LeBron James ... LeBron Jaaaaaaaaaaaames
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There have been several new narratives in this early NBA season. The NBA’s ratings are up over 30% this year, that compares favorably to dismal ratings for the NFL. No one can pinpoint the difference yet, but the Shock Exchange will bet some troll will blame the national anthem protests. The Boston Celtics have the best record in the eastern conference, and Kyrie Irving is an early favorite to win league MVP. Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks are emerging as bona fide stars. If Kyrie slips or if the voters decided to snub LeBron James again then these two could be waiting in the wings for carry home the MVP trophy.

The other major narrative is that the Cleveland Cavaliers appear to have regained their championship form. They started the year off slowly, and that Kyrie trade looked rather suspect. They replaced a young superstar with aging Dwyane Wade, a brittle Derrick Rose and an injured Isaiah Thomas.

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Dave McLenamin appeared on ESPN’s The 6 with Michael Smith and Jemele Hill. He broke down the keys to the team’s success:

Let’s start with the Cavs 3-point shooting. The last 13 games they have made 10 threes or more … Kevin Love is shooting around 40% from three but he’s also working in inside shots. Then you think about Dwyane Wade … He’s averaging 6th in the league in points per game off the bench (around 13 per game) over the last seven games he has been in double figures and he was a great the other night against Chicago, scoring 24 points on 9/13 shooting. Then it’s the defense … LeBron’s individual defense has gotten a lot better. The Cavs team defense that at one point this year was the worst defensive efficiency in NBA history through 12 games now has held eight of their last 12 opponents to 45% from the field or worse.

You put all those things together and the Cavs are looking like a contender once again … Watch out the rest of the league the Cavs are back on track.

The Cavs are awaiting return of their best defensive big man, Tristan Thompson, and Isaiah Thomas who have both been injured. Thompson brings toughness and defensive intensity and can make an open layup with nobody guarding him. If Isaiah Thomas can return to the form he showed when he led the Celtics to the eastern conference finals then it could be wrap for the East.

At 17-7 the Cavs at three-and-half games back of Boston. The Shock Exchange always look at the 25 game mark to determine if early season narratives will play out. At the end of the day, the eastern conference finals will likely feature the Cavs and the Celtics with Kyrie and Isaiah Thomas in different uniforms. The question remains, “Does either one have the star power or stamina to outlast the Warriors in a seven-game series?”

 

On Trump And The Global Economy

The second installment of Trump And The Global Economy Town Hall took place October 24th in Fort Greene. It Featured Professor Lance Brofman, Coconut Rob (Coconut Rob Smoothies), Wuyi Jacobs (AfroBeats Radio) and Ralph Baker, author of Shock Exchange: How Inner-City Kids From Brooklyn Predicted the Great Recession and the Pain Ahead.

The event was well-received by the community. We parsed through President Trump’s proposed tax plan and [i] how it was pure economic folly and [ii] high net worth individuals could potentially game the system by shifting income around. Apparently, Kansas Coach Bill Self did this when the state of Kansas cut taxes in the past. We discussed the pros and cons of technology on workers and the economy. How will the economy and country prosper under Trump’s leadership vis-a-vis Obama? What’s behind the verbal sparring with black athletes, ESPN’s Jemele Hill and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un?

 

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