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Rowan’s Rankings | NBA Week 22



After the All-Star break and trade deadline, the league has begun to take it’s final form. While teams that have retooled are ready to make their run, others that stayed put must deal with the consequences of their decisions.


  1. Golden State Warriors last week 1

The King stays the King. While the Warriors didn’t make a move at the deadline, the team will reportedly look to sign veteran Jose Calderon for the remainder of the season. Calderon can help eat some regular season minutes, but Steve Kerr should probably resist the urge to play him at the deadline.


  1. Cleveland Cavaliers last week 2

The Cavaliers continued their hot play with a blowout win against the Knicks, but fell to the Bulls short three starters. Luckily for them, reinforcements are coming. With the additions of Deron and Derrick Williams, as well as being the frontrunners to sign Andrew Bogut, the Cavs may soon possess one of the league’s deepest benches.


  1. Houston Rockets last week 6

Daryl Morey continued his brilliance at the deadline by turning Corey Brewer into Lou Williams and maneuvering his way into being a player on the buyout market. The Rockets have enough firepower to hang with the Warriors, the question now comes down to defense.


  1. San Antonio Spurs last week 3

The Spurs staying quiet at the deadline is a predictable move. The team likes to make its moves in the summer and then see how things go from there. An elite team on both ends of the floor, the Spurs continue to be a force to be reckoned with.


  1. Boston Celtics last week 5

Boston has lost two of its last three games, including a loss to a Kyle Lowry-less Raptors squad. Boston decided to hold on to all of their assets and not make a move of any sort to better their chances in the playoffs. For a team that balked on adding both Ibaka and George, they will now have to live with those consequences.


  1. Toronto Raptors last week 14

The Raptors have won three straight games, with two of those games coming without Lowry. The team has been incapable of surviving without Lowry on the floor in the past, so these recent wins show just how improved their roster is. The defensive versatility that Ibaka and Tucker bring will make this a very different team down the stretch.


  1. Washington Wizards last week 4

Washington is in the middle of a small slide after losing to the Sixers and Jazz. The All-Star break may not have been the best thing for one of the league’s hottest teams before the break.


  1. Utah Jazz last week 8

The Jazz have won three straight games and continue to hold off the L.A. Clippers for the fourth spot in the West. With the improved Rockets four and a half games up on the Jazz for third, it looks like Utah is bound to run into the Golden State buzzsaw earlier than they’d prefer.


  1. L.A. Clippers last week 9

The Clippers may have one of the best post All-Star additions in the league, as Chris Paul has returned to the lineup. While just 1-1 since his return, the Clippers should once again be a force in the West as long as they can stay healthy.


  1. Oklahoma City Thunder last week 12

While it’s come against inferior opponents, the Thunder have won three straight games and are closing in on the Memphis Grizzlies. Their stellar defense and MVP caliber play from Westbrook continues to help this roster overachieve.


  1. Memphis Grizzlies last week 7

The Grizzlies suffered two bad losses against the Pelicans and Pacers before bouncing back against the Nuggets. They didn’t do much at the deadline, but will hope that a healthy trio of Gasol, Conley, and Parsons will be enough to hold their place in the standings.


  1. Chicago Bulls last week 17

This ranking for the Bulls feels a little weird. The team clearly made a move to weaken their roster at the deadline, dealing Gibson and McDermott for Payne. But the team has also won four straight games. Will the Bulls continue to overachieve? Or will they fall back into the lottery?


  1. Atlanta Hawks last week 11

The Hawks elected to keep Paul Millsap at the deadline and are now in the midst of a three game losing streak. The Hawks have out-performed their expected win loss total for the year, despite mediocre play. A post All-Star regression to the mean may be occurring.


  1. Miami Heat last week 13

The Heat have won three straight games and are knocking on the door of a playoff spot. If the Heat somehow manage to get the eighth seed, Erik Spoelstra should be the frontrunner for coach of the year.


  1. Detroit Pistons last week 16

The Pistons also decided to keep their pieces beyond the deadline, but appear to be reacting well to the pressure put on them by seemingly their entire roster being shopped. Detroit defeated the Hornets and had a close loss to the Celtics. They’ll need to start winning in a hurry if they want to avoid another first round series against the Cavs.


  1. Indiana Pacers last week 10

Just 1-6 over their last seven games, the Pacers are in a full-on nosedive. They chose not to lower their asking price for Paul George at the trade deadline, but could risk his value decreasing next season with a looming free agency.


  1. Denver Nuggets last week 15

Speaking of Paul George, Denver apparently tried to bring him to the Mile High City. They failed to come up with a suitable offer, reportedly unwilling to part with Nikola Jokic or Jamal Murray. The team got a depressing consolation prize in what’s left of Roy Hibbert and have lost three of their last four. They’re still in playoff position, but with hungry Wolves and a potentially dangerous Pelicans squad, they’ll need to get back to their winning ways to hold onto it.


  1. Dallas Mavericks last week 19

I love the move to acquire Nerlens Noel for the Dallas Mavericks. Henceforth known as “The Bookstore”, Barnes and Noel gives the Mavs a nice young core to build around. They still have a long way to go, but acquiring a potential Tyson Chandler clone for peanuts was a great deal.


  1. Portland Trail Blazers last week 18

The Blazers didn’t make a move at the deadline and now they must try to salvage their season without any additional help. With three first round picks in the upcoming draft, they may be able to swing a move this summer. But as losers of four of their last five games, the immediate future doesn’t look too bright.


  1. New Orleans Pelicans last week not ranked

The Pelicans don’t really deserve to be on this ranking. But with the addition of Boogie Cousins, the team should have the firepower to make a run at a playoff spot. The experiment hasn’t gone well so far, as the Pelicans are 0-2 with Cousins and lost Omri Casspi to a broken thumb. With not much time left, it’s now or never for the Pelicans.


From the heart of continent, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Justin is a life-long hoops head with a love of the team from Northeast Ohio. He’s written for Fear the Sword as well as Hoops Habit. And he’s never blown a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. "It's kind of boring when you take open shots." - J.R. Smith. Checkout Justin’s weekly NBA Power Play called Rowan’s Rankings.

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Ride The Wave

Back in October the sky was the limit. LeBron had decided to move to LA and join the Lakers. Things were good then.



Back in October the sky was the limit. LeBron had decided to move to LA and join the Lakers, drawing in a decent support team and a lot of talk that the West was looking incredibly dominant next to a “weaker” East. Things were good then.

Five months later and things couldn’t be farther from that idylistic picture. The East thrived without the King and GMs put together some of the most noteworthy teams in a while. And the Lakers? The Lakers currently sit in the 11th spot of the Western Conference with very little hope of making it to the playoffs. They’re a team that is constantly attacked for their lack of chemistry, skill, and effort. For the first time in a long time, LA became synonymous with “hopeless”.

This wasn’t the future we saw for the King.

On the heels of a night filled with one of his greatest achievements ever, the Lakers as a team walked away with a loss to the Denver Nuggets. A night that began on a high note went out on one that was equivalent to sour candy. Furthermore, a frustrated team left an arena, hopped on social media, and found a bevy of congrats for their star player, while enduring the storm that came with another Lakers loss.

It seems that James’ stardom has reached a tipping point, one that makes him a GM one moment, the King of the league the next, and finally the biggest point of contention within the locker room. The most notable thing is that it is clearly wearing him down. Chris Martin let us know that “nobody one said it was easy”, but you’ve got to ask yourself, does it have to be so hard?

The answer is unfortunately, yes. It’s always going to be this way, and there is no fighting the current, but there is beauty in riding the wave. Embracing that moment when the wave comes crashing down on you is important, because it’s always going to happen, but your attitude will always be remembered. LeBron rides high, and keeps things in the positive light for the media, but he’s got to realize that they are writing his story, and he doesn’t have to play into their’s. Ride the wave, and take the loss in stride with all the great that has come with it, but take the loss because your part of a team that is.

The wave has crashed down, but the current will bring another.

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Something Out of Nothing



It’s March 2016, and I’m driving with Alan Shane Lewis to Montreal to meet with Marc Griffin and Phil Boileau. We’re meeting to speak about this exciting new idea I pitched to them. We were tired of spinning the wheels on our own individual internet shows, and I told them that it was time we stopped waiting for a network and became the network.

We spoke that weekend about creating a community of content creators that all loved ball and came together to make unique content with unique voices – voices we felt were never heard in the mainstream. This community was the base of Press and we’d continue to push forward from that spot. We spoke about some amazing show ideas, article ideas, social media plan. It was truly an exciting time, and still one of the best weekends of my life.

Two years later and that group is a lot smaller, and that idea is Press Basketball.

It caught fire at the beginning and we had people joining our bright shiny new plaything left, right, and center. It was exciting, but now I kind of realize that a lot of it was just that we were that “bright shiny new thing”.

We ended up with a lot of Press Basketball “members” but when I stepped back and looked at what was happening… it wasn’t what I’d imagined. The fire burned out. The idea was gone. We had just become another thing trying to stay alive, waiting for some deus ex machina to show up with money and make everything okay.

I’ve gone through most of my life making something out of nothing. It’s never easy, but when it happens it’s always worth it… ALWAYS. Press made me feel alive at a point. It was literally all I could think about, and while it still is on my mind, it doesn’t make me feel alive. This hurts more than I can ever explain.

Changes are coming my friends. We’re not laying down and dying, and if we do it’s not going to be like this.

The core of Press will be setting fire to a lot over the next few weeks and I personally can’t wait for this to start. From the ashes something new will rise (I watched a lot of XMEN growing up).

Stay tuned, because it’s not over.

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