5 Burning Questions to Tip Off the NBA Season

5 Burning Questions to Tip Off the NBA Season

Will the new look Warriors dominate? What will King James do for an encore? This and more of the most pressing questions heading into the new NBA season answered.
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It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

With the 2016-17 NBA season finally upon us, the Internet’s self-proclaimed basketball pundits, myself included, are back to take over your news feeds. After what was truly an exhilarating offseason, which included a record-setting free agent spend, Olympic Gold for Team USA, and the controversial movement of the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte to New Orleans, there is a lot to look forward to in the coming months. Here are the five most pressing questions heading into the new season

1. Which off season acquisition will make the biggest splash in his new home?

This one goes to Kevin Durant (no pun intended). Desperate for his first NBA championship, Durant shocked the basketball world when he decided to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder and take his talents to Dub Nation. Although many, including myself, think Durant took the easy way out, there is no denying that his presence on the wing will make taking down an already dominant Warriors squad even more difficult. Coaches around the league are now left to figure out how to contain the Splash Brothers, Draymond Green, and Kevin Durant-- a foursome that reads much like last season’s Western Conference All-Star roster. While it may take the team some time to gel, Durant will contribute right away to what is certain to be another record-setting season in Oakland.

2. Russell Westbrook or man possessed?

It is only fitting that the next question deals with Durant’s former running mate, Russell Westbrook. After dealing with a very ugly breakup, Westbrook is now on a mission to prove to the world that he never needed Kevin Durant’s help to deliver a ring to the Thunder faithful. So long as he can keep his emotions in check, Westbrook is certain to have a career year on both sides of the ball.

Will Westbrook come to enjoy the fruits of his labor this season? Yes and no. While I believe Westbrook will walk away as this season’s Most Valuable Player, he doesn’t have the supporting cast that could go toe-to-toe with the likes of the Warriors, Spurs, and Cavaliers in a seven game series.

3. What will become of the NBA Development League?

After spending the summer working for the NBA D-League office, I have developed a deep appreciation for what is aptly referred to as the NBA’s research and development hub. Thanks to experimentation in the D-League last year, the NBA has put in place the away-from-the-play foul rule this season, also known as the Hack-a-Shaq rule. In addition to continued rule testing, the D-League will welcome three expansion teams this November, bringing the league to a grand total of 22 teams.


As the D-League has moved toward its goal of 30 teams each owned and operated by an NBA club, attracting a competitive talent pool has become of prime importance. Currently, D-League players are not part of the NBA Players Association (NBPA) and make at most $26,000 per season, a salary that leads most players with NBA potential to sign more lucrative contracts overseas. With the December deadline for the NBPA to opt out of the current collective bargaining agreement quickly approaching, superstars such as Carmelo Anthony have called for bringing D-League players into the NBPA to negotiate larger salaries. Such action would attract more players and facilitate record highs in NBA call-ups, not to mention change the D-League as we know it. I truly hope the players can pull this off, but only time will tell what happens next.

4. Have Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks found the winning formula?

For my fellow Knicks fans, this season marks year three of trusting Phil Jackson to return the Knicks to basketball dominance. While the first two years have been nothing short of disappointing, there is a lot to be excited about this time around. For one, Kristaps Porzingis is back alongside Carmelo Anthony to top what was a stellar rookie year. In addition, the Knicks bring aboard Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee, Brandon Jennings, and Head Coach Jeff Hornacek to usher in a new era of New York basketball. Does this mean a ticker tape parade down Broadway come June? I doubt it, but I do think that the Knicks will compete in the playoffs and take a major step toward the illustrious Larry O’Brien Trophy, two things that you have not been able to say about the team in quite some time.

5. Will the King retain his crown?

For those who have been following my work since last spring (I appreciate you), you’ll remember that I called the Cleveland Cavaliers’ NBA Finals victory over Steph Curry and company long after the basketball world had written the Warriors off as the greatest team ever assembled. I was right then, so why not test my luck again and call the repeat in October. That’s right, I truly believe that LeBron James and Kyrie Irving will pick up right where they left off and dominate the league on their way to another NBA Championship. The Warriors will certainly be a sight to see, but I think that there are too many cooks in the Golden State kitchen (pun intended) for the team to unite and win four out of seven against the seasoned Cavaliers squad. Expect another dose of shirtless J.R. Smith and endless celebration in The Land this summer.

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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​A Division By Division Review Of April In The MLB

The 2019 MLB season is well underway, so it may be safer to make some predictions.

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(All statistics referenced are from https://www.mlb.com/.)

Now that most teams have played at least 30 games, we are about 1/5 of the way through the 162 games for each team, which still leaves a huge amount of baseball to be played. However, a lot of predictions and inferences can be made with this large sample size of April, and while they may not hold up, they do have solid evidence behind them. So with that, let's review the pennant races after April.

NL East

The NL East is shaping out to be a competitive division this year, not because all the teams are exceptionally good, but because the teams are well-matched (excluding the MLB-worst Marlins). The Phillies got off to a hot start but cooled off for a bit and picked up steam again, winning seven of their last 10 to lead the division by 1.5 games over the Braves, who are also heating up. The Mets and Nationals are under .500 and slowing down.

NL Central

This division has been wildly competitive as of late, and going to be in my opinion the most fun to watch over the next few weeks. The red-hot Cubs have won their last 7 games, taking the top spot from the Cardinals, who have lost their last four. The Brewers and Pirates are also very close, 1.5 and 3 games back respectively, and on 3 and 2-game win streaks respectively.

NL West

The Dodgers and Diamondbacks have revived a strong rivalry and have kindled a strong battle already, playing good baseball, with both teams winning 7 out of their last 10. Both clubs already have 20 wins and are only aiming for more. The Padres are also starting to show signs of improvement, but it is likely that the Dodgers and Diamondbacks will be the ones battling for their division.

AL East

Surprisingly, Tampa Bay continues their new success atop the AL East, two games over the Yankees. No one expected the Rays to jump out and lead the division, but they have started to maintain their success and seem to be here for real. Both the Yankees and the Red Sox are finally recovering after shockingly slow starts, 19-14 and 17-18 on the year respectively, good enough for 2nd and 3rd place in the division. If Tampa Bay can play well against the Red Sox and Yanks in their matchups, the Rays can distance themselves in the race.

AL Central

Another surprise, the Twins lead the AL Central by two games, over the Cleveland Indians, who many expected to lead the division this year. While the Indians are 18-14, their expected average factoring in Runs Scored and Runs Allowed should be 15-17, and every club in the AL Central has a negative run differential except the Indians, so it may be safe to say the Twins might be leading for a while.

AL West

In the AL West, the Astros have reclaimed the top spot and look to defend their title. The Mariners, whom no one expected to get to get off to the hot start that they enjoyed, have really fallen off and gotten themselves into a slump, dropping seven of their last 10 games to fall to a 19-17 record. The Astros will likely continue their success and stay atop the AL West

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