Tag:Celtics
Posted on: September 28, 2009 8:24 am
Edited on: September 28, 2009 5:59 pm
 

NBA Southwest Division Preview - 2009/2010

The Southwest division has become the best division in the NBA. There seems to be a lot of rivalry games and tough competition mainly to due the fact that 3 of the teams are located in Texas (San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston). They've had four of their teams making the playoffs for the last couple years now, all four of those teams constantly flirting or reaching 50 wins in a season. The division is filled with some of the best players in the game with Duncan, Nowitzki, and Paul. For the last three years, at two of the top three seeds in the West have come from this division. The division is filled with legends like Timmy D, J-Kidd, and AI, but it also has young stars that will be among the best players in the NBA for years to come in CP3, Tony Longoria, and possible Mayo. There are also three MVP candidates (two of which have won the award before) in Paul, Dirk, and Duncan.

The division is always very competitive and only Memphis has been a team that doesn't contend in the playoffs.   There won't be a team that dominates this division because of much talent each team has and how competitive each team is. Following will be my analysis of this division and how I see each team turning out this season.

1. San Antonio Spurs

Since Duncan has been here, this team has always been among the best teams in the league, and has always been a contender for the title. Duncan is the kind of player that has the greatness to lead his team to victory no matter what the talent around him. However, he does have a good amount of talent around him and that just gives this team an even better chance at success.

Starting at the point we have Tony Parker , a.k.a. "Eva's husband." A Top 5 PG who is lightning quick and has improved his scoring each year. He is one of the best players at penetrating to the basket, and that proves very valuable to his team. Then you have the other guard in Manu Ginobili , a.k.a. "The Argentinean Flopper." He is one of the best shooters in the game and makes it harder on defenses with his ability to take it up with his left hand or right hand (being naturally left handed). He is a good team player that has won championships at both the NBA and Olympic level.

We move to the forwards with the newly acquired Richard Jefferson . He is a very gifted scorer that can shoot or penetrate the lane. However, he has been known as one of the weaker defenders in the league. Then we have the also newly acquired (damn Joe D, why didn't you resign him?) Antonio McDyess . An aging big man that can do whatever you need him to. He can hit that mid-range jumper, he can rebound, and he can play good post defense.

Then at center we go to "Mr. Fundamental" himself, Tim Duncan . Getting older now, but still one of the best big men in the game and guy who just knows how to win. To quote Ricky Bobby, "he wakes up in the morning and pisses excellence." He has the best post moves in the league on offense, and is still one of the best post defenders and shot blockers in the NBA.

They have very good, young bench players in George Hill , Roger Mason Jr. , and their rookie DeJuan Blair . I might be higher on most about Blair, but I think he was a huge steal in the 2nd round for the Spurs, and they've had a couple other 2nd round draft picks turn out very well (Parker and Ginobili). Not to mention that he'll have one of the greatest big men in NBA history teaching in Timmy D. The only concern about him seems to be his injuries in the past (but they were both in high school, not in college and didn't slow him down in college). They also have veteran big men defender Theo Ratliff , and veteran scorer Michael Finely to add some more depth off the bench.

My prediction: 57-25 (1st or 2nd seed in the West)

Timmy D doesn't have much time left to get another title before he retires, but this is probably the best chance he'll get. Parker is improving to the point where he can take over any game with his scoring and playmaking skills, Ginobili should be at full health this year, and the additions of Jefferson and McDyess should prove very valuable to this team. The only weakness I can see for this team is the loss of Bruce Bowen. He never contributed a lot in terms of offense or stats, but he was their best perimeter defenders and one of the best perimeter defenders in the league. Now that he has retired, they don't have any great perimeter defender to rely on. Ginobili can look good at times with his flopping, but that won't be enough when playing against some of the best perimeter players in the league.

I don't think that will keep them from being one of the best teams this year and making to the Western Conference Finals, but if they have to play the Lakers to go to the NBA Finals, there is no one to stop Kobe Bryant and that could prove costly. But Timmy D and the interior defense will really have to step it up if they want to make up for Kobe beating them on the perimeter. However, that interior defense has proved to be very valuable in the past and can get them to the Finals if it's at it's best with Duncan and McDyess. If they play the Lakers, I think it goes to 7 games without question and it's going to come down to Duncan and Kobe, who can will their team to victory. It's a toss up for me, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Spurs won or the Lakers won.

2. Dallas Mavericks

This is the team I will enjoying watching the most out of the West this year (of course I won't favor them over my Pistons though). They have two of my favorite players of this past decade, Kidd and Marion, who were teammates earlier in their careers for the Phoenix Suns and will now be teammates on the Mavs.

This is a team of aging veterans who have a small window of time for winning a title before their careers are over. However, they are still very good players that can contribute a lot to a successful team. Also, the amount of talent doesn't always equal the amount of success you have. A factor that comes into play in their advantage with these older veterans are, ironically, their age. With their age comes years of valuable NBA experience. They know how to play the game just as well as anyone, but it depends if their bodies can keep up with their brains.

We start with the floor general Jason Kidd . He's not the same player he use to be, but he's still among the best playmakers and passers in the game. Also, he's still one of the best defending PGs in the game as well. He knows how to run the team and is unselfish as they come, looking to find his teammates for open shots. Then we move to Josh Howard , the perimeter scoring threat. He has plenty of talent, but it's his attitude that hurts him at times. If he can keep his attitude in check and play team basketball, this guy can score very well and prove very valuable to this team.

At forward, the Mavs have newly acquired Shawn Marion . He has struggles the last two years, but that is due to him not being with a true PG. Other than the one year between Kidd leaving Phoenix and Steve Nash joining the Suns (with Stephon Marbury at PG), he's always had a true PG to play along side with him until he joined the Heat . However, he stepped up his game quite a bit after being traded to the Raptors last season (coincidence that he was playing with another true PG again in Jose Calderon ?). Marion is not a guy that can make plays for himself and be one of your main scoring threats. However, now with the Mavs he won't have to do that since they have Howard and Dirk. He can spread the defense with Kidd being able to find him for open shots, and he can use his athleticism to cut to the basket for easy buckets and alley oops being set up to him from Kidd. But this biggest value is his defense, which has not gotten worse regardless of his struggles. He is still a very good perimeter defender that can cover anyone from the 1 to the 4.

Of course we can't forget the team's best player, Dirk Nowitzki . Dirk is still one of the best scorers and most difficult players to defend because of his size and shooting abilities. With Marion being able to defend the team's best perimeter scorer and Dampier or the newly acquired Gooden being able to cover the post threat, Dirk will be able to focus more on offense this year than ever; which should provide some very good results (possibly MVP again?). Then their other post player will be either Erick Dampier or Drew Gooden . Dampier has become old, slow, and pretty much just a guy to clog the lane now. However, Gooden is still relatively young and could be valuable to them as a starter. He is not a great defender, but he's is not a bad one either. He's a very capable post defender and very good rebounder as well.

They also have possibly the best 6th man in the game in Jason Terry . "The Jet" should get lots of playing time again this season being able to fill in at either guard spot and provide lots of scoring. He will prove to be very valuable to this team coming off the bench, especially to give the old J-Kidd a breather and keep his legs fresh.

My prediction: 54-28 (3rd or 4th seed in the West)

I think the Mavs are going to have a very good season this year and will be a Top 4 seed. Marion should be able to find lots of success and chemistry with his former teammate in Kidd, and also contribute a lot of defense thus taking the pressure off Dirk and Howard that will allow them to score better and more efficiently. The only issue with this team of course is their post defense, and that should prove to be costly when going against the Lakers and Spurs who both have post-scoring threats.

I'll root for them to make a huge upset and somehow win the West, but I just don't seem the being able to overcome Duncan with the Spurs and Pau Gasol and Kobe with the Lakers. Who knows though, miracles can happen.

3. New Orleans Hornets

After CP3 had his breakout season in 07/08 leading his team the 2nd seed in the West and being the runner-up to the MVP Kobe Bryant, the Hornets were not able to repeat their success in 08/09 (although they still came within 1 game from having another 50 win season). However, Tyson Chandler missing 37 games seems to be at the root of their problems. After getting rid of Chandler this off-season, they replace him with athletic center in Okafor. The question is will he be able to provide a better center for them than Chandler> Well let's take a look

At the point they have the best PG in the game and one of the best players in the NBA in Chris Paul . He's become an amazing playmaker that can score, pass, and defend all at a high level. He is a very good leader at such a young age, and that can only improve with more experience. After losing last year's starting SG Rasual Butler , they will now have to turn to Morris Peterson to start. But we've seen his minutes drastically decrease each year since '06 so I expect him to share time with Devin Brown and even Posey at times here. Really doesn't matter who's there because Paul has the playmaking capabilities to get his players open shots.

At forward you have the 3pt specialist in Peja Stojakovic . He's as good as he was in his Kings days, but he's still a very good outside shooter that Paul can find on plenty of open shots. James Posey should see some time here as well as (seeing time at both wing positions) because of his valuable defense, outside shooting, and clutch play. Posey has contributed quite a bit to two previous NBA champions ('06 Heat and '08 Celtics ). At the other forward is David West . He has developed a very good chemistry with Paul, best two-man PNR game in the league, which provides the main source of offense for this Hornets team.

Then at center you have the newly acquired Emeka Okafor . He's not as tall as Chandler but he's younger, just as athletic, just good of a rebounder, and even better defender. We might not see the alley-oops like Paul did with Chandler so often, but he is solid post scorer and can do more in one-on-one situations instead of having to be set up by Paul every time (like Chandler did). He won't need to be a main post scoring threat for them with West, but mainly their post presence on defense. He's been among the league's best shot blockers and rebounders, and his post defense is very good as well. It may take him a little while to get some chemistry with Paul and his other teammates, but he can be just as valuable or even more valuable than Chandler was. Plus he's not an injury risk like Chandler has become since getting older.

My prediction: 50-32 (5th seed in the West)

A team led by Paul will always make the playoffs and no matter whom the other four players are he's going to be at the top of his game and win this team games. The system and style they run fits perfectly into his game, and he has players that compliment him very well. That's key for your best player to have all those things working for him. They only issue for this team is a lack of a perimeter scorer. They have Paul at point, they have West down low, but Peja is no longer that legitimate perimeter scoring threat that they can rely on. That's the only thing standing in the way of them making it to the WCFs and having a good shot at beating the Lakers or Spurs. However, they should still have plenty of success and get around the 5th seed in the West this year. I just don't see them as being a contender with the two favorites, but Paul has already shocked the world once in 07/08, so he could always shock the world again (and prove me wrong) and take his team to the WCFs and give either the Lakers or Spurs a run for their money.

4. Houston Rockets

After finding out Yao Ming will miss the entire year for 09/10 and T-Mac will likely be out until after the All Star Break, the Rockets are really going to have rely on their young players to step up and keep this team competitive and successful. The Rockets have had success before when Yao was out with an injury for extended time, and they've had success when T-Mac was out with an injury for extended time. However, they've never had to deal with them both being injured at the same time for this long. How will they fair this season because of it? Well.....

At the point they will have the young Aaron Brooks . He became a big scoring threat for the Rockets towards the end of the season and the playoffs last year, and he should only improve on that this year. To start out, Shane Battier should look to get the start at the other guard position until Tracy McGrady returns from his injury. He is still arguably the best perimeter defender in the game, and that is valuable to this team's success.

At forward is the newly acquired Trevor Ariza . Ariza is a good defender and good shooter with lots of athleticism who contributed to a title with the Lakers last season. However, with T-Mac out for the first half and Yao out for the year, he will look at to be their main scoring option. Can he take his game to another level and step up to fill that role? At the other forward is young big man Luis Scola . Scola is not athletically gifted nor does have any unique and special abilities. What makes him a good player is his hard work, hustle, and toughness that makes him successful. He works hard on the boards to get rebounds and he uses smart, precise moves in the post on offense to score. Like Ariza, he's going to have to step it up even more this year with the loss of Yao.

Now that Yao is out for the season and Mutombo has realized, what we all have known a couple years now, that he is to old to play anymore the Rockets had to scramble to find someone to play center for them. All they could find was David Anderson. Anderson was drafted by the Hawks in 2002 but has spent his career playing for Australian and Europe leagues. He's big and has size, but so was Shawn Bradley and that guy was horrible. I don't know much about this guy so I can't really say how good he will be for them, but I can tell you that he will not come close to filling Yao's shoes.

My prediction: 46-36 (8th seed in the West, or barely missing playoffs)

I think Brooks, Battier, Ariza, and Scola can keep this team from completely falling apart until T-Mac returns. When he returns, he will be rusty and still getting over that micro fracture surgery so he won't be at the top of his game. However, despite having injury problems every year the Rockets some how always find a way to make the playoffs. This year is a little different though with both their stars out until at least the All Star break. It all depends on how T-Mac heals from his surgery. If he is able to come back at 100% shortly after the All Star break, this team should be able to make the playoffs, but if he struggles to get healthy at all this season they could be barely missing out on the playoffs this year.

5. Memphis Grizzlies

When you have a team with lots of young talent in players like Mayo, Gay, Conley, Arthur, and the #2 overall pick in Thabeet what do you think the best acquisitions would be to make in the off-season? Would you get two notorious "me first" players in Randolph and Iverson? I know I wouldn't if I was the GM. However, a bigger concern for this team is their financial issues and the need to sell more tickets and merchandise. So from a business standpoint, it was something that had to be done regardless of what it does to your actual team.

However, I think AI has gotten a bad rap for being too much of a ball hog when frankly until he joined the Nuggets , he had no one else to do the scoring when he was on the 76ers . However, that has made it more difficult on him to fit into a different role than the one he has been use to his entire career. We seen last year with the Pistons that he couldn't fit into that team player/role player and not the star role. With the Grizzlies it should be different because they don't need him to be a set up guy and a role player; they need him to be one of their stars.

Allen Iverson will have to play the point position for the Grizzlies this year because of his size and the fact that they won't bench their star in the making in Mayo. Despite getting the reputation as a ball hog and selfish player, he is a very capable passer and playmaker. He has shown that with his assist numbers, and for anyone that has actually watched a lot of him you'd see he is able to penetrate the lane so well that defenses collapse on him and give other players open shots. I'm not saying he will be Jason Kidd or anything, but he's not going to be jacking up 30-40 shots and never passing the ball. He will draw the defense to himself and pass it to the open man if he can't find a shot for himself.

At the other guard is O.J. Mayo . Then 2nd year guard out of USC has shown he was worth the hype. He is a very good scorer who is a capable passer himself. He has a very bright future in the NBA, but he may see his numbers dip this year with AI and Randolph on the team now. At the other wing position is Rudy Gay . Gay is a very athletic forward who can score very well and loves to play above the rim. Like Mayo and the other young players on the team, his numbers might see a dip because of the scoring veteran additions, but that doesn't mean he is declining at all.

The newly acquired Zach Randolph should see most of his time at power forward for Memphis. I can see the Grizzlies rotating Gasol here at times to give their first round draft pick Thabeet more time at center. Randolph is a very good scorer and rebounder. He's a weak defender, but he doesn’t have many weaknesses outside of that as far as his talents are concerned. The problem with his is that he can become what is known as a "black hole" on offense. He will rarely give the ball back to his teammates after he gets the ball. He's going to put up good numbers, but that's going to affect the overall team negatively.

At center they have the young Marc Gasol , a.k.a. "The Other Gasol." He showed that he is a very good big man in the NBA and has benefited from his time overseas. He is not an athletic or physical gifted player, but he is a very fundamental player that knows how to play the game well. He has good post moves on offense, is capable rebounder and defender, and knows how to play team basketball. The problem is, not many other players on this team know how to play team basketball as well. Expect Hasheem Thabeet to steal some minutes from Gasol this year to provide rebounder and post defense off the bench. Thabeet has tons of talent and potential, and they won't let their No. 2 overall pick go to waste on the bench.

They also have two young talented players in Mike Conley and Darell Arthur who will most likely see limited playing time this year. Those players are young and need time to improve, but they might not get many chances this year to do that.

My prediction: 36-46

From a business standpoint, this team will have achieved it's goal of making more money than they have in the past with Iverson and Randolph putting up numbers, selling jersey and other merchandise, and winning this team a few more games. However, this will hurt their young players and not give them as much chances to improve and develop like they should be. So while the Grizzlies will be happy with this decision now, they will regret a few years down the road. They don't have a shot at making the playoffs, and I'd be surprised to see this team win 40 games.



So that's it for my preview of the Southwest division. Look out for the other 5 division previews on the blogs of other posters (Feanor, ignorepeter, HurricaneDij39, GoHornets21, and kmvenne)

Posted on: May 31, 2009 9:54 pm
 

Will history continue to repeat itself?

History tends to repeat itself a lot; not only in sports but in all of life. However, here we're only interested in the sports history. One such thing that has been consistent in NBA history is defense winning championships. Almost every time, one of the best defensive teams will win the championship. Now of course there are a few exceptions here and there, but you have to look at the overall picture. This, however, is not about defense in NBA history, but instead great big men winning championships. The majority of NBA championships have been won by teams who are lead by a great big man (almost always one who has very good defense, if not great defense). You can go all the way back to Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain to see that great big men have always been able to win championships with their great post play on both offense and defense (mainly defense though).

I only bring this up of course because of this year's NBA Finals matchup: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Orlando Magic . Now Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol are both very good big men, but neither one could come close to being consider one of the best big men in the game (on both ends of the court). Of course I am talking about Dwight Howard , who most would agree is the best big man in the NBA right now. Howard has proved very worthy of that title thus far leading his Magic to the 3rd seed in the East, being a Top 5 defense in the NBA, winning the DPOY (well deserved), and getting his team past the favorites, the Cleveland Cavaliers led by LeBron James . Without a shadow of a doubt he has been the main reason for what has got the Magic into this year's NBA Finals. Of course there are always very important role players for every great team, so Rashard Lewis , Hedo Turkoglu , Rafer Alston , Courtney Lee , Mickael Pietrus , etc. have all contributed to the team's success as well.

The last 10 years in the NBA has been dominated by big men - as far as championships go. Shaquille O'Neal has four NBA titles (2000, 2001, 2002, 2006), Tim Duncan has four titles (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007), Ben Wallace has a championship ((2004), and Kevin Garnett has a championships (2008). You can argue the Pistons were led by Chauncey Billups (but he couldn't get them one after Big Ben left) and Paul Pierce led the Celtics (although he couldn't get the Celtics one without KG), but regardless the last ten years of NBA champions have been dominated by big men (Shaq & Duncan combine for 8). Will Dwight Howard be next on the list of great big men to lead his team to a championship? Or will Kobe Bryant and the Lakers break the cycle?

There are some things to point toward a break in the dominance of big men. Howard is still very young and has never been in a situation like this before. Can he step up and rise above the pressure to prove he has what it takes at this young age to win his team a title? Kobe Bryant has contributed to three championships himself (although Shaq was with him too), and is the best player in the game. He has always been a great closer and clutch player that has gotten his teams deep into the playoffs almost every year. Phil Jackson is one of the all-time great coaches who knows them game just as good as anyone. Also, even when Shaq was young and first with the Magic, he led them to the only other Finals appearance for the Magic. He was swept 4-0 by the Rockets . However, they also had one of the best big men in the game with Hakeem Olajuwon (so Hakeem was just a better big man at that point in their careers).

There have been two all-time great players who have risen above dominate big men and led their team to championships: Larry Bird and Michael Jordan. Yes, both did have very good defensive big men who contributed to their teams' success, but it goes without saying that MJ and Bird were the ones who led the teams to the championships. Now Kobe has been an all time great player, but he is not in the class yet of MJ and Bird. However, if he can led his team this year and win a championships without any dominate big man (like Shaq), then I believe he could be entered into that group of the NBA's greatest wingmen (although it doesn't mean he is just as good or better). He might need to win another one to really solidify that, but I would be satisfied with just this year (but that's just me).

So this is definitely something to think about when watching this year's NBA Finals. Will we see history repeat itself again? Or will we see one of those exceptions when a great player rises above it? Will Dwight Howard be able to handle the pressure and be good enough to lead his team to the championship, or is he still too young and not enough developed offensive game? Can Kobe finally win a championship without Shaq and thus solidify his name on the list of the NBA's greatest wingmen? For me, I've always been a fan of defense and will always root for defense to come out on top. I'm a big Howard fan, but I also remain in a pact between Pistons and Lakers so I cannot officially root against the Lakers. I will be happy with who ever wins the championship this year to be honest, so I will just sit back and enjoy the NBA Finals while the rest of you argue over who is better and who will win. I just figured I'd give you all something more to add to your discussions.


Posted on: March 18, 2009 11:48 pm
 

NBA's Greatest Defenders in History

Here is my list of the Top 10 Greatest Defenders in NBA History:

 1) Bill Russell - This only needs one explanation: 11 championship rings. It was his defense that anchored every last one of those 11 titles he won with the Boston Celtics. They didn't keep track of blocks, steals, or even All NBA Defensive teams in his days, until the end of his career where he was on the very first NBA All Defensive First Team in history. He is the proof that defense is what wins championships, and he will always be remembered for that. He will go down as the greatest defender in history.

2) Hakeem Olajuwon
- "The Dream" was so good on offense that it made you forget how great his defense was. He was such a good offensive player that people tend to forget the best part of his game was his defense. He was the most athletic center in NBA history and used this too his advantage; most notably being one of only 4 players to record a quadruple-double. He is the 7th all time leader in steals, the highest of any center in history. His defense contributed to two titles for the Rockets. He won the DPOY twice, made 5 NBA All Defensive First teams, and is the only player in history to make the Top 10 in blocks, steals, rebounds, and scoring.

3) Ben Wallace - There has never been a better reason to "Fear the Fro" when Big B was anchoring the great Pistons defense. He made everyone fear coming into the lane and trying to score. He was small in height (6'7"-6'9" not counting the fro), but made up for it with his athleticism and leaping ability. He is probably the 2nd most athletic center in history behind the Dream. He made it to 6 All-NBA Defensive Teams, and won 4 DPOYs (should have been 5, he was robbed by Ron Artest), tied for the most in NBA history. His great defense allowed the Pistons to make 5 straight ECFs, 2 straight NBA Finals, and winning the NBA title in 2004. His defense presence made the Pistons D the best in the league (one of the best all time defense). He is the only player in NBA history to record 1,000 rebounds, 100 blocks, and 100 steals in 4 consecutive seasons. He is also the only player to be able to slow down the great Shaquille O'Neal on a regular basis. If you need proof: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWo-VA1mf6Y

4) Michael Jordan - MJ was not just one of the great scorers of all time; his defense is what made him into the greatest player of all time. We all see the highlights on ESPN of his great dunks, his flashy layups, his great jump shooting, etc., but what you never see is his great defense. For awhile, his haters tried to say he was only a scorer and not a good defender. What does his Airness do in response? Goes and wins the 1988 DPOY that's what. He has made 9 NBA All-Defensive Teams over his career. If you know you're history, the Bulls great defense was their main contribution to their 6 titles and you know MJ was their leader on D as well as on offense.

5) Tim Duncan - Timmy D is truly one of the best post players we've ever seen. His inside presence in the post is not only seen on offense, but on defense as well. He has anchored 4 championship teams now with the Spurs and his post defense is every much a part of it as anything. He doesn't have to put up the flashy defensive stats that many other good defenders do, but if you ever have seen the great defense the Spurs play you will see that it all comes down to Timmy's D. Without him down low, their defense wouldn't be special at all. He has made 11 All-Defensive Teams. The Big Fundamental is a perfect nickname for him because he is better at the fundamentals of basketball than anyone.

6) Dennis Rodman - The dude may have been crazy, possibly even needing to be institutionalized, off the court, but on the court he was one of the greatest defenders this league has ever seen. He started out on the great defensive Detroit Pistons "Bad Boys." He won both is DPOYs with them and helped them achieve two NBA titles with his great defense. He also won 3 titles with Chicago Bulls (along side MJ) playing a huge part in their strong defense. He became known over the entire league as a great defense player, and some even said he "could shut down any opposing player, from point guard to center." He wasn't very tall, but made up for that with athleticism, strength, and leaping ability. For his size, he is one of the best rebounders in history. He was able to average over 18 rpg in back to back season (91-92 to 92-93) as well as averaging over 17 rpg the following year. He finished with 13.1 rpg over his entire career which puts him in the Top 10 all time rebounders per average. He may have been a psycho, but he was a great NBA defensive psycho.

7) Kevin Garnett - KG is the perfect player you'd want to anchor your defense. This wasn't as evident when he was on the Timberwolves (although he was great with them as well), but became even more noticeable when he joined the Boston Celtics last year. Their defense went from an average (middle of the league) defense to the NBA's best defense in 2007-2008. He is such an athletic player that he can be everywhere in the paint playing help defense as well as stopping the toughest post threat for his opponents. His leadership is the key to his game because he is able to motivate and lead his teammates to play much better defense than they would without him. He has so much passion and love for this game, and uses that to motivate himself and his team on defense (as well as offense). He has made 5 All-NBA-Defensive Teams as well as winning his first and only DPOY last season.

8) Kareem Abul-Jabbar - Like Jordan, he is known for being one of the greatest scorers in history, but also like Mike his defense was just as important in helping his team succeed. His made his presence felt in the post on defense making it very hard for teams to get points at the rim. He knew how to use his size to his advantage by using his height and long arms to keep a hand in players’ faces and swat their shot if they dared going up against him. His defense was more noticeable when he was younger (with the Milwaukee Bucks), but he still maintained his great D for his entire career helping to be the anchor of 6 NBA titles. He made 11 NBA All-Defensive First Teams over his career.

9) David Robinson - The Admiral was truly a force to be reckoned with on defense. He was a dominating presence in the post making it very difficult for opposing teams to scoring in the paint. He was great at all aspects of defense: rebounding, blocking, stealing, post defense, etc. You name it, Robinson could do it all. His great defensive efforts won him 8 All-NBA-Defensive Teams, a DPOY, and 2 NBA championships. He wasn't flashy or super athletic, but he commanded respect in the post, and lead his team on defense.

10) Nate Thurmond - The famous "Wilt Stopper" was known throughout history as a great defender. Anyone that could stop the dominating force known as Wilt Chamberlain had to be great. He was tall and used his height advantage over many smaller players to become a great rebounder and defender. Again, most of his career he played in the times before blocks and steals so who knows how many of those he had, but later in his career they counted the stats and he averaged 2.1 bpg in his final 6 seasons. He never won championships or tons of awards (always being left as the odd guy out behind Russell and Wilt), but he was still a great defender that was able to do toe-to-toe with two of the greatest big men the NBA has ever seen.

Honorable Mention: Dikembe Mutombo, Alonzo Mourning, and Sidney Moncreif

Feel free to comment and even make your own list if you wish.

 

Posted on: March 13, 2009 11:33 pm
 

Allen Iverson Haters: Pay closer attention

Now this isn't just directed at Allen Iverson haters, but anyone that makes the assumption that the Pistons are better off without AI. You only hear people saying that because they either: a) have always hated him since his days on the 76ers and Nuggets, or b) don't pay close enough attention to the Pistons, or c) strong haters of the AI for Chauncey Billups trade, or d) all of the above. Everyone wants to keep saying "I told ya so" about the trade for AI, and the Pistons recent winning streak without him is their latest so called proof of this. Now I'm here to show you all that this is not only completely absurd, but complete ignorance to the fact that the Pistons went on a strong winning streak early in the season without another one of their important players. But how could that be? The media never told us about this?

Earlier in the season, not too long after Christmas Day, Richard Hamilton went down with an injury. The Pistons had to play an 8 game stretch without him, but to many people's surprise, they went 6-2 during those games. Now where does that look familiar? Why that's the exact same record the Pistons have right now without AI in this current 8 game stretch since he went down with his injury. Now I dare you to make the argument that the Pistons played tougher competition this time and played easier teams when Rip was out. Go ahead, you'll just make yourself look foolish. In fact, it's almost the exact same in each of the stretches. The Pistons have beat both the Magic and the Nuggets in both the stretch without Rip and the recent one without AI. Now you might say, "But they beat the Celtics this time!" Let me remind you they don't have their most important player and their cornerstone on defense in Kevin Garnett. If the Pistons played the Celtics when Rip was out, and KG was out then too, then the Pistons would have beat them then. Also, let's look at who the losses were against each time. Without Rip, the Pistons lost to the Trail Blazers and the Jazz (at Utah). Now those two teams are doing pretty well for themselves if I remember correctly. Now without AI, there two losses are from the Hawks and the Knicks. The Knicks are no where near the Blazers or Jazz, and the Hawks were on their bad streak when they beat the Pistons.

So continue to make the foolish assumption that the Pistons are better off without AI, but you're only saying that because you already have that instilled in your mind because of your hate/bias for Allen Iverson, or because the media has been feeding you this garbage and you can't think for yourself. The fact is, the Pistons are a team that knows how to play with great teammwork and defense, and they know how to continue to play at that high level and get wins even without some of their key players. So whether be AI, Rip, Tayshaun Prince, Rasheed Wallace, Antonio McDyess, Rodney Stuckey, or any other Pistons player, the Pistons can easily go on a good winning streak with any of them being injured. The Pistons have been very streaky this year, and that is not something you can blame on AI alone.

Morale of the story is: Things are not always as they appear.

Posted on: March 13, 2009 11:33 pm
This entry has been removed by the administrator.

Post Deleted by Administrator

This message has been removed by the administrator.

Posted on: January 6, 2009 7:20 am
 

Best Perimeter Defenders in the NBA

When talking about the great defenders in the league, people tend to think of the great post defenders like Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan, or they might even think about the great help defenders that put up good stats like Marcus Camby or Josh Smith. But the one group of defenders that seem to get the least love is the perimeter defenders. They are the ones that have to cover the best and most dangerous perimeter scorers in the league. They don't put up him great stats like some other defenders, but they always make their defense better by reducing scoring from the opposing team. I think it's about time they get some credit and respect, so I've decided to make my list of Top 10 best perimeter defenders in the league.

Top 10 Perimeter Defenders:


1. Shane Battier

One of the most underrated defenders in all of the NBA. Everyone recognizes him as a good defender, but not as a great one. However, his perimeter is definitely tops in the league and makes him of the Top 5 overall defenders in the entire NBA. He doesn't put up good numbers at all, but that doesn't mean he doesn't play good defense. Bruce Bowen does the same thing, but with dirty tactics, however he has gotten far more credit than Battier; there's something wrong with that. If Battier can do the same (or better) as Bowen without the dirty tactics, then how doesn't he get the same respect? Regardless of how underrated he is, that doesn't change the fact he slow down some of the NBA's best players out on the perimeter better than anyone.

2. Tayshaun Prince

The long armed Prince is a monster defender on the perimeter. Like a lot of other perimeter defenders, he doesn't put up a whole lot of good numbers (until this year), so people don't give him as much credit. He is a big part of the tough Pistons defense that has been so successful over the past few years. He usually has to cover the best perimeter scorer on the opposing team, and has done very well. He's played against Kobe, LeBron, Pierce, etc., and has had games where he slowed them down significantly. He uses his long arms and huge wingspan to block his opponents off from getting easy drives to the basket, and using those long arms to always have a hand in the shooter's face so they get no easy shots.

3. Kobe Bryant

Yes, Kobe can play some good defense and this is key for the Lakers. Not only does Kobe have to be the Laker's primary scorer, but he also has to be their best defender. To go along with scoring points for his team, he also has to prevent the opponent's best perimeter scorer from scoring as well. They don't put Kobe on the worst player either, he has to cover guys like Wade, Joe Johnson, etc. who are all good scorers. Kobe's incredible offense tends to overshadow his defense, but whether you notice it or not, Kobe is actually a very good defender (particularly out on the perimeter).

4. Paul Pierce

He is another guy that is more known for his offense than defense, but still has some very good perimeter defense. He has gotten more recognition for this lately because of how well he played on defense against Kobe in last year's NBA Finals. It may have some to do with Kevin Garnett's influence on defense, but Pierce has always been a good perimeter defender. He knows how to keep his man in front of him, and not get beat to the basket very often.

5. Ron Artest

Now Artest is an all around good defender, and if this were based on overall defense, he might be higher. However, this is only perimeter defense and that isn't his specialty (on ball defense is). He can still play very defense well on the perimeter though. He has tons of strength and uses his big body to stay in front his man, making it very difficult to get by from points in the paint. Artest might not been seen that highly because of his bad attitude in the past, but that doesn't change the fact that he is a very good defender. You can hate him all you want, but you can't deny he has great defense.

6. Caron Butler

Butler has always been a good perimeter defender, but no one knew about it until he started to become a better offensive player on the Wizards. He has the size, speed, and quickness which allow him to stay right with his man and make sure they don't get by him too easily. He is probably a better on ball defender than perimeter defender, but he still has some very good perimeter defense as well.

7. Ronnie Brewer

Probably the second most underrated defender (behind Battier). Like Battier and Prince, he doesn't put up high stat numbers that get him recognition. However, he is able to keep his man from doing a lot of scoring damage. He has tons of speed and athleticism which allow him to stay in front of his man. He has become a very important role player for the Jazz, and that role is slow down the opponent's most dangerous perimeter threat. He is still young and improving, so he could very easily rise higher on this list in a few years.

8. Shawn Marion

Marion, like Artest, is an all around good defender and perimeter defense is just part of his game. He is more of an on ball and help defender, but he can still play some very good perimeter defense. He is one of the most athletic players in the league and uses that to his advantage when playing defense. He may not be putting up the huge numbers he use to on the Suns, but he is still playing very good defense along side Wade which has been a big part of the Heat's success.

9. Andre Iguodala

Iggy is another one of those all around good defenders. He not particularly specialized at anything yet, but he can play any kind of defense very well. He uses his speed and athleticism to stay toe-to-toe with his man and never lets them get an easy shots off. He has kind of regressed this year for the 76ers, but he is still young and will improve (probably being higher on this list in a couple years as well).

10. James Posey

One of the best role players in the game knows how to play good defense. It's not luck that Posey has 2 rings now (from the Heat and Celtics) because he played a big part in both his team's success. Not only does he come off the bench for his 3 point shooting, but he comes in for his great perimeter defense. When they need him to, he will come in and cover the best perimeter scoring threat on the opposing team. He does very well at this, and has been huge for his team's defense and their success.

Honorable Mention (or 11th whatever suits you): Dwyane Wade



He has greatly improved his defense this year and he has the numbers (team stats not just individual stats) to prove it. The reason why I didn't put him on this list is because he's more of an on ball defender. He can cover the perimeter well, but he is more of an on ball defender. He is also a good help defender too, getting lots of steals and blocks to prove that.

Posted on: December 1, 2008 2:09 pm
 

A Familiar Feeling

For some reason this season feels very familiar to this Pistons fan; it's almost like deja vu. It's kind of like the Pistons traded for aging superstar early in the season before. It feels so familiar like the Pistons struggled at first before and then caught fire around the all star break. Wait, now I remember, that was back in 2004 when the Pistons traded for Rasheed Wallace. Didn't the Pistons win the title that year too? Wasn't that the last time when no one (outside of Detroit) believed in the Pistons and gave them no chance against the Lakers? Yes, now it all seems so clear to me.

Please everyone, don't start having faith in the Pistons. It's that type of thinking that has kept them out of the NBA Finals since 2005 against the Spurs. They are a blue collar team that strives off of the hate from everyone else. They can't perform well when everyone believes in the Pistons. They need everyone to doubt them and hate on them so the they can prove everyone wrong. The Pistons know they can win it all, but when they hear everyone else saying and believe in them, they get cocky and overconfident. They no longer have anything prove and work for because they are already seen as great.

The Pistons have been stuck in the ECFs for the last few years because they become too cocky, arrogant, and overconfident (most of which started with Chauncey Billups; not a shot at him but it's the truth). Since the Pistons won the title back in 2004 and went back into the NBA Finals in 2005 everyone believed in the Pistons and expected them to be one of the front runners for the title every year. However, they continued to disappoint us by losing in the Eastern Conference Finals year after year.

Up until now, the Pistons were seen as one of best teams in the East (Top 2) and one of the league (Top 5), but after the Allen Iverson trade people have lost their faith in the Pistons. After the Pistons haven't had too much success since and the Nuggets have with Billups, people are doubting the trade. After both beatings by the Celtics, people no longer believe the Pistons will be able to beat them in the playoffs if they were too meet. Most people will even say the Cavaliers are a better team (despite the Pistons beating them this year), and you might hear a few crazies saying the Magic are better too.

Now I for one love this. Don't get me wrong, I don't like it that the Pistons are losing, but I do enjoy everyone doubting them and not seeing them as such a great team anymore. This is the exact type of things the Pistons need to win the title this year. They need the media and the fans (not Pistons fans, but other NBA fans) to doubt them. That will give them something to work for, something to try to prove. That's the type of team the Pistons are; if they're not hungry enough for a title they won't win it, but if they are then watch out. Allen Iverson really helps with that too. He is an all time great player who is running out of time in his career. He has yet to win a ring, and is really hungry for one. It's just like Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen last year with the Celtics. Both are HoF players who wanted to win a ring before their career is over. It will be the same thing AI this year because he wants to add a championship ring to his list of great accomplishments over his career.

Mark my words: Around the all star break (February) the Pistons will start to click. AI will be fully worked into their offense and things will start to run smoothly. Their defense will be great (as usual) and they will continue to play their great style of teamwork. They will get hot all the way through the end of the season and go into the playoffs ready. They will take care of their first two opponents (in the first two rounds), and go into the ECFs. They will most likely face the Celtics who will give them a run for their money. But in the end, the Pistons will be hungry for another title and defeat the Celtics going on to the NBA Finals. And if they make the NBA Finals, I guarantee they win it all and bring a 4th title to Motown!

Now I'm not gonna lie, the money situation helps too. Even if the Pistons some how don't win the title, they will still have lots of option in 2010. Once AI's contract runs out, that leaves them tons of money to sign one (or two) of the numerous superstars who will be free agents in the summer of 2010. They also still have Rodney Stuckey, and anyone who has watched him play knows this guy is a future star. The Pistons will be able to start him within the next few years.

So in summary, haters can continue to hate because it can only be good for the Pistons. They will get things together and once again bring a title to Detroit. I can see the parade already.
Posted on: November 10, 2008 7:52 pm
 

Big B's Fav 5 Pistons

After watching 6 games so far, I thought I would talk about a few players that have impressed me so far. This doesn't necessarily mean these are my 5 favorite Pistons players, and certainly doesn't mean these are the 5 best players for the Pistons so far. These are just the 5 players I have been impressed with and I have enjoyed watching the most so far. To give a little catchy ring to it, I'll call it my "Fav 5." And just before anyone says something, no I'm not including Allen Iverson. He will be on this list by the end of the year, but he's only played 2 games so far, and hasn't had enough time to work into the offense very well yet. He's still learning how the offense works, and how he will fit into it. Don't worry haters, he will be great soon enough.

Don't worry, I haven't signed a deal with T-mobile. I would love to work with Dwyane Wade, but I can't work with Charles Barkley. It's just wouldn't work out. I feel for D-Wade, Kenny Smith, and anyone else that has to work with the Round Mound of Rebound.


Fav 5 Pistons players (so far):

1. Tayshaun Prince -

Prince has been the Pistons MVP so far, and there is no question about that. He is averaging 17.0 ppg 7.2 rpg 1.0 bpg 48.6% FG 64.3% 3pt 88.9% FT in 35.2 minutes per game so far this year. He has scored over 20 points twice now (27 against the Raptors and 23 against the Cetlics), and scored 19 twice (against the Pacers and Nets). He has only scored under 10 once so far this season (against the Wizards). He has had one double-double which came against the Nets (19 points and 11 rebounds).

He has shown that when the Pistons need him to, he can put up great numbers. In the past, he has just been their defensive specialist who can have great offensive games from time to time, but inconsistently. However this year (so far), he has maintained his defensive greatness, but is starting to become more consistent on offense. He might be having his break out year this year. Keep on eye on him.

2. Rasheed Wallace -

Even though he disappointed my last game against the Celtics (because he wouldn't play in the paint and only wanted to shoot outside), he has still done very well this season. He has 12.2 ppg 8.8 rpg 2.0 bpg 1.0 spg 40.0% FG 37.0% 3pt in 34.8 minutes per game. He has had 3 double-doubles so far. His best game came against the Wizards when he had 17 points 12 rebounds and 6 blocks.

He has always been good on both sides of the ball. Since he has joined the Pistons, his numbers have declined big time. However, that doesn't mean he was any worse. He has sacrificed his good stats to become a better team player. He is showing his age a little, and that has affected him on the offensive part. He hasn't been scoring well, and is trying to score only outside most of the time. He has had problems with this in the past, but it is even worse so far this season. However, he is playing very well on defense, and is rebounding very well.


3. Amir Johnson -

He has been doing very well in the starting role this year. He has 5.8 ppg 4.8 rpg 1.2 spg 1.0 bpg 59.3% FG in 18.7 minutes per game. He has been really great on defenses, causing lots of turnovers and rebounding well. He has gotten most of his points off of fast breaks, second chance points, and open shots (teams will leave him open thinking he can't hit the jumper). He hasn't been playing huge minutes so his numbers are nothing special, but for the time he has played they are very good. If he continues playing this well (or gets even better), he is doing exactly what the Pistons need him to.

4. Walter Herrmann -

He has been great coming off the bench for the Pistons. He has 6.3 ppg 3.0 rpg 50.0% FG 41.2% 3pt in 15.0 minutes. He hasn't had lots of minutes, but when he comes in he gives the Pistons good production. He plays hard on defense, rebounds well, and gets open for some shots on offense (love those flashy layups!). Considering his only played 15 min./game, I think his numbers are very good. Go Fabio!


5. Rodney Stuckey -

Stuckey has pickup right where he left off last season. Coming in off the bench and playing well at the point. He has 9.2 ppg 3.3 apg 40.4% FG 84.2% FT in 21.1 minutes. He's scoring well, and distributing the ball. I would like to see him play a little better defense, but he is learning quickly and will get in soon enough. Also, he is 100% from the 3-point line. Okay, so what if he's only 1-1, it's still 100%!

Honorable Mention:


Will Bynum -

He's only played 3 games after being activated, but he has been playing very well in those 3 games. He might not be a guy many people know, but he has been playing great for the Pistons. He has 9.3 ppg 2.7 apg 64.7% FG 50.0% 3pt in 17.0 minutes per game. As you can see, his numbers are very similar to Stuckey's, so he is doing very well as the Pistons 3rd string point guard. He can score very well, and has lots of speed. I'm keeping my eye on this guy because he's showed my some good things so far.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com