The NBA season has just begun, and while we are only a week in, many teams are beginning to show if they can actually be contenders in this 82 game round robin tournament of sorts. It honestly too early to begin crowning champions and MVPs, but it is never too early to point out the players that seem to have lost their touch. Kobe Bryant, the player who was once mired in off the court controversy, now has to deal with questions about his on court playmaking ability. Kobe Bryant was once a man considered by many to be “the next Michael Jordan,” and while his many accolades and championships speak for themselves, it is plain to see that Kobe is getting old. At the age of 37, Kobe seems to be far past his prime, and the fact that he is coming off of two injury ridden seasons doesn’t help him get back into the routine of playing well. This season, Kobe is shooting a woeful 30% from the floor, and he is quickly becoming an afterthought in this increasingly social media driven world. I feel bad for even thinking it, but it may be time for Kobe to retire from the game of basketball. He is not the same player he was ten years ago, and he seems to have no interest in taking a reduced role on a team. With his current level of play it will be hard to imagine seeing Kobe retire at the top of his game, but at least he will be able to keep his reputation and rest on his accolades as one of the greatest players to ever grace the basketball court.
The NBA free agency period has begun and as of yesterday plenty of the league’s top eligible players have already snagged max contracts. The Free agency period is a time when players who are out of contract can be courted and signed by any franchise that is willing to pay their asking price. So far this offseason, the two teams that many expected to make the biggest push for talent have been the most silent. The Knicks and the Lakers, two of the NBA’s most storied franchises, have failed to lock up top talent so far. At the rate players are signing, it seems like both the Knicks and Lakers will be sitting on the sidelines with money to spend but nowhere to spend it. The biggest problem with the Knicks and Lakers is their history, both teams expect the most out of players, but neither team has been competitive for quite some time. The way free agency works these days is different from the past, players are no longer just looking for the highest payday, they are now looking to go where they can win and compete with the least added stress. While I am certain that both the Knicks and lakers will be competitive in the next 5 years, neither team is in a market that is comfortable with losing. New York and Los Angeles are big cities, with fans who spend the most money to watch basketball, even when the teams are awful. As a New Yorker, I don’t want to say we are spoiled, but I understand the requirement we have for winners, since prices here are high regardless of the level of play. Playing in big cities markets puts a great amount of stress on players, and players who can handle the pressure and play well are exactly what is desired and needed in NYC and LA. There are still a handful of fantastic free agents left to be had, I just hope the Knicks have a good enough proposal to land the talent necessary to compete next year.
The Knicks have done it again, they have managed to take what should be an exciting day for fans and make it stressful. As a Knick fan, I have resigned to the fact that they are bad, and that they are not necessarily known for making good decisions but they had a legitimate chance to make a big splash in last nights draft. This year’s draft class was not particularly strong, but there were a few players that seemed to be “game changers,” and the Knicks may have failed to grab one of them. The Knicks did the unthinkable and drafted European born player, Kristaps Porzingis, with the fourth overall pick much to the dismay of the entire city. Porzingis is very talented and might possibly be the best player in this draft, but New York fans want big flashy talent, and immediate results. The problem with drafting a foreign player is their lack of familiarity with the American style of basketball, and when they are picked this high in the draft, they almost always fail to live up to the hype. I am an upset fan, but at the same time, part of me fully expected the Knicks to somehow draft this guy. I really hope the Knicks management knows what they are doing, and that they make plans for this kid’s success. There is now a city worth of pressure on the shoulders of this 19 year old, and if he fails to deliver, the Knicks may not see relevance for another 10 years.
Today is the day of the NBA draft, it is the second most popular draft in American sports, and I am something of a sports fanatic so I have been fully drawn into the hype. Much like the NFL draft, this is an event in which dozens of young adults are made instant millionaires with the calling of their name. There is no science to the NBA draft, I mean, scouts study and interview players for months before naming a pick, but often times NBA draft picks just don’t pan out. On average, it seems as though only 8 out of the 60 players drafted in a single NBA draft actually make an impact in the league. The low percentage of success in the NBA for draft picks can be unnerving to a struggling franchise, so it pays to have the first pick in the draft, but even that is not a sure thing. Many notable players were passed on by the team choosing first, including Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Durant, and while there are some greats chosen first overall, the NBA draft is always full of surprises. This year is the first year in a long time that Knicks fans like myself have something to look forward to, as the Knicks actually own a top five pick. The Knicks have been known for their years of boneheaded picks and terrible management, but that could all change in an instant. The Knicks have expressed a desire to draft Duke Center, Jahlil Okafor with their pick, but it seems like the fourth pick owned by the Knicks may be too high to grab the highly touted freshman. I would love to see the Knicks draft a versatile player like D’angelo Russell, but if he too is not available, they may find themselves making another boneheaded Knicks move. I am pretty excited about tonight’s draft, I have my hopes set high for a positive move by the Knicks, I just don’t want to see my dreams dashed by more of the team’s poor management decisions.
The NBA season has come to an end, and it was quite an exciting finish. The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers in a matchup for the ages, and as I predicted they managed to do it in only six games. I was thrilled by the play of both teams but what really caught my eye was the play of Lebron James. He showed that he is worthy of the title of best player in the NBA, but unfortunately he had to face off against the best team in the NBA. The Warriors won against all odds, as their staring lineup was absent of a tall center piece, and they managed to play their brand of basketball without worrying about what the analyst considered to be the most important aspect. I have said plenty of times, even within this blog, that I am not a big fan of basketball, but I think I may finally waver on that stance after watching this exciting series. Every moment of the every game during this NBA finals was exciting, I found myself glued to the screen as I watched the world’s best players on the leagues biggest stage. While the Cavaliers lost, they have much to look forward to next season, the team is young, talented, and hopefully still the home to Lebron James. If the Cavs can stay healthy and learn to play better as a squad, they will be championship contenders next year. The Warriors, a team full of young stars, managed to win this title, and based on their skills and fluidity they may become the NBA’s next dynasty. I am excited for the future of the NBA and I hope to see more teams emerge as championship competitors in the coming years.
The NBA finals starts tonight, in this evening’s game the Warriors will face off against the Cavaliers as they start a seven game series. Both teams are extremely talented but this game is highlighted by the presence of the league MVP, Stephen Curry, and the league’s former MVP and best player, Lebron James. The Cavaliers have been running on all cylinders this season, as the return of Lebron James has made this once terrible team a solid championship contender. Lebron is a unique basketball player, he is much faster and more athletic than players his size, and he has a basketball IQ that rivals the greatest players who ever graced the court. It would be hard for any team to face such a daunting task as neutralizing Lebron James, but I honestly think the Warriors have exactly what it takes to succeed. The Golden State Warriors are a team on a mission to disprove the doubters, they were the best team in the NBA this year, and they have the MVP, as well as one of the runner ups for the defensive player of the year award on their team, but they are still not recognized as the favorite to win. In each series the Warriors have played during the playoffs, television analysts gave reasons why they wouldn’t win. The Warriors are a team of shooters, they tend to play outside of the paint, and they don’t have a dominant big man, they basically lack what a “championship caliber” teams has, but they are primed to break the mold. Stephen Curry is a fantastic player, his skill set is not exactly unique, but the aptitude he has for the game makes him one of the best players I’ve ever seen. Curry has the ability to dribble the ball out of tight coverage, and shoot from anywhere on the court, unless the Cavaliers make Lebron guard Curry all game, they will have an difficult time winning this series. These games are going to be competitive, and both teams will be sure to play their hardest in order to take home the trophy, but I have to choose the Warriors to win in seven games. The Warriors have shown they are tough, and they play team basketball, every player on the team knows his place and they have been successful for it, I expect that this team solidarity will be the X-factor in the series and the Warriors will find a way to win a tough last game by a small margin. The teams are set and the starting whistle is about to be blown, I look forward to an exciting end to the NBA season and I hope to see the Warriors come out on top.
The NBA playoffs are underway, and it is finally time for the real season to begin. I have said before that I am not a big fan of professional basketball but the playoffs is the time when I find the season most watchable. In this post I will keep my predictions simple and just state my winners for each conference. In the west coast I have the Golden State Warriors winning, this team has it all, shooters, defensive studs, and a great coach. Steve Kerr has shocked the league by coming in as an overpaid first time coach, and taking the Warriors to the top of the league. The Warriors were a good team last year, but they have really stepped up to an elite team this year, and become the archetype for the perfect basketball franchise. My choice for the east is a bit more difficult, the teams in the east are good but any team can win in this wide open conference. The only team that really impressed me from the east is the Atlanta Hawks, however they have lost a large part of their defense with the season ending injury to Thabo Sefolosha. The Hawks were my late favorite to win the championship, but now I have the Hawks losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the eastern conference finals, since they no longer have the complete team needed to deal with the play of Lebron James. I believe the NBA finals will be competitive, but I can easily see the Warriors defeating the Cavaliers in five games. I am aware that many may find my prediction absurd, but if the Cavs get a chance to play a sixth game, they will win the finals in seven. Lebron James is just too good at coordinating an offense, and with the cache of talented veterans on the team, I am sure they would not go down without a legitimate fight. The teams are set and the playoffs have already begun, so far it looks like this will be one for the ages.
I have to begin by stating how excited I am about my Duke Blue Devils winning the Men’s Basketball National Championship, not only did they win, but they won with the exact score that I predicted in yesterday’s post. Congratulations Blue Devils, let’s make it two years in a row!
Today I decided to visit the New York International Car Show, it is a showcase of some of the auto industry’s most magnificent works. I am generally not a car person, but this show got me pretty excited for next year’s vehicles. The international car show is like a zoo for cars and a playground for grown men, as we get to sit in and play with vehicles we dream about owning, or plan to buy someday. I had some favorites in the show, but of all of the makes available, I was most interested in seeing next year’s edition of the Audis. I love the engineering and style of Audi vehicles, but seeing the showcase of brilliant automotive technology today has me questioning my prime choice of vehicle. I stated earlier that I am not a car person so rather that trying to describe the cars I saw, I will leave you with a few photos of my favorite cars from the event.
Today is a big day in sports, while the Major League Baseball season started yesterday with the Cardinals taking on the Cubs, today all other teams get a chance to play. My impressions of yesterday’s game were mostly positive as I love that baseball is back, but it seems like the Cubs just can’t shake their losing ways. The Cubs were shutout yesterday in this seasons inaugural game, and it is starting to look like all of the big changes they made in the offseason won’t help them win a championship this year. The Cubs have not won a championship since 1908, and while I would love to see this “curse” broken, the team needs to believe they can win before they start winning. I know there has only been one game, so I will hold further judgment until at least June, the Cubs will have plenty of time to figure things out before I chide their performance. The team I am most excited for this year, is the New York Yankees, the Yankees have been struggling the past few years, but barring any major injuries, I feel they may have a chance make the playoffs this year. All baseball fans have a strong opinion of the Yankees, and given the fact that the team is very old, the haters have been quite loud in their opposition. I am optimistic this year because the team is extremely talented, and as long as they stay healthy, the Yankees will be a formidable opponent to any team in the MLB.
The last event going on today that will round out this full day of sports is the college basketball championship game, The two teams who have made it to the final game are the Wisconsin Badgers, and the Duke Blue Devils. I have been extremely vocal in my support for Kentucky as they were the most talented team in the tournament, but Wisconsin found a way to defeat them in the Final Four. I really like the Wisconsin team, but I am a Duke fan and I will roll with the Blue Devils, the score of the game tonight will be 68 – 63 with Duke winning the championship. I hope all of the events going on today are enjoyable, and I hope every sports fan out there enjoys the action today.