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

July 9, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


For all the marbles

May 30, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

Kobe Bryant shooting over Ray Allen

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

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

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


The “What If’s”?

April 6, 2010

I always wondered about NBA stars who came straight out of high school. Successful stars like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James show they were and are prepared for the biggER league by skipping college and falling into the NBA.Duke won their 4th National title just tonight. What would happen if Kobe went to Duke? What would happen if Amare Stoudemire went to Memphis? Would they have won for their colleges? I was watching Kobe’s draft night video earlier. He stated a great point for his reason to jump straight into the NBA. “It’s the biggest challenge” Kobe said. The NBA IS the biggest challenge for any basketball talent. Here are some high school stars that actually lived up to their potential.

Kobe Bryant – Out of Lower Merion High School, Kobe took his team to the state title and won. Of course, he was drafted in 1996 by the Charlotte Hornets. And the biggest mistake the Hornets EVER made was trade Kobe away for Vlade Divac. Kobe, now one of the best in the league has come to the top with 4 championships and maybe more to come.

LeBron James – Born and grew up in Ohio and playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, isn’t that a dream for anyone to play for their hometown? LeBron came into the league as one of the most hyped players ever. The hype and potential did pay off. With a MVP trophy and another one yet to come this season, LeBron has his Cavaliers with the best record in the league this season. The only thing the “King” needs is a championship on his belt to prove he is probably one of the best.

Amare StoudemireStoudemire was originally committed to the University of Memphis. His knee injury held him back pretty big when he was young. Amare’s knee injury was projected to bother him more in the near future. Luckily, that injury turned around quickly. Stoudemire bulked up and dominated the paint for the Suns scoring. He also won the Rookie of the Year award which was no surprise since he averaged nearly a double double and a block.

Kevin Garnett – When he was in the T-wolves, Garnett had to be the most outstanding Power Forward next to Tim Duncan. Being the 5th pick overall in 1995, Garnett played well and proved to Minnesota that this was HIS team. His days in a Timberwolves jersey were quite impressive since he averaged a double-double for six straight years and a MVP title in 2004. Now, at age 33, Garnett is on the Celtics and finally won a ring with them in 2008.

Other honorable mentions: Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, and Rashard Lewis

On the other hand, there are also players that went to the league straight out of high school and paid a heavy price. The high school talent can straight go to waste by a huge injury. Some high school seniors just thought they were ready for the big league but never went forward with their talent. When players are young, they heal quicker than the aged. But some haven’t been the same since being scouted by NBA officials. For instance, here are some players who I’m talking about.

Kwame Brown – I mean, it’s not the guy’s fault he was drafted number one overall. Jordan chose the kid and expected him to do great, but failed. The 2001 draft class wasn’t a great one, but cmon‘ it Pau Gasol in it. Kwame’s skinny figure was really only decent for defense in the NBA. If Brown could have turned back time, I would see him using the college experience to help him. But hey, at least he gets paid well for doing nothing?

Shaun Livingston – I feel sorry for young Shaun. I actually watched that game where he had the devastating injury. I remember I was a bit uncomfortable watching the replays. Damn the Clipper curse! I remember before the draft, I was looking forward to Livingston become a one of those fun tall point guards who can play the game pretty well. Now that Shaun is with the Washington Wizards and trying to rebuild his career, his injury never made him the same player again. Hopefully he finds a place in the league where he can stay for long.

Gerald Green – What happened to this guy you ask? He’s overseas playing for a Russian team. The kid was a dunk champion and that’s about it. He never was noticed in the league much. Although, I do remember him scoring points at a sporadic rate in Boston, Green never found a true home in the NBA. When he was traded to Houston, I was sure he was going to prove himself in his hometown. Unfortunately, he only played a few games and was eventually released. I still believe Green has talent for a team, but he needs to grow up just a bit.

Darius Miles – The young and athletic forward is also another victim to the Clipper curse. Miles was explosive in his game. Too bad he didn’t see much light on the court. He only played a total of 8 seasons. The Boston Celtics gave Miles a chance to be on their roster, but Darius never delivered.

Jonathan Bender – I remember watching this guy playing for the Pacers at such a athletic level. Jonathan was a really talented forward who was plagued with many injuries. Some thought he was the next big thing in the NBA. Others thought he should have went to college for a year or two. Recently, he was signed to the Knicks and played a handful of games before getting injured once again.

Players also close to this list: Kendrick Perkins, Tyson Chandler, Eddy Curry, and DeShawn Stevenson


TWITTER

February 28, 2010

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


KD

February 25, 2010

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

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

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

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


The New Best Draft Class? Part One

February 21, 2010

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

Number One Pick in 2008

Derrick Rose

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

Second Pick in 2008 Draft

Michael Beasley

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

3rd Draft Pick

O.J. Mayo

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

4th Pick

Russell Westbrook

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

5th Pick of 2008

Kevin Love

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

6th Pick

Danilo Gallinari

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

7th Pick

Eric Gordon

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

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

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


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.