Paolo Banchero has been the real deal for Orlando

With the first half of the season well behind us now – we have had a great look at the current rookie class. And it is without a doubt that Paolo Banchero has had the biggest impact this year. He was not only the best player in the draft, but was ready to step in and contribute from the start, which he did. In his opening game he scored 27, grabbed 9 boards and had 5 dimes vs Detroit. Orlando gave Banchero the keys to the car from the start and he responded. The former Duke star is hitting 47% from two, along with his 6.6 rpg, which is 2nd on the team, and his 3.6 apg which is 3rd. Banchero is impacting the team and has been key when they win, even though it hasn’t been frequently, he has been the cog to this team. Particularly on the offensive end of things, they have leaned on the 250lb PF quite a bit this season.

Banchero makes defenders pay if they get complacent on defense – if they aren’t on top of him from the beginning he can rip past them and get to the cup. He also has shown to have very good vision, with his smooth play-making ability, especially for a big, as he has excelled passing out of the post, and off the dribble. Banchero knows when he has gotten some space to work, and can take a slower defender off the dribble and knock down an open shot.

He has good size at 6-10, and has no shortage of strength, which has allowed him to defend on the interior and has given him the ability to be a very active rebounder, as he has had 22 games with 8+ boards, including 13 games with 2 or more on the offensive side. He has been comfortable cleaning the defensive glass and getting off to starting the break. He has gotten into the lane with ease, putting the ball in the hoop, and has also been able to drop shots from the midrange, hitting 49% from 16′ and in. He has the ability to threaten defenses as a shot creator and playmaker and being the VegasTopDogs of this years draft.

The Magic have had a nice improvement from last year. Last season, they won 22 games for the entire season – they are on track to win about 30 games this year, which isn’t good, but they have certainly improved as a team. The Magic still need a real SG very badly – making a move should probably be something they are looking into. In a perfect world for them – they get themselves a stud at SG, and let Banchero continue to develop, while watching the 20 year old be their leader on the court. This would help solve some of their offensive woes that have been plaguing them. It seems to be, in the current game, a team needs a star guard to win in this league. Banchero tagged up with a real SG could get them in the right direction as a team, unfortunately that will not be an easy task.

Can Luka and Kyrie succeed in Dallas

The Brooklyn Nets traded their star PG Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks for SG Spencer Dinwiddie, SF Dorian Finney-Smith, along with a 1st round & a couple 2nd round picks.  Putting Dinwiddie back in Brooklyn again, where he played for 5 previous seasons, where he was respected and played well, putting up 14ppg and 5apg while there. So the Mavs went and grabbed another superstar, to add to the team who should bring immediate help to their team. It looks to be a step in the right direction. Personally, I felt the Mavericks really needed a center. But they grabbed PG Kyrie Irving instead, showing that Dallas is obviously thinking about this season. They made their big move and made it count, adding a career 23ppg in Kyrie to their backcourt.

Kyrie has certainly had his history of problems. Brooklyn almost had to trade him, with the problems that he brought, as Irving, most recently, blasted his team, the entire franchise and the Brooklyn fans. He did not have a smooth playing career while playing with the Nets over just 3.5 years playing in Brooklyn. He screamed about a trade, now has gone to a lehit championship contender with a potential MVP on it and he has a legit chance. He couldn’t possibly ask for more in his situation. Of course, we have seen blockbuster trades in the past like this that destroy a team’s chemistry and actually makes the team worse. Can this be another?

Luka has been the whole offense for Dallas, averaging 33 ppg and 8 apg, while taking 27% of the team’s shots. This trade takes pressure off of him, as Kyrie can do more than his share of damage to defenses – and this should stop the defense from double teaming him as much, because there’s another serious scoring threat on the court. I think Kyrie can play the PG more, while Luke slides in at more SG. And it could be much more dangerous now to just focus on Luka when there is someone added to the team that has more than the capability to light up a team on any given night.

GMs should take chemistry into consideration when building a team. Now, I don’t hate this trade – but it is a bit risky. It’s really easy to see these two struggling to coexist on the court, as they both play best with the ball in their hands, that has been the way they are most effective. But, Kyrie is not just a spot up shooter, he can shoot off catch and shoot well, and he’s also really exceptional off the dribble. In contrast – Lebron is a ball dominant player as well, and Kyrie and him worked in Cleveland because Kyrie was able to work off the ball. In 2015, Kyrie still averaged 20ppg, which went up to 27 /game in the Finals. Maybe people choose to forget that stuff to fit their narrative. With this trade, Luka can now focus on playing more SG while Kyrie plays more PG, or they can switch things up between them to be a favorite for the NBA Playoffs.

The Mavs offense is off whatever Luka sets up, he will now be expected to share the ball with Kyrie. Luka is not used to playing much without the ball, he always has the ball in his hands, he has always been the focal point of their offense. Which is why Kyrie will have to adapt to him, on his team. As good as Kyrie is, and regardless of his pouting and eccentricities – he is a very good player, I just don’t know how I would feel about having his attitude in the organization. Many are concerned that the “Kyrie drama” will creep in by the beginning of next season. You never seem to know when he’s gonna go off the deep end. If he can keep it together, and they learn how to coexist – Dallas definitely just became a top contender in the West, possibly for the next several years. I just think if Dallas could’ve gotten a legit big who could score and rebound they would have made a better move for the odds on Vegas favorite.

What is Kevin Durant’s legacy?

There’s no question that Kevin Durant is one of the all-time best players in the history of the NBA. He’s got a smooth shot, grace when going to the rim, he’s very silky. He’s fun to watch, he is definitely shown to have the ability to score points with ease, with a career average of 27.2  ppg and having 13 seasons scoring 25 ppg or more, and 4 scoring titles. But with Kevin Durant’s exceptional play on the court there are other characteristics about him that just don’t sit well. Putting aside his stoic and crabby demeanor, which can make him difficult to like – but that’s just his personality. What I’m talking about is his mental toughness and his heart. 

This off season was no different – when Kevin Durant was at it again. It always seems when he can’t win fast enough with a loaded team, he always seems to start screaming to be traded to yet another loaded team.  And one of the biggest problems I always have is the fact that he always seems to want to go to teams that are already well established.  Now I get that some might argue and say that that’s smart, take the path of least resistance, and I get it. I understand that logic, but the fact is, it makes someone look weak if they’re just jumping on an already powerful team. If you’re a player that’s supposed to be a leader, you shouldn’t want to join other players, they should want to join you.  You’re the one that should be leading your team, not just going and adding your skills to another team. He’s becoming just a “hired gun” to go anywhere to bring another skilled player to a team and then trade him off. 

Today’s NBA is the ring chasing era… it just seems like it’s all about finding the easiest path to get a ring. So much emphasis is put on “the chip.” Players only have this mentality that they’re not going to be considered a “great player” if they don’t have “X amount of rings.” Everybody wants to win the ring, of course that’s the whole drive of competitiveness is to win, to be the best you can be, to have the best team. They all want the ring, but they all want the easiest way to get it.  Nobody seems to want to earn it the hard way. 
The Experts at VegasTopDogs think the Nets are better now without Kyrie on the team.

Let’s say that a player goes to a team that isn’t top notch and his talent and leadership leads that team to a championship. Now let’s say, that same player instead, is unhappy with the mediocre team and demands to be traded to a team that already has 2-3 really good players, goes there and wins 3 championships, the respect level for winning the one championship is far higher. 

Kevin Durant just isn’t the guy to lead a team anywhere, after 14 seasons it’s been proven time and time again. Everybody isn’t built to be a leader, and that’s okay. But what isn’t okay, is when that same player is demanding respect like they are a leader. I think playerwise, Durant is a better player than Dwyane Wade was, but Dwyane Wade was a far better leader than Kevin Durant. Some guys have that leadership gene, and some just don’t.  

Brooklyn has had a ton of talent on that team for a few years – I’m not sure just what else he wants to have around him, to get the rings that he obviously is pining for. It’s becoming apparent that he isn’t built mentally like ball players were in the past. He doesn’t have the push to make others better, he wants to simply take his basketball skills and just add them to the team that’s already on the court. 

Durant really seems to be kicking his fan base, when he was with Oklahoma City he was really a lot of fun to watch, but now it seems that you’re just watching a guy who just goes through the motions looking for coattails to grab onto, looking to piggyback to an already established foundation to try and get a ring to add to his “legacy.” I actually feel that there are many fans who actually want to see him fail because of his lack of loyalty.  
He has no “legacy” who is his legacy with?

The new NBA slogan should be “when things get tough just quit!” Because that’s the way these players behave these days, without any loyalty to the city or the fans where they were hired, to come join and try and bring that city a championship. The discontentment in the NBA is mind boggling, these guys are never happy. Because they’re always comparing themselves to the next guy, instead of being satisfied with what they have. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a 1000 times, the players today are just made differently and not necessarily in all good ways. They dictate what team they will play for and if that doesn’t work, they pout and stomp, and go somewhere else to play. 

So far this season Durant has been off to the races, netting 32ppg but the “new look” Nets are sitting at 1-5. If they don’t turn it around, how long into the season is it going to be before the 7-0 PF starts shouting to be traded.

Well we all know what they always say right? 
If you can’t beat them, join them!

Is the NBA 4-pt shot something to be considered

Over the last several months there has been murmurs about the possibility of adding a 4p shot to the NBA game. The 3 point line is 43 years old, as it was introduced to the NBA back in 1979. I am more than sure the 3p shot sounded like a gimmick to some guys that there was going to be a 3 point line, just another “trend” – just like every new rule, similar to zone defense. Some people used to think the 3 pt line was stupid when it was first brought into the NBA. As it made the NBA game more open, and brought a new angle into the game, it was fun and gave a bonus for taking the lower shot percentage shot. At the time, when players like Moses Malone and George Gervin were putting up 20+ ppg based on getting to the hoop – it opened the game up for guys who were higher skilled in shooting.

With 70+ players dropping 100 3p shots in 2022 – which by the way is utterly mind blowing, compared to 86-87 – when the leading 3p shooter, Larry Bird, knocked down 90 through the whole season. We have heard the concept of possibly adding a 4p shot over the last few months. Seemingly because it has become so common in the day’s game. If they opened up a 4 pt shot – it seems like players like Giannis Antetokounmpo and DeMar DeRozan would be drastically behind as a player. If the NBA created this – then the rest of the league will be training that shot. The league is already putting up 30+ /3s a game  – why not push it further out? Players like Donovan Mitchell and Stephen Curry would be ahead of most – because they have been training for a long time in shooting from far distances. That doesn’t make the idea any better.

The possibility of the 4 point line would basically eliminate the big from the NBA. Without question – just so fans know. The game is already pushing the offense further away from the basket, making guys whose best skill is their hook shot and footwork down low – becoming irrelevant. I do think that the idea of getting an extra point from beyond half court would be reasonable. As usually the half court heaves are at the end of quarters, so I can see maybe giving them an extra point. There really aren’t a whole bunch of shots made from half court – so teams getting extra points for that sounds ok to me.

I feel that adding the 4p shot would destroy the post game, eliminating talented slashers, a good mid range game, along with the basics of solid fundamental basketball. Shooters are already rewarded with an extra point for shooting from deep – and if there was a shot worth double the standard bucket, then teams would focus on getting deep ball shooters – which would continue to destroy the rest of the game. I think many of the younger generation tend to forget about the skills of the games past. There are many ways to play the game of basketball, but I think this would wreck it for many fans. Personally, I love watching smart passes on drives with excellent play execution, moving without the ball, I love the skill of shooting from deep – but making a center irrelevant is sad to me. The 3p shot has transformed the game, any of us old school fans can relate – as the game has transformed to ISO and pick and rolls. Teamwork and moving without the ball seems to have gone out the window, making big men not nearly as important as they once were.

If a 4-pt shot was added – I feel that every individual stat in the past wouldn’t matter. Many feel that the 3pt barrage we have seen overtake the NBA for the last 7+ years, has wrecked the game as it is – the thought of adding a 4p shot would certainly turn off many fans. Would the numbers that legendary players like Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain hung during their illustrious careers hold up to players like Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard chucking up 9+ shots from deep? Sadly, the big man of baby hooks and up and unders seems to have died years ago and continues to. The game down low has been ruined. I think anyone over 35 would agree with that, as of the current state of the game – the idea of adding a 4p shot isn’t a great idea –  I strongly feel that it would ruin the game for good.

Has the NBA changed too much?

Games change over the years all the time, regardless of the sport, there are often subtle changes that occur.
Most of the time, I would think, even for traditionalists of a specific sport that is going through a change, there are some changes that are often accepted. But then there are other things about a game that change over time, that definitely just don’t sit right. Sometimes there are changes that just start to make the sport very different. To the point that a sport actually has effectively changed.

We know in the NFL, physicality has been greatly adjusted. We know, quarterbacks barely need to be touched at times for a flag to be thrown, and CBs are at a great disadvantage on defense now. Although we understand the reasoning behind some of the changes. I think there needs to be a happy medium because it’s gotten a bit overboard.
Those were changes that were specifically made by the league.
We are going to discuss changes that have just “evolved” in the NBA game.

One of the biggest changes that has occurred in today’s NBA is bigs playing in the post. It’s very rare to see a big fella with his back to the basket and his hand up jockeying for position in the box. Players had a position over history, and they all had a duty that was assigned to that position that they played. The PG handled the ball, they were usually the best ball-handlers and kept the team’s flow and rhythm. Your SG’s were scorers. The frontcourt hit the glass and your bigs played inside out. Today’s game, not so much. There are pros and cons to that – it shows the great ability and skills this generation of talent has – but it has also lowered the position value. Where would Shaq play today? Would he still get the ball in the post with all of the 3-pt shooting today?

Hand-checking was great.  It brought some physicality and the ability to feel out your defender.  And it gave the defender a feel and  flow playing defense, it made scorers have to play a little harder on offense.  Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want the defense just throwing elbows and jacking people, but physical play was always part of basketball.  Basketball is a physical sport. When you box out, you throw your rear end into the guy, you bodied guys up. Boxing out itself was a very physical part of the game, and there’s not nearly as much of that in today’s game.

There was a lot more pure competitiveness back in the day. The top teams battled, and it was warfare. It wasn’t all hugs and kisses with everybody friending each other on social media. They seemed to play with much more pride and loyalty to the team they played for. Teams really wanted to beat each other. When the Lakers and the Celtics played, they had respect for each other, when the Pistons and the Bulls played, they had respect for each other, but make no mistake about it, those organizations weren’t buddies. They weren’t pals, they wanted to destroy each other. The teams usually didn’t even like each other.

The best players truly wanted to compete against each other, they wanted to beat the other best players.  Not join up with them to make a championship caliber team instantly. Players today, as we all know, now seem to be much more interested in the path of least resistance. It’s not necessarily about being the man to lead your team, it’s about who you can get together to win. I think for most people that’s the biggest and most disappointing change that we’ve seen in the NBA these last several years. The lack of leadership and heart that these players seem to have.

When a player was drafted by a team, his job was to make the team better, that player took it as a compliment that he was chosen to make the team better, and yes, that includes going to a crummy team without a lot of good players.
They drafted him to help them, not stick around for 3 years, complain about the team, and then fight to go somewhere else with other stars. They drafted you to help get the team championships. It was much more about the team, not as much about the individual player.

And of course, the flopping. I’m not quite sure when it became okay for players to give up and fold like a lawn chair anytime they get bumped, instead of wanting to stand their ground, and be a man. I get it, players have always exaggerated fouls a little bit to get to the line. But let’s be honest, again, these guys are not just exaggerating, they’re putting in work for an Academy Award.

Change is okay in increments. But when it starts to completely upend and change the way the game is even played it can be a little disconcerting. Realistically, for those who enjoy the game, we’re going to still watch it. We might complain a little bit more and we might want to see a different style of play a little more often.  But, we’re still going to watch it, because it’s still a sport we enjoy and it’s still entertaining just the same.  I’m just really hoping that someday we get a good throwback player who plays the game a little “differently” again.

Which NBA team improved the most

Many teams make changes and move things around in the offseason hoping to improve from their last season.
Especially when it was a bad season – not just a .500 year – but a season where after 25 games – fans are starting to tune out from the garbage that the team is putting on the court.

It is hard to come back as a NBA basketball team. When a team goes on the court with the same 5 they had the year before – how can a team with the same ingredients expect a massive turnaround from what was playing the year prior?
Then if a team gets a new coach – you have to hope they can get a new mindset and create cohesion.

But there have been a few teams this season that have looked so much better than they did in 2020. From the teams here – who has gotten better from last year in the best way? Who has made the biggest adjustment on their teams and made their fans have the most to get excited about and hope?

Let’s dive in.

= Cleveland Cavaliers
Last year record; 22-50
Last seasons ppg; 30th in the NBA
This seasons ppg;  26th in the NBA
Last seasons oppg; 17th in the NBA
This seasons oppg; 1st in the NBA
3p shooting last year; 30th in the NBA
3p shooting this year; 16th in NBA
3p defense last year; 28th in NBA
3p defense this year; 9th in the NBA
Assists last season; 21st in the NBA
Assists this season; 8th in the NBA
Rebounds /game last season; 24th in the NBA
Rebounds /game this season; 12th in the NBA

MOST IMPROVED this season from last season; Jarrett Allen; has gone up in scoring, and rebounding and has been a huge part of this teams success.

Last year the Cleveland Cavaliers were simply terrible and ended 27 games out of 1st place, and flopped into 13th place in the Eastern Conference standings. Cleveland Cavaliers were an offense and defensive trainwreck in the NBA .

Starting guard, Darius Garland has more than come into his own with 20ppg and 8apg – last year he was looking like he had excellent potential, but still raw in some ways, with 17ppg and 6apg , but it looks like he could easily be one of the better guards in the game right now.

The Cleveland Cavaliers defense has improved the most from last year to this season, going from ranking 17th to being the best defensive team in the NBA this year. Making teams settle in and worry when seeing them arrive, they are a team that concerns teams, and if they don’t.
They should.
Last year they struggled for 90% of the season – this year the Cavaliers have just gotten so much better.

Looking at what they did last season, it clearly looks like they are ready to make some noise and get some action in the postseason – the fans of Cleveland will be ready to go, and so will their team.

= Golden State Warriors
Last year record; 39-33
Last seasons ppg; 12th in the NBA
This seasons ppg; 10th in the NBA
Last seasons oppg; 18th in the NBA
This seasons oppg; 4th in the NBA
3p shooting last year; 9th in the NBA
3p shooting this year; 7th in NBA
3p defense last year; 8th in NBA
3p defense this year; 3rd in the NBA
Assists /game last season; 1st in the NBA
Assists /game this season; 2nd in the NBA
Rebounds /game last season; 22nd in the NBA
Rebounds /game this season; 8th in the NBA

MOST IMPROVED this season from last season; Klay Thompson; C’mon the 31 year old sharpshooter hasn’t played in the NBA in 2 years because of a devastating knee injury – he hopped back in, is starting, and popping in 17ppg and is seeing the court better than he has in his career.

It was another letdown season for the Golden State Warriors, but still far better than the disastrous 2019 season.
A team with a proud history, and having been known for their championship mindset, for much of their recent history.
The Warriors have lacked the punch and explosiveness that their teams have had in the past. But, their rabid fanbase stayed loyal, and now are able to fill up the Chase Center as they wanted it to be. Now it looks like they are being rewarded in return.

Golden State has picked up their already tough 3p defense going from being 8th in ranking last year to 3rd this year, as they brought up the pressure outside the arc. Last season they gave up 110 or more points in 56% of their games, this year they have given up 110+ in only 31% of them, as they currently sit at 4th in the league in oppg.

Kevon Looney has improved his game, getting more time on the court, and getting valuable boards, scoring at a career high and fully understanding his role. The Golden State Warriors rebounds /game has improved so much, going from 22nd in the NBA up to 8th. They have had great contributions from Looney and Draymond Green off the glass, especially on the offensive side of rebounding.

Golden State typically have always had a team that could put points on the scoreboard – it was their defense that was in question, over the last 3 seasons. They were leakier than a 100 year old roof – giving up 115.0 ppg in 2019 , 111.2 ppg in 2018, and 112.7 ppg in 2020 – this year, allowing just 103.5 – the improvements are obvious.

= Memphis Grizzlies
Last year record; 38-34
Last seasons ppg; 15th in the NBA
This seasons ppg; 2nd in the NBA
Last seasons oppg; 16th in the NBA
This seasons oppg; 14th in the NBA
3p shooting last year; 20th in the NBA
3p shooting this year; 24th in NBA
3p defense last year; 18th in NBA
3p defense this year; 18th in the NBA
Assists /game last season;  4th in the NBA
Assists /game this season; 7th in the NBA
Rebounds /game last season; 4th in the NBA
Rebounds /game this season; 1st in the NBA
MOST IMPROVED this season from last season; Ja Morant; The high flying PG, has been simply a blast and a ton of fun to watch. His court vision and scoring output have been climbing higher and higher this season – it will be fun to see how good this kid can get.

A team that hasn’t exactly been a juggernaut in the Conference – has not had a 50 win team since 2014. Memphis has lugged around a 127-182 record over the last 4 years. But they are easily looking to be moving in a great direction, winning many games this year that they probably wouldn’t have won last year.

The Grizzlies made some changes with more aggressive interior play and improved their scoring output. Morant and Desmond Bane have been so much better than they were last year with 28ppg between them to 45ppg this year between them. Their well founded attacking the rim style of play has been a huge reason for their improvement. Ja was terribly inaccurate from deep hitting just 30% from downtown last year – the 22 year old is still hitting just 33% from behind the arc but has not been struggling as much from deep this year. He is embracing his high flying style, getting himself much more interior buckets this year.

Putting Desmond Bane at starting SG was without a doubt a good decision for this team, he brings stable play and leadership to a young Grizzlies team that lacked some of that as well. As long as he stays healthy and can play his game – their backcourt situation is established and they can put a check mark next to that.

= Chicago Bulls
Last year record; 31-41
Last seasons ppg; 21st in the NBA
This seasons ppg; 8th in the NBA
Last seasons oppg; 14th in the NBA
This seasons oppg; 18th in the NBA
3p shooting last year; 13th in the NBA
3p shooting this year;  2nd in NBA
3p defense last year;  7th in NBA
3p defense this year; 24th in the NBA
Assists /game last season; 8th in the NBA
Assists /game this season; 14th in the NBA
Rebounds /game last season; 11th in the NBA
Rebounds /game this season;  27th in the NBA

MOST IMPROVED this season from last season; DeMar DeRozan; The 32 year old PF has been playing the best ball of his career. Scoring 28ppg and hitting 34% of his 3p shots – both career highs for the 13 year veteran.

Coming off a 31-41 season, and not making the playoffs, yet again – it was looking like it was going to be pretty hard to get better. But, Chicago, so far this season, looks to have the swagger and power that they had back in 2014 when Tom Thibodeau had them battling LeBron and the Cavs.

It is not terribly hard to improve on their 2020 season, but let’s be clear here – the Chicago Bulls have improved, they did show signs of getting better at times, with their 3p defense, in particular. They are sitting in 8th place in offensive output, but have been getting tore up from behind the arc this year opposed to 7th ranked coverage from outside last season. DeMar DeRozan has been exceptional as a player for them, but the team’s quick switching on D is lacking compared to last year’s play. They are certainly a better team, but as far as the Conference goes, they have not improved equally compared to the better play, to the other teams on the list.

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Memphis Grizzlies both certainly make a case for being the most improved from last year, based on their gameplay compared to last year’s play. But, overall, with the Cavs changes with better ball movement and improving on defense – those are huge improvements for a team, and they have reacted with great play. They have become a team in the East that can make some noise and win tough games with the best of them. They didn’t go out and “purchase” a team, and they did not tear things apart. They just tightened things up and settled into their style – and this season has been plugging along with a ton of great improvements. It should be a fun and exciting 2nd half of the season.

What impact will Klay Thompson have returning to Golden State

The anticipated return of Klay Thompson this year for Golden State Warriors is exceptionally exciting. Thompson had an incredible career up to the point until he suffered devastating injuries that took him out for 2 years. Klay was a steady 20 point scorer and was dropping 3 threes per game, along with very good defense, and a smooth silky shot that every defender was afraid of. Thompson was the kind of player that you knew was going to get his team 20pts and big shots every game in his sleep.

Golden State gaining Thompson alongside one of the most lethal shooters in NBA history, Steph Curry, again is only going to improve this team. This same team that has been  demolishing opponents all season long without him, adding a player of his skill back is only going to help an already awesome roster.  They’ve been putting up 110 ppg this season, with excellent defense, and top 3 ranked shooting from downtown. The Warriors are already one of the top favorites to win the championship this year – if Klay comes in and just is able to knock down a couple shots here and there until he gets the stamina and full confidence built back up they’ll be fine.

I don’t expect Thompson to waltz back in just dominate and start picking up right where he left off. But the inspiration & threat that he will immediately bring to this team is huge. His return will immediately add one more dimension to their already powerful offense. This Warriors team is already well aware of the awesome damage that Steph and Klay can apply on the court together.

People still have to remember he hasn’t played NBA basketball in 2 seasons. So he isn’t going to explode quickly, it’s going to take some time. I don’t expect him to come in and immediately get 35 minutes a night, but I do expect him to keep efficiency because that’s what great players do. Thompson is going to come into this team and do what he does best – and that’s knock down buckets. I cannot imagine him just fading away into nothingness even after his devastating injuries.

I don’t see him being the same guy that he was – but the Golden State Warriors has numerous players who can all chip in with important points in the game. I don’t think that they actually need Klay to be the 2nd weapon on a nightly basis anymore, what he does give them is that one more threat – where a defender knows that with his shooting ability – he has the ability to drop 25 at any moment. I’m very excited to see Klay back on the court. As a fan of comeback stories and great shooting – it’ll be very nice to see that back. I’m personally rooting for him to do what he does best – shoot the ball at a very high level.

Giannis did things the right way

When Giannis Antetokounmpo was drafted back in 2013 – I’m not sure the Milwaukee Bucks knew exactly what they were getting. I think they knew they were getting player with great defense potential, outstanding length, and awesome driving ability, but did they know they’re also getting a player with exceptional heart and leadership? Yet here we are 8 years later and the Bucks are raising their first championship in five decades.

What Giannis did with the Milwaukee Bucks was outstanding. A team that has been building a contender for the last five years. They finally broke through and became the NBA world champions. They didn’t sputter, they never lost confidence and they actually played as hard as any team I’ve ever watched play. Having trailed 2-0 in two of their playoff matchups, having been blown out by 20 + on several occasions, but they still had the heart and resolve to win those matchups. When trailing the “Superteam Nets” 2-0 in the series – the rest of the series Giannis scored an average of 34.2 ppg on 56% FG and 11.6 rpg to bring the Bucks roaring back. Giannis showed incredible heart and the ability to put his team on his back and bring them the W’s when their back was against the wall. He took that team on his shoulders and led them to the title, the first title in 50 years.

Giannis may not have much have a game besides is driving to the paint – but let’s be honest he truly is one of the most unguardable players I have ever seen play in the NBA. He destroyed Brooklyn with 5 games of 33+pts and wrecked Phoenix for a 35 pt/game average, with 3 games of 40+, including 11 games of 32 or more in his entire playoff run. His ability to take a ball in his hands, dribble 3 times, take two steps, and get a layup is almost unfair. And honestly, I miss seeing a dominant inside game like his, we haven’t seen  a big who scored at will inside for quite sometime, as the league has moved into a guard-centric flow. (How I wish Joel Embiid would learn from his basketball dominance – but that’s another story entirely)

We haven’t seen a masterful big like this and a long time. Mind you, I wish he would stay away from anything outside 10ft. If he would just park himself down low and get himself a better back to the basket game, that, along with his ability the face up with a couple dribbles and take it to the rack, would be ridiculous. The fact that he has no jump shot and you know exactly what he’s going to do when he has the ball – and he’s still dropping 30 + on you, makes what he does even more impressive. They know exactly what is going to try to do, and he still scores without problem.

His likability factor increased tenfold for me, when, in his post game conference interview he said exactly what’s so many feel – he won his championship “the right way.” He didn’t jump teams, he didn’t take off and tag up with another Superstar. He put his Milwaukee team and their fans on his 7-0 frame, and got the job done. That’s what a true leader looks like. He earned his place, he earned his championship, he did it the right way. In a world full of entitled players who all feel they deserve a championship, because of participation trophies, and always try to take the path of least resistance – Giannis, you’re really so much more respected than many others.

Great job Giannis and the Milwaukee Bucks, you had an amazing season, you did do things the right way, and from now on out – you gained someone new in your cheering section.

The Miami Heat are being overlooked by many

With the NBA season  back in full swing – and then the NBA playoffs – it is time to ask the question – how long are people going to ignore the Heat?  Miami had been playing some really good basketball this year, and the NBA playoffs will be starting up – it might be time to not.
They have been able to win 84% games at home – where they have been lethal. Miami had won just 39 games last season – but they look to have gotten their heads on straight this year, they have gotten so much better and will likely end up with some court advantage this postseason.

The Heat are very deep, with a lot of guys who can put the ball in the hole, with 8 guys averaging 11 or more /game. Miami made some quality moves in drafting sharpshooter SG, Tyler Herro, and picking up Jimmy Butler – I love the Butler pickup especially. His game is effortless and has shown that with 7 games of 25pts and 6 or more assists. Herro and Jimmy Buckets have been good pickups. 22 yr old Bam Adebayo is also an improving big man with his 16 ppg and 10 rpg as he has been inserted into the starting lineup. The Heat have shown this season they can beat the elite teams with the team they have on the court – as they had gone 2-0 vs the Bucks and 2-0 vs Toronto. I’m not saying they’re going to run through the playoffs – but they’re definitely going to be far more of a handful than some may be expecting. Miami has a roster that can beat anyone in the East, as long as they play to their potential, and I give them a lot of credit, and when the playoffs start, the teams that make some noise are playing 8-9 guys.

More of the media should be putting the Heat in conversation in the top teams of the NBA. And the Heat bring a fiery glimmer of hope to the league that there are still some teams that are making the right moves, and getting better to become a contender in the NBA. Miami are better than the Sixers and their hype train – and they are better coached, I feel the Heat are more well rounded than Denver, as well. Milwaukee has arguably one of the best players in the NBA, in Giannis Antetokounmpo – but his supporting cast is lacking.

There is a player induced mismatch of talent in the league, so to see a team like the Miami Heat coming around and potentially be making some noise is an inspiring and pleasant surprise. I think they are very capable of going deep into the NBA Playoffs in the Eastern Conference this year.

The NBA return will be very interesting

There have been reports all over the news, that the NBA is looking at the possibility of picking up play relatively soon. Players are working out, getting ready for the next step, as they need to start getting mentally and physically ready for the final push of the NBA season. I would think that most players are ready to get back on the court and finish the season they started.
The NBA is targeting July 31st 2020 for a return to play, per Charania. NBA commissioner Adam Silver and the league office informed Board of Governors that July 31 is a target date for return of season, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.
The NBA seems like they are going to be able to move forward with the season, including an interesting playoff format. There have been talks of having an expanded playoff, a notion that essentially would have teams that were on the brink of making it during the season to play in to get the final spots. The NBA could have “play in” playoffs for teams that were close to the 8th seed – this could be a ton of fun, and borderline brilliant. It would bring excitement to teams that were catching momentum late in the season, until stoppage, or banged up, and were thinking they were done. The NBA having essentially 2 sets of playoffs, one for the top tiered teams and another for the lower tiered teams trying to get in, would be awesome. With a compromised on court season, some teams were already packing it in – this could change that mindset – this breathes new life into them.
From what I have seen, and heard, there won’t be fans, and home court advantage will be nullified, as games will be played at a neutral court and our VegasTopDogs experts will be ready.
Things are going to be different in many ways. The season finishing and playoffs impending, can not only bring some closure to the league’s season, but also some much needed sports excitement. Of course, the playoffs popping up at this stage of the year, could very well lead to the Finals this year going into August, which would be very different. And obviously, the sooner the playoffs begin, then, the sooner the brass can start figuring out when next season can start, with some basis of a game-plan in place.
You cant get to step 2, until you get through step 1.
I think it would be unfair if the NBA went directly to the playoffs, like some have suggested. Especially, when there are teams like the Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans and the Sacramento Kings, who were all very much in striking distance of getting into the playoffs in that 8th slot, as the West is filled with teams that can make that jump in. Yes there are some teams altered in some way from the time off – like Philly and Portland, but in basketball, notably, I feel that the better team wins the series, probably 90% of the time. And if a team like the Lakers cannot handle the 8th seed, regardless of who it would be, then maybe there is something to be said there.
We miss the euphoric escape of sports. Sports is something that brings people alive and fills is with excitement. I feel society as a whole, need sports entertainment – we can watch flowers grow, only for so long. It’s good to feel that win as your team is on top at the end of the buzzer, and it is great fun to watch fast paced action with great athletes. These players are getting paid lots of money a year, these guys are young, hungry and competitors, although some are hesitant – I would believe the vast majority of the guys want to compete, at least I would hope so. Anything that brings back some keyhole semblance of basketball, and gets us back to normalcy is going to be accepted. Some may be excited and sit with their fingers crossed – others may not want the season back, under these circumstances – but I think, no – I know – regardless of which side of the fence you stand on, basketball fans will watch the games that return.