As the Ping Pong Balls Turn

NBA Draft Lottery

“Draft Day, Johnny Manziel…Five years later how am I the man still…Draft Day A. Wiggins…Fuck the other side bitch we stay winning…Now don’t think for a second if I have a Drake lyric, I wouldn’t have a Jay lyric: “keep it 100, I hit the lottery…lottery…lottery”

While the Pacers, Spurs, Heat and Thunder are preparing for Game 3 of their perspective conference finals, the rest of the league is preparing for the NBA Draft. There will be numerous commentary for Jay Bilas and the crew, Chad Ford mock drafts and hearing the word potential as many times as Solange hit Jay in the elevator.  There are countless meetings, tons of scouting reports and discussions about potential draft picks. I wonder if the staff is only allowed to watch the NBA TV Channel until the draft is over.  On Tuesday Night, the NBA Draft Lottery painted a rough sketch of the Mona Lisa but the masterpiece won’t be completed until the selections are made. Just hope your pick doesn’t leave a bad taste in your mouth like drinking orange juice right after brushing your teeth.

The NBA Draft Lottery is the one time where losing is actually winning. It’s like that scene in Project X where 3 nobodies have the illest house party in the land and their credibility shoots as high as Andrew Wiggins’ vertical. However, it could be like the dude who was a geek in high school coming back to their 10 year reunion stunting on them chicks who now look like Cleo from Set it off. Either way the glass can be half full or half empty depends on who does the pouring.

For the 3rd time in 4 years, Cleveland Cavaliers will receive the 1st
pick in this upcoming draft. According to basketball enthusiast, Tony Taliaferro, “since Cleveland did so shitty with their last pick they shouldn’t get a pick at all they should give it to the Lakers”. Tony if only the NBA was like that but since it’s not Cleveland will have the first selection in what has been ordained as one of the best drafts since 2003. Cleveland for obvious reasons is the winner because they keep getting chance after chance to improve their team. They did well with Kyrie Irving; however Anthony Bennett is looking like Hustle man for Martin playing the kazoo for a music exec because
that man is stealing. Is 3rd time a charm or 3 strikes you’re out?

Now that the NBA Draft Order has been picked why not created our first mock draft containing just the top 10 teams:

  1. Cleveland- Joel Embiid, C from Kansas

Don’t shoot me just yet but my spidey senses are tingling and I smell a C-O-N…spiracy. Bad enough Cleveland get the number one pick again but guess who’s a free agent???? LeBron James. Now I know we’ve heard this before but to be honest Cleveland needs help in the interior especially with rebounding and Anderson Varajeao is getting up there like my weight so why not Joel Embiid. In the event all of this is nonsense Andrew Wiggins will be the pick.

2.  Milwaukee Bucks- Jabari Parker, SF from Duke

What’s Cleveland loss is Milwaukee’s gain. Jabari Parker’s refined offensive game could be the spark that they need and is probably the safer pick as of right now. He can torch defenders with the jumper or with his back to the rim. He could be a 3 or a 4 but he does have things to work on such as his defensive ability to guard the quicker wing players. In the event they do make him a 4 does he have the size to be a good post defender?

3. Philadelphia 76ers- Andrew Wiggins, SF from Kansas

The slide for Andrew Wiggins ends here and the Philly fans begin to rejoice all up and down the city. They should have Allen Iverson introduce this pick but back to reality here. If the jump heard around the world didn’t excite you then check your pulse. He’s a great athlete who averaged 17 points at Kansas and is a great wing defender. Now imagine if he can refine his offensive game.

4. Orlando Magic- Dante Exum- PG from Australia

Well let’s face it…Jameer Nelson isn’t get it done anymore and Orlando needs a point guard. Don’t try to make Oladipo into a PG just let him be a great scoring guard. This is a wildcard pick because he’s only 19 years old and he’s from Australia. But 6’6 with a 7 ft. wingspan for a point guard can’t be frowned upon. His upside is too much to pass up at number 4 and it creates a young backcourt of Exum and Oladipo.

5. Utah Jazz-Noah Vonleh, PF from Indiana

Utah has a few options here but adding a big man to help out Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter could be beneficial. Noah has a back to the basket game but he can also stretch out the floor to hit the jumper. Right now I would call him a poor man’s Serge Ibaka. Here’s something to consider even though he only played 27 minutes a game at Indiana he still led the Big Ten in rebounding.

6. Minnesota-Zach Levine SG from UCLA (trade with Boston Celtics; Boston gets Kevin Love and the 13th pick while Minnesota gets the 6th pick, Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger, Brandon Bass and a 2015 first rounder)

Zach Levine did very well at the NBA Combine to boost his stock up to this pick. His agility time was fastest in the gym, a smidge under 6’6 and 41.5 vertical could be a great compliment to Ricky Rubio.

7. Los Angeles Lakers- Julius Randle, PF from Kentucky

He’s probably not the Lakers’ first choice but he may be the top option on the board with his size, strength, athleticism and offensive prowess that could cause fits for others big men. He could be a day one starter if Pau leaves or they can keep Pau at the 5 put Randle at the 4 add a role player a healthy Kobe and a good coach who knows….If Randle can find a jumper watch out.

8. Detroit Pistons-Nik Stauskas, SG from Michigan (Trade with Sacramento Kings: Sacramento gets Greg Monroe while Detroit gets 8th pick)

In one of Stan Van Gundy’s first move as head of basketball operations, he unclogs that jam at big man by unloading Greg Monroe for the 8th pick where he selects Nik Stauskas. He’s a good wing player with a deadly jumper and that backcourt of Jennings and Stauskas could be a jumpstart to something good as long as Josh Smith doesn’t shoot jumpers at al. But for Sacramento, can you imagine a frontcourt of Cousins, Monroe and Gay.  I don’t believe what I just saw –Jack Buck voice

9. Charlotte Hornets- Aaron Gordon, PF from Arizona

This would be a steal for the Hornets if Aaron Gordon is available at this spot. He provides defensive versatility and could form a formidable frontcourt with Al Jefferson. He’s pretty quick and has a 39.5” vertical which could make Kemba Walker smile like how he plays in Madison Square Garden…big

10. Philadelphia 76ers- James Young, SG from Kentucky

Philadelphia has to be smiling like a big man when he opens the grill and smells delectable grill food. First they get Andrew Wiggins and now you add James Young. Not to mention you really have a third 1st round pick with Nerlens Noel and the rookie of the year in Michael Carter-Williams.  This could make the Liberty Bell ring again. That lineup could be Noel, Young, Wiggins, J. Young and Michael Carter-Williams. Don’t forget they have money to spend this offseason as well could this be a 180 or another 360.

Until next time stay classy AI.

 

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They dont LOVE you no more

Kevin-Love1

I wonder if Kevin Love listened to rap and if so does he blast the ending of “They don’t love you no more” by DJ Khaled featuring Meek Mill, French Montana, Rick Ross and Jay-Z. I wonder while he’s cruising in his vehicle is his saying, “they don’t love me no more”, “all this shit I have done for yall and yall don’t leave me no more”. According to Glen Taylor, the owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves he says “Is Kevin that great because if he is then why haven’t we made the playoffs yet”. Now for those that works in the real world like me imagine you’ve been at the company for 6 years; you’ve won numerous rewards, recognized by your peers and upper management as one of the best workers for the company just for the CEO to say, “are you really that valuable because we haven’t made no profit off of you”. If this happens to me then I should have the right to blast “Wanksta at 1000% but just the part where he says, “damn homie in high school you was the man homie what the fuck happened to you” Well this is what faces Kevin Love.

Kevin  Love is one of the premiere big men in the league and possibly has the second best jumper behind Dirk Nowitizki for a man of his size. (Don’t let Cook read this because he will quote every GroupMe with this, shit for all I know he might change the group name to Dirk has the best jumper for a big man because sonny said so).  He would be a valuable asset to any teams but as of right now:  Lakers, Rockets, Celtics, Suns, Bulls and Warrriors have expressed interested in Kevin and his services. Will he take his talents somewhere else? In the words of Lil Wayne, I say “hell yeah hell yeah hell yeah fuckin right yeah right all right”. Don’t get me wrong the one free agent everyone should be after is Carmelo Anthony but since he has yet to declare officially whether he’s leaving the New York Knicks, Kevin is the topic of discussion.

What does Kevin Love, milk, cars and some relationships have in common??? They all have an expiration date and Kevin is about to reach his. He is forcing the Timberwolves’ hand and now Flip Saunders has no choice to at least entertain phone calls for the power forward. I mean he could do nothing and lose his hand like Jamie Lannister and be the butt of  all the jokes. But one of the problems both parties will have is finding the right fit. It’s like a virgin at the drug store looking for condoms for his first time. What did I do is that case…I bought a pack of all of them and tried them out like Steve Carell in 40 year old virgin. Technically he isn’t a free agent until next year but instead of waiting a slow death he demands a trial by combat. If you don’t know by now Game of Thrones is one of the hardest shows ever. Six straight years of no playoffs (cues Jim Mora’s voice and face) and he wants out now. The Timberwolves have 2 options: either trade him and get as most as possible or let him play another year be a distraction and let him go for nothing. So for all the fighting you end up nothing like when Shenene sued Tommy on Martin. So let’s see what team could acquire Love.

Boston is very intriguing because they have the assets such as draft picks, Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger which all come at a cheaper rate than Love and it could create a young nucleus for a few years. That should buy Flip Saunders some more time but if not off with his head. Of course this wouldn’t be a good story unless I talk about the New York Knicks. They are willing to give up Tyson Chandler, Iman Shumpert and a first rounder which isn’t until 2018 so it’s safe to say that the Knicks are out of the running but who knows with the Zen Master running the show. One of the more deadly teams that could possibly get Kevin Love is the Houston Rockets. Now can you imagine Harden, Love and Howard on the same team? Naw me either but Daryl Morey, GM of the Rockets is a pretty creative guy with respect to trades and he wants a third superstar on that team. If it wasn’t for Damian Lilliard and his Game 6 heroics who knows where the Rockets are right now.  Just for kicks, Houston would have to give up at 4 players and a draft pick but as long as it ain’t Harden or Howard I think everyone else is expendable. If I was Houston I might go for Melo instead of Love because they both can play the same position and imagine Melo, Howard, Harden, Parsons and others good grief.  Chiraq should also focus more on Melo than Love but hey when you have one of the best coaches in the game with Tommy Thibs and a healthy Rose and Noah anything is possible. I think Chicago has at least 2 first round picks which could be enticing but I know for sure they would have to give up Taj Gibson and others and that might not be worth it especially if he stays for only one year. Now if I talked about the Knicks then you know I have to talk about the Lakers. Come on now, even though Kevin’s father played for the Lakers they have no coach, an aging superstar in Kobe, no real assets and no financial flexibility until 2015. If Kevin decides to wait it out then they become more appealing. But for Lakers fans the time is now and they have faith when most of the world doesn’t. Case in point, I was talking to my brother Tony Tal and when I asked him what team would be a good fit for Kevin Love he said, “uhh Lakers duh. Now I know he is getting a lot of criticism about not making the playoffs in 6 years but I feel with K Love and Kobe and a role player or two and a decent coach. We can at least make the second round of the playoffs next year”. Is he delusional naw but there are numerous variables that can cause this not to work and fast. A young team that can be interesting is Phoenix Suns. They have a good coach in Jeff Hornacek and a backcourt with Dragic and Bledsoe but in the end one of them got to go and right now Dragic is the hotter commodity. Could you imagine Dragic and Rubio in the same court holy Toledo with draft picks yikes? Now the problem with the Suns is that there is no appeal in comparison to Lakers, Knicks or the Bulls but if he makes the playoffs with them then why not wear the purple.

My favorite team out of all of those teams is the Golden State Warriors. They have a lot of talent to give up such as David Lee, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green and first round pick which is in 2019 but could be very valuable when the time comes. David Lee and Kevin Love are both white boys that average double-doubles and owed a lot of money so why not. Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green aren’t household names but they could create a young core that can save money and maybe wins. For Golden State, check this lineup out: Bogut, Love, Iggy, Thompson and Curry. That would be the meanest pick and pop combo in the league and the defense would have to pick their poison because all of them except Bogut can shoot the J, shoot it. But since they fired Mark Jackson after 51 wins the most since 93-94, the time is ticking now. The sand in the hourglass is reaching its end. They can’t hesitate they must win now even though this adds pressure to Steve Kerr but fuck it what’s the worst thing that could happen: they fire him. In my opinion the most intriguing is Golden State followed by the Bulls, Suns and Celtics. We shall see but until then, “where is the love?”

 

 

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Move Onward Soldier

1st Air Cavalry Brigade ground troops build on advanced skills

(Disclaimer: I am not a preacher by any means..this is what I learned from church yesterday but last night I fell asleep to Joel Osteen and this is what was on my mind when I woke up)

There always comes a time where things aren’t going the way that you hoped but you continue to perserve. You begin to question Why me, Lord did I not tithe enough and the list of questions go on and on. But yesterday in church we discussed suffering and how it is broken down into 3 components:

1. All suffering is temporary

2. All sufferings is educational

3. All sufferings is beneficial

All sufferings are temporary for nothing last forever sure it may last longer than you want it to but it doesn’t last forever. For example you get the flu and you feel like you are suffering to the point of a slow death but within a week you back like cooked crack and ready to go back to your routine.  Abraham Lincoln once said, “almost all men can handle adversity but the true test of a man’s character is when you are given power”. See we are given limitless power through our Spirit but it how you use it determines the legacy you leave behind. The majority of my friends watch Game of Thrones and we saw King Joffrey being a bitch amongst all the bitches, if it wasnt for Tywin Lannister he would have been murked long along. See he used for power only for his gain whether it was getting the wolf killed in season 1 to his dealings as King. As we all know now he met his untimely demise but he’s a character I won’t miss at all.

All sufferings is educational. Like Hov said I dont lose because i learn something everytime which makes me even. ( I know a HOV enthusiast will give me the correct lyrics, song, time on youtube where he says it and maybe even do it in his voice..I nominate Tony Taliaferro as that guy but it could be a wildcard but you get my point) We as humans learn inwardly. Suffering brings us pain which in turns brings us purpose. There’s 2 things that you can’t learn unless you suffer: hope and patience. Whether it was me on line in 2003 or almost getting evicted in 2012 with a pregnant wife I learned the possibility of hope and patience. You ever pray for something and you get the complete opposite. I have before back in 2012, I just got married had the illest reception possible and I asked the Lord for a promotion. Guess how God responds? I get laid off a month later. So I have a pregnant wife, a toddler daughter, bills mounting up and the only work I could find at the time was driving a flower van for the Wylie Funeral Home. An educated black man with a Master’s Degree in Engineering driving a flower van, I couldn’t write this if I tried but I persevered and out of one conversation at my church, I’m at Verizon as an Engineer. I learned about hope and paience right there and now I must continue my path to provide for my family at all costs. I feel I may not have suffered as much as some but I’ve suffered enough where I can speak on it and you gonna respect it. If not then cool but you can suffer an ass whipping through these hands too. I can be amongst my Brothers and from the outside everything can be perfect but you can’t tell how someone looks from the inside. You see the cars, the women, the clothes but what you don’t see is the car note, car insurance, budgets and bullshit these same women are putting them through.  As I’m getting older I am realizing that I can’t focus on the earthly possessions because they are meant to fail, break and die. For example I bought a car and as soon as I drove off the lot the price value drop 10 stacks like “what the fuck”. 10 stacks tho I can see 2-3 because these Baltimore CIty potholes will fry ya whip like Royal Farm chicken boxes.

All sufferings are beneficial. I know you like this is past Sonny bedtime and he needs a nap. For the record once you have kids you don’t get no naps. See our sufferings are never meant for evil but for good. Because it’s all good because it’s all God. Our suffering reveals our weakness and it forces us to confront our problems. One of the problems that I have is that I try to live up to this persona as a pillar of strength for my wife and kids. The first problem with that is that a pillar is an object that doesn’t move or have feelings like a mountain, monument or stone. I’m not made of stone (gumbs made sure that with his clubbing escapades). It’s like because I’m the big black I can’t show emotion unless it’s me cooking food on the grill, watching sports or having tea parties with Morgan. I failed to realize that I am human and that I must express my feelings. I’m not one of those men that cries at the drop of a hat as a matter of fact I may have cried about 5 times in about 5 years. 3 of those times were at funerals and the other 2 for my kids because doctors always trying to say some negative shit and ruin the brief utopia I have.  But when my wife says show your emotion let me know that you care then I feel like is this a setup or nah. In our moment of weakness it’s God praying for God because he is praying for his children

Suffering will never replace the love that the Lord has for us but forces us to re-evalute our priorities. What I have learned throughout my life regarding religion is 2 things: There is a God and I’m not HIM because if I was there would be a lot less corny niggas out here in the world and a  lot of my friends wouldn’t be dead but that justs my limited perspective and that’s why I am not God. Since I can’t see the Lord in this life, I must keep my trust in Him because I know he’s capable of anything. I had to stop asking the Lord “why me” because he responded back with “why not you, just know thoroughout all of this I have been here every step of the way. Don’t worry about the earthly problems for MY glory is better”

The more I care about something the harder it is for me to pray about it because it’s personal. I can pray for all the homeless people, sick and shut in, soldiers without a problem because I don’t know any of them. But trying to pray for my friends is hard because I hate to see the people that I love goes through something. At times I feel like I can take anything and everything for everyone else because I’m strong as an ox and I can take whatever you throw at me. Then I realize I’m human because I get humbled from a Wylie slap, a Quianna lean or a dropkick. Have you ever been so drained you just didn’t know what to say? Were the 4 words you were supposed to say “Lord please help me” turn into ” man fuck this shit”. In that moment of weakness that’s when you become the strongest because the Holy Spirit is taking over and praying for you.

This thing called life ain’t easy but if it was how would you  be living. Throughout all the trials and tribulations there’s a turning point where there is a trimuph and victory. For those reasons alone, move onward soldier.

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Kids say the Darnedest Things

morgan

Around 5-5:30 pm every day during the week, I pick up my daughter from school and we cruise to the city to pick up my son. The weather is getting better so more sights to see which means more questions by the little one. Normally, my son is gutted while I’m driving so it’s just me and Morgan talking about life well at least as she see it. So I’m on the corner of Greenmount and 25th waiting on the light to change jamming to some music when I hear my daughter say ‘Why is that man sleeping standing up?’. I said Morgan what you talking about homie. She repeated it then I saw a man on the corner dope fiend leaning. Now my daughter is asking me questions like ‘How is he doing that?, Daddy, I thought you need a bed and a pillow. Have you done that before Daddy. He needs a nap daddy’ I was thinking of the best approach because she is only 5 so she really won’t understand but it has opened her eyes to something like she hasn’t seen before. I said ‘Morgan, main man tired fa real and he couldn’t wait to get home but just know you will never do that, there is always a bed and pillow for you baby girl’. Morgan says ‘thanks daddy and can I hear that song again’. The song that was playing ironically was called ‘Move that Dope’. I can tell she was glued to the window to see what else she could see.

So we get home, I’m fixing her dinner helping her with her homework you know the normal Sonny routine when my wife comes home. Her steps become heavier as the baby grows every day. Quianna in advance I’m saying sorry because we breed some big ass kids. 8 pounds and up gang stand up. But, Quianna and Morgan are talking and of course Morgan says ‘Mommy, guess what I saw today… a man sleeping standing up have you done that before.’ The world stops even Reid woke up like awww shit. My wife face said it all. She was confused but had to remember the area where we live and shit like this happens every day B. Quianna sends Morgan upstairs and as soon as she hit the final step she turned to me with disgust and said ‘Sonny, keep my daughter innocent. The last time we had a conversation it was about butterflies not dope fiend leaning’. My first though was like ‘I aint even do shit why you buggin but since she pregnant I let it ride but on Greenmount those are just some of the things you see. Some of it may be my fault because growing up over West, my grandfather would drive me thru all hoods like Pennsylvania and Gold, McCulloh Homes, Murphy Homes, Lexington Terrace just to show how blessed I am and you could end up here if you don’t act right. I saw the hookers, hand to hand drug deals, fights, dice games anything you name it I saw it. I can’t front when Morgan is of age I will do the same she needs to know that everything that glitters aint gold. I know Morgan didn’t mean to try to get me in trouble but I can understand Quianna’s frustration. You know you work hard to get your kids out of every possible bad situation and yet it still happens. I look at those bad scenarios as teachable moments. Bad things happen to good people all the time going back to the Bible. You can ask God, ‘Why me’ and I can see Him responding back ‘Why not you’. Kids will humble you, make you laugh but they will always say the darnedest things.

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Minivan’s: A Necessary Evil

Nothing like going to a dealership negotiating a deal and leaving with a new car. It’s like you just won a challenge on Price is Right. You’re excited. Not a care in the world and you ready to cruise the streets. Do you feel the same way if that new vehicle is a minivan? See, this is the dilemma that’s plaguing my family right now. As you may know my wife is pregnant with our 3rd child and her Nissan Altima isn’t practical for that type of family. First and foremost wanna thank the Lord for blessing with me 3 kids and also the ability to even think buying another car. Could it be done without a minivan sure but the way my weight is set up, it wouldn’t be comfortable at all. I can see Reid popping Morgan, Morgan crying the whole ride, the new baby hungry and wet and like all parents did while driving reach their hand back until they found some body part and start hitting.

There are pros and cons to this purchase. One pro is that there’s a DVD player, navigation, backup camera and spacing for the kids. But the con as my wife would say ‘It’s a minivan, Sonny. Can you imagine pulling up somewhere else valeting the damn Mystery Machine? Is it Scooby snacks in the back? Are we going solve crimes after dinner? How am I a soccer mom and my kids don’t even play soccer. How about another SUV’ Sure that sounds good in theory because I don’t want her driving my truck to the ground because she don’t want to be in a minivan. But in this case this is why a minivan is a necessary evil. It’s necessary because it accommodates all of our needs but the thought of us driving one is evil. Any cool points we thought we had left goes straight to Hell as soon as we pull off the lot. Sure we’ll get the ‘oh this is nice’ comments at first but about 10 minutes later someone will say ‘yo got a minivan fa real.

I can only imagine my friends’ reaction, the jokes will not stop. Luckily, I’m nice with the counter like Mayweather and can make it entertaining for all. My only thought is driving somewhere and the kids getting on my last nerve right when I’m about to turn into the Incredible Hulk begin to realize, ‘hey I got a DVD player here kids watch Wreck-it –Ralph and shut the hell up’ The SUV could be a viable option only if it had the same requirements as the minivan because the way my wife’s height and short arms is set up, I will be the only taking the kids in and out the car seats, basically I will be the ‘put your big ass kids in the car guy’ and quite frankly I don’t wanna do that shit. As I’m getting older, I realized the old Sonny you know the one cutting a rug at all the clubs just being on the scene is just a distant memory but damn I had a good time. Now I’m evolving into another person. A father, a practical human being where cooking on the grill is like heaven instead of bouncing butts in my face. Don’t get me wrong nothing wrong with that if that’s your thing but now I look at them like LORD please don’t let my daughters even come close to that. If a minivan has to be purchased can it be at least a cool minivan or is a cool minivan an oxymoron. I understand my wife’s viewpoints; it’s the transition we as parents want to avoid like the black plague but once it’s becomes airborne it’s too late. Off to the dealership or nah??? What are your thoughts about a minivan? Do you have a minivan? Is a minivan a necessary evil?

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