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2019-2020 NBA Season Preview – Western Conference

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2019 2020 NBA Season Preview Western Conference

Northwest Division

Portland Trailblazers

Call it a bad shot all you like Paul, but by George Dame D.O.L.L.A was right on the money with his Thunder clap. R.I.P. OKC. And out in the blooming lovely Rose City of Oregon, the only noise coming out of Portland and their blazing trail of a back-court this summer offseason is the new side hustle rap album from Damian Lillard. Hitting big hits from all over the floor. And that’s just how the Spurs of the Northwest want it in this Wild West. C.J. McCollum and Dame are right on time to shake up your brackets and belief again. And now they have guys like Rodney Hood, Kent Bazemore, Hassan Whiteside and the Spanish legacy of legend Pau Gasol to fill in whilst waiting for the return of the Mt. Hood man mountain of Jusuf Nurkic. It’s going to be a hot one. This year blazing in the flame hair, bandana throwing Bill Walton era jerseys.

Jamal Murray Denver Nuggets Spinning Ball 2019 NBA Media Day
Denver Nuggets Guard Jamal Murray – Photo; Denver Nuggets

Denver Nuggets

Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker may be coming out in theaters this October but why so serious? The real Joker Nikola Jokic is playing all season long. Or he isn’t playing with you, whichever way you want to look at it. And with vet Paul Millsap and the late, great Manute’s mountain of a son Bol Bol by his side that front-line is more imposing than those relatives that take two hours to say goodbye after a quick “just stopping by” visit. But it’s Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. who are mining and running the future of this franchise off the break. The air is clear in Nevada now and the Nuggets are going for gold. Mile high is the limit in this city.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Things looked mighty cold out in Minny when the Butler left for more steak in Philly. But look what he did to the Sixers in the process. Still they still have man mountain Karl Anthony-Towns, their next generation Kevin Garnett and Canadian dry gunner Andrew Wiggins. Once someone they gave up a lot of Love for. Worth it? You decide for yourself this young teams still got a long window to mature, but let’s not leave it open for too long out in this Midwest cold. They may just be go unnoticed, left to freeze to death. At least those purple Prince uniforms still reign.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Cue the John Travolta in Pulp Fiction GIF. Last year it looked so all good that the OK3 could even afford to lose a legend like Carmelo Anthony before the whole league scapegoated him like he wasn’t one of our generations greatest (RESPECT DUE). Well now they’ve lost more marquee players than when they did James Harden and Kevin Durant. Why not? First Paul George did end up going to LA in the end after all…but with the Kawhi Clippers and not the LeBron Lakers. And then even Russell Westbrook bounced like he does above the rim for a Rocket reunion with James Harden. And all the OKC former OK3 got in return was CP3. WoW! And Chris Paul may end up getting brought out like decorations for Christmas by the fall season like overeager shop fronts anyway. At least they still have Aquaman Steven Adams to trident take them out these deep waters of thunder.

Donovan Mitchell Utah Jazz Guard 2019 NBA Media Day
Donovan Mitchell Utah Jazz Guard – Photo: Utah Jazz

Utah Jazz

Far from home Spider-Man may be out the MCU so now it’s on Donovan Mitchell’s homecoming in Salt Lake City. The best spida since big John Salley, Donovan is one of the best young stars in the world running like Bailey. And with the Stifel Tower of Frenchmen Rudy Gobert by his side gobbling up dunks he has someone looking out for him 3000 like Iron Man. Add the grit-n-grind notes of Mike Conley Jr., young, big talent like Dante Exum and Ed Davis and proven big time contributers like veteran Jeff Green and young stud Emmanuel Mudiay and the Jazz sound pretty Larry David good this year. You’re going to like the way they play…and play on too. And I don’t see no fat lady.

Pacific Division

San Francisco Warriors

The Golden State Warriors may have lost the championship AND Kevin Durant, but in NBA terms that was a long time ago. They’re not the Golden State Warriors anymore. Moving back across that Golden Gate Bridge to Silicon Valley they’re the San Francisco Warriors now as the McDonalds All American like Curry jerseys that have one up on the European NBA Store site tell us. And in a new city and new day off the California Coast it’s a new generation for the former Oakland raiding dynasty. One that sees the Splash Brothers of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson (who did come back like Draymond Green) joined by a triplet in D’Angelo Russell backing them up. The former Brooklyn boy who makes nets all water looks for more Cali revenge over the Lakers that let him go. Add the frontline young force of Willie Cauley-Stein from Sacramento to this California club and the skyline of San Fran really does look different. Take a Cable Car up these ‘Bullitt’ famous sloping streets and see for yourself.

Phoenix Suns

Think it’s all dry in the desert then book a ticket to see the Devin Booker show. Remember the seventies? I’m talking about how many he hit years back not the decade for the kid who wasn’t even born back then. We’ll save our Phoenix metaphors for the rise of these Suns, but this dark Phoenix really is a deal horse like those old Pistons Grant Hill era logos. Remember when that player played with Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire? Those where the run and gun days. But now there could be some big STAT’s with the new big cactus in DeAndre Ayton ready to sophomore soar. Add Ricky Rubio, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Aaron Baynes to the mix and this Sun spot could burn baby burn. Hope you listened to Bad Luhrmann when he told you to always wear sunscreen.

Sacramento Kings

These Kings may be a long way from the California crown, but it still hasn’t slipped all the way yet. Underrated star Harrison Barnes and the most valuable vet Trevor Ariza leads a young core missing new Warrior Cauley-Stein, but one that can still go to cowbell battle. Fresh out the Hall of Fame legend Vlade Divac has assembled quite the team of potential H.O.F candidates. Guys like DeAaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley III. Now that’s a young big-three. They may not be true three Kings yet. But when it comes to the colour purple there’s nothing wrong with a couple of prince’s.

2019/2020 Nba Season Preview-western Conference
Los Angeles Clippers – Kawhi Leonard, Pat Beverly, Paul George, Montrezl Harrell, Lou Williams, Doc Rivers – Photo: LA Clippers

Los Angeles Clippers

When the L.A. Lakers traded for Ant Davis next year’s NBA season looked over, let alone the battle for Los Angeles. Especially with who they thought was coming too. But in the Linkin Park end it didn’t really matter as Kawhi Leonard ended up in Los Angeles…but with the cross-court Clippers instead. And if you thought that was bad Lake Show then Paul George of all people finally came to Hollywood too…but for you know who. Now if that wasn’t enough too, about three former disgruntled Lakers playing big in reserve too? From big man Ivica Zubac and defensive dog Patrick Beverly to the 6 Man G.O.A.T. Lou Will. Now the Clips look to emancipate themselves from the shadow of the bright lights and banners of the Lakers STAPLE too by moving into their own place and state of the art stadium by 2020. Looks like they’re going out on their own now and who better to lead them than the one Finals Most Valuable Player who Canada knows can change everything in a bucket. Ain’t that right Philly?

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Los Angeles Lakers Kyle Kuzma Anthony Davis Rajon Rondo Lebron James Frank Vogel
Los Angeles Lakers Kyle Kuzma Anthony Davis Rajon Rondo Lebron James & Frank Vogel – Photo: Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers

Dwight Howard…Dwight Howard! What is that hair?! Is he dating a Kardashian?! Nah…you know what? I’m done making jokes. You have to respect the redemption. I’ve been wrong when I’ve said this before (like when I used caffeine shampoo), but I think this is going to work. For all the big moves made out in the La La LeBron City of Angels this Summer, the nobody in the world would have believed you weeks ago Dwight Howard/Lakers reunion has made the most waves out in Hollywood (soft…soft). And this is a team that just finally traded for Anthony Davis. To give LeBron and the Lakers the most dynamic duo since Shaq and Kobe…not Dwight Howard and Kobe. But in doing so they had to give them the whole house of hoops. Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, (please no, not) Josh Hart and all those future draft picks that could turn into players like that or all they’ve lost with the likes of Russell, Randle, Clarkson, Nance Jr. and Zubac. And Anthony is as afraid of commitment next year as young men in their twenties right about now. But at least they kept Kuzma, KCP…and Caruso. And in keeping Rondo and McGee too, maybe adding another meme in another Anthony in ‘Melo and adding Danny Green, Avery Bradley, Quinn Cook, Antetokounmpo (his brother…settle down) and DeMarcus Cousins (before he got injured), the Lake Show’s time is now. But will it be a Hollywood ending for the King? Or will you have to watch ‘Space Jam 2’ for that. It’s going to be a monstar season, but this could be all folks.

Southwest Division

James Harden and Russell Westbrook Houston Rockets sitting on the bench in Hawaii
James Harden and Russell Westbrook Houston Rockets sitting on the bench in Hawaii – Photo: Houston Rockets

Houston Rockets

Turns out Houston did have a problem. Turns out James Harden and Chris Paul likes each other about as much as Harden’s beard and a straight razor. So CP3 was traded to OKC for a thunderous reunion with Russell Westbrook set to explode like barbershop trash bags if they ever do get James’ chin in the chair. But with this dynamite duo, Sixth God Eric Gordon, big Nenê, sneaker king, P.J. Tucker and blocking X-factor Clint Capela, the Rockets are about to soar. Add Kenneth Faried, Gerald Green, Austin Rivers, Iman Shumpert and Tyson Chandler to their preseason flight to the Far East and you could take this team even higher than the Tokyo Skytree. Because the former Yao Ming team is about to be big in Japan too for a preseason exhibition against the Toronto champion Raptors. Now let’s just hope their season isn’t lost in translation Bill.

Dallas Mavericks

Dirk may be gone as the big 3 in this Texan big-three, but Luka Doncic isn’t just the future of this team, state and Wild West. He’s also the future of the league and the whole wide world of hoops. And he’s just hit the weight room too like a photoshopped Alex Caruso. Get that “random” drugs test sent Commish. Add the power of Porzingis to this Maverick mix too and you probably have not only the greatest Euro one/two punch, but one of the best in the association. Even if their best European big-three of all-time lasted for only half a season after the All Star break. But let’s not forget about ‘John Wick Chapter 3’ Jaws like villain Boban Marjanovic either on a team that still has hot Curry even if it isn’t Dell or Steph. This dynamic duo has the potential to last all the way to the hall. Deck them out in Dallas now.

San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs may have lost Kawhi Leonard. But come on that was a season and a Canadian championship for the Toronto Raptors (we have to get that in there as much as naturally as possible). But they’ve still got Pop and nothings better like the social media shared video of the FIBA Team USA coach playing ‘Heads Up’ with an iPhone with his team at dinner. Heads up this team still have DeMar DeRozan too. And LaMarcus Aldridge. AND Rudy Gay. And if we’re talking FIBA let’s not forget Aussie ruler Patty Mills lowering the boom. We also have no idea of the potential of Derrick White and Lonnie Walker too…and that’s a beautiful thing. They may not have Manu or TP3 anymore, but big Tim Duncan is back as an assistant. What more could you ask for?

Zion Williamson Lonzo Ball Jrue Holiday Brandon Ingram New Orleans Pelicans 2019 NBA Media Day
New Orleans Pelicans – Zion Williamson, Lonzo Ball, Jrue Holiday and Brandon Ingram – Photo: New Orleans Pelicans

New Orleans Pelicans

Anthony Davis is gone. That’s all folks. But in return the Pels got proven point Lonzo Ball, score at will slasher like Durant with Sprewell hair, Brandon Ingram and the best young role player there is in Josh Hart, plus more blowing through the draft than leaves in Autumn. Now that’s a haul folks. And that comes with the likes of J.J. Reddick, Jahlil Okafor, Derrick and Jrue Holiday still on board too. Playoffs for the Pelicans? That’s a yes for the N.O. and then some. And then there’s some kid named Zion.

Memphis Grizzlies

The Grit N Grind era is officially gravel drive done for the night now Mike Conley Jr. will be playing Jazz music. Put the Marc Gasol, Tony Allen and Rudy Gay past in the rafters it’s Ja Morant’s time to rule now. And they still have the Sixth Man Finals MVP of former Warrior champion Andre Igudola…for now. And for all those going on about first Japanese top ten pick Rui Hachimara this Summer out in DC before the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo how about the Hustle of his FIBA national team teammate Yuta Watanabe? Still capable of being big in the NBA like he is in Japan. The Grizz are also bringing out the old Vancouver, Canada jerseys this year like Mike Bibby and Shareef Abdur-Raheem. But that’s not the only thing that’s going to bear fruit this 82.

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NBA

A Rose For Kuz?

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a rose for kuz
Rose Reunion?

The Rose that grew from the career incasing concrete of a plaster cast, potential legacy ending injury is still in bloom.

Now that’s legendary.

That’s inspiration.

As a matter of fact with the trade deadline nearer than your office one, right now nothing smells better than Pooh.

Currently more than motoring on with the Detroit Pistons in Motown, the rejuvenation of Derrick Rose has already had his redemption season. Howling back with the Minnesota Timberwolves the last 82. But in this one mirroring his prime time stats as a Bull and the next era after M.J. for the Chicago way, it’s still a story as good as a Dwight Howard Hollywood reunion or blazing Carmelo comeback out in Oregon.

And now like the former D12, D. Rose could be heading to the wild west like the one Anthony the Lakers didn’t get in the end (but should of). But like the young core, Ingram, Ball and Hart trade for A.D. is the prize worth the price?

Although Derrick is linked with the 76ers like every superstar over the past few seasons and a reunion with Chicagoland (which Basketball God’s would be the perfect closing chapter to this story that is albeit still being wrote by his own penmanship), the Benjamin Franklin’s are on Rose reuniting with King James although he called his Cleveland time with the classic Cavalier “super awkward”.

Awks.

The former number one, that draft pick and NBA MVP is still most valuable and at 31 is almost a half decade younger than the King. Plus with awesome averages of 18.3 points on 50.3 percent from the field in 25.8 minutes and 5.9 assists per contest this campaign, the guy wants more time and to get out of the elimination standings.

Clockwork and contention could certainly be on the cards for Rose who let’s face it at his age and stage and with the numbers he’s putting up is still a superstar, hate it or love it. He’s been put through the ringer for his career like Bill Simmons or Shea Serrano, but now he’s being called on like Phil Collins to be one of the games greats like the genesis of his association with National Basketball.

So he may just be worth a package deal like your next vacation. Even if the Lakers are offering Kyle Kuzma and Quinn Cook for his services. Can I make a counter offer of Cook, Troy Daniels (great…but underused) and DeMarcus Cousins (although I do want to see how big he can literally get coming back and grunting with former post Pelican powerhouse Anthony Davis)? Throw in Drummond and it’s a go. Like Jerry Seinfeld superimposed into ‘Deal Or No Deal’ by NBC’s ’30 Rock’, “I gotta take that deal!”

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Pair Rose with LeBron and the frontcourt force of Howard and of course Davis then these London Olympic teammates would make for what a couple of five ring contests ago on dry erase would look like a dream team. And it still wakes up notions of one to this date in the 2020 year of Tokyo thanks to Vogels vision. But would the show be giving up too much this time?

“This time”…yeah right!

Quinn Cook has California championship pedigree, splashing with the brothers in Golden State like shopping on Rodeo Drive. And this Warrior has been integral this season. His number 2 from downtown reminding me of the should be retired clutch king Fisher (we can always raise 0.4 to the STAPLES rafters) and making me feel happier about buying a Lonzo Ball statement jersey last year…hey if I wear it under a jacket it looks like I’m cooking up love and representation for Quinn.

And then there’s Kuz.

If the Lakers trade away Kyle Kuzma then they will be giving up the last piece of their incredibly curated young core that is flying with the Pelicans right now. Although how could I forgot about the untouchable, All Star Alex Carushow and the fact that Anthony Davis isn’t calendar far from Larry Nance Jr. and new Jazz 6 man Jordan Clarkson?

Although Rose solves the Lakers perimeter problems and feels in the same prime time as what could be his All Star teammates (how legendary would a Rose/Rondo backcourt be although it’s hard not to know whether to deal him or Cook?), Kuz seems too good to let cruise like Tom. This top gun may have struggled early this season, but he was coming back from injury Lakers Twitter. And recently he’s been that Worthy third option behind the Big Game Magic of James and his Kareem or Shaq to his Kobe number 3 partner, waiting on those Jordan digits next season when the King carries the 6.

30 for 30 putting up “trade this” exclamatory numbers in the dynamic duos absence, even Batman and Robin needed a Nightwing. And as much as Rose could help the new Lake Showtime bloom and grow like fine wine for all of LeBron’s merlot men, you could imagine Kyle making the Lakers pay play after play like a D’Angelo Russell or Julius Randle off the team that draft clever, but trade stupid.

Keep the player. Trade the barber.

Zero to 1. The legend or the future superstar? The choice for this deal is the Kings.

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NBA

Watch THIS Work! The WNBA Bets On Women

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watch this work the wnba bets on women
Fight and win like a girl...

Great expectations.

Ten years ago the motto of the Women’s National Basketball Association was to, ‘Expect Great’. Now a decade later and into the roaring 20’s of a whole new one and world, the league that tells you to watch them work truly has for all it’s worth.

The WNBA and CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) has reached a monumental moment in the leagues history and its time to read all about it on Los Angeles Sparks twin superstar Chiney Ogwumike’s Twitter thread.

It tells us the CBA means…

When it comes to players salary and compensation there will be a 30% increase to the salary cap as the higher max pay player salary jumps like Lisa Leslie’s first dunk from $117,500 to $215,000. Whilst there will be an additional compensation for those top tier Candace Parker players around $300,000. Moving millions this is thee first time the league has moved units like this in six figures. And like Russell Westbrook why not? Because for every player like him there’s an Ogwumike. For every Candace a LeBron. Every Luka Doncic a Breanna Stewart. Every Larry Bird a Sue. Kobe Bryant, Diana Taurasi. For every Michael Jordan a Lisa Leslie.

Every insufferable, couch potato chip, sexist fans who unlike a Suffragette doesn’t believe women deserves equal pay needs to check their pockets…yep like Rakim said that’s nothing but lint. Now paid in full these women deserve this and more like diversity at the Oscars. Just as good as the men like Michelle Wie (she’s not the logos sons wife people) golfing with the guys of you claim you’re “woke” on social media but can’t wake up to this then you’re about as woke as still in bed gone half 12 in the afternoon. It feels like all those trumped up people who had a problem with a female ‘Ghostbusters’ reboot. Or those old men who would rather bully a 17 year old girl with Aspergers online than believe in the actual happenings of climate change.

Sure there’s an argument that sportspeople shouldn’t be paid these ridiculous amounts of money. But the point is if the men get paid this much then why shouldn’t the women?

This should have happened a long time ago. But at least it’s happening now.

It’s about time.

Working mothers are also finally getting their due in a groundbreaking deal on this date. Players will receive a salary whilst on maternity leave with an additional new childcare stipend. Whilst up to $60,000 of progressive family planning benefits for veteran players for costs for adoption, surrogacy, oocyte cryopreservation, fertility and more. No longer will go hard greats like Skylar Diggins-Smith have to play whilst pregnant and hide it to protect herself whilst the CBA lists it as a “condition”.

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Perks of the game that the men have had for years and the world class women deserve just as such also include individual hotel rooms for players, more mandatory leg room on flights (how important is this for basketball players? The NBA would cry personal foul if the King and them would be forced to fly economy), and further for the finances, off-season job opportunities with league partners that along with the salary rise will mean that WNBA players won’t, overplayed and underpaid have to go overseas in the off-season to earn more money to make ends meet in foreign leagues. Something which has been a conditioning condition and pay for play issue since the leagues inaugural inception.

And let’s not forget about the players mental health too in major improvements across the board and world to an issue still surrounded with stigma despite the lengths taken and measures made. More resources will be offered in addition to the adoption of a Nutrition Council that will aid peak performance by offering players a commitment to this optimization.

But it’s probably the stand made by the WNBA and the CBA against violence to women which is the most important. Ending domestic and all sorts of violence to women which has happened to players around the league and still happens everyday, effecting everyone needs to end NOW like it should have never happened. It seems like such a ridiculously obvious thing to say…but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be said.

Again and again until we don’t have to.

The wide world has finally met the standards of the women’s game and league on the way to leveling the playing field. More of the same…do we really need to add the please now?

Betting on sporting events is a losers game. But betting on women-like the ones in this league-is a sure thing.

The game changed for real today.

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