Top 7 Players in the NBA

After Rick Bucher gave one of the most atrocious top 7 NBA rankings I’ve ever seen, I figured it be appropriate for me to give my rankings. Around 10 games into the season my top 7 players are as follows.

1. Kobe Bryant:

Maybe not overall is he the best, but right now, Kobe Bryant is the best player in the NBA. He has two back to back 40 point nights. He is playing with a hurt wrist, he is in his mid thirties and he is carrying a team that everyone was doubting earlier in the season to a 7-3 record. 4 games remember were without Bynum on the court.

2.

Kevin Durant will go at number 2 not number (8) like Rick would’ve wanted. I had Lebron at this spot a few games ago but his recent troubles in the 4th quarter have left a sour taste in my mouth. Kevin Durant is dropping 26 points a game as always and is bulldozing through the Western Conference with a record of 10-2 See the difference between him and Westbrook is that if Westbrook left the Thunder, they would still be contenders. If KD left the Thunder, well….

3.

Lebron James: He seemed like the early MVP candidate a few games ago, unfortunately he slid down my rankings with his 3-6 performance from the free throw line last night. Including a missed free throw that could’ve won the game. However, he is dominating every game he plays. Not only with 29 points a game but with about 8 assists per game as well. He probably has the most overall game in the NBA, he can do everything on the floor.

4.

Dwight Howard: He and Dwyane Wade are really irreversable at this spot but I think the way Dwight has been able to carry his team to a very surprising and fast start in the midst of all the trade drama is truly exceptional. He is dominating the big men in the league with 18 points and 14 rebounds. Look at Dwight’s supporting cast and then look at what he has been able to turn their team into this season.

5.

Dwyane Wade: Dwyane Wade is playing great this season and I had him as a surprise Defensive Player of the Year. His numbers are a bit lower than last year but that’s thanks to Lebron’s dominance this season. Dwyane Wade has most impressed me in the way he was able to close out games in the beginning of the season. Look @Charlotte and @Minnesota

6.

Derrick Rose: The Former MVP had to be here somewhere. I don’t think he could be any higher on this list. He is still carrying his semi-weak offensive crew through the season and he is still making unbelievable athletic plays. However, he isn’t putting up numbers like any of the guys on this list, and thanks to his team’s lockdown defense he isn’t having to make clutch plays. I don’t think he has a chance of MVP this year, to be honest the only reason he won last year was because Boozer and Noah missed a ton of games and he had to carry the team alone. He wasn’t any more explosive then Lebron but it’s what his play was doing for his team, if they had been there last season he wouldn’t have won MVP.

7.

Carmelo Anthony: I am very impressed with Melo this season. He is doing his job on the offensive end, scoring around 27 points a night and grabbing 7 rebounds a game. He is extremely clutch, and has been this whole season. Look @Washington or opening day vs Boston. But what’s really stood out is his extra effort on his defensive game. The area of his game that has been criticized the most. He is clearly getting into players on defense and he’s averaging around 1.5 steals per game.

Players that didn’t make the cut were Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook. I didn’t include Dirk because he hasn’t been having the best season this year, and neither has his team. Chris Paul is just starting to make a serious impact on the Clippers and I think it’s too soon to judge him as a top 7 player. And Russell Westbrook just isn’t a top 7 player because he has too many flaws in his game. For example, his turnovers, jump shot, and decision making. He is too young and I cannot believe Rick Bucher had him ahead of Durant.

Mavericks Need to Rebuild

The Mavericks don’t realize how big an impact the loss of J.J Barea, Tyson Chandler and Caron Butler is to their team. While watching their game against Denver, one thing jumped out at me. The Mavericks are soft again. Tyson Chandler changed the culture of the Mavs last year. Notice the word changed. Meaning before him they were soft, and didn’t impose any intimidation or toughness. They’ve gone back to their ways.

Right now the Mavericks have no chance at winning the championship again this year. With the loss of Marion on opening day, their chances went down even more. Losing him in the starting lineup leaves only Jason Terry on the bench. Their defense is noticeably sluggish, without Chandler commanding the paint. And they’ve had long scoring droughts throughout both of their games. Dirk can’t do it all, and all of their secondary scorers aren’t young or athletic.  I’m not saying this to be harsh, but they’re game is a huge downgrade from last season. Losing to the Heat and the Nuggets is not a terrible thing, they are very good teams. However, they weren’t just beat. They were thrashed. The Mavericks lost by 22 points to Denver and 9 by the Heat. The Mavericks were down by 26 to the Heat at one point.

Both the Heat and the Nuggets are stacked with young talent. Look Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, Chris Bosh, Danilo Gallinari, Ty Lawson. Both teams love to run and gun. They are all athletic and quick, that’s what is killing the Mavericks. They don’t have a quick young center anymore, they don’t have a J.J Barea to come off the bench and provide energy, they don’t have a young Caron Butler to put up points or a Deshawn Stevenson to knock down some threes. Most of their players are easy to guard, nobody will explode to the rim.

It may finally be time to rebuild for the Mavericks. They had four young players that they could’ve used for the future that they let go in the offseason. That could’ve been the foundation for the future, however now they’re team is mostly veterans. Everyone said they were too old last year but now I think they actually are. This is clear, and their two games are proof. Especially with this condensed season, the back to backs may tire out the Mavericks more so then other teams.

Mark Cuban is stubborn but he may have to face the facts. The Mavericks reign is over.

Exciting Moments Ahead

Only 22 more days till the most anticipated NBA tip-off in recent memory. The excitement is indescribable, already rumours are beginning, teams are practicing and fans are biting their nails, anxiously awaiting Christmas day. Exciting moments are on their way. In the spirit of Christmas I bring to you the 12 most exciting things to look forward to this season.

12. NBA Tip-Off

Although, the NBA tip-off is only one day of a 66 game season. It will begin the domino effect of exciting games. The match-ups all consist of star players and exciting teams. Boston’s Big Three takes their talents to New York to match up against the Knicks Big Three.  A finals rematch in Dallas. Former MVP’s match up as the Bulls take on the Lakers. Superman is flying to Oklahoma as the Magic take on the Thunder. And Bad Blake will begin the hundreds of mind-blowing dunks as the Clippers take on the Golden State Warriors. Merry Christmas indeed.

11. Celtics Too Old?

After the Celtics lost to Miami’s Big Three in the conference semi-finals last year, a lot of people said they didn’t have the young talent to compete with the upcoming teams in the league. Such as, Miami, Oklahoma, Chicago and so on. The Big Three in Boston have a title and know how to win and what it takes to win. Something that is taken for granted through the eyes of fans. Garnett still has his toughness, and maybe he isn’t as quick as he used to be but he still has a killer shot and knows when to step up. Ray Allen, hasn’t aged at all. His three is still lights out, as well as his mid range jumper. And people can say nothing about Paul Pierce, after all his exciting plays this season. This play in particular….

There is no need to even watch past 0:24. I’m just saying, the Celtics still got it and although they may be looked upon as the old timers in a new generation they have some tricks up their sleeves. The Celtics may play with a chip on their shoulder and that means terror for other teams in the league.

10. KD Not Kidding Anymore

After barely beating the Grizzlies last year and losing to the Mavericks in the conference finals, KD knew he could never go through anything like that again. He was done losing, after getting his heart broken by the Lakers in the 1st round in ’10 and losing to Dallas in ’11 he knew he had to change. This summer he has wasted no time improving his game. Here is proof…..

I cannot wait to see Kevin Durant develop more as a player and as a scorer and bring Oklahoma City their much deserved ring.

9. Grizzlies Back on Their Grizzly

When the Grizzlies defeated the number 1 seeded Spurs in the west I was shocked. Heck, the whole world was shocked. The Spurs had been having a picture perfect season. 60 wins and the 1st seed in the West. They thought they had a legitimate chance at a title. Then the young, scrappy, Grizzlies came along and silenced San-Antonio and the NBA world. Then when they forced a game 7 against KD and the Thunder we began to really take them seriously. Unfortunately, they couldn’t push past the Thunder. However, they exited the playoffs with nothing to be ashamed of. They gave two of the best teams in the West a run for their money. They may have failed in the playoffs but succeeded in imprinting their game in everyone’s mind. Now that Mike Conley, Z-Bo, and Rudy Gay are back, the Grizzlies will enter this season as legitimate competition. I can’t wait to see more of their electrifying game.

8. Rookie Class

This year’s rookie class is nothing special. There are no Lebron’s, no Kobe’s, nobody that is an obvious star. However, that’s what makes it interesting. Anyone of the  rookies can jump out and surprise us, almost like Blake Griffin did with his first  NBA dunk. The favourites for Rookie of The Year are Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams. However, Enes Kanter, Kemba Walker, Jimmer Fredette and Ricky Rubio may want a piece of the spotlight. Maybe this rookie class isn’t filled with future stars but they are filled with exciting players.

7. Knicks Gelling

The new look Knicks played 42 games together last season, Melo and Amar’e brought  a glimmer of hope to the one city that needed it most. Now they hope to develop upon that and expand that glimmer of hope into a championship.  Due to Amar’e’s back injury during the 1st round of the playoff’s last year the Knicks didn’t have a chance. I believe if Amar’e had been fully healthy they would’ve played Miami in the 2nd round. The big question heading into this season, is how will Amar’e, Melo and Billups work together. Last season there was definitely some miscommunication on the court, but when these guys learn how to work together. Miami better watch their back.

6. D-Rose 2 Time MVP?

After D-Rose’s breakout season last year and the Bulls surprising success, I’m intrigued by what they will bring to the table this year. Lockdown defense is for sure. But can Derrick Rose match the stellar performance he gave last year.  He clearly has tricks up his sleeve, and if you haven’t seen his highlights from last season then prepare to be astounded….  

 The question is what will he surprise us with this season? A 50 point game? More killer crossovers? Unbelievable hops? D-Rose is unpredictable, but what we do know is that he will be eager to show everyone that last season’s success was no fluke. And that the Bulls and himself are here to stay among the elite.

 5. Lakers Redeem Themselves  

The Los Angeles Lakers suffered an embarrassing defeat in the Conference semi-finals to Dirk and the Mavs. Phil Jackson will try to forget his last series as a coach. He will try to forget Andrew Bynum throwing an elbow of frustration to J.J Barea. He will definitely try to forget being swept by Dallas. Now with a new coach, and a hungry Kobe, the Lakers can start on a clean slate. Everyone knows Kobe is angry and wants back on that throne. NBA fans everywhere, brace yourself for a Kobe overdrive.

4. Miami Back With a Vengeance  

Miami suffered at the hands of greatness last season when losing to Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks in the finals. Everyone, including themselves called the season a failure. This summer Lebron, and D-Wade didn’t waste time sulking or lowering their heads. They’re focused on greatness and focused on championships so they’ve been hard at work preparing for this season….

 Now that Lebron, D-Wade, and Bosh have additional criticism and motivation from last season it will be interesting to see how they come back this season. I’m predicting full on domination.

  3. Blake Show is Back  

If you ask any fan what team was most exciting to watch last season I bet you more than half would say the Los Angeles Clippers. This young and talented squad showed true potential last year when the Blake Show came along. They even made the Lakers a little nervous about being the top team in Los Angeles. But, Blake Griffin and the rest of his crew are back with more experience and more flavour this year. I’m eager to see them in action and to see Blake throwing down monster jam’s this season.

 2. Dallas 2-Peat

 After winning a title last year, Dirk and the Mavericks must be careful about their throne. The Lakers will be back and ready to redeem themselves, Miami will have more firepower than ever, and every other team in the league wants a seat on top. Dallas are prime targets this season and the fact that Tyson Chandler hasn’t signed an extension should worry them more. They’re veteran roster must be ready for the new guys in town who will do anything to defeat them. I wonder if J-Kidd, Dirk and Jason Terry will have what it takes this year. It will be more than exciting to see them in the finals once again.

 1. CP3 and Superman

 The best center in the league and arguably the best point guard in the league are free agents next summer. CP3’s agent has released statements that he wants a bite out of the Big Apple and there is speculation the Dwight wants out. We know the Magic and Hornets will try to improve their rosters around their stars before it’s too late. We also know they will trade them to get the most out of them if their stars don’t agree to an extension. This will be the most exciting part of the season due to the impact that these players will make on any team. Imagine CP3, Melo and Amar’e in New York. They’d instantly be best in the East. Or if Dwight went to Los Angeles, the Lakers would instantly be best in the West. After the Melo-Drama and the free agent frenzy of 2010-2011 we have all grown to love stars teaming up. It will be exciting to follow the drama that surrounds these players all season.

Jazz’s Pick

Let’s assume Kyrie Irving goes to Cleveland like he is projected to, and let’s assume Derrick Williams goes to Minnesota. That leaves the Utah Jazz on the clock.

They are the ones with the dilemma, they have two main prospects that they will be choosing from. Enes Kantor the Turkish beast, Brandon Knight the Kentucky point guard  Like I said the Jazz have a dilemma.

This year the city of Utah was struck with misery after their saviour, their all-star, their Deron Williams was traded to New Jersey. That left them scratching their head. The received the #3 draft pick, Devin Harris a veteran point guard and Derrick Favors a talented first year big man. Who do the Jazz need the most? Let’s take a look.

Brandon Knight:

6’3, 183 lbs, and a scoring point guard right out of Kentucky. His college stats are as follows. 17 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. An all around point guard with room for development.  After Deron Williams left Utah, the point guard spot has been a little inconsistent. Devin Harris is giving 100% to every game he plays, he has an eye for getting the ball to an open man and is very agile getting to the basket. He also has a veteran I.Q and experience for the game. He’s played under all time greats such as Dirk Nowitzki and has learned from him about how to be a leader. But when he needs a break on the bench, the back-up point guards haven’t always been as consistent as they should. CJ Watson, and Ronnie Price have been coming off the bench for Devin Harris. They have some games where they are playing like J.J Barea in the finals. Confident, unexpected and clutch. They have led the offense and locked down on defense but some games they look as if they’re just running into a wall and trying to break it down. That’s where Brandon Knight comes in. He could provide a big energetic spark off the bench. He is a very talented scorer, he has a deadly mid range shot and is very quick and athletic which helps him get to the rim a lot. He is the perfect fit in this run and gun offense, he knows how to move the ball and move without it and would be a great pick and roll tandem with Derrick Favors, Paul Millsap, and Al Jefferson.

Enes Kantor: 6’11, 258 pounds .

This guy is a big turkish monster. He averaged 18 points and 16 rebounds in Turkey. I won’t even go into how dominant this guy is. Not many people have seen him play because he is European but i’ll just show you this video. His game speaks for itself. 

I agree with his comments about being a mixture of Pau Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki and Dwight Howard. He is persistent on the boards and tough like Dwight. His post moves are versatile and he can finish with either hand. He also can knock down jump shots from beyond the three point line like Dirk can. This guy is an all around offensive presence as well as being a mean defensive presence. But do the Jazz need him. Well I don’t think he is the right pick for them, honestly. Their front-court is their biggest strength. They already have Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and the developing Derrick Favors. I don’t think they should add another big man over a young scoring point guard in Brandon Knight. If they do pick Enes Kantor, you have 4 solid big men all having to play shorter amount of minutes. They don’t play their comfortable roles, or comfortable minutes and they don’t perform as well. Also there is no real need for 4 performing big men. I guess drafting him could give them opportunities to trade maybe Derrick Favors or Paul Millsap for some scorers.

I would take Brandon Knight. It’s not up to me though, so I guess we’ll have to wait till June 23rd and see.

Ring Disrespect

We all know what kind of person Mark Cuban is. He’s a loud mouthed, cocky, and controversial owner. For the whole playoffs, we all watched in awe to see Mark Cuban say not more then about 10 words a night. Not even shouting to the refs. Just a pep talk for his players. What could he have been doing just sitting there in the NBA finals saying nothing. How can you not say anything, this is the moment he has waited for, for about 10 years.

Then when the buzzer sounded in game 6, he told Chris Webber what his plan was. The plan that kept him from speaking. No rings. He said they’re too old fashioned and i want a special Mark Cuban ring. This caused some hard feelings among the players.

Especially when he says old fashioned to a team full of veteran talent.  Jason Kidd remarked, ” I am old fashioned.”

Who to agree with, that’s the question. Is it cool to invent new rings, or make it a necklace or something. Or should we keep tradition the same.

In my mind tradition should be kept the same. Especially when one of the most loud-mouthed people in the NBA wants to change a tradition that has lasted longer then he has been alive. I would be seriously disrespected if I was the players.

I’ll tell you why. First off, he goes on TV without even telling his players what he was thinking and blurts out he wants a new type of ring. As an owner of a basketball team, it’s your job to make the right decisions and connect the team. By going on TV with a new idea without consulting his team shows not independence but neglect towards the team.

Then there’s the tradition aspect of it all. Think of Dirk Nowitzki for a second. This man came from Germany when he was 19-20 years old. For 13 years in the NBA he has dreamed of a ring, he has dreamed of holding the trophy up high. And for 12 years before his time he has seen players like Kobe, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Richard Hamilton, Shaquille Oneal, all players that came to the NBA about the same time as him. They all have rings. I think to change a ring it’s just not the same. People always say get that ring, when talking about a championship. Now to take it away from the players who have worked their asses off for 103 games is just like taking dreams away.

Take Jason Kidd for example. Growing up in the NBA he saw all these rings being flashed around, and he got jealous. He tried twice to win the NBA finals but fell short both times. There is more meaning in a ring. He is 38 years old and he is not looking to wear some big gold bling bling around his neck showing everyone who the champions are. He wants a ring. The whole Mavericks want a ring.

If I were Cuban I would apologise for starting turmoil when they should be celebrating over their championship.

Changes Needed: Miami Heat

After a season of stardom, criticism, and losing the NBA finals, the Miami Heat have some things to think about. Playing against the Mavericks in the NBA finals really took their flaws and put them under the spotlight. There was Lebron’s disability to finish out games and their depth not being able to produce.

I think this offseason the thing they have to focus on most is their roster changes. It was clear that if one or two of the big three wasn’t producing like a superstar, their bench couldn’t hold up their load and stay in the game. They’ve won about 55 of their 58 regular season wins solely on the production of D-Wade, Chris Bosh and Lebron James. The biggest problem they knew they were up against in the Finals is the monstrous depth of Dallas’ bench. Jason Terry, J.J Barea, Brendon Haywood all contributed greatly to the success of the Mavericks. From J.J making big shots of pick and rolls, to Jason Terry scoring 27 in game 6, to Brendon Haywood protecting the paint from people like Lebron. Often times when Lebron or D-Wade or Bosh sat down for a break, that’s when the game got a bit out of hand, and they started to lose their handle on the game. Then it was too late to get back into it. The Heat need to keep their eye out for productive role players. Ones who know their place on a team and are willing to do that to win. Players like Mario Chalmers. He was the only helpful player besides Haslem off the bench but they need more then that. They need someone they can count on to pour in 10-15 points off the bench. Someone like Shawne Williams from New York or Delonte West from Boston.

Then they need Lebron to start playing like the label he gave himself. A king. Not a scared little boy afraid to get physical in the paint. C’mon Lebron you owe the NBA better then you have given us this year. This summer it’s not his skills or his endurance or his jumpshot that needs refining but it’s his self confidence, his ability to make big plays when they count and his aggressiveness back. In the first 3 rounds of the playoffs he was attacking that basket like a man fighting for his life. He saw the basket, and drove straight to it. That was the Lebron we expected in the finals but unfortunately for some people and fortunately for those Lebron haters it wasn’t the one we got. He passed the ball away too many times in big moments to players like Mario Chalmers and Mike Miller. What does he expect those guys to do with the rock in their hands in the biggest moment of the game. I was so disappointed with how he played, and this summer he has to look in the mirror, start listening to the criticism, get angry, and translate that into his play. For the big moments there is no way to practice those until your actually in the big moment but Lebron’s problems are all in the mind. That’s harder to solve then the play itself. But he is the king, isn’t he?

It’s not all him though, Lebron isn’t perfect, he wasn’t exactly given a plan in the 4th quarter. He had had to improvise which is hard to do when the pressure is all on his back. Erik Spoelstra was out coached during the finals in his aspect of 4th quarter planning. They ran no plays for Lebron or D-Wade. I bet if Lebron or D-Wade were given a play to run in the 4th quarter and a plan to work on then their 4th quarter production would be much greater then it was.

To be honest the Miami Heat played a great series and with some slight depth changes and some determining of their 4th quarter star then the Miami Heat will be the ones with the parade after next season.

 

 

 

The Kidd Without the Credit

While Bill Russell stood up on that stage and handed Dirk the much deserved Finals MVP trophy, the only thing anybody could do was cheer. Here he was, one of the all time greats receiving his first finals MVP from sports’ best champion. He held that trophy up high and let out a childish german smile. Surrounding him was his loyal and hardworking teammates like Jason Terry, Tyson Chandler, Shawn Marion, Deshawn Stevenson, but squished between all the 6-7 feet champions was the 38 year old unsung hero, Jason Kidd.

The spotlight on Dirk has never been brighter. He took a team of hungry veterans to the NBA finals and with his determined attitude he took them to a championship. Fans everywhere are glad that Dirk got the championship he’s always deserved, but we may be forgetting about the other 30 year old without a ring.

The facilitator named Jason Kidd.

In 2008 when Mark Cuban shook up the basketball world by sending his developing young point guard named Devin Harris to Dallas for the experienced veteran in Jason Kidd. Jason had had two chances at an NBA championships in New Jersey, but fell short both times. The trade was seen as a negative through the eyes of fans and analysts. Jason Kidd’s career was winding down, he was 36, he couldn’t run fast or jump high, but Mark Cuban had faith. He had faith that Jason Kidd didn’t need the athleticism of this era of basketball, all he needed was experience, maturity and a passing skill like no other. Now as the Mavericks have been crowned basketball champions of the world it seems the trade was a success.

Jason Kidd may not turn up in the stat sheet a lot. His plays may not pop out to the typical NBA fan, but he played his heart out in those 6 games. In game 5 it was his three pointer that put Dallas up 4 points with about 40 seconds remaining. In game 6 it was his control of the pace and of the game that slowed the game down in Dallas’ favour. It was his big threes that gave momentum to the silent Dallas crowds and silenced the loud Miami crowd. It was his ability to get Dirk’s offense rolling and his ability to reach the open man that won Dallas the NBA finals.

Let’s not forget about Jason Kidd. He may not shoot off of one leg, or score 27 off the bench. But this veteran does more then that. Wasn’t it him who took over as the vocal leader during Dirk’s flu game. All these behind the scenes things that Jason Kidd did, helped win them this championship. What about guarding Lebron sometimes and guarding Mike Bibby. He deserves one just as much as Dirk, he has played longer and has been through some rough times. To win this championship means the same to him then to Dirk, although it may not be his MVP he knows what he has done is indescribable.

At an age of 38, Jason Kidd does not want to be forgotten. His performance in the Finals prove to us that the little things count in big games. A big three, a great pass, a jolt of energy on the bench. Think about how much effort and hustle Jason Kidd has to play with at the age of 38 to win a championship. Most NBA players are young, quick, athletic but here is a 38 year old man playing alongside players like Lebron and beating them.

While Dirk held up that MVP trophy, Jason Kidd wasn’t sighing with jealousy, but cheering because he knows his production can’t be measured and because he helped Dirk get to where he wanted to be.