Each week we talk to someone who's doing his thing covering this game we love! This week we have Sam Amico, editor of ProBasketballNews, a great site to go to for analysis and news.
1. So which team would you say is playing the best ball right now?
I think overall, my answer would have to be Cleveland. They have only had one "bad" loss (at Washington) and the type of superstar in LeBron James that can carry them to a title. They are very, very good and get little-to-no credit.
2. The injury bug seems to really around right now. Of all the teams with big injuries, which team needs the most help at a certain spot (eliminating the Magic's point guard spot, we know that's bad)?
The Raptors could use some help at forward, considering you never know the status of Jermaine O'Neal. Also, Chris Bosh has been banged up for most of the season. They could also use a backup point guard. Even though Jose Calderson is playing, he's been playing hurt.
3. You have made the case for Mo Williams to be included on the All-Star team. Why not Ray Allen? A quick summary of your argument would do.
It's not that I'm picking Williams over Allen. I'm just echoing LeBron and a few others (like Reggie Miller), who say that every other team that's been near the top of the NBA standings -- Boston, Orland and the Lakers -- has at least TWO All-Stars. The Cavs only have one. That's ridiculous. (UPDATE: Allen has now been picked, I'm sure Sam scowls!)
4. Do you ever get caught up in the 2010 hype? I like to look at the NBA today, only making little predictions about tommorow and the years to come.
I hate the 2010 hype. It seems that too many fans and members of the media get caught up in the old "wait until next year" mode. It's a bunch of baloney that's formulated by the marketing departments of bad teams. They are trying to fool their fans into thinking there's a rebuilding plan in place. Hogwash! The Kings stink RIGHT NOW, and that is all that should matter to their fans. Who cares about two years from now? A lot in life can change between now and then. And I mean A LOT. It's all about the here and now.
5. Which team in that lower level of the Eastern conference standings looks the best now? I'm talking about that 6-10 range, where the range is about a 2.5 difference as you look through them.
I'm not sure one looks better than the other -- they've all been terribly inconsistent, which is why they are where they are. But since you asked, I would say the Knicks and Bobcats will be battling it out in the final month for the final playoff spot. They're both very well-coached and are fairly close to put it together.
6. Now the NBA has added Horse to the All Star Saturday. This makes me think we should take a closer look at the D-League All-Star game. Do you concur on the increasing value of what's going on in the D-League.
I think the NBA is still figuring out how best to utilize the D-League. Minor league basketball is a tough, tough sell. I enjoy watching it, but I'm an absolute die-hard -- and since I'm credentialed, I don't have to pay to go to games. I don't know that I'd watch if I did have to pay. But there's no doubt the D-League has always served its purpose, and that is to develop talent for the NBA. I'd actually like to see any players younger than the age of 20 have to spend at least the first month of the season there.
7. Over the summer we saw some solid NBA players take the treck to Europe. It seems like the Russia experience wasn't very popular. Greek seems to be OK. If you were a player looking for a better situation, how would the American player to Europe results influence your descision?
I would say it would have a negative influence on it. Josh Childress reportedly is unhappy, having a difficult time adjusting to a different culture and the fact fans overseas have no trouble showing disgust at Americans who don't come right in and save their franchise. There's no pro basketball league in the world that will offer the perks of the NBA, and Childress is certainly finding that out. If I couldn't play basketball in the U.S., I would likely just try to get a job as a writer - haha.
8. What is your favorite moment so far this season?
Honestly, it was a game a few weeks back between Oklahoma City and Golden State -- in which Thunder forward Jeff Green banked in a shot at the buzzer to win it. I've seen a few Thunder games this year, and I can tell you those guys really, really want to win. Green, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were all winners at the lower levels, and you can see the looks on their faces when they lose. It's kind of sad, because they've been so snake-bitten this season. They have lost a lot of games in the final moments. So when Green hit that shot, they were all jumping around like high school kids who had just won a state title. To me, that's what sports are all about -- just as much as the great teams like the Lakers, Celtics, Cavs, etc.
9. Which team is most likely to can the season and why?
I wouldn't be surprised if the Pistons mail it in soon. Michael Curry looks to be in way over his head, and the deal for Allen Iverson has not worked out. Rasheed Wallace still has some good games, but looks old on too many nights. They just don't look like they're enjoying themselves at all.
10. How do you see the playoffs playing out?
In the East, I see Detroit losing in the first round, Miami upsetting someone (maybe Orlando) and Cleveland beating Boston in six games in the conference championship to reach the Finals. In the West, the Lakers should breeze through it, even without Bynum, because the West isn't nearly as good at the top as it used to be. Dallas and Phoenix are down, and Houston still can't get healthy. San Antonio is the only team that could give the Lakers a run, but the Spurs don't seem to match up very well. I just think Phil Jackson's system is better suited for the playoffs than Gregg Popovich's. If Jackson has some players, the Lakers will win every time. The Lakers will then beat the Cavs in six to win the title.
Thanks Sam! Be sure to check out ProBasketballNews!
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