I was sitting at a local bar today, listening to the banter of patrons about politics, relationship issues, or the new 49ers coach. I was waiting for one friend to meet me, while texting Steve (the site's co-founder) about the game 3 upset turned blowout. There are so many story lines to follow, Kevin Love's absence from the lineup leading to the win, LeBron's insane alley-oop finish, any of of the other random things that get discussed after the Warriors' win that people get excited about. But tonight, as I sat in the bar, I heard people talking about how Curry was failing the Warriors. I saw a headline on the worldwide leader in sports asserting the same thing. My facebook feed was littered with questions about whether a team that is up 2-1 just lost the series. One thought crossed my mind... Y'all need to calm down.
This year in the playoffs, we had the potential for one of the more story-laden first round series in recent memory with Dallas (7 seed) facing Houston (a 2 seed). We had the obvious Chandler Parsons squares off against his former team dynamic, and seeing if he made the right decision this summer leaving a potential contender for the money. Man, not even speaking as a Rocket fan I wanted to see the inevitable battles between Harden and Parsons just to see how annoyed they would get with each other. They used to be bros, not sure if they still are, but I think there are two definite ways to kill a friendship: Rooming with them in college, and playing an NBA playoff series against the other guy. I also would have loved seeing the inevitable 20 brawls started by Patrick Beverley and Rajon Rondo simply because I've waited 3 years for them to be in the same conference, and they still haven't logged serious minutes against each other (needless to say, I'm devastated).
***DISCLAIMER: None of the statements are at all based in fact, instead pure theory and conjecture meant to break the writer's block and get our writers to start writing again. Read the following at your own risk. OneTakeSports editor out.***
This time of year is dominated with Playoff chatter. Tim Duncan is playing like he's a decade younger, some teams are choking (see, Blazers, Mavericks, and Raptors), some teams are dominant as everyone expected (Golden State) and others are occasional juggernauts (Wizards in game 2). You have Cinderella stories that everyone wants to win (Boston's improbable run), and teams that everyone wants to see lose but still are not (Rockets and Cavaliers).
A team that I am really excited to watch this season will be the Minnesota Timberwolves, and for many reasons. Of course everyone is enamored by Andrew Wiggins, I believe that Anthony Bennett will have a much better season this year, Zack LaVine will be a Sportscenter regular, and the addition of veterans Thaddeus Young and Mo Williams make for an interesting team. All being fed with some jaw dropping assists from Ricky Rubio. After years of losing and trading Kevin Love, the Wolves have done a good job of setting themselves up in a position to succeed. In their case, success would take form in developing young players opposed to making the playoffs this season in the brutal west. Essentially since the Kevin Garnett trade this team has gone nowhere with bad personnel decisions and a propensity for being caught in NBA purgatory. Now is the time for Flip Saunders to turn the tables, choosing to build opposed to rebuild. I do not envy the front office for the Wolves this season, mainly in regards to Rubio.
by John Levasseur
I'm going to take a little venture here, step away from the NBA and look at college ball. Personally, I like college ball more. Players seem to want it more, and they actually make mistakes so you have more strategy from a coaching perspective. As a young coach, I find myself drawn to this ‘lower’ level of the game in order to soak in knowledge. It also places a higher premium on defense and set offenses, two of my favorite parts of the game of basketball. I love how defense can still win championships at this level, because the referees are not blowing the whistle anytime someone breathes on a superstar. I love James Harden as a Rockets fan, but the dude is one of the biggest flop artists I've ever seen. I preferred the game from the 90s when Jordan was getting pushed around and hit and nobody cared.
by John Levasseur and Steve Travers
Throughout the history of the NBA, there have been guys fans love to hate. This is true in all sports really, ask any NFL fan outside of Seattle what they think of Richard Sherman and you will see that fact as being self-evident. However, the NBA has always had players that garner stronger emotional reactions from fans than any other professional sport in America. The ire Sherman draws is nothing compared to what Kobe or LeBron have received over the years. To be completely fair to Sherman, Kobe was on trial for sexual assault at one point, while Sherman is an ivy-league grad with a big mouth. However Lebron was never embroiled in those kind of affairs.
by John Levasseur
There is a wind of change in the NBA today. Versatility is becoming more and more valued, running the floor with bigs who can shoot as opposed to bangers underneath is a practice taking over the league. Few offenses are even running plays for those big guys underneath, unless they happen to possess one of the top players in the game like a Dwight Howard, Al Jefferson or Jokim Noah. The mixing of positions has become so proliferated in fact, that the all-star game ballot has eliminated the center position. This is in large part because more and more players are expected to be able to play like a point guard, reducing turnovers and running an efficient offense taking and making good shots. In fact, it is becoming a popular practice to run two point guards on the court at the same time.
by John Levasseur
To an average basketball fan, basketball can look helter skelter and some people would even be surprised to realize what some NBA teams do is even considered a structured offense. I have been coaching for a few years now, and playing organized competitive ball for almost two decades, and proper execution of an offense combined with proper fundamentals is the absolute easiest way to win games. Players know where each other will be, they know when their teammates are cutting, they know where to look on the outside for a three point shot.
by Steve Travers
As fans, we are always looking for the next great player, the next star, the man. Every great team has one. Lebron. Duncan. MJ. The league is currently experiencing a changing of the guard. Before we know it players like Kobe, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and other stars will be retiring soon, leaving a vacancy where the great ones once stood. Lebron has a lot of gas left in the tank and no doubt will still be a force for quite a while. Kevin Durant has turned into a young superstar and MVP. But, who’s next?
by John Levasseur
Two years ago, #17 swept the nation. It was an incredible story even non-sports fans could appreciate and love. For anyone chasing a dream, and who was being pushed to the limit by that dream, it was the encouragement they needed to reach the next step. This kid from an Ivy League school, schools that don't usually produce star athletes, was making waves in the NBA. His streak of games took the world by storm, and made GM's drool. Daryl Morey in Houston was one of those GM's.