Best and Off season

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

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

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

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

Good Move!

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

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

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

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

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

Team’s in limbooo….ehhh

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

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

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

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


The Biggest Losers


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

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

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


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


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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.



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


2010 All-Stars

January 21, 2010

Before I name my All-Star starters and bench I’d like to ask the NBA to fix a huge problem.

NBA’s All-Star fan voting….

Look, I know in the past Tracy McGrady and Allen Iverson were terrific stars who scored ridiculous amounts of points. On top of that, they put up a great show the their devoted fans. Now, look at those two stars.

Tracy McGrady – He has only played 6 games for the Rockets. Averaging career lows in every stat. I don’t blame the guy because he barely gets to play due to some feuds going on. But deserving to be on the All-Star team? Not even. He shouldn’t even be placed as a candidate for the All-Star game in 2010. Tracy isn’t even “with” the Rockets at the moment. I’m not saying China (which is the majority of the all-star votes) votes shouldn’t count. I’m proposing players like McGrady should be off of the ballot.

Allen Iverson – I remember back in the day A.I. was probably the most sickest scoring point guard in the league. The key words were “back in the day”. Yeah Allen WAS a star. But now, he’s just some old veteran with a lot of previous talent who doesn’t have rings. It’s unfortunate to see Iverson’s career closely coming to an end. In what is probably his last year in the NBA, fans feel he should deserve to be in the All-Star team one last time. I don’t think so. With rising star point guards like Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo, Allen should be bumped off the list of candidates. I respect A.I. and what he has shown in the past, but a 2010 all-star nod just isn’t right for his mediocre season.

Another thing I’d like the NBA to change is the All-Star roster. 12 players seem to less, and 15 seems too much. I say fans can vote for top 10 starters for each conference. Add 4 more players for each conference who are chosen by the coaches in the league. I remember for two years, I felt Deron Williams deserve the All-Star nod. But with the overload of talented guards in the West doesn’t give Deron any attention.

My top 12 players (since they only have 12) from each conference deserve the All-Star spots the most.

Eastern Conference

The “easy” East isn’t too difficult to find the starters. There isn’t much to look around. Here we go.

Rajon Rondo

Rondo

The East guards aren’t hard to choose from. Rondo is the most consistent point guard in the East. If the Celtics didn’t have Rajon, the Celtics wouldn’t be looking at the Finals. Yes, the Finals. That’s how important Rondo is to their team. His defense is solid and nearly always averages a double double. The aging big 3 are still the main points for Boston. After this season, the Celtics should look to invest in Rondo.

Dwyane Wade

Wade

One of the given in the East, Wade will enter his 6th All-Star season. Dwade is basically lifting his team to the playoffs and try to reach as far as they can. In one of his fewest healthiest seasons, the MVP candidate is hands down the best shooting guard in the East so far. Competition for Dwyane against the Eastern Conference guards are nowhere near close.

LeBron James

James

Who can forget King James? LeBron is “beast mode” this season (as Marshawn Lynch likes to say). In one of his best seasons, James has helped brought the Cavs to the top of the Eastern Conference. His player efficiency rating is no surprise and is still number one in the league. His last five games he has shot 57%. Impressive. LeBron so far looks like the clear MVP winner in the league.

Chris Bosh

Bosh

All the trade rumors floating around Bosh must bother him. Or he just dusts it off his shoulders and averages career highs in Points, Rebounds, FG%, and 3-point shooting. The Raptors must be STUPID to try to shop him. Chris is a franchise player. Toronto shouldn’t ship him, but build a great team AROUND him. How is it possible for Bosh to have his best season despite playing less minutes in the past few years? Vote for this cowboy .

Dwight Howard

Howard

Any player who leads the league in rebounds should be able to earn a starting spot for the game. I gotta say this though. The Magic aren’t going to win games if they don’t use Dwight to his fullest potential. Howard aka “Superman” gets ONLY an average of 9 shots per game behind Vince Carter (15 shots) and Rashard Lewis (11.5 shots). Do these Orlando players don’t see the dominant center in the middle who can out muscle anyone? Dwight is still the best center in the league today.

Reserves:

Derrick Rose

Rose? Really? Yup… the East’s point guard reserve comes down to Derrick Rose. The Sophomore gets the vote because of his leadership for the young Bulls. Good thing for young Rose is that he increased his point scoring by 3 points since last year.

Joe Johnson

Joe doesn’t get enough respect from fans. The man has been consistent in every stat in the past three years!!! He deserves the All-Star spot right behind Wade. Johnson should be the captain for the Hawks, then the league will recognize this hard-working player.

Gerald Wallace

Another player who doesn’t get enough respect. Wallace is my favorite for Defensive Player of the Year award. Rebounds and blocks seem to be his highlights every night. Gerald has finally developed into an All-Star player I have waited to see.

David Lee

The best Eastern Power Forward behind Bosh. Lee is one of the most consistent scoring and rebounding forwards/centers in the league. The Knicks are still a mess, but Lee has picked up the slack for this team to win games. David leads the Knicks in 4 statistical categories.

Joakim Noah

Rebounding machine. In four games this season, he grabbed 20+ rebounds. Noah is +5 in rebounds and points since last year. If you don’t think that’s amazing, you try and increase your averages in two stats by 5.

Western Conference

The talented West has many players to choose from. Here they come.

Steve Nash

Nash

At this point, Nash is playing as well as his two MVP seasons. Seems like when he ages, he plays better!!! Steve has to be the toughest point guard in the league. The guy is turning 36 on the 7th of Feb. He just had 7 stitches in his mouth against the Pacers and STILL returned to try to help the Suns win. How does he do it? I don’t know. I don’t even think Steve knows himself. Nash is shooting a career high with a near 54% from the field. The Suns would be nothing without Nash.

Bryant

Kobe Bryant

How can you hit two buzzer beater game winners in the first half of the season? How can you play with a broken pinky and index right fingers AND have back spasms? Yeah, Kobe hasn’t shot well lately, I know. But that shouldn’t make him any worse… Bryant’s playing hurt and can still be clutch. Going into his 12th All-Star selected season, Kobe still proves he is the greatest player in the league. LeBron is consistent, but the Lakers led by Kobe still has the best record in the league. Plus, compare the West and Eastern Conference records. The East is nowhere near close as the tough West in standings.

Kevin Durant

Durant

Young “Durantula” are proving doubters that he can become a franchise player and bring the young Thunder team into the playoffs. Kevin, who is one of the favored players for the Most Improved Player Award is scoring a career high of 29.1 points per game. The Thunder’s chances of claiming a spot in the playoffs to me are high. Look at the Thunder roster. Besides Westbrook and Green, who else helps Oklahoma with the scoring load? KD is an amazing player at both offense and defensive ends.

Dirk Nowitzki

Nowitzki

Another player who doesn’t seem to get enough respect in this league is Dirk. Dallas is ranked 2nd best in the tough Western Conference. When I watch Dirk play, he’s the most clutch big man I have seen in the game today. From the perimeter, baseline, or driving it in, Nowitzki gets the job done for the Mavs when they need it the most. Sometimes I wonder, “How do you guard this guy?”. Give him space, he pulls up on you. Put a body on him, he can pass you and head straight to the hoop. Dirk should be finally given the starting spot in the All-Star spot.

Tim Duncan

Duncan

Tim needs to be center so he gives Dirk a chance to claim that starting spot. Duncan is aging. On the other hand, he’s still good as hell. The F/C is matching  his career high in FG% since his 2006-07 season. Double-double averaging player and turning 34 in April, Duncan is aiming for his 5th title. Tim’s career has had seasons with a few bad injuries, but he still has the All-Star performance on the court.

Reserves:

Chris Paul

Ever since Paul came back from his troubling injury, the Hornets are 15-10 and is still kept in the hunt for the playoffs. The Hornets have been a disappointment all season, but Chris hasn’t. 32 out of Paul’s last 33 games, he has scored in double figures. He is single-handedly carrying New Orleans this half of the season.

Brandon Roy

How are the Blazers even winning without even having their roster healthy? Oden, out. Przybilla, out. Batum, out. Fernandez, out. Even Roy himself is out at times, but he is STILL doing work. Averaging a career high 23 points per game, Roy should enter his third straight All-Star appearance.

Carmelo Anthony

Melo’s scoring shot up 8 points per game since last season. The Nuggets are one of the most powerful teams in the West from the help of MVP candidate Carmelo. Anthony also leads the league in scoring with 30 ppg. Melo has picked up his career by shedding weight for this season and maturing into a franchise player.

Pau Gasol

Pau is the second best player on the dominant Lakers. He averages a double-double after coming off a hamstring injury. This is his first season he has been averaging a double-double. Though Kobe is still considered the best player in the league, Gasol takes the weight off of Bryant’s shoulders when it comes down to business on the court.

Chris Kaman

When has the Clippers had a player who has played in the All-Star game? Chris has performed like an All-Star player. He is also one of the favorites for Most Improved Player Award. Averaging 20 points and 9 boards per game, Kaman is having a breakout season. I believe the Clippers have a chance to make a playoff run if the team comes together and as Kaman performs as well as he does now every single night.

Deron Williams

Deron is nearly averaging a double-double. In the past seasons, he HAS average a double-double. How has Williams never been voted an All-Star? In the past years, it has been Ginobli and Parker stealing Deron’s spotlight. Those aging guards aren’t having a great of a season as Williams has. Deron should finally be able to claim that last spot since he’s one of the top 10 point guards in the league.

Zach Randolph

Averaging a double-double per night. Wait no, make it a 20 points and 11 rebounds per game average. Zach is part of what the Grizzlies are today. Memphis is one of the most surprising teams this season. Great coaching? Probably. But Zach averaging ridiculous stats per night is probably the reason why the Grizzlies have a shot at the playoffs. With the help of the big 3…. actually make it 4 with Zach, Mayo, Rudy, and Gasol. Memphis is on pace looking at their best season since the 03-06 seasons.