Clippers, a much Improved team

The Clippers could possible be the new team in LA.  The Lakers could make some noise in LA but it all depends on the young players that they drafted and how well Luke Walton does as a coach.  However, we need to take a look at the Clippers to see what makes this team so much better then in years past.

Griffin and Paul

This combination must remind a lot of Utah Jazz fans of the good old days of Karl Malone and John Stockton.  However, the one difference though between what Utah had and what the Clippers have has to do deal with health.  Last year Griffin only started in 35 games last year.  It was a combination of injuries and suspensions.  However, I believe that Griffin has a lot to prove this year because of what happened to him last year.  Griffin’s image is in jeopardy and I believe that he understands that.  He also understands that the door for the Clippers to be a contender is closing due to the age of Chris Paul.

The Clippers will most likely continue to contend in the West as long as Griffin can stay healthy.  Paul though might be able to give the Clippers three more years of decent enough play before father time kicks in.  Paul most likely understands this as well and he must be getting tired of hearing about how good Russell Westbrook, Seth Curry and Kyrie Irving are.  No offense to anyone who love those players but Paul has been in the shadow of these point guards for a while.  Paul in my opinion has been the most consistent player in the league the last couple of years.  His consistency though usually comes when Griffin is able to stay health.  If these two can stay health all year, the starting line up for the Clippers will be a threat to any team at any given night.

DeAndre Jordan or Marresse Speights

DeAndre Jordan needs to really consider what is important for this team at this point in his career.  Is it more important to shoot the free throw like a shooter in this league, or make free throws like Rick Barry and go for the granny-shot.  Right now the Houston Rockets have a player named Chinanu Onuaku who shoots granny-style.  The difference this season between Onuaku and Jordan will be that Onuaku will actually make his shots vs Jordan who will miss a lot of his shots.  Here is another item to point out to Jordan that he needs to think about.  Jordan will continue to get the hack a shaq treatment because the league really didn’t change the rule that much.  Jordan’s playing time will drop if he can’t make free throws.  Who will take his spot?  Bring in Marreese Speights.

I can tell already that the Clippers are getting ready for the fact that Jordan will not be playing down the stretch when it is a close game.  Here is what is interesting is that both Speights and Jordan came into the league at the same time.  Speights free throw percentage for his career is .790 while Jordan’s is .420.  That is a .370 percent difference when it comes to shooting the free throw.  I believe that if Jordan goes granny-style, that his percentage will sky rocket.  It will also make the Clippers more of a threat should crunch time come in close games because Jordan is a threat on the boards and blocking shots.  While Speights is better at rebounding the ball if given more playing time.  Jordan, if you want to help your team, please go granny style soon or I can see your playing time getting cut in close games.  Good thing though the Clippers signed Speights to make up the difference in close games.  Excellent signing by the Clippers during the off season.

Bench

The bench for the Clippers will be huge this year.  In years past, the bench was only Jamal Crawford and Austin Rivers.  Which at any given night, they would sometimes just disappear.  This season with the addition of Speights, this team will be much improved.  Here is why.

Crawford for how great he is, tends to turn the ball over a lot.  In his career, he is averaging two turn overs a game.  I think this year those numbers will go down since he should be able to spread the floor more and not rely on the one on one game.  In fact, he might be able to improve Austin Rivers as a shooter because of the pick up of Speights.  Austin I believe will be able to either do off ball screens or on ball screens with Speights.  Team defenses might be focused on Crawford whether he has the ball or not and Rivers might be able to score more driving to the basket or being able to shoot the three.  If not him, then you can either have Speigths or Crawford do that as well if he passes the ball.  The Clippers have a big three on the starting squad.  Four if you added  J.J. Redick to the picture as well.  Now with Speights, they will have three more scores on the floor when they need to rest their starters at any given stretch of the game.

There needs to be more games played this season to fully see the potential of the team, but they will be in the top four this season when playoffs come.  There best shot at making the Western Conference Finals will most likely be if they face Golden State in the second round of the playoffs.  Which means they need to get the number four seed, or the number three seed depending on how the battle that goes between the Spurs, Warriors and Thunder.  Since the Warriors lack experience and rebounding in their Center positions, Jordan, Griffin, and Speights should have a field day on the boards since Golden State plays small ball.  I have no doubt that the Clippers can compete with their small ball team, so it would all depend on the big men of the series.  Which I give to the Clippers since they are bigger, stronger and able to crash the boards.  Time will tell what happens to this Clippers team but the number one issue that needs to be focused on his health if this team wants to go far.

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Spurs will be underrated all year

While the league will be talking about Lebron James and the Cavaliers or the Super team Warriors, the Spurs will be doing like they always have been doing.  Playing Spurs basketball.  I honestly believe that this Spurs team is better then last years team and has the biggest chance right now to win the NBA championship.  But before everyone goes crazy and wants to burn me to the post let me explain.

Bench

The Spurs have one of the deepest benches this year.  We always talk about the starters and how important they are but lets look at the starters for the Spurs.  The starters for the Spurs last night were Tony Parker, Kyle Anderson, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Pau Gasol.  Ok now look at the bench Patty Mills, Manu Ginobili, Jonathon Simmons, and David Lee.  Other players on the Spurs I don’t really know as players but that is without Danny Green who is currently out with an injury.  If Danny Green hadn’t been out you can see that the Spurs bench could have started the game last night.

This is huge because if you have a bench that could start any game, its like you really never lose your starters all game.  That is what made the Warriors so deadly the last two years was that their bench could have been starters if they needed it to be.  Its almost like the Spurs are trying to set up their team so that they can on top in the NBA again.

No Duncan?  Ok Gasol!

It was heart breaking for the Spurs to lose Tim Duncan.  A legend in that city but its ok, they picked up Pau Gasol.  I get that Paul is old and that he isn’t better at defense like Duncan was, but Gasol might be better then people realize.  Here is why.

Gasol is going to be able to spread the floor more unlike Duncan was at his age.  Gasol’s ability to see the floor is amazing.  It is what made the Lakers so good back in 2008-2010 was because of Gasol being able to pass the ball to Lamar Odom or Kobe Bryant when the floor was spread out.  His defense might be shaky…oh wait he is averaging 1.7 blocks for his career.  Tim Duncans career blocks were 2.2 for his career but lets break it down even farther.  Tim Duncan blocks the last three years were 139, 151, 78.  Paul Gasols blocks the last three years?  92, 147, and 146 for the last three seasons!  Gasols time in Chicago might have helped him with working on his defense.  So in the end, Gasol does have defense but people don’t look at that for him.  Plus if he didn’t have defense, I don’t think the Spurs would have signed him.  Either that or Pop will make sure that he does have defense.

Kawhi Lenoard

The most underrated player in the league right now.  Remember, he was a finals MVP during the 2014 finals and was the third youngest player to receive this award.  The other two players who were younger?  They were both Magic Johnson.  The other thing to remember too is that he is 25 years old and he is going to have a season because he is now in the prime of his career.  He is a two time defensive player of the year and he is only going to get better.  His ability to play defense is only going to get better as the season goes on and as the saying goes.  Offense wins games, defense wins championship.

Rising Star on the team?  Bring in Jonathon Simmons

Ok this is my prediction for the team now but I believe that Jonathon Simmons is the key to this teams success.  He had a career high last night of 20 points but I don’t think this is the end with him.  I believe that he could be the new Ginobili for this team.  If he can bring these types of numbers every night, he will be the new big three or four for the Spurs.  Think about this, Patty Mills,  Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Jonathon Simmons.  That could be a deadly line up that no one is taking about.  I am currious to see what the numbers will be when those four are out on the floor.  This might be the most kept secret of the Spurs and no one to my knowledge is talking about it.

If you are a Spurs fan, this is going to be a good season for you guys.  This could result in a banner in that building come next year.  Time will tell but I believe that this team can win it all.

Numbers tell a story for the Warriors

Last nights game for the Warriors is telling a story that needs to be discussed.  Hardly anyone will talk about, because it will be around the fact that Kevin Durant is still trying to learn the offense and that Warriors will still be the best team in basketball before the end of the year.  However, there are a couple of numbers that people are over looking because we look at the flashy stats of points and we go crazy over the highlights that ESPN gives us on a nightly bases.  The category I am talking about is the need for a big man who can rebound the ball for this team.

If you look at the individual stats of the team last night on rebounding, you will see as a Warriors fan that Draymond Green was able to lead the team in rebounds with 12 and Durant was the second in rebounds with 10.  As good as that is, I believe that these two rebounding will cause the down fall of the Warriors as the season continues.  Here why.

When looking at the stats of rebounding they were able to keep up on the defensive end of rebounding the ball, but on the offensive end, it was a different story.  The Spurs had 21 offensive rebounds to the Warriors 8 (9 if you count the team rebound).  The last offensive rebound for the Warriors was at the 10:26 mark of the fourth quarter.  It was a team offensive rebound, the next closes one was at the 4:05 mark during the third quarter and that was done by David West.  If you break down all the offensive rebounds from these rebounds of the fourth quarter, it looks like this.

Andre Iguodala offensive rebound at mark 2:55 of the second quarter.  Draymond Green offensive rebounds 3rd quarter at marks 11:15, 8:34, 8:33, 5:05, and 4:56.   Zaza Pachulia offensive rebound at the 8:30 mark of the third quarter.  These numbers are scary for Warrior fans who actually look at the entire picture.  Yes they spread the floor, and they are one of the greatest small ball teams in the league.  But what will happen when they run into the Cavaliers who will most likely be crashing the boards all night with Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love?

Warriors need to get a big man, who’s soul purpose is to rebound, rebound, rebound.  The Warriors can make it all season with their starting line up and score lights out when they are on.  They still need a big man who can just rebound.  If they can get that man, the Warriors will win the NBA finals hands down.  Warriors might want to consider trading to get Tyson Chandler who can make Draymond Green’s job easier.  If Draymond isn’t having to use his energy to rebound on every possession of the game, he will be able to be more effective on the offensive end of the ball.  It will also help Kevin Durant with being able to focus more on scoring while at the same time, being the third option with rebounding.

Tyson Chandler can help the Warriors get over the top.  His toughness of crashing the boards becomes addicting.  He would feed off of Draymond  when it comes to playing the game and since he is able to rebound the ball, he would make the Warriors that much more of a threat in the West.  However, to make that trade will be a problem because of the salary cap that they have.  So the Warriors need to either find a Tyson like player or find someway to get that man on that team.  Doing so, will result in the Warriors winning it all this year.

NBA game Predictions tonight

Tonight is opening night of the NBA. Here is what I am predicting will happen with the teams that will face off tonight.

New York Knicks vs Cleveland Cavaliers

This will be the preview we have been waiting to see since the Knicks have made all these moves during the off season to make themselves a title contender since they would either have to beat the Cavaliers or the Warriors if they were to make it to the finals. Today the Knicks will have to beat a very emotional Lebron and Cavaliers team for bringing home the first ever championship banner for this organization. I expect the Cavaliers to win but if the Knicks want to be able to stop the party in Cleveland, they will need to do the following.

Knicks Bench

The Knicks bench will have to come out to play. In fact, if you look at their back up point guard and shooting guard, they use to be former stars in this league. Most people don’t remember much from Brandon Jennings back when he played with the Bucks that he did have a superstar stamp on his forehead before he disappeared from the NBA superstar radar. If Brandon Jennings can come out to play, then the Knick shouldn’t have a problem with being able to compete with the Cavaliers. At the same time, Sasha Vujacic already knows the triangle offense that the Knicks are going to be using because that is what Phil Jackson knows and loves. If these two can work together when coming off the bench, the Knicks should be able to stop the party in Cleveland.

Cleveland will win in a landslide unless the Knicks understand how the Triangle offense works

Utah Jazz vs Portland Trailblazers

This game I don’t think will be a good one. I believe that Utah is still in a rebuilding mode and still hasn’t been able to find their superstar yet. I understand that they do have Joe Johnson but he is old. They did pick up Boris Diaw but he does better these days when he is able to pass the ball instead of carrying the load for the team.

Portland’s one two punch

I know for a fact that Damian Lillard is one huge piece for this team, and continue to perfrom very game that he is able to. I do believe that their chances can go up for being a threat in the West if Mason Plumlee. I believe that this year if he is involved in more pick and rolls with Lillard that he could be a double double player this season. The key for Plumlee will be that he needs to be able to make the mid range shot in order for the pick and roll offense to work well. I believe that this will make the Trail Blazers and winning team this season.

Expect Portland to win this game tonight.

Golden State Warriors vs San Antonio Spurs

This was the match up that everyone was expecting to see last year in the West Conference finals. However, that didn’t happen and now we have a post Tim Duncan era for the Spurs. This match up is really even all across the board. So I will break this one down on how either of these teams could walk away with a victory.

Spurs

The Spurs bench will have to be on tonight. I think that the Spurs have the advantage when it comes to the bench, but Golden State makes it up with their starters. I also believe that the Spurs will have to take advantage of the fact that they most likely have the better team when it comes to rebounding the ball. However, that will determine based off if the Spurs won’t be tired out by all the running that they will most likely have to do with the Warriors. Spurs also will have to be playing defense the entire night which means that they will even have to be guarding the three point line all the way to half court with Curry and Durant when they are on the floor. The Spurs will also have to be able to make three pointers when they have the chance to shoot. Turn overs will have to be controlled as well since that is what caused them to lose to the Warriors last year.

Warriors

As was discussed with the Spurs is that the Warriors will have to move the ball a lot. If they move the ball a lot I don’t think teams have a chance at beating them. Warriors will have great spacing out on the floor. Rebounding might be an issue but that will only be a problem if they are not making their shoots from three point land and if they are not having ball movement on and off the ball. I also think that a zone might be needed in order to stop the big man plays from the Spurs since the Spurs do have big men that can pass and shoot the ball. Since the Spurs don’t usually take that many shoots at three point land, it would be best for the Warriors to do a zone to control the big men on the Spurs. If they do start making three’s, the the Warriors will have to do man to man switches so that the Warriors can control the pace of the game.

Verdict for this game I think the Warriors will win by one point and it will be a close game the entire time.

NBA Season

This year’s NBA season is just around the corner. When I mean by corner, I mean that it will happen tomorrow! I can’t wait for this season to start. However, there are a few players that could help teams with their season if they were able to trade or keep them on their team.

Ricky Rubio

I think this will be the most talked about player being traded this season. I also believe that he can be a valuable piece for the Timberwolves and that they should consider to not trade him. Here is why.

Ricky Rubio is a very unselfish basketball player. In fact, he seems like the player that could average a double double all season. However, it will be determined by the number of times he is given the ball all season and how well his teammates are performing. His current stats are 8.3 assists and 10.1 points per games. Due to the fact that Minnesota decided to draft Kris Dunn, I believe that Minnesota is trying to go away from having Ricky Rubio in case they are not able to sign him for an extension. However, upon looking at his current contract, he is signed with Minnesota through the 2018-2019 season. I don’t know what Minnesota is trying to do, but I believe that they need to key him so that they have a shot at winning a championship. I think Rubio will be the key since he is a very unselfish basketball players.

Centers and Golden State

It won’t be talked about during the season as much because it will be about the small ball due to the NBA going that way but I believe that come post season it will be all about the big men. Big men are really hard to find these days that can not only stay healthy, but be able to perform at the free throw line should the opportunity present itself down the stretch. I personally think that if Golden State has an opportunity to make it on top of the mountain again, they will need a big man that has been there before. So who is a big man that has been there before. Tyson Chandler is the man. Somehow someway, Golden State needs to find a way so that they can get that man on their team. He is almost averaging 10 rebounds a game for his career and his toughness will be able to go up against any of the centers in the league. At the same time, it will help if they were to face Cleveland in the NBA finals again. I think Tyson would be able to put a hold on Tristan Thompson should those teams meet in the finals. Rebounding will become key but will not be talked about until playoffs. If Golden State is unable to get Tyson, then they will need to rely on David West to take down Thompson. He might be the one that can slow down Cleveland should they fail to get Tyson.

MVP

I think MVP will be going to Russell Westbrook this season. I am expecting him to just have a season now that Durrant is out of the picture. If he can stay healthy, and if they can add one more key piece to their team, then they have the best chance to stop the Warriors in the Western Conference finals. Everyone will be talking about Durrant and Curry as MVP but I believe that Westbrook will be MVP this season.