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.



Congratulations to Don Nelson!

April 7, 2010

With his 1333 win in coaching, Don deserves to celebrate at least for one night. This season wasn’t a so called “wonderful” or “successful” one to call it with the Stephen Jackson issues that happened earlier this year that led to a trade to the Bobcats. Nelson still managed to turn that problem around. He looked at young and talented Stephen Curry to play like a true point guard on the court. Behind Tyreke Evans, I’d say Curry has to be right next to him (plus Jennings). Also, Monta Ellis has been another story, playing 11 games without taking a seat on the bench. Nelson’s bag of tricks has still gotten Golden State fans in Norcal to consider going to the games for the fun and entertainment of the quick scoring Warriors. Anthony Tolliver scored a career high of 34 points to have Nelson’s record eclipse Lenny Wilkens. With rumors swirling around that Don might come back for one more season, it would be fun to see Nelson increase his winning record IF the Warriors get busy in the summer.

**** And in response to the Clipper curse. If Peter is comparing the Clippers to the successful Saints, that’s funny. Because ANY TEAM with great management, team, and organization would be a successful team. Wouldn’t they? Common sense. The Clippers need to shape up every part of their organization. Injuries do happen. Unfortunately, they hit it big with the Clips like Livingston and Griffin. Griffin has potential, but I’m not going to put him up on any scale until he plays. Plus, the past few lottery years have been wonderful on them. Lets start with Michael Olowokandi’s 1998 draft being picked number 1 overall. Next, was athletic and young Darius Miles out of H.S. The year after, they chose Tyson Chandler at number 2 overall and traded him to Chicago for future All-Star Elton Brand (who also was plagued with injuries). 2002 comes Chris Wilcox! And right after Chris was Amare Stoudemire picked by the Suns, you might have heard of him before. Finally a great draft year, 2003 the Clips took Chris Kaman which wasn’t a bad pick. The year after was the unfortunate loss of Shaun Livingston. By the way I’m rooting for Shaun to have a stable contract offer from the Wizards. Now 2005, the Los Angeles Clippers took Yaroslav Korolev 12th overall in the draft. Enough said about him. Al Thornton was then taken in the 2007 draft, which I personally thought was a good pick. Too bad he’s not in Los Angeles anymore and didn’t develop much skill there. FINALLY, a player to appreciate is Eric Gordon. He can be a future star, that’s only if the Clipper staff let him. And 2009, Blake Griffin was taken number 1 overall. It was an obvious pick, but who knew the guy would get hurt right off the bat and miss the season? Curse? You might not believe so. Horrible management/staff/organization? I think so.


The “What If’s”?

April 6, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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