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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

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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