Around the NBA: Draft lottery, Conference Championships, and Beilein

Tonight is the NBA Draft Lottery, meaning the future of several franchises hang in the balance.

Two Around the NBA articles back-to-back? It must be your lucky day. Or, it could just be a busy time around the association. The Eastern and Western Conference Championships have been highly anticipated and the draft lottery has been on the calendar for a long time. We did however receive some interesting news from one of the organizations vying for a top pick.

The Cleveland Cavaliers made a surprising announcement yesterday. They have hired former Michigan coach, John Beilein. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported via Twitter that Beilein and the Cavs have agreed to a five-year deal.

At 65 years old, the contract could very well take Beilein right into retirement once his obligation is complete. The Cavs cited character as a large reason for the decision and referred to Beilein as a “culture driver.” In his 39 seasons as a coach at the collegiate level, he has had much success, especially leading the Michigan Wolverines over the last five years.

NBA Draft Lottery

Tonight is the night that teams around the NBA will learn where they will be picking in the 2019 Draft. The lottery will be televised on ESPN starting at 7:30pm (CST).

With a strong consensus for the number one selection in Zion Williamson, the order will have a big impact on the landscape of the NBA for years to come. The second selection will likely be Ja Morant or RJ Barrett, depending on team needs. The third of the Duke freshman trio, Cam Reddish is projected at seven. Darius Garland and NCAA Champion De’Andre Hunter are currently projected as the fourth and fifth picks, respectively.

A few picks have already been traded some time ago and could shift depending on tonight’s lottery. For example, if the Dallas Maverick’s pick is outside the top five, they owe it to the Hawks. Per ESPN: “If not conveyed, the pick remains top-five protected in 2020, falls to top-three protected until 2022 and becomes unprotected in 2023.”

ESPN lists the odds for each team as shown below:

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Conference Championships

In addition to the draft lottery, tonight also marks the start of the NBA Conference Championships. Beginning at 8:00pm (CST) on ESPN, the Portland Trail Blazers travel to take on the Golden State Warriors. The Western Conference Championship is still Golden State’s to lose, though they will be without Kevin Durant due to injury, at least for the first game or two.

In Portland’s game 7 win over Denver on Sunday, they proved that on the rare occasion that Damian Lillard is not scoring in loads, they can still stay afloat. CJ McCollum carried the Blazers in that game 7, but will have his hands full with Klay Thompson this round.

The Eastern Conference Championship begins tomorrow with the Toronto Raptors coming to the United States to take on the Bucks in Milwaukee. The draw to this series should be self-explanatory. Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. Kawhi Leonard. The Greek Freak vs. The Klaw. This game is a true test of superiority for the Eastern Conference and should be thrilling throughout.

That should have you pretty caught-up on what’s happening Around the NBA. Keep checking back with us and follow along on Twitter as we continue to break down the action!

Around the NBA: Brink of elimination

The Milwaukee Bucks are headed to the Eastern Conference Championship, but we still have three other series coming down to the wire.

After having an NBA regular-season-best 60 wins, the Milwaukee Bucks may have had the easiest road to the Finals. They first got a Detroit Pistons team that did not have their best player, Blake Griffin at full health. Up next they were to get the winner of an overachieving Pacers squad or under achieving Celtics squad. Boston looked for a while like they had flipped the switch, but lost four straight to the Bucks after taking game 1.

Thus begins a new, interesting story line in the NBA: Kyrie Irving the seemingly disgruntled free agent. That is an article for another day though, as the Playoffs are still in full swing.

Bucks vs. Celtics is the only Conference Semifinal matchup that has concluded. All other series are heading into game 6, meaning a team is up three games to two in all of them. The higher seeds have the advantage in all of the matchups to this point. It is also interesting to note that all of the first round matches went to the higher seeds. Will we see an upset in these Playoffs?

Potential elimination games are always fun. It will be interesting to see what Houston, Portland, and the 76ers do with their backs against the wall, facing elimination. All three of these teams certainly pack the firepower to climb back into their series. Hopefully we will see at least one or two game 7 situations.

When, where, and who

ESPN has tonight’s games: Raptors @ 76ers at 7:00pm (CST) and Nuggets @ Trail Blazers at 9:30pm (CST). The Sixers seem to have as much talent as anyone in the league, though their starters have all played less than 20 games together including the Playoffs. The Raptors have an edge in experience, but also Kawhi Leonard, who has been playing at an MVP level.

Nuggets vs. Trail Blazers has had interesting ups and downs, with the series seeming to hinge on Damian Lillard’s ability to go full Steph Curry when possible.

Perhaps the most intriguing matchup, Warriors @ Rockets is at 8:00pm (CST) tomorrow, also on ESPN. This has been a good series in its own right to this point, but it now has an interesting wrinkle. The Warriors lost DeMarcus Cousins to an injury in the first round, but last night, they lost Kevin Durant to a “calf strain.”

Exactly how long Durant will be out is unknown, but he will at least miss tomorrow’s tilt. It certainly not only changes the landscape of this series, but the entire playoff picture. Sure, it seems like being down to three All-Stars isn’t that bad, but Golden State isn’t as deep this year as they have been in the past.

On TNT’s Inside the NBA, Charles Barkley went as far as to say the remaining Warriors cannot win this series against Houston. The Warriors will still be an extremely tough out, but it appears that a window may be open for the Rockets to knock off the defending champs.

Plenty of exciting basketball to watch and we aren’t even to the Conference Championships yet. Keep an eye on these games over the next few days and follow along with us as we keep you up-to-date on the action.

Alize Johnson gives back to his community

Ally of The Basketball Movement, Missouri State Alum, and NBA forward, Alize Johnson is using his platform to improve his community and change lives.

At The Basketball Movement, we talk about using basketball to give back to the community quite a bit and we are thrilled to see that our friend, Alize Johnson is doing just that. When he was coming into our facility to get work while he was attending Missouri State, Alize was a bad man on the floor and a good one off of it. Things don’t appear to have changed, which is awesome to see.

The Indiana Pacers signed Johnson to a two-way contract in his rookie season, which means that he played plenty of G-League ball, but was also available to play minutes with the Pacers. Never the biggest player on the court, he still did an excellent job of crashing the glass all season and turned in a nice rookie campaign.

Despite staying plenty busy all season, Alize has still found time to do big things through the Alize Johnson Foundation.

Originally from WIlliamsport, Pennsylvania, Johnson is clearly remembering his roots, as this will be the site of his foundation’s big project. He will be putting in three NBA regulation outdoor courts. The project includes adjustable hoops, lights, fencing, and new bleachers. The courts will have a security guard stationed from 4-8pm to aid in making this a safe space for the youth of Williamsport.

The project is titled WtaWtaW (Where there’s a Will, there’s a Way). The project is also sponsored by PRN Home Health Services and the Pepsi Bottling Group in Williamsport. Their donation page can be found here: https://fundrazr.com/41ShQ7?ref=sh_c7ssh2_ab_319MbZF7yHP319MbZF7yHP

We are proud of Alize for supporting his community in this way. Basketball is obviously his bread and butter, so finding a way to channel that into something bigger is incredible to see.

The Basketball Movement is focused daily on helping players on the court. However, there is nothing better than seeing athletes (especially one’s we’ve had the pleasure of working with) use basketball for an even greater purpose.

Props to Alize for making big moves that will positively affect lives in his community. No doubt he continues the good work through his career and beyond.

Around the NBA: Dame time

Now seems like a pretty good time to talk about Damian Lillard, don’t you think?

Many of the NBA Playoffs first round matchups are coming to a close, but none have slammed shut quite like the one between Damian Lillard’s Portland Trailblazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Trailblazers completed a “gentleman’s sweep” last night, besting the OKC Thunder with a 4 to 1 series victory. This one had an exclamation point on it though.

After plenty of jawing between OKC’s Russell Westbrook, and Portland’s Damian Lillard, “Dame D.O.L.L.A.” put his money where his mouth was and scored his 50th point on the night by burying a 37 foot, game winning step-back triple over Paul George. That’s Defensive Player of the Year candidate Paul George, mind you.

The fanfare that followed helped to make this one of the iciest moments in recent NBA Playoff history. After sinking the impossible shot, Lillard’s expression never changed as he politely waved goodbye to the OKC bench before being mauled by his teammates, his brother and sister, and the Blazers’ staff.

He even slipped in a stare-down into one of the cameras during the dogpile. This was some Iverson stepping over Lue-esque bad-assery.

This has been a big season for Damian Lillard - his seventh in the NBA and with Portland. He has led his team to a three seed in the West again, but may actually finally have the brass to take the team to the Western Conference Finals this time.

Lillard was already in the discussion for top-5 point guards in the game, but this series feels like it’s pushed him past Westbrook. We may be talking top-3 now. Kobe Bryant noted back in 2013 that Lillard had that #MambaMentality that made him a killer on the court. He has continued to improve and now owns two amazing game-winners in the Playoffs.

The Blazers get the winner of San Antonio vs. Denver next. The Nuggets won last night to put them up 3 to 2 in the series. The matchups that are in the books so far are: Bucks over Pistons, Celtics over Pacers, Raptors over Magic, 76ers over Nets, and these Blazers over the Thunder. The Rockets and Warriors will look to clinch tonight.

Whatever happens as the playoffs continue, appreciate the moments like these that will be replayed for years to come. The depth of talent in the NBA (and on down) is possibly stronger than it has ever been. We will continue to see titans clash again and again as the NBA Playoffs continue and we can’t wait.

Catch tonight’s games on TNT and keep checking back here for tips and news from prep-to-pro.

Zion Williamson is headed to the NBA

Zion Williamson has officially declared for the 2019 NBA Draft; he isn’t the only Duke Blue Devil either.

A couple weeks ago, we highlighted the early names that had declared for the NBA Draft or were at least testing the waters. That list was headlined by Murray State’s Ja Morant, who figures to be picked in or around the top three. Now, we are starting to see those other names at the top fill in as well.

The list of names of players that have declared has gotten long, so it may not be worth listing here. What you mostly need to know is that Zion Williamson has officially entered the fray.

Duke freshman Zion Williamson has been on this path for years. We started hearing about him from high school dunk highlights, but he really exploded on the national scene while playing for a stacked, but young team for Coach Mike Krzyzewski. Being built like a tank while maintaining athleticism has helped set him apart. We at The Basketball Movement also know that this has taken years of incredibly hard work, so, congrats to Williamson for making his dreams a reality.

As great as Zion is, he not the only Duke freshman looking to explode onto the NBA scene. RJ Barrett has also declared for the draft now and will likely be picked at two or three alongside the aforementioned, Ja Morant. Cam Reddish has also officially declared. While he had a comparatively quiet season with Duke, he is still an undeniable, elite talent.

A standout from the NCAA championship game, De’Andre Hunter of Virginia has declared along with teammate, Kyle Guy. Other big names like Darius Garland, Bol Bol, Devon Dotson, Quentin Grimes, Tyler Herro, Keldon Johnson, Romeo Langford, Nassir Little, EJ Montgomery, Kevin Porter Jr., Semisola Shittu, and Coby White, have also declared in addition to some overseas talent.

We will be bringing you draft reports and are as excited as you are to see these guys in action. Until then, the NBA Playoffs are underway, so keep an eye out for more news from all levels of the game of basketball!

Thriving in the underdog role

With the NBA Playoffs underway, we have had the opportunity to see multiple teams embrace the underdog role and surprise the big dogs.

No-matter your record, seeding, reputation, anything, you can still beat the odds and be the best team for a game. Once you start rolling, you may gain momentum that can help you sustain that success. We have seen it many times before, especially in the NCAA Tournament as we did again recently. In the first round of the NBA playoffs, we have already gotten to see it multiple times.

Despite long odds, the Nets, Clippers, Magic, and Spurs have already pulled off upsets on the road. The biggest one came last night, as the Los Angeles Clippers deafeated the Golden State Warriors in game two of the series.

The Clippers were down by 31 in the third quarter before storming back to defeat the back-to-back NBA champs. Rookie Landry Shamet (formerly of Witchita State) hit a go-ahead three to seal it. Patrick Beverly continued to lock-down Kevin Durant and Lou Williams went on one of his scoring tears to climb back into it. The 31 point comeback marked the biggest comeback in NBA Playoff history.

This seems like a good time to remind you that no team is invincible. There are still plenty of games left in each of the NBA series’ involved in these upsets. That said, the landscape has significantly shifted, stealing confidence from one side and feeding it to the other. Confidence is big in the sport of basketball.

Everything negative - pressure, challenges - are all an opportunity for me to rise.
— Kobe Bryant

For that reason, it is important to approach every game and every moment with confidence. Believe that your shot will go in. Believe that your team can win the game. Believing is clearly not everything, but if you have put in the work, there is no reason that you can’t give it your all and compete. If you do that, then you can shift the odds at any time.

Being the underdog in a game or being overlooked as a player or team often means that you may be underestimated. Use that as fuel. Harness the chip on your shoulder. No one knows what you can do better than yourself. There isn’t much that is more satisfying than defying odds and proving nay-sayers wrong.

So be that team! Be that player! Don’t sweat rankings or records, just control what you can by working as hard as possible, being confident, and not backing down from a challenge.

Remember, to help you work as hard as possible, stay at the peak of your game, and keep raising that peak, contact The Basketball Movement. We believe in you and we can help you be ready for the big moments.

Around the NBA: Playoff time

Much of the madness of the basketball world has subsided, but around the NBA, things are just heating up.

Many of the stories around the NBA recently have been about Magic Johnson stepping down as the President of Basketball Operations for the Los Angeles Lakers. There has also been a lot made (deservedly so) about Dwyane Wade’s career reaching its conclusion as well as Dirk Nowitzki, who recently made his retirement official.

As interesting or nostalgic as these happenings are, they are still footnotes to the main story that is unfolding; the 2018-19 NBA regular season has ended and it is time to fight it out to see who is crowned champion.

For several years now, the NBA Playoffs and even the Finals have been predictable. LeBron James would rise out of the East to meet one of the greatest teams in history in the Golden State Warriors. This year is certainly different. No LeBron James means plenty of new faces will be duking it out for a Finals appearance. At least on one side of the bracket.

In the West, it is still the Warriors race to lose. They have appeared vulnerable at times this season with a less enthused bench and more hit-or-miss performances from Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Still, they boast a starting five that consists of five current or recent All-Stars. Big offseason signing, DeMarcus Cousins has looked good considering the achilles injury that sidelined him for so long. Still, he has been a liability at times, unable to mesh with the Warriors offensive and defensive flow.

Teams that could upset the Warriors in the West? See for yourselves what they are up against below:

The Jazz and Nuggets play a different brand of basketball that could potentially mess with the Warriors tempo. The Rockets, Thunder, or Trailblazers have the firepower to hang with anyone, but would need to bring it every single night to have a shot. The Spurs are just inexplicably consistent and therefore tough to get a read on…

In the East, the Milwaukee Bucks appear to have the most clear path to at least the Eastern Conference Finals, unless the Celtics flip a switch that they were unable to find most games this season. The 76ers may be the biggest wildcard, as they likely have the most talented starting five in the NBA, Warriors aside. They will have tough sledding facing the experience of the Raptors, assuming both teams take their first round matchups, which is never a given.

LeBron James fans may be a bit down in the dumps right now, but his playoff absence at least means fresh blood will rise in the East. As usual, the NBA Playoffs are primed to be exciting and engaging. We can’t wait for tipoff.

Stay tuned for coverage, learn how to pronounce Antetokounmpo, and let the games begin!

Around the NBA: Who will be named 2018-19 MVP?

Tonight’s slate of games features the NBA MVP front-runners squaring off. Will James Harden repeat as MVP, or will we see a new face?

For the last half of the 2018-19 NBA season, the MVP race has been James Harden’s to lose. He rebounds, he assists, and he scores… a lot. Possibly most importantly, he has lead his team to contention in the Western Conference, where they started the season as a non-factor. Chris Paul was hurt, the team was lame, and other stars were shining brighter.

Around December-January, things changed. James Harden has been on one of the most ludicrous heaters in NBA history. He is averaging 36 points per game on the season and is on pace to blow away all other players in that category. He is also finding his way to the line like no other guard has, attempting 11 free throws per contest.

Already acknowledged as one of the most dangerous iso players in history, he has also stepped up on defense, averaging a career high 2.2 steals per game so far. In the state of today’s game though, his competition is still fierce.

Rounding, Giannis Antetokounmpo is averaging 27/13/6 with 1.3 steals and 1.5 blocks per game. The Greek Freak has arguably eclipsed LeBron James to become the most terrifying open-court threat in the game. Where LeBron is a freight train, Giannis is a jumbo jet, soaring over defenders with just a few giant steps. Still lacking a consistent perimeter jumper, he is still able to score at will and has become as imposing on offense as he has always been on defense.

Antetokounmpo’s numbers don’t scare James Harden’s MVP chances, but his team does. The Bucks have the best record in the NBA, clearly led by Giannis’ brilliance. His Milwaukee teammate, Kris Middleton was named an All-Star, but the massive success of one of the NBA’s recently dormant franchises is all due to the Greek Freak.

Any other contenders?

Until the last month or so of action, Paul George of the OKC Thunder had a place in this conversation. He is still having a career year, averaging multiple personal best stats with 28.2 points per game (previous best was 23.7), 6.8 boards, 4.2 assists, and 2.2 steals.

George has been a bit inconsistent of late, which has been an unfortunate pairing with an also inconsistent Russell Westbrook. The Thunder are still a playoff team, but only just barely, hurting and possibly extinguishing PG13’s MVP chances.

We may be jaded by their sustained greatness, but Kevin Durant and especially Stephen Curry have had their usual spectacular individual seasons. The Warriors have been good, but not as dominant as we have become accustomed to seeing.

A few more players worth mentioning are: Kawhi Leonard, Joel Embiid, and Damian Lillard. There are more successful teams and spectacular players, but this late in the season, we are realistically coming down to just two men: Harden and Antetokounmpo.

Houston travels to Milwaukee tonight, so we will get a good long look at a clash between these two titans. The MVP race is a marathon, not a sprint, but games like these may still stand out to selectors of the award. The game will be on TNT at 7:00PM central time. Tune in to see two of the best in the world go toe-to-toe and weigh in on the debate over on Twitter. Follow us @Bball_Movement

All stats from Basketball Reference

Around the NBA: Vince Carter won't stop dunking

At 42 years old, Vince Carter is defying norms in a sport filled with the greatest athletes in the world.

Much has been made recently of Tom Brady competing at an elite level at age 40. He looks as sharp as ever and lead his team to yet another Superbowl title. A comparison of greatness may be unfair, but in terms of athletic feats, he has stiff competition from a 40 plus NBA star in Vince Carter.

Debatably, the NBA has the top athletes in the world. The majority of the players are 20-somethings that are in the physical primes of their lives. Vince Carter has been there. During the peak years of his athleticism, he had a multi-year run of what may have been the greatest in-game dunks ever. His legendary athleticism paired with deadly long ball made him a lethal offensive threat.

Despite playing at 42 years old, Carter is still holding his own. He has bounced around a bit these last several years, providing a valuable veteran presence for young teams. His scoring numbers are actually up this year from the last few as he provides a spark off the bench for the Atlanta Hawks. And yes, somehow, he is still throwing down dunks.

With players younger than Carter like Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki singing their swan song this season, he is singing a different tune. In a discussion with ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption, Carter said that he would like to keep playing. That would be his 22nd season.

As a mentor and a shooter, there will certainly be a market for Carter’s services as long as he is willing to play. Whether it is another year with the Hawks, an old team like the Nets or Raptors, or a different destination, it will still be fun to see Carter keep lacing up to compete.

He says that he has been taking things one year at a time, assessing how he feels at the conclusion of each season. It does sound like he is prepared to play until at least age 43 though. With Wade and Nowitzki getting honorary All-Star nods this year, we could surely expect the same treatment for Vinsanity at All-Star 2020. That would be the 20 year anniversary of his legendary All-Star Slam Dunk Contest, so that would be pretty legit.

Playing basketball at a professional level is more difficult than many realize. It requires dedication and true passion to play as long as VC has. If he enjoys the grind enough to keep playing and he can get paid good money to do it, this is a great move for Carter as well as basketball fans.

We are lucky to still be seeing Vince Carter in action and look forward to watching him for at least one more season! For more on everything basketball, keep it locked here with The Basketball Movement.

Around the NBA: A Playoff picture that excludes LeBron James?

We are in uncharted territory with the NBA season nearing its home stretch. An NBA Playoff picture without LeBron James is difficult to imagine.

Most team have around 20 games to go to wrap up their 2018-19 NBA seasons. 16 of 30 teams get to continue playing into the postseason, so most are fighting for seeding or just to make it in. A few of course are locked in the battle of futility, hoping for little more than improved draft odds.

In the East, there are five teams currently standing head-and-shoulders above the rest. The Bucks and Raptors appear to be all but locked into the one and two seeds. The Pacers are clinging to third, but surely the loss of star Victor Oladipo to injury will catch up to them eventually. Coach Nate McMillan and the Indiana role players still deserve a lot of credit.

One of the most talented rosters on paper, the 76ers will be a contender once the dust settles. The Boston Celtics have had a turbulent season despite maintaining about the same roster that led them near the top of the East last year.

The six seed on down currently have sub .500 records. The Brooklyn Nets have been a pleasant surprise with the Pistons, Hornets, Magic, and Heat in contention. The John Wall-less Wizards are looking like a long-shot.

Wild West as usual

As it often is, the Western Conference seeding race is a tight one. The Golden State Warriors are on top as expected, but have already dropped 19 games. That only puts them 1.5 games ahead of the talented Denver Nuggets. The Nugs have a four game lead over the OKC Thunder; that’s where it starts getting very close.

An underrated Trailblazers squad is clinging to fourth, just ahead of the Rockets, Jazz, Spurs and Clippers. Yes, the Spurs are back again after a slow start to their 2018-19 campaign. Conversely, the Clippers overachieved to start the year and initiated a rebuild despite their success. With LA being a desirable free agent destination, they are hoping they can land a star or two next year.

If the Clippers fall off, that leaves two squads that could possibly take their place. The young, surprisingly good Sacremento Kings or LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers stumbled during LeBron’s longest injury absence of his career. Now that he’s back, he says that he has activated “playoff mode”. That didn’t seem to help them much, as they have suffered some of their ugliest losses of the season since.

LeBron doesn’t just have a playoff streak on the line. LeBron James has been to eight consecutive NBA Finals. Eight. Not having him in the playoff picture at all would be incredibly unusual in this era of NBA basketball. To an extent, he knew what he was signing up for with the young Lakers that added bigger personalities than stars over the offseason. Still wild.

The kicker in all this for the Lakers is there remaining schedule, which is one of the toughest in the Association down the stretch (below, from Basketball Reference).

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There are still five weeks to hammer out the final standings. The current playoff picture is an interesting one, with surprises both inside and outside the top eight squads from each conference.

Keep up with The Basketball Movement as we continue to fill you in on happenings around the NBA.

What is your plan for getting better?

Many of you are still deep in your basketball season, be it high school, college, or the NBA. What is your plan once it’s over?

This is one of our favorite times of the year for basketball (well, if we’re being honest it’s always our favorite time of the year for basketball). Players are at their busiest because regular seasons are winding down. From high school district contests to the NBA Playoffs, seasons are plateauing.

Even though players are busy, the best-of-the-best still find time to put in extra reps. Many of the players that come through our doors this time of year are men and women that have separated themselves from the boys and girls. Shout out to those players for coming in to work after their teammates have finished practice and gone home. We see you.

We also understand that it isn’t always possible to find adequate time for these extra reps. Especially at the collegiate level on down, other factors such as school work and family take up time in the evening or sometimes early morning. Even a few sessions a month with us can make a world of difference though. Anyway - down time is coming.

It is a bit early for looking ahead to the offseason, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Whether your team is bounced in the first round or goes all the way, the season will end eventually. Once it’s over, do you have a plan to continue getting better?

Even the top athletes will lose too much ground if they wait until the next season to pick a basketball back up. Don’t lose your edge this offseason. Continue to improve so you can come back stronger, smarter, faster, and more skilled next season. The Basketball Movement wants to help.

Even as a multi-sport athlete, you still must make time to hone your craft. Otherwise, the competition may catch up, eclipse you, or pull further ahead of you. Contact The Basketball Movement to make a plan. We want to work with you to take your game to the next level. Show up to your first practice next season and wow your coaches and teammates. Coaches quickly start forming starting lineups in their heads as well as schemes, plays, and pecking order; insert yourself into the front of their mind.

Shoot us an email at basketballmovement@yahoo.com and be sure to include a contact number. One of our coaches will be in contact with you or your athlete so we can discuss the ways we can help. Skill development is our bread and butter, but what sets us apart is our conditioning, strength training, basketball IQ enhancement, film study, nutrition and stretching tips, and wealth of basketball knowledge and expertise.

If you are ready to get serious about getting better, contact The Basketball Movement.

Around the NBA: All-Star Weekend 2019 recap

Another NBA All-Star Weekend is in the books. The Association packs a lot into the three day span - we have you covered if you missed any of the action.

NBA All-Star Weekend is one of the most exciting and unique events in basketball. The events are varied and entertaining, making for arguably the best All-Star event of any of the major American sports. It’s a lot to take in, so we break down the high points in case you missed anything.

We can skip over the Celebrity All-Star game. That’s not our jam. However, Friday night did end on a high note in the form of the Rising Star Challenge. First and second year players formed Team USA vs. Team World for the third consecutive season. Team USA finally pulled off a win, led by big performances from Trae Young, Jayson Tatum, and Kyle Kuzma.

Kyle Kuzma of the LA Lakers took home MVP honors, scoring a game-high 35 points. Team World was led by NBA All-Star, Ben Simmons who had a 28/5/6 line.

All-Star Saturday Night

Often the most entertaining part of NBA All-Star Weekend is Saturday night, which is filled with speed, shooting, and high-flying. The Skill Competition is often underrated and was entertaining once again this year.

Before Spencer Dinwiddie won last year, the event had been surprisingly dominated by big men the last few times for an event that includes many of the finer skills of the game. This year fell somewhere in-between with the 6 foot 8 forward Jayson Tatum beating Trae Young with a halfcourt heave.

The Three Point Contest was up next with a stacked field. Unlike the Dunk Contest, this one was actually filled with most of the season’s top guys. Seth Curry went down quickly, losing the battle of the brothers. Steph Curry however didn’t quite have the juice to overcome the Brooklyn Nets red hot sniper, Joe Harris. Beating Curry (and Buddy Hield) in the final round should make for an incredible memory for Harris.

Since it used to be the most exciting, the Dunk Contest was the final event of the night. There were a lot of misses and some gimmicks that did not go over well. We still came away with some nice jams, though one by winner, Hamidou Diallo took the cake.

Diallo was the furthest contestant from being a household name, but leapfrogging Shaquille O’Neil for an elbow-in-the-rim slam was easily the most memorable dunk of the night.

The 2019 NBA All-Star Game

Team Giannis vs. Team LeBron made for an incredibly fun exhibition. Coming in, Team LeBron looked to have more talent, but Team Giannis may have had the hungrier players. The first half was all Team Giannis, led by the captain himself. They out-hustled Team LeBron and we even saw glimpses of defense throughout the night despite the high score.

Eventually, Team LeBron pulled away by simply making more shots. A three point barrage in the third led by Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, and Klay Thompson mixed with consistant greatness by Kevin Durant proved too much for the largely less-accomplished Team Giannis squad.

Durant was named MVP on a night that had many highlights. It was also great to see Dirk splashing threes and Dwyane Wade / LeBron James alley-oops flying around one last time. (Make sure to watch the above video to catch the insane Curry-to-Antetokounmpo ally-oop)

Thanks for checking in so we could catch you up! Keep an eye out here for more NBA updates as the season continues in addition to NCAA, high school, and local coverage. ‘Til next time!

Around the NBA: All-Star Weekend 2019 schedule

Friday kickstarts NBA All-Star Weekend - We let you know when the action takes place to make sure you don’t miss a thing.

For NBA fans (or basketball fans in general), NBA All-Star Weekend is one of the most interesting stretches that the sport has to offer. No-matter the participants, the dunk contest is always a good time, even if it isn’t what it once was. The skills challenge and three point contest are consistently fun while the Rising Stars game is a great time as well. The All-Star game itself is perhaps the greatest exhibition game we get all year. The whole thing is certainly worth your time.

If you are lucky enough to have a completely free weekend, you can tune in to NBA TV almost any time to catch All-Star media appearances, practices, or even an NBA legends brunch. Most of us have important things going on, such as the second installment of The League at The Basketball Movement all day Saturday. For such reasons, let’s just hit on the most important events of NBA All-Star Weekend 2019, starting with Friday (all times shown in CST).

Friday, Feb. 15th

4:00pm will have the Hall of Fame announcement on TNT. This is one that may be just as good to catch afterwards on Twitter, but is still an interesting wrinkle in the weekend. At 6:00pm on ESPN, the Celebrity All-Star Game will be shown. If watching Ray Allen and Quavo take on A’ja Wilson and Dr. Oz sounds interesting to you, then this is the place to be.

The meat and potatoes of Friday is certainly the Rising Stars game that starts at 8:00pm on TNT. Made up of first and second year players, there will be a USA vs. The World format again. Always underrated, the game offers a fun look into the future of the league. Team USA is still looking for its first win since this format was established.

Saturday, Feb 16th

Media availability by the All-Stars and Commisioner Adam Silver will be running much of the day as well as practices. All-Star Saturday Night though is where the most memorable moments will truly begin, starting at 7:00pm on TNT.

The Taco Bell Skills Challenge kicks things off with players of every position competing to see who can combine speed, ball-handling, passing, and shooting accuracy to the fullest effect. Big men have had a surprising hold on this event over the years.

Contestants this year are: Mike Conley, Luka Doncic, De'Aaron Fox, Nikola Jokic, Kyle Kuzma, Jayson Tatum, Nikola Vucevic, and Trae Young.

Following the skills competition is the Three Point Contest, which is one of the most pure contests in basketball year after year. Whether Seth should be in or not, it is still interesting that the contest will feature brothers - Steph and Seth Curry. The rest of the field is a pretty solid representation of many of the season’s top snipers:

The final event of All-Star Saturday Night is the AT&T Slam Dunk Contest. Despite a resurgence in 2016 that saw an epic showdown between Aaron Gordon and Zach Lavine, this contest has been largely on a downhill slide over the years.

The game’s big stars are mysteriously reluctant to participate, so we get athletic up-and-comers that may have some decent dunks, but no star power. Maybe this year will yield some surprises.

Sunday, Feb 17th

The main event! Team LeBron vs. Team Giannis marks the 68th annual NBA All-Star game. The game tips of at 7:00pm with coverage starting at 6:00pm on TNT (also available on TBS).

NBA haters love to harp on the lack of defense in this one, but perhaps they don’t understand the purpose of an exhibition game. Also, Joel Embiid went you-know-what to the walls last year, forcing everyone else to step it up. He is on team Giannis and we have seen Antetokounmpo take the game very seriously before too. Anticipate plenty of effort and competitiveness sprinkled in between alley oops.

That does it for the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend schedule! We will be dropping some opinions and analysis over the weekend in addition to our coverage of The League. Be sure you are following us across all platforms so you don’t miss a thing.

Around the NBA: Anthony Davis, James Harden, and All-Star Weekend

Anthony Davis is the big news this week, but there is plenty going on around the National Basketball Association.

The New Orleans Pelicans star, Anthony Davis has been fined $50,000 this week by the NBA. His agent, Rich Paul let it be known that Davis wishes to be traded, which is a no-no. The agent said that Davis wishes to play for a team that allows him to “win consistently and compete for a championship.” This means that Davis does not believe he is capable of leading the Pelicans to be a team that can win consistently - a disappointing admission from the superstar power forward.

The fine is a drop in the bucket for Anthony “The Brow” Davis, who makes over $25 million per season. He and his agent likely decided being open and honest was worth the trouble. Davis must have his sights set somewhere big, as he leaves behind up-and-comers Julius Randle, Nikola Mirotic, and Elfrid Payton as well as All-Star-caliber talent, Jrue Holiday. The Lakers are the most buzzed about team as well as the Celtics, though Boston is incapable of making a deal this season.

You do not have to be fantasy basketball savvy to know that Davis is a machine on the basketball court. He is elite on both ends, meaning his eventual departure from NOLA will be a seismic shift in the NBA landscape. Currently injured, it seems likely The Brow has played his last game in a Pelicans uniform. The trade deadline is February 7th.

James Harden’s historic heater

Through the end of 2018, the NBA MVP race was a close one. Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James, and Kawhi Leonard were all looking like fine choices with the Rockets off to a disappointing start. About halfway through December however, the Rockets turned it on. With Chris Paul sidelined with injury, it has been the James Harden show - and what a show it has been.

In January, Harden has averaged 43.6 points to go along with 8.7 boards, 7.6 assists, 2.1 steals, and 1.2 blocks.

That scoring total is the highest single-month average since Wilt Chamberlain’s 45.8 in March of 1963 via the Elias Sports Bureau. Any time you see a modern day player’s stats compared to Wilt Chamberlain, you know they are doing something crazy.

The Rockets are currently up to third in the West and Harden would be a lock for his second MVP award if the season ended today. However, there is still a lot of basketball to be played!

2019 All-Star starters and Rising Stars announced

Fan-voting for the NBA All-Star games has concluded. Those votes are weighed in alongside player and media voting, resulting in the five starters for each conference. Below are the results:

Western conference: LeBron James, Steph Curry, James Harden, Paul George, and Kevin Durant.

Eastern Conference: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, and Kemba Walker

Once again, the conferences will be jumbled together, with a captain from each conference drafting their players. The top vote-getters, Antetokounmpo and James will be selecting the squads. The fun part is that the draft will be televised this year on Feb. 7th at 6:00pm Central on TNT.

The Rising Stars challenge will feature first and second year players and will be in Team USA vs The World format again this year. The World team has won each year since this format has started, but the rosters this year may lend confidence to team USA.

NBA All-Star weekend is February 15-17th. We will do our best to cover the festivities in addition to our coverage of The League by The Basketball Movement, which has its second installment Saturday, Feb. 16th. Keep your eye out for more NBA coverage and follow us on Twitter to stay on top of everything.

NBA All-Star voting is underway

The first wave of results are back from fan-voting for NBA All-Star starters. Some of the results have been raising questions.

Should fans be the ones that vote for starters in the NBA All-Star game? An argument can certainly be made on both sides. Players get plenty of official accolades for their strong play, such as making All-NBA Teams, All-Defense, MVP, etc.

Do they really need one more official pat on the back, or can fans just select whoever the heck they want? It is just an exhibition game after all. Player pride may be on the line, but fans are the main reason the players have such a lofty platform. As I said, either side can be argued.

The reason it is being argued is below, in the first voting return:

There are many names that everyone expects to see. LeBron and half of the Warriors show up out West, while new kings of the East, Giannis, Embiid, and Kawhi take deserved spots on the other side. Three frontcourt players and two backcourt players start per conference. The issue lies in a few of the would-be starters as of now.

Luka Doncic is the likely rookie of the year, but All-Star starter over Durant, PG-13, or the Brow? The fans are making a questionable pick here.

Nostalgia is one of the true leading vote-getters this year. Derrick Rose, though he is having a nice bounce-back season, would currently be a starter over Harden and Westbrook. C’mon now. Out East, Dwyane Wade is in his final season. That makes this pick a bit more understandable, but it would still be a bit of a shame if the deserving Kemba Walker didn’t get that spot. Even Vince Carter makes an appearance in the top 10.

Again, this is an exhibition game that is clearly meant for fan service. To the players and top-talent purists, there may be a few too many old guys (and Lakers/Warriors) on this list. Either way, it will be a blast as it always is. If you don’t like the current standings go vote for your guys!

Follow us on Twitter @BBall_Movement and let us know who you would like to see on All-Star Weekend this February!

NBA gameday this Christmas

As always, the NBA has saved some juicy matchups to help fill in the biggest holiday in the U.S.A.

The NFL has had a part of Thanksgiving traditions for many years. More and more, the NBA is sneaking into Christmas traditions across the country. With five games broadcast one at a time, there will be great basketball on all day long.

Naturally, the holiday is best spent with friends and family. If you just need something on in the background though, look no farther. The 10 teams playing will all have unique Christmas jerseys and the broadcast will certainly have Christmas aspects all over.

Here is a little rundown of the games so you can decide which you would like to have in the background and which ones get your full attention. Game times shown in Central Time.

Bucks @ Knicks - 11:00am ESPN

Let’s be real; The New York Knicks are on because they are one of the biggest markets. They aren’t doing very well, but it is always interesting to catch up with a team that doesn’t get as much national coverage. On the other hand, Milwaukee is a team that is 100 percent worth your attention. Led by MVP candidate, Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks are number one in the NBA in points per game.

Thunder @ Rockets - 2:00pm ABC

Two more perennial MVP candidates and former teammates, Russell Westbrook vs. James Harden is always going to make for good TV. OKC’s Paul George has also inserted himself in MVP discussions for one of the Western Conference’s top teams. After a disappointing start, Houston is back on the rise as well.

76ers @ Celtics - 4:30pm ABC

Despite both having ups and downs thus far in the season, these are still two of the most entertaining teams in the NBA. The young core of Philadelphia with the addition of Jimmy Butler looks as talented and potent as ever. For Boston, Kyrie Irving is rolling after a sluggish start to the year. The health of Irving, Gordon Hayward, and Al Horford may be what makes or breaks this team.

Lakers @ Warriors - 7:00pm ABC/ESPN

LeBron James fan? Actual Lakers fan? Steph Curry fan? Fan of super teams that lazy, sensitive players flee to for rings? This matchup is a fan-pleaser for sure. (Oh, and anti-Durant views are solely those of Blogger @WilHarrington and not The Basketball Movement).

Jokes aside, this will be an entertaining game featuring some of the best basketball players on the planet. Los Angeles is rounding into a solid playoff team, while Golden State is essentially winning games by just messing around while they wait for the playoffs.

Trailblazers @ Jazz - 9:30pm ESPN

The night game features less star-power than most of the above matchups, but will still be worth turning on as you slip into your food coma. Portland’s Damian Lillard is one of the top competitors to watch in the league while Utah bring scrappy defense and underrated players on their end. Casual fans may recognize Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, but do yourself a favor and get familiar with my man, Joe Ingles this Christmas.

That will do it for a very NBA Christmas! Keep your priorities straight concerning your time this holiday, but feel free to treat yourself to some top-quality basketball when you can. Have a very Merry Christmas from your friends at The Basketball Movement!

NBA standings - Wild, wild west

The Standings in the NBA are very interesting, with much more parity than expected with the Golden State Warriors still intact.

A few teams are finally beginning to separate themselves, but the last few weeks in the NBA have provided some surprising positions in the standings. The Western Conference is unusually tight from the top almost all the way to the bottom. The East is where we are finally seeing parity.

Out in New York, the Knicks and Nets both got off to hotter-than-expected starts, but have slowed back down. Brooklyn’s decline may have something to do with the injury to potential Most Improved Player candidate, Caris LaVert. Charlotte has also slowed down, but still remains in the hunt.

The Orlando Magic are a surprise this season at 12-13, though their roster remains very similar to the one that had them near the bottom of the conference a year ago. Detroit is another surprise. The Pistons have dropped their last two, but are still 13-9, currently good for fourth.

The Boston Celtics have been the biggest disappointment after being picked by many to take the conference championship. However, they have now won their last three and may be ready for a push.

The Raptors sit on top and look like the best team in the NBA right now. Giannis Antetokounmpo has finally transformed his Milwaukee Bucks into a contender as well.

Below are the full Eastern Conference standings pulled directly from ESPN:

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Western Conference

The 2018-19 NBA season may be just a little over one fourth of the way done, but the standings in the West are still wild. Only 6.5 games separate the 15th placed San Antonio Spurs from the number one seed Denver Nuggets. The Phoenix Suns at 4-20 are the only team looking too far gone.

Denver was expected to be good, but not necessarily lead the West. They are well-rounded and have been getting a nice boost from our ally Monte Morris. Another surprise near the top is the LA Clippers, who are looking pretty smart after blowing up their core last season.

The Warriors are still great and likely know it isn’t necessary to bring it every night - especially with DeMarcus Cousins nearing a return as early as Christmas. The Thunder have the best chemistry they’ve seen in years, Memphis is healthy and tough, and the LeBron-led Lakers are rolling.

The Houston Rockets may be the strangest team in the league. Trading away two of their top defenders hurt them more than they thought it would and they are near the bottom of the standings. So many teams are hovering around down there though, that it is still anyone’s game.

These West teams are just so close. Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, or Karl-Anthony Towns could power their teams up the standings at any moment. Or the defense of the Jazz. Or leading Rookie of the Year candidate, Luka Doncic of the Mavs. And wait… Sacramento is in there too? See? Wild.

Here are the full standings, also pulled directly from ESPN:

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The is a lot of basketball movement left in the 2018-19 NBA season, so you are of course in the right place!

What to make of Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony quickly went from star, to role player, to… well, what is going on with Melo now?

There has been an abundance of interesting storylines already in this young NBA season. From Jimmy Butler drama, LeBron leaving Cleveland again, and the Kawhi Leonard/DeMar DeRozan trade all the way down to Joel Embiid’s Twitter game, there has been no shortage of entertainment from the world’s best basketball league.

Now, we have an interesting Carmelo Anthony situation. After breaking off his relationship with the New York Knicks, Anthony spent last season with the OKC Thunder. He refused a bench role, though that is what seemed like the best solution with Paul George and Russell Westbrook in the starting lineup. No one doubted Anthony’s potential when it came to instant offense off the bench.

The fit clearly wasn’t there, so he was traded to the Atlanta Hawks, was waived, and signed with the Houston Rockets ahead of the current NBA season. Suddenly he was ready to accept a bench role. The Rockets had to move some players to make room for him - those players wound up being defensive stoppers, Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute.

Only 10 games into the season, Anthony was averaging 13 and 5 off the bench, shooting 40 percent from the field. The Rockets are off to a more sluggish start than anticipated and their decision for shaking things up is to part ways with Carmelo Anthony.

What is next for Anthony?

The future is certainly hazy for the aging star. He has technically not been waived yet by the Houston Rockets, which is a bit mysterious in and of itself. After two discouraging stops since leaving New York, most teams may have a hard time envisioning a fit for the former All-Star on their roster.

Has his game not aged well? His mentality? His refusal to come off of the bench in Oklahoma City may suggest the latter. Aging gracefully in this game is not always as easy as players like Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter, and Dwyane Wade are making it look. Accepting limitations is an important part of being a veteran of the league.

His game - the guy can still shoot. The percentages are not always there, but he is still a capable iso scorer. That just isn’t a desired skillset when it is attached to a player that has lost a step. Especially during a period in which many teams are building young cores while the Warriors run wild.

His defense has never been good, and is likely worse now.

One option for Carmelo is to go the way of Stephon Marbury. Carmelo could make a whole lot of money being the best player in China.

Whatever happens, we will still be paying close attention, as Melo is likely a Hall of Famer after a long career of unstoppable scoring. Keep checking back with The Basketball Movement for more on this and all other things basketball.

Jimmy Butler is set to debut in Philadelphia

Jimmy Butler finally got his wish granted - He has been traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves and is back in the Eastern Conference.

The Philadelphia 76ers play the Orlando Magic tonight (only available on League Pass) and it sounds like Jimmy Butler will start for the Sixers. Butler was traded by the T-Wolves along with Justin Patton to Philadelphia in exchange for Dario Saric, Robert Covington, Jarryd Bayless, and a 2022 second-round draft pick.

The Jimmy Butler drama has carried over from a long Summer into an uncomfortable start to the season for the Timberwolves. The drama translated into a poor record to start, underwhelming performances by the Wolves’ young stars, and tensions reaching new heights.

The inevitable trade happened on 11/10/18, effectively jettisoning Butler from the team. All things considered, it wasn’t a bad haul for the Wolves since Butler was a lock to leave one way or another.

Dario Saric will bring a nice facet to Tom Thibodeau’s squad in the form of a stretch four that can stay out of Karl-Anthony Towns’ way, but still be a scoring threat. Robert Covington brings needed perimeter shooting as well and Jaryd Bayless is a solid veteran presence to backup oft-injured point guard, Derrick Rose.

Philadelphia’s new star

Butler is the kind of player that can realistically fit with any team on the court. He has good size and strength, but maintains the quickness necessary to lock down opposing perimeter players. He is an improved outside shooter and a fantastic slasher. However, he is leaving a team with young players with unique personalities to go to… a team with young players with unique personalities.

The 76ers go-to scorer, rebounder, and rim-protector is Joel Embiid. “The Process” as he is nicknamed is a 7 footer that can hit the three and handle the rock in a pinch. Aside from being an MVP candidate, he is actually known just as much for his tweeting and say-anything demeanor.

Philly’s other star is Ben Simmons, a 6’10” point guard with incredible talent that refuses to shoot jumpers. There is also Markelle Fultz, another huge talent and former first overall pick that is so down in the confidence department, that he may struggle to ever reach his potential.

Enter Butler, who is a fiery competitor that was fed up with his nonchalant young teammates in Minny. Despite the quirks of his new teammates, he must see more of a desire to win here.

After giving up substantial outside shooting, Philadelphia will have to adjust on the fly as they are clearly in “win now” mode. Will Fultz get with the program or be the next piece to be moved?

One way or another - this is going to be interesting. The Sixers were already one of the most fun teams to watch and that is not set to change. Stay tuned to the Movement! 

The 2018-19 NBA season tips off tonight

After a long summer of draft hype, free agency, Summer League action, and trade drama, NBA games are finally back.

This summer, the NBA felt more like a drama than a thriller. Between the Kawhi Leonard trade, LeBron James signing, and now Jimmy Butler debacle, there has been plenty of entertainment. As interesting as all of that has been, it is refreshing that we are finally getting back to basketball.

Hoops at the highest level returns tonight with a double-header on TNT. Things kick off with two Eastern Conference powerhouses at 7:00PM (CST). The young, talented Philadelphia 76ers are headed to Boston to take on the Celtics. The C’s are largely considered to be the team to beat out east. Thoughts can’t help but turn to opening night last season, which also featured the Celtics. The newly acquired Gordon Hayward suffered a gruesome leg injury in that one, but he is set to finally break onto the scene with Kyrie Irving and company.

Following that game is a big Western Conference clash, featuring the defending champion Golden State Warriors and OKC Thunder at 9:30PM (CST). This has been a classic matchup ever since Kevin Durant fled to Golden State to easily win championships in an attempt to pad his “legacy” (sorry… I’m a Thunder fan).

Following the departure of Carmelo Anthony, OKC is hoping to have better offensive and defensive flow. Unfortunately, they will be without defensive stopper, Andre Roberson for a couple months and they may be missing Russell Westbrook for a few games as well following a minor offseason surgery.

The majority of the league will start their seasons up tomorrow evening. LeBron’s Lakers debut will come Thursday night against the Portland Trailblazers on the backside of another TNT double-header.

Get your fantasy lineups set, popcorn ready to pop, and favorite jersey on. The NBA is back, baby.

There is a lot to look forward to this upcoming season. The Basketball Movement will be tracking NBA action as well as NCAA on down to prep hoops. Keep checking back, because there is always movement in the world of basketball!