Tag:Blake Griffin
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.

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: June 26, 2009 12:20 pm

Breaking Down the Bulls: Is Tyrus Thomas gone?

     Well, the 2009 NBA draft is now behind us and there have been a number of big moves around the league, but nothing involving the Chicago Bulls. One thing stands out from the draft and I am sure many Bulls fans thought of it after the Bulls drafted Taj Gibson. Having already picked up James Johnson with the 16th pick the Bulls then draft another power forward. There have been rumors that Tyrus Thomas might be traded, so was the Bulls decision to draft two power forwards a sign that a Thomas trade is in the works? Let us take a look.

     I for one think Tyrus Thomas is a great player but is too small to play the power forward and not a good enough ball-handler to be a star small forward. He is the classic tweener. He can jump out the gym and could very well be the most athletic player in the NBA. It would seem he would be a perfect fit alongside a point guard like Derrick Rose, right? He has worked hard on his shot and has become a fairly good shooter from around 17 feet but the problem is he can not seem to shake a player off the dribble and then drive to the basket. If only he had a better basketball IQ and some better handles around the rim. He is an enigma and therefore a hard player to just give up on. 
     The problem now is that the Bulls have way to many tweeners. Luol Deng is a small forward but plays the PF position at times because he does not have great speed but does have length. Tim Thomas, Tyrus Thomas, James Johnson, and Taj Gibson along with Deng is just way to much depth. Something has got to give and with Ben Gordon maybe leaving the Bulls really need a starting shooting guard unless they plan to use John Salmons there which could work nicely. 
     If the Bulls lose Ben Gordon then they will most likely keep Kirk Hinrich to backup both Salmons and Rose. This would give them solid depth at the guard position. Vinny could start either Captain Kirk or Salmons at the 2 spot depending on what team they face. The Bulls could pick up another true point guard as well for depth or just keep Hunter around if he does not retire. Rose will be playing 40 minutes a game this season for sure. I think the Bulls will be fine with or without Gordon. Infact if Gordon stays and Luol Deng is 100% heathy this leaves John Salmons the odd man out and Salmons should be starting. Hinrich is not as good as Gordon overall, but he is a great floor leader, playmaker, and defender. 
     This brings me to the small forward spot. If healthy Luol Deng is a 18 and 8 player and maybe better so he needs to start. I could see James Johnson filling the backup role very nicely behind Deng. Johnson is athletic and a solid shooter. He is not a great defender but is Deng? I could see Johnson playing a solid 15-20 mionutes off the bench. He has size and strength to play right noe in the NBA.
     We will come back to the power forward spot in a minute but first let us look at the center spot. I do not know about you but I feel good about Joakim Noah as a starting center in this league. He is not the big back to the basket center that wins championships, but really how many of those types of Centers are there? Not very many. Infact Yao Ming, Shaq, and Dwight Howard are the only true giants in the NBA right now and Ming is hurt and Shaq is old. The fact of the matter is that Noah is a good center in todays game. What he really needs is a back to the basket scoring power forward to share the paint with him. You also could do much much worse for a backup center then the savvy veteran that is Brad Miller. I think the Bulls are solid in the center position for now. The gaping hole to me is at the power forward spot.
     Tyrus Thomas is a shot blocking, rebounding, energy player and that might be it. He makes bad choices with the ball and I am in fear every time he is on the floor at the end of a close game which ironically not often. Vinny sees it too. Tyrus has limits. He is not a good man to man or off the ball defender. He is good for a few amazing blocks a game and somecrazy dunks but that may be it. Noah, while not nearly as athletic is ten times smarter and knows when to get rid of the ball. Tyrus loves to force low percentage shots in the paint at that cost the Bulls games. When he tries to blow past a defender he simply does not have the skills to do so and often just plows them over and gets called for the offensive foul. We could do better then Thomas. Tyrus could fit well on a different team like the Warriors or Knicks. Tim Thomas is an expiring contract that othe teams may bite on. He is still a good shooter and can hit some big shots, but again he is not a post player and can not drive to the hole very well. We could stand to lose Tim Thomas as well. Taj Gibson is at best an energy player and defensive stopper. He is very much like Tyrus in that his Basketball IQ is below average. Gibson is a garbage minutes player.
     I really do not understand why the Bulls took Gibson at the 26th spot of the draft. Blair was still there and while fat and slow he is a back to the basket player that would have been a steal at 26. If Tyrus is traded then the Bulls could have started Blair in place of him and had a scorer in the paint. Think Big Baby Davis here. I am not saying that Blair is the answer to anything longterm, but he would have made much more sense then Taj. The only thing that makes sense is that Blair's knees are really that bad off.
     So how do we solve our power forward issues. Well after drafting two power forwards I would say that Gar Forman has a plan. I think Chris Bosh is off the table this summer but maybe a mid-season trade with Toronto could still happen. The Bulls could just offer Bosh a contract in the summer of 2010 when he becomes a free agent. I still think the Bulls can make a trade this summer and fix the PF mess.
     One idea I had before was a trade with the Knicks for David Lee. I still contend it is worth looking at. Tim Thomas and Tyrus Thomas in a sign and trade for Lee might just work. Mike D'Antoni could start Tyrus at the 3 spot if he wanted to alongside rookie Jordan Hill. that could be an exciting team and if the Knicks could work out a deal with the Timberwolves for Ricky Rubio then the Knicks could become a very fun team to watch. The Bulls would get a solid blue collar power forward that can post up and rebound. I think the Bulls could get by with Lee and Noah. There would be a ton of second chance scoring and physical play. If then Bosh goes on the market before the trade deadline the Bulls could package Brad Millers expiring contract with Joakim Noah and maybe land Bosh. That line up would look like this:

PG- Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich
SG- John Salmons, Kirk Hinrich
SF- Luol Deng, James Johnson
PF- Chris Bosh, James Johnson, Taj Gibson
C- David Lee, Aaron Gray

     Not to bad. In the end us fans will have to see just what happens, but I do smell something in the works. I could also see the Bulls going after a player like Chris Kaman. The Bulls could then slide Noah into the power forward spot. The Clippers have to get rid of some bigmen with having just drafted Blake Griffin. Bulls could make a similar trade for Kaman as they would for Lee and the Bulls might be able to pry a future draft pick out of the Clippers hands. 
     I do not know about you, but I can not wait to see what happens this summer.


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