Tag Archives: Lebron James

The Upcoming NBA Season: What to expect, offseason moves and their impact, standings, awards and more…​

What a wild offseason it has been! Starting off with the NBA Draft, we saw Markelle Fultz leave the board first, teaming up with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid in Philly, followed by the most prominent name of the summer, Lonzo Ball, be selected by the Lakers at number 2. The Celtics traded down to 3 and snagged Jayson Tatum, potentially the most talented player in the entire draft. Josh Jackson went 4th to Phoenix, and De’Aaron Fox went to the Kings, rounding out the top 5 picks. With Jimmy Butler traded to the T-Wolves, the offseason was off to a wild start. We saw Chris Paul traded to the Rockets to join James Harden, and Paul George and Carmelo Anthony traded to the Thunder to team up with Westbrook. Paul Millsap joined Denver to speed up their rebuilding process. Gordon Hayward left the Jazz to join the Celtics, and shortly after, Kyrie Irving was traded in a blockbuster deal for Isaiah Thomas, a first-round pick and more. D-Wade signed a one year, $2.3 million deal with the Cavaliers, rejoining former teammate and good friend, LeBron James.

Big contract extensions were also a big theme this offseason. Kyle Lowry, Blake Griffin, John Wall, Steph Curry and Russell Westbrook all signed max deals with their respective teams.

So, what should we expect this season? Will Boston dethrone Cleveland in the East? Can anybody beat Golden State? Who will win MVP? Will the Lakers or Sixers make the playoffs?

Here’s what I’m thinking:

Five Hot Takes:

  1. Jayson Tatum will prove to be the best player in the draft (he will not win ROY).
  2. Joel Embiid will play at least 65 games and average at least 25 points a game.
  3. Giannis Antetokounmpo will win MVP (accomplishing Kobe Bryant’s challenge).
  4. Brandon Ingram will win Most Improved Player.
  5. Damian Lillard will be an All-Star starter (accomplishing Kobe Bryant’s challenge).

 

Top Storylines:

  1. The steep decline of Dwight Howard and why he should not be a Hall of Famer.
  2. Why Westbrook’s extension means that LeBron to LA is no longer a given.
  3. Will DeMarcus Cousins team up with John Wall in Washington?
  4. Kyle Kuzma’s emergence as a draft steal—what does this mean for the future?
  5. When will Trusting the Process lead to contending for titles?

 

Players with the most to prove this season:

  1. Carmelo Anthony (needs to show an ability to defend, create offense in transition)
  2. Dwight Howard (needs to prove that he won’t create dissension in the locker room)
  3. LaMarcus Aldridge (needs to prove that he is tough enough to play for Pop)
  4. Lonzo Ball (needs to show the NBA why Lavar is so high on him as an overall talent)
  5. Kyrie Irving (needs to prove that he can be the primary option on a title contender)

 

Standings

Eastern Conference:

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers
  2. Boston Celtics
  3. Washington Wizards
  4. Milwaukee Bucks
  5. Toronto Raptors
  6. Philadelphia Sixers
  7. Detroit Pistons
  8. Miami Heat

 

Western Conference:

  1. Golden State Warriors
  2. Oklahoma City Thunder
  3. San Antonio Spurs
  4. Houston Rockets
  5. Minnesota Timberwolves
  6. Memphis Grizzlies
  7. Los Angeles Clippers
  8. Los Angeles Lakers

 

Awards:

MVP: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Most Improved Player: Brandon Ingram

Defensive Player of the Year: Hassan Whiteside

Rookie of the Year: Dennis Smith, Jr.

Comeback Player of the Year: Danilo Gallinari

Points Leader: Kevin Durant

Rebounds Leader: DeAndre Jordan

Assists Leader: Russell Westbrook

Blocks Leader: Hassan Whiteside

Steals Leader: Chris Paul

Most impact on a new team: Jimmy Butler

Least impact on a new team: Tim Hardaway Jr.

 

NBA Playoff Predictions

Eastern Conference Finals:

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics: Cleveland in 7

Western Conference Finals:

Golden State Warriors vs. Oklahoma City Thunder: Golden State in 7

NBA Finals:

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors: Golden State in 6

Finals MVP: Kevin Durant

 

What are your thoughts and feelings about this upcoming season?

 

Image via: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByVvmw2bbSw

About Me: I’m Spencer Alexander Zied, a freshman at the University of Miami from New York, New York. I love to play basketball and tennis, and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants, Yankees and all U-Miami sports. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN. You can email me at spencer.zied@gmail.com or connect with me on Twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (szied713).

Blockbuster Deal: Kyrie Irving to Boston

After a wild offseason, a blockbuster trade took place last night when Kyrie Irving was traded to the Boston Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets 2018 first round pick.

Who would’ve thought the 1st pick in the 2011 NBA Draft would be traded for the last pick in that same draft?

So, who won in the deal?

Well, the Cavs won the trade- for this season. They were able to fulfill Irving’s request for a trade and got a guy who averaged 30 points a game last season in Thomas, as well as a solid starting caliber player in Crowder.

To combine those two with LeBron James, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith and Derrick Rose, they should see themselves in another NBA Finals.

However, they don’t yet have the pieces to beat Golden State due to IT4’s poor defense and Tristan Thompson’s lack of offensive skills. So, what happens at the end of this season when James and IT4 are free agents?

The best scenario for Cleveland is for Thomas and James to re-sign, as well as signing a marquee free agent such as Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins, Carmelo Anthony or someone of that caliber to pair with them.

Of course, James and IT4 would need to take pay cuts in order for the team to have the cap space. Knowing that they’re on the clock, they would most likely trade the Nets pick for a star as well, maybe packaged with Kevin Love.

On the flip side, James could very well leave next season and join Lonzo Ball, Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram, Larry Nance Jr., and Julius Randle in Los Angeles, and maybe even Paul George or Russell Westbrook.

I’d be surprised to see James in a Cavaliers uniform at the start of next season. If James left Cleveland, IT4 would most likely leave as well.

So what did the Celtics gain?

Well, they acquired a superstar in Kyrie Irving. They made the rotation tighter by getting rid of Crowder, allowing Jayson Tatum to get more touches, as well as allowing Jaylen Brown to develop as a firm rotation player behind Tatum and Gordon Hayward.

With Al Horford, Marcus Morris, Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart and Gerald Green rounding out the rotation, the Celtics see themselves a piece away from being able to capture a title in the next 2 to 4 years.

Yes, the Celtics lost the Nets 2018 pick, however IT4 was most likely going to leave Boston, and Crowder made the rotation too crowded (no pun intended) for Brown and Tatum to be able to thrive.

I believe the Celtics won the deal long term, because James and Thomas will likely leave Cleveland after losing to Golden State in the NBA Finals, which will leave them with a top pick and Love as their franchise cornerstones.

I get the sense that Irving will enjoy playing for the Celtics because he is the best player on the team, and has a great number 2 option in Gordon Hayward, as well as guys like Horford and Morris who do not need to dominate the ball to be effective.

While they are still a piece away, they can address it next summer due to the plethora of star free agents on the market such as Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins and others.

Not to mention, Kyrie Irving is only 25 years old, and it gives Boston a sense of direction for the future.

Who do you think won the trade?

About Me: I’m Spencer Alexander Zied, a freshman at the University of Miami from New York, New York. I love to play basketball and tennis, and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants, Yankees and Miami Hurricanes football and basketball. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN. You can email me at spencer.zied@gmail.com or connect with me on Twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (szied713).

New Way to Measure a Player’s Impact

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Even though the NBA season has concluded, there is still much to be discussed. I have created a new statistic called “Impact rating” (IMPR). This statistic attempts to quantify the number of points that a player adds to his team’s performance.  It is very different from other methods – I am not simply adding points, rebounds, assists and other attributes. This stat recognizes that each NBA possession produces about 1 point on average. It then looks into which players over the course of a game create or subtract from possessions and add to the average value of a possession over the course of a game. It is also different because it penalizes missed shots with the view that these ended a valuable possession.

So, here is the formula: Free throws made (0.5) + 2pt shots made + 3pt shots made (2) + blocks (0.5) + steals + assists (0.5) + defensive rebounds (0.29) + offensive rebounds (0.71) – free throws missed(0.5) – field goals missed(0.71) – turnovers ÷ minutes played. The reason for the values is based on the fact that for each possession, on average, one point is expected. Now of course we know that a team can get 0, 1, 2, 3 or 4 points for/during each possession, but it averages out to right around 1. As for rebounding, 29% of rebounds are grabbed by the offense, so they are harder to come by than defensive rebounds. Therefore, defensive rebounds are worth less than offensive rebounds.  However, this cannot be calculated properly for players from earlier eras when Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlin played because there was no 3-point line and there was no distinction between offensive and defensive rebounds.

I took 30 random players from as far back as Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson, to as recent as Karl Anthony Towns to see where they all stood, and the results are fascinating! Last season, Stephen Curry had a score of 14.5, the highest calculated yet! Kawhi Leonard had a score of 11.1, while Paul George only had a 5.4. While Allen Iverson’s MVP season was great, his score rolled in at a 3.5! That is due to the number of missed shots- yet of course it does not factor in any of his other options on offense (there weren’t many). Michael Jordan, the greatest of all time had a career score of nearly 12, which shows not only his greatness, but also his consistent durability. Karl Anthony Towns had nearly a 9, much better than Kristaps Porzingis and D’Aneglo Russell combined! Chris Paul needs to be shown some respect as his score was a whopping 12, one of the highest calculated for last season. But don’t worry, even though Lebron James tends to coast during the regular season he came in at about 10.5. At the bottom of the barrel was Ben McLemore who scored a measly 1.25.

Now, this statistic should not solely define a player, as it is only one statistic out of many. However, this is another effective way to measure players. Unlike plus/minus, this stat does not take into account how one’s teammates are performing; it is only one measure of a player’s impact on the game. Although there has not yet been enough data collected, a ranking sheet will come out shortly! There can and will be improvements to this as on-ball defense is undervalued in this stat (opponent field goal %).

Stay tuned, as there will be a handful of things being covered in the near future such as the scores of the last 20 MVPs, player comparisons, and more!

Image via www.logodesignlove.com

About me: I’m Spencer Alexander Zied, a rising 12th grader from New York, New York. I love to play basketball and tennis, and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants, Yankees and the Oregon football team. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN2. You can email me at spencer.zied@gmail.com or connect with me on Twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (szied713).

Kevin Durant: A Game Changer

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Kevin Durant has agreed to sign with the… Golden State Warriors?!?! Yes, this is true. So, now what?

Is there an issue with this signing? Well, Durant has the right to go wherever he would like to because he is a free agent. It is his choice to choose which team he would like to be of service to. Why should anyone have a problem with that? Here’s why…

Durant is an MVP, an all star, and an elite superstar. His stats last season were 28 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists per game on better than 50% field goal shooting and almost 90% shooting from the free throw line. Impressive numbers! Any team would benefit from having a superstar like Durant.

In the Western Conference Finals, leading 3-1 in the series, the Thunder were 48 minutes away from heading to the NBA finals to face the Cleveland Cavaliers. Golden State defended their home court and won game 5, having to head back to Oklahoma City down 3-2. Leading late in the game, Durant and his partner in crime, Russell Westbrook, choked down the stretch and let the game go, eventually blowing the series and going home early. Durant shot 10-31 in that game and although 6’11”, played more like he was 4’11” late in that game. That was the final game Durant played in Oklahoma City wearing a Thunder jersey.

Flashback to the morning after the Game 7 defeat in the Western Conference Finals:

One might argue that Durant should leave. That the chemistry between him and Westbrook does not seem to translate into winning. I happen to agree, and think Durant should find a new home. Some teams including the Spurs, Heat, Clippers, Celtics and some others look like nice destinations where he could compete for a possible run at a championship.

Flash forward:

If, hypothetically, Durant had announced his decision to go play for the Warriors that morning, what would the reactions be? Similar to mine now, I’m sure. So of course, the Warriors did not win the championship—they too blew a 3-1 lead to Lebron James, Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The MVP Steph Curry certainly did not play like an MVP in the finals. However, the Warriors still have 3 all star caliber players and 3 top 20 players on their roster at this time. Why would they want Durant? The better question would be why would he want to go there?

On July 4th, Durant lit the fireworks. Here are my issues with his decision:

He is a superstar who is joining other superstars to form a super team. I’m not a big fan of super teams, as I like competition. In addition, Curry won back to back MVP awards and the Warriors already won a championship without Durant. The Warriors have the two best shooters in the NBA and most likely the greatest backcourt of all time. This is essentially an, “if you can’t beat them, join them” approach which I find an extremely weak mentality for an extremely strong player. If Durant and the Warriors win a ring, I believe his legacy will be tainted in some form due to the immense talent around him. Now, don’t get this confused with the LeBron “decision” of 2010. This is different because he is leaving a good team with another superstar on it, Russell Westbrook. LeBron left Mo Williams—a bit of a difference, no? Also, he joined other stars, yes, but he did not join the team that continued to beat him, the Boston Celtics. He joined a solid team who he thought could compete against the Celtics, as they certainly did. I didn’t have a problem with what James did, but with how he did it. As for Durant, I don’t have a problem that he left his team but with the team he chose to be on.

Although many people have different opinions on this matter, there is one fact that lies in the rough: this is all because of LeBron. Durant most likely thought that James would beat him in more finals if he made them, just like in 2012. The Warriors knew that a fully healthy Cleveland squad had an edge on the Warriors sharpshooters. Therefore, they combined forces to win the title, with none other than James, a 3-time champion, standing in their way. Two of those rings came at the hands of the Warriors and Durant’s Thunder.

Durant is a sellout who jumped on the bandwagon of the Golden State Warriors along with the 100,000,000 other people. This is an incredibly weak move by a superstar like him. I have no problem with people wanting to get their money. If he would have stayed behind and taken the max from the Thunder, I would have had no problem. If he went to any other team besides the two that were in the finals and took a pay cut to compete for a championship, I would have had no problem. But the fact that he went to the team that not only won a title, but beat him in his path to the NBA finals shows incredible weakness not only by Durant, but by the Warriors as well. This further legitimizes LeBron James’ greatness, because this is entirely revolved around him, whether you believe it or not.

Durant has been my favorite player since he was drafted out of Texas in 2007 to the Seattle Sonics, now the OKC Thunder. I did not mind that he left. I did not believe the chemistry between him and Westbrook would have led to a title. But the fact that he joined the team that beat him, a team that is already solidified as a champion, a team that has a two-time MVP on it? That’s just low. It makes him look weak. This will taint his legacy, regardless of how many rings he wins with this team, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 11, 13, it doesn’t matter. He will be known as a piece to a puzzle that was already complete. He has soiled the competition of the NBA, because I don’t see anyone who will be able to beat them when fully healthy.

He is still a phenomenal player, but I have lost too much respect for him over this “easy path to a ring” mentality of his. He could have chosen any other team, yet he decided to jump on the bandwagon. This is parallel to if Wilt Chamberlain would have joined Bill Russell’s Celtics; if Michael Jordan joined the bad boy Pistons; If Larry Bird joined the Showtime Lakers; If Steve Nash joined the Spurs; If LeBron joined the Celtics. It’s weak, and I can’t root for him any longer. I hope he enjoys his ring. He surly “earned” it.

Image via davidsantana.sportsblog.com

About me: I’m Spencer Alexander Zied, a rising 12th grader from New York, New York. I love to play basketball and tennis, and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants, Yankees and the Oregon football team. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN2. You can email me at spencer.zied@gmail.com or connect with me on Twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (szied713).

The NBA Finals are Complete… What’s Next?

A 73-9 team versus a team that hasn’t won since… ever. Who would you have bet on? Last night, the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers faced off for the second straight year, but this time, things were different. Kyrie Irving was healthy, along with the less important Kevin Love. After the Cavs looked lost and they were down 3-1 in Golden State, they turned it around and won three straight games to bring a title back to Cleveland, something LeBron James promised when he was drafted out of high school in 2003. The King fulfilled his destiny, but what does this mean for his legacy? And what will last night’s loss mean for the Warriors?

LeBron James, a 3-time champion, did someone that no one—not Jordan, not Kobe, not Kareem, not Magic, not Bird—has done. He led all players on both teams in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks, as well as recorded the first NBA Finals game 7 triple double since James Worthy! LeBron James certainly proved his greatness this series, and led the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history. However, let us not say he did it by himself because he did not. Kyrie Irving, for one, was essential during this series. The physical play of Tristan Thompson definitely elevated the Cav’schances in this series as well. Role players such as J.R. Smith, Richard Jefferson (yes, he still plays, but he just retired) and even Kevin Love in game 7, completed the puzzle to defeat the defending champs and reclaim the gold. So, what does this mean for LeBron’s legacy?

LeBron James is an all-time great player, but where does he rank? Well, this is a question that many people can dissect and analyze. In my opinion, it is too hard to say at this point in his career, and unfortunately it would not be fair to start ranking him until his career ends. He is 3-4 in the finals, a 4-time league MVP with career averages of 27 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists. His versatility is unmatched by anyone, due to his size, strength and ability, but his greatness will either continue to grow or falter as his career continues, and we just need to wait and see. Maybe he has lost a step—we have seen moments of fatigue and wear—but nonetheless, he played like a champion should in games 5-7.

Now, to the Warriors. What does their loss mean for them?

73-9 was the greatest regular season record of all time. However, there is no ring to accompany it. Stephen Curry deserved to win MVP for the regular season, and he should be viewed as the greatest shooter ever, because he is. However, regardless of a knee “injury” Curry deserves to take a majority of the blame for the series loss. In games 1-3 he was practically invisible, and while he began to heat up in the remaining games, last night he missed his last handful of shots in the final 4 minutes of the game.

However, Draymond Green deserves some blame for the series being extended but he certainly made amends for that by putting up a near triple double last night with 32 points, 15 rebounds and 9 assists. Klay Thompson came up small last night as well putting up only 14 points on 17 shot attempts—not good. It seemed to be a case of youth for the Warriors; they showed their vulnerabilities against a hungry, physical Cavaliers squad. With Green’s suspension, the momentum of the series completely shifted to LeBron and crew, as they took full advantage. Now, the Warriors of 2015-16 can be seen as the greatest regular season team of all time, which in part is what they wanted. However, the talk about being better than the Showtime Lakers or 96’ Bulls can be put to bed for now.

I think we know who’s feelings are hurt now…and I don’t think looking at those new Curry shoes will help anyone right now.

Will we see another rematch next year? If so, how will that end?

Image via solecollector.com 

About me: I’m Spencer Alexander Zied, a rising 12th grader from New York, New York. I love to play basketball and tennis, and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants, Yankees and the Oregon football team. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN2. You can email me at spencer.zied@gmail.com or connect with me on Twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (szied713).

NBA Christmas Day Recap

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! Here is a recap of yesterday’s games.

 

Pelicans versus Heat

As the Heat went into the 4th quarter with an 11 point lead, Anthony Davis and the squad cut that lead enough to tie the game up and force overtime. However, it didn’t quite work out for them, as the Heat finished the job late, sustaining a 94-88 victory. The high man for the Heat was Chris Bosh, who put up 30 points and 10 boards on 11 of 25 shooting from the field. Hassan Whiteside helped out with a whopping 17 rebounds, as well as D-Wade who dropped 19. On the opposite side of the ball, superstar Anthony Davis put up an outstanding double-double with 29 points, 15 boards, 4 steals and 3 blocks. However, Ryan Anderson’s 18 points on 7 of 14 shooting was not enough help to lift the Pelicans over the extremely talented Heat team. The Pelicans depleted roster continues to be covered by Anthony Davis’ immaculate performances, but they can’t hide their 3-14 road record for much longer. The Heat continues to show its depth, as the team has a healthy mix of veterans and young players and continues to hold onto championship aspirations regardless of not having LeBron James.

 

Bulls versus Thunder

After demolishing the Lakers a few days ago, the Oklahoma City Thunder probably kicked back and relaxed, getting ready for Santa to put a finals trophy under their tree—because that’s how they played. While Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook put up a combined 55 points, 16 rebounds, 15 assists and 7 steals, their supporting players were completely out of it, as the team shot 25% from the 3 point arc, leading to their demise. Even though the Bulls lost Joakim Noah, they got their Christmas wish, as they received a healthy Pau Gasol, someone they really missed this past week, as he put up 21 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 blocks on the day. Unlike Westbrook and Durant, he received help from his teammates such as Jimmy Butler, who put up 23 points. The Bulls handily won this game 105-96, as they have the depth in size to replace Noah’s absence. As for the Thunder, they need better production from their role players.

 

Cavaliers versus Warriors

I was fortunate to watch this game live (see image above) and the finals rematch was thrilling! We could finally see the Cavs and Warriors go at it fully healthy, or at least mostly healthy (the Warriors were missing Harrison Barnes). But that didn’t seem to bother them. All eyes were on LeBron James and Steph Curry, though they weren’t the highlight of this matchup. Curry finished strong late, but struggled early when going up against the tough Matthew Dellavedova and his aching calf, totaling only 19 points and 7 assists on 6 of 15 shooting. As for James, he really struggled late in the 4th, missing 3 out of 4 free throws, awakening the ghosts of his anti-clutch gene, totaling 25 points, 9 rebounds with just 2 assists. Draymond Green was the man for Golden State, tallying 22 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 blocks. The still recovering Kyrie Irving also struggled, shooting just 4 of 15 from the field and grabbing 13 points. Kevin Love had a double double with 10 points and 18 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough, as the Warriors toughened this one out and won by a score of 89-83. This game was certainly an ugly one, as this matchup is a challenge for both teams.

 

Spurs versus Rockets

This was a Texas matchup that many wanted to see. While the Rockets have been a disappointment this year, having a .500 record, they certainly showed up tonight against the high powered Spurs team. James Harden struggled in the first half, scoring just 2 points. However, he turned it around and finished with 20 points and 9 assists, getting some help from Terrance Jones and Jason Terry. The Spurs, sitting in 2nd place in the West, really showed their age and attrition tonight, as they did not play like a team with a 25-5 record. Tim Duncan had 13 points and 11 boards, Kawhi Leonard had 20 points, and 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks and Lamarcus Aldridge had 18 points and 9 rebounds—so how did they lose? Well, considering Tony Parker had a total of 2 points and 3 assists, the Spurs had nobody to initiate their offense, as they struggled down the stretch. A 4th quarter comeback wasn’t enough to take down the average Houston Rockets. The Rockets won this ugly game by a score of 88-84, hopping to 1 game over .500.

 

Clippers versus Lakers

An LA showdown to finish the night on Christmas Day! The Lakers have been an utter disappointment in Kobe Bryant’s final year, recording only 5 wins almost 2 months into the season—not such a good mark. As for the Clippers, they continue to crumble late in games, as they did in this one as well, allowing the Lakers to make a surge though it fell short due to their lack of talent. Chris Paul showed up as he usually does, getting 23 points and 6 assists on 11 of 19 shooting on the night. Blake Griffin had 13 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists and Jamal Crawford dropped 13 in the bucket off the bench, all leading to the Clippers inevitable victory. As for the deficient Lakers, their 2nd overall pick point guard D’Angelo Russell had a game high 16 points, along with 7 boards on 7 of 13 shooting from the field off the bench. While he has not yet lived up to his #2 overall status, he can’t be labeled BUST just yet, regardless of the Lakers horrid 5-25 record. Kobe Bryant struggled again, tallying 12 points on 4 of 10 shooting. Julius Randle’s presence certainly helped them, as he was out multiple games before returning on Christmas Day. He came off the bench and had a solid 11 points and 8 rebounds, outperforming a disappointing and pathetic 7’2” Roy Hibbert, who got 8 points and 3 rebounds. The Lakers talent is pathetic, as the Clippers snatched a victory, winning by a score of 94-84.

Did you enjoy the games?

 

About Me: I’m Spencer Alexander Zied, an 11th grader from New York, New York. I love to play basketball, football and tennis, and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants, Yankees, Oregon football and North Carolina basketball teams. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN. You can email me at spencer.zied@gmail.com or connect with me on Twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (szied713).

 

NBA Finals Recap

 

What a series we just witnessed! The series we saw was quite entertaining, however the offensive talent level was much lower than in years past. Nonetheless, the Golden State Warriors are the new NBA Champions!

Although LeBron James was phenomenal in this series, averaging an historic 36 points, 13 rebounds and 9 assists (approximately), he did not have the appropriate pieces around him to get the job done. Kevin Love going down in round one, and Kyrie Irving going down in game one hurt the Cavs much on the offensive, however not so much on the defensive. This was a different LeBron than we have seen before. His usage rate went through the roof as he was carrying this minimally talented team consisting of Timofey Mozgov, Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Matthew Dellavedova. The fact that Lebron was able to win two games was a miracle in and of itself considering the players who surrounded him. Not to throw shade at Mozgov or Thompson because they are legitimate NBA starters, but J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Matthew Dellavedova are reserves- and they certainly played like it. As we saw in game six, Lebron ran out of gas and gave up because he knew he couldn’t carry these bums past the sharpshooting Warriors.

It certainly didn’t help the injury-ridden Cavaliers that the MVP Steph Curry was on the other side of the ball. The play of Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Harrison Barnes was inconsistent. However, Andre Iguodala was the unsung hero of this series, at least until he was awarded finals MVP. Iggy is clearly the third best player on the Warriors besides the splash bros. He won the MVP not just because of what he did offensively, but because of his immaculate performance on the best player in the world. Lebron’s production dramatically changed when Iggy was covering him. He shot 38% while the Cavs were a -55 when he was on the court. When Iggy was off the court, the Cavs were a +30 while Lebron shot 44%. When Steve Kerr made the adjustment to put Iggy into the starting lineup, David Blatt left big man Mozgov in the game, daring Iggy to shoot from the perimeter- and he did so. He averaged a pedestrian 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists a game, but his impact was far more than pedestrian, and his consistency and indirect and direct impact allowed the Warriors to capture the title. Steph Curry was very good, but choked in game two and did not play well in game three until the 4th quarter, so this vote was based on consistent dominance, something only Iggy showed.

What does this mean for Lebron’s legacy? Well, if you scratch the surface, it looks like another finals loss for the King. But if you actually take the time to look at his stats, you’ll realize he had no help and willed his team to two games versus the best team in basketball- pretty unheard of. This series does not really propel him upward on the “top 10 players of all time” list, however it certainly does not drop him down. He played a great series and ran out of mental and physical gas against this deep, cohesive Warriors attack. Lebron will be back to the finals, maybe even against Golden State again next year- who knows?

Image via theguardian.com 

About Me:  I’m Spencer (Alexander) Zied, a 10th grader from New York, New York. I love to play basketball, football and tennis, and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants, Yankees, Oregon football and North Carolina basketball teams. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN. You can email me at spencer.zied@gmail.com or connect with me on Twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (szied713).