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Basketball Legend Kobe Bryant, 13-Year-Old Daughter Die in Tragic Helicopter Crash that Kills Nine Total

Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was killed in a tragic helicopter crash on Sunday in Calabasa, California. The helicopter was carrying seven other passengers, including Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and the pilot. Everyone on board was killed in the crash.

Kobe Bryant, largely considered to be one of the greatest players in NBA history, played for the Los Angeles Lakers for 20 seasons. Over the course of his storied career, he led the Lakers to five championships, was an 18-time All-Star and was the NBA’s MVP in 2007-08.

On the eve of his death, LeBron James broke Bryant’s scoring record for the Lakers. Bryant celebrated James’ success with a tweet—the last he would ever send—saying, “Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother #33644”.

As the news broke on Sunday, tributes poured in from celebrities and well known faces around the world.

Grammys pay respects to Kobe Bryant

“Tonight is for you Kobe,” said Lizzo, offering the first tribute to Bryant at the Grammys, which took place on Sunday at the Staples Center, where Kobe Bryant played his entire career with the LA Lakers. News of Bryant’s death mere hours before the Grammys began.

“We’re literally standing here, heartbroken, in the house that Kobe Bryant built,” said Alicia Keys, who was hosting the ceremony.

Presidents offer their condolences

Barack Obama wrote on Twitter: “Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.”

Current President Donald Trump offered words of comfort as well, writing: “Kobe Bryant, despite being one of the truly great basketball players of all time, was just getting started in life. He loved his family so much, and had such strong passion for the future. The loss of his beautiful daughter, Gianna, makes this moment even more devastating.”

Players praise Kobe Bryant’s legacy

“There’s no words to express the pain I’m going through with this tragedy of losing my niece Gigi & my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie,” said Shaquille O’Neal, who won three NBA titles alongside Bryant for the LA Lakers. “I love you and you will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. I’m sick right now.”

The NBA’s all-time leading scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who played for the Lakers from 1975-1989, said: “It’s very difficult for me to put in words how I feel. Kobe was an incredible family man, he loved his wife and daughters, he was an incredible athlete, he inspired a whole generation. This loss is hard to comprehend.”

Six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan added: “I loved Kobe—he was like a little brother to me. We used to talk often, and I will miss those conversations very much.

“He was a fierce competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force. Kobe was also an amazing dad who loved his family deeply—and took great pride in his daughter’s love for the game of basketball.”

LeBron James offered a moving tribute on Monday, after digesting the tragic news, saying: “I’m Not Ready but here I go. Man I sitting here trying to write something for this post but every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had! I literally just heard your voice Sunday morning before I left Philly to head back to LA. Didn’t think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we’d have.”

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I’m Not Ready but here I go. Man I sitting here trying to write something for this post but every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had! I literally just heard your voice Sunday morning before I left Philly to head back to LA. Didn’t think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we’d have. WTF!! I’m heartbroken and devastated my brother!! ?????. Man I love you big bro. My heart goes to Vanessa and the kids. I promise you I’ll continue your legacy man! You mean so much to us all here especially #LakerNation?? and it’s my responsibility to put this shit on my back and keep it going!! Please give me the strength from the heavens above and watch over me! I got US here! There’s so much more I want to say but just can’t right now because I can’t get through it! Until we meet again my brother!! #Mamba4Life❤️?? #Gigi4Life❤️??

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See also: Andrea Gibson is Still Screaming, This Time About Love
Trump’s Impeachment: A Simple Guide
Are Millenials Really Having Fewer Kids?

College Basketball Teams to Watch in 2019-20

There’s a lot that’s going to happen between now and the beginning of this year’s college basketball season, it seems almost premature to publish a top teams list. But we’re too excited to wait! Here’s who you should be keeping an eye on in 2019-20.


  • WHO’S GONE: Matt McQuaid, Kenny Goins, Nick Ward
  • WHO’S BACK: Cassius Winston, Xavier Tillman, Joshua Langford, Aaron Henry, Kyle Ahrens, Gabe Brown, Foster Loyer, Marcus Bingham, Thomas Kithier
  • WHO’S COMING IN: Rocket Watts, Malik Hall, Julius Marble
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Cassius Winston, Joshua Langford, Kyle Ahrens, Aaron Henry, Xavier Tillman


  • WHO’S GONE: P.J. Washington, Keldon Johnson, Tyler Herro, Reid Travis
  • WHO’S BACK: E.J. Montgomery, Ashton Hagans, Immanuel Quickly, Nick Richards
  • WHO’S COMING IN: Kahlil Whitney, Tyrese Maxey, Keion Brooks, Johnny Juzang, Dontaie Allen, Nate Sestina
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Tyrese Maxey, Ashton Hagans, Kahlil Whitney, Keion Brooks, E.J. Montgomery


  • WHO’S GONE: Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish, Marques Bolden
  • WHO’S BACK: Tre Jones, Alex O’Connell, Jack White, Javin DeLaurier, Jordan Goldwire, Joey Baker
  • WHO’S COMING IN: Vernon Carey, Wendell Moore, Matthew Hurt, Cassius Stanley
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Tre Jones, Alex O’Connell, Wendell Moore, Matthew Hurt, Vernon Carey


  • WHO’S GONE: Lagerald Vick, Dedric Lawson, Quintin Grimes, K.J. Lawson, Charlie Moore
  • WHO’S BACK: Devon Dotson, Ochai Agbaji, Udoka Azubuike, Marcus Garrett, Silvio De Sousa, Mitch Lightfoot, David McCormack
  • WHO’S COMING IN: Isaiah Moss, Jalen Wilson, Tristan Enaruna, Isaac McBride, Christian Braun
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Devon Dotson, Isaiah Moss, Ochai Agbaji, Silvio De Sousa, Udoka Azubuike


  • WHO’S GONE: Eric Paschall, Phil Booth, Jahvon Quinerly
  • WHO’S BACK: Jermaine Samuels, Cole Swider, Saddiq Bey, Collin Gillespie, Dhamir Cosby-Rountree, Brandon Slater
  • WHO’S COMING IN: Bryan Antoine, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Justin Moore, Eric Dixon
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Collin Gillespie, Bryan Antoine, Saddiq Bey, Jermaine Samuels, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl


  • WHO’S GONE: Christen Cunningham, Khwan Fore, Akoy Agau
  • WHO’S BACK: Jordan Nwora, Dwayne Sutton, Ryan McMahon, Steve Enoch, Malik Williams, Darius Perry
  • WHO’S COMING IN: Samuell Williamson, Jaelyn Withers, Josh Nickelberry, Fresh Kimble, David Johnson, Aidan Igiehom, Quinn Slazinski
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Fresh Kimble, Samuell Williamson, Dwayne Sutton, Jordan Nwora, Malik Williams

See also: The Ballers of College Softball
Playing College Sports: All You Need to Know
Getting Ready for March Madness

Getting Ready for March Madness

Every year, March Madness brings a fresh set of expectations and excitement with its promising players and bracket filled to burst. Here’s what to expect from this year’s tournament.

Superstar era

We have entered the era of the “superstar,” many of the heralded programs across the country have found themselves falling victim to the one-and-done culture in basketball, resulting in an overwhelming number of 19-year old young men prematurely jumping from college to the NBA.

This rule, constituted by the National Basketball Association in 2005, by then-Commissioner David Stern, has continued to be a controversial topic among amateur and professional sports enthusiast. This rule has created a dynamic where the best players simply attend college for one season of basketball in an effort to reach the NBA as quickly as possible. With this rule, we have seen coaches like John Calipari of Kentucky thrive off the notion that he can provide players with the most competitive platform to prepare them for long careers in basketball and hopefully NBA success.

It has helped create a number of millionaires, but at what expense? Many of our college institutions are losing their best talent to the NBA on a one-year lease program dictated by the NBA. The college system has begun to lose its luster as players are seeing their peers forego college to make millions playing the game they love. It unconsciously pits student-athletes who may be borderline or have little chance to reach professional status against those who choose to lease their talent to the college for a singular year.

It also places the college in a moral position to dictate who and how someone will pursue their professional aspirations. This can be problematic if these institutions are more concerned with their bottom line than preparing their student base for success post-college. These are some of the many wrinkles that this rule has fostered, and we have reached a point in history where basketball will eventually dictate the overall ideology of amateur sports across the country. The demand and popularity of basketball will supersede its need for organizations that choose to profit off of players and the culture of basketball but do little to enhance the lives of the people they are exploiting along the way.

Why this is relevant?

NCAA basketball/March Madness is an American past time and offers us a first glance at some of our favorite athletes. March Madness alone has helped countless young men and women transform their families financial, economic and sociological circumstances. This year is no different. We have reached the tipping point of the one and done culture.

The results have left us wondering if it is actually beneficial to the NBA, NCAA or the player themselves. Forcing an athlete to participate in collegiate sports is unnecessary and simply goes against any other industry in the world. No other profession forces you to be good at everything else but the thing you are good at. Sports are big business and the athletes who participate in it should be a major piece in the revenue distribution on all levels.

Experience trumps talent

The most glaring difference in the one and done era is that the talent has not produced a high level of winning. Outside of John Calipari Kentucky team led by now, NBA All-star Anthony Davis in 2011, the one and done athlete has routinely fallen short in the big games including the tournament. It has allowed for the older players to showcase their experience over the youthful talent which has resulted in nearly 80 percent of the NCAA Champions since 2005 to be led by seniors and upperclassman including Villanova who has won two of the last three NCAA Championships with older more experienced rosters.

March Madness 2019

With all of that being said, this season has provided us with some of the best one and done talent we have seen in a long time. The popularity of R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish at Duke strongly resembles Michigan’s Fab Five of the early 90s. Players like Mac McClung of Georgetown, Bol Bol of Oregon are names who have been built through their high school campaigns. Many of these names have larger followings than many third tier NBA players. This is a unique problem that the NCAA must deal with as the growth of social media starts to dictate who is or is not a great athlete.

Coach Krzyzewski of Duke has long lamented the idea of one and done players usually only keeping one or two on his active rosters. That was until this year, he has the top three prospects in the country playing together. They are all studs and plan to enter the draft this summer. They are basically the face of college basketball right now and will be throughout the remainder of the season.

Sleeper teams to watch

In a field of 65, the NCAA tournament provides a dream-like platform for aspiring basketball players. This year we will have an influx of small to mid-major colleges and universities making their name throughout the country. There are five teams I have been paying close attention to that may not be on most analyst radar but could make some noise come tournament time.

Memphis Tigers

Memphis is finally starting to shake out of their short lull since John Calipari took his coaching and recruiting greatness to Kentucky. Although they stumbled out of the gate to a 5-4 start you can tell they are starting to get comfortable with the pace and style of college basketball. They hired former NBA All-Star and Memphis basketball legend Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway this past offseason. This alone has brought the energy back to Memphis basketball, and once they figure out how to compete on a consistent level, they could be a team to reckon with come tournament time.

Arizona State Sun Devils

After starting out the season hot, Arizona State looks to take their early success for a deep run into the NCAA Tournament. They are a veteran team with only four freshmen. Their experience could make them a solid sleeper team to deal with coming out of the PAC 12. The PAC 12 may not be as elite as it normally is, so this is a great season for ASU to make their push.

Houston Cougars

Early season wins against Oregon, Oklahoma State and LSU has put Houston in the top 25. The Cougars have proven they are for real. Their 8-0 start puts them in a great position to surprise a lot of teams when the tournament arrives and in a first-place position in the American Conference.

Furman Paladins

After defeating the defending National Champions in #8 Villanova, Furman has been as confident on the court as you can be. Lead by junior Jordan Lyons they are positioning themselves for a sweet Cinderella run in the NCAA tournament this year. This is another example of experience playing a big factor in this one and done culture.

Nevada Wolf Pack

Nevada has come out of the gate on fire, knocking off Arizona State and winning at USC. They are led by returning senior forward Caleb Martin who averages 18 points per game and five rebounds adding to his great junior campaign last season. With only two freshmen on the roster, this is another veteran team poised to make a big run late in the season.

Now that we have discussed some teams that may surprise us this season, let us go into some more detail about the teams that are no surprise but are legitimate contenders for an NCAA National title.

Championship Contenders

Duke Blue Devils

As I said earlier, this powerhouse program is led by the top three prospects in the country. One of which is already being compared to LeBron James (Zion Williamson) and he isn’t even the best player on the team (R.J. Barrett). They also have a solid freshman point guard in Tre Jones who was also highly rated in High School and spent most of his time recruiting his current teammates. With R.J. Barrett running the show and Cam Reddish and Zion Williamson as the perfect pieces on his side, the Blue Devils look extremely dangerous. The only concern is the experience level, but if these boys continue to play at the level they started the season at, they will definitely have a deep run in the tournament.

Tennessee Volunteers

Tennessee has a storied basketball program and has routinely been in a position to be successful in the tournament. It hasn’t necessarily turned out to bring them championships, but this season feels a little different. After a close loss to No. 1 overall Kansas Jay Hawks, the Volunteers bounced back to defeat the No. 2 Gonzaga in a thriller. They are a team to reckon with coming out of the SEC. The SEC has five teams ranked in the top 25 including Kentucky, Auburn and Mississippi State. This provides Tennessee with great competition and no excuse to make a push for SEC Title and a deep NCAA tournament run.

Michigan Wolverines

After the embarrassing loss to Villanova in the National Title game last season, Michigan has come out of the gate firing on all cylinders. They have already defeated three top 20 teams including a 73-46 beat down against the defending Champions Villanova in their home gym. Michigan is looking like a team poised to cut down nets this year; their only obstacle may be playing Duke or Kansas before the Final Four or Title game.

Gonzaga Bulldogs

Gonzaga has been a staple in the NCAA tournament for seemingly two-decades now. They are looking like a team that is talented enough to beat anyone. After taking down the juggernaut Duke Blue Devils early in the season, they showed they can compete in big games and chaotic atmospheres with the best of the best. Gonzaga has done a rare thing and turned a yearly Cinderella story to a perennial basketball powerhouse program.

Kansas Jay Hawks

Kansas Coach Bill Self is one of the best coaches in the country and has shown a level of consistency only rivaled by a few of his contemporaries. Once again, he has put together a powerhouse team who despite losing some of their key guys to the NBA still is good enough to cut down the nets in March. Kansas is led by junior forward, and Memphis transfer Dedric Lawson, who is averaging 19 points and 10 rebounds a game for the Jay Hawks so far.

These five teams could interchange with each other all season but should prepare us for a special and competitive NCAA tournament in March. We have big name players and big-name programs to go with a large group of smaller colleges and universities who are looking to make a name for their program as well. The demand for great basketball is at an all-time high, and I look forward to watching it play out this year.

See also: Top 25 Men’s NCAA basketball teams have been announced

Space Jam 2 Officially Starring Lebron James

Space Jam 2 Is Officially Starring LeBron James

If you grew up in the 90s, you’d probably be lying if you said that the movie Space Jam wasn’t an iconic part of your childhood.

The 1996 cult classic starred NBA superstar, Michael Jordan, and the loveable cartoon cast of the Looney Tunes. Still the highest grossing basketball film ever released, Space Jam is coming back 20 years later—with a new face.

Following several years of rumors and speculations, LeBron James’ company, SpringHill Entertainment is believed to have signed a deal with Warner Bros on the project.

The film will be produced by Black Panther’s Ryan Coogler, and directed by Terence Nance.

“The Space Jam collaboration is so much more than just me and the Looney Tunes getting together and doing this movie.

“It’s so much bigger. I’d just love for kids to understand how empowered they can feel and how empowered they can be if they don’t just give up on their dreams. And I think Ryan did that for a lot of people.” James emphasized his appreciation for Coogler’s work.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, James and his business manager, Maverick Carter, stressed that the new movie will not be a sequel to Space Jam. Instead, they called it a “reboot” and even spoke about the new movie generating its own sequels.

Like its predecessor, the new movie is expected to include several NBA players as cameos, and Carter even discussed the idea of Jordan appearing.

“Hopefully there will be a role for Michael if he wants it. But Michael Jordan is Michael [expletive] Jordan.

“LeBron and Michael are not sitting around talking about Space Jam,” he quipped.

SpringHill Entertainment also shared a picture on social media, revealing an image of a locker room. The image shows L. James, 23 as a “small forward” and B. Bunny (Bugs Bunny), 1 as a “point guard”—both are basketball positions.

Feeling excited? Sadly, the rumored release dater Space Jam 2 is 2021, but when the Laker’s season is over, expect to see James trying to fill Michael Jordan’s basketball sneakers (rather him than us).

For now, take comfort in the knowledge that Space Jam is back, and maybe use it as an excuse to revisit the old classic.

Further reading: Idris Elba Pegged as the Next James Bond

Boston Celtics

Why Should the Boston Celtics Be Disappointed If They Do Not Win an NBA Title next Season?

For most franchises, reaching the Eastern Conference finals in consecutive years would be a great accomplishment. This is not necessarily the case for the Boston Celtics. The storied franchise is littered with Eastern conference and NBA titles, so just merely making it to the series means absolutely nothing. I know last year they were missing their two franchise players and were being led through the playoffs by two second year players and a rookie. Although, their success throughout the playoffs may have surprised a lot of fans they really only won one road game the entire playoffs and had a chance to send LeBron James home early for the first time in nearly a decade on their home court and laid an egg. Shooting horrendously from the three point line, and making youthful mistakes down the stretch, offered the young team an opportunity to play for an NBA title.

Fast forward to the summer, they have been able to resign a key player, Marcus Smart, who literally represents everything the franchise has become. Smart’s gritty, hard-working attitude reflects the very nature of the organization; he has proven to be one of those players who needs little attention like the stars but impacts the game like one. Boston is positioned to bring back two All NBA performers to their starting lineup in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward as well as the rest of the cast, Al Horford, Jalen Brown and last years’ rookie sensation Jayson Tatum. The bench will be one of the best in the league with Scary Terry Rozier, Smart, Marcus Morris, and Semi Ojeleye and newly drafted big man Robert Williams from Texas A&M.

Boston should be salivating at the opportunity of pursuing an NBA title, now that LeBron James has left the eastern conference for at least four years. The doors have gone through Cleveland and Miami for nearly a decade and now the pickings are ripe for a young but competitive Boston Celtics basketball team, led by a former NBA champion in Irving. This will be a legacy-defining season for Kyrie, with this strong cast of players; he should be able to lead his team to the next level. As long as they can stay healthy, Boston has no excuses for not making it to the NBA Finals out of the lackluster Eastern Conference.

Who will be in their way?

The Boston Celtics may only have two or three teams that can match up with them in a seven game series next season. The closest competition will be the youthful Philadelphia 76ers, who have a tandem in Joel Embid and ROY Ben Simmons that are poised to cause havoc on the east for many years to come. The Sixers will be significantly better after the success they saw last season. They will have more late-game experience, which was a major issue in the playoffs and they will have two players who can dominate a game playing side-by-side. The Boston Celtics may avoid them until the conference finals which will give them the advantage once again if they have home court. The only other teams that may give the Celtics a run for their money are the Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks. Both of these teams will improve greatly with the exit of LeBron James. They both have top players in the conference, Milwaukee has a potential of adding another all-star in Khris Middleton and a rookie selection in Villanova’s Donte DiVincenzo, a sharpshooter that adds another element to the roster.  The Pacers, on the other hand, would have been a problem last season without the heroics of King James. They picked up a healthy Tyreke Evans to add to their stout core. They will most likely see the largest growth next season than any other team. They are young and hungry with Miles Turner, Victor Oladipo, Evans, Corey Joseph, and young big man Domontas Sabonis. These are ideal compliments to their veterans of Thad Young and Darren Collison. I expect them to be much better but still a game or 2 short of a deep playoff run.

If Boston can keep their defense a consistent piece of their arsenal, I expect them to represent the East in the NBA Finals. Gordon Hayward will win comeback player of the year at the ESPY’s and Kyrie will either win or be runner-up for NBA MVP.  So this is why Boston Celtics fans should be disappointed if they do not win an NBA Title next season.

  1. They have the length and depth to compete and beat the Golden State Warriors.
  2. LeBron James is no longer in their way
  3. They have the best bench in basketball and arguably the best starting line-up
  4. They have a top-5 point guard in Kyrie Irving
  5. Their young players will have 1 more year of experience

Do you think Boston Celtics will reach the NBA Finals? If so leave a comment and let me know why I am wrong!

Further reading: Top 5 NBA Point Guards to Take Leap Forward During the 2018/19 Season

Point Guard

Top 5 NBA Point Guards to Take Leap Forward During the 2018/19 Season

The age of the point guard has extended much longer than I expected it would. As the game sped up over the last five to 10 years or so, the NBA has been a lightning rod for top-tier point guards. Point guard is the hardest position to make a lasting career in any sport because of the size disadvantage that normally occurs. The odds a great point guard won’t make an NBA team is extremely high. The competition at the position hails some of the most dynamic players in the NBA for example, Stephan Curry, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Damien Lillard are all big name point guards who lead their teams. This era has produced some of the best to play the position, if you are looking at stat lines, impact on the game and consistency.

The point guard position has been revolutionized and has opened the game to a more exciting pace but with less focus on the mental aspect of the sport. Players can shoot from 30 feet but make mental mistakes more often than those in past eras. The result of the changing game has created a demand for longer more versatile playmakers. We are seeing the flood-gates open with 6’7 (and above!) guys dealing with the bulk of the ball-handling and playmaking for their team. Although a shift is happening, the need for a dynamic point guard will always be vital to winning basketball games. In the NBA today, without a top-tier point guard at the helm, your chances of sustaining success is very slim (unless you have LeBron James). So that being said, I believe we will see a generational shift this coming NBA season. The young point guards will take their rightful place in the NBA landscape forcing the respected ones to tighten up or they will soon be replaced. Here are my top five point guards to look out for in 2018-2019.

  1. Spencer Dinwiddie. The Brooklyn Nets found themselves a jewel in Dinwiddie. Poised enough to make late-game shots and has shown the ability to be a top-tier playmaker. Dinwiddie improved his overall game, stretching the floor with his 3pt shot, averaging 12 points and 6 assist with his team’s best scorers and playmakers sidelined with injury all year long, gives me the impression he is on a growth incline that will only get better now that he will have his backcourt buddy Diangelo Russell back next season.
  2. Jamal Murray. Murray is coming into the 18-19 NBA Season coming off a great season. Although his nuggets failed to make the playoffs, with the additions of Isiah Thomas and rookie sensation Michael Porter Jr. Murray will have the weapons around him to become a star in this league. The Western conference is tough every night but Murray has shown an uncanny ability to compete against the league’s best and with his athleticism and scoring ability on a fast-paced offensive team, he will have his best season yet, finally pushing the Denver Nuggets into the playoffs.
  3. Dennis Schroder. Schroder is a starter on most NBA rosters. He is a quick and effective guard who competes with the best on a night-to-night basis. Leaving Atlanta may turn out to be the biggest blessing he could receive. One season behind Russell Westbrook (and in some cases side-by-side) should take his game to the next level. He is only 24 and will become the best backup point guard in the league the first game of the season. His style really fits OKC and may have them playing deep in the playoffs if the chemistry fits.
  4. Elfrid Payton. The Louisiana native has an opportunity to return to where it all started, playing with the up and coming New Orleans Pelicans. The Pelicans after losing Rajon Rondo are looking for a long and intelligent playmaker to take over at the point guard position. Payton is a stout defender. The Pelicans backcourt will be tough on the defensive end; Payton brings a different scoring threat to the table than Rondo as well. He will be able to thrive as the third or fourth option on the team making the Pelicans deeper and younger at the same time. I expect his assist per game to rise from a decent six per game to eight/ nine per game, many coming from lobs to Anthony Davis and Julius Randle.
  5. Kyrie Irving. I know this one may come as a surprise since Irving is a legit star in the league. That being said, the 2018-2019 season will be one of the biggest for the legacy of Kyrie “Uncle Drew” Irving. He is coming off a great season that ended short because of a knee injury. He is surrounded by arguably the best supporting cast in the NBA. LeBron James has left the Eastern Conference, many naming Irving the best player left in the East. All of this, and let us not forget his team was about five minutes away from making it to the NBA finals with him sitting in a dentist office or something of that nature. This is his chance to solidify his legend post-LeBron. He will be an MVP candidate and the Boston Celtics will be the team that dethrones the juggernaut Golden State Warriors. Yes, I said it, a healthy Irving and gang will defeat the Warriors in the NBA Finals.

Do you agree with my list? Tell me some sleeper point guards we should be looking out for this up-coming NBA season.

Further reading: LeBron James in Limbo

Lebron James

LeBron James in Limbo

Can the Cleveland Cavaliers’ deadline day trades save another NBA finals defeat for LeBron James?

The Cleveland Cavaliers have been particularly hard to watch this year. LeBron James is having one of his best years statistically and he seemingly can’t find any teammates to lessen the burden on his shoulders. Since Kyrie Irving demanded to be traded, they’ve looked one-dimensional and pedestrian, the only threat coming from Lebron driving to the paint. The reasons for this could be that head coach Ty Lue or Dan Gilbert made the trade swapping Irving for Isaiah Thomas, then scrapping that trade by February—even though Thomas had a 10-month hiatus as a result to a labral tear to his hip, so he needed more time to get used to basketball again. However, without knowing the atmosphere in the Cavalier’s dressing room before Thomas was shipped off to the Lakers, it’s very hard to pinpoint the cause of their decline: We question if the new look Cavaliers could still win it all this year.

Firstly, the new look Cavs have gone four and four, leaving most fans confused as to what the ownership saw in these players, which is completely unfair. There isn’t a team in the league that could introduce four players who are given significant minutes and win consistently, they’ve only been with the team a month as well as having the all-star break in between this.

One thing to be concerned about is that the Cavaliers have the busiest end of year schedule in the NBA, so getting the team training together is going to be challenge.

Cleveland acquired George Hill, a 6”3’-point guard from Sacramento. He’s an efficient player averaging 10 points per game and an impressive 45 percent from the three-point line. They brought in another good three-point shooter in Rodney Hood, a 6”8’ shooting guard from the Utah Jazz, averaging 15 points a game. They’re both athletic defenders that are very capable perimeter shooters, who LeBron James loves to play with. LeBron James uses these players whilst he drives to the paint causing the defenders to sink closer to the basket to try and protect the rim, making the perimeter shooters available for the pass.

The Cavaliers also traded for Larry Nance Jr, he stands at 6”9’, plays as a power forward and will primarily be used as a center by Lue. Nance is a good rim protector and can also spread out the floor because of the threat of an alley-oop pass to him. He can be a spark plug for the team, he’s a vicious dunker that has Kevin Durant amongst his posterized victims. Nance never had a true role in LA, so he will benefit from having a more defined role.

Lastly, Jordan Clarkson was brought in alongside Nance from the LA Lakers. Clarkson’s a 6”5’ point guard, averaging 15 points per game, can score from anywhere and doesn’t need other players to create for him. This is as opposed to Hill and Hood who can’t create off the dribble. The Cavs will look to use him as a player who can create for himself giving LeBron James a rest from ball handling duties.

In conclusion, the Cleveland Cavaliers added reliable role players to back up LeBron James and Kevin Love. Before the trade, Derrick Rose, Dwayne Wade and Isaiah Thomas just weren’t willing to be used as mostly off-the-ball players later in their careers, leading them to be disillusioned and not fight as hard as they once would have. The new additions will be sponges to the Cavaliers system and are young and fresh enough to run up and down court for the whole game. However, they will be relying on LeBron James and Love to get 60 points per game for them, then relying on the supporting cast to get around 10 points each.

All the focus is on the Golden State Warriors, who are still the heavy favorites to win the Championship since they have four perennial All-stars to the Cavaliers’ two. However, winning back to back Championships is difficult because mentally it’s so tough to keep the performance levels the same after achieving the ultimate goal the year before. My expectation is that they are good enough to win through to the finals, but may ultimately lose to the Warriors. These players are a good improvement, but the lack of consistent high volume shooters on the Cavs will be their downfall.

Further reading: NBA Star Derrick Rose to Sign With Timberwolves

NBA Star Derrick Rose

NBA Star Derrick Rose to Sign with Timberwolves

According to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, NBA star Derrick Rose has plans to sign with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the remainder of the season.

“Former NBA MVP Derrick Rose has agreed to a deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the rest of the season, league sources told ESPN,” Wojnarowski said.

“The deal will reunite him with coach Tom Thibodeau and former Chicago Bulls teammates Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson.”

The Athletic reported that NBA star Rose and his wife welcomed their new born child earlier this week, and any plans of signing with the Wolves had been postponed until then.

The player was waived by the Utah Jazz back in February after the team had acquired him in a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers on February 8. As Rose was waived before March 1, he was eligible to join the Timberwolves.

Rose was side-lined because of injuries this season with the Cleveland Cavaliers and has played just 16 games.

The NBA star has had much bad luck with injuries throughout his career, having lost 2012 playoffs to injuries and the 2012-2013 and most of the 2013-2014 seasons for the same reason.

In November 2017, Rose took a sabbatical from the game to decide which next step he should take in his career; he returned shortly after.

Rose is highly revered in the NBA, having first been drafted in the 2008 NBA Draft and obtaining Rookie of the Year honors in 2009. He later won the NBA MVP Award in 2011.

San Diego Coach Arrest

Lamont Smith Resigns as San Diego Coach after Arrest

Lamont Smith resigns as San Diego Coach on Wednesday March 7, just shy of two weeks after his arrest following suspicion of domestic violence.

USA Today reported that the men’s basketball coach at the University of San Diego was placed on administrative leave by the school the day after the arrest.

“We appreciate Coach Smith’s contributions to Torero Athletics and to the men’s basketball program since he joined us three years ago.

“Coach Smith elevated the level of competitiveness of our program, recruited an outstanding group of student-athletes and established a strong foundation for future success.

“This situation has been difficult for all concerned and our prayers continue to remain with everyone,” said the school in a statement announcing Smith’s resignation.

Smith had been arrested just hours after the Toreros played against the University of San Francisco on 25 February. Police arrived at a hotel where a woman, whose identity remains anonymous, had visible marks of injury who said that Smith had caused the marks.

“As a result of the evidence obtained from the investigation, Mr Smith will not be charged at this time,” said Alex Bastian, a spokesperson for the San Francisco District Attorney’s office in an email to USA Today Sports.

A statement by Gail Shifman, Smith’s attorney, states: “After reviewing all the evidence and completing their investigation, the San Francisco District Attorney’s office has discharged the matter and has declined to file any charges against Coach Smith.

“An arrest in California is not the same as being charged with a crime. The San Francisco District Attorney’ Office has declined to file charges because there is insufficient evidence and there are no court proceedings.”

Smith had played for San Diego from 1995-1999. The 42-year-old was initially hired to coach the basketball team in 2015, and had two years remaining on his contract.

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