Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Who Will Win Tonights Games?

Tonight the NBA season tips off with three games on the schedule. Cleveland will head over to Boston to see the Celts raise the banner at 8pm Eastern on TNT. I'm expecting a kind of All-Star like atmosphere for this game. The Celts will be all hyped up about the banner going up and they won't come out with their best game. I think they'll play at about a B or B- for three quarters; but they'll be fine for a turn around come crunch time. But I do like the Cavs to spoil the party. LeBron is going to bring the highlights and make his side kick Mo Williams look good.

At 8:30, if you want to see the premiere of Derrick Rose, the Bulls will host the Bucks on NBA league pass. I like the #1 draft pick to bring home a win for the Bulls. The Bucks are also in a rebuilding stage, but the Bulls have got the better team. I expect some nice coast-to-coast moves from Rose.

At 10:30, the Lakers will let the young Blazers come in for a battle, on TNT. I think LA will come out with a lot of defensive intensity and win by 7+. I notice that, over the years, Kobe always brings it on the opener on national TV. I expect Bynum to get a double-double and I want to see the Bynum-Oden match up. It will be bring the best out of these two young fellas.

It's time! Are you READY?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Update On The Marreese Speights Camp!

Today the Marreese Speights camp took place at the Childs Park Rec Center in St. Petersburg, Florida. Unfortunately Marreese couldn't make it because of bad weather in Philly. Still, the camp went on. It was a great chance for kids to play ball and enjoy the game.

They want to continue doing the camps about two times a year. This would be a nice thing to have regularly in the St. Petersburg area. An area that I think is hungry for more basketball (at least I am).

I wish Marreese the best of luck this season in Philly. I know he's got some nice veterans that are going to help him learn the in's and out's of this league. I hope to have more on this story in the future.


Good Luck Rays!

We are just three days away from the season, but I am going to break away from basketball for a second. There has been a baseball story really taking form from where I live in St. Petersburg, Florida. I live about 10 minutes away from Tropicana Field, where the Rays went 1-1 in their quest for the World Series. Now, I'm not really a baseball fan, but I always like something that will help out my area. This has created tremendous excitement that you can feel throughout the city.

So, I want to wish the Tampa Bay Rays luck in their quest to get the Pennant. Tonight is Game Three in Philly and it will be on Fox at 8pm Eastern.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Marreese Speights Camp In St. Pete!

Marreese Speights is going to hold a camp near where I live at the Childs Park Rec Center in St. Petersburg, Florida. This is going to be a good chance for me to participate in a quality camp. It is also nice that Marreese would come to St. Pete from Philly just before the season to help the community. This probably will also help Marreese as he prepares for his rookie season. Getting away from the bright lights should help him be mentally ready.

I will have more on this story soon. I hope to have some exclusive coverage from the camp and put it up here on Basketball Notes by Alex.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Look Out for the Young Fella!

Since the NBA season is about 11 days away, I want to talk about improvements that I've seen in one Young, lucky individual.

I haven't seen everyone play, but I've seen the Sixers a couple of times. I am looking for some nice progress from Thaddeus Young. Going into his second year, I can tell he's put in some work. He's acquired an outside shot and now he'll be able to shoot the three and be an inside-outside threat. Don't forget the fact that now he is moving over to the three spot instead of the four. This will help him play with guys his own size. At 6'8" he's pretty small for a four. This will also help the Sixers because if a backup gets injured, he could take some minutes at the four, if necessary.

Speaking of the Sixers, aren't they stacked? Look at the back court, Andre Miller, Louis Williams, Willie Green, Kareem Rush (great addition, mainly a three point threat), and Royal Ivey. Don't even get me started on their options at the forward spots. The only point of concern in terms of depth is the center position. I know Samuel Dalembert can handle a good amount of the minutes there, but the guys backing him up are all washed up vets and young guys (Theo Ratliff, Jared Reiner and rookie Marreese Speights). With all due respect to those players, they could have gotten a better back up. It's not a major problem, but if Sammy gets hurt, it could be.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Can The Hawks Have a Better Year?

The Atlanta Hawks are coming off of their best year in a while. They made the playoffs and surprised everyone with a seven game series against the eventual champs.

Say what you want to say about their year (the East is weak, Boston was lallygagging in the first round, etc.), but Atlanta doesn't want to take a step back. In listening to Joe Johnson talk on media day (scroll down a bit for the video), I can sense the importance of an increase in wins and getting a higher seed.

So can they do it?

Maybe, but it's going to take some great individual performances. Joe Johnson has to do better than he's ever been. Mike Bibby has to be healthy and play at 100% all season. Josh Smith has to get higher for those alley oops, make those (or some more) outside shots. Al Horford has to get more than 10 points a game, maybe by taking some of LaMarcus Aldridge's outside moves. They've got the pieces on paper, they just need to get better individually and as a unit.

I'm also looking for Marvin Williams to improve.

Here's a quote from an article about him in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

"I'm just trying to get better. I've been shooting a ton of 3s [3-pointers]. I've definitely been working on the 3-ball. And I've put on a lot of weight, too," Williams said. "I'm up to about 245 with seven percent body fat. I'm as big and strong as I've ever been. I'm finally starting to fill out my frame, and it feels good."

Of course, practicing your threes and bulking up doesn't mean you'll be a better player, but it does increase my expectations for him.

What do the "Experts" think?

I'm using Hollinger's Team Forecast for the Hawks and the 2008-09 Pro Basketball magazine as my "experts."

Hollinger is pretty negative on them, he predicts a 31-51 record, leaving them at 13th in the East. I don't think they'll be that bad. Here's some of his reasons: Childress was one of the best sixth men in basketball, and about the only thing that kept Atlanta's second unit from being a complete horror show. Atlanta's starting five might be the best in the division, but its bench might not win the D-League.

The Pro Basketball Magazine is even more negative on them. They predict just 29 wins for them, just four games ahead of the Bobcats.

I disagree with these "experts". Sure their bench is subpar, but does that mean that Bibby, Smith and Johnson can't take on more minutes? You may think this would run these guys down, but come on, these guys aren't payed millions for nothing. They are expected to perform at a certain level and this should be expected of your best players.

Bottom Line: The East is stronger this year, but the only team with a real chance of breaking out of the 9-15 range in the standings is the Heat. I am not more down on the Hawks this year because of the loss of Childress, I mean, if you look at the stats, the highest PPG for him was about 12 points. Johnson, Horford, Bibby, Smith and the rest of the Hawks can make that up if the want to. I am down on some of the organizations decisions, they need to learn how to negotiate with players.

As the pre-season gets closer, there are some teams on my radar. I will be making some more predictions soon!