Thursday, June 24, 2010

2010 NBA Draft Recap (Picks 21-30)

Oklahoma City – Craig Brackins (Traded to Hornets)
A big that can score, that’s exactly what the Hornets needs. Brackins needs to just get a little more consistent. He can rebound, score, and runs the floor pretty well. Great pick for the Hornets as they continue to build around CP3.

Portland Trailblazers – Elliot Williams
Hmmmm,….I don’t understand this pick. I guess he fills a need if they have to part ways with Rudy Fernandez, but other than that the Trailblazers are stacked at guard. Williams is a big guard that can play both positions and can easily get to the basket against most guards (doesn’t this sound like Jerryd Bayless?), but he loves that deep 3 just a bit too much for me. Really wish he would have stayed at Duke another year or two.

Minnesota Timberwolves – Trevor Booker (Traded to Wizards)
Like this pick because this guy has a motor and he’s a beast on the boards. He’s long as all get out and he’s still working n his offensive game. The hustle might get him on the floor quickly in Washington.

Atlanta Hawks – Damion James (Traded to Nets)
I think that he can make the switch from 4 to 3, but he’s going to have to work on his handle. He may end up hurting a small forward because he is physical. He may help the scoring load and get some minutes from Yi Jialin.

Memphis Grizzlies – Dominique Jones (Traded to Mavs)
Jones is a scorer with the ability to get to the hole and get his shot on most. He’s 6’5” but makes up for it with his long arms. Another player that’s ready to play from Day 1.

Oklahoma City Thunder - Quincy Pondexter (Traded to Hornets)
Well, it looks as though the Hornets are getting slashers to go around CP3, when will they get some shooters?

New Jersey Nets – Jordan Crawford (Traded to Hawks)
Since Jamal Crawford will be starting (expecting JJ to leave) the next best thing is to bring in a Crawford clone. Introducing Jordan Crawford, no relation. He’s a scorer that ought to help the Hawks off the bench.

Memphis Grizzlies – Greivis Vasquez
I don’t yet know how to describe his game, but passion is the word that many use. He’s not a smooth player, but he gets the job done. I think that his height will help him in the half court, although he will have problems guarding people, but the Grizz are going to have to run to get their money our ot Vaquez.

Orlando Magic – Daniel Orton
Sometimes it’s best to go late in the first round. Orton will be able to play backup minutes and you can put both he and Gortat on the floor together. We’ll see was 3pts and 3 rebounds per game does in the NBA.

Washington Wizards – Lazar Hayward (Traded to Timberwolves)
Not sure what to say. The last pick of the first round. Mr. Hayward, you have a guaranteed contract.

2010 NBA Draft Recap (Picks 11-20)

New Orleans – Cole Aldrich
Safe pick. Aldrich can hit a medium range jumper, he can rebound, and although he may not be the most athletic guy on the court, I like what he does. He should be able to play the PF spot at times. He put up decent numbers playing with a shoot first point guard, so just imagine what he’ll do with Chris Paul.

Memphis Grizzlies – Xavier Henry
A little of a reach, well, maybe not a reach but Henry didn’t show us his game until the latter part of the year. He brings additional scoring to a team that lacks wing scoring (yes, OJ is in the backcourt). He’s a Kansas project and they normally turn out to be decent players, so I expect that Henry will work out well in Memphis.

Toronto Raptors – Ed Davis
I liked this guy last year and I watched a lot of ACC ball. I will say this, I thought that Deon Thompson was more polished of the two big men at UNC, but Davis just oozed of potential. He’s long, he’s athletic, but a little on the thin side. He’s in the mold of a Chris Bosh kind of guy, so the Raptors won’t start at ground zero when Bosh walks.

Houston Rockets – Patrick Patterson
Love this pick. Yes, Patterson is a little bit of a tweener (6’9”, 240 lbs), but he’s a player that can come in and play day 1. He showed that he has an inside and outside game and good basketball sense.

Milwaukee Bucks – Larry Sanders
Decent pick for the Bucks. Definitely a big that can run with Maggette and Jennings. Still working on his game on the offensive side, but a decent pick none the less.

Minnesota Timberwolves – Luke Babbitt (Traded to Blazers)
Good shooter who can stretch the floor. The issue is whether he’ll be able to guard someone in the NBA. He’s too small to guard a 4 and too slow to guard a 3. Gotta find a system for him to play in. He’ll be a good bench player for the Blazers that can provide scoring off the bench.

Chicago Bulls – Kevin Seraphin
A French guy named Kevin, that should say it all. He’s a pick for the Wizards (from the Kirk Hinrich trade) that will stay over in Europe for a while. Not very polished, but could come into his own in a few years. I think this was too high for Seraphin, but the Wizards are building a team so they can afford stash him for a while.

Oklahoma City Thunder – Eric Bledsoe (Traded to Clippers)
Great pick for the Thunder (what?), well not the Thunder, Bledsoe was traded to the Clippers. Good pickup and good combo guard. Maybe this means that the Clippers are expecting Steve Blake to walk this summer. We’ll see if Bledsoe can make the transition to PG in the NBA.

Boston Celtics – Avery Bradley
A big combo guard that can hopefully give Rondo a breather every now and then. He can also fill in that shooter role, to some extent, if Ray Allen leaves. Hopefully the Celtics keep this pick, although he may not ever see the home locker room in Beantown.

San Antonio Spurs – James Anderson
A scorer and slasher that can offset some of what you may lose as Ginobli gets older/hurt. He’s a bigger guard that could possibly guard some 3’s in the league. Definitely someone that can come in and play right away. He’ll have some good coaching in Pop.

2010 NBA Draft Recap (Picks 1-10)

Washington Wizards - John Wall
Great pick. Wall will come in run this Wizards team. Now the organization has to find a way to make Gilbert Arenas sane. He should be able to be the face of the organization and he’s known that ever since the lottery was complete.

Philadelphia 76ers – Evan Turner
I think that the Sixers got it right. Since Turner and Iggy play the same position, but this goes back to the Bulls/Blazers thing. Do you pick Jordan when you already have Drexler? I’m not saying that Turner is Jordan, but the Sixers got this pick right. I am expecting Brandon Roy Part II. Iggy pack your bags.

New Jersey Nets – Derrick Favors
Good pick again. Favors comes from a long line of GT big men (in their own ways), Dennis Scott, Chris Bosh, James Forrest (look him up if you don’t know, before the shoulder injury), etc. I expect Favors to become a better version of Chris Bosh. His body reminds you of a younger Dwight Howard but he already has an offensive game better than Howard. He should work well with Brook Lopez.

Minnesota Timberwolves – Wesley Johnson
By many, Johnson is the most NBA ready SF out there. He has range and that’s something that the Timberwolves need, since they ranked in the bottom of 3 point shooting in the league last year. Corey Brewer will be able to play the 2 for defensive purposes and Johnson can start at the 3. Without Kevin McHale there, the Timberwolves are making some good decisions. Now if they can only convince Rubio to come and play in Minny.

Sacramento Kings – DeMarcus Cousins
I hope that the real player hasn’t shown up yet. Cousins has shown an immature streak at times, but he brings it on the court. I’m hoping that he’s the next ‘Double D’ Darryl Dawkins and not the next Oliver Miller. If he shows up and plays the Kings finally have a center they can get 20 and 10 out of each night.

Golden State – Epke Udoh
Not sold on this one. I mean Udoh had a great year last year, but I think the Warriors needed someone that complements their system. They really needed Greg Monroe at this spot but I understand the downside to him also. Udoh will be a hustle guy and should help Bierdrins on the floor with defense, but on offense it’ll be another story.

Detroit Pistons – Greg Monroe
Monroe has all the tools you’d want in a big man. He can pass, he can score, he can rebound, and he can even play a little defense. The one thing that I question about him is his desire. It looks like he’s happy with the accolades that he gets from everyone knowing he has all the tools. When Joe Dumars said that he wanted to get back to an edgier Pistons team, I just don’t see how this pick fills that need. Good player, but will he play all the time for the Pistons?

Los Angeles Clippers – Al-Farouq Aminu
Wow, this is 3 in a row. Aminu hasn’t really shown me much. I liken him to a (gulp) different version of Darius Miles. Aminu is a tweener but he doesn’t have a defined offensive game. He’s an athlete that runs and jumps and can rebound. If he doesn’t develop an offensive game, this will be a wasted pick.

Utah Jazz – Gordon Hayward
Good fit. Hayward showed in the title game that he’s athletic enough and he can shoot and in Utah’s offense, you’re going to have to guard him. He’s tough and I think that he’ll thrive in this system with Sloan coaching. Add in the fact that he won’t be the 1st or 2nd option on this team and he could possibly be in the running for ROY if he gets the playing time.

Indiana Pacers – Paul George
Is this the writing on the wall for Danny Granger? I mean George will play the same position as Granger. The Pacers really need a point guard, so maybe this is a pick for someone else. Otherwise, George should be a great asset off the bench.

Monday, June 07, 2010

2010 NBA Finals - Recap of Game 1 and 2

Well we’re two games into the NBA Finals and we’re sitting 1-1. The Lakers were able to ride Kobe and a surprising Ron Artest to a win in Game 1, while Ray Allen showed that he can still do it with a scorching performance of 32 points while breaking a NBA Finals Record for hitting 8 three pointers.

As far as Game 1 was concerned, the Celtics looked slow and old and almost not interested in the game. Paul Pierce ended the game with a decent stat line of 24 pts, 9 boards, 4 helpers, and 2 blocks, but most of this was done after the game was no longer in doubt. Artest hounded (beat) Pierce up for the majority of the game and also was able to make Pierce a lot more tentative after instigating the double technical foul call 20 seconds into the game. Kobe (30 pts) and Pau Gasol (23 pts, 14 boards) led the way for the Lakers. Artest not only held Pierce in check for most of the game but he gave them 15 pts, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals.

Game 2 was a complete role reversal. Ray Allen was dogged by foul trouble in Game 1 but in Game 2 he came out with his jump shot switched to ‘ON’. Ray hit his first 7 3-pointers. It got so bad that the Lakers had to switch Kobe off of Rondo to try and cool down Allen. They even tried Artest at one point but the only person that seemed to be able to stop Allen was Doc Rivers. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett couldn’t even put up a combined triple double with 16 points (on 4 of 16 shooting), 8 rebounds, and 10 assists. Overshadowed by Allen’s onslaught was the triple double turned in by none other than Rajon Rondo (19pts, 12 rebs, 10 asts). Rondo was also key down the stretch making all the right plays. Kobe had a subpar game (21 pts, 5 fouls), while Gasol and Bynum controlled the paint with 46 pts, 14 rebounds, and 13 blocks combined. Kobe was seething after the game, so I expect for him to come out swinging in Game 3.

Recap on My Predictions:

KG has done his best Rashard Lewis/David Copperfield impression by disappearing in this series so far. I don’t know if it’s his leg or he’s tired or he’s old or a combination of all of them. It pains me somewhere deep in my heart to watch him lumber up and down the court like this. KG, please find your game, soon. Right now Gasol is killing you. (Matchup BIG in favor of Lakers)

Bynum is impressing me. He has played well in both games and has looked rather agile, mobile and ready to rumble with the Celtics. He is overpowering the shorter Perkins and he’s finishing at the rim. If this continues, the Celtics are in T-R-O-U-B-L-E. (Matchup swinging in favor of Lakers)

Pierce has not showed up yet either. Points-wise I’d call this matchup a draw, but the intangibles are heading in the Celtics favor. Before you ask if I’m crazy, the Celtics haven’t really needed Pierce, yet. He’s putting up some numbers but he isn’t taking a pounding (yet) and he’s got some life in his legs. Ray Allen getting off against in Game 2 forced the matchups that Boston wants. Worst case, this one is even. (Matchup even)

Kobe has put up 51 points in two games and that’s enough to normally swing this in the Lakers favor, however, I like the 32 point outburst by Ray Allen in Game 2 and what that means for the Celtics. I mentioned before the matchups, and if Kobe has to guard Allen instead of Rondo, this puts Fisher back on Rondo, who will continue to eat him (Fisher) alive. (Matchup even)

Rondo has a triple double and a not so bad Game 1. We know that this is the place where the Lakers try and hide Fisher and for good reason. (Matchup going in Celtics favor).

Celtic Bench Production – I pose this one question, what has Sheldon Williams done of not except to marry Candace Parker? Shelden, I’m a Dukie apologist and I need for you to do something instead of turning the ball over. Nate Robinson has provided some spark and I look for him to get a little more tick so that Doc can rest Rondo. Tony Allen, I can at least excuse you from my wrath for playing decent defense.

Lakers Bench Production – Tin Man, where are you? If Odom doesn’t play well next game, look for Kobe to hit him squa’ in the face during one of the huddles. Farmer has played ok, but for some reason he always seems to be a little too fast for his own good. Only 5 minutes of Luke Walton playing so, we’ll wait on that one.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

2010 NBA Finals

Well, it’s that time. The NBA Finals start tonight in LA as the Celtics and the Lakers battle it out for the title. We all know the subplots, the Celtics are 9-2 against the Lakers in the Finals, Kendrick Perkins is a ‘T’ from having to sit out a game, Bynum is a quick move from being out of the series, Kobe is supposedly back to form and the Celtics defense is the best in the league. So what’s going to happen?

So with all of that said let’s look at the matchups and then I’ll give you my picks:

Kendrick Perkins vs. Andrew Bynum – I’ve been one that said that Bynum should have had that surgery a while ago, but then when you think about the surgeries that he’s had in the past, he never healed quickly. So with that said, he’s holding on by a thread. I expect him and Perkins to get in to it with each other. Bynum will find a way to pick up fouls at a Perkins rate too. Matchup – Even

Kevin Garnett vs. Pau Gasol – This will be the matchup of the series. KG looked awful at times guarding Dwight Howard as he beat him off the dribble on that same move going to the lane. Gasol is just as quick, but Howard was able to jump over KG, and I’m not sure that Gasol can. At times, KG looked like the KG of old (see games 1-3 of the ECF) and others, he’s looked just old. I don’t think that you can change your mentality, your essence in a series. Matchup – Edge Celtics

Paul Pierce vs. Ron Artest – A few years ago, this would have been great to watch because Artest could play defense AND give you 20 points. Although that 20 point total might be closer to 13 or 15 now, Artest’s defense is going to be of the utmost importance. If Pierce didn’t know it yet, he should make sure that he has medical coverage and that his life insurance is paid up because Artest is going to maul him this series (see Kevin Durant, 1st Round vs. Lakers). Pierce likes to flail and fall a lot and may draw a few extra fouls on Artest, but he’s going to have to tough this one out. He is the Truth. Matchup – Edge Celtics

Ray Allen vs. Kobe Bryant – Well not much to say here, I love ‘Jesus’ (Ray Allen), but against Kobe, he’ll have his hands full on defense and offense. Kobe is the premier player in the league today, even with his many maladies. I expect Kobe to get his points, but the trick will be to make him a volume shooter. If he gets 30 and he takes 30 shots, you can almost live with that. Allen will get his points and may help tire out Kobe from running off of every pick from Boston to LA. Matchup – Edge Lakers

Rajon Rondo vs. Derek Fisher – Most would say that Fish needs to sit this one out. He’s going against one of the quickest PGs in the game and he will have a problem staying in front of him. If they back off of Rondo and force him to shoot jumpers, which may be the best way to handle him. I imagine that you’ll see a lot of Jordan Farmer on Rondo too to try and match some of his quickness. Rondo will continue to run this Celtics team as long as his hammy/back hold up. Hopefully the rest has done him well too. Matchup – Edge Celtics

Celtics Bench vs. Lakers Bench – We know that the Celtics are going to need production from Rasheed Wallace, especially if they lose Perkins for a game or two for ‘T’s. I’m looking for another dusting off of Nate Robinson but the two people that will have an impact on this series will be Tony Allen and Sheldon Williams. I imagine that Williams will have to do some spot duty in this series for Perkins and how he plays will dictate whether the Celtics have to double up or play man. The Lakers are going to need contributions from Farmar and Odom off their bench. Farmar can’t be a turnover waiting to happen and Odom has to show everyone that he isn’t the Tin Man (ouch). I expect that you’ll get a heavy dose of Luke Walton this series which always seems to produce good outcomes for the Lakers. Matchup – Even

I think that unfortunately, Bynum’s knee doesn’t hold up. The Celtics defense is able to make life extremely hard for Kobe and in the end; I got the Celtics in 6.