What is wrong with the Cleveland Cavaliers? This seems to be the question that everyone is asking lately. The Cavaliers have gotten off to a bad start and it seems like all the commentators and basketball experts are panicking. The Cavs as of today have five wins and seven losses, which places them in the 11th spot in the Eastern Conference.

In my opinion, everyone needs to calm down I believe the Cavs will come back to be the powerhouse of the Eastern Conference. The only team that is playing well in the East is the Boston Celtics, who are in first place. The second-place team is the Detroit Pistons and the third-place team is the Orlando Magic. Now, who really thinks the Pistons or Magic are better teams? No one, these teams are overachieving and will revert to old habits soon. This year the NBA implemented a shortened training camp and pre-season schedule, I believe this has affected teams that had huge personnel turnover. Someone will argue how come the Celtics and Houston are not having problems, the Celtics system was centered around a scoring point guard they just switch scoring point guards, therefore, the system needed a little adjustment. In Houston Chris Paul has not been playing, so the effects of that trade have not been seen yet. The Cavs are missing their point guard Isaiah Thomas, have injuries to key players, Dwayne Wade is trying to figure out where he can have the most positive impact, and Jae Crowder must figure out his role. My opinion on Jae Crowder is that he has been focusing on scoring too much, defense is where he hangs his hat, and this should be his primary focus. The concern that I have with the Cavs is that they should be a much better defensive team compared to last year. Defensive is about effort and I do not see that effort, maybe coach Lue needs to concentrate on defensive more. The Cavs have enough scoring power, so the offense is not the problem, LeBron can dominate a game offensively anytime he chooses.

Let me preference this by saying that I am not a LeBron James fan, but I respect the man’s game. LeBron is the best player in the NBA today, people will argue Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant but LeBron, in my opinion, is the best, we can debate this later (just post a comment). LeBron will bring the Cavs back to its dominance soon, the Cavs will be back in the championship game. You would think by now people would not doubt this man’s ability and desire to win, he has proven repeatedly his greatness. This is just another instance where he will prove his nay-sayers wrong




Could this be the greatest rookie class ever? I know it is early in the season but most of these rookies are starting to look like they are worth their weight in goals. Normally rookies look at to be work in progress, most teams draft rookies with expectations that it will be a few years before they can become good NBA players.

Most rookies struggle with the speed of the NBA game, the traveling, a number of games each week, length of the season and the minimal amount of time to prepare for a game. All these things are the reason why it takes rookies sometime before they can become consistent contributors. Most fans understand this and are patient with the development of the rookies. There are only so many LeBron James, now speaking of LeBron James his draft class may be one the best NBA Draft classes. 2003 NBA Draft class produced 9 players to appear in an All-Star game, 11 NBA championship winners, and easily 4 Hall of Famers. It will be hard to beat the draft class of 2003 but I think the class that might have the best chance of being just as good or better is the draft class of 2017. Again, I know the season just started but these rookies are playing great basketball, I will admit they are not doing it on a night to night basis, but they are contributing in a major way each game. Lonzo Ball, De ’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, TJ Leaf, Jayson Tatum, Lauri Markkanen, Dennis Smith, Jr, Donovan Mitchell, Bam Adebayo, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, and Sindarius Thornwell have been playing valuable minutes for their teams. These players have been a factor in the success of their teams usually, there are two or three rookies making this type of impact.

Will this draft produce 9 all-stars and 11 NBA championship winners, I do not know, maybe not but I will enjoy watching. This may be the passing of the torch, LeBron, Wade, and Melo are getting older they have to leave the league in the hands of great players and the draft class might be it. The NBA is lucky just as the lights are starting to dim on some of their stars the NBA gets an influx of new bright baby stars.


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Willful ignorance or plausible deniability? If you are a basketball fan you are aware Rick Pitino has been fired from his coaching job at the University of Louisville because the scandal surrounding the fact that players were paid to sign with the school. Louisville is not the school accused of these actions. Recently Pitino did an interview with Jay Bilas for ESPN, during this interview Pitino stated that he had no knowledge of players being paid.

After watching the interview, listening to comments and reading comments it seems that most people do not believe Pitino’s response that he had no knowledge of the illegal activity. The comments center around that he is the head coach and how was he not aware of the reason these players decided to attend his program, he was also involved in a previous scandal and he made the same claim of not having knowledge. Many believe after the first scandal he would be more hands-on and more aware of his staff activities. This is a fair assessment, but is he responsible for every person, can he be there for the players, his family, coaching and other duties. Pitino during the interviewed stated he was given a lie detector test and he passed the test. Some may believe this makes him innocent, but it also depends on what was asked and how was the question asked. For example, if he was asked about a specific incident he might not be aware of that specific incident. He might have an overall knowledge of the recruiting tactics but not specific knowledge. I think all coaches know how these players are recruited. As I stated in a previous post the players deserve to be paid for their talents.

Do I believe that coach Pitino was willfully ignorant or utilizing plausible deniability, I do not know and I do not care. These coaches are using everything they can to remain competitive, these schools rely on these programs being competitive. This is the college sports recruiting game and this has been a part of it for many years and will remain a part of the recruiting process. Players family members get hired by the school, players siblings get to go to the school for free and no one says anything about this. They want to bring down legendary individuals because one man got caught doing something he knew was wrong, so instead of taking his medicine, he would rather destroy the game of basketball.


What happened to the Atlanta Hawks? It wasn’t so long ago the Hawks were one of the elite teams in the NBA. For some time, the Hawks had perennial all-star Joe Johnson along with should have been all-star Josh Smith. After this regime, the Hawks had maybe one of the best team with five good players Kyle Korver, Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, Al Horford and DeMarre Carroll. Four of the five were all-stars in 2015. Usually, teams on the verge of greatness build on what they have but for some reason, the Hawks went the opposite way.

During the 2014-2015 season, the Hawks finished first in their division, Mike Budenholzer, the coach, was named coach for the East All-Star team and four Hawks players were named to that same All-Star team. The Hawks record that year was 60 wins and 22 loses. The only team who had a better record that season was the Golden State Warriors who went on to win the championship that season. The Warriors build on their success, so why didn’t the Hawks do the same thing?

I am not fortunate enough to have an inside ear on what is going on with the Atlanta Hawks but this has to be a severe case of mismanagement or no understanding of basketball. I know in the beginning of the season the Hawks had to deal with the scandal surrounding their general manager Danny Ferry, eventually, Danny left the organization but this is the same season the Hawks won 60 games. If they are going to blame the downfall on Danny Ferry then Danny is either a great basketball mind and that the reason for the success or the scandal did more damage than we thought and that is the reason for the fall. I believe the reason for the fall is bad management. The team loses DeMarre Carroll, Al Horford, and Paul Millsap in free agency when the Hawks can pay them more than any other team. They trade Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague for nothing. I understand maybe management feels Dennis Schroder is the future point guard for the Hawks and Korver is getting older. In the Teague trade, the Hawks get the 12th pick in the draft, which turns out to be Taurean Prince. Prince is a poor man’s DeMarre Carroll, so they should have resigned Carroll. They traded Korver for Mike Dunleavy and Mo Williams both players are no longer in the league.

The Hawks went from one of the best teams in the league to one of the worst teams in the league in two seasons. The best players now are Dennis Schroder and Kent Bazemore, two players who are not household names and do not sell tickets. I do not hear many NBA comments talking about the downfall of the Hawks. But I was just sitting here wondering WHAT HAPPENED TO THE ATLANTA HAWKS?

I am sure by now everyone has heard about the recent scandal surrounding college basketball. Anyway, I will not bore you with the sorted details but in a nutshell, several assistant coaches from prestigious colleges have been arrested by the FBI for paying players to attend these colleges. Well-known coaches such as Rick Pitino from the University of Louisville have been let go. Other coaches may follow in Pitino’s foot-steps. 

 In my opinion, all of this is very hypocritical the pressure put on these coaches to recruit top level talent is ridiculous. As I stated in a previous post everyone benefits from the player’s talent except the player. The reason the coaches need to get top talent is not solely based on winning, the better the talent the more money from shoe companies and television. The main reason they do not want kids going from high school to the NBA is that the NCAA revenue suffers when this happens.  

Just look at the salaries of the coaches and the athletic directors, these individuals are making millions each year and that is not counting the salaries of the coaching staff, trainers, and others. If I am a top tier player and deciding which college to attend the important factors of my decision would be the style of play, playing time, and best route to the NBA. If there are three schools who are equal in all categories the one who pays me would tip the scale.  These coaches have to do what is necessary to remain competitive, the better the team increase attendance to games, and alumni donations. The schools are aware of what is being done to recruit these players. 

Side note, look at the discussion surrounding Lamelo Ball’s eligibility because his father has released a shoe in his name and Lamelo receives income from the sale of the shoe. His eligibility is in question because what he is selling not because he is making money. If they were selling eyeglasses, for example, the NCAA would not care but because he is selling shoes and this will impact the money they receive from shoe companies it is an issue.  

 Instead of arresting and firing these coaches for doing the job they were asked to do how about the NCAA pay their athletes what they are worth. What is the government step in and say the school is only allowed to earn a specific amount of the athlete and the rest of the money goes into a fund the athlete receives after he or she leaves the school. I bet the NCAA would fight against this with all they have because forbid the people who deserve the money actually get the money. 

Who will rule the West? Has the game of thrones begun in the NBA? Will the King be able to rule over the NBA after this season? I ask these questions because I have a funny feeling the results that all the analysts have demised since the most recent trade of Carmelo Anthony is wrong. People have criticized Kyrie Irving for wanting to be traded from the Cavaliers and LeBron James. Many think the acquisition of Carmelo Anthony will not have a huge impact on Golden State. I beg to differ, I believe there will be new leaders of the NBA after this season.

I am going to say this right now OKC Thunder will dethrone the Golden State Warriors.  People are not giving the acquisition of Melo the respect it deserves, regardless of what ESPN has ranked Melo he is still one of the top 30 players in the league. His peers know he is a matchup problem and virtually unstoppable once he gets it going. Does Melo have something to prove and the answer is yes. He has been disrespected all year first by Phil Jackson and the Knicks; by fans and by ESPN. He can say it does not bother him but he will come out with a vengeance. People will argue he cannot stop Kevin Durant but Kevin Durant cannot stop him either. If KD tries to guard him in the post this will wear on KD and affect his offense. Now people will say Draymond Green can guard Melo, Draymond has a temper and has been labeled as a dirty player. Melo will get him in foul trouble easily.

Paul George is one of the best two players in the league and another year past the horrible injury. PG has something prove this is a contract year, PG will be able to concentrate on defensive more because he does not have to carry a huge offensive load. PG shooting percentage will increase, he will not have to face double teams and other defensive schemes. PG will probably have one of the most enjoyable seasons of career up until this point, there will be no pressure on him.

Russell Westbrook, we all know Westbrook is a beast. The man plays full throttle the entire game and he did this an entire season. You saw how bad he wanted to be the Warriors last season, now he has the help he needs to accomplish this task. Westbrook can save some of his energy just for the Warriors. After Kevin Durant’s most recent comments about the Thunder and Billy Donovan, he reignited that fire that led Westbrook to average a triple-double, not mention Billy Donovan also has something to prove.

Whoever reading this may think I have lost my mind but let’s wait and see. Beating the Warriors may come down to bench performance but there is one factor that does not show up in the stat sheets or analytics. They are heart, will, and the desire to shut your nay-sayers up.

Again, we have the Ball family in the news, by the way, it is a good thing, but this time the controversy is surrounding the baby Ball, Lamelo. Lamelo has come out with his own shoe because he has his own shoe he may be prohibited from playing NCAA basketball. According to NCAA rules, the use of a player’s name or image to advertise or promote a product is strictly forbidden.

First, Lamelo has two more years of high school before he will be in college, therefore if he stops promoting his shoe before then is he still ineligible? If his father owned a hardware store that’s named the Balls and an image of the entire family was on the front of the store would he still be ineligible? How can you penalize a person for profiting off the work he has done? If he was a painter would they stop him from selling his art?

Secondly, the NCAA are hypocrites, everyone is profiting off the athlete’s likeness and name except the athlete. Many of the schools have a deal with shoe companies, the NCAA television deal is based off the players, every NCAA commercial highlights the players, and they sell merchandise related to the player. So, the NCAA is saying we are only allowed to profit from your ability and we do not want to share any of that revenue with you.

Once again, Lava Ball is disrupting the natural order of doing business, he has empowered himself and his children. They are not employees they are owners and this way of thinking has infuriated the so-called businessmen because if the Ball family is successful this will forever change the way business is done surrounding the game of basketball. People and corporations make money off basketball players at all levels, Lava Ball recognized this early and decide if anyone is going to benefit from his sons’ talent it will be his family. Somehow people are convinced this mindset is wrong, professional athletes are so happy being an employee they cannot support the Ball efforts.

My prediction is that Lamelo Ball will not be eligible to play college basketball because the NCAA needs the Ball family to fail. Based on this happening I am going to make another prediction, there will be another basketball league created in America that will allow players to play straight out of High School. The new league will be back by Chinese businessmen and a player with strong ties to the Chinese business community, such as Dwayne Wade or Stephon Marbury will be the catalyst for the new league.

Is the Big 3 the next big thing? Will the NBA get involved in the Big 3? How will the success of the Big 3 affect the game of basketball? Will Ice Cube remains a major part of the Big 3 league? The Big 3 basketball league just completed its inaugural season and needless to say it was a success. Ice Cube and the other people involved created an appealing commodity, having the games travel city to city was ingenious. This format allowed the games to become the main attraction in each city.

We know the game of basketball has become a global sport and the NBA has been working hard to expand the game with regards to the games lasting well into the summer. The NBA summer league is becoming more successful each year. Ticket sales have increased for summer league games, more of the current NBA stars are attending games. By the stars attending the games, this gives the fans more incentive to attend summer league. The NBA pre-season starts in October and the summer league ends in July, this leaves just two months without professional basketball. The Big 3 goes to the end of August. What if the Big 3 was played during the months of August and September, this would allow fans to watch highly competitive games all year round. The Big 3 had all this success without the help of the NBA, if the NBA would help promote the Big 3 league the success would skyrocket. In my opinion, it would be wise for the NBA to get involved.

Just imagine how more much success the Big 3 league would have if the NBA got involved and if more of the more well-known retired NBA players got involved. If Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Rasheed Wallace, and Tim Duncan were to play in the league I believe every game would be sold out to watch them play. After the Big 3 championship, the Big 3 can put together an all-star team and the Big 3 all-star team play pre-season games against NBA teams. Doing this will benefit all parties because there are several players in the Big 3 league that can contribute to an NBA team. The NBA for some reason have decided that these players are too old to play in the NBA, but after watching the Big 3 games one can see that players like DeShawn Stevenson, Stephen Jackson, Rashard Lewis and Ricky Davis can still be viable players in the NBA. NBA teams may find that veteran leadership they need to carry their team farther into the post season.

Ice Cube has found a diamond my only fear is if the NBA does get involved will they find a way to push Ice Cube out or limit his involvement. The Big 3 will be bigger than the G league because the Big 3 can provide household names to attract views. Is the Big 3 the next big thing, yes it is and it can only get bigger.

What is a professional athlete’s social responsibility? How does this social responsibility affect his or her career? Does their social responsibility affect their choice of teams to play for?

I ask these questions because recently we have seen LeBron James make comments concerning the state of the country and the impact it is having on the community. Kevin Durant has made disparaging comments about Donald Trump, which he states he will not go to the White House if invited. We have seen Carmelo Anthony marching with the citizens of Baltimore protesting the situation surrounding Freddie Gray.

In light of the Colin Kaepernick situation, Colin is currently unemployed because of his stance against injustice. I am not saying the same type of black balling of players will happen in the NBA based on the player’s position or activism regarding social issues but how does it affect their career decisions. Will a player not sign with a certain team if the owner has different political or social views? For example, Dan Gilbert the Cleveland Cavaliers owner is a Donald Trump support and LeBron James was a Hilary Clinton supporter. LeBron has express disapproval of how Trump is handling certain issues. Can LeBron work for someone who has a different view point on matters that affect his community? Can Dan Gilbert employ a player who speaks out loud against people or policies he may support?

The professional sports leagues always want players to be role models, they even have morality clauses put in some players contracts. Do owners expect players to appear as role models in the situation they deem acceptable? Most players are role models or heroes to the people for the areas they grew up in, therefore shouldn’t the concerns of these people take precedence?  A professional athlete’s popularity does not last long, will he or she use their platform to pacify many or help those in need?

 

We are all well aware of the situation regarding Colin Kaepernick but was refreshing was Mark Cuban statement. Mark Cuban stated he encourages players to exercise their constitutional rights. There are many people who believe that athletes should not be activist or involve themselves in political issues. Some people have these beliefs but one has to remember they are still considered Black or African-American athletes. This clearly indicates they are Black first before they became professional athletes they were Black after they retire they will still be Black. Because someone is rich and famous does not absolve them from being Black.

The mind set of some people is that athletes are rich and famous, therefore they do not experience life as other black people. That statement itself is troubling, people are suggesting because a person has reached a certain level of success he or she should not be concerned about the rest of the people who look like them. LeBron James may arguably the most famous professional Black athlete in the world today but some still wrote the “N” word on his property. Just think for a minute how cruel and confusing this world is, you are a person who has millions of people of all races wearing your jersey, your sneakers, wanting your autograph or wanting a picture of you. Then one person can destroy all the love you received from these fans by calling you the “N” word. How do you explain this to your children, how do you explain to your children that you are remaining quiet about issues concerning the black community?

People need to remember these athletes may reside in nice neighborhoods but they could not move their entire family into these neighborhoods and all their family members are not recognizable.  I say they are not recognizable because having a famous nephew does not mean people will know this and treat you with the respect you deserve. How many people know what Dwayne Wade’s cousin looks like, so if his cousin is mistreated based on his race should Dwayne Wade remain silent. How do you have a platform and your family members, people you grew up with and friends are experiencing harsh racism and you not say anything?

Athletes should not have to choose between standing up for what they believe in or a pay check. Black athletes are more than accountable to the team and fans, they have family and their community to think of. Without family and their community they may not be the professional they are today. In my opinion, every person regardless of race needs to work to move their community further.