NBA 2013-2014 Season Preview


The Cover presents you with NBA 2013-2014 Season Preview! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter at @thecover4 or facebook at theCo VerFour

THE DAY IS FINALLY NEAR! Second only to my birthday, and slightly more exciting than Christmas; the Rose is finally surfacing out the concrete, and boy isn’t it a beautiful sight? Of course, it’s only right that I start the first topic of discussion for the season with Chicago’s hometown hero, Mr. MVP himself, Derrick Rose. Not only am I excited about his return, but every NBA advocate is eager to see what a season-and-a-half long rehab session can do to a player. So far in the preseason, Rose has not lost a step, in fact, he’s taken control of the floor as if he never left. And I’m going to go ahead and throw this out there. Michael Jordan missed an entire season as well; granted he wasn’t injured, but a season-long absence by a superstar is nothing foreign to the Bulls. What impresses me most is how Rose has gone as far as to share advice with the second best point guard in the league in suggesting that Thunder guard Russell Westbrook not rush to get back on the floor and to properly rehabilitate his injury.

Season Superlatives:

Most Valuable Player LeBron James (MIA)

  • Only reason why I say this is because LBJ is feeling himself, and rightfully so. Don’t expect to see him post 34 points per game (even though he is capable of doing so), but do expect him to fully utilize the new talents of Michael Beasley in his effort at his third title. But I’m letting you know right now, my mans D-Rose will NOT be “giving” anything to him. October 29 will be a dogfight. Rose is showing the league that he’s back and LBJ is growing hungrier to surpass Jordan.

Rookie of the Year – Victor Oladipo (ORL)

  • Let me tell you something about this 21-year-old stand-out stunner. After coming off a PHENOMENAL summer league season he continues to make sure his name Oladipo is no longer considered foreign with his preseason play. This kid is explosive when driving to the paint, as well as a real threat from the arc. How many rookies can you consider to be multidimensional? Even LeBron had to work on his shot when he entered the league. He’s already averaging six, four and two. No, not six points, six BOARDS, four assists and two steals each game. This guy’s hustle is exactly the spark that will make an immediate impact on any team.

Most likely to NOT Succeed – Utah Jazz

  • Plain and simple: I just don’t see it happening there. They’re too unstable at this point. They couldn’t do it with Deron Williams, so naturally, I don’t see Trey Burke staying much longer than three or four years.

Most likely to Lose Your Money in a Bet – OKC Thunder

  • I’m a believer that Kevin Durant is the most lethal threat in the league, and with Jeremy Lamb and Reggie Jackson as their x-factors, the Thunder WILL be a contender…however, what’s a contender without the their oxygen tank? After last year’s playoff performance, it has been proven that Westbrook is the fuel that keeps this car going. KD just isn’t the same flamethrower without his igniter. Now, for the love of all NBA 2K14 games and tournaments that I will be participating in this season, I REALLY hope that I am wrong. But Westbrook has proven to be such an intricate piece to this puzzle that it will be nearly impossible to replace him.

The Zero to Hero Award – GoldenState Warriors

  • With the most impressive addition of Andre Igoudala in their front court and Andrew Bogut in the back, I see these guys being not-so-silent killers of the NBA. This summer, Poppa Thompson was very active in the mentoring and developing of his young offspring, Klay. With Igoudala in the lineup, the Warriors now have four potential/future all-stars in Iggy, Thompson, Steph Curry and Harrison Barnes bringing some serious energy off the bench, the Warriors will rise this year and present themselves as one of the top contenders if all goes right.

The Sixth-Man – Harrison Barnes (GS)

  • It is almost a sure thing that with Iggy moving into the lineup, Barnes will move into the sixth-man spot, and I believe it for the best. Barnes’ explosiveness and energy will allow the Warriors to compete the entire 48 minutes. Watch him work!

Most Likely to Be Named Top Dawg – The Heat versus The Field

  • As much as I hate to admit it, there aren’t many teams capable of doing what the Heat have the potential of doing. Making the finals three times in a row is a pretty remarkable feat, especially when your star player is at the pique of his prime. Don’t discount the improvements that Chicago, Indiana and Brooklyn have made, but the Heat have something that other teams are still building on: CHEMISTRY! This bulls eye that is on the backs of the Heat organization is going to cause what I believe to be a chemical combustion that will lead to a phenomenal season, and likely a third consecutive ring for LBJ and his troops.


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Malcolm Branch
Guest Sports Activist for The Cover 4

Legend of Lebron

The Legend

The Legend

Sunday night officially signaled the end of the NFL, the most watched sport in America. If you are just starting to follow the NBA season after the NFL’s closure, you’ve missed out on a lot. As CBS cameras caught Joe Flacco saying Sunday night, this NBA season has been “f—ing awesome!” In case you were wondering though, LeBron James is still the best player in the NBA. The Heat took a later flight from Toronto so they wouldn’t miss the Super Bowl but you wouldn’t have known watching James on Monday night. LeBron dominated the Charlotte Bobcats going an insane 13-14 from the field and played with so much energy you would have thought that American Airlines Arena might experience a blackout. As if shooting a career high percentage wasn’t enough, LeBron tallied up 8 boards, 8 assists, and 2 steals to go along with it. It’s just another milestone for LeBron James, and a performance we’ve grown used too. So for all you NFL fans, who only follow basketball once the NFL season is over, welcome to the LeBron James show.

LeBron has put up such ridiculous lines so consistently over the years that we have become accustomed to his greatness. It’s like when you go see a movie with Daniel Day Lewis, if it’s not in the running for best picture, then it’s a letdown. We only expect the best. Critics of LeBron always brought up his inability to play in the post (which he’s fixed), disappearing at the end of games (also been fixed) and his poor handling of The Decision and assumption of the role of villain. When I saw this happen, it became clear that LeBron is no longer the villain many once considered him.

That is LeBron James emotionally celebrating the unlikely success of a man who just won $75,000 hitting a half-court hook shot during the game. James was absolutely thrilled for the good fortune of another — a villain wouldn’t be thrilled. We do not expect NBA players to get so giddy and excited that they jump on another man during a NBA game. That’s LeBron though. He continually does things we don’t expect any NBA player to do and he mesmerizes us.  The scariest thing about LeBron is not only has he continued matching our expectations of him, but he’s exceeding them. LeBron is like the flu. Every year opposing teams and coaches know that LeBron is going to do some damage and you can take precautions and try to contain him (similar to getting the flu shot), but he’s still going to ruin a good amount of people’s day.  You look forward to flu season ending and being healthy, but you know that next year it’s only going to come back stronger and you’re going to have to deal with the whole scenario again.

LeBron James’ fountain of basketball greatness seems never ending as he has again increased his efficiency again during the offseason. With the All-Star break coming up, LeBron is shooting a career-high 55 percent from the field. That’s better than what Lakers’ star Dwight Howard or Atlanta’s Josh Smith can shoot from the free-throw line. Throw this in with a 40 percent success rate from the three, a career low 2.8 turnovers and LeBron is having the most efficient season of his career. With this efficiency has come production as LeBron averages 26 PPG, 8 RPG, 7 APG. The only thing receding about LeBron is his hairline and I think he’ll accept that as long as his game improves. The king is fighting to keep his crown with a growing Kevin Durant chasing him (which will be one of the greatest rivalries of the next decade), but the reigning MVP is proving why he’s considered the best basketball player on the planet.

He can distribute the ball like a point guard, score like a shooting guard, or post up underneath the basket like a power forward. Along with all of this, he’s too big to be defended by a traditional guard and he’s too fast to be matched against a power forward or center. He’s the hybrid, power point guard, basketball monster that can only be described as LeBron. He’s a dominant physical specimen with an extremely developed basketball IQ. It’s like facing a big, extremely athletic Chris Paul nightly. He never stops getting better. Critique something about him or his game, he’ll spend the next summer making sure the fault doesn’t exist. LeBron has even been able to improve his likeability this year. While rated sixth on Forbes’ 2012 list of most hated athletes, everyone knows that Lance Armstrong will dominate the list next year. As long as LeBron doesn’t get busted for PEDs or marry a Kardashian, he’s looking at seventh place in a worst-case scenario.

Beyond his ridiculous efficiency and averages, LeBron has hit some notable milestones this season. LeBron began this season by scoring 20 or more points in the first 33 games of the season. He is only the second player to have achieved this since the 1976 NBA merger, only trailing George Gervin’s 45-game streak. What’s most impressive about this? If you go back to last season, the last game he scored fewer than 20 points was April 13 against the Bobcats when he registered 19 points. After that game, LeBron scored 20 or more points in the next 54 games when including last year’s postseason. The guy operates so consistently that he seems more like a machine than man. This consistency allowed him to become the youngest player to 20,000 points and in LeBronian fashion, he dished his 5,000th assist that same game. For LeBron, one milestone just isn’t enough.

That seems to be the story of LeBron’s career — it’s never enough. A championship, a finals MVP, 3 regular season MVPs and two Olympic golds isn’t enough. He consistently improves his play, maturity and ever-growing legend each year. He’s someone who is constantly pushing himself to get better and has developed into someone who can play or defend any position on the court. He’s by far the best and most complete player. When the other teams only hope to stop you is by you stopping yourself and having an off night, you’ve reached a special level. LeBron is looking at a fourth MVP, another NBA finals appearance and a chance to further his legacy. I’m petitioning to make 2 Chainz poetic “I’m Diffrent” the theme song of LeBron James since no song could describe him better -“I’m different, yeah I’m different, pull up to the scene with my ceiling missing, middle finga up to my competition!” LeBron James is different than any other player in the league and his greatness has no ceiling. If you’re going to try to compete against LeBron James, good luck trying to keep up with the king.

Thank you for reading The Cover 4! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

Oh yeah, tell your friends too!

Tye Masters
Sports Activist for The Cover 4

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