Category Archives: Warriors

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

The Kid from Akron, Ohio

  

Man this kid out of Akron. No, not the kid who became a king, and not the kid who was on a national spotlight at the age of 18. The other kid out of Akron. The one who was a 3 star recruit; that wasn’t even ranked. This kid wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and go to Virginia Tech, but they would not guarantee him anything more than a chance to be a walk on. The same kid who was said to not have the same upside as Johnny Flynn or Ricky Rubio after having multiple explosive games at Davidson. The same kid who everyone tried to write off after multiple nagging ankle injuries that seemed like they would be the death of him. 

Now, this kid is the one who dropped 54 points in Madison Square Garden. This kid has broken the 3 pointers in a season record not once but twice. This kid is the one who we all took notice when in the 2013 postseason he single handily destroyed the Nuggets. This kid is the same one who helped lead one of the greatest teams ever to a 67-15 record. This kid is the one who was named the MVP of the 2014-15 regular season. This kid is now a champion.

Steph Curry has become transcendent across the nation. His disregard for taking the most inexcusable shots and being a wonderful gifted passer at the same time is something to behold. You’re going to have players 10-15 years from now that grew up wanting to be Steph Curry. Therefore, I want to end this debate right now. Nobody outside of Westbrook and Chris Paul is anywhere near the stratosphere Curry is in right now. Those two I can accept, but don’t mention all these guys who either have people get buckets on them daily (Lillard), or cannot ever have a winning record without LeBron playing with him (Kyrie).

We’ve all seen how the league is changing towards outside shooting, and Steph is the spear head of that change. Let this sink in for a moment. Before Steph was in the argument for greatest shooter of all time, the argument was always thrown up whether Reggie Miller, Ray Allen, Steve Nash, or Larry Bird were the greatest. All extremely efficient but none of them ever took the shots that Curry takes. Curry nearly shot 50% this season, and all you have to do is look up any highlights against the Clippers and Chris Paul to know none of these shots are simple pull ups or spot ups. He’s arguably the best ball handler in the game and he utilizes that to create shots 30 feet from the basket. It’s something we’ve never seen and likely won’t see again for a very long time.

This past season, Steph averaged his least amount of minutes ever outside of the season he only played 26 games in. Most teams couldn’t even get him to play in the 4th quarter unless they were a worthy opponent. He shot 48% from the field, 44% from 3, and 91% from the free throw line. He averaged 23.8 points, 7.7 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.0 steals. He had a PER of 28, led the league in win shares per 48 minutes, and his team was a best 122 points on 100 possessions with Steph on the floor. Steph is on a wonderfully coached team along with crazy amounts of talent all around him. This shouldn’t bring him down as an overall player in any ranking. Jordan had one of the best supporting casts ever in the late 90s and we all agree that he is the greatest player to ever step on to an NBA court, so let’s not try and bring down Steph for the same thing.

In the playoffs, Steph brought his game to another level just like he has every year since destroying the Nuggets. Averaging 28.3 points, 6.4 assists, and 5.0 rebounds all on 45% shooting from the field and 42% from 3. He took the Pelicans’ heat out with that crazy corner 3, figured out Conley then dismantled the Grizzlies play by play, took the MVP runner up head on and came out on top, and took on that other kid from Akron, The King, and kept the Cavs from making any type of comeback scoring 19 in the 4th quarter of the closing game.

This baby faced assassin has a bright future still. The Warriors have a great young core around them that has a good 5+ years left on them. Watch out everyone in the West, because I can guarantee Steph will continue giving defenses hell, breaking the system, hitting shots that you allow 99% of other players in this league to take. Curry is a special talent that wasn’t recognized for most of his life despite being the son of the sharpshooter Dell Curry. He was that other kid who wasn’t being nationally televised in high school. He wasn’t expected to be the next Jordan. He wasn’t expected to even make the NBA as an unranked player and a 3 star recruit. Now he’s making everyone pay and he’s on top of the world.

Andre Iguodala: Everything You Didn’t Know

By now you’ve probably read or heard of the Iguodala story a thousand times over. This could possibly be a different take on Andre that you wouldn’t see from many other columns, blogs, or articles. I’m not unbiased when it comes to my man Iggy, and I will fully admit that. I am a Philadelphia 76ers fan before anything else. I grew up a fan of Allen Iverson and my love for the team stayed even after he left for the Nuggets. The Sixers needed someone to step up as the team’s best player and who better for the job than the young, extremely athletic wing with the same initials of A.I. ? Andre was never expected to be a star or the leading man for a team, but my Sixers threw all that responsibility on him pretty early.

Coming out of college, he was scouted as he could be a great defender, extremely athletic, but was very poor on the offensive end and nobody knew if he could translate his game to the NBA effectively. In college at Arizona, he won most valuable player on the team by votes from the rest of his teammates. He had 3 triple doubles in his sophomore season which is 2nd most in a single season of that conference (1st is Jason Kidd). Everyone knew he could effect many aspects of the game, but nonetheless looking back there were 7 guys picked over him that should not have been. Dwight Howard, Emeka Okafor, Ben Gordon, Shaun Livingston, Devin Harris, Josh Childress, Luol Deng, and (facepalm) Rafael Araujo were all picked over him. Obviously Howard is the one exception, but every single other guy mentioned doesn’t even start; hell 3 of them aren’t even in the league anymore.

During the Iggy era in Philadelphia, we went to the playoffs multiple times without much success because of the supreme lack of overall talent compared to our competition. Despite those multiple appearances without much surrounding talent, Iggy was only an allstar once. He never quite earned the respect he deserved from the coaches in the league. Even though Iggy was known to be an elite defender for many years, he only made all defensive teams twice. His best seasons went completely unnoticed when in the 06-07 season he averaged 18.2 points per game, 5.7 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 2.0 steals all while shooting 44% from the field. In the 08-09 season, he averaged 18.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 1.6 steals while shooting 47%. Both of those seasons Iggy received 0 recognition, and they were easily his two best years. In the playoffs, the team as a whole couldn’t quite get it done, but Iggy more than did his part. In 2010, facing the defending eastern conference champions, the Sixers managed to push this series to 6. Notably, Iggy had a game winner in Orlando in this series. He’s always been a clutch player believe it or not. You can look it up on YouTube he has more than you would expect. Our one saving grace was the 2012 season. which ironically was Iggy’s last season, when we took down the 1st seeded Bulls after Rose went down and came VERY close to beating the Boston Celtics; which even to my own surprise took 7 games for us to go down.

That following offseason began a new chapter for Andre in the infamous trade that netted the 76ers Andrew Bynum, the Nuggets got Iggy and some picks, and the Magic received the 76ers young center Nikola Vucevic (facepalm). The Nuggets ascended that year with young Ty Lawson making a huge jump, Danilo Gallinari being the main scorer for more than half the season, and once again Andre being the glue that holds everything together as the playmaker, the 2nd best rebounder, and guarding the best guy on the other team every night. The Nuggets became the 3rd seed and became an underdog pick for many. Then that’s when we all got to meet a guy named Steph Curry. Steph dominated the Nuggets, completely dismantling them. That offseason Iggy chose not to resign with the Nuggets but instead went to join the Warriors.

It was the kind of move I said at the time that could push the Warriors over the hump 3-4 years down the road from that point. Andre’s first season with the Warriors started out very well. He hit a game winner against the Thunder after a ridiculous Westbrook shot, then had a 2nd game winner against the Hawks. Then a leg injury seemed to hamper him the rest of the season. He was still effective, but not playing up to his standards. Then came the 2014-15 season.  With a head coaching change that had many scratching their heads, and even though I was in favor of a scheme change for more ball movement; I still wasn’t expecting this much of an overhaul. Kerr came in and asked the former all-star before the regular season to come off the bench. Initially, Andre took the role reluctantly but then soon began to thrive leading the 2nd unit. There was a legitimate argument that Andre should have been 6th man this year even though the stats were not anything special. You could not quantify his overall impact when he came into games.

Then the playoffs came where he played tremendous defense, in particular LeBron and Harden had a lot of trouble whenever Andre was standing in front of them. This Finals series became a story about Andre more than anything else. The Cavs plan was to double Steph any chance they got, keep a guy face guarding Klay, and have someone else drop down to protect the paint. The Cavs were doing their best to force Andre and Draymond to beat them. It took a few games for Draymond to step up, but Andre was answering the call from the very beginning. It just wasn’t enough and the Warriors were forcing a lot of unnecessary shots in the first 3 games. Out of those 3 games there was no doubt that through all of the struggles, Andre had performed head and shoulders above everyone else on his own team. He was playing like a veteran who’s been there before despite never reaching a conference finals before this season. His defense on LeBron, his timely buckets when the Cavs forced him to shoot, and the way he ran in transition is what earned himself the MVP.

This is a special time for me. In basketball, as a fan, I don’t seem to win when going for my teams or guys. I am a 76ers fan and the closest we’ve come to winning anything is when Iverson was trying to find a way to beat the best duo in history that was Shaq and Kobe (another argument for another day). Even though the 76ers are not holding up a trophy right now, it feels like a small victory for me. The guy I grew up with for a good portion of my life that was leading my team to playoff appearances has won a ring. But he didn’t just get on a good team to ride along for the ring. Andre Iguodala is the NBA Finals MVP. He has etched himself into history and possibly has a spot in the hall of fame waiting for him because of this. Although we’re suffering through one of the worst stretches in franchise history, the rest of my 76er fans should feel a small victory for the guy who tried to carry us for so long; that now has a Finals MVP.

Warriors (1) vs Cavaliers (2) The Finals Are Here

It’s all been coming down to this moment. The NBA Finals. All the storylines will come to an end with each team looking to capture the Larry O’Brien trophy with just 4 more wins. The Golden State Warriors are looking for their first title in over 30 years, and the Cleveland Cavaliers are looking for their first one ever. We have the most entertaining and best team by record for the entire NBA season against the best player in the world.
The Cavs have had to go through multiple injuries throughout this years playoffs but still have managed to come out on top in the East; all because of one player by the name of LeBron James. With Love completely out of the picture, they’ve had Tristan Thompson step up and make plenty of noise this postseason. Thompson’s offensive rebounding has sparked the Cavs and it looks like Cleveland could be even better than before if Kyrie can get back to 100%. Kyrie will have to be huge for the Cavs to have a chance against their opponents.

 

The Warriors have looked like the best team in the league all season long and that includes the postseason. Outside of two losses, (that have only helped the Warriors) they have steamrolled through all of their competition so far. Curry has been nothing short of spectacular this postseason, and Kerr has proven time and time again of how great of a coach he has the potential to be.

STARTERS:

PG: K. Irving vs S. Curry

SG: JR Smith vs K. Thompson

SF: LB. James vs H. Barnes

PF: T. Thompson vs D. Green

C: T. Mozgof vs A. Bogut

Keys:

Cleveland has to be perfect in this series. The Warriors are just too good at too many things for Cleveland to be anything but perfect in this series. Thompson needs to destroy on the offensive boards because that could cause Golden State to rotate out of their small lineup quickly. A lineup that has taken out many teams quickly.

Next, someone has to help LeBron. LeBron is going to have Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes, Shaun Livingston, Klay Thompson, and Andre Iguadala all rotating on him. This series is going to be hell for LeBron with all those guys guarding him, so someone somewhere has to step up and help releive the pressure off the man. If they don’t, the series could look very similar to the prior Finals of 2007 or 2014.

This is Kyrie’s time to shine. The focus will be 100% on LeBron and this is when this man should be earning his paycheck. Golden State has tremendous defense all around, but it’s going to be centered on LeBron and Kyrie HAS to take advantage of that. If Cleveland is to have a chance Kyrie has to step up and score big time buckets for them.

JR Smith can be ridiculously good and ridiculously bad as most know. If he gets hot he can match some of the 3pt shooting on Golden State, but if he’s off he’ll shoot his team out of the game really quick. Cleveland fans are hoping for the former because if you have JR being efficient, LeBron doing his thing, and Kyrie taking advantage of his opportunities, then that’s a recipe for success.
In game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, we saw just how bad ISO ball can get in Cleveland. If they fall back on that like they do so often, then the Cavs simply won’t win. A solution? Move the ball. LeBron needs to do what he does best and that’s penetrate and kick to the open guy. If they fall back on running an ISO offense late in games, then the team will fall apart.

The Warriors are going against a tall task. Playing against LeBron James. Only 2 teams in the last 5 years have been able to beat him, and both times they were the championship winning teams those years. If the Warriors truly want to win, they will have to go through LeBron to do so. The Warriors need to rotate defenders on LeBron constantly. Never give him the same look and get fresh bodies that are able to at least give him trouble.

Steph Curry needs to continue what he’s done all postseason. Pick his spots, don’t force anything, and continue to be the vocal leader of this machine. If Curry can continue doing so, then the Cavs won’t have an answer for him. He’s too quick around screens, has the fastest release in the league, and his handles are on par with Kyrie’s.

The lineup situation will be very interesting. Tristan Thompson should be able to trounce the small lineup with his offensive rebounding, but Cleveland likes to fall on a small lineup of their own with LeBron at the 4. This will be a chess match between coaches and Kerr has won those all season long. Kerr cannot be anything less than what he’s been all season long which is one step ahead of the competition in preparing his team for what they must face.

Klay Thompson has to get his offense going. He was able to get through the Rockets without being needed to score too much, but this is the Finals. Klay has to hit his shots for the Warriors to be comfortable. To make things easier on Steph, Klay’s scoring efficiency is a must.

Prediction: Curry raises the trophy for Golden State after beating LeBron and the Cavs 4-1. The Warriors as an entire organization are on a completely different level right now. From the front office all the way down to the players; the Warriors are a beat above all their competition. I believe in the end, ISO ball will kill the Cavs while the Warriors thrive off of ridiculous Steph shots and precise ball movement. Regardless of what happens in this series, this is a successful season for both franchises as they both have gone farther than they were suppose to. We should all be entertained by these two superstars, LeBron and Steph, engaging in amazing basketball for the trophy.

You can see the other writer’s predictions below.
Ryan Fort: Warriors 4-1 but if Kyrie is 100% Cavs in 6.
R’Mon Allen: Cavs 4-2
Tyler Carter: Warriors 4-3
Jonathan Ayala:Warriors 4-2
Hashim Ashimi: Warriors 4-2

Warriors (1) vs Rockets (2) MVP Faces the Runner Up

Even though James Harden was in everyone’s MVP ballots as either 1st or 2nd, nobody expected to see Houston still a factor in the playoffs at this point. Now the Rockets are only one series left against the powerhouse Golden State Warriors, who went through the test that most representatives in the finals have to face at some point in the playoffs; which is a team that will beat you up.

As soon as the Warriors got past all those beatings, they came back and completely dominated the Grizzlies in the final 3 games of that series with Curry doing what he does best and making things look so easy. Kerr has proven time and time again that he will be destined to be a great coach, making the perfect adjustments that allow his team to do what they want. The #1 reason for the Warriors taking control of that series was because of his move to place Bogut on Tony Allen. This then forced the Grizzlies to shoot less than 40% in the paint for the rest of that series.

The Rockets were not expected to be here 1 or 2 games ago but nonetheless, the Clippers eventually had the demise so many prayed upon. What the Rockets proved best with that last series is that they have a lot more depth than anyone is willing to talk about. Josh Smith is the X factor for this team, and when he’s going and gets his playmaking going it’s all but over for almost any team they’ve faced. The game that saved the Rockets’ season had the MVP runner up on the bench for pretty much the entire 4th quarter.

The Rockets are 0-4 in the regular season against the Warriors but of course 2 of those are without Dwight, so I’m going to be apart of the “it’s not the playoffs; it doesn’t matter” group for now.

STARTERS:

PG: S. Curry vs J. Terry

SG: K. Thompson vs J. Harden

SF: H. Barnes vs T. Ariza

PF: D. Green vs T. Jones

C: A. Bogut vs D. Howard

Keys:

The Warriors have to not get baited by Harden’s lunges. They cannot let them live at the free throw line like they try and do. Also, somebody has to keep Howard off the glass because: 1. It allows Houston to get up multiple shots, and 2. If they can get the defensive rebound, they can get out and run since Houston’s transition defense leaves much to be desired.

Otherwise they just have to play their game and not allow Houston to get going off of ugly basketball. It seems like when things are going horribly wrong for both teams, that Houston always comes out on top, and I honestly have no idea why that is. Probably something to do with the 31 3-pointers they shoot per game.

Houston has got to find a way to slow down Curry. I don’t know personally where that answer lies, because Ariza will probably be guarding Klay most of the time, but Jason Terry just has no chance against Curry. Houston can’t allow Curry to be so casual and to just pick whenever he wants to get going. Running guys off the 3 point line won’t be enough because out of everyone else left in the playoffs, GS leads everyone in points in the paint. They’re excellent at making that one extra pass for easy layups. Harden has to focus on defense as well as his offense for this series. GS has too many weapons for him to be hidden on defense. Even though his defense isn’t as bad as it once was, Harden still isn’t the most reliable guy on defense, which is totally understandable with the load he has carried offensively all year long; however, NBA champions have to power through things like this, and in the WCF there’s no way Houston can win without Harden fulfilling his potential on both sides of the floor.

Dwight is an unstoppable force when he’s engaged. He’s the one thing GS doesn’t really have an answer for. His athleticism on both sides of the floor can wreak havoc, but if he’s not engaged then Houston’s championship hopes are all but gone. Dwight needs to average at least 5-6 offensive rebounds a game for this team to have a chance.

Prediction Golden State represents the western conference after beating the Rockets 4-1. GS just has too many options: more depth, better defense, offense, and just everything needed to win a basketball game. If Beverly was actually still healthy, then this could be a little bit interesting, but the current matchup just calls for embarrasment on behalf of Jason Terry. The Warriors just faced the toughest defense in the playoffs and walked away with essentially 3 blowouts. This will be interesting to see how these playoffs conclude.

Warriors (1) vs Grizzlies (5) A Struggle for Control

This a series that I personally have been really looking forward to. I’ve said multiple times if anyone is going to take out the Warriors this year, it would be this Memphis Grizzlies team.

The Grizzlies have been doing what they do every year; except Gasol and Conley have stepped up tremendously this year making the transition from an annoying bottom seed, to a legit championship contender. They’ve surprisingly not only held up without Lionel Hollins, but have actually exceeded anyone’s expectations this year. David Joerger should gain a lot more attention than he already has due to proving many doubters wrong, including myself. They study every opponent very carefully and force them into uncomfortable, long midrange, contested shots. They won’t be beaten with pure athleticism despite their deficiencies in that area. They will make you pay if your team is not fundamentally sound.

Bad part for Memphis is the opponents they have in front of them have both of those attributes. Kerr has made this offense run just as beautifully as I always thought it should when Mark Jackson was running the squad. They went from a lot of isolations and basic set ups to this beautiful well oiled machine. There are multiple possessions where every player will touch the ball, and the communication with everyone on the court is something to behold. This is how basketball should be played. Now add in the best shooting back court of all time with an outstanding bench and a man who just seems to make everything happen out on the court, and you have yourself a favorite to win it all in the very tough Western Conference.

Starters

PG: M. Conley vs S. Curry

SG: C. Lee vs K. Thompson

SF:  T. Allen vs H. Barnes

PF:  Z. Randolph vs D. Green

C:    M. Gasol vs A. Bogut

Keys

The most interesting matchup of this series has to be at the point guard position. The impact each of these two point guards had an equal amount of importance in their two prospective series’. Curry was exactly what every MVP voter in his favor expected him to be. He absolutely dominated and did whatever he wanted to against whoever attempted to guard him.

Conley on the other hand had a different kind of impact for his team, locking down one of the most explosive guards in the game, Damian Lillard. Lillard was made completely irrelevant against the Grizzlies, which was partially do to the entire team, but 90% of that was Conley being an unshakable wall in front of Lillard every chance he got.

Normally I would say that there is no way in hell anybody can lock down Curry, but if we are to be honest we have seen it before. Specifically from the Spurs who stick Danny Green on him and make him nearly completely ineffective. Conley has that same ability to do the same things Danny Green did to Curry. That matchup alone could determine the series.

You have a high paced ridiculous well ran offense against the grind of the Memphis Grizzlies. Finesse versus power. This series will depend a lot on the control of the pace. Golden State has been the best team in the league at running up and down the court while the Grizzlies are notorious for there slow methodical beat down on teams.

Injuries play a huge factor as well with Conley constantly having nagging injuries along with Allen and Lee playing hurt as well. The Warriors are fresh and at 100%. In terms of health, things are definitely in Golden State’s favor.

Prediction: The Warriors beat the Grizzlies 4-3. It’s hard as I can see things going either way in this series. It should be a great playoff series that comes down to the wire.

NBA Playoffs Preview (Round 1)

 NBA Playoffs Round One:

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Click on each link to take you to each preview/prediction…

Raptors (4) vs. Wizards (5)

Ryan Fort:  (http://wp.me/p33YLP-E8)

Players To Watch:

Lou Williams, Paul Pierce, John Wall, DeMar DeRozan

Warriors (1) vs. Pelicans (8)

 Fort:  (http://wp.me/p33YLP-Ek)

Players To Watch: Andrew Bogut, Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday

Bulls (3) vs. Bucks (6)

 Fort:  (http://wp.me/p33YLP-Ee)

Players To Watch: Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, The Greek Freak, O.J. Mayo

Rockets (2) vs. Mavericks (7)

Fort: (http://wp.me/p33YLP-Ef)

R’Mon Allen:

Players To Watch: Rajon Rondo, Chandler Parsons, Dwight Howard, James Harden

Cavaliers (2) vs. Celtics (7)

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Allen: (http://wp.me/p33YLP-ED)

Players To Watch: Evan Turner, I.Thomas, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving

Hawks (1) vs. Nets (8)

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Players To Watch: DeRon Williams, Joe Johnson, Jeff Teague, Brook Lopez

Blazers (4) vs Grizzlies (5)

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Players To Watch: Whoever isn’t injured

Clippers (3) vs Spurs (6)

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Allen:

Players To Watch: CP3, K.Leonard, D.Jordan, Tony Parker

Follow us on Twitter:
@Fortonsportsinc , @RyanDFort & @RmonAllen for live tweets during each game.

Warriors (1) vs. Pelicans (8) Preview : Something to Prove

Golden State Warriors (67-15) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (45-37)

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Ever since he was drafted Steph Curry has been proving doubters wrong. His first couple of seasons in the league were filled with ankle injuries, thus sparking the ”what if he was healthy,” line. We’re seeing right now what the answer to that quote would be as Curry is tearing the league up. He’s already in the debate for best shooter ever and he’s arguably the best point guard in basketball. This season alone has seen Curry put the Warriors in elite category. They’re arguably the best team on both ends of the court and only seem to be getting better in each game.

In just his third year being a pro Anthony Davis has already led a team to the playoffs. Playing in a small market Davis hasn’t really gotten the recognition he deserves in regards to him being deemed an elite player. He’s in the conversation for MVP as well as Defensive Player of The Year.

Starters:

PG: S.Curry vs. J.Holiday

SG: K.Thompson vs. E.Gordon

SF: H.Barnes vs. T.Evans

PF: D.Green vs. A.Davis

C: A.Bogut vs. O.Asik

Both teams have been a surprise this season. No expected the Warriors to make the huge leap they did going from Mark Jackson to Steve Kerr as coach. Not too many outside of the city of New Orleans saw Anthony Davis leading a Pelicans team to nearly 50wins and a playoff berth with Monty Williams as head coach.

The Warriors won the season series 3-1 winning the games played at home by an average margin of 21.5 points. When playing in New Orleans the Warriors won a game by six points (OT was needed) and lost by three points in the other game.

Keys:

Golden State

The Warriors have to continue playing the way they have been. Thompson and Curry should be able to light up the Pelicans back court and stifle Anthony Davis down low (Bogut must remain healthy). G’State also has arguably the best bench in basketball having guys like Igudola, David Lee, Barbosa and Shaun Livingston coming in and maintaining/expanding leads of their own. This team is ultra deep and they should be able to use that to their advantage.

New Orleans

The Pelicans are nice young feisty team that possesses a ton of talent. (A coaching change could bring out the best in Holiday, Evans and potentially Gordon.) They can run the floor and they have floor spacers in Ryan Anderson & Quincy Pondexter who come off the bench. To have a chance against Golden State the Pelicans have control the tempo of the game and they have to make things rough on Stephen Curry. If Davis can dominate down low and Holiday contains Curry to an extent the Pelicans have a shot. Tyreke Evans also has to be productive as well.

Prediction Warriors beat the Pelicans 4-2. G’State will win a couple of games by a large margin, but with that being said I’m expecting Anthony Davis to have a Curry like coming out party (few years back against Denver) and dominate one to two games. Tyreke Evans will also be essential in the Pelicans claiming a 2nd victory in this series. The talent gap isn’t too far apart when describing the starting lineups. It’s the bench that’ll kill N.O.

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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Chris Paul, Dwight Howard. Stay or Go? Part One

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After years of waiting Dwight Howard and Chris Paul finally have a chance to be free agents and put an end to all of this talk about where they’ll end up playing next.

For the past two seasons Chris Paul has been playing for the Los Angeles Clippers alongside Allstar Power Forward, Blake Griffin; forming one of the best Guard-Forward combinations in the league. After leading this Clippers team to a franchise best 56-26 record, Chris Paul and Co. lost to the Memphis Grizzlies in 6 games that happened to be played in the first round of the Playoffs.

After the loss Chris Paul said “This stinks, and is unacceptable,” leading us to believe that he would look to play else where next season if changes didn’t occur.

Dwight Howard, on the other happened to be playing for the other Los Angeles team, the Lakers. This past year Dwight was supposed to be Superman coming to save Lois Lane, the Lakers, from falling of as contenders and into the pits of mediocrity. But instead of getting Superman the Lakers got an unmotivated, unhappy, injured Dwight Howard who seemed to want to play else where. As a result the Lakers went out and lost to the Spurs in 4 embarrassments. ( I didn’t consider those to be games.)

After the series ended and the season was over Dwight said he was going to go out and get away from everything. Essentially leaving his options open.

And now we’re just days away from Free Agency with the question “Should they stay, or go,” in our mind.

But let’s just focus on Chris Paul for now.

Chris Paul: In today’s game the PG position is stacked with talent everywhere. With that being said there aren’t to many places that need Chris Paul and there aren’t too many that can afford him either. The teams that can bring him in and that he’ll actually be attracted to are the Mavericks, Hawks and of course the Clippers. The longshot teams are the Celtics, Lakers and Knicks.

Mavericks: With Dirk and cap space the Mavs can make some things happen. Chris Paul would be playing alongside a better PF than Blake Griffin in Dirk and would also be playing for a very good coach in Rick Carlisle. Throw in Oj Mayo and Shawn Marion and you have a nice core that’ll be able to last for a couple of years. (By the way the only thing the Mavericks lacked was a Point Guard last season.)

Hawks: In Atlanta, Paul will have a chance to play with Al Horford who happens to be a tad bit better than Griffin overall (Sorry Blake). Atlanta will also have enough money to bring in Dwight Howard (sarcastic gasp,) retain the likes of Lou Williams and Jeff Teague and perhaps persuade Josh Smith to take less money. If that comes into fruition Atlanta would be the 2nd best team in the East. They’ll have the twin towers downlow; speed at the guard position as well as defense. Even without Smith, Atlanta would be a good place to go.

Clippers: The Clippers can offer Chris Paul the most money as well as give him everything he wants. This team is already loaded and could possibly improve some if they manage to get KG, Pierce and Afflalo. Throw in the chemistry, familiarity and continuity factors and that’ll make it even harder to leave. With Griffin, Crawford and others intact; Doc Rivers coaching and more help on the way, why should he leave?

Knicks/Lakers/Celtics: The only way these can happen is by sign and trade deals. Paul could go to the Lakers for a Nash package, or to the Knicks for an Amare’ package, but who would accept something as blasphemy as that? (Oh wait we are dealing with the Clippers.) And as for Boston, Rondo for Paul would be the only thing that can work, but didn’t Doc just leave Rondo? So yeah that scenario is highly unlikely.

In my eyes CP3 should stay with the Clippers, because of Doc Rivers and his coaching ability and the fact that the Clippers are progressing as a team. The same thing can’t be said about the other teams mentioned.

To Be Continued.

Comment your opinion below.

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