LaVar Ball is Bad For Basketball

At first, the theatrics were amusing. The proclamations, the interviews, thew swagger. It was enjoyable. But at a certain point, enough is enough. Lavar Ball is bad for basketball. With his oldest son in the NBA, and his middle son enrolled at UCLA, Lavar Ball has decided to focus on his youngest son. It was recently announced that LaMelo Ball would be removed from school to train with his Dad for two years before attending college.

At a time when college basketball recruiting is under its biggest microscope, the Ball family is going completely off the map. Instead of playing in premier high school events, LaMelo Ball will be training. While one side can argue that Ball doesn’t have anything to prove, as he is already committed to UCLA, one also has to see how bad this looks. This move was made so LaMelo could train more, it keeps him from getting exposed for the next two years. It avoids negative criticism is Chino Hills were to underachieve, and it helps keep bad LaMelo highlights off the internet.

Lavar Ball has been quoted many times saying he loves the attention. As a businessman he is pulling all the right strings with the media to keep his Big Baller Brand relevant. Lonzo was able to play and succeed through the circus, but with two years of high school left, it will be tough for LaMelo. While the negative social media may disappear, the spotlight is going to be enormous once he walks onto UCLA campus.

Lavar Ball isn’t afraid to take a shot. This shot is just one of many that seemingly mocks basketball. This move says the his son doesn’t need anyone but him to succeed. And while there’s no problem betting on yourself, what happens when it’s time for college? Do they decide to skip another year and train some more? Does Steve Alford put up with this nonsense for two more years?

Lavar Ball mocked sneaker brands with his Big Baller Brand. He mocked the entire game by saying he was better than Michael Jordan, joke or not. And not he’s taking a shot at high school athletics and recruiting with this home-schooling. Lavar Ball may be a good businessman. He did get people to pay ridiculous prices for shoes after all. But Lavar Ball is bad for basketball.

NBA to Make Changes on Draft Lottery, Players Resting

The NBA voted to pass two league changes that will benefit the game experience for fans everywhere. In what was a two-day meeting in New York, the NBA Board of Governors voted on a draft lottery reform, as well as stricter guidelines for teams to rest players. The draft lottery reform needed 75% vote in favor, while the resting players guideline just needed a majority vote.

What these rules mean

A reform to the draft lottery prevents “The Process” from being a thing teams continue to do. It was put in place to discourage teams from tanking for the highest possible pick in the upcoming draft. No longer will the worst team have the highest chance of receiving the #1 pick. Instead, the bottom three teams will each have a 14% chance in obtaining the first selection. Previously, the worst team received a 25% chance. Second worst received 19.9% and third received a 15.6% chance. Now, the playing field levels out some.

The rule regarding sitting healthy players is something Commissioner Adam Silver has said needed to change. Commissioner Silver now has the ability to fine teams for unnecessarily sitting out players. Whether it be sitting multiple players out of one game, or sitting star players out of NBA televised games, Commissioner Silver has the power to hand out fines if he deems necessary. Emphasis was put in teams resting players at home, where hometown fans have the chance to see them more often, rather than on the road.

What these rules do for the NBA

I am a big fan of both these changes, and I am a Knicks fan who is looking at the lottery for the next couple of years. Preventing teams from tanking makes them compete every night. With a 25% chance of obtaining the #1 overall pick, bad teams have been rewarded for failing. I’m not saying it’s a bad plan; look at the Sixers. It got them Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz and Joel Embiid. But while Sixer fans are getting ready to reap the benefits of The Process, the process itself is a miserable product to watch. The Sixers were never televised and attendance was never great due to the common assumption that the team was tanking to build for the future. This change should alter the product put on the floor.

As for the resting players, this will hopefully get rid of the “I Came Here to See Lebron and He’s Not Playing” signs that pop up across the country every season. From a fan point of view, there’s nothing more frustrating than seeing a team come into town and rest their best player. You go to support your team, but you also go to see the best in the world compete. The same can be said for TV. Primetime games are not primetime if the stars are all sitting out. Putting morre authority in the commissioner’s hands will hopefully help both the leagues TV ratings and alleviate fan frustration.

I think both rules that were passed today are a step forward for basketball. For years, I have been a supporter of college basketball over professional basketball. I believe the product is just better in the NCAA. However, with the NCAA in a bit of destruction, these rule changes could help the NBA gain ground. I think it will definitely help enhance the product, in turn helping attendance, ratings and fan support for the league.

Five Games to Watch in this Year’s Pac-12

Pac-12 Basketball

With the recent release of the Pac-12 Conference’s schedule for the upcoming 2017-2018 season, let’s take a look at some of the more exciting matchups.

Oregon Arizona

1. Oregon @ Arizona (Week of Jan. 10)

Possibly the most anticipated game of the Pac-12 season, Oregon and Arizona ended last year as the conference’s co-champions. Needless to say, this game is a must win in the eyes of both teams; beyond the contest, each roster has something to prove. Arizona may be looking like the stronger team as the season approaches, but undoubtedly both squads return this year with depth, talent, and an itch to show who deserved the crown of the Pac-12 more last year.

USC UCLA

2. USC @ UCLA (Week of Jan. 31)

The classic Golden State matchup, USC v. UCLA never disappoints. USC may be looking forward to the matchup more so this year, now that Lonzo Ball’s dominance has moved just a short way down the road to the Los Angeles Lakers. However, with UCLA’s return of Aaron Holiday and Thomas Welsh, the Trojans will be no easy challenge to overcome. Bleacher Report preseason rankings finds USC at number ten, thanks to the return of Bennie Boatwright, Chimezie Metu, and Shaquan Aaron. If USC has plans of joining the conference’s elite this season, beating rival UCLA is a good place to start.

UCLA Arizona

3. UCLA @ Arizona, USC @ Arizona State (Week of Feb. 7)

The combination of four powerhouse Pac-12 teams, not just two, highlights this week as one of the most anticipated of the season. While we know the talent that USC, UCLA, and Arizona will be returning is bound to be strong this season, ASU’s squad cannot be overlooked, and will certainly pose a threat to the Trojans, as USC heads to ASU’s home court. With one of the highest scoring backcourts in the Pac-12, the Sun Devils will utilize the ability of their combination of guards to score from the outside, as well as pester the Trojans with under the rim talent.

ASU Arizona

4. Arizona @ Arizona State (Week of Feb. 14)

More commonly known in the southwest as the Duel in the Desert, this fierce rivalry mirrors that of USC and UCLA. No matter what the difference in talent is between these two teams, this game will always be interesting. This year, fans are lucky enough to have two teams that are not worlds apart for the most part. Both sides have talented players returning, and neophytes waiting to be tested. Realistically, Arizona does have the better team–all the reason that their matchup away at ASU is just a bit more anticipated.

Stanford Cal

5. California @ Stanford (Week of Dec. 27)

Ok, so maybe people have their doubts about California; granted, they did have quote an exodus of talent at the end of last season. However, they have a lot of potential to be a good team if they use it correctly. A new head coach means a new coaching style, which means confusion for opponents. Playing against a new coach in college basketball can often leave teams just as baffled as playing against new players. Returning players include defensive threat Kingsley Okoroh, as well as Kentucky transfer Marcus Lee, whose scoring ability will have to be put to good use if Cal wants to see a chance at beating Stanford.

Twitter: @andrew_mck11

Stephon Marbury Needs to Avoid Return to NBA

Stephon Marbury has reportedly been eyeing a return to the NBA. It has been eight years since Starbury has competed professionally here in the America, but if he has his way, fans will see him once again. Life after the NBA has been a roller coaster for Marbury, very similar to his career in the NBA. Shortly after his last NBA games, Marbury went viral for an internet meltdown. The video led to countless jokes on Marbury’s behalf.

Years later, Marbury admitted he experienced depression and suicidal thoughts towards the end of his NBA career. It was clear Marbury was not handling his fall from superstardom well. Thankfully Marbury would resurrect his career, though not on American soil. In 2010, he signed with the Shanxi Zhongyu Brave Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association. From there Marbury would become a Chinese basketball sensation.

Life in the CBA

Starbury’s accolades in the CBA include 6x CBA All-Star and 3x CBA champion. He won the 2010 CBA All-Star MVP award, as well as 2015 CBA Finals MVP for the Beijing Ducks. After helping lead the Ducks to his first CBA title in 2012, Marbury was honored with a statue in front of the MasterCard Center in Beijing.

Stephon Marbury was honored with a statue outside the MasterCard Center, which was the home of the 2008 Beijing Olympics

Now, he is looking to parlay his Chinese basketball success into an NBA contract one last time. I think that is unwise. Like most competitors, Marbury still likely wants to prove he can compete at the highest level. He wants his last NBA moments to be better than being bought out by New York and playing an irrelevant 20 games for Boston.

Stay Away, Steph

This is the NBA, where teams buy stock in young players, hoping they reach their potential and mature into assets for their team. Aside from riding the bench for a championship contender, there’s no real place for a ball dominant 40-year-old point guard. Now I’ll admit that the images I have in my head of Marbury are from his days with a horrendous Knicks team, and that’s not entirely fair to him. If Marbury’s goal is to make an NBA team, then maybe he can do that. Maybe a team will take a chance on a seasoned vet who revitalized his career overseas and has one good season in the league in him.

But would he be content with that? Would he accept seeing DNP – Coaches Decision next to his name on a regular basis? Maybe he would, but for someone who was a former all-star in this league, and who is coming off a recent string of success in a foreign league, why open yourself up for what could be another epic failure in the NBA? Why not enjoy yourself for one more year in a league where you are beloved, and hang up you sneakers on a high note, a note that seemed unfathomable six years ago.

Stephon Marbury went from NBA All-Star, to internet laughing-stock, back to a basketball superstar. While his career may not have gone the way he envisioned when he was a budding superstar in Brooklyn, NY, Marbury was able to rise from the ashes of a burning NBA fallout and once again become an adored basketball player. And while he still may be feeling the highs of CBA success, Stephon Marbury needs to avoid an NBA return for his own sake.

Crucial Physical and Psychological Skills You Gain through Basketball

team

 

Playing organized sports such as basketball can provide a huge number of benefits to children. Through basketball skills training and games, children can develop a wide range of physical and psychological traits that can serve them well throughout their life, ensuring that they become a more well-rounded person and that they are better able to handle the stresses and complications they face in the real world. In this way, playing basketball and attending basketball training camps can be one of the best things your child can do, as it will teach them all of the following skills.

Knowing the Value of Hard Work and Dedication

Playing basketball or any other sport requires countless hours of practice, constantly working to improve your physical and mental skills. In this way, basketball can help teach a child about the importance and value of hard work. Basketball clinics and live games can teach a child that nothing in life comes for free and you always have to be willing to work to get what you want.

Mental Toughness

Playing poorly, suffering abuse from opposing players and fans, and losing games are things basketball players must learn to deal with and not let discourage them. This means basketball is also great for improving mental toughness and how to overcome adversity. The mental side of basketball is easily as important as the physical; which is why most basketball skills training and basketball clinics focus heavily on mental aspects, in addition to physical skills.

Staying Calm Under Pressure

Those last few minutes of a basketball game are often an extremely high-pressure situation. There’s nothing like lining up for a potentially game winning free throw or hitting a last-second buzzer beater to teach a person about the importance of staying calm under pressure.

Team Work

Being able to work effectively in a team is a hugely important life skill, and nothing can teach a person this skill better than team sports. Even if you’re the best player on your team, you will still need to be able to play as part of a team in order to stand a chance of winning. As Michael Jordan once famously said, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”

Flexibility

On the physical side of things, basketball is a fantastic activity for growing bodies due to the fact that it teaches the importance of flexibility along with physical strength. No matter whether you’re a seven-foot tall center or a five-foot tall point guard, quickness and flexibility are always going to be key attributes. This is precisely why most youth basketball training camps place a special focus on improving a child’s flexibility and not just their strength and conditioning. In this way, basketball is often seen as a better activity for kids than football or other sports that tend to rely more on brute strength.

Improved Strength

Of course, strength is still important for a basketball player. The countless hours in the gym, lifting weights and running around the court, are guaranteed to make a person stronger and more physically fit, which is just another one of the many benefits basketball can provide.

Better Stamina

All that running around will also help to improve a person’s stamina as well. This has huge, direct benefits for a person’s cardiovascular and respiratory system.

At the end of the day, playing any sport will provide many mental and physical benefits. However, the fact that basketball is fairly low contact and generally safer than football, hockey and other sports, makes it an ideal choice for teaching children important psychological and physical skills that will surely serve them well in their future lives.