Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Where I Went Wrong, And Where Im Still Right

Sometimes as a journalist, you must admit when you’re wrong. I was wrong about the Cleveland Cavaliers. I drastically overrated the Cavs and maybe underrated the Magic. The fact of the matter is the Cleveland front court is not good enough to win this series, let alone the championship. When you look at what they’re working with, there isn’t much there. Zydrunas Ilgauskas is flat out washed up. Looking at him at the start of the series, I saw a skilled big man that can rebound, post up, and shoot from the outside. What I saw from him in the past four games was a slow old man that has no will to compete and balky knees that prevent him from being effective. Joe Smith is not what he once was. He was never a great player, but he has had his moments, just not this year. Anderson Varejao is a very good player. I personally don’t like him, but he fills a role very well. Unfortunately, he is being forced to do his role and then some. He is providing all of the interior defense and still being expected to provide some scoring. He’s never going to be a big time scorer. If they were to ask him to just rebound, block shots, and defend, he’d be stellar, but he’s not. Finally, it’s become very apparent that Ben Wallace is past his basketball expiration date. Enough talk about him. Cleveland needs a big time down low scorer. That truly is what separates them from the rest of the elite team, they don’t have that guy that they can throw the ball to down low so LeBron can take a possession off, every now and then. Aside from that, LeBron penetration should make your frontcourt devastating; a guy with a couple decent moves would flourish with LeBron getting him the ball in good position. They have Darnell Jackson and JJ Hickson on their bench developing, but neither of them are explosive scorers. With the $13 million contract of Wally Szczerbiak coming off the books, they will have a good amount of room to pursue a nice low post scorer this summer. Someone like Jermaine O’Neal or Carlos Boozer would be an awesome addition to go with LeBron.
Now, on to something more positive; where I was right. I am still right about Stan Van Gundy not being a good coach. All of a sudden, everyone assumes that just because he got his team up to 3-1, that he is a good coach. That is not necessarily true. Shaq Diesel once called Stan Van the Master of Panic. I still have not seen something that changes my mind about that. Great coaches not only get their teams out to leads, but they overcome deficits. Getting out to this lead does not prove anything. So far in this post season, he put away Philadelphia, edged out an old Boston team, and now has got Cleveland down 3-1. He still has not showed me anything. He still cannot slow down, let alone stop LeBron. The Magic were even unable to stop the gunners of Cleveland tonight. Once Stan Van finds adversity and completely brings his team back, then people can say that he has shed the Master of Panic role, but for now, all I see is a frightened coach who’s players pretty much coach themselves.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mock Draft 1.0

Its time for the first mock of the year, here it goes:

1. LA Clippers- Blake Griffin PF Oklahoma No surprise here
2. Memphis Grizzlies- Hasheem Thabeet C UConn They need to avoid the temptation of Rubio, they have Conley and can use the help inside.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder- Ricky Rubio PG Spain The most exciting prospect in the draft. Would combine with Westbrook, Durant, and Jeff Green to make the best young nucleus in the game.
4. Sacramento Kings- Jordan Hill PF Arizona Kings need help everywhere, might as well start inside, should team with Jason Thompson for a nice inside combo.
5. Washington Wizards- James Harden SG Arizona Agent Zero needs a backcourt mate that can play off the ball and get his own shot both, Harden fits the bill.
6. Minnesota Timberwolves- Tyreke Evans G Memphis On a team that lacks playmakers, Evans would be a star.
7. Golden State Warriors- Earl Clark SF Louisville Golden State loves long, athletic players. Clark seems like a natural fit.
8. New York Knicks- Stephen Curry G Davidson A guard who has many skills for D'Antoni to work with.
9. Toronto Raptors- DeMar DeRozan SG USC On a team with lots of skill players, adding an explosive guard like DeRozan would be huge.
10. Milwaukee Bucks- JRue Holiday PG UCLA With Ramon Sessions potentially a goner, Holiday would fill a big need at the point.
11. New Jersey Nets- James Johnson F Wake Forest There is a need at the power forward position that Johnson could fill.
12. Charlotte Bobcats- Gerald Henderson G Duke After taking care of a need at point last year, they will fill the two guard spot this year.
13. Indiana Pacers- Johnny Flynn PG Syracuse With both Jarret Jack and TJ Ford having awful seasons, its time for someone else to take command of the offense.
14. Phoenix Suns- Brandon Jennings PG Italy There is little backcourt depth in the desert, Jennings can play both positions and learn from Steve Nash.
15. Detroit Pistons- Ty Lawson PG UNC The Pistons lack a true point guard on their roster, adding Lawson would allow them to move Stuckey off the ball and leave him free to gun all he wants.
16. Chicago Bulls- Dejuan Blair PF Pittsburgh The series with Boston showed their lack of inside muscle, Blair would solve that.
17. Philadelphia 76ers- Wayne Ellington SG UNC The shooting touch of Ellington would bring another demension to the 76er offense that includes slashers like Iguodala, Andre Miller, and Willie Green.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves- Gani Lawal PF Georgia Tech After adding a scoring guard, they look to another inside presence to complement Al Jefferson and Kevin Love.
19. Atlanta Hawks- Jeff Teague SG Wake Forest The Hawks backcourt has been relatively thin, adding a shooter would definitely help.
20. Utah Jazz- Tyler Hansbrough PF UNC Jerry Sloan likes the hardworking type. Hansbrough is more on the skill-less hardworking type, but whatever. With Boozer and Millsap potentially on their way out, there is a need here.
21. New Orleans Hornets- Omri Casspi Isreal Supposedly the best European player not named Rubio. Would be just another weapon for Chris Paul.
22. Dallas Mavericks- BJ Mullens C Ohio State The Mavs have Dampier, allowing Mullens to develop slowly.
23. Sacramento Kings- Eric Maynor PG Virginia Commonwealth After adding some help inside, they take care of a need at the point.
24. Portland Trailblazers- Terrence Williams F Louisville The Blazers are a very deep team, the take the best available player here.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder- Derrick Brown PF Xavier Drafted Rubio earlier, now they add some fromtcourt depth.
26. Chicago Bulls- Chase Budinger G Arizona After getting stronger upfront, they shore up the backcourt with a shooter.
27. Memphis Grizzlies- Nick Calathes PG Florida Having Mike Conley, there is little risk in taking a guy who could become a star. Boom or bust pick.
28. Minnesota Timberwolves- Taj Gibson PF USC Third pick for the TWolves will be another banger inside.
29. Los Angeles Lakers- Darren Collison PG UCLA The playoffs have exposed their need at the point. This isnt the pick to grab a game changer, but he should contribute.
30. Cleveland Cavaliers- Jeff Pendergraph PF Arizona State A high basketball IQ guy, should fit in with the older bigs in Cleveland.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Difference Between Kobe and Bron Bron

With the miracle of Friday night, people are putting LeBron in the same category as Kobe and Michael Jordan. I absolutely love LeBron, but these claims are absurd. Hitting one big shot does not vault you into that category. Im sorry, but LeBron really has not been a clutch shooter his whole career; he has had his magical moments, yes, but he lacked a three pointer to win a game until Friday, and has struggled for the majority of his career in clutch situations. LeBron may end up being the best player the game has ever seen; and he will have done that with all the expectations in the world, but he is not there yet. Right now, he is missing three things that Kobe Bryant has, and those would be rings. Granted Kobe did it with a dominant post player, but he was the major contributor in the last championship run, and was an equal to Shaq in the first two. Kobe finds ways to get it done in the fourth quarter. He hits open teammates, and hit the impossible shots; and he has done this on a consistent basis for many years. One key aspect where LeBron is lacking is free throws. Tonight he went 18-24 from the line. He missed clutch freebies while Dwight Howard stepped up and nailed his. Kobe Bryant went 15-17 and was ice in the final minute, 4-4 in the final 22 seconds. Kobe always had the game in the palm of his hand. LeBron was challenged tonight by another rising star, Dwight Howard, and he was pummeled, not only in the score of the game, but Howard controlled the emotion of the game, despite his foul trouble. LeBron is getting his points, but considering he is playing with a current All Star and several former All Stars, there is no excuse for the clunkers the the Cavs have thrown up. There is obviously still time for LeBron to pick up his act, and he most likely will, but he is still in the tier below Kobe Bryant and Dywane Wade.
Some other observations about the game. What the heck is Zydrunas Ilgauskas doing shooting three three pointers? Every time I see him jack up a three it makes me cringe. Has the Cav's offense become so brutal that Ilgauskas shooting threes is the best option. My goodness. Also, I think that people are making far too much about Dwight Howard coming close to the limit for technical fouls. I think Dwight has the ability to keep his emotions in check and he uses the T's to fire up his team. He is an underrated leader and I thing people drastically underestimate his influence because he is a warm, friendly player.
Still hate Stan Van

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Why Cleveland Will Still Win In 5

Ohhhhh Noooooo. Cleveland lost game one at home. Might as well throw in the towel right? As Dwight Schrute would say, "False!" People are going way overboard. How quickly sportscasters and the general public forget that 48 hours ago, the Cavs were being touted as the undeniable best team in the league. One game and everyone is off the bandwagon. Well, I am not. Lets look at the game a little. Statistics dont lie, and they surely dont lie in regards to the game last night. The first sample i want you to look at is Mo Williams' line. 6-19 from the floor. Thats 32%. A very poor outing. On the season he was a 47% shooter from the floor. Delonte West went 4-13, or 31% last night. He was a 46% shooter on the season. Do you honestly think that Mickael Pietrus, Courtney Lee, Rafer Alston, and Anthony Johnson are going to hold down those tremendous shooters all series, I highly doubt it. None of those four are tremendous defensive players, while Mo and Delonte are nice offensive pieces. With that being said, where exactly is the defense on LeBron going to come from. Stan Van himself said that he has no idea what to do with LeBron. Is Hedo Turkoglu going to magically going to lose 25 pounds and gain quickness so he can d LeBron? There is no way that Orlando can stop the big man. LeBron's sidekicks will show up in the coming games, they are just too deadly to miss all the looks that he will give them. Now lets look at the greatest thing to happen to the world, Dwight Howard. Big man went 14-20 from the field. That is stunning to me. How can the Cavs allow him to get 14 dunks. Goodness knows dudes got no offensive game, the fact that he scored 30 points last night only goes to show that last night was a career night for superman. He will not score that many points against Z, Big Ugly, Ben, and Joe Smith again, he simply doesnt have the game to do that again. The Cavs took the best shot the Magic had to give. They held down LeBron's sidekicks, Howard went off, and Hedo, Lewis, and Alston could not miss down the stretch. All of these things contributed to the win, and all of these things will not, scratch that cannot happen again. LeBron shouldnt have to carry the team again, but even if he does, a little more effort and they'll win. The Cavs have taken the fury of Orlando and only lost by one. There is too much LeBron for Orlando to win again. One more thought, I heard someone say that the Cavs cant beat the Magic with Hedo, Lewis, and Howard going off. Got a prediction for this person, they all three wont go off again this series. I got Cleveland in 5.