Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Mega Western Conference Free Agency Extravaganza



The world has been such an awful place recently I have not had the motivation to complete my Western Conference team by team break down. But don’t you worry folks, the Puma of Chocolate descent is back and he has penned his latest epic analysis of something you didn’t even know you needed.

Western Conference:


Golden State Warriors:
Key Additions:
Kevon Looney: PF - Drafted

Key Losses:
David Lee : PF- Traded

It’s hard to argue with anything done by the reigning champs.  David Lee is gone and while he certainly will be missed as a locker room guy they did draft the wildly versatile Kevon Looney who should be able to slide into the role that Lee occupied and provide better defense.

Overall Grade:  A

Los Angeles Clippers:

Key Additions:
Paul Pierce: SF – Free Agent
Lance Stephenson: SG – Trade
Any excuse to post this video again.

Key Losses:
Matt Barnes: SF- Trade

The Clippers certainly had the most attention with the Deandre Jordan fiasco but they really didn’t improve themselves too much unless you think Paul Pierce still has the late game magic which after last season’s playoffs I won’t be the one to tell him he doesn’t have it anymore. I still don’t see this squad winning a title but a run to the conference finals is certainly a possibility.

Overall Grade: B

Los Angeles Lakers:

Key Additions:
D’Angelo Russell: PG – Draft
Roy Hibbert: C – Trade
Lou Williams: SG- Free Agent

Key Losses:
Jordan Hill: PF – Free Agent

I know the initial reaction is to laugh but the Lakers did have a very solid offseason. Russell has the potential to be the best player in the draft and Roy Hibbert does solve a problem for them with his interior defense. Lou Williams is a much underrated player and solid scorer while Julius Randle will be making his return from injury as will one Kobe Bean Bryant. I would not be surprised to see this team make the playoffs.

Overall Grade: B+

Phoenix Suns

Key Additions:
Tyson Chandler: C- Free Agent
Devin Booker: SG – Draft

Key Losses:
Marcus Morris: PF – Trade

The addition of Tyson Chandler should ease the pressure on Alex Len who is perpetually injured and getting the best natural shooter in the draft in Booker to team with Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight who are both great penetrators was a stroke of genius. As for those pesky Morris twins problem Markief may begin the season on this roster but I’d bet cash he won’t end the season there.

Overall Grade: B-

Sacramento Kings

Key Additions:
Caron Butler: SF- Free Agent
Willie Cauley- Stein: C- Draft
Seth Curry: SG- Free Agent
Rajon Rondo: PG- Free Agent

Key Losses:
Nik Stauskas: SG- Trade
Your star shined too bright Sauce Castillo.
This team is…special. First you fire the coach who reached your best player for the first time in his career. Then you essentially give up on the very promising Nik Stauskas aka Sauce Castillo and now they have drafted a player in the top ten who plays the same position of your best player. I love George Karl but this team is a garbage fire and could challenge Philadelphia for the worst record in the league.

Overall Grade: F

Dallas Mavericks

Key Additions:
Wesley Matthews: SG – Free Agent
Justin Anderson: SF- Draft
JaVale McGee: C- Free Agent
Deron Williams: PG- Free Agent

Key Losses:
Deandre Jordan: C- Hilarity
Tyson Chandler: C – Free Agent
Con: Missing out on Deandre Jordan. Pro: They got this guy!
Oh Dallas, poor poor Dallas. After thinking they had an agreement with the top free agent on the market, seems they forgot to keep in contact with him as the Clippers were able to make a last ditch effort to get him to renege on his verbal agreement and go back to Dallas. They responded by signing a guard with an Achilles injury, a point guard past his prime, and the most entertaining knucklehead in the league with Javale McGee. I did like the drafting of Justin Anderson but it looks like as we near the end of Dirk’s run Dallas won’t be contending for anything but a lottery spot.

Overall Grade: D

Houston Rockets

Key Additions:
Sam Dekker: SF- Draft
Marcus Thornton: SG- Free Agent
Montrez Harrell: PF- Draft
Ty Lawson: PG- Trade

Key Losses:
None

The Rockets had a very solid draft getting Dekker, the most athletic player on Wisconsin’s final four team and Montrez Harrell who could develop into a Kenneth Faried esque high motor guy who rebounds and is a force defensively. Their best move however was trading for Ty Lawson who if he is able to conquer his demons could be a piece that could take them to the next level. All in all it was a fantastic offseason so far for the Rockets.

Overall Grade: A-

Memphis Grizzlies

Key Additions:
Jarrell Martin: PF- Draft

Key Losses:
None

This team is best described in the words of Stringer Bell. They are the epitome of a 40 degree day. Not too warm, not too cold, just blah. While they have excellent pieces in Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Mike Conley, the surrounding pieces are just blah. They added the very talented Jarrell Martin from LSU who could develop into a Zach Randolph type player albeit with a vertical leap of more than 7 inches. All in all they will be a 4-5 seed in the playoffs and quietly go home after pushing an elite team to 6 games.

Overall Grade: C

New Orleans Pelicans

Key Additions:
Alvin Gentry: Coach

Key Losses:
None

This team did the most important move of any team in the league and that was wrap up long term the defensive and emerging offensive dynamo in Anthony Davis. Also resigning Omer Asik gives them possibly the best defensive front court in the league. As for the rest of the team, they’re not bad but they do have a ton of question marks. Can Jrue Holiday stay healthy? Will Tyreke Evans find his way? Did Kendrick Perkins pick up the post-game snacks? Just so many questions.

Overall Grade: C 

San Antonio Spurs

Key Additions:
Lamarcus Aldridge: PF- Free Agent
David West: PF- Free Agent

Key Losses:
None
They doubted me again didn't they?
Greg Popovich is the damn devil. There is no other way around this. How do you get the top player on the market and then get a guy to opt out of an 11 million per year deal to sign with you for 1.5 million per year? The Spurs are reloading instead of rebuilding and the Western Conference should remain on notice.

Overall Grade: A

Denver Nuggets

Key Additions:
Emmanual Mudiay: PG- Draft

Key Losses:
Ty Lawson: PG – Trade

I guess you could say the trade of Ty Lawson was addition by subtraction as he is a wildly talented player but he was not a happy person in Denver. Couple that with his apparent alcohol dependence and it was a recipe for disaster. In Mudiay you get a bigger guard who is just as fast and has a much higher ceiling. As for the outlook on this season it certainly isn’t positive but they are in a much better place than they were at this time last season.

Overall Grade: B-

Minnesota Timberwolves

Key Additions:
Karl Anthony Towns: PF- Draft
Tyus Jones: PG- Draft
Andre Miller: PG- Free Agent

Key Losses:
None

You know what; I actually like the Timberwolves have done this off-season.  Bringing Kevin Garnett back for a farewell tour is a smart move, and the draft day acquisitions of Tyus Jones and Karl Anthony Towns were great. Team them up with the young core of Andrew Wiggins, Shabazz Muhammad, and Gorgui Dieng and you have an exciting group that in a few years could make noise in the playoffs.

Overall Grade: A 


Oklahoma City Thunder

Key Additions:
None

Key Losses:
None

This is a team that really stayed pat outside of drafting Dakari Johnson. Their season will be based on two things the health and recovery of Kevin Durant and how quickly Billy Donovan can acclimate himself to the NBA style of coaching. Any team that has Russell Westbrook, Durant and a healthy Ibaka should make some noise.


Overall Grade: C


Portland Trail Blazers

Key Additions:
Ed Davis: PF- Free Agent
Noah Vonleh: PF- Trade
Gerald Henderson: SG- Trade


Key Losses:
Lamarcus Aldridge: PF – Free Agent
Wesley Matthews: SG- Free Agent
Nicolas Batum: SF- Trade

Boy what a difference a year makes. While they smartly gave Damian Lillard everything he asked for the rest of this team should just be called the what if all stars. Noah Vonleh if he develops could be a good player in this league, same thing with Cliff Alexander. The rest of the guys are just hoping to be solid contributors which is fine but you need more than one superstar and hopes and dreams to make a run in the playoffs.


Overall Grade: D

Utah Jazz

Key Additions:
Trey Lyles: PF- Draft


Key Losses:
None

Another team that really is just going to fall into that barely missing the playoffs range. Dante Exum possibly being out the entire season definitely hurts but they do have Trey Burke and the low post tandem of Rudy Goebert and Derrick Favors certainly will ease that loss. Working in talented rookie Trey Lyles will be a challenge given the glut of players they have at the PF/C position. All in all they are looking at another 35-40 win season and a spot in the lottery.

Overall Grade: C

So there you have it folks, a full month after the Eastern Conference I have bestowed upon thee a Western Conference preview. You’re welcome.






Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Mega Eastern Conference Free Agency Extravaganza



Hot damn, what an offseason so far. And anyone who has even in passing followed this blog knows that the NBA Draft, trade deadline and free agency are the holy trinity of my basketball nerdom. That being said I have analyzed each and every team and the moves they have made thus far. Prepare to be awed by my nerdiness. 

Eastern Conference:
Boston Celtics: 

Key Additions:  
R.J. Hunter: SG –Drafted
Terry Rozier: PG - Drafted
David Lee: PF- Trade

Key Losses:
Brandon Bass: PF- Signed with LA Lakers.

The Celtics are quite confusing. They drafted a shooter that they needed in R.J. Hunter, but also drafted Terry Rozier who is essentially the same player as Avery Bradley. Acquiring David Lee will help but it doesn’t make them a better team than they were last season. The team as currently constituted can expect another year as the 7 or 8 seed in a weak Eastern Conference.
Overall Grade:  C

Brooklyn Nets:
Key Additions: 

Steve Blake: PG – Trade
Andrea Bargani: PF – Free Agent
Rondae Hollis- Jefferson: SF –Draft

Key Losses:
Life comes at you fast huh?
 Deron Williams: PG- Contract Bought Out

It’s kinda hard to describe Deron Williams as a key loss as he has played like hot trash water the last few seasons but he was their starting point guard. They did a pretty good job of getting younger and added Hollis Jefferson who could be an all pro defender, Cliff Alexander could be a very good forward and is extremely cheap as he wasn’t drafted at all. IF they can get someone to take Joe Johnson’s deal they could be in business.
Overall Grade: B

New York Knicks

Key Additions:
Kristaps Porzingas: F –Draft
Jerian Grant: PG- Draft
Robin Lopez: C – Free Agent

Key Losses:
None

For all the jokes that get made at the Knicks expense they actually had a solid offseason so far. They solidified the center position, long term Porzingas could be superstar, and Jerian Grant is going to contribute from day one. I also like the signing of Derrick Williams, a player with potential to be a sixth man off the bench in the mold of a Mareese Speights for cheap.
Overall Grade: B

Philadelphia 76ers

Key Additions:
Jahlil Okafor: C- Draft
Nik Stauskas: SG- Trade
Carl Landry: SF- Trade

Key Losses:
 Joel Embiid: C – Injury

Man I have absolutely no idea what is going on with the Sixers. All you hear out of their front office is to “trust the process.” What process is that? Tank, fall into the lottery, repeat? They were able to snag the best offensive big man in this year’s draft but he joins the talented Nerlens Noel and the perpetually injured Joel Embiid at the same position. They were able to snag Nik Stauskas and Carl Landry from the Kings but nothing about this team suggests they’ll be anywhere near respectable.
Overall Grade: C-

Toronto Raptors

Key Additions:
Demarre Carroll: SF- Free Agent
Cory Joseph: PG- Free Agent
Delon Wright: PG- Draft

Key Losses:
None

They picked up a solid wing defender and all around good guy to have on your team in Carroll, the dependable Cory Joseph came over from San Antonio and Delon Wright fell in their laps after he slipped a little in the draft. The team as currently constituted is going to have a log jam at point guard which leads me to believe that Kyle Lowry’s time may be coming to an end in Toronto. I’d expect a repeat of last season with them locking up a seed in the 5-6 range.
Overall Grade: C

Chicago Bulls

Key Additions:
Bobby Portis: PF- Draft
Fred Hoiberg: Coach

Key Losses:
Good night sweet prince.
Tom Thibodeau: Coach

This one hurts to write. The Bulls are my favorite team by far. That being said aside from drafting Bobby Portis who eventually can replace Taj Gibson, they have not done anything. This team is going be a 3 seed…again. This team will look unstoppable at stretches during the regular season…again. And they will lose in 5 to the Cavs…again. I have to hope they have more in the works but I am quickly losing faith in the management team of Gar Forman and John Paxson.
Overall Grade: C-

Cleveland Cavaliers

Key Additions:
Mo Williams: PG – Free Agent

Key Losses:
None

Talk about a snake bitten squad when Finals time came around. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love going down all but ended the series before it even began. They have to be the presumptive favorites to come out the East simply because they have LeBron James who as I have stated here before is a cyborg sent from the future for the sole purpose of playing basketball. David Blatt can’t be as bad as he was this year as a coach. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this team win 60 games.
Overall Grade: B+

Detroit Pistons

Key Additions:
Stanley Johnson: SF- Draft

Key Losses:
Greg Monroe: PF- Free Agent
I think the Pistons got a guy in the draft that will step and contribute meaningful minutes from day one. Stanley Johnson is already an amazing wing defender with the potential to have a Kawahi Leonard type of game for the Pistons. Brandon Jennings returns from injury, and while I think Reggie Jackson is wildly overpaid he will definitely give them a bit of scoring punch.
Overall Grade: B

Indiana Pacers

Key Additions:
Myles Turner: PF – Draft
Monta Ellis: SG- Free Agent
Joseph Young: SG- Draft

Key Losses:
Luis Scola: PF- Free Agent
Roy Hibbert: C- Trade

The Pacers have had a very successful offseason thus far. First it was essentially addition by subtraction when they traded Roy Hibbert to the Lakers, then they drafted the wild versatile Myles Turner in the draft and the cherry on top was signing Monta Ellis who will help a very stagnant offense that should improve by leaps and bounds with Paul George healthy for an entire season. I think they should be downgraded a bit just because George changed his jersey to number 13 last season so his nickname could be PG13.
Overall Grade: B

Milwaukee Bucks

Key Additions:
Greg Monroe: PF- Free Agent
Rashad Vaughn: SG- Draft

Key Losses:
None

Talk about being wrong about a team and a coach. Jason Kidd was amazing with this team last season even leading them to the playoffs after losing arguably their best player in Jabari Parker. He appears to be on schedule to return this season not to mention the addition of Greg Monroe and the resigning of sharp shooter Khris Middleton. They could potentially have the lankiest starting 5 in the league and there is no reason to believe that Kidd won’t keep improving as a coach.
Overall Grade: B+

Atlanta Hawks
Key Additions: 
Tiago Splitter: PF - Trade

Key Losses:
Demare Carroll: SF - Free Agent

The Hawks shocked the basketball world last year by basically dominating the Easter Conference until they ran into the buzzsaw that was the Cleveland Cavaliers. That  said this is a team that honestly stayed stagnant. Losing Carroll to the Raptors certainly hurts and while the acquisition of Tiago Splitter from the Spurs doesn't hurt it doesn't really help them either. Barring some trade involving Al Horford to get wing help I'd expect a season in the 3 seed range and a second round exit from the playoffs.
Overall Grade: C

Charlotte Hornets
Key Additions:
Jeremy Lin: PG- Free Agent
Frank Kaminsky: C- Draft
Nicholas Batum: SF - Trade


Key Losses:
Lance Stephenson: SG - Trade
Gerald Henderson: SG - Trade





Losing Henderson and Stephenson doesn't really hurt them to be honest. The addition of Batum and Lin are actually quote solid. The wing defense of Michael Kidd Gilchrist and Batum could be on the best defensive duos in the league. The selection of Kaminsky in the draft was an odd one. While I don't think it was a bad pick up, it just is a very blah pick up. They are a better team from last season but barely.

Overall Grade: B-

Miami Heat
Key Additions:
Justise Winslow: SF - Draft
Key Losses:
None

Sweet mercy I gotta say that Pat Riley is the damn devil. How else does he get so lucky to get the guy who potentially can be the best all around player in this year's draft. A healthy Chris Bosh, a full season of Goran Dragic and soldifying the bench with Amare Stoudemire all point to the Heat having a bounceback season as they are greatly improved over last season.

Overall Grade: A

Orlando Magic
Key Additions:
Mario Hezonja : SG- Draft
CJ Watson: PG - Free Agent

Key Losses:
Maurice Harkless: PF - Trade

A very meh offseason for the Magic. Hezonja from Summer League games so far appears to be a highlight reel waiting to happen, the addition of Scott Skiles as coach will greatly help this young squad and resigning Tobias Harris to a fair deal all were positives. While it was positive due to the inexperienced team, they are at least 2 years away from seriously making noise in the playoffs.

Overall Grade: B-

Washington Wizards
Key Additions:
Kelly Oubre Jr: SF- Draft
Gary Neal: PG - Free Agent


Key Losses:
Paul Pierce: SF - Free Agent

While it certainly hurts this team to lose Paul Pierce in the long run making playing time for both Otto Porter and Oubre will definitely yield some positive benefits. They solidified their bench with the additions of Alan Anderson and Gary Neal. I don't think this team will be able to make the next step however because I have very little faith in coach randy Wittman. That said I wouldn't be shocked to see John wall and Bradley Beal become the best backcourt in the NBA.


Overall Grade: B-

Well folks there you have it. All of the moves made by the Eastern Conference teams judged by yours truly. I'm currently working on the Western Conference as to not keep you all waiting.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

The 2015 Mock Draft Extravaganza!

I know I say this every year but between the NBA Trade deadline and the NBA Draft you will be hard pressed to find me without the biggest damn grin on my face. And now I will jump into what will inevitably be one of the worst mock drafts in recent history as I will not try and figure out trades.


1. Minnesota: Karl Anthony Townes: C - Kentucky

The consensus top talent in the draft. This will give Minnesota flexibility to trade Nikola  Pekovic, a talented center and not lose much in terms of production and another cornerstone to add with Andrew Wiggins. Wide array of post moves and pretty good defensively. 

2. LA Lakers: Jahlil Okafor: C - Duke
If Okafor is the consolation prize for missing out the number one pick I think the Lakers will be just fine with it. Offensively he is the best center in the draft, he does not shoot free throws particularly well and his defense leaves much to be desired but his upside is just to ridiculous to pass up.

3. Philadelphia: D'Angelo Russell: PG - Ohio State
Russell could be the best player in this draft when it's all said and done. A gifted passer with the ability to create his own shot and plays amazing defense. I can't wait till the Sixers trade him in 2 years for more draft picks.

4. New York: Kristaps Porzingas: PF- Latvia
Please be good...please be good...
 I admittedly know nothing about this guy. Just seems like a very Knicks move.

5. Orlando: Justise Winslow: SF - Duke
The player who can steap in and contribute from day one. Good defensively, with the potential to be an anchor on that end for years to come. Offense is something that needs work but he is quite adept at getting to the basket, operimeter game will improve with time which he'll have with a team that already has Victor Oladipo, Elfrid Payton, and Nikola Vucevic.

6. Sacramento: Willie Cauley-Stein: C- Kentucky
When you're running a star center from Kentucky away who better to replace him than a star center from Kentucky. Cauley Stein is without a doubt the top defensive player in this draft as he exhibited the ability to guard all five positions on the floor. His ceiling offensively may be Tyson Chandler but that certainly isn't the worst thing that could happen.

7. Denver: Emmanual Mudiay: G- Congo

This kid personifies toughness, swagger, and leadership. Very strong for his size and incredibly quick he will be a perfect replacement for Ty Lawson who appears to be on his way out the door.

8. Detroit: Mario Hezonja: SG- Croatia
He's been compared to Peja Stojakovic and if it's the Kings version of Peja then this pick will definitely be worth it. The only downside to this kid that I have seen reported is that he at times
can be a bit of a head case. Not exactly what's needed in the Motor City. Ask Josh Smith about that.


9. Charlotte: Devin Booker: SG- Kentucky
This is a team in need of scoring and the best available shooter at this point in the draft would be the talented two guard from Kentucky. With Gerald Henderson being traded to Portland that opens up a spot for him to come in and contribute valuable minutes right away. The big question is will he be able to improve his perimeter defense.

10 . Miami: Sam Dekker: SF- Wisconsin
Dekker surprised his fair share of basketball fans with his tenacity and versatility. A stretch forward who has absolutely no problem being the on court emotional backbone he can go to Miami and be a valuable contributor from day one. 


11. Indiana: Myles Turner: C- Texas
Roy Hibbert for all intents and purposes is done. A breath of fresh air is needed and that can come from the versatile big man from Austin. Great defensive instincts and a massive 7'4 wingspan will definitely be welcome. He also shows great range as he can easily hit shots from the three point line as well. 


12: Utah: Frank Kaminsky: PF- Wisconsin
The player of the year last year will be able to start from day one. A high basketball IQ and the ability to knock down shots from all over the floor will definitely be welcome in Utah where he can play with wither Rudy Gobert on the floor or Derrick Favors.


13: Phoenix: Stanley Johnson: SF- Arizona
One of the safer bets in this years draft is the 6'7 freshman from Arizona. Stanley Johnson can go to any team and start tomorrow. Already a very legit perimeter defender he expanded his offensive game to being able to drive, shoot, and finish emphatically while at Arizona.

14: Oklahoma City: Cameron Payne: SG- Murray State

The Thunder have been looking for that lead dog off the bench since James Harden left. Insert the high scoring point guard from Murray State. He's able to create his own shot and is also a very good facilitator as he averaged over 6 assists a game as well. And if Westbrook leaves you could have his successor (granted a less athletic juggernaut of a successor but a successor nonetheless.)

Well there you have it. Arguably one of the best mock drafts I have done in recent memory (operating under the notion that 10 of the 14 will probably be wrong.)  Feel free to take any of the words I have used in this and turn them against me when I am inevitably wrong (See Lillard, Damen.)

Puma gone ya'll.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Imitiation of Black



This is the weirdest damn story I’ve ever seen. In America we have a white woman pretending to be black. I mean that alone is just damn hilarious. 
"I'm black y'all, and I'm black y'all and I'm blackety black and I'm black y'all"
However the further down the rabbit hole we all fall with Rachel Dolezal the more insulted we should all feel. Now don’t get me wrong, I got my jokes off on this subject, and I definitely will continue to make jokes about this lady for one reason, she is not someone to be taken seriously. Why go through all of this when you could have made a bigger impact just being yourself. I’m gonna break down why this clown isn’t going to be getting the benefit of the doubt from this guy.


“She’s done more for the community than most so why not?”
What has she done? Other than be named the Spokane chapter president of the NAACP I have yet to hear what she has done that would make me look at her as something other than a sociopath. What I have heard is her question her own student’s race, provide road blocks for white speakers who actually want to help and constantly gave tips on what black people should do.
What a hero!
1That doesn’t sound like someone worthy of getting the benefit of the doubt. Hell she sued Howard University claiming she was discriminated against because she white, now I’m to believe she’s the world’s greatest champion of civil rights? 
  
“Well if Bruce Jenner can become Caitlin Jenner then why can’t she be black?”
Chocolate Puma here, if you use this line of thinking I hate to be the one to break it to you but your transophobia is showing. When a transgender makes a transition it them becoming their true self, what she did was a perverse form of racial tourism. Whereas she can get the props she wants in the black community but at any point she can tap out and just lay off the bronzer. That’s definitely not a courageous act.


“Well if black women can have blonde hair then how come she can’t be black?”
If this ain't the dumbest...
I don’t even know where to begin with this idiocy. So let me get this straight, every black woman has to have the exact same hair color/style in order for anyone to be upset at this Kirk Lazarus wannabe? Nah son, that don’t compute.

What upset me the most is that this woman faked hate crimes. She took the time to come up with hate mail and pass it off as a credible threat against herself and her organization.There are black women activists out there who regularly receive threats and this is just a slap in the face to the very real danger that they face. IF she did any good in this world, and that' a big if at this point all of that is negated because she showed no respect for the very real danger that black women face.

Sounds like somebody who should totally get the benefit.