Coach Carter - A Balance of Power

     Jesus has returned! He plays for the Dallas Mavericks and has 19 triple-doubles so far this season, which leads the league currently. Every basketball fan has seen all of the highlights and headlines surrounding Luka Doncic and many wonder if the league will soon be his. Wasn’t that, however, the same thing we said about Giannis Antekoumpo last hear? James Harden the year before that? Kevin Durant, Steph Curry. Don’t forget Zion who hasn’t even played in a regular season game yet! Is Doncic any different? Will the league be his? 

     Truth is, Jesus was from a country that is smashed between Africa and the Middle East, no way was Jesus white. Let the Eurocentric league paint the picture that the league hero will be this Anglo-Saxon basketball phenom, but the truth is Black Jesus is still in the league and it still belongs to him. The true king of NBA kings is still Lebron James, and even in year 17 that won’t be changing. With or without Anthony Davis, Lebron is still the greatest in the league. The athleticism, the cerebral capabilities, the leadership, the experience, the scoring and passing skill, and eight consecutive NBA Finals set him apart. That’s all while playing every single game he’s able to play, there is nobody in the league on the same level. 

     At least Giannis has taken his team on a deep postseason run. The Greek Freak, also known as King Leonidas, has a hard working group of soldiers ready to go to war with anyone in the East. The team who also poses the biggest threat to the Lakers from the East is, you guessed it, the Bucks. Spoiler alert (if you haven’t seen the movie 300, which is a perfect blend of history and action), King Leonidas dies at the end; just like the Greek Freak Giannis will if he faces Lebron in the Finals.

     King James has something to prove this season, just like a couple of other popular names. Carmelo Anthony barely earned a spot in the league this year, but has added some much needed scoring and versatility to the Portland Trailblazers. I don’t, however, believe that he helps the trailblazers achieve their underlying goal: a ring. At the end of the day, unless the Trailblazers bring in a dominant athlete that could provide a spark when necessary (a three-point shooter doesn’t fit that description), they won’t have a shot in the West of even making the conference finals. Unless the NBA changes their rules, allowing hoodies over their jerseys, don’t expect Portland to even see the conference finals. 

     Notice the State Farm commercials never reference a team for Chris Paul? Who knows where anyone will be next season? Our car insurance guru is in a similar position to Melo. Anyone outside of the state of Oklahoma will overlook the season CP3 has been having. Will it amount to anything? Probably not, since the OKC Thunder have a shot at doing absolutely nothing this postseason, and with no real pieces to build around, nothing will be happening for them anytime soon. There are no truly explosive athletes with a winner’s determination in this years draft. They got the equivalent to seven picks out of trading Serge Ibaka, but the first comes in 2022 and even then it will take time to develop those future picks. A few shooters, a few players who can develop into league all-stars, but there are no athletes that we can point to and acknowledge as a future game-changer in the NBA will be in this upcoming draft. To be honest, we can’t even point to a team that would be considered a true favorite to win the March Madness tournament. 

     The NBA and the NCAA are both in an odd predicament of having balanced powers, with the blue bloods having solid teams, but also a field of quality underdogs who could pull upsets with the right determination. The Miami Heat are a team to watch out for in the east. The west has a number of teams that could contend with the Lakers (for a game or two, not for a full series), like Houston. College basketball has seen North Carolina fall out of the top 25, along with a weaker than usual Kentucky. Duke and Michigan State has a few early struggles. Villanova may not even finish top three in their own conference depending on they finish. Middle of the pack teams are earning quality wins in the power five conferences. Six different teams have lost the rank of number one. Overall, the landscape of basketball in America is at a great place, though it will be under appreciated due to the innate desire to love or hate the powerhouse favorite. Without a record breaking Golden State or undefeated Duke it seems we aren’t interested. A true balance of great games and mixed display of talent just doesn’t seem to be good enough even if the matches are closer to even. 

     The 49ers and the Green Bay Packers will get to match up with the Super Bowl on the line. On the other side, the Chiefs and the Titans will battle it out. While many consider the Titans to be the wild card in this years playoff picture. Truth is, the biggest surprise is that the Green Bay Packers could perform this well with a new coach. Typically, changing staff and acclimating the team to a new leader causes stunted growth that could last several seasons. Aaron Rodgers is an elite NFL quarterback though, and his ability to score is underrated. Pairing that with a defense that can hold its own is a recipe for success, helping earn them a playoff spot as opposed to getting one simply because the other teams in their division were trash. The Titans, having build a reputable run game throughout the season shouldn’t be considered a shocker; run dominant teams control their own destiny in the playoffs, even though quarterbacks get all of the love. Next will issue will include metrics and statistics to predict a Super Bowl Champion.