NBA Basketball

NBA Basketball: LeBron James proves once and for all in a global economy either you are an Activist or a Pro Athlete, but you can't be both.

NBA Basketball: LeBron James proves once and for all in a global economy either you are an Activist or a Pro Athlete, but you can't be both.

A few short weeks ago the FIBA world championships had just wrapped up and the start of NBA training camp was now just around the corner.

The summer free agency was a wild an exciting ride. We witness the most movement of All-NBA players in league history. 

When training camp officially opened several NBA teams would be heading to China to play several exhibition games, and participate in several league sponsored initiatives.

NBA Basketball: This Season’s Exciting Young Cores You Should Watch. Part Three of a Three-Part Series.

NBA Basketball: This Season’s Exciting Young Cores You Should Watch. Part Three of a Three-Part Series.

The Memphis Grizzlies closed out the most successful chapter of their franchise's history. The glorious era of “grit and grind” was officially over. 

The midseason they traded All-NBA former defensive player of the year Marc Gasol to Toronto, and Gasol proves to be the last key piece the Raptors needed to win a championship.

Gasol had grown and developed in the organization and became the backbone for those 50 plus win Grizzlies teams. 

NBA Basketball: This Season’s Exciting Young Cores You Should Watch. Part Two of a Three-Part Series.

The second team that will close out part two of the three-part series exciting young cores to watch this season is the Sacramento Kings. 

Sacramento Kings 

The Kings are coming off a season that was filled with excitement and promise. They fought for the eighth seed in the loaded western conference for a period of time and finished in ninth place with a record of 39-43.  

Kings have not enjoyed success since the 2005-2006 season. That was the last season the franchise made the playoffs. 

They are far removed from those glory days that featured Chris Webber, Mike Bibby, and the head of basketball operations Vlade Divac. 

The King's young core is extremely talented, explosive, and, athletic. De’Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley III, Buddy Hield, and Bogdan Bogdanovic make up this promising young core. 

Second-year point guard and bonafide superstar De’Aaron Fox had a breakout second season and was a top candidate for the most improved player award. 

All of Fox’s statistical numbers took a huge jump across the board. He improved his three-point percentage shooting 37% after shooting 30% in his rookie season. Fox also improved his over shooting from the field. In his rookie season he shot 41% from the field and in his second season, he raised his percentage to 45%. 

Fox’s backcourt mate Buddy Hield also enjoyed a breakout season. Entering last season Hield’s career was at a crossroads.

The four-year guard had not lived up to expectations. After a stellar career at Oklahoma, many people had started to write Hield off. Due to the fact he was older many believed his better days we're already behind him. 

After last season’s performance Kings, fans should be excited because they have one of the most exciting backcourts in the league. 

To complement the backcourt the Kings drafted Marvin Bagley III. with the second pick in the 2018 draft. With a pedigree of a dad that played in the NBA Bagley entered the league with the lofty exceptions. 

Bagley did not disappoint and had a solid rookie campaign averaging 14 points and 7 rebounds on 50% shooting from the field. 

He did miss significant time with an injury. This injury derailed the Kings playoff hopes. Up to that point, the team was playing well. 

Bagley possesses a motor that allows him to run the floor, rebound, and finish high above the rim. The Fox Bagley pick n roll is one of the most athletic pick n roll’s in the game today. 

Bagley has been working the entire summer to improve his shooting and overall range on his jump shot. Once he is able to become a consistent outside threat the Kings will possess one of the most potent duos for years to come.

Rounding out the King's young core is Bogdan Bogdanovic. The Serbian born wing is a versatile, highly skilled guard. He can handle the ball, shoot the ball, and run the pick n roll effectively. 

In his second NBA season was able Bogdanovic showed that he can be an effective wing that will compliment Fox, Bagley, and Hield. Bogdanovic can be a starter or a potent offensive weapon coming off the bench. 

In a loaded stack western conference, it’s going to be tough for the Kings to make the playoffs. The young Kings are definitely going to be in the playoff hunt, and you never know what can happen in a long 82 game NBA season. 

With this young core in place, the sun is going to continue to shine bright in Sacramento for years to come. 

NBA Basketball: This Season’s Exciting Young Cores You Should Watch. Part Two of a Three-Part Series.

NBA Basketball: This Season’s Exciting Young Cores You Should Watch. Part Two of a Three-Part Series.

Part one of this three-part series featured the Atlanta Hawks and the Chicago Bulls. For part two we are going to head out west and discuss the New Orleans Pelicans and the Sacramento Kings. 

New Orleans Pelicans

On January 28th, Anthony Davis dropped a bombshell on the basketball world. The New Orleans Pelicans All-NBA center informed the franchise that he would not sign a long term extension with the team. 

NBA Basketball: This Season’s Exciting Young Cores You Should Watch. Part One of a Three-Part Series.

NBA Basketball: This Season’s Exciting Young Cores You Should Watch. Part One of a Three-Part Series.

With NBA training camp less than two weeks away it is time to preview this upcoming season. The league is filled with a lot of great young players, and now it time to preview some of those young exciting young cores you should watch. The Atlanta Hawks and the Chicago Bulls are part one of this three-part series. 

NBA Basketball: The Greatest Dream Ever!

The locker room was full of excitement champagne was spraying everywhere. The players were overcome with joy, excitement, and laughter. They had just accomplished their goal in becoming the 2004-2005 NBA champions. 

The series was a grueling seven-game series one of the best in NBA history. In fact, it out did last years finals, that was deemed a classic. 

In the other locker room, there was total despair. They had just lost one of the toughest, most well-played finals in history. After hoisting the Larry O’Brian the previous season this year there would be no laughter, no champagne, and no hoisting of the trophy. 

For the last three seasons, the Phoenix Suns and the Orlando Magic have met in June to decide the World Championship of basketball. The two greatest players of their generation, and perhaps to ever play the game have battled each other for the title. 

Those two players are Grant Hill and Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway. Both players up to this point have had illustrious careers. Both winning championships, and every individual accolade a player could win. 

Hill had won two MVPs he was 12x All-Star, 12x All-NBA, two finals MVPs, and now two championships. 

Hardaway has been equally impressive being named to the All-NBA team 11x, 11x All-Star, one finals MVP, one MVP, and one championship.

Hill was now 2-1 over Hardaway in the finals. Hill won their first final matchup in six games. He was super dominant showcasing one of the most versatile skill sets the game has ever seen. 

Penny came back the next season with a vengeance and something to prove. He was named league MVP, and this time he would get the best of his long term nemesis Hill winning his first championship and being named finals MVP.  

Now Grant Hill was able to be victorious in third and final matchup between these two all-time greats. 

This would be their last matchup, because in an unexpected turn of events, while on the podium accepting his finals MVP trophy Hill announced his retirement from the game. 

He received a boisterous, deafening, resounding round of applause from the home crowd in Orlando. Just like that the career of one most versatile players to ever play the game was officially over.

After learning about Hill’s retirement during his post-game press conference. Hardaway was explaining how much Hill meant to the game and how he pushed him to become the best player he could possibly be, and the game will definitely miss him.

Just like that I was awaken by my front doorbell. It was the delivery man from amazon here to deliver my medium roast gourmet coffee. 

I sat up stretching and rub my eyes not realizing I had dozed off on the couch. I jumped up and ran to answer the door and just like that one of the best dreams I have ever had was over. 

Grant Hill and Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway are two names that always come up and headline the “What If” discussion. 

Both players were two of the most talented, versatile players to ever play the game. Although both players played for many years, due to injuries both players extraordinary potential and talent was never fulfilled.

Grant Hill’s Hall of Fame career spanned for 18 years. He was named to the All-NBA team five times. He was a seven time All-Star, and was named rookie of the year in 1994-1995. With his shifty right to left crossover and explosive athleticism Hill was a matchup nightmare. 

Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway’s career lasted 15 seasons. He made the All-NBA team three times, and was a four time All-Star. Hardaway made one NBA Finals appearance as a member of the Orlando Magic, but lost 4-0 to the Houston Rockets.

Hill had a six prime years before suffering a devastating  foot injury in his last season in Detroit. During the 1999-2000 playoffs against the Miami Heat Hill suffered an ankle injury. This injury would cause Hill to pull himself out of game 2.

According to Hill, and multiple reports at the time many people including the Pistons medical staff were questioning the validity of Hill’s injury.

When asked about the injury years later Hill was quoted as saying:

"I (had been) told everything was fine. I even found out that certain team doctors were questioning whether I was really hurt, thinking I was soft or whatever. This was after I had pulled myself from Game 2 against the Heat. At that time, when I found out I had broken my ankle, as crazy as this sounds, I was relieved. I finally had some confirmation, I finally had proof that I'm really not making it up." Kelly Dwyer yahoo sports Apr 28, 2011. 

Hill is known for being a class act and will never just come out and just bash the Pistons organization, but he does believe that his injury was misdiagnosed and this gross misdiagnoses ruined his career. 

Hill was one of the most sought after free agents that off season, and he would sign a seven year $93 million dollar contract with the Orlando Magic. That same summer Tracey McGrady would sign a seven year $92.8 million dollar deal.

Hill and McGrady was suppose to be one of the most dynamic formidable duo’s the league has ever seen. Unfortunately that dream would not be realized. Hill over a seven year span would only play 200 games out of 500. 

While having another procedure on his ankle in the summer of 2003 Hill would develop a Staph infection that almost killed him, and caused him to miss the entire 2003-2004 season. Hill could not catch a break, but would leave the city of Orlando finally on a healthy note. 

For the Magic Hill’s tenure in a Magic uniform was definitely filled with disappointment. The duo of G Hill and TMac  never was, and Hill moved on to Phoenix.

While in a Suns uniform Hill would have some solid years and was a key contributor to some really good Suns teams. He would at times show flashes of that athletic brilliance that had him on the cusp to be one of the greatest players to ever play the game.

Hill would close out his Hall of Fame career as a member of the Clippers. Hill had six peak years and avg. 21 PTS ., 7.9 REBS. 6.3 ASTS. 

As far Hardaway when he was drafted he was supposed to be the perfect guard to play along side Shaq, and form a dominated duo. He possessed the height, the skills, and the athleticism that no other guard possessed playing the point guard position. The future appeared bright in Orlando, and in his second season Penny was named first team All-NBA and to the All-Star team. The Magic would make the finals and lose, but nevertheless the future seemed bright. 

Many believed that the Magic’s first trip to the finals was the first of many to come. Unfortunately it was not to be Shaq would eventually leave to be come a member of the Los Angles Lakers, and by Penny’s fourth year he started experiencing knee trouble.

He would only play in 59 games, the Magic made it back to the eastern conference finals, but would be swept by the eventual champion Chicago Bulls. 

The next two seasons in Orlando Hardaway would only appear in 69 games, and would join the Suns via a sign and trade in the summer of 1999.

Despite his knee troubles Hardaway would ink a six year $87.6 million dollar deal.  In his second season as a member of the Suns Hardaway would miss 78 games due to his knee. He would return the following season and play 80 games, but due to the degenerate nature of the cartilage in his knee Hardaway would never be the same. 

Penny would finish his career with stops in New York and Miami before retiring in 2007-2008. Unlike Hill who was able to have some longevity and be a solid contributor to a NBA team Hardway was not so lucky.

He was one of the first NBA players to have micro fracture surgery in his knee. It is a procedure that is an attempt to put cartilage back into the knee. Even with this procedure Penny was not unable to return back to the player we witnessed early on in his Magic days.

Penny would only have three prime years. Avg. 19.7 Pts., 4.6 Rebs., 6.7 Asts. during that span. Which is incredible because Hardaway is remembered in high esteem. So much so one would think his prime was longer that three years. 

So although these two players would never matchup against each other in the finals like in my dream, although neither one of them won a title, or a MVP, they will still be remembered as two of the most complete players the game has ever seen. They definitely will be forever remembered as the ultimate “What If”. 

NBA Basketball: Carmelo Anthony Perception is Reality

NBA Basketball: Carmelo Anthony Perception is Reality

Sometimes in life perception can be a reality, and this concept can be applied to Carmelo Anthony. The 10x All-Star, 6x All-NBA, has scored over 25,000 points and is a bonafide Hall of Famer. 

Now, this future Hall of Famer finds without a team as he looks to close out his career on his terms. Anthony has been working out vigorously in hopes that a team will sign him. Skill-wise it looks like Anthony can still score and contribute to an NBA team. 

Basketball: NCAA Rich Paul Rule?

Basketball: NCAA Rich Paul Rule?

The NCAA announced for no foreseen reason that it will be changing the criteria that an agent must possess to represent an underclassman who wants to test the draft waters. 

In 2018 the NCAA already changed the rule allowing for underclassmen to hire an agent and test the waters without ruining their eligibility. 

NBA Basketball: Charles Barkley Shut Up!

NBA Basketball: Charles Barkley Shut Up!

One takeaway that stood out is how bitter and jealous a lot of former players are of this generation of NBA players. Charles Barkley is at the top of this list. Known as the “round mound of rebound” during his playing days Barkley has to turn into the “loud mouth from Leeds”. Spouting off opinions that are often viewed as honest, real, and straightforward, oftentimes lack depth, knowledge, and are just plain ignorant.