Tag Archives: Kyrie Irving

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.

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.

Leaders of the New School

 

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Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA Today Sports

 

Just days away from the start of the 2014 FIBA World Basketball Championships, the final 12 man roster has been set for Team USA as they prepare for group play. With the injury to Paul George and withdraws of Kevin Love and Kevin Durant, coach Mike Krzyzewski and Team USA have new hurdles to overcome and holes to fill in very little time. The talent of the aforementioned players cannot be replaced, but depth and versatility will be the theme for this American team. There are four players who will need to step into a larger role in order to complete the task at hand that is winning the gold medal.

 

2014 USA Basketball Practice

Stephen Curry

Seeing limited minutes in the 2010 FIBA World Championship, Stephen Curry has elevated his game to elite status through the USA Basketball camp. Despite the loss of Durant, he is slowly becoming a leader for this team. Curry has been able to pick up the scoring load while playing both guard positions on the floor along with his improved defensive intensity. Coach Krzyzewski will need Curry to carry his hot shooting into group play and throughout the tournament to win gold.

 

James Harden is eager to take on a featured role with Team USA. (USATSI)

USA Today Sports

 James Harden
After recent comments being made regarding the best player in the NBA, the stage is set for James Harden to support his statement. The loss of George and Durant has now positioned him to show his abilities on the offensive end, but also the defensive end where he has been criticized for being lackadaisical at times. Team USA is depending on Harden to become who he says he is starting on Saturday.

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Derrick Rose

Chicago Bulls and basketball fans must remain patient with the comeback of Derrick Rose during this tournament. However, expect him to have an impact on this roster as it progresses. With the idea of alternating with point guard Kyrie Irving at the starting position, it gives Rose a chance to improve his stamina mentally and physically before the start of the 2014-15 NBA season. It will be vital for Rose to play well in spurts for this team while remaining healthy.

 

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Anthony Davis

Since the warm up games leading to Saturday, Anthony Davis has became the face of USA Basketball going into his third year in the NBA. He has been a man amongst boys in the frontcourt while adding weight to his body along with the improvement of his jump shot. This has allowed him to add to his array of skills he already possesses. After winning the national championship at the University of Kentucky, Davis was forced to grow and mature quicker than other rookies being on the 2012 Olympic team. Now, he is poised to lead USA all the way.

 

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.

Top 10 Point Guard in the Association

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     We live in the NBA era where the point guard has gained more responsibility to consume. From more than a floor general such as Mark Jackson, Magic Johnson and John Stockton to the leaders of the new school from Chris Paul to John Wall. The evolution of the position has continued to leave NBA fans amazed by what we are witnessing. Here is your Top 10 Point Guard’s in the Association.

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10. Damian Lillard -Portland Trailblazers
    Lillard was a runaway pick for the  Rookie of the Year trophy, averaging 19 points and 6.5 assists per game catching eyes around the league. He has began the 2013-2014 campaign playing at an all-star caliber level. With Lillard’s talents and intangibles, a promising future is coming his way.

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9. John Wall

Before the start of this season, John Wall had recent contract extension worth $80 million dollars. With that being said, Wall is expected to lead the Washington Wizards this season with the young talent and veteran leadership being put into place. As he only played 49 games last season, Wall still had flashes of being a top 5 point guard a few years from now, but he must start by leading his team to the postseason.

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8. Deron Williams -Brooklyn Nets

     Deron Williams had a season that was one to forget that was cause by early injuries and overweight coming into last season. When healthy towards the end of the season, he showed us why he was considered a premier point guard in the NBA. With a new season,and additions of head coach Jason Kidd and player personnel surrounding him, Williams should flourish and put his name back in the top 5 category.

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7. Rajon Rondo

     Rondo has flew under the radar with his recent ACL injury that kept him sideline for majority of the season. With a new coach and rebuilding roster, it will be interesting to see the leadership he can bring to the team as all eyes are on him to be the man in Boston.

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6. Stephen Curry

 Stephen Curry
     You can do nothing but cheer from the emergence of Curry. The baby face assassin has elevated his game this past season with his prolific scoring from inside and out that has led the Golden State Warriors to the playoffs last season. Curry has to become a better defender in order to complete his game that will raise his game to another level. However, health is the main concern for him as ankle injuries has slowed him down. If he can remain healthy throughout the season, it will be tough to contain him.

 

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5. Derrick Rose – Chicago Bulls

     Rose continued to keep many NBA fans optimistic about his health as he decided to sit out the entire 2012-2013 season. Since his return, Rose has struggled shooting the ball thus far this season at 31% and turning the ball over at a rapid pace. Rose has shown his flashes of greatness being the youngest to win NBA MVP back in 2010-2011 campaign.  All eyes will be on Rose as we watch him grow from the concrete of criticism he received for sitting out the entire season.

 

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4. Kyrie Irving – Cleveland Cavaliers

     The legend of Uncle Drew continues to grow for Kyrie Irving as he amazes us with his play. With a much improved supporting cast around Irving, it gives Irving a chance to have the defense primarily stopping him. With much improvement needed on the defensive side of the ball, it’s hard to find any player in the association that can keep up, yet alone contain him. Just ask Brandon Knight.

 

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3. Russell Westbrook – Oklahoma City Thunder

     With the criticism that Russell Westbrook receives for the plays his decision making, he displayed how valuable he was to the Thunder with his knee injury that kept him out of the postseason as they were eliminated in the 2nd round. He has also had a career best in rebounds and assists. With outstanding play on offense and defense, Westbrook has proven himself a top 3 point guard.

 

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2. Tony Parker – San Antonio Spurs

I believe it is time to give the veteran Tony Parker the credit he deserves as he leads the Spurs to a very successful season. Parker has had his stats rise from the previous season across the board, giving him consideration for MVP before his injury. His ability to facilitate the ball along with the lost art of a mid range jump shot keeps the defense guessing when Parker has the ball in his hands. The Frenchmen is not leaving the game anytime soon as he improves with age.

 

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1. Chris ‘CP3’ Paul – Los Angeles Clippers

From New Orleans to the spotlight in Los Angeles, Chris Paul has evolved the Clippers into a contender in the Western Conference. A bulldog on defense and being a floor general along with the first option on offense, Paul has shown to be a dominant force on the court. The key addition of Doc Rivers as head coach will elevate his game that can give him the help he needs to reach the NBA Finals in the near future.