15 for 15: Predictions for the NBA Season

It is here, folks. It is back. The NBA season has officially begun. What a time to be alive.  Here are some predictions for the upcoming season.

  1. East will be better than last year, but not great.

It is no secret that the East has generally been a worse conference than the West for a little while now. Much worse. Since the 1998-1999 season, the Eastern Conference has finished with less wins than the West once. Last year the New Orleans Pelicans were the 8th seed in the West at 45-37 while the Celtics slid in the East playoffs with an 8th seed and a record of 38-44. The Cavs’ record of 53-29 got them 2nd in the East but would have been good for 7th in the West. All that said, the East will be a better conference this year, they won’t be the better conference, but the Cavs will win it all and they’re from the East so that has to count for something, right.

bron

  1. Neither the Spurs nor the Warriors will win the West…in the playoffs

Either the Spurs or the Warriors will get the 1 seed going into the playoffs. But I don’t think either of them will be repping the Western conference in the NBA finals. KD and Russ are too hungry for a title and both the Clippers and Rockets are loaded with talent. Hard to pick against a Golden State team that is virtually unchanged and a Spurs team that added LaMarcus Aldridge and David West but I am.

  1. Anthony Davis will win MVP

The guy is truly a freak of nature in the absolute best way imaginable. He is 22 and he is 6’10” and he can spread the floor and block anything that comes near the rim and has a unibrow and is on the cover of 2k kind of and he hit a 3 that directly affected his team’s/the Thunder’s playoff chances and he’s going to win the MVP.

  1. Lance Stephenson returns

If you didn’t miss Born Ready legend Lance Stephenson last year as he wilted away to nothing in Charlotte you probably don’t like fun things or laughing or making jokes. Lance Stephenson was the single most entertaining player in an Eastern conference finals two years ago that featured two of the league’s top 10 in Paul George and LeBron James. And even though Lance’s Pacers lost, memes live forever. Last year’s swift and complete decline was heartbreaking but now Lance is with Doc Rivers and lots of really good players instead of really bad players. His role will be a lot more like what it was in the good ol Pacer days. And he’s tweeting out old highlight reels. Oh man, Lance is back.

   

 

      1. EVERYONE will play stretch 4

 

  We are going to be talking about small ball a lot this season after the Warriors’ success and eventually it will probably get annoying after a while. Spacing! Spacing! Spacing!

6. John Wall will be the best pg in the East wiz The Western conference is the land of milk and honey when you’re talking about point guards but the East is no slouch there either. This year, John Wall takes the title of East’s best point man decisively. Beal has already touted DC’s backcourt as the best, so it is time these guys in Washington show us. Wall’s biggest issue last year was turnovers, but hopefully having to pay his coach for high turnover games will fix that problem. Gotta hit em where it hurts, the pockets. Kyrie, Lowry, Teague, Hill, and Gragic are all very good, but Shy Glizzy has written 0 songs about them so it’s really a no brainer.

 

      1. Kobe will last an entire season

 

  This is the hottest take on the list. kobe

8.  Philadelphia Fire At some point, people are going to stop trusting the system. The 76ers have been in a cycle of tanking, waiving players, trading players, and hoarding big men for some time now. SI already put the team on blast, I’m sure Joel Embiid has not stopped drinking Shirley Temples (stay strong, Joel!), and eventually this whole thing is going to get ugly before it gets better.  

 

 

      1. Bucks will get better

 

  The Milwaukee Bucks were surprisingly good last year. Statistically, they had the 4th best defensive rating in the league and were 8th in points against. And they did all of that with no real rim protector, which they hope to have fixed by getting Greg Monroe in free agency. The offense was not nearly as good but getting Jabari Parker back after losing him to an ACL tear last season will definitely help there. This team was no fluke last year, but I don’t see them getting anything higher than a 6 seed going into the playoffs.

 

      1. Mavs will implode

 

  When you get the biggest free agent in franchise history and then lose him in the most dramatic fashion in the history of free agency signings, your season is essentially doomed. With DeAndre Jordan, I really liked this team. Without him, I think they are a disaster. Deron Williams is not nearly the same player he was back in Utah, Wes Matthews is ?? x1000, Dirk Nowitzki is nearing the end, and Chandler Parsons is coming back from a major surgery. This has all the makings to be very, very, very bad and I truly wonder if it will affect Mark Cuban’s ability to make good decisions on Shark Tank.

 

      1. Clippers/Warriors will be must see TV

 

  From a basketball perspective, this is kind of a no brainer. Two great teams, with great coaches, playing in the same state. Oh, and they’ve been talking a lot of shit. These are going to be must watch games for the emotional drama if nothing else. These teams have lots of talent, but they also have lots of personality. Steph Curry is already embarrassing people on the court when it isn’t personal, Chris Paul should know all about that, and the Clippers are already generally hated around the league. California loooooooove.   12.  HEAT will be a top 4 team in the East   

 73   

Even though they missed the playoffs last year, the Miami HEAT will be a top 4 team in the East. Bosh played only 44 games all of last season while Goran Gragic only played 26 in a Miami jersey after being traded from Phoenix mid season. Get both of those guys for a full 82, add in Justice Winslow who they took with the 10th pick in the draft, Amar’e Stoudemire and Gerald Green (my 6th man dark horse) and this team is no slouch. According to Wade, Lebron knows they’re coming.

 

      1. Westbrook will lead the league in triple-doubles

 

  This is not a very hot take. Last season Westbrook had 11 triple-doubles. James Harden was second in the league with 4. Yes, that was a historic level of stunting on a nightly basis and a wonderful display of not giving a fuck and balling extra hard on everyone at all times as Russell Westbrook nearly forced the Thunder into the playoffs off sheer athleticism, but I think we’ll see a lot of the same again this year. Even with Durant on the floor.

 

      1. Draymond Green will continue providing sound bytes

 

  Man I hope I’m right about this one.

 

 

      1. Paul George will be full superstar in almost no time at all

 

  Even now, over a year later, I can still see the Paul George injury. When he went down Paul George was a top-10 player. Yes it was a gruesome injury and he missed an entire season but PG-13 will be full supernova superstar again this season. And it won’t take him long to get there. If the Pacers are going to get back to the playoffs, it will be because of him. Hibbert, West, Stephenson, and Granger are all gone. This is Paul George’s team now.  

 

 

The State of Diversity Amongst MLB Managers

 

ESPN’s Outside the Lines reports that for the upcoming 2016 MLB season, there is the possibility that there will not be any African American managers. The Washington Nationals are said to be in pursuit of a manager and their list has boiled down to two candidates: veteran skippers Bud Black and Dusty Baker. Currently, there is only one minority manager (skipper Fredi Gonzalez of the Atlanta Braves) out of all 30 teams.

Commissioner Rob Manfred has expressed concern over this issue and believes that the solution to this problem is to have more minority candidates hired at entry-level positions.

“I think it starts with respect to entry-level jobs,” Manfred said Tuesday on Mike & Mike on ESPN Radio. “We’ve been engaging with the clubs as they go through the fall and begin to rebuild front offices — there’s various people moving around and get promoted — that there needs to be significant minority representation at entry-level jobs.”

“And the reason I think those entry-level jobs are so important is it helps us build a pipeline of qualified diversity candidates — male, female, African-American, Latino — who are available to interview for top jobs. I don’t think you can just start at the top.”

If the projections for the upcoming season come true, it would be the first time in nearly 30 years since there weren’t any African-American managers managing a team.

Thoughts on Diversity in Sports

 The “Selig rule” (dubbed by Commissioner Manfred) – a rule that gives minorities more opportunities at obtaining managerial positions – is absolutely necessary for the MLB and is necessary for all sports. Similar to the NFL’s Rooney Rule, it gives minorities a chance at leading an organization, which every qualified person for a job deserves: a chance. However, both of these rules only guarantee minorities an interview for a job in these positions, not the job themselves (as it should be, otherwise there would be racial discrimination against Caucasians).

Although it is hard to believe that there is currently only one minority manager in the MLB, it is not the end of the world and it doesn’t mean that the MLB is discriminating against minority candidates. If anything, all teams (in any sport) should be focused on hiring people based on their ability to actually do a job and not the skin color they were born with but such is the world we live in. It is undeniable that sports are microcosms of society, so as long as racial discrimination (and racism for that matter) exist in society, it will continue to exist in sports by default.

The MLB’s scramble to find minority candidates for teams and Commissioner Manfred coming out and saying that there needs to be more minority representation amongst teams are pretty ridiculous. Who knows, maybe teams are just fine with the people they currently have or maybe there just aren’t many qualified minority candidates out there. Both possibilities could exist so there isn’t any reason to get your pitchforks and torches and to start yelling “racism.” We have to remember that the world doesn’t owe anyone a job, so as Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers once said when everyone thought he and his team were done one season: “relax.” Instead of being paranoid about racial discrimination, we should be focusing on that thing called the World Series because so far, it looks like it is going to be really good.

 

 

RIP Flip Saunders

 

 

100328-flip-looks-up by truthaboutit, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License   by  truthaboutit 


NBA Head Coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves and part owner Phil “Flip” Saunders has died from complication of Hodgkin lymphoma. 
The Minnesota Timberwolves Team issued a statement, on their official website.
 “It is with extreme sadness that the Minnesota Timberwolves today learned that Phil “Flip” Saunders, who served as the team’s President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach, in addition to being a minority owner of the team, passed away today at age 60.”
The NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also issued a statement.

Shortly after the news broke NBA Players took to Facebook and Twitter.

Pitino’s Job on the Line Amid Sexual Party Allegations from Former Recruits and Escort

640px-Rick_Pitino,_2013_Final_Four

cc by adamglanzmanphotography


 

Parties at just about any university in the country are most likely going to involve alcoholic beverages and sex. Shocking, right? But what happens when those parties involve escorts and strippers and are organized by an assistant coach under college basketball Hall of Fame head coach Rick Pitino? The only one who can answer that question is Andre McGee.

According to five former Louisville recruits, parties held at the Billy Minardi Hall campus dorm at Louisville between 2010 and 2014 featured strippers (many who performed naked) paid by McGee, a former player and former assistant coach for the university.

As one recruit described it: “I knew they weren’t college girls. It was crazy. It was like I was in a strip club.”

These allegations come just weeks after a book entitled “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen,” was published by 42-year-old Katina Powell, a self-proclaimed former escort. In the book, Powell details the stripping and sex parties that occurred at the campus dorm. Powell also stated that McGee had paid her up to $10,000 for bringing in the dancers at these parties.

In an interview with ESPN’s Outside the Lines, Powell had also stated that McGee paid her for “side deals,” which meant sex with recruits, guardians who visited the campus and players on the team at the time.

In response to the allegations, Pitino has stated that McGee is the only one who knows about these parties and should come clean.

McGee, who is currently an assistant coach at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, has been placed on administrative leave with pay while the school reviews the case. NCAA and Louisville officials are also investigating the matter.

Should Pitino’s Job be in Jeopardy?

As it has been proven in many cases, ignorance of something wrong occurring under someone’s leadership is not enough to escape punishment. A prime example of a person in this type of situation is Syracuse basketball head coach Jim Boeheim in the Syracuse scandal. Although his situation is much less egregious than Pitino’s, Boeheim was still punished for not overseeing the things that happened under his leadership (but not with his own two eyes).

Pitino has claimed to have had no knowledge of the allegations (as he should), but that doesn’t necessarily mean he or the university will escape punishment. No one knows if he is telling the truth at this point, but just like Boeheim, something bad occurred under his leadership. At worst, Pitino probably should only be suspended for a great deal of the upcoming college basketball season unless he actually had a role in the sex parties, no matter how small his role was. If he is fired, Boeheim and any other head coach who feigns ignorance when a rule is broken should be fired as well. Who knows, maybe both of them would be fired if they didn’t have their names or reputations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Former Laker Lamar Odom Placed on Life Support in Struggling Battle for Survival

 

IMG_4454.jpg by bridgetds, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License   by  bridgetds 


Former NBA Sixth Man of the Year and two-time NBA champion Lamar Odom has been placed on life support after being found unconscious and face-down in his room at a brothel in Nevada on Tuesday.

Odom was “throwing up all kinds of stuff” said Dennis Hof, owner of the Love Ranch brothel, in an interview with The Associated Press. Odom apparently had “spent time socializing with some of my girls,” but wasn’t using any illegal drugs, Hof continued.

Odom, 35, admitted to brothel employees on Saturday that he had taken cocaine before he arrived. He also claimed to have taken up to 10 tabs of Viagra over the past few days said Nye County Sherriff Sharon Wehrly in a news conference. The 6’ 10” Odom had to be driven to a Las Vegas hospital instead of being airlifted to one because of his height.

Many people including Reverend Jesse Jackson, former teammates Derek Fisher and Kobe Bryant, and his ex-wife Khloé Kardashian paid a visit to him at the hospital.

Charges could potentially be filed against Odom or the brothel if any evidence of wrongdoing is uncovered. The brothel could also lose its license.

A Long History of Tragedy and Unfulfilled Potential

Odom is no stranger to tragedy as he has suffered it through much of is life. His father was a heroin addict and his mother passed away from colon cancer. He was raised by his grandmother in Queens, New York.

Odom was a highly touted prospect out of high school. He decided to play for UNLV where he was quite successful. However, after a report questioned his high score of 22 out of 36 on the ACT and an NCAA inquiry discovered that he was receiving payment from a booster, Odom transferred to the University of Rhode Island while UNLV was put on four years of probation.

Odom, a left-handed, stretch forward that could play any position on the court, was supposed to be the next big thing. Although he had the skills of a number one overall pick, many teams saw him as a risk because of his personal life. He was eventually drafted fourth overall to the Los Angeles Clippers. Drug issues plagued him in his time with the Clippers.

In 2006, Jayden, Odom’s six-month-old son, died from sudden infant death syndrome. In 2011, after being traded from the Los Angeles Lakers, Odom basically stopped caring to play basketball in just his early thirties. Couple that with his highly profiled divorce with Khloe Kardashian and Odom is way under rock bottom at this point.

Lamar Odom, as lovable and flawed as he was successful, is another case of someone who oozed with potential that just happened to be going down the wrong path at the same time. Going from NBA champion to a person who was found near-death all alone in a brothel room is about as far a fall from grace as I have ever witnessed in my young life. With all that said, I truly hope Odom pulls through and I hope someone tells him that life gets better if he wants it to.