NBA Non-Playoff Run: The Basketball Gods are coming

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By: Will Stevenson

With the end of the NBA regular season coming to an end, the actual basketball coverage continues to dwindle. We have teams at the top of the standings that are just hoping to get to the playoffs without any injuries, teams in the middle jockeying for home court, teams at the bottom still fighting to stay in the playoffs, and the teams trying kinda-sorta to keep their lottery pick. The teams who have no hopes of the playoffs are shutting down veteran players and giving those minutes to the young guys, while those coming up on free agency are showcasing for the offseason. Defense hasn’t been great this season, so those games between losing teams seems unwatchable to most casual NBA fans. The NBA isn’t like most sports as in they have a long season, so marquee matchups down the stretch don’t have the shine as they were suppose to have when the scheduling was being made. More than those who are in the playoffs, lets take a look at the teams we thought would be competing for a playoff spot this year.

  1. Hornets (32-40) 3 GB of the 8th seed
    Kemba Walker has done all he can to keep the Hornets afloat this season. Even with the emergence of Cody Zeller and Frank Kamisky, the Hornets are still a team full of face cards: They can’t outright win with a spade, but they can get a book every now and then with a King of Clubs. Coach Clifford has been able to adjust to the NBA’s rising pace of play by adding more shooters and letting the big men go from the previous roster. The Hornets have one scorer, Kemba Walker, and with them being a below average defensive team, won’t cut it in today’s NBA. Let me not forget about the poor play of Nicholas Batum who is often injured and inconsistent of being a number two player on a given team. The Basketball Gods have awarded the Hornets with Kemba, but it seems as though everything else is just average: Michael-Kidd Gilchrist, Kaminsky, Zeller, Batum and Joseph Forte… I mean Jeremy Lamb.

2. Timberwolves (28-43) 6.5 GB of the 8th seed
50-32, that was pretty much the consensus after Tom Thibodeau was named the Head Coach in the offense. With the play of Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, and Zach Lavine, we had high hopes the Wolves we become the Western Conference darlings, much like the Trailblazers last season. We must have forgotten about the ability to learn team defense and the fact their young stars are just that: Young. Even before the season started, Coach Thibs didn’t like his roster as rumors of old Bulls being traded to the Wolves circulated. Wiggins still hasn’t been able to match is on-ball defense with his offense, and the Wolves aren’t adapting to the 3pt barrage as the rest of the league as of yet.

3. Lakers (21-51) 2nd worst record in the league
New coach, new system, but the same players. The Lakers came out the gate average, but they played with energy, hustle, and ESPN showcase defense. After the injury to Russell, it all fell apart and the run to keep that Top 3 protected pick in this year’s draft was the only thing to shoot for. I didn’t think the Lakers would make a playoff run, but I imagined them winning 30-35 games this season. Maybe the Basketball Gods will punish the Lakers again and knock them out of the lottery this season. Only can only hope.

4. Pelicans (30-42) 5 GB of 8th seed
Anthony Davis. That’s pretty much the team in a nutshell, but after an offseason spending on mediocre role players, the Pelicans were looking to be a team of 3 and D. Jrue Holliday , Tyreke Evans, and Quincy Pondexter started out the season on the IR, and Buddy Heild was shooting like the Raptors in last year’s playoffs. Then, the Pelicans pulled off a ransom for Demarcus Cousins. They were 3GB of the 8th seed at that point, and they’ve been falling since. 30 games isn’t enough to say the “Fire and Ice” experiment failed, or to move Boogie in the offseason if they can’t extend him, or to fire Alvin Genty, but the Pelicans must figure out if they want to resign Holliday and keep the team they have for the next few seasons. Once, again, I’m hoping the Basketball Gods give the Pelicans a Top 3 pick. In that case, the Kings would lose out on the opportunity to have 2 lottery picks this season. Or maybe the Pelicans don’t deserve to have a lottery pick this year. I’m conflicted.

5. Blazers (33-38) 1.5 GB of the 8th seed
We see it all the time in sports. A team stays hot and overachieves during a season, and then they overcomplicate things in the offseason which makes the next season impossible to replicate. The Blazers were flying high as they lost in the second round to the Warriors last year. They have two guards that could score form any place on the floor, 3 and D winds, and athletic big men who could run the floor and make plays from the high post. It all went downhill with the explosion of the Salary Cap last summer. The Blazers needed to hit the salary floor and add players to a roster that seem pretty good, and young. They paid Mo Harkless, Allen Crabbe, Evan Turner and Festus Ezeli. Harkless is average, Crabbe is average, Evan Turner needs the ball to perform, and Festus hasn’t played a game this season. Offense is the trend this season, but if your guards can’t stop penetration and your bigs can’t defend the rim on a consistent basis, then a bad shooting night will result in multiple losses.

6. Bulls (34-39) 1.5 GB of the 8th seed
Breaking News: The Bulls have signed Rajon Rondo and Dwayne Wade. I knew it was downhill from there. After the Bulls let Noah go and traded Derrick Rose, I figured they would be going in a younger direction, even with Taj Gibson outplaying Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic at every turn. I figured, and I was wrong. The Bulls decided to go against conventional and analytical wisdom to pick up two over-thirty-non shooting-high usage players to their team. Even after the high 3pt percentage games to start out the season and a Wade game-winner, the Bulls fell back to earth as they should  have. They ended up trading Gibson and McBuckets to the Thunder for Cameron Payne, and lost Wade to injury a few weeks ago. To no surprise, they’ve played better without him. Rondo’s play on the court hasn’t been the issue this year as he has played well off the bench. I don’t know what the Bulls will do this offseason, but I do not want to see them get swept by the Cavaliers if they make the playoffs. If by chance, the Kings get screwed in the lottery and they land outside the top 10, the Bulls will get that pick. I don’t know what the Basketball Gods will do this summer.

For these franchises, the season was full of hope back in October. Whether it was injury or inconsistent play, these teams will fin d themselves in the lottery if they don’t make a final push to be swept in the playoffs.  If not, there’s always Tinder.

I seriously think you should jump on this wave!

By Lawrence Edwards

OK, before I get started let me tell you that this isn’t a fad that will quickly fade out, nor is it a get rich quick scheme. It’s simple, I am not forcing you or trying to persuade you to do anything. I just want to share with you something that I know sports enthusiasts every where will enjoy and offer you the opportunity to be apart of something or get ahead of everyone else on a trend that is about to take the world by storm. From Football to Cricket we have something every sports will fall in love with. You have two options: Affiliate or Player. I will go in to great detail about both and most importantly the coming of a game changing sports app by United Games that is going to absolutely blow your mind!

Now what we are talking about here is an app that will let you enjoy your favorite sport interactively while watching the game. This app is going to bring a new dynamic way of playing of enjoying sports. It’s not just going to focus on the major sports but every sport.  The point is to get everyone to enjoy sports better, not just the people who have time for drafts and 4 different fantasy leagues or the ones who are good at selecting the right combination of players in order to enjoy the experience.

Now, as I previously mentioned you have two options to join this wave, either as a player or an affiliate. If you want to just be one of the first to enjoy the experience of this game changing app then sign up as a player for free. You will be a pre-registered player and once the app launches within the next 5 weeks you can begin enjoying your interactive sports experience and start earning some rewards and points. I don’t know about you but once I started playing fantasy football and basketball, the game became THAT much more interesting to me. I began to pay attention to things that I didn’t before. This interactive app will award every real sports fan the same experience but much better – did I mention that some of EA Sports former developers are building this thing? – Get ahead of the trend, this app is coming and it’s going to change the way we enjoy sports forever and it will be the first of it’s kind, share it with your neighbors, share it with your family, if they love sports, chances are they will love this!

Now if you are interested in becoming an affiliate of United Games and getting the opportunity to not only get ahead of the trend but earn some money while doing it, then this the route you want to go. Now let me tell you this isn’t a pyramid scheme or something wild like that, if you don’t want to be an affiliate then you don’t have to. We aren’t trying to recruit people for money, we are just offering an opportunity to earn some income based off of people just playing the game. Now when this was brought to me a few weeks ago I had my initial negative thoughts. I was told that I can become an affiliate for free, feel it out see if I like it and if I do I would have to pay a one time fee of $30 to stay an affiliate and $9.99 a month to maintain my affiliate site and if I don’t just simply cancel no harm done. Now I’m no easy person to convince to join things, so I did my own research before I agreed to sign up for anything. Now I hate selling things, I’m terrible at it, so the fact I didn’t have to sell a product and it was an app – I’m a huge tech junkie – helped me decide to really read up on it. So I did my research and found that this app could really be something special and I don’t have to pay my fee until the app launches in 4-5 weeks at the time of this writing. I figured, what can I lose? I can jump on board playing a new fantasy app and maybe earn some money while doing it. Every time you share the app and someone signs up, whether as an affiliate or a player, and starts buying or earning tokens, you get a piece of the pie, NICE! Another selling point for me was the fact that in order for you to earn income you have to fill out tax form 1099. That right there let me know it was legit. Now United Games is offering this opportunity only up until the app launches in 5 weeks. Once it goes live, the affiliate opportunity will be no longer offered. You will only be able to download and use the app.

Whether you sign up to be a player or an affiliate I can assure you that this app is going to change your sporta experience. The point of this blog is to get the word out that a Giant is coming and to offer, what I believe to be a grand opportunity to be apart of the next big thing. If you like what you heard here today feel free to drop a comment, email me (lawrence.edwards115@gmail.com) or if you got here through my Facebook link, just shoot me a DM and I will happily send you a link to be an affiliate or a free player so you will be all set to go when the app launches. Once you click the link there will be more information for you to read through to get an even better understanding. You’re going to love this!

Here is a one page info sheet you can look at to get more information. Feel free to contact me with questions.

 

Things We Must See in WK 2

By Lawrence Edwards

OK, we are coming up on pre-season week 2 and I have just 4 things I hope to see this Saturday afternoon when the Giants take on the Bills.

1.  Eli and Odell on the field

2.  A better look at the new defensive line

3.  Improvement with the second team defense

4.  Bobby Hart with starters at right tackle

Before we get started I’ll give just a brief once over of some of last week’s highlights. Last week Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. did not play. The first team defense looked good, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo revealed his revamped NASCAR package, the second team defense didn’t look so good and Ryan Nassib straight stunk up the field. Did I miss anything?

Nassib’s performance last week should showed everyone why Eli Manning’s iron man streak is a blessing for Big Blue. Hopefully we get to see Eli and OBJ playing this weekend against the Buffalo Bills. Eli clearly didn’t agree with the decision to sit out last week’s pre-season opener. He stated “I need the preseason” during an interview with Good Morning Football. Plain and simple, Eli Manning is one of those QB’s who likes to play in the preseason. You can’t blame the guy for wanting to get in as many rehearsal reps as possible before the games begin to mean something in September. If Eli and Odell do indeed play this Saturday, then we will get to see a little glimpse at what Shepard and Odell can be like together with Eli throwing them the ball. Shepard was able to create separation on almost every play last week but Nassib couldn’t seem to put the ball in the right place for his receiver to make a play. Shepard’s only catch came on his sheer will to get the ball on a badly underthrown 24 yard pass. He showed what he was capable of last week, so there is no reason to think we can’t be in for a little surprise when he has Eli under center and not Nassib. Look forward to seeing Eli test out his new weapon early Saturday afternoon.

The Giants new defensive line gave us a small taste of what could be this season, last week when they faced Miami. The line got constant pressure, never giving Tannehill anytime to set his feet and deliver the ball. Rookie CB, Eli Apple, played very well and Owa Odigizuwah looked like a man with something to prove. We should see Vernon and JPP on the field for possibly a few more snaps than they played last Friday. This matchup will be a really good gauge at what these two can do in the pass and run game due to the fact they face a dual threat QB this week in Tyrod Taylor. Both JPP and Vernon are defensive ends who play the run just as good as the pass. It will be interesting to see how these two handle a team who can run the ball at QB and RB. Of course this all depends on how much Rex Ryan will open up his playbook this week. He might look to keep his newly signed QB out of harm’s way as much as possible. We may also get another look at the new NASCAR package which features Devon Kennard, JPP, Owa, and Vernon on the defensive line. I don’t know about you, but I am excited to see the new defensive line get after it, especially after the promising signs they portrayed last week.

After the initial optimism the first team defense gave, the second team came in and caused concern. Take note, however, that Owa is not included in my criticism of the second team defense. This unit couldn’t really carry over the ability to pressure the QB outside of Owa. The good news here is the Giants don’t necessarily “lack” depth on the DL. After the first teamers the second unit is really just young and inexperienced. They have some potential talent there with DE Romeo Okwara and DT’s Greg Millhouse, and Davon Coleman. We need to see progression in this unit on Saturday. Yes the preseason is about assessing your starters but I believe of the major reasons for it is to get a good look at what kind of depth your team will have throughout the season. Everyone says the Giants biggest issue over the last few years was staying healthy. However, injuries happen and there is nothing you can do. Depth has been the biggest issue to the Giants, not necessarily all the injuries. The second team defense or at least a handful of them, needs to show they can be called upon to contribute in the case a starter goes down. They need to get pressure on the QB to disrupt passes and get those hands up to bat balls down when they can’t get to the QB. The Giants season all depends on if their starter’s ability to stay healthy and if not, it comes down to if the depth on the roster be counted on.

I don’t believe there is one Giants fan on this earth that agrees with Marshall Newhouse starting at RT. At this point fans are willing to replace Newhouse with anyone capable of playing RT. He just solidified the fans concerns last week. It’s time to give the fans what they have been asking for and let Bobby Hart get some game time action with the starters so he can eventually replace Newhouse. Bobby Hart is only in second year but some have seen enough to think he can and should immediately take Newhouse spot on the line. Hart played very well last week during run and pass situations, but it was with the second team offensive line. After last week’s outing, Bobby Hart deserves a shot at playing with the starters this week. We already know what Newhouse can’t do with the starters so it can’t hurt to put Hart in rotations and see if he can hold his own. Next week would be a great test for Hart because the Giants take on the Bills dominant defensive front. If hart does get the start, plays well Saturday and throughout the remainder of preseason, we may very well get the scenario we all are hoping for.