Winners and Losers from the draft

June 25, 2010

This year’s draft wasn’t full of surprises. Many players were expected to land where they should have went. Of course obviously John Wall was the center of attention for the draft, but that was a given. Turner and Favors will be a huge key to success for their franchises. On the other hand, some teams were sneaky coming into the draft and got a big time sleeper. While others, didn’t even have a single pick which hurt them a lot. Let’s get down to the winners and losers of the 2010 NBA draft

Winners:

San Antonio Spurs : James Anderson (20th pick), Ryan Richards (40th pick)

Seriously, the Spurs always have something up their sleeves. It seems like almost every draft they get a great player out of it no matter how low of a pick they have! James Anderson is one of if not the best shooter in the draft. I’m very surprised he fell all the way down to the mid-late first round. The value of Anderson at pick 20 is way up there. Great pick since the aging Spurs are in need of a young shooter. Ryan Richards is a big bodied center whose game isn’t good nor bad. He can be a project for the Spurs.

Indiana Pacers : Paul George (10th pick), Lance Stephenson (40th pick), Ryan Reid (57th pick)

Paul George? His skill set is similar to Danny Granger’s game. Is the Pacers putting George at the 2 guard? If so, wonderful! George will bring athleticism to this team, in which they really need. A great player all-around and probably the top 3 G/F’s in the draft. Lance Stephenson was once a highly talked about player before his college season. He was compared to many NBA stars at the time. But his skills are very raw. Hopefully a few years and playing time helps this kid out to become a impact player for the Pacers. He fell to pick 40 which surprised many.

Toronto Raptors : Ed Davis (13th pick), Solomon Alabi (traded from Mavericks, 40th pick)

Ed Davis is basically insurance if Chris Bosh decides not to come back to Toronto. Davis was a good pick especially at number 13. His skills are not polished yet, but they will be once he gets the starting minutes for the Raptors. His potential is pretty up there and if he works hard, he can be the best player on the Raptors next to Bargnani assuming Bosh won’t come back. Solomon was a great pick up for the Raps. He’s got the body of a decent center and works hard at his game.

Losers:

Golden State Warriors : Ekpe Udoh (6th pick)

This guy literally has “bust” written all over him. The Warriors took a gamble and it’s going to be a bad one, adding a PF/C who is 23 years old and skills aren’t anywhere near the top 10 pick level. This guy might as well be a Anthony Randolph. But you see, at least Randolph is athletic, quick, and gets around the rim. Udoh doesn’t and is still a higher pick than Randolph. Ekpe’s game is much too slow for the pace of the NBA. And another whammy is that the Warriors didn’t have another pick in the draft. Boo….

Charlotte Bobcats : No picks

Yay the Bobcats made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history! They get swept in the first round against the Orlando Magic. What have they done to improve? Nothing, not even in this draft.

New York Knicks : Andy Rautins (38th pick), Landry Fields (39th pick)

Back to back picks. Too bad they weren’t even in the first round. If they want to attract superstars to sign with their team, the Knicks must collect young talents at a cheap price. So far, they only collected a hometown shooter with a very thin frame.

Off the draft topic:

Another loser I believe to be is the New Orleans Hornets. Their 10th overall pick was gone to waste when they shipped Cole Aldrich and Mo Pete out to OKC. I know Mo Pete’s contract is a killer for the Hornet’s and they got rid of it, but they should look to get something bigger in return out of the 10th pick than to just save money.

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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



My Allstar Weekend Winners

February 10, 2010

The All-Star attendance in Dallas this year is projected to be over 100,000 people! I wonder how loud that building will be with so many NBA fans in a single sitting.

Let’s start off with the Haier Shooting Stars event

This year, the NBA decided to change the “Team” shooting stars to “City” shooting stars. In my opinion I like the city option better because it gives more teams to show their city talents instead of individual team talents so they can brag about it in the end. Instead of a team bragging, it can be a whole city. So everyone can get along! Let’s see the teams.

Team Atlanta: Joe Johnson (Current Hawks player), Angel McCoughtry (Rookie Atlanta Dream), Steve Smith (Former Hawk player 1995-1999)

Team Los Angeles: Pau Gasol (Current Laker player), Marie Ferdinand-Harris (Current Los Angeles Sparks player), Brent Barry (Former Clippers player 1995-1998)

Team Texas: Dirk Nowitzki (Current Mavericks player), Becky Hammon (Current San Antonio Silver Stars player), Kenny Smith (Former Rockets player 1990-1996)

Team Sacramento: Tyreke Evans (Current Kings player), Nicole Powell (Former Sacramento Monarchs player), Chris Webber (Former Kings player 1998-2005)

My Winner: Team Texas

Why? Dirk Nowitzki is going to knock down shots no doubt. With the help of Becky who has been a consistent shooter through her career and Kenny “The Jet” Smith having a pretty decent jumper for his age, I think Becky or Dirk can finish the half court shot pretty easily.

Peter’s Winner: Team Sacramento

Why? Chris Webber is not that old and can still throw it down with the best of them right now barring injury. Pair him up with Tyreke Evans and they’d make a good team.  But this event is more shooting based so they might have some difficulties getting the last shot down but at least Webber can throw a ball further than Kenny Smith.

Now the Taco Bell Skills Challenge.

Last year, rookie Derrick Rose took the title with a quick finish of 35.3 seconds. Rose will be defending his title with plenty of past year winners this year in Dallas. Let’s see a few of the league’s fastest guards.

Phoenix Suns – Steve Nash (3rd appearance)

Milwaukee Bucks – Brandon Jennings (1st appearance)

Chicago Bulls – Derrick Rose (2nd appearance)

Utah Jazz – Deron Williams (2nd appearance)

My Winner: Deron Williams

Why? No disrespect to the others but Deron still holds the Skills Challenge fastest finish record with an incredibly low 25.5 seconds! Last year Williams wasn’t in the contest, but now that he’s back and 100%, I think he can take the title back.

Peter’s Winner: Derrick Rose

Why? The all-star and returning champion is going to be back to back.  He’s an elite point guard and more athletic than an old Steve Nash and a Deron Williams whose beard is weighing him down.  His only challenge is Branden Jennings but he was in Italy and Italians don’t know how to play.

I’m disappointed Kapono isn’t in the shootout this year. But hey, he had back to back 3-point contests before Daequan Cook stole it last year. Let’s take a look at the sharpshooters.

(The percentage is how the player is shooting behind the arc this season)

Denver Nuggets – Chauncey Billups (.415%)

Miami Heat – Daequan Cook (.300%)

Golden State Warriors – Stephen Curry (.429%)

Phoenix Suns- Channing Frye (.438%)

New York Knicks- Danilo Gallinari (.403%)

Boston Celtics – Paul Pierce (.467%)

My Winner: Danilo Gallinari

Why? No one has made more threes this season than Gallinari. Frye and Gallinari are the only players hitting over the hundred mark in three point shots this season. In the final round, I believe the sophomore Knick can edge breakout player Frye by a shot or two.

Peter’s Winner: Chauncey Billups

Why? He’s not just a team leader, he’s one of the most proficient shooters in the league and can throw it down.  When Chauncy is on fire, no one can touch him and he is the most experienced shooter out of all of them.

In the past years, the Sprite Slam Dunk contest has players using many props. Dwight Howard with his “Superman” cape, Nate Robinson jumping over short and tall people, and Gerald Green blowing candles out. I think the dunks should be based on three categories. Originality scale 1-10, Creativity 1-5, and Finish 1-5. Sounds a bit complicated but I feel that it would bring more fun for the dunk contest. I’m hoping to see many surprising things this year. Everyone is a new contestant besides current champ Nate Robinson. The 2010 dunkers are….

Los Angeles Lakers – Shannon Brown

Charlotte Bobcats – Gerald Wallace

New York Knicks – Nate Robinson

Toronto Raptors – DeMar Derozan*

Los Angeles Clippers – Eric Gordon*

* – will compete in dunk-in challenge

My Winner: Shannon Brown

Why? I’m an L.A. native, I watch Laker games. When I see Brown hop to dunk, it’s plain sick for a short kid getting that high above the rim. Shannon stated “I can touch the top of the backboard”. In case you haven’t heard, the last person to touch a top spot on the backboard was Dwight Howard with the sticker dunk a few years back. Though Dwight didn’t win that year, that’s still freakishly impressive for a 6’4 guard getting that high. If I picked a final round for the contest, it would be Brown with either Derozan or Wallace. Derozan gets up. Wallace shows to finish aggressive around the rim, so I’d also take him to the finals.

Peter’s Winner: Gerald Wallace

Why? Crash is going to do some crazy ish in the dunk contest.  Shannon Brown has hops but Wallace will do some crazy oh my god dunks that will get everyone off their seats with gaped mouths.

Rookies

Player (Team) Position Height/Weight School/Country
Omri Casspi (Kings) F 6-9/225 Israel
DeJuan Blair (Spurs) F-C 6-7/265 Pittsburgh
Stephen Curry (Warriors) G 6-3/185 Davidson
Tyreke Evans (Kings) G 6-6/220 Memphis
Jonny Flynn (Timberwolves) G 6-0/186 Syracuse
Taj Gibson (Bulls) F 6-9/225 USC
James Harden (Thunder) G 6-5/220 Arizona State
Brandon Jennings (Bucks) G 6-1/169 Lottomatica Virtus Roma (Italy)
Jonas Jerebko (Pistons) F 6-10/231 Sweden

Sophomores

Player (Team) Position Height/Weight School/Country
Michael Beasley (Heat) F 6-9/245 Kansas State
Marc Gasol (Grizzlies) C 7-1/265 Spain
Danilo Gallinari (Knicks) G-F 6-10/225 Italy
Eric Gordon (Clippers) G 6-3/222 Indiana
Brook Lopez (Nets) C 7-0/260 Stanford
Kevin Love (Timberwolves) F-C 6-10/260 UCLA
O.J. Mayo (Grizzlies) G 6-4/210 USC
Anthony Morrow (Warriors) G 6-3/190 Georgia Tech
Russell Westbrook (Thunder) G 6-5/210 UCLA

My Winner: Sophomores

Why? When I deeply think about it, the 2009 draft class was one of the league’s best ever.

Peter’s Winner: Sophomores

Why? They’re more experienced and this year’s sophomores is some of the best in the league


Last season in Phoenix was a fun one to watch. Shaq, Kobe, and Phil reunited for a fun performance. The starting line-up wasn’t so different from last year with the East having the same starters this year.

Let’s take a look at the team’s full roster.

East Roster

NO. PLAYER (TEAM) POS. HT. WT. BIRTHDATE FROM
23 * LeBron James (Cleveland) F 6-8 250 12/30/84 St. Vincent/St. Mary HS
5 * Kevin Garnett (Boston) F 6-11 253 05/19/76 Farragut Academy HS (CHI)
3 * Dwyane Wade (Miami) G 6-4 220 01/17/82 Marquette
3 * Allen Iverson (Philadelphia) G 6-0 165 06/07/75 Georgetown, D.C.
12 * Dwight Howard (Orlando) C 6-11 265 12/08/85 SW Atlanta Christian Academy (GA)
15 # Al Horford (Atlanta) C 6-10 245 06/03/86 Florida
4 Chris Bosh (Toronto) F 6-10 230 03/24/84 Georgia Tech
34 Paul Pierce (Boston) F 6-7 235 10/13/77 Kansas
3 # Gerald Wallace (Charlotte) F 6-7 220 07/23/82 Alabama
2 Joe Johnson (Atlanta) G 6-7 240 06/29/81 Arkansas
9 # Rajon Rondo (Boston) G 6-1 171 02/22/86 Kentucky
1 # Derrick Rose (Chicago) G 6-3 190 10/04/88 Memphis
Head Coach: Stan Van Gundy (Orlando)

West Roster

NO. PLAYER (TEAM) POS. HT. WT. BIRTHDATE FROM
15 * Carmelo Anthony (Denver) F 6-8 230 05/29/84 Syracuse
21 * Tim Duncan (San Antonio) F 6-11 260 04/25/76 Wake Forest
24 * Kobe Bryant (L.A. Lakers) G 6-6 205 08/23/78 Lower Merion HS (PA)
13 * Steve Nash (Phoenix) G 6-3 178 02/07/74 Santa Clara
1 * Amar’e Stoudemire (Phoenix) C 6-10 249 11/16/82 Cypress Creek (FL)
16 Pau Gasol (L.A. Lakers) C 7-0 250 07/06/80 Barcelona, Spain
35 # Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City) F 6-9 230 09/29/88 Texas
41 Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas) F 7-0 245 06/19/78 Wurzburg, Germany
50 # Zach Randolph (Memphis) F 6-9 260 07/16/81 Michigan State
3 i Chris Paul (New Orleans) G 6-0 175 05/06/85 Wake Forest
1 Chauncey Billups (Denver) F 6-3 202 09/25/76 Colorado
7 i Brandon Roy (Portland) G 6-6 211 07/23/84 Washington
35 # Chris Kaman (L.A. Clippers) G 7-0 265 04/28/82 Central Michigan
8 # Deron Williams (Utah) G 6-3 207 06/26/84 Illinois
Head Coach: George Karl (Denver)
* – denotes starter
# – denotes first-time selection

i – denotes injured and will not participate

My Winner: East All-Stars

Why? East is the powerhouse this season.

Peter’s Winner: Doesn’t matter

Why? This is going to be a fun and entertaining game showing the best talent around the world.  Lebron’s going to do something awesome, Dwight is going to do something funny, it’s going to be a good time.


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