No, Kevin Durant’s legacy will still be intact + Indiana Pacers + Lakers

Tell us how you really feel?
Tell us how you really feel, Oklahoman?

It’s May 1st, which is the best day of the year because one, my birthday is in 24 days (THE PLUG), two, I’m finally about to be done with school for the year after just attending one semester, and three, we’re in the mist of the NBA Playoffs where a lot of things are heating up. The 2014 NBA Playoffs have been crazy, and legit enough to the point where I’m ready to claim it as the best first round EVER.

Tonight, there are three game 6’s, and two teams that are heavy in the spotlight are the Indiana Pacers (more on them later), and the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder came in as a heavy title favorites (I picked them to win it all, honestly), and now, there’s a lot of uncertainty, and a lot of ridiculousness being said about the Oklahoma City Thunder, Kevin Durant, and Russell Westbrook. Here are 4 things that need to be addressed.

1. Kevin Durant’s legacy is still going to be intact regardless of what happens tonight.

Remember back in 2012 when EVERYONE (myself included, which was dumb of me) when we were saying how Lebron James’ legacy was at stake in a game 6 in the middle of the Eastern Conference Finals when the Miami Heat were down 3-2 in a series? Remember the aftermath of that? The 45 points, and the death stare that he was giving all night?

Either that’s gonna happen with Kevin Durant, or the Oklahoma City Thunder will be eliminated tonight, and the jokes will being flying faster than a Kardashian being on a black guy with money. Is his legacy on the line, here? Not even close. Durant is only 25 years old, and has a lot of time left in this NBA.

Is it a scary thought that the MVP of the league (this won’t change anything unless you’re a hardcore Lebron James fan who’s probably a little jealous of the attention that Durant is getting this year, which reminds me of the NBA Playoffs in 2009 where it was getting tiring hearing about a guy who hadn’t really won anything and I knew that his time was coming) might not get out the first round? Sure. Let’s ask Dirk about this in 2007. But here’s the thing everyone, let a career breathe before we define legacies. Jordan lost in the 80s before winning in 91. Sometimes, you gotta lose before climbing the top of the mountain. Ask Lebron about that.

2. Scott Brooks is an awful head coach.

drawing up a 35 footer when down 1?
drawing up a 35 footer when down 1?

I’ve said this with my homies for the last 3 years about Brooks, and the fact was….. it was evident last year against Memphis in the playoffs that Brooks didn’t run an offense, and that he relied on Durant’s and Westbrook’s talent to carry them. How has Brooks NOT adjusted his offensive system after he lost Westbrook last year in the playoffs? Better yet, is it that hard to have an offense when you have 1B in the NBA and a top 5 PG?

Sometimes, it’s good for both parties to split. If OKC wants to take the next step, it might be time to get rid of Brooks to get over the top.

3. You know what? Maybe Memphis is ACTUALLY better than Oklahoma City.

The NBA is all about matchups. Nobody here is talking about how in a 7 game series, Memphis might be better than Oklahoma City. Over the past 4 years, Memphis is 11-7 against Oklahoma City, and that’s including the playoffs. Regardless of the head coach, Memphis’ might have the formula, which is having two guys on the block to go to (Gasol & Z-Bo), an elite defender to stick on Durant in the 4th quarter (Tony Allen), a quality point guard who can bother Westbrook (Conley), and a guy off the bench who’s made big shots before (Mike Miller).

4. The Oklahoman doesn’t deserve Kevin Durant.

One bad series, and they wanna run him outta town. Just come back to Seattle, KD.

Oh.
Oh.

A thought on the Indiana Pacers/Atlanta Hawks series:

Indiana is gonna lose tonight. I’m purely convinced that they were done mentally now, and it’s a sad sight to see a team that had title aspirations fall apart in the span of 2 months. When the Pacers dropped the picture above, I knew it was over. Done. I was purely convinced back in February that the Miami Heat would win the east and have NO problems doing so.  All-Star Paul George has been playing great in the playoffs, but at the same time, he hasn’t been right since he got a stripper pregnant, then the whole thing where he was catfished on kik (If you’re in the NBA, why are you on kik?). Then, here’s a question: What’s wrong with Roy Hibbert? If you’re 7’2, and you have 0 points, and 0 rebounds in a game………….. yeah bruh, you gotta got home and be a family man. Is this the Hibbert we’re gonna see from now on? The one that we all expected him to be when he came out of Georgetown?

Frank Vogel might lose his job because this team is a train wreck now. I was never concerned with the Pacers because I figured that they were one of the two best teams in the east, regardless of how they were playing (Miami didn’t exactly finish the season strong neither). But now? Vogel coaching a team that could possibly lose a sub .500 team that was tanking at one point this year in the first round is sad, and pathetic on all accounts. Indiana loses tonight and the train has ran off the tracks for good.

Lakers, what direction are you going?

The Los Angeles Lakers couldn’t be the only team in LA having drama issues within their organization this week as Mike D’Antoni resigned and went on a trip to find Donald Sterling for all of us. With having a lottery pick for the first time in 9 years, Kobe Bryant being old, having a crappy roster for the next year or two, and then having a fanbase that’s unrealistic, who wants to take that job? Today, it came out that they were gonna reach out to Kevin Ollie and John Calipari. I doubt both of those guys would leave their respective jobs because Ollie just WON a national title at Connecticut, and Calipari is a God-like figure in Kentucky. One guy who I think would be a good hire: Fred Hoiberg.

Those are my thoughts, and as we’re all sitting back and watching these games, remember one thing:

Prosper season is still in full effect. We out.

Advertisements

Why I’m indifferent about David Stern retiring.

I was born in the golden age of the NBA (May 1992), and born around the time that some guy wearing #23 in a Chicago Bulls uniform was in the mist of winning his 2nd straight championship. The NBA was also reaching it’s highest popularity as a league, and it’s because of David Stern. Stern became commissioner of the NBA on February 1st, 1984, and honestly, he got a little lucky that the league was marketable around two stars named Magic and Larry (surely, you’ve heard of them), and also got lucky that the 1984 draft class is arguably the best draft class of all-time. Sometimes you not only need a little luck, but you have to be good at your job, and for the most part, Stern was excellent at his job.

Stern not only saved the NBA, he helped the NBA reached global highs in popularity. Stern let NBA players play in the olympics, which led to the Dream Team in the summer of 1992, took games off of tape delay (My grandparents told me a story one day about how they stayed up to watch game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals), and improved the culture of the NBA in time, such as adding a draft lottery in 1985 (which might have been rigged but that’s another story for another day). So sure, David Stern has done great things for the NBA. He did save the game that some of us watch and love, and has made games broadcasted all over the world. When he started as being the commissioner, NBA games were only shown in 2 countries. Now? Over 300 countries. The league makes 1 billion dollars, and he’s made stars such as Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Kobe Bryant household names.

But here’s why I’m indifferent about David Stern retiring.

Sure, Stern is the best commissioner in all of sports right now, and that’s only because the other commissioners are just as more meh, as Stern is. There are plenty of situations that Stern could have handled a hell of a lot better. For example, the two lockouts didn’t help his cause, having the city of Seattle lose a basketball team after 40 years, and the way he handled that was truly pathetic. Then, the infamous #BasketballReasons trade that he vetoed as he was the “acting” owner of the New Orleans Hornets. Of course, I’m nitpicking here, but these types of things that happened in the NBA over his watch make me say “meh” instead of celebrating his success and achievements, and how he’s graced the NBA with it’s expansion as a league.

Stern is great, and in fact, he’s the best Commissioner in NBA history, not to mention, one of the greatest commissioners in sports history. I, I just don’t know. After the whole #BasketballReasons fiasco, and the way he handled it, I’ve been over David Stern as a commissioner. No, it’s not because I’m a Lakers fan (it might shock you, but I’m not bitter about it), and that trade veto changed the franchise, but it’s mainly because he made up an excuse to say that it wasn’t fair, even though the Hornets were going to have a better team at that time than they do now.

Everybody makes mistakes and not everybody does their job perfectly. But when people say that he’s the greatest commissioner ever, I sit and laugh because in the front of my head, I think about his mistakes than his achievements. Yes, the NBA is as popular as ever, more and more people are watching the game, and stars are becoming more and more global. However, before we crown him as being this almighty savior, let’s see what heights the game can go with Adam Silver as the commissioner.

Stern’s contributions to the game of basketball were great. He helped change how we see the NBA, and increased it’s popularity. But at the end of the day to me, I’m indifferent to him retiring. It’ll be weird seeing another commissioner, and I thank David Stern for helping a young person like me watch basketball and making games live for my generation, but it’s time for a new commissioner in the NBA.

 

follow me on twitter: @kingshaundiz

Kobe got paid, bruh

Kobe Bryant, a 15 time All-Star, and 5x NBA Champ “agreed” (notice how I put that in quotes) to the Los Angeles Lakers offer of a two year, 48 million dollar extension. I’ve been reading the Twittersphere, and the bad Facebook Statuses, and held my tongue for a day about this. You know how hard that is for me? Well, I broke my silence today on this on accident, today. Wanna know my thoughts about this?

Seriously.

That’s my thought.

The Los Angeles Lakers preview

Where do we go from here?

Let’s flash back to last summer, shall we? The Los Angeles Lakers pulled off one of the greatest heists in NBA history once again in stealing Dwight Howard and trading just Andrew Bynum to acquire him. Remember the shock from all of the basketball world? Remember how ESPN pretty much said the Lakers were gonna win the title? Remember the SI cover with Dwight Howard and Steve Nash titled how the season was gonna be “fun?” Yeah, well….. it was all good just a year ago.

The Lakers struggled to begin the year, firing then coach Mike Brown after starting off the season slow. They hired Mike D’Antoni, and the Lakers actually had a 45 win season, which led to a seven seed in the West, and an embarrassing exit in the playoffs without the guy who pretty much put the team on his back in Kobe Bryant, who tore his Achilles in the last week of the regular season. The off-season turned into a slideshow, begging for Dwight Howard to stay in Los Angeles (https://shaunhoward.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/i-hate-my-team/) and that turned into a comedy show because Dwight Howard wasn’t going to stay with the Lakers. Everybody, including Dwight knew that. Dwight treated the Lakers like one of his baby mamas.

This is Dwight Howard’s life in a nutshell (no pun intended. Okay, maybe).

At first, he thought the Lakers were this new sexy toy because he was tired of having children with his old toy (Orlando Magic), so he decided to get the new toy pregnant. Then, when the going got tough, Dwight decided he was fed up and wanted to have another sexy toy. So when the moment reached, Dwight saw he was free and BOOM, on to Houston because they are the new sexy toy in his eyes. (BOOM BABY! Houston strip clubs about to be POPPIN off this year!!!! Houston fans, if Dwight gets fed up in three years and wants another toy, he’ll make sure he’ll get his way). So Laker fans, we were just a groupie to Dwight Howard.

Good luck in Houston, #TheWhite

Where does that leave the Lakers now? How do the Lakers go from here?

Well for the starters, I don’t know what the Lakers plan down the road is. Do the Lakers want to tank this year, get a top 5 pick + clean salary cap except for Steve Nash’s contract next year? Or do these interesting cast of characters attempt to actually make the playoffs? Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss did the right thing in my eyes to letting Dwight Howard walk without taking on another contract. However, if the Lakers were smart enough, they would have traded Dwight Howard during last season, especially when he was unhappy in February because he was on his usual mood swing.

Three questions that I have for my own team:

1. Will you attempt to play defense, Los Angeles?

When you see this roster, you can tell that it fits Mike D’Antoni system. They’ll get up and down the court, and score 105 a game, but they’ll probably give up 110. Steve Nash is the starting point guard and he’ll be 40 during the NBA season. That’s not a typo. Steve Nash playing defense on Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving, Deron Williams, Stephen Curry, Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Ricky Rubio, Tony Parker, and even Brandon Jennings will be seen as a highlight film for those guys. Remember when Curry put Nash in the washing machine spin cycle back in March?

………………………….

Nick Young has never heard of the word defense before (but he’s heard of swag since he’s SWAGGY P, BRUH!), and watching him play defense will be mildly entertaining because he’ll just let other two guards score so he can shoot more. Jodie Meeks? Lol. A frontcourt line of Chris Kaman, Pau Gasol, and wait for it…… Wes Johnson will be hilarious. Given this is the first (and only) training camp with Mike D’Antoni as a head coach, maybe they did work on simple defensive concepts.

2. Will Kobe Bryant be effective this season?

No one, and I mean no one knows what to expect from Kobe Bryant. Bryant just tore his Achilles in April, and has said that if this were a playoff situation, he’d be able to play. But then he added that he can’t push off his Achilles and that he’s not in shape. Which makes me believe that Kobe Bryant probably won’t be back for awhile. It’s completely obvious that the Lakers can’t just rely on Kobe to come back and carry them for most of the season like he did last year. But this is Kobe Bryant, and he’s been known to do the unthinkable.

3.  But really, do the Lakers have a long-term plan in place?

I know, I know. I addressed this above.  But it’s an interesting question to ask. Kobe can’t play forever, and I know the Lakers know this. At some point, you have a solution to the problem. Mike D’Antoni isn’t the right fit for the organization, but neither is Phil Jackson anymore.  Are you going to place all your chips in hope of landing Carmelo Anthony this summer, or do you go full rebuild mode? These are questions that the front office will need to answer quickly.

Season prediction:

All off-season long, I’ve been saying how the Lakers won’t make the playoffs, and as a fan……. I’m not changing my mind. Looking at the roster, it’s clear to me that the Lakers built the roster to D’Antoni’s system. That’s fine to a degree. With everyone off the roster after this season with the exception of Steve Nash, it’s clear that Lakers are going to go all in the summer of 2014. I’ve been saying this, it’s best for the Lakers to completely forget about this season, and start from scratch next year, in hopefully Kobe Bryant’s last season of hooping (Yes Laker fans, Kobe is going to retire soon).  Do I think the Lakers will actually do that? Will they miss the playoffs for the 6th time in franchise history?

I think the ceiling for this team is 35-38 wins. They’ll be exciting to watch because they’ll score 100+ points  a game, and because Nick Young is probably going to go full YOLO mode. But they’ll give up a lot a big games to guards, and give up at least 105+ points a game. So no playoffs. A lottery pick, and a semi-rebuilding project heading into the Summer of 2014.

It’s not the end of the world, Laker fans. All franchises have to rebuild. It’s how you reload. And we must pray that the Los Angeles Lakers front office knows what the hell they’re doing.

Thoughts? Leave a comment or tweet me at @kingshaundiz