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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Free Agency Update

July 2, 2010

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

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

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

Other role players who were picked up by teams:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BIGGEST RUMORS AND CHATTER!

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

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

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

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


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

June 30, 2010

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

Here we go starting with the main stage:

LeBron James

Prediction: New York Knicks

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

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

Dwyane Wade

Prediction: Miami Heat

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

Chances to: Miami 80%, Chicago 20%

Chris Bosh

Prediction: Miami Heat

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

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

Joe Johnson

Prediction: Chicago Bulls

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

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

Amare Stoudemire

Prediction: New York Knicks

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

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

Dirk Nowitzki

Prediction: Dallas Mavericks

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

Chances to: Dallas 90%, New York 10%

Paul Pierce

Prediction: Boston Celtics

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

Chances to: Boston 80%, New Jersey 20%

Carlos Boozer

Prediction: Chicago Bulls

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

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

David Lee

Prediction: New Jersey Nets

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

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

Rudy Gay

Prediction: Tie between Los Angeles Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves

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

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

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

Ray Allen

Prediction: New York Knicks

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

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

Allen Iverson

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

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

Shaquille O’Neal

Prediction: Dallas Mavericks or Retirement

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

Tracy McGrady

Prediction: Los Angeles Lakers or New York Knicks

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

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

John Salmons

Prediction: Sacramento Kings or Miami Heat

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

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

Steve Blake

Prediction: Los Angeles Lakers

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

Josh Howard

Prediction: Los Angeles Clippers, Portland Trailblazers, Sacramento Kings

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

Mike Miller

Prediction: Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers

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



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.


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.


Deadline and done deals

February 17, 2010

Trades that have happened

As most NBA fans know, the Dallas Mavericks and Washington Wizards made the first big trade before the deadline. The Wizards received Josh Howard, Drew Gooden, Quinton Ross, and James Singleton in exchange for Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, and DeShawn Stevenson.

It’s obvious the Wizards are planning to rebuild their whole team due to the troubles they’ve gone through this season. On the other hand, the Mavericks came up big in this trade deal. Caron Butler who was once an All-Star selected player hasn’t been playing at an All-Star caliber player level. However he still has the skills and talent to become that offensive threat for a team. Butler might not get the ball as much as he did before in Washington (when Arenas was out), but on paper he makes the Mavericks look intimidating. Brendan Haywood is a solid pickup. At 7 feet tall, Haywood gives another big man on the court who can crash boards and blocks shots. What people don’t usually see about Haywood is that he works his tail off to bother players on the defensive end. Stevenson gives that in-depth shooter for the Mavs.

Another deal that went down was the Clippers sent out veteran center Marcus Camby to Portland in exchange for Travis Outlaw, Steve Blake, and some cash.

Clippers were all about the money on this one. Everyone in the deal has an expiring contract, but the extra money helped out the needy Clips in this one. Travis Outlaw is injured with a broken foot and won’t know when he’ll play this season.  Steve Blake is a great point guard who can run the game well and play as a starter or the bench. Portland was desperately in need for a center, and in my opinion they picked up a steal.

Teams that SHOULD happen to make a move within the next day

Cavaliers – The Cavs are just missing one piece to a guaranteed finals appearance, and that is a new power forward. Cleveland have tried to bid for players like Amare Stoudemire, Antawn Jamison, and Troy Murphy. So far, I think the best chance they have is getting at Troy Murphy. Rumors are that the Suns want more than just Zydrunas’s expiring contract which they’ll wave and Hickson’s talent doesn’t come close to Amare. Indiana is planning to rebuild, and Murphy’s contract is in their way for next season. Murphy isn’t like Amare, but still can give the Cavs a great shot at the title.

Knicks/Rockets – The Knicks need all the expiring contracts they need for the big free agent market bidding next season. Trading for Tracy McGrady can actually be an experiment for New York. Tracy was once a star and I believe he still can play. In his expiring contract season, why not just let the guy play and have the team build greater chemistry with the player so he might think of resigning with the team for a veteran price? The Rockets on the other hand would just get a young Jordan Hill, veteran Larry Hughes who still has some gas left in his tank, and Jared Jeffries (nothing really GREAT about him). Houston would be just adding depth into their team.

Wizards – They got rid of Butler for expiring contracts, now to get rid of Jamison for more expiring contracts. The Wizards to me are just going to be like the Knicks this offseason. They will be looking to invest into the 2010 free agent market. For one thing, I don’t think Jamison is going to land in Cleveland for two reasons. One, they don’t want to help the best team in the East already get better. Two, they were once rivals, why help them out? If the Wizards were smart, they’d ship Jamison out to the West. [Update] Jamison gets shipped to Cavs. I gotta ask why Washington is helping out the top East team and their rivals.

Celtics – The Celts have seemed pretty busy with their trading offers. The rumors floated around with D.J. Augustin and Glen Davis aren’t true, but with names like Ray Allen and Rasheed Wallace in the picture, Boston might have something up their sleeve. This year hasn’t been the best for them and plus they built up chemistry problems. I see the mean green making a big or small move in the next day.


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.