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!
The Warriors Came Out To Play This Series
Even without the fantasy Basketball of Kevin Durant in this series, the Golden State Warriors still brought out the brooms like ‘Fantasia’.
And swept out of Game 4 like Thanos click finger dust, the Portland Trailblazers may have only lost by a bucket (119-117)…and in overtime at that. But with all the Splash they had to contend with this series from brothers Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, they were left dealing with more leaks and holes in all of their own ones like Mickey Mouse in said Disney epic.
This was meant to be the showdown between Dell Curry’s boys Steph and Seth which divided a household. And although the youngest gun stepped up to the plate, swung big in this carnival and knocked them down, big brother was always watching.
Steph Curry averaged over 36 points a game this series. Just read that again. 36 points. Right now we don’t need to talk about Kevin.
The Warriors are a dynasty for the ages even without their best player (although this writer thinks he wasn’t missing this entire series). The first team to make it to five straight finals since the Boston Celtics. The 1960’s Bill Russell Celtics. That’s King James crowning legendary. And Steph Curry with the shot and that facet of the game is just as iconic and dominant as a Bill block.
Give some credit to a blazing Portland side who never gave up despite the box score. They can hold their heads in the PDX. Even in their Moda Center home-stand City Of Roses end in RIP City. Their season eulogy should read as a celebration and commiseration, not a trolling condescension from critically entitled fans who have done nothing to determine the outcome of these games and could never make it this far in their wildest memes. They call themselves “influencers”? Well no one’s going to remember them in 50 years.
The NBA will remember one of their Top 100 greatest of all-time in a half century though. As after hitting the biggest buzzer beater in playoff history against Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round, Damian Lillard played through the pain of separated ribs this series and still made the Basketball God’s look down from the hoop heavens with praise. Like New York singer St. Vincent tweeted, “Damian Lillard is my hero”. Even his backcourt brother of splash CJ McCollum in the only small man set up to rival Curry and Klay came out to play against the Warriors after midrange mining the Nuggets into submission in Denver just over a week ago.
But Curry’s red hot triple double, starter, mains and dessert dish of 37, 13 and 11, to go along with a playing not crying, Draymond Green’s day of 18, 14 and 11 assists also was just too much in the clutch. As Stephen and Dray became the first teammates in NBA history to have a triple double in the same playoff game. Forget how much this team can unbelievably keep winning, how does this ball manage to get shared this much?
Well that just may be the secret of success?
The real test is dubbed next however in the Warriors last season in Golden State before they move across that Golden bridge to the Silicon Valley of a digital age in San Francisco. They will play the winner of the Milwaukee Bucks (probably…Giannis…MVP. Sorry Toronto but come on!) and Raptors series. But by then they should have some guy called Kevin back.
I mean come on. This has been getting crazy. This is just out of hand like said ball in Splash City.
Now Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics’ record of eight straight finals and wins doesn’t look far out of reach for Steph Curry and the player and team with the biggest range in the association over the gate of the Pacific.
Welcome to the Toronto Raptors’ Jurassic Park
“In Jurassic Park, Raptor fans wait until after dark. Even if the cold might eat them!”
Fans find a way.
An ace serve or two away from being as legendary as Wimbledon’s ‘Murray Mound’ or ‘Henman Hill’ outside the Scotiabank Arena, the Toronto Raptors Maple Leaf Square’s “Jurassic Park” may just be the ticket for this sold out crowd.
Raptor Klaw, Kawhi Leonard ruled the earth last night. He and the T-Dot at the final tick beat the Sixers in The Six, as his shot bobbled like a beach ball on the surface of a swimming pool before making the biggest splash of these postseason playoffs. Taking longer to fall than Leonardo DiCaprio’s spinning top in ‘Inception’. But this was no dream.
And if you thought the Scotiabank Arena in downtown Toronto erupted last night, then outside in Maple Leaf Square it was like the volcanoes that killed the dinosaurs after that big ball dropped. An Armageddon even Bruce Willis couldn’t save like he wish he could his career.
Welcome to Jurassic World.
With all due respect to the Linsanity of Jeremy Lin, or pick your poison whoever is your flash card pick of the bench mob pack, but the Jurassic Park crowd fenced in outside of Scotia is the
Forget rain or shine. You see the slickers. These faithful fans will pitch a spot waiting for game time like the ball to drop in Times Square for New Year in New York, sleeping bag lining up all day in their hordes huddled for warmth. These beautiful fans will brave the harshest, most frigid temperatures to be the coldest fans in the game in more ways than one. Part of the ‘We The North’ community in the 6 that the Basketball God’s look down on with pride, whilst other armchair fans watch this game for the throne from home. Or leave early like those suit and tie corporate seats trying to catch that last red eye Matt Bonner home.
Can you imagine of they called game early before Kawhi last night?
I could imagine Drake taking in the CN Tower looking up views of the Jurassic
Well those in the park for recreation stayed until the beautiful end to a game Butler almost delivered bitter. And you could could phantom cam see every emotion in slow motion last night as Leonard’s buzzer beating ball toyed with the rim like three dots on messenger, or Damien Lillard even further downtown in Oklahoma City.
This is the spirit of the stadium and the soul of the squad, expanding the capacity arena and the Canadian ballclubs worldwide fanbase watching on their own Jumbotrons.
And the Toronto Raptors are going to need all the north they can get if they’re going to stop the Bucks in Milwaukee.
But this club has the claws to do it. And if you don’t think they can win in Wisconsin on their own road to being the first franchise outside of the United States to be NBA finalists and who knows what next against the Warriors(?), then just watch this Canadian cornerstone from the Jurassic era.
Extinct in six? Nah! Get ready to hear the North roar.