 

 


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

 

 

 

 

 


SBS Remembers: Malice at the Palace

Written by :
Published on : April 15, 2016

 

I still remember exactly where I was when it all went down. It was freshmen year and I was in my dorm room at Central Michigan University. Underage drinking was probably involved. Then the phone rings. I can’t recall who exactly was on the other end, but they told me I needed to go to the TV immediately and turn on the Pistons game.

 

When we found the appropriate channel, it was clear that there was something big going down. Players were in the stands at the Palace of Auburn Hills fighting fans. Fans were on the court getting annihilated by players. By the time we were tuned in, all hell had broken loose. It later became known as “Malice at the Palace” and it was NBA pandemonium unlike anything the world had never witnessed. Let’s take a minute to remember an event that the league would rather forget.

 

The Kindling

 

The Malice at the Palace featured a Detroit Pistons team that was in the midst of a pretty heated rivalry with the Indiana Pacers. The date was November 19, 2004 and it was the first time that the two teams had met since the Eastern Conference Finals the previous season, when the Pistons defeated the Pacers in six games en route to their first NBA Championship since the ‘Bad Boys’ were a thing. These teams were familiar with each other and there wasn’t a lot of love lost there. Both played the game hard and psychical, and in a manner that lent itself to frustrating the opposition. The Pistons were down big in the game and it was all but over. Yet for some reason, the starters were still on the court, even within the last minute. That would prove to be a very bad idea.

 

The Spark

 

The Pacers were up 97-82 with 45.9 seconds left in the game. Ben Wallace was fouled hard from behind by Ron Artest (now known as Metta World Peace), who slapped Wallace across the back of the head on his way to the basket. There’s no reason that the faces of each franchise should be on the court still in a game that is so far out of hand, but they were. Big Ben, in all his glory, retaliated by shoving Artest in the face with both hands.

 

MaliceAtThePalace

 

The result was a bit of fray in the middle of the court as the two players got in each other’s faces and the rest of the players tried to separate them. No big deal right? This kind of thing happens all the time in sports and it’s usually over as soon as it begins. But this time Artest went over to the scorer’s table, laid down and put on a headset in order to talk to some radio folks. Those same radio folks later said that the headset wasn’t live because they knew Artest and that would be crazy to let him on the airwaves when he was all wound up like that.

 

Anyways, all of this went on for a few minutes and the refs were getting ready to eject players who wouldn’t calm down. Wallace threw a towel at Artest, causing him to stand up briefly before returning to his more relaxed position on the scorer’s table. Then it happened. Some moron named John Green threw a Diet Coke at Ron Artest, hitting in him the chest. Instead of calling on the security to escort the man out like an adult and professional, this maniac ran into the stands and set off perhaps the greatest (or worst, depending how you look at it) brawl in sports’ history.

 

The Fire

 

As Artest ran into the stands and attempted to seek out the fan who had thrown the offending sugary soft drink, he grabbed the person he believed to be responsible. Of course, it turned out to be the wrong person but that didn’t really matter at that point because all hell had broken loose. Artest didn’t actually throw a punch at this point but was grappling with the same person as another fan threw another drink in his face. That’s when Stephen Jackson, who had unwisely followed Artest in the stands, laid that fan out and then shit really got out of hand.

 

Players and fans were trying to hold Pacers players back as other, less intelligent fans were punching Pacers players. A couple of morons actually went down onto the court where they were swiftly dispatched by members of the Pacers. Like these two idiots seen below who decided it was a good day to get thier faces re-arranged by multiple NBA players.

 

 

It was utter chaos as security, team officials and broadcast professionals all tried to break the brawl up. There was no precedent for anything like this ever happening in pro sports and people were lost as they tried to defuse the situation. Eventually the Pacers were escorted from the court as drinks and debris rained down on them from the fired up fans.

 

 

Once in the locker room, police tried to enter in order to arrest Artest but the other Pacers players got him onto the team bus and refused to let the police enter. The police decided to safely see the Pacers out of the building and review the game film before bringing up any criminal charges.

 

In the end, multiple fans were charged with crimes in addition to five members of the Pacers. Ten players were suspended for varying amounts of time, including the rest of the young season for Ron Artest, totaling loss of salary in excess of $11 million. The incident led to a reexamination of the close to the action nature of NBA games. Players around the league expressed concerns for their safety should anything similar ever happen again and the league instituted restrictions on the amount of alcohol that could be sold at games. People who were present describe the moment as terrifying and nothing on that level has been seen since. I would never want something like this to happen again and I don’t condone violence, but you have to admit it’s some must-see TV. Watch the full brawl below and judge for yourself.

 

 

 


LeBron James: Coach Killer?

Written by :
Published on : January 29, 2016

 

 

 

I never thought that David Blatt was the right man to lead the Cavaliers and LeBron James. Sure, he had a ton of coaching success in the Euro League and Israeli League, but in the NBA world of superstars, it’s hard to see a team with arguably the world’s best player falling in behind someone with zero NBA experience. It just never made sense to me that Cleveland would go to such great lengths to bring ‘King James’ back to town and not give him a coach that would command the team’s respect.

 

He had won hundreds of games and championships and even an Olympic Medal before he ever set foot inside the Cleveland Cavaliers locker room, but none of that mattered. Once he arrived in the NBA, he was a rookie again, to fans and players alike. Never mind his 22 years as a coach. That was meaningless. The NBA is the premier basketball showcase in the world and all those other coaching jobs may as well have been children’s little league.

 

So when the Cleveland Cavaliers fired Coach Blatt last week, I can’t say I was entirely surprised. Anyone who has watched the Cavs over the last year or so could see that the team didn’t really have a ton of respect for the guy. Often times during breaks in the action, the team would look to LeBron James for strategy or advice, leaving Blatt to hover around the circle of players like the wimpy kid who didn’t get picked for the backyard football game.

 

 

 

Since the time that he announced he was returning home to bless the city of Cleveland with his presence, it’s been clear that this team was LeBron’s team. From top to bottom, his word was law and the ownership was going to back him up 100%. You have to think that was the understanding and one of the main reasons he was even entertaining the idea of going back to Ohio. So when early on in the relationship, I saw the lack of respect that James showed Blatt in regards to coaching the team, I knew the clock was ticking on the poor guy.

 

Despite leading his team to the NBA Finals last season, and sitting in first place in the Eastern Conference with a 30-11 record, David Blatt got the axe and it seems to be LeBron James’ fingerprints on the handle. The firing of Blatt has caused some people to wonder if James is a ‘coach killer’ and I think that is a valid question. Gregg Popovich even made a subtle reference to it in a postgame interview. Most people associate LeBron with the firing of Mike Brown, who had similar success to Blatt in Cleveland but was never seen as the one responsible for that success; that distinction always went to James.

 

 

It’s not really fair to blame the firing of Mike Brown on LeBron because it happened in the same offseason that he took “his talents to South Beach.” That team had just collapsed in the second round of the 2010 NBA Playoffs and technically LeBron wasn’t under contract. So it really doesn’t have anything to do with him, but you can bet your ass that if LeBron said he wanted Brown back and that would make him re-sign that he wouldn’t have been fired.

 

There are also unfounded rumors that during his time in Miami, LeBron wanted head coach Erik Spoelstra fired. There isn’t any way to confirm this, but it doesn’t sound particularly far-fetched. Spoelstra was young, with no head coaching experience and I always found it hard to believe that he would be able to wrangle the best player in the world. But one big difference between Cleveland and Miami was the presence of Pat Riley, and there’s no way that Pat Riley would let a player run his team, I don’t care how big of a star he is.

 

If indeed LeBron James did want to get his head coach in Miami fired, he should be thanking his lucky stars now that Riley knew better than to succumb to the wishes of his biggest star. He has two rings to show for his time with the Heat, and that is due to the efforts of everyone involved, including coach Spoelstra.

 

The only other coach to be fired while LeBron James was on the team was Paul Silas when James was just 20 years old and in his second NBA season. That team missed the playoffs and was in the midst of an ownership change, so even if James did have an impact on the decision, it was probably coming either way. So is it fair to label LeBron a coach killer? Probably not, but he does wield that kind of power, especially since it seems as though Cleveland is willing to do whatever it takes to have him in town. Including axe his own head coach.

 

 


Everybody Loves Draymond Green for MVP

Written by :
Published on : January 11, 2016

 

Luke Harangody and Jared Dudley. The aforementioned players were compared to Golden State PF Draymond Green before the 2012 NBA Draft. In interest of full disclosure, I too was very short sighted in my projection of Green. I was called a “hater” because I proclaimed that my fellow Saginawian would be a 2nd round pick but I did not rejoice when he was taken 35th overall.

 

Clearly the only person that knew Green’s true potential is Green himself. Going from seldom used bench player during the Mark Jackson regime to potential All Star starter this season under Steve Kerr’s staff, Green has become a force in the NBA. Before the season there were questions as to how important Green was to the team’s success and many pundits claimed Green was a product of the system that Kerr built around last year’s MVP Stephen Curry.

 

 “Luke Harangody!?! Are you kidding me!?!”

 

To date Green has EIGHT triple doubles on the season. The most LeBron James has recorded in a season is seven. Furthermore, at his current rate, Green could eclipse Michael Jordan’s single season mark of 15. That’s remarkable considering that he guards every position defensively, and still has the energy to initiate the offense. In the NBA, it seems to be an unspoken criteria that the MVP must be on a top 5 team and must be an elite scorer. While that may be the norm that is not exactly the precedent. Here are some things to consider before handing Curry another MVP trophy or gifting James a 5th.

 

Assist Master

 

Curry, Tony Parker, Jeff Teague, Mike Conley, James and Derrick Rose. Green averages more assist per game than all the aforementioned players. Three of those players are former MVPs. Four of those players are pure point guards. Green’s 7.5 assist per game average is 6th in the NBA. Within the top 10 assist per game leaders he is the ONLY player that’s not listed as a SG or PG. Moreover, his assist to turnover ratio is better than John Wall, James Harden, and Damian Lillard, to name a few.

 

The New Mound of Rebound

 

No one should ever mistake Green for Hall of Famer Charles Barkley. Their games are totally different and last I checked the two really don’t care a great deal about each other. However, Green’s rebounding prowess is far better than we could have ever anticipated. Once again in comparison, Green has a better rebound per game average than Greg Monroe, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Blake Griffin. Keeping those names in perspective, Green is listed at 6’7″ which some may consider generous. The players ahead of him in rebounding are at least 6’10”. The positive consequence of Green’s defensive rebounding (7.9 per game) is that it initiates the offense as he is able to generate transition baskets for Curry and Klay Thompson.

 

Elite Scorer

green 2

 

Green’s scoring is predicated on his rebounding and improved jump shooting. The area that he has improved the most is his three point shooting. Once a sub 25% shooter from the three point line, he is now shooting 41%. That’s a remarkable clip considering that he is a Power Forward. He has improved his scoring average every year and is at 15 points per game this season. In the team’s losses this season he actually averaged more points per game than in his wins. It’s not an indictment on his ability to score as it a validation of the importance of him to facilitate. There has only been one MVP in the past 30 years to win the honor and average less than 20 points per game, Steve Nash, when he won consecutive trophies. Green could very well buck that trend or even continue to increase his point per game average during the course of the season.

 

Availability

 

Green is so reliable that in the past two seasons he has missed THREE games. Harrison Barnes, Curry, Thompson, and Andrew Bogut have combined to miss 49 games since the beginning of last season. His physical conditioning and pain threshold should be considered in the MVP discussion. Current front runner James has missed three already this season and in all likelihood will miss more as the Cleveland Cavaliers continue their dominance of the Eastern Conference.

 

Advanced Metrics and Defense

green 5

 

Over the past three seasons, the one area that critics could not dispute is Green’s defense. Last year, there was controversy over San Antonio Spurs SF Kawhi Leonard winning the Defensive Player of the Year award. Green tallied more first place votes than Leonard but was second place overall in a flawed voting system. Nonetheless, Green could very well win the award this season, unanimously. Currently, Green is in the top 5 in Defensive Box Plus/Minus, Defensive Rating, and Defensive Win Shares. Green also is top 10 in the league in Value over Replacement player. The last area of recognition is key, as he is the only player in Value over Replacement Player that is not considered a ‘franchise’ player.

 

I truly wish I was on the bandwagon from his high school days until now. I wish I could be among the many now that are saying “I told you so.” I was not, but I am now a believer. Draymond Green should at the least garner some MVP votes this season. He is a franchise player on a team that currently has an MVP on the roster. He is doing unimaginable feats on the court despite not truly having a position. The pundits have stated that Green is a product of Curry. With all due respect to the naysayers, Green is a product of Saginaw, Michigan. Curry, the Warriors, or the NBA can’t put a claim on that.

 

 


Dwight Howard Still Can’t Play Nice

Written by :
Published on : December 19, 2015

 

It seems like every year, Dwight Howard has a problem with his current situation. Whether it his teammates, coaches or the organization as a whole, the guy just can’t seem to get along with anyone. Let me start by saying that all rumors about Howard’s displeasure with the situation in Houston are, as yet, unsubstantiated. But let’s be honest, is it really all that hard to believe? For a guy who has never won a title he continually comes off as a diva who turns on his team when things don’t go his way.

 

It started in Orlando, where he had his most successful years, going as far as the 2009 NBA Finals before losing to the Lakers in 5 games. Towards the end of his tenure with the Magic he demanded trades to contenders, accused his organization of not trying hard enough to win a championship and tried to get his head coach, Stan Van Gundy, fired. I don’t care how much of a star you are, that’s never a good look.

 

 “I hate you Stan!”

 

In 2012, Dwight got his wish and was traded to the Lakers. Man, was that a disaster. The team was not very good but still managed to make the playoffs, only to be swept out of the first round. The entire thing seemed like an obvious case of “be careful what you wish for,” after Howard got his trade to one of his preferred destinations and it turned out to be a complete joke. The next year he opted for the Houston Rockets in free-agency.

 

And that bring us to the present day. Since his arrival in Houston, the Rockets have been good, but not great. They sit just under-.500 and it’s now being rumored that Dwight Howard wants out of town and is demanding a trade. Surprise, surprise.

 

I’m beginning to get the feeling that maybe, just maybe, Dwight Howard is the problem and not his team or organization du jour.  When these things repeatedly happen in different places, with different people, then that can only be the case. Even if he isn’t demanding a trade, it’s being said that The Rockets expect him to opt-out of the final year of his deal next summer, and with the way things have gone with his last three teams, I can’t wait to see the next suckers that throw cash this guy’s way.

 

 But they look like they’re having so much fun together…

 

I think Dwight Howard needs an entirely new approach. Maybe he should go the Stephon Marbury route and head overseas. I bet a star of his caliber could be the owner, GM, head coach, and entire starting 5 on a team somewhere in China. They could be the Chengdu Howards or the Guangzhou Dwights, or the Wuhan Whiny Babies. Imagine that Dwight, you could do it all!

 

Who would you be able to blame then? Nobody, that’s who. Because it surely can’t be your fault that the team is no good and not performing up to your standards. So there you have it, Dwight Howard’s plan for free-agency next year. He’s going to make his own way in the Chinese Basketball Association. You heard it here first.

 

Sadly, I’m sure this won’t happen but I really wish it would. I’m sure many of you, like me, are tired of hearing about how this guy is fed up with his current team. I’m sure his current team (whichever one it might be at this point) is tired of hearing about it too. I heard just last week he got into an argument with James Harden’s beard, and poor James just had to sit there and listen to them go at it. So I say we start a petition to send Dwight Howard to China. With the lack of top-tier basketball talent, I bet they would put up with his shit for at least 2 years.

 


Support Us
Support ScoreBoredSports on patreon!

patreon-medium-button
Sponsors

Hide Error message here!

Forgot your password?

Error message here!

Error message here!

Hide Error message here!

Lost your password? Please enter your email address. You will receive a link to create a new password.

Error message here!

Back to log-in

Close