Finally and Finals

CLE vs GSWSo it’s been a really long time since I’ve posted anything. Well it’s my blog and I was busy for however many months I was gone. Anyway now we are at the 2015 NBA finals, with the series tied at 2 games a piece heading into the Oracle Arena for game 5. This is sure to be one of the hardest fought games of the finals. However wins game five usually wins the series. The Warriors small ball line up worked and pulled off the biggest margin of victory in this year’s NBA finals (21 Points). Also their shooters started to hit shots. If the Warriors are going to win it they just have to play the same way they did in game four. If the Cavs are going to win they need a superstar effort from LeBron. Game four he only had 20 points, which is nothing compared to the FORTY he was averaging in the three games prior. Also He has to be more efficient. (Fun Fact: Lebron is the second player to miss at least 15 field goals in four straight finals games, the only other person to do that was Allen Iverson in 2001.) (Other Fun Fact: Iverson and the 76ers handed the Lakers their only loss of the 2001 playoffs, yup they swept through the first three rounds.) I should probably stop with these fun facts and get back to my point. Anyway LeBron has to be dominant so do the role guys, like Dellavedova, Smith, Shumpert etc. However Delly isn’t accustomed to starters minutes and gets fatigued easily, and the rest of their guys aren’t hitting shots. This is the key game that both teams need, so how’s going to win, We’ll wait and see.

Sam B.

Rondo on the move and an exiled king

Boston Celtics v Cleveland CavaliersThere have been multiple reports that Celtic point guard Rajon Rondo is heading to Dallas. The trade consists of Rondo and Dwight Powell going to Dallas in exchange for Brandon Wright, Jameer Nelson, Jae Crowder and Draft Picks. This trade is a win-win situation for both parties. The Celtics will get to put in Marcus Smart as the starting point guard and they stock pile assets in the process, As for Dallas they get an All-star who can help lead them to the finals, and if this experiment doesn’t work he is a free agent at the end of the summer. The only down side for Dallas is that this move hurts their bench, but they still have plenty of talent coming off that bench to make up for it. It’ll be interesting to see how these guys mesh. I mean listen to this starting line up for Dallas: Raon Rondo, Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons, Dirk Nowitzki, and Tyson Chandler. That is two potential All-stars, another All-star, who is a jack of all trades player, an all time great, and a defensive player of the year.

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In other big news The Sacramento Kings head coach Mike Malone was fired. I personally hate this move. When he was fired the Kings were 11-13 and that is way better than they had been in the past few years. Him and DeMarcus Cousins got along great and He lead them to a good record. Even when they were going 2-8 (Without DeMarcus) they weren’t getting blown out, they were in really close games. There has been so much turn over in that organization that with another new head coach it’ll be difficult for them to build quickly. He was fired most likely because he ran a slower offense than the owner would have liked. This was a bad move in my opinion and I hope he gets a new job soon.

My top 5 best Young big men in the NBA.

The NBA today is filled with a lot of teams that play small-ball, push the pace and don’t have a legit big guy down low. However there are some teams that have been built around a big man and look as if they are going to be able to have great success in the future. So here are my top five up and coming bigs. There are a few guide lines, they have to be a traditional power forward or center and have only played in the NBA for a maximum of five seasons.

5. Nikola Vucevic

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Vucevic is one of those guys that you’ll only see if you have league pass, but boy is he a talent. He was a part of the deal that sent Dwight to LA and he has been rolling in Orlando. For the past three years he’s averaged a double-double this year included averaging 18 points and 11 rebounds. He has range out to the three point line, great post skills and a ton of room to grow. He’s an exciting player to watch, and I can’t wait to see him at his full power.

4. Greg Monroe/Andre Drummond

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A few years ago in the 2010 draft the Pistons drafted a gifted Center out of Georgetown named Greg Monroe. He is a double double machine and a model of consistency that every team want’s to have at the center position. He’s an underrated passer and unselfish to boot, plus he has a jump shot out to about 15 feet. In the 2013 draft the Pistons selected another center In Andre Drummond. He is 6’11, 275 pounds and runs like a gazelle. A high energy guy with strong motor, not the best shooter but is hard worker. The big problem now is, that both of these players have the potential to become great NBA players, all-stars, hall of famers, whatever. However the Pistons signed Josh Smith and still have these two guys, and the three of them can’t play on the floor at the same time or it will lead to bad results. Drummond looks like a lock in Detroit, but Monroe is going to be an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2015 so he is on the way out. Despite the turmoil in Detroit these two are without question some of the best big men the NBA has to offer.

3. Blake Griffin.

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Blake Griffin is without question a top 5 power forward in the game today. His rookie and sophomore campaigns he averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds. Since Doc Rivers came to town He has transformed Griffin into a great Defensive player and scorer. The past few years his rebounds have fallen, yet his overall quality of play has increased. He used to be a player that was able to do well because he was incredibly athletic. His game used to be delivering Jaw dropping dunks. Now it’s he has the talent to back it up. He has a mid range jumper, defends and can bring the ball up, and has a decent post game. He is a talent that is fun to watch.

2. DeMarcus Cousins

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When Cousins was drafted in 2010 there were a lot of concerns around him. Will he stay in shape? Is he Mature enough? Well it’s safe to say that those questions have been answered with a big Yes. Since his rookie year Cousins has been averaging close to or a double double. He is a legit post scorer, has a mid range game, shoots 80% from the line and is a great passer. He is the only center that will get the rebound and take the ball coast-to-coast and finish at the rim. Over the years, his defensive abilities have grown and he has become more mature, playing when his team needs him. He was an All-star snub last year and if the Kings keep up their great play so far he will be an all-star this year. If you have  achance to go watch him, do it, ti’ll be worth every penny.

1. Anthony Davis

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This kid is scary good. His rookie season was average and he was hit with injuries. His sophomore year, he was one of a handful of players that averaged 20 points 10 rebounds and 3 blocks. This season he has taken it to a whole other level. He is fourth in scoring, averaging 24.6, sixth in rebounding at 11.2, is fourth in steals at 2.1 per game and leads the NBA in block at 3.2 a game. He has a full offensive arsenal, a game changer defensively, and the scary part is, it’s only his third year in the league. He has the potential to be a future MVP, perennial all-star, and one of the greatest big men the game has ever seen.

As always let me know who I forgot, because there are a lot of great talents in the NBA.

Sam B.

Time to catch Up

So It has been a while since I have written anything for this blog, so it is time to catch up. The 2014 finals ended when San Antonio blew the Heat out of the water. They won the series 4-1 and that is their fifth NBA championship. Kawhi Leonard was named the Finals MVP, he became the third youngest in history behind Tim Duncan and Magic Johnson.

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The 2014 draft was considered a very deep draft that can have a lot of talented stars in the future. Andrew Wiggins went first overall to the Cavaliers. Jabari Parker went second to the Bucks. Julius Randle who was seen as third best player in the draft went to the Lakers with the 7th pick. The Australian man of mystery Dante Exum went 5th to the Jazz. The Magic picked up Aaron Gordon and Elfred Payton with the 4th and 10th picks respectively, so in a few years they could have a combination similar to the one Seattle had in the 1990s. Despite having an injury Joel Embiid went 3rd overall to the 76ers. Shabazz Napier went  to the Heat in Miami’s attempt to keep LeBron. Lastly Zach LaVine went 14th to the Timberwolves and that kid is insanely athletic.

2014 NBA Draft

The biggest news of the summer was LeBron James’ decision to return home to Cleveland. After an incredible run with the Heat he returns home to help the Cavs grow. Kevin Love was traded to Cleveland in a three way deal. the Cavs got Love, the Wolves got Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and Thaddeus Young, and the 76ers got Alexy Shved, and Mbah a Moute. The next biggest player Carmelo Anthony resigned with the New York Knicks on a five year, 124 million dollar contract. Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade stayed in Miami, Bosh on a max deal and Wade on a 2 year 30 million dollar contract. Chandler Parsons left Houston and went to Dallas for a 3 year 46 million dollar deal. Despite having the Cap space the Lakers made little noise getting Lin and Boozer, and keeping Nick Young and Hill. The Nets got a new coach in Lionel Hollins who fits the old roster they have well. Jason Kidd left to coach the Bucks. The Pacers Lost Lance Stephenson to the Charlotte Hornets (That’s right they are back). They also lost Paul George to a horrific leg injury as a part of USA basketball. Isaiah Thomas left the Kings for the Valley of the Sun, Greg Monroe is in Detroit for one more year, and Eric Bledsoe signed a five year 70 million dollar deal with the Suns. And In my opinion the most underrated signing of the off season Pau Gasol left the Lakers to sign with the Bulls on a three year 22 million dollar contract.

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Now some bigger news from the start of the season. Dirk and Kobe are on pace to move up the scoring list kobe to pass Jordan and Dirk to pass the likes of Hakeem The “Dream”. The Lakers suffered Serious set backs losing Steve Nash as well as Julius Randle for the year. Anthony Davis is playing at an MVP caliber level so far and his Pelicans are in the playoff hunt so are the Kings (BOOGIE!). The Raptors and Grizzles top their respective conferences. Derek Fisher is having a rough start in NYC as their coach. Derrick Rose continues to carry the injury bug as he seems to get hurt every game. Lastly Cleveland is not off to the hot start under David Blatt that everyone thought was going to happen. There we go 6 months of NBA news in one article. Let me know what your excited for.

Sam B.

The First Round is Over

Today marks the end of the first round of the 2014 playoffs. It has been one wild ride as none of the teams were safe. This was also a first round to remember. In this first round their were eight over time games alone, the record for most overtime games in the playoffs is ten and we still have so many more games to play. There were two game winners one by Vince Carter, and one by Lillard that took his team to the semifinals. No team was safe. There were five game sevens, the road teams won a lot of the games. The only three teams that were able to avoid a game seven were the Heat, the Wizards and the Blazers. with all that in the past lets talk about the semifinals. Lets start in the west.

1. seeded San Antonio Spurs vs. 5. seeded Portland Trail Blazers

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So the Battle tested Spurs will take on the up and coming Trail Blazers. Each side has their strengths and weaknesses. The Spurs have seen it all. They all have been to the semifinals and know how to handle a tough situation. They came back from a 2-1 deficit against the Mavericks to win the series. They also have Superstars on the court and one in a suit and tie that know how to win the games that matter the most. They have a mental toughness about them as well, they won’t get deterred by one game and they focus on the up and coming game not the past. But they are also an old team. Your three stars are all 30+ so can they keep up with the young legs of the Blazers we’ll see. The Blazers have a couple of pretty good all stars to turn to in Lillard and Aldridge. They are coming into the series with confidence having knocked out the Rockets. Lastly, maturity, this Blazers team may be young but they have the poise of teams that have been in the playoffs and they’ve done this before. The one issue with Portland with Portland is their bench. All season they haven’t had much help form the bench. They have players that can play but they don’t do much, where the Spurs have a bench filled with capable players all knowing how to run the system. So will the Blazers get some help from the bench, can the older Spurs be able to keep the pace the way they want, we’ll wait and see. So will the Spurs keep up the Championship run or will the Blazers look to get back to a place they haven’t been in since 2000?

2. seeded Oklahoma City Thunder vs. 3. seeded Los Angeles Clippers

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This is going to be a fun match up to watch. The MVP Kevin Durant taking on Blake Griffin. CP3 taking on Russel Westbrook. This one will most likely go to a game seven. They have superstars, they can both score and defend with the best of them. They both have coaches in Brooks and Rivers that have made it tot he finals. And they both have a pretty good bench. I give the Clippers the better bench. When you can pull off Jamal Crawford, Danny Granger, Darren Collison, and Glen Davis off of a bench that is one tough second unit. All those guys have or are starting caliber players, so rivers has a lot of tools and line ups at his disposal. The Thunder have KD. The MVP, who is basically 7 feet tall and has the skill of a guard and a shot out to the three point line. He is a much improved passer and rebounder and he’s super clutch. Not to mention his partner in Crime Russell Westbrook, he quick, strong and explosive. He will give his best effort on both ends of the court, hustles for every loose ball and offensive rebound, and is that second crucial scorer that the thunder need. With Paul hurt but still going to play I want to see Westbrook attack Paul as much as he can. So will the MVP lead his team to the Western Conference Finals or Will lob city come out on top? Now on to the eastern Conference

1. seeded Indian Pacers v. 5 seeded Washington Wizards

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We have an interesting match up here. The Wizards were one of the three teams that were able to avoid a game seven by beating the Bulls in five. The Pacers wound up having to go to a game seven against the Hawks. For Washington they have to take advantage of John Wall and his speed. The Reason Indiana had a game seven was because they couldn’t stop the speed of Jeff Teague. Wall is just as fast if not faster and a better overall player than him so they have to take advantage of that. The confidence that the Wizards got playing the bulls will no doubt help them into this round. Now as for the Pacers it all depends on which team shows up. The Indiana that had the best record in the NBA at one point or the bad Pacers we see know. If the good team shows up the Pacers can win the Series, if the bad team shows up then they will lose the series. The only good thing about this series for the Pacers is that the Wizard bigs like to stay in the paint, and that is where Roy Hibbert likes to stay. If Indiana can get Hibbert going they can do it. Will Washington be bringing the intensity of the Eastern Conference Finals to D.C. or will the Pacers return to the ECF?

2. seeded Miami Heat vs. 6. seeded Brooklyn Nets

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This is the Series that will be the most interesting in my opinion. The Miami heat go through most teams easily. They were the only team to pull off a sweep in the first round. But this season the Nets took every game from the Heat sweeping the Regular season series. The Nets have a team that can clearly beat Miami. They have the star power with people like KG, the Truth, D will and Joe Johnson. The bench of the Nets is a very good one, so good in fact that Kidd can go 11 deep in a game. The nets have the size to bully Miami in the post and they have the experience that not just any one can have. The Heat are the Heat. They are the 2 time defending NBA Champions, have the best player in the World in LeBron James, have had some rest, should Have D Wade up and ready to go so no problem right? The Nets have the will to win and won’t let Miami take it, Pierce and Garnett want anther ring, they won’t quit. The nets became the 24th team in NBA history to win a game seven on the road, and who won it for them, it was Paul Pierce. So will the Nets continue to pile up the bragging rights against the Knicks By winning, or will the Heat go back for a forth straight year? All-in-all the Playoffs After the first round have been fantastic. Wild, crazy, and unpredictable and that is why there so great. Any of these teams has a chance to be the one heading to the finals, and they all have the will to win and to be champions. So who will advance to the Conference Finals?

Sam B.

A superstar approaches

The Blazers have always had some of the clutchest players in the League. A couple years ago it was Brandon Roy but now Damian Lillard  has taken over. This game winning shot sends Portland to the second round, and gives them their first playoff series victory in 14 years when Rasheed Wallace was the leader of the team. Brandon Roy would be proud of what he did against Houston.

Top 5 Coaches in the NBA ( of the Past 10 years)

In order for a team to be a winner and play well they have to have a great coach. Some one to motivate them, who can rally the troops and get them ready for the next game. So they can shake off the rust of past games and move on. They also have to be a good teacher, developing the young talent that’s on his team taking their game to the next level. They have to also battle diversity and be ready to change to anything that comes out on the court, and anything that is added on their team. So these are my top five coaches in the NBA of the past ten years.

5. Tom Thibodeau

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Talk about having to battle diversity on the biggest stage. Thibodeau has had to go the past 2 season without his superstar Derrick Rose, and they have still made the playoffs in both of those years. They made it to the second round of the playoffs last season and made the playoffs again this season. The one thing that defines him is his defensive tactics, if you are a fan of defense and physical basketball watch the Bulls play. He won the Coach of the year award in 2011 for leading the Bulls to top of the east at 62-20. His teaching ability is incredible, he’s helped players like Rose, D.J Augustine, Nate Robinson etc. grow as players and guards. It’s not just guards Noah his center and Taj Gibson have grown so much. Noah had an incredible season averaging almost 6 assists a game, and Gibson was the 6th man for the Bulls and plays down the stretch instead of Boozer.  What I think makes him a Great Coach is he will never allow his team to stop fighting. This season the Bulls lost Rose, traded away Deng, and were fine with going to the Draft, But he said no, he rallied the troops and they got the 4th seed in the East.

4. Doc Rivers

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He’s bounced around here and there as a coach but Doc is one of the best. A lone title in 2008 with the Celtics and looking to get another one with the Clippers.  He and Tom are both defensive coaches but when it comes down to it Doc knows how to run an offense. Doc is also a great teacher. He turned Rondo into an elite level point guard, Rondo is so good that Even after tearing his ACL Rondo came back this season and averaged over 9 assists. His teaching ability can be seen through Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, Blake becoming the third wheel in the MVP candidate discussion, and Jordan became a defensive stopper, lead the league in rebounds and field goal percentage which only two other people have done, and was a candidate for defensive player of the year. He can turn a franchise around quickly given the talent around him.

3. George Karl

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Karl has maned the sidelines for the teams like the Supersonics and most recently the Denver Nuggets. What Makes Karl a great coach is the fact that he knows how to change styles based on the talent that he is given. When it was Carmelo Anthony in Denver, their team was based around him. After the trade, where Melo went to NYC, he changed it up sped up the pace and got this team running. His teams would run you out of the building. What made him a true genus was using Denver’s altitude as an advantage. In the Mile high city his teams were run-and-gun quickly up and down the floor. and this wore the other teams, giving a team without a superstar a chance to win. Even without a superstar he lead the Nuggets to their best record last season at 59-23 and won the coach of the year award. He’s helped develop players from all shapes and sizes, from Carmelo Anthony to Ty Lawson. He is perfect for any situation, exponentially a team like Minnesota. Over hands down a great Coach.

2. Phil Jackson

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I’m really torn here as him and the next guy are neck and-neck in this race but Jackson falls to number two. An 11 time NBA champion five with the Lakers, six with the Bulls, have already enshrined him in the hall of fame. He’s taught MJ Shaq, Kobe, players that we address by their first name not last, that’s what kin of a teacher that he is. Obviously known for being the offensive coach running the triangle offense and working it to perfection. A man who can rally the troops and gets people excited to play. He is No doubt one of the Best coaches in the NBA ever.

1. Gregg Popovich

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As good a coach Jackson is Pop is in my opinion a better one. When he took over the Spurs in 1996, he brought in a Culture of winning, and he’s kept it that way. The Spurs have made the playoffs for the past 17 seasons now that’s no small feat. He knows how to get his guys going and ready to play, a master at playing with line ups to always get the best fit, and he rolls with what is working. His teaching Ability is outstanding, He takes good players to great players and can take decent players and make them good.. He has created probably the best system in NBA history and is one of the best. He’s also incredibly funny and can handle most situations with his sarcasm. Also a lot of his assistant coaches have been hired on other teams trying to get the same success. In a league where teams strive to win he strives for excellence.

Some other honorable mentions would be Rick Carlisle, who can some how manage to keep a winning team in Dallas despite all the influx that the team has had year to year. Also winning a ring in 2011 when they were picked to lose their first round match up. Another one is Erik Spolestra, I know he has Lebron but being able to balance the talent on the team is really impressive to say the least. Let me know who I left out in the comments below.

Sam B.