Friday, July 31, 2009

Talk Around the Hardwood

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. We'll pick it up for next week! Anyway, let's link!

  • The Hoop Doctors. The 10 Best NBA Players Under Age 23- Part 2 (here's part 1).
  • Reds Army. Your "All Celtics Team".
  • SRI. OJ Mayo wants Allen Iverson on the Grizzlies.
  • NBAdraft.net. Looking to the future of the league, the top prospects from the Las Vegas AAU's.
  • RealGM. Hakim Warrick has agreed to sign with the Bucks.
  • Twolves Blog. A quick update on Ricky Rubio.
  • AP. Tyler Hansbrough could miss up to two months due to injury.
  • SRI. Why not take a listen to a Steve Nash interview.
Can we force Stern to start the season yet or not???

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Free Agent Forward Ike Diogu Signed by New Orleans Hornets


Ike Diogu in Hornets uniform photoshopped by user "iDunk"at the InsideHoops.com Forum.

After the recent Emeka Okafor-Tyson Chandler trade the New Orleans Hornets did with the Charlotte Bobcats, they have added furthermore to their talented squad after adding free agent power forward Ike Diogu.

Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Diogu played for the Indiana Pacers for most of his career, but before the 2008-09 NBA season started, he was traded to the Portland Trailblazers. He also played for the Sacramento Kings during that season as well. He averaged about four points and two rebounds per game last year.

His last two games of the season with the Kings were very impressive, though, having 32 points in one game and 28 in the other.

Diogu is very undersized for his position at power forward/center as he is 6'8".

Here's what ESPN's John Hollinger says of him:
Diogu is undersized for a power forward at 6-foot-8, and that combined with average mobility make him a liability at the defensive end. While his rebounding partly makes up for it, he does need to master the fundamentals of post and help defense since he's not going to get any bigger or quicker.

Offensively, the guy is a load. Diogu is very good at getting position near the basket, and while he's not a great finisher he's a tough cover in the post because of his nose for the rim. He needs to work on retaining possession better -- he's had a high turnover rate his whole career -- and will have to become a more effective passer. But he finds a way to score no matter what situation he's put in ... even though he's spent his entire career with running teams that didn't do many post-ups.
Pretty good explanation Hollinger explained, don't you think?

I think the Hornets are going to be pretty good coming into the 2009-10 season. We are going to expect good things from this squad, and with the addition of Diogu, it just makes things so much better.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Talk Around the Hardwood

Ready for some linkage?

Revisiting the Effectiveness of Blocked Shots

I'm not John Hollinger, but I have had some thoughts about the way blocked shots are recorded recently. I've noticed a growing trend of blocked shots that go out of bounds. Some examples are LeBron's blocks: he runs down on another players fast breaks and usually bats the balls out of bounds. Also, most of Dwight Howard's blocks go out of bounds.

While this is still a play the helps (the blocks that go out), it's not near as effective as a block that starts a fast break. All these blocks do is prevent an easy shot from going. They just force a team to regroup offensively. I'm not sure how many of the sets after blocked shots are successful, but most good teams can execute halfcourt offense pretty well. So that begs the question, how should we change the way blocks are recorded?

The simple solution is to classify blocks that go out of bounds and blocks that stay in bounds. Blocks on box scores are recorded under the acronym BS. The simple solution would be to use these two acronyms and an additional column instead of one: BSI (blocked shots inbounds), BSO (blocked shots out of bounds) and a total blocks column.

Statisticians have to record blocks anyway, why not add one little extra thing? It would really be beneficial. Blocks that go out of bounds are totally different from blocks that stay in. Like I said earlier, if you keep the ball in bounds, you create a chance for your team to get out and run. You also risk the other team getting the ball back. But, if you ask me, the more effective play is the BSI.

I know basketball legend Bill Russell would be in favor of this change. He was famous for blocking shots to his teammates in order to start the offense. That's what effective defense should do anyway. Defense is the best offense, right?

I want LeBron and Dwight to start blocking shots in bounds. They will start offense that way. Their teams offensive efficiency could improve dramatically. As their efficiency increases, they'll be more likely to be victorious. That's always the goal.

I might start doing a series of these random statistical posts. It's the off-season, so I'm doing more thinking about the game than watching. As unfortunate as that is.

Any random statistical thoughts, readers?

1 Reason LA MIght Not Want Odom Back

I have to say, this video is totally off-season worthy. Just watch and think, fellow Laker fans:

Monday, July 27, 2009

Poll: NBA Live 10 or 2k10?

With the NBA video game releases getting closer, I want to know what you guys are thinking. NBA Live 10 has already released information on features and have recently put out a video of gameplay. All we know about NBA 2k10 is that Kobe's on the cover. Nothing else official has come out (except a screenshot).

I know I'm likley getting 2k10. Two main reasons: Kobe's on the cover (I'm a Lakers fan) and 2k has always been better. The gameplay is usually superior. But, I want to see some new features in this release. I'd like advanced stats, similar to the Dynamic DNA (scroll down a little to see the description) that live has. The menus also need to be a little easier on the eyes. It's understandle in 2k9, but could be better.

Which one do you plan on getting? Vote:

The Knicks Options With Lee and Robinson

The New York Knicks have two free agents they are looking to re-sign this summer. Nate Robinson and David Lee. They are both pretty young players, on a team in the rebuilding process. Question is what can they do with each player?

Nate Robinson

It is being reported that Robinson will receive a one year, $5 million deal. Because that would put him off the books for 2010 and allow for more cap flexibility, I can't argue that.

Mainly because Robinson has so many questions about the way he fits. Can he commit at all on defense? Couldn't you do better with Ramon Sessions? Do we want that kind of cockiness on our team? These are the questions surrounding Robinson.

Those questions aside, he can score the ball and is very athletic. He can also shoot from the perimeter. He does fit most of the ingredients for what the Knicks want.

But, I want to see him prove himself in all facets of the game. He really needs to improve that sporadic behavior. If he does, I wouldn't if mind the Knicks re-signed him next summer.

David Lee

Reports have been flying around that Lee is frustrated with his negotiations with the Knicks. I'd assume they're true, but the Knicks need to really consider what they're doing with him. I feel like they must be trying to get him much cheaper than his camp thinks he's worth. The rumor is he wants $10 million a year. I don't know if he's quite there yet.

But, because he's a 6-9, ambidextrous double-double machine, I'd try to get a little closer to his requests. Maybe they sign him to a deal that gives him $8.5 or $9 million this coming season, but then, once next season rolls around, meets his number or $10 million.

They could also give him a one year deal, like Robinson is reportedly getting. I'm not as crazy about that with Lee. There's a level of trust he's got with the Knicks organization and if he's not getting close to what he wants this summer, he'll be able to bolt to a better team next summer. He's got all-star caliber talent, so I don't know if it's safe to risk losing him two summers in a row.

Next summer is also scarier because of the amount of money that will be out there. It will be the big free agent market of 2010. LeBron, Wade, Bosh and plenty of others will be in the mix. Put simply, that market will be a lot bigger than this summers market. Much more money will be available, even if the cap is lowered again.

I would just want to make sure Lee is happy with any deal they reach. His happiness is going to be a factor in his decision to stay with the Knicks. It's about making your employees happy, anyway.


No matter what happens this summer, as I've said before, I trust Donnie Walsh's rebuilding plans. He knows how to build a winner. The Knicks will be a winner with Donnie Walsh at the helm.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Shoe of The Week: Nike Air Hoop Structure Infrared OG Colorway

Disclaimer: I'm no full on sneaker head, but almost every week we're gettin our shoe on here! Each week I'll pick a shoe that I like, basketball, or normal. Get your new leather smell ready!

We haven't done a shoe in the week post in way too long. But we're back now! Getting pumped to see what kicks are coming out for next season!

These Nike's look perfect for balling. They have a nice, unique look to them. I would certainly cop these. I am in the market for some new kicks to ball in (leave some suggestions in the comments!).

As of July 23rd, these are starting to hit retail. I'm not sure how many are out there, but I assume this isn't a limited edition release. I would certainly consider these for your gym shoes.


What shoes have you liked of late?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

NBA Talk: How The Addition of Andre Miller Improves the Blazers

Josh Dhani is a weekly writer for NBATipoff.com
Although ESPN's John Hollinger does not like the deal of Andre Miller with the Portland Trailblazers, I totally have to disagree. Miller, who signed a reportedly three-year $21M contract which Hollinger called a bargain, helps the Blazers a lot.

How so?

That's where I come in. Let's break down how Andre Miller makes the Portland Trailblazers a much better team. And trust me, he improves them very much. So let's go ahead and break this down!

You all know what this is, it's the world-famous NBA Talk.

You know, it actually does make it a bit tough for Andre Miller with the Blazers. The point guard spot will truly be a competition between Steve Blake and Andre Miller. Jerryd Bayless will still be learning a bit, although he was quite impressive last year. Although it'll most likely seem that Miller will win, it does leave a whole for Blake and Bayless as both will have to receive playing time.

So that brings me to the depth chart:

PG: Andre Miller/Steve Blake/Jerryd Bayless
SG: Brandon Roy/Rudy Fernandez
SF: Martell Webster/Nicolas Batum
PF: LaMarcus Aldridge/Travis Outlaw/Jeff Pendergraph
C:
Joel Pryzbilla/Greg Oden

I think this depth chart is pretty reasonable. I used it from a man named Ryan who made a depth chart of his own in one of my Blazer articles. Thank you Ryan. And also, I think many of you could agree with this actually.

Many people have questioned Andre Miller's three-point shooting ability sometimes, but man can he take it up to the rim. I've seen countless times when Miller has done that and he is pretty good at it as well. Miler is probably the point guard the Blazers needed. It really creates a spark for them coming into next season.

And don't worry, Steve Blake and Jerryd Bayless will receive some playing time. Although the man who commented one of my Blazer articles who went by the name of Yeager_06, said that Bayless did have of what he called a "half-ass performance" at the summer league, which I saw a bit, I think Bayless with be a flashy scorer coming into this year.

Coach Nate McMillan will try to work something out with the three point guards so all of them can receive reasonable playing time coming into this year's 82-game season. And at shooting guard, there is no need to worry when Brandon Roy has it all covered. We also have Rudy Fernandez, who played a key role last year. He played pretty good last year, averaging 10.4 points per game as he showed who good of a guard he was.

We then move to small foward in which Martell Webster takes control. Despite him missing all of last year, the 2007-08 year was a spark of improvement from the 2006-07 season. He had a career-high of about eleven points per game in the 2007-08 season and also averaged two other career-highs in assists with 1.2 and rebounds with of about four.

Then there is Nicolas Batum, who played well last year, averaging about five points and about three rebounds. He truly looks to be sharp coming into this year as he and Webster look to create a show with their entertaining skills.

The Blazers then move on to the big men as power forward LaMarcus Aldridge takes control of starter there as he averaged a career-high of 18 points and about eight rebounds along with that. He hasn't let a frown on anyone's face so far this year as he hasn't averaged lower than nine points and and five rebounds in the 2006-07 rookie year. Watch out for Aldridge this year as he goes for 20 points per game, and possibly ten rebounds as he is entering into his prime.

Then there is Travis Outlaw, as his last two years have been nothing less than impressive. He averaged about 13 points per game last year, along with about four rebounds. His stellar performance came in the 2007-08 season, but the 2008-09 was a little of a downgrade. But with he and Aldridge, boards will be grabbed and points will be scored with this one-two punch.

But it really isn't a one-two punch after all with Jeff Pendergraph in the mix.

He was recently drafted in the second round of the NBA Draft this year. Coming out of Arizona State, Pendergraph had a career-high of about 15 points and about eight rebounds last year. He looks to have some of his minutes this year as he will be playing somewhat of a key role when he comes off the bench.

Here, we end with the centers as I believe Joel Pryzbilla will take the starting role this year. I am just not that big of a fan when we involve the-man-that-looks-like-a-50-year-old Greg Oden. Words like "bust" and "Sam Bowie" have already been involving as Oden comes into his third year (pretty much second actually after being out of the whole rookie year). Oden will have to step it up a notch this year.

I like Pryzbilla's style of play as this 7'1" center looks to lead the Blazers as he will be grabbing a lot of rebounds as his size takes the advantage. Watch out for Pryzbilla this year, folks, he looks to be dramatic.

Although Andre Miller doesn't make a giant difference, he actually does though. The addition of Miller shows how strong the backcourt squad of Portland will be. The backcourt is going to be very impressive and they will lead the Blazers to victory. With such stars like Miller himself, Blake, speedy Bayless, unstoppable Roy, and key-role Fernandez, I think the Blazers are going to be good-to-go coming into the 2009-10 season.

Miller is going to create a spark this year, and heck, the Blazers will too as they will be making a lot of noise this year, and will be banging on the front door of the NBA Finals. Watch out, the words, "first round exit," will never be mentioned, unless if it involves the opponent.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Reliving Great NBA Moments: MIchael Jordan "The Shot"

This shot is simply magical. Everyone has seen it once or twice, but I especially love the video I found of it. It gives you background into the plays before that shot and shows what happened before and after.

I don't want people to talk about the next MJ. You have to realize that everyone is different, damn it! Just enjoy each player for what he is.

Here's the video:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bryant Is Optimistic That Lamar Odom Will Return to the Lakers

Josh Dhani is a weekly writer for NBATipoff.com.

ESPN reports that Los Angels Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant is very optimistic of his teammate Lamar Odom returning to the Purple and Yellow.

"I'm optimistic that he'll be back," Bryant told ESPN. "He makes us a much, much stronger team."

It may tough for Odom to come back but, hey, who knows. He is receiving interest from the Miami Heat, and he may be moving to the Dallas Mavericks as well. Odom was a key role-player off the bench as he averaged an interesting twelve points and nine rebounds.

With the recent loss of Trevor Ariza, the Lakers brought on Ron Artest, who also may be playing a role if there really is a departure of Lamar Odom. But according to Anthony Garciano of FootBasket, Odom is expected to come back to LA.

But yet, if Odom doesn't stay, however, Josh Powell may be the man who has to step it up due to the fact that Artest will be playing at small forward. Or, the Lakers could put Andrew Bynum at center and Pau Gasol at power forward, or you can do it the other way around.

But many reports are believed to say that Odom is coming back to the Lakers.

We'll see how things turn out. As for right now, this is what NBATipoff.com has for right now for the coverage of the Lamar Odom sweepstakes.

The NBA Players That Would Kill On Ustream

Last night Stephon Marbury had the world going crazy with his really entertaining Ustream show. I wasn't watching from the start, but when I jumped in, I felt like I was at home. This is where NBA players need to be. I love them on Twitter, but I really love them on Ustream. So who would kill on Ustream??

Michael Beasley

I picked Beasley because he's already on Twitter and I think he'd tell crazy stories. The great thing about Marbury's show was how he would take a question and spin it in a way only he could. I think Beasley has those same skills. If you watch this interview, you see what I mean.

He'd be funny, crazy and interactive. That's what makes an NBA Ustream'er worth while.

Ron Artest

Everyone wants to see Ron Ron get on Ustream. I don't really have to explain why it would be golden. Remember his video blog? That was amazing itself. His Ustream would be like that, multiplied by a billion and blended with the awesomeness of Artestisum.

Would he be high during his broadcasts? That's up for you guys to decide. I would be so glued to my screen I couldn't even tell you. That would be the best, trust me!

Allen Iverson

"We talkin bout Ustream'in??" I can see AI on Ustream. He'd talk about his current situation. Hell, maybe it could be a live video resume? He could show GM's how many viewers he could get and how many questions and activity he creates. It's the only reason any team should sign him now anyway. You gotta sell tickets during tough economic times!

He would probably give us many great quotes like Starbury did. The only thing I wouldn't like is how much time AI would waste addressing the haters. Marbury did that and it's kind of annoying. Iverson would have some many more haters, it would be crazy.

JaVale McGee

McGee is the most underrated guy on this list. Not a lot of people know him, but he could be one of the most entertaining Ustream'ers. He would rap and sing. That's always entertaining for about five minutes.

He's my sleeper on this list. If he ever does live stream, watch it. It would be very good.

Shaq

Another obvious, yet right choice. Shaq would be the mecca of all Ustreams. He'd really get into it. Just like when he got on Twitter, after he learned the in's and outs of Ustream, he could do some great things on it.

I can't imagine how many things he could do on it. The possibilities are endless. I'm getting anxious just thinking about it.


Hey NBA, it would be AWESOME if you could make these players get on Ustream. Sponsor it and start marketing the NBA as the first mega-interactive sports league. DO IT NOW!

Who else could really rock a Ustream show?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Video: AI Talks To NBA TV

Allen Iverson is currently unemployed and is looking for a team to be his suitor.

Check out his recent interview with NBA TV:


Where do you all think he should go?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Clippers Deal Richardson... Again

In a minor off-season deal, the Timberwolves have agreed to send Sebastian Telfair, Mark Madsen and Craig Smith to the Clippers for Quentin Richardson (from Yahoo! Sports). The first thing that came to mind when I heard about this deal is two NBA players on Twitter for one (in Minnesota's case)? What a bad social media trade-off, Wolves fans.

On a more serious note, the Clipps add some more frontcourt guys and cap to their roster. I like Smith and Madsen is kind of a throw-in. Telfair just hasn't found his niche in the NBA yet. Maybe working under Baron Davis will be good for him? I'm not sure, but if he could score like he did in high school, the Clippers would have one hell of a steal. But I doubt that will happen.

Q Rich must feel like a used trade throw-in. He was moved to Memphis, LA and now Minnesota. I'm just sorry that he lost the city of LA and got stuck in Sota'. All of these teams are lottery teams. But Richardson can provide outside shooting and some veteran leadership in Minnesota.

I just want to see how the Clippers are next season. They could be on the outside of the eigth playoff spot, but that's at their best. I think they will improve and show how much talent and firepower they truly do have. Also, I wish Baron Davis would have a good year. Last year was a train reck for him and the Clippers.

Comment on this post if you don't give a f*ck about this deal!!

Top 4 Guys I Saw in Summer League

Now that the Las Vegas Summer League has wrapped up, I figure I should do a post on what I saw. I watched some of the action, but not a ton. So don't crazy when I don't mention this guy or that guy, because I'm just talking about the games I saw!

George Hill- Spurs

I am a big George Hill fan. I liked him last year, but he only saw limited minutes in the later parts of the season. With a more extended look at him, I upgrade my status to no-homo-basketball-related man crush. Over the summer, he improved his jump shot. He seemed really comfortable shooting off the dribble and at the free throw line.

Next season, he's got to hope for a bigger role. Backing up Tony Parker, he still won't see tons of minutes. Hopefully Pop could try to fit in some time for him at the shooting guard spot. If he can get 15 minutes a game, that'd be a good start. He is a great piece and he's only 23.

Johnny Flynn- Timberwolves

I wish I could have seen more of Flynn. When I did see him, I saw a small, but very atheletic point guard. He seems to a good, not great jumper shooter. He played bad the first time I watched him. He's got to control his turnovers, but he looked much better in the last game.

The real reason I should give him the nod is because he finished in style. You have to finish strong and Flynn showed he knows how to do that. Anyone else see a bigger Nate Robinson in him?

Blake Griffin- Clippers

Of course. The obvious choice. Griffin was real solid. He showed what he can against subpar competition. I expected great numbers from him. He looked real athletic and he's going to have a big advantage over older big men. If he consistently runs the floor, a combination with a healthy Baron Davis could be lethal.

If I had to predict next years numbers for him, I'd say about 15 PPG and 10 boards a night. Write it down. I'll see how accurate that prediction is. I have a feeling he won't be rookie of the year though. There are other scoring rooks that might take that honor.

DeJuan Blair- Spurs

The second Spur on the list. He was what everyone expected: an undersized banger who grabs boards. He's a guaranteed summer league double-double. I want him to keep working on his jump shot. It looks good, but I know he and David Thorpe could get it better.

Next year, the goal for him is to rebound and play defense. Really no pressure for him in his bench role. I know he'll prove the GM's that passed on him wrong.

Honorable mention: Russell Westbrook

He only played one game in the Vegas summer league, but he proved what I already knew: he's a stud. He also improved him jump shot. His overall game is great. I want big things out of him in OKC this year. If there was a sophomore of the year, Westbrook would be my guy.

Who'd you see in summer league that impressed you?

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Blazers Will Be Fine

Just as everyone expected, the Jazz are matching the Blazers offer sheet to Paul Millsap. While adding Millsap or the Turkish version of MJ would have been great, Kevin Pritchard has still built a solid, very young squad. I know the Blazers will be fine in the long run.

The Blazers were smart to try and bring in a big name this off-season. They wanted to show that they are willing and able to make big moves just like the other top tier teams have. It just so happens that they wanted to pounce on a market that just wasn't good enough. But, the real positive is that the money is still there for them to spend.

Looking at their current cap situation, they still have enough money to do what's most important for their future. That's signing Brandon Roy and Lamarcus Aldridge to extensions. They will probably end up giving Roy a max contract, while I'm sure Aldridge will also get a hefty raise also.

But even with the lower amount of money to be avaliable at hand, why can't they make some moves come the summer of 2010? They will have some money to throw around. What player wouldn't want to come to a team on the rise, where the average age is just 23.5 years old (not counting current free agents)? I know I would. Don't forget, they're YOUNG!

Since they are so young, the window for a title is wide open right now. They are still young and inexperienced. That's what's great about them all being on this team. They'll make mistakes together and learn and continually improve.

Look, I am a Lakers fan and will be forever, but I can't hate what the Blazers have put together. They've got an entertaining, young, great team. I wish them all the luck in the world, keep looking up to LA!

Talking Off-Season With Royce of Daily Thunder

We've been interviewing team bloggers latley. Now we're talking to Royce of Daily Thunder. It's a great site about a really good up and coming team.

1. The Thunder played in both the Vegas and Orlando summer leagues. Who impressed you? Obviously Russell Westbrook looked tremendous, but anyone else?

In Orlando, Serge Ibaka was an absolute stud. He averaged 13 and four on almost 70 percent shooting and looked NBA ready, but his production has tailed off in Vegas. I think Shaun Livingston has looked almost completely healthy the last few weeks. He's moving extremely well side-to-side and looks like he has a lot of his quickness back. James Harden has lived up to expectation and at times both Kyle Weaver and D.J. White have looked really solid.


2. I have also liked what I have seen from James Harden thus far. The only thing that looks really bad from him is his tendency to only go left. Have you seen that and how much of an issue could it be for him in his rookie season?

You're absolutely right. He does tend to go left, but he's a really good ball-handler. I think him going left is just a tendency because he prefers to finish with his left hand rather than his right because 1) He's left handed and 2) because finished with his left on the left side allows him to use his body to shield shot blockers. Harden gets into the lane at will and while he appears to prefer going left, I don't think it'll affect him this season. He's got too good of an overall handle and is too smart of a player.


3. The Thunder still have a good amount of cap space at their disposal. Do you think they will use it and if so who or what should they target?

I don't think OKC will do anything significant this offseason. Marcin Gortat was the main target but he wanted too much. I don't think Sam Presti has any problem squatting on the cap space. He's got expiring contracts (Damien Wilkins, Chucky Atkins, Earl Watson) and based on his free agent history, he prefers to trade rather than sign (just one summer signing ever - C.J. Miles last year). So I think he could use the cap space to bring on some players for the long term at the trade deadline and also to have in his pocket when he needs to re-sign Kevin Durant and Jeff Green in 2012.


4. I heard through Kevin Durant's Twitter account that he gained some weight this off-season. Of course that's a good thing, but how much weight do you think he needs to gain to be the best player he can be? Any insight as to how he trains and if he's gained anymore weight?

He needs 10-15 pounds of lean muscle. And that's all he's really aiming for. He doesn't need to bulk up, but he needs enough muscle so that he doesn't get bumped off the ball easily, so that he can get position to post and also to defend bigger, stronger players.


5. I have always liked the way Jeff Green plays. He's a scrappy guy who can do a little bit of everything. What his biggest weakness? How can he improve at it?

Post defense and offense. Last year he needed to develop an outside game and a 3-point shot. So what did he do? He worked all offseason on it and he was one of the top 3-point shooters in the league. But now with him moving to power forward, he's going to need to work on developing the skills to defend guys like Tim Duncan and Amare Stoudemire. And with him being on the block, he needs to work on a more back-to-the-basket post up game.


6. How would you rate the job coach Scott Brooks has done thus far? What adjustments, if any would you like to see made to his system?

I really like what Coach Scotty has done. He immediately injected life and enthusiasm into the team and moved Kevin Durant to small forward. He's done a great job developing chemistry with the players and there's a real family feel to the team. I honestly don't know what I'd change about the way Brooks does things. The team played infinitely better under him, but with the team being so young it's hard to say what he should do better.


7. I feel like Thunder GM Sam Presti will win executive of the year once the Thunder have their big breakthrough year. How many years away is that big improvement (I mean a much better record)?

I think OKC is on pace for a steady improvement next year and then a major breakthrough in 2010-11. Next season I see the team winning somewhere between 30-35 games with the potential to get to 40 if Russell Westbrook takes a giant leap in his point guard development.


8. Do you know of any nickname for Russell Westbrook? He really needs one. What would be your nickname for him?

The only one I know of is "Jet Zero" and that was given to him by one of the readers of my site. I don't know what I'd nickname him honestly. My wife said we should call him "Up" because of his obvious leaping ability but also because that was the kid's name in the movie Up.


9. If you had to rate the Thunder in terms of great young cores around the league, where would they rank?

I don't see how you could put them anywhere below No. 1. Four top five picks, nobody in the starting lineup over the age of 26 and the average age on the team is under 24 years old. Of course if they don't win then it doesn't matter if they're all 10 years old or 100 years old, but as far as young talent acquired, nobody's in front of OKC.


10. Plug your site. Why should all Thunder fans read Daily Thunder everyday?

Oh, I don't know. I don't like bragging about anything I do, so I guess the main reason to is if you're ridiculously obsessed about the team and want to feel better about it by seeing others equally as obsessed as you, come on down.


11. Give your expectations for the Thunder next season.

Like I said, I'd expect a good jump in wins. Somewhere like 30-35. The team was 20-30 since New Year's Eve last year, so average that out for a full year and that's around 33 wins for the season. So if the team stays right where it's at, that's where they should end up. But if some players make a little bit of a leap and some of the young guys exceed expectations, this team could get to 40.


Remember to check out Daily Thunder!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Video: Top 10 Buzzer Beaters of 2009

One of the coolest moments in an NBA game are game winning shots at the buzzer. The NBA put together a nice top 10 of those shots from 2009. While I love #1, I don't know if I love it being that high. The Devin Harris shot was one of the most incredible of the bunch, by far.

Here it is:

Talking Off-Season With Kyle of Truth About It

We got a chance to interview Kyle of Truth About It. Make sure to check out his site to get your Wizards fix. Also follow him on Twitter.

1. A while back, the Wizards picked up Randy Foye and Mike Miller for Oleksiy Pecherov, Etan Thomas and Darius Songaila and the fifth pick in the draft (now Ricky Rubio). What were your thoughts on this trade? Does this show the Wizards front office wants to win now rather than later?

The Wizards are definitely in 'win-now' mode, or else they would have traded Antawn Jamison at the February '09 trade deadline in exchange for cap room and perhaps a mid-level prospect. Both Cleveland and Portland were said to be very interested. The Miller/Foye trade, which keeps Washington in luxury tax territory, further establishes the immediacy of the situation.

Overall, I like the trade. The bench gets deeper. The offense, combined with the new system Flip Saunders will implement, gets much better. However, losing Darius Songaila (Ernie Grunfeld has been on record saying that he would have rather parted with DeShawn Stevenson), leaves the Wizards pretty thin down low.

So, I'm afraid that while the trade better sets the Wizards up to secure a playoff spot, unless they significantly improve in the post, they are no better than the second round.


2. With the Wizards beginning summer league play as I write this, what are your expectations for the summer league squad and has anyone else playing in Vegas or Orlando impressed you a lot?

Honestly, I haven't watched any summer league at all up until the Wizards played their first game against Cleveland on Tuesday night, and their second one against Denver on Wednesday.

The Wiz have plenty of 'experience' on this team: JaVale McGee, Nick Young, Andray Blatche, Dominic McGuire and Javaris Crittenton -- all roster players. McGuire actually could not play in the first game because there is some rule that you can only dress four roster players in the summer league ... I wonder if this is the first time that rule has been invoked. D-Mac played in the second game while Crittenton sat out.

But what am I looking for out of this bunch?

  • Crittenton: His jumper may come, but I want him to prove himself capable of leading the offense without turning the ball over. He had 8 assists and 2 TOs in the first summer game.
  • Young: Needs to be a more efficient scorer, a much better defender, and learn the ability to create for others.
  • Blatche: The 5th-year-to-be player is very talented, but fans yearn for consistency from him. He could also use a great deal of moxie/heart.
  • McGuire: Can play the 2-4 positions, and is a top-notch Bruce Bowen-esque defender in training. But he needs to improve his lateral defensive movement. He leaves a lot to be desired on offense, mainly his jumper and handles.
  • McGee: Needs to get tougher in the post as he was constantly pushed around last year. He has crazy athleticism, but needs to tame it with discipline. Not the smartest offensive player, even though he does have touch.


3. JaValee McGee showed flashes of greatness last season. I remember seeing him a couple times, he showed he can really run the floor, but he is still raw in many areas. Where does he need to focus his practice on? How long until we are talking about a polished big man?

McGee needs to focus on three areas:

  1. Strength: he's evidently added 10 pounds over the summer, but I'm still not sure how far that will go in terms of keeping him from getting pushed around in the paint.
  2. Discipline: the kid tries to block almost every shot and he simply cannot do that. He needs to protect the paint and trying to jump out the gym to throw a three-point attempt into the fifth row tends to put himself and his teammates in bad situations.
  3. Awareness: McGee is quick and athletic, and yes, a point he's made about being able to 'out-quick' strength is somewhat valid. However, his lack of awareness in terms of positioning in team defense, and the inability to use his "quickness" to move laterally on D will keep him on the bench.

McGee is a solid two seasons away from being close to being considered "polished", but his potential and work ethic makes waiting until then kind of exciting. Unfortunately, from what he's shown so far in the summer league, he has a much longer way to go than many Wizards fans think.


4. Bringing in more offensive minded players and Flip Saunders as coach, it seems like the Wizards are going to get big upgrades in terms of offensive game plan and firepower this season. Any concern for the team on the defensive end? Is this a possible run-and-gun team?

There is definitely a concern on the defensive end. Part of Saunders' defensive philosophy stems from being more efficient on offense ... essentially he aims for Gilbert Arenas and the Wizards to jack less shots, limiting fast-break opportunities and easy chances for the opponent.

That being said, the Wizards' three best players, Jamison, Gilbert Arenas, and Caron Butler, are all sub par defenders. Brendan Haywood is a good communicator, and coming back from missing all of last season, his presence will improve the team defense by leaps and bounds.

But he is only one man. Saunders has his work cut out for him ... good luck!


5. Have you heard anything new on Gilbert Arenas health? I saw him play towards the end of last season. He seemed solid. Has he continued working and rehabbing for next season?

All we've really heard is that Arenas has lost 20 pounds, has been playing/practicing at full speed, and is working with the famed Tim Grover in Chicago. Basically, yada, yada, yada ...

With Gilbert Arenas, no one knows. Not the front office, not the coaches, not his teammates ... perhaps not even himself. Fans can only wait and see, and hope for the best.


6. Nick Young got a lot of minutes last season just like JaValee McGee. He developed a ton and continues to impress me. He's still only 24, where does his game have to progress?

Young has the uncanny scoring ability that can't be taught. However, he needs to learn how to operate closer to the basket and earn trips to the free-throw line. He also tends to over-dribble and stall the offense a bit. Oh, did I mention he was a terrible defender? I think he loves offense so much that he easily loses focus when trying to keep track of the man he's supposed to cover. If he wants get minutes in the NBA, he'll undoubtedly have to improve his defense.


7. I love how funny JaValee McGee is crazy funny on Twitter, YouTube, etc. Which video or moment of his is your favorite and does he have the comedic potential to be funnier than Gilbert Arenas?

Not even close. Between Transformer videos and making his own music, McGee is definitely creative. But in interviews with the media, he gives uninteresting, one-word answers and comes off mundane as hell. Maybe with age he'll eventually come out of his public shell ... but I doubt he'll ever come close to touching the charisma of Arenas.


8. Do you think the roster needs anymore fine tuning before next season? I thought the only thing they might need is some more veteran help.

They definitely need a veteran big man. This team simply cannot get by with Haywood, Jamison, McGee, Blatche, and McGuire as the only post players. There have been rumors of the Wizards going after aging scraps such as Fabricio Oberto, Sean Marks, Chris Wilcox, Jamaal Magoire or Mikki Moore. Unfortunately, Grunfeld is looking to add someone on the cheap. I'm not sure that method gets the team closer to being a championship contender. But money is tight and the team is already over the cap. What are you going to do?


9. What are five things Wizards fans can look forward to seeing this season that they didn't see last season (I already know one, winning)?

  1. More "Daggers!" (game sealing/winning shots) from TV announcer Steve Buckhantz.
  2. Having at least two player in the All-Star game ... and perhaps Nick Young in the dunk contest.
  3. A relatively healthy roster for the entire season ... I mean, we are really, really, really due for one of those -- at least that's what I'm going to keep telling myself.
  4. Getting past the first round of the playoffs.
  5. More 15 assist games than 40 point games from Gilbert Arenas.


10. Who would roast the other guy better: JaValee McGee or Gilbert Arenas?

Arenas is a known prankster, he would destroy McGee.


11. What are your expectations for the Wizards next season?

My expectations/hopes are relatively high. I'm thinking 50 wins and at least pushing a second round playoff series to seven games, if not getting to the Eastern Conference Finals.

But a lot of other teams have gotten better (Orlando, Boston, Cleveland). Unfortunately, Wizards fans might have to hope for bad luck to be bestowed upon those teams in order for the door to be open for their team.


Thanks Kyle! Remember to visit Truth About It!

Who Makes More Sense For Miami: Boozer or Odom?

There has been recent talk about the Miami Heat seeking out both Lamar Odom and Carlos Boozer. I really think it's unlikely they could grab both of them. So which one makes the most sense for them?

I have to pick Boozer. He's younger, easier to get and could get rid of some Heat players that are unwanted. Some would say he's harder to get because he's got one more year on his deal, while Odom is a free agent. I disagree. I think the cap going down and the overall pessimistic attitude to this free agent market makes for a much stronger chance of Odom staying in LA. Also, the Lakers don't want to make big changes after winning a title (they already changed small forward's with Ron Artest).

Another thing Miami wants is more back to the basket scoring. I know Odom is very versatile at 6-10, but Boozer is a better scorer in the post and a banger down low. Boozer's a true big man. Odom is a hybrid guy who can work on the inside and out. Pat Riley has always liked bangers. He coached a young Alonzo Mourning and had the guts to try out Jermain O'Neal last year.

If I was Pat Riley, I'd also think about the flexibility Boozer gives you. Since he's only got one year on his deal, that will open up more cap space in the summer of 2010. It lets you try him out for one year, evaluate, or use him as trade bait. In the end it gives you many more options compared to a three to five year deal for Odom.

Another thing that makes sense about this is the depth it gives the Heat up front. Since O'Neal is injury prone, why not have another tremendous post scorer to pick up the slack? I herad the idea of bringing O'Neal off the bench. I love that idea. Allow him to play backup PF and center, get him 20-25 minutes a game. That's something he could do easily. He'd be rested and a very solid guy to bring off the bench. Only thing that sounds terrible about bringing him off the bench is he makes about $23 million next season. That just hurts me reading it.

Whatever the Heat do, they have to do something this summer. I know Dwayne Wade is watching, wanting to move closer to title contention. If Pat Riley wants to keep him in a Heat uniform, he'll sign or trade for an impact player this summer.

Heat fans, keep your heads up. All of these rumors sound promising for next year.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Talk Around the Hardwood

Link time!!

  • Sports Rubbish. Harry Potter Look-A-Likes In The Sports World. Funny stuff.
  • Motown String Music. In case you didn't hear, Chris Bosh beat Charlie Villanueva to 50K followers.
  • YouTube, via Truehoop. Tyreke Evans and Jason Thompson freestyle for their coaches birthday.
  • The Hoop Doctors. Is Big Baby worth a big contract?
  • RealGM. Sounds like Big Ben won't be coming back to the Pistons.
  • Knicker Blogger. Since it's the off-season, learn your advanced stats here.
  • Ball in Europe. AI, these guys want you to come to Europe. That would be crazy.
  • Third Quarter Collapse. Get ready, Magic fans, the new arena is starting to get there.
  • Waiting For Next Year. Should the Cavs bring back Drew Gooden? The guys give their thoughts.

Richard Jefferson Cancels Wedding, Probably Because She's a Nets Dancer

Richard Jefferson decided to cancel his wedding at the last minutes. Not just any small wedding either, a two million dollar wedding.

Details from RealGM:

Jefferson's decision to break off the wedding to former Nets' dancer Kesha Ni'Cole Nichols was so last-minute that some of his oblivious friends had already shown up last Saturday at the swank Mandarin Oriental in Columbus Circle for the $2 million wedding that never happened.

Come on RJ! If you're going to cancel a wedding, can you at least do it earlier so people don't show? That's really messed up.

Anyway, how about a Spurs dancer now? This doesn't look half bad I must say.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Video: Shaq Sings "Over the Edge"

I was going to run this in a talk around the hardwood post, but I'm giving Shaq his own post for creativity.

Check this out:



Thanks to Basketball Buzz!

Antoine Walker In Trouble For Not Paying Debts

Come on Toine. I thought we said not to get in trouble anymore! Antoine Walker, who I thought was attempting to make an NBA comeback, is in trouble for not paying gambling debts.

ESPN reports:

Las Vegas prosecutors have filed a criminal complaint against Antoine Walker, claiming the former NBA star has not paid back $822,500 in gambling debts to three casinos, the Las Vegas Sun reported.

Hopefully Toine can one day comeback. Until then, get out of trouble, my man!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Talk Around the Hardwood

Anyone else having NBA withdrawal? Even though summer league is going strong, I want to see real NBA basketball right now. Guess I'll just have to wait a while longer. Let's link!

  • Dallas Basketball. Marcin Donuts: 12 Things To Know About Gortat.
  • TMZ (via NBA Playoffs 2009). Trevor Ariza parties on his 24th birthday. Here's also a photo gallery.
  • Seattle Post-Intelligence. Jannero Pargo is officially a Bull.
  • Miami Herald. Allen Iverson asked for the $5.8 million midlevel exception from the Heat in a one-year deal, but Miami has been reluctant to pay him much more than $2 million, if that. Iverson also is exploring Memphis and Charlotte, but Miami would be his preference if money is equal.
  • Need For Sheed. Arron Afflalo dealt to the Nuggets for cap space.
  • Project Spurs. Nice breakdown of the Spurs first game at the Las Vegas Summer League. George Hill and DeJuan Blair were great.
  • Truehoop. I know you all read Truehoop, but their Summer League roundups are great. Check out this and day three's roundups.

NBA Talk: The Impact of Shawn Marion in Dallas

Josh Dhani is a weekly writer for NBATipoff.com.
Golden State Warriors vs Miami Heat

It was a blockbuster deal when four-team eight-player trade took place a couple of days ago. The star? The Dallas Mavericks and the superstar player we call Shawn Marion. It was a great deal. So now here we are, we have Marion in Dallas.

How is everything going to turn out? Will Marion have success? What is his impact with the Mavericks? Whoa, cool down! I have everything for you! You all know what this is, this is the NBA Talk!

So now we have this kid named Shawn Marion in a Dallas Mavericks uniform. It's all going good, but wait, it's going to get much much better. The Mavericks have also acquired guys like Marcin Gortat, Jason Kidd (in re-signing means), Greg Buckner, Kris Humphries, and Nathan Jawai.

Although John Hollinger of ESPN says that Buckner may not be staying with Dallas, there is a possible chance of Brandon Bass. But hey, he may not be coming at all either, so they mainly just got Humphries, Jawai, Kidd, Gortat, and of course, Marion.

These are some solid players that the Mavericks have acquired, which makes this solid lineup look like this:

PG: Jason Kidd
SG: Josh Howard/Jason Terry
SF: Shawn Marion
PF: Dirk Nowitzki
C: Erick Dampier/Marcin Gortat

You are probably wondering why Josh Howard is at small forward. Well, due to the fact that Marion is there, Howard has to be in the starting lineup and it looks to me that the shooting guard spot may be his only decision (yet of course you can turn drunk and be a center). I like the change of Howard because it makes Dallas look like a much stronger team.

Kidd, he was going to start anyways. Jason Terry, he's going to bring a lot of light off the bench in big D. We then have Shawn Marion tearing it up with shots and dunks you can't deny. Dirk, we all know how he rolls. The center spot is questionable. Hollinger picked Gortat, I like Dampier. It's going to be a battle at that spot but whoever wins, the center spot will be very strong anyways.

It makes the lineup look impossible to stop. Just look at these players, I mean it's just heaven for the fans of Dallas. With all these stars on the squad, and up and rising ones, Dallas looks like a tough team to beat in the Western Conference.

But some things may affect them. First, you have a group of players that are 30-years-old or older: Jason Kidd (36), Erick Dampier (34), Jason Terry (32), Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion (31), and Josh Howard (30).

Probably the youngest star may have to be Gortat at 25. Although age may not be as big of a deal because all of those players of that 30-years-old or older list still have some in the tank and can still tear you up on the NBA court.

So it's not that big of a problem, the only problem may be is the other teams in the Wild West.

We have the Los Angeles Lakers, who look more dangerous than ever with the addition of Ron Artest. We then the Houston Rockets, who may be rolling this year with T-Mac and Trevor Ariza. We then have the Denver Nuggets, who recently got Ty Lawson. Then the Spurs with Jefferson and many other teams that look to strike this year.

It'll be a tough matchup in the conference and it's going to be a blood-gushing, hard-nosed, Pacers-Pistons brawl matchup. The Wild West is going to strike bigger than ever coming into the 2009-10 season.

And so far, Dallas has already become one of the leaders. With just one player in this big fat a** trade, oh heck yes, it does make a big impact. But this is just the start of a big season that looks to come for us, NBA fans.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Video: Kobe Plays 14 Year Old At His Camp

No, this video wasn't confiscated. LeBron didn't break into Kobe's camp and steal the video of Kobe beating a 14 year old kid 5-0. I heard he also got dunked on, but that was also not confiscated.

Sorry LeBron, but that wasn't all that cool. Check the video out:

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Chris Bosh vs. Charlie Villanueva: First to 50k Wins!

Chris Bosh and Charlie Villanueva are having a friendly contest on twitter. The challenge is to get to 50,000 followers first. Whoever does will get to do a YouTube skit with the other player. Villanueva has decided to make Bosh do the Shane Marcado dance if he wins. Bosh is going to let his Twitter followers decide what Villanueva has to wear for the skit.

This is a fun thing to do during the off-season. I'm pulling for Bosh to win. Why? Because Bosh is the current underdog, a better player and the overall more interactive, connected athlete.

As I write this, Villanueva has a 227 lead in number of followers. Bosh has started to inch closer with live broadcasts and calls for retweets, etc., but he's still an underdog. As a Lakers fan, I don't normally go for the underdog, but this time I'm going for the underdog. I want to see the more active player win.

I don't need to explain why Bosh is a better player. He is a legit All-Star and can do it all. Case and point.

I want to give Bosh my support. Bring it home, CB4! Embarrass Charlie V! You know it's the off-season when I make a whole post about this, ha ha!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Video: Jordan Crawford on ESPN

This whole LeBron got dunked on thing is crazy. All I want to say about it is LeBron's people are just afraid of the truth. I could easily go an some rant filled with cuss words and all, but this whole thing is just not worth it. This situation has been really blown up and I can tell it's the off-season because of it. It is bad for LeBron, though.

Anyway, here's the video of Jordan Crawford on ESPN talking about it:

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Talking Off-Season With Drew of Peachtree Hoops

Drew took some time to talk with us about the Hawks. Make sure you check out Peachtree Hoops. It's a great Hawks blog.

1. This is from the Basketball Fiend (also see their blog): Who is a bigger free agent priority? Marvin Williams? Or Mike Bibby (written before he re-signed)?

Now that Mike Bibby is signed, I am going with Marvin. Sorry I am a slacker so that this question can be answered..


2. Do you think Mike Woodson can be the coach of a title winning Hawks team? I myself haven't loved him as coach and question if he's the right coach to lead them to bigger and better places.

Who is asking this question and where can I find their optimism? Just to answer it as a hypothetical makes me feel better about the Hawks. Most people would mock me for even bringing up the idea that the Hawks are only a piece away from contending let alone winning.

But in my wildest dreams where I suspend all kinds of reality (like the fact that the Cavs and Lakers exist) not even Mike Woodson can make it into this fantasy land. He simply lacks the capability to manage a championship roster. Woody has never shown an ability to take advantage of mismatches or motivate players in any way that millions of dollars and a loud crowd don't already do already. The forced entry into a final year of his contract after a great year last year does not bode well for his long term future with the team.


3. What were your impressions of the Jamal Crawford move (trading Speedy Claxton and Acie Law for Crawford)? Does this put the Hawks in major sleeper status in the East?

Woodson runs a guard heavy offense. I think Josh Smith sometimes jacks up threes in attempt to be part of the fun. (Oh I kid so not to cry). If Flip Murray does not return, Crawford can do a lot of the things Flip did with more size and stronger track record of putting the ball in the hoop come crunch time. His salary come 2010-11 scares me, but a slightly above average season for Crawford could be a serious upgrade in the back court for the Hawks this year. Plus anytime you trade your junk for a legit rotation guy, it is is tough to be anything but excited about.


4. Assess the Hawks offense. From what I saw, basically all they run are iso's and high pick and rolls. There really isn't lots of movement. Where does their offense need to change in order to make scoring easier for them?

Ummmm....Joe Johnson right and Joe Johnson left? Seriously, you are right. It is an extraordinary amount of iso's. Which as a general offensive strategy, I have no problem with. Lets be serous, the NBA is a lot of one on one basketball. The Hawks problem is that the isolation's are never dictated by match up advantages and rarely see quality ball movement out them when a double team comes. The Hawks athletic, long line up creates mismatches. If they can push the pace, give the front court more looks inside, and attack the mismatches with a willingness to pass out of them when the double team comes, the simplistic offense would actually work just fine.


5. From docfunk: Whats the long term plan for Josh Smith? Is long term measured in years or weeks?

At some point, all the talk about how good Josh Smith will be in a few years to what he is going to be as a player next week. Josh still drips with potential. He simply chooses to not take advantage of it leaving us Hawks fans to talk about how good he will be in a few years. In reality, it may take a new coach for the plan to have a true end date. If Mike Woodson could not get Josh Smith to stop shooting three pointers as a second year player, it is tough to believe the coach can do so now. But man does Josh just seem so easy to fix. Stop the jumpers, attack the boards with reckless abandon, and don't pout like a six year old. You can measure that stuff in weeks. Will it happen? Who knows, that is why we call him the Enigma.


6. Going on the same path as the last question, Smith really is a great talent. The question with him is dedication. Do you doubt him at all and what should he be working on this summer?

I do not question Josh Smith's dedication at all. I really do not. His work ethic is quite good. He goes hard every summer, and until this year, Josh has improved statistically every year (and even this year he set a career high in FG%). What I question though is his maturity and ability to focus on effort and not who got the offensive set run for them. Josh needed college. At least a year of it. He needed that structure and coaching. Instead, he got Mike Woodson. Can someone work on maturity? I hope so. Other than I would do some kind of Pavlov experiment where Josh Smith was conditioned to drive to the basket every time he thought about taking a jump shot or saw someone take a jump shot.


7. DJ_Rod, an Australian basketball fan asks: is there a chance we could see David Andersen with the Hawks this year?

He says he wants at least as much as he is making in Spain which would be around 2.8 million. Could the Hawks make that happen? Yes. Will they? Probably not. The Hawks need Zaza Pachulia back and will probably end up paying Marvin Williams QO for 7.2 million dollars that money just might not be available/willing to be spent on a late 20s guy who has never played in the NBA. I hope it happens though. Especially on a two year contract. I mean the Hawks signed Randolph Morris for two years.


8. How underrated is Joe Johnson? Compare his game to guys that everyone knows, like Dwayne Wade, Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul.

Not underrated. He is a borderline all star and has been given the accolades and paid like one. The past few years that borderline all star has leaned toward being very much an all star, but Joe Johnson is not some MVP candidate hiding in the anonymity of Atlanta. He is a very good all around player who can defend, score inside and out, and defend with above effectiveness. He also shoots too much and lacks the athleticism to take over in any one part of the game. Teams without Dwayne, Kobe, Roy should love to have Joe, but he is not those guys.


9. Where do the Hawks need to add to their team? The bench?

I love the Hawks starting five. Especially if Jeff Teague can play above average point in a year. So yes, they need to add to depth, especially to the front court. But if I could choose one place to add, it would probably be the coaching.


10. Doesn't Al Horford deserve more touches than he gets? He's not the best low post scorer, but they don't throw down to the post much. Ties into their poor halfcourt offense.

More Al Horford. More Al Horford. More Al Horford. That is all.


11. So how far do the Hawks get next season? Second round??

Best case: Conference finals and compete. Worst case: 1st round exit.

Remember to check out Peachtree Hoops!

Poll: Which Team Has Improved the Most So Far?

We've already seen some big moves made this off-season. The Shaq trade, the Richard Jefferson trade and the Vince Carter trade. Question is, which team has improved the most so far this off-season?

Vote:



Also leave your thoughts on why in the comments!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Where to Watch the Orlando Pro Summer League

It's the off-season, but there is still some basketball to watch. The Orlando Pro Summer League starts today. Starting at 3pm Eastern (here's the schedule for the whole league), all the games will be streamed on the Orlando Magic's website.

While this level of basketball is no where near the level of regular season action, at least it's something. I know I will watch a little and see what I think.

What are you doing without any basketball to watch?

Friday, July 03, 2009

Talking Off-Season With Nick of Boston Celtics News Station

Making the team blogging rounds, we're now talking Celtics. We have Nick Gelso of Boston Celtics News Station. An up and coming C's blog you are going to have check out.

1. Lots of elite Eastern conference teams have made big moves recently. The Cavs got Shaq and the Magic got Vince Carter. What if anything do the Celtics need to do to keep up with the other title contending teams in the East?

I believe Boston has almost completely slipped under the radar of the media and key opponents. The Cavs acquired Mo Williams last season to combat the Celtics. Though that playoff match up never materialised, Mo Williams was a no factor against the Magic in the EC Finals. This season the Cavs brought in Shaq to combat Dwight Howard.

While Cleveland has spent the last two off seasons on the defensive, this year prepping for an Orlando rematch, Boston has been developing their current roster, resting and regrouping for another title run. In my opinion, the Celtics starting line up has the league's top five players at each position. No other team in the league can boast that fact.

I do not feel the Shaq addition to Cleveland changes much for Boston. Perkins has done an excellent job defending Shaq the last two seasons, holding him well under 18 ppg and 9 rpg.

Regarding Orlando, with Hedu Turkoglu opting out and Vince Carter coming in, this actually makes the Magic an easier team for Boston to match up with. The length of Orlando gave Boston the most problems last season, not to mention the loss of Garnett didn't help matters.

According to the Boston Globe, the Celtics had a three hour meeting with Rasheed Wallace on Thursday. The Big Three, Doc Rivers, Danny Ainge and team owner Wyc Grousbeck attended the meeting. the Celtics offered Wallace a two year deal using the mid level exception.

Wallace, who has yet to decide on where he would like to play, would certainly help in adding length, experience, scoring and three point shooting to the Celtics bench.

It's my belief that Big Baby will be re-signing as well. I do not believe Davis is worth even the mid level exception. Despite his good play during the post season, Davis still displays lapses in basketball IQ, lacks inside scoring and rebounding. He is still overweight and undersized for a power forward.

The Cavs and Magic are dominating the media as the elite Eastern teams. Few have recognized that the addition of Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva will make the Pistons a team to be beaten again as well.


2. This questions come from NBA_Rumors_News from Twitter: Do you think the Celtics sign Rasheed Wallace if he wants a multi year deal? Would the Celtics sign Sheed and still re-sign Glen "Big Baby" Davis?

It has been reported by the Boston Globe that the Celtics offered Rasheed a two year contract. I think the question is, how bad does Sheed want to play with KG and contend for a title again? Will he opt to play for a team that offers him three years but has less of a chance to win? Will the Cavs offer Sheed a three year deal? At 35, it is doubtful any championship contending team will offer Rasheed more then two years.

I do feel the Celtics can sign Rasheed and re-sign Davis. As I explained, it's my opinion that Big Baby still displays lapses in basketball IQ and still needs to trim up and work on his rebounding and inside scoring before he can demand the mid level exception.


3. Putting aside your earlier answers, lets say the Celtics keep this same team for a few years. How close is their window to being shut?

I feel like they only have one or two more legit title chances with the current team. I would have to agree with your assessment. The, much discussed, "window" is likely to last for another two seasons. That window is trimming up, however, as the Eastern Conference has bulked up their talent this off-season. I think this is why this season we will see the sense of urgency that was displayed during the 2008 championship run.

KG and Paul Pierce have made public comments eluding to the titles return to Boston in 2010. Their is no doubt that the Celtics are ready and people forget that last year's team team, though severely injured, won 62 games and stretched the eventual Eastern Conference champions to 7 games.


4. Stephon Marbury had a run with the Celtics last year. He showed flashes of the old Starbury, but most of the time he showed a new, bad version of a former star. Did you like anything he did in a Celtics uni and what should the C's bring him back?

In addition to having a good attitude and being a model citizen with the media and fans, Steph showed hints of his old self during the Orlando series. The irony of Steph in green has been that his biggest impact was on his teammates in contrast to his career, which has been primarily known as selfish and "me first" player.

Marbury taking over at point guard for the second unit allowed Eddie House to run off screens, spot up on the break and not have to handle the ball. Eddie's play was drastically improved when Marbury arrived.

Though Marbury was only a shadow of his former self, I do believe he helped the Celtics last season. If he is given an entire season to play with the team, he will be a great contributor off the bench. He has expressed an open desire to return to Boston and I think the Celtics will make him an offer for 2010. I don't feel the luxury tax burdened Celtics will offer Steph more then a one year deal however. Whether Marbury accepts such a deal is yet to be seen.


5. How many jump shots a day is Rajon Rondo putting up and do you think he will one day be a consistent jump shooter?

Rondo needs to shoot jumpers non stop this summer. He was fantastic in the Chicago series but his triple double play was followed by, his much overlooked, sub par play in the Orlando series.

In the semifinals, Rondo's defender was continually leaving him to double team Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. Rajon will not reach all-star (and max player) level until he knocks down that 17-20 footer consistently.

Given Rondo's blatant desire to be a max player in the NBA and Ainge's public criticisms, this may be Rajon's season to prove a point and knock down that jumper on a regular basis.


6. Kendrick Perkins has really progressed. He's starting to establish an inside game and he has always been able to defend big guys very well. Where does he need to improve next?

Perk's progression has impressed me most. He was the defensive anchor of the team in KG's absence during the playoffs. It is obvious that (big man coach) Clifford Ray's work with Perkins has paid off. Perk was under control with his back to the basket in the post season. He developed three distinct moves in the post including a steady jump hook.

I think Perkins needs to improve his 10-15 foot jumper and get out on the break a little more. I think he is often found hanging in the backcourt in fast break situations. He misses out on easy dunk opportunities on the break.

Also, though he has improved greatly in this area, Perk needs to control his emotions and work on the amount of fouls he commits early in the game.


7. If you had to trade one of the big three who would it be and what would you look for in return?

The thought of trading any member of the big three is painful to me. If I was forced to it would be Ray Allen. The combination of his expiring contract and aging body would be the determining factory.

Ray's expiring contract is worth more then Ray himself to other teams so the players we would get in exchange is not sufficient for me to trade him.


8. I know that you have been a huge Celtics fan for a while. Describe your favorite moment in Celtics history. Also describe the worst.

Having primarily grown up during the "Larry Bird Era", it is fitting that my greatest memories are during that time period. So many moments still give me the chills and stir up the same emotions as they did 20 years ago.

I feel Bird showed his greatest character in adversity thus making my favorite Larry Bird moment one that occurred during his final seasons.

Though it's not a championship moment, the game that comes to mind is game 5 of the 1991 first round series versus the Pacers. Larry Bird was injured early in the second quarter and had to leave the game. He returned in the second half to lead his Celitcs to victory. The usually reserved legend displayed emotions that had not been seen since the Celtics championship seasons several seasons earlier.

Though the death of Reggie Lewis and Len Bias rate very close to the top of the my worst Celtics memories, I would have to say that Rick Pitino's "Larry Bird, Robert Parish and Kevin McHale are not walking thru that door" comments was a time when I actually shut the television off, unable to watch.

I didn't turn the TV off during the 2006 season so that just kind of tells you how bad the Pitino moment was.


9. I have talked to people that think KG's intensity is all fake. As a Celtics fan, answer those haters and talk about how hard KG works and how he plays with those emotions (even if those emotions sometimes get the best of him).

Since Garnett's high school days he has displayed the same emotional devotion towards the game. If KG was always an emotionless player and suddenly last season started chest pumping and fist waving I would say that this was an act. Quite the contrary, Garnett has always displayed such emotions. I feel currently, being in a major market and part of the 2008 championship team, Garnett gets more national T.V. coverage and his style of play is more pronounced and, at times, scrutinized.

Regarding Garnett's emotions getting the best of him, I believe, when traded, he brought positive emotion back to a team that was in desperate need of an emotional lift. I believe KG's emotion brings out the best in his teammates and fans.


10. Give you expectations for next season. How far do the C's get?

A lot of ifs still surround this Celtics team. As with most teams that are aging, injury is always a concern. I believe that if the big three can play 70+ games, no team can beat the Celtics. If a major injury is sustained to the big three we are looking at another second round exit.

I enjoyed chatting with you Alex. Thanks for the opportunity!

Thanks Nick and remember to check out Boston Celtics News Station!