The Eastern Conference Revival

Three the Hard Way

I love the NBA! Not just basketball games, but the NBA in general. The trades, the free agent signings, coaching changes, everything. I’m fan of the NBA, not a Lakers fan, not a Bulls fan, not a Kobe Bryant fan and definitely not a Lebron James fan. I am an NBA fan! With that said, I’m thrilled with the new landscape of the Eastern Conference. For the last few years all everyone wants to talk about is how weak the East is, how all of the dominant teams were in the West. Thanks to the Kevin Garnet/Ray Allen trades in 2007 the Celtics were able to upset that trend but I think that we can all agree that was only a short term fix. Their chance at winning multiple championships is pretty limited because of their ages. They may have another run left in them, but not to many more after that. Cleveland was nothing short of superb in the last two regular seasons before falling apart in the playoffs due to no low post presence and no one that could consistently knock down a jump shot. Orlando has also had a couple of good seasons in a row now, but are the title contenders? When I look at Orlando I only see Dwight Howard, and as great of a player as he may be, he’s not going to carry any team offensively. Other than those three teams and maybe the Bulls, the rest of the East was a joke. Name one playoff team in the West where Joe Johnson would be the franchise player.
This season will be far different as the last few seasons, both competition and entertainment wise. When was the last time the Eastern Conference had two teams capable of winning the championship? Not just make it there, but actually winning once they’ve gotten there. A lot more is involved in winning on that stage than talent. Of course that is the main ingredient but I can never state enough that coaching, chemistry, bench play and veteran leadership are just as valuable. Did anyone actually believe that Orlando could win the title two years ago when they made it? I didn’t. The Celtics could have won it last season and it no one would have been surprised, but that was the only chance that the East had. Why? Well, because Boston posses all of the aforementioned prerequisites of winning a title. After the regular season that Boston had, with various injuries to all of their superstars, they could have easily given up. Most of America was counting them out, saying they were too old and too slow. They never subscribed to that way of thinking though. Doc Rivers would not allow his team to think like that. He knew that the time will come when they will be healthy and playing and instead of hanging his head when times were bad, he prepared his bench to step up when their names were called. He gave them the opportunity to sink or swim and players like Big Baby and Nate Robinson checked into the game backstroking. Rajon Rondo again proved that he could not only play with but at times dominate the majority of teams they face. They surprised everyone out here in TV land, but you know who wasn’t surprised at all? Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. They are all well aware what those guys are made of and that’s the kind of team you need to be considered a contender. Can Miami be that type of team? That remains to be seen but I would bet on it. The ingredients are all there. The roster has shaped up beautifully, the master Pat Riley is in the building as well as the King himself. Either way, it guaranteed to be interesting and I will be in the front row (of my living room) watching.

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One Piece Away

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.

Basketball, Uncategorized

It All Started With Tyrus Thomas

Artest, Brand and Ruffin...1999 Draft

I was never a Bulls fan. I was never a Michael Jordan fan. In fact while most of the world was watching in awe as Michael Jordan rewrote the record books in the 90’s, I was angry and bitter. I hated the Bulls with every ounce of blue and yellow Pacer blood in my body. Some of my friends call me a hater but in reality, it’s just competitiveness. In my opinion, if you were a Pacers fan in the 90’s you were suppose to hate Chicago. I know that I’m not the only one that feels that way. I have a close friends from New York that hates the Bulls too, wonder why.

Tyson Chandler was drafted 2nd overall in 2001 by the LA Clippers and traded immediately to Chicago for Elton Brand. Eddy Curry was drafted by the Bulls with the 4th pick.

Even though I was not a fan of Jordan, I have no problem with giving M.J. his props. Oh, I’m very fair when it comes to who has game. I’ve said it 1 million times and I will say it again for the record. Wilt is #1 and Jordan is #2 of all times. I have a huge problem with putting anyone over Wilt. I don’t think anyone will ever pass him…in my mind anyway. I also believe that you can argue that Oscar Robertson is the greatest of all times. So, even though M.J is widely considered to be #1, I don’t see it as clear-cut as everyone else.

With that said, I love today’s Bulls. I’ve tried to like them in the past, when they drafted Elton Brand back in 1999. He won the rookie of the year award and it looked as if Chicago had someone to build around. In addition to Brand, Chicago drafted R0n Artest the same year and Jamal Crawford the next year. They also had Ron Mercer and Brad Miller, and a few years later they drafted Jay Williams from Duke, remember him? So I thought Chicago was basically set for the future, but the never made it to the future.

First they traded Brand for Curry and Chandler, both of them on

Jamal Crawford was drafted by Cleveland in 2000 and traded to Chicago for Chris Mihm on draft day.

the court together could never match the production that Elton Brand was putting out. Two years later they traded Crawford to New York and a year later Artest and Miller to Indiana. Two year later, Artest is the defensive player of the year, Miller makes the All-Star team in Sacramento and Crawford…well, is Crawford. He’s never made an All-Star team nor won any individual awards, but we are well aware that he can score with almost anybody in the league.

Fast forward to 2004-2005. Chicago Bulls add Ben Gordon, Chris Duhon and Luol Deng through the draft and trades. Kirk is already there and Scott Skiles is beginning his first full year after taking over as head coach in the middle of the 2003-2004 season. That year Ben Gordon become the first rookie in NBA history to win the 6th man of the year award and Chicago made the playoffs for the first time since Michael Jordan’s 6th championship in 1998. Even though they were eliminated in the first round by Washington, the season in considered successful ending a 7 year playoff drought in Chi-town.

Promising PG Jay Williams was drafted by Chicago 2nd overall in 2002 but only played one season before suffering a near fatal motorcycle accident.

The following season, same results. Chicago, again, was eliminated in the first round, but this time by the eventual champions, Miami Heat.

Even though Chicago made two consecutive first round exits, spirits were still high in Chi. The Bulls were confident that this team could become special. They still needed a few pieces though before they could be considered an elite team, size and athleticism was one of those pieces. Along came Tyrus Thomas. Being that I live in Germany, I don’t have the chance to watch a lot of college basketball so I had never seen Tyrus Thomas play. Wow, was I in for a treat. When he first checked into the game, I remember thinking to myself  “so this is the rookie, let me check him out”. The first thing that I noticed was his hustle, his energy. At that time he was only a rookie, so it was more hyper than hustle. He was like a 12-year-old on his third cup of coffee. He chased every loose ball, jumped for every rebound and contested every shot. I like those type of players anyway, but little did I know, Tyrus also had a flair for the spectacular. In the following weeks and months, Tyrus kept popping up in Top 10 dunks and Top 10 blocks and the bandwagon just rolled downhill from there. I started watching the Bulls play more often and I became attached to the others on the team. Then came Noah, I like everyone from that Florida team, and last but not least Mr.Rose. Now I’m hooked, I like the Bulls, and just like any true sports fan, I think I can run the team better than the

Tyrus Thomas was drafted 4th overall in 2006 by the Portland Trailblazers and traded to Chicago for LaMarcus Aldridge who Chicago drafted 2nd in the same draft.

people in charge.

Unfortunately, my first move would be to trade T-Time. I really like him and I wish him a long prosperous career, but it’s the best move for the Bulls right now. Reason number one is because Chicago needs a change in personnel. It’s obvious the team that they have now is not going to succeed, and considering the way the East looks going into the future (Cleveland, Orlando, Miami,Atlanta) they’re not really any long-term expectations for this group either. And secondly, who else is Chicago going to trade? Or better yet, who else can Chicago give up and get something back? They have a lot of throw-in pieces but Chicago doesn’t want to throw-in…and I can’t say that I blame them. I wouldn’t want to give up Hinrich or Miller. We all know D.Rose is not going anywhere and Noah is probably pretty close to untradable as well.  I assume that they really like Taj Gibson and is banking on him as their future power forward which makes Tyrus Thomas expendable. I mean a 6’10” jumping bean. With long arms and great timing, passion and energy, an improving outside stroke and he’s only 23 years old. Now that sounds way better than, let’s say John Salmons. Can you possibly get anything back for John Salmons that is going to get you over the hump?

I’ve heard rumors that Chicago and New York is working on a deal to trade Tyrus Thomas and Al Harrington. That’s what I’m talking about! That’s a trade that would be good for everyone…including me. I’m already an Al Harringtom fan because of his Indian days, but over the last few years he’s really become a efficient scorer. I guess his time wasn’t wasted in Golden State and New York. I think he will open the floor up quite well in Chicago. He has league wide respect as a scorer, so he will not be left unguarded. He is older and more of a leader, more vocal than most people would think. He’s a professional.

T-Time, on the other hand will be able to run like the stallion that he is in D’Antoni’s free-for-all offense. He will step right into the starting line-up at PF in place of Jarred Jeffries and he will flourish. He will block shots, he will dunk on everyone and he will play a huge part in rebuilding the Knick’s pride and dignity and ultimately landing Lebron James.

Just when everyone thought I was turning on Tyrus Thomas, I’m doing him a favor and he will be thankful for it.

Basketball, Uncategorized

Pulling for the Mavs

2009-2010 Dallas Mavericks The Dallas Mavs are officially  my second favorite basketball team…this year. I’ve been contemplating this decision for some time now and I believe now is the right time to just go all out and commit to the cause.  Of course I’m always going to roll with Mamba and the Lake Show and quietly I hope that the Pacers win it every year but I can’t really say that I have any consistent favorites other than that. Portland has been up there pretty high since drafting Greg Oden, but I think they still need a season or two to compete for some hardware.

I presently like a lot of teams but liking a team and pulling for them to win a championship is two different things. I’m really into Orlando, Cleveland, San Antonio and the list goes on. But being that I have been a permanent resident in Germany going on 14 years now, Dallas is basically our home team. I always root for the home team, why else would I back the Pacers. I’m simply representin’.  That’s not the only reason though, I’ve been in Germany for 14 years, why chose Dallas now as my second favorite? Honestly, it’s because they have the most team members that I think deserve a ring.

I remember two years ago when Boston beat my Lakers in the Finals, I was upset but there was a silver lining. KG, Ray-Ray and The Truth finally got their rings. They deserved it even if it was at the expense of LA. I knew Kobe would get another one eventually, but their window was considerably smaller. All three of them are  great players. KG is one of the most dominant defenders of this generation and Ray Allen one of the best shooters. The Truth is, well…The Truth. Name a better small forward in the last 10 years. Unless you said Lebron, I disagree. P-Squared can score on anybody at will. He can get you near double digit rebounds and he can drop 7 or 8 dimes. He hasn’t done that recently due to his enhanced cast, but go back and check his resume. He is not to be taken lightly. Aside from all of that, all three guys are a class act. “Good character guys” as they say so often in the NBA. From helping with various activities within their communities and charities, to mentoring younger players on how to play basketball the right way, carry themselves in public and just taking care of their bodies. I’m happy for them. They deserved to win one championship.

Jason Kidd does as well.

This guy has been putting up Magic Johnson type of numbers for years. He’s third all time in assist and will be second before the end of this season, he is third in career triple doubles and unquestionably the best PG the last decade. Yet he has no rings or MVP awards. It just doesn’t seem fair to me. The best SG the last 10 years (Kobe) has four rings, the best SF (Pierce, Lebron is not included as he is still young and I am certain he will win multiple rings before his career is over) has one, the best center (Shaq) has four, and the best PF (Duncan) has four. I would be a shame if J.Kidd retired without one, just like Barkley, Ewing and my man Reggie Miller.

Dirk, on the other hand, not only needs to win a championship, but he needs to be magnificent in doing so. If he doesn’t, I’m afraid his legacy is going to be belittled to throwing away a championship to Miami and winning 60 regular season games only to get eliminated in the first round by Golden State. He’ll be another Nick Anderson. Also a  shame. I think his greatness is being overlooked. Not so much his play and skill set as a 7 foot perimeter player but his influence on the game itself. He has changed the  PF positions forever. Ten years ago, if you were a big man who could knock down jumpers you were a huge asset to the team, now if you can’t hit that shot, you may have a difficult time breaking the rotation. Can you imagine having a starting center like Mehmet Okur, Andrea Bargnani or Channing Frye in the ’90s? Or better yet, the ’80s? What about Rashard Lewis at PF? Dirk, the best European player to ever set foot on an NBA basketball court and a top 10 player in the NBA today, is largely responsible for this evolution.

Yours Truley in Germany doing me Jason Terry imitation

Not afraid to dive on the floor. Yours Truly in Germany doing my Jason Terry imitation.

With all of that said, neither J.Kidd nor D.No is my favorite player on the team. That honor would have to go to the JET, Jason Terry. I even copied  his style while playing semi-pro basketball in Germany. Yes, I ball in high socks. I totally fell in love with game the first time I saw him play at Atlanta. I think he went off for almost 40 that game. I knew him from college of course, but the college game is so structured that dropping 40 point games can be difficult. In the NBA, JET flourished into a prolific scorer and now a big shot maker. He’s the most clutch on the team, including Dirk. Throw in a little Matrix, Tim Thomas, Josh Howard and Drew Gooden and I really like their team and I think they will surpass expectations. Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I think they will win a championship or anything. I actually can’t forsee them making it to the Western Conference Finals, but unless they’re playing LA I will be pulling for them all season long. Go Mavs!


Basketball, Uncategorized

Stay in Spain, We Don’t Want You Anymore

Ricky Rubio Draft Night I’ve had it up to here with Ricky Rubio!

I bet he never plays one NBA game in his entire lifetime, and honestly I don’t care. Actually I never really cared, but like so many others I got wrapped up in the story. You have to admit though, it’s a good story…so far.

Ricky Rubio, at 16 years old, was the youngest player ever in the top Spanish league. He’s played internationally. He’s won every award possible from  championships to MVPs. Then at 18 years old he threw a huge coming out party in the Olympics. Playing well the entire tournament, even against the USA and the likes of Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Jason Kidd. But at 19 years old, he thinks Minnesota is “too risky”.

That’s a bunch of malarkey! Whatever malarkey is. I understand he doesn’t want to play in Minnesota, Flynn probably prefered somewhere else as well. I can’t imagine anyone sitting around hoping they get drafted by Minn. Blake Griffin didn’t want to go to the Clippers. Did you see the television show where Blake watched the lottery? He lost interest once Oklahoma City was announced third. He played it off nicely, he said some good things, he clapped his hands when LAC was announced as having the first pick, but you could clealy see the disappointment in his face. The very next day they showed Griffin on NBA TV in LA working out. The very next day Flynn was in Minn at a press conference. Rubio had already skipped town. I know that basketball in Europe is different, but I assumed that they could understand the concept of drafting. It’s not your choice, you go to the team that picks you. Like Dirk, Pau and Marc,Vlade etc. I blame it on Yi, he started this. I bet if the Knicks would’ve drated Rubio, it would not have been risky. He would’ve found a way around this contract ordeal.

It doesn’t matter anymore, he’s not coming. The NBA career of the most hyped European basketball player of all times will not begin this year. General Manager David Kahn probably thinks he’s pretty smart right now for drafting two point guards with his lottery picks. I think he’s pretty dumb for not getting a big man with that Rubio pick. But, hey, that’s just my opinion.


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My Early Christmas List I

I remember when I was young and had no real sense of time, I would ask my father “when is Christmas?” and he would answer, “shortly after basketball season begins”. So every year when basketball season began, I would start narrowing down my Christmas list. Over the course each year, I had looked at and like many different toys, but when basketball season came around I had to decide what was more important than what.  Well, baskeball season is still a ways off so I can be quite free with this list. I don’t expect to get all of it anyway.

1. Lamar Odom under contract ASAP.

Lamar Odom 001

Lamar Odom is not the only one tired of waiting

This has gone on long enough. This is a no brainer, WE NEED ODOM! Okay, LA is my team and Kobe is my man, but I think he should’ve renegotiated his contract to free up some money for Odom. He won’t miss a couple of millions dollars (easy for me to say). 18-19Mill per year is enough for any human being. Everyone wins with that senerio, Odom is happy, Artest is happy and ultimately Kobe, Pau, Coach Jackson and the entire organization will be happy for another three or four years because they will always be contenders and probably will win another championship within that time frame.
I would personally feel better as a representative of the “Kobe is the Best Player on the Planet” movement when I’m arguing his legacy ten years from now. Not only would it help Kobe (and I) in his personal goal (and mine) of 6 championships, it would really show his commitment to the Lakers after the fine job that they’ve done since he demanded a trade two years ago. Sacrifices must be made by you too Mr.Bryant.

2. Luol Deng healthy.

Did anyone watch that Boston vs Chicago first round series? What am I talking about?…Of course you watched it, everyone did.  I was really pleased at what I saw from those young guys Rose, Noah and Thomas.  I like Ben Gordon but I am glad that he is gone. I wanted him gone, but I would’ve traded him a long time ago and tried to get something in exchange. He is a lot like Allen Iverson in my opinion, he’s very explosive and can score in bunches but doesn’t really make your team better. Chicago and Derrick Rose will be better with Hinrich on the court. He has a higher basketball IQ, he’s more of a pass first guard and he plays hard-nosed defense, but to keep everything in perspective, he is still a role player. Noah and Thomas too. I mean, Rose is good but just ask  Lebron and D-Wade, it’s difficult to succeed in the NBA without another scorer riding shotgun.  That’s where Deng comes in. He’s riding shotgun this year, and I hope his rifle is pointing out of the window and not sitting in his lap as he’s had the tendency to do in the past.

Greg Oden 001

Greg Oden holds Portand's future in his hands

3. Greg Oden play 70 games.

I know what you are thinking, and you’re wrong. Oden is not a bust. He is still all of the potential that he was coming out of Ohio State. First of all He’s only 21 years old. Shaq is almost 37 now and Kareem and Mutombo played into their forties. Theoretically, Oden can still play 17-19 years.  As far as the injuries are concerned, you know what they say about young bones and healing. I have no boubts that he is 100% right this minute. He’s also stronger and has a firmer grasp on how basketball is played in Portland and his role. To be quite honest with you, I was even a bit hazy on his expectations coming out of college myself. He was coming to a team that already had two 20 point scorers, so I never expected him to be a big scorer or go-to guy anyway. I did expect him to average over ten rebounds and 2.5 blocks a game, and I still do. If he could score somewhere in the mid-teens, which is not totally out of the question, that would also help out considerably.  In conjuction with Lamarcus Aldridge’s near 20 points and 10 rebounds, Brandon Roy dropping someting in the mid-tewnties and adding 5 or 6 assist and rebounds next season and hopefully Bayless evolving into a solid point guard, they’re going to be tough to deal with for years to come.

Stocking Stuffers

It’s always nice to see a couple of Indiana guys get contracts. Congratulations and good luck to Sean May on his new contract with Sacremento.  I hope it works out for you. Also congratulations to Josh McRoberts for getting extended by the Pacers.


Basketball, Uncategorized

The Draft

Wow, what a season! My Lakers got it done like I knew they would. Now we have Artest. We still have to get Odom signed, but now that Ariza is gone, I think it’s become even more of a priority. Artest replaces Ariza but we can’t replace what Odom gives us. A big ballhandler with double-double potential, that’s hard to find. Dirk Nowitzki might be the only other one as skilled in the entire league.

Congratulations guys, let’s do it again next year.

2009 NBA Draft Group Photo

2009 NBA Draft Group Photo

I know it’s been a while since my last entry but I had a lot of catching up to do. One of the biggest disadvantages of living in Germany is the lack of NCAA basketball coverage. Of course I do get info either via internet or magazines about the big shot college players like Griffin, Thabeet and Curry.  I know Ricky Rubio being that I live in Europe and all, but who is James Harden for instance, or Jordan Hill. These are the things that I had to find out. I literally watched hundreds of youtube clips and ESPN highlights. I read the scouting reports of almost every projected first rounder. Upsides, weaknesses, strengths…etc.  Even after the draft, I was online again, listening and reading different expert analysis. Now I feel comfortable enough and knowledgeable enough to put together a list of things I personally like, dislike or am looking forward to seeing.

GriffinWith that said, I guess the best place to start is at number one. Blake Griffin. I had originally hoped that Oklahoma City would win the lottery but the Clippers did and, well, they need it as bad as anyone else. I actually like the Clippers. I know it’s not a surprise, I can see the positive in almost any roster. Whether it pans out to anything or not, that’s up to those that play the game. Ironically Blake Griffin is not my favorite player on the team, that honor would go to my fellow Indiana native Eric Gordon. Yes, I am a bit biased toward Indiana ballers but in this particular situation favoritism has nothing to do with it. He will only be in his second season with fellow sophamore 7’0″ center DeAndre Jordan, the other LA team appears to be well into their rebuilding process.
The Memphis Grizzlies and OKC Thunder also helped themselves tremendously drafting Thabeet and Harden respectively. Thabeet will help Memphis solidify their interior defense for the next 10 years. He’s a bit raw offensively but with the likes of OJ Mayo and Rudy Gay demanding so much attention, he will be able to get ten points easily off of put-backs and drop-offs. I think he will average a double-double from the very fist game he plays. Harden, just like the case of Thabeet, will be a very nice asset for OKC as well. Last year after OKC moved Durant to the small forward spot they had no one who could play consistantly and the shooting guard spot. Eventually they traded Chicago for Sefolosha where he played extremely well. At Chicago he never really got the chance to play any type of meaningful minutes and felt as if he was walking on thin ice. Once he got to OKC and realized that Coach Scott was willing to let him play through his mistakes and learn from them, he relaxed and played rather commendably. I still think he will improve and flourish in OKC into a lock down defender, and he will be a big part of there future, but offensively Harden is a drastic improvement. In all honesty, the best part about the first three draft picks is that none of them were Ricky Rubio.
In fact, if I could put Rubio on any team in the NBA, it would probably be Minnesota. A team that I have absolutely no interest in. Rubio may end up to be one of the best point guards of all times, then again he may never play a day in the NBA in his entire life. I don’t care, his sub-par stats from last season doesn’t scream lottery pick to me. I actually think that Flynn is better…right now, but I could be wrong, it wouldn’t be the first time. Yes, I like Al Jefferson, I like Kevin Love, and I am a big fan of Rodney Carney’s but Minn. just bores me to death. Always have.

Without going through the entire first round, here are a few other rookies that I expect to make to be very good pick ups for their reaspective teams.

Stephen Curry – I almost don’t even want to go there because the majority of you will think Stephen CurryI’m crazy. Stephen Curry is the most talented player in this years draft. I think he will develop wonderfully into a top tier PG. He can shoot light out and is quick enough and smart enough to do damn near anything he wants. With Golden State playing small ball and running so much, even with the Stephen Jackson, Monte Ellis etc., Curry will have plenty of shots and judging by his past will make most of them.

Jordan Hill – How can New Yorkers be disappointed with this pick? He will be this season biggest surprise and just like Curry will benefit immensely from NY’s uptempo style. A lot of NBA big men will find it very difficult to chase him the entire game. He big and active and improving. I really, really like this pick.

Brandon Jennings – Regardless to how he made it to the NBA, he made it and he’s there to stay. Explosive, crafty and athletic or arrogant, cocky and stubborn. I like Kobe and Iverson remember, so the latter is totally irrelevant to me. In fact, I like him for his confidence in his ability. It gives me confidence in his abilities.