Pacers have to make a decision about George?

The Indiana Pacers are now in ninth place in the Eastern Conference and only one game out of the last playoff spot. The Pacers have 12 games remaining and need to make a decisive decision about Paul George’s status for this season.
It is a simple solution in my eyes. George must play a minimum of 10 games this season for him to play in the playoffs or be shut down for the season. Basketball fans old enough to remember how Grant Hill played in a playoff series on an injured ankle for the Detroit Pistons, which derailed what could have been a Hall of Fame career.
Bird has said he expects George to play this season.
The Pacers organization needs to put some internal guidelines as how they will handle their franchise player. They can’t afford to have George tell the media he wants to play, have coach Frank Vogel tempted to play his franchise player in order to win a series, the Pacers fans hoping number 13 comes in the save the day and the media posting articles about should Indiana play their former All-star.
George is only 24 years old and has many years remaining to lead the Pacers franchise to playoff success. Larry Bird, ownership and coaches should worry more about George’s future than play in the playoffs without a great chance to make the NBA Finals.
The Pacers don’t have enough talent to beat the Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors nor the Washington Wizards even with George in the line-up. The Pacers organization should take the pressure off George to decide if he should join his teammates this season.
Should Paul George play this season?
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NBA 2015 MVP will be?

The Most Valuable Player in the NBA award will be close with two players who are the front runners: Stephen Curry and James Harden. The different NBA fans that I had discussion with at the barbershop, work and friends with many believing that Harden was their number one candidate with Russell Westbrook number two.
All three players are having great years and their statistics prove it.
Name Games Points Assists Rebounds FG% 3ptFG% turnovers steals
Curry 67 23.3 7.9 4.3 47.6 41.7 3.1 2.1
Harden 68 26.9 7.0 5.8 43.9 36.9 4 1.9
Westbrook 55 27.5 8.7 7.3 42.7 30 4.4 2.2
The main reason Harden is number one for many people I have spoken to is because he is doing without Dwight Howard and Westbrook without former MVP Kevin Durant. Many people feel Curry has better supporting players than the other two. Curry’s support from his Golden State Warriors is one teammate who average 20 points and three who are between 10 to12.
Harden is the only Houston Rockets who averages over 25 and have six players between 10 to 13 points a game. He has many solid professionals who helped him accomplish what he is doing right now even without Howard.
Westbrook has six teammates who scored over 10 points a game for OKC including Reggie Jackson and Kevin Durant. Serge Ibaka now is out for the remainder of the season. Westbrook is getting many sympathy votes due to the fact he is doing it without Durant and during the next 10 games also without Ibaka. Russell missed too many games in my book.
Their statistics are similar and they all receive very good support from their teammates. The tie-breaker should be team wins and rankings. The Golden State Warriors are number one in the NBA in with 56 wins in a very tough Western Conference. The NBA MVP should come from a team that is having an excellent season not just to the player with the best statistics.
Basketball is a team game despite all the individual accolades an individual will receive during a season. The MVP should come from a player who is on one of the top 5 teams in the league.
Stephen Curry is my MVP.
Who is your NBA MVP?
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Knicks will not trade their number one pick

New York Knicks team President Phil Jackson said he is open to trading the number one pick this summer. The Knicks will listen to offers, but will definitely not trade the number one or two overall pick. Jackson knows it will take a few years to build a contender.
Duke’s Jahil Okafor and Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns if they both enter the draft after their Freshman year are NBA ready big men. The addition of either one of these players could be the best player drafted by the Knicks since Patrick Ewing in 1985.
The situation in New York is different than the Cleveland Cavaliers when they signed LeBron James. The Cavs already had Kyrie Irving and trading the first pick (Andrew Wiggins) for Love gave Cleveland their big 3. Despite having their big 3 they still had to trade for three more players (J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Timofey Mozgoz) before they made a run.
The Knicks have signed Carmelo Anthony until 2018 – 19 season, which is not enough time for the Knicks top pick to develop and help him win a championship or at least make a NBA Finals. A top pick and Melo without the support of talented teammates will not be enough to turn things around.
The Knicks only have 5 players signed for next season: Melo, Jose Calderon, Shane Larkin, Tim Hardaway Jr., Cleanthony Early and Langston Galloway. Jackson is expected to attract big name free agents to the Big Apple with the hope of creating a winning organization that can compete every year in the Eastern Conference. Only Melo, Calderon and Hardaway can play more than 25 minutes a game from the list.
Jackson will listen to offers and will demand a lot if the Knicks can obtain the first or second pick overall in next year’s draft. He will end up making a pick if a seven foot NBA ready player is available.
Are the Knicks seriously considering trading their number one pick?
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Raptors slumping at the wrong time

The Toronto Raptors were 7 for 22 from the three point line and once again gave up more than 100 points. This team doesn’t look like a team that could win a playoff round. The Charlotte Hornets could be a team that might be the Raptors first round playoff opponent.
The Raptors don’t want to give their big men a chance to get the ball in the post. Jonas Valanciunas played 22:30 shot 2 for 3 and 5 for 5 from the free throw line, while Amir Johnson played 25:42 shot 3 for 5. Only Jonas (+6), Amir (+8) and Terrence Ross (+3) finished in the plus.
DeMar DRozan was 14 for 26 and Kyle Lowry 9 for 22 took more than half the team’s 91 shots. They are not Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Coach Casey offensive game plan is to let those two players shot whatever shot they want.
The Raptors were 7 for 22 from the three point line and three players took more three attempts than Jonas had field goal attempts: Lou Williams (0 for 4), Ross (2 for 7) and Lowry (5 for 9).
Someone should ask Coach Casey how Patrick Patterson played 27:07, which are more minutes than either Jonas or Amir. Patterson’s statistics line for the Hornets loss was 0 for 3 from the field, 5 rebounds, zero points and his team was minus 11 with him on the court. He is an undersized player who is too small to be a power forward and not quick enough to be a small forward.
Coach Casey seems to have set rotations very night and doesn’t seem to adapt to his opponents nor tries to play who is hot that night. I’m tired of hearing the, “we had good looks and they didn’t go in.” The shooters are cold go inside to your big men is the solutions for many NBA coaches except for the Raptors boss.
A first round loss seems to be in the Raptors future if they don’t shape up.
Will the Raptors win a first round series?
Have a great weekend!
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Can Westbrook and KD co-exist?

The Oklahoma City Thunder team is winning and Russell Westbrook is playing at MVP level. He has four straight triple doubles and three consecutive 40 point games. Westbrook is putting up these astounding numbers while former NBA MVP Kevin Durant has been out of the line-up.
Westbrook has averaged 33.75 shot attempts a game in the last four games and shooting over 40%. Everybody knows once KD comes back Russell field goal attempts will go down to 20. Durant the former scoring champion requires his 20 shots and Serge Ibaka will take about 15 attempts per game.
Oklahoma averages 86.2 shot attempts a game as a team. One of these great players may have to differ to the other. Can KD play besides a great scorer and high volume shooter like Westbrook?
Durant scored 32.0 points a game and took 20.8 shots last year while Westbrook only played 47 games last year. Westbrook is almost repeating what KD did last year 27.4 points and takes 21.4 shots per game during his absence. When they are both in the line-up; they are not as proficient with their statistical output.
This NBA season field goal attempts leaders are Westbrook (21.4), LaMarcus Aldridge (20.2), Carmelo Anthony (20.2), LeBron James (19.1) and James Harden (18.0). Westbrook is taking over 30 a game, which is an astronomical amount of shots per game.
The Thunder is barely hanging on to the eight seed in the Western Conference. Russell is putting up great numbers, but his team is not a top 4 team in the Western Conference. He is will not win the NBA MVP this year, because he hasn’t done it all year.
The Thunder might have to make a decision and commit to one leader. They both say all the right things in the press conferences. Westbrook’s performance may put the Thunder organization in a bind. They don’t want to see a few years from now one current and two former City Thunder players fighting for the NBA scoring championship.
Can KD and Westbrook co-exist?
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Smart move by Raptors to rest Lowry

The Toronto Raptors fans should be happy that the team rested NBA All-star Kyle Lowry for the last three games. It is a message to the players that making the playoffs and losing in the first round is not the expectation. General Manager Masai Ujiri and Coach Dwayne Casey understand they need a healthy Lowry to have any chance at winning a first round match-up.
The 1 – 2 record during Lowry’s absence will not prevent them from being crowned Atlantic Division Champions. The Raptors have a 12 game lead with 21 games remaining, while Brooklyn Nets have 24 and Boston Celtics 23. They can’t finish lower than the fourth seed in the current playoff format; therefore a guaranteed first round home playoffs series.
Their first round playoff opponent could be one of six teams who are vying for the seventh and eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors are not concerned right now with who will be their opponent.
The Raptors have two major areas they need to improve before the playoffs if they want to win a first round series: points against and play better half-court offense.
Coach Casey has 21 games to improve the team defense because they are one of five teams that have given up more than 100 points a game. The other four are not in the playoff picture. Playoff basketball games are not wide open by virtue of the opponents such as the Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat and Charlotte Hornets who will slow the game down, play tough defense and use shot clock before shooting.
The Raptors offense depends too much on the three point shot and refuse to throw the ball inside to DeMar DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas. Sometimes in the half-court the post-up option will create open three point shots, scoring opportunities from close range and foul trouble for their opponents, which leads to free throws.
Can the Raptors win a playoff series?
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Bills improved their offense this week

Coach Rex Ryan is an excellent defensive coach who struggles with the offensive side of the ball. His last three years with the New York Jets validated this point. The Buffalo Bills have made two nice moves this off season by acquiring LaSean McCoy and Matt Cassel to improve the offense. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman was an excellent who will use the run game to set-up the pass, which is more in line with Coach Ryan’s philosophy.
McCoy is an immediate starter and huge upgrade. The Bills should keep C.J. Spiller even though he wants out due to the fact he is a great kickoff returner with a 30.6 yards a return average and pass catching running back with a 13.9 yards a catch. He returned a kick 102 yards for a touchdown last year. Roman needs to incorporate Spiller big play ability into the offense.
EJ Manuel should be given a chance to compete for a starting job despite the fact Cassel will most probably be the starter next year. A quarterback competition would be good for the team because if the starter is hurt the back-up will be ready to take over. Also is Cassel that much better than Manuel that he should start? Remember, Cassel lost his starting job in Minnesota to rookie Teddy Bridgewater.
The receiving core is a talented group with Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods and Scott Chandler. Watkins and Woods with a year as starters under their belt will be getting better.
The offensive lineman could use an infusion of talent. Maybe Roman can convince Mike Iupati to sign with the Bills to solidify the unit.
The Bills had three defensive linemen last make it to the Pro Bowl last year. Coach Ryan will be able to take the defense another level with his blitzing schemes. The Defense is never an issue when Rex is head coach.
Will the Bills win more than 8 games next year?
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Raptors need a win badly

The Toronto Raptors losing streak is not surprising to me because I believe this roster is an average team, but losing to the New York Knicks without Carmelo Anthony and giving up 103 points. The Raptors need to move on and beat the Philadelphia Sixers on Monday. A work colleague said it best, “The Raptors losing streak won’t be long because there is always a terrible Eastern team to help them break it.”
The Knicks were the terrible team to help break the losing streak. Head Coach Dwayne Casey was so confident that he gave Kyle Lowry a night off to rest. The Raptors are 23 – 6 against teams below .500, which explains there huge lead in the Atlantic Division. They were able to win many games with excellent shooting behind the arc against weaker opponents.
The Raptors excellent ball movement from last year has disappeared because Lowry and DeMar DeRozan think they are Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant because each one takes more than 15 shots a game. Lowry’s shot selection hasn’t changed much; he is taking almost 2 more shots a game and is shooting 7% less from the three point line. DeRozan who has shot over 42% from the field is presently at 38%.
The role players’ number has also dropped recently. Patrick Patterson early season 45% shooting from the three point line to 39.6%. Lou Williams is third on the team is field goal attempts with 11.2 is a streaky shooters; therefore when he is on let him shoot and when he is off get him off the court.
The Raptors refuse to give Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson more shot attempts. They get most of their attempts of offensive rebounds. Jonas 8.1 attempts shots 55.9% and Amir 7 attempts shots 58.6%; they will also make some nice high low passes to each other for easy close in baskets. They are presently sixth and seventh in shot attempts on the Raptors.
Williams takes 5.5 and Lowry 5.4 three point shots a game, which is almost more filed goal attempts than the big men.
Will they beat the Sixers on Monday?
Have a great weekend!
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UFC has now the best drug testing policy

Dana White has elevated and might have saved his fighting promotion by having all 22 fighters on the card for UFC 184 be tested not only their urine samples. The UFC has implemented blood samples will also be tested.
The UFC was put in a corner with the many failed drug test in the last few UFC events. Jon Jones for cocaine, Anderson Silva steroids, Hector Lombard anabolic steroids and Nick Diaz marijuana were among the notable drug test failures. Jones and Silva hurt the most because they are the UFC biggest drawing pay-per-view fighters.
The use of TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy) should be the next thing to go because the UFC can’t expect clean fighters to face opponents who get exceptions. Vitor Belfort is getting a title shot against Chris Weidman; it would have been interesting to see if this fight was still on the UFC 184 because Belfort is on the list of fighters who get to use TRT therapy.
Congratulations to Dana White and the UFC for taking this big step in professional fighting. Now, we will not see physical mismatches because someone took drugs to cut weight and day of the fight is 30 pounds heavier than his opponent. The Georges St- Pierre versus Johny Hendricks big physical difference is a prime example. The night of the fight GSP is 176 and Hendricks is 199 pounds.
This may put pressure on the four major professional sports unions to accept urine and blood testing as part of their collective bargaining agreement. It won’t happen immediately because the owners like their doped up athletes to put up incredible statistics to promote their sports and get fans in the seats. The NFL (National Football League), MLB (Major League Baseball), NBA (National Basketball Association) and NHL (National Hockey League) are still a long ways away from including blood tests.
The four major leagues all have some form of doping issues that needs to be addressed and now the UFC took this step it is time for them to take it also. HGH (Human Growth Hormone) doesn’t show up in urine samples, but if you did a blood test then the athlete would be caught.
Could this mean that GSP may come back to the UFC?
Have a great weekend!
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Can D-Rose play “Old Man basketball”?

The Chicago Bulls management didn’t play or Rose didn’t want to play in the NBA Playoffs last year when his team could have used his help. He instead went to the Team USA basketball in the summer with his head coach Tom Thibodeau.
The Bulls management should have prevented him from attending the camp. He was practicing at a high level against the best American basketball players. The knee injuries are more often than not caused by the wear and tear it is rarely because of something that happened on the night of the injury.
Rose was playing 31 minutes a game and seemed to be getting better when the injury happened. He has had three consecutive years of knee surgeries, which puts in doubt how well he can comeback from this latest one.
NBA analyst Kenny Smith uses the expression, “Old Man basketball.” Anybody who has played recreational or park basketball know what that expression means. It describes a player like Paul Pierce who hardly has a vertical, is slow, but quick and has an high basketball I.Q. Pierce never seems to be moving at 100 miles per hour when he plays. He moves like tortoise and still finds a way to be effective on both ends of the floor. Pierce and Andre Miller can play past their primes because they their basketball game doesn’t depend on athletic ability only.
Rose still depends on his athletic ability to be an effective player. He was supposed to have an improved jump shoot; therefore reducing his need to drive and make explosive moves on the offensive end. Rose was shooting an abysmal 28.7% from the three point line with 5.5 attempts a game, which is a career high for him in attempts.
Derrick leads the Bulls in field goal attempts with 16.9; he still believes he can be the MVP type player that he was before his knee injuries. He is not able to pick and choose when to try to be aggressive and when to be a facilitator.
I’m afraid players like Rose can’t make the transition from super athletic to a more cerebral player because he has always depended on his athletic ability to be a great player.
Can Rose change his game?
Have a great weekend!
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