Carmelo Anthony thinks he could have won 2-3 rings with Detroit, Ben Wallace disagrees

Carmelo Anthony thinks he could have won 2-3 rings with Detroit, Ben Wallace disagrees

One of the NBA's greatest what-if's is what would have happened if in the 2003 NBA Draft, the soon-to-be NBA Champion Detroit Pistons, took Carmelo Anthony to add to their already stacked team. 

Melo discussed the hypothetical in an Instagram Live with fellow 2003 draftee Dwyane Wade, saying he doesn't know where his career goes but he knows he'd have some jewelry. 

I don't know what In would have been if I would have went to Detroit. I know I would have had two, maybe two or three rings... But I don't know how everything else would have played out after throughout my career. 

The Detroit Pistons held the second overall selection in the 2003 NBA Draft and decided to take Darko Milicic rather than Carmelo Anthony. The NCAA National Champion was selected third overall to Denver where he made the playoffs every season and led the Nuggets to a Western Conference Finals appearance in 2009. 

Despite taking the largest bust of the historically stacked 2003 Draft, the Pistons still won the NBA Championship that season shocking the Los Angeles Lakers, who were looking for their fourth championship in five seasons, in just five games. 

However, one pillar of that championship team, Ben Wallace, thinks not only would Melo not have won two or three rings in Detroit, but that the Pistons would have never won a ring with Melo on the roster.

In an appearance on the 120 Watts Podcast, the four-time Defensive Player of the Year said that the Pistons making the wrong pick in Milicic was the best move for them looking back, rather than taking Anthony. 

If we would've drafted Carmelo, I honestly don't think we would have ever won a championship... Melo would want to play right away. That would have the potential to disrupt the team chemistry. By drafting Darko, he came in and said that he is not ready to play on this team. Who I am going to play in front of. I’m not ready, and by him doing that and accepting his role, it allowed us to build and grow and get stronger and eventually win a championship. - Ben Wallace

That 2004 Pistons team has gone down in history as one of the only teams in NBA history to win a championship without a "superstar" player, but rather a collection of very good players such as Chauncey Billups, Wallace, Rasheed Wallace, Richard Hamilton, and Tayshaun Prince. 

“If we drafted Carmelo, Tayshaun wouldn’t blossom to be the type of a player that he was,” he added. “We won that championship on the back of the best block I’ve ever seen in my life, and I blocked a lot of shots. That is the type of grit and grind that the team had.”

Mr. Big Shot disagrees with his former teammate and thinks the Pistons could have been a dynasty had they selected Melo.

"If [Detroit] got Melo, we would've won three championships" - Chauncey Billups

From 2003-2008, the Pistons played in six consecutive Eastern Conference Finals and advanced to the Finals in back-to-back seasons in 2004 and 2005. Had they drafted Melo and had a real superstar, maybe he could have gotten them over the hump and won more than one ring. 

Damian Lillard called 'spoiled and entitled brat' for saying he'd sit out

Damian Lillard called 'spoiled and entitled brat' for saying he'd sit out

Damian Lillard made headlines this week when he told Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports that he’d sit out when the NBA resumes play if the Trail Blazers didn’t have a path to the playoffs and a shot at the championship. 

If we come back and they're just like, 'We're adding a few games to finish the regular season,' and they're throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don't have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I'm going to be with my team because I'm a part of the team. But I'm not going to be participating. I'm telling you that right now. And you can put that [expletive] in there.

The NBA is currently exploring scenarios in which play would resume in Orlando, Florida at Disney World, but the details of how many games and who will be playing them still remains to be seen. 

Since Lillard’s comments, NBA players and pundits have weighed in on Lillard’s comments and for the latter, has inspired some really bad hot takes. 

On Wednesday, Dan Orlovsky, a former quarterback and analyst on ESPN’s ‘Get Up’ went in on Lillard for those comments. Brace yourselves…  

“If what we’ve experienced over the past three months has taught us anything, there is no such thing as meaningless anymore,” Orlovsky said. “We can’t take things for granted anymore. And there’s a different between have to and get to. And Damian Lillard would have the opportunity to get to play basketball again. Because there’s people out there who have to go do things— frontline workers and nurses and doctors. They have to go to work and they have to work more hours and pay less because of what we’re dealing with. Damian Lillard would have the opportunity to get to play basketball and I would hope and challenge him in his mindset that the last few months has changed that and that he’d take that opportunity to go and perform— to go and compete and get the opportunity to play basketball again. Some people don’t have a choice anymore. They have to go do things. It is not an option.”

But wait, there’s more. 

Orlovsky continues:

How can you sit there and go, ‘Nope, I’m not going to play, but understand that there’s people out there that don’t have that choice. They have to go to work. They have to go earn their money. I struggle with sitting here and going ‘you don’t come off, in some way, a spoiled and entitled brat by saying I’m not going to play.

There’s a lot to unpack here, aside from the absolute absurdity of the comment. 

First and foremost, there’s a difference between what a frontline worker does and what an NBA basketball player does, as spelled out by Orlovsky’s colleague Domonique Foxworth.

“I think it’s kind of an absurd analogy,” Foxworth said. “The people that have to do it is because we have to eat. No one has to play basketball. We don’t have to watch basketball. It’s terrible that some people have no choice in this matter, but that doesn’t mean Damian Lillard has to play basketball.”

Exactly. And who are you calling a spoiled brat, anyways? To call someone a spoiled and entitled brat for not wanting to play meaningless games when there doesn’t have to be any basketball right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic is a spoiled and entitled brat thing to say. Isn’t it? 

Plus, if the Blazers were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention and this were the regular season, chances are people would be just fine with the team’s franchise player who will be making supertax money sitting out a few games that literally mean nothing. It’d likely be questioned if he didn’t sit out. 

It’s not spoiled, it’s not entitled— it’s a calculated business decision. 

Think before you speak next time. You wouldn’t want someone to think you were spoiled and entitled. 

Damian Lillard explains how he'd structure the NBA's return

Damian Lillard explains how he'd structure the NBA's return

One day after making national headlines for telling Yahoo! Sports NBA Insider Chris Haynes that he will not play when the NBA resumes the season unless the Trail Blazers have a real shot at making the postseason, Damian Lillard joined Jalen and Jacoby where he clarified his comments.

"It was taken out of context because it was a casual conversation," said Lillard. "It was like expletive this and expletive that but it wasn't a demonstrative statement. I was just saying we've been off for two months and if we come back we want to play for something."

Later in the appearance, Jacoby asked the Blazers' franchise player if he could structure the NBA's return what shape would it take? 

If I could I would design some type of play-in tournament between all the teams that were in striking distance because Sacramento was playing their best basketball of the season, so was New Orleans, and so were we. And none of those teams were in the playoffs but we were within striking distance with enough games left in the season to catch Memphis. So I feel like a play-in tournament would be perfect. - Damian Lillard

The Blazers had possession of the ninth seed in the Western Conference when the NBA season got suspended indefinitely on March 11, sitting 3.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the final playoff spot. However, both the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings had one less win and one less loss than the Blazers, making them both also 3.5 games behind the Grizzlies. 

Earlier in the day, ESPN's Ramona Shelbourne and Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the NBA's considering bringing back 20 teams, including the four teams within striking distance of the eighth seed in Portland, New Orleans, Sacramento, and San Antonio. 

[RELATED]: Trail Blazers path to the playoffs takes another step forward

Lillard did also mention if the NBA just goes straight to the postseason and takes the top-16 teams, then he'd be disappointed but able to accept the decision. 

"Just because we were within striking distance and had enough games to get into the playoffs but to that point, if they did decide that you know, we just going to go straight to the playoffs obviously we would all be disappointed but to this point we haven't performed to be in that top-eight so if that's the case then fine. But if we are going to come back to play games I feel that would be harder on everybody else."

Lillard originally said he'd want a chance to make the postseason at the end of March in a zoom press conference where he stated that the league should implement a play-in tournament similar to March Madness.

"When the season does come back, I feel like it’s only right that teams get a chance to make a playoff push, like ourselves, give us a chance to get in. Or, some type of tournament style where it’s fair," said Lillard. "It’s obviously gonna be a different situation than it has ever been, so maybe they should do something that has never been done. Or something that is going to make this year very unique like it already has been."

Will Lillard get his wish? It's looking likely, especially since the NBA will do everything in their power to get Zion back on the court who currently sits below the Blazers in the standings.

[RELATED]: Why the Trail Blazers' best bet to make the postseason is Zion Williamson

You can watch Lillard's full answer below.

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

Damian Lillard’s Dame 6’s shoe ranked among the best in the NBA

Damian Lillard’s Dame 6’s shoe ranked among the best in the NBA

Damian Lillard doesn’t just have game on the court or in the studio, but clearly his shoe game is at an elite level.

On April 14, 2014, Lillard signed a contract extension with Adidas for 10 years worth approximately $100 million. This was a very smart move from the three-stripe global brand for what has occurred for the past six years and what is to come.

Damian has proven to be not only an amazing basketball player, but a great partner, member of the community and someone who creates excitement for our products. His leadership and commitment to success on the court and his ability to interact and relate to fans through social media and the community make him the perfect fit to be one of the cornerstones of the adidas brand. — Adidas head of global basketball sports marketing Chris Grancio 

In 2015, Lillard’s frist signature shoe dropped: the DLillard 1’s. Now, Lillard has six shoes under his name. 

Mike D. Sykes of ‘For The Win’ ranked the NBA’s player signature shoes from best to worst, with Dame coming in at No. 3 on the list.

1. Kyrie Iving’s Kyrie 6’s (8.5/10)

2. Paul George’s PG4 (8/10)

3. Damian Lillard’s Dame 6’s (7.5/10)

Lillard's sneaker line has always been a model of simplicity and consistency. They go with what works in modern sneaker design. Sure, it'll never get you a 10. But you'll never fall below a 5 or so. That's a win! — Mike D. Sykes

Click here for completed list.

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

Why the Trail Blazers' best bet to make the postseason is Zion Williamson

Why the Trail Blazers' best bet to make the postseason is Zion Williamson

The NBA season has been suspended since March 11 and the lack of games has cost the league millions.

That number could climb into the billions if the postseason doesn't happen in any capacity, which is why the NBA playoffs will almost assuredly get played. But in what form?

Many different variations have been speculated, including playing out the remainder of the regular season which seems unlikely to heading straight into the postseason using the standings as of March 11. No team outside the conference's top-eight was closer than 3.5 games from making the postseason, so that seems decently fair.

But the NBA wants to maximize revenue when it returns to minimize the league's losses.

In a league driven by star power, the NBA may shift to a model that allows some of the NBA's biggest stars to return to the court even if they were most likely going to be on the outside looking in. That mindset, as reported by NBC Sports NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh, could be a determining factor for the league bringing back more than 16 teams to allow Zion Williamson to draw more eyes to the games.

Zion Williams has quickly become one of the most popular players in the NBA. According to Variety, 2.36 million people tuned in for his debut game despite Williamson operating on a strict minutes restriction. Zion's first matchup against LeBron on TNT drew 2.24 million viewers while an Eastern Conference Finals rematch Bucks-Raptors earlier that night only had 1.15 million tune in. 

As fun as Ja Morant and the upstart Memphis Grizzlies are, everyone besides those living in Memphis would rather watch Zion take on the Lakers for four games than the Grizzlies. But the NBA can't just put Zion into the field of 16 as the Pelicans are 3.5 games behind Memphis for the final playoff spot, but they can expand the field of teams to fit in the Pelicans. Which by consequence would include the Portland Trail Blazers who have one more win than the Pelicans but one more loss for a winning percentage barely higher than New Orleans'.

In fact, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday afternoon that the Blazers are one of the four teams being explored in potential NBA return plans. 

NBC Sports Northwest Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes later reiterated that the Blazers having one more win than the Pelicans could be the difference between returning to the court or not. 

Damian Lillard told Yahoo! Sports NBA Insider Chris Haynes on Tuesday that he would only participate in any more games this season if the Blazers have a real opportunity to make the postseason. 

If we come back and they're just like, 'We're adding a few games to finish the regular season,' and they're throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don't have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I'm going to be with my team because I'm a part of the team. But I'm not going to be participating. I'm telling you that right now. And you can put that [expletive] in there. — Damian Lillard

[RELATED]: Damian Lillard is sending a message to the NBA -- give us a shot at playoffs

The Blazers could be a dangerous team if they get the chance due to the return of Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins to the lineup, as reported by AJ McCord of KOIN.

The NBA announced this past Saturday that they have entered negotiations with the Walt Disney Corporation to play out the rest of the 2019-20 season at its ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.

[RELATED]: NBA in talks with Disney to resume season late July in Orlando

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

Trail Blazers path to the playoffs takes another step forward

Trail Blazers path to the playoffs takes another step forward

Safety has been and will continue to be the forefront of all the decisions leading to a return for the NBA. Safety for the players, coaching staff, spectators, media, etc. 

But what about the families of the players and coaching staff? With talks of the NBA resuming play at the ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World Resort in Orland, Florida, it was reported today by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne that family members may be able to join players in that Orlando bubble.

“Conversations have centered on the timing of family arrivals at Walt Disney World Resort, which are likely to start once an initial wave of teams are eliminated and the number of people within the league's bubble decreases, sources said,” reported by Shelburne and Wojnarowski.

The safety measures and coronavirus testing for the players will be the same for family members.

Here is the latest conversation on a potential timeline for return, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania:

Additionally, it was also reported that a potential playoff picture would include 16 teams plus the four Western Conference bubble teams: Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, New Orleans Pelicans and San Antonio Spurs.

More teams from the Western Conference compared to the Eastern Conference.

“Commissioner Adam Silver has calls set with the league's general managers on Thursday and the board of governors on Friday, where officials are continuing to discuss variations of plans that include a play-in tournament, pool play bracket and regular-season games moving into the playoffs.

The NBA has yet to formally rule out the idea, but teams have become increasingly skeptical of the league bringing back all 30 teams to complete the season,” sources told Shelburne and Wojnarowski.

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

Carmelo Anthony, Jordan Brand announce full-ride scholarships for 32 students 

Carmelo Anthony, Jordan Brand announce full-ride scholarships for 32 students 

Carmelo Anthony knows what it is like to struggle. 

The Portland Trail Blazers forward grew up in West Baltimore with drugs and violence in the neighborhood. His father died of cancer when he was two, leaving his mother Mary to support her family with little means to do so.  

But Anthony found his safe place under the basketball hoop.

Hard work, skill and determination earned him the opportunity to commit and eventually play at Syracuse University, where he emerged as one of the best offensive talents in the game.

Now, the future NBA Hall of Famer, is using his presence to enact change. Anthony, an ambassador for Jordan Brand, helped named 32 Wings Scholars on Wednesday. Each student will receive a four-year scholarship to the university of their choice or any post-secondary education program.

Melo congratulated the 32 recipients from New York City, Chicago, Charlotte and Portland in a touching video. 

“Congratulations Class of 2024 Jordan Brand scholars, welcome to the family,” Melo said.

Anthony became Jordan Brand’s first signature athlete in 2003, but has recently shifted his focus to the Wings Scholars program. In addition to his work with Jordan Brand, he established the Carmelo Anthony Foundation, which has helped support disadvantaged youth and families in need.

Earlier this year, the Trail Blazers veteran gifted a Maryland mom a new car after finding out her previous car had broken down, making it tough for her not only to commute to work, but to watch her daughter play basketball.

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon. 

The Trail Blazers, no doubt, will get their chance to fight for playoff berth

The Trail Blazers, no doubt, will get their chance to fight for playoff berth

When the NBA finally figures out what the end of the 2020 season will look like when it gets together, likely in Florida's version of the Magic Kingdom, rest assured the Trail Blazers will have some way, some path, to competing in the playoffs.

It will happen.

This league is smart enough to know that as many of its superstars and their fan bases as possible need to be a part of the NBA’s grand reopening. This is going to be happening in the middle of the summer in an unprecedented time of other sports also launching at approximately the same time -- with no fans present at any of the games. And at least in the NBA, no home games for any team.

Television ratings will be everything. And that’s going to be a dogfight between MLB, the NHL and NBA -- with the NFL looming. Anything that can be done to bring eyeballs to games should and will be done by all the leagues.

That means compelling players and matchups. Storylines. Proven ratings-getters. It also means games that count. Real games. And if teams not currently in the top 16 in the league standings aren't given a chance to somehow play their way into the postseason, they won't be playing meaningful games.

They shouldn't even be there.

The NBA is not shy about attempting to make its product as relevant as possible. It has always done everything possible -- above board and maybe sometimes not above board -- to bring fans the matchups the league thinks people want.

Damian Lillard drew a line in the sand Tuesday, telling the league that if his team doesn’t have a chance to play its way into the playoffs, you won’t see him on the court.

And you can bet the league office listened. But I would also wager that the NBA already knew that not only Lillard, but many of the league’s best and most important players feel the same way. I do not believe the NBA wants any part of a situation that leaves Lillard, or other great players, on the sidelines.

If teams aren’t competing for a playoff berth at some point, they’re just playing exhibition games -- and the best players don’t bother much with non-counting games.

So there will be a mechanism for several teams -- not just the Trail Blazers, who should be rejuvenated by the presence of Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins -- but several other teams on the fringes of a playoff berth to have a shot at the playoffs.

The league wants Damian Lillard to play meaningful games. That translates into TV ratings.

Something else does, too -- and it plays into Portland’s playoff chances. Obviously, LeBron James is a ratings monster and the NBA was hurt all season by James playing on the west coast, making his games difficult to watch in the east. Ratings suffered.

And the league’s new ratings monster is Zion Williamson. Everyone knows this and you can’t talk to many people around the league who don’t believe that Zion makes a playoff/play-in scenario a necessity.

And guess what? The Trail Blazers have one more loss than Williamson’s New Orleans Pelicans but also one more win and thus, if league standings are frozen now and used to determine playoff eligibility, Portland is one single, scant percentage point ahead of the Pels in the standings.

I don’t see any way the entire remainder of the schedule will be played -- there isn’t enough time. Something will be done based on the standings as they sit now.

So if Zion is in, the Trail Blazers are in. It’s that simple. You can’t put New Orleans in without putting Portland in. 

The league needs Zion and Dame -- and I just can’t see any way they will be left out.

It won’t happen. They will get their chance. Maybe not a great chance, but a chance.

Blazer5 remains undefeated after a wild series against Bucks Gaming

Blazer5 remains undefeated after a wild series against Bucks Gaming

Blazer5 Gaming improved to 3-0 on the season following a 2-1 victory over Bucks Gaming on Tuesday.

However, Game 1 was equal parts historic and controversial.

Nidal "Mama Im Dat Man" Nasser put on a performance for the ages. 

He scored 31 of Blazer5's 33 points in the first quarter, setting an NBA 2K League single-quarter scoring record. 

Nasser's performance gave Blazer5 a 21-point lead after the first quarter, but he was just getting started. 

Nasser scored another 13 points in the second quarter, and by the end of third quarter he had 71 points. 

With one quarter left to play, Nasser was just 14 points away from breaking the single-game NBA 2K League scoring record. To make it more impressive, the record 84 points were scored in a double-overtime game, and Nasser was about to do it in regulation.

But Bucks Gaming decided to game the game, and prevent Nasser from setting the record. 

The Bucks began to hold the ball, not trying to score at all, opting instead to willingly take shot clock violations. In doing so they limited the number of possessions Blazer5 had down the stretch, thus hurting Nassers chances of breaking the record. The tactics didn't sit well with fans or players around the 2K League.

When it was all said and done, Blazer5 picked up the 105-62 victory in Game 1, and Nasser scored 77 points, a league record for points scored in regulation.

But you gotta play an entire series, so there was still work to be done. 

Bucks Gaming, despite there unprofessional finish to Game 1, should be given credit for the way they bounced back in Game 2. 

They looked nothing like the team that lost by 43 in Game 1. Instead, they rebounded in a big way to upset Blazer5 and force a decisive Game 3.

In Game 3, Blazer5 took care of business, leading most of the way and picking up the 71-65 victory to win the series and improve to 3-0 on the season.

No matter how the series played out, no one can get past what happened in Game 1. 

History for Nasser was robbed by petty gaming tactics from Bucks Gaming. Lucky for Blazer5 and Nasser, the entire league was watching. 

Bucks Gaming may have unintentionally made itself the arch-enemy of the entire league. 

As for Blazer5, they once again showed why they are one of the best teams in the league and are nearly unstoppable when the reigning MVP gets going.

Can they keep the hot streak going and improve to 4-0?

We'll find out on Wednesday when they take on Knicks Gaming,

You can catch all the action on the NBA 2K League's Twitch and YouTube channels at 4pm.

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon. 

 

Blazer5 Gaming remains undefeated after a wild series against Bucks Gamings

Blazer5 Gaming remains undefeated after a wild series against Bucks Gamings

Blazer5 Gaming improved to 3-0 on the season following a 2-1 victory over Bucks Gaming on Tuesday.

However, Game 1 was equal parts historic and controversial.

Nidal "Mama Im Dat Man" Nasser put on a performance for the ages. 

He scored 31 of the Blazer5's 33 points in the first quarter, setting an NBA 2K League single-quarter scoring record. 

Nasser's performance gave Blazer5 the 21-point lead after the first quarter, but he was just getting started. 

Nasser scored another 13 points in the second quarter, and by the end of third quarter he had 71 points. 

Sitting on 71, Nasser was just 14 points away from breaking the single-game NBA 2K League scoring record. To make it more impressive, the record 84 points were scored in a double-overtime game, and he was about to do it in regulation.

But Bucks Gaming decided to game the game, and prevent Nasser from setting the record. 

The Bucks began to hold the ball, not trying to score at all, opting instead to willingly take shot clock violations. In doing so they limited the number of possessions Blazer5 had down the stretch, thus hurting Nassers chanced of breaking the record. The tactics didn't sit well with fans or players around the 2K League.

When it was all said and done, Blazer5 picked up the 105-62 victory in Game 1, and Nasser scored 77 points, a league record for points scored in regulation.

But you gotta play an entire series, so there was still work to be done. 

Bucks Gaming, despite there unprofessional finish to Game 1, has to be given credit for the way they bounced back in Game 2. 

They looked nothing like the team that lost by 43 in Game 1, Instead, they rebounded in a big way to upset Blazer5 and force a decisive Game 3.

In Game 3, Blazer5 took care of business, leading most of the way and picking up the 71-65 victory to win the series and improve the 3-0 on the season.

No matter not the series played out, no one can get past what happened in Game 1. 

History for Nasser was robbed by petty gaming tactics from Bucks Gaming. Lucky for Blazer5 and Nasser the entire league was watching. 

Bucks Gaming may have unintentionally made itself the arch-enemy of the entire league. 

As for Blazer5, they once again showed why they are one of the best team in the league and are nearly unstoppable when the reigning MVP gets going.

Can they keep the hot streak going and improve to 4-0?

We'll find out on Wednesday when they take on Knicks Gaming,

You can catch all the action on the NBA 2K League's Twitch and YouTube channels at 4pm.

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.