It's Dame's fault that Grant and Ahmer started exchanging novel-length emails on the NBA. (And put your tongue back in your mouth, Pablo.)
What started as a simple email from Ahmer regarding Damian Lillard’s (since-corrected) All-Star snub turned into near-5,000 word back-and-forth about the absurd amount of talent in the West, roster decisions, the playoff races and me showing my soft spot for the Philadelphia 76ers. Oh, and we revised our preseason order-of-finish predictions for each conference. Enjoy. — Grant
AHMER: I feel for Dame here. He has been playing an elite level of basketball since he got into the league, and this year is putting up an impressive line of 21.5 ppg, 6.3 apg, and 4.6 rpg this season. Anyone who watched his walk-off 3-pointer in Game 6 against the Rockets last year knows that Lillard is at least in the All-Star conversation every season. He was an easy Rookie of the Year pick his first year, and deserved that All-Star spot last season.
On the other hand, Lillard plays in the West, which is stacked at the point guard position. Commissioner Silver is considering expanding each roster next year, so it’s clear that becoming an All-Star in this day and age is tough to say the least. There was no doubt that Steph Curry was going to be the starting PG this year. Lillard couldn’t have expected to be voted as an All-Star starter with Steph, Kobe, Blake Griffin, Marc Gasol or Anthony Davis. But who should Lillard have gotten the nod over? His own teammate, LaMarcus Aldridge, is averaging a double-double with 23.6 ppg and 10.3 rpg.
After the starters, the reserves get selected from a coaches vote. Coaches pick two guards, three frontcourt players and two wild cards from their own conference. If I’m a coach in the West, who do I pick? James Harden is putting up MVP/scoring title-caliber numbers this year. Klay Thompson shows up teammate Steph Curry almost every other night, and has won Player of The Week three times this season. I don’t know if I could live with myself for not putting Kevin Durant on that list. Boogie Cousins is sixth in the league in scoring and third in rebounds. LaMarcus has been a reckoning force all season as well. Wild cards? Every coach wants to see CP3 in the All-Star Game, regardless of his numbers this year. So my last wild card pick would fall between Russell Westbrook and Lillard. Entering Thursday night, Westbrook was tied for second in the league in points per game. (Granted, that is with a lot of time off.) I would have picked Lillard personally, but can you blame someone for picking Russ?
The West runs deep at PG outside of Steph, CP3, Russ and Dame though. Mike Conley has led his Grizzlies to an impressive 39-14 record and the No. 2 spot in the West right now. Eric Bledsoe is playing in a three-guard lineup and is still averaging 17 points, five rebounds and six assists per game. Even Monta Ellis has got to be in the conversation as well.
Lillard is pissed off, and in my opinion, rightfully so. I see both sides of the debate, but I think after Steph Curry, Lillard has had the most impact on his team as a PG thus far this season. And I guarantee you he’s not going to let anyone live down the fact that he got snubbed. LaMarcus decided to forego surgery on his thumb to make sure Portland keeps flirting with a top seed in the West. This will be good for the NBA, and even better for my fantasy team.
Sidenote: I want a list of all the coaches that put Tim Duncan in their All-Star lineup. Have they been watching him play? The fact that he was voted in before Boogie is ridiculous. Do they think it is his last season? What were they thinking? Somebody help me.
GRANT: Given that the fans are so centrally involved and this year’s campaign was so #hashtag-heavy, I try not to get too worked up as to whomever is selected for the All-Star Game. But the fact is that 10, 15 and 20 years down the road, the number of All-Star appearances will be part of someone’s Hall of Fame candidacy. So, All-Star Game selections do matter.
I hear you loud and clear on Lillard, and I think Dame should be an All-Star over — wait for it — Kevin Durant. Durant’s enjoying a good-but-not-great season by his lofty standards, and if he had played in 60 percent of his team’s games, I’d be all for his inclusion.
But he hasn’t. Entering the All-Star break, Durant has played in 25 of OKC’s 52 games. Someone who’s played in less than half of his team’s games can’t be an All-Star. I’d be singing the same tune if Durant were averaging 40 points per game. I don’t think it’s too much to ask the NBA to prohibit players that haven’t played in at least half of their team’s games from being All-Stars. This rule would have prevented Lillard’s exclusion in the first place.
As for Duncan, I found his selection to have more merit after reading Sam Amick’s informative piece on Duncan and Coach Pop. Duncan’s been an incredibly steady two-way force for the Spurs at age 38. I completely agree with what Popovich said in the article — without Duncan playing like he’s 29 and not 39, the Spurs are not the No. 7 seed in the West entering the break.
Talking about Duncan and the Spurs reminds me of something even the most ardent NBA fans fail to forget sometimes: the regular season is such a grind. I wrote last week about the Cavaliers and how a strategy of short-term change and long-term patience has paid off for them. It took two and a half months of suffering, but the Cavs look like a legit team.
Teams go through various ebbs and flows throughout the season. It’s OK to not get worried when a team you know is really good (Warriors, Grizzlies, Spurs) hits a rough patch. They have veteran players and good coaches. They’re super-talented and deep. You can’t be awesome every night.
Then there are teams like the pre-Mozgoz/Shumpert/Smith Cavaliers. Even when rumors of David Blatt losing the locker room were swirling and Dion Waiters was threatening to become the first player in history to be murdered on the court by his own teammates, I had to remind myself that they still had moves to make. (Now if it were April and Shawn Marion was still playing major minutes in Cleveland, this would be a different discussion.) It takes time to build continuity. Everyone’s lauding the Warriors for their two-way awesomeness this season, but the Curry-Thompson-Bogut-Lee-Barnes-Green core is in its third season together. Things take time.
So let me ask you this: Which teams are you most interested to see in the second half of the season?
Do you think the Hawks need another wing? Are the supposedly insanely-deep Wizards really that deep, or is a reliance on Rasual Butler an indication you might need additional bench scoring? Just how far will the Pelicans and Thunder go to ensure they make the playoffs? How heartbroken will Knicks, Lakers or Magic fans — sorry, had to — be if they fail to win the Jahlil Okafor Sweepstakes?
Yes, children, that's Tim Duncan playing against the Seattle SuperSonics.
AHMER: Honestly, I agree with you on Durant. I felt weird just typing out that Lillard should have made it over Durant, so I stopped myself. But the thought was with me. It was like, “How can I have any credibility on this blog when I say Durant shouldn’t be an All-Star this year?” But you’re right. I was a little upset when he dropped out of Team USA after the Paul George incident, and he just hasn’t been playing the same this year. I’m glad it’s not only me that gets that vibe.
And I guess you’re right about Duncan. The numbers aren’t there though, but if we’re talking leadership, etiquette and just being an overall class act, then yes Duncan is an All-Star. But so is Dirk Nowitzki — the Mavs were good without Monta, without Rondo, without Tyson Chandler, but they have never been good without Dirk. (Dirk has since been named as the replacement for Anthony Davis.) Weird comparison, but still the same vibe. Without Dirk being Dirk this year, the Mavs wouldn’t be where they are either. I think the ASG would be more exciting if you threw Zach Randolph or DeAndre Jordan into that last big man spot, but that’s just me. But we both stipulate to the fact that Lillard should have been there this year, and I think you know Portland is looking more dangerous than last year.
Like you said, teams take time to mesh together. Everyone knows Steph, Klay and Kyle Korver are shooting a lot of 3s this year. Nobody mentions Wesley Matthews, who is tied with Steph and Korver for most 3-pointers made this season. That’s because Portland has been through its ups (beating Houston last year in the playoffs) and downs, and finally looks like a team that can at least dance with the big boys this season. I like Portland, and would love to see a Portland-Golden State matchup in the West Finals this season. Besides Memphis and Houston (some days), nobody is playing on their level out West.
Teams I’m most excited to see…hmm. I have League Pass so I try to watch most teams as much as I can. I’m intrigued by the Hawks, to say the least. I want to say they need another wing, but every game of theirs I’ve watched doesn’t make it seem like that. It feels like they have four guys who can shoot the 3-ball on the floor at any given time. Al Horford and Paul Millsap are enough of a distraction down low for teams to have to give up open shots to their shooters. I still don’t see them doing anything big in the playoffs. The Hawks have been notorious for regular-season success and postseason regrets for what feels like the last decade. Hopefully Mike Budenholzer can keep this up and prove himself as a legit coach. If they make it past the first round, I think he should take Coach of the Year.
Yes, the Wizards need more help. Their core of John Wall, Bradley Beal, Paul Pierce, Nene and Marcin Gortat is amazing. Their bench is rising to the occasion this year with some great play from guys like Kris Humphries, Martell Webster, Kevin Seraphin and Andre Miller. Again, postseason play is a truly different animal. But, if their starting five can stay healthy, they will be a lot to handle come playoff time. We’re not too far away from the trade deadline, but I don’t see the Wiz budging on their lineup. Matter of fact, I don’t know who will make any moves before the deadline. It kind of feels like all of the noteworthy moves of the season have already been made, don’t ya think?
I’m also going to keep a close eye on Phoenix, Toronto, Chicago and Dallas. I think Phoenix still has a shot at taking the No. 7 or No. 8 seed. I wanted Jeff Hornacek for COY last year, but the Suns missing the playoffs probably did him in. Their three-guard lineup is so intriguing to watch. It’s like teams know its coming, but still look like a deer in headlights when Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas start to click.
Toronto was an Eastern Conference contender before DeRozan went out. They held their ground while he was gone, so I’m going to assume that they will be a problem come playoff time. What do you think?
The Mavs and Bulls have been the biggest disappointments for me this year. I thought this was the year the Bulls finally made a big run, but they’re just not playing consistent ball every night. D-Rose is on and off every night, and it feels like either Rose or Jimmy Butler is going to have a good game, but never both at the same time. Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah are holding it down in their frontcourt, but coach Thibs better have something up his sleeve come playoff time.
Same with the Mavs. When they got Rondo, I thought it was all over in the West. I thought they were a team to finally compete with the Warriors, and that Rondo gave them a star-studded lineup. They’re getting there, and it won’t matter what seed they take in the playoffs, but they need something else, right?
I like the Suns for that last playoff spot over the Thunder and Pelicans. But it’ll be an entertaining dogfight to say the least.
I really hoped last season was the last time the Magic made a push for the No. 1 draft pick, but I guess I was wrong. Losing on Okafor would suck, but I still think they could manage. Elfrid Payton is getting his shit together. As long as we match Tobias Harris’ offer sheet, he, Oladipo, and Nik Vucevic are coming together. Maybe Aaron Gordon starts to pan out? Maybe we throw some big money at a free agent power forward? What do you think? I love how far the NBA has come though. Not too long ago, you would never see the Knicks, Lakers, or Celtics trying to get a lottery pick. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. I guarantee you some of those GMs that voted against the reformed lottery system are ecstatic the vote didn’t go through now. If the 76ers get the No. 1 pick, I’m done with the NBA forever, though.
I know I was one of the guys saying the Cavs needed to axe Blatt, but they are now playing like I envisioned them playing before the season. Kevin Love still is working hard to get his numbers back, and that might take some time. His presence alone creates a problem for other defenses, but when he starts hitting shots like we know he can, it’s some beautiful basketball. As a Cavs hater, I only really panicked because I bought season tickets with every intention of trying to flip at least Eastern Conference Finals tickets for a profit. They better not disappoint.
GRANT: I think it’s easy to separate past Hawks failures from this season because of two people: Iso Joe and Mike Woodson. Had Al Horford been playing, the Hawks would have upset the Pacers in the first round last season. Remember, the Hawks led the series 3-2 and were up by five with just over three minutes left in Game 6. Budenholzer proved his legitimacy right there by taking a team that didn’t even want to be in the playoffs to the brink of slaying the East’s top seed.
Atlanta can score on anyone at anytime in the halfcourt right now — they’re sixth in the league in offensive efficiency and first in assist percentage. The Hawks scored at a pretty good rate last April vs. the Pacers’ vaunted defense, and don’t need to run to score — they’re a middle of the pack team when it comes to fast-break points.
You never know what’s brewing at the trade deadline. I’m not sure we’ll see any true blockbuster, but plenty of semi-important transactions happened at the deadline last year: the Pacers trading Danny Granger to the 76ers for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen (woof); Andre Miller being shipped to the Wizards; and Steve Blake getting sent to the Warriors. (Fine, last year’s deadline sucked, though I will say that having spent most of the past three years in Indianapolis, the Granger trade was a HUGE deal. A lot of Pacers people weren’t happy about it, especially after they realized what kind of player Indiana got in return in Evan Turner.)
Toronto isn’t a title contender for me. The Raptors (36-17 at the break) will top their 48-win total from last year easiliy, but if they are matched up against Cleveland or Chicago in the second round, they’re going down. They’re in the good-but-not-good-enough category.
As for Chicago, their pieces don’t totally mesh right. Gasol is a sieve defensively, and I think his “comeback” season has as much to do with Rose’s ever-changing status and Noah’s injuries. Thibs has run Noah and Jimmy Butler into the ground the last two seasons. The one thing they have going for them is they have some guys on their bench — Aaron Brooks, Kirk Hinrich, Mike Dunleavy, Nikola Mirotic, Taj Gibson — who can score. It just feels like that unless Rose can fix his shooting woes — he needs to be shooting better than 30 percent from 3 — they aren’t a Finals team.
Right now, the Mavericks just don’t have enough meaningful depth, and that truth became clear when I watched them play the Warriors recently and saw guys like Charlie Villanueva, Richard Jefferson and J.J. Barea netting major minutes. When Dallas traded for Rondo, I think Mark Cuban & Co. figured it would bog down their offense some, but felt that in the end, their point-of-attack defense would improve. I guess we’ll see in the end. They’re going to have to score at an absurd pace to beat anyone in the postseason. If they draw Golden State or Memphis in the first round, Cuban can push up his summer vacation plans to May.
As I alluded to before, both the Thunder and Pelicans cannot afford to miss the postseason. I think New Orleans is more likely to do something desperate — like trading a future first rounder, Eric Gordon and John Salmons’ contract to Minnesota for Kevin Martin and Thad Young — in order to bolster a bench that’s shaky outside of Ryan Anderson. I think the Thunder will ride things out and hope that Durant and Westbrook’s collective tour-de-force can drag them into the playoffs.
With respect to your Magic, they’re in a good spot. Scott Skiles would not be a popular hire with NBA Twitter, but with the collective defensive potential of Payton, Oladipo, Harris and Gordon, they almost have to go in that direction since none of those guys I just listed are great outside shooters. That’s something they need to shake out. How far can a Payton-Oladipo-Harris-Gordon-Vooch core take them? They seem like they could be next year’s Bucks with the right leadership, but they’ve gotta find some guys that can score.
Who knows, maybe the Magic will luck themselves into the top three and have a shot at Jahlil Okafor, Karl Anthony-Towns or D’Angelo Russell. Maybe they should go after Kevin Love or Greg Monroe or Draymond Green or Wesley Matthews. It’s an interesting time for them.
Karl Anthony-Towns, Kentucky's super-talented freshman forward, would fit in well on the Magic.
AHMER: The regular season is such a grind. I’m willing to bet there will be some major shake-ups in the standings by playoff time. The Cavs have a long ways to go before they can catch Atlanta, but I wonder if Atlanta can keep it up. I feel like I always predict the Hawks to do better than they actually end up doing, but this year I’m going to be a naysayer and let them prove me wrong, not the other way around.
Ironically, Blake Griffin’s injury got Lillard into the All-Star game. I’m sure Lillard’s still pissed about the original snub, and I am willing to bet he makes a poster out of someone during the actual game Sunday. I’m kind of excited to see this Dunk Contest and see what the young bucks got up their sleeve. I’m hoping Oladipo makes it out, but anybody could win that thing aside from Mason Plumlee.
Word on the street is that the Mavs are looking to get Amar’e Stoudemire and Jermaine O’Neal. Not sure what O’Neal gives them, but Amar’e has surprised me this season, and he could give some much needed help to Dirk when Ze German needs it.
On a more pessimistic note, I want to see how each team does at keeping their team healthy for the playoffs. If Thibs keeps it up, Noah and Butler probably will end up getting hurt before it’s time to dance. Griffin and Dwight Howard’s injuries will be big — both of those teams will have their work cut out for them to maintain a good playoff spot. Steve Kerr needs to make sure he has both Andrew Bogut and David Lee ready to rock when the postseason begins, too. Injuries always play a huge role in the playoffs, one way or another.
I went to a Sixers game for the first time Monday night. (I have a goal of going to a game in every NBA arena before I die for a game — Wells Fargo got me to 14. I also told myself I would never pay to go see this godforsaken team, so when I got the text for free box seats, I knew it was time.) Teams really play to the Sixers level for some reason. That was some of the sloppiest ball I’ve seen from the Warriors all season, which begs the question: Were they having an off-night? Or do teams just know in the back of their mind all game that there is no way they will fall to Philly?
Furious George Karl is making a comeback to the coaching world — this time with Sacramento. I’m confused as to what Sacramento’s problem is here. GK was COY in the 2012-13 season. His team was impressive that year (57 wins!), and I think they might have been destined for better than a first-round exit with a healthy team (Gallinari’s injury killed them).
Apparently Boogie’s agents have been vocal about their displeasure with management’s decisions this season, though it appears Boogie has no problem with Karl’s hiring. Although Boogie has matured leaps and bounds compared to last season, he is still known to be an occasional problem child around the league. GK doesn’t deal with bullshit well, and clashed with Melo prior to his departure. Boogie’s numbers would probably go down in a GK system, but he could improve as a ballplayer. I’m interested to see what happens. I always get let down by the Kings, so I’m predicting not even Karl can help that franchise out.
Ray Allen is yet to make a decision on returning to the NBA. How nasty would it be to see him come off the bench in Atlanta? I personally would love that move, but obviously his impact will be pretty low overall. If I had to guess, I would say LeBron is probably working pretty hard to get Allen back in his Boys Club in Cleveland.
GRANT: Aw, man, don’t hate on my Sixers like that. I have a strange fascination with that franchise because Sam Hinkie has burnt everything to the ground since he was hired as GM in March 2013. Know how many of the 2012-13 Sixers are on the current roster? Just Jason Richardson, and he hasn’t played at all the past two seasons because of a knee injury. Even for a league that can be as transactionally-crazy as the NBA, that’s wild.
What’s also crazy is that despite all the tanking talk, Philly is actually getting better. In an article that ran Tuesday, Grantland’s Zach Lowe noted that the Sixers are 12-24 since their 0-17 start, and were 12th in points allowed per possession. (If you want to see real-life tanking, look at the Nuggets, a veteran team who has so plainly given up that their coach has turned to reading books on millennials and rapping in order to snap them out of their funk. It hasn’t worked, as Denver lost 13 of its last 15 contests entering the break, with one of those wins being over the Lakers.)
I think, given the right moves, Philly can be a 30-win team next year. Aside from their own first-round selection — likely to fall somewhere in the top six — the Sixers also own Miami’s first-round pick in the June draft, though the Heat’s pick has top-10 protection. Given Dwyane Wade’s chronic injury issues — he’s skipping the All-Star Game to rehabilitate his right hamstring — it’ll be interesting to see how the Heat handle the rest of their season despite the emergence of Hassan Whiteside.
So, the Sixers could potentially add two first-round picks to a core that already includes a trio of former top-11 selections in Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel and presumably-healthy-for-next-season Joel Embiid. Guys like Tony Wroten and K.J. McDaniels (if he’s around) have proven that they belong in the league. What will be interesting is if Hinkie can convince some established veterans to fit in around the young guys and construct a roster like Milwaukee’s. The Bucks have positioned veterans like Jared Dudley, Jared Bayless and Zaza Pachulia around Jabari Parker (when he was healthy), the Greek Freak and Brandon Knight. (Whether that happened by accident or not is up for debate. But it’s working.)
Anyway, to close this out, let’s revisit our preseason conference order-of-finish predictions and make any necessary revisions. I’ll go first.
Grant’s East Order of Finish
Original: 1 Cavaliers; 2. Bulls; 3. Wizards; 4. Raptors; 5. Hornets; 6. Hawks; 7. Nets; 8. Heat.
Revised: 1. Hawks; 2. Raptors; 3. Cavaliers; 4. Bulls; 5. Wizards; 6. Bucks; 7. Hornets; 8. Heat.
It’s conceivable that I could still get seven out of eight teams right, just in a vastly different order. I have an inkling that Toronto will barely able to hold off the Cavaliers and Bulls. I think the Raptors value the No. 2 spot more than any of the teams chasing them because they feel the that a sold-out Air Canada Centre can give them a much-needed boost in a likely second-round series against Cleveland or Chicago. It’s completely crazy that — barring a complete collapse — Milwaukee will easily find its way into the postseason without Jabari Parker or Larry Sanders. Instead of selling Roy Hibbert, David West or George Hill, I think the Pacers will stand pat and try to make the playoffs without rushing Paul George back, but it won’t be enough to catch Charlotte (who desperately wants to make the playoffs) or Miami.
Grant’s West Order of Finish
Original: 1. Clippers; 2. Spurs; 3. Warriors; 4 Grizzlies; 5. Thunder; 6. Mavericks; 7. Rockets; 8. Trail Blazers.
Revised: 1. Warriors; 2. Grizzlies; 3. Trail Blazers; 4. Spurs; 5. Rockets; 6. Clippers; 7. Mavericks; 8. Thunder.
I think the West’s top two seeds are safe. Even if Andrew Bogut goes down, the Warriors have a four-game cushion on the Grizzlies, who could probably scrape by well enough if anyone aside from Marc Gasol was injured. I think the injuries to Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin will keep the Rockets and Clippers from getting homecourt, especially now that LaMarcus Aldridge put off thumb surgery and the Spurs are getting healthy the the perfect time. I’m a big believer of talent — even if it’s somewhat unorganized and occasionally poorly-coached — winning out, which is why the Thunder, who won five of six entering the break, will take the No. 8 seed.
While Kevin Durant will be trying to make OKC the most frightening No. 8 seed ever, James Harden will fight to keep the Rockets in the top half of the West without Dwight Howard.
Ahmer’s East Order of Finish
Original: 1. Cavaliers; 2. Bulls; 3. Raptors; 4. Wizards; 5. Hornets; 6. Nets; 7. Heat; 8. Hawks; 9. Pistons; 10. Pacers; 11. Knicks; 12. Magic; 13. Bucks; 14. Celtics; 15. 76ers.
Revised: 1. Hawks; 2. Cavaliers; 3. Bulls; 4. Wizards; 5. Raptors; 6. Bucks; 7. Heat; 8. Pistons. 9. Pacers; 10. Hornets; 11. Nets; 12. Magic 13. Celtics 14. 76ers; 15. Knicks.
I think the Hawks have too comfortable of a lead on the No. 1 seed to let Cleveland — or anyone for that matter — catch them. Can’t blame myself for putting the Hawks as a No. 8 seed to start the season though, right? Or did someone else predict they would send four players to the All-Star game this year? I’m not ready to say Charlotte is playing playoff basketball yet, and you can tell there is just something up with that squad. The Nets are probably going to make some roster moves, most of which will affect them negatively. I like the Bucks’ swag right now. What Jason Kidd has been able to do without Jabari Parker this season has been nothing short of impressive. I also like the Pistons for that No. 8 seed. Even though their record since losing Jennings isn’t great, a look at D.J. Augustin’s stats in those games tells me SVG’s coaching is working. (Anyone remember Rafer Alston in the 2008-09 season?). Word is that Paul George could return in the regular season. Although it’s probably a risky decision, the Pacers might be able to sneak into No. 8 spot if he’s able to meaningfully contribute.
Ahmer’s West Order of Finish
Original: 1. Spurs; 2. Clippers; 3. Warriors; 4. Rockets; 5. Mavericks; 6. Nuggets; 7. Trail Blazers; 8. Thunder; 9. Pelicans; 10. Grizzlies; 11. Suns; 12. Lakers; 13. Jazz; 14. Timberwolves; 15. Kings.
Revised: 1. Warriors; 2. Grizzlies; 3. Trail Blazers; 4. Spurs; 5. Rockets; 6. Clippers; 7. Mavericks; 8. Suns; 9. Thunder; 10. Pelicans; 11. Kings; 12. Jazz; 13. Nuggets; 14. Timberwolves; 15. Lakers.
Entering the break, only five games separate the No. 2 and the No. 7 seeds. Every team will need to finish strong and win important games to keep their spot because the Pelicans and Thunder are both hungry. Only teams one through 10 are in playoff contention at this point. It’s hard to predict where the Rockets, Clippers and Mavs finish this season because of their key injuries. Every Western Conference matchup is going to be fun this year.
Ahmer Sheriff is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati and University of Akron School of Law. He currently resides in Philadelphia and works as an Associate Attorney in Southern New Jersey. Sheriff will always have a soft spot for his hometown of Cincinnati, regardless of where life takes him. Follow him on Twitter.
Grant Freking is a graduate of Ohio State University, where he earned a degree in journalism and perfected the karaoke rendition of “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” Freking also contributes to Cincinnati Magazine. Follow him on Twitter.