Category Archives: Grizzles

The Most Underrated PG Today

It was 9:20 central time and Steph Curry was hoisting the coveted MVP trophy that I predicted he would win before the year began. The crowd is going wild in support of their MVP. The Warriors are laughing and congratulating him as he walks back towards the bench. This team had no worries. Why would they? They just blew their opponents out by 20+ for the majority of their prior game

That last game was to be expected. Although many would disagree with the focus of the defensive and offensive schemes being centered around the front court, they would forget that at one point Marc Gasol was an MVP candidate, and Zach Randolph is the tone setter. However, Conley is the best player on Memphis.

His numbers are nothing impressive. His stat line this season:

15.8 ppg, 5.4 apg, 1.3 stl, 44%FG

His career numbers are:

13.4 ppg, 5.6 apg, 1.5 stl, 44%FG

If you look at the per 36 minutes, his numbers are pretty much the same for his career, but this past season he improves his numbers a little bit with 17.9 ppg and 6.1 apg. His PER has only reached 20 once in his career, and this past season Conley hovered around 18ish. None of his numbers are impressive so how exactly do you quantify Conley’s impact?

In the series against Portland, Lillard averaged 18 ppg, 4.0 apg on 35% shooting when Conley played. Compared to 27 ppg, 5.0 apg on 47% shooting when Conley was injured and unable to play. Lillard’s stat line for the season was 21 ppg, 6.2 apg, 43%FG. The numbers are staggering in this aspect. Lillard is considered by many to be a top 5-7 PG in the league. Conley reduced him to just an average point guard. It’s not like Lillard is bad in the playoffs, or known as a choker. In fact it’s quite the contrary as I think many of us can remember his heroics last year. But Michael Conley reduced him to a 18 and 4 after thought.

The Warriors completely demolished the Grizzlies in game 1 when, of course, there was no Conley in place and Curry shot 8/18 for 22 points and 7 assists in a pretty easygoing day. With Conley in place in game 2, Conley came out strong early scoring 9 quick points on 4/4 shooting in the 1st quarter. All of the Warriors struggled, but this was not just any game. Curry had hoisted the MVP only 48 minutes before halftime when they were down 39-50. Only the second time all year that the Warriors didn’t score 40 points.

Curry usually likes to let things come to him and only take over if he absolutely has to. When his team was struggling against the Mavs earlier this year down 18; Curry dropped 50 and the Warriors ended up blowing the Mavs out.

Curry was looking to take over late in the game but Conley and the rest of the Grizzlies were not going to allow it. Doubles came at him nonstop and he never really found his shot all night despite shooting just under 50% for the game on 7/19 shooting with 19 points.

The pace of the entire game centered around how Conley wanted it to be. When he wanted to slow it down and give his bigs their space to work, he did; and if he saw someone leaking out on the break, he pushed it down the floor for the easy bucket. Every time Curry tried to push the pace, Conley would stand firm and not allow him to do so.

We all know Conley is a good PG. That isn’t the issue. The problem is he’s the after thought PG when talking about great PGs in the league. Nobody dares to put him the conversation with Kyrie, Lillard, Westbrook, Chris Paul, Wall, etc. He’s always put in the same place as the Jeff Teagues of the world. My question is why? In a conference full of elite PGs, Conley is able to take every single one of them off of their game. Conley completely dominated Lillard in 3 straight games. Actually so far this entire playoffs, Conley has not been outplayed in a single game. In 3 games against a top 5-7 PG and 1 game against the reigning MVP; Conley is undefeated so far. I’m nothing close to a Conley fan nor a Memphis fan, in fact I hate them and their stupid ugly basketball team, but I do appreciate someone with unheard talent for the game. He should be recognized when he competes with the great PG infested league we are in today. Not saying he is better than the reigning MVP or Westbrook or Chris Paul, but that he should be in the same conversation as them. Not the “oh yeah that guy in Memphis is nice too,” guy. Conley is not perfect at any one thing but he’s really good at a lot of things and it needs to be recognized, and with him going head to head against Curry in this series; it should highlight nationwide how great this player really is.

 

NBA Season Preview (2013-14)

image

To use a quote from LeBron, ”Its about damn time!”

After four long months the NBA is finally back, and to add on to that this might be the most anticipated and could quite possibly be the most competitve season in recent memory! During the offseason you had big named coaches swithcing places, big time players changing teams and players dissing each other to help create rivalries. Blockbuster trades happened as well like the KG, Paul Pierce trade, the Igudola trade and the Brandon Jennings trade. The offseason had everyone impatient and weary as they waited for the season to come around. And from the way things look now, this season should be ten times better than last season.

Before We Start
If you haven’t been under a rock this whole time you should know that Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Dwight Howard, Andre Igudola and Andrew Bynum have all changed teams. Garnett and Pierce went to Brooklyn, Howard went to Houston, Bynum went to Cleveland and Iggy went to Oakland. You should also know by now that Doc Rivers left Boston and went to Los Angeles to coach the Clippers. (Smart move by him I know.) The other things that you should know or have an idea about is how Kobe Bryant, Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo and Danillo Gallinari are all injured, and how Derrick Rose is returning from an ACL injury. And I almost forgot, the Heat signed Michael Beasley and Greg Oden! Now that I’ve filled you in on some of the main things we should be good to go.

Eastern Conference
This year the East should be very competive! There should be battles between seeds 1-4, and then another battle between seeds 6-8. (The 5th seed should be locked up by the Knicks in case you were wondering.) Each team in this conference got better, unless you’re the Celtics or 76ers. Every other team has a legitimate Playoff shot.

The Philadephia 76ers are going to be god awful. They’ll be lucky to win five games. With Nerlens Noel shut down for the season, who might’ve been their best player, (reminds me of Bynum last year) the 76ers will have to rely on Evan Turner; a former number two draft pick who also happens to be a guy who has never averaged over fifteen points a game. Hopefully they’ll be able to get the number one pick in the draft.

The Milwaukee Bucks should be better this season. Yes, I know they lost their two best players in Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, but if you look you’ll see that they added better pieces. To replace Jennings and Ellis they signed OJ Mayo and traded for Brandon Knight. Those moves made them younger. The Bucks also added solid veterans in Caron Butler, Zaza Pachulia, Luke Ridnour, Carlos Delfino and Gary Neal to help out their bench and small-forward woes. And if Larry Sanders contiues to improve watch out!

The Boston Celtics are going to be without Rajon Rondo for a while. Maybe Rondo should sit this season out while he recovers from his ACL injury like Rose did. That’ll give Boston a chance to draft one of those big time players in the upcoming draft. But um, as far as the team goes, nothing seems to gel. Don’t be surprised if Rondo wants out!

The Orlando Magic aren’t going to be that good either. There should be alot of trade speculation in regards to where Aaron Afflalo and Jameer Nelson end up. Other than that this team will end up having another top five pick this season. Oh and Oladipo should win ROY.

The Toronto Raptors can actually be a legit team. The only problem with them is that they’ll have to rely on the likes of Rudy Gay and Demar DeRozan. Kyle Lowry, Amir Johnson, Novak, Tyler Hansbrough, Landry Fields and Augustine are good enough to help them make a run at the 8th seed right? Or will the Raptors look to trade Gay? As of now he’s not a framchise guy…. Decisions, decisions.

The Washington Wizards just made a big move by trading for Marcin Gortat. The Wizards will now have inside scoring and will be able to move Nene back to his natural postion. Off the bench they’ll have Maynor, Webster, Harrington and Ariza. The starting lineup should be Wall-Beal-Porter-Nene-Gortat. Their season will be dependent on the play of Wall….That’s a tall order.

The Atlanta Hawks are going to be solid. Yes, losing Josh Smith hurt, but they added some quality depth in Elton Brand and Paul Millsap. Will they be contenders, hell no. But they’ll continue to be competitve. Al Horford is no slouch! Hopefully, they’ll be able to make some noise at the trade deadline.

The Detroit Pistons are back! With a lineup of Jennings-Stuckey-Smith-Monroe-Drummond, the Pistons should cause alot of problems against teams who like to play small ball. Oh and they have a leader and solid role player in Chauncey Billups. If things get rough he should be able to help guide them. They’ll be top ten defensively. Playoff bound for sure.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are trying to make way for a run at LeBron. They added depth in Jarrett Jack and Earl Clark. Drafting Bennett will help. A.Varejao being healthy will end up being a plus as well. The two major problems the Cavs have are the durability of their stars. If Kyrie can stay healthy they’ll be a Playoff team without question. But if ANDREW BYNUM is healthy and continues his play from two years ago the Cavs may become Dark Horse Contenders…….But then again it’s Kyrie and Bynum we’re talking about. Neither player can stay healthy.

The Bobcats could be a Playoff team this year as well. Kemba should improve, MKG should get better and they also signed Al Jefferson. And if Jordan knew what he was doing on draft night, (history says otherwise,) the Bobcats just might have the steal of the draft in Cody Zeller! A roster that consists of Walker-Henderson-Sessions-Gordon-MKG-Biyombo-Zeller-Haywood-Jefferson is good enough to crack the East’s top 8, right?

The New York Knicks pretty much stayed pat. Yeah they signed Beno Udrih, Artest and traded for Andrea Bargnani but what does that do,seriously? None of them are prime time players or great role players. One player sat on Toronto’s bench and another sat on Orlando’s. The third player should’ve been benched three years ago. Either way it goes the Knicks won’t be too special this season. Thats why Melo is going to leave. Sorry Knick fans.

The Brooklyn Nets are loaded! With the additions of Garnett, Terry, Pierce and Kirilenko the Nets have scoring, depth and defense. Blatche, and Evans will be great hustle guys off the bench with Terry carrying the load and AK-47 playing defense. But one must ask, is Jason Kidd ready to coach a team this loaded? Is he ready to coach period?

The Pacers are coming! During the offseason the Pacers brought in Luis Scola, CJ Watson, Chris Copeland and have Danny Granger back. They have more depth, trade bait, another scorer and more shooters. Roy Hibbert got better and Paul George is now a top three shooting guard or small forward. The rest of the league should watch out.

The Chicago Bulls are going to be spectacular this year. Rose is finally back and is already talking about how much better he has gotten. With Rose healthy, Jimmy Butler improving and the signing of shooter Mike Dunleavy, the Bulls can beat anyone. They’ll have more scoring and the defense should still be stellar. They still aren’t going to beat Miami though.

The Miami Heat are still locked and loaded! ( This will describe how i feel https://fortonsports.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/heat-still-nba-kings/) LeBron wants ring number three. Wade wants to show everyone he’s still a top ten player and Bosh wants to be remembered as well. The Heat should be able to coast through the season once again. And if Wade is healthy, Beasley’s head is on straight and Oden can play the Miami Heat might break the Bulls record of 72-10. The only thing that’ll keep them from breaking the record is boredom. I mean they do get bored alot, unfortunately.

East AllStars

Starters
PG- Rose
SG- Wade
SF- Melo
PF- LeBron
C- Lopez

Bench
Guards- Kyrie Irving, John Wall, Deron Williams
Forwards- Paul George, Josh Smith, Horford
Center- Hibbert or Bynum (healthy)

Western Conference
Usually the West has a clear cut favorite. This year no one knows what to expect from the West. There isn’t a team that stands out from the rest this season. Just like the East, the West should be very competitive, from top to bottom. Each team is one injury away from being doomed….The Suns are the only team who won’t have a Playoff shot.

The Phoenix Suns won’t be that good this season. They’ll be the Western Conference version of the 76ers. Just like Philly, Phoenix is tanking in order to secure a top pick. They’ll also be using this season to evaluate Eric Bledsoe, to see if he’s that guy.

The Sacramento Kings are down, and I don’t see them getting up. Cousins got paid, but is he a franchise guy? I’m sorry but the Kings are going to have hell if John Salmons is their best scorer.

The Utah Jazz are rebuilding, I think. By extending the contracts of Favors and later on Hayward the Jazz will have players to build around. Who knows maybe they’ll swing some type of unexpected deal. Sixth worse team in the league, worst case. At best this team can make a run at the Playoffs, for a couple weeks.

The Los Angeles Lakers are pretty much cooked. Kobe’s going to be out for a while and Nash is washed up. Gasol should play well. Hell, he might even get traded. On the bright side, they’ll have money to spend during the offseason. (MELOOOOOOOOOOO) If Kobe comes fast enough though they may be able to make something out of nothing. Maybe, just maybe the 8th seed isn’t too farfetched.

The Minnesota Timberwolves aren’t going to do anything. Kevin Love will continue to pad his stats while his team will fail to make the Playoffs yet again. I’ve never seen a “SUPERSTAR” win less than thirty games. OVERRATED, I THINK SO!!!! He’s not the best POWERFORWARD in the league, and he’s not a top tier player..But seriously, will Minny ever stay healthy? Chase Budinger is already out… Hmm haven’t we seen this before?

The Portland Trail Blazers are going to be exciting. They added shooters in Mo Williams and D.Wright, a scrapper in Lopez and Lilard will be better this year. Making the Playoffs can happen, but will it. Hopefully L.A. gets traded if things go south before February. (Thunder, Lakers, Bulls, Cavs maybe?) If he doesn’t get traded it’ll be another wasted year for him….. Could Portland swing a deal to land Rudy Gay?

The New Orleans Pelicans are going to be scary. If Eric Gordon can stay healthy watch out. They added a young Allstar point guard in Jrue Holiday and added a good scorer in Tyreke Evans. If they add one more guy they might be able to make a huge leap! (L.A. or Pau Gasol.) Are they Playoff bound? Yes! Without question. Maybe they’ll become contenders in a couple years. This team should be here for a while!

The Denver Nuggets are going to be fun to watch despite not having George Karl around. Losing George Karl and Iggy will hurt them alot, not having Gallinari is going to kill them as well. I’m sorry, but no Playoffs for them unless one of the top teams suffer a major injury.

The Memphis Grizzlies are still going to be a threat. Losing Hollins is going to hurt, but it’s not like he made their offense good. With the addition of Mike Miller, the Grizzlies will have the one thing they lacked a, consistent shooter. Miller will spread the floor for Z-Bo and Gasol which will make it easier on them….

The Oklahoma City Thunder don’t scare anyone as much. Was it because Durant got exposed? Is it because Westbrook is hurt? Some feel like Westbrook is their best player and without him they aren’t good… Others think this team has ran it’s course and it’s time for a break up…. I guess i’m the only one who believes Durant is coming! The bench should be solid and Durant should grow even more this season, Westbrook as well. Who can beat a team with two top five players?

The Houston Rockets need one year together. The Harden, Dwight duo could very well be the second coming of Kobe and Shaq. Both players are going to have a lot to prove this year. D12 has to prove he’s still the best center and Harden has to show us why he’s better than Kobe and Wade. It won’t be easy this year for Houston.

The San Antonio Spurs just won’t fall off. Ducan and Parker continue to keep the Spurs afloat despite their ages. The Spurs will without question be contenders. Evryone usually puts the onus on Parker, Duncan or Manu but not me. This season the Spurs’ success will be predicated on the play of Kawhi Leonard. They’ll go as he goes. Top ten small forward? I believe so.

The Dallas Mavericks are my Dark Horse contenders. Dirk will be healthy this season and will have way more help. ( Keep in mind his team was on pace to win 50 games last season.) The additions of Monta Ellis, Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, Dejuan Blair, Devin Harris and Samuel Dalembert makes this team deep. They have guards, scorers, shooters, rebounders, speed, athleticism etc. They’re built like the championship team, except better.

The Los Angeles Clippers are serious now. They brought in Doc. Rivers who has already left his mark on this franchise. He’s changing their mentality and creating a culture. CP3 and Griffin also have more help with the additions of Jamison, Collison, Reddick and Dudley. Deepest team in the West? I think so.

The Golden State Warriors suprised everyone last season. Curry became a star, Lee was dominant and Barnes became a legit starter. This season the Warriors should be alot better after adding Igudola, O’neal and Speights. Bogut should be healthier this season as well as Curry. Thompson is going to improve the bench and Harrison Barnes is going to continue to grow. Let’s see how Mark Jackson’s team does in year three.

West AllStars

Starters
PG- CP3
SG- Kobe
SF- Durant
PF- Griffin
C- Howard

Bench
Guards- James Harden, Stephen Curry, Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook
Forwards- Kevin Love, Dirk Nowitzki
Center- Marc Gasol

Playoff Prediction
EAST WEST
1.Bulls 1.Clippers
2.Heat 2.Warriors
3.Pacers 3.Rockets
4.Nets 4.Thunder
5.Knicks 5.Mavericks
6.Cavaliers 6.Grizzlies
7.Pistons 7.Spurs
8.Wizards 8.Pelicans

Top Players Going Into Season

1. LeBron James
2. Kevin Durant
3. Chris Paul
4. Carmelo Anthony
5. Stephen Curry
6. James Harden
7. Derrick Rose
8. Paul George
9. Tony Parker
10. Dwight Howard

(No injured players)

Awards

Rookie Of The Year – Victor Oladipo or Kelly Olynk

Coach Of The Year – Kevin McHale

Most Improved Player – Eric Bledsoe

MVP Race:

1.Rose (Winner)
2.LeBron
3.Durant
4.Paul
5.Harden

6th Man Of The Year – Klay Thompson, Lance Stephenson or Tyreke Evans

Defensive Player Of The Year – Dwight Howard or Roy Hibbert

Scoring Champion- Kevin Durant

All NBA Team (1)
PG- Rose
SG- Harden
SF- Durant
PF- LeBron
C- Dwight

All NBA Team (2)
PG- CP3
SG- Kobe
SF- Melo
PF- Love
C- Gasol

All NBA Team (3)
PG- Westbrook
SG- Curry
SF- George
PF- Griffin
C- Bynum (Healthy)/Duncan/Lopez

All Defensive 1st Team
PG- Avery Bradley
SG- Tony Allen
SF- LeBron James
PF- Serge Ibaka
C- Dwight Howard

All Defensive 2nd Team
PG- Chris Paul
SG- Paul George
SF- Luol Deng
PF- Tim Duncan
C- Marc Gasol

Finals Pick
Heat win 4-2 over Clippers

The Season Is Here
image

George Karl, Lionel Hollins and Brian Shaw. Next stop?

Let the coaching carousel begin! Scott Skiles was the first the coach to leave/lose his job followed by Doug Collins, Vinny Del Negro, Byron Scott, Larry Drew, Lionel Hollins and now George Karl. Great coaches like Phil Jackson and Jerry Sloan are constantly getting mentioned as well as the Van Gundy brothers. Each coach deserves a job for next season, but each coach must pay attention to each roster and their coaching scheme if they want to have a successful NBA season next year or else they’ll end up having the same kind of season Mike D’Antoni had.

Vinny Del Negro- in my eyes he’s one of the lesser coaches. Yes, he won 50+ games with the Clippers last season but one has to ask, was he pulling the strings or was it Chris Paul? With all due respect Del Negro may be suited as an up and coming coach for a lesser team. ( Bobcats? Pistons?)

Jerry Sloan- Sloans’s offense was predicated around the Pick N Roll. He led a Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer tandem to the Western Conference Finals and the Stockton, Malone duo to the Finals by using this offense. Sloan should look at the Clippers and Nets, because they have the guards as well as the bigs who would be able to run his offense to perfection.

Doug Collins- He’s not much of a players coach (Bynum), but most his guys always give it their all…. I’m thinking Denver where he could be reunited with one of his favorite players, Igudola and lead an explosive offense that features a lot of scrappers.

Lionel Hollins- Hollins is a coach who likes to play inside out. He’s a great defensive minded coach as well. In Brooklyn he’ll have a team that has a great low post scorer as well as scrappers like he had in Memphis. Oh by the way he’ll also have alot more guard help as well.

George Karl- He’s a coach who likes to run. And that’s exactly what the Clippers do. Picture a Bledsoe-Griffin-Jordan trio running the floor like the Nuggets did. Better yet Atlanta, Smith and Teague would be awesome.

As for Brian Shaw, the Van Gundys and Phil there really isn’t a specific roster where they wouldn’t thrive. Stan likes to have floor spacers and most teams, besides the Lakers, have those. Phil and Shaw’s triangle would work anywhere. Byron Scott could help a team that features an elite PG and has good role players.

Coaches Mike Brown and Larry Drew will their respective teams grow. Brown will teach the Cavs the principle of defense. While Drew will teach his Bucks how to play a tad bit smarter and better overall.

This offseason should be very entertaining!

Chris Paul, Dwight Howard. Stay or Go? Part One

image

After years of waiting Dwight Howard and Chris Paul finally have a chance to be free agents and put an end to all of this talk about where they’ll end up playing next.

For the past two seasons Chris Paul has been playing for the Los Angeles Clippers alongside Allstar Power Forward, Blake Griffin; forming one of the best Guard-Forward combinations in the league. After leading this Clippers team to a franchise best 56-26 record, Chris Paul and Co. lost to the Memphis Grizzlies in 6 games that happened to be played in the first round of the Playoffs.

After the loss Chris Paul said “This stinks, and is unacceptable,” leading us to believe that he would look to play else where next season if changes didn’t occur.

Dwight Howard, on the other happened to be playing for the other Los Angeles team, the Lakers. This past year Dwight was supposed to be Superman coming to save Lois Lane, the Lakers, from falling of as contenders and into the pits of mediocrity. But instead of getting Superman the Lakers got an unmotivated, unhappy, injured Dwight Howard who seemed to want to play else where. As a result the Lakers went out and lost to the Spurs in 4 embarrassments. ( I didn’t consider those to be games.)

After the series ended and the season was over Dwight said he was going to go out and get away from everything. Essentially leaving his options open.

And now we’re just days away from Free Agency with the question “Should they stay, or go,” in our mind.

But let’s just focus on Chris Paul for now.

Chris Paul: In today’s game the PG position is stacked with talent everywhere. With that being said there aren’t to many places that need Chris Paul and there aren’t too many that can afford him either. The teams that can bring him in and that he’ll actually be attracted to are the Mavericks, Hawks and of course the Clippers. The longshot teams are the Celtics, Lakers and Knicks.

Mavericks: With Dirk and cap space the Mavs can make some things happen. Chris Paul would be playing alongside a better PF than Blake Griffin in Dirk and would also be playing for a very good coach in Rick Carlisle. Throw in Oj Mayo and Shawn Marion and you have a nice core that’ll be able to last for a couple of years. (By the way the only thing the Mavericks lacked was a Point Guard last season.)

Hawks: In Atlanta, Paul will have a chance to play with Al Horford who happens to be a tad bit better than Griffin overall (Sorry Blake). Atlanta will also have enough money to bring in Dwight Howard (sarcastic gasp,) retain the likes of Lou Williams and Jeff Teague and perhaps persuade Josh Smith to take less money. If that comes into fruition Atlanta would be the 2nd best team in the East. They’ll have the twin towers downlow; speed at the guard position as well as defense. Even without Smith, Atlanta would be a good place to go.

Clippers: The Clippers can offer Chris Paul the most money as well as give him everything he wants. This team is already loaded and could possibly improve some if they manage to get KG, Pierce and Afflalo. Throw in the chemistry, familiarity and continuity factors and that’ll make it even harder to leave. With Griffin, Crawford and others intact; Doc Rivers coaching and more help on the way, why should he leave?

Knicks/Lakers/Celtics: The only way these can happen is by sign and trade deals. Paul could go to the Lakers for a Nash package, or to the Knicks for an Amare’ package, but who would accept something as blasphemy as that? (Oh wait we are dealing with the Clippers.) And as for Boston, Rondo for Paul would be the only thing that can work, but didn’t Doc just leave Rondo? So yeah that scenario is highly unlikely.

In my eyes CP3 should stay with the Clippers, because of Doc Rivers and his coaching ability and the fact that the Clippers are progressing as a team. The same thing can’t be said about the other teams mentioned.

To Be Continued.

Comment your opinion below.

Twitter-Fortonsportsinc

Can Anyone Beat The Heat?

Throughout this season people have said the Heat are shoulders above the rest and can’t be beaten. Me and my partners, Kenton13 ( http://wp.me/p33YLP-71) and AllenRmon ( http://wp.me/p33YLP-5A) are here to debate that claim.

Can Memphis, San Antonio or Indiana beat the Heat?

Kenton:
Yes. I think that either team could, but I feel like the Spurs have the best shot because they can score.

Ryan: I understand that, but i feel like Memphis has a better shot because of their defense and the bigs they have downlow.

R’Mon: NO!!!! When the Heat are on their game and playing their pressure defense, they are virtually unstoppable. Not to mention they have the best player in the world (just a thought).

Kenton: When anyone of these teams are on their game, they’re hard to beat!

Ryan: Fair enough, but Chicago did provide a minor blueprint on how to beat the Heat!

R’mon: Not really they eventually got beat at their own game. Miami can get physical too!

Kenton: Miami physical? I find that comical. Miami doesn’t like getting roughed up. With Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol under the basket Miami might not be able to handle it.

Ryan: Miami can get physical. Just not as much as Memphis or Indiana.

R’mon: Didn’t they handle it last year for two straight rounds against two physical teams, (Celtics and Pacers?) So you guys are factually incorrect. Sounds like a bunch of foolishness to me.

Kenton: But the Heat haven’t played big men like Randolph, Gasol and Duncan before. Big men who can go out there and get it for themselves.

Ryan: Honestly if Miami struggled with Noah and Boozer (laughs,) David West and Roy Hibbert are going to abuse them.

R’mon: Yes, but at the end of the day they will have a hard time defending Miami as well.

Kenton: True, it’s going to be hard for a team to beat the Heat, but I think it’s a possibility that someone can.

Ryan: All in all Miami can be beaten. It’s just a matter of will Indiana an Memphis stay true to their game when matched up against Miami. San Antonio plays too fast which would be disastrous in a series against the Heat.

R’mon: Well I don’t think anybody can I just can’t see it.

image

R’Mon Allen

Kenton Adams

Ryan Fort

The Oklahoma City Thunder Were Favored Over Memphis Why? – Omavi Darden

Once Russell Westbrook was lost due to injury, many people still claimed that the Thunder could make it to the NBA Finals without him. I immediately disagreed with that claim.

For starters, the Thunder had a ferocious battle tested Grizzlies team to get by first. I already knew from the jump, that the Grizzlies would give the Thunder serious problems in the interior. The lethal combination of Zach and Marc scoring in the paint area and fighting for rebounds would obviously wear this undermanned Thunder team down over a 7 game series.

Their defensive schemes were just as good. The Grizzlies do a good job of forcing opposing teams top offensive players into spots on the court where there is help defense (greatly reducing the % of attempted shots and good for disrupting an efficient offense).

Next people seem to forget how good Mike Conley is. He is a top 10 point guard in my opinion. He is a good floor general, can stretch the floor with his shooting touch, and isn’t afraid to take big shots down the stretch of tight games. He is so agile and fast, he gives defenders fits trying to stay in front of him and guard him.

People also forgot that Memphis had a Tony Allen and a Tayshaun Prince. These two players are superb one on one defenders, and great team defenders as well. Tony is a quicker more physical defender who can get up in you, and pressure you into tough spots on the court. Prince is a tall/longer/finesse defender who uses his body to maneuver himself into advantageous positions on the court over offensive players (to the point where he can literally dictate the shot that the offensive player takes), and still contests it with his outstretched arms, resulting in a lower % shot. That’s exactly what Memphis wants you to do.

Marc is also the leader of this tantalizing defense. He doesn’t necessarily block a lot of shots or make the most exciting defensive plays, but its his paint presence alone that allows this Memphis team to function so well defensively. His help defense and rotations on defense are crisp as can be. He alters a lot of shots attempted in the paint area, causing them to miss severely. This Memphis team really believes in one another, and the trust factor is the reason they operate so well as a unit. Players know where teammates want the ball on offense, and also know where the help side defense is going to be at.

Memphis doesn’t necessarily have a designated star player on their team that they rely on to get them buckets at the end of close games. However, they don’t need one because they are such a good team. At the end of the day I understand Kevin Durant is a star in this league, and he can drop 40 on any given night. But at the end of the day, one man can not expect to take on a whole team and be victorious. Memphis ended up winning this series 4-1 I’m not too surprised.

Omavi Darden

The Collapse Of The Mighty Los Angeles Clippers – Omavi Darden

I’m a Clippers fan, well really just Chris Paul fan, but recently I have been forced to come to terms with the true nature of the Clippers. They just aren’t that good. They lost in the First Round to Memphis in horrible fashion. As constructed, the Clippers are not a contending team and I will list the reasons why.

1. Half Court Offense- The Clippers rely too much on CP3 to either facilitate or score the basketball. He has to work too hard just to make the right play. The Clippers love to run the pick and roll, but this can be ineffective and counterproductive when teams decide to trap Chris on the roll, forcing the ball out of his hands to a shooter for a contested 3 pointer. The Clippers lack a go to scorer. Blake is limited and doesn’t impose his will on offense. The starting center, Deandre Jordan has been playing like trash and has huge weaknesses in his game. He lacks post moves, an offensive basketball IQ, loses the ball attempting to post, can’t shoot outside of the paint and doesn’t rebound as well as he should for a big man. After that, we get to the starting sg Chauncey Billups. He was once very good, but is now a shell of himself. He is less agile, can’t get to the rim or create his own shot. Most of the time he has to resort to 3 point shots, which he doesn’t shoot as well as he did back in his Detroit days. When he does shoot, they are mostly contested with a hand in his face and the % drops dramatically from there. Next we get to Caron Butler.  He has trouble creating his own shot, can’t get to the rim, is slow for his position, and at times tends to live and die by the jumper. After that we get to Vinny Del Negro. He doesn’t really run good set plays to put his team in position to score, his system is basic and easy to stop, he puts all the pressure on Chris Paul’s shoulders to go isolation and create a offense for everyone else. Even though Chris Paul is a great player, he can’t do everything on his own. Other people need to contribute to be a successful team in this league.

2 Lack Of A Go To Scorer- The Clippers, as of right now rely on the 6’0 pg Chris Paul to be that person. The Only problem is, that isn’t his role as a basketball player. His role is to create scoring opportunities for other players and to hit a clutch shot every now and then when the game is on the line. Usually a go to scorer has height and length to where he can create his own shot relatively easy and can give you 20 + on a night in night out basis. Chris is smaller, so that means he has to work that much harder just to get his shots up. He can do it but he is really a Floor General and Facilitator at heart.

If the Clippers shore these problems up they can truly be championship contenders.

The NBA Playoffs

image

    After about seven months of NBA basketball we’ve finally reached the best part of the season, the Playoffs. To start the First Round off in the Eastern Conference we have the:

1.Miami Heat vs 8.Milwaukee Bucks

4.Brooklyn Nets vs 5.Chicago Bulls

3.Indiana Pacers vs 6.Atlanta Hawks

2.New York Knicks vs Boston Celtics

  In the Western Conference we have the:
1.Oklahoma City Thunder vs 8.Houston Rockets

4.Los Angeles Clippers vs 5.Memphis Grizzles

3.Denver Nuggets vs 6.Golden State Warriors

2.San Antonio Spurs vs 7.Los Angeles Lakers
     Each series has something special going which should keep us entertained throughout!
                  Heat vs Bucks:
Earlier this season Monta Ellis said he was on the same level as Dwade. Shortly after that Jennings said they wanted to play the Heat in the Playoffs. And just the other day Jennings said the Bucks will win in 6. Crazy I know! But with all the trash talk coming out of Milwaukee I feel like the Heat will bring them back down to reality. Heat win this series 4-0.
                    Nets vs Bulls
This series will tell us if we should take the Nets seriously. With D-Will back to his Utah days and Lopez playing at an Allstar level they should be able to beat the Bulls right? The answer is no. Chicago is a better team and will make things look ugly because of their defense. And who knows they may have a surprise return from Derrick Rose. With or without Rose the Bulls will win this series 4-2
              Pacers vs Hawks
In this series we have a budding star ( Paul George,) going against a guy who’s trying to show the world he’s a top notch player (Josh Smith.) This series will be over in 5 games setting up a Pacers-Knicks reunion in round two.
               Knicks vs Celtics:
Upset alert!!!! Ok, maybe not but this will be an interesting series! In this series we’ll see if Melo is the real deal or just a guy with no hope of winning a ring. We’ll also find out if this is Boston’s last stand in the K.G era. I have the Knicks winning 4-3, but don’t be surprised if the Celtics win in six!
            Now lets head to the West.
           Thunder vs Rockets:
Harden vs his old team and good friends turning into rivals.This series will be about Harden showing OKC what they’re missing and OKC showing Harden they don’t necessarily need him. This could also be the series Jeremy Lin breaks out, but I highly doubt it. Anyway Harden and co. may steal one in OKC, but they won’t be able to stop the best duo in the league consistently. OKC wins 4-2
             Clippers vs Grizzles
Rivalry!!!!!! After last year’s series I have a feeling the Grizzles want and will get revenge. The Grizzles will also show us why they don’t need Rudy Gay. The Clippers on the other hand aren’t going to be able to stop the Grizzles bigs downlow. Memphis will win this series 4-3.
               Nuggets vs Warriors
Whoa, Curry vs Lawson; Manimal vs Lee; Jack vs Miller; Karl vs Jackson! This series should be a thriller. Sure Denver doesn’t have Gallinari but G-State doesn’t have Brandon Rush or a healthy Andrew Bogut. Nevertheless this series will go 7 games with the Golden State Warriors winning!
                Spurs vs Lakers:
Upset Alert x10!!!! The Spurs may have one of the best offenses in the league, if not the best, but it has slowed down as of late. Parker is still recovering while Ginobli and Diaw are out. And on top of that they cut Stephen Jackson and signed the First Round Exit Curse himself, Tracy Mcgrady!! But thats not all. Gasol and Dwight have found a way to play together and should be too much downlow for the Spurs. On the defensive side of the ball they’re playing alot better and should be able to stop the Spurs’ offense. And lets not forget Dwight Howard has something to prove and that the other Lakers are inspired and motivated by Kobe Bryant and the death of Dr.Buss….Lakers win this series 4-2.
               Players To Watch:
Josh Smith- wants a Max contact and believes he’s a top 15 player.

Dwight Howard- to show he has what it takes to lead the Lakers.

James Harden- to show he can lead his team with or without stars.

Carmelo Anthony- To show he’s next in line and that he has arrived

Kevin Durant- to show everyone his time is now!

Russell Westbrook- to show the Thunder can win with him and that he’s not taking away from Kevin Durant.

Paul George- to show everyone he can lead the Pacers and that he’s their guy.

LeBron James- to put his stamp on history and spark the Kobe-LeBron-Jordan debate more.

          Honorable Mention:
Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Tracy Mcgrady, Stephen Curry, Ty Lawson, Blake Griffin, Jeremy Lin, Derrick Rose, Jeff Green, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Jeff Teague, Pau Gasol, Tony Parker, Kevin Martin, Amare’ Stoudamire, Roy Hibbert,  David West.

         April 20th it all Begins!!!!!!

image

                
    

          

Is Dirk Nowitzki a top 5 PF All-time? (Part 1)

         When people, fans, analysts, commentators etc, discuss the Power Forward position the conversation begins and ends with Tim Duncan, a player universally known as the Greatest PF to ever play the game. After Tim Duncan the likes of Karl Malone, Kevin Garnett, Charles Barkley and Kevin McHale get mentioned; when people try to compare Dirk Nowitzki to them most people say he’s soft and isn’t top 10. If you asked them to name 10 PFs better than him they wouldn’t be able to do it without repeating some of the names listed. Before I compare Dirk to the Elite 5, I’m going to start off from the bottom.
          Most of the young people in the world that pay attention to basketball, I’m talking kids, would say Blake Griffin, L. Aldridge and Kevin Love are better than Dirk. If we’re speaking about today then that claim may be valid, but since we’re talking about career wise they have to take a backseat to Dirk since their careers just started. But to kill this arguement even more, Dirk has led two teams to the Finals while K.Love hasn’t made it to the playoffs and L.Aldridge hasn’t been past the first round.
              Before Dirk got his ring, people speculated that Chris Bosh, David West, Pau Gasol, Rasheed Wallace, Amare’ Stoudamire, Carlos Boozer and Zach Randolph were better players. Dirk was taking a hit at the time for choking in crunch time and not being able to lead his team past the first round in most cases. What those people people failed to realize was how Dirk’s best teammate was Terry while Boozer had Deron Williams, Amare’ had Steve Nash, Gasol had Kobe, David West had CP3, Rasheed had Billups/Iverson, and Bosh, like Randolph failed to make the Playoffs in most cases.
             During that time span, 06-11, Dirk had seasons where he averaged 25pts 9reb, 24pts 9reb, 26pts 8reb, 25pts 8reb, and 23pts 7reb while none of the other players had years that were better than Dirk’s.
David West best season :  21pts 9reb
Carlos Boozer best season: 21pts 12reb
Rasheed Wallace best season: 12pts 7reb
Zach Randolph best season 21pts 13reb or 24pts 10reb
Chris Bosh best season: 24pts 11reb
Amare’ Stoudamire best season: 25pts 9reb
Pau Gasol best season: 21pts 10reb
   How many of those seasons are better than Dirk’s number wise without including FG %?
  Moving on now, if Dirk was on Rasheed Wallace’s Pistons teams they would’ve been a lot more dangerous. If Dirk would’ve been to that Hornets team instead of David West they would’ve been a lot better. If you put Dirk on that Lakers team that featured Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum ( sad case), Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson they would’ve 4peated. Put Dirk on Chris Bosh’s Raptors team that featured Jose Calderon they would’ve made the playoffs. Dirk and D-Will running the pick and roll would’ve equated into one of the most deadliest duos ever.( Same thing can be said for Dirk and Stockton but thats for later.) Put Dirk in Phoenix with Nash, Shawn Marion (Prime) and D’Antoni and they would’ve wrecked shop on league. Now lets flip the deal. How many of those guys could you sub in for Dirk that would led his Maverick teams that featured Jason Terry, Josh Howard and some jags ( Just A Guy,) to consecutive 50+ win seasons?
    I’ll answer that for you, none!!! Amare’ thrived doing the pick and roll with Nash; David West thrived doing the pick and roll with Chris Paul; Chris Bosh ran the pick and roll with Calderon, heck even Pau Gasol used the pick and roll to get going. In Dallas the Pick and Roll game wouldn’t have worked. In late game situations how many of those guys would’ve been able to shake loose for their shots like Dirk could? The answer is not many, if any. Throw in the fact that Dirk is the only one who’s 7ft with a stroke and an MVP award the debate gets ugly.
      Before he we can argue the Tim Duncans and KGs of the game we have to pay homage to some decent PFs that made names for themselves. Derrick Coleman, Dennis Rodman, Shawn Kemp and Chris Webber deserve some recognition. Defensively Rodman is 2nd to none, offensively he’s last to all. His offensive game was non existent and he was 6’8 which makes him a little PF. If he guarded Dirk he would get lit up for 40+.
       Now Derrick Coleman was nice, former #1 overall pick, but he only had 4 years of averaging 20+ and one allstar appearance so he’s pretty much cooked in this argument. Chris Webber doesn’t really make it an arguement either. He only had 2 years where he averaged 25pts or more. Furthermore his career was derailed by injury so we didn’t see the full extent of C-Webb. But his awards don’t really compare to Dirks either so he’s done.
        Shawn Kemp was yesterday’s Blake Griffin. His dunks were monstrous and breath taking, but every thing was OK at best. For his career he averages 14.6pts 8.4reb 1st. He tallied a total of two season in which he averaged 20 or more; his best season was when he averaged 19pts and 11reb, which really isn’t all that when compared to Dirk.
            THE TIME HAS COME

    When compared to the guys from earlier it wasn’t that fair, in the sense that he was head and shoulders above everyone else. At this stage things aren’t going be as easy, but you already knew that.
      Earlier when naming the top 5 PFs I put them in order. For those who don’t recall the sequence goes Tim Duncan-Karl Malone-Charles Barkley-Kevin Garnett-Kevin McHale. Instead of jumping the gun and going at Karl Malone or Barkley first i’ll start from the bottom.
                Dirk vs McHale
    During his time McHale was one of the best low post scorers in the game. He could defend and was an efficient player. Not to take away from his but he played with Larry Bird, arguably the best SF ever, and one the best centers ever in Robert Parish; not mention guys like Bill Walton and D.Johnson. Playing alongside them helped and hurt his career in a way. It helped because he won and accomplished some things, but it hurt because we never saw him as the main guy like we’ve seen KG, Dirk, Duncan, Barkley and Malone be. When looking at awards he has 3 rings, two 6th-man awards, 7 allstar appearances and 6 all defensive team honors. Dirk on the other hand has an MVP award, 9 allstar selections and a Finals MVP award. Throw in the fact that Dirk never played with an Allstar,( I’m not talking about an allstar that made the team as an injury replacement JOSH HOWARD,) and beat the two best players in the league, which had a top 15 player alongside them at the time, by his self shows how good Dirk really is. Give Dirk Larry Legend and the Chief and I’m sure he would have multiple championships. Dirk was also apart of the 50’s 40’s 90’s club at one point of time. Having Dirk with Parish would make that Celtics team bigger and a lot better offensively because of his floor spacing. Sorry McHale but Dirk brought another element to the table.
                 Dirk vs KG

image
This debate can go either way. Defensively Garnett has it but offensively Dirk has it. They both aren’t bangers and play in a finesse style. KG does post fades and so does Dirk. Enough of that though, it’s time for the stats.
    For his career Garnett averages 19.1pts 1.5blks 1.3stl 2.3to 4ast 10.5reb 49.8% FGP 77.6 FTP

Dirk on the other hand averages 22.7ppg 0.9blk 0.9stl 1.9to. 2.6ast 8.2reb 47.4% FGP 87%FTP
   When looking at both they’re identical so that doesn’t help as much. If you look at their best season, no one gains the advantage.
KG Best Season: 24.2ppg 1.5stl 2.2blks 5.0ast 14reb 50% FGP

Dirk Best Season: 25ppg 0.7stl 0.8blk 3.4ast 9reb 50% FGP 41% 3pt 90% FT
Maybe Post Season play will help out.
Dirk’s postseason average: 26ppg 10reb 3ast 1blk 1stl

KG’s postseason average:  20ppg 11reb 4ast 1blk 1stl.

    After viewing that Dirk gains the edge and KG doesn’t recover. Before KG went to Boston he got out of the first round once. During one of his many first exits, KG got dogged by Dirk Nowitzki.  Dirk’s team sweep KG’s with some lopsided stats.
    In the the three games they played against each other the stats looked like this:
Points Per Game:
KG- 24.0
Dirk- 33.3
Turnovers:
KG-4
Dirk-2
Blocks:
KG- 1.7
Dirk- 1.3
Steals:
KG- 1.7
Dirk- 3
Assists:
KG- 5
Dirk- 1
Rebounds:
KG- 19
Dirk- 16
Field Goal %, ( FG, 3pt, FT,) :
KG- 43% 50% 71%
Dirk- 52% 72%
Dirk pretty much wins this one because of that and because he didn’t play with Pierce, Rondo and Allen, or be coached by Doc Rivers. If KG and Rondo are a great pick and roll, pick and pop tandem picture what Dirk would do. At the end of the day Dirk has done more with less. Put Dirk on the Celtics and they’ll be a lot better because of his offensive skill set.
TBC.

The Heat’s win streak

image

After losing a game to the Indiana Pacers at the beginning of February the Miami Heat went on a mission to prove that they were the best team in league, hands down. After the loss critics and naysayers said the Heat were in trouble because of their lack of size and inability to rebound and defend low post players; people also said they would lose to teams who played tough defense. Instead of talking about what they can and can’t do the Heat went out and showed what they were capable of, a win streak that has the whole sports world paying homage. As of now the win streak is at 22 games, which is the 2nd longest win streak in NBA history. During this win streak they’ve beaten the Rockets, Lakers, Clippers, Thunder, Hawks (twice) , Bulls, Bucks ( twice) , Grizzles and Knicks. All of those teams, as of now, are playoff bound. Some like to say “They haven’t played anybody,” while others say ” it doesn’t mean anything, it’s just the regular season.” Both quotes are understatements, especially the first. Winning 11 of their 22 games against playoff teams means they’ve played some good competition and are coming together even more as a team. The regular season is the time teams use to jell, build chemistry, develop an identity and in some cases set goals for themselves to help maximize their potential. And that’s exactly what the Heat are doing. Realistically we’re witnessing one of the greatest teams ever; a duo that’s arguably top 3 all-time; a coach climbing the ranks into the elite category; and an organization climbing the ranks as well. By adding this to his resume, LeBron will be able to say he accomplished something Kobe and Jordan never did, which could help in any future debates between the three. With 17 games left in their season I believe they can and will break the Lakers record of 33 straight wins. With 2/3s down and one more to go the Heat are in a good position. So lets sit back and watch some the best basketball to ever be played. GO HEAT

image