Congratulations to the first New Zealander to make over $100 million, he hasn't actually gotten the money yet, but in 4 short years Steven Adams will be the wealthiest man his country has ever known. I love Steven Adams as a player, I think he's a very good rim protector, and I think he defends the perimeter well when he is forced to switch off a screen. His offensive game is alright, but somewhat limited, and his rebounding ability is good not great, I mean the guy is 7 foot tall you shouldn't be too concerned about his rebounding ability. If you look at stats you'll say "why the hell are they giving a guy who has never averaged 10 points or 10 rebounds in a season $100 million." Well I'll explain to you why this guy is worth pretty close to what he is being paid. First of all, the NBA salary cap is through the roof so every newer contract is going to look somewhat inflated, that's just the nature of the league nowadays. More importantly, Steven Adams is only 23 years old, he hasn't even come close to reaching his prime years yet so they're kind of paying for the future production that they see in him. Also, his numbers are deflated because he didn't start playing many minutes up until the end of last year heading into the playoffs. Per 36 minutes over his career he has averaged 10.5ppg, 10rpg, and almost 2 blocks per game. That's pretty promising for a kid of that age, let's put this into perspective, Timofey Mozgov is getting paid $64 million over the next 4 years, and he's 30 years old with 0 upside. Mozgov has averaged similar stats as Adams per 36 minutes over the course of his career, Mozgov averages 13 points and 10 boards, the biggest difference is Mozgov has been hurt in 3 of the 6 seasons he has played. The deal was definitley pricey, but I think Sam Presti made the right decision, and payed Steven Adams what he wanted because they certainly can't afford to lose his talents. Now it's time for Adams to prove he is worth the money, I think he'll have no problem doing that while repping New Zealand proudly.
P.S. I did some fact checking, turns out there's a lot of billionaires from New Zealand, so I underestimated the country's relevance to the world greatly, and I apologize for that. They just look so small and secluded on the map that I just assumed money didn't really carry much weight around there, turns out it does, and Steven Adams isn't even close to being the person with the most of it in that country. This is how wars get started people, that's why I had to correct my prejudice before all hell broke loose.
The Thunder are in some serious trouble, I love Russell Westbrook, he's by far my favorite player in the association, but he's going to get out of control this season. It's the second game of the season and he's already taking 44 shots, imagine when they start losing games, and he feels like he needs to carry the team, he's going to be taking 50 plus shots, that's unheard of. 51 points and he gets the win unlike Anthony Davis, that's great, you were facing the Phoenix Suns though, so let's not act like this would've got them a win against many other teams in the western conference. The Thunder need to get some other scorers on the floor with Westbrook, he's got way too much free range and control without KD being there to keep him in check, now it's just the Russell Westbrook show, which isn't going to lead to a lot of wins. He put up a triple double last night, love to see that, would love to see him average a triple double, and be the first player to do it since Oscar Robertson. I don't think that'll happen though, I have no idea how Big O did that, what a legend. Despite the incredible stat line, Westbrook needs to do something about his game, taking 44 shots, and shooting 38% isn't the answer. Russell could be getting 15 assists a game if he wasn't pulling up shooting 20% from 3 point land because he's chucking. I'm being tough on Russell because I want to see him succeed, not just put up flashy numbers. If Westbrook can shoot less 3's or just shoot for higher percentage in general that'd be a huge first step, secondly if the Thunder could get this man another legitimate scoring option that'd be a huge help as well, and lastly they got to keep this guy healthy, what are you doing playing him for 45 minutes in the second game of the season get your heads out of your asses, he'll be burnt out by the all star break if you continue to run him out there like this. Hype to see Russ building his MVP resume, hype to see the Thunder 2-0, but I'll be even more hyped when I can see this team taking steps to being a legitimate contender. Russ can put up all the pretty numbers he wants, until he starts putting up the one number that matters(wins) he won't get the true respect around this league.
The growing pains begin, the Lakers young roster showed the two sides that we will see from them throughout this season in their first two games. On one hand you have the game against the Rockets in which we won, during that game the youngsters, Randle, Clarkson, Russell, were all playing good basketball shooting at a pretty high percentage. Last night was a different story, all three off those guys were non factors, and not only that the percentage they shot at with the volume of shots they were taking, ultimately probably cost the Lakers a 2-0 start. It's frustrating because you know from a fans perspective it seems like we could've easily won that game, when your 3 best players shoot 8-30, 26% from the field, it's going to be almost impossible to outscore the other team. The Vets like Nick Young, Luol Deng, Lou Williams, and Timofey Mozgov were able to do enough to have us hanging around through the entirety of the game. Those four combined to shoot 15-35, which is 42%, and they combined for 50 points, can't ask for much more out of that group of guys, that's about their ceiling right there. The team's success rate comes down to if these young guys can perform at a high level or not, when they performed at a high level they were able to beat the Rockets, when they couldn't they lost to the Jazz. Growing pains are apart of the process, theses kids are barely old enough to drink, some of them aren't even old enough to do that, can't expect playoff runs from a team full of kids playing in a league full of men. This team is still a little ways away, but damn can they ball when they're clicking, so regardless of their record this year it's still going to be a blast watching them play. Oh, and to add insult to injury Brandon Ingram got injured last night, it didn't seem too serious since he was originally supposed to return before being reevaluated and told he couldn't. Hopefully it was just a precautionary thing and he'll be alright to come back within the next few days, the last thing we need is him losing a year of basketball from an early season injury. I'm still riding high on this young team for sure don't get me wrong, but last night reminded me for sure that there's still going to be some real tough nights for the Lake Show 2.0.
Last night the Chicago Bulls beat the Boston Celtics with the legend Dwayne Wade looking like a younger version of himself. I thought this was an outstanding team win for the Bulls by taking out one of the top contenders in the eastern conference. Each starter took advantage of their strengths in this contest. Rondo dished the rock, Dwade and Butler controlled the scoring while Taj and Robin Lopez killed it defensively down low. I do not think this is going to have any impact on the Celtics i still think they'll be a top three team by seasons end, I just think the Bulls might be a contender as well. Wade is a wise veteran by now so he knows what role to play at the right time. I think this is only the beginning of something bright in Chicago.
The 2016-2017 season didn't get off to the start the wolves were hoping for, but they fought hard in a tight loss the Grizzlies, falling 4 points short, 102-98.
Andrew Wiggins led all scorers with 25 points, adding 7 rebounds, but was locked up in the 4th quarter by Vince Carter, who played a big role defensively for the Grizzlies late. KAT picked up right where he left off last season, dropping 20 points with 5 assists, but only 4 rebounds, which is something I expect him to change very quickly. Gorgul Dieng played great, and looks poised to have a big season like many people predicted, putting up 12 points and 14 rebounds. Kris Dunn played very well in his limited 15 minutes, with 8 points on 4-6 shooting, with 4 rebounds.
I'm not worried about this loss, the Wolves showed growth already, and just need to try and put together a stronger 4th quarter and be able to close out games, but it'll come. Andrew and Karl-Anthony are going to have huge seasons, and I expect the rest of the boys to follow behind them.
Coming into last season, Anthony Davis was the talk of the league, sports personality after sports personality were saying how he's going to win MVP, putting up all kinds of absurd numbers. Well, the season rolled on and Davis was great, but not MVP worthy, and he had been struggling through some injuries. His season was ultimately a bust, most of his stats decreased on the defensive side of the ball, and everything else stayed the same, like I said he was definitley not at 100% for much time at all last season. Injuries have been a problem for Davis over the course of his NBA career, he's yet to play more than 68 games in a season, and trust me the Pelicans need him for all 82 with the talent they have around him. Anyways, Davis was now being heavily slept on coming into this season, no MVP talk this time around, seems like a lot of people forget what a talent this guy can be at 100%, and last night he set out to prove just how incredible he is by dropping 50 points. I don't care if they were playing the shit show franchise of the Nuggets, they're still a NBA team, so the 50 points is impressive no matter what. It's not like he was just chucking shots either because he shot 50% from the field, and 98% from the free throw line making 16/17 free throws. That right there is a big improvement from last year, he shot 75% from the stripe last year which we all knew he was capable of doing much better than. Davis added 16 boards, 5 assists, 7 steals, and 4 blocks to his stat line as well showing just how much of an impact he had on this game on both sides of the floor. It's a shame that the Pelicans still lost despite a historic performance from AD, but that's what this season is going to be like for the Pelicans, AD putting on a show while the rest of the team cancels out all his good with their bad. Pelicans need to get talent around this superstar ASAP, now is not the time to be wasting the best years of this young talents life like the Kings did to Boogie Cousins. I would put Anthony Davis on MVP watch but can you really win MVP if your team only wins like 25 games, I certainly don't think so, It'll be fun watching him put up absurd numbers all season though.
Last night was a strange night for sure, the first time in 20 years the Lakers would play a basketball game at the Staples Center without Kobe Bryant on the roster. The post Kobe era began and it couldn't have gotten off to a more electric start. The stadium was rocking all night long, the city saw that they had bright things ahead with this young core, and the Lake Show 2.0 showed us exactly why LA fans should be ecstatic about the future. Both the Lakers and Rockets got off to hot starts in the scoring department as they both put up 38 points in the first. The tempo would slow down in the second for the Lakers, the Rockets on the other hand continued to keep their foot on the gas, and went into halftime with an 8 point lead. Last years Lakers would've rolled over, came out flat in the third, and would end getting blown out by 30, thankfully this new core has a new mindset, which is win. Jordan Clarkson led the charge offensively for the Laker scoring 25 off the bench, wasn't their a guy on this website that said Jordan Clarkson would win 6th man this year, oh yeah, ME. Clarkson shined in the 6th man roll, he shot 8/12, and scored as many points as he had minutes played, not a bad start to the season for our oldest young guy. Julius Randle and D'Angelo Russell who were both rookies last season, showed that they're already taking that next step. Randle had 18 points, 7 boards, and 6 assists, showing just why he is such a unique and all around great talent. Russell dropped 20 points, shooting 40% from three, and orchestrating the offense for most of the game. Brandon Ingram played his first game in the association and he filled his role nicely, gave us 9 points off the bench on 4/6 shooting, not a bad start to a hopefully long and illustrious career. The role players for the Lakers like Mozgov, Deng, Swaggy P, and Lou Will, well they could've been better, but the young upstarts on the roster were able to do enough to win this game. The Lakers would outscore Houston 30-18 in the 4th quarter to win the first game of the season, was I shocked, absolutely, do I now expect a lot more from this team all of the sudden, absolutely, do I think we can now make the playoffs this year, probably not. I don't want to get carried away, we may have beat a team that was in the playoffs last year, but let's see if the young guns can consistently play this way night in and night out, if they can, we're going to the playoffs for sure.
All the hype, all the expectations, and the Warriors get shamed on opening night at home against their biggest foe in the western conference. The Spurs beat "the greatest starting lineup ever assembled" by 29 points tonight. Not only did the Spurs beat them, they exposed a ton of the Warriors new flaws that come with their new lineup, what a nice thing for the genius Coach Popovich to do for the rest of the league this early in the season. Normally I'd say no reason to panic for the Warriors, going to be some growing pains, team chemistry needs to develop, but that's not even it, this team actually has some serious holes. Now, obviously the Warriors will still be a great team, they'll prey on the weak teams picking up easy wins, but when it comes time to play the big guns of the association they're going to have some serious problems. This team does not have anything close to the bench they had last season, the bench couldn't buy a basket tonight, and they have no rim protectors with Mo Speights, Festus Ezeli, and Andrew Bogut all gone. The Spurs were driving to the basket with ease all night basically, doing whatever they wanted offensively because the Warriors had no answer, and they were getting plenty of second chance oppurtunities since the Spurs were crashing the offensive glass with regularity. The Spurs even beat the Warriors at their own game making 5 more 3 pointers than them while shooting 30% higher, just goes to show how ineffective this Warriors offense is when the 3 ball isn't falling, luckily for them it usually falls, but they're going to have the nights like tonight where they go 7-33, and get run out of the building. That's what happens when you live and die by the three ball. Spurs looked better than ever, Warriors looked like a hot mess, and the NBA season is off to a fantastic start. I'm looking forward to paying close attention to the Warriors this season preying on their every failure, laughing at their every defeat, ultimately waiting for them to fall short once again of their NBA championship dreams just so I can laugh at KD for being such a spineless coward that still can't win a championship, even with three other superstars.
What a night to be a Clevelander, the Indians win game one of the World Series, and the Cavaliers got to raise their championship banner. The cherry on top was the Cavaliers blowing the Knicks out by 29 to kick off the 2016-17 NBA season. The first half of this game was kinda competitive, but not really. Cavaliers jumped out to a 10 point lead at the end of the first quarter so they were in control early. The Knicks would close the gap with a nice little run to end the first half to bring the game within 3 points. That would be the closest the Knicks would ever get in this game, Cavaliers came out of halftime firing on all cylinders scoring 34 points in the third quarter. The Knicks on the other hand, they would score 19 points in the third, and 24 in the fourth. The Knicks were outscored 69-43 in the second half, Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee, and Brandon Jennings combined for 7 points, this Knicks super team looks a lot like last years Knicks loser team. I honestly feel bad for the fans, they hype up this team all summer, and they come out the first game of the season completely flat all the meanwhile getting humiliated on national television. I don't know if the Cavaliers are just that good or the Knicks are just their usual dysfunctional selves. It's a long season so nothing can be known for sure yet, but if these new Knick signings don't produce way more the rest of the season, Phil Jackson is going to have some serious explaining to do. On a lighter note, I'm very happy for all the Cleveland fans out there, you guys deserve this winning atmosphere more than anybody, you've been losers for so long, and this will all end soon so really enjoy it while it lasts because once Lebron is gone, your city is going back irrelevancy for another 50 years.
MVP: Kyrie Irving
The haters will say "he's not even the best player on his team." Honestly, that means next to nothing to me, in fact that actually helps my argument, but I'll get to that later. Kyrie takes his game to the next level this year after showing he's a premiere point guard in this league with his performance in the NBA finals. Kyrie is coming into the best year's of his life athletically so a breakout season is inevitable, ultimately I think this year will be that season. Steph Curry is the perfect example, he gradually continued to improve his game, and then BANG he's the next great thing in this league winning MVP's routinely. In a league ruled by guards it's safe to say that a point guard will be winning this award, the question should really be who's going to be the best point guard in the league. Why do I think that will be Kyrie, because he has Lebron James, who like I said before is the best teammate a player could have in this league. Lebron will be trying to build up Kyrie Irving all season long, feeding him more than ever, so by the time the NBA Finals roll around, Kyrie will know he's the best point guard going into the series against the Warriors. I think Kyrie is going to get his scoring average up to 25PPG and his assist total to 8APG, will that be enough in a league full of filthy star point guards to take that elusive award, I believe so because his team will also be winning a majority of their games. I know I'm going with a big underdog here, but I like to be ahead of the trend, and Kyrie is the next emerging star in this league.
Defensive Player of the Year: Kawhi Leonard
I mean, is this really even up for debate. Kawhi Leonard is the only player that can make Lebron James actually need to try his hardest at all times, that's all you really need to know about his defensive ability. He's long, quick, strong, basically any positive trait he fills it on the defensive side of the ball. He's won the award the last two seasons without anyone giving him much of a run for his award, Draymond Green gave him a little scare, but that guy is a ticking time bomb so I don't expect him to threaten Leonard's chances at the 3 peat. The silent assassin will continue to lock down whoever Coach Popovich tells him to for as long as his body allows him, we may be looking at the greatest all around defender this league has ever seen.
Rookie of the Year: Ben Simmons
I went with the obvious choice here, although I have been hearing Kris Dunn's name a lot in this conversation, Ben Simmons is in the best situation for him to come in right away and have the biggest impact. That's the exact reason why I think this award means nothing, this award doesn't show who the best rookie in the class is, it shows which rookie had the most opportunities coming straight into the league. The rookie of the year never comes from a very good team, usually one of the worst teams because the team's best player is that rookie so there doing everything for their team. Look at Michael Carter-Williams, same situation as Simmons, comes in and is given the keys to the car, puts up the fancy numbers, wins the ROY award, and now look at him, he's nothing. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Simmons is going to be trash in the future, but I certainly don't think he has the biggest upside in this draft class. Kris Dunn won't be able to put up the numbers necessary to win this award since he has two young superstars on the team already, and Brandon Ingram won't get enough minutes or touches to compete either. Is there a dark horse that could pop up outta nowhere and win the award, of course, is it likely to happen, absolutely not. That's why I'm declaring Ben Simmons Rookie of the Year despite him starting the season injured.
Sixth Man of the Year: Jordan Clarkson
Some will call it biased, some will call it stupid, but I will call it ingenious. Clarkson may not even end up coming off the bench all season, but I'm believing in the plan that Luke Walton has to bring him off the bench with Lou Williams starting instead. I believe every team needs that guy that can bring a spark off the bench and can keep the scoring going while the rest of the starters are catching their breathe. Clarkson will be able to flourish in this role because he'll get a lot of minutes without D'Angelo Russell on the floor which will give him more power to control the ball. Clarkson does his best work when he's the one putting the ball on the floor and driving to the hoop, I believe this role will allow him to do that. This is a bold bold take by me to take a guy that may not even be a sixth man for his team for longer than a week, but this is highly controversial sports so I'm going to take a stab in the dark, and try to pull off a legendary prediction.
Coach of the Year: Brad Stevens
I was honestly going to say Luke Walton but I didn't want to sound too biased so I went with a more obvious choice, Brad Stevens. This guy made Butler a winning program so getting the Boston Celtics aka the NBA's second greatest franchise a boat load of wins shouldn't be much of a challenge. The Celtics have a ton of talent, a ton depth, and a ton of expectations. If Stevens can get this team to play to their fullest potential I don't see why he doesn't deserve to win this award more than anybody. My Luke Walton theory was going to be if Walton can get the Lakers to double their win total from last year he deserves to win the award that he should've won last year, I'm not even going to go down that road though.
Most Improved Player: Dwight Howard
I believe Dwight Howard knows this is his last chance at redemption, he may never win a championship or becomes the player we once thought he was, but maybe just maybe he can end his career finally not being a cancer to the organization he is apart of. The Atlanta Hawks are Howard's hometown team so he has ties in Atlanta, he doesn't want his hometown thinking badly of him or he'll really have no city that shows him love. Dwight knows this is his last chance to be a team player that goes inside gets boards and lets the game come to him. I know there's a lot of Dwight haters out their but those are the same people that loved Dwight when he was Superman winning dunk contests. Howard will finally get out his own way and his play will reflect that, he'll earn the most improved player the thing with him is it's not his talent that's improving because he's always had that, it's his mental state that's improving. Don't let me down Dwight, I'm the only Laker fan in the world that still believes in you.