lamarcus aldridge trailblazers

LaMarcus Aldridge worth every penny

Aldridge Portland Trail BlazersThe Portland Trailblazers were a struggling franchise during the first decade of the 2000s. They had some success near the turn of the millennium but had the bad boy, “Jailblazer” image. In a stacked Western Conference, they didn’t have the players or the image. Their best player, Brandon Roy, was one of the top young stars in the league, but his career was stopped short because of chronic knee issues. They were flat out, an unlucky franchise. They did have a young power forward to build around though. LaMarcus Aldridge does not get the attention that other big stars in big markets get in the NBA. He doesn’t even get the full attention from the media as the star of Portland and that instead goes to young, dynamic point guard Damian Lillard. The three-time All-Star is one of the top players in the league and the focal point of the Portland Trailblazers’ scouting report. Heading into a contract year, he is worth a maximum deal as the Blazers look to continue their surge in the Western Conference.

When looking at Aldridge, you see a long, lanky power forward. He strikes many as a finesse player based on his 6-foot-11, 250-pound frame. After finishing his freshman season at the University of Texas, Aldridge declared for the NBA Draft and was the second overall pick in 2006 by the Chicago Bulls. After a rookie season in which he didn’t play a ton of minutes, Aldridge announced his presence in year two. He averaged over 17 points per game and since then he hasn’t averaged below that number. He is the top mid-range jump shooter among big men in the league. He can hit turnaround jumpers, face-up jumpers and is very difficult to block because of his high release point. From 2010-2012, he shot over 50 percent from the field and averaged over 21 points per game. In 2012, he made his first All-Star appearance and has made three straight trips to the All-Star game.

LaMarcus AldridgeThis past season, Aldridge took an even further step forward in his development. Portland won 54 games during the regular season and made the playoffs where they advanced to the second round of the Western Conference playoffs before losing to the eventual champion San Antonio Spurs. Teaming with Lillard, Aldridge helped form one of the top inside-outside duos in the game today. He averaged career highs in points, assists, rebounds and free throw percentage. With his 23-plus point per game average and double-digit rebounding each night, he was a consistent double-double threat, a rarity in the game today. In addition, he is an excellent free throw shooter, hitting over 80 percent from the charity stripe which makes his offensive game even more difficult to defend. While he has a thinner frame, he also averaged a block and a steal per game.

One big knock on Aldridge is his durability and he missed several games this season with various injuries. Aldridge has played in over 74 games per season in five of his eight NBA seasons and has never played less than 55 in a season. If the Portland Trail Blazers don’t offer him a max deal when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer, some other team will. He is one of the best big men in the NBA and is not even 30 yet. If Rashard Lewis can get a max deal in his career, Aldridge is sure as heck worth the price tag that comes along with his services. Chris M.

LA Kings open practice

Los Angeles Kings open Training Camp

LA Kings Staples Center gameThe Los Angeles Kings opened training camp yesterday, the start of a grueling ten-month season in which they look to defend their second Stanley Cup title in two seasons. With the vast majority of their roster returning the Kings will be looking to accomplish something that’s hasn’t been done in the NHL in over fifteen years—win back to back Stanley Cups. The last club to accomplish the feat was the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-1998.

The Kings will have a big target on their backs, with several of the other Western Conference contenders, including the Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche making offseason moves intended to upgrade the roster. Due to wise cap management by General Manager Dean Lombardi, the Kings didn’t face the typical post-championship exodus that many teams deal with. In addition to keeping the core of the roster the Kings were able to lock up Marian Gaborik on a longer-term deal. The fleet forward was a major part of the Kings offensive surge in the postseason, and should be a major component of their offensive attack during the upcoming season.

NHL LA Kings GoalieGoaltender Jonathan Quick, such a vital part of both of the Stanley Cup winning teams, will miss the beginning of training camp after wrist surgery. Kyle Clifford and Jarrett Stoll will join Quick on the sidelines in the early part of training camp. After a weekend of practice the Kings will kick off the exhibition season on Monday night when a split squad takes on the Arizona Coyotes. The first exhibition game will take place just sixteen days before the Kings kick off the regular season when they face the San Jose Sharks on October 8.

So can they repeat?

Los Angeles had an immensely grueling playoff run a year ago, going a perfect 8-0 in postseason elimination games, including defeating the San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks in seven game series. In their two title runs the veteran Kings roster has developed a reputation for performing in the clutch, a key component of last year’s title which includes coming back to defeat the San Jose Sharks after falling behind by three games in the series.

Stanley Cup LA Kings

STANLEY CUP

A return to normalcy should benefit the Kings, provided they can stay healthy. Two seasons ago the NHL played a shortened season due to the lockout. Last year the Kings dealt with Jonathan Quick missing nearly two months of the season due to a groin injury, and the Sochi Olympic break. The big question is whether or not the Kings can finish in the top half of the Western Conference. In both title winning seasons the Kings finished in the back half of the conference, 8th and 6th in the respective seasons. Without home ice advantage they’ve still managed to make title runs due to their veteran grit and ability to win on the road. If the Kings can get off to a fast start and stay healthy, they may have the luxury of defending the Stanley Cup with home ice advantage this season.

You can purchase 2014-2015 LA Kings Tickets for all games at the LA Staples Center with No Service Fees on any tickets!

Barry's Tickets

BARRY’S TICKETS

Barry’s Tickets is located just minutes from Staples Center!
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Chris M.

Kobe Bryant Lakers Staples Center

What’s the plan after Kobe retires?

Kobe Bryant is one of the league’s greatest players of all-time. Kobe Bryant LakersHe is entering his 19th NBA season this fall and has been to the All-Star Game 16 times in his illustrious career. Tack on five NBA Championships, two NBA Finals MVPs and one regular season MVP and Bryant is a surefire Hall-of-Famer. The past two years have been rough for the 36-year-old though. He has suffered two serious leg injuries including a torn Achilles and a fractured knee. To make matters worse, the Lakers are coming off a season in which they won only 27 games and things don’t look much better this year unless vintage Bryant comes back. With a poor supporting cast and an aging star coming back from serious injuries, the Lakers don’t appear to be building for the future or winning in the present. Bryant is expected to retire in two years and the summer of 2016 has several NBA stars becoming available in free agency. The Lakers are hoping some of those stars can get past the losing ways of recent and head to the attractive destination of Los Angeles.

Was Kobes contract worth it

KOBE

Last season, Bryant was coming back from a torn Achilles and all signs pointed to him being physically fine. The Lakers were coming off a summer in which Dwight Howard bolted town for the Houston Rockets, but if Bryant was healthy they were expected to be in the playoff hunt. He struggled initially coming back from injury just because he hadn’t played in game action for a while. In his 10th game of the year though, he went down with a fractured knee and the Lakers season went up in flames. Add in injuries to Pau Gasol and Steve Nash and Los Angeles was trotting a team of street free agents on the court. The results weren’t good. This offseason, they resigned Jordan Hill to a two-year deal and drafted University of Kentucky big man Julius Randle with the seventh overall pick. The cupboard is still quite bare though and asking your aging superstar to turn back the clock and win games on his own after the devastating injuries he’s suffered is unrealistic.

Los Angeles has always gotten by on their team history, spotlight and nice weather in southern California. Free agents loved that about the Lakers. That doesn’t appear to be the case anymore. Howard and Pau Gasol have left town during the last two offseasons. Unless Randle becomes a star in the next two years, it’s hard to expect any prominent free agents to come to town because the Lakers aren’t an attractive winning destination.

Kevin Durant, Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Nicolas Batum, Brook Lopez and Mike Conley are among the free agents that will hit the market in the offseason of 2016. Fellow Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James and Kevin Love could even hit the market if they opt out of their contracts. The summer of 2016 is gearing up to be one of the best in recent years and the Lakers will have plenty of cap room. However, without a plan for the future in place and the ability to win immediately, they may have to settle for the leftover free agents.

No matter what the next two seasons are going to be interesting ones for the Los Angeles Lakers, Lakers Fans and Kobe Bryant himself! Chris M.

Warriors Tickets

Warriors have a true homecourt advantage

Golden State Warriors fansIn sports, playing at home makes a world of difference. Being able to sleep in your own bed, go without the travel, and go through your normal routine is an advantage in sports. For the most part, teams at home perform better. Every team in the NBA had a better record at home than away last season with the Washington Wizards having an even split. Who has the game’s best fans though? Which NBA team’s fans make away teams not want to come back because they can’t hear themselves calling out plays? That distinction goes to the fans of the Golden State Warriors. The fans sell out Oracle Arena and play the role of the sixth man, lifting their own team and making the opposing team’s night a frustrating experience.

Golden State is generally not thought of a hotbed for basketball. They don’t have a rich history like the Los Angeles Lakers or Boston Celtics. The area is well-known for possessing the most geniuses per square mile as it is the technology capital of the world. It may not have a storied team history, but Oakland has a rich basketball tradition producing the likes of Jason Kidd, Gary Payton and Damian Lillard. Some of the best point guards have come out of the Bay Area but they haven’t won a division title since 1976.

GS warriors fans oracle arenaEntering the 2006-2007 season, Golden State had not had a winning season since the 1993-1994 season. They hadn’t even won more than 38 games. In 2006-2007, led by point guard Baron Davis, the Warriors won 42 games and snagged the eight seed in the West. They played the top team in the West, the Dallas Mavericks, who were heavily favored. The Warriors had other ideas though. Each home game, Golden State fans packed Oracle Arena to full capacity and 19, 596 screaming fans were wearing gold shirts and waving towels. The decibel levels were off the charts, the opposition couldn’t hear themselves and the crowd noise rivaled that of a rock concert. The Warriors upset the Mavericks in six games and Oracle Arena was reborn.

They didn’t get back to the playoffs until two seasons ago and were led by sharpshooter Stephen Curry. When starting power forward David Lee went down early in game one, the Warriors chances were diminished. However, they rallied around their fans and defeated the Denver Nuggets in six games again. Had it not been for some late-game struggles on the road in the second round and Golden State could have made it to the Western Conference Finals.

At a Lakers game, it’s more of a celebrity affair. Countless movie stars, directors, musicians and other celebrities line the courtside at Lakers games. However, the crowd doesn’t play a huge role in Los Angeles. In Oakland, the crowd plays a huge role and the area geniuses don the Warriors colors and cheer on their team in hopes of providing that distinct homecourt advantage.Chris M.

Trail Blazers Damian Lillard

Did the Blazers finally hit the jackpot with Lillard?

Lillard Trail BlazersThe Portland Trailblazers have won one NBA Championship since entering the league as a franchise in 1970. Following the 1977 title, the Blazers have had a tough go of things and been one of the unluckiest franchises in the league. They passed up players in the 1984 NBA Draft such as Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley, instead opting for Sam Bowie. In the 2007 NBA Draft, they selected Greg Oden with the first overall pick and passed on league’s current best player behind Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James in OKC Thunder Kevin Durant. The team’s franchise player from the 2006 NBA Draft, Brandon Roy, was a budding superstar but chronic knee issues forced him to retire. If some breaks had gone their way, they would have multiple championship balls in their trophy case. With an unlucky history, the current Portland squad is in good hands. The sixth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Damian Lillard, has turned into a superstar already in this league and has teamed up with LaMarcus Aldridge to form a dynamic duo. With the 24-year-old Lillard entering his third NBA season, the tides have turned for the Blazers as they seem to be on the lucky side for a change.

Like most of the great players, Lillard has overcome a lot to reach the status of elite. He was only recruited by one Division I school out of high school in Oakland, California. Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, was that school and Lillard played with a chip on his shoulders. The six-foot-three point guard dominated for Weber State, winning Freshman of the Year honors and Player of the Year honors twice. He was a prolific scorer and showcased his excellent athleticism which led to the Blazers picking Lillard in the 2012 NBA Draft.

Blazers LillardLillard started off his career with a bang, picking up Co-MVP honors of the NBA Summer League and dropping 23 points and 11 assists in his regular season debut. Portland didn’t make the playoffs during Lillard’s first season but he won Rookie of the Year honors and the expectations were raised. This past season, Lillard made his first All-Star Game appearance and the Blazers claimed the fifth seed in the Western Conference. Lillard once again stepped up big in the clutch, winning the series on a three-pointer at the buzzer to drop the Houston Rockets. The Blazers went on to lose to the eventual NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs in round two but the future is set. They missed out on Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and Kevin Durant but the Blazers stock is going up with the help of Lillard. Chris M.

robitaille

LA Kings 2014-15 Promotions and Giveaways.

The LA Kings 2014-2015 Promotions and Giveaways.

banner8-Oct San Jose Sharks Banner Raising / Mini Banner Giveaway

12-Oct Winnipeg Jets LA Kings Magnet Schedule Giveaway

16-Oct St. Louis Blues Replica Ring Giveaway

18-Nov Florida Panthers Dodgers Night

2-Dec Boston Bruins Mini Stick #1 and Display Base Giveaway (Dustin Brown)

18-Dec St Louis Blues Mini Stick #2 Giveaway (Drew Doughty)

27-Dec San Jose Sharks Holiday Pyrotechnic Extravaganza

14-Jan New Jersey Devils Mini Stick #3 (Jeff Carter)

bla917-Jan Winnipeg Jets Rob Blake Jersey Retirement Poster Giveaway Rob Blake played for the Kings from 1990 – 2001 then returned to LA from 2006-2008.

12-Feb Calgary Flames Legends Night #1 – Barry Melrose Poster Giveaway Barry Melrose was the Coach of the LA Kings from 1992-95.

24-Feb Detroit Red Wings Legends Night #2 – Tony Granato Poster Giveaway Tony Granato played for the Kings from 1985-1996

7-Mar Pittsburgh Penguins Legends Night #3 – Luc Robitaille Statue Unveiling Poster Giveaway Luc will be joining Wayne Gretzky, Magic Johnson, Lakers Point Guard Oscar De La Hoya, Chick Hearn and Jerry West all with Statues outside Staples Center.

mario516-Mar Arizona Coyotoes Mini Stick #4 (Marian Gaborik)

21-Mar Vancouver Canucks Bailey’s Birthday – Did You Know? Bailey is six feet tall, and wears number 72 because its the avg temperature here in Los Angeles. Bailey got his name when the Kings honored Garnet “Ace” Bailey who passed in 9/11 attacks.

11-Apr San Jose Sharks Fan Appreciation Night Team Photo Giveaway

You can purchase 2014-2015 LA Kings Tickets for all games at the LA Staples Center with No Service Fees on any tickets!

Barry's Tickets

BARRY’S TICKETS

Barry’s Tickets is located just minutes from Staples Center!
1020 S. Figueroa, Los Angeles, CA 90015
(across from the Staples Center inside the Luxe City Center)
Open 7 days a week, 9am – 9pm, for pickups.
213 749 0057

Chris M.

Los Angeles Kings 2014-2015 promotions and giveaways are subject to change without notice.

Dodgers Clayton Kershaw MVP

Should Clayton Kershaw be MVP?

The subject of a pitcher winning the Most Valuable Player award is always highly controversial. Much like the subject of putting a player in the Hall of Fame in their first year on the ballot, there’s always the small amount of voters that will never vote for a player the first time around. The Most Valuable player award typically revolves around the definition of “valuable”. While many voters get caught up in the concept of value, others will simply vote for the best player.

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Clayton KershawWhen it comes to Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers have clearly the most valuable player and the best player. While it’s obvious to anyone who’s closely watched Kershaw’s performance and the Dodgers this season that Kershaw is far and away the best candidate for NL MVP, many voters still seem to be leaning toward Giancarlo Stanton. The Marlins outfielder is a tremendous talent who’s had a wonderful season, but his numbers aren’t historically dominant like Kershaw, nor is his team anywhere near a playoff contender.

Will they give the award to Stanton? Right now it seems like it’s 50/50.

It shouldn’t be.

The impact of Kershaw on the Dodgers, for anyone that has observed the team closely this season, goes well beyond the impact of the lefthander when he pitches. The way Kershaw approaches the game, his work ethic and professionalism, set the tone for the entire organization. He’s the true definition of a “stopper”, someone who can turn the tide of a small losing streak or a poor patch of play with his absolute dominance. Of Kershaw’s 17 victories, 9 of them have come in days immediately following a Dodgers loss. It’s testament to the left-hander’s ability to avoid losing streaks and continually keep the Dodgers from minor skids.

The impact of Kershaw on the bullpen cannot be exaggerated. Beyond closer Kenley Jansen the Dodgers have struggled in the pen this season. In a long major league baseball season bullpens can be taxed with overwork, something that can have a trickle-down effect on the performance of the team. In 17 starts dating back to June 2 Kershaw has either pitched a complete game or 8 innings 13 times. In the other four starts he’s gone seven innings. In those 17 starts the Dodgers bullpen has only had to pitch 15 innings, an incredibly factor when it comes to how fresh they are.

MVP Clayton KershawWhether you base your vote on the “Most Valuable” player or the best player, Clayton Kershaw is the choice in both categories. Giancarlo Stanton is a massive talent who’s had a great season, but his performance is by no means historical in relation to some of the performances that players like Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout have put up in recent seasons. Based on recent history the fact that the Marlins will not make the playoffs and likely not even finish with a winning record will likely cause the typical non-pitcher MVP voters to cast a ballot for Kershaw.

Kershaw will likely sew up the MVP if he wins 20 games and the Dodgers secure a playoff berth. With two upcoming series versus the San Francisco Giants, the Dodgers are far from a certainty to win the division, although the wild card is likely a foregone conclusion. Kershaw will have four and potentially five upcoming starts two win three games. His next three starts are versus San Diego, Colorado and Chicago, three offensively challenged teams that will give the lefthander a very good shot to win 20 games for the second time in his career.

The Cy Young is a foregone conclusion—Kershaw is well on his way to his third victory in four seasons, all at the age of 26. An MVP award should soon follow. BY: Chris M.

See Clayton Kershaw pitch live! Use Barry’s Tickets Promo Code SEPT9810 for tonight’s Dodgers vs Padres game and take 10% off any Dodgers Tickets marked with BV! Dont forget use SEPT9810 at checkout!

Barry's Tickets Dodgers

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Chance to WIN a pair of Clippers vs Blazers Tickets

Chance to win a pair of Clippers vs Blazers Tickets

Clippers vs Blazers Tickets

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Barry’s Tickets is located just caddy-corner from the LA Staples Center:
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overrated

Who are the Most Overrated NBA Players 2014-2015 season

The NBA is full of big names; however, sometimes players can become well known without actually being that good. These overrated players tend to make a lot of money even though no one can really explain why. Here’s a list of the most overrated players in the NBA for this coming season:

Deron Williams: Williams averaged only 14.3 points per game and 6.1 assists per game this season with the Brooklyn Nets. These numbers would be great for a point guard coming off the bench, but Williams is a starter and making almost $20 million a season. The Nets would be better off trading him, but Williams’s huge contract and sad performance makes him very unattractive to potential teams.

Chandler Parsons: For a small forward making about $14 million a season, 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 4 assists per game just does not cut it. Parsons simply does not produce well enough to earn the money he is making. There is a reason the Houston Rockets got rid of him this season despite having the cap room to be able to keep him.

Josh Smith: Smith has been in the NBA for 10 seasons, yet his style of play has not improved at all. Smith shoots less than 30 percent from beyond the arc and less than 55 percent from the free throw line. That’s right—Smith makes over $13 million a season and he can barely hit a free throw.

Dwight Howard: Howard puts up great numbers pretty consistently with the Houston Rockets, but what he lacks is leadership. Howard does not seem to have the passion and drive to lead a team to a championship. The Rockets have a good team, but they lack the veteran leadership that Howard is expected to provide. Until he gets an attitude adjustment, Howard will never be a legend.

Tony Allen: Allen may be one of the best defenders in the NBA, but he simply cannot play offense. He is a big reason for the Memphis Grizzles offensive struggles this past season. Allen averaged only 9 points per game this past season while making less than 25 percent of his three point shots and only 62.8 percent of his free throws.

O.J. Mayo: Mayo brought nothing but confrontations with the head coach and sub-par effort to the Milwaukee Bucks this season. Mayo averaged under 12 points a game and clearly was unhappy with his new team. Hopefully a new coach and the addition of Jabari Parker will encourage Mayo to try a little harder this season.

Carmelo Anthony: Anthony is without a doubt a very exciting player to watch, and the fans in New York will surely continue to fill the stands to see him play. However, Anthony is about to make $22 million this coming season; and he has a hard time leading his team to the playoffs. Anthony puts up large numbers, but until he steps up as a leader on the Knicks the team will continue to lose.

BY: Chris M.

underatted

Who Are Most Underrated NBA Players entering the 2014-15 Season

Every basketball fan knows who LeBron James and Kobe Bryant are, but many less dedicated fans probably would not recognize a smaller name player such as Marquis Teague. Many of these players hold their teams together; however, go unnoticed to the common basketball fan. Here’s a list of the most underrated, unappreciated players in the NBA for this coming season:

Mirza Teletovic: At Brooklyn Nets games, Teletovic lighting up the court with his spot on shooting is a common sight; however, unless you are a big Nets fan you have probably never heard of him. Teletovic is a matchup problem for defenders because he can knock down shots from basically anywhere on the court—especially from behind the ark.

Anderson Varajeo: Varajeo is a fan favorite in Cleveland—he is an exciting player to watch, a terrific offensive and defensive rebounder, and a top-notch rim protector. He is an all-around team player and one of LeBron’s favorite teammates, and in James’s absense he has provided the veteran leadership the Cavaliers needed. He is a big reason that Cleveland improved every year after James left.

Luis Scola: Scola has played for three teams and seems to fly under the radar on each one. Scola has plays a good amount coming off the bench, and is very efficient with the time he gets on the court. His overall numbers have dropped slightly with the Indiana Pacers since he does not get as much playing time as he used to, but he is still a terrific inside shooter and team player.

Larry Sanders: Sanders is arguably the best shot blocker in the NBA, and his injury problems this past season were a big part of Milwaukee’s horrible record. With Sanders healthy and Jabari Parker joining the squad, the Bucks should see some decent improvements this season.

Omer Asik: The New Orleans Pelicans acquired the big man from the Houston Rockets this offseason, and he should prove to be a great addition to the team. Asik has always struggled on the offensive side of the ball, but he has improved significantly as his career has progressed, and he has always been a great defender in the NBA. Now that he will be playing alongside Anthony Davis his talent may start to be recognized.

Nick Collison: Anyone that watches the Oklahoma City Thunder regularly could tell you that Collison is one of the hardest workers in the NBA. Although he does not score much, Collison hustles on every play and is one of the better defenders in the league. The Thunder can always count on him for an energy boost late in the game.

Chris Bosh: Bosh may have been part of Miami’s “Big 3″; however, he was always the least respected of the three guys. With LeBron leaving the Miami Heat, Bosh will be the go to guy in Miami this season; so he will be putting up the kind of numbers he used to with the Toronto Raptors and hopefully earn the respect he deserves as a super star in the NBA.

BY: Chris M.