Posts tagged National Basketball Associaton
Just Not Enough: How the NCAA is still getting over

Last month, the NCAA appointed Commission on College Basketball proposed sweeping changes to current NCAA policies in response to the FBI’s investigation into mass corruption in college basketball recruiting.

The Commission, which is lead by Condeleezza Rice, took six months to comprise a 60-page report Wednesday that broke down issue in the sport. An excerpt from the report said the following in regards to the current state of college basketball.

“It is the overwhelming assessment of the commission that the state of men’s college basketball is deeply troubled. The levels of corruption and deception are now at a point that they threaten the very survival of the college game as we know it.”

As a result of their findings, the commission recommended 5 changed they felt should be enacted immediately.

1.   End one-and-done rule

The one-and-done rule is pointless, and everyone involved with it knows. It serves no purpose for a player to spend one year in school, which is really one semester. Most one-and done players withdraw from class during second semester to focus on basketball anyway, so to mandate that they delay their professional careers despite being 18 is unfair and un-American.

While many focused on the end of the one-and-done rule, there was one part of their recommendation that should have garnered more attention than it did.

Since the one-and-done rule was created by the NBA, the commission suggested that if the NBA/NBAPA refuses to change the rule that freshman ineligibility will be recommended to the NCAA.

This would basically force players to stay in school at least two years.

2.   Allow undrafted underclassmen to return

Any player who was not selected in the draft and decides against pursuing a career overseas right should be allowed to retain his eligibility and turn to college basketball. 

3.   Allow Agents

This would be a 180 from the current rule, which bans players from any contact with agents before declaring for the NBA draft. The goal of this rule change would be to eliminate some of the corruption found in the FBI’s report by streamlining the certification process, thus allowing the NCAA to ensure players are talking to certified agents and not being misled.

4.   Increase Penalties

This is a scare tactic the commission believes will deter coaches/schools from cheating in the future. A five-year postseason ban as well as possible loss of revenue sharing are a few highlights of the increase, but as long as this remains a billion dollar business, there will be someone willing to bend the rules.

5.   Combat shoe company corruption with summer league of their own

The AAU circuit is currently ran by the three major show companies, and many have accused the three of using their money and influence to lure players to sign with their brands.

In order to stop this, the commission suggested that the NCAA team with the NBA and USA Basketball to develop a summer program of their own. 

While the changes would be much appreciated, they don’t address the real issue with the relationship between the NCAA and its athletes.

Profits keep rising, and the people earning the profits are being shut out of the spoils. 

According to Athletic Director University, D-1 Athletic Directors salaries are now averaging more than $500,000, with AD’s at power 5 conferences (and Notre Dame) pull in over $1 million annually. 

Schools make millions, coaches make millions, Athletic Directors make millions, but if a player gets one two many meals he can be considered ineligible. 

In 2013, the National College Players Association and Drexel University released a study to determine how much college athletes would be worth in an open market. The study borrowed revenue sharing models from the NBA & NFL to calculate the value of collegiate athletes in the respective sports. 

The results were quite shocking. According to the study, the average FBS football player is worth $137,357, while the average men’s basketball player is $289,031 per year.

When this study was conducted, the average player earned $23,031 in scholarship money. 

The days of rationalizing this unfair treatment by suggesting a college education is some mystical accomplishment that you can’t put a dollar amount on. If that was the case, Navient wouldn’t call me three times a week (I don’t have it bro).

I'm not advocating for players to be paid millions, or even game checks. What I am suggesting is a system that creates an account for each player that can be cashed out once a players career is over.

Another solution would be to give players control of their image and likeness in order to earn money. Marquee athletes should be given the same opportunities to make money off their hard work that the Universities have.

And what will the NCAA do about athletes in non-revenue sports who feel like they should be paid too? 

Tell them they played the wrong sport.

Western Conference Finals preview
USATSI

USATSI

The Houston Rockets fulfilled their destiny by finding their way to the Western Conference Finals. It seemed like this was bound to happen since the trade sent Chris Paul to Houston, but along the way they exceeded expectations by winning the west, and getting James Harden to play at an MVP level with an all-time point guard beside him.

Now they face the Golden State Warriors with the NBA Finals on the line, and unlike past playoff matchups, the Rockets expect to win.

They’ve been targeting Golden State for years, this season especially. In their opening night matchup, the Rockets came back from down 14 in the fourth quarter to steal the win on ring night, and when a KD jumper was called no good on replay, the Rockets did all but pop the champagne. But now they’re ready for the real bubbly, at least they believe they are, and that’s a huge part of being a title contender.

The Rockets have a vastly different mindset as a team, and that’s a credit to their player development and coaching. Harden doesn’t get caught sleeping on defense anymore, CP3 has smoothly transitioned into a secondary ball-handler, and Clint Capela is playing his role the way Dwight Howard never did during his time in Houston. It’s reminiscent of the Warriors when they play hard every night. It’s the focus of a team that’s finding out they have some chops. Unfortunately for them, they’ll have to go through the big dogs.

The Warriors are looking at this series quite different than Houston is. They’ve gone to hell and back in the playoffs, but they’ve also got a lot more chemistry than the Rockets. They’ll probably end up screwing around and start Javale to match up with Capela because they know their margin of error is the highest in the league. It really comes down to the talent, and Golden State wins that battle.

With Klay Thompson most likely guarding Harden, it sets up for a CP3-Steph match-up, conjuring up memories and emotions from when the Clipper-Warriors rivalry was at its peak. CP3’s instinct may take over where he’ll feel the need to go at Steph, but I think he can be much more effective in the rhythm of their offense. Steph has added muscle to be able to hold his own in defensive switches in the pick and roll, but Paul comes into this series as a much healthier player, and with some momentum after that crazy 40/10 closeout performance vs. Utah in the semifinal. He’s going to try to get Steph out of the game whenever he can, goating him into making mistakes in 1 on 1 defense, but in the end, Curry’s output on offense should win the individual match-up.

Another intriguing match-up is Harden vs. Kevin Durant. While they won't be guarding each other much this series, they’re the best scoring options on their respective teams. Houston simply cannot guard KD 1 on 1. Durant can shoot over, dribble past, and finish on anyone, Trevor Ariza included, and while Harden lacks the height that KD brings to the table, he’s gotten into peak physical shape which has elevated his game to MVP levels. Most likely, we’ll see various actions to get Harden running downhill off the pick and roll. The Rockets love their pick-and-roll sets where Capela immediately uses a downscreen from a shooter (Eric Gordon, for ex.) who can pop out for three. The Warriors defense will formulate a gameplan, preemptively switching the defenders involved, but it’ll require a series long focus. If Harden runs the Dubs tired, it could mean a game to the Rockets.

There's no question that the Rockets give the Warriors the best challenge they've seen in the playoffs. For the first time in the Steve Kerr era, the Warriors won’t have home court advantage, and will have to play a Game 7 on the road if the series stretches that far. Game one could be the closest of them all, as the Warriors come in looking to steal home court & Houston's momentum. One thing I'm sure of is this: the winner of this series will win the NBA title.

Dubs in Fo’

Ball Don't Lie Ep 17 - Bring David Stern Back ft. @Mariannoo
Has the NBA caught up to the Warriors?
STF

STF

In the summer of 2016, when asked about the Warriors plucking Kevin Durant away from the Thunder, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said during the league's annual board of governors meeting “I do not think that's ideal from the league standpoint.” It was obvious that he was afraid that the new acquisition would create too good of a team. His major oversight, though, was that the dominance of Golden State would force the rest of the league to find ways to catch up, and this season, there are a few standouts that have done just that.

The most obvious candidate this season has been the Houston Rockets. As if James Harden wasn’t enough, their astonishing and impressive move to get Chris Paul last summer brought up a few questions. And rightfully so, having two ball deflating point guards as your two best players makes you wonder if they could bog each others games down.

But it’s been quite the opposite. Their willingness to sacrifice touches, stagger their minutes and commit to defense has made their lives a whole lot easier. It’s admirable too, being that the two up to this point, haven’t embraced sacrifice previously. The Rockets collection of savvy signings and pesky vets have also contributed to their success. But their also the right collection of players to give the Warriors a headache.

While CP3 has been surpassed by Steph already, he still has the ability to get pesky on defense and physical on offense. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen Paul draw bullshit fouls on Steph, but I know it’s an effective skill that he’s mastered. Harden is just as good at this, so the threat of getting the Dubs into foul trouble is a serious one.

The key for houston though, is their center, Clint Capela. Having rode the bench for years, the departure of Dwight Howard gave Capela opportunity to find his game, and his game is pretty damn good. He’s had the length and lateral quickness to be a problem on defense, but developing patience and poise brought it all together.

The kid isn’t vertically challenged either, he gets up for lob opportunities like a DeAndre Jordan, but he doesn’t yearn for possession wasting post touches. He’s perfect for Houston system, because his strengths compliment both CP3 and Harden to a tee. But when it’s playoff time, their All-Star Guards will ultimately determine the future of this team.

Boston is right up there with Houston. Their defense, if and when healthy, has the chops to make any teams lives difficult. Oh and they’re eventually getting All-Star Gordon Hayward back. Simply put, their really good right now, and they’re only going to get better in the coming years.

Though their stars weren’t drafted like Golden States were, they’ve built their team to mimic the them in a few ways. The offense hinges on Kyrie Irving, who like Curry can create for himself and others, but also can be used of the ball to space the floor. Without him, offense gets difficult down the stretch, but Brad Stevens system gives them legs to stand on.

The real unsung hero for the Celtics though, is Al Horford. He’s the key to their defense, but can unlock so much more on offense. His spacing is a threat, but if someone closes out to hard on him, he’s still got the footspeed and the skill to drive and create for himself or his teammates. I like to think that him and Draymond Green are two sides of the same coin, Horford is stronger on offense and Green stronger on defense.

Their young wings are really intriguing too. Everytime I watch Jaylen Brown make a move in transition, I’m reminded of Jordan. He’s nowhere near as talented, but just the way he moves on the floor is impressive. He’s also shown actually basketball talent too, don’t get me wrong. He competes well on defense, spreads the floor well from three, and he’s relentless and athletic around the rim. Then there’s Jayson Tatum, their standout rookie. He hasn’t shown the same defensive prowess as Brown, but his offensive game is unique for his age (he’s only 19 + a few days!).

What makes the Celtics different, though, is youth. Other than the 31-year-old Al Horford, their core is young enough become even better in the next few years. Surely they’ll run the east, but once they get a taste of the Finals, who knows how good they can be.

These two have both followed and tweaked the blueprint that Golden State has shown to be successful. Even though they’ve shown that they have the chops to give the Dubs problems, they won’t be the last to do so. Sure it takes young and talented players to become great in the long term, but stability from ownership, and competency from management and coaches is just as important. This is the key to success in the NBA, the rest of the league just needs to keep taking notes.

The emergence of Bobby Portis as a key cog for the Bulls
USA Today

USA Today

Hello Bulls fans,

The 2017-2018 season is starting to wind down and it was a rebuild or evaluate young players on the roster kind of season. The newer players like Kris Dunn, Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine, and David Nwaba had to get accustomed to being in Fred Hoiberg’s system but also into finding their own way in the NBA. I do think the absence of Nikola Mirotic has helped more than just the rebuild; it also helped a young player emerge as a true contributor.

Bobby Portis was drafted 22nd overall in the 2015 NBA Draft out of the university of Arkansas. In 2015 Portis was selected as the SEC player of the year by the leagues coaches. That’s a very impressive accomplishment because teams like Kentucky had players like Karl Anthony Towns and Devin Booker. He saw minimal time as a rookie but always made the most of his opportunity by being a motor guy. His first night as a rookie seeing extended minutes he had 20 points and 11 rebounds.He’s a power forward but I don’t believe the Bulls envisioned him being a stretch forward draft night. He’s seen time at Center this year and has been quite effective.

Bobby Portis is the anti-Boozer as far as try had goes, meaning he gets after it. Bobby Portis is having a very good season and has emerged, as a piece that can help this roster be very good. It’s evident that he’s been in the gym working on his three point jump shot because he has the confidence to take it without hesitation. I still think he is ascending as a player and hasn’t reached his ceiling yet. I don’t want to make the mistake of saying he will continue until he has a “Jimmy Butler” like emergence, but if you are willing to put in the time in the gym the sky is the limit for you.

I’m not saying that Bobby Portis should start for the Chicago Bulls next season, but he’s definitely worth keeping around. If he can continue to improve his game there’s a good chance he will be an ever more serviceable player for the Bulls.