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2016/2017 NBA Season Preview-Western Conference

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Northwest Division

Portland Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard doesn’t just get buckets…he gets bars too. If you wanted find a baller who really raps look no further. But his backcourt partner C.J. McCollum is more than just a hypeman. One of the leagues rising superstars is a journalism major on the side too. And he is the one writing his career future. But can he rewrite the Blazers one? The City of Roses is no longer mourning the loss of LaMarcus Aldridge, but we’re going to need a little more from the PDX to keep Portland in it.

Denver Nuggets

Kenneth Faried and Emmanuel Mudiay remain some of the newest and best stars the NBA has under its radar. Whilst household names like Mike Miller and Jameer Nelson keep a veteran sense of presence in the locker room. This baby blue Denver squad has a lot of Nuggets, but this team still searching for a post Carmelo identities biggest x-factor and match-up problem is still that mile-high Colorado air. Other than that this team that has been through a lot of thick is a little thin.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Scream Timber and howl like Wolves all you want but there are no more tickets left when it comes to big Minnesota legend Kevin Garnett. But even after his short return resulted in retirement Da Kids are more than alright. His protegee Karl Anthony-Townes runs this one now. And the SLAM cover star is joined by repeat Slam Dunk champ Zach Lavine, European phenom Ricky Rubio and of course Canada’s very own Andrew Wiggins, who we’re sure even the champion Cleveland Cavaliers wish they kept now in this Golden State age of Kevin. Show these pup some love, because when these Teen-Wolfs become a pack you’ll no longer have to worry about just one man.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Kevin Durant has gone. Lets move on. Serge Ibaka too. Just like James. But Westbrook stayed. Russell re-upped even when he had another year and couple of millions of contract worth to wait. Now that’s commitment. That’s loyalty. Lightening may have struck this Oklahoma home, but Russ West Thunder-clapped back. And now he’s free to roam the whole damn floor this dynamo without the dynamic duo will be dynamite. He has plenty of underrated support in Steven Adams and Enes Kanter. And the Magic may have tricked them for Ibaka, but the Victor Oladipo trade will prove a real treat, making for the scariest, speediest backcourt outside of more than just the wild West. Don’t put the umbrellas up just yet. OKC is O.K.

Utah Jazz

Timetables will turn and tell how well the Jazz will play this year once their child of Mike Dunleavy and Matt Harping, superstar Gordon Haywood returns to the Salt of Lake City. Still the Jazz have more notes with new court compositions Joe Johnson, Boris Diaw and George Hill to sing from the playbook sheet. If these vets can work in-sync with the potential of Derrik Favours, Dante Exum and Rudy Gobert then the Jazz will be miles ahead.

Pacific Division

Golden State Warriors

73 wins may be enough to beat Michael Jordan’s greatest six-peating Chicago Bulls, but not enough to beat LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers in seven games, even at a never beaten before 3-1 advantage. Perhaps it was losing Andrew Bogut in the middle, which has happened again (sometimes people never learn). But as he leaves in free agency, the Dubs have picked up former San Antonio ring bandwagon-er David West to fill the hole and space on his finger. As for the small ball, death line-up changing of the guard don’t worry. Steve Kerr is still leading this unit with the blessings of fellow retired point Steve Nash on board. Steph Curry still has the shot. And he has more than a big-three with Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and former Finals MVP and LeBron stopper, come own shot swatter Andre Igudola. And that’s the Fantastic Four that has ignited the league with the decision made by Kevin Durant. But will this superteam be how the West has won? Or another Shaq, Kobe, Karl Malone and Gary Payton experiment come death of a dynasty undone?

Phoenix Suns

The LeBron strong Eric Bledsoe. His running mate Brandon Knight. The quick impact Devin Booker. The Nash days Leonardo Barbosa. Yeah the Suns know how to run. Just like your electricity. They know to have as much fun, fun, fun as the Beach Boys. But if Phoenix want to rise from the desserts of Arizona and find the same kind of Californian sun that those in Golden State seem to shine then it’s time to get serious. Seriously good. No matter how talented or thrilling thy are. These bright youngsters don’t want to burn out too quick and become ash.

Sacramento Kings

Sacramento want to be king like LeBron. But they are a long way from those Laker rivalling days of Vlade Divac, Chris Webber, Peja Stojakovic, Doug Christie and Mike Bibby/Jason Williams. Still thanks to two of those international owners they’re not as close to a Royal move to L.A. or Seattle yet. The cowbells are still ringing…even if it’s not quite as Blue Oyster Cult deafening. Sacramento still seem to be holding most of the cards…no matter how many Kings they lose. Veteran Rudy Gay is joined by the talented teammate likes of Darren Collison, Ty Lawson and former Lakers Jordan Farmar and ‘Mad Dog’, Matt Barnes. Losing members of the Stockton and Curry family hurt, but the future is Wiley Cauley-Stein. Still it’s still all about DeMarcus and Boggie’s down low productions. Without Cousins it just doesn’t relate.

Los Angeles Lakers

So the Lakers are done right? Right? WRONG! With the second pick in the last two drafts the Lakers have more than just a dynamic duo. They have a Golden State like death line-up that could be a revolution in this small ball league. Formed by former top ten picks and late round steals. Big-men Draymond strong Julius Randle and dunking hard Larry Nance Jr. and Swag Brodie guards Jordan Clarkson and D’Angelo Russell with ice in his veins (time for Loading to stop being Hakeem Lyon and make Lakerland his Empire). All lead by future franchise face and probable Rookie of the Year Brandon Ingram…and maybe even the Gasol like Zubac, learning the sky-hook off Kareem as we speak. And lets not to neglect the underrated, X-factor Anthony Brown and the Knick 90’s Mason tough throwback Tarik Black. And if the kids on the best young team (and we aren’t talking about Nick) in the L aren’t alright there’s a veteran back-up lead by All-Star Luol Deng, Olympic standout Yi Jianlin, Cavalier champion in the middle Mozgov (Timofey…every Key & Peele substitute teachers dream) speedy, skillful guards Jose Calderon and Marcelo Huertas (who had quite the home 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil) and of course World Peace himself for another match-up option to run. Not to mention two Six Men in Lou Will and Swaggy P. All lead by former Laker and last years inspired interim, unbeatable Warrior coach Luke Walton. All this and we didn’t even have to mention Kobe. It’s time for a new 24.

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Los Angeles Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers believe they have a superteam. With lob leader Chris Paul, dunk finisher Blake Griffin (working on his post passion problem career with retired kid Kevin Garnett), Olympic gold shiner DeAndre Jordan, retiring legend and that’s the truth Paul Pierce, ‘Sixth Man Of The Decade’ Jordan Crawford, Duke gun draw dual for hire J.J. Reddick and coach Doc Rivers kid Austin we agree. Now it’s time for the “Super” to become “team” before they go from newspaper clippings to barbershop ones.

Southwest Division

Houston Rockets

Howard’s end is no problem for Houston. James Harden has plenty of Rockets to take off. You’ll find them all like food in his beard. There’s Nene, fresh off his home hosting the Rio Olympics. Bruce Bowen like defensive legend Trevor Ariza. ¬†Young vets like Eric Gordon and Corey Brewer. Patrick Beverly and a youthful movement of Sam Dekker, Tyler Ennis and Ryan Anderson. And arguably the best undrafted rookie in Gary Payton II. The glove has been handed down, time to pass and euro-step in the name of history. Names like James win championships…if they come with defence.

San Antonio Spurs

Fundamentally the best Power Forward of all-time Tim Duncan may have joined the Admiral David Robinson in the port of retirement. But just as much as the game will miss him, just like when the T-Bot was brought in to replace D-Rob, LaMarcus Aldridge has been ready to keep number 21’s legacy alive with the reflection of his dozen jersey. Alongside former Finals MVP, Most Improved and Defensive Player Of The Year, Kawhi Leonard who will still be carrying the torch once Olympic internationals Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili can no longer keep the flame lit. The Spurs will keep striking their match-ups thanks to free agent Pau Gasol joining David Lee, Kevin Martin, Danny Green, Andre Miller and Patty Mills for a team as deep as future Team USA coach Greg Poppovich’s knowledge of the game. Which is far from Riverwalk shallow. A Gondola trip worthy of another parade.

New Orleans Pelicans

Hornets don’t sting. Bobcats don’t claw. New Orleans basketball looks to finally be catching a break like fish in a Pelicans bill. Anthony Davis has MVP wrote all over the rest of his career. And now big bruiser Kendrick Perkins has his back in the post paint. Whilst Barbados born Buddy Hield is considered by some to be the most ready to go player in the draft…he has been working out with Kobe Bryant after all. Now if Tyreke Evans regains his rookie form or Lance Stephenson becomes the player the last few teams that bet on him expected him to be then you’ll be in for something formidable. But you really want to see something? Something special. Then just look why Jrue Holliday is on indefintie leave from the team. This season is for Lauren.

Memphis Grizzlies

Grit your teeth through this one Grizzlies. They say if it aint broke don’t fix it. But there’s nothing wrong with a little tinkering if nothings changing. After all this is a team that left Vancouver to get out of the “Canadain cold” (yeah tell that to the Raps). Offering Chandler Parsons a big contract like Nike did Mike Conley Jr may just about do it. Besides with Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, Tony Allen and Sixth Man who can still get up off the pine and to the rim Vince Carter Memphis have rocked one of the best starting five out of all rosters for many a roll-call now. But if this Tennessee team wants to really become a Titan then it’s time to grind.

Dallas Mavericks

The Texas Triangle is nothing without Dallas. But if the Mavs really want to have a maverick season than they need to be more obtuse than acutely equilateral. Dirk is just about done, but Nowitzki can still get it so. As can All-Star point Deron Williams who seems to have lost his former co-best Point Guard in the league with Chris Paul identity in Utah. These Mavericks are still fighting, but if the Texas horsemen want to be in a state more Golden then a few former Warriors wouldn’t hurt. From big Finals difference maker Andrew Bogut to forgotten star Harrison Barnes who is eager to show why he made the Rio Olympic team this Summer and deserves more minutes. Even Steph Curry’s little brother Seth has a shot…but right now the Mavs would probably take Riley too.

NBA

New Toronto ‘City’ Jerseys Point North To The 6

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Six Flag

Better late and sharp to the party than never looking fly.

Sometimes in the streets of Toronto you just have to wait for a good thing. Like that CN Tower forever in the distance drive from Pearson Airport to the downtown dot. Or waiting for a table and menu for something good to eat at Jack Astor’s on any given night. But Drake always delivers from serving up playlist picks to albums that offer ‘VIEWS’ that honour the great city of the six. So you know if you’re reading this it’s never really too late.

Now after Nike just gave us ‘Association’, ‘Icon’ and real ‘Statement’ jerseys for the new season where they are now the official uniform supplier of this National Basketball Association the ‘City’ line is complete like riding a Matt Bonner tram from King Street West to the Air Canada Center. As Toronto didn’t want to be left out like Kyrie Irving didn’t want to be the next Dwyane Wade. Now the only one rocking sleeves like Adidas is Lakers rook Lonzo again, looking to ball like his UCLA alumni days. Forget Christmas Day, unless you’re rocking Sixers script. As for the 6, the new Toronto Raptors jerseys that go back to black like the late, great Amy Winehouse with Octobers Very Own gold, couldn’t be more Drake or OVO if they had that Owl hooting from the shooting shorts. And you know these third blackouts will be a permanent fixture on ‘Drake Nights’ when the Raps court will be decked out in the black gold same lining.

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But these new duds that All-Star ‘Step Brothers’ DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry will rock like Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly did ugly sweater vests are less ‘Hotline Bling’ and more for the town he calls his own for the citizens of Toronto. ‘They The North’ and have that in six court copying chevrons that in glittering gold, road point to this very Canadian NBA destination. Do you see. And if you don’t know, now you know…player.

This is B.I.G. for the notorious north OVO town of the six. We’ve had the ATL neon, Boston parquet, Lakers Black Mamba snakeskin, Cleveland Land, Detroit ‘Motor City’ industry, New York’s F.D.N.Y. department, the Suns not losing the ‘Los’ love and Chicago’s classic city edition. But nothing for the homestand looks as good as this to the T-Dot.

And with all six signs pointing north to Toronto, we only wish these Raptors threads could be put on for the city every night.

Now the only ‘Fallen Kingdom’ in this Jurassic World will be found in cinemas with Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and Jeff Goldblum this summer season Blue.

It took a minute for the sap to meet the tree but the Raptors and the Toronto city they call home are far from extinct.

Nike finds a way.

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The ‘Human Highlight Film’ Dominique Wilkins Almost Made ‘Showtime’ Worthy

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Wilkins
How Unique Would The Lakers Have Been With 'Nique?
Hollywood’s show kept fast break rolling last night like a Golden Globe as the young Lakers finally snapped their losing trend by clipping the Atlanta Hawks, 132-113 at STAPLES. All behind 20 points from Brandon Ingram, 15 and 9 from Julius Randle and 13, 10 and 6 from rookie Lonzo Ball. J.C. with 18 and K.C.P. with 14 also had three three’s each as the Lakers made a sweet 16 season best from downtown, to go along with a franchise record 42 points off fast breaks on a momentous night for the storied franchises record books.
It kind of looks like Showtime’s go on all over again.
But straight from the Fox Sports hole pregame did you know that back in the 80’s day the NBA’s Hall of Fame, Human Highlight Film, Dominique Wilkins was almost drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers to be the centerpiece of Showtime? The Atlanta Hawk legend who has a statue outside the ATL arena like all the Magic, Kareem’s, big fellas and logos outside Lakerland told us himself play-by-play as part of the pregame panel.
“Jerry Buss didn’t want me but Jerry West did”, ‘Nique said with warm affection to what could have been. And we can’t help muse like Shea Serrano’s brilliant ‘Basketball And Other Stories’ book to what legacy and Laker legend would have been like if the Basketball God’s didn’t cast down a thunderbolt. You see apparantly it all came down to an injury to Lakers Celtic bruising forward Mitch Kupchak, which will no doubt leave some Laker fans thinking this may be the first time but not the only time their former G.M. Mitch has messed up things for the Lake Show.
Kupchak’s season crippling injury made Buss want to go bigger and taller. And the rest is Big Game history as the Lakers drafted Wilkins’ fellow North Carolina alumnus James Worthy who made his own H.O.F. career more than just his second name that resides in the forever rafters like 42. The second in goggle command behind Cap remains one of the Lakers and the league as a whole’s most underrated legend.
But we can’t help but think what it would be like if we just looked up at the STAPLES ceiling and saw Dominique’s name up there like Kobe’s too (or two) with his 21 in that acclaimed area. It would have certainly brought more hard-nosed hostility to those Larry Bird fights and more Hollywood to that iconic Slam Dunk Contest between the Human Highlight and the G.O.A.T., M.J. And could you have imagined the Magic between a player who finished his career with Orlando and actually the legendary Boston Celtics and the man with the top hat himself Earvin Johnson? Now you thought watching Lake Show greats A.C. Green and former coach Byron Scott was good.
In the end it was all scripted the right way. The Lakers had their own Big Game dunking James worthy of a King and Dominique Wilkins soared as a Hawk in the A. But if Magic’s all smiling Showtime had a few more Human Highlights for the film? Now that would be something straight out of Hollywood.
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LeBron’s Land Now Has I.T. Support

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Portland Trail Blazers V Cleveland Cavaliers
I.T. Follows All The Kings Men

Cleveland plainly dealed their point prince Kyrie Irving away from the King’s Cavalier land this Summer, to make the NBA’s historical Boston Celtics storied again behind their new superstar handle. And in return they got a glorious gunner with an 80’s iconic name, albeit one hip checked to the new year with injury.

But even if Christmas has come late this year like changing your calendar to 2018, Isaiah Thomas is back like you’ve never seen him before, like a Detroit Piston legend kissing and making up with an 80’s Showtime one in an emotional NBA TV reunion.

Now that’s Magic!

Like Pennywise the clown, injury tempted I.T.’s reign into the gutter for the opening chapter of his story with the King like he was wearing a yellow raincoat. But just wait for part two…it’s about to get slicker as forget arms, Thomas is about to take everyone’s legs off from the ankles up.

He’ll float too.

The land was in need of a hand. One that even the way of Wade couldn’t help after the thorn that went in probably retired, former franchise player Derrick Rose’s side. And now they have it all for one and one for all in I.T.’s support. The King now has a fellow crowning talent ready to hold the throne with. Isaiah Thomas’ return to the trail against Portland was blazing too. Normally a nice 17 points and 3 assists would seem modest for a pocket dynamo of this young Iverson’s stature, but when we answer that it came in just 19 minutes of burn than you know it’s something else altogether.

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It’s the makings of something greater.

But all that failed to blend in Beantown as his reunion with the Celtics he was supposed to retire with and his renewed rivalry with the guard he was traded for was put on a DNP-CD hold (at least he too made up with 80’s great Danny Ainge). But the whole event game of the night turned out to be a wash-out as the Celtics 102-88 scrubbing of the Cavaliers on polished parquet only saw the real rivalry of James (19) and Kyrie (11) amass less than 20 points each when this explosive TNT match-up should have gone 30 for 30 for ESPN.

Still Ohio will rise again when the King and I.T. return to their land and maybe even the promised ones of the NBA Finals. As another Celts/Cavs conference finals match-up without Gordon Hayward and this time more Love could beat towards the heart of a lion. And the five foot something with a headband has plenty of that under his too.

And you best believe tooth and hip surgery nail he’s going to leave it blood, sweat and tears all on the parquet this playoff postseason.

But this time instead of against one, Isaiah won’t just be running alongside a King…he’ll be one.

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