Tuesday, August 14, 2012

9 Most Talented Teams This Upcoming Season

Sacramento Kings
Suprised? If you've been watching Kings basketball at all you're not. The Kings have all the potential in the world, but just cannot put it together due to chemistry and coaching issues. They have the best young center in the league in Demarcus Cousins. He will continue to improve, and will be dominant offensively and on the boards. Tyreke Evans just needs to find his way back to his old ways, because he has been struggling playing positions other than the point, which seems to be his natural position. He can't really shoot the three, so players can play off of him, which hurts his ability to slash.

Isaiah Thomas was one of the biggest steals of last years draft. He came out and put up very solid numbers for a rookie, at about 11.5 ppg and 4.1 apg. He will be competing for the starting role with Aaron Brooks, who has just returned from overseas. He was a quickly improving point guard prior to last season. These two combined will be one of the best point guard rotations in the league.
Marcus Thornton is an underrated scorer. He can fill it up and will, and will be called upon to do so this upcoming season. The team also has scoring off the bench in Jimmer Fredette.

New Orleans Hornets
The New Orleans Hornets will sport a young, athletic roster this upcoming season. After adding Anthony Davis, by far the best college player this season, and Austin Rivers, a dynamic scorer from Duke, they will become much more of a threat on a nightly basis. Davis will be vastly improved after his experience with team USA. With the underrated Carl Landry, Ryan Anderson, and Robin Lopez they will have a very solid and extremely deep frontcourt. Any of those four guys could start on many NBA teams. Eric Gordon is one of the best scorers in the league and will remain so.

Philadelphia 76ers
Watch out for the 76ers this year. Jrue Holiday is one of the best up and coming point guards in the league. Losing Andre Iguodala and Moe Harkless will hurt them, but you cannot deny that Andrew Bynum is the second best center in the league (idiots think he's better than Dwight). If he can stay healthy he will be the focus of the 76ers attack this year. Evan Turner will now be a primary ballhandler for the team as he was at Ohio State, so we may see a jump in numbers for him. Thaddeus Young will now move into the starting lineup, which is good, because honestly he would have a lot of NBA teams. Their athleticism has dropped slightly, but they will still be great defensively, and their size has increased, which will make them a better rebounding team. Doug Collins will turn them into a bunch of bullies this season.

Indiana Pacers
Some NBA analysts seemed astounded that the Pacers were one of the better teams in the playoffs, but ask any Pacers fan and they knew it was just a matter of time before the team broke out. There are a lot of players to talk about, I'll go from inside out.
We'll start off with Roy Hibbert. Hibbert has becoming everything you want in a center over the first couple seasons of his career. He's 7'2" and strong, a solid rebounder, and he also averaged two blocks per game.

He is skilled, and his low post game is really coming into its own. Hibbert is not paint locked like a lot of centers because he has range out to 15 feet. The best part is, you can't just hack him because he shoots almost 73 percent from the freethrow line for his career! Then they have David West, who has been a great scoring power forward during his career. West is extremely skilled, and also has range. He is a solid rebounder also despite being a little undersized. Tyler Hansbrough gives them everything you want out of a bench post player. He will give you a few buckets, a few rebounds, and he is a great freethrow shooter.

The post isn't where the strengths stop for this team. They have Danny Granger, a great all around player, who's numbers have dropped recently. He still is one of the better forwards around, and can put up points at will some nights. Paul George is a 6'10" shooting guard. He has the ability to guard four positions, play 3 offensively, and do so with ease. This will only be his third year in the league, he has all-star potential.

As for the point, they lost Darren Collison, but replaced him with D.J. Augustine. Augustine is a solid point guard, and I think he will fill the role just fine. George Hill will most likely be the sixth man for this team, and he will be one of the best. I can see him competing for sixth man of the year.

Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers are the definition of pure talent. They lived off of it, talent is the only reason they made the playoffs or were considered a good NBA team. The Clippers could not execute offensively. Their offense consisted of isolations and pick and rolls, then just hoping that Chris Paul or Blake Griffin would make a play.

Their team will be much better this season. Caron Butler and Chauncey Billups will be returning from injury, and Grant Hill will add a veteran presence that was lost once Chauncey went down. This team will be very deep at positions one through three, which will only help their signature run and gun style.

Chris Paul still may be the best point guard in the league, though that may be up to question. Still, he is a maestro when it comes to getting players shots. He will get the ball into the hands of this team's many scorers. If Chauncey Billups doesn't start, he will be one of the best backup point guards in NBA history. Seriously, Billups is a winner, a floor general, a three point marksman, and a solid passer. He could, and would start for a lot of NBA teams. Then I find it funny that they have Eric Bledsoe as their third point guard! He may have had a bit of a down year last year, but he played well in the playoffs.

Jamal Crawford and Caron Butler will hold down the two and three position. They are known shot takers, though they are not always shot makers. Still, they are 2 of the better second tier scorers in the NBA, and will thrive in the fast paced system the Clippers run. Grant Hill will add defense and a bit of efficient scoring off of the bench.

Blake Griffin. The only guys that I can even think of mentioning in the same sentence as him when speaking of athleticism are probably Lebron James, Dwight Howard and Josh Smith. He has a longer dunk reel than 90% of NBA players and he's only going into his second season. I laugh at people that say he's not a good player. He may not be very skilled, but he is improving, and averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds in your first two seasons in the league is mind-blowing. Kevin Love may be better than him now, but the sky is the limit for Blake.

New York Knicks
The New York Knicks just haven't been able to live up to the hype. They still feature what I believe to be the third most talented roster in the NBA however, and if they could find a way to put it together they could be a top NBA team.

Carmelo Anthony may be the best pure scorer in the NBA, well, either him or Kevin Durant. He scores with ease from anywhere on the floor. His numbers dropped this last season in New York, but they will come back up. He needs help from Amar'e Stoudemire however. Stoudemire was a non-factor this last season after putting up amazing numbers his first year in New York. Expect him to return to form this upcoming season.

Tyson Chandler will remain one of the best defensive centers around. He is efficient on the offensive end, shooting nearly 68% from the field, and 70% from the freethrow line. Iman Shumpert was one of the best rookies last year. He's an explosive player, with the potential to be both a formidable offensive and defensive player. JR Smith is the most inconsistent scorer around. He is capable of superstar type performances because of his great athleticism and great outside jumpshot, but there seem to be times where he's just not focused. His inconsistency and personality issues are well known around the NBA. You also can't forget about Steve Novak, who is the best three point shooter in the NBA right now.

At point, Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton will be veteran leadership for this team. Hopefully they can get the ball moving in the Knicks stagnant offense.

Oklahoma City Thunder

 The Thunder have made zero moves this offseason, other than drafting Perry Jones III, which may or may not pan out. I know they made it to the finals, but they need some more depth to really challenge Miami, and the revamped Lakers squad for the title. Kevin Durant may be the second best player in the NBA, and rightfully so. He is a 6'11" small forward who has a smooth jump shot and a pretty good ability to get to the rim. Russell Westbrook is a top "point guard" in the west, but he struggles with moving the ball and not looking to score first. He is a freak athlete, one of the best in the league, and his defense has always been great because of this. Serge Ibaka was the shot blocking champ this last season. Ibaka has nice touch from midrange and a growing feel for the game, which will most likely have him being one of the better starting fours around.

Their defense is solid due to Kendrick Perkins and Thabo Sefolosha being two of the best defenders for their position in the NBA. Sefolosha is definitely a top 5 perimeter defender in the league, and his work on Kobe in the playoffs exemplifies that. Perkins has been called one of the best low post defenders since his days in Boston, and he may be. He is a non-factor on offense, but he's not needed to score. He and Ibaka both need to improve their rebounding, Kevin Durant grabs more boards than them, and they are an average rebounding team and best.

Now, James Harden might be the third best player on the team, but he is most valuable to the teams success. Every team needs scoring, and James Harden gives them a legit third option. The best characteristic about him is that he understands his role. He loves coming off the bench and not having to play with Westbrook and Durant, as he should, because when he is in the ball rests solely in his hands. The reigning sixth man of the year's value was shown during their Miami series, because his struggles dragged down the team heavily.

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers went from an over-the-hill team to a title contender in one offseason. The pickups of Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, and Antawn Jamison will improve these team to astronomical levels. Their talent level now has definitely surpassed OKC, and now rivals Miami, and it possibly may be better. Dwight Howard is the best center in the NBA. The only player who can compete for that title is Andrew Bynum, but he is not as dominant defensively and has problems with injuries. Steve Nash will fill the point for the Lakers, which was filled last year by Ramon Sessions. Sessions did pretty well, but not well enough in the eyes of LA. Nash will bring in 13 ppg and 11 or more apg this year for LA. Then comes Antawn Jamison. He was one of the primary options for Cleveland last year, and delivered despite his age. He fills a role as a scorer off the bench, he is a Lamar Odom clone in my eyes. Jamison is able to play either the three or the four.

Kobe Bryant may not be the same Kobe Bryant, but he is still a top five scorer in the NBA. He and Howard have both never played with an elite level point guard, so expect the offensive efficiency for each to go up this season. Pau will return to his elite form after a silver medal run with Spain. Him and Howard will be dominant down low, nearly unstoppable for a lot of smaller teams. Metta World Peace will deliver what he has for the past few years in LA, he will give them great defense, and extremely inconsistent offense. Still, this Lakers team will be one of the best defensive teams we've seen in awhile under Mike Brown

Miami Heat
It's fitting that the reigning champion Miami Heat would be the most talented team in the NBA, their talent is the reason they won the NBA championship. They have the best all-around player in the NBA in Lebron James, who went on a rampage in this year's playoffs. He scores, passes, rebounds, plays defense, and is the emotional leader that every team needs. Dwyane Wade still may be the best all-around shooting guard, and is pretty much Lebron in a smaller body. He too does everything on the court, and having two players that can do that is what really makes them great. Chris Bosh gets so much unwarranted hate, because he is a very good player. During his time in Toronto he was a legit superstar, and just because he takes a back seat to two of the best players the NBA has ever seen does not mean that he is bad or soft. Miami struggled when he was hurt in the playoffs, the reason for that is he nearly averages 18 points and 8 rebounds as the third option for Miami. He rarely has the ball in his hands because the offense runs through Lebron and Wade, if anyone else did this for a team like Miami we would call them a great player. Sure, Bosh could improve his rebounding, but he is by no means a bad player.

Miami will be building their team around the Big 3, defense, and three point shooting this upcoming season. Ray Allen will give them a legit fourth option scoring-wise, he could be a sixth man of the year contender. Also, Rashard Lewis will have an improved season, as all he will really have to do is shoot wide open threes off kickouts from the big 3. They would have improved from getting a legit point guard or center, atleast Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole showed they could play under great pressure with their performances in the playoffs.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Most Overrated Player from Every Team pt. 4 (Miami-New York)

Miami Heat- Chris Bosh

I loved Bosh in Toronto, but since moving to Miami he has become a shell of his former self. Bosh is going to go down in history as that guy who looked like a dinosaur, or an avatar, or an ostrich. He gave up his chance of being a great player by following Lebron to Miami, possibly his worst choice of his career. However many championships Miami ends up winning, Bosh won none of them. He is a good player, and there's no doubt that Miami played far better with him, but he just no longer looks like an all-star caliber player. He shows flashes, but a lot of the time he plays uninspired and soft. Imagine the criticism Bosh would get if he ever tried to take over the game in crunch time instead of Lebron or Wade.

Milwaukee Bucks- Brandon Jennings

Brandon has been overrated since that 55 point game his rookie season. People just keep expecting him to break out and become one of the best point guards in the league, but that doesn't seem to be happening. However, Jennings made a good leap this year, raising his field goal percentage from 39% to 42%, his assists went back up to 5.5, and he remained a solid three point shooter despite taking nearly 6 a game this season. He has problems finishing at the rim, and 6 threes a game is a lot, showing he has a tendency to get a little shot happy at times. Jennings is not a true point, but people forget how young he is. He just finished his 3rd season after being drafted into the league at 19, he has plenty of time to improve. There will be all-star games in his future, but at this moment he's a bit overrated.

Minnesota Timberwolves- Ricky Rubio

Ricky Rubio is not as much overrated as he is over hyped. I'm not going to lie, the sky is the limit with this kid. He has good size for the point, and an amazing feel for the game. The fact that he was even in the running for the all-star game bothered me though. He put up respectable numbers, great assist numbers for a rookie, but just not enough to get more votes than some of the guys he was above. I know the all-star game is just a popularity contest, but this kid has been too loved since before he even stepped foot on the NBA floor. Peoples mouths watered to see the euro-prodigy that Rubio was made out to be, and people called him the next Maravich. Rubio will be a great player as long as this injury doesn't take him down, but right now he is extremely over hyped.

New Orleans Hornets- Austin Rivers

I hate to put this before he even plays an NBA game, but honestly there is no one else on the Hornets roster to put on here, other than maybe Anthony Davis if you don't believe the hype. This kid is a scorer, a good one at that, but that's it. He's a tweener, which means he'll end up a combo guard, and those guys seem to end up struggling in the NBA. People look at him as a possible Monta Ellis type, a guy who can just score at will, but doesn't do much else. Coaches will try to turn him into a point, as they did with Ellis, but at some point they'll realize that he's just not wired that way. Rivers may just will himself into being a star, because he's that type of kid, he'll never be content not being the best he can be.

New York Knicks- Amar'e Stoudemire

Can you believe I didn't say Melo? If you watched the Knicks this year you could. Amar'e put up numbers well lower than his averages from the previous years. He has always been injury prone, and that has kept him from being at the very top of the power forwards in the league. He seemed to be a shell of his former self this season, and he cannot be effective without the ball constantly in his hands. He has never been a good rebounder, despite his athleticism. Stoudemire may come back this next season and prove me wrong, but who knows if he will even play very much, since injury has been killing him recently.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Most Overrated Player from Every Team pt. 3 (Houston- Memphis)

Houston Rockets- Jeremy Lin (If He Signs)

Another solid young player that because of the media is over-hyped. He is a talented player, but because of his back story and a string of good games in the middle of last season, Linsanity began. Lin became one of the most famous players globally, probably next to Kobe and Lebron, and he continued to play pretty well or awhile. Still, all good things come to an end, and he dropped back to his good numbers. Still, Lin has very good potential, but his play not yet deserving of the 3 year $25 million offer sheet the Rockets offered him. I say "his play", because from a marketing standpoint that is a good investment, because Lin will sell jerseys and bring in fans like he's a superstar. This choice is not based on what I think he could become, but rather what he is now compared the the media-hype surrounding him. Oh yea, and he can't check pretty much any starting point guard in the NBA.

Indiana Pacers-Danny Granger

God, I hate doing this, because I love Danny Granger and what's going on in Indiana. I love when teams build from the ground up from the draft, but this kid isn't a superstar. He's one step below. He's an amazing player, but I don't know if he's a true number 1 option. Rank him against the rest first options of the league, he's probably in the middle to low end of the pack. Indiana has been desperately been trying to make him, and market him as a star. He puts up good, but not great numbers for Indiana, so I'd say he's an amazing player looked at as a superstar.

Los Angeles Clippers- Blake Griffin

Sorry, Blake is a great player, but he is the most over-hyped in the NBA. Blake Griffin is probably one of the top 10 to 20 athletes these league has ever seen, and he translates that offense into dunks and rebounds. He makes absolutely amazing plays, and is on Sportscenter once or twice every time he plays, but he is not yet an elite player. He does not have any post moves, and does not have a consistent jumpshot. He's down there in free throw percentage, despite his decent looking release. Blake Griffin will be an elite player if he continues to work, but his high point totals are all off pick and rolls and oops from Chris Paul. He is not better than Kevin Love by any stretch of the imagination. Blake has the same problem as Jeremy Lin, he's a great young player, but the media loves him too much.

Los Angeles Lakers- Andrew Bynum

Andrew Bynum is better than Dwight Howard...just kidding. Andrew is extremely overrated, and for some reason Lakers greats seem to think he's the best center in the league. Bynum is constantly hurt, and probably will be for the rest of his career. He played pretty much no role in the Lakers championship runs. Now, if you're one of the people who think Bynum is better, imagine the 3 time DPOY Dwight Howard on the Lakers. People wouldn't care if Pau was soft. Sorry, but Dwight, despite not being as skilled as Bynum, is the most dominant inside player in today's game. Point blank. Bynum may be a top 5 center, but a top 2..that's questionable.

Memphis Grizzlies- No One

With Gilbert Arenas and OJ Mayo leaving, the Memphis Grizzlies are one of the most underrated teams around. They have a lot of talented players, and will make it back to the playoffs this year.

Most Overrated Player from Every Team pt.2 (Cleveland-Golden State)

Cleveland Cavaliers-Tristan Thompson

Tristan Thompson is my most overrated player on the Cleveland Cavaliers. He came in as the 4th pick to one of the worst teams in history and did not make much of an impact. He played low minutes and did not really perform. He didn't even start, and honestly there were a lot of players drafted later who made more of an impact for their team. He shot a measly 44% from the floor and 55% from the line. He also was not an effective rebounder averaging only 6.5, and averaged only 1 block per game. He still has room to improve, unlike many of these guys.

Dallas Mavericks-Elton Brand

Well at least Elton Brand isn't one of the most overpaid players in the league anymore. As a Sixers fan I am extremely happy to see Brand leave. He didn't fit into their style, and is really only a semi-effective power forward. He does fit into Dallas' style, but he's always at risk to be injured. He still lives off the fame from his 20/10 seasons early in his career, but he is now an average rebounder and scorer. I don't expect him to put up very good numbers next year.

Denver Nuggets- Javale Mcgee

I'm saying this hoping that Javale will sign back with the Nuggets, because most everyone else on their roster is underrated. Javale is a good talent, but he does not have the work ethic to develop his skills to the point where he could be a great player. He's highly athletic, but his basketball IQ is a zero. He has no ability to post up or shoot, so he needs a great point guard to set him up for dunks. He makes bonehead plays and is very turnover prone. Once he loses his athleticism it's over for him.

Detroit Pistons-Tayshaun Prince and Rodney Stuckey

Sorry, I had to do both of them. Detroit is a team full of under-performers, and Rodney Stuckey is the saddest excuse for a franchise player I've ever seen. Detroit puts the ball in his hands and lets him do what he wants with it, and he rewards them by putting up mediocre stats. Enough said.

Tayshaun Prince had one of those rare cases where you're underrated so long you become overrated. He's a good glue guy, but after those championship years with Detroit, they seem to think he is some kind of great player. He's an average scorer, average 3 point shooter, and average ball handler. The thing that makes him overrated is how people view his defense. Sorry, but Tayshaun is not a top 10 perimeter defender anymore. He's never average over 1 steal or block per game, and that's supposed to be his specialty?

Golden State Warriors- Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry is a great player, don't get me wrong, but his problem lately is defined in the image to the left. He was out most of the 2012 season with injury. Steph is an efficient player, an amazing shooter, and a decent distributor. However, he is not a star. 
Fans make Stephen Curry seem like a legit franchise player, when he is a good supporting player, but he will never be good enough to lead a team alone. He's unathletic and isn't naturally a point guard, he's still developing his point guard instincts. Sorry Steph, but you're not to all-star level yet, no matter what Golden State fans think.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Most Overrated Player From Each Team pt. 1 (Atlanta Hawks to Chicago Bulls)

Atlanta Hawks- Al Horford

I would have gone with Joe Johnson, but he's now moved on to Brooklyn. I honestly don't think anyone is very overrated on the Hawks now, but since I had to pick one, I went with Horford. He plays in an Eastern Conference full of weak big men, and is blown up to seem like an elite center in the league. His all-star nods are out of pure coincidence, since Dwight Howard is the only other elite center out there. He may be young, but I feel his potential has been reached, and with new, young centers coming in, this guy will eventually get washed out and become just an average to good NBA center.

Boston Celtics-Rajon Rondo

Some of you Boston fans probably think I'm crazy right now, but does not mean I don't think Rondo is an elite point guard. This is more the fan's fault, proclaiming him the best point guard in the NBA, and articles even claim that he may become the best of all time.
First of all, Rondo is a top 3 point guard, with Chris Paul and Deron Williams up there with him. He is one of the best passers in the game, pair that with his low turnover ratio and his quickness, and his uncanny ability to rebound and you have a great point guard.
Many would argue that he only racks up assists because he is playing with Hall of Famers. Having guys like Ray Allen and Paul Pierce does help, but I'm not going to use that as my argument. I look at his ability to really take over a game.
Sure you can say he can take over a game passing, but does that really make him a great player? Or is he just great at getting the ball to great players? He cannot shoot at all, honestly, you're a point guard and people are playing you at the free throw line. He hasn't shown much will to improve his jump shot, because shooting is a skill that can easily be learned through repetition. His free throw percentage is dismal. Below 60% is absolutely unacceptable for a great point guard, because with that low of a free throw percentage you cannot be trusted at the end of games.
Rondo has never had to close the way that Deron Williams and Chris Paul have. Rajon Rondo is probably 4th on the list for the guys you would give the ball to for the last shot. Does that sound like the best PG in the league?

Brooklyn Nets- Joe Johnson

See that smirk on Joe Johnson's face? That's because he knows he is the most overpaid player in the league now that Rashard Lewis' contract is up. 6 years, $119 million dollars for a non-elite level player. Joe Johnson is a good all around player, maybe a great scorer. However, with this deal Atlanta made him higher payed then players like Kobe, Lebron and Durant.
This guy should not get anything close to MVP money, his production has been slowly dropping, and now Brooklyn takes on his huge contract. He is by no means a superstar, he possibly can be considered a star, but he's not someone to build your team around. He will be the second option on the Nets after Deron Williams, and if Dwight Howard went there he would be 3rd. Johnson is not that great. I mean if your contract is considered the worst ever before you even sign it, you're probably overrated. Finally, he never lead his extremely talented Hawks team anywhere in the playoffs.

Charlotte Bobcats-Ben Gordon

A non-star getting star money, Ben Gordon was extremely disappointing in Detroit. Despite being payed nearly $12 million per year, his averages dropped across the board. He averages about as many turnovers as assists. His undersized for the 2 and can't play much defense, and he can't really handle the ball. He's primarily just a shooter that is labelled as a scorer because he put up a good amount of points early in his career.

Chicago Bulls- Carlos Boozer

Carlos Boozer has been overrated player ever since Chicago got him. He's supposed to be some all-star level big man, but all they got was a decent scoring forward. He is incosistent, undersized, can't rebound or play defense to save his life. He blocks nearly no shots, and he doesn't even score enough to take any of the pressure off of Derrick Rose. He's never been a good postseason performer either, his field goal percentage dropped drastically in the postseason, and even his scoring dropped without Rose in the lineup. He is not an all-star caliber player like he was in Utah.

Anthony Davis played his first Olympic game..Blake Griffin knee injury diagnosed

Anthony Davis is now a permanent member of Team USA after Blake Griffin's knee injury is diagnosed as a torn meniscus. Davis only played 10 minutes in the fourth quarter of a 113-59 blowout, but they were good minutes, and his teammates had his back. The veterans stayed in his ear, seemingly taking him under their wing. Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul seemed particularly vocal with the young forward.

This is much better development-wise than the summer league. Playing on the biggest basketball stage, and playing against some great players is an experience that you can't pass up. With great players around him teaching him throughout these coming weeks, Davis may come out of this a more experienced and confident player.

Davis did make it known that his nerves were getting to him during the first exhibition. Davis said himself, "If you love this game, you're going to be nervous. But when you step on the floor just go out there and have fun. If you love this game like we all say we love it, you just go out there and play ball."

Davis stated he hopes to come out in the next exhibition Monday against Brazil and do what he does best, block shots, rebounding, running the floor, and transition buckets. "Nothing more than than what you saw tonight and nothing less."

+1, comment and follow!!

Dwight Howard still not going to Houston..Luis Scola waived

I'm getting tired of saying this, but Dwight Howard is still a member of the Orlando Magic. Houston is trying their hardest to get the star, and they even made the stupid move of using their amnesty provision to waive Luis Scola. A deal still has not been reached, and apparently the two sides are not even talking.

The Rockets offered to take a bad contract away from the Magic, and also give up one of their picks from this years draft- Jeremy Lamb, Royce White, or Terrence Jones. They would also send future draft picks to Orlando.

Orlando has a few contracts that they would like to get rid of, and this deal would allow them to. The Rockets are determined to either land a star or fill a roster with players of high potential, hoping that one of them may become a star.