NBA – 3 weeks and What Have We Learned?

-Oscar Robertson doing something people only dream about!

SPORTS, REALITY & ME..

LEAGUE CHATTER: 11-8-17 

“NBA after 3 WEEKS!”

The NBA Champs are sort of looking like it.

While the Warriors may have already lost three games—yes 3 games—and all those peeps who said winning 67 games would be easy and bet the over, we’re realizing that the Warriors (just like the Cav’s in some degree) lack motivation on some nights.  We’ll talk about the Cav’s in a bit, but it’s the NBA Champs time now.  These guys are still the best team in the NBA by far.  Just take a look at last night’s victory over the Heat.  You might think the Heat aren’t much of a matchup, but they really are.  The Dubs roar out to a quick 8-2 advantage and everyone is thinking, there goes the game.  However the Heat regained their raison-d’être and started to slow things down and grind things out.  No fast breaks, make each possession take as much time as possible and play defense like the game actually depends on it.  And it worked.  The Heat didn’t light anyone up, but they grinded their way to a 22-21 lead right before the quarter ended.  But this is a great representation to the league of how to beat the Warriors.  Too many teams want to run with them, but they don’t have the firepower—and for whatever reason they can’t admit that.  When you run with the Warriors it’s like you’re an ex-girlfriend.  You notice them, they look good and maybe after a few more drinks they look really good.  Then near the end of the evening (or the 3rd or 4th quarter if you’re going along with this analogy) you realize what the hell was I thinking?  This ex is crazy! What was I thinking?  This was the same ex that would go missing every other weekend and assure you she didn’t hookup with anyone.  So yeah, that’s the Warriors, you quickly realize that the other team is that ex, thinking this will be different.  And sometimes it does end up differently, AKA the Rockets beating them in the home opener.  But this team may have some breakdowns, but the only thing that will hurt the Warriors is themselves.  They are most definitely a 2nd half team as we’ve seen.  They realize what they need to do and do it—and for anyone in a 7 game series, this will be an issue.  The Miami Heat are one of the few teams that have actually tried a different approach to beating the Champs. They slow things down, they have a very athletic big-man in Hassan Whiteside, an excellent point guard, Goran Dragić, who does a fantastic job of driving and kicking.  But they still need some shooters.  But even without those shooters, if they didn’t turn the ball over 15 times and have some strange issue with Whiteside—who basically didn’t play the 2nd half—this team would have made it even closer.  There is a blueprint that just might work on How to Beat the Warriors, and the Heat may have shown it.  They might not have the talent to actually construct these plans, but if a talented team actually downloads them and has the balls to try it, we could see the Warriors lose a few more.  But that’s asking a lot.

 

THE CAV’S and EVERYTHING THAT IS SUPPOSEDLY BROKEN

Everyone says the Cav’s defense is broken.  Does it take a genius to look at the stats and claim that?   They are last in the league.  No shit Sherlock.  They take plays off after a made bucket or if they think they were fouled.  They basically don’t have any motivation.  These are all statements going around the league and writers—but again, it’s no shit Sherlock.  If they were like 17th in Defense this may have been insight.  Yeah, they may be right and point to all the minutes LeBron has played and how he has to score 57 himself in order to make this team win.  I think it’s a little more complicated than that.  LeBron is definitely the man.  You have to give this guy credit.  He’s still amazing at his age.  It’s now 17 years in the NBA and the guy doesn’t show any weakness. That’s why the Cav’s have put in all their money & future into pleasing him—and with good reason.  The Cav’s, the city of Cleveland and the state of Ohio would be in a huge depression if he leaves next year.  Have you seen the Browns lately?  The only good thing about them is betting against them.  But this year, the Cav’s need to reach the Finals again—while they should get there, you do have to wonder what team—with LeBron—would actually give the Warriors a problem. This might be an issue like the 1990’s Bulls.  With Jordan on them no team was going to beat them in the playoffs and everyone knew it.  So Cleveland will have to keep making LeBron has happy as they can.  Adding talent old and new—mainly old—and just hoping he realizes that unless the Warriors have significant injuries or a player or two decides to leave, the LeBron teams will simply fall into the number 2 team.

 

THE REST: A QUICK BREAKDOWN OF THE OTHERS

CELTICS:

Let’s start with the depleted Celtics and talk about what a season with Gordon Hayward would have been like.  They may have been able to challenge the East in the regular season and just maybe could’ve done something in the playoffs.  Wait!  Who got hurt?  Yeah, damn good player.  But forget about saying this season is done because of Hayward.  This season is definitely not finished by any means.  Can’t someone tell this team that their season is over?  Hell no!  This team may have got back to the last year’s team of under-appreciated low draft picks.  Pity parties will not stop this team.  They have length, speed, and smarts…and not just the defense of Marcus Smart.  The most highly underrated signing/trade was that of Kyrie Irving.  This dude makes teams winners and while he can take over a game, the offense he runs allows for him to get good shots and pass the ball.  Look for this team to, at the very least, make it to the Eastern Finals again.  And if healthy, they could make it to the finals.  Don’t put your money down quite yet, it’s only three weeks into the season.

ROCKETS:

Chris Paul has played exactly one game for the Rockets.  And he scored exactly 4 points and was on the bench for the fourth quarter.  Many will say it was because of the injury and while we can dispute all of that, who cares.  Chris Paul is most likely finished as a premiere point guard.  But we could have saved all of you who said something like “one of the biggest blockbuster trades we’ve seen…” Blah, Blah, Blah. CP3 has been finished.  We all love the guy, some more than others—who likes a guy who can’t hack it in big games, barely has a jump shot, has lost the speed and is a liability on defense?  Ouch.  Sorry CP3. Maybe not so sorry.  The Rockets will be just fine this year without him.  When he does come back he’ll get a lot of coverage, but hopefully it doesn’t slow the Rockets down.  This is a good team and CP3 will slow them down.  The only positive thing about him joining the Rockets is when he improves the bench.  They can’t run and gun all night long under Coach Mike D’Antoni’s offense.  CP3 will give some of the veterans some much needed rest by dribbling up the court slowly acting like this is the early 2000’s where he slowly initiates a play that D’Antoni would’ve liked to happen 14 seconds before.  Obviously he was a great player and will be a Hall of Famer—maybe.  But this version of CP3 is old and slow, even for a 32 year old.  It seems he can’t adapt to what the league is all about. Who knows, maybe this is completely wrong, as it’s been one game in Houston and the last two (at least) season in LA Clipper-land.  Can CP3 adapt?  Who knows, but in order for Houston to have any shot at beating the Warriors, he’ll have to either sit on the bench or try and adapt.  But Houston is still damn good. Their issue will always be defense.  And Coach D’Antoni has never really figured that out.  He’s been around the coaching block, but his playoff coaching record is a scary (and not in the good scary) 32-38—and most of that is padded with his good years in Phoenix.  His regular season teams tend to do very well though.  Too bad for “Coach Offensive” that regular season wins don’t mean shit if you can’t win afterwards.  This team will still be good.

More teams to come:

THUNDER – How to manage 3 ball hogs, no bench and huge expectations for team that will probably lose two of the hogs in the offseason—if not before the trade deadline.  Rough start for them.

RAPTORS – The team from the NORTH, which always consistently snags the number 3 or 4 seed…but always seems just a few pieces away from being a serious team to contend with.

WIZARDS – Everyone is already intrigued by the possibility of a trade for Boogie Cousins—the Kentucky connection with John Wall.  Why? Because we’ve seen this same team last year.  They can’t win the big ones.

76ER’S – Not sure what is going on with the medical staff in Philly’s world—fans freaking about Fultz (with good reason).  But this team is talented.  Simmons is already making a run for rookie of the year.  Fultz will stay a mystery.

SPURS – They decided not to do shit in the offseason and now they’re probably going to be a 4 seed.  Is Pop trying to rest his team & the owner’s money until the Warriors show significant signs of decline?

GRIZZLIES – Some good wins early on, but this team still loves to grind it out, even without Randolph. Can they score enough to be a contender?

PISTONS – A big surprise early on only in the win category. They haven’t played too many good teams and with Tobias Harris leading them in scoring—who???  Yeah, this team is young, and we’ll just have to give them a month or so before some serious judging.  Figured they would tank for talent.  Did they not get the message?

HAWKS – Sorry Atlanta fans, but I don’t think many casual NBA fans can even name a member of your team.  This could work their favor if they got a bunch of defensive guys or something. But no, this team is in the league to tank.  Dennis Schroder is your number one scoring option.  Ouch.

TIMBERWOLVES – Great young team that just might do some good things in the regular season.  KAT, Butler, Wiggins are like a small three—they need one more dude to make them a powerful four. This team is building though, and they may do some damage with a sledgehammer, but they need a wrecking ball—and they just don’t have that yet.

BLAZERS – Everyone counts them out each year, but they can score and run!  Nurkic (yeah, Who??) is having a great season so far.  The big dude from Bosnia is doing damage on the inside while Lillard & McCollum light it up from the outside…but they continually leave the defense on low.  Bascially they like to play with fire—sometimes the steaks are nice and mid-rare, other times completely well-down.

JAZZ – Even after losing Hayward to the Celtics this team looks good.  It’s the Ricky & Rudy show for now. Gobert & Rubio are playing well, but two is never enough.  A solid number 7 seed in the west.  This team could be a nice surprise though.  Coaching has been good, but where are you going to replace Haywards points?  Joe Ingles leads the team in 3pt percentage and in steals…weird stat of the day.

MAGIC – The East is bad and has been for a while.  The Magic prove that with a decent team you can look good in the East.  They don’t have the talent to tank, meaning they actually will beat teams, but Gordon has no jump shot after 3 years in the league, but Fournier is shooting the ball well, and leads them in points.  If they were in the West, they would want to tank, but in the East they could possibly be a 4 or 5 seed if they continue in their ways.

CLIPPERS – Love the idea of breaking up the team in order to try something new. Although I wish they could’ve keep going and gotten rid of their coach and his son.  Aside from that, Griffin looks I guess decent, though I think he’s lost his hops or is afraid to jump to much considering he might hurt something. You gotta love Patrick Beverly though—trash talking to Ball, playing defense like it matters.  Too bad Doc Rivers doesn’t coach that.  Beverly for Player/Coach?  Was Bill Russel the last to do it—and I believe wine a championship too.  Clips are in trouble as they continue to be mediocre.

PELICANS – Cousins & Davis.  What could be better?  Maybe a better point guard than Jrue Holiday? And maybe a better shooting guard than…oh wait, they don’t have one.  The bigs are trying to carry a whole team.  If they were playing in Europe or China they would be undefeated and have like 20 rings…but this is the NBA, and Boogie (DeMarcus) Cousins will probably be traded unless something magical happens. And since magical is a slight of hand, the crystal ball says they’re in trouble.

LAKERS – Lonzo Ball to the rescue.  They all laugh.  Ball is troubled by being a rookie and having Kobe Bryant season 5 expectations—mainly because of a stupid father that needs more air time than the Kardashian’s.  While he’s the most timid PG in the NBA he has great vision.  His shot is now getting him in trouble—worked in high school and in college, but not in the NBA.  He’ll need some serious psychiatric help if his season continues like this.  But the talent around him is saving him here and there.  Lakers will be the most talked about team that really wants to tank—get another high pick and be able to snag Paul George & maybe others.  However, the talent around and the coaching may not allow for such a high pick.

KNICKS – The joke of the NBA is still a joke, but it’s turning weird.  Kristaps Porzingis, the overall talent of the Knicks seems to have learned from Melo.  Missing the last team meeting, now weird talks of eventually leaving.  The most mismanaged and effed up team from top to bottom it seems isn’t sure of anything.  This team beguiles the miffed if that’s saying something.  Maybe they just like making headlines any way they can, who the hell knows.  This team is strange but might make the playoffs as an 8 seed.  That’s how bad the East is.

PACERS – Victor Oladipo, who played at UI, has come back to lead the team in scoring.  It has to be someone, right?   This team is a quandary.  They’ll score 140 & 130, then below 100 for a couple of games.  They might actually be good since no one is actually really good.  Maybe this team turns out to be a team and by that I mean truly a team since no one is good…somehow I doubt this can happen in the NBA.

HORNETS – Dwight Howard has single-handedly saved this team from…nothing.  While he might seem better from his days in Houston, LA, Orlando, he’s still an offensive liability and Kemba Walker is well, what we thought he was, we had though Malik Monk might be a big spark.  He’s playing like a rookie—and what should we expect, that’s what he is.  He’ll be inconsistent and that’s fine.  But Dwight Howard, can you just retire?  Go out on a bad note instead of a terrible note.  Just because he hasn’t been the Howard of recent doesn’t mean he’ll continue to act this way.  Yes, Dwight Howard bugs the shit out me.

SUNS – Hats off to the Suns for getting Greg Monroe and a 1st round pick for Eric Bledsoe!  Wow.  Bledsoe stated in a tweet or something like that about how he wasn’t happy and didn’t want to play for the Suns.  They fired the coach, Earl Watson, after just 3 games.  Fantastic!  Somehow you couldn’t see this last year when he went 24-58?  Management is completely in the gutter and this team should be too.  So with Booker there leading in scoring and probably a franchise player, what do you do?  Oh, and Josh Jackson?  Loads of potential talent and no coaches.  Somehow I don’t think you’ve heard the last from the Suns.  Do they tank for draft picks or do them…hmm, not sure what the other option would be.

MAV’S – The Mavericks or Mark Cuban?  Who’s more famous?  Aside from that they seem to have another rookie of the year candidate with Dennis Smith Jr.  And Harrison Barnes leading them in scoring and Noel Nerlens leading in blocks and rebounds.  You can either look at that as a positive or negative.  Who the hell knows?  But it seems they are rebuilding.  Seems like a decent core if you get rid of Barnes’ giant contract.  They will lose. They will lose a lot in my mind.  But again, are they trying?  Yeah, probably.

HEAT – Whiteside and Co. are going to be tough—if Whiteside gets the playing time he deserves. See above for thoughts about the Heat.  They should be interesting, as they have a very good coach.

BULLS –What do we call the self-destruct button in the NBA right now?  The Bulls.  No idea what these fools are doing.  Always been a frugal bunch.  But Zach LaVine comes up with a deal with (no not the Bulls) but Adidas for 35 mil.  Good for him.  He’s been out with an injury.  And the Bulls couldn’t get a deal done one their big acquisition/trade for Jimmy Butler in the offseason.  Now the Bulls will probably lose him in the offseason.  Organizationally these guys really don’t know what’s going on.  Maybe LaVine asked for too much.  At any rate, can you name the leading scorer for them?  Here’s a hint: Lauri Markkanen.  WTF?  Remember when Michael Jordan played for the Bulls?  That will be their legacy it seems.

NETS – D’Angelo Russell is out to make a statement to the league and the LA Lakers. Shouldn’t have traded me brah!  This Nets teams isn’t playing for a draft pick, as theirs is held by the Cav’s now—via Celtics and Kyrie trade.  So expect this team to have a little fight in it.  They’re somewhat of a wildcard.  Don’t think they’ll make the playoffs, but a wildcard nonetheless.

BUCKS – When you think of the Milwaukee Bucks, think of one man: Giannis Antetokounmpo. Giannis is the man.  And if this guy ever develops a jumper, the league might have another 100pt man.  He is that good, playing on a team that is, that bad.  Without this Giannis the Bucks have nothing to offer.  Get tickets to see him, get league pass to see him.  He’s pretty damn cool, and once they know how to build around him things could get interesting.

KINGS – With so many great names here: Randolph, Hield, Willie-Cauley-Stein, Fox, Hill.  You would think they would be great.  Oh, you haven’t heard of these names?  Does Z-Bow sound familiar?  Maybe not.  But this team is, well, crap.  A few veterans mixed in with some younger guys.  Rebuilding?  Yes, wouldn’t you think so?  But after the Cousins trade last year they sounded so happy and all about winning now.  Don’t believe the strange GM.  Who’s that?  Vlade Divac.  A good way to end.

More on all these teams soon.  So much to talk about.

Keep in touch.

 

 

 

 

 

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