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2017-2018 NBA Season Preview – Western Conference

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2017 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot

Northwest Division

Portland Trail Blazers

Dame D.O.L.L.A. may be in the studio rapping with Lil’Wayne right now for the follow up to ‘The Letter O’ album. But Damian Lillard would much rather be on court balling with Carmelo Anthony next season for the following year of number zero’s campaign. With ‘Melo the superstar baller slash rapper would be able to chill for a few seconds. Although you know when it comes down to that much time on the clock D Lill is anything but that or not in his zone. Lillard, C.J. McCollum and Evan Turner had a lot to undertake last year in RIP City, but with Carmelo in town they’d all come up smelling of roses. Dame’s got bars, but he needs rings too like any platinum rapper if he wants to be one of the all time greats. There’s a reason the PDX throwback he rocks is Bill Walton. And for the mic rocking hip hop head it’s got nothing to do with the Greatful Dead.

Denver Nuggets

Josh Childress looks to taste the thin air of Mile High City by inking a contract with these Denver Nuggets. And although it’s not the 2000’s anymore its a nice addition to the big-three from the retired legends Big3 Ice Cube summer circuit. Kenneth Faried, Emmanuel Mudiay and Nikola Jokic are no joke. And now Paul Millsap’s addition looks to bulk this team up to the grit of the new West Coast Memphis Grizzlies. And with the opponent unbreathable atmosphere being their Sixth Man this could be the year Denver reaches the clouds.

Minnesota Timberwolves

But if you want to talk about a real big-three however then look no further than the trees of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Say goodbye to Zach Lavine and Ricky Rubio. But hello to Jimmy ‘Buckets’. The Butler is here at Minneapolis surface and joins huge man Karl-Anthony Townes and Canadian Andrew Wiggins for the best grande trois since Garnett, Sprewell and Cassell almost toppled the Shaq and Kobe Lakers. And with Jeff Teague and former multiple ‘Sixth Man Of The Year’ Jamal Crawford in backcourt reserve the future of this franchise looks as good as their best in the association new Nike jerseys. But the roster is a sub or two thin. Looks like this team on court will be checking their wrists to see just how far their Fitbits can go.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Everyone in Magic’s Lakerland belives hometown hooper Paul George and UCLA grad Russell Westbrook will team up again next year, but to join the L.A. they apparantly love and want like California sun in Seattle after summer. And you thought last Summer was crazy. But purple reign or not, the Thunder are set to pour right now. Even if the MVP’s impressive former backcourt running mate Victor Oladipo joins Kevin Durant out of town. The Thunder lost him and the Sabonis son for what next year could be rendered null and void. But just like James Harden this team is known for raining stars. Steven Adams and Enes Kanter anybody? Until OKC’s jerseys stop reading zero the West is Westbrooks to win from his former partner. And why the hell not?

Utah Jazz

Gordon Hayward was the Malone and Stockton face and future of this franchise. But in a pick and roll he was gone in a flash this summer to continue his career chapter with the storied Celtics. And then walking papers joined by Boris Diaw and George Hill. At least the Jazz still have Joe Johnson, Derrick Favors and Dante Exum on the same hymn sheet. Not to mention Spanish key Ricky Rubio. But if Utah don’t give Frenchmen Rudy Gobert some real help then he will be stifled like a Salt Lake drought.

Pacific Division

Golden State Warriors

What else have the Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Igudola Golden State Warriors add this year you say?! A championship! Oh and actually this offseason the swag of former Laker Sixth Man Nick Young. Now P and Iggy are back together that’s all this dynasty needs to be dubbed champions again. It starts with Durant and ends with Steph. And what does the U.B. in dubs stand for? “U be crazy if you think anyone’s cooking without Curry”! The only way these Warriors are leaving their Golden State is with a big market move across the Golden Gate Bridge to San Francisco.

Phoenix Suns

Nothing is set in stone these days in a league where contracts change quicker than the time it takes the ink to dry. But the sun isn’t setting in Phoenix with guys like Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight still around the mix of veterans like Tyson Chandler and rookie future Josh Jackson. And how about the Mamba moments of Devin Booker on the box score? Forget 81 this kid could go for 100 in the next 82. Wilting Chamberlain’s almost century old record. If Phoenix don’t rise before the Arizona dust settles than their number one son may just do that. Especially with no one to Kobe the ball too.

Sacramento Kings

Cousins may no longer relate. Alumni alinging with fellow U.K. Wildcat Anthony Davis in the Pelicans’ New Orleans. But fellow Kentucky grad Willie-Cauley Stein is ready for the Kings throne with sophomore Buddy Hield and dual rookies De’Aaron Fox (also of the University of Kentucky) and Justin Jackson. This team looks to be shooting for the luck of the stars with a double-barrel in the form of their new fantastic four assembling together. And in adding two more big names in the veteran form of DeMarcus Cousins 10 years ago Zach Randolph and dunking legend Vince Carter the paper looks good. These Kings are a long way from LeBron’s land. But the cowbells will still ring out for some Sleep Train Arena waking fun for all in attendance.

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Los Angeles Lakers

President and greatest Point Guard of all time Earvin Johnson believes Drake lookalike and Kidd play-alike, Lonzo Ball has the magic to be the future of the Los Angeles Lakers. And apparantly so does Rob Lowe (Pelinka) and the rest of Hollywood too. So much so they were willing to defrost and drain the ice veins of D’Angelo Russell to load no more. And if that wasn’t enough in the season they are set to retire both numbers 8 and 24 for Kobe Bryant, the team with the second pick in the draft behind the 76ers for the second straight year are going two for two yet again. After Kyle Kumza showed out in Summer League championship play he and Lonzo could ball out like Ingram (who is said to have grown to almost 7 feet) and Zubac last year, Clarkson and Russell the year before and Randle and Nance Jr. the year before that. All that raw superstar-esque talent and some valued veteran additions of the young Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and solid big Brook Lopez make for a team of the future. And just imagine if they really did add George and James. Paul and LeBron would take Lakerland to tinseltown. But right now the Lakers may have a star of the future or four or more. So long as they learn from Lamar and the Kardashains and don’t turn this script into the Lavar Ball show.

Los Angeles Clippers

What is Lob City without CP3? Well two big towers than can dunk in the form of ketchup and mustard duo Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan all committed for the long runway. But as these Clippers have been short back and side clipped, lets hope Doc’s son Austin Rivers knows how to pass and be the player he was meant to be down the river. The Clips also added former purple and gold Sixth Man Lou Will, but with the Lakers looking to take their land back if the Clippers don’t add more staples then their future will look more ugly than those old uniforms Nike finally gave them the sense to replace.

Southwest Division

Houston Rockets

The beard just got even bigger. Eurostepping into a kingsman land, James Harden has helped recruit Point God Chris Laul to dynamic duo form one of the best one-two punches in the league. One that will make back-up Eric Gordon the Sixth Man of the next couple of years. And the x-factor Trevor Ariza is still around to solve all of Houston’s problems. Forget a propelled cliche reference. These Rockets are already high enough to be in their own airspace. Harden may not have got last years MVP but he and CP3 could give former teammate Russell Westbrook and Paul George a run for an even higher accolade.

San Antonio Spurs

Kawhi Leonard is finally smiling. Maybe because he knows that defensive or not he really and truly is one of the best players in the league. And if LaMarcus Aldridge really does become the Tim Duncan mark two he was always meant to be then fundamentally no one is beating a team that still has Tony Parker and amazingly a “this is 40” Manu Ginobili. Who follows his clutch block on Harden in the playoffs by re-upping for one more trip around the block like Spains greatest Pau Gasol. And if that wasn’t enough All Star Rudy Gay has joined the best bench in basketball. Happy Days. Even the T-Bot would crack a smile.

New Orleans Pelicans

Speaking of Spurs that click. You all remember when Tim Duncan and David Robinson went all Hakeem Olaujawon and Ralph Sampson in Texas?! Well now in the swamps of Lousiana former Wildcats Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins shape up to be an even bigger, more dominant version of all of that. And now journeyman superstar Rajon Rondo completes that Kentucky connection, the U.K. alumnus may now finally have found a place he can lay his hat home. Nothing is bigger than those two towers and still the leagues foremost prototype point right now. And no one has a bigger heart than star Jrue Holiday. The rest of the West msy be taking an early vacation once these greats get to work.

Memphis Grizzlies

Zach Randolph, Rudy Gay and now Tony Allen. The grit may be going out of the Grizzlies, but they still grind. No matter how big the contract of Chandler Parsons or the potential of Tyreke Evans. You just can’t deny the one-two punch from one of the best and most underrated Point Guard and center combos in experts at their position Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. Junior and the brother will still pick and roll until the suede shoes have no soul. But if this team really want to get out the blue than they need to add more sequins to this outfit like the King Elvis in his crowning Vegas. Otherwise it’s Memphis bleak round here.

Dallas Mavericks

Can we all appreciate true one of a kind Maverick in team and nature, Dirk Nowitzki whilst he’s still playing? Before he joins his Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett peers in rafter retirement before the hall. The blonde bomber who let it fly like a Larry Bird from downtown Dallas is still doing it like Debbie. And number 41 has always guaranteed that many wins and even some champagne campaign champion cigars with Mark once. He’s a winner worthy of his millions and with Harrison Barnes, Nerlens Noel, Wesley Matthews, Dallas greats Devin Harris and J.J. Barea and Steph brother Seth Curry in this forever evolving and revolving complimentary mix these Mavs could surprise you as much as the many more years we’ll still see Nowitzki on no quit, Dirk-dominant form.

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Blazing A Trail Back To The NBA. Portland Land Carmelo

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Blazing a trail back to the NBA Portland land Carmelo
Red, white and back...

Catching the ball out of bounds as a spectator courtside. Carmelo Anthony is no longer dribbling the ball to the baseline in street clothes. About to put up a shot before smiling and passing it to the referee like, “just kidding!”

‘Bout time.

‘Melo is back and Twitter just won’t calm down.

He deserves the character.

Way to reverse the trends Carmelo.

No New York state of reunion. Or things to do in Denver when your career is almost dead for the Nugget golden era icon. No chance to finally wear that Atlanta Hawk jersey they especially made for him. No banana boat ride with LeBron in Lakeland for the purple and gold to finally get another Anthony they seemed forever linked with like arms of the father of the bride. No matrimony to toast with wine friend Chris Paul back in Oklahoma (although the Thunder and roaring Rockets wish they could have him now) either. But the man who was wedded to rumour for this last year like he always will be the game has ended up blazing a trail back to the NBA with Portland. Back in bloom in Rose City as ‘Melo shows with Rip City it’s not R.I.P. to his career, but the criticism that came to whether he was still capable on court.

Rest peacefully.

The hoodie and headband is back.

Just look at his t-shirt in the above picture. Soaked through with sweat in just another practice run were he just wouldn’t give up or in.

Now it’s time to really ball.

Sure it would have been great to see him basketball befriend the King rival he rookie entered the league with for a true Hollywood end. The Basketball God storybooks would have loved him to retake his Knick throne as the Ewing, Bernard, King of New York even more. But now he’s blazing with the PDX best backcourt duo of Dame Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Joining All Star, legend vets like Pau Gasol to help this Wild West team back to the contender saloon. Last time he left the league, ‘Melo had averages of 13.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 0.5 assists per game. With percentages of 40.5% from the field and 32.8% from three. And Houston thought they’d have no problem giving him up and keeping CP3 and James Harden like OKC losing an OK3 of him, Westbrook and PG3?

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They said he wasn’t in the game like A.I. But he’s a ‘Champion’ like Young Jeezy on a Nicki Minaj song with Nas and Drake. “Big ballin’ like Jeremy Lin (doing so in Beijing), ‘Melo!”

What a difference a year makes.

It’s all A-O.K. now.

Now it’s Jamal Crawford’s turn to crossover back.

No ‘Melo yellow. Or Syracuse orange in N.Y.C. But none of that matters. The contract in Oregon is non guaranteed. But call it a comeback like Dwight Howard back in Lakeland. And you’ve seen what a couple of big dunks, blocks and games has done to his big man Laker legacy. After it looked like he was blackballed from the NBA, let alone Hollywood. But you can always flip the script and bring your big name back. And when it comes to the back of your jersey. Not many come bigger than number 15 or 7 with his new seal.

He’s one of the greats like is a N.Y.K. G.O.A.T. This generation, or the game all-time. It’s time to recognize what the name means. This is not redemption. But a revolution in reunion of a legend and the game he’s given everything to. That’s finally giving him what’s owed to him.

The respect he deserves.

The legacy continues.

You can’t keep a good man down.

Hoods up for this marathon. The hate is gone like a sprint through social media.

All for the love of the hardwood.

Summer run to season come.

Stay ‘Melo. Because your boy is back like he never left.

Don’t call it a comeback…he’s here to stay.

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Marial Shayok 42 points helps Delaware Blue Coats get first win

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Marial Shayok 42 Points Helps Delaware Blue Coats Get First Win

Marial Shayok became the first Ottawa basketball player to get drafted into the NBA and now he’s quickly making a case for permanent NBA roster spot.

Two games into his G-league/NBA career the former Iowa State Cyclones is sizzling hot — averaging 38 points per game, 7.5 rebounds and 3 assists.

Shayok made a splash with a 34 point, 6 rebound, 3 assist debut and upped his numbers in his second game as the Delaware Blue Coats downed the Greensboro Swarm 141-135 to pick-up their first win.

The Philadelphia 76ers two-way player scored 42 points, grabbed 9 rebounds and added 3 assists in just 34 minutes. Shayok connected on 14-of-27 shots, 3-of-9 triples and a perfect 9-of-9 at the charity stripe.

Shayok, alongside a bevy of Canadians are currently strutting their games in the G-League — vying for a call-up for the bright lights.

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Resilient, shorthanded Raptors hand Lakers 113-104 home loss

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Resilient, Short-handed Raptors Hand Lakers 113-104 Home Loss
Toronto Raptors' Norman Powell takes it to the hoop against Lakers

Talk about about being resilient. Talk about championship mentality. Talk about next man up!

The shorthanded Toronto Raptors — missing two of their main players walked into Staples Centre and walked out with an impressive 113-104 signature victory over the highly touted Los Angeles Lakers.

The Raptors improve to 7-2 on the young season and in the process and have now beaten the Los Angeles Lakers 10 straight times — dating back to the 2014-15 regular season when the Lakers won 129-122 in overtime in L.A.

Pascal Siakam continued his stellar season with 24 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks. Freddy VanVleet was also brilliant with 22 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds, 2 steals. Chris Boucher came off the bench to spark the Raptors on both ends of the court, including back-to-back key blocks on Lebron James and Anthony Davis. The Montreal native tied a career-high with 15 points, 3 blocks, 2 steals — including 9 points in the fourth quarter.

Norman Powell added 14 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks. Rookie Terrence Davis filled-up the stat sheet with 13 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, playing his first significant action of the season, rounded out six Raptors’ players in double-figures with 10 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists.

Anthony Davis paced the Lakers with 27 points and 8 rebounds. Lebron James added to his triple-double total with 13 points, 15 assists and 13 rebounds. Danny Green was held scoreless in 27 minutes.

The Raptors currently on five game west coast swing improve to 4-0 against the tough western conference and will play former teammate Kawhi Leornard and the Los Angeles Clippers in their next game, before wrapping-up one their longest road trips with games against Portland and the Dallas Mavericks.

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