Who Will be the Captains in the NBA’s First Televised All-Star Game Draft?

All-Star Game Draft

The NBA All-Star Game just got more exciting!

On Wednesday, the NBA and the NBA Players Association announced their agreement to televise the 2019 NBA All-Star Game Draft.  Last year, the NBA made changes to the NBA All-Star Game that proved to be a major success.  In 2018, the NBA ditched the boring traditional Eastern Conference versus Western Conference format. The league opted for a more relatable playground pick-up style format.  Accordingly, the two players who received the most votes from each conference picked the teams from the available pool of eligible players. Unsurprisingly, those two players were LeBron James and Steph Curry.

The 2018 changes reinvigorated fan interest in the All-Star Game. Everyone was excited to see who ended up on which team and the game was much more competitive.  The only thing that could have made it better was if the team selection was televised, which King James was in full support of.  However, the NBA did not televise the draft last year for fear of publicly putting the players in a compromising position with having to choose one player over the other.

All of those concerns have disappeared.  The NBA has listened to the fans and agreed to televise the 2019 NBA All-Star Game Draft.  Since the announcement, the debate regarding who will be this year’s captains and who will be picked first and last began immediately.

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First or Last…Does it Really Matter?

No one wants to be picked last, but someone has to be. Is it really embarrassing to be picked last in for an All-Star Game? It is an All-Star game. Everyone is an All-Star, which means that everyone is regarded as one of the greatest basketball players in the world.  Whether a player is picked first or last, that player is still one of the best players in the world. Furthermore, the honor is in being in the pool of eligible players to be picked. Therefore, it does not matter who is picked first or last.  The fun for the players is in being eligible.  The fun for the fans is watching the teams be assembled.

Who will be this year’s team captains? 

This is the most anticipated question with James’ move to the Western Conference.  Since James left the East, that captain position is up for grabs.  It may likely be filled by Giannis Antetokounmpo based on last year’s votes. He came in second behind James.

However, the captain position in the West is not as easy to predict. Most of the league’s biggest stars are in the West. Russel Westbrook, Paul George, Chris Paul, and James Harden, just to name a few, all play for Western Conference teams.  Furthermore, the West has the league’s most dominant team, the Golden State Warriors (Warriors).  The Warriors had four players (Curry, Durant, Green, and Thompson) in the All-Star Game last year and will likely have the same four this year. The competition for team captain in the West is stiff. King James’ move to the Lakers increased the competition that much more.

Can James and Curry be Captains Again?

However, King James stated that he would be willing to switch captains for the 2019 All-Star Game, but there is no rule requiring him to do so.  Per the video above,  a coach may not coach two years in a row. However, there is no such rule prohibiting a player from being a captain for two consecutive years. Therefore, James or Curry could serve as captain for the 2019 game.   Furthermore, Curry expressed that he would like to serve as a captain again since the game will be in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Since James is now in the West, both James and Curry cannot both be captains.  Will either James or Curry receive the necessary votes to be captain? Or will someone else emerge from the West as the new favorite? Either way, it will be fun to watch. Furthermore, James and Curry are both certain to land a spot on either team.

Carmelo Anthony: Is This the End of His 16-year NBA Career?

Carmelo Anthony

Say it ain’t so, Melo.

After 10 games with the Rockets, Houston and Carmelo Anthony have decided to part ways.

In his 10 games with the Rockets, Anthony averaged 13.4 ppg and 5.4 rpg. The word out of Houston is that Melo did not “fit” with the way the Rockets want to play, which is an extremely fair take. Melo makes a living on the elbow, taking his man one-on-one to the basket. The Rockets want to run up and down the floor and take as many shots as possible. Frankly, most fans are not surprised with the decision.

I want to stress the fact that Mike D’Antoni called Melo a Hall of Famer. Carmelo Anthony is going to the Hall of Fame. I don’t care whether you like or hate Melo. That is a stone cold fact. Melo won a title as a freshman at Syracuse. Melo is arguably the greatest Olympian basketball player of all-time with three gold medals and the most points, rebounds, and games played. Over 25,000 points, 10x NBA All-star, and 6x All-NBA player punches Melo’s ticket to the Hall of Fame.

We know the end game for Melo, but what about the present game? What does Melo do now?

For starters, Melo has to play the waiting game. Anthony is not eligible to be traded until after the Dec. 15 trade restriction. In all actuality, waiting is the best thing that Melo can do. The NBA regular season is 82 games. It’s only November. Rosters change, injuries occur, and teams’ wants and needs will alter throughout the course of a season. Melo should not be in a rush to force the Rockets hand nor should the Rockets be quick to trade him. So far, the Lakers, Heat, Blazers, Pelicans, and 76ers have all expressed interest in making a move for Melo. Whether that interest will come to fruition remains to be seen, but there should be a small market for Melo come December.

Although Melo has expressed interest in playing, should he? Former NBA superstar Tracy McGrady believes that Melo should call it a career and retire. McGrady was in a similar situation as Melo. T-mac was a dominant scorer throughout his 20s, but after a few injuries, McGrady was relegated from the starting lineup to the end of the bench. It’s worth noting that Tracy McGrady is in the Hall of Fame. The end of his career, when he was barely dressing for games, did not outweigh his prolific runs with the Raptors, Magic, and Rockets. The same principles should be applied to Melo’s career. His tenure with the Nuggets and Knicks will outweigh his tumultuous seasons with the Thunder and Rockets.

I understand McGrady’s viewpoint because of the similarities between the two, but I still believe that Melo can be an asset to an NBA team. Back in July, I wrote that Carmelo Anthony needed to come off the bench and reinvent himself. If he succeeded, Melo could prolong his career and become an excellent 6th man.

It might have been a stretch when I stated that Melo could become the best 6th man in the NBA. However, the same principles still apply today. There is still a 15 point scorer in Melo if he lands in the right situation. In 2018, the NBA is all about versatility and unfortunately for Melo, he’s a one-trick pony, but that doesn’t mean he’s useless. Melo will have to shoot the 3 at a more consistent level and *attempt* to play defense. Plus, his minutes will probably decrease as well. If Melo wants to continue playing, and all reports claim he does, Anthony will have to reinvent himself even more than before.

Carmelo Anthony can still find success in the NBA, but it’s going to take the perfect situation for that to happen. For now, all Melo can do is wait.

P.S. If you ever feel bad for Melo, remember this tweet.

Michael Jordan vs LeBron James Teaser Commercial: Who Would Win?

Michael Jordan

On Sunday, basketball aficionados got a rare treat.  His Airness himself, Michael Jordan, graced the airwaves of millions of Americans during Sunday Night Football. He appeared in a short commercial spoof addressing the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) debate. Jordan shocked the sports world by simply acknowledging that there was a debate.  Fans were in awe when he stated that the debate involved two players who wore the same the numbers. Jaws dropped when he suggested that the players face each other to settle the debate.

True basketball fans immediately gushed at Jordan seemingly addressing the GOAT debate between him and LeBron James, who both donned the number 23. Not only did he address it, he seemingly suggested that the two compete to determine who was the best.   For a brief second, avid basketball fans alike were overwhelmed with excitement at the mere thought of His Airness squaring off against King James.  Then reality hit when the commercial revealed its true purpose, the promotion of this seasons biggest Sunday Night Football game. The showdown between the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady and the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rogers who both wear the number 12 will take place this Sunday. While the GOAT debate between Tom Brady and Aaron Rogers is a worthy one, the focus here is on the greatest showdown basketball fans will never get to see.

LeBron James or Michael Jordan

LeBron James emerged on the NBA scene in 2003 at only 18 years old. He immediately became a dominant force in the NBA.  Many have speculated where he would fall in the line of NBA greatness.  Would LeBron James overthrow Michael Jordan as the Greatest Player of All Time?  The jury is still out on this issue, namely because James is still playing and has given no indication that he intends to stop anytime soon.  In fact, James signed a 4-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers to start his 16th season in the NBA.

However, the fact that James is still writing his NBA story does not stop basketball fans from debating who is better between him and Jordan. How do the two compare?  This is a simple, quick comparison that is sufficient for fantasizing about a game between King James and His Airness, not a full detailed stat for stat comparison.

In one corner, there is LeBron James who opted out of college and went straight to the NBA draft.  James was the number one pick in the first round of the draft. In the other corner, there is Michael Jordan an NCAA Champion and number three draft pick in the first round. King James has been to the last eight NBA finals and has won three.  His Airness made six NBA Finals appearances and won all six times.  James has three NBA Finals MVP awards to Jordans six. Additionally, James has four league MVP awards to Jordan’s five.  However, a showdown between two of the greatest to ever touch a basketball would put all of these stats comparisons to rest.

What would a Game Between King James and His Airness Look Like?

Although King James replied via Twitter that he was ready for a face-off, basketball fans will unfortunately never get to see such a show.

However, that unfortunate reality does not stop one from dreaming about what such a showdown would look like. Would the LeBron James who scored 51 points in the 2018 NBA finals show up to face the Michael Jordan who scored 63 points in a playoff game against the Boston Celtics? A game between James and Jordan would certainly be one for the record books.  The game would be riddled with first place slam dunk contest quality dunks.  It may even resemble some components of an NBA All-Star Weekend three-point contest (although Jordan may have a slight advantage from that aspect). The game would surely be a close one, with both players putting on a clinic riddled with crossovers and other spectacular moves that would be discussed for generations.

However, the looming question is who would emerge as the victor?  The outcome of the game would likely come down to the last play. Would His Airness pull up and clinch the game-winning shot as he did in game six against the Utah Jazz? Or would King James come from behind with the block as he did in game seven against the Golden State Warriors?  Unfortunately, the basketball world will never know, but what fun it is to imagine.

Hot Takes House 5: College Football, NFL, Rae Carruth, Rondo, CP3 Fight, Pac-12

Hot Takes House 5

The Hot Takes House 5 is open for business. These are hot takes and fun from the weekend. Send us your hot takes to ImMad@unafraidshow.com, and they may make the next week piece. Do not read any further if you are easily offended.

Hope you enjoy Hot Takes House 5. See you next Monday! Send us your hot takes to ImMad@unafraidshow.com, and they may make the next week post.

FUN FACT: Movie trailers were originally shown after movies, which is why they were called “trailers.” (Only problem ways people wouldn’t stay to see them)

1. Rule #1 Don’t let your mouth write checks your ass can’t cash.

My dad used to say that all the time. It has proved to be sage advice in my life. This guy clearly didn’t get the memo!

2. I was encouraged about the toughness of NBA players after the Rajon Rondo, Chris Paul, and Brandon Ingram Fight.

For over a decade NBA players would have dustups but nobody ever really wanted to fight. Guy just wanted to make people believe they would fight even when they wouldn’t. Chris Paul, Rondo, and Ingram brought back the NBA of old back to the court.

We never want to see fighting in the games. However, some things are worthy of a fight. Under no circumstances can you spit on somebody and not expect to get not to get in a fight. I never condone my sons fighting as an early measure of problem-solving. However, if somebody spits in my kid’s face, he has dad’s blessing to whoop his ass! And if my son got spit on and did nothing, he and I have a serious problem.

3. One of the most humbling things in sports is the “Walk of Shame” quarterbacks have to take back to the sideline after throwing a pick 6.

The quarterback knows everyone in the stadium and on national television is looking at him with disgust. The networks leave the camera on them the entire walk to the sideline. It’s like wathcing somebody walk home at 10am on Sunday morning in their Saturday night party outfit. Nobody on the team even looks or talks to the quarterback as he humbly passes by. He can just feel all the judgment upon him. Everyone is thinking, “You idiot. You just threw the game away.” There is some truth to this because elite quarterbacks do throw picks but rarely throw pick 6’s.

Every quarterback throws interceptions. However, there is a big difference between throwing an interception and throwing a pick that results in points for the other team.

Imagine the thoughts that go through Peterman, Bortles, Carr, and Keenum’s mind when they walk to the sideline. They have to wonder how many more times this can happen before they are benched.

The only “walk of shame that could rival a quarterback is a kicker who misses a chip shot or extra point to lose the game.

*Clears throat Washington Huskies vs. Oregon, Baltimore Ravens vs. New Orleans Saints.

4. Are the Jacksonville Jaguars delusional or self-sabotaging by continuing to act like Blake Bortles is going to get better?

The Jaguars have to give up hope that Blake Bortles is going to get better. He is the only thing standing between the Jaguars and a trip to the Super Bowl. Bortles lost another pair of fumbles Sunday. He has 26 games since the start of 2014 committing multiple turnovers, the most such games by any player in the NFL in that time. Even when he’s not throwing picks of fumbling, he struggles with accuracy.

Unbelievably, the team is not even considering a trade for a quarterback.

The Jaguars sat out the quarterback derby this offseason and extended Blake Bortles instead of going after Kirk Cousins or Alex Smith. They also could have traded for Teddy Bridgewater just like the Saints did.

5. The New York Giants made the same mistake the Jaguars did when they drafted Saquon Barkley instead of a quarterback.

The Jaguars passed on Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson when they drafted Leonard Fournette. Now, they are in an untenable position. The New York Giants could have drafted, Darnold, Rosen, or any number of other quarterbacks to secure their future. Instead, they took a great running back, and can’t win football games.

The reality is that no matter how a running back is he does not impact winning and losing nearly as much as a quarterback. Look at how Todd Gurley’s season was when Jared Goff was bad as a rookie. The team lost, and Gurley’s stats were underwhelming. Now, Goff is playing well; the team is 6-0 and Gurley is an MVP candidate.

6. “This year’s Chiefs home playoff loss is going to be glorious. They are so talented and fun… but we all know how this ends.” -Doug Gottlieb

This take is hot as it comes, but there is no evidence in history to refute it. I love watching the Chiefs play. Mahomes is the most exciting player in the NFL. The combination of Mahones, Hill, and Hunt make the most explosive team in the league.

At this point, we know how good the Chiefs are in the regular season. We also know that the franchise has had a history of underachieving in the playoffs. They have only won one playoff game since 1993.

Unless Kansas City has turned over a new leaf, we will be seeing Tom Brady and the Patriots representing the AFC in the Super Bowl again.

7. When it comes to the College Football Playoffs, winning your conference and playing a good schedule is only relevant to non-SEC teams.

Danny White, Athletic director at UCF, has some thoughts on the College Football Playoff. He’s not wrong. The media creates a narrative that the committee just so happens to follow. Winning your conference and playing a good schedule is only relevant to non-SEC teams. The SEC has not been dominating college football. Alabama has been dominating everyone. They should charge the rest of the conference rent for how good they make the rest of them look.

The SEC gets pumped up as being so tough, but the reality is their non-conference schedules are extremely soft, and they only play eight conference games. The imbalance in college football schedules has been exploited by teams. Fans are the real losers in college football because there are only 12 regular season games, and so many are wasted on sub-par competition.

8. The parity in the PAC-12 North for 2018 is crazy. 4 of the 20 best teams in the country are in one division: Oregon, Washington, Washington State, and Stanford.

I challenge you to find a tougher division in college football. There is not one. Alabama looks unbeatable, but we have no idea how good Florida, Kentucky, and UGA are. The Big Ten has Michigan, Iowa, and Ohio State that look like top teams, but they don’t all play each other. Clemson is the lone top-tier ACC team. The Big XII has an impressive Oklahoma and Texas, but it drops off from there.

9. If Clay Helton gets fired, will coaches be lining up to leave their jobs to take the USC head coaching job? Is USC still a Top-5  job?

The last time the USC head coaching job was vacant coaches weren’t lining up to leave their current jobs to head to USC. The Trojans are a college football blue-blood, so they always have the potential to reemerge as a consistent top 5 team. The thing that further complicates the question is USC’s recruiting. The Trojan’s consistently land 5* recruits every year no matter the coach or their record. So why haven’t coaches shown an eagerness to leave their current jobs to coach at USC?

I don’t think USC is still a top 5 job, but it is a top 5 college football blue-blood. Right now, Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma, Clemson, Georgia, and Michigan all seem like more desirable locations.

10. I saw Alabama do the most bush league thing I have ever seen a Nick Saban led team do. They gave Butch Jones a Gatorade bath after they beat the terrible Tennessee Vols.

Alabama came into the game favored by almost 30 points. There was nothing special or notable about the win. Before Tennessee beat Auburn in week 7, they hadn’t won an SEC game since Nov. 19, 2016. Is that really worth a Gatorade bath? It seems pretty pathetic considering Butch Jones built the current Tennessee team that is so bad right now.

What was there to celebrate for Alabama? Was it vindication for Jones? If so, how? Butch Jones was not treated unfairly or fired without cause from Tennessee. The program was in shambles, and the once proud Vols program is one of the worst in the SEC.

If I were Jones, I would have been extremely bothered by the sympathy Gatorade bath.

11. Rae Carruth is now out of jail after serving nearly 20 years surrounding the murder of the woman who was pregnant with his child, Rae Carruth Jr.

Charlotte paper has had a seven-day mega-article on the entire case. The prosecution offered all four defendants a plea deal down to 2nd-degree murder. The trigger-man, Van Bret Watkins took the deal. The jury had an issue with charging Rae with 1st when the guy who actually shot the gun was only going to get 2nd. Doesn’t make much sense to me, but that was their thinking per the article.

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NBA G-League Gets New Talent While NCAA Stays in the Stoneage

NBA G-League

On Thursday, the NBA shocked the sports world when they announced an alternative to the unjust “one-and-done” rule.  The “one-and-done” rule mandates that NBA draft entrants be at least 19 years old or be one year removed from high school. The rule arbitrarily requires NBA hopefuls to attend college before attempting their dream of playing in the NBA.   That unwarranted requirement is now over, at least for some. The NBA will now allow select elite athletes who may not wish to attend college to enter the NBA G-League (the NBA’s minor league) and receive a “select-contract” worth $125,000. To qualify, athletes must be at least 18 years old and ineligible for the NBA draft.

Until Thursday, NBA hopefuls could have no affiliation with the NBA until they satisfied the “one-and-done” rule. This unfortunately left collegiate athletics as the only viable avenue to the NBA.  As a result, many elite basketball stars played in college for one year and then left for the NBA draft.  This phenomenon has been a major point of contention in the “pay-for-play” debate and became a focal point of the FBI’s investigation into college basketball last September. The FBI’s investigation exposed that many college basketball players are paid and given incentives for their athleticism, as they should be.   In reaction to the FBI’s investigation, the NCAA created the Commission on College Basketball (Commission) to “fix” college basketball or probably more correctly to maintain their unjustified control.

The Purpose of the Commission on College Basketball

The Commission was led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice with the purpose of “improving integrity” in college basketball.  In April, the Commission issued a report and made several recommendations to “improve” college basketball.  The Commission arguably failed to adequately address many of issues in college basketball. However, the Commission did make some worthwhile recommendations.

One of those recommendations was to abolish the “one-and-done” rule.  The commission also urged the NBA and NCAA to create alternatives for athletes who do not wish to attend college.  The NBA answered that request with the implementation of this new program in the G-League.  Basketball players now have an option to play professionally that does not require college attendance.  While the NBA deserves credit for providing this new option, it does not remedy all of the problems in college athletics.

While the G-League Program is Great, it is Not the “Great Fix” for College Athletics

As great as this new program is, it is not the cure to all of the issues in college athletics.   Basketball players have an option outside of college athletics, but the injustices that plague college athletics is still prevalent.  Athletes who really want to attend college will continue to suffer.  Universities, coaches, and other sport administrative officials are still set to make unseemly amounts of money while the athletes are unjustly limited to a cost-of-attendance scholarship.  The cost-of-attendance cap unfairly prohibits college athletes from receiving the full value their athletic prowess could afford them.

Furthermore, this new program does not absolve the NCAA of its need to address the absurdity of its rules.   College-bound basketball players are still subject to the arbitrary “amateurism” rules that preclude “impermissible benefits.”  Therefore, a college-bound player may not receive assistance that could be misconstrued as an “impermissible benefit” no matter how dire their need.  Also, a player still cannot monetize his or her likeness with a YouTube channel showcasing their athleticism without jeopardizing their eligibility.  Accordingly, college athletes must choose between education and financial gain.

The NBA Still Retained Control

In addition to the control the NCAA has, the NBA unfoundedly asserted more control with the new program. The NBA retained control by making the program open only to “elite” basketball players.  Therefore, the NBA or an entity chosen by the NBA will determine who is “elite” enough to play in the G-League. This arbitrarily gives the NBA final say in who gets to exercise the option to play professionally.  The opportunity to play in the G-League should be open to any aspiring basketball player.  There should be a traditional tryout where the best players make the team.

Likewise, the NBA retained control by not allowing athletes to once again go straight to the NBA.  Aspiring professional basketball players should have that option.  Again, the NBA deserves credit for creating a viable option for aspiring professional players.  However, much work remains to truly make the system fair.

Jimmy Butler: Breaking Down the Timberwolves Drama and Future Plans

Jimmy Butler

What a day in the NBA. Technically, it’s the preseason, but I’m still considering this the offseason. Without a doubt, the NBA offseason is the most entertaining offseason in professional sports. From free agency to trade rumors, the drama off the court easily surpasses the action on the court. Today, fans were given a treat as the Jimmy Butler saga with the Minnesota Timberwolves went from 0 to 100 real quick.

If you haven’t been following the NBA the past few weeks, the rumors have been that Butler wants out of Minnesota. Once last season ended, stories about how Butler didn’t mesh with Karl Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, and coach Tom Thibodeau. Fast forward to three weeks ago when a report surfaced that Butler requested a trade. Butler is in the last year of his deal and will want a max contract at the end of the year, so if he does not fit in Minnesota, Butler wants to be sent to a team that can pay him like the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers, or Miami Heat. Because of that report, Butler has did not report to the start of training.

Practice Drama

That all changed today when all hell broke loose. According to reports, Butler showed up to training camp late today and subbed himself in on the third team to face the starters, which included Towns and Wiggins. Then, the wheels came off.

From Yahoo – “At one point, Butler found himself guarding Towns in the post. After Towns received the entry pass, Butler yelled, “He can’t do [expletive] against me!” Towns ended up passing the ball out, sources said.”

Live look at me right now.

Holy dysfunction. I would’ve paid pay-per-view money to watch that scrimmage. I’m praying that a camera picked up some of the action. Just imagine KAT calling out anyone on the team to stop him, Butler accepting the challenge, and KAT passed back out. That’s a very bad look for KAT. Then again, would you want to go against Butler in sicko mode? I know I would pass it right back out, but I also didn’t just receive a max contract.

What’s Next for Butler

After all the dust has settled, who do you side with, Jimmy Butler or the T-wolves? I’m here to tell you that I’m siding with Butler. I’m ok with 80% of the things he did today. Let’s start with the 20% I didn’t like. If you’re trying to receive a max contract from a team or look like an attractive trading option, you can’t scream at the front office saying, “You f***ing need me. You can’t win without me.” You’re placing yourself before the team. That doesn’t exactly scream good teammate material.

That being said, I gained a lot of respect from Butler after that interview. When healthy, Butler is a top 20 player and a top 5 two-way player. He’s been in tough playoff battles with the Bulls. Butler knows what it takes to win in the NBA. He’s an emotional player, and it clearly showed in the interview. However, there was a purpose for his outburst. In the interview, Butler complimented Towns, calling him the best player on the team, and Wiggins, saying he had the most God-given talent. For whatever reason, it hasn’t panned out in Minnesota yet. So today, Butler called out the two best young players and challenged them. Minnesota is in dire need of some toughness, and maybe Butler’s outburst was a wakeup call. Calling out the GM is not the way to go, but battling in practice and showing the young guys what playing hard truly means is more than ok with me.

The right move is to trade Butler, but if drama like this is going to happen all season, as a fan, keep Butler in Minnesota and get ready for some five round fights.

Which League has the Best Playoffs: MLB, NBA, NFL, or NHL?

best playoffs

Best Part of Pro Sports

The playoffs are a special time in sports. Fans are on the edge of their seats, players are little more nervous, and the margin of error is as slim as possible. The chance to win a title is a dream that keeps you up at night. It’s the culmination of all the hard work done in the offseason and regular season.

Keeping that in mind, I pose this question. What sport has the best playoffs? For the purpose of this argument, we’re choosing from the four major sports – MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL.

Let the debate begin.

4. NBA

“Why do I even bother if I already know what’s going to happen? It’s going to be the Cavs vs. Warriors in the NBA finals?” – Average fan/basketball hater.

I love the NBA. Watching the best players in the world night in and night out is great television. We live in an era that has some of the best players ever to lace them up. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Steph Curry, James Harden, and the legend himself, LeBron James, are all in the prime of their career. Their basketball abilities are unfathomable.

However, there is some truth to the “we already know the outcome” statement. For an 82 game season, there isn’t too much drama that occurs in the playoffs. The Warriors represented the West in four straight seasons, and LeBron represented the East in eight (!!!) straight finals. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a few series make it to 7 games, but on the flip side, there are A LOT of blowouts. That’s not exactly must-see television. Take a look at last year’s playoffs.

Thankfully, the Celtics were competitive enough to force a few Game 7s. However, as great as LeBron James was last year, the Cavs had no chance in a 7 game series against the Warriors. There is not a lot of parity. Maybe this year will be different, and a new team will emerge as champion!

Just kidding. The Warriors will beat the _________ in 5 games…again.

3. NFL

What the NFL has on its side is a favorable length to the season. 16 games to a season may be easier to watch and keep track of than a 162 game baseball season. It also stresses the importance of the regular season. In the playoffs, the NFL has Divisional Weekend, which is arguably the best weekend in sports. Crazy and exciting things seem to always happen in the Divisional Round. Just look at last season. DIGGS! SIDELINE! TOUCHDOWN! UNBELIEVABLE!

However, that doesn’t always happen every year. Compared to baseball and hockey, the unpredictability factor is fairly low. In 14 of the last 15 seasons, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, or Ben Roethlisberger have represented the AFC in the Super Bowl. That’s great if you’re a fan of those quarterbacks, but not so much if you root for the other teams. Also, the first round is notorious for having a few poor games and mismatches. Last year was an outlier (although the Jaguars beat the Bills 10-3), but in 2016, the smallest losing deficit was 13. It truly depends on the year, but the small amount of playoff games backfires when the games are not exciting.

2. NHL

Do you want to talk about edge of your seat television? Look no further than the NHL playoffs. It is so hard to score a goal in hockey, so when it happens in the playoffs, it’s like winning the Super Bowl. The celebrations are epic. From the announcers to the fans in the arena to the millions watching at home, the atmosphere is electric. Players are diving in front of shots on every possession. Goalies are standing on their heads to make impossible saves. If you blink, you might miss the action.

By far, the NHL has the highest unpredictability factor out of the four major sports. Chalk doesn’t always win. Two years ago, the Nashville Predators made the Stanley Cup Final as an 8 seed. Two years ago, a 2 seed defeated a 3 seed in the finals. Three years ago, a 3 seed defeated a 2 seed in the finals. There’s no stopping a hot goalie in the playoffs. Did I also mention that the Stanley Cup is the best trophy in professional sports?

1. MLB

For me, nothing beats October baseball. After a long 162 game season, 10 teams duke it out over one month for a chance to win the World Series. Just like hockey, baseball has an exciting atmosphere. I was lucky enough to attend the Wild Card game last year between the Twins and Yankees, and I thought I was going deaf after the game. I’d argue that home field matters the most in baseball as opposed to the other major sports. In terms of format, it’s the only major sport to change the number of games in each round. The Division Series is best-of-five while the Championship Series and World Series are best-of-seven.

Baseball is truly a “never say die game” because 10 teams have come back from 0-2 deficits in the Division Series and one team has come back from a 0-3 deficit, with the latter never happening in the NBA. The length of the postseason is perfect. It takes a little over one month to crown a champion as opposed to the drawn-out NBA and NHL playoffs, which last two months. Plus, teams play on consecutive days, which doesn’t happen in the other major sports. Give me the eighth inning of a tie ball game with bases loaded, two outs over any playoff situation in the major sports.

Do you agree or disagree with the Best Playoffs: MLB, NBA, NFL, or NHL rankings? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

It’s Time For Carmelo Anthony To Come Off The Bench

carmelo Anthony

When all is said and done, Carmelo Anthony will go down as one of the most polarizing players of his generation.

Let’s start with the good. Carmelo Anthony is going to the NBA Hall of Fame. This is not up for debate. 10-time all-star, 6-time All-NBA member, and one of 6 players ever to record at least 24,000 points, 6,000 rebounds, 2,500 assists, 1,000 steals and 1,000 3-point field goals. Anthony is also the greatest USA Olympic basketball player ever, having been a member of the team a record four times with 3 golds and one bronze to his name. Add in the fact that he’s the USA Basketball all-time leading scorer, leading rebounder, and leader of games and that’s quite an impressive resume.

Did I forget to mention that as a freshman at Syracuse, he lead the Orange to Jim Boeheim’s only National Championship win in 2003?

Carmel Anthony not only belongs in the Hall of Fame, but he deserves that honor. That’s a fact that should not go unnoticed.

Ok, now it’s time for the bad. Last year, expectations were high for the Oklahoma City Thunder as they formed their own version of a “Big 3” with Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony. The team showed signs of promise throughout the regular season, but the Thunder faltered in the playoffs, losing to the Utah Jazz in the first round. Melo played very poorly in that series, averaging just only 11 PPG as well as playing significantly fewer minutes in the final two games. That’s a long ways away from a career 24 PPG scorer.

The playoff series was only a reflection of a disappointing season. Last year marked career lows in scoring, assists, and win shares per 48 minutes. It’s clear that Melo lacks the explosion that once made him unguardable on the offensive end. Seriously, during his prime, one could argue that Melo was the best scoring threat in the NBA even with LeBron James and Kobe Bryant still in the league. His pull up jumper was automatic, he could bully you down low, and had the strength to finish at the rim. Now, it seems that Melo hangs around the key and will primarily take catch-and-shoot 3s.

Now, the Oklahoma City experiment is over as Melo was traded to the Atlanta Hawks, who then bought him out of his contract. The Houston Rockets were the favorite to sign him, and that’s exactly what happened.

So here we are. Carmelo Anthony is now a Rocket. Houston is coming off of their best regular season in history, finishing with a record of 65-17. The Rockets pushed Golden State to their brink with a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference Finals before ultimately losing the series. If Chris Paul does not get injured, who knows what happens. The Rockets might have won the NBA Title over the Cavs. Does Melo get the Rockets over the problem that is known as the Warriors?

Side note: It’s crazy that Melo and Mike D’Antoni are reuniting after their rocky relationship in New York. D’Antoni wanted Melo to move the ball more and play power forward, which Melo refused to do and essentially, ran D’Antoni out of town. It’s crazy how things have changed.

The elephant in the room is Melo. Why would a 65 win team take on a player that has been known to command the rock and struggle off the ball? For starters, Melo fits a need at the 3 / stretch 4. The Rockets lost two of their wings, Trevor Ariza and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who happen to be their best defenders, to free agency. Melo can hit an open 3 pointer, which the Rockets shoot at will. If Melo can learn to play third fiddle behind Chris Paul and James Harden, this relationship might work. However, there is one scenario where I see Melo panning out in Houston.

Carmelo Anthony should come off the bench and become the best 6th man in the NBA. I understand that Melo immediately struck the idea of coming off the bench right down after the Thunder lost to the Jazz, but think about it. What is the job of the 6th man? It’s to score the ball. The 6th man is the leader of the second unit, who must put the ball in the basket when the starters need a break. Tell me this is not the perfect job for Melo at this stage in his career. I understand that Eric Gordon is an excellent 6th man for the Rockets, but with the losses of Ariza and Mbah a Moute, Gordon should start at the 3. Melo takes Gordon’s spot as the 6th man and honestly, he can thrive there. Melo can play iso-ball on the elbow and corner and not have to worry about keeping the middle open with CP3 and Harden on the bench. Plus, coming off the bench would put less pressure on Melo to play defense, which is a major weakness, and more emphasis on his offense.

As Carmelo Anthony enters the final chapter of his career, how will this saga end? Will he be able to make it work in Houston? The time has come to reinvent yourself as a 6th man because your ability to score can keep you in the league for years to come.

Spurs and Raptors Swap Kawhi and DeRozan: Winners and Losers

Kawhi Leonard DeRozan trade

How dirty is it that the Raptors just met with DeMar DeRozan at NBA Summer League in Vegas and told him he would not be traded? This is exactly why fans should have NO PROBLEM with players showing no loyalty; owners show none. It’s always business, never personal, unless you are deporting your disgruntled superstar to Canada.

We all thought the rumors were crazy that Kawhi Leonard would be traded to the Raptors. We were wrong.

The most ironic part of this trade is that news broke about Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors in the middle of the night and most people didn’t hear about it until they woke up. Kawhi Leonard is easily the most silent superstar the NBA has ever seen. And the Toronto Raptors are relevant during business hours. Nobody is being woken up out of their sleep to 10-15 texts with breaking news about Kawhi or the Raptors. This trade impacts the Lakers, Clippers, 76ers, Spurs, and Raptors.

Alas, we are here and there are clear-cut winners and losers of this trade.

WINNERS

Spurs/Popovich

The San Antonio Spurs managed to trade an unhappy superstar out of the western conference to a place he didn’t want to go and got a real asset back. Everybody except me thought a deal would happen with one of the LA teams (neither team was going to pay the king’s ransom the Spurs wanted for him). DeRozan < Kawhi, but he’s a real player, and could flourish under Popovich’s tutelage. There’s also great news for Greg Popovich himself. He doesn’t have to spend his final years coaching in rebuild mode.

Lakers young players (Kuzma, Ball, Hart, Ingram)

The Lakers young players are relieved they won’t be traded, at least not yet. Rumors had been circling for months about the Lakers and Spurs doing a deal for Kawhi with some combination of Kuzma, Ball, Hart, Ingram, and draft picks. Now Lonzo Ball can stop faking like his knee is hurt and get back out in public working out.

Raptors

The Raptors instantly got better and got an opportunity. Last year they won 59 games and got swept by LeBron in the second round of the playoffs. Now the Raptors have two options. They can either roll the dice and see if they can make it to the NBA Finals with Kawhi and hope they can convince him to resign long term. Or, they can wait the 60 days and try to get the Lakers or Clippers to give up draft picks and assets for Kawhi. Either way, the Raptors won in the short term but lost in the long term.

Lakers/Clippers

Both the Lakers and Clippers got a win in the trade. Both teams are reportedly on the list of desirable locations for Kawhi Leonard. Both teams had discussions with the Spurs about acquiring Kawhi, but the asking price was far too steep. Either team would have had to part with significant draft picks and players to get a deal done with the Spurs. With Kawhi is in the East with the Raptors, the asking price for Kawhi via trade will fall dramatically. Now, the question is will either the Lakers or Clippers pull the trigger on a trade, or will they gamble and wait till the offseason to hopefully sign Kawhi?

LOSERS

DeMar DeRozan

No more All-Star games and he has to Play LeBron in the playoffs again! OUCH! DeMar has been All-NBA 2x and is a 4x All-Star. Making the NBA All-Star team in the Western Conference was already a tough task before LeBron joined the Lakers. Every year named brand top players are left off the All-Star roster. It is much easier to make the All-Star team in the Eastern Conference. Unless Greg Popovich can get DeMar DeRozan to play like Kawhi Leonard, DeMar has made his last All-Star team.

Philadelphia 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers were holding out hope they could get LeBron or Kawhi Leonard in this offseason. Now that the Raptors own the rights to Kawhi Leonard there is no chance in hell they will trade him in-conference to the 76ers. They would essentially be giving Philly a “Big 3” and creating in the same situation they were in with LeBron in the East; a team they have no chance of beating in the playoffs for 10 years.

Toronto Raptors

The Raptors still have Kyle Lowry. Kyle Lowry is a solid player to have on your team if he’s not making over $30M and your second best player. You can’t get to the NBA Finals or win a championship with him as your #2. If the Raptors could have traded Lowry’s anchor of a contract instead of DeRozan, they would have.

The biggest piece of bad news is that reports have surfaced that Kawhi has no interest in playing in Toronto. But, I guess Raptors fans can look at the bright side. The team won’t have to pay a luxury tax bill and will have plenty of money for big name free agents in 2019 who won’t sign there next offseason.

 

 

LeBron James To LA: It’s Put Up or Shut Up for the Eastern Conference

LA now has a King. LeBron James is officially a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Summer of LeBron lasted one day. LeBron James is signing a 4-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. This time, there was no “Decision” television broadcast. There was no “coming home” article. A simple release from Klutch Sports Group (LeBron’s management company) announced that King James was taking his talents to Los Angeles.

LeBron James now joins the long list of legendary players to wear the gold and purple jerseys. Magic Johnson, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, and now LeBron James.

Two of the three dominoes have fallen in the NBA free agency saga. Paul George is staying with the Thunder and LeBron is going to the Lakers. The last domino will involve Kawhi Leonard. Will he sign the supermax in San Antonio or will he be traded to Philly, Boston, or the team that wants to pair Leonard with LeBron, the Lakers?

While we wait on the status Kawhi Leonard, the LeBron James signing not only affects the Lakers but more importantly, it changes the landscape of the entire NBA. LeBron will turn the Lakers into a championship contender. This also means that LeBron makes the West even more stacked as the Lakers will look to compete with the Warriors and Rockets for Conference supremacy.

That being said, for the first time since 2010, a team without LeBron James will represent the Eastern Conference. Using “LeBron James beat us” as an excuse will no longer fly. In other words, it’s put up or shut up.

The Boston Celtics no longer have to lose to LeBron in the Eastern Conference Finals. Philly might be able to complete the process now. The Toronto Raptors do not have to fire their coach after a series loss to LeBron.

The East is now wide open thanks to LeBron’s departure. The thorn in every Eastern Conference team’s side is now banished to the other side of the country. No more excuses. It’s time for Boston, Toronto, Philly, or Washington to finally claim the throne as best in the East. LeBron is now the Western Conference’s problem.

That is until LeBron makes the NBA Finals and beats the East again.