Shaquille O’Neal

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.  

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Durant vs Wade: The Best Out of College

By: Ross Geiger

Kevin Durant or Dwyane Wade?

Who's Better?

When it comes to who’s the best basketball player in the world the conversation is filed down to NBA superstars in Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. While much of that debate may have been answered this past offseason, another controversial debate arises and remains unanswered: Who’s the best player in the NBA that went to college?

In past years, it was a no-brainer; Dwyane Wade out of Marquette University was clearly the league’s best player that played at the college ranks. But just in a matter of a couple year, another player has earned the right to be considered alongside D-Wade, his name: Kevin Durant.

The Oklahoma City Thunder star swingman out of Texas has continued to improve and impress year in and year out since joining the league in 2007. Drafted 2nd overall by the Seattle Supersonics, Durant, from the jump, was an underrated young talent as the Portland Trail Blazers decided upon selecting Greg Oden over Durant in a very hyped up debacle of which would make the better #1 overall selection in the 2007 NBA Draft.

This Question Has Been Resolved

Since then, Durant has turned that debate into a comical joke as he’s clearly proven he was the better of the two draft top picks. Whether you want to consider it fairly or unfairly, due to Oden’s injury, Durant took home the 2007 NBA Rookie of the Year Award. But I’m willing to bet that Oden wouldn’t of even came close to posting comparable rookie numbers to those of Durant’s 20.3 pgg, 4.4 rpg, and 2.4 apg nightly.

In his following sophomore season, Durant built upon those numbers and his status as one of the league’s top young guns was confirmed. During the 2009 NBA All-Star Game in Phoenix, Durant showed the NBA World what the league could expect in the near future. In the Rookie-Sophomore Game, Durant carried his sophomore team to victory by breaking the scoring record with 46 points. Coincidentally the old mark was held by Phoenix’s own (at the time) Amar’e Stoudemire, when he put up 36 points for the sophomore team in 2004. The very next day, Durant participated in the NBA’s first H-O-R-S-E contest and Durant took home the crown for that as well, taking down Hawks guard Joe Johnson and Grizzlies rookie O.J. Mayo. This all came during a year in which the Seattle Supersonics were relocated from Seattle to Oklahoma City where they became the Thunder. All-Star Weekend was a great time for the Thunder’s young leader to put his team as well as his name on the map. Durant finished his second season in the league improving upon nearly each and every statistical category and percentages (except BPG & FT%), averaging 25.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg, and 2.8 apg.

Showing rapid improvements upon entering the league, nobody had the slightest idea what to expect from Kevin Durant as he entered his third year in the NBA this past season. Once again, Durant, nicknamed “The Durantula”, didn’t disappoint. He earned tons of accolades including becoming an NBA All-Star for the first time, winning his second straight H-O-R-S-E competition, and even coaching the rookies in the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge. But none of those achievements are as historical as his last as he took home the NBA’s scoring title averaging 30.1 points per game, becoming the youngest in league history to win the scoring title at only 21 years of age. He broke LeBron James’s record becoming the youngest and on his way to doing that he also broke Allen Iverson’s record number of games scoring at least 25 points.

But maybe the most impressive achievement of all was Durant’s leadership. He led his team to a very unexpected playoff berth with the Thunder finishing their season with 50 wins, which earned him the last and final spot in the Western Conference playoffs. Winning 50 games was a 27 game improvement for the Thunder, making their season the sixth biggest turnaround in NBA history. In the playoffs, Durant’s team held their own agains the defending NBA World Champion Los Angeles Lakers stretching the series to a tough 6 games before losing 4-2 on a buzzer-beating tip in by Pau Gasol. At the end of the year, Durant finished second in the MVP voting behind LeBron James and was honored with a spot on the 2010 All-NBA First Team, that included LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, and yup, you guessed it, Dwyane Wade….

Wade and Durant are the only two superstars among the top names on the 2010 All-NBA First Team list that went to college. Wade’s popularity is slowly becoming rivaled with Durant’s as both should be mentioned in the same sentence together. Among Wade’s notable achievements, he was awarded Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated in 2006, has had the top selling jersey in the NBA for nearly two years to go with his NBA Championship and Finals MVP.

Much like Durant’s incredible third season in the league, D-Wade also shined bright during his third year. Wade helped carry the Miami Heat, along with Shaquille O’Neal, to the Heat’s first NBA Championship in franchise history. At the conclusion of the 2006 NBA Finals, Wade also took home the 2006 NBA Finals MVP. Just for good measure, Wade led the league in scoring in 2008-2009.

Of the five superstars named to last season’s 2010 All-NBA First Team, Durant was the only player that was not a member of Team USA’s Gold Medal team.  The only reason for that was age and inexperience. Durant is now the captain of the Team USA basketball and is well on his way of matching many of the accomplishments Wade’s already earned.

While Dwyane Wade’s NBA career may have 4 more years of experience and accomplishments under his belt, does Kevin Durant have a shot at being named the best NBA player that went to college as soon as this upcoming season?

Let Us Know What You Think!

Wade:

28 Years Old

College: Marquette University

Drafted 5th Overall in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Miami Heat

Has been a member of the Heat his entire career

2006 NBA Champion & 2006 NBA Finals MVP

6-Time NBA All-Star

NBA Scoring Champion (2009)

2-Time All-NBA First Team

2-Time All-NBA Second Team

1-Time All-NBA Third Team

3-Time All-Defensive Second Team

2004 NBA All-Rookie First Team

2010 NBA All-Star MVP

2-Time Skills Challenge Champion

2006 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year

Kevin Durant:

21 Years Old

Drafted 2nd overall in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Seattle Supersonics

Has been a member of the Supersonics/Thunder his entire career

1-Time NBA All-Star

NBA Scoring Champion (2010)

All-NBA First Team

2-Time H-O-R-S-E Competition Winner

2008 NBA Rookie of the Year

NBA All-Rookie First Team

VOTE!

2010 NBA Finals Game 1 Preview

Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Lakers- 9 ET ABC

Being a man who possesses an ultimate passion for the NBA game, it’s always quite ironic that the NBA Finals begins a day or two before or after my birthday on June 4th. This year it falls just one day short of being the perfect present, but for good reason. While this NBA Finals should be an interesting one, it’s all but what I would’ve hoped for.

While I could be crazy, I truthfully believe the day my team makes the NBA Finals, the NBA will just so happen to start the series on my special day which will surely be a sign to what’s to come.

But nonetheless, this year’s NBA Finals is battle amongst two teams with a great history, the Celtics vs. the Lakers.

Can Kobe earn that first ring wearing #24?

The Lakers led behind arguably the best player in the game, Kobe Bryant. A championship season would bring Kobe his fourth ring and the all-so-important first ring without Shaquille O’Neal.

The Celtics led behind long-time team catalyst, Paul Pierce. Let “The Truth” be told, if Pierce can capture his second ring, he must go down as one of the greatest Celtics of all-time. Many might even argue that Pierce has already earned that honor, but a second ring definitely solidifies it.

Throughout this year’s playoffs, the Los Angeles Lakers have been nearly unstoppable at home. For them to really give themselves a shot at winning the series, they really need to protect their home court in the opening two games of the series. The Celtics have done a great job stealing road games, swinging home court advantage their way, and then never looking back. I believe it’s the Celtics year to win it all if they’re able to take one of two in Los Angeles, sending a split series back to Boston.

Paul Pierce will continue to be the Paul Pierce we’ve come to know. Kevin Garnett will need to do a heck of a job on Pau Gasol. Ray Allen will help lead the charge in delivering the daggers from outside the perimeter, and Rajon Rondo will have his official, “OMG, Coming Out Party”.

Go Ahead: Roll Out the Red Carpet, It's Time for Rondo's Coming Out Party, Finals MVP Here He Comes

I predict that Rondo will be the difference maker in the series, he’ll tally a couple triple-doubles, and be the deciding factor that helps his Boston Celtics team take the Lakers down in 6 games. If the Celtics win the NBA Championship, then Rajon Rondo will win the Finals MVP Award.

If I’m dead wrong and the Lakers come out on top, I see the Finals MVP going to the Kobe Bryant’s running mate, Pau Gasol. But let’s get one thing straight, the Celtics realize this is their final stand as a group on the brink of claiming yet another NBA title together. Next year, regardless to their NBA Finals success, this team will be broken up. Of all the Celtics that know what’s currently at stake is Kevin Garnett. Having already neared and arguably passed his prime, Garnett’s hungry for one more ring that he’ll earn with his significant contributions. One last time for “The Big Ticket” to seriously be a big ticket on the biggest stage, if he needs any motivation, my advice to him would to be look at Rasheed Wallace. Sheed was in a similar position a few years back with the Pistons. With a much more experienced Celtics bench, I think they’ll get the job done, even if it’s on the road in Game 1.

Celtics- 101 Lakers- 95

Lakers-Celtics Rivalry Top 10 Plays

5/9/10 NBA Playoff Predictions

Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics- 3:30 ET ABC

For the Celtics, Game 3 was embarrassing to say the least and it ended up being the historic franchise’s worst playoff loss ever. Game 4 isn’t just a matter of winning or losing it’s more about stepping up to the challenge that comes with playing against LeBron James.

Stop Simply Glancing at the Scoreboard & Make Some Adjustments!

Head Coach Doc Rivers and his handful of well-seasoned NBA greats never once even made an effort to make an adjustment in Game 3 on LeBron. They didn’t show any pride, allowing their team in their city to get absolutely embarrassed in their first home game in Round 2. There are no excuses for not even trying to make adjustments! None! Zip zero!

Now granted LeBron hit his fair share of “nothing-else-you-can-do” shots on Celtics defenders but at some point in the game, you to pick your poison, and force those around LeBron to beat you. Everyone knows there’s a lot of pressure on the Cavaliers to win a championship this year with LeBron heading into a free agency campaign. Despite where you stand on whether LeBron will leave Cleveland or not, the pressure is clearly there. The Cavs organization has done it’s best to surround LeBron will the very best unit that can help him become an NBA champion, make those guys (Mo Williams, Antawn Jamison, and heck even Shaquille O’Neal) prove that!

Make Him Beat You

All season long the Celtics have been a team that either show up and play or just aren’t all quite there, a sad but true statement about a group of notable, experienced players. Game 4, I expect the Cavaliers to prevail yet again. If the Celtics are to stand a chance they’ll have to get a big boost scoring wise from Rajon Rondo. But I see LeBron and the Cavs heading home just one win away from the Eastern Conference Finals.

Cavaliers- 107 Celtics- 93

Someone Please Inform LeBron That Tomorrow is in fact Mother’s Day & He Shouldn’t Tell His Mother to “Sit Her Ass Down”….

Coincidentally this happen in a playoff series against the Celtics!

Phoenix Suns at San Antonio Spurs- 8 ET TNT

That Goal Was To Make My Predictions Look Foolish- Mission Accomplished

I’ll be first to admit it, I’ve been horribly wrong with my expectations for the Suns in this year’s NBA playoffs. Maybe it was just my lack of interest in the team, even better, it might just be the fact that in the past two years the only games televised here in Milwaukee are on TNT, or maybe I got it all twisted. Maybe it’s not my expectations for the Suns that are terribly off, instead it’s my expectations for the San Antonio Spurs. After all, I did kind of forget that they’re the 7th seed.

But 7th seed or 1st seed bottom line is both of these teams are very similar. Both have their big names stars ending their prime in Nash and Duncan. Both have their scoring machine shooting guards in Richardson and Ginobili. And probably most importantly both have plenty of concerns to deal with at the end of their seasons.

But hey, I’m not here to bash either team in fact I’ve been very impressed with the Suns demeanor and if they keep this momentum up, I might even give them a slight chance of beating the Los Angeles Lakers in a 7 game series.

Cherish This Suns Fans

There’s really not much to comment on heading into Game 4. The series is clearly over and the Suns would be foolish not to give it their all to finish their business tomorrow night. But if I were still a Suns fan, I’d actually wish upon a Suns loss. If you’re a diehard Suns fan it’d be priceless to be at Game 5 and being able to talk trash and boot the Spurs out of the playoffs in Phoenix, something the Suns fans can’t say they’ve done in years. I can already see the crowd of Suns fans outside the Suns player parking garage anxiously awaiting the departure of the Spurs team bus headed to Sky Harbor that night.

One final note before I call it quits on this post, how can I not at least give some recognition to Goran Dragic. While I’m far from impressed of his potential, I’d be ignorant to say what he did in Game 3 wasn’t very impressive. Congrats Goran, you’ve only continued to help Suns fans maintain some hope that you are the future point guard. Your shot has drastically improved, there’s no doubt about it, but as far as being a leader goes, you got a long ways to go. Keep making steady improvements and maybe I’ll decide to budge a little, but having the tendency to pick up your dribble for no purpose and turning over the ball in the backcourt when faced with backcourt on the ball pressure doesn’t help your case. Oh and by the way, my name is spelled Ross, not Rosse so next time someone decides to try to play a joke on me and ask you to personally make an autograph out to me, drop the “e” my friend. (True Story).  But nonetheless good job in Game 3, you stepped up in a big position and got the job done, something I’m not used to seeing you do in games I’ve been able to watch. So with all this I apologize to any offended Suns fans, maybe it’s just the games I’m able to see that misguide my judgments, as do many of you when it comes to your opinion on my Milwaukee Bucks. But hey, at the end of the day, congrats to the Phoenix Suns, you’ve done it, you’ve finally beat the Spurs and did s in an impressive and very commanding fashion. You’re headed to the Western Conference Finals.

Suns- 111 Spurs- 103

While I could remember this….

I’ll Choose to Remember This….

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