The New Winning NBA Formula: Dynamic Duos for the Win

The 2019 NBA Free Agency was by far the best free agency in NBA history. While it might not have had guys like LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade the way the 2010 Free Agency was, it changed the entire complexion of the NBA and created an NBA which is more evenly-balanced than ever. The number of teams that are now contenders is immensely high, as over half of the NBA is in a position to compete for an NBA Championship next season. Here are my thoughts on some of the best new NBA dynamic duos, how they will actually work, and other predictions for the dynamic duos:

D-Lo Will Get Traded, Steph and Klay Will Attempt to Revive the Warriors

I am not in any way saying that D’Angelo Russell is not an elite player or scorer in the NBA, in fact, he is one of the best, but as great of an offensive team as the Warriors have been for the past few years now, they have always relied on defense, especially against the main perimeter players of teams. Whether it has been Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala or Klay and Kevin Durant, they have always had 2 of their 3 perimeter players be elite defenders to make up for the defensive liability that is Stephen Curry. With Russell and Curry, however, in that backcourt, and no small forward who can be a solid perimeter defender, the Warriors defense simply will not work the same. Draymond Green is a great defender, but you cannot expect him to guard other great perimeter scorer’s night in and night out. Russell will be the one who will have to take the fall for Golden State’s defensive struggles, especially with Thompson out until about March. Not only that, but Russell will not be the leader of the team as he was with the Lakers and Nets, so him being able to defer to Curry and Thompson will not be something he is used to.

Kyrie and KD Will Be the Best in the East, But Maybe Not in the NBA

Kevin Durant suffered an Achilles injury during Game 6 of the NBA Finals which ended his career with the Golden State Warriors and ended his 2019-20 season, in which he will now be a member of the Brooklyn Nets, joining Kyrie Irving. Durant should be back to near his best, if not best form, even coming back from this devastating injury. That being said, it may not be enough to beat teams like the Lakers and Clippers, or even the Bucks, teams with more experience and depth. The Nets, outside of Durant and Kyrie, are very young and have little playoff experience, which may make it difficult for them to win an NBA Championship for a few years but contending shouldn’t be an issue.

LeBron and AD Will Be the Better Duo than PG and Kawhi

Before Paul George had been traded from Oklahoma City to the Clippers for 2 players and an absurd amount of draft picks (5, 4 of which are unprotected), Kawhi Leonard was set on joining the other Los Angeles team, the Lakers, where he would’ve joined LeBron and newly-acquired superstar Anthony Davis, making the next superstar-driven dynasty. However, Kawhi convinced PG to request a trade to the Clippers, and Kawhi joined after the trade. That being said, I think that not only will Davis and LeBron be a better duo, but the Lakers will be the better team. For starters, I think LeBron would be able to defer to Anthony Davis very well and even let Davis be the primary scorer, as there would be less defensive pressure on both of them. While the same would be true for Kawhi and PG, Paul George has struggled in the playoffs for years since leaving Indiana. ‘Playoff P’, as he calls his playoff self, isn’t a very threatening player, and doesn’t compare to ‘Playoff LeBron’. As far as the Lakers being the better LA team, they are simply the deeper and more experienced team, and it poses them as the NBA Finals favorite for years to come. Let the ‘Staples Center Locker Room’ rivalry begin and be the best NBA rivalry for years to come.

 

Why NBA Fans Should Chill Out… And Why They Should Not

The Golden State Warriors seemed to have ruined the season for many NBA fans on July 2nd, when they had signed Demarcus Cousins, the league’s best center, to a 1-year, $5.3 million deal. Now, many people, including myself, originally thought that this was terrible for the NBA, yet after thinking over it for the past few days, I have some words to say to all worrying NBA fans out there, as well as Demarcus Cousins:

Why Everyone Should Chill Out

Seriously, everyone should chill. Yes, they got Boogie Cousins, which makes the Warriors look almost unbeatable on paper, but then again, he is coming off of an Achilles injury which kept him out for the last 34 games of the regular season and the playoffs, yet they went to the 2nd round, including sweeping the 3-seed Portland Trail Blazers, exceeding expectations. The biggest reason for this was because the Pelicans could finally play high-tempo basketball, something that Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry has been a master at his whole coaching career. Rajon Rondo and Solomon Hill were inserted into the starting lineup, Jrue Holiday was moved to Shooting Guard, Nikola Mirotic played at Power Forward, and of course Anthony Davis played Center. The offense gained fluidity through going up-tempo. What am I trying to say here? Cousins is going to slow down Golden State. He is a slow player, he cannot shoot, he doesn’t spread the floor, he’s a post player who can rebound, as shown by his 25 points and 12 rebounds per game last season. This isn’t Joel Embiid or Nikola Jokic, a Center that can shoot the 3, this is Demarcus Cousins, and this is the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors live and die by the 3. We have seen this since the start of the Cavs-Warriors rivalry, that is how they play, that simple. The deadlier part about that is that they play fast, up-tempo basketball, so while they seem like simply a 3-point shooting team, the fastbreaks they are able to create make things more and more un-guardable. Now, tell me, do you think that Steve Kerr and the Warriors would want to see Boogie not be able to run halfway up the court after grabbing a rebound, while Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and Klay Thompson are all the way at the 3-point line? By the time Boogie gets back in transition, the flow of the offense is disrupted, the fastbreak is stopped, and the Warriors are about 7-8 seconds into the shot clock. Now, think about this for a second. The Warriors do this for a few possessions, they let up points on the other end, Steve Kerr calls timeout, and lets Demarcus hear it. How would Demarcus, the league’s biggest crybaby (besides Draymond Green, who is his new teammate), feel about that? Well, the same thing that has happened to Demarcus the past few years. He cries. He leaves next season once his one year deal is over. Oh, and another thing, he gets injured a lot, so maybe he won’t be so happy if he misses some time and doesn’t get his money’s worth. Oh wait, he didn’t get his money’s worth. He denied $40 million over 2 years from the Pelicans just so he could not have to do anything and still win a ring, because they will most likely still win this year. Now, regardless of if they win it all or not, it could still be a failed experiment because Demarcus didn’t like being under the scrutiny of slowing down the fast-paced offense of the team. He has the option to leave, but after seeing him make a move like this, no team in the NBA would want him, unless they’re desperate, which Demarcus would not want to be a part of. Also, Kevin Durant is a free agent next summer, and the New York Knicks are already planning to target him in free agency, and with Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler planning to team up in the East (Kyrie wants to play for the Knicks, and Jimmy wants to be wherever Kyrie is), and Kristaps Porzingis and Kevin Knox already with the Knicks, Durant would definitely consider it, and he would earn the respect of so many back, as he is essentially taking the path of earning his right to win a ring instead of it being given. Durant signing the 2-year extension this year proves he wants to prove himself as a team leader elsewhere, and he knows that the Warriors will always be Steph Curry’s team, even though KD is better. Klay Thompson could also leave for the Los Angeles Lakers, where his father Mychal played and won many championships in his career. Klay could certainly decide to continue his legacy there. There is a legit chance that KD and Boogie at least could leave the Warriors next season (Klay has voiced his love for the Warriors throughout his career, so leaving would be a 50-50 chance for him), and that the dynasty could be over, and teams like the Lakers, Celtics, 76ers, and Knicks, are all ready to take over the NBA.

Demarcus, How Can You Be So Ignorant?

Demarcus, how can you be so ignorant that you leave a team that was good enough without you to sweep the Blazers, get a win against the Warriors in the 2nd round, something the Cleveland Cavaliers couldn’t do in the NBA Finals, and still leave them for a team that swept the NBA Finals? How can you be so ignorant that you leave a top-5 player in the NBA (Anthony Davis), the man that hyped you up all season and all offseason, the man that literally wore your jersey for the All-Star Game because he was so sorry for you and that you weren’t there? How can you be so ignorant that you simply don’t want to be the best, and that you just want to be part of the best (Golden State)? How can you be so ignorant that Pelicans fans looked up to you, admired you, bought their jerseys, got hyped up, went to games for you, and had hope for the team, and you still left them? How can you be so ignorant that even if you didn’t want to stay in New Orleans, that you couldn’t just go to a team where you could put yourself in position to beat Golden State? How can you be so ignorant that you take your talents to a team that doesn’t need or care about you at all? How can you be so ignorant that you said you wanted to win yourself when you left the Sacramento Kings, and yet you go to the team where you need to do no work to win a ring? How can you be so ignorant that you force a team to trade valuable assets for you so you can just be injured and not play, and then you leave them thinking they aren’t good enough because you cannot stay healthy? Demarcus Cousins, you do not deserve to ever get more than the $5.3 million that you will get this year, you do not deserve to be worth more than that money, and you do not deserve to go to the playoffs and win rings. Everything you do from this point forward is not deserved or earned, it is given to your pathetic, narcissistic self for thinking that leaving a team where you put up max-contract-worthy stats, and you had a great team and players, and you left them for what potentially already was the greatest team ever assembled. Kevin Durant went from OKC to Golden State to try to win, and yes, it was messed up, because he was on a team that was so talented that they could’ve beaten that Golden State team, and he could’ve won the Finals, and even if he lost he could’ve stayed and proved himself, yet he was a backstabber who decided to take an easy way out. The difference between you and Kevin Durant is that Durant had proven himself as the 2nd best player in the NBA, and Durant, while he may not have earned his rings, earned respect across the league, and elevated the Warriors to be one of the greatest teams ever, yet you have done nothing. Being the best Center in the league means nothing if you cannot even make the playoffs yourself, and if you cannot stay healthy and get your attitude right to be part of a team like that. You are officially the most ignorant and least likeable player in any sport, and you didn’t take PEDs to break the record book, you didn’t commit any crazy crimes, no, none of that. You simply just are too weak to do anything by yourself. Period.

Why We Shouldn’t Chill Out

They will win the Finals regardless and he did absolutely nothing to deserve it, and the entire Golden State Warriors starting lineup has 5 All-Stars, that’s why. They can win this year, but this is the beginning of the end one way or another.

Western Conference Finals: Can Anyone Beat Golden State?

The Golden State Warriors have been nothing short of golden this year, but my hatred towards the team and towards all its players not named Steph Curry, JaVale McGee, or Kevin Durant, lives on. Golden State has gone 8-0 so far to start the playoffs, and play a blue-collared juggernaut team in the San Antonio Spurs, who are coming off back-to-back 6 game series. Here is what I believe will happen in order for the Spurs to be able to beat Golden State, and why it may or may not happen.

How San Antonio Can Beat Golden State

Start Jonathan Simmons to Limit Steph Curry

The Spurs started Jonathan Simmons in Game 6 of their last series against the Rockets to limit James Harden. Simmons did just that, and also added 18 points in 31 minutes of play. Simmons is a 6’6” rookie out of Houston who can score, defend, and handle the ball, and last year, he paid $150 to just to try out for the D-League. Now, he is starting in the NBA Playoffs, and against a team with so much offensive firepower like Golden State, that should only continue. Steph Curry, however, has been shooting just under 47% these playoffs, and has been a matchup nightmare these playoffs, as he is averaging 3 turnovers a game, compared to Harden averaging 5.4, so Simmons will have his hands full.

Note: James Harden went 1-5 and had 6 turnovers when guarded by Simmons in Games 5 and 6. 

Keep The Warriors Fans Out of the Game

Oracle Arena, the home of the Warriors, is one of the loudest stadiums in the entire NBA, and probably the hardest to play in. San Antonio, led by head coach Greg Popovich, figured out a way to move the ball against the Rockets in the last series to keep the crowd out of the game. The Warriors, however, have been playing great defense this season, limiting the ball movement of teams and forcing players into bad shots. The Spurs run a lot of pick-and-roll, off-the-ball movement to free guys up, but Golden State has been limiting that all season. San Antonio will have to get players open quickly, not use up too much shot clock, and get quick baskets.

Kawhi Leonard Has to be Fresh and Healthy

The biggest advantage the Warriors will have is that they can attack Kawhi Leonard all they want knowing he won’t be as healthy as he normally is, meaning Kevin Durant could get some very easy baskets off of him. The key will be to have Coach Popovich utilize the bench well enough to the point where Kawhi can get his rest, and the Warriors don’t explode and go on a game-clinching scoring outburst like they are capable of. Leonard has been everything the Spurs could’ve hoped for in these playoffs, averaging 27.7 ppg, 7.7 rpg, and 4.7 apg. The teamwork will be key if the Spurs want to have any chance of winning the series. The only problem for the Spurs is that Kawhi isn’t unstoppable like LeBron James, especially when he isn’t healthy.

The Verdict

Many people who know me know that since the season started, I said the Spurs would beat Golden State in the Western Conference Finals, but after weighing in the stats, the wins and losses, the things I said the Spurs will have to do in order to win, and everything in between, I had to ask myself some important questions. Will the Spurs get swept? No. Can they win the series? Yes, and the reasons above prove how and why they can win, but the only problem is that Golden State knows how to win, even when Steph is limited, when the fans are out of the fame, and the opposing teams’ best player is on fire. If the Spurs win, it has to go to 7 games, but this series will be over in 6, with Golden State winning in 6.

Stats from:

http://stats.nba.com/leaders

http://ftw.usatoday.com/2017/05/jonathan-simmons-spurs-nba-playoffs-starter-kawhi-leonard-150-pay-d-league-tryout-story-rockets-game-6