Saturday, February 21, 2009

Western Conference Playoff Predictions

It's time for our Western Conference Playoff Predictions:

The Favorite:

1. L.A. Lakers

This isn't even a question. The Lakers are by far the best team in the West without Andrew Bynum and will be unstoppable when he comes back. They just have so many ways to beat you: Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum down low, the outside shooting of Derek Fisher, Sasha Vujacic, and don't forget Lamar Odom.

The Next Tier:
2. San Antonio Spurs

It's the big three again. Parker, Ginobli, and Duncan. They just have so much experience and talent here. Look for a big second half for George Hill and Fabricio Oberto to help this team get the second seed in the West.

3. Denver Nuggets

You think the Pistons are having second thoughts about the Iverson-Billups trade right now? Nene, Carmelo, and Kenyon Martin are playing great and Chauncey Billups is just a great disher. This is a very dangerous team. They play the Celtics, Hawks, and Lakers this week. We should learn a lot about Denver this week.

They Could Win it if They Get Hot:

4. New Orleans Hornets

Tyson Chandler failing his physical may be a blessing in disguise for the Hornets. Paul, West, and Chandler can really carry this team. I look for the Hornets to capture last year's magic and take the fourth seed in the West.

5. Phoenix Suns

Even with Amare Stoudamire lost for the year, Alvin Gentry has got this team looking good. The first team since the Trail Blazers in the 91-92 season to score 140+ in three straight games. Look for the Suns to play like last year with Mike D'antoni and take the fifth seed.

6. Utah Jazz

My sleeper team of the West. They have been plagued my injuries early in the year and now are finding their stride. They've got so many stars here with Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur, Paul Millsap, Andrei Kirilenko, and Ronnie Brewer. I think that the Jazz can realy make a run late in the year.

Maybe Next Year:

7. Portland Trail Blazers

They've played well up to now, but I don't think that they can keep it up. Aldridge, Roy, and Rudy Fernandez are young. I think that next year these guys could be a real force in the West.

The End of a Good Run:
8. Dallas Mavericks.

This team is getting old (Kidd), Dirk Nowitzki is going to be a free agent in 2010, and no one else has stepped up. They had a nice run and could have kept it going longer without that horrible trade with the Nets for Jason Kidd. Nevertheless, the Rockets lost Tracy McGrady for the year and traded away Rafer Alston for basically nothing. Their only player is Yao and he is not assertive enough to carry the Rockets. In the end, the Mavs will edge out the T-Mac-less Rockets for the last spot

Friday, February 20, 2009

Player Rankings - Utah Jazz


1. Deron Williams
2. Carlos Boozer
3. Paul Millsap
4. Andrei Kirilenko
5. Mehmet Okur
6. Kyle Korver
7. Ronnie Brewer
8. C.J Miles
9. Matt Harpring
10. Morris Almond
11. Ronnie Price
12. Brevin Knight
13. Kosta Koufos
14. Jarron Collins
15. Kyrylo Fesenko

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Knicks-Thunder Trade

By: Robert Kivell

Knicks Get:
Chris Wilcox

Thunder Get:
Malik Rose

I like this trade for the Knicks too.  Wilcox is clearly the better and younger player, plus the Knicks are shedding salary on this one.  It's a shame that Tyson Chandler failed his physical because the Thunder looked fifty times better at this time yesterday than they do today.

Knicks-Bulls Trade

Knicks Get:
Larry Hughes

Bulls Get:
Jerome James
Anthony Roberson
Tim Thomas

I like this deal for the Knicks because they finally get rid of Jerome James and his awful contract and get a quality player too.  Roberson is never going to be that good and Thomas is getting old.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Player Rankings-Boston Celtics

By Adam Sperber


  1. Kevin Garnett
  2. Paul Pierce
  3. Ray Allen
  4. Rajon Rondo
  5. Kendrick Perkins
  6. Leon Powe
  7. Eddie House
  8. Glen Davis
  9. Brian Scalabrine
  10. Gabe Pruitt
  11. Bill Walker
  12. Patrick O'Bryant
  13. Tony Allen

Play For the Day

Kryptonite over Superman

Bulls-Kings Deal

By: Robert Kivell

In a three team, seven player deal, the Bulls and Kings (and blazers) have swapped some good players.  Here is the deal.

Bulls Get:
Brad Miller (from Sac)
John Salmons (from Sac)

Kings Get:
Andres Nocioni (from Chi)
Drew Gooden (from Chi)
Cedric Simmons (from Chi)
Ike Diogu (from Por)

Blazers Get:
Michael Ruffin (from Chi)

I like this deal for the Bulls as they get the best two players in this trade.  Salmons has the most talent out of all these players and Brad Miller is a good veteran to have down the stretch.  It doesn't look like the Bulls will get Amare anymore, but they definitely have a good shot at the eighth seed in the east.

Player Rankings- Miami Heat

By: Scott Matza


1. Dwayne Wade
2. Jermaine O'Neal
3. Mario Chalmers
4. Udonis Haslem
5. Michael Beasley
6. Jamario Moon
7. Daequan Cook
8. Joel Anthony
9. Dorell Wright
10. Yakhouba Diawara
11.Chris Quinn
12. Mark Blount
13. Jamaal Maglore

Monday, February 16, 2009

Player Rankings- New Orleans Hornets

By: Robert Kivell

Sorry for the inconsistency with these rankings lately. We will have at least two up today and try to have another two up tomorrow.

New Orleans Hornets

1. Chris Paul
2. David West
3. Peja Stojakovic
4. James Posey
5. Chris Wilcox
6. Joe Smith
7. Rasual Butler
8. Devin Brown
9. Morris Peterson
10. Hilton Armstrong
11. Julian Wright
12. Antonio Daniels
13. Melvin Ely
14. Sean Marks
15. Ryan Bowen

Sunday, February 15, 2009

All Star Weekend Reacations (Friday and Saturday)

By: Robert Kivell

Rookies vs. Sophomores Game

Maybe the best rookie-sophomore game ever.  Kevin Durant showed us that he should have been selected to play in the big game on Sunday.  Durant was clearly superior to everyone else on the court.  For a while it looked like the rooks were going to pull it out, but in the end the sophs pulled this one out.


This event was okay.  I was expected a lot out of this event, but not much came out of it.  Johnson, Mayo, and Durant all hit some nice shots, but at the end of the hour I was a little bored.  Maybe next year instead of a playing HORSE, they should have a big game of knock out (like 15 people).  That would be cool.

Haier Shooting Stars

Why is this even an event?

Skills Challenge

I think that the players in this event were a little too nonchalant.  Derrick Rose's dunk at the end was exciting, but that was it.  I would have liked the players to have taken this event a little more seriously though.

Three Point Contest

Daquan Cook? Really? This is always one of my favorite events of the weekend.  The scores were a little bit low, but I enjoyed the playoff between Cook an Lewis in the end.  Too bad Lewis only got 7, so there wasn't really any suspense.

Slam Dunk Contest

The right man won.  Here is how I would have rated each dunk.

J.R. Smith
43, 43

Rudy Fernandez
42, 45 (If he got it earlier I would have given it a 50)

Dwight Howard
47, 48, 50, 43

Nate Robinson
45, 45, 45, 50

That last dunk was crazy.  Imagine trying to dunk over a 7-footer.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Team on the Rise

By: Robert Kivell
That team on the rise is the Atlanta Hawks.  Currently 31-21, the Hawks are fourth place in the East.  They just beat the Pistons, who are 5th place in the East, and have won 4 out of 5 with their only loss coming to the Clippers because of an absence of both their starting guards.  Last year at the all-star break, the Hawks were 22-28.  One might wonder why a team that lost a very good player in Josh Chlidress would be 8 games better 50 games in than they were a year ago.  The answer to that question is that their young talent is getting better.

At the core of the Atlanta team is four young studs and one solid veteran.  All four young talents are having excellent years, and lately Marvin Williams has showed his scoring potential (recent 29 and 23 point performances).  In addition to their young guns improving, Mike Bibby is having one of his best seasons in a long time.  Bibby is a big part of the Hawks success and deserving of his spot in the 3-point contest on Saturday.  

I can say that I was one of the few who saw the potential in this team.  I am a Hawks fan and at the beginning of the season predicted them to win 46 wins (They are actually on pace for 49).  Some "basketball experts" had the Hawks finishing 12th in the conference (John Hollinger; His system is flawless. He also had Philly 3rd and Toronto 6th)   Atlanta has 3 players participating in 4 events this all-star weekend.  Atlanta is finally getting some of the recognition they deserve.

After the break, the Hawks will travel to L.A. for a match up with probably the best team in the league. The Hawks have been dominant so far this year at home, but not the greatest team on the road.  I see the Hawks taking a big step forward on the 17th, and beating L.A. led by Joe Johnson.  

It will be interesting to see whether or not the Hawks will continue to progress in the second half of the season.  As an optimistic fan, I see them finishing with 48-49 wins, the fourth seed, a victory over the Pistons/Sixers/Heat, and pushing Cleveland or Boston to the limit in the second round (possibly winning).  The Hawks are a team to watch out for.

All-Star Activities: The Preview

Josh Sperber

All-star weekend is fun to watch even without the main event: the All-Star game.  Here are the three most exciting events to entertain NBA fans in the waiting game for the all-star game, or a whole weekend.

A spinoff of the classic backyard game that is going big into its inaugural all-star weekend. Headed by three of the NBA's youngest, and exciting stars, Kevin Durant, O.J. Mayo, and Joe Johnson, this is sure to be a very interesting game as these three stars are known to create and make amazing shots, the point of this game.  It is tough to predict a winner, since all of these stars can do it all, however, few in the league can compete with Durant in this category, so he is my pick.

3-Point Shootout: 
An all-star weekend classic returns, and with a field with all competitors averaging over .400 3pt.%.  The reigning champ Jason Kapono will be challenged by all-star Danny Granger, as well as Roger Mason, Mike Bibby, Daquaen Cook, and Rashard Lewis.  It is easy to pick Kapono to win his third consecutive title, after tying a record en route to his victory last year, but Roger Mason leads all competitors with .450 3pt.%, and Kapono is not nearly as hot as Mason.  My pick: Roger Mason.  

Slam Dunk Contest: 
What everyone has been waiting for, the Slam-Dunk favorite of the all-star game, where high-flying stars defy gravity to excite the multitude of viewers.  Dwight Howard is looking to win his second straight, but Rudy Fernandez, Nate Robinson, and J.R. Smith look to stop him. Fernandez may be loved by fans, and J.R. Smith was great in 2005 and Nate Robinson won the 2005 contest, "Superman" Howard will find another way to pick up another dunk contest, whether or not he has the superman outfit.  

Play For the Day

This one is a personal favorite

Player Rankings- Oklahoma City Thunder

By: Robert Kivell

klahoma City Thunder
1. Kevin Durant
2. Jeff Green
3. Russell Westbrook
4. Chris Wilcox
5. Nick Collison
6. Nenad Kristic
7. Earl Watson
8. Desmond Mason
9. Joe Smith
10. Damien Wilkins
11. Robert Swift
12. Kyle Weaver
13. Chucky Atkins
14. Mouhamed Sene
15. D.J. White
Tomorrow: Miami Heat

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Player Rankings- Toronto Raptors

By: Robert Kivell
Toronto Raptors

1. Chris Bosh
2. Jose Calderon
3. Jermaine O'Neal
4. Anthony Parker
5. Andrea Bargnani
6. Jason Kopono
7. Jamario Moon
8. Joey Graham
9. Will Solomon
10. Kris Humphries
11. Roko Ukic
12. Jake Voshkul
13. Nathan Jawai

Tomorrow: Oklahoma City Thunder

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Player Rankings- Phoenix Suns (a)

By: Robert Kivell

This is part (a) because it is possible in a few days it might be necessary to do a part b. Here are my rankings.
Phoenix Suns

1. Amar'e Stoudemire (for now)
2. Steve Nash
3. Shaquille O'Neal
4. Jason Richardson
5. Leandro Barbosa
6. Grant Hill
7. Matt Barnes
8. Robin Lopez
9. Alando Tucker
10. Louis Amundson
11. Goran Dragic
12. Jared Dudley
Tomorrow: Toronto Raptors

Monday, February 9, 2009

Player Rankings- New York Knicks

By: Robert Kivell

Over the next 30 days, along with my co-writers I will be ranking the players on each team based on the value that player has to his team.  First up, the best team in the league (sarcasm), the New York Knicks.

New York Knicks
1. David Lee
2. Al Harrington
3. Chris Duhon
4. Wilson Chandler
5. Nate Robinson
6. Quentin Richardson
7. Jared Jeffries
8. Tim Thomas
9. Danilo Gallinari
10. Anthony Roberson
11. Eddy Curry
12. Malik Rose
13. Jerome James
14. Stephon Marbury

Tomorrow: Phoenix Suns 

Friday, February 6, 2009

Power Rankings 2-6-09

By: Robert Kivell
1. LA Lakers
After beating the Celtics in Boston, the only team with an argument to hold this position is the Cavs.  When the two play on Sunday we will see who the real number one is.  But for now, Kobe and the Lakers are at the top of the league.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
Lebron's performance at Madison Square Garden was one of the best I have seen in my lifetime.  Lebron confirmed t
hat he is the best player in the league, and the Cavs will have a chance to confirm they are the best team in the league with a win on Sunday.
3. Boston Celtics
A loss to the Lakers on their homecourt bumped the Celtics down from number one to number three. Stupid foul Garnett, stupid, stupid foul.
4. Orlando Magic
If the Magic start to lose more with the loss of Jameer Nelson, they could fall out of this top four spot very soon.
5. Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets proved with a win over the Spurs earlier thi
s week that at least for now they are the second 
best team in the West.
6. San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs will look to redeem themselves after their loss against Denver @Boston on Sunday.
7. Portland Trailblazers
This team is for real.  They are definitely going to push Denver to the limit in the race to be Northwest Division champs.
8. Dallas Mavericks
The one thing this team has, and the two teams below them do not, is their star players are all healthy.  Skill wise, the Rockets and Hornets have them beat. But more importantly, health wise, this team is miles ahead.
9. Houston Rockets
With all of their injuries, I have been waiting for them to fall out of the Western Conference race, but they have just been very stubborn, and will not lose on a consistent basis.
10. New Orleans Hornets
I guess Chris Paul is pretty important.
11. Atlanta Hawks
12. Utah Jazz
13. Phoenix Suns
14. Philadelphia 76ers
15. Detroit Pistons
16. Miami Heat
17. New Jersey Nets
18. New York Knicks
19. Milwuakee Bucks
20. Chicago Bulls
21. Minnesota Timberwolves
22. Charlotte Bobcats
23. Indiana Pacers
24. Golden State Warriors
25. Toronto Raptors
26. Oklahoma City Thunder
27. Memphis Grizzlies
28. Washington Wizards
29. Sacramento Kings
30. LA Clippers

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Injuries Hit the Stars

Nearing closer to the all-star game, many huge injuries sideline stars of imminent title contenders, and other teams fighting for a spot.  Among the injured stars, Chris Paul strained his groin, Andrew Bynum is back on the injured list due to his knee, and Michael Redd is out for the season with a torn ACL.  Among others are Kevin Garnett, who should return to action soon, Andrei Kirilenko, Deron Williams and Monta Ellis.  For the Lakers, who made it to the finals and put up a strong fight without Bynum last year, his re-injury should not be too big of a problem, especially since Kobe is catching fire coming off a 61-point performance.  However, the main issue for teams with newly injured stars is with the Hornets' loss of Chris Paul, and the Bucks losing Redd for the season.  Although Paul is day-to-day, with the Hornets' title hopes hingeing on Paul, they can't take too many chances.  While the Bucks' would be 8th in the east, if the season ended now, Redd was a huge part of that, and his loss is terrible for them.  They now must rely on the rest of their team, none of whom has ever been the top man on any NBA team.  They need huge productivity from their number 2 and 3 men, Richard Jefferson and Charlie Villanueva.  The loss of Redd spells trouble for the Bucks' playoff hopes, and is likely to remove any chance of it.  The Jazz, with Boozer returning after the all-star break and Kirilenko and Williams injured, are hanging on at 27-22 with their big 3 depleted for almost all of the year.  Excluding the Celtics, Lakers and Hornets, assuming Paul returns soon, will probably fair the best of these injury depleted teams.  But, the only cure for this injury epidemic is well-executed medical care, and the depleting medicine of time.