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.