Dead On Arrival (DOA), An Autopsy Worth Waiting For Or Was It ? …

Dead On Arrival (DOA), An Autopsy Worth Waiting For Or Was It ? …

Was there really anyone expecting the NBA Finals to be truly competitive ? The first three games of the series were simply a precursor of what the fans were to expect over the course of the series. Kevin Durant led the Golden State Warriors to their second NBA title in the past three seasons . Durant was one of the primary factors behind the his team’s victory , but what should not be overlooked , were the defensive capabilities shown by the Warriors who completely outplayed during this series. Opposing head coaches , Steve Kerr of Golden State and Tyronn Lue of the Cavaliers matched wits, but it became clear , Lue was not the equal of his Warriors’ counterpart.


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The fallout now begins, as fans and analysts begin to question how and why LeBron James was not able to lead Cleveland passed their Western Conference foes. One thing became abundantly clear, the Golden State Warriors were not going to allow the officials to dictate this series , as they were able to do last season during the NBA Finals , when the ejection of Draymond Green turned the tables and ” gifted ” the title to the Cleveland Cavaliers. For LeBron James , a career littered with firsts , he added another to his career by become the first player in NBA history to be on the losing side in five NBA Finals’ series . Questions will be asked as to what went wrong and why . The first of which , who is to blame and is this Cavaliers’ team in its current guise as good as advertised ? Clearly not, after this staggering series’ loss , where the four games lost by the Cleveland Cavaliers were by double-digits and where on one of those games , James accounted for almost half of the team’s turnovers.

Personally, I feel Cleveland’s front office led by GM David Griffin acquiesced to far too many of James’ needs as to how the roster was built to complement LeBron James’ skill-set for this regular season and Playoffs. Seasoned veterans such as Kyrie Irving , Deron Williams , Kevin Love and Kyle Korver were basic no-shows during the series. However , it should be noted when you play in a mediocre conference where you’re barely tested over the regular team schedule , you simply know that the team is likely to be exposed once they get to the NBA Finals , as was the case here against the Golden State Warriors.

It will be interesting to see what decisions could very well be made during the off-season and if David Griffin will allow LeBron James will have a major say, as to which players he would ultimately see signed by the franchise as free agents. Cleveland finds itself in a non too enviable position and will likely to shed one or two of their high-priced players on the roster to make way for a big-money signing .

Kevin Durant having won his first NBA title as well as being named Finals’ MVP has to feel vindicated in his decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the Golden State Warriors. It was a shrewd decision by front office executives Jerry West and GM Bob Myers to lure Durant, while players Steph Curry , Klay Thompson and Draymond Green were all able to play a role in Durant’s acquisition. During this off-season , I believe Golden State will be looking to bolster the roster and I certainly believe they will remain the team to beat within the West as they have been over the last three seasons. Team co-owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber , successful businessmen in their own right have been able to defer all business matter and personnel decisions to a front office staff which is truly exceptional in its own right , with their biggest asset being their Hall of Famer Jerry West.

While people continue to talk about dynasties and rivalries within the NBA, I believe these are now things of the past , as free agency has simply impaired that entire premise. The last great rivalry seen in this league came at the height of prosperity seen with the Boston Celtics’ and Los Angeles Lakers’ days , which are now long-gone . The only way is now up for the Golden State Warriors and for their fans they are now relishing being on top of the world . A second NBA title in three years and every possibility they are likely to go unchallenged over the next few years. Kevin Durant , Steph Curry and Klay Thompson complement each other well enough for me to believe this team in its current guise is far better than the Miami Heat team which had the triumvirate of LeBron James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade . The trio would begin to go their separate ways after James’ relationship with Heat President Pat Riley was soured , because of their respective egos and losing sight of their alleged ambitions.

LeBron James being the superstar that he is , puts his own ambitions above all else in his zest to win and be accepted,  but unfortunately , it is to the detriment of others , in particular the organization , namely the Cleveland Cavaliers. And while I agree there is blame to be passed around , I can’t help but feel , the front office of the franchise is now at a loss as to what else they can and need to do .

If the future looks somewhat dim for the Cleveland Cavaliers, then imagine the situation now unfolding with the New York Knicks under the leadership of their erstwhile executive Phil Jackson . The time has now come , where we have to stop reveling in what Jackson has been able to achieve on the court as a basketball head coach and look at his ever-growing failures as an NBA Executive . It has become abundantly clear , that he could not spot talent , were he aided in his quest with a box of Crayola and blotting paper . Other than Kristaps Porzingis , his draft choices and player acquisitions for the Knicks have been an absolute ‘ bust’ . This wasn’t a team built to win , but merely to stay afloat , as has been the way with the organization over the past six seasons under the helm of owner James Dolan , who actually continues to put profits above the team’s competitiveness.

There continues to be discontent and dissension within the New York Knicks’ organization and it has become increasingly clear that among the playing staff , all is not well. I believe Jeff Hornacek and his entire coaching staff are completely out of their depth and that’s Phil Jackson’s zeal for the continued archaic ‘ Triangle Offense’ is another one of the reasons why the Knicks failed so miserably last season. The team’s record was a true reflection of what they have become, unimportant and absolutely redundant .

The NBA needs a competitive league and most certainly a competitive Eastern Conference and most definitely a conference that stand on its own against its Western counterpart. I cannot see this happening anytime soon , because the players are simply not that good !

If NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is hoping fans will be entertained in the coming years , then he had better hope the quality of the players being drafted from among the College Ranks will be as good as advertised . There appears to be a great deal of hype over Lonzo Ball and the possibility of his being taken as the number one overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft . I certainly don’ t believe Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics’ front office will be going that route when the decision is made. From my own perspective , the risks far outweigh the alleged advantages which Ball is said to have. La Var Ball , father of the young UCLA basketball prodigy has courted continued controversy , with outlandish demands and statements concerning his son. It remains to be seen where the player is taken in this Draft, but if the rumors are to be believed , then Ball could very well end up remaining instate and playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. Team executives Magic Johnson and Lakers’ GM Rob Pelinka have been heaping a great deal of praise on Lonzo Ball, but given the Lakers’ continued misfires with their draft picks over the last six years , I am not expecting the young phenom to set the NBA alight.

Los Angeles Lakers’ fans are certainly hoping for the franchise to return to former glories of the past , but I feel under Luke Walton and the roster in its current guise , they will remain at least three years away from being competitive enough to challenge the best the Western Conference has to offer as well as the rest of the NBA. Luke Walton can only hope that there will be a marked improvement from the team . Hopes of acquiring a big-time marquee free agent appears to be a long shot , especially when you consider the makeup of the roster isn’t that great.

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will be missing from the list of competitors competing at the US Open being held at Erin Hills (GC) , Erin Hills , Wisconsin, beginning on the June 15th, 2017. Woods’ withdrawal was to be expected , with the former world number one , having not competed in an officially sanctioned PGA Tour Event in 2017. Mickelson’s absence was announced in advance , when he informed the PGA and USGA of his intent, citing his wish to be at his daughter’s graduation. With two of golf’s most recognizable faces missing from the second Grand Slam Major of the season , it will be interesting to see which player from the field will rise to the occasion .

There can be no denying Tiger Woods has been his own worst enemy for the better part of two years , having not won a tournament of a top-ten finish of any kind anywhere in the world. Woods’ off the course issues have been well-chronicled alongside his current addiction to prescriptive medication. From my own perspective , I do not believe he has the ability to win another Grand Slam Tournament and he is unlikely to surpass the eighteen career Grand Slam victories recorded by Jack Nicklaus .

While I believe Phil Mickelson enjoys being on a golf course and competing , I believe the player no longer relishes tournament play as much he would like us to believe. He has come through some emotional trauma of his own , his wife’s cancer scare, as well his own medical issues , which are ongoing and having taken a physical toll on his body. Mickelson has amassed a sizable fortune while still being among the highest paid golfers in the world.

It should prove interesting , seeing whether or not a top-ten player from the rankings will be crowned the 2017 US Open Champion at the tournament’s climax on Sunday evening . First-round leader Rickie Fowler has a great deal to prove and would undoubtedly like to show many of his contemporaries that he should be considered among the best of the players currently on the PGA Tour.


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What to your mind has or was the biggest disappointment during the regular season and NBA Playoffs ? Also, do you believe that the US Open will provide a great deal of excitement as the tournament continues ?

Tophatal ……….. 06/13/2017

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2017 NBA Finals

2017 NBA Draft

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