Posted on: October 8, 2010 2:08 pm
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: March 28, 2010 10:25 am
At this point there is really no reason for the Bulls to not try and make a push into the 8th and final spot in the east. Losing will not move them into the bottomline 10 in the league and therefore secure there lottery pick from the Bucks who have the rights to swap picks. The Bulls have an uphill battle however but they do have a strong history of finishing out seasons strong and slipping into the playoffs. Let's take a look at what needs to happen.
First and formost Derrick Rose is going to have to step it up and play like not just and allstar, but a superstar. We need to see a lot more of the 27-7-8 that we saw against the Rockets. Derrick needs to score to make up for Deng sitting on the bench. The Bottomline is that the Bulls fate is rested on this young rising superstar's shoulders. Can he step up to the challenge?
A close second in order of importance is the Bulls having a healthy Joakim Noah. With a healthy Noah and a determined Rose the Bulls can upset anyteam in the NBA. Without Noah the Bulls simply are below average, but look at what he can do with even 10 or 12 minutes. If he can start playing around 20 minutes strong in the last ten games then the Bulls have a real chance of sneaking into the playoffs. Taj Gibson has had a great year but he cannot be asked to fill in for Noah at this point. Brad Miller is flat out getting old. He looks good in small stretches and that is all the Bulls can ask of the savvy veteran.
As is stands the Raptors are sitting at 35-36, while the Bulls are 34-38. The Bulls have 10 games left while the Raptors have 11. The Bulls simply need to win two more games then the Raptors to finish out the season. The Raptors hold the tiebreaker so the Bulls need a better ending record. A tie would mean the end of the season for the Bulls.
Of the ten games remaining for the Bulls only 3 or 4 look like sure losses. The Suns, Cavaliers, Celtics, and perhaps the Bucks will pose serious challenges. The other 6 games include the Pistons, Wizards, Bobcats twice, Nets, and the Raptors. The Raptors schedule looks about the same. They have the Cavaliers, Hawks, Celtics, and Heat to deal with.
It is the home stretch and crunch-time. It is time for a team's star or stars to shine and lift their teams up and carry them. The Raptors have Bosh and we have Rose. The Bulls are at a disadvantage but there is still hope and if the Bulls can get it together and turn back into the team they were a month ago then they have a real shot.
Posted on: February 12, 2010 2:12 pm
OK, there are a few trade rumors starting to float around on the web. Some seem to make some sense and others seem very odd. Let us take a look.
Celtics and Wizards.
This has to be the biggest rumor of the day. It has the Celtics moving Ray Allen to Washington for Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison. Boston would throw in Scalabrine and Giddens to make the money work. This is a no-brianer for the Celtics. They would agian be a lock for the Finals adding these to players. What a sick lineup this trade would create for the Celtics. If they did not win a Championship after this move it would be a huge upset. The Wizards are clearly looking to start over again and this would give them some big time cap space. Perhaps the Wizards could land the Celtic's 1st rounder out of the deal. Cross your fingers Celtic fans.
Bulls and Trail Blazers.
The Blazers are hurting in the paint and the Bulls really want to move Tyrus Thomas so this seems like a good partnership. The Bulls have had little luck turning Thomas into a star power forward that many thought he could be and perhaps a job in the new city could be just what he needs to turn his raw talent into something. The Bulls would be getting a expiring contract or two in return along with two 2nd rounders from Portland. Bulls get picks for a bad seed. Makes some sense.
McGrady to the Knicks.
Now this makes sense on all levels. The Knicks love to bring in old fading superstars in hopes of the player having a turn around. Could the Knicks consider resigning Tracy in the summer? Maybe, if they cannot land one of the big free agents. This deal would give the Knicks some more cap space, but who do they plan on signing. LeBron looks like he is staying in Cleveland for now. Wade will stay put unless he moves to Chicago. Bosh might go the New York, but the Knicks need to lure two superstars if they plan on making any noise in the east. The Celtics, Magic, Cavaliers, and Hawks are just too good as it stands. Darko, Nate, Larry, or Al look to be part of the Knicks bait.
Cleveland in lots of talks.
It looks like the Cavaliers are looking into many different players from Rip Hamilton to Troy Murphy. Even Antawn Jamison is in the works. It looks like most of these trades would involve a third team, most likely Houston. If the Cavs can land a solid big like Jamison or Murphy then they will be even sicker.
There are a lot of rumors flying and I for one cannot wait for a team to make the first move. So, do you have any thoughts on these trades or have you heard or any other one?
Posted on: January 16, 2010 11:09 am
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.
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.
Tags: Al Horford, Al Jefferson, Andrew Bogut, Andrew Bynum, Ben Wallace, Brad Miller, Brook Lopez, Bucks, Bulls, Celtics, Chris Kaman, David Lee, Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, Hornets, Joakim Noah, Kendrick Perkins, Knicks, Lakers, LeBron James, Marc Gasol, Marcus Camby, Nene, Paul Pierce, Pistons, Timberwolves, Warriors, Wizards
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: August 14, 2009 11:13 pm
While trying to work on another Blog about my thoughts on the top 10 teams going into the season I quickly started thinking about how some teams going into this season are so hard to figure out. On one hand these teams could be quite good if not great but at the same time I would not be shocked if they laid an egg this season. So I thought it would be fun to list my top 5 unpredictable teams going into the new season and get your feedback. Every season seems to have those teams that make you scatch your head and I thought it might be an interesting topic. So let us take a look.
2. Raptors. Well they managed to only win 33 games last season but finished pretty strong. Overall they underachieved on a grand scale. I thought with Bosh, Marion, and Calderon that they were going to be a top 5 team in the east last season but I was way wrong and so were many others. Now Marion is gone but they have replaced him with the sharp shooting and versatile Hedo Turkoglu. In many ways Turk is the anti-Marion. Turk is not a good defender and relies strongly on his offensive game. This might be an issue as Chris Bosh is not an outstanding defender and the Raptors really have nobody to defend the post very well. With all of that said however this team have a lot of talent. Andrea Bargnani is starting to come into his own and this team should be able to put up some points. Worst-case: 30 wins. Best-case: 50 wins.
3. Bulls. This is my own team and I am not sure what to expect. I have seen a lot of different opinions on the Bulls on these boards so far this summer and the only thing I can gather is that nobody knows what they will do this season. The Bulls lost Ben Gordon who some think was the Bulls best player and that the Bulls will have trouble to score and will miss the playoffs. Other stand by the notion of addition by subtraction and that BG hurt the Bulls flow on offense and the growth of Derrick Rose. I lean towards the later. Maybe it is because I am a Bulls fan. I think John Salmons at the shooting guard spot with Hinrich as the third guard just makes the Bulls bigger and better on defense. If Luol Deng is healthy and can return to his 18 and 8 ways then things could be good in Chicago. Worst-case: 32 wins. Best-case: 48 wins
4. Grizzlies. This team can only get better right? I do not know. I think O.J. Mayo is a great player in the making and Marc Gasol is a stud. Rudy Gay is a solid go to guy and if Zach Randolph pans out then this team could steal a few games. Will they make it to the playoffs in the west? No chance. Could they be a .500 team? Maybe. The real issue is that this team is so young but they added a 20 and 10 player to score in the paint and draw doubles. They have shooters to create an inside out game.The X-factor has to be Hasheem Thabeet. I do not think much of him but I could be wrong. If he can grab rebounds and block shots then this team might have a bright future. Worst-case: 26 wins. Best-case: 41 wins
Posted on: February 21, 2009 7:50 pm
Here we go:
Posted on: February 14, 2009 6:36 pm