NBA Hypocrisy 101: Fanbases scoffed at the Warriors and their Superteam, now they’re trying to be like them.

By Will Stevenson

I thought the NBA season was over with once the Golden State Warriors finally defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 4-1: Little did we know the NBA Offseason had just begun. With the formation of the Warriors through last offseason’s free agency, they blitzed through the regular season and through the playoffs only losing 1 game to the Cavaliers in the Finals. The talk of the sports world was evident, although the we hate the reality of Superteams in theory, we could not hate enough to not tune in to what they were accomplishing. We were all a witness to the dismantling of the Cavaliers in Game 1 and 2, and even when they seems to “struggle” in Games 3 and 4, they still were able to keep the pressure on in route to another championship. So what do we want as fans? Do we hate the Warriors enough to just give up and let them have their way the next few years, or do we clamor for our perspective teams to ante up to take them down? We as fans and they as athletes aren’t hypocrites are we?

Yes. Yes we are. Yes they are. Funny how things seem to work themselves out once you seem what happens when a team dominates a season in which they acquire a top-5 player through free agency. The same fanbases that ridiculed the Warriors last offseason have now set their eyes on Paul George, Jimmy Butler, Chris Paul and others. I thought we were against “made up” teams? I thought these players didn’t have balls or whatever fortitude we’ve come up with the describe their lack of masculinity. It is wonderful to watch as fans, players, and organizations realize what is on the horizon: They can either wait and build, or go for it all and hope for some things to break their way. With the space and pace offense hitting its stride in the new NBA, teams are focusing on acquiring as much talent as possible with the salary cap inflation over the past two years. With a looming lockout on the horizon, teams want to get the players they want under the current salary cap model, as new extensions and the super-max approach.

We should be happy the Warriors won this year, and not last year. If the Warriors win last year, then maybe Durant doesn’t sign, even though signing Harrison Barnes to the max and making him the highest paid player on the Warriors wasn’t in the plans. If the Warriors win, then maybe Lebron doesn’t sign a 2 year contract and goes back to his 1 year with an opt out clause. If the Warriors win, then Lebron doesn’t have his championship while JR Smith, Iman Shumpert, Delly-Meat, and Mozgov are all on contracts that don’t put them in the 10-17 million a year range. If the Warriors win last year, then maybe this offseason teams are still going around added minor pieces, still think they can get away with an average roster.

What needed to happen happened, and the NBA will be better for it. Teams that we think to have a chance don’t have a chance the way they are constructed, so now they must push the envelope to acquire talent via trade. With offenses being more explosive, having three to four all-stars on one team won’t inhibit ball movement, especially if enough shots are being taken. For middle of the road and bottom feeder teams, now is the opportunity to fleece a contender into taking a potential 26-27 year old star off your hands. Teams like Philly (Noel to the Mavericks), Indiana (Paul George), Chicago (Butler), Brooklyn (Lopez), Suns (Bledsoe), Magic (Maybe Aaron Gordon), Knicks (Nevermind, I doesn’t matter), Lakers (Everybody), Clippers (Jordan), Thunder (Kanter) and the Pistons (Drummond) are all in to take future draft picks for guys who could make a difference on a contending team.

Hypocrites we were and hypocrites we are. We all scoffed at the notion of Superteams, but who’s trying to get a Superteam now? Enjoy.

LeBron Is KING.

LeBron James has been keeping the cavaliers relevant since he rejoined the team. He delivered on his promise of a championship and has done outstanding things in the community. He receives a lot of hate like he is a bad guy but I believe that hates comes from him being so good at what he does.

This season is going to plan but the Cavaliers might want to beef up the roster because they don’t quite measure up to the top teams from the western conference. My sleeper team this year is the Rockets because they are a deep team with a lot of shooting from behind the arch and a few scrappy big guys who are hungry for rebounds and hustle points.I think they can give the Cavs a run for their money but they have to get past the Spurs and the Warriors.

The Cavs are signing Deron Williams who is on the back nine of his career and it is rumored that Andrew Bogut will sign with them as soon as he gets a buyout from the 76ers. To me on paper this does not make them deeper, but it makes them have some names that are now washed up and hoping KING LEBRON can carry them on his back and win them a championship.

I do think he will win it this season because the Warriors are all hype and no bite. They just will have a hard time this year getting past the Spurs and the Rockets and I do see them losing in the playoffs this year. Look for LeBron to get his 4th ring this season and remain the king of the NBA.

written by Melvin Jackson III

Championship or Bust

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By Brandon Thomas

There was no team in NBA history that had ever overcome a 3-1 deficit…. that was until the Cleveland Cavaliers led by LeBron James and Kyrie Irving became the first team to overcome this deficit, not only did they do it they did it against a team that won 73 games in the regular season.

For Warrior fans, this was a long offseason, questions about how team would rebound. Could they make another run with the team as it was constructed?

Then came July 4th 2016.

The Warriors landed the most prized free agent in this year’s class, former MVP Kevin Durant giving the Warriors a record four All-NBA players on one team. Durant’s acquisition made the Warriors the overwhelming favorites to win the championship this season. Durant brings a deadly scorer that teams have to honor down the stretch of games (Cleveland seldom guarded Harrison Barnes in the 4th quarters of the NBA Finals) and Durant provides a major upgrade in all facets of the game. This season all eyes will be on the Warriors, and anything less than a championship will be considered a bust.

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Spurs-Warriors Recap

spurs-warriorsBy Cam Perry

Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs showed the basketball world that they are still contenders out West beating the new look Golden State Warriors 129-100. This score may have shocked some people since the media has said the Spurs are on the decline now that Tim Duncan has retired.

The Spurs got off to a strong start to lead 10-4 before the Warriors went on a 10-2 to be up 16-12 and at that point it looked like Golden State was about to blow the game wide open. Pop smartly put in his bench to give San Antonio more of a scoring punch since the starters were struggling offensively in the first quarter. Speaking of the Spurs bench, the second quarter was the Jonathon Simmons show which he scored 15 points through two quarters and it looks like he has taken his game to the next level from where it was last season. He finished the game with 20 points and should get the game ball for how well he played on both ends of the court.

Everyone on the Spurs outside of DeWayne Dedmon played a solid game against the Warriors and Pop will probably limit his minutes if he continues to play that poorly. San Antonio just looked a step better than Golden State because every time they attempted to make a big run Lamarcus Aldridge and Leonard would answer with points of their own. Aldridge balled out and finished with 26 points after all this speculation on whether he is unhappy with the Spurs a week before the season started. He shut those doubters down having a strong first game to open the season and looked more comfortable than ever out there.

The Warriors sorely missed Andrew Bogut’s presence from last year in this game because San Antonio was able to get whatever they wanted inside all night long and to add that their bench gave them next to nothing is the reason why they lost this game. They are going to need to give a player like Javale McGee more minutes against bigger teams because they will see more of the same if they don’t adjust. Kevin Durant and Steph Curry played well, scoring 27 and 26 respectively. The other members of the Big 4, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson didn’t play well, but you could attribute to the fact that they weren’t involved in the offense enough. The Warriors will figure it out, but it will take 25 or so games for this team to gel. The most impressive player on the court had to be Leonard as he had a career night scoring 35 points and if he continues to play like he did against the Warriors this could be the beginning of an MVP campaign for him.

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Conference on the Rise?

By: Lawrence Edwards

The Eastern NBA conference has been viewed as being the weakest link in the league for some time now. It has basically been LeBron’s playground for the last few years, with the Celtics spoiling his efforts a couple of times in between. Let’s face it; the western conference has been much more competitive amongst each other, than the East has, especially in the playoffs. But I truly believe that is all coming to an end soon.  In the 2016-2017 season I think we’ll see a revitalized competitiveness coming out of the eastern conference.

 

Last season the 8 teams from the eastern conference had a combined record of 394 – 262 compared to the west record of 417 – 239. The east was only 23 games behind the west, but with a good portion of that gap coming from GSW NBA record 73 wins. Over the course of the off-season so far we have seen some major changes in the eastern conference. The Indiana Pacers have been extremely busy adding, quality players in Al Jefferson, Jeff Teague and Thaddeus Young. PG13 and the Pacers are looking to supplant the Cavs as the #1 team in the east this season and I believe they actually have a legitimate shot at doing that. Paul George has always brought his best, especially against LeBron, look for some sparks in this match up.

 

We also can’t forget about the moves that Chicago, New York and Boston have made. Celtics got a much needed big presence in the front court with the addition of Al Horford. Horford is truly one the few complete bigs in the NBA. He gives you scoring and rim protection down low. Last year the Celtics and the Hawks were two of the best defensive teams in the NBA and with Celtics getting the 6’10 defensive anchor from Atlanta, Boston could easily be the best defensive team in the league this season and get to at least 53 wins.

The Chicago Bulls barely missed the playoffs last year, (their record would’ve gotten them at least the 8th seed in the west last season) getting edged out by Detroit by two games. Gone are the days of the Bulls once golden child Derrick Rose. Chicago has a completely different look now. You have the new faces of Rondo, Wade and Robin Lopez there to try and get this team back to the postseason. Sure Rondo is like one of the most hated players in the league right now but you cannot deny the potential chemistry here. Rondo has always been a pass first point guard and has blessed us with some pretty sweet passes over the years. There is no reason to think Butler and Wade will not enjoy Rondo setting them up for easy looks on a nightly basis. Lopez is a young and upcoming center that should turn out to be a nice addition for Chicago and who has game that somewhat reminds me of his brother Brook. With two premier scoring options and a PG who passes the way he does, the Bulls will definitely find themselves in the post season this year.

The Knicks have been the butt of everyone’s jokes lately as the laughing stock of the NBA (Philadelphia has been just as bad if not worse but that’s another story) but something tells me they could be having a good laugh at all the doubters this season. We laughed and clowned when NY drafted KP but we all quickly ate our words once the sneakers were laced up. The point is the Knicks made some nice upgrades at key positions this off-season. Yes Derrick Rose can be considered damaged goods but he can still ball when he is on the court healthy and the addition of Brandon Jennings and Courtney Lee are two underrated signings that give the Knicks more scoring options off the bench as well as some nice rim protection with the addition of Joakim Noah.

You add all that up with fact that Toronto, Charlotte and Detroit will be looking to improve on their respective seasons then, we have the potential to see some real fireworks in the east this season. I have reason to believe that LeBron and the Cavs will not be sweeping anyone in the playoffs this season even if they go all the way to the finals again. The western conference should also watch its back. The east is tired of being viewed as weak and it’s putting a change to all that as we speak.

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What Happened To That Whole Livingston for Finals MVP Talk?

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By Will Stevenson

Remember when Shaun Livingston was going to be the Finals MVP? I Digress… No I don’t. Warriors in 4. Warriors in 5. What happened to that? Lebron’s jumper is broke. Curry is king. Cavs NEED Kevin Love. Blah. Blah. Blah. And this is why I love sports… Opinions get obliterated every day …. Now I digress.

So here we are. Game 7. Everything we have ever wanted in sports; no ties, no maybes, no judges, none of that… Just one winner and one loser. On one side you have the self-proclaimed “King”, Mr. Do It All himself Lebron James, searching for that elusive title Cleveland has been believing for over 60 years. And on the other, the newly anointed King of the NBA, Steph Curry.

Has this series been good? Basketball wise? I mean, as an NBA Finals series, this has been the most noncompetitive in blowouts since the Spurs vs Nets (ew), but somehow both teams have scored the same exact number of points in the series. Now most of these games have been close for a half at the least, but honestly, this has not been a well played series, it only has the extracurricular that keep us fascinated.

I’m excited, I don’t have a rooting interest per say, although I would like to see Lebron win another one just to have folks pipe down about the Jordan comparisons, but I know in truth that will never cease. I would also like to see them come back and win the series after we all buried them during that Game 4 loss.

But If Lebron wins, then what? Are we really going to crown the King once again? Are we really going to hail the Cavs as the best team in the NBA? Or will we dilute them once again by piling on the Warriors for choking (we’ll get to that later) and continue this nonsense about how Lebron is not on Jordan’s level and he only has 3 rings? We will do the latter. And why would we do the latter? BECAUSE THAT IS HOW WE ARE TRAINED! We are not about to sit up here and give Cleveland all the props for winning this series, we will chop them down one by one.

Curry’s knee

  1. Draymond’s Game 5 suspension
  2. Warriors not hitting shots
  3. Bogut’s knee injury
  4. Iggy’s back injury
  5. Lebron is not Jordan
  6. Where will Kevin Love be next year
  7. Is Curry a one-hit wonder
  8. Skip Bayless

It’s what we do.  We have more fun and create more storylines by talking about who failed, rather than who succeeded.  Lebron just posted back to back 41 point games, but all we are talking about is everything but his performance.  It’s commonplace by now, but whatever… I’ll keep writing.

The Warriors. Let’s see… You were up 3-1. You were going back home to close out the Cavs. But wait, Draymond went Nut-Hunting again. You have lost it, up to this point. Your defense is shabby, rotations are terrible, and your one on one defense has suffered. Playing the death lineup is awesome because it’s a lineup, a 85 mph curveball. But when you have to play the majority of the game with that lineup, it’s now a 82 mph fastball. You’re the pitcher in Major League 2, all you have is the soft stuff. There is hope yet. You have the home crowd, Game 7, numbers and Vegas on your side. Maybe a 22-7 start in the first quarter with a couple of 3s may do the trick. Remember Celtics vs Lakers in 08? That was a drubbing from the word go. Maybe The Splash Brothers splash again. Maybe Iggy’s back holds up and he can guard Lebron well enough. Maybe the bench has an outburst. Or maybe the Warriors do what they’ve done this series, be unpredictable. Is karma actually going to come to the Warriors with this choke job? I can’t even believe it for myself.

This series was over, done and forgotten as we would have clowned the Cavs, crowned the Warriors, and moved on the the Ben Simmons draft and “Where’s Kevin Durant going to go”? I mean, my “It was all good just a week ago” was done for the Thunder as they lost in 7 after going up 3-1 on the Warriors. Will I have to do it again?

I’m betting big on Lebron. Logic tells me the Warriors will win, but my pockets are telling me to go with the Cavs. I’m just focused on the points man. (All puns intended).

The Blame Game

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during Game Four of the 2015 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 11, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement.

By Will Stevenson

Now the blame game is not an exact science, although it can be calculated with empirical value, we don’t need those numbers to do this sort of thing with sports. With the rise of analytics, the blame game can be narrowed down to the actual truth; Is this person to blame, or not? When someone wins Defensive Player of the Year in the NBA, we can go back and watch all of their highlights; blocks, steals, hustle and so forth. With analytics, we can actually determine what their defensive presence means for them and for their team. You may have DeAndre Jordan as a nominee, but the numbers show that his one on one defensive, pick and roll defense, and closeouts on 3s and jumpshots are not that good. You may think Hassan Whiteside is a big man you need to guard the paint, but then you realize he may just be a weak-side shot blocker and that’s about it.

So who are some of the members of Blame Game in sports?

1. Terrell Owens
2. Lebron James
3. Carmelo and his greediness
4. The Kobe Contract
5. The curse of the Cubs
6. John Starks
7. Detroit Lions Front Office

So for us, as sports fans, we don’t need no stinking numbers… We have the eye test, our gut, and our emotions.

Draymond Green was suspended for Game 5 of the NBA Finals. When I heard this news, my first thought was, “So what? They’re at home, they will win”. Not so fast right there on that one… I was using previous eye knowledge to comfort my bias. See, we don’t really understand what a certain player means to a particular team, and it’s much harder in basketball, because things can occur that have nothing to do with that player being out. Last night, the first half was up and down, with both teams scoring in the 60s. Now the Warriors defense isn’t that bad, especially at home, but there was something missing, Draymond Green. Lebron James was able to do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted to. Mo Speights has no chance guarding Lebron on the perimeter. James also had 9 rebounds in the first half, which if Green was there, would not be happening. Another thing that occurred was the increased volume of ball handling for Steph Curry. With Green on the floor, Curry is able to run off screens, and have another big to stretch the floor with 3pt shooting. Curry was making awful turnovers, because he had to bring the ball up the floor every time.

The Warriors lost Game 5 because Green was suspended, right? Wasn’t Green playing in Game 3 when the Cavs won by 30? So who do we blame? Kerr? Steph? Draymond? The players on the floor? Draymond is the one player who sets the defensive tone for the whole team. He can and will guard all 5 players, while also rebounding and running the offense. With Green gone, Lebron and Kyrie both went for 41. 41! Is Green to blame? Or is the fact that Lebron has found his jumpshot over the past 3 games…

We don’t need no stinking numbers, we have our eyes, and our eyes tell us…

The Blame Game

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