Ball Til U Fall

Hello, and welcome back to BI08’s NBA Blog.  I know that it’s been a while, sorry but I was sidetracked by life.
Anyway…due to the long layoff, I will start my blog back up by giving you guys a inside look at the players and teams that I pay particularly close attention to and why. I must say though, ultimately I am a basketball and NBA fan before any one individual or team. If I feel like Kobe and LA are playing like garbage, I will put it out there.
By the way, Kobe and LA are playing like garbage!

Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant & Carmelo Anthony

My Favorites:

First and foremost, favorite has nothing to do with best.

Fav 5 Players

1. Kobe BryantThe total package. The most skilled basketball player I’ve ever seen. Inside-out, catch and shoot or off of the dribble. I personally think that he has the largest offensive repertoire in history…and he’s a lock down defender. Although I have been a “Mamba” fan for 16 years (his entire NBA career) he has “officially” been my favorite player since Reggie Miller retired. INDIANA REPRESENTING.

2. Derrick Rose The shy, quiet Chicago kid with a game so loud that everyone had to stand up and recognize. Despite all of the super DUPER stars in the NBA today, “Fast Don’t Lie” quietly zoomed by the competition two season ago to claim the MVP trophy. “Too big, too strong, too fast, too good” as Stacey King would say. I once heard a commentator call him “the Blake Griffin of point guards”. I absolutely love him to death.

3. Carmelo Anthony Poetry in motion. Like Kevin Durant, he makes basketball look so easy and effortless. What he can do at his size and stature is amazing. His ball handling, footwork, head fakes and jabs steps keeps defender off balance all game long. He’s  creative, crafty and one thing that I keep hearing more and more these days, strong as a bull. The hardest cover in the NBA.

4. Kevin Durant Dude can knock down shots in his sleep. There is no doubt in my mind that he will retire as the best scorer in history.  He’s almost 7 feet tall and he has small forward handles. His jumper is wet from the parking lot and if he gets anywhere near the painted area, watch your head. The only reason why he isn’t the hardest cover in the NBA is because he can’t play with his back to the basket…YET!

5. Paul George As you’ve probably noticed by now, my favorite players come from my favorite teams…and PG is the “next big thing” in Indiana. Long, athletic, dedicated. I love the strides that he’s making this season. He has MOST of the tools needed to be a big time talent in this league. The only thing that I haven’t seen from him yet is fire. As Coach Popovich would say “let’s get a little nasty”.




Basketball, Uncategorized

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

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.



The Bigger They Are

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.