Thursday, December 29, 2016

Saint Mary’s Gaels 72, LMU Lions 60

Saint Mary’s Defeat Loyola Marymount in Conference Opener

LOS ANGELES -- The Loyola Marymount University Lions (7-5) were outlasted by the Saint Mary’s Gaels (11-1) 72-60, as opened West Coast Conference play on their home court on Thursday night at Gersten Pavilion.

The Aussie combo of Emmett Naar and Jock Landale led the way for the Gaels, whom had four players score in double figures. Landale, who was a physical presence on the inside, notched 18 points and 11 rebounds. Naar made big shots every time the Lions made a run.

The Lions were looking for an upset against the 19th-ranked Gaels. There were some moments in the game when it appeared it could be a possibility.  Particularly midway through the second half when the home team used a furious 11-2 run bring the score to a one-point deficit at 42-41 but Naar calmly drained a three to hush the home crowd.

After the game, Saint Mary’s Head Coach Randy Bennett said he was excited to walk away with a win.

“That game could have gone a lot of different ways,” said Bennett “Fortunately, [Naar] hit that three, which got us a little separation. We got a stop and got it to six, and then we kept it. It’s that simple sometimes.”

LMU used an early 7-0 run to strike fear into Saint Mary's and hold a 12-8 lead, but the visitors then immediately settled in by responding with a 10-0 run of its own to seize momentum.

However, the resiliency of the Lions prevented the Gaels from pulling away. LMU controlled the game’s tempo by being deliberate when in possession but failed to put the ball through the hoop, shooting only 35 percent, in the first half compared to 57 percent for Saint Mary’s. The hot shooting gave the visitors a 34-25 halftime lead.

Fresh out of the locker room, LMU turned up the defensive pressure to try to force turnovers but that didn’t work in its favor as they were called for 17 fouls in the latter half with four LMU players fouling out. Saint Mary’s shot 33 free throws in the game to LMU’s 17.

“I look at a foul as a mistake,” said LMU Head Coach Mike Dunlap. “If we can eliminate that disparity, we’ll have a hell of a chance of winning quite a few games.”

Landale, the Gaels’ leading scorer on the season, asserted himself in the second half by making five of seven field goals in that period. His key basket came just past the 10-minute mark, when he scored over Stefan Jovanovich and forced him to commit his fifth foul, which disqualified him from the game.

“They were playing tough defense,” said Landale. “It took us away from things we wanted to do. We just had to counter their physicality.”

Mid-season transfer Trevor Manuel led the Lions in scoring with 18 points on the night. The Lions next host BYU in a New Year’s Eve matinee.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

USC Trojans 82, Troy 77

USC Rallies in Win Over Troy to Stay Perfect

LOS ANGELES -- The University of Southern California Trojans used a late-game rally to defeat the Troy University Trojans 82-77 Saturday night at the Galen Center. This was the fifth game of the season USC that had to come back from a deficit of nine points or more to win.

Junior guard Jordan McLaughlin and sophomore forward Chimezie Metu provided the key offensive plays for USC down the stretch. Down 77-74 with close to a minute remaining in the game, Metu caught a post-entry pass and scored a turnaround jumper. Troy subsequently turned the ball over on an inbound violation and Metu drew a foul shortly after USC began its possession. Metu sank the first free throw to tie the game but missed the second.

Luckily for USC, Metu’s missed free throw caromed into the hands of Elijah Stewart, which set the stage for the game-winning basket. McLaughlin, with the ball at the top of the arch, received a screen and drove down the left side of paint and laid the ball off the glass over two Troy defenders to give USC a 79-77 lead with 41 seconds to go.

“We called their number and they made plays,” said Enfield. “I called a lot down the stretch for Chimezie. He got it going down in the post and kept scoring… We give Jordan a lot of freedom… he’s playing at such a high level right now… I’ll take him over any point guard in the country.”

The home team certainly wasn’t in the clear as Troy had been responding to rallies all game. Troy’s sophomore guard Jordan Varnado found his way to the rim but his layup was blocked by Stewart, Varnado retrieved the ball and tried to score again but his shot was emphatically blocked by an elevated De’Anthony Melton with 14 seconds left. USC gained possession and McLaughlin was sent to the free throw line, where he sank both shots and iced the game.

“We defended down the stretch when we had to and were fortunate to win,” said Enfield. “Troy outplayed us for a long time because they made tough shots… We had a tough time stopping them for most of the game.”

Coming into the game USC was off to its best start since they won their first 16 games in 1971.  Early in the game, USC looked lethargic and appeared they would be hard pressed to win as Troy jumped out to an early nine-point lead and seized control of the game. Junior guard Wesley Person was key for Troy as he made his first three three-point attempts and scored 10 of Troy’s first 15 points and 15, overall, in the first half.

“We switched all the ball screens and they were making 25 footers,” said Enfield. “Instead of driving on bigs like most teams do, they stepped back to shoot long threes, and were making them. They made eight in the first half.

USC made a surge in the final minutes of the first half. Sophomore guard Shaqquan Aaron took a missed shot and went coast to coast to tie the game at 29. A tip in by freshman big man Nick Rakocevic gave USC a 31-29 lead, its first since being up 4-3. Teams would trade baskets the rest of the first half culminating with Troy’s Jeremy Hollimon draining a three with two seconds left to put Troy up 40-38 at halftime.

Troy opened the second half with 10-2 run to with a 10-point lead and regain control of the game, very similar to what the flow was in the first half. The home team would be forced to rally again if they wanted to get a win.

Things began to turn around for USC as they improved play after trailing 51-60 at the 12-minute media timeout. Powered by its defense, the home team slowly crept back into the game. A powerful dunk by Metu, who was found running through the lane by Melton, cut the deficit to 66-65. Melton led USC with five assists off the bench.

A pair of free throws by Stewart gave USC first lead of the second half at 67-66 with 5:35 remaining. A hook shot off the glass by Metu gave USC a 72-68 lead, which was its largest of the game at that time with four minutes left to play. Troy then went on a 9-2 run over the next three minutes to set the stage for the heroics by the home team.

“Give Troy credit,” Enfield said. “They made shot after shot when they needed to.”

McLaughlin led USC in scoring with 21 points. Metu finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. USC’s 10-0 record makes them one of only six division one teams without a blemish in the loss column. Enfield said he was extremely proud that his players would accomplish this without Bennie Boatwright. You would think being off to the basketball program’s best start in 45 years would be cause for celebration but the young Trojans are just focused on improving.

“We just have to come out every game to focus and lock in on that one game,” said Metu. “We try not to worry about what other people are doing.”

USC will try to continue its run versus Cornell Monday

Thursday, November 17, 2016

UConn Huskies 68, LMU Lions 65

Courtesy of Benita West/T.G.Sportstv1

LMU Falls Short of Upset against UConn 68-65

LOS ANGELES -- The noise in Gersten Pavilion reached a deafening level as the sequence of play had drawn the crowd to this moment. Thirsty for a victory over a national powerhouse, they watch as the spinning ball, freshly released from point guard Brandon Brown's finger tips, clank off the right side of the rim. With that, the energy was sapped from the building as the Loyola Marymount University Lions (1-2) fell short of victory to the University of Connecticut Huskies (1-2) 68-65 Thursday night.
This was the first all-time meeting between the two schools. It was also the first time a nationally-ranked or powerhouse school was scheduled to play in Hank's House since 2012. UConn was a preseason top 20 team by the major polls but opened the season with two losses at home to small schools similar to LMU. The Lions were looking to give the Huskies their third loss.
Gersten Pavilion was full of energy throughout the evening as the fans were treated to a hard-fought contest by both sides. After the game, UConn Head Coach Kevin Ollie acknowledged that it was a relief to come out on the winning side of a grind-it-out game.
"This is what it's all about," said Ollie. "Nobody said it was going to be easy. We have a tough team who believes in one another. We want to build character from this."
The scoring began with a two-handed flush by Huskies' Terry Larrier, who led the Huskies with 14 points. It appeared that the visitors were ready to assert themselves and cruise on the night but Lions' guard Steven Haney answered back with a three pointer from the top of the arc. After a UConn free throw, big man Stefan Jovanovic added two buckets for the home team to take an early 7-3 lead. The lead changed back and forth in the first 10 minutes. Overall, the lead changed 16 times with seven ties in this contest.
Midway through the first half, LMU reserve-guard Kelvin Amayo stole the ball the Huskies and followed up with a breakaway tomahawk jam that gave the Lions an 18-15 lead. Amayo finished with a game-high 18 points.
"All of us came in and worked hard," said Amayo. "I just took coach's advice and let things come to me."
However, that lead was short-lived as UConn went on a 17-4 run to open up a 10-point lead. Most of the output was produced by guard Alterique Gilbert who either scored or assisted on all the field goals during that run. Gilbert collided with an LMU player while chasing a loose ball around the 3-minute mark, it resulted in a dislocated shoulder and he wouldn't return for the rest of the game.
The Lions took advantage of the Huskies without its spark plug and ended the half on the 12-2 run to tie the game at 34-34. The second half opened up with an 8-2 LMU run. They did it the same way the first ended, by applying pressure defense and forcing turnovers. The Lions would be in the driver's seat for majority of the way until eight minutes were left in the game, where it was tied at 54.
"We had too many turnovers on their pressure," Ollie said. "They got into passing lanes and got disruptive."
The team exchanged pairs of makes after the 8-minute timeout. UConn's point guard Jalen Adams scored a layup, LMU answered with a three from Haney, then a UConn layup by Larrier, a Amayo free throw was mixed in then his teammate Buay Tuach scored what would be LMU's final field goal of the game. The Huskies prevented the Lions from making a shot in the final 3:50 of the game; they only added two free throws later.
LMU had plenty of chances to win the game at the end but UConn buckled down and made stops when they needed to and made it difficult for the home team to execute any plays down the stretch. Down by three with under 10 seconds, Haney had the ball on the left sideline but was trapped by the Huskies and turned the ball over. Even then, the Lions were still given a final reprieve as Adams missed the front end free throw of a one and one.
The Lions pushed the ball down the right side of the court and found Brown with a wide-open look. Maybe had he known that he still had time to take aim, the outcome could have been different. What we do know is the Lions should grit and battled a team, who is perennial national-title contender, to the end. That should give them hope as they enter West Coast Conference play. The Lions next game is November 25 as they host Portland State.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Long Beach State Defeats Cal State Los Angeles in Season Opener

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- The Long Beach State 49ers raced past the California State University, Los Angeles Golden Eagles for a 95-59 victory in their season opener Friday night in Long Beach. The 49ers are the favorites to win the Big West Conference and their display against the Eagles confirms the preseason selection.

Leading the way for The Beach was point guard Justin Bibbins, who filled the score sheet with 12 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and four steals. Bibbins was a Second Team All-Conference selection a season ago.

"Justin is an elite player in this league," said Coach Dan Monson. "He can play with anybody in this country. We're going to give him an opportunity to go prove it."

Over the past seven seasons, Long Beach State has ranked no lower than sixth in the nation in non-conference strength of schedule, according to Ken Pomeroy's ratings. The 49ers will immediately go on the road to play four teams who played in the NCAA tournament last year; they have Wichita State, No. 6 North Carolina, No. 14 Louisville, and No. 20 UCLA.

"We needed some confidence to buy into what works," said Monson. "Now we're going to get tested. They need to know what it's like to be at that level. That's the level we want to be, at the end of the season. No matter what happens, we're going to come back a better basketball team at the end of this week and that's why we play this schedule."

Friday night was the first time the two schools played each other since the 1992 season. Cal State L.A. was essentially a tune up for Long Beach State. The up-tempo style employed by Monson's team made it hard for the Eagles to keep up with. The 49ers continued to pound the ball inside and attack the rim; Long Beach State dominated the Points in Paint category 52-18. 

Defensively, the 49ers applied pressure via the full-court press after made free throws and perimeter traps, which forced turnovers and resulted in easy transition points. Long Beach State led 51-38 at halftime and came out of the break turning up the pressure. One two-minute run of play featured Loyola Marymount transfer Evan Payne break away for three dunks to stretch the lead to 64-45 to put the game away. Payne was the game's high scorer with 15 points.

"I think [Payne] showed a level of comfort," said Monson. "He's been so locked-in to try to do what we ask of him defensively, he hasn't been comfortable on offense. Today he got out in the open court. He's as good as any player I have had in the open court."

The contributions from the visitors were minimal, aside from a crowd-pleasing dunk from Desean Scott in the first quarter of the game that provided the crowd in arena with much-needed energy, and ironically fueled a 49er's run to close out the first half.

The 49ers had two other players score in double figures, forwards Yussuf Temidayo and Gabe Levin, with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Overall, Monson utilized 14 players in this game, with 10 of them playing at least 10 minutes. Long Beach State is going to need all hands on deck to come back from this road trip with positive results.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

USC Trojans 45, Oregon Ducks 20

LOS ANGELES -- A day before clocks are to be turned back by an hour in the fall, USC Trojans turned back the clock in the Los Angeles Coliseum and plucked the Oregon Ducks' feathers. The Trojans, behind a strong defensive effort and a running game defeated the Ducks 45-20 on homecoming night. USC's defense set the tone for the game as it thwarted the Oregon attack and forced three consecutive three-and-outs to begin the contest.

That enabled the Trojans to jump out to a 17-0 lead, which was never in danger. The Ducks, known for having an explosive offense, were held under 300 total yards by the Trojans, including only 85 on the ground. Oregon entered the game averaging 248 rushing yards per game.
"That is a really good rushing team," said USC's Head Coach Clay Helton. "One of the things [defensive coordinator] Coach [Clancy] Pendergast does is focus on taking the strength away from the team. The other thing we talked about was getting off the field on third down. We thought that was critical."

Read the rest of the story here

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

D'Angelo is Getting There

I am a Lakers fan but, up until the other day, I was not a fan of D’Angelo Russell. In the 2015 draft, I felt there were more pressing needs than the point guard position; Jordan Clarkson made the all-rookie team as a point guard. And because I always like to think I’m right, the draft pick didn’t sit right with me. I saw this video and liked the enjoyment he showed for the game.

Once the season began, Byron Scott thought it was best to make Russell earn his minutes and I agreed with him. I was probably the only person who did agree with the decision. Today’s athletes have a sense of entitlement, work for it first. Russell sulked, I thought that wasn’t cool. Eventually, Russell got his time to shine and basked in the “I Got Ice in My Vein” game. Lakernation was quick to point out how wrong Scott was to hold him back. Would he have been so cold if his hand wasn’t forced by Scott to work on his game? Hmm.

Spring has arrived and D’Lo mania is on, but then came the snitch incident to kill the vibes later that month. It is funny how we can clown and slander on social media but when it comes to one of our own players, all types of defenses are created, knowing good and damn well if this happened on rival team, we would be in full-attack mode. I come from a place where what he did in this incident is unforgiveable but I guess this is a different era. After being froze out for a game and facing the music, I was happy to see him finish the season strong because being scrutinized and having your character questioned can break a young man but Russell stood up under it.

Over the summer, Russell worked hard on his skills and now there are expectations for a Most-Improved-Player type of season from him. One quarter into the season, the “This is my shit” moment happened, my first thought was that it was to early. The following quote from an ESPN Mag article began making waves: 
Kobe deserved every bit of attention he got in his last year, but there's freedom in Kobe not being around... There's no one leader, no face of the Lakers.
As strange as it may seem, that made me become more accepting of the kid. It showed a willingness to be accountable for his actions. He also knew it would draw more criticism from pundits and he was prepared for it. I'm hoping that Russel continues to make strides and help usher the team back into winning times.

Friday, October 28, 2016

NBA Diary October 27, 2016

These are just my free flowing thoughts of things that occurred, related to the league, on the date of which the article is titled. Some may be my reactions of different news articles, tweets, but mainly non-statistical, organic, lukewarm takes of game play. All games won’t be discussed. If you have anything you want my take on. Email me or drop a comment below.

Not much game action on my birthday. What do you think about the rumors of Lebron wanting to ban the Kardashians from being near the team?

Here's my quick take on the mini slate: 

There have been grumblings about my dude Johnny Wall and Bradley Beal not liking each other even though both try to dispel the narrative. However, their play on the court last night said different as they fell to the Hawks. You can’t scream you’re the best back court in the league if Dennis Schroder, some guy named Malcom Delaney and Kyle Korver outplays you. I may have ranked Atlanta too low, Dwight Howard is going to have his way in the East. Tim Easy Way dropped 21 off the bench.

In Chicago, all the talk was about having a team of ball dominant guards who couldn’t shoot. Although that may be true. Wade, Butler, Rondo, and MCW were a combined 10 of 15 from downtown as they beat Boston.

Sacramento hosted the first regular season game in its new home and gave The Machine a run for their money until Kawhi shut everything down with four steals in the third quarter. Kawhi is the MVP after two games. Boogie dropped 36 points and 17 boards in a losing effort.

The Clippers second unit looked impressive against Portland, that’s how they got the win, it’s probably the best in the league with the addition of Felton and Mo Buckets to J-Crossover. Dame did all he could for the Blazers. Coach Stotts need to start running out better lineup combinations.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

NBA Diary October 26, 2016

These are just my free flowing thoughts of things that occurred, related to the league, on the date of which the article is titled. Some may be my reactions of different news articles, tweets, but mainly non-statistical, organic, lukewarm takes of game play. All games won’t be discussed. If you have anything you want my take on. Email me or drop a comment below.

It was my son’s second birthday. Therefore I didn’t know how much hoops I would be taking in but I bore witness to some pretty fascinating stuff. Like the photo above, for example. That's an example of Trump's America folks. What bothers me most are the two clowns laughing at that idiot. Don't condone disrespectful behavior.

Westbrook looked like we all expected him to. I did not watch the entire game but from the little I did see, I noticed something I had not before. On a few occasions, Westy operated from the post against smaller guards, featuring this part of his game more will make him a more efficient scorer. Before I started writing this piece, I ran across the photo below and it all made sense. 

The Lakers vs Rockets games was interesting for many reasons:

First, I love that Mike D'Antoni continues to throw conventional wisdom to the wayside. MDA has Harden playing full-time point guard. You remember when people were saying Oklahoma City should move Westy to the two and let Harden run point? The Beard had 14 dimes at halftime. I love it. Next, NASA eventually caught the L and it was because Luke Walton pressed the right buttons. He transformed my favorite Laker, Julius Randle, into Draymond Green. I'll make it clear and state he's not on Green's level but he is a better low post scorer. Julius brought the ball up many times and initiated the offense with great success, he finished with an 18 points, seven boards, and six dimes stat line. Finally, Luke showed us why he kept Metta World Peace on the roster, to be a goon. Metta was inserted into the game and immediately paid dividends. He played two minutes and got called for three fouls but those fouls changed the game, he showed the kids they can't just let the Beard punk them. LAKERS WIN! LAKERS WIN!

Anthony Davis acted a fool with his 50 points, 16 boards, seven rips, five dimes, and four swats. A completely unheard-of stat sheet. I think he might have been disrespected by the GM survey. But that boy needs some help. Fa real fa real.

I hope you enjoyed the read.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

NBA Diary October 25, 2016

These are just my free flowing thoughts of things that occurred, related to the league, on the date of which the article is titled. Some may be my reactions of different news articles, tweets, but mainly non-statistical, organic, lukewarm takes of game play. All games won’t be discussed. If you have anything you want my take on. Email me or drop a comment below.

Opening night! Everybody is excited and happy that hoops is back and I don’t have to watch trash baseball games that don’t include the Dodgers. I’m still salty AF.

I just dropped my Western Conference Outlook article. But I didn’t have time to write one for the Leastern Conference, so here’s my order of finish predictions:
  1. Cavs 
  2. Raptors 
  3. Pacers 
  4. CelTricks 
  5. Pistons
  6. Wizards 
  7. Bulls
  8. Bucks

Others - Hornets, Hawks, Knicks, Magic, Heat, Sixers, Nets

I will eventually have takes on each of those teams, like I did for the West.

On to opening night.

As expected, the Knicks got smashed by the Cavs, who will definitely be in the NBA Finals again, barring an injury to either Lebron or Kyrie that would cause them to miss the post season. D. Rose looks good but you can’t help but to feel like an injury is inevitable. Melo is Melo. And Kristaps P-Funk looks like he’s going to be around for a while, maybe he can get some All-Star votes if Knicks are in early playoff contention.

Speaking of all-star, if Dame Dolla is not in the February exhibition, I will lose all faith in the selection process.

Last but not least, about that matter of the Warriors getting blown da phaq out by the Spurs. “It's only one game. It’s only one game.” Like please, STFU. Go have a seat and allow us Warriors haters to enjoy ourselves. I railed against Steph Curry being the unanimous MVP last season because I thought Kawhi deserved a few first-place votes. It is going to be fun watching an improved-on-offense Kawhi play as aggressively on that side of the ball as he does on defense.

My favorite take away from that game is the emergence of Jonathon Simmons, he was 5-5 for 18 points in the first half, so I literally asked myself, “Who da phaq is this guy?” I googled him and learned about his amazing plight. Then to close the game out, he embarrahked Javale McGee.

I hope you enjoyed this read.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

2016/17 NBA Western Conference Outlook

Basketball season is here and we have some excitement to take our minds off of Trump, Clinton, and the presidential election. Thus it is necessary for me to get some of these thoughts off before the association gets into full swing. So, here is my snapshot version of the Western Conference outlook.

1. The Dubs  Fitting nickname for a team that racked up Ws at a record clip last season. As a matter of fact, they added 15 more in the playoffs, including the 3-1 series lead in the Finals before they added Pookie to the roster and smoked off the championship to Cleveland.

Over the summer, they were able to replace the uber athletic Harrison Barnes with some guy named Kevin, who most people think will make them unstoppable. This team will undoubtedly win a lot of games in blowout fashion.

Don't forget they were supposed to win it all last season but didn't. One thing swept under the rug was the fact Andrew Bogut was injured in game five of the finals; they were not the same without his physical presence. Guess who the Dubs shipped off to make room for Kevin... yup, Bogut.

2. The Machine  It is all about execution with this team. Working the system is why they have contended for championships year in and year out in the Popovich era. Tim Duncan retired and officially handed the on-court keys to OG Bobby Johnson, better known as Kawhi who still drives his '97 Chevy Tahoe from high school. There is nothing exciting to see here except a nightly clinic on getting open buckets and making your opponent work for everything.

Pau Gasol will try to fill in for Timmy, which he won't have a problem with on the offensive end but the team will truly miss Duncan on defense; he always made sure his guys were in the right place.

3. Clippers  Do not expect me to waste too many keystrokes on these perennial under achievers. They have a championship coach, passionate owner, the best pure point guard of the modern era, an athletic freak of nature at power forward, the best defensive center in the L, annual favorite to win sixth man of the year, and three-point assassin in JJ Reddick.

They might even be good enough to finish second in the conference when it is all said and done but will ultimately be judged by if they can exorcise their second round demons.

4. Kush Blazers  I am a hip-hop head first and foremost, so I love that Dame Dolla has an album coming out. I remember dudes like AI and Kobe were going to drop records but never did, but then again, they did not have bars like Dame. I would love nothing more than for him to drop a diss record about every point guard he lights up this year.

Dame has come out and said he wants to be the MVP, which nobody ever does. Dame knows that MVPs are only given to players on the best teams in the league, and knowing he has this on his brain means he has confidence in his teammates. And that is good enough for me to place them here.

5. The Westbrooks  I’m going out on a limb here because I don’t think the drop off due to Kevin leaving is that great, neither is the Serge exodus. I’ve always thought this was Westbrook’s team and since the former MVP wanted to bounce, it gives the rest of the gang more chances to play a larger role.

Most of the returning players aren’t saying they feel betrayed by Kevin, but they have to be feeling some type of way and it’s going to fun to see them leave their souls on the floor to try and show him they didn’t need him any fucking way. Acquiring Oladipo to be Westy’s running mate is bad news for opposing teams who want to hide their guards on defense.

6. NASA  Mike D’Antoni reintroduced pace back into the league when he took over the Suns job in 2003 and ran his 7 seconds or less offense. Daryl Morey is the statistics guru who’s had an imprint on the nerd revolution that has taken over the sports world, especially the NBA. Morey basically took the finer parts of what D’Antoni did with Phoenix and ran it through super data machines and churned out the blue print for winning basketball.

We now have a match made in offensive basketball heaven with the aforementioned gentleman. We also have the scoreboard operator’s nightmare. If they can figure out a way to stop people, they might win a championship, but since all they have is Ariza and Capela on defense, I’ll settle for The Beard, Eric Gordon, and Ryan Anderson getting buckets.

7. Stockton’s Old Team  They added some old heads in Iso Joe and Boris Diaw, aside from them, this is a young team. What’s old are the glory days of Stockton and Malone and when Deron Williams used to be elite. What’s also getting old is the rhetoric that this team is up and coming. I don’t get why everyone wants them to be NEXT.

I mean, I like Favors, Hood, Gobert, and Exum as individual players but think Hayward is a tad bit overrated, can’t figure out why Alec Burks got paid and brass traded for Dru Hill, I mean George Hill.
Anyway, they’re here strictly because I MUST be missing something. So to save myself from looking like an ass…

8. The Pups  In my neighborhood, I can’t look outside without seeing people walk their little creatures and look so happy to pick up poop, but that’s only for annoying cute ones that are kept in the house. For the most part there is a disdain for all others, particularly the ones that sleep outside; people mistreat them, euthanize them, and basically, aren’t welcomed in society.

Wolves are the largest member of the dog family, and just like all dogs, are usually cautious around humans but they aren’t domesticated. In the NBA, all the other teams have abused them for the past 12 years without repercussion. But this pack is going to start biting now that they have a trainer, err coach, who specializes in making his subjects defend and reach the playoffs.

Wolves mate in the winter time, look for these kids to start screwing everyone over after Christmas then wear down in April. I think they can finish higher than the 8 seed but I purposely placed them here because I want them to matchup against the Dubs. The Dubs weakness is the big man, the leader of pack is the best young big man in the L and ironically, a KAT.

9. Mavericks  Teams out of the playoffs and number three up top do not get nicknames from me, but if I were to name them, they will be the Geezers. Full Disclosure, I think they will make the playoffs but because of number 7, you know.

I liken this team to the old man in the park that’s looking for a good run but everybody takes him lightly until he starts roughing you up, faking you out your sneaks, and raining threes on you until you’re like, “WTF!” This is definitely a team full of that old man in the park spread out across all positions on the floor except for Harrison Barnes, who just got the boot from Silicon Valley and got major cake to not be the go-to-guy.

10. Grizzlies  The transition from ground and pound to pace and space is going to be a hard one. A bunch of square pegs trying to squeeze into a round hole. I see a lot of rectangular bricks failing to fall into a circular rim.

11. Nuggets  There is a lot to like about this squad, including Coach Malone and... Well I guess there is not much to like. Most of these guys play the same position. We can't even call Faried by his once-cool nickname any more.

12. Suns  Now there is a lot to like about this team, at least for the University of Kentucky fan in me. With the trio of former UK guards flying up and down the floor, this team will be fun to watch.

13. Lakers  The marquee team in the league is actually building from scratch, something that has not happened since before color TV.

14. Kings  They have a nice new arena, at least. #FreeBoogie

15. Pelicans  I wonder if Antonio Davis regrets taking the money so soon.