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Posts Tagged ‘BI08’

This looks and feels very familiar to me. I’ve been here before. The Pacers are coming off of a devastating Conference Finals lost. Same core, young budding star and the belief that they can win it all.Image Where have I seen this before?

Oh, I remember now. Reggie Miller and company. They lost to Michael Jordan’s Bulls in the 1998 Conference Finals. How did they bounce back? By losing to New York in the Conference Finals the following season, To their credit, they did get over that hump and finally made it to the Finals in 2000. There they lost to Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal’s Lakers. Their first in what will later become a three-peat.

The Jermaine O’Neal led Pacers did it as well. In 2004 they lost in the Conference ARTESTFinals to the Detroit Pistons. In 2005, same two team, same results. The following season, 2006, the year that I believed, I really believed, that the Pacers were going to win the championship…The Brawl. Need I say more? Possibly the best Pacer team ever, poof, up in smoke. Gone. Everybody suspended, D-Leaguers on the court.
I cried. Seriously.
That brings us to Paul George’s Indiana Pacers. 2013 Conference Finals lost against the Miami Heat. What’s going to happen next? To be honest with you, I can live with a repeat. I’m fine if they lose to Miami again in the Conference Finals. I’d be content with that. This coming season the Eastern Conference will be more competitive than it’s been in years. But Indiana deserves a break sooner or later. I mean, this is Indiana! Basketball is like a religion here.

I would like to go to Indianapolis for a parade. I want some Pacers championship gear, a fitted cap of course. It probably won’t happen this year but I do think we have one thing in our favor. You have no idea what Paul George is going to be this time next year.  Hibbert either.
George & Hibbert vs Hawks 2013Time to raise the roof because the ceiling is high (that sounded better in my head). Larry Bird is up to old tricks again. While everyone else was asleep he was building a contender.

Burning Questions:

Question: Should Indiana trade Granger?
MY Answer: No. According to reports, Granger is perfectly willing to let George and Hibbert have the ball and he’ll “score within the offense”. “Kick-outs, transition, mid-range jumpers”. When the game is on the line he “knows that ball is going to be in George’s hands” and he’ll “just spot up and be ready if Paul (George) has to kick it out”. Granger is happy that he’s “finally be playing for a championship contender”. He’s a great bargaining chip as his contract is expiring next off-season, but he can shoot as well as ANY other 3-point specialist in the league. If the George and Hibbert attract double teams, it won’t from Granger’s man. I think he’ll work with them on a new contract. He knows he’s not going to get anymore big money elsewhere either.

Question: Is Paul George a real superstar?
MY Answer: Not yet but I see no reason why he can’t be one. He’s still young, he’s mature, focused. Just a matter of time.

Question: Do the Pacers need a traditional PG?
MY Answer: No, a traditional PG would just limit George’s touches. Imagine Miami had Chris Paul for instance. Would Lebron be as effective? No. He’s the playmaker, they don’t need CP3. Same case in Indiana. As long as Hill can knock down threes, it’s good.

Question: What do I consider the biggest factors in the Pacers taking that next step?
MY Answer: The development of George, Hibbert and (drumroll please) Lance Stephenson. I call him X-Factor.  He’s physically gifted and a fierce competitor. He’s also turnover pron has no conscience. He made big stride last season and let’s hope that continues.

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Derrick Rose & Joachim Noah are just two of the reason why King James is considering Chicago.

In light of the big summer ahead of us, I just thought that I would take this time to pledge my allegiance to the Chicago Bulls. I’ve liked them for a few years now. I’m not sure exactly when I started liking them but by the time the curtain fell on that Boston series in 2009, it was official. Chicago is my Eastern Conference team. I’ve said it the entire year but I’m not sure who was paying attention. I just wanted to make it clear again before Lebron signs with Chicago and everyone accuses me of jumping on the bandwagon. You guys know me, I hate bandwagon jumpers.
As many of you know, and just as many may not know, I am a Derrick Rose fanatic. He’s been my favorite point guards since about March 2009 and now has catapulted into my overall “Fav Five”. Now, I would just like to remind you all that the words “favorite” and “best” are two totally different words with totally different meanings. I’m not even thinking of throwing Rose into a “best in the NBA” conversation, but as far as my favorite players are concerned he’s way up there.
Overall, the caliber of point guards in the NBA right now is at an all time high. Almost every team in the league has a good point, whether it be a wily veteran like Steve Nash or Jason Kidd, or a young stud like Tyreke Evans or Stephen Curry. Even New Jersey, the worst team in the NBA, has Devon Harris. Yes, last season he spent most of his time nursing injuries but in 2009 he made the all-star team. Some people were even questioning if the Jason Kidd trade was a good idea. In fact, the only team that played last season without an adequate PG was Washington, and next season they’ll have two. Gilbert Arenas will be back and they’ll more than likely draft John Wall later this month.
Still, D.Rose is my man!
Obviously he can use some maturing and developing, but that will come with experience. Other than that, Rose is one of the most physically gifted point guards in the league. He’s like the Lebron James of point guards. He’s big and strong but still small and quick. Of course, being that he has just completed his second season in the NBA and he is only 21 years old, his skills set could use some fine tuning before I can flat out call him the best point guard in the NBA. Hopefully taking part in the Olympic workouts during the summer will help expedite his development.
I also like Joakim Noah, a lot. Always have. I just like the package to be quite honest with you. He has length, agility, energy, work ethic and seems to be a genuinely good guy. The passion that he plays with is contagious. He has a great understanding of how to play defense be it zone, man-to-man or help/weak-side defense. He gets double digits points and rebounds, never falls asleep or skip plays and most importantly, you know that he is not going to get outworked. Add that with the things that you can teach or improve, things like footwork, rebound positioning, and a face up jump shot, and you have a very serviceable center for a decade. I’m also interested in seeing how bulky he gets this offseason, last summer he apparently became addicted to lifting wights.
In addition to that, you have Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich. Luol has been through two uneventful, injury plagued seasons, but he’s healthy now. In his last full season, he averaged 18.8 points per game and 7.1 rebounds. Last season he averaged 17.6ppg and 7.7rebs, he just didn’t play enough games. If he do that for a full season, Chicago will be very, very good. Hinrich, as much as I like him, I would assign to back up duties. He would still play a lot of minutes at both guard spots and depending on who is starting at shooting guard, may play a lot of fourth quarters and tight, pressure situations. I’d just prefer having a taller shooting guard. I liked it when they had Thabo Sefolosha at that spot and Kirk coming off of the bench, but Thabo has finally found his place in the NBA as OKC’s defensive specialist. Other than that, I think Hinrich is genius. He can shoot and defend, and he’s one of the grittiest and toughest guys in the entire league.
If I were a free agent, Chi would definitely be on my radar. They have a lot of young talent, too bad they don’t have a coach yet. That could be the deciding factor.

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Is His Airness the Greatest of all Times?

Is His Airness the Greatest of all Times?

Is it just me or does this question just get on your nerves. There is no correct answer, but still people love to sit around and argue their point. Honestly, that’s not what bothers me though. I will never turn down a nice basketball debate over any topic, as long as it is a proper debate, with both sides presenting evidence and/or meaningful grounds to support their argument. What bothers me is the basketball knowledge that these “debaters” have. Just the other day a guy at work asked me if I consider Michael Jordan the best NBA player of all times.

“No”, I said calmly “I’m going to have to go with Wilt.” I already know what’s coming next. He’s going to say “Are you crazy, nobody is better than Jordan!” or something to that effect, everyone does. Then he totally cathces me totally off guard,

Wilt Chamberlain once scored 100 point in a single game

Wilt Chamberlain once scored 100 point in a single game

“Who?” He asked puzzled as if this is the first time he’s ever heard that name in his life.

“Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain!” I replied. “You know that guy that once scored 100 points in a game. The guy that averaged 50 points in an entire season.”

“Nope, never heard of him” he said “but I guarantee he wasn’t as good as Jordan.”

What!? I’m really confused now. How can you have an opinion of someone that you’ve never heard of? I, of course, think that MJ was an exceptional player and definately in the top 2 or 3 in history but I can’t put him above Wilt Chamberlain. I’ve never seen Wilt play but his stats are mind boggling to me. The guy averaged 37 point and 27 rebounds as a rookie! The stats that I have linked here do not mention blocks but I am willing to bet he averaged more than 5 per game. OK, so, Dwight Howard is presently  averaging 22 points, 14.5 rebounds and 4 blocks. Have you watched him play yet this year? He is everywhere, doing everything. He appears to totally dominate, he’s involved in almost every play offensively and defesively. Now imagine that Wilt did roughly twice as much as Howard. Impressive.

Oscar Robertson is the only player in NBA history to average a tripple-double for an entire season

Oscar Robertson is the only player in NBA history to average a tripple-double for an entire season

I also believe that Oscar Robertson can be thrown into the conversation. Robertson was a point guard that averaged more than 30 points and 11 assists five times in his professional career. In the 1961-62 season he averaged a tripple-double, and I’m not talking about one of those Jason Kidd barely tripple-doubles, I’m talking 30 points, 11.4 assist and 12.5 rebounds. In addition to that, 4 years he was either 1 rebound or 1 assist shy of averaging a trip-dub. Lets put that into perspective, shall we. This time I’m going to use His Majesty King James to validate my point. Lebron is, in my opinion, clearly the best player in the NBA right now (Kobe is my favorite but I knew that this day would come sooner or later). Lebron is presently averaging 27points, 6,8 rebounds and 6,3 assist and when you watch the game he sticks out like a sore thumb. He is by far the Alpha Male on the court.  In fact, right now at this moment, there is no one in the NBA averaging over 30 points. D.Wade is first with 29.5 points a game, but he is only averaging 5 rebounds and 7.5 assists.

Now, I’m not in any way, shape or form trying to discredit the many outstanding accomplishments of Mr.Jordan, I’m just stating that it’s not clear, to me, that he is the G.O.A.T. He very well may be, but since the NBA was already 30 years old when I was born, and then it took me another 15 years to understand all the different dynamics of the game, I don’t consider myself qualified to answer that question. I will continue to have my favorite players and you will continue to have your favorite players and we can debate forever about who’s the G.O.A.T.  But, once again, there is no right answer,  so don’t take it personal when I say “I’m going to have to go with Wilt”.

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    76ers                

I just read an article on NBA.com calling the Philadelphia 76ers “a disappointment” and I must say I was a little surprised. I know that a lot of people were under the impression that Phily was going to be a lot better this year but I never would have thought that NBA.com was one of those people. I will admit that they are playing even worse than I expected, but I never once thought of them as championship contenders as it seems a lot of other people  have. I don’t even see how Philadelphia is better than the Clippers, especially now with Baron Davis.  Chris Kaman is, in my opinion, better than Dalembert, Corey Magette is as good if not better than Igoudala and Al Thornton is better than everybody on Phily’s roster.  I actually think that Igoudala is overrated. I like him as a role player, like James Posey or something, but if you are relying on A.I.2 to carry your team ,or even be your second option, this is the type of season you are going to have.

 

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Wilt vs Russell...the greatest big man match-up of all timesIt seems as if it were just a few years ago that everyone was making such a big deal about how there are no traditional big men left in the NBA. How the NBA was evolving into this perimeter game with big men that can dribble, shoot 3-pointers and play 3 positions like Dirk Nowitzki. Yes, Dirk did expand the market and open up doors for other big men that are not necessarily power players such as Andrea Bargnani or Mehmet Okur, but all three of these players are a liability on defense. In fact, if the NBA would have never legalized the zone defense, Okur and Bargnani would probably have a hard time finding minutes. Dirk, on the other hand, would still play because he is so important offesively, but do you remember early in his career when everyone was talking about how horrible his defense was? After the NBA implemented the zone, Dirk shot up to elite status. One of my friends say Coach Don Nelson and his “small ball” actually deserves all of the credit. Most coaches would have never given Dirk the freedom that Nellie did, they would’ve put Nowitzki in the post and made him develope a back to the basket game or sit on the bench.

I , personally, never bought into this “big man extiction” theory, just look at the NBA champions from the last 10 years, either Tim Duncan or Shaquille O’neal has played in every finals series with the exception of last year which starred Kevin Garnett (and I believe Boston would’ve lost if Andrew Bynum was healthy). Only the Detroit Piston had no dominate big man, but they still had Ben & Rasheed Wallace. Ben Wallace is a 4 time defensive player of the year and Rasheed is a not too shabby defender himself with 20 and 10 potential. The formula had been proven time and time again throughout history from George Mikan, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabar to Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson and the aforementioned Shaq and Tim Duncan. The NBA Champions always have either a dominating big man (on both sides of the court) or Michael Jordan who managed to win 6 championships and never had a real center. Even though not all teams with big men can win championships, I can’t help but to think that New York has nothing but love for my man Patrick Ewing. He still had a very rich and rewarding career leading his Knicks deep into the playoffs almost every year. I was so happy to see him inducted into the Hall of Fame last year. I bet playing in New York is stressful and I think Ewing did a great job leading that team on and off of the court. I often hear that New Yorkers were disappointed that he never won a championship, but damn, he was playing against Jordan. My Pacers were also a handful in those days. Detroit and Cleveland…the East was a beast.

Dwight Howard001              Greg Oden001

So, where does that leave us today? It leave us with a plethera of big, talented back-to-the-basket youngsters ready to dominate the NBA for at least the next decade. Of course you have your next basketball mega-star in Lebron James, and who can deny the talents of Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Dwayne Wade or rookie Derrick Rose. We already know that they are going to be around but their success also hinges on the talent around them. Just look at Wade’s career with Shaq vs Wade’s career without Shaq. Shaq was only a mere image of his old self but he still demanded just enough attention to allow Wade to roam free with only one defender. Can you say “impossible task”? Just imagine Lebron playing with Dwight Howard or Chris Bosh. He would probably be working on his 3rd ring this season. I actually believe he would already be a champion had Boozer never bailed on him a few years ago. Lebron says that in 2010, when his contract is over, he will go to a team in position to win “multiple titles”. I would think that that process of choosing a new team would have a lot to do with who’s in the middle. Right now there are plenty of big men to choose from, some already established and some that has the tools but are relatively new to the NBA and still must develope. For instance Yao Ming, Amare Stoudamire, Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, Greg Oden, Andrew Bynum…shall I continue? Ok fine, Al Horford, Nene, Andrew BogutAndris Biedrins, Brook and Robin Lopez etc. The “big man” is back and I love it. Stop shooting all of those 3-pointers and post somebody up, block somebody’s shot or dunk on somebody, anybody and shake the whole arena, that is what’s going to win championships and that is what we (the fans) want to see. As we say “in the Hood” play your position. Your future depends on it.

 

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A.I. donning the red, white and blue again, only this time it is in Detroit and not Philadelphia

A.I. donning the red, white and blue again, only this time it is in Detroit and not Philadelphia

I feel as though Allen Iverson and I have been through a lot together. From leading the way as first overall draft pick in 1996 (one of the best draft classes in my memory) to “Rookie of the Year”, to numerous All-Star starts, scoring titles, steals leaders and an MVP award. A.I. was always my favorite player. I’m from Indiana so I was never really a Jordan fan, he was the enemy. I was, of course, a huge Reggie Miller fan but A.I. was always my favorite. Things changed for me around the time L.A. won their 3-peat at the beginning of the this century. I started to notice Kobe was improving and really playing some fantastic basketball but I still couldn’t give him the number 1 slot because he had Shaq. After Shaq left and I got a chance to see “the complete Kobe” it became obvious that Kobe was the best and A.I. was demoted to number 2. Then he got shipped to Denver, who never comes on TV in Germany, and in the meantime I got to see a lot of Cleveland, Boston, L.A. Lakers and of course Dallas because of Nowitzki. For a moment I thought Iverson would spend the rest of his career in Denver being eliminated in the first round every year, or maybe get traded to a terrible team for a lot of young guys, draft picks and money. So when I found out he was traded to Detroit, and on my birthday too, I was beside myself. Happy birthday to me. Now he has a chance to end up a winner. I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it, I’m about to lose contral and I think I like it. Everyone that knows me is aware of how much I like Detroit. I’ve always routed for Detroit to win the East and the L.A. Lakers in the West but now more than ever. The idea of Iverson vs Kobe is my driving force for the remainder of the season. Yeh, they’ve danced before in the finals but those were different times with different teams. Too bad Tyron Lue isn’t in L.A. anymore, I would love to see Iverson step over him again.

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2008 NBA 1st overall draft pick Derrick Rose is already looking good in this eary NBA season
2008 NBA 1st overall draft pick Derrick Rose is already looking good in the early part of this NBA season

     Hello and welcome to my first blog. Man, there’s so much to talk about, where do I start. Well, since I’m a rookie I guess that would be a fitting place to begin. I don’t know if you’ve read my bio so I will start by stating that I live in Germany. Before last year I was only able to see NBA basketball twice a week at 2:00am, needless to say I had a lot of sub-par days at the office due to lack of sleep. NCAA ball was just a dream, I only know most of these kids from magazines and ESPN.com. So at the beginning of each year I go through this process of evaluating rookies, and I think I am pretty good at evaluating talent.

     With that said…Derrick Rose is a beast! He is the next elite point guard. Last year we had the great pleasure of watching Chris Paul and Deron Williams flourish and come into their own as elite PGs, bonafide leaders and flat-out superstars, over the next few years we will see Derrick Rose do it.  He will be in the talk of “who’s the best point guard in the NBA”. Both Jason Kidd and Steve Nash are on the downside of their careers and I would expect are no longer in the conversation. At this point it’s a 2-man race with Chris Paul leading (but it’s reeeeal close).  Rose is unquestionably more athletic than both Paul and Williams. He’s as tall and strong as Williams but almost as quick and tricky with ball as Paul. He can already shoot pretty well outside and can finish at the basketball. His team is still young and he is prepared to lead and direct. So far Chicago is responding to him and I don’t expect that to change. It’s not like Chicago is going to go all the way this year or anything. They have a new point guard and a new coach. This year will have a lot of ups and downs and they both have a lot to learn, but as long as Chicago keep it’s youth intact and find that scoring big man they’ve been missing for so many years now they should be a force to reckon with in the future.

 

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