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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.

NBA

Is Isaiah Thomas IT For The Lakers?

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Usa Today 10601289.0
IT Came On A Hollywood Night

It’s All-Star break this weekend in Los Angeles, but the Lakers already have a new one since the trade deadline to lead their young core in the heart of the city. Even if Team LeBron didn’t pick him for Sundays pick up.

But how long will IT last?

Right now in the NBA the amount of movers is really putting the shakers on teams. So much so that it’s even colder than the Olympics in Pyeonchang, South Korea right now. But then again it is the Winter after all. Recently Cleveland cleaned house and LeBron’s land for some Cavalier moves. Jettisoning several All-Star points for their changing of the guard. Including former MVP Derrick Rose, ‘Bron brodie Dwyane Wade back to the Heat of Miami, South Beach and even the guy they traded Kyrie for.

Yep that’s right after summer swapping Irving for Isaiah, the Cavs sent Thomas along with versatile big-man vet Channing Frye to Lakerland. In return they got the buckets of ‘Sixth Man’ sure thing Jordan Clarkson and another Akron hometown hero in the form of Larry Nance Jr.

And although the Lakers picked-up a certified All-Star with Iverson kill at will, little man syndrome scoring a lot of fans where left tweeting negative emojis and gifs following the deadline deal. And not because their new number seven seal was a former Boston Celtic great only a season ago. Or that he has been hobbled by injury. More that the Lake Show loved the young Ball, Ingram, Kuzma, Randle and Zubac core that has lost it’s first big time players of the future since the de-loading trade of D’Angelo Russell last summer.

Clarkson was a class act and there from the luck of the late round steal start. Whereas when Nance Jr. ran the floor like his pops all the bleachers snapped shut, tilted up. Lakerland finally thought they would see their own slamming son represent them in the Slam Dunk Contest he should surely win now like father, like dunk today. But now he’ll be doing it all for one and one for all.

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But with the fast tracked pace of the Lakers new speedy dynamite dynamo it could still be Showtime again for Magic’s men like when Earvin Johnson was kissing another Isiah Thomas hello in the golden era 80’s. But this Isaiah Thomas-so long as he can ball in the same backcourt as Ball once injury time gives way to the Lavar…excuse me the Lonzo Angeles Lakers-could attract even more free agents like the expected homecoming of Paul George from the Thunder to the purple reign this offseason. Even if rumour has a Black Panther/Killmonger like relationship with the King of the land.

But if it’s between LeBron as a Laker or another one of James’ sidekicks than who do you think will hold the headlines for tomorrows Los Angeles Times? Especially as Isaiah could aim higher than coming off the bench this summer as a free agent without restriction himself. His big contract coming off the books with Channing’s (Frye not Hollywood’s Tatum), another big three big in Brook Lopez and another former All-Star in Luol Deng (yep…he’s still here).

All these multiples of millions would surely make for a kings ransom.

This could be it, so lets enjoy I.T. whilst he lasts.

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Nuggets Jamal Murray breaks Steven Adams Ankles with Filthy Handles

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Nuggets Jamal Murray Breaks Steven Adams Ankles Filthy Handles

Denver Nuggets Guard Jamal Murray breaks OKC Thunder center Steven Adams ankles with his filthy and deadly combination of handles and three-point shooting. Murray was sensational finishing with 33 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds in a thrilling 127-124 victory. The Canadian guard (Kitchener, ON) is having the best year of his NBA career and has arguably become best Canadian basketball player in the NBA. The 6’4″, 207 lbs guard is flourishing under Head  Coach Mike Malone’s system and is averaging a respectable 16 points per game, 3.6 rebounds and 3 assists per game through 50 regular season games including a career-high 38-point outburst against the Portland Trail Blazers.

BTW. I can watch this all day!

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Like Father, Like Glove…Gary Payton II Makes Family Franchise History

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Like Father, Like Glove…Gary Payton II Makes Family Franchise History
The Gloves Are On For The Lakers.

From L.A. to South Bay the storied Lakers franchise has growing family ties rooted in their ever evolving modern history.

There’s the Walton. Son of Bill, former player and now coach Luuuuke. The Slam Dunk king he runs lay-up line plays for Larry Nance Jr. like his 80’s dunk champ dad. And even former player and D-League, South Bay coach Coby Karl, son of the legendary George Karl.

And then there’s the Glove story.

All trash talking, stop you from scoring, Seattle Supersonics NBA legend Gary Payton joined the Lakers with fellow golden era 90’s great post mailman, Karl Malone to try to get one more ring at the end of the Shaq and Kobe era. Payton ended up getting one with Shaq in the talented South Beach pool of Miami before the G retired. But now the gloves son and fellow Beaver, Gary Payton II (there’s a Tim Hardaway Jr. trend for NBA legend fathers to name their sons after themselves) is putting on the gold for the future of this franchises youth revolution.

After starting his unbelievably undrafted career with the young Milwaukee Bucks led by the alphabet Giannis Antetokounmpo, it wasn’t all A-B-C. But now he’s looking to put up numbers with the purple Lake Show off alphabet street like 1-2-3. Now number 23 (three more than his dad…but that isn’t the reason that number should p### the retire No. 20 off) is looking at a fresh start with Luke and Lonzo’s (not to mention Lavar’s) Lakers like no other.

The two-way guard has signed a two-way contract with both the Los Angeles Lakers and their NBDL team the South Bay Lakers (now more official than their former Los Angeles D-Fenders affiliate name, even if not in city). So now G.P. II will play for both Coach Walton and Coach Karl. How’s that for some family ties!?

Young Gary Payton the second had some impressive debuts off the bench for L.A. But now Payton mark II is assigned to South Bay like fellow two-way dunking Alex Caruso (he really does have a detective grade surname and a game that does not go with his frame) he’s ready to ball. Messing around in his debut and getting a triple double of 14, 11 and 12.

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Payton II could be a big part of the Lakers youth movement too like many of his current teammates going from South Bay to L.A. like Hollywood fans and script-writers can only hope LeBron will decide to this free agent offseason like he did South Beach all those last summers ago. Just like another rookie with a familiar surname in Thomas Bryant (no…Kobe isn’t THAT old) and of course Zupac.

Lead by the Ball family, the even better rookie and in no way number two Kyle Kuzma (who even goes one better in the Twitter troll back and forth with Ball brother LiMelo. “Fire your stylist”?! Oh yeah? “Fire your dentist”! Damn…can we smell a Shaq and Kobe beef cooking?!), three times a great rookie selection in the defensive Hart, big Brandon Ingram, of course Nance junior and the original future Julius Randle and his late round draft genius Jordan Clarkson (who’s not only balling like he’s the Sixth Man of the Year but like he should start too) this young Showtime, purp Laker legacy are making their own, unique legend in Mamba moment black.

This season it looked like the chance for an outside eight seed was thinner than the backlight on a retro Casio, but now the future is brighter than the South Bay sun from downtown L.A.

And with the Payton patent making Lakers history by becoming the first father and son duo to suit up for the franchise, it might just take a glove to hold this young core together.

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