Hotter than July and in a league of its own, the Summer has been loving the NBA this season.
There’s no offseason about any of this. Between the post playoff second season of draft and free agency trade the game just keeps going. And the recent game changing contest of the NBA Summer league has seen all the lottery picks and raw, young talents of the past few seasons of change look for a ticket to win.
And they told you basketball never stops!
Starting this season early, the NBA hit Las Vegas, Nevada like NCAA in the UNLV as each team looked to place their chips on the kids they one day hope and scout project to be future All-Stars. Betting on some of the potential biggest names in the sports world in Sin City, numbers where ringing from the courts to the casinos.
All eyes where on this years lottery picks rolling the dice as number one pick Karl-Anthony Townes of the Minnesota Timberwolves proved he was worthy of that top billing position, alongside fellow top ten player with experience in China, Emmanuel Mudiay, who is a real Nugget find for Denver. A lot of hype also surrounded the match-up between the Los Angeles Lakers number 2 pick D’Angelo Russell and the Philadelphia 76er they snubbed to get him, Jahil Okafor. Okafor got revenge blocking Russell, but D’Angelo’s team won thanks to star sophomores with so much more Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson. Still, even with all this, Okafor’s woeful free throw shooting and Russell’s troubled turnovers remains more than just a casual concern.
At least the Knicks Kristaps Porzingis turned all those jeers into cheers as this once empty core Big Apple, New York team now has something and someone to centre them.
It wasn’t just all about the rooks however in this young mans game and tournament which drawing in a crowd-seated and televised-looked more like a proper NBA game and not just another run. There-point gunner Doug McDermott showed he gives the Chicago Bulls roster of Rose, Noah, Gasol, Butler, Mirotic, Dunleavy and Brooks even more range from downtown, fabulous Las Vegas. Whilst MVP and champion Steph Curry’s brother and former Golden State Warrior teammate Seth showed he had what it takes now a team finally gave Dell’s other son the chance. After representing the New Orleans Pelicans with his family name and game play this Curry showed how hot he is. Now he’s been crowned with a Kings role in Sacramento. Seth Curry with the contract.
Still like with everything else this Summer it wasn’t this year, but last years champion the San Antonio Spurs that dominated the proceedings. One of the most legendary franchises of the NBA’s storied history with a legacy made big-three of Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and the greatest Power Forward of all-time Tim Duncan, about to be replaced with the Finals MVP and Defensive Player Of The Year likes of Kawhi Leonard and biggest free agent signing LaMarcus Aldridge, showed they had even more in their youthful future. As the MVP of this Summer league tournament Kyle Anderson showed he may just be the last piece of this new San Antonio team set to replace the old but not obsolete present one. Or is he? As the Spurs may have just found a new coach to take these new torch carriers to the light at the end of the pasts tunnel. Franchise family member and former WNBA, San Antonio Silver Stars All-Star Becky Hammon has graduated from first female Assistant Coach to that of a Summer league head one. Leading her team to a 93-90 Finals win over the Phoenix Suns to win the tournament and rumours of one day being the very first woman to coach an NBA team once Coah Pop calls it a champagne toast of a career. Adam Silver has said one day he could see something like this happens and Hammon has already held her first piece of hardware as a rookie coach, just games into her top of the top tenure.
Take that Steve Kerr!
Now with so much future potential on display in just a few competitive games this month, the collective National Basketball Association just wishes they could know what everyone’s going to do next Summer! Because if its like this one by any or all accounts, its going to be a scorcher!
Knicks RJ Barrett: Basketball + Business
Canadian RJ Barrett sits down for a very candid interview with agent Bill Duffy and “The Boardroom” host — former no. 1 overall pick Jay Williams to discuss basketball and his business ambitions and aspirations.
Barrett is expected to be amongst the highest global sponsorship earners of his generation and is represented by agent Duffy — who has done over 3.5 billion dollars in contract negotiations and also represented Canada’s greatest basketball player to date and RJ’s very own Godfather Steve Nash.
Under Duffy’s direction, Barrett is expected to capitalize on the immediate rise of Canadian Basketball and the national corporate entities looking for an immediate association with the rapidly growing sport.
Barrett has already inked deals with financial powerhouse Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), and global leader in made to measure apparel company INDOCHINO — Which costumed designed his Draft night suit.
Globally, with Barrett’s ability to speak French, Duffy also sees a market in China but as well as untapped African market. After all, Duffy is somewhat responsible for Yao Ming’s massive success in the Asian-Pacific markets.
When it’s all said and done, Barrett stands a chance at being Canada’s top-earning athlete, both in salary earnings and corporate dollars.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Is The Real MVP
Santa Monica, California was on an award tour like A Tribe Called Quest for the NBA’s end of season grand prize spectacle last night. Hanging out in the coolest performing arts theatre in all of Los Angeles (my apologies to the Hollywood Bowl), the converted airplane Barker Hangar played host to the 2019 NBA Awards. The Emmy’s, Oscar’s and Grammy’s of hoops Tony.
The best of the Basketball best and the cream of the future hops crop descended on this hangar, suited and booted like they were flossing injured court-side.
Shaq sized in the perfect setting in a place that houses feats of brilliance that take flight like Mike, this event could only be hosted by the one and only, Big Aristotle of the Diesel, Shaquille O’Neal (sorry Drake. Although you troll NBA players better than Kevin Hart telling Kenny Smith he’s so ashy if he smiles his lips will bleed as he goes to take a sip of his water). And the most entertaining NBA player ever (give him his award) laughed, joked, sang, rapped and danced his way to an enjoyable evening in the place he racked up three rings on repeat.
But how about the prize giving? Well your real Most Valuable Player this year is Giannis Antetokounmpo. Say what you will about last year’s MVP and this year’s runner up in the closest of recent races as tight as the Rookie of the Year voting, James Harden racking up triple-doubles like Charles Barkley says Lonzo Ball does triple-singles, but it’s the Alphabet’s time now after slaughtering this season gone. Sure he didn’t come away with the ‘chip like worthy candidate Kawhi Leonard and his (we still hope) Toronto Raptors, but that is his next challenge for the Mamba Mentality tweeted in congratulation by Kobe Bryant who predicted this MVP years back. And in a beautiful and emotional speech, Giannis dedicated all this to his dearly departed dad and his brothers and mom in attendance as every eye not dry in the house got out their seats in unanimous ovation.
And in a truly global game flying the flag outside the United States for each category winner, Antetokounmpo almost doubled up, finishing in second place for Defensive Player Of The Year, under the stifling Eiffel of French fly swatter, Rudy Gobert. As Paul George after an incredible season-no lucky shot-came in third place like he did for the MVP voting. Toronto not only got the ‘chip in the Six however as their X-factor Pascal Siakam came up with the Most Improved Player award ahead of Sacramento sophomore De’Aaron Fox and Brooklyn’s own (if they play their free agent cards right), D’Angelo Russell.
Coach of the Year was bucked by Milwaukee’s Mike Budenholzer dry-erasing for the MVP. And Bradley Beal was passed the Community Assist Award for all the good this All Star has done. Give him a hand for all the ones he has. Whilst the Sportsmanship award went to new Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley Jr., who also racked up the Teammate Of The Year award for his grit n grind time with the Memphis Grizzlies. But who else for the Sixth Man of the Year award then the ‘6 Man’ of all-time, Lou Williams? Joining Clippers teammate Jamal Crawford as the only player to win the Sixth award three times over.
And the House Of Highlights Moment of the Year of course went to Derrick Rose. Can you guess for what game?
We have a ball rattling around the rim forever in Toronto that shoots for even more stars though.
But how about that Rookie of the Year award? Who you got? Because in narrowly beating out Atlanta Hawk Trae Young it’s clear the award belongs to superstar right now Luka Dončić after a Maverick season in Dallas. Where the Texan gunslinger from Slovenia is about to draw on them all next season. Look out for the kid like Pat Garrett, Billy.
Sager Strong, broadcaster Robin Roberts took home that award named in honor after the suited court-side with a microphone presenter. And her “make your mess your message” speech was the most inspiring of the night after her fight against breast cancer and bone marrow disease, raising awareness.
Executive of the Year went to Jon Horst of the Milwaukee Bucks (sorry Rob Pelinka…jokes) but the Lifetime Achievement? Well that went to a former President who has just left office. No not Obama (although POTUS does have game…WAP!). But the Magic man, Earvin Johnson. The Laker legend honored in California for all he’s done since starting the fast-break of Showtime, to changing the game behind the back without taking a single shot. All the way to walking away from it bravely when he was diagnosed with HIV and then making a comeback so beautifully for the man who will always be purple and gold with all this entrepreneur pulls out the empire of his top hat. Say what you will about his presidency residency but as we look to free agency this crazy off-season, remember who started all this off by bringing the King to Hollywood last Summer, waiting outside his house in his car at one in the morning.
Now that can’t be tampered with.
Apart from with this. How about one better? In a courtship of rivals and a year of what could have well just been shared MVP and ROY honours, Magic Johnson shared this award of a lifetime with his former, rival and friend Larry Bird. The college to big league opponent who was a Celtic classic legend from downtown Boston. All the way to the parquet green pride of more smoked Red cigars. Two lifetimes for the price of one. Now who cares whose coming in second place?
Because all in all last nights NBA Awards show of All-Stars showed us one thing like the NBA Finals. No matter who took home the gold, we all came away winners.