“You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain”

July 9, 2010

A villain…. a long awaited villain…..that’s what LeBron James is. We are all witnessses

Born and raised in the city of Akron not too far from Cleveland is LeBron James. A player who’s talent from day one was like no other. LeBron entered St. Mary High School and won several titles for his school. He declared to enter the 2003 draft and was selected number one overall by his home state the Cleveland Cavaliers. After a 7 year run with the Cavs and failed attempts to reach a championship, the so called “King” leaves his city who loved him so much for the Miami Heat to play alongside Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. Who knew, his decision to leave Cleveland will end up in this kind of mess.

At the age of 25, LeBron James has given up on his home, his fans, and importantly himself. His legacy is tarnished. He will always be compared to the greats such as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird. Though, he will never come any closer than just comparing numbers. As a person, as a star player, as a team hero, LeBron will never be mentioned in those categories. He left the Cavaliers hoping to pursue a championship with his talented pals Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, but was it out of being desperate? He is only 25 years old and still has plenty of great years ahead of him. One thing he never realized when he made the unnecessary “Decision” on ESPN is that he’ll NEVER have his OWN team again.

Michael Wilbon from ESPN said it best, “Am I old? Or old school?”. Mike meant that, is he old for not accepting this 3 studded stars on the same team? Or old school as in a superstar should have their OWN team like  Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird? I’m going with the old school, and I bet most of you basketball fans who actually ENJOY to watch competitive basketball follow me on the “old school” side. Having three stars who can simply have their own team and prove that they can bring their team to win a title has much more meaning than having stars all on one team.

I have said this in my recent blogs and I’ll say it again. In 2007, the Celtics did trades and additions to create the Big Boston 3, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce. They were all past their prime years, but still had the veteran talent to play ball. The same season, they won the 2008 championship. Not a surprise. In my opinion, they won that title out of pity. At the time of their championship year, Pierce was 30, Allen was 32, and Garnett was 32. Danny Ainge also went to reach out to veterans who were willing to help contribute to that championship team. Good job by them. 2 years later, they are aged up and not the same as before. What I’m trying to compare is, LeBron is now 25, Bosh 26, and Wade 28, are in their prime and want to play together because they want to win rings? Basketball has been a team effort, but has it come down to this desperation to have three stars come to a team at this age to try and win? If they win the title in the upcoming years, who will “stand out” as basically the MVP of the team? It’s Wade’s team, but will LeBron overshadow him? Let’s say they don’t win a title in the upcoming years, who’s fault is that?

LeBron got crap in Cleveland for not winning a title, but he flat out gave up on the city of Cleveland. Dragging the city through the dirt and making them wait for his “decision” to then slap everyone there in the face. Dirty move. Dirty…. Respect LeBron has gone to a new low. This media attention whore circus clown has gotten himself to the bottom of the totem pole. Anything less than a title next season is a disappointment for the Miami Heat.

LeBron is not and will never be a hero…. his 7 years in Cleveland has made him live long enough to betray fans who loved him dearly and become the hated villain.


Free Agency Update

July 2, 2010

Not a huge spark on the start of free agency day, but it was still fun to see players switch around some teams. Let’s take a look on some key players that signed with certain teams.

Rudy Gay was the first free agent to make a big splash in the market. As a restricted agent, the Memphis Grizzlies made sure Gay went nowhere. Memphis secured him with a 5 year deal worth $82 million dollars. With a huge contract like that, Rudy should be able to deliver the Memphis fans a great few years. I think Rudy Gay doesn’t get enough attention out in the NBA world. One big reason is probably the fact that he’s playing in Memphis. The last I checked, Memphis fans barely even filled a stadium of people.

Milwaukee’s John Salmons also made a deal with his current team. The Bucks re-signed him for 5 years worth up to $39 million. Salmons is a wonderful player, but I wonder how will the combo of Salmons, Maggette, and Redd is going to work out. Chances are, Maggette will sit on the bench and be that sixth man. It’s great that Salmons can finally settle down in a team that likes him.

Other role players who were picked up by teams:

Drew Gooden – 5 year contract, $32 million with Milwaukee Bucks

Great pick-up for the Bucks. The Bucks are making the most moves so far in the market. Gooden has proved in the past few years he can be a factor off the bench.

Hakim Warrick – 4 year contract, $18 million with Phoenix Suns

Great athleticism for a PF. Warrick can block shots and bring the spark off the bench if he has the playing time.

Amir Johnson – 5 year contract, $34 million with Toronto Raptors

Arguable decision by Raptor’s GM Bryan Colangelo. Amir is young, but is his talent worth the contract given to him?

Darko Milicic – 4 year contract, $20 million with Minnesota Timberwolves

A slap in the face to Al Jefferson. David Kahn, you’re just bringing this team down into the dumps year by year…. No disrespect to Darko, but cmon’ now. He had a decent half season and immediately worth $20 million through 4 years?

Channing Frye – 5 year contract, $30 million with Phoenix Suns

Basically, the Suns are trying to build insurance for Amare if he leaves. Chances of Amare leaving are extremely high. Frye can play, but can he deliver a strong performance in the playoffs. That is the question.

Steve Blake – 4 year contract, $16 million with Los Angeles Lakers

One of the biggest upgrades in the free agent market was from the Lakers. The Lakers picked up a point guard who can run the ball well with the traditional triangle offense. At $16 million for 4 years, the Lakers got Blake for a discount. For he could have gotten an easy $6 million from the Knicks each year.

BIGGEST RUMORS AND CHATTER!

There have been reports about Amare Stoudemire close to reaching a 5 year deal worth up to $100 million dollars with the Knicks. Amare is strongly considering the deal, but will still snoop around on other teams such as Miami and Chicago. The Suns offered the same deal but $5 million dollars less. My prediction before was for Amare to head to NY, so far, it’s looking like it.

Dwyane Wade just met with the Chicago Bulls and is “leaning towards commitment” with the Bulls. That says a lot. Dwade is probably feelin’ the hometown love and putting Miami aside for now. The Heat are still scheduled to meet with Wade on Saturday and that meeting might change is mind in a snap.

Paul Pierce and Dirk Nowitzki met with their current teams and are finding a deal to have them return. Sources say Pierce will sign a deal up to $62 million for four years. Smart for Paul to take advantage before the Collective Bargaining Agreement comes into play.

As for LeBron James, he met with the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers. ESPN news says Pat Riley came out of the meeting with a grin on his face and the Los Angeles owner Donald Sterling did not attend the Clippers meeting since all he wanted to be presented to the King was pure basketball talk.


Round and round wherever they go. Where they’ll end up, nobody knows

June 30, 2010

As there’s less than a day left before free agency negotiations go under way, the flame has grown much much bigger. Talks about LeBron, Wade, AND Bosh playing in Miami stirred up over the week and a few teams made big moves to clear up cap space for big stars in the market this summer. Other than those three players I just mentioned, there are also significant role players in the market to be signed too. Such players like Ray Allen, Allen Iverson, and Shaq need to find a team that can chase the title. Here are my predictions of where each superstar player will land this summer. I’ll also include role players and former stars that are old but still have the talent to help a team win a championship.

Here we go starting with the main stage:

LeBron James

Prediction: New York Knicks

Knicks fans waited years to get to this point and letting LeBron slip off their hands would be heartbreaking once again. Money talks, but so does basketball. Money is a given in the big city of New York. The talent on the roster will be up to veterans who want to step in and sign with the Knicks to pursue a championship. The Knicks  have a nice small roster with contracts right now. With great young players like Gallinari who can shoot, Chandler who is versatile, and an improving Toney Douglas, all the Knicks need are a few players who are 1. Past their prime (former stars) 2. Still have gas left in the tank 3. And lastly desperately need a ring on their finger. Those veterans will need to take a pay cut in order to win. The Knicks will have the money to sign two superstars if they wanted. LeBron’s stock will skyrocket if he signed with the Knicks. Actually, if NY were to win the title next season with LeBron, anyone on the roster’s stock would rise. Right now, New York’s doing everything they can to clear cap room for players, and getting rid of Eddy Curry is a priority (not like it wasn’t).

Chances to: New York 40%, Chicago 30%, Cleveland 30%

Dwyane Wade

Prediction: Miami Heat

He’s been there and done that. Wade has a ring to look at while LeBron and Bosh don’t. The city of Miami have been very supportive behind DWade. Also, the team is moving in a right direction. The Heat has only missed the playoffs once after the their championship year in 2006 due to a series of injuries especially on Wade. Pat Riley and staff have been calm and considerate with Wade. Miami has the money to sign up to three superstar players. Chances of that happening are slim in my opinion. Most of the superstars in the market are in their prime. Taking a big pay cut and not winning a title in the next few seasons would have gone to waste. Especially in Miami, there isn’t much media attention as the other big cities. Wade will have a partner to work with in Miami since it’s still HIS team.

Chances to: Miami 80%, Chicago 20%

Chris Bosh

Prediction: Miami Heat

Bosh wants to win. Playing for the Toronto Raptors hasn’t gotten him anymore near a championship. Chris will follow a team that has had championship experience, and that is in Miami. Wade has a ring, Bosh can receive a ring and give Wade two. He would be Dwyane’s sidekick at most. It’ll be a smart move to go to Miami through a sign and trade. Miami has enough money to attract many valuable players. If the solution to getting Bosh is shipping out Beasley and Chalmers (recent source), Miami would need to replace those positions with role players who can step into play when needed. When Wade played with Shaq in 2006 and won the title, key players came into Miami such as Gary Payton, Alonzo Mourning, Antoine Walker, and James Posey to help win that title. It can happen again.

Chances to: Miami 40%, Chicago 30%, New York 30%

Joe Johnson

Prediction: Chicago Bulls

In need of a SG/SF, Johnson would fit perfectly for the Chicago Bulls. A back-court of Derrick Rose and Joe Johnson would sound like one of the best in the league today. Besides Rose, Johnson can shine in Chicago if he plays well. He didn’t get that chance in Atlanta due to the lack of media attention and all-star caliber players playing around him. If the pulls don’t pull off a LeBron and Bosh deal, Joe Johnson would be their next choice.

Chances to: Chicago 35%, New York 30%, Los Angeles Clippers 25%, New Jersey 10%

Amare Stoudemire

Prediction: New York Knicks

Yup, LeBron’s sidekick. Why you ask? If Bosh signs with Miami and Wade is there, LeBron is going to need someone else to be there with him to dominate. Amare’s going to be that force. Playing under Mike D’ Antoni again would be enjoyable for the big man. Having LeBron adapting to the running game would be a piece of game, and Amare already knows how it would work. Plus, the money is good in NY. What is there to hate?

Chances to: New York 50%, Phoenix 30%, Miami 20%

Dirk Nowitzki

Prediction: Dallas Mavericks

The Mavs have been successful in the last few years. Their early playoff exit in 2010 was unfortunately against the experienced Spurs. Caron Butler was added on mid-way through the season, so that might have been a factor for them faltering. Next season will be different though. They will bring back Dirk and be on the lookout for a trade that might include Kidd.

Chances to: Dallas 90%, New York 10%

Paul Pierce

Prediction: Boston Celtics

He’s been there and been successful. The Celtics reached to the NBA Finals. Yes they are aging. But if Pierce was smart, he should take less money with the Celtics so Boston can sign key players to make another championship run while they can with a 34 year old Kevin Garnett and 32 year old Paul Pierce. Ray Allen’s name is up in the air, but it isn’t guaranteed he’ll come back.

Chances to: Boston 80%, New Jersey 20%

Carlos Boozer

Prediction: Chicago Bulls

The Bulls seem to be the front runner for LeBron and Bosh. But if Chicago doesn’t get those two, then which combo would they be able to get? Joe Johnson and Boozer would fill the positions well. With the Bull’s front court being very thin, Boozer can put bulk into the paint for Chicago. For any team to win a championship, the team must have a balance of great talents. Having Rose, Johnson, Deng, Boozer, and Noah as a starting line-up sounds a bit intimidating.

Chances to: Chicago 40%, Miami 35%, Utah Jazz 25%

David Lee

Prediction: New Jersey Nets

Yes, they just got Derrick Favors. Favors isn’t ready to bring the Nets anywhere near the playoffs himself. Having David Lee and Brook Lopez as a front court is going beast mode. I would feel sorry for the opposing team trying to bang for boards, because those two usually clean it up. Avery Johnson would love to have David Lee work with the Nets, especially that Lee is a player willing to listen and do rather than talk back. If Avery ran a running game, look for the Nets to head to the playoffs.

Chances to: New Jersey 50%, New York 25%, Toronto 25%

Rudy Gay

Prediction: Tie between Los Angeles Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves

Clippers: Plain and simple, Rudy would fit perfect there. They just need a coach to let Baron Davis run the ball like he did in GS the year they went to the playoffs. If BDiddy got the chance to do that and have Rudy Gay on the Clippers, be afraid of the Clippers for the time being.

T-Wolves: It wouldn’t make sense if David Kahn signed Gay. They just drafted Wesley Johnson. But rumors are swirling around about Kahn chasing Rudy. Horrible move if they sign Gay because they would have too many SG/SF’s.

Chances to: Los Angeles Clippers 40%, Minnesota Timberwolves 40%, Memphis Grizzlies 20%

Ray Allen

Prediction: New York Knicks

Allen is smart. He will follow where championship contenders are. Playing with LeBron and Amare in a running system is perfect for Allen since he’s just a spot up shooter. With the ability of LeBron being able to pass the ball, Ray Ray would have great looks if he plays with the King. Allen has a few more years left in him, and it would be sweet if he won one more ring under his belt with LeBron and in Madison Square Garden rather than the TD garden.

Chances to: New York 30%, Boston 30%, New Jersey 20%, Miami 20 %

Allen Iverson

Prediction: Miami Heat, New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets, Boston Celtics

All these teams would be contenders and in need of veteran talent. Iverson can still play, no matter what anyone says, the guy can ball still. Whether he will be a sixth man or a starter, he will be a factor for any championship contending team to get the title.

Shaquille O’Neal

Prediction: Dallas Mavericks or Retirement

Old Diesel would only fit in one place. Dallas. Assuming Dirk comes back to Dallas, Shaq would work next to Nowitzki. It’ll make them a stronger contender and definitely in the top 3 best teams in the West. I wouldn’t be surprised if Shaq chose retirement this year. The man is old. Whatever decision he makes, more power to him.

Tracy McGrady

Prediction: Los Angeles Lakers or New York Knicks

Lakers: Artest is letting Tmac know that if he comes to LA, he’ll get his ring he always wanted. Ron got it. If Ron can get it, Tracy can get it. The time is ticking on Tmac’s career.

Mike D’ Antoni let McGrady play and he didn’t do bad for being off the court so long. If the relationship is still good and the Knicks pick up big names, I see TMac staying in NY.

John Salmons

Prediction: Sacramento Kings or Miami Heat

Sacramento: Salmons had a great time in Sacramento since he started blossoming is talent there after countless years. Going back as a starter and to have a chance to shine with Tyreke Evans can be fun and memorable. Money speaks to Salmons.

Miami Heat: If Salmons wanted to, he can play for a contending team where he can start. In Miami he will definitely need to take a pay cut.

Steve Blake

Prediction: Los Angeles Lakers

Chances are, they Lakers can’t bring back Farmar or Brown. A starting passing point guard who can adapt to the triangle well would benefit the Lakers in getting another three peat going.

Josh Howard

Prediction: Los Angeles Clippers, Portland Trailblazers, Sacramento Kings

All three teams need a SF. Whether Josh will start or not, he’ll come for a cheap price. At most, a Mid Level Exception contract. Howard still has the slashing talent, just needs a chance from a team.

Mike Miller

Prediction: Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers

Both teams are in need of a sharp shooter like Miller. Boston will chase Miller if they lose Ray Ray. Lakers will go after Miller if they lose Brown. Mike’s talent is overlooked upon in this league. I think he’d be a great sixth man or starter if a team needed him. In the end, it’s up to Mike’s decision whether he wants to play for the redemption team or defending champs.



For all the marbles

May 30, 2010

The 2008 champions and 2009 champions go at it once again, but this time in the Finals. A classic rivalry that is a much watch for any basketball fan. Looking back at the 2008 Finals where both of these teams met was victorious for Boston and painful for Kobe Bryant and his Lakers. Back then, it was pretty much a one-sided Finals match. The Lakers had Andrew Bynum out of the series and Trevor Ariza coming off a broken foot after missing 8 weeks and returning in the Western Conference Finals of Game 2 where he did not look like himself and wasn’t a factor in both series. The Celtics on the other hand had the Big 3 Allen, Pierce, and Garnett for the first year. The Celtics took home the trophy on the night of Game 6 with a 39 point victory over the Lakers.

Kobe Bryant definitely has not forgotten that image in his head.

This series will create a lot of attention on a certain number of players. Lets start with Andrew Bynum. We know he’s not playing at his fullest form. His knee swells up after every practice and game the Lakers have. Not playing in the 2008 Finals to help out his team, the question is “Will he step up this time?”. Even with the injury Bynum and his coach Jackson believe he can still play under the pain of his knee. Fans wonder will Bynum bring his A game or just be a useless factor in this series.

Another person on the spotlight is Kevin Garnett. He was a total dominant force in the 2008 Finals averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds per game in the playoffs and had a double-double in every game of the Finals that year. This playoff season, he is averaging a low 14 points and 8 rebounds per game. The one time of the most dominant PF’s in the NBA is now an aged player without a bounce. Can Garnett step up and shape up to his new form or will he let his Celtic buddies fall in the Finals?

Another huge factor that comes into play is the Lakers bench mob. Their bench consist of Lamar Odom, Shannon Brown, Jordan Farmar, Luke Walton, Sasha Vujacic, and DJ Mbenga. So far, Lamar has been the only player stepping up off the bench. Farmar and Brown are nowhere to be found. Luke and Sasha have been lost in the playoffs. And DJ has

Kobe Bryant shooting over Ray Allen

only played a total of 4:47 in the playoffs. If the Lakers want to win the title this year against the Celtics, their bench must help take some weight off of Kobe and Gasol’s shoulders.

Lastly, Kendrick Perkins has been solid for the Celtics on the defensive end. It’s just a matter of time before he gets his next technical and being suspended for the next game. Knowing Phil Jackson, he likes to get into the heads of the opponents. Whether  it’s criticizing Kevin Durant’s FT line frenzy and taking a jab at Nash on his opinion of being the best coach in the league, either way, Phil Jackson came out of the series bringing the Lakers out on top. Kendrick can lose his cool easily and Phil Jackson could take advantage of that. You have to play smart in this series, and outsmarting Perkins in this series will take a toll on Boston.

This time the Finals are different. Both teams have a handful of former and current All-Stars Boston (5) Lakers (3). Both teams are the top two teams in the league with rings. Of course they both want to add another ring to their collection. Having all these star players and great teams battling it out in the Finals is simply classic and entertainment for any basketball fan. The Lakers are out for revenge and the Celtics want to remind the Lakers why they beat them in 2008.


Where is the Magic?

May 23, 2010

The Green Goblin defeats Superman once again

2 weeks ago, the Orlando Magic was the favorites to win the championships.  They swept defensive juggernauts in the Charlotte Bobcats and the young high flying Atlanta Hawks.  Dwight Howard was putting up great numbers, Jameer Nelson is showing the world why he’s the team captain, and Vince Carter was proving to the world that he still got it.   They were dominant and unstoppable.  Supposedly the only team that could have stopped them in the East was the Lebron James team, also known as the the Cleveland Cavaliers. A team that purposely built their team to defeat the Magic with the acquisition of Shaq to go against Dwight Howard and Antawn Jamison as a stretch 4 to counter Rashad Lewis.

But no one ever counted on the Boston Celtics to beat the Lebron James team and is now in a midst of sweeping the Eastern Conference favorites.  A team that went with the flow throughout the regular season, losing games to the likes of the Clippers, the Nets, and the Warriors.  A team that was old, tired, and unfit for championship.  And a team that had many injuries throughout the regular season and struggled to stay healthy.  Everyone agreed that the Boston Celtics were a great team, but no one ever thought they would be in the finals.  All predictions led to Lebron James and his rag tagged supporting cast beating the Celtics.  But now, the Green Monsters are 3-0 against the Magic. That is due because of the hard defense the Celtics is applying along with the stellar play of Rondo and revitalization or the Big 3.  They got the Magic bent over right now and is close to finishing the job.

How could the former eastern conference champions fall this bad?  I want to say lack of determination and the death of all morale at this point.  Cockiness could have also been a factor.  Dwight Howard was supposed to be that dominant center that no other team in the league has an answer for.  But now, the Magic dug themselves a deep hole that they are desperately trying to claw out of.

The Magic have two options now –

1. Lose to the Boston Celtics

or

2. Make history as the only team to ever win a playoff series after starting 0-3.

I don’t see number 2 happening though with Boston playing as great as they are.


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


Update 3/24

March 24, 2010

March Madness

As for College basketball, my bracket was already busted. I bet yours was too after Kansas and Villa fell off, because that’s who I chose to go to the finals. Luckily I’m still leading the points in the Yahoo Fantasy game.

BIG NEWS!

Illgauskas is finally back with the Cavs. The Cavs are still without Shaq till probably after the playoffs, which isn’t great news for Cleveland. Last season, Cleveland ended up losing to the Magic in the playoffs. This year, the Magic look more dominant if the Cavs don’t have a healthy roster. Basically, the Magic have an improved team with Vince Carter and Cavs will have the same lineup bumping in Jamison if Shaq doesn’t show up in time.

CP3 is finally back after missing 25 games due to a knee surgery repair and recovery. The Hornets probably have a slim to no chance to make the playoffs with Houston clinging on and Portland staying strong.

Things in limbo…

The Celtics – The mean green stacked team are looking at trouble. After being crushed by Utah, Boston had their season record tied with the Hawks. Not to mention, the red hot Bucks are right behind their tail. Boston can easily drop to the 5th seed in the Eastern playoffs. Another small note, Rasheed is one technical away from having the game suspension rule come into play.

Chicago? Toronto? Charlotte? or Miami? One of these 4 teams will probably get bumped out of the playoffs. I give the Bucks a given spot in the playoffs since they have been playing at such a great rate lately. I see Chicago not making the cut for two reasons. One, Noah and Rose are still hurt while playing. Two, Ben Gordon isn’t here to bring em in.

WARRIORS FOR SALE! Enough said….


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.


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