Bizzle’s Dumb Idea: NBA All-Star Game Edition

Leave it to the NBA to botch its All-Star voting process. Some new rule where player voting matters has left a guy averaging a triple-double out of the starting lineup. Seriously, how do the players in the league not vote for Russell Westbrook? He’s not the one who left his team to join a 73-win team. He is the one that signed a 3-year extension with a team where he’s really the only true option; but yet players seem to hate Westbrook for whatever reason. Stephen Curry is All-Star worthy, sure, but he has spent all season either adjusting to KD’s arrival or trying to duplicate his back-to-back MVP success (probably the latter). Having him start over Westbrook is a crime, and just proves the All-Star voting system is a big joke.

I think it’s time we end the madness and adopt some new ways to pick the All-Star game. I propose that the NBA adopt MLB’s ‘every team must be represented’ rule. The math on that is simple you have 15 spot and 15 teams in each conference it’s too perfect. Just think how interesting picking the sides becomes. For instance, would the Warriors’ All-Star be Durant, Curry or Thompson? Tthat’s a tough call. The coaches with the best records as of Feb. 1 would get the opportunity over a week or so to pick the 15 players for their rosters. This season it’s Tyronn Lue and Steve Kerr. With the loaded roster each of them possess, imagine the intrigue on having to pick one of your guys over the others. That adds to the drama of it all. It could be televised. They televise the draft lottery and Al- Star selections, with my forma,t would be must-see in my eyes. The biggest questions with this would be, do you just go the 15 best players or do you construct a roster? With nothing riding on the game, I’d just go the best 15 and watch it play out over 48 minutes. This also helps reduce the chances of injury with a deeper bench. With all teams being represented, it gives some player in Atlanta or Denver a shot at MVP honors; I can’t remember the last time that happened.

I can’t make this outlandish proposal without giving you who would be my All-Star 15 from each team and I’ll let you know, it’s not as easy as it sounds due to everyone trying to team up to bring home a championship. Who knows  maybe some players would start valuing All-Star chances over titles. I’m kidding, but, want to join a superteam? Enjoy missing the big game from All-Star weekend. You’d better hope you can dunk or shoot threes.

Eastern Conference All Stars: 

Atlanta Hawks:PF Paul Millsap 

He’s not flashy or a household name but he gets it done. Just like my assessment of Millsap it wasn’t flashy but got the job done. 

Boston Celtics: PG Isaiah Thomas

Having the best season of his career thus far. Having Al Horford around has really helped. The 5’9 point gaurd is leading the Celtics to there best season since the Paul Pirece Era. 

Brooklyn Nets: C Brook Lopez 

The Nets are the Philadelphia Phillies of this exercise. We only invite you because we have to. So why not grab the big man? Even if he’s an awful rebounder at 7 feet tall and I do mean awful for his size. 

Charlotte Hornets: PG Kemba Walker 

I almost went Cody Zeller here. Just kidding, it’s obviously Kemba. He’s probably the most popular Hornet since Larry Johnson and Muggsy Bogues. It doesn’t hurt that he’s good. Wlaker is putting up career numbers and is becoming one of the best back court players in the game. 

Chicago Bulls: SF Jimmy Butler

I could have gone Dwyane Wade here because he’s at the end of his career and you have to honor the greats of the game, but that can wait till next season. Butler wanted to be the man in Chi-town and he is. Plus it’s not everyday you get an All Star who enjoys shit talking his teammates publicly.

Cleveland Cavaliers: SF LeBron James 

What does Tyrone Lue do? Kyrie Irving, under the old system, is an All-Star but for this you have to take the most popular player in the game. Do you think this Eastern squad is enough player makers for the King? Probably not he’s still gonna bitch isn’t he. 

*Side Note: The Chicago Cubs are World Champs baby!!

Detroit Pistons: C Andre Drummond

Sure, Tobias Harris and Reggie Jackson are leading the team in scoring, but Drummond is this teams backbone, averaging a double-double. Now if only he could get his free throw shooting to even be slightly below average. Drummond needs to work of his Free throws the way Donald Trump needs to work on not being so Twitter happy….Like I’m one to talk. 

*Side note spent a lot.of time trying to find Drummond at a Tigers game. Apparently he is too good for the Tigers.

 Indiana Pacers: SF Paul George

Again, clearly the best player on the Pacers, even with Jeff Teague having a nice season after coming over from Atlanta. George is a household name and NBA 2K17 cover athlete. With the whispers of him leaving Nap-town, don’t be shocked if it becomes Myles Turner’s All-Star spot in the future.

Miami Heat: PG Goran Dragic 

Here’s where if I’m Tyron Lue I make the strategy move and take Dragic over Hassan Whiteside. I’m already fairly deep in the frontcourt and with all the guards the West is bringing to the table, I need someone who can keep up with them. Whiteside is flashier, but Dragic helps me win the game, even if it doesn’t ultimately matter. Plus the likelihood of Whiteside doing something stupid in New Orleans is high.

Milwaukee Bucks: SF Giannis Antetokounmpo 

The Greek Freak is a stud and he’s only 22. As long he’s with the Bucks he will always be their representative for the All-Star game. Plus, being able to guard all five positions is a big help.

New York Knicks: PF Carmelo Anthony

This spot should be Kristaps Porzingis’ spot. He’s slowly becoming the face of the Knicks as Melo and the front office are seemingly at odds with one another. You’d have to think in this spot to keep Melo happy, Lue would pick him in an effort to maybe work out a trade later down the road? Sure it’s just an All Star game but snubbing Melo could hurt the Cavs in the bigger picture. 

Orlando Magic: SG Evan Fournier 

Not exactly much to choose from in Orlando. Aaron Gordon was supposed to take that next step this season but hasn’t. So hopefully he enjoys that dunk contest for another season. I’ll take Fournier and his scoring ability here. Just whatever you do, DO NOT Google his last name. You have been Warned.

Philadelphia 76ers: C Joel Embiid 

Who else would it be? Not only was Embiid worth the wait, he’s funny as hell too. Plus, I can’t remember the last time the Sixers had an All-Star. Who better than Embiid to break the strea? Not to mention an All Star bid whould almost certainly help his DM game, where it all goes down.

Toronto Raptors: SG DeMar DeRozen

DeRozen can score from anywhere on the floor and has slowly built himself into one of the more underrated superstars in the NBA. If he played in a bigger market, we would never shut up about him but you know, Canada.

Washington Wizards: PG John Wall

Averaging a double-double and leading the Wizards to a current 5th seed in the East. Wall might just be the fastest player in the NBA. You take Wall over Beal in this spot so Lue wouldn’t have to rely so heavily on Dragic. Plus it’s John Wall look at that Swag.

Now on to the Western Conference All Stars: 
Dallas Mavericks: SF Harrison Barnes

He’s the best player on a bad team, so I think Kerr goes with Barnes especially given their Golden State connection. Not to mention had Barnes stayed in the Bay Area he would never make an Star game. Interesting thought, I could see Cuban paying off Barnes to defer the spot to Dirk given their bromance.
Denver Nuggets: Nikola Jokic

I know what you are saying “Oh that’s what he looks like.” Almost went Gallinari here but Jokic is having a better overall season for the surprisingly decent Nuggets, who are currently in the playoffs. Nuggets fans should expect him to play on this West roster.
Golden State Warriors: SF Kevin Durant

This is were this MLB idea gets interesting. You have Kerr coaching and picking the team. Kerr has to choose between the two-time MVP who won him a title, or his hot new All-Star who is the second-best player in the NBA. Of course you go with Durant. he hasn’t missed a step ànd has became even more efficient in Kerr’s Offense. Tell you wouldn’t tune into an All Star Selection show and watch Kerr sweat out this decision.

Houston Rockets: PG James Harden

The Beard is having one of his best seasons of his career. Harden has not only improved offensively but he’s making everyone around him better while leading the lead in assists. It wouldn’t be an All-Star game without Harden. He may be the first athlete to survive the Kardashian Kurse, because obviously you spell it with a K in this situation.

Los Angeles Clippers: C DeAndre Jordan

Sure he’s the team’s 6th-leading scorer, but he dominates the glass and the paint. His 13-plus rebounds a game is stellar. He’s been the most consistent Clipper this season and this All-Star nod is well deserved. Plus those alley oops will look filthy.

Los Angeles Lakers:  PG Lou Williams

The Lakers are full of young potential but it’s the veteran Williams who has been the best player on the bad team, so he gets the Lakers’ spot. Lucky for the Lakers under this format they even get a player. Side note, this would be the first non-Kobe All-Star for the team since forever.
Memphis Grizzlies:  PG Mike Conley Jr.

Can I pick an All-Star based on a contract? Sure I can, it’s my fantasy. Conley is the highest-paid player in the NBA. Sure, Marc Gasol is overall the best player on the team but in this game quick players matter with all the star power on the floor.

Minnesota Timberwolves: C Karl-Anthony Towns

One of the best young players in the game, if not the best. Should have been an All-Star already, but under the old format it’s hard to break though. The T-Wolves are a team on the rise in my eyes and it starts with Towns. Should be an All-Star for years to come just like former Wolves Great Kevin Garnett. 

New Orleans Pelicans: C Anthony Davis

This is possibly the easiest player to pick for a team. Poor Davis has hardly anything around him and still puts up monster numbers. If there is ever a possession in which Davis doesn’t touch the ball, the coach should be fired on the spot. Hell, I’d throw him the ball while he is on the bench like Daffy Duck did in Space Jam.

Oklahoma City Thunder: PG Russell Westbrook

Should be starting in the actual game. He’s averaging a triple-double. Let me repeat that, A DAMN TRIPLE DOUBLE! Yes, he’s the best option on the Thunder after KD bailed for Golden State. If he can somehow continue this pace and make the playoffs, he will be winning more than my All-Star vote.

Phoneix Suns: SG Devin Booker

The young and exciting Booker is on the rise and regarded as one of the best young players in the game. His shooting touch would be awesome for the All-Star game.

Portland Trail Blazers: PG Damian Lillard

I’ll do something the NBA couldn’t this season and make Damian Lillard an All-Star. At the time of writing this, Lillard is averaging 26 a game and not to mention he is a very popular player throughput the league.

Sacramento Kings: C DeMarcus Cousins

Boogie, love him or hate him, is the marquee player on the Kings. He should be an All-Star every season, as he is hands down the best center in the league, but his basket case like tendencies rub a lot of people the wrong way. It’s time for him and Sac-town to part ways, so Boogie better be picky with his next team as this format only allows for one All-Star and you know Boogie loves his shine. As you can see Boogie isn’t pleased.

San Antonio Spurs: SF Kawhi Lenoard 

With Duncan gone and Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker on the decline, this is now his team and he has filled the role perfectly, averaging 25 points a game. Just like his predecessor Duncan, Kawhi let’s his game do the talking for him, which is a nice change of pace in this look-at-me era of the NBA.

Utah Jazz: SF Gordan Hayward

For you casual basketball fans, if you haven’t noticed, the Utah Jazz are good! I know, crazy right? But check the standings. The baby-faced Hayward got paid big bucks and has been enjoying a career year. Proof that a beard and a hair cut can change a man(see below) but Heyward will always be the guy in the picture above to me. 

Well there you have it Bizzle’s Dumb Idea in its entirety!

Which side would you take in this format? Do you think I overlooked a player more deserving than the one I picked? Well, let us know!

Bizzle’s Dumb Idea: NBA All-Star Game Edition

2016-2017 Eastern Conference NBA Preview

2016-2017 NBA Eastern Conference Predictions:

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: 55-27

Will take a step back in terms of wins but still the class of the East. Resting key players ala LeBron Will the key to success this season. A title hangover is likely this season but luckily the Eastern Conference isn’t the West so they should cruise to the ECF with relative ease. They need to get JR Smith signed and I can’t wait to see a full season under Lue. Sure the win total will drop but it’s title or bust in Cleveland. 

2. Boston Celtics: 53-29 

The addition of Horford will prove the difference for Boston this season.T his team is loaded with guys with chips on their shoulders and it starts with All Star guard Isaiah Thomas who people still slight among the leagues best Point Guards. That usually a good thing for a young team with a young coach that gets his guys to play hard. Watch out Cleveland that #1 seed could be in jeopardy. 

3. Toronto Raptors: 49-33 

Lowry and DeRozen will continue todazzle up north and with a healthly Valančiūnas ECF 2nd straight ECF is not out of the possibilities. 

4. Indiana Pacers: 46-36 

If all breaks right could challenge for a top 3 seed but 46 wins seems about right for Indy. The continued development of Myles Turner is a key this season. Paul George is a top 2 player in the East and that alone is enough to propel them into home court advantage and MVP caliber season from George coupled with the additions of Al Jefferson and Thaddeus Young should have Naptown poised for a deep playoff run. 

5. Charlotte Hornets: 44-38 

Last year wasn’t a fluke, even with the losses the Hornets should continue to succeed in the East. Kemba Walker should take that next step toward a top player in the East this season. Also a part of their success falls on the health of Michael Kidd-Gilcrist if he can play 70 games this season that will be a huge plus defensively and could be the difference between a 1st round exit or a deep playoff run. 

6. New York Knicks: 43-39

Super team not even close but if everyone remains healthy this should work out into a playoff berth. Sure it could go the opposite way and implode but let’s remain optimistic. Phil Jackson has slapped together a team who on paper Melissa would want to play with which is a big deal keeping Anthony interested and focused will go a long way in the Big Apple. 

7. Orlando Magic: 41-41

The additions on the interior of Ibeaka and Biyombo  will propel the Magic into a playoff berth. Look for Peyton and Gordon to take a big leap this Season. Sure this may be a stretch having then in the playoffs this season but in the East anything is possible. 

8. Detroit Pistons: 40-42

If not for the Reggie Jackson injury the Pistons may be higher but it could be a big hole to over come if they start out slow. Stan Van Hindu has a pretty versatile roster and with one of the top bigs in Drummond  but that lack of PG Depth will keep them from taking the next step fans in the motor city expect. 

9. Atlanta Hawks: 38-44

Still a sound team but not convinced Schöder can lead this team to the playoffs and Howard is a drop off from Horford. The Hawks hope Superman coming home will return him to prime Howard but don’t count on it and after him and Schöder there isn’t a lot of scoring punch with a declining Korver as the next best option could be along year in A-Town. 

10. Milwaukee Bucks: 35-47

Athleticism and length for days but the Middleton injury doesn’t help and serious lack of PG depth will keep the Young Bucks out of the playoffs for at least one more season. Expect the Greek Freak to take that next step towards stardom (not even going to try and butcher that name) with him having what I expect to be a career year they may flirt with that 8th seed for a good part of the season but as mentioned above lack of a decent PG will crush them.

11. Chicago Bulls: 31-51

There is no possibility of this actually working, right? Three alpha players who need the ball to be successful who also can’t shoot threes well disaster written all over this. Not to mention a very inexperienced roster around them. 

12. Washington Wizards: 25-57

Questions surrounding Wall and Break coexisting on the court, Beals inability to stay healthy , and questions surrounding young player being able to live up to potential it’s going to be a long year in Washington. Luckily it’s projected to be a deep draft. 

13. Miami Heat: 22-60

Call me crazy but maxing out Whiteside isn’t the smartest move in the world. This team is is definitely not headed in the right direction this would be a perfect season to sell and tank for lottery balls and I don’t put it past Pat Reilly to start recouping lost assets in hopes to reload for a future run at another title. 

14. Philadelphia 76ers: 17-65

It will all depend on how much Simmons and Embiid play this season but with Saric coming stateside the Sixers actually have some promise this season. Expect them to finally pull the trigger on an Okafor deal to add some much needed back court help to pair with Simmons. We should start to see this process pay off. 

15. Brooklyn Nets: 15-67

Nothing even remotely close to be excited about with this team. Unless of course you are a Celtics fans getting to add a top 3 lottery pick to an already deep team will be huge. Does anyone else remember when this team was “cool” hell even Jay-Z tried, I fell victim and bought hat even. Well those days are long gone. Enjoy Jermey Lin Brooklyn! 

 Eastern Conference Finals Prediction

Cavaliers over Celtics in 6 games 

MVP Candidates

1. LeBron James Cleveland Cavaliers

2. Paul George Indiana Pacers 

3. Kemba Walker Charlotte Hornets 

Rookie Of The Year Candidates

1. Ben Simmons Philadelphia 76ers(if he plays) 

2. Dario Saric Philadelphia 76ers 

3. Caris LaVert Brooklyn Nets 

Coach of The Year:

Brad Stevens Boston Celtics 

Sure a full season of Tyrone Lue and a number one seed will get some votes but what Brad Stevens is going to do with the Celtics this season will get all the praise for people around the league. The 1-2 of Horford and Thomas flanked with plenty of help and depth should net him his first Coach of the year award. 
There you have it folks the Eastern Conference Preview is in the books. Be on the lookout for the Western conference preview. As always comment and share your thoughts. We are on Twitter @The__Junkies and on Facebook @JunkieSports


2016-2017 Eastern Conference NBA Preview

NBA Preview Series No. 29 Minnesota Timberwolves

  A season after finishing with the worst record in the NBA, there seems to be a lot of optimism for the 2015-16 Timberwolves squad. Last summer they dealt All-Star, and face of the franchise, Kevin Love to Cleveland for the top overall pick in 2014, Andrew Wiggins, as well as 2013 top overall pick, Anthony Bennett. After an awful 14-15 campaign landed them the #1 pick in the lottery, they used it on versatile center Karl Anthony-Towns out of Kentucky.  So for those playing at home, the T-Wolves have the last three #1 picks on their roster as well as other young first-round talent to go with them.

  Let’s begin with last season’s Rookie of the Year, Andrew Wiggins. In Wiggins, the T-Wolves have their superstar in the making. Wiggins averaged 16.9 ppg, which happened to be a cherry on top of his rookie campaign. Everyone knew he was a great defensive talent, but seeing that he could lead the team in scoring on any given night was a huge plus. I expect in year two, with more help around him, that he will lead this team in scoring without question.

I can’t go on without talking about Wiggins’ fellow 2014 lottery pick Zach LaVine. There was that draft day issue where he didn’t seem too thrilled to be headed to Minnesota, which turned a lot of people off. Early on in his rookie campaign he seemed to get lost in games, only showing flashes of his potential. Then All-Star weekend rolled around and he became a household name as he destroyed the Slam Dunk Contest. After that, it seemed he gained some confidence, as he put together a very solid second half, scoring in double figures 18 times, including a 37-point outburst against the eventual world champion Golden State Warriors. He is currently listed as the backup two guard to Kevin Martin, but I expect the T-Wolves to get creative and find a way to have Zach playing with Wiggins as often as possible. Not to mention Kevin Martin could be an attractive piece to a contender come trade deadline time.

  The biggest reason for all the hope in Minnesota is not the return of Kevin Garnett. (Yes, I’ll give you guys who figured he retired a second to wrap your head around that.) It’s #1 overall pick Karl Anthony-Towns, the do-everything center out of Kentucky. He has all the potential in the world. At 6’11” and lanky, he has better range than Okafor out of Philly. He should be able to spread out the defense and keep them honest when he leaks out to that 18-20 foot range, but he can beat up guys in the post. Being a big that can score from anywhere inside the arc will take a ton of pressure off of guys like Wiggins and LaVine, enabling them to get to the basket with ease. If it wasn’t for all the scoring options on Minnesota’s roster he would be the front-runner for Rookie of the Year.

  Unlike the Philadelphia 76ers you can see a light at the end if the tunnel for this young Wolves squad. The plan seems to be working and paying off early if guys like Anthony Bennett can reach his full potential and they find a point guard that people are afraid of (Sorry Rubio, but everyone in the league knows you can’t shoot and it shows.) With a ton of young talent and bringing in guys like KG and Tayshaun Prince to teach these kids how to bark at opponents…..I mean, win at the NBA level, it should be only a couple more seasons before they are competing for a playoff spot in the gauntlet known as the Western Conference. Until then, Wolves fans, enjoy watching this young team blossom.

2015-2016 Prediction: 22-60, but they are on the rise.

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NBA Preview Series No. 29 Minnesota Timberwolves

NBA Preview Series No. 30 Philadelphia 76ers

  The days of Dr. J, Moses Malone and hell, even Allen Iverson are long gone in the City of Brotherly Love. Your 2015-16 Philadelphia 76ers are not playing for titles or even a .500 record – this team is a failure by design. GM Sam Hinkie has the full blessings of ownership to tank to gain as many lottery balls as possible. The hope is to land that elusive top pick which Philadelphia would hope to turn into the future NBA superstar that will take them back to the promised land.

  Well unfortunately, no matter how perfect that plan sounds on paper, the Sixers have been unable to execute it. Some of it has been bad, such as your prized piece in 2014 being #3 overall pick Joel Embiid, who has yet to play in a single game and is expected to sit out 2015-16 due to setbacks with his surgically repaired foot. On the bright side,he will have more time to hone his Twitter game.

  So where does one find positives on a team that finished 2014-15 at 18-64 and, if it wasn’t for the dumpster fire that was the New York Knicks, would have had the worst record in the Eastern Conference. Well, let’s start with their #3 overall pick out of Duke University, Center Jahlil Okafor, who people have pegged as the front runner for Rookie of the Year honors, as well as a 20-point, 10-rebound a night performer. He is the most talented player on this roster right out of the gate. He won’t be competing alone on the front line this season. He’ll be paired with Nerlens Noel, who finished 3rd in ROY voting after missing the entire 2013-14 season due to injury. Noel has the potential to turn into a double-double machine, but his money will be made on the defensive end as well as on the boards. If Okafor and Noel work well off one another, they could be the blocks on which Philadelphia builds for years to come. This would also make Embiid expendable, if he can ever regain his health.

  After that things get a bit harder to see as positives, but bear with me, we are going to try. Most people will tell you that trading former ROY Michael Carter-Williams was a mistake. I am not one of them. I don’t see how keeping him around on a team designed to tank was helpful. There was also that draft day fiasco – the Sixers took Elfrid Payton with the 10th pick (only to trade him later that night) which noticeably didn’t sit will with MCW. They seem to have found a diamond in the rough (sort of) in Tony Wroten. On the surface his 16.9 ppg and 5.2 apg look great, but keep in mind he missed a big part of the year due to injuries. Also, Wroten had never averaged more than 13.0ppg before last season. So one has to wonder if Wroten is simply a product of more chances on a bad team. Can he sustain his success over a full season? And if he does, will he just become another trade casualty? This is the Sixers after all. Be on the lookout for Wroten’s backup Isaiah Canaan. Unlike Wroten, increased playing time and more opportunities will help this former 2nd round pick really blossom into something special. Don’t be surprised if he is starting by mid-season.
  So a team that is dead set on rebuilding thru draft did nothing outside of Okafor to suggest any of the players drafted will be anything more than fliers. Not to mention they drafted all frontcourt help and have about 120 feet of centers and power forwards. The 2015-2016 Sixers are like local road construction. You can see them working on it but always have to wonder if they will ever get it all finished. This season is another ping pong ball grab and nothing more. Sure it’s nice to say #InHinkieWeTrust, but when will Hinkie and the ownership put a clear plan in place to help the City of Brotherly Love make it back to being relevant, not only in the Eastern Conference but the NBA as a whole?

  Season Prediction: 19-63 and that’s being generous, if no one gets traded.

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NBA Preview Series No. 30 Philadelphia 76ers