Tag Archives: NBA

Who has the best backcourt in the NBA?

What is wrong with the NBA today?

Let’s all be honest, the NFL has had its fair share of problems between player misconduct and well… Mr. Goodell, but we all know that the NBA is quickly becoming the laughing stock of professional sports. With the blatant lack of defensive intensity, the ridiculous amount of flops and the amount of games missed for “rest,” the National Basketball Association’s mockery starts on the court and continues off the court (cough cough Lavar Ball, Charles Barkley, LeBron James).

So let’s talk about the days off. I can look at this in a variety of different ways, but I continue to come to the same conclusion… this generation of NBA players has become weak.

Take it from a civilian perspective, most working class Americans might get 5 days off in a calendar year. That’s 12 months of work. So obviously, you have to take into account that NBA players are doing physical labor so to speak, but they also get days off in between games throughout the season. I’d also like to mention that they get about three months off each offseason. I know that they are human beings and need time to rest and recuperate, but they get their R & R on private islands and fancy resorts.

Now, let’s take a look at it from a basketball perspective. There have been plenty of superstars over the years who have led long careers and still played every night. Combine that with the advancements in physical therapy and sports medicine, and you shouldn’t miss a single game if you are healthy.

LeBron James spoke about how Spurs head coach Gregg Poppovich has been resting players for years and it has paid off with 5 championships. That is very true, but I believe that it is on the player whether they want to play or not. James also said that not every NBA coach has the same kind of stature as Poppovich, which is also true. NBA superstars tower over most coaches in terms of power. None more than LeBron, so it is his choice if he wants to play or not. Just ask James Harden and Russell Westbrook.

Looking at it from a numbers perspective, Michael Jordan played 80 or more games in 11 of his 15 seasons. One of those 4 seasons he missed more than 2 games was due to injury, and another was when he returned from his baseball stint late in the 1995 season. Jordan actually played all 82 games nine times including his final season with the Wizards.

On the other hand, LeBron James has never played in all 82 games, and in 14 seasons, he has only reached 80 games twice. For those of you who want to say that James plays more than MJ or it’s because he makes the Finals every year, James averages 38.9 minutes per game for his career. MJ averaged 38.3 mpg. Jordan also played all 82 games in each of the last three championship seasons in Chicago.

Karl Malone played 80 or more games in 17 of his 19 seasons, including all 82 games 10 times. His teammate John Stockton played in all 82 games in an astounding 16 of his 19 seasons. Keep in mind, they also had deep playoff runs.

So I ask you… what is your excuse?

Steph Curry (8 seasons), Dwyane Wade (14 seasons) and Carmelo Anthony (14 seasons) have never played in 82 games in a season. Anthony and Curry have only reached 80 twice each, and Wade has never reached that mark. In fact, Anthony hasn’t even reached 70 games in 8 of his 14 seasons.

Nevertheless, that shouldn’t be the reason why you want to play day in and day out. It should be because 1) you get to play basketball for a living. It’s the thing you grew up dreaming of. It’s the thing you’ve given your life to. And 2) think of the children out there that idolize you. The kids that wear your jersey when they hoop. The poor father that scrapped together the money to buy tickets to a game just so his son could see you play.

What do you say to that family? To that child?

I just believe that the fans deserve to see their favorite players play when they go to the game. Home or away. It may sound selfish to treat the players like an object. Like entertainment. But to be completely honest, they are just that. And they get paid very handsomely to entertain. Some of them make even more money off the court because their fans buy shoes and jerseys and all sorts of other endorsed products. The least these players could do is their job.

Moral of the story, it’s a game. Go play it.

Paul Schaum

Sports Writer. Avid sports fan. University of Wisconsin-Whitewater graduate. Currently living in Tempe, AZ.

Throwback Thursday: This week in history (July 31-Aug 6)

Most athletes will tell you that from a team perspective, the most important thing is winning… but from an individual perspective, everyone wants to write the their name in history and be remembered forever.

In this week’s edition of Throwback Thursday, we take a look back at some of the memorable events in sports that took place from July 31st to August 6th.

July 31, 1990: Nolan Ryan wins his 300th game

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Arguably the greatest pitcher of all-time, Nolan Ryan reached the pitching holy grail in 1990 by recording his 300th win. He became the 20th pitcher to do so.

August 2, 1998: Barry Bonds charges the mound after being HBP

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MLB’s all-time home run leader and perennial intentional walk victim Barry Bonds was hit by a pitch in 1998 and did not like it very much. Bonds proceeded to charge the mound, resulting in a bench-clearing brawl.

August 3, 1949: The NBA was born

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After the Basketball Association of America (BAA) was founded in 1946, it became a real challenger to the already established National Basketball League (NBL). Three years later, the two leagues merged to create the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1949.

August 4, 1936: American Jesse Owens wins second gold medal in Berlin

Jesse Owens

U.S. Olympic hero Jesse Owens claimed his second of four gold medals after winning the long jump competition in Berlin, Germany. This event was especially significant as the feat continued to prove Hitler’s superior Aryan race theory.

August 4, 2012: Oscar Pistorius becomes first amputee runner to compete in the Olympics

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South African runner Oscar Pistorius is a double amputee and became the first amputee to run in the Olympics when he competed in the men;s 400-meter dash in London. Pistorius advanced to the semifinals before being eliminated. Of course, he is now best known for murdering his fiancee and currently resides in prison.

August 5, 1976: NBA merges with ABA

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In 1976, the NBA merged with their rival league, the American Basketball Association (ABA). The previously established NBA welcomed the four most successful teams to join. Those teams included the Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, New York (NJ) Nets and San Antonio Spurs.

August 5, 2013: Alex Rodriguez gets suspended 211 games for using HGH

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It only seemed fitting that I add a little A-Rod to the story, seeing that he may be released by the New York Yankees this week. Rodriguez has been essentially all but shunned by the baseball community following his many altercations surrounding performance enhancing drugs… most notably was this suspension that kept him out an entire season.

August 6, 1953: Ted Williams returns to the Boston Red Sox from the military

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Arguably the best hitter in MLB history, Ted Williams returned to the baseball after a brief stint in the U.S. military. Boston couldn’t have been happier.

#TBT Birthdays:

July 31, 1958: Mark Cuban (58) Dallas Mavericks owner

August 3, 1977: Tom Brady (39) New England Patriots Quarterback

August 4, 1962: Roger Clemens (54) Former Cy Young Award winner

August 5, 1937: Herb Brooks (d. 2003) 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Gold Medal winning Head Coach

August 5, 1962: Patrick Ewing (54) former NY Knicks center, NBA Hall of Famer

August 5, 1982: Lolo Jones (33) U.S. Olympic Track and Field athlete

August 5, 1986: Paula Creamer (29) LPGA professional golfer

August 6, 1965: David Robinson (51) former SA Spurs center, NBA Hall of Famer

August 6, 1973: Max Kellerman (42) ESPN broadcaster

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 Paul Schaum

Sports Writer. Avid sports fan. University of Wisconsin-Whitewater graduate. Currently living in Tempe, AZ.

Why Elena Della Donne’s relaxed approach to coming out is good for sports

In a world where racial, cultural and gender differences continue to separate people, sports have always been a source for comradery among athletes of all backgrounds. On the other hand, sexual orientation has been something that has either been frowned upon or ignored within the confines of a sports locker room. However, within the last few years, athletes have been courageously opening up about their homosexuality.

In 2013, longtime NBA veteran Jason Collins announced that he was gay and became the first professional athlete to come out publicly.

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In 2014, SEC Player of the Year and Missouri Tigers defensive end Michael Sam came out to the public and then became the first openly gay man to be drafted into the NFL.

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This week, a story broke on ESPN that reigning WNBA MVP and current USA women’s basketball star Elena Della Donne has announced that she is gay and engaged to her longtime partner Amanda Clifton. Now what’s more important than the actual announcement, if you want to call it that, is that she didn’t schedule a formal interview to break the story. She didn’t hold a press conference to announce the news to the world. She just said that some writers were doing an article on her, spent some time in her home and that her fiancée was going to be around because she was such a big part of her life.

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Most people will read that article and think that it’s not a big deal, and it’s just another athlete coming out. Well, that is where we find the biggest movement of all. Pro athletes, college athletes and kids in high school will see that an MVP is openly gay without making a big deal about it. This message could potentially resonate with homosexual athletes everywhere, as well as the athletes that share a locker room with them. The message is that it’s ok to be gay AND be yourself in sports and in life. If you are comfortable with yourself then other will be comfortable with you regardless of sexual orientation.

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Change has been needed for years. More change will continue to be necessary as we push to evolve to a better, more equal society for people of every race, gender, culture and sexual orientation. I just hope that people don’t ignore the progress that we are making along the way, no matter how small it may seem.

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 Paul Schaum

Sports Writer. Avid sports fan. University of Wisconsin-Whitewater graduate. Currently living in Tempe, AZ.

Twitter: pjschaum6

What to watch: Summer League Championship (Chicago Bulls vs. Minnesota Timberwolves)

Tonight is the NBA Las Vegas Summer League Championship on ESPN2, and we are in for a treat. I know what most people are thinking… does summer league even matter?

Well my answer to that is… kind of. As we saw this summer, the No. 1 pick Ben Simmons sat a number of games for rest, which took away from the excitement and importance of the process. However, the NBA, although a team sport, is the most individualistic team sport of the Big 4, meaning that one player can win you a game. With that being said, we get to watch two 2016 All-Americans and the 2015 Final Four Most Outstanding Player tonight.

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More than just the fact that it is a title game of sorts, the two teams playing provide us with some interesting headlines. One, the Bulls were in negotiations to possibly trade Jimmy Butler to the Wolves, which would have landed them the No. 5 pick, Kris Dunn. Two, former Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau is now Minnesota’s new head coach. And three, we get to see the 2016 LV Summer League MVP Tyus Jones continue to make life difficult for the Minnesota coaching staff.

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 13: Tyus Jones #1 of the Minnesota Timberwolves shoots the ball against the San Antonio Spurs during the 2016 NBA Las Vegas Summer League game on July 13, 2016 at the Cox Pavillion in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Timberwolves have four solid point guards heading into the 2016-17 season (Jones, Dunn, Ricky Rubio, Zach LaVine). The age old saying about NFL quarterbacks is if you have two good QB’s, you have no good QB’s. To a lesser extent, that can be true for NBA point guards, as they are the leaders on the court. Now, the league has experienced a bit of a shift when it comes to guards, especially point guards. Small guards have been playing together the last few seasons. For example, Damien Lilliard and CJ McCollum in Portland or any combination of Brandon Knight, Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker and now Tyler Ulis in Phoenix. So, maybe they go small in the backcourt, considering the front line of Wiggins, Towns and Pekovic is solid.

As for the Bulls, many critics were bashing them for the moves they made this summer. It has been well documented that Rondo, Wade and Butler are not three point threats, leaving Chicago with a hole in that department. However, the young Bulls are now 6-0 in summer league. Second year man Bobby Portis was voted onto the summer league first team, and rookie Denzel Valentine has impressed thus far. Felicio has been a beast in the paint as well. On top of the recent success, the Bulls have young stars like Jerian Grant, Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic to add to the veteran backcourt.

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 12: Bobby Portis #5 of the Chicago Bulls handles the ball against the San Antonio Spurs during the 2016 NBA Las Vegas Summer League game on July 12, 2016 at the Cox Pavillion in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Wolves are on the come-up, and the Bulls were said to be entering a rebuilding mode… but I think that both of these teams may be misrepresented by these assumptions. Minnesota has solid young talent, but let’s not forget that they play in the West, which still has 3 or 4 powerhouses. On the other hand, the Bulls play in the East, where aside from the Cavs, there are no real top tier teams.

Ultimately, the winner of this game may be irrelevant, especially without a headline like last year (Becky Hammon won the title as Spurs HC). However, these will be two of the more unpredictable and interesting teams this season… making this a game to watch.

And let’s face it… it’s July. You can only watch so much baseball.

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 Paul Schaum

Sports Writer. Avid sports fan. University of Wisconsin-Whitewater graduate. Currently living in Tempe, AZ.

Which NBA Star will have the best season with their new team?