All posts by EurWebWriter

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Predicting the Final Roster of the San Antonio Spurs

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

*Normally, a team that has fallen just short of a championship will not dramatically alter its makeup, but will tweak it by adding to or enhancing it to eliminate weaknesses and fortify strengths.

The San Antonio Spurs are fresh off of a disappointing NBA Finals loss to the Miami Heat and are, despite the constant media pointing to the contrary, wiping that proverbial dirt off their collective shoulders. They are coming into the 2013-14 NBA season more certain than ever as to their ability to reach the pinnacle of professional basketball with their current core.

Tim Duncan proved last year that he is, beyond speculative prattling, the very best power forward to ever play the game. He also showed that he is still one of the top 10 best players in the game and perhaps still the very best big man in the NBA as well. Head-to-head playoff matchups in which he dominated Dwight Howard and Zach Randolph attest to that.

Tony Parker, despite three titles and multiple All-Star appearances, seems to get looked over when the NBA props wagon is dishing out compliments. However, it was he who carried the brunt of the offensive load for San Antonio throughout the playoffs, and he almost single-handedly won Game 6 before running out of gas. History remembers the Spurs failing in their endeavors last season thanks to a timely corner 3-pointer from Jesus Shuttlesworth aka Ray Allen to send the series back to Miami.

Manu Ginoboli has clearly lost a step or two as his 37th birthday looms in the distant future. He was once the free radical molecule within the conservative and methodical offensive body that is the Spurs, and that seemingly unpredictable energy had long been the scourge of NBA defenders. But he was in large part a defensive liability throughout the playoffs last year, and an offensive liability versus Miami. His 11-point average is the second-lowest output of his entire NBA career as well.

The 2013 NBA Playoffs revealed the strengths and weaknesses of a Spurs team that, if some analysts were to tell it, was too old to make any kind of noise. Noticeably absent on the Spurs’ roster last season was another low post scoring threat to compliment Tim Duncan, although F/G Kawhi Leonard did start posting up later in the season. PF Tiago Spillter averaged 10 points per game last season, but he is a cleanup guy at best, and not a very rugged one as he averaged just six rebounds a game last season. Also, he has shown very little ability to score on clear outs. This is true even when he has a size advantage. Boris Diaw has some moves on the low block, but he cannot be relied on to score consistently there because of his age and relative small size.

First-round draft pick Livio Jean-Charles suffered a severe knee sprain during FIBA U-20 back in July, and there’s speculation he would not have joined the Spurs next year anyway. Second-year player Nando De Carlo isn’t particularly spectacular at point guard, and I don’t think he makes this roster, which is rich in point guards. He is good enough to be in the NBA all the same. Former Ohio State Buckeye Deshaun Thomas isn’t a shoo-in to make this roster either. The Spurs are deep at shooting guard and small forward. Here’s what I feel the final roster of the Spurs may look like.

Read more at http://www.rantsports.com/nba/2013/10/03/predicting-san-antonio-spurs-final-2013-14-roster/?ubDHLbuBrFeS4u7i.99

Ricardo Hazell is a freelance sports writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @NikosMightyDad or add him to your network on Google Plus.

ricardo hazell

Ricardo Hazell

Mary Lagenfield-USA TODAY Sports

5 Milwaukee Bucks Who Need To Step It Up This Season

Mary Lagenfield-USA TODAY Sports

Mary Lagenfield-USA TODAY Sports

People talk about various curses when it comes to professional sports championships, and they are usually the ramblings of a superstitious, championship-starved fan base. But there seems to be some validity to it in some instances.

The Chicago Cubs franchise, for example, has to be cursed. They last won a World Series over a century ago. Usually, a sports curse is traced back to a single moment in history. But when it comes to a franchise like the Milwaukee Bucks your guess is as good as mine. Perhaps we can call it the curse of Lew Alcindor?

There are teams that are great, there are teams that are horrible and then there are teams like the Bucks. Teams that wallow in mediocrity and whose various owners haven’t had a clue as to what is necessary to take the team to the next level. The last time the Milwaukee Bucks were within shouting distance of an NBA championship, Sam CassellRay Allen and Glen Robinson seemed more interested in who got more shots per minute than actually winning.

The Bucks have always had pretty good players and also have drafted well. So, I say again, your guess is as good as mine as to why it seems like they’re a lead pipe lock to be a .500 team year in and year out. This season’s rendition of the team features another group of really good athletes that might not necessarily mesh with one another well enough to win — and that, after all, is why they play. The goal is actually an NBA championship, is it not?

This slideshow contains a list of five players currently on the Bucks’ roster that will need to step it up in order for this team to at least contend in the Eastern Conference this season. Though he is not on this slideshow, I would like to give a special shout out to PG Brandon Knight. Him realizing his full potential would be a bonus of all bonuses. It’s not all about crossover dribbles and one-on-one clear outs, bro. Better decisions with the basketball are paramount to winning. 2.7 turnovers per game is just too much.

Read more at http://www.rantsports.com/nba/2013/10/04/5-milwaukee-bucks-who-need-to-step-up-this-season/?4RqRDgtxGHmAYO82.99

Ricardo Hazell is a freelance basketball and football writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter at NikosMightyDad or add him to your network on Google Plus.

ricardo hazell

Ricardo Hazell

Troy Toarmina-USA TODAY Sports

5 NBA Players Who Have Run Out of Excuses

Troy Toarmina-USA TODAY Sports

Troy Toarmina-USA TODAY Sports

*Excuses are a common thing these days, but they are still about as socially acceptable in the business world as wearing underwear on the outside of clothing.

But when it comes to some of our favorite professional athletes excuses are a way of life. They are often a buffer between what we want them to be, what they say they are, and who they really are as players. To be certain, reasons and excuses are not interchangeable but they are distant cousins.

A severe injury, for example, is a clear reason as to why a player might miss a game or not be able to perform to the standard we are used to seeing him perform at. But it is very difficult for the fan to figure out which is which at times. Yet we are to spend our hard earned money on athletes whose performances steadily decrease as their salaries increase?

Fans of the NBA brand of basketball remember the infamous Michael Jordan flu game versus the Utah Jazz in the 1997 NBA Finals, Willis Reed‘s Game 7 appearance in the 1970 NBA Finals against the mighty Los Angeles Lakers, and Isiah Thomas‘ 25-point third quarter burst against the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1988 Finals, while playing on a severely sprained ankle. With all the Herculean efforts fans have witnessed in this league people are used to seeing the very best persevere over insurmountable odds. I feel like it is high time to call out some folks on this one-those who have not have not displayed anything near that type of fortitude.

Those listed here are players and one franchise whose excuses are just about up. This slideshow is a list of several NBA players and one organization who have not lived up to their potential in the past and their excuses as to their incessant mediocrity have completely run out. The only thing that is stopping them from living up to their potential this season — barring injury of course — is themselves.

Read more at http://www.rantsports.com/nba/2013/10/15/5-nba-players-who-have-run-out-of-excuses/?xtpECkuVVl23zMRC.99

Ricardo A. Hazell is a freelance writer based in New York City. You may follow him on Twitter at NikosMightyDad or add him to your network on Google Plus.

ricardo hazell

Ricardo Hazell

al sharpton

EUR On the Scene: Big Things Have Been Poppin’ For Rev. Al Sharpton

al sharpton

*Last week was a big one for Reverend Al Sharpton.

The founder of the National Action Network (NAN) hosted the Trumpet Awards, giving trophys to such celebrities as Mike Tyson, Queen Latifah and behind the scenes big-wigs like sports agent Joel Sigel.

The evening featured laughs and acknowledgement of community and faith for all honorees who were able to attend and accept their awards. Also, the classic oratory styling of Rev. Al himself were on full display as he held the audience for nearly two hours.

On October 10th, a celebration was held for Sharpton himself as friends, family members and business associates alike intermingled at Studio 48 as the “grown and sexy” tripped the night away to some of the funkiest hits the 70s and 80s could offer.

Sharpton and friends came out to speak at the coronation of the evening. Watch video footage from both proceedings below.

questlove (blue shades)

EUR on the Scene: ‘Finding the Funk’ (Watch)

Finding*”Finding the Funk is the latest work from writer/director Nelson George.

It tells the often overlooked story of funk music and tracing it from its roots in Jazz through the 60s with such funkmasters as James Brown, and winds down through Hip-Hop and how the latter genre used, or usurped according to some, their musical inheritance.

The film features first hand commentary from such funkateers, if you will, as George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, D’Angelo, Sheila E and many more. “Finding the Funk” is narrated by none other than Mr. Ahmir-Khalib Thompson, commonly known by his funky name-Questlove.

Below is footage of Quest, writer/director Nelson George and the Godfather of the Funk Mr. George Clinton speaking to members of the media regarding the past, present and future of the funk.

jeffrey wright (boardwalk empire red carpet)

EUR On The Scene: ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Red Carpet at Urbanworld Film Festival (Video)

Michael Kenneth Williams

Michael Kenneth Williams plays ‘Chalky White’ on HBO’s ‘Boardwalk Empire.’

HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” has been a hit television series for the better part of three years and is gearing up to bring its African American characters away from the show’s peripheral and into the limelight as the character Chalky White begins his possible ascension with the acquisition of the Onyx Club on the Boardwalk.

Though he still is not considered Nucky Thompson’s equal, White (played by actor Michael Kenneth Williams) has the potential to become more than an also ran on the show. However, Season four of “Boardwalk Empire” also witnesses the introduction of two new characters who are pivotal to the story arc: Dr. Narcisse, played by actor Jeffrey Wright, and lounge singer Daughter Maitland, played by actress Margot Bingham.

I had the chance to speak with each of these performers regarding their respective characters while covering the red carpet at the 17th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival. The footage is below.

Watch “Boardwalk Empire” Sunday nights at 9pm on HBO