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Tag:Blake Griffin
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: February 5, 2012 10:56 am
 

Paul Millsap: I'll say it again.........

He's a Top 10 PF in the league and maybe a Top 5 PF by next year. Everyone called me crazy in the off-season threads for saying Millsap would be this good, but each game he plays he is proving me more and more right. People thought I was crazy for saying he's better than Carlos Boozer, but that's looking more and more spot on as each game is played. Paul Millsap started out the season almost splitting minutes exactly with Derrick Favors, but since he's started to get the majority of the minutes at PF, he's exploded into the player I've always said he's capable of being. He's been averaging nearly 20 ppg and 10 rpg over his last 13 games (19.7 ppg  10.6 rpg). Here is Millsap's numbers on the year: 

Millsap: 16.8 ppg (13.2 shots/game) 52.6% FG  78.9% FT  9.5 rpg (3.3 offensive) 1.9 apg  1.5 TO/game  1.5 spg  31.3 min/game


The most impressive thing is that he's doing this while sharing time and touches with 3 other big men in Al Jefferson, Derrick Favors, and Enes Kanter. Big Al is getting 33 min./game and taking 16.6 shots/game, and Favors is getting 20.8 min./game and taking 6.3 shots/game (Kanter gets 14.5 min./game and taking 4.1 shots/game). When you look at all the other top PFs in the game, they don't have share as much as Millsap has had to with their big men. For example: 

Dirk Nowitzki shares with Brendan Haywood and Lamar Odom. Haywood takes nothing away from Dirk on offense and Odom has had a down year where he's not doing a ton to take away from Dirk either. 

Kevin Love shares with Darko Milicic and Derrick Williams. Milic does very little outside of playing defense and Williams hasn't lived up to his hype yet. 

Blake Griffin shares with DeAndre Jordan and Reggie Evans. Jordan isn't usually an offensive threat and Evans is only playing 15 minutes a game this year

LaMarcus Aldridge shares with Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas. Camby might be the reason he doesn't average alot of rebounds, but neither takes away offense from Aldridge. 

Chris Bosh shares with Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem. Rebounds? Maybe, but they do nothing else to take away from Bosh.

Amar'e Stoudemire shares with Tyson Chandler and that's pretty much it. 

Carlos Boozer shares with Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson. Noah has had a down year, and Gibson is not doing nearly as well as he's down in previous years.


All of these top PFs, other than Dirk and Boozer, are getting alot more minutes and taking alot more shots per game/getting alot more overall touches. 

Dirk Nowitzki - 31.8 min./game 14.1 shots/game (19.5 ppg 6.9 rpg - Per 36 min.)
Kevin Love - 39 min./game 17.8 shots/game (22.9 ppg 12.5 rpg - Per 36 min.)
Blake Griffin - 36 min./game 16.5 shots/game (21.1 ppg 10.7 rpg - Per 36 min.)
LaMarcus Aldridge - 36.4 min./game 18.3 shots/game (22.8 ppg 8.6 rpg - Per 36 min.)
Chris Bosh - 36.2 min./game 14.8 shots/game (19.9 ppg 7.7 rpg - Per 36 min.)
Amar'e Stoudemire - 34.4 min./game 15.5 shots/game (19.1 ppg 8.5 rpg - Per 36 min.)
Carlos Boozer - 30.4 min./game  12.7 shots/game  (17.4 ppg 10.1 rpg - Per 36 min.)

Millsap averages 19.4 ppg and 10.9 rpg per 36 minutes, and as you can see, that's comparable with most of these guys (with Love the only one standing way out on stats). I don't think anyone can doubt anymore that Millsap is the real deal and is a Top 10 PF in the NBA. If he were the go-to guy like alot of these PFs, he could very well be putting up 20 and 10 + numbers and be getting alot more credit. I also think it's hilarious that I heard some people before the season saying Derrick Favors is a better big man and should start over Millsap. Not only was that laughable, but has looked like a very foolish statement to this point.

People seem to forget Millsap is only 26 years old and just in his 2nd year as starter for the Jazz. He could very well get even better than this and should be able to develop into the 20 ppg and 10 rpg player I said he was capable of way back in his 3rd year in the league.
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.


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