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Conversatons ourtside Conversatons

December 2015

THE STREAK: Witnessing history and beyond

PLUS: THE KOBE FAREWELL LEBRON’S MVP BID WILD WILD EAST +MORE


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THE BEGINNING OF THE END:

BACK TO BACK, 2 OVERTIMES, INJURIES AND MILWAUKEE? The Warriors have finally experienced a small blemish on what will likely be one of the great regular seasons in NBA history in a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks over the weekend. With this loss the Warriors are now a *time to panic* 24-1 in the official wins and losses columns and there was alot to be said about how this may have come about as the buzzer sounded in the Bradley Centre that night.

The first outstanding explanation for this loss stemmed from the game that took place 24 hours prior against the Boston Celtics. The Warriors actually gave a small glimpse that the streak might be coming to a close as they were missing Klay Thompson who was out with an ankle injury from the game prior against the Indiana Pacers. In a game where Thompson proved that he was not the forgotten

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sibling as one part of the splash brothers. Thompson had the type of game where you almost thought that the only explanation goes beyond something worse than the opposition taunting or local newspapers with a harsh headline becoming a hot topic. The other splash brother didn’t do so bad either, dropping an almost nonchalant 29 points. Whilst its easy to throw Steph’s points to aclamate these wins, the Pacers game was not close and it very quickly shadowed the claims that this was the Pacers chance of fame. Enter Boston and it was simply one of the great insights into how this young Boston team plays - Hard, Defensive, Diverse - and how much this could affect

the Warriors rigourous pace. Without Thompson the Celtics, even with great chances to end the game early, gave the Warriors a sloppily-played 2OT game that would ultimately show Golden State’s mortality.

The Bucks showed up, like the majority of the previous 24 NBA teams. They simply wore out an already worn out Warriors team. But that does not discredit Milwaukee , like any NBA team, there wil be those points throughout the season where you face the preverbial wall and crash straight into it. So where does this leave the Dubs? Can they produce another streak? There are more records for this team to break as the Warriors story is far from over, as this is just a new page in the book of the 2015-2016 season.


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C onversatons Courtside onversatons Courtside 20 YEARS:

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THE BEAN AND THE RETIREMENT TOUR WHAT A TIME.....TO BE ALIVE!

A few weeks ago, what most people threw out into the world of NBA conversation was the slow but eventual decision that Kobe Bryant would announce his retirement after a long and historic 20 year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. The Bean finally said it himself, after this season he will allow the Lakers to enter the dreaded re-build phase, but Laker fans have alot to looks forward to and I beleive they will prevail quickly. However as we journey through the 2015-2016 season, we can now celebrate all that is and was Kobe Bryant. The divide among NBA fans has always been clear - however this year the divide is no longer even if only for 82 games.

Kobe has embarked on the great “Farwell Tour” that some NBA players are privelged to and others are not and have their careers end rather abruptly. With the many injuiries Kobe has suffered over the last few years there are questions of whether Bryant will actually be able to finish this season at all to enjoy this final tour of the various NBA cities. Rather than entertain the what if’s it would be great if we could just embrace the man who showed us that competitive spirit can be a trait that shows the ultimate of highs and the media focused lows. The man that showed a generation that loyalty to a franchise was as paralel to his love for the game. The man that measured himself agaisnt the GOAT himself and gave a generation a glimpse of how to be a student of the game and let that be the guiding factor in the relentless pursuit to be nothing more than one of the best to ever play this game.


onversatons Courtside TOP 5 TEAMS IN THE CONFERENCE ourtside Conversatons December ourtside Conversatons EAST vs WEST

1 2 3 4 5

1 2 3 4 5

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Last year in a 6 game finals series we were all in shock as LeBron James put up some of the most insane stat lines for a single player that was without his 2 all-star partners. Ultimately this would have shaped the finals of 2015 completely different for this Cavaliers team. If LeBron had been named finals MVP, apart from the fact it shouldn’t go to a losing teams player, there was really no arguement against it. However, this was not the case and LeBron had given his Cavs a taste of something James knows all to well of at this point in his career.

So with a new season started, and some much needed resting time for injuries and overall team exhaustion, the Cavs are ready to focus on the main goal. James has been publicly showing a no B.S. attitude this year it seems, and he is hoping that the rest of his teammates follow his lead. And pershaps thats what it takes, the very Miami Heat-esque LeBron has clearly not been forgotten, James has a goal and he is determined to acheive it. This year is no different, in fact, it may have just got alot more difficult for Cleveland to battle for the Larry O this year, and it’s not just the teams in the west LeBron has to fear.

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THE KING WOULD LIKE HIS CROWN

These questions will be answered later, for now its about the MVP race. The list is a stacked one so far this year, and it’s not becoming any clearer as the season progresses. Every year LeBron is thrown into the converstaion, and why? Well... because... it’s LeBron.

However, LeBron is not just LeBron this year, which is why he should be considered for real this time around. Raw stats will tell you that he really hasn’t started showing his age just yet, in fact James has begun to diversify his game whilst still getting his own. James is showing us exactly what he can do with limited resources, just like he did agaisnt the Warriors in the finals. He still has that fire in him that says at any point he is willing to take a game into his full control and lead the Cavs to a win.

James, and his statsheet stuffing numbers, continues to make this look easy all while hearing that a new top dog is on the rise in the NBA. If he can manage to keep this performance steady, there is no reason why LeBron should not be considered for MVP, take the Cavs to another finals appearance and even take finals MVP and another championship. The window for opportunity is still open for James, and this season he looks to be siezing and taking control of it, so why not King James?


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THE NEW BLOOD: ROOKIES TO WATCH

Justise Winslow, Heat

Winslow has a great game already, his defense is among the best of rookie guards. Winslow may not stand out in the stats every game, but his potential could have him be a very key player for any team. The gifts are obvious and with a mentor as great as Dwayne Wade there is only room to grow and progress in the NBA.

Stanley Johnson, Pistons

Johnson is much like Winslow, physcially it’s all there, as NBA ready as you can get. Offensively, Johnson is not afraid to take or even create his shot. This has different ways of translating to the NBA system, in Detroit he has plenty of time to refine his game and has the skills to be a great scorer with a good all-around game.

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Devin Booker, Suns

Class of

‘15

Pure shooter! While Booker may not look as physcally imposing as the other players mentioned here, none of them can shoot like Booker. While we all watch the Warriors tandem in awe, it may be a good thing to keep tabs on this kid down in Pheonix. When you need scoring and energy, look no further than Devin Booker.

Bobby Portis, Bulls

Portis gives the impression of his teammate Taj Gibson, defensively that is. That defensive agressiveness however comes with a offense that could have Portis dropping a quiet 20 on teams and they don’t see it coming until they look at the box score after the game, talk about being and opposing coaches worst nightmare.


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WHO’S GOT NEXT?

BEN SIMMONS - LSU

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Even if you don’t watch college hoops, you know by now about Ben Simmons. The extremely skilled Australian made a huge name for himself all the way throughout high-school and is now bringing it to the college stage. At this point Simmons is a lock to go as the first pick, media outlets are already quick to dub him a hybrid LeBron.

BRANDON INGRAM - DUKE

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Speaking of hybrids, take a look at Brandon Ingram’s game and try to not think of him as a Kevin Durant 2.0. Ingram is another 6-9 bundle of athelticism, handles, shooting - the list goes on and while these skills aren’t completely polished and he [much like KD had to] could probably benefit putting on some muscle, the intrigue of what could be is enticing for any team.

GRAYSON ALLEN - DUKE

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The point guard position is huge in the NBA right now and Allen plays in every sense of the term of “Floor General”. He also seems to be a very controlled and poised player and he can score at will. Allen has tendencies of making great defensive plays also, and is not afraid of any player of the opposing team.

WAYNE SELDON JR. - KANSAS

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Player comparisons are difficult, being early in their careers and all. Seldon Jr. is one of those players on a team who is usually reffered to as the “glue” of the team. When the rest of the team is suffering, the glue guy is always there to show them the way, whether thats on offense or defense, Seldon understands this already in college.

SKAL LABISSIERE - KENTUCKY

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The eye test for college players who play the post and are lengthy varies majority of the time, however for Labissiere, he should really try to model his game after former wildcat Anthony Davis. Similar body type, and skills that can be added just as Davis has proved to continue doing as he begins to creep towards his peak in his young NBA career.

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WILD WILD

For the last handful of years it was the conference residing in the West that NBA fans would have never ending discussions on who would make it in the race to the playoffs. During these years the East was looked at as the irrelevant or at least the less competitve conference out of the two. For the most part this stigma was somewhat true, due to a few key reasons however. The biggest reason was in relation the players themselves, as the West boasted a collection of rosters that hosted multiple all-star talents with a list of accolades that would exhaust anybody to hear it start to finish. It was as if players were gravitating to Western teams year after year either through trades and the draft. Let history speak a very loud nod of approval to the West being the better conference by looking at the record between Eastern and Western Champions. Since the domination of the 1998 Chicago Bulls there has only been 5 Eastern Conference teams to win the championship since. This gives the West an edge over east showcasing a glaring 12 Champions since 1998. If those numbers alone weren’t enough to convince you the East was better, only two of those series went to 7 games. Basically by the time the chosen Western Conference Champion was crown, it was clear that team was ready for battle, and it would seem in most cases, the East was not. PAGE 7


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E A S T WEST

This season is a completely different story for the once little brother to big markets of the West. There a few teams who have been developing some big talent for a few years now and their emergence has been too apparent to ignore at this point. Young teams such as the Bucks, Wizards, Magic, Hornets, Celtics have in some way re-defined their franchise from front office to the players and even coaches. There are the 2 powerhouses of the East (Well, maybe 3 if the LeBron effect is taken into consideration) with Chicago and Miami (No. 3 Cleveland). These two teams haven’t had dramatic changes (This is where the LeBron effect takes place) other than Miami in one year. The keyword here is change, and in the case of the East, it was a change that has now made them a conversation that no longer can be summed up in 10 minutes or less. The players that reside there now are becoming topics of the league and it couldn’t have come at a better time, after all it’s really no fun if the East can’t have none. It’s time the West gave back some of that comepetitive spirit.

Fans should be excited to look forward to the Eastern Conference playoffs this year. It would seem that long gone are the days of waiting until the Eastern Conference Finals to get your fix of hard fought Eastern Basketball. The West is still “stacked” as most tag it, but for now the East is showing promise and that perhaps fans in the West will have to debate which team they would rather not face in the Wild Wild East.

“Ain’t no fun if the East can’t have none.”

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Courtside Conversations - December 2015  

December 2015 Issue, Covering the NBA and College Basketball topics - A great conversation about hoops throughout the magazine

Courtside Conversations - December 2015  

December 2015 Issue, Covering the NBA and College Basketball topics - A great conversation about hoops throughout the magazine

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