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2017-2018 NBA Season Preview – Eastern Conference

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Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Danny Ainge

Atlantic Division

Toronto Raptors

If it aint broke don’t 86 it. And in the six Drake’s Toronto Raptors are still as fresh as passion fruit. The core of DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry and dominant defensive presence Serge Ibaka may be the most underrated big three in the association, but if these Raptors want to roar with Warriors and Kings then they need a T-Rex. Then watch out for them, they’re about to glow

Brooklyn Nets

The Nets lost their most efficient player last year and one of the last remaining real centres in the league in Brook Lopez and got the massive contract of Timofey Mozgov in return. Oh and D’Angelo Russell. D-Lo suits this Brooklyn Zoo as well as O.D.B. but if this young, clean guy wants to win and prove everyone in Lonzo/Lavar Lakerland wrong then he needs to show that the ice in his veins runs deeper than a season of ‘Game Of Thrones’. Winter is coming and alongside another former L.A. Laker in Jeremy Lin these former Cali’ kids could see the sun again.

New York Knicks

Will ‘Melo stay? Can he really wear the hoodie in game? The former big question mark will infest the Big Apple like worms until Carmelo Anthony probably gets traded. And the only answer is Porzingis. The Knicks already lost Rose. But he was wilting anyway. Instead talent like Michael Beasley and Ramon Sessions have come on board with returning kid Tim Hardaway Jr. But the fact that we need their full names here shows just how their promising careers have panned out. It’s all on Kristaps to make the Garden eden again or at least give Broadway a run to make Carmelo think of staying a few extra dates.

Philadelphia 76ers

Did you trust the process? Because Joel Embiid has Dario Saric, Nik Stauskas and now hot shooter J.J. Redick believing in him. He and the new Sixers answering the post-Iverson era with The Process are so good they even have top draft big man Jahil Okafor on the bench and Nerlens Noel in Dallas. And now after adding another number one in Markelle Fultz they have a potential Rookie of the Year to add to this dynasty of the future. That is unless last years top pick Ben Simmons, debuting this sophomore season like Embiid did has something to say about that. Look at this teams past right now and see that they are still the future…processing.

Boston Celtics

Bill and Bird watch. The beans are back in town for the old Irish, most storied NBA franchise, the Boston Celtics. Who would have thought that when former Cavalier champion Kyrie Irving requested a trade from LeBronland that he’d end up here? But Danny Ainge has set forth a new big free of Kyrie, great free agent grab Gordon Hayward and last years big one Al Horford that could rival Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen with no b.s. Oh and we haven’t even got started on Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown rookies and sophomores. Look out King, history is greater than one reign.

Central Division

Cleveland Cavaliers

Hate LeBron all you like but he still has Love. Literally and figuratively. And as numero zero Kevin continues to show like fellow UCLA alumni Russell Westbrook that he is anything but that digit he wears like critical doubt, then the greatest player in the league still has help and hope. If you believe in vets like J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Tristan Thompson, Kyle Korver, Channing Frye and Richard Jefferson. This team may be receeding like Jamie Foxx’s Clevelend A. Smith’s hairline, but there won’t be anything funny here come All-Star weekend. They may have lost Deron Williams from their bench, but they in turn have gained Derrick Rose and former Durant practice running mate Jeff Green. Oh and they may have lost Kyrie Irving, but they got back Westbrook dynamite like pocket dynamo Isaiah Thomas AND Jae Crowder in return which no longer makes this trade like for like. The King of the fourth next to the King of the Land. This rebrand as real as those new uniforms and shield holding court leave the Cavs still all in with everything to play for. The Eastern Conference Final may be more exciting than the actual NBA one right now, but the Celtics haven’t dethroned the Cavs yet.

Chicago Bulls

The Butler retired. Rondo never really unpacked his journeyman bags and even hometown hero Wade may be brought out soon. What a difference a season makes hey Hoidberg? At least the Bulls have…erm. Seriously all dunking Zach Lavine, Brook-twin Robin Lopez and the future love of Denzel Valentine has potential to win hearts. But unless Dwyane’s playing the only way these Bulls are at the very least stampeding towards the fourth quarter is if you play their all-time ultimate team on 2K18.

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Indiana Pacers

Paul George is officially gone. And no matter how many times they sue the Lakers that won’t change. Wink, wink. But at least before losing him to L.A. star-studded free agency they got Victor Oladipo in return from the Thunder. He joins big names like Turner, Jefferson and Sabonis whose reputations more proceed them. And then of course there’s the enigma Lance Stephenson. The George, Hill, Hibbert and West days holdover who is symbolic of this teams success/struggles. Unless he does more than blow in opponents ears this huffed and puffed house is coming down in smoke as they will choke like Reggie Miller’s symbolic clutched throat. At least the new jerseys are a win.

Detroit Pistons

Motor City is running out of gas. Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson and Tobias Harris are the big-three group in Motown in need of some backing singers. These Bad Boys are a long way from the 80’s or even the Billups, Hamilton, Prince, Ben and Rasheed Wallace Palace days in Auburn Hills, but this production line can still churn out wins with some assembly required. Detroit needs your attention like ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ director Kathryn Bigelow’s movie.

Milwaukee Bucks

Giannis Antelokounmpo. Start spelling it right because he will be your next MVP even if he never asked Kobe Bryant for a muse cage challenge. The most versatile, five point on the court player whose like Da Kid, Kevin Garnett on 2049 android upgrade is the kind of player that makes Jabari Parker’s injury or O.J. Mayo’s ban null. Even a big free agent signing like Greg Monroe is nothing in comparison to the one Buck who can steer Kidd’s boys in the right direction. And with Gary Payton’s son under Jason, Delly and Maker this team has the makings of a contender. Sure it’s all Cavs/Celtics right now but one day they’ll fear the deer too.

Southeast

Washington Wizards

The Wizards refuse to let anyone else into Washington like their President. But the state of D.C. is in good basketball shape like the spellbinding Mystics as John Wall’s new extension will keep him a foundation in the nations capital longer than those bricks Trump wants to build. And with Beal street, Poland’s post-man Gortat and the maverick Morris still here this team will run for four more behind the cheetah J-Wall who refuses to change his spot. So what they never got hometown hero Kevin Durant! Like Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood, this house of guards won’t come down in the east wing anytime soon.

Miami Heat

The Heat isn’t off for Miami. As the three ‘W’ South Beach talent of Whiteside, Winslow and Waiters will get their fair share. But with Dragic in reserve this team needs to attract more free agents than Kelly Olynek and keep more of their glue guys than Udonis Haslem sticking around. Especially if they want to return to the Land the King took them before his exile. And in this world we aren’t talking about Wade but a new winner who can avoid the L’s like pedestrians.

Atlanta Hawks

Whats going on in the A? A few years ago the Hawks where flying. Now they’ll be clawing for eight seeds like crumbs in the newspaper. They couldn’t cage wayward free agent Dwight Howard who moved down the Southeast conference and haven’t found much in return to shine as bright as his smile or their neon unis. Sure they have Kent Bazemore and Dennis Schroder…but according ESPN he’s the 96th best player in the league. But remember how they rated Kobe? Don’t clip his wings just yet.

Charlotte Hornets

Charlotte looks good for more than being the only team in this new Nike league to just have Jordan’s jumpman on their jerseys. Problem or not, big-name big-man Dwight Howard joins. Kemba Walker, M.K.W. (Michael Kidd-Gilchrist), M.C.W. (Michael Carter-Williams), Nicholas Batum and Frank Kaminsky. But the comb needs more honey if its all going to be syrup like Money Michael’s jumper before the greatest of all-times ownership experiement fades away.

Orlando Magic

Speaking of one of Howard’s former teams. The only thing that fits this Mickey Mouse outfit more is their Disney jersey sponsers. The Magic Kingdom may be frozen, but once this team lets the past go like the cold isn’t bothering then anyway and lets the cool alley-oop connection of Payton and Air Gordon fly then at least basketball will be as fun in Florida as the 90’s golden age days of big Shaq and Lil’Penny. If only!

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Kuzmania Starts A Forum For The Lakers To Play A Game In Inglewood Next Season

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For The Forum.

Holding the leather Spalding up in the air like it was the Larry O’Brien trophy, a game before the Los Angeles Lakers 2017/2018 season would officially end before the playoff campaign. Head coach Luke Walton, suit-jacket off and relaxed asks Andre Ingram how long he’s been playing in the D…excuse us, the G-League for. “10 years” the decade, 32 year old vet (who Brandon calls cuz, but isn’t actually a relation…although he’s now a Laker brother) replies after posting 19 exuberant points in his NBA debut. Just days before he would throw out the first, ceremonial baseball pitch at a L.A. Dodgers game. “Hell of an opening night man” coach says in kind as he shakes his hand, follows with an embrace and then hands him the game ball before ‘Dre’s day ends with a fingers to the sky team huddle of “together” on three.

That’s just the kind of season these young Lakers have had.

But how can yet another losing one bring so much joy, let alone hope?

Let’s write it out again…

That’s just the kind of season these young Lakers have had.

And if it leads to free agents like hometown hero Paul George signing. Or even the King, LeBron James in La La Land for his closing Hollywood career chapter on court. Then you couldn’t even script it better than Lavar wanting all the Ball boys on the floor at the same time.

And who knows who they’ll win in the lottery when the draft balls fall this Summer.

But even if all this becomes a bust the Lakers still have an incredible young core lead by Lonzo, Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and many more late round steals like Ivica Zubac and this years class class of Josh Hart and the new Bryant, Thomas. Kobe who? All this after even losing Six Man stud Jordan Clarkson and slam show stopper Larry Nance Jr to Cleveland. But they did get still all superstar shooter Isaiah Thomas in return and maybe more to join vets like downtown big Brook Lopez, K.C.P. and the milk carton of Luol Deng.

Even some of their young, South Bay Lakers affiliates have come up big like Ingram. From son of the glove, Gary Payton II, to Alex Caruso ending the season starting at the point with Ball at the baseline sidelines. Even Travis Wear has gone from 10 days to shooting the contract three like Mike Penberthy.

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Yet one of the biggest and most pleasant surprises of the season has been the Kuzmania (time to get your t-shirt) of the Kuzmanian devil, Kyle Kuzma. From a Nick Young jersey zero to one of the top ten Rookie of the Year heroes. From Summer League to preseason and now his regular one exit interview, K has had just as good if not better rookie year than his number two running mate with the second pick in the NBA draft.

And from bringing the Kareem sky-hook back to rocking the number nine Nick ‘The Quick’ Van Exel Champion jersey pregame, the kid is a throwback like the Clarkson fashion taking over chinchilla coat he rocks as he walks into STAPLES. But now Kuz wants to take that old school trend setting to Inglewood, like when he drove a burgundy 70’s Cadillac DeVille to an iconic parking lot for a recent feature shoot for SLAM magazine.

Kyle thinks the Lakers should play a game in the hallowed halls of The Forum next season.

And as much as we like the lights out downtown future of STAPLES (or as much as T-Mac warned him about the vintage facilities on ESPN’s The Jump) we couldn’t agree more for a league that loves to pay homage to their hardwood classic history like Mitchell and Ness.

Joining the Forum club again like when Magic and Cap made the 80’s Lakers ‘Showtime’ and put the Hollywood in basketball would be a nostalgia trip, especially for the clubs President. It would make a nice 20 year plus comeback (save 2009) after new millennium rival San Antonio swept them right out the stadium in ’97. This is the Lakers Boston Garden. Their Spectrum. Their court coliseum. And those marble pillars over red still stand strong like the statues of the greats from Chick to Elgin outside STAPLES.

Besides ‘Bron and P.G. would love it.

Time to get those baby blue MPLS jerseys ready.

And don’t forget about ‘Dre.

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Lakers Statue Preserves The Ice Of Elgin Baylor’s Legend

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Lakers Baylor Basketball
Brothers In Bronze

“Elgin should be here”!

That’s what the ever humble hero of the Los Angeles Lakers, Jerry West said when the famous franchise unveiled Mr. Clutch’s statue back in 2011. That’s what the actual, still to this day logo of the National Basketball Association said about his symbolic teammate in his signature moment. The ‘Ice’ to his dynamic duo nicknamed ‘Fire’.

And now seven years sealed later Mr. West joined recent bronze brothers and goliath giants Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal and President Magic, as the storied Lakers franchise finally gave the 82 year old Elgin the epic ending his Hollywood career deserved in engraved writing.

The number 11 in SLAM magazines recent ‘Top 100 Players of All-Time’ issue, whose 22 already belongs in the rafters with all the aformentioned, both of Oscar winner Kobe’s digits and all the other Worthy Laker legends now joins Shaq, Cap, Earvin and Chick in stone setting. So much so that the Lakers will soon run out of places outside STAPLES to put their legends (especially if they give Kobe two statues). At this rate if he does come over they may have to put LeBron over in the Nokia Theatre’s parking lot. That was just a joke King…please still exile from The Land.

Without Baylor we may have not had the Dr. J. like high-flying legends of M.J. or King James. As this guy revolutionized the dunk aswell as his sky-hook impossible to guard hanging jump shot that brought career averages of 27 and change, hung with around 10 boards. And this guy stood at a Chuck power move mound rebound like 6, 4. It was this kind of offensive arsenal that set the tone with a back in the day greatest one-game point total of 71. Before Laker great Wilt’s 100 stunted that in Philly, generations before Kobe tried to beat all that with 81 (the Mamba man via video tribute telling Elgin he stole so many of his moves, “it wasn’t even funny”).

Legendary Lakers Pulitzer beat writer Jim Murray-whose L.A. Times behind the desk deserve their own statue next to Chick-compared Elgin’s Empire scaling career to King Kong. Knocking away defenders like bi-planes, who roach scattered like bust up craps games. But Baylor was more to this game then just Hollywood Laker flash. One of the first African American sports superstars in Jackie Robinson’s time also lead a Players Union protest before the 1964 All-Star, which truly changed the game and gave these players the rights they have today. After he hung them up he also won an ‘Executive Of The Year’ award across the hall with the rival L.A. Clippers. R&B superstar Elgin Baylor Lumpkin, better known as Ginuwine was also named after the Hall of Famer and called a judge character off his coming of age album ‘The Senior’ after the NBA great who starred alongside both the Jackson 5 and Buck Rogers. Don’t believe us read all about it in Baylor’s new book named after the best damn Basketball drama, ‘Hang Time’ that will be put up on shelves to end this month.

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Elgin Baylor was the blue and white/purple and gold, post-Mikan and pre-Wilt Laker bridge between Minneapolis and Los Angeles. So it was only right his multiple arm dunking statue was curtain called at the half between a Lakers game with Minnesota. It wasn’t fitting however that donned in Mamba snakeskin black L.A. lost 113-96 to the Timberwolves with the black tux service of Jimmy Butler’s draped 18. An Elgin epic like 20 and 10 from both Lakers future Julius Randle and rookie Josh Hart (actually 11 rebounds) weren’t enough after Kyle Kuzma left the game in the third with a sprained ankle. Neither was big from downtown seven footer Brook Lopez’s starting 15 that was so tight it tagged ‘Lop3z’ Twitter trends.

But by the end of this almost 82 game closing playoff push it wasn’t all for the win, but the 82 year old that changed the game.

When you think of the golden days in Lakers purple, Baylor made this franchise like he did their storied history.

All you need is the record books to read his story.

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Will Three ‘LABron’ Billboards Outside Downtown L.A. Lead To A Hollywood Ending For The King?

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Screenshot 2018 03 28 11 35 31
Talk Of A New Jersey?

Hollywood comes calling…

…but still no decision…

…how come King James?

‘Dear Basketball’ last month Laker legend Kobe Bryant won NBA’s first Oscar (yeah I know how can the Academy not award ‘Space Jam’?). Putting number 24 ahead of number 23 in gold statues (the Mamba still trails the G.O.A.T six to five in gold rings though). When the closest STAPLES normally gets to award showcases outside the hosted All-Star game during the February love in is when they take a break to host the Grammys.

But it looks like another 23 could make another Lake Show stopper move this Summer straight out of the script of tinsletowns biggest picture.

Despite a decision that took his talents from South Beach, back home and to the promised land years ago. Cleveland’s own LeBron James may be playing his last campaign as a Cavalier. And the final chapter of his storied career could have a Hollywood ending for the King with one of NBA histories most storied franchises.

It could be ‘La La LeBron’ in Lakerland’s city of stars.

Especially if some billboards outside downtown Los Angeles have anything to do with it.

Taking a cue from ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ Best Actress Oscar winner Frances McDormand’s movie (who the actress sent up herself with Jimmy Kimmel with her own trio of billboards after someone stole her Academy Award. Don’t worry she got it back like the Cavs want ‘Bron), a superfan in Los Angeles set up some real estate with some advertising hoardings like Paul Rudd in ‘I Love You Man’ (“License To Sell…that’s hilarious!”) hash-tagging the new free agent trend of ‘LABron’.

Three other towns have hung ‘Bron billboards with an outside chance of landing the King. From his Akron birthplace who refuse to witness throwing rocks at the King this summer, declaring “There’s No Place Like Home”. To even hilariously a New Zealand ballclub wanting to turn the King into a Kiwi. But Philly started the process first. Although L.A. doesn’t want James to trust this but believe instead in the banners that could hang in the royalty of their rafters. Along with they hope his number 23 one day for the one who is still in his prime at a Kareem jersey age.

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And when the King was in town to witness all this last month he put on a show in President Magic’s city of Showtime. From the best damn no look pass of his career period. Which drew go fetch tennis ball, dog owner comparisons. To bounce passing the ball between Ball of all players legs.

And with a Lakers/Cavs deadline day trade that saw L.A. and Cleveland clean house and land for LeBron. Further fuel has been ignited to the ‘Casino’ like behind the jersey talk that has everyone betting on ‘LeBron Ball’ for the ‘Lonzo Angeles Lakers’.

The Lakers may have lost two of their sharpest shooting, youngest guns in ‘Sixth Man’ sure-thing Jordan Clarkson and all dunking Ohio son Larry Nance Jr. to Cleveland. But they now have All-Star I.T. support. However whether LeBron reunites with former Cav superstar Isaiah Thomas remains to be seen in more ways than one.

It’s all up in the smoggy air of the summer breeze atmosphere whether Christmas will come early for tinsletown. Like whether another hometown hero superstar Paul George will leave the Thunder and align with the King in the city that never rains (but reigns in purple like Prince), to help make the Lakers young core of Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Kyle Kuzma and Ball be all they can be right now.

Then that will be something worthy like James to hang on the three pillars of Hotel Figueroa outside STAPLES.

The City Of Angels will be praying these billboards bring banners.

Only in Hollywood.

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