The Houston Rockets cruised to a Game 1 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder and, as often, it was the team’s offense that carried the day for James Harden and company. While Harden and Russell Westbrook (when healthy) deserve all kinds of recognition for the heliocentric performance they exhibit in leading Houston’s offense, the Rockets do need quality supporting pieces to make the operation work. In addition to Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker, Mike D’Antoni’s system calls for rotation players that can space the floor and bomb away from beyond the arc and, in 2019-20, that means Ben McLemore.
McLemore, who was once considered a leading candidate to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, was floundering in the NBA wilderness when he agreed to a partially guaranteed two-year deal with the Rockets in late July last summer. The former Kings and Grizzlies guard signed for a bargain-basement price, not only to be a part of a title contending team but, presumably, because McLemore’s asking price was limited.
While McLemore does have the pedigree of a top-tier high school recruit and lottery pick, the 27-year-old was something of a punchline in previous stops. As a member of the Kings, McLemore did appear in 293 games in his first four seasons, contributing a bit as a scorer and staying on the floor due to Sacramento’s sizable investment in his development. However, McLemore wasn’t what anyone would describe as a “winning player” during his rookie contract and, with a perilous situation in an unstable organization, it was not a match made in heaven.
From there, McLemore spent a year in Memphis as a “buy low” candidate and, after that experiment didn’t click, he appeared in 19 games during the 2018-19 season for the Grizzlies. In short, it appeared that his days as a well-paid NBA contributor could be numbered and, while talent was never an overarching question for McLemore, his profile never fit snugly with what his previous teams asked him to accomplish on the floor.
Enter the Rockets, with Houston playing a highly specific style and building their roster with undeniable intention. At the time of the signing, plugged-in observers opined that a limited, targeted role could be good for McLemore but, in the same breath, few could have envisioned the success that the former Kansas guard enjoyed in his first season with the Rockets.
McLemore appeared in 71 regular season games, making 23 starts, and he averaged 10.1 points while shooting 40.0 percent from three-point range. At first glance, his box-score statistics don’t look markedly different from previous seasons but, after a bit of closer inspection, McLemore’s performance in Houston really shines with regard to his role and deployment.
First, McLemore’s three-point attempt rate soared with the Rockets and, as part of the NBA’s analytical revolution, that is usually in line with increased efficiency. McLemore attempted a career-high 12.9 three-point attempts per 100 possessions and, with an elite clip of 40 percent, that shooting is exceedingly valuable. In addition, McLemore’s usage rate declined to a career-low 16 percent, mitigating some of his weaknesses with regard to playmaking and turnover avoidance.
In addition, not all three-point attempts are created equal and McLemore serves a very specific purpose within Houston’s system. McLemore attempted 545 shot attempts this season and a whopping 452 of them (82.9 percent) came from beyond the three-point arc. That is already a marked difference from the past, but 388 of the 452 three-point attempts were classified, by Synergy, as “catch-and-shoot” attempts.
That is a sky-high percentage and, with Harden and Westbrook doing the lion’s share of the creation, McLemore was plugged in to perhaps the perfect role for his current skill set. To be fair, McLemore did shoot a quality percentage (38 percent) on pull-up three-point attempts but, on the whole, the Rockets simply asked him to be ready and willing to shoot from long distance whenever the opportunity arose.
It is fair to wonder whether McLemore’s current brand of offense would work in other stops. After all, he is still a soundly below-average playmaker and finisher for his size, and not every team can create the kind of opportunities for three-point shooters that the current Rockets provide. However, there is nothing wrong with a player simply finding the perfect spot to showcase his abilities and McLemore is doing just that in Houston.
As the playoffs continue, McLemore will be under pressure to defend at an adequate level. At this stage, he still grades as a below-average defender according to catch-all metrics, and playoff-level intensity is something different entirely. Still, the Rockets defense didn’t suffer with him on the floor this season and, in fact, Houston was 4.0 points per 100 possessions better with McLemore on the floor this season, including a lights-out 114.2 offensive rating.
McLemore’s 2019-20 renaissance is truly a reminder that, while a player must reach a certain baseline of skill development, it matters greatly how skill sets are developed, nurtured and developed. It is possible that, without Houston as a landing spot, McLemore’s career may still be dormant but, at this stage, it appears as if he has found a niche and, in just one season, a former lottery pick has reinvented himself as a shooting specialist that could be extremely valuable at the highest levels of the sport.
What Makes a Good Online Casino?
A quick search for an online casino will reveal hundreds of results. However, these casinos are not created equally. Some are better than others in many ways. That’s why you cannot settle for the first option that catches your eye. You need to do thorough research to ensure you settle for a casino that will give you a better experience – and some good money in the process.
So, what makes a good online casino?
The truth is that there are many reputable casinos online – and new ones keep popping up with each passing day. But the few bad ones spoil the name for the others. These casinos scam people. They are eager to make deposits but not keen to give players their money back, pay their affiliates, or even stick to their terms and conditions. These casinos – scam or rogue casinos – are exactly the types you want to avoid.
Unfortunately, most of these rogue casinos disguise as good ones. You might have a hard time telling them apart, especially if you are just getting started. To help you make an informed decision, here are some qualities that make a good online casino.
It does not feature in the blacklist
One of the easiest ways to tell a good casino from the bad ones is by looking at different online casino blacklists. Different reputable platforms always release yearly blacklists to protect casino players from gambling scams online. They put bad casinos on a list for everyone to see and ensure no one signs up to any of those casinos in the future. Since these sites differ, chances are you won’t find the same casinos on every blacklist. But the fact that a casino makes the list means they have one or more of these problems:
- Change terms
- Predatory terms
- Slow pay
- Unfair games
- Marketing spam
- Licensing and regulation
Choice of games
As a player, you’ll appreciate the choice of picking whichever game pleases you. That’s why you need a casino that offers more games. Browse around to find the casino games that the provider offers to see if it’s a good fit.
It’s fair, secure, and serious
As you may have noticed from above, many casinos end up on the blacklist for many reasons, including unfairness and security issues. Good online casinos use random number generator that determines the chances of winning. On top of that, they work with third parties to check the fairness of games. What’s more, these casinos display various certificates on their platforms, giving you further assurance that things are conducted fairly.
Has good customer service
You can tell a good casino by how their customer support team treats you when you send a request or inquire about something. They will be willing and happy to serve you. they will also have adequate knowledge to address your concerns and be available 24/7.
Accept your payment methods
A good casino accepts a wide range of payment options, ranging from online payment options to instant bank transfers and even credit card solutions. This allows you to use your preferred payment method and not feel locked out. Stay away from sites that provide limited payment options. Some of them fail to get approved by payment platforms, which by itself is a red flag.
Has a bonus offer
It’s easy to assume bonus offers and other incentives, especially if you are new to the game. However, you should work with a casino that provides a consistent bonus offer and not just a good welcome offer. You’ll need these bonuses even as an existing client. Moreover, the site should provide promotions without deposit, reload offers, and many free spins. Don’t feel limited. Many casino sites offer these bonuses, and if the one in question doesn’t, you might as well keep looking.
Free games and easy registration
As a newbie, the last thing you want is to sign up with a casino that doesn’t provide free games. You need to practice without having to deposit money or fear that you’ll lose money. Free games allow you to practice and be good before playing real money. Additionally, the casino should have a simple registration and easy account opening process. If it’s too complicated, then maybe it’s not the right casino for you.
How Las Vegas became the world’s casino capital
These days, it’s impossible to think of Las Vegas without the image of the lights on the strip and glamorous casinos coming to mind. But the Vegas we know of 2020 wasn’t always that way; and it took a long, long time to get its reputation for being the world’s casino capital. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and get to the root of how Las Vegas became the city that never sleeps.
A historical journey
It’s hard to believe these days, but the Las Vegas region was once an abundant marshland stock full of rich vegetation. That is, until the marsh receded, and the waters disappeared, transforming the landscape into a desert, with the trapped water underground sprouting life and forming an oasis.
It was during the 19th century that the explorer Antonio Armijo from Mexico foraged the way from New Mexico to California on the first commercial caravan. It was a member of the group, Rafael Rivera who rode west to find water and venture through the desert, setting his eyes upon Las Vegas Springs. Las Vegas was therefore named ‘the meadows’ after the grasses found growing there.
Years went on and both Mormon and Mexican settlers began to filter through. In 1890 it was decided by railroad developers that Las Vegas would serve as a spot along the San Pedro, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles railroad route as well as connecting to major cities along the Pacific Coast. From there on, Vegas boomed with stores, boarding houses and saloons popping up around the area. This was the beginning of the Las Vegas as we know it — with railroad workers and ranchers enjoying the gambling and drinking through illegal speakeasies and bootleg casinos operating despite the ban on gambling in Nevada in 1910.
In 1931 gambling once again became legal in the state, with new casinos and showgirl venues opening up along Fremont Street to entertain the thousands of workers who flocked the city during the construction of the Hoover Dam. The first hotel, El Rancho Vegas, opened up in 1941 along Highway 91. Its success inspired others to open up their own hotels along the highway which would one day become the strip. Tourists began to flock to the city over the next few decades to enjoy the casino scene and see incredible artists like Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra perform.
The birth of the mega resort
It was in 1966 the businessman Howard Hughes purchased the Desert Inn hotel; this was followed by over a dozen more hotel purchases, pushing out the mobster-owned hotels that had previously dominated Las Vegas. The concept of the mega hotel came about in 1989 when Steve Wynn opened the Mirage as the first hotel resort in the city. By 1994, Las Vegas was the home of more than 86,000 hotel and motel rooms with 13 of the 20 largest mega resort hotels in the world. It was during this era that the Strip became populated with more hotels and casinos, with developments inspired by the iconic cities and countries of the globe including Egypt, Paris, New York and Rome.
Las Vegas in the 21st century
The Las Vegas of today is well and truly established as a home for entertainment and casinos — which remain the biggest source of income for the city. However, there’s no doubt that Vegas faces more competition than ever before from the virtual world, with more people than ever before opting to play at an online casino, rather than play in the old fashioned way, but Vegas will always have the advantage. For many, it’s a once in a lifetime trip that an online casino can’t replicate, but do the online equivalents help to increase interest in Vegas?
The bright lights of Vegas is attracting billions of dollars in investment as many try and get a slice of the revenue that the sector has to offer. During 2019 over 42.52 million people came to visit Las Vegas from all around the world. Domestically, it was shown to be the second most popular destination for U.S. traveller’s dream spots after New York.
These days, Las Vegas continues to thrive and be a source of entertainment for millions of visitors from around the world looking to experience what the city has to offer. With new generations becoming interested in casino games — and some incredible musical residencies continuing to be announced — Las Vegas surely will continue to be one best places to go for a unforgettable dream destination for many.
What can people find at some of the biggest land-based casinos in Canada? From Niagara Falls to Toronto, there is something for everyone at casinos in Canada, including table games, slots, roulette, blackjack, and other games. There are also many poker and blackjack tournaments held throughout the year and it is easy to find jackpots or slots with free spins at the casinos. Many casinos also have hotels, bars, and numerous restaurants which are perfect for players seeking some comfort. A relaxing casino experience for all ages can be found in many different places in Canada. Choose one from below.
Choosing a casino depends on your tastes and location within Canada. Do you want to experience the grandeur and splendour of nature while placing a bet? Then head to Niagara Falls. Do you want to see a show? Choose a casino with a show that will be perfect for you. If you are looking for pure relaxation, then check out some of the casinos with spas and world-class dining. Entertainment is also a large part of the casino experience in Canada. Musicians, bands, comedians, and other types of entertainment continue to be found at all of the biggest casinos.
Some Big Casinos Near Nature
Casino Niagara is located in one of the most beautiful places in Canada and the world. People from all around the globe come to experience the best of both worlds at Casino Niagara. Players have access to beauty and scenery while spending time at one of the biggest casinos in Canada. The casino has two floors with over 1200 slot machines, poker, and other table games. There are also many different restaurants and even a comedy club. The sports bar and casino was refurbished back in 2017, meaning that it has not lost any of its charm and shine.
ST Eugene Golf Resort: Casino of the Rockies is a golf and nature lovers’ paradise. The location could not be any more splendid. People can find the casino between the Rockies and Purcell Mountains. Furthermore, the casino has an interesting history after it was converted from an Indian Residential School. It was then opened in the early 2000s. St Eugene has table games, electronic roulette, baccarat, and blackjack. There is also a golf course, restaurant, bar, spa, and hotel that is highly rated in Canada. Overall games are limited so most people come for golfing and betting fun.
Caesars Windsor is famously located on the riverbank in Windsor, Ontario. Visitors from both Canada and the States frequent the casino and hotel. Players can see the Detroit and Michigan skyline from the area. There are two floors of slots, table games, and plenty of poker tables. Blackjack, baccarat, and roulette are also available at the casino. It has beautiful restaurants, a gym, bars, slots, and live sports. Check out the Titan 360™, a 10-foot tall slot machine with 5800 pounds of wins at the click of a button. It’s the largest slot machine in the world and great fun.
- Enjoy the size of Casino de Montreal and Hard Rock Casino
- Enjoy the big and beautiful Casino Niagara or ST Eugene Golf Resort
- Enjoy High Culture at Elements Casino Brantford
River Rock Casino Resort – In Transit
Are you passing through Vancouver Airport and have a long transit? Hire a cab and spend some time enjoying slot machines at River Rock Casino Resort. There are slots galore and the different themes make it an enjoyable visit for all. There is even a Dungeons and Dragons slot for gamers. A fourteen-table game room can be found at the casino and international poker tournaments are held regularly. Other features include a VIP area, spa, live music, 24-hour food and drink, as well as other entertainment. Richmond is also worth a quick visit, especially for some delicious seafood.
Casino de Montreal – The Big Gun
Casino de Montreal is 526,488 square feet of casino excitement. The casino has around 20 thousand visitors each day and is one of the biggest casinos on the globe. If you are still unconvinced about the size of the place, then imagine five floors of slots and table games. 3,000 machines and 111 table games make the casino seem even more mammoth. Casino de Montreal games can be played in a smoke-free environment and many players comment on the user-friendly games and helpful staff. Complimentary drinks and top-rated gourmet food is all part of the experience at Casino de Montreal.
Hard Rock Casino – Another Big One
Hard Rock Casino is another large casino located in Vancouver, British Columbia. The casino is over 80,000 square feet, making it a big one in Canada. Hard Rock has gaming tables, slots, baccarat and a poker room. The casino includes 70 casino tables and 1,000 slots. Private rooms and high roller areas are also available. However, the Hard Rock name is known for excellent food and this is what people love about this casino. Many players comment on the quality of the food here. It even has a 1,000 seat theatre, making it great for dining and a show.
Elements Casino Brantford – Enjoy High Culture
Elements Casino Brantford is a historical gem for culture in Ontario. It is a charity casino that was established last century. It includes the Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts, which is a high society entertainment venue in Ontario. The centre is well known to performing arts enthusiasts in Ontario and Canada. Players come to see a show, enjoy some gourmet food and a game. The casino also has plenty of slots, table games, blackjack, baccarat, sic bo, three card poker, roulette, and other games. There is also a 14-table Texas Hold ‘Em poker room. Enjoy all the excitement.
River Cree Resort and Casino – Sports Lovers
River Cree Resort and Casino is a sport and gaming venue located in Edmonton that should not be overlooked. It has 39 tables of various money limits and over 1,000 slots. There are also a few different places to dine while enjoying a bet and other things to experience. There is a fitness centre, spa and a 200 room resort. However, the most interesting feature of this casino is the two hockey rinks, which are often used by the Edmonton Oilers for practice. It is possible to watch the team practice and go for a meal and some gaming fun.
For the ones who fancy playing online we recomend visiting canadiancasino.org!