NBA Lord's NBA Blog

NBA Lord's NBA Blog

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Saturday Slam: It's about time the Los Angeles Clippers get their own arena

                                          (Credit: Brad Graverson/The Daily Breeze/SCNG)

Earlier this week, Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer purchased the Forum in Inglewood, California for a cool $400M from The Madison Square Garden Company. This purchase helps pave the way for the Clippers to get their own arena in Inglewood. It should be noted that the Forum isn't being torn down and will remain as a concert venue. However, the Clippers' new arena will also be able to serve as a concert venue, making it competition to the Forum. That is, unless the Forum and the Clippers new arena are owned by the same company. So, in case you were wondering why Ballmer needed to purchase the Forum, that's why.

As for the title of this blog post, it really is about time the Clippers finally get their own arena in Los Angeles. I've believed for the longest time that the Clippers should have their own arena and have wondered why they didn't move into the Honda Center (home of the NHL's Anaheim Ducks) years ago.

During their entire time in the Staples Center, the Clippers have been second fiddle to the Lakers. At times it's almost been awkward. There was the whole controversy of them putting black drapes over Lakers banners during their home games to get some distance from their more successful co-tenants. But no matter how many drapes they put up in the Staples Center or whatever other moves they make, so long as they play in the Staples Center, the Clippers will always be the B-team in Los Angeles.

But by finally having plans to have an arena all to themselves, the Clippers can finally establish their own identity that is separate from the Lakers. Especially since they'll be in a different part of town. Typically, I'm not a fan of all these teams getting new arenas, but the Clippers are one team that I feel really needs to get a new home that they can truly call their own. It's the principle of the thing.

What also helps is that with Ballmer at the helm, the Clippers are actually putting a competitive product on the floor. These aren't the Clippers of the 1990s and 2000s that were dismal. They're finally a championship contending team and should treat themselves as such by getting their own arena.

As for when the arena is scheduled to be completed, per Wikipedia, construction is supposed to begin in 2021 with a completion date in the fall of 2024. So if you're a Clippers fan that is nostalgic for the Staples Center era, you have at least a few more years to enjoy it. However, I bet that most Clippers fans can hardly contain their excitement for this new arena and are eager to say goodbye to the Staples Center. Saying goodbye is often hard, but in this instance, saying goodbye will be a feeling of sweet relief for the Clippers and their loyal fans.

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Saturday, March 21, 2020

Saturday Slam: Now is the time for Adam Silver to push for his wacky tournament idea

                                                (Credit: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP via Getty Images)

With the future of the 2019-20 NBA season up-in-the-air due to coronavirus/COVID-19, now is the time for NBA commissioner Adam Silver to push for his wacky tournament idea. Maybe not right now since player safety and all that jazz should be priority number one, but right after that, Silver has to be licking his chops to make his idea for an NBA tournament a reality.

The reason why now is the time is because the whole season is in peril and it's unclear how it can be saved without ending the season in say August or September. The NBA shouldn't want to get too out of synch with their yearly calendar, making a tournament an exciting and efficient way to expedite the season, save it, and get things back to normal as soon as possible.

As it stands, NBA teams have played around 65 games at this point of the year. E.g. Milwaukee Bucks (53-12). The NBA could still aim to finish the full 82 games, but instead of having a best of seven series for each round of the playoffs, they could do something crazy like invite all 30 teams to a round robin tournament that culminates in a knockout stage that is single elimination until the NBA Finals. It would be a fun substitute for March Madness in a year that has deprived us of the most exciting tournament in sports.

Like, really think about that for a second. A single elimination NBA tournament! Think of how intense each game would be! Especially if you opened the doors for say the Cleveland Cavaliers to get a shot at the title.

Such an idea seems crazy, but given the current climate we are in, now is the time to try something of this nature and see how things go. I'm not saying the NBA should permanently switch to a tournament model in future seasons. But, what I am saying is that if Adam Silver is serious about that kind of format becoming a reality, what better season to try such an experiment than this year? The fans would love it, the players would love it, and it would make the 2019-20 season fun and memorable in a good way. Even if it's just a one-time thing that gets scrapped and never used again.

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Saturday, March 14, 2020

Saturday Slam: Making sense of how coronavirus is affecting the hoops world


One of the main industries that has been affected by the coronavirus a.k.a. COVID-19, is sports. Especially sports that are in season. Basketball in particular has taken a hit as the NBA has suspended its season for 30 days while the NCAA Tournament has been canceled. What's been weird to see is how everything went from "we'll play the games and see how things play out" to "we'll play the games with no fans and only essential personnel" to "shut it down, let's go home" to borrow the words of Dirk Nowitzki.

I understand we need to take this virus seriously, wash our hands more often, stay inside if we feel sick, but what exactly accounts for the rapid change in approaches? Did the virus suddenly become more dangerous? Did the virus team up with the Black Plague? What happened? There's not really a good answer to that question.

The only thing that seems to have tipped everything is the news that Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Utah Jazz shooting guard Donovan Mitchell both have the coronavirus. It was actually Gobert testing positive that set everything in motion. It wasn't until later that we also learned about Mitchell. As soon as Gobert tested positive, the Jazz-Thunder game at Oklahoma City was suspended and then the NBA immediately decided to suspend its season.

From there, the Pac-12, SEC, Big East, and other NCAA conferences made the decision to cancel their tournaments. After that, the NCAA decided to cancel the NCAA Tournament, ruining that one shining moment that every college basketball player dreams about. From there, the NHL made the decision to suspend their season and now we find ourselves in a world where every major sports league from golf to tennis to soccer to baseball is suspended indefinitely. On top of that, the schools are all shutting down, etc.



One has to wonder if Rudy Gobert hadn't tested positive if the NCAA Tournament would still be planned to be played in front of no fans. I'm not blaming Gobert. It's not his fault. But it is a fact that his positive test for coronavirus seems to have been the one singular event that tipped everything over the edge both in the world of sports and the world at large.

It's a little ironic in that earlier in the week Gobert was joking about how the whole virus was being blown out of proportion, touching microphones and all to prove a point. I sympathize with his feelings, but there's a lesson here. If you think something like this is absurd, keep it to yourself. Otherwise, your actions may come back to haunt you.


But anyways, moving on from Gobert, we now live in a world where the NBA has been suspended for at least 30 days while the NCAA Tournament has been canceled. As a basketball fan, it's incredibly frustrating. The NCAA Tournament in particular is a special event and to have it called off just feels wrong. It's like a big part of our year has been sucked down the drain and there's nothing we can do about it aside from voice our complaints and hope somebody more important than us takes our complaints seriously.

Personally, I wish the NCAA Tournament would instead plan to resume in May or something along those lines. The NBA can change the date of its draft to accommodate those that want to play in the tournament while the NCAA I think can make a one-time exception given these unique circumstances. Jay Bilas expressed frustration about this very point earlier in the week. Like, why cancel? Why not postpone? Why not at least leave the door open for the tournament to resume? If canceling is necessary, why is that the only option?

The NCAA needs to give us an answer because so far, they've handled this whole thing very poorly. To go from "we'll play with no fans" to  "we're not playing at all" thing is just silly. It shows nobody knows what's actually going on and everyone is just hopping on the bandwagon to cancel stuff because it's the only course of action they can think of or are willing to follow through with.

Anyways, I hope this all blows over sooner than later. People are being affected in a very real way by this. They're losing money, losing work, etc. We as a society need to come together to mitigate the damage as much as possible. That's why it's nice to see Zion Williamson, Kevin Love, and many NBA and NHL team owners volunteer to pay the expenses of those who work at these games while they're out of work. It's a very nice gesture and is the kind of gesture that's going to get us through this.

For those that are reading this, my final piece of advice to all of you is to stay calm. Don't chug bleach and freak out. Wash your hands more, stay inside if you are feeling sick, and keep a safe distance from people. That is a good place to start. But don't be afraid to go outside and maybe help a small business in your neighborhood by buying a cup of coffee or a sandwich. Sanity and calmness will get us through this. Panic and hysteria will only make things worse. Be part of the solution and not the problem. If you know people that are freaking out, don't make fun of them. Help them. Try to calm them down. Simple acts of kindness will go a long ways.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Tomahawk Tuesday: It's nice to have Stephen Curry back

                                         (Credit: Stan Szeto/USA TODAY Sports via Reuters) 

On Thursday, March 5th, Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry returned to the lineup against the Toronto Raptors, finishing with 23 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists. The Raptors won the game 121-113, reminding us that they are indeed contenders to the win the NBA championship despite no longer having Kawhi Leonard. But the big story of the night was the return of Curry, who had missed 58 games due to a broken left hand. Curry has since missed the last couple of games with the flu, but is expected to be back on Thursday against the Nets.

What I wanted to quickly do in this blog post is express my gratitude that Curry is back. Whether you are a fan of the Warriors or not, chances are you've been entertained by Curry's wizardry on a basketball court. His incredible dribbling moves, his wide array of shot making, and ability to leave your jaw on the floor in sheer awe. Curry is a gift to the game of basketball and I for one am glad to have him back. Even if we won't see him in the playoffs this year.

Hopefully Curry will be able to play out the rest of this season and give us a taste of what's to come next year when Klay Thompson returns to the fold. This Warriors team isn't done contending for championships yet and provided they get their key pieces back, they should be a force next year and beyond. So to some extent, the rest of the NBA should enjoy this year while they have it because next year, the Warriors are going to be back to their usual tricks.

One final thought is that we never know how long these great basketball players are with us. While most of them are with us for a very long time, sometimes we sadly lose them before we are ready to say goodbye. In that vein, I just want to say that I'm glad we got Steph back, I'm glad he's healthy, and I hope he has many more years ahead of him where he can entertain us and remind us why he's one of the most unique talents to ever step on a basketball court.

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Monday, March 2, 2020

Mock Draft Monday: How good is Obi Toppin?

                                          (Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports) 

A guy I've been meaning to address sooner on here is Dayton sophomore forward Obi Toppin, who is averaging 19.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Toppin is projected to be a top three pick according to my guys at NBADraft.net and has the Flyers ranked #3 in the country. Admittedly, I haven't watched a ton of Toppin but from the film I've seen of him, he looks to be the real deal.

For starters, he has great physical tools. At 6'9", 220 pounds, he is light on his feet, runs the floor like a gazelle, and really excels in the pick and roll. He is perfect to catch lobs from point guards and throw it down a la Blake Griffin. He has good hands and has all the pieces to be a killer power forward in the NBA.

Secondly, Toppin is a pretty good 3-point shooter, shooting 41.6% from 3-point range during his two years at Dayton. He shot 52.4% his freshman year on .6 attempts per game and is shooting 38.8% this year on 2.8 attempts per game. It's natural for guys to see a dip in their percentage when they start to shoot more threes since they're not being as timid with their shot selection. Perhaps he could improve his shot selection a bit, but even so, his 38.8% shooting is pretty good in and of itself.

Finally, Toppin is comfortable being the man on a championship contending team. As it stands, the Flyers are projected to be a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and they'll go as far as Toppin can take them. So far, he has proven to be up to the challenge of being the main player on his team and accepting the pressures that come along with it. If he can lead Dayton to a national title, that will bode very well for his draft stock, potentially making him the top pick in the draft.

The bottom line is Obi Toppin has all the pieces to be a really good player in the NBA. He has the physical tools, he has the skill, and he has the intangibles. I look forward to seeing what he does in March and whether or not he can lead the Flyers to a national championship.

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Monday, February 24, 2020

Mamba Monday: An emotional memorial service at Staples Center honoring Kobe Bryant

                                          (Credit: Kevork Dejansezian/Getty Images) 

On Monday, there was an emotional memorial service honoring the life of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna. The service was a reminder of how amazingly driven Bryant was and the passion he had for basketball and life. I want to keep my words on here brief since I feel the words spoken by Michael Jordan and Sabrina Ionescu do a better job of expressing just how much Bryant meant to the game of basketball. Below are both of their speeches. I encourage you to watch them and be inspired by the messages that were said.







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Saturday, February 22, 2020

Saturday Slam: The Cleveland Cavaliers are a mess after letting John Beilein go


(Credit: Tony Dejak/Associated Press) 

The big news story of the week in the NBA is the Cleveland Cavaliers parting ways with their head coach John Beilein, who didn't even get a chance to finish year one of his contract. The official report is that Beilein resigned and is being given a new role in the organization. J.B. Bickerstaff has been promoted from assistant coach to head coach. Just so we're clear on that. 

The Beilein era didn't go as the Cavaliers hoped. They went an abysmal 14-40 during his brief stint as head coach and all along the way there were reports of tension and frustration from both the players and Beilein. The nut of it is Beilein took an old-school college approach to the NBA and it backfired in his face. A lot of what players were complaining about is what you would expect a good basketball coach to do: Practice hard, watch a lot of film, etc. 

Unfortunately, that old-school approach works better in college where players aren't getting paid and are not yet in the NBA. Sadly, in the NBA you have a lot of players who act entitled and think they're better than they actually are. Charles Barkley sounded off on this below. 



Now don't get me wrong, NBA players are incredibly gifted athletes and basketball players. That's why they're there. However, that doesn't mean they don't still have to work hard and perfect their craft. It would be one thing if the Cavaliers had a bona fide superstar on their team. Someone who could mentor the younger players like Collin Sexton to make it clear that being in the NBA doesn't mean you stop watching film and practicing hard.

The players that have been complaining about Beilein (e.g. Andre Drummond who just got to Cleveland) haven't accomplished much in their careers in terms of team success. They're great individual talents, but they haven't figured out how to play as a team. That's where a good coach like Beilein is supposed to help.

Ultimately, what's happened in Cleveland rests on the shoulders of their front office. Namely general manager Koby Altman. You can't hire a coach and then not even have him complete his first year. That's embarrassing. You need to send a message to your players that they can't just blame their coach for all their problems. Their job is to play basketball and they need to treat it as such.

In the event that Beilein truly wasn't a good fit and not cut out for the NBA, that also is a bad look for management. If he was as much of a disaster as the players want us to think he was, then that means he was a bad hire and shouldn't have been offered a job in the first place. Given his track record at Michigan, I have a hard time believing he's as bad as they say he is. Even though the NBA game is different, it's still the same sport.

Going forward, the Cavaliers need to do some soul searching as an organization after the way this all went down. Their front office needs to seriously evaluate if they have the right players to right the ship and whether or not Bickerstaff is the man for the job. There are lots of questions that need to be asked by the Cavaliers and they're not easy questions to have to ask yourself. The Cavaliers are a mess right now and it's unclear how they'll get themselves out of it.

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