2 Up 2 Down Report (April 2018)

By:Tyrone Montgomery Jr.


Julius Randle

When I mention The LA Lakers, most people think of Lonzo Ball. Zo was drafted #2 Overall by LA last summer. It was destined to happen, especially with him being from LA and the comparisons to Magic Johnson. If not him, then they think of Lavar Ball. Lavar is Lonzo’s loud and obnoxious father. Strangely, he’s been extremely quiet lately, thank God! A lot of that has to do with being a father, husband, and a businessman, as well as receiving mutliple warnings to stop being a distraction to the Lakers organization. The last and final person you may think of when you hear the LA Lakers mentioned is a player that’s actually not even on their current roster, LeBron James. LeBron has been rumored to be heading there next summer for multiple reasons, but we will see about that. Are you a Marvel Comics fan? There’s Thor, Iron-Man, The Incredible Hulk, and of coarse, Captain America. The list goes on! We all love the hero, but there’s always a hero behind the hero, and I’m not talking about the sidekick either. Who do you think even came up with the idea to make an Avengers movie? Have you heard of is Joss Whedon. He’s the Director of The Avengers, the movie that ranks Top 5 in Box office collections with $1.5 Billion There’s always an unappreciative or unnoticed individual with every company or team shall I say. That person for the Lakers is Julius Randle. Julius Randle is Joss Whedon. A man who puts up amazing numbers but we all forget about him. We all love the finished product and the results, but let’s not forget about the cause and the source of things. He goes unnoticed without a doubt. He basically missed his entire rookie season with a knee injury 2 minutes into his very first NBA Game. From that point onward, his numbers went up year after year. This season, he’s averaging 16 Points/Game along with 8 Rebounds/Game. Since March 1st, of this calendar year, Randle has been playing like an All-Star averaging 23 Points/Game and 10 Rebounds/Game. Now let’s think of a guy like Joel Embiid. Embiid is close to being a “Superstar” in the league today, he averages the same thing Randle is averaging now. So let’s give a little love to Mr. Randle. He has one year remaining on his contract after this season. The question is will he still be a Laker, despite how good he has proven himself to be….?

Portlant Trailblazers

The Portland Trailblazers are in 3rd Place in The West! Is this news, or is this not a big deal? Well let’s just say it’s good to enjoy the moment and to appreciate and celebrate success. Improvements are always a good thing. Portland has always been one of the toughest teams to play in the league, and that’s largely because of Damian Lillard. One of the most underrated Guards in the league, Lillard should be in the MVP conversation. He is averaging 27 Points/Game along with 6 Assists/Game. His team has their best record already since the 2014 season. He has really been on a tear all season, and he looks to be playing with a chip on his shoulder. He has a sidekick now though, CJ McCollum. CJ plays the other guard position for The Blazers, and is averaging 22 Points/Game. These 2 are very close and very similar as well. They used to live together, despite their fortunes they have made over the years. Being roommates have made their bond even closer both on and off the court, as now these two Guards are leading the way for this club. The other thing they have in mind is the fact that they are “Mama Boys.” Now there’s nothing wrong with being a Mama’s Boy, unless it’s to the point where you’re labeled “The Waterboy.” But enough of the jokes, this team is serious. As my man Robb Johnson and Darrell Owens will say, It’s no longer a dream, it’s a reality for this ball club. They’re so close to being a true title contender. Along with such an amazing backcourt, they have a young and upcoming big man they acquired in a trade last season from The Denver Nuggets, Jusuf Nurkic. They needed a little bit of time to gel. Now that everyone’s healthy and on the same page, chemistry is apparent and The Portland Trailblazers found themselves on a 13 Game Winning Streak that begun on February 14th. They defeated The Warriors 123-117. From that point, they been playing amazing basketball and its safe to say they will have another 50+ win season. This team is one player away. I like what’s going on in Portland. They have the right man to lead them as well in Coach Terry Stotts. If Paul George decides to test the waters this summer, they should go after him. They may be able to have the edge in the West if that happens.


What’s next for Marc Gasol and the Memphis Grizzles????

Memphis Grizzlies

There’s trouble in paradise. Do you remember the grit and grind Grizzlies? You know, the ones that we could never count out of any game or even playoff series? It didn’t depend who it was they played. It could have been The San Antonio Spurs, back when they were on their A game and wasn’t as old as they are now. Or it could have been a team that would shoot you out the building. Remember those old Mike D’Antoni coached Phoenix Suns Teams or even his Houston Rockets today? How about the team that has proved to be lightyears ahead of the competition, The Golden State Warriors. Memphis has always had a chance and you could never count them out. Well those days are over! There’s been a little bit of bad luck that has come their way. Mike Conley can’t seem to stay healthy after getting all that money over the years. Marc Gasol is getting old. They couldn’t afford to keep Zach Randolph or Tony Allen last summer, And their style of play just doesn’t fit in today’s game. Their front office has shown themselves to be lost in life, as they paid Injury Proned Chandler Parsons a max contract of 4 Years/ $94 Million. This team is suffering through something I like to call an identity crisis. The Grizzlies are the young guys that wake up and wear skinny jeans one morning and then decide to wear the classic fit cut jeans the next day. They don’t know who they are! They have a young team, with a few veterans. Coaching isn’t great. And they don’t stretch the floor well at all. They play an old school brand of basketball, and they have no bright spots or key players to look forward to or build around. There’s no secret what this team is doing. The Memphis Grizzlies lost 19 consecutive games. In one of those losses, they loss to The Hornets by 61 points. Hornets All-Star PG Kemba Walker made a franchise record 10 3-Pointers in that game and finished with 46 Points. What an embarrassing showcase for this franchise. But like all Superhero movies, the hero always has his back against the wall, and the city of Memphis is about to fall with these Grizzlies. The Sixers went through this, and look at them now. For the rest of the season, don’t be surprised to see Memphis lose out. This team is trusting the process. This summer, Look for this team to finally move on from Marc Gasol and Mike Conley as they plan for the future. Perhaps their Hero or Heroes will be in this year’s upcoming NBA Draft

Denver Nuggets (Mike Malone)

Mike Malone has proven over the years that he is a NBA Caliber Head Coach and should definitely be coaching in the league. His career started off as being an assistant. Most people crawl before they walked, because it helps you in the long run. He started in New York with the Knicks. He stayed there for 4 years before moving on to something even better, the opportunity to coach LeBron James. He was an assistant in Cleveland for 5 years, then he decided to leave once The King left. Next he spent a year with Anthony Davis as an assistant again. But just a year later, he decided to take his talents to Golden State to be an assistant coach there. Many people don’t realize it, but he helped mold this Warriors Superteam. When he got there, Steph Curry was only in his second year year in the league and Klay Thompson was just a rookie. He spent 2 seasons in the development of the Splash Brothers. Perhaps that’s why his teams play well against Golden State now. After he left Golden State, his hard work paid off. In 2013, he became the Head Coach of the Sacramento Kings. It had to be one of the most difficult jobs in the NBA because that organization is a bit on the disfunctional side. His stint in Sacramento only lasted 2 seasons as he was fired from the organization. Many people didn’t agree to the move including former Kings All-Star Demarcus Cousins. He said “We’re not the same team without Mike Malone” and that “Kings would have been a playoff team if Coach Malone was still here.” Kings started off good that season (5-1), until Demarcus Cousins got sick. The Allstar suffered with Viral Meningitis and that forced him to miss a couple weeks and thats when The Kings cut ties with Mike Malone. No worries however, Mike Malone is now the Head Coach in Denver. He’s been with The Nuggets since 2015. This year, another case of Deja Vu may happen for the Coach. The Nuggets have been so close to making the playoffs the last 2 seasons. This year, they brought in All-Star Paul Millsap. Sicknesses & Injuries are all a part of the game, but most companies don’t care. They expect the best no matter what. The Nuggets look like they may miss the playoffs again this season, despite Millsap missing a lot of time due to injuries. Look for Head Coach Mike Malone to be on the hot seat if and when that does happen. It’s never safe being a Head Coach in the NBA.