I’m Calling It A Wip-eout !!!!

I’m Calling It A Wipe-out !!!!

Well the NBA Finals have come to an abrupt end, with the Cleveland Cavaliers being blown out in the Finals by the Golden State Warriors , completing a sweep with a degree of clinical precision not seen in a very long time . Kevin Durant adds to his impressive resume’ as he was named Finals’ MVP for the second consecutive season . His being given this accolade places Durant as one of only two players to have won multiple scoring titles as well as the Finals’ MVP . For the Cavaliers as the losing finalists , the fact that each loss in the four games played was by double-digits or less , emphasizes why there is such a large chasm between the quality of the teams in the Eastern Conference of the NBA and their counterparts in the West.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Slide show.

Adding more embarrassment to Cleveland’s debacle in the Finals remains the uncertainty concerning the future of LeBron James . The player can choose to opt-out of the final year of his contract and seek to become an unrestricted free agent , leaving to join a legitimate contender within the league. Based on all of the criteria seen, there are at least five or six teams that might be a destination for the superstar.

LeBron James should he choose to leave Cleveland for the second time in his esteemed thirteen-year career, it would once again lead to a great deal of frustration and anger among the franchise’s fans. Bear in mind however, this team in its original guise at the start of the season , was the one which James himself had a great deal of input in assembling . Just before the All Star Break , Cleveland Cavaliers’ GM Koby Altman brought in players he felt would complement the skill-set of LeBron James and Kevin Love . For Love as the second-best player on the Cavaliers’ roster, his productivity during the NBA Finals, could be best described as sparse, while the rest of the players were simply along for the ride. LeBron James has now been on five losing teams in the NBA Finals and he now has on his resume , a second series’ sweep with the first coming when the Cavaliers were summarily annihilated by the San Antonio Spurs during the 2007 NBA Finals , where Tim Duncan led the Spurs to what was an expected series’ victory, but not which was so lopsided.

After-all LeBron James was seen as the face of the NBA and the ” anointed best player on the planet “ . King James as he has often referred to himself , an anointing which many of his supporters and NBA analysts are in complete agreement with.

Whatever the future now holds for LeBron James , be it his remaining in Cleveland or his offering his services to the highest bidder, I would like to see the player come to a quick decision , rather than it being a long drawn out drama , something akin to a very bad soap opera episode.

I’m an avid boxing and Mixed Martial Arts’ fan and over this past weekend both sports showcased events which were meant to lure the fans back to the respective sports, which had been experiencing something of a lull. The UFC showcased their main event , UFC 225 , where the main card , had the top-two contenders within the Men’s Middleweight Division fight for the title , with the winner getting the chance further enhance his resume’. Robert Whittaker of Australia faced Yoel Romero of Cuba, in what could be best described as a war of attrition rather than a about that had a great deal of athleticism or tactical display about it. The fact that Whittaker won on a split decision , should tell you all you need to know about the bout and the fact that it failed to live up to expectation . Far be it for me to suggest, but the UFC is in a sad state of affairs at present in spite of being under new ownership and having a multi-year , multi-billion television contract with Fox Sports (FS1) . . If the ratings continue to decline for a number of their big events , other than premiering big-time PPV match-ups, that whets the appetites of the fans , then UFC President Dana White will continue to have a hard time justifying his comments that the UFC is the premier brand in the world when it comes to MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) .

He has made his return to the professional boxing ring after BBBC (British Boxing Board of Control) mandated suspension for failing a drug test. Former Heavyweight champion Tyson Fury was back in the ring to face Sefer Seferi  of Albania, in what was meant to be a tune-up fight for the former champion, as he seeks to legitimize his position in the Heavyweight rankings. Fury has always been known to talk the talk , but rarely has been able to walk the walk. Other than his victory over a fast declining Wladimir Klitschko , there’s nothing on the British fighter’s resume’ to suggest that he has the potential to reclaim the world title. The two best fighters within the division, Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua are on a collision course for multi-million dollar unification bout to settle once and for all who is the best heavyweight fighter on the planet .

Tyson Fury has always questioned the claims that he took a banned substance , but has failed to explain, how after two random test samples the , the test still came up positive for a banned substance. He should consider himself lucky that his suspension was not for a great deal longer than the two years he spent away from the ring. As for his performance against Sefer Seferi, well let’s just say , lethargic and ring-rusty would be apt ways to describe his victory over his Albanian opponent. Fury doesn’t have the prowess to take on either   Anthony Joshua    or Deontay Wilder , let alone beat either of the claimants to their versions of the World Heavyweight title .

Australian Jeff Horn after his somewhat dubious victory over boxing legend Manny Pacquiao , had sought to legitimize himself as one of the best welterweight boxers in the world. His majority decision verdict over the Filipino legend , quickly made Horn a national hero in Australia. In order to further validate that victory , the Australian took on Terence “Bud” Crawford , as Horn defended his WBO Welterweight Title against the hard-hitting American challenger on Saturday night. . Crawford barely broke sweat as the took the title from the Australian champion with a stoppage in the ninth round. Let’s just say Jeff Horn was way out of his class and league , in spite of that victory over Manny Pacquiao .

So as the President, Donald Trump continues to regale us with his insight with the ongoing issues within the world , he recently spoke of his wish to sit down with the players of the NFL to speak with them on the issues of their grievances concerning social injustice. Trump was still basking in the limelight after pardoning Alice Johnson who was serving a life sentence with regard to drug trafficking and money-laundering . Johnson was granted a pardon , after reality show star Kim Kardashian prevailed upon the President to take a look at Johnson’s case.

Alice Johnson freely admits that she knew the risks , but she sought to earn quick money , because of her plight at the time. I guess when your home is being used as a drug cash and stash-house, as well as being a distribution center for a violent drug gang , then any excuse can be allowed for your actions ? The President we know has been extremely critical of the NFL players whom he says are being unpatriotic by refusing to stand for the national anthem. Stating repeatedly, in failing to do so , it dishonors the men and women have fought in wars to protect the rights of citizens in America and freedom across the world. This President fails to understand the real reason why the players are taking this stance and has never addressed the real underlying issues. One of the latest signs of not only complete stupidity on the part of the President but also lack of common sense , was the statement made , where he suggested it was time to grant Muhammad Ali , a full pardon for his crimes. Now bear in mind Ali’s case was overturned in the US Supreme Court on appeal , meaning there were no longer any charges for him to face.

Call me naïve or just plain stupid, but what fucking planet is Donald Trump now living on and does he ever take any advice proffered up to him by the Solicitor General , much less the Inspector General within the US Justice Department or from anyone within his administration ? Or will continue to take advice from his daughter, Ivanka Trump , his two clueless sons Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr , as well as his son-in-law Jared Kushner (husband of Ivanka Trump) .

The day, Donald Trump actually shows signs of interest let alone knowledge of a social issue , rather than chomping off at the bit like a rabid dog in search of a victim . It will be the day that he can be taken seriously for the role for which he was elected into office for.

Rafael Nadal added further to his astonishing tennis career , claiming his eleventh French Open title at Roland Garros Stadium in Paris , France this past Sunday . Nadal’s victory over Dominic Thiem was clinical and surgical in its precision and gave the Spaniard his seventeenth Grand Slam title , three behind by the all-time leader Roger Federer , whose current tally stands at twenty Grand Slam singles’ titles .

Next up for Rafael Nadal by way of the next Grand Slam Tournament will be Wimbledon at the All England Club , where Nadal will be looking to add a third Singles’ title having won previously in 2008 and 2010 . Nadal , Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are the only men currently active on ATP Men’s Tennis Tour to have to have won all four legs of the Grand Slam ( Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open) . With his French Open victory Rafael Nadal holds unto the number one ranking in the world, closely followed by Roger Federer.

So here we go again, fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers are complaining , because their high-priced roster of stars are falling by way the wayside due to injuries . Dodgers’ team manager Dave Roberts seems to have his work cut out again for himself this season as the team struggles to get back on track , being competitive within the NL West and NL in particular. At one game above .500, this is not where the Dodgers expected themselves to be at this point of the season , but even with a record of 7-3 over their last ten games game , you have to be feel that this team is far more capable of producing , than what we’ve seen to date.

In their recent weekend schedule the Los Angeles Dodgers came away with a 2-1 series’ victory over the Atlanta Braves . The two teams are next scheduled to meet on the 26th July when the Dodgers will face the Braves on the road Sun Trust Ballpark in at Atlanta , Georgia as part of their regular season series’ meetings in 2018. However, with the rest of their June schedule not yet in full swing, the next game on the itinerary for the Los Angeles Dodgers will be the team squaring off against the Texas Rangers at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, 12th June , with Bartolo Colon of the Rangers facing a yet to be named opposing pitcher for the contest.

With that type of payroll , it’s about time the Los Angeles Dodgers put up or simply shut and just stop with their continued whining about injuries and all of the other things you’d come to expect of their oh so anxious and at times obnoxious fans.



Picture gallery. Click on an individual frame to see that picture in a newly reformatted size along with accompanying narrative.
Continue reading “I’m Calling It A Wip-eout !!!!”

Not Here To Be Anyone’s Stepping Stone ….

Not   Here  To  Be  Anyone’s  Stepping   Stone

So here   we  are  in the lead-up to  the  Christmas   schedule  of the      NBA     season  and   all  is  not  necessarily  well  for  a  number  of     teams around  the  NBA.    Reigning  NBA champions  the Golden   State   Warriors  are  the  best  team  in  the  league ,  even  if  their   present  record  doesn’t     reflect  that.   Until  they’re knocked  off their pedestal  then  they will  remain  the  bar  against   who everybody  else will  be  judged.   LeBron James remains  the  league’s best  all-round  player ,  albeit   that  the Cleveland   Cavaliers  are  now   having   some  teething issues  concerning  their  lineup.   Head coach   Tyronn  Lue  has  yet  to    figure   out  his   best   starting   lineup   among  his  team  of  highly  touted  stars. The Cavaliers themselves  have already   faced stern tests against some strong opponents early on in their schedule.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Slide show.

Up next for the Cleveland Cavaliers will be a game against the Indiana Pacers on Friday 8th December, 2017. I’ve no doubt that the Cavaliers will be around for the NBA Playoffs, but I do believe this team might not be equipped to handle the improvement seen in several of their conference rivals if the Playoffs were to start today. While the Boston Celtics continue to take the league by storm , I am beginning to wonder if this Brad Stevens’ coached team are meant to be the real deal. Kyrie Irving is proving to be a force to be reckoned as he inspire the teammates around him. I do believe he has become a difference maker for the Celtics and I expect Boston to be more than an adequate match for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Boston’s bench has complemented the lineup and it might be among one of the many reasons they are so good this season. .

Brad Stevens will prepare his team for their next game when the Boston Celtics face the San Antonio Spurs on the road this Friday evening. This should prove to be one of the best games of the night on the schedule. I truly believe Brad Stevens is the best young coach in the NBA and his learning curve has vastly improved since he became the head coach of the Boston Celtics . GM Danny Ainge struck gold with his choice of hiring the former Butler coach.

I was once told that the Los Angeles Clippers were considered a legitimate contender for the NBA title during the tenure of Donald Sterling’s owning the franchise. Considering the Clippers’ playoff appearances were sporadic , I believe those claims were laughable to say the very least. This season the Clippers have struggled and the departure of point guard Chris Paul has left a massive vacuum on the roster . Head coach Doc Rivers and his coaching staff are at a loss to explain the Clippers’ poor record and it has become a talking point around the league. Over their last twelve games the Los Angeles Clippers have not been competitive at all and it paints a poor picture of a franchise now on the decline. There could be some drastic changes being made to the Clippers’ lineup if this team finds itself completely out of the playoff race by the trade deadline . Rivers and key members of the front office will have some decisions to make which would have some long-lasting and serious repercussions for the franchise moving forward. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan are carrying this team but it’s clearly not enough given the dire circumstances they now face. .

In their next game the Los Angeles Clippers are due to face the the Washington Wizards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on the 9th December , 2017.

Carmelo Anthony has been a scoring champion in the NBA , two-time Olympic gold medalist , multi-time NBA All Star , but the one thing lacking on his resume’ are is an NBA championship ring. His tenures in Denver with the Denver Nuggets and then the New York Knicks has brought little personal or team success for the seasoned veteran. Having been acquired by the Oklahoma City Thunder the player seems to be more of a liability instead of being an asset for the team . Barely over .500 , with Paul George , Russell Westbrook and Anthony as part of the lineup it is almost inexplicable to explain the reasons why the team is failing. If it is not Billy Donovan and his coaching staff at fault , then the responsibility lies with the lackluster performances of the players themselves. Other than Russell Westbrook not one player on the roster is among the league’s top-twenty scorers in the NBA .

If the Oklahoma City Thunder are not in a position to challenge for a playoff berth by April then their chances of actually making an appearance is likely to diminish even more so. For the moment this Billy Donovan coached team will have to take it one step at a time , one day at a time. Up next for the Thunder will be a game against the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday evening.

Say what you will, but LaVar Ball is certainly making a name for himself on the national pages of the nation’s papers as well as on the sports’ pages . Ball Sr has been in the midst of a spat with President
Donald Trump
and his playing a part in the release of his son, LiAngelo Ball a player with the UCLA Bruins’ basketball team. LiAngelo and two other teammates were arrested by Chinese authorities , after the trio were caught stealing from three department stores in Beijing , China. The Bruins program was in China as part of a goodwill gesture and to take part in a local tournament. The incident caught everyone off-guard, including the State Department , Athletics Department of UCLA , much to the embarrassment of the President and his entourage. In the aftermath of the players’ release , with the help of the US Embassy in the Chinese capital and officials of the State Department . It has to be said that LaVar Ball has not sought to reprimand his son for his felonious behavior. He has seen fit to be critical of the university , after they made the decision to suspend him indefinitely , but the patriarch has since decided to remove his son from UCLA altogether. LiAngelo Ball’s academic future doesn’t seem all that bright and I seriously doubt that he would be accepted by a Division 1 program or for that matter a D2 program in the NCAA . In all likelihood, any ambitions of being seen as a high draft pick in the 2018 NBA Draft will be placed on the back-burner . .

LaVar Ball’s eldest son Lonzo Ball is now making a name for himself in his rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers . As things now stand , Lonzo and teammate Kyle Kuzma might be the only bright spots on a team still learning the ropes under their sophomore head coach Luke Walton . Over their last eight games the Los Angeles Lakers are a mediocre 2-6 and the teething pains are there for all to see. . It will be interesting to see how the this team maneuvers their Christmas schedule as this becomes one of the most pivotal times of the NBA regular season. Lonzo Ball and his teammates will next be in action when they face the Charlotte Hornets in a road game this Saturday (9th December).

A great deal is expected of the Houston Rockets this season and James Harden is simply looking to prove that his performances of last year as no fluke . Harden leads the league in scoring at this point of the season and his productivity for the Rockets has been scintillating to say the very least . The addition of point guard Chris Paul to the roster has been added bonus for head coach Mike D’Antoni and the franchise’s new owner , billionaire entrepreneur Tillman Fertitta .

I expect the Houston Rockets to be among the movers and shakers within the Western Conference this season and they are certainly one of the biggest threats to the continued dominance of the Golden State Warriors. These two teams are likely to be among the top contenders for the conference title at the end of this season if last season’s competitiveness was anything to go by. While many believe James Harden was a worthy candidate for League MVP and the fact he lost out to Russell Westbrook by a slim margin was a clear indication as to how good both players were over the course of last season .

James Harden could very well end up being this season’s League MVP if he continues at his current pace , though not yet matching the feats of last season. He’s clearly one of the most dynamic players in the league today , even if his defensive capabilities do come into question. Harden and the Houston Rockets have an upcoming game against the Portland Traiblazers which will be a Western Conference road match-up .

Steph Curry , Kevin Durant and the members of the Golden State Warriors might not be setting a blistering pace at present but if there’s one thing clear with or without either of their two big stars , this team remains among the best in the NBA . I am not about to suggest the two are interchangeable concerning the lineup , but in all honesty, any doubters of the Warriors are not that intelligent. Golden State will not be in action over the weekend, but the Warriors will return to the court on Monday night to face the Portland Trailblazers at home.


 


Picture gallery. By clicking on an individual image you can view that picture in a reformatted size along with a narrative.

At this point of the NBA season, which team has impressed you the most and which do you believe has been the biggest disappointment ?

—–

NBA   news

  NBA    divisional  standings 

NBA schedule 7th December

This month in NBA history

  Tophatal    ….. 12/07/2017

I Got Game , What You Got ?

I Got Game , What You Got ?

In the world of sports where athletes are times more often than rewarded for their mediocrity , it remains confounding when many of these stars, then seek to gain even more notoriety for the off-court of field antics than anything they have yet to have achieved during their active playing careers. It would appear to be the case now with the Memphis Grizzlies’ veteran Matt Barnes, who but at one time played for both Los Angeles’ based NBA franchises the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow .

Now something of a journeyman within the NBA , Barnes has never been the meaningful or an integral part of any team where he has played. Now seeking to emblazon himself in the minds of the masses, Matt Barnes is on a quest to let the world know about his private life and the fact he has dated pop sensation Rihanna. Last I looked the singer had notched up her own fair share of male suitors which have included current San Diego Padres’ slugger Matt Kemp , rapper , Drake and his erstwhile nemesis Chris Brown . No mean feat by the singer , until you realize, she actually garners more press than the aforementioned names combined and has been more successful from a talent and commercial standpoint. Which begs the question, is Matt Barnes really that much of an asshole ? Yes indeed, he is that much of an asshole and a great deal more .

With the upcoming season of the NBA not due to begin until the opening regular season tip-off , opening night 27th October 2015, much of the off-season and heading into the preseason has been about what various teams have sought to do to bolster their rosters. The Golden State Warriors rode on the crest of an emotion alongside great coaching to win their first NBA title in four decades. Unfortunately , rather than seeking to praise the franchise for the achievement , the press and in particular anal retentive fans, have sought to make excuses for the defeated NBA Finalists the Cleveland Cavaliers and their superstar guard LeBron James. James for his part in spite of his heroics was never seriously in with a chance of winning his third straight NBA title. There was way too much pressure on the Cavaliers to succeed and clearly the inexperience of head coach David Blatt played a part in their downfall beyond the loss of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love during the NBA Playoffs.

LeBron James has been lucky enough to know the front office of the Cavaliers are willing to do just about anything to facilitate the player’s whims , including seeking to acquire just about anyone willing to play a secondary role to the LeBron James traveling circus. Cleveland is likely to be among one of the top draws on the road as well as at home during the upcoming regular season and it is also clear they will be a major ratings’ draw when it comes to a television audience. The Christmas Day scheduling of the rematch between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors at the Oracle Arena is a clear indication of how orchestrated and self-important the NBA now believes itself to be.

While I have no doubt the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will each have a role to play in this upcoming season , where both teams will likely be challenging for divisional honors within their respective conference. I do believe that the West will be the better of the two conferences on display , as has been the case over the last eight seasons.

With Marc Gasol choosing to remain with the Memphis Grizzlies , it will be interesting to see what this team has in store for their fans this upcoming season. Gasol will be the focus of the roster alongside Zach Randolph and Vince Carter , who after all of these years within the NBA still believes he has something to offer a team. There was a time when Carter was among the most explosive and dynamic players within the NBA , but over the last few years , his productivity has declined. Head coach David Joerger and his coaching staff will have a great deal to prove this season if they (Grizzlies) are to be considered among the top teams within the Western Conference throughout the year. Memphis will tip-off their regular season schedule with a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on the 28th October,2015 at the Fedex Forum , in Memphis , Tennessee,.

So much for the hype behind the return of Phil Jackson and what he might be able to offer the New York Knicks by way of his basketball acumen. This past season showed the Knicks to be as bad a team to be found in this league. Embarrassing and simply asinine, might not be enough to describe how bad the New York Knicks just happened to be. What might now be even more befuddling concerning the Knicks were the choices made by the front office during the most recent NBA Draft. Still trying to figure out who Kristaps Porzingis just happens to be? Try looking at his team bio with the Knicks and then ascertain why he was actually chosen as their number one pick in the first round . Someone needs to explain , how a front office led by Phil Jackson, general manager Steve Mills and the coaching staff of Derek Fisher believes Porzingis is a better choice . ahead of players such as Willie Cauley-Stein , Frank Kaminsky , Justice Winslow and several other players many believe to have greater talent than Kristaps Porzingis.

Consider the fact , Knicks’ fans in attendance of the NBA Draft immediately began to boo the choice of the Latvian star whose experience with the Spanish League giant Sevilla was said to one of the main reasons he was drafted by the Knicks. Given New York’s failure to draft anyone of note who has contributed to the franchise over the past five seasons, it easy to understand why the franchise remains such a mess. Phil Jackson’s legacy can solely be judged on his achievements as a head coach , but as a front office executive, he still has his training wheels firmly strapped to his feet . Very much the same can be said of Derek Fisher as a head coach along with his aimless staff of coaching assistants. There are jigsaw puzzles with over one thousand pieces, which could be better assembled than the mess put together by Phil Jackson. Knicks’ fans start kissing your own proverbial @sses , rather than coming up with the regurgitating excuses of Jackson having a plan of action.

Carmelo Anthony may well have chosen to remain in New York because of the money , but the past two years for the player have been wasted years in terms of his talent and the fact the front office has failed miserably in placing around him the talent necessary for the New York Knicks to win consistently , much less make their presence felt in the NBA Playoffs . I do not believe there is anything more which needs to be said about the New York Knicks , where we know their Achilles’ Heal will remain their lack of defense and the fact beyond Carmelo Anthony there remains little to this roster by way of the offense. The Knicks will begin their regular season sojourn with a game against the Milwaukee Bucks coached by their former point guard Jason Kidd when the two teams meet at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee , Wisconsin, on the 28th October, 2015.

Kobe Bryant will enter this season as the highest paid player in the league while on a Los Angeles Lakers’ team likely to be heading nowhere and not as competitive as their fans might believe them to be. Jim Buss and Jeanie Buss , as the senior owners of the franchise along with GM Mitch Kupchak have been culpable in presiding over what has been unmitigated disaster over the past four seasons for this once proud organization. The more Lakers’ fans tend to talk about past glories, rather than deal in the reality of here and now . It is more borne out by the fact , they have simply become delusional and unwilling point the finger at where the responsibilities lay for the Los Angeles Lakers’ fall from grace. Bryant is no longer the player who once reigned supreme over this league and flashes of momentary brilliance cannot hide the fact this aging veteran is now several years past his prime. Yet fans of the Los Angeles Lakers remain optimistic the player can win a sixth NBA title , matching that of his personal icon Michael Jordan .

After a horrendous season in 2014 , it is easy to understand why the Lakers’ fans and the team would like to place it in their rear-view mirror . The Los Angeles Lakers much like the New York Knicks have been feeble in their attempts in drafting players with a competitive zeal, clearly evident in 2014 , 2013 , 2012 and 2011. Granted, this year and their choices of D’Angelo Russell and Larry Nance Jr, in round one , to be followed by Anthony Brown have yet to bear fruit. The feeling however, appears to be , this will be a work in progress as Byron Scott and his coaching staff embark upon this regular season. I believe through their first twenty-five games of the season , will provide us with enough of a gauge to see how the Lakers are likely to fare during 2015.

Scott and the Lakers will open their regular season with a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Staples Center , in Los Angeles California on the 28th October.

Picture gallery. Click on image to view accompanying narrative.

Tophatal ………

Editor’s advisory note

NBA

NBA schedule important dates

NBA tip-off opening night schedule

NBA news

NBA transactions

NBA team payrolls

Highest paid players (salary 2015)

Milestones possible within the NBA this season.

Assists

Points

Games played

Total rebounds

Defensive and offensive rebounds

This month in NBA history

On this date in NBA history

Brackets,jackets and tip-toeing around the patently obvious …

Brackets,jackets and tip-toeing around the patently obvious …

The seedings have been decided upon for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and quite rightly so. The Kentucky Wildcats having ended the season ranked number one in the nation, as well having an unbeaten season bearing a 34-0 record will enter the tournament as its prohibitive favorite, to win it all . John Calipari and his coaching staff head into the Tournament knowing, the first slip-up made, will essentially put to an end a season where a great deal more was expected.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


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

Slideshow.

Players on this Wildcats’ team know a winning season and the NCAA Tournament title will certainly insure great deal of plaudits and the near- certainty of a high draft position in the upcoming NBA Draft this upcoming June . With three consensus first round draft picks among this roster of stars. The names of Karl Anthony Towns , Willie Cauley-Stein and Dakari Johnson simply stand out, as players likely to be taken in the top-ten picks of the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft. If not, then there is something seriously wrong among the general managers and head coaches within the NBA at this juncture.

The four seeds in the regional tournament of the NCAA Championship are Kentucky, Villanova , Duke and Wisconsin . All four teams are in regional draws which will have their pot-holes along the way . where at least one or two upsets are likely to take place as the tournament progress. Opening salvos will be fired in the when the first four teams take to the court on the 17th and 18th March , 2015, as the NCAA Tournaments gets underway to decide the Men’s national champion.

Mike Krzyzewsk and the Duke Blue Devils will certainly have their work cut out for them in this tournament, as their path is unlikely to be easy. As the top seed in the South Regional phase of the Tournament where their biggest challengers could very well be other than their own complacency a , will be the other seeded challengers in the regional phase , with those topping the list said to be , Gonzaga , Georgetown (Hoyas) and Iowa State. As talented as the this Duke team might be considered to be , I do not believe this will be the year in which Mike Krzyzewski guide the program to their fifth national title , all coming under the coaching acumen of the renowned head coach.

With either Derrick Rose or Joakim Noah missing from the Chicago Bulls’ lineup at some point of the season, it easy to understand the reasons why the team has continued to struggle in the aftermath of having lost their League MVP point guard to another season-ending injury , likely curtailing Rose’s long-term future and the rest of his career. Add in the fact, the ongoing relationship between head coach Tom Thibodeau , GM Gar Forman and Head of Basketball Operations John Paxson , is now said to have reached an all-time low, and one wonders how the franchise can gain anything meaningful out of this all, should they fail to make the playoffs .

(6)

Bulls’ forward Jimmy Butler is seen here with Tom Thibodeau . In the absence of either Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose . It has been left to Butler to provide the bulk of team’s offense over the course of the season. Thibodeau’s relationship with the organization has been tenuous at best often becoming heated between the coach and executives, John Paxson and Gar Forman . Courtesy of USA Today/ ..

Not only has the rancor between the head coach and the front office said to have reached an unacceptable level , but it is believed with Thibodeau unwilling to resign, there is no likelihood Paxson or Forman will make the decision to fire their beleaguered coach and their having to honor the remainder of his contract. With Derrick Rose sidelined, it has been left to his teammate Jimmy Butler to step up to the plate in the absence of his more heralded teammate to lead the team by example.

With the Cleveland Cavaliers now raced to the top of the Central Division of the Eastern Conference , the Bulls are now left having to wonder, what to make of their season , while also seeking to play catch-up within the conference. A nine-point road loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder , a road defeat . Butler and his teammates’ next contest will be againstthe Indiana Pacers whom they host on Wednesday evening at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois ,.

In the contest between the Thunder and the Bulls, point guard Russell Westbrook continued his scintillating displays where he almost posted another triple-double . Easy to now understand why he become a consensus favorite for this season’s League MVP. Consider the fact also, Westbrook has been doing this all in the absence of his teammate , Kevin Durant.

Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks must be now salivating at the thought of Durant’s imminent return and the chance of his teaming up once again with Westbrook, to provide one of the most dominant and productive duos in the NBA. With only fifteen games left to be played in the remainder of the regular season, it will be interesting interesting to see how the teams acquit themselves as the season winds winds down .

All is fair in love and war . Granted, LeBron James has proven himself to be something of a warrior this season, as the Cleveland Cavaliers seek to justify themselves as the best team in the Eastern Conference. Their record suggests otherwise when compared to that of the high-flying Atlanta Hawks , who might just be the surprise team the regular season within the NBA . Hawks’ head coach Mike Budenholzer certainly has to be considered one of the leading favorites for this season’s Coach of The Year Award , as it would a complete travesty , were he not among the top vote-getters for the prestigious accolade.

(7)    Alonzo  Mourning   now a  senior   executive  within   the  Miami  Heat    organization   has   been  extremely  critical  of    former   Heat   player    LeBron  James   after  his   decision  to  leave  the  franchise  and    return  to  the   Cleveland   Cavaliers  .  Mourning ,   failed  to   suggest   why  Heat   failed  to  surround   James     with   players   complementary  to   his    skills    capable  of   actually   of  being   competitive   enough  to  have   won   last    season's   NBA  title  .   Getty   Images/  Paul  Miller

Alonzo Mourning now a senior executive within the Miami Heat organization has been extremely critical of former Heat player LeBron James after his decision to leave the franchise and return to the Cleveland Cavaliers . Mourning , failed to suggest why the Heat failed to surround James with players complementary to his skills capable of actually of being competitive enough to have won last season’s NBA title . Getty Images/ Paul Miller

At present, Atlanta and the Golden State Warriors are the only teams with fifty victories or more to their respective resumes`. A possible Finals’ meeting between the two seems a reality, but I believe it to be unlikely given the competitiveness of the Western Conference. Steph Curry and his Warriors’ teammates are having a terrific season , albeit, many would not have considered this to have been one of the teams to beat at the start of the year, with the transition of easing in a new head coach, and Steve Kerr assuming the reins after his predecessor, Mark Jackson’s idiotic decision to alienate himself by foistering his hypocritical beliefs outside the game , upon his players and then to some extent , denigrating the organization . Joint team-owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber had no other choice but to dismiss Jackson, ” freedom of speech” rights or not . There is no longer any space for outright bigotry within the realms of sports , let alone the fact , the former head coach showed a great deal of disrespect for the franchise, with his inflammatory remarks .

(8)

Former Golden State Warriors’ head coach Mark Jackson , foreground and his successor , Steve Kerr. This season the Warriors have not only the best record in the NBA , but the team also happens to be the league’s , most potent offense , leading the NBA in a number of offensive categories . Getty Images

If Mark Jackson wishes to make a point , then let him do so while not representing Warriors and most definitely, if he choosing to express his personal beliefs, it should not be done in such a venal way, with his wantoned disregard of others , his own ethnicity and historically what African Americans have gone through in this country, without then seeking denigrate others, because of their own sexuality. Obviously, Jackson’s own religious beliefs and his comprehension of Biblical teachings, indicates his lack of intelligence and compassion. This has nothing at all to do with “political correctness” having run amok, but more to do with simple bigotry . You don’t cry ” fire ” in a crowded theater , or show downright bigotry of others , without their being severe consequences , and those wishing to excuse such behavior are simply naive or just imbeciles.

In what turned out to be a surprise overtime win over the reigning NBA champions , the San Antonio Spurs . New York Knicks’ head coach Derek Fisher suggested the team should be rewarded for the efforts in this victory. Unfortunately, victories for the Knicks have been few and far between.

If Fisher is of the opinion his players ought to rewarded for those victories , then he sure as hell does not hold these very same players accountable, for the losses amassed over the course of the season. Fisher has shown as a rookie head coach, he still has a great deal to learn , and learning on the job when you have an inadequate group of players , and a front office which remains clueless, it becomes patently obvious to see why this franchise has been a complete mess and the ongoing butt of so many jokes around the NBA. Those subscribing to the fact Phil Jackson remains a basketball genius should really rethink that whole synopsis and realize it has been his ego and complete lack of knowledge in assessing talent which has also led to this debacle. Next up for the Knicks will be a road trip to visit the equally abysmal Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday evening.

(9)

New York Knicks’ head coach Derek Fisher is seen here two of his assistant coaching staff Jim Cleamons and Kurt Rambis , as they discuss a pregame strategy in the lead-up to a game to be played the franchise’s home venue , Madison Square Garden , New York City , New York . On the road as well as at home the franchise has simply been pitiful , having been the first team this season to have lost in excess of fifty games , with a league-leading fifty-three defeats as of 17th March , 2015. AP Photo / Mark Warren .

With both the Knicks and Timberwolves likely to be part of the Lottery Pick for the right to the top pick in the upcoming NBA Draft , it will be interesting to see which of the two teams in question or one of their other fellow banal franchises will be joining them as part of this ongoing facade created by the league to seek in the Draft process.

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


=====================================
Picture gallery . Narrative can be viewed by clicking unto the formatted picture shown.

The NCAA Tournament will likely create a great many thrills and spills, with one or two surprises along the way, in terms of the results. This tournament will ultimately provide us with another D1 collegiate champion in Men’s Basketball. Given the excitement created in last year’s tournament, with the 2015 NCAA championship now underway, let all of the excitement now begin. I may well be wrong , but I do not believe there is now an outright favorite for this year’s NBA title , and granted, there have been two or three teams over the course of this season who have proven themselves worthy favorites or perceived contenders. Yet, a caveat remains , buyer beware, beyond stating the obvious , the only conclusion and sure thing , has been the winner from each conference championship will have an equal chance of being named the NBA champion for the 2014-15 season.

Which programs do you believe will rise to the occasion and become this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Champion ? With NBA regular season now winding down , which teams do you believe have been the biggest disappointment to the league and to the fans ? Also which franchises from the Eastern and Western conferences, will be the Finals’ contestants for this season?

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

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

🙂

Tophatal

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

Tophatal’s Blog on Pinterest.com

——-

NCAA Men’s Basketball

2015 Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament

Opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

——–

NBA

NBA news and archived stories

NBA standings (division) and conference standings

NBA standings (Playoff Picture and with games remaining

NBA results 17th March and schedule 18th March

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

If you want to know how I feel, walk a mile in my shoes ….

If you want to know how I feel, walk a mile in my shoes ….

The NBA season is now in full swing with the often less than memorable Christmas week schedule of games either being of great interest or simply an eyesore . Ongoing stories have evolved around the worsening crisis befalling the New York Knicks (5-28) and the fact this Derek Fisher coached team simply cannot win anywhere , be it on the road or at home. Truth be told , the Knicks simply suck and they are sucking the life-blood out of their season and the league in general. It is a stunning fact one of the NBA’s most renowned franchises is stuck in a morass of its own making. The “quick fix” many felt Phil Jackson might be able to effect has not been a resounding success for a team simply bereftof talent with the exception of Carmelo Anthony whose decision to re-sign with the team must now come into question , bearing in mind he signed a max-contract with the understanding Jackson as Head of Basketball Operations would seek to improve the roster.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Slideshow .

Essentially, the Knicks’ front office executive has simply shown what I believe to be true and it is the fact, he simply has no idea how to assess talent and is simply a great motivator and coach, when the right pieces are in place. How else can you explain the success of the eleven titles won during his now legendary coaching reign , with players such as Scottie Pippen , Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal as the centerpieces of those championship winning teams ?

New York’s last victory came by way of a win over the Boston Celtics on the 12th December, 2014, whom they beat 101-95 at the TD Banknorth Gardens Center in Boston , Massachusetts, in a game marred by some sloppy play from both teams . Eight successive defeats has a way of indicating the lack of confidence shown by a team , but more indicative, has been the lack of leadership from any of the players, along with Fisher’s coaching staff , led by lead assistant Kurt Rambis. Add to this, the idiocy of some suggesting the assistants are experienced enough to provide Derek Fisher, a rookie head coach in his first season,with the experience needed to bring about some semblance of competitiveness. Well that premise, can be quickly put to rest , along with the belief Fisher’s learning on the job will in the end lead to success. During this run , it has been Carmelo Anthony leading the charge from an offensive standpoint. The Knicks’ continued woes are tied to the fact, they simply do not know how to know how to defend, nor are the players inclined to add the facet to their game.

Alongside Carmelo Anthony on this lightly restructured roster are Amare Stoudemire , Pablo Prigioni , Cole Aldrich , Quincy Acy, Jose Calderon , Samuel Dalembert , Cleanthony Early , Iman Shumpert and JR Smith . Suffice to say, if the rumors circulating are to be believed, with Phil Jackson having asked Carmelo Anthony to consider waiving his no-trade clause, it would suggest the Knicks are quite willing to bail on their season , while looking to build for the future. If that premise were to actually take flight , then it is clear the organization have suddenly come to the realization the team is simply not good enough to compete at the highest levels , much less gain a playoff berth for the NBA’s annual end of the regular season foray.

The New York Knicks’ next scheduled contest will be a road gameon the 31st December , 2014 when they face the Los Angeles Clippers (21-11) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, in what will be the last of the regular season scheduled games of 2014.

It was the move meant to send “shock waves “ across the NBA landscape, but instead LeBron James’ return to Cleveland and the Cleveland Cavaliers (18-12) as the ” Prodigal Son” has fallen well short of expectations . James and the Cavaliers are merely three games above.500, although they sit comfortably, as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference and four games behind the division leading Chicago Bulls (22-9) within the Central Division. Yet , for all of the brouhaha made of LeBron James’ departure from the Miami Heat to make a heralded return to the Cavaliers, the fact remains, the four-time League MVP while impressive on the on the court, his teammates have failed to follow his lead.

The top-pick from the 2003 NBA Draft remains a prodigious talent and now the standard bearer and face of the NBA, alongside Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder . This duo, one would hope will create a rivalry which will be long-lasting and appreciated as much as many of the greatest rivalries the league has offered over the course of its history. For the moment however, questions are being asked as to why , LeBron James , Kyrie Irving , Kevin Love and the supporting cast have not been more dominant within the NBA. In their last eight games the Cavaliers 5-3, something of a reflection of the team as a whole and the inconsistency witnessed over the course of the season .

As if to emphasize the issues the Cavaliers continue to face, consider the fact they are coming off a twenty-three point home loss to lowly Detroit Pistons . If that contest was not indicative of why Cleveland cannot be currently considered one of the top teams in the NBA, then someone needs to explain to me why there has been such a hype over this franchise merely because of LeBron’s return to this organization ! From the get-go , there was this rather idiotic rationale James would single-handed, make this team an omnipresent force, but seemingly , everyone who ran with this idiocy, failed to recognize the fact, rookie head coach David Blatt was a novice to the NBA and its coaching style . Blatt , his coaching staff and the team will get the chance to reassert their presence in the Eastern Conference, while also seeking to take the lead (1-1) in their season series against the Atlanta Hawks. With the Hawks having built a solid foundation around a core of Elton Brand , Jeff Teague , Paul Millsap , Al Horford , DeMarre Caroll, Mike Muscala , Kyle Korver and John Jenkins . Tonight’s contest between these two Eastern Conference teams could go a long way in telling us the directions the these franchises may well be heading in .

I certainly believe last season’s NBA Playoffs told us a great deal about the Indiana Pacers . As the number one seeds in the Eastern Conference as the playoffs began, it was felt Frank Vogel and his coaching staff had assembled a team make things tough for the Miami Heat during their postseason foray. Instead, the Pacers capitulated under little duress , albeit, the Pacers capitulated under little duress , albeit, the Pacers played a great deal of the Eastern Conference Finals’ series lacking the offensive firepower to match Miami during the best of seven-game series conference finals’ contest.

Coming into this season the Indiana Pacers remain a flawed team without a backbone and showing very little resilience. In their last five games the Pacers have managed to gain some semblance of consistency winning three of those contests, with their last victory coming in a twenty-five point demolition of the Brooklyn Nets on the 27th December , only to follow up that win with a loss to the Chicago Bulls in what can only be seen as the ongoing weakness of the Pacers as a team. A record of 11-21 is a clear indicator as to where this Frank Vogel coached team should expect to be , with the best player on the roster this season , none other than George Hill, being ably abetted by Roy Hibbert, David West, Rodney Stuckey, Luis Scola , Ian Mahinmi and CJ Watson. Indiana will renew their regular season rivalry when they meet the Miami Heat on Wednesday evening in a highly anticipated game at the Conseco Life Field House Center , Indianapolis , Indiana ,.

Having been the NBA’s youngest League MVP, it is hard to define the career of Derrick Rose. Certainly , on his best days , he can be considered one one of the league’s elite point guards,a facilitator , prolific scorer , stout defensive player and clearly an all-round asset to a team . Yet. for all of those very traits, the question remains, can Rose stay healthy enough to play an entire season, staying injury-free, to aid the Chicago Bulls winning their first NBA title since the era of Michael Jordan being with the franchise ? Tom Thibodeau coaches a tremendous Bulls’ lineup led by Rose , but with the talented shooting guard and small-forward Jimmy Butler coming into his own this season , it would appear the Bulls might now be as talented and with even greater depth than in recent years.

If there remains any doubts about the Chicago Bulls at this juncture, consider where they now stand and then take into account how effective they have been been with the ascent of Jimmy Butler. Derrick Rose and his teammates might be in for a stern test when they face the Brooklyn Nets at the United Center in Chicago , Illinois , on Wednesday night. The Nets are in need of win , while the Bulls simply want to distance themselves from their nearest rivals within their division.

A great offense can undoubtedly aid a team’s effort to come into its own during a season. Nowhere has it been more evident than with the Golden State Warriors (24-5) and Portland Trailblazers (25-7) who continue to blow their opponents away with almost effortless ease . Leading the charge for both teams are Steph Curry and Damian Lillard . These two extraordinary point guards are providing the league with some exhilarating play and perhaps some of the richest evidence to suggest, that in the last five years this has the been richest era of the game, where these positional players have been so dominant and prominent.

Steve Kerr’s easy transition in succeeding Mark Jackson as head coach of the Golden State Warriors has made his task simple and his merely instructing his players to play with gusto has brought them to the point where they are now at, atop of division and the upper echelons of the Western Conference. Trailblazers’ head coach Terry Stotts has simply shown his coaching acumen , while GM Neil Olshey has merely put together a competitive roster ready to play for a well-respected head coach and his coaching staff .

The Warriors’ most game had them playing the woefully inept Philadelphia 76ers (4-26) , a franchise I now believe should be demoted to the NBA’s D League , simply as a matter of common decency and to stop the promulgation of mediocrity exhibited by the Sixers throughout this entire season. The fact this contest ended in a 3 forty-point blowout loss (126-86) for Philadelphia should come as no surprise, but it ought to be for the NBA hierarchy who still try to brand and sell their on-court product, as riveting and of great appeal to the fans . A blind and deaf mute, is likely to find more excitement in their own solitude, than fans of the Sixers, who continue to watch this team while trying to extol the franchise’s virtues of being a worthy diversion within the NBA. It has been these type of issues the hierarchy has refused to address, along with instances of gross misconduct by team owners , until there is known to be public outrage for such antics, but what else would you expect of sports’ entity ran by a bunch of Neanderthal Caucasian middle-aged males, who are from a bygone age .

Stotts and the Traiblazers would likely make for a formidable contender in the NBA Playoffs if they can maintain their current pace. A projected win total of fifty-six or fifty-eight victories could see them land the top seed within the Western Conference , but that would all be based upon supposition and barring any serious injuries to front-line players on the roster. A well-deserved overtime victory over the Toronto Raptors , one of the surprising stories and teams within the Eastern Conference this season is a telling sign as to how well Portland just happen to be doing at present. The Portland Trailblazers’ first game of 2015 will be on the 3rd January when they play the Atlanta Hawks . A fitting way for Portland to begin the New Year than seeking to take down an Eastern Conference foe and further emphasize the fact the East is weak , while the West is extremely competitive among their top-ten teams.

For all of the continued bellyaching by fans of the Los Angeles Lakers , it is always good to know, we are always only moments away from annually seeing the petulant and self-absorbed behavior of Kobe Bryant. I understand his need to win and to be viewed in the eyes of the fans and public alike, that he is indeed this generation’s answer to Michael Jordan . Bryant may well have surpassed the Bulls’ and NBA icon for third all-time on the career points’ list , but that is all all he is likely to achieve in comparison to Jordan. He will not win a sixth NBA ring or title , most definitely not with the Los Angeles Lakers and their current lineup, coached by none other than Byron Scott and his clueless coaching staff !

Double-digit wins, ten (10-22) in total, have been all the Los Angeles Lakers can muster, just over one-third of the way through the NBA’s eighty two game schedule. Begs the question, if the Lakers were supplanted into the WNBA , would they fare any better ? The fact the Lakers have been unable show any type type of consistency putting together only three back-to-back wins should tell you all you need to know about this team and why they are currently one of the major laughing stocks around the NBA and among the game’s fans. Never kick a dog when it’s down, flea-bitten or not, as there is a likelihood for them to jump right up and take a bite out of your @ss. Something this current Lakers’ lineup is incapable of doing . Continuously over much of the season, Byron Scott’s players have sought to play beneath the level of their opponents, rather than above them . I do not believe I can put it anymore succinctly than that !

An eight-point victory victory over the Denver Nuggets , closed out 2014 for the Los Angeles Lakers but their task will not be any easier when they open up 2015 with a game against the Memphis Grizzlies . I believe Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol are prepared to provide an outcome the Lakers players and their fans will not be entirely happy with ! Kobe Bryant may well seek to return to the Lakers next season for an eighteenth year in this league, but at what cost to the organization ? A franchise where GM Mitch Kupchak remains at a loss at this stage of his professional career knowing how to assemble a competitive team, while team owner Jim Buss continues to look bemused , non-cognizant of his actual surroundings and what is happening to the organization he presides over .

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


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

Picture gallery .

Based upon the evidenced witnessed within the NBA , what do you believe has been the biggest surprise in the infancy of the league schedule and which players , team or teams have proven to be the biggest disappointments ? Your comments are more than welcome , so take a stab at making your thoughts known .

🙂

Picture and slideshow details below.

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

(1) John Wall(2) and Rasual Butler (8) of the Washington Wizards guard Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks in the second half of their game at Madison Square Garden on December 25 , 2014 in New York City. Getty Images / Jeff Zelevansky …

(2) Rasual Butler (8) of the Washington Wizards shoots over Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks in the first half of their game at Madison Square Garden on December 25, 2014 in New York City. Getty Images/ Jeff Zelevansky

(3) NEW YORK, USA – MARCH 18TH : New York Knicks introduce Phil Jackson as the new Knicks’ President at a press conference at Madison Square Garden. Also pictured are , far left , team owner James Dolan and GM Steve Mills . Jackson and Mills have seen the team struggle this season and there now seems to be growing speculation the front office will seek to trade their prized and only valuable asset , Carmelo Anthony , with the player being asked to waive his no-trade clause . Anthony is not due to become a free agent until 2019 , having signed contract with the New York Knicks prior to the beginning this regular season. AP Photo by Anthony J. Causi ….

(4) Paul Millsap (4) of the Atlanta Hawks defends against Kevin Love (0) of the Cleveland Cavaliers at Philips Arena on December 30 , 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Kevin C Cox/ Getty Images …..

(5) LeBron James (23) and Kevin Love (0) of the Cleveland Cavaliers react after a play in the second half against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Quicken Loans Arena on December 23, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio . Getty Images / Mike Lawrie …

(6) Jimmy Butler , left , defended by Alan Anderson , was held to eight points during the Nets’ 96-82 blowout win over the Bulls Tuesday night in Chicago at the United Center . AP Photo / Holly Anderson …

(7) Deron Williams (8) of the Brooklyn Nets moves against Derrick Rose (1) of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on January 23 , 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. Johnathan Daniel /Getty Images …

(8) (L-R) Damian Lillard (0) , Wesley Matthews , Nicolas Batum and Meyers Leonard of the Portland Trail Blazers wait on the court as a play is reviewed during their game against the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center on December 22 , 2014 in Houston, Texas. Getty Images North America/ Scott Halleran …

(9) Byron Scott of the Los Angeles Lakers speaks with Kobe Bryant (24) during a time out in the fourth quarter of the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on December 14, 2014 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Lakers defeated the Timberwolves 100-94 . Getty Images/ Hannah Foslien ….

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

😀

Tophatal

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

Basketball related pieces within this site
================================

NBA

NBA news

NBA standings (division)

NBA standings (conference)

NBA results 29th December

NBA results 28th December

NBA schedule 30th December

NBA schedu31st December

NBA schedule 1st January , 2015
—-

NBA player stats

NBA team stats offense

NBA team stats defense

🙂

At this point last season divisional and conference standings in the NBA

🙂

This month in NBA history

=======

From  left to  right ,  Kevin  Durant  ,  LeBron    James  and   Anthony  Davis .
From left to right , Kevin Durant , LeBron James and Anthony Davis .

It’s that time of year to reflect , review and then ponder as to what happens next …

It’s that time of year to reflect, review and then ponder as to what happens next …

There can be no denying this year within the world of sports we all witnessed the highs and lows of the sporting season. Basketball crowned a new champion in the NBA with Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs winning the title, the franchise’s fifth in their admired and revered history. The fact the Spurs defeated the Miami Heat with so much ease , came as a major surprise to many who favored the LeBron James’ led lineup that boasted Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Ray Allen among their ranks. Complacency and a lack of support for James, were the contributing factors leading to Miami’s demise. With James departing during this off-season, a bewildered Pat Riley , the organization and the coaching staff of Erik Spoelstra will now have to start from scratch rebuilding the roster which hopefully, will have some semblance of competitiveness this season.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


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

Slideshow

Off to what might deem a favorable start to their schedule , the Miami Heat are no longer a team to be favored or feared, though I believe they are good enough to gain a playoff berth this season, given the mediocrity of the play encountered in the Western Conference , in a season where in its infancy, the basketball in the conference has been truly astounding and banal. The results bear z this out , without delving further about the reasons why beyond stating , two obvious factors, bad coaching and no depth of talent by way of the rookie players .

While of late, singular achievements have been given a great deal of praise, with Kobe Bryant having surpassed Michael Jordan on the all-time career points list (third) and LeBron James moving ahead of Charles Barkley for twenty third in the rankings. While I believe this all to be commendable achievements, it begs the question, why are fans now beginning to make comparisons with today’s players and those of the past ? The game has changed drastically during the respective eras, along with a number of rule changes initiated by outgoing NBA Commissioner David Stern. This is all overlooked as fans and analysts alike try create a debate that will be filled with conjecture and a great deal of nonsense behind the supposed logic by a number of the debaters on the matter.

On the court the Golden State Warriors led by their dynamic duo of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are seen as capable of leading the team on a dominant run in the NBA and to a deep NBA Playoff foray, albeit, they have encountered some stiff opposition resulting in a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies (20-4) the Warriors still maintain a healthy lead within the Pacific Division of the
Western Conference . No major fallout from this loss, as the loss ,as the team has been able to show its resilience over the course of the season .

In the collegiate ranks of basketball, the NCAA Tournament . Kevin Ollie and the U Conn Huskies won another title which heightened the prestige of the program and the fourth title in the school’s history. The Huskies’ victim in that tournament victory, the John Calipari coached Kentucky Wildcats are once again atop of the college rankings with an unbeaten season and the deemed the best team in the country. They are likely to be a team to be reckoned with as Calipari seeks a second title win to add to his burgeoning resume’. Kentucky has cut a swath through their opponents , but I feel we are reading far too much into the accomplishments at this stage of the season ! The run up to this season’s NCAA Tournament and the event itself will place an d even greater emphasis on how good the Kentucky Wildcats are likely to be. Hard to suggest where a likely challenge is likely to come from in stopping the Wildcats’ dominance.

With its inaugural format within College Football now in motion , last season’s defending national champions the Florida State Seminoles will be looking to make a successful defense of their title. Jameis Winston the program’s 2013 Heisman Trophy winner in spite of his off the field problems has been able to lead the team to their unbeaten run this season. The Seminoles ended the regular season ranked in the top four availing the chance to be part of the playoff schedule which has been essentially adjudged a four-team semi-finals’ playoff format with contests’ winner playing in the national title game.

The four programs who are the recipients of this inaugural system are Alabama , Oregon , Ohio State (Buckeyes) and Florida State making up the quartet. While there will be continued debate as to the veracity of this format , many feel a four-team playoff is by no means the best way to decide a national champion . Yet for all of the criticism leveled and the fact an empaneled body were arbiters on this whole scheme, not everyone can state this was of satisfaction to the doubters as well as some protagonists of the new format. Money remains the driving force behind this all, without anyone trying to suggest this system has been the best possible solution after years of idiocy with the BCS format and a system so void of legality , that it was simply ridiculous for anyone to try and justify its legitimacy. Come full circle, in reality the progress made is simply miniscule , even if the new format is tinkered with at various points in the future, as is likely the case.

This year’s Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota can go out on a high if he is able to lead Oregon past Florida State in their highly anticipated game on the 1st January, 2015. Mariota is highly regarded within the college ranks and seen as one of the most dynamic players in the game as well as perhaps the best quarterback in college football. A victory in that that game, to be followed with a championship victory , will lead to certain financial gain, a high draft pick the upcoming NFL Draft of 2015.

In light of the recent disaster of Johnny Manziel’s first professional start in the NFL this season was such a catastrophe it is hard to see any positives which could come out of the debacle, where the Cleveland Browns were shutout by the Cincinnati Bengals in their divisional clash 30-0 . The fact this was a home game for the Browns was all the more embarrassing for the fans. Manziel in the aftermath of his disaster has suggested he can play better , but that must now come into question after the idiotic decision made by Mike Pettine to sit Brian Hoyer merely to gauge what the team’s 2014 draftee was capable of doing. We’ve now seen what Manziel is not capable of doing and that is to lead a team with any great authority, much less play competently at the NFL level.

As the NFL season has unfolded we have witnessed the disasters of teams thought to be contenders , merely to have their hopes blown asunder, because of sheer complacency or simply bad play and extremely bad coaching. Jim Harbaugh’s tenure with the San Francisco 49ers (7-8) is likely to come to an abrupt end after a disastrous season for a franchise which has he taken repeatedly taken to the postseason in four of the five years of his tenure .

As the NFL season has unfolded we have witnessed the disasters of teams thought to be contenders, merely to have their hopes blown asunder, because of sheer complacency or simply bad play and extremely bad coaching. Jim Harbaugh’s tenure with the San Francisco 49ers (7-8) is likely to come to an abrupt end after a disastrous season for a franchise which has he taken repeatedly taken to the postseason in four of the five years of his tenure . San Francisco’s home loss in week sixteen to the San Diego Chargers put an immediate end to their postseason hopes. The fallout from it all , has been the growing speculation Harbaugh will fired or he resigns and accepts the vacant coaching position at Michigan (Wolverines). An 8-8 is the best the San Francisco 49ers can now hope for , something no might have envisage at the start of this season’s NFL schedule.

It is extremely difficult to now try and justify any reason why Rex Ryan should be retained as the New York Jets’ head coach for next season. In spite of their narrow one-point loss o to the New England Patriots(12-3) the defeat dropped the Jets’ record , with a with a penultimate game left on their schedule, they now find themselves bearing a mark of 3-12 . The franchise’s front office will have several decisions to make beyond Ryan’s immediate future, there is also the questionable performances of Geno Smith and Michael Vick over the course of this season. It remains to be seen wheter not both players are likely to be retained for the upcoming season, but clearly , GM John Idzik and the front office staff have to ponder the drafting of a quarterback or acquiring a reliable free agent to fulfill their needs .

The NFL enters its final week of games, with a number of divisions having been decided . Yet,for all of their accomplishments, there still remains the preposterous diatribe served up within the NFC South all season long . With the Carolina Panthers (6-8-1) now holding a slender one-game lead over the New Orleans Saints (6-9 and Atlanta Falcons (6-9) , a great deal still remains on the line as they each head into the final week knowing that a defeat could end their hopes of winning the division and gaining a playoff berth . Atlanta made sure, they still remain in the hunt, with their total annihilation of the Saints in Sunday’s game, beating a demoralized New Orleans’ team 30-14 . Carolina for their part, kept up their side of the ongoing equation by making sure the Cleveland Browns’ woes continued as the team suffered their second successive defeat . Thankfully, for the Browns’ fans, Johnny Manziel was kept on the sidelines for the entire game,as his services were not needed , not even for mop-up duty .

While I thoroughly enjoyed the exploits of the Kansas City Royals during this MLB Postseason . The AL Central franchise became the rallying cry for the underdogs within the game of baseball, as they wore down team after team on their way to the World Series . Alas, for the Royals it wasn’t to be, as the San Francisco Giants and Madison Bumgarner had more in store for the underdogs than they could ever have imagined . The series’ statistics may well stated the Giants won their third World Series’ title in five years . with some ease (4-3) and in part they actually achieved that. Yet to my mind, the Royals were never in with a chance of winning game seven , simply because of their lack of postseason and veteran experience being part of their lineup !

During this off-season with the Winter Meetings in full swing , teams made their play a> to acquire the free agents sought, while also jettisoning players they believed superfluous to their needs. The Miami Marlins made the headlines for the right and wrong reasons, dependent upon your point of view , but their signing Giancarlo Stanton to his now ridiculous $325 million contract smacks of sheer lunacy and a great deal of narcissism and conceit on the part of the organization . Two years ago this very same ball-club had a burgeoning roster of high-paid stars who simply flamed out under the misguided managerial acumen of Ozzie Guillen . A last place finish in the NL East games out behind the the divisional winner and a further out of card berth sealed Guillen’s fate for the year, leading to his dismissal after a disastrous season where the team was uncompetitive and > in complete disarray on and off the field . In the aftermath of the disaster, GM Michael Hill summarily initiated the fire sale which led to the trading away of those highly paid players from 2012.

A great deal will be expected of Mike Redmond and his managerial staff this upcoming season, because of the high and renewed expectations of this team led by Giancarlo Stanton and their NL Rookie of the Year pitcher Jose Fernandez , who was also signed to a very lucrative deal by the Marlins.

For the greater part of my youth and into my teenage years, I was an avid and voracious boxing fan and aficionado . My two biggest idols from the sport are still remain Muhammad Ali , ‘Marvelous’ Marvin Hagler with former light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins not far behind . All three fighters were great champions during their prime with each rewriting the history books with records likely to be surpassed. I now champion the world of MMA and as an actual martial arts’ practitioner (karate & tae-kwon-do) this sport I believe has far exceeded what has boxing has failed to do in the last decade and that is to draw fans in, rather than systematically pushing them away . The death of another peer of Ali’s , at the age of seventy-five Ernie Terrell died but his career was memorable for the bout in which a charismatic , flamboyant Ali taunted Terrell in a lopsided contest where Muhammad Ali showed his dominance and gave light to what he would go on to achieve in the future . .

Muhammad Ali faces Ernie Terrell for the WBA Heavyweight title at the Houston Astrodome on the 6th February , 1967.

In light of the recent news, that Ali has been admitted into hospital with what is alleged to be a slight bout of pneumonia and with the former champion’s health having deteriorated over the past two-and a half decades. It may well seem sordid, in surmising he could now be at death’s door , wherein, if Parkinson’s disease doesn’t take him from within our midst, this latest health setback, likely will. Ali remains to this day not only the biggest icon in the sport of boxing, but his name and face are the most universally recognized in the world of sports. Outside of Michael Jordan in the NBA and Pele’ in the world of soccer, I sincerely doubt that there has been a more revered icon in the world of professional sports on a global scale.

Boxing has now become a sport, lacking in a charisma , where the top fighters in the various weight categories, simply avoid each other while formulating their prowess and claims of being the ‘true champions’ of their weight divisions . Personally, for all of the hype surrounding a potentially lucrative fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao, I will continue to maintain, it is a fight a number fans have become completely disinterested in ! Is there anyone willing at this juncture, to pay in excess of $55.00 for the “privilege” of seeing these two fighters, who have spent the past three years padding their stats with meaningless bouts , while earning exorbitant fight purses ? This has become the ” new norm” within the sport, along with the petulance of the fighters, promoters , connivance and continued corrupt practices of the various international governing bodies which preside over the boxing. Yet we wonder why the sport no longer truly resonates with fans and how it now lacks a broad-based appeal ?

Meanwhile, a viewed as a pugilistic upstart, continues to dominate the landscape and has become a multi billion-dollar industry under the main promotional flagship of UFC . MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) has now become the fastest growing sport in the world , with an increased audience participation , rising viewership and gate attendances for many of their biggest events staged around the globe. Idiots such as promoter Bob Arum and ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard continue to question the legitimacy of the sport , but have failed to recognize , while boxing has become pallid and stagnant, the growth of Mixed Martial Arts has been explosive. . In little over a decade, this combative style of fighting has caught the imagination of fans around the world and now has a growing legion of female fans, while holding on to its main demographic of males aged between eighteen to thirty-five . If you think fans of the the sport , is strictly confined to adults alone , then you would be wrong, as martial arts’ dojos are now beginning to incorporate MMA within their criteria , while still teaching their main forms of combat , such as karate, judo , taekwondo , Ju-jitsu , Krav-magav and other lethal forms of fighting.

Dana White rules the roost of the UFC, but he has now become more a totalitarian dictator, rather than a lead executive and arbiter of the sport. His apparent idiocy, in chastising many of the biggest names in the sport, who helped place it on the global map, shows not only White’s bombastic attitude, but also his naivete’ and complete stupidity. Can you imagine David Stern questioning the abilities of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson , Kobe Bryant or even LeBron James at the height of their careers ? Well, White has managed to do that with the MMA fighters, while becoming the antithesis of what is expected of a governing sports’ executive.

It may well be a great deal of schtick and panache’ on the part of Dana White, but before too long his idiocy will being to grate on the nerves of not only the fans but also the fighters themselves. The two biggest names in the sport at present are Cain Velazquez and Jon Jones , but with neither fighter having recently defended their respective titles, a small void has been created , yet to be filled by any other fighter, with the character or genuine appeal to strike a note with the masses. Ganted, the likes of Jose Aldo , Anthony Pettis and of late the sport’s only genuine female ‘star’ Ronda Rousey have a growing fan-base , but that might not be enough, unless there is a major title bout involving Jones, Velasquez or former champions Anderson Silva or Georges St Pierre. Rousey and St Pierre may well carved out side careers having appeared in a couple of Hollywood action movies, but their ” bread and butter ” remains the UFC for now .

Having been justifiably critical of the UFC and the lack transparency shown by the hierarchy concerning the drug testing of its fighters with repeatedly violations , most notably by Chael Sonnen , it will be interesting to see if Dana White is willing to welcome back the former UFC welterweight champion Georges St Pierre. Johny Hendricks’ first championship defense of the title , he won in an vacant title bout title as the successor to St Pierre, ended with his loss to Robbie Lawler. . All of the hype and actually nothing to back it up, simply indicated, Hendricks , was not all he was cracked to be .

With no major event on the schedule until January 3rd , 2015 , when Jon Jones defends his Light Heavyweight title against Daniel Cormier in a bout that will see the finality to what has already become contentious period between the two fighters , name calling asides , it’s time for both Jones and Cormier to sort their ” beef out”, rather than act like petulant children . I know the fight scene has to create an angle , with a ” hero” and a ” villain” , but when you are being asked to choose between two self-absorbed individuals, there isn’t much to actually throw your support behind. Your thoughts on that ?

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

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

Picture gallery.

This was my simple breakdown of some of the interesting events I witnessed during the sports’ year and granted, I failed to touch on the PGA , NASCAR the NHL and even the WSOP (World Series of Poker) . So by all means chime in with your thoughts on the event or events of this sporting year which piqued your interest.

o_O

Picture and slideshow gallery .

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

(1) Dec 16, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra gestures against the Brooklyn Nets during the fourth quarter at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn , New York . The Heat defeated the Nets 95-91 . Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports …

(2) Dec 16 , 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) reacts to losing the ball against the Brooklyn Nets during the first quarter at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports …

(3) Dec 16, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Johnson (7) holds his head as Miami Heat guard Norris Cole (30) and Miami Heat forward Luol Deng (9) high-five late in the fourth quarter at the Barclays Center. The Heat defeated the Nets 95-91. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports ..

(4) Nov 11 , 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr (right) pats guard Stephen Curry (30) during the first quarter against the San Antonio Spurs at Oracle Arena . The Spurs defeated the Warriors 113-100 . Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports …

(5) Kentucky players from left, Devin Booker , Tyler Ulis , Trey Lyles, and Willie Cauley-Stein celebrate their 83-42 win over UCLA during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game , Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, in Chicago. AP Photo Nam Y. Huh …

(6) Left , Marcus Mariota of Oregon and Jameis Winston of Florida State . Both college quarterbacks are one of the primary reasons why their respective programs will be part of the inaugural college playoff format which will decide this season’s national champion at the FBS Level of College Football . Both players will likely declare their eligibility status at the end of the playoff season , seeking to enter the 2015 NFL Draft . Mariota and Winston are considered consensus first round draft picks . Yet , there is a common belief teams in need of a passer might well be weary in light of the recent issues of Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Johnny Manziel . AP Photo / David Parsons …

(7) Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers runs off the field after the 49ers lose 38-35 in overtime to the San Diego Chargers at Levi’s Stadium on December 20th, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images / Ezra Shaw …

(8) Quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) of the San Francisco 49ers shakes hands with free safety Eric Weddle(32) of the San Diego Chargers after the Chargers defeat the 49ers 38-35 in overtime at Levi’s Stadium on December 20, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images/ Ezra Shaw ….

(9) New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) talks to his team in the huddle during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun …

(10) New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan , left, and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, right, shake hands after an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Patriots won the game 17-16 . AP Photo/Julio Cortez

(11) Quarterback Geno Smith (7) of the New York Jets is tackled by defensive tackle Vince Wilfork (75) of the New England Patriots in the first quarter during a game at MetLife Stadium on December 21, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. AP Photo/ Julio Cortez …

(12) Miami Marlins’ manager Mike Redmond left and Giancarlo Stanton are seen here in the dugout at Marlins Ballpark in Miami , Florida during a home game on 2nd September , 2014 played against the New York Mets . Miami would go on lose the contest 8-6 . …

(13) In what is believed to be the last known public appearance by former world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali is seen here attending the funeral of boxer Joe Frazier in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , in November of 2014. Ali was recently admitted to a local hospital where he is said to be suffering from a mild respiratory problem and a bout of pneumonia . Ernie Terrell whom Ali beat during his illustrious career recently died at the age of seventy-five. AP Photo / Steve Woods … …

(14) Ernie Terrell gets advice from his advisor Joe Louis between rounds of the vacant 1965 WBA World Heavyweight Title fight versus Eddie Machen at the International Amphitheatre , Chicago, Illinois on the 5th March , 1965 ,. UPI Syndicate ….

(15) Anderson Silva (left) is seen here with UFC President Dana White prior to Silva’s defense of his world welterweight title against Chris Weidman . The challenger would score a surprising knockout of the champion and then follow up that victory with a successful defense against Silva in their rematch which ended with a TKO after the former champion suffered a broken leg in their bout at UFC168 . Courtesy of MMA Magazine . @ all rights reserved …

(16) From left to right , Georges St Pierre , Anderson Silva and Jon ‘Bones’ Jones . St Pierre relinquished his welterweight title, taking a prolonged leave of absence from the sport . The former champion has been critical of Dana White for his lack of consistency and a stringent drug testing policy. White in retaliation, was less than salutary to one of the sport’s biggest attractions and most successful fighters in MMA history . MMA Junkie … …

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

🙂

Tophatal ……..

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

=========

NBA

NBA news and archived stories

NBA archived stories 2013

This month in NBA history

NBA standings (division)

NBA standings (conference)

NBA results 20th December

NBA schedule 21st December

🙂

NCAA Men’s Basketball

NCAA Men’s Basketball news

NCAA Men’s Basketball results 20th December

NCAA Men’s Basketball schedule 21st December

🙂

NFL and news

NFL week sixteen injuries

NFL standings (division)

NFL standings (conference)

NFL week sixteen schedule

NFL week seventeen

NFL Playoff Picture

This month in NFL history

🙂

MLB news

MLB transactions

o_O

Boxing news and MMA

Boxing schedule (recent bouts)

Current boxing rankings (also denotes champions and weight categories)

UFC Schedule

UFC champions and current rankings

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.


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

Slideshow.

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

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

Paint me a picture of the NBA this season

Paint me a picture of the NBA this season

The NBA regular season will begin with its usual customary splash . The defending champions the San Antonio Spurs will begin their defense of their title with pretty much the same core group of players and Finals MVP and now the fourth cog in their wheel Kawhi Leonard being a focal point of the Spurs’ lineup. With head coach Gregg Popovich also returning with his full lineup of assistant coaches it should prove to be eventful in seeing how the Spurs go about in winning the franchise’s sixth NBA title. Few teams have achieved the type of success attained by this franchise over the past two decades.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Slideshow.

The teams have already began their ritual of preseason exhibition games , with many having new lineups. With the departure of LeBron James from the Miami Heat to rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers , it has created a seismic shift within the Eastern Conference , with a number of analysts now making the Cavaliers the prohibitive favorites for this season’s NBA title. Undoubtedly, with the addition of Kevin Love to the roster , Cleveland will have to be looked upon more favorably as one of the better lineups within the conference but as to their being the best team in the NBA , is open to great deal of debate and speculation among prognosticators and supporters of the franchise.

David Blatt , the new head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers , while being a proven commodity , he is simply another rookie head coach within the NBA this season. Blatt will find his task a tough one albeit , he has league’s best player available to him __ LeBron James, along with a good point guard , Kryrie Irving and one of the game’s best power forwards in Kevin Love.

There is a distinct feeling, with both the Cleveland Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs having begun their preseason schedules , the question now becomes , what type of seasons are the two teams likely to have? Age and experience would suggest the Spurs are not likely to be complacent and it is certainly not the way Gregg Popovich is known to approach a season . Cleveland are unbeaten through their preseason schedule . The team in their most recent overcame a tough Indiana Pacers’ team looking to reassert themselves after lackluster and disappointing postseason , where they fell to the Miami Heat —- in the Eastern Conference Finals . That series told us a great deal about the Pacers, specifically how mentally and physically soft the team was said to be as seen throughout the series against the Heat.

The San Antonio Spurs having started their exhibition season with a 1-2 mark with Tim Duncan , Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli playing sparingly during this preseason. Over an eighty-two game schedule, Gregg Popovich knows his players will be going through a rigorous season where fitness will of the utmost if they are to make a successful defense of their NBA title . San Antonio remains a team in its essence being able to play an uptempo game competing with the best in the league. In their most recent contest the Spurs were on the wrong side of a rather lopsided loss to the Phoenix Suns , albeit, that Popovich’s playing staff were under-manned with several players being sidelined for a number of reasons beyond the coach’s decision.

This upcoming season I expect the San Antonio Spurs to meet the challenges envisaged , that will likely come from the Los Angeles Clippers , Oklahoma City Thunder , Golden State Warriors , Portland Trailblazers and Houston Rockets . Of the aforementioned teams , I believe the Clippers , Thunder and Trailblazers are most likely to give he Spurs their toughest challenge over the course of their schedule ! With four games left on their preseason schedule , Gregg Popovich will hope to have his players in sync for their foray into the regular season , but first , a Saturday exhibition contest against their foes from the NBA Finals will be on the agenda , when they play hosts to the Miami Heat at the AT&T Center in San Antonio , Texas,.

The defending NBA champions will begin their season against the Dallas Mavericks in the first of several meetings between the two teams this season.

It has been astonishing to see the growth in Kevin Durant’s game since he entered the NBA , having been drafted by the Oklahoma City (Seattle Supersonics) . An NBA Finals’ appearance notwithstanding and the team’s demoralizing loss (4-1) to the Miami Heat has not quenched the player’s thirst for his first NBA title . Accolades asides , Durant quite possibly poses the only threat to LeBron James’ dominance of the NBA as the league’s best player . What could hamper the Thunder’s season is the loss of Kevin Durant for the first two months of the regular season , with the player being lost to the team , having suffered a broken right foot .

Scott Brooks and GM Sam Presti will now have to press forward in how the Oklahoma City Thunder will proceed without their All Star . If this team is to have any chance of succeeding this season then a great deal of responsibility will be placed upon the shoulders of Russell Westbrook , with the player likely to be asked to provide the leadership needed in the absence of his teammate.

If Westbrook can prove himself worthy of the role in leading the team it would go a long way in allaying the fears of Brooks and the coaching staff. As mercurial a player as Westbrook is known to be , he has yet to show the leadership abilities desired by the coach . However, Scott Brooks believes highly in the point guard in spite of the concerns raised by others , who believe his star something of a loose cannon. Russell Westbrook has proven to be a highly effective player in his role as a point guard. The combination of Durant and Westbrook when on court , they are one of the most productive tandems in all of basketball . It is that type of productivity which will be needed throughout the first two months of the season if the Thunder are to make some headway this season , while Kevin Durant is sidelined by his injury. Who steps up into the role to be the appropriate foil for Westbrook will be predicated on the desires of this team and the coaching strategies of the head coach.

Oklahoma will begin their regular season and opening night schedule with a game against the Portland Trailblazers on the 29th October, 2014. Contests between these two franchises have proven to be competitive and that was clearly the case last season with the Trailblazers surprising a number of analysts and fans alike with their resiliency and sense of purpose . Portland’s head coach Terry Stotts and his coaching staff know that last season’s exploits were no flash in the pan with the team coming away with a 54-28 record, good enough for a playoff berth , but their conference semi-finals’ loss to the San Antonio Spurs bore the hallmark of a team simply lacking recent postseason experience .

LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard are the two players who have led to the team’s ever improving play over the past two seasons . Of the teams I believe capable of making a legitimate run of winning not only their division but also with a chance gaining a playoff berth within the Western Conference this season, the Portland Trailblazers most definitely fit the bill ! This is a well-coached core group of players capable of playing at a high level on both ends of the floor .

A fifty-four win season in 2013 was definitely a sign of the Portland Trailblazers heading in the right direction. This season will be one , likely to prove to be a real test of wills for LaMarcus Aldridge , Damian Lillard , Chris Kaman , Dorell Wright , Robin Lopez , Steve Blake , Nicolas Batum and Will Barton .

The $2 billion sale price agreed to and paid by billionaire and former Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer , if anything signified how quickly the league hierarchy and owners wanted to rid themselves of Donald Sterling when the Los Angeles Clippers was purchased by Ballmer . The missteps of the NBA and sheer hypocrisy of the team owners was one of self-serving and complete embarrassment to the league. As to the apathy and idiocy of fans who tried to suggest while Sterling’s actions were inappropriate , it was not overly derogatory damaging to the NBA. Perhaps those very same idiots have not looked at the makeup of the league’s player personnel and the number of executives and members of the hierarchy who happen to be of an ethic background . The sheer incredulity and lack of action shown by David Stern and his successor Adam Silver after the repeated acts of Sterling , indicates their own naivete and willingness to show that the “old boys’ network “ is alive and well in the NBA along with its ongoing lack of real leadership and social awareness . Pragmatism and rhetoric cannot be used as an excuse for ignorance and the allowance of racial bigotry . Yet somehow , the NBA caught with their pants around their legs, with their dicks in their hands and idiots fans still cannot comprehend the magnitude of Donald Sterling’s inappropriate behavior .

Doc Rivers head coach , SVP & Head of Basketball Operations for the Los Angeles Clippers will be hoping , his team has an even bigger showing this season than witnessed in 2013 . Rivers has seen the growth in the Clippers , with the play of Blake Griffin , Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan , there is every belief this could be the year where the franchise makes an even bigger run in the NBA Playoffs and quite possibly to their first NBA title . Steve Ballmer for his part with an estimated $22 billion fortune has made it abundantly clear , no expense will be spared , as he seeks to bring a title to the franchise , while making the team the most competitive and star-laden in the NBA .

Ballmer’s willingness to make these bold statements, might well be his way re-imaging the franchise , while also seeking to upstage the Los Angeles Lakers whose misfortunes last season were well chronicled. As long as the Lakers are breathing as a franchise , the Los Angeles Clippers will always play second-fiddle to the city’s most beloved and renowned professional sports’ franchise. The Clippers may well struggle this season as they seek to become one of the Western Conference’s elite and more celebrated teams . The talent is certainly there , as to is the coaching , but it has been the complacency shown at the most inopportune of moments which have led to the team’s failures in recent seasons . This year Rivers will be looking to make even greater inroads in the playoffs than seen last year . The conference semi-finals’ loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder told us a great deal about the Clippers and the potential of the team during the NBA Playoffs .

.

Chris Paul and his teammates will open up their regular season schedule with an opening night game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles against their semi-finals’ nemesis from last season the Oklahoma City Thunder . If their previous regular season meetings are anything to go by, then the fans will be in for a great treat over the course of this season.

There is no doubt in my mind four teams in the Eastern Conference will have a great deal to prove this upcoming season ! The Miami Heat , Chicago Bulls , Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks are the quartet of teams in question. Erik Spoelstra will lead a newly revamped roster into this season with team President Pat Riley eagerly looking on in anticipation . Riley’s missteps in part led to the Heat’s debacle the postseason , because of his reluctance to improve the lineup in order to assist LeBron James . As to this idiocy whereby , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade would come to James’ aid , only an idiot would actually subscribe to that notion given how poorly Bosh and Wade played during the playoffs . Sporadic and inconsistent, could best describe the play of both of these individuals during regular season , with their being little comfort in the fact Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade were being handsomely rewarded for their endeavors and lack of real productivity .

I’ve no real wish to labor the issue of the Miami Heat being overrated during their regular season and the very fact , beyond LeBron James there was simply nothing about the team that would suggest they were capable of beating the San Antonio Spurs in this past season’s NBA Finals . Miami will begin its regular season sojourn knowing they are not likely to be the best team within the Eastern Conference

Derrick Rose considered to be back at full strength played his part in Team USA capturing gold at the FIBA World Cup in Barcelona, Spain. The Chicago Bulls will be hoping their All Star point guard will be able lead this team to another deep postseason run . Adding Pau Gasol gives them a veteran presence, but it must be noted Gasol is no longer the player capable of giving a team double-digit output , in terms of offense and rebounds . That much is clear after his final year with the Los Angeles Lakers last season. He will provide a wily veteran’s presence for the Bulls , but in large part the team’s success will be dependent on the form of Derrick Rose. It begins and ends with the determination of the point guard and his wish to rejoin the elite players within the NBA.

The one thing you can say about the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks and it is , both franchises will find a way to hog the NBA headlines. With their payrolls being among the highest in the NBA . There remains no real signs of intelligence or life within their respective front offices. Phil Jackson is now trying to resurrect a Knicks’ franchise still looking for its first title in almost four decades. Carmelo Anthony still remains with the Knicks , but his supporting cast appears to be an ill-matched set of cogs put together without a thought for competitiveness. Add in the fact a rookie head coach, Derek Fisher has been brought in to coach this lineup and you either have a recipe for disaster or the possibility of the New York Knicks surprising a number of fans and analysts alike.

Jason Kidd’s abrupt departure from the Brooklyn Nets says a great deal about Mikhail Prokhorov and his unwillingness to accede to Kidd’s wishes to be given a greater role within the organization . The fact of the matter became the former head coach’s belief he had a right to demand and dictate the player personnel decisions was an affront to the owner and GM Billy King whose responsibility it is for such decision making . Kidd’s primary role was that of being the head coach , a job which in part, he did rather haphazardly and at times showing a great deal of unsportsmanlike conduct and lack of respect in his role .

With a new coach in tow , Lionel Hollins and his coaching staff will be asked to make this team more competitive and to achieve what Mikhail Prokhorov believes to be a realistic goal of winning an NBA title . I believe the task beyond the Nets’ reach because there is simply no real depth to the lineup even with players such as Andrei Kirilenko , Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez on the roster . The question still remains , who among the players will step up to the plate and assume the vocal role as the Nets’ leader ? Garnett is well past his sell-by-date and his productivity is not what it once was. Deron Williams when healthy, is an extremely talented player , but that is all he is and will remain, talented , never a winner . Joe Johnson over the past four seasons has simply been robbing the Nets blind , while rarely stepping up to the plate .

Brooklyn, if they are to succeed this upcoming season they will have to overcome divisional and conference adversaries Toronto Raptors and New York Knicks within the Atlantic Division and from within the Eastern Conference, usual stalwarts the Chicago Bulls , Miami Heat, Washington Wizards, Indiana Pacers and the likely resurgent Cleveland Cavaliers. The first game on the Nets’ regular season schedule will be against the Boston Celtics at the TD Banknorth Gardens in Boston , Massachusetts,.

The NBA season itself should prove to be an exciting one , with the individual awards likely to be front and center , with Kevin Durant looking to defend his League MVP award. Elsewhere , among the rookies , Andrew Wiggins , Joel Embiid , Jabari Parker , Julius Randle , Aaron Gordon and Dante Exum will be looking to place their names on the Rookie of the Year Award . Michael Carter Williams of the Philadelphia 76ers won the award last season , where he was one of the main reasons why the Sixers had some semblance of success. Upheavals within the organization has seen Josh Harris become the managing partner , but the real problems still lies with the coaching staff and the overall makeup of the Sixers’ roster . A deliberate act or not , last season , during the later stages , it looked as Philadelphia was simply looking to “tank their season “ in order to avail themselves of a lottery pick . Unfortunately, the league hierarchy sees nothing wrong in the teams simply fraudulently taking the consumers for a ride, while selling a mediocre product to the fans and public alike being a major attraction.

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


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

Picture gallery .

As the NBA season approaches which players are you most looking forward to seeing and which teams do you believe likely will be the main contenders for the NBA title ? Your comments as always are welcomed , appreciated and as always thank you for the continued support of this site !

😥

:/

Picture and slideshow gallery details below

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

(1) LeBron James(6) of the Miami Heat is helped off the court after cramping up against the San Antonio Spurs during Game One of the 2014 NBA Finals at the AT&T Center on June 5, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. Getty Images / Andy Lyons …

(2) LeBron James (6) and Dwyane Wade(3) of the Miami Heat celebrate after defeating the Indiana Pacers in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 30, 2014 in Miami, Florida. Mike Ehrmann /Getty Images …

(3) Kawhi Leonard is seen here with San Antonio Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich court-side during a regular season game. AP Photo / Adam Shelton …

(4)LOS ANGELES, CA – AUGUST 18: Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers and new owner of the Clippers Steve Ballmer, right, address the media after Ballmer was introduced for the first time during Los Angeles Clippers Fan Festival at Staples Center on August 18, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images..

(5) Jason Kidd seen here court-side during a game between the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers played at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn , New York on the 27th November , 2013 . Getty Images/ Chris Powell …

(6) Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers is hoping to make an impact in his rookie season for the franchise . AP Photo / Miles Moore ..
====================================================

😀

tophatal

Follow Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

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

NBA News , news’ archive > and archived news

NBA transactions

2015 NBA free agents


NBA preseason standings (divisional)

2013-14 NBA standings (division) and by conference

NBA regular season schedule begins (28th October)

NBA team payrolls (2014)

Highest paid NBA players by contract (top-40)

Highest paid NBA players by salary (top-40)

2014 NBA Playoffs

List of NBA Champions

This month in NBA history

On this date in NBA history

————–

The Larry O’Brien Trophy

There is no place like home and home is meant to be where the heart is ……….

There is no place like home and home is meant to be where the heart is ….

In the last few days we have seen an upheaval within the professional basketball world with the departure of LeBron James as he leaves the Miami Heat to rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers . From my own standpoint, I believe that LeBron simply grew tired of having to support a team where his supporting cast were anything but supportive. As to this idiocy, Dwyane Wade’s sporadic appearances and performances during this past postseason were of benefit to the Heat would be like suggesting that Greg Oden became a force to be reckoned with during the season.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


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

Slideshow.

Pat Riley’s ambitious rebuilding of the roster this past season, was so misguided, it begs the question what was he thinking to begin with ? Michael Beasley was meant to add to something to this lineup beyond the menial productivity of Rashard Lewis ? Granted, this was the Miami Heat’s fourth consecutive appearance in the NBA Finals was a great accomplishment, but the menial return of only two title wins, is a reminder of how overrated this team was said to be in their appearance against the San Antonio Spurs in this past NBA Finals.

LeBron James saw no reason to resign with the Miami Heat, knowing that the organization had shown little concern in rebuilding the roster with the talent needed to make the team more competitive. As to the talk of his wishing to be offered a max contract, one that would likely see him being offered a six-year $125 million deal, now seems more imaginary on the part of the media , in light of James signing with Cleveland in a two-year $42 million deal.It will be interesting to see the dynamics of the relationship LeBron James will have with his new head coach David Blatt , in comparison to that of his relationship with Erik Spoelstra .

The Miami Heat’s loss, will be the Cleveland Cavaliers’ gain as the Prodigal Son is welcomed home. A far cry from the events of just over five years ago when LeBron James left the Cavaliers under a cloud of controversy, with their being a great deal of controversy and antagonism between the player and Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert . The front office have to be pleased with themselves, in pulling off such a coup, in resigning the franchise’s best player James, along with point guard Kyrie Irving will be the focal point of this lineup in the upcoming season. Cleveland, almost overnight have gone from being outsiders for the NBA title to a presumptive favorites for this upcoming season’s championship.

Whether or not Gilbert and the front office will seek to pull off anymore deals during this off-season will obviously be predicated on the attractiveness of playing alongside the four-time League MVP . I certainly believe the Cleveland Cavaliers will make the upcoming postseason, simply because the NBA’s Eastern Conference remains extremely poor and will continue to be that way over the coming years. Cleveland are .likely to be seen as presumptive favorites alongside the Chicago Bulls and perhaps the Miami Heat, if the franchise is able to resign both Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh . The pairing of Bosh and Wade along with LeBron James were the primary reasons behind the franchise’s most recent success, but the failing of the coaching staff and the front office led by Pat Riley in addressing the Heat’s lack of depth must be seen as one of the many reasons for their failure during the NBA Playoffs .

Miami Heat owner Micky Arison has yet to issue a public statement on the departure of LeBron James, but there has to be some disappointment with the owner’s knowing that the player’s departure will likely lead to a possible decline in the Heat’s play. Acquiring seasoned veterans such as Danny Granger and Luol Deng might well have added some respite ,but the makeup of Miami’s roster as it now stands , no longer makes them a legitimate threat within their division much less the conference.

If the disappointment of the Miami Heat’s postseason was said to be a surprise then the Los Angeles Lakers’ fall from grace has to be seen as one of the most embarrassing in recent NBA history . Lakers’ fans remain optimistic , that Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss can turn things around with a great deal of urgency. Yet, with the franchise being unable to land a marquee free agent during the off-season leads me to believe the team is likely to have another woefully inept season. An aging Kobe Bryant can no longer single-handed lead this team without considerable aid from his teammates. Anyone believing the likes of Robert Sacre , Nick Young , Marshon Brooks, Xavier Henry , Jordan Hill , Wesley Johnson and Jeremy Lin can make the Lakers a force to be reckoned with within the Western Conference , has no idea as to the considerable mountain the team is being asked to climb. You simply have to look at their failure this past season under Mike D’Antoni to fully appreciate, how the head coach and his coaching staff were completely out of their depth ,without considering the loss of Bryant for a large part of the season .

The Lakers remain without a head coach, while Mitch Kupchak conducts what he says, remains an in-depth interviewing process of prospective candidates . I liken the statement, to one of a suitor, who is not so sure of his choices of a companion for an upcoming dance . Such has been the incompetency shown within the Lakers’ front office , that it is hard to have any faith in the leadership or acumen shown by either Kupchak or team owner Jim Buss. . Among the candidates that are known to have shown some interest in the vacant head coaching position are former Lakers’ players Kurt Rambis and Byron Scott . Both have varying degrees of success as former head coaches in the NBA. Yet, it appears Mitch Kupchak would rather prolong the situation’s process, in the hope of hiring the right d candidate as the successor to Mike D’Antoni. . Unless the Los Angeles Lakers can hire a coach with a proven track record, then the franchise is likely to struggle in the upcoming years , without ever being able to challenge for an NBA title . As optimistic as their fans continue to be , in reality, they have to know that the writing is on the wall. Kobe Bryant is now in the waning days of an undeniably successful career , but it would be foolish to think he will still be playing for the franchise three or four years from now .

While I believe the NBA has been a marketing phenomenon on the global stage , I believe its hierarchy , first under David Stern and his successor Adam Silver have been negligent in their handling of the Donald Sterling issue ! As the legal process now plays out within the legal system , with the Los Angeles Clippers’ owner and his estranged wife Rochelle Sterling now fighting over the ownership of the franchise as well as their matrimonial assets.It begs the question, how could things have spiraled out of control , after Sterling’s repeated egregious behavior ? As to this idiotic insistence , the former commissioner has been of great benefit to the NBA , well if you value the rising value of the NBA teams , then you would be correct , he has been of benefit to the league. In the case of his custodial responsibilities in upholding the integrity and image of the NBA, I would say he proven to be a disaster , with his lack of leadership and corralling the behavior of the players, that of the team owners and in some cases the front office executives . Excuses continue to be made for the lack of common decency with apathy being shown not only by the fans themselves but also the media, in the ways they have continued to cover the stories within the league concerning player misconduct and that of the owners. But I believe this is simply a reflection of the society we now live in , where a lack of respect no longer seems to be the norm !

The NBA off-season is said to be encompassed by hyperbole, then a great deal of it comes down to the issue of the free agency period. Where conjecture, rumors and speculation make up a great deal of the idiotic news we are continually being force-fed by the media , but specifically, the on air talent who cover the league in general. If they cannot create the suspense surrounding a story , then why not simply create the perception it is for real by sprinkling some falsehoods. Sports’ journalism is no different from that of real news being played out on the domestic front and the o global stage . The journalists themselves now believe they are as popular as the stars they cover, if not more so in some cases , furthering their own profile in the public eye. Buy into their garbage and you are likely to believe just about anything that they will say or write.

Other than LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony was the biggest free agent to hit the market during the off-season. Anthony’s willingness to resign with the New York Knicks now makes him among the highest paid players in the NBA, by way of his contract and annual salary. The player’s six-year $124 million deal slightly dwarfs Joe Johnson’s still ludicrous contract with the Brooklyn Nets . And there are those who suggest that the NBA in terms the contracts being offered reflects a player’s worth and what the market is ready to bear ? An instant recipe for disaster for franchises without any financial expediency and fans who do not understand the nuance of how a business works and that sports’ economics, especially as it relates to the NBA.

Anthony’s return to the New York Knicks and Phil Jackson’s persuasive powers would prove to be too alluring, but I cannot help wonder if the reason was not the fact, the player knew, once LeBron James chose to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers , the chances of the duo teaming up together remained simply an elusive gambit. Carmelo and LeBron James in New York would have been a persuasive image for fans of the NBA to watch the Knicks with a great deal more intensity. Now it comes down to, how the Anthony will readjust his mindset under rookie head coach Derek Fisher and being surrounded with a new supporting cast , which on paper looks a great deal better than what was on offer from the team last season .

Far be it for me to suggest, but Kevin Love’s last three seasons in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ organization have been a complete waste of the player’s talents. Glen Taylor , Flip Saunders and the front office have spurned the issue of seeking to make the team more competitive. This has worn thin one of the NBA’s most talented players as he seeks with a great deal of legitimacy the chase for that elusive first NBA title . Love, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant might be the best players currently in the NBA without an NBA title to their list of achievements.

Now with the Timberwolves quite ready to trade the power forward, with a great deal of interest being shown by the Golden State Warriors , it will be interesting to see what directions the now ongoing deliberations take between the two teams. Will the asking price be too high and are the Warriors ready to give up a bevy of players to make the deal a reality ?

The Warriors’ co-owners, Joe Lacob and Peter Guber are known to very ambitious individuals who are well versed in their respective fields. Yet the thought of making their franchise , perhaps the best NBA team in the state of California is not something that can be overlooked. I certainly believe that the Golden State Warriors are the equal of the Los Angeles Clippers , certainly better than either the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings in almost every aspect of the game ! The continued knock against the Warriors , will be that until they make a deep playoff run with Steph Curry leading the team , they can only be looked upon as a franchise with a great deal of flair and offensive firepower .

The Golden State remains a work in progress and I believe the team in its current guise with the potential addition of Kevin Love are credible challengers to the San Antonio Spurs , Oklahoma City Thunder , Los Angeles Clippers for conference supremacy. As things now stand even with the Spurs having the same cast of characters with an addition or two they are still likely to remain the best team within the conference and the NBA in general. Their clinical dismantling of the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, was simple proof of the fact, they remain a team be reckoned with, just as long as their Hall of Fame destined triumvirate are part of their arsenal. With Gregg Popovich also having signed a contract extension with the Spurs, team owner Peter Holt and the front office have reaffirmed their faith in the head and his coaching staff . Now comes the defense of their title ,where they are likely to caught in the cross-hairs of the NBA’s other combative teams.

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


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

Picture gallery .

During this NBA off-season, which story or event do you believe to be the most important? By all means leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site as it has always been greatly appreciated !

😉

Picture gallery slideshow details below .
=============================================

(1) In a scene from the classic movie “The Wizard of Oz “ , from left to right , Bert Lahr, the Cowardly Lion, Ray Bolger , Scarecrow, Judy Garland , as the heroine Dorothy Gale and Jack Haley as the Tin Man. The movie made in 1939 remains a timeless classic loved by generations . Courtesy of Warner Bros .

(2) A pensive LeBron James speaks to the convened press during this past season’s NBA Finals . James’ gallant effort was not enough to stave off the Miami Heat’s embarrassing 4-1 series’ loss to the San Antonio Spurs in the Finals. His announcement that he is rejoining the Cleveland Cavaliers took the NBA world by surprise including the front office of the Miami Heat . AP Photo/ Chris Charles …

(3) Luol Deng of the Cleveland Cavaliers agreed to a two-year $20 million deal with the Miami Heat as team President Pat Riley seeks to rebuild the roster after the departure of LeBron James who rejoined the Cleveland Cavaliers, signing a two-year deal with the franchise . AP Photo / Amy Morton ….

(4) Jeremy Lin who this off-season was traded by the Houston Rockets , joining the Los Angeles Lakers . Lin hopes to add some much-needed productivity to a team that languished at the position within the conference this past season . Getty Images / Christina Belcher …. ..

(5) Byron Scott is rumored to the frontrunner to succeed Mike D’Antoni as the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers . Scott is the only known candidate to have been interviewed twice by Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss for the vacant head coaching position . AP Photo / Paul Matthews ….

(6) Minnesota Timberwolves’ power forward Kevin Love . The Timberwolves are said to be interested in trading the player , with the main suitors in such a deal, being the Golden State Warriors . Team owners, Joe Lacob and Peter Guber , a highly ambitious duo, are keen to make a big off-season splash and see the acquisition of Love as a big part of gaining a much higher profile for their franchise . AP Photo/ Morton Parker ……..

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

🙂

tophatal

Follow on Facebook.com Tophatal’s Blog

—————————

NBA news and archived stories

NBA transactions 2014-15 and concise NBA transactions

NBA free agents

NBA free agents 2015

NBA D League

NBA D League news

This month in NBA history

On this date in NBA history

Put a ring on it ………….

Put a ring on it ……….

In the past few days, the interest in witnessing the mounting speculation after LeBron James chose to opt out of his contract with the Miami Heat has been dramatic and somewhat idiotic. Joining James in the same attempt are teammates Udonis Harlem, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh . The angst caused to Heat team President Pat Riley and team owner , Micky Arison , as they now seek to resell all three core players and Haslem on the idea of taking less money for the betterment of the organization, seeking to move forward and be much more competitive. It was very clear that not only were the Miami Heat overrated but those who bought into the idiocy, that they were the best team in the NBA , simply had no damn idea what they were talking about, much less looking at. The way where the Heat were humiliated in the NBA Finals, was clearly indicative of why the NBA’s Eastern Conference is so damn mediocre without the ongoing asinine insinuation that neither the Heat or the league hierarchy are to blame for the league’s ongoing woes and lack of competitiveness within the conference and its divisions .

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

——————————————————————————–

Slideshow .

LeBron James has now not only sought to alienate himself among the fans of the NBA, but there are now likely to be questions about the player’s legacy and where he stands among the all-time greats of the game. Selfishness and narcissism are now the words that come to mind when perhaps describing LeBron James. Yet in large part, the team’s woes of the postseason and specifically why the Miami Heat failed so miserably as a team and individually, with their being absolutely no leadership being shown on or by anyone on the roster during the NBA Finals. A lopsided 4-1 series’ loss , was about as clinical a defeat that a team has suffered in the NBA Finals’ series in recent postseason history. As to what this all suggests about the Miami Heat as an organization , can be best summed up by those who are now seeking to make excuses for the Heat’s loss, while not seeking to acknowledge any great deferment to their opponents, the San Antonio Spurs. This was simply because they are not glamorous enough an organization but yet this has been the garbage, sold to NBA fan-base by the league hierarchy and specifically by David Stern during his tenure and it looks as if that same passage will be taken by his successor Adam Silver .

Now pardon for me saying this, but this asinine notion, this past NBA Draft by comparison was on par with the famed 2003 NBA Draft class , which brought us LeBron James as the number one overall pick, and also included Carmelo Anthony , Dwayne Wade and several other notable aspirants from that year. The hype and melodrama that surrounds this idiotic circus continues to show us why the process tends to be one monotonous bore, not unlike the comedic spectacle of the drafts of MLB, NFL , NBA and NHL . Like a badly acted and played out Latin tele-novela soap opera , it is becoming increasingly more difficult to understand why this idiocy is televised annually. for each the four major professional team sports. The drama that is said to be warranted by this all , is no better than a political debate between two opponents with nothing to say, but who are also so dumb founded clueless, one has to be worried about the political climate and the direction that the nation is now heading in. The same things, equally can be said about the state of each, within professional basketball, football, ice hockey, baseball and baseball.

The drama that will now follow LeBron James, as he seeks to force the Miami Heat to offer him a max contract which is in no way in the organization’s best interest will, also hinder the process of them seeking to get better. As to the assumption that the drafting of Shabazz Napier gives Pat Riley even more credibility in luring James to remain with the franchise. Ask yourself the question ,how will the general manager and team President seek to bolster the franchise, when the top player of that team, shows his discontent with the franchise, merely, because he was unable to win a third consecutive NBA title? His supporting cast, was simply not good enough and he also was unable to show any ability as a team leader. James, is certainly a great player, but he cannot be placed on the same plateau as his idol, Michael Jordan .

From afar, I have admired Jason Kidd as a great player and perhaps among the top twenty-five point guards in NBA history. His ascent into NBA coaching though rushed, the success attained the Brooklyn Nets while impressive . One has to admit that were the Nets playing in the Western Conference I seriously doubt that their year-end record would have garnered them a postseason berth, in spite of the alleged talent on the roster . Having made the postseason their exit from postseason play was as swift as butter melting off a hot knife.Their loss to the Miami Heat was a lopsided affair with seasoned veterans Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett almost nowhere to be seen in that series. How Joe Johnson , remains the NBA’s highest paid player in terms of contract value and among the top forty players in terms of annual salary , is as mystifying as the idiocy of Ted Cruz now being seen as a future Presidential candidate , among the GOP fraternity of mind bending loons. There are some things that one can prove in the world of sports and politics, but in the case of Johnson and Cruz, it remains a mystery as well as being comedic, in nature .

Jason Kidd having led the Nets to the postseason in his first year as the Brooklyn Nets’ head coach, sought to have more of a say in the day-to-day running of the team’s operations , leading to a clash with team GM Billy King and the Nets’ billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov . King has the ear and the implicit faith and trust of the owner, but it was the coach’s indifference in not being given a greater role as a reward, for his guiding the franchise to a conference semi-final berth, led to a parting of the ways. It would seem that Jason Kidd’s ego is as big as his opinions, in the belief that his rookie season is a reflection of what he believes makes him a great coach. Somehow, those opinions were not necessarily shared by those within the Nets’ front office , coaching staff or among the players themselves.

The fact that Kidd has seen fit to pursue a position with another NBA franchise whose coach was still in that position. not only reflects the lack of respect that the Nets’ head coach has for his peers, but it also reflects the duplicitous nature and double standards within the NBA. Larry Drew may well have known that his job was in jeopardy but the lack of respect shown him by Herb Kohl and the Milwaukee Bucks’ organization> shows that franchise to be just as conniving as Kidd himself. Drew was fired , not because of his failure as a head coach, but simply because Kohl sought to displace a coach he did not believe fits the mold of what he desired in a professional basketball coach. The Bucks’ as an organization, have failed miserably over the last seven years and the front office remains a prime example of what happens to an NBA franchise that has no one with the acumen to really make the right personnel decisions necessary. Their failure beyond being a reflection of a Bucks’ team heading nowhere , was also an even greater reflection Herb Kohl’s own failures as an owner. The rumors are now widespread that he will seek to sell the team to an owner willing to keep the Milwaukee Bucks in the greater Milwaukee area. Yet, that predicament will be solely based upon the willingness of the potential new owner not wishing to move the franchise.

Kidd may well come in riding on a white charger and be seen as some type of savior, but my own thoughts are, he has made a monumental mistake , while burning several bridges behind him ! The lack of action by the league hierarchy, in not fining Jason Kidd , for pursuing a coaching position that was not vacant, has been symptomatic of an organization which continually makes up the rules as it goes along, but also one that will condone some of the most repulsive behavior, while moronic assholes, who call themselves NBA fans, try to justify an idiot such as David Stern, of being a real benefit to the NBA. One could liken that to Hillary Clinton’s thoughts on what it is to being a pauper and what it is to being extremely wealthy. Clueless, as well as being extremely dumb.

The more things are said to change, the more they remain the same and the very fact, Donald Sterling has the NBA hierarchy, the team owners and his estranged wife , Rochelle Sterling within his cross-hairs, will prove to be a real embarrassment to the league. I read one patron’s comments on another side during which he stated that the league could enforce the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers from the now disgraced owner. That may well be true, but consider the fact, Sterling’s racial tirade was not unlawful , but simply the uttering of a racial bigot. Now consider , the NBA as a league , where misogyny among the players is considered a sign of masculinity and bravado, while the league’s intolerance of a player’s homosexuality is considered taboo and off-limits. All of this, from a league hierarchy, whose former commissioner sought to use racial stereotypes to sell his brand on the domestic and global market .Am I missing something here , but half a century on from the civil rights’ era and the alleged leaps and bounds that are claimed to have been made, are merely a charade and nothing more than a baby still learning to walk. Understandably, that child is likely to take repeated stumbles, but how many more can the NBA really afford to take at this juncture ? Where is the outrage and common decency among the fans, who fail to call out a league hierarchy and its union for being so inconsistent and incompetent on so many damn social and NBA related issues ?

The NBA (basketball) may well be a great sport to be a spectator of, but in reality what has it now become ? Billionaire team owners , narcissistic players and a brand that in no way is a true reflection of a sport that in its heyday, really had the fans speaking in glowing detail about their teams. It has now become about the “me mentality” , not just among the players , but also among the owners and front office executives as well .

Phil Jackson cannot walk on water, nor can he turn water into wine or feed a crowd of thousands with several basket of bread and fishes Yet , New York Knicks’ fans believe him to be the NBA’s answer to the Messiah. Eleven NBA championship rings can place you in rarefied air but Jackson is no miracle worker as of yet , when it comes to the New York Knicks. As to this asinine notion that Carmelo Anthony will remain in New York because his wife and son enjoy the lifestyle . Last I looked , it was Anthony who was the breadwinner in the household, while his wife, La-La Anthony remains a D-List celebrity and a BFF of reality show star Kim Kardashian.. If the player truly wants to pursue the furtherance of his NBA career, then he has to see that the “writing is on the wall” and a move elsewhere would be in his best interests. His pursuit of that elusive first NBA ring is now beginning to take on epic proportions by way of the Knicks’ incompetence as an organization , before and since Phil Jackson joined the front office to head up the team’s Basketball Operations.

. Jackson’s first personnel move was the acquisition of Lamar Odom and with the departures of Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton , I can only assume beyond cap room flexibility this will afford Jackson the chance to prove to Carmelo Anthony that he does mean business in seeking to improve the roster . If the move in the acquisition of Odom was meant to impress anyone it certainly did not impress Carmelo Anthony and only a fool would see the maneuver as a positive. Phil Jackson’s assessment of talent is questionable at best, but there is no denying his legacy as a head coach. Yet, I believe he has no wish to step back into the scorching cauldron of being a head coach in the NBA once again. The fans may yearn for his return but Jackson’s ongoing health issues and his wish to be around his family remains the primary reason he has chosen not to return to the league and redefine his legacy as perhaps the NBA’s best coach in the league’s history. ‘

The move that will either impress or intrigue Knicks’ fans, was the hiring of Derek Fisher to succeed Mike Woodson as the new head coach of this franchise. The relationship between Jackson and Fisher is one of mutual respect, but I am not so sure that will be enough, as the pair set about rebuilding the team .It was clear last season the Knicks were a flawed team in several areas , with Carmelo Anthony being the sole bright spot on an otherwise moribund roster.

As the NBA’s off-season takes a path of uncertainty with the legal assailment of the veracity of Donald Sterling’s legal suit against his estranged wife Rochelle Stein-Sterling and her selling of the Clipper’s franchise. The buyer, billionaire former Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer is likely to pull the plug on his $2 billion bid for the franchise , if this legal case becomes protracted. Sterling also has a two potentially damaging legal suits against the NBA and its commissioner Adam Silver that will likely embarrass the institution even more so than their apparent inaction in not dealing with Sterling’s egregious behavior. The league remains an archaic fraternity and institution where leadership is truly lacking, with the owners, simply acquiescing to just about every idiotic edict rung down by idiots such as Adam Silver and David Stern, throughout the years , simply because , financially it made them a great deal wealthier . There is little common sense to be found within the NBA among its upper echelons and within the front offices of the franchises there, without looking at the ongoing hypocrisy of the game’s leading players.

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

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

Picture gallery .

As Andrew Wiggins , Jabari Parker , Joel Embiid and the other rookies are made welcome to the NBA, I wonder what story will be prescient a year from now in the league and which team will have been triumphant in the NBA Finals ? Simply leave a comment on this and anything else you believe to relevant to this article.

🙂

Picture and slideshow picture details below.
==========================================================

(1) Miami Heat President Pat Riley, left, and owner Micky Arison look at the NBA Championship trophy during a public celebration for the team in Miami, Monday,June 25, 2012. Having made four consecutive appearances to the NBA Finals from starting in 2011 , the Heat fell to the San Antonio Spurs in this past season’s NBA Finals in a lopsided 4-1 series’ loss. The front office will now embark on a rebuilding process while seeking to bring back their core of NBA All Stars in LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. AP Photo/J Pat Carter ..

(2) Jun 5 , 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) talks to San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) during the second quarter in game one of the 2014 NBA Finals at AT&T Center. Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

(3) Newly installed New York Knicks’ head coach Derek Fisher , left , is seen here with the team’s Head of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson . Fisher signed a five-year $25 million deal to become the team’s head coach and the pairing will now seek to rebuild the roster while hoping to convince Carmelo Anthony to remain with the franchise. AP Photo / Rick Brown …

(4) Jun 13, 2013; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets general manager Billy King (left) listens as head coach Jason Kidd speaks during a press conference to introduce Jason Kidd as the new head coach of the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center in Brooklyn , New York ,. Kidd has since departed from the franchise after a disagreement with the organization concerning his duties . The former NBA point guard has since succeeded Larry Drew as the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks. Courtesy of USA Today Sports/ Brad Penner …

(5) Larry Drew , former head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks , whose ouster has many questioning the integrity of not only the NBA but also the Bucks’ front office and specifically the behavior of Jason Kidd , who sought the position before Drew’s firing by the franchise. Getty Images / David Mason ….

(6) Donald Sterling is seen here with his estranged wife Rochelle Sterling at a Los Angeles Clippers’ game played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , California ,. The two are now involved in a bitter court battle, where Donald Sterling is now challenging the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers’ franchise to Steve Ballmer . The deal having received the approval of the NBA’s Board of Governors is being challenged in the US Federal Court , by the beleaguered owner. Sterling also has two legal suits against the league hierarchy and its commissioner seeking unspecified and punitive damages. A long and protracted legal battle would prove costly for the NBA and a loss of that case , could lead to a multi-billion dollar payout were the decision to go in Donald Sterling’s favor. Getty Images North America / Kelly Bishop …..

(7) Bill Self , left , head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks is seen here with the team’s center Joel Embiid who was taken as the third overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft . Embiid plagued by back and foot injuries is hoping to make a solid contribution to the Philadelphia 76ers this upcoming season. AP Photo / Nestor Gomez ….

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

🙂

tophatal ………….

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

🙂

NBA news

NBA Draft and 2014 NBA Draft order

2014 NBA Free agents and transactions

This month in NBA history

On this day in NBA history

——————————————-

Beyoncé’ …………… ” Single ladies (Put a ring on it) “

It is , all about me !

It is , all about me !

They are willing to talk the talk, but not often enough do they walk the walk. I find it rather disingenuous, when I read or hear an analyst’s or sports’ journalists using an athletes’ background or ethnicity , to suggest that they have been through a troubled life . In recent months. we have seen the hypocrisy of today’s athlete manifest itself in a some ways and following suit, have been the anal retentive fans , through their own ignorance and stupidity seeking to make excuses for the behavior of these athletes. Nowhere has this been more clear than within the NBA and NFL , where there the respective hierarchies seem to be just as idiotic as the players themselves.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


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

Slideshow.

In the NBA , perhaps the player with the biggest image and profile , is that league’s four-time regular season MVP and current member of the of two-time defending NBA champions , the Miami Heat . Globally, LeBron James has become a superstar , and he might now be the closest thing that the fans have seen to Michael Jordan , since the six-time NBA champion walked away from the game for the final time. James, like Jordan, has closely manicured an image that has seen very little major controversy. Granted, Michael Jordan’s private life has seen some controversy, with his penchant for gambling and what was said to be a multi-million dollar divorce from his now ex-wife Juanita Jordan . The former NBA great and current owner of the Charlotte Hornets is now seeking to make that franchise a competitive entity within the league and so far Jordan and the reviews of his achievements have not exactly been favorable.

For much of his playing career , Michael Jordan stayed out of the political fray , choosing not make his thoughts felt on a range of subjects , even when one of his main corporate sponsors Nike Inc was facing charges of using child labor in the Far East to make apparel that bore the Nike and Jordan name . Somehow , the league and then NBA Commissioner , David Stern did not feel it proper to step in and even make a statement on the matter , even when it became abundantly clear that Nike was in fact ethically wrong, without an admission of guilt on their part.

Phil Knight over the past decade , has tried to create a much softer and socially conscious image of the company he founded , which also made him an extremely wealthy individual . Nike remains one of the most recognized names in sports’ apparel manufacturing, with a global presence on all seven continents. Their presence will be seen and felt at the 2014 FIFA World Cup , where they are one of the tournament’s major corporate advertisers. on soccer’s biggest international stage and the world’s second biggest sporting event behind the Summer Olympics, upwards of 1.7 billion people will be watching this month-long tournament to decide international soccer’s next world champion..

Today’s athlete, rarely speaks out on any type of political issue or social injustice. When they seek to do so , their response tends to be either innocuous or actually downright idiotic, almost as if, they are uninformed and lacking an education, much less being knowledgeable on a specific issue. Prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics , LeBron James was questioned about his thoughts on the actions taken by the Chinese government at Tiananmen Square in the Chinese nation’s capital. The player’s response was befuddling and somewhat idiotic , but then again, I would not have expected anything less from someone who now espouses education and being informed. Yet , here is a player, who simply eschewed a college education , because it was widely known that he would have been sanctioned by the NCAA, coming under a great deal of scrutiny by college athletics’ governing body for what is believed to be unsolicited monetary payments made indirectly to James and a member of his family. James for his part , with his battery of advisers , tries to now represent himself as a spokesman for his peers.

In light of the recent controversy surrounding Donald Sterling , it was once again rather amusing to hear LeBron James suggest that if the league hierarchy did not take action against the beleaguered Los Angeles Clippers’ owner , he and many of the peers would take action , by simply failing to show up for the remainder of the NBA postseason . I believe the player’s bark is actually worse than his bite and his stance was nothing more than a show of strength , that in reality , his proposed action would never have taken place.

As great a player as LeBron James is said to be , he has yet to truly step into the fray and be truly vocal on any type of issue. Handing out bicycles as part of a philanthropic effort , means nothing, when on the other hand , you brazenly suggest that your biggest wish, is to become a billionaire and shower your teammates ostentatiously, while within earshot of the Miami home venue , you have over 7,500 homeless individuals, sleeping on the streets , many of them children and US military veterans. A further case can be made, about how out of touch with reality the NBA and their players are said to be. In what was known to be a very emotional case, where the justice system failed miserably , the shooting death of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman held the nation spellbound for weeks, as the trial unfolded on national television. The failure here, was not only shown by the incompetency of Florida legal system but also the complete lack of intelligence of the jury and the incompetence of the State’s Attorney prosecuting the case. Somewhat reminiscent of the incompetency shown by Christopher Darden and Marcia Clarke , in their handling of the OJ Simpson ” trial “ in Los Angeles County two decades ago. Simpson , as we now know, is incarcerated , for kidnapping and taking two victims hostage , while he and his accomplices are said to have confronted his victims , with a view to gain what was said to be his personal property. You win some and you lose some.

The NBA players’ response, in showing solidarity with the victim Trayvon Martin was to take the action of wearing hoodies and standing to attention in a moment of silence. As to what this ultimately signified , can be best left for the players themselves to answer, in particular LeBron James and his teammate Dwyane Wade , who in the aftermath of their actions could not succinctly explain what was achieved. The tragedy here was that Trayvon Martin’s slaying was just one of countless deaths that have been similar in fashion, to have taken place in the state of Florida during the past eighteen months and it should not matter concerning the ethnicity of the victim. It should be noted also , that prior LeBron James’ entry into the NBA in 2003 , David Stern saw fit to use as a sales’ gimmick the genre of gangster rap to market the NBA brand to America’s youth , while on the streets of Los Angeles , teens and gang members were being needlessly gunned down. Unfortunately, neither Stern, nor anyone from within his odious group of subordinates, saw fit to proffer up an apology. I guess even when you are an autocratic asshole , you see no wrong in your actions, even when they are lacking in taste ? Meanwhile, the players themselves , whose majority remains African-American in its makeup, did nothing, by way of any type of vocal protest against the commissioner’s actions .

The NBA remains a hotbed of controversy , ran by a bunch of incompetent buffoons , where the owners are simply about greed and wealth . Never mind , that you still have a union that remains in complete disarray. No Executive Director and no real consensus, on how they are likely to deal with a legal suit of which they are the defendants and the likelihood of a loss could lead to a multi-million dollar payout in a settlement, should they lose the case.

While LeBron James leads his teammates in a rematch of the 2013 NBA Finals as they seek to make a successful defense of their title against the San Antonio Spurs . Around the league , the coaching carousel began, with the notable rebuff by Steve Kerr , as he turned down the opportunity to become the next head coach of the New York Knicks . I guess that as impressive a head coach as Phil Jackson was said to be , as an NBA Executive he is still steering his way through the maelstrom of continued idiocy within the Knicks’ organization . Adding insult to injury , I believe was the decision to sign an aging Lamar Odom to a team that remains in disarray and where there is no guarantee that the team’s best player , Carmelo Anthony , will be a part of the playing staff for the upcoming season.

As Jackson tries to bring a sense of normalcy to the Knicks after a season of disappointment. Anyone who believes that the eleven-time championship winning head coach can bring about overnight success for one of the NBA’s most famous franchises , will have to wait for a considerable amount of time before that situation is likely to materialize.

Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown , never one not to let his voice be heard , has been extremely vocal and critical of many of today’s top athletes . He has not been afraid to call Los Angeles Lakers’ star Kobe Bryant “soft” and someone caught up in his own self-importance. Brown may well be right , but those criticisms valid or not , this is not the place where such a debate should take place, without both parties being ready to discuss the issue. Bryant for his part is something of a hypocrite by suggesting he does indeed take a great deal of interest in the issues that affect not only the African-American race , but the nation in general . Unfortunately, Bryant’s words mean nothing, when his deeds , mean little and where his own immaturity and credibility continues to come into question and under a cloud of suspicion. . Bryant after the barrage of criticism leveled at him by Brown , tried to suggest that the Hall of Fame great didn’t know what he was talking about . The Las Angeles’ guard may well have not been aware that Brown stood alongside such luminaries as Dr Martin Luther King , Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X , as the triumvirate stood up for equal rights , being at the forefront of the Civil Rights’ Movement and the fight for equality for African-Americans. Lower Merion High School in Pennsylvania, might well have fallen short in the education of Bryant , albeit , that the player has also lived abroad , in Italy , while his father , Joe Bryant sought to pursue a professional basketball career in Europe.

Kobe Bryant now lives the life of luxury and in no way can he understand the plight of the African-American , much less the economic divide between the rich and the poor in the country at present. Any thought, he understands those issues, have never been mirrored in any action that he has undertaken within the city of Los Angeles , as he has often stood aloof from many of his peers , while seeking out the press only when he believes it right, to belittle the Lakers’ organization led by owner Jim Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak , or a number of his teammates . Less than ten miles away from the Staples Center , a hotbed of violence remains and at no time has Kobe Bryant ever spoken out on the issue of gang violence, that continues to be a pandemic within the city . Brown for his part, has been front and center , in seeking to be a mediator and negotiator , in the stemming of the rising tide of gang violence , rising proliferation in the use of hard drugs . Last I looked, the likes of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, were not voicing their opinions on such issues , but merely looking to try and uphold their pristine images , while selling their overpriced wares to an unsuspecting public. Get the feeling their alleged biggest concerns have nothing at all to do with the pubic at all , but merely a facade created by their agents and litany of advisers and handlers alike ?

The now departed head coach Mike D’Antoni after his abrupt resignation, has left the Los Angeles Lakers’ franchise without a head coach for the second time in the space of eighteen months . Now the Lakers, are left in search of another coach, while the playing staff itself has become uncompetitive and old. Bryant is at the end of an illustrious career and it seems highly unlikely that he will be guiding this franchise to another NBA title anytime soon.

In the aftermath of the Jonathan Martin , Richie Incognito “affair” , it was simply amazing to witness the incompetency of the NFL , Roger Goodell and the complete ambivalence of the Miami Dolphins’ organization . Even worse were the actions of head coach Joe Philbin and his coaching staff, who claimed that they were completely unaware of Incognito’s behavior . The fact that a member of Philbin’s own coaching staff, was also subject to a torrent of racial abuse, without his knowing was simply farcical and actually comedic. With Mike Pouncey , also having joined Richie Incognito in orchestrating the abuse of not only that coaching assistant but also Jonathan Martin., leads me to believe that the Dolphins as an organization, was simply bereft of intelligence as well as accountability within the franchise . Say nothing of which, team owner Stephen Ross made the idiotic statement of his wishing to see those involved be punished to the full extent and with every measure possibly allowable by the NFL. The league’s punishment of Pouncey was soft , while Incognito’s career which now seems to be on hold , is likely to find himself back in the NFL at some point in the future . Mike Pouncey for his part, still believes he did nothing while stressing that he has put the episode behind him. As to the idiocy of those who question Jonathan Martin’s soft nature , I wonder how many of those anal retentive fans, believe that racism and misogyny is the right environment for the NFL ? Fu#k you all , with your downright stupidity , complete lack of education and intelligence.

The NFL’s elite players are often seen as their quarterbacks , running backs and wide receivers . We know that the likes of Peyton Manning , Drew Brees and Tom Brady can be seen to uphold that age-old tradition, of having the league be seen in a positive light . It must be said , in spite of the pratfalls of Roger Goodell and the league hierarchy , I am not so sure that the NFL is completely out of the woods as of yet ! Goodell has seen fit to be less than economical with the truth, in dealing with a litany of issues , none more so, than the constant rhetoric of the commissioner and his dealing with veteran players and neurological disorders. Strange as it seems , the hypocrisy does not just stop with the league hierarchy but also with NFLPA (Players’ Union) and the current players in the league , whose whole approach to this issue, remains completely mystifying. Elderly retired veterans of the NFL , are having to cry foul , on how they have been mistreated , with the denial of benefits and only now , has the NFL seen fit to discuss the matter head on . Meanwhile, the likes of Manning (Peyton) , Brady and Brees remain silent on the matter , not wanting to upset the apple cart and that of the union hierarchy. Credibility seems to be lacking all-round , in a number variety of aspects concerning the league’s conduct and practices.

I was once told that the world that we currently live in a world where things have changed and where we now have a dialog between the masses and the races that make up the country . Personally , I believe that simply to be a great deal of garbage , because, when we still have athletes owners simply wanting to behave like assholes , and their actions go unchecked , with the equal stupidity being shown by fans with their ongoing apathy. It simply shows the signs of the country having made no real advancements socially or economically at all. The voices of such luminaries as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Muhammad Ali, Tommie Smith, John Carlos , Arthur Ashe , Bill Russell and Jackie Robinson are now left hanging in the wind , while today’s athletes spoiled by wealth , have nothing meaningful to say.

=========================r=======================


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

Picture gallery .

Do you believe that today’s athlete can be positive, without being seen to hurt their corporate image by simply speaking out on a social issue ? Or should that aspect of their lives, be left private and the public not be made aware of their thoughts on such matters ?

😉

Picture and slideshow gallery details below.

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

(1) Miami Heat forward LeBron James shoots the ball during practice on Saturday, June 7, 2014, in San Antonio. The team plays Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday. James leads the team in scoring during this current series against the Spurs , with things now even at one game apiece (1-1) after Sunday’s narrow two-point victory by Miami . AP Photo/Eric Gay …

(2) Michael Jordan , team owner and Chairman of the Charlotte Hornets , hopes that with a new franchise name and .logo the team can resurrect past glories while seeking to be competitive within the NBA. Getty Images North America / Jeffrey Hodges …..

(3) Phil Knight , founder of sports’ apparel company Nike Inc. With annual revenues exceeding $8 billion , the company is one of the most powerful business enterprises in all of professional and collegiate sports. Knight in recent years has tried to soften the image of the company , while also seeking to make it socially responsible. Nike is a corporate sponsor of some of the biggest names in sports across the globe . UPI / Christopher Mitchell ….

(4) Members of the Miami Heat are seen here wearing hoodies , as they show solidarity and support in the aftermath in the death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin . However , very little was achieved by the stance , with the players themselves saying little about the case or the very fact Martin’s death, was one of several, where a young unarmed African-American teen was gunned down by an assailant. The determination the Florida ” Stand Your Ground Law” has become a subject of great debate within the state , with no real consensus about how this statute can be reviewed and changed within the state legislature. Getty Images / Chris Robinson …..

(5) Phil Jackson a SVP & Head of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks, having been rebuffed by Steve Kerr who accepted the vacant coaching position with the Golden State Warriors. Jackson now seems to be down to secondary alternatives. A person speaking in with anonymity has stated that the former Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach has his eyes firmly set on hiring Derek Fisher currently a point guard with the Oklahoma City Thunder . Fisher is said to be keenly interested in coaching within the NBA . but there are those who believe that the Knicks might not be the perfect fit for the veteran point guard. AP Photo / Austin Pearce ….

(6) Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown , left, has been critical of Los Angeles player Kobe Bryant , pictured right . Brown’s stinging act of the player has set of a wave criticism within the print and television media who have come out in support of the NBA players. However, there are those who feel that Jim Brown’s pointed attacks are not without merit and where by comparison it would seem that Bryant and a great many of his peers would shy away from many hot-potato topics merely to appease their corporate sponsors. AP Photo/ Robert Hall ….

(7) Drew Brees , left , and Peyton Manning , two of the most revered quarterbacks now playing in the NFL . During their destined Hall of Fame careers , both players have done a great deal within their respective communities , with their philanthropic and humanitarian efforts , but have rarely placed their names or let their thoughts be known on certain political topics. Even the issue of the denial of rightful benefits to veteran NFL players , neither Brees or Manning were seen to offer their thoughts on the matter. A distinct belief , was with their union being part of the legal suit where in part the NFLPA was a co-defendant in the suit . It was best left to the legal counsel of the Players’ Union to publicly comment on the matter . Getty Images North America / Scott Halleran …..

(8) From left to right Bill Russell , Jim Brown , Muhammad Ali and Lew Alcindor, more commonly known today as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The quartet joined together to speak up vocally on the rights of African-Americans and their struggles during the Civil Rights’ era , with all four being supporters of Dr Martin Luther King Jr . Unfortunately , in today’s world of sports such voices are rarely heard being vocal on any type of real social injustice , because of the athletes not wanting to scare of their major corporate sponsors . Russell , Brown and Alcindor backed Ali , at a time when he was made a pariah for his objecting to be drafted to fight the war in Vietnam, a conflict that the boxer felt was unjust and senseless. Time Magazine …….. all rights reserved .

(9) Arthur Ashe , US Tennis player and a Grand Slam tournament winner, who during his career , became the first African-American , male or female to be ranked number one in the world. Ashe was also vocal supporter for the boycotting of South Africa at a time when the US’ policy on apartheid was favorable , while the rest of the world had began to impose sanctions on the country of South Africa . Yet the idiocy, that Ronald Regan played a part in the political change in the climate of the South African nation remains a complete fallacy and flight of fantasy of ” Reaganites” who try to portray the former President as someone who was compassionate , understood that particular conflict and situation . UPI/REUTERS/ Paul Drew …..

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

🙂

tophatal

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

twitter.com/tophatal

🙂

NBA news

NBA Playoff Brackets

2014 NBA Finals

NBA schedule

This month in NBA history

On this date in NBA history

When Father Time Comes Knocking, You Can’t But Fail Not To Answer …..

When Father Time Comes Knocking, You Can’t But Fail Not To Answer

There comes a time when you become the elder statesman within your sport, there are calls and suggestions that you retire , or because of injuries suffered , you are no longer productive enough within your chosen profession. This baseball season will see the retirement of baseball’s most popular , with Derek Jeter having announced that 2014 will be his last in a New York Yankees’ uniform . The Yankees’ shortstop has graced the stage for almost two decades as a player having won five World Series’ titles with the franchise , several individual awards by way of the Golden Gloves , and an AL Rookie of The Year Award , but surprisingly never an AL MVP . That asides, when he plays his last regular season game , which will be a game against the Yankees’ venerable adversary , the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston , Massachusetts , we are likely to see one of the most emotional days in recent baseball history .

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Slideshow .

I believe that Derek Jeter’s retirement will leave a huge vacuum within the game of baseball and most certainly a huge void on the current New York Yankees’ roster , where he has been the captain of the team for at least the past six seasons. He will depart from the franchise as a leader in several offensive categories but more than anything else , perhaps one of the most beloved and well-respected players in that franchise’s history . As to where he might rank amongst many of the great players to have worn the Yankees’ Pinstripes will now become a matter of great conjecture and debate across the panacea of the game amongst fans, baseball purists and historians alike .

Prior to Jeter’s retirement , the only other player I believe that was held with such high esteem within baseball within the past ten years , who left the game under what, were thought to be his terms, was that of Ken Griffey Jr , the famed outfielder , and son of Ken Griffey Sr . Injuries robbed the former Cincinnati Reds and Seattle Mariners’ player of some of the best years of career , but he left the game with a batting average that one would deem respectable , along with some spectacular highlights as to his phenomenal athleticism in the outfield . Before, there was Torii Hunter and Mike Trout , there was Ken Griffey Jr, simply amazing the fans and analysts alike with his power and fielding . Perhaps only Bo Jackson showing his phenomenal prowess , might well have been Griffey’s equal at a time when the game was a joy to watch and before the “dawn “ of the “steroid era” and the advantages it provided hitters and pitchers alike .

While LeBron James continues to prosper within the NBA , currently making a mockery of many of his peers , perhaps with the exception of Kevin Durant , of whom, many believe may well be James’ closest rival as the best player in the league. Another player , who currently sits on the sidelines while his team labors under the rigors of an arduous season , while failing to live up to expectations. The question now has to be asked , was it really worthwhile for the Los Angeles Lakers to have offered Kobe Bryant that ridiculous two-year contract extension that will pay Bryant $48.5 million over the next two years , ending 2015 ?

As of the 4th March , 2014 the Lakers possessed the worst record in the NBA’s Western Conference and the team was simply uncompetitive under Mike D’Antoni’s coaching and the guidance of his coaching staff . From my own standpoint, coming into this season, I did not see this Lakers’ lineup as being a championship caliber team or a roster capable of winning their division , much less the Western Conference itself ! An aging Steve Nash at the point guard position , is simply not the answer for a team that sought someone who should be more productive, never mind Nash’s ongoing ailments and the fact that he has played a mere handful of games for the team this season . The alternatives for D’Antoni at the position , has been threadbare, along with any type of real productivity.

With Nash intimating that this is likely to be his last season in the NBA , the two-time League MVP , will bow out of the NBA with a list of accomplishments that belie his age , with the one missing notable achievement being an NBA title and championship ring. Steve Nash had a solid career, wherever he played , prior to his arrival with the Los Angeles Lakers at the beginning of last season. One now wonders what might have been, were Nash a part of the team prior to last season , when indeed, the franchise needed a player of his caliber ?

A recent seven point loss at home to the New Orleans Pelicans has pretty much summed up the woes of the Lakers’ season and the very fact that Mike D’Antoni’s coaching has become listless and uninspired , along with the play of this team. One could make excuses, that without Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers are a mere shell of a team. Yet, with Bryant on court , this lineup would simply struggle against many of their peers not just within the conference but across the league as a whole. The team’s record, now reflects a clear indication of they are and have become, and that is even with the advent of GM Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss thinking ahead with regard to the litany of free agents that will hit the market with the front office seeking to maneuver and place itself in better position with regard to its cap space .

For Kobe Bryant , now a seventeen-year veteran of the NBA , he is at the tail end of a career , that has seen him win every individual honor and team honor possible for a player within the league . Now a five-time NBA champion, the possibility of his now winning a sixth title, has seen that window of opportunity greatly reduced. Athletically, he is considerably slower than five years ago , with the explosiveness of his game, is no longer there. The question now becomes, without another marquee name beside him, can Kobe Bryant lead the Lakers to another title? Pau Gasol , has been a willing foil , assisting the All Star guard, but he too has become an aging veteran in the league , and again no longer the player, he was , three years ago . It is my belief that the upcoming season, will be Bryant’s last in the NBA, before he too , chooses to ride off into the sunset under his own steam , rather than being forced out by the team’s hierarchy !

Next up for the Lakers on their schedule , will be a game against their divisional rivals and inhabitants of the Staples Center , the Los Angeles Clippers . With their season series tied at one game apiece (1-1) , this third contest between the two teams , should prove to be very interesting, as Doc Rivers and his players seek to strengthen their grip on the Pacific Division within the Western Conference.

One game above ,500, at 30-29 , the Brooklyn Nets are lucky enough to be playing in a rather uninspiring division of the Eastern Conference . Currently, three game behind the Atlantic East leading Toronto Raptors (33-26) , perhaps the ” surprise”: team of the Eastern Conference this season. It would be fair to suggest, that this Jason Kidd coached Nets’ team , have been a great disappointment this season . . GM Billy King and team owner , Mikhail Prokhorov have simply sought to abandon any type of sound business principles and simply assembled a roster of high-priced players , with an aging core of veterans , in Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to surround the talents of Deron Williams , Brook Lopez and the “highly overrated “ Joe Johnson , whose contract and salary this season is one of the NBA’s biggest travesties and a clear reason why David Stern , the league hierarchy , team owners and general managers have no concept of fiscal responsibility .

What has been abundantly clear, is that the $110 million payroll of the Brooklyn Nets , the highest in the NBA this season , is further proof , that simply assembling roster of high-salaried players , is by no means a guarantee of success. The Nets found that out to their cost last season , with the team failing to make it deep into the NBA Playoffs , as hoped for, by then head coach Avery Johnson and interim replacement P J Carlesimo . The Nets failed to make it beyond the first round , falling to the Chicago Bulls in the best of seven=game series. Complacency, on the part of the players and a complete lack of leadership led to their demise.

If the NBA season were to end today, the Brooklyn Nets’ projected first round opponent, as the number six seed within the Eastern Conference , would see them meet the Toronto Raptors , currently holding down the third seed in the East. The Raptors lead their season series over the Nets 2-1 , and the likelihood of this Dwane Casey coached Raptors’ team overcoming Brooklyn, does seem a real possibility with the Toronto based franchise seeking to make it to the postseason for the first time since 2008 . For Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, after long and illustrious careers in the NBA , this may well be their last chance at combined postseason glory . The duo, were part of the Boston Celtics’ most recent triumph , when a Doc Rivers’ coached team were triumphant over the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals with a 4-2 series’ triumph. If the Nets are to have a successful postseason foray, then the leadership abilities of both Garnett and Terry will be called upon , beyond Jason Kidd’s own postseason experience as an NBA champion with the Dallas Mavericks and their triumph over the Miami Heat in 2011 .

Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, are likely, future Hall of Fame bound players, given the body of their respective accomplishments as members of the Boston Celtics. Yet, at this stage , with both in the twilight of their careers, it says a great deal about both players and their ambition to go out as champions

Tim Duncan , already a four-time NBA champion, with the San Antonio Spurs , has an astonishing body of work as a player . His relationship with head coach Gregg Popovich , is like that of a father, proud of his first-born son. Duncan has been described as the greatest power forward in NBA history , something that Hall of Fame inductee Karl Malone may not be entirely in agreement with . Yet, you cannot deny that ” Mr. Fundamental” , as he is often known around the NBA, has simply made the position his own , in terms of his accomplishments. Yes, at present, there may well be, power forwards currently in the NBA, who show more athleticism than Duncan and are far more productive , but were you to ask a vast majority of fans would they take any power forward over Tim Duncan when a game is on the line , many of those individuals would definitely not have to think long and hard before coming to a decision .

Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves may well be the best player at the position, currently playing in the NBA , but as he continues to toil away with the Timberwolves , you simply get the feeling that in the end , it will be all for nothing . The Timberwolves’ front office appears to be lost and aimlessly heading nowhere , with their being little to show by the franchise in terms of any tangible success this season.

San Antonio comfortably sits behind the conference leading Oklahoma City Thunder (46-15) , one and a half games adrift , in second place. While, the talk within the conference and league wide, may well be whether or not Kevin Durant can succeed LeBron James and the League MVP . Gregg Popovich has the team concentrated on locking down that second seed and if possible , seeking to erase the Thunder’s conference lead in the coming weeks, as the regular season schedule winds down. If nothing else, one of the prime objectives also, has to keep the Spurs’ starting lineup injury free down that stretch as the last thing wanted , would be for Popovich to enter the postseason without one of the primary starters. Point guard , Tony Parker is currently out of the lineup due to a persistent recurring injury. With the Frenchman being sidelined, it gives the opportunity for Patrick Mills , Danny Green and Manu Ginobli to share the workload, while making up for the loss of the loss of Parker’s productivity , until he is ready to make a full return, to his normal starting duties.

On a four-game win streak and 8-2 in their last ten games , San Antonio appears to be rounding into the right form, as they look to wind down their schedule. . Tim Duncan, the omnipresent force and leader on this team , may well be now looking to the future as all of his career goals have been met. At best , he may well no more than one year of play left within him, as an arduous eighty-two game schedule can take its toll on the human body. Add in the fact, that the seventeen-year veteran of the 1997 NBA Draft , has been one the NBA’s mainstays during that time and it certainly gives credence , that were he to make this his last season in the league , there would be a great deal of applause for one of the great careers in recent NBA history. The accolades and achievements alone , will certainly stand the test of time , for one of the most celebrated and revered players in San Antonio Spurs’ history.

Would it be fair to suggest that during this past Superbowl , Denver Broncos’ quarterback , Peyton Manning might well have had one of the worst days of his already illustrious NFL career ? No one could have foreseen the Broncos being on the wrong side of a rather lopsided and embarrassing 48-3 defeat , suffered at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks. That being said, the preseason meeting between the two teams should have been something of an indicator , even if both combatants fielded their second and third stringers throughout much of that game. Pete Carroll and the Seahawks came away triumphant in Superbowl 48 (SBXLVIIII) , while John Fox , his revered quarterback , Peyton Manning and the team are at a loss for words to explain an inexplicable and humiliating defeat .

Is Manning, now five-time League MVP, too old to be playing in the NFL at this stage of his career? Or more to the point, does he still possess the skill-set that have many speaking of him as the greatest quarterback ever to have played the game ? From my own personal standpoint, I believe at best , the quarterback has maybe no more than one or two years left in him, before he should simply “call it quits ” ! It is one thing to play the game because of your unbridled passing for football, it is another however, when all of your mistakes are magnified and placed under the microscope , with many now beginning to question your ability to play the game at the highest level , as has been the case with Peyton Manning.

Manning’s legacy, now has lost some of its shine , as some are likely to suggest, one Superbowl victory in three attempts , is a ‘ poor return’ , for someone who’s said to be the best passer in the game’s history. Then again, Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly went to four successive Superbowls with the Buffalo Bills and those four defeats , might well be what he is now best remembered for , rather than his career , and the records he attained while playing for the Bills. In the end , it all comes down to one’s opinion , as to what we believe to be great and what apparently is not so great .

What now happens with Peyton Manning, is now entirely in his hands , not John Fox’s , or John Elway’s , who as Head of the Broncos’ Football Operations , knows that with his incumbent quarterback , that is the best hope for the franchise to obtain a third Superbowl victory. The Broncos, may well seek to draft a quarterback in the latter rounds of this upcoming draft , while grooming that player for the future. Under Manning’s tutelage, that passer is likely to learn a great deal about the game, more so, than from any quarterbacks’ coach currently coaching in the NFL.

It seems somewhat ironic, that as I write about this topic, a decision, is made, by the Broncos to sever ties with one the franchise’s best players in its history. If the rumors are to be believed then today, John Elway cut defensive back Champ Bailey , saving themselves several million dollars under the cap , and maneuvering the franchise to either acquire a corner-back via free agency to draft one that specifically meets the team’s needs. The analogy of a “shut-down ” corner-back has been often used to describe players such as Deion Sanders and Nnamdi Asomugha , yet when I look at both of the players in question , the one thing that comes to mind , that neither was ever renowned for , was their alleged ” toughness ” , “willingness ” to ” make ” or take a hit , much less tackle an opposing offensive player. I may well be wrong, in my summation of both, but I seriously doubt it! Bailey for his part , has put together a Hall of Fame caliber worthy career , that places him amongst the upper echelons of the players to have played the position .

Pat Bowlen , owner of the Denver Broncos and John Elway will have a number of decisions to make this off –season in the lead-up to the NFL Draft. The disappointment of the postseason , with the only respite was having won the AFC West ahead of a now resurgent Kansas City Chiefs and the same can be said of the San Diego Chargers . It now makes the upcoming season all the more intense , because a great deal more will be expected of the franchise and their fans in attendance at Sports Authority (Mile High Stadium) Field in Denver , Colorado. The window of opportunity for the franchise to make it a reality , to win “now” , will prove to be all the more difficult , for Peyton Manning and several of his veteran teammates on the Broncos’ roster . The loss of Champ Bailey ,notwithstanding, business decision as it may well have been, , where this now leaves the franchise might well be gauged in some ways by the decisions made last season in preparation for their year . Their draft class proved to very good and their acquisitions were more than adequate, in meeting the needs sought. If that can be replicated this off-season, then there is no reason to believe why the Denver Broncos cannot make a return to the postseason. As to where they then go from there, will obviously be predicated upon the play of their renowned quarterback.

In the NFL much like the NBA and MLB , athletes actually playing past their prime is not actually unheard of . For many it comes down to their love of the game and their wanting to prove their doubters wrong. I believe that in the cases of Derek Jeter , Kobe Bryant , Champ Bailey and Peyton Manning , it has been more to do with their passion for the game more than anything else ! All are undoubtedly great athletes in their own right and with the likely retirement of Champ Bailey , we are now left to savor what else the remaining triumvirate of players will offer the fans .

Boxer Bernard Hopkins , currently seen as the linear champion within the light-heavyweight champion will seek to make another defense of his WBA and IBF titles when he meets Beibut Shumenov (14-9) at the DC Armory in Washington , DC on the 19th April , 2014. You may well think the proposed bout is nothing out of the ordinary , but consider the following , the champion is forty-nine years of age , fast approaching his fiftieth birthday on 15th January , 2015. His less experienced opponent , thirty year old Shumenov , from Kazakhstan , was five years old when Hopkins fought his first professional bout . Since then , Hopkins has won titles at the middleweight division , unifying it as an undisputed champion , moved up to the light-heavyweight division , won , lost and regained the title within the weight category and he now seeks to unify that division , all as he approaches his fiftieth birthday. Say what you will, it is either the “ Elixir of Youth” or “Father Time ” that either makes or breaks athletes who seek to be active at the later stages of their professional lives .

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

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

What are your thoughts on the merits of this post ? By all means , do take time to offer up a comment on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter.

🙂

Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

————————————————————————-

(1) New York Yankees’ captain Derek Jeter is seen here congratulating teammate Alex Rodriguez after the team’s triumph in Game Six of the 2009 World Series . The Yankees would go on to be triumphant in winning the series with complicit ease in defeating the Philadelphia Phillies , in bringing about the franchise’s twenty-seventh World Series title . Jeter made the announcement prior to the New York Yankees’ Spring Training schedule , that 2014 , his twentieth in Major League Baseball would be his last season as a professional baseball player . AP Photo / Marcus Howe …..

(2) NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 11: Derek Jeter (2 ) (R) and Alex Rodriguez (13) of the New York Yankees look on from the dugout in the ninth inning of a game against the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium on August 11 , 2013 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images ….

(3) Ken Griffey Jr , left is seen here alongside his father Ken Griffey Sr in the dugout of a game played against the Kansas City Royals at the Kingdome in Seattle , Washington , that would prove to be historic . The event would be the first time that a father and son played in a Major League Baseball game where they were suited up on the same team , in this case the Seattle Mariners . Courtesy of MLB.com MLB properties ….

(4) Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach Mike D’Antoni is seen here court-side with Kobe Bryant during a game played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , California . The team has struggled this season , with Bryant sidelined due to an injury. Without him , it has brought about a telling perspective as to how much the player is missed when he is not on the court alongside of this teammates to provide the bulk of their offensive productivity . Bryant currently believes that the Lakers stand an outside shot of gaining a playoff berth within the Western Conference as the NBA season winds down with the final games of the schedule due to be played on 16th April, 2014. For Los Angeles that final game will be played against the San Antonio Spurs . Getty Images / Stephen Harper ………..

(5) Lakers’ teammates Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash , who between them have over a combined thirty years of NBA playing experience. The two guards have been limited to the number of games which they have played together this season , for the franchise , leading to their abysmal divisional and conference record . AP Photo / Mark Anderson ….

(6) Brooklyn Nets’ teammates Kevin Garnett (2) and Paul Pierce (34) of the Brooklyn Nets are seen her during a game played at Nets’ spacious home venue the Barclays Center , in Brooklyn , New York . Along with Jason Terry , the three former Boston Celtics’ players were brought in to provide some much-needed experience on a Nets’ roster that was lacking in leadership as well as defensive capabilities . Yet the team’s season has been in different , with a great deal of inconsistency being down by the team as a whole, leading to the belief that a postseason appearance , not beyond the franchise , is likely to be a short run , because of a lack of consistency being shown . GM Billy King has sought to “right the ship” , having traded Jason Terry to the Sacramento Kings , but yet the results still remain indifferent . It is likely that at the end of the season , the decision will be made not to retain either seasoned veteran , of Kevin Garnett or Paul Pierce as the front office seeks to rebuild the roster around the talents of their All Star players , Deron Williams and Brook Lopez in the build-up for the 2014-15 NBA season . With a $110 million payroll , the highest in the NBA this season and with the franchise obligated to pay the “mandatory luxury tax” under the league hierarchy mandate. That sum will be in excess of $72 million and likely to lead to another financial loss for the second consecutive season for the Brooklyn Nets’ franchise . Billionaire team owner , Mikhail Prokhorov is willing to spend money in order to bring the Nets their first NBA title , but at what cost to his own financial acumen ? Getty Images North America / Erica Price ……

(7) San Antonio Spurs’ All Star and power forward Tim Duncan is seen here with head coach Gregg Popovich . Having won four NBA titles together in tandem as head coach and player , the two are seeking to emulate feats achieved by Michael Jordan , along with Phil Jackson and again of Jackson with Kobe Bryant in having won four or more titles together , as a head coach and player tandem. A fifth title eluded the pairing of Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich last season , when the team failed to take a-hold of their NBA Finals ‘ series against the Miami Heat , leading to a decisive game seven loss and leading to the Heat’s third title in the past seven seasons. Getty Images / Harry How ….

(8)Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) talks with head coach John Fox during practice Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, in Florham Park, N.J. The Broncos are scheduled to play the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014 , in East Rutherford, N.J. What should have been a triumphant event for the duo of head coach and quarterback , ended up being a somber occasion after the Broncos’ humiliating loss to the Seahawks . AP Photo/ Garrett Jeffries …..

(9) Defensive back , Champ Bailey of the Denver Broncos speaks to the convened press prior to the Superbowl . The twelve-time Prow Bowl selection was cut by the Broncos after a stellar career with the franchise . Seen as business issue with the team avoiding a $10 million cap hit , Bailey made it clear that he has no intention of retiring and would like resume his NFL career elsewhere this upcoming season . A round pick , seventh overall by the Washington Redskins in the 1999 NFL Draft , the defensive player would prove to be effective in his rookie season with the Redskins . AP Photo/ Vince Gallagher ……

(10) Bernard Hopkins , not due to turn fifty until 15th January ,2015, will be making a defense of his IBF and WBA light-heavyweight world titles on the 19th April against Beibut Shumenov , from Kazakhstan , in what will be Hopkins’ second defense of his IBF belt . This will be the fighter’s thirtieth world title fight at either the middleweight and light-heavyweight division . Bernard Hopkins made twenty consecutive defenses of the middleweight title , unifying the division and become the last undisputed champion in any weight category of professional boxing in the past decade. Ring Magazine / Ronny Mercer @ copyrighted material … ……

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

🙂

tophatal ………………. 03/06/2013 —- 10:54 AM

Like Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook : Tophatal’s Blog

—–

MLB news and MLB press releases

MLB transactions

MLB schedule

MLB results 5th March 2014

MLB probable starting pitchers

MLB Standings ( Spring Training preseason)

This week in baseball history

This date in baseball history (6th March) ,

Baseball Hall of Fame eligible players 2015

😉

NBA news and archived stories

NBA standings division and by conference

NBA projected playoff picture

NBA schedule 6th March

NBA results 5th March

NBA Daily leaders 5th March 2014

NBA transactions

This month in NBA history

This date in NBA history

2014 Naismith Hall of Fame eligible candidates 3

🙂

NFL news and news from around the league

NFL free agents

NFL transactions

2014 NFL Draft and NFL Combine News

This date in NFL history

2013 NFL Draft

NFL transactions in March 2013 in the lead-up to the NFL Draft of that year .

Hall of Fame candidates 2014
——————————————————————–

I think she’s missing some type of exercise equipment , but I could , very well be wrong . Nah !

Gladiators in the arena would state we who are about to die, salute you. Today’s NBA has no gladiators , merely characters and a little scripted drama thrown in for good measure

Gladiators in the arena would state we who are about to die, salute you . Today’s NBA has no gladiators , merely characters and a little scripted drama thrown in for good measure

Midpoint of the NBA season and the and the . news seems to be the season high score individually by Carmelo Anthony , as he broke the New York Knicks’ franchise scoring record for a contest , with sixty-two points against the Charlotte Bobcats at Madison Square Garden this past week. Now, the holder of that record, is a Knicks’ all-time great, in Bernard King . While Anthony’s achievement in that game should be applauded , let us not forget that although the Bobcats are holding the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference with an odious record of (19-27 [0.413]) . If that mark is not a damning indictment how bad the conference has become along with the league in general . Then, can someone please explain to me, what is ?

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


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

Slideshow .

Perhaps, the irony of all ironies , coming out of this contest, might well have been the fact that the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats happens to be none other than Michael Jordan , someone who during his playing career , was known for some rather spectacular single game achievements , beyond the numerous other accolades , that highlighted perhaps the greatest career in NBA history . Fans and analysts may well have been drooling at Carmelo Anthony’s display , with his teammates at the time ,simply reveling in that prolific output . Unfortunately, currently for the New York Knicks’ fans there has not been a great deal for them to either revel in or simply suggest that this team has finally turned a corner . Their season so far, has been strewn with inconsistent performances , lackluster displays by a number of players , beyond the perfunctory excuses of players being sidelined due to injury . Take into account that Mike Woodson and his coaching staff have shown about as much acumen for their roles, as the US Congress, has in trying to abate the ongoing economic crisis still submerging and threatening the nation.

With all of the awe and fervor being thrown about, concerning the accomplishment of Carmelo Anthony, consider the fact that the sixty-two point outburst, albeit, a career high , it still ranks behind the eighty-one point explosion by Kobe Bryant against the Toronto Raptors in a game dating back to January 2006 , and the seventy-one points scored by Hall of Fame center David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs in a contest against the Los Angeles Clippers . Need we be reminded that the all-time single game scoring record belongs to the late Wilt Chamberlain , and that one hundred point explosion that had so many career and NBA highs interspersed within the contest between the Philadelphia Warriors and New York Knicks in a game that took place on March 2nd , 1962.

Now, while I do believe that the New York Knicks could quite possibly play themselves into contention for a postseason berth . I simply cannot see this team in its present guise being a nuisance to the likes of the Indiana Pacers or Miami Heat , undoubtedly , the two best teams within the conference by far . New York on Sunday afternoon, will play host to another laboring franchise , in the Los Angeles Lakers and their woes over the course of this season. The once mighty Lakers might not be the best NBA franchise in the entire state of California , given the present fortunes of late of the Los Angeles Clippers , Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings . There was a time when a contest between the Lakers and Knicks actually meant something within the NBA, but those times now appear to be long gone and it simply does not bode well for this league when there does not seem to be a major team rivalry within the NBA at present or even on the horizon. The league has now become all about individualistic achievements , rather than that a collective team achievement and success , in spite of what the on air analysts and members of the NBA hierarchy would like to have us believe .

In a match-up of last season’s NBA Finals , the San Antonio Spurs were the guests </a. of the Miami Heat on Sunday afternoon, where LeBron James and his teammates were looking to reestablish their dominance over the Finals’ foes, as well as send a sobering reminder why they are the reigning two-time NBA champions. A third consecutive win of the championship would certainly legitimize the franchise’s claims of being a dynasty, but over the course of this season the team has shown some worrying signs of complacency as well as what appears to be a lack of depth at certain positions. Take into account also, that Dwyane Wade has become a virtual invalid , is day-to-day in terms of a game-time appearance and only one-third of Miami’s “Big Three ” are now said to be playing at a high level, while still being productive . Granted, momentary glimpses of Chris Bosh might send shock waves around the league , but I find it somewhat comical to hear many say that he is a vital asset to the franchise. For the monetary outlay being made to Bosh , his productivity for the team should be a great deal more than it is .

I am sure that Miami Heat President Pat Riley along with Erik Spoelstra and the coaching staff are likely to continue to gauge the progress of the team before coming to a decision as to whether or not an acquisition or a trade needs to be made. Somehow, you get the feeling, that Riley is likely to pull the trigger , but not at the expense of taking breaking up his trio of All Stars. Wade and Bosh and Ray Allen , have now become the complementary foil to the still growing repertoire of LeBron James’ game.

The Western Conference now seems to have found calmer waters and the now surging Oklahoma City Thunder now appear to be the best team within the conference . With due respect to the always formidable San Antonio Spurs and the still surprising resilience being shown by Terry Stotts and the Portland Trailblazers . Perhaps, the second half of this NBA season , might be better spent, surveying the likely carnage that will be wreaked by the top teams in the West , rather than glaring at the ongoing futility that still exists in the East and has done for the past two years , at least .

Kevin Durant this season has been on a tear, while staking a really legitimate claim , that he is having a better all-round season than LeBron James . Durant along with teammate Russell Westbrook , while the point guard is on-court , remain the league’s best offensive duo averaging well over 28,5 points per game each as a duo. With that type of offensive output backed up by the play of Serge Ibaka , it is understandable to see the reason why many now feel that this team is likely to be the Western Conference Finals’ representative in this year’s NBA Finals . As an avid San Antonio Spurs’ fan, nothing would give me greater pleasure than to see both of these teams facing off in the aforementioned conference finals , and then letting the chips fall where they may ! A twelve-point victory over the Philadelphia 76ers’ has given the Thunder the best record in the NBA, with a current mark of 35-10 as of Saturday afternoon . That win simply an exclamation mark and stamp on the first half of the season , albeit , with a game on Monday night at home to the Atlanta Hawks , within the confines of the Chesapeake Energy Arena , should provide the Oklahoma City Thunder and their fans a great send off for the players likely to be a part of the Western Conference’s All Star roster , where Durant leads all players in the voting count within the West.

Of the teams in the Western Conference, vying to take that next step into the upper echelons of the conference are the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors. Two teams made up of prodigious young talent , but with a great deal of coaching acumen being exhibited in two of the game’s great point guards , now having made great strides within the coaching fraternity , with Doc Rivers of the Clippers and Mark Jackson with the Warriors . Both are likely to be part of the playoff picture as they each seek to position themselves within their respective divisions and the conference as a whole.

In the regular season meetings , between the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors, the two contestants have split their first two contests, with the margin of victory in each game , being no more than ten points on each occasion . The next scheduled meeting between the two will take place on the 30th January at the Oracle Arena , in Oakland , California ,. It will be interesting to see whether or not Doc Rivers will have the services of point guard Chris Paul , a player who is of pivotal and vital importance to the team , if they are to succeed this postseason. For Warriors’ owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber , to have the franchise back to the point, where the team is gaining respect , while being given the added publicity , all stemming from the consistency of the players , but also combining that with the play of Steph Curry and his maturity , since entering the league as a first round draft pick in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors.

Curry, along with teammates , Harrison Barnes , David Lee , Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala are providing the fans with reason to believe that the team is capable of pulling off a major surprise during the playoffs. Certainly, a case could be made that were it not for the lack of experience , then last season during the NBA Playoffs the Warriors would have pulled off the biggest upset in the franchise’s recent history, had they got past the San Antonio Spurs in their conference semi-finals’ contest . A fifteen-point victory over the Portland Trailblazers on Sunday , further emphasized the strides made by the Warriors, as they seek to make themselves be viewed as a force to be reckoned with within the Western Conference.

Living in the shadows of the Los Angeles Lakers cannot be an easy thing, if you happen to be a Los Angeles Clippers’ fan or a member of the player personnel of the franchise. Having to share the same home venue is one thing , and then meeting in home and away games , does tend to provide something of a novelty. Be that, as it may, for the past two seasons , it has been the Clippers with the bragging rights , as the Lakers have floundered , providing the entire NBA with enough drama to be viewed as something of an ode to being self-absorbed and conceitedness .

From the ongoing petulance of Kobe Bryant, to the incessant stupidity of Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss , for the Los Angeles Lakers , this season as well as last season is something I believe that the entire organization would rather forget ! While, they continue to flounder , it has been the Clippers providing the noteworthy headlines in terms of basketball success for the City of Angels. Some might beg to differ, with Pau Gasol and Nick Young providing the Lakers’ fans of something of a momentary respite , but clearly Mike D’Antoni still has his issues in trying to get this team playing with a great deal of resolve . With Bryant still ailing from a persistent injury, it has hard to conceive how the Lakers’ most revered active performer, actually believed that this team in its current guise was capable of making the postseason. It has to rile and rattle the angst of every fan of the franchise, that the Los Angeles Lakers are now being belittled as less than average . In truth, this is exactly what the Lakers now just happen to be, with their record simply bearing this out.

As Kevin Love continues to put up impressive numbers for the Minnesota Timberwolves , it is becoming extremely difficult to see how he can remain with an organization that has done very little to assist in lifting the burden off his shoulders , while seeking to make the team competitive. While Flip Saunders , a former head coach with the franchise has been brought in as a special consultant and to aid GM Milt Newton and the coaching staff of Rick Adelman with regard to player personnel decisions. With Love having signed a four-year $61 million deal to remain with the Timberwolves in 2012 and not due to become an unrestricted free agent until 2016 . It could be argued , that the power forward has been ill-served by that deal , given the lack of support overall that has been provided by the Timberwolves to fulfill his own personal ambitions well as those of the franchise as a whole.

From my own standpoint , I believe that Glen Taylor , owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves , has been one of the most incompetent owners not only within the NBA , but perhaps amongst the very worst in all of the four major professional team sports. Years of mismanagement and simply idiotic personnel moves , have seen this franchise , simply mired in mediocrity . The franchise’s last postseason appearance came almost a decade ago, during the 2003-2004 NBA season , in which the team was led by Kevin Garnett . Minnesota would make it to the Western Conference Finals that season, eventually losing to the Los Angeles Lakers, with a 4-2 series’ loss . In the ensuing decade, there have been very few highlights for the franchise, beyond the exploits of Kevin Love.

With a record of . 21-22 , good enough for eleventh seed within the Western Conference , the Timberwolves are 3 ½ games out of the eighth spot, currently held by the Dallas Mavericks(26-20). A game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center in Chicago , Illinois awaits Minnesota , and it will be interesting to see whether not they can make some inroads into the lead of the Mavericks, while seeking to chase down a playoff berth. It may well be, that the organization could seek to abandon that chase , with their being mounting speculation that the All Star power forward of the Timberwolves, has become decidedly unhappy with the current direction of the franchise. A trade might well be the only objective that can be sought, where Kevin Love can feel satisfied , and at the same time the front office can obtain an equitable exchange for the player, that would be financially advantageous for the Timberwolves. Far be it for me to suggest , but I believe it would be preferable to allow Kevin Love to play on a championship contender , rather than remain on a team that seems to be aimlessly heading nowhere are at this juncture !

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

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

Picture gallery .

As the NBA schedule, meanders towards the NBA All Star Break , what if anything do you believe has been a positive for the league during the first half of the season ? Also , with David Stern due to step down in his role as NBA commissioner , do you believe that the leadership under his successor Adam Silver will be of benefit to the league as a whole ? Your thoughts on this and anything else, you believe pertinent to this topic.

🙂

Picture and slideshow details below.
——————————————————

(1) Carmelo Anthony (7) is all smiles , having just hit a three-pointer during the game against the Charlotte Bobcats . Anthony would go on to score a career high sixty-two points for the New York Knicks during the contest , which was also a franchise record. That mark was previously held by former Knicks’ great Bernard King . The Knicks would go on to defeat the Bobcats 125-96 . AP Photo / Bill Kostroun ……

(2) The Bobcats’ Anthony Tolliver (43) tries to make the defensive play as Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks looks to make the lay-up play during the game between the New York Knicks and Charlotte Bobcats, played at Madison Square Garden in New York City , New York , on Friday , 24th January , 2014 . AP Photo / Bill Kostroun …..

(3) LOS ANGELES – 1984: Bernard King (30) of the New York Knicks calls for the ball on the wing against the Los Angeles Clippers during an NBA game in 1984 at the LA Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California. Copyright 1984 NBAE Photo by Ron Koch/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(4) Kobe Bryant of the Los Angles Lakers and Jalen Rose of the Toronto Raptors are seen here during a game between the two teams. Bryant would go on to score a career high 81 points during the contest played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, on the 22nd January, 2006. Getty Images / Marty Webb ….

(5) Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat looks to strip the ball away from Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs . Bosh’s teammate, LeBron James (6) looks on, hoping that the defensive play is a successful one during the contest played at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida this past weekend . Miami would go on to defeat San Antonio 113-101 . AP Photo / Pat Carter …..

(6) Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder . Durant and Westbrook are the NBA’s leading offensive duo and one of the primary reasons why the team now has the best record in the Western Conference as well as the NBA as a whole . Getty Images / Richard Hart …..

(7) LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trailblazers looks to drive the lane as Kevin Love (42) of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks to make a decisive defensive stop during the game between the two Western Conference opponents played at the Moda Center in Portland , Oregon on Saturday , 25th January , 2013. AP Photo / Don Ryan ….

——————————————————–

🙂

tophatal ………….. 01/26/2014

🙂

NBA news and archived stories

NBA transactions

NBA standings (division) and by conference

NBA schedule 26th January

NBA team stats offense

NBA team stats defense

NBA players’ stats scoring

NBA players’ stats field goal percentage

NBA players’ stats rebounds and assists

2014 NBA All Star Game & weekend

This month in NBA history

On this date 26th January in NBA history

———————-

Saving the best , for last and then some .

Yes I can give you one of those as a treat

All good things must come to an end , eventually ….

All good things, must come to an end eventually

With NBA season still in its infancy , perhaps /the biggest story to hit the league has been the loss of NBA All Star point guard Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls . In one fail swoop , what appeared to be an innocuous contact with an opposing player led to Rose losing his balance , twisting his knee and tearing his right MCL (meniscus cruciate ligament). The Bulls prior to this unforeseen injury, were thought to be one of the teams within the Eastern Conference , deemed good enough to challenge the defending NBA champions , the Miami Heat . With Rose now out for the remainder of the season , for the second time inside of eighteen months , the player has been lost to the franchise for what appears to be an indeterminate length of time. The ramifications for the Chicago Bulls at this juncture are incalculable and any thought of them being able to mount a serious challenge within the conference , now appears to be doomed for failure.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Slideshow .

Bulls’ head coach, Tom Thibodeau will now have to assess, how best to utilize his roster , and somehow replace an invaluable asset such as his point guard , Derrick Rose. Try to imagine the Miami Heat without LeBron James , Oklahoma City Thunder without Kevin Durant , Chris Paul missing from the Los Angeles Clippers’ lineup or the Los Angeles Lakers , without Kobe Bryant , albeit, that at present the Lakers do appear to be competitive within their conference. Such has been the magnitude of the loss, that it has been evident with the team’s first game without Rose, which resulted in an 89-83 loss to the Utah Jazz . Chicago’s next game will be on Wednesday , 27th November against the Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills , in Detroit Michigan ,. How the Bulls now acquit themselves in terms of their resilience, will be predicated upon which players on the roster seeks the desire to adopt the role a leader on this team. Be it, Carlos Boozer , Luol Deng or Joakim Noah , someone now has to step up to the plate .

One of the more unlikely situations that now arises comes out of Derick Rose’s loss to the Bulls for the season , has to be how the front office now contemplates the franchise’s long-term future. A year away from the game , and the lengthy recuperation process leaves now leaves GM Gar Forman , owner Jerry Reinsdorf and the entire front office with a number of decisions to mull over. Is it worthwhile competitively playing out the remainder of the season or as some have suggested , would it be best for the organization to seek to rid themselves of a number of the large salaried contracts and impending free agents , thereby freeing up a great deal under the league salary cap and just rebuild , by way of the next NBA Draft and simply adding a veteran presence on the roster ? Clearly, the long-suffering Bulls’ fans would not like to see any of these scenarios being raised , but definitely something has to and must be done . Rose’s own contract has left the organization in almost untenable situation and the league hierarchy simply does not provide for a situation or solution as the predicament that the Chicago Bulls now finds itself in . Granted, the insurance rider carried by the franchise, will allow for any monetary loss by way of the contract , but I cannot help but wonder if this is likely to be the road that the Bulls would like to go down , in simply abandoning the player by buying out his contract at a high premium .

It certainly has been a long time, since anyone spoke about the Portland Trailblazers (13-2) in glowing terms . Yet here we are, and the franchise has gotten off to a tremendous start to the season . A great deal of the credit has to go to the coaching staff , led by head coach Terry Stotts , but also the two leading players on the roster , LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard , whose maturity and growth as a player from his rookie season in 2012 , has been very impressive this season, with his playing a leading role in the Blazers’ progress. Only the San Antonio Spurs (13-1) have a better record than the Trailblazers within the Western Conference , and the Indiana Pacers (13-1) within the East , overall .

It may well the early stages of an arduous NBA schedule , but consider the fact that more prominent teams within the league are currently struggling , who are alleged to have even greater depth to their rosters and also a better coaching staff. To my mind, it is best to adjudge the makeup of a team not just by the talent , but also by the coaching acumen on display. And to date, nothing I have seen exhibited by either the Brooklyn Nets (3-10) or New York Knicks (3-10) has given me the impression that either franchise knows what the hell they are actually doing ! Knicks and Nets’ fans can gesticulate and show their angst , because in reality, they tend to delve far more in the past , having not learned a damn thing to actually realize , what is going on in the present , only too willing to make excuses for the omnipresent mediocrity of the respective franchises in question.

Portland has simply been playing high intensity basketball, showing a great deal of aplomb in transition and a defensive mindset. Coming off the team’s almost willful destruction of the New York Knicks , during which Carmelo Anthony in a post-game tirade, directed a great deal of anger and venom towards his teammates , in stating that they sucked and were an embarrassment to the fans watching such a display. Only further emphasizing and reiterating my earlier remarks about the Eastern Conference based franchise and their continuing woes! New York’s almost $90 million payroll in comparison to their Monday night opponent’s $62.6 million cannot be considered to have been money “ well spent “ . The biggest obstacle now for the Portland Trailblazers, will be to maintain the momentum currently in their possession , as they approach the second half of the regular season . Next up for Portland will be a visit to Phoenix , Arizona , as the guests of the Phoenix Suns in a game to be played at the US Airways Arena , in Phoenix , Arizona ,. The team, will be seeking their twelfth consecutive win and eighth road win in their last nine games . While I believe the Portland Trailblazers to be a very good and well coached team , I am not so sure that during a seven game playoff series , they are capable of defeating notable conference foes such as the Oklahoma City Thunder , San Antonio Spurs , Los Angeles Clippers or the Houston Rockets . Yet, these are only my observations, as to skill-set of the teams in question !

With Kobe Bryant now being re-signed to a two-year contract extension, paying the guard $48.5 million over the next two season and essentially assuring the franchise’s fans and the player that his career will end with the Los Angeles Lakers . As to what this says about the Lakers’ intent for its long-term future , is simply, that they are seeking a smooth transition from Bryant ,as he hands over the reins of the team to the next marquee free agent that is likely to be acquired by the franchise . Obviously , Dwight Howard was not the right fit , in spite of the rather ridiculous pleading by senior members of the Lakers’ team, as well as many of the Hollywood A List celebrities , who all were willing to ” sell their souls “ , in order for the noted center to remain a Lakers’ player. Clearly, many of these individuals as well as members of the coaching staff led by Mike DAntoni , as well GM Mitch Kupchak and team owner Jim Buss , chose not to see the flaws in Howard’s game well as his demeanor when faced with a great deal of adversity on the court . Never mind the fact, that so-called knowledgeable Los Angeles Lakers’ fans were trying to point out that the player had the game to complement the team. If Mike D`Antoni , who at the time, was unable to figure out what his best starting lineup was meant to be during the 2012 schedule . I would hate to think what the hell, they the fans actually thought that they were able to witness from the team last season !

While Kobe Bryant may well have taken umbrage to the fact , that the Lakers were placed as no better than the twelfth best team in the conference and as a playoff contender . In truth , the team based on its current makeup, might only be two or three places higher better than many of the analysts have the Los Angeles Lakers. A 7-7 record now have the Lakers a half-game behind the eighth placed Denver Nuggets (7-6) , with the team now sitting in the eleventh position amongst the Western Conference based franchises . The revelation for the Lakers this season, with Bryant still sidelined and recuperating from an injury , has been the play of Jodie Meeks , Nick Young and Xavier Henry . With Pau Gasol , leading all players, from an offensive standpoint , the Lakers will seek to find some consistency , while waiting the imminent return of Kobe Bryant.

A recent victory over the Sacramento Kings , during which the Los Angeles Lakers give one of their best performances of this young season , added to the angst., but also delivered some excitement for the fans, though not negating the team’s plight. Even with the return of Kobe Bryant , and the expectations always high , it is difficult to comprehend how anyone can believe that the team will be good enough to not only gain a playoff berth , but also to be likely looked upon as a credible contender for the NBA title . Bryant and Gasol are aging veterans, whose best years, are now behind them . Two-time league MVP , Steve Nash , can no longer be relied upon to give the team anything more than perhaps twenty minutes per game , wherever possible. The “smart money” says that the Lakers will be hard pressed to make the postseason and if they do , it is highly unlikely , that they will be able to take down one of the more highly ranked teams within the conference.

Michael Carter-Williams , Victor Oladipo and Ben McLemore , are certainly justifying the faith shown in them by the teams who acquired these rookies during the 2013 NBA Draft . In light of that fact , their 2012 predecessors are still finding their way, with the exception I believe of Damian Lillard , who is now proving to be a very special player . As to whether or not this season’s rookies, are likely to make their respective franchises an impact this season, remains to be seen . Yet, it is clear, their early season productivity , has given the general managers in question , a great deal of satisfaction and relief, by way of their play. . Decidedly, the Rookie of the Year will come from one of the trio of aforementioned players or possibly from one of the more than fifteen players now viewed as likely contenders based on their productivity .

I mentioned this in an earlier post , because I felt it necessary given the fact that not only has the NBA hierarchy and union (NBPA) become ambivalent as to the use of performance enhancing drugs (PED’S) s , but it would appear that David Stern has a lackadaisical attitude on the whole issue, altogether . He pretty much towed the line of bumbling idiots such as Roger Goodell and Bud Selig , when all three as well as NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman each addressed a congressional committee on the use of steroids within their respective sports . As we know the NFL has yet to adopt a policy voted on and ratified by the NFLPA (Players’ Union) as far back as 2010. Major League Baseball finds itself in the midst of what has now become a farcical arbitration process involving Alex Rodriguez . In the NHL what common sense there is to be actually found , is not being imparted by anyone within the game itself, but from outsiders.

With the recent statement made by Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban that he would like to see the use of performance enhancing drugs within the NBA , strictly to aid a players’ recovery process . I would like to know why Cuban believes that action to be of actual benefit to the game ? While steroidal medicine does have its use within the