Saying Goodbye To A Star

Unfortunately, Brandon Roy is set to retire after a history of knee issues that has kept him from full ability. It’s terribly sad to see  such a player go to soon. He was a one of a kind player. He was versatile, and clutch and if was fully healthy could be the third best shooting guard in the NBA. I think Dwayne Wade said it best, via twitter. 

It was true, he left the game too soon. As a farewell to Brandon Roy let’s take a look on his eventful career.

The most recent of his amazing performances happened during the playoffs last season. I bet everyone remembers. The TrailBlazers were down by 23 points with 12 minutes 40 seconds left in the game. Brandon Roy came off the bench, not only scored 18 points in the 4th quarter but won them the game. Showing every NBA fan that he could still perform as the star he used to be. Take a look…

Let’s go back in time some more and take a look at November 6, 2008. I’ll set the scene. The Portland crowd is eccentric, fans are wild. The Blazers are down 2 points with 10 seconds left. The Blazers look for one man to step up and win them the game, and that person is Brandon Roy. Not only did he make 1 buzzer beater but 2 buzzer beaters. He banished the 2nd year curse and showed everybody that he was a rising star destined for great things. This is true greatness. Take a look….

Let’s rewind some more. It’s December 18, 2008. The Blazers are playing a regular season game in Phoenix. Nothing is riding on this game, it’s just a conference game in the beginning of the season. Except this is no regular game for Brandon Roy. He eventually goes on to put up a career high of 52 points. Take a look…

These moments of his career just make it sadder for us to let go of such a great player who never reached his full potential. Like Dwyane Wade said, “the game will miss Brandon Roy as much as he will miss the game.”

 

 

Here We Go Again

The NBA is on it’s way, which means the trade rumours have already arrived. The curtain has dropped. The spotlight is on. The show has began. And with the show comes the drama.

Dallas Ditching Chandler?

On the first day that free agent contracts could be discussed, Tyson Chandler took away one thing from the day. He was getting traded. “I really think I’m going to be on a new team come training camp,” Chandler told ESPN.com on Wednesday. He believes Dallas won’t offer him the long term extension that he deserves. And he does deserve it. For three years in a row the Dallas Mavericks were 1st round dropouts. Disappointments to their city and to the NBA. But when Tyson Chandler came to town he changed the whole team. He brought height, he brought hustle and most of all motivated the team to play defense. It’s no coincidence that last year the Dallas Mavericks were 7th in points allowed per 100 posessions in 2010-2011 and were 12th, 15th and 17th the three years before that. He provided them with an inside presence in the finals and deserves a contract. His biggest worry is that Dallas may sign Nene over him. Nene and him are the two most coveted free agents this year.

Nene Fever:

The big man on the free agent campus this year is Nene. Teams from all over the league have shown interest in him. Dallas, Golden State, New Jersey, Denver, Houston, Indiana, Los Angeles (Clippers) and Portland were all teams who made contact with Nene’s agent on Wednesday. A perfect fit for Nene would be teams lacking an inside presence. Teams like Golden State, Denver and Houston. The Nets have shown interest in Nene due to Deron Williams’ statements that he would be far less inclined to re-sign a long-term deal with the Nets if they don’t immediately improve their roster.

Ron Artest…. I mean Metta World Peace:

It has been reported that the Los Angeles Lakers may waive Ron Artest….. I mean Metta World Peace’s over-priced contract. Although, the small forward is one of the best defenders in the league and filling the void later with other players is very difficult considering the type of defender he is. On the offensive side, he is in decline. Last season he averaged 8.5 points and it’s clear that his age may be taking a toll on his body and his speed. He doesn’t have the strength he once had (and I might regret this) but he’s become a  liability on offense. Letting go of his 3 year 21.5 million dollar contract would be a relief, causing the Lakers to save up to 27 million dollars in taxes and salary through 2013-2014.

Hollywood Wants Superman:

A minute doesn’t go by when we don’t wonder how many championships Shaq and Kobe could’ve won together had their problems not gotten in the way. Finally, years later Superman may be coming back to Hollywood. Not the one who has the superman logo on his bed. The one who wore the cape during his slam dunk performance. Jim Buss has said that he would trade Andrew Bynum “for the right deal.” The right deal or the deal that involves Dwight Howard? But Andrew Bynum may not be what the Magic are looking for in a replacement for Dwight and rumour has it that Andrew Bogut would be a better fit for them. I disagree but a three team deal has been circling, sending Dwight to the Lakers, Bogut to the Magic and Bynum to the Bucks. The Clippers also seem willing to do whatever it takes for Dwight. The Clippers have tons of young depth with players like Eric Gordon, DeAndre Jordan and Al-Farouq Aminu and can provide more assets in a trade with the Magic. Although, Dwight and Kobe together may look like a championship on paper. In reality they wouldn’t gel. Dwight loves the ball down in the post, he takes it in all day. And why wouldn’t you when you’re the most dominant player in the NBA. Then there is Kobe, who loves the ball on the perimeter and taking it to the hole. They are both types of players who demand the spotlight and I can’t see it working out.

Blazers and Brandon Roy:

A source had said that the TrailBlazers had waived Roy but team president Larry Miller firmly stated that, ”We have not, and regardless of what’s been said by John Canzano and others out there, (made a) decision on amnesty as of yet,” On January 17th of last season Brandon Roy underwent arthroscopic surgery on both knees. He returned to the lineup on February 25th and scored 18 points off the bench. The rest of the season was a quiet one for Roy, he came off the bench for the whole season and averaged 12.5 points as supposed to his career average of 19 points a game. His future looked grim, until the playoffs came around and  Portland needed someone to step up. Brandon Roy came off the bench in Game 3 against the Mavericks and scored 16 points in 23 minutes. Larry Miller added, ”With everything that Brandon has done for this organization, there’s no way we would make a decision like that without having conversation with him, without evaluating where he is.” I wouldn’t give up on Roy yet, his knees may let him down at times but he showed that in big situations he can shine. He knows how to win and he is a valuable piece on any team.

Celtics Discussing Rondo Trades:

Just to be clear, the Celtics don’t want to get rid of Rondo. He is the future of their organisation and will be their saviour once Pierce, Allen and Garnett are gone. However, the Celtics are exploring options in exchange for Rondo. Danny Ainge said, “I don’t make any comments on trade rumors. I’m just not commenting on any of it. Everybody knows how valuable Rondo is to our team. I’ll talk to Rondo, but I don’t want to talk about it publicly.” I sense insecurity in the Celtics front office. They realise that their Big Three aren’t big news anymore, they are getting older and soon they won’t be able to compete with the up and coming talent in the league. Additionally, they realise Rondo isn’t the best Point Guard out there and it makes sense for them to get better. Rumours have circulated that a Rondo for Paul deal may be developing, although they are very vague rumours.

Grizz and Gasol:

After last years semi-breakout season for Marc Gasol teams are showing more interest in him now that he’s a free agent. He provided Memphis with defense, hustle and a quick inside presence that Tim Duncan and the 1st place Spurs couldn’t handle. The Grizzlies organization have shown interest in keeping him. “Obviously, we want to sit down and try to make a deal with Marc,” Heisley said. “I’m committed to keeping him.” Gasol has made it clear that he would like to return to Memphis this season. However, they may not have enough money to satisfy Gasol after agreeing to contract extensions with Zach Randolph, Rudy Gay and Mike Conley. All we know now is that the Grizzlies want Gasol and Gasol wants the Grizzlies. Personally, I would love to see last year’s team come back stronger this year and make it back to the playoffs. Every time they stepped onto the floor, the game was bound to be exciting. They were the most energetic team in the NBA and it was a joy to watch them burst through the playoffs and surprise everybody.

Finals: Game 3

Texas. Known for it’s persistent droughts, it’s southern accents and most of all it’s crazy fans.

It’s those fans who will seal this game for Dallas. We all know that the bench plays better when they are surrounded by a stadium of people right behind them. J.J Barea, Tyson Chandler, Peja Stojakovic have yet to play their games in this series. Dallas will be praying that their fans can bring the benches esteem up and make them play Maverick basketball.

No matter what happens now, the series is 0-0. Nothing has happened before this game. Any feuds, mistakes, highs, lows made in the past two games are history. This game is the thing that counts. If Dallas wins this game then they send Miami back to the locker room down for another game in a row. They also carry more momentum for the next two games in Dallas. As well as getting the fans more involved for the rest of the series, which will be vital for their success.

If Miami wins this game then they’ve almost accomplished what they have to do. Win 2 out of 3 in Dallas. They know that to win this series they have to win at least 2 out of 3 in Dallas. Otherwise it’s byebye to the Larry O’Brian trophy.

How are they going to win though? Game 3, I call the step up game. It’s the game where the players who haven’t yet reached their full potential in this series will come out.

Take Chris Bosh for instance.

He had two 30 point games in the Chicago series. He scored 12 in game 2 of this series. This isn’t the time to back away. He is a vital part of this team. The most important part as well. With all the attention on Wade and Lebron in this game, he will have to be very aggressive and send a message to everybody saying,

” Hey, forget about me, I’m also an all-star.”

For Dallas it’s Jason Terry who I’m looking to step it up.

His whole Dallas career he has played his best games in Dallas. He gets in a groove, he rides off the crowd’s energy, his three point shooting touch starts working and the jet leaves the run-way, flies off onto a whole other level and doesn’t come down until the buzzer has sounded. Just look at this postseason. 9 three pointers in game 4 against L.A. 24 points in game 1 in the conference finals. 23 points in game 3 of the conference finals. 22 in game 1 against Portland, 20 in game 5 and 22 in game 6. Notice he scored 20 points in all of those games in Dallas.When he is feeling it, then he stretches the defence, making them have to rotate more, something the Heat don’t like doing.

Then in general, this is a redemption game for Miami. Many people including myself have been doubting Miami’s maturity and desire for the championship after their 7 minute meltdown in the 4th quarter of game 2. They stepped on the gas, went 100 miles an hour, then slowed down to 10 miles an hour and stayed like that for 7 minutes. While Dallas was on the verge of a speeding ticket in the last 7 minutes. They have to focus their minds on taking one game at a time, they have to grab this game from the beginning, take Dirk and the fans out of it and never let up.

For Dallas, they have to show that their 7 minutes of heaven last game wasn’t a goof. That it wasn’t just a veteran run, but that it was proof of desire and heart to win a finals game. They’re coming home with the energy, the momentum and the confidence. Miami will most likely start the game on their heels, the Mavs have to trip them up and show them that desire beats talent.

Game 3, see you in 2 hours.

Portland’s Draft Woes

As I said in an earlier post, KD is doing what took MJ 5 years. That’s leading the league in scoring as well as his team to a conference final. A similarity between these two players is that on draft night the Portland Trail Blazers had a chance to pick both of these players. They could have been the ones with the Jordan legacy, they could have been home to the best basketball player in the history of the NBA. Instead they took Sam Bowie. They could have been the ones with the leagues leading scorer, and youngest superstar but instead they have an injured center on their hands. While Kevin Durant is flourishing in Oklahoma, Greg Oden is rotting on the bench.

Sam Bowie was a high school and college sensation, he was 7’1, 235lbs. He was supposed to take the Blazers to a finals appearance. Instead he averaged a small 10 points and 8 rebounds in his rookie season, as supposed to 28 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 and a half steals per game. Sam Bowie went on to play only 63 games in his next 4 seasons. He was then traded to the Nets with a first round pick. In New Jersey he had his best seasons, averaging 12 points and 9 rebounds. Then he was traded to the Lakers, and after two injury riddled seasons he retired. Michael Jordan’s career we all know was much different. He led the league in scoring 10 different seasons. He led the Bulls to 6 NBA championships, he was finals MVP 6 times, he was the NBA MVP 5 times, he led the league in steals 3 times, he was a 14 time NBA all star, he was 3 time NBA all star MVP, and most of all he went to the hall of fame as the best player to ever play the game. I think it’s safe to say that Portland really messed up with that draft pick.

Then we have the 2007 draft. Portland had the number one pick, Seattle had the number 2 pick. It was down to the 7’0 center, Greg Oden and the 6’10 small forward Kevin Durant. Who would take who? KD and Greg both made 1st team all American in their freshman years in college. Greg Oden for Ohio State and Kevin Durant with Texas. When draft night came around the Trail Blazers took Greg Oden, leaving Seattle with Kevin Durant. This is where they went wrong. Greg Oden has played only 63 games in 3 seasons in the NBA. He has scored 540 points, recorded 424 rebounds and blocked 69 shots in his NBA career. Portland has been disappointed by his injuries but have faith that he can develop into an all-star once he gets back. We all know where Kevin Durant has gone with his career. He won the rookie of the year in his first season. Averaging 20 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists. Since then he has led the league in scoring two years in a row, while leading his team to the conference finals this year. I think it’s safe to say that Portland really messed up with that draft pick as well.

Phil Jackson said that nobody can be compared to Michael Jordan, but Kevin Durant and Michael are not that different.

Changes Are Needed: Knicks

I realize every NBA fan right now is caught up in the heat and excitement of the conference finals. I have been thinking more and more about the teams that havebeen eliminated from the playoffs so far this year. The Celtics, Knicks, Lakers, Grizzlies, 76ers, Spurs, Pacers, Magic, Nuggets, Trail Blazers, Hornets, and Hawks. Some of these teams were completely blown out of the postseason, but some of these teams, to peoples surprise were very close till the end of the series. I just feel like some of these teams were robbed of their spot in the postseason by injuries, or last second shots. I’m interested to see how these teams come out next season, and how there team has changed or hasn’t. I have a few suggestions for each team. I’ll begin with the Knicks, as they were the first team eliminated from the postseason.

The Knicks-Celtics series was highly anticipated, and the two games in Boston were won by a total of three points. The two in New York were blowouts from beginning till end. If the Knicks had executed in the last minute of the 4th quarters in those two games the series might have been different. Of course they have injuries to blame, Billups was injured in the end of game 1 and didn’t play the rest of the series. Amar’e Stoudemire injured his back by trying a stupid dunk in the pre-game shootarounds. He was shaken up for the rest of the series, and didn’t play the second half of game 2. I anticipate a big season for this team next year, they will have gelled for more than 30 or so games and their chemistry should be at 100%. What has to change for them in the postseason?

Defense. Defense, Defense, Defense. That’s what wins championships, their defense in the first two games was amazing. Then you have to look back at the 70 or so games where their defense was too atrocious to watch for 48 minutes. The defense can be blamed on everyone on the team. It all starts with Amar’e and Melo committing on defense. Melo played some great defense towards the end of the season but Amar’e didn’t put in enough effort. They’re the leaders of this team and of New York they need to show the rest of the team that defense is the most important part of basketball. That’s what they’re missing from their game. That’s what sets them apart from the elite group in the NBA. They have enough offensive fire power, more than a lot of the elite teams in the NBA. It’s the defense that will hold them back. They also need Mike D’antoni to stop being so stubborn and coach defense instead of his stupid 7 second offense. He has to be fired to begin next season if he can’t stress defense enough. Besides defense there is roster changes that need to be made. They need a shooting guard, Landry Fields was having an amazing rookie season until Melo came over. His confidence dropped like a bomb. If they can’t improve his confidence, or reboot his energy then they have to get a new shooting guard. They have to get a new one anyway, he would be a solid 6th man on any other team. They also need a defensive minded big man to man the middle with STAT. They’re inside men aren’t intimidating like the Magic or Thunder. They need a tough defensive minded 7 footer. Who will think only about the paint and protecting the rim. Point Guards aren’t afraid of getting into the New York paint because there is nobody who will challenge them, Amar’e is too scared of fouling out and Ronny Turiaf is good but he is foul prone. They need a player like Anderson Varejao, or Samuel Dalembert.

These are just suggestions for the Knicks to transform into an elite team next year. I expect a big season from the NY big 3, and the rest of the team. We’ll see.