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2015 – 2016 NBA Preview – Eastern Conference

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Atlantic Division

Toronto Raptors

In this ‘Jurassic World’ these dinosaurs are anything but prehistoric. They really are the north and adding some Canadians to their core of Kyle Lowrey and DeMar DeRozan precisely points to this, compass or map. B.B. cover star Corey Joseph bolsters the bench, whilst former number one lottery pick or bust Anthony Bennett is the wildest of cards. There’s one Canadian we don’t want to see on the floor however and that’s top rapper and owner Drake. The one day Kentucky alumni is meek, not Steph Curry with the shot. Can we let this go? So long as Aubrey Graham does not let it fly in Air Canada!

Brooklyn Nets

D-Will has made his way. Now, Deron Williams is calling Dallas home once again it’s all on J.J., whether All-Star Joe Johnson or Sixth Man Jarrett Jack out the box. The B.K. is going to need more J’s to compete, even in a rotting apple before its no sleep in Brooklyn.

New York Knicks

Are the Knicks really mellowing on Carmelo? Sure Phil Jackson’s triangle plan may be a Bermuda right now and Derek Fisher could be clutching at a job, but that’s no reason to blame the one guy from Syracuse who gave it all to these orangemen. They owe him. Big man and pick Porzingis could be a start. At first they hated but this top ten chart climber could be the next Dirk…or irk. The Garden could still be Eden again, but right now there’s potholes in the Madison Square lawn.

Philadelphia 76ers

The Lakers passed on Okafor?! No worries, the Sixers will give him a cap, even if he disregards their sweet new jerseys. This teams new look is an instant classic and Jahil forms a formidable frontline alongside Nerlens Noel. Now if only Joel Embiid could stay healthy…then this frontcourt of centres could scale Brotherly Love sports to walk even taller than those Rocky steps.

Boston Celtics

The championship days of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce officially ended last year when Rajon Rondo passed on the shamrock. But still this is THE storied NBA franchise that gave you Bill Russell and Larry Bird. Plus Isaiah Thomas is more than just a guy that’s going to remind you of the good ole, golden era 80’s days. Bad Boy or not. Now what they gonna do?

Central Division

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavs…or should we say the King were one stone step away from the throne in this game last year. If it wasn’t for the likes of Steph Curry, Andre Igudola and Steve Kerr, LeBron James would have won it all himself. With Kyrie and Kevin in good health and under contract the crown may just fit, Tristan extension or not. And you thought the new Big Game James wasn’t worthy? This God can turn wine to champagne.

Chicago Bulls

Losing Derrick Rose to injury is almost a thorn in the side given. Losing the services of Most Improved Jimmy Butler was never an issue. Matching the contract was easy, making these two who are both about to be on point a match made in heaven is a hell of a task…even for Thibs. New coach Fred Hoidberg knows Chicago and the Bulls, even those who lock horns. On paper this team is as deep as they come from defensive dominator Joakim Noah to bench veteran Mike Dunleavy Jnr. Still if these stampeding Chi’s want to stay out of the red they need to give the charge to their Spanish Bulls of rejuvenated, EuroBasket MVP Pau Gasol and last years runner up rookie and veteran ready Nikola Mirotic. Then to everyone else they’ll be matador.

Indiana Pacers

At least the Pacers will look good this year, honouring the Indiana Hoosiers with those red classic Hickory jerseys for some classic games with gold shorts shinier than George Hill’s dome. After Lance, losing the interior presence of Roy Hibbert and David West could leave this team watching the paint dry (respect to the late, great Oscar nominated Dennis Hopper) especially putting returning from almost career crippling injury Paul George stretched out, playing the four. This uses to be the Indy 5.00. Now it’s the Paul-George-Hill show. Time to run the picket fence!

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Detroit Pistons

Greg Monroe got Bucks in Milwaukee, but Motor City still has something big under the hood with Andre Drummond. These Pistons are still driven with him and Brandon Jennings. Even if it looks like the motor industry is sputtering in Detroit, like Ford you can always rely on a star-studded vehicle. Motown may have died with Marvin, but with some Motor Oil this town will thrive and throttle through once more. All you have to do is turn it over and give it a good kick…and then it’ll all start up again.

Milwaukee Bucks

The cream re-design is beautiful. Just check the Stag, this team is more mature. Get the point? Well perhaps the alphabet can spell it out for you? There’s O.J, the M.C.W. and now Greg Monroe…the most underrated free agent of this big class. Oh, and Jabari Parker is back and gets to be a rookie once again. This isn’t just his year. Best since Oscar and Kareem? These big Bucks where always meant to stay green. If money talks, then Milwaukee sings. Just ask Jadakiss.

Southeast

Washington Wizards

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it…even with a magicians wand. No hocus pocus, Harry Potter needed here, these Wizards have already pulled a rabbit out the hat. Paul Pierce may be gone but truthfully speaking this teams depth lies in Poland, with the great Gortat possibly the biggest and most underrated big-men in this league of post shadows. No wonder President Obama cares about this capital Washington D.C. side. But forget Kevin Spacey. This is all about the House Of Guards and Lincoln and M.L.K towns new monuments, Beal Street and the great Wall. On your left!

Miami Heat

The King era is dead. That’s last years news. Long live the Heat! Besides Flash never left and original superhero Dwyane Wade is back with a team that’s just added new franchise face Goran Dragic and former top, trading card All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire to last years free agent grab Luol Deng and the upside of Hassan Whiteside. Oh and lets not forget the valiant return of the underrated power of Bosh, defying death and bringing a new lease of life to a team that lost its crown. Now they have one Sinister Six for all the leagues heroes to marvel at. Is the Heat back on? Please…this team never left the kitchen! You can keep the sink.

Atlanta Hawks

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Part two…this time in neon letters. These Hawk eyes still glare like those gaudy new jerseys. Horford, Millsap, Korver and Teague…they’re all All-Stars literally. Now after coming so close its time for the Hawks to keep their talons in this tight competition if they finally want to be American Eagle. Welcome back to Atlanta, the Pac-Man returns like the Dominique dominant 80’s, but can the ATL eat its way to the end of the maze? Or is it all just pixels in this digital age?

Charlotte Hornets

The Lance Stephenson project didn’t really work out did it? Time to roll out the Tank. Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky was a great draft, adding more artillery. But this team needs to be more than Kemba, Kidd-Gilchrist or the Michael of their big-time owner Jordan if these redesigned and rejuvenated Charlotte Hornets want to make a name for themselves beyond the nest of the honeycomb again.

Orlando Magic

The blue chips are down for Shaq’s former team. Even Nick Nolte would have a hard time in shouting this team into shape. Its been a rollercoaster couple of seasons in Mickey’s town but Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton are the future of this small ball revolution league. Give them more tricks via trade and they could bring the kingdom back to the Magic. Now you see them…now it’s time for the second act.

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Millsap Mishap Could Keep Forward Behind 3 Months

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Poor Paul Millsap.

This campaign after becoming one of the biggest free agent pick ups of the offseason, one of the leagues leading Power Forwards has been put down on the medical report with an injury that could call him off sick for a quarter of a year.

The most reliable player over four periods has spent the bird share of his career helping his former Atlanta Hawks make it to the first round knockout stakes of the playoffs each year. But following the season where they didn’t make the cut of the second one, it was time for a change for the 32 year old number 4 who once looked to be the Utah Jazz, Karl Malone replacement Carlos Boozer didn’t turn out to be early in his career alongside former leading Point Guard Deron Williams.

And in the mile high city of Denver with a would be big-three of sophomore sensation Emmanuel Mudiay, dreaded defender Kenneth Faried and of course The Joker with the last laugh Nikola Jokic, these Nuggets in their new Nikes looked golden and finally past that baby blue Carmelo era (they may as well be as Anthony, now with the blue, white and orange of the Thunder isn’t even a Knick anymore (it’s ‘Old York’ now Knickerbockers)). But now like Ben Affleck looking at the ‘Justice League’ box office returns it’s time to ask the Nugs “why so serious” Batman as an injury to their versatile veteran forward of seasoned upon seasons of experience doesn’t exactly put a smile on their face.

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The All-Star was averaging a helpful handful of exactly 16 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists before tearing the ligaments in his left wrist in a 127-109 loss to the Lakers who themselves recently lost all dunking son Larry Nance Jr. to a broken wrist, but are thankful to be having him return after they cut the turkey this thanksgiving. Millsap and the Nuggets are looking at second opinions from docs offering the same sort of speedy recovery that doesn’t sap their frontline. But if they concur with the original diagnosis, it’s three months in a suit and tie and not to mention cast for Paul who will return in late February after the All Star break he normally never takes off.

The man with the three year, 90 mill deal helped make this outside eight seed threat Denver the new gritty, grinding Memphis of the West. Now without him the older than Richard Jefferson roster is thinner than the air up there in Colorado.

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NBA

Somebody Stop The Mask Of Kyrie Irving

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USP NBA: BOSTON CELTICS AT BROOKLYN NETS S BKN BKN BOS USA NY

Smokin’!

Even that phrase delivered at a perfect Jim Carrey pitch can’t quite put into perspective just how hot Celtic Kyrie Irving is right now. Especially in the Boston green, Rip Hamilton face-mask.

Maybe those three little letters would do more justice for this league leader?

You know Menacing, Versatile, Phantom?

No?

How about M-V-P?

Kyrie joins Kobe, former Cleveland Cavalier teammate LeBron James and the man whose about to pass him the Maurice Poldoff torch, Russell Westbrook to be an absolute menace in the Phantom of the Opera face-mask, leaving other teams dead on basketballs biggest stage. He may have fractured and broken some bones in his face, but that won’t stop him as he fractures and breaks the backs and hearts of the faces of all the other franchises he faces off with night after excruciating night.

Those who used to say it must be the shoes (and have you seen his best in show sneaker designs complete with shamrocks like Starbucks on St Patrick’s Day this season heads? Those halloween pumpkin ones were the spice), are now saying it must be the mask.

Sure the plastic profile guard makes for some meme worthy Pinterest fan art appreciation but this guard has made a point at hating it…the sweat inducing mask that is, not the love. These kind of covers can blind you, but like the concussed legend of Celtic great Larry, letting it fly like a Bird above the baskets in the Boston Garden all the way to the rafters (as he saw too hoops like 80’s girls earrings and just aimed for the top one), Kyrie plays through all the pain and frustration. Taking it out on the ball (like opponents on Lakers rookie Lonzo) and the other teams hoops that to him seem bigger than those ones Bruno Mars sang about.

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Take Dallas for example. Irving just masked all his pain by taking the Mavericks for 47 points, 3 rebounds and 6 assists in the last contest that took the Celtics to a sweet sixteen straight. After dropping two games following Gordon Hayward dropping out of the new season before the second quarter of his opening game one even played out, everyone was calling time on these new Celtics as soon as Gordon turned his ankle counter-clockwise. But now one of the best in the association Kyrie is showing LeBron and them he’s just as good as them or anyone alone like this man from down under always wanted to prove. This definition of clutch, who leaves everyone else in the fourth with straws has already shown on a championship scale against Curry of all hot guards that he can take the last shot that really matters. Now forget the Most Valuable Player award for a waning second or even the time his dynamic duo partner in pine Hayward comes back, Irving has the power to dribble drive all the way to the crown on his own.

And it’s going to take more than a mask to stop him.

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The Wind Brings The 2020 All-Star Game To Chicago

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1973. And the first NBA All-Star Game to play in the Windy City of Chicago, Illinois features the last All-Star game in the last season of two lasting Los Angeles Lakers legends. One man who scored 100 points in just one game, Wilt Chamberlain. And one man who was and still remains the one and only logo of this National Basketball Association, Jerry West.

1988. And arguably the greatest All-Star Game of all-time and an even better, best ever All-Star weekend sees Michael Jordan become Michael Jordan. M.J. scored 40 in an 138-133 O.T. A.S.G. win for the East meeting the West. But a day before all that he and the Slam Dunk Contest became even more legendary. As mere moments after storied Boston Celtic great Larry Bird asked “whose coming in second place” before raising his finger in victory before the ABA coloured moneyball ripped through the twine (no Nick Young swag), Money took off from the free throw line like a good doctor for his above the rim J and jumped over everybody including Atlanta Hawk wing spreading, sky-soarer Dominique Wilkins.

Now more than 30 years later after next years All-Star Game in the purple and gold city of Los Angeles and the 2019 one in the redeemed city of Charlotte, the 2020 and 69th All Star Game will be played in Michael’s old town of Chi-city. In the same year as Tokyo, Japan will hold the next Olympic Games, the game of basketball will go back to it’s 90’s roots and an inspired iconic landmark of hoop heaven that didn’t really have the same spirit in the seventies, but really Jumpman took off in the golden era eighties. So much so that the old ’88 All Star Weekend t-shirt is a historical thrift store must find for more than it’s 80’s Tron like, cool, retro logo.

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And with mid-February lovers big blockbuster basketball coming back to the city of wind like the river that runs through it, Chi-town needs this like out of towners need deep dish pizza. You only have to listen to the news or the Common album ‘Nobody’s Smiling’ (you know the legendary M.C. who used to wipe up Jordan’s sweat off the old Chicago Stadium hardwood has to perform at the mid-season classics halftime show) to know this classic city is marred by violence that burns through this second city like fire. The beloved Bulls have even become a “garbage team” to root for too, losing the big-three likes of last seasons Jimmy Butler, Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade (who may even be on a farewell All Star tour once his hometown All Star weekend comes crossed off the calendar and everyone is united in the airlines center).

Now this team who relies on sophomore stud Denzel like Oscar hopeful movies will hopefully be back by the next few valentines. As the heart of the city in twenty twenty will want to see something as visionary as Sinatra’s kind of towns history.

That’s just the Chicago way.

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