Sunday, March 30, 2014

Parker could opt out of '14 draft

According to SBNation, Duke G Jabari Parker may not opt to join the 2014 NBA Draft, but instead return to Durham for his sophomore season.

Parker's decision is worrying potential GM's of teams in potential teams he could be drafted by, such as the Lakers and Sixers.

NCAA players have until an April 27th deadline to decide whether to declare for draft, which will take place on June 26th.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

76ers Could Break Record

Sixers guard Michael Carter-Williams
The Major League Baseball record 120-loss 1962 New York Mets were once thought as lovable losers by the hometown fans.

Philadelphia 76ers fans might not feel the same way about their team.

The Sixers are looking to avoid their 26th consecutive loss, which would be a new NBA record. Philadelphia tied the record (held by Cleveland) of 25 in a loss to the San Antonio Spurs yesterday.

They play the 48-22 Houston Rockets tomorrow night at 8pE.

Kevin Durant IS the MVP

In early February, the heat for the future 2013-2014 NBA MVP Award race was in full swing, with Heat forward LeBron James and Thunder forward Kevin Durant both producing at furious rates.

Now, James has cooled off and Durant only continues to soar at magnificent heights; nearing Michael Jordan's record 40-straight 25 or more-point games this month.

ESPN can say whatever they want, but there's only one clear MVP candidate this season.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Silver: 'Jersey logos inevitable'

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver made a statement last Wednesday that corporate-sponsored jersey patches for NBA teams will happen within the next five years, according to ESPN.

ESPN conducted a poll on whether fans would mind having corporate-sponsored jerseys, and the large majority were against it.

While the NBA is third in the four major American sports leagues income-wise, allowing sponsors to put their name on the players takes some of the class the NBA developed in David Stern's years as commissioner.

Maybe those of us who are against it are a little old fashioned, but I suppose NBA fans will just have to get used to having their idols' uniforms intruded upon by that little two and a half by two and a half inch patch.

March Madness Weekend

With the NCAA Division I Men's Championship Tournament underway, top NBA hopefuls went head-to-head this weekend in their quest for collegiate glory; and to exhibit their draft appeal.

Highly touted forward Jabari Parker and his teammates from Duke were upset Friday afternoon in a loss to Mercer.

Kansas center Joel Embiid and forward Andrew Wiggins were eliminated by the Stanford Cardinal.

Syracuse guard Tyler Ennis and forward Jerami Grant were denied a Sweet Sixteen berth after a loss to the Dayton Flyers.

Guard Marcus Smart and Oklahoma State failed to survive the Round of 64 in a loss to Gonzaga.

Shooting guard Gary Harris and the Michigan State Spartans roared past Harvard to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

Finally, guard James Young and forward Julius Randle helped Kentucky hand Wichita State their first loss of the season in the Round of 32.

Jason Collins being taunted

According to an article by the Huffington Post, Nets center Jason Collins, who recently became the first openly gay athlete in major American professional sports, is being taunted for his sexuality by at least one other player, or 'knucklehead.'

While an advocate for LGBT rights, I, personally, am becoming increasingly wary of how much reporting of this "non-issue" is taking place. If all Jason Collins is focusing on is basketball, why do we need to talk about it?

I suppose us media people can not help but gossip about whatever people might happen to click on.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Upcoming Feature

To my sparse yet loyal readership:

This is a little different than my usually NBA related activity, but I wanted to make you aware of an important issue I'm in the process of writing about.

Teenage depression is one of the most serious afflictions in adolescent Americans. Over eleven percent of people have been diagnosed with some form of major depressive disorder before the age of 18.

This issue affects more than just the victims. Depression victimizes everybody around somebody who has it, and is one of the leading causes of death in young people in our nation.

If any off-court issue this serious isn't worth writing, or reading about, I can not understand what would be.

Thank you to those supporting me in this endeavor and its future readers.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Is Anthony Davis the next Patrick Ewing?

Davis dunks on the Lakers in New Orleans.

With forty points and twenty-one rebounds, Anthony Davis was showing shades of Patrick Ewing three nights ago at home against the Celtics.

The 6'10" center was a monster in the paint and in the open floor. Davis, in his second season, has collected more total rebounds and blocks than the 7-foot Hall of Famer did in his respective second season.

Will the (trademarked) "Brow" reach the heights Ewing did? That kind of assumption ought to raise some eyebrows in itself (pun), but fans will see eventually.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Cleveland Cavaliers Interview

Here's my recent exclusive with Cavs representative Jeff Schaefer:

For you personally, what made you want to work for an NBA organization, specifically the Cavaliers?

I've always had a passion for sports. Growing up in the Cleveland area  and loving basketball, the Cavs were a great fit.

Is working in a professional sports organization all it's made out to be?
Why or why not?

I definitely enjoy my job. That being said, just like any other job, there is a lot of hard work that goes in to what we do. Our business is very emotionally driven and high profile, you have to be able to focus and keep things in perspective to perform well in that environment. If you can, then you can succeed.

As an insider, how frustrating is it for a small-market organization to keep the fans happy?

I wouldn't call it "frustrating." Keeping any team's fan base happy, whether large or small market, is a core part of what you're trying to accomplish and one certainly drives our organization. Putting a winning product on the court is our number one goal. By far. That is ultimately what makes fans happy, no matter what city you are in.

As far as your knowledge, do executives within the organization believe in upper-level competition? Or is it more about filling the seats?

As I mentioned in the last answer, the organization's number one goal is to win, and sustain winning at the highest level. Everything else follows behind that objective. There is a great deal of work that goes into everything else, though, and we pride ourselves in supporting the team and helping create a full environment for success.

Has anything within the organization changed since David Stern's departure as league commissioner, or has the transition had little effect on teams individually?

The game balls have changed with Commissioner Silver's signature on them! The organization has a great relationship with Commissioner Silver, just as it did with Commissioner Stern.

How big a part do the fans of a smaller-market play in not just the players on the court, but everybody in the organization?

We have some of the best fans in the world and they are a huge part of our success, both on and off the court. The organization is a part of Cleveland and the community is a huge part of us. We never take that for granted. We try to take a very personal approach with our fans. Our new "membership" approach to our season ticket program called Wine & Gold United is a great example of that. It is a program that offers a 365 day a year platform for the relationship with our most valued stakeholders. In others words, we want the relationship to be more than just about the season. We want to offer a year round relationship that goes beyond just season tickets. That can happen in any size market, but it can be even more meaningful here and with the level of passion our fans have for their team.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Orlando Magic Interview

I was recently able to contact Orlando Magic representative Melanie Curtsinger. The following is the interview I shared with her:

For you personally, what made you want to work in a professional sports organization, particularly the Magic?

I grew up watching and playing basketball, so for me, I always knew I wanted my career to be center around my passions in life. Since my first love has always been the game of basketball, it just made sense to target the NBA. I worked in college with the women's basketball team at the University of Kentucky for four years and I have always loved Orlando, so as a sophomore I really made it my goal to one day work for the Orlando Magic. Thankfully, 10 years later I am still living out my dream job!


Do the Magic, as an organization, hold more importance to just maintaining income in a smaller market, or is winning a primary goal?

I believe to be a successful organization, you have to have both. Winning is always the No. 1 goal for any team each and every year, and to be honest, when you're winning, people want to spend more on tickets, invest more in season tickets, sponsors want to be associated with you and you get more attention. The 25 years of Magic basketball have seen great success for a relatively young franchise, including five division championships (1995, 1996, 2008, 2009, 2010), seven 50-plus win seasons and Eastern Conference titles in 1995 and 2009. In addition, we were also the second-fastest franchise in NBA history to make the NBA Finals when we reached it in 1995.

As an insider, what is one of the values the Orlando Magic organization prides itself on? Why?

We are focused on giving back to the community, and that comes from the top down. We have THE BEST ownership in professional sports in the DeVos family, and in addition to its on-the-court success, the team gives more than $2 million to the local community by way of sponsorships of events, donated tickets, autographed merchandise, scholarships and grants. Including more than $18 million distributed to local nonprofit community organizations through the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation and the Orlando Magic Youth Fund (OMYF-MFF), a McCormick Foundation Fund since 1994. Orlando Magic community relations programs annually impact an estimated 100,000 kids each year, while the OMYF-MFF has positively impacted more than 1 million children. The Magic Volunteer Program (MVP), an organizational staff-wide initiative, provides more than 6,000 community volunteer hours per year. That always has been, and always will be, an organization-wide value. We are also big on having family values and our leadership team stresses importance of time with our families since we work so much as well as having a sense of family here at work.

Is it frustrating to work in an organization working in the shadows of a more lately successful team in the Miami Heat?

I don't think we have ever once compared ourselves to the Heat. We have had a lot of success on the court as well in our relatively short history. I personally have never been a believer in comparing yourself to anyone else, whether it be person to person or company to person. My philosophy is to try to make the Magic the most successful team and franchise it can be, no matter what other teams are doing. Comparing yourself or feeling as if you are in someone else's shadow is a losing battle. 

How in touch are the Magic with their fan base?

I believe we are very in touch. We are very active on social media with over 1.1 million followers on Twitter and 2.2 million on Facebook. Every season ticket holder has a dedicated season ticket services executive, our two community ambassadors attend over 300 events around Central Florida each year, our players do over 200 team and personal appearances each year over the course of the season. Franchises live and die by their fan base, and I think the most successful NBA franchises today are the ones that are the most in tune with their fans.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Poll: Who will win the West

Out of the stacked Western Conference this season, who do you think will win? Vote in our poll below the blog archive >>>

Will Phil Jackson reunite with New York?

Phil Jackson won two NBA championships with the New York Knicks as a player in 1970 and 1973. He won six coaching Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls through 1991 to 1998. He won five more with Kobe Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers through 2000 to 2010.

If there's one thing Jackson knows how to do, it's how to win.

The New York Knicks are in desperate need of a change, going thus far 24-40 as the most expensive team in the NBA. As per USA Today, Jackson may be willing to take Knicks owner James Dolan up on an offer.

As talented a coach Phil Jackson is, could even he manage to drag the Knickerbockers out of the cellar?

Talk about entertainment.

Follow us on Twitter @NBADSD.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Has LA changed its allegiance?

The Staples Center in Los Angeles is home to both the Lakers and Clippers.
The city of Los Angeles has always been traditionally, "a Laker town." However, when big market teams go 21-41 like the Lakers have, people tend to switch sides.

The Clippers have improved greatly under new head coach Doc Rivers, going 43-20 so far while getting career years from big men Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

Last night the two LA teams met, with the Lakers serving as the home team in their shared home of the Staples Center. While die-hard Laker fans may have been looking for redemption against their cross-town rivals, they could not have been more disappointed.

The Clippers destroyed the Lakers, 142-94, led by Darren Collison's game leading 24 points. The historic blowout will serve as a reminder to Los Angeles basketball fans that LA may in fact be coming, yes, a Clipper town.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Korver's run from downtown snapped by Blazers

Atlanta Hawks' shooting guard Kyle Korver, a Creighton product, did not record a 3-point field goal for the first time in his last 127 games, which set an NBA record.

The previous record, 89, was held by Dana Barros, a guard who accomplished the feat over two seasons from 1994 to 1996, with the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics. Barros' record stood for 17 years.

Korver meanwhile tied the record on December 4th, 2013 to help the Hawks beat the Los Angeles Clippers 107-97. He beat it two days later in a win against the Cleveland Cavaliers, a record-setting 90 straight games with a made three.

That record came to a close yesterday in Atlanta's 24-point loss to the Portland Trailblazers. Korver went 0-5 from 3-point land.

The current longest active streak is now held by Golden State's Stephen Curry, making a 3-pointer in 50 straight games.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The NBA Oscars

Photo via A.M.P.A.S.

With the 86th Academy Awards now under Hollywood's belt, let's take a look at who would win "The NBA Oscars:"

 Best Visual Effects: Steel (1997)

Shaquille O'Neal stars in this superhero flick as DC Comic's John Henry Irons, but the super-suit and explosions appealed to few, as the film tanked big in the box office.

Best Supporting Actor: Ray Allen (He Got Game (1998))

Denzel Washington stars in this Spike Lee sports-drama that earned multiple film festival award nominations and $21.5 million box office. Ray Allen's acting debut in this supporting role achieved raving critical success, playing a highly-touted basketball prospect who is the son of a convicted murderer (Washington).

 Best Actor: Kevin Durant (Thunderstruck (2012))

Three-time NBA scoring champ Kevin Durant stars in this family comedy about a less-than-talented Oklahoma City Thunder fan who magically "steals" the talent of his hometown superstar. Durant plays himself while lightheartedly adding a laugh or two in this "feel-good" film.

Best Picture: Space Jam (1996)

This classic Warner Bros. flick starring Bugs Bunny and a guy named Michael Jordan was a smash hit among younger generations in the '90's. It tells the story of the His Airness helping out Bugs and the rest of the Looney Tunes escape the clutches of the evil Nerdlucks. It also stars former NBA players Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Shawn Bradley, Larry Johnson, Muggsy Bogues, former NBA coach Del Harris, and notable actors Bill Murray and Danny DeVito. The film has grossed $230 million all-time.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Is OKC ripping you off?

Most fans have to drop more than just a dime nowadays to see their favorite teams.

According to Forbes, Oklahoma City Thunder tickets currently charge the highest median price in the NBA, at a whopping $185. Chesapeake Energy Arena has allegedly sold out every game about three years ago, and does not appear to be slowing down any time soon.

Between anxiously waiting for their future championship and heart-aching desire to see their superstar in Kevin Durant, why wouldn't Thunder fans pack that house every night?

But is it really worth $185?

Not even stingy James Dolan charges that much to see the pitiful Knicks at Madison Square Garden of all places ($159 median, second in the league).

However, a successful team is typically worth paying for in the eyes of fans. If the average family of four wants to spend 1/56th of their annual salary on the Oklahoma City Thunder, that's their business.

Just seems like a ripoff to me.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What's the big deal about Jason Collins?

Photo Credit: Nadia Sikander/NBC News
Last Sunday, the Brooklyn Nets signed their former big man Jason Collins to a 10-day contract to aid their struggling post game.

Collins played 11 minutes for the Nets against the Lakers in Los Angeles, totaling no points, two rebounds, and a steal, committing five personal fouls in his short time on the floor. Despite the fouls and two turnovers, the Nets were +8 with Collins on the floor, while on their way to winning their 26th game of the season.

So why all the hype over a backup center? That night, Jason Collins would become the first active gay professional athlete in the four predominant sports leagues in the United States.

 Collins became the first athlete to come out in April of 2013, stating "No one wants to live in fear." And so Collins took up his new-found bravery and brought it to Los Angeles on Sunday, bringing the hope and understanding many discriminated individuals are in need of today.

Though he wore number 46 in his debut, Collins plans wear number 98 in honor of the Matthew Shepard tragedy which took place in 1998. Collins had worn 98 during his tenure with the Celtics and Wizards as well.

UPDATE: As of 2/27/14, it is rumored that the Brooklyn Nets are interested in resigning Jason Collins for the remainder of the '13-'14 season.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Durant's powerhouse performance leaves Thunder short

For exactly 13 days and 17 hours of time on the court in his six year career, Kevin Durant has been one of the most intimidating scoring threats in the NBA.

Unfortunately for Thunder fans, his 42-point/10-assist performance fell short in Oklahoma City's 125-117 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. Durant led all scorers, followed by Clippers Jordan Crawford (36) and Matt Barnes (24).

The Thunder trailed for the majority of the high-scoring affair, despite coming roaring back several times in the second half, led by Durant's 18 second-half points and veteran 3-point specialist Derek Fisher's 12.

The largest Clipper lead of the second half was 12, capped off by a 3-point shot by PF Blake Griffin. The Thunder would come back to erase the deficit midway through the fourth quarter, but would not be able to keep up offensively.

The Clippers' 125 points are the most scored against Oklahoma City this season.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What to Expect at the Deadline

The NBA trade deadline is tomorrow, February 20th, at 3pm EST, and general managers are in their full-fledged scramble for last-minute deals.

So who are the key names up for grabs?

As per multiple reports, the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers are involved in a potential deal that would send guards Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert to L.A., and shipping guards Darren Collison and Reggie Bullock to New York. No deal has been made official as of this post.

As per multiple reports, the Memphis Grizzlies and Minnesota Timberwolves are in talks on possibly sending Minnesota guard Chase Budinger and forward J.J. Barea to Memphis in exchange for swingman Tony Allen and guard Tayshaun Prince. Again, no deal has yet been made official.

In Cleveland, the Cavaliers are reportedly interested in trading guard Luol Deng, whom Cleveland fears will not resign with the team this offseason. Deng, 28, was traded earlier this season from the Chicago Bulls for three draft picks and center Andrew Bynum, who the Cavaliers released shortly after. No official announcements have yet been made as the Cavaliers look to avoid a faulty investment.

The Charlotte Bobcats have reportedly expressed interest in Philadelphia guard Evan Turner, though a deal remains a long shot.

As per CBS, the Brooklyn Nets have traded guard Jason Terry and forward Reggie Evans to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for guard Marcus Thornton. Sacramento is also reportedly shopping guard Jimmer Fredette.

Los Angeles Lakers center Jordan Hill is reportedly attracting interested from both the Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers; one of those two teams are expected to pick up Hill by the deadline tomorrow.

Lastly, long-shot deals that have been circulating the NBA include Celtics guard Rajon Rondo to the Houston Rockets, and a possible reunion between current Houston guard Jeremy Lin and his former team in Madison Square Garden. Personally, I wouldn't get my hopes up.

(Sources via NBC Sports, USA Today Sports, CBS Sports, ESPN, Yahoo! Sports; Stats via Basketball Reference)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

What to expect from the '14 All-Star Game

With the 63rd edition of the NBA's mid-season classic approaching on Sunday, fans have begun to wonder what will headline the All-Star Game in New Orleans.

Typically a high-scoring, show-off type style of play is led by the league's top scorers, though every player is given a chance to contribute scoring.

This year, the main-ring events should include major points from scoring champions Carmelo Anthony (New York) and Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City). Also look forward to, as Walt Frazier would say, "dishing and swishing" from 2012 All-Star Game MVP Chris Paul (LA Clippers) to his teammate Blake Griffin (LA Clippers) and newcomers Stephen Curry (Golden State) and Damian Lillard (Portland).

And, of course, the King of Mount Swishmore himself;

Top Four or not, LeBron James (Miami) will put on a show for the masses Sunday night at Smoothie King Center in Louisiana. A dunk contest of his own perhaps? (Not that he'd participate.)

Hometown fans can look forward to the All-Star Game's youngest star and league-leading shot blocker, Anthony Davis (New Orleans).

Coverage of the game will begin at 8pE on TNT.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Celtic fans saying "Kiss me" on Valentine's Day

If love isn't in the air for any Boston Celtics fans out there, they can hope to get lucky with this year's Celtics Valentine's Day Ticket Package.

For just $100, fans can receive two tickets to select games of their choice, $40 Uber credit for rides to and from the game, and a complimentary cupcake from Sweet bakery.

For local fans, within 15 miles of Boston, the ticket package is even eligible to be hand-delivered by a Celtics dancer.

Eligible games include the following at TD Garden in Boston:

-February 26 vs. Atlanta
-March 5 vs. Golden State
-March 9 vs. Detroit
-March 26 vs. Toronto
-April 4 vs. Philadelphia
-April 11 vs. Charlotte
-April 16 vs. Washington

Information of purchasing tickets is available via the Celtics website.

 Looks like the luck of the Irish is here for NBA fans this season.