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Can Dwight Howard propel Atlanta Into NBA Finals?

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Dwight Howard - Atlanta Hawks

On July 12, 2016, the Atlanta Hawks announced they had signed veteran center Dwight Howard.

“We would like to welcome Dwight, and his family, home to Atlanta and into our Hawks basketball family.  We feel Dwight will have a huge impact on both ends of the court with his physical presence and the force he brings to the game,” President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Mike Budenholzer said, per NBA.com.

This is a great move for basketball reasons, but also because it brought a legendary player back home. Howard is from Atlanta, Georgia, and his presence, and cache will spark interest in the Hawks across the United States.

The Hawks are a playoff team in the Eastern Conference, qualifying every year since 2008, but have only one Conference Finals appearance in that time span.

Howard is a player that can change the negative spiral the Hawks find themselves in every spring, which is Atlanta is good in the regular season, but fades away in the playoffs. After all, he led the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals in 2009. And, that Magic squad was one blundered away – Stan Van Gundy’s decision to bring Jameer Nelson back in the starting lineup, which destroyed the rotation – from winning it all.

Howard will strengthen Atlanta’s defense, which was one of the best unit in the NBA, a year ago. According to ESPN.com, the Hawks had the second best defensive efficiency, behind San Antonio, at 98.8. This defense could potentially be the best in the NBA, which could translate to a more successful post-season for Atlanta. After all, defense wins championships.

However, the Hawks are not a good rebounding team, because Al Horford, now in Boston, played out of position during his tenure with the team. Dwight Howard will change that immediately because he plays his natural position. He has a career average of 12.7 rebounds per game, and recorded 613 double-doubles.

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According to NBA.com, Howard ranks 13th in NBA history in rebounds per game, 20th in blocks per game, 21st in blocked shots (1,824), and 27th in total rebounds (11,149).

A year ago, Atlanta was horrendous in rebounding, ranking 25th in defensive rebounding behind the Los Angeles Lakers! And dead last in offensive rebounding (30th). Dwight Howard will turn those numbers around.

When you consider that the Hawks are a pretty good shooting team, tied with Toronto for seventh best in the NBA at 55.2 per cent in true shooting percentage. Although their offensive efficiency ranks low (18th in the NBA), they still average over 100 points per 100 possessions (103.0). Atlanta can score; they just need to be more efficient with their offensive possessions.

The knock against Atlanta, in recent years, has been that they don’t have a go-to guy that can win them tough contests; however, with a collection of talents spread around the court, and an immovable pillar below the rim, the Hawks could shoot the lights out of a gym, and Dwight Howard would only have to rebound and execute put-back dunks.

The 2016-17 Atlanta Hawks could look a lot like the 2008-10 Orlando Magic squads that did not have great outside players, but players who collectively could shoot (very) well, and a monster in the middle of the paint.

Atlanta could very well be Dwight Howard’s last stop in the NBA, and with his career on the line, in the town where he was born, could Howard make believers in all of us that he has changed since the ugly on-going battle to leave Orlando in 2012?

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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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NBA

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 20 Pts, 20 Rebs, 10 Asts first Canadian NBA triple-double since 2006

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shai gilgeous alexander 20 pts 20 rebs 10 asts first canadian nba triple double since 2006
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 20 points, 20 rebounds, 10 assists joins elite NBA company

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Hamilton, ON) became only the second Canadian basketball player in NBA history to record a triple-double — and the first in nearly 14 years, since Steve Nash in 2006.

Gilgeous-Alexander racked-up 20 points, career-high 20 rebounds and 10 assists in the 117-104 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. The former one-and-done Kentucky Wildcat continued his efficient campaign shooting 8-of-12 field goals, connecting 2-of-3 triples and 2-of-2 from the foul-line.

Steve Nash recorded three triple-doubles in his illustrious 18-year career, the last one on April 19, 2006 — Nash finished with 16 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.

The 20 rebounds is also a record-high by a Canadian guard and only the second 20/20 double-double by a Canadian — Jamaal Magloire notched a 22 point, 21 rebound game against the Toronto Raptors’ on March 21, 2004.

Most rebounds by a Canadian in the NBA

Samuel Dalembert (Montreal, QC) holds the record for the most rebounds in a NBA game with 23 against the Golden State Warriors on March 20, 2009. Followed by Magloire 22 and Tristan Thompson with 21.

Gilgeous-Alexander becomes the youngest guard to record 20-20-10 stat-line and joins Russell Westbrook as the only guards with a 20-point, 20-rebound triple-double over the last 30 seasons. He is also the youngest player in NBA history with a 20-rebound triple-double, passing Shaquille O’Neal.

RJ Barrett became the first Canadian basketball player to record a triple-double at the NCAA level in nearly 35 years during his lone freshman season with the Duke Blue Devils.

The OKC Thunder continue their playoff push with their 18 victory in the last 25 games and currently sit in 7th place in the western conference.

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The Canadian guard is currently averaging 20 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists — shooting 46.4% from the floor, 33.6% from three-pointers and 81.6% from the foul-line while turning the ball over just 1.9 per game.

Canada NBA All-Star Drought

The 2020 NBA All-star game in Chicago is less than month away and as it currently stands, Gilgeous-Alexander doesn’t currently rank as one the top fan vote earners in a guard heavy western conference. Nevertheless, the Canadian stud could end Canada’s eight year NBA all-star game drought by earning a coach’s selection.

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