MVP Candidates Not Named Stephen Curry

MVP Candidates Not Named Stephen Curry

By Oliver Maroney With reigning MVP Stephen Curry battling a few injuries, I couldn’t help but jump on the opportunity to write about the MVP race. This list is not who I think will win the award, but who could potentially steal the MVP from Steph if his play were to struggle or if he miss significant time due to injury. If he’s healthy, the award is won, but if not, here’s the next men up: Kawhi Leonard The Spurs should always have someone in the MVP race due to their sustained excellence. Years ago, the argument was Tim Duncan, but as he aged, people focused on the younger Tony Parker as the leader of the Spurs. However, over the last two years, a new superstar has emerged to represent San Antonio in the MVP race . Coming off a defensive player of the year award, Kawhi Leonard is incredible on both sides of the floor. This season, Kawhi is averaging 20.7 points per game at an incredible 51.9% from the field, 50% from 3 and 88.7% from the free throw line. This shows tremendous improvement from his 2014-15 averages, scoring over 4 more points per game and shooting over 15 percentage points better from 3. If Kawhi can sustain his 3-point percentage, he will be only the second player since 2009-2010 to shoot over 50% from 3 in a season. Kawhi is the driving force behind an elite Spurs team on offense and defense. He is the centerpiece of the franchise and and arguably the best all-around basketball player in the NBA. Lebron James At this point, Lebron...
Top 5 Players Under 25

Top 5 Players Under 25

  By @OMaroney In this ranking, I based my criteria off the value that player has to his respective franchise. When you take this player off the team they are currently playing for, what is that team left with? 1. Kawhi Leonard Not only is Kawhi Leonard a great basketball player, he’s an even better example of what to be off the court. Following in the footsteps of Tim Duncan, he stays calm, humble, and has one of the best all-around games in the NBA. This is clearly his team and while he might not always look the part of a leader, he’s one who leads by example. He is averaging close to 22 points, two steals, and one block per game, while holding some of the NBA’s best scorers to under 25% shooting. The reigning defensive player of the year provides some of the best perimeter defense I’ve ever seen. In an age where we continue to see the backcourts “rule the roost”, perimeter defense has never been more vital. It’s clear the 24 year old has turned some heads, as he has progressively gotten better each and every year. But what has stunned me the most is his ability to score. Coming into the league, Kawhi was known as a defender and rebounder, but his shot was always criticized. Year over year, he’s improved in shooting and offensive efficiency, whilst taking more shots. This season, he’s averaging 52% field goal percentage while having a 56% eFG. His diverse all around skill set and his cool collected mentality, may lead him to MVP conversation this season. I think this year...
Is Byron Scott Hindering The Lakers More Than Helping Them?

Is Byron Scott Hindering The Lakers More Than Helping Them?

By Courtney Yates On July 28, 2014 the Lakers hired a familiar face to help wash away the stench of the last two seasons. Lakers hired one of their former players to try to lead the Lakers in a new direction. A lot of this was met with mixed results. Some thought that anyone would be an upgrade over the stubborn Mike D’Antoni while some (like Magic Johnson) thought this was the absolute right hire since Scott was on the Showtime Lakers. Others thought that Scott being head coach was a bad idea seeing as his track record since the back to back NBA Finals appearances has been less than stellar. Now we are in year 2 of the Scott era and results haven’t been good by any means. Scott, who has been heralded as a defensive coach has the Lakers currently surrendering 108.3 points per 100 possessions which is good for second worse in the league. The last six teams Scott has coached those teams have finished in the bottom 10 of the league in defensive efficiency. The last five of those teams have finished in the bottom five of that same category. Yes the Lakers haven’t been good defensively but most of the teams Scott has coached haven’t either so it’s not just THIS Lakers team. Things go beyond bad defense for the Lakers as Scott at one point considered starting Brandon Bass over Julius Randle before the season and benches rookie D’Angelo Russell during closing minutes of games. While it is apparent Scott is chasing wins he is hindering player development (which isn’t his strongest attribute)....
The Bright New Future of Detroit Basketball

The Bright New Future of Detroit Basketball

There’s something to be said for the positive and negative memories or associations we attach to people, places, or things. The NBA is no exception. If you hear names like, “The Los Angeles Lakers” or “ The Boston Celtics,” the first thing that comes to mind is probably their vast accrual of championships, or the great players that wore those uniforms. But what about the Detroit Pistons? Sadly, the first thing that comes to mind for myself when I think about the Pistons is a lucid Ron Artest charging the stands. The Malice at the Palace has burned its way into the minds of young fans. The Isiah Thomas Pistons are lore most of us never saw live, we’ve forgotten the boys and are left with only the bad. Reggie Miller talks about "The Malice at the Palace" 08/07/2015 https://t.co/cbKlos3Y0h via @YouTube — Fahad (@FahadAwan) November 7, 2015 All of that, however, is about to change. The 2015-2016 Pistons have busted out of the gates with a 5-2 record, embodying all that is a Stan Van Gundy team. In the offseason, Stan Van Gundy (SVG) let it be known that in order for his team to be competitive, the Pistons first had to change its defensive — or lack thereof — prowess. By season’s end last year, Detroit had amped up the defense, posting a defensive efficiency rating of 106.4 per 100 possessions, down from 109.7 the year prior to SVG taking over. This year, although the sample size is still very young, the Pistons are holding teams to 96.5 per night. The team also saw a drop in...
The Warriors Got Lucky Last Year

The Warriors Got Lucky Last Year

By Courtney Yates (Guest Writer) We all have heard it all offseason, “Golden State got lucky.” Frankly that couldn’t be anymore further from the truth. The Warriors played extremely hard and deserved their NBA title. It’s an unfair assessment to the long hours these guys put into practice and away from their families. “Golden State didn’t have to play the Spurs or the Clippers” Yes the Warriors didn’t have to play either of these teams, but these teams also didn’t have to play the Warriors. The Warriors controlled their own destiny by having the best record in the NBA while the Clippers had to finish runner up in the Pacific division. This guaranteed the Clippers. While the Spurs did win the season series 2-1 against Golden State the Warriors would have had the home advantage of the series where the Warriors had only lost 2 games at Oracle Arena up until the postseason. Neither of those losses came to the Spurs. The Clippers fared worse against the Warriors last season. Warriors won that series emphatically 3-1 and most games were dog fights the Warriors proved they had what it took to get the job done. Bottom line the Warriors played the teams in front of them and beat them all handily. This team was just on another level. “The Warriors faced a team with an injured point guard all during their playoff run.” Yes this is accurate. The Warriors played the Pelicans (without Jrue Holiday, the Grizzlies (with an injured Conley), the Rockets (without Beverley), and the Cavs (without Kyrie Irving after a Game 1 injury) however, how is...
2nd Round Knock Out: The 10 Best Second Rounders

2nd Round Knock Out: The 10 Best Second Rounders

Now that the trauma of the Celtics less-than-stellar draft has passed (Terry Rozier? With the potential of Kevon Looney and the combustible energy of Bobby Portis and Montrezel Harrell sitting RIGHT FREAKIN’ THERE?), I can go forward with my NBA off-season. I’ve traversed the 7 Stages OF NBA Grief – 1) Shock, 2) Fury, 3) Drinking, 4) Watching 2008 Celtic highlights, 5) Asking Obama on Twitter Why He Let Ainge Pick Rozier at 16, 6) Passing Out While Swearing , and 7) Watching Russell Westbrook Highlights – I turned my attention to the part of the draft I was too disgusted to watch: the 2nd round. Every year, teams do their due diligence in hoping to find their Manu Ginobili, their Paul Millsap, their Draymond Green or DeAndre Jordan: the player who’s flaws make teams overlook them in the 1st round, but who blossom into valuable NBA contributors. I spent countless hours (okay, about an hour and a half) poring through countless video sources (alright, Youtube) to bring you the 10 best picks from the 2nd round. Let’s stroll down the list and see if we can identify the gems for 2016. 10. Guillermo Hernangomez, Baloncesto Sevilla (Spain): 21 y/o, 6’11”, 255 lbs, Knicks, 35th pick 10.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 53.7% A large, skilled, strong-as-an-ox mobile Spaniard is headed to the Big Apple. Knicks fans may be praying for Marc Gasol, but will have to settle for Willy Hernangomez. He has nice footwork on the block and can hit the 15 footer. Haven’t seen the passing of a Gasol, but Hernangomez may come over from Spain in a year...
Aftermath: NBA Finals Game 3

Aftermath: NBA Finals Game 3

“Styles make fights.” Boxing adage “Everyone has a plan until they’re punched in the mouth.” Mike Tyson “Yo, yo, pressure busts pipes, it’s time to apply it now…” Beanie Sigel, “Reservoir Dogs” Forget everything you thought you knew about the science of basketball. Scrap the data culled from 1,230 of games and from SportsVu multi-camera tracking system and from intelligent men utilizing reams of information to build intricate statistical models and projections. No, the anti-analytics crowd isn’t right; there IS a place for deep diving stats in the NBA. There’s just no place for advanced number crunching in what’s shaping up to be a knock-down, drag out street fight. The Warriors have spent two seasons crafting first, an airtight defense and then a finely tuned, explosive offense, meshing gorgeous ball movement, thrilling long range shooting, and nifty passing, all based on clean cuts and spacing and long armed athletes and teamwork. It was a sight to behold, and many learned NBA writers and bloggers were genuinely asking if that Warriors were not just among, but THE best team ever (Here and here). All of the numbers and calculations are based on real things that transpired; they’re all couched in reality and vetted. The Cleveland Cavaliers, down their second, third, and some would say fourth (Anderson Varejao went down early in the year) best players, are aware that their foes are statistical darlings and prohibitive favorites in these the finals. LeBron James has arranged his ragtag bunch in ranks behind him, glared across the court at the Warriors, and basically said ,”We know you’re better. Prove it.” The result? The mighty Warriors find...
Aftermath: NBA Finals Game 1 Reaction

Aftermath: NBA Finals Game 1 Reaction

After a 7 month layoff between the close of the conference finals and the start of the Finals, last night’s game has taught me to love again. The Cavs and the Warriors gave us one of the most exciting games of the playoffs to date. Steph Curry has evolved right before our eyes, LeBron James keeps doing ridiculous legendary things, and Iman Shumpert was this close to etching his name into the history books with a game winning amazing “The Shot” moment. But the Golden State Warriors were up to the task, pulling away in overtime for a rousing 108-100 victory. Some thoughts from Game 1: 1. Describe the Cavs Game 1 in one word. “Tragic”. This was Cleveland’s best shot at stealing home court advantage; they had the Dubs on their heels early, Bron was cookin’, the Oracle Arena was unnerved and quiet. To have LeBron drop 44, Kyrie go for 25, have a chance to win it in regulation, then lose the game AND possibly Kyrie in OT is heartbreaking. The Cavs’ margin for error is razor thin. Stealing game 1 would have shifted the pressure squarely on the collective chest of the young Warriors and infused the Cavs with that much more confidence. As it stands, LeBron may be without his star point guard and is down 0-1 in hostile territory against a young team that now knows it can survive under the bright lights. 2. Describe the Warriors Game 1 in one word. “Gritty.” Apologize to the Dubs, Charles Barkley. The trope about Steve Kerr’s group being a “soft jump shooting team” is often trotted out,...