Just One More

By Stefan Anderson

The Golden State Warriors have lost the “heart and soul” of their roster , Draymond Green, after he was suspended  for surpassing his allotted flagrant points during his altercation with Cleveland Cavs star Lebron James. The Warriors are on the cusp of closing out the Cavs in the game five of the 2016 NBA Finals, will they be able to win without Green?

Of course the altercation could have been avoided if James did not step over Green to get back into the play. Green could have also reacted in a different way by not jabbing James where the sun doesn’t shine. Players from each side stated that the whole situation was wrong. Andrew Bogut of the Warriors added “They did what they had to do and they got one of our guys out.” Cavs forward Kevin Love even stated “You don’t see it too much, but yeah, I think it is looked at as a form of disrespect”

But neither debate nor statements can bring Green back for a closeout game on Monday evening. What Green brings defensively as auxiliary defender from three to the five spot can’t be replaced. His playmaking skills to run the Warriors offense can’t be replaced either.

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(via Zach Lowe and John Schuhmann)

As stats have shown, Golden State is not the same team without Green. But the Dubs have a capable defender that will force James to continue to work hard offensively in 2015 Finals MVP Andre Iguodala.

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(via John Schuhmann)

As far as replacing Green’s minutes, Iguodala will obviously start in place for Green at the 4 spot; Livingston can come in and play the point-forward spot for offensive end in extended minutes to jump start the Warriors offense. Green’s suspension does force center Festus Ezeli and Mo Speights to play more with the staggering health of starting center Andrew Bogut.

The move to include more big men plays into Cleveland’s hands, but also creates more chaos defensively as Kevin Love and Channing Frye will have to switch out or trap Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson as they come off of high screen and rolls.  Golden State is now given the option for  3 on 2’s or the Splash Brothers will continue to exploit the Cavs bigs off the dribble as they did in game four when they exploded for 17 three-point field goals.

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The Warriors resiliency will be on display once again, but if there is any team with a roster to find an array of guys it will be the Dubs. For example, in Game 4 when former Cleveland fan favorite Anderson Vareajo came in provide great minutes including a game changing possession in which the center grabbed three offensive rebounds in a possession that lasted nearly two minutes long. Warriors coaching staff even found seven valuable minutes for James Michael McAdoo, who was in a suit just two games ago.

If Golden State has proven one thing this whole season is that they thrive in chaos, in fact, they have to be the most motivated team I’ve seen in years. The way they continue to find ways to motivate themselves to be great has been astonishing and Monday evenings win will encapsulate the great season they have had with the final statement, winning the 2016 NBA finals.

“It’s another challenge for us, but we’re going to embrace it and we’re going to accomplish it.” said Klay Thompson. The Warriors will be playing with another chip on their shoulder with their heart and soul not being able to join them. “We’re going to go out there and do it as a team and win for him,” added the Warriors guard.

 

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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.

Don’t Panic

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By Stefan Anderson

In the beginning of the season, you had no idea that you would see the frontrunner Cleveland Cavaliers in this position early. But the Cavs are going to have their fair share of growing pains as the season comes along with a rookie NBA head coach and supporting stars and role players that have never seen success like LeBron James.

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Although it’s early in the season, it is very odd to see the alpha dogs of the NBA struggle with their uncompromising positions. If these teams and players can take heed from Aaron Rodgers, they can become acclimated and figure out of the early struggles.

In the beginning of the season, you had no idea that you would see the frontrunner Cleveland Cavaliers in this position early. But the Cavs are going to have their fair share of growing pains as the season comes along with a rookie NBA head coach and supporting stars and role players that have never seen success like LeBron James.

Is Cleveland the Paper Champs or are they the Real Deal?

Like James eluded already Relax. Cleveland will find themselves in the Playoffs in the Eastern Conference.  It will all start when the team makes its defining roles and everyone steps in and plays their role night in and night out.

Who is going to be the Real #2 scorer between Love and Irving? I believe that Cavs should run their offense through Kevin Love similar to how Miami utilized Chris Bosh during the Big 3 era. With Irving and James both accustomed to being primary Ball Handlers, their ability to be off ball playmakers causes even more concerns for opposing defenses.

Should Dion Waiters be a starter or a 6th man? I think that Waiters and Irving’s playing style resemble each other’s too much and that it causes too much confusion when on the floor together. Two score first guards will not work on a team that has so many weapons and need the ball to be distributed out amongst them. I think that Waiters will be dealt in the near future or closer to the trade deadline due what these Cleveland team needs.

Die Hard Cleveland Fans and Bandwagon fans have no reason to jump ship this early and just have to learn that the inexperience and chemistry will come as fast you want it, it will take time. There are signs for the future to be bright as you earned your first win against the battle tested Chicago Bulls.

Heart of a City

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By Stefan Anderson

Seems like a redundant theme or trend for better terms, but Superstar or All-Star player leaves their small market in pursuit for a better team, richer lifestyle, more lucrative contract and fulfilling their dreams of becoming a NBA champion.  The latest player on the path to follow his personal endeavors is Superstar power forward Kevin Love. After a report given by Yahoo Sports on Sunday, Love intends to opt out of his final year of his player option and his name on the star studded free agent class of the summer of 2015.

There is no denying Love’s talent but I believe that he choice to share the news prior this year NBA draft and the season even begins put a lot of things in limbo, including his career. For example, what if Minnesota’s all or nothing attitude results in a trade to another small market team that is rebuilding to return prominence i.e. (Milwaukee Bucks who have a 25.0% percent chance of winning this year’s lottery) and you waste another year in your career and tarnish your market value from playing on a horrific roster.

With teams like Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns all on the prowl for the former UCLA standout, The Kevin Love Sweepstakes have begun.

Some of the teams in heavy discussion have been the Lakers and Celtics, who have seen their worst season in the years past, are now searching for the answer for their loyal fans are inquiring for Love’s availability. With Love being a California kid and Kobe on the waning years of his, it would seem fitting to pair the two for contention. With a possibility of obtaining a top-5 pick in years draft, pending on the bouncing of the balls, can put together the right offer to sway the superstar forward. Boston is presented with same kind of offer they have a great deal of expiring contracts along with the future draft picks obtained in their process of rebuilding. Boston has great deal with Minnesota dating back the KG trade with sent a boat load of draft picks that brought in players like Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio and honorable mention to Johnny Flynn.

Whether Minnesota wants to deal and reports have shown that are now more open to moving their star after years of watching him win the fans of Minnesota. With the fear of losing their star player like a LeBron James for nothing and are still searching for a light since his departure to South Beach.  They have been put in a hot seat to figure out how they are going to maneuver this upcoming season and future’s ones.

Love’s optimism puts a lot of things in motion, Timberwolves Front Office, Teams that need that extra star to win and the endless possibilities to acquire the All Star.  This saga should be an interesting one to watch as the moments pass by and more deals get put on to the table.  By June 26, 2014, we should have an idea of where the All-Star should be headed Minnesota cannot afford to miss out on the talent presented in years draft. They are bound to lose Love during the offseason and cannot sway any big names to come to Minnesota other than Kris Humphries, so do make a deal that ultimately make their team better and plan for the future is the best option available.