Unicorns from New York couldn’t be believed in tonight. Wall’s from Washington wouldn’t be put up (in one way that’s an extremely good thing and we aren’t talking about the cut deck of the House of Guards). And there were even warrants out for Enes Kanter’s arrest from the Turkish government. And sitting this one out he felt too that if he traveled to the United Kingdom he could have been the victim of an assassination attempt. This is serious. Let’s stand by him like the NBA have, taking care of their own. But let’s not get started on Dwight Howard. Now a former Laker called Bryant has taken his place as the center of attention in Washington. Hash-tag, karma. Hash-tag, soft.
So even before the ball was thrown up like bad concession food, NBA London looked to be done before it even begun. But it was still worth the Norwegian flight, like talking to fans from all over the world in Knicks gear at your hotel about the game over breakfast. Nothing beats it.
Kristaps Porzingis. John Wall. They themselves were two big superstar names no longer on the ticket. Sending a lot of these seats to second seller sites for half the price, from the floor to the Gods. For people like this writer taking BasketballBuzz down south to town to scoop up. And if you read my article last year about the whole Stub Hub fixed fiasco then I’m sorry, but they do say karma’s a b####! Oh…and I’m petty. I used Viagogo.
Still even without two of the most exciting players in the league and so many more stars, there was still so much talent on display even from two teams tanking harder than that R&B singers ‘Nasty’ single. And everything wouldn’t just run through Bradley Beal street with talent like Trevor Ariza and Otto Porter Jr under the Wizard wand. Even the Knicks have an impressive scouting report worth of rookies and star sophomores. Not to mention a big name in the form of the son Tim Hardaway Jr. Making his own name in the game that loves to breed players with identical LeBron, Payton and too many more to name players with the sons of the father same name as their pops.
So it was more just the legends in the Big Smoke for this year’s London game. Like Brit born John Amaechi, who has done more for this game across the pond than any player. As Knicks grit legend John Starks was in Tissot being watched by fans, before joining more of New York’s finest right on time like Charles Smith, Latrell Sprewell and Earl ‘The Pearl’ Monroe courtside. Whilst former journeyman, All-Star, teammate champions Caron Butler (thanks for the photo op legend) and Shawn Marion were going one-on-one in a fancy restaurant to see who could make the best steak for chef Gordon Ramsay. And it was a rare (pun intended) time for compliments from the ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ host as the Butler had it to The Matrix’s red pill. Talk about Hells Kitchen, New York.
So cue all the Foot Locker, House Of Hoops and Niketowns being decked out in all the ‘New York Forever’ and ‘DC Family’ jerseys as these two teams went to war after photo ops with Tower Bridge, Abbey Road (as Beal, Mystic superstar Elena Delle Donne, 7-foot-7 legend Gheorghe Muresan and the G-Wiz mascot recreated the classic cover of The Beatles album on this streets zebra crossing) and of course the crowing of some social media Sherlock or Shakespeare parody videos. To stereotype. Or not to stereotype. That is never a question. But save the fish and chips jokes because there was more to play for here than climbing the apples and stairs. As the capital of the United States Of America and the world’s most famous city from the world’s most famous arena came together as Big Ben chimed to see who would strike it lucky in this European road trip in the house of hoops parliament. Forget Brooklyn taking on ‘Bron and the Lakers in Shanghai, China. This right now was for the season even if both teams are in the wine cellar. Tonight they were on England’s biggest stage outside of Wembley.
Chelsea, Arsenal, the Spurs…and we aren’t talking about San Antonio. Tonight the soccer city got a taste of a ballgame above the rim. And what a goal the National Basketball Association scored in the United Kingdom. And with rumour having the NBA taking a Eurostar across the Channel to the hoops hotbed of Paris for a future regular season game, the Big Smoke wanted to put a Hogwarts Harry Potter spell on the NBA like the Wizards wanted to the Knicks.
Marking the tenth straight game held in Greenwich’s 02 (formerly known and forever remembered by Brits as the Millennium Dome (a botch failed project, but still an innovative one)). A decade in the making has seen this ten year challenge take a concert venue and turn it after all these years into a legit, bright light bells and auditorium whistles NBA venue, complete with the traditional Association music that plays like an iPod that hasn’t be synced since everyone discovered Spotify…or should I say kind of like my Apple playlists?! So if the NBA blows from the Big Smoke to the City Of Light they will be losing one awesome arena and veterans at hosting the games now. But a relative sedate affair to begin with looked like being a sedative into lulling London into a false sense of one job playing host security.
Despite some big shot and dunks worthy of your nightly top tens this game started off flatter than a Coke Zero left in your cup holder for four quarters. It was nothing to send a postcard home about. But basketball is basketball. And the purists and the tourists love it. But like any night out, this game can change at any second and fans ready to throw their beers were ready to say cheers by the final round. The fan next to me even kindly brought me a Bud (does he know I’m not the guy who profit brought the ticket next to him and couldn’t go? Should I tell him I don’t drink?).
When the Wizards looked like they were running into a brick wall like platform 9 and 3 quarters, Bradley Beal turned it on in the fourth. After starting as quiet as if Beal Street could talk, the guy turned into a winner like the Barry Jenkins ‘Moonlight’ Oscar winning follow up for the Academy. The man that worked out with Kobe this Summer woke up the Mamba Mentality with 26 points 9 rebounds, to go with Porter’s 20 and 11. But 2B was key when he found another Bryant in the paint for the game dagger. Former Laker and South Bay two-way contract switch-hitter, Thomas Bryant switched hands and went for a clutch lay-up that was furiously swatted away by rook Allonzo Trier for a clutch block that sent the London crowd calling. But whilst all this happened Bryant was flexing and jawing down court, bumping his high fiving teammates. Did he not see what just happened?
Turns out that beautiful block was actually a gratuitous goaltender and after more VR than ‘Ready Player One’ the referees were ready to tell us that player one actually had the high score and the official in standing home team abroad, the Washington Wizards were up one. And with 0.4 seconds to go it looked like that was it for everyone. Everyone unfamiliar with the Los Angeles Lakers that is. And with exactly the same inbounded looking shot with less than a half second to get it off, Emmanuel Mudiay (who had 25 points looking to be the hero tonight) tried to do his best Derek Fisher impression in four tenths like the Knicks old coach, but just built bricks…could you call that karma?
I call it a 101-100 win on a clutch goaltend. Something I’ve never seen before in all the years of this game.
Tend to that London.
Ottawa BlackJacks select Osvaldo Jeanty as first-ever Head Coach
The pieces of the puzzle are coming together for the Ottawa BlackJacks basketball team.
The start-up Ottawa basketball professional club named former five-time Canadian University champion Osvaldo Jeanty as the franchise first-ever head coach. General Manager Dave Smart made the announcement on Friday morning following a brief search that always included Jeanty’s name at the top of the list.
“Obviously, Osvaldo and I have had a long history together since he was probably 15 or 14, playing club basketball on the Ottawa Guardsmen to his time at Carleton (as player) and then he was my assistant coach at Carleton”, discussed Smart during the press conference.
“Os and I have worked together from a coach, assistant coach perspective, so I know what he’s about in terms of what his exceptions are, and we’re very much inline in terms of what our expectations are, and he knows how I operate and is comfortable working with me. So I think it’s an obvious fit, it’s and easy fit and we are really excited to start working together and put a team on the floor”, further elaborated the former Carleton Ravens on his selection process.
“It’s the first time he’s called me Osvaldo so many times since I was 15, I’m not really used to it.” a smiling Jeanty opened-up about his longtime head coach and mentor during his introductory speech.
Jeanty + Smart winning combination since the late 1990’s
The duo go back to late 1990’s with Jeanty playing for Smart at the Midget and Ontario Basketball U-19 Provincial teams. Under Smart’s guidance, Jeanty flourished as player helping turn the Carleton Ravens’ basketball program into the powerhouse that it is today.
The Ravens’ won five (2002-2007) straight U Sports men’s basketball championships during their time together as a coach-player combo — with Jeanty earning the Final 8 Jack Donohue championship MVP trophy twice, during his freshman and junior campaigns. A proven winner at all levels, Jeanty turned an outstanding collegiate career into a six year pro career, earning a championship with the Giants Nördlingen of Germany’s ProA league.
Inducted into Carleton Ravens Hall of Fame in 2015 — Jeanty earned an additional two titles as a coaching duo during their three-year (2016-19) stretch.
Both Jeanty and Smart were featured on the cover of the first-ever Canadian Basketball Magazine on March of 2005.
“I just wanted to say how thankful I am to Dave to Mike (Morreale) to the league for giving me this opportunity, also just for the Ottawa community. I’ve been here since I was six-years old and I appreciate what the community has given to me and the opportunity to be able give back to the community that has been so good to me is something that I’m very thankful for. So thank you and I look forward to really bringing a good product out there for the city, for the team and really representing the league the right way.”
As for the type of style and brand of the basketball the BlackJacks expect to play — Jeanty offered a glimpse of the same championship formula that has led to many successful moments between the now general manager and head coach tandem.
“He’s put into my head since I was 15, in terms of the keys to winning championships and I tend to follow the same of idea. You defend, you rebound, you don’t turnover the ball over — but at the same time you have 24 seconds on the shot clock so you want to play as fast a possible while not turning over the basketball.”
The attention now turns to rounding out the remaining coaching staff positions and the complex process of putting together a championship calibre team — that will undoubtedly have it’s sights on establishing an early grip on the proudly Canadian made Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) championship trophy.
With the addition of Jeanty to the head coaching ranks the CEBL now features two former Carleton Ravens’ players turned bench bosses. Niagara River Lions head coach Victor Raso also won two national championships as a member of the Ravens.
Coincidentally, Jeanty’s head coaching debut will be against Raso as the Ottawa BlackJacks will kick-off the inaugural 2020 season on the road on May 7th against the Niagara River Lions. The BlackJacks home opener is scheduled for May 14th against the Hamilton Honey Badgers.
A Rose For Kuz?
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.
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”.
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!”
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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