Russell Westbrook Should Have Waited for a Better Team

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Yesterday I wrote a whole thing about why I thought Russell Westbrook deserves to play where he wants next season, and I even gave a list of teams that I thought fit his style of play. Well, he got traded, but it was to none of the teams I picked, or to any team that most thought was even a contender. I was at my rec league basketball game when I got the news that Russ was headed to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul, 2 first round picks and 2 pick swaps.

This is insane. I thought it was a joke. I did not think it was true. I could not believe that the Thunder added 2 more first round picks, and by all accounts, they are going to offload Chris Paul as soon as they can, probably for more picks, or tradable assets. The Thunder, once again, got a great deal for a super star. And yes, Russ is a bona fide super star.

Before I get into the nuts and bolts of what I dislike about this trade, I want to touch on CP3. Man has he fallen off a cliff this past season, and offseason. He was once a darling of the league. He was the diminutive point guard that could run an offense, shoot and play great defense. He was the building block for the "Lob City" Clippers. He was the man while in New Orleans. He was even considered a great get when he signed with the Rockets 2 years ago. Now he is an added on trade, who is soon to be offloaded for picks. Age always wins, and we are currently seeing a Hall of Fame player age, and age badly, right before our eyes. He may end up on a solid team, but at what capacity? Is he a starter anymore? Is he a legit defender anymore? Will he really help a contender in the modern NBA? I'd say no, no and no. He would be best fitted playing in Miami alongside Jimmy Butler, or just retiring and get into coaching. How the mighty have fallen.

Now, why I dislike this trade so very much for everyone involved. I understand that Russ and Harden both wanted this. I know they are still good friends. I know that Westbrook is a younger and much more explosive version of Chris Paul. But, this back court is going to be rough to watch. Westbrook has been the guy in OKC ever since KD left. Even when they acquired Paul George, he deferred to Russ. In Houston, that is James Harden's team. That much was made wildly clear after they offloaded CP3 last night. Also, both guys need the ball in their hands to be most effective, and Harden, as he has done since he has been in Houston, likes to pound the ball for 20 seconds and shoot a three or try to draw a foul. How will that work with Russ? It won't. Russ, as much as I adore him, is not a good outside shooter, and with Harden pounding out the clock, he won't have time to get t the rim like he can if he is running the offense. Also, he and Harden are going to make guys like PJ Tucker and Eric Gordon just sit there and wait to try and get a rebound, or shoot a three. That is definitely not Tucker's game, and while Gordon is a solid three point shooter, just asking him to sit and wait would bother any player. Clint Capela should have fun with these guys, but now he is simply a pick and roll player on offense. Nothing more, nothing less. All they will want him to do is come up and screen for either Russ or Harden, and roll if he has it, or get ready to crash the glass. That may be what he is best at doing, but this will totally stunt his growth as a player.

Then there is Mike D'Antoni's offense, of which he has tailored to a player of Harden's skill. Now he is going to have to find a way to get Westbrook into the flow of the game. That will be asking a lot of a guy that has averaged a triple double the last three seasons. Also, they will have to get him to take a step back if they want to be as good as they can be.

On defense, the Rockets backcourt is going to be one of the worst in the NBA. We all know Harden's problems on defense. It has been well documented. Well, Russ isn't much better. Sure, he will grab a steal here or there, and get a few chase down blocks a season. But, more times than not, he takes plays off and relies on the help. Teams with a good to great back court could match them evenly. For all that is wrong with his game now, at least CP3 was a threat on defense. Russ, who is a much, much, much better player than CP3, has never played defense like him.

Finally, we have Daryl Morey. The star chaser. The guy that wants big names no matter how mismatched they are with his current roster. He tried this with Carmelo last year. That was a disaster. He tried this with CP3, and while they had a shot to beat Golden State, they didn't, twice, and haven't sniffed the Finals under his direction. And now he is bringing in Russ.

I dislike this pairing so very much. This is the cliché of "there is only one basketball" come to life. No matter how much these 2 like each other off the court, they are going to have to learn to share the ball if they want to be a contender. Neither has shown they can do that since they took over their respective teams. The Rockets will still be a good playoff team. But, I am not as on board as some other people are with Russ and Harden teaming up. I think it is going to be a super clash, and it will not end well for someone, or possibly both guys and the coaching staff. We will see. At least this has made this offseason even more crazy. I'm down for that anytime. But, I am not a fan of this trade. Not one bit.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing, the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast, and the greatest basketball writer on the internet. 

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Now We are Waiting on Russell Westbrook's New Team

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On Monday I talked about Kawhi's decision, and my opinion of the current state of the NBA. I talked a bit about the Clippers not only getting Kawhi, but also getting Paul George. I mentioned that I had heard rumors that the Thunder were now exploring trades for Russell Westbrook. Today I want to talk about my feelings on that, and which team, or teams, I think would be a good fit for him.

First off, my thoughts on the idea of trading Russ away from OKC. I think the time has come for both parties to move on. Russ has done all he can do for that team and that city. He ran the show when it was him, KD and Harden. When Harden left, he changed his game to play with KD. Some people don't agree with this, they are wrong. KD is an iso guy, and the fact that Russ was so important to watch while on defense, he made it easier for KD to get his. Then KD left, and all Russ did was lead a terrible cast of players, with a new coach, to the playoffs, won the MVP and averaged a triple double. Again, idiots will say he was a stat hunter and only cared about himself. I say, he absolutely had to do this in order for that particular Thunder team to win.

Then they acquired Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. That did not work out, but they still made the playoffs, and Russ and PG seemed to like one another. They liked one another so much, Russ convinced PG to sign a deal with OKC that offseason. Last season, one of Russ' worst, as far as stats go, the Thunder made the playoffs again, Russ averaged a triple double for the third straight year, and helped PG become an MVP candidate, before he got hurt. But, they lost in the first round again, and it was all blamed on Westbrook.

Then the Kawhi stuff happened. I mean, what else, sans winning a title, can Russ do for the Thunder? He has really given them his all, has played through injury, willed this team back to the playoffs constantly, kept them afloat when KD left and is a blast to watch play. So, I think, if he wants one final chance to be on a competitive team, he has earned that right.

This leads me to which teams I think would be good fits for him. One, I would love, LOVE, to see him go to Phoenix. Sure, they aren't a title contender, but to replace Ricky Rubio with Russ, and put him next to Devin Booker, and an athletic big like Deandre Ayton, that would push them to a possible playoff team, even in the West. He would sell tickets there as well. Also, Phoenix could take on the last 2 years of his contract because they have so much young talent that is clogging spots for other players. They could make this deal happen, and I wish they would.

I like the fit with Chicago. He could go there, be a stop gap for Coby White, who I think is going to be really good, and help a team with Zach Lavine, Lauri Markenan and Wendell Carter definitely get into the playoffs in the East. The Bulls also have guys with easy contracts to trade, and they have picks.

Detroit was odd for me at first, but I think sending him there for Reggie Jackson and Luke Kennard, plus picks, would make the Pistons fun. Russ and Blake Griffin, along with Andre Drummond could be a devastating pick and roll combo. And put him next to Derrick Rose, while not a great shooting back court, it would be explosive. I also think he would love to play for Dwayne Casey.

Then, my final team, the Miami Heat. I know the Thunder already have some of their picks, and trading Russ there would possibly take the picks out of the lottery, but they could get a good return of players, that they can turn into picks, and teaming Russ with Jimmy Butler could be a match made in heaven. Those 2 are cut from the same cloth, they will rip your will out of you, they would look cool as hell in those Miami vice jerseys, and Erik Spolestra has already shown he can coach mega stars to titles. Jimmy Butler and Russ may not be the duo you need to win a title, but in the East, who knows. I would love to see them playing against the Celtics or 76ers or Bucks. They would throw the hell down. This is what I hope, and want, to happen for Russ. I think it is almost too perfect.

Anyway, whatever what happens to Russ, I hope he gets a chance to compete, and that people stop blaming him for everything that has happened in OKC. It is not his fault. He has stayed tried and true to that team, and he can now do what he wants. He has earned that. I am fully team Russ.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing, the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast, and the greatest basketball writer on the internet. 

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Done Waiting on Kawhi

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So, last Friday I wrote about how I, like pretty much everyone else, was awaiting Kawhi's free agency decision. Well, he made it at 4 am the next morning, and he made it loudly. I was absolutely stunned, not by the fact that he joined the Clippers, but that Paul George was a part of this all along, and that Kawhi pretty much knew where he wanted to go from the start.

This is a monumental move by an enormous free agent, and the NBA finally, mercifully, has parity again. There is a big number of teams I could see competing for the title in this upcoming season now. The Clippers are the prohibitive favorites in mine, and pretty much everyone else's eyes. They have 2 of the best 2 way players in the game, Patrick Beverly is the perfect point guard for this team, Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell make for one hell of a duo coming off the bench and Mo Harkless was a solid trade pickup. They did mortgage their future, but they got Kawhi and Paul George. That is a move I would make 10 out of 10 times. The other LA team was left to scramble, much to my delight. I have loved hearing columnists say that "they are making out okay" with the signings of Boogie Cousins and Avery Bradley and Danny Green. Oh, they also brought back Rajon Rondo and JaVale McGee. Hilarious. They do have LeBron and AD though, and that is enough for me the make them a playoff team, but they are now the second team in LA. The Clippers have the better, more well rounded and younger dynamic duo. They also have a far superior head coach.

Also, these journalists trying to say the Lakers did fine, stop. They waited for Kawhi and he shunned them. They blew it, just like the Knicks did with KD. I love that Kawhi chose the Clippers because this means Rich Paul doesn't have as much pull as he thinks he does, and it proves how stupid Rob Pelinka is.

The Thunder are going to be an absolute mess next year, and for awhile. I hope for his sake they trade Russ. He deserves to go somewhere that wants him, and won't trade away super star players all the time. I would love to see him go to Miami, but time will tell. I will say, the Thunder made out like bandits in the trade. They got SEVEN future draft picks, 5 first rounders and Shai Gilgeous Alexander and Danilo Gallinari. Gilgeous Alexander is a guy they can rebuild around, and Gallinari is a great trade asset. But, they are going to be bad for awhile, especially if they trade Russ.

Back to the other contenders besides the Lakers and Clippers. In the West, we cannot just push aside teams like the Trailblazers, Nuggets, Rockets and Warriors. The Trailblazers did some weird stuff this offseason, but they still have Dame and CJ McCollum, and Jusuf Nurkic should be back at some point this year. The Nuggets have everyone back from a team that earned the 2 seed last season. The Rockets, even though they are totally dysfunctional, are still one of the better small ball teams in the league, and they can shoot the lights out. The Warriors have Steph, managed to somehow trade for D'Angelo Russell, get Klay back at some point, still have Draymond and they resigned Kevon Looney. While they won't be as dominant, they are still a playoff team. I can't forget the Jazz. Man did they did so much better this offseason. They are going to be real, real good. The Kings are up and coming too. New Orleans is going to be my favorite League Pass team. The West is going to be so much fun to watch this year.

The East is, in my opinion, Philly's to lose. They are so big, will eat teams up in defense and on the boards and will score just enough to win 55 or so games. They need to stay healthy, but if they do, they are legit. Milwaukee has the reigning MVP, they brought almost everyone back and they were the one seed last year. Giannis will only get better, and the shooting around him is key. The loss of Malcolm Brogdon will hurt more than they think, but they will still be good to great. Miami, especially if they acquire Westbrook, will be solid. They already have Jimmy Butler too. And they play hard and rough and solid defense. They want to take your will away, and I think they have the guys to do it. Boston should be thrilled that they don't have to deal with Kyrie anymore, and Kemba is a good replacement. They also have solid young guys like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. But, Brad Stevens loyalty to Gordon Hayward is a concern, and losing Al Horford is going to sting. The Pacers got some solid pickups in Brogdon and Jeremy Lamb, and when Victor Oladipo gets back, they will be a top 4 seed. The Nets will be a playoff team again this year with the addition of Kyrie. But, next year, even if he is only 70 to 80 percent of his former self, the Nets will be the Clippers biggest threat out East.

I cannot wait to watch the regular season again. This time it will actually count. A game in the middle of the year that features Orlando and Milwaukee, or the Clippers and Nuggets will be fun, and important. This offseason has been wild, and when Kawhi made his choice it was epic. It makes the NBA so much more fun. I can't wait.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing, the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast, and the greatest basketball writer on the internet. 

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Waiting on Kawhi

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As we approach the weekend we still have no decision from Kawhi Leonard as to where he will be playing basketball next year.

It is starting to get a bit frustrating for me. I'm obsessed with basketball, especially the NBA, and this free agency period has been absolutely wild, with Kawhi being the lone exception. Pretty much every other big name free agent has signed, or will officially sign tomorrow. KD and Kyrie are on the Nets. Jimmy Butler is going to Miami. Al Horford is going to Philly. Philly re upped Tobias Harris. Kemba Walker is a Celtic. Utah got Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdonavic. Indiana signed Jeremy Lamb and traded for Malcolm Brogdon. I mean, I'm sure I'm missing someone, but for the most part, the big names, and small names, are off the market. Danny Green and Boogie are still out there, but Kawhi is the biggest of the free agents, and he is taking his sweet time. I mean, I guess I shouldn't be as annoyed as I am. I mean, this is his choice, his decision, and he can do whatever in the hell he wants. He can go anywhere he chooses.

In my lifetime every other big time free agent made their choice fairly quick. LeBron signed with Miami, Cleveland the second time and with the Lakers last year before the Fourth. KD announced on the Fourth that he was leaving OKC for Golden State. When Dwayne Wade left Miami for Chicago, it was done before free agency started. Boogie signed with the Warriors before the Fourth last year. The big guys usually do not take this long to make up their minds.

It actually makes me wonder why he is taking so long. Is it because he is so much different than your average star athlete today? Does he not care about the limelight enough that he really wants to think this thing out? Has he really not made up his mind yet? Has he already made up his mind, and he is just toying with the NBA? Has Adam Silver made a call telling him he really needs to consider the Lakers to make them relevant again? Does Uncle Dennis want him to play somewhere he doesn't want to play next year? Is he going to sign with a surprise team?

I do think all of these are legitimate questions, and with a guy like Kawhi, I don't know that they will ever be truly answered. I think he is taking so long because he is a different dude. I like to believe that he is truly split between the Lakers and Raptors. Hell, I would even go as far to say that the Clippers still have an outside shot. I think he is legit writing a pros and cons list for each team, and pouring over it every night. I think he likes the idea of the Clippers because they are essentially the West's version of the Raptors. Also, it is his home and if he could bring a first title there, like he did for the Raptors, think of the legacy. But, the Clippers, to some, not me because they are currently more relevant, are the second LA team, behind the Lakers.

I think he is considering the Lakers because, again, it is home. But also, it is history and legacy and the ability to play with LeBron and AD. He doesn't seem like the "super team" type guy, but who in the hell knows with him. Maybe he has always wanted to play with LeBron, and AD is just icing on the cake. But, if he does go there, he is third in line behind LeBron and AD. Everyone will talk about him third. Also, it would seem so out of character. I've looked at him as the dynasty killer. The guy that avoids the "super team". He is the guy that wants to beat the best, not join them. And he has done that twice.

And then there is Toronto. Many said he didn't want to play there, that he wouldn't even show up after being traded there. Well, not only did he show up, he won them a title. He hit the crucial buzzer beater against the 76ers. He locked down Giannis in the East Finals. And he put that team on his back and dethroned the Warriors. Pretty much everyone returns from that team, they get OG Anounoby back, Masai Ujiri is staying and he is "the man" on that team. Also, a star player from a title team has never left the year after winning it all. Kawhi could, and would, be the one to change that, but I don't understand why he would. He has it made there, the team is good and he makes them the favorite. But, Toronto is not home, and he already won them a title. He may be looking for the next challenge for him in his career. I simply don't know.

I fear he is going to sign with the Lakers, but I hope he does a one and one deal with the Raptors, and tries to win back to back titles. If he stays in Toronto, they are the favorites. If he goes to the Clippers, they will be one of the favorites. And if he chooses the Lakers, they will be the Vegas favorite, but they will have to scrounge up the rest of that lineup. I'll be anxiously awaiting his decision, but I'm done checking #NBAtwitter and Bleacher Report obsessively. Kawhi is taking his time, so I am not going to wait with bated breath. He could choose today, or it could be another week. We shall see, and wait.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing, the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast, and the greatest basketball writer on the internet. 

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So Far NBA Free Agency has Been Predictably Insane

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NBA free agency started yesterday at around 5pm Saint Louis time, and it has been wild ever since. Yes, today has been a little less hectic, but yesterday was just a flurry of player movement, and big time contracts being handed out. I couldn't go a few minutes without my phone or watch buzzing with another player signing with a new team, or getting the max from their current team. It was nuts.

It all really started well before 5pm, as free agency always does now. But, right at 5:01, we got the big news that KD ad Kyrie Irving were both signing max spots with the Brooklyn Nets. This took me by surprise. I predicted on our pod 2 weeks ago that Kyrie would go to Brooklyn, but I thought KD was going to stay in Golden State. I even went as far to say that if KD were to leave, it would be for the Knicks. I was wrong. KD did go to New York, but he went to Brooklyn. I'm still trying to wrap my head around this a bit. I know that he wants to play with Kyrie, and the Nets are signing his good buddy Deandre Jordan, but still, the Nets? I wonder how much of this has to do with Jay-Z, how much it has to do with not being on the Knicks because James Dolan is a train wreck of an owner, more on him in a few, or how much it has to do with the years, and money, the Nets offered him? I think, given the report, it has to do mostly with Dolan being a humongous dip shit, and not offering him the max because he is apparently afraid of the risk in KD's injury. That is so god damn stupid. If you have a chance to get KD, you get him. Yes, he will not be playing this year at all, and it may take another 6-8 months after that for him to fully be back. But still, KD at 70-80 percent is still one of the top players in the NBA. The Nets, even though I am not a Kyrie fan at all, did get a whole lot better yesterday. But, be patient Nets fans, the payoff won't come for another year and a half, basically until KD is near full recovery. My hat goes off to the Nets though. They are relevant again.

This does mean they had to let go of D'Angelo Russell, who the Golden State Warriors somehow managed to get in a sign and trade. Just when you think the Warriors might have a bit of a down year, at least for them, they go out and find a way to get Russell, and today they maxed out Klay, who will miss most of this year too. But, the fact that they were able to get a player of Russell's caliber in a sign and trade proves how much this team wants to stay relevant. I know they had to offload Andre Iguodala to do this, but, as much as I respect Iggy, he is pretty much done. This was a tremendous, and highly unexpected move on day one of free agency. And Russell has gotten so much better since Magic traded him a few years back to the Nets. He is going to fit in just fine with Steph and Draymond and Klay, when he comes back.

The Heat, while it isn't a done deal yet, went out and got their star, hopefully, in Jimmy Butler. I like this move for both teams. Butler will be "the guy" in Miami, Erik Spoelstra has coached, at a very, very high level, the best of the best, Pat Riley is a great front office guy and there is no sales tax in Miami. Jimmy Butler, if he wasn't going to stay in Philly, made the second best choice in joining the Heat. They just need to get it done.

Butler's old team, the 76ers, gave Tobias Harris a huge deal, but I think he was the better of the 2 guys they traded for on that team. He is a better shooter, and a solid defender. He struggled a bit in the playoffs, but I think he will bounce back. They also resigned Mike Scott, an underrated signing if you ask me, and they got Al Horford to somehow sign there. I don't like that they gave him 4 years. But, with Horford, Embiid and Simmons, that is going to be a monster front court, especially on defense. I mean, good luck getting to the hoop on those guys.

They did lose JJ Redick to the Pelicans, and let me tell you, the Pelicans are crushing this offseason. They got Zion. They got a boat load in return for AD. They are about to sign Derrick Favors. I mean, this is about as fast, and as good, a rebuild as I have ever seen after a team trades a franchise player. I questioned RD saying they could push for the playoffs in the pod I already mentioned, but after yesterday, it wouldn't shock me to see them hang around all year in the standings. They are going to be a boat load of fun to watch as well.

The Bucks gave Khris Middleton the max, as expected, and earned. They also got Brook Lopez and George Hill back. They went out and nabbed Robin Lopez as well. They are, pretty much, running it back. And why not when they won 60 games last year and made the conference finals. But, they did trade Malcom Brogdon. I don't think this is as huge a loss as some do, but it will still hurt. They need to find another shooter.

Brogdon got traded to the Pacers, and the Pacers are going for it. They traded for Brogdon and signed Jeremy Lamb. They could still be in the mix for some trades as well, but I loved their moves so far. They get Oladipo back, they now have a solid scorer in Brogdon, Lamb can be a knock down shooter, and Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner is a very good, very young front court.

The Celtics lost out on Kyrie and Horford, and settled for Kemba Walker. I love Kemba Walker. I've loved him since he was at UCONN. But I fear that the Celtics will try and turn him into Isaish Thomas 2.0. That should not be his place in the NBA. I wished MJ would have paid up to keep him there because Walker was the only reason to even watch the Hornets. Now I have to watch him lose shots to guys like Gordon Hayward, that is a bummer. But, I don't blame him for taking that contract. That was some big money.

Orlando re upped Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross. They also went out and got Al Farouq Aminu. These moves are fine, but it doesn't really move the needle as far as them being a higher seed in the playoffs next year.

Portland has made some trades, but most importantly, they gave Dame his much deserved max extension. That alone will keep them in contention.

Remember when I said I'd talk more about James Dolan? Well, here it is. He didn't offer KD the max, which is stupid. He took a shoot first guard at number three in this draft. He didn't even try to sign Kemba. He completely whiffed on Kyrie. He traded Kristaps Porzingis last year. And his solution you ask? To give guys like Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson and Julius Randle two and three year deals. I mean, what the hell. I do like Julius Randle, just not as a first or second option, which he will be with the Knicks. Bobby Portis is more known for punching out a teammate in Chicago, and I think Taj Gibson is older than me. And, along with drafting RJ Barrett, who you all know I am not high on, they took Ignas Brazdeikes in the second round, and I watched him all last year at Michigan and think, this guy is not ready for the NBA. The Knicks are a joke, and that is sad. James Dolan is awful, and he needs to sell the team.

There was a bunch of other movement yesterday, and a little more so far today. But, the biggest name, after KD, is still left, and that is Kawhi Leonard. I don't have a single clue as to what he will do, and I am getting a bit frustrated at all the reports saying the Lakers are the front runners to sign him now. I have looked at Kawhi as his own entity. As a guy that wants to be "the guy" on his team. The guy that ends dynasties, doesn't join them. I was personally hoping he'd stay in Toronto, and he very well might, or go to the Clippers, and try and make them a better draw than the Lakers in the same building, and that can still happen too. But, if he sings with the Lakers, I will have a whole blog about how much of a bigger cop out that would be than when KD joined the 73 win Warriors. That would be completely out of character for him, and I don't know how well he would adjust to being the third guy on the Lakers. Also, he would be being coached by LeBron. Sure, Frank Vogel and Jason Kidd are "figureheads" there, but after last season, and this offseason, it is very clear who runs that team now. It is LeBron and Rich Paul. I don't see Kawhi taking too well to that environment. But, if he wants to be in LA, and he chooses the Lakers, so be it. It would be a punk move, but who am I to tell a guy to turn down that much money to go play in his home city. It would only make my hatred for the Lakers that much more intense. But, after all the big stars that signed yesterday, Kawhi is the biggest name left, and he will dictate the course of action in the league next year. Wherever he goes, or if he stays in Toronto, that team will be the favorite because he is there. We just have to wait and see.

I love NBA free agency, and yesterday felt like my birthday. It was a joy to see all the movement and big contracts being signed left and right. I cannot wait to watch the NBA this coming season. It is truly becoming the best sport in the world.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing, the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast, and the greatest basketball writer on the internet. 

Follow Ty on instagram and twitter.

SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.

Jimmy Butler to the Rockets is a Terrible Idea

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With NBA free agency on the cusp, it starts on Sunday, I have heard a ton of rumors about a ton of players. I don't know what is real, what is a smoke screen, and where these guys are going, but I'm excited to see all the player movement that is going to happen this summer. RD and I just did a pod about this, and I feel like you can hear my excitement.

One story that I read last night left me shaking my head. I wanted to believe that it wasn't real because it is so asinine that I couldn't believe it. Then a bunch of other reputable reporters came out and confirmed the news too. That news you ask, the Houston Rockets are going to actively pursue Jimmy Butler in a sign and trade as soon as free agency starts.

The whole sign and trade is now a big part of the free agency period, and some big moves have come this way. But, I am at a loss as to why a team like the Rockets, what with all the offseason turmoil, be that true or false, would want to pursue another ball dominant, head strong player. Butler also plays a totally different style of basketball than Mike D'Antoni coaches, and the Rockets have built a roster around.

As I read the story even further, I looked at some of the players that have been named as to who the 76ers would want for Butler, if this were to happen. Names like Eric Gordon, PJ Tucker, and most shockingly to me, Clint Capela, have come up as the names that the 76ers want, and who the Rockets would be willing to give up to get him. I know that earlier this summer Daryl Morey, who is a blowhard and wildly, wildly overrated in my opinion, said that every player on the team is on the trading block. But, to give up on guys like Gordon, Tucker and Capela is nuts. These three guys fit perfectly with what the Rockets do, but they are willing to offload them for a guy, while being a really, really, really good basketball player, may think a little to high of himself. Sure, he torched the Timberwolves other starters while he was there, but come on. Butler is good, but he is not worth completely changing your style, and giving up players that fit with James Harden so well. I mean, Eric Gordon is an elite knock down three point shooter. Without him, the Rockets would have lost the Warriors series in a sweep. He seemed to hit the big shots that they needed to keep leads, or build leads, in the 2 games they won. PJ Tucker is the best defensive player they have, and he is a better three point shooter than Jimmy Butler right now. Yes, Butler is a better defender, but he can't guard big guys like Tucker can. And Tucker, like I just said, can hit the corner three with great precision. I don't think he missed during the series against the Warriors. And Capela, while free throw shooting is a problem, and he was kind of played off the floor in the most recent playoffs, he is still so young and so talented. He is one of the better rim runners in the league, and he can be, if he is locked in, a defensive force against modern centers. Also, he still has time to develop a three point shot. I am a big, big fan of Capela's.

So, to give up on 1, 2 or all 3 of these guys for Butler makes no sense, as far as the Rockets are concerned, to me. Adding Butler to a roster that has James Harden and Chris Paul is only going to cause more problems. If you believe the reports, Paul and Harden despise one another. Paul doesn't think Harden has the drive of a champion, and Harden thinks Paul is old and not as good anymore. Both are right, but they need each other to win, or even compete, for a title. Add Butler to this mix. and I just don't know, or think, that this works out at all. Butler for one is not a three point shooter. He attacks the rim, but he is a mid range guy. The Rockets don't want anyone shooting mid range shots. They want threes, layups and free throws. That is not Butler's game. He would also be the only guy willing and capable to play defense on this roster after the trade, where it to occur. I also think he would get fed up with standing in the corner and watching Harden pound the ball for 20 seconds and shoot a three, or try to draw a foul. That is miserable to watch, and I feel like it would be even worse to be a player relegated to watching one guy run the offense. I also think he and Paul would gang up on Harden by the midway point of the year, and that would be awful. Harden is younger, and much more talented on the offensive end, than both of them combined. But I feel like they would try and ice him out. That is the worst case scenario for the Rockets.

This move makes zero sense to me. I don't like the Rockets, and I think it would be hilarious to see them self implode. But, they have a real shot with the current roster construct to win the title this upcoming season because of the Warriors injuries. I'd love the move for Philadelphia, but I think the Rockets should look in the mirror, I'm talking mainly to you Daryl Morey, and realize they don't need to add another toxic, alpha male to a roster that already has 2 of them. That would be a mistake.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing, the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast, and the greatest basketball writer on the internet. 

Follow Ty on instagram and twitter.

SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.

Ty's 2019 Mock NBA Draft

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Tonight is the NBA draft. I love the NBA draft. I used to watch all the picks when I was a kid, and even through my first few years of college. I still, to this day, follow every pick on my phone on one of my sports apps. I, for some unknown reason, am enamored by where the top players get drafted.

For example, I  was a stunned as everyone oelse when the Cavs took Anthony Bennett first overall. I was rooting hard for guys like Hasheem Thabeet and Brandon Jennings were lottery picks. I'll never forget that I fought hard that the Bucks won the trade that sent Dirk Nowitzki to the Mavericks for Robert "Tractor" Traylor. I vividly remember thinking the Vancouver Grizzlies totally blew it when they selected Bryant Reeves in the top three. My exact words were, "don't take that country fed white boy". Needless to say, the NBA draft, and only the NBA draft, has played a big part in ,y sports fandom. I also love the pageantry that goes into the whole night. I also like how fast paced it is. It is fun. For something so ridiculous, I love it. So, much like I did with the NFL draft in April, I will be ranking my top 10 prospects, and give you 5 guys that I think will not live up to the hype. I'm not going to do a mock draft because that is an exercise in futility. It is like picking the perfect March Madness bracket. No one has ever gotten even close to 90 percent of the draft correct. I like doing the top 10 and not so top 5 instead. I will also do in descending order. Alright, lets get started.

My number 10 player is PJ Washington from Kentucky. He is big, physical, can shoot, and will get better in the NBA, and he is one of the few Kentucky guys that benefited from coming back for another season. That made his draft stock soar. I feel like he will be a better version of David West, who was a multiple All Star. Washington is legit.

At number 9 I have Darius Garland. I know a ton of people have him much higher, and I am falling in that "potential" trap, but this kid was amazing in high school, and his 4 games at Vanderbilt were pretty good. He reminds me so much of Damian Lillard. He can shoot from anywhere on the floor. You have to guard him. He is also a good passer with a high IQ. The only knock, and why I have him at 9 and not 4, is the fact that he tore an Achilles, and only played 4 games. He has so much potential, but he will have to prove that he was not just a high school wunderkind. He has a whole lot to prove.

At number 8 I have Brandon Clarke from Gonzaga. I think I might be higher on him than any of the other "draft experts". You all know I love older college players. I pushed for Buddy Hield to be the number one pick in his draft. Well Clarke was a transfer from SDSU, refined his jumper and became a solid all around player while at Gonzaga. He was the best player on a team that spent a good amount at the top of the rankings last year. He will also understand that he has a role to play. He doesn't need the ball all the time. He doesn't have to score. He doesn't need to be flashy. He is the exact player that every team should want. He is going to be so good, and I think, because I believe he will slide past the lottery, that we will all look back in 3 or 4 years and think, damn Brandon Clarke is a good professional basketball player.

At number 7 I have Coby White. This kid is a flash of lightening, can shoot the three and plays like a traditional point guard. He is like Russell Westbrook, except his is a much more willing passer. He had a great ACC and NCAA tournament, and has been apparently lights out in private workouts. I also love his afro. Coby White is going to be good, but he has potential to be great. If he could land with Phoenix or Chicago, that would be best. Coby White is good.

At number 6 I have Jaxson Hayes from Texas. You cannot teach height, and this kid has a ton of it. He also proved to be a solid rim protector and rebounder in his one year in college. He can also score in the post, and shoot a little from the outside. But, he is very raw and young. It will take time, but I see him as being a better pro than John Collins, who I think is already pretty good. Hayes willingness to defend will keep him on the court as a rookie, and from there on out, he will only get better with coaching. I feel like he is the best traditional big in the draft.

At number 5 I have Nassir Little from UNC. Hear me out. I know he did not live up to the recruiting hype in college, but this kid is freakishly athletic, and if you want to take a chance, and hit a grand slam in the mid to late lottery, I wouldn't hesitate for one second in taking Little. He is the type of player, given the proper coaching, could turn out to be a star. Remember when Dwayne Wade went 10th overall? Or when Rashard Lewis didn't get picked until round 2? I feel like Little has that type of star potential if he is put in the right position.

At number 4 I have Little's teammate, Cam Johnson. Again, I know this is much higher than most have him, but the kid can shoot threes at a high clip, and isn't that what you want from a 6'7 guard in the modern NBA? He could very well be the next Klay. He has the ability to be that good of a shooter. He was lights out in college, and I can see that easily projecting to the NBA. If he gets picked by a team like Sacramento or Cleveland, I think they'd be delighted to have a knock down shooter from outside.

At number 3 I have a tie between Jarrett Culver and Deandre Hunter. Maybe this is unfair, or I should have done a top 11, but I don't care. After watching these 2 face off in the title game, I loved both of their games. Culver may not have had the best shooting game, but he can get to the rim, and he can shoot the jumper. He can also get to the line. And his defense is legit. He is such a good defender. Again, if you can defend, you can stay on the floor and learn the rest of the game. Culver will be  longtime pro. Hunter is almost as good a defender, and he can hit the open shot. He made so many big time threes in the biggest game of his college career. He was the reason Virginia won the title. That game, even though I already loved him before, put him over the edge for me. I have so much faith in Hunter and his ability to become not just a good pro, but an All Star.

At number 2 I have Zion Williamson. Again, here me out. Zion is one of the best athletic talents I have ever watched in the college game. He has thunderous dunks, which I love, and he plays hard defense. He is going to single handily going to save the New Orleans franchise. My only questions are, will he get into better shape because he will not be able to over power pros, and can he develop a shot. I think he can do both, but I keep going back to these 2 things when I think about the draft. I know he will be the top pick, and he will sell tickets, and I think he will be good, I just don't see him as the top player in this draft.

My top player, coming in at number one, is Ja Morant. I love this kid. I love his motor. I love his dunking ability. I love his relentless will to get to the rim. I love that he made his jumper more consistently this year. I love that he is a willing passer. I love that we got to see him, the national we that is, in the tournament this year. I love that he is a small school kid. I do not dislike anything about Morant. I have zero doubts that he will be an absolute star, and I love that Memphis is going to take him because they are the closest professional basketball team to me, and I can watch him play a ton next year. Morant is my guy. He is legit.

Now lets get to the guys that I don't think will be as good as projected.

At number 5 I have Rui Hachimura. Now, I like Hachimura, I just think he should have gone back to school for one more year to really hone his skills. He tested the waters last year, but came back to improve. But, he didn't really improve on the things I was hoping he would improve on. Sure, he is an okay rebounder, and can score in the post. But, his jumper is weak, he got exposed on defense, and the fact that Clarke surpassed him as the guy shows me that he needs more work. I hope I'm wrong on Hachimura, but I don't see it with him.

At number 4 I have Bol Bol. I know he has plummeted down draft boards, but I feel like that is for dumb reasons like, he has outside hobbies. So what? That shouldn't matter. But what worries me about him is the injury he sustained this year, and his frail upper body. He is so tall, but he is rail thin. Guys like Draymond Green or Serge Ibaka or Marc Gasol are going to destroy him when he is defending them, and they aren't even the best of the best. Bol is about as raw as they get in this draft.

At number 3 I have Romeo Langford. This kid was supposed to be the savior in Indiana, and they stunk this year. I watched him get bullied by Michigan this year. He couldn't do anything until the game was already decided. He needs a ton of work and time. He is not a lottery pick, and at time during the college season, he looked a step slow and confused. I think whoever takes him, especially if he goes in the lottery, is going to be upset when they trade or cut him in two years.

At number 2 I have Cam Reddish. If Little didn't live up to the hype, Reddish was a total "one and one" bust. He flat out disappeared at times during this past season. I forgot he was on Duke. I then forgot that he was the top recruit on that team. He is nothing more than potential. He didn't show me anything that jumped off the screen when I watched him play last year. He was non existent during the season, and in the tournament, when he could've really made a name for himself, he did nothing. I cannot believe this kid is a surefire lottery pick.

And my number one guy that I have no faith in is RJ Barrett. Yes, I understand he will be a very high lottery pick, but come on, how is he not a very, very, very poor man's Kobe Bryant? He has serious tunnel vision and only looks to score. There were times, and I loathe Duke basketball, where I would yell at him to pass the ball to Zion. He just puts his head down and tries to score. His jumper is also wack as hell. It is broken. He may have averaged 4 assists a game, but that was pure luck, or leak out passes to Zion for a dunk. It was a very hollow 4 assists. Barrett is going to go to New York, and he and Dennis Smith Jr will be fighting over shots all season, and the Knicks will win 15 games again. I just cannot get on the bandwagon for this kid. He is too self focused for me. I don't see it.

Okay, there is my "expert" opinion on 15 players that will get picked tonight. We will have to wait a couple of years to see if I was right. But, I am very excited to see where everyone gets picked, and I will have my eyes on the three Wolverines in the draft tonight. Yeah, the NBA draft is here. Get pumped people.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing, the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast, and the greatest basketball writer on the internet. 

Follow Ty on instagram and twitter.

SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.

Do Not Fear, the Warriors Will Still Be Good Next Year

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Last week I heaped praise on the Raptors, which was much deserved and expected. Then yesterday I talked about my feelings involving the Anthony Davis trade. Today I want to take a little bit of a deep dive into what I think the Warriors will look like next year and beyond.

What the Warriors definitely have is Steph Curry, and he is a very, very good basketball player. They also have Steve Kerr who has proven to be a very good coach. Sure, he has been gifted with some of the best NBA players ever, but you still have to coach those guys, and he has won three titles with them. They also have Draymond back for one more season, at least, and when engaged, he is a great defender, the key to running their offense, and plays super hard. By all accounts, Klay Thompson, especially if you listen to his dad, is coming back, although he is going to miss a solid portion of next season after tearing his ACL.

After that, it gets kind of murky. Kevon Looney made himself look like a solid free agent this offseason after his playoff performance. He may opt to leave for more money and playing time. Both Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala are near, if not already there, the end of their careers. Livingston more so than Iguodala. Jordan Bell is still there, and on a rookie contract, but he really regressed this season. Andrew Bogut will most likely retire again and head back to Australia. Alfonzo McKinnie showed flashes, but he needs some work before he is a solid starter. Quinn Cook is an okay shooter, and he has been in the Warriors system since getting in the NBA, but he is not the type of player that will be a starter on a title contending team.

And then we have the whole KD situation.

Who knows what is going to happen with that. First off, he will not play at all in 2020, and not until later in 2021. He ruptured his Achilles. That is going to take awhile before he is even ready to get back on the court to even shoot a ball. Then, all the rehab after that and then he has to get back into playing shape. He has a long recovery ahead of him. Also, he may not, I don't think he will, resign with the Warriors. I still believe he is going to the Knicks. (Sorry if that gets your hopes up RD) I think they do not care that he will miss a year because they can get another high pick next year which they can flip, or take a top prospect to pair with KD. I also think the Warriors have mentally moved on from KD. All year they have heard he was leaving, he hasn't said otherwise, and I think his time is done in Oakland. I believe he will sign with the Knicks, and this will open up some cap space for Golden State to help build around Steph, Draymond and Klay, when he comes back.

This is where it gets interesting for me. I don't think any top free agents will come there for awhile now. I feel like the top guys want to pull a Kawhi and beat them. So I think guys like Jimmy Butler, the aforementioned Kwahi, Chris Paul, basically any top guy on the market is off limits to them. But, I think they can get "lower" tier guys. I wouldn't be shocked if Kemba Walker at least thinks about signing there. I think Tobias Harris would be an ideal fit next to Steph and Draymond next season. I think they could lure shooters like JJ Redick to come play for them. I'd love to see them try and sign a point guard like Patrick Beverly, to help take the load off Steph on defense. I think they can go out and get guys like that, and still be competitive.

The Warriors will not be the top team in the West next season. That much is certain. The Lakers, as much as it pains me, will be good. Denver will be better. Portland is always good. OKC has something to prove. Utah, while having trash fans, will be much better. The West is still loaded, and the Warriors will finally be on the other side, struggling for playoff position. But, for the people saying that they won't be in the playoffs, and that they're done, I disagree. This franchise is too well run, even though they completely screwed over KD, to fall off a cliff. Also, as I have mentioned many times, they still have Steph, Draymond and Kerr. There is still a very solid foundation there. While all looks lost to those on the outside, I think the Warriors will still manage to win 48-52 games, and when Klay gets back to full health, I think they will be back to being a top 4 seed.

The point is that the Warriors will still be good, just not as good as they have been for the past 5 years.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing, the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast, and the greatest basketball writer on the internet. 

Follow Ty on instagram and twitter.

SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.

There Are A Lot of Winners in the Anthony Davis Trade

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The Lakers finally landed Anthony Davis. After a trade demand midway through this past season, an openly flirtation with the Lakers, tampering beyond belief, Rich Paul basically getting 2 guys fired, and the Lakers offering up the majority of their young talent, the trade finally happened. Well, technically it isn't official yet, we have to wait until early July. But, both parties have an agreement that Davis will be a Laker, and the Pelicans will get Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and 3 future first round picks, including the number 4 pick in this Thursday's draft.

To me, I feel like both teams got what they wanted. If you were to tell me I had to pick a "winner" of this trade though, I would say New Orleans won, and they won it by a mile. Yes, they have to give up Davis, who when healthy is a top 3 player in the league, and pairing him with LeBron, albeit at age 35, they will make a very formidable front court. But, the Lakers had to mortgage their future for what may only be 2 years of top notch basketball. LeBron is getting older, that is just a fact. He also missed the most time of his career due to injury last year. He also looked a step slower, and his jumper, while never good, was not effective at all last year. But Davis is awesome and young. He is a force on defense, he can rebound with the best of them, his jump shot is much improved, and when engaged, or not hurt, he is nearly unstoppable. He will also be out to prove something next year.

But, unless the Lakers can get another top level guy to come over on a deal worth much less than they expect, their roster is decimated. I saw a snapshot of the roster now, and outside of LeBron and Davis, it is bleak. They were able to keep Kyle Kuzma, who was, for some unknown reason, almost the guy who was the make or break player in this deal. Sure, he is a good scorer, and he can kind of hit threes, but he is a big minus on defense, and he will now have to be the third or fourth option. I don't know if he will like that. All the guys he came in the league with too, and had befriended, they are gone. He is the lone young player on the Lakers now. They we have guys like Mo Wagner, who can't rebound or play defense, Rajon Rondo, who is about a million years old, Lance Stephenson. who should have been out of the league 2 years ago, Issac Bonga, who I know zero about, Tyson Chandler, who is older than Rondo and Alex Caruso, who looks like the dude you hate to play in your local rec league. Dare I say, the Lakers bench is worse than the Warriors bench right now. Again, this can change if they get a Kyrie Irving or Kemba Walker or Jimmy Butler, but I don't see that happening. But, kudos to LeBron, Rich Paul and Anthony Davis, you whined your way to a trade to the Lakers, even if it meant destroying your future. It is now more clear than ever who runs the Lakers.

On the other hand, the Pelicans absolutely crushed this deal. They traded away a disgruntled player for 3 young guys that have certain skills they need, and first round picks for three years. They have the number one and number 4 pick in the upcoming draft. And lets say the Lakers have solid seasons the next 2 years, they will still get their pick, plus a second first rounder in the next 2 drafts. That is some Danny Ainge dealing KG and Paul Pierce to the Nets type shit. This is a homerun of a deal. I know Jrue Holiday was upset when Davis asked out, but if I were him now, I would be very excited for the future of the team. He is still there, and he is an underrated guy, plus he has all this young talent coming to play on his team. The Pelicans don't have to immediately blow it up and rebuild now. Holiday can slide over to the 2, and Ball can be the point. While I have been very tough on Ball as a player, he is a good point guard. He has great court vision, is a willing passer and plays solid defense. His shot is pure trash, but he won't need to shoot too much on this team. This may be the best thing for him too, getting himself and his dad out of LA. I still think very highly of Brandon Ingram. He is one Duke guy that I actually like. He also started to show flashes last season of what he can do. He is a long and lanky shooter. He can also get to the rim very quickly. His long stride is very good for the fast break. I bet of all the players traded yesterday he is the happiest. He looked miserable playing next to LeBron last year. Now he has a fresh start, and he will be one of the go to guys in New Orleans. Josh Hart was one of the few young guys that LeBron counted on last year. That shows maturity to me. The fact that he was willing to do what was best for the team is a trait I love in professional players. By the way, he can shoot and play defense as well. Hart will step in right away and be a solid contributor, do the little things asked of him, and I bet he will become an instant fan favorite. The Pelicans, who own the first pick, are going to take Zion on Thursday. That is the type of star power they need to replace Davis. Zion is not Davis, not yet at least, but he might be the best prospect since Davis. This kid is an amazing leaper with good passing skills and a willingness to play defense and be coached. He may not have been happy when New Orleans won the draft lottery, but if I were him now, I'd be stoked looking at this current team he's about to be on. The combo of him and Ball, especially on fast breaks, is going to be awesome. Zion will also get Ingram and Hart plenty of open looks. He will help out Holiday a ton. This is as about a perfect situation as a rookie can get. And with the fourth pick, they can go strictly based on need, and get a pretty talented player. I don't think they will get Ja Morant or RJ Barrett, and I don't see them taking a point guard like Darius Garland or Coby White due to who they acquired in the trade. But that means they can look at a guy like Jaxson Hayes, the big center from Texas. Or they can check in on DeAndre Hunter, a solid shooting 3 or 4 who plays defense. Jarrett Culver could be another option for them as a solid backup to Holiday. Brandon Clarke could be on their radar now. They can look at some overseas talent. They have, pretty much, endless options for the upcoming draft.

This was the homerun the Pelicans wanted to get with this Davis deal, and they absolutely knocked it out of the park. The Lakers should also be happy in this deal. They all got what they wanted. I will just say, I am more pumped to watch the Pelicans than the Lakers next year after this trade. They should be the more fun team to watch on League Pass.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing, the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast, and the greatest basketball writer on the internet. 

Follow Ty on instagram and twitter.

SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.

Make No Mistake, The Raptors Won the Title on Their Own

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I was going to write more stuff about my trip today, but the Toronto Raptors did it last night. They won the NBA title. They beat Golden State, for the third time I might add, in Oracle to win in 6 games. I'm going to try my best to make this piece just about the Raptors also. I have a lot of thoughts about Golden State's future roster, but that will have to wait for next week as well.

As I was saying, the Raptors won their first title in franchise history last night, and they looked pretty damn good doing it. The team really came together in the last 4 games of the Milwaukee series, and that continued in the Finals. Whatever kind of "slump" that Fred Vanvleet was in, he busted out of it in a big way. Every time he took a shot last night, especially a three, I thought it was going in. He just couldn't miss. They needed him to step up last night, and this whole series, and boy did he ever. He also played some hellacious defense. He stopped and poked and prodded and annoyed Steph all series. Serge Ibaka seemed to regain his mid range shot in the last 2 games. He was also good at attacking the rim, grabbing big time offensive rebounds and blocking pretty much every shot that Boogie tried to put up at the rim. Marc Gasol, while almost non existent except for game one on offense, was great on the boards, passing the ball and with his help defense. He closed so fast and clean on the screens that were being set. It was great to see an old fashioned big man play that type of defense, especially because the Raptors needed him to do it. Kyle Lowry was tremendous in this series. I know he gets knocked a lot for his playoff play, but he was awesome in the Finals. He did all the little stuff in the first 5 games, be it taking charges, making the right pass, running the Warriors shooters off the three point line and getting to the rim and foul line. Then last night he came out on fire. He had 17 points in the first quarter. He was an absolute joy to watch. His play in this series, for me, erases all the choking and bad play in prior playoffs. Pascal Siakim was excellent as well. He made Draymond, the self appointed greatest defensive player ever, look silly at times. He constantly attacked him. He got to the rim with ease and he finished more times than not. Game one for Siakim was a clinic. He made 14 of 17 shots for 30 plus points. Last night, he was almost as good, and he was hitting threes. If he keeps this up, he is on his way to stardom. Even guys like Danny Green and Norman Powell made a huge difference. Powell was the instant offense they needed him to be off the bench, and he was also harassing every Warriors guard that he guarded. Green was shooting so poorly all playoffs, until the Finals. He hit some big time shots in this series. I know he had one flub that could have been costly, but outside of that, he looked like the Danny Green of old. Nick Nurse did one hell of a coaching job in the Finals. He outcoached Steve Kerr in every single facet of the series. He was outstanding. If this was a report card, he got straight A's. Masai Ujuri's gamble paid off, and then some. The 2 trades he made this year won him a title. People, Raptor fans, may have hated them at the time, but they love him now for doing that. He took a huge risk, and it totally paid off.

The final piece of this title, Kawhi Leonard was masterful throughout the playoffs. He did every single thing that was asked of him. When he needed to lock guys like Giannis or Ben Simmons or Aaron Gordon or Klay Thompson down, he did. When he needed to score, he scored plenty. When they needed a final shot, he took it with gusto and made it. When he was double and tripled teamed, he found the open shooter. When he got hurt, he came out and played like the injury didn't even bother him. When he needed to grab a big board, he got it. He was, dare I say, Jordanesque in these playoffs. I have not seen one player dominate as much as Kawhi did in the playoffs this year. At least not since Jordan. He is not Michael Jordan, but he evoked his play in the 2019 playoffs. He was absolutely amazing to watch. He did it all at such a high level, and he did it better than everyone else. He totally deserved the Finals MVP. I mean, who else could it have been. I hope he decides to stay with the Raptors because I think they can be a special team. But, I don't think anyone would blame him if he left. He won a title for that city. He was awesome.

I was very happy to see a new team win the title. I'm in no way a Warriors hater, but I do like to see different teams win sometimes. And the Raptors earned and beat the Warriors. Don't get that twisted. Don't throw the injuries in my face. The Warriors first title was against a Cavs team almost as depleted as this Warriors team. The Raptors outplayed and outcoached the Warriors at every position. I'm so stoked for the Raptors and the fans of Toronto. Congrats Raptors, you guys earned this title.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing, the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast, and the greatest basketball writer on the internet. 

Follow Ty on instagram and twitter.

SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.

This New KD Injury Sucks Again

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I stated yesterday that I was going to talk about the many things I enjoyed about my recent vacation unless something wild happened in other pop culture stuff that I write about, and we had the KD incident during game 5 last night. I have to give my thoughts on this today.

First off, I was one of the people that did not think he was going to play at all in the Finals, and I still thought the Warriors would win, with ease I might add, without him. After he grabbed at his calf, without being touched by anyone, I just assumed it was much worse than a strained calf. I had feared for him that he tore his ACL. You usually don't see an athlete grab at a part of their body, untouched, and it is as simple as a strain. That is usually a sign of something much worse. So, when he missed the rest of the Rockets series, and didn't play at all in the West Finals, I just assumed they were going to sit him out, and that he would sit out to save himself for free agency. The Warriors were also clicking insanely well, as I wrote about after the West Finals, and I just assumed this was going to be the end of the KD Warriors as we knew them.

Well, the Raptors had other ideas. They came out like a wrecking ball in game one of the Finals. They looked locked and loaded. Kawhi was, and still is, playing at a whole other level. The Raptors beat the Warriors, but Golden State came back and won game 2. Then they looked really, really bad, at home, in games 3 and 4. Steph was trying to draw fouls instead of just shooting the ball. Klay would come and go, and his defense was inconsistent. Draymond was a turnover machine. Kevon Looney, who was playing well, broke his clavicle I believe. Boogie Cousins was even more inconsistent than Klay. And their team defense was just horrendous. They didn't just get beat in games 3 and 4, they got schooled. The Raptors were beating them at their own game, and they were making it look clinical.

So, after game 4, in which the Raptors simply destroyed the Warriors, especially in the third quarter, the rumors started to swirl that KD may play. Then, he was cleared for practice on Sunday. When I saw that I was kind of stunned. I mean, he hadn't played in over a month, all the reports that were coming out prior had said that he couldn't fully participate in all the drills, he wasn't playing 3 on 3 or 5 on 5 games. It was all bad news. So, when he got cleared, I shook off the initial shock and I then realized he was going to play in game 5 no matter what. I assumed this was going to be the modern Willis Reed moment, look it up. But, he came out and he made his first 2 three pointers. He then dove on the floor for loose balls. He was playing okay defense. He didn't look fully healthy, but he looked a hell of a lot better than I expected. He scored 11 points in the first, and I just assumed he was back. Then, while making a simple move early in the second, he immediately lost the ball and clutched at the back of his already injured leg. This time though, it was higher up. I said out loud, "OH NO". This was the absolute worst possible scenario I could think of for the Warriors, but more importantly, KD. This was the biggest fear, and it was coming clear to all of us watching the game that he was hurt, and he should not have been out on that court last night.

Now, I do want to say, for all the guff I have given KD since joining the Warriors, I take it all back. For him to come out and give it a go last night was amazing. He sacrificed himself for his team. He knew that they needed him, and he went out there, even though he wasn't even close to being healthy. You could see the lift he gave the Warriors just by being on the floor. He is a true basketball player. I gained so much more respect after seeing him out there last night. I don't blame him one bit for wanting to play. He went there to win titles, and when his team had their backs against the wall, he played even though he knew he wasn't fully ready. This is the case with most high caliber athletes. They want to play, and if they feel ready, good luck telling them no.

Who I blame for this horrendous, and preventable injury, is the Warriors team doctors, front office and Steve Kerr. Kerr, above anyone else, should have known that he wasn't ready. He was a former player. He has been around KD for three years now. He knows the toll winning multiple titles takes on the body. Yet, he still let him play last night. I think he has gotten so greedy with his titles that he was willing to look past his best overall player clearly injured, and he put him in the game knowing he could further injure himself. Kerr has also been wildly outcoached in this series, and I think he supposed putting KD in might mask that. As far as the owners, I think they realize this is probably the last shot with this current team, so they threw caution aside, and safety, and told the team they needed to play KD last night. They too are greedy, they are leaving Oakland, and they are most likely losing KD. So, they decided that they needed to throw him out there for one last hurrah. They don't play, they are just rich Silicon Valley guys, and I'm sure they figured he has had enough time off. They had to have had a say in him playing last night. Also, the fact that team doctors cleared him to play last night is appalling to me. As I said, he was making shots and diving her and there, but you could see he wasn't fully right. He wasn't slashing and cutting to the rim. He was shooting set shots. He couldn't move very well laterally on defense. He was clearly not even close to 100 percent. It is disgusting that team doctors cleared him last night. I cannot believe, at this high a level of basketball, that some people with their PHD's decided that he was okay to play high level NBA basketball. I hope those doctors are losing sleep now that this has happened.

This is a real bummer. This is so much worse than what happened in the series against the Rockets. This was on display for all to see last night. Again, I do not blame KD one bit. He is a basketball player. But, for all those other people I mentioned, to put him out there, that is a drag man. He now, and there is no official word yet, has probably a year of recovery time before he gets back to being KD. That is a shame. I wish him a speedy recovery, but it didn't have to be like this. This didn't have to happen. What a bummer.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing, the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast, and the greatest basketball writer on the internet. 

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These NBA and NHL Finals are About Respect

Bring it home Blues

Bring it home Blues

Have you been paying attention to the NBA and NHL Finals? You should because things are getting quite crazy. Going into the 2019 version of the NBA and the NHL Stanley Cup finals the narrative was about inevitability. Now that the games are being played, the narrative is changing.

The story in the NBA was about the last hurrah for the super powered Golden State Warriors. Nothing was going to stop this dynasty soon destined to be broken up due to free agency. Steph, Klay, and Draymond started it all, but Kevin Durant was going to bring them another championship on his way out the door. Even after KD got hurt, the Warriors still seemed unbeatable. The Raptors have the awesomeness of Kawhi, but not much else. Many reputable experts picked the series not to go longer than five games with Golden State being victorious. The narrative was about the dominance of Golden State, and there was no respect afforded to the road that Toronto forged to the finals.

Right now the Toronto Raptors have a two games to one lead in the best of seven series. If the series does indeed go five games, it will be Drake dancing along the sideline. The Raptors have relied on Kawhi, and they should because he is great, but the rest of the team has been pulling more than their own weight. Add the effort of the Raptors to the injuries on Golden State, Toronto is taking their chances. In all three games the Raptors have outplayed Golden State ten of twelve quarters. Yes KD would probably make a difference, but he is not there. Toronto is earning respect by not backing down from the unbeatable Warriors. The Raptors may turn that respect into an actual title. That would be crazy.

Over in the NHL Stanley Cup Finals, the St. Louis Blues keep trading punches with the dominant Boston Bruins and the series is now tied 2-2. On a side note, I know a lot about the Blues and their playoff struggles. I grew up in St. Louis and watched many of a hockey game. Growing up I saw guys like Scott Stevens and Brett Hull become superstars, only they then leave St. Louis and win Stanley cups in new cities. The Blues made the playoffs almost every year I lived in St. Louis, and they almost never made it out of the first round. Now they have made it and they are taking their chance.

In this current version of the Stanley Cup Finals, Boston is the team built for championships, St. Louis is the team built in hopes of making the playoffs and getting hot. Well, St. Louis got hot. Yet like the Las Vegas Golden Knights of last years Stanley Cup finals, the Blues are not losing that winning feel. The Blues are making sure that Boston, and the rest of the hockey loving community, know that they are in this thing to win the cup and finally hoist it under the Gateway Arch. The Blues are earning respect.

The series are still young, and a lot can still happen, but the Toronto Raptors and St. Louis Blues came into their respective championship series as afterthoughts. They are not being looked over anymore. Toronto and St. Louis know that by winning just a few more games, they can change the narrative. What was once a nice story can become a tale of legend.

The Raptors and Blues have earned our respect in these finals. They just may end up earning their first title along with it.

RD

RD Kulik is the Head Editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. 

Is this the first time SeedSing has written about hockey? What’s next, Ty’s views on Major League Soccer?

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I Finally Found Some Good Running Shoes

These are not the good shoes you are looking for

These are not the good shoes you are looking for

This piece today will be my last for a week. I am about to go on a vacation for all of next week, my wife and I will be celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary, and we wanted to go on a trip just the two of us, and even bloggers and podcasters deserve a vacation. I'm super stoked because it is just us, we have a short flight, and we will be swimming in the ocean and hanging out on the beach for 6 days. It is going to rule. But, I do want to write about one thing today so I don't leave you high and dry for over a week.

As you all know, if you read and listen to the pod, I am a runner. I also love to hike and play basketball. But running is where it is at for me. It is free, it is easy and I now know what people used to talk about when they said "a runners high". But what makes running so special for me, all you need is the will and a pair of shoes. It can be 100 degrees outside, or freezing. It can be sunny, rainy or snowy. It can be humid or breezy. It doesn't matter as long as you want to do it, and you have proper shoes. And shoes are what I want to touch on today.

I have written before about Nike being king of the shoe world, and I still fully believe that to be true. I still will only wear Nike for basketball. They make the absolute best basketball shoe money can buy. But, outside of basketball, I have been on the hunt for the best running shoe, and I think I may have found through the help of a very good friend. At first, when I was a novice runner, I wore Asics. Those were fine, but I wore them more because they looked cool. I had some kick ass glow in the dark low top Asics that I loved. But, I tore through those in about 2 or 3 months. I then tried Nike. While Nike has cornered a good portion of the shoe world, I found their running shoes to rip up much faster than I expected, given they started out as solely a running shoe company. The light weight fit was great, but with my big feet, and even bigger toes, I would absolutely shred the front of the shoe in just a little over a month. I then talked to some people I knew that were runners, and they recommended Brooks.

Brooks are tremendous. For the majority of the beginning of my race running, Brooks were the only shoe I would wear. They had nice thick soles. The comfort was exceptional and they felt like the perfect running shoe. They also lasted longer. I thought I found the perfect running shoe.

Another close friend of mine told me to try out Hoka. I hadn't heard of that brand, but I was told that they were thicker and more comfortable than Brooks. I needed to try it for myself. I bought a pair, and I was blown away at how correct my friend was. I was sold on Hoka's. I wore them all the time. These weren't just my running shoes, they were my everything shoes. I would not leave the house without my Hoka's on my feet. But, after running a half marathon, a couple of trail races and a good amount of 5 and 10k's, I noticed that the sides were starting to fray. I went for a run one day, and I had a complete blowout. It was so bad I am shocked I didn't hurt myself. I was on the hunt again.

This is where my good friend, and running buddy told me about Altra running shoes. I had never heard of the brand, and like a great salesman, he sold me on, at the very least, trying Altra's out. I went to my local running shoe store, talked to their trail running expert, and they seconded what my friend had told me about Altra's. What sets this shoe apart from every other running shoe is the toe width. They are designed with extra space in the toe so that when your feet expand fro running, it is a real thing people, you don't feel it because of all the room. That was the first indication that I found that made me think I would love these shoes. They also have a thing called zero drop, where when you go down a hill, or a curve, it doesn't wreck your knees or feet. The shoes are designed to stabilize your legs and feet. They also have a built in sole that pretty much forces you to run in an upright position. If you have the wrong running posture, Altra's will get you to run right. And it has totally paid off. I don't have back or knee pain anymore because I am running correctly.

I now love Altra shoes so much, I bought a pair of their casual shoe as my everyday shoe. It has that same toe width and excellent traction i found in their trail running shoe. I think I have finally found the best running shoe that the US has to offer. Altra shoes are as close to perfect as it gets. I have my buddy mostly to thank for this too. Without his knowledge and recommendation, I don't know if I would have stumbled upon this tremendous shoe.

If you are a runner, and you haven't yet found the right shoe for you, I highly recommend trying out Altra. They rule. Okay people, I will talk to you all in about 10 days. I just wanted to leave you with a piece about a great running shoe company. See you all soon.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He is wrong about needing shoes to run. The head editor ran the last half of a college cross country race in bare feet because his shoes failed him in the first half. The head editor came in dead last.

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Richie Incognito Again? What the Hell NFL?

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Yesterday I heard some very, very troubling NFL news, yet I am not shocked, which is a problem in and of itself. I heard that Richie Incognito was coming out of retirement, and he had signed with the Oakland Raiders.

I mean, what in the hell?! This is absolutely insane to me. I cannot believe that this steroid infused, racially insensitive bully gets what seems to be his one millionth chance, while Colin Kaepernick is still unsigned, and it seems like no team is even willing to give him a chance. The fact that a horrible human being like Richie Incognito gets yet another shot drives me up the wall. And, this isn't coming from a place of dislike for his college team, Nebraska. No, I am not a fan of the Nebraska, but I could care less that he went to school there. What makes me so angry is his off, and on field attitude, and the fact that he just keeps getting chance after chance after chance, no matter how awful his personal life gets.

Let’s break it down. We are talking about a guy that bullied a former teammate so much that he was contemplating suicide. Now, I know all about the former teammates misfortunes after leaving football, it is awful, but I feel like Incognito was the one who pushed him over the edge. He pulled the final straw. You then look at his on field stuff, he is out of control. He is just as liable to pull a guy's helmet off as he is to make a block. If someone on the line does something he doesn't like, he will ream that player out on the field, during the game. He is a head hunter. He throws illegal blocks. He is a dirty player playing a very violent sport. He is also a terrible racist. He has made it clear that he loves the current "president". He, I'm sure of it, wears confederate flag stuff. He is the epitome of a pick up truck driving hillbilly. He is just a miserable human being.

I know Incognito is trash from a personal encounter.

When the Rams were still in Saint Louis, my mom worked at a battered woman and children's center. She used to coordinate a 5k every year, we showed up to support her, and the Rams would send a player or two. One year they sent 2 guys, one of which was Incognito. The other guy they sent, his name escapes me at the moment, was also an offensive lineman, and he had previously played in Jacksonville with a high school friend of mine. I was very intrigued to talk to this gentleman because I wanted to know how my buddy was doing in the NFL. My mom brought me over to introduce me to the 2 guys, and upon hearing who they were, I said hello to Incognito, and then I kind of cornered the other guy because I wanted to talk about my friend. When I did this Incognito looked like he felt disrespected. He had this look of awe and anger on his face because he was supposed to be the big name at this event. First off, he was only there because he had just gotten in trouble for assault against women, and the Rams sent him to try and smooth things over. I'm sure he would've rather been anywhere else that day. Second, I could've cared less that he was there. I had zero interest in talking to him about anything. I know that the two of us have nothing in common, so why would I waste my breath on a person that would just upset me. That seemed like a waste of time to me. Third, he couldn't have been more of an asshole to everyone there that day. We are talking about people who do a very hard, very tough job, and Incognito just had this air of arrogance about him. He was, for lack of a better term, an asshole. I don't like to associate with people like that. So, my dislike for this move is so much more than just the college team he played for.

Richie Incognito is everything that is wrong with the NFL. He is the exact opposite of what the NFL should be going after. He is abusive and rude and arrogant and a clown and a bully and racist and just a bad, bad person. The fact that he is getting another chance, or that Chad Kelly, go look up stories about this monster if you want to be appalled, is getting another chance, but Colin Kaepernick has had to lose his career for a peaceful protest, I am getting to a point where I just can't do it with the NFL anymore. For the Raiders and Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock to think that this would be okay is astonishing to me. This is disgusting and despicable. If Roger Goodell wasn't such an awful commissioner, and a coward, I would hope that he would have vetoed this. Of course he didn't, and now I have to read stories about a horrible person.

This is bad, and the NFL is going to lose even more viewers. This is also a slap in Colin Kaepernick's face. He was a peaceful protester, and he has lost his career. Meanwhile, guys like Chad Kelly and freaking Richie Incognito continue to get signed. What a crock.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast.

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Ty Reads "Basketball: A Love Story"

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This afternoon I just finished the book "Basketball: A Love Story". This book was on my must read list since right before Xmas. I got it as a gift, and it finally found its way into my rotation about a month ago. I am a slow reader, but this book is stuffed with all kinds of wonderful basketball stories. Rafe Bartholomew, Dan Klores, and especially Jackie MacMullan, have done something magical with this book.

For those that may now know, "BALS" is pretty simple when broken down. The book is pretty much a series of interviews in every chapter. They have a topic, they talk to some of the prominent figures from that topic and each writer adds a bit more info in the middle or end of each chapter. There are also some tremendous photos in this book as well. When you break it down a bit more, the book is so much more special.

Some of the things that the writers touch on, and get the interviewees to talk about are simply astounding. The whole chapter that is dedicated to the racism in the early stages of the sport was eye opening. Hearing Oscar Robertson and Bill Russell talk about some of the horrific things they had to deal with was harrowing. I couldn't believe that stars as big as them dealt with the idiocy and maliciousness of racism. It was nuts to hear Russell talk about leaving a hotel because they wouldn't allow his teammates that weren't white to stay there. Also, hearing about the whole "quota system" they had when integrating the league was bizarre and stupid. I cannot believe this sport used to do things like this. It was sickening. The NBA has come a long, long way. I also enjoyed the ABA chapter. What I loved about this chapter so much was, I have read "Loose Balls", which is extraordinary, and I highly recommend that book, it was like an extra chapter from that book. They told new, and different stories that I didn't read about in "Loose Balls". It was the same thing with the Magic Johnson and Larry Bird chapter. I've also read MacMullan's book on the two of them, and this chapter in "BALS" was another great extension.

What separates this book from other basketball books for me was the wide swath of subjects they talked about. I talked about the racism, Magic versus Bird and ABA stuff. There were also chapter dedicated to the Duke-UNC rivalry. They also gave Dean Smith and early UNC an entire chapter, which made me respect the hell out of Smith and that program. Their chapter on the influence to the foreign game was excellent. To hear about young Arvdyas Sabonis was awesome. I forgot how great a player like Sarinlous Marcilonus was. Drazen Petrovic could have been one of the greatest if not for his accident. Yao Ming was an exceptional talent. Toni Kukoc, Peja Stojakavic and Vlade Divac were very open. It might have been my favorite chapter. I also loved the chapters where players simply talked about their love for the game. I adored the chapters about Pat Summit, Geno Auriemma, the Tennessee-UCONN women's rivalry and the beginning of the WNBA. It makes me want to start watching the WNBA again.

"Basketball A Love Story" is a tremendous read. It is a must for hard core NBA fans, and I think even the casual fan would find it illuminating. This book is a work of art, and I know that this will not be the only time I read it. This is a multiple read for me. Check it out. This book rules.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He wishes a book would cover the golden retriever takeover of American sports. Air Bud needs his due.

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Ty's 2019 NBA Finals Preview

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The NBA Finals tip off in 2 days. I'm coming to you today with one of my favorite blogs to write, and that is my finals preview and prediction.

I will say, in the entirety of this website, I am pretty sure this is the first time that the Warriors are not going up against the Cavs. The Warriors are still there, but after the debacle that was the Lakers season, and LeBron going out West, this year, the Toronto Raptors exorcised some demons, traded for Kawhi Leonard, and they are there as the East's representative. Unfortunately for them, I don't think Kawhi will be enough to dethrone the Warriors. He is also hurt. And, along with Kawhi, the Raptors acquired Danny Green for his three point shooting and defense, but in the past 2 series he has been pretty much unplayable. He isn't making shots and he is getting beat regularly on defense.

It also needs to be said that the Warriors will, most likely, be without KD for the Finals, and even though he has hinted at playing, I think it would be better for both parties if Boogie Cousins didn't play either. But, last week I wrote a piece on how much fun the Warriors have looked since KD went down with a calf injury. They are certainly not better, no team would be better if their best overall player was out. But, they are so much more balanced, and fun, to watch again. This current iteration, as I said last week, reminds me of the first Warriors team led by Klay and Draymond and Steph and Steve Kerr that won the title in 2015. They play a lovely brand of space and pace. They are a faster version of the Spurs, with much, much more prolific shooters.

So, while I don't think this series will go very long, I do think it will be a tough played and hard fought Finals. Kawhi Leonard has been otherworldly in these playoffs. He has been a scoring machine. He has held up like the boss he is on the defensive end of the floor. He definitely got into Giannis' head in the last series, and shut down Ben Simmons. Who's to say he won't do that to a player like Steph or Klay. But, therein lies the problem with the Raptors, and what benefits the Warriors. Kawhi can only stop one guy. Whoever he isn't on has the ability to go off, especially if they are a perimeter player. Look, I love that Kyle Lowry has played better in these playoffs, but either Steph or Klay will torch him. And who's to say that he won't regress in the Finals. I hope he doesn't, but that seems to be his move every year in the playoffs. He's also going to find it hard to score on Klay, who I imagine the Warriors will put on him. Draymond is the biggest X factor in this series. He has been wildly impressive during these playoffs, running the offense and playing exquisite defense. His scoring hasn't been there, but they haven't needed him to score. Does he guard Kawhi, or do the Warriors basically let Kawhi get his, and dare everyone else on Toronto to beat them? I'd say they let Kawhi go off because, outside of him, no one on Toronto has put together a solid stretch of games. Pascal Siakim has been better of late, but he has been very inconsistent, and this is, by far, the biggest stage he has ever played on. How he reacts to the big stage will say a lot about Toronto's hopes for pulling the upset. Serge Ibaka has been to a Finals before, but he has only gotten older and slower since then. He is also a mid range shooter now, and the Warriors will use their speed to get him off the floor. This is also the furthest that Marc Gasol has ever been in the playoffs. He has also been a reluctant shooter all playoffs. He will have a height and weight advantage on whoever plays center for Golden State, with the exception being Andrew Bogut, but he is well past his prime. But, I don't think that will matter. I don't think he will be able to keep up with the speed that Golden State has been playing with since KD went out.

Kawhi Leonard is great. He has reestablished himself as a top five player. He is going to make a ton of money this offseason, and this postseason from him has been a joy to watch. That will only be good enough for 1 game to me. I am picking the Warriors to win in 5 games. But, I think it will be 5 hotly contested games. I get the same feeling from this matchup as I did from the Blazers-Warriors West Finals. The Blazers are a good team, they just aren't at Golden State's level, even without KD. But, no team is as good as the Warriors are. They are a dynasty. They are the 21st century Bulls. And the fact that I don't even think they need KD to win their third straight finals should speak volumes as to how good I think they are.

The Warriors are the dominant NBA team, and they will win their third straight finals to really cement their status. I cannot wait for Thursday. Lets get back to some NBA playoff basketball.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing, the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast, and the greatest basketball writer on the internet. 

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I am Excited for the Juwan Howard Era at Michigan

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After about 10 days, the University of Michigan men's basketball has found their new head coach, and I am cautiously optimistic.

The Wolverines hired the first of the "Fab Five" players to sign back in the day, Juwan Howard. I loved Howard when he was a player on the team. His game was so admirable, and impressionable, to me as a young player. He fought hard on the block. He worked the low post. He was an excellent rebounder. He could run the floor. He played defense and he put in work every game. He was the hardest worker on the team, and he also happened to be tremendously skilled. He was also the most mature guy on the team, even when he was a freshman. Chris Webber was the best player, Jalen Rose had the swagger, Jimmy King was an explosive athlete and Ray Jackson had that dog in him. Juwan Howard was the glue that kept them together. He was a great, great Wolverine.

Howard then went on to have a very solid NBA career, playing more than a decade, I'm sure he made at least one all star team, won a couple of titles and became a solid assistant coach for the Miami Heat. When the Michigan job opened, unexpectedly, I didn't even think of Howard until Jalen Rose said something about it on his show. Then Chris Webber said something during an NBA playoff broadcast. Reggie Miller echoed his statement that night. Then Jimmy King came out and said something. When all these people, who I respect, started to talk about him for the job, I became intrigued. I found out that he has been working with the bigs on the Heat, and that he has also been picking the brain of head coach Erik Spoelstra, who I adore, and Pat Riley. If you are going to learn coaching from any 2 guys in the NBA, I would think that Spoelstra and Riley are at, or near, the top.

By the time all this news came out, and after I did my personal research, I was on board. Then, Billy Donovan pulled his name, and I started to stump for Howard. I told my dad at my son's baseball game this past Sunday, I hope Juwan Howard gets named the new head coach no later than Wednesday. Well, that was exactly when it happened. But, as I stated at the top, I have good and not so good feelings on this hire.

Lets get the bad out of the way first. Howard has zero head coaching experience. Now, that isn't that bad, he has been an assistant in the NBA for going on 5 years now. But, he is taking over a team that was in the title game 2 years ago and started out last season with 17 straight wins. Michigan also played a very complex offense that was hard for opposing teams to figure out. Michigan will, most likely, lose many of the assistants that worked under John Beilein, mainly Luke Yaklich. He turned them into the stellar defensive team they were last year. Michigan is also losing 3 starters from last season, and their top recruit decommited when Beilein left for the Cavs job. These are my only concerns.

As far as what I am hyped about, what I love about this hire. They got a big name. While Juwan Howard may not have been a hot coaching candidate at the current moment, his time was coming. He was clearly working his way to becoming a head coach. He was putting in the grunt work. Michigan is also getting one of their greatest basketball players ever to come back and coach the team he played for. That sense of pride and want and will to win at your alma mater is humongous. He can recruit. I know he hasn't done it yet, but when he was 17, he was the one that convinced the "Fab Five" to get together. He was the first to sign his letter, and after that, he was in the ear of the other 4 guys pretty much instantly. He got them to come there even before they were given money while at the school. Everywhere Howard has been, for the most part, he has been on a winning team. I'm sure he will want that to continue. I have faith that, even if Yaklich does leave, Saddi Washington will stay, and he is a key assistant. I also think Howard will be able to lure good to great assistant coaches.

Back to the recruiting for a second. He played and coached guys like LeBron James and Dwayne Wade. They both adore him, they pushed for him to get this job and they have 2 young sons that will be college basketball players very soon. I'm sure they will want their kids to play for a coach that they know and like. Also, there are a bunch of other kids out there with parents like me who were big time fans of the "Fab Five", and they may nudge their kids to, at least, consider Michigan because of Howard's presence.

What makes me most confident in the hire, he already has a very good team in place. The transition to this next season should be smooth-ish. He has a floor general in Zaiver Simpson. He has his modern big in Jon Teske. David DeJulius was a top level recruit last year. Brandon Johns was Mr. Michigan basketball. Colin Castleton got quality time. And they have a solid class coming in, even if Jalen Wilson doesn't go back.

I'm letting myself get excited by the Juwan Howard hiring. In fact, I like this hire more than when they hired Jim Harbaugh as head football coach 5 years ago. Don't get me wrong, I liked that too, I just have a different, more excited feel for the Juwan Howard hiring. He was a great choice and I hope he has a tremendous amount of success, obviously. This has been an odd, and sometimes rough, offseason for Michigan basketball. But, the hiring if Juwan Howard eases a good amount of that fear. Now lets see how he does.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing, the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast, and the greatest basketball writer on the internet. 

Follow Ty on instagram and twitter.

SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.

The Warriors are Fun Again

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The Golden State Warriors advanced to their fifth straight finals after a thrilling overtime victory in Portland last night. That game was fun and close and I enjoyed every second of it. I will say, even when the lead ballooned to 17, I never thought the Warriors were out of it because they are never out of it. They have so many solid shooters and a very good, and underrated, defense. They can also catch fire at any moment.

So, instead of checking out, I stayed to watch all of the second half and overtime. And the Warriors pulled it out. What makes this so different was the fact they swept out a very, very good Trailblazers without KD. Also, they, and I hate that I am writing this, were an absolute joy to watch. They have been so much fun for the past 5 games in fact. Don't get it twisted, KD makes this team pretty much unstoppable. He is the best scorer in the league, he is an outstanding defender and rebounder and he is a matchup nightmare. He is one of the greats, a hall of famer and an MVP candidate every year. He is a beast. But, with him out, the Warriors remind me a bit of the team that won their first finals. They are swinging the ball all over the floor. Steph is putting in 30 plus points like it is nothing. Klay, while his shooting has been wildly inconsistent all playoffs, is locking it down on the defensive end. And, another thing I never thought I would say, or want to say, Draymond Green has been otherworldly. He is the straw that stirs this team's drink. He gets everything flowing. He runs the offense. He snatches rebounds. He is the best defender in the NBA, and it is not even close. And, his recent interview where he said that he used to do more crying than playing, made me respect the hell out of him. He has also dropped 20 pounds and looks like he can run all day. He has been the best all around Warrior for the past 2 series. Without his play, they don't beat Houston, and they certainly don't sweep Portland. Draymond has been absolutely outstanding. Hell, if he keeps this up, he may win Finals MVP over Steph, and it would be totally justified.

All of this is to say, I cannot believe I have found myself having fun watching the Warriors win lately. When KD signed there 3 years ago, they immediately became the villain. They soiled the NBA. The competition was moot and pointless. It was a done deal. And for 2 years, that very thing happened. But, when he went out late in the third quarter of game 5 of the Houston series, this team almost instantly became likable again. They started to whip the ball around. They started to share more. They ran more. They ran less iso basketball. Steph and Klay stopped deterring. Draymond pretty much completely took over as the lead guard on offense. They became, at least in their minds, the "underdogs" again. Hell, I picked Houston to beat them after KD got hurt. But, they showed us that they aren't a one man team. That, when given more shots, Steph is an MVP. Klay proved his worth. And Draymond is making himself a ton of money when his deal is up in a year.

In no way am I saying that this team is better off with KD out. That is insane. What I am saying is, this team is fun to watch without KD. They remind me of the Spurs when they had Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli and Tim Duncan. Draymond, Klay and Steph are the 21st century version of those guys. I have never met anyone that doesn't like those Spurs teams or players. Hell, I know I rooted for them to beat the Big Three Heat teams. I in fact have always liked the Spurs. And god help me, this is what this iteration of the Warriors remind me of right now. If they end up facing Milwaukee in the finals, I think they will need KD. But, if it is Toronto, I bet they could win without him, and they would be as much fun to watch as they are right now.

I guess this piece is all to say that, I cannot believe that I like this Warriors team. They are supposed to be the villain, the bad guys, the one team that made the most super of super teams. But dammit, I have really enjoyed watching them since game 6 of the Houston series. They play a beautiful game when they play like they have lately, and it is a joy to my eyeballs. We will see what happens in 9 days, what with KD's injury, and if Boogie Cousins comes back or not. But, for the time being, this version of the Warriors is fun, and they play exquisite basketball. It is truly basketball at its highest form.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing, the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast, and the greatest basketball writer on the internet. 

Follow Ty on instagram and twitter.

SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.

Some Thoughts on the NBA Draft Lottery and the New Lakers Coach

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Before I get into movies and TV the next 2 days, I’ve got 2 more basketball things I want to touch on today.

First, I want to talk about the NBA lottery last night.

The NBA won last night. More clearly, the commissioner, and the new flat odds rule won last night. The Knicks, Cavs and Suns tanked all year. The Lakers, when they realized their season was over, tried to tank. The Hawks, while fun to watch, didn’t win too many games. Despite all this, the Pelicans got the first pick, and Memphis got the second pick. The Knicks and Lakers finished out the top 4, but neither got the pick they were hoping for. The Pelicans now hold every single advantage in the whole AD thing now. They can ask for a kings ransom to any team trying to get AD, or a team that may want presumed number one pick, Zion Williamson. This was the absolute best thing that could’ve happened to New Orleans, David Griffin and Alvin Gentry. They don’t have to tear it all down now. They can get a tremendous package now, stay relevant and get back in the playoff picture ASAP. Also, I don’t think this was rigged at all. If it was rigged, the Knicks or Lakers would’ve gotten the number one pick. The fact that neither is in the top 2, of a seemingly 2 player draft, speaks volumes to the possibility of this lottery being rigged. I think it’s hilarious that some think it was fixed. I don’t think the NBA was begging for Zion to go to New Orleans. That’s nonsense. Anyway, congrats New Orleans. You not only won the draft lottery, you regained, and added, a ton of power in the AD saga. Hilarious.

Secondly, I want to talk about this whole Frank Vogel being named the new head coach of the Lakers. I mean, what the hell? This is absolutely absurd. This is a consolation “prize”, after Monty Williams took the Phoenix job and Ty Lue walked away. Frank Vogel was an okay coach when he was in Indiana, but basketball was much different back then. Roy Hibbert was an all star and a guy you needed on the floor. He’d be unplayable in the modern NBA. After getting fired from Indiana he took the Orlando job, and boy oh boy was their team not very good. He didn’t work well with the young talent, and they let him go after only three years. And when you look at the Pacers and Magic now, they’re both better off. They’re both playoff teams. Hell, the Pacers fought for homecourt in the first round until Victor Oladipo got hurt. Frank Vogel is an okay coach, but not worthy of coaching a team LeBron is on.

Which brings me to my next point. The fact that Jason Kidd is the lead assistant is very prophetic for who will be the head coach by Christmas Day. This is almost exactly what happened in Cleveland when LeBron came back. David Blatt was hired before he decided to come back, took them to the Finals, then the next season Ty Lue was named lead assistant, and 20 games into the year, he was the new head coach. LeBron may not be saying anything about this hire right now, but a few months into the year, if the Lakers are still struggling, LeBron will say some stuff to the media, and within a week Kidd will be the new head coach. It’s so easy to see this in the tea leaves. Vogel is a scapegoat. He’s a figurehead. Since James signed with LA, Jason Kidd’s name has come up for head coach a bunch. It is clear that he, Maverick Carter and Klutch Sports are running this Lakers team. That’s what LeBron does. Teams that sign him should know that the moment they sign him, he’s in control. Much like the lottery, the Frank Vogel hire is hilarious to me. He’ll last one full season if he’s lucky. Honestly though, I think he’s gone before Christmas, and Kidd is introduced as the head coach. And I think both LeBron and the Lakers will seriously regret it in about 2 years.

This has been a wild few days in the NBA. But, it’s also been fun to watch since I have no rooting interest in most of the teams I mentioned today. Gosh, the NBA is so much fun. 

Ty
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing, the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast, and the greatest basketball writer on the internet. 

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Ty's NBA Conference Finals Preview

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Tonight is the start of the Eastern and Western Conference Finals in the NBA. I was going to talk about the Lakers, but that can wait until tomorrow. I want to touch on each final, give my prediction, and give you a few things that could happen that may shock some people.

I want to start with the East first. Milwaukee coasted to the East Finals. They ran rough shed over the Pistons, who just laid out and let the Bucks walk all over them. They then had a bad start to the next round, losing game one by double figures to the Celtics. A bunch of people said that the "Celtics were coming together", and "they figured it out", and "Kyrie was finally playing team ball". Well, the Bucks then proceeded to absolutely dismantle the Celtics. They destroyed the Celtics in the next four games. Giannis shed whatever "rust" he may have had and looked like the MVP in those four straight wins. He was unstoppable, and the Celtics looked terrible on and off the court.

The Raptors had a much tougher road to the East Finals. They lost game one to the Magic in round one, but coasted from there. Where it became rough was against Philadelphia. That series was hard fought, a slug fest, a rock fight, whatever cliché you want to say about a physical series. Each team took, and gave, tons of punches. Game 7 was epic too. It was back and forth, at one point Toronto looked in control, but then Philadelphia would make a run. Then we had that Kawhi shot. That was one of the most incredible, and lucky shots I have ever seen. It hit every inch of that rim, and somehow went in. That is a heartbreaking way for the 76ers to go out. But, Kawhi did exactly what the Raptors hoped he would do when they traded for him.

So we now have Milwaukee-Toronto. I think Milwaukee may come out flat in game one, the whole rust over rest theory, but I feel like they will coast from there. Milwaukee is deeper, they have the best player in the series, and they have home court advantage. I think Toronto will win 2 games, but I think Milwaukee wins in 6. I also think Giannis will further his case for MVP, and top three player in the NBA.

In the West we have Golden State-Portland. I love this matchup. Golden State was the presumed team from the start of the season. They have it all. They have one of the best starting fives I've ever seen, and they are the 2 time defending champs. They let the Clippers get 2 games from them, but easily won from there. Then we had the big showdown with Houston. After taking the first 2 games, Houston rallied back for 2 very impressive wins to tie the series. In game 5 it looked like the Warriors were going to run away, but Houston came all the way back to take the lead. Then KD hit a shot to go ahead, and his non contact injury that I touched on happened. I, much like almost everyone else, assumed that the Rockets would take advantage of this. They did not. They choked it away like they always do. They couldn't get a lead in the first half of game 5, even with no KD and Steph scoring zero points and picking up three fouls. Then Steph got hot, Klay started playing incredible defense, Draymond ran the offense exquisitely, and the Warriors bench got a chance to shine. And, the Rockets blew it. I will say, Harden did his part scoring 12 in the quarter. But, he also had 4 turnovers. Also, Chris Paul was a ghost, PJ Tucker got no looks, Gerald Green play an inexplicable amount of minutes in the game, Austin Rivers was awful and Clint Capela was neutralized. This is what the Rockets do, and I don't know why I thought this year was different. Golden State pulled away late and closed the series out in 6 games.

Portland took a much more dramatic path to the West Finals. Yes, they beat OKC in 5, but those games were all close. If not for Lillard going supernova, and hitting shots from the logo, I think that series might have went 7. But, it didn't. Portland closed it out. They then had to deal with Denver. Both teams traded blows. Both teams took a game from each at their home court. And it looked like Denver was going to close it out early in game 7, building a 17 point lead. But, with Lillard looking exhausted, CJ McCollum absolutely took over. He was amazing, and it made me rethink trading him this offseason. He was awesome. He hit all the big shots. He was the man that lead the full comeback to get Portland back to the West Finals for the first time since 2000.

All that is gravy for Portland. Unfortunately for them, as soon as KD gets back, I think the games will be fun, but the Warriors will end up winning the series, most likely in 5 games. I think the series will be a delight for lovers of offense, and the scores will be high, but the Warriors are a better team. They have so much more talent. They also have multiple guys that they can throw at CJ and Dame. If they thought Denver was tough, just wait for what the Warriors will bring at them. Game one is going to show me how prepared and ready Portland is, but I think the Warriors are too good. They might not have KD for the first 2 games, but I don't think it matters. Portland will get one at home, but that is it. The Warriors are just too good.

I'm very excited for the games to start tonight. These are the 4 most deserving teams left. I'm glad it worked out this way. Lets get to it.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing, the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast, and the greatest basketball writer on the internet. 

Follow Ty on instagram and twitter.

SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.