Posts Tagged ‘Brandon McConnell’

The Cavalier/LA Conspiracy

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

by Brandon McConnell

Brandon Mac Blog







The NBA has always been full of conspiracies, for years.  Let us take a look back at some of them.  The Orlando Magic becomes a new franchise and just so happen to get the #1 pick, two years in a row.  The Cleveland Cavaliers happened to get the #1 pick the same year Akron’s own LeBron James is available.  Chicago Bulls just happen to get the #1 pick the year Chicago’s superstar Derrick Rose become eligible for the draft.  Lastly, the Cleveland Cavaliers get three #1 picks after LeBron James leaves to go back to Miami, making it very convenient for him to come back home to a championship contender.

Now for the latest conspiracy.  Lonzo Ball to the Los Angeles Lakers.  This year, the Los Angeles Lakers have the second worst record in the league.  Their pick is only protected if they get a top 3 selection, or the pick goes to the 76ers.  With that being said, the Lakers are obviously trying to lose games in order to be bad enough to get a top three pick.  They got rid of their top scorer, Lou Williams, to the Rockets and now are sitting several veterans in order to assure a bad enough record to align themselves to draft UCLA’s Lonzo Ball.

Nothing in the previous paragraph should be anything new to the average NBA fan.  Now I am going to enlighten you on a conspiracy that no one seems to be talking about.  Everyone has been conversing this week on why the Cavaliers sat their “Big 3” on Saturday night versus the Clippers, on a nationally televised game, but played everyone against the terrible Lakers on Sunday.  Their reason for sitting the “Big 3” was for rest due to back-to -back games, but they didn’t have a game on Friday.  Let me give you a little history about coach Tyronn Lue.  He just so happens to have 2 NBA championship rings as a player, 1 championship ring as an assistant coach, and 1 championship ring as a head coach.  Where did he win his player rings?  You got it, with Shaq and Kobe as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.  Remember the Iverson step over?  Yes, that was Tyronn Lue.  He won his first coaching ring as Doc Rivers’ assistant coach with the Boston Celtics.  Look at any film that year Boston won, that was Tyronn Lue behind Doc Rivers every game.  So, let us break it down.  The Clippers are currently in 5th place in the Western Conference, fighting for a first-round home court advantage, with several other teams to get the 4th spot.  Tyronn, being the nice guy he is, decided to help his mentor Doc Rivers gain a win to help position the Clippers to become a 4th seed while playing his starters and winning Sunday against the terrible Lakers, which helps put them in a better position to get a top 3 draft pick.  A top three pick would allow them to keep the pick and not give it to the 76ers.  If you look back at the previous paragraph, the NBA just so happens to do a good job with allowing the next coming superstar to join their hometown team.  Ask yourself, why don’t you ever see the lottery balls get selected?  So, expect the Lakers to get Lonzo Ball.  Tyronn Lue just happened to be a pawn in what I call “NBA CHESS”.


Brandon McConnell, for War Room Sports

Who is Running the Lakers?

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

by Brandon McConnell

Brandon Mac Blog






Lakers Logo


Through the years we have watched the Lakers win NBA Championships led by different Hall of Fame players from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Kobe Bryant.  One common denominator in each of the past ten Lakers championships was late owner Dr. Jerry Buss.  He turned the Lakers into the New York Yankees of basketball.

Since the Great Dr. Jerry Buss passed, we have seen some very questionable moves by the Lakers organization.  The first move would be putting all their balls in one hoop by bringing in Dwight Howard with no long-term deal and not trading him at the trade deadline when all of America knew he was not signing back with the Lakers.  Second questionable move was signing a 38-year old point guard with health issues when you know the NBA is full of top-notch point guards that will run circles around Nash.  Next, you sign a coach that has not proven anything but he can create a team that can average over 100 points, which would be good if they didn’t give up 100+ points per game.  Finally you sign a 35 year-old shooting guard at 48.5 million dollars, who is coming off an Achilles injury, without seeing if he will ever be healthy again.

So I analyzed the Lakers today and asked myself this question; “How is Mitch Kupchak going to turn this one around?”   The Lakers have a plan to clear the cap for summer of 2014 in the chance of getting multiple free agents to bring them back into a championship contender.  Part of this plan was totally blown when they signed Kobe Bryant.  There was no negotiation done when signing him; they just gave him the money.  Kobe is just like anyone else in the world, he is “not turning nothing down but his collars”.    So 48.5 million dollars for the next two years is already taken off the cap, leaving room to pay only one more max player.  While researching the list of available free agent players for 2014 that are considered max deal players, these are my top 5.

LeBron James:  He is not coming to LA to help Kobe Bryant win a 6th ring.  LeBron is legacy chasing.  It probably already pisses him off that D-Wade keeps getting one more than him, but no one thinks Wade is an all-time great.

Dwayne Wade:  He is the mayor of Miami.  He is not leaving Miami, ever!  Plus you don’t need D-Wade if you already have Kobe.  Both are playing on their last leg, literally.

Chris Bosh: He could probably help the Lakers but they would need the old Toronto, dread-wearing Bosh who averaged 24 points and 11 rebounds per game.  But why leave Miami when you’re winning championships and getting undeserved max money.

Dirk Nowitzki:  He is not going anywhere.  He enjoys being Mark Cuban’s #1 prostitute.  Loyal to a fault.  I call it the Kevin Garnett Minnesota syndrome.

Carmelo Anthony:  The most likely out of the bunch to leave and come to LA.  NY sucks and will continue to suck as long as they are paying Stoudemire.

There were rumors at the beginning of the season that LeBron wanted to play with Carmelo in the future.  If this rumor were to be true,  the Lakers had the money to pay both of them and put the correct pieces around them in order to contend.  By signing Kobe Bryant, who looks like he will never be himself again, they eliminated all chances of that happening in LA.  It just doesn’t make sense to give him that amount of money without knowing he will be 100% healthy.

So the sell for Mitch will be, getting an all-star to want to come in and play with Kobe, not knowing if he will even last the next two years.  So good luck Lakers fans, of which I am one.  There is no Pau Gasol to steal from any franchises.   But we do have one thing working for us; THE BEST BENCH IN THE NBA BABY!  Only because we have the worst starting five in the NBA.

Best Current Laker
"Swaggy P"

“Swaggy P”

Brandon McConnell of Respect Da Game, for War Room Sports

Young and Restless: The Dwight Howard Saga

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

by Brandon McConnell






Does this story sound familiar?  Dwight Howard is in his last year of his contract and has the option to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers or test the free agent market in the summer.  If this seems like deja vu, it’s probably because he was in the same situation with the Orlando Magic last year at this time when he made the bonehead decision of the year by opting back into his contract with Orlando, and postponing his chance to hit the free agent market last summer.

This year the Los Angeles Lakers find themselves trying to keep Dwight.  The Lakers have had one of their worst seasons in franchise history.  It has been a combination of bad coaching and a lack of effort contributing to the team’s lack of success.   Dwight Howard doesn’t seem to be able to mesh with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in this Mike D’Antoni offense.

Mitch Kupchak, GM for the Lakers, has a dilemma on his hands.  Wait for the end of the year and hope Dwight Howard signs a max deal allowing you to have a young player to build your franchise around after Kobe Bryant leaves, or trade him to guarantee that you do not lose him for nothing.

Dwight Howard (l.) & Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak (r.)


It is time for Mitch Kupchak to play a little game called chicken.  We learned this as a little kid, when two objects come together on a head on collision and one object moves at the last minute.  Well, Mitch Kupchak needs to enter the Laker locker room and tell Mr. Howard that I have a max deal in my hand that guarantees that you get paid about 30 million more than you can receive from any other team and you either need to sign it, or you will be tipping the jump ball in another city tomorrow.  If he decides not to sign it, in the words of Nino Brown, “You cancel him, and buy another one”.  It is not like the Lakers are winning with him now.

As GM of the Lakers, I’m calling New Jersey, Houston, or even Miami.  Yeah, I said Miami.  Dwight Howard for Chris Bosh would make both teams better.  Dwight would give Miami the inside defensive presence they need, and Bosh would compliment Gasol a lot better than Dwight since they can both play inside and outside the paint.  As the Laker GM, you have to get something.  I don’t care if you trade him to Houston for Omar Asik, some young players, and a bag of Tropical Skittles, at least you are not left looking like a man after a wet dream with nothing to show for it but sticky memories.


So Dwight, the decision is yours, make a whole lot of money with a franchise that you know will always be dedicated to winning or go back to the days of Orlando where you are the man, but can’t get anyone to come play with you.


Brandon McConnell of Respect Da Game, for War Room Sports

Steve Nash: The Odd Man Out?

Monday, October 29th, 2012

by Brandon McConnell





The last two years the Los Angeles Lakers have exited the playoffs due to being over-matched by younger and better talent.  This past summer Lakers GM ,Mitch Kupchak, decided to make a power move by acquiring Steve Nash, Dwight Howard, and Antwan Jamison.

When the Lakers picked up Steve Nash, I was the first person jumping around and bragging to my non-Laker fans.  After watching a few preseason games, I noticed that average point guards were giving Steve Nash problems.  One thing is clear to me, Steve Nash is not going to work!  I think Steve Nash is one of the best point guards to play the game, but you signed a 38-year-old player to a 3-year deal.  The Lakers problem for years have been stopping their opponent’s point guard.  This year will  not be any different.  We all know that Steve Nash’s kryptonite is playing defense.  When the Lakers picked him up, I figured Nash would put so much pressure on the opposing point guard that he wouldn’t have to play as much defense.  After watching these preseason games, one thing is clear, Steve Nash will be the next victim of the KOBE EFFECT!  (Prior Blog Title)  He is not even shooting the ball!  Steve Nash is used to being the best player on his team and is most effective when he has the ball the majority of the time.  In the past, Nash has created offense for himself as well as set his teammates up for easy shots.  Since Nash is now the 4th best player on his team, he is not handling the ball as much.  Without Nash controlling the offense and being aggressive, it just gives the opponents’ point guards more energy to go at him on offense.

Let’s look at the point guards the Lakers will have to go up against in order to make a run for the Finals.  The top three point guards in the Western Conference are Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, and Tony Parker.  All three players will eat a 38-year-old Steve Nash for lunch.  Please don’t think Kobe Bryant is going to switch and guard those guys either.

In conclusion, I will GUARANTEE you by the middle of the season, Steve Nash will either have his normal back problems or will be very frustrated with the lack of contribution he is giving the team.  Please feel free to call me out if I’m wrong.  But I’m confident I’m not.

B.Mac (concerned Lakers fan)


Brandon McConnell of Respect Da Game, for War Room Sports

NBA Repair Kit

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

By Brandon McConnell

In America, we have three popular professional sports which are football, basketball and baseball.  The most popular of the three without a doubt is football.  Does anyone know why?  Because in football, every team has an equal opportunity to win a championship each year.  You can’t really buy a championship like in the other two sports.

In the NBA, they have a set salary cap and after you reach that particular figure, you are charged a luxury tax.  Luxury tax is being taxed one dollar for every dollar you are over the salary cap.  For example, if the Miami Heat are 5 million dollars over the salary cap, the NBA charges them a luxury tax of 5 million.  Now, under the new CBA, teams pay an incremental tax that increases with every $5 million they go above the salary cap/tax threshold ($1.50, $1.75, $2.50, $3.25, etc.).  Teams that have been paying luxury tax for at least four out of the past five seasons have a tax that is $1 more at each increment than the increments mentioned above ($2.50, $2.75, $3.50, $4.25, etc.).  After understanding the salary cap and luxury tax, you can come to the understanding that owners with the most money have no problem going over the salary cap in order to win.

In the last 30 years, the same nine teams have won championships in the NBA.  That is the biggest difference from NFL and NBA.  Most markets feel like their team has some type of chance to win in the NFL.  Last week, Dwight Howard signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, making them a favorite again to win the championship next year.  There are only about 4 teams in the league that have a realistic chance of winning a championship next year (LA, MIA, OKC and BOS).

To increase the level of competition in the NBA, I believe there should be a hard salary cap that NO TEAM can go over.  By making each team have the same salary cap, you put all cities on the same playing field.  This would put an end to the SUPER TEAMS we have seen develop in the last 5 years due to teams not being able to pay these stars and put a supporting cast around them.  This cap would make teams like Golden State, Sacramento, and Charlotte relevant, because the stars would spread out more in order to receive a max deal.  You would still have role players taking less money to play with stars, but you wouldn’t have stars taking less money to play with other stars.

If the NBA doesn’t incorporate a hard salary cap soon, they can just get rid of fifty percent of the teams and create 14 SUPER TEAMS.  I feel like a Republican right now, getting rid of jobs.  MESSAGE!

In conclusion, if the NBA wants to keep doing what they are doing, I will be fine.  You ask me why?  I roll with the boys in PURPLE AND GOLD.

Brandon McConnell of “Respect Da Game”, for War Room Sports

Michael Jordan: The Gift and the Curse

Friday, June 1st, 2012

By Brandon McConnell

The game of basketball has been around for years.  We have seen multiple teams win championships over the years using different ways of getting there.

In the ’80s, we had three teams in that decade that won multiple championships, which included the Lakers, Celtics, and Pistons.  All of these teams had something in common.  They were complete teams that played together in order to accomplish one common goal. 

The Lakers had a starting lineup that included:
Magic Johnson
Byron Scott
Michael Cooper
James Worthy
Kareem Adul-Jabbar

The Celtics had a starting lineup that included:
Dennis Johnson
Danny Ainge
Larry Bird
Kevin McHale
Robert Parrish

The Pistons had a starting lineup that included:
Isaiah Thomas
Joe Dumars
Mark Aguirre
Bill Laimbeer
James Edwards

All the above championship teams had players who came together and played team basketball.  These teams had productive bench play and no one was trying to outshine their teammates.

Then came the birth of Michael Jordan.  A player who took over the NBA by himself, taking on all teams.  He led the league in scoring almost every year.  If you grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, you wanted to “Be Like Mike”.  Michael Jordan, not purposely, taught little kids to be selfish and go after your individual stats to succeed in basketball.  After many years of losing to the Celtics and Pistons, Michael realized that it took a team effort to become a championship.  He finally figured it out, and partnered with Scottie Pippen and other great role players to win six NBA championships.

While becoming a champion, Michael Jordan birthed children like Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, and Tracy McGrady.  These and other players came into the league with the belief that they had to win championships by solely leading their teams and by putting up the majority of shots like Michael did in order to become great.  Kobe Bryant quickly learned, due to veteran leadership around him, that it takes a team to win championships.

The offspring of Michael Jordan has finally grown up to become great players.  They are finally teaching the up and coming players that team basketball is the way to go.  Just take a look at the 2012 Kentucky Wildcats, who were dynamic underclassmen that came together to achieve one goal and that was a National Championship.  The Kentucky Wildcats all compromised their individual success in order to gain team success.

The NBA is finally getting back to great team basketball.  The Dallas Mavericks won last year with great team effort.  They even had bench players like Jason Terry and J.J. Barea who really made the difference during the 2011 NBA Finals.  This year you have the San Antonio Spurs, who just had a 20-game winning streak snapped, playing the best team ball I have ever seen.  If you want to see basketball the way Dr. James Naismith designed it, watch the San Antonio Spurs.

We can all thank Michael Jordan, because he showed us how life was when you have all the individual honors and no championship and how life is when you make your teammates better and win multiple championships.

Brandon McConnell of “Respect Da Game”, for War Room Sports

Who is the Villain?

Monday, May 7th, 2012

By Brandon McConnell

Growing up in Kansas City, my father always liked taking our family to the movies during the summer.  He loved to watch a good action movie.  I can remember him arguing with his friends for weeks about different scenes in the original Terminator movie.  In all of these movies, there was a good guy to root for and a villain to go against.

Over the years, there have been several villains in movies.  Superman had Lex Luthor, Batman had the Joker, and Luke Skywalker had Darth Vader.  Anyone who knows me can tell you who is my all-time villain.  That would be Wesley Snipes’ character Nino Brown in the best movie ever, New Jack City. 

I thought about this topic while listening to an ESPN sports radio show discussing something similar this past weekend.  Just like in every action movie, there is a villain that the audience is supposed to go against or strangely root for.

In baseball, you could consider Barry Bonds a villain.  He broke the home run record and is known as one of the best baseball players ever, with an asterisk, since he took performance enhancement drugs “without knowing”.  Side note, if my head size went from a 7 to an 8 after age 24, I would check with a doctor about that.  He was always a complete jerk to the media.

Basketball has their fair share of villains.  Dennis Rodman is the first one that comes to mind.  He was an original Bad Boy for the Detroit Pistons championship teams.  Dennis and his teammates believed it was their duty to beat the crap out of Michael and Scottie any chance they could.   

Football has a couple villains as well.  One of the most recent inductees to the villain fraternity would be Gregg Williams, GODFATHER of the BOUNTY.  He turned a mediocre New Orleans Saints team into a championship defense just by giving the team an incentive (BOUNTY) to do what they were already going to do. 

Villains in the sports world can be players, coaches or even owners.  Let me know who are some people you think are the villains of their sport and what they did to give themselves the VILLAIN title.

Brandon McConnell of “Respect Da Game”, for War Room Sports

The Kobe Effect

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

By Brandon McConnell

Kobe Bryant is arguably one of the best players that has ever picked up a basketball.  He has won 5 rings with the Los Angeles Lakers and is searching for that 6th ring to catch his idol Michael Jordan. 

This year while Kobe has been trying to lead his team to a championship, he has suffered a few injuries.  Right now, he has missed the past 5 games due to an injured shin.  In Kobe’s absence, the Los Angeles Lakers have put up a 4-1 record, consisting of an impressive win on Sunday versus last year’s NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks.

The amazing thing about the Lakers’ recent play is the production they have been receiving from role players Metta World Peace (can’t believe I just typed that), and Matt Barnes.  Last week, World Peace led the Lakers past the Spurs with 26 points, when he only averages 7.4 points a game.  Matt Barnes led the team past Denver on Friday with 24 points, when he averages 7.7 points a game.  Why are these guys not producing on a more consistent basis?  Could it be the KOBE EFFECT?

KOBE EFFECT – The act of decreasing in productivity due to the lack of shots and confidence while in the presence of Kobe Bryant.

Let’s see if this theory holds any weight when it comes to teammates that won championships with Kobe.

The first year he won a championship, the Lakers traded for Glen Rice to help the team get over the hump.  Glen Rice averaged 22.3 points a game with 45% shooting the year before he became a Laker, and averaged 15.9 points a game at 43% shooting the year they won the championship. 

The next year Mitch Richmond joined the Lakers and won a championship.  He averaged 16.2 points per game at 40% shooting with the Wizards, then joined the Lakers and averaged 4.1 points per game at 40% shooting.

Finally, Ron Artest aka Metta World Peace averaged 17.3 points per game at 40% shooting with the Rockets, then joined the Lakers and averaged 11.7 points per game at 41% shooting.

For some reason, perimeter players have the hardest time being successful with Kobe Bryant.  Is it because Kobe shoots the ball too much?  Is it the stress of playing on a championship caliber team?  Is it the lack of trust Kobe has for his teammates, which results in the lack of shot attempts they receive?

One thing I’ve learned in the last week is the Lakers are real contenders, but if Kobe Bryant doesn’t realize that he actually has good players around him, that can realistically help him win that 6th ring, then he can just pop in the Luniz cd, cause all he will have is “FIVE ON IT“!

Brandon McConnell of “Respect Da Game”, for War Room Sports

Dwyane Wade For Sale!

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

By Brandon McConnell

For Sale


The Miami Heat was formed in the summer of 2010 with the “Big 3” that consists of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh.  Each one was a star before they joined forces but none of them, in their current situation, were in a position to win an NBA Championship.  Not even Dwyane Wade who had already won a championship with the Heat.
This team is like a science project.  The CONTROL was each player on their original team by themselves, where each player would not become champions before joining forces.  The HYPOTHESIS, is LeBron James saying, “not 4, not 5, not 6, not 7 championships”.  After one year, we would have to start coming to the conclusion that this project just might not validate the HYPOTHESIS of a return in championships.
In any sport, a successful team wins championships due to the chemistry they display throughout the year.  It is clear that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade cannot play at their maximum ability on the same team.  They are both the same player and take up each other’s space.  It would be like Dwight Howard and Shaq starting on the same team.  So, what is the answer?  Let’s dissect the situation.  When the Miami Heat play without Lebron James, they are a .500 team with a record of 5-5.  When the Miami Heat play without Dwyane Wade, they are 9-1 with a .900 winning percentage.  I have to come to the conclusion that the Miami Heat are a more effective team without Dwyane Wade.
So, let’s look at the Miami Heat’s weaknesses.  We can all come to the conclusion that they need help at the point guard and center positions.  Since Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum are the only good centers in the league, let us direct our attention to the point guard position.  The best point guard available is Deron Williams who will be a free agent at the end of this year and has no intentions on staying in New Jersey.  Why don’t we play GM Pat Riley for a second.  Let’s trade Dwyane Wade to the New Jersey Nets for Deron Williams.  Since Dwyane has a couple of years left on his contract, New Jersey would take him in a heartbeat since they could draw more players to play with Wade.  New Jersey could sign and trade Deron Williams so that Miami would have him under contract.  Check out my proposed Miami Heat starting five.
PG Deron Williams
SG LeBron James
SF Shane Battier
PF Chris Bosh
C   Joel Anthony
That starting five would be more effective than the current Miami starting five due to better chemistry with Deron Williams adding his eight assists per game.  A great point guard makes the game easy for everyone.  Just ask Kareem, Worthy, Scott, and Cooper.   
In conclusion, the Miami Heat can continue being one of the most entertaining teams in the league, or start addressing the chemistry problems and become a DYNASTY.

Legend in the Making…

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

By Brandon McConnell

Who is the best college basketball player?  Some would say Anthony Davis.  Others would say it is Thomas Robinson.  I’m going to take it to a whole different direction.  This person plays on the only undefeated team still playing.  That would be Baylor’s Superstar center Brittney Griner. 

Before you guys start forming an opinion, let me hit you with some facts.  I’m going to compare her stats with the First Team All-American Men’s selections.

Thomas Robinson  17.9 ppg  11.8 rpg   1.9 apg

Anthony Davis      14.3 ppg  10.1 rpg   4.6 bpg

Draymond Green   16.1 ppg   10.4 rpg  3.6 apg

Jared Sullinger      17.6 ppg     9.3 rpg  1.2 apg

Doug McDermott  23.2 ppg   8.2 rpg  1.1 apg

Brittney Griner  23.4 PPG 9.4 RPG 5.2 BPG  
This player is in a league of her own.  When have you seen a player dominate the game like she has this year?  Her team, as of today, is 38-0.  That is what I call LEADING BY EXAMPLE.  She is a Naismith Player of the Year finalist and didn’t take the easy way by going to Tennessee or Connecticut.  She put the Baylor Women’s Team on the map and started her own legacy.  With the numbers she puts up, the NBA needs to start looking at her.  She can’t be any worse than the players picked from overseas that never come over here.  Everyone likes to talk about the men playing, but we really need to start appreciating this great player while she is still playing.  Just think, how often do you get to see a collegiate woman throw down a two hand dunk on another player. 

Enough Said!


Brandon McConnell of “Respect Da Game”, for War Room Sports