Tag Archives: Derrick Rose

Leaders of the New East

It’s said that the highest form of flattery in sports is copycatting. From individuals, to teams and organizations, entertainers and celebrities alike, it’s like an undercover pat on the back to the party that is inspiring the copycatting. It simply means that people want to pattern your success or your coolness. In team sports, when a champion is throned & their style was successful to the eyes and the pockets, you start to see other organizations carbon copying the image. We’ve seen many examples throughout time. Remember when the Bulls were ruling the 90s, and the Dallas Mavericks thought they can run the triangle offense with Jason Kidd, Jamal Mashburn and Jimmy Jackson with similar success? How did that turn out? Don’t ask Toni Braxton. Or recently when the Heat had their Big Three run, look at how many teams that were and still are trying to get three superstars to solidify their championship aspirations. Just ask the Houston Rockets, who I’m pretty sure will do anything short of making love to a Ouija board to make this happen. Well, this past year the San Antonio Spurs, as you all know, not only won the title, but destroyed a legacy (Miami Heat) in the process with their spacing/sharing the ball/one-for-all-all-for-one system. Even the most hardened Spurs hater had to appreciate how they continually shared the ball over and over again until they got the best shot possible. Well, obviously, other organizations were watching this, & decided to build their own almost in that vein.

Now, I’m going to let you in on a secret. Initially I had it all planned out & was going to write a post about the successes of the Atlanta Hawks and the Toronto Raptors this season. In fact, this was supposed to be the next set of sentences at the end of the first paragraph:

“This season, two franchises have followed in the ideals of the Spurs, and neither one of them are in the West. The Atlanta Hawks and the Toronto Raptors are the perfect students that took the lessons from the Spurs blackboard of playing team basketball, and made it successful for themselves….. and both teams won’t be going away anytime soon.”

I still mean every word of that to be very honest. I believe in the Toronto Raptors. They went and dismissed my #TankCity visions for them a little more than a year ago. Since that Rudy Gay trade last December, the Raptors have been the best team in the Eastern Conference (72-37). Losing that 1st round seven-game slugfest with the Brooklyn Nets last spring can only add more wood to the fire. With coach Duane Casey, Raptors GM Masai Ujiri, MLSE Head Honcho Tim Lieweke, and their top players Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, not only have they changed the culture of how the Raptors are being respected around the NBA, with the 2016 All Star Game coming to Toronto (and a little help from Drake & his OVO team), they are starting the process of giving this city an attractive destination buzz. Almost like the awkward high school girl who got a full makeover & started walking the halls in her new outfit before 1st period, people are discussing the Raptors in hushed tones which will only get louder as they continue moving forward. I’m all in for their progress so far. Last month, when the Raps were playing splendidly, & everyone was worried about what was happening in Cleveland, how great Chicago looks & how well Washington has played this season…….the Hawks kept winning under the radar. No one was paying any real attention.

I noticed Atlanta was on a bit of a winning streak at the beginning of December, but they were playing the shittier teams in the East, so I kinda dismissed it a little bit. Right before Christmas, they beat Chicago at home. No biggie. After all, I had them as my sleeper team in the East this season, so I shouldn’t be surprised if they beat good teams at home. Then they went on the road and destroyed a healthy LeBron Cleveland team by 29. You could chalk it up to Cleveland still trying to figure things out. However, they went right to Houston and Dallas in back-to-back games and beat both of them. Hmmm….. okay, that’s a little surprising. They slipped up against Milwaukee losing by 30 on Boxing Day. Ok, maybe they’re coming back down to earth.  Since that game, they went on a 10-game winning streak. They went on the road & smacked around the Clippers and Portland, beat the Grizzlies at home, beat a rolling Pistons team, destroyed a good Wizards team by 31, & rested players against wins vs. Philly and Boston. On top of everything else, they surpassed the Raptors for 1st place in the East. What the hell is going on here???

So when they headed up north to play Toronto almost two Fridays ago, I made sure to park myself on the couch and anticipated a huge game between the two new East powers. By this time, I already decided to postpone this Hawks-Raps post at least until after this game was over. With about three minutes left in the third quarter, I was shocked, awed, and confused. They were beating down the Raptors. By 20. At the ACC. And they were making it look easy. What had made Atlanta successful all season was on full display. Everyone was sharing the ball, all five guys were touching the rock in the halfcourt set. There wasn’t a consensus to feed one guy in particular. They worked the ball until they had the best shot possible, via drives and kicks, dump offs in the post, or opportunities for slashes to the paint. All five players played fundamental team defense, hands in the passing lanes, deflecting passes, perfect rotations, swarming the paint on drives, close-outs on shooters. It was like watching a basketball instructional video. It never mattered what Toronto was doing (outside of turning the ball over more than their average that night, they really didn’t play a bad game), Atlanta simply controlled everything. There was a reason why they kept being called “Spurs East” all season. The last time I saw a team play this selflessly on both ends of the floor, were the Spurs in the Finals last season. To prove that this was far from a fluke, they dismantled the Bulls the very next night. Ok then, I guess I gotta scrap this f**king idea….. ****flings papers in the air*****

Since that point, they have cruised on their way to their 16th straight victory. Honestly, I don’t even care about the streak, it will eventually be broken. Considering the NBA record for a winning streak is 33 straight, they’re not even halfway to that goal, I can imagine them being picked off at some point. What I look at when I see how the Hawks are playing is that, in the wide open NBA season that has no clear cut favorites, they have as clear a shot to win the NBA Title this season as any contender. When you remember how their season started with the ownership situation in flux from Bruce Levenson’s email (& decision to sell his stake of the team as a result), and Hawks GM Danny Ferry’s racially insensitive comments, you would be a complete liar if you saw this season coming. There was a better chance this team would have imploded internally, & some may have even expected it. Luckily, one of the things that Ferry did right in his tenure, is hire coach Mike Budenholzer, going into the 2013-2014 season. All Budenholzer has done, is take his experiences learned from the years as an assistant coach of Gregg Popovich, & has built a strong foundation and culture in Atlanta’s locker room. He has gotten them to avoid the team’s self-inflicted dramas, & had them on a path to playing smart with a sharpened focus. We see the proof every night with how his players have completely bought into his system. His team may not be viewed as one that has a superstar or superstars, but they absolutely have all stars on them.

Al Horford when healthy, is a top ten power forward or center in the league, which he has been all season (let’s hope his pectoral muscles stay in one piece).  Paul Milsap not only has a steal of a contract (making $8.5M this season), but has been steady throughout his time in Atlanta & will more than likely receive his 2nd straight all star appearance. Jeff Teague’s not only an all star this year, but his game as a whole has jumped a notch or more since Budenhozer has gotten there, & has arguably been the Hawks best player. Kyle Korver, coming off his experience from this summer’s World Championships has been shooting flames out of his ass (13 PPG; 52 FG%/53 3P%/92 FT%) & you can make the argument that he should be in New York City in a couple of weeks, for more than just the 3-point contest. They have a solid supporting cast behind them (DeMarre Carrol, Pero Antic, Thabo Sefolosha, etc.), a young Rondo-clone in Dennis Schroder, & they haven’t unwrapped Adreian Payne out of the plastic yet (I still believe in the kid). You have a balanced rotation of penetrators and creators, shooters and slashers, bigs that can spread you out, drive to the basket, and gets buckets on the block. Now with the announced sale of Hawks ownership recently, they will more than likely get a new set of owners who will enhance the foundation that’s now being built here.

Quite frankly, it’s hard to understand why Atlanta haven’t been bigger players in free agency historically. They have good weather, the cost of living is sensational, the club scene is big, strip club scene is legendary, most things that would appeal to a Free Agent who’s a bachelor….. or married (Just being honest here people). They have also struggled since Dominique Wilkins’ heyday to get consistent fans, and are doing things right now to change the mindset of the consistently skittish local fan support. Even as a younger fan of the league, I used to notice through the TV, that the fans at Hawks games used to cheer louder for the visiting teams than their own. With what Budenholzer and Ferry (who’s in exile right now) have started, it could start attracting free agents that they probably wouldn’t have gotten in years past. Winning attracts everything and this isn’t Utah. If an athlete can go to a team with a stable foundation, where they can win, and be in a vibrant city (much like Toronto can boast for example), they will eventually come running……… and with the way Atlanta’s been playing this year, they better get ready to set up shop, because I don’t think they’re going anywhere, anytime soon.

Sideline Notes

– Although the East can still be considered crappy in some aspects, the Elite part of the East hasn’t looked this good in years. Between the aforementioned teams Atlanta & Toronto, Washington has elevated themselves this season behind the play of John Wall, who’s game clearly jumped a notch (17.2 PPG, 10.1 dimes per, 46 FG%), with Cleveland and Chicago starting to round themselves into form before the all star break. Normally. I’d willingly ignore the Eastern Conference playoffs until it gets to the Conference Finals, but this year’s 4 vs. 5 seed matchup in the 1st round alone should be worth your attention…..

– “I’m here so I don’t get fined”…..

– I still believe that Chicago could represent the East as long as they remain healthy. And when I say “they”, I mean “Derrick Rose”. He’s struggled thus far with his consistency to be what he used to be which is expected, seeing that he missed almost 30 months of NBA ball. But, the last 7 games: 23.2 PPG; 46.5 FG%/48 3P%/85 FT%, plus he’s playing way more aggressive than before. The only thing Chicago should worry about, is making sure Rose goes into the playoffs with his game sharp and his legs ready. Nothing else……

– For those who are old enough to remember, but remember back in the day when you would play season mode in NBA Live and in the playoffs, the computer would go into “F*** you, you are losing this game” mode and hit every shot in sight? That’s what it felt like watching Klay Thompson get 37 points in the 3rd Q vs the Kings last weekend. If there was anyone I would have thought would get that hot in a game like that, it would be his teammate Steph. That World Championship experience did a boost for Thompson’s confidence. He’s a legitimate All Star, & is a top 3 shooting guard with Jimmy Butler, and behind James Harden…..

– “I’m here so I don’t get fined”…. “You wanna do this again?! Ok then….. I’m thankful“……

– Lastly, can we put to rest to this whole Deflate-Gate issue, please? The fact that we aren’t focusing on the Super Bowl with only days leading up to the big game, and all that’s being talked about are deflated balls, is both annoying and depressing. I feel like this whole controversy should be sponsored by Cialis. With that said, it should be a great game on Sunday, but even as a lifelong Niner fan, I’ll have to admit that our nemesis (The Seahawks) will repeat as champions. I hope I’m dead wrong because if I am, I’ll probably be doing this after the game…..


Cal Cee // South Shore Ave

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South Shore Ave’s NBA Season Preview: The East

Welcome to Part Deux of our South Shore Ave’s NBA Preview where we tackle the improving Eastern conference. Click here if you missed Part 1. Please enjoy…..

Does Derrick Rose need to drink Holy Water before the season officially starts?

Not only do I think he needs to guzzle it by the litre, but I would nominate Rose for a Holy Water Bucket Challenge if said challenge existed. I won’t even rehash the knee troubles that Rose has gone endured.  You already know he’s missed the last two seasons due to his injuries. It’s robbed him of some of his prime years, & as a basketball fan, it’s disheartening. As it stands, coming off his participation at the World Championships this summer, this is the healthiest that Rose has been in a few years. With that said, it once again vaults Chicago to championship contending status, which for Bulls fans must scare you enough to stunt your breathing. I think Chicago management knows that the future isn’t promised because between Rose’s injury history, and with LeBron heading back to Cleveland with Kevin Love & company in tow, boy did it load this summer to win. They added Paul Gasol, along with rookies Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott, to last year’s Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah, and 6th Man runner up Taj Gibson to form the best frontcourt in the NBA. Between Gasol & Noah, they also have the two best passing big men in the league, and honestly, the offensive sets need to go through those two guys as much, or even a little more so than through Rose.

Chicago’s biggest problem since 2011, is they don’t score easily. Having two big men that can pass from both the low block and high post, and you can run screens & cuts off of them open things up for a team more than people think. They need to score easier, & for now, they have to lessen the load for Rose & get his legs ready for the second half of the season. If they can do this on offense, coupled with the defensive intensity they usually bring every night, they will be the best team in the East, no matter what Cleveland has in store. They have to take advantage now because in 2016, Cleveland may also be ready to take over the East once Kyrie Irving & Kevin Love pop their playoff cherries. The Bulls can’t wait for the future.  They have to go for it all now.  Sometimes ‘later’ can become ‘never’.


For the second time in four years, LeBron James completely dominated the offseason like no NBA player ever. His move to Cleveland not only shocked the NBA, and all its fans alike, but its ripple effect set off change across the league. Except for San Antonio who probably looked at LeBron’s move and laughed amongst themselves.

Let’s break it down in a few ways:

By returning to Cleveland, LeBron gained as much control as any NBA player has wielded since Michael Jordan during his 1st retirement comeback. The way his contract is laid out, he will be receiving max money for the foreseeable future. By signing a 2-year deal, he not only gave himself flexibility, with the new TV deal set to begin in 2016, but he ensured that he is no longer leaving any money on the table. Quite frankly, he shouldn’t due to the salary cap almost tripling in two years, LeBron can, & will make much more per year than the $21M he’ll be making in the next two years. Going into his 12th season, this will only be the 4th time he is actually the highest paid player on his own team, which quite frankly is ridiculous considering he is only the 4th player in NBA history (Russell, Abdul-Jabbar, & Jordan) to win 4 MVPs. Let’s face it, LeBron is still far and away the best player in the world.  He is still in his prime, and will probably win at least one more MVP if not two. The value of the Cavalier franchise in itself has been raised at least by $100M with his return & the regular season camp hasn’t started yet. He probably sees that he’s sacrificed enough financially given what he is worth for the NBA as a whole, & will get his Carmelo on* from here on out. He reaped the benefits of coming home by appearing humbled, & more endearing than ever before. Now everyone will root for Cleveland if and when they finally get to have a championship. Taking Kevin Love, Mike Miller, Shawn Marion, along with incumbent Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, and Anderson Varajeo, the likelihood of that happening will be very high. Basically, LeBron left the wife he was with (“Heat”) for the younger, hotter version of her (“Cavs”). Speaking of which…..

Was the Miami move really THAT successful? It’s not a crazy question to ask, right? Yes, LeBron joining Dwyane Wade & Chris Bosh four years ago at the peak of their prime was viewed as almost unfair in some eyes. No matter how people looked at LeBron with disdain for leaving his home and joining a super team, he wanted to be in a position to win titles every single year, and he had a chance to do that in Miami. He went against the conventional ways, took over the power of player free agency, in ways that had never been done before or experienced by the NBA, & set his destiny. And for that, I give him a lot of respect…… but here’s the thing: With that move, the Big 3 set the bar extremely high for themselves, the organization & everyone watching (& I’m not talking about their infamous “Not one, not two, not three…” rally). After four years, didn’t you expect them to win more than two titles? Weren’t you expecting at least three by 2014? In the annals of the NBA’s greatest champions, would you even put this Heat run in the Top 5? Think about this for a second: If Ray Allen clangs his three off the rim instead of swishing it at the end of Game 6, the Heat literally walk away with ONE title after everything’s said and done. I mean, it’s literally that close. They don’t come close to the MJ Bulls run, Magic’s Lakers or Bird’s Celtics. Shit, they don’t even reach the Shaq/Kobe Lakers (3-peated, 4 Finals in 5 years). This run, in retrospect, falls in the tier with the Bad Boy Pistons of the late 80s (Back-To-Back titles, 3 straight Finals appearances) which isn’t fine when you put together three Hall of Famers (yes, Bosh is one too. Face the facts people!) entering their prime years together. This was something that was supposed to last until the latter part of the decade, not end before Year 5. We will remember the run as probably the most polarizing sports team of the digital/social media era. LeBron/Wade/Bosh all became more popular (especially Bosh), made more money, & raised their brand profiles higher than it would have reached if they remained carrying a team by themselves, but the collaboration wasn’t fully completed. The run was similar to the Watch The Throne collaboration from Kanye & Hova: Good, but not great.

* The term “Carmelo On” means that under no circumstances do you leave any money on the table when signing an NBA contract, no matter how much it might hurt your team from being able to afford to build a championship team around you.  Unless of course you leave $4M short of the $129M contract you sign to show everyone publicly that you can in actuality sacrifice money for the good of the team.

Who should be the happiest player in the NBA right now?

Who else can it be but Chris Bosh? Think of where he was as a player four months ago. He was perfecting his role as the 3rd option of the Miami Heat. Once the Heat got demolished by the Spurs in the Finals, and the Big 3 all opted out of their contracts, Bosh was hoping that the ride would continue as normal. Once LeBron decided he was heading back home, Bosh figured he would head back to his home state of Texas, fall into the 3rd option role behind James Harden and Dwight Howard in Houston, while getting paid max money of course. At the last minute, Pat Riley rides the waves on his desperation surfboard and throws the max contract for Bosh to stay. Now he gets to wear the real superhero costume? He can now sit in the cabin of the Bat-mobile and not hop in the trunk like he’s been used to doing since 2010? I mean, how can he not sign that deal?? He got a max deal to be at worst the #2 option most nights, and didn’t even have to leave his beachfront mansion. He should have been sending LeBron roses, boxes of After Eight chocolate mints, and Twerk-a-grams on a weekly basis as an appropriate thank you this summer.

Instead, we find out that he didn’t even talk to LeBron this whole summer outside of Wade’s wedding. He’s giving advice to Kevin Love stating that he’s going to have trouble sacrificing his game to LeBron & more or less sticking his chest out. Is that the way you say thank you??? LeBron saved him from 3rd wheel status forever with this move, and with Wade’s health over the last couple of years, he gets to be the man on South Beach! Does he not understand this?!?! And now he seem like he don’t even care if LeBron is gone. The audacity….

With that said, the Heat are still a playoff team, scooping up Luol Deng in free agency this summer, adding Josh McRoberts, and signing Danny Granger (ok, pretend I didn’t type that last name) to a team that has championship pride and pedigree. In addition, Wade looks pretty loose and limber this preseason, cutting his weight down from last year, we’ll get to see how good of a coach Erik Spoelstra is, which was taken for granted these last few years, and we also really can’t count out a team led by Riley, can we? They will still play hard, tenacious, and efficient every night. If there’s one thing we can count on, those fairweather Heat fans will be showing up by halftime to these games if at all now. If they showed up late when LeBron was there, what are they gonna do when he only comes once a year?

We The North!! (Hollup Hollup Hollup) #WizKhalifavoice

I have to say, I have been wrong about the direction of where the Raptors needed to be in. About this time last year, I had them pegged to win around 35 games, not make the playoffs & secure a high draft pick. After they traded off Rudy Gay, I celebrated like they won the championship, figuring that they were headed to #TankCity for Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, or Jabari Parker. However, the way the Raps played from that point on was what basketball fans want to see: hard working, intelligent, efficient play where the team leaves everything they have out on the floor. This is exactly what they accomplished right until the last second of their Game 7 loss vs. Brooklyn. Going forward, I believe that not only can they get better this season, but I feel most people are sleeping on Toronto.

It all starts with the resigning of Kyle Lowry. With him coming back & teaming up with DeMar DeRozan to form one of the best backcourts in the NBA, they give the Raps stability at both spots that they haven’t had since Alvin Williams and Vince Carter were on the floor together 10+ years ago. DeRozan is the team’s best player and their hardest worker, but Lowry is the heart and soul. My only concern that I have is that last year was a contract year, & you hope that he doesn’t start the process of shutting things down now that he’s got his money. While I don’t believe that this will happen, I thought the same thing when Antonio Davis signed his $60M deal after making the All-Star team & helping the Raps come within one win of the Eastern Conference Finals back in 2001. He was the team’s heart and soul too. By 2003, he was falling into the “Thanks guys, it’s been fun…but I’m gonna shut this things down….nnnnnnow” mode & was never the same player. Contract year runs are funny to predict with players sometimes. It can wake a player up, & help him reach his potential from that point on, or that player can rest on his laurels once he gets his cash. Again, I don’t think that will be Lowry in this case, but stranger things has happened, especially with this franchise.  Which leads me to my next point….

We know Toronto is a hockey town, and most likely will never change. But the way Tim Lieweke came in bringing energy and light to this franchise as part of running MLSE is so important. This is why I feel losing him, is a huge & underrated story moving forward this season. He made basketball a priority for the corporation and even for this city in 2014, and with him scheduled to leave at the end of the season (or possibly before that), I’m afraid that his successor will be a hockey guy that will throw the Raps on the backburner again like in years past. Lieweke is a basketball guy at heart, and having him run MLSE I felt gave the feeling like the Raptors won’t be ignored anymore. They can start setting championship goals and not be laughed out of the room for saying it. From getting the All-Star game here next season (finally!!), getting Drake as the Global Ambassador (& let’s face it, secret recruiter), upgrading its practice facility, getting Masai Ujiri as a GM, the possibility of an MLSE nightclub, he’s put steps in place to be recognized as a prominent franchise in the sports world. Will the next person that steps in keep that train moving and take things further? It remains to be seen. Another year of improvement from Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross, a deep bench (resiging Grevis Vasquez and Patrick Patterson, trading for Lou Williams, picking up former Raptor James Johnson from the Grizzlies), another year under the belt for Dwayne Casey, the confidence that both DeMar and Jonas bring back from their respective World Championship teams is all very important going into this season. In fact, I believe they will win 50+ games for the first time in the franchise’s history. The short term views look promising to show everyone in the NBA that last season was not a fluke. But the long term vision of where this franchise will be headed post-Lieweke & if the goals will remain high, is what worries me more than anything else. I’ll tell you one thing: if the new MLSE head honcho doesn’t get along with Ujiri and forces him to explore his options (which happens sometimes when the new guy wants to bring in his own people), I think the “We The North” mantra will change to “We Be Done” in Raps Nation. Stay tuned…

Biggest Sleeper

I’m very tempted to say Charlotte will make some moves up the standings (and they will), but don’t sleep on the Atlanta Hawks. Even if there’s a possibility that Hawks GM Danny Ferry has a little passive-aggressive racism in him, getting back Al Horford from injury, picking up Thabo Sefolosha, and drafting rookie Adreian Payne to this team will hopefully continue to mask the uncertainty in the front office. For Ferry’s sake, he better hope I’m right and that the on-court production masks his unresolved problems. This team has a chance to still make some noise in what will be the toughest division in the conference. With Washington finally tasting some playoff success, Charlotte adding Lance Stephenson, and having a great draft in grabbing Noah Vonleh and P.J. Hairston, and all the chipped shoulders residing in Miami, this division will be really tough to deal with most nights. With that said, Atlanta can possibly be that team people don’t want to deal with come playoff time.

Regular Season Standings

  1. Chicago – As long as Rose, Gasol, and Noah (offseason knee surgery this summer) stay healthy, this is the best team in the conference. Built to win now.
  2. Cleveland – If the Bulls falter in any way, Team LeBron will take advantage in what will be a two-team race all season.
  3. Toronto – Surprised??? You shouldn’t be. I’m going to predict 53 wins this season. #WeTheNorth
  4. Charlotte – Surprised??? Hornets coach Steve Clifford had them playing hard last season, now Stephenson brings more attitude to a team that needs it.
  5. Atlanta – Sefelosha signing is underrated.  What he brings on defense will be needed for the SGs he’ll have to go against in the division (Wade, Beal, Stephenson….Oladipo???)
  6. Washington – Beat a depleted Bulls roster in Round 1, then got wiped out by a Pacer team who decided to flick it’s “On” switch halfway through Round 2. With Nene and Bradley Beal’s health, Randy Wittman on the sidelines, old Paul Pierce….I need to see more.
  7. Brooklyn – I love the signing of Lionel Hollins. Don’t love that Nets GM Billy King is still making decisions in the front office. Also, I like my franchise center Brook Lopez to average more than 7 boards for his career. Is that too much to ask?
  8. Miami – Too much pride for them to miss the playoffs. Would be great if they can meet Team LeBron in Round 1.
  9. Detroit – Stan Van Gundy will have to move a couple of contracts around before this team gets better. Which players (Brandon Jennings, Greg Monroe, Josh Smith) will remain to be seen. Will have them playing better.
  10. New York – Carmelo Anthony will have the most efficient season he’ll ever have in this offense. But still, no playoffs here.
  11. Milwaukee – Now THIS is the kind of team Jason Kidd should be coaching to start off his career. Let him have fun and experiment with Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
  12. Indiana – “We take any and all applications here at #TankCity. Fill out these forms please…”
  13. Boston – Just counting down the days until Rajon Rondo is traded. The question is, “Where”?
  14. Orlando – Still 2 years away from making any kind of noise. Good thing they have Nikola Vucevic locked up for the next four years.
  15. Philadelphia – I won’t watch a game of theirs until Embiid steps on the court. See you in 2016.


Cal Cee // South Shore Ave

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Does D-Rose Really Need to Play?


Question: Should Derrick Rose play during the playoffs this season?

Answer: No. 

…..Ok, I’ll explain. Even though Derrick Rose has been cleared to play, coming off major knee surgery can be as taxing mentally as it is physically. Basketball is a game of rhythm. If he’s not ready mentally & his rhythm isn’t right, then why play? He’s being paid $95M to represent the franchise for the rest of the decade health permitting. If he’s holding that kind of responsibility, then let him be responsible for his body to be at its best.  Those looking to ostracize him for sitting the bench aren’t thinking clearly. Asking any player (even a superstar) that missed a whole regular season to now come into a playoff series to, A) get his game rounded out & his rhythm in order and B) do so without thinking about his knee is preposterous. Or worse, to rush him in to come off the bench & play 15-20 monitored minutes a game. That’s like asking Chris Martin to come back to Coldplay, play the guitar & sing backup during a World Tour.

The Bulls’ concern SHOULD be to the future. In Game 3 the 2003 Western Conference Finals, Dirk Nowitzki badly strained his right knee against the San Antonio Spurs. Pressed with the opportunity to play the remainder of the series with a trip to the Finals on the line, Head Coach Don Nelson decided to shut down their 24-yr old cornerstone. You think they regret that decision now? Within the next 10 years, he’s surpassed 25,000 points, played in 11 All Star games, won the 2007 MVP, brought the franchise their 1st title, a future 1st ballot Hall of Famer  becoming one of the best players of his generation & helping solidify value to the franchise around the league. I’m pretty sure it was worth it for them. Now a similar situation may occur with Russell Westbrook. While the team says that he’ll be out for the rest of the playoffs following knee surgery, if OKC makes it to the Finals again in June & Westbrook is way ahead of schedule, will he get the pressure to sacrifice the long term goals for the now?

Remember when Brandon Roy had late season surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee in 2010, then came back, & was ahead of schedule to play at less than 100% for the Trailblazers who didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting out of the first round vs. Phoenix? How did that turn out? His knees — never being 100% to begin with coming into the league — was never the same after the series & is most likely retiring after this season for a second time partly due to no one protecting his future in Portland. How about Gilbert Arenas who tore his MCL in 2007 after running through a 3-year span as one of the most explosive guards in the NBA? Everyone loved him when he came back early from his knee surgery…. until he started overcompensating for that same knee, ending up having more surgeries & injuries within the next 2 years.  Arenas & the Wizards haven’t been the same since. Where is he now? The Far East trying to recoup what’s left of his career (well, that & shaking off the “Gunplay” image.) It serves no purpose for Rose to come back. Protect him, protect the future of his career, and protect the franchise. By continuing to release reports on his status , Chicago’s PR team is putting the pressure on him to get back on the court & create more short-term buzz financially to the team. It’s refreshing that he’s strong enough mentally to take care of his most valuable asset: himself.


Don’t underestimate Friday’s deal that the MLSE made with appointing Tim Lieweke their President & CEO.  Anyone who hasn’t followed his career needs to sit up & take notice to the possibilities that are now open to the Toronto Sports scene. Here’s the main feature to understanding Lieweke:  Tim is a MAJOR player in the Sports & Entertainment world who only aligns himself to major projects (ie. Bringing David Beckham to MLS).  Mediocrity is NOT in his vocabulary, so for anyone thinking Bryan Colangelo is sticking around to continue what he’s been doing (ie. Wanting to sign Rudy Gay to an extension even though he has 2 more years left at $37M & has NEVER played in an All Star Game), I’m not sure what else there is to say….. Of many quotes that’s been said in basketball, the phrase, “You live by the jumper, you die by the jumper” has always been one of the truest. Well, I’m willing to live by Steph Curry’s jumper for the foreseeable future….. As much as I am on the Clippers Bandwagon (I currently reside in the VIP Section), I still can’t help but think why Blake Griffin isn’t better than he is.  I’ve had this debate with others in the last couple of months but I ask, how can he be considered the best Power Forward in the game when he gets 2 rebounds in a game? Too many times this season he’s had 5 rebounds or less beside his name. Somewhere between his rookie season & Game 5 of this series, he has regressed rebounding-wise. We really can’t expect the Clippers to go far in the post season if Griffin & DeAndre Jordan can’t control the paint & are using their hops for lobs that’ll rarely come during this time of the season.


Cal Cee  // South Shore Ave

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