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Photo courtesy of www.sportsillustrated.cnn.com

Things Are Heating Up In Phoenix

Photo courtesy of sportsillustrated.cnn.com

Photo courtesy of www.sportsillustrated.cnn.com

The Phoenix Suns are beginning to show some real promise as a playoff contending team this season. Most analysts, fans and experts had the Suns slated as a team that was merely there to contend for the lottery and one that had a real chance of claiming the number one pick at seasons end but early form is proving that to be a big misnomer.

The Suns are riding a five game winning streak, sit sixth in the star studded western conference with a 14-9 record and have what many consider one of the most exciting point guards the league has to offer in Eric Bledsoe.

Bledsoe is finally getting his chance to shine in Phoenix after spending the last two seasons in the shadow of Chris Paul. He is averaging 19.5 points per game on a career high .489 from the field, 6.4 assists per game, 4.3 rebounds per game and 1.8 steals per game. He also sits amongst some esteemed company in the Hollinger Player Efficiency Ratings (PER) with a score of 22.18, above such players as James Harden, Dwight Howard, Russell Westbrook and Dwyane Wade. Bledsoe, should he continue to produce like this for the remainder of the season, is a serious candidate for the Most Improved Player award.

Bledsoe is a big part of why the Phoenix Suns are playing so well this season but he’s not the only reason. Bledsoe’s backcourt partner Goran Dragic is also having a career year, averaging 19.5 points on .496 from the field with 6.1 assists and 3 rebounds per game. The Bledsoe/Dragic backcourt is certainly proving to be one of the best in the NBA currently.

On top of what is arguably, a league best backcourt, the Suns possess a youthful yet potent frontcourt made up of the ever improving Morris twins, high flying swingman Gerald Green, the sharp shooting veteran Channing Frye and a big man in Miles Plumlee who is turning into an adept defender of the paint and very solid centre.

The last time the Phoenix Suns were a playoff contending team they were an offensive juggernaut featuring the likes of point guard extraordinaire Steve Nash and a healthy, dominant Amare Stoudemire. While this Suns team isn’t quite in the same realm regarding their offensive ability they do possess the scoring prowess needed to get back to the playoffs. Their offensive rating courtesy of Basketball Reference is 108.2 which is good for sixth in the NBA and they are averaging a more than respectable 102.6 points per game.

Defensively they still have some work to do as their 105.9 defensive rating and 100.3 points allowed per game attest to. They tend to defend the perimeter well and have only given up 144 treys this season which is fourth best in the league but their high turnover rate and lack of defensive rebounding are things that are in need of improvement.

The Suns have a young team, a first year head coach and what many believed to be an inferior squad but against all the odds they have started the season in sensational form. The question from this point on is whether or not they will look to make a move to ensure they will be a contender should they make the post season or does the hot start go cold and should it, just where do they land in the lottery. Whatever the future holds the Sun certainly is shining brightly in Phoenix right now.



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Why The NBA Is Now A Small Man’s Game

The NBA is now a small man’s game.

In the 90s, the NBA was known as a big man’s league. With superstars like Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson and Alonzo Mourning roaming the paint, the prevailing thought was that if you didn’t have a dominant – or at the very least, a capable – centre on your roster, then you were going to struggle to compete with the league’s elite teams.

Either that, or you needed Michael Jeffrey Jordan.

Not only was there a number of great players at the ‘C’ position, but the second and third tier of centres in that era were also very good players. Rik Smits, Brad Daugherty, Dikembe Mutombo, Vlade Divac, Arvydas Sabonis, etc, were no slouches.

In fact, if any of those players were playing today, they would probably be ranked in the top 2 or 3 centres in the game, rather than being placed much further down the pecking order, like they found themselves in the 90s.

Such a sentiment highlights a not-so-subtle shift in the NBA in recent times. Though there remain a number of very good low post players in the league, the position with the most superstar depth at present is actually point guard.

While in the 90s many believed that you simply couldn’t do without an elite centre, that narrative has now changed to having a high caliber point guard on your roster.

Which suggests that the NBA is now a small man’s game.

Actually, that line – and the heading – is a little misleading. It’s not that the NBA has suddenly shifted to being a league for midgets, but rather that there is a feeling that you need a playmaker to be truly successful in the modern NBA.

In essence, the belief is that you need a point guard if you want to win, because it seems like every NBA team has a good-to-great one calling the shots at present.

Photo Credit: www.kaskus.co.id

Photo Credit: www.kaskus.co.id

At the elite level, there is Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook, Steph Curry, Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving, Deron Williams and Rajon Rondo.

On the second tier, there’s John Wall, Mike Conley, Damian Lillard, Ty Lawson, Jrue Holiday, Eric Bledisloe and Ricky Rubio.

Behind those players, there is a solid cast including Jeff Teague, Jose Calderon, Andre Miller, Kemba Walker, Jarrett Jack, Brandon Jennings, Jeremy Lin, Raymond Felton, Steve Blake and Jameer Nelson.

You also have this season’s rookies with amazing potential, Michael Carter-Williams and Victor Oladipo.

That’s 27 quality point guards, and I haven’t even considered primary ball-handlers like LeBron James, Andre Iguodala and James Harden, who aren’t listed at ‘PG’, but very much play that role for their teams.

Another player absent from the list is two-time league MVP Steve Nash. Considering how quickly he has succumbed to Father Time, there’s a good reason he has his own paragraph: he still deserves a mention, but he’s no longer anywhere near elite, and there have even been whispers he may retire at any moment due to his injuries.

With so many quality floor generals, NBA General Managers now treat the ‘1’ position the same way they did the centre spot in the 90s. In other words, their thought process is “I gotta get me a point guard!”

The NBA has always been a copycat league. As soon as a team has some success with something slightly different, everyone jumps on the bandwagon.

Such trends have included: getting a center, needing 3 All-Stars, going small, going big, pressing, Twin Towers, building around one high volume scorer, tanking, going ten deep, implementing run & gun offenses, stretch 4s, building through the draft, hiring a college coach, playing zone, corner threes, recruiting international players, rough and physical defense, and the list goes on.

Photo Credit: www.projectspurs.com

Photo Credit: www.projectspurs.com

And so we come to point guards, somewhat the 2013 phenomenon.

Though the desire to have an elite level point guard is born out of the depth at the position at the moment, it’s always made sense to have a good NBA quarterback.

Good point guards handle the ball, display leadership ability, control the flow of the game, get all their teammates involved, play the role of ‘coach on the floor’, initiate the offense, break down the D if the offense falls apart, get easy buckets, push the fast break, and generally run the team.

Without all those qualities, most teams today – and throughout history – would struggle to win basketball games.

Though many will disagree, I personally think the point guard is the most important position in basketball. Of course, I would say that as an ex-point guard myself.

Yet regardless of your own opinions on which position in basketball is the most vital, one cannot deny that it is currently the era of the great point guard in the NBA, and it’s making for some highly enjoyable play.

This content was first published on The Roar at www.theroar.com.au



2013/14 Champions and Award Winners*

Consider this an experiment. Take one Playstation 3. Insert one NBA 2k14 game disc. Enter game modes. Choose season. Simulate. Sit back and watch the 2013/14 season unfold before your very eyes. Check out what my season entailed below. Results may vary… *May or may not be actual winners (more…)



USP NBA: TORONTO RAPTORS AT WASHINGTON WIZARDS S BKN USA DC

Five underrated teams for the 2013/14 NBA season

Miami Heat
The Heat have made three straight trips to the NBA Finals, won the last two NBA championships, have the greatest basketball player on earth in his prime, and have completed some shrewd off-season moves.

So it’s bewildering to hear people say that their successful run may come to an end this year. Why? Because people are simply bored of them winning?

I haven’t heard one logical, rational or believable reason to suggest why the Heat shouldn’t start overwhelming favourites to once again take home the NBA hardware.

The signings of Greg Oden and Michael Beasley are low risk/high reward, and if they come off towards the latter, the Heat will be near unstoppable.

Yet, even if both players flame out, a nucleus of LeBron James, (a healthy) Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Mario Chambers, Chris Anderson, Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Udonis Haslem, etc, should be expected to win the title.

I personally am not underrating the Heat, as I think they will three-peat, so it feels strange to put them on this list. But for all those that think their championship run is over, this selection is for you, because I think you’re madly underestimating them.

Minnesota Timberwolves
This was actually a popular pick last season, when many thought the combination of a healthy Ricky Rubio, the All Star play of Kevin Love, the return of Brandon Roy, and the emergence of Nikola Pekovic, would combine to see the Twloves sneak into the playoffs.

Sadly, injuries to key players cruelled their season and the team never recovered. However, I’m going to roll the dice again this year, and believe that if the roster can stay healthy, the team can create some noise based on everything in that first paragraph.

The key difference is that Kevin Martin replaces Roy in a sneaky good move by the organisation. Martin will give them reliable offense from the backcourt, along with experience and a level head.

I also like some of Minny’s role players a lot, especially Alexy Shved and Derrick Williams, both of whom I feel have the potential to have somewhat breakout years.

There is a lot of ‘ifs’ with this team, but if (there’s another one!) everything falls into place, I could see this team qualifying in seventh or eighth place in the West.

Washington Wizards
I must be mad selecting this perennial underachieving team to be underrated.

I won’t lie, I’ve been seduced by John Wall’s second half of last season, in which he looked like an out-and-out superstar. It remains to be seen whether or not that tremendous run was an aberration or a sign of things to come, but I’m banking it was the start of Wall fulfilling his potential, which will make the Wizards a dangerous team this season.

I also think Bradley Beal is a star in the making. Fluid, smooth and with a nice stroke, he could make ‘the leap’ this year, especially with Wall’s penetration setting him up for open looks or easy buckets.

Though Emeka Okafor is currently injured, when he returns alongside Nené, it forms a formidable and underrated frontcourt pairing. And if one other player can step-up and be consistent – ideally at the small forward spot – it will provide the Wizards with a very nice starting five.

Considering how weak the bottom half of the Eastern Conference is, playoff spots are up for grabs. The Wizards should be in the mix to nab one of them.

Portland Trailblazers
The knock – quite deservingly – on the TrailBlazers last season is that they had no depth. In fact, their bench was horrible. Credit must go to the front office for going out in the off-season and recruiting some reserves.

Mo Williams, Earl Watson, Thomas Robinson, C.J. McCollum, Dorell Wright and Meyers Leonard form a very solid collection of back-ups that should allow Portland to rest their starters without fearing they’ll be surrendering the game.

Good teams always have a nice inside/outside combination and Portland are lucky enough to have one of the best in Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge. Point guard Lillard was the runaway rookie-of-the-year award winner, and earned himself the reputation of a big game player by hitting a number of big shots last year.

Meanwhile, Aldridge is a stud. A beast on the low block, and what sometimes feels like an ‘automatic two points’ shooter from mid-range, he’s one of the best power forwards in the game, and deserves a solid supporting cast.

Considering both stars – plus other starters Nic Batum and Wes Matthews – will be able to have a consistent rest this season, I think Portland will push for playoff contention.

Los Angeles Lakers
I suspect this is more wishful thinking than anything else. Either way, I make this prediction with zero confidence, and 100% bias.

Yet utilising a ‘glass half full’ mentality, let’s assume Kobe comes back 100% and with a vengeance. Let’s assume that Steve Nash overcomes his injury concerns and keeps Father Time at bay for another season. Let’s assume Pau Gasol will be rejuvenated at being reintegrated into the offense. That’s the makings of a pretty dangerous team; I’m not sure I’d want to play them in the first round of the playoffs.

Of course, they’d have to actually make the playoffs in the first place.

That’s a lot of assumptions to rely on, and as my mum used to say ‘assume makes an ass out of u and me’. In fact, forget it. I can’t even delude myself into this pick. I’m off to watch some DVDs of the 2010 NBA Finals.



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Introducing Brenton Harris – “Entertanking For Wiggins”

This morning we welcomed a new member to the team here at NBA Nation Australia, and we’re stoked to deliver you his first piece. Brenton Harris is a 27 year old Melbourne based student admin wizard and NBA tragic who was seduced by Sir Charles Barkley, Thunder Dan Majerle and KJ Kevin Johnson’s early 90’s run with the Phoenix Suns and has thus stuck with the franchise since then despite never tasting true success. An unashamed Steve Nash admirer, he owns perhaps the only size xxxs Charles Barkley Suns jersey in the world that has been signed by former Arizona Wildcat and once productive NBA point guard Mike Bibby. You can follow him on twitter at @iambren10  

Enjoy!

The dawn of a new season is supposed to bring a sense of renewed hope and (at times admittedly illogical) optimism to the fans of all 30 NBA teams franchises.  It is a time when theoretically every team is in championship contention and the past seasons results are officially no longer relevant as every win/loss total reads 0-0 and the standings are sorted by nothing more than alphabetical order.  It is the time when the players are smiling, the energy levels are high and the PR departments and season ticket sellers are busy pedaling the old ‘alchemists trick’  of spinning straw (half-truths) into gold (ticket sales).  For the casual and/or delusional fans among us it is the time when even the most far-fetched hypothetical ‘what-if’s’ seem likely and we find ourselves scouring for pre-season footage that will confirm the theory that ‘insert players name here’ is ready to make the ‘jump’ and that ‘insert recruits name here’ is the missing link that will take our team from pretender to contender. It is the ultimate time to engage in the audacity of hope, and for the most part even the most jaded and scarred of us are willing to set aside our past disasters and dabble in the dastardly business of belief.

For some of us, the perennial winners (Heat, Spurs, Lakers), certified contenders (Thunder, Pacers, Knicks, Nets, Bulls, Rockets, Nuggets, Clippers, Warriors etc.) and ‘buzz teams’ (Pelicans, Pistons, Wizards, Wolves) this is a far easier trap to get caught up in than others, but for the most part even the most depressive and battle hardened of fans (Bucks, Wizards, Kings, Hawks, Raptors, Jazz, ) among us find ourselves caught up in this dark-twisted fantasy, seemingly willing to ignore rationality for the benefit of our pre-season psyche. It’s just what ‘hoops-tragics’ do.  But what happens when no matter how hard you try to force yourself to believe that things will be better this year, you simply just can’t seem to find a way to convince yourself, even momentarily that will be the case?  What happens when literally ALL of the well renowned experts are tipping that your team will have one of the three worst records in the league? What happens when two out of your three best players play the same position and seem incapable of switching roles and the other is a hot tip to be traded? What happens when even the Bobcats seem to have it more together this year than your team does?  And what happens when all of this seems to have been fallen into by design? Essentially what I am asking is what happens if you are a Phoenix Suns fan?

First of all a (brief) recent history lesson

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Ever since my beloved Phoenix Suns were a solid box-out on Ron Artest away from forcing a game 7 in the 2010 Western Conference Finals, the team has been systematically ripped apart by owner Rob Sarver (surely one of the USA’S least popular billionaires if this picture is anything to go by) all in the name of ‘business’.  In the process they have stripped quite literally the entire roster (bar Channing Frye) including trading away the most popular Sun ever, two-time league MVP Steve Nash, to the arch enemy Lakers.  In the process they have fallen from regular conference finalists and league-pass favourites to complete and utter laughing stock with a mismatched roster consisting largely of the unknown quality of youth and under performing or injury prone veterans who have been drawn to the valley of the Suns by the prospect of working with the franchises most highly regarded employee s – the medical staff. They have also been involved in pretty much every meaningless monster trade of the last three years, always in the role of facilitator. Put simply it has been a brutal couple of years, with the only real light at the end of the tunnel being the relatively impressive showings of fan favourite (and former Steve Nash understudy) Goran ‘The Dragon’ Dragic and Marcin ‘Polish Hammer’ Gortat.

Not surprisingly this tailspin brought about widespread organisational change over the last season, with two coaches, and a general manager making way for what is essentially an entirely new regime. (Unfortunately for Suns fans, this regime change did not extend to ownership, meaning fans are still stuck with an owner who arguably cares more about his form at Scottsdale golf courses and his bottom line reporting than he does on –court results)

Fortunately, the regime overhaul does appear to have brought somewhat of a sense of hope for the (distant) future with all available evidence showing that the hiring of Ryan McDonough as General Manager and former Sun and NBA legend Jeff Hornacek as coach to be astute decisions.  McDonough in particular appears to be an adventurous thinker unafraid to pull the trigger on trades  (such as the one that sent fan favourite Jared Dudley to the Clippers, netting the Suns highly sort after backup Eric Bledsoe)  or make roster cuts (Michael Beasley) when the opportunity presents itself. He has also been aggressive in ensuring that the Suns have very little in the way of future salaries and plenty in the way of draft picks (including three, yes that’s right THREE first rounders in the loaded 2014 draft) going forward. He has also instigated a slight branding change including a full suite of snappy new uniforms which have been for the most-part (with the exception of those orange sleeved atrocities) been well received by fans. Jeff Hornacek appears to have done his bit by promising to give plenty of court time to the Suns young core and guaranteeing a return to a fast paced offense specifically tailored to take advantage of the youth and unique athletic gifts that the roster possesses.  None of this however (especially not the roster)appears likely to translate into a large percentage of wins in 2013-2014, in fact it seems to be specifically designed to ENSURE LOSSES, MANY, MANY, LOSSES.  And as a fan, I AM 100% OKAY WITH THAT FACT!

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Now I know  conventional wisdom says that as fans we Suns faithful should be up in arms about entering a season with an expected starting line-up consisting of a  rather ‘beastly’ yet untried starting PG (Eric Bledsoe), an SG who was our starting PG (Goran Dragic) last season, an unheralded journeyman (PJ Tucker) at SF,  a man most notable for being one of two identical twins (Markieff Morris) at PF and a criminally underrated veteran, seemingly on the verge of being traded (Marcin Gortat)  at C.  It should infuriate us further that that fearsome five is backed by a bench that is arguably anchored by a man most renowned for blowing a cupcake out while performing in a dunk contest (Gerald Green),  and a man who should never have left his role as a sparkplug at the Lakers (Shannon Brown). But the fact remains that in the strange world that is the NBA in 2013, just about  the only thing that could excite me more as a fan than this prospect would be if we found a way to trade away Gortat BEFORE he accidentally causes us to win some games.

Yes that’s right folks I am actively hoping for my team to get WORSE this year. In fact, I’m going to be out and out cheering for it to happen. This desire to see my team flame out horribly doesn’t come from some deeply repressed masochistic tendencies, (nor is it the product of my ongoing battle with the ever-present notion of catholic guilt that my catholic upbringing has plagued me with) oh no, this desire to see the losses pile up comes from acceptance of the fact that in 2013, the only way the Phoenix Suns will be able to lure a franchise player is to draft one,  and as you may have heard by now, the 2014 NBA draft is the place to get your hands on one (or in the Suns case up to three) of those.  And the best way to ensure you wind up with the best chance of drafting a superstar is to land deep, DEEP in the lottery.

Thankfully, unlike the Sixers (who will just be HORRIBLE) the Suns have done us a solid by setting themselves up not just to tank, but to do so ENTERTAININGLY. That’s right ladies and gentleman The Suns have REALLY put some thought into this. Consider the roster is made up primarily of guys who can jump over houses (Gerald Green, Shannon Brown), jack ill-advised but occasionally on-target threes (Channing Frye, both Morris twins ), make ridiculous yet risky cross-court passes (Goran Dragic, Kendall Marshall), and flat-out miss open lay—ups (Alex Len) all focuses around a centerpiece who can do ALL OF THOSE THINGS all at once, while looking like an absolute beast. (Eric Bledsoe). Piece that together with a return to the ‘7 seconds or less’ offense of the Mike ‘No D’Antoni  days and you have yourselves an entirely new brand of basketball, and that brand is to be known as ‘Entertankment. Entertankment, as the name suggests involves tanking in the most entertaining way possible (dunks, alley-oops, threes, risky passes, reaching on defense ) and the end result of entertanking when done right should be a string of ridiculously high-scoring, highlight filled losses.  And this year, each and every one of those losses will put the Suns one-step closer to drafting consensus number one pick Andrew Wiggins.

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So I’m proposing g a new way of watching the Suns in NBA season 2013/2014 and it’s called ‘Entertanking for Wiggins’. Entertanking for Wiggins requires Suns fans to jump on-board with managements desire to lose their way back to relevancy, and show their support for the cause with a level of enthusiasm usually reserved for a title run. I’ll be keeping tabs on the Suns progress in Entertankment by posting an Entertankment Weekly  update  highlighting the best moments of Entertankment from the week gone by, resulting in an overall Entertankment rating for the week. I’ll very much be looking for members to join me in this venture, so let me know via Twitter if you want to join the ETFW crew.

To be considered a true member of the ETFW crew, you must own or at least have access to league pass, a sense of humour, a 90’s Suns throwback jersey (to remind you of the good times you’ll one day be returning to) and an appreciation of both the antics of the man we are dubbing ‘Mini LeBron’ Eric Bledsoe and spectacularly bad basketball. If you have all or most of these attributes then welcome to the ETFW crew. Leave your unreasonable expectations of winning at the door, put your Eric Bledsoe jersey on and strap yourself in for what should be an unbelievably joyous losing season.  Go Suns!

Brenton



Hey-there-Andrew.-Image-via-@JordanRaanan

Ten Things I Love/Hate About You

Hey-there-Andrew.-Image-via-@JordanRaanan

The NBA season isn’t too far away now and there’s a lot to look forward to in season 2013/14 but I thought I’d share ten things that are on my mind as we impatiently wait for the season to begin

10. Pre-season.

It’s better than no NBA basketball at all and it’s the pre-cursor to the real thing. Enough said.

9. The Cleveland Cavaliers.

What can I say about this youthful and talented squad? There’s Uncle Drew with those crazy handles, Andrew Bynum with that crazy, well everything, not to mention the hair watch we’re all constantly on. Then you have the explosive and exciting number one pick Anthony Bennett, who should give us Larry Johnson style highlights on the offensive end and be a disaster defensively. If Head Coach Mike Brown can get this roster to gel, they will be a highly entertaining team to watch, if not, there’s always Bynum’s hair to keep us all entertained.

8. Michael Beasley and Greg Oden.

You’ve got LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Ray Allen, etc, etc but what you now have to add to that locker room is a walking frame and a bong. Talk about two guys on their last legs! Oden is a guy I’ve always wanted to see come back from those knee injuries but now he’s on the Heat I’m not sure I feel as strongly about him overcoming those setbacks. Michael Beasley is one lucky cat. He’s also on his ninth life and if he doesn’t get his act to together then I don’t see any more chances coming his way, but then again, like Oden, I don’t want to see Miami gain another valuable piece to their team. Anyone got Beasley’s dealers number?

7. Lakers Losing It.

Now I know I’ll cop some grief for this one, especially considering I converse all too often with many Laker fans, not to mention my fellow NBA Nation Australia writers, but it has to be said that things don’t look too promising in Laker land this year and I for one won’t be losing any sleep over it. Kobe is on his way back from a serious injury at 4000 years old, Steve Nash is 5000 years old and Pau Gasol is just too nice to be a big man in the NBA. Whatever happened to that nice fellow Dwight? Sounds like a sub .500 year for the second best team in L.A. Yes I just called the Clippers the best team in L.A and it feels so wrong, yet so right.

6. Tank For Wiggins?

Things could get really ugly this year between the cellar dwellers. Next year’s draft is off the charts and there’s no shortage of teams willing to tank for Wiggins. I mean seriously, the mighty and proud Boston Celtics blew up their team to have a chance at getting that elusive number one pick next year so you know tanking is the new winning in 2013/14. I fear for my mental health when I switch on League Pass whilst nursing a hangover on a Sunday morning only to see the 76ers playing the Bobcats. Also, MJ, what the hell were you thinking with Cody Zeller!?

5. New Orleans Pelicans.

Of all the names you could choose for a sporting team, the Pelicans is the best you could come up with? Whoever is responsible for this atrocity should be forced to watch Austin Rivers rookie season over and over again. I’m sorry but I’ll never be able to take this team seriously now, actually, come to think of it, I don’t think I ever did beforehand! Move on.

4. Sun Shines In the Golden State.

One team I thoroughly enjoyed watching in last year’s playoffs were the Golden State Warriors. Those huge games from the sharp shooting Steph Curry were ones to remember and although they failed to beat the Spurs in the Western Conference semi-finals they showed they’re not a team you want to take lightly. They have made some solid off-season moves and providing Curry’s glass ankles stay healthy and Bogut can avoid whatever freak injury may occur then the Warriors will be a hell of a lot of fun to watch. Can the sun shine on the golden state?

3. Bring Back Wilt!

It’s about time we seen a scoring champ who averages over 30 points per game this season. KD, Melo, are you there? Shit, I don’t care if it’s Kobe and he shoots .400 to do it, actually I would take great pleasure in witnessing this; see number 7 on this list. I just think the scoring title isn’t the same when the winner averages a mere 28.7ppg. Bring back Wilt!

2. The NBA Finals.

The NBA Finals! What more do I need to say? I’m no fan of the Miami Heat or the San Antonio Spurs but watching that Finals series last season was unbelievably great. The spectacle, fanfare and meaning that comes with each and every game is what keeps me coming back every year to see it all play out. One thing though, hoop gods, can we not have the Heat again this season? Sincerely, Bulls fan Dan

1.The Return.

Ok, so it’s a little later than first anticipated but it’s no less exciting. The prodigal son returns, Chicago’s very own, D Rose, rises from his injury exile to take the league by storm destroying everyone in his path! Ok, so I’m going with the best case scenario here but after almost 18 months it’s my god damn right to be so optimistic! Bring on the season!



Shake and Bake: The Best Duos of the NBA

While these dynamic duos may not be NASCAR superstars and they probably don’t discuss the pros and cons of a bearded baby Jesus, what they do is give their teams the best opportunity to win and entertain millions of fans along the way. I don’t know how many countless hours I’ve spent watching YouTube highlights of these duos doing work. Below I will discuss my personal favourite NBA duos. Taken into consideration are various factors like wins, what they did for their respective teams, entertainment factor, how each individual developed in the partnership and whether or not I’ve actually seen them play. Take a look and see what you think. (more…)



Looking to the 2013/2014 Season

The NBA season is fast approaching and I cannot wait. There are so many aspects of the game to look forward to and not all of them happen on the court. Here is my A-Z of the upcoming 2013-2014 season.

A: Air Balls

There is truly something special about an entire stadium full of fans chanting “Aiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirrrr BBBaaaaaaaaaallllllll!” in unison. It has to be one of the most humiliating events for an NBA superstar. Now an air ball from the three point line can happen fairly often but an air ball from the charity stripe is something to behold. My money would be on Dwight Howard to throw up a free throw line air ball at some stage this year. He truly is abominable from the line and he isn’t getting any better.

B: Birdman (Chris Andersen)

This dude is a loose cannon. You never quite know what he’s going to do next. Will he attempt to punch out an opponent? Rise up for a monster tip jam? Berate a referee? Start a fight? Create some new and zany hairstyle? Or get a Mike Tyson face tattoo? With the Birdman you never quite know but if there’s action happening on the court (or even off it) you can almost guarantee the Birdman will be there somehow.

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Lakers Exercise Team Option On Jodie Meeks; Duhon, Ebanks & Jamison Gone

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Plenty of Laker fans had Jodie Meeks as one of their most disappointing of the 2012/13 season, but that hasn’t stopped the team picking up the 25 year-old shooting guard’s team option for the upcoming 2013/14 NBA season. Meeks, who was brought to LA as a scoring role player, averaged 7.9 points in an average of 21 minutes per game for the Lakers this past season (his lowest in three years) however the team believes he has more to give. Meeks averaged a nifty 10.5 PPG in 2010/11 for Philadelphia where his long range jump shot helped the Sixers scoring power off the bench considerably. This past season in LA however, he struggled to maintain his shot and averaged 35.7% across 78 games.  The hope is that Meeks can again become a dangerous addition to the Laker bench in a time where they need it so very badly. Today the team announced they would continue to place their trust in him by exercising the option to keep him on the team for another season at $1.5 Million.

The Lakers have also released free agents Devin Ebanks and Antawn Jamison after disappointing seasons with the team, and have also bought out point guard Chris Duhon’s $3.75 Million contract for next season. The word is that Darius Morris will likely remain with the team as a third string guard behind Steve Nash and Steve Blake. Nothing is confirmed at this stage, however.

Nick C.



A Season Gone Begging

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After being beaten in 5 games in the 2011-2012 season the Lakers organisation appeared hell bent on change. A franchise that thrives on being number one had for the second year, been booted out of the playoffs in the second round.

And so it began.

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