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NBA Trade News: Cavs and Grizzlies Complete Multiplayer Deal

Posted by pmanocchio on January 22nd, 2013

The Cavaliers have struggled since the departure of LeBron James, but management cannot be faulted for not trying to improve the team through all possible means. Less then two years after taking on Baron Davis’s salary in return for a draft pick, which ended up being the first pick, the Cavaliers have completed a multiplayer trade with the Grizzlies that reduces salary cap for the Grizzles and helps the Cavaliers improve little by little.

The Grizzlies have sent big man Marreese Speights, guard Wayne Ellington and guard Josh Selby to the Cavaliers for big man Jon Leuer. The Cavaliers will also receive a future first-round draft pick in the deal. The deal hinders the Grizzlies depth, but it had to be done to ensure that their stellar starting five remains intact.

The move slashes more then $6 million off the Grizzlies payroll, which places them under the luxury tax threshold. The Cavaliers had more than ten million in cap space so the move makes sense for both team’s future goals.

The Cavaliers continue to try to improve their team while adding as many draft picks as possible, while the Grizzlies continue to look for ways to reduce their salary cap both long and short term.

The Cavaliers will not get a lottery pick out of the deal like they did from the Clippers, but they acquired a solid shooter in Ellington, a productive big man in Speights and a guard with potential in Selby. The Grizzlies did what had to be done to ensure that they are able to retain the main pieces behind their fast start to this season.

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Posted in Cleveland Cavaliers, Memphis Grizzlies | No Comments »

Best Off-Season

Posted by Decker on August 27th, 2012

Best NBA Off-Season: The Hornets. A starting five of Robin Lopez, Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, and Austin Rivers is very good considering that four of those players were not on the roster last year, and they didn’t give up much at all to get them.

(This is not counting the Lakers because they clearly had the best.)

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Posted in Basketball Stuff | No Comments »

USA Basketball Vulnerable?

Posted by briesen on July 24th, 2012

On June, 11–a day before Team USA’s first exhibition game against the Dominican Republic–Kobe Bryant claimed that his currently constructed team could take down the original 1992 Dream Team. Two weeks later this claim has changed from laughable to absurd.

While Team USA still remains the heavy favorite, there is also no way to deny that there are weaknesses. There is really only one true center on the team, Tyson Chandler, and he is offensively challenged to say the least. Because of this offensive ineptness, Chandler has only averaged 14 minutes through the first four games. Team USA’s strategy seems to be to go small with Kevin Durant, Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony handling the big man duties. While this has helped Team USA’s offense, their rebounding has suffered. Through four games Team USA has grabbed 161 rebounds, their opponents have grabbed 160. They’ve been out rebounded by both Great Britain and Brazil and were only +3 in rebounds in a six point win over the 3rd ranked team in the world, Argentina.

However, what makes Team USA the heavy favorites is the fact that they win nearly every other category. By going small, everyone on the court can both handle and pressure the ball. They’ve averaged just 11 turnovers per game while forcing 22.

Later today, Team USA faces their toughest challenge when they play Spain, the 2nd ranked team in the world. Spain can put more quality big men on the court then any team including Team USA. Their front line is anchored by Pau and Marc Gasol, both of whom are better then any big man on Team USA. They have NBA leading shot blocker Serge Ibaka coming off the bench. For Team USA to win, they’ll have to find a way to minimize Spain’s low-post advantage which likely means more minutes for Chandler. Whether they can win this way is yet to be seen.

Team USA needs to stop worrying about being better then a team that played 20 years ago and start worrying about how they can beat the team they’re playing later today.

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Posted in Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, NBA, Team USA | No Comments »

A Year Later, The Hornets Future Finally Looks Bright

Posted by thethreelions on June 29th, 2012

During last nights NBA Draft, the New Orleans Hornets capitalized on their opportunities, and in turn have put them in a great sport for the future. While it didn’t take much brain power to figure out that Anthony Davis and his iconic uni-brow were going #1, a little more thinking and strategy had to go into making their #10 pick, and they did well in selecting Austin Rivers.

While it might be obvious that the Duke player has the potential in being a solid player, the Hornets have also set them up with providing themselves with a strong future in the guard and center spot. Their first two picks, have set themselves up with both great offensive potential in Rivers, and defensive potential with Davis. Davis will obviously be a player that won’t need much time to adapt to playing in the NBA while Rivers has a great opportunity to play behind both Eric Gordon and Jarrett Jack while he adapts and matures to the level of the NBA.

These two picks definitely give the potential for an exciting future, and give their fans the opportunity to provide at least a partial band-aid to Chris Paul booking it out of there for LA. At the very least, Davis’ Kentucky championship can provide the Hornets with the only championship ring many of them have ever seen.

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Posted in All Star Game, Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers, NBA, NBA Draft, New Orleans Hornets | No Comments »

Role Players, and Strategy…A thing of the Past

Posted by thethreelions on June 28th, 2012

In 2007 both Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joined forces with Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics, and what seemed to be a simple move to make their team stronger, the Celtics dramatically changed the NBA.  The Boston Celtics had arguably created the best starting line-up in the NBA, since the 1998 Bulls (remember this includes Rondo and Perkins) and the way they did it was like never before.

Most teams before had one or two strong players, and one of these was generally because one was drafted into the mix, like that of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Lebron James in Cleveland, but now a team was able to create its own all-star team, and they made it look easy.  The Boston Celtics went on to win the NBA title that year, and while they didn’t create any sort of legendary dynasty, like the Bulls in the 1990’s, they helped change the way teams went about creating their rosters.

Today we see teams like the Heat with Dwayne wade, Lebron James, and Chris Bosh, a line-up that is 3/5 the way to an eastern Conference All-Star game, and one that if I mentioned seven years ago, people would of laughed.  As the 2012 NBA Draft nears we see more an more teams then ever before making moves and trades in hope to build their very own “super-team”, whether it be the Nets trying to lure Dwight Howard along side Deron Williams, or the Knicks trying to get Steve Nash to an already failed attempt as a super team.

There is suddenly this perspective that the only way to win an NBA Championship is to create their very own All-Star team, which I feel in a lot of ways kind of ruins the NBA, its now like the ideas of role players is a  distant memory from the past, and realistically there are only a select few teams with that kind of money to create these teams.  Its no longer about a players skill and a teams chemistry like the past, its about what great players you can hopefully throw together and hope for the best.  I don’t even know what the need for a coach is for teams like the Heat, because their isn’t much strategy in “give Lebron the ball”, and if he isn’t open, “give it to Wade”.

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Posted in Basketball Stuff, Boston Celtics, Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, NBA, NBA Draft, NBA Finals, New York Knicks, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rando, Steve Nash, dwight howard | No Comments »

Perception vs. Reality: Clutch NBA Players

Posted by briesen on June 19th, 2012

I got into a debate with a friend the other day. It was on a subject I and everyone else has debated about too much: is Lebron James a clutch NBA player? The media and fans seem to think not. While it may look like it, the question can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. The perception of Lebron changes almost everyday depending on what happened in his last game. This isn’t what makes it difficult though. The problem is clutch has no standard definition when it comes to basketball. Is it putting up great stats in a big game? Is it hitting a last second shot? Is it not charging into the stands when a fan throws a beer at you? Is it avoiding a TV special to announce where you will take your talents? Is it not bringing guns into the locker room? Maybe it’s all these things, maybe it’s none of them.

The media seems to want to define it as hitting shots at the end of a close game. So when Lebron dropped 45 points and 15 rebounds on the Celtics in a must win Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, that wasn’t so much clutch as it was a great performance in a big game. Since everything in the NBA is defined by stats, clutch has to be held to the same standard.

For the sake of this argument lets define clutch as shots taken with under 5 seconds to tie or take the lead in the fourth quarter or overtime. Let’s apply that only to star players starting in the 2000-01 season through February of the 2011-12 season. Using that formula, Kobe Bryant has hit more shots then anyone going 9-19. Carmelo Anthony is second at 6-15. Lebron James on the other hand, is 0-11. For these players, perception seems to fit perfectly with reality, but that is not always the case.

Kevin Durant is the three time scoring champion, but is just 3-23 in “clutch” situations. Sure, he’s made 3 more then Lebron, but he’s also taken 12 more. On the other hand, Rudy Gay is 4-7, better then guys like Dirk Nowitzki (4-12), Dwayne Wade (4-13) and Paul Pierce (2-9). Gay has never had the reputation as a clutch player, but according to stats he is. The bottom line is that “clutch” isn’t something based on numbers or reality. It’s based on perception and that will likely never change. Just know that reality and perception don’t always match up.

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Posted in Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, NBA | No Comments »

Are Harden and Ibaka Hurting Their Future Value?

Posted by briesen on June 18th, 2012

The NBA Playoffs often serve as a stage for players to earn big contracts. Summer free agents like Roy Hibbert and Brandon Bass have surely earned themselves nice contracts from their post season play. But not everyone benefits from team advancing in the playoffs.

Serge Ibaka and James Harden are two players who looked destined to get huge contracts when their current ones run out in 2014. There’s even been recent buzz lately about Harden possibly getting a max contract somewhere, but if the season were to end today, that would be hard to imagine. Their play in the NBA Finals has been sub par to say the least. Now you don’t want to overreact to just 3 games, because after all they’re just 3 of 84 games the Thunder have played this year. They’re also playing one of the most versatile defensive teams in the league in the Heat. But it’s still worth noting. Harden’s had an especially tough time averaging just 11.6 ppg on 41% shooting. He’s struggled defensively getting benched in favor of Thabo Sefolosha for much of Game 1 (the only game the Thunder have won…).

However, in my opinion, it’s Ibaka whose been the bigger disappointment. He’s averaged just 7.0 points and 5.0 rebounds. What’s been so disappointing though is his paint protection. Ibaka has led the league the last two years in blocked shots, but has been completely infective stopping the Heat from getting to the rim. He has 7 blocks in 3 games, which isn’t bad stat wise, but considering the Heat have made just 38 shots outside of the paint, as oppose to 65 in the paint, Ibaka should have a lot more then 7. Luckily, neither is a free agent this summer, but both may be remembered this season more for what they didn’t do then for what they did.

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Posted in James Harden, NBA, NBA Finals, Serge Ibaka | No Comments »

NBA Finals Review

Posted by briesen on June 15th, 2012

Games 1 and 2 of the NBA Finals were oddly similar on paper. Both games the Heat played a solid first half and took a fairly comfortable lead into half time. Both games the Thunder were carried back into the game by Kevin Durant. The individual stats of each star player were also similar. Lebron, Wade, Durant and Westbrook all finished with very similar numbers in both games. Chris Bosh and James Harden, who are each considered the third part of the tricycle on their respective teams, had weak performances in Game 1 and strong performances in Game 2. The difference between the two games? The Thunder won Game 1, the Heat won Game 2.

So what happened? The biggest difference between the two games was what happened in the paint. Despite Bosh playing center for most of Game 2, the Thunder shot just 17-49 (35%) on shots in the paint. Compare that to Game 1 where they shot 26-50 (52%) on shots in the paint. In Game 1, they had 56 points in the paint; in Game 2, they had just 32. In Game 3, the Thunder will have to make the Heat pay for playing Bosh at center by continuing to get to the rim. Whether or not they can finish their shots will most likely decide the game and ultimately the series.

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Posted in Kevin Durant, NBA Finals | No Comments »

Thunder Build Through The Draft

Posted by briesen on June 14th, 2012

While most NBA teams acquire their talent through free agency and trades, the Oklahoma City Thunder took a different approach and it has paid off handsomely for them. The Thunder have built there team almost exclusively through the draft. Their best player on their current team acquired through free agency or trade is either Thabo Sefolosha or Kendrick Perkins who combined to average 10.4 points per game this season.

Their drafting expertise started in 2007 when they drafted the now three time defending scoring champion Kevin Durant 2nd overall. It continued in 2008 when they drafted Russell Westbrook 4th overall despite Westbrook averaging just 12.7 points and 4.3 assists the year before at UCLA. They also used the 24th pick to draft Serge Ibaka from the Republic of Congo. Ibaka had only started playing basketball recently and didn’t speak a word of English. In 2009, they would use the 4th overall pick to select James Harden. These players are now the four leading scorers on the team.

No team’s perfect though, the Thunder have made a few mistakes in the draft. The only mistakes I could find was: 1. In the 2009 draft they traded the draft rights of Rodrigue Beaubois to Dallas for the draft rights to Byron Mullens; 2. In 2010 they traded the rights to Eric Bledsoe to the Clippers for a future protected first round pick (not exactly a mistake yet, but Bledsoe’s been a nice player.); 3. You could argue drafting Cole Aldrich 11th in the 2010 draft was a bad move, but really there wasn’t much after him: There was Avery Bradley who went 19th and would have been a solid bench player for them, Landry Fields who went 39th and really just would have been a younger version of Sefolosha and Lance Stephenson who went 40th and could have made choking signs at Lebron in the Finals.

These mistakes are all minuet though and because of the Thunder’s impeccable drafting abilities they look to possibly have a potential dynasty. There only challenge will be keeping all their drafted players.

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Posted in NBA | No Comments »

Spurs On The Greatest Run Of All Time?

Posted by briesen on May 31st, 2012

The Spurs have won 20 games in a row. They’ve won 31 out of 33. They are currently 10-0 in the playoffs. But what is so amazing about this run is how San Antonio has managed to stay under the radar throughout it. Maybe that’s because the Spurs themselves are so quiet. While teams like the Heat, Lakers and Knicks seem to be in the news everyday, the Spurs just continue to win. Where they play certainly has something to do with it, but its more then that. It’s a head coach who is able to communicate to his players that winning is all that matters. It’s star players like Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker who understand it’s not that name on the back of the jersey that matters; it’s the name on the front.

Only three teams had ever won twenty games in a row before the Spurs recent streak: the 1972 Lakers who won an NBA record 33 in a row, the 2008 Rockets who won 22 in a row and the 1971 Milwaukee Bucks who won 20 in a row. The most the Jordan led Bulls and the Bird led Celtics ever won in a row was 18.

What’s so remarkable about the Spurs streak is when they’re doing it. The lockout shortened season crammed 66 games into 122 grueling days. It was supposed to all but eliminate veteran teams (just look at the Celtics limp their way through the Eastern Conference Finals). As if that wasn’t enough, the Spurs are doing this during the Playoffs. Sweeping a team once in the playoffs is difficult enough, winning 10 in a row? Nearly impossible. The longest win streak by a team in the playoffs is 12 (ironically by the 1999 Spurs). These Spurs still have a ways to go before this can be considered the greatest streak of all time, but at this point it doesn’t seem so far fetched.

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Posted in Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA Playoffs, San Antonio Spurs, Tim Duncan | No Comments »

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