Role Player Madness At The Deadline

By David Max


Well, that didn’t… escalate quickly. On a day that is circled on every hoop fans calendar, hopes were crushed and no splashes were made. Fans of both bad teams, and franchises that are a player away (maybe) didn’t do much. After all the rumors and speculation, mostly none of it came to fruition. Today was highlighted by such names as Channing Frye, Jeff Green, and Markieff Morris. Yup, it was the¬†Day Of The Role Player. here are the “highlights”:¬†

-The Los Angeles Clippers received Jeff Green from the Memphis Grizzlies for Lance Stephenson and a lottery protected 2019 first-round pick

-The Philadelphia 76ers received Joel Anthony and a 2017 second-round pick from the Houston Rockets for the rights to Chukwudiebere Maduabum

-The Atlanta Hawks received Kirk Hinrich from the Chicago Bulls for Justin Holiday and a second-round pick

– The Washington Wizards received Markieff Morris from the Phoenix Suns for DeJuan Blair, Kris Humphries and a protected first-round pick

– The Portland Trail Blazers absorbed Brian Roberts into cap space and received a second-round pick from the Miami Heat

– The Oklahoma City Thunder received Randy Foye from the Denver Nuggets for D.J. Augustin, Steve Novak and two second-round picks

-Three-team deal: The Cleveland Cavaliers received Channing Frye; the Orlando Magic received Jared Cunningham and a second-round pick (via Orlando); and the Portland Trail Blazers received Anderson Varejao and a top-10 protected 2018 first-round pick (via Cleveland)

– The Utah Jazz received Shelvin Mack from the Atlanta Hawks for a second-round pick

– The Detroit Pistons received Donatas Motiejunas and Marcus Thornton from the Houston Rockets for Joel Anthony and a protected 2016 first round pick

– The New Orleans Pelicans received Jarnell Stokes from the Miami Heat for a protected 2018 second-round pick

-The Detroit Pistons received Tobias Harris from the Orlando Magic for Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova

-Three-team deal: The Charlotte Hornets received Courtney Lee; the Memphis Grizzlies received Chris Andersen, P.J. Hairston, two conditional second-round picks (via Miami) and two future second-round picks (via Charlotte); and the Miami Heat received Brian Roberts

A good reason no big splashes happened, is teams are creating cap space for the¬†2016 free agency, headlined¬†Kevin Durant .¬†Should be a great summer filled with potential movement, and Conference shake-ups. Stay tuned….

 

 

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The Disappointing Tale of Mark Jackson

¬†Somebody please!!! Can we as black people trade Mark Jackson?¬†( A la Chappelle Show racial draft), With no restrictions or provision. This dude is what we as hard working black Americans call coonery. This dude is just a disappointment. For a man who, not only did I look up to, but constantly defended in barbershop discussions, fan events, or just even in social media. I feel ashamed. Where do I begin? Well obviously I have to tell you some facts and stats, blah blah blah, but I also have to explain in detail why I feel this way. So let’s start at the beginning…

¬† ¬†The beginning was very sweet. Towards the end of the 2011/12 NBA season during the playoffs, ESPN analyst Mark Jackson announced that he would be the coach of my beloved Warriors. I was ecstatic. “Finally”, I said. I said that (no not because he was black, remember our coach at the time was Keith Smart.) But because at the time, Jackson was the NBA’s third all time assist leader. So, I was happy that he would teach Steph Curry how to be a point guard. Remember, Larry Riley had lied to the fans saying¬†Monta Ellis would be our point guard of the future. Then traded him midseason, for Andrew Bogut. So just like the Warriors brought in Baron Davis and Derek Fisher to mold a young Monta Ellis at the beginning of his career, I felt that this was a great move.

Mark Jackson missed the playoffs that first year. We had a lockout season, and Steph was still not 100% due to¬†ankle surgery. We will move on to the following season the 2012/13 NBA season. And I’ll use baseball strike metaphors to simplify my hatred for this man.¬†

Strike 1

¬† ¬† ¬†During the 1st round of the playoffs that year, we were out played by the Denver Nuggets. We did win the series but, something stood out. Andre Igudola was Denver’s star player. Acquired in that blockbuster Andrew Bynum-Dwight Howard trade, Iggy would become an unrestricted free agent. So why was he in our locker room for the team prayers during that series? I know Mark Jackson is a minister, and has a church in LA (which we will address shortly) but this doesn’t look good to me as a fan. I know if I’m a Denver fan, I am hot. What are you doing there Iggy? Denver has every right to be salty at us Warriors for that move. And when free agency began, guess who we aquire in a sign and trade with Denver?? With a 4 year $44 million dollar contract? Andre Igudola. Who, would go on to win the 2015 NBA Finals MVP award. One loyal Denver fan might even put an asterisk next to that. See, I’m all about truth and logic. I’ve been a Dubs fan for 25+ years. So there is no bias in discussing that pertinent detail .

Strike 2

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Rumblings came down to Dub fans that, not only management, but owners, ticket holders, etc. were upset with Mark Jackson’s devout Christian, bible thumping ways. Especially for a man who cheated on his beautiful R&B singing wife Des’ree. This dude cheated on her with a stripper and has the nerve to try and sweep it under the rug. Then, when the stripper tries to extort¬†him, by exposing him for cash, he goes to the FBI. What in the hell did you think was going to happen? Hoes will be Hoes. C’mon Hollis Queens, you know better. He reminds me of a preacher in any black movie who is/was a pimp and just using poor saps, to preach fake gospel (*cough* Mason Betha *cough*) just to get money. Making us black men look pitiful.¬†

Strike 3

Awww yes. The old “Do as I say, not as I do” Mentality. We know you’re a minister, but you openly say that you condemn homosexuality in the 2nd largest homosexual community in the world (Montreal being the first). I don’t give a rats ass about someone’s religious beliefs, or sexual orientation but you realize that,¬†
1. You’re the coach of the Warriors
2. You’re Black
3. You’re in the Bay Area
4 . You’re Black
5.You’re a minister and no matter how you feel you are suppose to lead
6. You’re Black
7. You just cheated on you’re wife
8. You’re black
9. Ownership is disappointed by you telling them you will not be buying a home in the Bay¬†Area because your priorities are in LA where you’re ministry is

10. YOU’RE BLACK¬†

Strike 4

 

Mark Jackson got fired, and of course, Stephen A. Smith goes on a tyraid saying that Mark Jackson got fired because of his skin color. So that’s why he gets another strike. Because in their eyes, being black and having to overcome certain things, society should baby us. That makes us look weak as hell. Dumb take. Really dumb, just like the “Rooney Rule” in football. Lets interview one black candidate. Just like the African American Honor Roll is 2.5 and above instead of 3.0. So, therefore Mark Jackson should get 4 strikes. He’s black ladies and gentleman. He underachieved, and he is a terrible coach, so his racist white owners fired him (Sarcasm, the owners are not racist). ¬†Not because there were gay executives in the Warriors front office, or because Mike Malone ran the team, or because Mark Jackson is a glorified motivational speaker, or because he played hero ball with Steph Curry and underutilized our team. So he deserves another chance. I despise this piece of….. I looked up to you man. You’re a huge let down. And you still act bitter. You get into year long tiffs with Andrew Bogut, you rode Lebron’s dick so hard in the 2015 NBA Finals while turning your smug nose up at us. Then you say Steph is hurting basketball. You just sound like a bitter ex girlfriend man. What a pathetic man. When does it end? ¬†Oh, but that’s right, only God Can Judge You, right? Funny, that only works in times of despair or adversity. Because when you signed your contract, or cheated on your wife, I bet that was the last thing you were thinking about, Minister Jackson.

Lost a fan and fellow African forever,
Tareau Barron

 

Coaches In a Players League

Kevin McHale, Lionel Hollins, Jeff Hornacek, David Blatt, and Derek Fisher. What do all these men have in common? They were all fired before the halfway point of the season by general managers who used them as scapegoats. Here are some examples:

I’ll start with Kevin McHale. The Houston Rockets had 4 straight winning seasons under Mchale, including a Western Conference finals birth last season. All four of those seasons the Rockets win percentage went up. After finishing ¬†56-26 in the 2014-15 season, Houston started off 4-7 this year. Surely nothing to panic about, the season was still young. But General Manager Daryl Morey wanted to shake things up. By fixing this God awful roster filled with young nobody’s and aging veterans you ask? No. By getting shooters to space the floor? No! He made sure he got¬†Josh Smith¬†and his mind boggling 29.6% three point shooting back though. The Rockets have 4 players on this team that average double figures. ¬†James Harden (27.9), Dwight Howard ¬†(14.3), Trevor Ariza (12.4), Marcus Thornton ¬†(10.1). See what I’m getting at? Harden is the focal point, and then the talent starts to taper off. They have one main rebounder (Dwight averages 12 per game). The leader in assist is Ty Lawson with 3.7. Certainly a deficiency in talent here. On TNT Thursday, Kevin Mchale said,¬†‚ÄúDwight [Howard] couldn‚Äôt do back-to-back practices, and wasn‚Äôt going to be able to do back-to-back games until December, James Harden had sprained his ankle during the summer and came in overweight, and we just weren‚Äôt playing very well.‚ÄĚ But… Mchale is the problem. Got it.

Let’s take the cases of Jeff Hornacek and Derek Fisher. Let’s throw advanced stats out the window for a second. Pretend you’re a scout. Meaning trust your eyeballs. Look at the rosters of the Suns and the Knicks. Are their rosters conducive of those teams primed for playoff runs? The Suns two best best players, Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight went down with season ending injuries this season, however before those injuries happened, Phoenix was nothing to fear. First they tried a¬†3 point guard system, with Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe, and Isaiah Thomas. All on the floor at the same time! There was only one ball…. so after a couple of trades they went to¬†2 point guards. Then drafted¬†Devin Booker. First half of this season is when both Bledsoe and Knight went down. The picture I’m trying to paint is Jeff Hornacek didn’t have much stability to work with. His two seasons in Phoenix were marred by injuries, trades, and dysfunction. Derek Fisher’s combined coaching record was 40-96. Horrible right? Right. However, Carmelo Anthony played in¬†only 40 games¬†before injuring his knee. Can you name another player from last year’s Knicks roster ? Exactly. Anthony is back playing again in 2015-16, along with rookie sensation¬†Kristaps PorziŇÜń£is. But again can you name another player from the Knicks roster? Has Phil Jackson made any roster moves to improve the overall talent in New York? Has the Suns GM ¬†RyanMcDonough¬†done the same in Phoenix?

The mess in¬†Sacramento¬†is a prime example of, how much easier it is for GM’s and owners to find a scapegoat rather then fix the real problems plaguing a franchise. In the 2014-15 season Sacramento had¬†three head coaches, and¬†lost a general manager. Replaced said GM with¬†Vlade Divac, who essentially hired himself. The teams best player, DeMarcus Cousins,¬†who has yet to experience a winning season since entering the NBA in 2010, has been surrounded by mediocrity. Cousins is on his fifth coach, third general manager, experienced an ownership change, and seen many a player come and go. Not to mention the Franchise¬†Almost¬†moving. All that in 5 years. Let’s circle around to coach George Karl, who was hired a year ago, making him the third coach within a year, was reported to be¬†getting fired, then when the dust settled will¬†remain¬†with the team. Let’s look at the real problem. The¬†roster. Last season was the first time the Kings had an ¬†All-star selection since 2003, when Brad Miller was selected. Over 10 years without an All-star. So Karl is working with a roster that has a point guard whom leads the league in assist but can’t shoot. A small forward in Rudy Gay who seems to be in every trade rumor every single season, only averages 17 ppg, and is your second highest paid player on the team. Costing the Kings $12M this season, $13M next season, and has a player option in the 2017/18 season where he can make $14M. George Karl wasn’t the one who Traded for this player or signed him to this massive contract. Then you have the teams best player, ¬†and arguably the best Center in the league, DeMarcus Cousins. ¬†5 years into his career Cousins puts up goudy numbers but he’s ¬†still having questions raised about his maturity level. He’s second in the league in technical fouls, and has been in the top five in the category since entering the league in 2010. Headache for opponents, headache for coaching staffs as well. The talent pretty much tapers off after their three best players, and has no real help from the bench. The last four drafts haven’t produced any talent to brag about, and the Kings have trouble attracting anyone. Well there was the time they offered Andre Iguodala a contract, then abruptly¬†took it back. What else do you expect from a franchise run by an owner widely considered¬†clueless, even by the minority owners in the same organization. ¬†But, shhh…¬†George Karl is the problem.

For years we have all watched coaches get the Axe because of issues with star players, having losing records with horrible rosters, and owners and/or GM’s giving in to a fanbase. i.e. throwing continuity out the window. We seen it when Deron Williams forced hall of fame coach Jerry Sloan to¬†quit, then ended up in Brooklyn where he was the reason Avery Johnson got his¬†walking papers.¬†What about when Mike Brown was fired from the Cleveland Cavs (the first time) after losing to the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals? That roster couldn’t get over the hump even with LeBron at his peak. More recently the Cavs firing David Blatt. After losing to the Warriors in the finals with a depleted roster, and having only one of their three stars, Cleveland started this season 30-11. Best record in the East. Blatt was fired for being “in over his head.” When he was hired he didn’t even know LeBron would be on the team. Blatt thought he was coming in to a rebuilding project. But hey, here we are.

I’m trying to illustrate to you, how can you build cohesion, and consistency if a franchise changes coaches like you change your underwear? What does this say to potential free agents? To a fanbase? Hell to the players on your roster! Greg Popovich has been the San Antonio Spurs coach since 1996. That’s 20 years if you can’t add. His team’s have been to the playoffs 18 straight years. He has 5 titles, and has won coach of the year 3 times. Consistency my friends. These things don’t happen to organizations who change coaches every year or two or even three. I won’t even get into the complications getting hired and fired causes on the family, in terms of moving and switching kids schools. So next time you call for the coaches head of your favorite team, look at the bigger picture first. Problems always start from the top down.

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Marshawn The Great

By David Max


 

While the Denver Broncos defense was busy shutting down the Panthers offense, one of the games best players, and more so interesting players announced his retirement. 

Beast Mode

 

Hangin’em up Boss. He will be missed on Sundays. ¬†Whether he’s powering through ¬†(insert team name) front seven, or pumping fear into db’s when they have to attempt¬†to tackle him, love him or hate him he was fun to watch.

Beast Mode

seattle-seahawks-running-back-marshawn-lynch

Unapologetically Marshawn. Unapologetically Oakland. He was himself, and the people loved him for it. At 5’11 and 215lbs he muscled through alot of “elite” NFL defenders. From the¬†run¬†that resurrected ¬†(made you take him serious) his career, to refusing to let the media vilify him while¬†fulfilling his obligations. ¬†For 9 years, we’ve watched defensive coordinators try to figure out how to stop him. To no avail. 8 man box, ¬†24 is running through that. Solo tackle? You’re going to need help son. He tormented opposing defenses. The five time Pro bowler rushed for a grand total of 9,112 yards, and 74 touchdowns. ¬†His career totals are very similar to Hall of fame running back Earl Campbell.¬†

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I feel like I can make an argument for Beast Mode making it in to Canton. Especially with him having a ring (should have been two), and producing when it mattered most, the post season. ¬†Marshawn rushed for 937 yards. That’s 8th best all-time. He did that in only 11 games, most of them with a quarterback who can run. So before you go wanting say what’s that have to do with anything, ¬†I’m talking about 308 potential yards, that you know Lynch was most likely a decoy. So you decide.

Fines

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Marshawn’s fines have been well documented. $100,000 for not talking¬†to the media. This was after getting fined for the same thing, ( $50,000 and $20,000 respectivly). There was the time Lynch was fined $10,000 for wearing¬†Skittles themed¬†cleats. $5,000 for wearing green ones. The NFL threatened to eject him out of a game for wearing¬†gold cleats. It’s not called the “No Fun League” for nothing. At least he doesn’t have to worry about the NFL in his pockets anymore.

 

Misunderstood 

Marshawn-Lynch-Yeah

Marshawn has done countless¬†charity¬†work for kids, from Oakland to Seattle. His Fam 1st Family Foundation proves he’s not what the media wants to badly portray him to be. He doesn’t do touchdown celebrations, he just shakes hands. He’s been on the Conan O’brien show plenty of times showing off his sense of humor. If none of this moves ¬†you can hear the man tell his¬†story¬†in this interview. Silence breeds curiosity, ¬†and curiosity breeds speculation. And you can see what road that brings you down. If you don’t, you’re part of the problem.

 

Etc.

skittles

In the end, Marshawn Lynch did it his way. Never changed. Ironically that’s what made people hate him as well as love him. He’s also going out on his terms. He didn’t wait until he got an injury where he would never be the same. He didn’t wait until he was essentially living pay check to pay check, and he goes from one team to another, collecting the minimum. No. As for what to do next, ¬†Lynch opened up his own¬†Store¬†this past week. Selling his Beast Mode brand apparel at 811 Broadway Street in Oakland. Like I said never changed. Stayed true to home base. So the greatest running back in my generation retired today at the age of 29. Fuck that Superbowl. This was the biggest news of the day for me.

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-David Max

 

Top 8 Point Guards in the NBA

By David Max


 

After tossing and turning over making this list, who would be on this list, and preparing for the arguments that ensue after list such as these, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. This is a topic of conversation, amongst NBA purest and casual fans alike. Especially those of you like me who love the point guard position. Whatever you choose to call them…Floor Generals…The Quarterback of basketball… or an extension of the coach; A point guard has many responsibilities. A few of these would be, establishing tempo, getting teammates going, ¬†knowing when to pass and when to shoot, calling plays, and making sure everyone is doing their job. So, I put together a list of the great eight, I feel are the best at the position. With criteria that includes: Impact on the game, stats (including turnovers), are you a legitimate threat? Meaning can you pass and score, not just one or the other. ¬†Finally, how would your team fair without you. So without further a due: My top 8 Point Guards….

 

 

Reggie Jackson
8. Reggie Jackson 

Reggie kicks off my Top 8 with a bang. In his first full season as the Pistons floor general, Reggie is averaging 19 points per game, and just over 6 assist. Wanting a Starting role in OKC, and the Thunder not willing to grant his wish he was eventually Traded to Detroit were he blossomed. Proving he was worthy to lead, the Pistons rewarded him with a 5yr extension, and neither he nor Detroit has looked back. Currently in 8th place in the Eastern Conference standings, and half the season in, the future is looking bright. I would like to put him higher, and maybe I will down the line but he has to get his assist numbers up, and he and Drummond have to find a way to get more wins in the dreadful Eastern Conference.

 

Isaiah-Thomas-throws-sick-dime
7. Isaiah Thomas 

Isaiah Thomas went from the last pick in the 2011 draft (by a terribly run franchise), to not being wanted by said franchise, then Signing¬†with an equally as bad franchise. Thomas, now with the Celtics, is having a career year and will be in his first Allstar game February 14. Averaging 21.5 ppg, 3.0 rebs, and 6.6 ast this season, Thomas and his underrated Celtics are currently sitting in 4th place in the Eastern Conference. If you don’t watch much basketball, Isaiah is 5’9 and all heart. Capable of knocking down outside shots, and definitely not afraid to go inside with the trees. I was hoping he would eventually land with a competent organization and have the year he’s currently having. He’s been one of my favorite players to watch since entering the league and soon he’ll be a house hold name.

 

 

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6. John Wall

 

Why isn’t John Wall higher on the list? For the record I wanted him to be. Leading the league in turnovers (4.4) and your team ¬†being 5 games below .500 (22-27) in the weaker Eastern Conference doesn’t help. However he’s third in the league in assist (9.8), and he’s in the top 10 in every major category amongst point guards. The turnovers could be attributed to having the ball in his hands so much, since he may be the only true playmaker on the Wizards. With Bradley Beal seeming to always get hurt, and the Wizards¬†dream of getting Kevin Durant¬†fading fast, ¬†John maybe the Eastern Conference version of Anthony Davis: ¬†A dynamic player stuck on a team of underachievers and injury prone players. Until GM Ernie Grunfeld surrounds him with some talent or grants his freedom, let’s enjoy the must see TV that is John Wall.

 

 

 

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Portland Trail Blazers
5. Damian Lillard 

 

Who has had to do more with less this season? After losing¬†four starters¬†in the offseason, Damian Lillard and the Blazers looked like they were on the verge of being Western Conference dweller cellars. However Dame did what he’s been doing his entire life; prove people wrong. Shortly after all the roster moves, Lillard signed a new¬†contract¬†with Portland and got in the gym. Averaging career highs in points (24.0) and assist (7.3), Dame has the Blazers in striking distance of a playoff spot. Snubbed from an Allstar spot because certain players getting life time achievement award votes *cough* kobe *cough* Good news is Lillard is only 25, with plenty in the tank. He’ll have plenty of Allstar berths, and plenty more seasons to make Portland and the great city of Oakland, CA proud.

 

 

 

KyleLowryIndianaPacersvTorontoRaptorsUGVExe-SXyHx
4. Kyle Lowry 

 

If one word describes Kyle Lowry it would be “transformation”. In the 14-15 season Kyle’s numbers tailed off. In the playoffs it was evident he ran out of gas. So in the offseason Lowry¬†Transformed¬†his body. The new and improved slim Kyle Lowry is lighting up the NBA, ¬†and is leading the Toronto Raptors to their best start in franchise history. Through 50 games Toronto is 34-16, which is good for second in the Eastern Conference standings. The Raptors have won 13 of their last 14 games, and are only 2 games behind Cleveland for the first place lead. Kyle who’s is averaging a career high 21.0 ppg,and shooting a shade under 40% from outside. He’s also leading all point guards in minutes played per game (36.7) and fourth overall in that category. All thanks to that “transformation” over the summer.

 

chris-paul-of-los-angeles-clippers
3. Chris Paul

Chris ¬†Paul has been Mr. Consistency for 11 years. Yes I said 11. Let that sink in. He’s been the gold standard for most of those years. Paul has essentially been this generations¬†John Stockton. His numbers are slightly down this season, but they are fairly close to his career averages. Plus he finally has enough talent around him to where he doesn’t have to do¬†everything himself. He is King of the¬†Mid-Range, a passing wizard, and a magician with his ball handling. Cp3’s game is tailor made for longevity. ¬†4th in the league in assist, and 5th in the league in steals, 11 years in! Still producing. Not the fastest, nor the strongest, nor does he have a 40 inch vertical. But he’s still the best PURE¬†point guard in terms of running a team.¬†

 

 

 

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2. Russell Westbrook 

After much debate here at Couch Sports, the walking triple double himself comes in at number #2. With his ridiculous stat line of: ¬†24 ppg, 7.6 rebs, 10 ast! I need you to read that stat line again. I’ll wait… yes he’s close to averaging a triple double. He has career highs in rebounds, and assist but most of all field goal percentage, which is up to 46%. One of the most feared players in the Association, he may come down the lane and tomahawk on you, he may shake you out your socks, and he can knock down the jumper from any distance . Russell has 8 triple doubles, second to Draymond Green who has 10. With no signs of slowing down, Russell and his Thunder are currently sitting in third place in the West, and primed to make a deep run in the playoffs. With no one in the league able to guard him, he may be arguably one of the most unguardable players to ever lace up sneakers.

 

 

 

 

Golden State Warriors v Boston Celtics
1. Stephen Curry

Reigning MVP, NBA champion, ¬†3 point champion, shattering his own¬†records, and revolutionizing the game of basketball. The funny part about all those accolades is, Curry has gotten better! Career highs all across the board: 29.8 points a game, 5.3 rebounds, .51% fg, .45% shooting from ¬†downtown, and leading the Dubs to a 46-4 record (41 straight at home). Even everyone’s favorite Chicago Bulls didn’t start off this fast. Steph is not only the best point guard in the league, he’s the best player in the world right now. From his handles, to his shooting, he’s practically unguardable. From¬†golfing¬†with the President, to having the most¬†popular¬†jersey. The legend of Steph Curry is growing, and barring injury, he’ll capture another MVP, and another ring.