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!