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Monday, 18 January 2021

10 Most Expensive Shoes Worn in NBA Games #FLZVZN

The Beal Appeal #RPTZFLZ

      He's probably the most coveted basketball player on another team, in the history of the NBA, and recently, with the trading of James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets, his notoriety has only increased among fans mostly.
      His name is Bradley Beal, and he's probably viewed as the most valuable sidekick since Scottie Pippen.  And even though he had been left to carry the load work for the Washington Wizards with the sidelining of John Wall, his team's inability to win has left his name out of the mentioning of the elite players in the league.  Yet still, the adoration of fans of win starved NBA teams hasn't wavered in the slightest as they see him as the answer to all that stalls the numbers in the win column of their favourite team.
      He's not a hard player to fill out a roster around because he's never been known as a malcontent or bad teammate.  He goes about scoring efficiently without disruption.  And he's sneaky athletic and fun to watch at times.
      Now, I don't claim to know for sure who would most likely end up winning the Bradley Beal sweepstakes should the experiment of pairing him with Russell Westbrook not take but I can only really see one team having the most immediate need for his services, that would most benefit and flourish with his addition.
      The Dallas Mavericks - What's Good?: Luka Doncic a healthy Kristaps Porzingis, the assets to make a trade work and their spot in the western conference, and the fact that they're in the western conference.  The Mavericks have a head coach who's been to the finals and the team has remained relatively competitive since then which means the culture is dedicated to making it back to the finals.  They don't need help as far as scoring and defending go but they do need on-court guidance.  Luka Doncic, like a lot of young and up and coming players in the league, can use re-directing when it comes to shot selection and game pace from time to time.  He's going to need help being molded into that leadership role the Mavericks are hoping he can be and a level tempered player like Bradley Beal can teach by example.
       What's Bad?: Youth and inexperience and Kristaps Porzingis vulnerability to injury are the team's most immediate areas of weakness but not necessarily handicaps as they're a team that plays hard with a lot of energy.  They're the reasons why they would need to add more veterans to maintain balance should an injury to their valuable big man arise.
              Bradley Beal would most likely not be the only veteran player the Mavericks would need to add to be ranked among the elite teams but it would make the process of assessing additional pieces that much clearer.  
        As I said, I have no idea if Bradley Beal is even available.  If I'm running the Wizards, he wouldn't be as there is no definitive reason he should be.  The Wizards have a decent mix of talented youth and experience and although they're not considered a threat to the throne, they shouldn't be taken lightly either.  They're not rebuilding so much as they're trying to grow and establish a semblance of culture, so they wouldn't be trading out of a lack of anything, it would rather be more of trade into a clear direction.
        So if you're a fan of a team, outside of Washington, with high expectations of the savior Bradley Beal on that of your team's high priority acquisition list, curb your enthusiasm, because your best-laid plans never materialize.


Thursday, 14 January 2021

Quick Take: James Harden Traded to The Brooklyn Nets #RPTZFLZ

      When it comes to the eastern conference, there's no longer a question about which team is number one.  With the trade for James Harden, the Brooklyn Nets made it clearer for the front offices in the east as to whether or not they should look to get better in the short term or go with what you have.  Although there is still a lingering question as to whether the Nets new core three will gel, with Kyrie Irving still M.I.A. after five games, if you're the Philadelphia 76ers, the Boston Celtics, or the Miami Heat, a few minor tweaks may mean all the difference as far as bettering your odds.
       Philadelphia 76ers:  As much as I like Ben Simmons at the one, he's playing out of position and this team isn't going to be scary until they address the situation.  A true point guard like Kyle Lowry would allow them to slide Simmons to the four where they'd really be able to exploit opposing offenses on the perimeter.  Even more, if he were to develop a shot.
       Boston Celtics:  I think they're being slept on a bit.  I think once Walker gets back into the rotation, they may be good enough to go toe to toe with the Nets.
       Miami Heat:  Should look to add some veteran presence to their bench.  They don't need a lot more than some on-court leadership to go along with Dragic.  Jimmy Butler is great at what he does and he's a great motivator but they still tend to play a bit out of synch at times and it would be great for Herro and Robinson to have someone lead by example rather than by emotion.
       These teams don't really have big needs.  They've each been deep enough in the playoffs that they know what it takes to get to the next level and in reality, the Nets have more catching up to do in that regard themselves.  The thing is, it's not going to take them long to do it and there won't be a lot of time to catch up when they do.


Monday, 11 January 2021

A New Direction: Trading Kyle Lowry #RPTZFLZ #WeTheNorth

      Last night's loss to the Golden State Warriors and while we're at it, all the losses the Raptors have suffered this far are indicative of a fact that a lot of analysts have yet to point out or admit out loud.  The cold hard fact that Kyle Lowry is getting in the way of the growth of this team.  Yeah, I know.  Shock and awe, right?  It's true though, and I'm not saying he's doing it on purpose.  Matter of fact, there are few teams that could benefit from his disruptive nature and he just might benefit too.
     The New Orleans Pelicans: Their youth and athleticism are complemented by a few experienced veterans at key positions but it may not be enough to get them over the hump and their hump is at that first round.
     The Good:  Kyle Lowry is built to win in extremely strenuous situations and there isn't a team in the league with championship aspirations that doesn't need that type of contribution.  Specifically, his ability to get to the line at will and identify and control pace are talents required in deep playoff runs.  On a team like the Pelicans, his leadership would be effective regardless of his role in the rotation.
      The Bad:  He might not be enough.  Van Gundy is an excellent head coach and Kyle Lowry would be his extension on the floor but the mark of a championship team is the ability of its individual players to sacrifice personally, on and off the court.  Kyle Lowry would be a great start toward that goal but the Pelicans management might not be willing to give up promising young players for a one-shot run at a championship.
      The Denver Nuggets: Having played the spoiler role last season to the favourite Los Angeles Clippers, the future was looking bright but they seem to be regressing enough to investigate adding some help.
      The Good: The Nuggets are one of those teams that is the epitome of the NBA saying "one player away".  And they most likely are.  They have a player in Jokic who's a lot like Marc Gasol in being able to control traffic and distribute and set screens that helped guards, like Lowry get to the lane and score or draw fouls.  The Nuggets have already been to a conference final and are hungry to get back, so there shouldn't be any hangups as far as players making sacrifices.
      The Bad: Denver isn't the most popular free agent destination, so even if Lowry were to end up on this team and they were able to make a trip to the finals, there's a good chance it wouldn't happen again for a while.  A commitment to the Nuggets has to be long term and I don't know about Lowry's willingness to commit to a team that might end up stagnating.
       The Los Angeles Clippers:  They're good, but to win a championship they would have to get better.
       The Good: This team would be the premium version of the Toronto Raptors championship team.  Lowry would be the clinching addition to a team that is still lacking true on-court leadership.  His contribution wouldn't need to be as significant until they get closer to the end of the season and it would mean less pressure on the Clippers' big two.
        The Bad: You're most likely getting back Patrick Beverly, unless you can find a third team to take him on.  That's no knock on Beverly, I just don't see him being of use to a rebounding team and I'm sure he kinda wants to win sooner rather than later.
        Kyle Lowry is probably gonna start to feel like it's time to move on, and I'm sure Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster would work hard to put him in a situation where he could still compete.  I think every fan is at the point where their past giving them the benefit of the doubt, it's just a matter of whether or not Kyle Lowry and management are thinking the same


Thursday, 7 January 2021

Quick Take: The Arrival of Austin Rivers. #RPTZFLZ

I've always liked Austin Rivers, he showed promise right out of high school.  Following a decent run at Duke, he transitioned to an NBA where small point guards were the rule, which ruled him out.  Too big and slow to hang with the likes of the Chris Pauls and John Walls and small to ball with the larger shooting guards in the league, he bounced around and luckily, was just serviceable enough to stick around on most rosters.
      The league is different now.  It's reliant on talent built big enough to rebound and defend but small enough to run and gun, and it's the type of game that suits the likes of Austin Rivers just right.  Even better he fits well on a team where there are players young enough for him to relate to and his experience gives him enough of a rep to co-captain and lead without being viewed as a bully.  They may still be lacking that veteran point guard, but they may not need one for now.  They look good so far and I can envision him sticking around for a long time, which will be good for Knick fans who've been craving stability for the past few seasons.


Quick Take: Have Mercy #RTPZFLZ

      Kyle Lowry and Aron Baynes are NBA old and experienced.  The rest of the team behind Fred, Pascal, and Norm are very young and NBA inexperienced.  Although said three, especially Pascal, are starting to round back into form, the season is short and there already may not be enough time to salvage the season.  Keeping Lowry and Baynes around to suffer through the current growing pains may not be worth trying to remain among the league's more competitive teams, nevermind the stunt in growth it's causing to the younger up and coming talent on the team.  On the other side, trading for James Harden makes you a winner now and most likely, puts you back in the same position next season.  Trading the two older players to teams that will be in contention with a key addition, keeps the Raptors management in a favourable perception league-wide.  It will also give the two vets the opportunity to compete again and keep Lowry a Raptors retirement surety when the time comes.  For the Raptors, it will mean hope in a likely lottery pick and optimism for fans who already know that the Raptors are capable of building from the ground up quickly.
       I'm not discounting the chances that this could turn around in the next few games as my panic stat for them is 2-11 but this team can't look the same if they reach that stat and expect fans to be committed to a positive outlook of the future.


Monday, 4 January 2021

The Raptors Files NBA Game of The Week: 76ers Vs. Brooklyn Nets #RPTZFLZ

      It's a preview of what would most likely be the best eastern conference finals since the Bull Vs. Knicks.  The most interesting thing about this series right now is that it potentially, might not look the same in a playoff series.  It's not likely but James Harden could be on one of these teams by that time.  If not I have to imagine that one of the teams will try to make a move to shore up their chances.  And depending on who makes what move, it's not impossible to foresee one of these teams as an NBA champion.  
       In the meantime, I like that each of their stars plays different positions, for the most part.  That should make for a game featuring a lot of switching, mismatching, and overall fast pace.  I wouldn't be surprised if the result of this game made either team change their opinion about trading for James Harden or otherwise.


Saturday, 2 January 2021

Quick Take: OG Anonymous #RPTZFLZ


      One of the Toronto Raptors organization's key problems over the time of their existence has been the inability to successfully fulfill that small-forward spot that's so critical to a team's aspirations as that player often has to be able to perform multiple tasks.  With the arrival of Kawhi Leonard, their prayers were answered and the result of that will be recognized countrywide for generations to come.  Now, the Raptors finally have an investment that's paid off.  They have the promise of future stability and undeniable talent in OG Anunoby.  Now all he has to do is show it off.