The trade finalized today by the Cav’s, T’Wolves, and 76er’s has league shifting implications. Even better every team involved obtained what they wanted. It can be said there was no losers.
The Cav’s traded for Kevin Love by giving up Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennet to the T’Wolves and sending a first rounder via Miami to Philly. The deal can be seen as immediately vaulting the Cavs into the drivers seat in the East. Le’bron may have been going home but he has arguably a better team than in Miami. The two things I love is that Lebron is no longer going to have to guard centers ever. He has Varejo, Thompson, and Love in the front court to ease the body usage down low. Also unlike in Miami Lebron has a legit PG to play with. Thats no disrespect to Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole but Kyrie is a much better player. The Cav’s now posses limitless potential on offense. Their only problem will be on defense and buckling down on that side of the ball. Even with losing huge potential in the long run with Wiggins and Bennent the Cav’s are an instant legit contender.
Minnesota now has huge potential with the trade. Wiggins like Jabari Parker seems on board to build with the teams they play for and this could turn out well for the NBA in the long run. The T’Wolves already have Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, and Nikola Pekovic on their roster. Now add in Zach LaVine, Thaddeus Young, Wiggins, and Bennett that is a solid looking team in a few years if everyone pans out. Even really a team with that kind of talent could compete for a championship with that kind of talent. It may seem unrealstic but the possibility is there. The talent is there it all comes down to development and team building. The group of players could be a scary one in a few years.
How can we forget the 76er’s who seem to know exactly what they are doing. They traded away their best player for Luc Mbah a Moute, Alexey Shved, and another all important 1st round draft pick. Moute can help Joel Embiid transition to the NBA as both are from Cameroon and the 1st rounder is key. The 76ers have tanked so hard and have acquired a wealth of young talent. With two first rounders next year and one looking to be a top three pick the 76ers are setting themselves up to turn the corner starting in 2016. With a group of high draft picks the 76ers can become a force to be reckon with if everyone pans out and that could be the case.
The trade at the end of the day seems to benefit every team in the ways they wanted/needed. The T’Wolves needed to get something for Love and they got exactly what they wanted. The Cav’s are going to compete for years to come at a very high level. The 76ers got worse which for some reason means they got better? Only time will tell.
Conspiracy theories are always fun and every situation can produce a few so here is mine. For the record, I am not saying that this is true!
During the last few days my friends have been discussing the impossible situations that could have been happening. Here is my favorite. Back at the 2003 NBA Draft, Lebron, the Heat and the Cavs talked it out. Miami told the Cavs to take the hometown hero and build him up. When Lebron became a free agent he would leave for Miami to win multiple championships but playing with Wade and a player of his choice. Dan Gilbert played it off like it was a stab in the back, make the fans hate him, make it seem less planed, burn some jerseys so when he comes back fans are forced to buy new ones. When the four year contract expires he would make the very emotional commitment to return to his hometown and bring hope and rings to the city.
Well that’s my theory, what’s yours? comment below with what you think could have happened.
I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.
In a very emotional first person essay on SI.com, Lebron James announces that he will be returning to his home town to play with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The rumor talk is over and all the speculation can be put aside because the king has chosen. This decision goes beyond the greatest basketball player on Earth choosing a team to play for, this is the beginning of the reawakening of a city and restoring hope to a city that means so much to Lebron.
The painful and disrespectful announcement four years ago stirred up emotions and as a city wept, Lebron went to South Beach. Jerseys were burned as their hometown hero left for bigger and better things. Dan Gilbert’s letter was to raise the spirits of those fans who lost all hope. Ironically that same letter almost kept their hero from ever coming back. Lebron says “I’ve met with Dan, face-to-face, man-to-man. We’ve talked it out. Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?”
My 8-year-old: “Daddy, does this mean I can finally wear my Lebron jersey, again?”…Yes it does, son. Yes it does!
Lebron went on to build the “Big 3” with Wade and Bosh in Miami and win not one but two championships. He says that the hardest thing to do is leave something that he created and built. He says that twice in his essay, one when he left to go to Miami and again when he leaves his team that he engineered to win in Miami.
The thought that Lebron is going to be joining a team with Kyrie Irving, Andrew Wiggins and with two first round draft pick in the future draft will make any sports fan drool. It will be a spectacular show.
He says this decision goes beyond basketball, it is that he grew up in Cleveland, he loved his city and he wanted his children to grow up there and learn that “In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.”
It’s always a difficult chore picking the bracket that you think will win all the money. I make about 13 this year because I am really struggling in picking the right amount of upsets. But I’m confident in my final decision (at least I should be to win $1 billion).
Casey Prather and the Gators are not afraid of a strong south region.
The south is the hardest region, no doubt about it. Florida has the best defense in my opinion. They out rebound most of their opponents, and continually get second chance points off of offensive rebounds. That alone should push them ahead of the rest in the region until they face a very good Michigan State team in the final four.
Pittsburgh has a very poor half-court defense. They look more for offensive opportunities and capitalize on them. unfortunately for them they got placed in the south and have to play Florida in the round of 32. If they were placed in the east, I would give them the upset over Virginia.
UCLA is very good at scoring averaging 81.8 points per game in a scheduled that isn’t all that easy. They can put up a legitimate chance on taking down the Gators but with their lack of offensive rebounding, they will come up short.
Syracuse has also looked very inconsistent lately. They started 25-0 but then after a loss to Boston College they have been struggling to get back to that dominance. Jerami Grant was hurt during that time though and now that he is back and has 2 games back under his bet he will be able to dominate the offensive glass and put up the points to complement Tyler Ennis and CJ Fair. This team may look good to make a deep run but Florida may be a little to much for them. Continue reading →
This seams to be a subject on everyone’s mind. Tune into ESPN or NBA Network and all you hear about is tanking in the NBA. What is stirring up these conversations? My Philadelphia 76ers. They have been doing everything they can to throw their season down the drain. At this point they don’t care what their fans think, and at this point their fans can, for the most part, agree with the decision. There has also been a strong negative feeling toward tanking in the NBA. Is it really that bad though?
The 76ers haven’t just tried to lose, they have done everything they possibly can to eliminate every chance they have at winning. There is a very good chance of them losing every game until the end of the season. They are already on a 15 game losing streak and at this rate they are looking at finishing that streak at 36-games (in other words, always pick against them in ESPN Streak for the Cash).
Philly’s GM Sam Hinkie must have gone to college to learn the best way to intentionally sabotage yourself. Continue reading →
There are only 3 unbeatens left in college basketball, Arizona, Syracuse and Wichita State. With selection Sunday in two months who can stay that way?
No. 1 Arizona (17-0, 1st in Pac-12)
Arizona has been lights out, destroying their competitors by up to 50 points. They have had only one real test so far with a game back in November against Duke who was No. 6 at the time. They proved to be as good as there rank and won by 6.
Averaging 75 points a game, the wildcats real weapon is their work on the boards. With 40 rebounds per game, they are able to win the battle for balls off the glass and get second chance points. Freshman Aaron Gordon is the best rebounder of this team. Averaging 8 rebounds and 16 points a game, Aaron Gordon has been a big reason why this team has been successful and looks like they can keep it up. They have only two games coming up against a ranked team and that is against No. 21 Colorado.
No. 2 Syracuse (17-0, 1st in ACC)
The Orange showed some signs of struggling against teams like St. Francis Brooklyn but then proved otherwise against No.18 Baylor, No. 8 Villanova and UNC. They looked promising after winning the EA Sports Maui Invitational beating both Baylor and Minnesota in the process.
They have players at all positions that can put up points and carry the team on a run like C.J. Fair and Trevor Cooney but who might be most impressive is the freshman Tyler Ennis who might be the best point guard in the country right now. With almost 12 points per game he gives Syracuse a shooting weapon but also he creates opportunities with close to 6 assist per game. With a home and home serious with Duke including the highly anticipated game at the Carrier Dome, the Orange don’t have it easy down the stretch.
No. 5 Wichita State (1st in Missouri Valley Conference) The Shockers barely made it away with a win at Missouri State on Saturday with a 3 point win in OT. That wasn’t their first close game of the season. Many say that this team will maker it to the tournament perfect and there is a very good chance of that seeing the don’t have a single ranked team on their schedule. They might have their hardest test in Indiana State who is shooting an impressing .487 percent which is 21 in the NCAA. Indiana State beat Notre Dame already this season as well. If they can make it past that I think try can easily stay perfect.
The new year is just around the corner but lets look back at the best and worst moments of the past year with SportsCenter Images of the Year 2013. Lebron and the Big 3 win another ring, Boston Strong and the lights go out in the Super Bowl. A-Rod under fire and the now ex-8 time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong. Andy Murry wins at Wimbledon, Phil wins The Open and Auburn beats Bama and the final year of BCS. Chip Kelly changes the NFL with the Eagles, a grand slam by Big Papi in the ALCS leads to a Boston World Series. Duffnering, Louisville wins it for Kevin Ware, Ray Allen saves the Heat’s Run, the freshman Jameis Winston wins the Heisman and a proper send off to the great Mo. Time to put all that in the rear view mirror and look ahead at 2014.
Seton Hall was able to beat Niagara, 83-72, but the big story was that the two teams were able to rack up 73 personal fouls in one game. There were a total of 102 foul shots taken between the two teams.
This past offseason was focused on officiating more defensive penalties and focusing more on hand checks and other defensive calls. The NBA did away with hand checks back in 2005, the NCAA reviewed it’s rules in June of this year and changed some things like the interpretation on charge/blocking calls.
But maybe the refs at this game went a little over-board this time. In the first half of the season opener, there were 40 fouls and in the second there were 33. Seton Hall shot 52 free throws and Niagara shot 50. In case you were going to go Wikipedia what the record was for most free throws taken in a NCAA basketball game was, I did it for you. Back in 1953 in a game between Northern Arizona and Arizona, a combined 130 free throws were taken. Northern Arizona set the single-game record in free throw attempts with 79.
Let’s just hope this is a one time thing this year, or else we may be stuck watching 4 hour basketball games.
I thought why not better to talk some NBA. Football is in full swing but before you know it basketball will be right upon us. Lets look at three teams right now for this upcoming season with the most to prove.
#3) New York Knicks
2012-2013 season- 54-28 2nd in Eastern Conference. Lost in Conference Semi’s to Indiana Pacers.
For most teams last season would have been a great step in the right direction. Too bad Carmelo Anthony doesn’t have a great track record in the playoffs. He’s never been to the Conference finals and his window of being the big dog is closing. With the highest payed front court in NBA history how can you not make it to the finals. They add a former #1 pick in Andrea Bargnani to this front court that has more talent than any front court in the leauge right now. One problem is that Melo has thrived at the 4 spot and that would mean four starting caliber players would have to share two spots. Possibly Melo can play the 3 more this year and then the paint would be very much clogged up. This could be solved if the Knicks can hit 3’s this year very efficiently. But bottom line Melo. You need to bring this team to the Eastern Conference finals or this was a waste. In my opinion they wont make it there. The Heat will end up there against either the Nets, Bulls, or Pacers. Melo will be looking to either team up with Lebron next summer or any superstar in the same boat as him.
#2) Brooklyn Nets
2012-2013 season 49-33 4th in Eastern Conference. Lost in 1st round to Chicago Bulls.
A few off seasons ago the New Jersey Nets were in shambles until Mikhail Prokhorov bought the team. The Russian Billionaire has showed he isn’t afraid to spend money. He payed for half of the new one billion dollar Barclays Center that is the house of the renamed Brooklyn Nets. Slowly but steadily the Nets made improvement and now they find themselves in Title or bust town right now. They traded for Deron Williams, signed Joe Johnson and drafted Brook Lopez to make the building pieces of a winning team. The team around them had an early exit in this years playoffs but now this team has to win because of what they have done. The Celtics decided to blow up their team and this might be an understatement. The Nets acquired Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry (which people seem to forget but last time i checked is a 38% 3 point shooter for his career and has made the 4th most 3’s of all time and was an influential part of the 2011 Mavericks run to the title). That was just for everyone that forgets the Nets got 3 Celtics not two future hall of famers but probably 3. These three guys can flat out ball still even though they are getting “old”. I still trust them and say that a starting line up of Deron Williams at the 1, Joe Johnson at the 2, Paul Pierce at the 3, KG at the 4 and Lopez at the 5 is the best starting five in the league hands down. Now lets look at the bench that already has Terry but has pieces there like rebounding machine Reggie Evans, versatile big man Andrey Blatche and a promising looking rookie Mason Plumlee. Oh wait there happens to be a Russian Gem the Nets also got Andrei Kirilenko (AK47). How the Nets got this guy for the bargain they did we don’t know. He can really be a game changer coming off the bench and really can be a catalyst for the team. With all these moves made by the Nets it really is win now time. Not even win now, these moves were made to win a championship or bust.
#1 Houston Rockets
2012-2013 season 45-37 8th in Western Conference. Lost in 1st round to Oklahoma City Thunder
Two years ago the Rockets missed the playoffs by two games in the shortened season by the lockout. Then right before last season started the Thunder shocked the basketball world by trading James Harden to the Rockets. The Rockets also signed Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik and drafted Chandler Parsons to make a good foundation. They gave the Thunder a little fight but the Rockets clearly needed more to contend with the best. Dwight Howard had a forgettable season in L.A. and with this being his third team in three years the pressure on him to win is enormous. He is paired with a great young and athletic shooting guard in Harden and they have nice 3 point shooting around them but they really are going to rely on the backs on Harden and Howard. Now people might look at the Nets to be in more pressure to win but the Nets don’t have one of the most scrutinized players in the league on their team. Yes, Dwight Howard is an amazing player and I would love to build a team around him just with all the media pressure he has to win now. He has a great head coach in Kevin McHale and pretty much another coach in arguably the greatest big man in NBA history Hakeem Olajuwon. These are two great people to work with and this team should benefit. The Rockets at least this year need to make the Western Conference finals. The Spurs are a year older but will be good that is a given. The Thunder are very unpredictable this year and the Clippers are the same in my opinion. The West will be a dog fight but I see the second coming of Shaq and Kobe (i know that is a lot of praise) but it can happen. Don’t be surprised Dwight but you really have to win and I believe you can.
Loser: Dallas Mavericks: Since winning the finals Dallas has struggled. J.J. Barea and Jason Kidd left and Tyson Chandler was traded away. Dirk is an aging superstar and can’t exactly carry the load anymore. So Mark Cuban does what he does and has all the money he wants to spend waiting to be used. The Mavs tried to lure Dwight Howard in and this did not work out for them. He decided to go where the opportunity to win now would be more realistic then waiting for next summer and trying to get a Lebron or Carmelo to team up with them. The next big man on the market was former all star Andrew Buynum and the Mavs again missed. He decided on Cleveland. So they got left with Samuel Delenbear. He isn’t a bad big man just he isn’t the huge prize that they were hoping for. They picked up Jose Calderon, Devin Harris, and Monta Ellis to crowd up the backcourt. The Mavs could have went money saving for next offseason when they could possibly reach out for a Chris Bosh kind of player but they won’t. It’s not really their moves that make them the losers its just how they keep striking out on big names lately.
Winner: Cleveland Cavaliers. A team with a bright and rising start Kyrie Irving with fellow 2 guard Dion Waiters has the best young backcourt in the league. And with all this young talent already there what was better than getting the #1 overall pick in the draft. The stayed away from Nerlens Noel which looks to be a good choice. Why take a already hurt undersized big man? Oh wait the Cavilers did that with picking up Andrew Buynum(who is not undersized) for a 2 year 24 million dollar deal. But only 6 million in the first year is guaranteed. So it is a very low risk but high reward for the Cavs. Add another returning big man Anderson Varejao who’s coming off a blod clot in his long that made his miss the rest of last season but has been averaging 14 and 14 per game before the clot. Thats a solid center tandem. Back to the #1 overall pick and the draft. The Cavs suprised many people by taking Anthony Bennett. Yet this move makes some sense. Bennett averaged 16PPG and 8RPG in college but a even bigger contribution was his 37.5% from 3 point range. This can help stretch the court and give Buynum and Varejao more space on the inside and even take out the opposing 4 of the paint sometimes and give Irving and Waiters a lot of driving space. Earl Clark is also a nice pick up for the front court and can provide some stability up there and quality minutes off the bench or even starting if need be. In 23 minutes last year he scored 7PPG and had 5RPG. Thats a good backup big man. Add Jarrett Jack to the mix coming over from Golden State in free agency to give much needed veteran guard to mentor the young tandem of Waiters and Irving and give scoring off the bench. This could be one of the most underrated pickups of the off-season. The Cav’s are not a top 4 seed which would be The Heat, Nets, Pacers, Bulls but they could challenge the Knicks and Pistons for the 5th spot.