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Tag:Amar'e Stoudemire
Posted on: November 29, 2010 1:49 pm
 

ChiTownCliff's Top 10 - Power Rankings #2

Well we are about 15 games into the season and it is fair to say that we have a decent sample now to produce a better and more accurate rankings. Again I am only looking at the Top 10 teams. These are the teams that look like they are contenders or close to it at this point. We will alos look at my picks for the Sexy Seven, players that have been plating great since my last rankings. So let us begin.

1.
Spurs (10). As long as Ginobili, Parker, and Duncan can stay healthy, I see no real end in sight to their great play. We all new they would be a top 5 team in the west, but nobody thought they would come out of the gate the way they have. Not only are they racking up wins but they are wins against above .500 teams. There is no illusion here, the Spurs are for real. Can they keep this up? Can they stay healthy? Those ar the only two questions I have for this team, but if they are playing like this in the playoffs, then the Lakers are in trouble.




2. Mavericks (7). This team is hot right now and have recently beat Miami, San Antonio, OKC, and Atlanta. They are firing on all cylinders and Dirk is looking like a true MVP again. He ranks 2nd in NBA Efficiency is the league with 26 points, 8 rebounds, while shooting 54% from the field. How do you stop that? Props also have to be thrown at Tyson Chandler, who looks like a perfect fit in Dallas averaging nearly 10 points and 9 rebounds, with 1.6 blocks to boot. Let's hope he can stay healthy.




3. Lakers (1). The Lakers could be number two, but they have just dropped two in a row. I can see losing a game to Utah, but they should have adjusted and beat Indiana. All in all this is still the most complete looking team in the league and could very well reclaim the top spot in my rankings. Kobe is looking better and better with each game and Gasol himself is in the running for MVP. Two MVP level talents together and it is working. Take notes Miami.





4. Celtics. (2). Their record does not show the whole truth as they have been beatin up on the weaker teams in the league lately, but they have adjusted well to losing Rondo to injury, so I have to give then some credit. They still are the deepest and most well rounded team in the east and the favorite to make it to and out of the ECF. As a team they are shooting over 50% fromthe field. It is no wonder that Rondo is averaging near 15 assists per game.





5. Jazz. (-). This is a team on the rise. Out of the deepest corners of the west this team has crept to near the top. Recent wins against both L.A. teams, Portland, and New Orleans has brought this team into the spotlight. We all knew what Deron Williams was, and most of us thought that Al Jefferson would patch the injury left when Boozer left, but few thought that Paul Millsap would become a top ten power forward this quickly. With 19 points and 8.5 rebounds, while shooting 56% from the floor, Milsap has become the next in a long line of great power forwards to play in Utah.




6. Hornets. (4). This team is still hanging in there as one of the top teams in the west. They have a nice inside out game and Okafor finally looks like a good addition. Chris Paul is the real story though. Many wondered, including myself, if he would still be the same player as he was before he got hurt. The answer is yes. He has recaptured the rank of the best point guard in the league is most people's eyes. If not the best, he is certainly top 2 or 3. With a healthy CP3 the Hornets should have a nice season ahead of themselves.




7. Magic. (5). There record is very much like the Celtics in that a lot of the wins have been against weaker teams. Their revenge victory against the Heat however was very nice to see and puts them ahead of the other Florida team for now. Dwight Howard's slight shift from a Defensive to Offensive mindset is almost needed and is a clear sign that this team has a hole. They lack a go to shooter that would clearly make them perhpas the best in the east. Carter and Nelson can light it up from time to time but they need a consistant thread on the wing and they will be complete.




8. Thunder. (8). So who is the best player on this team? In the begining of the season everyone would have killed me for even asking such a question, but not anymore. While Kevin Durant was bathed in talk of the next MVP, Russell Westbrook was transforming into a top 5 point guard. Some could even debate him as the best right now in the NBA. Him and Durant are both top 10 candidates for the MVP. They have started out a bit slower than most thought but they are still winning games and could be a contender out of the west.




9. Bulls. (-). The Bulls have been playing pretty good thus far and better then teir record shows. Close loses to the Spurs and Lakers and a last second loss to the Nuggets without Rose have scarred their record. They have been playing great lately and their 4-3 record on the annual circus trip is a team best since 1998 with MJ and Scottie. Once Boozer returns this week the Bulls will become near complete. They still have needs for a better shooting guard, but with scoring from Rose, Noah, Boozer, and Deng, perhaps a defensive minded Bogans or Brewer might be best.




10. Nuggets. (-). I myself am waiting for this team to implode. Denver knows Carmelo is leaving and his teammates know as well. You would have to think that this will start effecting his temas play. However, having a veteran coach like George Karl might be the difference keeping this storm of emotions in check. As it stands the Nuggets are playing quite well, but Nuggets fans must be more nervous then a Clevelnad fan during the "Decision".





Off the Top 10 this week are the: Heat, Hawks, and Trail Blazers.

Sexy Seven. These are the seven players that have been playing out of their minds over the past few weeks in no order.

Kevin Love. I do not care if he is playing for the Timberwolves or not, the guy is averaging 20.5 ppg and 17.2 apg over the last 10 games. If you are in the NBA and are putting up those kind of numbers then you are the real deal.

Kobe Bryant. Slowly over the past few weeks Kobe is coming to life. Scoring 41 points is only the begining, as he is averaging nearly 30 points per over the last 10 games.

Blake Griffin. Dropping 22.6 and 12.5 over the past 10 games have him a clear favorite for ROY until John Wall can prove otherwise.

Russell Westbrook. He can score, make a play, and defend. He is almost complete and has been playing like a MVP with 24.6 ppg, 8.8 apg, 4.3 rpg, and nearly 2 spg over the past ten games.

Amar'e Stoudemire. STAT is finally making a splash in New York and making him look almost worth the 100 million they spent on him. With 25 ppg, 9.1 rpg, and 2.3 bpg, he has simply been a beast as the Knicks piled up some wins over the last 10. 

Derrick Rose. He now ranks 2nd in the league in scoring with 26.6 points per and 8th is assists with 8.2 per. Rose is clearly a superstar now scoring 30 or more in 5 of his last 6 games in which the Bulls went 4-2 with losses only to the Lakers and Spurs.

Dwight Howard. Over the last ten games he is scoring 22.3 points per, with 12.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks. He has the Magic on his back and is getting it done on both ends.

Hope you enjoyed the read and please reply with your Top Ten and your Sexy Seven or simply give your thoughts. Thanks.
Posted on: July 16, 2010 9:31 pm
 

The Chicago Jazz.

          Well most people understand that the city of Chicago is world renowned for it's love of Jazz music and the city is still a jazz hot spot in America, but this is not the jazz I am referring to. I am pointing to the fact that the Bulls three free agent signings this offseason have all come from the Utah Jazz. The more I think about it the more I like the idea of a team name swap between the Bulls and Jazz. I mean there has to be far more cows in Utah then in the city of Chicago right? I digress. The real point of this thread is to look at the moves the Bulls have made and determine their place in the east.

         
Carlos Boozer. It seems pretty clear to most fans and experts alike that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh planned on playing with eachother from the get go. The only real question was were it was going to happen and in the end that place was the Miami Heat. That being the case the Bulls' management has made all the right moves with what was left. I am on record for liking David Lee for the Bulls over Carlos Boozer mainly because I felt that Lee would come cheaper. I was wrong. Boozer ended up being the cheaper option and in many ways the better fit. The Bulls have been lacking a back to the basket scorer since Elton Brand was traded away ten years ago. To be a contender a team must have an inside out game. Just about every championship team in history had a playmaker/outside scorer coupled with a scoring bigman. You will be hard pressed to find a historic team that lacked one of those two. The Chicago Bulls of the 90's are clearly the only dynasty to lack a star bigman. Boozer gives the Bulls one of the best offensive bigman in the game today and when I say offensive I do not just mean scoring. Boozer is one of the best passing bigman in the game and he is also one of the best at running the pick and roll and the pick and pop. He also knows were to be to grab offensive rebounds and he is also good for setting a solid pick. His defense is average but is better then Amar'e Stoudemire's or Chris Bosh's. He is a hustler and a perfect fit to play alongside Joakim Noah.
          The real deal with Boozer however is his back to the basket game and his ability to draw the double team. The Bulls have never really had a post player on the level of Boozer that can draw the double team. Now imagine the decisions defenders will have to make. Rose demanded the double team on the perimeter just about everytime he touched the ball last season. Infact, in the playoffs the Cavaliers ended up putting LeBron on Rose but he still averaged 27 points per game. Now teams will have to worry about throwing the double on Rose because Boozer is so good at finishing around the basket they will risk getting scored on in the paint with a simple bounce pass from Rose. Last season the Bulls did not have this. Defenders could rotate off their man to slow down Rose. What happens if Rose drives? Nothing good for other teams for sure. Again boozer gives Rose that inside scorer to pass to when team colapse on him. Lastly, with regards to the Rose/Boozer paring, the PnR and PnP game between Rose and Boozer will be one of the best in the league. Rose shoots a high level jumper from inside 18 and word is he has worked on his three point shooting all summer and is said to have gotton it nailed down. Boozer is also a very good jump shooter as well. This will be the bread and butter for the Bulls this season and should be a nightmare for opposing teams.
          The pairing of Joakim Noah and Boozer is also one of the better combos in the paint in the NBA. In some ways they are like oil and water in regards to the style of play but together they are a perfect match. The Bulls led the league last season in rebounding and now have added Boozer so it is likely they will reclaim mark this season as well. Noah is the ultimate team hustle player and while his jump shot and scoring in general is below average he excels at everything else. He is a top rebounder and shot blocker and is one of the nastiest post defenders in the game. Boozer may be a good rebounder but he is not a shot blocker of a great defender. Noah will be right there to put back Boozer's missed shots or take the pass from Boozer if he gets the double team. Both Noah and Boozer have high basketball IQs and both can handle the ball and make the pass. In my eyes they are a great match.
         Boozer's effect will be felt beyond just Rose and Noah. Luol Deng and the other shooters will benefit from Boozer drawing defenders into the paint and they will surly be on the receiving end of many passes from Boozer for open looks.
              
           Kyle Korver
. I understand that this is not a sexy signing. Nothing really looks that sexy after the moves that the Heat made but it filled another big need for the Bulls. Last season the Bulls lacked a player that could hit from beyond the arc. With Ben Gordon gone so was the threat from downtown. Teams were able to colapse on Rose when he drove the lane and they were able to play loose defense in general on the perimeter. Korver will come off the bench but should still see big mintutes. About 25 minutes a game. He will play behind Deng and Brewer and will give the Bulls instant offense off the bench. Korver is a bit one dimensional and is known mainly for his great shooting ability but he is a solid passer and can grad a few rebounds. His defense is a bit below average but is not bad. He was not signed to defend he was signed to hit big shots in close games and he will do just that.

          Ronnie Brewer
. Well the Bulls did not get their first choice which was the Magic's J.J. Reddick, but in many ways Brewer might be the better longterm choice and he came quite a bit cheaper at nearly 8 million less over three years. The Bulls really wanted to add a shooting guard that could shoot from beyond the arc and Brewer is clearly not the player, but he is still a great fit. Two years ago many thought Brewer was going to become a star in this league. Maybe not a superstar but many felt he could average near 20 points a game. However he got injured last season but is back in shape and he offers the Bulls an athletic and big shooting guard that can both drive and finish and control the ball. He is able to run the offense as well as play off the ball and he could be an intersting fit with Rose if Rose's three point shooting is as good as people are saying it is now. Brewer can at times run the offense and in turn make Rose the off guard. Brewer's drive to the hoop will draw defenders and he can simple kick it to Rose who could either shoot the jumper of take teams off guard by driving himself. The bottomline is that Brewer may indeed offer the Bulls more options on offense then Reddick would have and Brewer is a better defender then Reddick to boot. It has been quite some time since the Bulls had a shooting guard that could dunk the ball with little effort. Gordon rarely did and I am not sure if I ever saw Kirk Hinrich do it so that should be fun to watch for a change.

          More signings to come. The Bulls are not done making moves. They are talking with Brad Miller right now about him resigning and they are saif to be looking at both Matt Barnes and a backup Point Guard. The Bulls will certainly add two more solid roleplayers to this team making them one of the deepest teams in the league. I unterstand that depth can often be over-rated and that teams need superstars to be elite, but Boozer is clearly a star and Rose is on pace to have a breakout season and become a superstar. Last season he ranked 14th overall in points per game and I only see his scoring and assist numbers going up this year with a complete team around him. The Bulls also signed Turkish center Omer Asik. If the Bulls resign Brad Miller I am sure we will see very little of him on the floor, but I have watched a bit of tape on this guy and he looks like he could be useful for a few solid minutes each game. He has length and is a good shot blocker and has some solid post moves but he is really just a project and I do not have high hopes that he will ever be a true contributor to this team.

          So were do these moves put the Bulls in the east
? Not really an easy question. Most have the Heat going to the Finals as they seem to be adding solid roleplayers around the big three. I would not count out the Celtics or the Magic either. I think the Bulls fall in place with those 2. I think they could compete with any of them in the playoffs but the Heat seem to be the team to beat. The Celtics are aging and may fall down a few notches this season but I thought the same thing last summer so I will hold my tongue on that one. The Magic have not made any real moves so I am not so sure they will make it out of the east. The bottomline is that the Bulls have a shot and are a true contender for the first time since MJ left town.

Here is how I see the playoff seedings looking like next season in the east.

1. Heat (62 wins)
2. Magic (56 wins)
3. Bulls (51 wins)
4. Celtics (49 wins)
5. Bucks (48 wins)
6. Hawks (46 wins)
7. Bobcats (43 wins)
8. Knicks (41 wins)
Posted on: July 4, 2010 10:21 am
 

David Lee vs Carlos Boozer

Okay, I am starting to get a bad feeling about this whole free agency process. I am really starting to read and hear things that I am not liking. For one thing I do not trust Dwyane Wades false desire to play with the Bulls. Just a couple of weeks ago he was throwing out false lies about the Chicago Bulls in order to form his super team(LeBron, Bosh, and Himself) in Miami. I think his 2nd meeting took place to throw the Bulls off guard and distract them. Meanwhile the Knicks look to be adding Amar'e Stoudemire which could very well appeal to LeBron James. There is also word that Chris Bosh wants not only the max but he wants it via a sign and trade so he can get a 6 year deal instead of a 5 year deal. The Bulls have players to make the move for Bosh but so do many other teams including the Houston Rockets. Some are saying Bosh is strongly considering Houston.

What does this mean for the Chicago Bulls? Nothing good that is for sure. It looks like Joe Johnson is now back off the fence with the Hawks and he will most likely resign with them. He would be an idiot not to. The full max contract is way too much for Johnson if you ask me. The guy is really good and a top 5 player at his position but he is nearly 30 years old. The Hawks are making a huge longterm mistake, but hey, let them make it.

This is how I see things playing out right now.

1.Amar'e Stoudemire will sign with the Knicks, we all know that.
2. Joe Johnson will resign with the Hawks. he simply cannot pass on all that extra cash and the extra season.
3. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will sign in Miami.
4. Lebron James will most likely stay in Cleveland. There is a small chance he goes to the Knicks if he likes the idea of playing with Amar'e and under Mike D'Antoni.
5. I see the Knicks then going after a player like Mike Miller or a shooting guard or a servicable point guard.
6. The Nets and Bulls will battle it out for the likes of David Lee and Carlos Boozer.

I have been saying it for a very long time now that I think David Lee is a great fit in Chicago. I had a poll thread about a year ago were I argued that Lee was almost as good if not as good as Chris Bosh. Both are not top shelf players if you ask me. The big difference is that one of them knows that and the other does not. Chris Bosh thinks he is the best bigman in the game and views himself on par with players like Wade and LeBron. The fact is is he is a 2nd option on a championship team at best. That is why I lean towards David Lee for my Bulls. Sure his stats were a little blown up playing for Mike D'Antoni, but the facts are facts. He can shoot the jumper as good as Bosh and is just as good of a rebounder if not better. Neither player has a great back to the basket game and neither is a great defender. To me the are very much the same player except one plays with heart every minute he is on the floor and the other is a bit softer. So I would take a David Lee for 13 million a season over 5 years in a flash over a Chris Bosh for 5 seasons at the max. call me crazy but that is hwo I feel.

This brings me back full circle as to how I a starting to feel that things are going to pan out. I think the Bulls will be looking at Lee or Boozer come next weekend or so. If that is the case it is even more of a no-brainer to me. Boozer would certainly give the Bulls a great back to the basket player, but that is about it. He is a solid passer but is he any better then Lee? No, Lee is a better playmaking bigman and he has a better jumper so I can see a great PnP and Pnr game with Rose and Lee. Plus, I think Boozer will be looking for more money then Lee so the Bulls could just sign Lee, keep Luol Deng, and then look for a solid shooting guard with range like a Mike Miller or a Anthony Morrow.

So if the Bulls are left with a choice between David Lee and Carlos Boozer which way should they go?
Posted on: July 1, 2010 10:12 pm
 

Let's Not Be Too Greedy Bulls Fans...

          Okay, as a Bulls fan myself I too have been wooed by the prospect of landing both LeBron James and another superstar player. The problem is is that we as Bulls fans need to come back down to earth and look how far we have come and make the right moves during this free agancy. Sure acquiring LeBron would be great but we need to be careful to not put all our eggs in one basket. Sure we have a nice shot at signing him. Perhaps as good a chance as any other team aiming for him, but focusing on him is a big risk. A risk i do not want to take. I think the Bulls brass are wise to this as their gameplan heading into this thing makes a ton of sense.

          Waiting for LeBron James is a death wish if you ask me. There is a good chance he may stay in Cleveland. We all know the Dwyane Wade is staying with the Heat so he is off the table. This is why the Bulls need to go after Chris Bosh with all they have. offer him the Max deal right away. Tell him he is the guy that you want to build a Championship around. What has been the biggest hole on the Bulls over the last decade? One has been a supestar level player that can win games by himself. The Bulls have  player that is growing onto that role in Derrick Rose, but the other big hole has been a elite scoring bigman. Chris Bosh is not a lot of things but one thing he is is a scoring bigman. He can hit the jumper and can score in the paint. Sure he is a bit soft and shies away from contact. He is also not a great defender, but he sure can score and grab rebounds as well. Joakim Noah does the other stuff. i think a pairing of Bosh and Noah has great dynamics. They are a perfect match. 

          Of all the free agents Chris Bosh is also the most likely to bolt town. Chicago needs to make him their number one target before any other team gets their slimy little hands on him. Is he the best bigman in the game? No, but he alone could make the Bulls a contender. With Bosh in the bag the Bulls may be able to sway LeBron for sure, but even if they do not they are a much improved team. One year ago it seemed like a dream that the Bulls would be able to free up the money to be in the position they are in now. If you would of told me we would lose John Salmons and Kirk Hinrich but gain Chris Bosh, I would have called you a fool. But here we are.

          My point in this rant is clear. We should not become greedy and think that it is LeBron James or bust. That is not the case for our team. Let the Knicks fans worry about that. They bottomline is we now have the cap space to make our team better. We made it to the playoffs the last two seasons and last season were in the 5th seed until Noah, Taj, Hinrich, and Deng all had their injuries. We could have won near 50 games last season with the team we have now. I say add the right players and not the sexy ones. I am not saying that Lebron is not a great fit, but we have a greater need in the post and have had that need for darn near a decade. Rose is a great scorer and playmaker on the perimeter. That is why i say if we are to throw all our eggs into one basket, we should throw them into the basket of the player that not only is the best fit for our team but is also the most likely to sign with us.

          If we land Bosh and cannot obtain another star then who cares. John Paxson and Gar Forman would still have done a great job in my eyes. We cannot let ourselves set the bar too high, becuase we are certain to be let down. The Rumors last week of that it was a done deal that Lebron and Bosh were both coming to the Bulls simply are just rumors. Those kind of rumors can give us way to much false hope and they forve us to raise the bar on what we want. We go from a mindset were we just want to add any one other star player to our team to thinking we are owed two superstars. Do not fool yourselves. Set a realistic goal. I think Bosh is a realistic goal. If we cannot add him at the max then move to a player like David Lee with a smaller contract. There is no gun to our head that says we have to land a megastar. Lee is quite similar to Bosh in many ways. Both are solid shooting bigman that can spread the floor. Both are outstanding rebounders. Neither is a great defender or a great shot blocker. Lee is a better passer while Bosh is a bit more aggressive. Too me David Lee is a better backup plan then over paying for Carlos Boozer or Amar'e Stoudemire. If we cannot get Bosh then we should target Lee.

          The other glaring hole is the lack of a shooting guard and one who can nail the three pointer. Joe Johnson looks like he is signing the max deal in Atlanta so offering him what is left after signing Bosh will most likely not fly. If we lose out on Bosh and then sign Lee then Johnson will have long-since signed in Atlanta or elsewhere. We can make a pitch to Ray Allen but he is not a longterm solution. Sure he has some gas left in the tank because he takes great care of himself but sooner rather then later age will catch up to him. We can save some money and target a couple of role players to round out the roster instead. Perahaps pick up a shooter like J.J. Redick. or even Kyle Korver. Both are not very good defenders but they sure can spread the floor for Rose. There is always a player like Anthony Morrow that can be had. We could simply resign Flip Murry. After that we could go after a defensive player like a Matt Barnes. Then resign Brad Miller who has said he wants to stay in Chicago. We can grab a cheap backup PG like Kevin Ollie or Sergio Rodriguez. This would give us a deep lineup like this.

Starters

PG Derick Rose
SG Anthony Morrow
SF Luol Deng
PF Chris Bosh
C Joakim Noah

Bench

Brad Miller
Taj Gibson
Matt Barnes
Kevin Ollie
Kyle Korver

          Maybe this lineup is not super sexy and it is far from perfect, but it has all the working parts of a contender. A dynamic star in Derrick Rose. An elite post scorer in Bosh. A top shelf denfender of the paint and energy player in Noah. A slasher and jump shooter in Deng and a long range shooting threat in Morrow or even Redick. We would have a solid bench full of a nice mix of roleplayers. This very much what our team could look like heading into next season. Would we be the clear favorite to amke it to the Finals out of the east? No. Could we compete with the elite teams every night? Yes. This is all we can ask for and hope to get. Wade and Lebron are likely not coming so I am not holding my breath or getting my hopes up for them. I just want our team to have a chance at contending.

          I hope you enjoyed the read. Let me know your thoughts? Do you think I am off-base? Am I selling the Bulls short or am I being realistic? What are your thoughts on David Lee vs Chris Bosh? After Wade, Johnson, and Allen who is the best choice for a shooting guard for the Bulls?
Posted on: June 3, 2010 5:22 pm
 

If I Were GM of the Bulls I Would...

         Okay, here we go. The offseason is almost here and if you are not the Celtics or the Lakers then you have been busy at work trying to figure out your moves for the offseason. Every fan of the game likes to play GM for their favorite team and I have a nice long history of doing just that on these boards for the Chicago Bulls. Of all the teams going into this summer some could say that the Bulls have the most on their plate. They have to hire a new Head Coach for their playoff caliber team. They have to spend 24+ million in cap money on free agents. They have the 17th pick in the draft to consider. The Bulls have a ton of options and this makes this offseason a wet dream for a fan playing the part of a GM. So what moves would I make? Let us take a look.
          You will quickly find that my idea of a great offseason is not that sexy in most eyes. I have a certain love for smaller moves that adds chemistry and depth. I favor a strong 7 man rotation over 1 or 2 superstars and a bunch of crap. It is a balancing act. You want to have a couple of go to guys. You want energy players and strong defenders. You want that guy that can light it up for 40 points. I think the Bulls are a solid team as it stands. They were in the 5th seed this season before the Noah injury and were playing their best basketball of the season right then. I truly believe the Bulls had a real shot at 48-50 wins this season had they not got hit with injuries to Hinrich, Noah, Gibson, and Deng down the stretch. But injuries are part of the game and they can dash any teams dreams.
          Building a contender can be done in two ways. The easy way is to get lucky and sign a megastar like LeBron James or the hard way by making multiple smaller moves that builds a more balanced team with depth and rotation options. However, before we attack which players to target we need to sign a Head Coach.
          In a perfect world the Bulls would lure Phil Jackson back to Chicago but that is not happening. Byron Scott and Avery Johnson seem like good choices on the surface but both have had issues with the players they coach and in my eyes are not the best options. Besides Scott is looking to take over the Lakers and Avery might sign with the Nets. Jeff Van Gundy would be a great fit, but I do not think he is leaving the broadcast booth anytime soon. The Bulls said they are looking for a Head Coach with Head Coaching experience and that leaves them with a short list of below .500 head coaches that I think we should stay away from. Maurice Cheeks is from Chicago but I am not sold on him being a longterm solution for any team. This leaves one option in my mind. Tom Thibodeau.
          Thibodeau is the defensive mastermind behind the Boston Celtics and is said to be very interested in the Chicago job. If Paxson has an ounce of brains in his skull he would go out and lock him up now. Thibodeau is not just a great basketball mind but his players love him and respect him. he would demend the respect of the Bulls players not just because he has a Championship ring but because he is one of those rare minds in basketball that can outcoach another teams coach. he is younger and has a long future ahead of him. The Bulls also have the players on their roster right now that would feed into his system. Kirk Hinrich, a favorite of once Bulls head Coach Scott Skiles, quickly comes to mind, as does Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, and Taj Gibson. He might also be just the coach that pushes Derrick Rose's defensive game from average to good. Speaking of Scott Skiles, I think that is good comparison to Tom Thibodeau except Thibodeau might be even a better defensive coach and still have the ability to relate to players. Scott Skiles gets the nod for his play calling which I still feel he is stellar at. So there we have it, a new Head Coach. Was that too hard?
          Now we move to building a roster. Sure I could simply say the Bulls should just sign LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, or Chris Bosh and call it a day, but to be honest the odds are against Chicago landing any of those three. There is still a chance LeBron stays in Cleveland with the Cavaliers. There also is an equal chance that he signs with the Knicks and still yet an outside chance he goes to the Nets, Clippers, or Heat. I say the Bulls have a 20% chance to land him and I am not liking those odds. Wade will likely resign in Miami. Bosh will either sign with Wade in Miami or follow leBron to the Knicks. This is just how a see the summer going. If Lebron goes to New York with Bosh then I see Amar'e moving to Miami with Wade. BAM! The four biggest free agents are off the table. that leaves Joe Johnson, Carlos Boozer, and Dirk Nowitzki. I think the Bulls will then have to fight for one of those three and perhaps even offer a max contract which none diserve except for Dirk and I think he will head to the Suns if Amar'e is gone. Johnson is a nice player and would work well with Derrick Rose but why pay him a max contract. Let another team make that mistake like the Clippers or Nets. The same goes for the often injured Carlos Boozer. Let him sign elsewhere. You must now be in shock. Who is ChiTownCliff angling for. A cheaper option, David Lee. If I were John Paxson I would of course try for LeBron, Bosh, and Wade but if that does not pan out quickly then I would target David Lee with a 5 year contract for 13-14 million per.
          David Lee give the Bulls a cheaper version of Chris Bosh. Not bad if you ask me. Lee is a gritty player that cannot only grab rebounds, but can nail the open jumper and this gives the Bulls the perfect scoring bigman. He may not have a great back to the basket game but I think his scoring abilities fit perectly with the Bulls. The Bulls would surely lead the league in rebounds again but the real deal with signing Lee is pairing him with Rose. I think this is a great 1-2 punch. Imagine the PnP and PnR game these two could put on. Also, Lee's ability to hit long jumpers would draw defenders out of the paint and allow Derrick Rose to drive to the bucket and create. This signing also gives the Bulls room to sign yet another player that can have an impact. Enter Ray Allen.
          Say what you want I think this could happen. With Tom Thibodeau as the Head Coach Allen would at least consider it and there is a chance that the Celtics will let Ray go anyways even if they win another Championship. I understand that Ray is getting older, but he is one of those few athletes in the NBA that keeps himself in great shape. I bet he has 3+ good effective years left in him. He is a savvy veteran that fills one of the Bulls biggest needs, a deadly three point shooter. The Bulls lost Ben Gordon last season and his shooting was missed dearly. I think the Bulls could offer a 3 year deal at 8 million per and snag Allen as their new starting shooting guard. Now when Rose drives he will have a player out there that he can kick the ball to for 3. This makes the Bulls offense more complex and difficult to defend against.
          This leaves the Bulls with about 2 million in cap and I say they either resign Brad Miller to a one or two year deal or look for a backup point guard like perhaps Rafer Alston. I would rather resign Miller as he has stated he is very happy in Chicago and has made good friends with players on the team like Joakim Noah.
          When it come to the idea of making a trade I just do not see it happening unless it happens in a sign and trade for a superstar like Bosh or LeBron. I just do not see the Bulls being able t move Hinrich and his contract or Luol Deng and his massive contract. i think both remain Bulls for at least another season. The Bulls have no other players to trade aftre those two. they are not moving Rose and Noah and Gibson are cheap and quite good so you know they are staying.
          In the draft the Bulls will have only one position to fill. Either a backup center or a backup point guard depending on if they resign Miller or sign a veteran point guard. If they resign Miller then I think they should draft Eric Bledsoe. He is explosive and a solid shooter and could step right in and play a solid 10+ minutes behind Rose. If they sign a PG then they should draft Daniel Orton or Hassan Whiteside. I think Orton is the better fit of the two. The Bulls could also go the route of picking up another wing player to back up Deng. I understand the Bulls have James Johnson but they could use another option as Johnson can also play the PF role so perhaps a rookie that can play a little shooting guard and a little small forward would be wise. Xavier Henry would be perfect if he drops but James Anderson would be okay as well. I expect little from this draft pick but you never know. 
          By making these moves the Bulls have a strong starting five with a mix of defense, explosive scoring, veteran leadership, and chemistry. They also have a solid bench and depth at each and every position. The long NBA season is bound to bring injuries. I love the idea of Lee and Noah in the paint together with Deng slashing and Ray hitting jumpers off screens and Derrick doing his thing. Rose would have the firepower around him to get his assist numbers up around the 8pg mark. Ray Allen could rest and play only 30 minute per night or less with Kirk sitting on the bench.

PG. Derrick Rose/Eric Bledsoe
SG. Ray Allen/Kirk Hinrich
SF. Luol Deng/James Johnson
PF. David Lee/Taj Gibson
C. Joakim Noah/Brad Miller

          Maybe not the sexiest looking group of players or roster that you could imagine the Bulls having, but I think it would be very very effective on both ends and would contend for a top 3 spot in the east. Longterm the Bulls would have to move Kirk or Deng to make room to resign Rose or move both to sign future additions, but moving into next season this would be an ideal team. That is saying if we cannot sign LBJ, Wade, or Bosh. To be honest I might rather have Lee over Bosh.
          So what are your thoughts? What would you do as the GM for the Bulls this offseason or for your team for that matter? Thanks for taking the time to read this and i hope you enjoyed it.
Posted on: May 21, 2010 9:56 pm
 

3rd Annual Offseason Dreams and Delusions.

          Well here we are again with another offseason just around the corner. It looks as if both of the conference might be sweeps this year. David Stern cannot be too happy about that. Ouch! Well every year before the trade deadline and before the offseason I run a "Dreams and Delusions" thread. This is the place to drop your offseason solutions for your team faults. Weather that has to do with the upcoming draft, a trade, signing free agents, or a little bit of it all. What will get your team back on track or, if you are so lucky, keep your team a contender? I will start off by gining you my dream senario followed by some more realistic ones.

The Big Delusion.
          
          The Bulls are in pretty good shape going into the summer. They have a solid young team led by the Allstar point guard Derrick Rose and the crafty center Joakim Noah. The big target of all the teams with cap space is going to be LeBron James and that is no secret, but will he want a sign and trade? Maybe. The Bulls have to be on his short list due to the big market of Chicago and the young core of players. Derrick Rose is young and only going to get better and LeBron knows it.
          So let us say the Bulls and the Cavaliers orchestrate a sign and trade. The Bulls will have to send around 18-19 million in contracts to the Cavs so that would have to be Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich. Would the Cavs want Deng's longterm contract? Would they want another Guard? These are both reasonable questions, but a third team could get involved so that all parties got what they wanted. This thread is all about dreaming so I am going to say that the Cavs agree to take Deng and Hinrich. Both are good starters and Luol would fill the void at small forward.
          This would leave the Bulls with all their cap money to sign another big free agent. It is being reported that Chris Bosh is waiting to see were LeBron goes because he wants to follow him. I am not sure if this rumor is true but I am sure having LeBron would help sell the Bulls to any free agents. So then we will pretend the Bulls sign Chris Bosh to a max deal as well. The Bulls would have a hole still at the shooting guard position that would need to be filled, but they would still have 3-4 million to spend on a player after signing Bosh. So the Bulls could simply resign Ronald Murray or perhaps go after a scrub like Roger Mason to fill the void.
          This would give the Bulls a insane starting five of Rose, Murray, LeBron, Bosh, and Noah. The Shooting Guard could be anyone as long as they can play a bit of defense and hit from beyond the arc to help spread the floor. I love the idea of Bosh and Noah in the paint. They are like peanut butter and jelly. Bosh can score inside and out and Noah can do all the gritty work. LeBron would be drawing the double and so would Rose and that would cause nightmares for other teams. Bosh, Rose, and LeBron si a very scary and young big three that would win championships and be very good fo a very long time.
          This team would have a weak bench with James Johnson and Taj Gibson as the two only real players there. The Bulls would have to hope to lure a veteran into the mix and pick up some scrubs. Still this team would be a top 3 team instantly. But this is indeed a big Dream and a bit of a Delusion so lets look at some more reasonable option.
 
The Dream.
         
Well, now let us pretend that LBJ goes elsewhere. This leaves one clear option to me. Go after Bosh! I understand he will most likely head to the Heat to play with Wade or to the Knicks to play with LeBron, but he may still want the chance to be the leader and on the Bulls he could be that guy but have a real cast of players around him. I love him and Noah in the paint and Rose drawing double teams on the outside. That could prove to be deadly even more if Rose can perfect his 3 pointer this offseason. Last offseason he worked on his mid-range jumper and it showed as he hit almost everything he threw up this year. The Bulls could simply keep the cast of players they have and move taj Gibson to the bench. If you look at the Bulls starting five as they stand Taj is the weakest link. He is a solid rookie and wil turn into a good player and will have a long career, but Bosh is a major upgrade and it would be nice have Gibson come off the bench. The Bulls could then try to pick up a sharp shooter which is another of their big needs. A player that can spread the floor. Perhaps they might be able to pull off a signing of Ray Allen. With Bosh, Noah, and Rose I am sure the Bulls could land a solid veteran and I am not so sure the Celtics will resign him. That would give the Bulls a very good and balanced starting five of Rose, Allen, Deng, Bosh, and Noah, with Johnson, Gibson, and Kirk coming off the bench. Not bad depth at all. 
          This would be a balanced team that would be able to spread the floor with Ray and Deng to allow Rose to work his Magic and Bosh would create havoc on pick and rolls with Rose and Allen. Noah would clean up the boards and perhaps lead the league in rebounds if Bosh draws a lot of doubles and Noah gets a lot of put backs.

The Reality.
          The bottomline is that the Bulls are going to get better this offseason. It just matters by how much. With LeBron they become a contender but I am not holding my breath. With Bosh and a shooter I think they are more balanced and have greater depth and are also a contender. It will come down to were LBJ signs and if Bosh signs with the heat to join Wade. That will take Wade off the table as a third option in my book as he is much to much like Rose as a player and cannot hit the three pointer like we need. This will leave Carlos Boozer, Amar'e Stoudemire, Joe Johnson, and perhaps Dirk as the leftovers. Not the best bunch of players as they all have their weaknesses. Dirk is getting up there in age even though he is playing at the top of his game, but it will be a matter a couple of seasons and his game will decline as the Bulls are paying him max dollars. Not the best idea. Boozer is hurt so often that I would not think to sign him to a max deal, but even at 12-14 million he is a risk I would not want to take. Amar'e has been playing for a contract this season and I am not sure he would produce once the money was in hand. He would also want max money and the Bulls might find themselves in a bidding war with other teams like the Knicks, Clippers, and Nets. Amar'e is not worth max money even with the season he had. That leaves Joe Johnson. I am sure he will want max money too, but I have less of an issue spending it on him. I no he was lost in this years playoffs, but he would fill a huge need for the Bulls with his shooting and ability to create.
          I say that Joe Johnson is the clear target in this senario. The Bulls would then need to land a bigman and I like the idea of making a deal with the Knicks for David Lee. Lee is a poor man's Chris Bosh. I think the Knick would do a sign and trade sending Lee to the Bulls for Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson. This would give the Bulls a starting five of Rose, Johnson, Deng, Lee, and Noah. They would still have cap space to add a player or two to add depth. I think this team might not look sexy but could be a gritty team that could very well be a contender as well. Sometimes it is not all about having all the big stars but more about having the right balance of players. Rose is a leader and a creater for his team. He is as fast as they come and a top athlete in the league. He is simply a superstar. Johnson is the perfect storm with his ability to hit the jumper and nail the three to help spread the floor. Deng is the jack of all trades wingman that can slach, defend, and hit the open 18-footer. Lee is a crafty player who has been playing out of position in New Yrok. As a power forward he will have his way with lesser talents and hold his own against other Allstars and has the ability to also spread the floor with his jumper. Noah again is the heart of the Bulls with his nasty defense and big personality. I like the chemistry that this team would offer.
          In the end I see the Bulls having a offseason like the one I just laid out. No major superstars, but smart moves that quietly make the Bulls a balanced and powerful team.

          So what are the offseason Dreams and Delusions for your team?
Posted on: April 12, 2010 11:25 am
Edited on: April 12, 2010 11:52 am
 

Playoff Success vs Player Loyalty

          Never before has the NBA sat at such a crossroads. I do not want to attempt to beat a dead horse here but I want to explore the inner minds and workings of this summers free agent class. With so much superpower available this summer the landscape of our beloved NBA is surely at stake. All fans are holding their breaths as their own team may go from a contender to a heap of crap with the stroke of a pen. Still others, like myself, are sweating from places they knew not existed in anticipation of a team altering signing.
         
           However, much balances on each of these free agents success in this seasons Playoffs. Never before has so much been riding on a team making it deep into the playoffs. Every Playoff series won is another cog added to the machine that will allow certain teams to retain the services of their Superstar. Every victory in theory becomes an increase in the percent chance that a player may resign. I thought this correlation needed to be explored a bit more. I have been thinking about this a lot over the past few days and even made up a few different charts that dive into this question. Now these are just my opinions below and I would love to see your feedback.

          Below are listed the top free agents for this summer and the percent chance they will leave for another teams based on how far they make it into the playoffs.

LeBron James. Lose 1st round=100%. Lose 2nd round=100%. Lose Conference Finals=60%. Lose Finals=25%. Win Championship=0%.
          Of all the free agents LeBron must cause the greatest concern for his fanbase in Cleveland. The Cavaliers almost have to win it all in my opinion to keep James in the fold. He is clearly the best of all the free agents and if the Cavs lose him they will become just an average team and that is it. James wants to become a legend. He will make it to the Hall of Fame as it is, but to be considered a legend in the likes of Jordan, Russell, Magic, Wilt, and Bird, he will have to add rings to his fingers. It looks like the Cavaliers have built the best team they can around him. Adding Shaq and Jamison were both solid moves and look like forward progress, but LeBron wants nothing to do with progress anymore. He wants what Kobe has. Rings and lots of them. he sat on the sideline and watched as the Bulls took out his supporting cast a few nights ago, and he must start to question if there is a better mixture of talent out there for him to join. I am not saying he will sign with the Bulls, but the seed of doubt must be planted. If he does not win the Finals I say the percentage is very high that he will leave.

Dwyane Wade. Lose 1st round=80%. Lose 2nd round=50%. Lose Conference Finals=30%. Lose Finals=10%. Win Championship=0%
          You will begin to notice a common theme here. If a free agent wins the finals they will stay. This is the case for all the free agents on my list except Boozer I will break down later. Wade is a big question mark to me. I just cannot put my fingure on him as to his thinking. he seems to love south beach and that might be hard to leave behind, but if this team does not make it far into the playoffs he has to start wondering. He could also stay with the Heat knowing that another star free agent is on the way. This would be the dagger for other teams trying to entice Wade to join them. Wade may have already talked to another of the free agents. We do not really know what goes on behind closed doors. The fact that Miami has the money to retain Wade and sign another max deal makes Wade leaving seem doubtful, but again you never know.

Chris Bosh. Miss Playoffs=100%. Lose 1st round=100%. Lose 2nd round=80%. Lose Conference Finals=40%. Lose Finals=20%. Win Championship=0%.
          The Raptors may not even make the Playoffs and the only way I see Bosh staying in Canada is if they reach the Finals and that will never happen. Bosh is as good as gone. There is no reason to stick around. Toronto has not done a good job of building a team around him. Adding Turk last summer has not worked out at all and while the Raptors do have some nice talent they lack toughness and that is what is needed to reach the next level. The Raptors with bosh simply are not contenders and Bosh knows this now. He almost has to leave. So say goodbye to Bosh Raptor fans because he is packing his bags as I am typing these words.

Amar'e Stoudemire. Lose 1st round=100%. Lose 2nd round=80%. Lose Conference Fianls=40%. Lose Finals=10%. Win Championship=0%.
          Stat is playing for a contract right now and any fan that has been around the NBA for any amount of time knows that. he is not playing at the level he is right now because he wants the Suns to win it all, but rather he is playing for the money. At the begining of the season most thought that Amar'e was not worth a max contract and I would wager that Amar'e thought the same thing. Now he is playing at the highest level we have seen in a long time. I remember when many coined him the best center in the league and then after Dwight Howard grew up he was a close second. He has not been that player the last couple of seasons but suddenly he is playing like a MVP. He will sign with whatever team is willing to hand him the most money.

Joe Johnson. Lose 1st round=75%. Lose 2nd round=50%. Lose Conference Finals=25%. Lose Finals=10%. Win Championship=0%.
          Joe Johnson is already in a good spot. He is on a young team with players he knows well. They are young and still growing and have the ability as a team to become great by just making a couple of smaller moves to add needed depth. Johnson might have to see his team get cremated for him to question leaving. There is however always the question of money these days and I could see Johnson jump ship if his team cannot make it past the 2nd round. Also there are quite a few teams with the money to offer max contracts and while Johnson may not really be max contract worthy he may be able to land that kind of money from a desperate team.

Carlos Boozer. Lose 1st round=100%. Lose 2nd round=90%. Lose Conference Finals=70%. Lose Finals=50%. Win Championship=25%.
          I truly feel that Boozer is in his last season with the Jazz. He is a bridge burner to say the least and seems to not think things out before he speaks. You should never tell people you want to leave in the way Boozer did when he said he wanted to go to Miami. There is no better way to have your fanbase turn on you. It also makes other fans of other teams not want you. Boozer has as many issues in his head as he does with his body but the one thing I do know is that he will be leaving the Jazz. The only way I see him staying is if the Jazz make it to the WCFs of even the Finals and only if Boozer is a big part of this success. Even then however I see him following the money.

         So there you have it. My breakdown of this summers festivities. Here is my overall list of who will leave their team in order of most likely to least likely.

1. Chris Bosh
2. Carlos Boozer
3. Amar'e Stoudemire
4. LeBron James
5. Joe Johnson
6. Dwyane Wade

Here is my list of teams these six are most likely to sign with if they do leave their own team in order of most likely to least likely.

1. Chris Bosh- 1.Bulls. 2.Knicks. 3.Heat
2. Carlos Boozer- 1.Heat. 2.Nets. 3.Knicks
3. Amar'e Stoudemire- 1.Knicks. 2.Heat. 3.Nets
4. LeBron James- 1.Knicks. 2.Bulls. 3.Heat
5. Joe Johnson- 1.Knicks. 2.Bulls. 3.Nets
6. Dwyane Wade- 1.Bulls. 2.Knicks. 3.Nets
Posted on: June 23, 2009 12:53 pm
 

Top 20 NBA Players for the next 5 years.

     Ok, we have all seen these types of list before, so I thought I would give it a shot. The season is over and the draft is two days away. I simply compiled my list based on the question, " Who would I pick first to be on my new NBA expansion team?" Many of these lists are based either on past accomplishments or perceived future greatness. I wanted to put my list together using a balance of the two. I am not looking so much for the best player to win a title with next year, nor am I looking for the player to win titles with for the next 10 years. Simply, who are the best players in terms of raw skill and experience together. An aging superstar like KG might win you a championship next season, if healthy, but in two or three seasons he will really begin to fade. On the other hand a player like D. Rose may become a top 3 point guard in two years, but that too is a risk to take. Bottomline, I am looking for the player that will be the best option for the next 5-6 seasons. So, in fear of all the negative replies, I give you my Top 20 Players.

 1) LeBron James.

I will admit I am more of a hater then a fan of James due to his sometimes abrasive attitude. He is the best player and he knows it. Sure Kobe is right there, but if I am looking longer term then this becomes a no-brainer. Sure Kobe has 3+ great years left, but James will only continue to get better in those 3 years as Kobe begins to fade. I saw it with MJ with my own eyes. As great as Michael was he lost his edge in his last few years with the Bulls. LeBron is both short term and long term making him my choice for number one. Sorry Laker fans.

2) Dwyane Wade.

Oh no I didn't! Yes, I did. To me Wade is as good as Kobe is already and is younger. If you put Wade in place of Kobe on the Lakers do you not think the Lakers would have won the Championship? They might have not lost a single playoff game. I hate all the Kobe vs LeBron threads, put a case can be made for Wade vs Kobe and if I had to pick from the two I would go with Wade. Both are very similar in that they are strong team leaders, clutch shooters, outstanding defenders, and nightmares to defend. In Wade's own words " I am heading into my prime", while Kobe is on the backside of his.

 3) Kobe Bryant.

You may think I am a Kobe hater but that is far from the truth. I think Kobe is still the best player today, but LeBron and Wade will shortly pass him as Kobe begins to fade. However, I think Kobe will fade much like MJ did in that he will still be a force until he is 35 or 36. Kobe is in great shape both mentally and physically and has a good few years left to lead the Lakers to more Championships. Kobe will also continue to be in the MVP talks for the next few seasons as well. I would still pick Kobe this high because he is that good. Remember I am not just looking short term here, so Kobe being at number three is generous considering the competition.

 4) Dwight Howard.

I argued with myself on this one a lot. If Howard would have led his Magic past the Lakers in the Finals or even pushed the series to seven games then I might have picked him ahead of Kobe. You can not teach size as we have all heard so many times. Howard has a couple of holes in his game for sure like free throw shooting and shooting in general. If he could get his ft% up to around 70% and learn how to shoot a 15 footer then he could become the greatest in the game. He also needs to step up and demand the ball like Shaq did back in the day. Howard is still very young and raw and in time could prove to be a top ten center all-time.

 5) Chris Paul.

With the rules the way they are right now in the NBA a player like Chris Paul is a thorn in every teams side. He can drive and kick better then any other player in the league. He is a threat to shoot from anywhere on the floor and he is a solid defender. In short, he is the total package. Maybe not as fancy as Steve Nash but I think nobody would doubt who the better scorer or defender is. You give Paul a solid bigman to play off of and good wingman and you have a contender everytime. If the Hornets had a better wingman this season they would have been a much better team.

 6) Kevin Durant.

I know that Durant at 6 may seem a bit high, but he is the real deal. He still has holes in his game but with a couple of veterans around him he would shine even more. He will become the NBA scoring champion a few times before his career is over and he will only get better as time goes on. If he can learn to use his length more on defense and bulk up a bit he will become an all-around force in this league for years to come. Can you imagine if the Thunder would have landed the 1st pick in the draft and got Blake Griffin? Scary thought. With a true lowpost player Kevin Durant would be even that much better.

 7) Al Jefferson.

A bit of a gamble here. Jefferson may not be the same after his injury, but all signs look good. He is young and a beast in the paint and as you can see I think he is the second best bigman in the NBA in the near future. He scores well down low and has the size to compete with the best in the league and will overwhelm lesser opponents. Pair him with a solid point guard and a slasher and you have a great team on your hands. It is always wise to build around a great bigman.

 8) Danny Granger.

On just about any other team Granger would be a Superstar. He has not only the stats to prove it but anyone who has watched him play about a half dozen games or so will see that he is a special kid. He is very athletic and is therefore a solid rebounder and shot blocker for a small forward. He seems to be getting better and better every game and the sky is the limit. Maybe the best testament to his ablilty is his consistency. You know what you are going to get from him day in and day out and that will help Pacer fans sleep at night.

 9) Dirk Nowitzki.

I understand that Dirk is getting older, but he just had perhaps his best season ever and Nowitzki has one thing going for him as he ages. He is an outstanding shooter. of all the aging superstar bigmen like Duncan and Garnett, only Dirk is really a great shooter from long range. With his size he will always be able to grab rebounds but even if he starts to rely solely on jumpshooting he will still be a huge threat on the floor. A seven footer shooting threes will always be scary. I still think he has 3 more years to in his prime and he will be very useful past then as well.

 10) Pau Gasol.

He is in the middle of his prime and he is as smart as they come with his back to the basket. Not as good as Duncan but has fresher legs. On just about any other team Gasol would be a 22 and 10 player but his scoring is effected by Kobe. Another huge factor for me with Gasol is he is a great teammate and while Amar'e may have more talent Gasol has more overall skills that make a team winners. Gasol has 5 more productive years left and for that reason he makes my top ten. I wish my Bulls would have snagged him. I still cry myself to sleep about that trade every night.

 11) Deron Williams.

Never should he be called the poor man's CP3. In many ways he is just as good as Paul. He has good size for a point guard and it shows in his ability to rebound and defend. He is still quite young as has many more years to prove himself. Some will argue that he is the best point guard right now in the NBA and deron's stats can make make a case for it. In any event, I think he is a great place to start when building a team. If you start building a team with a bigman or a great point guard you will most likely be ahead of the game.

 12) Chris Bosh.

He is not the best post player in the league, infact he likes to shoot to many jumpers if you ask me and a player of his size should block more then just one shot a game, but with that being said Bosh has a great all-around game and is still young so there should be a bunch of good seasons left in him. He will never contend for a MVP that is for sure but he will be considered a top power forward for the next 8 seasons barring injury. He is a good teammate and a smart player and that could take him far. Maybe even far way from Toronto.

 13) Brandon Roy.

Still young and is already one of the best guards in the NBA. 22 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists can not be balked at. He is the clear leader of a young rising team and his future is bright. I may even have him too low on this list. I just feel that Dirk and Gasol will still be great bigman for the next 5 years. If the Trail Blazers can make a solid trade they could contend next season. I still think this team would be better with a solid veteran leader to help calm them down a bit. Still if they stand pat they could blossom on their own.

 14) Amar'e Stoudemire.

He is a risk after knee surgery. He is however perhaps the best inside scorer in the game but he disappears on defense and I question him as a teammate. He seems to have an ego problem that could be a cancer in the locker-room. He is a hard player to wrap my mind around. If the stars are aligned correctly he could be a centerpiece of a championship team, but I do not think he is quite that good of a player. He needs to be in the right setting and a number two option behind a superstar point guard or shooting guard. He would do well teamed up with Wade on the Heat.

 15) Carmelo Anthony.

Let's face the facts, Melo could not lead this team with a map until Billups showed up. Chauncey Billups is the sole reason that the Nuggets had such a great season. I might have Billups on this list if he were not so old. I can not see Chauncey being a stud in 3 to 4 years. Anthony will however continue to fill up stat sheets do to his talent and athletic ability. If he could get his head on straight for 48 minutes on the floor then he could be a top five player, but he always seems to get lost in games at times. 

 16) Devin Harris.

What a season for Devin Harris. He has turned into a top player over night. If the Nets somehow land LeBron James in 2010 then look out NBA. Harris, LeBron, and Brooks will make for a great young core that will contend every season. Harris is a solid shooter and a good defender as well as a playmaker with insane speed. He has many more great years ahead of him as well and I think he would be a great 2nd option behind LeBron. Way better then Mo Williams. He is also a smart player and a great teammate.

 17) Tony Parker.

It is hard to think of the Spurs without thinking of Duncan, but this season some might say that Tony Parker was the best player on the floor. He has many great seasons ahead of him and with his ability to make things happen of the floor he will always be high on people's wishlists. He can drive and kick with the best of them and is a great finisher for a smaller player around the basket. As Timmy begins to slow down more and more I look for Parker to take over as the leadr of this team. He too could be higher on this list.

 18) Joe Johnson.

I think we might have seen the limits of Joe Johnson. I think he is a top talent for sure and coulf even be the go to guy on a championship team. What makes him stand out to me is his size for a shooting guard. He is big. I think he tried to do to much this season and attempted to many hard shots. He needs to work on that a bit. Two seasons ago people had him as the third best shooting guard behind Kobe and Wade. He has some work to do to get back there. I would love to see him in Chicago though.

 19) Tim Duncan.

If I wanted to win a Championship next season I might pick Timmy, but he has had a long career and I think we all see him starting to slide. For the same reasons I do not even have Kevin Garnett on this list I have Duncan at 19. While he will still be a great player for a few more seasons he will fade hard. His body can not take that much more, and his outside shot is not as pretty as Dirk's. It is sad to admit, because I have always loved his game, but I do not see Duncan being a huge factor in 5 years.

 20) Rajon Rondo.

From a fading legend to a rising superstar we come to my last player on my top 20 list for the next 5 seasons. Rondo proved to be a great all-around player all season long but in the playoff series against the Bulls fans got to see the Future of the Cletics. Rondo is a true triple double threat in the likes of Jason Kidd. I like to compare Rajon to kidd because to me they are very much the same. Rondo might be a better finisher at the rim, and Jason could dish out better passes, but neither player have a good looking jumpshot. Lucky for Celtic fans Rondo is still young enough to fix that.

 

Well I hope you enjoyed the read. I am sure I will not like my own list tomorrow and for that reason I am sure many of you will not like my list at all. You have to remember I am looking at players to build a team around now for the next 5 seasons or so, so players like Kevin Garnett and Chauncey Billups simply did not make my list. Players like Yao Ming and Carlos Boozer missed out as well because I think neither will ever play a full season again. Some of my choices were easy and others were a gamble. I would love to hear what you think and would like to see your Top 20 list using the same criteria. 










 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com