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The newest BA Today Show Podcast —-> Check it out and let us know what you think.
Cubs sign Soler, will he feast or falter in the Cubs farm system? Discussing current and past prospects of the Cubs organization.
Who wins this Sunday at WWE’s “No Way Out” pay-per-view and who’s my favorite to win the briefcase at next month’s “Money in the Bank.”
Game 1 of the NBA Finals – Heat vs. Thunder game overview
Russell Westbrook and what NBA Hall of Famer and “NBA’s 50 Greatest” his game reminds me of. (Never been compared to)
(I do not own the rights to the following songs)
Kevin MacLeod – Cut & Run
Glory Nugget – Iron Bacon
Kayne West & Lupe Fiasco – Touch the Sky
Kevin MacLeod – Organic Grunge
Kevin MacLeod – Zap Beat
Kevin MacLeod – Cut & Dry
New podcast available from two of your chair members discussing sports & entertainment. We are looking for approval from Itunes and waiting to be confirmed. If/When that happens we will be available to be downloaded on there as well.
Here’s the link to the first episode… BA Today Show – June 11, 2012
A story about my favorite NBA player that I didn’t know and I’m sure few people do.
REDCHAIR; Sports Editor
West (Predicted December 2011)/ Actual
1) Thunder – Spurs 50-16
2) Mavericks – Thunder 47-19
3) Spurs – Lakers 41-25
4) Clippers – Grizzlies 41-25
5) Lakers – Clippers 40-26
6) Grizzlies – Nuggets 38-28
7) Blazers – Mavericks 36-30
8) Warriors – Jazz 36-30
(Finals: Heat & Thunder. Heat win in 6)
Although I wasn’t as successful as with the western conference I still think I did pretty well. The Clippers were the ones who splashed in the offseason with Paul and Billups but no one was sure how well they’d do. I had them at #4 and they’re really only two games away from being that. If Billups didn’t get hurt they could have possibly been a #3 which would have helped them this year in my opinion. Jazz barely squeaked in. They have young talent but they’re not ready.
1 Spurs vs. 8 Jazz – As I just stated the Jazz have young talent and the Spurs have older talent with some younger parts off the bench. Spurs somehow managed to tie for the best record in the NBA. Personally the Spurs bore me. I will not watch this series and unless the Jazz get lucky or Manu breaks something again the Spurs will advance.
2. Thunder vs. 7 Mavericks – The Thunder have a very similar roster as last season where the Mavericks seem a lot different. Mavericks lost two key guys like Chandler and J.J. Barea that helped a lot last season. The Mavericks got by because of Dirk’s big time shots. Age has really gotten to this team. Dropping from one of the top seeds all the way to #7 has showed this. They need to learn from the Spurs coach how to maintain. Thunder are just too good with Durant and Westbrook. These guys won’t be stopped in this series. Thunder also will feel like they have something to prove since the Mavericks are who beat them last year.
3. Lakers vs. 6 Nuggets – Somehow the Nuggets win games without having any big elite players. They are just a good solid team. That’s about all I can say about them. I like Afflalo but Lakers adding Sessions and Kobe keeping himself healthy and rested for the playoffs is all the Lakers need with the duo of bigs they have. Lakers will advance and Kobe will hit big shots anytime he needs to.
4. Grizzlies vs. 5 Clippers – This could be a fun series to watch. I like the guys on both teams. I think “Lob City” is going to be in trouble when they have to slow down and run sets. I think Paul can carry the team at times but Billups needed to be there for big shot for them to go deeper. I like the Grizzlies and I think they showed a lot of people how good they were last year without their best player in Rudy Gay. I think the Grizzlies advance in a lot of close games.
1 Spurs vs. 4 Grizzlies – Upset alert! Rankings wise this is really the only upset I have for your guys. The Spurs are good and have depth but in the playoffs the key players play more minutes and I feel like the Spurs will wear down. I also think this is the year that Mark Gasol shows he’s now the better Gasol brother in the NBA. He will be huge. I think Randolph will be back in shape after his injury enough to contribute. Gay will have a great series and Conley and Mayo will continue to do their thing and win games.
2 Thunder vs. 3 Lakers – This shit just got personal. Metta World Peace will be back after his suspension and hopefully Harden will be back to playing 100% after suffering a concussion. You have the top two scorers in the league going at it. Ibaka and Perkins are going to have to have a good defensive series against Gasol and Bynum. Before the Lakers traded for Sessions I figured the point guard position would be the downfall for the Lakers. He is a great improvement over what they had. I think the Thunder are determined to be in the finals or the season will be a bust. The depth of the Thunder and youth will outlast the Lakers. Expect a game or two where Kobe & Durant get the chance for a last second shot.
2 Thunder vs. 4 Grizzlies – The funny thing is this was probably one of the hardest series for the Thunder last year. I think they competed with the Mavericks better but not being able to close games and Dirk hitting big shots is why they lose. The Thunder and Grizzlies match-up really well against one another. Now the Grizzlies have Rudy Gay this series and could be a huge upset here. I’m not going to say that though. I believe last season the biggest flaws of the Thunder was their half court offense and their maturity to close at the end of games. I think they have fixed these problems and with the addition of signing Fisher brings great experience and also allows Westbrook to play some SG for the entire playoffs. I would love to see when Thunder go small with Fisher, Westbrook, Harden, Durant, and Ibaka/Collison. I think this series will go 6 or 7 but the Thunder will come out victorious to face the Heat in the finals.
REDCHAIR: Sports Editor
Prediction – December 2011/ Actual
1) Heat – Bulls 50-16
2) Bulls – Heat 46-20
3) Celtics – Pacers 42-24
4) Knicks – Celtics 39-27
5) Magic – Hawks 40-26
6) Hawks – Magic 37-29
7) Pacers – Knicks 36-30
8) 76ers – 76ers 35-31
(Finals: Heat & Thunder. Heat win in 6 Dec. 24, 2011)I will admit I’m not a huge regular season NBA fan. I enjoy watching games but as I’ve said for the last several years nothing matters until the playoffs begin. Once the playoffs begin I love it. It’s like the start of summer for me. Kobe and D Rose sitting on the bench to rest up for the playoffs helps prove my point that the regular season doesn’t matter. I managed to pick 14 of the 16 teams that are going to the playoffs and pretty close to their actual positioning so even if you’re not impressed with it I’m impressed with it and that’s all that counts!
Anyways the NBA playoffs begins Saturday so with the bracket set up this is who I believe will move on and who will be sent home early.
1 Bulls vs. 8 76ers – Although the 76ers started off playing really great basketball this season they have slowly regressed. They traded away one of their key bench players and now they just haven’t been clicking. Do I think they’ll show signs of it and make this is a fun series to watch? Yes I do. In the end the Bulls defense with D. Rose playing every game, whether he’s completely healthy or not, is enough for the Bulls to advance past the 76ers.
2. Heat vs. 7 Knicks – The Knicks have been an interesting team this season to say the least. The craze of Linsanity and Carmelo playing probably his beast basketball he’s ever played makes this a must see series to watch. Stoudemire and Carmelo are both healthy going into the playoffs and the Knicks have good young players coming off the bench that can make a difference. I like Shumpert as a defender a lot and I think Fields doesn’t get enough credit. Novak is a great off the bench shooter who can give you points in bunches and J.R. Smith is also a great guy who can contribute and light a spark. Chandler will be there and I think he will neutralize Bosh in the paint during this series. If there is a major upset waiting to happen it could be this. The Heat haven’t been playing well rolling into the playoffs. As much as I do believe that the Knicks are better than a #7 seed I can’t help but stick with my early prediction and say the Heat will beat out the Knicks in this series. It will go seven games, or five, I can never remember if the first round is winning 3 games or 4 games.
3. Pacers vs. 6 Magic – This is an easy series for me to pick. Even though I never expected the Pacers to be good enough as a #3 seed I do know they have some nice pieces on their team even if I don’t consider any of them elite. The Magic won’t have Howard to my understanding with a back injury and that’s all I need to know that the Pacers will advance. Too much depth and Granger will probably go off for a few games.
4. Celtics vs. 5 Hawks – The criticism of the Celtics is always they’re getting old but I think Coach Rivers has done a great job with this team as they’ve aged. He’s changed up the roles of the team. He takes Garnett out early with the first squad and let’s him play with the second unit a lot more and be the go-to guy when Pierce and Allen are resting on the bench. The Hawks have talent I’ll give them that. I just don’t feel like they have that one player who can step up and get them over the hump in crunch situations. When they were getting by last season they relied on their sixth man Crawford for some big three pointers. I love the Celtics Bradley and Pietrus for their quickness and defensive ability. I think they’ll be big in this series and do the things the average fan doesn’t notice.
1. Bulls vs. 4 Celtics – Another good matchup and series that I will enjoy watching. As much as I do like giving Bulls fans shit, I do like the Bulls and I like to see them do well. It’s just I don’t want them to do better than my Thunder but I’m getting off topic. Derrick Rose vs. the combo of Rondo/Bradley will be a great matchup to watch. I think the Bulls youth along with their depth (Korver, Asik, Gibson, and Brewer) will be the difference. Bulls preach defense and they live it. Deng has had a great year and I think has really come into his own when Rose was injured and someone had to step up. One of my biggest problems with the Bulls last year was Boozer but he even seems to be playing better. The only worry I have in this series is that Rose has taken too much time off and isn’t his self and makes some key turnovers or he reinjures himself and the Celtics are able to take advantage. If Rose stays healthy the Bulls will advance to the Easter Conference finals.
3. Pacers vs. 2 Heat – If the Heat plays defense like I know they can and have shown I don’t think this series will be too hard for them. Granger is the only scorer to worry about and LeBron can neutralize him. I like Paul George in this series if he guard Wade. I just think the quickness of the Heat attacking a slow Hibbert will get the Pacers bigs in foul trouble and the Heat will just keep attacking the rim and win the series at the foul line. See you in the Eastern Conference finals Miami Heat.
1. Bulls vs. Heat – Oh the long awaited rematch. Small things have changed since last season but they are good improvements. Last season the Heat lacked depth and Wade and LeBron seemed to wear down a lot late in games. The Bulls didn’t have that other guy at shooting guard who could make big shots. The bulls went out and picked up Rip Hamilton who, although an aging veteran, has proved himself in the playoffs. The Heat added depth that they needed. Haslem came back for a full season. They drafted Norris Cole who is a spark and can spark the second unit on office and run the offense when LeBron and Wade are on the bench. They also added Battier who is a proven veteran and is a guy that can shutdown key players on the defensive end. He’s a guy that does things that don’t show up on the stat sheets. D Rose will be banged up by this series and I don’t see Hamilton being a big enough factor in this series. Deng will do a good job but he will mostly be guarded by LeBron and he will be marginalized. I think the Heat made enough additions that they will still advance to the NBA Finals.
BY REDCHAIR; Sports Editor
I can’t help it but I see a lot of similarities between Derrick Rose and LeBron James. It is kind of ironic as LeBron has become one of the more hated players and Rose is one of the players that everyone loves. But are they so different? Was it not long ago that LeBron was the highly touted prospect coming out of high school for the draft just like Rose was the top prospect coming out of Memphis in his draft class? They both had a lot of pressure on them to quickly thrive and improve their teams and they did. They both took teams that without them were not playoff contenders and carried them into the playoffs and past the first round. Analyst said that they needed to improve their jumpers, three point shooting, and fine tune their defense instead of always relying on their athleticism and they have. Is it also not ironic that LeBron’s defense slowed down Rose in the playoffs last season and LeBron’s team advanced to the finals?
The avenue where the two are different is mostly obvious. LeBron is a freak of nature as a 6’8” point forward who weighs around 260 pounds. Rose is less than 200 pounds and is a 6’2” point guard. There rookie seasons are years apart. Rose is age 23 and LeBron is age 27. LeBron chose to leave his hometown team in aspirations of a championship with Wade and Bosh in Miami where Rose just signed an extension to stay with his hometown Chicago Bulls. This alone is probably the biggest difference between the two.
Both players have not won a ring but have experience in the playoffs. Both are explosive players that can go off and score 40 points any given night. They are great passers and play-makers. Both have been all-stars and won an MVP award. No one is arguing that they are not great players. However, the amount of criticism and praise is so widely different on the spectrum between the two players. LeBron James is constantly criticized for his struggles in the 4th quarters of games with the Heat. Every missed shot in the 4th quarter he is reminded of this and analyzed. It’s done so much that it annoys me. I don’t know how it wouldn’t be able to affect him. Rose, in the eyes of the media, can do no wrong. If he wins he is praised and if he loses it wasn’t his fault he needs more weapons. Now where have we heard that before? Was it not years ago when LeBron was carrying his Cleveland Cavaliers team whose second best player is now the 6th of 7th man on the Clippers?
I apologize for not posting this sooner, but a week or two ago the Bulls were in a close game where it came down to a last second shot. Derrick Rose drove to the lane and threw out a pass to a wide open Brian Scalabrine for an open three pointer for the win and he missed it. And the next day nothing was said on ESPN for his pass and the Bulls losing. I couldn’t help but remember the same thing happen five or so years earlier when the same scenario happened and LeBron James threw out a pass to an open Donnell Marshall for a three-point shot and he made it for the win. Back then it was lightly discussed how in that scenario you want your best player to take the shot regardless the defense but the Cavs won and it was soon forgotten. It was also easily forgotten all the game winners LeBron hit with the Cavs and all the games he closed out by himself with only a good defensive supporting cast. Any of this sound familiar? Right now Rose is being praised for ever success he is having. He is a young superstar and the NBA gains a good reputation and image for a young successful star. It was the same for LeBron when he was early into his career.
My question is this… What happens if Derrick Rose doesn’t win a ring in the next three years? What happens when after he has had an MVP season or two but he can’t get to the NBA finals? Will he request a trade like other elite talent trying to join forces? Will he be faithful to his team even if they don’t sign him any star talent? Will his game evolve any or will talent catch up to him? Right now Rose is young and fresh and looked at as a superstar talent with only things looking up. I’m curious to see what happens when Rose has to start answering the tough questions and faces a little controversy like LeBron James has. When he scores over thirty points five assists and five rebounds but still gets criticized for not taking enough shots in the fourth quarter or missing shots when his team still wins?
Where the future of the NBA takes us nobody knows. Derrick Rose could have the same path that LeBron takes and it might take a little longer to win a championship if either of them wins one at all. I take criticism and choose to let it motivate me. Just like I assume that a lot of people will not agree with my opinion piece. The facts don’t lie though and the similarities are there. Feel free to leave a comment and tell us how you feel.
BY REDCHAIR; Sports Editor
The season has been going long enough that the rust should all be knocked off and the best players of the league should be the ones who have emerged ahead of the pack with the best stat lines and best team records. Although the best players in the league constantly fluctuate on the list of great players we are going to do the top 10 players in the NBA this season currently.
a. Heat – 11-5 Record
LeBron is arguably the most athletically gifted player in the NBA. He can score, distribute, and rebound. I actually feel he plays better without Wade. He has missed a few games with injuries and gets the label of being a bad closer but who needs to be a closer if you win games by 10 points anyways? He’s still a stud.
2. 2. Kobe Bryant – 30.5 PPG, 5.6 APG, 5.7 RPG, 1.28 STPG (18 Games)
a. Lakers – 10-8 Record
The Lakers team is aging and even last season in the finals Kobe looked to be past his prime. Kobe must have noticed and felt it as well. He has come out this season and looked great. He’s leading the league in points and he’s managed to get his team tied in his division even with the Bynum suspension starting the season, having poor guard play and Gasol slowing down. I would have put him #1 but record matters and LeBron helps his team more.
a. Magic – 11-4 Record
Howard is a beast. If he could only make his free throws he’d be averaging 25 points a game and stand out more. He leads the league in rebounds, fifth in blocks, and leads all big men in steals as well. He is definitely all first team when it comes to his defense and he’s a great offensive presence. His team is off to a great start as well and if he really doesn’t want to be there he’s not showing it.
4. 4. Derrick Rose – 20.8 PPG, 8.7 APG, 3.5 RPG, 0.92 STPG (13 Games)
a. Bulls – 15-3 Record
As I stated before this list can fluctuate quite a bit during the season and Rose could easily bounce upwards but right now I put him at #4. He has missed some time lately with his ankle injury. As expected the Bulls are the top team in the eastern conference and that counts for something. Averaging almost 21 points and 9 assists as a point guard is amazing.
a. Clippers – 9-5 Record
The argument on Rose follows for Chris Paul as well. He has suffered injuries lately but averaging 18 points, 8.4 assists and leading the league in steals per game is amazing. He has been a great change in the Clippers records and has lead them to first place in their division. In only a short time with the team he makes the players on their team better and will continue to with the more games played together.
6. 6. Kevin Durant – 26.1 PPG, 3.3 APG, 7.4 RPG, 1.19 (16 Games)
a. Thunder 13-3 Record
First place in the west and he’s actually not leading the league in scoring for once. #6 seems like a good spot for Durant though. He has added new shots and post moves to his arsenal making him even more deadly. Add in his quick trigger and being able to shoot it from half court Durant can post 40 point games out of nowhere and we all wouldn’t be surprised. His defense and rebounding has improved as well so far this season.
a. Timberwolves 7-9 Record
Love & Rubio have made the Timberwolves watchable. When I looked at Love’s stat line I was a little bit shocked and that’s why I picked him as #7. He’s a machine on the boards and he can now hit the three pointers. That’s impressive for a guy who plays the 4-spot. He trimmed down a little bit and appeared to be quicker. For a team that’s not supposed to compete he has the team around a .500 record.
8. 8. Russell Westbrook – 20.6 PPG, 5.6 APG, 4.9 RPG, 1.75 STPG (16 Games)
a. Thunder 13-3 Record
Anybody that knows me knows I like Westbrook. He’s not the typical point guard that’s going to lead the league in assists but he will be in the top ten when it comes to rebounds and steals at his position. He’s a scorer who is learning the position of distributor. He will be in the top five when it comes to points at the position though for sure. His team is also first in the western conference and not all the credit belongs to Durant.
a. Heat – 11-5 Record
I started writing this article and had Wade higher. I know he’s a special talent but he has been injured lately and the team has continued to win without him. I also took a look at his stat line and noticed it was very similar to Westbrook’s except Westbrook can’t play the scorer. It’s also hard to not hold it against him that he has two all-stars on his team to separate the floor and draw attention. To be fair Wade could easily be top three any given week when he comes back from injury.
10 10. LaMarcus Aldridge – 23.3 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 0.8 BLKPG 1.31 STPG (16 Games)
a. Blazers – 9-7 Record
The Blazers started off the season hot. Aldridge is a huge reason why. He’s one of those players who is incredible talented and incredibly overlooked. If he’s not an all-star this year I will be upset. He’s tied sixth in points per game. This #10 spot was hard to decide but if no one else is going to give Aldridge respect I will be the one to give him some.
Key Close Calls: Dirk Nowitzki, Deron Williams,