Tag Archives: Cleveland Cavaliers

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.

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.

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.

Who are the most searched NBA players on the Internet in June?

Top five nba players searched in JuneAt this time of the offseason in the NBA, most of the top free agents have already found their new teams. We already know which will the most powerful teams in either conference will be and how the new balances across the league will be. Let’s take a look at the players who were searched the most on the Internet during the month of June.

It comes as no surprise that on the top spot we find LeBron James. June was the month in which the Miami Heat squared off against the San Antonio Spurs and eventually lost the NBA Championship. But it was also the month in which tons of speculation and rumors about LeBron’s Decision 2.0 arose. Millions of fans searched news about LeBron, trying to find a hint about his next destination. Eventually, his decision was announced in July.

Kobe Bryant lies at the second spot. Although the Black Mamba missed the biggest chunk of the 2013 – 2014 season he still had an influence in the course of the Los Angeles Lakers and their decisions for the future. Kobe was active during the Lakers’ free agency moves, which however didn’t end up with a superstar signing.

Kevin Durant came up third in the list, followed by Tim Duncan. The two of them squared off against each other during the , where Duncan and the Spurs prevailed.

It’s notable that at the fifth spot we find Michael Jordan. Of course, His Airness is no longer playing the game but as the owner of the Charlotte Hornets (formerly known as the Charlotte Bobcats), he still has a significant role in the league. Jordan always draws attention from the fans and the media and the recent changes in Charlotte together with the second playoff berth in franchise history increased the interest from the entire NBA world.


Carmelo Anthony lies on the sixth spot. Melo was the second best free agent this summer, behind LeBron. Although he tested free agency, he ended up re-signing with the New York Knicks. Of course, until mid-June, when the NBA Finals were still under way, Anthony’s name wasn’t that much searched on the Internet.

Dwyane Wade and Tony Parker occupy spots seven and eight in the most searched basketball athletes of the month of June. Again, this was widely expected, since the Heat and the Spurs made it all the way till the NBA Finals.

It’s notable that Lamar Odom entered the top 10 and ranked ninth in the list of Google’s most searched basketball players for June. Odom continues to draw much attention from fans and media across the globe. His marriage with Khloe Kardashian, his off-court issues and his bunch of unsuccessful efforts to return to NBA action are good enough reasons for the attention levels to remain high. Odom reportedly had discussions with some teams around the league about a possibility of a return to the NBA.

Kevin Love finished at No.10. In fact, the megastar forward is now drawing even more attention, as he is the next superstar who will most probably switch teams. The Minnesota Timberwolves have been exploring trade scenarios for a few months now. Now that LeBron and Melo all off the board, Love is the center of trade discussions in the NBA.

“It must be the shoes” because although Michael Jordan retired from the NBA in 2003 he still leads Lebron, Kobe, Durant and Duncan in being searches since 2004.

Chris M.

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Lakers Face Durant and Howard This Week

Lakers Tickets Courtside

Lakers Bulls

With Steve Nash and Steve Blake in the fold things might be looking up, at least a little bit, for the Los Angeles Lakers. Nash and Blake returned to the Lakers lineup on Tuesday night in Minnesota, with Nash making his season debut. The depleted Lakers ended up losing Tuesday night at the hands of the Timberwolves, but then went on to win two in a row on the road before losing at home Sunday versus the Chicago Bulls.

Week Recap: Even with the return of Nash and Blake the Lakers continue to be the most snake bit team in the NBA when it comes to losing players. The return of their two point guards coincided with the loss of Nick Young and Jodie Meeks to injury. Wednesday’s night win in Cleveland saw Robert Sacre of the Lakers stay in the game after fouling out, a rarely seen NBA rule, due to the fact the Lakers had just five players left. After already losing Nick Young to injury and Jordan Farmar to leg cramps the Lakers were down to five players after Chris Kaman fouled out. Even with a depleted roster the Lakers hit a season-high 18 three-point shots to defeat the Cavaliers and former Head Coach Mike Brown. Los Angeles continued their winning ways Friday night with a fourteen point defeat of the Philadelphia 76ers behind 19 points from Steve Nash on his 40th birthday. Steve Blake contributed 14 points and 8 assists in the victory. Even without Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol the return of Nash and Blake is a welcome sight for Lakers fans. The Lakers returned home Sunday to face a competitive Chicago Bulls team, losing a tough one, 92-86. Chicago ran out to a nineteen point lead and the Lakers rallied back but couldn’t close the gap in the end, losing despite a season-high 27 points from Chris Kaman. Unfortunately for the Lakers they may have lost Steve Nash again for a short period of time. Nash knocked knees with Kirk Hinrich in the third quarter, causing his knee to flare up once again. He’ll be evaluated and may miss a couple of games.

Lakers Tickets Staples Center

Staples Center

The Week Ahead: The Lakers have a big home stretch coming up with five games at STAPLES Center over the next two weeks, including two with key Western Conference contenders. Los Angeles kicks off the week Tuesday night when they host the Utah Jazz. The Jazz are coming off of an impressive home victory over the Miami Heat. Thursday night Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder make a visit to STAPLES Center, giving Lakers fans a chance to see the NBA’s leading MVP candidate in action. Following the All Star Break the Lakers return home next week when they face off versus the Houston Rockets in a game that many Lakers fans have had circled on the calendar since last summer. Wednesday will mark the return of former Lakers center Dwight Howard to STAPLES Center. The gifted big man, who had an up and down season in LA last year, has teamed with James Harden to put the Rockets in the fourth playoff position in the west. Lakers Vs Rockets tickets start at just $48 per ticket. The Lakers wrap up the following week by hosting the Boston Celtics on Friday and the New Jersey Nets on Sunday. With five games including four playoff contenders it will be a big ten days of basketball for Lakers fans. Chris Michaels.

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Damian Lillard The Next NBA Superstar

Damian Lillard Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard

is putting up significant performances this season. He and the Portland Trail Blazers are surprising the NBA world with their outputs. The last season’s Rookie of the Year is continuing to improve his performance this season. In fact, he does better in almost any part of the game, in comparison with the previous season. His scoring, his shooting, his defense and his clutch performances have seen improvement. But can he be considered as a star? Does he rank amongst the elite point guards in the league?

The 6’3” Weber State product has exploded offensively. After putting up two consecutive 36-point performances against the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Minnesota Timberwolves, he went on to score 29 against the New Orleans Pelicans. He also shot over 47 percent from the floor in those three games. In overall, Lillard is averaging 21.3 points per contest this season to go along with 5.8 assists and 3.7 boards. His shooting from the floor has reached the 41.0 percent mark on average and 42.6 percent from three-point range.

Damian Lillard Blazers

Damian Lillard

Despite the big numbers, Damian Lillard’s importance to Portland goes beyond that. He is a general when on the floor, he draws much defensive attention and that’s where the entire offense starts for Portland. Lillard has built a great chemistry with LaMarcus Aldridge, especially on the offensive end. He plays with him the pick and roll and due to Aldridge’s finishing skills and versatility, this duo is really hard to stop. Lillard started showing some real clutch and leadership skills. Several times this season he has hit game-winning shots.

Taking a look at Lillard’s attributes, we first see that very explosive. In fact, he ranks at the top spots of the most explosive guards in the league, together with Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker and Chris Paul. His first step is super quick first step but he also has great body control when in the air. Additionally, he is an excellent ball handler and has developed his moves this season. His shot has also improved in comparison to the previous season. He has good court-vision although it could be further developed. What Lillard needs to work on now is improving his distributing role in the Portland Trail Blazers team. So can he be considered a star?

The answer is no. Because in order to rank amongst the elite point guards of the league, like CP3, Westbrook or Tony Parker Lillard will need to retain this exceptional performance. Consistency is what differentiates stars from the rest of the players who simply are on hot streaks. However, Lillard seems like he has the potential to do so.

In general, it’s fair to say that Damian Lillard is an emerging star. Really, he can reach the star and the superstar level but he is just not there yet. Nonetheless, the future is ahead and he will just have to continue and deliver.By:Chris Michaels

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Special Preview: NBA All-Star Weekend 2012

NBA All-Star Weekend 2012 officially kicks off Friday in Orlando. Here’s a schedule of all the top-tier All-Star Weekend events.

Usually known as the Rookie/Sophomore Game, the 2012 edition of the Rising Stars Challenge is different because TNT analysts Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley selected the rosters from a pool of the top first- and second-year players. Reigning Rookie of the Year winner Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin headline Team Shaq. Top overall draft choice Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers and versatile big-man DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings anchor Team Chuck.

All-Star Saturday Night opens with the Haier Shooting Stars, which pits the defending champion Team Atlanta against Team Orlando, Team New York, and Team Texas.

The next event is the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, in which six of the league’s top point guards battle to complete an obstacle course that tests their dribbling, passing, and shooting ability. Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors, the defending champion, will take on Irving, Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs, John Wall of the Washington Wizards, Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Deron Williams of the New Jersey Nets.

The Foot Locker Three-Point Contest follows the Skills Challenge in which Magic forward Ryan Anderson will challenge the defending champion James Jones of the Miami Heat. Other competitors include Mario Chalmers of the Miami Heat, Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City, Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves, and Anthony Morrow of the New Jersey Nets. Durant replaces Atlanta Hawks swingman Joe Johnson, who will sit out the contest due to injury.

The Sprite Slam Dunk Contest concludes All-Star Saturday Night. This year’s dunk showdown features four players who have never before competed; it’s all fresh faces. In addition, the dunk contest will debut a new, one-round format in which each competitor has the opportunity to execute three dunks. The field is Chase Budinger of the Houston Rockets, Jeremy Evans of the Utah Jazz, Paul George of the Indiana Pacers, and Derrick Williams of Minnesota. Evans replaces Knicks rookie Iman Shumpert, who had to bow out of the competition due to injury.

The main event of the weekend finally tips Sunday evening. Magic center Dwight Howard, the leading vote-getter among all players, will start for the East, while Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant will tie a record for consecutive All-Star appearances with 14.

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“Please Y’all” – The Story of the NBA Dunk Contest

The year was 2006 and Andre Iguodala threw up a bouncing behind the back reverse dunk during the NBA’s All-Star Weekend Dunk Contest. The dunk was amazing and Iguodala would soon be on the verge of superstardom as Allen Iverson was surely to either be traded soon or retire, as his last days as a Philadelphia 76er waned. However, that night Charles Barkley zeroed in on one particular instance during Iguodala’s dunk: Damon Jones’ bright red coat. Damon Jones? Who is Damon Jones? A career bench player, Jones was never known for anything other than some sharpshooting playing behind starting Point Guards. That is, until Charles Barkley called him out and desensitized NBA Slam Dunk Weekend audiences to the dunks themselves and began a shift in attention away from the dunks and towards the spectacle. Throughout the rest of the night, Barkley would constantly call for the camera to find Damon Jones and his red suit, saying “Please Y’all” repeatedly. In 2006, despite perhaps having the best set of dunks, Iggy would not win the contest. Rather, it was the midget, the 5-foot nothing Nate Robinson who would gradually win over audiences and judges alike by giving them something they hadn’t seen since perhaps Spud Webb in 1986. Granted, Webb and Nate Rob are fantastic dunkers and arguably some of the best athletes in the NBA’s history, but were their dunks more creative and better executed than the others?
In 2007, the Contest had perhaps its last great traditional showdown. Nate Rob returned to defend his title and newcomer Gerald Green came in with a monstrous array of dunks, using minimal props, which were allowed for the first time. Dwight Howard did place a sticker at the top of the backboard and Gerald Green did dunk over a box, but more or less, it was a great performance. Green eventually won and in the process, dunked over the top of Nate Robinson. In 2008, Dwight Howard busted out the Superman red cape and Damon Jones returned with a corduroy blazer and a mow-hawk. Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant loved it as well as Kenny “The Jet” Smith who lost his voice screaming his glee aloud, just like Barkley over the infamous red blazer of Damon Jones. Dwight’s Superman dunk, or, rather, non-dunk, since he never actually dunked the ball but rather threw it into the basket while falling far short of the rim, earned him a second straight 50-point dunk, the max score. Dwight’s tip-to-himself-off-the-backboard dunk was amazing and a game changer, but nobody remembers that dunk. They only remember the cape and the non-dunk.
Nate Robinson returned to glory in 2009 as he jumped over the top of Superman Dwight Howard wearing a green outfit, symbolizing his Krpto-Nate persona and again winning the Contest. The part everyone remembers from 2009? It was when Dwight Howard brought out a 12-foot rim, went into a phone booth, and changed into the Superman outfit. Dwight dunked at 12-feet and then made the crew try to raise the rim even higher, but to no avail. Kryto-Nate and Superman D-Howard again raised the bar for the Dunk Contest spectacle in outrageous form. At the end of the night, Lebron himself put his name into the Contest for 2010. However, it was a broken promise and 2010’s Contest would be won again by Nate Robinson and be called one of the worst Contests in memory. There was no grand spectacle that anyone remembers and Cleveland Cavaliers Lebron James did not enter the Contest, thus beginning his official eclipse of Jordan. Sad times for the emergent spectacle.

The 2011 Contest brought back the shock and awe spectacle that David Stern and the NBA seemingly longed for. JaVale McGee arguably made the most out of the props. First he dunked two balls on two different, separate rims. Then, to raise the bar, his own mother brought him a third ball and he dunked three balls at the same time on the same leap. “Air Congo” Serge Ibaka, a high flying big man like McGee and Orlando Magic Dwight Howard before him, dunked from the free throw line, but Dwight did that in 2010 as a big man, too. Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan did one of the most incredibly difficult dunks of all time with his “funk dunk,” but that, too, was not enough to even sniff the winner’s box. Los Angeles Clippers Blake Griffin dunked over a KIA car while a gospel choir sang, “I believe I can fly” in the background. The worst part was not Griffin’s over-the-top setup, but the dunk really was not all that great. He did dunk over the car, but it was over the hood, roughly equivalent to the Gerald Green 2007 over-the-box dunk. Immediately afterwards, Charles Barkley called the dunk out and said “it wasn’t the greatest dunk.” Later, it was revealed that some places had prematurely announced that Blake was the winner of the Contest before it even happened. While this cannot be proven, and is likely false, it raises the question: How will the NBA ever top that? Unless the Contest is moved out doors where more props can be used, it might be all downhill from here. As Barkley would say, “Please y’all…”… bring back Damon Jones and make Lebron James enter the Contest if it is going to survive without the use of gradually more infuriating props.