G – Kyrie Irving – Irving got back to full strength just in time for the playoffs last year, and it certainly showed on the court. He lit up every opponent his Cavaliers faced, and had one of the greatest Finals performances of recent history to pair with teammate Lebron James’ greatness on their way to the city of Cleveland’s first championship in 52 years. If he can continue to play at the level we saw him play at in the playoffs, then the starting job for the conference is his to lose.
G – Jimmy Butler – The Bulls have added some very talented veterans to bolster the team’s backcourt, but with Derrick Rose gone, the team is Butler’s now. He is the face of the franchise, and the offense will run through him. With Rajon Rondo’s ability to create scoring chances with his passes, the Rondo to Butler combination could be a thing of beauty this year.
F – Lebron James – Not much needs to be said here. The best player in the league will be the conference’s most voted player, and will once again be in the starting lineup. After putting on one of the greatest Final’s performances ever, the king will be on a mission to defend his crown.
F – Paul George – George showed last season that he has moved passed the leg injury he suffered two seasons ago. His supporting cast was not the strongest, but he still put up solid numbers all around. This season, his efficiency will surely rise with the help of newcomers Jeff Teague, Al Jefferson, and Monta Ellis taking some pressure off of him on the offensive end.
F – Carmelo Anthony – Something about the Olympics always results in Anthony having a great season after representing his country. In 2012, he finished second in MVP voting following his gold medal winning summer. While expectations of that size are not realistic, the Knicks have gotten much better in the offseason, and with Carmelo at the helm they could do some damage in the East.
G – John Wall – Wall has proven to be one of the best guards in the league, and he could play his way into the starting lineup. The Wizards might not be very good this season, however, so Wall’s productivity might not receive the recognition it deserves. However, he is still a lock to make the team.
G – Rajon Rondo – Rondo was an all star snub last season due to the level of talent in the West. Now that he is on the Bulls, in a system where he should once again lead the league in assists, expect to see Rondo back in the All Star Game.
G – Demar Derozan – After signing a hefty contract this offseason, Derozan is officially the man in Toronto. With Lowry aging, he may not be able to produce quite as much as he has the past few seasons, so expect an even bigger season from Derozan this year.
C – Andre Drummond – Drummond made the leap to All Star status last season, and this season will be no different. He is a rebounding and shot blocking machine who is tough to stop down low, and will put up some monstrous numbers yet again.
F – Paul Millsap – Millsap is a steady presence for the Atlanta Hawks who produces very consistently year after year. He will be a large part of the offense this season with Jeff Teague and Al Horford gone, which will result in another All Star appearance.
WC – Isaiah Thomas – The Celtics have gotten significantly better this offseason, and Thomas will be leading the charge. His offensive ability will be key to the Celtics success.
WC – Ben Simmons – The Sixers probably won’t be very good this year, but Simmons will be. He is proficient in almost every aspect of the game, and will be a nightmare to defend. Although many have had doubts about his jump shot, his other abilities more than make up for it, and as a result Simmons will be the first rookie All Star since Blake Griffin.
Eagles’ Jalen Mills Arrested
Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills was arrested in Washington D.C following an altercation with Washington Wizards player Devin Robinson, according to the Associated Press’ Howard Fendrich (via the Washington Post).
Both men were charged with disorderly affray, which is described as fighting in a public place.
According to the Washington Post’s Candace Buckner, a verbal altercation broke out between the two that escalated into a physical fight that took place on the sidewalk.
Robinson was transported to a hospital following the fight with Mills and upon his release he was taken to to department’s 2nd District station where Mills was detained.
Mills and Robinson were “involved in a verbal altercation which escalated into a physical altercation on the sidewalk adjacent to the Opera Night Club” in the early hours of Saturday morning, according to the police report.
Both teams have since responded, with the Wizards essentially parting ways with Robinson due to the incident.
“We are aware of the incident this morning involving Devin and are disappointed in his actions. We will not extend him a qualifying offer for the 2019-20 season,” the Wizards said in a statement.
The Eagles issued a statement saying that they are “aware of the situation” and “continuing to gather more information.”
Mavs’ Kristaps Porzingis Accused of Rape in New York
Dallas Mavericks big man and former New York Knick Kristaps Porzingis is being investigated back New York for an alleged rape that a woman told police took place sometime last year, according to the New York Post.
The woman, who informed police about the alleged rape on Thursday, says that she waited more than a year to come forward regarding the incident because she had discussed receiving $68,000 from Porzingis to keep quiet.
Roland G. Riopelle, the attorney for Porzingis, has since denied the allegations and has said they had previously referred the case to federal authorities due to the “accuser’s extortionate demands.”
“We are aware of the complaint that was made against Mr. Porzingis on Friday and unequivocally deny the allegations,” Riopelle said. “We made a formal referral to federal law enforcement on Dec. 20, 2018, based on the accuser’s extortionate demands. We also alerted the National Basketball Association months ago, and they are aware of the ongoing investigation of the accuser by federal law enforcement. We cannot comment further on an ongoing federal investigation. Please refer any questions to the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the National Basketball Association.”
The woman alleges that the incident took place on February 7th, 2018, at the Sky building in New York, where Porzingis lived, just hours following Porzingis suffering a torn ACL, the injury that has kept him off the court for more than a year.
An NBA spokesman said the league is aware of the situation while the Knicks’ team spokesperson said; “This is Kristaps’ personal matter and not related to the Knicks.” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban stated that the team is aware of the situation but “we have been instructed by federal authorities not to comment.”
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Knicks had informed the Mavericks of the pending Porzingis rape allegations during a trade call with NBA headquarters, that took place on January 31st, that finalized the deal that sent Porzingis to the Mavericks.
A spokesman for the New York Police Department issued the following: “The NYPD takes sexual assault and all rape cases extremely seriously, and urges anyone who has been a victim to file a report so we can perform a comprehensive investigation, and offer support and services to survivors.”
Warriors’ DeMarcus Cousins Says Fans Have Called Him ‘N—-r’, Says He’s Reported it to League
Golden State Warriors big man DeMarcus Cousins is speaking out about how NBA fans treat players, revealing that fans have called him the N-word during games and stating that he had reported the incidents to the league.
Cousins discussed the incidents during an interview with Chris Haynes on the ‘Posted Up’ podcast:
“Oh, I’ve been called n—-r, and it’s crazy because this has happened to me on a few occasions. I reported it to the league, and, you know, I may have said whatever I said back, and I was still punished for it. But obviously it became a bigger issue when it was Russ [Westbrook] and he was still fined for it. I don’t really understand it. We’re the product. We push this league. So, I don’t understand. When does our safety, when does, it become important?”
While Cousins spoke candidly about his experiences, he did not specific which cities in which he heard the racial slurs.
“I don’t really want to, because I’m not really trying to put a label on an entire fan base” Cousins said when discussing which cities he heard the slurs. T”here are ignorant individuals in every city. I’ll just put it like that. [NBA] tells you to ignore it, or whatever the case may be. But how many times am I supposed to ignore that? Me coming from where I come from [Mobile, Alabama]. They lucky all they got was a response.”
While Cousins did not mention any cities or teams, Haynes reported that one city was Sacramento, where Cousins spent the majority of his career playing for the Kings.
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