Posts Tagged ‘NBA Teams

24
Nov
07

Dwight Howard for MVP

I’m officially starting my Dwight Howard for MVP campaign! Yes, I know it’s only 14 games into an 82 game schedule, so any MVP talk is premature, but I don’t care. Dwight has been incredible and deserves all the credit and MVP talk he can get.

 

dhoward5.jpg

A number of people picked Dwight to be the most improved player this year, and I thought that was an interesting pick. I mean, how much more does a player need to improve to the point that he wins that award when he averaged 17.6 points, 12.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocks last year? The answer….24.5 points, 14.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocks! WOW! Those numbers are ridiculous! Now, I don’t think he is the MVP because of those numbers alone. His team is 11-3 with wins over Toronto, Cleveland, New Jersey, New Orleans and Boston (the only team to beat them so far). The Magic are winning because they are running the offense through Dwight! For example, tonight the Magic played the Bobcats. Dwight matched up against fellow draft buddy, Emeka Okafor and he abused him! Howard had 34 points, 17 rebounds (6 offensive), 2 assists, 3 steals, and 4 blocks!! Hmmmm, you think those people who had him ranked as a 3rd or 4th round pick in fantasy drafts regret that prediction?? Who gives a damn that he only made 12 or his 21 free throws attempted, when he’s putting up numbers like this! In fact, I took him in the 4th round in one of my leagues, because they were using yahoo’s ranking system and he was ranked as the 44th player on that list, so I knew I could sit on him, and that pick may save my season; since I took Gilbert Arenas in the first round!

Last year, many people questioned whether you could run an offense strictly though him because of his tendency to turn the ball over, and I blamed their coach, Brian Hill! The offense was horrible. They would give the ball to Howard down low, then everyone would just stand there are watch him! No movement to create passing lanes. No cutting to the basket when your man double teamed Dwight! It was absolutely amazing and pathetic that Brian Hill was an NBA coach! This year Stan Van Gundy is in charge and they look like a completely different team. Yes, they have Rashard Lewis, and Dwight and Jameer are older and wiser, but the drastic improvements those two players have made should be largely credited to Stan and his coaching staff! Their offensive sets are seamless and fluid. Jameer and Dwight’s turnovers are down while their scoring and other production (Jameer’s assists) are way up! Hell, even Hedo Turkoglu is having a career year! The best thing Stan Van Gundy has done is realizing that you can and should run everything through his big man! Dwight is rewarding his coach for his confidence in him.

The crazy thing to think about is that Dwight could and SHOULD build on those numbers as the season goes on, because his confidence in his midrange game and new post moves are starting to grow! Can you imagine? Howard is only 21 years old, and will only get better!! He’s one of the most dedicated and hard working players in the league and is just now getting an offensive repertoire. During the game against Boston, Dwight took an 18-foot baseline jump shot, and MADE IT! It was so beautiful and surprising that I screamed with excitement and scared my 1-month-old daughter! He just caught the ball, turned and shot it without even thinking. He will be absolutely unstoppable once he has a 15’ to 18’ consistent jumper! He actually has good shot mechanics; he just needs to work on his confidence. Stan Van Gundy and Patrick Ewing are doing a great job working with him on that.

Now the reality check. I understand it will be extremely difficult for Dwight to average over 14 rebounds per game for a whole season…. But he should do it! That’s the only reality check I have. His scoring numbers are legit and could increase. His field goal percentage will increase as his confidence does as well. His free throw shooting is getting better, and he should increase his blocks to 2.5 to 3 per game.

Dwight Howard for MVP.

14
Nov
07

Waiver Wire Pickup – Delonte West

Luke Ridnour strained his left quadricep last night against the Magic.  Word is that he could be out for an extended period of time.  The man to step up… Delonte West.  I’ve actually been waiting all year for him to take the starting job away from the other two, Watson and Ridnour.  I just didn’t think it would take an injury. 

delonte-west.jpg

Delonte is deceptively good.  He has a knack for doing something in most categories.  Last year with a young Boston team he averaged 12.2 points, 3.1 boards, 4.4 assists, and 1 steal a game.  I would expect about the same, maybe a little more from Delonte, if he gets the full-time gig in Seattle and plays at least 32 minutes.  In fact, last night he played 32 minutes and he had 6 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals.  The scoring was down because he had a horrible night shooting, just 2 of 11. 

 If he’s out there, go get him. 

13
Nov
07

Follow Up – Nate Robinson

Stephon Marbury flew home to New York from Phoenix. We all heard Isiah talk about how he demanded more from his veteran players (Starbury, Curry and Crawford) in the areas of leadership, defense and heart, but we won’t discuss that today. We’ll have to wait and see how this thing plays out, but you gotta love the constant drama with the Knicks…unless you’re a Knicks fan. Instead, let’s take a quick look at what Nate Robinson did tonight, since I told you to pick him up.

Mardy Collins got the start, but he hurt his foot 6 minutes into the game, so Nate came in. Nate did a respectable job, as expected. He scored 18 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal while shooting 47% (2 of 6 from three)in 26 minutes. That’s not a bad stat line, and it’s about what your gonna get from him as long as he plays 25 – 30 minutes per night. His size is an obvious weakness on defense, so it will be interesting to see how Isiah tries to compensate (you can only play so much zone). Jamal Crawford actually played a lot of point, but you wouldn’t guess by his box score. He only had 4 assists when he’s been averaging 6 per game this season. Again, pick up Nate, if he’s still available, but things could change quickly, as the Knicks are a constant rollercoaster.  At the very least, we are looking at a time-share with Mardy and Nate, but even with that Nate is explosive enough to give you some good games on the night you actually play him.

13
Nov
07

Possible Waiver Wire Steal – Nate Robinson

Read this article:

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/knicks/2007/11/13/2007-11-13_stephon_marburys_days_with_knicks_might_.html

nate-robinson.jpg

If this is true, and Marbury is on his way to being bought out, then WATCH OUT FOR NATE ROBINSON!!! The Knicks have been trying to get him more playing time and he would be dynamite as a starter. Yes, he’s a little to much of a shoot first point guard for my liking and I’m not sure this makes the Knicks a better team, but I don’t really care about that.  The fact is he’s built in the Isiah Thomas mold, a ultra competitive smaller scoring guard, which is probably why Isiah has such an affinity for him. He’s a terrific rebounder and could wreck havoc stealing the ball.  

I’m not saying you should pick him up now and sit on him (unless you are in a very large league), but I am advising that you monitor the situation. Keep a close eye on it, because Nate is just that good.

 UPDATE——-

ESPN.com is reporting that Stephon is AWOL (after I posted my article this morning, mind you). He skipped practice and Mardy Collins was named the starter.  Mardy blew up the last two weeks of the season, but I really question if he can match that performance.  I prefer Nate Robinson, as stated above, but there’s no telling what Isiah will be doing.  Watch the game against Phoenix, it will tell alot about their future plans. 

 The question is, what will happen to Stephon Marbury?  It’s likely the Knicks will buy him out, as that is their solution to everything – just throw money at it.  That will make him a free agent, so where will he go?  A friend of mine, Dobie, said Boston.  I totally agree.  Stephon and KG are very good friends (they mended the issues they had between them earlier in their careers) and Steph wanted to join up with KG when the Knicks were rumored to be trying to trade for him.  Some people question whether Starbury could coexist with that team, and I say, HELL YES!!!  People questioned the samething about the Big Three this year, and you see how that has turned out!  KG is the perfect person to have in that locker room to make sure Steph has the right attitude. He’s a leader, pure and simple.

stephon-marbury.jpg

 Besides, the city of Boston is familiar with this senario.  What other malcontent superstar did they trade for… Randy Moss!  How’s his attitude been on the Patriots?  How has his production been for the Pats?  Winning cures all!  I’m not saying Stephon is a Randy Moss type talent, becuase he’s simply not.  However, he is a very talented point guard, who has the veteran savy the Celtics need at that position. 

 Isiah, BUY STARBURY OUT!!  Watch him go to Boston and watch Boston win a title!!!!  Good time to be Boston sports fan! 

11
Nov
07

Where oh where did Mehmo go? Where oh where could he be?

Where oh where has my little Mehmo gone?
Where oh where could he be?
With his 3 points shot
And wannabe phohawk.
Where oh where could he be?

 

mehmet_okur-arton21123-240x240.jpg

I spent all of last season and this one telling the world that Andrei Kirilenko is not a fit for the Utah Jazz with Mehmet Okur and Boozer on the team; offensively that is. I was more than right last year, but things have changed now. What happened to Mehmo???? Him and Andrei have changed places. Last season Andrei was averaging less than 30 minutes, while Mehmet was at 34 minutes per game. Things have flipped, which means their stats have too. Andrei is averaging 35 minutes per game; leaving Mehmo on the bench, only getting 29 min.

Mehmet is averaging 12.5 points and 6 rebounds per game so far. His lowest output since he was in Detroit, coming off the bench in 2003. Meanwhile, Andrei is having a nice bounce back year with 10.9 ponts, 7 boards, 6.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 2.3 blocks. Why the change and has it actually made the Jazz better?

Let me be clear, Andrei is a great talent. Few people can fill up the stat sheet in every category like he can. He is most effective when playing the power forward position, because that puts him closer to the basket and he’s a tough matchup for other power forwards. That’s exactly what the Jazz are doing early on. Although AK47 starts at the three, he spends a lot of time at the four with Boozer manning the five. Giving Mehmo a decreased role. The question is, does this make the Jazz better?

The Jazz are a much different team this year. Yes, they have the same guys, but their young guys like Millsap and Brewer have really come on strong, which changes things. That is one reason that I am so surprised by the decrease in Mehmet’s minutes. Brewer is your starting shooting guard, and although he’s a wonderful young player, his biggest weakness is his outside shot, or lack there of. You would think Utah would need Mehmet to space the floor a little, but that has not been the case so far. I guess the real question is… What do they need more? Okur’s shooting or Andrei’s defense and hustle? I think they need both, which is why Sloan is catering to Kirilenko here in the beginning. I’ll explain.

Sloan is a hall of fame coach and he knows Andrei wants more of an offensive role on the team, as we all due due to his excessive crying and bitching during the offseason. Andrei is an emotional player who needs a pat on the back to know he’s doing well. Whereas Mehmet will just go out and do what he’s told and help the team the best he knows how. Jerry is capitalizing on the easiness of their early schedule to give Andrei the confidence he requires. Look at who the Jazz have played. Only 2 of the first 6 teams they have played have a winning record, and they lost both of those games (Houston and LA Lakers). The other four teams have a combined 4 wins (Cleveland – 3 wins and Memphis – 1 win). That means they have played two teams with NO WINS (Seattle and Golden State – who they have played twice). Which by the way, they only beat Cleveland and Seattle by 2 points each. All of the other wins have been blowouts, which allows Sloan to play Kirilenko heavy minutes and let him do his thing. Andrei has been sub-par in their two losses against actual good teams. Averaging 9.5 points, 5 boards, 3 assists, 0.5 steals and 1 block in those two games. One can argue that the Jazz need Andrei to play well in order to win, and I would agree, but they don’t need him to be a focal part of their offense. That’s just it, by the way. AK47 can post these numbers without being a focal part of the offense, but that’s not good enough for him. He needs to feel like he is getting plays called for him or that he has an active role in the offense to be the defensive force that we all know he can be. Sloan is just giving him his pat on the back here early and I fully expect him to tighten the reins a bit as they get into the season and give Mehmo more minutes.

So yes, I am STILL NOT A KIRILENKO BELIEVER! Not yet anyways. He has played extremely well against very bad teams. Plus, Matt Harpring is coming back from injury and playing very limited minutes, if at all some games. I’ll give Andrei some credit, since he needs it to feel good about himself, and say that he has had some incredible games, almost getting a few triple doubles. I’ll also tell all of his owners out there in fantasy land, that you should trade him, if you can get something good. He won’t continue to have these incredible games on a regular basis once the Jazz start playing tougher competition. Again, don’t misunderstand me. He will be better than last year, but he won’t be the Mr. Almost Triple Double that we have seen so far. Call me a hater, or whatever you want, but I only call it as I see it. He’ll need to sustain this level of play for a least a few more weeks, before I start to believe.

09
Nov
07

A Prayer for Gilbert

The Wizards lost to the Nets last night 87 to 85.  Arenas played 43 minutes with 21, 4, & 6.  He shot 7-17 from the field and 2-7 from three (missed all of the three point attempts he took in the second half).  In fact, he only shot 2 of 9 in the second half, including a HORRIBLE three point shot that came up 6 feet short to win the game.  This is not a good sign! 

Gilbert came out just fine shooting 4 of 8 in the first half, and crashed in the second half, as just mentioned. What’s this tell you boys and girls?? YES, Gilbert’s knee is NOT OK!! To confirm that fact, word is that Gilbert will be undergoing an MRI on his knee and may be asking Eddie Jordan to reduce his playing time. OUCH!!! This really sucks for all Gilbert owners….. ME INCLUDED!!

Shame on me for trusting him when he told everyone on his blog to draft him in our fantasy leagues because his knee was just fine.  Plus, he’s in a contract year. I mean, GILBERT IN A CONTRACT YEAR!!! What’s not to love about that! He’s the ultimate “contract year guy” that you want on your team, right? A pure scorer who’s selfish enough to put up 30 points per game, yet unselfish enough to get 6-8 assists per game as well.  I honestly expected Gilbert to compete for the scoring title this year.  Well, not if his knee is jacked! Damn!

Here’s what we can do; if everyone who has Gilbert Arenas on their team (fantasy owners and Wizards fans alike) just kneel down every night for a week and say a little prayer to heal his knee, I believe he will come out of this just fine. Look, I don’t care if you don’t believe in God, just do it! Kneel down and talk to the damn ceiling for all I care, but Gilbert needs all the help we can give him and from my desk here in Texas, a prayer is the only thing I can offer.

 gilbert-praying.jpg

Gilbert, we’ll be praying for you and your knee! Get well soon, buddy!