Tag Archive | "NBA"

Durant and Westbrook

Championship or Bust for Oklahoma City Thunder

Durant and WestbrookMany people, myself included, believe the Oklahoma City Thunder would have represented the Western Conference in the NBA Finals last season if Russell Westbrook wouldn’t have suffered a torn meniscus. As it was, the Thunder failed to get past the Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the playoffs.

Entering the 2013-14 season, Westbrook is believed to be healthy and the Thunder once again have championship aspirations.

Click here to read my detailed 2013-14 NBA preview for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Don’t get me wrong:  OKC is still a very young team. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka are all under 25-years-old. However, all three of them should now have enough postseason experience to win a championship for Oklahoma City.

The Western Conference won’t be as easy for the Thunder to win as it was last season; Doc Rivers is now in charge of the Los Angeles Clippers and Dwight Howard will likely make the Houston Rockets a hard team for anyone to beat.  With that said, Durant and Westbrook still form the best duo in the NBA.

Do you believe this 2013-14 is a championship or bust season for the Thunder?

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Mike D

It Pays to Lose: Los Angeles Lakers Preview for 2013-14

Mike D'Antoni

Since the Los Angeles Lakers remain one of the most popular sports franchises in America, I decided it was time to put together an in-depth preview of the team for the 2013-14 NBA season.

Writing the preview wasn’t as easy as I expected it to be. Once I started to put ink to paper, I realized there are too many unanswered questions to accurately analyze the team.

Click here to read my detailed 2013-14 NBA preview for the Los Angeles Lakers.

As I detailed several weeks ago, I still believe that the Lakers will head into the upcoming season with the objective to tank for a high lottery pick and try to sign LeBron James and/or Carmelo Anthony in the 2014 offseason.

With that said, the Lakers’ plans may hinge on the health of Kobe Bryant. If he’s able to play at an elite level from day one, Los Angeles may attempt to make a run at the playoffs.

Although I have to admit, any attempt at making the playoffs would be a foolish move by Lakers management. Even if Bryant is 100 percent healthy and is somehow able to turn the clock back on Father Time, I still don’t believe L.A. has the necessary pieces in place to contend for a championship. Instead, I believe the team would make the playoffs only to lose in round one.

Losing early in the playoffs wouldn’t accomplish anything and it certainly wouldn’t please the diehard Lakers fan base. Ultimately all it would do is hurt the franchise by pushing them out of the Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker sweepstakes.

Sometimes it pays to lose. Like it or not, that’s the attitude Los Angeles should approach the upcoming season with.

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San Antonio Spurs

Can the San Antonio Spurs Return to the NBA Finals in 2014?

San Antonio SpursThe San Antonio Spurs are no strangers to defying critics. For the past several NBA seasons people have said they are too old and too far past their prime to compete against the best teams in the league. Yet that didn’t stop them from almost defeating the Miami Heat for the 2013 championship.

They’re hoping it won’t keep them from contending for a title in 2014 either.

Click here to read my detailed 2013-14 NBA preview for the San Antonio Spurs.

The Spurs haven’t done anything this offseason to help them get any younger. They will enter the 2013-14 season with virtually the same roster they had in place last season.

I have no idea how San Antonio can expect to win the NBA Finals with nearly the same pieces in place that lost to the Heat last season, but I’ve learned to never count out Gregg Popovich.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Spurs will make the playoffs. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them win their Southwest Division even though the Houston Rockets will be greatly improved now that Dwight Howard is in town. With that said, I’d be shocked if they wound up playing in the Finals for the second straight season.

Do you think the Spurs can compete for a title in 2014?

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LeBron James and Dwyane Wade

Miami Heat Preview for 2013-14 NBA Season

LeBron James and Dwyane WadeNow that the NBA has released the 2013-14 NBA schedule, it’s that time of year when I’ll start putting together detailed previews of each NBA team.

Although I could have started with any team, I felt like the defending two-time champions earned the right to go first.

Click here to read my detailed 2013-14 NBA preview for the Miami Heat.

The Heat will enter the season with one goal in mind – another NBA Championship. There have only been four teams in NBA history that have ever pulled off a three-peat, but that’s exactly what Miami is hoping to accomplish.

With LeBron James in the prime of his career to go along with a healthy Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the Heat certainly have all of the pieces in place to make a run at the a historical accomplishment. Then again, there should be quite a few great NBA teams this year that are going to give Miami everything it can handle. I look forward to previewing those teams soon.

What do you think of the Heat’s chances of three-peating?

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Derrick Rose and LeBron James

NBA Schedule 2013-14: Which Games Grab Your Attention?

Derrick Rose and LeBron JamesHave you already marked your calendar full of can’t-miss NBA games for the upcoming 2013-14 season? If not, head on over to the regular season schedule and glance over the games I spotlighted as key dates.

I will be updating that link throughout the regular season whenever a game unexpectedly becomes a can’t-miss. But right now I can’t wait for the first day of the season on October 29th. That’s the day Derrick Rose will make his long awaited return to the hardwood when his Chicago Bulls face the defending champion Miami Heat.

November 7th and January 26th are two other dates that immediately grabbed my attention.

On the 7th, Dwight Howard will face his former team when the Houston Rockets host the Los Angeles Lakers. If Kobe Bryant defies all odds and is somehow playing in that game just seven months after tearing his Achilles, this will be as close to a can’t-miss game as any.

At the end of January, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will travel back to Boston for the first time since getting traded to the Brooklyn Nets.

What game stands out to you as a can’t-miss?

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John Wall

Wizards Were Up Against a Wall

John WallExcuse the play on words; I just couldn’t seem to help myself.  When the Washington Wizards announced a five-year, $80 million contract extension for John Wall, the first thing that came to my mind was, “they had no other choice. The team was literally up against a Wall”

The 22-year-old point guard has been everything the Wizards could have hoped for when they drafted him in 2010. There’s simply not another young talent in the world worth losing him for.

As I detailed in John Wall’s scouting report, he has the size, athletic ability and basketball skills to eventually become the best player in the NBA. Like most young players, he does have his weaknesses but most of them can easily be attributed to his inexperience.

Wall certainly needs to learn how to become a better leader and it would be nice if he developed the ability to make everyone around him better. But none of his current weaknesses outweigh all of the potential he clearly has.

Now that he has a brand new, big-money contract, it’s time for him to take that next step and lead the Wizards to some postseason success. Anyone with John Wall’s talent deserves to be in the playoffs every year.

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Greg Oden

Why Greg Oden Chose the Right Team

Greg Oden

The first overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft has decided to take his talents to South Beach. That’s right, folks! Greg Oden has joined the Miami Heat.

According to ESPN, Oden will sign a deal for a minimum of two years with a player option in the second year.

“When I had a conversation with Coach (Erik) Spoelstra and hearing how much he knew about the training stuff that I was already doing, it kind of made me feel like they know what’s best for me,” Oden said in an interview.

“I’m not going to sit here and say I’m 100 percent,” Oden added. “I am moving (well) and I am feeling good, but I have a lot of work to do.”

Considering Oden hasn’t played in an NBA game since 2009, I can’t imagine a better fit for him. For the first time in his basketball career, there is absolutely no pressure on the 25-year-old.

It’d be great if Oden could stay healthy and contribute, but if he can’t it won’t be a big deal. Miami doesn’t need him in-order to contend for a championship. Of course his presence would add to their dominance, but LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh already have a proven track record of success without a dominant big man.

If Oden stays healthy and the Heat successfully three-peat, don’t be surprised if he cashes in by opting out of Miami and signing a pricey deal elsewhere.

Image source: Getty Images

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LeBron and Carmelo

LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony? Lakers Will Have to Decide

LeBron and Carmelo

With LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony both expected to opt out of their contracts and become free agents in 2014, the Los Angeles Lakers must decide which star they would rather have.

Recently I sat down and put together the pros and cons of both players for the Lakers.

Of course I expect the Lakers to heavily pursue both James and Anthony, but there are not enough hours in the day to go after both of them equally.

James is the better player of the two and he will likely be their No. 1 target during next year’s offseason. Then again, James will likely be heavily pursued by every team in the NBA. There are also some rumors floating around that indicate the current Heat star isn’t a big fan of the Los Angeles lifestyle.

Anthony may actually be the better fit for the Lakers just because he would be more willing to embrace the Los Angeles lifestyle and its fans. If he can make it work in New York with the Knicks, he probably wouldn’t have a very hard transition to L.A.

The Lakers must be very careful in their pursuit of these two superstars. In the past Anthony and James have said that they’d love to play together. In order for that to happen, Los Angeles will have to be ready to empty its pocket book and spread the love equally.

Who do you think would be a better fit with the Lakers? I’d love to read your thoughts in a comment below.

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Metta World Peace

Can Metta World Peace Become a Hall of Famer?

Metta World PeaceIf Metta World Peace retired today, not many people would consider him a future NBA hall of famer. Then again, not many people may know much about his career as a basketball player.

The man formally known as Ron Artest has already put up some statistics that warrant hall of fame consideration. During his career he has recorded over 12,000 points, 4,000 rebounds, 2,500 assists, 1,500 steals, 1,000 three-pointers and 400 blocks. Plus, he already has an NBA championship and he won the NBA defensive player of the year award in 2004.

Although he certainly deserves to be on a hall of fame ballot someday, I wouldn’t vote for him quite yet. But if he somehow powers the New York Knicks to an NBA championship, I’d be forced to give him strong consideration.

The Knicks’ roster for the 2013-14 NBA season looks nearly identical to last season’s roster that lost in the second round of the playoffs. If they reach the NBA Finals, it will be in large part due the addition of World Peace.

Do you think Metta World Peace will get inducted into the Hall of Fame someday?

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Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan Finally Does Something Right in Charlotte

Michael JordanMake no mistake about it, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball play to ever step foot onto the hardwood — or at least that’s my opinion. But with the Charlotte Bobcats, he has proven to be an oblivious owner.

He has run a team that has had two of the worst seasons in NBA history. When the Bobcats start the 2013-14 season, they will be led by their fourth different coach (Steve Clifford) since Jordan has owned the team.

Although I could continue to rag on MJ for the mistakes he has made as an owner, this post is meant to spotlight something he got right. He is officially bringing the Hornets back to Charlotte where they belong.

As soon as the New Orleans Hornets changed their name to the New Orleans Pelicans, Jordan filed an application with the league to change his team’s name from the Bobcats to the Hornets. As expected, NBA owners unanimously voted to allow the name change.

For those who aren’t familiar with the situation, the Hornets relocated from Charlotte to New Orleans in 2002.

I wish I had more good moves to report for fans of the Bobcats, but that’s all I have right now. To read more about Michael Jordan as an owner, I encourage you to click here.

Image source: Getty Images

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