Tag Archives: Cleveland Cavaliers

NBA Finals Preview

The stage is set for the NBA Finals that is ahead of us come Thursday between the best player in LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers against the best team Golden State Warriors led by MVP Stephen Curry and first year head coach Steve Kerr. History will be made as both franchises set to make history. Golden State can end it’s 40 year streak without an NBA title, while the Cavaliers franchise will be in the hunt for its first title ever.

Many did not expect the Cleveland Cavaliers to reach the NBA Finals with a new first year NBA head coach in David Blatt and the new put together roster that helped form the big 3 of James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love. Without Love and a hobbled Irving, the supporting cast of Matthew Dellavedova, Tristan Thompson and the elevated play of JR Smith has the Cavs in the position they are in now.

It is vital to Cleveland that LeBron James continues to control the game at his pace in order to win his 3rd title in 5 years. While he hasn’t been efficient this postseason, the dominance of the ball that is on display is what we have never seen whether its shooting or making the right pass to his teammates.

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game Five

For Golden State Warriors, the hiring of Steve Kerr after letting go Mark Jackson left many optimistic of what direction they were heading in. Picking up where Jackson left off, Kerr made the Warriors the title contenders they are now. While we are aware of the Splash Brothers that consists of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, the coming out party belongs to Draymond Green as the swing man has became the heart and soul of their team. Green has became a Bay Area favorite for the fans to embrace and love.

In order for Golden State to keep having success throughout the playoffs, the depth of their roster will be the X-factor in this series. With the head injury of Klay Thompson and the possibility of himself and Curry having bad shooting performances, the likes of Harrison Barnes, Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala is key.

With contrasting playing styles, it will be interesting to see what coaching adjustments will be made for both David Blatt and Steve Kerr. We are in for an eventful NBA Finals that could be one to remember.

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Top Tier NBA Point Guards

 

B/R NBA 200: Top Point Guards in 2013-14

USA Today Sports

 

While we watch the NBA continues to evolve its game play and style across the league, the most depended position over recent years has been the point guard position. Being required to carry a heavy work load, the success of a franchise rest on the floor general on the court. With the talent depth around the league of the position, we look at the cream of the crop that is the top 10 point guards.

 

Andrew D. Bernstein

Andrew D. Bernstein

 

10. Kyle Lowry

The emergence of veteran point guard Kyle Lowry has been a major factor for the recipe to the Toronto Raptors success and there ongoing improvement. Averaging career highs in points, rebounds, and assists, many believed that Lowry was an all-star snub the previous season. Leading by example, he would help lead the Raptors to an Atlantic Division champions. With the dynamic backcourt duo of himself and DeMar Derozan, the sky is the limit this season of more to come.

 

Sam Forencich/Getty Images

Sam Forencich/Getty Images

 

9. Derrick Rose

The absence off the court of Derrick Rose has many optimistic of the return to the 2014-15 NBA season. Having damage to both knees creates minor doubt of what can be a slim window for Rose to have the longevity to play later in his career. Using FIBA World Championships to get his legs under him, the former MVP has looked up to part over the course of the NBA preseason. Adding Pau Gasol to the Chicago Bulls supporting cast will elevate there chances to a NBA Finals birth with the play of Derrick Rose we are accustom to seeing.

 

Ned Dishman-Getty Images

Ned Dishman-Getty Images

 

8. John Wall

The anticipation of John Wall to raise his game to the next level has began. Coming off an injury riddle season in 2012-13, he has made his way into the elite point guard after last season coming off an all-star season playing all 82 games as he led the Washington Wizards to the postseason. Making it to the 2nd round of the Eastern Conference, his playoff performance was sub par to what he is capable of doing. Wall will be asked to do more with the injury to the emerging shooting guard Bradley Beal with a wrist injury out for six weeks.

 

Matt York

Matt York

 

7. Goran Dragic

The Phoenix Suns left many appalled after going 48-34 under first season head coach Jeff Hornacek as they were led by 28 year old point guard Goran Dragic. The Slovenian star in the making became one of three NBA players since 1993 to average 20 ppg shooting 50% from the field and 40% from the 3 point field including the names of Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Dirk Nowitzki. The breakout season would lead to being awarded the NBA Most Improved Player of 2013-14. The tough part for Dragic will be to duplicate the results of last season. However, with the addition of Isaiah Thomas and the return of Eric Bledsoe will increase the chances of the Suns for a playoff birth in the Western Conference.

 

Danny Moloshok

Danny Moloshok

 

6. Chris Paul

      While many view Chris Paul as the best point guard in the league, the reign stops here. Leading the league in his third straight season in assists and steals per game, Paul continues to get a postseason pass for early exits in the playoffs. The jury is out on him following his debacle in game 5 against the Oklahoma City Thunder where he made costly decisions that would lead to a Thunder victory. It is difficult to consider Paul the best where he is potentially not the best player on his team anymore.

 

David Liam Kyle-Getty Images

David Liam Kyle-Getty Images

 

5. Kyrie Irving

The emergence of Kyrie Irving has caught the attention of the NBA this upcoming season. Coming off what was a below average season for Irving’s standards, he managed to excite the basketball world winning the NBA All-Star MVP and was able to show off his top tier skills during the the FIBA World Championships which would lead to the 2014 FIBA World MVP. Returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers with a new and improved team featuring superstars LeBron James and Kevin Love, higher expectations are help upon Uncle Drew to become a complete player to championship aspirations.

 

Danny Moloshok

Danny Moloshok

 

4. Russell Westbrook

     All eyes will be on Russell Westbrook during the first half of the season without running mate and current reigning MVP Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City. If anybody was to embrace this situation, it is him. Known for his questionable shot selection that can take you out of a game, Westbrook can surely keep you in a game with his athleticism that is second to none against many at his position while providing the intangibles to want to win. Still an ongoing learning process at point guard, he will have to cut down on costly turnovers that have an impact on the game.

 

Danny Moloshok

Danny Moloshok

 

3. Damian Lillard

The Portland Trail Blazers are slowly evolving into a team to be dangerous in the Western Conference with the former Weber State point guard Damian Lillard. The third year veteran has been nothing less than spectacular in his first two seasons following clutch performances throughout the season including his remarkable performance in the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs that eliminated the Houston Rockets in game 6. Being cut from the USA National basketball team has added fuel to the fire for Lillard and his off-season training. Dame’s got next and he is coming for the number one spot.

 

USA Today Sports

USA Today Sports

 

2. Stephen Curry

      The baby face assassin has arrived on the scene as a premier point guard after the breakout season, making his first all-star appearance in 2014. Expanding the talents beyond his shooting ability, Steph Curry has elevated his game to the next level with career highs in points and assists per game that would lead the Golden State Warriors to its best franchise record at 51-31. Expect a career year and what can be a MVP type season for Curry in 2014-15.

 

Mike Ehrmann-Getty Images

Mike Ehrmann-Getty Images

 

1. Tony Parker

     Today in the NBA, Tony Parker may be the most under appreciated point guard on this list and across the league. Not flashy nor the most exciting point guard, yet he gets the most consistent and raises the level of his game in the postseason. Bigger picture, he is what young points guards want to be, a champion. While many chase to be where Parker is and that is on top.

Risk or Reward: Top 5 NBA Draft Prospects

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We are just a few days away from the 2014 NBA Draft, many prospects have made themselves a household name during team workouts which has improved their draft stock. It is casual for general managers and talent scouts to get caught in the moment of what a player is capable of when nobody impedes their progress. Here are the top five players to keep an eye on while we await draft day.

 

Bleacher Report

Bleacher Report

 

5. P.J. Hairston

 

During his time span at North Carolina, sharp shooter P.J. Hairston was becoming a focal point of the Tar Heels’ success. Many would believe Hairston was sorely missed by the Tar Heels in powder during the early portion of the season. However, off-season troubles would derail his college career where the repercussions led to the dismissal from the team this past season. Making the leap to the NBA D-League, Hairston has shown his talents that may translate well to the next level averaging 21.8 points per game in 26 games with the Texas Legends. His ability to perform will not be in question, rather the growth of maturity are bound to raise caution flags to teams.

 

Christopher Hanewinckel- USA Today

Christopher Hanewinckel- USA Today

 

4. Aaron Gordon

 

Freshman phenom Aaron Gordon has made himself a hot commodity in the draft process with his athletic abilities that has drawn many comparisons to Blake Griffin. Is that enough to qualify him as a potential lottery pick? The Pac-12 Freshman Player of the Year has displayed his exceptional work ethic along with his versatility as he shows promise to excel at the next level on both ends of the floor. In order to succeed that, he must improve his offensive repertoire outside the paint and a much needed tune up at the free throw line. Can Gordon become a franchise player, or a role player that never could become a star is the question surrounding this Wildcat.

 

Jim McIsaa- Getty Images

Jim McIsaa- Getty Images

 

3. Zach LaVine

 

Coming off the bench for UCLA Bruins this season, Zach LaVine would show flashes of talents in spurts early in his one and done season, averaging 10 ppg on 45% shooting. He has appalled us with his leaping ability at NBA Draft Combine and workouts that has put his name into the lottery discussion. It would not be the first time a player coming off the bench would go on to be selected as a lottery pick. It happened with Cleveland’s Dion Waiters. Even though inconsistency was on display, you could expect changes in the NBA with the  right coaching and playing system to fit LaVine’s open court uptempo game, he can flourish as a combo guard at 6’5″. Or perhaps become the next Austin Rivers. Patience will be key with LaVine because of being a raw talent.

 

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2. Dario Saric

 

The name Dario Saric has surfaced throughout the NBA Draft process of being a top 10 pick. In fact, just before last year’s draft he pulled his name off the big board.

What do we know about him?

He is a 6’10” swing man who can play both forward positions  at an efficient rate while being able to handle the ball. Averaging 15.4 ppg and 9.4 rpg in 47 games overseas, the Croatian playmaker is fluid offensively along with a great feel of what’s going on at all times on the court. However, his inconsistency on offense and being a liability on defense may cause his stock to drop. Winning a championship and MVP at the age of 20, his experience and youth will not be undervalued in the NBA going forward.

What we do not know about Saric is the role he will play on a NBA team or when we will make his NBA debut when drafted after recently agreeing to remain in Europe for two more years. It will take the perfect system for Saric can utilize his skill set at the next level. It will be interesting to see what NBA team will commit to him with no certainty of when he will come to America to play. Think of Danilo Gallinari when you hear Saric’s name and ceiling as a player.

 

Denny Meddley- USA Today

Denny Meddley- USA Today

 

1. Joel Embiid

 

Joel Embiid has the potential to become the best player in this draft in many years to come. Being a game changer on defense now, his offensive game showed improvement throughout the college basketball season. With the back injury and now recently suffering a foot injury, red flags are raised around Embiid that could derail his draft stock. The names of Greg Oden, Yao Ming, and Bill Walton have been mentioned when talking about big men with injuries when it comes to drafting Embiid first overall. Yet, many teams should be weary of missing out on an opportunity to change a franchise around a position that has diminished over years.

 

Top 5 NBA All-Star Weekend Moments

 

The 2014 NBA All-Star weekend was an overall success for the debut of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. A time out of the busy NBA schedule to recognize the best players of our league was rejuvenated as they showcase their talents to the world. While there were many exciting highlights that we witnessed, here are the top five moments from New Orleans.

 

5. Ovation for Bill Russell

During the intermission going into the 2nd quarter of the NBA All-Star Game, the All-Star players representing both conferences stood and applaud for Bill Russell celebrating his 80th birthday. To acknowledge one of the greatest centers of all-time and pioneers by today’s players and fans was significant for the game of basketball.

 

 

 

4. Marco Belinelli become Three Point Champion

     Coming into the competition leading the league in three point field goal percentage at 45%, Marco Belinelli would become the dark horse to win the shootout that also featured Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love. Only to prevail in overtime defeating Bradley Beal, the NBA journeyman was able to enjoy this victory, adding on to a consistent season thus far with the San Antonio Spurs.

3. Dion Waiters vs. Tim Hardaway Jr.

     On the eve of NBA All-Star Saturday Night, the highlight of Friday was the one on one battle between 2nd year player Dion Waiters and rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. in the Rising Stars challenge. The duel of two NBA bright stars grasped the attention of their NBA peers and fans that had people raving about what was taking place.

 

 

2. John Wall becomes Slam Dunk Champion

     What was once lost in the Slam Dunk Contest has been found by Washington Wizards John Wall. Started off as a team competition between the Western Conference vs. Eastern Conference became a dominating performance for the East while Terrance Ross would defeat Damian Lillard and Paul George handled Harrison Barnes. Wall would steal the night with his leap over the teams mascot while completing a reverse dunk that left the crowd appalled and social media buzzing as legends Julius Erving and Magic Johnson proclaim the Slam Dunk Contest being revived.

 

 

 

1. NBA All-Star Game

Capping off an exciting weekend, the 63rd annual NBA All-Star Game did not fail to disappoint fans across the world. The best players in the game today put on a performance filled with vigorous effort and jaw dropping highlights from both conferences as it became a lack of defensive effort that resulted in an offensive record setting night. While Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin were to able to score 38 points each, the spotlight belong to Kyrie Irving becoming Most Valuable Player with 31 points and 14 assists.

Top 5 Most Disappointing Teams of the Early Season

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The start to the NBA season gives us an outlook on whats to come throughout this year. We have the opportunity to see familiar faces in new places with players and coaches for teams with aspirations of improving their success from the previous season. With that being said, here are your top five most disappointing teams thus far in the early part of the season.

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5. Denver Nuggets

      By not retaining the most recent recipient of the Coach of the Year award in George Karl, the Denver Nuggets decided to move forward by bringing in first season head coach Brian Shaw. Denver is more than capable of scoring the ball in bunches with Ty Lawson to lead the way as they are without Danilo Gallinari. Denver has had a slow start to their season as they opened the season with a three game losing streak and have lost big man Javale McGee who is out indefinitely with a stress fracture in his lower leg. The challenge for Shaw this season is to get his players on the court to commit on the defensive side of the ball.

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4. Memphis Grizzlies

     The Memphis Grizzlies achieved historic franchise success last season by reaching the Western Conference Finals. This previous offseason, Memphis decided not to bring back head coach Lionel Hollins, instead choosing to go with assistant coach David Joerger. The Grizzlies remained subtle during free agency while we witnessed a west coast shuffle. With free agents coming and going, Memphis only decided to bring in sharp shooter Mike Miller to spread the floor with perimeter shooting and stretch out defenses. Memphis is off to 4-5 start in the 2013-14 campaign under Joerger that has many questioning if they can repeat the success of last season.

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3. Cleveland Cavaliers

     The Cleveland Cavaliers impressed many this offseason with the return of head coach Mike Brown and free agent acquisitions headlined by the signing of Andrew Bynum and Jarrett Jack as pieces to fit the puzzle of the supporting cast for Kyrie Irving. With a record of 4-7, things are not going well for Cleveland as recently there was a report of a confrontational meeting between players. It is a long season, so this team has an opportunity to turn matters around and get on the right track.

i2. Brooklyn Nets

    Many can make the argument that the Brooklyn Nets had the best offseason by adding Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to add to the roster of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez. With the addition of newly retired and first year head coach Jason Kidd, the Nets look to have the best roster on paper to compete in the Eastern Conference. Instead, the new look team has done nothing that has impressed anybody. Injuries and age being problems to Brooklyn only presents Kidd with an uphill battle while overcoming a 3-6 start.

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1. New York Knicks

     After winning the Atlantic Division last season, many assume the New York Knicks can continue to progress in the Eastern Conference. However, many questioned the offseason moves made by New York after acquiring the former No. 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani via trade. Bargnani adds to an already crowded frontcourt that contains Tyson Chandler, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Kenyon Martin. With a horrific 3-6 start to the season, the big apple has become rotten. A consistency of effort becomes the main problem for New York which can lead to head coach Mike Woodson’s job being in jeopardy. It can also lead to the departure of Carmelo Anthony out of New York.