Friday, June 29, 2012

2012 NBA Draft - Team Results

Last night was the 2012 Draft and there was a lot of talk, as usual, around movement up and down to select 'this guy' or 'that guy', but for the most part every stayed in their lane.  Almost as anti-climatic as the SCOTUS ruling on ACA, but that's another discussion.  Let's jump right into the results and see who put their organization in a position to win the 2013 NBA Championship.

Atlanta Hawks: John Jenkins (Vandy) and Mike Scott (Virginia)

The Hawks got two pieces that should work for them.  Jenkins is a shooter and that should work by giving them someone other than Joe Johnson to take those terribly deep 3's that this team ends up taking on way too many possessions.  Scott is an ACC guy who can bang, who may get some run, but there are vets in the league that might get his spot. 

Boston Celtics: Jared Sullinger (OSU), Fab Melo (Syracuse), and Kris Joseph (Syracuse)

Danny Ainge has got to be the happiest guy in the world that doctors gave Sully so much hell for his back that he fell into the Celtics lap at #21.  The Celtics got the best back to the basket PF in the draft, and if he's healthy, as many suggest he will be, this is right up there with other great coups in the history of the world.  As far as Melo is concerned, he won't have to worry about taking any tests, so I imagine that he will be providing a lot of defense for this team for the next few years.  Melo's teammate at Cuse (didn't the Celtics draft teammates last year too?) may not ever see the light of day on an NBA court.

Brooklyn Nets: Tyshawn Taylor (Kansas), Tornike Shengelia (Georgia), and Ilkan Karaman (Turkey)

I know the Nets are going to make a splash because of their impending move to Brooklyn and the pomp and circumstance that will entail so who do they get in the draft?  Who?  I know him, but who else?  That pretty much summed up the night.  Taylor can be a player in the league, just gotta minimize that shooting guard within him, but I'm not even sure how to pronounce the names of the other 2 guys.  I'm gonna take a guess that we probably won't see either of them for a while, if ever.

Charlotte Bobcats: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Kentucky) and Jeff Taylor (Vandy) 

Let's say a quick prayer before we get to Jordan's draft picks.  Done.  The Charlotte Bobcats scared everyone and got it right.  I like Thomas Robinson, but I think that MKG is the player that this team needs.  Hard worker and determined young guy that will definitely help this team.  Throw in Taylor who can play some defense and hit some shots and you can already see that Rich Cho's impact on this team can already be seen. 

Chicago Bulls: Marquis Teague (Kentucky)

Only pick in the draft and they get a guy that can fill in for Derrick Rose for the year that he's going to miss.  He'll also be able to give Rose some much needed rest during games when he does get back.  Good pick.  

Cleveland Cavaliers: Dion Waiters (Syracuse) and Tyler Zeller (UNC)

Dan Gilbert still has his letter to LBJ posted on the Cavaliers site and he won't fulfill his promise of winning a championship in Cleveland prior to LBJ getting one, BUT the Cavs are moving in the right direction.  Last year was Kyrie Irving and now they get Dion Waiters, whom some say could be a D. Wade clone.  Think about that for a minute.  In addition, the Cavs got Tyler Zeller. I like Zeller and think that his skillset made him one of the guys ready to step in and play in the NBA.  He can play in the post, use both hands, runs the floor well, and rebounds.  What more can you ask for?  Note to Dan, take the letter down and concentrate on your team.  

Dallas Mavericks: Jared Cunningham (Oregon State), Bernard James (FSU) and Jae Crowder (Marquette)

The Mavs are in a semi-rebuilding mode and they need some defense on the perimeter so Cunningham was the pick.  He's being compared to Iman Shumpert.  James is a 27 year old rookie who has served 3 tours in Iraq, so he brings a different kind of leadership to this team, especially for the younger ones.  Crowder is a 6'5" PF.  Maybe he can be a spark off the bench like the Manimal was last year for the Nuggets. 

Denver Nuggets: Evan Fournier (France), Qunicy Miller (Baylor) and Izzet Turkyilmaz (Turkey)

Fournier is supposed to be a scorer in Europe and the hope is that it translates to the NBA.  I think the pace that the Nuggets play will allow for that.  Miller may be the steal of the draft if he gets fully healed from an ACL injury.  Normally people need a full two years to recover and that is coming up for him.  So if he starts balling, give the Nuggets some love for taking a chance on him. 

Detroit Pistons: Andre Drummond (UCONN), Khris Middleton (TA&M) and Kim English (Missouri)

This may be the draft that answers a future trivia question: What was the last straw that got Joe Dumars fired as the GM of the Pistons?  Andre Drummond.  Drummond is young, but he has a man's body and once he learns how to use that body, the answer to this future question may have the same response: What did Joe Dumars do to turn this Pistons team back into a contender?  Middleton and English are scorers that just need to be on the floor.  Probably not a problem for them on this Pistons team.

Golden State Warriors: Harrison Barnes (UNC), Festus Ezeli (Vandy), Draymond Green (MSU) and Ognjen Kuzmic (Bosnia)

No we will see what the real Harrison Barnes looks like.  He and Curry will be the center pieces of this Warriors team and Draymond Green is a Swiss Army knife that can do a little of everything.  Ezeli and Kuzmic are big bodies that the Warriors never seem to have enough of. 

Houston Rockets: Jeremy Lamb (UCONN), Royce White (ISU) and Terrance Jones (Kentucky)

This is how you re-build a team.  Make a few shrewd moves prior to the draft and stock draft picks and pick one of the smoothest SG in college, to go along with one of the more physical and dominate PF in college, and finally you pair the two of them up with another one of the best PF in college that can do it all.  Jesus be a good coach to get all of these guys on the same page and then watch out. 

Indiana Pacers: Miles Plumlee (Duke) and Orlando Johnson (UC-Santa Barbara)

Wow!!!  Only Coach K could be proud of this pick.  I'm still a little stunned that Plumlee was picked in the first round period.  Let's take a look, 7 feet tall, 252 pounds and he averaged 7 rebs a game on a perimeter-laden team at Duke his senior year?  Wow.  Johnson is another 4 year guy that can score and that's a skill that works in the NBA.  I can just imagine the hazing that will ensue when Plumlee shows up at camp and Hansbrough is waiting for him at the door. 

Los Angeles Clippers: Furkan Aldemir (Bosnia)

The Clipper pretty much sat the draft out.  Not even sure if their draft war room was even used this year. 

Los Angeles Lakers: Darius Johnson-Odom (Marquette) and Robert Sacre (Gonzaga)

The Lakers did ok because they need youth badly on their team.  DJO is a short guard, more 2 than 1, but I like the fact that he can ball.  He can play some defense and that may help him get on the floor.  Sacre can be a body off the bench, but seems like more protection if the Lakers can't get Jordan Hill back this off-season.

Memphis Grizzlies: Tony Wroten Jr. (Washington)

Many thought that Wroten would be the one that snuck up into the lottery with his play this season.  Seems like a turnover waiting to happen at times, but he's athletic and can get to the cup.  If OJ Mayo is let go/traded/doesn't come back, there may be a spot open for us to catch glimpses of Mr. Wroten Jr. 

Miami Heat: Justin Hamilton (LSU)

The Heat were still partying during the draft.  The party will gone on.

Milwaukee Bucks: John Henson (UNC) and Doron Lamb (Kentucky)

The Bucks got a shot blocker and scorer with Henson and a shooter in Lamb.  I like both of these picks for the Bucks.  Now let's see if this works. 

Minnesota Timberwolves: Robbie Hummel (Purdue) 

I'm just happy the guy got drafted.  No one has gone through the pain and anguish this kid has over his 20 years at Purdue (no he wasn't there 20 years but it felt like that).  Hummel has game and high basketball IQ, so hopefully he'll fit in on this team and provide some bench play.  Please God, don't let him get hurt again, not even a sprained ankle. 

New Orleans Hornets: Anthony Davis (Kentucky), Austin Rivers (Duke) and Darius Miller (Kentucky) 

Tom Benson hit the lottery, literally.  Not only did he get the Unibrow, but he also got a dynamic coach's son in Rivers, and an all around glue guy like Miller, all in one draft.  The only thing that the Hornets didn't do right was have a party before the draft letting everyone know how many 'ships they are going to win. 

New York Knicks: Kostas Papanikolaou (Greece)

The Knicks spent their draft time researching ways to make Amare Stoudemire play defense.  We have no notification if this is possible, but the search will continue.   

Oklahoma City Thunder: Perry Jones (Baylor)

The best thing about the Thunder's draft is that they make a knee jerk reaction and trade 'the Beard' to move up and get Beal.  Perry Jones, if healthy, is just a big bonus.  Remember that KD's backup at SF is Lazar Hayward (he's probably the answer to a trivia question too). 

Orlando Magic: Andrew Nicholson (St. Bonaventure) and Kyle O'Quinn (Norfolk State)

Nicholson is being compared to David West.  Probably David West without the menace, but David West nonetheless.  I don't see how this becomes an issue if he can space the floor.  O'Quinn is a little more of a project, but played well in the NCAA tournament.  You can't teach height people, you just can't. 

Philadelphia 76ers: Maurice Harkless (SJU) and Arnett Moultrie (MSU)

Not sure how Harkless fits on this team since he's more slasher than shooter, but I do like the Moultrie pick because he can shoot and space the floor.  The one thing I will say is that the first thing they need to do for Moultrie is to introduce him to Philly cheesesteaks immediately.  Not loving that 233 pounds and you almost 7 feet tall. 

Phoenix Suns: Kendall Marshall (UNC)

Who do you replace Steve Nash with if he leaves?  Yeah, Marshall may not have been your first answer, but I'll tell you that I like this pick and I think the Suns players will like this pick when he gets to play.  Something about guys that 'see' things differently and can get the rock to their scorers just makes things easier for everyone.  Marshall still has to work on his jumper but we used to say that about Jason Kidd. 

Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard (Weber St.), Meyers Leonard (Ill) and Will Barton (Memphis)

Lillard has skyrocketed up the boards and things look like they are on the right progression for him, many EXPECT for him to succeed.  Leonard, ummm,..well I think Zeller was a better pick than he was, so I'll leave it at that (please add my height saying here, 'you can't teach it').  Barton is a scorer that can probably help this team off the bench.  They've had some success in the past with 2nd round picks.

Sacramento Kings: Thomas Robinson (KU)

NBA body, NBA ready.  I wish nothing but success for this young man as he's already lived through hurts that some of us won't even experience.  Pair him with Cousins and I don't want to have to get a rebound in the paint against the Kings.

San Antonio Spurs: Marcus Denmon (Missouri)

I'm going to say here it first, even if it's a CNN headline that may not be true; Marcus Denmon will provide close to 8 points per game off the Spurs bench next year.  This is the type of guy that the Spurs always pick up and they turn out to be, get this, basketball players. 

Toronto Raptors: Terrance Ross (WAS), Qunicy Acy (Baylor) and Tomislav Zubcic (Croatia)

Ross can score from the perimeter, Acy is an undersized PF (with loads of heart) and Zubcic, I know nothing about. 

Utah Jazz: Kevin Murphy (Tenn Tech)

The guy could get buckets in college so the Jazz are hoping that he can translate that to the NBA to help they put some more points on the board.  They've had success in the past with small colleges and they need another one now. 

Washington Wizards: Bradley Beal (Florida) and Tomas Satoransky (Czech Republic)

This is what the Wizards needed, a complimentary player for Wall that can shoot and get buckets.  Meet Brad Beal.  I don't care if they would have drafted 2 other cats from the Czech Republic or Kenya for that matter.  This helps the Wizards become relevant.  Let that marinate.  Satoransky might as well be a unicorn. 

That's a wrap on the whole NBA Draft.  How did your team do?  Leave your comments.  Until next time.

Who you got?!!?!?!?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

2012 NBA Finals Miami Heat vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

Just looked at my postings and lots has happened since my last post.  Mainly, the Thunder have come through hell and high water (Mavs, Lakers, Spurs) to get to the NBA Finals.  The Heat struggled but made it through their own challenges (Knicks, Pacers, Celtics), most of them self-inflicted. This Finals is pretty much what many wanted from the beginning of this lockout shortened season, so let's take a look at the matchups and then I'll give you my pick. 

Oklahoma City Thunder - Of course this comes down to Big 3's, so let's take a look at them first.  Westbrook, other than a few bad shots here and there and the Gordon Gartrell shirts, is the linchpin for this Thunder team.  Westbrook has shown more willingness to get KD the ball but also stay aggressive.  Westbrook is the matchup nightmare for the Heat because there is no way that Chalmers can cover him and isn't called upon enough to score to balance this matchup out.  KD is the scorer and we all know that.  He has shown in these playoffs that he wants to be that man and has effectively mature right in front of our eyes, but I think in this series, IF he guards LeBron, he's gonna have to play some defense.  The lefty killer, Harden, is going to play a big role, because Miami doesn't really have many people that can guard him if he's on the floor at the same time that Westbrook and KD are. If Wade has to slide over and guard Westbrook, then Chalmers/Battier would have to contain Harden.  I can already see him getting to the lane. 

Outside of the Thunder Big 3, the Thunder are deeper and better.  Perkins brings defense, Ibaka brings defense, blocked shots and an iffy 16ft/17ft jumper, but past them you still have Collison, Cook, Sefolosha (starter), Derek Fisher and even Nazr Mohammed.

Who has to step up:  Harden, Sefolosha, Fisher.  Harden has got to get buckets against a Heat bench that has problems getting people on the floor. Sefolosha is going to be guarding Wade and LBJ during different times of the game.  He's going to have to make them work for everything they get and make things hard.  He might be giving up too much weight against LBJ, but that's why they pay him big dollars.  Did I mention that he's going to have to hit some shots too?  Fisher had an opportunity to go to the Thunder or the Heat and chose the Thunder.  People say Fish is too old and he's not this and that, but I think Fish's experience might help this young Thunder team in this moment.  

Miami Heat:- This is it.  We're back to where we were last year, in the Finals and an opportunity to not repeat that performance from last year.  LBJ may have exercised some demons with his performance in the playoffs thus far, but the big question starts tonight.  Can he get it done?  The heat Big 3 will have a lot of say so as it relates to that question.  Wade has got to prove to us that even if he is hurt, that he can suck it up and play for at least the next 7 games.  I know it's easy saying that from the chair I'm sitting in, but he can not have games in the first halves like he did against the Celtics or this series is over quickly.  He may need to fly Tom Crean in and have a talk with him again since it seemed to work during the Indy series.  Bosh is still recovering from his injury but he was the reason the Heat won Game 7 against the Celtics.  He'll be counted on in this series to keep Ibaka at bay.  Finally, LBJ.  I always point back to the night that Charles Barkley was on national TV and sent a message to LBJ, saying 'take over'.  What he did in Game 6 is still memorizing, but he's going to have to step it up in this series too. 

On the bench, someone has got to make some plays.  I do like seeing Norris Cole playing a little more and I think that Ronny Turiaf can help on the boards with the active Ibaka.  Jones and Miller have got to hit some shots or the Heat are done.

Who has to step up:  Coach Spo, Everyone besides Big 3.  Spo is always referred to as someone that puts time in and reviews tape and all of that,...he's going to have to do a lot of that on the fly.  He's going to have to put a plan together that will get his team in position to win.  If I see ANY plays where LBJ is standing in the corner while anyone dribble drives and hands off I will do my best to get to Miami and kick Spo in the shin.  Someone besides the Big 3 has got to step up.  I mean I'm not asking for 20 points or anything like that, but if Battier gets 10, Chalmers gets 10, Haslem gets 8, Anthony gets 6, that's what I'm talking about (FYI, those are per game numbers, not series total numbers).  Mike Miller I know you're hurting, but get two shots or something and give it all you can.     

Prediction:  This has been the hardest one of the year.  I mean I am from the old school where a team with their first arrival to the Finals means you lose and it helps prepare you for next year, but I've watched this Thunder team ball throughout the playoffs.  They are not only ready, but they are hungry and there's a quiet confidence around them.  This Heat team thought everyone was going to lay down to them last year and this year, but they have also learned how to fight for what they want.  They are not at full strength (healthwise) but this team seems ready to handle this challenge.  The Thunder are favored by most, my head says Thunder, but my heart says Heat. 

Winner - Miami Heat.   Hulk Smash (focused) Lebron  >>>>> anything.

Side note: Can ya'll please get off of LBJ's jock?  He is a baller who will more than likely make HOF even if he doesn't win a ring.  And before you go that far,...look at all the dudes that have never won the Finals.  Admire his greatness and let him get past 'the Decision' and any other tomfoolery. 

Who you got?!?!?!?