Tag Archives: Blake Griffin

NBA Preview: Awards, Hype, Prediction Edition

With the NBA Season getting ready to start it’s only right that we answer a few questions in regards to awards, playoff seeding, finals predictions etc…. Please be sure to sound off and voice your opinions and enlighten us on your predictions.

Statistical Predictions:

Who will lead the league in scoring?

  
Hornback: Kevin Durant

Fort: Kevin Durant

Carter: Kevin Durant

Who will lead the league in rebounds?

  Hornback: Andre Drummond

Fort: Hassan Whiteside

Carter: Deandre Jordan

Who will lead the league in assists?

  

Hornback: John Wall

Fort: John Wall

Carter: Chris Paul

Who will lead the league in PER? (Player Efficiency Rating)

    
Hornback: Anthony Davis

Fort: Anthony Davis

Carter: Chris Paul

Who will lead the league in usage percentage?

  Hornback: LeBron James

Fort: Carmelo Anthony

Carter: James Harden

What will be the top 5 offenses?

   
Hornback:

  1. Warriors
  2. Clippers
  3. Thunder
  4. Hawks
  5. Spurs

Fort:

  1. Warriors
  2. Clippers
  3. Thunder
  4. Hawks
  5. Spurs

Carter:

  1. Clippers
  2. Warriors
  3. Thunder
  4. Rockets
  5. Heat

What will be the top 5 defenses?

    
Hornback:

  1. Jazz
  2. Warriors
  3. Bucks
  4. Grizzlies
  5. Wizards

Fort:

  1. Warriors
  2. Wizards
  3. Cavaliers
  4. Bucks
  5. Thunder

Carter:

  1. Bucks
  2. Bulls
  3. Pelicans
  4. Warriors
  5. Jazz

Awards Predictions:

Who will be this season’s Coach of the Year?

  

Hornback: Alvin Gentry

Fort: Erik Spolestra

Carter: Jason Kidd

Who will be this season’s Executive of the Year?

  
Hornback: R. C. Buford (San Antonio)

Fort: Pat Riley (Miami)

Carter: John Hammond (Milwaukee)

Who will be the season’s Rookie of the Year?

  Hornback: Jahlil Okafor

Fort: Emannuel Mudiay (Winslow very close 2nd)

Carter: Karl-Anthony Towns

Who will be this season’s Most Valuable Player of the Year?

  Hornback: James Harden

Fort: Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook

Carter: James Harden

Who will be this season’s Defensive Player of the Year?

  Hornback: Rudy Gobert

Fort: Dwight Howard

Carter: Anthony Davis

Who will be this season’s Sixth Man of the Year?

  Hornback: Isaiah Thomas

Fort: Louis Williams

Carter: Isaiah Thomas

Who will be this season’s Most Improved Player?

  
Hornback: Derrick Favors

Fort: Jordan Clarkson

Carter: Rudy Gobert

All NBA 1st Team

Hornback:
Steph Curry
James Harden
LeBron James
Anthony Davis
Dwight Howard

Fort: 
Russell Westbrook
James Harden
LeBron James
Kevin Durant
Anthony Davis

Carter:
Chris Paul
James Harden
LeBron James
Blake Griffin
Anthony Davis

All NBA 2nd Team

Hornback:
Chris Paul
Russell Westbrook
Kevin Durant
LaMarcus Aldridge
DeMarcus Cousins

Fort: 
John Wall
Steph Curry
Paul George
Lamarcus Aldridge
Blake Griffin

Carter:
Steph Curry
Russell Westbrook
Kevin Durant
LaMarcus Aldridge
Demarcus Cousins

All NBA 3rd Team

Hornback:
John Wall
Jimmy Butler
Kevin Love
Blake Griffin
Marc Gasol

Fort: 
Chris Paul
Jimmy Butler
Kawhi Leonard
Chris Bosh
Marc Gasol

Carter:
John Wall
Jimmy Butler
Kawhi Leonard
Pau Gasol
Marc Gasol

All NBA Defensive 1st Team

Hornback:
John Wall
Tony Allen
Draymond Green
Anthony Davis
Rudy Gobert

Fort: 
John Wall
Jeff Teague
Kawhi Leonard
LeBron James

Carter:
Chris Paul
Jimmy Butler
Anthony Davis
Rudy Gobert

All NBA Defensive 2nd Team

Hornback:
Chris Paul
Jimmy Butler
Kawhi Leonard
Serge Ibaka
Marc Gasol

Fort: 
Chris Paul
Jimmy Butler
Paul George
Anthony Davis
Deandre Jordan

Carter:
Michael Conley
Tony Allen
Draymond Green
Serge Ibaka
Deandre Jordan

All NBA Rookie Team

Hornback:
D’Angelo Russell
Emmanuel Mudiay
Mario Hezonja
Stanley Johnson
Jahlil Okafor

Fort: 
Emmanuel Mudiay
D’Angelo Russell
Justice Winslow
Karl-Anthony Towns
Jahlil Okafor

Carter:
Emmanuel Mudiay
Mario Hezonja
Stanley Johnson
Karl-Anthony Towns
Jahlil Okafor

Playoff Predictions

  
DeShawn Hornback:

  1. Warriors
  2. Spurs
  3. Rockets
  4. Clippers
  5. Thunder
  6. Grizzlies
  7. Pelicans
  8. Jazz

Ryan Fort

  1. Thunder
  2. Warriors
  3. Rockets
  4. Spurs
  5. Clippers
  6. Grizzlies
  7. Pelicans
  8. Mavs

Tyler Carter:

  1. Spurs
  2. Warriors
  3. Clippers
  4. Rockets
  5. Thunder
  6. Grizzlies
  7. Suns
  8. Kings

  
Hornback:

  1. Cavaliers
  2. Hawks
  3. Wizards
  4. Bulls
  5. Raptors
  6. Heat
  7. Bucks
  8. Detroit

Fort:

  1. Cavaliers
  2. Hawks
  3. Wizards
  4. Heat
  5. Bulls
  6. Raptors
  7. Bucks
  8. Pistons

Carter:

  1. Cavaliers
  2. Bulls
  3. Heat
  4. Raptors
  5. Wizards
  6. Bucks
  7. Hawks
  8. Pacers

Final Four

Hornback: 

Spurs vs Warriors
Cavaliers vs Wizards

Fort: 

Thunder vs Rockets
Cavaliers vs Heat

Carter:

Spurs vs Clippers
Cavaliers vs Heat

Finals Predictions:

  
Hornback:

Spurs vs Cavaliers Cavaliers in 7

Fort: 

Thunder vs Heat Thunder in 6

Carter:

Spurs vs Cavaliers Cavaliers in 6

Rockets(2) vs Clippers(3) Legacies On The Line

This should be a very fun series all the way around. The Rockets have the runner up in the MVP ballot against a very determined squad led by two superstars; Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Both teams were very close in their regular season production, but the Rockets did it without their 2nd best player in Dwight Howard. Howard is healthy now and has been looking like the prime Dwight Howard that led Orlando to the finals.
  Throughout the year the Clippers have been desperately trying to find a way to help their bench deficiencies but to no avail. They had Nate Robinson for a minute who ended up being injured, Glen Davis isn’t the worst thing in the world, and Jamal Crawford’s +/- hasn’t been pretty this year either. Oh, and there’s Austin Rivers who gives every Clipper fan a heart attack when he steps out onto the floor. Depth is key in the playoffs and it’s been awhile since we’ve seen a true contender rely on their starters as heavily as the Clippers do. One injury to that lineup would completely tear them apart. Even if it was Matt Barnes, the +/- takes a significant drop.
  On the other side you have the Rockets who basically have been playing like Harden and everyone else up until the playoffs. Dwight Howard has been the best Rocket in the playoffs for 10 of the past 11 (excluding Harden’s 40+pt performance) games now, and I don’t see that disappearing. Despite how many feel about Howard, there is no denying that he turns it on when playoff time comes around. Josh Smith was extremely effective against the Mavs in the last round but he does that every time he faces them so it wasn’t too big of a surprise. If they rely on Harden to be 44% of the offense like he was all regular season, then I doubt they’ll have a chance to win.
STARTERS:
PG: J. Terry vs C. Paul
SG: J. Harden vs J. Reddick
SF: T. Ariza vs M. Barnes
PF: T. Jones vs B. Griffin
C: D. Howard vs D. Jordan

KEYS:
  Outside scoring has been difficult for the Clippers as of late. That outside shot will be key to opening things up for Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to create inside. They need at least 8-12 3-pointers a game to have a chance at winning.
  Jamal Crawford needs to be a positive factor for them off the bench. Anytime he shows up it’s usually a win for Los Angeles. If Jamal can have at least 2 or 3 explosive games, then it won’t be good for Houston.
  The Rockets have to find someone to guard Chris Paul. Jason Terry will get torched if he’s the best answer. Harden has the skill set but it has completely vanished since coming to Houston, and Ariza just doesn’t seem fast enough. Losing Beverly hurt a lot because they need him especially right now.
  If the entire team contributes the way they did against the Mavericks, I don’t know if the Clippers have a chance. The Rockets definitely have more valuable bodies to throw at them while the Clippers will be draining themselves if the Rockets can keep fresh bodies out there.
  I have the Clippers beating the Rockets 4-2. It’s crazy every logical thought in my brain says that Houston is the right pick, but seeing Chris Paul willing his team through that game 7 victory has taken me over. Another part of it is that I’m not sure if I trust Harden in the playoffs quite yet. Oh, and don’t worry about missing the games as they’ll probably last all night long with hack-a-Howard, hack-a-Jordan, hack-a-Dorsey, hack-a-Smith, etc…man that’s an exciting rule.

Clippers (3) vs Spurs (6) Preview : Too Early

Los Angeles Clippers (56-26) vs. San Antonio Spurs (55-27)

Los Angeles Clippers v San Antonio Spurs

This series will easily be the most anticipated series of the first round. Before the season started no one saw this as a potential 1st round match-up…. And I repeat NO ONE.

In this series we’ll have star power in Blake Griffin, Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Chris Paul. We’ll have two great coaches in Doc. Rivers & Greg Popovich. We’ll also have two DPOY candidates in DeAndre Jordan and Kawhi Leonard competing in this match-up. Oh, and i didn’t even get a chance to mention all of the shooting we’ll see or the guys coming off of the bench.

During the early portion of the season the Clippers were a nice team. Once Blake Griffin got injured and missed over a month of play Chris Paul elevated the Clippers to new heights. He was scoring, defending, rebounding as well as facilitating. His play during that stretch was reminiscent to his days in New Orleans. When Blake Griffin returned the Clips continued to ball and surged to the finish line winning 14 of their last 15 games.

For a majority of the season the Spurs weren’t healthy. Injuries to Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard had the team looking older and slower. After all-star weekend the Spurs switched gears and resembled a team trying to repeat as champs. They were the best team in the league over the last portion of the season.

Having played four times the Spurs and Clippers split the season series 2-2. The Clippers had one 20 point victory while the rest of the games were within ten points.

Starters:

PG: C.Paul vs. T.Parker

SG: J.Redick vs. D.Green

SF: Matt Barnes vs. K.Leonard

PF: B.Griffin vs. T.Duncan

C. D.Jordan vs. T.Splitter

In the postseason the Spurs are 8-3 against Chris Paul all time. In their previous match-up the Spurs swept the Clippers.

Beating the Spurs will be no short order for the Clips this time around. The Spurs have a plethora of shooters, guys who can defend and a lot of willing passers. Playing an up-tempo style fits right into the hands of the Spurs as well because that’s their game.

A lot of things ride on this series for the Clippers as well. They won’t have to deal with a distraction in Donald Sterling like they did last year. If the Clippers lose this series Rivers’ job will be at stake, a roster split up would be pondered and Chris Paul’s legacy would be tainted more. They have to make something happen now.

Keys:

Los Angeles

In this series the Clippers need to defend the three ball. If Chris Paul can lock-up Parker and Jordan continues his play on the defensive end it’ll be hard for the Spurs to generate points. If Parker is having his way, getting to his spots and distributing the ball the Clippers are going to have hell. Off the bench Crawford, Davis and Turkoglu need to be dominant. Especially Jamal Crawford. If JC isn’t on his game the Clips won’t have enough firepower.

San Antonio

Make Jordan beat you from the freethrow line. Contain Chris Paul. Go at Blake Griffin on both ends of the court. If Duncan can take Blake off his game and Leonard can defend Paul like he does every other guard/wing the Spurs will be alright. The Spurs know how to win on the road and they own a piece of the Clippers mentally. (Doc. Rivers is already panicking. On offense the ball can’t be stagnant either. Parker needs to be able to penetrate inside and give his shooters some open and easy looks. If he’s getting to his spots and shots are falling the Spurs will cruise to the 2nd Round.

Prediction Clippers beat the Spurs 4-2. It’s about time CP3 gets over the hump. The Clippers are better than ever and Chris Paul seems to be on a mission. Paul-Blake-DJ-JC will show why they’re ready to make that leap. Fun Fact: The Spurs don’t ever advance after winning the championship in the previous year. No repeating for them.

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

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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

Will The Flower Ever Blossom

Enough of the games already! Are you going to play or not? Stop saying you don’t know. Stop leaving it up in the air. Stop holding your fans hostage! Just make up your damn mind! If you’re going to play do it. If you’re not going to play just come out and say it. We’re all tired of waiting!

You were medically cleared to play two and a half months ago; what’s the hold up? You claimed you weren’t confident in dunking and cutting, but now you’re doing that all the time in practice. You your hamstrings were burning which is why you didn’t play, but you’re still practicing hard and not taking it easy. You later said you felt discomfort in your knee area. My question is why did you still practice on it?

Right before the Playoffs started we asked you if you were going to return. You answered by saying, “I don’t know it’s in God’s hands.” And then just the other day we asked again and you claimed you have had problems with muscle memory. How in the HELL do you have that problem? You’ve been playing ball since you were a child; you’ve been practicing for over two months, warmup before the game and you still have the audacity to say you lack muscle memory! Give us a break! If you don’t want to play SAY IT!

Dwight Howard came back early from injury; Metta World Peace came back from injury early; Iman Shumpert, who suffered the same injury is already back; Blake Griffin played through an injury; Chris Paul played through an injury; Steve Nash attempted to play through an injury; Stephen Curry has an injury; D-Wade has an injury; David Lee who was suppose to be out for the rest of the postseason came back early! And that’s not even half of the people that are playing through or came back from injury.

Rajon Rondo is itching to play. You don’t think he’s a franchise guy? Steph Curry is playing on bum ankles, with one being aggravated again. Is he not a franchise player? The list goes on. Great players return from injury early, especially when their team is need! How are you going to call yourself a franchise player when your franchise needs you now?

Noah is playing through Plantar Faciitis; Nate Robinson is extremely sick; Hinrich is battling an injury that’s keeping him in and out the lineup; Deng is hospitalized; Taj is injured; Hamilton is injured; Boozer is banged up. How can you just sit and watch them fight and play thru the injuries and sicknesses, and say you’re not ready to take the floor? You’re easily their healthiest player! Even if you’re not “100%” you could still come in and provide 5-10 minutes max. Elite players, franchise guys, and superstars will do whatever it takes to help their team win. We see Kobe do it all the time; we watched Dirk do it; we watched Mike do it. Now its time to you see you, Derrick Rose, do what other franchise guys do. And that’s coming through when it matters most.

Forget the past and don’t worry about the future! Your team needs you now!
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Ryan Fort

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 Los Angeles Clippers Blake Griffin Has Been Exposed – Omavi Darden

Blake Griffin
Blake Griffin (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

The first problem I have, is with Blake Griffin.   In my opinion , he is the most over hyped player in the NBA today. He is making over 100 million dollars and is proclaimed by many a superstar. When you think superstar, you think big time; when you think big time, you think big numbers and results.

Blake has a limited post game, due to his short arms and can’t score consistently against taller/ longer forwards at the 4 position. His fundamentals aren’t that great either; he relies too much on his strength and athleticism to score. That’ll work sometimes, but against a smart defensive minded team, he will be shut down. He needs to learn more post moves to use, instead of throwing head fakes and off balance spin hook shots. Teams study his predictable moves, and defend to counter what he likes to do.

Next we discuss his jump shot.  It has improved but only so very slightly. Blake still hesitates when shooting the ball, his lack of confidence is the reason for him missing a majority of the time. He has a decent shooting form, he just needs to believe in himself. Blake only takes maybe 3 or 4 jumpers a night, the defense willingly gives him the open look; however if he isnt willing to take it then he becomes one dimensional. This makes him even more predictable and allows defenders to stay in the paint area and basically makes Blake a non scoring threat due to his lack of shooting touch. You can’t just practice shooting, and then when its game time shy away from it.

If Blake would actually take the jump shot when it is there, which it is most times and not hesitate, his % would go up. The lane would  then open up for him, to blow by his defender, attack the rim, and finish strong. Blake, at 6’10 should be grabbing more rebounds than he does now. In some of the games I have watched, he only has around 6 or 7 for the night which is unacceptable! With his height/athleticism/strength, he should control the glass on the offensive and defensive side. His defense is also very suspect as well. Blake gets lit up by other premier Forwards at his position in the NBA. Some names to throw out there Kevin Love, Lamarcus Aldridge, Zack Randolph etc.

While I understand they are all very good, as a so called superstar in this league, you should be able to limit some of the things they do on the offensive side. These players score with relative ease on Griffin. They always get the better of Griffin and yet he still gets more recognition than any of them. Blake at times, seems to only give effort on offense and not enough on defense. His help defense is below average and his rotations on shooters are slow as well. He has low defensive intangibles, maybe a veteran forward that is a good on ball/team defender could mentor him in the future, because his defense is lacking as of right now. With all that athleticism he should be contesting shots in the paint left and right like a Serge Ibaka and should be getting more blocks. He is also very quick for his position he should be closing out on shooters better than he does and his help defense should be more crisp. Blake should dominate the paint area on defense.

There is a reason why people call him one dimensional. He can only score off dunks,athleticism, and strength none of those take real skill. He is the poster boy of the NBA.  He draws crowds in with his ferocious dunks on fast-breaks. All of that is exciting, but does it all equate to winning games in the playoffs where it counts?

For the last two years, Blake has been shut down on the offensive side of the court, and scored on easily on the defensive end. He seems to shrink as games go on, late in 4th quarters of games Griffin appears timid and afraid to take shots. He basically becomes a non factor scoring wise, and allows defenders to stay back and have support in the paint area. He doesn’t exhibit being a superstar in any way on that basketball court. All excitement and fun, but no important accomplishments to show for it.

Blake is a weak free throw shooter as well. He has improved but is still shaky from the stripe.  He isn’t a go to scorer like a normal NBA superstar is (where you throw him the ball and tell him to go to work and score). He will dribble, get in a bad position and kick the ball out to a shooter for a contested 25 ft three pointer which will miss 9/10.

Blake is still young, but has a lot of things to work on if he ever wants to be regarded as a superstar in my book. I have nothing against Blake Griffin, I just don’t like the fact that he is over-hyped and called a superstar by people who don’t really watch the game of basketball.

Is Dirk a top 5 Power Forward All Time? (Pt.2)

In my last post I left off comparing Dirk to KG and said Dirk would KG’s Boston teams better.(link to my last post http://wp.me/p33YLP-2a) With Dirk’s shooting touch and post play, ( which is a bit underrated,) Boston would be alot better than they are now and better than they were yesterday.
But anyway, on to the next player on the list, Charles Barkley.
Chuck was an undersized four that played big and could handle the rock decent enough to be a guard; or in his case a Small Forward. At 6’6, 252lbs Chuck averaged 22.1ppg, 12rebs and 4ast for his career. During the duration of his career he won an MVP award, was named an All-Star 11 times, got selected to the All-NBA First and Second Team 5x each and was on the All-Rookie First Team (1985). He also went to the Finals, where he lost to MJ, and played for the Original Dream Team. That’s all fine and dandy, but at the end of the day he’s not better than Dirk. As a 7ft pure shooter, Dirk boasts an advantage. Throw in the fact that he didn’t play with Scottie Pippen, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kevin Johnson, Julius Irving, Moses Malone, etc and you have an uneven argument. By pairing Dirk and Hakeem together you’ll have a dynamic duo that’ll be unguardable. ( Dirk had Tyson Chandler, TYSON CHANDLER as center and won the chip, c’mon now.) Pair Dirk with Doc J, Mo Cheeks and M.Malone and you’ll have a dynasty, their ages wouldn’t matter as long as Dirk was there. Last but not least, Dirk’s game isn’t based on athleticism like Charles’ was, therefore that’ll enable him play longer and still be effective like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was. Longevity is one of the major reasons why Dirk will surpass Charles Barkley.

In front of Chuck lies Karl Malone, who is the 2nd leading scorer in NBA history. Malone has two MVP Awards, 14 All-star selections, 11 All-NBA First Team selections, two 2nd Team selections and 3 All-Defensive First Team selections and was apart of the original Dream Team. Like Chuck, Malone accomplished some things as well as lose to MJ in the Finals, but twice. For his career he averages 25ppg on 18 shots, 10rebs and 4ast.
Dirk on the other hand averages 23ppg on 17 shots, 8rebs and 3asts, while shooting a better Freethrow and 3pt % than Malone. Realistically the numbers are close, but the impact on the game isn’t.
Downlow Malone would score at will and ran the Pick and Roll to perfection with John Stockton. By doing those two things well he helped open the floor a bit for Jeff Hornacek and Bryon Russell. Having J.Sloan as the coach helped alot as well, especially when it comes to running the pick and roll. Substitute Malone for Dirk and the Jazz become better. Defensively they add a bigger and longer body, which pays dividends when defending. Offensively it’ll help help open up more things. With him stretching the floor he’ll open up lanes for Stockton to drive in as well as Hornacek. At 6’9 Malone wasn’t a joke but he also wasn’t a 7ft pure shooter that couldn’t be stopped.

Coincidentally Dirk won his first Playoff series against Karl Malone. During that series Malone averaged: 28ppg 4to 1blk 1stl 3ast 9reb and 24shots, while shooting 80% FT, 50% 3pt ( 0.2 -0.4 that doesn’t count!) and 40% from the field.
Dirk averaged: 24pts 2to 1blk 0stl 2ast 8reb and 16 shots, while shooting 90% FT 34% 3pt and 40% from the field.
Is there a clear winner? I mean give Dirk the same amount of shots and he would’ve averaged more points. But honestly this debate can go either way. Would you prefer a nice, average sized post man who is devastating on the low block, or a 7ft big who can shoot from anywhere and is just as good downlow as anyone else? The choice is yours.

Now it’s time to see how Dirk measures up the greatest PF, Tim Duncan. Duncan is a 4x Champion, 3x Finals MVP, 2x MVP, 14x All-Star, , 9x All-NBA First Team and 3x Second Team Player, 8x All-Defensive First Team and 5x All-Defensive Second Team player and a former Rookie of the Year. With him boasting all of these credentials it’s hard to put anyone over him! But when you look at the numbers you see a different story.
Career Averages: Duncan- 20ppg 11reb 3ast and 2blks
Dirk- 23ppg 8reb 3ast 1blk
As was the case in other battles no one really gains the edge.
In 26 Playoff games against each other the averages look like this:
Duncan- 26pts 3to 2blks 1stl 4ast 12reb 18 shots 53% FGP 0% 3pt 65% FT
Dirk- 25pts 2to 1blk 1stl 2ast 10reb 16 shots 50% FGP 23% 3pt 92% FT
And once again we don’t have anyone gaining an edge. But when you look at the teams you have to give it to Dirk. Dirk didn’t get coached by Gregg Pop. or play with Tony Parker, David Robinson and Manu Ginobli. Give Dirk the supporting cast Duncan has/had and Dirk’s resume would look different.
He’s Great Admit It
Throughout all of the comparisons one thing remained constant, he didn’t have as much help as them. Despite not having as much help as the others he managed to get a ring with good role players. When he had Nash and Finley on his side Nash wasn’t Phoenix Nash and Finley aged quickly therefore making them good, but not great 2nd and 3rd options. Some say he’s not a defender because he doesn’t have any awards. What they fail to realize is that he plays solid but not great defense. When you’re 7ft with long arms you’re already a decent defender.
Other things people should take note of is how Dirk changed the postions. He completely revolutionized the Forward positions. After watching him terrorize the league as a 7ft pure shooter, GMs and others started drafting players of his caliber. Dirk paved the way for guys like Kevin Durant, Chris Bosh, Pau Gasol, Ersan llyasova, Hedo Turkoglu, Peja Stojakovic, Ryan Anderson, Andrea Bargnani, Kevin Love and others who are all essentially shooting bigmen. Barkley, Duncan and Malone didn’t do that.
Dirk also led his Maverick teams to 50+ wins in 11 straight seasons. Only Duncan surpassed that. Dirk also led his team to a 67 win season, which happens to be tied for the 6th most wins ever in the Regular Season. And if that isn’t enough Dirk is only one of five players, Elgin Baylor, Hakeem Olajuwon, Bob Petit and Shaq, to average 25pts and 10rebs in the Playoffs and last but not least the only 7ft player to be in the 50’s, 40’s, 90’s club.
At the end of the day he’s the greatest European player and the 2nd best, if not the best, Power Forward to ever play the game.
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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

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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.