Tag:Hornets
Posted on: January 18, 2011 4:17 pm
 

07-08 Hornets = 10-11 Bulls?

Okay, it has been a while since I dropped a blog so I thought now was as good a time as any. I have always felt that the Hornets and Bulls of recent had some very similar teams, but I really think I struck something while researching a bit. This seasons Bulls team has a ton in common with the 07-08 Hornets and in a way I find is a bit scary, because the Hornets did lose in the 2nd round, but I could see the same thing happening to the Bulls. So let us take a look down memory lane and find some eerie similarities together shall we?

 The Paul/Rose Factor. In 07-08 it was CP3 third season, just as it is Rose's third season, but that is just the cherry on the top of the cake. Paul had his breakout season that year with 21ppg, 11.6rpg, 4rpg, and 2.7 spg, just as Rose is having his with 24.5ppg, 8.1apg, 4.7rpg, and .376 3P%. At the time Paul was on the short list of players to become the MVP. I remember thinking he should have won the Award, but in the end Kobe became the MVP and CP3 finished 2nd in voting. Not to shabby for a 3rd year player. Paul became a household name. All of these things seem to be in the works for Rose as well. He is at the top or near the top of every MVP rankings I have seen, and while he may not be quite as good as CP3 was and is, Rose is certainly now a household name and a superstar. Rose will also be landing some votes for the MVP award if he continues to carry the Bulls. I just find this very interesting, that both of these players broke out bigtime in the third season, but this is only the begining of how the Bulls and Hornets mirror eachother.

The Rest of the Roster. Now comparing Derrick Rose and Chris Paul and what they mean/meant to their teams in the 3rd seasons is a bit creepy, but let's look at the other major players on these two teams. David West was in his prime this season and put up 21-9 for the season and was the post player that meshed so well with Paul. The Bulls have Boozer, who has been hurt, but in the 25 games that he has played he has averaged 20-10. West and Boozer are very much alike in many regards and both supply their teams with post scoring and 15 foot jumpers. Now let's look at the centers. Tyson Chandler had his best NBA season this year after being traded to the Hornets form the Bulls for P.J. Brown. Chandler was a double double machine and averaged 12ppg and 12rpg. He played above the rim and fit very well with Chris Paul. Now Noah is not really the above the rim type of player that Chandler was but both put up about the same numbers with Noah averaging 14ppg and 12rpg. Chandler was considered by many to be a top 10 center if not better at the time and Noah is also considered a top 10, if not top 5 center by many as well. Both are energy guys that play hard-nosed defense in the paint and both are very very vocal. It does not end there my friends. Let us look at the 3rd scoring options on both of these teams. The Hornets had the highly overpaid Peja Stojakovic and guess what? The Bulls have the highly overpaid Luol Deng. Both play the small forward position and both are known as streaky shooters that can light it up from time to time. Both have long histories of being injured and both put up very similar numbers. Peja with 16ppg and 4rpg and Deng with 18ppg and 6rpg.

The Records. This brings up another factor. What about the teams records? Well the 07-08 Hornets finished with a 56-26 record and the Bulls are now at the half way mark and sit on a 28-13 record. Do the math people. Yes, if the Bulls go 28-13 for the rest of the season they too will end up with a 56-26 record. Creepy. Now remember this is all in fun and I do understand that the Bulls play a defensive halfcourt game and the 07-08 Hornets got out and ran a lot more then the Bulls do, but the numbers are scary. The fact that the top 4 players on both teams were so much alike in so many ways is at the very least a bit weird. Now I certainly hope the Bulls end up doing better in the Playoffs this season but I could see the same outcome happening.

What this all means. Well if the 10-11 Bulls follow this pattern to the final outcome, then I for one will be freaked out. I could see it happening. I really could. The Hornets won there first round battle against the Mavericks. I see the Bulls, as do most, getting out of the first round. The Hornets then took the Spurs to an epic 7 games and a great series were the Hornets led the series early by winning the first two games before the wheels started to fall off. Well, what team in the east reminds me of that 07-08 Spurs team? Hmmmm. Maybe the Boston Celtics? Yes. If the Heat get the 1st seed and the Celtics and Bulls end up in the 2nd and 3rd seed(which they are both in now) then this would set up a 2nd round battle between the Bulls and Celtics. The Bulls and Celtics matchup very well on the floor and neither has played the other with a healthy roster this season. The Bulls took the Celtics to 7 games 2 years ago in perhaps the best 7 game series I have ever seen with a record 7 OTs. I could see the Bulls and Celtics putting on another show in the 2nd round this time and I could see it going 7 games. Sadly, I could see the Bulls losing that final game. Then the Bulls would be just like the 07-08 Hornets.

Thoughts?
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: November 5, 2010 11:43 am
 

ChiTownCliff's Top 10 - Power Rankings #1

Well most teams have 4 to 6 games under their belt so I think we have a small taste of what teams look good early off and what teams should be able to establish themselves as forces for the rest of the season. I only want to look at the top 10, because that is all that really matters right? If you make the top 10 then you are either a contender for the title or real close to it. Outside of the top ten and you have some issues to deal with or you simply are a bad team. 

Well let us take a look at the Top 10 teams thus far.

1. Lakers
. How any other team could be ranked number 1 is beyond me. The Lakers are clearly the best team in the league. Kobe looks like himself and should still be considered in the running for the MVP, but the real stars of this team are the newly added Matt Barnes and Steve Blake. These two smaller pickups were well thought out by Laker's brass and have been a big part of the Lakers early success.




2. Celtics. Coming out of the gates and handing the Heat a loss goes was the perfect start to their season, but they have looked very good since as well. Rondo is averaging an amazing 16.4 assists per game and the green machine is off and running like they are well oiled. Paul Pierce has showed little signs of aging and the J.O. pickup looks like a solid move thus far.




3. Heat. The number that sticks out to me so far with this team is the average margin of victory which is a league leading 16.6 points. That is pretty scary. After their first game loss to the Celtics this team has looked pretty great since. Winning big against the Nets and Timberwolves is not a big deal, but the pounding they put on the Magic is.





4. Hornets. Who would have thought, right? This team is not only 4-0 but they have won against the likes of the Bucks, Nuggets, Spurs, and Rockets. Beating those 4 in a row proves you are doing something right. Chris Paul looks like his old self leading the NBA already in NBA efficiency with a 21-6-9 statline. Play from Belinelli and Thornton have been key but really missing in action is Trevor Ariza, who if he can get on track, could be an X-Factor for this team.




5. Magic. Getting hammered by the Heat does not make a good statement, but this team is still a great team. They simply had a bad night. I do not tink they will lose like that to the Heat again. In their two wins thay have looked great and Dwight Howard has added a little offensive punch to his game in the form of an outside shot that looks better then ever, but he needs to continue to be that force in the paint on defense if this team want to make it to or past the ECF.




6. Hawks. Okay, so they are 5-0, but I do not think this team is quite top 5 yet. Their wins have come against the Pistons, Cavaliers, Wizards, 76ers, and Grizzlies. That might have been a feat 5 years ago but not today and they face the Timberwolves tonight. We will not know what to think of this team until after next week when they face the Suns, Magic, Bucks, and Jazz.




7. Mavericks. This team has all the parts to have a 60+ win season. Most have played together for a few seasons and Jason Kidd continues to defy age, but the key to this team is the fact that Dirk is still in his prime and puting up great numbers. His ability to score from anywhere opens the floor for everyone else. This team has plenty of scoring theats and now they have some big defenders to clog the paint in Chandler and Haywood.




8. Thunder. Big wins against the Bulls and Trail Blazers has this team close to being in the talks with the elite. They still lack size and that may turn into a bigger issue down the road, but for now the duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook looks like a top 1/2 punch in the league.





9. Trail Blazers. It is hard not to like tis team. With Brandon Roy putting up jumpers from the outside and LaMarcus Aldridge turining into an elite back to the basket player Portland has their bases covered. Sprinkle in a savvy veteran point guard in Miller and a defender of the paint in Camby and this team is on a roll. Just wait until they add more size in JP and Oden.




10. Spurs. The combo of Duncan, Parker, and Manu is already a thing of history and it looks like they will continue to be together for quite some time. Sure they could use some new springs in the legs, but they are wise and well coached. This team can never be ruled out until Duncan retires. Jefferson is also starting to play the way they were hoping he would. This is a darkhorse team in the west if you ask me.





Let us take a look at a few players that have come out of the gates on fire. The Sexy Seven.

Monta Ellis.
they guy is just thowing up sick numbers and is leading the league in points per at an even 30 a game. His Warriors are 3-1 and just missed my list. Toss in 4 rebounds, 6 assists, and 55% shooting from the floor and Warriors' fans must be happy.

Joakim Noah. It is still early but it looks like Noah could lead the league in rebounding. He is right now with 15.3 per game to go along with 14 points and 2 blocks. He also has had 4 double doubles in 4 games and it seems unlikley that that trend wont continue.

Luis Scola. 23 points and 14.5 rebounds per! Are you kidding me? While the Rockets may be 0-4, Scola is proving to be a star player in this league. I wonder if these numbers will continue.

Rajon Rondo. I do not care how overrated the steals per and assist per statistics are, if you are averaging 16+ assist per game you are doing a good job of gettting the ball to were it needs to go. Rondo certainly is the front runner to lead the league in assists and by a large margin.

Pau Gasol. 23.8ppg, 11rpg, and 4.4apg is pretty darn scary. The Lakers made the best trade perhaps of the past decade when they landed this guy. He is a top 3 bigman for sure with Howard and Dirk and he plays with the best team in the league. I see no end to these types of numbers from him.

Derrick Rose. With 26.8 ppg(2nd) and 10 apg (5th) Rose is slowly becoming the superstar that many thought he would be. Thesse numbers should stay high but his scoring will certainly come down a bit when Boozer returns. 

Russell Westbrook. Durant who? Just kidding, but this guy must be the most underrated point guard in the league. A debate could be had that he is a top 3 PG right now. He certainly is as good as Derrick Rose if you ask me.

Just missing the Sexy Seven are: Paul Millsap, Dirk Nowitzki, and Rudy Gay.

Hope you enjoyed the read and please reply with your Top Ten and your Sexy Seven or simply give your thoughts. Thanks. 
Posted on: October 8, 2010 2:08 pm
 

The ASSASSIN Team is...

I must make it clear as to what I term as an ASSASSIN Team. I am not refering to a crappy team that somehow makes the playoffs or a low to middle seed playoff team that wins the the NBA Finals. What I am looking for is a borderline playoff team that somehow makes the playoffs and grabs the 8th seed and knocks off the top seed in the first round. Think of the Warriors knocking off the Mavericks a few seasons ago. They then went on to lose, but the damage was done. That was a peret expample of an assassin team. Against the odds they killed off a much greater foe.

So which of these four teams do you think could sneak into the playoffs and knock out the top seed in the East or West, likely but not certainly the Heat or Lakers

Wizards. With John Wall looking like a stud early on and with Josh Howard returning at some point and a guard rotation of Wall, Arenas, and Hinrich the Wizards could be a crafty and quick team. Andray Blatche continues to grow this team might have the pieces to pull off an upset. Another key will be the play of Yi Jianlian.

Knicks. Amar'e Stoudimire and Danilo Gallinari make a nice combo and with a solid a cast of roleplayers the Knicks could be in great shape to make an upset. Amar'e and newly added Anthony Randolph as the center and power forward, with Gallinari on the wing and Felton and Walker in the backcourt is a perfect fit in a fast paced Mike D'Antoni system.

Hornets. If Chris Paul can return to old form then the sky is the limit. A West and Okafor frontcourt is a perfect defense/offense combo that should gel sometime this season. The addition of Ariza at the shooting guard is a huge upgrade for this team and his play and CP3's health are the only concerns at all.

Grizzlies. Sure they overpaid for Rudy Gay but this team is young and has a lot of good pieces in place. They have a pretty good foursome in Mayo, Gay, Randolph, and Gasol. This team could give a contender real trouble. They lack a lot of depth but I could still see them pulling off an upset.

So which of these 4 teams has the best chance of knocking off a top seed in the playoffs? Please leave feedback or add teams into the mix for a healthy debate. Thanks.
Posted on: June 19, 2010 10:26 pm
 

Why There is No Respect for the 90s NBA.

          This is it. I cannot take it anymore. Too many people have no respect for the basketball that was played in the 1990s. False labels have been plastered on it from people who were not even old enough to have watched a single game from the decade. Some call it a soft decade were no defense was played. Other point that there were no other good teams except the Chicago Bulls. This is a heeping pile of bull crap! The 90s were full of great teams both in the east and the west and outstanding defense was still played because the newer rule changes were not in effect. Shooters were murdered on the floor. Hand checking was not even heard of. But I now know the real reason there is no respect for the 90s. It is quite simple.
        The reason for no respect is due to the fact that neither the Lakers or the Celtics were any good in that decade. Sure the Lakers were okay at the start of it when Magic Johnson was still playing. You see the NBA is so owned by these two franchises that as fans we simply believe that the 90s lacked any real competition for the Bulls because they did not have to face a good Celtics or Lakers team. This is crazy. The Knicks of the mid 90s were a great team. They played gritty and nasty defense. They were as good a team as any other team to reach the eastern conference finals in league history for the most part. People make it out as if the Bulls had it easy. False. The talent level was great in the 90s. The early part of the decade had the Pistons and the Cavaliers in the east for the Bulls to contend with. Then it was the Knicks, Magic, and Pacers. Even the Heat and the Hornets had good stretches in the 90s. 
         Out west there were plenty of good teams like the Trail Blazers, Supersonics, Rockets, Suns, Spurs, and Jazz. The Bulls were simply just better then the rest. Would the Bulls have won 6 Championships in the 80s with the team they had in the 90s. Most likely not, but they would have won 3 or 4 and maybe even 5. I never see anyone ask a question like, "Would the Kobe/Shaq Lakers win three in a row in the 80s?" or "How many titles would Russell have won had his team of the 60s played in the 90s?". Nobody asked these questions. Nobody dears to tarnish the legendary Celtics or the showtime Lakers. But the Bulls, well they were just lucky to have played in the 90s. There is no way they would compete in todays game or at any other time in NBA history. The stars in the sky were all just in the right spot at the right time. Also, Michael Jordan is not even a top 5 alltime player if you ask me. Also, I think Paul Pierce is better then a prime Scottie Pippen. Pippen was only good because of MJ. Whats that you say? Pippen had his best season ever without Michael and finished 3rd in MVP voting. Well that is just because Scottie and the Bulls were lucky to play in the 90s. Pippen is really just a roleplayer.
          I cannot take it anymore! The 72 win Bulls were the best team to ever step foot on the floor. One could argue they were the best defensive team alltime and they had the greatest player of alltime. Jordan(1x DPOY, 9x Defensive 1st team) Pippen(8x Defensive 1st team, 2x Defensive 2nd team) Rodman(2x DPOY, 7x Defensive 1st team, 7x Rebounding Champ). They simply shut other teams down.
          The bottomline to this insane rant is that the Bulls get no respect in the 1990s because the Lakers and Celtics were not good at the time. I would bet my life that had the Celtics had the Knicks' roster and the Lakers had the Jazz's roster in the 90s that there would be no debate. The Bulls 72 win Bulls would be the greatest ever, but because the Celtics and Lakers sucked at the time then so must have the Bulls as well. Dumb.
        Whenever the Celtics and Lakers go through a bad stretch of seasons at the same time you have people calling that a bad era in NBA history. What the hell is wrong with us. The world of basketball should not revolve around two teams should it? Do not get me wrong. I do not hate the Lakers or the Celtics as francises, but I do hate that their winning dictates great basketball, but if some other team is playing well then they are just lucky. That is a big crap sandwich and I am not hungry.
Posted on: June 2, 2010 2:14 pm
 

Hornets or Bulls?

Okay, so a debate started on another thread about these two teams and why Tom Thibodeau should choose to coach them. I think this is a great debate but I think we should move away from the arguments about which city is better, which city is bigger,  or even which team plays in which conference and I think our focus should be on which roster looks better to an incoming coach. The other stuff is nice but I think Head Coaches know that it is really the players that make the difference. So let us take a look and debate.

For fun I am ranking both teams rosters together. Feel free to yell at me or post your own rankings. Now you must also consider that the Bulls will add a player or two with their cap space. LeBron James or Dwyane Wade might not happen but Chris Bosh could or even Amar'e Stoudemire. Heck the Bulls might just land David Lee on the cheap and then pick up a 3 point shooter. In any case the Bulls will have one or two impact players heading into next season to consider. To be fair the Hornets will also have cap space after this next season to go after a max player their own so that is on the horizon. But you are playing the part of the head Coach and you must pick which team's roster looks better now and in the future.

1. Chris Paul He is clearly the best player of the bunch. He is a superstar and the best all around point guard in the league. Rondo and Deron may be better defenders, Rose a better scorer, Nash a better playmaker, and Billups a better clutch shooter and leader, but CP3 is in the top 5 in each of those catagories.

2. Derrick Rose. A rising star and a scoring machine. He has a great jump shot but needs to work on his 3. His defense is average and is his only real weakness. Ranked 14th in scoring in his 2nd season and could be top 5 this year.

3a. David West. A good inside scoring option and an overall solid player. He should average more rebounds for his size and is not a shot blocker at all. A good back to the basket player but just an average defender at best.

3b. Joakim Noah. The anit-David West if you can follow me. Noah is an average scoring bigman but a savvy defender. He is a top rebounder and shot blocker and is full of energy and is vocal which can be good at times. Needs to work on his offense a bit.

5. Luol Deng. He plays the part of a second option but should really be a third option. He is a solid defender with his length and has a silky jumpshot. He has yet to become a threat from downtown.

6. Emeka Okafor. A good defender of the paint and can sometimes be effective on offense. It is he later that is his true weakness. I do not think he will ever become an Allstar level player but is close.

7. Darren Collison. He is an explosive player that could be a starter on a few teams around the league. Will continue to grow as long as he gets playing time.

8. Taj Gibson. A steal in the draft Gibson only got better as the season went on and should come close to averaging a double double if he gets the playing time. He is a good defender and has a nice jumper and reminds me of a smaller P.J. Brown. Needs to add size.

9. Kirk Hinrich. A streaky shooter that looks to often to pass then shot, but he is a top shelf perimeter defender and often is guarding the other teams top scorer even if that means playing small forward at times when he is clearly a point guard playing out of position.

10. Marcus Thornton. He is a young scoring stud that has a bright future and could move up this list if he works on other aspects of his game. We know he can score but I want to see what else this sleeper can do before I am sold.

Good arguments could be made in a few spots but I think that is a fair top 10.

So based on rosters alone which team would you rather be the Head Coach of going into next season.
Posted on: January 16, 2010 11:09 am
 

Noah's Bark

     It has become clear to me that Joakim Noah is now my favorite player in the NBA. If anyone is missing from the Allstar ballot it is him. I cannot believe the league has Brad Miller on it and not Noah. Silly. In this blog I am going to make a case for Noah to be a reserve on the eastern conference Allstar team and I will also give you my top ten centers in the league today. I understand the noah has a couple of weaknesses and I will talk about them as well. I am a bit bias, but I am not a fool. So what has Noah done to make me a huge fan? Let us take a look.

     Rebounds Per Game. 12.2.
First we will look at perhaps Noah's biggest strength and that is his rebounding. He is second in the league behind only Dwight Howard and is half a rebound ahead on Marcus Camby. Noah is not a biggest or the strongest center so how does he grab so many missed shots? With his brain. He is very smart and knows were to go on every play and understands how to box-out. Couple this with his nasty take-no-crap attitude and you get a rebounding machine. If Noah puts on another 10 pounds of muscle this summer like he did last summer then he could lead the league in rebounding next year.

     Field-Goal Percentage. .495. Now we will look at one of Joakim's weaknesses. He has come a long way on the offensive side of the floor and is averaging 11.2 points a game, but to be considered a major threat in the paint you have to shoot a higher percentage from the floor. Somewhere above .550 for a center seems like the qualification to me and Noah still needs to work a bit more on this part of his game, but he has been getting better every game this season. He has a back to the basket game but needs to perfect his 15 footer. If he can hit the jumper with consistency then defenders will be drawn out of the paint and that will open things up for Derrick Rose to drive and create a nightmare for other teams to defend. Then Noah can learn from Brad Miller about the power of the shot fake and drive to the hole maneuver.

     Blocks Per Game. 1.74. Noah is a top 10 shot blocker in the league and to me shot blocking is one of the keys to being a great center along with rebounding and shooting a high percentage shot. In todays game the power forward is typically the scorer and the center tends to play of the scorer and block shots and score on put backs. Dwight Howard is really the last old school type center that does it all on both ends. Cases could be made for Brook Lopez and Chris Kaman in this regard. Not every team is so lucky as to have a scoring center. They are just rare these days. The bottomline is that the role of the center has changed over the last decade or so into more of a support player and less of a focal point.

     Double-Doubles. 20. Noah is tied for second amongst centers in total double-doubles and ranks sixth overall in the NBA. He is also one of only 4 total centers to be averaging a double-double.

     The Intangibilities of Noah. There are many like his passing ability that ranks in the top 3 amongst centers or his overall NBA Efficiency score of 20.79 that ranks 7th. If you add up his points, assists, and rebounds he ranks 8th amongst centers. But the real key to Noah is what you will see every time he steps foot on the hardwood. It is his passion and love for the game. He plays hard and focused every second on the floor. He more then makes up for his weaknesses with his heart and desire. He plays nasty defense and will not back down to anyone and is not afraid to speak his mind. Just ask LeBron James. He is not the quite leader, but a vocal leader that also leads by example. Much like Ben Wallace was once the heart and soul of the Detroit Pistons, Noah is now become that kind of player in that he can light a fire under a teammate with a little yell in the ear or by inspiring his whole team by making an incredible offensive rebound and then pushing off a defender and slamming home the ball for an and-one. Noah's overall game has few limits. He is a great athlete and has a great basketball mind. Just watch him take the ball up court by himself and you will see his great ball handling skills or you can always just watch his now epic steal in game 6 of last years playoffs were he runs 80 feet with the ball and beats Paul Pierce to the basket and slams in home. That moment just might have been the turning point in Noah's career. Here take a look.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUuQxaAZ7HU

Just a few stand out games from the last few weeks:

vs Wizards. 17 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks
@ Celtics. 15 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks
vs Pistons. 16 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists
vs Timberwolves. 20 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals
@ Bucks. 10 points, 18 rebounds,
@ Pistons. 15 points, 21 rebounds, 4 assists
vs Hornets. 17 points, 18 rebounds, 4 blocks
vs Knicks. 10 points, 21 rebounds
vs Lakers. 11 points, 21 rebounds, 6 blocks
vs Warriors. 18 points, 14 rebounds, 3 blocks

And these are only going back through december. There are many more great games from Noah during this time, but I do not feel like typing them all out.

My Current Top 10 Centers in the NBA.

1. Dwight Howard. The Best and it is not really close.
2. Brook Lopez. A distant second with a big upside.
3. Marc Gasol. Another young guy with a lot of upside.
4. David Lee. A center in a PFs body. Is he just a product of a system?
5. Chris Kaman. A classic 20 and 10 center. Watch out for injuries however.
6. Al Jefferson. Getting better with every game. Was my number two center last season.
7. Joakim Noah. See above.
8. Al Horford. Wonder what his numbers would look like on another team?
9. Andrew Bynum. Shows promise, but needs to become consistant.
10. Nene. Good defender and solid in the paint on both ends.

Honorable Mentions: Andrew Bogut, Brendon Haywood, and Kendrick Perkins.
Posted on: November 7, 2009 11:58 am
 

Unexpected Observations Thus Far.

     I thought I would quickly point out a few interesting things that have happened so far this NBA season. We are only a couple of weeks in but a few things have jumped out at me. I am not saying these things will continue and set a trend but they are a bit shocking. Let us take a look.

1. Rockets are at the top of the Southwest division with a record of 4 and 2. The real shocker here is that the Spurs are in third with a 2 and 3 record. Not exactly what we thought we would see after the Jefferson trade to the Spurs.

2. Gerald Wallace is averaging 14.8 points a game and 14.8 rebounds a game though 5 games. I bit scary and reminds me of a young Marion with a better looking shot.

3. Bulls have the lead in the Central. I am sure the Cavaliers will take it back within the next week or so, but the Cavaliers have not looked that strong after snagging Shaq this summer. Could the Cavs be worse then last season for having made the trade? Infact if the playoffs started today the Cavaliers would not be in it. Strange. I am still sure they will end up in the top 3.

4. Kobe does not look any older. He is averaging an amazing 34.5 points per game. Looks like there is plenty of gas in the tank after scoring 41 in each of his last two games. Scary.

5. The Suns look great without Shaq slowing them down and have come out of the gates on fire. Nash is his old self and man do they look like they have depth. Playoffs for sure. I really thought they were going to be one of the westcoast teams fighting to make the playoffs.

6. Remove Chris Paul from the Hornets and they become the worse team in the league. The Hornets do not look very good at all but it is still early. Peja is ready to hang it up and this team really needs a shooter bad.

Well I could go on I am sure but I would like to hear from you. Are you shocked by the same things as I, or is there something else that has you doing a double take? 

 
 
 
 
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