“2Up 2 Down” Report (January 2019)

By:Tyrone Montgomery Jr.

Headline Photo Credit: Sportskeeda

UP

Golden State Warriors

The sky was falling early to begin the year in Golden State. The Warriors were experiencing Armageddon to say the least. Their Knight with Shining Armor was in and out the lineup due to injury, Steph Curry. Their glue guy, the muscle, the one who did all of the dirty work too suffered an injury that sidelined him for a bit of time, Draymond Green. And we know the newest Warrior was already wounded from battle, the one they call Boogie Cousins. The only Warriors left for battle that remained were Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and the aged Andre Iguodala. It’s been a rough start to the season as drama circulated all throughout the city. Will Kevin Durant leave? Maybe he has his eyes set on another city in the state to play with The King in LA? Maybe he likes the city that never sleeps, which is known as The Big Apple in New York City? Or perhaps he wants to go back home, live where our nation’s President resides, Washington DC. Whatever the case, that was then, and this is now. The Warriors not being in first place in the West had everyone who follows basketball making this a trending topic. Will this be the year the great Warriors fall? Will we retain Klay and Boogie? Is this the end of a Dynasty? The Art of War is at hand. The Art of War is an ancient Chinese Military Treatise dating from the late spring and autumn period (roughly 5th century BC). This book outlined how to apply military strategies and tactics. The Golden State Warriors are showing us how it is done. Now, at full strength, they not only have 5 All-Stars in their lineup, they also sit ahead of the rest of the competition in the West. They are a veteran team who has experienced success. So they know they don’t have to give it their all in the regular season. Boogie is the new comer to the Warriors. He is the reason they will work hard to win yet another championship, because he’s never experienced this kind of success. A little added motivation is the free agency of Carmelo Anthony. Many folks are thinking LA, but don’t be surprised if it’s the other city in California. The Warriors are ready to come out and play and the rest of the league should be on notice.  

Brooklyn Nets

The great NFL Head Coach Andy Reid once said “In life, sometimes you have to take 1 step backwards, and 2 steps forward.” That is something we all have done. We go to school, maybe get your bachelor’s degree, or even your masters. Once we’re done with school, we’re buried in debt with the student loans. But in the end, we’re making a good amount of money that those student loans won’t even be a hindrance in our lives. It’s a learning thing. Life is all about taking chances. You have to have some risk to get to the reward. The Brooklyn Nets took a major risk. In an era where stars’ teaming up was “The Thing”, Brooklyn decided to gather a star team of their own. KG, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Deron Williams, and Brook Lopez. None of these guys are playing for The Nets anymore. None of them are even in the league anymore. It was a risk worth taking. The end the result, the loss a ton of draft picks, overpaid for a ton of players, but now, they’re experiencing a reward. Success solves all problems, well most of them that is. The Brooklyn Nets are currently in 6th place in the East. I know the East isn’t as strong as it once was. I know LeBron is on the West Coast now. But the fact of the matter is they currently would make the playoffs if the playoffs started today and that is worth commendation. Throughout this process, GM Sean Marks and the Brooklyn Nets took flyers on guys no one else would. That was yet another low risk, high reward thing. Nobody likes a snitch, so the Lakers got rid of a former #2 Pick, Deangelo Russell. Russell is currently the Net’s leading scorer with 19 PPG. Spencer Dinwiddie has also proved to be a great player for this team. Starting his career in Detroit with The Pistons, he was cut and found himself playing in the G League for 3 seasons. He is now a Net and he’s led them all season, forming a nice compliment to Russell in the backcourt. Jared Allen and Caris Lavert are also key pieces this team has found in the draft. The Nets also took a chance in free agency taking flyers on guys like Demarre Carroll and Allen Crabbe. They did, however, overpay for these guys, but the reward is all in winning which they have been good ball spacers for the team. This season, they decided to bring in good veteran help along with a solid role player, Ed Davis and Joe Harris. The fact of the matter is this team isn’t the most talented team in the league, but they work hard and they play even harder. The Nets will make the playoffs and they may even be an attractive place for free agents. Hello Brooklyn!!!

DOWN

LeBron, LA Lakers

The LA Lakers have been without their King for about a whole month now. They haven’t experienced much success without him either. This goes to show you how great LeBron James is. When he missed time in Miami, they struggled. He missed games in Cleveland, the same applied then. And now it’s happening in LA. This may be what LeBron wanted. He can’t do it all. As great as he is, at the end of the day, the game of basketball is a team sport and you need the help of 4 other individuals to win games. Jeanie Buss, Luke Walton, Magic and Rob Pilenka, and even LeBron have already realized that Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram aren’t as good as advertised. The only young player on this Lakers team that really is a Big Baller is Kyle Kuzma. Josh Hart is good too, but he’s more so a good spark off the bench. The Lakers find themselves in a hole too. While LeBron has been out, this was the time for Lonzo and Ingram to raise their value, rather for the Lakers, or for other teams who may be in the search for more young talent. They have failed to do so, and Lonzo even managed to get hurt. This team is still primed for a playoff appearance in the West. But the fact of the matter is how far will they get? While a trade is highly unlikely to bring in another star to pair with LeBron this season, we all should still expect a deal to get done sometime this summer. LeBron will put pressure on upper management and rightfully so. We can expect those Lonzo Ball Laker jerseys to go on sale, and even the Brandon Ingram ones too. 50% off will be on the display because they’re as good as gone after this season.

LA Clippers

All good stories come to an end. Toy Story has been an amazing series. In fact, Toy Story 4 is set to come out later this summer. The Rocky series were good. They were so good, the actors and storyline from that movie transitioned over to Michael B. Jordan and the Creed series. We thought Creed was amazing, the second one is even better. And even the Avengers. I remember when the very first Avengers came out. It capped box office numbers breaking records of numbers none of us have ever seen before. This year, we will seal the deal with the Avengers. This is the Endgame. This will be the final Avengers movie and we all will have bittersweet tears coming down our cheeks. We all forget the end when we think about the journey.  Like the other movies I mentioned, they too will soon come to an end. This LA Clippers season has been a good story. They were a top 3 seed in the West for a good chunk of the year to start this NBA Season. They now find themselves close to being on the outside looking in. A Danilo Gallinari injury may have contributed to the downfall. Young and inexperienced gameplay from PG Shai Gilgeous Alexander has hindered them too. But at the end of the day, they have a ton of talent and it’s unacceptable to have such an outrageous downfall like this. They can’t seem to keep players either. Over the last decade, dating back to 2009, this team has had a total of 5 different All-Stars on their team, all of which have decided to chase title dreams elsewhere. They even loss one of the Franchise’s best big man, Elton Brand too. Good companies take care of you once your tenure is up. The LA Clippers have failed to do so, and ultimately may have failed that city at the end of the day. Elton Brand is currently the GM of the Philadelphia 76ers. He didn’t get any job considerations in LA. The Donald Sterling situation didn’t help this team either, nor did the CP3-Doc Rivers drama. CP3 is in Houston and Blake Griffin is playing Detroit Basketball these days. This franchise doesn’t handle business well upstairs so they will never make it to the door downstairs to sign for the package. I’m sorry Clipper Fans, but Kawhi isn’t coming. If he does come, it will be to play for the other team in LA.