Thursday, February 11, 2010
Due to personal matters, Allen Iverson will be out of Sunday's all star game, meaning everyone now deserves to be in it based on this years stats. It is unknown who will start over him, but David Lee will fill his empty spot. Due to injuries, Kobe Bryant will be replaced by Jason Kidd, and injuries probably prevented 6th-leading scorer Monta Ellis from taking the spot instead. This changes my predictions, but not significantly. I am not sure who will start over Iverson, as Lee is a power forward, so when that comes out I will update that matchup, but Dwyane Wade now wins his matchup over anyone else the West sends at him, giving the East a 3-2 advantage in the starters. However, the big men reserves prediction holds, as the West still has more and better big men. As of now, Derrick Rose is playing in the all star game, but I'll try to keep you posted
Monday, February 8, 2010
It's finally here, All-Star Weekend 2010. Following my previous article about the various other events headlining this year's all-star weekend, I wanted to breakdown the game and give my predictions.
Here are the matchups for the East and West. The matchups are organized by how good they'll be
Starters: West 3, East 2
Lebron vs. Carmelo: Melo has his coach with him, but he can't beat the King. This is going to be a storied matchup throughout both of their careers, but Lebron will always win it, but not by much
Kobe vs. D-Wade: Kobe gets the edge here. Kobe is the best player in the league, injured or not. Even with his multitude of injuries, his height gives him a slight edge, which would have been bigger if he was healthy, over the dynamic Wade. However, this is still going to be a great matchup
Amar'e Stoudemire vs. Dwight Howard: Another great matchup, but Howard is the better center. Stoudemire will make it interesting, but Howard is undoubtedly the best center in the game
KG vs. Tim Duncan: Like Kobe vs. Wade, this matchup is affected by injuries. However, in this one the injuries make more of a difference. Duncan has been outstanding this year, while KG has been hobbled by injuries. Healthy, I'll take KG over Duncan, but that is not the case, so Duncan gets the edge here.
Steve Nash vs. AI: Nash no question is the better player. A few years ago it would have been the other way around, but Nash is putting up great numbers & AI is only playing because of his fanbase
I'm breaking down the reserves by position, since I might have to end up matching up Paul Pierce on Pau Gasol, which would obviously not happen. Regardless, the reserves match up very well and it will make the game even more interesting
Reserves: West 2, East 1
Kevin Durant vs. Gerald Wallace and Paul Pierce: This is such a difficult match to decide, but Durant gets a slight edge in the closest matchup this year. Durant is having a great all-around season, and Wallace is 6-7 and one of the league's leading rebounders. Injuries aside, Pierce is having a solid season as well. If Pierce was not coming off injuries, this would result in a tie.
Deron Williams and Chauncey Billups vs. Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, and Joe Johnson: This will be a solid matchup, but the East wins it. Numbers aside, Rose and Rondo are blossoming into the 2 top point guards, if Wade is a shooting guard and noting Devin Harris' inconsistency, and Joe Johnson deserves to start over AI. Billups is old and losing his skill, but Williams is a strong player. East wins this because of the great balance they have. Rose and Johnson provide most of the offense, and Rondo provides most of the defense and assists
Dirk Nowitzki, Zach Randolph, Chris Kaman and Pau Gasol vs. Chris Bosh and Al Horford: There are guys in the east who had better stats than Horford, i.e Brook Lopez, but the same goes with Pau Gasol with Al Jefferson having superior numbers. Horford and Pau are still solid big men, but regardless, the West would still win this category, with Nowitzki continuing his brilliance, and Kaman and Randolph having career years. Individually Chris Bosh is the best of all of these, but the east is just overmatched by sheer numbers.
Overall Predition: This going to be a great game, and another high-scoring game, but the West will win by 4, and despite Kobe's 35-point performance, Steve Nash will win MVP with 25 points and 12 assists
All-star weekend this year is packed with a lot of fun and exciting events. Some will be interesting, some will be blowouts. Here's the schedule and my predictions for the winners of the events.
Celebrity Game: 2 teams of famous people trying to play basketball. It's Dr. Oz, Chris Tucker, Anthony Anderson, Pitbull, Joel Moore, Anthony Kim and 4 Harlem Globetrotters vs. Mark Cuban, Robert Horry, Rick Fox, Chris Mullin, Common, and Nancy Lieberman. The former NBA players are too old to matchup against the young Globetrotters, but they do have a significant height advantage over the 1st team. Basketball is a game of height, but the globetrotters can jump & are younger. Team 1 wins by 6
Dunk-off: I believe this will be at halftime of the Rookie Challenge, but Eric Gordon and Demar Derozan will have a mini dunk contest to see who is the 4th dunker in the dunk contest the next day. Gordon may be the better player, but he just doesn't seem like a high-flyer, & the fact that he's in the rookie game doesn't help much. Derozan will win here to try his luck in the big show.
T-Mobile Rookie Challenge: The Sophmores usually win this game, & this year will be no different. The only 2 sophmores who I do not think will be among the best players in the NBA in the future are Anthony Morrow and Danilo Gallinari, but both can shoot the 3 very well. Although the rookies have an advantage in the backcourt, the rookie bigs do not have the talent to contend with the likes of Brook Lopez, Kevin Love, Marc Gasol and Michael Beasley. Sophmores by 15
H.O.R.S.E: Kevin Durant defends his title at last years inaugural competition against Omri Casspi and Rajon Rondo. Durant started off slowly against OJ Mayo and Joe Johnson last year, and still won. Both of those players have better abilities to create shots than Rondo or Casspi. Durant will win again, Rondo will finish 2nd and Casspi 3rd
Haier Shooting Stars Competition: To kick off All Star Saturday night, NBA players and Legends and WNBA players will team up to try and shoot some tough shots. Texas has Dirk Nowitzki, Becky Hammon and Kenny Smith, Los Angeles has Pau Gasol, Marie-Ferdinand Harris and Brent Barry, Sacramento has Tyreke Evans, Chris Webber and Nicole Powell, and Atlanta has Joe Johnson, Angel McCoughtry and Steve Smith. Texas takes it for the hometown crowd by 3 seconds, with the best-shooting combination among the younger stars
Taco Bell Skills Challenge: Derrick Rose defends his title against some of the best Point Guards in the game today, Steve Nash, Deron Williams and Brandon Jennings. Williams and Nash are both former champs, with Williams setting a course record in 2008. Will anyone beat that record? No, but Nash will beat everyone here, with Rose finishing 2nd.
3-Point Contest: Daequan Cook will have a tough time defending his title in this star-studded field with Paul Pierce, Chauncey Billups, Stephen Curry, Channing Frye, and Danilo Gallinari. Although Cook ran away with the title last year, he has not been close to as hot as the other competitors. In Chauncey Billups will win by 2, but the other great shooters here will make it an interesting competition to watch
Dunk Contest: As usual, all-star Saturday will end off with an exciting dunk contest. With my prediction of Demar Derozan beating Eric Gordon in the dunk-off, Derozan will help Gerald Wallace, runner-up to Jason Richardson in a close 2002 contest and Shannon Brown try to stop Nate Robinson from his 2nd-straight, 3rd ever, dunk contest victory. In a deep field, Shannon Brown will use his 44.5 inch vertical to rise above the competition and be the 7th player to win the dunk contest in his rookie year
Note: There will be a follow-up article about the all-star game
Sunday, January 24, 2010
The 2010 all-star starters have been announced:
Guards- Dwyane Wade & Allen Iverson
Forwards- Lebron James & Kevin Garnett*
Center- Dwight Howard
Guards- Kobe Bryant & Steve Nash
Forwards- Carmelo Anthony & Tim Duncan
Center- Amare Stoudemire
*If he is not injured
The reserves will be announced on Thursday, January 28
Saturday, December 5, 2009
After starting the NBA season worse than any team in history, the 0-18 Nets got their 1st win with a 97-91 home victory over the Charlotte Bobcats. Courtney Lee came back to the starting lineup in a big way, scoring 27 points and getting 3 key steals. Brook Lopez continued his great season with 31 points and 14 rebounds. The Bobcats played their starters for almost the entire game, using only 3 players from off the bench, which only aided the Nets late surge.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
LeBron James said today there was a 50-50 chance he would participate in this year's contest.
This is news because it had sounded like he was good to go this year. But it's hard to imagine him risk getting beat by a lesser-known player in the contest, especially after last summer's much ado about nothing over a summer-time dunk.
Brian Windhorst on Twitter
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Brandon Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks and Tyreke Evans of the Sacramento Kings have been named the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month, respectively.
Jennings leads all rookies in scoring (21.8 ppg), assists (5.7 apg) and three-point field goal percentage (.500). On Nov. 14, Jennings scored 55 points against the Warriors, the most points by a rookie since Earl Monroe netted 56 in 1968.
Evans ranks second among rookies in scoring (18.8 ppg) and leads first-year players in minutes (36.1 mpg). He also ranks second in steals (1.33 spg), fourth in assists (4.7 apg) and fifth in rebounds (5.0 rpg) among rookies
Saturday, October 24, 2009
1: Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavs spent their offseason getting King James a supporting cast that will motivate him to stay in Cleveland. I think it worked very well. Adding Shaquille O'Neal and Anthony Parker make their starting lineup one of the best in the league, and adding some punch to their bench by getting Jamario Moon and benching Ilgauskas for O'Neal, Cleveland is now probably the best team in the league
2: Boston Celtics: Although using the aging Rasheed Wallace to replace the up-and-coming Leon Powe, they also added swingman Marquis Daniels and forward Sheldon Williams to boost their bench a little bit. As long as Garnett stays healthy long enough to hold off Orlando, the Celtics should edge out the Magic for 2nd in the east
3: Orlando Magic: Although the Carter trade was a great trade for the Magic, gaining a 20 ppg scorer and Ryan Anderson, a young 6'10" forward who can shoot, they lost a young star in Courtney Lee and a solid point guard in Rafer Alston. However, the reason that Boston is better than them is because Carter can't play defense, and Hedo Turkoglu was almost as good offensively and better defensively, but the battle of Boston and Orlando will certainly be an interesting one
4: Detroit Pistons: Detroit had a huge offseason this year, signing Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva, and got Ben Wallace and Chris Wilcox to replace Wallace. They have a versatile set of guys to give other teams headaches, and will push the top teams, but their lack of a true big man besides the aging Wallace will cause trouble and hurt their chances
5:Atlanta Hawks: Adding Jamal Crawford to the mix of Josh Smith, Joe Johnson, and Al Horford makes a deadly starting lineup for them, and their bench is solid as well. They won't beat the Magic, Celts, or Cavs, but with the great young team that they have, they will be dangerous in the future
6: Miami Heat: Beasley's troubles aside, the Heat have a strong supporting cast for their superstar that they want to keep, Dwyane Wade. But unlike the Cavs, they did not get enough support for Wade in the offseason, and thus Wade did not extend his contract. Look for them to push themselves because the Heat would fall apart without Wade
7: Chicago Bulls: Losing Gordon hit the Bulls hard, and the fact that they did not do anything about it is not good. Derrick Rose has proven he can lead this team, but Gordon helped in the clutch a lot, especially in the playoffs. They have a solid team, just the other teams in the east have more great players. In a few years, however, the Bulls will be a force to be reckoned with.
8: Toronto Raptors: Toronto replaced Parker with Turkoglu, a very smart move, but their backcourt is still pretty weak. A big reason that they will edge out Washington for the 8th spot is because their frontcourt is stacked. The frontcourt trio of Turkoglu, Chris Bosh and Andrea Barganani is tough to beat, but this team has been projected to do well in a weak division and not lived up to its expectations.
9: Washington Wizards: Flip Saunders has his work cut out for him given the Wizards reputation of losing, but he has a bunch of stars that makes this team a contender. Gilbert Arenas' injury was a huge reason for Washington's woes last year, but the entire team needs to help him out and step up their game in doing so
10: Indiana Pacers: Danny Granger needs help carrying this team. They have potential, and most of their team has not been in the league very long, but they can be good in the future. They could make a run for the playoffs, but they need big production from everyone else on their team.
11: Charlotte Bobcats: The reason that Indiana will end up beating the Bobcats is that Indiana's big star averages 25 ppg while Charlottes go-to guy, Gerald Wallace, averages around 16. Charlotte has more depth than Indiana, but they will not benefit from replaceing Emeka Okafor with Tyson Chandler. They have a bunch of solid players, but they just don't have enough to make a run yet
12: New Jersey Nets: Lawrence Frank has tried to start orienting the offense to showcase Brook Lopez, which could start an excellent duo of Devin Harris and Lopez and take some of the weight off of Harris' shoulders. They have a young group of guys that need to step up their game to help their team win, like Chris Douglas-Roberts, Bobby Simmons, Courtney Lee and especially Yi Jianlian. The Nets are one of the many teams in the league with a young team with great potential for future success, just they need to prove themselves
13: Philadelphia 76ers: The 6ers have the players to potentially take them far, but they do the best when 1 of their best players, Elton Brand, is injured. Brand is a great and experienced power forward. If he can produce and stay healthy the 6ers can be a solid team, but they definitely need some work
14: New York Knicks: The Knicks have 4 solid players and not much else. Al Harrington, the leading scorer, barely averages 20 points. Without Harrington, Double-Double Machine David Lee and guards Wilson Chandler and Nate Robinson, the Knicks would be nowhere.
15: Milwaukee Bucks: I know I sound like a broken record, but the Bucks are another team with one superstar who needs support from his young supporting cast that has huge potential. The problem is that Michael Redd is the only proven scorer much of his supporting cast are hyped-up players who have yet to elevate their game to the potential they are expected to get. Being in the toughest division in the east doesn't help much either
Cavs over Raptors (4)
Celtics over Bulls (5)
Magic over Heat (6)
Hawks over Pistons (7)
Cavs over Hawks (5)
Celtics over Magic (7)
Cavs over Celtics (7)
1: San Antonio Spurs: This is going to be one of the closest battles for top seed in history. 2 deep teams with playoff and championship experience fighting it out for top spot. With virtually equal talent in coaching and starters with LA, the best bench in basketball will propel the Spurs to the top of the Western Conference
2: Los Angeles Lakers: The reigning champs added Ron Artest to bolster their defense, but they did not resign Trevor Ariza to do so. Artest is older and more hotheaded, but his skills are still there. They have a balanced team and will go hard, but they will come up just short
3: Utah Jazz: If the team is healthy, and that's a big if, they could even contend with the Spurs of the Lakers, but their history of injuries makes that unlikely. They did not make any new acquisitions in the offseason, but if the Jazz are healthy then they are great just the way they are
4: Dallas Mavericks: The only reason they are 4th seed is because the top 3 seeds have to be division leaders. Shawn Marion will give assist-master Jason Kidd another all-star to pass to, and Drew Gooden and Erick Dampier will team up to make arguably the most formidable center duo in the league, and all this together gives the Mavericks a top flite starting lineup. What is also scary is that they have a great bench to back up their formidable starting lineup
5: New Orleans Hornets: Replacing Tyson Chandler with Emeka Okafor was a great decision for New Orleans. Not only is Okafor a proven scorer, shot-blocker and rebounder, but he will help James Posey on defense and help David West down low. The fast scoring machine of New Orleans now has a solid defense as well. And when a group of scorers is lead by Chris Paul, a scorer who also averages 11 assists, anything can happen
6: Phoenix Suns: A big reason that the Suns missed the playoffs last year was because they lost their go-to-guy, Amare Stoudemire. They did lose Shaq, but Amare should have no problem replacing him. There are a lot of good teams in the west, so Steve Nash will need to pass around to all the Suns' scorers, and this offense-only team needs to lockdown on D
7: Denver Nuggets: The team that challenged the Lakers did nothing to improve their already great team. Getting Ty Lawson from the draft was a good move, especially since Chauncey Billups isn't getting any younger. Carmelo Anthony is nearing his prime, as if he's not great already. They are another team that needs to stay away from injuries. To push further in ahead in the talented west, they need to produce like they did last year and need to keep Nenê and Kenyon Martin healthy
8: Memphis Grizzlies: Putting Allen Iverson on the bench is not a good move, but it really would not make too much of a difference. Bench or not, AI will teach young guards OJ Mayo and Mike Conley jr what he knows and that could improve upon an already excetional guard trio. Their great draft brought in Sam Young and Hasheem Thabeet, who should fit in nicely with the rest of the team. The addition of Zach Randolph was smart because he will use his experience to help better Marc Gasol, Rudy Gay, Thabeet and Young. This is a great, up-and-coming team that could be on top in a few years
9: Portland Trailblazers: Brandon Roy, Rudy Fernandez and LaMarcus Aldridge form a strong and young big 3, but beyond that there really is not much else. Greg Oden was a disappointment, and the other good players that they have are very old. Andre Miller could teach Steve Blake a few things, and this team could really get going. But Oden is a huge factor in how this team fares throughout the season, because the blazers need a big man and he cannot get injured
10: Las Angeles Clippers: Blake Griffin has a lot of talented big men in front of him, but he will definitely benefit from them by learning from them and soon become the starter here. They are no longer a doormat for the league and they could make a run for the eighth spot if Oden is injured and if Marcus Camby, Baron Davis, and Chris Kaman stay healthy
11: Golden State Warriors: The Warriors were hurt by Monta Ellis being injured for almost the entire year, and need him to if they want a chance at the playoffs, however unlikely that may be. They do have a solid team, but no men in the middle. They do need Ellis, yes, but the reason for their woes is because they do not have a true power forward and Andris Biedrins needs to improve, and fast
12: Oklahoma City Thunder: The youngest team in the league is definitely moving in the right direction. Jeff Green is adapting to his role as power forward and is becoming a Rashard Lewis type player, a decent-size guy who will give bigger, slower power forwards nightmares with his speed and versatile game. Nenad Krstic will have to be better than he ever has been without Jason Kidd giving him great passes. However, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, James Harden and Green give the young Thunder a sunny and bright future
13: Houston Rockets: Yao Ming out for the season spells trouble for Houston, who will also start the year without Tracy McGrady. They will be hampered by their lack of a center, and need Trevor Ariza, Luis Scola and Shane Battier to carry the team, but it's going to be a long season for the Rockets
14: Sacramento Kings: Kevin Martin is the lone star on this team, but there is some hope for the future. Spencer Hawes and Sean May make a talented tandem at center. Tyreke Evans was a great pick, and coupled with Beno Udrih makes a solid point guard duo as well. The problem is, right now the Kings are the worst team in a solid division, so they will have to wait a while to claim their throne
15: Minnesota Timberwolves: Al Jefforson is the entirety of the T-Wolves' team. They have a promising draft in Wayne Ellington and Johnny Flynn, but they just don't have the firepower to do anything in the west. They are young, however, and could have a good future, just there are so many holes to fill
Spurs over Grizzlies (5)
Lakers over Nuggets (6)
Suns over Jazz (7)
Hornets over Mavericks (7)
Spurs over Hornets (6)
Lakers over Suns (6)
Spurs over Lakers (7)
Cavs over Spurs (7)