Posted on: November 29, 2010 12:14 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2010 12:15 pm
  •  
 

Miami Heat's Erik Spoelstra on the Hot Seat?

Being the head-coach of a professional sports team is no simple task.

When the athletes don’t perform well who does the media point their fingers at first?

When a team doesn’t live up to its hype who’s there to blame besides the coach?

Erik Spoelstra and the Miami Heat hold a record of 9-8 on the season, good enough for 6th best in the East.

The Heat entered the current season with arguably the most hype and expectations that the league has ever witnessed.

After 17 games it’s safe to say that the team looks discombobulated.

Wade and James don’t seem comfortable on the court alongside of one another and neither is playing the basketball that many expected them to play.

To add fuel to the fire, the team is in desperate need of a legitimate starting point-guard and center.

Carlos Arroyo does not complement the big three and all three centers for Miami are either too old (Dampier and Illgauskas) or lack offensive talent (Anthony).

Power-forward Udonis Haslem suffered what could be a season ending injury and the team doesn’t get sharp-shooting Mike Miller back for at least another month.

ESPN reported that a source has stated that head-coach Erik Spoelstra has been too tough on the team.

“He’s jumping on them,” one source said. “If anything, he’s been too tough on them. Everybody knows LeBron is playful and likes to joke around, but Spoelstra told him in front of the whole team that he has to get more serious. The players couldn’t believe it. They feel like Spoelstra’s not letting them be themselves.”

“He’s not a motivator,” one of the sources said. “Instead of coaching he’s at the point where the players are starting to sense that he’s fearing for his job.”

Miami’s President, Pat Riley, has stated in the past that Spoelstra’s job is secured and that Riley himself will not return to the sidelines to coach the Heat.

Most analysts and fans would take that statement with a grain of salt due to the fact that anything could change overnight in the crazy world of sports.

Right now it seems like Miami’s situation could not get any worse: they’re 9-8, chemistry is completely lacking, and worst of all their coach is starting to panic.

But is Spoelstra the one to blame?

Chemistry isn’t something that players can build overnight and one factor for the slow start could be attributed to Wade being sidelined for the entire pre-season; missing Wade for those seven games could’ve delayed the teams ability to coalesce on the court.

Instead of pointing fingers, the Miami Heat players, especially the big three, need to look at one another and find the heart of the champion within.

Do you think Erik Spoelstra will be fired before the end of the season?

For more of Brandon's content be sure to check out NBAPrimetime.com and follow him on twitter @_nbaprimetime
Posted on: November 8, 2010 11:09 am
 

Turnovers a concern for John Wall and ROY chances

John Wall officially made his presence known after dropping 29 points, 13 assists and 9 steals during the Washington Wizards‘ season home opener.

The 20-year-old became the youngest player in 25 years to collect at least 25 points, 10 assists and 8 steals in the same game.

While credit is clearly due to the speedster that (according to ESPN’s SportsScience) can run faster while dribbling a basketball than Kevin Durant can run without a ball, turnovers have emerged as a point of concern.

In five games this season Wall has committed a total of 29 turnovers, averaging out to just under six turnovers per contest.

Amongst all starting PG’s who have averaged at least 30 MPG this season, Wall currently ranks second to worst in A/T ratio (Steve Nash being the worst thus far), dishing out just 1.65 assists per turnover.

Wall’s competition, Blake Griffin, has played nothing short of spectacular in seven games this year, posting 18.1 points per game and 11 boards on 50 percent shooting from the field.

Will turnovers put John Wall‘s chances of winning the Rookie of the Year award in jeopardy as the season drags on?

With Gilbert Arenas back in action Wall should see a steady decline in overall numbers, with the assumption that his turnovers will decrease as well.

But how low can they possibly go?

During Wall’s one season at Kentucky, he managed to dish out 6.5 assists per contest while turning the ball over four times per game (his assist-to-turnover ratio was 1.62 for the year).

Wall’s advantageous speed enables him to blow by his opponents for quick finishes at the rim, but it seems like it could also be playing a factor in his turnover rate issue.

The season is still very young and Wall could certainly learn to fix his biggest weakness. His chances of winning the ROY award will go to the wire with Blake Griffin this year.

How do you feel about this topic?

For more of Brandon's content be sure to check out NBAPrimetime.com and follow him on twitter @_nbaprimetime
Posted on: November 6, 2010 12:28 pm
 

Rajon Rondo: A Top Three Point-Guard?

When the Boston Celtics managed to acquire Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen during the 2007 off-season, not many thought too much about a guy like Rajon Rondo.

At the time Rondo had just one year under his belt and from a non-Celtics fan perspective, he was virtually unheard of.

Who would’ve ever though that this slim 6’1″, 171 lb point-guard would soon emerge as the face of a franchise that consisted of a top 3 power-forward in NBA history in Kevin Garnett, the soon to be three-point scoring leader of the NBA in Ray Allen, and the potential Hall of Famer in Paul Pierce?

Not many, to answer the question.

Rondo now ranks ahead of the legendary John Stockton and Magic Johnson in NBA history with the most assists (82) through the first five games of an NBA season.

He also tied Isaiah Thomas’ record this season for dishing out the most assists (24) in a game while collecting a triple-double.

But enough of all the highly impressive facts and records, because at the end of the day, should Rondo even be considered a top three point-guard in the NBA?

Throughout the last few years New Orleans’ Chris Paul and Utah’s Deron Williams have both split time holding the crown as the leagues best point-guard.

In the 2010-11 GM Survey, 50.0% answered that Deron Williams was the best point-guard in the NBA, with CP3 getting 35.7%, and Steve Nash getting 10.7%.

Paul, Williams, and Nash each bring something very similar to the table. This talent, along with their incredible vision and IQ on the court is what propels them to rank at the top of the echelon in the eyes of the league.

This talent is called shooting and all three do it exceptionally well.

Career Averages

Chris Paul- 19.3 PPG, 6.8-14.5 FG per game , 0.9-2.5 3P per game, 35.4 3P%

Deron Williams- 16.7 PPG, 6.1-13.1 FG per game, 1.1-3.0 3P per game, 36.1 3P%

Steve Nash- 14.6 PPG, 5.3-10.8 FG per game, 1.5-3.4 3P per game, 43.2 3P%

Rajon Rondo- 10.7 PPG, 4.4-9.0 FG per game, 0.1-0.6 3P per game, 25.0 3P%

Rajon Rondo‘s inability to knock down the open jumper is the ultimate downfall in his overall game and opponents tend to attack this weakness by giving Rondo plenty of separation on the perimeter.

Although he is just 24 years of age and is entering only his fifth season in the league, his FG per game numbers have failed to improve and his three-point shooting is far out of the equation.

Rondo is best at attacking the basket, distributing the ball, and stealing the rock from his opponents.

The most elite point-guards in the NBA tend to have all three of Rondo’s qualities while still being able to light it up from the perimeter and three-point territory on any given night.

Until Rondo can consistently hit a jumper, his chances of being viewed as a top three point-guard in the league long awaits.

Brandon Ribak’s Top Five Point-Guards in the NBA Today

1. Deron Williams

2. Chris Paul

3. Steve Nash

4. Derrick Rose

5. Rajon Rondo

For more of Brandon's content be sure to check out NBAPrimetime.com and follow him on twitter @_nbaprimetime
Posted on: November 1, 2010 7:43 pm
 

Atlanta Hawks to deal Josh Smith before the trade

According to ESPN‘s Chad Ford,

“Several GMs believe the Hawks won’t be able to keep Johnson ($18.5 million in 2011-12), Josh Smith ($12.5 million in 2011-12), Marvin Williams ($8 million in 2011-12) and Horford ($12 million in 2011-12) together past this season for financial reasons.”

After signing sharp-shooter Joe Johnson to the offseasons largest contract (six-year, $124 million) and officially agreeing to a contract extension with Al Horford, it is now apparent that the Hawks will have to make a move if they plan on a) staying under the luxury tax and b) re-signing Jamal Crawford or another player of his caliber during the 2011 offseason.

Last summer Smith’s name sprung about throughout the NBA as a potential trading piece and Chad Ford is reporting that “a number of GMs around the league expect his name to be in the mix by the February trade deadline.”

 Atlanta is currently off to a 3-0 start on the season and will look to make it past the second round of the playoffs after getting swept in the second round during the last two postseasons.

For more of Brandon's content be sure to check out NBAPrimetime.com and follow him on twitter @_nbaprimetime
Posted on: October 29, 2010 10:56 am
 

Denver's Carmelo Anthony says that it's time for

The Denver Nuggets franchise forward, Carmelo Anthony, stated that it’s time for a change of scenery.

“If I do nothing now, I’m never going to do anything. I feel like my time is now to make a decision if I want to leave or if I want to stay.”

Hmm…so long for Denver’s front office hopes of convincing Melo to stay with the team.

Anthony hasn’t backed down from his stance ever since the rumors spiraled out during the offseason and the chances of the swingman joining a new team before the February trade deadline seems to have shot up.

Although multiple teams are interested (New York, New Jersey, Chicago) and have offered proposals, not many can offer exactly what the Nuggets are looking for in return.

For more of Brandon's content be sure to check out NBAPrimetime.com and follow him on twitter @_nbaprimetime
Posted on: October 28, 2010 12:28 pm
 

NBA 2010-11 Season: What we've learned so far

Last night I experienced an overwhelming dose of NBA League Pass for the first time in months, and let me be honest, there were no complaints on my end.

After a mere 48 hours of professional basketball played, I’ve already began to notice fans overreacting, and making stupid predictions based on what they’ve seed thus far.

With the season officially underway, NBAPrimetime’sBrandon Ribak presents questions and gives his first impressions on them for the 2010 season.

Were the Miami Heat over hyped entering the season?

Over hyped isn’t even the word to explain for all the attention that the Heat received once LeBron made his way to South Beach.

During Miami’s first regular season game the team seemed discombobulated at best.

But can you blame them?

Dwyane Wade’s preseason injury put the big three’s “practice time” to build chemistry in limbo. Without a gist of chemistry the team was destined for a loss, especially to arguably the best defensive team in the entire NBA.

The Heat definitely have their work set out for them, but by mid-season we should be seeing a completely new Miami team.

People like NBA commentator Jeff Van Gundy are the ones who set the bar ridiculously high for the Heat. Not once did you see Wade, LeBron, or Bosh come out and state that Miami would break Chicago’s historic 72 win record or that they would end the year with the best record in the league.

The Heat were not over hyped entering the season. They were undoubtedly discussed about more than any other team this offseason, but why wouldn’t they be?

Expect a 60-65 win season out of the Miami Heat and a competitive battle (against Boston) in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Will Blake Griffin give John Wall serious competition for the Rookie of the Year Award?

If you happened to miss Blake Griffin’s debut on Wednesday night then that’s unfortunate.

The 6’10″ power-forward quickly made up for lost time within minutes of the first quarter, one handing an alley-oop, slamming down an offensive put-back, and ultimately ending the game with an obnoxious stat-line of 20 points, 14 rebounds (9 offensive), 4 assists, and one steal.

Many seem to forget just how good Griffin was in college and quite honestly, just how great he can become in the NBA.

With John Wall being the general consensus pick for the Rookie of the Year Award, I see Griffin giving him a major run for his money, just as long as he can remain healthy.

By seasons end, if all goes well, Blake Griffin will take him the trophy with averages of around 14-16PPG and 10-12 RPG, while providing fans with some of the craziest dunks ever seen in the NBA.

Is Kevin Durant on his way to his first Most Valuable Player trophy?

Kevin Durant was runner up to LeBron James for the MVP trophy last season when he dropped career-highs in points (30.1 per contest) and rebounds (7.6 per game).

With LeBron now paired up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, it will obviously be more difficult for James to post his career averages on a nightly basis.

Having said that, the 22 year old phenom has yet to reach his peak (scary, I know). With the same team surrounding him as last season, KD will get the opportunity to capture his second straight scoring title, and his first ever MVP trophy.

So is Durant on his way to his first MVP trophy?

Without a doubt.

For more of Brandon's content be sure to check out NBAPrimetime.com and follow him on twitter @_nbaprimetime
Posted on: October 26, 2010 1:24 pm
Edited on: October 26, 2010 1:26 pm
 

NBA Primetime's 'Opening Game' Power Rankings

NBAPrimetime's Brandon Ribak presents the "Opening Game" installment of his NBA 2010-11 Power Rankings.

Be sure to check out his Western Conference's Preseason Power Rankings and Eastern Conference's Preseason Power Rankings.

RK= Ranking

REC= Last season record
Team                                     RK                        REC         SUMMARY


1Lakers57-25The defending champs kick off the season on top of the NBA. The addition of Blake and Barnes will improve the teams bench, giving the Lakers an even better chance of three-peating.
2Celtics50-32A healthy KG, a 24-year-old Rondo, plus Allen, Pierce, and the offseason signings of both O'Neals place the reigning Eastern Conference champs one up on the Miami Heat.
3Heat47-35Chemistry and injuries are Miami's two major concerns entering the upcoming season. If LeBron, Wade, and Bosh can put those worries to rest, expect the Heat to shoot up in the rankings.
4Magic59-23Unlike the East's other two powerhouse teams (Miami and Boston), the Magic had a rather quiet offseason. Don't be surprised if their roster looks quite different by the February trade deadline.
5Thunder50-32KD and Co. gave LA a major scare during the first round of the postseason and they will certainly look to do so again. The teams young core should uplift the Thunder to a 50+ win season.
6Jazz53-29D-Will will have his hands full feeding Jefferson and Millsap in the paint, but the team will have to start playing better on the road if they want a shot at the title.
7Mavericks55-27Dallas' roster always looks stacked on paper. Maybe this year that talent can translate into a NBA trophy.
8Spurs50-32Parker is back to full strength and Duncan still has enough in the tank to play efficiently and give his Spurs dynasty one last go.
9Trail Blazers50-32Portland fans know just how good this team can be and this season the Blazers will finally prove it. Fingers are crossed for Oden to stay healthy.
10Bulls41-41Losing Boozer for a few months could cut into the amount of W's that Chicago was predicted to win when they first acquired the forward. Regardless, the team is young, well-coached and very, very talented.
11Bucks46-36The Bucks will have yet another successful season, but defeating any of the Eastern powerhouses is out of the question.
12Rockets42-40Yao's back, but he is only projected to play roughly 20 MPG. The combo of Aaron Brooks and Kevin Martin is very appealing, enough for them to be ranked as high as they currently are.
13Hawks53-29Hawks must believe that Joe Johnson will take them far this season or they wouldn't have given him his $126 million contract, right?
14Nuggets53-29Melo is as good as gone by the trade deadline. Once a deal goes through the Nuggets will go from a top Western team to a thing of the past.
15Suns54-28Nash still has it and the offseason acquiring of Turkoglu, Childress, and Warrick should help. But lets face it, Stoudemire was a major loss.
16Knicks29-53New York will put themselves back on the map this season once they make the playoffs for the first time in 6 years. A first round exit should be considered a success, that's unless they acquire Melo mid-season.
17Wizards26-56If you haven't hopped onto the John Wall bandwagon yet then you definitely should. The combo of Wall and Arenas could prove to be deadly, but many questions arise regarding to the former Agent Zero.
18Grizzlies40-42Could an undefeated preseason be a sign of great things to come for Memphis? Probably not, but they definitely should be able to build upon last seasons 40-42 performance.
19Clippers29-53Blake Griffin's beastly self added to a potential breakout season from Baron Davis could place the Clippers in position to compete for a playoff spot.
20Hornets37-45A healthy CP3 could bring any team to the postseason. Add Trevor Ariza and newly acquired Jerryd Bayless to the mix and the Hornets already look destined for a bounce back year.
21Bobcats44-38Charlotte lost their starting point-guard and center this offseason. Forward Gerald Wallace posted career numbers last season and most likely will never average 10+ rebounds per game again.
2276ers27-55Jrue Holiday will enter the spotlight this season and Evan Turner should post solid numbers if all goes well. A playoff spot is possible, but unlikely.
23Pacers32-50Acquiring Darren Collison will undoubtedly help the Pacers snap out of their consecutive playoff absence, just not this season.
24Warriors26-56A backcourt filled with talent, plus a new frontcourt composed of one of the leagues top rebounders (plus a new head coach) will help the Warriors win 5-10 more games this season.
25Nets12-70The Nets are really a new team this season. They have a new coach, a new owner, a new starting power-forward, and a potential monster in Derrick Favors.
26Pistons15-67Detroit battled tons of injuries last season. Their major investments in Ben Gordon and Charlie V should be able to pay (half) off this season, that's if they both can stay healthy.
27Kings25-57Sacramento got off to a hot start last season. The team is loaded with young talent, led by ROY Tyreke Evans. If all goes well, they should notch close to 40 wins this season.
28Timberwolves15-67Michael Beasley thinks Minnesota is the team to beat this season. If they can capture 20+ wins this season I'll consider it a successful year for the Wolves.
29Raptors40-42Losing Bosh drops Toronto to the bottom of the totem, along with the Cavaliers. Unless Bargnani can average close to 30 PPG (even then it probably won't help much), the Raptors are far from making another playoff appearance anytime soon.
30Cavaliers61-21Cleveland will attempt to move on from the LeBron-era. Appearing in just 2 national games this season will make the Cavaliers less popular than a high-school girls volleyball team.

Posted on: October 24, 2010 12:12 pm
 

NBA 2010: Breaking Out The Boldest Predictions

LeBron JamesKobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade,Dwight HowardKevin Durant.

Just typing and reading out loud the NBA’s top players names gets me pumped for the season.

After watching the USA team bring home the gold the only thing on my mind was the official start of the NBA season.

With tip-off roughly 56 hours away, NBAPrimetime’s Brandon Ribak presents the boldest predictions for the upcoming season.

NBA commentator Jeff Van Gundy voiced his predictions on the Miami Heat.

The former NBA coach had this to say about the team, “They will break the single-season win record [of 72]. And I think they have a legit shot at the Lakers’ 33-game [winning] streak [in 1971-72], as well. …They will never lose two games in a row this year.”

Analysis: While it would really be incredible to see Miami break Chicago’s epic 72-10 record, I don’t see it being a top priority for the Heat.

Even though the cast of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh have a better chance then any team in the league to break the record, it doesn’t seem likely to happen, especially since chemistry is still an issue.

The Heat will face off against the Orlando Magic (4 times), Boston Celtics (4 times), and the Los Angeles Lakers (2).

Although fully capable of doing so, even winning all 10 of those games seems unlikely as of right now.

Prediction: Miami exceeds 60+ wins for the first time since the 96′-97′ season.

ESPN’s NBA cast gave their playoff predictions and the New York Knicks‘ Eastern Conference seed average was a 7.5.

Analysis: Amare Stoudemire, Raymond Felton, Anthony Randolph, and TimofeyMozgov have the ability to uplift this Knicks team into playoff contention.

With the East’s top 6 already in place (Miami, Boston, Orlando, Chicago, Atlanta, Milwaukee, in no particular order), the Knicks have the opportunity to sneak in as the 7 or 8 seed for the playoffs.

Prediction: Unless Stoudemire falls to a serious injury, or a team like the Pacers and/or Wizards compile for an unpredicted amount of W’s, the Knicks have the talent to secure their first playoff spot in six years.

ESPN’s Chad Ford predicted that the Portland Trail Blazers “could” be the best team in the West this season.

Analysis: The Blazers locker room was seriously affected by the injury bug last season and the team still managed to win 50 games due to their massive amount of talent.

With a virtually healthy roster (with an exception to Greg Oden) Portland undoubtedly has the ability to emerge as a dominant powerhouse out in the West.

Portland has been known to give the Lakers a difficult time when matching up (Blazers went 2-1 against LA last season) and just the other day when Kobe Bryant was asked who is the toughest player for him to guard in the Western Conference, he stated,

“Roy 365 days, seven days a week. Roy has no weaknesses.”

Prediction: The Trail Blazers have the coaching, leadership, depth, and talent to become a top team in the West. If Oden can somehow remain durable once he returns from injury, Portland will have a chance to overthrow the Lakers in the playoffs.

For more of Brandon's content be sure to check out NBAPrimetime.com and follow him on twitter @_nbaprimetime
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com