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Archive for the tag “LeBron James”

Traveling With The NBA

(Photo courtesy of The Big Lead)

(Photo courtesy of The Big Lead)

The NBA All-Star game is traveling to Toronto for the first time. In honor of the NBA crossing the boarding and heading to the North, why not honor some really good travels on the court? The NBA All-Star weekend will be doing their best to entertain us, but what is better than watching NBA players travel worse than youngsters who are just learning the game? Let’s give it up for some of the best travels in the NBA!

Corey Brewer has been around for a while now in the NBA. He is known for being a good defender and knocking down threes. But unfortunately he is also known for confusing basketball with the triple jump on this play:

Corey may have got the basket, but he surely traveled a good way to get it.


Not to be outdone, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s DJ Augustin definitely had a good one. Just watch his feet go:

If you pay attention to his feet, you may miss that he did a pump fake while traveling to. And to boot, the refs seemed to be so mesmerized that they did not call the travel.

DJ Augustin and Mike Conley Jr both must have trained together because he surely took just as many steps as Augustin did right here:

Conley figured he could not beat him to the rim with the dribble, so he may as well run his way to the rim.

Jeremy Lin may be in Charlotte now, but he did some of his best traveling work when in Houston. Just watch how he takes five steps on the way to the rim:

Lin was definitely trying to fly away there. He could have at least made the layup or go to the foul line with how much effort he put into that travel.

Lance Thomas is a relatively unknown player in the NBA. He got his shot as a member of the New York Knicks last year. He has played solid this year. But this uncalled travel against the Charlotte Hornets last season has to be one of the most comical travels ever.

This travel by Thomas reminds me of the kid that just started playing but has not figured out how to dribble and shoot yet. Glad Lance is doing better now, but this one will never go away.


These two were bad, but this one right here has to have people wondering what Kendrick Perkins was thinking. Just take a second and count the steps on this one:

I wonder if Kendrick was practicing his dance routine and forgot he was playing in an NBA game. And if he was practicing, that was a bad version of the Twine.


But Kendrick wasn’t the only dance machine on the basketball floor. Although Dwyane Wade is a great player, he once did a little two-step on the Portland Trailblazers’ home court:

Dwyane Wade has had some injury issues over his career. He even looks like he is in pain doing the two-step here.


Travels this bad aren’t brand new. In fact, they have been going one for a while now. For instance, check out this travel reel from Michael Jordan himself (this one was actually called folks):

Hey. Even the best take a few extra steps every once in a while. But I bet everyone still loves Michael Jordan regardless.

But the guy that many seem to stay on the most about traveling is one of the best players in the NBA. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you LeBron James:

LeBron may be a great player, but he surely traveled the globe on that play. Maybe he thought it was track that day instead of basketball.

Travels have become commonplace in the NBA in this day and age. And we will probably see more of them happen. But these ones right here not only are funny to watch but will make you laugh as well. Which one is the best in your opinion? Or is there a nominee that you would like to add?

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Tyronn Lue Takes Over For David Blatt In Cleveland

(photo courtesy of David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)

(photo courtesy of David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)

The Cleveland Cavaliers were cruising along up until their Martin Luther King Jr. game against the Warriors. At that point, they were, 28-10 and leading the NBA’s Eastern Conference. Many expected them to challenge if not beat the Warriors in this game to make a statement. But what we got was a beatdown of epic proportions. The Cavs were down by over 40 points at one time as the Warriors were getting any and everything they wanted. Cleveland looked totally overmatched and underprepared for the game. And their star, LeBron James, did not look like he was into the game as well. After the game, there was not the warmest feelings about the team’s performance. It seemed like the indictment was made on this team at that point that they could not beat the Warriors or Spurs as they currently were constructed and how they were playing at that time. The Cavs won two games after that embarrassing game on national television and it seemed like maybe there was some good feelings starting to return for that team. Well, the good feelings were good for the team, but not for head coach David Blatt. The veteran European head coach who came to coach the Cavs last season was fired today by the team. And immediately after his firing, lead assistant Tyronn Lue was named head coach of the team and given a three-year deal. The shock was not that it happened for many but when it happened. So what went wrong for Blatt?

When Blatt was brought in to be the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, he was thought to be inheriting a rebuilding team that was going to build around point guard Kyrie Irving. There was no thought that LeBron James would be coming back in the summer of 2015. So when LeBron James signed on to come back home, the fit immediately changed. Blatt was not prepared to be the coach of this team with a superstar with as much clout as James. Sports Center had former Cleveland Cavaliers center Brendan Haywood on today and he said something that was really telling. He said that Blatt was “highly hesitant in correcting people in team meetings”. To get a team to where they need to be, Blatt had to be able to take control and correct any and all players. It seemed to all that he was never strong enough to correct LeBron or scared of him, and that lost the respect of the vets on the team. Another thing that may have cost him is his demeanor on the sideline. It seemed like he was not as active in coaching his team on the sidelines. Of course there have been other coaches that are calm and don’t say much there (Phil Jackson comes to mind), but when your assistant is speaking up more than you are and players are differing to him, then that says a lot. It says that the players do not have your trust to make the right calls. And because of that, he is out of there. He more than likely will catch on again somewhere. He could go back overseas to where he came from (and where his family is) or he could go to another team and be an assistant coach. Blatt is a solid coach but he just landed in a situation that he was not prepared to handle. And he paid the price for it.

The new head coach, Tyronn Lue, is sliding over to the big seat after being the lead assistant for Blatt. But in doing so, his role really does not change as much. He was always the guy that players consulted with in regards to things going on within the game. Along with that, Lue was very much respected by the team. He pulled no punches when in the Cavs’ meeting rooms and that even meant with LeBron James. His ability to hold everyone accountable when going through things was loved by the players and also respected by LeBron James. He can always be seen discussing things on the bench with LeBron during timeouts. But Lue did not want to overstep his bounds, knowing that he was the assistant coach of this team and not the head coach. He played his role perfectly next to Blatt and did all he could not to get in the way of him coaching the team. With Lue now in charge of the whole show, he can now exert himself fully on the team. Gone are the days of a passive head coach that would let players slide. Lue will demand more out of the team. Lue will also more than likely use all the weapons. Mo Williams was great when used off the bench or starting when Kyrie Irving was out. Anderson Varejao brings an energy on the defensive and offensive end. But over the course of the season, both of these guys seemingly fell out of favor with Blatt. Look for both of them to be used more with Lue in charge of the team. Another thing that Lue can do is find a way to get Love more engaged on both ends. If the team is committed to how they are constructed, they have to get more out of Kevin Love on both ends. He is far too talented to be forgotten as much as he is on that team. Defensively, we know the issues he has. But there have been many that have struggled defensively and still won games. The best thing Lue can do there is find a way to cover for him defensively. Whether it be by design of a quicker rotation or not, there has to be some way to do so.

The changing of the guard has only increased the pressure and scrutiny on this team. Many keep believe it was LeBron who pulled the strings on this one while others believe it is not him. Whether it was him or not is beside the point at this time because the decision has been made and Lue is now running the show. It should be interesting to see how he takes to the job and how the players take to him. Does the team finally get on the same page this season or do they continue to play in spurts? Only time will tell.

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It’s Steph Curry’s World. We’re Just Living In It

(photo courtesy of International Business Times)

(photo courtesy of International Business Times)

Many NBA fans have talked about who is the best player in the NBA. One particular name has been synonymous with that title over the years: LeBron James. He is one of the most electrifying players in the NBA. During the last five seasons, James has appeared in each NBA Finals, losing three and winning two. There have been many others that have had popularity in the NBA, but none have reached the level of success over the years that LeBron has. It seemed like every season he would continue to be the man that many felt carried this title. But this year, it seems there has been a change at the top. LeBron is still having a great season to start. He is averaging 27 points, 7 rebounds and six assists a game so far and is doing his part to keep this team in the hunt while they wait on point guard Kyrie Irving to return. And by the end of the season, LeBron will be mentioned in the MVP talk. But there is someone else that is capturing the attention and imagination of many these days. His name is Steph Curry.

The Warriors were a solid team the last few years, getting better and better with each passing season. But last year, they took a big step forward. Golden State was the best team in basketball last season and none other than Steph Curry was the ringleader of their surge to the title. Many thought that he and the Warriors may have some slippage this season due to a championship hangover. But instead of having a hangover, they have made this season a “remember me” one so far. They felt that many discredited their championship and set out to make the league beg for mercy. The Warriors are now sitting at 11-0 and have been handling opponents with ease. And no player has been more impressive than Curry on their run to start the season. To give you an example, he has had more 20 point quarters this season than the all other NBA players combined. He is in a zone that many have not ever seen before. And if you touch him, you may just get singed because he is on fire at all times.

Curry has insane handles when on the court. It’s almost like he has it on a string while he lulls opponents to sleep. And lots of times, he has some defenders checking their ankles after he has put a mean crossover on them. Sometimes he uses his handles to get to the rim or set up his own shot. And other times, he uses his handles to get other guys on his team an easy look at the basket. Whether he is making his own spectacular move to score or to assist, it is all captivating for us to watch. But along with the handles, he has the prettiest shot in the NBA. When watching him shoot, it’s almost like every shot looks like it’s going in. Curry was a marksman last season, shooting 44 % from the field and 44% from the three-point line. But this season, he has taken it up a notch. He is shooting a career-best 52% from the field, including 45% from the three-point line. The handles he has are magnified because of what he can do shooting the ball. People talk about unguardable players, but Curry has truly made himself a player that no one knows how to slow down. And with the weapons around him, you cannot really funnel the ball out of his hands.

With Curry as the driving force, the Warriors are must-see television. LeBron used to be the unquestioned best player in the NBA, but not anymore. Curry is definitely playing at a higher level than anyone right now including LeBron. The King may be the most indispensable player on his team, but there is no doubting that Chef Curry is cooking up a brew for the whole league this year. It will be fun to see what he does next.

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Just Say No To Space Jam 2 LeBron James

LeBron James caught the acting bug in Trainwreck, but is a Space Jam sequel on the way? (photo courtesy of

LeBron James caught the acting bug in Trainwreck, but is a Space Jam sequel on the way? (photo courtesy of

LeBron James is one of the best basketball players in the NBA. He has carried teams time and time again over his career and has two championships over his time playing so far. But other than being a basketball player, James is a businessman. He has his own deal with Nike along with other deals he has made. And he also has his hand in ownership where he owns a piece of European soccer team Liverpool FC, which is very popular. But recently he tried his hand in acting. In the recently released movie Trainwreck, LeBron gets a chance to act for once. The movie is not doing that bad at the box office and all reviews of LeBron have pointed to him not doing that bad a job as an actor in this one. Apparently, this was just a precursor to the things that may be coming from James in the acting world. Recently, James’ company, Spring Hill Entertainment, cut a deal with Warner Brothers. James and his company will be partnering with Warner Brothers on a multi-platform deal that will span across the television and film worlds. And to add to the buzz about this deal, it is reported that Warner Brothers filed new trademarks for “Space Jam”. Could there be a sequel to Space Jam starring LeBron James? Well, if you believed the buzz, then there is some that are excited at the possibilities.

LeBron has been one to create his own legacy in basketball over his career. But when he first entered the league, he drew comparisons to a man who many consider the best player to ever play the game. Many looked at James as the next Michael Jordan. He could fly through the air like Michael and he could also had that type of bigtime persona off the court that captivated many. But over his career, it seems as if LeBron has resisted any of the comparisons to Michael Jordan even when fans compare them. Well, it seems like the comparisons will be kicking into high gear with this recent pairing and the reports that Warner Brothers filed new trademarks for “Space Jam”. If LeBron does this movie, he will be feeding right into the very thing that he has tried to avoid all of his career. Does LeBron really want these comparisons? From all indications, he does not want this comparison at all. And looking at the prospects of him doing this movie, it would not be a good look for him. We could all be wrong and this prospective sequel could be something that is far from what was thought of when this partnership was made. But then again, LeBron did answer a Tweet a few years ago saying that he would not mind doing a sequel to Space Jam.

Sounds like LeBron James was very interested in doing a Space Jam sequel when he put out this Tweet (of course LeBron did not include the Space Jam 2 picture with it folks)

Sounds like LeBron James was very interested in doing a Space Jam sequel when he put out this Tweet (of course LeBron did not include the Space Jam 2 picture with it folks)

Taking a look at this rumor and the picture, LeBron should pass on trying to recreate the magic that is Space Jam. It is a one of a kind movie that was made almost 20 years ago with Michael Jordan. And it should remain a movie that Michael Jordan starred in and made a hit. Everyone still remembers R. Kelly singing “I Believe I Can Fly” as Michael Jordan is exiting the spaceship onto the baseball field. Now imagine LeBron trying to recreate that same type of moment. It just does not fit his style or who he is. If LeBron wants to stay true to who he has been, why not create a new movie that is kid-friendly with his own production company? It seems he has done many things over his time in the NBA on and off the court has turned to gold anyways. Who would have thought Survivor’s Remorse would be as good as it was? That tells me that LeBron’s production company has more than a few good ideas going on. Space Jam was a classic. Michael Jordan was perfect for that role. LeBron is not the guy to play that role. Let him play something that would maybe fit his personality more than trying to reprise Jordan’s spot in this movie.

LeBron has done some great things over his career. He has been dominant on the court at time and more recently, he carried the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Finals. But recreating this classic film would be a huge mistake. Let the classic live. If he has been paying attention, some remakes have not turned out so well when trying to reboot them to the modern era. LeBron is smart enough business-wise to know what is a good idea and what could be treacherous. If he does this one, then the water will definitely be choppy. Let Space Jam be Space Jam and create your own classic movie LeBron. Besides, the focus at this point needs to be on fulfilling a dream: bringing the title back to Cleveland.

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The NBA Is More Than Just Basketball. It’s A Business

Monta Ellis is rolling the dice and going for more money. (photo courtesy of

Monta Ellis is rolling the dice and going for more money. (photo courtesy of

LeBron James made it official recently when he opted out of his two-year deal he signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He now joins teammates Kevin Love and JR Smith on the free agent market. But while some are wondering where Love and Smith will land, there has been not as much talked about when it comes to LeBron James. When the best player in the current NBA hits the open market, there are many teams that take notice. Of course, when he left Cleveland the first time, he made The Decision and that landed him in Miami. But in this instance, there is something different going on. When he left the first time, he was seeking to win a title, something he had never done. In this instance, he is a two-time NBA champion and is the most experienced playoff performer on his team. And his experience is what carried them to the NBA Finals despite losing key parts like Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. But the totally different dynamic in this instance is that it is a forgone conclusion that he will be staying in Cleveland but just under a new contract. And even though some Cleveland fans and other fans of the NBA are thinking he could bolt Cleveland again, they all must take a look at the landscape of the NBA and then realize the difference between playing basketball and the business of basketball.

Kevin Love, LeBron James and JR Smith are not the only ones that have opted out of their deals. Many across the NBA have opted out in search of new money. And in most instances, it would mean that they would be heading to new teams. For example, Dallas Mavericks guard Monta Ellis is expected to be on a different team after opting out of his deal. The relationship between Ellis and Dallas was reportedly strained as the season ended and it was evident that he would not be there. Monta is leaving $11 million on the table that he could have had next season in order to hit the open market. And it wasn’t like the Mavericks did not try to keep his services. At one point, they offered him a two-year, $24.8 million extension to stay in Dallas. More than likely Ellis will not get more than what he is being offered, but he is going to take a chance on what the market may hold for him. And Ellis, like many others, are taking this chance on gaining more money and more years from some team out there. It may not seem like a sound decision, but all it takes is one team to buy into what you and your agent are selling. And if that happens, the player wins the game of contract roulette. Ellis, along with guys like Thaddeus Young of the Brooklyn Nets, are banking on themselves and what they can get on the market. They may end up being wrong, but they at least went for what they wanted. And the thing that most fans fail to realize is their window is a short one and they have to make the money they have last over a lifetime.

In LeBron’s case, he has taken power over the Cleveland Cavaliers and that is a rare thing. In the NBA, players usually are the slaves to what the owners and the organizations want. And in most instances, the players get the short end of the stick, signing long-term deals that allows teams to throw any and everything out there with them while they are out on the court. When LeBron was first with the Cavaliers, he was playing with any and everyone on the court. The teams were successful during the regular season, but they just could not consistently get to the NBA Finals. He then left for Miami and a better situation for winning. But upon his return, it was evident that LeBron had the power over the organization. When he signed the two-year deal he did that had an opt-out after his first season back, he basically put pressure on the organization at that point. If all went bad, he could leave despite what the natives may have thought of him. But if it went well, he could still opt out to keep the pressure on the organization to make the improvements necessary to be competitive for a title. The opt out this offseason is also something that is the smart decision of a businessman. LeBron knows he is the best player in the NBA and he is also one of the most observant. He knows the cap is due to skyrocket in 2016 due to the huge television deal the NBA signed before last season. So instead of tying up his options like others have, he is patiently waiting until 2016 for his last big payday. At that point and time, he can make betwwen $30-40 million per season depending on the how much the salary cap rises. But until then, he opted out again to make sure and keep the pressure on the team and to also maximize the amount of money he can make. LeBron the businessman has figured out how to keep the organization accountable while making his money.

Many top players in the NBA may want to pay attention to the things that LeBron has done in Cleveland. Now there has been criticism due to his handling of his coach during the playoffs, but for the most part he has handled it like a smart businessman who knows he has the power. But there are others out there that are taking the calculated gamble to make more money. You may wonder what some of them are thinking, but who can blame them for making a run at more money that could potentially be out there for them. And even though the one year option some players opt out of may be better than the average per year a player signs for in this scenario, the player would end up with more years to make more guaranteed money. And that could end up being more valuable than the one year of big money. Gone are the days where basketball is just the game we see on the court. There is now a game going on off of it. We shall see this offseason who is playing checkers and who is playing chess.

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The Kevin Love Sweepstakes Is About To Get Started

Kevin Love is officially a free agent. But where does he land next season? (photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Kevin Love is officially a free agent. But where does he land next season? (photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Decision time has come about for many in the NBA. There are some players that are have options on their contracts whether they would like to accept the contract they have or opt out in search of a better deal for themselves. LeBron James is one of the names that is opting out, but he is expected to re-sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers. But James isn’t the only star player that has this option in Cleveland. The Cleveland Cavaliers traded for Kevin Love last offseason and shipped the past two number one overall picks to Minnesota for him. The Cavs did this knowing that Love could potentially opt out of his deal after this season. But to many, they believed that Kevin Love and LeBron would be a good pairing based on their games. Well, it seems as if the pairing did not work as well as some thought, as Love had one of his worst scoring and rebounding seasons in the NBA. The pairing of Love with Kyrie Irving and LeBron James was not as good as some thought it would be. And as the season went on, it seemed the relationship between both James and Love was not the smoothest either. Of course Love is one of the hardest people to read in the NBA, so this talk about their relationship could be just rumors. But with all that talk and the play circulating in the media, Kevin Love made a decision to opt out of the last year of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He could still end up in Cleveland next season, but the great thing for the Cleveland Cavaliers in this decision is now it makes it a little easier on them as to what options they have this summer. If Love would have opted in, the Cavs would have been in a tough place when it came to Tristian Thompson, who is a restricted free agent this offseason. Now instead of wondering how Love and James would get along, the NBA and its fans will be waiting to see where Love turns up next.

Kevin Love is a stats guy. He has averaged double-figure points and rebounds for five of his seven seasons in the NBA. And for what it’s worth, he is one of the best outlet passers in the NBA. That could be great for a team that is starting the fast break. The perfect fit for Love would be a team that has some explosive wings but allows him to be a focal point of the offense. In that aspect, there are a few teams that may be able to comply with what he would like. The most obvious answer for a team craving Love is the Los Angeles Lakers. Many Lakers fans have thought that eventually Love would be coming home to the Lakers. And in this circumstance, he could make Los Angeles his home. The Lakers have at least $23 million in cap space this offseason. The Lakers recently selected D’Angelo Russell out of Ohio State with the 2nd pick in the draft, so the indication from Los Angeles is that Love will be one of two power forwards they look at this offseason (LaMarcus Aldridge is the other). But with the silence of Kevin Love, you don’t know whether or not he wants the extra year on his deal and that could potentially affect him coming to LA or not. The only way he gets that extra year on his deal to go to Los Angeles is if he is signed and traded to them. And in that case, the Lakers would have to give up something to get him. More than likely it would be future draft picks and also a player. If I was the Cavaliers, I would ask for Julius Randle in return for trading Love to the Lakers. That would allow for the Cavs to sign Tristian Thompson back and also get him a backup in Randle to solve their power forward position. But of course, the Lakers are not the only ones interested in Love this offseason and they may not even be interested in parting ways with Randle so soon.

The Boston Celtics are another team that is checking out the prospects of bringing Love in. Danny Ainge tried to work something out to get him to Boston before when Rajon Rondo was still their point guard to no avail. Well, the Celtics now have a stockpile of picks and interesting players available to make something happen this time. The Celtics, like the Lakers, could try and swing a free agent deal with Love and leave it at that. That would give them Love’s talents for four years and more than likely max money. But if the Celtics were to decide to do a sign and trade for Love, they have all the assets to make it happen. They have a gluttony of talent in their frontcourt that many would be interested in including forward Jared Sullinger and forward Kelly Olynyk (wouldn’t it be interesting if he was traded to the Cavs in this one). But in all honesty, Love would not make as big a difference as the main player on that team. The Celtics need one more piece to go along with Love should they sign him outright or trade for him. That piece is a frontline scorer. If Love is brought in on that team and asked to be the leading scorer for them, then that team would go nowhere fast. And with the picks the Celtics made in this most recent draft, you have to count on free agency for them to add some punch there. In the end, he is not a difference-maker for that team that takes them to the playoffs. Of course he would get more touches and make more things happen for that team. But it would be Minnesota all over again but on the East coast and Love wants to be the focus or secondary focus on a team and win basketball games.

A darkhorse candidate that may take a look at Love is the New York Knicks. They drafted big man Kristaps Porzingis 4th overall in the draft, who by all accounts will not be ready to make a big contribution anytime soon. The Knicks redeemed themselves a little bit with trading Tim Hardaway Jr to the Atlanta Hawks for talented point guard Jerian Grant, but there is still the matter of that hole in the frontcourt. As the Knicks stand right now, they have no big men that are going to be there. Carmelo would slide back to the power forward position again if no one is found, but that is not expected to happen. The Knicks are expected to make a run at big man Greg Monroe and there are rumors out there that David West could sign there after opting out of his player option in Indianapolis. But none of these guys is a given to sign at this point and time. And even if the Knicks were going to sign Monroe they would still be able to take Kevin Love. Of course the money dries up quick when you spend it, and the Knicks would overspend for Monroe and another piece as well as trying to get Love. If that is the case, he would be looking to play elsewhere as he is not the top priority there in New York. Plus there is also the issue of whether he and Carmelo could co-exist, which no one knows. Melo is different from LeBron in that he is more of a scorer than facilitator. And that mix may not be something that would fit Love’s game, let alone the bright lights of the city that he seems to not care for. We could speak of them trading something to Cleveland, but the Knicks have nothing to offer there due to trades in the past and their roster not being as talented.

Love is going to be sought after by a few teams this offseason and there may be some surprises out there that were not mentioned. But along with potentially re-signing in Cleveland (which is a longshot at best at this point), Love has some things to think about. After all, this contract could be the last big contract he signs in the NBA. In all honesty, all teams would need to take a look at what they are willing to sacrifice for a guy that is a defensive liability but can flatout fill it up on the offensive end along with battle on the offensive boards. The choice is not only his but the teams that are interested. And come July 1st, Love, like many others who opted out of deals, will be deciding whether the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

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The Small Market Excuses In The NBA Need To End Right Now

Small market teams can compete and compete on a consistent basis. The fallacy that they cannot is something that needs to end. (photo courtesy of

Small market teams can compete and compete on a consistent basis. The fallacy that they cannot is something that needs to end. (photo courtesy of

The Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers met for a great clash in the NBA Finals. The best team in the NBA versus the best player in the NBA. In the end, the best team wore down the team with the best player and won the title in six games. Both teams played each other pretty tough for the first few games, but the last three games were lopsided in the favor of the Golden State Warriors. They just wore down the Cavs, who were playing short-handed due to the losses of All-Stars Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. And even though LeBron James had a great series from a numbers standpoint, he could not guard all the weapons the Warriors had nor could he score efficiently on most of them. The Warriors erased 40 years of futility with the win. And the even more interesting thing is a guy that was a starter-turned-sub for the Warriors in Andre Iguodala played well off the bench and starting in games 4-6 to earn NBA Finals MVP. But the game was just the background to all that has been going on in the NBA the past few years. And amazingly, no one wants to say much about it.

The Golden State versus Cleveland series had the best viewership on television since the days of Michael Jordan when he won his sixth championship almost 20 years ago. Pretty unbelievable that the ratings have not been as good since then being that we have had teams like the Lakers win the championship five times since then. But what this also speaks to is the power of the players here. If you just look at the markets both NBA Finals participants are in, there is a stark differnce. The Oakland/San Francisco market is considered one of the biggest markets out there in the NBA. But when you take a look at Cleveland, that market is one that is not very big at all. In fact, it is smaller than the Miami, where LeBron James left to go to when he exited Cleveland for four years. The idea has always been that in basketball, the big teams are the ones that will continue to show up and be in the championship year after year after year. When, in fact, that is not the case at all. Sure, Oakland/San Francisco is a big market, but San Antonio is not a big market and neither is Cleveland. The fact of the matter is big markets are needed in terms of exposure perhaps, but are not something that is needed to make the NBA exciting and watchable.

In the NBA, it is more about the teams that are on the floor than the markets they are in. As the NBA has grown, the market teams and players are in has matter less and less. Just a few years ago, it was something that small-level owners were worried about as if they could not build a good team in fear of losing a great player to a big market. When in all actuality, that was the supposed small-level owners giving the fans of that team something to let them off the hook. Time and time again the small-level owners have been crying they have been losing money in regards to trying to keep up with the bigger cities. And in all instances, the numbers have not ever been shown to prove that. But in basketball terms, there have been small-market teams that have competed. Look at the teams like the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Cleveland Cavaliers and others. They are there all the time because their owners actually spent money and put together a team that could make some things happen, not because they were big spenders in a big market. As the NBA has grown, the excuse gets more and more overdone by the minute. The fallacy of small-market teams not being able to compete only comes about when it comes to the Collective Bargaining Agreement. And in all reality, that is just a ploy for the owners to make more money while keeping the players and fans at bay. How else can it be explained that the Milwaukee Bucks being sold for $550 million despite being in one of the smallest NBA markets? That’s right folks. We have been blinded by some propaganda and a lot of us have fell victim to it without even knowing it. When a team is bad or has to make a tough decision, if it’s a small market team, they get the benefit of the doubt because of that. A perfect example of that is when James Harden was traded to the Houston Rockets because the team could not pay him what he wanted. Of course they could have paid him and it would have potentially locked up their cap space. But the main thing that many were saying was that a small market team could not afford paying him. And that is when the propaganda begins. The sympathy for a smaller market begins to roll in and owners began to trick you into thinking they are sympathetic figures. But the reality is the owner does not want to spend money to pay the luxury tax. They want to line their pockets with the monies in terms of profits and also want to fool you into thinking the teams are still as good as they were. They present all the information, but in the presentation they fool many.

The presentation by the NBA shows us year after year that small market teams are really not at a disadvantage at all. Players will play where they can get a chance to compete and win. But it is up to the owners and the teams to create that marketability to make that happen. Marketing is not something that just happens when you go to a big city. With the internet as big as it is these days, you don’t have to be in a big market to even succeed. The biggest examples of that are Kevin Durant and LeBron James. Both have been in small markets and have thrived when it comes to off the court endorsements and things of that nature. So, when a team is losing or has to lose an impact player because of they don’t want to pay them, quit letting the small market teams off the hook because they don’t want to pay. When a team is not competing year after year, stop letting them off the hook because of the small market they may play in. Take the finger-pointing and aim it at the owners and the front office for making poor decisions to make the team competitive and for not wanting to pay. The decision falls on them and them only. They did not want to pay or build a good team. They did not want to satisfy their fans and instead wanted to line their pockets. The excuse of being in a small market is just that: an excuse. Cleveland just proved that it is an excuse, San Antonio has been proving that it is an excuse for small market teams for years.

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Andre Iguodala’s Unselfishness Gets Repaid In A Title

Andre Iguodala hits a big three and celebrates as the Warriors win the NBA title. (photo courtesy of

Andre Iguodala hits a big three and celebrates as the Warriors win the NBA title. (photo courtesy of

The Golden State Warriors are now NBA champions after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games. The feeling of winning the NBA title when many did not expect them to do so beginning the season has to be something that overcame all of them at that moment in time. All the hugs and joy that was seen between players, coaches and families on the Warriors team were priceless things to watch. Going into this series, the battle of Golden State versus Cleveland was viewed as the NBA’s best team versus the NBA’s best player in LeBron James. Cleveland got a huge series out of James, but the strength of the Golden State Warriors team proved to be too much for him to overcome. The strength in numbers was enough to overthrow the King. But more than that, there was one thing that was shown all season with this team. If you have watched the Warriors all season long, they have been an unselfish team that is all in together. In fact, you could say that they all take turns making plays to win games. Obviously players like Draymond Green, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson receive most of the credit, but there were other players and their sacrifices that helped make this team who they are. One player that sacrificed a lot this season is David Lee. He was the starter ever since he came to Golden State, but when he hurt his hamstring before the season, it was Draymond Green who got the call to start. And with him in the lineup, the team seemed to flow better. Green retained the starting nod while Lee retreated to a bench role for the betterment of the team. And in the end, his acceptance of his role helped bring home a title. But there was one man that made a sacrifice even bigger than Lee did. His name was Andre Iguodala.

When Andre Iguodala came to Golden State, he said he was coming there to play for then coach Mark Jackson. Iggy was a starter ever since he came into the league as a rookie back in 2004 with the Philadelphia 76ers. In his first year with the Golden State Warriors, he was thought to add a little more defense and versatility to that team. But instead of adding that, he took a little more than he added. Emerging young player Harrison Barnes, who had played well the previous season, was not the same player he was coming in off the bench. He never played to the level he did the previous season and that ended up being to the detriment of the team. The Warriors would go on not meet expectations as they lost to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the 2014 NBA playoffs. And as far as Iggy, he would average his lowest points per game since his rookie year (9.3 points per game) while dealing with a hamstring injury that hampered him throughout the season. Going into this season, the Warriors had a new coach. After a managerial disagreement, Mark Jackson was fired and former NBA player and TNT announcer Steve Kerr took over. It was expected by many that Kerr would keep the same lineup and add in their free agent signings, Shaun Livingston and Leandro Barbosa. But Kerr had something else in mind and it involved Andre Iguodala.

One of Kerr’s first visits when he signed on as coach of the Golden State Warriors was to Andre Iguodala. He knew the veteran was a voice on the team that many would listen to because of his tenure in the league. But his reason for meeting with him was not only to get on the same page as him, but to ask him to sacrifice. When taking over the coaching job, Kerr noticed the dip in Harrison Barnes’ play as a result of going to the bench. And in an effort to maximize what he had in Barnes, he asked Iggy to come in off the bench for the first time in his career. From what is reported, it was not an easy decision for Iguodala. He was known as an NBA starter for all of his career. In his mind he had to be wondering what Kerr was thinking when he asked him to be a bench player. But reluctantly, Iggy agreed to the switch and bought what Kerr was selling to him. And during the season, it seemed like Barnes played much better. He only averaged .6 points better than the previous year, but Barnes shot 48.2% for the season (up from 39.9%) and he also posted a career-high in rebounds. And to his credit, Iggy gave the Warriors a boost off the bench all season long, averaging 8 points per game off one of the best benches in the NBA. The sacrifice of Iggy along with the great play of the Warriors helped lead Golden State to 67 wins and the number once seed in the NBA’s Western Conference. And throughout the playoffs, Iggy made timely plays and was one of the glue guys off the Warriors bench along with Shaun Livingston. But his biggest payback for his sacrifice would come in the postseason.

The Golden State Warriors were looking at a 2-1 deficit going into Cleveland for Game 4. Many wondered what adjustments that Kerr would make and how he would combat what LeBron James was putting together for the Cavaliers. Up until gametime, no one really knew what he would do. But then he shocked the world and went with Andre Iguodala in the starting lineup to replace center Andre Bogut. The shocker wasn’t so much that Iggy was in the starting lineup. After all, he was the most consistent player in the series up to that point. When he jumped into the starting lineup, it was his first time being in the starting lineup all season. And with Iggy and Draymond Green starting up front, it was assumed the Cavs would eat them up on the glass. Well, that move surely did so for the first couple of minutes of Game 4. Tristian Thompson was tearing them up on the glass to start the game. But after the Warriors settled in, the small lineup with Iggy started to work its magic. And three straight games later, the magic they found in the small lineup led them to being NBA champions. One player that made an immeasurable impact on this series from the onset is Andre Iguodala. He made LeBron work for every point he got when he guarded him, had some nice assists and hit the open shot when given to him. And because of that strong play, he won the NBA Finals MVP. Some say that Steph Curry should have won the MVP, but Iggy was consistent the entire series and when he was inserted in the starting lineup, he gave the team 20.3 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists per game. And even more than that, he helped make the Warriors defense better along with create big mismatch problems for the Cavaliers. Curry may be the Warriors best player, but Iggy was definitely the most important player and proved to be the most valuable too despite the missed free throws.

Andre Iguodala made a sacrifice that not many would have honestly said they would have made. He willingly went to the bench in an effort to do what the coach said would make the team better. And as a result of his sacrifice and unselfishness, he played a huge part in bringing a championship to Golden State. Not only did he help win the title, but he was a key cog in the turnaround of the entire series. No matter what anyone says about Iguodala after tonight, it won’t matter. Iggy can now be known as an NBA champion and one that was selfless enough to see the big picture for the Warriors. And for that he should be commended.

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The Golden State Warriors Won The NBA Title On Their Terms

The Golden State Warriors celebrate their first title in 40 years. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The Golden State Warriors celebrate their first title in 40 years. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The NBA Finals are over in six games and the Golden State Warriors are now the NBA champions. They outplayed and outsmarted the Cleveland Cavaliers as they have won their first championship in 40 years. The Warriors were led by Steph Curry and Andre Iguodala, who had 50 points combined. And not to be outdone, Draymond Green rebounded from a tough stretch to start the series to post a triple-double in the finale. And just like that, they crushed all hope of the Cleveland Cavaliers as they were in total pretty much the entire game. When the Warriors won, it seemed like there was a sense of joy. No, not the joy from the people that hate LeBron James and want him to fail, but joy for a team that made it happen despite everyone counting them out. The Cavaliers were undermanned going into the Finals and had even more to overcome when Kyrie Irving was hurt in the first game of the series and did not play again. But that does not take away from the great accomplishments the Warriors had this season. And it is because of that, the 2014-2015 Golden State Warriors will go down as one of the best teams in NBA history. Now some may say that it is crazy to say they are one of the best teams of all-time, but with all that they have done and the unconventional way they have done so, it is rightful to put them up there with teams like the 72 win Chicago Bulls.

Unlike the Chicago Bulls that season, the Warriors were not picked by many to win an NBA title. In fact, many thought the San Antonio Spurs would put it together again and make a run at repeating as a NBA champion for the first time. And when David Lee went down with a hamstring injury before the season and the Warriors put Draymond Green in the starting lineup, it was thought that their chances decreased even more in the eyes of some. There were many that said they were too small with Draymond at the power forward and that he would eventually get taken advantage of in the paint. Well, the opposite happened all season long. Going into a season where he could play himself into a big contract, Green became the ultimate mismatch on the offensive end of the court. He was only 6’7 (and many would argue that he isn’t even 6’7”), but he could finish inside because of his anticipation, touch and strength around the rim. But not only could he finish around the rim, but he could stretch the defense. Not many power forwards could take the rebound and dribble it up the court and hit open threes. Draymond could do that and more with his unique abilities. On the defensive end he more than held his own as well all year. He gave it his all each and every time he touched the court. And he also played bigger than many gave him credit for. He defended bigger players all year long and did not give up an inch, negating the supposed mismatch that he was put into on the defensive end. And in the NBA Finals, the lineup change the Warriors made put all those abilities on display. He was matched up against Tristian Thompson and Thompson was giving him problems on the defensive end on the boards. But as the series went on, Thompson was not as effective as he was on the glass. He still got his, but it was not at the clip it once was due to the effect of Green. And Green, to his credit, rebounded from a tough start to the series and became a huge piece to three straight wins and a title.

Another thing that made many not believe in this team is their style of play. The Warriors were criticized all year long because of the Style of the Splash Brothers (me included). There were times that many thought they took shots that were awful and depended too much on the three-pointer. They did shoot some bad shots, but they made a lot more of them than they missed. And it was because of that, their shooting opened up the paint more and more as the season went on. But the common misconception about this team is that they are just an outside shooting team. That could not be further from the truth. The Golden State Warriors were also a team that took the ball to the basket. For example, they used backcuts and dribble penetration to setup easy finishes for their big men all years. Countless times you would see Festus Ezeli, Draymond Green or Andrew Bogut getting an easy dunk off of penetration from Steph Curry or Andre Iguodala. But that isn’t the only example of them attacking the rim. The growth of Klay Thompson as a playmaker and a rim attacker was something that has progressed over the years. In the beginning of his professional career, Klay was more of a shooter. He was a one-dimensional player that only played on the offensive side of the floor. But as his career as gone on, he has made more of a concerted effort to take the ball to the basket. His first progression was being able to shoot off the dribble. Once he got that down, he began to get deeper and deeper into the defense, even attacking the rim while working on using his height to his advantage defensively. Fast forward to now and Klay Thompson is considered by many the best two-way shooting guard in the NBA because of how he has completed his offensive game and picked it up tremendously over time with his defense. In the NBA Finals, the growth of the team and the style they played was shown to the entire country. They shot the three-pointer pretty well for the series. But even when they did not do so, they used backcuts and also dribble penetration to breakdown Cleveland’s defense. The constant movement and timely shooting from the Warriors eventually wore Cleveland down, as they could not keep up. And because of that, the Warriors are now celebrating the NBA Championship.

The Warriors started this season with a motto “Strength In Numbers”. As the season went on, many more people believed in them and they carried that on to the title. But what the Warriors exhibited to the world was more than about strength in numbers but mental strength in themselves. They believed in what they were doing and did not care what anyone else said about what they did. And it is because of that, they broke the mold on what exactly is needed to win a title. They did not have a guy to throw it inside to and get an easy bucket. They did not have the prototypical size, especially when they downsized their lineup. But what they did do is impose their will on any and everyone they faced on their way to the NBA title.

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Steph Curry Finds Himself In The Clutch And Helps The Warriors Close In On The Finish Line

Steph Curry pumping up the crowd as the Warriors take the Cavaliers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. (photo courtesy of

Steph Curry pumping up the crowd as the Warriors take the Cavaliers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. (photo courtesy of

The Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers came into Game 5 even at two wins a piece. Statistically, the team that wins game 5 when a series is tied wins the series almost 75% of the time. The importance of this game was something that was very evident. And coming out of the gate, the Warriors came out swinging. But the Cavs, to their credit, came back and made a game of it. But in the end, the Cavs just did not have enough to make it happen, as they fell to the Golden State Warriors 104-91. LeBron had JR Smith show up in the first half, but Smith disappeared in the second half of the game, as he could not even find the basket in the second half. LeBron, the former league MVP, turned it up in the fourth quarter. It looked like the Cavaliers were going to make it happen and come back to win this one. The former MVP had stepped up. But when he turned it on, the current MVP made his presence felt. Curry had 20 points heading into the fourth quarter, but he knew his team needed him and he scored 17 of his 37 points to close out the Cavaliers and put Golden State one game away from winning the title.

Throughout the series, Curry has been up and down. He has had moments that have stood out and others that are forgettable. Who can forget the comments and articles being written (including one on this site) over him not showing up in Game 2? And who can forget the thoughts that Matthew Dellavedova shut him down in Game 2 and most of Game 3? Dellavedova played a solid game against Curry in both those games and he made a great impact against Curry with his physical play, but he does not deserve all the credit for what he did to Curry. Part of what happened was Curry making things difficult for himself by missing shots with a high degree of difficulty. In this game, he took it a little bit more to the basket, but he was hitting those high difficulty shots that he was missing for the first part of the series. And when he is hitting those, there is no stopping him. And in the fourth quarter, Steph cooked up a special meal for Dellavedova. He hit him with the crossover and stepback three. He mixed him up in a screen and roll with the midrange jump shot. And he also took it off the screen and went right to the basket. Curry was the MVP we all watched this season and the Warriors benefited greatly from it. And as far as Dellavedova, he looked like he was trying to two-step but lost his rhythm. All those comments of Curry being locked down by Dellavedova faded away and seemed like a distant memory. This was a great win for the Warriors, but they must still remember that it was only one game. And in the end, it is not three games you have to win but four to win this series. Game 6 will be tough and they must be mentally ready to tackle that one as it comes to them.

Game 6 will be back in Cleveland of course. The crowd will undoubtedly be pumped up for the return of their team. The town will bring their energy to the team and will more than likely fuel the role players in this one. And one LeBron James will be focused on extending this one to a seven-game series. But for the Golden State Warriors, they need to end this one in Cleveland. Even though a Game 7 would be at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, there is no way the Warriors want to face LeBron James in a Game 7 scenario. Anything can happen in those games and when you have a great player involved as the opponent, that makes a Game 7 even scarier. The main person that can help them end this series in six games is Curry. He has found his mojo. And it all goes back to the fundamental change the Warriors made in Game 4 when he got that little bit of rhythm and got some shots to fall. At that point, that is when the Chef made his way back into this series and he has not left it since. Curry has firmly seated himself at the head of this team as its leader. And it is because of his calm demeanor and his quiet fire that this team follows his lead. Many can say that Draymond Green is the heart and soul of this team, but Curry is the real fire and desire behind this team. And over the years, he has assumed the leadership role. This year, he seems to have stepped to the head of the class.

The end of this season is looking to be a culmination of a championship for Steph Curry and his team. They did things their way and never let anyone tell them any differently. And although many wanted them to fall from grace, they stood steadfast in their belief in themselves and their drive of bringing a championship to Oakland. Well, the time is almost here and the moment is about to arrive. Curry is peaking at the right time and he is carrying them at the big moments. The end is near and the finish line can be seen. Can the Warriors cross that finish line in Cleveland on Tuesday?

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