Best and Off season

July 30, 2010
Just wanted to say something before I start my article. In case you haven’t heard, former basketball star Lorenzen Wright was found dead in Memphis on July 28th. I wanted to take a moment to thank him for what he has contributed to the league. May he rest in peace.

Sorry folks. I haven’t been on here lately due to work and college. Boo hoo…

Anyways, glad you stuck with Peter and I on the blog. We have been getting more followers and attention lately. We thank everyone of you readers out there!

So there has been obviously a huge offseason this year. With the LeBron, Bosh, and Wade trio and big names going to big places like Amare/NYC, it’s time to focus on the minor details to a team. Some teams have been doing a wonderful job sculpting their perfect roster for next season. Some have been taking huge risks. And some just aren’t getting the right message. Let’s get started with a few teams that fall in these groups.

Good Move!

Chicago Bulls – The Bulls took charge this summer. Knowing LeBron fell out of their window, they scooped up Carlos Boozer which is much needed on this team. Carlos will obviously fill a huge role for the Bulls, adding size, experience, scoring, and rebounding. Derrick Rose will definitely have a him as a running partner and so will a few others like Joakim Noah and newly acquired Ronnie Brewer. Ronnie will provide the running offense and will make the Bulls exciting to watch offensively. Kyle Korver was also a huge pick up for Chicago. Adding more depth into their small forward position who’s starter is currently Luol Deng. Korver will bring that 3 point threat and offensive fire power off the new looking bench. Former D-League talent C.J. Watson left the Golden State Warriors and joined the Bulls also. His playing style is also a up-tempo game that fits well with most of the players on the roster. Kurt Thomas was also another addition to the team. Kurt started a few games last season for the Milwaukee Bucks and is one of the oldest players still active in the league today. As a back-up for Noah or Boozer and Taj Gibson with him off the bench, Kurt can be looking at minutes to fill for the loss of Brad Miller going to the Houston Rockets. As a new coach, Tom Thubodeau will be able to have a great start to his coaching career with the current roster Chicago has. Tom is known for great defensive coaching, and for a great offense is a much needed great defense.

Miami Heat – Pat Riley is the answer to all these parties being held in Miami. Getting LeBron and Bosh from the market and getting Wade back on a single team is obviously incredible. When fans started to wonder how and who will be built arouind these three stars was the main concern. Of course, basketball is a team sport, and having only three players won’t cut it. The Heat did exactly or actually even better than what Boston did in 2007. Pat Riley and a few players went to reached out to a many key players that will help build this team’s legacy. LeBron spoke to Big Z which played in Cleveland his whole life and he ends up signing with Miami. Their organization settled contracts with impact players like veterans Juwan Howard, Eddie House, and Mike Miller. Miami also brought back 3-point threat James Jones, veteran point guard Carlos Arroyo, veteran Jamaal Magloire, productive center Joel Anthony, and hustler power forward Udonis Haslem. It’s unbelivable and nearly unfair to how the Heat received these role players. Pat Riley and crew have done an excellent job preparing for the upcoming season. The only goal this fall is to win the title. Period.

Los Angeles Lakers – The Lakers actually had one of the best drafts this year. They had two second round picks and did they put use to it. Los Angeles took Devin Ebanks 43rd overall which in my opinion was a steal and power forward Derrick Caracter was taken 58th overall who impressed during summer league. The Lakers native point guard Jordan Farmar to New Jersey in a 3 year deal and Josh Powell to the Hawks in a 1 year contract. Mitch Kupchak took his time and patience to filling the key areas the Lakers are depleted in. Fisher stayed loyal and came back to the team. LA filled in Farmar’s spot with a more experienced Steve Blake who I believe was a great replacement. Matt Barnes was another addition to the team who can play big minutes behind Kobe and Ron Artest since Sasha Vujacic is mentioned in trade rumors to save money and Luke Walton might miss the season due to his ailing back. Barnes will bring the hustle and defense off the bench with Odom. Lakers also picked up veteran Theo Ratliff who will likely replace center DJ Mbenga and help out Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol down low in the post. Chances of Shannon Brown coming back are still a mystery, but if the Lakers sign their two rookies their depth chart will still be impressive all around.

New York Knicks – The Knicks didn’t get any of the big 2, but that’s okay. Reuniting Amare and coach Mike D’Antoni was one of their better ideas this off season. Amare received a contract worth $100 million over the next 5 years. Stoudemire will perform well, but the biggest concern for all Knick fans is, will he stay healthy? Other than their biggest star addition, the Knicks swapped David Lee for young power forward Anthony Randolph, Azubuike, and Ronny Turiaf. I’m not saying those three former Warriors are better than Lee, but they are a great asset to what the team needs. Randolph is young, athletic, and I believe still has a lot of potential. His game can fit well with Mike D’s run and gun system. Azubuike is the type of player who likes to attack towards the rim and also fits well with the coaching method. Turiaf is an all hustle player. He plays D, scraps for loose balls, and always attempts to block those shots. Another player the Knicks added is Raymond Felton. Felton’s game is solidly polished yet. He’s the more of a scoring guard. He can be crafty at times also. We will see how he works with Mike D’Antoni’s system and how he’ll fit.

Milwaukee BucksIn the past years, the Bucks have been quite quiet. Getting rid of Charlie V, shipping out Yi Jianlian, losing Richard Jefferson, and Redd getting injured left and right. Last season, Brandon Jennings drew a lot of criticism before he put up that big game against the Warriors scoring 55 points. The Bucks reached to the playoffs and gave the Hawks a really difficult series but ended up losing in game 7. This summer, they made sure they got better and tougher. Their first move was trading Corey Maggette for simply nothing. Corey is a attack the rim player which the Bucks really need to finish plays. John Salmons was re-signed who had a terrific season last year in Milwaukee. Drew Gooden and Keyon Dooling was brought in for more depth to the team. Gooden had a great run in the Clippers last year and Dooling gives solid stats off the bench. They will be a tough team all around led by the young point guard Jennings. So yes, fear the deer.

Team’s in limbooo….ehhh

Phoenix Suns The Suns lost their big man Amare and their replacements for him was Hakim Warrick and Channing Frye? Hmm… then they got Hedo Turkoglu in exchange for Barbosa. Very questionable signings and trading. Their only decent addition was Josh Childress. The team had a huge make over. From the looks of their starting line-up, it’s tough to say if they’ll hit anymore above the 7th seed in the playoffs. With Nash in his final years, the Suns should make a huge move soon before he leaves to a championship caliber team.

Dallas Mavericks – The Mavericks recently acquired Tyson Chandler and Alexis Ajinca from the Charlotte Bobcats basically for a few expiring contracts and a horrible contract. How did Mark Cuban pull that off on Michael Jordan? Chandler will likely come off the bench for the Mavs. I believe he still has incredible energy to play for a team in this league. And for him to come off the bench should be the spark to a successful team. Dallas also brought back all-star Dirk which is no surprise and Brendan Haywood who was performing well for the Mavericks last season after the trade. The problem is, did they get better to bring them over teams like the Lakers or the Spurs who they lost to last year in the playoffs?

New Jersey Nets – The Nets lost their chances at getting LeBron early on in the running. So far, the Nets haveonly gotten Jordan Farmar, Travis Outlaw, Anthony Morrow, and Johan Petro to improve their team after a 12-70 season.The reason why they aren’t pure losers is because they still have money to spend and haven’t destroyed their salary for the years to come. Chances of a big trade coming from NJ is likely next season.

Utah Jazz – The loss of Carlos Boozer and replacement of Al Jefferson is still questionable. Can Al be better than Boozer? The loss of Matthews and Korver hurts their bench a lot. Especially now that the Bulls have a few of their former players, it’s going to be tough to improve in depth.


The Biggest Losers


Cleveland Cavaliers – Dan Gilbert stated his team would win a championship before LeBron does. The only thing they did this summer was attain Ramon Sessions and Ryan Hollins. I believe they are ready to win a championship with those two huge acquisitions. Hell, might as well throw in Shannon Brown in there since they are making an effort to signing him. Sounds like a championship contender when you lost one of the top two players this off season and that small forward spot is filled by Jamario Moon.

Minnesota Timberwolves – The biggest loser of them all this year. Giving long term contracts to two role players, shipping out their best player, and having way too many point guards all equal loser in my book. The only good thing they did was acquire Michael Beasley for a second round pick. As the looks of it now, Miami’s second round pick from the Wolves might actually be beneficial. I predict Minnesota to have the worst record in the league next year.

New Orleans Hornets – Chris Paul wants to be traded. No surprise. New Orleans can’t do anything to get rid of theirhorrible contracts. No surprise. The fact Aaron Gray is their only player they chased after this summer. Surprised. The Hornets need to give up their picks and bad contracts for a big man. Chances are, I don’t see Chris Paul in a Hornets uniform by the beginning of this season.


Atlanta Hawks – They got Joe Johnson for the max contract. And three other J names, Josh Powell, Jordan Crawford, and Jason Collins back. First of all, they ruined their future with the Joe Johnson long term contract. Next is the fact they didn’t do much to improve. Look for a early exit out of the playoffs for the Hawks next season and trade demands.



2nd Round Predictions

May 2, 2010

So my first round predictions were somewhat off… I didn’t expect that many upsets in the Western Conference. Now let’s take a jab at the second round.

Lakers vs Jazz

The Lakers took game one, but I don’t seem convinced with their confidence level yet. They struggled with the Thunder which I’m totally not surprised with. KD and his crew gave the defending champs a great run. The Jazz upset the untamed and uncoachable (unless you’re George Karl) Denver Nuggets. The biggest problems with these two teams are injuries. Bynum has a tear in his knee and Sasha is out for the Lakers. Jazz have a banged up DWill, hurt Kirilenko, and Okur who is out. Kobe stepped it up in game one and I think it’s obvious nobody can guard him from the Jazz. Other than that, each team is pretty evenly matched. Except coach Sloan I don’t think beat Phil Jackson’s team in a series yet.

Lakers in 6

Suns vs Spurs

I remember a few years back, these two teams were building a great rivalry between them. Players included were Bruce Bowen, Steve Nash, Raja Bell, and Robert Horry. Now, Steve Nash is the only player still playing in the same team which was involved in the altercations. The Spurs I believe pulled a lucky one against the Mavs. They have the talent and experience to match with Dallas, but Dallas seemed like they had more names to get them by. The Suns on the other hand shouldn’t have an excuse for losing the first game against Portland when they didn’t have Roy. Luckily, they won the series in game 6. This series will be fun to watch, I’m looking for drama in this one. Let’s see if the Richard Jefferson experiment REALLY sets in this series.

Spurs in 7

Cavaliers vs Celtics

The Celtics are aging quicker than you can say LeBron James. I think the Cavs “let” the Bulls take that one win. IF they wanted to sweep, I bet James would have gotten them to. The Celtics on the other hand whupped the Heat’s behind which I thought was a surprise. But this series should have a lot of complaining by the men in green. It seems like they can never take a loss…

Cavs in 6

Magic vs Hawks

After game 7, the Hawks are going to be exhausted facing the well rested sweeping Magic. As far as talent goes for Atlanta, I don’t see them putting more effort to this series, but taking a step back and preparing for next season. Magic I think is the scariest team right now in the East.

Magic in 5


Winner winner chicken dinner

April 17, 2010

As always, I’m extremely excited for the playoffs to start. I know for a fact this year will not disappoint. You got the young Thunder team in the playoffs for the first time led by superstar Kevin Durant, a possibility Kobe might face LeBron and his old teammate Shaq in the finals, a 50 win 8th seed team in the West, and many more.

Now, let’s go on to the predictions shall we…

EAST

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Chicago Bulls

The Bulls (or maybe just Joakim Noah) say they will shock the world. What does that mean? If they mean beating the Cavs out in the playoffs, I laugh. The Cavs are hungry for a title. They are well balanced with young and veteran players who know the game too well. The Bulls aren’t the same as last season, and they had to squeeze their way into the playoffs.

Cavs in 5

Boston Celtics vs Miami Heat

The Celtics have rested Kevin Garnett before the playoffs. Wait, was he injured? The Celtics never made it too clear. This match-up is the one I’m looking most forward to seeing a dramatic finish to this series. As for the aged stars in the Celtics who won the title in 2008, the Heat have won their last 9 out of 10 games. Dwyane Wade and his Heat players are ready to take on the unpredictable Celtics. I don’t believe the Celtics will turn on the switch since it seems as if they aren’t prepared for the playoffs this season. Heads up, Doc Rivers just told the media he’s unsure about his future with the Celtics. Is that suppose to build confidence for the Celtics through the playoffs?

Heat in 7

Atlanta Hawks vs Milwaukee Bucks

The Hawks are ready and the Bucks are not. Bogut is out which is a big blow to the Bucks. Salmon and Jennings will face a difficult time playing well since they are the main focus for the Hawks. Scott Skiles has done a tremendous job with this team by teaching Jennings, using Kurt Thomas at his fullest in his age, and developing players like Ilyasova into a better role player. The Hawks in the end will be too much for the Bucks. Atlanta will just outrun the Bucks this time, to simply put it.

Hawks in 5

Orlando Magic vs Charlotte Bobcats

I want to see a good fight between these two teams, but that’s not going to happen. If Dwight doesn’t get into foul trouble, the game will be over. The key factor to this series is the Magic bench. They just have way too much depth compared to the Bobcats. After what happened last year in the finals for Orlando, I don’t think Howard or Lewis will let anything less than a reappearance again in the finals.

Magic in 6

WEST

Los Angeles Lakers vs Oklahoma City Thunder

The slumping Lakers say they will finally have Bynum play in the playoffs. The defending champs will flip the switch now that the playoffs are here. The key to that is Kobe Bryant. He will not let this team fail. Just won’t. Kevin Durant is a happy man making into the playoffs, but not so happy about Phil Jackson’s comments about his “game”. The Thunder are a good team and will put up a fight, but I just don’t see the hungry Lakers putting away anything they have in store.

Lakers in 5

Denver Nuggets vs Utah Jazz

Best wishes to George Karl, I hope he comes back for the team as soon as possible. The Nuggets haven’t been on their A game lately, but now that the playoffs are around, hopefully they will click. One huge issue about the Nuggets is that they jack up shots they don’t need to. The Jazz on the other hand are dealing with a injury bug hitting star Carlos Boozer and Kirilenko. If Deron Williams needs to take the load for the injuries, the Jazz will not get it done. If Boozer plays, there’s more chances of winning than doubt in my mind.

Jazz in 7

Phoenix Suns vs Portland Trailblazers

The Suns are hot, and they are about to get hotter. Alvin Gentry is doing a wonderful job with them. Steve Nash is playing at his best with legs as young as a 20 year old. I can’t say the same for the Blazers. Roy is out. Oden is out. Pryzbilla is out. Portland is heading to the playoffs with such a slim roster which will do no good especially without their star.

Suns in 5

Dallas Mavericks vs San Antonio Spurs

Judging by both teams, they both looked prepared. Battle of the Texas cities, this series will be a all out dog fight. In the end, I gotta root for the Mavericks who have a solid and consistent bench that slightly wins over the Spurs.

Mavs in 7


Game previews for 3/3/10

March 3, 2010

Reggie Evans from the Toronto Raptors recently got voted for being the "dirtiest player" in the NBA today.

Here is a look at what’s yet to come for tonight’s games:

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Atlanta Hawks – My hopes and prayers go out to Iverson and his family. With Iverson off the team to help his ailing daughter, it’s nothing new to the 6ers. A.I. played a total of 25 games and the 76ers won 10 with him. Jrue Holiday has been doing well in Iverson’s place. The Hawks on the other hand will have no trouble closing this game out with a win. I believe the most interesting match-up to me tonight will be Al Horford and Samuel Dalembert. The 2 bigs don’t score too much, but play defense very well. Let’s see who can be aggressive on both ends. I predict the Hawks will win by a good 11 points.

Golden State Warriors vs. Orlando Magic – Dwight Howard finally has been getting more touches of the ball to score ever since the All-Star break. The Magic excel if they let Dwight score 20 plus a game. Howard leads the league in rebounds and blocks, he’s probably going to receive the Defensive Player Award of 2010. But this game isn’t going to be about defense. GS and Magic has shooters left and right. This game will be a scoring frenzy with Curry, Ellis, Carter, Nelson, and Lewis. Obviously, this game will go to the Magic. I’d say Orlando should win by 7 points. By the way, Biedrins REALLY needs to shake up his horrible shooting at the line.

Detroit Pistons vs. New York Knicks – Both of these teams probably won’t see the playoffs. Eddy Curry MIGHT have a chance to play in this game since the Knicks are in need of a big man. That decision is however in Mike D’ Antoni’s hands. The Pistons have had 2 heartbreaking losses in the last 4 games losing by 5 to the Nuggets and Celtics. With all the talent the Pistons have, they just can’t seem to put their puzzle pieces together. If I had to choose a winner, I’m going with Knicks winning by 3 points. Why? Big Ben is hurt.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. New Jersey – Recently, the Nets have been desperate to get fans to go to their games just to fill up the stands! Their last idea was everyone over 18 gets their tax done for free, which is great to me. Other than that idea, I liked the one where if you bought 10 or more tickets, the team would buy a jersey for you regardless of any team. This game is probably going to be filled since everyone wants to see LBJ. But too bad they won’t be receiving a number 6 jersey if fans purchased 10 or more tickets. Easy to say, the Cavs will put on a show for New Jersey since that can be a designated place for LeBron next season. Cavs by 14.

Charlotte Bobcats vs. Boston Celtics – The Bobcats seem to be juggling their record around. I really hope they find a spot in the playoffs because they can match up well with the Cavs or Celtics since they beat both teams. The Celtics have been struggling lately, but picked it up with a win against the Pistons. Pierce is finally back so it gives the men in green a lift. However, I believe the Bobcats will take this game in the end just like they did before. Bobcats by 4 is my guess.

Memphis Grizzlies vs. New Orleans Hornets – This game is important for both teams. Chances are, neither team can make the playoffs. But either team can create a season ending run with wins. Darren Collison has been playing incredibly solid in place of injured Chris Paul. David West has also been putting much effort in games. The Grizzlies look to bounce back in a groove they were in when the new year began. This game I believe will become intense as pressure builds up for both teams. In the end, I say New Orleans takes it by 2.

Washington Wizards vs. Milwaukee Bucks – Andray Blatche is blowing UP! What has happened to him? He eat or drink something wrong? After the trade deadline, Blatche makes it look like he’s single handedly putting the Wizards close in games. Don’t forget about the Bucks in the playoff race. They have come back in the running with the held of G/F John Salmons. Honestly, I just want young Blatche to go crazy again tonight. Bucks should win this by 4.

Sacramento Kings vs. Houston Rockets – Kevin Martin will face off his former team for the first time since the Kings traded him. On the other hand, Carl Landry who was in running for the sixth man award will also face off his former team the Rockets. This game will have some friendly play to it. But I believe the more serious team will be the Rockets. After the trade, they are looking to put themselves back into the playoffs. Yesterday, I looked at Stephen Curry’s stats and it gave me a feeling he might receive ROY this year. When I checked out the Kings game yesterday, I was sold on who is the ROY and that is Tyreke Evans. Evans vs. Brooks, this will be fun. Houston by 5.

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Dallas Mavericks – Al Jefferson screwed up at a bad time. This game is quite lopsided for one team to win of course, and that would be for the Mavs to win. Flynn and Kidd will be fun to watch tonight since I see Flynn as a bright point guard and Kidd’s veteran skills will teach Jonny a lesson or two. Dirk will be Dirk and will continue to give his best efforts on the court night in and night out. Kevin Love will probably replace Jefferson for PF or C. Look for Brewer or Hollins to have a better game tonight. Mavs by 8.

Oklahoma City vs. Denver Nuggets – A huge playoff preview game. KD vs. Melo. Does it get any better? Both young, both talented, both leaders, and both leading in PPG behind LeBron in the league. The Nuggets have a more stacked team on paper, but the Thunder have tricks up their sleeves where they can pull out a win. Expect this game to be extremely intense between the two stars. Both players need this win to prove a point for their team. My pick: Nuggets by 2 since OKC played yesterday night.

Indiana Pacers vs. Portland Trailblazers – Pacers will come off a butt whooping night by the Lakers. Matching up with the Blazers tonight will be difficult since Indiana has been cold in their last ten games only winning 2. Indy’s D just falls apart. BRoy will have no problem roughing the Pacers tonight and slashing through the careless D. Blazers should win by a good 9 points tonight.

Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Clippers – I expect this game to be uptempo in not just the Suns side, but the Clippers too. The score can easily be predicted to be over a combined 210 points. Clippers picked up a big win against the Utah Jazz. The acquisition of Drew Gooden has helped the Clips out in a big way. Suns crushed the Nuggets in their last win. The reason maybe because Ty Lawson didn’t give that bench spark? Naw. The Nuggets should know better with all the thug talent they got. This game will be fun to watch also. Suns by 3.


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.


Needs, Summary, and Grades

February 3, 2010

As teams come to the halfway mark of the season, let’s look back at how each team can improve in certain areas. Whether its trying to make a playoff push or heading to the lottery, every team can improve in some way. Also, grades will be handed to each team.

Atlanta Hawks

Needs: PF and C

Summary: The Hawks have surprised me this season. Maybe not only me but most of NBA fans. The Hawks record now stands as the 3rd best team in the Eastern Conference. Their depth runs well with the guard positions such as Jamal Crawford who has been solid throughout the year and Maurice Evans who brings defense. However, the Hawks need a decent back-up big man. A player who can play both the PF/C position to take some slack off Josh Smith and Horford’s back. Zaza Pachulia has another 4 years left on his contract and I don’t think Zaza is too reliable in the long run. Also, Horford’s contract ends after this season, so the Hawks should be thinking about their future now and make some space for Al.

Team grade: A

Boston Celtics

Needs: SF and C

Summary: Lately, the slumping C’s have looked old and battered. With Pierce at 32, Garnett at 33, and Allen at 34, the Celtics are lucky to have a night where all three of these players play. As you can see, I didn’t say stars, because the main star of this team now is Rajon Rondo. Rondo’s been the most consistent player in Boston. With Marquis Daniels out for now, the team should really invest in looking for a young SF behind Pierce. Defense should be a key in who they want to acquire for. Also, with Rasheed Wallace and Kendrick Perkins leading the league in technicals (13 and 11), who knows when or if they’ll be suspended for games? If they are out in the playoffs, the Celt’s will have a quick exit in the postseason.

Grade: B

Charlotte Bobcats

Needs: SF and C

Summary: The Bobcats are the hottest team in 2010 so far. Other than Gerald Wallace leading this team into their first playoff appearance, Stephen Jackson is the difference maker for the Bobcats with his leadership. Charlotte has one big problem though. Their point guard list is way too stacked. Suggestion for them is to ship one or two out for a solid starting Center who can run with the cats or energetic Small Forward who can score at will.

Grade: B+

Cleveland Cavaliers

Needs: PF

Summary: The Cavs are the top team in the league. LeBron is playing his best ball ever. Shaq is actually helping the King where he needs it most, in the post at both ends. BUT! There is a piece missing to this team. The Cavaliers feel as if they need to add a starting PF who can score down low in the post. With expiring contract Big Z in play, Illgauskas can be shipped out before the deadline without any trouble.

Grade: A+

Dallas Mavericks

Needs: SG and SF

Summary: The Mavericks holds the Southwest division for the first time since the 06-07 season. Mark Cuban has done a great job picking up Drew Gooden in the offseason. What about Marion? Marion hasn’t delivered like he was expected too. Despite him not performing well at the SF position, the Mavericks are still the 3rd best team in the West. The Mavs need to add a SG to help Terry’s back and a SF maybe to replace Josh Howard and at times, Rick Carlisle can use a run and gun team moving Marion to PF.

Grade: B-

Denver Nuggets

Needs: PF

Summary: The Nuggets started off hot this season and then cooled off. Not in their Rocky Mountains though, but the road? Lately, Carmelo has been hurt with his ankle bothering him. Billups had a few set of injuries before Melo too. However with Chauncey being hurt, Ty Lawson has stepped up to play. The missing link for the Nuggets is a back-up PF. This team has a lot of potential if they have fun throwing around small trades to improve their team.

Grade: B+

Detroit Pistons

Needs: PG and C

Summary: Messy…This team needs to be cleaned up. The best player on the Pistons this year is Rodney Stuckey. Young 50 I mean Rodney is at least getting to prove teams he can play as a starting point guard for a team. Rodney will draw attention, but if the Detroit keeps him, they will have plenty decent years to come for. Stuckey gets to shine because he basically has no back-up! Also, with aging defensive beast Big Ben Wallace

Grade: D

Golden State Warriors

Needs: SG, SF, PF, and C

Summary: See this team in the lottery…. It seems as if Don Nelson are letting these young players play however they like. Run and gun. This team needs a new make over and they should have Stephen Curry lead this team.

Grade: D-

Houston Rockets

Needs: SG and C

Summary: Rick Adelman has made this team into a contender. Aaron Brooks and Carl Landry are the top players on this team. Not Trevor Ariza. After the Tmac mess and Yao being out for the whole season and maybe beyond, the Rockets need to plan for now and the future with a star Center. Houston needs to bring back the inside man and also have a Shooting Guard who can bring some energy off the bench.

Grade: B

Indiana Pacers

Needs: PG and SG/SF

Summary: T.J. Ford is third string? All I have to say for that is Jim O’Brien’s dumb for not playing the talented young guard. If there is chemistry issues, then ship Ford out for a valuable player immediately! Pacers have Danny Granger they can build around. But other than Danny being a shooter, nobody else can knock down shots. Indiana needs a stable point guard and a shooting guard/small forward who can help take the scoring load off Danny’s shoulders.

Grade: D+

Los Angeles Clippers

Needs: SF and a new coach

Summary: Everytime I watch the Clips play, most of the time the coaching just pisses me off. If a player such as Baron Davis or Eric Gordon has a chance for a fast break, TAKE IT! Mike Dunleavy needs to understand this team can run and score quick. The players on this team are good, but Mike just doesn’t use them to their full potential. I understand the Clippers have injuries which hit hard, but as an experienced coach for this Los Angeles team Mike should be able to turn things around at least with a few of their great players. Al Thornton who was terrific last year seems to have fallen out of the rotation this year. If they don’t use Al, they need a new SF, because Butler can’t get the job done.

Grade: C

Los Angeles Lakers

Needs: PG/SG

Summary: Rumors are that Kirk Hinrich is on the Lakers radar. The Lakers have been on and off this season with wins. With injuries lingering through stars like Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Ron Artest, the defending champions are fine where they are at the moment. The point guard situation for this team is a problem. Fisher looks like he needs new legs and Farmar just doesn’t seem to be consistent and proben himself enough to lead this team for the future.

Grade: A

Memphis Grizzlies

Needs: PG, SG, and PF

Summary: Memphis consists of many young and developing players. Sometimes too many young players can become trouble. Only one player on the team is over 28 years old and that’s Jamaal Tinsley. I’m also confused about the team’s leading player/ captain. To me, I found Memphis to be similar to the Hawks the past few years because they didn’t know who the leader of the team should be. Now it’s Joe Johnson for many obvious reasons. On the other hand, what about Memphis? Zach Randolph who now is an all-star MAY fill that role if young and upcoming stars like Rudy Gay and OJ Mayo don’t get into the picture. The Grizzlies have had a problem at the point guard spot for the last few years. They need one who can run this team. Also, a bench defensive shooter and a big man would help the depth of this team much more.

Grade: B-

Miami Heat

Needs: SF and C

Summary: Dwyane Wade needs the help for this team or he’ll be leaving in no time. Miami needs to start building now if they want to keep their star studded player. With the Heat struggling to keep at the .500 mark, Wade is only looking at how his fellow friends Carmelo and LeBron are doing so well with their teams. At SF, Miami has Q rich starting. Remember when Richardson got traded hundreds of times in the offseason? That’s because no team needed his contract and Q can’t help. Miami needs a athletic SF to help wade down the stretch for games. Also, Jermaine O’Neal’s injuries hurt the Heat because their next big man to play is either Udonis Haslem or Joel Anthony who are both 6’9 or under.

Grade: C+

Milwaukee Bucks

Needs: SG, SF, and PF

Summary: It’s time for this team to realize they need to rebuild this franchise now before they move to another location. Brandon Jennings is their youngest top talent. Redd should be out of the picture and off this team next year. The Bucks should draft another big man so Bogut will have some help. Also, this team needs more shooters and slashers who can draw fouls because this team is last in the league in free throw attempts and makes and 27th overall in field goal shooting. Milwaukee has a lot of work to do not now, but in the offseason.

Grade: D+

Minnesota Timberwolves

Needs: SG and SF

Summary: The Wolves have a lot of young talent. Jefferson, Flynn, and Love are the core of this Kurt Rambis team who seems to be having fun putting in different rotations. This team is off to a new start this season, trying to rebuild and find player’s roles. A solid shooter and who can play SG/SF would probably give Rambis a easier way of having a steady starting line-up.

Grade: C-

New Jersey Nets

Needs: PG, SG, PF, and C

Summary: This need will receive a whole new makeover next season. But at the half of this season, the team’s a wreck. They nearly need a new back-up or starter in every position. When I watch this team play defense, players are not just a second slow, but a full minute slow to get where they are needed to be. Good news is that next year this team will be interesting.

Grade: F

New Orleans Hornets

Needs: SG, SF, and C

Summary: This team desperately needs a shooter. Shooting guard or Small forward who can knock down the outside shots. They also need a big man who is at least 7 ft tall who can run and score. They are 27th in the league with 3’s and blocked shots. Now with Cp3 out, it’s time for rookie Darren Collison to shine. For this team to make the playoffs, David West or Emeka Okafor will need to be traded sometime soon.

Grade: C

New York Knicks

Needs: PG and C

Summary: Everyone knows this team is chasing the 2010 free agent market. The Knicks just needs to find expiring contracts and ship out Eddy Curry and Jared Jeffries for them. Utah holds the Knicks 1st round pick this year. The Knicks hope to makes the playoffs to not have the pick head to the lottery. A steady point guard who can run would help Mike D’Antoni’s system. I thought this team needed a SG but it’s full of shooters! A center can help 6’9 Lee if they plan to keep him in the long run.

Grade: C-

Oklahoma City Thunder

Needs: C

Summary: This season’s MOST surprising team in the league is the Thunder. Durant, Green, and Westbrook has proved the young players have come to lead and play. The bench also has some depth. Thunder recently added guard Eric Maynor which I thought was a steal for Oklahoma City. When you look at the roster, everyone is usually recognized. Once your eyes hit the Center position, you just go huh? The Thunder has the most potential for a team if they shop for a big man.

Grade: B+

Orlando Magic

Needs: PF

Summary: The Magic have many talented players. I believe now they know Dwight is the person to go to and not Vince. Also, I think Orlando can dominate if they put Rashard as SF and brought in a starting PF who can give the Magic more bulk down low. Overall, this team is starting to pick up on where they left off last year.

Grade: A

Philadelphia 76ers

Needs: PF and C

Summary: This team needs to “THINK BIG”. Another thing is that this team is heading to the lottery with one of the best players ever to play in the game (Allen Iverson), who is probably going to retire after this year. Sorry Philly fans.

Grade: D-

Phoenix Suns

Needs: SG and PF

Summary: Amare doesn’t need to go anywhere. Besides Nash, who else are the Suns going to look to for critical game time plays. Phoenix needs to look at it this way. Nash is playing ball better when he’s old! He has a few years left in his tank so use it while you can! Amare is a young talent. Yeah his contract is expiring, but i bet if you try to build the team around both those two players and have Alvin Gentry run the show, Phoenix can win. With Barbosa out, Jrich needs help. If Amare gets into foul trouble, throw in the scrappy PF which they need.

Grade: B

Portland Trail Blazers

Needs: PF and C

Summary: I’m surprised this team is well above the .500 mark accounting their injuries were so devastating to their team. Bigs is what this team needs, period. Nate Mcmillan has done a wonderful job running this team with small size and a veteran PF who now plays C. Props to him.

Grade: B

Sacramento Kings

Needs: 2010 draft picks

Summary: We all know Tyreke Evans is going to be rookie of the year, plain and simple. It doesn’t seem Kevin Martin and Evans can play well together. The Kings won 2 games in the last month. I hope this team trades all of their players besides Evans and starts the 2010-2011 season fresh with young talents.

Grade: D

San Antonio Spurs

Needs: SF and C

Summary: They need some youth. Spurs are the oldest team in the league. They look like the oldest team EVER to play! This Richard Jefferson things isn’t working out. In the off season, it was ranked the best pick up too. A new SF can put this team into the Western Conference Finals at most. If they find a young talented Center to fill in the starting role plus the SF, I can see another rematch with Spurs vs Cavs in Finals

Grade: B

Toronto Raptors

Needs: SF and C

Summary: Bosh is a monster. Monster meaning he scores at will and crashes boards like no tomorrow. Back ups are this team’s key to making a strong playoff push. Other than Bosh, I can’t think of anyone else scoring 20 or more points every week. The starting line-up will need a lot of work in the second half of the season.

Grade: C+

Utah Jazz

Needs: SG and C

Summary: Deron Williams FINALLY got his All-Star spot which he deserves so much. The Jazz have been blazing hot with great wins over great teams. A starting Shooting guard would make this team complete. Too bad Ronnie Brewer can’t do that. Also a back-up bodied Center would cut some slack off the bigs who have been putting 110% every game.

Grade: A-

Washington Wizards

Needs: Everything

Summary: Look, this team just needs to replace their whole roster, stadium, and even team name. Gilbert has ruined their reputation…

Grade: F