12 06, 2018

Golden State Warriors to Extend Dynasty if Offseason is a Success

By | June 12th, 2018|Categories: N.B.A.|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

As you will know, the Golden State Warriors obliterated the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2018 NBA Finals to the tune of a 4-0 series drubbing. This marks their third championship win in four years, only losing to the Cavs in the 2016 Finals during that spell. The last four NBA Finals have seen the Warriors take on the Cavs, but, now, with Cleveland waning and LeBron James potentially departing, the Warriors look set to extend their dynasty once again next season.

However, there is plenty for the Warriors to do in the offseason before they can embark on another campaign. The needs list isn’t as pressing as most of the other teams in the league, but the needs are necessary for Golden State to continue its almighty dominance.

Keep the core intact

Source: Bleacher Report, via Twitter

When it comes to any dynastic team in any sport, the key has always been to keep the core players together. Losing one or more can throw the whole team out of balance without a viable replacement. This summer, Kevin Durant is set to become a free agent. But, unfortunately for the rest of the league, he’s declared his intentions to remain a Warrior.

The NBA All-Star and NBA Finals MVP in 2017 and 2018 joined the Golden State Warriors following their loss to the Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals. His addition solidified the Warriors as the best team in the league and helped to reignite them to the run of dominance that we’re witnessing today.

Kevin Durant has become a key part of the Golden State core, which also boasts Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. It’s this core that keeps the Warriors in such high standing coming into next season. In the NBA betting, they are the clear favorites to win it all next year at +125, with potential future contenders in the Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets the next closest at longer odds of +400. Durant will likely re-sign and the dynasty is expected to continue.

Draft to bolster the rotation

Source: Basket-Infos, via Twitter

Due to the core of the team taking up a huge chunk of their cap, the Golden State Warriors would do well to draft a rotation-ready player as they may struggle in the free agency. In this year’s draft, Golden State has picked number 28, which can certainly be used to bolster the rotation.

Golden State is setting its sights on wing players who can defend and shoot, which leaves them with a few potential options at their spot. Chandler Hutchinson, Grayson Allen, and Jerome Robinson could be available at 28 and could fill a spot in the rotation.

Despite the Warriors being at the tighter end of their salary cap, the fact that they’re expected to continue a dynasty could play a major role in their free agency negotiations. This free agency is set to be stacked with decent rotation players, some of which are coming towards the end of their careers and desperate for a Championship win. As was the case with David West, a strong journeyman-type player may be willing to take a pay cut to join the ride to the title next season.

With some shrewd moves in the offseason, alongside the big-money re-signing of Kevin Durant, the Golden State Warriors look set to extend their dynasty next season. 

8 05, 2018

Oklahoma City Thunder Experiment a Complete Disaster

By | May 8th, 2018|Categories: Players and Coaches|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Oklahoma City Thunder Experiment a Complete Disaster

With the influx of several super teams in the NBA, every summer has become an arms race to amass enough talent to compete with the league’s best. For teams that do not yet have enough talent to beat the Warriors or Cavaliers, this means taking some chances in an effort to get those pieces. And while the Oklahoma City Thunder definitely took their chances in an attempt to build the latest super team in the NBA, it is safe to say that their experiment was an unmitigated disaster.

Destroyed By Utah

After the first game of the first round playoff series between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz, there may not have been a point where the Thunder played better than the Jazz. Utah averaged over 105 points per game during the six-game series, compared to just over 101 for the Thunder, for a margin of four points per game. The Jazz also outshot the Thunder, shooting 45.4% from the field compared to the 43% mark of the Thunder. They managed to destroy the Thunder despite shooting 68.6% from the free throw line, a bottom-three mark in the first round of the playoffs.

While those stats would be impressive in a matchup between any team, it is even more so in a battle between a star-studded team like the Thunder and a team like the Jazz. Utah lost its best player last offseason in Gordon Hayward, and replaced him with rookie Donovan Mitchell. Instead of faltering, Mitchell demolished the Thunder by averaging 28.5 points per game in the series victory.

This was by no means the biggest upset in the history of the NBA Playoffs, but it was surprising nonetheless. According to Betway, the Thunder were favorites to win the series before it started. But the clearly superior performance by the Jazz flipped those odds to where Utah was nearly a -300.00 favorite before the start of game six, as of April 30.

Russell Westbrook’s Tailspin

Russell Westbrook

Image Source-Flicker

The downward spiral of Russell Westbrook has been an intriguing one. He went from being a convincing MVP of the league last season, averaging a triple-double, to being looked at as overrated despite having a similar season this year. While the weight of expectations certainly has something to do with the change in outlook, Westbrook will now watch his former teammate James Harden win the MVP award as Westbrook’s season ends in disgrace.

Westbrook didn’t have a bad series, per se. He averaged 29.3 points per game and carried his team back from 25 points down to win game five at home. But he tried to do too much, something that is all too common from him. Westbrook shot seven three point attempts per game in the series, doubling his career average in attempts from beyond the arc. That is not the strength of his game, and he hurt the Thunder as a result.

But perhaps the biggest shock of Westbrook’s postseason was his postgame meltdown after being eliminated, when he got physical with a heckler. Nobody deserves to be heckled, but that was a poor way of handling a difficult situation by Westbrook, who should be used to the spotlight by now.

Paul George’s Inconsistency

Paul George

Image Source-Facebook

Paul George scored five points in the Thunder’s season ending loss to the Utah Jazz in game six. Known as one of the best players in the league right now, he completely disappeared when his team needed him the most. It was baffling to watch him go 2/16 from the field in one of the most important moments of his team’s season against a fundamentally sound Jazz team. His inconsistency on the court was difficult to overcome, as will his inconsistency off the court.

His off-court inconsistency, of course, is about whether or not he will stay in Oklahoma City or leave for another team after this season. That decision could impact whether or not the Thunder can even remain this good for an extended period of time.

There will be a lot to sort out this offseason for the Oklahoma City Thunder, as they will look to rebound from what can only be described as a disastrous season. Given the weight of expectations on this group, the pressure will only intensify if they stay together.

10 04, 2018

Harden heading for MVP award LeBron deserves

By | April 10th, 2018|Categories: N.B.A.|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

While James Harden appears to be heading towards his first NBA MVP award, the Houston Rockets man might not actually be the player who deserves it. LeBron James might be playing in his 15th season in the NBA and 33 years of age but it’s hard to argue against those who claim the four-time regular season MVP is in the best form of his life. Unlike Harden, who leads the league’s scoring charts, James has been playing in a team that has had a lot thrown at them this season. The Rockets, who are the runaway Western Conference leaders, might currently be the best team in the NBA, but the Cavs still have the best player in the NBA.

Following the loss of Kyrie Irving last summer, the Cavs have had to deal with a number of crucial injuries during a tough campaign that sees them fourth in the Eastern Conference. Despite everything, though, their leader has stepped up to produce one of the best seasons of his career; averaging 27.4 points, 9.1 assists and 8.6 rebounds, not to mention appearing in all of the Cavs’ 74 games this season. The number of times James has single-handily led his side to victory from the jaws of defeat is well in the double figures, and even Harden couldn’t argue that King James wouldn’t be a definite MVP winner in almost any other season.

LeBron James
“LeBron James” (CC BY 2.0) by EDrost88

Behind Harden and James has been a group of players that have all put in seasons that certainly deserve to be in the MVP conversation. Russell Westbrook is edging towards another season-long triple-double, and the likes of Anthony Davis, Ben Simmons, Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo have all produced incredible campaigns. But ahead of all of them is Harden. For those looking to take advantage of the numerous free bets available at Oddschecker, the Houston Rockets are looking an increasingly attractive bet to win their third NBA championship – and Harden has been an integral part of their success.

LeBron James and James Harden
“LeBron James and James Harden” (CC BY 2.0) by EDrost88

Harden is on course to not only beat James to the MVP award but also become the second man in history behind Michael Jordan to finish the regular season with 30 points, eight assists, five rebounds and 1.7 steals. The 28-year-old has already broken Jordan’s record of most consecutive double-digit scoring games. So, while he might be in the league’s best team, with a player the calibre of Chris Paul alongside him, but Harden’s stats this season have been remarkable. But despite the fact Harden has done everything, and more, that you need to be the league’s MVP, LeBron is still the NBA’s real MVP.

 

27 03, 2018

The Incredible Comeback of the San Antonio Spurs

By | March 27th, 2018|Categories: N.B.A.|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

San Antonio Spurs

The Incredible Comeback of the San Antonio Spurs

It is no secret that the San Antonio Spurs have had a rough season this year. They had to endure an incredibly hard combination of injuries, low morale and plain bad luck, despite Popovich’s best efforts. But could their latest winning streak signal the return of the legendary Texas team?

Are Spurs About to Pull the Big Rebound?

For a while there, it seemed that the Spurs would miss the playoffs for the first time in two
decades, since the awful season of 1996-1997 – when it was Popovich’s second season as
head coach. Both he and the team have come a long way since then and, if fans and foes alike
have learned one thing, it is to never write off the Spurs – they might just pull the most
incredible comeback at the last minute. Just looking back at their unparalleled streak of 18
back to back 50-win seasons, or the way they rebounded from five underwhelming seasons to
almost win two consecutive titles back in 2013 and in 2014, is evidence enough that there is
always something more in the works for the Spurs.


This season has been especially rocky for the Spurs and particularly because they had to
make do without their big star, Kawhi Leonard. The 26-year- old, who was selected two times
as an NBA All-Star in 2015 and 2016 and led his team to the NBA Championship title in
2014 against Miami Heat – the year in which he was also named NBA Finals MVP – has had
one of his worst years ever. Due to an unpredictable injury in his right quadriceps, Leonard
was only able to appear on court on December 12, sitting out the first 27 games. His
performance when he is back is incredible and, on January 2, he scored a season record of 25
points against the Knicks. Yet he has only played in 9 games in total and hasn’t touched a
ball since January. It doesn’t help that Leonard has chosen to consult his own medical team –
and there are rumours of a strained relationship with the franchise, although Leonard himself
has denied that.

New Approach by Spurs Might Make Them Shine

The Spurs are still obviously dealing with the absence of Tim Duncan, who retired in 2016
after 19 years with the Texas team. Without their natural leader in their roster any more, the
Spurs naturally turned to Leonard, who seemed more than ready to rise up to the challenge.
But then injuries came, and not only for Leonard: LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol, who
have largely carried the team so far, are also battling injuries – although not quite as seriously
or obscure as Leonard’s – and PG Tony Parker also sat out for the start of this season, while
Rudy Gay and Kyle Anderson have also missed games. And the list goes on.


Yet, recently, it seems that the Spurs have tapped into something even they did not know they
had in them. They won three games in a row and then tackled reigning champions Golden
State Warriors – who currently stand at -111.11 to win the title again, according to Betfair –
and won. Despite their upheavals, the Spurs currently stand fifth to win the Western
Conference seed, priced at +2500 by Ladbrokes. Since they might still have more aces up
their sleeves, we might see these odds rise. However, if you are feeling like betting on it, you
might want to consider taking advantage of Champion Bets free bets. How are the Spurs
pulling it off? Teamwork seems to be the key: the Texas team have seen 15 individual players
lead the team in scoring, which is an NBA high – and means that everyone is giving all that
they can.

The Spurs seem to have finally tapped into the energy that comes with a morale boost from
within. And it seems that, if they keep up like that, they might make this one of their most
memorable seasons yet – by pulling off an amazing comeback.

21 01, 2017

NBA Stars With The Best Fundamentals

By | January 21st, 2017|Categories: Fundamentals, N.B.A., Players and Coaches|Tags: , , , , , , |1 Comment

Words By: Kevin Ramsey

Ever since it was invented by Dr. James Naismith in 1891 and later adopted by the NBA in 1946, much of basketball’s primary fundamentals have largely remained the same. Disregarding many rules changes over the years, like the addition of the three-point line in 1977, getting good at a basketball still requires a sound understanding of the same principles that were practiced years ago.

One excellent method to improve your game is by copying some of the practices and traits that elite players with solid fundamentals have developed. This article will take a look at some of the most successful NBA stars who display a solid understanding of important fundamentals and what practices others can learn from them.

 

1. Dennis Rodman

Best known for his wild attire and the championships he earned with the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons, Dennis Rodman entered the league being drafted by the “Bad Boy” Pistons in 1986. One of the most aggressive teams in basketball history, the Pistons employed a significant amount of physical play during their tenure at the top of the league in the late 1980’s. This type of physical play was very evident in Rodman’s primary ability; getting rebounds.

Getting a rebound, or as it is typically referred to as a getting a board, is when a player gets the ball in their possession after either a missed field goal or free throw. Getting as many rebounds as possible is very useful for teams as controlling the boards leads to more possessions which naturally leads to more points. Despite measuring at 6’7” in a time where most rebounders were where around 7 feet tall, Dennis Rodman used his physical strength and positional instincts to make up for his height advantage. Rodman was one of the key pieces that made the Chicago Bulls one of the best teams in NBA history.

By knowing how to be in the right place at the right time and anticipate where the ball will land after a missed shot attempt, Rodman recorded some of the best rebounding figures during his time in the NBA. Rodman’s achievements like leading the league in rebounding for half a decade demonstrates that a solid understanding of the fundamentals of rebounding can help any player regardless of their size excel in their game.

2. Chris Paul

Knowing when to pass and when not to pass in basketball is more important than it may seem. While a good pass can generate an assist or a player getting free throws, erroneous passes often lead to turnovers which are equivalent to giving opponents free points. Mastering this skill of making good passes is difficult. However, Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul has done an excellent job at making the right passes throughout his career. By posting the highest assist-to-turnover by any point guard or player in history, Paul has shown time and time again that he knows the difference between a good pass and a bad pass. Overall, knowing how to make a good pass is a critical skill to master in basketball, and Chris Paul has done an excellent job of demonstrating its importance in his career.

3. Tim Duncan

Nicknamed “The Big Fundamental.” it is not difficult to understand the reason behind Tim Duncan’s immense success in the league. At 6’11” tall, much of Duncan’s play revolved around his perfection of post moves. During his first championship run in 1999, Duncan showed his talent early by easily posting up players and effortlessly turning around to score time and time again. Duncan’s five championships and MVP title is a testament to his commitment to working on his post moves and his fundamentals. When looking at Duncan’s career, kids interested in improving their game can learn that mastering fundamental or simple things like post moves is critical to enhancing their performance on the court.

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