*catch up post*
Let’s be happy this guys is not a GM. Its trade deadline time and I hope our teams are in someones hands with more patience than this. Yet again, we’ve joined up the Same Page Team to breakdown three questions that have been keeping you up at night.
Check out here.
It’s become impossible to watch a major event in the NBA without seeing this guys face. Whether he is sitting court side, trying to break into locker rooms, or partying with the players afterward; Drake has always done what any basketball fan with lots of money would do. Yet, nobody would have predicted he wanted to take it to the next level.
The Toronto Raptors recently announced that our city would host the 2016 NBA All Star game. In addition to this, they officially named Drake our Global Ambassador and the new “face” of the franchise and he will also consult on the new branding of the Raptors image. I know what your thinking. Isn’t this what Jay-z did for Brooklyn? Is this another marketing ploy to bring celebrities and NBA Players to Toronto?
YOU DAMN RIGHT IT IS and I couldn’t be happier!
The term “low budget Jay-Z” was thrown around a lot and those critics couldn’t be more wrong. If Drake could do half of what Jay-Z did for Brooklyn, isn’t that a good thing? Let’s look back at Jay-Z’s successful term as part of the BK Nets:
- Buys less than 1/15 of one percent of the team
- Becomes the face of the franchise while new branding is unveiled and move is confirmed to Brooklyn
- Brooklyn pulls a blockbuster deal landing Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and a broken Jet
Now, doesn’t that sound like a perfect 4 year plan for the development of a franchise?
Now let’s see what Drake is up to lately.
- Just dropped a new album that debuted at #1…cake.cake.cake.cake
- Going on tour for the next year. First date was a sold out show at the Air Canada Centre (home of the Raptors)
- Made appearances on ESPN talking about basketball related topics. Side Note - Drake tried his best to bring up the Raptors but was laughed at.. no really they laughed in this face. I want Stephen A. Smith to interview him again in three years, just to see his reaction when he brings up the Raptors again.
- Got some love from fan favourite, Amir Johnson, who went out and bought 2 stores full stock of the album and gave them away to fans for free. Some thought this was more of a marketing scheme in light of this recent announcement, but everyone in Toronto knows, this is the kind of cool random stuff that Amir Johnson does.
The fact that we already been awarded the All-Star game and Drake is at the height of his popularity can only increase the chances of the Raptors being respected around the league. We already know artists and celebrities will show up to the All Star game, it’s up to Drake to take it to the next level. If this past years OVO Fest was any indication of what Drake could do, then I think were in good hands.
6IX HOURS TILL TIP OFF!
To what is becoming an annual tradition, we joined up with the Same Page Team and previewed the East & West Conferences in their Three for 3 feature. We break down our picks for biggest first time All-Star, which team will take down the defending conference champs, and what team we are rooting for to win it all.
6ix days until the start of the
three peat NBA regular season FINALLY kicks off. After another summer of patio drinking and pretending to care about Baseball, I can finally turn on my TV and not want to break something (No offense to Breaking Bad, but this relationship is different). Open Court, Thursday nights on TNT, Grantland Podcasts, and arguing with my friends at the SamePageTeam - These are the things I live for. Now, like every analyst or idiot with a sports show, I feel obligated to give my “bold” predictions for the year. You should know how many predictions by now.
….or haven’t you been paying attention?
Side Note - Happy One Year Anniversary to us!
1. There will be more season ending injuries than there were last year. I hate to start on such a downer, but remember last year how crushed we were to see Rose, Rondo, Love, Westbrook go down and not come back? You can expect a lot more of it. Maybe it’s the the toll of a rigorous 82 game season with no real time off (Christmas & All-Star weekend are only a break to players/teams we don’t care about). Maybe it’s spending your summers traveling to China and Spain promoting the NBA. I know these are smart ways to market the league and expand demographics, but when the hell are these guys supposed to rest? I HOPE these injuries don’t affect anymore of my favourite players, however they way the league is pushing these guys, it’s only a matter of time. I mean, not everyone has a German doctor ready to shoot them up with experimental procedures that are illegal in the U.S. right?
2. The Charlotte
Bobcats Hornets will not be the worst team in the NBA. After acquiring Al Jefferson, for way too much, I have no doubt, the Hornets will win more than 21 games. Along with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Zeller & Kemba Walker, Charlotte looks have dug themselves out of the hole. Another reason they won’t be the worst team in the league is there are more teams that are just so much worse. The Sixers (RIP Noel’s rookie season), Suns and even the Lakers have a better chance at solidifying their spot of the basement.
3. Speaking of Lottery teams, after having their hearts ripped out by Lebron and having rigged the next 3 drafts, Cleavland has the star, they were missing. We knew watching him in college, we knew watching #GetBuckets, and we knew while seeing him initiate Brandon Knight, Kyrie Irving is a superstar. Injuries have held him from excelling to the next level, however, he looks like he’s ready and healthy enough to make the leap. With a good cast of supporting players, including two 1st round Canadians, a potential sixth man award winner and Don King Jr, now is the time for Irving to what he does best - Get Buckets.
4. The Sleeper Crowd aka “Get these teams on your league pass now” - Detroit, Minnesota, Washington, Portland. Expect all of these teams to be a lot scarier than they have been in previous years. Hopefully, they can all finally stay healthy enough to compete. If they do, then expect these teams to fill up your 7th and 8th seeds in their respective conferences.
5. Houston will be a beast this season, but won’t be the best team in the Western Conference. I’m putting them behind ..wait for it.. The LA Clippers. Now that they have Doc Rivers, who can teach Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan how shoot FTs and play defense, they
should will be unstoppable. With the additions of JJ Reddick, Darren Collison and returning players Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes, this is the team I’m betting the farm on. I know we can’t ever count out the Spurs but they have to regress at some point right? OKC won’t be the same until Westbrook gets back and even then they need help. Unless they get rid of Perkins and get a big man that can put up 15/10 every night, then look for another early exit for the Thunder.
6. The East is the most exciting conference for the first time in years. To explain, I’m just gonna answer some questions people have asked me in last two weeks.
Will Derrick Rose back… like really back?
Um have you seen this clip? Any other stupid Derrick Rose questions?
seniors players remain healthy enough to do deep in the playoffs?
Only if they have enough deer antler spray and Ray Lewis is the locker room. When your two young guys also have injury problems (Lopez & Williams) and your new coach is wants you to play more physical than they ever have, you’re asking for trouble.
Will Miami three-peat and Lebron win his 4th MVP?
Until he stops being the best player in the world, the answer to both is yes. Wade is rested and healthy. Greg Oden may play more than 5 games(Yea, I’m taking the over on this one) . Bosh is still doing Bosh-like things. I like the odds of this happening.
Will the Raptors make the playoffs?
Jonas Christ Superstar (Best Nickname ever) will have a breakout year. Derozan is still improving his shot and will finally earn the 9.5 million, he’s making. Rudy Gay and Lowry are in contract years, which means they have no choice other than to play at a higher level. "Teams pay you for what you did, not what you’re going to do". Oh and then there’s that guy Terrence Ross, he looks to be on the upswing.
Which team is trying to tank the hardest to get the #1 pick?
My count is 5 (Magic, Hawks, Sixers, Bucks, Celts) but I hope Andrew Wiggins likes Cheese-steaks. Get it? Good!
How many games will JR. Smith start in New York?
Now let the real countdown begin, The NBA season is only 6ix days away!
I can imagine Daniel’s hesitation to ask for my thoughts on the NBA Finals this year. I mean who would a want a die-hard Heat fan using this platform to constantly gloat about how his team (Miami) is in the Finals for the third straight year, how they have the greatest player in the world playing at a super-human level, and have the possibility to get even better. Lastly, how likely a premature prediction during a little celebration, is VERY close to becoming a possibility. OK, I guess I should answer the first question now before I get fired?
Let me start by saying I’ve spent my childhood/adult life up idolizing two players: Gary Payton and – someone who idolized GP – Dwyane Wade. The early 2000′s were miserable for me to watch a slower, older Payton hobble down the court. Sure, he still trashed talked every opposing player but he wasn’t the defensive beast he once was. Luckily he was a contributing factor to the championship that no one else around here cared about besides me, the 2006 Finals. Payton retired shortly after knowing his body couldn’t sustain his game anymore. I’m afraid these days are closer than I’d like to believe for the obvious X-factor of the 2013 NBA Finals, Dwyane Wade. The years of slashing and cutting to the rim, and the recent extended seasons (2010, 2011 playoffs) have taken a dangerous toll on Wade’s knees. Averaging 14 points in this years playoffs, Wade looks like a shell of the man he was in 2006 when he won his first title. He has found other ways to contribute, but has been increasingly absent on the offensive front. He did find find a way to dig deep in Game 7, as he scored, rebounded and completely disrupted the Pacers defense to help Miami advance to the Finals. It’s a mystery to know if he can do it four to seven more times before a much need extended rest. If he can’t, the Heat will lose and will resemble a 2007 Cavs team, led by Lebron, that got swept out the finals.
While its expected to focus on the stars during the Finals, the supporting casts of both teams are far more interesting. Miami and San Antonio might be led by a collective of Hall of Famers, however, it’s the 8 minutes between the end of the 1st/3rd and the beginning of the 2nd/4th quarters that will make a difference in each game. Lebron and Tony Parker will each be on the court for 48 minutes, but can the guys they’re making plays for make shots when needed? I guess no better time to find out than the NBA Finals. No pressure at all…
I don’t want to admit it but the Spurs have the advantage because they have Mano Ginobli coming off their bench. It might have been a while since he won the NBA sixth man award, but he is still highly effective at spreading the floor, charging to the basket and getting to the line (flop or no flop). With proven veterans in Boris Diaw, Matt Bonner, Gary Neal and the surprising but hardworking play of Cory Joseph (Shout-out Toronto!), the Spurs clearly have one of the deepest benches in the league. Production can be attributed to having one of the greatest coaches off all time behind you (Gregg Popovich), but the players still deserve a lot of the credit.
Like the Spurs, the Heat have one of the most talented benches in the league. When Pat Riley Dwyane Wade convinced Lebron and Bosh to come to Miami the plan was simple. Load the bench with three point shooters who can make wide open shots. Signing Mike Miller, Shane Battier and Ray Allen are pretty good choices, are they not? While all thrive off James and Wade’s ability to spread the floor, their ability to hit these open shots cause chaos for opposing defenders. Yes, even they can go into slumps, but when they make shots, Miami is undeniably the most dangerous offense in the league. Credit must also be given to the best mid season pickup this year, Chris Andersen. Miami wouldn’t have gotten past the Pacers without his ability to defend big men, his efficient scoring in the paint, and most importantly, his energy. “Birdman” must continue to excel and the three point shot will have to drop for Miami to beat the Spurs.
Time will soon tell which bench can prevail and get the rings they most certainly deserve. (Yes, even you Tracy).
Heat in 5 – Miami is too quick and athletic. Sure, the Heat will be out coached at times by Pop and maybe look confused on some plays, but it’s always hard stupid to bet against the best player in the world. I just hope WHEN Miami wins, Chris Bosh is no where near the open champagne bottles.
Prediction -Miami in 4
The NBA Playoffs are only a few minutes away and here are my “not so bold” predictions for the postseason.
Miami Heat in 4
Chicago Bulls in 6
Indiana Pacers in 6
New York Knicks in 6
Oklahoma City Thunder in 5
Los Angeles Clippers in 7
Denver Nuggets in 5
San Antonio Spurs in 5
Also, this past week I joined the SamePageTeam for their Three for 3 feature. Daniel Reynolds, Dan Grant and I fight over our favourite first round matchups, our dream late round picks and the dark horses for the playoffs. You can catch the Samepageteam and I at Gameday on College watching every game, having some beers and yelling and fans who think they know more about basketball then us.
Laker fans are highly encouraged to attend….
This week Game6ix is back with the Same Page Team and their Three for 3 feature. We met up with Daniel Reynolds and Dan Grant as we talk about the losing teams with the brightest future, the contenders with the most to lose, and which unheralded player has meant the most to his team’s success so far this season.
You can read the full post here.
If Larry Sanders can like all three of us, so will you.
LET THE MADNESS BEGIN!!!
While everyone rushes to finish their last minute NCAA March Madness picks, I thought I would give you some help and post 2 of the 6 (of course I did 6ix) brackets for this years tournament.
The first bracket is the “safe bet”. All number one picks in the Final Four and the “favourite” right now which is Louisville. No surprises here!
The second bracket, I had a little more fun with Michigan taking it all the way.
When you see someone at work celebrating on the last day, like this….you’ll know why.