Game Previews for 2/28/10

February 28, 2010

The Love of Two Giants

Here’s some short and brief previews of today’s games:

Phoenix Suns (away) vs. San Antonio Spurs – This game already started but it should be a good game between one of the greatest power forwards of all time in Tim Duncan and one of the greatest point guard of all time Steve Nash.  The fast paced Suns are going against the fundamentally sound Spurs so it’ll be a clash of two completely different playing styles.  I predict Spurs will win.

Denver Nuggets (away) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (12:30 PT) – Two western conference powerhouses coming together at Staples Center which could be a Western Conference Finals preview.  Another game where Ron Artest needs to be Ron Artest and wreck Carmelo Anthony and stop him from scoring.  Chauncy Billups is also going to be a problem too for the Lakers since they don’t have any strong point guards.  I predict Lakers will win though simply because its the Lakers.

Washington Wizards (away) vs. New Jersey Nets (3:00 PT) – Completely different from the last game, this one is between two teams in lower levels of the Eastern Conference.  Al Thornton has been showing his skills ever since being traded to the Wizards and could go off on the weak Nets.  But the Wizards don’t have any centers strong enough to contain Brooke Lopez.  I predict Nets will get their 7th win of the season here because I like seeing the underdogs win.

Milwaukee Bucks (away) vs. Atlanta Hawks (3:00 PT) – This could be a playoff preview game.  Branden Jennings who has taken the ashes of the Bucks and turned them into contenders is facing against the beastly Hawks.  Andrew Bogut vs. Al Horford is going to be fun to watch.  I predict Hawks will win.

Miami Heat (away) vs. Orlando Magic (4:00 PT) – Another playoff preview match between the good friends of Dwayne Wade and Dwight Howard with their supporting cast.  Vince Carter needs to come back and be the Vince Carter of old while the Heat just needs to put it together.  The Heat are under .500 right now and needs this game to get back to a non losing record.  I predict Magic will win and Dwight Howard will posterize Jermaine O’Neal +5 times.

Toronto Raptors (away) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (4:00 PT)- This is going to be a fun fast paced scoring oriented game.  The Raptors will be raining shots while Kevin Durant is going to make them want to go back to Canada.  Both Bosh and Durant are having MVP like seasons.  I don’t know if Bosh is injured or not though for this game but if he is, the Raptors have Hedo Turkoglu to pick up the slack, hopefully.  I predict Thunder gets the W.

Los Angeles Clippers (away) vs. Sacramento Kings (6:00 PT) – A game between the new Los Angles Clippers and Tyreke Evans and the Kings.  The last time they met, Clippers did not have 3 of their guys playing and still got the win.  But Kings have been .500 playing at home so that could be an advantage for them.  Hopefully Eric Gordon will go off on the Kings and drop another 25 points.  I predict Clippers, yes I’m biased here.

New Orleans Hornets (away) vs. Dallas Mavericks (6:30 PT) – The Hornets are fighting for that 8th seed while the Mavs are going nuts with their new acquisitions in Caron Butler and Brandon Haywood.  They are on a 6 game winning steak and I don’t think the CP3-less Hornets can really stop them unless Marcus Thornton, David West, and Collision all have career nights.  So Mavs ftw tonight.


TWITTER

February 28, 2010

For all of you that still have not done so, follow the Scoops on Hoops Twitter at http://twitter.com/scoopsonhoops.  Real Time Basketball News, better than ESPN!


Fantasy FUN

February 27, 2010

I miss this guy

In the art of blogging for no purpose, I shall post about one of my yahoo! fantasy basketball teams. This team is in a 20 man league where I am currently 5th place and is facing my blogging counterpart this week. I’m currently winning, surprisingly since my team is not really that great.

My team consists of:

– Amar’e Stoudemire (PF,C)

– Shawn Marion (Sf, PF)

– Marc Gasol (C)

– Eric Gordon (SG)

– Andre Miller (PG)

– Shaq (C)

– Anthony Morrow (SG, SF)

– George Hill (PG, SG)

– DeJuan Blair (SF,PF,C)

– DeMar DeRozan (SG,SF,PF)

– Nazr Mohammad (C)

– Donte Green (SG,SF)

– Tony Allen (SG,SF)

The one word I can use to describe this team is INCONSISTENT. Yes, I got Amar’e who can provide over 20 points and 10 rebounds a night but other than that, my team pisses me off. I’m sure all fantasy players can relate but to me, it seems my team is nothing but light switch players. And looking at my team, all I have is a bunch of shooters, no one that can grab me assists, and besides Amar’e, no one that can consistently grab me 10 rebounds a night. It is a travesty.

From bottom to top,
Tony Allen – very inconsistent player who I only picked up because he was doing good in the absence of Paul Pierce. So far, I haven’t found anyone that can replace him and I think Pierce is once again injured so I’ll keep him for a bit to see what he can do. All he does is provide points mostly.

Donte Green – Another person I have only because he can score. Too inconsistent, threw down 31 points several games ago. He’s losing playing time ever since Garcia returned for the Kings so might become useless soon.

Nazr Mohammad – Backup Center for the Bobcats, currently injured, but can be great when he wants. Again, extremely inconsistent. Right before he got injured, he gave me 20 points and 21 rebounds in a night. That’s pretty amazing.

DeMar DeRozan – Another scorer I have. Like Donte Green and Tony Allen, inconsistent as fuck.

DeJuan Blair – Great rebounder but currently been off and not providing the stats that he was giving some weeks ago.

George Hill – Another inconsistent scorer who does not give me any assists whatsoever. Lately he’s been playing well so I can’t complain.

Anthony Morrow – Some weeks he can score over 25 points a game, other weeks, he gives me 25 points period. My team is full of scorers who has on and off nights and Morrow is just another example.

Shaq – Currently injured but was playing well before the injury. I wish he gave me more rebounds though, but I’m satisfied with the 20 or so points a game.

Andre Miller – The only one on my team that can really gets assists and he only averages 5.5. There are some games where can dish out over 10 assists but there’s always a big gap of games in between where he doesn’t do that. But he can score which is fine by me, not as inconsistent as he was in the beginning of the season but feasible.

Eric Gordon – Like Anthony Morrow he can score 25 points a game, but unlike Anthony Morrow, he doesn’t ever score less than 10. Another one of my scoring options, more consistent than the rest of them but still needs fine tuning.

Marc Gasol – Some days he can be like Amar’e, other days, he’s just some Spanish dude taking up roster space. He doesn’t fail with the rebounding though, which is good.

Shawn Marion – Usually one of the best players to have on a fantasy team cause he can do everything but this year, not so much. Consistent scoring, its just never 20 points. Always rebounding, just never over 10 rebounds. And a steal, block, or assist every once in a while. Even though it looks like he doesn’t provide much, he helps keep the team afloat with his consistency.

Amar’e Stoudemire – My star player, a good 25 points and 10 rebounds a game. Usually scores the most points and gets the most rebounds every week unless one of my inconsistent players step for that week. Without him, my team will pretty much suck.

I’m satisfied with my team, I just wished there was a month where they will all play well every single game. But nope, I’m stuck with their ever changing stats.


The New Best Draft Class? Part Dos

February 27, 2010

Continuation of my last post which you can find here, here, and here. This post shall describe the last half of the lottery picks of the legendary 2008 draft class.  The same draft class that lost to the rookies during all-star weekend some weeks ago.  So here you, picks 8-14.

8th Pick?

Who?

Every great draft class has a bust and this white boy happens to be the one of 2008.  His name is Joe Alexander, born in Taiwan, knows how to speak mandarin, and a phantom college career I do not know much about.  At one point he was described as being the next Larry Bird such as other white boys like Adam Morrison and Tyler Hansbrough.  On paper, he was considered the best athlete, having the second best 185lb bench reps, and second fastest sprint time during workouts.  And he was also able to drop 15 points on the Los Angeles Lakers once in his professional career.  Other than that, he was injured, assigned to d-league, still injured, and traded.  Not much else to say about him.

9th Pick

D.J. Augustin

The 9th pick drafted to the Charlotte Bobcats had a great rookie season, averaging 11.8 points a game and showing nice athleticism.  His second season though, he fell off a bit, averaging only a little bit over 5 points a game but that can be attributed to the ridiculous playing time that Raymond Felton is receiving.  Augustin lacks size but he has shown that he is a very smart player.  He knows his rotations, knows his plays, and can play pretty decent defense for a big man.  Just every once in a while a bigger point guard would out power him such as Deron Williams did.  As of right now, his game has a lot of expanding to do, but he can drop a lot of points at once if given the playing time.  An above average pick that still has a long way to go.

10th Pick

Brooke Lopez

The only bright spot of the New Jersey Nets right now.  Hell, he is the only person keeping those Nets afloat in this season.  His averaging of 19 points, 9 rebounds, and almost 2 blocks a game is considered all star level.  A talented center that can be almost Shaq-like in terms of dominance, Brooke Lopez will turn the Nets into a devastating team.  He’s young, he’s playing well, and everyone knows that he is only going to get better as the years go on.  All he needs is a strong supporting cast and this half Hispanic center can send his team to the playoffs and beyond.

11th Pick

Jerryd Bayless

Jerryd Bayless is a shooter, slasher, and volume scorer.  This season so far, he has scored double digits 24 times, one of those times, scoring 31 points.  Right now he’s a great backup guard to the great Brandon Roy and knows how to keep the team afloat when the Blazers starting lineup is benched and resting.  Like the rest of the players in this post, he’s still developing but he has shown many flashes of greatness here.

12th Pick

Jason Thompson

Jason Thompson of the Kings kinda got written off because of the beastmode playing of Tyreke Evans.  Last year he averaged 11.1 points a game which is decent for a rookie.  And this year he is averaging 12.7 points a game which shows slight improvement.  He is a forward center who is notoriously known for his jumpshot.  He is not a stretch 4 like Rashard Lewis or Antawn Jamison because he can’t really shoot treys but he has the long jumper which is good enough.  And Thompson also averages around 8 rebounds a game.  Good big man, I just don’t think hes ever going to be amazing now with Tyreke Evans, Omri Casspi, and Carl Landry running the Kings.

13th Pick

Brandon Rush

This guy can’t really do much besides score.  And even then he only averages 8 points a game.  I’m not disappointed because anyone having to play with a ballhog such as Danny Granger would only average 8 points too.  I don’t watch the Pacers play much but I do know from playing 2K10 that Rush can hit the trey often.  Again, he’s not horrible, he’s not great, and he is part of the late lottery picks where its either hit or miss on who you get.

14th Pick

Anthony Randolph

The 14th pick by the Golden State Warriors and the last person I’ll be writing about in this post.  Some may call him overrated, others may call him the second coming of *insert great player here*.  I do know that he was heavily hyped during the offseason last summer by all the bloggers and media.  And really, those last 8 weeks of his rookie year where he averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds was impressive, I’ll give him that.  But he’s skinny like most of his teammates and extremely fragile.  I believe that he is injured right now.  I never understood the hype, but I can tell that he’s talented and athletic.  He has star potential written all over him, he just needs room to grow.  Which means Monta Ellis can’t keep shooting 30 shots a night and should pass it to the inside once in a while.  Randolph though is just one of those players you want to see get better but you’re not sure if it’ll happen.

So there are the lottery picks of the 2008 draft class.  A nice young group of players where besides one has shown many flashes of greatness.  Some other notable people from this year are J.J. Hickson, the 19th pick chosen by the Cavs.  He’s a good power forward who plays with Lebron.  Then there’s Courtney Lee, the 22nd pick chosen by the Magic and is now playing for the Nets.  And George Hill, the fantastic point guard chosen at 26th by the Spurs, who I also have on my fantasy team and is giving me more points than I deserve.  And from the second round, there’s Mario Chalmers from the Heat and DeAndre Jordan from the Clippers.  Then there’s Anthony Morrow who went undrafted and is also on my fantasy team and gives me a lot of points, inconsistently though but whatever works.  And yes, I believe this draft class will be better than the Lebron and Darko Milicic class of 2003 simply because of all the star power here.


KD

February 25, 2010

29 straight games with 25 points or more. At this age in basketball, that’s seriously unheard of. Yeah players like A.I. and Jordan have done it, but did they do it at the young age of 21? That’s sick! Kevin is stating to doubters and critics that he can play and lead this young Thunder team to the playoffs. Durant MUST and HAS to be placed in the same category as LeBron, Kobe, and Carmelo. The streak of 25 points or more ended at 29 games against the Spurs. Spurs have depth, I don’t blame the Thunder for losing that one. Ginobili had a last second block on Durant which ended the game. Kevin still managed to finish with 21 points, a double double, and 2 steals/blocks. To me, a player who does even just that is impressive.

LeBron and Kevin are now tied for most points per game at 29.8. People favor LeBron James to win the MVP this year and I don’t blame them. James is great, Cavs have the best record, and LeBron does more than just score. If the MVP award were to be handed out today, I’d give it to Kevin Durant. Let me break it down.

Kevin has played every single game so far this season. He has not scored less than double figures. LeBron edges Durant out in assists, steals, blocks, and FG% by just a bit. To me, the stats are similar enough to still choose Kevin for MVP. Let’s look at the one time called “Seattle Supersonics”. The Sonics absolutely stole that draft with KD and trading for Jeff Green. Three years later, the team is in Oklahoma City and they are looking to head to their first playoff appearance in Thunder uniform led by Mr. Durant himself. LeBron took his team to the playoffs in his fourth season. The Thunder and Cavaliers are totally different. This season, the Cavs have former All-Stars Shaq, Jamison, Mo Williams, and probably soon to be Big Z. Not to mention also talented Delonte West and J.J. Hickson. LeBron’s stats is one thing, but cmon’ that team is stacked. Let’s look at the Thunder. Obviously they have All-Star Kevin Durant, rising star Russell Westbrook, and athletic Jeff Green. Now who? There’s no one you can instantly name off the top of your head. Next one I can think of is rookie James Harden who is decent and is a back-up guard! Durant is simply carrying this team with help from only those two players while James has help from every position on his team. The Cavs should have the top seed in the East with that kind of roster. The Thunder are lucky to make the playoffs in the tough West Conference and they probably will. I can’t put Kobe or Melo in this MVP race just yet because they haven’t proved themselves this year.

Yes, the season isn’t over. “Why are you giving the MVP award out so early?”. I just wanted to get my point across that Kevin Durantuala is one of the best in the league today. It doesn’t seem that KD gets enough respect. I believed in this guy since day one. On the other hand, I didn’t believe he would’ve been this great of a player this early in age. Kevin is a franchise player who should be looked at more often. Kobe, Wade,and LeBron are all investment models for companies. The first business to jump on KD won’t regret their decision. Money isn’t just the important key, but Durant is one of the most respectful, nice, and dedicated players in the game.


Ready for the grades?!?!

February 22, 2010

As usual, rumors often become just rumors before the trade deadline. Not too many big deals at all. Other than that, lets recap with all the trades that went down right before Thursday night.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers

Acquired: Antawn Jamison and Sebastian Telfair

Losses: Zydrunas Illgauskas, Emir Preldzic, and a 2010 first round pick

Probably the biggest trade before the deadline was the Jamison deal. This trade surprised me. I thought the Wizards should have known better to make this team a more of a powerhouse than it already is. Don’t let the Bobcat’s whipping to Jamison’s behind fool you tonight. Antawn is a great player. His age might be a concern for the Cavaliers in the long run, but the man can still shoot the ball. Sebastian is currently injured, but I believe he may be a solid third string point guard if Mo Williams or Daniel Gibson gets hurt.

Grade: A-

2.Dallas Mavericks

Acquired: Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, and DeShawn Stevenson

Losses: Josh Howard, James Singleton, Drew Gooden, and Quinton Ross

Butler and Haywood are the main pieces to this Dallas team. Caron gives the Mavs another offensive threat which Josh Howard hasn’t been filling in for and Haywood gives another big body down low who can crash boards and play incredible defense. What I like to see from the Mavericks after the trade is the productivity of their bench. The bench has to be one of the best in the league today with Jason Terry, J.J. Barea, and Erick Dampier are one of the big names not in the starting lineup.

Grade: A

3.Houston Rockets

Acquired: Kevin Martin, Hilton Armstrong, Jordan Hill, and Jared Jeffries

Losses: Tracy McGrady, Carl Landry, and Joey Dorsey

I thought for one thing Houston would try to find another big man to their roster. They found two decent ones, but nothing to go “WOW” about. Kevin Martin was a great pick up for the Rockets. Shane Battier would probably move back to the sixth man spot where he does exceptionally well. Aaron Brooks should be leading this team now that Carl Landry who was probably the Rocket’s best active player this season is now gone. This trade was a great playoff push trade for the Rockets.

Grade: B+

4.Portland Trail Blazers

Acquired: Marcus Camby

Losses: Steve Blake and Travis Outlaw

In desperate need to find a big man, Portland finally came through landing a experienced player. Camby is a solid acquisition for the Blazers since Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla went out. Old Juwan Howard needed a break from playing so much sometime soon. Portland plays an uptempo style which fits perfectly with Camby since he used to play with the fast paced Denver Nuggets.

Grade: B

5.Charlotte Bobcats

Acquired: Tyrus Thomas and Theo Ratliff

Losses: Flip Murray, Acie Law, future first round pick, and future second round pick

The Bobcats are a fun fast paced team to watch. Funny how they can beat the Cavs and lose to the Nets. Tyrus Thomas is a perfect addition to the team. The Bulls were fed up with the kid, but the Bobcats picked up the slack for them by taking Tyrus off their hands for a decent Flip Murray, traveling guard Acie Law, and a first round pick which Tyrus once was. Ratliff was a questionable decision on the other hand. But having a veteran who can protect the paint for some few minutes won’t hurt much for a second round pick.

Grade: A-

6.Milwaukee Bucks

Acquired: John Salmons, Primoz Brezec, Royal Ivey, and a second round picks (from 76ers and Bulls)

Losses: Joe Alexander, Hakim Warrick, Jodie Meeks, and Francisco Elson

With Redd out the whole season, the Bucks look to start fresh with a new roster look. Redd’s contract will be done by the end of this season, so they are trying to find a replacement for him. Salmons is a decent pick up for the Bucks. But these trades to me doesn’t seem to make much sense. Warrick was a solid player for the Bucks. He didn’t have a great jump shot, but his athleticism makes him have skill talent similar to players like Josh Smith or Shawn Marion. I mean, he was a natural forward so I don’t expect him to shoot the ball outside much. Joe Alexander had potential to become a good player too, but the Bucks gave up on him. Milwaukee should have used this non playoff season to experiment young players like Alexander and Meeks.

Grade: D+

7. Boston Celtics

Acquired: Nate Robinson and Marcus Landry

Losses: Eddie House, J.R. Giddens, Bill Walker, and a future second round pick

Nate Robinson as a sixth man for the already stacked Celtics? That’s crazy talk. Eddie House was a great role player for the Celtics. Shipping him and two young players for the 3 time Dunk Champion to me was pretty much a steal. The one problem on my mind is how is Nate going to share the minutes with Rondo or Allen? His minutes will go down for sure. Let’s see how this will work out.

Grade: A

8. New York Knicks

Acquired: Tracy McGrady, Sergio Rodriguez, Eddie House, J.R. Giddens, Bill Walker, and a future second round pick

Losses: Nate Robinson, Marcus Landry, Jared Jeffries, Jordan Hill, Larry Hughes, and a future protected first round pick

The New York buzz is TMAC. Tracy amazed NY in his debut scoring 26 points. I always thought Tracy still had his talent. New York needs all the expiring contracts they can get for the LeBron chase. Having Tracy a former star on the team can bring in ticket sales for the Knicks at least. Also, the Knicks got lucky getting rid of Jared Jeffries and Jordan Hill whose contracts were going to spill into next season.

Grade: B+

9.Chicago Bulls

Acquired: Flip Murray, Joe Alexander, Acie Law, Hakim Warrick, and a future first round pick (Charlotte)

Losses: Tyrus Thomas, John Salmons, and future second round picks

Chemistry issues made the Bulls ship out Thomas. Understandable in some sense, but Chicago took a huge hit on losing a talented player. On the good side, Salmons for Warrick and Alexander was a great trade for the Bulls. Warrick would fill the spot for Thomas and Alexander hopefully can develop in Chicago behind Deng and James Johnson. If Chicago is trying their best to chase after LeBron, I highly doubt it’ll happen. Their chances of landing Dwade is more likely.

Grade: C+

10.Los Angeles Clippers

Acquired: Steve Blake, Travis Outlaw, Drew Gooden, and Cash

Losses: Marcus Camby, Al Thornton, and Sebastian Telfair

Clippers were all about the money in this trade. They didn’t get much, but as they say “every penny helps”. The Clips will be looking busy this off season in the free agent market. Their best addition I thought was Drew Gooden, but rumors are he might get bought out. Other rumors are that he might stay. If he stays, I see Drew getting some good minutes to show off his role player model. Blake should be starting, but of course LA has Baron as their starter. Outlaw is out. In the end, it comes out to just Benjamins.

Grade: C (If Gooden plays)/ D+ (If Gooden gets bought out)

11.Sacramento Kings

Acquired: Carl Landry, Larry Hughes, and Joey Dorsey

Losses: Kevin Martin, Hilton Armstrong, and Sergio Rodriguez

Another team who will make many moves in the 2010 market is the Kings. The loss of Kevin Martin is always backed up by Tyreke’s break out year. I felt that the Kings could have gotten much more for KMART 2. Hilton Armstrong was also a tough loss for Sacramento. Hilton is surprisingly athletic for his size and Houston got a steal for that. Of course, on the upside the Kings received one of the sixth man of the year candidates and expiring contracts. Too bad Carl is now starting and will soon be out of the award race.

Grade: C-

12.Washington Wizards

Acquired: Josh Howard, Quinton Ross, James Singleton, Zydrunas Illgauskas, Al Thornton, 2010 first round pick (Cleveland), and rights to Emir Preldzic

Losses: Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, DeShawn Stevenson, and cash

Washington is making the biggest push to rebuild before the deadline. They didn’t really care if they gave up Antawn. In desperate times, you need to make a move quickly. Big Z will most likely be bought out, but unsure if he will head back to Cleveland. Al Thornton was a nice cheap pick up and everyone else they got had expiring contracts.

Grade: C+

Minor Trade Deals

Memphis Grizzlies

Acquired: Ronnie Brewer

Losses: Protected 2010 first round pick

I just have to say, Memphis had one of the biggest steals of the deadline day.

Grade: A

Minnesota Timberwolves

Acquired: Darko Milicic

Losses: Brian Cardinal

Darko impressed many NBA fans in his debut as a Twolve. This might be his last shot at the NBA. Darko stated he wants out of the NBA after this season and wants to head to Europ to play. After a performance like that, he should think otherwise if he keeps it up.

Grade: A-

Philadelphia 76ers

Acquired: Jodie Meeks and Francisco Elson

Losses: Royal Ivey, Primoz Brezec, and a 2010 second round pick

Jodie Meeks was a good pick up for two players who practically do nothing for the 76ers. A second round pick would be pushing the Meeks trade outcome. If Philly ends up getting a high pick in the draft, the Bucks would benefit if they picked up a great player. Right now the 2010 mock draft says Greivis Vasquez from Maryland would be the Bucks pick. That’s bad on Philly’s note since Vasquez averages pretty good stats all across the board.

Grade: B-

San Antonio Spurs

Acquired: Protected 2010 second round pick

Losses: Theo Ratliff

Ratliff is old. The pick is protected. Spurs are slipping quickly out of the playoffs. If somehow the Spurs are in the lottery and get a high pick, they will regret it just a bit.

Grade: C-

Utah Jazz

Acquired: Protected 2010 first round pick

Losses: Ronnie Brewer

Why?!?! This was just plain idiotic. Ask Deron Williams and see how he feels.

Grade: F



The New Best Draft Class? Part One

February 21, 2010

Everyone nowadays considers the draft class of 2003 as the greatest draft class of the era. I can’t blame them though because of all stars like Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, David West, and Josh Howard. Along with great role players in Chris Kamen, Kirk Hinrich, Boris Diaw, and Travis Outlaw, this was the probably the best draft class to play with in 2K9. And like every great draft class, there’s a big bust in there in Darko Milicic. There’s a new greatest draft class of this era though in 2008. The draft class that produced Derrick Rose, Michael Beasley, and much others has probably the best lottery picks ever.  Today, I’ll name the first 7 picks, and the last 7 lottery picks in a future post.

Number One Pick in 2008

Derrick Rose

Averaging 19.8 Points a game right now and is the reason that the Bulls who everyone thought fell off at the beginning in the season are now playoff contenders.  His leadership qualities and athleticism has earned him a spot on the all-star team this year.  Rose is not going to duplicate the greatness of Michael Jordan for Chicago but he is now the undisputed star of the team and has the ability to bring the Bulls great success.  Him and Joakim Noah are one of the best guard/big duos out there right now and have really put a bright spot in Chicago in the post-Jordan years.

Second Pick in 2008 Draft

Michael Beasley

The number 2 draft pick in the 2008 draft pick is Michael Beasley who is having a great sophomore year.  He currently averages 16.3 points a game and 6.6 rebounds.  As of right now he is currently the second best player in the Miami Heat after Dwayne Wade.  And if Dwayne Wade was to leave Miami this summer, that would make Beasley the star player of the team which I think is a position he can handle.  His jump shot, freakish athleticism, height, and abilities to play both forward positions makes him a Kevin Garnett-esque player.  Like all the players I’m listing, Michael Beasley is a future All-Star in the making and like Derrick Rose, can carry his team far into the playoffs on his own if given the chance.

3rd Draft Pick

O.J. Mayo

The USC star who has a name that makes you hungry.  Mayo was one of those highly touted prospects that scouts were following since the age of 13.  I consider him one of those star shooting guard players in the model of Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter, Allen Iverson, and Kobe Bryant.  Of course, Mayo hasn’t done much so far in his career to be named with the rest of those future hall of famers but he has shown the potential.  Right now his game is raw, but with a few years of refinement, he can and will be the franchise player, knocking down game winning shots all day.  Mayo just needs to not let his hype get in his way and improve on his own pace before he can become the top dog in the NBA.

4th Pick

Russell Westbrook

This UCLA Bruin is the Robin to Kevin Durant’s Batman.  He’s the starting point guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder and currently averages 16 points, 7.5 assists, and 5 rebounds a game.  He’s an excellent scorer and terrific second option on a rising young team that is mos def bounded for the playoffs.  And as of right now, I see Westbrook as a star only in the Scottie Pippen vein.  Like Pippen, he is a great player but proves more effective when he is not relied on as the number one option on the team.  So yes, he can become a future all star in the future but he just does not seem like a player that can lead a team.  The Thunder are lucky to have him on the team though.  Westbrook just needs to keep improving his point guard game and keep creating shots for his teammates more often.  Once he gets that down, him and Kevin Durant will be the most unstoppable duo of the new era.

5th Pick of 2008

Kevin Love

Another UCLA Bruin.  Besides having an awesome name, Kevin Love is a star in the making too.  This season, after a pretty big injury, Love is averaging 15 points a game and 11.3 rebounds.  For a white boy power forward that plays alongside Al Jefferson, another beastly rebounder, those numbers are impressive.  Unlike Westbrook, Kevin Love does not play the sidekick role to Al Jefferson.  Instead, the both of them are a tandem that clogs the middle, making it unapproachable to the likes of slashers and dunkers.  Jonny Flynn must be having a blast out there having two big men to pass to that can handle the post equally.  Kevin Love also has a nice jump shot that is pretty beastly too.  Even though the T-Wolves suck right now, Love has been a bright spot.  Give the team some wings, more time to learn the triangle, and they will be a new force in the West.

6th Pick

Danilo Gallinari

The 6th pick from Italy was supposedly a bust in his rookie year because of injuries.  But after coming back from his back injury, Gallinari showed the world his sharpshooting skill and became one of the best 3 point shooters in the league right now.  Averaging 14.3 points a game and .395 3-point shooting percentage, Gallinari is the only thing the Knicks have for them this summer that’s a for sure.  But the Knicks have made him a desirable teammate to have.  Every player would like a 3 point beast out in the perimeter to throw the ball to on any given notice.  Of course, Gallinari will never be anything else other than a sharpshooter unless he learns some hardcore defense a la Bruce Bowen status.  But right now, his future is bright.  Who knows whats going to happen this summer with the free agents, the only thing for sure with the Knicks is that they have a great role player in Gallinari.  He kinda sucked in the 3 point contest though but I’d say he was a star compared to the dunk contest.

7th Pick

Eric Gordon

The 7th pick is Eric Gordon, the future of the Los Angeles Clippers along with Blake Griffin.  Eric Gordon is a shooter who can get to the hoops and also plays beastmode defense. This year alone, he was able to shut down Allen Iverson, Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant, Brandon Roy, and Dwayne Wade, leading the supposedly lowly Clippers to nice winning streak early in January.  Being the only bright spot his rookie year in a pathetic Clippers season that ended in 19 wins, Eric Gordon has shown that he is the future of the team.  Currently second in scoring by averaging 17 points a game, Gordon has the skills to explode into a 30 point game on any given night.  Right now his ball handing skills are a work in progress which leads to many turnovers but that is something that can be worked on.  His shy demeanor also makes it hard for him because he does not get that many calls from the refs that he should be getting.  There are times when Gordon can be decked in the face and the refs still would not call a foul.  In several years time though, Gordon is going to be a destructive force in the Clippers and a top shooting guard.

Here’s the first 7 picks of 2008, and all of them are great players.  All have the potential to become future all-stars and become a powerful option on their team.  I’m going to get through the rest of the lottery picks of this draft class along with honorable mentions next time and it is not going to be as great as the first seven.  There are good players there but this first seven is just amazingly great.  In a couple years, the 2003 draft class will become just a forgotten bunch of stars with barely any champions on there while 2008 will have a bunch of players leading their teams in the playoffs.

And yes, I saw the rookie-sophomore game and this class lost to the rookies.  But with Westbrook and Beasley taking half of the sophomore’s shots and not playing coherently, they practically gave it to the rookies.  Derrick Rose was also not there distributing the ball which also hurt.  But like other all star weekend festivities, the game did not really matter.  At least it didn’t suck like the Dunk Contest.  Dontletshannondunk.com plz