Thursday, June 5, 2008

Lakers vs. Celtics!! Who Wins?!?

Game 1 kicks off tonight and I'm looking for one great game. After 21 year hiatus, the NBA has finally gotten its best rivalry back. I'm looking for hustle, passion, and excitement on the court tonight. I expect the Lakers to come out and try and get the momentum on their side since home court goes to the Celtics. Even though I'm rooting for the Lakers, I don't expect the Celtics to just let the Lakers come in and just win. This should be really interesting. Let's breakdown the teams.

The Celtics are going to have a hard time containing Kobe Bryant. He's not LeBron James, he's way better. Also, they can't try and double team him all the time since the Lakers actually have offensive weapons outside of Bryant. Bryant should have his way with Celtics and score at will like he did with another great defensive team in the Spurs. Pau Gasol has to step up on the glass and get his rebounds. Lamar Odom is probably going to have defensive assignment of defending Garnett and he has the length and size to be successful at it. Kobe Bryant and Sasha Vujacic are most likely defending Ray Allen and they can't let him get into a groove. The "bench mob" for Los Angeles has got to step up. They know their the more talented bench and should take advantage of that. With the offensive firepower of the Lakers and a pretty good defense, they should win this series hands down. Yes, Boston has the "Big Three" with Garnett, Allen, and Pierce, but the Lakers have Overall offense which the Celtics do not have.

I have to go for the Los Angeles Lakers in 6 games. Besides the fact that they have the best player in the NBA, they also have a solid supporting cast. They are going to overwhelm the Celtics because they don't have much outside the "Big Three." They can't double Bryant and stop the other role players. Too much for the Celtics. Go Lakers!!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Detroit Pistons, What Happened?!?Early Offseason...Again

After watching the Detroit Pistons get a lost that is going to sting for awhile, I was truly disappointed. I mean, the Pistons were doing pretty good all night thanks to the backcourt play of Billups and Hamilton, but Rasheed Wallace never showed up just like he hasn't the whole series. Sheed is the difference maker for this team and he just took them back to Detroit. In the first half, Sheed was playing great defense on Garnett, holding him to only 4 points. Wallace on the other hand had ZERO!? That's not going to cut it in the playoffs.

I'm still trying to grasp how the Pistons, who had an amazing 3rd quarter lose this game. They had the Celtics right where they needed them coming into the 4th 70-60. All of a sudden, the Celtics start to come back with Garnett getting off and Paul Pierce, who scored 27 points making plays for the C's. You would think the Pistons would have at least forced a game 7 just based on the experience they have. This is the third straight year in which the Pistons have lost the conference finals in 6 games (Heat, Cavaliers, and Celtics).

A lot of people think that Flip Saunders might be on the plank, but in his defense it wasn't entirely his fault. Yes, he could have made some better coaching decisions but i think more of the blame should dealt to the Pistons players, particularly Rasheed Wallace. Rasheed should be worried about his job in Detroit after not showing up again. Sheed is the most expendable player since he is in the final year of his contract. Then again, he is possibly the best big man on the court when he wants to. If we trade him away, we would need a big man that can bang down low and play defense. They own the 29th pick in the draft so maybe they could package that with Sheed and move up in the draft. Joe Dumars has a lot on his plate, but as one of the best GM's out there, he will make the necessary moves, even if that means breaking up the nucleus.

Monday, May 26, 2008

NBA Conference Finals!

The NBA Playoffs are really getting exciting. With the Lakers ahead of the Spurs 2-1, I still expect the series to go into 7 games since the Spurs are so experienced. I look at the Pistons-Celtics series, and I see the Pistons overwhelming the Celtics with their defense and experience also. Lets breakdown the both series.

Los Angeles Lakers-San Antonio Spurs (2-1)

The Lakers expected the Spurs to eventually breakout of their slump and play like the champions they are. In game 3, Spurs showed why they are the champs winning 103-84. The key to them winning of course was Manu Ginobili, who scored 30 points on 9-15 shooting (5-7 3pt). Manu went from struggling to make a layup in games 1 and 2, to scoring at will ag
ainst the Lakers. Tim Duncan also showed why he is the best power forward in the league with 21 points and 22 rebounds. All in all, the Spurs were too much for the Lakers. I still expect the Lakers to win the series in 7 though. Kobe Bryant was his usual self with 30 points, but he can't be the only one scoring for them. Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom combined for 22 points on 9-29 shooting, which is horrendous. Gasol has got to get it together and score consistently. Same goes for Odom, who went from 20 points and 12 rebounds in game 2 to 7 points and 11 rebounds. The bench has to step up also, particularly Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic and play defense and hit those perimeter shots. I still expect the Lakers to win this series.

Detroit Pistons-Boston Celtics (1-2)

The Pistons-Celtics series has just gotten interesting. The Pistons looked absolutely awful at home. Richard Hamilton did his best with 26 points, but he can't be the only player showing up to play. Rodney Stuckey has also picked up the slack with Chauncey Billups still trying to get over his hamstring injury. Rasheed Wallace still hasn't had the breakout game we are all waiting for. The Pistons are only going to go as far as Rasheed goes. Tayshaun Prince, where are you?!? When are you going to start showing up on the offensive end of the court. We all know your a defensive supremacist, but man you have to score more than 4 points! I still think the Pistons will win the series, but if they play like they did in game 3, it could be harder than they think.

Friday, May 23, 2008

NBA Draft

After watching the Draft Lottery on ESPN, I think I have a sense as to what this draft is going to be about. The Chicago Bulls got the number one pick with Charlotte going under top five. A few teams I wanted to see go higher were the Portland Trailblazers and the Golden State Warriors. The blazers had such a great draft last year that I was hoping for them to get in the top ten. The Warriors on the other hand had the best record out of the lottery teams, so their chances were slim at the beginning. It would have been nice to see them get in the top ten also.

I already have a mock draft on my mind and lets take a look at it.

1) Chicago Bulls:Derrick Rose,PG,Memphis-Yes, I know that they have a point guard in Kirk Hinrich, but he hasn't gotten it done for the Bulls in my eyes. He is an average guard who had career-low in points with 11 ppg. Rose will give them that explosiveness and leadership. He would be a better fit with Ben Gordon, providing his ability to create his own shot and take it to the hole.
2) Miami Heat:Michael Beasley,PF,KSU-Even though I think Beasley would be a better fit with the Bulls, they have a lot of forwards and I think Tyrus Thomas will grow into a productive power forward. Tagging up with Wade and Marion will be good for his development. Beasley can stretch the floor and provide another scoring option with his ability to create. Although I think that the Heat must get a point guard at some point via the draft, trade, or free agency.
3) Minnesota Timberwolves:Brook Lopez,C,Stan.-Lopez would be the safest pick for the Wolves considering th
e investigation on O.J. Mayo. Lopez would really compliment Al Jefferson in the post because he is capable off knocking down a 15-18 foot jumper. A lot of people think they should go with Mayo, but they have guards in Randy Foye and Rashad McCants that will pan out in the near future.
4) Seattle Supersonics:Jerryd Bayless,PG,AZ-Bayless is a combo-guard who ca
n score at will. He must improve his ball handling in order to become a true point guard. Quick, explosive guard who attacks the basket. Great pull-up jumper; ability to elevate makes it hard to defend. Good fit for Sonics rebuilding process.
5)Memphis Grizzlies:Kevin Love,PF,UCLA-This might be a stretch, but Memphis badly needs a post player. Love still has to develop some better moves in the post but he has the talent to improve in that area. Also, he has range to shoot the 3 ball.They have to take the best big man available.
6)New Yo
rk Knicks:O.J. Mayo,SG,USC-Mayo, is going to be a great player in the NBA. He, like Rose,Beasley, and Bayless can create his own shot. He need to improve his defense and handling if he wants to show others he's more than just an offensive player. He will fit in nicely with D'Antoni's offensive scheme.
7)Los Angeles Clippers:Eric Gordon,SG,IND-Point guard is the more pressing need here, but Eric Gordon is too good to pass up. Gordon gives them a guard that can shoot,drive, and play defense. Gordon could take Cuttino Mobley's starting job after a down year. Gordon, will provide them another scoring option besides Elton Brand and Corey Maggette.
8)Milwaukee Bucks:Danillo Gallinari,SF,Italy-Gallinari is a point-forward with great ball handling. He is the best European player in this years' draft. He is compared to Hedo Turkgolu with his ability to do everything at 6'10.
9)Charlotte Bobcats:Darrell Arthur,PF,Kansas-Arthur is a
n athletic power forward that can play the post and can knock down the 18-20 foot jumper. He is explosive when going towards the basket and can finish. He will fit in with Bobcats and give them a legit power forward.
10)New Jersey Nets:Anthony Randolph,SF,LSU-Randolph could be a solid player in the NBA if he adds muscle to his physique. He has a lot of potential with his size, but needs to play with more control and think before does things. A good defender, he fits the Tayshaun Prince mold. In time, he will be more productive since he's only 18 years old.
11)Indiana Pacers:D.J. Augustin,PG,Texas-Augustin could step in immediately and give the Pacers a true point guard. He handles,passes, and can also score. He is a pass-first guard looking to get his teammates involved in the game. Will be very productive in the league.
12)Sacramento Kings:Donte Greene,SF,Syracuse-The Kings need help at both forward positions. Greene is more of a shooting forward that has good range. He can create separation to release his shot. He needs to get better on defense to become a complete small forward who is versatile enough to play the 4 spot.
13)Portland Trailblazers:Russell Westbrook,PG,UCLA-Explosive point guard who is a great defender. Fits in with the Blazers team. Although he's not a true point guard, more of a combo-guard, he can still handle the point position. Amazing leaping ability makes it easier to finish at the basket.
14)Golden State Warriors:DeAndre Jordan,C,Texas A&M-This is not a need pick for the Warriors, but it would be nice to develop an athletic,aggressive big man. Jordan is still raw, and needs to learn how t
o use his big frame to dominate. He needs to learn the fundamentals to be an effective post player. Would have benefited if he stayed another year but he will be a project for the Warriors.
15)Phoenix Suns:Joe Alexander,SF,WVU-Alexander is one heck of an athlete. He is has such explosive leaping ability and knows how to finish at the rack. Alexander will give Phoenix another physical banger other than Stoudemire and Shaq. He will need to improve his outside shooting but is capable of hitting the mid-range jumper.
16)Philadelphia Sixers:Serge Ibaka,PF,L'Hospitalet-Ibaka is one of the most athletic prospects in this draft. He runs the court like a guard and goes hard all the time. He can stretch defenses with his 3-point shooting and can still finish inside. His vertical leap is amazing and can change a game with his shot-blocking ability. A little raw, but will become a good player in the league years to come. Will help Sixers since they need a power forward.
17)Toronto Raptors:Nicolas Batum,SG,France-Freakish athleticism and good player when he has his head in the game. His wingspan is incredible and could possibly be a lock-down defender. Only 18 years of age, he has time to develop his game and get bigger.
18)Washington Wizards:Kosta Koufos,C,OSU-Koufos fits the Wizards with their pressing need of another big man. He has more of a finesse game and has a soft touch shooting. Is a great back-to-basket player. Has ability to hit the 3-pointer and is somewhat of a Mehmet Okur type player. Needs to develop a power game in the post; with his size it should come easy.
19)Cleveland Cavaliers:Chris Douglas-Roberts,SG,Memphis-CDR is a great guard. He would be a nice compliment to LeBron James. In my opinion, the best player on the Memphis team and was a first team All-American. He has somewhat of a unorthodox game but he finds ways to make plays. He can really finish when he gets the ball. Will be a solid player in NBA.
20)Denver Nuggets:Ty Lawson,PG,UNC-Lawson would be a nice fit with the Nuggets considering they don't have a true point guard. Lawson is perhaps the quickest guard in the NCAA and fits the Nuggets up-tempo style of play. He scored most of his points in transition and can finish a play. It wouldn't hurt him to polish his jumper. He has good vision and is good a getting his team involved.
21)New Jersey Nets:Mareese Speights,PF,Fla.-Speights draft stock has risen simply because he know how to play the game. Facing the basket, he is amazing and can really stroke his jumper. Has range all the way to the 3-point also. He is a great offensive rebounder and has nice hands. He could still learn more post moves to improve his skills already.
22)Orlando Magic:Robin Lopez,PF,Stan.-Lopez brings that energy and hustle that the Magic need. He would compliment Dwight Howard very nicely in the post with his size and toughness. Great defender and shot-blocker. Needs to work on his offensive game. With his size, he could compete at the next level.
23)Utah Jazz:Roy Hibbert,C,Georgetown-Hibbert would excel in Sloan's half-court offense. Has a nice touch offensively and could be a great defender if he works hard. A very smart player, but could benefit if he worked on his explosiveness and power game. Would fit in with the Jazz real nice.
24)Seattle Supersonics:Alex Ajinca,C,Hyeres-Toulon-This French center can really play ball. He's still a little raw but he has a lot of room to grow. At the age of 18, he still can become a more dominate force. Ajinca has a really nice touch on his jumper and can hit from behind the arc. He is a great shot-blocker and defender. At only 225lbs, he must put on more weight in order to compete with NBA big men.
25)Houston Rockets:Javale McGee,C,Nevada-The Rockets have really need another big man to come off the bench since Yao Ming can't play a whole season. Dikembe Mutombo has done a nice job filling in but he's not getting any younger. McGee is a physical specimen. His size is great and would benefit if he added another 15-20lbs. Stretches the floor with ability to shoot threes'. He really needs to develop a post game and get bigger in order to play in the league though. He will pan out nicely if works diligently.
26)San Antonio Spurs:Brandon Rush,SG,Kansas-Rush could be a nice asset to the Spurs. he is versatile,and is a good defender, which is what the Spurs breathe off of. Rush is athletic, and is a great perimeter shooter. He could eventually start for the Spurs once Bruce Bowen is done.
27)New Orleans Hornets:Chase Budinger,SF,Arizona-Budinger is a truly, gifted athlete. He can really finish and can handle his own on the perimeter. He thrives in transition and in an up-tempo offense like the Hornets. Plays smart, but he must improve his defense.
28)Memphis Grizzlies:Ante Tomic,C,KK Zagreb-Tomic is a finesse, yet versatile center. He has a nice touch on his jumper and he has great footwork. He should try and add some more bulk to his skinny frame. He can really work the post with his moves. Could possibly be the next Pau Gasol.
29)Detroit Pistons:DeVon Hardin,C,Cal-Great size and can run the floor really well for his size. Hardin is real athletic and explosive when attacking. He has improved his offense but he understands what his limitations are. Has potential to be defensive play maker, which is why he would fit Detroit so well.
30)Boston Celtics:Jason Thompson,C,Rider-Thompson has a package of size and potential. He has a decent jump-shot but it will improve. He has to do better on defense though, which could be the key to his career. With his size, he could play defense if he put effort into it. He needs to gain some weight though.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Cavaliers New Look!

The Cavaliers looked pretty good in their debut with the new squad. After winning on friday with only 8 players due to the trade, they had another win against Memphis Grizzlies yesterday. Of course Lebron James had a superb game with 25-7-11. Even Ben Wallace, possibly the most uneffective offensive player had decent stats with 12-10. Joes Smith and Wally Szczerbiak came off the bench for 14 and 10. Delonte West had 5 points, but doubled has season assist average with 6 assist which included a sick alley-oop to King James.

At first, I was curious to see if this trade would work. It didn't seem like the trade really helped James and the Cavs. They added two veteran big men and a guard who can shoot but can't defend well and another that was seldom used in Seattle. I was wrong. They all molded together pretty fast. West will handle the point guard and relieve James with his ability to shoot. Wally will come off the bench to strech defenses. Smith, who is a versatile forward will also come off bench and provide another scoring option. Lastly, Wallace will provide the Cavaliers with the veteran leadership and experience he has. Also, he will bring that nasty defense and great rebounding.

Watch out for the Cavaliers. They are going to make a playoff push and possibly another run to the finals!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Impact of the NBA Trades

Over the past few weeks, Teams are on the phone lines trying to find deals that will give them the impact that Rasheed Wallace had when he propelled the Pistons to a NBA championship in 2004. Teams that stand out are the Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks and San Antonio Spurs who all made trades that could potentially lead them to the promise land.

Los Angeles Lakers- To me, this is the biggest trade so far. They traded for Pau Gasol, a versatile forward who can bang inside and has the ability to drain a jumper. They basically got him without trading any key pieces. Kwame Brown, who is probably the biggest draft bust ever was traded and Javaris Crittenton, who was an unproven rookie for a former all-star is great. They now have a chance to go deep in the playoffs and possibly make a trip to the NBA Finals.

Phoenix Suns- Everyone has their doubts about why the GM Steve Kerr traded for "The Diesel" Shaquille O'Neal. Yes, he is aging and people say he is running out of gas, but not me. Although I don't think it will take them to the Finals, it will certainly help the Suns. They have the post-presence they have lacked since parting ways with Kurt Thomas. Shaq will have to rebound, block shots, and be a defensive force that the Suns also didn't have. He will most likely 25-30 minutes a game and his offensive game will benefit with the presence of Amare Stoudemire and Steve Nash. This trade will help the Suns in the playoffs.

Dallas Mavericks- The Mavericks might have gave up a lot to get Jason Kidd, but this will really help them make a championship run. Devin Harris wasn't the guy that was going to help the Mavs get over the hill. The Mavericks want to win now and Kidd is the player that will give them their best shot at it. He is going to make it easier on Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard with his ability to score, pass, and rebound. Watch out for the Mavericks.

Atlanta Hawks- The trade for Mike Bibby gives them a chance for a push to the playoffs. Bibby gives the Hawks the veteran point guard and leadership that they didn't have. He gives them a scoring option behind Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, and Al Horford. He should make things easier for the Hawks and hopefully give them that force they needed for a playoff push.

San Antonio Spurs- The Spurs have just traded inconsistent center Francisco Elson and injury-riddled Brent Barry for Kurt Thomas. Kurt Thomas will help the Spurs with his strong ability to rebound and defend against the post. Thomas can also hit the jumper. Thomas will fit right in with Tim Duncan and will really contribute to them come playoffs.