NBA Discussion; Let’s Talk About Kevin Durant – 24th March 2017

*photo via (insidehoops)

We’re getting deep into the final stretch of the NBA 2016-2017 season, and Kevin Durant’s knee injury almost a month ago is still haunting Warriors fans, and getting the hopes of Cavs fans up to a limit they haven’t seen since they pushed the Finals to Game 7 last year. For a while, directly after KD’s injury, Golden State looked broken, they looked like a completely different team, compared to this terrifying group of scoring machines who could put up 120 points on any given night, against any given team. Steph and Klay had awful games, night after night, with Curry even going 0-11 from deep in one game, the worst of his career. But recently, it appears as though the Warriors are getting back on track, which is probably the best news they could hear other than KD’s early return, as San Antonio have caught up to them considerably in terms of winning record, and even passed the former Champions for a brief period. Steph is back to being Steph, and Klay is hitting shots consistently again, and it seems that what was potentially the worst case for the Warriors in Durant’s injury, is secretly, on some deeper level, a light at the end of the tunnel, as Steve Kerr can now see how he can fit Matt Barnes into the team, and change the roster around so that they can actually win games without their recently added scoring monster in KD, a back-up tactic which probably hadn’t been on his mind when he first made the trade for Durant. But what does the Warriors’ ability to win without Durant, mean for the man himself?

Every man and his dog have heard various insults regarding Kevin Durant being a ‘cupcake’ for leaving NBA one-man army Russell Westbrook and the OKC Thunder, so his performances for the Warriors on a nightly basis had to be freakishly good as a way to back to his decision to leave Russ. Let’s say the Warriors were to win the title this year with the help of Kevin Durant led by Kevin Durant, his decision to leave the Thunder would be justified to the same level as LeBron’s decision to leave Cleveland to join the Miami Heat in search of a title. KD was third in line to win the MVP award, according to the #KiaMVPRace on the NBA Facebook page, but his recent injury obviously takes him out of the equation to win the league’s most acknowledging individual award, especially when you look at the season being played by his former teammates, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. But now that the Warriors have shown that they can win regular season games with Kevin Durant, at least in a recent showing, KD’s justification in leaving Oklahoma is almost non-existent. Imagine a scenario where KD’s injury is longer than expected (hopefully not), and the Warriors have to advance through the playoff rounds without his help; they take on the Thunder in the first round, as is the current playoff picture, a team they’ve already destroyed without Kevin Durant, so we can imagine they’d take them down in a seven game series, especially if Curry continues to show up. Then they play the Rockets and, while it would be an extremely tough match-up, they could win by taking the series to 7 and just out-scoring Houston from deep. Finally, they somehow beat the Spurs in the conference finals and face the Cavs in a 3peat NBA Finals match-up. Even if they don’t win the Finals, the Warriors show they can win without Durant, and his justification to basically abandon Russ is now non-existent and the hate he’s already receiving multiplies by 10. And let’s say they somehow take down the Cavs and win the chip for the second time in three years; the Warriors win the first ring for Durant, he plays no part in earning the jewellery he’ll wear on his finger, and the hate he’s receiving still multiplies by 10. Basically what I’m saying is, the Warriors new-found ability to win without KD is the best case for Warriors’ fans, but it’s the worst case scenario for Kevin, as it shows that he’s not a vital member in their squad, while he’s still an important part of the roster, he is replaceable.

Let me know what you think of Kevin Durant’s current position with the Warriors down below, and follow my blog for more NBA Discussions. I’m back by the way, school got a bit hectic there, but I’m back to writing now. Follow my Twitter for just general shite posting. Enjoy your day!

NBA Discussion; The Warriors Are Struggling Without KD

The Golden State Warriors were on a pretty good run in the last month or two, losing only 6 games since the start of the season, a great achievement even for a team as highly regarded as the Warriors. This run has been in doubt since the injury of superstar Kevin Durant against the Wizards a week ago. They lost two games in a row after KD went off the court with a grade 2 MCL sprain on his knee, which probably doesn’t seem like too bad of a situation when looking at most teams in the NBA, I mean, it happens regularly. But Golden State haven’t lost two consecutive games since APRIL 2015, 23 months ago. And of course, the Warriors only acquired Durant at the start of the season, so we know they can handle themselves, but since KD’s injury, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson had two consecutive awful games, with Curry even going 0-11 from behind the arc against the Wizards, the worst shooting record of the sharpshooter’s career. Granted, it’s only been 3 games since Durant got injured, and they did win last night, but with the two best shooters in the league, and the leading vote getter for Defensive Player of the Year in Draymond Green, you’d imagine that the Warriors would be able to handle the Bulls, the Wizards loss is understandable to some extent considering their recent form, but losing to a weak Bulls squad is unacceptable for a team like Golden State. And while they did get the W last night against the Knicks, they did struggle to perform against them, with the score being close for the majority of the game. Putting this into perspective, the Knicks are 12th in the Eastern Conference, 24 games behind the Warriors, who recently set the NBA record for clinching the fastest playoff berth, beating the record from last season, which they also set. There was clearly a chemistry issue with the Warriors and their newly acquired superstar at the start of the season, but was quickly dismantled since the beginning of the new year, and it was looking like the Warriors were up for a big season ending run, losing only two games in 15 before Durant’s injury. This is what happens when you sell your entire bench, a bench which was vital in their victory over Cleveland in the 2015 Finals, for one superstar – if something happens to that superstar, you’ve got nobody to replace him. That’s why they made the trade for Matt Barnes, to replace KD. If you ask me, the Warriors are likely to be sent home in the first round of the playoffs if KD doesn’t come back soon, and with a 4 week + expected injury time, it seems like that could be a possibility.

Let me know what you think of the Warriors chances without Kevin Durant below. Follow my blog for more NBA Discussions, and check out my Twitter for updates on the blog and just my general shite posting. Enjoy your day!

NBA Discussion; The Shaqtin’ MVP gets Heated with Shaq – 25th Feb

Must of you have probably heard of NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, and the majority have more than likely seen a segment of the former Lakers and Heat big man’s “Shaqtin’ A Fool,’ a short series of clips on NBA on TNT’s breakdowns which highlights the league’s bloopers and mistakes, centring around NBA players who have made the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Shaq has featured Golden State Warriors’ centre JaVale McGee on his show on a more than regular basis, earning McGee the “Shaqtin’ MVP” on several occasions. JaVale has done a lot of things to deserve to be on Shaq’s ‘lowlight’ reel, but the Warriors’ big man has finally had enough of the humiliation, and hit out at the strongest player in NBA history with a series of tweets, forcing Shaq to retaliate with tweets of his own. Here’s the tweets:

First of all, I understand that McGee’s upset over being displayed on Shaqtin’ on so many occasions and basically have a fool made of himself regularly, but it was stupid to take it to the media at all. Shaq has such a huge fanbase as one of the greatest big men of all time, so McGee would have got absolutely laced by fans even if Shaq hadn’t reacted to JaVale’s tweets, so taking it to the media was the worst decision he could have made. Now, Shaq was way out of line with the threats to McGee, and stating that he would “smack the s**t” out of him could have been left out of the drama, but the 4x NBA Champion is correct in saying that McGee will only be remembered for Shaqtin’, as harsh as it is to say. JaVale is athletic for a man his size, but his ability ends there. He can’t shoot, much like Shaq, he’s not extremely strong when compared to the other centres in the league, and he’s not a fantastic paint protector. If not for his appearances on Shaqtin’ A Fool, and now the drama with the show’s host, McGee wouldn’t be remembered for anything other than being a non-significant part of the Warriors roster. But I agree that Shaq was way out of line, there’s no need to threaten a player just trying to make a career out of the game. McGee’s also at fault though; Shaq’s show is just a little comedy segment trying to make the fans of the NBA laugh, which they do, and the fact that he’s regularly a part of the show is only his fault for making so many ridiculous plays, plays that a professional baller shouldn’t be making consistently. Now the threats to Shaq, obviously Shaq was in the wrong for threatening McGee, I mean that’s just uncool, but McGee shouldn’t have retaliated with threats of equal calibre. Like JaVale, have you seen Shaq? He’s a monster, and just because he’s older doesn’t mean he wouldn’t put you on the floor, so best not to act big against the strongest player the game of basketball has ever seen. It’s a lose-lose for both big men in this case, and it’s probably best for everyone to just delete the tweets and forget this little feud ever happened.

McGee’s teammate Kevin Durant made an attempt to defend his supporting big man in a quote which hammers former Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, trashing his lack of skill and ability other than his enormous size:

Shaq was a shitty free throw shooter, he missed dunks, he airballed free throws, he couldn’t shoot outside the paint. He was bigger than everyone, and didn’t have no skill, bigger and stronger than everyone. Still a great player, but you had your flaws as a player and you played on five or six teams, too. So it’s not like he’s just some perfect centre. You had your flaws, too.

I have no problem with KD criticising a former player, because Durant will be one of the greatest shooters of all time, so it’s okay for a great to criticise a great. But KD should’ve just stayed out of the drama, I mean JaVale isn’t exactly an outstanding player, and you certainly wouldn’t want to be on the bad side of an NBA legend who has a massive online presence, especially when you’re already getting so much hate for betraying Russell Westbrook in the off-season. Although he made some good points, saying Shaq had “no skill” is definitely wrong, the Hall of Famer had a pretty sweet post game, so he’s in the wrong for saying that. Shaq did respond to KD on Twitter, but his tweets were again aimed at trashing McGee:

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Let me know what you think of this little sequence of drama between two NBA big men, past and present, below. Are you leaning towards Shaq’s side, or was he way out of line? Follow my blog for more NBA Discussions, and check out my Twitter for updates on the blog and just general shite posting. Enjoy your day!

 

NBA Discussion; Boogie’s Pelicans Debut, Lou Will’s First Game as a Rocket – 24th Feb 2017

The Rockets were in New Orleans for their first game since the All-Star Break, facing the new and improved Pelicans squad, which features the “Twin Towers,” Boogie and The Brow, as they’re now being known as on social media. There’s no way to sugar coat it, but the Pelicans were man handled by a quick Rockets squad, who beat the Pelicans by running the fast break against a team far too large to chase them down, totalling 34 fast break points on 20 Pelican turnovers of possession. And it was actually Houston’s bench which did the majority of the scoring, putting up 79 of the Rockets’ 129 for the game.

Boogie had a pretty good debut in his new #0 jersey for the Pelicans, putting up 27 points and 14 rebounds, which led the game in boards. The other half of the Twin Towers put scored 29 points, which also led the game, continuing The Brow’s huge performance at the All-Star Game. The big men duo of NOLA did exactly what the league feared they would do; go inside and dominate the paint. And although they were blown out, it was through no fault of the NBA’s biggest partnership, who scored more as a pair than the rest of the team combined, solidifying the Pelicans’ need for a third scorer. Of course, the first game of Boogie’s career in New Orleans being a blow out is going to upset the franchise’s fans, but we can’t expect the team to just click  after one game with their new duo. Give it time, Pelicans fans, and I’m sure your squad will come together and likely put up a playoff run. The Pelicans second trade, Omri Casspi, had a decent night also, scoring 12 points off the bench. Despite the huge loss, the future is bright for the rapidly developing New Orleans roster, and I’ve no doubt that if they don’t put up a playoff picture this year, they have the potential to make a deep run next season if they continue to develop, and make a move for a third scoring option in the off-season.

The spotlight was on Lou Williams all night, however. The Rockets new scoring guard, who came to Houston along with a first round pick in the draft from the Lakers in an exchange for Corey Brewer, had a big 27 points coming off the bench, shooting 7-11 from three-point land. Lou Will was playing like vintage J.R Smith from behind the arc, shooting contested bombs and inviting the defender before splashing it home. He certainly had the hot hand every time the starters needed a break, solidifying the Rockets huge win against the Pelicans. Patrick Beverly led Houston in rebounds (yes, seriously), with 12 boards for the little guy. H-Town star James Harden put up a double-double in a 13 point, 14 assist performance, and was throwing lobs to Clint Capela all night, a display we see from the Beard on a more than regular basis, as we’ve seen him become quite comfortable as the Rockets dime disher. Lou Will’s big night is a scary sign for the rest of the league, as the offensively terrifying Houston team have just gotten more scary with the addition of a big bucket-getter off the bench in the former Lakers guard, who is more than capable of developing into one of the league’s prolific scoring guards. The Rockets take this game easily.

Let me know what you think of Cousins and Lou Will’s first games with their new squads below. Follow my blog for more NBA Discussions, and check out my Twitter for updates on the blog and just my general shite posting. Enjoy your day!

NBA Discussion; DeMarcus Cousins Huge Trade to the Pelicans – 20th Feb 2017

The events of All-Star Weekend are officially over, and apart from a terrible Dunk Contest (sorry, but it’s true), it was a great weekend, with a number of records being set in last night’s heavily-offensive All-Star Game. It was a weekend of successes for New Orleans, being the host of All-Star Weekend for the 3rd time in 10 years, having their star player Anthony Davis set the All-Star game record for points with a huge 52 point game, taking down Wilt Chamberlain’s 42 point game in 1962. But the biggest success for NOLA and the Pelicans happened after All-Star Weekend, in a post game interview, when we were made aware that DeMarcus Cousins, the Big Boogie, would be traded to the Pelicans in exchange for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, and a first and second round pick in the draft come June. There’s been a lot of controversy over this trade, and rightly so, but who’s the real winner of Boogie’s departure? Did the Pelicans get a steal for one of the league’s biggest (literally) and brightest stars, or did the Kings cut their losses in one of the worst tempers in the NBA?

Let’s take a look at the Pelicans’ point of view with the trade. Obviously, they’re getting a good trade in acquiring DeMarcus Cousins, who is one of the league’s best big men, creating potentially one of the greatest frontcourts in NBA history alongside NBA superstar Anthony Davis. It’s a known fact that both Cousins and Davis have a great relationship together off-court, and can often be seen laughing and joking around after games, which will obviously help the chemistry situation of the new big duo. So there’s no doubt that the new Pelicans pair will beast in the paint, but it’s easy to forget that both Boogie and the Brow have got the long-range ability most big men can only dream of having, so the ability to stretch the floor is significantly present. In terms of their losses, the Pelicans aren’t actually losing much in terms of star power, although the number of players they’re losing isn’t ideal. Tyreke Evans already served a term at the Kings, so will be no stranger to the ways of Sacramento, and he wasn’t much of an asset to the Pelicans anyway, with 9.5 PPG being the extent of his usefulness in New Orleans. Langston Galloway is in the same boat as Evans in terms of his significance in NOLA, with 8.6 PPG topping off his ability, so the Pelicans aren’t losing much in terms of those two. Buddy Hield is a noticeable loss for Anthony Davis’ squad, however, with the rookie averaging 8.6 PPG, same as Galloway, but showed his true potential in the Rising Stars Challenge. If they were getting someone else other than Boogie in this trade, the first round pick in June would be a huge loss for a team in need of a star to ball alongside Davis, but because the trade acquires Cousins, the first and second round picks aren’t that much of a loss, while still being significant to New Orleans. One worry for the Pelicans though, is whether or not Cousins will resign with the squad when his contract runs out in a year and half. It is possible that Boogie will leave for a more proven team in terms of winning ability, after being sick of getting nowhere in a 6 year term with the Kings and nothing to show for it. If the Pelicans wish to keep Boogie come 2018, they’re going to have to start winning, which is obviously a possibility now that Cousins will be backing up Anthony Davis, and even making a nice trio with Jrue Holiday at the point. The future is definitely bright for this young team now that Boogie’s in New Orleans.

But are the Kings actually winning in this trade? They’ve managed to get 3 players and 2 picks in the draft, for a player who is likely to be fouled out in every game he plays in due to his temper. Obviously, Kings’ fans are not happy with the trade of their best player by a country mile, which I genuinely respect, but they’re yet to realise that if Boogie was to stay in Sacramento, the odds of him resigning with the Kings were very slim, meaning the team would have to let him go for nothing, much like the Thunder did with Kevin Durant in the off-season. If you ask me, it’s much better to lose Boogie for 3 players and 2 potential stars at the end of the year, than to keep Cousins for another year and a half, with the playoff picture very unlikely in that period, and to let him go for free with virtually no chance of him resigning to a losing team. This way, they’re getting a back up for Deron Collison in Buddy Hield, an already proven Kings player in Evans, and a significant role player in Langston Galloway, not to mention two potential stars in the draft. It’s totally understandable for the Kings’ fans to be upset with the trade, I mean, they did lose a superstar player on a gamble for potential, but I think it’s time for Sacramento go into rebuilding mode, and to rely on the draft for stars, rather than building around current players. I guess only time will tell who came out the real winners in this trade deal.

Let me know what you think of the trade for Boogie below. Follow my blog for more NBA Discussions, and check out my Twitter for more updates on my blog and just general shite posting. Keep an eye on the blog later tonight for a post on the All-Star game. Enjoy your day!

NBA Discussion; All Star Weekend Day 1 – Celebrity Game and Rising Stars Challenge – 18th Feb 2017

The first day of All-Star Weekend is officially over, and the Celebrity Game and Rising Stars Challenge did not disappoint in providing an exciting opening night for the biggest event in basketball. Big performances from celebrities like Brandon Armstrong and Rachel A DeMita, combined with strong showings from Karl-Anthony Towns and Jamal Murray in the Rising Stars Challenge highlighted the initial night of All-Star Weekend. So let’s get into it.

NBA impersonator Brandon Armstrong, better known as “BDotADot5” on YouTube and social media, claimed the MVP award in the Celebrity Game with a 16 point, 15 rebound performance to get the ball rolling in New Orleans. 2KTV presenter Rachel A DeMita had a great game also, creating a sense of joy from NBA 2K fans watching the game. Armstrong not only had a great game, but brought in his signature James Harden eurostep impression into the game, which undoubtedly was a travel, but was still a nice reference to the YouTube star’s videos. NBA legend Jason Williams, aka “White Chocolate,” brought back his beloved elbow pass in the game, dishing it into the paint for a smooth dime from one of the best in the business in terms of flashy passes. The celebrities acknowledged one of the largest trends online by bringing the “Mannequin Challenge” into the game, freezing the court after an airballed 3 point attempt, which highlighted the fun that was brought on by the celebs. Compared to recent years, I feel this was the best Celebrity Game in the last 5, maybe 6 years, and the Mannequin Challenge showed the celebs weren’t taking the game too seriously, but provided a fair balance of balling and entertaining the fans, which is of course what this game is all about.

The Rising Stars Challenge was, as it normally is, a lot of fun to watch, with a game filled with fast-paced offence and a ludicrous amount of highlights, and obviously an almost ridiculous lack of defence. Jamal Murray brought home the MVP title in a 36 point, 11 assist showing for the World rookies, splashing 9 threes in the progress. Buddy Hield was just a fun player to watch, throwing lobs, catching lobs, and throwing the ball off the glass to himself and finishing with a 360 lay-up, highlighting what this game is all about; having fun and entertaining the fans. Jonathon Simmons had a great game also, with more than a few dunks in the game and one of the filthiest blocks I’d ever seen. Frank Kaminsky was red-hot all game, splashing 3’s from everyone on the court, showing he has the range to make it in the NBA. Nikola Jokic released his inner Chris Webber, showing his playmaking skills with several impressive dimes to Kristaps Porzingis, who also had a great game with a mix of dunks and 3-pointers. D’Angelo Russell was showing off the handles all game, dancing around defenders and knocking down shots for most of the night, he also had a great game. Karl-Anthony Towns had a huge game, flying up and down the court in transition, showing he has the agility that most big men could only dream of. And, of course, this was all topped off by Jamal Murray’s MVP performance of splashes and dimes. This was a genuinely exciting game to watch, but I wouldn’t suggest tuning in if you’re fan of hard defence, because that was almost non-existent, aside from a couple of highlight-deserving blocks from Simmons and Porzingis.

Day 1 of the 2016-2017 All-Star Weekend was a big success, and provided an exciting preview of what’s to come tonight and tomorrow with the upcoming events. The Skills Challenge, 3 Point Shootout and Dunk Contest take place tonight, so be sure to check those out before the headlining All-Star Game on Sunday. Let me know what you thought of the Celebrity Game and Rising Stars Challenge, and if you’re going to watch the rest of this weekend’s events, because it’s only going to get better from here on out. Follow my blog for more on All-Star Weekend, and check out my Twitter for my reactions to all the events in New Orleans over the next couple of days. Enjoy your day!

 

NBA Discussion; Miami Bringing the Heat, Melo Trade Rumours Continue, KowarD Shirts – 11th Feb 2017

The NBA’s been filled with drama and surprises lately, with the Miami Heat going on the biggest win streak this season, Carmelo Anthony’s trade rumours continuing to escalate as his performances get better and better, and the Thunder fans wearing the “KowarD” shirts to insult Kevin Durant. Safe to say it’s been a rather dramatic season so far, but previous weeks have topped it off for the 2016-2017 season, so let’s get into it.

First of all; the Miami Heat. Oh my God. How are they doing this? They’ve went on the longest winning streak of season (currently at 13 Ws). Not only that, but they’ve set the NBA record for longest winning streak for a team playing below .500 basketball after surpassing the previous record of 12 games. And the Heat aren’t beating just poor teams, they’ve taken down the Golden State Warriors, the Rockets and the Hawks on this crazy stretch of fantastic performances, so nobody can really say they’re at an easy part in the schedule. I must confess, I’d written off the Heat as a playoff team back in November, but recently I have to give credit to Waiters, Whiteside and even Dragic, who have been balling out lately as they’ve led the former NBA giants to just 1 game behind a playoff seed. If they can continue to play the way they’ve been playing, the Heat could shock some fans into making a playoff run, not a deep playoff run honestly, but second round isn’t completely out of the question if they keep this run up. Miami are really bringing the Heat to the league.

I genuinely feel sorry for Carmelo Anthony at this stage. These trade rumours are getting completely out of hand, despite Melo’s recent outstanding performances in clutch games on a struggling Knicks team. It doesn’t make much sense; when the Knicks lose, Melo’s to blame, but when they win, it’s because of Porzingis’ performance. These aren’t my thoughts, but the logic of Knicks fans, who show no love to the player stopping them for being dead last in the conference, even if they aren’t in the playoff picture. Melo’s been linked to several teams this season; the Clippers, the Cavs, and most recently, the Bulls. I feel Melo could actually fit well on a Bulls’ squad, as a secondary scorer behind Jimmy Butler, but it’s unlikely to happen as the Bulls don’t have a lot to trade for a player like Melo. Carmelo’s been balling out recently, clinching some much needed wins in close games for the Knicks, despite the rumours of him getting traded hanging over his head every day. Wherever he ends up, I give props to him for handling the speculation so well and playing to his full ability despite not being wanted by the majority of the Knicks fanbase, who I have absolutely no respect for anymore.

The Warriors are taking on the Thunder in Oklahoma tonight, which means the “beef” between Westbrook and KD has escalated as the former duo battle it out once again. Kevin Durant has reportedly hired extra security for the game in OKC tonight, tripling Golden State’s security for the night, as he is clearly anxious of being attacked or mobbed by angry fans. But the story of the night is this:

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This is the t-shirt OKC Thunder fans will be wearing to show their disgust at Kevin Durant’s departure to Golden State in the off-season. I genuinely laughed at the image, to be fair it’s very clever. But I think Thunder fans are taking this a bit too far now. Fair enough, Durant was obviously ring hunting when he made the decision to join the Warriors, turning them into the greatest team in NBA history, and it’s completely understandable to brand him a traitor. But he’s not the first player to do it, LeBron also did it when he joined Miami back in 2011, and many have done it in the past. But either way, whether you like or dislike KD, there’s no denying that he’s a fantastic player and scorer, and will most likely be the missing piece the Warriors were looking for to take down LBJ and the Cavs.

Let me know what you think about Miami’s winning streak, Melo’s trade speculation and the KowarD shirts down below. Follow my blog for more NBA Discussions and check out my Twitter for updates on my blog and to keep up with my general shite posting. Enjoy your day!