Thursday, September 20, 2018

The 10 Greatest Teams in NBA History (As Proclaimed by the Puma)

A little bit ago I did one of the statistical deep dives that I have been known to do from time to time and chose my ten greatest basketball players of all time. Well then one of the loyal fives of readers said in a glancing comment, you should do the top teams of all time too! Well as someone who will never turn down an opportunity to talk about basketball I am taking you up on that challenge sir!

10. 2015-16 Golden St. Warriors (73-9)
Kicking off my list of the top ten teams of all time is the team that broke my beloved Bulls record for most wins in a regular season. Now why would I have them at ten? Well despite their dominance it came down to the simple fact that they did not win the championship.
The play that keeps this team from being much higher
In fact they had one of the more epic collapses in recent history. That being said they finished first in the league in offensive rating, 5th in the league in defensive rating, and had the 2nd best offensive pace. Featuring 2 of the best three point shooters in recent history if not all time in Klay Thompson and Steph Curry and 2 of the best defensive anchors in recent history in Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala.

9. 2013-14 San Antonio Spurs (67-15)
Next up we have the perennial contenders San Antonio Spurs. Of all of their championship runs this may have been the most masterful of all of them. Coming off a loss to the Miami Heat in the previous Finals this team had a chip on its shoulder. As a team they began probably the most seamless handling of the team from one superstar in Tim Duncan to the next generation of superstar in Kawahi Leonard.
Calm down Kawahi!
Using a combination of defense anchored by Duncan in the post and Leonard on the wing, they also were instrumental in ushering in the current style of offense being used teams like the Warriors and the Rockets. Granted it's all a wrinkle of the offense Don Nelson was doing in the early to mid 90s.

8. 1985-86 Boston Celtics (67-15)
There may not have been a better front court in NBA history than the one boasted by the '85 Celtics. Four hall of famers led by Larry Bird were out for vengeance after losing in the Finals the previous year. They would go on to lead the league in margin of victory, defensive rating, three point percentage, defensive rebounds and total rebounds.
I'm here to kick ass and chew bubblegum and I'm all out of bubblegum
They would fly through the playoffs sweeping my beloved Bulls, beating the Hawks in 5, and sweeping the Bucks to go on to the Finals. There they dispatched the upstart Houston Rockets led by the original twin towers Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson winning each game by at least 12 points.

7. 1988-89 Detroit Pistons (63-19)
As much as it pains me, this team is high on the list because if we're being honest no team has been as balanced as this squad. They had 6 players average over 13 points per game and 4 guys averaged over 5 rebounds per night. With this kind of balance even if Isaiah Thomas or Joe Dumars had an off night they more than capable of picking up the slack.

What this playoff run by this squad is most famous for implementing is the Jordan Rules. Michael Jordan had just gone super saiyan for a full season averaging 32.5 points to go along with 8 assists and 8 rebounds. They harassed and played Jordan physical and basically didn't worry about anyone else. It was the perfect scheme. And once they got to the finals in a development no one saw coming they just straight up swept the Showtime Lakers right out the playoffs. Bad Boys, first you peaked my curiosity, but that gives you my attention.

6. 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers (68-13)
The 1966-67 76ers were led by Wilt Chamberlain and his 24 points and 24 rebounds. But by no means was it a one man show. Add hall of famers Billy Cunningham and Hal Greer and the groundwork is laid for a purely dominant team.This team set the record for the best winning percentage of all time and was chosen as the greatest team for the NBA 35th Anniversary Team in 1980.
Now while I may disagree with that assessment I can not disagree with the excellence exhibited by this team. First in offensive rating, points per game, margin of victory and third in defensive rating. To this day they still have the best 50 game start in NBA history wining 46 of their first 50 games.

5. 1964-65 Boston Celtics (62-18)
The 1964-65 season was the Celtics 19th season in the NBA. They won their 8th championship. So to say there was growing pains would not be the most accurate statement. To give you an idea of how good this team was, of the 13 men on the roster FIVE of them made the Hall of Fame as did their coach the legend himself, Red Auerbach.
Hit em with the 23 skadoo! 
While not as statistically dominant as other teams on the list I think you'd be hard pressed to find a more consistent team. Leading the league in offensive pace, defensive rating, opponents points per game and rebounding, Bill Russell and the boys basically blocked and fast breaked their way past the opponents beating the Lakers in 5 winning by an average of 21 points.

4. 1991-92 Chicago Bulls (67-15)
Oh you knew this was coming so buckle up buckaroos, it's time for the Puma to wax poetically about the Chicago Bulls. Now while the 90-91 Bulls were the team that jumpstarted the dynasty, it was the 1991 edition that truly personified dominance.
With a league high 67 wins the Bulls of course were led by Michael Jordan with 30.1 points per game but the performance of his supporting cast is not to be overlooked. Scottie Pippen averaged 21 and was as Chuck Daly called him a Swiss Army knife player. Horace Grant averaged a double-double and B.J. Armstrong shot over 40% from the 3 point line.

3. 2016-17 Golden State Warriors (67-15)
The team that was the presumptive favorite coming into the season filled a hole that didn't even need to be filled when they pulled the heist of the century and signed Kevin Durant who could be the most gifted scorer of his time. Seriously when has a 7 footer had handles, could post up, shoot the three over defenses and be a ridiculous finisher?
Add that to possibly the best shooter of all time in Steph Curry, a top 5 shooter in Klay Thompson, and two swiss army knife players like Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala and you have the recipe for dominance. And dominate they did. They led the league in points per game, offensive rating and not to be comfused as a one trick pony they finished in the top 5 in defensive rating. They completely obliterated their opponents in the playoffs finishing with a 16-1 record (a new NBA record). They also had the best post season start in NBA history winning their first 15 games. Hot. Damn.

2. 1986-87 LA Lakers (65-17)
Now when we talked about defensive balance in regards to the Pistons, the Lakers were the epitome of offensive balance with 7 players averaging in double figures. Led by Magic Johnson who averaged 24 points, 12 assists and 6 rebounds this was by no means a one man show. In fact Kareem Abdul Jabaar averaged 17.5 points a game and he was 86 years old (approximately.)
The sky hook was problems.
They flew threw the regular season and that momentum continued in the playoffs as they won 11 of their first 12 games. Once in the finals they were against a familiar foe in the Boston Celtics but this time would not be as competitve as years past and the Lake show show would win the franchises 10th NBA title.

1. 1995-96 Chicago Bulls (72-10)
And here we are with the greatest team in NBA history and surprise, surprise it's the Chicago Bulls! Where to begin? Well first off they won their first 37 games of the season, won 33 road games which was a record until it was broken by the Warriors of 2015-16, and had the best combined regular and post season record going 87-13. They obviously led the league in wins, margin of victory, offensive rating, defensive rating, turnover percentage, and offensive rebound percentage. In a word they were absolutely dominant.
They won 11 of their first 12 playoff games and dispatched the upstart SuperSonics in 6. Led by the original Big 3 of Jordan, Pippen and Rodman they became one of the most awarded teams of all time. Phil Jackson won coach of the year, Toni Kukoc won 6th man of the year, Michael Jordan won MVP of the regular season, all star game and the Finals. Rodman and Pippen were both members of the All-Defensive First Team and Jordan and Pippen were both All NBA first team. Needless to say their accomplishments are nothing short of amazing. As the motto for that season went; "72-10 don't mean a thing without that ring."

Well there you have it, young Puma has sat and looked at grainy YouTube videos, and poured through the team stats of every team for 71 seasons. You people should be grateful!

Friday, September 14, 2018

I Hope I'm Wrong...But I'm Probably Not.

I'm gonna be blunt. I'm really trying not to get my hopes up in the tragic tale of Botham Jean. If you're unaware who he is, he is the young man who was in his home and a Dallas Police officer who apparently was confused tried to enter his apartment and for committing the egregious crime of walking through his apartment to the door while someone who did not reside there was trying to enter he is no longer of this earth. A case that one would think is as open and shut as it gets is following the same tried and true script every time something like this happens. 

First the police officer Amber Guyger, is given all the benefit of the doubt. "She had just worked a long shift." "She went to the wrong apartment." And of course the classic line of reasoning, "she feared for her life." You know who else probably feared for their life? Botham Jean. But his benefit of the doubt was erased by a confused constable. Yet her word is being considered an accurate representation of what happened that night of the 6th despite her ever changing account. In the arrest warrant it states when she entered the door was slightly open so when she inserted the key, the door opened right up and that is when she came across Jean and he ignored the verbal commands of a whole ass person who does not pay rent there I might add. In the search warrant (of the murdered victim's apartment) it states "An off-duty Dallas Police Officer, who was wearing a full Dallas Police uniform, was attempting to enter apartment number 1478, with a set of keys. An unknown male, inside the apartment, confronted the officer at the door. A neighbor stated he heard an exchange of words, immediately followed by at least two gunshots.” So which is it? Did he open the door or was the door already open? Is it oochie wally wally or is it one mic? 

Secondly, you read that correctly in the previous paragraph. A search warrant was executed in the home of Jean. And it was even released that marijuana had been found. Well open and shut case Johnson! He was high and attacked this delicate flower! The Dallas PD, on the day the man was buried, is releasing what was found in his apartment as if he was the criminal. What was in Amber Guyger's apartment you may ask? Well we won't know because her apartment wasn't searched and she allegedly has moved out of said apartment already so we'll never know what she had in her apartment. She was even given three days before being charged with a crime possibly to get her story straight and this was the best they came up with. 

So yes, I'm not getting my hopes up that there will be justice for Botham Jean because I can't deal with the anger that's gonna come when she skates with probation and no admission of guilt. And my  fear is that Botham Jean joins Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Rekia Boyd, John Crawford, Akai Gurley, Timothy Stansbury and others who's only crime was being present on this mortal coil. 

Hell in a Cell 2018 Preview

Another month, another chance for me to sit down and wax poetically about the are of professional wrestling! This time I'll take you into Satan's structure itself, Hellllllll in a Cellllllllll! As I usually state most of these will be wrong.

Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella VS The Miz and Maryse
Daniel Bryan is great. The Miz is great. Maryse is great as a manager. Then you have Brie Bella. Despite what the corporate Youtube account and announcers proclaiming her and Nikki Bella as integral members of the ongoing women's evolution in wrestling they were and remain average in ring and stiff as all hell on the mic.
While I'm sure Miz and Bryan will be doing the heavy lifting this match is not gonna be great. I just pray that Brie Bella does not go for any dives because...wooo buddy they are awful.
Winner: Bryan and Bella

Rusev and Aiden English vs The New Day (Smackdown Tag Team Championship)
I love both of these teams. First, Rusev and Aiden English. It's refreshing that rather than go the tried method of one screws up, his partner turns on him with these two. English cost Rusev a few matches, showed remorse and then made it up to his friend. And Rusev forgave him! As for the New Day, I mean they are amazing, little else has to be said. There has been no build to this feud I expect both teams to bring it. I especially want to see Big E and Rusev in the ring because duh.
These two should be battling for each other for World titles and maybe it's the optimist in me but one day we shall. i do think the next contender for the Tag titles will be the Bar so for that reason I think the New Day retains. Although I wouldn't be mad if Rusev Day pulled off a miracle.
Winner: New Day

Jeff Hardy VS Randy Orton
This is a feud that surprisingly has not made me roll my eyes every time it's on TV like most feuds with these two involved. The main reason for this has to be creative let Randy Orton be something that he just naturally portrays. A sadistic ass clown. From pulling the man's ear lobes to just vicious assaults he has come across as dangerous and unhinged.
That's gonna leave a mark.
This allows Jeff Hardy to do the role he is best at, a man who is willing to do whatever it takes in a match to win a feud. That said I would think that this feud has gone as far as it can to be honest and give that it will go down in Hell in a Cell, I think that the charismatic enigma escapes with a victory. I mean the guy has been getting kicked in the dick for 2 months, I'd say he has earned the win.Winner: Jeff Hardy

Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose vs Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler (Raw Tag Team Championship)
Now this should be a pretty damn good match. I mean it would be hard not to have a great match with the WWE's version of the 5 star bout machine Seth Rollins, a reinvigorated Dean Ambrose, Drew McIntyre who looks like he could be a future champion and the always dependable Dolph Ziggler.
A glimpse into the future?
I think this match is gonna be quite violent and the result could possibly play into the Universal Championship match. I think in the end the Shield will get the win and we get another run with them as the dominant faction in all of wrestling.
Winner: Ambrose and Rollins

Alexa Bliss VS Ronda Rousey (Raw Women's Championship)
This match is going to be the biggest foregone conclusion of the night. There is absolutely no way that Alexa Bliss walks away victorious. Even the build up has been kind of lame to be honest.  I mean honestly they haven't even let Rousey show any vulnerability at all leading up to this and if there is not even the slightest chance that Rousey can lose then what's the point of the match? Hoenstly I think I'd be more interested if this was Sasha Banks vs well anyone.
Winner: Rousey

Becky Lynch VS Charlotte Flair (Smackdown Women's Championship)
Now this has been a pretty damn good feud. You have Becky Lynch who worked hard, won her matches and earned a title shot at Summerslam. Then you have Charlotte who showed up, won one match after being gone for weeks and boom, she also gets a title shot. So after Charlotte blindsides Becky to win the title she expected her to hug her and be happy? Nah son. And the fans felt that too, cheering as Becky gave Charlotte them hands all over Brooklyn.
Since then we have seen Becky rationally explain how she has had to earn every shot and is done playing nice while Charlotte kind of comes across insincere and kind of entitled. I think in this match you're going to see the rare double turn as Becky will leave as a face and Charlotte will be getting booed. Hopefully Becky leaves as champ though because come on, she has EARNED it.
Winner: Becky Lynch

Samoa Joe VS AJ Styles (WWE Championship)
Now this feud has been extremely personal. On one hand you have the super popular Styles who has become the longest reigning champ in Smackdown history but has had kind of an underwhelming reign. Then you have Godzilla himself, the Samoan named Joe. There are a few wrestlers who I could listen talk about anything, Juice Robinson, Kevin Owens but right at the top of that list may be Samoa Joe.

Joe has been spitting hot fire since this feud started and frankly the title scene could use a little freshening up. Imagine the possibilities of a Samoa Joe - Big E, Rusev or eventually Daniel Bryan. So it should not be a surprise to anyone who I'm choosing.
Winner: Samoa Joe

Braun Strowman VS Roman Reigns (Universal Championship)
And here we are, the match you know is closing the show. Strowman wins the Money in the Bank contract and instead of surprising with the cash in he uses it to set up a Hell in a Cell match. If I had to guess this was to make his loss a little more palatable. Because whether we like it or not he is losing and the Shield is going to have every title on the Raw roster and it may be a while before any of them lose it.
I could see Ziggler and McIntyre causing Strowman to lose thus turning Strowman face and a feud with those two can begin and it frees the Shield up to feud with an up and coming team like the Authors of Pain or even the Revival. My only hope is that the match gets 20-25 minutes and is at least competitive because it would be a damn shame if they squandered the Monster among Men.
Winner: Roman Reigns

There you have it folks, just the ramblings and prognostications you didn't ask for but I could tell you needed. Until next time this is your friendly neighborhood Puma signing out.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

August's Sit Your Ass Down Award

Another month down, another assclown who is need of a verbal dressing down by none other than the Puma of Chocolate descent. We had no shortage of morons who stepped up and wanted to be told to sit that posterior down and take the chillest of all pills. This month it's going to be an entire collection that feels my wrath. Athletic Department of Ohio State, bring your monkey asses up here so you can sit your ass down.

Now why would the prestigious Ohio State need to be told to sit down? Well recently they suspended their head football coach Urban Meyer three games. This would be big news if the NCAA hadn't just suspended members of the UNC Football team for four games for selling shoes. 
You mean a student athlete PROFITED?!?! 
The NCAA also suspended Todd Gurley 4 games for receiving $400 for signing mini helmets and Dez Bryant was suspended by the NCAA for lying about a lunch with Deion Sanders. The lie would be a violation of NCAA Bylaw 10.1, which addresses "unethical conduct" and includes "Knowingly furnishing the NCAA or the individual's institution false or misleading information concerning the individual's involvement in or knowledge of matters relevant to a possible violation of an NCAA regulation."

Why is that important you may be asking? Well Urban Meyer has long covered for Zach Smith the grandson of a mentor of his ignoring man red flags that most coaches would have hopefully have picked up on. For instance, in 2009 Smith was arrested on suspicion of battery of his wife.
Looks like Aaron Hernandez wasn't the only menace on that Florida squad.
Despite this he was hired by Urban Meyer to be his receivers coach. From October to December of 2016 there were multiple instances of police being called for menacing by stalking, refusing to return his son on a parental visit and was given a criminal trespassing warning. And not to downplay the seriousness of these allegations, he wasn't even doing his job well. Routinely missing recruiting visits, and according to Ohio State's own report had a history of “promiscuous and embarrassing sexual behavior, drug abuse, truancy, dishonesty, financial irresponsibility, a possible NCAA violation, and a lengthy police investigation into allegations of criminal domestic violence and cyber crimes.” 

Despite all of this he was retained by Meyer. In fact he keeps him on staff until Brett McMurphy breaks the story and the same day Smith is quietly fired. Then to make matters worse Meyer outright lied at Big Ten media day and blamed it on medication, forgetfulness and trying not to discuss a sensitive matter in the media. Dude. Given all this wouldn't ya say this is a violation of NCAA Bylaw 10.1?
I would say he earned a discounted tattoo.
Now while Meyer can have all the seats, let's not forget how THE Ohio State athletic department vilified the members of the team who were suspended for selling championship rings, jerseys and awards for cash and discounted tattoos. The players were suspended five games and it eventually cost Jim Tressel his job. 

So yes, the entire NCAA and THE institution of Ohio State can be put in rice because if a woman being beaten is secondary to tattoos, selling shoes, or lying about lunch then the whole damn system is a joke. 

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Summerslam 2018 Preview

Well another month, another attempt at successfully prognosticating the world of choreographed grappling. Given that my track record is pretty terrible one may wonder, why spend time coming up with these? Well it's because you the loyal fives of readers demand it! And I, being a benevolent man of the people would be selfish to deprive you. So again without further ado, here's how I see it shaking out. (Note: I am not doing the pre-show, 10 matches is enough for you all, this is free content by the way.)

Braun Strowman VS Kevin Owens (Money in the Bank contract on the line)
I expect this match to lead of off the show so all night the will he, won't he tension can be teased. The build to this match is all pointing to Owens winning this match as he got the match to be conducted under Quebec rules meaning even if he wins by disqualification or count out he would win the Money in the Bank briefcase. Now given his penchant for not caring about who wins or loses and just wanting to cause destruction one would think Strowman is going to lose.
I disagree, the reaction to this guy is just too big not to at least have him lurking in the periphery of the title scene.
Winner: Braun Strowman

Daniel Bryan VS The Miz
This match is one that we have been waiting for. Daniel Bryan is the indie darling who made good. The accessible every man who proved that through hard work you could ascend to the top of your profession against the reality star who seemingly was manufactured to be in this spot.

From the years of berating Bryan to the blatant questioning of the Miz's talent by Bryan this match is one that has been built properly and while it may seem the match is rushed I think that this could lead to a Wrestlemania match NEXT year if they play this right. Given that I think this match goes to the Miz and begins a long climb to Miz vs Bryan for the WWE title at Wrestlemania.
Winner: The Miz

Finn Balor VS Baron Corbin
I loved Finn Balor in Japan as the first head of the Bullet Club. His real Rock-N-Rolla gimmick fit him but in the WWE without his face paint he's just a guy who smiles a lot with abs. Baron Corbin seems to have been reinvigorated with this Constable of Raw gimmick but is kind of treading water with this feud. My guess is Corbin goes over here and Finn comes back smiling again Monday.
Winner: Baron Corbin

Jeff Hardy VS Shinuske Nakamura (US Championship)
This may be another popcorn match which pains me to say. When the champion is the third most important person in a feud it's never a good sign.
Don't worry Shinuske, I too hope you get a good feud.
Randy Orton who while I will admit as a sadistic heel is one of my favorites I don't feel like Shinuske is needed as the focus has been on Hardy-Orton. That said I think Nakamura leaves with his title in tow and Hardy and Orton can go on to have a feud from here.
Winner: Nakamura

Charlotte Flair VS Becky Lynch VS Carmella (Smackdown Women's Championship)
There may not be a better babyface in wrestling right now than Becky Lynch. Juxtapose that to the ridiculous Princess of Staten Island and you have a pretty dope match right? Well how about you throw in the best friend of Lynch to the equation? Now you got some tension.
Perhaps she could join the New Day?
I have a feeling that there is going to be some confusion and that momentary confusion is going to be all Carmella needs and she will escape with the title. And while I wouldn't have Flair and Lynch feud I do think that oh I don't know having them go against Sasha Banks and Bayley for the Women's Tag Team Titles would be a good idea.
Winner: Carmella

Seth Rollins VS Dolph Ziggler (Intercontinental Championship)
Right now there is no better wrestler in the WWE than Seth Rollins. No matter who you put him in the ring against you're going to get your money's worth. Dolph Ziggler has always been a very good wrestler but teaming him with Drew McIntyre has been an amazing choice.
Not to be outdone a returning Dean Ambrose looks jacked and he is getting a massive babyface pop. If I'm booking this Rollins gets the win, then Monday Rollins loses the title to someone because of Ziggler and McIntyre and then we get tag team warfare baby!
Winner: Seth Rollins

The New Day VS The Bludgeon Brothers (Smackdown Tag Team Championship)
I kind of feel bad for Luke Harper. This guy can GO. But he is stuck in a ridiculous tag team and when he was a singles wrestler he was very poorly used.
The New Day have been on a roll recently. In fact their match against The Bar on Smackdown last week was one of my favorite matches of the year. I would predict that The New Day pick up the title to feud with the Bar, Sanity and perhaps down the road even the Usos again because they have got that chemistry baby.
Winner: The New Day

Ronda Rousey VS Alexa Bliss (Raw Women's Championship)
This is going to be a hard one to predict. The WWE loves to have the mainstream appeal that Ronda Rousey brings but she has only had a handful of matches. Alexa Bliss while being a very good promo just does not bring the intimidation that Rousey does since she is small enough to classify as a carry on item on most airlines. So what is gonna happen here? Well I'll tell you what's gonna happen. Noa Jax is going to come back and she is gonna wreck shop. She's going to wreck Bliss for all the things said during their last feud and Rousey catching it for being so new and given so many opportunities. This will probably lead to a triple threat match at Hell in the Cell where Rousey gets her first title run.
Winner: Alexa Bliss via DQ

Samoa Joe VS AJ Styles (WWE Championship)
There are few wrestlers who I love more than Samoa Joe. He cuts an intimidating promo, has an aggressive style that will make you believe the chant "Joe's gonna kill you" is true. AJ Styles is possibly the best wrestler in the world, but if we're being honest this title run has left much to be desired.
Nice title reign you have there, be a shame if someone ended it. 
He recently passed JBL as the longest reigning Smackdown champion so I say there is no better time to freshen up the title scene. I think Joe makes AJ too aggressive and in his haste he shall fall victim to the Coquina Clutch and Joe gets his first title on the main roster.
Winner: Samoa Joe

Roman Reigns VS Brock Lesnar (Universal Championship)
Sigh. Do we have to do this? Fine! Ok, this could be a good match. But the lead up has been pure basura. Reigns just confidently swaggers around like he didn't get suplexed so hard the last few times they've wrestled that it realigned his chakras. If he was coming into this a little tenative or with a little self doubt then you have someone the people can get behind. Instead you have a petulant brat who keeps seemingly gifted opportunities after losses.
If they were smart you'd have Reigns win with the help of The Authors of Pain who reveal themselves to be henchmen of none other than Paul Heyman. Roman wins, and as he holds the title Paul Heyman extends his hand. One handshake, one massive villain has been born and you have an interesting story. Instead you'll probably get suplex, suplex, F5, and another Lesnar win. Yawn.
Winner: Brock Lesnar

Well there we have it folks. Another successful attempt at trying to figure out the booking decisions of a 75 year old man who lives in Connecticut. Here's to the Revival shatter machining their way to the Raw Tag Team titles during the pre-show. 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

NXT Takeover Brooklyn 4

That time has arrived yet again. Another Takeover and to be honest this one is going to be damn amazing.
However, once they begin to work in some of the newer signees like Keith Lee, Matt Riddle and Io Shirai we may be approaching heights never before seen in NXT and that is saying something. Now on with the prognostication!

Velveteen Dream VS EC
This was kind of a random feud as Velveteen Dream has been killing it recently with his next level psychological heel work and EC3 is just getting reintroduced to the WWE universe as a kind of heel? That said I have been loving these two go back and forth. Dream drops some of the best one liners in the game and there are few better on the mic when he's motivated than EC3.
Why yes Dream, you are a future champ.
I expect them to probably go out and give a glimpse into the next contender for one of the two singles titles. In the end the age of the Dream is gonna be his downfall as they have to build EC3 up for a main roster push sooner rather than later and Dream is only 23 years old. Frankly I won't be mad at all with the winner regardless of the outcome.
Winner: EC3

Kairi Sane VS Shayna Bayzler (NXT Women's Championship)
I was wild skeptical of Shayna Bayzler when she began her run in NXT but I gotta say she has been a refreshing change of pace. She's not some chicken heel, she goes out there, punches you in the face and chokes you out. Her only real blemish came against Ember Moon and she was lucky to get a roll up victory.
As for the Pirate Princess, she is quite the plucky babyface and has a history with Bayzler. Hopefully this match allows her to show off her more aggressive side and not just paint her as some goofy chick who like pirates. In the end I say Bayzler retains but I certainly don't think it will be a clean victory so we get one more match at the next Takeover.
Winner: Shayna Bayzler

Ricochet VS Adam Cole (NXT North American Championship)
This match is going to be a god damn barn-burner. Ricochet is one of if not the top high flyer in the business and while not a strong suit his promo is a good one. Adam Cole if he was 6'1 would be the Universal Champion right this minute. In the ring the guy just gets it, on the mic he is electric and he has the crowd eating out of his hand. He's so good that if you just say Adam Cole someone will burst out of nowhere and scream "BA-BAY!"
The build to this has been pretty damn good, and once in the ring I think these two will play off very well against each other. I would expect one of Cole's Undisputed Era cohorts to interfere this keeping Ricochet strong but continuing the Undisputed Era's dominance.
Winner: Adam Cole

Mustache Mountain VS The Undisputed Era (NXT Tag Team Championship)
The match they had in Royal Albert Hall is on the short list for tag team match of the year. Tyler Bate and Trent Seven just have this magnetic charisma that makes them amazing babyfaces that you just want to root for. Juxtapose that to the unmatched dickishness of the Undisputed Era especially Kyle O'Reilly and you got a match up of the the immovable object meeting the irresistible force of personalities. I definitely think that this will be a close match but I think in a close one the Messiah of the Back-breaker and the Lord Douchebag Kyle O'Reilly will hold on for the win.
What a dick.
Side note, I'm curious when Bobby Fish is going to be cleared and how that plays out with who represents them as tag team champs.
Winner: Undisputed Era

Johnny Gargano VS Tommaso Ciampa- Last Man Standing (NXT Championship)
Now for the main event and hot damn what a main event we got. Gargano has become a man obsessed with Tommy Entertainment who has used this obsession to ascend to the top of the NXT card and becoming the NXT Champion. This is the rubber match in their trilogy of matches and after the wild show that they put on in the last Takeover this last man standing match has the potential to be the best of the three given the added weight of the NXT Title being on the line.
If I'm booking this I use this as the great comeuppance of the Sicilian Psychopath. And in turn the great redemption of Johnny Gargano who had to become everything he hated to defeat his former friend. Then you have a built in feud with a returning Aleister Black coming for the crown he unfairly lost, and you can possibly move Ciampa to 205 Live to become the new villain of that brand.
Winner: Johnny Gargano

Well there you have it, you know the card is gonna be damn ridiculous if Velveteen Dream vs EC3 is the least hyped match and anything involving those two will be straight fire. Good luck keeping up SummerSlam.

Monday, August 6, 2018

The Puma Top Ten Basketball Players of All Time

I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, shout out to the Mickstape Podcast, and they had the ambitious idea of ranking the top 50 players of all time. I have a sales job and a family so 50 was absolutely out the question. I will give you my top ten because it is what you, my loyal fives of readers demand! Just as a spoiler alert to this list, many of you will notice that Karl Malone is absent from my top ten. Well that's because this space is a "Fuck Karl Malone" zone and shall remain so. Now without any further ado...The Top Ten!

10. Hakeem Olajuwan -C
Kicking off my list is none other than the Dream himself. He was probably the first hybrid center in modern history. With the footwork of a soccer player, for the better part of 17 seasons he shook big men out of their respective shoes with some of his moves.
For his career he averaged 21.8 pts, 11.1 rebounds, and 2.5 assists. He also led the league in blocks 3 times, averaged over 3 blocks a game 9 times, not to mention 5 seasons of averaging over 2 steals a game. The man was a true defensive wizard.

9. Shaquille O'Neal- C
The scary thing about Shaq is that without even really trying he is still a top 10 player ever. It's weird in a sense you're mad that he didn't show the effort others did or even the commitment to getting into shape as some of his peers but even with that being the case, still an all time great. People will always remember him for the power he exhibited which is totally fair but never forget about the agility the Big Aristotle displayed. In fact if you need proof of this look up the all star game showdown he had with Michael Jordan in warm ups for confirmation of this.

For 14 consecutive seansons he averaged over 20 points, 10 times he led the league in field goal percentage and I defy to find a player to give you the fire nicknames like the Big Shaqtus.

8. Wilt Chamberlain- C
Another spot, another big man. I think Chamberlain may have been the most gifted scorer of his era, on and off the court.
If we're talking about his off the court accomplishments, that may be a post for another day. For his career he averaged over 22 rebounds a game and 9 times he led the league in minutes per game. One of the most amazing stats you'll ever see is he holds the record for most 60 point games with 32, the next closest has 5. He is the ONLY player to ever average 40 or 50 points for an entire season. The man was a video game character for sure.

7. Bill Russell- C
You can't mention Wilt without in the same breath mentioning Bill Russell. For as dynamic a force offensively Chamberlain was Russell was his perfect defensive dance partner. When Russell blocked shots it wasn't just a show of dominance over another player, it also was used as a means of starting the fast break.
In this case proving adept at ending a fast break
The man may be the most decorated athlete of all time regardless of sport. 11 time NBA champion, 5 time MVP, 12 time All star, 11 times voted to All NBA first or second team, 4 time rebounding champ and even grabbed 50 rebounds in one game. I'm going to repeat that because it bears repeating...he grabbed 50 rebounds in ONE GAME.

6. Larry Bird- SF
I was scrolling through twitter one morning and I saw someone say Larry Bird wouldn't get off the bench in today's NBA. I blocked that person and reported them as spam for such blasphemy. Don't let that creepy mustache fool you, Larry Joe Bird would give the league problems no matter the era. For his career he averaged 24 points and 10 rebounds, not to mention 6 assists per night. A 12 time all star, a 9 time All NBA first team member, and 3 time MVP of the league. And the scary part is had he not had an injured back, these numbers all could have been even higher.

Not to mention the swag to walk into the locker room at the 3 Point Shootout and announce "So who's coming in second place?" Boss.

5. Magic Johnson- PG
Again another duo that will be forever linked. The battles from college to the pros, NCAA championship games to the NBA Finals they were destined for each other. Not since Oscar Robertson had the NBA seen a a big guard so adept at running the point guard position.
Magic didn't stop there, he may have been the most complete player of his era. Able to guard and play all 5 positions, while he may been known mainly for his passing prowess please believe that he would give you the business scoring as well averaging 19.5 points per game over the course of his career.

4. Tim Duncan- PF
I think it may be because he had the personality of a warm cup of chamomile tea but while his career was going on I don't think I realized how great of a player he was. Like you could set your watch to the 21 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks he was going to give you.
Tim! Calm down, you're getting too worked up.
The Big Fundamental is one of those you can't see the forest for the trees type of players. In the moment you just think oh he's solid. But when you zoom out and look at his accomplishments then you can truly be wowed. 15 times he was an all star, 15 times he was All-NBA, 15 times he was All Defensive Team and only the second player to have  26,000 points,  15,000 rebounds and 3,000 blocks joining Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Add in the 5 NBA titles, 3 Finals MVPS, and 2 regular season MVPs and you have the greatest power forward of all time.

3. Kareem Abdul Jabbar- C
I have always had an infinity for the man formerly known as Lew Alcindor. No, not because we share a name but because if you factor in his college accomplishments with his professional then you may have the single most impressive resume of any basketball player ever. College alone saw him become a 3 time AP Player of the year, 3 time Final Four Most Outstanding Player, 3 time National Champion, and 3 time First team All American.
You knew it was coming and yet you still got that work. 
We get to the pros and the first prodigy to have the weight of expected greatness not only handled it, he exceeded those expectations. He averaged 28 points and 14.5 rebounds out the gate and while blocks weren't calculated at the time his defensive rating per 100 possessions was 89 which is ridonculous. And it's fair to say that had blocks been calculated during his time he would be sitting at number as he sits at 3 even with the blocks from his first 4 seasons not being counted.

1B. LeBron James- SF
I've written about LeBron and his statistical prowess numerous times already and by year 15 I was thinking we would see a decline. Instead what we got was a 8th consecutive trip to the NBA Finals with arguably his weakest supporting cast since the 2006-07 Cavs team he led to the Finals. For his career he is a 14 time all star, 14 time All NBA, 4 time MVP and only the second player to win an NBA MVP, Championship, Finals MVP, and a Gold Medal all in the same year.
What truly is most impressive about the man is his versatility. He is the only player with 30,000 points, 7,000 assists and 8,000 rebounds. Given that in year 15 where a little drop off would be expected he gave us 27.5 point. 8.6 rebounds and 9 assists like it was nothing. Heavy is the head that wears the crown but if ever there was a king built for it, it's King James.

1A. Michael Jordan- SG
To the surprise of no one who knows the king of the mountain is his Airness himself. There may have been players who were physically dominating, or came into the league as more proficient shooters but none of them could put it together to have one of the most dominant careers of all time like Michael Jeffrey Jordan.
The 14 time all star and 10 time scoring champ is responsible for helping usher in the globalization of the NBA. Everyone wanted to be like Mike and for good reason. He was an 11 time All NBA selection, 9 time all Defensive selection, led the league in steals 3 times, and there are the 5 MVP awards as well. It got to a point where he was not getting votes for MVP because the press was so tired of voting for him because he had a stretch where he could (and probably should) have won every MVP award. Seriously go back and look at the stats to his 87/88 season and if a single tear doesn't roll down your cheek I question your commitment to this nerd life.

Well folks there you have it, the definitive top ten greatest players of my favorite sport. And we didn't use things like the eye test or hustle either! Straight stats baby! Holla analytics fans!