By Alex Horowitz
For the first time since Russell Westbrook’s rookie season, the Oklahoma City have stumbled out of the gate. Currently sitting at 5-13 and 3rd place in the Northwest Division, the Thunder have much reason for optimism; their sights are set on an NBA championship this season.
Why would a team with such a poor record have such a lofty goal? Having two of the league’s most talented players in reigning MVP Kevin Durant and the aforementioned Westbrook certainly helps. Unfortunately for OKC, both stars have missed the majority of this young season. Westbrook did not make his debut until last week versus the Knicks, while Durant played his first minutes in Tuesday’s loss in the Big Easy.
It may already be a month into the season, but then again, it is ONLY a month into the season. The Thunder have plenty of time to get their act together and will climb their way atop the Western Conference standings at ease. As usual, the conference is stacked with contenders such as Memphis, Houston, San Antonio, and Portland, but among those clubs, only the Spurs have more playoff experience than this young Thunder team.
Yes, even though OKC has been among the league’s elite since 2010, they are still a relatively young group of players. Their average age of 25.8 years is ninth youngest in the association. But don’t let that fool you; the Thunder are a team with a veteran-like attitude. They will not fret over a difficult start to the season, because they understand it’s a process, a grind, and that many more months of regular season play are yet to be played. When asked about turning around the team’s season around, Durant oozed with confidence
“We’ve got a great locker room, we’ve got a great team, we’ve got a great group of guys. No doubt,” Durant said. “We’ve really got to put on our hard hat every game and grind ’em out, (via Royce Young, NBA writer for ESPN.com).
Westbrook added onto Durant’s optimistic attitude, understanding the reality of where the Thunder current stand in relation to the remaining length of the season.
“How many games we got left? Sixty-something?” Westbrook said. “How many games we out of eighth place? Five, six? Not worried” (via Royce Young).
A tough start and a bad stroke of luck has doomed the Thunder to start their seventh season in the Sooner State. But backed by the leadership of its star players, the team appears to be in good hands. Larger goals lie ahead as they aim to win their first championship since their Seattle days, while a healthy starting lineup will attempt to reestablish the chemistry they’ve flawlessly executed throughout the past several years.
Lil Wayne once featured in his song “Kobe Bryant” that no one was starving for a world championship more than Kobe. Today, that title now falls on Kevin Durant. In Oklahoma City, it’s finally #ThunderUp time again.
Alex Horowitz is a senior at Briarcliff High School and is an aspiring sports writer. As a lifelong sports fan, he has rooted for the New York Knicks, New York Mets, and Detroit Lions. You can follow him on Twitter @alexhorowitz3
By Jack Allen
The Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Philadelphia 76ers made a 3 way trade earlier this month. Minnesota received Anthony Bennett, Andrew Wiggins, Thaddeus Young and $6.3 Million. The 76ers received a 1st round pick, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, and Alexey Shved. And of course, Cleveland landed Kevin Love. Kevin Love for the last six years has been the face of the T-Wolves franchise, but now joins up with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in what the players are calling, “The Land.” Kevin Love has never played in a playoff game in his career and neither has Kyrie Irving. I can honestly say that I believe in LeBron and the Cavs starting five through the regular season to finish atop the Eastern Conference. When it comes to playoff time, will Kevin Love and the rest of the Cavaliers be ready? Due to lack of experience Im seeing a first round exit to possibly the Hawks, Knicks or the Nets. Each of those teams have playoff experience and aren’t projected to place at the top of the conference, but can compete with top teams.
As for the 76ers, I don’t think they are close to being a top team yet, and they’ll probably finish in the cellar similar to last season. They have a very bright future with young blue chip prospects such as Nerlens Noel, Michael Carter-Williams, and their latest 1st rounder, Joel Embiid. The Sixers will probably have the opportunity to draft another top prospect and only then will they be ready for a possible playoff-birth in a year from now. Looking at this season though, it’s going to be a rough time for Sixers fans as they watch their team struggle through their schedule in a deep rebuild.
Finally, the T-Wolves. With a completely new look, I already think that they’ll contend to reach the playoffs. It would mark the first time since the 2003-04 season that the Timberwolves were in the playoffs, when they lost to the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. They likely should make the playoffs this season, led by the young guns of Andrew Wiggins, Thaddeus Young, Anthony Bennett, and Zach LaVine, in addition to Ricky Rubio. With a motivated and passionate fan base, the team is primed for a return to playing basketball in late April into May. I’m predicting that Andrew Wiggins will win rookie of the year and will be the leader of the team. Not once had they made it to the playoffs with Love, but with the core that they have now, the Timberwolves will be good for a long time in the NBA. They should start off the next few years in the middle of the pack with early playoff exits, but two seasons down the road they’ll be definite title contenders if they can keep their core players. I’d say that the Timberwolves were the real winners of this trade but it should be fun to see how it plays out!
Jack Allen is a writer for dabuzzza.com. He is a fan of the New York Mets, New York Islanders, New York Knicks, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Mariners, Queens Park Rangers, and West Virginia Mountaineer football and basketball. His favorite athletes are David Wright, John Tavares, Geno Smith, Allen Iverson and Charlie Austin. He is a very passionate and determined fan. You can follow him on twitter @JackAllen99.
Phil Jackson was introduced Tuesday morning at Madison Square Garden as the new president of the New York Knicks. Here is a video of the press conference
The Zen Master was then introduced to the Garden crowd during their game on Wednesday against the Indiana Pacers, where he received a standing ovation.
Brett Malamud is a Computer Science Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy
By: Sam Breiter
Welcome to “Who Dat”, a weekly guide to learning about fantasy basketball players who are seeing noticeable success. No household names here, but players who have shown huge fantasy value and should be considered being picked up if not already taken. Obviously you can’t expect the limited success will last all season, as these players have not yet proven themselves, but we’re not going to give you any reason as to why not. It doesn’t matter if you’re a category or a points league guy, these players have made a statement in both league formats. So without further a do, here’s Who Dat for week one.
Michael Carter Williams (PHI)– Two weeks ago if you were to walk around, and were to ask people if they ever heard of Michael Carter Williams most people wouldn’t have an answer. Today, people cant stop talking about the six foot six point guard from Syracuse. He was the 11th pick in the NBA draft, and has already outplayed and beaten Lebron James and Derrick Rose, two of the leagues best. He has proven to be quick, explosive, productive, and a great decision maker. In his debut he almost got a triple double, but don’t expect that to be the only time.
Week One Stats– 20.7PPG, 9.0APG, 4.4 Steals, 46.8FG%
Miles Plumlee (PHX)- After Marcin Gortat was traded from the Suns to the Wizards, the expectations for the Suns rebounding game diminished. Yet, maybe the Suns knew that Gortat would just get in the way of the leagues next rebounding machine. Plumlee wasn’t given a chance as part of the Pacers last year, not even averaging four minutes a game. Plumlee has shown that he is an animal inside the paint on defense and offense.
Week One Stats- 15.5PPG, 14.0RPG, 3.0BLK, 56FG%, 37.5 MIN
Vitor Faverani (BOS)- His name may get confused for a famous pasta dish at your local Italian restaurant, but this 25-year-old Brazilian center has given the Celtics something to look forward to. Clearly he is no Kevin Garnett, but he has been putting up similar numbers to the future hall of famer, in just his first few games.
Week One Stats- 12.5PPG, 10.5RPG, 4.5BLK, 53.3FG%, 32 MIN
Alec Burks (UTA)- Burks faced two years of being a role-playing prospect for Utah, but now with an improved role the shooting guard for the Jazz is receiving real minutes. In the early goings of the year his shot looks better then ever, and on the defensive end he looks very motivated. Utah doesn’t look very competitive this year, but Burks will have a huge role in scoring buckets, and running the offense.
Week One Stats- 18.0 PPG, 3.7RPG, 3.0APG, 48.8FG%, 31 MIN
Jodie Meeks (LAL)- With no Kobe for now, and Steve Nash dealing with injury and old age, where do the Lakers go? Well, the answer is Jodie Meeks. The Lakers have no one to go to, and Meeks has been nothing, but ideal for the Lakers. The 26-year-old shooting guard has never been a clear-cut NBA starter, and his job is definitely not safe for this year. Yet, even if pulled out of the starting lineup when Black Mamba returns, expect him to be the number one guy taken off the bench if he continues the hot run he currently is on.
Week One Stats- 13.7PPG, 4.0RPG, 52FG%, 41.7PT%,
Sam Breiter is a high school senior at Plainview- Old Bethpage JFK High School. Sam is looking to major in sports management, with a minor in communications next year. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite teams are the Mets, Giants, and Knicks. You can follow him on twitter at @baseballbreiter @baseballbreiter
The time has finally come. The NBA season starts today, and we’d like to make some predictions on what we think the NBA will have in store for you this year. We’ve included our picks for the playoffs, as well as the end of season awards. Feel free to comment with your own opinions, as these are simply ours. Without further ado, we present our 2013- 2014 NBA Season Predictions:
|Place||Sam Breiter||Brett Malamud|
|1||Miami Heat||Miami Heat|
|2||New York Knicks||Chicago Bulls|
|3||Chicago Bulls||Indiana Pacers|
|4||Brooklyn Nets||Brooklyn Nets|
|5||Indiana Pacers||New York Knicks|
|6||Detroit Pistons||Washington Wizards|
|7||Cleveland Cavaliers||Cleveland Cavaliers|
|8||Toronto Raptors||Detroit Pistons|
|Bubble Team (9th)||Boston Celtics||Atlanta Hawks|
|ECF||Miami Heat vs New York Knicks||Miami Heat vs Indiana Pacers|
|Place||Sam Breiter||Brett Malamud|
|1||L.A Clippers||L.A. Clippers|
|2||Oklahoma City Thunder||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|3||San Antonio Spurs||San Antonio Spurs|
|4||Houston Rockets||Golden State Warriors|
|5||Golden State Warriors||Houston Rockets|
|6||Dallas Mavericks||Minnesota Timberwolves|
|7||Portland Trail Blazers||Dallas Mavericks|
|8||New Orleans Pelicans||New Orleans Pelicans|
|Bubble Team (9th)||Denver Nuggets||Portland Trail Blazers|
|WCF||L.A Clippers vs. Golden State Warriors||L.A. Clippers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder|
|Champion and Awards|
|Sam Breiter||Brett Malamud|
|FINALS||New York Knicks vs LA Clippers||Miami Heat vs. L.A. Clippers|
|Champion||New York Knicks||L.A. Clippers|
|Defensive POY||Dwight Howard||Dwight Howard|
|Rookie of the Year||Victor Oladipo||Victor Oladipo|
|Coach of the Year||Doc Rivers||Doc Rivers|
|Most Improved||Iman Shumpert||Eric Bledsoe|
|MVP||LeBron James||LeBron James|
|Sixth Man of the Year||Tyreke Evans||Jamal Crawford|
We hope that this NBA season will be as fun for you as it will be for us. We look forward to keeping you covered this NBA season.