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.

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.

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?

 

Michael Jordan is considered by most to be the greatest basketball player of all time. The question comes up who is numbers two. Recently, Magic Johnson was mention but I am not going to address the Magic issue. The argument that I mostly hear about is it LeBron or Kobe? Let me preference this by stating I am not a fan of either player, I respect both of their games and what they have accomplished in the game and for the game of basketball.

When I look at LeBron and Kobe’s career up until this point I would have to give the nod to LeBron. First LeBron career is not over so for this to be a debate means that LeBron has accomplished enough up until this point to be even consider number two. Where Kobe has an edge on LeBron is his competitiveness. Kobe is an assassin, he will do anything in his power to win and he always well prepared for the game. LeBron has been to 8 finals with 7 of them being consecutive, this is a great feat in itself, I know he has lost more than he has won but regardless finals with three different teams is outstanding. I say three different teams because the first Cavaliers team was completely different. The argument people will make on Kobe’s behalf is that Kobe has 5 rings and LeBron only has three. But people quickly forget Kobe was not the leader of the Lakers for the first three championships, Shaq was the MVP of those teams. For the first two championships seasons Kobe did not make the All-NBA first team. Kobe was Robin to Shaq’s Batman. This maybe a hard pill for Kobe fans to swallow but fact are facts. LeBron was the leader on all his teams, even in Miami Wade turned over the leadership role to LeBron.

Now I am not saying LeBron is the second greatest player of all-time, what I am saying is in my opinion he should be ahead of Kobe on the list. The Magic Johnson argument I will address at a later time if needed. I believe for a player’s name to mention as the second greatest players of all-time means the player has exceed his goals.

Do great players win a championship or do great teams win championships? I ask this question because most of the comments I have read and conversion I have had people seem to blame the players for the team’s failures. Before we use to hear the debate which teams were better 1989-90 Detroit Pistons, 1995-96 Chicago Bulls or 1984-1985 Los Angeles Lakers. Now the debate surrounds the players, who are the best point guard, who has the better jump shot or who is the better score? The way the game is viewed has changed but players are being blamed because the team does not live up to the expectations of the fans.

There are two players in particular that in my opinion receive too much criticism for their team’s failures, there are Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony.  Chris Paul’s Clippers lost in the first round of the playoffs and Carmelo Anthony’s Knicks did not make the playoffs. Many people are blaming these players for the dismal performance of the teams. I have seen people write that Paul is overrated and Carmelo is overpaid, which I strongly disagree. Basketball is a team sport, no matter how great or good the player is he or she cannot win a championship without being on a good team. Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest player to ever play the game of basketball but he would not have won a championship without being on a great team. Jordan did not win a championship every year, when his team was not great they lost. I think LeBron James has the fans spoiled because he can go from team to team and that team becomes a contender for the championship. What people do not realize is how he and David Griffin, the Cavaliers general manager, are constantly looking at ways to improve the team. LeBron and David do this because they know it takes a great team to win a championship. Kevin Durant knows no matter how great of a player he is he will never win the championship if he is not on a great team and that is why he signed with Golden State.

Back to Paul and Carmelo, both players give their all on the basketball court, people are delusional if they think these players will not do anything to win. Put them in the right situation with the right team and they will win. Are they best players at their position, no but are they among the best and the answer is yes.

The game of basketball is a team sport and always will be a team sport. One individual can impact a team’s future but one player cannot win the championship. Instead of criticizing a player for the team’s failure how about cheering him for his or her efforts. When listening to past champions talk about winning one of the first things they say is that everyone has to perform at their peak, from the front office to the ball boy.  If you believe one player solely determines a championship then you need to be watching tennis.  Now, do you believe great players win a championship or great teams?