Category Archives: Basketball

Why Lonzo Ball is the most underrated player in the NBA

Read this and you’ll see why Lonzo Ball is one of the top young players in the NBA. If you’re already disgusted with that first sentence I encourage you to read the rest because I will do my best to change your mind.

Here’s what is wrong with all this criticism on Lonzo. It’s all based on the dislike for his family brand name, and his loudmouth father.

Since Lonzo has entered the league, everyone likes to compare him to Lebron and his rookie year. They like to say when James first came up he was tearing teams up. Scoring at will, defending like an animal, etc. Well, what I’m about to show you will prove to you why Lonzo should not be scrutinized anymore at the expense of his father .

In his first season, Lonzo is averaging 10.1 ppg. Lebron averaged 20.9. I know that’s not great but I had to get the bad out of the way first to blow your mind with his other stats. First off, I know this is average, but it makes sense. Lonzo isn’t a scorer. His game isn’t centered around scoring the way James’ is. Second, Lonzo has also only played 36 games as compared to James 79 his rookie year. Expect Lonzo’s numbers to only get better.

Now here’s where it gets good. Lonzo is averaging 7.1 assists and 7.1 rebounds per game. Lebron averaged 5.9 rebounds and 5.5 assists. Both of Lonzo’s rebounds and assist stats rank within the top three among all rookies. The only rookie better at both, is clear cut ROY favorite Ben Simmons.

In their first seasons, Lebron averaged 3.5 turnovers per game. Lonzo’s averaging 2.7.

Lonzo’s Player efficiency is 16.3. James’ was 18.8.

I looked back and saw that had Lonzo been a rookie in ‘03-’04 with that same number PER, he’d have been third in the league among all rookies. Only behind the second best player of all time Lebron James, and future hall of famer Carmelo Anthony.

He would have been before guys like Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Kirk Hinrich.

If you’re still not convinced I’ll leave you with one last stat. Lonzo’s defensive efficiency ranks in the top 15 amongst ALL players in the NBA.

Lebron’s rookie year? Didn’t even crack the top 50 list.

Now, I am not telling you all of this to try and prove Lonzo is a better player than Lebron. I am just showing you that Lonzo is held to a much higher standard and put under a lot more pressure because of his father. Everything he does is looked at under a microscope, but don’t tell me for a second that he sucks because you don’t like his father’s loud mouth.

Shooting and learning to score is the easiest thing to correct in a players game. In fact, most players continue to improve their ability to score as their careers continue. Give the kid some time and he’ll be turning some heads no doubt about it.

Colin Cowherd said it best. Lonzo is dealing with a very different type of pressure than Lebron did. Lebron had hype. Because of his father, Lonzo has negativity. Lebron had to overcome the expectations of being the next greatest, Lonzo deals with people’s hatred for him and his family.

They want him to fail. Wanting someone to fail at all costs and not living up to the hype are two very different things.

 

The Bulls are right where they need to be, now trust the process

If there’s one thing I hate about the NBA it’s tanking. I hate losing in the first place, and losing on purpose just flat out pisses me off.

As a Bulls fan going into this season I knew it was going to be rough. No Jimmy Buckets, No Taj Gibson, and to make it that much worst, two weeks before the season starts Bobby Portis lays a beating on Nikola Mirotic’s bearded face.

I heard a rumor this whole “incident” was over Niko spoiling the ending of the show, Ballers. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love the show, and the Rock is fantastic, and I’d be pretty pissed if someone spoiled the ending too, but to punch him in the face? C’mon now.

This season was going to be a doozy, we all knew that. But something is changing with this team and I kind of like it. They’re meshing together nicely as a team. Questions were out there on how Lavine would be after coming off an ACL injury, if Kris Dunn could prove to be an above average point guard in the league and if Lauri Markkanen was the next Dirk Nowitzki.

For Lavine, so far so good. He appears to still have the same bounce as before, and has already  put up a highlight reel of dunks in the 13 games he’s been back. He’s averaging 17.3 ppg, and 4.7 rpg which are both career highs.

Dunn was having a much needed upside year, until he broke his face when he hit the deck after a dunk. He is averaging 13.7 ppg, 6.4 apg, and 4.6 rpg. All three are career highs for him and will look for him to get better after he is recovered from injury.

The biggest speculation was about Markkanen. What would he amount to? His best player comp is quite obviously Dirk Nowitzki. Both seven footers who can stretch the floor and shoot from just about anywhere. In his first year, Markkanen is averaging 15.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg and 1.3 apg. He also broke the record for fastest player to hit 100 three-pointers in NBA history. Faster than a-n-y-b-o-d-y. Great numbers for a rookie.

I went back and looked at Dirk’s numbers to see how the Finland native stacked up against the German future Hall of Famer. In Dirk’s first year, he averaged 8.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg and 1.0 apg. Dirk shot .406% from the field, and .206% from three. Markkanen? .429% from the field and .354% from three. Something to think about as the Bulls move forward.

Markkanen is the future of that team. Now it’s up to… take a deep breath… Gar Forman and John Paxson… exhale… to put together a competent team for Fred Hoiberg to do something with.

I’ll be honest when they decided to let Jimmy go instead of building around him I thought there was no chance that Gar and Pax had any idea what they were doing. Kris Dunn, a good college point guard but underperformed his first year. Zach Lavine, a dunk contest champion who’s coming off an ACL tear. These two for a guy who was coming off a year averaging 23.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg and 5.5 apg. Career high numbers for Jimbo.

Now that I think about it, it was a good thing. Sure, Jimmy would’ve been the star in Chicago, but he would’ve prevented the inevitable rebuild. I believe this front office and Fred Hoiberg have a vision. They are bringing in pieces that fit Hoiberg’s style and I like that. I think Hoiberg will be a good NBA coach when he has the talent. But for now, we need more.

One way they will do that is through this years draft. I used to think I wanted Trae Young, because I thought the Bulls needed a pure scorer. But boy did I change my mind. College’s have figured him out and Oklahoma has lost 6 of 8. If college players and coaches can do it, NBA players most certainly can.

I don’t want the Bulls to tank. I’m stating that right now. As I said earlier I hate that concept. Especially when, even if you finish dead last in the league, there’s still not a one-hundred percent chance you secure that number one pick. They will lose, because they will lose. Not because they’re not trying to. They just don’t have it and that’s totally fine.

The Bulls need to build character. They are very young and I think they are just figuring out how good they can become. They have some good pieces right now but are nowhere near where they need to be for the future. When a young team that knows their not supposed to win comes out on top, that builds character. It takes grit and teaches plenty of valuable lessons.

The game is getting bigger and smaller all at the same time. Big men are now stretching the floor and becoming shooters and better ball handlers. Point guards are becoming even better  athletes with unbelievable skills. Every player on the floor, will soon have to be able to play at least three different positions on the court. I’m not saying they will, but they’ll need to be able to.

For the Bulls in the draft, I want them to take the best available. Whether that’s a guard, or forward they just need the best of the best available. A lot of this will depend on how much they continue to improve over the season.

They need to build around Markkanen because he’s the next face of this team. Bring in a guard who will mesh well with him, the same way Steve Nash did with Dirk in Dallas.

The foundation is there, now all we have to do, is trust the process.

😉

Did I just predict the future?

If I remember correctly, I pretty much called it the night before the Cavs went rogue and traded everyone away. After that Timberwolves game, I wrote how it was the turning point for them.

37 points, 10 boards and 15 assists from Bron Bron that night was the changing of the tide in Cleveland.

A new wave of sports, where one player is so dominant he acts as not only the best player, but the Head Coach and GM as well.

There was no way he would let them suck for a second longer. He took matters into his own hands and did what he had to do. And look.

Three straight wins? Averaging a triple double? Any of this ring a bell?

Well it should, because I freaking wrote about it three days ago.

Shoutout to me for predicting the future.

Now, let’s get back to the Cleveland Lebroniers.

They look real good. They are finally using that team the way they needed to. After GM James went and traded away every person on that team, he finally got the system that suits the style of play he wants to run as the new Head Coach.

Tyronn Lue might as well be on a beach in the Bahamas right now, because there’s no coaching going on by him anymore.

Against the Hawks, Lebron finished with 22 pts, 12 rebs, and 19 (NINETEEN) assists. Oh, and did I forget to mention he had only 3 turnovers? Shoot, my bad. Guess I forgot about that.

Against the number one ranked Celtics he had 24 pts, 8 rebs and 10 assists. I know, how terrible right? No triple double? Did I forget to mention he only played 28 minutes? My bad again. I have a terrible memory, what can I say?

These new additions make the Cavs younger. I had a feeling that’s what Lebron needed. He is a 33 year-old in, a 22 year-olds body. He is the definition of a true professional. He puts his head down and he works his you-know-what off.

You’re probably thinking, what do you mean he puts his head down, he’s always in the media? Well, when you’re the second greatest basketball player of all-time, and considered one of the greatest athletes to ever play a sport, it’s hard to hide your face from the camera.

This post-trades Cavs team looks different, and feels different. There were two many egos on that old team, and as far as I’m concerned, Isaiah Thomas was at the center of it. He was abysmal in that locker room. You don’t go into the same locker room as Lebron James and say, “I’m the best player on this team,” because you’re not. You . just . don’t . do . that. (insert sassy lady clapping in between each word). Even if you’re fresh off a career year.

I.T., my man, in case you didn’t know, the Celtics traded you right after said “career year”. For who? Oh that’s right. Kyrie Irving.

Watching the Cavs play the Celtics the other night was Fun. For the first time all year, it looked like Lebron was enjoying being around his teammates. He was joking with the young guys, he was smiling, laughing. It was good to watch. These new look Cavs have the potential to be a one seed in the East now.

With nearly a triple-double a night from Lebron, and good role guys to keep feeding him, the Cavs could have what it takes to compete in a seven game series with any team.

Except the Warriors. They’re just unfair.

The King Has Officially Taken Over

Before I start, I would just like to say that I wrote this at midnight last night after I watched the Cavs-Timberwolves duke it out, and I didn’t finish until around 3:30 in the morning.

So without further ado…

Ladies and Gentlemen, please gather around. What you are about to witness will be hard to fathom, but the truth, is the truth.

LeBron James is about to bring Cleveland so far out of the dumps, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Browns won the Super Bowl next year.

First, I hear Lebron gets in this huge exchange with two Cavs Execs where voices were raised and fists were thrown. Well, no, not really, but could you imagine? That first part’s true, unfortunately no fists were thrown.

My reaction to this whole situation? I am currently standing at my microwave, poppin’ some popcorn, getting ready to watch my soon to be favorite new show:

The King Has Taken Over.

As far as I’m concerned, Lebron is the acting Head Coach, President and GM of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Whatever he says, goes. He’s the new Sherriff in town. If he wants bagels in the locker room on Monday’s, there better be a hot ‘n fresh stack of New York Bagels with a nice spread of different flavored shmeers waiting right there at his chair every Monday morning.

The King, is the King for a reason. He gets what he wants, when he wants it. And he wants to win. After watching last nights game against the T-wolves, I’m convinced his loud mouth has got this team back on track.

138-136 Timberwolves up by two.

Lebron lays it in off the glass with 24.0 seconds left in OT. Shot clock turned off. Tie game.

138-138 Timberwolves Ball with Jimmy Butler driving. Lebron swats it in his face with 2.3 seconds left.

Timeout. 1.3 seconds left. Cavs Ball.

138-138 Cavaliers to inbound.

Lebron sinks game winner over Butler. 0.0.

Cavs win 140-138. He flipped the switch right on National Television.

This man, or whatever he is, played 48 minutes tonight. Let that sink in first, people. This man is thirty-three years old. He finished with 37 points. 15 Rebounds. And 10 assists. He shot 16-22 from the field, a soft seventy-three percent for the night, and was 5-7 from downtown, a sorry seventy-one percent.

Just your average night for a King.

Let me just point out that he is currently 13 years older than Lonzo Ball. Congrats on the kid,  I see your recovery is going splendid. And is playing the length of an entire NBA game, a week and a half before the freaking All-Star Break.

Lebron just took Cleveland out of the ground, picked that entire city up, put them on his back, and is currently carrying them towards the promised land.

People, I just want you to know, in case you hadn’t heard, human beings don’t do stuff like this. This is special. This is really fun to watch. Now, don’t get me wrong, he’s going to use these next two weeks and recover the hell out of his body after a night like tonight, so expect the shirtless Instagram stories that’ll make you want to propel yourself at a concrete wall. But I promise you, come second half, mark my words, he will go on and absolute TEAR in the NBA. Fear. The. King.

He’s already averaging a pretty 26.3 points, 8.0 rebounds and 8.6 assists per game. But that’s nothing compared to what this second half is going to look like. Absolutely disgusting numbers are about to be put up post All-Star break. I really wouldn’t be surprised if he averages a triple double.

This was a statement game for him. He just ripped his jersey right down the middle, screamed as loud as he could, and said, I got this. He told everybody in Cleveland, you let me run your franchise, from top to bottom, and we’re going to win another NBA Championship.

The King has officially taken over.

Obviously he can’t do it for that long by himself, but that is what tonight was for. He told everybody in that locker room,

I am the captain now.

He looked right at Isaiah Thomas and said, you work for me now.

I did not expect him to trade him away the next day, but damn I am pretty much a fortune teller.

With Kevin Love out of the picture, this team can finally mesh the way they should have been all along.

Expect to see a very angry Lebron James this second half of the season. He is about to rampage through the NBA like a bat outta hell, all the way to the NBA finals.

At the end of the day, I guess it doesn’t really matter though, because the Golden State Warriors still exist, and they’re pretty much going to win. Not without a historic NBA finals performance, by the one and only, the King.

WHAT IS THE POINT OF EVERYONE HATING ON LEBRON?

Call me crazy but Lebron James is in the midst of his best season ever. Here we go, cue the haters!! I know what you’re gonna say, “He’s playing in a weak Eastern Conference blah blah.” WELL HE PLAYS 40 MINUTES A GAME! Cry me a river man, why can’t anyone sit back and appreciate his greatness? Who knows how many years left we have watching the King so why are we trying to evaluate every single aspect of his game? The 15 year vet is the NBA villain yet again for no reason.

Sure, maybe I follow Nick Wright and maybe he is a bit excessive, but we’re out here everyday trying to defend someone who has legitimate credentials to pass as the greatest player of all time.

“People really forget how trash basketball was in the 80’s” – Nick Wright 

Look, what Lebron puts on social media should only help his stature. He’s just the biggest troll in the world with his tactics and his corny sayings. Those Arthur memes make it so easy to love him even more. He is always one-step ahead of everyone else. His Instagram stories that go viral while he’s working out are hilarious and make me want to run through a brick wall for him.

All I hear in the Lebron vs. Jordan arguments are “6 RINGS!!!! 6 RINGS!!!” First off lemme start by saying congrats… Because that’s literally your only argument. Jordan won in an era where athletes weren’t at the top of their game and no one trained nearly as hard as the players do today. I would agree that the game has gotten softer, but what makes you think a 6’8 250 lb. behemoth of a man couldn’t dominate back then too? The reason people hate him is because he is everything everyone wants to be. FACT. 3-5 in the finals? SO. WHAT. Eight (8 YES YOU HEARD THAT CORRECTLY) straight finals against teams with the most elite talent and coaching in the NBA, and he is able to consistently showcase jaw-dropping numbers year in and year out.

I can’t even believe I’m writing this right now. If someone told me they don’t like Lebron because he’s a whiner who asks for every call I’d consider throwing up in front of them. All of the best athletes ask for every call. You ever see Tom Brady throw a fit about something? It’s every other play man. Saying he begs for calls couldn’t be more irrelevant and I still hear this on a consistent basis. HE IS ENTITLED TO EVERYTHING IN THE NBA. THERE I SAID IT. Lebron James has single handedly changed the sport and whether you hate it or not, you should respect it.

I cannot stress this enough, the best player in the world still holds his crown because of his uncanny ability to perform at an elite level in all aspects of the game. He is a bully on the court. He’s better than Jordan, better than Magic, no other way to describe it. He is the greatest athlete the world has ever seen.

A National Championship game in November

God do I love Duke. That’s no joke. Call me a bandwagon, call me a scumbag that’s up to you but I love Duke and there’s nothing you can say that’s gonna change that. Grayson Allen? God. JJ Reddick? GOAT. I get why people hate Grayson Allen but man is he great. He embraces everything that all villains have to. He’s sooooo damn clutch. 37 points in the third game of the season vs the #2 team in the Country!? I need more of that in college basketball. Granted, I know they were playing MSU so I cheered in silence and rooted for my school but was a bit disappointed with their play.

 

I would’ve been happier had MSU been able to come away with the win but we all live and learn. Hopefully that’s what this team will do because I was pretty unimpressed if I’m being honest and here’s why. I guess I’ll start out with what they did well. I thought Jaren Jackson Jr. was awesome in that game. He played like the 5 star talent he is, hitting clutch 3’s in big moments and making plays down low that included finishing some big and 1’s and dishing the ball outside. One thing I thought he could’ve improved on was rebounding. Duke was absolutely out bodying State on the boards and I really am convinced had MSU been able to take away some of those offensive rebounds from Duke they would’ve. There’s your good. Here’s the bad.

 

Two words: Miles. Bridges. DUDE! What are you doing?? He played scared the whole night except for that one stint where he hit 2 three’s in a row. He did that thing where he slapped the floor with both hands and stuck his tongue out, opened his eyes all big and I stood up and said “JUST GIVE ME THE NATTY RIGHT NOW!” I was fired up as was all of Spartan Nation. Not so fast I found out. After that outburst from Miles he went soft. He had NO answers for that 2-3 zone and as a sophomore no doubt NBA talent you have to be able to create your own shot, move the ball, just do something. You can’t just stand at the wing and when you get the ball either throw up a 3 or pass it off. ATTACK BIG MAN. Bridges is a freak of nature one of the most pure athletic talents I’ve ever witnessed but he didn’t use it in that game. He looked scared. He needed to penetrate that zone and put shots up or create something to find  the open man.

 

Here’s what MSU needs to do in the future to win. They need to be as physical as Duke, and they need to find ways to create open shots, and then when they get the opportunity they need to sink them. If Josh Langford wants to be a successful 2 guard he needs to be able to hit shots consistently. Rebounds and scoring. That’s going to be the biggest needs for the Spartans if they want to live up to the hype that’s been placed on them this season. Turnovers and mental mistakes will be fixed you have my word. Izzo will not put up with that and I have no worries about that.

 

These two teams will meet up again I can promise that. And when they do, Izzo’s gonna take a win from Coach K. 13 and 2 baby. Izzo’s climbing back. You heard it here first.

UCLA Officially Led the Nation in Steals Before the Season Even Started

Last week, LiAngelo Ball and two teammates were arrested in China for shop lifting. The players have since been released due to the ever so brave negotiation tactics of former television celebrity Donald Trump. His valiant efforts that spared the boys of 10 years (fake news) in prison for shoplifting thankfully have not gone unnoticed. Unless of course you ask Trump himself. Who made sure amidst all of what could be keeping a man like him busy, to acknowledge his own “heroic” efforts.

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Spanning to the other end of the Big-Baller Spectrum we find LaVar Ball sitting in silence, a sound he is not much familiar with. LaVar, who is yet to comment on the investigation of his son, mentioned to reporters that he is expecting to have a meeting with Trump sometime in the near future. However, this meeting seems doubtful to occur for two men with such loaded agendas of course. You know, since one man is busy running one of the most powerful organizations in the world, and the other busy pretending to be the President of the United States.

Oh to be a fly on the wall for that meeting. Picture it now. White House staff just finished prepping the oval office for it to welcome the biggestpolitical(?) news channel, ESPN.

 

First Take on Location: Washington D.C.downloaddownload-1download-2

 

I’ll digress before I venture too far into the idea of Stephen A. Smith and Donald Trump struggling to land subtle verbal jabs on one another over the loud mouth of the UCLA star’s father.

 

“They will have to earn their way back,” said Coach Steve Alford of his three recently suspended players. What does this mean?

 

Well for basketball purposes this means that Steve Alford is pretty pissed about having to sit some of his players for something stupid and something that he couldn’t care less about. Classic coach line to say that they will have to earn it back. Alford’s quote translates almost perfectly to normal fan language as “I’ll wait until things blow over before they play again so I don’t look bad and the school doesn’t get mad at me.” You don’t keep a member of the First Family of Chino Hills on your roster if you’re Steve Alford and UCLA unless you’re looking for any sort of attention you can get. Which is exactly why UCLA was over in China anyway, looking for rich Chinese family’s attention with the hopes of them sending their children over-seas to the prestigious academics of the Pac-12.

 

And for us? Well it means that we’re now responsible for sitting back and reflecting on how good the next episode of the Kardashian’s Ball’s reality show is going to be when it eventually airs on Facebook. Does this mean UCLA is screwed for this season? Is LiAngelo now going to be the most relevant Ball? It’s too soon to tell for either of those but a few things I do know…

 

I do know that LaVar Ball has long been the face of the Ball’s big brand. I do know that LaMelo dropped 92 on a bunch of high school kids that none of us can name one time. And I do know that Lonzo is starring in his new role on the Lakers bench. What I didn’t know? That LiAngelo was even part of the family before this stunt.

 

I’m not saying that I don’t think what you think I’m saying, but stay woke on everyone mistaking this possible conscious decision as an “inexcusable lapse of judgement.”