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  • tate793

    tate793 8:33 PM on March 21, 2018 Permalink |  

  • tate793

    tate793 6:48 PM on March 21, 2018 Permalink |  

    Comedy Break –

  • tate793

    tate793 2:56 PM on March 21, 2018 Permalink |  

    2018 NBA Free Agency: Ranking the 5 Best Players at Every Position 

    MARCH 21, 2018

    No. 3 Small Forward: Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Age: 27

    Type of Free Agency: Player option

    2017-18 Per-Game Stats: 21.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 2.1 steals, 0.5 blocks

    Paul George is the first of three small forwards who will be rightfully seeking max contracts this summer.

    We don’t yet know if he’ll remain with the Oklahoma City Thunder or pursue a departure to a new organization—the Los Angeles Lakers, perhaps?—but we can be certain he’ll be worth however much money he receives. The do-everything wing is still in the midst of his athletic prime, and he’s proved capable of contributing on both ends of the floor while suiting up alongside Russell Westbrook.

    Need a defensive stop? George can get one against almost any guard or forward, and that isn’t even what makes him most special on D. His true genius stems from his anticipatory skills and the ability to act upon them, allowing him to lead the league in deflections with room to spare. For that matter, he also ranks second in total steals, third in steals per game and fifth in steal percentage.

    And yet, that relentless defensive activity hasn’t prevented George from finding his niche on offense.

    He can score in just about every feasible manner, but he’s most special when leaving the ground from beyond the arc. Taking 7.6 deep attempts per game and tickling twine on 40.6 percent of those looks places him in undeniably elite territory.

    George has served as a complete threat. Again. Just as he’s done for years.

    No. 2 Point Guard: Isaiah Thomas, Los Angeles Lakers

    Age: 29

    Type of Free Agency: Unrestricted

    2017-18 Per-Game Stats: 15.2 points, 2.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.1 blocks

    Isaiah Thomas’ stock has gone through quite the roller coaster in 2017-18.

    The Boston Celtics unexpectedly traded him to the Cleveland Cavaliers in August. At first, he struggled to recover from the hip injury he suffered late last season. He then struggled even more once he returned to the court in Northeast Ohio. Cleveland shipped him to the Los Angeles Lakers at the trade deadline, where he finally started reminding the world of his Celtics tenure.

    So, who’s the real Thomas?

    At 29 years old, the minuscule point guard has reached the stage of his professional career at which teams must exercise financial caution. But he’s also in possession of skills that should delay his decline, since he can make shots from all over half-court sets and create plenty of space with his water-bug ball-handling.

    Can we expect him to stave off Father Time? Will the hip injury have any lingering effects? Will a team give him a shot to serve as a leading scorer? No one knows the answers with any semblance of certainty.

    Speculation must reign supreme here, and the way Thomas closes his half-season in a Lakers uniform will affect his earning potential this summer. Fortunately for the deposed “King in the Fourth,” he’s at least put together a somewhat lengthy stretch of quality offensive play.

    In his eight games prior to his 1-of-9 brickfest against the Miami Heat, Thomas averaged 19.4 points and 6.4 assists while shooting 39.7 percent from the field, 37.9 percent from downtown and 90.6 percent at the stripe. Progress, not perfection.

    No. 2 Power Forward: Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers

    Age: 23

    Type of Free Agency: Restricted

    2017-18 Per-Game Stats: 15.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.6 blocks

    “I haven’t talked to a lot of other coaches about him, but what he’s doing right now, he has to be on everyone’s radar,” Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton said about Julius Randle in mid-March, per ESPN.com’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “He’s playing unbelievable basketball. He’s a matchup nightmare for teams; he’s versatile. This is just me guessing, but I would imagine most teams are pretty impressed with what he’s doing.”

    A few months ago, Randle would’ve fallen behind Jabari Parker and Derrick Favors in these rankings. He didn’t play much defense, failed to demonstrate any semblance of shooting range and still had a limited offensive arsenal that led to diminished production and nothing more than short spurts on the court. But much of that has changed, even if the Kentucky product has yet to develop a reliable three-point stroke.

    Dating back to the beginning of February, Randle has averaged 21.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists while shooting 58.9 percent from the field. He’s been a bowling ball of pent-up energy on offense, barreling through unsuspecting defenders and those awaiting his physicality alike. Keeping him away from the basket seems almost impossible, and he’s developed a softer touch that allows him to finish plays through contact while earning 6.1 trips per game to the charity stripe.

    “If he keeps his motor up, nobody can guard him,” Isaiah Thomas told Youngmisuk. “Nobody can guard him.”

    This is the Randle we’ve been waiting to see ever since he entered the NBA. And given the enduring holes in his game—defensive consistency, shooting range and the ability to thrive when moving to his right—the 23-year-old still has quite a bit of untapped potential.

    No. 3 Shooting Guard: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Los Angeles Lakers

    Age: 25

    Type of Free Agency: Unrestricted

    2017-18 Per-Game Stats: 13.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.6 steals, 0.2 blocks

    If you were expecting Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to suddenly blossom into a full-fledged superstar after he signed a one-year, $17.7 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers this past offseason, you were always harboring overly optimistic expectations. That monetary figure rose so high because the Purple and Gold had money to spend and wanted to overpay for the luxury of preserved future financial flexibility.

    This may seem like the opposite of any pervasive narratives, but Caldwell-Pope has actually grown into a better player with the Lakers.

    He hasn’t justified that type of expenditure, and he has ceded the spotlight to the many promising youngsters in Hollywood. However, he’s quietly become a capable three-and-D contributor who will be a more coveted commodity in his second straight venture into free agency.

    Caldwell-Pope’s size and athleticism give him the ability to lock down opposing wings, and he’s been a key to the Lakers’ widespread defensive improvement. He’s also enjoying the best shooting season of his career, knocking down 38.5 percent of his 5.6 three-point attempts per outing.

    In fact, the former Bulldog is one of five qualified players this season with a defensive box plus/minus north of 0.5 while taking at least five triples per game and hitting no fewer than 38 percent of those deep looks. Whenever you’re in a class with Kevin Durant, Kyle Lowry, Chris Paul and Trevor Ariza, you’re doing something right.


    • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:37 AM on March 22, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Great article. Thanks for posting, Tate.
      Those four are my preferred free agency haul.

      1. Paul George -- #3 small forward (behind Kevin Durant and LeBron James)
      2. Julius Randle -- #2 power forward (behind Aaron Gordon)
      3. Isaiah Thomas -- #2 point guard (behind CP3)
      4. KCP -- #3 shooting guard (behind Tyreke Evans and Zach Lavine)

      We can use cap space to sign PG and KCP
      And then go over the cap to sign JR and IT.

      Best possible option that does not include LeBron James.

  • tate793

    tate793 1:38 PM on March 18, 2018 Permalink |  

    For GDUB….

    It’s that time again … musical break. Enjoy!

    Here’s another one u might like.

  • tate793

    tate793 9:00 PM on March 17, 2018 Permalink |  

    Saturday Night Musical Break –

  • tate793

    tate793 12:29 PM on March 14, 2018 Permalink |  

    Noon Day Music Break

  • tate793

    tate793 12:56 AM on March 11, 2018 Permalink  

  • tate793

    tate793 12:05 AM on March 9, 2018 Permalink  

    More chuckles… 

  • tate793

    tate793 8:30 AM on March 8, 2018 Permalink  

    Another chuckle break… 

  • tate793

    tate793 9:26 PM on March 7, 2018 Permalink  

    Lakers News: Jerry West Says Phil Jackson, Shaquille O’Neal And Kobe Bryant Never Should Have Separated 

    By Harrison Faigen – 03/06/2018

    The Los Angeles Lakers teams led by Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Phil Jackson were some of the most iconic and successful in the history of the storied franchise. Put together by then-general manager Jerry West, that trio would ultimately lead the Lakers to three championships in four NBA Finals appearances.

    But nearly as legendary as the talent of those teams was the dysfunction that seemed to follow them everywhere. While Jackson was always able to keep Bryant and O’Neal functioning together on the court, the two were constantly sniping at each other through the media for nearly the entirety of their time together.

    Eventually that conflict forced the Lakers to trade O’Neal in order to keep Bryant from leaving in free agency while Jackson retired. But West said on the “Not Just Sports with Suzy Schuster and Rich Eisen” podcast that he wished things hadn’t turned out that way.

    When asked about the team’s break-up, West was initially hesitant to answer before ultimately giving his thoughts on how hard it is to have success in the league and why that meant that Lakers trio should have stayed together:

    “I’d rather not get into the drama of the Lakers. I’d rather not. Phil had an incredible career, okay? He coached some fantastic players. I think his secret was that he could get them to play together, and when you have a lot of great players, you’re balancing a lot of different things. Some people have really big egos, and some have well-placed egos, and I think at the end of the day his run here was great. He had some of the greatest players that have ever played. There have been more great, great players playing for the Lakers than any franchise in the league. And so people who are fans of the Lakers, they look and they say ‘well, this is what we’re going to get back to.’ But listen. This business is hard. It is really hard. In this league today, you have to have two great players that are very versatile that can play together, and you have to have someone who can put them in an environment, a coach, that will allow them to prosper and make the team prosper. From a distance, I watched the break-up and I always said to myself ‘How sad. It shouldn’t have happened.’”

    West may have wished things would have gone differently, but by the point the Lakers traded O’Neal there was really no other option for them. It was clear that no matter what Jackson did, that Bryant and O’Neal’s partnership was unsalvageable and that there were no more titles to be mined there.

    ‌Things still worked out ok for both parties, with O’Neal going on to win another title in Miami while Bryant hung around and won two more in Los Angeles, with Jackson even coming back to coach him.

    The separation has even allowed Bryant and O’Neal to get along now, and while it would have been ideal if they could’ve kept playing together, neither would probably complain too much about the way things turned out.

    Lakers News: Jerry West Says Phil Jackson, Shaquille O’Neal And Kobe Bryant Never Should Have Separated

  • tate793

    tate793 3:11 PM on March 7, 2018 Permalink  

    Be careful what you wish for….. 

  • tate793

    tate793 2:59 PM on March 7, 2018 Permalink  

    Benjamin, you seen hide, or hair, of Phred?

  • tate793

    tate793 1:34 PM on March 7, 2018 Permalink  

    Chuckle Break… 

    • DJ2KB24

      DJ2KB24 2:23 PM on March 7, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Good one tatey!

      • tate793

        tate793 3:00 PM on March 7, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        : )

        • keen observer

          keen observer 5:01 PM on March 7, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Tomorrow’s poll: Who has the best sense of humor in the blog? 100% should go to Mr. Tate.

          Friday’s poll: Who can be the biggest a*****e on the blog when he wants to be? 100% should go to Mr. Tate (naturally, I’m kidding, but NO One defends his turf quite like you do, and you will do whatever takes!)

          • Seely_Iggy (Director)

            Seely_Iggy (Director) 6:48 PM on March 7, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Oh c’mon Keen, don’t sell yourself short (ok, I’m kidding too).

            • keen observer

              keen observer 8:17 PM on March 7, 2018 Permalink

              Yeah, you’re right. I’m funnier. :)

            • Seely_Iggy (Director)

              Seely_Iggy (Director) 2:06 AM on March 8, 2018 Permalink

              LOL I knew you’d say that.

    • mclyne32 (Director) 5:11 PM on March 7, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply


      • tate793

        tate793 8:32 PM on March 7, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply


  • tate793

    tate793 9:46 AM on March 7, 2018 Permalink  

    OKC Thunder Have Most to Lose in West’s Wild Playoff Race 

    Grant Hughes
    March 6,2018

    In one sense, the Oklahoma City Thunder should be glad they’re locked in a fight for their playoff lives.

    Not so long ago, fates much worse than this seemed likely.

    Kevin Durant’s 2016 exit was supposed to turn the organization into a basketball wasteland. Small-market doom was imminent. But Russell Westbrook stayed, Paul George showed up and disaster missed its chance to strike. Big picture, Oklahoma City is in better shape than it otherwise might have been.

    Considered from another angle, though, OKC may have only postponed its demise.

    After losing to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday, the Thunder are 7-8 since Feb. 1 and sit seventh in the West. Not so long after winning the offseason with flying colors and seemingly setting themselves up for fringe title contention, the Thunder face the possibility of missing the playoffs entirely…and all of the fallout that’ll follow.

    The Darkest Timeline

    Suppose the worst comes to pass and Oklahoma City falls short of the postseason. In that scenario, Paul George could easily look at the Los Angeles Lakers—a team he’s been overtly ogling for years and one that paid tampering fines for ogling him back—and view them as the objectively better option.

    Think that’s far-fetched?

    L.A. is 17-11 since Jan. 1 despite trading away rotation players (Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.) and paring salary. In that same span, Oklahoma City is 17-12. That’s a two-month stretch in which a team that is actively rebuilding for the future has performed just as well as one hell-bent on surviving in the present. You might be shouting that George, a rental from the time he arrived, is leaving anyway, and that OKC’s fate this year won’t change that.

    But think about it in the simplest terms possible: Is it harder for George to leave if the Thunder miss the playoffs? Or is it easier?

    Future free agents might view what’s happened this season in OKC as a deterrent to signing on. If George, theoretically purpose-built to fit alongside Russell Westbrook, couldn’t help the Thunder reach one measly postseason, why even bother to follow in those footsteps? That’s to say nothing of virtually every star improving upon his exit from the Thunder. Victor Oladipo is the latest, but there’s also Durant and James Harden to consider. Both are better now than they ever were with the Thunder.

    And in light of Patrick Patterson being underutilized to such an extreme degree this season, role players might proceed with similar caution.

    Toss in the requisite concerns about market size, conference difficulty and all of the other ancillary factors players weigh, and Oklahoma City could soon find itself struggling to attract support for Westbrook and Steven Adams. Or, at least that’d be the case if the Thunder had the opportunity to pursue any.

    With $88.9 million committed to nine players next year—excluding George and assuming Carmelo Anthony doesn’t decline his $27.9 million player option, which he absolutely will not—the Thunder don’t have the financial flexibility to meaningfully change their roster.

    In this darkest timeline, the Thunder miss the postseason, watch George depart, suffer through a summer in which they can’t retool, and then run it back in 2018-19 with a 30-year-old Westbrook flanked by Anthony, Adams and the worst collection of wings in the NBA.

    Making the playoffs won’t erase the possibility of this worst-case scenario. The Thunder could still get in, knock off a first-round foe and threaten the Warriors or Rockets in a tough series…and then watch it all fall apart this summer anyway.

    But there’s no denying the destructive, franchise-crippling impact of a potential lottery trip.

    Disaster Preparedness

    With the third and 10th seeds in the West separated by just four games, there are eight teams fighting for every inch…and only six playoff spots. The Thunder are operating with a nearly invisible margin for error. That’s hardly ideal for a club that has had trouble showing up consistently.

    Oklahoma City prides itself on performing when faced with a worthy foe, a confidence supported by a 4-2 record against the Warriors, Rockets and Raptors. But the Thunder haven’t beaten a playoff team since their 125-105 drubbing of the Warriors on Feb. 6, which is now offset by the even more thorough beating Golden State later delivered, a 112-80 dismantling on Feb. 24.

    Meanwhile, the Thunder’s last month includes single-digit wins against the bottom-dwelling Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings, Orlando Magic, Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns. They also lost to the Lakers (twice!) and pre-All-Star break Cleveland Cavaliers. Although the Thunder aren’t dumping games to the league’s dregs as often as they did earlier in the season, something even more telling is happening lately.

    We’re seeing Oklahoma City settle into what looks like its proper place: better than the worst, but not good enough to beat the best.

    The upcoming schedule will test this team, with a brutal stretch starting March 16 likely determining the Thunder’s fate. Eleven of the Thunder’s final 12 opponents are currently over .500. They ‘ll see the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics on the road early in that run, and then they’ll face the Warriors and Rockets in the final week-and-a-half of the regular season.

    The possibility of a playoff absence is very real.

    The Thunder can still salvage this thing, and they must. The immediate future of the organization depends on it.

    Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference, Cleaning the Glass or NBA.com unless otherwise specified. Accurate through games played Tuesday, March 6.


    • mclyne32 (Director) 11:08 AM on March 7, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I wonder if Russ is kicking himself now for signing that extension after seeing the huge turnaround that has happened in LA since Magic and Rob took over.

      • tate793

        tate793 11:40 AM on March 7, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Wouldn’t doubt it. I wonder if OKC are kicking themselves for letting James Harden and KD getting away.

        • keen observer

          keen observer 3:17 PM on March 7, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Hypothetically, let’s say Westbrook demanded a trade to the Lakers. What’s he worth? Also, along those lines, this is another reason to re-sign Julius Randle to a healthy contract and another reason why signing Paul George to a max deal makes sense. What “asset” is better to have on your team for trade purposes than superstar players and Tier 2 and Tier 3 young future stars? Look what the Clippers got in return for Chris Paul. Even though people balked at the time, it turns out that the Pacers did well for themselves in the PG deal. Nothing is valued more by GMs than great players. Let’s sign us some Ju and some PG. Whatever happens down the road has greater potential that way.

          • tate793

            tate793 3:22 PM on March 7, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Yep. I’d sign IT (if he pans out the rest of the way) to a 1 yr deal with a team option for a second year. Same with KCP.

            • DJ2KB24

              DJ2KB24 3:51 PM on March 7, 2018 Permalink

              Can we do a wait and see for IT and KCP?

            • keen observer

              keen observer 5:02 PM on March 7, 2018 Permalink

              I think this summer will produce lots of waits and lots of sees.

            • mclyne32 (Director) 5:13 PM on March 7, 2018 Permalink

              Why do we need KCP when Josh Hart does the same things for much cheaper?

            • keen observer

              keen observer 8:18 PM on March 7, 2018 Permalink

              We don’t, especially if Paul George comes our way.

  • tate793

    tate793 10:07 PM on March 5, 2018 Permalink  

    No perimeter defense, not making shots, missing free throws (missed 7 free throws, lost game by 5 pts). Gave up a lot of 2nd and 3rd chance points. Biggest problem was missing the Captain.

    • mud

      mud 10:20 PM on March 5, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      true, but they did a lot of good things tonight, too. Damian Kevorkian did his usual routine. we’ll break his leg next time. get back on the pony, guys.

    • GDUBinDC

      GDUBinDC 10:21 PM on March 5, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Didn’t get to watch the game, but who was assigned to guard Dame?

      • mud

        mud 10:32 PM on March 5, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        until he went crazy at the end of the game, Lonzo was on him, but was dealt with harshly by the refs. KCP also covered him as did Randle and i think Ennis, and even IT. all did a pretty good job. he even had two airballs. then he just started hitting every shot as he can and the game was over.

        Lonzo shot poorly and so did IT(he had a turnover problem as well tonight), so they couldn’t avoid the avalanche.

        a bad first quarter and end of the fourth was just too much to overcome. another learning experience…

        • GDUBinDC

          GDUBinDC 10:43 PM on March 5, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Thx, mud … I appreciate u responding to my query. Dame’s one of those players who can hit big shots at any moment, guarding him can be a tall order for darn near anyone.

    • Michael H (Editor)

      Michael H (Editor) 10:43 PM on March 5, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I thought the defense was pretty good until the end. When Lillard gets going I think you have to pick him up half court. He was hitting 3’s 6 feet behind the line. I almost wish they put Julius on him. Whenever Julius switched onto him he didn’t have much success. He actually forced both Lillard and CJ into airballs.
      Still it was offense that did us in. Lonzo and IT went 8 for 30. You are not going to win many that way.

      • GDUBinDC

        GDUBinDC 10:47 PM on March 5, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Guess u got a point there, MH … when I checked the box score and saw they shot under 40% as a team I kinda figured out y they really lost. Not gonna win too often shootin’ that poorly.

        • mclyne32 (Director) 10:52 PM on March 5, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          They lost because they didn’t double Dame.
          When the dude is draining threes from the small ‘s’ on the floor(the one at the end of “Angeles” at half court) YOU HAVE TO GET THE BALL OUT OF HIS HANDS!!!
          Can we please target him? Lol!
          His confidence to shoot from anywhere at anytime reminds me of a guy cut from the same cloth- Nick Van Exel.

    • mclyne32 (Director) 10:47 PM on March 5, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Lillard is special and a gangsta hoopa, but that was still a choke job.

      • Michael H (Editor)

        Michael H (Editor) 10:59 PM on March 5, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I was concerned about this on to begin with. The Blazer are on a roll and we were without BI. For us to beat top tier teams we need everyone. I would not have been surprised if Luke put BI on Lillard if he had played. He has done a nice job when matched up against top scorers. Hopefully BI is back soon. We could have really used his scoring tonight.

    • mclyne32 (Director) 10:56 PM on March 5, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I still can’t believe IT alligator armed that last free throw.
      Also, can somebody PLEASE teach Zo how to put up a running floater in the lane???? It’s a must have for every good PG in the NBA.

      • Michael H (Editor)

        Michael H (Editor) 11:00 PM on March 5, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Had the same thought. He really needs to work on his game in the lane this summer.

        • mclyne32 (Director) 11:01 AM on March 6, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          He has a new team mate who is excellent at this. He should put in work with IT during practice.

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