The Story so far…

Two weeks into the season and we’ve been treated to some fantastic moments. From buzzer beaters to potential dunks of the season! We’ve also seen a match-up thats slipped under the radar somewhat, but has been something i’v been waiting for a while. D-Rose vs Irving.

Sticking with the subject of the East i don’t think its any surprise that the Pacers have gone out strong from the start, but boy have they started! we all new they could defend, but their stats are off the charts and they’ve also got the offensive talent thats swept all before them aside, so far. The addition of Scola has worked out for the Pacers, with his vital minutes at the defensive end. Lance Stephenson is also looking like a really dangerous offensive guard, working well with George off screens. The Heat are “heating” up after a couple of shock losses to the Celtics and the Sixers and starting to play true to form. Chalmers is looking more relaxed and spacing the floor for the big three. Our current MVP is doing his thing. A huge game the other night against the Bucks, which also found him patrolling the low post a bit more creating miss-matches…easy buckets there! The Bulls and the Knicks are yet to heat up so far, but we have seen flashes from both sides in what is yet to come. Bulls are back at 0.500 and Rose isn’t hurt (phew!) The addition of Dunleavy was proven a good one against the Cavs on Monday, late threes and getting to the foul line proved vital in their win. The Knicks have been quiet, but watch this space! As for the “mid-section” of the conference the majority are still finding their feet, tweaking their line-ups. Boston are playing a lot better than expected, my tip for an all-star…Jeff Green is the linch-pin for their success so far. In the east the two surprises so far are the Nets and the Wizards, both towards the foot of the conference and struggling to put win streaks together. Has Kidd bitten off more than he can chew with all the aging talent in Brooklyn? and are the Wizards not quite ready, i say that with a grimace on my face as there was so much potential for a few break-out season in that roster.

 

Over to the west, where there were plenty of pre-season stories to evaluate and where better to start than in Houston. They win, they lose, they win, they lose. When things have been going right for the beard and co. then we are seeing some great potential, but they seem to lack consistency so far. But we are only 2 weeks in and hopefully this will change. i really think it will because Howard is playing really well, already averaging his career figures across the board. The OAP’s in San Antonio are right on top again, picking up where they left off last year. the addition of Bellinelli has worked as an outside marksmen the kill off games and Leonard is picking it up after a quiet start. Also, Duncan’s minutes still haven’t dropped! Im not going to dwell on the Thunders start as we always expect them to be up there and now Westbrook is back. As for the rest of the teams hovering above the 0.500 mark the Clippers are strengthening defensively under Doc and “lob city” has apparently gone, but with Griffin and Jordan playing aggressively in the paint that will still be lighting up our highlight reel! Love is back for the Wolves and they are creeping up the standings, Kevin Martin is also helping their outside shooting percentage this season so far. As for the Warriors, defensively they are improving with the addition of Igoudala. As are the Lakers with Nick Young and Xavier Henry supporting Kamen and Gasol. The last couple of games for the Lakers has been a bit of a turning point. The lack of stars this season has brought a sense of team unity to the city of angels and for a basketball fan i’m happy for this to happen. Towards the foot of the conference we have The Nuggets, The Kings and the Jazz. For these teams this could be a very long season. At both ends of the court they are weaker than the competition. The Jazz lost there star in Jefferson and have lost that power and strength they had a year ago and the Kings don’t have an out-and-out scorer. As for Denver i’m really expecting a break-out season for Faried. They added Nate Robinson and JJ Hickson for different reasons, so now they have the job of pulling all the parts together.

Click to see my favorite dunk so far this season! xxImage

 

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NBA’s summer movers and shakers

Welcome back hoop fans.

Now the 2013-14 seasons schedule has been publicized i thought id talk about the off seasons movers and shakers. Whichever team you follow, there has been some very interesting trades and free agent moves. Obviously the tracking of this seasons batch of rookies will be a major talking point throughout the season, but i will not be going into detail about that in this post.

There has been a couple of stand-out moves during the summer, no more-so than the movements of an “out of sorts” Dwight Howard. This was billed as THE big move of the summer from the Lakers to the Rockets. We will now get to see him team up with a future MVP James Harden and the tricky point guard, Jeremy Lin. Throw in the raw talent of Chandler Parsons and you’ve got a roster packed with dynamic raw talent….plus the best defensive big man of this era…and apparently he’s happy too!

One of the most unexpected talking points was came from the streets of Brooklyn. The big money acquisition of KG and Paul Pierce. My opinion is that the Nets owner has banked on building his roster with the intent that he hopes to be challenging from day one. Both Pierce and Garnett a seasoned pro’s and could possibly be playing just past their peak, but with Williams back to his all-star best this is also a very exciting roster. On the flip-side it has not worked out for the Celtics unfortunately, losing the Doc, perhaps they are building for the future and safe-guarding their young talent Green and Sullinger. On the plus side they have Kelly Olynyk, the stand out rookie from this years summer league.

Andrew Bynum is a name that screams talent, but was pretty much non-existant last season. Cleveland jumped at the chance to sign the big-man and we are expecting a long overdue stellar season from him. Alongside the no.1 pick Anthony Bennett, former rookie of the year, Irving and an almost sixth man of the year Jarrett Jack, i think Bynum will have the support of Varejao an add strength in the post aswell as their scoring power outside.

The Clippers have really matured over the last couple of seasons, an almost complete change of identity. Now, with the acquisition of coach Doc Rivers, re-signing Chris Paul and picking up a back up point in Collison. We could really see “Lob city” transform into a playoff force this season…hopefully with all the high-octain highlights!

The Pistons have acquired Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings this summer. Two big names to boost their chances of reaching the playoffs. Smith has the chance to spread his wings in Detroit, especially now he has a cleaver and skillful point guard in Jennings. All-star this year perhaps? 

Andre Iguodala was never settled in Denver. Since the Olympics he has been a shadow of his former self. An expected all-star call-up never came his way last season and didn’t play as many key minutes as he was expected to. Now he is at the Warriors, a playoff team! he teams up with Steph Curry and Thompson to bring his game back and help them push even further than last season…is this possible??

On a personal note, i am looking forward to seeing Metta World-Peace in the garden!

All eyes are going to be glued to T.V screens around the world come October 29th where the Heat tip-off their title defense against my team, the Bulls. I can’t wait!

Enjoy.xxImage

Play-off Picture…in’s and out’s

Good evening hoop fans,

Its been a few weeks since iv put fingers to keys. We’ve been treated to some truly fantastic ball over the last few weeks. The Heat closing in on an all-time NBA win streak record, The Nuggets are currently on a franchise record win streak and the west seedings are completely open with 4 or 5 teams fighting it out for the number 1 seed.

With the regular season drawing to an end on april 17th with all of the teams playing on the last night, i’m going to talk through some possible winners and losers in the fight to reach the playoffs. I’m going to start with the east. We all know that the top spot is going to be occupied by Miami Heat, they have the best record and can do no wrong…even coming back from huge deficits to grind out victories. This team is special. As for the 2nd spot i think its between the Knicks and the Pacers. With Carmelo i think the Knicks will have the scorer to hold the 2nd spot. But, we all know that he is physically vulnerable at the moment and Stoudemire is not quite there yet. Paul George is the catalyst for this years Pacer team with the absence on Danny Granger. They will meet either the Bulls, Celtics or The Hawks and will have enough fire power to progress towards the conference semi’s. Im pretty confident that the final 8 have been decided in the east (unless the 76ers go on a franchise record streak) but, the Bucks, Celtic and Bulls need to keep above .500 to avoid the Heat and minor shout in progressing further than the first round. For the Bulls they have now come to terms with the fact that Derrick Rose will not play this season and to put there main focus on building for next season. This story has similar notes to the Celtics season, now Rondo is out. Pierce is trying to pull the weight, but its not quite happening with rumors of KG leaving at the end of the season. Underachieving season again for the Celtics. The Bucks have done themselves proud by getting this far, lets hope they don’t slip up up on the home stretch and that Jennings, Ellis and Sanders can create some unlikely upsets against the Heat….

Now to the west. About 2 weeks ago tony Parker was out for a handful of games, OKC had a rocky road trip, Denver started to play after the all-star break and the Clippers were, well…the Clippers. Now Parker is back and looking to steadily roll to the top spot. But the other 3 teams in question are also now finding form at the right time. The Denver Nuggets have been playing sensationally well as they are on a 15 win streak with Ty Lawson pulling the strings. OKC will always be there with 3 times scoring champ fit. The team with the most electric transitional game in the NBA hot on there heels, the Clippers are not to be left out. Memphis also have a shout for a top 4 seed, especially with the most creative “big-man” in the league, Marc Gasol. I think i can say that one of the 1st round match-ups will be between Denver, Clippers or Memphis, but the seedings i cannot predict. Golden State are the surprise package so far and are going strong towards the end of the season. Curry is averaging over 20 points a game is certainly helping their cause. The Los Angeles Lakers, for some people it has not been a surprise that their season has been a none starter. Some moments of brilliance, but few and far between as Kobe, Howard and Nash have not lit up every area like some people thought when the signings happened. Will it all come together in the playoffs (if they get there)? it could, they have the talent to cause upsets and make a strong run. If they slide in at the 8th spot and come against a tired, physically vulnerable Spurs team they could chalk a couple of wins and maybe, just maybe, the L.A “big three” can create something we haven’t really seen all season. Utah, Dallas and Minnesota will be disappointed to have not made the playoffs this season. Dallas’ veterans have maybe gone too far, The Wolves haven’t had Love for the majority of the season, Rubio for the 1st half and Kirilenko for some time and the Jazz haven’t really played around big Al Jefferson, they will need to look for maybe a 2nd scoring option or a scoring point guard, perhaps someone with a bit of experience in the off season.

Lets enjoy the rest of the regular season, before the nitty-gritty of the playoffs. 

Il be back with predictions for the finalist’s and regular season awards (MVP, rookie of the year, 6th man, most improved player, coach of the year and all NBA team of the year)

xx

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The Greatest Debate…..

Afternoon hoop fans…I hope you’ve enjoyed the last couple of nights action! OKC taking it to the Lakers and Heat STILL rolling! Notably the Knicks will be without Carmelo Anthony for a while as he picked up an injury the other night…still unclear how long for.

So, a bit of a discussing has surfaced online over the last few months. Certain NBA legends/hall of famers are making comparisons between Lebron James, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan.

Firstly, there was an ongoing in-game rivalry between Lebron and Kobe brewing for a while and it was great to see them go head-to-head in this years all star game. I personally think Kobe came out on top! But this was only one game….Yes, Kobe is a 15 time All-star, champ and many more accolades..But since Lebron entered the world of the NBA he’s been on a different planet. As Jerry West points out in a recent interview “Lebron could be the scoring champ every season if he wants to, by he’d rather find a way to beat you first. Even if that mean dishing the ball out to others”. There is no doubt Kobe is an all-time great and will go down as one of the greatest ever, but he is and always has been the Lakers scorer. Whereas Lebron pretty much averages a triple-double each night. He is out of this world, an athlete that can do anything on the court. For his age he will,  no doubt win more titles than Kobe. For me this takes him past Kobe and onto Jordan.

In many peoples eyes, Michael Jordan is the greatest. 6 titles (3 in a row….TWICE!). Jordan in his day was classed as an extra-ordinary athlete, doing things that people had never seen before. But, Lebron is taking it to the next level in every aspect of the game. Like Jordan, everybody wants Lebron on their team, they feel confident enough whether he has the ball or not. This debate can only heat up when he wins more championships though. Jordan has 6, Lebron has 1…But imagine how many he could have in a decade…10? If he has the write team around him, this can happen. Right now he has Wade and Bosh, these guys are very important to Lebron…Wade is the 2nd go-to scorer and his points in the paint are crucial whilst Lebron is creating space around the perimeter. whereas Bosh has the offensive off-ball mind of a basketball guru! setting crucial picks to create the holes and lanes for Lebron and Wade…and he can also be a mid-range scorer. So wherever Lebron goes or stays, his coach or franchise has to have a plan, a plan to provide a team with players that Lebron can feed off….2 or 3 All-stars in the strating 5 would be perfect!

But for me, this debate is 5 or 6 years premature. Lebron is one of the greatest athletes out there and is certainly the best player in the NBA right now. But he’s a few championships shy of any comparison to Michael Jordan…Don’t forget, i’m a Bulls fan! ha..

On a Bulls related note, travel to San Antonio tonight. Hopefully, a Bulls win against the team with the best record in the entire NBA Comment to ask about any info you want about your teams? I’m more than happy to hear your views..

Enjoy.xx