Wednesday, January 22, 2014

NBA Players in New NBA Jerseys

         So there is no doubt that the NBA with Adidas is for some reason leaning toward short sleeved jerseys and material. It all started when the Warriors came out of nowhere with their short sleeved jerseys which earned quite a few critics including Stephen Curry says it "restricts his shooting." Earlier there has been talk inside the NBA and they approved small ads on jerseys and the short sleeved jerseys hinted those ads. This regular season many more teams have come out with short sleeved jerseys as their alternate jerseys and then the special edition Christmas jerseys, and now the short sleeved All-Star jerseys have been released. Well, my prediction is that in the next five years all NBA teams alternate jerseys will have ads and be short sleeved, take a look. (These are all real sponsors for each team)

This original photo was taken during on Christmas, if you can tell. Bacardi and Coca-Cola has been sponsors for the Heat even before the decision.  

Surprisingly, the Nets don't have a jersey that says "Nets" and I won;t be surprised if they do. The Nets have experience in advertising of jerseys because they already advertise PNY on their practice uniforms

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Return of Rondo

Rajon Rondo (#9) returns against the Lakers


What do Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose, and Russel Westbrook have in common? They all got injured in the 2012-2013 and the 2013-2014 season. Its not looking positive for these All-Stars. But there is one other All-Star that is the face of his team. Rajon Rondo made a season debut on Friday, January 17, a made quite an impact to his team. Besides missing the game winning shot, Rondo scored 8 points and 4 assists, not bad for the Celtic, but still not enough. With his big brothers gone to Brooklyn, Rajon Rondo is now the leader of this emerging team, and really needs to step up in order to get some wins.

With competition drastically increasing over in the East, the Celtics are currently the 12th seed in their conference. Not such a great position to be in with improving teams like the Knicks, Nets, Bulls, and the Wizards, and not to mention a certain someone named LeBron James. Even if the team in green decides to tank this season, Rondo still has to play a major role in the development and reconstruction of the young team. 

Last season, Rondo averaged 13.7 ppg, and 11.1 apg. Pretty effective for the starting point guard. But last year he also had his mentors Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, who really contributed in scoring and overall leadership of the team. This year, Rondo is without them, and he has to average at least 18 ppg if he really wants to be considered the leader of a good team. As with assists? Rondo is that kinda guy that distributes well, but he needs to start scoring on his own.

With a new shoe line out and the new title of the 15th Celtic Team captain in NBA history (thats something pretty big), things are looking for the better for Rondo, and even if the Celtics don't make the playoffs this year, he is still going to be considered one of the elite point guards in the league.

What are your thoughts on the Return of Rondo? Leave it in the comments below!

Friday, January 17, 2014

The East Finally Coming Back?

                   In the 2013-2014 season of the National Basketball Association, there has been one main talk, which became one of the NBA's biggest headaches. This, my friends, is how much the Eastern Conference sucks. Right now, the West has a crazy 315-245 lead in wins overall, by every team in each conference! That's a 70 wins advantage, for crying out loud! Anyway, the main reason of this deficit are the highlight teams of the NBA with great talent and huge expectations but just completely failing due to no team chemistry, fatal injuries, and much more and we all know who they are. So, these teams are currently, or pretty recently all were on a five game winning streak, bringing their names back up into the positive conversation. All the three teams in the image above came back from under the eighth seed back into the playoff picture in the last two weeks, which is pretty impressive, even with the horrific (but getting there) Eastern Conference. 

               Let's start with the Brooklyn Boys. Okay fine, the Brooklyn Men. Yeah, the Brooklyn Pretty Dang Old Men. The team of Hall of Famers, with great stars and role players with endless talent. The team is guided (or is paying eight million bucks for this person's courtside seats)  by the rookie coach and former Net and legend point guard, Jason Kidd. Kidd is probably, well in my opinion, the main reason for the Nets' horrific disappointment early in the season. Also the team chemistry with KG, Paul Pierce and even somewhat the Jet isn't working out with Deron and his old crew because the former Celtic stars who are currently struggling to shine Brooklyn, are used to an all unselfish  athletic point guard who distributes twelve dishes a night known by Rajon Rondo, where Deron ain't about that life. Kevin Garnett used to put up 17.7 points and 10.6 boards on his career before this season where he averages 6.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Now, in the past two weeks or so, the Nets are finding that Brooklyn groove when they had recorded an impressive five game winning-streak, especially with a stunning double overtime win against the back to back reigning champions Miami Heat, where LeBron was fouled out of the game (finally,) and the nickname jerseys gave the Nets a boost in confidence. From the bottom of the league to now the eighth seed, the Nets future just gets brighter from here and is yet to fully turn heads.

          Now let's get into the New York state of mind as we head to Manhattan for a closer glance at Melo's New York Knicks. Last year, the Knicks ended with the sensational number two seed and were thought to only get better until they started with inefficiency this year. The reason? Nothing major in my opinion, maybe a lack of some team chemistry or something like that. I actually believe they should've exceeded expectations because they only lost Jason Kidd and other role players, but signed big names like Metta World Peace or (INSERT FUTURE NAME HERE) and Andrea Bargnani. Melo is just being Melo, and JR Smith had stepped up to a crucial player for the Knicks. The Knicks have just been a sob story at the beginning of the season but like all the teams in this article they came back for five games in a row and are currently just one place short of gaining appearance into the playoff picture.

        Now in the Windy City of ChiTown where the Bulls reside, a whole different story takes place. Chicago was saddened by the fall of the rising MVP superstar, Derrick Rose in the first game of the 2012 NBA Playoffs for the Bulls where he tore his ACL. We all know the rest, the Bulls lost the series to the eighth seed Sixers and signed a couple players over the off-season, made a statement by ending with the fifth seed, beating the Nets to advance to semi-finals, and losing to the Heat in five, all without Derrick Rose. Over the course of #thereturn he released five shoes and a logo with Adidas, as well as receiving much criticism came from fans regarding D Rose not returning. Finally, on October 29, 2013 Derrick Rose made his regular season debut with the Bulls against the Heat after going 8-0 in the preseason. They desperately lost by over twenty points and Derrick Rose still proven rusty. He fought back the game after against the Knicks to hit the game winning floater. A few games later, while slowly improving as he came along, the Bulls were at the 3rd seed in the East, after Indiana and Miami. Derrick Rose tragically went down on his right MCL and after a critical MRI, he was done for the season. There went all the hopes for the Bulls and Derrick Rose, not only for t his year, but for many years to come. The Bulls were down to the ninth seed after a horrific losing streak. With the beautiful gift of the newcomers and some experimenting by Tom Thibodeau, the Bulls were on their way back. With a five game winning streak, they were back into the playoff picture at the sixth seed.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Rising Stars

All-Star Game 2013 in Houston


Within the hype of the competition for the top seeds in both the West and the improving East, the All-Star Game is slowly sneaking up. Scheduled to be on Sunday February 16, the voting has been quite competitive with a lot of new players in the top ranks. But none beats the familiar faces: Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony, just to name a few. Still, the competition remains tough for the lower spots as many young stars are looking to play this year.

Here are the votes for the All-Star selection as of Dec. 26, 2013:

* The red dot means that player is currently injured

As shown, many of the usual All-Star players have been injured, which leaves an opportunity for new youngsters to take their place. These are my picks for NEW All-Stars this year.

1. Stephen Curry

It is clear that this kid HAS to become an All-Star in his career. His crazy 3 pointers and ball handling skills have clearly shown this season he has reached an elite level in the league. Averaging 23 points also shows that he is a leader for his team, and that he can put up amazing numbers. And a career 3 point percentage of .437 won't hurt as well. I think that when he gets selected to become an All-Star, he is going to put up quite a show.

2. Anthony Davis

With a huge transformation from last year's game, Anthony Davis has been really taking control of his league. Bumping up all his stats from last year, Davis has been averaging 18.8 ppg, 10.2 rpg, and an astounding 3.6 bpg, as he is the leader for blocks per game in the NBA currently. The setting of the All-Star game right in his hometown will also make him the unofficial 'host' of this years game, and will certainly be another step in his ladder of growth.

3. John Wall

The new, proud face for the strengthening Washington Wizards, John Wall is having the best year of his career. The Wizards, who are finally in playoff contention at 6th seed, are finally getting their stuff together and they have really improved from the last 2 seasons. Wall, currently in his best season, averaging 19.9 ppg, and 9.1 apg, and he has been continuously working on his deficiencies. If he gets chosen, he will not be disappointing.

4. Damian Lillard

Who can deny the progress of the Trailblazers? The young team has been 29-9, and is pretty much a recipe for success. Damian Lillard, a key ingredient has been performing like an All-Star already. The reigning Rookie of the Year has been averaging 21.4 ppg this season, and he's not planning to stop. Its going to happen one day, but I think this year is the year Lillard will become an All-Star.

And sadly, here is someone who is not going to make it this year:

5. Josh Smith

Josh Smith has never been an All-Star, surprisingly, as he was the franchise face of the Atlanta Hawks for all of his career (except this year where he joined the Pistons). And unfortunately, he will not be an All-Star this year. Josh hasn't been having the the best season, and he has been in All-Star consideration a few times, but there is always someone who is better than him. Either that or he cannot fulfill his expectations, or anyone else's for that matter. He might be an All-Star later in his career, but not this year.

What are your predictions? Leave them in the comment below!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

An Unexpected Trade-off

The Bulls trade Luol Deng for Andrew Bynum


It finally happened. Andrew Bynum who has been quite a nuisance to the Cavs has been traded. Trade rumors were galore for him, including the most famous one, Bynum for Lakers Foreword/Center Pau Gasol. After Gasol made it clear he wanted to stay in L.A., people thought Bynum was sticking with Cleveland for good. Until the Cavs made a last minute trade for an All-Star.

Since the beginning of the season, everyone knew that the Bulls wanted to trade Luol Deng. But as the season moved on, it was clear that after the Derrick Rose injury, the Bulls needed a player that could really step up and take the lead, and thats exactly what Deng did. As the season progressed, it seemed like the Bulls really needed Deng's skill sets, so everyone thought the trade rumors were off. Deng has been putting up quite some numbers, averaging 19 ppg, and 6.9 rebounds this season. I guess thats why the Cavaliers needed to trade a few more things than Andrew Bynum.

The whole trade :

Cavs get: Luol Deng

Bulls get: Andrew Bynum, Kings' first round pick, 2 second round picks, and the Bulls can swap the 2015 first round pick.

Thats a lot for just Luol Deng. Is this a good deal? Leave your comments below!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Rose No Longer Blooming for the Bulls?

        Is Derrick Rose really the future of the Bulls? Two season ending injuries in two years isn't a good sign for the top draft pick of 2008. A highly critical article from CBS Chicago by Dan Bernstein has it that  Derrick Rose is upset with the team rebuilding in his absence and is suddenly a self-centered  arrogant player. His performance in the 2013-14 season was just starting to improve from his disappointing start until he came down again. Now the Bulls are suffering, even with additions like DJ Augustin to replace Derrick Rose and are struggling to stay in the playoff picture. Derrick Rose will be back but it's now a question of will he be better than ever as he claims, or will his career go downhill along the path of the "could've been greats" like Jermaine O'Neal, T-Mac, Baron Davis, Yao Ming and the entire list of players whose careers were ruined by injuries. If so, now what? 
      There is no doubt that Derrick's style of play is going to have to change in to a sharp jump shooter if he comes back as a role player. Also, in order for the Bulls to go uphill in any way, somebody else has to emerge as a star or the chosen one must be acquired. This might be Carmelo Anthony the sharp shooting superstar from New York. In any worse case the Bulls get Nikola Mirotic, the Spanish prospect from the Euroleague, where he shoots a stunning 59.4% from beyond the arch, plus an amazing 72% field goal percentage! The Chicago Bulls's future could go in two directions, positive or negative, and as for now, we wait for #thereturnII . How do you think Derrick Rose's career will go from now and the Bulls' as well? Comment below.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Lets Get the Engine Running

Josh Smith (#6) complains about a foul call


The City of Detroit has won 3 championships, the last one not to long ago in 2004. With recent signing of Atlanta's star Josh Smith the Pistons are looking to at least make the playoffs. Smith however is not performing as expected. With only averaging 15 ppg, he has not been putting that much of an impact as the hype wanted him to be. 15 ppg is the lowest average since his rookie year of 9.9 ppg. Thats a problem. Ok, well Josh is a mostly defensive player. Well the numbers are not proving that either. He is averaging 6.6 rebounds per game. Again, another low other than his rookie season of 6.2 rpg. Honestly, I think the Pistons will make the playoffs this year, but they won't get past the first round.

Lets take a look at another 'star' of the Motor City. Unlike Josh, Andre Drummond is really improving. Completely obliterating his rookie season stats (7.9 ppg, 7.6 rpg), Drummond has really taken leadership of this emerging team. Now with average 13 ppg and 12.4 rpg, Im predicting this kid is going to be an All-Star sometime soon. He's already out stat-ing (if that a word) the supposed star of this team, Smith. The other big, Greg Monroe, is also putting some numbers in the bucket (14.6 ppg, 8.9 rpg), and it looks like this team is ready to become one of the endangered Foreward-Center run teams.

Well, we can't forget about the guy from next door, Brandon Jennings. The former starting Buck point guard has certainly made an impact on Motor City. With incredible passes and the ability to score on his own, Jennings has really taken the lead of his team. Averaging 17 ppg and 8.3 assists, he has really proved that he's got some fuel in him (see what I did there). Continuing the same stats from last year, Jennings is proving himself to be a great player, and maybe even an All-Star.

What are your thoughts on the Detroit Pistons? Let me know in the comments below!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Sob City

Chris Paul (#3) is going to be out for 3-5 weeks


  Misfortune has been in LA this season with the Lakers, but no one expected the other team. MVP Candidate and leader of the Los Angeles Clippers Chris Paul is expected to be out for 3-5 weeks. These next weeks include key games, match ups against the Spurs, Pacers, Warriors, Heat, and the Trailblazers. This is definitely a key loss for the Clippers.

Chris Paul, who is basically the cohesive agent in LA has averaged a stunning 19.6 points, 11.6 assists (current assist leader) and 4.6 rebounds. Without Paul the Clippers will need to fill that 40 point void caused by him. We'll have to see a great increase in maturity and leadership in Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, and the sixth man that is mostly likely to be starting Jamal Crawford

But is all hope lost? I think people forgot about shooting guard JJ Redick (avg. 15.8 ppg, 2 apg). His return was expected in early February but was changed to January 15th. That is not far away, and Redick's threes could really make an impact. He will most likely also have to play point guard at some point, and that could present an issue. 

It looks like that Doc Rivers and his crew will have to make the biggest push of the season in order to maintain their 4th seed.

Can the Clippers keep their position or will they fall? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Friday, January 3, 2014

First Round Problems

Andrew Bynum (#21) and Anthony Bennett (#15)


  Whats up with these Eastern Conference teams? So much talent, yet so little cohesion. This was supposed to be the year where the East finally beats the West. It looks like the complete opposite.

  The Cleveland Cavaliers had 3 first picks in the NBA draft in the last 10 years, and they've been selecting some top players. LeBron James in 2003 and Kyrie Irving in 2011, both who have been All Stars. But something is not quite working for the new kid, Anthony Bennett. Bennett has not only put up laughable numbers (avg. 2.3 points, 2.1 rebounds, 0.3 assists), he's not even in consideration for Rookie of the Year. I'm not hating or anything but Kwame Brown in his rookie year had avg. 4.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 0.8 assists, all higher stats than Bennett.

  But the main problem in the Forest City is not the young rook. Instead it is the disputes of newly acquired center Andrew Bynum. Bynum has been suspended for five games for 'detrimental conduct'. Rumors have been galore of Bynum being traded to different cities, most likely the Lakers, for big man Pau Gasol. However, Gasol has made it clear he does not want to leave LA. Bynum, the current starting center for the Cavs, hasn't been having a huge impact on the team, with only 8.5 points and 5.3 rebounds average per game. Thats not much for a starting center.

But fear not citizens of Ohio, Uncle Drew and his crew, including Dion Waiters and Anderson Varejao have still been keeping up the Cavs, not to playoff contention though. 

What are your predictions? Do you think Bynum will leave, Bennet will change, or the Cavs make the playoffs? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Started from the Bottom

Rapper Drake accepts to sponsor the All Star Game in Toronto 2016

   All Star 2016, amazing team chemistry, and support from rapper Drake. What more could Toronto want? The Toronto Raptors' season is looking swell. With current record of 15-15 (.500) and 4th seed in the East, only behind Indiana, Miami and Atlanta, pretty good for a team that hasn't made the playoffs since 2008, and haven't won a playoff series since 2001. Things are taking a turn for the city up north.

   Many thought the trade of Rudy Gay on Dec. 9 was a huge mistake, and would negatively affect the team. The trade included sending Kings players John SalmonsGreivis VasquezPatrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes to Toronto, for Gay, Aaron Gray and Quincy Acy. Vasquez, the former starting point guard of the Kings is now replaced by improving Isaiah Thomas. Though it looked like a mess, Masai Ujiri, the current GM of the Raptors, knew what he was doing.

   Since the trade, the Raptors have 8-3, a huge change. Before Gay left  they were 7-12. Talk about a turn around. If they can keep this up, Toronto can easily be another powerhouse in the weak Eastern Conference. Now led by DeMar DeRozan, the Raptors actually have quite a squad. Slam Dunk Champion Terrence RossJonas Valančiūnas, and Kyle Lowry, just to name a few.

Looks like things are looking good for the new Toronto Raptors, ever since the loss of stars Vince Carter in 2004 and then Chris Bosh in 2010. Hey, they even might get a new logo/colors. I personally wouldn't prefer it, but I guess it goes along with the 'new era things'.

What are your thoughts on the Raptors? Leave it in the comments below.

New Year, New Predictions

Michael Carter-Williams (1) drives against the Denver Nuggets


With 2014 finally here, many teams will try to change their overall course to strive for a championship (or a draft pick). Here are my predictions for the rest of the NBA season.

1). New Orleans will make the playoffs

    It may sound crazy, but it will probably happen. With already too many injuries, the Pelicans will finally get the 7th or 8th seed and make the playoffs in the debut season of their new name. The sophomore Anthony Davis has been performing like an All Star, averaging a double double of 19.2 points and 10.3 rebounds. He is also the leader of blocks in the NBA, with average 3.22 bpg. With all the injuries finally healed, I think its time for the Pelicans to take flight.

2). New York and Brooklyn do not improve

   Things are not looking good for the state of New York. The Knicks and Nets have defied all hopes of a championship in New York, and the Nets' hype of the 'All Star Starting Lineup' hasn't fulfilled up to its hopes. The Nets, who are 10-21, have only 2 players scoring over 15 points per game. Correction, had. Brook Lopez, who is now out with an injury was the leading scorer with 20.9 points per game. Joe Johnson, the other player averaging above 15 ppg, is still a solid player with 15.5 ppg, but cannot support the downfall of all the other players. 

3). Melo leaves NY

  With frustration embedded in each of the Knicks minds, Carmelo Anthony is probably going to leave, most likely to someplace like Chicago or maybe even Cleveland. Right now, Melo isn't even concerned about the team, and just focusing on the scoring title. Known for his high temper and low patience, i'm afraid Anthony is going to leave the team sometime in the near future.

4). The MVP goes to...

  Lebron James has had a very impactful season, with a plethora of points (avg 25.5), assists (6.6) and rebounds (6.9). Pretty good for a 4 time MVP and 2 time finals MVP. However, he won't take the MVP this year. Its going to KD. Kevin Durant, often overlooked is making quite a tantrum this year for MVP, and he has numbers to prove it. Currently the scoring leader in the NBA, he will need to put up more points, assists and rebounds with the loss of teammate Russel Westbrook. And thats something Durant can handle.

5). MCW takes the prize

  Bill Simmons ranked the 76ers as the worst team in the league this season. One rookie wanted to prove him wrong. Ok the 76ers are not that good but still, but Michael Carter-Williams is certainly performing. With only 1 game this season below the average NBA points per game, MCW is averaging 17.8 points per game, along with a side of 7.5 assists. Not bad for a rookie. Still, the Utah rookie Trey Burke, tags close behind.

6). Three-peat

  Yup, I said it. Lebron James and his crew are headed for another banner up in the rafters. Yes, there is Portland, Indiana, San Antonio and even the Durant led OKC, but even they have little playoff experience. You may think, what about San Antonio, they may get far, but just like last years finals, when it is clutch time, they cannot finish. Sorry guys, you'll have to wait until 2015.

There are my predictions. Do you agree or disagree? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Blazing the Trail

Damian Lillard (#0) drives to the basket


The once quiet Trailblazers are finally making a name for themselves in the tough Western Conference.  With new stars Damian Lillard and Lamarcus Aldridge, Portland has easily flew to the top seeds. Portland, the most accurate team from downtown, made some huge changes in the off season, changes that no one noticed or cared about. However, the four player change that happened has certainly seemed to help this team quite a bit. Currently, they are the most highest scoring team in the NBA. Just take a look at their shot chart! (That right corner though...)

But what does this mean for the playoffs, and can they carry on their amazing performance ability all the way through? Right now tied with San Antonio for the second seed in the Western Conference, they have slowly been moving down, giving their first seed position to the Kevin Durant led OKC. My prediction, they will make the playoffs at LEAST 4th seed. Yup, thats right. I do believe they can finish with a good record, but I predict that they will only make it as far as the Western Conference Semifinals in the playoffs. I do like their lineup and all, but Portland has had very little playoff experience, and they don't know how hard it is to compete for a championship.

On the bright side, they have Damian Lillard. He is going to be one of the top point guards in the league in a few years, maybe sooner than I expected. The path is only uphill for him, and even if they can't get to the finals, he will still continue to improve as a player.

What are your thoughts on the Portland Trailblazers? Leave a comment below!