Category Archives: NBA
Written by Tom Mullins, TRST NBA columnist. Follow him on Twitter @tomullins
Now that we’ve seen plenty of basketball this season, teams can be separated more easily, the good from the bad, and then there’s the Wizards.
While it’s slim pickings in the Eastern Conference, out West there are several championship contenders. As usual the Spurs and Thunder are the teams to beat, with the Clippers and Grizzlies close behind. As we all know the Lakers are struggling early, and young teams such as Golden State can seize the opportunity.
Other than Miami and New York, yes that’s right, the Knicks are a championship caliber team, the Eastern Conference lacks the ‘elite’ teams. Atlanta and Chicago have played well to date without a true star, while Boston, Brooklyn and Indiana are barely over .500.
Right now you can’t look past Oklahoma City, despite their loss to the Timberwolves last night. Durant’s continuing his brilliant play from last season, looking like a serious MVP candidate. Russell Westbrook has kept improving, now distributing the ball better to his teammates. Losing Harden hasn’t impacted the Thunder, with Kevin Martin fitting in perfectly to the offense and giving them a dangerous weapon from beyond the arc. Serge Ibaka is playing like a borderline All-Star, making consistent mid-range baskets, it almost seems unfair. OKC will probably finish with the top seed in the West, and don’t be surprised if they’re in the Finals for a second consecutive year.
Defending champions the Miami Heat haven’t looked quite as good just yet, especially defensively, though they are still playing at a level greater than most other teams around the league. LeBron James is unstoppable as usual and Chris Bosh is playing efficiently on offense, however Dwyane Wade needs to recover from a slow start in order for this Miami team to be successful down the track. They should be able to escape the East for the third season in a row and defend their title, though the Knicks could challenge them in the playoffs.
Who would have thought the Knicks would be on top of the East only days away from Christmas? Carmelo Anthony has led this new look outfit to the second best record in the league. If their threes keep falling and Amar’e Stoudemire can play effectively with Melo, this New York team could be very dangerous.
Tim Duncan has turned back the clock so far this season and is playing at an extremely high level. The Spurs have cooled down a bit recently, but are still an elite team with guards such as Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, along with a solid bench. They’re not going to let young teams such as the Thunder, Clippers and Grizzlies take over the West without a fight.
The Clippers are the best team in LA right now, thanks to the best point guard in the league, Chris Paul. It’s scary to think how good they could be, as they’re arguably the deepest team in the league with role players still on the sideline (Grant Hill and Chauncey Billups). Expect a deep playoff run from them, with a WCF’s berth in sight.
After a disappointing exit to the playoffs earlier this year, the Memphis Grizzlies look to go much further this season, and with the best frontcourt in the NBA, they have a great chance to succeed. It’ll be tough to get out of the West, though if their key players in Gay, Gasol and Randolph play efficient basketball, along with Conley and production from the bench, Memphis could definitely make some noise.
Look out for teams like the Bulls (if Rose is back healthy), Hawks and Warriors come the playoffs, who have played well early and won’t get the same amount of hype as the true contenders.
Teams who will improve as the season wears on include the Lakers, Celtics, Nets and Pacers. The Mavericks and Sixers should also step up their level of play when their star players return, if Bynum ever plays in Philly.
In 2011, Aaron Rodgers won his first Superbowl, and had lead the Packers to a regular 15-1 season behind an MVP performance. This led the viewers of The Real Sports Talk, or as it was called back then The Ka$h Kelly and AC Sports Report, to vote Rodgers as 2011 athlete of the year. Fast forward 12 months, and Rodgers has stayed hot but not hot enough to defend his title as Athlete of the Year. Here are the four candidates. Vote at the poll on the bottom of the article. Votes will be counted until December 22.
Eli Manning Quarterback New York Giants-In 2012 Eli Manning truly did reach his goal of being elite. After by far his best regular season of his career, Manning once again upset Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Superbowl 46, winning his second Superbowl MVP. At the end of 2012, Manning has the Giants sitting on top of the NFC East at 7-5, having tossed 16 TDs and 3,170 yards.
LeBron James Small Forward Miami Heat and Team USA- In 2011 LeBron James was viewed by many as the most unsuccessful athlete of the year. In 2012 “King James” won his third league MVP, and finally got his first NBA Title and Finals MVP. After that LeBron was just adding on by leading the USA Men’s team to Gold in the London Olympics. As 2012 winds down, LeBron is averaging 25 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists.
Usain Bolt Sprinter Jamaica- Coming into the 2012 London Olympics, many wondered if 2008 Olympic hero Usain Bolt would be out-shined by his countryman, Yohan Blake. Coming out of the 2012 London games, those same critics wondered if Bolt was the greatest sprinter of all-time. Bolt cruised to a 100 meter dash record 9.63 seconds. Bolt also edged out teammate Yohan Blake, to win his second straight 200 meter title, with a time of 19.32 seconds. Bolt became the first sprinter to ever win the 100 and 200 meter races at back to back Olympics. As we ponder if Bolt is the 2012 Athlete of the Year, he is likely training for the 2016 games, which he has committed to running in.
Miguel Cabrera Third-Baseman Detroit Tigers- After the Tigers signed Prince Fielder, forcing Miguel Cabrera to move to third base, numerous experts thought Cabrera may have a down season. Instead Cabrera won his first MVP, after becoming the first player to hit for the triple crown since Carl Yastrzemski. He did so hitting .330 with 44 homeruns and 139 RBI’s. Cabrera also lead the Tigers to their first World Series appearance since 2006, before the Tigers were swept by the Giants. Regardless of the loss in the World Series, Cabrera had a truly historic year in 2012.
Players who just missed: Johnny Manziel, Manti T’eo, Michael Phelps, Mike Trout, Buster Posey, Kevin Durant, & Anthony Davis.
Written by Tom Mullins. NBA Columnist for TRST and Founder/Editor of HoopHuddle.com @HoopHuddle
Everyone expected the Dwight Howard circus to roll into Los Angeles when he was traded, though most didn’t predict the infamous Dwightmare to also hitch a ride.
As we all know the Lakers have been struggling for wins in the early part of the season, and of course someone has to be blamed. Mike Brown has come and gone, with the scrutiny now directed at their players such as Dwight and Pau. Not only is his free throw percentage poor, but it’s obvious that he hasn’t completely recovered from the back injury which saw the three-time Defensive Player of the Year miss the end of last season and the London Olympics.
The absurd comparisons to Jordan’s Bulls once the new LA team was formed this past offseason aren’t even being mentioned now. Howard thought teaming up with a pair of MVPs would finally get him the ring he desperately wants, at this point that championship looks like a distant dream. Sure Nash still has to return, though the defense is the real problem. Things aren’t going to drastically improve once their 38-year old point guard returns, who’s only played a handful of games.
With Dwight Howard becoming a free agent this offseason, it’s quite possible that Superman could be flying out of Hollywood. There’s a slim chance that he’ll stay a Laker if success doesn’t come in his first season in the purple and gold. He recently said the following in relation to a championship, “So if I have to play on another team or do whatever I have to do to get one, that’s my goal. This is my passion, so I’ll continue to fight.”
His selfish behavior in past months is still present, with Howard not willing to take responsibility for the team’s problems on the court. Dwight needs to grow up before it impacts his legacy even more, as he’s possibly become the most hated player in the league.
Loyalty doesn’t exist anymore in sport. If Howard wants to leave, he’ll leave. If he wants to be the number one guy like he was in Orlando, LA isn’t where he’ll stay. Kobe Bryant being the competitor he is, will probably play for several more seasons with the way his body’s holding up. We might see LeBron in a Lakers jersey longer than Dwight, scary I know.
Teams will be lining up to sign him to huge contracts come next year and don’t be shocked if he decides to leave. Imagine a Dwight Howard-James Harden duo. Wherever he ends up, I just can’t see him being a long-term Laker. It might be a replica of Shaq’s career, where he moves from the Magic to LA and bounces around numerous teams to end his career.
Tonight the Kobe and company travel to Oklahoma City to square off with Durant’s Thunder, in what could be a season defining game for Dwight Howard. The national media’s waiting for more problems to arise in Lakerland and changes could be imminent. If the Lakers fail to come together and win consistent games going into the New Year, not only will it impact this season’s outcome, but also the future of the Lakers as Howard could be on his way out the door.
Written by Tom Mullins, TRST NBA Columnist @TMSports
Over the past few seasons LeBron James has been not only the best player in the NBA, but the best player in the world. If you can’t see this you’re either an excessive Kobe fan, a bitter Cavs supporter (yes they still exist) or Skip Bayless himself.
In the opening month of the season, James has continued his dominance, playing at an extremely high level and putting up incredible numbers, which are better in most categories than last season’s when he won his third MVP award. Averaging 25.2 points, 8.8 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game through the first thirteen games. Also shooting 53% from the field and down on turnovers from last season, leading the Heat to a 10-3 record.
Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and the rest of the “elite group” are obviously outstanding players in their own right, each with unique and effective skills, mentioning them with LeBron James though?
That’s a mistake.
Of course the media’s going to do it, you can’t blame them for doing their job. Sure these guys are comparable with statistics and possess similar qualities, but the pure dominance and control LeBron can have on a game, that’s second to none. No player in the NBA today will ever be as good as LeBron James is right now, not even the highly rated Kevin Durant, who could quite possibly go down as one of the best scorers in NBA history. Statistics are definitely a key part of comparing players and determining who’s the “best”, as seen with LeBron’s incredible numbers, although the average person won’t use anything besides stats and achievements, which is a flaw in today’s sports fans.
To form an accurate viewpoint when analyzing a player or team is as simple as watching their games and having a non-bias attitude towards them. On most occasions statistics only show one side of the story. Sitting down and witnessing what LeBron James can do in the space of 48 minutes, proves that he’s superior to every other basketball player on Earth.
After winning his first championship last season, the recognition and respect that LeBron deserves, began to head his way. The media’s excessive coverage and scrutiny of the Heat’s superstar has started to die down, though it’s still seen frequently today. Unfortunately to be become one of the greatest in the eyes of most hoops fans, LeBron James will need to live up to the hype when he arrived in South Beach, and win multiple titles. Even if LeBron and the Heat are unsuccessful in doing so, there’s no doubt that he’s already a legend and deserves to be mentioned amongst the all-time greats.
Just not quite MJ yet.
By Tim Kelly-Host,Owner, and Founder of The Real Sports Talk
Follow Tim on Twitter @KashKelly_TRST
He might not be healthy enough to have made an impact for this Philadelphia 76ers this season, at least so far, but that has not stopped Andrew Bynum from catching headlines for constantly changing hairstyles. At Bynum’s introductory presser for the 76ers, he came out rocking an afro. No one questioned how fresh that was. Then, midweek this picture went viral. I wish I could tell you what this is, but quite honestly I have looked all over the internet and no one in recent centuries has had this hairstyle. But hey, maybe you like it!(Big maybe I guess). So if you like it, then by all means I hope I haven’t tainted in how you will vote on the poll below.
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by Akiem Bailum
On Twitter: @Li495Akiem
And as we know, no one likes to be teased, especially this much.
Remember back in your school days when there was someone you had a huge crush on and really wanted to talk to that person. Surprisingly, that person starts talking to you first and things start to go extremely well for about until you find you that he or she’s already taken.
Laker fans can now relate.
A few days ago, we found out that the Los Angeles Lakers had indeed parted ways head coach Mike Brown after only their first 5 games. The Lake Show had become a boring infomercial as they had lost 4 of their first five in the regular season and went 0 for 8 in the preseason (if it means anything).
Laker brass had all but admitted that Mike Brown’s implementation of the “Princeton Offense” that involves continuous ball movement and spacing out was not compatible with this star-studded Laker squad.
With the unceremonious Brown-out taking place in LA, all eyes and indications seemed to turn to Phil Jackson. The number one question was did Phil even want to coach anymore. After numerous reported conversations Mitch Kupchak & Jim Buss had with Phil, the vibes were positive that Phil was preparing to come back. He even cancelled a speaking engagement in Chicago to prepare to return to the Laker bench.
Of course, when you are an 11-time champion in Phil Jackson, you come with a rather hefty price tag. Reportedly, he demanded $10 million a year, full power over basketball decisions, and the ability to take off the majority of road games (most likely to those games contested east of the state of Texas).
Phil clearly wanted the job. The fans were preparing for Phil to take the job. Reportedly, Dwight Howard even wanted Phil to get the job.
Phil didn’t get the job.
Instead, that went to former Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni. The entire Southern California region spat out their morning coffee as they heard the news. So was Phil himself.
D’Antoni’s price tag isn’t as hefty as that of the 11-time champ. He’ll only be paid $12 million over 3 years (3 years guaranteed, 4th year being a team option).
Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak, for whatever reason, just teased the entire Southern California region into believing that Phil Jackson would be returning to run things once again. If it’s one thing you don’t do, it’s tease Laker fans. Los Angeles is first-and-foremost a Laker town with no professional football team (for now) in that city. Many in Laker Nation are ticked enough that not all of the team’s games are available on TV in the region because not every cable company has agreed to carry their new network.
There’s been much speculation as to why Phil Jackson didn’t get the job. It could’ve been because the Triangle Offense was incompatible with Steve Nash. It could’ve been because his demands were too high.
And let’s not forget that whole thing about him dating Jeanie Buss. Even when he’s not visible, he’s still very close to the team.
If they felt the Triangle Offense wasn’t compatible with this cast of characters on this team, why even talk to or interview Phil? It’s clear that his relationship with the Buss family is so close-knit that they don’t know how to move on from him even if they want to. If they’re trying to move on from the Phil Jackson era, it’s admirable since he won’t want to coach forever, but the 11 championships are hard to pass up even if he wants more money.
Also, if Jim Buss didn’t give him the job because Jackson wanted to control the basketball making decisions, it’s clear that Jim Buss is nothing but a son playing with daddy’s toys.
Anyone who heard the Laker fans at the Staples Center on Friday Night knew that they had already made their choice with the chants of “We Want Phil”. Every indication was that they were going to get Phil. Given his track record in LA, that’s what makes this such an egregious tease.
That was only the first. The second is just around the corner.
Mike D’Antoni’s track record as a head coach is most remembered for his Phoenix Suns teams flaming out in the playoffs after having great regular seasons. D’Antoni was Nash’s coach in Phoenix. In 2005, they lost in the Western Conference Finals to the eventual NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs—a team that actually did practice defense that year. In 2006, they’d lose in the postseason to the Dallas Mavericks.
D’Antoni’s style is to turn every basketball game into a track meet. The word “defense” is a foreign word to Mike D’Antoni.
That’s where’s the tease comes in. Every Laker game for the rest of the year just became the All-Star Game. D’Antoni’s style of ball will bring excitement, it’ll create highlight reels on Sports Center, and it will put fannies into the seats at Staples Center.
But, Laker fans are similar to fans of the Yankees or Manchester United. Anything less than a championship ring for the purple and gold is considered a failure of a season. D’Antoni’s track record does not exude much confidence that it’ll change in LA especially when he had those Phoenix Suns teams that looked like the league’s best team.
Plus, Kupchak and Buss have a bigger problem looming this summer if they fail to hoist a championship banner. Dwight Howard can leave Los Angeles after this year and they could find themselves in the exact same fix that the Orlando Magic did after this year. I saw when the media talked to Howard about the hire today and his body language didn’t look like that of someone who felt the team made the correct hire.
To make a long story short, if Howard doesn’t feel the Lakers are where he’ll win a championship, the Brooklyn Nets (where he really wants to be) are right there waiting.
Let the Showtime begin! Lights…Camera…Action! Take 1!
Hosted by Tim Kelly-Founder of The Real Sports Talk
Follow Tim on Twitter @KashKelly_TRST
Please like TRST on Facebook at Facebook.com/TheRealSportsTalk
By Tim Kelly-Founder of The Real Sports Talk
Follow Tim on Twitter @KashKelly_TRST
After colliding with teammate Austin Rivers in Friday’s 88-86 win over the Jazz, Hornets number one pick Anthony Davis will miss Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bulls.
The Hornets confirmed late last night that Davis was going to miss Sunday’s game, after suffering what they said was “a mild concussion.”
Davis hasn’t disapointed so far scoring 21 points and grabbing seven boards against the Spurs, and dropping eight and getting 6 rebounds in under fifteen minutes last night, before leaving with a concussion.
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