Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Oklahoma City Thunder Fire Scott Brooks

Photo by Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
The Oklahoma City Thunder have fired Scott Brooks. Sam Presti, Thunder GM, released a statement about this (you can find the whole statement in the first link) and this stuck out, "it is very important to state that this decision is not a reflection of this past season, but rather an assessment of what we feel is necessary at this point in time in order to continually evolve, progress and sustain. We determined that, in order to stimulate progress and put ourselves in the best position next season and as we looked to the future, a transition of this kind was necessary for the program."

Who buys this? If KD and crew were on the court more, and OKC was in the playoffs, would a transition be necessary? Part of this is Sam Presti saying what you SHOULD say and another part is a guy like Kevin Ollie appeals to players MORE than Brooks did.

When a team puts all their money and effort into going all the way and they don't make the playoffs, changes come as fast as cheetahs running through the African terrain. That's understandable. Injuries were a factor, but the Thunder still should've made the playoffs. Russell Westbrook nearly willed them there with an incredible run. It came down to the last game of the season and they had to get the W and the New Orleans Pelicans had to lose. Didn't happen!

It's too bad. Scott Brooks is an awesome coach who will find work elsewhere. The players were behind him, but the Oklahoma City Thunder feel they can grab someone who better fits their squad.

Billy Donovan and Kevin Ollie appear to be the early front runners for the OKC job. Kevin Ollie would appeal to the players highly. Ollie played with KD and Westbrook. While Brooks played, he was in a different era than Ollie really.

Kevin Ollie is younger, heck he could probably even suit up and practice with the Thunder! Since OKC's big two have played with him, they would have that instant connection. Kevin Ollie was a solid ball player too. Surely coaching in the college ranks has prepared him for an NBA job.

Break out the worlds smallest violin, Scott Brooks. Your time with the Thunder is no more. Maybe the Magic or some other opportunity await you! Bring on Kevin Ollie!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Otto Porter the X-Factor for the Washington Wizards

Photo by Ned Dishman / contributor
Otto Porter proved he's the Washington Wizards X-factor in game one. His back-taps, overall aggressiveness and timely offense were key in the Wizards win. Porter is a guy who's contributions aren't going to overwhelm you statistically, but he makes his presence felt.

Back-taps! Otto Porter had at least three back-taps in the second half. That allowed the Wizards to win the offensive rebounding battle 19 to 10 and scoop in 20 second chance points. While Porter didn't corral more than two offensive boards, he was THE benefactor in creating more second chance opportunities.

If Otto Porter can get easy looks, that's a huge plus for the Wizards. He's not a guy who creates his own shot, so he must feed off of penetration from guys like John Wall and Bradley Beal. When Porter gets a few shots to go down (he only had two in game one), that only increases his defensive attentiveness and confidence.

Otto Porter made a solid playoff debut. Can he keep it up? That will determine how far the Wizards can go (assuming core guys like Wall, Beal and Nene perform and the general health and performance of the squad). Keep hoopin' and scoopin' Otto Porter!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Cavs Favorite To Win Title? by

Vegas thinks the Cavs are the favorite to win the title this year? Are you kidding me? Sure, the Cavs are not the worst team in the league, but to pick them is just a sign of them bowing down to LeBron. If you are in Vegas, you should Learn how to get started on NBA betting that is looking forward to the slate of season-ending games tonight.

The Cavs have a ways to go. They get stuck into hero ball a lot! Kyrie Irving and LeBron James are amazing, but the Cavs do not play with the same cohesiveness as the Atlanta Hawks. The additions of Timofey Mozgov, Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith were huge in building the Cavs depth, but the ball doesn't consistently move from side to side.

This is magnified against strong defensive teams. In the second round, it is likely the Cavs will face the Chicago Bulls. Chicago can play defense! They check you closely, on the interior and perimeter. When Chicago makes it hard for Irving and James to score, where will the Cavs go?

J.R. Smith? Kevin Love? Timofey Mozgov? J.R. Smith is a streaky shooter when defended at best. While he can get real hot, the chances of him carrying them to wins is slim. He's a great role player though. Kevin Love is awesome and can be THE guy on a bad team. On this team, a team that's contending, he's your best role player. He's a glorified, overpaid and unfortunately underutilized stretch four (he can do more, but the ball can only be in one persons hands at a time!). It'd be great if the Cleveland Cavs threw it to him in the post more in the first quarter to establish his post game. Rarely happens though!

Timofey Mozgov is a serviceable big man. He can defend and rebound well, he's big and can pick up the scraps offensively (he also shot a great 71.8% from the free throw line during the regular season). Picking up the scraps is awesome and every team needs a player like that, but that's what Mozgov's capable of. Not much more!

If James, Irving, or even Love get doubled, that is an angle Cleveland exploits well. Open three's from guys like James Jones, J.R. Smith and sometimes Kevin Love will keep double teams sparse. There will be that night or, hopefully not, nights in series that those three balls will not go down though! That's where tougher teams like the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks will steal games against Cleveland (in Cleveland).

To go far in the playoffs the three's will HAVE to be timely and consistently falling. Mike Miller, a veteran and playoff performer, could be an unsung hero for the Cleveland Cavs. If he comes in and works his magic in just one to three games, that could gives the Cavs the edge they need.

ESPN put out the article about the 9-4 odds in Cleveland's favor. While Vegas has spoken, the ball won't lie at the end of the day. Ball movement and more balanced teams will prevail!

Friday, April 03, 2015

Grizzlies Shut Down Russ For a Half

The Memphis Grizzlies are a serious contender. Most people know that, but tonight they showed how versatile and capable they are. Russell Westbrook was held scoreless for the WHOLE third quarter and only scored four points in the second half (he didn't score until the 3:29 mark of the fourth).

That's amazing. Jeff Green guarded Westbrook for the majority of the second half. Jeff Green is a highly capable defender. He can check just about every position, is athletic and showed tonight that he can guard the best players.

The counter argument can easily be made that just because Memphis shut down Russ doesn't mean they shut down the whole squad! Yeah, Kanter had an awesome second half, but hey, who ELSE shuts down Russ?!?!?

Don't count out Memphis, a reminder to all of those people hating!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Jared Dudley Shots the Ball Backwards

This is another awesome play.

Yeah! What an athletic feat! LOL :)

Kentucky Player Gets Dunked On

Kentucky may be undefeated this year, but this moment is a win AND a loss all in one!

Check it out:

HA! Yes. One Kentucky played dunked OVER his teammate! How's the for a Sweet 16 highlight?!?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Rondae Hollis Jefferson's Free Throw Shimmy Shake

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has an awesome routine at the free throw line. He shimmy shakes before he takes the shot!

Check it out:

I LOVE this and find it funny! Would you do that at the foul line? What's the weirdest free throw routine you've seen?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Larry Sanders Quits the NBA

Larry Sanders recently decided that he's going to stop playing professional basketball. He released a video about it. Kevin Arnovitz put together an excellent story about mental health in the NBA, in which Sanders story is profiled.

Mental health is the most pressing issue in the league. Guys are coming into the NBA as young as 18 and they're thrust into the reality of adulthood. Parenthood, managing lots of money and resisting temptation is just a snippet of what they deal with.

Read this ESPN article and become aware of what truly matters in life: mental well being.

Friday, February 20, 2015

John Wall Slyly Steals the Ball

Kyrie Irving thought he could roll the ball all the way to the hash mark, but John Wall proved him wrong!

If you're Kyrie Irving, what were you thinking? Surely we'll never see such foolishness occur again.

Friday, May 02, 2014

How Far Can the Wizards Go in the Playoffs?

Contrary to many expert predictions, the 1-seed Washington Wizards closed out the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs with a surprise 4-1 series win over the 4-seed Chicago Bulls. Lead by dynamic guards John Wall and Bradley Beal, this young team has been playing some of its best basketball of the season at the right time.

Uncharted Waters

After waiting the past six years to return to the playoffs, the Wizards are hoping to make their return last as long as they can. This is the first time the Wizards have made it to the second round of the NBA playoffs since 2005. Currently, they are awaiting their next opponent, which will either be the Atlanta Hawks or Indiana Pacers. No matter whom they face in the next round, the Wizards think they’re beatable.

Do the John Wall!

Much of the success of the Wizards this season has resulted in the play of John Wall. In Game 5, Wall finished with a game-high 24 points and seven rebounds. Ever since the former Kentucky Guard arrived in the Capital, he has been the team’s everything. Yet, he actually wasn’t at his best during the first round. Wall was only shooting 36.4 percent from the floor, but if you know anything about the Wizards, Wall is the player that can change a game with just one possession. He will be the player that the Wizards will be relying on to step up and hit the big shots late in games. It will be interesting to see how far the 23-year-old can take this young squad.

The Fountain of Youth

It is understandable why many experts expected the Wiz to be a one-and-done playoff team, seeing as their backcourt is led by two players who have never reached the playoffs before. Many experts expected the youth of the team’s backcourt to almost guarantee an early exit. Proving the doubters wrong, Wall and 20-year-old Beal have raised expectations on how deep of a run the team can actually make. Beal led all scorers in the series against the Bulls, where he averaged 19.8 points and shot 45.5 percent from behind the three point line. His sharpshooting will greatly be greatly appreciated and much needed if the Wizards want to advance. Both are hungry to prove their ability, and together picked apart the Bulls defense with ease.

Don’t Forget About the Big Man

You have to give some credit to the Brazilian Nene, the Wizards’ main threat who helped upset the Bulls. The team’s veteran power forward at the age of 31 has recently been called the Wizards “X-Factor.”  Nene brings leadership to an overall young squad, but has been injury-prone. Much like trying to keep your classic car in good condition with ford car covers, Nene’s condition is vital to the Wizards’ chances of making a run deep into the playoffs. He is currently carrying some bangs and bruises, but nothing that should keep him from playing his usual minutes. If he can stay healthy and average good minutes, don’t count the Wizards out.