Whining gets you nowhere when you want to feel good about your team, especially when you realize they’re on the decline

Whining gets you nowhere when you want to feel good about your team, especially when you realize they’re on the decline

As the NBA season has yet to get into full swing there are now a number of situations beginning to unwind concerning the frailities of a number of teams. In something of a debate, but though a little contentious , a patron on a site suggested that the Dallas Mavericks, a perennial contender was perhaps one of the best franchises in the NBA. All true, as the Mavericks have indeed won an NBA Final where Dirk Nowitzki won the Finals’ MVP in leading the team in a surprising victory over what was then an overrated Miami Heat team led by LeBron James.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.



Mark Cuban , the always none too shy, self publicity seeking owner of the Dallas Mavericks, as ever opinionated makes the statement he would like to see the Oklahoma City Thunder “tank” their season . With two of their most senior and best players sidelined by injuries , Oklahoma has made do without both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. I get the feeling, Cuban sees this as the best opportunity for the Mavericks to gain a postseason berth because his team has very little chance of winning what has always been a very competitive Southwest Division within the Western Conference.

Off to a 4-3 start to the season Rick Carlisle and his coaching staff will certainly know this will almost certainly be Dirk Nowitzki’s last season in a Mavericks’ uniform. The center’s career with the franchise has indeed made him the face of the Mavericks during his tenure and a likely Hall of Fame inductee having met the eligibility requirements. Nowitzki leads the team in many of the relevant statistical categories which matter the most .

Coming off a 105-96 loss to the Miami Heat where Monta Ellis led the scoring drive for the Mavericks in this contest. Nowitzki had a solid all-round game but not one where you could state he made a difference with the result. The flaws on the Mavericks are there to be seen, with their being very little resilience from this team with regard to theirdefensive capabilities. Dallas may well be able to outscore their opponents, but clearly defensively , the team cannot defend when a game is on the line and it will continue to be the ‘Achilles’ Heel’ for the Dallas Mavericks.

Next up for Dallas will be the opportunity for the team to gauge themselves against DeMarcus Cousins and a good Sacramento Kings’ team looking to make a clear statement they are ready to compete with the very best the conference and NBA has to offer this season.

DeMarcus Cousins is now growing into his own as a player , albeit, his stature is not where it should be for a player with a great deal of talent and who has repeatedly failed to show the maturity sought by the Kings’ coaching staff and front office and team owner Vivek Ranadive .

You certainly don’t need to be a rocket scientist to realize the New York Knicks are struggling in the NBA this season. Head of Basketball Operations & SVP Phil Jackson was induced to return to the franchise where he made a name for himself as a player and won an NBA title with the franchise . This season the Knicks have been anything but consistent as the team led by Carmelo Anthony seeks to get over their early struggles. A six-point loss , 91-85 to the Atlanta Hawks was the Knicks’ third consecutive defeat suffered by team as they fall to 2-6 within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference.

New York cajoled and plead with Carmelo Anthony to remain with the Knicks, on the premise they would build a competitive lineup to complement his talents as a player and the New York Knicks’ leading scorer this season. It is pretty much safe to say the Knicks are failing miserably and thought their year is somewhat of a microcosm of what was witnessed last year doesn’t provide the fans with a great deal of confidence. While attendance at Madison Square Garden in New York City , New York remains healthy , you have to wonder at what point these fans are likely voice their displeasure with the team and the coaching staff of Derek Fisher.

The Knicks if they are to succeed, in spite of the belief of their fans that this season could be the year where they are primed to make a deep playoff run in pursuit of their first NBA title in over four decades. Derek Fisher in his first season as a rookie head coach must be wondering if his mentor Phil Jackson ever had these type of struggles at any point during his career. Other than Carmelo Anthony there is not a bona-fide superstar on the Knicks’ roster. Amare’ Stoudemire is on the downside of a rather disappointing career , along with a thirty-seven year old Argentinian guard Pablo Prigioni , JR Smith, Andrea Bargnani and Samuel Dalembert are seen as the mainstays of this Knicks’ team. Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher know there are teething problems concerning the New York Knicks and their next five games will tell us a great deal about the franchise and the inner workings of the organization owned by James Dolan .

With a net worth of over $1.2 billion the New York Knicks remain the most valuable NBA franchise in spite of the exorbitant price of $2 billion paid by Steve Ballmer in his purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers . While Ballmer strives to make the Clippers a more recognized brand around the league, the Knicks have no such worries , with the franchise perhaps one of the most recognizable names in the NBA and one of the most revered sports’ franchises in North America . The Orlando Magic will be the guests of the New York Knicks on Wednesday when the two teams meet in the first of the scheduled meetings this season. Ballmer has seen the Clippers get off to an indifferent start with a 4-3 mark , seated fourth within the Pacific Division of the Western Conference 1 1/2 games behind division leaders the Golden State Warriors (5-1).

In their most recent game the Los Angeles Clippers’ fall to the San Antonio Spurs, where the reigning champions witnessed the trio of Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker combine for their five hundredth victory together as teammates. A singular feat , likely to go down in history but not necessarily lauded by the print and television media where even the NBA Network have been slow to laud the feat , but the network’s constant obeisance and ass kissing of the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks have become bile inducing beyond anyone’s scope and comprehension. Doc Rivers has his own trio of stars with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan laying swath to their opponents this season, but the real issue, has to be , can the coach get his team playing defense with a great deal more resilience ?

In the aftermath of the Donald Sterling fiasco the Los Angeles Clippers have shown they are ready to move on and put that lamentable chapter behind them . Unfortunately, were it not for the incompetency of the hierarchy’s handling of the issue , this matter might not have been so prolonged and a complete embarrassment to the league. As the Clippers’ ascent continues the fast spiraling descent of the Los Angeles Lakers continues abound.To date , Kobe Bryant has yet to show his anger or direct his angst towards his teammates or front office executives Jim Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak who in recent years have blundered with their acquisition of free agents and through a number of their recent draft classes .

Bryant as a multi- time time All Star has seen the Los Angeles Lakers’ season flounder with the loss of Steve Nash and rookie Julius Randle. Add in the fact head coach Byron Scott and the coaching staff are struggling to find their best lineup much get something from the roster in terms of depth . The Lakers got their first victory of the season with a 102-97 win over the Charlotte Hornets in game where Kobe Bryant and Jeremy Lin led all scorers for the Lakers in the contest and for the Hornets , Michael Kidd-Gilchrist leading the way for the for the visiting team. I am not so sure Bryant will be able to pull the Lakers out of their current abyss, not with a team that seems to lack a competitive edge and nature . Nonetheless , it will be interesting how they fare over remainder of the month and then throughout December as the NBA season gets into the heart of its schedule.

As the youngest League MVP in NBA history the Chicago Bulls’ (6-2) point guard Derrick Rose has seen his career take a meteoric trajectory . Rose at his very best happens to be one of the most electrifying players in the league and almost certainly among the top-five point guards playing the game today. The issue however, remains keeping Rose healthy where he can play an entire season for this team . Without him the Bulls tend to struggle as does provide the bulk of the team’s offense . Head coach Tom Thibodeau knows Rose remains the one asset , his team can do without and though over the past two postseasons the Bulls had admirable runs , those failures can point to the fact they were without their best player.

Chicago’s 6-2 mark is one of the best in the Eastern Conference and one of the best in the entire league . GM John Paxson was heavily criticized last season with the trading of Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers , but Deng now finds himself as the centerpiece of a revamped Miami Heat roster in the aftermath of the departure of LeBron James. The Bulls do not seemed to have missed a beat and their play this season has been scintillating at times , leading me to believe they might provide the biggest threat to the Cavaliers and James’ quest to bring an NBA title to Cleveland this season , which would be to the delight of team owner Dan Gilbert . James will be looking to add to his legacy and that of the Cleveland Cavaliers .

If there is one sport where the players feel theirs is a right to entitlement, the world of professional basketball would be it. Where else can the players be rewarded so highly , while leaving their peers within the NFL , and hockey its wake ? The demented lunacy that continues to exist within Major League Baseball (MLB) and the imbalances to be seen from a financial aspect , has me wondering how soon before that particular ” House of Cards” begins to fall ?

The NBA hides behind the idiocy of a “soft ” salary cap ($63.1 million) , while David Stern and his successor Adam Silver have repeatedly failed to rein in the expenses of the teams in terms of their payroll . Adam Silver as the NBA Commissioner , is not unlike Bud Selig , in his failing to address and admit his sport, has a major economic problem , even in spite of the countless, millions of dollars in annual revenues . Yes, while the burgeoning television contracts and team revenues continue to escalate , the NBA finds itself within its own personal Utopia . There still remains the question of trying to address declining viewership and in some cases the fall in attendance for teams around the league.


Mikhail Prokorov and Paul Allen as the owners of the Brooklyn Nets and Portland Trailblazers had their teams entering this season with the highest payrolls in the NBA . Money is obviously of no issue for two of the wealthiest individuals in all of professional sports, with Prokhorov and Allen having a combined net worth exceeding $30 billion . Their teams are likely to become intertwined over the course of this season as both the Nets and Trailblazers seek to make their mark on the year. The first of their regular season meetings come on the 15th November when the Portland Trailblazers will play host to the Brooklyn Nets at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon,.

Portland will be looking to their combo of LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard to lead the way as they take on Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez of the Nets. Garnett the wily veteran of this Brooklyn team has long felt he can still be productive during the latter stages of his career. He has been as good as his word , giving given this roster some stability where it is needed and the coaching staff of Lionel Hollins have benefited from Kevin Garnett’s experience and leadership. Among active players, Garnett’s statstics weigh up favorably and it has been one of the defining points of his career with his durability and willingness to lead.

There is no denying , playing in a weak Eastern Conference does create the illusion great basketball is alive and well within the conference. In reality , nothing could be further from the truth with their being little to suggest the Eastern Conference is at all competitive . The hyperbole which surrounded the Miami Heat quickly brought a number of analysts and fans back down to earth, because they bought into the idiocy that LeBron James could carry the Heat though the postseason without really being assisted his supporting cast. When you consider the cast in question barely showed up during the NBA Finals , you have to wonder how anyone in their right mind favored the Heat , never mind the fact , they completely underestimated the San Antonio Spurs and their coach Gregg Popovich .



Picture gallery .

With the NBA season still in its infancy , has there been an event or game which you feel is reflection of why the league remains pedantic ? Also which teams by your estimation are already in danger of seeing their season being flushed down the tubes ? Just leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site, as it is gratefully appreciated !


Picture and slideshow gallery below .


(1) From left to right , 2011 Finals’ MVP Dirk Bowitzki is seen alongside teammates, Jason Kidd and Shawn Marion after the Dallas Mavericks’ triumph over the Miami Heat in the series to win their first championship in the franchise’s history.. Team owner Mark Cuban has not been afraid to spend money capriciously , but with Nowitzki likely to retire from the game, it will be interesting to see the lengths GM Donnie Nelson will go to , in rebuilding the team. AP Photo / Mike Carpenter …

(2) Mark Cuban left , owner of the Dallas Mavericks is seen here with the team’s head coach Rick Carlisle . The two will have a great deal of pondering to do at the end of this season , should the Dirk Nowitzki make the decision to retire from the game and the franchise where he has spent his entire NBA career . Getty Images North America / Moses Carter ..

(3) Reigning League MVP Kevin Durant shows a great deal of humility and humbleness, as he accepts his MVP Award. Durant is currently missing from the Oklahoma City Thunder lineup due to an injury that will keep him sidelined for at least two months, hampering the team’s chances of making a successful defense of their divisional crown . Head coach Scott Brooks hopes to see Durant back in a Thunder uniform by late December or early January , Also missing from the starting lineup is point guard Russell Westbrook . The duo are two of the league’s most potent offensive players accounting for over 63% of the team’s offense this past season . AP Photo/ Larry Mason …

(4) Phil Jackson now a senior executive within the New York Knicks’ front office has been entrusted with the decision making process for all personnel moves for the franchise. The former Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach hired Derek Fisher to coach the team . Off to an inauspicious start Fisher and his coaching staff will have to make good on the wishes of their fans to make the postseason for the first time in three years . At their present rate the projected wins’ total for the Knicks seems to be no more than twenty-eight games . A record , unlikely get them a berth for the NBA Playoffs based on the last two years . AP Photo / Matt Turner …

(5) Former Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer is seen here with Los Angeles point guard Chris Paul , (right) at a Los Angeles Kings’ game . Ballmer purchased the Clippers for a record $2 billion , and with that an appreciation in the value of the NBA’s other twenty-nine teams is likely to take place . Getty Images North America …

(6) From left to right , Manu Ginobli, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker are seen here on the bench during a game. The combo were part of the team’s lineup during which they won their five-hundredth game together as a trio. Duncan has been part of all five team triumphs in the NBA Finals with his two teammates each winning four titles . The Spurs hope to make it a sixth this upcoming season and they are off to mild start to their schedule . Head coach Gregg Popovich seeks his six title as coach and third NBA Coach of the Year Award during his illustrious career . Peter Holt and GM RC Buford have presided over the franchise’s success over the past eighteen years. AP Photo / Paul Holland ..

(7) Four-time League MVP LeBron James whose return to the Cleveland Cavaliers have seen an increase in the Cavaliers’ attendance at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland , Ohio . James for his part leads the team in the most pertinent offensive categories this season . Cleveland is seen as the leading contender for the Eastern Conference title this season and James hopes to make that a reality for the franchise. Team owner Dan Gilbert was ecstatic at the return of the player who was drafted by team and as a rookie started his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers . AP Photo / Manny Velazquez …

(8) Brooklyn Nets owner , Mikhail Prokhorov is seen here with the team’s point guard Deron Williams . Beyond his ownership of the franchise , Prokhorov owns the a majority (85%) stake, which encompasses the Nets’ venue the Barclays Center , in Brooklyn , New York and real estate enterprise surrounding the arena. AP Photo / Barry Marshall …

(9) Chicago Bulls’ point guard Derrick Rose is seen on the sidelines discussing a play with head coach Tom Thibodeau during a game. The player has missed a significant number of games over thelast two seasons due to injury and already this early into Bulls’ 2014 season, Rose has once again been sidelined due to injury . AP Photo / Anglela Hart …

(10) Luol Deng (9) of the Miami Heat , who in a recent outing for the team scored a season high thirty points against the Dallas Mavericks , which the Heat won with ease against a Mavericks’ team, who showed poor defensive qualities . Deng signed with Heat after being part of a mid-season trade in during the 2013 season which saw him being dealt by the Chicago Bulls to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Signed as a free agent this off-season by the Heat , Deng has become a solid member and performer for the team this season , leading the Miami Heat to one of the best records in the Eastern Conference. Getty Images/ Matt Jones …




Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

NBA articles within this site

Tophatal’s Blog takes on the NBA


NBA news

NBA standings (division)

NBA standings (conference)

NBA results 10th November ,2014

NBA schedule 11th November

NBA Player stats scoring (season leaders)

Players’ stats rebounds’ leader

Players’ stats assists’ leader

Players’ stats steals’ leader

NBA team stats scoring

NBA team stats defense

This month in NBA history

On this date in NBA history

Cap it with what ?

Cap it, with what ?

With the pending approval, in the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer. The NBA hierarchy, will now be in a rough ride, with the beleaguered Donald Sterling seeking to sue the league for a reputed $1 billion ($1,000,000,000) . Any protracted litigation in the US Federal Court will be damaging to the NBA, its owners , the union (NBPA) and to the brand itself . Adam Silver, in banishing Sterling for life, from the NBA, while welcomed, was too little, too late. The commissioner’s predecessor, David Stern , is just as culpable, with his lack of action , in not dealing with this particular owner’s abhorrent actions, and it is a prime example of why his tenure was often filled with as many pratfalls, as the ongoing ridiculous claims, that he was indeed good for the NBA.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Slideshow .

This sale, is likely to ignite an NBPA leadership , that will have the bit between their teeth, in dealing with future labor negotiations between themselves and the NBA hierarchy. Claims of poverty, can no longer be made by the team owners or anyone from within the league hierarchy. A record $2 billion, inflated price tag , for a franchise that in reality, is not worth sixteen times its gross revenues is not only staggering , but simply endemic of all the things that the league has tried suggest that they were finally dealing with the economic plight of their brand. Five years on, from David Stern’s bailout of twenty franchises, something that seems to have escaped some of the apathy of the fans , whose knowledge of the economy sports ranks up alongside Sarah Palin’s knowledge of domestic and the foreign policy of the United States. Far be it for me to suggest , that Palin, has any clear idea on any particular subject that she is likely to be debated on , but , when you have a political lightweight such as this Tea Party Grand Dame of Stupidity. I really, do believe , it is symbolic of the growing lack of intelligence among the sports’ fan in general, as well as the electorate in this country .

I once had a patron allude to me, that the woes of the NBA were not created by David Stern. Anyone, with an ounce of fucking common sense, would realize that many of the changes made within the league during his tenure, had his imprint and were his creation, which, he then duplicitous , sold to the union , under the pretense, it would be to their benefit. . The NBPA remains in tatters, having no Executive Director and where the last person to hold the position , has now filed wrongful dismissal lawsuit in the US Federal Court against the union . Billy Hunter, a former corporate litigator is seeking unspecified damages , while seeking punitive damages in adjoining suit for libel slander filed jointly against former union President Derek Fisher and the NBPA. If that were not enough , the union itself , while in a state of disarray , now has contend with the fact, that they have to deal with a number of financial irregularities , that were never fully addressed , prior to their vote to dismiss Hunter, from his position, as that union’s top executive. Yes , this is what the NBA has now become , a brand that is now engulfed with racial bigotry hypocrisy , homophobia, misogyny and there are fans who remain apathetic and clueless, concerning the ongoing malaise within this league.

This NBA Postseason has become something of ” an us against the world mentality” , as the Indiana Pacers seek to overcome the Miami Heat in their Eastern Conference Finals’ Series . LeBron James and his Heat teammates enter a game six contest where the prize for Miami, will be a third consecutive berth in the NBA Finals . Currently leading Indiana 3-2 , tonight’s (Friday) game being played at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida , will likely lead to closing out the series and the likelihood, that Larry Bird as Head of Basketball Operations for the Indiana Pacers, will break up this roster and rebuild the team. One casualty , may well be Pacers’ center Roy Hibbert , whose inconsistent play in this series and throughout much of the postseason , has many questioning the player’s maturity, as well as skill-set under pressure. Hibbert’s teammate, Lance Stephenson having ran afoul of the officials in game five and then given a $25,000 fine for flopping, was also reprimanded by Bird , subsequent to the contest for his conduct . What this now means for Stephenson, is simply a further indictment of how far the Pacers have fallen from grace this season. This team lacks leadership, maturity and the premature belief that Paul George had finally arrived and could be looked upon as top-ten player in the NBA , when the now growing evidence that George has failed to meet those lofty expectations. In the midst of this all, there is now mounting speculation , that head coach Frank Vogel’s position could very well be in danger. His dismissal , were it to take place, might well be the most asinine decision that the Pacers’ front office could actually make . Yet, here we are, now debating, whether or not; Frank Vogel should be relieved of his duties. Bird, as a former head coach of this very same franchise, knows the pratfalls a coach has to go through , having relinquished that role for health reasons.

Steve Kerr’s rebuff of Phil Jackson’s overtures to become the next head coach of the New York Knicks , is another reminder why this particular franchise remains a complete laughing-stock around the NBA, while their idiotic fans continue to make excuses for that team’s continued malaise . Dysfunctional from top to bottom, the thought that Jackson’s insertion into the front office and his reputation would bring about a glow to the Knicks’ downtrodden reputation would be akin to spraying rose petal essence into a bucket of fecal matter and then telling an unsuspecting passer-by, that it was indeed a new fragrance created by a cosmetic company. Perhaps if the New York Knicks continuance in stinking up the joint as an NBA Eastern Conference franchise would not be so bad, if there were modicum of talent on this roster beyond Carmelo Anthony. That player’s indecision concerning his long-term future, can only be of deep concern for Phil Jackson and for the fans of this franchise. The longer the player chooses to delay his decision, the less likely it seems that he will return to the franchise , where he has become their best player ever since the trade that saw his departure from the Denver Nuggets in late 2010.

New York’s malaise is to the detriment of the NBA and specifically to the conference in which the franchise plays . With the Indiana Pacers, simply being the pale shadow of what in reality , is an average team and no real rivalry in the contests between themselves and the Miami Heat . One can only aspire to see the renewed rivalry that once epitomized regular and postseason match-ups, between the Knicks and Heat. Granted, those days, may well be viewed as long gone, but one can live in hope, that the intensity can be reopened on some level. Senior Miami Heat Executive and part owner , Pat Riley , whose association with both franchises are well-known to the fans and media analysts alike who cover the NBA, have a vested interest in seeing that rivalry resurface. From a financial standpoint , it would provide a major boost to the NBA , albeit , the Knicks remain one of the most valuable teams in the league . James Dolan’s ownership of the franchise, has seen the one constant , and that has been the appreciation in the value of the New York Knicks over the last decade , to the point where its value is in excess of $1 billion , with only the Los Angeles Lakers on the same plateau, in terms of value .

The era of Patrick Ewing leading the New York Knicks in a contest against the Miami Heat was looked upon as a contest or series of contests that were bound to bring out the best and the worst in both teams. Beyond the heated rivalry , there was a distinct dislike between the two teams , often seen through the eyes of Ewing’s teammates , John Starks and Larry Johnson and Charles Oakley . On the opposing team , Heat center Alonzo Mourning possessed a great deal of disdain for his foe at the time and though upon his retirement he reflected on those contests as being some of the most memorable of his career . It has to be said that the NBA , in its present guise there is no current rivalry in the NBA that is on par with those classic match-ups between the Miami Heat and New York Knicks . Certainly, there are competitive player rivalries , but team rivalries, those days are clearly are of a bygone age within the NBA.

LeBron James, perhaps the best player in the game today, has simply raised the bar to unexpected heights since his entry into the NBA in 2003. And while some claim, that his rivalry with Kevin Durant will provide the league with a player and team rivalry that the league longs for . The fact of the matter has been, the Oklahoma City Thunder have not fared well in their postseason contests against the reigning NBA champions. At present Durant and his teammates are on the brink of elimination looking to stave off their 3-2 deficit against the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals . A pivotal game six , will be played on Saturday night at the Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City , Oklahoma, . in-front of, what is sure to be a raucous sold-out arena, filled with passionate Thunder fans, who are likely to outnumber their opponent’s fan in size.

In all honesty , the NBA is a monster, of its own making. As it has marketed with professionalism and a great deal of guile ,but , where it has fallen flat , has been , that it has not noticed , the issue of the declining state of play , with the level of coaching having dropped precipitously low , with their being only a handful of very good coaches in the league at present. Furthermore , the league itself has also become arrogant , pompous and brazen and nowhere has this been more expressed than during the tenure of David Stern , with his overbearing and autocratic rule of what he believed was his own personal fiefdom. Like the Pied Piper of Hamlin , some dumb ass fans , simply nestled their lips firmly against his sphincter , willing to lick any morsels of excreta that he would be let loose from his bowels. Simple apathy , has indeed become the norm of the fans, with them having very little knowledge or being able to actually think for themselves .

If the New York Knicks are said to have an indifferent season , then the travails of the Los Angeles Lakers and their staggering decline should come as something of a major shock . Hard to believe, that the Lakers fell so far, where they barely challenged within their division for supremacy, and if that were not enough, they saw their fellow inhabitant of the Staples Center , the Los Angeles Clippers make the postseason as the Western Conference’s number three seed . Steph Curry and his teammates’ postseason foray would be short-lived, with them falling to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the conference semi-finals 4-2 .

Mike DAntoni’s tenure as the head coach of the Lakers was simply uncompromising as he and his staff simply had no idea in how to get the team to play with any sense of unity . Defensively , the Lakers’ players were simply poor all season long and their situation was made all the more untenable with the loss of Kobe Bryant, whose presence was sorely missed . Los Angeles Lakers’ executives , GM Mitch Kupchak and team owner Jim Buss , will now have to conduct an in-depth search for a successor to the now departed D’Antoni . The former coach’s decision, to offer his resignation, was indicative of the ongoing mess within this organization and Kupchak’s failure, with that of Buss to deal with the franchise’s ongoing problems. With criticism coming from various circles, most notably from former Lakers’ players Magic Johnson , Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy and their impassioned pleas, for both front office executives to be proactive in acquiring the players needed the franchise to be competitive. Yet , the biggest call, might well have been Johnson’s calls for the Los Angeles Lakers to rehire Phil Jackson in a front office capacity, at the time of his being available. Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss had other ideas and simply did not wish to revert to the past. Therein lies, one of the many reasons why I believe the Los Angeles Lakers are unlikely to regain the stature within the NBA in terms of their most recent success ! Bryant, at the end of a well-chronicled career , with no heir apparent and I get the feeling that Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss are now without a clue, as to the next steps that needs to be taken !



Picture gallery

The NBA Finals for this season has two known occupants with a rematch of last season’s contest , where the defending champions the Miami Heat likely to be viewed as a consensus favorite against the San Antonio Spurs. I firmly hope, that the series will live up the drama and competitive play witnessed during the 2013 NBA Finals . As to the outcome , well that is now down to the two combatants, as the series gets ready to unfold on Thursday 5th June with the Spurs hosting game one at the AT&T Center in San Antonio , Texas .


Picture and slideshow gallery .


(1) Former Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer whose $2 billion bid for the Los Angeles Clippers, pending the approval by the NBA Board of Governors , which requires a majority decision or as mandated by the league hierarchy and twenty-five of the NBA’s thirty teams . AP Photo / Mark Edwards …

(2) Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban whose recent comments concerning the NBA and its issue of not being able to deal adequately with the issue of race , albeit that over seventy per-cent of the playing roster is made of minorities , primarily African-American players. The owner would also delve publicly into his own perception of racial profiling , and also the league’s lack of candor, as to its economic template . Getty Images North America / Paul Brown …

(3) Former NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter , having sought legal recourse with a filing of a civil suit against his former employer as well as that union’s former President Derek Fisher . The case will be based on his wrongful dismissal , and the actions of libel and slander as engineered by Fisher and the NBPA leadership. A trial date has yet to be set concerning this legal action . UPI / Elizabeth Parker …..

(4) Indiana Pacers’ head coach Frank Vogel , left, is seen here with the team’s Head of Basketball Operations Larry Bird . With the Pacers falling to the Miami Heat in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals, the franchise faces an off-season of indifference and some major decisions concerning the makeup of the roster and the resounding disappointment of not making this season’s NBA Finals , a privilege that now goes to the Heat as the conference’s representative in the league’s postseason finale . AP Photo/ Amy West …….

(5) Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks who has yet to make a decision concerning his long-term future with the franchise. Phil Jackson has spoken intensely with the Knicks’ star , seeking to persuade the player of that it is his intent to improve the supporting cast around Anthony. N Y Time / Anthony DeMarco ….

(6) Patrick Ewing ,right and Alonzo Mourning , left , contest the possession of the ball during a game played between the Miami Heat and New York Knicks . During the duo’s playing careers their fierce competitiveness was always represented by the intensity seen during the contests between these two teams . In the regular , postseason and games overall , these contests were very hostile and enthralling for both sets of fans . AP Photo/ Matt Harper …

(7) Between the pairing of Kevin Durant (35) and LeBron James , they share five League MVP crowns , of which Durant was this season’s League MVP. Unfortunately, for the Oklahoma City Thunder player , his quest to make this season’s NBA Finals were dashed when they fell to the San Antonio Spurs in six games during the Western Conference Finals . This now sets up a rematch of the 2013 NBA postseason finale where the Miami Heat prevailed over the Spurs in seven games . Getty Images / Harry Howe ….




Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook

Basketball posts within this site


NBA news and archived stories

NBA Playoffs Brackets

This month NBA history and in June

This date in NBA history

NBA free agents

NBA team cap tracker (2013) and teams’ payroll

Highest paid NBA player by contract value (seventy-five)

Highest paid player (base salary)

You can talk a good game, but can you play one?

You can talk a good game, but can you play one?

There are some troubling times ahead for the NBA , even if the outgoing commissioner would not like to admit that fact. Three decades in charge of the league and it could be said that David Stern turned a pondering sport and its brand into a multi-billion dollar global phenomenon . With global revenues now exceeding $5 billion annually, one has to be thankful Stern, as the league’s highest ranking executive, was as successful as he was. That being said, it was not without controversy, with the league and the owners seeking to apportion blame elsewhere for many of the problems, they themselves created. With something of an imbalance and with the NBA seeking to have a soft “salary cap” , it still leaves the league in somewhat of a perilous situation. Nonetheless, the league hierarchy has sought to proceed ahead under its current guise, neither seeking to truly solve that particular issue and several others that they currently face.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Slideshow .

David Stern’s successor , Adam Silver , brings in a new era of leadership and likely some change, with their being something of a smooth transition with his predecessor’s departure and his ascent to the current position as the NBA Commissioner. What Silver has witnessed this season in the league, as there has been for several of the past seasons , has been steadying decline of the play within the Eastern Conference of the NBA. If things were to get considerably worse , the league’s Board of Governors might have to consider either realignment of several of the divisions or quite possibly delve into the contraction of under-performing franchises , with the league taking over those teams , compensating the owners and then seeking to re-assign the players there , unto the rosters of the remaining franchises. That might sound a bit drastic, but consider the alternatives, as they might currently stand? The play continues to deteriorate and the consumers known as the fans, are still asked to endure such mediocrity , while the league itself continues to profit financially from it all and that hardly seems fair, at all.

While the Indiana Pacers (45-15) are running away with the Eastern Conference lead and well on the way to being the NBA’s first fifty-game winner of the season. It begs the question, in spite of the dour play within the conference , can Frank Vogel’s players knock off the reigning champions in what is likely to be a repeat of last season’s conference finals ? While both the Pacers and the Miami Heat have both suffered losses this season , these two teams are by far in a way the best two franchises within the conference and amongst the upper echelons of the league’s best teams this season.

LeBron James continues to be the player we have seen , since he entered the league in 2003 , during which he has redefined his game as well coming into his own as the NBA’s best player. Already, a four-time league MVP and two-time Finals’ MVP, James, has all but answered, just about every question of by doubters , as to the proficiency of his play , with a punctuation mark, suggesting there is still a great deal more to come from the ten-year veteran. This season, what appears to be a captivating battle has begun to unfold, concerning LeBron James and the player, many believe to be his closest rival as a nemesis and what could likely be a budding rivalry for individualistic and team honors in the coming years. Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder lead the Western Conference and the player is now considered to be the leading contender for the league MVP this season . Durant and LeBron James during their tenures in the league, have provided the NBA with some classic contests, with both individuals showing why they are considered the best two players in the NBA.

Frank Vogel and the Pacers could very well now be in the driver’s seat, after what I believe to be a coup-de-gras by the front office , in acquiring Evan Turner to bolster what should already be considered a very good Indiana Pacers’ roster in terms of its depth and talent . The fact that Pat Riley of the Miami Heat , did little in terms of adding to the Heat’s roster at the trade deadline could very well come back to haunt the front office executive and the Heat’s coaching staff led by Erik Spoesltra . Coming off a narrow three-point victory over the hapless Utah Jazz , Indiana’s next opponent will be the high-powered offense of the Golden State Warriors, led by Steph Curry , whose match-up against Paul George of the Pacers should prove to be very intriguing.

9-1 in their last ten games the Miami Heat could be considered the hottest team in the NBA over that time-frame and clearly the reason why many believe them to the odds-on favorite to repeat as a three-time NBA champion . As LeBron James goes , then so does this team, albeit, with at times , some threadbare support from his teammates. Yet, it has been in the postseason, where James has excelled , as he has repeatedly led the team in their most recent postseason triumphs . Saturday’s lopsided victory over instate rivals the Orlando Magic , further emphasizes why the Miami Heat will continue to make light of their regular season schedule , as Erik Spoelstra gauges the performances of his players in the lead-up to the NBA Playoffs.

The impact that Dwight Howard was meant to have , after being acquired as a free agent by the Houston Rockets , has not been as dominant many thought it might have been. Granted, the Rockets currently have the fifth best record , in the Western Conference with a mark of 40-15 ,as of the 2nd March . Yet, many believed, that this team would be contending at least for a top-three berth within the conference. Though I do not consider it to be a major disappointment , I do believe that with Dwight Howard , what you see is what you get , in terms of a player who at times , does not fulfill the talent that he is said to have. As good a center, as is he said to be , I do not believe him to be the most dominant player at the position , currently playing in the NBA ! If anything, I believe the player tends to simply take his foot off the gas pedal and go through the motions, while allowing others around him to lead . A clear case can be made, that Dwight Howard would never have fit in with any type of team he would have been surrounded by, had he remained in Los Angeles playing for the Los Angeles Lakers . A failed experiment from the start and failed experiment in the very end !

Kevin McHale has proven himself to be an astute head coach, along with his coaching staff , in getting this Rockets’ team to play some up-tempo basketball, while gaining themselves a credible spot in the conference rankings. The team however, is fortified by the talents of James Harden , while being ably supported by Chandler Parsons , Dwight Howard, Jeremy Lin , Patrick Beverley and Jordan Hamilton . A true test of the team’s ambitions will be on view , when they play host to the Miami Heat, at the Toyota Center, in Houston , Texas on Tuesday night . That contest should tell us a great deal about McHale’s players their mindset as they head down the final stretch of their regular season schedule. Certainly, a chance to see two of the NBA’s most productive scorers , with James Harden facing off against LeBron James , should prove to be very interesting.

To my mind one of the more surprising twists of this season, has been the fact that Kevin Love still remains a player with the Minnesota Timberwolves ! They may well have an outside chance of garnering a playoff berth in the Western Conference , but at this stage of the season , I believe that it might well beyond the reach of the team ! Five and a half games out of the final playoff spot, that is currently held by the Dallas Mavericks (35-25) , the Timberwolves would have to jump ahead of the ninth placed Memphis Grizzlies (33-25) , while hoping that both the Mavericks and Grizzlies make monumental . slip-ups in their next couple of games . A highly unlikely scenario at this point of the season, when teams are not likely to be overly complacent , but then again, who could have really foreseen that the Eastern Conference would prove to be such an embarrassment as an advertising model for the NBA ? Well, the end of the season is barely a month away, with most teams having no more than twenty-five games remaining on their regular schedule. Those with intestinal fortitude, are likely to rise to the occasion, while others are likely to falter at the very last hurdle.

Kevin Love has proven to be one of the few bright spots on a Timberwolves’ team that struggled has throughout of the season, while Rick Adelman and his coaching staff have simply been outmaneuvered and out-coached at every point of the season that has mattered most to the organization. From my own perspective, I now believe that it is time for Flip Saunders , Head of Basketball Operations and GM Milt Newton to seek a trade and obtain the best possible value for their Timberwolves’ All Star power-forward , Kevin Love ! It simply serves absolutely no purpose to have the player struggle, night in and night out , all to no avail , while wasting his talents with a franchise that seems to show no signs of life or actual ambition ! These are the very same issues, that led to the growing discontent with Kevin Garnett while , a player with the Timberwolves . His subsequent departure, still did not manifest itself, by way of anything positive for the franchise.

Outwardly, Love has remained loyal to the Minnesota Timberwolves, not wanting to say anything, that might be taken out of context, as a way of showing his discontent, but if the rumors are to be believed , then this off-season a confrontation is likely to be in the offing, when the player is likely to meet with the front office to discuss his immediate and long-term future . I believe that he is likely to opt out of the final year of his contract and test the free agency market , rather than remaining in Minnesota, because I do not believe that owner , Glen Taylor or any of the front office executives possess the acumen needed to build the Timberwolves into a legitimate NBA title contender !

Monday night, places the Minnesota Timberwolves back into action, as they face the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center , in Denver, Colorado, A third consecutive win for the Timberwolves, would provide the team with a great deal of confidence, but they first have to make that a reality , rather supposition.

Not for the first time, this season, have the Sacramento Kings suspended player, DeMarcus Cousins for conduct detrimental to the team . Each and every time, he has run afoul of the organization, the front office has seemingly , given him what on the face of it seems a slight reprimand. A one game suspension for physically assaulting an opposing player , is simple idiocy ! Yet , these are the times that we are living in , where athlete misconduct on or off the court , is no longer frowned upon and the lame ass apathy of some of the dumbest mother fucking fans, is to simply excuse that type of behavior altogether or come with the rather inane statements such as “ locker room behavior “ , or ” boys being boys” . Last I looked, these were grown individuals and not middle or high school players , making complete asses of themselves ! The league hierarchy under David Stern was weak and remains weak , because the NBPA remains in an extreme position of power, not necessarily unlike their counterparts within the MLBPA , NFLPA and the NHLPA ! Anyone who believes that to be the contrary , I would now like them to plead their the case , for the opposite view !

DeMarcus Cousins as a player in college , had real “character issues” , that were never addressed by the coaching staff ,led by John Calipari , a coach known shall we say , “let things slip by him “ ? I have never really thought, highly of Calipari, in terms of his character or the litany of issues that have followed him continuously over the course of his coaching career ! Allegations of recruitment violations, players with failing academic standards, still being allowed to play on his teams, as well as possibly monetary inducements for players in terms of their of productivity. Like it or not, there had to have been a multitude of reasons, why a number of programs where John Calipari has coached , have felt the wrath of the NCAA , though not to the point where there has been an outright accusation leveled at the head coach. While Calipari’s outward image appears pristine, something ” rotten smells ” this side of Denmark , as it relates to this particular head coach !

The Sacramento Kings’ own fortunes in recent years, can be best summed up with these words “the Maloof Family , with reckless abandonment , all but ruined the franchise and in the aftermath of it all , were on the precipice of duping the idiotic members of the city’s council to bail the franchise out of their financial plight ” . All of this under the watchful eye of David Stern , who in some circles, has been viewed as the savior of the NBA. The former NBA Commissioner , simply, takes on the battles, he knows he can win outright , while apportioning blame elsewhere, for his incompetency or web of deceit , when caught in an actual lie.

With the worst record in the Western Conference , a mark of 20-39 , is a true reflection of what the Sacramento Kings have been about all season long. Long gone, are the glory days , when the high-flying Kings were a dominant force within the conference led by All Star Chris Webber and the team was seen as a perennial contender for year-end honors. Feast or famine, can best now sum up the franchise, but in reality, there has been a great deal more hunger, as the fans of the organization, yearn for years past. There’s not enough food on the table and there certainly is not enough talent on this roster , to even deem them worthy of being thought of as even a moderately average team , if that !

The Kings’ remaining regular season schedule , is not necessarily daunting, and victory over the New Orleans Pelicans may well be sign that the team is determined to go out with a great deal of determination . DeMarcus Cousins remains the best player on the Kings’ roster , but herein lies the issue, he is a troubled individual who remains immature and unable to handle the real pressure of being assumed the leader of the franchise . Other than Rudy Gay , there is absolutely no real reason to believe that GM Pete D’Alessandro can continue to believe that Cousins is a valuable asset to this team and the organization as a whole , not with the continued problems that he provides. Sacramento, may well to decide to cut their losses and seek a trade of the troubled player.


Vivek Ranadive having recently purchased the franchise may well now be having regrets , because I personally believe he was “ sold a bill goods” , that were in no way shape or form is what he was told it would be ! Thankfully , Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer and his business partner , billionaire venture capitalist Chris Hansen dodged a bullet , when they failed in their bid to purchase the team , having bid a great deal more than the reputed $575 million paid by Ranadive’s consortium . With the league’s hierarchy’s, reluctance to relocate the franchise to Seattle, Washington, as was previously discussed between Stern and the potential purchasers. I can only assume , with David Stern reneging on that deal, having given Ballmer firm assurances that there would not be a problem , it simply shows that the former commissioner is really a less than honorable individual .


By clicking on an individual frame you can see that picture in its original formatted size.


The second half of the NBA season is already underway, what do you hope to see in the latter stages of the schedule ? Also, which player or group of players, have provided you with the greatest surprise over the course this NBA season ? Of the teams in contention, for a divisional or playoff berth, which do you believe , are likely to triumph and to fail ?


Picture and slideshow details below .


(1) David Stern is seen here handing the Larry O’Brien Trophy to Miami Heat team President Pat Riley after the team’s triumph in winning the NBA title in 2013 , having won in a tough seven-game series against the San Antonio Spurs in a thrilling NBA Finals’ series , 4-3 . Stern formally stepped down as the NBA Commissioner after thirty years as the league’s highest ranking executive . He is succeeded by Adam Silver , who hopes to make a smooth transition into his new role . AP Photo / Chris Hughes ………..

(2) Nicola Vucevic of the Orlando Magic is seen here challenging the New York Knicks’ Tyson Chandler during a game played at the Amway Center in Orlando , Florida on the 23rd December , 2013 . The Magic would go on to lose the contest 103-98 with both teams under-achieving this season within their respective divisions as well as the Eastern Conference , there is likely to be major shakeups within the rosters of both franchises during the off-season . NBAE/ Getty Images / Max Miller ….

(3) February 27, 2014 The Milwaukee Bucks gave the Pacers a formidable test on Thursday night, but Indiana made enough plays down the stretch to come away with a 101-96 win in a game played in Milwaukee , Wisconsin,. Roy Hibbert recorded a double-double (24 points, 12 rebounds), while Paul George added 18 points , eight boards, and six assists . NBAE Getty Images / Frank McGrath ….

(4) LeBron James of the Miami Heat goes up for the dunk as he rises above Kemba Walker and Cody Zeller of the Charlotte Bobcats in a game played at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida on Monday night . James would go on to score a career-high 61 points during the contest , which the Heat won convincingly. This has been the second time this season , that the Bobcats have given up more than sixty points to a player during their schedule with the first such incident , coming when they played the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden , where Carmelo Anthony torched the team a career-high , also, of sixty-two points . AP Photo / Emile Toussaint …..

(5) Kevin Durant (35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder is seen here alongside the Miami Heat’s LeBron James (6) . Both players are the leading candidates for this season’s League MVP . Their rivalry may well be the best to be seen in the NBA in several years , but not yet on the level of the classic match-ups between Larry Bird and Magic Johnson , which many purists believes set the bar for individualistic rivalries within the NBA and from a team standpoint , especially in many of their postseason contests . Durant and James have met once in a postseason series with the Miami Heat prevailing in their 2012 NBA Finals’ , with a rather lopsided series’ victory. AP Photo / Mike Patton ….

(6) Houston Rockets’ center Dwight Howard (12) looks to make the play against Miles Plumlee of the Phoenix Suns in a game played between the two Western Conference teams on the 23rd February , 2014 . The Rockets would defeat the Suns 115-112 . NBAE /Getty Images / Ross Hart ……

(7) Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love, left, drives as Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin defends in the second half of an NBA basketball game , Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013, in Minneapolis. The Clippers won 102-98 . These two young players are two of the brightest young stars to have entered the NBA in the past seven seasons . AP Photo/Jim Mone ….

(8) Kentucky coach John Calipari thinks 6-11 center DeMarcus Cousins should go top 3 in this year’s NBA Draft. But GMs fear the player’s immaturity , which has been justified since his entry into the NBA as a first round draft pick in 2010 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings . US PRESSWIRE/ Mark Zereof ……

(9) Sacramento Kings’ center DeMarcus Cousins is seen here with the team’s head coach Michael Malone on court sidelines during a game at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento , California . After a recent on-court physical altercation with an opposing player where Cousins is said to have punched his opponent in the lower abdomen and then having been ejected for his conduct , he then verbally assaulted the referee , using several profane expletives , heard within earshot of the crowd . DeMarcus Cousins was fined $20,000 and suspended for one game, forfeiting his $ 44,000 game check . . Vivek Ranadive , the Kings’ owner , will meet with GM Pete D’Alessandro and Michael Malone to discuss the troubled center’s ongoing behavioral problems . All signs seem to be pointing to the fact that the franchise may well seek to trade the player this off-season rather than retain his services . This recent suspension has been the third of DeMarcus Cousins’ three-year career in the NBA and poses the question as to his lack of maturity while in college at the University of Kentucky and since his entering the NBA in 2010. AP Photo/ Chris Affeldt ……



tophatal ………..

Like Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook : Tophatal’s Blog (facebook.com/tophatal)



NBA news and the league’s archived stories

NBA schedule important dates

NBA transactions 2013-2014

NBA standings (division)

NBA standings (conference)

NBA schedule

NBA results 2nd March 2014

Daily leaders 2nd March 2014

This month in NBA history

The Wheels On The Bus Go Round & amp; Round , Round & Round ….

The Wheels On The Bus Go Round & Round ______________ Round & Round ….

By tophatal …… . 06/20/2012 12:33 AM (EST)

As I watch the NBA Finals (2012) unfold I am not so sure now what to take out of the events I have witnessed . Are the Miami Heat that good ? Alternatively, is it simply that the Oklahoma City Thunder were that bad and overmatched ? Based upon the evidence provided in last night’s game , it now looks as if it is a mixture of both , as Scott Brooks …. team has no answer for the prowess shown by LeBron James .


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Slide show for your perusal .

Russell Westbrook for his part , tried in vain to assist in the best way that he could by scoring a postseason career career-high 43 points , 5 assists and 7 rebounds . A solid but not overpowering 28 points from Kevin Durant , simply was not enough to provide the Thunder with the momentum they sought to square this series and tie it , at two games apiece (2-2) . Durant and Westbrook , were the only Oklahoma City Thunder players to get into double-figures in terms of scoring . That may well have been indicative of what went wrong for this team last night and over the course of this series . It seems somewhat strange , when one considers the Western Conference Finals and the players’ efforts against the San Antonio Spurs and their 4-2 series’ victory of that renowned franchise .

The issues now facing the Thunder , as they face elimination , and the loss of the series , steering in the face , a 3-1 deficit . It is that history is completely against them . as no team has ever been able to overcome a 3-1 disadvantage in the NBA Finals , ever since the game adopted a the two , three , two playoff format for the Finals . Given the intent of Heat head coach, Erik Spoelstra and his team to make quick work of their Western Conference opponents . Scott Brooks , head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder now faces a real dilemma . Does he now , go for an all-out attack while seeking to cut the series’ deficit his team faces ? Or does he sit back and play a game of cat-and-mouse with the Heat , while looking to take advantage by any possible complacency shown by his opponent ? I am now , firmly of the belief , that upon the resumption of the series , game five will prove to be the “anointing “ of the Miami Heat , as franchise wins their second title in six years , after their triumph over the Dallas Mavericks in 2006 .

LeBron James for his part , will join a select group of players to have won both the regular season MVP award , as well as the Finals MVP in the same season . Vindication for James and now perhaps for the player , his own redemption after his failure in last season’s NBA Finals . So much had been promised by the Miami Heat but he and his then teammates came up short , with their being upended by the Dallas Mavericks .

Miami Heat executives Pat Riley and Micky Arison will become the “toast of the town” on South Beach and throughout the entire city of Miami. It has been their ingenuity and the faith shown in a young coach , Erik Spoelstra , which has brought this franchise to the cusp as being champions of the NBA . Two years ago with a great deal of showmanship , orchestrated celebration LeBron James and Chris Bosh were introduced to the adoring Heat fan-base . With h a great deal of adulation , the fans and NBA writers as a whole were expecting big things from the trio . One year wiser, and a great deal more maturity being shown , it is now finally time to say ….. the Big Three have arrived “ .

There is no denying that the Oklahoma City Thunder had a spectacular season , as can be borne out by the team’s play and the ease with which they won the Northwest Division within the Western Conference . From my own perspective , I believe the events of this postseason for the Thunder will provide to be a valuable learning experience for not only the players but the entire organization , from the ownership group on down , to the front office executives , led by GM Sam Presti . The general manager along with Scott Brooks and the coaching staff have built a solid player personnel roster through smart and incisive moves . This bodes well for the franchise’s long-term future and without a doubt , they can now be looked upon as the best team within the Western Conference . That is with due deference to the likes of the San Antonio Spurs , Los Angeles Lakers , Memphis Grizzlies , Los Angeles Clippers and the Dallas Mavericks , in light of their respective records .

If nothing else , the joyous ride that the Oklahoma City Thunder fans have had in the last few seasons has brought a great deal of joy to the locale . And with a core group of players built around Kevin Durant , Russell Westbrook , James Harden and Thabo Sefalosha , I firmly believe that in this franchise’s imminent future , an NBA title awaits and will be theirs for the taking !

The current NBA Finals by all accounts have been the most ardently watched series since 2002 and that bodes well for the NBA hierarchy led by David Stern . As to what this might say , and appears to be a “ budding rivalry “ between Kevin Durant and LeBron , that is now being viewed along the lines of the “Bird “ & “ Magic” era and their epic regular and postseason confrontations . Well , that remains to be seen but as a passionate NBA fan , I am beginning to be thoroughly immersed in the game once again , for all of the right reasons !

On a side-note , I believe that we can attest to the fact the Charlotte Bobcats had a horrendous season ! If nothing else , they (team) simply brought a level of mediocrity to the game , that has not been seen in years . For the representatives within the front office of the organization and they are the ones who should in large part bear the brunt of the blame . The roster was assembled with ill-fitting pieces and no veteran leadership presence being shown . It seems unfortunate , that twice over the course of his career as an NBA executive , Michael Jordan is being ridiculed for his complete lack of judgment and awareness . In 2001 , and Jordan introduced the world to Kwame Brown . That is a moment in NBA history that cannot be undone !
With the departure of Paul Silas as the head coach of the Bobcats’ franchise , Jordan and his fellow front office executives sought an immediate successor to the respected coach . Jerry Sloan was given the courtesy of an interview and it was rumored that both Stan Van Gundy and Mike D’Antoni would be also subject to interviews , were they said to be interested in the vacant post . Former Lakers’ assistant head coach Brian Shaw flatly turned down the opportunity to coach the Charlotte Bobcats , while obviously gauging interest of team owners who see the former player , as a viable coaching candidate for their franchise . It now appears that the front office executives of the Bobcats have found their man , with the hiring of St Johns’ assistant coach Mike Dunlap . Far be it for me to suggest but the last Jordan hired a coach from the collegiate ranks , that hire was none other than Leonard Hamilton . His tenure as the Washington Wizard’ Bobcats’ head coach was short-lived , and considered less than a success . while Michael Jordan served as the de-facto GM & Head of Basketball Operations under then team owner Abe Pollin .

Dunlap has served under Steve Lavin as part of the head coach’s staff , while the program has had some semblance of success . Lavin has high praise for his assistant and believes he will be a success within the professional ranks of the NBA . I certainly hope so for Mike Dunlap’s sake because I would hate for his career to stall in the NBA , while Bobcats’ owner Michael Jordan sits on the sidelines and watches the franchise being engulfed in flames. In essence this is what we have all been a witness to , ever since Jordan bought out former partner and majority stakeholder Robert L Johnson , five years ago . Since then , the Charlotte Bobcats have amassed a series of NBA lows . Prior to the start of the NBA Finals , it was felt that the franchise would be in with a chance of gaining the top pick in the Draft Lottery . Instead , that privilege will go to the New Orleans Hornets , with the Bobcats taking the second pick overall in the upcoming 2012 NBA Draft . The Kentucky Wildcats’ ….. Anthony Davis is deemed to the consensus #1 pick , with their being no distinct knowledge as to who will follow suit afterwards .



Picture gallery for your perusal .

What to you as a fan , has been the most satisfying part of the 2012 NBA Finals ? And do you believe that the hiring of Mike Dunlap by the Charlotte Bobcats will serve the franchise well ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support , as it has always been greatly appreciated !


Picture and slide show details below .

(1) Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra answers a question during a basketball news conference, Wednesday, June 20, 2012, in Miami. The Heat host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday in Game 5 of the NBA finals. AP Photo/Alan Diaz ….

(2) Miami Heat small forward LeBron James reacts during practice, Wednesday, June 20, 2012, in Miami. The Heat play Game 5 against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday. AP Photo/Alan Diaz ….

(3) Miami Heat power forward Chris Bosh, left, and shooting guard Mike Miller joke during practice, Wednesday, June 20, 2012, in Miami. The Heat play Game 5 against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday. AP Photo/Alan Diaz …

(4) MIAMI, FL – JUNE 19: Lebron James 6 hugs Mario Chalmers (15) of the Miami Heat after defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder during Game Four of the 2012 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 19, 2012 in Miami, Florida. The Heat won 104-98 . Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images …

(5) Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook answers a question during a news conference, Wednesday, June 20, 2012, in Miami. The Thunder are scheduled to play Game 5 against the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals on Thursday. AP Photo/Alan Diaz ..

(6) MIAMI, FL – JUNE 19: Serge Ibaka (9) of the Oklahoma City Thunder attempts to block a shot by Mario Chalmers (15) of the Miami Heat in Game Four of the 2012 NBA Finals on June 19, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Larry W. Smith-Pool/Getty Images …

(7) Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, left, and small forward Kevin Durant listen to a question during a news conference after Game 4 of the NBA finals basketball series against the Miami Heat, Wednesday, June 20, 2012, in Miami. The Heat won 104-98 . AP Photo/Lynne Sladky …

(8) Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks answers a question during a news conference after Game 4 of the NBA finals basketball series against the Miami Heat, Tuesday, June 19, 2012, in Miami. The Miami Heat won 104-98. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky …

(9) Charlotte Bobcats head coach Mike Dunlap, right, greets his agent Bret Just , left, as his wife Mollie Busterud-Dunlap, second from left, looks on during a news conference after being named to lead the NBA basketball team in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, June 20, 2012. AP Photo/Chuck Burton …

(10) Charlotte Bobcats head coach Mike Dunlap , center, poses with Rod Higgins , left, president of basketball operations and Rich Cho , right, general manager, during news conference after being named to lead the NBA basketball team in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, June 20, 2012. AP Photo/Chuck Burton …

(11) CHARLOTTE, NC – MARCH 13: Michael Jordan of the Charlotte Bobcats and Fred Whitfield answers questions about the team on March 13, 2007 at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina. The former NBA great and owner of the franchise gave Mike Dunlap’s hiring his seal of approval . Mike Dunlap becomes only the fifth head coach in the franchise’s history Copyright 2007 NBAE Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images …..


NBA news

NBA Playoffs 2011-12

2012 NBA Finals

Charlotte Bobcats news

Miami Heat news

Oklahoma City Thunder news



If at all do take time to participate in the above mentioned polls

It’s The Big Boys Time To Shine ……..

It’s The Big Boys Time To Shine ……..

By tophatal …… 6/11/2012 11:56:36 AM

The NBA Finals’ matchup is now known with Miami Heat having overcome the Boston Celtics . They will be the guests of the Oklahoma City Thunder in game one of the best-of-seven game series . For coaches Erik Spoelstra and Scott Brooks this will the stage where they will prove themselves to be the most skilled of NBA coaches .

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Slide show , for your perusal .

And for the team owners in question Micky Arison of the , Miami Heat and Clay Bennett of the Thunder , this gives each the legitimacy of seeing their respective franchises rise to levels of expectations and ambitions that they envisaged . For Brooks’ team they were easily the convincing victor over the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals . With the litany of All Stars on display from both teams in this postseason finale , should prove to very exciting to say the very least .

Clearly , with what is at stake neither team comes into the series under the misapprehension that the NBA title is theirs by divine right . That may well have been the case for the Miami Heat last season as their complacency caused them to be defeated in the 2011 NBA Finals . The Dallas Mavericks came away triumphant while the Heat players on the Heat came away with their tails hanging between their legs .

LeBron James this season’s league MVP and a three-time winner of the award is seeking his first NBA title . Having already made two appearances in the NBA’s showcase event , once each with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat , James now seeks to add to the legitimacy of being recognized as the best player in the NBA . With two-time scoring champion Kevin Durant leading this young Thunder roster being on the opposing side , this series could be an affirmation for both players as well their respective franchises. And given the rise of the Oklahoma City Thunder , who could be looked upon now as the dominant franchise within the Western Conference . We now look to see if Durant and his teammates can presumably take that next step by defeating the very best that the Eastern Conference has to offer this season.

LeBron James will be ably abetted by teammates Chris Bosh , Dwyane Wade and the cast of role players . Erik Spoelstra knows that he is under a great deal of pressure to succeed and if he should fail at this juncture there is the likelihood he could very well meet the same fate as his predecessor Stan Van Gundy , who was fired by Heat team President Pat Riley .

I view this series beyond the customary matchups but as one strategizing by the respective coaches . With so many variables at play between two evenly matched teams , in terms of defense and offense . This NBA Finals , will come down to who desires the victory more.

I will not be making any prognostications as to the outcome of this series , having seen my beloved San Antonio Spurs succumb to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals . The franchise is now at a crossroads with an aging core but with several young and aspiring players seeking guidance from the veterans on the team . Tim Duncan after fourteen years in the NBA , his career is now on the decline . He is no longer the player who effortlessly assumed the mantle of leadership from David Robinson . And Duncan would then lead the franchise to another three NBA titles , to add to the first , won in conjunction with the Hall of Fame center . Gregg Popovich , GM R C Buford and team owner Peter Holt have a number of decisions to make during the offseason , before the 2012-13 schedule gets underway in September . I firmly believe that Tim Duncan should walk away with his head held high having achieved so much over the course of his distinguished career. It has been Duncan , Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli , who in recent years have made this franchise the success it has been .

Consider the , fact that in twelve of the last fifteen years the franchise has posted 12 consecutive seasons of fifty-plus wins and five conference finals’ appearance in conjunction with their four NBA titles . So it should come as no surprise that Thunder GM Sam Presti who served an apprenticeship under R C Buford , has molded the franchise along the very same lines as that of the San Antonio Spurs . That in of-itself should be an indication as to the aspiration of the franchise and how this ball-club has built its roster judiciously through the NBA Draft and free agency acquisitions . Long-term this franchise could very well become the dominant force within the Western Conference as they assume control of the conference and be looked upon as a perennial contender . Chances are , we are seeing the rise of Oklahoma City Thunder as a franchise , looking to take over from the likes of the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs .



Picture gallery .

As either a passing observer or an avid NBA fan, what event has been the most pleasing thing to witness this postseason ? Which team do you believe is the presumed favorite in the NBA Finals ? Do leave a comment as you see fit .


Picture and slide show for your perusal
================================= ========================================================================== =================== ==============

(1) Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant (35) and Kendrick Perkins take a break during practice, Monday, June 11, 2012, in Oklahoma City. Game 1 of NBA Finals basketball between the Miami Heat and Thunder is Tuesday. AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki …..

(2) MIAMI, FL – JUNE 09: LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat speaks with the media after beating the Boston Celtics in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on June 9, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …

(3) Dwyane Wade (3) and LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat speak with the media after beating the Boston Celtics in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on June 9, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ….

(4) Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35), Thabo Sefolosha (2) , Russell Westbrook (0) talk during practice, Monday, June 11, 2012, in Oklahoma City. Game 1 of NBA finals basketball between the Miami Heat and Thunder is Tuesday. AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki ….

(5) Miami Heat owner Micky Arison receives the NBA Eastern Conference trophy from former Heat player Alonzo Mourning , Saturday, June 9, 2012, in Miami, after the Heat defeated the Boston Celtics 101-88 in Game 7 of the conference finals . AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee …

(6) Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook holds the western conference trophy after Game 6 in the NBA basketball Western Conference finals against the San Antonio Spurs, Wednesday, June 6, 2012, in Oklahoma City. The Thunder won 107-99 and move on to the NBA Finals . (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

============================================ ====================== ===================================================================================

NBA news

2012 NBA Finals

Miami Heat news

Miami Heat roster …. & … team stats

Erik Spoelstra coach’s bio

Oklahoma City Thunder news

Oklahoma City Thunder roster …. & ….. team stats

Scott Brooks coach’s bio



If at all interested take time to participate in the above mentioned polls .


“Baby Cham “ …. & Alicia Keys …. “ Ghetto Story “