Category Archives: Thunder

NBA Preview: Awards, Hype, Prediction Edition

With the NBA Season getting ready to start it’s only right that we answer a few questions in regards to awards, playoff seeding, finals predictions etc…. Please be sure to sound off and voice your opinions and enlighten us on your predictions.

Statistical Predictions:

Who will lead the league in scoring?

  
Hornback: Kevin Durant

Fort: Kevin Durant

Carter: Kevin Durant

Who will lead the league in rebounds?

  Hornback: Andre Drummond

Fort: Hassan Whiteside

Carter: Deandre Jordan

Who will lead the league in assists?

  

Hornback: John Wall

Fort: John Wall

Carter: Chris Paul

Who will lead the league in PER? (Player Efficiency Rating)

    
Hornback: Anthony Davis

Fort: Anthony Davis

Carter: Chris Paul

Who will lead the league in usage percentage?

  Hornback: LeBron James

Fort: Carmelo Anthony

Carter: James Harden

What will be the top 5 offenses?

   
Hornback:

  1. Warriors
  2. Clippers
  3. Thunder
  4. Hawks
  5. Spurs

Fort:

  1. Warriors
  2. Clippers
  3. Thunder
  4. Hawks
  5. Spurs

Carter:

  1. Clippers
  2. Warriors
  3. Thunder
  4. Rockets
  5. Heat

What will be the top 5 defenses?

    
Hornback:

  1. Jazz
  2. Warriors
  3. Bucks
  4. Grizzlies
  5. Wizards

Fort:

  1. Warriors
  2. Wizards
  3. Cavaliers
  4. Bucks
  5. Thunder

Carter:

  1. Bucks
  2. Bulls
  3. Pelicans
  4. Warriors
  5. Jazz

Awards Predictions:

Who will be this season’s Coach of the Year?

  

Hornback: Alvin Gentry

Fort: Erik Spolestra

Carter: Jason Kidd

Who will be this season’s Executive of the Year?

  
Hornback: R. C. Buford (San Antonio)

Fort: Pat Riley (Miami)

Carter: John Hammond (Milwaukee)

Who will be the season’s Rookie of the Year?

  Hornback: Jahlil Okafor

Fort: Emannuel Mudiay (Winslow very close 2nd)

Carter: Karl-Anthony Towns

Who will be this season’s Most Valuable Player of the Year?

  Hornback: James Harden

Fort: Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook

Carter: James Harden

Who will be this season’s Defensive Player of the Year?

  Hornback: Rudy Gobert

Fort: Dwight Howard

Carter: Anthony Davis

Who will be this season’s Sixth Man of the Year?

  Hornback: Isaiah Thomas

Fort: Louis Williams

Carter: Isaiah Thomas

Who will be this season’s Most Improved Player?

  
Hornback: Derrick Favors

Fort: Jordan Clarkson

Carter: Rudy Gobert

All NBA 1st Team

Hornback:
Steph Curry
James Harden
LeBron James
Anthony Davis
Dwight Howard

Fort: 
Russell Westbrook
James Harden
LeBron James
Kevin Durant
Anthony Davis

Carter:
Chris Paul
James Harden
LeBron James
Blake Griffin
Anthony Davis

All NBA 2nd Team

Hornback:
Chris Paul
Russell Westbrook
Kevin Durant
LaMarcus Aldridge
DeMarcus Cousins

Fort: 
John Wall
Steph Curry
Paul George
Lamarcus Aldridge
Blake Griffin

Carter:
Steph Curry
Russell Westbrook
Kevin Durant
LaMarcus Aldridge
Demarcus Cousins

All NBA 3rd Team

Hornback:
John Wall
Jimmy Butler
Kevin Love
Blake Griffin
Marc Gasol

Fort: 
Chris Paul
Jimmy Butler
Kawhi Leonard
Chris Bosh
Marc Gasol

Carter:
John Wall
Jimmy Butler
Kawhi Leonard
Pau Gasol
Marc Gasol

All NBA Defensive 1st Team

Hornback:
John Wall
Tony Allen
Draymond Green
Anthony Davis
Rudy Gobert

Fort: 
John Wall
Jeff Teague
Kawhi Leonard
LeBron James

Carter:
Chris Paul
Jimmy Butler
Anthony Davis
Rudy Gobert

All NBA Defensive 2nd Team

Hornback:
Chris Paul
Jimmy Butler
Kawhi Leonard
Serge Ibaka
Marc Gasol

Fort: 
Chris Paul
Jimmy Butler
Paul George
Anthony Davis
Deandre Jordan

Carter:
Michael Conley
Tony Allen
Draymond Green
Serge Ibaka
Deandre Jordan

All NBA Rookie Team

Hornback:
D’Angelo Russell
Emmanuel Mudiay
Mario Hezonja
Stanley Johnson
Jahlil Okafor

Fort: 
Emmanuel Mudiay
D’Angelo Russell
Justice Winslow
Karl-Anthony Towns
Jahlil Okafor

Carter:
Emmanuel Mudiay
Mario Hezonja
Stanley Johnson
Karl-Anthony Towns
Jahlil Okafor

Playoff Predictions

  
DeShawn Hornback:

  1. Warriors
  2. Spurs
  3. Rockets
  4. Clippers
  5. Thunder
  6. Grizzlies
  7. Pelicans
  8. Jazz

Ryan Fort

  1. Thunder
  2. Warriors
  3. Rockets
  4. Spurs
  5. Clippers
  6. Grizzlies
  7. Pelicans
  8. Mavs

Tyler Carter:

  1. Spurs
  2. Warriors
  3. Clippers
  4. Rockets
  5. Thunder
  6. Grizzlies
  7. Suns
  8. Kings

  
Hornback:

  1. Cavaliers
  2. Hawks
  3. Wizards
  4. Bulls
  5. Raptors
  6. Heat
  7. Bucks
  8. Detroit

Fort:

  1. Cavaliers
  2. Hawks
  3. Wizards
  4. Heat
  5. Bulls
  6. Raptors
  7. Bucks
  8. Pistons

Carter:

  1. Cavaliers
  2. Bulls
  3. Heat
  4. Raptors
  5. Wizards
  6. Bucks
  7. Hawks
  8. Pacers

Final Four

Hornback: 

Spurs vs Warriors
Cavaliers vs Wizards

Fort: 

Thunder vs Rockets
Cavaliers vs Heat

Carter:

Spurs vs Clippers
Cavaliers vs Heat

Finals Predictions:

  
Hornback:

Spurs vs Cavaliers Cavaliers in 7

Fort: 

Thunder vs Heat Thunder in 6

Carter:

Spurs vs Cavaliers Cavaliers in 6

Kobe Bryant: Facing A Reality

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THE INTRO

When I first started watching basketball, Michael Jordan was no longer that guy. Gary Payton was washed up. Karl Malone was ring chasing. John Stockton was taking up space. Charles Barkley and Hakeem Olajuwon were gone. Scottie Pippen and Reggie Miller were shells of themselves. Patrick Ewing was no where to be found, and Clyde Drexler was out. The league itself was vastly different.

When my interest in the NBA peaked, Allen Iverson was dominant. Tracy McGrady and his cousin Vince Carter were stellar. Shaq and Kobe were a hell of a tandem. Kevin Garnett was elite. Dirk and Steve Nash were coming into their own. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen were making noise in the East. And Tim Duncan was just extremely boring. (I know I left off guys like David Robinson and Jason Kidd off but y’all get the point.)

Out of all of those guys though, there was no one I liked more than Kobe Bean Bryant.

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MY STORY

When it came to Kobe there wasn’t anything you could tell me.

You couldn’t diss his game, talk about his personality, or belittle him in any way without me being ready to argue.

In my family and amongst my small group of friends, everyone has had atleast that one specific guy they watched faithfully and would go to war for.

My father’s guy was Magic; my uncle’s guy was Jordan; my mom’s guy was Isiah Thomas; my great grandfather’s guy was a tie between Larry Bird and Julius Irving.

They followed their guys faithfully, like I’m doing now and tried to tell me it’s not going to be a happy ending. I didn’t really believe them until that foresight became a reality.

Personally I thought they were full of s#!% and didn’t know what the hell they were talking about; until I sat down and thought about each player.

MJ’s downfall was him coming back and playing at age 40 for the Washington Wizards. Larry Bird’s career couldn’t continue because his back was out of sorts. Isiah’s career ended after he tore his Achilles. Magic on the other hand retired due to the HIV/AIDS situation. He later came back and wasn’t the same guy.

My guy is in the same boat at this point in time.

A few years back I was in denial. I’ll own up to it. I had just witnessed the Lakers lose in five games to a hungry OKC team (2012) that featured the likes of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook. In response, I looked for excuses to help Kobe out.

The thing is, there weren’t any.

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THE OBVIOUS

In that specific series, Westbrook was tearing him apart, Harden was giving him buckets, and Durant was giving him fits with his length making it hard for him to score. As a matter of fact, James Harden was playing him tough defensively as well. The whole series in general wasn’t pretty. Kobe couldn’t get to his spots, he couldn’t contain anyone and he was a step slow.

That series against OKC ended a four series stretch of Kobe struggling. Against Dallas in 2011, he struggled against Shawn Marion and others from that championship team; losing 4-0. The series prior to that, he struggled against Chris Paul and his no help Hornets; winning 4-2, and in the series against Denver prior to the OKC matchup, Kobe struggled against the fast paced Nuggets. That series went the distance 4-3 and was more about Andrew Bynum.

That series against OKC ended his Postseason career.

At that point in time, the writing on the wall was very clear to everyone else outside of me, Kobe was in his decline.

That offseason he participated in the Olympics where he was out of place and out of sorts. It was as clear as day that he didn’t belong on the court with a few of those guys. It was so obvious to the point where Coach K was reluctant to play him in certain stretches.

Even with the putrid performances in the Olympics, I still believed. Especially when the Lakers landed Dwight Howard and Steve Nash that same offseason.

When the those trades first surfaced, I was as hype as anyone. I thought Kobe would be rejuvenated and eager to play (as he always is) and I started stating a lot of other things that you generally say when a player has lost it.

But again, I was over hyped and I continued to look past the new Kobe’s obvious deficiencies in skill.

REALITY SETS IN

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During that season I wrote an article (Are You Talking About Kobe Bryant) talking about how Kobe was better than ever and stating that he was beating Father Time. From a numbers perspective I was right, but from a physical standpoint he wasn’t getting the same looks or shots that I was accustomed to seeing.

After working hard, all season long, to get the Lakers into the playoffs; Kobe’s Achilles popped days before the postseason.

I couldn’t help but shed a tear when ESPN aired his injury statement. I knew his best chance at getting ring number 6 was gone. And I also knew he was never going to be the same again.

When Kobe said he was going to comeback better and defy the odds I regained a slimmer of hope. I thought that because he was determined and hungry along with the fact that he loves to prove people wrong, then he would come back elite.

I was wrong…..

In the 2013-2014 season, after playing in 6 games Kobe broke a bone in his knee. All I could do was throw my hands up and accept it for what it was….Father Times never loses and Kobe is no longer Kobe.

He was just K.Bryant from that point on. The guy who played in six games and averaged a measly  14pts, 6ast and 4reb… No longer special.

I, as I’m sure many Lakers fans did, sulked over that demoralizing season. The Lakers were bad. Kobe was gone. What do you do now..

The NBA as a whole became unfun for me. I truly wasn’t ready to face the truth and I also didn’t have anyone else to cheer or root for. I was just uninterested.

After the season concluded and free agency along with the draft went by, I finally got over my depression. I had heard that Kobe was looking better, more fit, slimmer, and healthier.

I sat and pondered about Kobe and his recent years some more and decided I’d give it one more go. He had just turned 36 and basically had a year off.

With 36 being a fairly decent age and him having a year off for rest and to get healthy; I felt he would regain his old form…. Dumb I know.

A month or so before the season started, ESPN produced their yearly NBA Players Rankings. At first glance I was furious at how wrong they did Kobe by placing him at #40 on the list.

Guys who hadn’t accomplished anything thus far in their careers (Love, Wall, Kyrie etc) were ahead of him and I didn’t understand the reasoning until the season actually started…

This year Kobe was officially washed up. He would chuck up shot after shot. Committ turnover after turnover. And he would also get beat off the dribble damn near every defensive stance….

I mean he still had the same “I’m gonna come at you” mindset as he always did, but his ability just wasn’t anywhere close to prime Kobe.

After a series of minor injuries and players, as well as pundits, speaking out about his current style of play; Kobe became more of a facilitator.

That role suited him more since he wasn’t capable of dominating the game from a physical stand point. By using his IQ and unique passing ability he was able to prolong his season and delay the inevitable injury that was soon to come…

On Thursday, January 22nd, Kobe’s season was over. He had torn his rotators cuff in a game against the Pelicans the day before…

Three straight seasons…. Three straight season ending injuries…

TODAY

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As much as I hate to say it…. Kobe is done…

He can no longer stay healthy. He can no longer dominate games for long stretches. He can’t keep up with anyone defensively..He’s no longer that guy.. And the old guy won’t ever be returning.

Kobe’s mileage finally caught up with him: All of the long seasons that resulted in Finals apperances.. All of the playoff runs that resulted in 3rd and 2nd round exits…The hardwork he put in trying to comeback from injury… Playing in the Olympics. Everything.

ESPN was accurate when they declared that 39 players were better than Kobe. I was just too blind to see it.

Now opening my eyes I see how Rose, Bledsoe, Wall, CP3, Westbrook, Lawson, Rondo, Curry, Kyrie, Lillard, Dragic, Lowry, Parker, Beal, Ellis, Butler, Klay, Harden, DeRozan, Wade, LeBron, Durant, George, Leonard, Melo, Dirk, Love, Randolph, Griffin, Bosh, Aldridge, Davis, P.Gasol, M.Gasol, Dwight, Cousins, Noah and a few more are all better players at this point…

Now that the word is in and we know Kobe is out for nine months, we have to ask ourselves: Was that his final game?

He’s under contract for one last year after this season.. The Lakers are tanking and no one seems interested in joining a rebuilding project. I mean why should he return? He’s the 3rd leading scorer in NBA history. A 5x-NBA Champ, an MVP and is universally (peers wise) regarded as the ”Best Player” of his generation and has been deemed as the second best shooting guard to ever play the game… There is nothing left for him to prove at this point that will have any significance on where he places in NBA history.

REFLECTING BACK 

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Kobe’s demeanor and personality wasn’t liked by many.

People didn’t like the arrogance and cockiness that was coming from a sidekick (to Shaq) who wanted to be like Jordan. They would often ridicule his ambitions and aspirations as he was nothing more than a lesser version of the original. And they would also belittle his game by saying he was a ball hog and that he couldn’t pass.

It was just too soon for someone to come in and be the heir to ”His Airness”.

People often cite Kobe for piggy backing onto the likes of Shaq. They’d state that Kobe wasn’t doing anything and Shaq would do all of the work; when in reality Kobe would be the one to close games and facilitating making sure everyone was contributing. Those minor details will forever be overlooked because of how Shaq dominated the Finals’ boxscores.

By tying in the attitude factors, Kobe’s quote on quote ”Piggy Backing” on Shaq, the fallout between him and Shaq, and Phil Jackson’s quote on stating how he was ”uncoachable”, you can see why people hated Kobe so much. Throw in the rape charges and loss of endorsements and you’ll begin to see why Kobe’s fan base is a bit lackluster.

Unlike Bird, Magic, LeBron, Durant, Jordan and Doc.J, Kobe’s fan base is much smaller. Allen Iverson’s fan base may be greater because of his impact on to the whole NBA landscape.

Kobe is the NBA’s version of Tom Brady, both great players, but disliked because of their personality and accomplishments.

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ACCOLADES 

Even though his career may not fully be over, (it needs to be) he accomplished everything he should have. (Outside of two more MVPs and a few more scoring titles)

2x Olypic Gold medals

25x 50pt games

5x 60pt games

Slam Dunk Champion

MVP

2x Finals MVP

2x Scoring Champ

5x NBA Champion

9x First Team All Defense

3x Second Team All Defense

11x All-NBA First Team

2x All-NBA 2nd Team

2x All-NBA Third Team

17x Allstar Selections

4x NBA All-star Game MVP

All Rook 2nd Team

2nd Most Points in a game (81pts)

3rd All-Time Points Leader

2x Best NBA Player ESPY Award

Numerous Lakers Records

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CONCLUSION

Coming back shouldn’t be an option. He’s done enough to make a claim as a Top 10 player of all-time. The only thing he should do is accept the reality for what it is…..His time is done. Y’all have accepted it, I’ve accepted it and now he needs to accept it.

No one beats Father Time

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Ryan Fort

Twitter: RyanDFort, Fortonsports Inc

All Eyes On Westbrook

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Ever since the day he was drafted Russell Westbrook has always challenged Kevin Durant’s status in hierarchy. Whether it’s taking Durant’s rebound, taking Durant’s shot or calling Durant out for his play Westbrook has always challenged him. No one can guard Durant like Westbrook can. And no one can stop Westbrook like Durant can. To most people, Westbrook seems to be somewhat of a hindrance to Kevin Durant. In my eyes I view it as the opposite.

Kevin Durant is one of a kind. He’s a seven footer with a sweet jumper and a mean crossover. He’s savvy, quick, long and hard-working. He can score from 30 feet out, in the post, off the dribble and off of screens. Defensively he can affect people because of his length and he can rebound at a fairly decent level. In crunch time there aren’t too many if any, guys you’d rather want taking the shot. He’s an incredible gifted young player who’s ceiling is high. I get it. But the Thunder don’t go as he goes. He may be the captain, but he’s damn sure not the driver.

For as long as I can remember Durant’s impact has always been third.

Back when Harden was on the roster his impact on the game greater than that of KD’s. He would come in off of the bench and provide a lift. Harden would hit momentous shots, lockup well make things tough on opposing guards who could score, (see Kobe in 2012) as well as distribute the ball. He was arguably the best playmaker on the team dare I say the most important, because when he didn’t show up (Finals against the Heat) they struggled. And when he did ( Spurs series) they dominated.

Today Ibaka has a more prominent effect on the game than Durant does. Without Ibaka OKC struggles when it comes to defending the paint and rebounding. With Ibaka everyone is better and he shuts down who ever is presumed to be a threat on the block. This past year in the Playoffs OKC struggled when Ibaka was out. His absence left a void offensively and defensively. They struggled to find the appropriate space offensively and defensively they couldn’t stop anyone.

But enough of Ibaka and Harden this is about Westbrook.

With Harden on the squad Westbrook’s impact was still greater than Durant’s. He brought the edge and physicality the team needed. As well as the drive and hunger.

Westbrook would and still will provide a spark, a boost if you will that has a greater impact than Durant. For example when Durant scores 30 it’s more of a suprise because it goes unnoticed or should I say wasn’t necessarily felt. Whenever Westbrook scores alot you tend to think it was more because he does it in a more demoralizing way. Owning who ever tries to guard him.

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Durant’s numbers may appear large on the stat sheet but within the game they aren’t as impactful as many would believe. I view him as a great quiet scorer. Westbrook’s scoring prowess/wrath in retrospect is more devastating than that of Durant’s. Westbrook’s presence is felt. Durant’s can go unnoticed.

Unless Durant is scorching hot and lighting it up I don’t view him as the best player on the team. I find myself looking and watching for Westbrook more than anyone else. He never takes a play off while you’ll often see Durant flail his arms and make faces whenever things don’t go his way. He’ll also stop trying all together when he can’t get open.

On the defensive side of the ball Westbrook makes it hard on other guards. He’s a big physical guard that has alot of athleticism with arms that are pretty lengthy to go along with the strength he has. He can lockup guys when need be and he excels in playing the passing lanes.

Westbrook is easily OKC’s best two way player.

But now he has clearly become their most important player.

With Kevin Durant sidelined with a foot injury until December (I say longer because those injuries always come with setbacks…Yao..Brook Lopez..etc) he now has a chance to show that he can lead a team on his own. He won’t have to be in Durant’s shadow early. And if he performs like I expect him to he won’t have to ever again.
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We’ve seen Westbrook take over games with his defense. We’ve seen him hit game clinching buckets. We’ve seen his play making ability. We’ve seen his edge, heart, desire, drive and hunger. We know he’s a stud. But now it’s time for him to elevate his game even higher.

I see a Kobe Bryant like ceiling for Westbrook. If he was the main guy he would shine and people would appreciate his greatness alot more.

He’s a Top 5 guy in this league while playing alongside Durant. And after this season I suspect him to be top two or three.

Kevin Durant’s injury hurts no doubt, but it’ll prove to be a blessing in disguise.
Westbrook’s chance to lead has finally come and he must now seize the moment. It’s his time now and all eyes are on him.

Westbrook for MVP is highly likely.
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NBA Season Preview (2013-14)

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To use a quote from LeBron, ”Its about damn time!”

After four long months the NBA is finally back, and to add on to that this might be the most anticipated and could quite possibly be the most competitve season in recent memory! During the offseason you had big named coaches swithcing places, big time players changing teams and players dissing each other to help create rivalries. Blockbuster trades happened as well like the KG, Paul Pierce trade, the Igudola trade and the Brandon Jennings trade. The offseason had everyone impatient and weary as they waited for the season to come around. And from the way things look now, this season should be ten times better than last season.

Before We Start
If you haven’t been under a rock this whole time you should know that Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Dwight Howard, Andre Igudola and Andrew Bynum have all changed teams. Garnett and Pierce went to Brooklyn, Howard went to Houston, Bynum went to Cleveland and Iggy went to Oakland. You should also know by now that Doc Rivers left Boston and went to Los Angeles to coach the Clippers. (Smart move by him I know.) The other things that you should know or have an idea about is how Kobe Bryant, Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo and Danillo Gallinari are all injured, and how Derrick Rose is returning from an ACL injury. And I almost forgot, the Heat signed Michael Beasley and Greg Oden! Now that I’ve filled you in on some of the main things we should be good to go.

Eastern Conference
This year the East should be very competive! There should be battles between seeds 1-4, and then another battle between seeds 6-8. (The 5th seed should be locked up by the Knicks in case you were wondering.) Each team in this conference got better, unless you’re the Celtics or 76ers. Every other team has a legitimate Playoff shot.

The Philadephia 76ers are going to be god awful. They’ll be lucky to win five games. With Nerlens Noel shut down for the season, who might’ve been their best player, (reminds me of Bynum last year) the 76ers will have to rely on Evan Turner; a former number two draft pick who also happens to be a guy who has never averaged over fifteen points a game. Hopefully they’ll be able to get the number one pick in the draft.

The Milwaukee Bucks should be better this season. Yes, I know they lost their two best players in Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, but if you look you’ll see that they added better pieces. To replace Jennings and Ellis they signed OJ Mayo and traded for Brandon Knight. Those moves made them younger. The Bucks also added solid veterans in Caron Butler, Zaza Pachulia, Luke Ridnour, Carlos Delfino and Gary Neal to help out their bench and small-forward woes. And if Larry Sanders contiues to improve watch out!

The Boston Celtics are going to be without Rajon Rondo for a while. Maybe Rondo should sit this season out while he recovers from his ACL injury like Rose did. That’ll give Boston a chance to draft one of those big time players in the upcoming draft. But um, as far as the team goes, nothing seems to gel. Don’t be surprised if Rondo wants out!

The Orlando Magic aren’t going to be that good either. There should be alot of trade speculation in regards to where Aaron Afflalo and Jameer Nelson end up. Other than that this team will end up having another top five pick this season. Oh and Oladipo should win ROY.

The Toronto Raptors can actually be a legit team. The only problem with them is that they’ll have to rely on the likes of Rudy Gay and Demar DeRozan. Kyle Lowry, Amir Johnson, Novak, Tyler Hansbrough, Landry Fields and Augustine are good enough to help them make a run at the 8th seed right? Or will the Raptors look to trade Gay? As of now he’s not a framchise guy…. Decisions, decisions.

The Washington Wizards just made a big move by trading for Marcin Gortat. The Wizards will now have inside scoring and will be able to move Nene back to his natural postion. Off the bench they’ll have Maynor, Webster, Harrington and Ariza. The starting lineup should be Wall-Beal-Porter-Nene-Gortat. Their season will be dependent on the play of Wall….That’s a tall order.

The Atlanta Hawks are going to be solid. Yes, losing Josh Smith hurt, but they added some quality depth in Elton Brand and Paul Millsap. Will they be contenders, hell no. But they’ll continue to be competitve. Al Horford is no slouch! Hopefully, they’ll be able to make some noise at the trade deadline.

The Detroit Pistons are back! With a lineup of Jennings-Stuckey-Smith-Monroe-Drummond, the Pistons should cause alot of problems against teams who like to play small ball. Oh and they have a leader and solid role player in Chauncey Billups. If things get rough he should be able to help guide them. They’ll be top ten defensively. Playoff bound for sure.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are trying to make way for a run at LeBron. They added depth in Jarrett Jack and Earl Clark. Drafting Bennett will help. A.Varejao being healthy will end up being a plus as well. The two major problems the Cavs have are the durability of their stars. If Kyrie can stay healthy they’ll be a Playoff team without question. But if ANDREW BYNUM is healthy and continues his play from two years ago the Cavs may become Dark Horse Contenders…….But then again it’s Kyrie and Bynum we’re talking about. Neither player can stay healthy.

The Bobcats could be a Playoff team this year as well. Kemba should improve, MKG should get better and they also signed Al Jefferson. And if Jordan knew what he was doing on draft night, (history says otherwise,) the Bobcats just might have the steal of the draft in Cody Zeller! A roster that consists of Walker-Henderson-Sessions-Gordon-MKG-Biyombo-Zeller-Haywood-Jefferson is good enough to crack the East’s top 8, right?

The New York Knicks pretty much stayed pat. Yeah they signed Beno Udrih, Artest and traded for Andrea Bargnani but what does that do,seriously? None of them are prime time players or great role players. One player sat on Toronto’s bench and another sat on Orlando’s. The third player should’ve been benched three years ago. Either way it goes the Knicks won’t be too special this season. Thats why Melo is going to leave. Sorry Knick fans.

The Brooklyn Nets are loaded! With the additions of Garnett, Terry, Pierce and Kirilenko the Nets have scoring, depth and defense. Blatche, and Evans will be great hustle guys off the bench with Terry carrying the load and AK-47 playing defense. But one must ask, is Jason Kidd ready to coach a team this loaded? Is he ready to coach period?

The Pacers are coming! During the offseason the Pacers brought in Luis Scola, CJ Watson, Chris Copeland and have Danny Granger back. They have more depth, trade bait, another scorer and more shooters. Roy Hibbert got better and Paul George is now a top three shooting guard or small forward. The rest of the league should watch out.

The Chicago Bulls are going to be spectacular this year. Rose is finally back and is already talking about how much better he has gotten. With Rose healthy, Jimmy Butler improving and the signing of shooter Mike Dunleavy, the Bulls can beat anyone. They’ll have more scoring and the defense should still be stellar. They still aren’t going to beat Miami though.

The Miami Heat are still locked and loaded! ( This will describe how i feel https://fortonsports.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/heat-still-nba-kings/) LeBron wants ring number three. Wade wants to show everyone he’s still a top ten player and Bosh wants to be remembered as well. The Heat should be able to coast through the season once again. And if Wade is healthy, Beasley’s head is on straight and Oden can play the Miami Heat might break the Bulls record of 72-10. The only thing that’ll keep them from breaking the record is boredom. I mean they do get bored alot, unfortunately.

East AllStars

Starters
PG- Rose
SG- Wade
SF- Melo
PF- LeBron
C- Lopez

Bench
Guards- Kyrie Irving, John Wall, Deron Williams
Forwards- Paul George, Josh Smith, Horford
Center- Hibbert or Bynum (healthy)

Western Conference
Usually the West has a clear cut favorite. This year no one knows what to expect from the West. There isn’t a team that stands out from the rest this season. Just like the East, the West should be very competitive, from top to bottom. Each team is one injury away from being doomed….The Suns are the only team who won’t have a Playoff shot.

The Phoenix Suns won’t be that good this season. They’ll be the Western Conference version of the 76ers. Just like Philly, Phoenix is tanking in order to secure a top pick. They’ll also be using this season to evaluate Eric Bledsoe, to see if he’s that guy.

The Sacramento Kings are down, and I don’t see them getting up. Cousins got paid, but is he a franchise guy? I’m sorry but the Kings are going to have hell if John Salmons is their best scorer.

The Utah Jazz are rebuilding, I think. By extending the contracts of Favors and later on Hayward the Jazz will have players to build around. Who knows maybe they’ll swing some type of unexpected deal. Sixth worse team in the league, worst case. At best this team can make a run at the Playoffs, for a couple weeks.

The Los Angeles Lakers are pretty much cooked. Kobe’s going to be out for a while and Nash is washed up. Gasol should play well. Hell, he might even get traded. On the bright side, they’ll have money to spend during the offseason. (MELOOOOOOOOOOO) If Kobe comes fast enough though they may be able to make something out of nothing. Maybe, just maybe the 8th seed isn’t too farfetched.

The Minnesota Timberwolves aren’t going to do anything. Kevin Love will continue to pad his stats while his team will fail to make the Playoffs yet again. I’ve never seen a “SUPERSTAR” win less than thirty games. OVERRATED, I THINK SO!!!! He’s not the best POWERFORWARD in the league, and he’s not a top tier player..But seriously, will Minny ever stay healthy? Chase Budinger is already out… Hmm haven’t we seen this before?

The Portland Trail Blazers are going to be exciting. They added shooters in Mo Williams and D.Wright, a scrapper in Lopez and Lilard will be better this year. Making the Playoffs can happen, but will it. Hopefully L.A. gets traded if things go south before February. (Thunder, Lakers, Bulls, Cavs maybe?) If he doesn’t get traded it’ll be another wasted year for him….. Could Portland swing a deal to land Rudy Gay?

The New Orleans Pelicans are going to be scary. If Eric Gordon can stay healthy watch out. They added a young Allstar point guard in Jrue Holiday and added a good scorer in Tyreke Evans. If they add one more guy they might be able to make a huge leap! (L.A. or Pau Gasol.) Are they Playoff bound? Yes! Without question. Maybe they’ll become contenders in a couple years. This team should be here for a while!

The Denver Nuggets are going to be fun to watch despite not having George Karl around. Losing George Karl and Iggy will hurt them alot, not having Gallinari is going to kill them as well. I’m sorry, but no Playoffs for them unless one of the top teams suffer a major injury.

The Memphis Grizzlies are still going to be a threat. Losing Hollins is going to hurt, but it’s not like he made their offense good. With the addition of Mike Miller, the Grizzlies will have the one thing they lacked a, consistent shooter. Miller will spread the floor for Z-Bo and Gasol which will make it easier on them….

The Oklahoma City Thunder don’t scare anyone as much. Was it because Durant got exposed? Is it because Westbrook is hurt? Some feel like Westbrook is their best player and without him they aren’t good… Others think this team has ran it’s course and it’s time for a break up…. I guess i’m the only one who believes Durant is coming! The bench should be solid and Durant should grow even more this season, Westbrook as well. Who can beat a team with two top five players?

The Houston Rockets need one year together. The Harden, Dwight duo could very well be the second coming of Kobe and Shaq. Both players are going to have a lot to prove this year. D12 has to prove he’s still the best center and Harden has to show us why he’s better than Kobe and Wade. It won’t be easy this year for Houston.

The San Antonio Spurs just won’t fall off. Ducan and Parker continue to keep the Spurs afloat despite their ages. The Spurs will without question be contenders. Evryone usually puts the onus on Parker, Duncan or Manu but not me. This season the Spurs’ success will be predicated on the play of Kawhi Leonard. They’ll go as he goes. Top ten small forward? I believe so.

The Dallas Mavericks are my Dark Horse contenders. Dirk will be healthy this season and will have way more help. ( Keep in mind his team was on pace to win 50 games last season.) The additions of Monta Ellis, Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, Dejuan Blair, Devin Harris and Samuel Dalembert makes this team deep. They have guards, scorers, shooters, rebounders, speed, athleticism etc. They’re built like the championship team, except better.

The Los Angeles Clippers are serious now. They brought in Doc. Rivers who has already left his mark on this franchise. He’s changing their mentality and creating a culture. CP3 and Griffin also have more help with the additions of Jamison, Collison, Reddick and Dudley. Deepest team in the West? I think so.

The Golden State Warriors suprised everyone last season. Curry became a star, Lee was dominant and Barnes became a legit starter. This season the Warriors should be alot better after adding Igudola, O’neal and Speights. Bogut should be healthier this season as well as Curry. Thompson is going to improve the bench and Harrison Barnes is going to continue to grow. Let’s see how Mark Jackson’s team does in year three.

West AllStars

Starters
PG- CP3
SG- Kobe
SF- Durant
PF- Griffin
C- Howard

Bench
Guards- James Harden, Stephen Curry, Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook
Forwards- Kevin Love, Dirk Nowitzki
Center- Marc Gasol

Playoff Prediction
EAST WEST
1.Bulls 1.Clippers
2.Heat 2.Warriors
3.Pacers 3.Rockets
4.Nets 4.Thunder
5.Knicks 5.Mavericks
6.Cavaliers 6.Grizzlies
7.Pistons 7.Spurs
8.Wizards 8.Pelicans

Top Players Going Into Season

1. LeBron James
2. Kevin Durant
3. Chris Paul
4. Carmelo Anthony
5. Stephen Curry
6. James Harden
7. Derrick Rose
8. Paul George
9. Tony Parker
10. Dwight Howard

(No injured players)

Awards

Rookie Of The Year – Victor Oladipo or Kelly Olynk

Coach Of The Year – Kevin McHale

Most Improved Player – Eric Bledsoe

MVP Race:

1.Rose (Winner)
2.LeBron
3.Durant
4.Paul
5.Harden

6th Man Of The Year – Klay Thompson, Lance Stephenson or Tyreke Evans

Defensive Player Of The Year – Dwight Howard or Roy Hibbert

Scoring Champion- Kevin Durant

All NBA Team (1)
PG- Rose
SG- Harden
SF- Durant
PF- LeBron
C- Dwight

All NBA Team (2)
PG- CP3
SG- Kobe
SF- Melo
PF- Love
C- Gasol

All NBA Team (3)
PG- Westbrook
SG- Curry
SF- George
PF- Griffin
C- Bynum (Healthy)/Duncan/Lopez

All Defensive 1st Team
PG- Avery Bradley
SG- Tony Allen
SF- LeBron James
PF- Serge Ibaka
C- Dwight Howard

All Defensive 2nd Team
PG- Chris Paul
SG- Paul George
SF- Luol Deng
PF- Tim Duncan
C- Marc Gasol

Finals Pick
Heat win 4-2 over Clippers

The Season Is Here
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The Oklahoma City Thunder Were Favored Over Memphis Why? – Omavi Darden

Once Russell Westbrook was lost due to injury, many people still claimed that the Thunder could make it to the NBA Finals without him. I immediately disagreed with that claim.

For starters, the Thunder had a ferocious battle tested Grizzlies team to get by first. I already knew from the jump, that the Grizzlies would give the Thunder serious problems in the interior. The lethal combination of Zach and Marc scoring in the paint area and fighting for rebounds would obviously wear this undermanned Thunder team down over a 7 game series.

Their defensive schemes were just as good. The Grizzlies do a good job of forcing opposing teams top offensive players into spots on the court where there is help defense (greatly reducing the % of attempted shots and good for disrupting an efficient offense).

Next people seem to forget how good Mike Conley is. He is a top 10 point guard in my opinion. He is a good floor general, can stretch the floor with his shooting touch, and isn’t afraid to take big shots down the stretch of tight games. He is so agile and fast, he gives defenders fits trying to stay in front of him and guard him.

People also forgot that Memphis had a Tony Allen and a Tayshaun Prince. These two players are superb one on one defenders, and great team defenders as well. Tony is a quicker more physical defender who can get up in you, and pressure you into tough spots on the court. Prince is a tall/longer/finesse defender who uses his body to maneuver himself into advantageous positions on the court over offensive players (to the point where he can literally dictate the shot that the offensive player takes), and still contests it with his outstretched arms, resulting in a lower % shot. That’s exactly what Memphis wants you to do.

Marc is also the leader of this tantalizing defense. He doesn’t necessarily block a lot of shots or make the most exciting defensive plays, but its his paint presence alone that allows this Memphis team to function so well defensively. His help defense and rotations on defense are crisp as can be. He alters a lot of shots attempted in the paint area, causing them to miss severely. This Memphis team really believes in one another, and the trust factor is the reason they operate so well as a unit. Players know where teammates want the ball on offense, and also know where the help side defense is going to be at.

Memphis doesn’t necessarily have a designated star player on their team that they rely on to get them buckets at the end of close games. However, they don’t need one because they are such a good team. At the end of the day I understand Kevin Durant is a star in this league, and he can drop 40 on any given night. But at the end of the day, one man can not expect to take on a whole team and be victorious. Memphis ended up winning this series 4-1 I’m not too surprised.

Omavi Darden

The NBA Playoffs

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    After about seven months of NBA basketball we’ve finally reached the best part of the season, the Playoffs. To start the First Round off in the Eastern Conference we have the:

1.Miami Heat vs 8.Milwaukee Bucks

4.Brooklyn Nets vs 5.Chicago Bulls

3.Indiana Pacers vs 6.Atlanta Hawks

2.New York Knicks vs Boston Celtics

  In the Western Conference we have the:
1.Oklahoma City Thunder vs 8.Houston Rockets

4.Los Angeles Clippers vs 5.Memphis Grizzles

3.Denver Nuggets vs 6.Golden State Warriors

2.San Antonio Spurs vs 7.Los Angeles Lakers
     Each series has something special going which should keep us entertained throughout!
                  Heat vs Bucks:
Earlier this season Monta Ellis said he was on the same level as Dwade. Shortly after that Jennings said they wanted to play the Heat in the Playoffs. And just the other day Jennings said the Bucks will win in 6. Crazy I know! But with all the trash talk coming out of Milwaukee I feel like the Heat will bring them back down to reality. Heat win this series 4-0.
                    Nets vs Bulls
This series will tell us if we should take the Nets seriously. With D-Will back to his Utah days and Lopez playing at an Allstar level they should be able to beat the Bulls right? The answer is no. Chicago is a better team and will make things look ugly because of their defense. And who knows they may have a surprise return from Derrick Rose. With or without Rose the Bulls will win this series 4-2
              Pacers vs Hawks
In this series we have a budding star ( Paul George,) going against a guy who’s trying to show the world he’s a top notch player (Josh Smith.) This series will be over in 5 games setting up a Pacers-Knicks reunion in round two.
               Knicks vs Celtics:
Upset alert!!!! Ok, maybe not but this will be an interesting series! In this series we’ll see if Melo is the real deal or just a guy with no hope of winning a ring. We’ll also find out if this is Boston’s last stand in the K.G era. I have the Knicks winning 4-3, but don’t be surprised if the Celtics win in six!
            Now lets head to the West.
           Thunder vs Rockets:
Harden vs his old team and good friends turning into rivals.This series will be about Harden showing OKC what they’re missing and OKC showing Harden they don’t necessarily need him. This could also be the series Jeremy Lin breaks out, but I highly doubt it. Anyway Harden and co. may steal one in OKC, but they won’t be able to stop the best duo in the league consistently. OKC wins 4-2
             Clippers vs Grizzles
Rivalry!!!!!! After last year’s series I have a feeling the Grizzles want and will get revenge. The Grizzles will also show us why they don’t need Rudy Gay. The Clippers on the other hand aren’t going to be able to stop the Grizzles bigs downlow. Memphis will win this series 4-3.
               Nuggets vs Warriors
Whoa, Curry vs Lawson; Manimal vs Lee; Jack vs Miller; Karl vs Jackson! This series should be a thriller. Sure Denver doesn’t have Gallinari but G-State doesn’t have Brandon Rush or a healthy Andrew Bogut. Nevertheless this series will go 7 games with the Golden State Warriors winning!
                Spurs vs Lakers:
Upset Alert x10!!!! The Spurs may have one of the best offenses in the league, if not the best, but it has slowed down as of late. Parker is still recovering while Ginobli and Diaw are out. And on top of that they cut Stephen Jackson and signed the First Round Exit Curse himself, Tracy Mcgrady!! But thats not all. Gasol and Dwight have found a way to play together and should be too much downlow for the Spurs. On the defensive side of the ball they’re playing alot better and should be able to stop the Spurs’ offense. And lets not forget Dwight Howard has something to prove and that the other Lakers are inspired and motivated by Kobe Bryant and the death of Dr.Buss….Lakers win this series 4-2.
               Players To Watch:
Josh Smith- wants a Max contact and believes he’s a top 15 player.

Dwight Howard- to show he has what it takes to lead the Lakers.

James Harden- to show he can lead his team with or without stars.

Carmelo Anthony- To show he’s next in line and that he has arrived

Kevin Durant- to show everyone his time is now!

Russell Westbrook- to show the Thunder can win with him and that he’s not taking away from Kevin Durant.

Paul George- to show everyone he can lead the Pacers and that he’s their guy.

LeBron James- to put his stamp on history and spark the Kobe-LeBron-Jordan debate more.

          Honorable Mention:
Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Tracy Mcgrady, Stephen Curry, Ty Lawson, Blake Griffin, Jeremy Lin, Derrick Rose, Jeff Green, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Jeff Teague, Pau Gasol, Tony Parker, Kevin Martin, Amare’ Stoudamire, Roy Hibbert,  David West.

         April 20th it all Begins!!!!!!

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The Heat’s win streak

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After losing a game to the Indiana Pacers at the beginning of February the Miami Heat went on a mission to prove that they were the best team in league, hands down. After the loss critics and naysayers said the Heat were in trouble because of their lack of size and inability to rebound and defend low post players; people also said they would lose to teams who played tough defense. Instead of talking about what they can and can’t do the Heat went out and showed what they were capable of, a win streak that has the whole sports world paying homage. As of now the win streak is at 22 games, which is the 2nd longest win streak in NBA history. During this win streak they’ve beaten the Rockets, Lakers, Clippers, Thunder, Hawks (twice) , Bulls, Bucks ( twice) , Grizzles and Knicks. All of those teams, as of now, are playoff bound. Some like to say “They haven’t played anybody,” while others say ” it doesn’t mean anything, it’s just the regular season.” Both quotes are understatements, especially the first. Winning 11 of their 22 games against playoff teams means they’ve played some good competition and are coming together even more as a team. The regular season is the time teams use to jell, build chemistry, develop an identity and in some cases set goals for themselves to help maximize their potential. And that’s exactly what the Heat are doing. Realistically we’re witnessing one of the greatest teams ever; a duo that’s arguably top 3 all-time; a coach climbing the ranks into the elite category; and an organization climbing the ranks as well. By adding this to his resume, LeBron will be able to say he accomplished something Kobe and Jordan never did, which could help in any future debates between the three. With 17 games left in their season I believe they can and will break the Lakers record of 33 straight wins. With 2/3s down and one more to go the Heat are in a good position. So lets sit back and watch some the best basketball to ever be played. GO HEAT

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Don’t forget about Harden!!!!

All season long people have talked about who’s winning MVP. LeBron, Durant, CP3, Parker, Melo and Kobe are the players that are frequently mentioned. Here and there people will mention the likes of Paul George and Zach Randolph, but not once have they mentioned James Harden. The ex-Thunder has his team humming without any other allstars alongside him.

He doesn’t have Ray Allen, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh or Mario Chalmbers on his team; he doesn’t have Westbrook, Ibaka and Martin on his team; he doesn’t have Roy Hibbert, Danny Granger and David West on his team; he doesn’t have Dwight Howard, Antwan Jamison, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol as teammates; he doesn’t have Mike Conley or Marc Gasol supporting him; he doesn’t have Amare’ Stoudamire, Chandler, and J.R Smith on his team; he doesn’t even have a Ginobli or a Duncan on his team. All he has is Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons and Omer Asik, who are average role players on contending teams at best.

If you were to pair James Harden with a Jamal Crawford, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan tandem he’d have them in contention. For James Harden to have a team full of role players in the ultra competitive Western Conference, Playoff Hunt, consideration for MVP should be awarded and not over looked. I’m not saying he should win, but at least show him some love.

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D.Rose vs Westbrook

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One of the best point guard debates in recent years has been Derrick Rose vs Russell Westbrook; two top notch point guards that are widely considered as the most athletic players to ever play the position. Both players can jump out the gym, move quickly and are good scorers.
Although they have similarities in some aspects, they’re games are a bit different. With his speed and quickness Rose likes to finish around the basket avoiding contact. Whenever he gets challenged at the rim he alters his shot to avoid contact. Every now and again he’ll finish strong at the rim over a defender, but usually chooses not to do that. Over the years he’s developed a consistent 3pt shot along with a shaky mid-range shot. When his shot is falling he’s nearly unstoppable, but his stroke isn’t as consistent as it should be, so him being unguardable hardly ever happens. On the defensive side of the ball he’s an average defender. Thru the years he’s gotten better, but still has a ways to go before being considered an elite or superb defender.
Westbrook, on the other hand, uses his speed, strength and quickness to finish strong at rim and overwhelm his opponents. When compared to Rose, Westbrook is a bit more physical. When he attacks he looks for contact, most of the time, while other times he’ll avoid it. Westbrook’s mid-range game is elite; while his 3pt game is slightly above average. Offensively Westbrook is virtually unguardable. If you play him for the drive he’ll knock down the jumper, play him for the shot and he’ll blow right by you. Defenders have nightmares when matched up with him. Defensively Westbrook is hard nosed and feisty like his coach, Scott Brook, was. Very seldom will you see a guy beat Westbrook and even still he’ll be right there with them.
When comparing the two of them you have to pay attention to all of the details and not just offense and defense. Sure Westbrook is a better offensive player and defensive player, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s the better all around player. When comparing these two you have to look at the intangibles. D.Rose is a more willing passer than Westbrook while Westbrook is a more aggressive player. Westbrook has a sturdier body while D.Rose is frail. Rose is a leader by nature while Westbrook isn’t. After the intangibles you have to compare the skills and smarts of each player.
When it comes to handling the ball Westbrook is superior. Sure, D.Rose is quick and fast with the ball and no one can stay infront of him, but his ball control is real sloppy. During Thunder games Westbrook will force bad shots and make horrible decisions with the ball, for example, not passing it to Kevin Durant in the clutch. D.Rose on the other hand can go a little too out of his way to get other players going instead of taking over the mantle himself. All in all D.Rose is a smarter basketball player than Russell Westbrook hands down.
Stat wise they look a bit similar. For D.Rose’s career he averages 21ppg 7ast 4reb 1stl 3to 18shots a game while shooting 46.4% from the field and 31% from deep.
For Westbrook’s career he averages 20ppg 7ast 5reb 2stl 4to 16shots a game while shooting 43% from the field and 31% from deep.
Both stat lines are identical and can very well be interchangeable. If you were to switch D.Rose and Westbrook both the Bulls and Thunder will improve. The Thunder will now have a guy who can score, play smart and have everything he’s ever wanted, that specific thing being help! Kevin Durant and D.Rose would be a deadly duo that wouldn’t have to worry about shots and being able to co-exist. In the 4th quarter Rose will be able to feed Durant appropriately as well as get the shots he needs in order to be successful. Add in the fact that his body is frail, Durant will be able to take some of the heap of him. D.Rose will also have the benefit of playing for a coach who was once a defensive stopper at point guard. With D.Rose, the leader, and Kevin Durant at the helm the Thunder will stretch to new heights.
Westbrook on the other hand will finally have a team to call his own. He’ll be able to showcase his talent in ways he wouldn’t have been able to do with the Thunder. Instead of having to share the rock with Durant, Westbrook will be able to close games the way he wants to. With coach Tom Thibodeau by his side Westbrook will be able to develop into more of a leader and mature as a player. And on top of all that the Chicago Bulls will finally have a star that can stay in the lineup, as opposed to having Rose who is all ways hurt. By having a star that is durable and great offensively the Bulls will become an even bigger threat.
At the end of the day I came to the assumption that they’re both equal and interchangeable, which doesn’t make one better than the other. But if you want a definite answer i’ll leave you with these wise words: The best ability, is availability.

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Kevin Durant vs Carmelo Anthony

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Melo or Durant? Durant or Melo? Which one is the better scorer? Who’s the better defender? After LeBron who comes next? Those are questions Melo and Durant leave us with night in and night out. It’s a never ending saga; Melo might drop 35 one night and Durant will come back and drop 35 another night; Melo hits a game winner one game and Durant does it the next game; Melo uses his overwhelming power to bully defenders while Durant uses his nice, silky smooth game to manipulate defenders at will. Each time those things happen our minds promptly change our stance on which player is better.
  At 6’8 230lbs Carmelo Anthony’s game is based on speed, power, quickness, making contact and physicality. When ever he drives he bumps bodies with his defender in order to get them off balance so he can go right by them without them catching up, or so he can go up for a shot without them being able to contest it well. By forcing contact, Melo wears down his defenders and causes them to either foul or back away due to fatigue.  Kevin Durant’s game, on the other hand is somewhat opposite to Melo’s.
  Durant’s game isn’t predicted on speed, power and physicality; his game is more so finesse than anything else. Instead of looking for contact, like Melo does, Durant tries to avoid it. Standing anywhere between 6’9-7’0, Durant bases his game off of deception, quickness and length. When the ball is in his hands he uses quick deceptive dribble moves to either go by or freeze his defender. If the move or moves he uses fail, he simply steps back and uses his astonishing length to get off any shot he wants.
   This season each player has accounted for 30+ points in over 15 games. (Melo 19 and Durant 23.) Each player has had a couple of 40 point games as well. (Melo 5 and Durant 6.) And only one of the two has hit the 50pt mark this season, that person being Durant.  Just by looking at that Durant holds a slight edge over Melo in the scoring department. When looking at the numbers Durant gains a bigger lead.
  As of now Kevin Durant averages 28.9 ppg 7.5reb 4.5ast 1.2blks 1.6stl 3.3to and 2 fouls per game. In the efficiency category Durant makes 9.3 shots a game on 18 attempts, shooting 51.6%; attempts 4.4 3pts a game, making 1.9 and shoots 42.6% from deep; he also shoots 90% from the free throw line, averaging 8.5 makes on 9.3 attempts.
   Carmelo Anthony on the other hand averages 28.4 ppg 2.7ast 6.5reb 0.5blks 0.8stl 2.7to and 3 fouls a game in 38 minutes. He shoots 44.5% from the field while averaging 9.9 makes on 22.2 attempts; shoots 39.3% from deep on 2.7 makes out of 6.8 attempts; and shoots 82% from the free throw line averaging 6 makes on 7 attempts.
  As you can see above Durant is clearly a better player and scorer than Melo. Defensively they’re both relatively weak, but because of Durant’s length and ability to not foul he gains the upper hand. When you look at both players offensively you can tell Durant is by far the better player.
  Durant is a better playmaker and makes smarter decisions with the basketball. At times during Knick games Melo will shoot shots that make you question his motives; that problem doesn’t persist in Durant.
  Offensively it’s not even close. Not only is Durant in the 50s, 40s, 90s club he averages more points on less attempts. In New York Carmelo is the go to guy and gets the ball whenever he wants it. Durant plays on a team where the PG often forgets who needs the ball and that takes away from Durant’s game. Westbrook averages 18.7 shot attempts a game compared to Durant’s 18. No one on Melo’s team, outside of him average over 15 shot attempts. Give Durant that type of environment and he’d average 30+.
To Melo’s credit he scores in more ways than Durant does. Melo will mix it up on you by doing an array of things from posting up to shooting jumpers, while Durant sticks to jumpers. The scoring in different ways is cute and all, but would you prefer the guy who mastered one thing or the guy who learned everything but didn’t master it? I’ll like my chances with the guy who mastered one as opposed to the guy who didn’t.
  At the end of the season Kevin Durant will go home with his fourth straight Scoring Title, while Carmelo Anthony will be left award less for a fourth straight year.

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