Sports

Trust The Podcast: Power Rankings

Man the Grizz did Fizdale wrong. How’s that for data?

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10.) Portland Trail Blazers (12-8). PPG: 103.2(20h) ORtg: 106.1 (18th) DRtg: 101.9 (3rd). This Week: @NYK Vs MIL Vs NOP

What a shootout Friday afternoon between the Trail Blazers and the Nets. It was nice to see them scrape away that victory, 3-1 on their current road trip which ends tonight in New York. Portland remains to be one the best defensive teams in the league, and when they score 120 plus points should be really hard to beat. Big game against New Orleans who they are battling with for a playoff spot.

9.) Minnesota Timberwolves (12-8) PPG: 108.1 (6th) ORtg: 110.4 (5th) DRtg: 110.5 (28th) This Week: Vs. WAS @NOP @OKC Vs.LAC

So a couple things about the Wolves. First of all, they can’t shoot threes. The perimeter game for the Wolves is getting torched by other teams. Jimmy Butler is finally coming into his own, and being ranked 6th in PPG and 5th in offensive rating, really makes you wonder, considering how bad they are from the outside. Ranked pretty much at the bottom of the league in defence is again startling, this being a coach Thibs team. KAT and Wiggins really need to start playing better two way basketball.

8.) Philadelphia Sixers (11-7). PPG: 109.6 (6th) ORtg: 106.6 (15th) DRtg: 104.5 (9th). This Week: Vs CLE Vs WAS @BOS Vs DET

Joel Embiid thinks he’s the best defensive player in the NBA right now. They rank in the top ten in defence. Maybe theres something here, it’s impressive because of how young this team is. What a tough week for the Sixers, I guess we will see how good they really are come Sunday night. A 2-2 split would be ideal for them.

7.) Toronto Raptors (12-7) PPG: 109.6 (5th) ORtg: 112.4 (3rd) DRtg: 105.2 (11th) This Week: Vs CHA Vs IND

I’m dipping the Raptors a little more than I maybe should. But with a 28-0 run against the Knicks last week, and followed up with a terrible outting in Indiana, I felt this was necessary. The Raptors currently have the leagues best bench aggregate NetRtg at 12.1 The bench is a mob, and when they come in they continue to out work the other team. Van Fleet has been filling in well for Delon Wright in his absences. Maybe he should be getting a few more minutes a game, they need to rebound this week and walk away 2-0 on the week.

6.) San Antonio Spurs (12-7) PPG: 100.9 (25th) ORtg: 106.0 (20th) DRtg: 103.0 (4th) This Week: Vs Dal Vs MEM @MEM @OKC

Good news Spurs fans. Tony Parker is making his season debut against the Mavs this week. Bad news, it’s not Kawhi Leonard. Parker should at least help some of their offensive woes, before Kawhi comes back fully healthy. Still boosting an impressive defensive rating, the Spurs are sitting pretty in the West. Brandon Paul looks to be like a diamond in the rough for Pop. Still on pace for another 50 win season!

5.) Detroit Pistons (12-6) PPG: 103.7 (18th) ORtg: 107.9 (10th) DRtg: 105.9 (13th) This Week: @BOS Vs PHX @WAS @PHI

The Positive Pistons! That’s what I’m dubbing them. Drummond is new and improved, tweeting the most positive things known to mankind. It’s almost 20 games into the season, and they haven’t collapsed yet. I think these Pistons could be for real. Had a really great win in OKC last week. And that improved them to 6-1 against the West this season, this Pistons team is full of energy and really fun to watch.

4.) Cleveland Cavaliers (12-7) PPG 110.8 (3rd) ORtg: 111.9 (4th) DRtg: 111.2 (29th) This Week: @PHI Vs MIA @ATL Vs MEM

Winners of 7 in a row. LeBron James is on a mission. Boy he had some impressive games last week, and the Cavaliers are rolling. Their defence still stinks, and Derick Rose could be done with basketball. Now more than ever do the Cavs need IT back. The defence has been getting better, obviously with winning 7 straight it has to be. Can’t wait for IT to come back and see what this team can truly be.

3.) Houston Rockets (15-4) PPG: 113.5 (2nd) ORtg: 114.3 (2nd) DRtg: 104.1 (8th) This Week: Vs BKN Vs IND @LAL

Chris Paul is back and the Rockets are still rolling. Putting up monster numbers on the offensive end. James Harden is battling LeBron for MVP right now, getting to another level this year. He is taking over the “Steph Curry” Award which is pretty much who hits the most threes in a season. If Paul stays healthy and Harden keeps this pace up, Golden State will have a tough foe come May.

2.) Golden State Warriors (15-5) PPG: 117.4 (1st) ORtg: 114.8 (1st) DRtg: 103.9 (6th) This Week vs Sac @LAL @ORL @MIA

Oh boy. Like lambs to the slaughter. What a schedule for the leagues best offence this week. Here’s the crazy thing. During the month of November, the Warriors have had the leagues best defence……Let that sink in for a second, because they are already the odds on favourite to win the title. The season started and people were questioning their defence, and look at them now. Warriors are just too good.

1.) Boston Celtics (18-3) PPG: 103.9 (19th) ORtg: 107.0 (13th) DRtg: (98.9 (1st) This Week: vs DET vs PHI vs PHX

They finally lost. Didn’t see that coming, especially against the Heat. Kyrie’s play down the stretch in close games is truly something special. He was at one point +40 in games within 5 points with under 5 minutes left. Boston’s bench continues to improve and the two Jayson’s just keep getting better. Brad Stevens has a real winner on his hands.

Check ya later.

Sports

Trust The Podcast: Power Rankings

Joel Embiid is really good at basketball, that is all

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10.) Cleveland Cavaliers (9-7). PPG: 110.6 (3rd) ORtg: 110.8 (4th). Drug: 112.4 (30th). This Week: @DET, vs. BKN, vs. CHA

Don’t look now, but the Cavs have won four straight games, and seem to be finding their groove. Yes they still rank dead last in defensive rating in the league, well which is not great, but if they keep winning, really that’s all that matters for now. They have a couple of revenge game this week against Brooklyn who beat them early on in the year. LeBron is quietly putting up monster numbers, with 28.9PPG, 7.8RPG and 8.6APG, he has logged the most minutes in the league so far, and I don’t know if that is sustainable, but it’s LeBron, I think he will be the first guy to defeat Father Time.

9.) Portland Trail Blazers (9-7). PPG: 103.0 (19th) ORtg: 106.6 (15th). DRtg: 100.9 (2nd) This Week: @MEM @PHI @BKN @WAS

Who knew going into this season Portland would be sporting the 2nd best defensive rating almost 20 games into the year. Well they do, and Lillard and McCollum are both still studs, and Terry Stots has done a great job figuring out his rotations. The bottom seeds in the West playoff picture will be up for grabs, so if Portland can keep up their defensive ways, I’m sure they will find themselves sitting pretty in a playoff spot come April.

8.) Washington Wizards (9-7). PPG: 108.1 (12th) ORtg: 109.3 (8th). DRtg: 105.0 (9th). This Week: @MIL, @CHA, vs. POR

Like usual John Wall has gotten off to a less than stellar start. And right now he is battling injuries, so the most important thing for the Wizards to do is get him healthy. Luckily, Otto Porter and Bradley Beal have been taking on the load, and doing so in spectacular fashion. Beal is probably the MVP for the Wizards so far, who face a tough road ahead, with a bunch of games on the road in the next two weeks.

7.) Minnesota Timberwolves (10-6) PPG: 107.5 (13th) ORtg: 109.5 (7th) DRtg: 109.0 (21st) This Week: @CHA vs ORL vs MIA vs PHX

Every week I’m still in disbelief that a coach Thibs team is ranked 21st in defence. Is it the players? Was Thibs just kind of an overrated defensive coach? I don’t think that is the case. A guy who needs to start stepping up for the Wolves on the defensive side of the ball is Townes. I needs to become a rim protector. They just don’t get stops, which is so vital for a long playoff run and team success. They are playing ,much better as of late winning 8 of their last 10 games, but it’s the defensive stuff that scares me with this team.

6.) San Antonio Spurs (10-6) PPG: 101.6 (21st) ORtg: 106.7 (14th) DRtg: 104.0 (5th) This Week: vs. ATL @NOP @CHA

Almost a quarter of the way through the season, and still no Kawhi Leonard. I don’t want to say this is going to be like an Andrew Luck scenario, but they are being awfully coy about his injury and when he is set to come back. I get it, Houston and Golden State have locked up 1st and 2nd in the West. So why rush him back right now, when they want a 100 percent healthy Kawhi. Still really impressive feat, that the Spurs have managed to win 10 games already without a top 5 player in the league.

5.) Toronto Raptors (11-5) PPG: 110.4 (8th) ORtg: 112.9 (3rd) DRtg: 105.8 (12th) This Week: @NYK @IND @ATL

Holy moly, what a difference a week can make. Seriously, what a week. Back to back wins against Houston and New Orleans (on the road) and then finishing up the week with wins against the Knicks and Wizards at the ACC. Lowry has seriously found his groove and played his best four games of the season last week. The turn around could point to OG Anouby, who started last week and provided a huge spark for the Raptors. They are ranked 8th in assists per game, which is such a turn around from last year, when they ranked dead last in the association.

4.) Detroit Pistons (11-5). PPG: 105.0 (16th) ORtg: 109.0 (9th) DRtg: 105 (9th) This Week vs CLE @OKC

One of the few teams to rank in the top ten in both offensive and defensive rating. The Pistons continue to impress the NBA community and more importantly keep winning games. Drummond is a beast, leading the league in rebounds, and is having his best season of his career. Credit to Stan Van Gundy who might of had one foot out the door, I thought this was going to be a write off season for Detroit, and they have proved myself, and many others wrong so far. Keep it up.

3.) Houston Rockets (13-4) PPG: 112.6 (2nd) ORtg: 113.6 (2nd) DRtg: 104.9 (7th) This Week: vs DEN vs NYK

Chris Paul is back, he’s healthy and Houston is still really good at basketball. The defence is still there, even James Harden has turned a new leaf. They had an awful game against the Raptors last week, but almost clawed back. So CP3 played one game with the Rockets and then has been sitting ever since. These next few weeks, I believe we will finally see the real Rockets. This is the CP3 send off tour, he certainly is far form retiring, but this Rockets team could have found some magic this season and this could be his chance to finally you know, do something in the playoffs….

2.) Golden State Warriors (13-4) PPG: 117.9 (1st) ORtg: 115.2 (1st) DRtg: 105.0 (10th) This Week: @OKC vs. CHI vs NOP

A showdown with the Thunder should be really fun to watch, but what is there to say about the Warriors, other than the loss to the all might Celtics last week. Look it’s the Warriors, I can only say so much. They have an unstoppable offence and are actually turning it around on the defensive side of the ball. There only weakness? The inside paint presence, that could potentially hurt them down the line if they get cold from the outside.

1.) Boston Celtics (15-2) PPG 102.5 (22nd) ORtg: 106.0 (18th) DRtg: 97.7 (1st) This Week: @DAL @MIA vs ORL @IND

They haven’t lost a game since October 20th, need I say more? Probably going to get to at least 19 wins…..

 

Check ya later.

 

Sports

Trust The Podcast – Power Rankings

The start of our weekly top ten teams in the association!

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(NBA)

Things can change in a hurry in the NBA, one week you’re on top, the next, well, lets just say it doesn’t look so good. We are about 10 games into the NBA season, and it’s been a really fun ride so far. A ton of great games, more than a few surprise teams, and well the Mavs and the Kings are officially the worst teams in the NBA! (sorry Dirk) Are the Cavaliers in trouble? Are the Celtics going 80-2? I’m breaking down the top ten teams, so here we go!

10.) Washington Wizards (5-4). PPG: 112.8 (3rd) ORtg: 111.3 (2nd) DRtg 107.8 (19th)

It was a tough week for Washington going 2-1 with losses against the Suns and Cavaliers. Thanks to a monster game from LeBron he had 57 against the Wiz, they had a much needed victory Sunday night against the Raptors, without all-star John Wall. No Wall no problem as Bradley Beal stepped up and dropped 38 big ones on the Dino’s. Have the Wizards never watched Goodfellas? Number one rule, “always keep your month shut, and never rat on your friends.” Advice next time you play a big game and insult the best player in the world.

9.) Portland Trail Blazers (6-4). PPG: 107.2 (12th) ORtg: 108.6 (10th) DRtg: 102.2 (4th)

One thing that is impressing me with the Trail-Blazers this season in their defence. Ranking 4th in defensive rating is pretty impressive. They can score the ball with the best of them, and Dame Dollar is coming off a MONSTER week, where he averaged 34-PPG, 7-APG and 5-RPG, including a game winner against the Lakers. They ran into some trouble with the Raptors last Monday night, but all around Portland is solid basketball team, and if their defence can keep improving, they could be a really sneaky team to face in the first round of the playoffs this year.

8.) New York Knicks (5-4). PPG: 104.7 (18th) ORtg: 107.4 (13th) DRtg: 107.6 (18th) 

Okay I know, what you’re thinking, the Knicks? Well hear me out, they started off the season 0-3 and since then have gone a 5-1 stretch. Porzingis is playing out of his mind right now he dropped a career high 40 last night, and the Knicks team is really fun to watch. They are super young, full on energy and are playing hard on both ends of the court, so I thought they deserved a shoutout and some recognition in the power rankings. If Porzingis can keep playing this way, the Knicks will not be a complete dumpster fire, and that’s what we all wanted, an enjoyable Knicks season! They came back from 19 down with 10 minutes to go yesterday against a pretty good Indiana team, give the Knicks some credit.

7.) Memphis Grizzlies (6-4). PPG: 101.8 (25th) ORtg: 106.4 (18th) DRtg: 102.5 (5th)

Grit and grind might not be dead after all! Just like the good old days, Memphis is a grind it out basketball team, averaging some of the fewest points per game in the entire league, Yet are one of the 5 best defensive teams. They had a really tough loss to the Lakers last night. The LA life night must have gotten to the boys. Conley and Gasol remain a solid foundation for Memphis to work with and they are just an all around really good basketball team. They started off the season really hot with an impressive win against Golden State, you knew they would cool down eventually and lose a game or two.

6.) Orlando Magic (6-4) PPG: 109 (7th) ORtg: 106.7 (17th) DRtg: 104 (10th)

One of the surprise teams of the season thus far. Listen I know Orlando had a bad week, and their offence really struggled, but with a banged up back court. Both Payton and Augustine are out with injuries, their offence which took a tumble so far in the month of November. I still believe this team is pretty good, and when your entire back court is out, well I believe that will reflect on your offensive efficiency. Or maybe the Magic just got off to a magical start and are coming back down to Earth, only time will tell I guess.

5.) Detroit Pistons (7-3) PPG: 104.8 (17th) ORtgt: 108.8 (9th) DRtg: 105 (14th)

Going into this season, I thought the Pistons would have a really hard time scoring the basketball, but ranked in the top ten in offensive rating is really impressive. Guys like Avery Bradley have really brought a culture change to this roster, and that was something that was much needed. Again they had a terrible loss at the hands of the Lakers (again LA night life). The big thing for the Pistons right now is Andre Drummond and his free throw shooting, which is up to 75 percent this year. Considering he was shooting a mere 38% last season, well that’s a huge step up and something that is really nice to see. He’s ranked second only behind DeAndre Jordan in rebounds per game, and is just putting together a really nice season. Happy for the Pistons and Stan Van Gundy.

4.) Golden State Warriors (7-3) PPG 120.7 (1st) ORtg: 119 (1st) DRtg: 109.7 (22nd)

Yeah that’s right, I’m not putting the Warriors in the top spot. They are shaky on the defensive side of the ball right now but I guess when you can simply outscore your opponents every night, that makes it a whole lot easier. They are also leading the league in assists per game with 31.5 which is five more than the second best team, which is Philly. They love sharing the rock and spreading the floor to make the defence work. I just didn’t want to make them the top dogs because well, they don’t deserve that spot right now.

3.) Minnesota Timberwolves (7-3) PPG 109.4 (6th) ORtg: 110.3 (5th) DRtg: 110.7 (25th)

I simply don’t understand this. How is a Thibs coached team so bad on defence? Are guys just not buying in? It’s bugging me, because well the Wolves are an impressive 5-1 against the West right now. It’s a tough conference and they are playing with the best of them. They have a great showdown with the Warriors Wednesday night and that will be much watch television. It’s time for Wiggins and KAT to buy in to playing defence because if that happens, look out!

2.) Houston Rockets (8-3) PPG: 109.9 (5th) ORtg: 110.8 (4th) DRtg: 104.1 (12th)

Harden did his thing on Sunday night, scoring 56 points in just 20 minutes of play! I add in the fact that he dished out 13 assists as well. What a performance. Is it weird that they could be a better team without CP3? I know that’s not possible, but they are playing okay defence so far, and I know that will improve once he gets back from injury, or at least one would think it would. I’m really excited about this team, because I think Harden really is on another level, and watching what he did on Sunday was so marvellous, it made me realize that this team could really give the Warriors a go in the playoffs.

1.) Boston Celtics (8-2) PPG: 102.9 (23rd) ORtg: 107 (16th) DRtg: 96.9 (1st)

The only team with a defensive rating lower than 100, the Celtics are the best defensive team in basketball. They have won 8 straight, since dropping the first two games of the season, and are doing this without their second best player. The young guns, like Brown and Tatum are coming up big for them. I believe Jaylon Brown is a really special player, and this is his coming out party. He’s my pick right now for most improved player. I’m shocked that they are doing so well on the defensive side of the ball, considering they have Kyrie on the team, who has been known to be a poor defender. I’m happy for the Celtics so far, they needed this and I think they are by far the best team in the East.

Sports

NBA Weekly Show Plus 2018 Bold Sports Predictions

On today’s episode Kenny and I are breaking down the latest week in the NBA season. We talk about the impressive Raptors bench play. Are the Orlando Magic legit? We discuss Victor Oladipo’s streaky start, and if he can sustain this improved play. We hand out the very first “Jordan’s Secret Stuff” award, handed out to the basketball guy of the week, and a lot more! We are then joined by our buddy Jack to make some bold 2018 sports predictions.

NBA Talk (0:00-32:30)

2018 Sports Predictions (32:30-1:12:26)

Sports

NBA Awards – Who Wins?

I’m the MVP and we sitting here talking about practice.

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Can Westbrook repeat? Which rookie will break through and conquer all? Which coaches will not be fired and rather win coach of the year? Can Draymond stop kicking people enough to win another defensive player of the year award? Just some of the questions going into the NBA season, and more importantly about the NBA awards. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about the NBA switching up their format and going to the award show, but in the end it really worked, and looking forward to who they get to host it next year.

NBA Coach of The Year: 

Always a tough thing to predict, because you aren’t quite sure how the season is going to play out. Will it go to Steve Kerr because well the Warriors will probably win around 70 games again. I think that’s the easy answer, but not necessarily the right one. With a lot of teams kind of just “stuck” right now, more so in the Eastern Conference than the West, there are only a few candidates for COY in the East. I think they will be Brad Stevens from the Boston Celtics, Jason Kidd from the Milwaukee Bucks and Brett Brown from the Philadelphia 76ers. Reason being, that the Celtics might come away with the best record in the East, and on top of that they added two All-Stars, so adjusting to this new roster and trying to figure out their identity will be a process. A tough one at that, and I think Brad Stevens is the right man for the job. He will be in the conversation all year for this award. Jason Kidd is back with the Bucks once again, and if they have a really good year and continue forward from last seasons success, there is no reason why he won’t also be part of the COY conversations. I tossed in Brett Brown because if the 76ers improve by a lot, and even make the playoffs, that is worth some recognition. They won 28 games last year and if they find themselves flirting with 42 wins and a playoff spot, a lot will have to be said about Brown and his coaching. Much like Brad Stevens, Billy Donovan is in the same boat, with adding a bunch of new roster pieces, and with a background in college, he is used to having new pieces each year and knows how to adjust to a new roster. If the Thunder somehow have a marvellous season and win say the West, he will no doubt be the winner of this award. I actually don’t see any NBA coaches getting fired this season also as strange as that sounds.

NBA Coach of The Year Winner – Brett Brown 

NBA Sixth Man of The Year:

Is Jamal Crawford good anymore? Should we just rename this award to the Jamal Crawford award? Do I think they should get rid of this and have a different award? Yes I do. What that award would be, I dunno, they could do something different. Eric Gordon won it last year, and honestly he will probably win it again this year. He has a pretty easy job down in Houston, play some defence and shoot wide open 3 pointers, something that he is really really really good at. The guy shot 38% from downtown last season, and he will probably have even more open looks now that Chris Paul is on his team. Honestly this will be a race between Jamal Crawford, Eric Gordon and Lou Williams. All former winners and it just makes the most sense. Maybe someone on a new team could pop in the conversation, maybe someone on the Cavs perhaps, like JR Smith, but it’s just too early to tell. Super dark horse pick, Norman Powell from the Toronto Raptors. I hate this award.

NBA Sixth Man of The Year – Eric Gordon 

NBA Most Improved Player:

Boy oh boy this should be a really fun and interesting race. There are a ton of guys that fall into this category this year. A bunch of guys that have now evolved into beautiful butterflies and just want to spread their wings. Lets start with the Joker, Nikola Jokic, the big man in the middle in Denver. He really came on last season and showed the world, that he is the best passing big man in the NBA. Racking up triple-doubles and making Denver an all around better team. He’s really fun to watch, and is already on the radar of many, so if he has a great year, don’t be shocked if he walks away with this hardware at the end of the season. He will have some stiff competition though, in fact, someone on his team might say otherwise. Garry Harris, the Michigan State product took a giant leap forward last year and will look to continue on that success this year. Coming off a 15PPG in the NBA last season and shooting an incredible 42 percent from downtown, Gary Harris really started to turn some heads. Another great young piece on Denver, if he can get his average up even more and flirt with about 20 PPG, I think he will be in serious contention for this award. But the unicorn himself, Mr. New York City, Kristaps Porzingis is my favourite to win this award. Melo is gone and so is Phil Jackson, and now this is truly his team. Yes, the Knicks will be a dumpster fire all season, but if Porzingis can average about 22-25PPG and up his rebounding to about 10RPG, there is no reason why he will not win this award. New York and the NBA are ready to fall in love with this guy, even more than we already have. Except for an injury, I just don’t see anyone else winning this award. It’s his to lose to be honest, all the pieces are in place for this to happen.

NBA Most Improved Player – Kristaps Porzingis 

NBA Defensive Player of The Year:

I’ll keep this one short and sweet. It’s a three man race, between Kickpuncher himself Draymond Green, Kawhi Leonard and the man out for revenge this season the Eiffel Tower; Rudy Gobert. The Warriors are once again going to be really good, Draymond is their best defender and always defends the others team best player, so it makes sense that he will be in the front runner to win. I think if Kawhi plays all season and the Spurs have a pretty decent record and he’s also scoring about 25 a game, it will be his to lose. But the big man Rudy wants to win this award. The thing with this award is, for the most part is remains in the same circle, where guys usually win it multiple times, go look at the history, there hasn’t actually been that many different winners since the year 2000. So that’s why I’m giving the slight edge to Draymond.

NBA Defensive Player of The Year – Draymond Green

NBA Rookie of The Year:

Well this is next to impossible to decide at this point. This rookie draft class is going to be one for the ages, and I’m pretty sure like Joel Embiid could still some how win this. Same with Ben Simmons, who wants to prove to everyone that he is still going to be a magical player and people shouldn’t sleep on him. Lonzo Ball, Jason Tatum, Markelle Fultz, and De’Aaron Fox are all the guys in the running for this award. I know, three players from the same team are trying to win ROY, I don’t think that has ever been the case, so in the long run, I think they will cancel each other out, I really do. They will all have great years, I just think that each one of them won’t be able to do enough, more than the other candidates to win. Jason Tatum, the next Paul Pierce or at least that’s what Boston fans are hoping. He’s going to be great, but I think that he is just not going to be able to score enough, or be on the court long enough to win. Look Boston is going for it all this year and they also want to groom this incredible rookie, so look for him to play a lot when they are up big, but until he proves otherwise, I can see him getting kind of buried on the bench in big games and big moments. That leaves Lonzo vs. Fox and we all know how that played out last year in college. Look Lonzo, you’re going to be a stud. His court vision is contagious and he has such a bright future. I don’t think he’s going to start for the Lakers. I think he will lead the second unit and until he gets his feet wet a little bit, then he will jump into the starting rotation. Why I think he won’t win, his shooting. It could go sideways real quick and he could put up some all time horrid numbers for a rookie for shooing the deep ball. Unless he manages to average like 12 assists a game, this isn’t happening. That’s why my winner is Lefty Westy (thats what I have dubbed him, so get on board with it, before it’s too late). De’Aaron Fox is my pick to win this insane race for ROY. I think under the tutelage of George Hill, he will learn how to be a pro very early on. I can see him starting quickly if he gets off to a flying start, and I just think there are enough veterans around the Kings now, for them to finally have a little bit of a culture change. George Hill and Vince Carter are two awesome guys to learn from, just not on the basketball court but off it as well. That’s what Fox needs, and it will help him in the long run. He really is the whole package and I can’t wait to watch him this season. I can see him averaging about 14-16 a game this year, with about 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Like I said Lefty Westy

NBA Rookie of The Year – De’Aaron Fox

NBA Most Valuable Player

I legit have no idea who’s going to win this award. It’s really tough, because there are just so many talented and incredible players in the NBA right now, it makes this decision pretty tough. There are however a handful of guys who will dominate the conversation all year and most likely be the guys people are voting for come next June. Russell Westbrook, Paul George (because he wants it), John Wall (because he wants it also), Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving are all the guys I think have a chance. I know I named a ton of guys but it’s really hard to narrow it down okay! Kevin Durant looked unstoppable in the finals last season, he wants to be the best player in the world, he wants to surpass LeBron, and this could finally be the year. He wants the MVP and another title and another finals MVP, we all know it and that seems like the most logical outcome right now. The Warriors are going to be so good, one of the best teams ever, there’s no denying that, but that’s not who is winning this years MVP. LeBron is going to be the league MVP, and I’m going to tell you why. Yes the Cavs have an incredible roster as well, but they are also the oldest team in the league by far, and maybe even one of the oldest teams ever assembled in the league history. Isaiah Thomas is out until at least the new year, and if the Cavs are atop of the East, who do you think thats because of? Listen LeBron has never missed any time in his career, and I think he doesn’t get MVP recognition anymore because all he does is stay at the same insane consistent level. He honestly can’t get much better, but then that little birdie Kyrie Irving went and pissed him off. Everyone making fun of his dance moves, not wanting to play for him, LeBron is super pissed off and I think he will be a freight train from hell, and will be driving down the throats of his competition this season. It all makes sense for him to win right? Kevin Durant will be canceled out from Steph, and James Harden is in for a rough season now that Chris Paul is around, and I mean that in the sense, that he was the best point guard in the NBA last season. Now he will be playing without the ball in his hands for the majority of the time he’s on the court. It will be too much of a change and he certainly won’t have the same numbers as he did last year. The OKC guys will take too long to figure things out, and I think they are thinking ring rather than bling this season. It will be so much fun to watch unfold though, it really will be, the NBA season is going to be one to remember.

NBA Most Valuable Player – LeBron James.

 

 

Reviews

‘Stronger’ Review 

That Jake Gyllenhaal, he making me cry

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(LIONSGATE)

Stronger is a film directed by David Gordon Green and it’s about Jeff Bauman, a brave man who lost his legs in the Boston Marathon bombing, and this movie tells that heroic tale. It’s a movie about love, loss, compassion and most importantly family.

Imagine having your entire life change in a blink of an eye. This movie and this story are both very inspirational, and at certain moments throughout the movie you feel for these people. Jeff Bauman just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, and in a heartbeat his whole entire world changed. Not only did he suffer a devastating loss, losing both of his legs, he became a figure of hope, and a hero to the city of Boston. He was just a normal guy who worked at Costco and had relationship issues, that no one knew about, now he is this national figure and is being called a hero and Jeff can’t really comprehend why. On top of all of that, he is trying to learn how to live this new life of his, and adjust to the difficulties that come with his tragic loss. Jeff is dealing with so much, and I couldn’t really stomach thinking about being in this position and how strong you must be to deal with all of this. On top of all of this comes the fact, that not only is your life change forever, but those around you too. He’s a Boston guy, that’s one thing I want to give tremendous credit to Gyllenhaal for, his Boston accent is top notch. That can make or break a performance and a movie for me, and if you can say “GO SOX!” in a perfect Boston accent, then you’re doing it right. I’ll get into his remarkable performance later. So Jeff’s family is a Boston blue collared family, they love to drink and aren’t all that well educated. So when this happens to Jeff, they don’t know how to process it. His mother Patty (Miranda Richardson) who is just fantastic in this role, is a drunk. She can barley even take care of herself, let alone her son when he needs her the most, and on top of that, her living arrangements are not suited for Jeff’s needs. There’s a scene when Jeff finally gets released from the hospital and when they are wheeling him out, the expression on Gyllenhaal’s face is just breathtaking. Jeff doesn’t want any of this attention, it’s making him so uncomfortable, and the way Jake expresses that just using his eyes and facial movements, is what acting is all about. You could really feel his performance in this. So when they go back to his mothers apartment, its up two flights of stairs and her place is a dump. Imagine having the worst day of your life, to only come home to a horrible living experience, that would dawn on me too.  He’s trying so hard to please his family, meanwhile he’s dealing with severe PTSD, and when he gets invited to wave the flag at a Boston Bruins game, he wants no part in that. When the crowd starts making a tremendous amount of noise, he retreats back to the day of the bombing and really has a meltdown in an elevator which is a very powerful scene with his girlfriend Erin. Erin played by Tatiana Maslany is fantastic in this movie. She doesn’t really follow the classic girlfriend cliches throughout the movie. Erin and Jeff were broken up when the bombing occurred, so when it happens, as she puts it “doesn’t know what she’s suppose to do.” You really feel for her, because she gets thrust into this uniquely incredible set of circumstances and she wants to be there for Jeff, but at the beginning it’s really difficult for her. Jeff was always not showing up to things, and being late, so Erin broke up with him. So on the day he does show up, something truly awful happens, and there’s a really gut punching scene where the two of them scream at each about that day. And it was probably the most emotional scene in the movie – for me at least.

The movie as a whole is really good, all the performances are just spot on and the surrounding cast members really feel like they were plucked from the streets of Boston. It just made it seem and feel more authentic and that’s such a great quality in a movie, especially when you’re dealing with a true story. But man, Jake Gyllenhaal once again proves he’s one of the best working actors today. Every year he delivers just a phenomenal performance. Go look at his IMDB, his track record is insane. The only way I can describe his performance in Stronger, is the fact that I really don’t think he was acting at all. I feel like Jake was just feeling every moment and every scene, and it just felt so real and authentic. He was living in the moment for this role, and I think that’s the only way you could go about doing it. It’s so raw, emotional and powerful and just something you would already expect from him at this point, but he really blew me away here. I will be shocked if he isn’t nominated for an Oscar this year. He really deserves it, because along with his performance, there comes the physical aspect of it as well. The effects and the way they make it seem like he doesn’t have legs throughout the movie was mind blowing. They did such a great job, and Jake himself did such a great job at making you believe that he didn’t have two legs. He does so much acting in his facial expressions and just his body language its remarkable and it’s reasons like this why I go see every Jake Gyllenhaal movie. Tatiana plays off Jake so well, she has the whole “angry Boston girlfriend” thing down pat. She has some really tense and emotional scenes with him and she is right there with him. I was really impressed with her performance as a whole and she deserves a lot of credit.

This was one of the more emotional and uplifting movies I have seen in the theatres in a long time. There are moments and scenes in this movie that can really hit home for some  people, and it’s just a really inspiring story of a really strong man. I was glad they didn’t have a cliche montage of him training in this movie, and this feels like a real life story, not a movie about something that happened in real life. It kind of shifts the narrative a little bit and I thought that worked really well. Life isn’t a fairy tale all the time, or like you see in the movies and they show that here. Jeff has is issues in recovery, especially when he skips rehab to get hammered, or just wants to be lazy, play video games and not take his medication. There’s one scene at the beginning of the movie that involves his manager from Costco, that was so sad, but happy at the same time. Where his family thinks Jeff is getting fired, and are yelling at this man because they think their son will never be able to work again. And the manager says something, that just gives you all the feels and says “Jeff will always work for us” and his family just goes silent and it’s just a really beautiful moment.

When Jeff finally overcomes his fears and learns to appreciate the fact that he gives people hope and that he is a symbol of what it means to be “Boston Strong” it was just awesome to watch. He understands that he can be a beacon of hope for people, and that he should let people, and more importantly strangers into his life. Jeff says something that kind of sums up a lot of stuff up, he says “I’m a hero for standing there and getting my legs blown off?” Because he’s not a hero for that happening to him, but for what came after that, for helping catch the bombers and for just being the definition of strong.

Check ya later

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Stronger = 88/100

 

 

 

Uncategorized

NBA Season Preview 2017/18

Basketball is my favourite sport, I like the way they dribble up and down the court.

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What? Just because I write about movies, I can’t crossover into sports. Some of the best things in life are crossovers. There is literally a basketball move called the crossover, so back off! I know what people think, the NBA is way to “top heavy”, that we should really only watch the final few minutes of a basketball game. Well I just don’t think that is true. The NBA has more talent than ever before, there are more good players playing right now then the NBA has ever seen. It’s just the best teams are really good. The NBA probably has the most young talent out of the 4 major North American pro sports right now. I love the NBA so much, I think it’s the greatest sport and league in the world. It really never stops, the NBA has managed to stay relevant pretty much all year round. Something the NFL, MLB and NHL can certainly not say about themselves. There were people making jokes that this NBA off-season was better than the actual regular season. So much has changed in the last few months, the landscape of the NBA is vastly different and I think this up coming season is going to be for the record books. I think that’s why I decided to write this piece, because I can’t wait for the season to start, I think it’s going to end up being something truly special. So if you love basketball as much as I do, enjoy! Looking forward to October 17th and yelling BAAAAAALLLL NIGHT at my television.

THE WESTERN CONFERENCE 

This conference is STACKED, and I don’t see any team really being that truly awful. Last year the fewest wins was 24 and I think it will be even higher this up coming year. There is going to be a great game on every night with all these teams battling it out. I can’t wait for it, the West = the best.

Phoenix Suns: 2017: 24- 58 Prediction: 28-54

The Suns are coming off a season where they finished last in the Western conference, something that hasn’t happened since 2013 and find themselves with some of the best young talent in the NBA. Boasting one of the youngest rosters in the entire league, they have a really good young core, and at the centre of that core is none other than Devin Booker himself. Dropping 70 points last season in a single game, was one of the highlights of the regular season and adding Kansas’ Josh Jackson, one would think this team will improve in their win total from last season. I have them winning four more games, just because their team is one year older, and I feel like they will compete every night. Don’t be surprised if you hear about the Suns being in about 500 trade rumours throughout the season, they have a ton of pieces they could get rid of, especially if the wheels fall off the wagon early in the season.

Los Angeles Lakers: 2017: 26-56 Prediction: 32-50

Sorry Lavar, but the Lakers aren’t winning anything this season. Boy that guy is going to be a side show this season, but hey it’s LA and maybe this will be a new breed of a sport. WWE meets the NBA, don’t be shocked in Lavar runs onto the court at least once this season. From one Ball to another, let’s talk about the important one; Lonzo. I’m impressed with this kid. He has a little bit of a Jason Kidd in him, mixed with a little bit of a Kevin Martin, because of his hideous shot. Again this is another young team loaded with talent. They have a great coach in Luke Walton who is so well respected, all these kids buy into what he is selling. Everyone is talking about next year already for LA with potential free agents in LeBron and PG13, but lets focus on getting these young guns better, and lets pray that Brandon Ingram ate a few cheeseburgers this summer, because my god that boy needs to put on some pounds, before he can unlock his true potential.

Minnesota Timberwolves: 2017: 31-51 Prediction: 52-30

THIBS!!!! He must be so excited to be reunited with Jimmy Buckets. I get a real Lethal Weapon vibe from them, Jimmy being Murtaugh and Thibs being Riggs. Have you seen Thibs back in the day, with his awesome almost Mel Gibson like mullet. That’s besides the point, Minnesota is one of the teams that underwent one of the biggest makeovers this offseason. They added a lot of pieces, and look to be taken seriously in the tough Western conference this season. I thought it was going to be last season they took “the leap” but they got off to a flat start and just never recovered. Honestly one of the biggest concerns for me was Andrew Wiggins and his defence. Coming into the league he really didn’t have all the tools quite yet, but one thing you thought he could do no problem at the next level would be defend. That hasn’t be the case so far and I hope with adding Jimmy, Wiggins could feed off his passion for defence, because if he does that will help the team in the long run. Towns is only going to get better and with Jamal Crawford coming off the bench, the Timberwolves have potential to maybe make some noise in the West. This team has boom or bust written all over it.

Sacramento Kings: 2017: 32-50 Prediction: 34-48

Lefty Westy is about to be unleashed on the NBA. That’s what I’m dubbing De’Aaron Fox, who I believe will win rookie of the year this season. The Kings added a ton of veterans this off-season, and I want to believe guys like Z-Bo, VC and George Hill could maybe bring a culture change to the Kings. But the Kings will always remain the Kings, so I think this will be a write off season for most of these guys. Maybe I could be wrong, but until I am proven otherwise, this franchise is just kind of in the toilet at the moment. Now I think that all changes with Fox, this kid is going to be a stud, he has all the makings in being a super star in this league. But until a solid foundation is built for him, and that includes having a coach and GM stick around long term, I just think his talents might go to waste, and that’s something that keeps me up at night. It’s like having an A-list actor tied down by being in a crappy movie franchise, sometimes you need to set them free, so they can spread their wings. Let Lefty West fly Kings, please, for all of our sakes.

Dallas Mavericks: 2017: 33-49 Prediction: 26-56 

Dirk, one of the all time greats, I love him to death. What’s there not to love about him? He’s loyal, he takes pay cuts, he’s a competitor, and I just feel bad for the guy. He’s stuck, he is so loyal that in fact, I think it almost a bad thing. I wish I could see Dirk go somewhere else and compete. The Mavs will be the worst team in the West this year, and it’s time for them to finally start thinking about their future. Don’t get me wrong, they found a stud in Dennis Smith Jr. in the draft this year. He will be a great building block for the future, and shows great signs of being a fantastic pro. He’s the type of player that wants to prove he shouldn’t have been the 9th pick in the draft this season. But other than that, they really aren’t working with much.Getting Noel from Philly for pretty much nothing last season helps, because he is a solid basketball player. He was lost in a rotation in Philly, and now he can be unleashed and used to his full potential here, so keep an eye out for a breakout season from Nerlens Noel. Harrison Barnes was a product of being in an incredible system in Golden State and he’s not a “franchise” guy. Dallas will recover they have one of the best owners and coaches in the NBA, but it’s time to move on from Dirk. The NBA will miss him dearly and I don’t think this season will be his last, but there comes a time in life when you simply need to move on and that time is now for the Dallas Mavericks.

New Orleans Pelicans: 2017: 34-48 Prediction: 37-45

Boogie and AD, AD and Boogie. They go together like lamb and tuna fish. Does anyone really know how this season is going to go? Could Boogie get so fed up with AD, he decides to shave the brow off? Now toss is Rajon Rondo into the mix. This has potential to be a catastrophic disaster. I just don’t think it can work, two bigs on the same team. That don’t really work well off the ball. Both of these guys need the ball in their hands to be most effective, and they can’t really space the floor, because neither of them are great shooters. Boogie can knock down so open jump shots, but that’s not who he is. He’s one of the most dominate players in the NBA, and he likes the ball in the post, so does AD. This is a really hard win/loss prediction to make, because I just don’t see this working out. And when things aren’t going well for Boogie, we all know how it ends up. I want to be wrong, I want Boogie to go to the playoffs, I just want him to finally be in a great situation in the NBA. I just don’t think New Orleans is that situation.

Denver Nuggets: 2017: 40-42 Prediction: 47-35

First things first, Josh Childress and his incredible hair have come back to the NBA!!!! Happy for him to be back in the NBA, he was so awesome to watch back in the day on Atlanta. Moving on. I really like this Nuggets team, they seem to fit in the not quite ready to make the jump, but not so bad they tank category. They have an all-around nice roster, with adding Paul Millsap and Trey Lyles this off-season, they are looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 2012 (Lock-out year). Gary Harris, Emmanuel Mudiay and Jamal Murray are great young guards, and I think the Nuggets success will really fall on their shoulders this season. Murray had a rough start to his rookie campaign in 2016, but I expect him to bounce back in a big way this year. Same with Mudiay, I just don’t think it’s really clicked yet for him, but he’s a strong physical guard and I like his skill set, this could be the year that things finally turn around for him. Look for Jokic the Joker to have an incredible year, without doubt the most unique big man in the game today, and really is a treat to watch.

Portland Trailblazers: 2017: 41:41 Prediction: 40-42

Sorry Blazer fans, but I think they are one game worse this season than last. Obviously yes, Lillard and McCollum is phenomenal guard play, but the rest of their roster isn’t that great. They didn’t sign any free agents. I know last year the team turned around once they acquired big man Nurkic from Denver, but I just don’t think that will be enough for them to stay above .500 at the end of the season. Too much is riding on Dame and CJ, and they really have to bring it night in and night out for Portland, and doing that over an 82 game stretch can be difficult. I see maybe one of those guys going down to an injury and the season may be lost. Too many other teams in the West got better this off-season and Portland just frankly did not, so I can’t have them winning more games this season, just doesn’t make sense.

Memphis Grizzlies: 2017: 43-39 Prediction: 43-39

Good old Memphis, they are like the old reliable NBA franchise. You kind of know what you’re always getting with them. Grittiness, defence and discipline. That’s their three keys to success. Now I have them with the exact same record, because I think they are somewhat cursed by the injury bug. Now they added Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans, so that helps a bit. But with losing Z-Bo, who was kind of the heart and soul of this franchise for so long, I think that will have a bigger impact on the team and their culture than they want to let on. If Parsons, Panda Bear Marc Gasol and Mike Conley can all stay healthy and play roughly 75 games each, then we are talking about a 50 win team here, if not, well it will not be pretty. I’m also excited to see Canadian Dillion Brooks hoop it up for them this season. The kid was a stud at Oregon and could be some much needed fire power off the bench, something that Memphis has been lacking in recent years.

Oklahoma City Thunder: 2017 47-35 Prediction: 55-27

They added Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, I think that qualifies for at least a 8 better win total than last season. Yes, I know their bench is horrible, but the roster they have now, will not be their roster at the end of the year. Can we all just take a minute, and give Sam Presti, their GM some much needed love. In one summer he managed to trade for George and Melo and sign my dude Westbrook to an extension, like simply amazing stuff. I think if this works and they find the right system, look out. You’re naive to think this is going to work game one, you’re naive to think this is going to click by game 30. This is going to take time, and that’s okay. These guys are pros and I think they all have one common goal. DESTROY THE WARRIORS. If Melo can buy into being the third option and taking a more “Olympic Melo” kind of role, this could be scary. I think Paul George wants to prove, he shouldn’t be forgotten about, and well Westbrook is going to do his thing, and I can see him changing his tone up a bit. He won MVP last year, he average a triple double, I think now he wants that ring. I can’t wait to see this unfold, honestly I love Westbrook so much, he’s my favourite player and I’m excited to see what happens with this team.

Utah Jazz: 2017: 51-31 Prediction: 41-41

Video of the summer belongs to the guy filming himself burning his Hayward jersey and proclaiming “good luck being LeBron’s little B-word (that’s what he actually said)”. So the Jazz took a huge hit this off-season and lost their son Gordon Hayward. One the bright side, Donovan Mitchell the rookie they drafted was eating guys alive in summer league so they might have something there. Their roster stays the same really, and I think they might go a little bigger and play slower this up-coming year with Gobert and Favours. What the Jazz really need is Dante Exum to start acting like the third pick in the draft and stay healthy. I just think Hayward was such a big part of this franchise and they might have a little bit of a hangover from his departure. The Jazz are an incredible organization and have shown resilience in the past. They don’t really have down years, so look for them to shake things up roster wise if they get off to a slow start.

Los Angeles Clippers: 2017: 51-31 Prediction: 50-32

The Clippers finally parted ways with Chris Paul, and guess what? I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. I always tell people, I think CP3 is kind of overrated, and well he never wins anything. I honestly think he’s one of the most overrated players since the turn of this century. So that’s why I have the Clippers winning only one less game. They added some nice new pieces with Gallinari, Beverley and Lou Williams. All solid players and if Gallinari can finally stay healthy that’s such a bonus for this team. I’m looking forward to all the “ANOTHER ASSIST FOR MILOS!!!” memes this season, for the 30 year old Serbian rookie. I’m just not too sure what to make of this team just yet, I think them losing Paul isn’t the end of the world. Staying healthy will be the key to their success, because Blake Griffin a few years ago was playing like one of the best 5 players in the entire NBA, and I saw last nights first preseason game and he was hitting 3s! He shoots threes now people, if he can knock that down consistently, look out!

Houston Rockets: 2017: 55-27 Prediction: 61-21

Speaking of CP3, he’s now on the Rockets, who plan on using two basketballs this season. Bold move cotton, I hope it works out for them. I don’t get it, the point guard whisperer Mike D’Antoni turned James Harden into a new player last year, by making him the point guard. It worked so well, he became a completely new player and a new threat to the league. He was already a bonafide stud, but him playing point worked really well. Now enters CP3 who is a pure point guard, making Harden return to the wing. I believe Harden works best when he has the ball in his hands, not without it. Houston had such a good season last year, but it ended in a weird way, in a game where it almost looked like James Harden gave up or showed up high to the game. He needs a bounce back season and deep playoff run in order to shed that memory. So he brought in the guy with some of the worst playoff success the NBA has ever seen! Boy this could be a disaster. It also could work out in spectacular fashion, that’s why I have them with 61 wins. PJ Tucker was another great pickup for them, the Toronto Raptors will miss him dearly, and he is a lockdown defender and can hit the corner three. Adding to a roster who already makes a boat load of three-pointers. This should be an interesting dynamic in Houston, can’t wait to see how it pans out.

San Antonio Spurs: 2017 61-21 Prediction: 59-23

The Spurs winning 50 games might be lock of the century in any season. They are without a doubt the most successful franchise since the 90’s Bulls run. They are the definition of success, and what most pro sports franchises want to be. Kawhi Leonard is a freak of nature, he is so good at basketball it’s uncanny, and the Spurs will remain in the contender category until he says otherwise. Like what can I say about the Spurs really, they will be there at the end, wether things click for them or not in the playoffs is another story. I think this could be a really fantastic season for Rudy Gay, I feel like he could be a perfect Popovich player, and really fit into their system. Or much like Richard Jefferson a few years back, will ultimately hate his life and want nothing more than to get the hell out of dodge. He could help Manu with some bench firepower, and I’ve always been a Rudy Gay guy, I just feel like he’s another example of never really being in the perfect situation. The guy I would look out for this season on the Spurs is DeJounte Murray, that kid can play and I think he makes some noise this year and becomes a little bit of a household name.

Golden State Warriors: 2017: 67-15 Prediction 69-13

WARRIORS, COME OUT TO PLAY!!!!! It was really nice this summer to hear that KD is just like me. That made me feel good about myself and gave me a much need confidence boost. Swaggy P is good for 2 more wins, and I think it could honestly be more. I can’t wait to watch him drop buckets in big moments in the playoffs come 2018. It’s going to be glorious to watch. It’s great because I think deep down, Swaggy probably thinks he is a better shooter than both Klay and Steph and hell even KD. That’s what I love about that guy, all time heat check guy. There’s nothing new here, expect the fact that it’s a year later and these guys are gelled even more together. They could be unstoppable and I would be okay with it. They are really fun to watch and honestly are one of the greatest teams of all time. So don’t hate on greatness, because it doesn’t come around often. I will be shocked if they aren’t in the finals yet again, but that’s the beauty thing about sports, I want to see them play 7 games against the Spurs, Rockets and Thunder. The West playoffs are going to be so much fun, and I hope one of those three teams take down the Warriors.

So there you have it, the Western conference. I’ll be doing the Eastern conference soon, along with award predictions and final thoughts!

Check ya later.