Tag: NBA Playoffs

The Houston Rockets Championship window is closing

With the Golden State Warriors era of basketball running amuck on the league, the difficulty to win a championship for any team is tough especially for the Houston Rockets.

Winning against a team with 5 all-stars, in a 7-game series, is not only a daunting task but an impossible one for many teams. With Demarcus Cousins set to return on Friday against the Clippers, The Warriors now have 6 all-stars playing on their team.

Organizations around the league were forced to adapt to playing against Golden State’s brand of basketball. The three-point shot has evolved, becoming the most valuable way of scoring in today’s era of basketball. Post ups and Mid-range shooting are a thing of the past.

The Houston Rockets were one of the organizations who had to adopt a new style of basketball centered around 3 point shooting. Houston’s offense is the closest to the Warriors and even the Rockets couldn’t beat them in the Western Conference finals.

Last year, the Houston Rockets were only one game away from reaching the NBA Finals. But when Chris Paul went down with a hamstring injury, all hope was lost for the Rockets.

Chris Paul has been plagued with injuries playing in only 26 games this season. With the recent news that Clint Capela is out for 4-6 weeks with a thumb injury, James Harden is forced to carry the load for this team.

Chris Paul and Clint Capela are key pieces to the Rockets’ success. This team will go far as these two players go. If they can’t stay healthy or consistent, the Rockets will not be in contention for winning the championship this year.

The best shot the Rockets had to win a title was last season. It seems that the Rockets hasn’t mentally recovered from the western conference finals and free agency.

Chris Paul isn’t getting any younger and there are signs showing that father time is catching up to him. The Rockets are a struggling team this season. They had stretches where they were extremely bad, then they played good, and then bad again.

This team simply can’t stay consistent. If you can’t stay consistent in a Western Conference of the Warriors, Thunder, Nuggets, and Trail Blazers, you are bound to end up at the bottom of the pack.

 

With last night’s loss to the Nets, James Harden scored 58 points and the team attempted an unbelievable 70 three-pointers only making 23 of them. This raises concerns of if this team is even on the same page as they were up against the Nets late in the fourth quarter until giving up three straight 3 pointers from Spencer Dinwiddie to force overtime.

We have seen this same situation a couple weeks back against the Dallas Mavericks as rookie Luka Doncic capped off a comeback scoring 11 points in the final minutes of the game to defeat the Rockets.

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The Best Center in College Basketball: Breaking Down Bol Bol’s Game

Bol Bol is taking college basketball by storm, leading the Oregon Ducks to a 9-4 record.

Bol is a freakish 7’2, 234lb athletic player. His ability to space the floor, and be a consistent scorer is helping Oregon to a winning record. Along with his freakish stature, Bol has a 7’6 wingspan which helps him defend and block shots.

Bol is currently averaging 21 points, 9.6 Rebs and 2.7 blocks on 56% shooting from the field and an unbelievable 52% from 3.

Bol’s strength lies in his ability to score, defend, rebound, and block shots. He can do a lot of damage anywhere on the court. His ability to space the floor will make him a valuable asset for any team come the 2019 NBA Draft.

Bol’s most underrated skill is his IQ, he knows how to be an efficient scorer, as well as a smart defender. These skills will translate well in the NBA.

Bol’s weaknesses stem from his skinny stature. Ultimately, he needs to bulk up and work on being a force down low. Bol has a tendency to get knocked out of place by stronger opponents. Also, he isn’t the best screener and he isn’t keen on setting picks and rolling to the basket much.

Bol has to work on being a force as a big man, he sometimes looks for the jump shot rather than taking his opponent inside. His inability to do this is due to his lack of strength as he doesn’t feel enthusiastic about playing inside. He is very raw in this area, and to be a great center in the NBA, he must develop a consistent inside game.

He also isn’t the best decision maker as he currently averages more turnovers at 2.0 a game than assists at 1 a game. Sometimes when he is given the ball, he would look to dribble and go for a midrange shot rather than looking for a better shot.

The biggest question with Bol’s game is his heart to play. Does he really want it? He doesn’t always hustle and is sometimes the last man up the court in offensive and defensive possessions. Bol doesn’t always box out players and plays at one speed. He isn’t the toughest player at this point in his career, and that will get exposed at the NBA level if he doesn’t show the willingness to do the little things on the court.

Overall Bol’s value will lie on his defensive and offensive abilities. He is a remarkable athlete but needs to get stronger if he wants to play at the next level. Bol is a point guard’s dream, he is the ideal stretch big that NBA teams want.

Bol’s upside is unclear at this point, as it seems this may be the peak of his game. His work ethic and ability to play consistent minutes in the NBA will determine how better he will get.

Bol Bol may find more playing time at the power forward position more than the center position in the NBA, as his ability to stretch the floor will be a huge asset to teams.

Bol is the son of Manute Bol, who is famous for playing for the Washington Bullets in the late 1980s. Manute was 7’7 with an 8’6 wingspan but struggled to find consistent play timing.

Bol has a lot of the skills that Manute had but better. Bol is a better offensive player at this stage then his father was.

Bol has drawn comparisons to New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis. They both are similar in their strengths and weaknesses going into the draft. The biggest question with Porzingis was his strength, toughness, and feel for the game. Bol has similar question marks at this point in his college career.

Are The Brooklyn Nets Future Championship Contenders?

The Brooklyn Nets currently sit at the 9th seed in the Eastern Conference, winning 8 of their last 10 games and are 16-19 on the season. The Nets are quietly sneaking up into playoff contention in the east.

The Nets had impressive wins over the 76ers, Raptors, and the Lakers in their 10 game stretch. The play of D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Jarrett Allen have been key to the Nets’ success.

“I still think the defense can be better,” said Kenny Atkinson, Nets Head Coach. “we are in an “ok” place, not a “great” place.”

The Nets currently rank 19th in team defense per game. They are falling below average in this category. This has been a weak spot for the Nets all season as they haven’t figured it out defensively yet.

Their bench production has also been something to take note of, including the impressive play by their 2018 2nd round pick, Rodions Kurucs, who is averaging 10 Points and 3.4 rebounds in the month of December.

“We play like a team, we support each other, we got each other’s back,” said Kurucs after defeating the Phoenix Suns on Sunday afternoon, scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. “We are helping each other, we are pushing each other.”

The Nets have been turning heads as they’re not far from being in the playoffs. Right now, they are currently behind the Detroit Pistons for the 8th seed. But if the Nets keep up their level of play, they may surprise everyone and grab the 6th seed.

The Nets are only a couple of years away from being true championship contenders, and it may come as a surprise due to their lack of draft picks and activity in the free agency.

Through the years, they were able to draft diamond in the rough players. After trading multiple draft picks for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett back in 2013, they quietly were able to build a team of quality hard-working players during the aftermath of that trade.

The Nets traded their franchise center in Brook Lopez for a young and promising guard in D’Angelo Russell. They drafted Caris Levert, Rodions Kurucs, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and Jarrett Allen. They all proved to be productive players on the team.

The Nets are still missing something, and that is a franchise player. The Nets need a go-to scorer to compliment D’Angelo Russell and Caris Levert. Luckily, the Nets will have their draft pick this year as well as money to spend in the 2019 NBA Free Agency.

With names such as Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler, Demarcus Cousins, Kawhi Leonard, and Kevin Durant testing the free agency waters, the Nets wouldn’t look like a bad option if they are able to contend in the east this year.

The development of D’Angelo Russell is crucial to the Nets’ future. Right now, he isn’t a consistent scorer to be a franchise player. He is still extremely young, 22 Years old, so he will have more time to develop.

Russell is averaging 17.5 points and 6.3 assists while shooting 41% from the field and 36% from 3pt land. These are promising numbers from Russell, but if he wants to take that leap to stardom, he is going to have to be a consistent scorer in the league.

Early Top 5 NBA MVP Candidates

The NBA season has been full of surprises, we have seen the rise of the Denver Nuggets and the fall of the Houston Rockets. Questions remain with all the surprises in the NBA, who will be the MVP this season?

The NBA MVP race has been interesting this season. We have seen remarkable plays and emergence of many players. Here are the 5 players who are the top candidates to win MVP this season:

5. Anthony Davis

Team: New Orleans Pelicans
Record: 14-15
Stats: 27.4 Points 12.2 Rebounds 4.8 Assists 2.8 Blocks

Anthony Davis has been an MVP caliber player for the past four seasons, but his team hasn’t produced the wins for Davis to be a serious candidate. Davis is doing it all for the Pelicans this season. He is producing on both sides of the court, offense, and defense.

The Pelicans are 4-6 in their last 10 games falling to the 10th seed in the Western Conference. For Davis to win MVP this season, his team has to start winning. Davis has MVP caliber stats but unfortunately is not winning games to back up his case for MVP.

Davis does have a decent supporting cast to pull out wins but the Pels haven’t found a way to win games consistently. The Pelicans as a team rank 2nd in both points per game and assists per game. The offense is there for the Pelicans but they must be consistent on this end and also on the defensive end.

4. Stephen Curry

Team: Golden State Warriors
Record: 19-9
Stats: 30.1 Points 5.8 Assists 5.2 Rebounds 1.1 Steals

Stephen Curry is always an MVP candidate every year since 2015. His tremendous shooting ability, playmaking, and overall offensive abilities have helped lead the Warriors to a winning culture.

Curry is currently having a 50/50/90 season. The last person to achieve this historic stat for a season is his coach Steve Kerr in the 1995-1996 season with the Chicago Bulls. Curry is shooting 51% from the field, 50% from the 3, and 93% from the free throw line. These historic shooting numbers from Curry will help elevate his case for MVP this season.

Curry’s MVP case might be tarnished due to early season injuries as well as being on a super team with Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.

Curry is having a historic season and is easily the best player on the Warriors. He will have plenty of nods to be in the MVP conversation this year.

3. Kawhi Leonard

Team: Toronto Raptors
Record: 22-7
Stats: 26.1 Points 3 Assists 8.3 Rebounds 1.9 Steals

The Toronto Raptors are currently the best team in the NBA, holding the best record in the league. This is in large part due to the remarkable play by Kawhi Leonard.

Leonard is the best player on the raptors and affects the floor both on offense and defense. With the help of Kyle Lowry, Danny Green and Serge Ibaka, the Raptors may find themselves in the NBA Finals in June.

After his dramatic departure from San Antonio during the offseason, Leonard is reminding everyone that he is a Top 5 player in the league.

With the Raptors rolling this season, Leonard is a top MVP candidate this year.

2. Lebron James

Team: Los Angeles Lakers
Record: 17-10
Stats: 28.3 Points 7.1 Assists 7 Rebounds 1.3 Steals

A 33-year-old Lebron James is leading the Lakers to a 5th seed in the Brutal Western Conference. James is averaging close to a triple-double and producing wins for this Lakers roster whose next best player is Kyle Kuzma.

James is on a tear this season and has been the sole reason this Laker team is winning games. He has the best chance to take the MVP trophy home this season if he continues to produce more wins for his team. He has played in every single game this season and it seems like he is getting better with age.

The Lakers have won 7 games in their last 10 games. James continues to exceed expectations year in and year out as he is leading this team who has struggled the past 5 years to the playoffs. The Lakers are 1.5 games behind from being the number one seed in the conference. With how the Lakers are playing, they might be the first seed by Christmas.

James is leading the Lakers in Points, Rebounds and assists for the Lakers. His Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is the highest on the team at 27.4. Next highest is Kyle Kuzma at 16.1 PER.

1. Giannis Antentokoumpo

Team: Milwaukee Bucks
Record: 18-8
Stats: 26.5 Points 13.3 Rebounds 6 Assists 1.3 Blocks

Giannis Antentokoumpo is doing everything for the Bucks, scoring, grabbing rebounds, playing defense, dishing out assists. 2019 is the year of the Greek Freak as he has lifted the Bucks to the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference.

Giannis is the best player in the Eastern Conference. He is a nightmare for any team. Giannis hasn’t quite figured out his shooting ability in the NBA yet, only shooting 11% but is still finding a way to score buckets and be a force in the league.

The Bucks are a scary team to face as they currently rank 1st as a team in points per game and rebound per game. They also rank 4th in assists per game being one of the more unselfish teams in the league.

Giannis is leading the team in Points, Rebounds, assists and steals basically every statistical category other than blocks which Brook Lopez currently leads the team in.

Giannis is 4th in PER, ranking only behind Steph Curry, Boban Marjanovic and Anthony Davis.

The Bucks are a difficult and scary team to face this season and that is due to the rise of Giannis Antentokoumpo. Giannis has the best chance to win MVP this year as he doing everything and winning with the Bucks.

Should the Knicks trade for John Wall?

The New York Knicks have been waiting for ages for a dynamic point guard. Rumors and speculations have surfaced online that the Knicks are currently gathering assets to make a trade for Washington Wizard’s star John Wall.

The Wall era in Washington has been rather disappointing. The team has underperformed the past couple of seasons and struggled to make it to the conference finals in the weak eastern conference. In addition to that, Wall signed a $170 million contract extension back in the summer of 2017 and that contract may haunt the Wizards if they continue to hold on to him. Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter are currently the highest paid players on the roster. If the Wizards want to land a big fish in free agency, they are going to have to let go of one of these players.

Wall has gathered a bad reputation in Washington through the years, butting heads with coach Scott Brooks, former teammate Marcin Gortat and calling out his teammates. With the Wizards not playing up to standards and constant frustration going on in the organization, a new home for Wall may lie in the Big Apple.

The duo of John Wall and Kristaps Porzingis along with Tim Hardaway Jr, Kevin Knox, and Allonzo Trier sounds like a stepping stone into a winning culture for the Knicks. The Knicks need a dynamic point guard who is going to slash up the defense and make plays. Wall can help the Knicks in an area they have been suffering in for ages.

The Knicks have plenty of assets to use as trade bait, particularly, Enes Kanter, Lance Thomas, Frank Ntilikina, Trey Burke, Courtney Lee, and Emmanuel Mudiay. The Untouchables would include Kevin Knox, Tim Hardaway Jr., Mitchell Robinson, Kristaps Porzingis and rising player Allonzo Trier.

Wall, 28, is entering the prime of his career. He is currently averaging around 21 points and 8 assists on the season. Despite all the drama surrounding him, Wall is still a special player who may need a fresh new start.

Whatever the Knicks decide to do, winning should be the priority. If the Knicks do trade for Wall, they need to build right away for playoff contention. If they don’t, developing their young talent and rebuilding for at least two more years isn’t a bad option. The Knicks would have to take on a contract that will last all through Wall’s prime. Either way, the Knicks decide to go, there isn’t a bad route in this situation.

NBA: The Draymond Green-Kevin Durant Incident: What Happens Now?

Everybody turn off your televisions because it’s guaranteed, the Golden State Warriors are going to win the NBA championship for the 3rd year in a row. Wait, what? What just happened? Draymond Green did what?

In case you didn’t know, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant had a major altercation in the waning minutes of a game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night, November 12th, 2018. With about 5 seconds to go in the 4th quarter and the score tied at 106, Draymond Green received a rebound after a Clippers missed field goal. Right away, Green began running the court while Kevin Durant clapped his hands to ask for the ball. Green continued to run up the court towards the Clippers 3-point line where he fumbled the ball and ended up going to the floor with the ball in his hand to end the quarter.

Clearly, this was a wasted possession and Durant did not have any of it. Once Durant reached the Warriors sidelines, he slammed his hand on a chair and started screaming at Green. There are no sources as to exactly what Durant said, but from video it seems like he said, “Give me the f****n ball.” 

Green to exception to this and felt like he was being disrespected. From here, Green took the argument to a whole other level. Green balked back at Durant saying,

“Who the f**k you talking to?” Green started cursing at Durant, calling him “b***h” several times. Green then went on to say he’s been making plays throughout his career, reminding Durant that the Warriors were winning before he arrived. He told Durant something along the lines of, “We were winning before you. We don’t need you. Leave.” Green then accused Durant of making the whole season about him because of his impending free agency.

Throughout the incident, the full Warriors team can be seen trying to calm the situation down as both Iguodala and Livingston tried to revert the energy towards the game by clapping over the argument. Meanwhile, Thompson moves seats and sits in between Durant and Green. Ultimately, the incident clearly impacted the game as the Warriors went on to lose 121 to 116.

Because of this incident, the Warriors organization took action and decided to suspend Green without pay for one game. This might not seem like a noteworthy suspension, but when have you heard of a team suspending their own player in recent times? Furthermore, when has a player been suspended for an argument? Clearly, that means this was not a normal argument and it wasn’t as can be seen by the video.

Durant was arguing about a basketball play, about getting the ball in the last few seconds of the game as a two-time NBA Finals MVP. Remember, Steph Curry was out this game due to injury so Durant was the 1st option and Thompson was the 2nd. Furthermore, in that game, Green was 3 of 9 shooting and 0 of 2 from the 3-point line for just 6 points. It wasn’t like he was feeling it and having an amazing night. No, in fact, he was sub-par, worse than his usual as he only had 2 assists in the game! That means Green wasn’t shooting well and wasn’t making plays with his passing, a bad game for Green overall.

On the other hand, Durant was 10 of 24 and 2 of 4 from the 3-point line, with 33 points. In addition, he had 10 assists! Durant wasn’t shooting a high percentage, but he was either scoring or making plays. Either way, with 5 seconds left in the game, the ball should be in Durant’s hands when Curry isn’t around. Durant is going down as an all-time scorer. With 5 seconds left, no one would choose to have the ball in Green’s hands over Kevin Durant.

Furthermore, it’s extremely hypocritical for Green to feel disrespected when every sentence he utters to his teammates during a game is filled with expletive words. Green is known for talking in this manner and for many people, it’s a very disrespectful manner. Once the table is turned on him and he’s being talked to negatively, he can’t handle it? That’s just hypocritical.

Let’s also not forget that Green was a part of the “Hamptons Four” who recruited Durant to join the Warriors. It was also Green who told the media after the 2016 debacle against the Cleveland Cavaliers that the Warriors need Durant to win more championships.

Thanks to Green, this incident is now something much more serious than just an argument. In the final season of Duran’ts contract, a season in which the team is trying to win him over to resign, this incident will for sure push him away. Durant has clearly been affected by this incident as any normal human being would be. If your boss cursed at you and told you to leave after he begged you to sign, you’d be hurt too. Just look at 1:38 of the incident when Durant shakes his head in disbelief and disappointment. You can tell that Durant is just shocked at Green’s words, telling him to leave the Warriors and that they don’t need him. It’s words of total betrayal and now the NBA championship is no longer locked in for the Warriors.

As Klay Thompson stated in the locker room after the game,

“We all want to win. That’s all this is about. We all want to win. I think we’re the only team that can beat us. Nobody else can beat us.” That’s true. No other team in the league can beat the Golden State Warriors when they’re all healthy and firing on all cylinders. Even when the Warriors aren’t healthy and aren’t firing on all cylinders, they’re still extremely difficult to beat. Let’s not forget that Demarcus Cousins has yet to be unleashed.

None the less, this incident might just mark the beginning of the end of the Warriors dynasty. Durant will probably leave and in doing so, this incident will be brought back to the light. How will other Warriors players feel? Will they feel like this incident pushed Durant away and thus blame Green? At that point, can Green stay on the team or will he have to be traded? The questions and possibilities are endless and nothing is for sure. We’ll get a much clearer picture once Green returns to the lineup and plays with Durant.

What we do know now is that Durant and Green’s relationship will never be the same again. As we’d all do in Durant’s position, we’d play nice with Green, but never trust him as a friend again, rather just as a colleague.

Everybody, turn on your televisions because Draymond Green has decided to ruin the Warriors dynasty and make the NBA competitive again.

What’s Next For Carmelo Anthony?

In the span of a year, Carmelo Anthony has been on the New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Atlanta Hawks, and the Houston Rockets. Recent reports from the Rockets organization say that Melo may be on his way out of Houston.

With the Rockets slow start to the NBA season, losing 4 straight games at the start of the season and currently being the 12th seed in the Western Conference, fingers and blame are being pointed at Carmelo Anthony. Carmelo, 34 years old, has not adapted to the Rocket’s head coach Mike D’Antoni’s offensive scheme of 3-point shooting, pick and rolls, and spreading the floor type of offense. Carmelo’s role on the Rockets has been questioned numerous times through the season and his stint with the Rockets may be ending very soon cause of his lack of adaptability.

Carmelo should be recognized as a gifted scorer. He was a ten time all-star and scoring champion in his career but the reality of his current situation is that father time has finally caught up with him. He has not improved in any facet of his game in the past six years. In addition, he has been the scapegoat and odd man out for the teams he has played on the past couple of years and it seems like that trend will continue.

“You know what? I honestly think Melo should retire, I really do,’’ said NBA Hall Of Famer Tracy McGrady. “I don’t want him to go through another situation like this, and people are just pouring negativity on this man’s legacy. I really think because it hasn’t worked out the last two teams, just go ahead and, you have a Hall of Fame career, just go ahead and let it go.’’

It should be noted that McGrady brings up the point of stopping the bleeding for Carmelo and not continuing his current path. Carmelo has a few options since he is still on the pursuit of winning a championship. Options are signing with the Golden State Warriors or possibly the San Antonio Spurs or as Tracy McGrady said, retirement. The ideal situation for Carmelo would sign with Golden State, win a ring on that team and then retire. Melo retires on a good note as he can still be a productive and non-problematic scorer on a stacked, 3-peat bound Warriors team.

Carmelo came into the NBA after winning an NCAA Championship at Syracuse University straight to the NBA in 2003. He was recognized as a winner and someone who can lift a team into a winning culture. His friends in that draft Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh have all went onto to have winning careers, challenging for championships and also winning but Melo has never seen a championship nor has he went to a conference finals or NBA finals.

Carmelo’s career at this point has been stained by the media, fans, and even NBA organizations and it’s tough to see him go through this. A gifted player who was at a point the toughest guy to guard in the league may never win a championship or play in the NBA after this season.

Carmelo, this season is averaging 13.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, and shooting 40% from the field. Melo can still be an effective player that can give you buckets, only thing is it has to be the right situation.