Why The Aldridge Extension Is A Good Thing

Aldridge

Photo Credit: Basketball Wiki, http://basketball.wikia.com/wiki/LaMarcus_Aldridge

On Monday the San Antonio Spurs surprised people as they signed LaMarcus Aldridge to a three year extension worth $ 72.3 million. Aldridge had a $ 22.3 million option for the 2018-2019 season but the Spurs choose to extend him. Aldridge signed with the Spurs in free agency two years ago and has underperformed a bit in San Antonio. Aldridge spent the first nine years of his career with the Portland Trail Blazers and made five all star teams while averaging 19.4 points per game along with 8.4 rebounds a game. Things in San Antonio have not gone as well for the big man and there are a couple reasons why.

In Aldridge’s first two seasons in San Antonio some of his averages are down compared to his time in Portland. Aldridge is still a very productive player however over the last two years hes averaged 17.6 points per game while pulling down 7.9 rebounds a game. in San Antonio he has been the number two option behind franchise icon Kawhi Leonard. Aldridge’s decrease in numbers hasn’t been the only problem as at times the Spurs have been unhappy with him and he’s been unhappy with the franchise. The Spurs were disappointed with his conditioning however this year he came to camp in better shape and formed a better relationship with head coach, Gregg Popovich. Regardless of his struggles Aldridge has become more comfortbale with the Spurs and the franchise still wanted to keep him long-term.

The deal works out for both sides as Aldridge wouldn’t have received a bigger deal in free agency and the Spurs didn’t have any better options to replace him. Aldridge is also key for this team as they try to compete with the Warriors in the West. Surrounding Leonard with talent is the only way they can knock of the Warriors and even though Aldridge’s numbers have slightly dipped he’s still a player many teams would like to have and the Spurs will have him for the foreseeable future.

#Spurs

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Wizards Prepared For A Deep Playoff Run

wall

Photo Credit: Al Bello/ Getty Images

In recent years the Washington Wizards have been one of the prime examples of an underperforming team. They have one of the best backcourts in the NBA in John Wall and Bradley Beal however winning a title has been a challenge. The Wizards have two playoff appearances in the past three years. Both times they advanced past the first round only too get eliminated in the second round. There were also reports of tension between John Wall and Bradley Beal. These two players are the Wizards best players and are considred rising stars however they struggled getting on the same page. The Wizards started the season 2-8 and many thought this was a lost year. This Wizards team has proven since that horrific start that they plan on making a deep playoff run.

The Wizards are 40-20 since that horrid start and are getting career years from Bradley Beal and John Wall. They also added sharp shooter Bojan Bogdanovic in a trade with the Brooklyn Nets at the trade deadline. Bogdanovic has been a solid pickup as he’s helped improve the Wizards bench which was a glaring weakness before. The Wizards also appear to be playing with a chip on their shoulder as they are only 2.5 games behind the Boston Celtics for the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Entering the playoffs as the second seed would be huge for a Wizards franchise that hasn’t won a title since 1978. The Wizards certainly have a deep enough starting lineup behind Beal and Wall in Marcin Gortat, Markieff Morris, and Otto Porter.  Head coach Scott Brooks also has this team believing in themselves even after a rough start. In his first year as a coach he’s lead the Wizards to a 42-28 record.

If Wall and Bradley can keep producing then come playoff time this could become a dangerous team. Brooks has this team believing that they can make a deep run and he may just be right

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#Wizards #Celtics

Anthony Davis Finally Gets Some Help

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Photo Credit: Adi Joseph

Yesterday the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans stunned the Basketball world as they completed a blockbuster trade that sent Star center Demarcus Cousins from the Kings to the Pelicans.  The Pelicans received a first and second round pick along with three other players including Buddy Hield. This trade represents a reset for the Kings as they attempt to build a winning team. It was also uncertain if Cousins would re-sign with the Kings as he only has one year remaining on his current deal. The two teams completed the deal as the NBA All Star game was in progress. The trade now leaves these two organizations in different places as they both attempt to build winning teams following the trade.

The Kings have received a lot of backlash for making this deal. They received three players in this deal including Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, and Langston Galloway. Of these three players the only one with star potential is Hield however he is only a rookie meaning he  needs more time to develop. The picks are also important in this deal considering how deep this years draft class is. The problem with picks however is sometimes they turn into busts and in order for the Pelicans to be satisfied with the results of this deal they need to hit on players they draft. If they do not and Hield doesn’t develop into the star some expect this could turn out to be a very lopsided deal for the Kings and set their rebuild back even farther.

The Pelicans now find themselves in an interesting position. They have not been in the playoffs for two years; however they only sit two games out of a playoff spot. Combining Davis with Cousins could make them a power in the West and could elevate Davis’s game even further. Since The Pelicans drafted Davis first overall in the 2012 draft they have failed to surround him with other stars to help him bring a championship to New Orleans. Now with Cousins on the team Davis has that star and seeing these two play together down the stretch will be very interesting to watch and Pelican fans may see their team surprise people come playoff time.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#Pelicans#Kings

The Aftermath Of Kevin Durant’s Return

 

durant

Photo Credit: Zac Al-Khateeb

Yesterday the Golden State Warriors beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 130-114 in Oklahoma City however the game had one story line that has been anticipated for months. Kevin Durant played his first game in the stadium he called home for the first eight years of his career. During the game introductions Durant was meet with a shower of boos. This came as no surprise to anyone as Durant left the Thunder in the offseason to the team the Thunder lost to in the playoffs last year. Not only did the Thunder lose to the Warriors in the playoffs but they had them one game from elimination twice. Since choosing to join  Steph Curry and Klay Thompson in Golden State Durant has been meet with hard criticism. To many it appeared like Durant was being a sellout. Combined with Russell Westbrook the Thunder have become one of premier teams in the NBA however in Durant’s eight years in Oklahoma City the Thunder were unable to win a championship. The Warriors presented Durant with the best opportunity to win a title with an already star studded roster. The Thunder fans however were not the only one’s who let Durant know how they felt.  Russell Westbrook who has become one of the most talented players in the NBA was involved in a couple shooting matches with his former teammate.

During the game Westbrook shoved Durant at mid court and during the third quarter the two were engaged in a shouting match during a timeout. Westbrook was not the only one to exchange heated words with Durant as Andre Robertson did as well. This is what many expected for Durant’s return. Years from now Westbrook and Thunder fans may forgive Durant but at the moment it’s a bitter pill to swallow.  Durant is viewed as a villain for abandoning the Thunder and that perception will only worsen if Durant wins a title with the Warriors. Thunder fans however should not forget what Durant did for the team and city while he was there. It is rare now a days for a player to spend his entire career with a single team and Durant showed that. However the Thunder still have a star in Westbrook and time will show if he can give Thunder fans what Durant could not ,an NBA title. If that does happen it won’t be surprising to picture Durant smiling for the team and place he called home for eight years no matter how many times they boo him.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#Thunder#Warriors

Celtics Show True Grit

isiah

Photo credit: Alysha Tsuji

Last night Celtics forward Al Horford made his return to Atlanta the place where he spent the first eight years of his career before signing with the Celtics this past offseason. Horford was welcomed back with boos when he was introduced which only motivated his new teammates. Many of the Celtics players said they wanted to win this one for him and they gave it all they had.  The Celtics received solid contributions from their starters and Kelly Olynk had a big night off the bench as he scored 26 points and made four three pointers. Horford also had a solid night in his return as he scored ten points while pulling down six rebounds. This game however would belong to Isaiah Thomas and his fourth quarter talents.

Thomas was clutch in the fourth quarter yet again as his ability to perform when it counts the most has become routine but still remains mesmerizing. Thomas scored 28 points with 13 of those coming in the final quarter. Thomas’ best moment came at the end. With less than ten seconds left Isiah waved off a timeout call by coach Brad Stevens. The result was Thomas nailing a jumper with 2.4 seconds left to give the Celtics a 103-101 win. Not many players are given this much freedom by their coaches and this only emphasized how clutch Thomas is.  This was a big game for the Celtics as they rallied around their big man. They showed  just how far this team has come since the first week of the season and the early struggles that had some people questioning if maybe people were expecting too much from this team. The Atlanta Hawks recently traded away sharpshooter Kyle Korver however they still remain a dangerous team and the Celtics gave it all they had and came out on top. After the game Olynk said, ” We really wanted to dig this one out for Al, he really deserved it”. That’s exactly what the Celtics did and they deserved this win.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#Celtics

Thomas The Celtics Next Superstar

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Photo Credit: Mitchell Gastin

Isiah Thomas may be the shortest player in the NBA however his talent level far exceeds any restrictions that one would think his height would give at first glance. In the final minutes of the 2015 NBA trade deadline, Danny Ainge worked his magic and acquired Thomas from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Marcus Thornton and a first round pick. Thornton isn’t generating much buzz these days while Thomas has brought the Celtics out of irrelevance and has been critical to making Boston a contender in the Eastern Conference. Ever since the trade Thomas has made Boston his home as he’s embraced the city and made his recruiting efforts in free agency such as helping the Celtics land big man Al Hortford in free agency.

Many people say the Celtics still need another superstar in order to be considered a true challenger to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Thomas, however, game after game, has shown why he should be considered that superstar.  The Celtics may very well need another big name player in order to win a championship; however, Thomas has blossomed into a true superstar in Boston. So far this season Thomas is averaging 27 points and six assists a game and is coming off a brilliant effort in which he scored 52 points against the Miami Heat. What sets Thomas apart is in the fourth quarter: he wants the ball no matter the situation. He drives to the hoop not like he’s the shortest man in the league but the tallest. That’s why Celtics fans love him so much he plays with his heart and is putting the Celtics on his back. As the Celtics make the jump to contenders signing Thomas to an extension may be in their best interest as facing Thomas in the fourth quarter is not ideal.

# Celtics

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

The Three Point King Retires

 

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game One

Photo Credit: John’s- Red Army

Ray Allen was drafted fifth overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 1996 NBA draft and the rest was history. Allen won a title in Boston and hit a clutch three pointer in 2013 for the Miami Heat in the playoffs. Allen also played for the Seattle Supersonics and Milwaukee Bucks during his career. Earlier today Allen announced his retirement from basketball and he will go down as one of the greatest shooters of all time. Ever since his debut in the 1996-1997 NBA season Allen has dazzled fans with his shooting touch as he will retire holding the record for most three point field goals made in NBA history. Allen’s career reached its heights in Boston when he joined Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce forming the Big 3. In 2008 Allen finally got his title as the Celtics defeated the Lakers in the finals. When Allen left the Celtics for the Heat following the 2011-2012 season Celtics fans did not take it well. However for Celtics fans that should not be the lasting image of Allen. Today the NBA said goodbye to one of the best shooters the game has ever seen and here’s a look back on his special career.

Allen was known as one of the greatest shooters in the game before he joined the Celtics in 2008. Allen was playing on Supersonic teams that frankly weren’t good  which resulted in Allen not receiving as much media attention as he deserved . The world knew of Ray Allen before 2008 however his greatness only grew in Boston. Allen was instrumental in getting Kevin Garnett to agree to a trade from Minnesota to Boston. Without  Allen or Garnett its hard to envision the Celtics winning the NBA title in 2008. Allen would spend four more very productive season in Boston however he departed after the 2012 season. Allen choose to sign with the Miami Heat and that wasn’t meet with much enthusiasm in Boston. The Heat eliminated the Celtics from the playoffs in 2012 effectively ending the Big three era in Boston. Although Allen was not the same in 2012 but he still had some juice left and he proved that with the Heat in 2013 when they needed him the most

With the Heat down 95-92 in game 6 of the NBA finals and the Heat facing elimination Allen hit a game tying three pointer with less then six seconds left . The Heat would go on to win the series and Allen would win his second NBA title. This may be the moment he will be most remembered for because it signified everything his career has been about. That sweet stroke that Allen worked countless hours to perfect coming through like always in the moment his team needed him the most. Allen was one of a kind and his amazing shooting ability will never be forgotten. He most certainly has a spot waiting for him at the NBA Hall of Fame in Springfield and maybe one day the rafters of the TD Garden.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#Celtics#Heat