Speculation Swirls That Dwyane Wade Could Stay In Miami As Fans Plan Sunday Rally

Sports fans are crazy people on a good day.

Full of hope and unbridled optimism.

But some Miami Heat fans are taking that old cliché to the next level by actively circulating the idea that Dwyane Wade could actually end up staying in South Beach next season.

Wade publicly announced earlier this week that he would be going to play in Chicago next season.

The Miami Heat organization has come to terms with this fact and has posted many positive memories of the franchise’s most legendary player for the past few days.

But despite all of this, many Heat fans refuse to let go.

After Wade seemed wistful and emotionally impacted in a press availability Saturday morning at a youth sports event he was sponsoring, some fans began to sense hope.

Wade did also say that he was a “Heat for life”. So there’s that too.


And then one reporter for the Palm Beach Post dropped a social media truth bomb that set #HeatNation ablaze:

Oh no.

#BringBackWade was born.

In a matter of hours, Heat fans made their rallying cry hashtag trending on Twitter and they organized an impromptu rally in front of the Jose Marti Gym (362 SW 4th ST Miami, FL 33130) for 8 AM on Sunday morning in order to convince Wade to stay. Wade will be at the venue for his youth skills camp.

So could it actually happen? Could a groundswell of love and affection convince a proud sports superstar to stay in Miami even though he would probably have to play for much less than he wants?


Weirder things have happened before.

And this is Miami after all. So who the hell knows.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

H/T: 12 Up

5 NBA Trades That Should Happen As Soon As The Season Ends

By Rey Valdes

With the NBA season drawing to a close, there are bound to be some big roster changes over the offseason.

And while most of the talk will center around free agency, there could also be some blockbuster trades. But forget about Kevin Durant!

Here are five trades that totally make sense and should happen:

Philadelphia 76ers and Atlanta Hawks

Philadelphia receives: Dennis Schroeder, Mike Muscala

Atlanta receives: Nerlens Noel

Photo Credit: Bryan Horowitz/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Nerlens Noel. Photo Credit: Bryan Horowitz/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

It’s been reported that the Hawks and Sixers have had conversations about a multi-player swap. With the Hawks set to lose Al Horford in free agency and the 76ers set to draft Ben Simmons, we really have a perfect marriage here. Philly needs to trade away a Center to acquire a PG, and ATL needs to trade away a PG to acquire a Center.

However, it has also been pretty universally reported that the PG going to Philly is actually Jeff Teague. I don’t buy it; and if I’m wrong, then Philly is making a mistake. Jeff Teague is a good PG in this league, but he’s already reached his ceiling. Is Schroeder better right now? Probably not, but for stretches of the season and playoffs, he was playing over Teague. More importantly, Schroeder has the potential to improve and grow with this Sixers team. Here, Philly get the young PG they coveted at the deadline and Atlanta gets the Center they need to replace Horford. Muscala helps the contracts fit and can actually provide floor spacing depth at the 5.

Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics

Philadelphia receives: Jonas Jerebko, Terry Rozier, James Young, and 2016 #3 overall pick

Boston receives: Jahlil Okafor and Kendall Marshall

Philadelphia is trying to trade one of Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor to make room for the arrivals of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Although they may hold on to Okafor as insurance for Embiid’s surgically repaired foot, in this scenario they trade him for another top 3 pick. Jamal Murray, who they like a lot, would be a great fit at SG for their new look roster. Boston gets the Center they covet without affecting their free agency plans. Okafor gives them an offensive centerpiece down low, and their team defense (thanks to the genius of Brad Stevens) is strong enough to hide Okafor’s deficiencies in that area.

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Let’s talk about the supposed throw-ins of this trade for a second. First of all, I don’t think Jerebko and #3 are enough for Okafor, a franchise Center. While I really like Jerebko’s fit as a backup big that can defend and shoot next to Simmons and Embiid, adding Rozier is key as it gives Philly a nice developmental PG. Moreover, Young gets to go to a perfect spot to play and improve as a scorer, an opportunity he won’t get in Boston. Finally, though an add-in money-wise, Marshall intrigues me in a Celtics uniform. If anyone can utilize Marshall’s passing ability to the fullest, it’s Stevens. His contract is unguaranteed and he’d be the 3rd or 4th PG on the team, so he’ll likely be waived, but I keep having visions of him being the Eric Snow to Isaiah Thomas’s Allen Iverson in some rotations off the bench.

Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns

Milwaukee receives: Tyson Chandler

Phoenix receives: Greg Monroe

Whereas the Bucks are just as likely to give Monroe another year and eat his contract if it continues to not work out, they could look to move him. In this scenario, Jason Kidd gets the rim protector he wants, and he just so happens to be a former teammate. Chandler will assume the role of veteran leader that this young team needs and his abilities as a defensive anchor could have them back in the top of the defensive rankings after falling way down last year.

Phoenix is not as close to competing as they thought, and Alex Len showed impressive potential after the All Star Break. So why trade a Center to acquire another one if they already have Len at the position? Well, Len also played really well at the four, in a sort of anti-small ball lineup. Furthermore, Len’s a free agent after next year, and if he continues to improve, he will be due a big pay raise. Monroe’s contract is a year shorter than Chandler’s, and because the third year is a player option, he could conceivably come off the books two years earlier, at the same time as Len. If the twin-towers lineup works this year, they could resign both big men. And if it doesn’t, they could resign whichever of the young talented Centers they like best, without worrying about having too much money tied up in one position.

Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets

Milwaukee receives: Boban Bogdanovic

Brooklyn receives: Michael Carter-Williams

Giving up a 2017 first rounder for Greivis Vasquez, signing Greg Monroe, and especially trading Brandon Knight to acquire MCW; Milwaukee has made a few costly mistakes recently that will soon be erased because of the greatness of Point God, The Greek Freak, The Alphabet, and my favorite player Giannis Antetokounmpo. He’s basically the Daenarys Targaryen of the NBA, with the tough spelling, numerous nicknames, and how they’re both slowly getting more and more dangerous in some far off land. But before he becomes King of the NBA and unites the two conferences, we need to continue purging the players that are poor fits next to him in Mereen, err I mean Milwaukee.

MCW is a non-shooter, and now that Giannis has taken over the offense, his role and opportunity are greatly diminished. Although MCW is a young, cheap player with upside, he’s probably not worth much to other teams as the PG position is flooded with talent and he’s seemingly regressed. Vasquez and Jerryd Bayless are both free agents this year, so they could wait on MCW and pray he develops a jump shot in the off-season. However, they’ll likely resign one of the two and potentially draft a PG (Wade Baldwin IV would be an awesome fit), so priority number one for the Bucks is to surround Giannis with better shooting threats. Luckily they find a Brooklyn team desperate for… well, just desperate. With Jack, their only PG on the roster, still recovering from an ACL injury, they can afford to take a chance on MCW and hope for the best. Milwaukee gets a shooter they need, and one that really blossomed toward the end of last season.

Denver Nuggets and Indiana Pacers

Denver receives: Monta Ellis

Indiana receives: Kenneth Faried

Denver has two exciting bigs in Nikola Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic that they want to develop, and still have Joffrey Lauvergne. Mike Malone struggled to find minutes for both Faried and the youngsters last year, and they’ll welcome back talented forwards Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari this year from injuries. With all these players in the frontcourt, Faried may have to accept an even smaller role if he wants to stay in Denver. If he doesn’t and Denver wants to facilitate a trade, there may not be a better match than Indiana. The Manimal would fit perfectly next to Myles Turner because Myles can stretch the floor offensively and protect the rim defensively, two areas where Faried struggles.

Using Paul George as a full-time PF failed, and with the Pacers likely to let one of Ian Mahinmi or Jordan Hill walk in free agency, they could use a talented frontcourt player to keep George at SF. Furthermore, Larry Bird wants more pace this year with Nate McMillan (despite that being the opposite of Nate’s style), and Kenneth Faried thrives in an up-tempo offense where he’s able to use his athleticism. Some combination of Rodney Stuckey, CJ Miles, and the enticing Joe Young can pickup most of Monta Ellis’s minutes at the 2. Meanwhile, in Denver, Monta would provide a needed 3-point threat and ball-handler that can help take some pressure off of Emmanuel Mudiay.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: KT King/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Here’s How The Warriors Turned Steph Curry Into A Well Rested Bionic Superhuman

Before blossoming into the greatest shooter the sport has ever known, Steph Curry was defined by his fragile ankles.

Over the course of his first 3 NBA seasons, Curry missed 66 games, most of that coming after his initial operation, as he sprained his ankle five times while playing in 26 games the following year.

If his 2012 surgery failed, he was faced with the bleak prospect of inserting tendons from a cadaver into his ankle in the hopes that they would function better than the ones nature provided for him.

Luckily for Curry, the NBA, and anyone who ever wished that Steve Nash and Pete Maravich would have an And1 basketball baby, his last surgery is looking like it could be his last ankle surgery.

Steph’s problems were actually a pretty easy fix, as they were due to a mess of scar tissue, bone spurs, chips, and cartilage filling his joints “like crab meat.”

Dr. Richard Ferkel essentially vacuumed it all out, and the next face of the NBA was reborn.

“I feel like I’ve been doing nothing but rehabbing for two years. I feel like I’m never going to be able to play again. This ankle thing is not gonna be my life.”


Photo Credit: Golden State Warriors/ Facebook

Curry took advantage of as many resources as he could to fuel his 2nd chance in the NBA. Before every game now, Curry straps on his Zamst ankle braces (designed for post-sprain activity) and a pair of Under Armour sneakers created specifically for his feet.

Every team is looking for an edge somewhere in keeping players healthy and consistent. It is an accepted fact that this is the new market inefficiency in sports. But few organizations pursue this avenue with the vigor and resources of the Warriors.

They hired Australian sports science guru Lachland Penfold this offseason, and according to owner Joe Lacob, the goal is to “have like, a video game fatigue meter. A guy like Lachland will be able to go up to Bob and Steve [Kerr] and say, ‘Guys, he’s at a 77, and our threshold is 75 for Safe to Play.'”

The NBA’s new SportVU cameras that track and measure almost any movement on the court have combined with the GPS trackers the team wears in practice to give the Warriors unprecedented insight into their players’ health and its relation to their game.

The Warriors place a premium on their players’ mental acuity as well. Steve Kerr has made it a team goal to reduce personal stress, and the Warriors run complex drills to test their nervous system, as Curry described in an interview with Tech Insider:

“We overload our sensory system, nervous system, in our training with different lights. There are little beams that we have on the wall, and I’ll be doing dribble moves and reading the lights that are associated with different moves. Different colors mean to do a different move, and you have to make that decision in a split second and still have control of the ball.”

What do Steve Kerr, Chip Kelly, the Vancouver Canucks, and Jason Bourne all agree on? As the line from Robert Ludlum’s famous 1990 book goes: “Rest is a weapon.”


Photo Credit: Golden State Warriors/ Facebook

Before Kelly even arrived in Philadelphia three years ago, the Vancouver Canucks signed a deal in 2009 with Fatigue Science.

No professional squad has a more brutal travel schedule than the northwesternmost team in North America; the Canucks traveled one third of the distance to the moon en route to their 2011 Stanley Cup Finals loss, so it’s only natural that they would be interested in the effects of sleep, or the lack thereof, on the body.

A 2012 Harvard Study placed Fatigue Science’s armbands on orthopedic surgical residents and found that they averaged 5.3 hours of sleep per week, and because of this, the risk of medical error increased by 22%. Significant fatigue basically has the same effect on the body as being drunk.

Kelly has said that he believes that “an elite athlete needs between 10-12 hours [of sleep] a night.”

He was a college football pioneer in so many ways at Oregon, and he was practically the only college coach who was seriously investing in sport science.

As Chris Brown wrote for Grantland in 2014 about the basis of Kelly’s research (which was conducted on Australian-rules football):

“Many of those studies used heart rate, GPS, accelerometers, and gyroscope monitors worn by players in practice to determine how to train for peak game-day performance and how to prevent injuries. These studies also tracked the movements that players made in games so teams could mold practices and training to what players did on an individualized and position-by-position basis.”

The Eagles were 18th in Football Outsiders’ adjusted games lost to injury metric the year before Kelly arrived.

They invested a ton of money in his programs, placed trackers on their players’ wrists in practice, and finished 1st and 2nd in his subsequent seasons. Kelly has since been fired from the Eagles and is now the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan used to show up for work before sunrise. But things have changed for him.

“I thought that showed dedication and work ethic. I don’t do that anymore, because I realized it is more important to be rested and ready than it is to beat everybody to work.”

Pete Carroll has long embraced the importance of sleep, and the Seahawks now schedule their travel and training schedules to maximize their players’ sleep efficiency.

Richard Sherman has become one of Carroll’s acolytes on this issue, emphasizing how the head coach’s focus on good sleep was central to their Championship season of 2014 in an open letter for Sports Illustrated.

The pace of innovation in sports is accelerating. The Moneyball Era opened the floodgates for a reevaluation of everything.

Once available only to elite athletes, this technology that monitors players’ health and performance and helps explain their inextricably linked relationship is becoming more widespread and affordable.

If these advances could help alter the course of Steph Curry’s career, and thus, the history of the NBA, imagine the possibilities they could create in neighborhoods across the country.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. Anyone can write for us as long as you are fiercely interested in making the world a better place. 

Miami Heat Announce That They Will Retire Shaquille O’Neal’s Number At The AAA

In a tweet, the Miami Heat announced that they would retiring the jersey number of Shaquille O’Neal at the start of next season.

O’Neal played for the Heat from 2004 to 2008 and won a championship with the team in 2006.

During O’Neal’s career in South Florida, Miami won three-straight division titles, and played in two Eastern Conference championships.

O’Neal wore number 32 during his time with the Heat.

“Shaquille O’Neal is one of the truly elite players in the history of the game and one of the greatest players to ever wear a HEAT uniform,” Heat President Pat Riley said in a press release. “He took us to another level as a basketball franchise while leading us to our first NBA championship. Retiring his number in the rafters, along with HEAT greats Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway, is something we are very proud of.”

O’Neal still holds the record as Miami’s all-time leader in field goal percentage (.596) according to the press release.

Cover Photo Credit: Miami Heat/ Twitter

Why LeBron Needs To Fight For Tamir Rice: A History Of Athletes As Social Justice Warriors

Athletes play an outsized role in our society. Their exploits dominate large portions of many lives and have a dramatic impact on our emotional security. In a sense, they’re family.

LeBron James grew up in Akron, was drafted by Cleveland, left to chase titles in Miami, only to return to Ohio to try to end one of the saddest streaks in sports (the 1964 Browns were the last team to win a title for the rock n roll capital of the world).

LeBron embraces being a pillar of the community, and in recent weeks, part of the community challenged that pledge, calling for him to sit out games in order to protest a tragic case.

The Tamir Rice incident can be described by a myriad of terrible adjectives, but the case follows a familiar script: a young unarmed black man was killed by the police.

Watch: Shooting of Tamir Rice video. (CNN Report): 

What makes this version of it so horrifying is that you can replace “man” with “child” and “killed” with “assassinated.” The video shows the act in all of its ugliness, clear as day.

However, a grand jury ultimately ruled that officer Tim Lohemann was not guilty. Lohemann was described by his previous police station as someone who “could not follow simple directions, could not communicate clear thoughts nor recollections, and his handgun performance was dismal.”

Policing is a difficult job with plenty of shades of gray, but given the words of other police officers and the video evidence, this particular incident seemed to be much more black and white.

The community called on LeBron to fight back against a force that has been operating since the dawn of humanity, and James’ response was underwhelming to many.

“To be honest, I haven’t really been on top of this issue,” LeBron James on the Tamir Rice case.

James said that he wasn’t really paying attention to the case:

“To be honest, I haven’t really been on top of this issue. So it’s hard for me to comment. I understand that any lives that [are] lost, what we want more than anything is prayer and the best for the family, for anyone. But for me to comment on the situation, I don’t have enough knowledge about it.”

Is it his responsibility to carry this burden? What could he even do?

We are entering a new era of athletic activism with the expansion of social media. Athletes have usurped the power of journalists to distribute and shape their message. LeBron has already taken advantage of this infrastructure to show solidarity with another young, black, innocent victim.

Photo Credit: LeBron James

The 2012 Miami HEAT protest the Trayvon Martin killing. Photo Credit: LeBron James

To determine what LeBron’s responsibility might be, a look back at the last century of this issue would be instructive.

Due to America’s history with slavery and its struggle with the ensuing fallout of a botched reconstruction and the Jim Crow era that followed, much of activism in sports has been centered on the fight for racial equality.

Jack Johnson, Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, Althea Gibson, and many many many others went through literal and metaphorical trials throughout the Jim Crow era, as their natural resistance to oppression served as models of what the next generation of athletes could come to expect from those in control.

Even if the power structure didn’t change, the next generation of activists increased their share of power with the expansion of TV.

The 1964 NBA All Star Game was the first to be televised, and it almost never happened. Bill Russell helped to organize a walkout unless the owners agreed to recognize the players’ union. They proved to everyone in sports that it was possible to fight back against injustice, win, and keep their job.

Tommy Smith and John Carlos painted perhaps the most famous image of athletic activism, wearing black gloves, and raising their right fist in a show of solidarity while standing on the 1968 Olympic podium.

A grafitti version of the famous "black power" salute from the 1968 Olympic Games. Photo Credit: Newtown grafitti

A grafitti version of the famous “black power” salute from the 1968 Olympic Games.
Photo Credit: Newtown grafitti

As powerful as Smith and Carlos’ gesture was, its impact on society could not compare to the ordeal of The Greatest, or as he put it:

“Man, I ain’t got no quarrel with them Vietcong.”

“Man, I ain’t got no quarrel with them Vietcong.”

Muhammad Ali nearly sacrificed the greatest boxing career of all time in order to protest the Vietnam War after being drafted in 1966; refusing to fight by citing his devotion to Islam and its firm stance against wars of all kind. Ali minced no words on his view of the United States government:

“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No, I am not going ten thousand miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slavemasters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end…I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail. We’ve been in jail for four hundred years. “

Ali was stripped of his heavyweight title, boxing license, and his passport so he could not fight overseas, unable to box again until 1971.

His case would eventually go to the Supreme Court, and this battle against the government was the first thing that many came to learn about the Vietnam War. The man formerly known as Cassius Clay was a major influence on an era that irrevocably changed the American public’s relationship with our government.

It’s difficult to find another athlete from any era exercising their conscience at the risk of so much while having as large of an impact as he did.

The energy and frequency of high-profile protest decreased in the next era as more money flowed into sports, and everyone’s attitude could be summed up by the famous (reportedly true) Michael Jordan quote: “Republicans buy shoes too” and Charles Barkley’s line of “I am not a role model. Just because I can dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.”

There were occasional bouts of activism, including one that serves as a cautionary tale for all players.

In 1992, Craig Hodges, Jordan’s championship teammate, wore a dashiki to the White House, presenting a letter to President George H. W. Bush pushing for the government to begin to seriously invest in the black community.

That season, Hodges shot 37.5% from deep (3.9% higher than league average), 94.1% from the free throw line, and committed just 22 turnovers in 56 games, yet he never played again as 27 teams all felt they had no room for the efficient 31-year-old shooting guard.

Fast forward to today’s conversation where people openly snicker at the thought of anyone hand writing a letter, and activism seems to be on the rise.

In this decade alone, Derrick Rose and countless other NBA players wore I Can’t Breathe shirts in the wake of the Eric Garner tragedy. The Clippers covered up their logo in protest of Donald Sterling.

The Phoenix Suns wore jerseys that said “Los Suns” in response to a draconian immigration bill passed by the state of Arizona.

The St. Louis Rams exited the pregame tunnel with their hands up in a show of solidarity with the Michael Brown protestors in Ferguson.

Andrew Hawkins wears a shirt in warm ups calling for justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford.

All of these players used the power of images and their celebrity to make a statement about the injustices they see in our society.

It’s not just symbolism that characterizes today’s protests either. Outspoken players like Chris Kluwe and Brendon Ayanbadejo have campaigned fervently in support of LGBT rights, the former claiming that it cost him his job in the NFL, and the latter even getting into a spat with a congressman over the topic.

All-World QB Aaron Rodgers aggressively raises awareness to try to end the decades long war in the Congo, and will even go out of his way to denounce discrimination in his home stadium.

Lions coach Jim Caldwell can see some parallels between today and Muhammad Ali’s era of activism:

“I grew up in the ’60s, where everybody was socially conscious. I believe in it. I’d be a hypocrite if I stood up here and told you any differently, because more than likely, some of those protests that Dr. King and some of the others that took a part in non-violent protests, is the reason why I’m standing here in front of you today.”

Athletes live privileged lives that are funded entirely by our adulation. Their celebrity exists only because the community deems it so.

Athletes live privileged lives that are funded entirely by our adulation. Their celebrity exists only because the community deems it so.

They have a moral obligation to give back to the rest of us, but because of the contentious nature of social change and existing power structures, activism is bad for business.

This balance is difficult to achieve, with athletes like Muhammad Ali and Craig Hodges serving as cautionary tales of how one’s career can be ripped away from them in an instant.

However, with the emergence of this new era of activism and the ability for athletes to control their own message, there is plenty of room for LeBron to advance his involvement in the Tamir Rice case, especially since so many of his contemporaries seem ready and eager to lead us into a new world.

Do you think LeBron should be more than just a player? Tell us in the comments below: 

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. Anyone can write for you us as long as you are fiercely interested in making the world a better place. 

Cover Photo Credit: Keith Allison/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Here’s The Top 5 Players At Each Position Right Now In The NBA

By Jay Rumph

Out with the old, and in with the new. The NBA has been fueled by some of the best rising stars this year, which is good news for the league.

There’s a new era of basketball in the NBA.

We’re just a couple of games into 2016, but we can already see who contributes the most to their respective teams.

Evaluating players from the beginning of the season until now, these rankings are based on players’ total contribution so far this NBA season. We bring you our favorite players at each position entering the NBA’s New Year.

We live for these types of discussions. Here’s the best of the best. Let the debating begin.

Point Guard: Stephen Curry

Photo Credit: Keith Allison/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Photo Credit: Keith Allison/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Curry is single handling changing the game of basketball. Leading the Golden State Warriors to the best record in the NBA at 35-2. The reigning MVP, Curry is doing everything for the Warriors. He’s playing so well this season, people are making comparisons between him, and Michael Jordan. Although I think the comparisons are coming a bit too early, we can’t help but admire his overall greatness.

He has the ability to make an impact on any game at any moment. Besides his terrific shooting ability, Curry is also a great finisher around the basket. A prolific passer, he is able to get all his teammates involved on the court.

Putting up historic numbers, Curry is averaging 31.8, 5.4 rebounds, 6.2 assists, and 2.1 steals per game. He’s doing all of that, while shooting 52.0% from the field, and 45% from the three-point line. Not only is he the best point guard in the league, there’s no doubt that he is also the best player in the NBA. The favorite to win the MVP again this year is Stephen Curry. Curry would join a list of great NBA players that has won the MVP award in consecutive years.

Shooting Guard: Jimmy Butler

Photo Credit: Shinya Suzuki/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Photo Credit: Shinya Suzuki/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Discussion of who the NBA’s best shooting guard has become the new topic in 2015-16 season. Klay Thompson recently said he was the best shooting guard in the league, but James Harden quickly dismissed that claim. There’s no doubt that Jimmy Butler is in the conversation. A versatile player, Butler is a lockdown defender on defense, and Jimmy “Buckets” on offense.

He’s averaging 28.5 points, 6.2 assists, and 4.5 rebounds since the beginning of 2016. The Chicago Bulls are now second in the Eastern Conference, because of Jimmy’s two-way game. Bulls’ have finally found their offense, from their best player, Jimmy Butler.

Small Forward: Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard, reigning Defensive Player of the Year, has become one of the best small forwards in the league. Another two-way player, Leonard can guard the opponents best player, and score on their best player. He has become the Spurs’ best player, and most important player. Let’s not forget how good the San Antonio Spurs actually are, but they are much better when he’s on the basketball court.

Leonard is averaging 20.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.0 steals per game this season. That’s not including what he does to opponents on the defensive end. He has the NBA’s best defensive rating at 90.2. He has proven that he is one of the NBA’s great players, this season is just another example of his humble dominance.

Power Forward: Draymond Green

Photo Credit:  Lpdrew/ Wikimedia commons

Photo Credit: Lpdrew/ Wikimedia commons

A major part of the Warriors’ success, Green is playing on another level this season. There’s nothing Green can’t do this year. This season, he is averaging 15.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game. He’s the league leader in trouble doubles this season with a total of eight. Green posted triple-doubles in two of the last four games this week.

The options are unlimited when the ball is in his hands. His ability to get his teammates involved helps contribute to the Warriors play style. Yes, Green is another one of those versatile players. He can play the point forward, and then slide up to the center position, when Golden State wants to play small ball. Draymond Green’s ability to contribute in all aspects of the game is one of a kind.

Center: Demarcus Cousins

Photo Credit: Ytoyoda/ Wikimedia Commons (CC By 2.0)

Photo Credit: Ytoyoda/ Wikimedia Commons (CC By 2.0)

Bad attitude or not, Demarcus Cousins ability on the basketball court speaks for itself. Cousins has the most talent out of all the centers in the NBA today. He can score the basketball from the inside or outside. He’s a huge threat from three-point line, currently shooting 32% from behind the arc. He ranks fifth in NBA scoring averaging 25.2 points per game. Also he is averaging 10.8 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game.

His abilities at the center position puts him above any other player at the position. He can put the ball on the floor and create opportunities for his teammates. Improving his offensive game will only make him a major threat for opponents. Look for Cousins to continue his hot start entering the New Year. There’s still a lot of basketball games left, but hopefully Cousins and Rajon Rondo can lead the Sacramento Kings into the NBA playoffs.

These players make our list as the top players at their position. Do you agree or Disagree? Who’s in your top 5? Let us know in the comments below.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. Anyone can write for you us as long as you are fiercely interested in making the world a better place. 

Cover Photo Credit: Keith Allison/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Here Are The 10 Best Millennials Playing In The NBA

By Jay Rumph

The 2015-2016 NBA season has already begun, and it’s time to decide on the top 10 players in the league- who also happen to be millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000).

Here is our list of the top 10 millennials players in the NBA:

Photo Credit: Matthew Addie/Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Photo Credit: Matthew Addie/Flickr (CC By 2.0)

1) Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors, PG

NBA champion and reigning MVP, Curry has played lights out thus far in the NBA season. The Warriors are on pace to win over 70 games this season, with Curry leading the way. Leading the Warriors to an undefeated record at 22-0, Curry is one of a kind. He’s the best shooter in the league, and will be the best shooter in NBA history when his career is over. Only 27 years old, he has not reached his prime yet. This year Curry is averaging 32.4 pts, 4.9 rebs, and 5.8 asts with intentions on taking the Warriors back to the NBA Finals.

Photo Credit: Keith Allison/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Photo Credit: Keith Allison/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

2) LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, SF

James has been the best player in the league for years now. He continues to be a dominant force, and does not seem to be slowing down any time soon. Returning to Cleveland last year, he lead the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals his first year back in Cleveland. Plagued by injuries, the Cavs were unable to defeat the Warriors in the Finals after six games. James put the team on his back during the finals averaging 35.8 pts, 13.3 rbs, and 8.8 asts against the Warriors. Without a fully healthy team, the Cavaliers were unable to reach their ultimate goal.

Today is a new day, and LeBron is ready for this season. He is still the game’s best all-around player, and the Cavs only go as far as James will take them. The ultimate goal for James is to bring a championship back to Cleveland. Will this be the year for the Cleveland Cavaliers?

Photo Credit: Keith Allison/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Photo Credit: Keith Allison/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

3) Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder, SF

Kevin Durant is on pace to have his best scoring season yet. With a Returning from a foot injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the 2014-2015 NBA season, Durant looks to bounce back with full force. The former MVP is averaging just around 27.6 pts, 7.7 rebs, and 3.6 asts this year. In the last year of his contact with the Thunder, will we see Durant in a new uniform next year? His ultimate goal is to win a championship, and he finally has the supporting cast to help him achieve that goal.

Photo Credit: Keith Allison/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Photo Credit: Keith Allison/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

4) Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans, PF

Davis is the youngest superstar in the NBA at age 22. Davis has tremendous upside and continues to improve every year. He led the Pelicans to an 8th seed in the Western Conference finals last year. A top candidate for the MVP award this season, Davis is averaging 23.8 pts, 10.9 rebs, and 2.8 blks. Last year he had the highest player efficiency rating in the NBA. The sky is the limit for Davis, but his main goal will be to win a championship.

5) James Harden, Houston Rockers, SG

The runner-up for the MVP award last year was James Harden. Arguably the best offensive player in the NBA currently, Harden scores the basketball with ease. James Harden is scoring points, assisting his teammates, and rebounding the ball for the Rockets. He’s averaging 29.5 pts, 6.7 rebs, and 6.6 asts this year, while trying to lead the Rockets back to the top of the Western Conference.

Photo Credit: Keith Allison/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Photo Credit: Keith Allison/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

6) Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder, PG

The 6’3” point guard can do it all on the basketball court. The most aggressive and explosive point guard the NBA has ever seen. He’s a playmaker, scorer, defensive stopper, and superstar. Last year Westbrook earned his first scoring title, fourth All-Star Selection, and the All-Star MVP award. He led the league with 11 triple doubles, while leading the Thunder in Kevin Durant’s absence. There is nothing that Westbrook can’t do, and he has not reached his prime yet in the NBA.

Photo Credit: Keith Allison/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Photo Credit: Keith Allison/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

7) Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers, PF

Blake Griffin is more than just a high flier. Probably the most athletic forward in the NBA currently, Griffin has worked on many aspects of his game. He’s a much more complete player then before, and has developed his face-up game to go along with his ability to score at the rim. Last year, he averaged 21.9 pts, 7.6 rebs, and 5.3 asts. He also shot 50 percent from the field and 73 percent at the free throw line. At 26, Blake is in his prime and has gained much experience through the playoffs playing alongside Chris Paul.

Photo Credit: Keith Allison/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Photo Credit: Keith Allison/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

8) Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers, PG

At age 30, Chris Paul is a veteran in the NBA, but continues to be one of the best point guards in the league. The smartest point guard in the league, Paul can still score the ball, pass, and defend the best guards around the league. Paul has never won a NBA championship since entering the NBA. Last year he averaged 19 pts, 10.2 asts, 4.6 rbs, and 1.9 stls earning him second team All NBA honors.

Photo Credit: GAMEFACE-PHOTOS/Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Photo Credit: GAMEFACE-PHOTOS/Flickr (CC By 2.0)

9) Demarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings, C

The Kings did not make the playoffs last year, but Cousins showed a ton of upside for the franchise. A very talented center, Cousins has the skills on both sides of the ball to be a top player in the league. Last year he averaged 24.1 pts, 12.7 rbs, 3.6 asts, 1.7 blks, and 1.5 stls which earned him his first All-Star appearance. We can assume that Cousins continues to improve his all-around game playing with Rajon Rondo this year.

Where's the blazer bro?  Photo Credit: Press Cambrabcn/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Where’s the blazer bro? Yes, we seriously couldn’t get a pic of him in a jersey. But trust us, he plays basketball. Photo Credit: Press Cambrabcn/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

10) Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies, C

Great defensive player with a talented offensive skill-set. Gasol has emerged as one of the best big man in the NBA over the last couple of years. Last year, Gasol made first team All-NBA honors after he averaged, 17.4 pts, 7.8 rebs, 3.8 asts, and 1.6 blks. He also shot 50 percent from the floor, and 80 percent from the charity line. Marc sets himself apart from other big men with his mid-range touch and savvy post moves.

So When When Will The Warriors Finally Lose A Game?

The Golden State Warriors have started the season 19-0. They own the record for the best start to an NBA season. They are the defending champions and they have the reigning league MVP.

But every team has to lose some time, right?


Well, in a bit of news that won’t shock many and will rouse the haters, if Golden State doesn’t lose soon, they are going to go to celebrate New Year’s still perfect.

How soon are we talking? The next six games.

The Warriors just started a 7-game road trip with a gutsy 106-103 win over the Utah Jazz. They were trailing in that game as late as a minute left in the 4th quarter before Steph Curry started doing Steph Curry things, nailing a three over Rodney Hood in a play that you have probably already seen at least four times.

But it’s not just Curry.

Draymond Green, owner of two triple-doubles already this season, laid out a 20/9/7 line.

Not to mention that the Warriors did this without Harrison Barnes, a key component in the small-ball offense that no team has been able to stop so far this season.

However, all that being said, Golden State is not going 82-0. That is crazy talk. But if the Warriors are going to end 2015 at anything other than 32-0, which team is going to hand them a loss?

Well, as previously mentioned, Golden State is currently on a road trip. And they are playing a few teams that gave them problems earlier in the season. They defeated Toronto 115-110, and they needed overtime to put away the Nets. However, you have to look a little further down to find the team with the best odds.

And that team is the Indiana Pacers. Granted, they are on their own West Coast trip this week, but they have two full days off before they play the Warriors on Dec. 8.

The Pacers also have the comeback player of the year so far in Paul George. George is playing the best basketball of his career, and he certainly has the ability to out-score Curry. The Pacers would have to play defense like the 2013-2014 version of the team, but it’s not impossible.

If Golden State gets by Indiana, the next game to look at for their first loss would be when they face LeBron and the Cavaliers on Christmas Day. You can never count out King James against any opponent, after all.

Get past the Cavs on Christmas? Then the discussion has to turn to 72-10.

Cover Photo Credit: Keith Allison/ Flickr (CC by-SA 2.0)

For Kobe: The Spirit is Willing, But the Flesh is Weak

Five-time NBA champion and former MVP Kobe Bryant announced Sunday that he will retire at the end of this season.

The 20-year veteran made his decision public with a published piece in The Player’s Tribune. In the post, which reads like a free-verse poem, Bryant thanked the fans, not just of the Los Angeles Lakers, but basketball fans in general for giving him as much back as he gave to them.

However, the poem also contained Bryant’s personal reasoning behind calling it a career saying, “My heart can take the pounding/My mind can handle the grind/But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.”

There is little to argue with Bryant’s self-assessment, as his previous two seasons had been riddled with injuries. He missed the first 19 games of the 2013-2014 season with an Achilles injury, which was followed by a fracture in his left knee which sat him six weeks. This same knee issue kept him out of the final 18 games as well.

Bryant fared little better on that front during the 2014-2015 season. Although he started the first 27 games, inconsistent play led to him being benched for a short time. Then, in January 2015, he tore the rotator cuff in his left shoulder which sidelined him for the remainder of the season.

So far, 2015-2016 has not been kind to the veteran either. Though he has started every game so far this season, he is shooting only 31.5 percent from the field, including a 1-for-14 performance against the Golden State Warriors. This has contributed to the Lakers current record of 2-14, worst in the Western Conference.

Those numbers notwithstanding, it is doubtful that NBA fans will look back on Bryant’s Hall of Fame career and think of his final 82 games.

Instead, they will think of him as the 17-time All-Star and the two-time Olympic Gold Medal-winner. They will think of him as the man who hit game-winning shots. They will think of him as a man who called it a career, not when all the pundits said he should, but when he decided it was time.

Cover Photo Credit: Keith Allison/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Kobe Bryant Announces That He Will Retire At End Of Season

Update: 7:40 PM EST

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In a post on the Players Tribune website, Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest players in NBA history announced that he would retire at the end of the season.

In a poem like post titled “Dear Basketball”, Bryant said that he would be forever grateful to the sport that gave him so much.

“I’m ready to let you go.
I want you to know now
So we both can savor every moment we have left together.
The good and the bad.
We have given each other
All that we have.”

Bryant is an investor with the Players Tribune.

Stay with Rise News. More to come. 

Cover Photo Credit: Keith Allison/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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