Tag Archives: The Association

MJ Mondays- 2003 NBA All-Star Game

      The NBA All-Star game has been significant to the association. A weekend of celebration for fans to appreciate the many talents of star players being put on display. As the NBA festivities approaches, we revisit Michael Jordan’s last appearance as a player during All-Star Weekend.

   During the 2002-03 season, Jordan averaged a career low 20 points per game that would essentially lead to voters not electing the six-time champion into the game as a starter. However, he would be given the opportunity to start the all-star game one last time.

     Voted by the fans as a starting guard, Allen Iverson was the first player to offer his starting position to Jordan followed by Tracy McGrady, which he declined respectively. While many wanted to see him start his final all-star game, the spotlight shifted to Vince Carter who was resistant in giving his starting spot to MJ. Prior to the game, Carter would offer his spot to Jordan as he would accept.

     Jordan would come out missing his first seven shots, being blocked on four attempts. He would finish the game with 20 points shooting 9 for 27 from the field. Nevertheless, we would see him turn back the clock during the game with, ironically, the shot of the game.

 

Michael Jordan would shoot the fadeaway jump shot over Shawn Marion that could have potentially clinched the game for the Eastern Conference All-Stars. Instead, the game would be sent to double overtime due to a Jermaine O’Neal foul that sent Kobe Bryant to the free throw line where he would make both free throws.

 

The Western Conference All-Stars would go on to spoil the Cinderella ending of Michael Jordan and the Eastern Conference as they would prevail with a 155-145 win. Kevin Garnett would become the game’s MVP with 37 points, 9 rebounds and 5 steals. Jordan would give NBA fans one last hurrah before closing the curtain on the all-star stage where we all gave him a standing ovation for what he had done during the course of that weekend.

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Injury Prone Guards

    The latest trend around the NBA in recent memory has been the collapse of many NBA guards across the league. Whether its a recurring them of injuries with the same players or freak accidents occurring, we are seeing key players being sidelined for various reasons at a high rate.

 

We are in the age of the association where the point guard era has been asked to consume more responsibility while placed with the task of leading a team. Guards such as Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, and Deron Williams are now relied on to provide more offense by scoring the ball while being the floor general. The defensive side has also become a challenge as many are taking on the contact of pick and roll defense that takes a toll on the body over time.

   At this point, teams are inclined to have a serviceable backup point guard that is capable of controlling the offense like players such as Darren Collison, Reggie Jackson, and Shaun Livingston. It has become a rarity at the position to have exceptional guard play when others are forced to play out of their natural positions to fill roles they are not accustomed to playing especially for teams such as Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics without all-star point guard Rajon Rondo as we await his season debut.

  Due to today’s frenetic style and pace in the NBA, the frequency of injuries may increase specifically knee injuries. It has been well documented that many with multiple knee injuries do not come back as explosive as before while many NBA fans are hoping that is the not case for former MVP Derrick Rose.

 

We should value and appreciate the point guard play of what the league has to offer for now. The likelihood of having a longer career with less injuries comes into question for many NBA superstars leading their respective teams to accomplish their goals.

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.