Tag:Manu Ginobili
Posted on: October 13, 2009 9:15 pm
 

DeJuan Blair: The Next Spurs Star?

I know what you're thinking: "Blair? Seriously? This guy was drafted in the second round of the draft for a reason." However, maybe we should take a closer look before completely dismissing this guy just because he dropped to the 2nd round, is undersized (in terms of height), and has had "injury problems" (I put that in quotations for a reason).

Let's start with his so called "injury problems." Everyone's first response to dismiss Blair is his previous injury past with him tearing both ACLs in high school and having them both surgically repaired. However, that was back in high school and he played two full season for Pittsburgh in college and did very well (winning the Big East Player of the Year last year and getting Pitt a #1 seed in the NCCA tourney). Now sure, he could possibly having some problems 5-10 years down the road but why judge him before you see him play? Just because he might have injury problems as he gets older doesn't mean he can't have a successful start to his NBA career does it?

Now to him being under-sized. I hate this term because people only use it in terms of height. Now in basketball, height is important and can be very helpful in making a player better. However, shouldn't the word "size" also include a player's weight? Blair may only be 6'7", but he is a strong 265 lbs. Much like other big but short players in NBA history who turned out to be very good (Ben Wallace, Charles Barkley, Wes Unseld, etc.) he knows how to use his body and strength to his advantage and make up for his lack of height. He was one of the best rebounders in college and has already proven he is could be a good rebounder in the NBA as well (19 rebounds in 22 min. in his first preseason game).

The most important thing that should influence how he turns out as a player is the team he was drafted for: the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs have a history lately of getting players late in the draft and turning them into stars. First it was Manu Ginobili in 1999 as the 57th overall pick in the draft (2nd to last pick in draft). Since Manu is now considered by most as one of the best SGs in the NBA (most would say at least Top 10 and some would even say Top 5). Then there was Tony Parker who was drafted in 2001 as the 28th overall pick in the draft (last pick of 1st round). He is now considered one of the best PGs in the league (most would say Top 5). Now we have Blair who was drafted as the 37th overall pick pick in the 2009 draft (7th pick in the 2nd round). So will we be seeing Blair as star in the next few years to come?

Blair won't be starting this year, but he will get to play behind one of the greatest big men in all of NBA history: Tim Duncan. Right now Blair has a lot of talent and is a very explosive player, but like most rookies (and other NBA players) he could learn more about the fundamentals of the game. What better than to learn from Mr. Fundamental himself. Blair said right after he was drafted to the Spurs that he would stick himself close to Duncan so he could learn as much as possible from him. Learning and playing without one of the best can only make you a better player.

I'm a fan of the NBA and I'm also somewhat of a history buff, so I like to look at things in the history of the NBA that tends to repeat itself. One thing is there is always a sleeper late in every draft, no matter which one you look at. Now the Spurs have had 2 of them this decade, so would another one be so crazy to think about happening? I'm not guaranteeing Blair will be a star or claiming he will be the next great big men for the Spurs (David Robinson, then Tim Duncan, then......), but I'm saying that he is definitely a big sleeper and could turn out a lot better than most expect. No, I don't expect him to put up eye popping numbers this year or win ROTY, but I do expect him to contribute well off the bench to spell Timmy D, Antonio McDyess, and the veteran big men. Then maybe a few years down the road, he might be something special. However, if Timmy D retired soon maybe all is lost for the Spurs; maybe the only reason Parker and Ginobili turned out so well was because of Duncan. Who knows, but I guess we'll find out soon enough.


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: February 3, 2009 7:39 am
Edited on: February 3, 2009 7:42 am
 

Don't Stop Believing..............

..................... in the Pistons (Pistons fans). This is mainly addressed to Pistons fans because in all honestly, I could careless what the rest of the league thinks. In fact, the Pistons have shown in the past they do better when they are the underdog and don't have a lot of people supporting them. So I doubt I will change any minds of other fans that have completely given up on the Pistons (and I don't intend to), but I just want to make sure my fellow Detroit fans keep the faith and don't lose hope.

The first thing to remember is we haven't even made it to the All Star break yet. The Pistons always play better in the 2nd half of the year, and in their most successful seasons (i.e. the 2004 championship season) they catch fire shortly after the All Star break and carry that into the playoffs. The Pistons can still get things together and star clicking after they have time to figure things out during the break. It's not like the Pistons are a below .500 team struggling for a playoff spot. They will make the playoffs, but the only thing that is questionable is what seed they will get. It doesn't matter if the Cavaliers do win the division because back 2004, the Pacers finished ahead of the Pistons to win the division, yet Detroit still went on to win the championship.

The next thing to consider is look closely and compare this year to the 2004 championship season. They go out and make a trade for a superstar player, they start out slow and everyone doubts them (and continues to do so all the way until they win the championship), a little while after the All Star break they catch fire and finish the season strong, and they carry their success all the way through the playoffs and win the championship against a team no one thought could be beat. Ever since then things have changed; everyone started supporting the Pistons and putting them amongst the contenders every year. The only problem was they couldn't seem to get past the ECFs (other than the following year in 2005). This was because they had gotten overconfident and didn't have that same "hunger" factor as they did in 2004.

This year, they made the trade for Allen Iverson , and while they might be doing better right now with Chauncey Billups , they would still fall short with him again in the playoffs. Billups is still one of the best PGs in the game (IMO 2nd behind Chris Paul ) and he contributed just as much (or more) as everyone else to our success and in helping us win the championship (he deserved that Finals MVP). But he, along with the rest of the team, and had gotten arrogant, cocky, and overly confident and felt that they had enough talent and skill that they could take games off and relax and only play when they needed to. He had lost his hunger to win another championship, and that in turn rubbed off on the entire team. I'm not saying it was his fault entirely, because Rasheed Wallace and the rest of the team had a lot to do with as well (also losing Larry Brown didn't help any either).

AI is one of the league's oldest veterans and an all time great player. His years are numbered now and he doesn't have much time left. He has had so much individual success and accomplishments throughout his career, but has yet to win the ultimate prize: a title. You can say he isn't a team player and is a cancer, but he wants to win just as bad as anyone. He hasn't been on any great teams (Carmelo Anthony is not a complimenting player for him) and every team he has joined has gotten better with him. He wants to win a championship, and has that "hunger" factor in him. He has shown that he is willing to sacrifice his high stats in order for the team to play better. I'm sure if Curry had the guts to bench him and make him their 6th man (but still get big minutes like the Spurs would do with Manu Ginobili ) he would have accepted his role if it would help the team have more success. He is still one of the league's best scorers, he can pass very well, and has been making an effort on defense (though his size will always work against him).

Curry is only in his first year as head coach (not just with the Pistons, but first head coach job in his career; he's a rookie), and he still has lots to learn. However, I can tell just by listening to his comments and post game reports that he is trying his best to make the team have more success. Now we can't expect him to be the next Red Auerbach in his first year of head coaching, so it's not like he's going to make all the right moves right off the bat. I have faith that during the break, he'll be able to sit back and evaluate things and make better decisions on what to do. He will realize that he needs to get the team to focus more on defense and playing the whole through. He needs to find the right rotation that works, and use it for the rest of the season. He needs to start running more plays for Stuckey and let him get to the hoop like we know he can do so well. He even needs to consider benching AI instead of Richard Hamilton (because Rip works better with the starters and AI would be huge off the bench).

The one thing that needs to be done, that I'm not so sure is possible, is to get Rasheed to stop jacking up so many 3 point shots. No Pistons coach has been able to do this since Larry Brown, and it has been a major problem for Detroit. He is a great post player, and without him the Pistons don't have any inside presence on offense. Sure AI, Stuckey, and Prince can get to the rim but they don't have any post player who can score inside without Sheed. That's why teams can just sit back and pack the paint preventing the drives and turning us into a jump shooting team (which we are not). When he's hot he's unstoppable, but when he's cold he's terrible. Curry needs to man up and realize he runs this team, and not the players. He needs to stand up to Sheed and tell him to get back down in the paint where he belongs. I have no problem with him shooting about 5 shots per game from outside (maybe a little more if he's shooting well that game) because it helps stretch the defense, but shooting 10+ and leading the league in 3pt attempts is not something we want from Sheed. I don't know if Curry will have the courage to step up to him and do this, but this is the ONLY thing that I'm not confident Curry will be able to do after the All Star break.

We also can't forget that even if we don't win it all this year we have an even better future ahead of us. Rodney Stuckey is only in his 2nd year and is already starting to become a very good point guard capable of running the point for us. He is only going to get better, and the best is yet to come from him. He has shown a lot of improvement on defense this year (a concern last year), and now I'm completely sold on him being our next floor general who can lead us to a championship. Jason Maxiell , Arron Afflalo , Amir Johnson , and Tayshaun Prince all have lots of years left in them and will become keys to our success. Also, if Sheed retires and/or leaves the Pistons at the end of this year, and  AI is not able to get us a championship and decides to either call it quits or go to a new in 2010, we will have tons of money to use in that star studded FA class in the summer of 2010.

So don't lose hope Pistons fans because there is light at the end of this dark tunnel we are in right now. It may be hard to see right now, but keep the faith. Don't worry about what all the haters say, because we don't need the support of the rest of the league. All that matters is what we know about our team, and that we keep our faith in them. We still have a shot at the championship this year (whether anyone realizes it or not), and we definitely have a very good future ahead of us with Stuckey and the 2010 FA class. Remember the 2004 championship season. So say it with me my Pistons brothers:

DEEEEEEEEEEEEEETTRROOOOOOOOOOIITT BAAAAAAAAAASSSSKKEEETTBAAAAAAAAAAAA
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted on: October 24, 2008 7:40 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2008 9:03 am
 

NBA 2008-2009 Season: 1st Half Games to Watch

Here are 10 games to watch for in the first half of the season:


Tuesday, October 28th: Cleveland Cavaliers at. Boston Celtics

Boston and Cleveland's opening game of the season. Both teams should be looking to the start the season off on a good note. We should get our first good look at how Mo Williams will be able to contribute to the Cavs against the top teams.



Sunday, November 9th: Boston Celtics at Detroit Pistons

First rematch of last year's two ECF teams. The rivalry has been reborn, anyone that saw any of last year's games has noticed this. All the games are so intense and all the players are playing physical. The games should always come down to the final minutes, and making it a great game to watch.



Sunday, November 9th: Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Lakers

Our first look at the Rockets with new addition Ron Artest. It will be against the defending WCF champion Lakers. We should always get a good look at Bynum as well. Should be a great game to watch and get some early analysis on these teams and some of their players.



Wednesday, November 12th: Los Angeles Lakers at New Orleans Hornets

 Should be exciting to see if the Chris Paul and the Hornets will try to show everyone that they are going to be a top team again this year. Kobe vs. Paul, last year's top two MVP vote getters (with Kobe actually winning MVP).



Friday, November 14th: Detroit Pistons at Los Angeles Lakers

These games have become a lot more fun to watch after the Pistons beat them in the 04 Finals. Both teams are top teams in their conference, and will be looking to get a big win here. Detroit has one of the best records against the West in recent years.



Friday, November 14th: Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs

As my good friend Chrisper would say: "TEXAS FIGHT!" Always a great battle between two Texas teams. Should be even better with the improvements the Rockets made in the off season.



Wednesday, November 19th : Cleveland Cavaliers at Detroit Pistons

This has become a great rivalry over recent years. Especially when the LeBron James.......I mean the Cavs beat them in the 07 ECFs (only to get swept by the Spurs in the Finals though). Even people who are not fans of either team has to enjoy these games because they always are a great divisional battle.



Friday, November 28th: Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics

The new and improved 76ers look to show they are going to be a threat in the East this year. Newly acquired PF Elton Brand vs. 2008 DPOY winner Kevin Garnett should be great to watch. I can't wait to see how Philly plays against the defending champs. Should be a great game here.



Thursday, December 25th : Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Lakers

Rematch of the 08 Finals. The Lakers will look to try and get some revenge here, and the Celtics will look to show them who's boss again. You better believe if the Lakers win big, they will remind us how they didn't have Andrew Bynum last year and they would have won the championship if they had him.



Wednesday, January 14th
: Los Angeles Lakers at San Antonio Spurs


Rematch between last year's WCF teams. Lakers vs. Spurs is always a great game to watch. The Spurs better hope Manu Ginobili is healthy enough for this game, or they could have a tough time keeping up with the Spurs. Then again, you can never count out Tim Duncan in big games. I think he has shown that time after time. Remember the 3-point buzzer beater in the playoffs last year?
Posted on: October 18, 2008 4:38 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2008 6:40 pm
 

2009 NBA Mock Draft: Big B's Bad Boys

PG - Chris Paul:

The best point guard in the leauge; he can do it all. He can pass, he can shoot, he can defend, and he can lead his team. He makes whatever team he is on better, and is always a big time threat on both sides of the ball. He showed that is no one of the best playres in the league, and he can take any team deep into the playoffs.

Derek Fisher: A perfect back up for Paul. He has tons of veteran experience especially in the playoffs and getting to many NBA Finals with the Lakers. He has great leadership, good defense, and is a clutch player when it matters. He can mentor Paul, and give my team lots of leadership and clutch play to get me to the Finals and possibly even the championship.

SG - Manu Ginobili:

A top 5 shooting guard, no question. You can love him or hate him, but in the end you can't deny how great he is. He can drive the lane and make unbelieveable lay ups, and he can hit the outside shot. He isn't a great defender, but he isn't a bad one. He does flop a lot, but hey, he gets away with it and gets a lot of calls his way. If you think Bowen is a good defender with all his dirty play, then you have admit Ginobli can play some good D to. He is just great player that contributes a lot to championship team. He has won 3 rings with the Spurs, a gold medal in the 2004 Olympics with Argentina, and many international titles as well. Combined with Chris Paul, he makes my backcourt the best.

Bruce Bowen: Bowen is a great guy to have, especially off the bench. He has good perimeter defense and can get a little rough if need be. You might not like him (I don't), but he gets the job done when you ask him to. He can come off the bench and provide great defense when I need it.

SF- John Salmons:

He is a great role player off the bench for me. He isn't great at any specific thing, but he is solid all around. He is a good slasher on offense as well as being able to hit the outside shot from time to time. He is also a good passer as well. He can play some good defense. The Kings had him guard the opposing teams best players at times even with they still had Ron Artest. He can come off the bench and play good amount of minutes for me.

Jamario Moon: Moon is the perfect back up player off the bench for my team. Like Marion, he has tons of athleticism and can be huge for my team on the fast break. He is also a good defender, and uses his great athleticism to get lots of blocked shots and rebounds. He provides lots of energy off the bench for us on offense and defense.

PF - Yao Ming:

Yao? At power forward? His height causes so much mismatches when he plays center, imaging how much more he can causes as a power forward. He his that unstoppable hook shot, the short jumper, and many other post scoring moves (not to mention he is a great free throw shooter). He is so difficult to cover for anyone, and with Paul giving him the rock, it should make it even harder on the opponents. He can play either post position for us, and play great at either one.

Paul Millsap: This is another one of my energy players off the bench. Millsap is very atheltic for a big man. He can crash the boards and gets lots of rebounds on defense and even offense as well. He is a very good defender and uses his big body to keep the post player from getting too deep on the block and getting easy shots. He is coming off the bench for the Jazz, but that's only because Boozer is there. He could be a starter for a lot of teams. He is pefect off the bench for me because he provides lots of energy and good defense as well as some offense.

C - Chris Kaman:

Kaman showed last year why has been the most underrated big man. He is very good rebounder and defender. He also can score well in the paint as well. He is a big guy that just works hard and contributes a lot to his team. He can hold his own against all the other great centers in the league, and knows how to help his team. Good offense, and great defense makes him a perfect player for my team.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas:

He is a great player to have. He can rebound, play solid defense, and give you some good post scoring as well. Big Z is a perfect big man to come off the bench for me. He can come in and give us that good defense, good rebounding (especially offensive rebounding/ tip backs), and post scoring with his turn around shot and tip backs.

Good luck to everyone with the tourney, and don't forget to keep track of the schedule so you know when to turn your gameplans in.

Posted on: September 18, 2008 3:33 pm
 

2008/2009 NBA Awards Predictions

MVP - Dwyane Wade

This is his year to shine, and he will relish the opportunity. He has Shawn Marion and Michael Beasley to be his wing men that will help him get the Heat back into the playoffs in the East. If you didn't get this feeling like me from seeing him play in the Olympics, than you didn't watch the Olympics. He is back at full health and will stay there all season long. Watch him pull off once spectacular year and earning himself his 1st MVP.

Rookie of the Year - Greg Oden


Yes, I said Greg Oden. Now be honest, who forget Oden is still a rookie because he didn't play all of last year? It's okay to admit if you did. He is a monster on the boards, and shot blocking machine. He has some solid moves in the paint as well, but his scoring is one thing that he will need to improve on at the NBA level. I'm saying he pulls down double digit rebounds over the whole year, and gets around 2 blocks a game as well. Some where around 10-15 point per game too.

Defensive Player of the Year - Josh Smith

This will be the year he explodes. Josh has been a top defender for the last couple of years, but he hasn't been able to put himself at the top yet. I believe this is the year he puts himself at the top. He is going to average a double double this year with points and rebounds, and he will average over 2 blocks and 2 steals. Not only that, he will help the Hawks make back to back playoff appearances.

6th man award - Manu Ginobili

Now Ginobili should be starting so this isn't really fair. Even with a bum ankle he can win this 6th man award because he will be playing starters minutes and put up lots of good numbers.

"Real" 6th man - Jason Maxiell

By "real" I mean an actually 6th man. Unlike Ginobili, Maxiell most likely won't start and get starter minutes. He will be part of the "Zoo Crew" for the Pistons and continue to improve on his game as he has year after year. Him and Rodney Stuckey will be huge off the bench for the Pistons. He will come in to give them lots of energy and a post presence on offense and defense. He should be starting by next year if not sometime this year.

Most Improve Player - Randy Foye or Devin Harris

I couldn't decide here. I believe both of these guys will have huge years, and improve a lot from last year. Harris was better last year, but I believe he will still be better than Foye this year as well. However, I believe Foye will finally start playing like the PG the Timberwolves have been expecting out of him since they drafted him. Harris will be starting for the Nets, should put himself into the Top 10 PGs after this year, and Foye will put himself right outside that Top 10.

Coach of the Year - Mo Cheeks

The 76ers made the playoffs last year as the 6th seed. Mo Cheeks was a huge part of that and would have won this award last year if it wasn't for Byron Scott and the Hornets. Now this year he will have Elton Brand and a young team that just added some more experience under their belts. Look for Cheeks to lead the 76ers into the playoffs yet again, but this time they will be a higher seed (Top 4).
Posted on: September 1, 2008 6:44 pm
 

Manu Ginobili's injury

Anyone who watched the Olympic game with USA vs. Argentina in the semi-finals saw Manu Ginobili's injury. If you saw it, you would know it was a lot more than just a minor injury. He know will have to arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle. He should be having it sometime later this week and as of right now there is no timetable for when he will recover. The best guess would be somewhere around 6-8 weeks, but it could be longer or it could be shorter. Then again, if the doctors say he will recover in a certain amount of time, that doesn't always mean he will actually be recovered by then. Remember Andrew Bynum last year? He was suppose to recover from his injury within 6-8 weeks, but he never returned all of last season.

Best case scenario let's say he's back just in time to get a few practices in and be ready for the next season. That is his left ankle and he is a left handed player and he goes to his left more than his right. The point is that that injury could always reoccur and come back, and/or it just bother him for the rest of the season. The ankle is a key joint for a basketball player like Ginobili because he will need it to be okay for him to make quick cuts and turns on it as well as using it to lift him high into the air to make those crazy layups.

Worst case scenario he is out for around half the season or maybe the whole season. He isn't able to do much at all for the Spurs thus leaving everything up to Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Bruce Bowen. With how good the Lakers are, how good the Rockets could be now with Ron Artest, how much the Deron Williams and Chris Paul are improving the Jazz and Hornets, the Spurs would find it very hard to have success in the West.

Most likely scenario is that he is able to play within the first two weeks of the next season. He probably won't re injure himself but that ankle injury should linger with him most of next season. He won't be as good as he normally is, Timmy is getting a little older and can't carry the whole team on shoulders all the way to the Finals anymore, and Tony Parker is too busy with Eva Longoria to having a monster year for the Spurs. The Spurs will make the playoffs around the 3-6 seed and possibly make it out of the first round but not likely any farther than that.

No matter which scenario it is, this injury is not good for the Spurs and will impact them negatively in a big way. Ginobili won't be able to be at 100% all season for the Spurs and won't be able to do enough to get them deep into the playoffs. With how much the Rockets have improved, how much better than Laker will be with a healthy Bynum than they were last year (scary) I just don't see the Spurs making themselves a contender this year with Ginobili's banged up ankle.
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