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Timberwolves Ticket Prices

Lebron & Love Top Timberwolves Tickets in January

There are few bright spots this season for the Minnesota Timberwolves. In a season in which Ricky Rubio goes down with injury, the most important aspect for the Wolves is the growth of their young players. One of the bright spots is Shabazz Muhammad, who is arguably the best player on the team. Other young players such as Wiggins and Bennett show glimpses of what they can become, and Zach Lavine is becoming a good point guard. The Timberwolves look to the future, and with their positioning in the West, they are settled for a top 3 pick at least. The Wolves will probably end up with the worst record in the West, but the problem is that Eastern Conference teams, namely Philadelphia and Detroit are worse. They are mostly playing on the road in January, which for a team looking to lose more games than it wins, is a good thing. Not that the Wolves are purposely tanking, but their talent is not on pair with NBA teams. Here is the Timberwolves Schedule for January games at the Target Center preview.

Timberwolves vs Kings, January 1, Starting price $7, Average price $44

The first duel between the two ended with a win for Sacramento. However, the Sacramento Kings are on a downfall lately, and after firing their coach, they are in a mess. The game is poised to be high scoring game, as the Kings will try to run more, and the Timberwolves always run with their young guys.

Timberwolves vs Jazz, January 3, Starting price $14, Average price $25

The two teams actually play in Utah few days before. The duel between the Jazz and the Wolves is an interesting one, since it is a direct duel for the last spot in the West. It seems unconventional for teams to be fighting for a last spot, but in the case of Utah and Minnesota, the lower the seed, the better the pick.

Timberwolves vs Nuggets, January 5, Starting price $8, Average price $27

In a span of 3 weeks, the teams will play three times, with the Nuggets hosting two games, the one on December 26 and on January 17. The first week of January, however, is reserved for a matchup in the Twin City. The Nuggets are a mystery team this season, as they’ve had both winning and losing streaks. Just when you think they are getting things together, the Nuggets lose 4-5 in a row. Minnesota, on the other hand, doesn’t have a long winning streak on its resume this year. The Nuggets and Timberwolves will play at the Pepsi Center on Jan 17th as well.

Timberwolves vs Suns, January 7, Starting price $9, Average price $52

If nothing else, this game should provide ton of excitement, since both teams play at an extremely fast pace. And both teams have high flying athletes on their roster for some dunks and alley ops. Wiggins and Thad Young on the Timberwolves, and Green on the Suns side are more than enough reason to tune in.

Timberwolves vs Spurs, January 10, Starting price $21, Average price $39

The San Antonio Spurs already routed Minnesota two times this season. Now, in a game when the Wolves play on the second night of a back to back set, things should not be different. At least Zach Lavine will enjoy playing versus some of his teammates from the National team. And he might pick up some tricks from Tony Parker on the way.

Timberwolves vs Mavericks, January 21, Starting price $8, Average price $43

The Timberwolves manage to score 101 points per 100 possessions. But the problem is, they allow opponents to score 112 points per 100 possessions. And with the high scoring Mavs in town, and their top notch offense, the Wolves are in trouble. One silver lining might be the chance for Gorgui Dieng to go head to head with Mavs big men. Considering the talent and the skill of Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler, Dieng might be in for a lesson of his life.

Timberwolves vs Pelicans, January 23, Starting price $11, Average price $23

The first time the teams met, the Pelicans scored 139 points, probably the highest in their history. On the bright side, the fans will get to see Anthony Davis in live, which is always fun and entertaining. And it would also be a chance for Dieng to show his skills versus the player he missed playing during the World Cup in Spain.

Timberwolves vs Celtics, January 28, Starting price $18, Average price $38

Depending whether Rondo will still be in Celtics uniform or not, the matchup might turn out to be a duel of two rookies at the point guard position. Marcus Smart vs Zach Lavine is an interesting duel, and both players will get a chance to learn. Lavine is already taking full advantage of the injury Ricky Rubio suffered, and Smart will get even more playing time if Rondo is traded.

Timberwolves vs Cavs, January 31, Starting price $59, Average price $77

The homecoming for Kevin Love. After playing for the Timberwolves the past 6 seasons, Love was traded to the Cavs in what was a rebuilding move by Minnesota. The Wolves got young players and draft picks, and the Cleveland Cavaliers got a running mate for LeBron James. In the end, everyone are happy, but the Wolves will have to wait few years for their prize to achieve greatness. You can also purchase Cavaliers vs Timberwolves tickets for the Quicken Loans Arena starting at $35.00.

You can purchase Timberwolves Tickets for all games on their home and away schedule with no service fees!

Barry's Tickets Trusted Media SourceBarry’s Tickets quoted by numerous media outlets based on our knowledge of the secondary ticket market and prices.

Ticket prices based on secondary market averages including nbaexchange and are subject to change.

You can follow Chris Cabrera on G+ or Twitter for tiny bits of wisdom.

San Antonio Spurs

Lakers & Clippers Top Spurs Tickets In January

The Spurs welcome the New Year at home, playing in the AT&T Center on 31st December. Their next 3 games are also at home. The schedule for January is also rather favorable, with more games at home than on the road. Additionally, the Spurs have only 3 tough matchups in January, against the Bulls, Clippers and Blazers. They will play only 14 games in January, with only one back to back. In other words, January is the perfect month for Coach Pop to give some rest to his core players. Here is a look at Spurs Ticket prices for their games at the AT&T Center on the January Schedule.

Spurs vs Wizards, January 3, Average price $52

After two full days of rest, the Spurs welcome John Wall and the Wizards. Wall believes he and his buddy are the best back court duo in the league, but the “old school” guys from the Spurs execute the offense to perfection. It is good to get some lessons from time to time, and Wall might just be in for a treat. Spurs vs Wizards Tickets Starting price $27.00.

Spurs vs Pistons, January 6, Average price $29

As mentioned, the schedule is kind to the Spurs in January. They get two days rest again, and play the lowly Pistons. However, the Pistons can surprise from time to time, but they are still a lottery team. Their biggest weapon is the front court, where Andre Drummond is shaping into a real star. Add Monroe and Josh Smith, and Duncan might have to push a bit more and waste more energy this game.Spurs vs Pistons Tickets Starting price $7.00.

Spurs vs Suns, January 9, Average price $78

Phoenix is one of the few teams that have beaten the Spurs this season, and they always pose a challenge with their speed and tempo. Their three guard lineup can be problem for the Spurs defensively, but they can also exploit those matchups on offense, where Kawhi Leonard would be guarded by a point guard.Spurs vs Suns Tickets Starting price $16.00.

Spurs vs Blazers, January 16, Average price $62

The Spurs demolished the Blazers in the 2014 playoffs, and the Blazers run over the Spurs in their first duel this season. But now the Spurs are playing at home, and have one of the western conference rivals in the house. The game should be interesting, no question about it, but whether it will be a high scoring or a low scoring game, it depends on the Spurs.Spurs vs Trail Blazers Tickets Starting price $19.00.

Spurs vs Jazz, January 18, Average price $39

The Spurs tend to surprise everyone from time to time. Their loss this season to the Jazz can be attributed to those surprises. But while they can make a mistake once, they do not let the mistakes haunt them. The Jazz are a lottery team, and the Spurs would be wise to show their place.Spurs vs Trail Blazers Tickets Starting price $10.00.

Spurs vs Lakers, January 23, Average price $90

We won’t get many more Bryant vs Duncan duels. Therefore, it would be nice to cherish the duels of these two great players that marked the last two decades. The teams split the first two games this season, and this one is the deciding one. Not that it matters for tie breakers, since the Lakers are bound to miss the playoffs, but the Spurs need wins versus weak opponents to keep their high ranking and have home court advantage in the playoffs.Spurs vs Lakers Tickets Starting price $37.00.

Spurs vs Bucks, January 25, Average price $27

Too bad rookie Jabari Parker hurt his knee, and will miss the rest of the season. He could have picked some valuable lessons from Tim Duncan, and it is unknown whether he will get the same chance next year. The Bucks have some quality players, such as the Greek Freak and Brandon Knight to cause some damage, but without their rookie, they will be weaker.Spurs vs Bucks Tickets Starting price $8.00.

Spurs vs Hornets, Average price $49

The Hornets might be just what the Spurs need before they close out January with a duel with the Clippers. Big Al is the only problem for the Spurs, but they have quality defenders in the post that can contain Jefferson. Whether Lance Stephenson will be wearing a Hornets uniform by the time the matchup occurs, it is unknown. The Hornets are reportedly looking to trade him.Spurs vs Hornets Tickets Starting price $16.00.

Spurs vs Clippers, January 31, Average price $80

The first duel between the two was a low scoring game, with the Spurs managing to prevail 88-85. But both teams have since improved their play, and by the time the game is played, the teams might be in the top 4 in the West. The Spurs are ranked lower than the Clippers, but they are catching steam lately. The Clippers are also playing some inspiring basketball in December, but there is time till January.Spurs vs Clippers Tickets Starting price $35.00.

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Barry's Tickets Trusted Media SourceBarry’s Tickets quoted by numerous media outlets based on our knowledge of the secondary ticket market and prices.

BY: Chris M.

Ticket prices based on secondary market averages including nbaexchange and are subject to change.

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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Are The Clippers Poised For No.1 Next Season

Clippers 2014-2015

CLIPPERS

The Los Angeles Clippers have still not sorted out their ownership situation. Steve Ballmer is the person who will most probably be next owner of the team, hopefully next season, but Donald Sterling is not giving up the fight just yet. Assuming that the ownership situation will be sorted out by the beginning of the 2014 – 2015 campaign, the Los Angeles Clippers will be one of the strongest teams entering the upcoming season. But are they really the favorites for the championship? In other words, how far can they really go?

The answer is unknown. And that’s not mainly due to the ownership instability. It’s not even about the assets Lob City possesses, its roster and the way it plays. It’s because we currently have absolutely no clue how the competition will shape up next season. We don’t know where megastars like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony will play next season and as a result, we don’t know which teams will highlight the top spots when it comes to championship contention.

Blake Griffin Chris Paul

BLAKE & CHRIS

Nevertheless, what we do know, again assuming that the ownership situation gets resolved, is that the Los Angeles Clippers possess a superb roster and one of the best head coaches in the league. They do have two All-Stars, in Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, an emerging star center, in DeAndre Jordan, the Sixth Man of the Year 2014, Jamal Crawford and several other quality role players. And of course, this entire group is orchestrated by Doc Rivers, who seems to be a head coach capable of leading Lob City to the top of the NBA.

Lob City LA Clippers

Lob City

At the moment, apart from the Oklahoma City and the San Antonio Spurs, who will be one year older, there is no team which seems to stand better chances to win the Larry O’Brien trophy. And even the OKC Thunder are not looking that lethal. In fact, unless the Thunder makes some changes in their style of play and become more of a team rather than a two – headed “beast”, which heavily relies on Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, they seem anything but invincible.

Blake Griffin LA Clippers Super Star

GRIFFIN

This summer offseason might be one that includes lots of star movement but it might also be a very silent one. But even if we see LeBron, Carmelo and other big name players like Luol Deng and Pau Gasol changing teams, the Clippers will hold the advantage. This group has been together for three years now and they have now managed to develop their game. Especially since the arrival of Doc Rivers last summer, Lob City further improved its game and reached a championship – contending level. The Clips fell short against OKC in the Western Semis but be certain that they will come back even stronger next season.

There is not much of room for changes for the Clips this summer. The Clips have most of their core players under contract for the upcoming season and we can only expect a few correcting moves, unless a major surprise occurs. But this roster, this group seems to have enough to make it to the top and the upcoming season will give a big opportunity for Lob City to eventually celebrate its first title.

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BY: Chris M.

Can the Heats Failure Help The Lakers?

Spurs

SPURS WIN

The San Antonio Spurs redeemed themselves by beating LeBron James and the Miami Heat after five games in the NBA Finals. Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Gregg Popovich can now celebrate their success while the on the other hand, a period of skepticism and uncertainty begins in Miami. Each of the Big Three holds an option to terminate his contract for next season and on top of that, it was clearly exposed that the Big Three are no longer invincible. This crystal clear loss to the Spurs might open to LeBron’s free agency and the Los Angeles Lakers have to take advantage of the opportunity.

Kobe Bryant LA Lakers

Kobe

The Lakers are looking for a way to not just turn things around and do better next season but also for a way to solidify their future for the years to come. Kobe Bryant is 35 and he will have two or three years more ahead before he starts to seriously considering retirement. The Lakers have three players under contract for the upcoming season, Kobe, the 40 – year old Steve Nash and Robert Sacre. This seems to be the ideal time for Mitch Kupchak and the Lakers to make a strong push for LeBron. And as a matter of fact, they do stand good chances to land him.

Lebron to Lakers

KING JAMES

LeBron now knows that his chances to win more rings in Miami are getting thinner. The Big Three did what they could do together, they reached the NBA Finals in each of the seasons since they were formed and they also won two championships. However, in order for LeBron to continue winning while at the same time being a member of a big organization, living in an environment like Miami, LeBron might have to head elsewhere.

And the Los Angeles Lakers are a very appealing destination.

Of course, the Lakers will have to cook up a very clever plan for their future, one in which LeBron and Kobe can co-exist alongside a capable supporting cast. Mitch Kupchak has not even found the next head coach of the team. And LBJ will have to see a well-designed plan for success before he jumps in.

Could Lebron Come to Lakers

KOBE & LEBRON

For sure the Lakers can offer LeBron a maximum contract. However, a Kobe-LeBron duo will not be enough for the Lakers to win the championship and James will have that in mind when deciding about his next destination. The Lakers will have to carefully study all the possible scenarios and try to ensure that they will be able to not just bring LeBron in LA but ensure long-time success for him and the team
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Miami’s loss to the Spurs opened the window for the deformation of the Big Three and it instantly increased the Lakers’ chances to land King James. Of course, there will be several other teams willing to lure LeBron this summer. And ultimately, LeBron will be the one to choose which uniform he wants to wear next season. Nevertheless, the Lakers are certainly one of the top destinations for the best basketball player in the world.

You can follow Chris Cabrera on G+ or Twitter for tiny bits of wisdom.

Can The Clippers Beat The Spurs?

Heading down the stretch in the Western Conference playoff race the Los Angeles Clippers are solidly in third place with potential to surpass the Oklahoma City Thunder for second place. Like the first place Spurs the Clippers are peaking at the right time, with victories in 12 of their last 13 games. Following their upcoming five game road trip the Clippers can finish off the season at STAPLES Center, heading into the playoffs with the potential to win as many as 60 games. Now the dominant team in Los Angeles the Clippers head into the postseason with big expectations. With consecutive Pacific Division titles and a loaded roster anything less than a deep run into the Western Conference playoffs would be a disappointment for the franchise. From the acquisition of Doc Rivers to the building of a deep bench the Clippers organization has made the moves necessary to contend for a title. The two teams in the Clippers way, the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder, are veteran laden clubs with championship pedigree. Both have reached the finals the past two seasons. While the Thunder took a tiny step back with the trade of James Harden and the injury to Russell Westbrook, the Clippers look ready to make the ascent and challenge San Antonio.

Here are five reasons the Clippers will knock off the San Antonio Spurs:

LA Clippers Vs Spurs

DOC & GREG

Doc Rivers: Look no further than San Antonio and Greg Popovich for a perfect example of the impact of head coaching in the NBA. The Spurs are an outstanding organization with multiple future Hall of Famers, but they also have arguably the best head coach in professional sports. In seeking Doc Rivers to replace Vinny Del Negro the Clippers significantly improved at the head coaching position. The presence of Rivers has improved the Clippers significantly on the defensive end of the court. The Clippers are currently 6th in the NBA defensive rankings, giving up just 101.5 points per game and 4th in effective field goal percentage, behind Miami, San Antonio and the Houston Rockets. It’s an old adage that defense wins championships, but the adage holds true in the NBA.

LA Clippers Vs Spurs Tickets

BLAKE

The Evolution of Blake Griffin: In the past three months Blake Griffin has gone from a player that many around the NBA still questioned as an elite star, to a potential MVP candidate. When Chris Paul went down with an injury early in 2014 Griffin went on a tear and carried the team on his back until Paul returned. The former top overall pick is playing the best basketball of his career and will give the Spurs fits in the playoffs. Griffin has turned into the dependable post option that the Clippers need to contend for a title.

Clippers Spurs LA Staples Center

DEANDRE

Youth: Based on the past few seasons the idea of writing off the Spurs due to the age of Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili would be a major mistake. Popovich has masterfully managed the roster this season, somehow locking up the likely top overall seed while managing to not play a single player more than 30 minutes per game. This strategy has preserved the legs of veterans Duncan, Parker and Ginobili. The big question is whether or not this regular season strategy can translate to the playoffs. If Duncan, Parker and Ginobili are forced to play big minutes come postseason the Clippers relative depth and youth should be a factor.

The Clippers Bench: Over the past several seasons one of the secrets to the Spurs success has been their bench strength. They’ve done an incredible job finding and developing young talent to play alongside their veteran core. The Clippers bench depth, more than any other team in the Western Conference, rivals that of the Spurs. During the recent trade deadline the Clippers made moves to acquire Glen Davis and Danny Granger, to provide even more assistance to a unit that includes Matt Barnes, Jamal Crawford, Darren Collison and Jared Dudley. As a result the Clippers boast a reserve until every bit as deep as San Antonio.

Spurs Vs LA Clippers

CHRIS

Chris Paul: The secret to the Spurs success over the past five seasons is the play of point guard Tony Parker. While Tim Duncan has taken a secondary role Parker has assumed the role of the go-to player in the lineup. His combination of speed and quickness makes him incredibly hard to guard and helps drive the Spurs offense. In the 28 games the two have played against each other during their NBA careers the matchup has essentially been a standstill. Parker and the Spurs have won 18 of the 28 matchups, largely due to the dominance of the Spurs during Paul’s years with the Hornets. Parker has struggled with nagging injuries the past two seasons and the presence of Paul will make Parker work at both ends of the court, expending important energy on the defensive end.

It would be a giant mistake to write the Spurs off after the dominant regular seasons they’ve had the past two years and the deep playoff run they made in 2013, but Duncan and Ginobili are a year older and their ability to continually answer the bell has to come to an end at some point. The Clippers are peaking at the right time and should have what it takes to upset San Antonio in the Western Conference playoffs.Chris Michaels.

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The Clippers Are Getting Healthier At The Right Time

Clippers Tickets

LA Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers have dealt with an array of costly injuries this season. Key players like Chris Paul, J.J. Reddick, Darren Collison and Jamal Crawford have all missed a good chunk of games late in the season. When the week started, the Clippers had played the most games in the NBA, making it even harder for the team to get healthy.

Clippers Blake Griffin Chris Paul

Clippers

With the toughest part of their schedule now behind them, the Clippers got some much-needed rest this week. The rest gave their injured players time to recuperate. As the end of the season nears, the Clippers will need a healthy roster in order to pose a serious threat to the elite teams in the Western Conference.

News broke today that both Collison and Crawford will be healthy enough to return to the court when the Clips play the Detroit Pistons on Saturday. It will be as healthy as we have seen this team in some time.
The good thing for the Clippers is that they have found a way to remain competitive through their hardships this season. They are in position to make a strong push towards the playoffs.

Chris Paul, their most coveted player, has dealt with some bothersome injuries this season. He tweaked his ankle in the team’s last game against the Nuggets, but is expected to be on the floor Saturday. While it remains to be seen whether Reddick will return soon, this team can still manage to do a lot of damage without him.

Clippers Vs OKC Thunder Tickets

Durant Griffin

Currently holding the No.3 seed in the conference, the Clippers have a chance become the top team in the West, depending on how the end of the season plays out for them, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs are streaking right now, winning 11-straight games, and the Thunder are playing below their potential. It may be hard for them to catch up with the Spurs, but they are clearly in the running to beat out OKC for that second spot.

The fact that they are getting healthier at this right time, should put fear into the hearts of every team in the league. It will be very interesting to see exactly how the Clippers finish off the regular season, and how far they can go in this year’s playoffs. As of now, things are looking better than usual for Lob City and their Playoff Run. Chris Michaels.

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Barry’s Ticket Service
1020 S. Figueroa, Los Angeles, CA 90015
(Across from the Staples Center inside the Luxe City Center Hotel)
Open 7 days a week, 8am – 9pm, for pickups.
(213)749-0057

Should The Lakers Tank?

Lakers Home Court

Staples

It’s been a tough month since the return of Kobe Bryant for the Los Angeles Lakers. Prior to the return of their superstar the Lakers were contending for the 8th seed in the Western Conference with a revitalized young roster playing a more exciting brand of basketball. Upon Bryant’s return the Lakers struggled incorporating their star back into the lineup. Less than two weeks into his comeback Bryant suffered another injury, putting him on the shelf for six weeks and sending the Lakers into a tailspin. Since Bryant returned on December 8 versus the Toronto Raptors the Lakers are 4-13, including a current streak where they’ve lost nine of ten games. The poor run of play includes STAPLES Center losses versus Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Utah. The Lakers are now third from last in the Western Conference, just two and a half games up on last place Utah. Even with the return of Kobe Bryant the playoffs are unlikely for the Lakers this season, giving Lakers management some big decisions to make regarding whether or not to hold a fire sale before the trade deadline. The presence of one of the greatest college draft classes in years has once again brought up the possibility of teams ‘tanking’ the season in order to get more ping pong balls in the lottery. The NBA’s system doesn’t guarantee the top draft pick to the worst team but the weighted lottery does give teams with the best record a higher chance of a low draft pick. Right now the Lakers are well-positioned to not only have the flexibility to add a max free agent after next season, they should be in the running to draft a potential future All Star in next June’s draft.

Should the Lakers tank the second half of the season?

They’ve earned the slack: The Lakers have continually put a winning product on the floor for decades, avoiding the full rebuilding process that many great franchises have gone through. Next to perhaps the San Antonio Spurs it’s difficult to find another NBA franchise that has had such continued excellence over the past 20 years. For that reason the Lakers have earned a bit of slack from their fan base.

The upcoming draft is important: Next June’s draft features one of the best crops in years with several potential All Star talents. A poor finish can mean a top five draft pick. Kansas center Joel Embiid and forward Andrew Wiggins, Kentucky power forward Julius Randle, Duke forward Jabari Parker, Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart and Arizona forward Aaron Gordon should all be available in June’s draft and are potential difference makers. The selection of a top draft pick combined with the targeting of a key free agent could rebuild the Lakers roster quickly. This June’s draft is important since the Lakers traded their 2015 first round pick to Phoenix as part of the Steve Nash trade. It’s hard to imagine a proud franchise like the Lakers tanking the second half of the season, but if they are going to tank this is the year to do it.

Pau Gasol

Gasol

They need value for Gasol: The Lakers would be wise to deal Pau Gasol before the trade deadline. The potential Cavaliers trade which would have sent Gasol to Cleveland for Andrew Bynum (who would have been waived), fell through and the Bulls ended up making the deal. The Lakers need to determine quickly if Gasol is not in their long term plans. Dealing him and getting a package of players or an expiring contract to waive would help Los Angeles avoid the luxury tax while potentially picking up a player or draft pick. With the February 20 trade deadline fast approaching the Lakers should find a suitable place to ship Gasol, getting some value in return. Even with a player option for next season it’s questionable whether he would want to return. Letting Gasol walk for nothing next summer would free up cap space, but wouldn’t give the Lakers anything of value for a top ten NBA center.

Kobe Bryant Lakers

Kobe

The Lakers decision to re-sign Kobe Bryant to a 2 year/$48 million deal does limit their options over the next few seasons. At best they have the opportunity to sign one max free agent. Next offseason Kevin Love will have the ability to opt out of his contract and the former UCLA big man may be interested in moving back to Los Angeles. A good draft pick this year combined with moving Gasol for an asset and leveraging the Lakers remaining cap space well could give the Lakers the ability to contend after next season. The most important thing now though is to maximize their draft value this season.

By:Chris Michaels.

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Western Conference Contenders and Pretenders

Western Conference

Western Conference

Two weeks into the 2013-2014 NBA season the Western Conference is taking shape. The usual contenders, San Antonio and Oklahoma City are at the top, but with Denver and the Los Angeles Lakers struggling there’s an opportunity for some new contenders to make a playoff run. Here’s a look at the elite, contenders and pretenders of the early NBA season.

The West Elite: (San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors)

The veteran San Antonio Spurs picked up where they left off and are off to a fast start to begin the season. They’re well coached, experienced and deep and should contend for the top record in the NBA all season. If Tim Duncan and Tony Parker can stay healthy the Spurs are the favorites for a return trip to the finals. The Oklahoma City Thunder welcomed back Russell Westbrook early and their star point guard seems to be the same explosive player he was before his meniscus tear. The Thunder is 5-1 on the season with their lone loss versus the Minnesota Timberwolves. The presence of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook guarantees 55 to 60 wins—how that translates into the postseason is the big question. The Thunder still misses that extra scorer that James Harden once provided. The Los Angeles Clippers are still adjusting to the coaching style of Doc Rivers, but have a deep lineup and bench and an elite point guard in Chris Paul.

The Next in Line: (Minnesota, Memphis, Dallas, Houston)

The Minnesota Timberwolves are finally healthy and displaying the potential that many predicted when Ricky Rubio arrived in the United States. In Rubio, Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic the Wolves have one of the best trios in basketball and an elite Head Coach in Rick Adelman. The Wolves acquisition of Kevin Martin, who thrived under Adelman in Sacramento, has given the club the strong perimeter shooting two guard they missed. Look for the Wolves to challenge the 50 win mark and reach the playoffs for the first time under Love. Memphis switched Head Coaches, with Dave Joerger taking over for Lionel Hollins. They’ve struggled initially in the transition but still feature the same big and physical lineup that’s worked for them the past three seasons. Marc Gasol is one of the league’s best centers and he forms perhaps the best center/power forward combination in basketball with Zach Randolph. The Dallas Mavericks, who missed the playoffs last season, have rebuilt to make another run. The newly minted backcourt of Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon is working so far, giving Dirk Nowitzki the guard play he hasn’t had since the Mavs title run. The key for Dallas, like San Antonio, is the health of their veteran players. Over in Houston the Rockets have the potential to be in the elite group, but have struggled defensively so far this season. Dwight Howard is showing many of the same inconsistencies he displayed in Los Angeles last season and he’s not yet providing the interior defensive presence the Rockets desperately need. Houston can score points on anybody; the big question is whether or not they can defend like an NBA title contender. Right now the jury is still out.

On the Upswing: (Portland)

The Blazers are off to a fast start (5-2), although only one victory is over a legit playoff contender (San Antonio). That being said the Blazers look to be a club that can occupy the playoff position(s) that the Lakers and/or Denver may be vacating. LaMarcus Aldridge is one of the premier power forwards in the game, while Damian Lillard and Nicolas Batum are consistently improving their game. The Blazers have been efficient, reducing turnovers, and are second in the conference in field goal attempts per game. Their +4.0 scoring margin is good for 5th in the conference.

Bubble Teams: (Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans)

Putting the Lakers in the bubble team category may be a stretch. Their success hinges on how close to .500 they are when Kobe Bryant returns. Los Angeles has improved their overall depth and the youth of their roster, but still lacks the quality depth of most playoff contenders. It’s questionable whether or not Steve Nash has anything left in the tank as he battles persistent injuries. If Nash can’t provide the minutes the Lakers need they may plummet down the standings. The Pelicans are an interesting club. They’ve had some good victories this season as well as some bad performances. They’ve injected some talent into their roster but it’s still not clear how the backcourt trio of Tyreke Evans, Eric Gordon, Jrue Holliday will co-exist due to their high ball usage rate. Inside though the Pelicans have the emerging Anthony Davis who’s quickly becoming the superstar many predicted. Davis alone could be the difference maker that vaults the Pelicans into playoff contention.

The Pretenders: (Sacramento, Denver)

The Sacramento Kings have a talented roster that once again looks like a bunch of spare parts. DeMarcus Cousins is one of the most talented big men in the game, putting together a solid season. His checkered past though makes it hard to rely on him day in and day out. Ben McLemore has great potential but he’s young and finding his place in the NBA. The Kings have nice depth inside and some solid role players, but due to the consistent roster overhaul it’s been hard for them to find consistency. They’ll be a lottery team again. Denver, a Western Conference power last season is off to a slow start in the post-George Karl era. Losing several key roster components, like Andre Iguodola, Corey Brewer and Kosta Koufus has disrupted their rotation. They still have Ty Lawson to lead the team but the recent injury to Javale McGee is another blow to their depth. Denver has a significant home court advantage at Pepsi Center that could make them a fringe playoff contender, but it’s hard to see them making much of a run.
Andrew Wiggins Contenders: (Utah)

The Jazz are the NBA’s worst right now. With Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson playing for other teams the Jazz are relying on the young of Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward and Enes Kanter to provide the bulk of the scoring. The trio has potential but they’re young and overmatched against the rest of the Western Conference. Utah is solidly positioned to get a high lottery pick with the ability to add a significant piece next June.

By:Chris Michaels

What NBA Team Will Surprise in 2013-14?

The NBA regular season starts on October 29th, 2013 and millions of diehard fans are looking forward to this season. The biggest game of opening night is the Chicago Bulls traveling to South Beach to take on the defending NBA Champion Miami Heat. Most experts and fans feel as if both of these teams are going to be very good. Per the usual, teams like the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder are going to make a run at the playoffs but some will want to know what team or teams are going to surprise in the 2013-14 season.

Portland Trail Blazers

In the last few years the Portland Trail Blazers have struggled to put together a good team. Last year they had the rookie of the year, Damian Lillard and this year they are hoping to put some pieces around this amazing point guard. The major concern for the Trail Blazers is their youth. Young NBA teams can take some time to develop as they have not played a large number of games together. Once these young athletes get to know each other’s style of play the sky could be the limit for Portland. There is only one player on the team that is over the age of 30 and the season is grueling.

As I mentioned in a previous article on Barry’s Tickets, a young NBA team has a distinct advantage in the second half of the season. The question is, can the Blazers win enough games in the first half of the season so that the second half actually means something? If the Trail Blazers can get to the All Star game in contention for the playoffs they should be able to make a decent run in the second half of the season. Having fresh legs will make a world of difference this season.

Utah Jazz

The NBA has become a point guard dominated league. In the 70s, 80s and and 90s NBA teams wanted a center that could dominate the paint. Shaq was a force as he helped the Lakers win multiple titles. Many experts feel as if Kobe has never been the same player without Shaq in the middle. When Kobe has a great season it is often when there is a presence at the center position for the Los Angeles Lakers. That said, many teams have accepted that a point guard is now much more important than a center. The big men get hurt easier and they don’t have the ball in their hands nearly as much as they used to. I am truly shocked that more NBA teams do not draft a prolific point guard with their top pick. One team that went out and got a point guard in the 2013 NBA Draft is the Utah Jazz.

Trey Burke was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves but was traded to Utah. In my opinion, this was a great move for the Utah Jazz as a point guard can completely change a team; much quicker than a center or a big man. After watching Trey Burke play for the Michigan Wolverines last year I can say that he will make a huge difference for a team in the NBA. He lead his Michigan team to the Final Four and he has a floor presence unlike most athletes his age. I do not feel as if Trey Burke will be a high scorer in the NBA but he will be able to get his team in the correct offense. I think Trey Burke will be a similar player to Chris Paul. There is no way that we can predict he will be as good as Chris Paul but even if he is half as good he will drastically improve the Utah Jazz.

New Orleans Pelicans

Most people know of this team as the New Orleans Hornets but they have changed their name to the Pelicans for this season. That might be a little bit of foreshadowing for the season that is coming. If you look at the roster it is littered with college basketball stars. Names like Austin Rivers, Jeff Withey, Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday immediately catch the eye of anyone that enjoys the college game. As we all know, you cannot put an NBA team together with just college basketball superstars. While many college players will go on to have great NBA careers there are some college stars that simply do not fit the mold of an average NBA player. Height, weight, wingspan and overall athletic ability are often much more important than college stats.

If the Pelicans can find a true point guard to run the show this could be one of the most improved teams in the NBA. The Pelicans were downright bad in the last two years as they won 21 and 27 games respectively. With this being the case it is not going to take that much to improve. After shipping Chris Paul to the west coast this team has struggled to find its identity. As mentioned with the previous two teams, a point guard is now very important in the NBA. In fact, I would say that a point guard is more important than a center or a power forward. When I was growing up the power forward and shooting guard positions were essential as these were the positions in which most points were generated. Points come from everywhere on the court in the current state of the NBA. With the hand checking rule changing the way defense is played it is no longer difficult for teams to score 100 points.

A point guard is needed to distribute the ball and get the offense going. With the Pelicans being a young team one would think they are going to try to get up and down the court. This makes it even more important to have a solid point guard that does not turn the ball over. Finding that great point guard can be difficult which is why some teams cannot seem to turn the corner and make the playoffs. Some in New Orleans have wondered if it is going to end up being the curse of Chris Paul. There is little argument to be made that Chris Paul gave New Orleans their best years of basketball. They have yet to come close to that quality of basketball since they let him go to the Los Angeles Clippers. Speaking of the Clippers.

Los Angeles Clippers

It is hard to say that the Clippers are going to be a surprise team as they are already one of the best teams in the west. I think this is the season they can make some huge strides towards getting to the NBA Finals. Now that Blake Griffin and Chris Paul have played with each other for a few seasons they should be able to get off to a quick start. If the Clippers can get off to a start that is above .600 in the first 25 or 30 games they have a chance to win the Western Conference.

Most experts are predicting the Oklahoma City Thunder to win the west but there is an opening for the Clippers. What is quite unique about 2013 is the fact that coming into the season it is accepted that the Clippers are the best team in Los Angeles. It has been a very long time since this was even considered by the fans and the experts. Anyone that has watched NBA basketball for the last four decades knows that Los Angeles is dominated by the Lakers. If Kobe Bryant is not 100% healthy this year the Lakes are going to struggle just to make the playoffs. There are even rumors that they might go out and get Carmelo Anthony. If this happens we know there is truly trouble in paradise.

What to Expect in 2013-14

This is going to be a very exciting year for professional basketball. LeBron James and the Miami Heat are getting older so they are vulnerable. Dwayne Wade has had all kinds of injury problems. It would not be surprising to see him sit out several games this year just because of health issues. If the Heat run into any injury problems that leaves the door open for some younger teams to grab the best record in the NBA. I think it is safe to say that the 1990s Bulls team has nothing to worry about when it comes to the all time best record of 72-10. The only way a team will come close to that type of record is a team that has enough young players to make it through the entire season without injuries.

I don’t think we will see the Heat make it to the All Star break without injuries. Keep an eye on some of the younger teams as they may surprise you in the upcoming season. As mentioned in this article, point guards are going to rule the league this year so take noticed of the teams that have a true leader at the point guard position.