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

July 9, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Free Agency Update

July 2, 2010

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

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

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

Other role players who were picked up by teams:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BIGGEST RUMORS AND CHATTER!

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

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

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

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


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

June 30, 2010

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

Here we go starting with the main stage:

LeBron James

Prediction: New York Knicks

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

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

Dwyane Wade

Prediction: Miami Heat

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

Chances to: Miami 80%, Chicago 20%

Chris Bosh

Prediction: Miami Heat

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

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

Joe Johnson

Prediction: Chicago Bulls

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

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

Amare Stoudemire

Prediction: New York Knicks

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

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

Dirk Nowitzki

Prediction: Dallas Mavericks

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

Chances to: Dallas 90%, New York 10%

Paul Pierce

Prediction: Boston Celtics

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

Chances to: Boston 80%, New Jersey 20%

Carlos Boozer

Prediction: Chicago Bulls

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

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

David Lee

Prediction: New Jersey Nets

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

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

Rudy Gay

Prediction: Tie between Los Angeles Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves

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

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

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

Ray Allen

Prediction: New York Knicks

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

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

Allen Iverson

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

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

Shaquille O’Neal

Prediction: Dallas Mavericks or Retirement

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

Tracy McGrady

Prediction: Los Angeles Lakers or New York Knicks

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

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

John Salmons

Prediction: Sacramento Kings or Miami Heat

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

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

Steve Blake

Prediction: Los Angeles Lakers

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

Josh Howard

Prediction: Los Angeles Clippers, Portland Trailblazers, Sacramento Kings

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

Mike Miller

Prediction: Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers

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



For all the marbles

May 30, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

Kobe Bryant shooting over Ray Allen

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

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

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


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