Category Archives: NBA

Time To Get Thunderstruck

On the surface, it’s a wrecking ball, sweeping through the league and demolishing anything that dares to stand in its path.

But it’s the operating system within this machine responsible for a dynamic force with few weaknesses and an arsenal of strengths. It’s a system that transformed the Oklahoma City Thunder from a league doormat to a perennial champion. It’s the OKC Thing that needs an adaptation in Portland.

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A.C. Green: The Legendary Fundamentalist

Each day, he was a warrior set for battle. He knew tales would be told of the legendary men fighting by his side. All he cared about was that he was on the front line, in the game and willing to fight through adversity, injury and illness.

He was the epitome of determination and toughness, grit and longevity, morality and strength. He personified all the characteristics coaches drill into their players to mold them into an ideal athlete, an ideal human being.

He is the standard. He is the Iron Man. Read the rest of this entry

Portland Banking on Batum

A magician’s greatest asset is the gift of illustion, a distraction that takes an audience’s attention away from the mechanics of a trick. Onlookers are so focused on a given aspect, they don’t see a critical factor that makes the end result so eye-opening, so unbelievable.

The Portland Trail Blazers are banking on that.

They’re hoping one aspect flies under the radar not only because of its efficiency, but also because it could decide their postseason fate.

Portland is banking on Nicolas Batum.

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‘Raymond Time’ Key to Consistency

He was sick of turnover talk. Sick of hearing about the lows and sick of losing. Raymond Felton was thrown into the Portland Trail Blazers’ lineup as the offense’s tone setter but has struggled to stay consistent.

Understatement. He’s struggled to remain stable, teetering on the edge of the cliff that lands him near the end of the bench. Felton understood. He knew full well that all eyes were on him and that nowadays people expected turnovers and missed shots.

Then, Felton flipped the script. Though it didn’t seem that way after the opening tip.

It seemed he was treading familiar ground when his pass to Nicolas Batum was ripped away by a defender. On paper, the turnover didn’t go to Felton. It went to Batum. It marked the temporary end to Felton the Flawed and the start of a new day. Read the rest of this entry

Time For a Change

The NBA All-Star lineups are set. Orlando is finalizing preparations – when it’s not suffering self-inflicted wounds (i.e., Dwight Howard). For the first time in recent memory, the majority of players packing for the All-Star Game are worthy of the trip.

Still, it’s time to Obama the selection process. It’s time for a change.

It’s not enough that four starters from the Western Conference call the Staples Center their home. Or that the Big Three makes its second straight All-Star appearance. Or that Carmelo Anthony is a starter. Or that Dirk Nowitzki was even considered.

All those small things compounded into one pre-diet-Eddy-Curry-sized problem.

The All-Star selection process has transformed from production recognition to prom king election. It’s become a popularity contest. If Yao Ming was on the ballot, there would be an 85 percent chance he’d be in Orlando on Feb. 26.

It’s time for a change. Time to blow it up and install a new template. Better yet, take a page from the NHL or the Rising Stars Challenge.

Both games revolve around a similar process but with different roles. Both are acceptable.

In the NHL, fans still have a voice. Their votes appoint captains for each conference. From there, a fantasy draft format takes place, with the captains choosing players to fill up the roster. For this year’s Rising Stars Challenge, a revamped Rookie Challenge that pitted the top rookies against the best sophomores, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal will build their rosters from a player pool.

Why the change? How about the snub of LaMarcus Aldridge last year. The near omission of Kevin Love in the same game and Greg Monroe not receiving the nod this time around.

With a draft-like format, under-appreciated players – guys like Monroe and Monta Ellis – would earn much-deserved recognition.

The other reason for a change: it provides a reference-point for the All-NBA teams chosen at season’s end. Of the 15 players named All-NBA, all but two dressed down for the All-Star Game. In the last five years, only eight All-NBA players didn’t make an All-Star roster.

Think of the difference an All-Star bid would have made for Aldridge, a third-team selection despite career bests in points, rebounds and minutes played. Or Kevin Martin, who’s 23.7 points per game ranked sixth in the league in 2007-08 and went on to be snubbed from the All-NBA rosters.

It’s time for the underdogs to be recognized. It’s time for those who fly under the radar to be targeted as some of the NBA elite. It’s time for a change. That time is now.

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