Friday, December 18, 2009

NBA-Team Rankings

1. LAL (20-4)-The only difference between the Lakers and the Celtics is that the Lakers are the defending champions and that they have that Kobe Bryant guy.

2. BOS (20-4)-They have not lost in almost a month. All 5 starters are averaging double-digits and Rasheed Wallace, Eddie House, and Marquis Daniels all provide key minutes off the bench. I can't wait until the Christmas day showdown in Orlando.

3. ORL (19-7)-Blowout loss at Miami shows the Magic are the best of the second tier NBA teams and not in the same group as LA and Boston. They are as deep as any team in the league though.

4. DEN (19-7)-Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups are league's best duo. Melo is playing like the MVP, while Chauncey is one of the best PG's in the NBA.


5. ATL (18-6)-I know I am looking far ahead, but the Hawks need to win the Southeast Division. Second place will likely mean a playoff destiny vs. the Heat in the 1st round and the Celtics in the 2nd round. If they win the division they will play a sub .500 team in the 1st round then the Cavs in the 2nd round. They really need that division title.


6. DAL (19-7)-The Mavs have won 5 straight including wins vs. Phoenix, @Miami, and @OKC. Dirk is looking like a MVP
candidate once again.

7. CLV (19-7)-They are once again looking unstoppable at home but they need to beat good teams on the road as well. We all
know LeBron is nasty, but it's time for the supporting cast step it up.

8. Utah (15-10)-Last week was huge for the Jazz as they beat the Spurs, Magic and Lakers while their only loss was a blowout
at the Lakers. This week they split with the two worst teams in the NBA, the TWolves and Nets. Tonight they start a 4 game road trip in the southeast against the Hawks.

9. PHO (17-9)-The Suns are undefeated at home (9-0) while (8-9) on the road, that needs to stop if they want to be
considered an elite team. Plus they are in the same division as the Lakers so their playoff destiny will be on the road in the Western Conference.

10. POR (16-11)-They had a good win against the Suns but losses @NY and @MIL won't cut it. On the bright side we have
had many Juwan Howard sightings off the bench for the Blazers. Who would have thought Howard would have the longest career out of any player in the Fab 5?

11. MIA (13-11)-They had a huge win over the Magic. DWade is proving that he might be the best player on the planet not
named Kobe. When Michael Beasley plays well the Heat have been successful.

12. SA (13-10)-The Spurs beat the bad teams, (11-1) vs. teams with a losing record, but lose to the good teams, (2-9) vs.
teams that are .500 or better. If they get to the playoffs it will only be against good teams. I'm sensing a 1st round sweep and the end of a dynasty in San Antonio.

13. HOU (14-11)-Aaron Brooks gets my vote for the NBA's Most Improved Player. He's averaging 17.7 ppg and 5.6 apg.
for the surprisingly good Rockets. Last year he averaged 11 and 3.

14. OKC (12-12)-They have a solid young trio with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Jeff Green but they need to get
rookie James Harden more minutes. He's clearly a better player than Thabo Sefolosha.

15. DET (11-14)-Rip and Tayshaun have played a combined 6 games, yet if the playoffs were to start today the Pistons would
still be the 7th seed in the East. This is more of a testament of how bad the East is than how good the Pistons are.

16. SAC (11-13)

17. MIL (11-12)-So who is the Rookie of the Year so far? It's between the Kings' Tyreke Evans and the Bucks' Brandon Jennings. Both are 20 year old PG's. Their records are almost identical. Their numbers are pretty similar too: Tyreke (20.3 ppg, 5 apg and 5.1 rpg), Brandon (20.7 ppg, 6 apg 3.8 rpg). Their size is very different Tyreke is (6-6/220) while Brandon is (6-1/170). But I would give it to Tyreke right now because of how he has put the Kings on his back since their top scorer Kevin Martin got hurt. Tyreke is also silencing the critics that said he wasn't a true PG at the NBA level.

18. MEM (10-15)-The Grizzlies are 4-3 in December with wins over Cleveland, Dallas and @Miami. Zach Randolph has
been a very pleasant surprise.

19. LAC (11-13)-Chris Kaman in putting up 19.1 ppg and 8.8 rpg and should find himself in the All-Star game this year. The
Clippers also have the thickest backcourt duo in the league with Barron Davis (6-3/225) and Eric Gordon (6-3/222) which cause many match up problems.

20. NO (11-13)-It is me or is their just something missing. Okafor is decent but he isn't the answer at Center. CP3 is is nasty
while rookie Marcus Thorton has been a pleasant surprise off the bench with 10.6 ppg.

21. CHR (10-14)-If the Bobcats finally make the playoffs this year then Larry Brown clearly deserves to be Coach of the Year
once again.

22. TOR (11-17)-It seems like the Raptors only win when they have a huge frontcourt advantage on a team and Chris Bosh
then proceeds to just have his way. But when they play and team with a decent frontcourt the result is usually a loss and their have been way too many losses for a team that came into the this year with high playoff hopes.

23. CHI (9-15)-They have been terrible on the road (2-10). The emergence of Joakim Noah has been a bright spot but
Derrick Rose needs to average more than 5.5 apg if he wants to be considered one of the best PG's in the NBA.

24. IND (9-14)-It pains me to see Danny Granger have to try to do everything. He is such a good player that gets very little
credit and even less help. Put Danny Granger on the Heat, Jazz or Thunder and I guarantee you they are either in the conference finals.

25. NY (8-17)-It is very sad to think that the very sorry Knicks might finish 3rd, maybe even 2nd in the Atlantic Division.


26. WAS (7-16)-I thought that having Gilbert Arenas back and healthy would put the Wizards right back in the playoff hunt. I
guess I though wrong.

27. PHL (6-19)-I think it's great the 76ers brought Allen Iverson out of retirement, however even AI can't bring this franchise
back to prominence. The 76ers would love to trade Elton Brand or Samuel Dalembert but good luck moving either of their contracts.

28. GS (7-18)-I ranked the 76ers ahead of the Warriors 1) because they beat them head to head on Monday night and 2) AI is
still better than Monta Ellis or Stephen Curry who are both AI wannabes.

29. MIN (4-22)-I really don't think Ricky Rubio would help that much. At least Corey Brewer is back and healthy and had
one of the best dunks of the year on Derrick Fisher.

30. NJ (2-24)-Is it to early to start thinking about John Wall and Brook Lopez together.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

NCAA Top 25

After a few weeks of the college basketball season and all of the Thanksgiving weekend tournamentsI have noticed some things.

-We have seen some surprises such as Florida, UNLV, Oklahoma St., Portland and Marquette.

-The weekend was not kind to Butler and Michigan who both went from top 15 contender to 2 losses in the span of 4 days.

-I don't understand how Butler is still ranked in the AP and Coaches poll while Michigan is out. .

-Also in my poll I have Texas A&M and UNLV ranked ahead of the teams they beat this week. Texas A&M beat Clemson, while UNLV upset Louisville in Vegas.

-Michigan St., Tennessee and UConn lost this week but those 3 teams are still top 15 teams.


So here is my poll:
1. Kansas (5-0)

2. Texas (5-0)


3. Villanova (6-0)


4. Purdue (5-0)


5. Duke (6-0)


6. West Virginia (5-0)


7. Kentucky (7-0)


8. Syracuse (7-0)


9. Michigan St. (5-1)


10. UNC (6-1)


11. Tennessee (6-1)


12. Washington (5-0)


13. Ohio St. (5-1)


14. Georgetown (5-0)


15. Florida (6-0)


16. UConn (4-1)


17. Gonzaga (5-0)


18. Texas A&M (5-1)


19. Clemson (6-1)


20. FSU (6-1)


21. UNLV (5-0)


22. Louisville (4-1)


23. Oklahoma St. (6-0)


24. Cincinnati (4-1)


25. Portland (5-1)


Just Outside:

Ole Miss (5-1)


Marquette (6-1)


WSU (6-0)


Vandy (4-1)


Butler (4-2)


Michigan (4-2)


Wisconsin (4-1)


Miami (FL) (7-0)


Georgia Tech (4-1)




Sunday, November 15, 2009

NBA Team Rankings

1. LAL (7-2)-Will the real Lakers please stand up? Are they the team that demolished the Suns Thursday night or the team that was beat badly by the Nuggets on Friday night.

2. BOS (8-3)-They've lost 2 straight but are still considered by many to be the best team in the NBA.

3. PHO (8-2)-Their record doesn't lie, plus Nash and Amare are both playing like superstars.


4. ATL (8-2)- They've won 4 straight including wins at Boston and blow out over Denver.


5. POR (8-3)-They are the hottest team in the NBA, winning 6 straight. They will face another red hot team in the Hawks on Monday night.
Both teams are young and talented.

6. ORL (7-3)-When healthy, they will probably be in the same class as the Lakers and Celtics, but who knows when they will be healthy.


7. DEN (7-3)-Big win over the Lakers Friday night after losing 3 of their last 4. Melo is playing as good as LeBron, Wade or Kobe.


8. CLV (7-3)-Speaking of King James, he and the Cavs proved they were a little bit better than Miami. The Cavs need to get J.J. Hickson in the game more if they want to be successful.


9. MIA (7-2)-Dwayne Wade is playing like the best player in the NBA and Michael Beasley is starting to play like a #2 draft pick should. That is why Miami is 7-2.


10. DAL (6-3)-They've been solid, but not spectacular. They will battle with the Spurs all year for first in the Southwest.


11. TOR (5-4)-Chris Bosh is the best big man in the league so far with 28ppg and 12rpg. The addition of Hedo has helped too.


12. IND (4-3)-Danny Granger talks the talk and then backs it up too. He said they would beat Boston and they did. The Pacers have now won 4 straight after starting 0-3.


13. SA (4-4)-The Spurs are 0-3 on the road. That will need to change if they want to win the Southwest.


14. CHI (5-4)-They have 4 players averaging double figures in scoring, including Joakim Noah who is averaging a double-double.


15. MIL (5-2)-Brandon Jennings dropped 55 against the Warriors Saturday night. He is the Rookie of the Year thus far, but there is a lot of season left.


16. SAC (5-4)-They are by far the most surprising team in the NBA right now. Kevin Martin is a scoring machine and Tyreke Evans is a Rookie of the Year candidate.


17. OKC (5-4)-The Thunder have their own Kevin who is a pretty good scorer. Russell Westbrook is playing like one of the top 10 PGs in the league too.


18. HOU (5-4)-Aaron Brooks and Trevor Ariza have given hope to a team that many (including myself) thought had no shot at being competitive without Yao Ming or Ron Artest.


19. DET (5-4)-I am not sold on the Pistons yet, but they have played good so far.


20. Utah (4-6)-It is only a matter of time before they trade Carlos Boozer and get some help on the wings for Deron Williams. The Northwest is a tough division with the Nuggets, Blazers and the up and coming Thunder.


21. PHL (4-6)-They are a better team when they run and gun. Elton Brand does not fit in there. He is like Shaq on the Suns.


22. CHR (3-6)-Larry Brown was hoping this would be the year the Bobcats could make their first ever playoff appearance. They will need to turn it around fast if they want to accomplish that goal.


23. NO (3-8)-Getting rid of Byron Scott will not help Emeka Okafor get any better or make Peja any younger. Now the GM is coaching, give me a break. It looks like a long year for Chris Paul and New Orleans. At the Saints are still undefeated.


24. LAC (3-7)-Please Blake, get well soon. The Clippers need you.


25. GS (3-5)-The Warriors will score a lot and still lose. Their only wins this year were against other bad teams.


26. WAS (2-7)-They looked so good on opening night against Dallas, since then, not so much. Gilbert Arenas is very good, but he is not in the same class as DWade, Kobe, Brandon Roy or even Kevin Martin.


27. MEM (2-8)-With or without Iverson, they are bad. They have some talent but haven't won many games.


28. MIN (1-10)-At least the Vikings have Peterson, Favre, and Harvin. The TWolves have Al Jefferson that's pretty much it. My forecast a LONG cold winter and season in Minnesota.


29. NJ (0-10)-Brook Lopez is decent. They have 12 role players and absolutely no stars.


30. NY (1-9)-I realize they have a win and the Nets don't. But the Knicks are just so bad I cannot put them anywhere but last. If LeBron wants to play basketball in the New York Metro area next year he would have a best chance to win if he played for the New York Liberty.

Monday, November 2, 2009

NBA-What we have learned through the first weekend.

-Like I have said before the Cavs big men cannot defend the perimeter. This was evident in the first two games of the year which resulted in losses against the Celtics and Raptors. I am not saying the Cavs won’t make the playoffs or won’t win 60 games, but they will struggle against teams with versatile or great shooting 4 or 5 men. These teams include BOS, ORL, LAL, DAL, ATL, TOR, Utah, PHO, OKC, MIA (if Michael Beasley continues to start at PF) and PHL (if Thaddeus Young starts at PF once Elton Brand gets hurt, it will happen eventually)

-The Lakers, Celtics and Magic (with or without Vince Carter) all look capable of winning 65 or more games this year.

-The Nuggets might also belong in that class and they will stay in the top tier with the NBA’s elite as long as Melo plays the way he has. Melo has more skill than LeBron and is looking to put himself in the NBA’s elite class along with Kobe, DWade, and Bron.

-The Thunder is 2-1 and if they make a playoff push this year, then there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the Northwest Division is the best in the NBA. Denver is elite, Portland is young and talented, and the Jazz are always solid. Minnesota is bad and Ricky Rubio wouldn’t really help much.

-Memphis beat Toronto 2 days after the Raptors beat King James and the Cavs. The Raptors frontcourt did look impressive against the Cavs. They have 3 versatile guys at 6-10 or taller.

-The second best division in the NBA might be the Southeast. The Magic are nasty and the Hawks have as good of a starting 5 as any team in the league. The Heat is 3-0 and they have that Wade guy on their team. The Wizards have looked impressive as the Gilbert Arenas of old has returned. The Bobcats are terrible. They scored 59 points in the opener and were led by Gerald Wallace’s 10 points.

-Avery Johnson said Tony Parker was the second best PG in the league behind Chris Paul after the Spurs beat the Hornets. A day later, Derrick Rose completely out played Parker in the Bulls win proving that Rose might be the second best PG in the league. However Rose followed that game with 2 bad performances in losses against the Celtics and Heat. So I would have to say that Deron Williams is the number 2 PG in the NBA right now. His 11 assists per game give him a slight edge over Chauncey and Steve Nash. Here are my PG rankings right now:

1) Chris Paul
2) Deron Williams
3) Chauncey Billups
4) Steve Nash-He is looking like the Nash of old and the Suns are 3-0, but don’t expect 20 assists like he had vs. the Warriors every night).
5) Aaron Brooks- The most underrated player in the NBA right now. He is averaging 22 and 8 through the first 3 games and the Rockets are somehow 2-1 without Yao or Artest.
Just outside the top 5: Derrick Rose, Tony Parker and Russell Westbrook.

-The Mavs have looked good since their opening night loss to the Wizards.

-I don’t know what to think about the 76ers yet, other than I hope every Philly team beats a New York team, but the Phillies are losing to the Yankees. I really hate the Yankees.

-The Clippers really really need Blake Griffin to heal fast.

-Danny Granger and Kevin Martin are both likely to average more points per game than wins for their team. I am guessing Granger at 27.1 ppg with the Pacers going 20-62 while Kevin Martin gets 26.5 ppg while the Kings go 14-68.

-Speaking of bad teams the New York/Jersey Jets and Giants aren’t the only teams in the New York Metro area struggling. The Knicks and Nets are both stinking it up. So which teams will LeBron chose this summer? Your guess is as good as mine.

-The Bucks are so bad the NBA wouldn’t let them pay a game until Friday. However they did upset the Pistons on Saturday and Brandon Jennings has looked good in his first two games.

-Another rookie that has looked good is second round steal DeJuan Blair. He’s averaging 8 and 8 off the Bench for the Spurs.

So those are my thoughts thus far. I somehow managed to mention every team at least once.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

NCAA Pre-season Rankings

With College Basketball Season just around the corner, I have my pre-season Top 25 Rankings.
Listed next to each team is their projected finish in their conference, some key players, and a key non-conference game or games this year.


1. Kansas-Big 12 #1, PG-Sherron Collins-Sr., C-Cole Aldrich-Jr., F/G-Xavier Henry-Fr.,
@Tennessee-Jan. 10

Despite fight with football team, are still my #1. Collins and Aldrich are both capable of being 1st Team All-Americans.

2. Michigan St.-Big 10 #1, PG-Kalin Lucas-Jr., F-Raymar Morgan-Sr., SG-Durrell Summers-Jr., @Texas-Dec. 22
They went to the title game last year, but I think people might underestimate the losses of lock down defender Travis Walton and sharpshooting big man Goran Suton.

3. Tennessee-SEC #1, F-Tyler Smith-Sr, F/G-J.P. Prince-Sr., C/F-Wayne Chism-Sr.,
Kansas-Jan. 10

Until Kentucky beats them, they are still #1 in the SEC to me. The return of Tyler Smith is HUGE. Circle your calenders for Feb. 13 in Lexington.

4. Kentucky-SEC #2, PF-Patrick Patterson-Jr., PG-John Wall-Fr., C-DeMarcus Cousins-Fr.,
UNC-Dec. 5 and @UConn-Dec. 9

Calipari +Patrick Patterson's return+the top recruiting class in in the country= Major expectations. They are thinking championship in Lexington.

5. Texas-Big 12 #2, F-Damion James-Sr., SG-Avery Bradley-Fr., C-Dexter Pittman-Sr., PF-Gary Johnson-Jr., UNC-Dec. 19 and Mich. St.-Dec. 22
Avery Bradley may not be as good of a shooter as A.J. Abrams, but he can do everything else better. The return of James makes them a championship caliber team.

6. West Virginia-Big East #1, SF-Devin Ebanks-So., F-Da'Sean Butler-Sr, G-Darryl Bryant-So., @Purdue-Jan. 1
Ebanks is a poor man's Kevin Durant. The 3 D's (Devin, Da'Sean, and Darryl) could be the best trio in the nation.

7. Purdue-Big 10 #2, F-Robbie Hummel-Jr., F/C-JuJuan Johnson-Jr., PG-E'Twaun Moore-Jr.,
WVU-Jan. 1

Purdue's trio might even be better than the 3 D's. How many people think Hummel is better than Kyle Singler? This guys does.

8. Villanova-Big East #2, PG-Scottie Reynolds-Sr., G-Corey Fisher-Jr., SF-Corey Stokes-Jr. @Maryland-Dec. 6
They always have a lot of talented guards and Reynolds has proved over and over how clutch he is in the big games.

9. UNC-ACC #1, PF-Ed Davis-So., C-Deon Thompson-Sr, G/F-Marcus Ginyard-Sr.
Mich. St-Dec.1, @Kentucky-Dec. 5, @TEX-Dec. 19

They lose 4 starters from the National Title team and are still in the Top 10. UNC is a factory.

10. Duke-ACC #2, F-Kyle Singler-Jr., PG-Nolan Smith-So., F-Lance Thomas-Sr., @Wisconsin-Dec. 2 and @Georgetown-Jan. 30
They will go as far as Singler can take them.

11. California-PAC 10 #1, PG-Jerome Randle-Sr., SG-Patrick Christopher-Sr., SF-Theo Robertson-Sr., @Kansas-Dec. 22
Randle is the best player in the nation under 6 foot. He and Isaiah Thomas of Washington will battle it out for PAC 10 POY once agian.

12. Michigan-Big 10 #3, G-Manny Harris-Jr., PF-DeShawn Sims-Sr.,
@Kansas-Dec. 19 and UConn-Jan. 17

They will battle with Ohio St. and Minnesota to see who is the best team behind Mich. St. and Purdue in the Big 10.

13. Butler-Horizon #1, PF-Matt Howard-Jr., SF-Gordon Hayward-So., SG-Shelvin Mack-So., @Georgetown-Dec. 8 and Ohio St.-Dec. 12
It is scary how young and talented they are. I can't wait to see that Ohio St. game.

14. Ohio St.-Big 10 #4, SF-Evan Turner-Jr., G-William Buford-So., G-Jon Diebler-Jr.,
UNC-Nov. 19 (coaches vs. cancer) and @Butler-Dec. 12

(SEE MICHIGAN)

15. Washington-PAC 10 #2, PG-Isaiah Thomas-So., SF-Quincy Pondexter-Sr.,
Georgetown-Dec. 12

The PAC 10 is down this year and I mean down, They can have a very good record and possibly as high as a 2 seed going into March

16. Mississippi St.-SEC #3, C-Jarvis Varnado-Sr., SG-Barry Stewart-Jr., G/F-Raven Johnson-Jr., F/C-Renardo Sidney-Fr. (might not be eligible),
@UCLA-Dec. 12

Hasheem Thabeet was so 2009, in 2010 the best shot blocker/defender in the country is Varnado. If Sidney is eligible they should easily run throught the SEC West.

17. Minnesota-Big 10 #5, SG-Lawrence Westbrook-Sr., SF-Damien Johnson-Sr., PG-Al Nolen-Jr., @Butler-Nov. 26
Good coaching and guard play can go a long way in the tournament.

18. Georgetown-Big East #3, C/F-Greg Monroe-So., G/F-Austin Freemen-Jr., PG-Chris Wright-Jr., Butler-Dec. 8, @Washington-Dec. 12, Duke-Jan. 30
Failed to meet expectations last year , now it is time for Greg Monroe to prove he is a top 10 talent and time for Coach Thompson to prove he can get this team back deep in the dance.

19. Notre Dame-Big East #4, PF-Luke Harongody-Sr, PG-Tory Jackson SG-Ben Hansbrough-Jr., UCLA-Dec. 19
The return of Luke is huge. The Fighting Irish have something to prove after missing the dance last year.

20. Oklahoma-Big 12 #3 CG-Willie Warren-So., SF-Tony Crocker-Sr., C/F-Keith Gallon-Fr., @Gonzaga-Dec. 31
Obviously they will miss Blake Griffin a lot, but Willie Warren is an athletic beast. I would love to see him square off with John Wall in March.

21. Siena-MAAC #1, F/G-Edwin Ubiles-Sr., PG-Ronald Moore-Sr., PF-Ryan Rossiter-Jr.,
@Georgia Tech-Dec. 2

They return 3 senior starters and have won a game in the NCAA Tournament in back to back years. Last year they proved the #8 seed thay recieved in the tourney was deserved when they almost upset Louisville.

22. UConn-Big East #5, SG Jerome Dyson, PG Kemba Walker-So., SF Stanley Robinson-Sr., Kentucky-Dec. 9 and @Michigan-Jan. 17
A lot of question mark for the Huskies, How will they be affected with Coch Calhoun's health? How well will Dyson perform coming back from his injury? Is Robinson ready to be a go to guy?

23. FSU-ACC #3, C-Solomon Alabi-Jr., SF-Chris Singleton-So., SG-Michael Snaer-Fr.,
@Florida-Nov. 24 and @Ohio St.-Dec. 2

They have a top 10 NBA draft prospect in Alabi and a top 10 recruit in Snaer, but they key will be if Singleton and Snaer can replace Toney Douglas' scoring load.

24. Kansas St.-Big 12 #4 G-Denis Clemente-Sr., G-Jacob Pullen-Jr., F-Wally Judge-Fr.,
Xavier-Dec. 8

This is a very good team that will go under the radar. Clemente is very good and they have a strong recruting class coming in.

25. Florida-SEC #4 PG-Kenny Boynton-Fr., F/C-Alex Tyus-Jr., SF-Chandler Parson-Jr.,
FSU-Nov. 24 and Mich. St. (in Atlantic City, NJ)

Let the Kenny Boynton era begin. Hopefully he can do something that former stud PG Nick Calathes never did, which is lead Florida back to the tournament.


Honorable Mention: They are divided into two categories: Up and Comers and Teams that Lost Too Much
Up and Comers:
Georgia Tech-If Kentucky is a championship caliber team with stud Freshmen leading them, then Tech can easily make it in the Top 25 with
superstar Frosh Derrick Favors and versatile Soph. SG Iman Shumpert leading the way
Wisconsin-Are led by guard Trevon Hughes and have a good core that will grind out wins with great defense and smart play.
Maryland-Greivis Vasquez might mean more to his team than any other player in the country. With him the Terps are in Top 25 contention, without him they have no shot at even making the tournament.
Tulsa-7 footer Jerome Jordan leads a veteran team that could finally overtake Memphis in Conference USA
Wake Forest-Can really be put in both honorable mention categories, they lost Jeff Teague and James Johnson,
but Super Soph. SF-Al-Farouq Aminu leads a talented team that will still be very competive in the ACC

Lost Too Much:
Louisville-Lost Earl Clark and Terrence Williams, they still have Coach Pitino who has had a lot to deal with this summer.
Mizzou-Lost 3 best players from their Elite 8 Team last year.
Gonzaga-Lost 4 of 5 starters, Matt Bouldin is good, but he can only do so much.
Pittsburgh-Lost DeJuan Blair, Sam Young, and Levance Fields, they have some young talent, they still SHOULD be able to make the tournament.
Memphis-Lost Coach John Calipari plus pretty much everyone who played significant minutes last year.
It will be interesting to see if another team can overtake them in Conference USA, this would be the year to do it.

15 other teams to watch out for:
Texas A&M-Big 12
Dayton-Atlantic 10
UCLA-PAC 10
Vanderbilt-SEC
Syracuse-Big East
Illinois-Big 10
Xavier-Atlantic 10
Clemson-ACC
BYU-MWC
Western Kentucky-Sun Belt
LSU-SEC
Baylor-Big 12
South Carolina-SEC
Boston College
S-ACC
Oregon St.-PAC 10



Monday, September 28, 2009

With the Knicks re-signing Restricted Free Agents Nate Robinson and David Lee to one year deals http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/trainingcamp09/columns/story?columnist=sheridan_chris&page=knicks-090925
and the Bobcats locking up PG Ray Felton for one year, it meant only one thing, the NBA off season is officially over and I need to blog again.

Since I last posted over a month ago there have been a few things that have happened in the NBA. Lets recap.

-AI found a home for one year in Memphis, but are there enough shots to go around with O.J. Mayo and Zach Randoph and Rudy Gay? This team has all the dysfunctional makings of a reality TV Show.

-Ricky Rubio won't be playing in Minnesota next year, but the TWolves did sign Ramon Sessions, who will likely start at SG with rookie Jonny Flynn starting at the point.

-The Hawks locked up Marvin Williams with a nice 5 year deal.

-Both Linas Kleiza and Von Wafer will be playing in Greece with former Hawk Josh Childress for Olympiacos.

-Boston re-signed Big Baby, however they lost Leon Powe to Eastern Conference foe Cleveland. Speaking of the Celtics, they also added great depth on the wings with the signing of Marquies Daniels.

-Quinten Richardson was traded AGAIN. This time to Miami. He will be a good role player for the Heat. He will have an opportunity to play a lot of minutes and add some experience to a very young team.

-The Hornets cut salary by trading Rasual Butler to the Clippers and Antonio Daniels to the TWolves. Both Butler and Daniels will likely see more minutes on their new teams than they would have on the Hornets.

-Ben Wallace is back with the Pistons where he will be competing for the starting center spot along with Kwame Brown and Chris Wilcox.

In addition to all of these moves many other role players signed small deals, here are some of the notable players:
White Chocolate will be backing up Jameer in ORL, Joe Smith to ATL, Desmond Mason to SAC, Luther Head to IND, Keith Bogans to SA, Rodney Carney to PHL, Juwan Howard to POR, Rashad McCants might be headed to HOU and Joey Graham might be headed to DEN but those two deals have not been finalized yet.
and of course Pops Mensah-Bonsu to HOU. I just couldn't resist putting Pops in this article.

So what does all of this mean? Pretty much nothing, other than it's the end of the off-season and the actual 2009-2010 NBA Season is just over a month away.

So here are my Pre-Season NBA Power Rankings:

1) LAL-They are the Champs and adding Ron Artest was a huge upgrade.
2) BOS-A healthy KG, should bring them back to the NBA Championship. Rasheed Wallace and KG will be a huge match up problem for the Cavs or Magic.
3) ORL-Can Dwight plus new addition Vince Carter help the Magic get back to the title game?
4) CLV-Bron and Shaq will be fun and at times unstoppable, but they still might not have enough to get over the hump.
5) SA-Adding Richard Jefferson was huge, but they key will be if they can stay healthy during the playoffs.
6) DAL-I think the Matrix, Kidd and Dirk all have something to prove.
7) DEN-Chauncey and Melo are the best one-two punch in the league, sorry Shaq and Bron, but all of the West upgraded while the Nuggets didn't.
8) POR-They had best young core in the NBA, now they add Andre Miller, we will see how Miller and Brandon Roy mesh.
9) ATL-They have the best young core in the east. They kept their core by resigning Bibby, Williams, and Pachulia.
10) PHO-Nash and Amare have something to prove, but will the rest of the team step up too?
11) CHI-Derrick Rose is scary, Loul Deng is healthy, John Salmons is underrated, the frontcourt is still suspect, overall the Bulls are very good.
12) Utah-Will Boozer be traded any time soon? Can Kirilenko stay healthy? Is Millsap really better than Boozer? Those questions will be answered soon.
13) NO-How much can CP3 really do? He is a superstar but he sure has to carry this team by himself.
14) MIA-They same thing as above, just put DWade's name instead of CP3.
15) PHL-The team no one talks about or gives that much credit to. Remember they took the Magic to the edge in the playoffs last year.
16) WAS-
17) TOR-Something tells me either WAS or TOR will be in the playoffs this year.
18) OKC-
19) LAC-One major injury in the west by PHO, Utah, or NO could have the Thunder and Clippers battling for the #8 seed.
20) DET-I am NOT sold on the Pistons and their moves this off season. Ben Gordon is nasty, but neither him nor Rodney Stuckey is a true PG.
21) CHR-They will be good, but not good enough.
22) NJ-Will try to prove their young core is good enough to lure Mr. James next summer. Plus having a cool Russian billionaire owner doesn't hurt either.
23) GS-Stephen Jackson is on the trading block, Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry are both 170 pounds, Anthony Randolph looked good this summer, but once he is playing with men who can easily bully him around it will be a different story. 4th place in the Pacific Division.
24) IND-Danny Granger can only do so much.
25) HOU-No Yao, No Artest, plus we all know McGrady will get hurt at some point. It will be a LONG season in Houston.h
26) MEM-They will be fun to watch and will score a lot, but that still doesn't mean they will win.
27) NY-Waiting for LeBron, Bosh, DWade or Joe Johnson next year.
28) MIN-No Rubio, but they got Sessions. Al Jefferson might be the most underrated player in the league and as long as he is in Minnesota he will stay the most underrated player in the league.
29) MIL-Both Bogut and Michael Redd are coming back from major injuries. Let the Brandon Jennings era begin.
30) SAC-They are just plain bad.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

NBA Off-season Winners and Losers

So the NBA off-season is pretty much over. The draft, the major trades, and of course Free Agency have all came and went. Some Free Agents such as David Lee, Ray Felton, Allen Iverson, Ramon Sessions, Nate Robinson, Linas Kleiza, and Big Baby Davis are still unsigned. Pretty much all of these players have been rumored to go overseas mainly to Olympiakos, and it looks like Kleiza is really close to signing with the Greek club. Also, two of those players, Lee and Robinson are on the Knicks. The Knicks are said to be interested in Sessions and Felton but both are still Free Agents as of today.

So with all of this, I present my 2009 NBA off-season Winners and Losers

WINNERS:

Los Angeles Lakers-The defending champs were able to re-sign Lamar Odom and get Ron Artest for the Mid-Level Exception. The are clearly my favorites to win the title next year and become the first team to repeat since they won 3 straight titles in 00, 01, 02. the rich get richer and the strong get stronger.

Boston Celtics-They signed Rasheed Wallace who can hit big 3's and defend in the post. Raseed and KG will be a match up nightmare for either of the Celtics two biggest threats in the East, the Cavs or the Magic.

San Antonio Spurs-The aging Spurs added a great player in his prime in Richard Jefferson and also added a starting Center in Antonio McDyess. They may have gotten a steal in the draft with DuJuan Blair. Once again the key for San Antonio will be if they can stay healthy. Manu Ginobili was out during last year's playoffs and Tony Parker has a hurt ankle right now. And oh by the way the reason that Blair slipped to them in the second round of the draft was because he has had some knee problems.

Los Angeles Clippers-They got the top pick and a future star in Blake Griffin and they were able to unload Zach Randolph's contract off the books. If Baron Davis is at full strength the Clippers have a good shot to make the playoffs this year.

Oklahoma City Thunder-James Harden was a great pick in draft. Harden and Russell Westbrook gave us a preview of the future in Summer League. Plus they still have that Kevin Durant guy. The future is bright in Oklahoma City. Along with the Clippers and Suns, the Thunder will be fighting for one of those last playoff spots out West next year.

Marcin Gortat-Only in America can a Polish back-up Center who averaged 4ppg and 4rpg a game get an offer by one team (Dallas) wanting to make him a starter, only to have his team (Orlando) match the offer. Gortat received the full MLE and will now probably split time at PF with Brandon Bass whom Orlando signed from Dallas.

Jason Kidd-Despite being 3 years older than Andre Miller and 5 years older than Mike Bibby, Kidd still got a higher paying 3 year deal than both of them. I think that both Bibby and Miller have more value than Kidd at this point in their careers, but hey it's Mark Cuban's money.

Paul Millsap-He gets a big deal and is the PF of the future for Utah. He made the best of his time when Boozer was hurt and got paid accordingly. Not bad for a second round pick in 2006.

Brandon Roy-He just got the max extension that he deserves. Besides LeBron, he might be the best wing under the age of 26. It's either him, Melo, Kevin Durant, or Andre Igoudala.



LOSERS:

Houston Rockets-Yao is done, Artest is gone, and McGrady is always hurt and will likely be traded to someone by the trade deadline next year. That leaves Shane Battier and Free Agent pick up Trevor Ariza as their two best players. By the way, Battier and Ariza play the same position, SF, and are both known primarily as defensive stoppers. A playoff spot is open in the West next year.

Milwaukee Bucks-Charlie Villaneuva went east one state to play in Detroit and Ramon Sessions is still unsigned. They traded Richard Jefferson away to save money . As of right now their only two big moves this summer were drafting Brandon Jennings and signing Hakim Warrick. It is looking right now like their starting 5 next year will be C-Andrew Bogut, PF-Hakim Warrick, SF-Luc Richard Mbah a Moute or Joe Alexander, PG-Brandon Jennings and SG-Michael Redd. Something tells me the Bucks will have a very high lottery pick next year.

New York Knicks-David Lee and Nate Robinson are still unsigned and my guess is one of them will end up playing in Europe next year while the other plays the season out with the Knicks on their qualifying offer then bolts as an Unrestricted Free Agent next off-season. Plus they didn't draft Stephen Curry or anyone else that can sell tickets in MSG. This team wants LeBron next off-season. Without Lee or Robinson their best two players are Wilson Chandler and All Harrington. If I was LeBron I would rather play for the New York Liberty.

Minnestota Timberwolves-We still don't know what's going on with Ricky Rubio and honestly I don't think anyone cares anymore. With or without the Boy Wonder from Spain, Minnesota will still stink for another 3-5 years and it's a shame because Al Jefferson and Kevin Love are two of the better young players in the league, and people rarely get to see them.

Carlos Boozer-First he is loyal to the Jazz by not opting out of his contract, then the Jazz basically tell him they don't want him and that Paul Millsap is their PF of the future. So now Boozer has to wonder where he will be traded to this up coming season while preparing to be a Free Agent next year in a class that includes fellow stud PF's Amare, Bosh and Dirk who are all better than him.

Any Unsigned Free agent as of Today-It's August 6th now. So if your a Free Agent and you don't have a big deal by now, you won't any time soon unless it's with a team in Europe.

Only time (and by time I mean this up coming NBA season) will tell:

Cleveland Cavaliers-They got the Diesel and Anthony Parker who are a combined age of 71. They also re-singed/overpaid for Anderson Varejao. Their bigs still can't defend the perimeter and with Rasheed in Boston that makes even more of a difference. LeBron is great but he needs young athletes who can shoot the rock to compliment him, not the trio of Shaq, Parker and Varejao.

Orlando Magic-Vince is good, very good, but can he be a #2/3 option on a team. I don't know yet. Rashard Lewis might be suspended for the first 10 games of the season and I don't know how Brandon Bass or Marcin Gortat will respond as the starting PF.

Detroit Pistons-They gave Ben Gordon $55 million to be the 6th man and Charlie Villanueva $35+ million to be the starting PF. Kwame Brown and newly signed Chris Wilcox will battle for the starting Center spot. They have the talent to be decent, but I still wouldn't rate them ahead of any of the Eastern Conference's young up and coming teams like Atlanta, Miami, Philly or Chicago.

Utah Jazz-We will see if they can trade Boozer any time soon and if making Millsap the starter at PF was indeed the right decision in Salt Lake City.

Portland signing Andre Miller-Brandon Roy is a SG who needs the offense top generate through him, just like Kobe, DWade or Joe Johnson. Andre Miller is a traditional PG who loves to have the ball in his hands to run the offense. Roy would be better complimented with a great shooting PG. Andre Miller is just an average shooter. Portland has one of the best young teams in the league. Miller is 33 but if he can contribute for 2-3 more years while at the same time help bring along last years first round pick PG Jerryd Bayless then the move will have been a good one.













Wednesday, July 15, 2009

WHRE WILL BOOZER GO?

On Friday the TrailBlazers signed Restricted Free Agent PF Paul Millsap to an offer sheet at 4 years around 36 million. The Jazz have indicated that they plan to match the offer, determining that Millsap is their PF of the future. The Jazz have also told current starting PF Carlos Boozer that he is not part of their future plans and will try to trade him. So now the million dollar question, make that 12.6 million (Boozer's salary next year which is the last year of his contract) dollar question is, where will Boozer be playing basketball in 2009-2010?

Many teams, including the Cavs, have a major need at PF. Some other teams include the Nets, Pacers and now the Bucks with Charlie Villanueva going to Detroit. However none of those teams is likely to get Boozer's services. The Cavs just overpaid their starting PF Andy Varejao a six year 48+ million dollar deal. A little bit too much money for a guy who gets 8ppg and 7rpg. The Nets are in a saving spree as they will try to get a big name Free Agent next year like LeBron, but if they can't get Mr. James, Joe Johnson would be a good consolation prize. Neither the Bucks nor Pacers have any real pieces to give back to the Jazz or a third team involved in the trade. Se where does Boozer end up?

I have come up with 3 different trade scenarios and have tried them out via ESPN.com's NBA Trade Machine:

First my ultimate Miami Heat fantasy trade scenario. It involves Miami, Toronto, and Utah.

MIA gets:
Chris Bosh-PF-TOR-15.78m

TOR gets:
Carlos Boozer-PF-Utah-12.6m
Kyle Korver-SF-Utah-5.3m
The draft pick back from the Heat that they traded in the Jermaine O'Neal-Shawn Marion trade.

Utah gets:
Michael Beasley-CF-MIA-4.6m
Daequan Cook-SG-MIA-1.3m
Mark Blount-C-MIA-7.9m

All of the players being traded are in the last year of their current contract or can opt out next year.

It makes sense for everyone:

-The Heat get a superstar in Bosh to help keep Wade in Miami.
-The Raptors get something for the unhappy Bosh, plus they can see how Boozer, Hedo and company mesh together and if it doesn't work both Boozer and the sharpshooting Korver have expiring contracts
-The Jazz get 2 young talented players and an expiring contract. This trade would save them 4 million dollars which could be used to match the Millsap offer by Portland. Cook can come off the bench and hit shots. The Jazz would also have a nasty young 1-4 of DWill, Ronnie Brewer, Beasley and Millsap, the average age of those 4 would be 23.25.


My second trade would involve Chicago, Portland, and Utah.

CHI gets:
Carlos Boozer-PF-Utah-12.6m (1 year)

POR gets:
Kirk Hinrich-PG-CHI-9.5m (4 years.)

Utah gets:
Tyrus Thomas-PF-CHI-4.7m (1 year)
Martell Webster-SF-POR-4.3 (4 years)

This trade makes almost too much sense, therefor it probably won't happen. If this trade was going to happen it would have already occurred.
-POR would get a starting PG who can run an uptempo system with all of the young talent and athletes that the Trail Blazers have.
-The Bulls would get the low post scorer they desire while only giving up two very expendable players.
-The Jazz would get a shooter in Webster and an athletic role playing PF in Tyrus Thomas. Most importantly they would save over 3 million dollars in cap/luxury tax space.


My third and final trade involves Utah, Charlotte, and New York.

CHR gets:
Carlos Boozer-PF-Utah-12.6m (1 year)
New York's 1.4m Trade Exception from the Renaldo Balkman trade

NY gets:
Boris Diaw-CF-CHR-9m (2 years)
Alexis Ajinca-C-CHR-1.3m (1 year)

Utah gets:
Wilson Chandler-SF-NY-1.25m (1 year)
Jared Jefferies-CF-NY-6.4M (2 years)

-Why not send Boozer back to the state of North Carolina where he played his collge ball at Duke. In Charlotte he would form one of the best front court duos in leage with Emeka Okafor. With Larry Brown as the coach and with Gerald Wallace on the wing, the Bobcats would be able to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
-The Knicks and Coach D'Antoni would get the versatile Diaw who he coached in Phoenix and the long athletic project in Ajinca.
-The Jazz would once again save money, this time almost 5 million, and get two versatile forwards to compliment their core of DWill, Okur, Millsap and Ronnie Brewer.