NBA Off-Season Team by Team Needs Part 1

Well, the NBA Finals are over. Congrats to the Miami Heat on their second consecutive NBA title and LeBron James on his second consecutive Finals MVP. Congrats to me as well on my spot on breakdown of the series and correct pick, nothing like being right lol. But now that that’s over the focus shifts to the future. With the NBA Draft 6 days away and Free Agency about a week and a half away, it’s impossible to make reasonable predictions. So instead here’s part one my quick team by team breakdown of off-season needs and moves I think they should pursue. Just playoff teams for today.

We’ll begin with the 2-time defending NBA Champs, the Miami Heat.

All due respect to the Heat, I’m not sure we’ve ever had a more critically flawed team win the NBA Championship. They were last in the NBA in rebounding which goes against a lifetime of believing you can’t win without rebounding. Their rebounding numbers are skewed however by the fact that they shoot a higher percentage than most teams and hold their opponents to fewer shot attempts than most by forcing turnovers. Still, paint presence and interior defense have to be the priority here. It may come at a cost though in that having a true big on the floor shrinks the court for LeBron and Wade. But can they really survive another series vs the Bulls or Indiana without an inside presence and a, presumably, healthy D-Rose, healthy Danny Granger, and better Paul George? The odds of making it to 4 straight Finals aren’t very good to begin with, doing it without an interior presence seems impossible. So where do they go for help being cash strapped and unlikely to break-up the big 3? I think you take a chance on Greg Oden if you don’t have to overpay or guarantee his contract. If he can give you 15-20 minutes a night it can make a huge difference. Anderson Varejao is another option, especially if Cleveland takes Nerlens Noel number 1. Though getting Dan Gilbert to help LeBron seems unlikely. My last option is probably the least likely, but assuming most of the NBA will refuse to pay him top dollar you might be able to steal Andrew Bynum with a one year MLE deal. He’ll want to prove himself and earn a big pay day and a motivated Bynum can be dominant. It’s risky but the rewards could be great. Interesting fact: the Heat have no cap space this summer, obviously. But because of player and team options technically have no money tied up beyond next season.

Next up the Spurs:

Making the assumption that both Tim Duncan and Coach Pop return, the Spurs are still going to be a good team. This may have been this teams last run at a title, though, with their Big 3 as constituted. They also have to decide on a style of play. If playing with two traditional bigs surely they can do better than Tiago Splitter. And if playing with a stretch 4, they can do better than Boris Diaw. Kawhi Leonard’s development will play a huge role as well. If he continues to grow he may allow the Spurs to part ways with Ginobli, combined with Splitter leaving give the Spurs approximately $18,000,000 in cap space. Assuming the Spurs make such moves, which I believe they should, they have many options. Acquire more quality depth. Make a run at Dwight Howard??? But for them to have a chance to legitimately get back to the finals, I think Indiana’s David West and Sacramento’s Tyreke Evans(assuming West opts out and Sacramento doesn’t extend a qualifying offer to Evans) are clear upgrades to Ginobli and Splitter and natural fits with Coach Pop. A top 6 of Parker, Green, Leonard, West, Duncan, and Evans isn’t too shabby.

The Indiana Pacers:

They had a wonderful season. Paul George looks like the second coming of Scottie Pippen. But Roy Hibbert is still soft and their point guard play is still questionable at best. The question for dilemma for the Pacers is that if David West opts-in they have no cap space basically. But if he leaves they have cap space, not enough to make a run at Chris Paul but close enough to be able to get a sign-and-trade done with the Clippers should Paul want to go there. I truly feel that if the Pacers can somehow land Chris Paul, even at the expense of David West, they become the Championship favorite. Seems unlikely though. More likely is, I think David West opts out of his deal and flirts closely with the Spurs and ultimately heads to San Antonio. And with about $12,000,000 in cap space, and the expendable Danny Granger, they try to upgrade the point guard position while finding a serviceable 4 to hold the position down. A combination of Jarret Jack and Paul Millsap and/or Josh Smith fit well here as well, better point guard play and defensive-minded bigs fit in Indiana and can open the floor athletically.

The Memphis Grizzlies:

After having the best season in franchise history the bottom seems to be falling out here. First the dumbfounding trade of Speights and Ellington and then the even more mind numbing Rudy Gay trade… All to save money I suppose but wait… What? They still have no cap space? Nope, none at all. No cap space and no coach… 6 days before the NBA Draft and 10 before free agency starts. Not the position a team that was on the verge of becoming elite should be in, but they put themselves there. As far as off-season needs, they need offense and athleticism. If Ed Davis can continue to grow and make more consistent the flashes we seen towards the end of his time in Toronto, they’re fine inside. But on the perimeter, they need a back up point. A starting 3, a backup wing, or somehow find a way to re-sign Jerryd Bayless and Tony Allen and pray Allen learns how to shoot. Oh, and find a coach who can somehow put all those pieces together. Lionel Hollins seems like the right guy for that… Oh yeah… I’m not to high on Grizzlies management as you can see, lol.

The Chicago Bulls:

This one is easy, Derrick Rose actually plays. And pray he’s the old D-Rose. From a cap stand point, even with waiving Rip Hamilton and using the Amnesty on Boozer they’d still have no cap space. I’d expect to see Nate Robinson gone and with Luol Deng getting closer to extension time him being traded wouldn’t shock me one bit.(To Cleveland perhaps?) The Bulls are what they are and have little room for growth via free agency or within, besides Jimmy Butler. They are a threat to Miami but I think they’d still lose in 5 or 6, D-Rose or not.

The Golden State Warriors:

I keep hearing this crazy talk of them as a landing spot for Dwight Howard but they don’t have the necessary cap space. Unless they plan on sending Curry and Thompson and/or Barnes, along with Bogut I guess to make the money work, there’s no way the Lakers do this deal. I also don’t believe there’s any way Golden State parts with Curry and Thompson, not yet at least. Though as Charles Barkley pointed out, at some point they will have to to be a true contender. For now I think they will rely on continued growth from all their young players, especially Ezeli. Re-signing Jarret Jack looks more and more unlikely by the minute with so many teams needing point guards and many will likely take young guards in the draft and Jack, as one of the better leaders in the league, is a great guy to have them learn under for a few years.

The New York Knicks:

This is easier than the Bulls, they’re stuck. With no cap space to re-sign JR Smith, no flexibility to move Amare because of his health or Chandler because you have nothing to pair with him, they are truly stuck right where they are. Perhaps you could package Shumpert and Chandler but I’m not sure what you could get back. The Knicks need better point guard play, more consistent offense, and better defensive perimeter players. Through smart drafting and some internal development, both Knick weaknesses, they may be able to address a need but not all.

The Oklahoma City Thunder:

Not a team with large needs. I can even argue they have no needs, besides health. But I do have some strong suggestions. First, I’d move or waive Kendrick Perkins. In today’s NBA players like Perk are not needed very often, especially at his current salary. They are a significantly better team with him off the floor. Next, let’s move Kevin Martin into the Starting Lineup. You continually got off to slow starts last season, playoffs especially, increasing the burden on your stars Westbrook and Durant. Martin starting creates more driving lanes for Westbrook early and thus more open looks for everyone else later. Also, Martin is not James Harden. He does not possess the ability to come off the bench and be like a 6th starter and initiate the offense. He is best as a floor spacer, who can put the ball on the floor and get to the line when need be. But not a creator. Next, decide can you have both Reggie Jackson and Westbrook on the floor together at times. My answer would be no because Jackson is too much like Westbrook and I’d look to move Jackson while his value is high and draft a more traditional Point Guard with their pick, 12th overall. Possibly Michael Carter-Williams or Shane Larkin. Lastly, since I believe at this point we’d all agree that Ibaka is a stretch 4 at this point and won’t develop much post game, look again to the draft, with 28th pick or trade up, to try to find a big who may develop offensively. Those are just my opinions though, as presently built they’re still the slight favorite to win the west anyhow.

Brooklyn Nets:

No cap space and bad contracts equal little room for improvement. Fortunately, they still can be a very good team. They will likely lose Andray Blatche but Kris Humphrey’s will have an opportunity to regain his double-double form under new Head Coach Jason Kidd, feels weird writing that… Anyhow, under Kidd I expect the Nets to play with more pace. More pace equals more possessions. More possessions for a team with more talent than most should equate to more wins. MarShon Brooks will be given more opportunity to play as the Nets desperately needed more scoring and Brook Lopez should continue his growth. He needs to rebound better but it’s coming along. In the draft, at pick 22, I’d expect them to look for an athletic big or a spot up shooter. With no pressing needs, those two player types are good to stock pile. Kenny Kadji from Miami, may be a reach there but seems like a good pick for them.

Denver Nuggets:

So much of this depends on who the coach ends up being. There aren’t many coaches who see and play the way George Karl does. So with him gone I’d expect some major moves and for the Nuggets to look very different next year. It’s all but a done deal Igoudala will opt out. That experiment had pretty mixed results but it’s pretty obvious the he’ll never fulfill the perennial all star type potential he has. Where he’ll end up is anyone’s guess, his talent suggest a priority free agent but his production suggest a secondary free agent. But Cleveland seems like a strong option there. But we’ll get to that later. As far as the Nuggets go, with a new coach and other new front office members your guess is as good as mine. But if I were player there I’d probably be prepared for a move.

Atlanta Hawks:

Arguably the most mediocre team in all of sports. Never really bad but never really good. I think that’s about to change though. Unless they miraculously land Dwight and Paul, it’s going to be a bad year in Atlanta… Josh Smith is gone, that ship has sailed. I can’t imagine they’d want to commit to Jeff Teague long term at this point, so any offer he receives I doubt they match.But they still Louis Williams coming back next year! That was sarcasm… It’s safe to say the Hawks need everything. And they will have tons of cap space. But they have not built up the necessary reputation to attract those big time free agents. So unless they want to overpay for the likes of Tyreke Evans or JR Smith, or take the risk on Andrew Bynum, they’ll be very bad. If they do take those risk, they’ll be what they’ve always been, mediocre…

Los Angeles Clippers:

There’s so many rumors in Clipper-land right now, all of which seem feasible. I won’t take long here but here’s a short list of their needs: Get Doc Rivers and re-sign Chris Paul. That’s it. If that’s all they do the Clippers become the slight favorite ahead of OKC in the west. Doc is just that much better than Del Negroe and Chris Paul is that important to the future of the Clippers. With Doc, he’ll have a top notch staff and they will develop Deandre Jordan and be more creative offensively and great defensively. While I know the Clips are high on KG and not so high on DJ, but they’ll need DJ’s presence defensively and athleticism to get to where they want to get. They do need improvement in athleticism at the 3 spot but that’s a relatively cheap fix they can do easily. Get Doc, re-sign CP3. That’s it.

Boston Celtics:

Blow it up! I’ve been saying that for a while now but it seems they have finally reached that conclusion. With Doc seemingly on his way out, it won’t be long before Garnett and Pierce are on their way out as well. The question comes at Rondo. Is he truly a piece you can build around. His offensive game is so below average as far as scoring goes, you have to question if he can be the Rondo we’ve come to know without 2 or 3 Hall of Famers around him. And if he’s not, where do you move him? What for? I’ve been on record as saying move him for Cousin’s in Sacramento but without Doc there I’m not so sure. Other issues for the C’s include Courtney Lee and Jason Terry. Trying to move those 2 contracts may prove difficult but with this now clearly being rebuilding mode there’s no need to hold on to them. It was a nice little run for the Celtics, a failed run in my opinion, but nice still. Did get one title after all.

Los Angeles Lakers:

It all starts and ends with Dwight. The Lakers need an infusion of youth and athleticism. They need shooting and better perimeter defense. But until something is done with Dwight they are in wait and see mode. Hopefully for them Dwight doesn’t let his free agency draw out for weeks causing opportunities to slip past the Lakers but I fear he will. Assuming he wants to leave, there are lots of rumors out there. The most recent being to the Clippers. If the Clippers really do offer Blake Griffin and Eric Bledsoe the Lakers would be foolish not to accept. You solve the athleticism needs, the perimeter defense improves, and you have a face of the future. Another, probably more realistic, scenario is with Houston. With Lakers receiving Omer Asik, Thomas Robinson, and/or Aaron Brooks and Carlos Delfino. This trade not being as star driven but filled with substance. Either way, I believe they gain more by moving him. But we’ll see what happens.

The Milwaukee Bucks:

Honestly, does anyone care? All signs point to them loosing Jennings, Ellis, and Redick. Ellis certainly is leaving. Jennings, if allowed, will leave or play out this next season for unrestricted free agency next summer. It’s plausible that they can try again to pursue Josh Smith. Josh Smith and Larry Sanders, along with keeping Jennings, could make the Bucks interesting. But still not enough for most to really care… So moving on…

Houston Rockets:

It’s not often you say this about an 8 seed, but they have no glaring needs. James Harden is well on his way to be elite. Asik’s growth has been exceptional. And Parson’s has been a pleasant surprise. More consistent point guard play would be nice, but for the most part Lin and Beverly will be solid. But hey, they have almost $16,000,000 in cap space too! This time last year GM Daryl Morey looked like an idiot. Now he looks like the genius Mark Cuban wishes he was! Houston to me are the co-favorites to land Dwight Howard, but let’s say for a second they don’t. Let’s say instead they take that $16mil and sign Josh Smith. Losing no pieces in a sign-and-trade and plugging in an all-star caliber player in the weakest part of their line-up. How much better would they be? Defensively? Of all the playoff teams, the Rockets have the greatest potential to jump over 5 or 6 teams and become elite.

Well that’s all for my off-season reports on this past seasons playoffs teams! Let me know what you think. I miss any key points? Was I little too off the wall with some of my scenarios? You know the drill, like, follow, comment, and share! Thanks for reading and see you back here soon for my break down of the non-playoff teams. This is Life of a Basketball Addict, thanks for reading.

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NBA Finals Prediction

Alright, so it is opening night for the NBA Finals. Everyone is making their picks and I’m shocked. All season long everyone just assumed Miami would win and now, after 3 bad games(but still winning the series mind you), the Spurs are the popular pick. We’re such victims of moment and not the entirety of the picture. My pick is Miami in 7. Here’s why:

Let’s start with the obvious, Miami is 52-7 over their last 59 games. 47-2 vs everyone except the Pacers. Despite all the obvious ailments of Miami they continue to win, so why would that change now? The not so obvious; The Spurs playoff dominance through the playoffs has been heavily overstated. Let’s not forget 4 of their 14 games so far were played against the lowly Lakers with Andrew Goudeluck and Darius Morris starting the last 2 games of that series. A 6 game series vs the Warriors with a very limited David Lee and Steph Curry’s ankles falling apart(again). And a 4 game series, that truthfully could have gone either way, vs the Grizzlies who, mind you, probably couldn’t score 100pts in a gym by themselves in 48 minutes. So while I am not necessarily taking anything away from the Spurs, the reality is their playoff dominance is overstated and all their playoff rankings and numbers slightly skewed.

Another frequent misguided reason I’m hearing is “if Chris Bosh struggled with Hibbert, Tim Duncan will be a tougher matchup.” Yes, 10yrs ago. But today’s Tim Duncan is a jumpshooter. And while I would assume the Spurs may post Duncan more than usual, he does not have the height or girth of Hibbert that gave Bosh so much trouble. Bosh will be more in a comfort zone vs the spurs. As will D-Wade. The Spurs are a good defensive team, the Pacers were the best defensive team. Wade will likely be on Danny Green and Pop will undoubtedly run Wade off picks and around the court to test his knee but if Danny Green becomes a focal point for the Spurs I don’t think they can win the series.

Another misconception, that Tony Parker and the Spurs don’t turn the ball over. Tony Parker averaged over 4 turnovers a game vs Memphis. About 3 vs Golden St. Ginobli averaged about 3.5 vs Memphis and 3 vs Golden St. If those trends continue, that’ll be about 7 turnovers a night from the Spurs backcourt. Add to that Miami’s ability to force role players out of comfort zones you’ll most certainly see that number matched by the combined role players and Duncan. And as a series gets tighter and tighter, the role players ball handling tends to get more and more loose.

Lastly, I’m not a big subscriber to the rest vs rust theory, but I am to momentum. Momentum can change easily but the Heat, having had to gear up and play a game 7 just a few days ago in the same building, have the momentum and are most likely still on that confidence high. They are more in a normal, high level flow, than the Spurs. The Spurs will be well rested and that will serve them will later in the series but early on matching the intensity and desperation level of a team that just had its backs against the wall will prove difficult.

Ultimately though, besides LeBron James, the Heat have a another level they can play at when it matters most. One rarely seen ever in basketball, or any level. It’s kind of Super-Sayian like, lol. Maintaining it for multiple games is difficult but as they have shown over the last 2 playoff runs; when their backs are against the wall, they rise to the occasion.

Here are my series keys for Miami to win: Chalmers+Cole+Allen+Battier+Miller must combine for about 33 points on a nightly basis. They are the spacers.
Bosh+Haslem+Anderson must get 20 rebounds between them. Neither team is dominant on the boards and are very efficient offensively so there won’t be many to get.
Bosh+Wade must have at least 30+ points combined, they don’t have to be great but they have to be better than vs the Pacers.
Heat force 14 or more turnovers.

Keys for a Spurs win:
Leonard+Green+Splitter must combine for a minimum of 27 points nightly. If they do they keep the Heat defense honest and they can’t rotate early to cutoff Parker penetration.
Splitter+Duncan+Diaw combine for 25 rebounds. The Spurs must win the rebounding battle. The Heat almost always win in turnover differential, this is where you can make up those possessions.
Ginobli, just show up. He has had some big moments in these playoffs but moments won’t beat the Heat. He needs to be consistent.
Spurs must avoid turning the ball over 15 or more times. More possessions for the best player in the world, in transition no less, is not the recipe for success.

Thanks for reading! Sorry for the infrequent posting, life has gotten me busy. But stay tuned for more! Like, comment, follow, and share! Life of A Basketball Addict.

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2013 NBA Mock Draft 1.0

So with the Lottery now done the Draft Order is set. It’s Mock Draft time! Obviously, it is very early in the process and I am still familiarizing myself with the foreign players. So expect many revised versions in the coming weeks. One thing that is abundantly clear about this draft is that it is much deeper than people may realize. Light at the top perhaps, but deep. I also think there will be trades than usual come draft time, as multiple teams have multiple picks and a lot of cap space. And in a draft where the difference between 1 through 13 and 13 through 25 is small, I’d expect lots of movement.

So let’s get to it:
Stoda Mock Draft 1.0

1. Cleveland Cavaliers- Nerlens Noel, 6-11 206, PF/C, Kentucky Fr.

2. Orlando Magic- Ben McLemore, 6-5 195, SG, Kansas Fr.

3. Washington Wizards- Otto Porter, 6-8 205, SF, Georgetown So.

4. Charlotte Bobcats- Victor Oladipo, 6-4 215, SG, Indiana Jr.

5. Phoenix Suns- Anthony Bennett, 6-7 240, F, UNLV Fr.

6. New Orleans Pelicans- Dennis Schroeder, 6-2 168, PG, Braunschweig (Germany)

7. Sacramento Kings- CJ McCollum, 6-3 190, G, Lehigh Jr.

8. Detroit Pistons- Trey Burke, 6-0 190, PG, Michigan So.

9. Minnesota Timberwolves- Shabazz Muhammad, 6-6 225, SF, UCLA Fr.

10. Portland Trailblazers- Kelly Olynyk, 7-0 240, PF/C, Gonzaga Jr.

11. Philadelphia 76ers- Rudy Gobert, 7-1 218, C/PF, Cholet (France)

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (from TOR)- Michael Carter-Williams, 6-6 185, PG, Syracuse So.

13. Dallas Mavericks- Cody Zeller, 6-11 240, PF/C, Indiana So.

14. Utah Jazz- Shane Larkin, 5-11 176, PG, Miami So.

15. Milwaukee Bucks- Tim Hardaway Jr, 6-6 205, SG, Michigan Jr.

16. Boston Celtics- Mason Plumlee, 6-11 240, PF, Duke Sr.

17. Atlanta Hawks- Dario Saric, 6-10 225, SF, Cibona (Croatia)

18. Atlanta Hawks (from HOU via BKN)- Jeff Withey, 7-0 235, C, Kansas Sr.

19. Cleveland Cavs (from LAL)- DeShaun Thomas, 6-7 225, SF, Ohio State Jr.

20. Chicago Bulls- Alex Len, 7-1 255, C, Maryland So.

21. Utah Jazz (from GS via BKN)- Tony Snell, 6-7 200, SG/SF, New Mexico Jr.

22. Brooklyn Nets- Sergey Karasev, 6-7 205, SF, BC Triumph (Russia)

23. Indiana Pacers- Allen Crabbe, 6-6 210, SG, California Jr.

24. New York Knicks- Giannis Adetokumbo, 6-9 200, G/F, Filathitikos (Greece)

25. L.A. Clippers- Steven Adams, 7-0 250, C, Pittsburgh Fr.

26. Minnesota Timberwolves (from MEM via HOU)- Gorgui Dieng, 6-10 245, C, Louisville Jr.

27. Denver Nuggets- CJ Leslie, 6-9 200, F, NC State Jr.

28. San Antonio Spurs- Lucas Nogueira, 6-11 220, PF/C, Estudiantes (Spain)

29. Oklahoma City Thunder- Tony Mitchell, 6-8 235, F, North Texas So.

30. Phoenix Suns (from MIA via LAL and CLE)- Erick Green, 6-3 185, G, Virginia Tech Sr.

There it is! What do you think? I’m actually quite comfortable with it. Going up and down my board and trying to plug team needs was interesting. It’s going to be a fun draft!

Thanks for reading! Like, share, comment, follow. I’m interested in opinions always. Take care!

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NBA Draft Lottery: Best and Worst of All-Time

Before I begin I’d like to send my thoughts and prayers to everyone in Oklahoma and the Oklahoma City area. Be sure to go give blood or do whatever else it is you can do to help, even if it’s just a prayer. They need it.

No easy transition… But here we go…

First, some brief history. The NBA Draft Lottery in it’s current weighted form has been around since 1990. After the Orlando Magic won the Lottery in ’93(second consecutive year) despite having the best record of non-playoff teams, the system was tweaked once again to give the team with the worst record better odds. Despite the change, only three teams with the worst record have gotten the Number 1 pick. So for the sake of this article only Lottery picks Post-1993 Draft are eligible for this list.

Now here’s my list of the best and worst lottery picks 14-1. Please note that the lottery, under current rules, technically only refer to picks one through three. Doesn’t make sense but whatever. Also, because of expansion the lottery, too, hasn’t always been 14 teams. So here we go!

Best pick at Number 14:
Peja Stojaković/1996, Sacramento Kings

To be honest, there wasn’t much here that qualified for “best” but Peja is completely deserving. The only player picked at 14 to make an All-Star team, 3 in fact. An NBA Champion with Dallas. A career 17ppg average and 40.1% 3pt shooting. And a guy, who at his best, was one of the most feared shooters in the game.

Worst pick at 14:
Yinka Dare/1994, New Jersey Nets

“Who?” Yeah, I asked that too. Probably best known for holding the record for most games played in a season without an assist, 58 games. He recorded 72 turnovers that year. With career averages of 2.1ppg and 2.6rpg, and at a pick littered with guys who couldn’t cut it, Dare was probably the worst of the worst. Dare unfortunately passed away at age 31 due to a heart attack, I don’t mean any disrespect, just giving an opinion.

Best Pick at 13:
Kobe Bryant/1996, Charlotte Hornets

The easiest pick on the board. If he was the Number 1 pick it’d likely still be easy. But fortunately for me he was 13th so I don’t have to make that choice. We all know the numbers but here’s some anyways: 5x NBA Champion, 2x Finals MVP, MVP(2008), 15x NBA All-Star, 4x All-Star Game MVP, 10x All-NBA First Team… Should I continue? Nah… You guys got the point.

Worst pick at 13:
Courtney Alexander/2000, Orlando Magic

Now to be fair, Courtney was 2nd team All-Rookie after his first season. The problem, it was the worst rookie class in NBA History according to most. The argument could be made that others fit here but I couldn’t think of a single impactful thing Courtney Alexander did in his time in the league. Great college player, led the nation in scoring. But pro, not so much. This one is debatable, but when in doubt I refer to the 2000 NBA Draft for my worst, it’s actually where I started my search for all my worst lol.

Best pick at 12:
Nick Collison/2003, Seattle Supersonics

Unfortunately I had to pick one. Leaving off number 12 would have been a bad look on my part. Not that Collison is a bad player. I just don’t think you’d call him best at anything. He’s had a long solid career carving out a niche for himself as a quality back-up big, hard worker, and great teammate. And… Look… The 12th pick in the NBA Draft appears to be the worst pick to end up with, but it’s early in the list… No hard feelings hopefully from Nick Collison.

Worst pick at 12:
Robert Swift/2004, Seattle Supersonics

So the Sonics got the best and worst of the Number 12 pick! I know there are other guys at this pick who equally deserve to be mentioned here but this one is personal. Spending most of my childhood summers in Bakersfield and playing pick-up ball at local parks, gyms, and rec centers I came across Swift a few times. To this day, I still cannot begin to imagine what NBA scouts seen in him to have him as NBA Draft pick. Yet alone lottery pick. He dominated marginal competition in Bakersfield but even struggled back then when 6’3″ and 6’4″ would be physical with him. Swift did show promise in 2nd season averaging 6.4ppg, 5.6rpg, and 1.2bpg in just 21 minutes a night, but struggled with consistency and legal issues the rest of his brief career.

Best pick at 11:
Klay Thompson/2011, Golden State Warriors

This one was tough. I feel like I must mention Bonzi Wells, 1998, Detroit Pistons. I remember when that guy was a thorn in my Lakers side in Portland. But this guy, one half of the Splash brothers, may have the most textbook and pure stroke in the game. There are guys who are as good or better shooters but none with a shot as technically beautiful as Thompson’s. With that said, his body of work is minimal with only one full year as a starter. Which speaks loudly to the weakness of the 11th overall NBA Pick.

Worst pick at 11:
Todd Fuller/1996, Golden State Warriors

This one was tough. Number 11 was filled with busts. But most of them weren’t as good as Fuller was in college(20.1ppg and 9.9rpg in his final season at NC State) and none of them were taken ahead of arguably the greatest lottery pick ever in Kobe Bryant. Fuller averaged just 3pts and 3reb in his short NBA career, a huge drop from his numbers his final season at NC State. Fuller is consider one of the biggest busts in league history. But he’s also a good example of being a star in life. Look him up, Todd Fuller seems to be a really good person who does a lot to help others. So it pains me to say this, but he was a bust. A pretty big one.

Best pick at 10:
Paul Pierce/1998, Boston Celtics

One of the more difficult picks to choose just one best. 10, so far, is the most consistently successful picks in the draft. Filled with All-Stars, NBA Champs, and All-NBA performers. Choosing Pierce over the likes of Joe Johnson, Brandon Jennings, Andrew Bynum, and others was difficult. Pierce gets the spot for his longitivtiy and the fact that he’s been a go-to scorer on a championship team. Skill and talent wise each of the other players are better but none can say that. But watch out for Paul George, another couple years like his past season and this spot will be all his.

Worst pick at 10:
Saer Senae/2006, Seattle Supersonics

The Sonics are making their second appearance on the “worst” portion of this list. It’s not just because Sene was bad, but it’s not really close with the other guys at the bottom of this spot like Eric Dampier and Danny Fortson. They had impact at times during their careers. Dampier contributed to a Championship winning team. But Sene was bad, averaging a minuscule 5.5 minutes per game in just 47 career games in 4 NBA seasons.

Best pick at 9:
3-way tie!
Amare Stoudemire/2002, Phoenix Suns
Dirk Nowitzki/1998, Milwaukee Bucks
Tracy McGrady/1997, Toronto Raptors

I truly could not pick between these 3 players. Each completely unique in their own right. Stoudemire had the most immediate success. Bursting on to the scene nationally with one of the best dunks you’ll ever see in December of his rookie season. Was a multiple time All-Star, All-NBA performer, and helped revive the New York Knicks. Dirk has had the more successful and graceful end of his career. After getting off to a slow start in his career he found his game and confidence a few yrs in. Winning an MVP Award and a Championship. But also the leader of a team with two of the biggest choke jobs in NBA history in the ’06 NBA Finals and First Round of the NBA Playoffs in 2007. Tracy McGrady had a rough start and worst end to his career. But everything in the middle was absolutely spectacular! One of the most naturally gifted offensive players in my generation, probably any generation. He had unlimited range and could store 10pts in the blink of an eye, ask the Spurs. A multiple time NBA All-Star, All-NBA Performer, and scoring champ, he deserves this spot as much as the other 2. Can you choose?

Worst pick at 9:
Ed O’Bannon/1995, New Jersey Nets

The Nets making their second “worst” appearance. Let’s forget the fact that O’Bannon’s antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA, EA Sports and others, though legitimate, helped kill college basketball video games and threaten to destroy the NCAA as a whole. He was one of the worst picks in NBA history, period. After getting “homesick” after 2 years in New Jersey he was out of the NBA… I don’t know if I buy the “homesick” excuse though(and it’s a bad excuse) because he then left to play in Italy in 97-98, Spain in 98-99, Greece and Argentina in 99-2000, and Poland from 01-04… All those places are a long way from home. It’s more likely that because at 6’8″ he couldn’t guard NBA power forwards and was too slow to guard NBA wings and thus, couldn’t get a job. One of the most decorated players in the history of NCAA hoops, but awful pick at number 9.

Best pick at 8:
Andre Miller/1999, Cleveland Cavaliers

I know most would probably go Rudy Gay here but don’t sleep on the original “Old Man Game”. He’s as solid an NBA career as most point guards in NBA history. A solid argument could be made for him being a hall-of-famer when he’s done playing. He ranks tenth all-time in career assists with 7,856, 41st in career steals with 1,464, and a career average of 13.8ppg, 7.1ast, and 1.3spg. If you can get a player at any pick who gives this much consistency it’s a quality pick. But there are no true stars at number 8.

Worst pick at 8:
Joe Alexander/2008, Milwaukee Bucks

Not very much to say here. I’m going to let the number speak. 67 career NBA games. 11.1 minutes per game. 41% field goal shooting, 4.2 points per game, and 1.8 rebounds. All of that for the number 8 pick. You guys going to make me say more? Didn’t think so…

Best pick at 7:
Stephen Curry/2009, Golden State Warriors

The baby-faced assassin and other half of the Splash Brothers. This is pretty simple. At number 7 the Warriors got a franchise cornerstone and if you’re paying attention, those are hard to come by so far in the lottery surprisingly. Rip Hamilton was also the 7th overall pick. While solid, never was the game changer Stephen Curry is proving to be. There is a big question with Steph though, his ankles. His rise to stardom is reminiscent to that of Brandon Roy’s. You just hope his fall from grace isn’t as quick.

Worst pick at 7:
Chris Mihm/2000, Chicago Bulls

Chris Mihm, I have fond memories of watching you pick up fouls at alarming rates and being consistently dunked on as a Laker. I was at the game when Steve Francis posterized you. I could see it coming clearly from my decent seats, but you really thought you had a chance at it… It was always “well he’s serviceable” with Mihm. But when I found out he was the Number 7 overall pick he no longer got that benefit. Another product of the 2000 Draft Class. Mihm had some decent seasons averaging career best 10.2ppg in 2005-06 and 6.7rpg in 2004-O5 but never played more than 26.1 minutes a game at any point during his career. If he was a mid-late 1st round guy, he’d still be below average in my books.

Best pick at 6:
Damian Lillard/2012, Portland Trailblazers

Lillard has only played one NBA season but the guy is clearly special. In his lone season Damian won Western Conference Rookie of the Month every month in 2012-13, won the NBA Skills Challenge, set a new NBA rookie record for 3pt shots made with 185, and became just the 4th player to be a unanimous choice for NBA Rookie of the Year. Joining Blake Griffin, David Robinson, and Ralph Sampson. Obviously he still has a lot of basketball he needs to play to justify this pick but I’m banking on this guy. Ironically, the Blazers had another young, poise, rookie guard taken at number 6 in Brandon Roy. But this one will end better I hope.

Worst pick at 6:
Dejauan Wagner/2002, Cleveland Cavaliers

There were only 2 possible choices here: Wagner or Demarr Johnson. Both of whom had careers cut short and limited by ultimately career ending injuries. So I’m not certain calling either a bust is 100% fair. Jan Vessly might ultimately be that guy here. But Wagner was one of those amazingly gifted scorers in high school and college. Regarded by many as the best high school basketball player in New Jersey history, Wagner averaged 42.5ppg his senior year. After one year of college he was forced to leave Memphis by Head Coach John Calipari who revoked his scholarship after one season. Coach Cal didn’t think Wagner should pass up the millions of the NBA. After a somewhat successful rookie season averaging 13.4ppg but on only 36% shooting, Wagner was hit hard with injuries and health issues and never really was able to make a full comeback. All the signs say that with health, Wagner was going to be a solid player. One in the Allen Iverson or Monta Ellis mold. But he wasn’t fortunate enough to have health, so he ends up here on this list.

Best pick at 5:
Kevin Garnett/1995, Minnesota Timberwolves

At one of the more consistently successful picks in the draft, this was rather easy. Being a top 15 player of all time, arguably, KG was the logical choice over the likes of Ray Allen, Vince Carter, or Dwyane Wade. The Big Ticket was the first player in what we now see as a normal. A 6’11″ player who can handle the rock, shoot the ball from 20ft consistently, defend 1 through 5, and be a true leader. I don’t think I have to defend this with numbers but here’s some anyways: 2008 NBA Champion, 2004 NBA MVP, 15x NBA All-Star, 2008 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, 9x NBA All-Defensive First Team… I’ll stop there.

Worst pick at 5:
Nikoloz Tskitishvili/2002, Denver Nuggets

I completely forgot about this guy. Did not know he was a 5th pick. I’ll just let the numbers speak: 117 career games played, 11.3 minutes per game, career 30.4% field goal shooting, 23.4% 3pt field goal shooting, 2.9ppg, and 1.8rpg. Number 5 for that? My explanation was about as brief as a career… Ha!

Best pick at 4:
Chris Paul/2005, New Orleans Hornets

Analytically speaking, CP3 may be the greatest point guard to ever play the game. I guess I’m old school and still value winning at a high level and don’t put Paul quite that high, but to each his own I suppose. A 6x NBA All-Star, 4x All-NBA performer, and 3x NBA All-Defensive First Team selection; Paul is about as good as you can get at any pick. Arguably a Top 5 point guard of all time at number 4? That’s good value.

Worst pick at 4:
Marcus Fizer/2000, Chicago Bulls

Marcus Fizer appeared in 289 career NBA games, making 35 starts and averaging 9.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg and 1.2 apg, shooting .435 from the floor and .691 from the free throw line in 20.9 mpg, and scored 20+ points 17 times, with 10+ rebounds on 22 occasions in his four-year NBA career. If you were to tell me Marcus Fizer was a late-1st Round pick it would have been a solid pick but at 4, a huge bust.

Best pick at 3:
Pau Gasol/2001, Atlanta Hawks

No Carmelo here for me. I know all you Knicks and Melo fans probably just stopped reading but here’s my reasoning. On a world stage, NBA included, there are few athletes in any sport as decorated as Pau Gasol. A true international superstar and a winner in every sense of the word. I’m going to list all of Gasol’s many accomplishments. I think we take for granted how great his career has been, myself included. But check this out:
2x NBA Champion
4x NBA All-Star
3x All-NBA Selection
2012 NBA Citizenship Award Winner
2x FIBA Europe Player of the Year
2x Mister Europa Player of the Year
3x Euroscar Player of the Year
2x All-Europeans Player of the Year
2006 FIBA World Cup MVP
2009 FIBA Eurobasket MVP
2001 Spanish King’s Cup MVP
2001 Spanish League MVP
2x Olympic Silver Medalist
2006 FIBA World Cup Gold Medalist
2x Gold and 2x Silver FIBA Eurobasket Medalist
Tell me you wouldn’t take all that at number 3?

Worst pick at 3:
Adam Morrison/2006, Charlotte Bobcats

I really wanted to pick Darius Miles here but I have good memories of watching him with that fun-loving group of Clippers back in the day. Morrison, in his one full season of healthy play was average at best with averages of 11.8ppg, 2.9rpg, and 2.1apg on below average shooting percentages. Morrison’s greatest strength was supposed to be his shooting but he has career averages of just 37.3% field goal shooting, 33.1% 3pt shooting, and 71% freethrow shooting. Along with being a career 7.4ppg scorer Morrison was one of the bigger bust NBA History.

Best pick at 2:
Jason Kidd/1994, Dallas Mavericks

I know, I know… “What about Durant?” If this was in the last 6 or 7yrs it would be Durant. But it’s since 1994. And in his prime, there are few players at any position who were as good as J-Kidd. Kidd was one of the few true NBA Superstars in the last 20yrs. That word gets tossed around so loosely these days but there only a dozen or so of those players. I’ll list them at a later date. A 10x NBA All-Star, 6x All-NBA Selection, 9x All-NBA Defensive Selection, 2x Olympic Gold Medalist, 3x FIBA Americas Gold Medalist. 3rd all time in 3pt shots made. 2nd all time in steals. 2nd all time in assist. And 50th all time in rebounds, 1st all time amongst all guards. All that being the long way of saying J-Kidd was a BEAST!

Worst pick at 2:
Darko Milicic/2003, Detroit Pistons

There were many options here for the worst pick at 2. Hasheem Thabeet, Stromile Swift, Marvin Williams, Jay Williams and others. But each of those guys had a legitimate claim to the number 2 spot based on what the projections and they had already accomplished collegiately. Darko, on the other hand, was an unknown. Perhaps even worse than Darko just being bust, is the success of the 4 players taken immediately after him. Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Kaman, all being an NBA All-Star at least once. Detroit did go on to win a championship after drafting Darko, with little contribution from Darko. But did get help from another rookie taken later in the draft, Tayshaun Prince.

Best pick at 1:
Tim Duncan/1997, San Antonio Spurs

A strong and accurate case can be made for LeBron James and Allen Iverson. And if you made it, I wouldn’t argue with you. But Tim, the Big Fundamental, is the epitome of your hopes and dreams when you pick number 1. A great talent, a hard worker, and a good person. A player who will be the face of your franchise for the entirety of his career, make a few all star teams, win an MVP or two, and if you’re really lucky win a championship. Duncan delivered on all of that, and some. And made the City of San Antonio and the Spurs household names throughout the world. Duncan, with little debate(though a strong and compelling case can be made for Garnett), is the greatest power forward of all time. Here’s a few of the reasons why: 4x NBA Champion, 3x Finals MVP, 2x NBA MVP, 14x NBA All-Star, 13x All-NBA Selection, 14x NBA All-Defensive Team Selection, 22nd all time in points scored, 13th all time in rebounding, and 8th all time in blocked shots. Simply put, he embodied everything a GM dreams of when picking number 1, and some.

Worst pick at 1:
Greg Oden/2007, Portland Trailblazers

If Tim Duncan was every GM’s dream at number 1; Greg Oden is every GM’s nightmare at 1. Playing in just 82 career games and making 60 career starts he’s the poster boy for the unknown factor of health. Oden showed great promise in his second season averaging 11.1ppg, 8.5rpg, and 2.3bpg in just 23 minutes a night but only played 21 games before the knee injury happened. The fact that the player picked behind him has blossomed into one of the best scorers we’ve ever seen only makes this pick look worse. His career numbers of about 8pts and 6rebs are comparable to those of Kwame Brown who is often cast as the biggest bust. The difference for me being that Kwame has player 607 career games and made 281 career starts. Sorry Greg, you’re the worst number 1 pick in the last 20yrs.

By far this was the most time and research I’ve put into any article. I learned a lot and have a couple of follow up post in the works! Look for my next post, likely tomorrow, NBA Draft Lottery: Potential vs Production. You may be surprised at I found.

Thank you for reading Life of A Basketball Addict! Be sure to like, share, comment, and follow, I appreciate it all greatly. And a huge shout out to Hoopsworld.com, helped me out a lot here. Give them a visit. Hope to see you back here soon! Take care!

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Top 50 NBA Draft Prospects

My top 50 NBA Prospects
Long time no see everyone! It’s been awhile. I’ve been watching the playoffs and well, frankly, they’ve lacked in true excitement. So I decided to look forward to future NBA players who may provide some more excitement!

This list is my Top 50 NBA Draft Prospects. I found it to be pretty difficult to balance potential vs production. As a coach I value production highly. But as a basketball mind I also understand that production, or lack thereof, can be misleading because of the very different NBA game vs that of college. Many of the players I watched play often being a huge basketball watcher. I also went back and watched games when some of these players went head to head, as well as NCAA Tournament games. With that said, here’s my list:

1. Ben McLemore, 6-5 195, SG, Kansas, Fr.
2. Nerlens Noel, 6-11 225, PF/C, Kentucky, Fr.
3. Otto Porter, 6-8 205, SF, Georgetown, So.
4. Cody Zeller, 6-11 240, PF, Indiana, So.
5. Victor Oladipo, 6-4 215, SG/SF, Indiana, Jr.
6. Trey Burke, 6-0 190, PG, Michigan, So.
7. Mason Plumlee, 6-11 240, PF/C, Duke, Sr.
8. Anthony Bennett, 6-7 240, F, UNLV, Fr.
9. CJ McCollum, 6-3 190, PG/SG, Lehigh, Sr.
10. Alex Len, 7-1 255, C, Maryland, So.
11. Shabazz Muhammad, 6-6 225, SF, UCLA, Fr.
12. Kelly Olynyk, 7-0 240, PF/C, Gonzaga, Jr.
13. Michael Carter-Williams, 6-6 185, PG, Syracuse, So.
14. Tim Hardaway Jr, 6-6 205, SG, Michigan Jr.
15. Jeff Withey, 7-0 235, C, Kansas, Sr.
16. DeShaun Thomas, 6-7 225, SF, Ohio State, Jr.
17. Shane Larkin, 5-11 176, PG, Miami, So.
18. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, 6-5 205, SG, Georgia, So.
19. Lorenzo Brown, 6-4 186, G, NC State, Jr.
20. Steven Adams, 7-0 250, C, Pittsburgh, Fr.
21. Tony Snell, 6-7 200, SG/SF, New Mexico, Jr.
22. Isaiah Canaan, 6-1 200, PG, Murray St., Sr.
23. Gorgui Dieng, 6-10 245, C, Louisville, Jr.
24. Erick Green, 6-3 185, PG, Virginia Tech, Sr.
25. Tony Mitchell, 6-8 235, SF/PF, North Texas, So.
26. Allen Crabbe, 6-6 210, SG, California, Jr.
27. James Ennis, 6-7 210, SG/SF, Long Beach State, Sr.
28. Jamaal Franklin, 6-5 205, SG/SF, San Diego St., Jr.
29. Archie Goodwin, 6-4 198, SG, Kentucky, Fr.
30. Nate Wolters, 6-4 193, PG, South Dakota St., Sr.
31. Glen Rice Jr., 6-5 206, SG, D-League
32. Andre Roberson, 6-7 210, SF/PF, Colorado, Jr.
33. Reggie Bullock, 6-7 205, SG/SF, North Carolina, Jr.
34. CJ Leslie, 6-9 200, SF/PF, NC State, Jr.
35. Ray McCallum, 6-1 190, PG, Detroit -Mercy, Jr.
36. Brandon Paul, 6-4 200, SG/PG, Illinois, Sr.
37. Ryan Kelly, 6-11 230, PF, Duke, Sr.
38. Adonis Thomas, 6-6 240, SF, Memphis, So.
39. James Southerland, 6-8 215, SF/PF, Syracuse, Sr.
40. BJ Young, 6-3 175, SG, Arkansas, So.
41. Phil Pressey, 5-11 175, PG, Missouri, Jr.
42. Myck Kabongo, 6-1 180, PG, Texas, So.
43. Rodney Williams, 6-7 200, SF, Minnesota, Sr.
44. Erik Murphy, 6-10 240, PF, Florida, Sr.
45. Dewayne Dedmon, 7-0 255, C, USC, Jr.
46. Richard Howell, 6-8 257, PF, NC State, Sr.
47. Brandon Triche, 6-2 210, SG/PG, Syracuse, Sr.
48. Robert Covington, 6-9 230, SF, Tennessee State, Sr.
49. Trevor Mbakwe, 6-8 245, PF/C, Minnesota, Sr.
50. Kenny Kadji, 6-11 245, PF/C, Miami, Sr.

As you may have noted this list did not include European draft entries. I’m familiar with some but not well enough to truly rank them. But the one European to watch, Dennis Schroeder, a 6’2″ point guard from France I believe. Watched him play in the Nike Hoop Summit and WOW. He jumps off at you on the screen when you watch. His length and frame make you instantly think Rondo and his game leaves you with that same impression.

While this is my Top 50 list, this is not the order I’d look for them to go in. Stay tuned for my Mock Draft post next week after the Lottery and my subsequent team-by-team evaluations leading up to Draft night.

Thank you for reading! Draft time is a great time in the Life of A Basketball Addict! Hope you enjoyed. Let me know what you think, who’d leave off? Who’s too high? Too low? I welcome the debate. Be sure to like, comment, share, and follow. Thanks for your time and take care! Basketball Never Stops!

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Early Impressions of NBA Playoffs(Western Conference)

Getting right into it!

Thunder vs Rockets (2-0)

This series is exactly where I thought it would be! And after Game 2 I feel really good about this series going 7. I think Coach Mckhale’s decision to go small was genius. Beverly’s tenacity and energy gave the Thunder fits! Also it took the ball out of Jeremy Lin’s hands. This stage seems clearly too big for him. To me, this will be another example of a team going home making a huge difference. The end of Game 2 was a prime example, where Chandler Parsons misses a wide open 3 at the top of the key and Delfino misses an open 3 on the wing. In contrast, Ibaka hits a wing jumpshot on a broken play in scramble mode and Sefalosha hits a 3 on a Durant drive and kick. Not to say these same things don’t happen in Houston but we all know that on the road those things have a tendency to be flipped. Plus Harden will likely get to the line even more in Houston. I love the play of Asik and Smith inside. The way they crash the offensive boards after Harden drives could ultimately be the difference. With Ibaka going for every shot block, the weak side board possibilities are endless. I still see this as an exciting 7 game series in which OKC prevails.

Clippers vs Grizzlies (2-0)

This one has been extremely shocking. The ease with which the Clippers have handled the Grizzlies was unexpected. I know the last game came down to a Chris Paul buzzer beater, but at no point did you really feel the Grizzlies could get it done. They lack a go-to primary scorer and it has showed obviously so far. The Clippers, on the other hand, have that in CP3. But their lack of offensive flow and ingenuity by the coaching staff are questionable at best. It showed in the 4th quarter of Game 2 when they struggled to close the game out. Playing too much one on one basketball. All that said, I’m changing my prediction on this one, the Clippers are just too much for the Grizzlies. I have the Clippers in 5 now. They are a great NBA road team.

Nuggets vs Warriors (1-1)

This series is shaping up to be very enjoyable. It is deeply saddening that David Lee, after years of trying to make the post season, is out for the rest of the playoffs. That should mean that Denver wins this series easily. But after that Game 2 shooting performance by the Warriors it’s so hard to pick against them. I know the odds of them repeating that are slim but with them going home to the best playoff crowd in the league they just might. And with the Nuggets being such a poor freethrow shooting squad, going to a hostile environment, and being a bad road team; these next two games don’t look so good for the Nuggets. I got the W’s winning the next 2 but Denver still winning the series in 7.

Spurs vs Lakers (2-0)

Well this one has broken my heart as a Laker fan. The Spurs aren’t necessarily playing like juggernauts, but the Lakers are so banged up it doesn’t matter. And with Tim Duncan playing Dwight Howard to a draw basically, the Spurs have a stranglehold on this series. Dwight needed to dominate this series, and while he isn’t playing terribly, he’s not doing what he’s supposed to. At some point he has to lead the Lakers to at least one victory in this series. I do think the Lakers steal one at home but seeing this going past 5, with all the injuries, is just too difficult. Thus concluding the worst season in Lakers franchise history. Arguably NBA history.

Well that’s it on my early playoff impressions. Look for another update at the beginning of the second round.

Thanks for reading. Be sure to like, comment, follow, and share. All support is greatly appreciated. It’s just another day in the Life of A Basketball Addict, but I’m pretty excited about tonight’s NFL Draft. Raider Nation! Don’t judge, lol.

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Early Impressions of NBA Playoffs(Eastern Conference)

Haven’t written here in a bit. Sometimes life, even for this basketball addict, takes center stage. But I got a little free time and now that all the series are past game 2 it seems right to give a brief recap. In one word the playoffs can be summed up pretty simply, uneventful. But here’s a little more than one word on each series:

Heat vs Bucks (2-0)

The Bucks have shown that for a half and even 3 quarters they can compete. They’ve shown enough to make me feel pretty comfortable with them taking a game in Milwaukee. The massive runs the Heat have used to open the games wide open are hard to do on the road. The Bucks should get more contributions from role players at home and a few more calls.

Nets vs Bulls (1-1)

After game 1 I think we all thought this series was over. The Nets finally looked like the team to challenge the Heat most of us thought they could be. But then Game 2 happened. Gerald Wallace disappeared, Joe Johnson was once again inefficient, and PJ Carleisimo reminded you why he’s one of the best Assistant coaches in the league. Not to take away from the Bulls gutsy effort. Watching Joakim Noah give all he has while barely being able to walk was inspiring. But also made you question Derrick Rose, made you think about what could’ve been. But I’ll post more on that subject later. Still think the Nets win the series but they now put themselves in a real fight with a scrappy Bulls squad.

Pacers vs Hawks (2-0)

Ok, show of hands, who outside of Atlanta and Indiana are paying attention to this series? Better yet, who inside are? I’ve watched about a half of each of the first 2 games and it’s been everything I expected; boring and not entertaining whatsoever. But from a strategic standpoint, the Hawks have to go big. The two games they won vs the Pacers in the regular season they went big. And Zaza Pachulia is hurt and that makes it difficult, Ivan the Terrible(Johnson) will have to do at the 4 spot. Move Josh Smith to the 3 and create a tougher matchup for Paul George. He’s destroying Kyle Korver and all the little guys they’re throwing at him. Good news for the Hawks, they’ve won 11 in a row vs the Pacers at home. Bad news for the rest of us, that means this may go on a while…

Knicks vs Celtics (2-0)

This was my upset special. And for a total of 48min this series I look like a genius! Unfortunately for the other 48min I’ve looked like a complete idiot. I still think Boston will win the next 2 at home, but I’m not very confident in that pick at this point. I just don’t know what happens to Boston at halftime, maybe it’s age, maybe it’s Garnett’s health. But I know there’s too much pride there to be swept. As far as the Knicks, I don’t actually think they are playing too well. They’re playing well enough to win and are helped by Boston scoring an embarrassing 48 total points combined in the 2nd halves. Should they win this series the matchup vs the Pacers will be entertaining.

All in all, the Eastern Conference playoffs are going as planned. I’m still holding out hope D-Rose comes back and shakes things up. Short of that, we all know how this is going to go. Coming up 3pm pst my West Playoff update! Be sure to come back and check that out!

Thanks for reading, Life of A Basketball Addict. I appreciate the reads and likes. Be sure to like, comment, follow, and share. Like the Nike slogan goes, Basketball never stops. And special shoutout to my former High School basketball teammate Matt Austin, Wide Receiver from Utah State, who’s an NFL Draft hopeful. Whether it be tonight, tomorrow, Saturday, or as a Rookie Free Agent, I have no doubt he’ll make it big. Congrats Matt!

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