Posted on: March 7, 2011 2:36 pm
Well I was just looking at the Power Rankings at NBA.com and this week they have the teams Pace, Offensive Rating, and Defensive Rating listed next to each of the teams. Something pretty odd stood out to me. While I knew that the east's elite teams were better at defense then that of the wests, I did not know how dramatic the difference was. On the flip side the west's elite teams are much better on the offensive side and it is not really close. It is just strange to me that each of the top 4 teams from each conference play such different basketball. Let us take a look at the numbers.
Celtics- 97.7 (2nd in the NBA)
Bulls- 97.1 (1st in the NBA)
Heat- 100.4 (5th in the NBA)
Magic- 99.4 (3rd in the NBA)
Spurs- 101.1 (7th in the NBA)
Mavericks- 102.8 (11th in the NBA)
Lakers- 101.4 (8th in the NBA)
Thunder- 104.6 (16th in the NBA)
The two teams that stick out are the Lakers and Spurs as their defensive rating are quite good and rank in the top 10, but all 4 of the elite east teams rank top 5.
Celtics- 105.1 (13th in the NBA)
Bulls- 103.8 (16th in the NBA)
Heat- 108.2 (4th in the NBA)
Magic- 106.2 (10th in the NBA)
Spurs- 109.0 (2nd in the NBA)
Mavericks- 107.7 (6th in the NBA)
Lakers- 108.6 (3rd in the NBA)
Thunder- 108.1 (5th in the NBA)
In regards to offense the only team that stands out is the Heat who rank 4th overall in the NBA making them the only team in the NBA to rank top 5 in both offense and defense. All 4 of the elite teams in the west rank top 6.
Well I guess I do not spend enough time looking at these numbers and they certainly paint a clear picture. The east = defense and the west = offense. I think we all already knew this, but the numbers are still very interesting. Infact when you look at the rest of the teams in th eplayoff picture in both the east and the west you see the same trend.
Hawks-13th Def 18th Off
Knicks- 17th Def 7th Off
76ers- 9th Def 15th Off
Pacers- 12th Def 23rd Off
Nuggets- 18th Def 1st Off
Hornets- 6th Def 19th Off
Blazers- 15th Def 14th Off
Grizzlies- 10th Def 17th Off
The east follows the trend more closely then the west but you can still see that in general the east is more defensive heavy, while the west is more offensive heavy.
Now I thought the best way to simplify this was to add up all the ranks of the top 4 teams in each conference and then compare. Obviously, the lower the total number the better and here is what I came up with:
East Defense Total=11
West Defense Total=42
East Offense Total=43
West Offense Total=16
Posted on: February 21, 2011 2:16 pm
Well the Allstar Game is over and we can move on to "real" basketball. The weekend, was for the most part, a waste of time to watch. Between watching the NBA field guys that cannot even shoot three pointers for the three point content and Griffin being handed the slam dunk contest, I really felt sick as a gazed at the TV. The actual Allstar Game itself was okay, but it was cool to see Kobe Bryant win the MVP even with LeBron doing all could to win it for the east. Anyways, I felt that right now was a good time to throw out my top ten lists. These ARE for play this season so far and for play I expect to see for the rest of the season. I have a Top 10 for each position and Top 20 for players overall and for Top 10 teams. Let us take a look.
Posted on: January 20, 2011 10:23 am
Okay, so we all are aware that the Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov yesterday dropped out of the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes during a press conference. Yesterday it was also reported by YahooSports' Adrian Wojnarowski that the infamous Worldwide Wes is going to Chicago and sources are saying that Melo's "people" are going to try to work a deal with the Chicago Bulls.
This past summer the two sides talked about a trade and neither side would budge on two sticking points. The Bulls wanted to package Deng and his 40 million dollar contract as a centerpiece to any deal, but the Nuggets wanted no part of taking on the extra cap. Also, Denver wanted Joakim Noah and the Bulls flat out said no way. It is hard to think that a deal could ever be put together between these two teams alone. A third team would certainly have to be part of the deal.
So, do I think that Carmelo will become a Chicago Bull? Absolutely not. I think that any person with a clear understanding of how recent negotiations in the NBA have been cunducted with regards to superstars should have a keen insight as to what these talks between Chicago and Melo's people are really all about. It is simply smoke and mirrors. Sure Melo had Chicago on his short list "publically", but in reality there is but one team and city that he want to play for and that team is the New York Knicks. Not really a big shocker at all. So why now are Melo's people moving to the Bulls and trying to spark an old fire? They are using triangulation negotiation tactics in order to place a fire under Donnie Walsh's ass. Walsh is a pretty savvy businessman as he has stepped back a bit from this whole Nets/Nuggets deal and held firm on his offer. He most likely even knew that the Nets would back out. Now the Nuggets are in a hard spot. They turned down the best deal they could possibly get and now are either going to sit on Melo until this summer calling his bluff, trade him to a team like the Rockets or Mavericks as a loaner and get little back in trade, or try to work out a deal directly with the Knicks. Part of me thinks that Donnie Walsh saw all this coming a mile away. This whole thing has shifted a ton of power in the negotiations over to the Knicks who can make a reasonable offer and the Nuggets almost have to take it.
So the Bulls are only being mentioned as a cheap ploy to make it look as if there might be interest from another team in order to drive up the Knicks offer. Melo's people have a clear understanding that Nuggets ownership is being unreasonable and they know if a deal is to be done with the Knicks, that the offer is going to have to be higher or the Nuggets may simply hold onto Melo, or trade him for cap space and a picks as a rental. I am pretty sure that this angle will not work for two reasons. One, the Bulls are not going to part with Joakim Noah. That has not changed and if anything the Bulls will be more firm on the subject as Coach T loves what Noah does for the team and the Bulls have the upper hand now in the negotiation. Also, again the Bulls almost have to deal Luol Deng in any deal to make the money work. On the Nuggets side the Bulls simply have little to offer them. The Bulls would give up Luol Deng, James Johnson, Taj Gibson, and a 1st rounder, but the Nuggets do not want Deng's contract and I am sure they are not that desperate. Maybe a third team could get involved, but again this is never going to happen. Melo wants NY and so does his wife and we all know what that means. Wink wink.
Donnie Walsh must see right through this as well. He has no reason now to raise his offer. Melo may or may not be traded and all the Knicks need to do is sit and wait and sign him in the offseason. Sure Melo might say he would sign an extension in Chicago but I simply do not see it happening. Would Melo make the Bulls better? Sure, but how much better and is it even worth the risk? Deng is their top defender and Melo plays no defense or very little of it. Sure Melo is a superstar and a much better talent then Deng, but Coach T has a man crush on Deng as you can see from Deng's minutes(3rd in the NBA). The Bulls need an upgrade at the shooting guard, not a high usage player like Melo. I digress.
The bottomline is that Melo will be on the Knicks next season. He may or may not finish the year out with the Nuggets, but he will become a Knick.
Posted on: November 29, 2010 1:49 pm
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
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: February 28, 2010 7:54 pm
Ok, so we all still get a bit excited when the Celtics and the Lakers lace it up and battle it out on the hardwood, but times are changing and there seems to be new rivalries on the horizon. I thought it might be interesting to see what rivalry is the hottest right now by putting together a list of seven rivalries and creating a poll. Like any good poll I will include an option for "Other" just in case I missed one that you think is better then the ones I listed. So, what is the best rivalry in today's NBA? Let us take a look.
Mavericks vs Spurs. These two teams have had their share of fantastic showdowns both in the regular season and in the playoffs. Both have been elite teams for the past decade and both reside in the great state of Texas.
Magic vs Cavaliers. Shaq vs Howard. Superman vs Superman. Trash talk'n. Oh, and they are the two best teams in the east right now so that always helps a rivalry. Imagine if they end up in the ECFs together again.
Lakers vs Nuggets. Last season the Lakers swept the Nuggets in the WCFs, but I do not think the Lakers would sweep the Nuggets this season. Melo vs Kobe is always nice as well. These two teams give it their all when they face eachother.
Cavaliers vs Nuggets. Carmelo Anthony vs LeBron James. If you missed the epic battle earlier this month I feel sorry for you. It is great when the two best players on the floor have to guard eachother.
Celtics vs Bulls. After last season's historic first round clash were four games went into overtime this unlikely rivalry has become must watch TV. If the season ended today they would matchup again in the first round. Interesting.
Cavaliers vs Lakers. This is another melee of the superstars with LBJ going up against Kobe at the crossroads. Kobe vs Shaq is also always going to grab headlines as well.
Magic vs Celtics. After the Magic took out the Celtics(minus KG) last season in the playoffs a rivalry was born. There was bad blood created by the Celtics not reaching the ECF, and there has been smack-talk ever since.
So what is the best rivalry in the NBA today and why?
Posted on: August 16, 2009 8:15 pm
I really want to do a Power Rankings this season but it is a lot of work to write about every team so I thought I would try to keep it simple by only including the top 10 teams. This will be my offseason rankings. I will do another one after the preseason ends and then as much as I can after that. I understand that no matter how I rank these teams that I will upset someone and I am fine with that. This is my opinion and nothing else. Many factors will go into these rankings. I will not assume that the team will be 100% healthy either. If there is a history of injuries it will play into things. So let us take a look.
1. Lakers. It is really hard for me to think that any team should be ahead of the Lakers at this point. For one they are the Champions and for two they are the same team plus they added a very solid piece in Ron Artest. Sure Kobe Bryant is starting to age and is not as explosive as he was a few years back but he is still a top 3 talent in the league. This team is stacked from top to bottom with the only real hole being in the point guard position but in the triangle offense an elite point is not needed.
2. Magic. I did not just put them here because they made it to the Finals last season but rather for the solid moves they made this offseason. Sure they lost a few players and a key one in Turk, but they more them made up for it by snagging Vince Carter, Matt Barnes, and Brandon Bass. This team is now very balanced and now that Jameer Nelson is back this team is very scary. They will have a chip on their shoulder and I am sure Vince Carter came with chip already on his shoulder.
3. Cavaliers. Ok, so they were the best team in the regular season last year and were heavily favored to make it to the finals and then they laid an egg. Maybe their egos did get in the way. Maybe their lack of depth revealed itself in the intense playoffs of the NBA. The bottomline to me is that this is a great team with perhaps the best player in the game and they just added a future hall of fame center in Shaq. Shaq is old as we all know but he has looked good lately and I think he is a nice fit on this team. They still need a consistant second option though if you ask me.
Posted on: May 29, 2009 10:05 pm
The Playoffs seem to be much better this year in general if you ask me. Maybe it is due to the great series I got to watch my Bulls play in, but I think most will agree that there have been a lot of close games in this years playoffs. i can not remember a season with so many last second shots and amazing plays. I thought it would be fun to rank the top ten players as far as their playoff performances are concerned. I understand the size of the can of wrath that I am about to open by making a list but I only hope to spark some debate. So let us take a look.
I think it goes without saying that LeBron James is having a historic postseason. I myself have not seen stat lines like LBJs since you know who graced the floor. I am not going to get into the LeBron versus such and such debate becuae I really think it is clear that at least in these playoffs this season that James is the best player in the league. His line is: 36.1 ppg, 9.3 rpg, and 7.3 apg. His game 5 triple double is historic in that only 3 other players have ever scored more the 30 point and had more then 10 rebounds and assists in an elimination game victory. He is clutch beyond clutch. What if the Cavaliers made that trade for Shaq last year for Wally? If James can carry his team past the Magic, which looks near impossible at this point, and to a victory in the Finals I will concede to the fact that he is the greatest player in the NBA period.
Kobe has been Kobe which translates into 29.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, and 4.6 apg. He has led his team to a 3-2 advantage in the western conference championship. As great as Kobe has been and as clutch as he has been his numbers still are a big drop off from LeBron's. The fact of the matter is clear. Kobe has a much better team around him and this allows him to take less shots and it takes some of the pressure off him to display outright greatness. What I am saying is that if you swapped Kobe and LeBron from their teams I think Kobe would be putting up numbers close to those of LeBron's. If Kobe has to he can score at will but I do not think he could average the assists and rebounds that LeBron is. LeBron is just bigger and a more physical presence. Kobe will continue to make big shots and lead his team and I think the Lakers will end up in the Finals. If they play the Magic I think the magic win in 6, but if they get the Cavs then I see the Lakers winning it all in 6.
I almost put Dwight Howard in the 2 spot because he has been out of world great. 20 and 15 is scary and with over 2 blocks a game nobody is playing better in the paint and it is not even close. If Howard can continue to polish his back to the basket game and also pick up a 15 foot jumper then he will be unstoppable and could become the "real" best player in the league. He is like a combintion of Shaq and Alonzo Mourning in that he has great size and is athletic but is also very well conditioned. We all used to wonder what Shaq would be like if he lost 40 pounds, well now we can see. Shaq was for sure a much better offensive player but Howard is the better defender of the two. His future is so bright just like his smile. Sorry, I had to write that.
Ok, I understand that the Mavericks are no longer in the playoffs but Dirk had a great playoffs this season. In many ways he shed his reputation of being soft by playing a very gritty style of play. I thought the Mavs had a great chance to adavance to the WCF after watching them take out the Spurs in 5 games. I thought the Spurs would win the series going into it and Dirk was the force that finally made the Spurs look like non-contenders. With a stat line of 26.8 ppg, 10.1 rpg, and 3.1 apg Dirk makes the Mavericks still relevant for the next 3 or 4 years. If only Cuban can put the right pieces around Dirk. The Jason Kidd idea was solid but they could use a good wing player. Josh Howard is not the answer.
The future of Boston showed up in the playoffs. We all knew that Rondo was a top 10 point guard going into the playoffs but I for one never thought he was this good. A case could be made that he is the 2nd best PG behind Chris Paul. Infact a case could even be made that he is the best PG in the league. I would say he is top 5 for sure now and have no problem saying that he is in my mind the 4th best behind Paul, Chauncey and Deron. His stat line of 17.4 ppg, 10.0 rpg, and 9.8 apg in the playoffs is insane and while not as sexy as LeBron's numbers, I think it is safe to say that the Celtics will start slowly building around this young budding superstar. My only complaint would be that he loses his head in dire moments and he needs to mature a bit in that area so that he can become a true floor general.
Once you get past his outer shell which at times comes across as a bit thuggish you realize that he is a special player. He has slowly turned himself into a top 10 player in the league. When he entered the NBA it was all about him and LeBron James and they were compared constantly. It has become clear that LeBron is the better player and even Dwyane Wade has proved to be the better pick of that draft, but Carmelo has really started to shine the last two seasons and is doing a wonderful job of leading his team deep into the playoffs. He is not leading like fellow teammate Billups but rather leading with his effort on the floor. He is averaging 27.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 4.2 assists a game so far in these playoffs. That is nearly 5 more points per game then during the regular season.
The trade of Allen Iverson for Billups should go down as one of the best personnel moves in NBA history. I think AI is a great player and has had a solid career and on paper it seemed that perhaps the Pistons robbed the Nuggets, but in reality Billups was the perfect fit in Denver while Iverson was far from an ideal match in Detroit. I can think of few players that have had such a positive affect on a new team as Billups has had in Denver. He is in many ways the model point guard with his play making decisions and savvy defense. He has stepped up his game on all fronts in the playoffs, but that can be expected from an old pro. He is averaging 21.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, and 6.7 apg. Can his playoff experience get the Nuggets over the hurdle that is the Lakers? We will find out tonight.
Knowing that my Bulls could have made a trade for Gasol for a bag of peanuts last season still makes me sick. Gasol has proved to be the missing link for the Lakers and Kobe. It is no secret that Kobe thrives with a great bigman down low and if the Cavaliers get knocked out of the playoffs it will be in part because LeBron lacks what Kobe has, an real bigman down low. Gasol has been a beast in the paint. While his scoring has not been any better then the regular season he is grabbing more rebounds and blocking twice as many shots. If Gasol can stay this effective then the Lakers should advance in the playoffs. However if the Lakers matchup with the Magic then Pau will be in trouble. He has played his worst basketball against Orlando this season, averaging only 12 points and 8 rebounds against them.
Even though his team got knocked out in the first round Wade still proved to be a giant on the floor. Averaging 29, 5, and 5 is special and Wade did all he could to carry his team on to the next round but because of the Heats lack of depth his efforts were halted. A real question needs to be asked at this point. Will Wade stay in Miami? There has been so much talk about LeBron James leaving and even about Chris Bosh being traded that Wade has kind of flown under the radar. Can he really be happy? Miami has made no solid trades since they originally acquired Shaq. Marion did not work out at all and J.O. is on his last leg and is not going to help bring a title to Miami. It will be interesting to see how things unfold with Wade over the next season.
I think I am not alone when I say that Roy is now the third best shooting guard in the NBA behind Kobe and Wade. He is only 25 years old as well. Portland has a bright future with Roy leading the way. His team also was knocked out of the playoffs in the first round but like Wade he did all he could to elevate his team. In the end Portland proved to be to young, but next season they should have the hunger required to advance. If only Greg Oden could be a factor. If Oden ever takes off then the sky is the limit for this team. Otherwise there will be a lot of what ifs in regards to what if Portland took Kevin Durant with the first pick. Ouch! Roy's scoring in the playoffs went up by 4 points per game but his assists went down by about 2 1/2 per game. That looks like a young player trying to do to much.