The Fall of a Maestro

In the final seconds of the Wolves’ lost to the Lakers last night, the entire stadium went silent. Not because the Wolves were losing by 1, but because Minnesota’s saviour went down and unfortunately, didn’t get back up. He won’t be getting back up anytime soon either. Ricky Rubio tore his ACL and is officially out for the season.

A huge loss for the Timberwolves who are 21-20 this year behind Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love. Ricky Rubio has been lighting up the NBA in his first year out of Spain with 11 points and 8 assists. Ricky Rubio’s career will be put to an abrupt stop, and like many other players will miss out on his full rookie season.

We have to look at the bigger picture though. Aside from Ricky Rubio individually but the Minnesota Timberwolves as a team will suffer immensely without Rubio. The Wolves went 17-65 last season without Rubio. The whole problem for the Timberwolves in the past was the lack of a consistent point guard. They tried and tried for years to grab a point guard, and until this season when Rubio officially signed with the Wolves they had failed. Try Luke Ridnour and Jonny Flynn. There was nobody to run the offense. Nobody to get it to Love in his sweet spots.

Without Rubio, not only do the Wolves’ lose their spark but I see their offense getting stagnant. I see their fast break points decreasing. So without movement and transition points the Wolves’ season will begin to deteriorate. And it’s not like they can rely heavily on their defense to win them games. They are 12th in opponents points allowed, giving up around 97 points a game. The Wolves don’t have a lot of players who can make things happen off the ball. Besides Kevin Love of course. Rubio was the missing piece to their team. Now that he’s gone, well the Wolves go back to square one. The only upside to this loss, is maybe they’ll get a high draft pick this year. Otherwise, it’s a downhill slope for the Wolves.

It’s a terrible loss for the Minnesota Timberwolves, and an awful end to an amazing season. We hate to see these things happen to players loaded with potential, but hey, that’s sports.

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.

Where They Go Nobody Knows.

Big decisions come up a lot within an NBA team. Who takes the last shot? Should we trade him? For the Cavaliers and Timberwolves, they are going to be making a decision that could potentially turn their franchise upside down. The #1 pick in the NBA draft will definitely change the future of one of these franchises. The Cavaliers played without Lebron this year. The team went from 61 wins and 21 losses to be the #1 seed in 2009-2010. To 19 wins and 63 losses with the #15 seed in the Eastern Conference and the #29 seed overall. The Timberwolves haven’t had a successful season in forever. The only thing they can celebrate this year was the development of their all-star; Kevin Love. These teams should think of these players not by what people have rated them but which player fits more in their team.

Kyrie Irving:

  6’3. 191 pounds. He’s quite average athletically, and height and weight wise for his position. Nothing like Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook. More of a similar player to Deron Williams. He averaged 17.5 points a game, 4 assists, 3 rebounds and 1.5 steals a game in his 1 year with Duke. He has tons of potential and at Duke proved to not only be a scorer but a great playmaker. He is fast and is great on the break. Which team needs him more though? The Cavaliers have Ramon Sessions quietly developing into a great point guard. He is a dangerous penetrator, and skilled passer. He is still young and still improving but he has tons of potential to offer the Cavaliers in the future. Then we have Baron Davis. He’s a 6’0, 32 year old point guard. He is cocky and may play with enough flash to make it on the Harlem Globetrotters. He throws lazy passes and dribbles carelessly. His career is slowly coming to an end even though he is a pure scorer still at his age. The Cavaliers would have a great tandem at the point guard position. Kyrie Irving starting with Ramon Sessions coming off the bench. Kyrie would be a great pick and roll partner with Anderson Varejao when he gets back from injury. They would certainly have the youngest point guards in the league. That can be a plus if you think they have more stamina and are quicker and more energetic. Although they won’t have any veterans and experienced players at the floor general, which is a must. It’s an interesting choice for the Cavaliers. Baron has really embraced playing for a poor team and bringing them back to the playoffs. Do they keep the veteran Davis and the youngster in Sessions coming off the bench? Or trade Davis and have Kyrie and Sessions at the point guard position. We’ll have to wait for June 23rd.

For the Timberwolves it’s a different story. They’re biggest flaw is at the point guard position. They switch off between Jonny Flynn, Sebastian Telfair and Luke Ridnour. They all are young and still learning but they haven’t showed much potential or talent that can carry a team. Kyrie Irving would be a perfect fit for this team, they would fill the gaping hole at the point guard position and add some scoring. They could also get some good pieces for Sebastian Telfair and Jonny Flynn.

Derrick Williams:

 6’8. 248 pounds. This guy is a big guy. He plays the power forward and may be a bit undersized at that position but is a big guy at the 3. He averaged 18 points and 8 rebounds in 2 years at Arizona. He’s made statements so far that have made the press and some coaches doubt his maturity. Stuff like, ” I could replace Lebron.” Or, ” I’ll win rookie of the year.” This isn’t a confident rookie, it’s called a cocky one. He definitely comes off as a hot head. We’ll have to see how he handles the heat, excitement and trash talk of the NBA. Who needs him more? The Cavaliers don’t have any consistent players at the small forward position except for Antawn Jamison who is injured right now and Samardo Samuels who has just started his path in the NBA but has proved some potential as a dirty work kind of player. Derrick Williams could be a great fit, he could fill the hole at small forward. Imagine this lineup. Anderson Varejao, JJ Hickson, Derrick Williams, Anthony Parker, Baron Davis. That’s a lineup that could win some games, especially  if Derrick Williams is inserted into the starting lineup, they’ll have Antawn Jamison coming off the bench as a 6th man. The Minnesota Timberwolves really have no need for Derrick Williams. They are developing Wesley Johnson, they have a pure scorer in Michael Beasley. They won’t need him at all really. What they need in the draft is a center. A big young center to play alongside Kevin Love.

I’m sure all pure NBA fans are eager to see which team picks which player. Let’s wait till the draft and see.