Tag Archives: Melo

Damaged Goods

NBA Finals Game 7:  Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers

Remember when the Boston Celtics’ new era big three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen first assembled? Remember how the biggest questions surrounding that team pertained to Rajon Rondo and his growth, maturity and play? Years have passed since those questions, that team in particular was relevant. But the questions pertaining to Rajon Rondo have resurfaced and will more than likely remain for the rest of his career.

At one point of time Rondo was regarded as the best point guard in basketball. He was a better defender than most, if not all. He was a better rebounder than every other guard. And his playmaking ability was second to none. Some would often harp on his inability to score; while others would simply imply that his scoring wasn’t required. Rondo’s overall game reminded people of Magic Johnson and Jason Kidd two first ballot Hall of Famers who led their teams without having to score.

Whenever the Celtics’ games were televised Rajon Rondo would have ridiculous numbers. He had games where he posted 32pts 10reb & 15ast, 10pts 10reb & 24ast and a game where he posted 18pts 17reb & 20ast ( there were some games better than these). There wasn’t another point guard in the league who could impact the game in the ways Rondo did. Point blank period.

Los Angeles Lakers v Boston Celtics

Some thought Rondo was a legend in the making, while others viewed him as a player who was a product of his environment.

After five years of proving he’s among the NBA’s elite, (4x All-Star, All NBA Team, 4x All Defensive Team, NBA Champ,) and finally taking the reigns of being the Celtics’ best player, Rondo tore his ACL amidst a career year (arguably). The Celtics’ championship window closed as well as Rondo’s quest in becoming an all-time great.

Once Rondo tore his ACL the Celtics starting rebuilding. They had already lost Ray Allen a season before via Free Agency. And decided that now it was time to part ways with Doc. Rivers, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Although injured, Rajon Rondo’s name was constantly linked to rumors. (Pacers, Lakers, Kings, Rockets, Heat etc.)

With Garnett and Pierce in Brooklyn, Doc. Rivers in coaching the Clippers, Ray Allen in Miami and best friend Kendrick Perkins playing in OKC Boston was no longer familiar, no longer a place Rondo wanted to be contrary to what him, his representatives and GM Danny Ainge wanted us to believe.

The following season (2013-14), Rondo returned to the lineup and played in the final 30 games averaging 11.7 points 5.5 rebounds and 9.8 assists. In the games he played he looked a lot like his former self skill wise, but mentally and physically he seemed a tad bit slow and uninterested.

Following the season the Boston Celtics drafted PG Marcus Smart, who many thought spelled the end of Rajon Rondo’s tenure in Boston. At that point in time the team was no longer being built around Rajon. It was being built for life after Rondo.

Initially the plan was for Rondo to teach, mentor and provide the younger Celtics with leadership. The problem with that was how Rondo wasn’t a leader himself. He needed a someone to babysit him; he was incapable of babysitting others.

In the 22 games Rondo appeared in for the Celtics he was pedestrian at best. His defense had plummeted, his quickness wasn’t up to far, he was a liability on the offensive end, his playing time was diminished and the team did significantly better when he was on the bench. Those observations should’ve been a red flag for any team trying to trade for him; not an excuse on why a change of scenery was needed.

After weeks of killing the Celtics the Mavericks traded for their cancer. ”Allegedly” the Mavericks were getting the piece that would propel to them to the top. Instead they got a piece that stagnated, rather derailed their changes of getting over the hump.

The Mavericks were a poor rebounding team and were very mediocre on the defensive end. With Rondo being a guard who excelled in those aspects the assumption was that he’d change those problems. The only thing that changed with his arrival was how great the Mavs were offensively and their chemistry.

To be fair, point guards generally take a long time finding themselves when shipped to a new team. Instead of focusing on the regular season and his putrid performances there we would always elude ourselves into believing his play would rise in the playoffs like they generally would.

After two playoff games Rondo pretty much quit. Like Melo in New York, Rondo checked himself out and used the injury excuse because he no longer wanted to play. Everything had to be about him.

When you think about it Rondo really isn’t the player, the guy we make him out to be.

For starters, Rondo isn’t a true leader. In Boston he was shielded and coaxed by guys like Pierce, Allen, Garnett and Doc.Rivers. As a rookie he had guys like Sam Cassell and P.J. Brown around. All of those guys mentioned were leaders at one point; some were often cited as great leaders. In Dallas no one outside of maybe Tyson Chandler is considered a good leader. Dirk & Monta Ellis are often thrown under the bus for their leadership skills or lack thereof. When surrounded by subpar leaders (hence another Melo similarity) Rondo’s game folds.

Another knock on Rondo is how he just pissed on an opportunity to compete for a championship. The Mavericks have/had enough talent on the roster to make a legitimate push for a title, but because of Rondo’s arrogance and selfishness that goal faltered.

When evaluating Rondo’s play his game is a bit tedious. He’s a step slower than most of the guards at this point. He can’t shoot in a league where shooting is a necessity. And his playmaking ability isn’t as good as we once thought. If Rondo can’t over dribble and hold the ball for an excessive amount of time his not going to be a great playmaker. In today’s game his ball stopping style (Melo reference #3) won’t fit in most if not all of today’s offenses.

Honestly, the game has moved past Rajon Rondo. He’s not a top 40 player. And he can’t run a team that would be functional in the league today.

Teams like the Lakers, Kings, Heat and etc should stay away. If he quit on a team that close to a championship why wouldn’t he quit on a team that’s further away? If he quit on a team that was in the rebuilding phase why wouldn’t he quit on another?

Max dollars shouldn’t be thrown his way. He’s not that top level guy anymore. And he never will be again. Headcase, arrogant and selfishness are the traits of a team killer. Teams should be wary.

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Twitter:
@FortOnSportsInc & @RyanDFort

Do you agree or disagree with this assessment of Rondo?

Bad Combination (New York Knicks)

Over the past decade or so the New York Knicks had a plan that was suppose to get them back to the promise land. But the thing is they failed! They spent half the decade chasing a guy who paid them no attention, LeBron James. They shed contract after contract in hopes of freeing up enough money to sign LeBron and another star to play alongside him. They never thought about building around anyone else besides LeBron and that’s why their plan failed.

Do you think they wanted Amare’, I can’t stay healthy for five games, Stoudamire as their centerpiece? Because they didn’t. They wanted LeBron, Wade or Joe Johnson, Amare’ was down the list. Once Miami captured LeBron, Wade and Bosh, Atlanta signed Joe Johnson and Chicago signed Boozer the Knicks decided to sign Stoudamire.

Right after they signed Amare’, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony gave the Knick’s fan base something to talk about by saying they were going to join Amare’ once their contacts were up in attempt to rival the big three that assembled in Miami.

Once the season started it looked like signing Amare’ was smart. He was grabbing rebounds, blocking shots, getting buckets and leading the team. He continued to do that until Carmelo Anthony joined midseason via trade. On paper the trade seemed legit, but if you know basketball, which some of yall don’t, you would’ve known that they played the same game and wouldn’t be able to flourish together.

At the start when they weren’t playing well with each other people wanted to compare them to Miami and make excuses instead of looking at the obvious. The obvious being their games weren’t compatible. Eventually they got swept by the Celtics in the 1st round of the Playoffs and went into the offseason thinking about ways to make this duo work.

During that offseason (2011) they signed TYSON CHANDLER to lucrative deal. That move was comical. It didn’t make any sense and it made the puzzle even more dysfunctional. The Knicks excuse for signing him was the fact that Chris Paul expressed a desire to play with Chandler and the Knicks planned on trading Amare for Paul, which wasn’t going to happen since New Orleans was owned by the league.

So instead of getting LeBron they got Amare’ and Melo; and then the next year bring in Tyson Chandler instead of Chris Paul. In other words they failed two years in a row when it came to getting a superstar. Tragic.

During that season they were awful, until Jeremy Lin showed up and uprighted the ship. The end result of the season was a first round exit to the Miami Heat, because of injuries to Amare’ and J.Lin.

During that offseason they brought in some “veterans” that still had something left in the tank. (Kidd, Pridgioni, Kurt Thomas, Rasheed Wallace, K-Mart, Q.Richardson, Marcus Camby and James White.) They also kept J.R. Smith and signed Raymond Felton, while Amare’ worked with Olajuwon and Chandler and Melo played in the Olympics.

This season was suppose to be a Championship season, but turned out to be the 00’s retirement club.

During the Playoffs Melo and co. started off strong until J.R. Smith turned into a child and prolonged the series against Boston. After the first three games of the Playoffs the Knicks’ flaws blossomed. They lacked consistency and chemistry. No one played their role and most of them seemed content on the fact that they were getting exposed.

Their four best players, ( well the four players who are suppose to be their best,) were all ineffective against the Pacers and they all showed why they are nothing more than 2nd tier, 3rd tier players. Chandler’s “superb” defense was no where to be found; Melo’s clutch gene evaporated; Amare’ was the 20th best player in this series; and J.R. Smith was off chasing a popstar who didn’t want him, embarrassing.

At the end of he day this wasn’t a coherent group that meshed well. There is no superstar, just a bunch of guys who want that title. There aren’t any leaders either and everyone is too inconsistent.

Changes need to be made.

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Ryan Fort

Will The Flower Ever Blossom

Enough of the games already! Are you going to play or not? Stop saying you don’t know. Stop leaving it up in the air. Stop holding your fans hostage! Just make up your damn mind! If you’re going to play do it. If you’re not going to play just come out and say it. We’re all tired of waiting!

You were medically cleared to play two and a half months ago; what’s the hold up? You claimed you weren’t confident in dunking and cutting, but now you’re doing that all the time in practice. You your hamstrings were burning which is why you didn’t play, but you’re still practicing hard and not taking it easy. You later said you felt discomfort in your knee area. My question is why did you still practice on it?

Right before the Playoffs started we asked you if you were going to return. You answered by saying, “I don’t know it’s in God’s hands.” And then just the other day we asked again and you claimed you have had problems with muscle memory. How in the HELL do you have that problem? You’ve been playing ball since you were a child; you’ve been practicing for over two months, warmup before the game and you still have the audacity to say you lack muscle memory! Give us a break! If you don’t want to play SAY IT!

Dwight Howard came back early from injury; Metta World Peace came back from injury early; Iman Shumpert, who suffered the same injury is already back; Blake Griffin played through an injury; Chris Paul played through an injury; Steve Nash attempted to play through an injury; Stephen Curry has an injury; D-Wade has an injury; David Lee who was suppose to be out for the rest of the postseason came back early! And that’s not even half of the people that are playing through or came back from injury.

Rajon Rondo is itching to play. You don’t think he’s a franchise guy? Steph Curry is playing on bum ankles, with one being aggravated again. Is he not a franchise player? The list goes on. Great players return from injury early, especially when their team is need! How are you going to call yourself a franchise player when your franchise needs you now?

Noah is playing through Plantar Faciitis; Nate Robinson is extremely sick; Hinrich is battling an injury that’s keeping him in and out the lineup; Deng is hospitalized; Taj is injured; Hamilton is injured; Boozer is banged up. How can you just sit and watch them fight and play thru the injuries and sicknesses, and say you’re not ready to take the floor? You’re easily their healthiest player! Even if you’re not “100%” you could still come in and provide 5-10 minutes max. Elite players, franchise guys, and superstars will do whatever it takes to help their team win. We see Kobe do it all the time; we watched Dirk do it; we watched Mike do it. Now its time to you see you, Derrick Rose, do what other franchise guys do. And that’s coming through when it matters most.

Forget the past and don’t worry about the future! Your team needs you now!
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Ryan Fort

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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LeBron James is King James

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The Chosen One, LBJ, BronBron, LeBron,  James, King James, The Greatest, The Frozen One, LaQueen, LeBrick, what ever the case may be everyone must take note of LeBron James and his superb play as of late. Matter of fact scratch that, people should take note of his whole career. Ever since he first came out of highschool people around the world had their eyes on him. People knew from the jump whether or not they would be a fan of his or a hater. His haters always criticized the things he did wrong or the things he didn’t do. Not once did they take a look at all of the things he did well.

People said he’s not a scorer, but can’t name a year, besides his rookie season, when he didn’t average at least 27ppg. (http://www.nba.com/playerfile/lebron_james/bio.html#$/playerfile/lebron_james/bio.html, and yes 26.7 is rounded to 27 and does count.) So by looking at the link provided, not only does he score, he does it efficently; compared to “great scorers,” like Kobe and Melo. His naysayers are quick to point out the fact that he doesn’t attempt as many jumpshots as his peers, which as a result, is the reason why he shoots a better percentage. That claim doesn’t make any sense at all. In the game of basketball the best shot is a layup. After layup, it goes freethrow, 3pt shot and then midrange shot. The 3pt shot ranks higher because it provides more points and it changes your shooting percentage at the same rate a midrange shot would. With that being said he is a superb scorer.

On the defensive side you can’t find anyone better at defending the wings. On top of that he can guard all five positions really well, unless he’s guarding a great offensive center. When it comes down to playmaking, he is second to Chris Paul. (Even though that could be debated.) And for his size LeBron rebounds extremely well. Out of all the players in the NBA LeBron James and Rajon Rondo are the only players that can get a triple-double on any giving night. LeBron’s game as a whole is closer to flawless than anyone else’s game. No one on the planet, and I repeat, the planet, is as good a basketball player as LeBron James. The only person who scores better than LeBron in today’s league is Kevin Durant since he’s in the beloved 50’s, 40’s, 90’s club.

Substitute LeBron for Larry Bird, Kobe, Magic or even Jordan and he would make all of their teams better. LeBron would be devastating with Kobe and Magic’s Laker squads; if you put rookie LeBron in rookie Kobe’s shoes that specific Lakers team would have went to the Finals.( That team had Nick Van Exel at the one, Eddie Jones at the two and had Shaq patrolling the paint.) LeBron wouldn’t have lost a Finals series if he was in Magic’s place. The playmaking Magic did LeBron would excel in and on top of that LeBron is a better scorer and defender when compared to Magic.

Want to talk athleticism, LeBron is quicker, faster and stronger than the likes of Magic. Running ShowTime would be nothing to LeBron. Put LeBron in Bird’s shoes and Boston becomes better. The only thing Bird is better than LeBron at is shooting the basketball, nothing more. LeBron would thrive with McHale and Parish just like Bird did. Swap Jordan for LeBron and we’ll have a team that averages more points and features more scoring from players like Pippen and Rodman. LeBron is a better rebounder, passer, playmaker, facilitator, shot-blocker, heck he may just be a better defender point blank period. Jordan didn’t have to guard the type of athletes LeBron faces. Jordan didn’t have to guard an Arenas, a Kobe, a Wade, a Durant or a Melo; matter of fact Jordan couldn’t guard PF and C’s like LeBron can. Athletically LeBron is second to none. LeBron is more fundamentally sound than MJ is. I mean MJ is great, don’t get me wrong, but is he really better than LeBron? Jordan averaged 30ppg on 23 shot attempts a game, while LeBron averages 27ppg on 20 shots for his career. Time to do some math, since LeBron takes more shots in the paint than anywhere else and he was given three extra shot attempts, and made two of three, how many points would that equal? 31ppg is the answer. So in other words LeBron would have a higher career average if shot as many times as Jordan did, which equates to a better scorer, right? Some of yall are thinking i’m wrong because Jordan shoots 50% for his career and LeBron wouldn’t, but this is the funny thing about it all; by adding an additional three shots to LeBron’s shot attempts, with him making two of those, would make his shotchart look like this, 12/23, which equals 51.2%. That there would make LeBron James a superior scorer than the great Michael Jordan himself.

Some people like to bring up rings when rings equate to having team success. LeBron never played with a Scottie, Shaq, Gasol, Bynum, Artest, Rodman, Malone, Payton, Parker, McHale, Parish, Wallace, R.Wallace, Pierce, Allen, KG, Nash, Dwight, Manu, Worthy or Kareem until he signed with Miami and had Bosh and Wade alongside him. Back in Cleveland who did he have? Mo Williams? Delonte West? Washed up Shaq and Jamison? Big Z? Andy V? Larry H.? How many of those players questioned belong in the same class of the players named? Heck, if Jordan or anyone else went to bat with those, for lack of a better term, scrubs, they wouldn’t have won either. LeBron is so great you can put him on any team in this league and i repeat LEAGUE, and they would be a playoff team if not a contender. Lets sub LeBron for Durant; he’d have Westbrook playing better because LeBron would relieve the pg duties. LeBron would make Ibaka and Perkins better offensive weapons. Trade LeBron for Melo and the Knicks would be unstoppable. LeBron and Amare would wreck shop on the league. You can’t name one single player that isn’t compatible to LeBron. There is no way you could possibly do it. LeBron doesn’t hog the ball, crave the need to score, none of that; if anything he can be a little too passive at times and nothing more. LeBron playing on the Bobcats would be a lethal threat. Kicking it out to Ben Gordon for a triple, paving the way for Kemba and Henderson to score, defensive presence downlow in Biyombo, offensive postman in Mullens and a legit bench led by Sessions and Gordon whats not to love.  I made all of that sound good without mentioning M.Kidd-Gilchrist.

With that being the worst team in the league think about what LeBron could do with a Cleveland team headlined by Kyrie Irving or a Mavericks team headlined by Dirk. LeBron James is just that dude plain and simple. There is no denying it. Even if you aren’t a fan of him, (I’m not…. Kobe fan 24/7.)  you have to acknowledge how great he is and stop clinging on to hope that no one will ever surpass Jordan. Sure there may not be another Jordan, but in he same breath there won’t be another player like LeBron. He’s the greatest already, despite his career not being finished. He deserves his self entitled name, King James!

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