Tag:Al Horford
Posted on: May 20, 2012 9:36 pm
  •  
 

Top 10 Big Men Under 25 Years Old

The league has quite a bit of young big men, and even it's best one in Dwight Howard is still relatively young himself. However, I'd like to talk about the ones that still have plenty of room to grow and a chance to get even better and progress into something special. This list is the ten best post players in 25 years old, at least in my opinion. And just in case I didn't make it clear enough, this list is going forward and not based on just this season or past performances.


1. Kevin Love (4 years pro; 23 years old):

2011/2012: 26.0 ppg 13.3 rpg 2.0 apg 44.8% FG 37.2% 3pt FG 82.4% FT 39 min./game

Just a flat out amazing big man with a versatile arsenal of scoring as well as a great rebounder; only guy in the league that can challenge Dwight Howard in rebounds. Like most other power forwards, his defense is lacking and that doesn't look to be getting better. However, rebounding is a big part of defense so his dominance on the boards factors in and can't be ignored. He broke out in 2010/2011 season and took another leap forward this year. What's in store for next year? 30 and 15 perhaps?


2. Andrew Bynum (7 years pro; 24 years old):

18.7 ppg 11.8 rpg 1.4 apg 1.9 bpg 55.8% FG 69.2% FT 35.2 min./game

Drew has so much talent, but so small of a brain. He could be even better than Howard if he just quit pretending like he already is, and having serious attitude issues without showing signs of maturity. Still, despite being a man-child he can score in the post as well or better than anyone and can own the boards. If just puts a little more consistent effort on defense, he could top the list and possibly surpase Howard for best center in the league.


3. Blake Griffin (2 years pro; 23 years old):

2011/2012: 20.7 ppg 10.9 rpg 3.2 apg 54.9% FG 52.1% FT 36.2 min./game

Blake Show has become one of the most hated players in the league because of his consistent highlight dunks on ESPN and him making sure you knew he just dunked on you. Call it arrogance, hate him for his flopping, call him a punk, but none of it takes away the fact that he has already had two 20 ppg 10 rpg and 3 rpg seasons in the the FIRST TWO seasons of his career. He doesn't have a jumper, and doesn't have a bunch of post moves, but he still scores 20+ ppg on 50+ FG%. He's a strong rebounder on both ends of the court and uses his strong leaping abilities to give him an advantage against alot of players. The most impressive thing to me is his passing; he has averaged over 3.0 apg in his first two seasons and the only big men who I could find that averaged 3.0+ apg in their first two years were Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton. Yes, not even Tim DuncanKevin Garnett, Bill Russell, or any of the best passing bigs ever have achieved that feat. Not saying Griffin will be that good, but he's been very impressive so far in his young career.


4. Greg Monroe (2 years pro; 21 years old): 

2011/2012: 15.4 ppg 9.7 rpg 2.3 apg 1.3 spg 52.1% FG 73.9% FT 31.5 min./game

The Moose had his breakout year for the Pistons in his sophmore campaign. I've seen Monroe more than most, so I'm sure there isn't many as high on him as I am, but I think that will change in the next year or two. After watching him play as the starter for an entire year, I watched him display very strong post play with the ability to use mutliple different moves in the post to get the bucket, and as the year progressed his jumper did as well. He also showed the strong passing he was known for in college and was a versatile anchor for the Pistons. He has strong rebounding abilities and quick hands on defense, but does need to improve his help D and ability to protect the paint. I think he takes another jump next year and gets close to, if not reaching, 20 points 10 rebounds and 3 assists per game. Along with Brandon Knight, he will help lead this Pistons team back to glory!


5. Al Horford (5 years pro; 25 years old):

2010/2011: 15.3 ppg 9.3 rpg 3.5 apg 1.0 bpg 55.7% FG 79.8% FT 35.1 min./game

Despite getting hurt for most of this year on a freak injury, he still showed in the couple playoff games he played in that he's a strong post player especially on defense. He still has a well-rounded game that allows him to score, pass, and defend and a high level. I fully expect him to get back his regular form next season and remind everyone why he was talked about as a Top 5 center heading into this season.


6. Serge Ibaka (3 years pro; 22 years old):

9.1 ppg 7.5 rpg 3.7 bpg 53.5% FG 66.1% FT 27.2 min./game

Leading the league in blocks as well as giving the Thunder a defensive presence in the paint proved to be huge for his team this year that allowed them to nearly get the #1 seed in the West. He doesn't have a ton of offensive talent, but doesn't hurt them either on offense. His athleticism is just the beginning of makes him such a strong rebounder and shot blocker. It surprises me that he still plays under 30 minutes a game; hopefully he takes the next step next year and becomes an even bigger presence for the Thunder in the paint.


7. DeMarcus Cousins (2 years pro; 21 years old):

2011/2012: 18.1 ppg 11.0 rpg 1.6 apg 1.5 spg 1.2 bpg 44.8% FG 70.2% FT 30.5 min./game

It seems like he watched Bynum play and thought that was the standard way to act for a young, talented NBA big man. Everyone knew he had attitude problems coming into the league, but the also knew he had immense talent as well. So far, he's proven both to be very true. The problem is, which will end up coming out the most? His talent or his attitude? Hopefully he wisens up quicker than Bynum and focuses on improving his game. He's already a strong rebounder and pretty shot blocker, but like a young Howard and Bynum, he's been way too over-agressive on defense and gotten himself into consisten foul trouble. He led the league in fouls and fouls per game by quite a bit; not to mention he was 2nd in the league in technical fouls and first in disqualifications. And while scoring 18.1 ppg looks nice, the 44.8% FG makes it look a little worse.


8. Roy Hibbert (4 years pro; 25 years old):

2011/2012: 12.8 ppg 8.8 rpg 1.7 apg 2.0 bpg 49.7% FG 71.1% FT 29.8 min./game

He was able to help anchor the Pacers in the paint on defense get them into the playoffs as the 5th seed in the East. The Pacers had one of the league's tougher defenses this year, and it's quite obvious he's a big part of it. He's never going to be looked to do a lot of scoring, but standing at 7'2", all he needs to do is rebound and protect the paint and anything else is just gravy for the Pacers.


9. Kenneth Faried (1 year pro; 22 years old):

10.2 ppg 7.7 rpg 1.0 bpg 58.6% FG 66.5% FT 22.5 min./game

Coming out of college, everyone knew he could rebound (after breaking Tim Duncan's college record for most career rebounds in Division 1), but with concerns about the rest of his game he dropped to 22nd in the draft. Early on in the season, he didn't get alot of playing time with Nene anchor the Nuggets, but once he was traded Faried (and even shortly before when Nene and other bigs got injured) shown his talent. He was not just a strong rebounder, but also a good defender and shot blocker as well as showing the ability to use his athleticism and hustle to get points in the paint. 


10. Bismack Biyombo (1 year pro; 19 years old):

5.2 ppg 5.8 rpg 1.8 bpg 46.4% FG 48.3% FT 23.1 min./game

Yes, another one of my personal favorites, Biyombo did not have the kind of season I expected him to. Then again, I should have known not to trust the Bobcats to be smart and them having the worst season ever speaks for itself. However, despite the Bobcats being horrible, Biyombo's strong rookie season kind of gets lost in the shuffle. Early in the season, he rarely got any playing time. Despite that, he still averaged nearly 1.8 blocks per game on the year which put him in the Top 10 in blocks for his rookie year; only Serge Ibaka had more blocks per 36 minutes than Biyombo this season. Also, as he began to get playing time increased, he started to show his strong rebound as well and even added 5 double-doubles. I watched him a few games and he definitely has some strong defense and rebounding abilities; once he gets more playing time he will breakout and make believers out of more people than myself.


Honorable Mention: 

JaVale McGee (4 years pro; 24 years old):

2011/2012: 11.3 ppg 7.8 rpg 2.2 bpg 55.6% FG 46.1% FT 25.2 min./game

Everyone expected McGee to improve on his breakout year last year, and while starting well McGee faded towards the All-Star break as well as after it. Then he switched teams and was traded to the Nuggets in the Nene deal. He lost playing time and didn't have the kind of season people expected. Still, he's very young and has strong shot blocking and rebounding skills with loads of athleticism. Hopefully, he can earn a starting role with the Nuggets next year and fit in with their young team going forward.


Well that's my list. Feel free to make your own, discuss, and somehow find away to bring in LeBron James or Kobe Bryant!
Posted on: January 18, 2011 10:14 pm
 

Blake Griffin - The Art of Passing

Blake Griffin missed his entire first year out with injury and many were already calling him a bust. He then began his rookie year a season late in this current 2010/2011 NBA season. He began to turn some heads with his play. Now of course ESPN was all over him the minute he started throwing down highlight dunks, but alot of knowledeable NBA fans still weren't impressed. Then Griffin started owning the boards and has got himself on a 27 game streak of straight double-doubles. It began to peak the interest, but still wasn't enough. After Blake Griffin's monster game where he dropped 47 points against the Pacers , there has been quite a bit of buzz about how good this guy actual is. With a couple impressive wins and big games against the like of the Heat and Lakers , that helps draw more attention to this guy.

Now you see people mentioning him as possibly already one of the best NBA players already, or at least for the future. Everyone is mesmerized by his high flying style, his big time numbers for a rookie (only 7th rookie to average 21 ppg and 12 rpg if he keeps up his numbers), being able to show up in big games against some of the NBA's top teams, and putting up the highest scoring game of any NBA player so far this season. However, while even this doesn't impress some die-hard NBA fans, I think I have something that would even impress them. The thing that is the most impressive about Griffin and the thing that will be the most important ability throughout his NBA career and could definie his future as an NBA superstar is his passing ability.

I know, he's a big man and you wouldn't expect alot of passing out of a big man, especially in today's game. What's even more unlikely that it's coming from such a young player when most of them seem more interested in the flash of the game and not the true fundamentals. Nonetheless, Griffin is already amoung the best passing big men in the NBA right now and could be on his way to being one of the best passing big men in NBA history. That can only mean very good things for his future in the NBA. Right now Griffin is averaging 3.4 assists per game and is currently 3rd in the league in assists for big men (1st is Pau Gasol at 3.9 apg and 2nd is Al Horford at 3.5 apg) .

To put things in perspective, let's take a look at some of the best passing big men of all time. First let's look at Pau Gasol himself:

Pau Gasol - In his rookie year he averaged 2.7 apg, his career high is 4.6 apg, and his career average is 3.2 apg. Gasol has now been a big part of the Lakers recent back to back NBA titles.

Tim Duncan - In his rookie year he averaged 2.7 apg, had a career high of 3.9 apg, and has a career average of 3.2 apg. Duncan has won 2 NBA MVPs, 4 NBA Titles, and 3 NBA Finals MVPs

Karl Malone - In his rookie year he averaged 2.9 apg, had a career high of 4.7 apg, and has a career average of 3.6 apg. Karl Malone won 2 NBA MVPs and went on to be one of the greatest scoring big men in NBA history.

Wilt Chamberlain - In his rookie season he averaged 2.3 apg, had a career high of 8.6 apg, and a career average of 4.4 apg. Of course we all know how Wilt became one of the most dominant NBA players of all time, won 2 NBA titles, 4 NBA MVPs, and a Finals MVP.

Wes unseld - In his rookie season he averaged 2.6 apg, had a career high of 5.2 apg, and a career average of 3.9 apg. Unseld was one of the strongest NBA players of all time and definitely one of it's best rebounders. He has won an NBA title, NBA MVP, and an NBA Finals MVP.

Bill Russell - In his rookie season he averaged 1.8 apg, had a career high of 5.8 apg, and had a career average of 4.3 apg. Russell is seen as one of the greatest players ever and most definitely the greatest leader of a team ever by leading the Celtics to 11 NBA championships in his 13 seasons in the NBA. He also added 5 NBA MVPs just for fun.

Kevin Garnett - In his 1st starting season he averaged 3.1 apg, had a career high of 6.0 apg, and a career average of 4.1 apg. KG proved to be one of the game's most passionate players in it's history and was an all time great defender (finally winning a DPOY a couple years ago), was an NBA MVP, and recently won an NBA title.

Chris Webber - In his rookie season he averaged 3.6 apg, had a career high of 5.4 apg, and a career average of 4.2 apg. Webber is easily seen as one of the best passing big men of all time and was one of the NBA's best players in his days. He was a David Stern Game 7 in 2002 away from getting a chance to win an NBA title.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - In his rookie season he averaged 4.1 apg, had a career high of 5.4 apg, and a career average of 3.6 apg. Kareem went on to win 6 NBA titles, 6 NBA MVPs, and 2 NBA Finals MVPs. He is seen as one of the greatest big men and NBA players in it's history and its the only one to ever star in a Bruce Lee movie (suck it DJ Mbenga!)

Bill Walton - In his rookie season he averaged 4.8 apg, had a career high of 5.0 apg, and a career average of 3.4 apg. His NBA career was shortened due to his awesome red beard weighing down his legs enough to give him injury problems for the rest of his career, but in his limited time as a star he did manage to win an NBA title, MVP, and Finals MVP.


So in short, only 3 players have ever had a rookie season with higher assists per game averages (Webber, Kareem, and Walton) . Those 3 along with everyone else on the list of the NBA's best big men all went on to have a lot of success in the NBA, most of them being amoung some of the best NBA big men of all time. The passing game from a big man has proven to be a big part of their success and key to leading their teams to victory and success. If Blake Griffin can continue his strong passing game and improve upon as many of these great big men have done in NBA history, Griffin could be on track to becoming a great NBa player one day.


Posted on: October 10, 2008 8:39 pm
 

2008-2009 Southeast Division Preview

I feel that the Southeast Division will be one of the most competitive divisions, if not the most competitive, out of all the divisions this year. They may not be the best division, but all the teams will be fighting each other this year and there will be no team that just dominates the division. I think all teams will be within a few games of each, and they will be battling each other all season long. Most of the teams have improved this off season, and look to do some damage in the playoffs this year.

The Orlando Magic, led by Dwight Howard, look to get into the playoffs again this year and make it even deeper into them this time. The Miami Heat have their star player, Dwyane Wade, back healthy again along with new teammate Shawn Marion and 2nd overall pick Michael Beasley. They look to get back into the playoffs after finishing with the worst record last season. The Wizards are again with out Gilbert "Agent Zero" Arenas until December, but their star players, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison, look to keep them in the playoff race. Last year's surprise team, Atlanta Hawks, look to prove that taking the defending champion Celtics to 7 games wasn't a fluke. The Charlotte Bobcats, led by new coach Larry Brown, look to finally have a good season in their 5th year as an expansion team.

It should be a good race in the division this year, and here is how I see things turning out:

1. (4) Orlando Magic (50-32)

As long as Dwight Howard continues to anchor this team, they will be a higher seed in the playoffs. Howard is just a monster in the paint on both offense and defense. He is probably the most athletic big man (only rivaled by Amare Stoudemire and Kevin Garnett), and knows how to use it to his advantage. He will definitely be in the running for MVP this year, and should continue to improve his game and solidify himself as the league's best center.

They also have talented forwards Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis to contribute as well as young point guard Jameer Nelson, who I believe will make a big improvement in his game this year and become a reliable and solid PG. Now these guys have to step up on defense for the Magic. They can all be great on offense, but their defense wasn't too great last year. Howard is a great defensive player, but he is only one player and can't stop everyone.

Adding guard/forward Mickael Pietrus this off season to be their possible new starting shooting guard was good for them. He can contribute on offense with his athleticism and quickness to finish in the lane, and is solid defense (good rebounder) as well.

The Magic make it into the playoffs as the 4th seed (behind Philly in record even though they win their division) by getting 50 wins again this season. Their run in the playoffs all depends on who they draw in the first round. If they matchup like I think they will (with the Heat) they could see them selves out early in a first round upset. However if they draw an easier opponent, and make it to the 2nd round again they could go deeper. They will most likely have to play the Pistons or Celtics, but if they can build momentum in the first round, they could pull of an upset themselves in the 2nd round and make it to the ECFs or even farther (NBA Finals).

2. (6) Miami Heat (46-36)

Dwyane Wade is back and healthy again. Yes, I do believe he will stay healthy all season long finally, and get the Heat back to the playoff instead of being at the bottom the whole conference. Wade will have a fantastic year, and must if they Heat want to make the playoffs. I believe he will have a great year, in fact the best year of his career which should win him the MVP this year.

Rookie forward Michael Beasley should be able to produce very well for the Heat as well. His athleticism should come in handy for Heat by using him at both forward spots and being able to have play down in low post or up in the high post as well. I think we will contribute to his team better than any rookie other than Greg Oden this year.

Now let's not forget about Shawn Marion. This guy has not gotten enough credit, which is why he left the Suns. He deserved just as much or even more credit than Steve Nash for making that team so good. He is one of the most athletic players in the league, if not they most athletic. He can cut through the lane in the half court or fast break looking for the alley oop dunk. He can slash the lane and finish at the basket as well. Not to mention, he is a great offensive rebounder getting lots of 2nd chance points for his team. Then comes the biggest part of his game: his defense. He can guard the shooting guard, small forward or even power forward and do a good job at it. He is so versatile of a defender; he can impact a defense so much (was the only thing that kept the Suns from giving up 120 points every game). He be huge for the Heat on defense, and in the fast break on offense.

They have 3 guys that will compete for time at the beginning of the year for point guard. They have Marcus Banks, Chris Quinn, and rookie Mario Chalmers. They also recently signed Shaun Livingston Now Livingston won't get a lot of time off the bat, but once he begins to get back into the flow of things, as long as he can stay healthy (that's the key), he can be great for the Heat. They also have good role players off the bench in Udonis Haslem (good rebound and defender), James Jones, and Dorell Wright.

Their biggest weakness is their center spot. Right now their best center is Mark Blount with Jamaal Magloire backing him up. Now Blount showed last year, after Shaq was traded, that he can contribute a little. He won't be able to compete with top centers like Dwight Howard though, and that's what will keep the Heat from winning their division.

Now they could win their first round matchup depending on who they draw. Wade has shown he is a great player in the clutch, and steps up his game during the playoffs. He could lead the Heat to a first round upset victory, but making it to conference finals don't look to good for them this year. They need to get a better center, and then they will be back to being a contending team in the East.

3. (7) Washington Wizards (44-38)

The Wizards always find their way into the playoffs. They have their star point guard, Gilbert Arenas, out until December again, but that proved not to be a problem for them last year. In fact, they even played a little better for awhile will Agent Zero was out. Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison stepped big time and both had great season. I see them doing that again this, and they must if the Wizards want to make the playoffs. Both guys can contribute on offense. Jamison can help on defense with his rebounding, and Butler has turned into a great defender which is huge for the Wizards.

They guy that has to step up again for them is Antonio Daniels. He is the starting point guard with Arenas hurt. Last year he stepped up very well in Arenas's absence. He showed that he can run the team at the point and keep their team running smoothly. He needs to do this again to keep the Wizards in the playoff hunt.

The other starters, DeShawn Stevenson and Etan Thomas, have to do their jobs and Stevenson needs to learn to keep his temper and attitude under control (the opposite of how he acted in the playoffs against the Cavaliers). Stevenson needs to give them the scoring and outside shooting, and Thomas needs fill in for the injured Brendan Haywood by rebound and play some defense. They have their role players off the bench as well in Andray Blatche, Juan Dixon, and Darius Songaila.

I don't expect the Wizards to go anywhere in the playoffs this year. They will most likely draw a higher seed and face one of the tougher teams like the Celtics, Pistons, 76ers, or Magic. Agent Zero will be back then, and any team he is on doesn't have a very good chance with his selfish play. Even without him though, they just can't beat those top teams.

4. Atlanta Hawks (40-42)

The Hawks were a great surprise last year by making the playoffs at the 8th seed and taking the defending champion Celtics to 7 games. After trading for point guard Mike Bibby, the team seemed finally set for success. Even rookie Al Horford stepped up big for them last year.

Their key players this season will again be Joe Johnson and Josh Smith. Johnson is one of the league's best shooting guards and one of the best scorers. He is one of the team's veteran leaders and has done a very good job in that role. He needs to do just as good or better this season for the Hawks if they want any chance at making the playoffs again.

There best player however this year will be Josh Smith. He is an extremely athletic player and has talent on both offense and defense. However, his attitude has been the only thing holding him back from becoming a start player in the league. He drives too wildly in the lane and doesn't have a good shot (basically is only good for dunks and alley oops). However his great rebounding can get him some 2nd second chance points sometimes. His defensive however, I think we will be huge this year. He not only will be a terrific shot blocker and get steals with his quick hands, but he will learn to stay in front of his man and be a good on ball defender as well. He will be able to guard the opponents’ best scorer, and be a great on help defense. I believe he will be finally become a great defensive player this year and possibly win the Defensive Player of the Year award.

The real key to their success however will be Al Horford and Mike Bibby, or there point guard and center. Bibby can bring that veteran leadership and lead the team. He should be even better this year now that he has been with them longer and gotten some chemistry with his teammates. Horford needs to have an even better season than his rookie season. He can't have a sophomore slump, and needs to keep improving so he can anchor the Hawks' down low on offense and defense.

Unfortunately for the Hawks, I don't think they can make the playoffs. Even though they will technically have more wins than last year (I believe), they will miss the playoffs due to the other teams in the East improving a lot more than they have. However, they could surprise me and barely make it again at the 8th seed, but I just don't think it will happen.

5. Charlotte Bobcats (38-44)

The Bobcats should improve a lot this year with new coach Larry Brown. This team has had lots of talent, but couldn't figure out how to play as a team. Now, one of the NBA's best coaches will be able to get them to do that. Seeing as how this team has some young talented defenders, and that's Brown's specialty, it should work out well for them.

Raymond Felton, Gerald Wallace, and Emeka Okafor are all great defenders and that's music to Brown's ears. If he can get all those good defenders to play good team defense, he can have success with the Bobcats. However, they key will be getting them to play together.

They also have their veteran leader in Jason Richardson. Richardson has proved to be a great scorer them, and their biggest contributor on offense. Wallace has also turned into a good offensively player as well, but he tends to be too reckless and gets himself injured. He needs to keep himself healthy if he wants to help the Bobcats be a competitive team in the division and conference.

Their biggest weaknesses are at center and point guard. Felton is a good defensive point guard, but hasn't done a good job of leading the team at the point and distributing the ball. He also needs to improve his shooting percentages as well (41.3% field goal shooting and 28.0% 3pt field goal shooting last year). Nazr Mohammed is a solid center, but shouldn't be a starter. He can be a good role player off the bench, but wouldn't be good enough to start on most other teams. This is the biggest problem for the Bobcats; their biggest weaknesses are two important positions for team's to have success. That will be what holds them back this year.

Brown will improve them this year, but not enough to make the playoffs yet. They still need a better point guard and center, and I don't think Brown will be able to get them to play as team as much as they need to right off the bat. Now as long as he stays there and works with them, they could be a playoff team in a year or two.
Posted on: March 24, 2008 10:58 am
 

2008 NBA Awards Predictions

Well we only have a couple more weeks to go, so I say it's time to start up awards talks again. Here are the awards and the players/coaches up for contention:

MVP:

Kobe Bryant
LeBron James
Chris Paul
Dwight Howard

DPOY:

Marcus Camby
Josh Smith
Dwight Howard
Shawn Marion

ROY:

Kevin Durant
Al Horford
Jamario Moon
Luis Scola

6th Man:

Manu Ginobili
Ben Gordon
Jason Maxiell
John Salmons

MIP:

Hedo Turkoglu
Jose Calderon
Chris Kaman
Beno Udrih

COY:

Byron Scott
Stan Van Gundy
Doc Rivers
Phil Jackson

My Picks:

MVP- Kobe Bryant  player photo

DPOY- Marcus Camby player photo

ROY- Kevin Durant player photo

6th Man- Manu Ginobili player photo

MIP- Hedo Turkoglu player photo

COY- Byron Scott

Also, I'll throw in the All NBA Teams (first teams only):

All NBA First Team

PG Chris Paul
SG Kobe Bryant
SF LeBron James
PF Kevin Garnett
C  Dwight Howard

All Defensive First Team

PG Chris Paul
SG Kobe Bryant
SF Josh Smith
PF Shawn Marion
C  Marcus Camby

All Rookie First Team

PG Mike Conley
SG Kevin Durant
SF Jamario Moon
PF Luis Scola
C  Al Horford

There's my predictions, so who do you got?

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com