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Friday, May 20, 2011

Only 9 Superstars in the NBA



I was watching Mike and Mike in the morning today, feeding my son, and they were touching on a subject that I have debated and discussed with friends of mine for years. They talked NBA superstars and who actually fits the bill. Below you will find a list of stars and superstars in the NBA; Mike and Mike highlighted Merriam Webster’s definition of Superstar and I will lift up most of that definition to highlight the standard of NBA superstar.

Superstar- a star who is considered extremely talented, has great public appeal; one that is a prime attraction.

Star- Meets most but not all the superstar criteria

So that’s the standard and to be a superstar in the NBA, or at east in this blog, you have to be 
1) Extremely Talented 
2) Has Public Appeal (meaning the causal sports fan will sit down and watch you on television) 
3) Is a Prime Attraction (Main Cog on Your Team) …

*Commercial Voice* Here We Go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Celtics: Pierce-Star; Allen-Star; Rondo-Star; Garnett- Superstar
Nets: D. Williams-Star;
Knicks: Carmelo- Superstar; Amare- Star (doesn’t have public appeal, but could get it now that he is in NY);
76ers: Iguodala-Star
Raptors: N/A
Bulls: Rose- Superstar;
Cavs: N/A
Pistons:N/A
Pacers: N/A
Bucks: N/A
Hawks: Johnson, Smith, Crawford,Horford- All are Stars
Bobcats: N/A
Heat: James-Superstar; Wade-Superstar;
Magic: Howard-Superstar;
Wizards: N/A
Kings N/A
Suns: N/A
Lakers: Kobe-Superstar; Gasol-Star (if not for Kobe, probably would not be a Star)
Clippers: Griffin-Superstar; Gordon-Star
Warriors: Ellis, Curry-Star Both Stars

Jazz: N/A
Thunder: Durant-Superstar; Westbrook-Star (without Durant he would have as much public appeal as he has);

Blazers:N/A

Timberwolves: N/A

Nuggets: N/A

Spurs: Duncan, Parker, Ginobli- All Stars

Hornets: Paul-Star

Grizzles: Z Bo- Star

Rockets: N/A

Mavs: Dirk, Kidd- Both Stars


I only have 9 real superstars in today's NBA: Garnett, James, Wade, Howard, Durant, Kobe, Rose, Griffin and Carmelo.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

NBA Playoffs: Second Round Preview

I love the NBA Playoffs! In fact I truly believe that it is the msot exciting post season in professional sports. The drama is very high, the story lines are captivating and the game play is so unlike what you see in the regualr season. After some interesting upsets, and lack thereof, this second round shopuld conntinue to provide all the excitement that you are looking for.

Eastern Conference:

Celtics vs. Heat- The Celtics are lunch Lebron? If that's the case you ain't never been able to finish a meal against them and you sure haven't been able to pay the bill for what you have eaten. As much as I like how the Heat performed against the Sixers, I just don't see them getting passed the deeper, more experienced Celtics team. The key for the Celtics will  be the play of Rondo. He is the engine and needs to play well for Boston to get into a rhythm. For the Heat, they need to try and pick the pace of the game up and avoid getting emotionally involved in the series. I believe that Chris Bosh will have the worst series of his life. I like the Celtics to win in 6...but I wouldn't be surprised if they won it in 5.

Bulls vs. Hawks- What we saw against the Pacers was an aberration for a Bulls team that dominated both offensively and defensively all year. Their Defense was stellar, but the offense dragged until the close out game. When both came together the Bulls dominated. I do not believe they will have the same start against Atlanta. Atlanta had something to prove against the Magic after being embarraseed last year. But please don't forget that when put in unchartered waters, the Hawks disappear. Look for Joe Johnson to do his best Houdini impersonation and for the Hawks to lose in 5. The League's MVP, as long as he gets some consistent help, will have no problem beating the Hawks. Bulls win...in 5.

Western Conference:

Grizzles vs. Thunder- KD, Westbrook, new look interior and solid bench play have be tremendous all year and in the playoffs. However, they are 1-3 against this Memphis Grizzles team. Memphis will bring the same passion and intensity, particularly in the paint, that they showed against the Spurs. The key for them winning though will once again be the play of Mike Conley. Conley lived in the lane against the Spurs and was hitting jumpers. Can he repeat his performance? Kendrick Perkins, need you to understand that this is Marc Gasol and not Pau...you won't be able to punk him. Oh and yeah who is going to guard Zach Randolph? Memphis will throw a combination of Allen and Battier at Durant which will be extremely frustrating against the Leagues top scorer and watch out for OJ Mayo in this series...I like Memphis to win this series in 6. 

Lakers vs. Mavs- I have not been shy about my disdain for the Mavs, but I give them all the credit for beating the Blazers and doing it with defense. Here is the problem. The Lakers have two seven footers who play in the paint and the have more versatility on the wing and coming off the bench. Let's also not forget the Jason Kidd plays point, which is not nearly an advantage against Fisher, because Fish likes playing against bigger, more physical guards. Oh and at the end of games the Lakers best player, Kobe, is head and shoulder better than the Mavs best player, Dirk, at taking games over. For those who might say that the Lakers are soft, they will look like Street Thugs against the Mavericks softer than soft style of play. However, because it is  the Lakers, I could see this game going 7. Lakers win in 7.

Re-Cap

Celtics def. Heat; Bulls def. Hawks; Memphis def. Thunder, and Lakers def. Mavericks

Let's see how this plays out!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

NBA Playoff Re-Cap: Round 1

Okay so the first round is in the books and I think we can safely say that it did not go true to form. Some match-ups ended as expected while some others... well let's just say, prognosticators have seen better days. Here is the re-cap, let's see how we did.

Grizzles def. Spurs- Am I surprised? Yeah a little bit, because I expected the Spurs to find a way at the end of games to pull away from a young Memphis team with no real closer. But after watching the games, it made total sense for Memphis to tank games to play the number #1 Seed out West. The were better than and more physical than the Spurs in the middle, they had enough athleticism and length to bother the Spurs go to perimeter guys and three point shooters, and ultimately they just wanted it more. Congrats to the Grizzles…they won this series…the Spurs didn’t lose it.

Lakers def. Hornets- What this series showed is that Chris Paul still has to be mentioned as one of the top 3 PG in the league, the Lakers still have that “turn it on, turn it off mentality, and if Pau Gasol doesn’t produce the Lakers will struggle to win a third straight ring. Not surprised that it took six games, that’s just what you come t expect from the Lakers.

Mavericks def. Trailblazers- I am really shocked that Portland was not more physical with Dallas. Dallas doesn’t go to the free throw line at all, they settle for jumpers AND their best player is still soft. However, the Mavs commitment to Defense and ability to make shots late, proved why they should have been viewed as favorites and not underdogs.


Thunder def. Nuggets- The Nuggets just didn’t have enough…oh yeah and Kevin Durant is a beast. The Nuggets did show a lot of heart and looked more like a team. They may be a team to watch next year…if there is a next year.

Bulls def. Pacers- The Bulls didn’t really look like the Bulls until the close out game….and when their offense caught up to the good defense they were playing…the blew the Pacers out. This series made these teams look closer than what they really are…but one thing is for sure. If Derrick Rose doesn’t get more consistent help in round two, they will struggle mightily in the next round.

Heat def. Sixers- The Sixers showed a lot of heart as well in this series, but when the Heat Big 2 and ½ are scoring and playing stiff defense (pause) and they are getting consistent shooting from the outside, any team with inferior talent is going to lose.

Celtics def. Knicks- I actually thought the Knicks would put up more of a fight; but I guess when you lose your starting PG, your starting PF struggles with back issues and your best scorer is not built for the Dantoni offense, you probably should lose. Oh and the Celtics woke up in game 3 and never looked back.

Hawks def. Magic- This series featured the disappearing acts of all of the Orlando Magic not named Dwight Howard. Seriously, he got help in one game and his shooting teammates were no where to be found. Shout to JJ Redick who did seem to carry the 3 point load in the two victories (and would look great in a Bulls uniform). Don’t worry Dwight…this time next year (again, if there is a next year) you will be in Hollywood, as a Laker.

Round 1 is in the books and it should get more interesting moving forward. Round 2 Preview on deck.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Slooooooow Dooooooown: Eastern Conference

Before everyone starts going crazy about this weekend’s games in the NBA playoffs, let’s identify a couple of golden rules:
  • One Game does not a winner make
  • Playoff seeding does matter at the pro level 
  • It is always easier to win game 1 in the NBA playoffs on the road
With those rules being understood let me briefly identify who is fine and who has some explaining to do.

Bulls/Pacers- I won’t lie…did not see the Bulls looking so bad defensively in the opener with Indy. I didn’t see the Pacers starters having good games across the board and I definitely didn’t the Bulls having to come from behind to pull out a game 1 opener at home. However I do expect Boozer to do better than 12 pts and 6 boards and even if it is a repeat performance, I expect the soon to be named NBA MVP to put his team on his back and refuse to lose. BULLS: YOU ARE FINE!

Heat/76ers- I stated before the playoffs started, if you make Miami a half court team both on defense and offense, you have a chance to beat them. Philly did that and almost pulled off a come from behind victory. What I didn’t expect to see was D Wade be the closer and have the ball in his hands in crunch time to make a play for the Heat. If that continues to happen and D Wade’s number is called late in games instead of Lebron…WATCH OUT! HEAT: YOU ARE FINE…FOR NOW!
 
Celtics/Knicks- Why would you stop going to Amare when clearly he was the best player on the floor? The Celtics clearly not playing at the same level as recent years, but they are a veteran laden crafty bunch that knows how to win; Doesn’t hurt that they are playing a team that gives you solid defense on occasion and is lead by a coach who gets outcoached at every critical point, in every game of his entire playoff career. I think the Knicks can push the Celtics in each game, but it’s going to be hard for them to when one if they are going to fold like that late in games. They kind of remind me of those old Portland Trailblazers lead by Rasheed Wallace…a lot of talent…NO BASKETBALL IQ. CELTCIS: YOU ARE FINE!
 
Magic/Hawks: I won’t lie. The Hawks, in my opinion, are all fluff and no substance. But if they are going to let Dwight run rampant and shut down everyone else…they will have more of a shot to beat the Magic than I thought. If the Magic are not able to hit shots from the outside, and Joe Johnson and Josh Smith play to their potential, I could see a scenario where the Magic get swept…but those are huge IF’s. I do expect the Magic to make the necessary adjustments and I do expect them to still beat the Hawks…who are liable to disappear at some point anyway…until then MAGIC: YOU HAVE SOME EXPLAINING TO DO!
  
Whatever happens, it should be fun.

Slooooooow Dooooooown: Western Conference

Before everyone starts going crazy about this weekend’s games in the NBA playoffs, let’s identify a couple of golden rules:
  • One Game does not a winner make
  • Playoff seeding does matter at the pro level 
  • It is always easier to win game 1 in the NBA playoffs on the road

With those rules being understood let me briefly identify who is fine and who has some explaining to do.
  
Spurs/Grizzles- I knew this game would be difficult with Manu not playing and when Time was going off, DUNKING the ball about 6 straight times, I thought they would dominate. When that wasn’t happening and the Grizzles were hanging in there, scrapping, playing smart, and just showing a lot of heart, I thought “this could get interesting until the 4thy quarter and the Spurs will pull away as they have done all season”. When that didn’t happen I tweeted, “Grizzles have no closer to win close games, so the Spurs will have to lose the game for them to win”…and the Spurs did exactly that. A missed three from Mr. Disappearing Acts, Richard Jefferson, wide open no less was then end of the game. I knew the Grizz would beat the Spurs up, but if the Spurs don’t get a healthy Manu back for the 4th quarter close…we could be seeing Memphis win their first playoff series. SPURS: YOU HAVE SOME EXPLAINING TO DO!

Lakers/Hornets- Is anyone surprised that the Lakers lost game 1. I mean really. If you have been watching the Laker team these last few years there are certain things you just know. They can be extremely inconsistent, Kobe is going to take a lot of shots (especially when everyone else is standing around) and the often play down to their competition; they have a turn it on, turn it off mentality. Now for any other team this is a recipe for disaster, but because this roster is so talented, they should have no problem winning this series…of course that assumes that they won’t wait too late to flip the switch. Gasol plays to his normal 18 and 11 self and they win by double digits. Oh, and I did see CP3…beasty…keep him out the paint and make him beat you with jumpers…that will help. LAKERS: YOU WILL BE FINE…IF YOU WANT TO BE.

Dallas/Trailblazers- Dallas won a close game, but did you see how much energy they did to do it? Look, I’m not going to take anything away from Dallas, they won on their home floor as the higher seed, but I would not be shocked at all if they got blown out in game 2 at home. I just don’t like the Mavs because they don’t have anybody on their team that I feel like should be feared…and I think you need that in the playoffs…especially late in games. DALLAS: YOU HAVE SOME EXPLAINING TO DO!

Thunder/Nuggets: Before this game started I said this match up might be the best playoff series of the first round and they did not disappoint. 41 from Durant, 34 from Westbrook, a questionable goal tending NON Call and Denver was still there at the end says a lot about both teams. It’s a shame that one of these teams has to lose, but there was nothing in yesterday’s game that says that it will be the Thunder. THUNDER: YOU WILL BE FINE!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

NBA Playoff Preview: Round 1


I believe that when you make predictions, you need to make them at the beginning of the year, stick with them until the bitter end, and accept the praise for being right and the ridicule for being wrong. But more than that, and truly above all else, every opinion you give needs to be filled with relevant, objective content. With that said I picked Lakers vs Celtics before the season started, with the Lakers winning a third straight title…not so sure how that’s going to end up now. The 2010-2011 NBA Playoff Preview:

 
Western Conference

(1)Spurs-(8) Grizzles: The Spurs have played great ball all year and they have done it with more offense than defense this year. They have stayed relatively healthy and have secured home court in the Wild Wild West. However if I am a Spur fan, which I am not, I would have preferred to play New Orleans over Memphis. I don’t think they will lose to Memphis, but I do believe they will be beat up physically and have their hands full. But with no Gay, it shouldn’t be a problem. Spurs win 4-1

(2)Lakers- (7) Hornets- When they play a focused and full 48 minutes no team can beat the Lakers…their best is truly better than everyone else’s best…there should be no argument to that. Unfortunately they don’t play a consistent, focused, full 48 every game. With that said, without another true scoring option outside of Paul, the Hornets will NOT win this series. But because it’s the Lakers, they will probably push this to 6 games. Lakers win 4-2

(3)Mavericks- (6) Trailblazers- Yes I agree with pretty much everyone who is picking the Trailblazers in what would be an upset? Face it you are only as good as your best player and when your best player is soft as Charmin toilet paper, you can’t win grind it out, hardnosed series. The only thing to not like about the Trailblazers is that they do not have a guy who can close out games. However, they will beat Dallas and I don’t think it will even go to 7 games. I am going out on a limb and saying Trailblazers win 4-1…and I’m not so sure about the one Dallas victory.
  
(4)Thunder- (5) Nuggets- The Post-Melo Nuggets have been great. They look like a team and they are playing inspired. But let’s be real…it’s still the Nuggets. The Thunder posses a dynamic scorer on the wing, a dynamic point guard, good role players, and a huge defensive presence inside.  And unlike the Lakers, who have taken the Nuggets out for the past several years, OKC will play hard from start to finish. Get Your Brooms ready. Thunder win 4-0.

Eastern Conference

(1)Bulls- (8) Pacers- MVP, Coach of the year, good role play in the starting 5 and the bench, great offensive and defensive re-bounders and a scoring presence inside…what would keep the Bulls from winning the East? No one on the team has won anything significant. With that said, Granger would have to score 70 a night to beat them and that’s not going to happen. Bulls win 4-0

(2)Heat- (7) Sixers- The heat dodged a bullet not having to play the Knicks, and while the 76ers have played relatively well this year, if they were above .500 except right at .500 I would give them more of a chance (given the fact that the heat struggle against good teams). As long as the Heat can turn you over and get into transition and not have to play with the game close in the 4th quarter, it’s going to be tough to beat them. Heat win 4-1.


(3)Celtics- (6) Knicks- See I have less of a problem with the Celtics playing as a 3 seed, because I knew what I would get from them. My problem is without Perkins, they look like a wounded animal just trying to patch the wound with band-aids. The person most affected has been Rajon Rondo. When it was the Big 3, Perkins and Rondo, Rondo found great solace in being his own little dynamic duo. With Perkins gone, Rondo is being clumped in with the Big 3 and he is uncomfortable. Fortunately for the Celtics, the Knicks only play defense for 6 minutes a game. So if they can keep the game from being real close and avoid that inspired 6 min. of D, they should advance. But I will put them on upset alert. Celtics win 4-3.

(4)Magic- (5) Hawks- the only players I trust in Atlanta to be consistent in terms of doing what they do best is Al Horford and Jamal Crawford. Joe Johnson and Josh Smith are all over the place from game to game and everyone else on the roster has flashes of solid production. The Magic…will be the Magic. Shoot a lot of threes with Dwight going for 20 and 18 with 4 or 5 blocks. As long as they don’t have to rely on him shooting free throws late, that live by the three die by the three offense philosophy will not hurt them against the Hawks. Magic win 4-1

Let’s see what happens…but the first round should go true to form.