Tag Archives: weekly

2016 NBA Weekly: Winners and Losers of the ‘Buy Out’ season

If you were looking for ‘big names’ to get moved in last February 18’s trade deadline, well, everyone actually remained in their places; but of course, there were teams who just skimmed while there were those who got better somehow. Let’s take a look at some pieces.

David Lee
David Lee

David Lee to the Dallas Mavericks. This could be among the significant transactions that happened this ‘buy out season’. Considering who comes in after Dirk is Powell, or Villanueva, a ‘stretch four’ kinda guy, acquiring Lee gives the Mavs that needed post presence while still having that valuable spacing since Lee could also hit those jumpers.

This could prove to be crucial as the Mavs head to the PlayOffs.

Channing Frye
Channing Frye

Channing Frye to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Letting go of Varejao may make sense for the Cavs but getting Frye as a replacement may not be thoroughly felt by the team. Look at the Mavs. They got Dirk who could hit 3s then Villanueva coming off the bench who’d also hit 3s, but are they in the top 4? While it’s good to have a ‘back up’ stretch four, the current goings could only mean that variety may be the more effective way to success.

Love is already a ‘stretch four’. Now with Frye, it’s like you only split their production with their minutes. Let’s see.

Anderson Varejao
Anderson Varejao

Anderson Varejao to the Golden State Warriors. While the Warriors’ center spot may be ailing with the unstable health of Bogut and Ezeli, what about Speights? Taking in Varejao could only mess up their rotation when the whole team is real healthy. Thompson was already a good addition.. though Varejao is a better one.

Jeff Green
Jeff Green

Jeff Green to the LA Clippers. This is more than just the familiarity of Green and Doc. Without Griffin, the shipping of Smith and the ineffectiveness of Stephenson, acquiring Green could certainly help the Clippers’ cause. After all, he’s a talented scorer that could play multiple positions.

Lance Stephenson
Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson to the Memphis Grizzlies. Well, this could be the beginning to Stephenson’s revival. Just look at their roster. They don’t really have a threat at the ‘two’ guard unlike when he was with the Clippers, they already had Redick and Crawford. So, some good opportunity for Stephenson to prove his worth. Though the Grizzlies wouldn’t be limping if Brandan Wright was healthy — much more if Gasol didn’t get injured as well.

Brandon Jennings (L), Ersan Ilyasova (R)
Brandon Jennings (L), Ersan Ilyasova (R)

Ersan Ilyasova and Brandon Jennings to the Orlando Magic. Losing Tobias Harris may be big for the Magic but getting Ilyasova and Jennings in return is certainly bigger. These are quality players in their positions! So, we could certainly expect the Magic to make a good run for this year’s PlayOffs and onto the next season.

Let the real games begin!

2016 NBA Weekly: All-Star Notables

So the 2016 NBA All-Star weekend has just been concluded, and the notables..

Russell Westbrook: That's energy!
Russell Westbrook: That’s energy!

Russell Westbrook’s back-to-back MVPs. As good and young as Russell is, don’t you think he’s got a chance to have the most All-Star’s MVP? It’s just one game after all, and so, no matter how good the rivals are, with Russell’s energy — who knows?! Kobe has 4 but he’s already having his last hurrah.

Kobe Bryant: Done for good..
Kobe Bryant: Done for good..

And speaking of Kobe Bryant, guess his final tour was more of a ‘guest appearance’, huh?! Hey, he could have gone all out to win his 5th All-Star MVP! Yet although Kobe finished with 10 points on 4-11 shooting, and added six rebounds and seven assists in just over 25 minutes of action, perhaps his body can’t take the pounding anymore or he’s gotten a little tired of the game already where he shot less and passed more than he normally does.

Paul George: Perennial Contender
Paul George: Perennial Contender

Paul George’s 41 points. Speaking of game enthusiasm, that’s what George did show in the All-Star game that he could have also won the MVP honors. Really. The ASG is just about energy which precedes All-Star entertainment — and so that explains the award.

Sweet-shooting Klay Thompson
Sweet-shooting Klay Thompson

Klay Thompson winning the 3-point shootout. Among the star participants, we always thought only Thompson and Redick had the chance to beat Curry. Not Harden. Not Lowry. Why? This is because of their ‘release’. They got a “shooter’s” release unlike Harden and Lowry, who’s got more of a “scorer’s” release.

Aaron Gordon (R), Zach LaVine (L)
Aaron Gordon (R), Zach LaVine (L)

Zach LaVine repeating as Slam Dunk champion. Wondering what a match up it would’ve been if Russell Westbrook were to compete?! But this was really close. And actually felt Gordon could’ve won it, too! Imagine a big man with such athleticism?!

Just what trade-rumored players need more of.. Even just energy.

2016 NBA Weekly: The ‘Hack-A-Player’ Conundrum

Is it necessary to change some rules to prevent the ‘hack-a-player’ strategy that is becoming more often nowadays? Yes? Well, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver kinda favors this change.

Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Dwight Howard (Photo: Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)

“At the end of the day,” Silver said, “we are an entertainment property, and it’s clear when you’re in the arena that fans are looking at me shrugging their shoulders with that look saying, ‘Aren’t you going to do something about this?’”

Hmm… We believe the only good this’d do is ‘speed up the game’.

Detroit's Andre Drummond
Detroit’s Andre Drummond

So, it’s really a matter of choosing between speeding up, or making basketball advocates understand the value of free-throw shooting — after all, it’s a crucial skill. A game changer.

As for speeding up the game, hey, take in less advertisements! Hah! More than fouling, commercials are what fans actually do not like since it holds off their excitement on the game. But then, we know that ads is what sustains the league. So?

0208 phoenix-sunsHow about lesser time outs? Just let the players learn to deal with adversity, you know. Another joke?! This would then make coaches almost unnecessary and the game sloppy!

In the end, it’s not about revising the ‘hacking’ rules or speeding up the game on a per game basis — for fans, it’s about lessening the number of regular season games so we won’t see bad teams playing good teams. That’s not entertainment, Adam Silver. The PlayOffs is.

2016 NBA Weekly: Big Men Moving?

It’s almost the All-Star weekend, and some players’ days on certain teams maybe numbered. Yes. Trades. Trades. Trades. And we hear mostly ‘big men’ that could be going that way.

DeMarcus Cousins (Kings). Zach Randolph (Grizzlies). Dwight Howard (Rockets). Brook Lopez (Nets). David Lee (Celtics). Amar’e Stoudemire (Heat). Joaquim Noah (Bulls).

Guess what? They’re all, I mean all, actually suited to their teams — so why trade? Their ‘big men’ is not the problem. It’s their smaller men. The other positions — including non-playing positions like the coaches of some teams. So, let’s briefly go through these ‘bigs’ save for Chicago’s Noah whom we already talked about previously.

Amare Stoudemire
Amare Stoudemire

Amar’e Stoudemire (Heat). This rumor came up when he wasn’t really getting playing time but now he has been getting his minutes in the absence of Hassan Whiteside. And he’s been doing well as expected. For coach Spo, Amar’e is a great talent reserved for the PlayOffs which is why he has not really seen the court that much. Then again, he might lose his touch you know. Can’t just train and train without really playing.

David Lee
David Lee

David Lee (Celtics). We actually feel sorry for David. After losing his place with the Warriors, he seems to have the same fate with the Celtics. Same goes with Tyler Zeller. These two are real good big men in the Celtics’ uniform, so it must be a coaching issue — though their record doesn’t really show.

Brook Lopez (Nets). Another waste of talent. Yes, he’s been playing well since he returned from his injury, in fact, he’s the only one that could be relied on their team. And because of that, and his ‘big’ paycheck, Brooklyn wants him shipped for ‘smaller’ pieces while the merchandize is hot — while he’s hot. Problem with Brooklyn is they don’t know who they are, so the losses.

Brook Lopez (black), Dwight Howard (white)
Brook Lopez (black), Dwight Howard (white)

Dwight Howard (Rockets). Think he’s recovering well from his injuries. His issue could simply be ‘confidence’ which even Dwight himself doesn’t know he’s already lacking. Perhaps James Harden is just too dominant with the ball and that it contributed to Dwight’s deterioration of sorts.

Tough Hombres: DeMarcus Cousins (L), Zach Randolph (R)
Tough Hombres: DeMarcus Cousins (L), Zach Randolph (R)

DeMarcus Cousins (Kings) and Zach Randolph (Grizzlies). Now it’s these two teams that should be on the negotiating table. And it’s not about swapping their big men nor trading them to other teams; but they should seriously consider Rudy Gay (Kings) for the Grizzlies’ Jeff Green and Courtney Lee. I’m sure some of you have heard of it. And yes, the Kings and the Grizzlies would indeed benefit if they push through with this trade.

Rudy Gay (white) against Jeff Green
Rudy Gay (white) against Jeff Green

Rudy Gay is what the Grizzlies need to get to the next level. Remember when he was still with Memphis? They were scary. They were one of those teams who did beat a LeBron James-led Miami squad. They got the inside game of Randolph. The defense and play making of Gasol. A great point guard in Conley. And a top notch scorer in Gay with a couple of good shooters in Bayless and Pondexter. But the Grizz thought they could save money by sending Gay away, who back then was a non team player but look what happened to them now? Just lack of foresight.

Courtney Lee (L), Jeff Green (R)
Courtney Lee (L), Jeff Green (R)

Now the Kings already got a strong foundation in DeMarcus Cousins and all they need could just be ‘more pieces’ to support him. Jeff Green and Courtney Lee are not a bad pick up. Though Green would not really be able to approximate Gay in talent, he’s still reliable and could be a real good support to DeMarcus. Plus with Courtney in the lineup, they could very well play smaller ball now without running out of gas; after all, he’s another good man to add in their guard rotation of McLemore, Belinelli and Rondo. This is a good window than an ‘unsure’ 4-team deal.

Big men moving? Nah. Smaller men packing!

2016 NBA Weekly: The Firing of David Blatt

So, it’s all over town. David Blatt has been relieved as the head coach of the Cavaliers. Yep, even with a 30-11 record then. And many speculate it’s because of LeBron James. Hmm… think so?

Think it’s more than just LeBron — though the root could be LeBron.

LeBron James and David Blatt: The Boss and the Coach?
LeBron James and David Blatt: The Boss and the Coach?

How is this? First, although they have reportedly fixed it, Blatt and James had their rough start; this could have rubbed off the rest of the Cavs. Like if LeBron James was disrespecting Blatt, then the rest of the gang would probably disrespect Blatt in more ways than one as well — or they could be having factions.

You know the effect of these things. And it would definitely be not good for a contending team. Yet what could have been the last straw in the firing since the Cavs are still leading the East anyway?

Our guess is Cleveland’s blowout loss to the Golden State Warriors. Yes, even if the Cavs rebounded by beating their next opponent; the loss to the defending champs — and at the Cavs’ home floor — served as the gauge on how the team would fare in the PlayOffs.

Result. Disaster. They were actually nowhere close to being that ‘dangerous’ team. Their 30-11 record seemed as just something like a fluke. After all, it’s still the regular season.

But what about the Warriors? The Spurs? Are their records also not determining then?

Blatt and Lue: It's more than just the team's pulse?
Blatt and Lue: It’s more than just the team’s pulse?

Well, that’s a different story. The issue is really in the chemistry, in the locker room — that you could feel it translated to the basketball court. So, the Warriors and Spurs are playing just fine, that if the PlayOffs were to start today — you’d know that they’ll win. ‘Cause they got ‘real’ togetherness unlike the Cavs, unfortunately.

That seems to be the case here. That Blatt is not the man who could actually glue this team. That’s the perception of many, what with his voice overpowered by James?! Maybe even Lue!

So is Tyronn Lue the ‘right’ guy? Ask LeBron James. Ask David Blatt.

2016 NBA Weekly: Joaquim Noah, Trade-a-Bull?

As the trade deadline approaches, rumors of Chicago Bulls’ center Joaquim Noah being moved is getting louder especially when he dislocated his shoulder last Friday in their home game loss against the Mavericks. He suffered the injury in the second quarter when he got tied up with Mavs’ center JaVale McGee. And it is said that he would be out for at least 4-6 months. My, it’s even his contract year, making it more likely for the Bulls to think of not renewing him.

Know what? Noah is not the reason for the Bulls’ failures. It’s more than about having too many big men on their roster — it’s about better utilizing the ‘forward’ positions, both SF and PF.

Recently, they’ve been experimenting on Gasol, Gibson and Mirotic on their starting lineup while having Noah, McDermott, Snell, Portis and Dunleavy (soon-to-be) coming off the bench. Is Mirotic an SF or a PF? They did actually use him as a ‘stretch 4’ where he and Gasol played well, so why did the Bulls abandon it? Obviously, Hoiberg has yet to realize that they lack ‘T’ to win — and tell ya, it’s more than just ‘teamwork’ we’re talking about here.

Joaquim Noah in his most recent injury
Joaquim Noah in his most recent injury

Use SF McDermott more as a starter, that would make them more potent right-of-the-bat. Okay, Mirotic and McDermott may lack defensive skills but they got Gasol (Noah and Gibson when Pau sits) to patrol the lanes and Butler (Snell when JB rests) to check the perimeter. Snell should be there to substitute Butler and not just come off as an SF.

Their 4 big ‘untoucha-bulls’ should be Gasol, Mirotic, Gibson and Noah. They need Noah! They say he’s their ‘energy’ guy so why even think of trading him? And while many sees ‘energy’ in Noah, I call it ‘toughness’. This is what champions need. Even one tough guy on its lineup. Notice? The Warriors got Green. The Spurs has West.

Okay, Portis is there as an insurance for the Bulls in case Pau Gasol leaves them in free agency, but if that’s their mentality then why not develop him now. Now. Let him play more and gain that confidence while Gasol is still around. Better yet, don’t let Gasol leave but train Portis while Pau is still productive. On the other hand, Dunleavy should start being McDermott’s substitute at the SF spot; if not, get another shooter in Dunleavy’s place. Like, how about giving Adam Morrison a chance? Or trade Dunleavy for the Pelicans’ Luke Babbitt? New Orleans is not really using Babbitt, anyway.

Derrick Rose
Derrick Rose against the Pistons

See, if the Bulls want to trade, then why not Derrick Rose? Yeah! While he has shown flashes of his old self since he came back, chances of Rose fully regaining his MVP-form is becoming lesser by the day. He just doesn’t have it anymore. This team is now clearly in Butler’s hands. They just need ‘real’ consistency and.. ‘toughness’! While Gibson and Butler are also tough, it’s basically with the injured Noah where you’d feel it most, that’s one reason why the Bulls are ‘losing’ many of their games.

2016 NBA Weekly: Implications of Stephen Curry’s Injury

Once again, Stephen Curry is out of Golden State’s lineup or at least questionable for their next game against the Charlotte Hornets. Reason. Bruised lower left leg. Fans all over knows this by now.

So, is this serious? Not really. But it kinda affects your movement and especially for Curry who uses a lot of dribbling to escape his man or get a shot. Good thing here is that, it’s just a bruise, nothing really serious that would put him out for the season.

Curry against Danilo Gallinari
Curry against Danilo Gallinari

And for the last 3 games where Curry was either out or ‘unable’, the Dubs are 2-1. Hmm… is this a good thing? Yes and no.

Yes. Because the team should learn to adjust with adversity. No. Because if this happens in the second round of the PlayOffs then their season could end. Curry is still what makes the Warriors dangerous. Yes, even if they got Thompson, Green and the rest of the guys..

Even if they have learned to adjust with adversity — expect their opponent to also ‘mess up’ with what they have learned. If you’re big gun is gone, what’s left are ‘smaller’ guns who could get rattled, lose heart or even lose their touch — as in the case of Klay Thompson. Remember last season’s Finals? Klay only had one big game really. That’s it. T’was Iguodala and Green who made the difference with Curry eventually catching fire.

Klay Thompson in black
Klay Thompson in black

Klay is good. But not very good. He’s got big games. Even scored 37 in one quarter once. But then, that’s about it. He can’t really light it up night in and night out like Curry does.

Thus, if the season were to end now — the Warriors could get by Houston (8th seed) but not against the LA Clippers (4th) nor the Dallas Mavericks (5th). See the scenario? LA and Dallas are ‘more organized’ than the Rockets who only has a bust of an acquisition in Ty Lawson, a defender in Beverley and a hardly-used Terry to play alongside ball-hogging star James Harden in the backcourt.

Stephen Curry (Photo: USA Today)
Stephen Curry (Photo: USA Today)

See, any team could not afford to lose their ‘main’ star especially in the PlayOffs. After all, the rest of the team was built to support their star. Without their star, who will they support? Each other? Well, every team should actually do that. Yet even if they did, there would still be winners and losers. Got the point? Therefore, even teamwork would be useless if you don’t have that ‘dependable’ star to captain your team especially during a storm. Result. A sunken ship.

2015 NBA Weekly: Who’s the Cavs likely Eastern Finals opponent?

Okay, the Cavaliers are once again in a funk after losing 2 straight games — the last one by a blowout against the Portland Trailblazers who didn’t even play with Damian Lillard. Hey, the Cavs didn’t play with Kyrie Irving, too!

Well, that’s the point. Kyrie is already on minutes restriction, so why was he even made to sit out when he just came back? Shouldn’t the Cavs just be guided by those minutes instead of a DNP on Kyrie? Yeah, to ease him back sooner! Or, were the Cavs just confident of beating the Blazers that time?

So who got beat now?

December 26: Cavs losing to the Blazers, 76-105 (Photo: AP)
December 26: Cavs losing to the Blazers, 76-105 (Photo: AP)

Still, that doesn’t diminish the Cavs as the favorites of the East. Then who do you think could challenge them in the Eastern Conference Finals come PlayOffs?

The Hawks? They may currently be second in the East’s standings but just the same, the addition of Tiago Splitter won’t help their cause unless they move him to the starting lineup to match up against Mozgov who’s just too big and strong for Horford in the middle.

The Raptors? Okay, they may have gotten DeMarre Carroll to slow down LeBron James but one man’s toughness won’t do much against the whole Cavaliers’ team. There has to be better team effort — and ‘toughness’ within each guy on the floor.

The Pacers? Yes, they have returned to ‘elite’ status in the East with the comebacking Paul George and his tremendous play; but what happens when George ‘takes a break’? Who do they turn to? Ellis? Hill? Miles? That explains some of their ‘winnable’ games.

Fact is, only 2 teams come to mind when thinking of who could in fact beat the Cavaliers in a seven-game series. Yup. Miami Heat. Chicago Bulls.

Miami just has a deep bench that even the likes of Stoudemire who still has a lot of ‘All-Star’ caliber juice left in him doesn’t really get to play much. So what’s the reason why Miami’s not winning as many games? Goran Dragic. Luol Deng.

Goran Dragic drives on a waiting Joaquim Noah
Goran Dragic drives on a waiting Joaquim Noah

Dragic to this point hasn’t found his place under the sun, I mean Heat. Maybe he was just meant to be a Sun. ‘Cause with the Heat, he’s just limping with his shots. And his overall playmaking? If he were a little more efficient then the Heat could have won maybe 3 more games at least.

Deng. Is he kinda deteriorating already? Now imagine if Dragic and Deng were to have an ‘impact’ in the starting lineup like teammates Gerald Green and Tyler Johnson have been providing off the bench. Wow! And they haven’t even maximized Stoudemire, McRoberts, Udrih and Winslow!?!

Chicago? They’re actually in a deeper funk than Cleveland. Really. While Gasol has been playing at an All-Star level and Butler has come to his own — Derrick Rose still has to really get his bearings back. That says a lot on his ‘locker room’ voice. If Rose could get back to form then the team would ‘stabilize’ as everybody would be more, shall we say, ‘energetic’ in every play.

Derrick Rose against Luol Deng
Derrick Rose against Luol Deng

Tell ya, they just got a complete team. And though Noah injured his shoulder recently, Joaquim Noah is starting to play like the Noah we all know — the good news is, he’d only be out for, what, 2 weeks. This would make the Bulls are tough team to beat come April.

Yes, Cleveland may be at ‘full strength’ now. But suddenly, that’s the problem. Just too many players. Know what I mean? This is why they are struggling to develop that rhythm. And this could be bad if they face either Miami or Chicago in the PlayOffs.

2015 NBA Weekly: The Return of Kyrie Irving and What it means for the Cavs

After 6 months since his last game in Game 1 of last season’s Finals, Kyrie Irving is back. Obviously not the Uncle Drew we know as we did naturally see some rust in him but, Kyrie is back!

Missing his first couple of shots, he only had 2 points in the first half before scoring 7 in the 3rd period and eventually finishing the game with 12 points (5-12 fg) including 2-2 from deep as well as 4 assists and 2 steals — all in 17 minutes.

So, the Cavaliers are just about at full strength now with only Mo Williams unable to play (second straight game) due to a sprained right thumb. Then again, what does this mean for the Cavs? Good? Should be.

Yet what we see here would also be the return of Kevin Love as the team’s third gear. Okay, nevermind this game with the Sixers where he only attempted 4 times and was just good for, what, 10 points? Hey, they’re still easing Kyrie back into the lineup so, okay..

But, as the Cavaliers eases Kyrie back, they would also push Kevin down to where he was last time out — with all those possible issues, loss of confidence, poor games and dissatisfaction. Oh, not this time? Well, that remains to be seen. And one could only surmise through his body language. Hmm…

And that’s just the first outgrowth.

Next ‘could’ be Kevin versus Tristan. With Uncle Drew weaving his magic anew, the Cavs would need a tenacious offensive rebounder and good defender rolled-into-one more than a ‘stretch four’. Uh oh, personnel issues. Or to ‘some extent’, it could also otherwise even be Delly versus Mo. Heck, no? Then what about LeBron versus Blatt part 2? Ridiculous? Then.. they just have to keep winning and hope nobody wants a trade (even in thought) before the PlayOffs begin.

2015 NBA Weekly: Breaking Down the Warriors 1st Loss

Just 2 days ago, the Golden State Warriors suffered their first loss of the 2015-2016 season. Yup, it was all over the headlines. The net. The talk of the town, the basketball world. What happened? And just at the hands of a 9-15 Milwaukee Bucks team??

Simple. It’s bound to happen. We know that. They have been on a 7-game road trip for 2 weeks. They have just been road-weary. So, end of the story? Just because they were tired, that’s it?

Then there’s nothing to talk about anymore.

Bucks' fans came in already celebrating
Bucks’ fans came in already celebrating

Yet how about the Bucks? They’re just fortunate? Really? My, there must be something. Right. Otherwise, the Warriors must be ‘unbeatable’. By the way, have they even faced the Spurs this season? See, unlike the Warriors, the Spurs are still even adjusting with a couple of new and key players in their fold — which explains their losses.

Now going back to the Bucks-Warriors game, okay, the Warriors were tired and having Harrison Barnes in the lineup could have helped their cause. But aren’t they supposed to have a deep bench? Hey, Milwaukee even only played with 8 men on over 10 minutes.. Golden State, 9 men.

MCW (#5), jubilant
Michael Carter-Williams (#5), jubilant

So? This is like ‘being short-handed or tired’ is out of the question. The loss was just bound to come. After all, the Warriors has even come off several close shaves, the last of which was with the Boston Celtics before finally falling to an inspired Michael Carter-Williams and the Bucks. Look, 5 steals from MCW alone. A triple double from Giannis Antetokounmpo. And 28 points on 16 attempts from Greg Monroe. Not to mention O.J. Mayo hitting 4 3s in the first half while Jabari Parker playing one of his best games this season.

Wow, the Bucks must have been really lucky with their ‘starting’ lineup clicking at the same time! Still, if you look at the team stats, there were actually only 2 glaring differences. One, field goals. The Bucks had 8 more converted shots. And two, assists. Again and obviously, the Bucks had 8 more dimes compared to the Warriors.

It's just the first loss
It’s just the first loss

In short, Milwaukee beat Golden State through ‘team play’. They were more cohesive, they were more inspired. It’s not because Curry was just 2-8 from 3-point range. For one, Steph didn’t ‘always’ have a good 3-point shooting night but the Warriors would still manage to win — just not this one though. Makes sense?

But that doesn’t take anything away from the 24-0 run put up by the Warriors. They’ve just been playing at another level. At least they got the best start in NBA history. And that’s what matters.. for now.