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 King’s Garden Bites Forbidden Fruit In The Big Apple
Super Mario smashed ‘Bron.
On a Sunday afternoon in New York’s Madison Square Garden this St Patrick’s Day (side note: Nike need to bring back those great green Paddy’s Day NBA uniforms), the Lakers where in their East Coast equivalent big city to pay a visit to the Knickerbockers Mecca.
M.S.G. usually plays host to the greatest games from the G.O.A.T.’s over the generations out the service elevator. M.J. Kobe. And now L.A.L. legend to be L.B.J. against the N.Y.K. And LeBron James didn’t disappoint with a Kareem 33 points off devastating dunks off rampaging runs down the floor of the World’s Most Famous Arena like a raging bull. Shouting “AND ONE” on foul calls that even people with bleeding noses sitting up in the Gods could hear (and how about a couple plays before an equally as loud Caurso yelping for the lay-up as hilariously as his “what’s up man, I’m Alex” Ringer soundbite spoof? But 5 steals and 3 blocks to go with that many rebounds plus add that up “AND ONE” for 12 points in the game? Never send him down to the G again). That was until he took the final shot at the horn that blared in his face.
It’s been that kind of season for the King by royal appointment. Anthony Davis and potentially missing the playoffs and all that.
Heavy is the head in this Game of Thrones.
Like Jordan vs Kobe, the Knicks came away with the 124-123 win. And in the clutch, the King going for the games crown slipped as he ended up looking as good as one of his free throws. Driving the lane and taking it to the rack before being denied by the Knicks Mario Hezonja. Who with this big block became the Knicks new right hand man.
Off Broadway the King tried to Kong his way up the Empire State but this time the Bi-Planes normally swatted away shot him down.
‘Bron isn’t the only one who makes clutch blocks as big as a buzzer beating basket. Sometimes others hold it against him.
The Lakers 31-39 record is staring down elimination on the wrong side of .500. And with the game down the barrell L.B.J. went for the fadeaway like M.J. but couldn’t come up with ‘Space Jam’ too. As a matter of fact after a big game against the rotten 14-56 Knicks (on the free falling off the Chrysler wrong side of .500) where he also collected 8 rebounds almost on his way to a double/double, LeBron went fourth and colder in the final quarter than a text back from your significant other that just says “fine” when you ask if they’re ok and how their day was. With just four made baskets in the fourth period and the Lake Show missing their last six attempts it was all fat lady in Manhattan come the early evening afternoons end.
Right about now with most teams claiming their playoff berth, last year’s finalist and all the King’s men are just getting worse.
Even with a Garden state of mind in New York, New York, the King couldn’t keep his Empire going like Jussie Smollett.
Now there are only a few more notes before she sings again, but this time for the last time.
And that will be all she writes.
Time for Hollywood to hit the road and flip the script.
Every good movie ends with a twist.
The Lakers Couldn’t Randle The Truth
45 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists.
I don’t mean to go on about this but DAMN!
A career high 45 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists.
That’s MVP numbers right there.
And that’s just the kind of king season Julius Randle is having.
I mean right now the Lakers should probably trade their whole roster for this New Orleans Pelican and not fellow Kentucky ‘cat Anthony Davis (who was out last night in the 122-110 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. Probably with “load management”). But I know who most Lakers fans would love to trade him for just to get this guy back.
But after bringing the King to Hollywood this Summer, Magic and the Lake Show didn’t think they needed to match the restricted hustle and muscle of Randle, who they are sorely missing in their palette dry paint this season. Despite pleading from the coaching staff, President Johnson and his Hollywood agent of assistance let both Randle and big man from downtown Brook Lopez (who is really affording more with the Bucks alongside…Pau Gasol of all underrated and underappreciated Laker greats) walk. All because the thought the former Heat talents of Michael Beasley was enough on a team of McGee, Stephenson and Rondo vets behind the young core that really are now turning into a meme.
Remember this is the same Magic man who traded All-Star…ALL STAR D’Angelo Russell because he didn’t think he was a leader. As the purple and gold Lakers faithful now have no sleep watching him in Brooklyn as he LEADS the Nets.
This is the same Magic man who after offering his whole future to the Pelicans for a free agent to be with desires to come here for nothing (at least before all this drama and disloyalty really showed him something), will soon surely watch the legendary likes of Lonzo, Ingram and maybe even Kuzma and Josh Hart walk when they’re free to go, after the way they have treated them. Because like it’s been shown before time and time again in Laker history (I would name every example, but then I would be naming every other player not called Kobe), there is no price on loyalty. But there is one to pay when you treat these teammates like a commodity and not the individual assets that they are.
There’s only so long someone treated as bait will let you off the hook.
Magic Johnson may be the greatest player of all-time in my opinion. In some ways even more gifted than the other M.J. He could effect a whole game and result without even scoring a basket. But now he’s really playing. Effecting the whole team and franchise whilst trying to make a point. Just how long will he last running this s### show. Remember how long he lasted when he was actually a coach?
And he wants to fire Walton?!
And soon the likes of Ball and his boys will end up All Stars like Randle will too. The Lakers need to make sure that they do this in purple before the Lake Show turns into the ‘Lame Show’. As once the gold goes out the crown, the Lakers legacy will be down to the hands of more than one legend.
A legend they could have had in Russell and Randle. With guys like they have now and the ones they also shouldn’t have let go. Like Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., Thomas Bryant and Ivica Zubac. Paul George would have been a better fit with all these core guys. But the Lakers didn’t even really need him either. With all due respect to the King and the next chapter in storied Lakers/Celtics history the NBA tried to build, both these iconic franchises and their great expectations have imploded this season. Ones of win big now or else, manifest destiny over pure personnel development. The real rivalry of the future would have been the lottery pick rebuilds of the old young Laker and the history making right now Philadelphia 76ers. Look at the stakes they have now. There’s a reason they call it a process.
Still the Lakers loss is the flying Pelicans gain. And even if they do lose Davis they have a big future in the big man Julius. And if New Orleans do end up taking half the Laker team for him, maybe along with Julius Randle it will all end up being the Basketball Gods master plan in the karma (it all goes around like a basketball spinning on your finger) of showing the Lakers what they could have had and won in the end.
How many stars of future fame will Magic’s Hollywood let walk?
45 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists.
Sometimes you can’t handle the truth Jack.
And that is Julius Randle.
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