Pick One !

nashkidd

We’re implementing a new section of The Starting Point, called Pick One! , which compares two greats against each other to see who you would prefer.We will start off with a #TBT edition, comparing two of the decades best floor general’s, Jason Kidd and Steve Nash, both are shoe-in Hall of Famers and could easily go down as top 5 of their position. Lets take a look at their stats and you choose who was better Nash or Kidd.

Player        FG  FGA  FG%  3P 3PA  3P%  2P 2PA  2P% eFG%  FT FTA  FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV  PF  PTS
Jason Kidd   4.5 11.2 .400 1.4 4.1 .349 3.0 7.1 .429 .464 2.2 2.8 .785 1.3 5.0 6.3 8.7 1.9 0.3 2.9 1.8 12.6
Steve Nash   5.2 10.6 .490 1.4 3.2 .428 3.8 7.4 .518 .556 2.5 2.8 .904 0.5 2.5 3.0 8.5 0.7 0.1 2.9 1.6 14.3
Advertisements

Breaking Barriers

women

By Jazmine August

It seems like the idea of women in sports has been the buzz around the business over the last few weeks. Starting with San Antonio Spurs assistant coach, Becky Hammon, serving as the team’s NBA Summer League  head coach, a first in men’s professional sports history. But Hammon didn’t stop there, she led the team to a championship during the tournament.

Women have been involved in sports for decades, from the league offices to reporting from the sidelines but we are now seeing women break into the coveted society of coaching men’s professional sports.  Just two weeks after Becky Hammon broke headlines, the Arizona Cardinals named Dr. Jen Welter to their coaching staff throughout training camp and the pre-season working with inside linebackers. In a recent interview Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said, “Coaching is nothing more than teaching” and believes that,  “One thing I have learned from players is, ‘How are you going to make me better? If you can make me better, I don’t care if you’re the Green Hornet, man, I’ll listen.’ I really believe she’ll have a great opportunity with this internship through training camp to open some doors for her”

And these women are more than qualified. Becky Hammon played 16 years in the NBA, was named WNBA All-Star six times, two-time  All NBA first team and two-time Olympian with the Russian national team. Dr. Jen Welter has not only played 14 seasons with the Women’s Football Alliance, but she holds a masters in sports psychology and a doctorate in psychology all while winning two gold medals playing for Team USA in the International Federation of American Football Women’s World Championship in 2010 and 2013.

But before there was a Becky Hammon and a Dr. Jen Welter, there was Stephanie Ready, the first female assistant coach of a men’s professional team. She was named assistant coach of the NBA D-League now defunct team the Greenville Groove and she help lead them to a D-League Championship in the 2001-2002 season. Not only is Ready a woman which is a minority in the world of professional sports but she is a black woman. In an interview with on NBA.com, Ready states that “there were lots of sleepless nights up late watching video, writing scouting reports and doing game prep” but she added that “I did everything the right way and worked my tail off.”

Stephanie Ready is now gearing up for her 12th season as the Charlotte Hornets sideline reporter. She has also covered the NBA and WNBA playoffs and the NCAA Women’s basketball tournament for ESPN. Ready says that “being a double-minority if you will because I’m African-American and a woman in the sports industry, you have to really be conscientious of how you get to where you are and (again) who came before you”

Women like Stephanie Ready, Becky Hammon and Dr. Jen Selter who are blazing the path for young women with a deep affinity for sports inspire me to even believe that I can make my mark in this male dominated world. I know who’s shoulder’s I stand on.

State of the West

NBA: Playoffs-Houston Rockets at Golden State WarriorsBy Stefan Anderson

Perennially, the Western Conference, has the superior conference of the National Basketball Association and this year, it will be no different. Preceding the NBA Champs, the Golden State Warriors, repeat their success of the 2014-2015 season, everyone out West is looking to take the conference for their own. Here is some things to take in perspective as we look at the West.

Watch the Throne

Of course the Warriors will be the team to beat this year, but some teams are after the reigning champs’ title, specifically the Spurs and the Clippers. San Antonio and Los Angeles have made the big free agent splashes, with the Spurs snagging up prized FA prospect LaMarcus Aldridge and veteran David West. The Clippers were able to bring back DeAndre Jordan after the dilemma he starred in for weeks, along with veteran leadership in Paul Pierce and great assets in Lance Stephenson and Josh Smith. The irony that both Coach/President of B-Ball Ops, made the moves to dethrone the Warriors, but both teams present the greatest threat to Golden State and I believe can complete the jobs unless they meet in the playoffs.

The Last Harrah

Which one of the superstars in the final moments could lead their team to a better season? Kobe Bryant or Dirk Nowitzki? The answer was clear that it was more likely for the Mavs to be in a better position with the addition of Wesley Matthews and DeAndre Jordan, but following the negation of Jordan left Dallas in the same position as Los Angeles. Both have great rosters filled with good role players and prospects but with their aging stars it will difficult to surpass the top tier teams of the West.

The Forgotten Team

After appearing to jump to the forefront of the conference, the Thunder, took a step back and missed the playoffs after the concurring injuries to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The two nearly seen any action together and have yet to progress with their roster that has been bolstered after last year trade deadline. “Loud City” has been forgotten of their past success and have not been mentioned for whatever reason it may be, but with Billy Donavon at the helm, new beginnings could help to find that output they could not find with Scott Brooks.

First out the Hole

The Suns and the Kings have been on the outside looking in for the past few season, both teams showcase great rosters but yet have made the efforts to see the next level.  Both teams have veteran leadership this season, with the Suns acquiring Tyson Chandler and the Kings with Caron Butler and Rajon Rondo. Both teams could be this year’s New Orleans Pelicans, with the new additions.

Team of the Future

After the departure of their starting lineup, except for Damian Lillard, the Blazers have put together a group of young players that would be outcasts elsewhere but could join forces to become the team of the future. But the Blazers will have to compete with the young talents like the Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves, who both possess an abundance of young talent looking to make their splash in the league and quit be the doormats for the superior teams.

Lone Star

dezb

By Stefan Anderson

Holdouts from training camps and franchise tags have been prevalent in the National Football League ever since it was introduced. But the disputes between the franchises and their players that “deserve” their contracts never go on a positive note.
“As much as I love football…on my beautiful babies… I apologize #cowboynation but I will not be there if no deal #fact”, Dez Bryant stated from his twitter handle @DezBryant on Monday.

The latest case happens to star the Dallas Cowboys and their all-pro wideout Dez Bryant. Which seems to be absurd, noting how Jerry Jones spends on his franchise. But the conversation begins now that Bryant has stated he will not report to training camp if a deal is not completed.

The Cowboys are looking to use their franchise tag option which withholds Bryant from becoming a Free Agent and pays the wide receiver over 12 million dollars. But it will cost Dallas even more if they fail to meet the need of their most important player.

Dez Bryant has serious market value and would make a splash if he jumped into the Free Agency pool, I mean which team wouldn’t want arguably the best WR on their roster? Not many.  With concurrent injuries of Tony Romo and the departure of their once premier back in Demarco Murray, who else would propel the Dallas offense?

Knowing how much Jones spends on his amazing sporting complex and the 11 million dollar gamble taken on Greg Hardy, who is playing is still in limbo with his current suspension. It would only make sense of the Cowboys to figure a way to pay their premier playmaker.

Now witnessing, Cincinnati promising A.J. Green a contract following the end of his rookie contract and the same with Denver doing the best to secure their main target in Demaryius Thomas, on the fence but has still offered 12 million a year.

It is imperative that Dallas finds a way to recapture its star or its going to be some long seasons in Dallas, as he could throw up the “X” elsewhere.

New Day

By Stefan Anderson

Trends like most things are temporary similar to the majority of things that the world has to offer and change is the inevitable. But in the National Basketball Association, change is something most are not used to, but the 2015 Free Agency period has brought a new aspect to the league.

Subsequently, after the Warriors claimed the 2015 NBA title, it killed the theme of each team putting together a group of superstars whether it be two, three maybe even four, to propel their franchises to next level. But it exemplified that you will need to create a core of good players and not just a couple of great ones and a lot below average or mediocre ones to surround them with.

The precedent that we have seen of past champions, a la the San Antonio Spurs, keep a good team together you will sustain a great record.  And for the majority of the free agent class of 2015, has remained loyal to their respective teams and continue to figure with the current roster and try to fill in spots that were vacant in the prior.

We’ve seen the likes of Jimmy Butler, Marc Gasol, Kevin Love, Paul Millsap and Kawhi Leonard all remain with prior teams and not just chase the money and max contract but are chasing the highest achievement in the NBA, the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

The free agency period has shown that players who steadily work on this game and are making something out of the career despite their past struggles. Draymond Green, Damarre Carroll, and Kris Middleton, all received great contracts due to their improvements and what their upside could be based on their performance and work ethic.

Along with the underdogs earning their pay the underdog teams are now gaining the big players and taking them away from major markets like LA or NYC, where players at point had fantasies of playing in the bright lights of the big cities. The biggest example of that is where C/PF Greg Monroe decided to take his talents to Milwaukee, to join a young budding roster that could make a great splash with his addition, and deciding to decline to join the Lakers or the Knicks. We could also see Lamarcus Aldrige do the same forego playing a huge market and play in the small one like Phoenix or San Antonio.

We have seen teams like Portland, a small market team who would normally fret of losing a star like Aldridge, now figuring out to how to maneuver without him and have gathered many young prospects to join along their young superstar Damian Lillard in order to restore hope on their future and not dwell on their past.

I like the direction the league is pointing towards. Once known for being a me, me, me league in now making the transformation into becoming a  we, we, we league instead of having a superstar, having a great team. I believe this makes for more entertaining basketball and makes for a more competitive league, overall. I am looking forward to the new changes and trends are always fun and make each time period fun, let’s just enjoy this one.