Posts Tagged ‘Oklahoma City Thunder’

Dear Kevin Durant Haters: Let It Go!

Saturday, June 17th, 2017

by Gus Griffin







Russell Westbrook averaging a triple-double this past year brought much deserved attention to the great Oscar Robertson, who previously had been the only player to accomplish such a feat, way back in 1962, his second year in the league.  Robertson came close to doing it his first 5 years in the league, usually missing because he would “only” average 9 assists one year or 9 rebounds another year.  He also had 5 different seasons in which he averaged over 30 points a game.

But as for rings for NBA titles with the Cincinnati Royals, he had nothing to show for his greatness.  While his teams made the playoffs 6 straight seasons from 1962-67, they lost to either Bill Russell’s Celtics or Wilt Chamberlain’s 76ers in 5 of those six seasons.   Four of those 5 defeats were to the eventual NBA champions.

It was not because he did not elevate his game in the big moments.  He averaged a triple-double in the 1962 playoffs.  Over that 6-year period his average playoff numbers were 29 points, nearly 10 assist, and over 8 rebounds a game.  Oscar Robertson spent his first and best 10 years in the NBA losing year after year in the playoffs because his team was simply not good enough.

Here is my question for the Kevin Durant (KD) critics who insist that he should have never joined the team that he could not beat: do you honestly believe Oscar Robertson would have stayed in Cincinnati all those years with the same foreseeable outcomes if he had the choice to join Wilt in Philly or Bill in Boston or even Elgin Baylor and Jerry West in LA?

Would you have?  If your GPS tells you that you can shave 10 minutes off your commute to your destination, can you honestly say you would ignore it and insist on going the hard way?

The fact is he didn’t have a choice because free agency at that time was a mere shadow of what it is today.  As a matter of fact, Robertson would go on to become the National Basketball Players Association president and in that capacity, in 1970, would file an anti-trust suit under his name against NBA owners which challenged, among other things, to do away with the option clause which bound a player to one team.  Though the suit was eventually dismissed as part of a collective bargaining agreement, it was an important piece of leverage that led to the free agency today enjoyed by players like KD.

With this important piece of historical context and the larger issue of LABOR RIGHTS, I am at a loss for why all this shade is being thrown at KD for joining the Warriors?

Whatever happened to “if you can’t beat them join them”?

That’s what Deion Sanders did when he left the Falcons to join the division rival 49ers to win a Super Bowl ring.  That’s what Greg Maddox did in leaving the Cubs to join the Braves to win the World Series.  What KD did is not new in sports.

Ok, if KD tweeted criticism of LeBron for going to Miami, he set himself up for some of this.

Furthermore, admittedly there is a competitive romantic side of me that would have admired KD even more as a champion had he done it from Oklahoma City.  There was an additional gratification when seeing the long-suffering likes of Andy Murray in tennis and Phil Mickelson in golf finally win major titles after multiple heart-breaking disappointments.  The same feeling came watching the Cubs in baseball and of course the great Akeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler with the Houston Rockets.

But that romanticism will always be trumped by the necessity to appreciate the struggle, yes even among professional athletes, for labor rights.  The fact that most of us in our lifetime will not have the leverage to impact our compensation and place of labor the way professional athletes do is not a basis to begrudge them.  After all, the simple reality is that millions of people have no interest or willingness to pay to watch you nor I do our jobs.   It should be an incentive to improve our own collective 99% lot and not hate on them, be it John Elway or Eli Manning maneuvering out of Baltimore and San Diego, or KD leaving Oklahoma City.

I suspect that the common sports myth of loyalty is a factor of the KD hate.

Weather we as fans want to continue to deny getting the memo or not, sports loyalty has always been at best the exception and not the rule.  Don’t let the final chapters for Kobe Bryant and Derek Jeter fool you.  The more common finality between a player and a team is that of Babe Ruth who ended his career with the Boston Braves when he could no longer hit homers for the Yankees.  Or Johnny Unitas who ended with the San Diego Chargers when he could not throw enough TD passes for the Colts.  The reality is under capitalism, even the all-time greats are mere commodities for the enrichment of the owners.  And yet you can find more needles in a haystack than you can fans that hold never-ending grudges against teams for their lack of loyalty to players.

Chris Rock once declared that men are only as loyal as our opportunities.  That bit of truth is not restricted by gender or other aspects of life to include sports.   So, I urge you KD haters; chill, get your favorite mind-altering substance, plug in some Toni Braxton, and LET IT GO!


Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports

NBA Quick Takes: Russell Westbrook, Spurs vs. Hawks NBA Finals, and Dennis Schroder

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

by Kamal Hylton

Kamal Hylton Blog





Hello War Room Nation!

This is Kamal Hylton, your boy from North of the Border, a writer/editor for NBA Nation Australia and part of the War Room Family with The Gaffer and Hooligan Soccer Podcast on the War Room Sports Podcast Network.

While the podcast is taking a break, I thought I’d hop onto the WRS Blog and give you a weekly view on the NBA… through my eyes.

I’m not feelin’ Russell Westbrook’s Interview

By now you’ve all seen Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook’s interview, the one where he only used the word “execution” in all its various forms to answer reporters’ questions after the Thunder beat the Western Conference leading Golden State Warriors 127-115 and he had a career night of 17pts, 17ast and 15rebs.

To refresh your memory or for those that haven’t seen it, here it is:

Most people have come out and said things like “Screw the media!” and “Let Russ be Russ!”. I’m all for players being themselves and sometimes members of the media ask questions that deserve these types of answers, like when a reporter asked Westbrook this question in 2013.

However this trend is going too far and I’m now completely against it for a few reasons.

This isn’t even creative or original, copying Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch’s “Thankful” interview doesn’t get him any type of respect or brownie points with me… it just makes him look corny. Also, none of those questions were out of line in any way or could even be considered “dumb”. After the third use of “execution”, I would’ve shut my recorder/video camera off and walked away. Reporters only get limited time for post-game interviews, this nonsense cost those guys battery life and space on their devices as well as time that could’ve been spent with more engaging players.

Most of all it lacks professionalism on Westbrook’s part, those guys are there to do a job just like him and even if he doesn’t like doing interviews or has a problem with a particular reporter, I don’t think it’s that hard to suck it up and answer questions with an ounce of respect. Maybe I’m biased being part of the media, but this one word answer thing from players has gone from funny to tired REALLY quickly.

I’d love a Spurs vs. Hawks NBA Finals for one reason

I know it’s WAY too early to be talking about NBA Finals predictions, but the way the Hawks have been playing during this wining streak (currently at 13 games at the moment of writing this) has me wanting them to make the finals. Picking up the moniker “Spurs East”, I’d actually love to see them take on San Antonio for one major storyline.

Mike Budenholzer vs. Gregg Popovich… or what I like to refer to as Karate Kid vs. Mr. Miyagi.


Their story has the makings of a Hollywood film, let me set the scene.

Budenholzer spent 19 years under Popovich in San Antonio, working his way up from an unpaid video coordinator to assistant coach and as his right hand man. Together they won four NBA championships, Budenholzer playing the role of understudy to Pop until this season. Now striking out on his own, coach Bud has taken over a middling Atlanta Hawks team using the teachings of his grand master to make them one of the best in the association.

If Spike Lee or Steven Spielburg got hold of that script it’d be an instant hit! Being a self professed “basketball nerd”, I’m most fascinated by the high level game of human chess that these two would be playing on national TV. Popovich taught Budenholzer pretty much everything he knows about NBA coaching, but did he save a few tricks back for a moment like this?

I’m on the edge of my seat just thinking about the possibility of this game.

Dennis Schroder is my Homeboy!

I’m sure you all have non “superstar” players that you love watching or are fans of that others don’t understand why, maybe it’s the intense way he plays defense? jumps out of the gym? or drops dimes?

Well that player for me is Dennis Schroder, the second year German backup point guard on the Atlanta Hawks. Now I know what you’re thinking, why is he one of your favorite players? For one thing he has a smoothness to his game this season that’s enjoyable to watch on this Hawks team and the way he attacks the basket shows that few players can stay in front of him, how he comes off screens and glides to the rim is reminiscent of a slithering snake. The other reason why I like him is for the nickname that’s quickly catching on, Dennis “The Menace” is not only catchy but fits his style of play to a tee. It’s actually on a t-shirt, one that I bought myself ( I actually spoke with him for a few minutes after the Hawks defeated the Raptors at Air Canada Centre recently, talking about his development, the nickname and the fact he has fans in Australia.

(*Dennis Schroder interview courtesy of NBA Nation Australia)

He was fantastic, he’s a quiet guy but I get the feeling that’s mostly because of the minor language barrier. He has a great command of the English language, better than some people born in North America, but I get the feeling once he’s fluent in all the little nuances and references that he’ll hold his own in the trash talking department.

That’s all for now, but I’ll leave you with this cool “NBA On NBA” theme remix that recently came out by Boy Pierce.

 To catch all my NBA writing, photos and videos be sure to visit NBA Nation Australia ( and follow them on Twitter @NBANationOz (

Kamal Hylton of NBA Nation Australia, for War Room Sports

2012-2013 NBA Preview

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

by Brandon Pemberton



Well it’s that time of the year again, the NBA regular season kicks off tonight and I’m here to give you my official NBA season preview and Predictions.  There has been a off-season full of moves and there have been some recent moves that have shaken up the NBA as well.  Make sure you listen to Sports Trap Radio every Saturday morning from 10am-12pm on, as Daniel Trawick and I give you the best two hours of Sports Radio possible on a weekly basis.


Eastern Conference


Celtics 52-30 *

Sixers 51-31 *

Nets 48-34 *

Knicks 44-38*

Raptors 32-50

 Outlook: The Atlantic division could arguably be the best in the NBA this season.  The Celtics took the Heat to the brink last season and even though they lost Allen to the Heat, they get the return of Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox, to go along with the additions of Courtney Lee, Jason Terry through free agency, and Jared Sullinger through the draft.  They still are lead by Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett.  This team is deeper than last year and barring injuries, they should be good.

The Philadelphia 76ers are clearly a different team than the one who beat the Bulls in the first round and took the Boston Celtics to seven games in the 2nd round of the playoffs.  Out is Andre Iguodala, Lou Williams, Jodie Meeks, and Elton Brand and in comes Andrew Bynum, Jason Richardson, Dorell Wright, and Nick Young.  I’ve watched the Sixers play during the preseason and it’s a big difference offensively this year.  This team, even though Bynum hasn’t played yet and won’t be ready for the regular season, can score it much better than last year.  They are talented and deep, but having a healthy Bynum is key to the team’s long term success this year.

The Nets made some moves to better their team, bringing in Joe Johnson, resigning Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, giving them a solid nucleus of players.  I see them making the playoffs this season, possibly a 5-6 seed.

The New York Knicks lose Jeremy Lin, but replace him with Raymond Felton, who when playing for the Knicks before, has had his best success.  When he is in shape and motivated, he is really good.  Carmelo Anthony, we all know he can score, but can he make his teammates better and lead them to a title.  Tyson Chandler is the team’s leader, tough, good defender and championship pedigree.  This team can score, but can they defend?

The Raptors enter into the 2nd year under Dwayne Casey and have made some good additions, but not good enough to contend just yet.  Philly native Kyle Lowry will run the point and Landry Fields will start at the 3 spot, giving the Raptors instant upgrades defensively and in the toughness category.  The Raptors drafted Terrence Ross in the first round, and he is just as athletic ad Dermar Derozen, but a much more polished shooter from distance and off of curls.  Don’t be surprised if Derozen is traded before the season is out to give Ross all the time at the 2.



Pacers 54-28 *

Bulls 45-37 *

Pistons 36-46

Bucks 32-50

Cavaliers 29-53

Outlook: The Pacers return the nucleus of their players from last season, with the additions of Gerald Green and D.J. Augustin via free agency and big man Miles Plumlee through the draft.  They are battle tested, went through a tough series with the Heat and are good enough to get a 2nd seed, avoiding Miami.

The Bulls will play the majority of the season without star point guard Derrick Rose and in a 82 game season, it’s going to hurt them.  My question is who will be the go to guy down the stretch of games when they need a bucket?  We all know they will defend, but they are going to have a tough time getting baskets at times.

I like the Pistons’ drafting of Andre Drummond.  He has high potential, off the charts athleticism, and has gotten better as a player from draft day through the preseason.  He along with Greg Monroe gives the Pistons a solid frontline, and I like Rodney Stuckey and the improvement of Brandon Knight that I’ve seen during the summer.  I think they are a year away from being a playoff team.

The Cavs drafted combo guard Dion Waiters with the 4th pick overall and he will team with franchise guard Kyree Irving hopefully for the next 4-6 years.  This team also received the rights to Tyler Zeller on draft night as well.  Tristan Thompson showed some flashes at times last year playing the four spot, and Alonzo Gee has worked himself into a serviceable NBA player as a wing player.  The franchise is slowly working it’s way out of the hole Lebron James left them in when he left via free agency.

The Milwaukee Bucks are a team with a lot of similar pieces.  Their two best players (Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis) both like to play with the ball in their hands.  They drafted John Henson out of UNC, but drafted Larry Sanders two years ago, and got Ekpe Udoh in the Andrew Bogut trade.  I could be wrong, but this team is headed nowhere fast.



Heat 62-20 *

Wizards 40-42 *

Hawks 37-45

Magic 33-49

Bobcats 27-52

Outlook: The Heat are the defending champs and have added more pieces to fit in around Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh.  In comes shooters Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis to spot up and make the open shots that are always there with the attention that Lebron James and D-Wade get nightly.  This team will still be one of the league’s best defensively, and even with a glaring weakness at center, they are still my favorite to win it all again.  Lebron James is that damn good…Bottom Line.

I really like what the Wizards did during the offseason.  Brad Beal is a talented prospect and will be a future All-Star in this league.  I think the Wizards make the playoffs as a eight seed this season, if John Wall can return soon from his stress related injury healthy and ready to go.  The additions of Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza bring defenders and veterans that the team lacked in prior years.

The Hawks hired Danny Ferry as general manager and he did wonders getting out of the contracts and Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams.  Josh Smith is in the last year of his contract as well.  I see this year as a semi-rebuilding job.  They still have Al Horford who is an All Star when healthy.  But I seriously don’t see them being any factor this season.

The Orlando Magic are finally moving on after trading Dwight Howard to the Lakers, and I know most think that they didn’t get enough in return for him.  But when you trade a player of his caliber, you never get the same value in return.  The Magic are in full rebuilding mode.  Honestly, does a team with Glen Davis as its best offensive weapon have a shot at winning?  They will play hard and be coached well under Jacque Vaughn on a nightly basis.

The Charlotte Bobcats are a long way from being a winning basketball team.  They drafted Kemba Walker in 2011, along with Bismack Biyombo, and drafted Micheal Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeffrey Taylor in 2012.  They will look towards Ben Gordon to be their go to guy, after he had a few mediocre seasons in Detroit.


Eastern Conference Finals

Heat over Celtics in 7 games



Western Conference


L.A. Clippers 55-27 *

L.A. Lakers 53-29 *

Warriors 41-41

Kings 38-44

Suns 30-52

Outlook: The Lakers added Nash and Howard over the offseason, but expect the Lakers to struggle early while getting used to playing together, similar to the Heat when they put their “Big 3” together a few years ago.  If they get it together and can avoid injuries, they could face OKC in the conference finals.  They must defend pick and roll better this year.  Howard is a big upgrade and should mask some of the Lakers deficiencies, especially Nash’s.

I really like what the Clippers did during the offseason, adding veterans to the young talent that they already have.  Jamal Crawford, Grant Hill, Lamar Odom, Matt Barnes, and Ronny Turiaf bring toughness, defense, rebounding and scoring off of the bench for the Clippers.  I think they have one of the deepest rosters in the league easily.  They really have a shot to make a deep playoff run, especially if Blake Griffin has improved his game with his back to the basket and from mid-range, and if he stays healthy all season.

I think the Warriors could possibly make the playoffs as an eight seed.  The additions of Andrew Bogut and Richard Jefferson gives their young team the much needed veteran presence that they lacked.  I like Stephen Curry a lot, but he must stay healthy.  Klay Thompson is already one of the league’s best shooters, and they also drafted Harrison Barnes as well, who’s game is more fit for the NBA.  I really think he has a chance to be a 17-20 point scorer in this league.  If this team listens to head coach Mark Jackson and defends, they could take that next step.

The Sacramento Kings have a talented roster.  DeMarcus Cousins, if he brings it nightly, could be an All Star and unstoppable.  The Kings need to decide what they are going to do with Tyreke Evans.  Is he going to play 2-3 or is he going to play the one.  Isaiah Thomas really played well last year at the one and I think the team would benefit as a whole with Evans playing the three spot.  He has the height and length to get it done defensively and would be a mismatch nightmare for the majority of the league’s threes.  I love the drafting of Thomas Robinson.  He is undersized, but he is strong, athletic, tough, and plays hard nightly.  The Kings needed a glue type guy.  This team could be battling down the stretch for a playoff seed.

The Phoenix Suns have a roster full of mediocre players, role players, no go-to guys.  I love Goran Dragic’s game, but I don’t expect him to be an All Star and carry a team.  Micheal Beasley has all the talent in the world, but he’s been a “me” guy and an underachiever from day one.  He can’t be trusted to carry or lead a team.  Luis Scola, I like him but he’s a role player as well.  Don’t expect much from this team, they will win 30-33 games at the most.  The post Steve Nash era, they should have ended 3 years ago, finally begins.



Thunder 60-22 *

Nuggets 46-36 *

Jazz 44-38 *

T’Wolves  35-47

Trail Blazers 31-41

Outlook: The OKC Thunder shocked the whole NBA community by trading reigning 6th man of the year James Harden to the Houston Rockets for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and two 1st round picks, while also sending Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook and Lazar Heyward to the Rockets.  Harden was in the last year of his rookie deal and recently turned down OKC’s 4-year, 55 million dollar deal, and reportedly will sign a max deal with the Rockets for 4-years, 60 million dollars.  Kevin Martin has been a legit scorer during his time in the NBA, who also excels at drawing fouls and getting to the line.  Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook may be upset about Harden’s departure, but K-Mart is no slouch and they should be right back in the Western Conference Finals barring a freak injury.

The Denver Nuggets have added lockdown defender Andre Iguodala to the mix.  He fits right in with George Karl’s system and he had the best season of his career when he played with Andre Miller, who is the Nuggets’ backup point guard.  Wilson Chandler is back after spending last season in China, and is a another key addition.  Denver signed JaVale McGee to a 4-year 44 million dollar extension, but he is having trouble beating out Kosta Koufus during the preseason.  This team is deep, at least two deep at each position, but they don’t have that one go-to guy who wins big games down the stretch in the playoffs.  The biggest problem is Iguodala believes he is that guy and will take those shots down the stretch, as he did in Philly.

The Utah Jazz made the playoffs as an eight seed in the 11-12 season, a huge surprise.  Ty Corbin did an excellent job coaching this young group of players.  There are going to be some big decisions for this team, especially at the trade deadline, as Paul Milsap and Al Jefferson are both in the last years of their deals and will be heavily coveted.  I think the Jazz will be a playoff team again, but not a title contender and will look to move one of those vets.

The Timberwolves were playing great last season before the unfortunate knee injury that rookie phenom Ricky Rubio suffered.  Kevin Love is out for the first 6-8 weeks with a broken right hand and the team will start the season shorthanded.  Brandon Roy has made a comeback after sitting out 2011-12 with knee problems, and has started all the preseason games and has looked good in limited minutes.  This team is going to struggle without their best players for at least the first two months and will miss the playoffs.

The Blazers have been bitten by the injury bug more than any team I remember recently.  They drafted well, had a nice young nucleus of players (Roy, Aldridge, Oden) but obviously we all know what has transpired with Roy and Oden.  They are officially in rebuild and reform mode and they drafted two players that I love as prospects, Damian Lillard and Meyers Leonard.  Lillard was the co-MVP of the NBA Summer League in Vegas and will come in from day one and be effective and a game changer.  Leonard is still young and raw, but he has the size, athleticism and potential to be very good.  Nicholas Batum and Wes Matthews are very underrated wing players in this league and will provide scoring, toughness and defense.  This team is a season or two from being a legit factor in the west.  Mark my words.



Grizzlies 53-29 *

Spurs 48-34 *

Mavericks 46-36 *

Rockets 40-42

Hornets 28-54

Outlook: The Memphis Grizzlies are the favorite to win this division in my opinion.  They have all the tools to make a possible run to the Western Conference Finals.  Not saying that they do, but they are a really good team.  They have arguably one of the NBA’s best front lines with Marc Gasol , Zach Randolph, and Rudy Gay.  They all can give you 20 points on any given night.  I know most don’t think much of PG Mike Conley, but I think he’s underrated as a player, especially as a shooter and defender.  He does an excellent job feeding his players and keeping them all happy.  Tony Allen is tough as nails, defends and is the leader of this team.

The Spurs come back another year older, but every time I count them out and say they are done, they prove me wrong.  Can Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker stay healthy during the season and going into the playoffs?  They have won an NBA record 50 plus games in 12 straight seasons, a streak I believe stops this year.  I’m looking forward to seeing how Kawhi Leonard’s offensive game has developed during the offseason.  The Spurs are going to need points from another source consistently this year.

The Mavericks lose Jason Terry and Jason Kidd from last season’s roster and replace them with Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo.  Dirk Nowitzki will miss the beginning of the season after having a procedure to clean his knee out.  The addition of Chris Kaman gives Dallas a legit go-to guy in the post.  I actually like this year’s roster more than last year’s.  O.J. Mayo finally has the chance to be a starter again, and I’m looking forward to seeing how he plays.

The Houston Rockets landed James Harden via trade with OKC and signed him to a 4-year, 60 million dollar max deal.  Do the additions of Harden and Jeremy Lin make the Rockets instant contenders?  No, but they will be a little bit better.  Harden has a whole franchise on his shoulders now.  He’s not the third best player anymore, he’s getting paid to be the guy.  Let’s see how good he really is without Durant and Westbrook on the court.

The New Orleans Hornets had the first pick in the 2012 NBA Draft and obviously took Anthony Davis and then later on they drafted Austin Rivers.  They re-signed combo guard Eric Gordon to a max deal after he played in 9 games last season and hasn’t played in a preseason game this year.  When healthy, he is really good, but he simply can’t stay on the court.  Davis has shown the star potential during the preseason and barring any freak injuries, he will be an All Star, and one of the league’s more versatile defenders.  His game will really flourish with the NBA’s open style of play.

Western Conference Finals

Thunder over Clippers in 7 games

NBA Finals: Heat over OKC in 7 games

Awards Predictions:

MVP:  Lebron James (Heat)

Defensive Player of the Year: Dwight Howard (Lakers)

Rookie of the Year: Damian Lillard (Blazers) / Anthony Davis (Hornets) (Co-MVP’s)

Sixth Man of the Year: Nick Young (Sixers)

Coach of the Year: Mark Jackson


* – Indicates playoff team


Brandon Pemberton of Brandon on Sports & Sports Trap Radio, 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

LeBron………It’s TIME!

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

By LeRoy McConnell III

Hey “Chosen One” it’s me again, your Conscience.  I am here to remind you of what day it is.  It’s a significant day in our short history as a Miami Heat.  I know, I know, today is game one of the 2012 NBA FINALS, against our new foe of the future, #35.  But hold up, not so fast, we will discuss game one in a moment.  Before we are able to move on, we must attack the past head on.  June 12, 2011, exactly one year ago, was game six of the NBA FINALS, where Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks celebrated an NBA Championship on our home floor.  LeBron, do you recall that series, where everyone was wondering where the hell we went?  I know it didn’t feel right when Dirk was the MVP of the Finals, holding our Larry O’Brien trophy in our house. We finally made it through a strike, a shortened season, and playoff battles against both Indiana and Boston.  Once again we come back to the promised land.


IT’S TIME, this whole series is about us.  It’s time to shine and carry the Miami Heat organization on our back.  We didn’t come to Miami for second place.  If so, we could have stayed in Cleveland.  Remember 5,6,7?  “I know we ran off our mouth, but that’s partly my fault because I wanted some of the spotlight as well!  There is nothing wrong with a little pressure on us.  Our nucleus is better than last year.  Heck, we aren’t even favored to win.

IT’S TIME, OKC is ready, ready to take what is ours.  #35 on the Thunder is the foe that has the potential to take everything from us.  The question is, who is hungrier?  #35 can’t get enough on his plate.  In fact, he and his squad have been going for seconds!  After we joined forces with D-Wade and Bosh, who would have thought there would be a team more talented than us?  OKC is younger, they play exciting team ball, and they believe it’s their time.

IT’S TIME, LeBron, I want that ring!  Do you know how sick and tired I am of the “Conscience of Kobe Bryant”?  It’s getting old, all that damn laughing and snickering in my face, with his bling, bling!  I wish I could knock the %^&* out of him!  This is for all the marbles.  Kobe AIN’T even the issue anymore.  What I am trying to tell you is, #35 is our adversary.  We are very similar to him.  We both are freakish by nature, no one on the court can stop us, and we both want the same thing, a championship.  #35 is a three-time NBA scoring leader who is going after our, our fame and our 5,6, and 7 championships!  The three-time scoring leader for the Thunder is trying to write our history.  Starting tonight, we put an end to his premature thoughts.  We waited all year for this.  We will go out there and play our game and who knows, celebrating in Oklahoma City won’t be so bad.  Last I checked, LeBron, we are the three time MVP!

LeRoy McConnell III of “A Fan’s Point of View”, for War Room Sports

Mavericks’ Road Back to NBA Finals Reads Like a Hollywood Script

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

By Jason Parker

Mavericks vs Heat (2006 NBA Finals)

You can’t make this stuff up.  Death Wish, The Crow, Gladiator, Man on Fire, nothing gets a guys’ heart pumping like a good revenge flick.  Could Mavs vs. Heat 2011 join the list of great payback pictures?  

After five years of exile to a barren wasteland, a trio of men returns to avenge the loss of their collective manhood at the hands of the evil NBA Empire.  Sounds like the tagline for a movie, but it’s befitting the scenario that has unfolded in the last forty-eight hours of playoff basketball in The Association.   Make no mistake, Mark Cuban, Dirk Nowitzki, and Jason Terry have been in playoff purgatory for the past five years after being emasculated by the Miami Heat in the 2006 NBA Finals.  For those that have been stranded on a deserted island for half a decade or so, the Mavs were up two games to none over the Heat, and were well on their way to a three-game lead when Dwayne Wade (and maybe an official or two) went out of his mind and carried his team to four consecutive victories to steal the championship.  What followed was a downward spiral of epic proportions: four out of the next five seasons ending in first round flameouts, and the other ending in the second round.  Inevitably, Nowitzki and Terry were painted as good, but soft players that wilted under playoff pressure.   And now here we are, five seasons later, and the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat (pending the formality of their inevitable close-out win over the Bulls), are preparing to cross swords for the right to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy.  It’s Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd leading their band of role players and refugees from the island of misfit hoopsters against the heavily-favored tropical triumvirate from South Beach.  It’s David vs. Goliath, Rocky vs. Apollo Creed, and Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader.   Most of those outside of Florida will be rooting against the Heat after Lebron’s unceremonious dumping of his hometown hoops bride, Cleveland, for better-looking trophy wife, Miami, last off-season.  Thus, we have our hero and our villain that everyone loves to hate.

Darth Vader vs. Luke


Rocky Vs. Apollo

You certainly won’t hear Nowitzki or Terry verbally acknowledge their thirst for retribution, but have no doubt, that fire burns within them.  It has forged them into a strong, polished blade with a keen edge that, in all honesty, was lacking in other deep playoff runs.  But will that edge be sharp enough to sever the grip Wade, James, and Bosh already seem to have on the NBA’s greatest prize?  Most will say no, but this Mavericks team has been proving us all wrong throughout the postseason;  first by beating the younger, more athletic Trailblazers in the first round, then sweeping the two-time defending champion Lakers in the second round, and finally by vanquishing the up-and-coming Thunder in five games.  Only time will tell if Dallas’ new-found mettle will prove strong enough to carry them to a championship, but we can all get our popcorn and soda,  and enjoy watching the underdog Mavericks try to defeat the villainous Heat in a good, old fashioned grudge match.  This writer can’t wait to see how the story ends.    

Will the Mavs win the next Trophy?

Jason Parker, Blogger for War Room Sports

Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry


Mavericks Fans Still Carry Scars From The Past

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

By Jason Parker

Dallas Mavericks (L-R) Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion, Tyson Chandler

Like a jilted lover, long-suffering MFFL’s (Mavs Fans For Life) still find it hard to put their trust in this team.  Count this writer, a native “Dallas-ite”, among the jaded.  Despite promising signs of change, the ghosts of the past still haunt those who back the “Boys in Blue”. 

Dirk shoots over LaMarcus Aldridge in Round 1 of the 2011 NBA Playoffs

After a colossal choke job in game four of the first round against Portland had us all thinking, here we go again; the same old Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry – the only holdovers from the 2006 team that spit the bit when a championship was imminent – assured their fans that this Dallas team was made of tougher stuff than those of the past.  This brought about a collective “surrrrre” from all within earshot of this seemingly hollow rhetoric.  We heard similar promises after the number-one-seeded Mavericks suffered a historic first-round flameout against the Warriors in ’07, and again in ’08 after being upset by the Hornets in the opening round of the playoffs.   So when Dallas closed out the Blazers, whom many prognosticators had picked to upset the aptly-named “One-and-Done Boys,” in one of the most difficult arenas to win in as a road team, most saw it as an anomaly. 

Mavs sweep the defending champion Lakers in Round 2

Next up were the two-time defending champion Lakers.  Needless to say, the Mavs were getting longer odds than Buster Douglas had against the indomitable Mike Tyson some twenty years ago.  After Dirk and his band of NBA castoffs (Chandler, Marion, Peja, Stevenson) miraculously left the champ bloodied and broken, scoring what amounts to a first-round knockout, everyone chalked it up to some sudden dysfunction within the Laker locker room.  It certainly couldn’t have been anything the “Two-and-Through-Crew” did to earn the victory. 

The Mavs are on the cusp of another trip to the NBA Finals with a 3-1 series lead over Kevin Durant and his Thunder

Now here we are on the cusp of another trip to the Finals after an improbable five-minute, fifteen-point comeback in probably the second-hardest arena to win in on the road, and the national perception of these Mavericks, who have been known to fold up like a cheap lawn chair in the face of adversity, is slowly beginning to change.  This is evident when you listen to the national media talk about this team and its much-maligned, future hall-of-fame-leader, Dirk Nowitzki.  The “S” word (Soft) is only uttered in the past tense these days.  When discussing the sweet-shooting German, you are more likely to hear “all-time great,” or “man on a mission” than that four-letter epithet.  But let me be frank.  It will take nothing less than a championship to truly change how we as fans view our hometown hoops team.  We’ve been here before.  We all thought this team had turned the corner after vanquishing the Spurs in the loaded Western Conference during the ’06 playoffs; and we all know how that season ended.  So until David Stern begrudgingly hands Mark Cuban the Larry O’Brien trophy, I and every other realistic “MFFL” will stop just short of giving our hearts completely to this team for fear of having it ripped out again.

Will the Mavs fly out of Miami or Chicago as NBA Champions this year?

Jason Parker, Blogger for War Room Sports

Green With Envy: Boston Celtics “What-if’s”

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

By Aquil Bayyan

Boston Celtics Defeated

I just want to take a minute to talk about some interesting observations I’ve made as the NBA playoffs come down to its final four teams.  Many people, including the War Room Generals, picked the Boston Celtics to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals this year.  Unfortunately for them, they were sent home in 5 games by the Miami Heat.  In noticing the manner of which the Celtics were easily bounced by the Miami Heat, I began to wonder, analyze, pontificate, cerebrate (which means to think, not celebrate), cogitate, evaluate, and even speculate, about what happened to the Boston Celtics this year.

Exhibit A:
Tom Thibodeau used to be an assistant coach and defensive mastermind for the Boston Celtics who went to 2 of the last 3 NBA finals, winning 1 and going pretty far in the playoffs without Kevin Garnett in 2009.  He is now coaching my Chicago Bulls and has led us to 62 wins, the best record in the NBA, and won the NBA Coach of the Year award in the process.  All I have to say is…Tom Thibodeau is still coaching right now.

NBA Coach of the Year, Tom Thibodeau

Exhibit B:
The NBA player we all know and love, and who probably gets way more attention than he should; Kendrick Perkins.  While we all agree that his skill set is weak and that he is not really as tough as advertised, he has helped his teams to 3 of the last 4 NBA Conference Finals and he still talks to Raon (I left the “J” out on purpose) Rondo every day, for what it’s worth.  All I have to say is…Kendrick is still playing right now.

The most important player in the NBA?

Exhibit C:
Nate Robinson; you all probably forgot that he was playing for the Thunder until you saw J.J. Barea cross his face off and fish-fry-bake “Lil Nate” in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.  I remember in last year’s playoffs when “Lil Nate” would come into the game and give the Celtics a lift off the bench, hitting key three pointers, finishing in the lane, all while jumping around, pounding his chest, and screaming while getting the fans fired up.  All I have to say is…Nate is still playing right now.

“Lil Nate”

Exhibit D:
Brian Scalabrine, now you may laugh and wonder why I am even talking about a player who averaged 1.5 points, 1 rebound, 0.5 assists, 0.2 blocks, and 0.2 steals for the Celtics last year, and followed that up with similar solid stats with my Bulls this year.  You can never underestimate the impact of an NBA player in a suit or warm up who has 0% chance of getting into the game, cheering his teammates on.  All I have to say is…Brian is still cheering right now.

The best dressed cheerleader in the league

All this thought has caused me to wonder if the Celtics would still be playing if this coach and these three players were still a part of the team.  I guess we will never know.


Aquil “Quil” Bayyan of The War Room, for War Room Sports


Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Since we spoke about the business side of sports on the October 14th episode of  The War Room (the best Marshall Faulkin sports show on the web PERIOD), I figured I’d address something that I believe will be very bad for NBA business in the coming years.  We all know about the drama and eventual backlash from Lebron’s “decision” this summer.  But “punk move” aside, I think this move will start a trend that will ultimately prove cancerous for NBA business.  Here’s how most people I’ve talked to look at this…”This is great for the NBA because people are talking about the league during the offseason and eagerly anticipating the season”, blah, blah, blah.  That is such a shortsighted view.  Here’s how I see it…Many teams in the NBA, and players for that matter, are already unwatchable.  The league needs to be contracted and not continually expanded, as it has been for the past two decades.  In a 24 hour span, Chris Bosh and Lebron James effectively and instantly made two more NBA teams completely unwatchable.  Cleveland WILL…not might, but WILL end a streak of Quicken Loans Arena sell-outs maintained during the Lebron James era.  Toronto on the other hand, wasn’t the most watchable team in the league to begin with, but the only reason we may have had to ever tune in to a Raptors game is now gone.

Because of the recent “Heat wave” in Miami, we already have other superstars such as Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, and maybe Amare Stoudemire contemplating “superteaming” up to form their own version of Voltron in New York.  This will certainly put the pressure on other superstars to follow suit in order to compete.  Where would this leave a league already in need of contraction?…already filled with sub-NBA-quality talent?…already full of teams and players that NOBODY wants to watch?  With all of the league’s FEW superstars eventually ending up on 3 or 4 teams, what does that do to even the POSSIBILITY of parity in the NBA?  With Lebron and Bosh bolting now, and CP3 and Melo’s escape from self-perceived “purgatory” most likely on the horizon for next year (if they don’t force trades THIS YEAR), how will Cleveland, Toronto, Denver, and New Orleans even come close to filling their buildings?  The only chance that a VERY high percentage of NBA teams have of selling out their arenas this year and in years moving forward, is when the Lakers, Heat, Celtics, and MAYBE Magic and Thunder come to town.  What MANY fans and even some NBA officials fail to understand is that a huge buzz for this NBA season isn’t a great buzz if people are only buzzing about two teams.

In conclusion, with players having the absolute right to “superteam” up if they so choose, there is really nothing that can be done about this budding trend.  All we can hope…those of us who care of course…is that the REST OF the cream of the NBA crop would develop a higher level of pride than that shown from the “best player on the planet”.     


 Devin “Dev” McMillan of The War Room, for War Room Sports