Kyle Korver

2010-11 NBA Preview: Central Division

Chicago Bulls (41-41 last season)

Most liked in Chicago since Michael Jordan?

Projected Starting Five:

Point Guard: Derrick Rose

Shooting Guard: Ronnie Brewer

Small Forward: Luol Deng

Power Forward: Carlos Boozer

Center: Joakim Noah

Key Reserves:

Guard-Forward: Kyle Korver

Guard-Forward: Keith Bogans

Forward: Taj Gibson

Derrick Rose is the man!  1st season: Rookie of the Year.  2nd season: All-Star.  3rd season?  It’s anyone’s guess to how good Rose can be.  Speculation is that a three point shot is in the works for him as well.  I’m excited to see the leadership he will bring to this Bulls’ offense.  Taj Gibson is also going to have to play well for the first couple of months as Carlos Boozer recovers from his broken hand.  The last interesting point I have for this team is who will end up taking the shooting guard position.  Ronnie Brewer is good all-around and Kyle Korver has the shooting stroke, but can either make the spot his own?  Regardless, Bulls win their division.

Milwaukee Bucks (46-36 last season)

A new lefty has risen in Milwaukee, sorry Michael Redd.

Projected Starting Five:

Point Guard: Brandon Jennings

Shooting Guard: John Salmons

Small Forward: Corey Maggette

Power Forward: Drew Gooden

Center: Andrew Bogut

Key Reserves:

Guard: Keyon Dooling

Guard-Forward: Chris Douglas-Roberts

Forward: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute

The toughest part for this team will be buying into a rotation that will gel on the court.  The Bucks are really deep and this is among one of the better problems one could talk about.  The key for this squad to excel is Andrew Bogut.  If he can come back strong from the injury he endured last season, I believe the Bucks have a legitimate shot at the second round.  Also, the continued development of Brandon Jennings will sure be fun to watch.  This kid is still very raw and still has a broken shot, but he is only going to improve and become a top point guard in the league.

Indiana Pacers (32-50 last season)

Thanks to the CP3 injury, Collison has a starting job.

Projected Starting Five:

Point Guard: Darren Collison

Shooting Guard: Mike Dunleavy

Small Forward: Danny Granger

Power Forward: Tyler Hansbrough

Center: Roy Hibbert

Key Reserves:

Guard: T.J. Ford

Forward: Paul George

Center: Jeff Foster

This team is my sleeper for the year.  Everyone has them finishing 4th or 5th in the division, but I feel that if they can stay healthy and Danny Granger plays like he did in last season, except for 82 games, and Darren Collison also plays like last season, they have a shot at the 8th seed.  Call me insane, but this is my crazy pick for the year.  Also be on the alert for Roy Hibbert to have a breakout year.  He could possibly be a good candidate for the Most Improved Player award.

Cleveland Cavaliers (61-21 last season)

From LeBron James to Jamario Moon. Good luck Cleveland.

Projected Starting Five:

Point Guard: Mo Williams

Shooting Guard: Daniel Gibson

Small Forward: Jamario Moon

Power Forward: Antawn Jamison

Center: Anderson Varejao

Key Reserves:

Guard: Anthony Parker

Forward: J.J. Hickson

Forward: Leon Powe

A natural disaster struck Cleveland and it was the loss of LeBron James.  A miracle needs to happen for this team to make the playoffs.  Yeah, they have Mo Williams, Antawn Jamison and Anderson Varejao, but without LeBron they are nothing.  Almost 30 points per game is lost and there isn’t anyone good enough to fill that spot.  I’m sorry Cleveland, but get ready for a rough year.

Detroit Pistons (27-55 last season)

Please prove me wrong, because I loved you, T-Mac!

Projected Starting Five:

Point Guard: Rodney Stuckey

Shooting Guard: Richard Hamilton

Small Forward: Tayshaun Prince

Power Forward: Charlie Villanueva

Center: Ben Wallace

Key Reserves:

Guard: Will Bynum

Guard: Ben Gordon

Forward: Austin Daye

I have no faith in this team.  Something about them just doesn’t rub me the right way.  Charlie Villanueva had an abysmal debut year in Detroit and injuries plagued them all year long and into this preseason.  Ben Wallace is nowhere near to where he used to be as a player back in the glory days of the Pistons, and Rodney Stuckey does not have the playmaking ability to lead this team.  Maybe they won’t finish last in the division, but they sure aren’t making the playoffs for a while with the transactions they are making. Cough, Tracy McGrady, Cough. Washed up!



2010-11 NBA Preview: Atlantic Division

Boston Celtics (50-32 last season)

Don't let their age fool you, they still have what it takes.

Projected Starting Five:

Point Guard: Rajon Rondo

Shooting Guard: Ray Allen

Small Forward: Paul Pierce

Power Forward: Kevin Garnett

Center: Jermaine O’Neal

Key Reserves:

Guard: Delonte West

Forward: Glen Davis

Center: Shaquille O’Neal

The Celtics are coming off a great year in which they made it to the finals and lost in Game 7.  They were a surprise to everyone in the playoffs as the No. 4 seed while most people thought the Cavaliers or Magic would make it. The key for the Celtics is to stay healthy.  Five players are 32 years of age or older (Allen, Pierce, Garnett, and both O’Neals) and limiting minutes will have to be in the works for Doc Rivers.  The second unit will also have to be fired up most nights because they are a very important part to the success of the team.  If the Celtics want to make another run at the championship, the entire squad must be healthy and whole in April.

New York Knicks (29-53 last season)

Amar'e is "The Man", but Felton could be the key to the offensive.

Projected Starting Five:

Point Guard: Raymond Felton

Shooting Guard: Wilson Chandler

Small Forward: Danilo Gallinari

Power Forward: Amar’e Stoudemire

Center: Timofey Mozgov

Key Reserves:

Guard: Roger Mason Jr.

Guard-Forward: Kelenna Azubuike

Forward: Anthony Randolph

Ok, so no Lebron James for the Knicks, but they did acquire Amar’e Stoudemire who will have to carry this team on his back.  Look for Stoudemire to put up better numbers than he did in Phoenix.  Some people think he won’t play better because Steve Nash is what made him good, but I don’t believe that at all.  Another key addition is spark plug, Raymond Felton.  Felton knows how to win basketball games and will be an improvement from Chris Duhon.  Things are looking up for the Knicks and if Amar’e can stay healthy and his knees don’t give out on him, I believe the Knicks will make the playoffs.

New Jersey Nets (12-70 last season)

Harris and Lopez could be that one, two punch that lead the Nets to victory.

Projected Starting Five:

Point Guard: Devin Harris

Shooting Guard: Anthony Morrow

Small Forward: Travis Outlaw

Power Forward: Troy Murphy

Center: Brook Lopez

Key Reserves:

Guard: Jordan Farmar

Guard-Forward: Terrence Williams

Forward: Derrick Favors

Avery Johnson is looking to turn things around for this young New Jersey team.  They aren’t going to blow you away with their offense, so defense must show up for them to win games.  Brook Lopez and Devin Harris are the most important players on the team and having them healthy all season will sway this group into a possible playoff berth.  The Nets will need an incredible season to reach the playoffs but anything can happen.  Give them another couple years, let Derrick Favors get some seasons under his belt and be ready for a powerful Nets team in the future.

Philadelphia 76ers (27-55 last season)

A star in college now has to learn to take a supporting role.

Projected Starting Five:

Point Guard: Jrue Holiday

Shooting Guard: Andre Igoudala

Small Forward: Thaddeus Young

Power Forward: Elton Brand

Center: Spencer Hawes

Key Reserves:

Guard: Evan Turner

Guard: Louis Williams

Forward: Andres Nocioni

The first thing that comes to mind when I look at this starting five is that there isn’t a solidified shooter.  Andre Igoudala is probably their best shooter and he isn’t very reliable from outside.  Either Jason Kapono or Jodie Meeks will need to earn a spot in the rotation and provide for them what Kyle Korver used to.  This is a fairly young team and the faster Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner develop their offensive games, the better the Sixers will be.  Elton Brand is a team chemistry destroyer, and this is why I do not see the 76ers having a great season.

Toronto Raptors (40-42 last season)

Can Bargnani show the fans of Toronto why they drafted him number one?

Projected Starting Five:

Point Guard: Jarrett Jack

Shooting Guard: DeMar DeRozen

Small Forward: Linas Kleiza

Power Forward: Reggie Evans

Center: Andrea Bargnani

Key Reserves:

Guard: Jose Calderon

Guard: Leandro Barbosa

Forward: Amir Johnson

The Raptors had a terrible offseason losing Hedo Turkoglu and Chris Bosh.  Their whole team is mixed up and they will most likely be one of the worst teams in the league.  The only positive feeling I can say about this team is that things can only go up after the season starts.  One of their young players will certainly need to step forward with a larger role.  I see that player to be Andrea Bargnani.  He was a number one overall pick and has a really good skill set.  Also look for the Raptors to possibly pick up a star closer towards the trade deadline thanks to their Bosh trade exception.  

4/23/10 NBA Playoffs Game 3’s Predictions

Boston Celtics at Miami Heat- 7 ET

Where will Wade call home next season?

Down two games to none, Wade’s world in Miami could soon be coming to an end. After losing the first two games in the series, Wade’s got to be evaluating what the future has in store for the Heat organization, as well as the big decision he’ll be making this summer. While the majority of this year’s Heat roster comes off the books this summer, there’s no guarantee Wade decides to stay. Miami’s future foundation in Michael Beasley looks all but promising and it’s got to be so frustrating for Wade whose just asking for a little consistency when it comes to Beasley’s production. Wade goes to work each game not knowing who if anybody is going to show up to play and that’s been clear all series long so far.

The Celtics are better off without Kevin Garnett & his trash talk

Having Garnett back only hurts the Celtics especially now that they’re on the road in Miami. As I mentioned in my Game 2 preview of this series, I truly believe the Celtics are a better team without him, not only are they used to playing without them, but their overall chemistry seems better out there on the floor. So having him back and traveling down to Miami is a double no-no, the fans will be all over him for the Game 1 elbow incident with Quentin Richardson. While Garnett is all too familiar with being heckled due to his “punk-ish” behavior ever since being crowned an NBA champion, I see the Heat benefitting from his return at home, more so then the Celtics rallying behind their aging superstar. With the Heat down in a 0-2 hole, I see Miami keeping their hopes alive with a win tonight.

Heat- 85 Celtics-80

Dallas Mavericks at San Antonio Spurs- 9:30 ET

Spurs are tough to handle behind these three men

The Spurs were hitting on all cylinders in Game 2 earning a win and swinging series and home court advantage to San Antonio. Outside of the big time play of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili, the key was the first half play of Richard Jefferson. After criticizing him for his far from impacting regular season play, Jefferson helped the Spurs get out of the gate in Game 2. On the road it’s so important and valuable to get off to a strong start from jump and being able to develop a 12 cushion going into the half.

While the Mavericks did make a push in the second half and the great play of Jefferson diminished, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili capitalized on big close to momentum swinging baskets. Whenever the Mavericks were on the verge of a comeback, either Duncan or Ginobili would deliver a dagger quieting the Dallas crowd. Now it’s up to the Mavericks to find a way to steal a road win, the Spurs have put themselves in a great position heading into Game 3 at home. I see the Spurs carrying over the momentum they built in Game 2, and come away with a win over the Mavericks.

Spurs- 97 Mavericks- 91

Denver Nuggets at Utah Jazz- 10:30 ET

Under manned and on the road, the Utah Jazz still managed to pull out a huge victory over the Nuggets in Game 2. Now they play host to the Nuggets in Utah where they’ll have a nice opportunity to put the pressure on the Nuggets on the road. Head Coach Jerry Sloan will have his team fully prepared for this critical Game 3, if they were able to win Game 2 adjusting to the Okur injury on the fly, I see no reason they won’t take Game 3 in their own place.

Is he trying call out a play or just flash back gang signs at J.R. Smith?

For the Jazz, it’s pretty evident that Deron Williams will always be the key to the team’s success. The floor general must continue to score the basketball by getting to the basket, drawing fouls and getting easy looks from the line, and by doing so he’ll free up his teammates for open shots. Look for Kyle Korver to impress in Game 3 as he’s been a great boost off the bench so far in this series. Carlos Boozer and Paul Millsap will anchor the post play, both doing a solid job in Game 2. On the flipside, the Denver Nuggets will need a better performance from sharpshooter J.R. Smith, in Game 2 the Nuggets’ flamethrower tallied only 9 points hitting just one three on 3-10 shooting. On the road in Utah, Smith plays a huge role in controlling the home crowd. Throughout his career he’s proven to be a guy who steps up on the road and always loves rising to the occasion to quiet a hostile home crowd with a deep three ball. Even with improved play from the Nuggets, I see Jerry Sloan and the Utah Jazz sliding by with a victory in Game 3.

Jazz- 109 Nuggets- 102

NBA Playoffs Predictions Game 2’s 4-19-10

Chicago Bulls at Cleveland Cavaliers

LeBron James & The Cavs just too strong for Chicago to handle....

In my Game 1 preview post, I mentioned an important part about the Bulls rallying behind their young superstar’s guarantee of a playoff berth, that support was non-existent in the opening game of the series. Outside of Joakim Noah, no Bull was able to be effective on both ends of the floor to help out Rose. Particularly, Luol Deng needs to step up his game on the offensive end, I understand most of his energy is being spent trying to contain the league’s best player in King James but 5-15 FG & 2-5 FT just won’t cut it. Deng’s offensive production is the deciding factor in whether or not the Bulls can keep this series reasonably interesting. In all reality, Game 1 was much closer than expected and the game turned out to be one worth watching until the final buzzer. Eliminate the Cavaliers strong first quarter and the Bulls actually beat the Cavaliers by 1 point when tallying up the remaining three quarters. Not saying the Bulls are going to have even the slightest chance to win this series but it’s definitely something worth consideration. As we prepare for Game 2 there’s three points I’d like to propose that should make this matchup appealing for you to tune into on your Monday night.

  1. Shaquille O’Neal: Does he really positively affect the Cavaliers? Shaq’s effectiveness out on the floor is something worth grading yourself. To me in Game 1 he clogged the lanes on offense and his defensive transitioning is terrible which encourages Derrick Rose (one of the league’s fastest guards) to push the ball in transition. Which leads me to my next point.
  2. The One Man Show, Always Worth Watching

    Derrick Rose: Without a real shooting guard or a real post presence on offense, Rose is a dazzling one-man show. In Game 1, Rose took full advantage of transition opportunities in which allows his unmatched athleticism (at the point guard position) to be put on display. The speed, quickness, agility, balance, poise, explosiveness, handles, touch, and demeanor are all reason to watch Derrick Rose. The young superstar didn’t disappoint in the opening match.

  3. Watch the Cavs Chemistry Come Together

    Cavaliers Chemistry: I feel it’s always worthy to tune into the league’s most prime candidate to win it all. Why not watch how they’ll set the tone for the rest of the series and for the remainder of the playoffs? This is a significant time for the Cavaliers group to put it all together. Big time teams, can make adjustments on the fly in big time situations. NBA fans should be interested in watching the chemistry come together.

Cavaliers- 104 Bulls- 91

Utah Jazz at Denver Nuggets

Do the Jazz have a solution to containing Carmelo Anthony?

Losing Mehmet Okur for the remainder of the playoffs, leaves a huge hole at the center position. Without Kirlenko and Boozer already playing through a rib injury the Jazz look to be in a world of trouble down low. Paul Millsap will be relied upon heavily and will be the key to the Jazz chances of advancing. Millsap must be able to play 35-40 minutes a night and do so while avoiding foul trouble. The Nuggets would be foolish not to attack the basket early looking to go inside early and often to Kenyon Martin and Nene Hilario. If the Nuggets can remain patient before getting to trigger-happy with that long-range three ball, they can close out this series quicker than they expected. For the Jazz success, it’s hard to ask much more from star guard Deron Williams so they expectation is directly pointed towards his wing companions (Matthews, Miles, Korver). If Wesley Matthews can figure out how to contain Carmelo Anthony (who dropped 42 in Game 1), the Jazz should give more time to Kyle Korver. The Jazz must rely upon more perimeter shooting in order to preserve their big men down low and keep them out of foul trouble. Jazz looked to be in some more trouble come Game 2.

Nuggets- 117 Jazz- 102