Tag:Kemba Walker
Posted on: December 22, 2011 10:54 pm
 

2011-2012 NBA Awards Predictions

With only a few days until the NBA season starts, I felt like getting my predictions out now. So instead of wasting time trying to talk them up, here they are: 

- MVP -


Kevin Durant

Durant is primed to have his best season yet and I think everyone seen it coming as early as watching him light up the summer leagues. No, I'm not naive enough to say that is the reason why he's going to win the MVP, but if you can't tell his best overall scorer in the game, you just haven't been paying attention. KD can score from anywhere on the court and just continues to improve on defense each year. This should be the year he explodes for well over 30+ ppg 8+ rpg 1.5+ spg 1.5+ bpg and finally over 3 apg this year (improving his passing, which has really been the weakest part of his game). He's going to put up the stats and he's likely going to lead his Thunder to a top seed in the West and contend for a title. 

Runner Up - LeBron James

I hate him, you hate him, everyone hates him. Doesn't change the fact that he's got more talent than anyone in the game. If you put a brain of a smarter player in his body (yes, we can play ChiTownCliff's game for a minute here) he would have won a couple titles on top of his two MVPs already. What makes him even more likely to be an MVP is that he's got the talent to dominant on the defensive end as well, and juding by last season, he's starting to focus on that end quite a bit more. If he does that as well as continuing to be a threat on offense, he's going to make another MVP run without question. Only thing holding him back is his other superstar teammate in Dwyane Wade and star big man in Chris Bosh. But even those guys can only slow him to 27 ppg 6 apg and 8.4 rpg, which is still MVP stuff. Heat will obviously be one of the top teams again and contending for the title, so there is no reason to think LBJ can't win another title unless he defers to Wade and Bosh more than he did last year. 

Dark Horse - Dwight Howard

I don't care what team this guy plays for, he's still the best big man in the game, the best defender in the game, and the most dominant presence the paint on both ends of the floor. His offensive game continues to improve (although a little slower than you'd hope for) and he's always going to own the boards and swat shots. He has the ability to impact a team even more than perimeter players like LBJ and Durant because he can control the paint, and it's been proven on many occasions if you can control the paint, you have an inside track to winning lots of games. If he developed any time of a passing game, he would take his game to the next level and be a real threat to win the MVP. 


- Defense Player of the Year -


Dwight Howard

See above. No one can impact a defense like Howard can. Sure, there hasn't been any other real great defenders in awhile to challenge Howard, but that doesn't change the fact that he is still a 3 time DPOY and could tie Big Ben Wallaceand Dikembe Mutombo for the most all time this season.

Runner Up - Andrew Bogut

He's a great rebounder, strong post defender, and a top notch shot blocker. He's got the skills, but his health has kept him from being looked at very highly, and rightfully so. I think he will be able to stay healthy in this shortened season and put up the strong play on defense all year long and get the Bucks into the playoffs. Maybe I'm being too optimistic for an injury prone guy like Bogut, but he's got be healthy at least one full season, especially when it's only 66 games instead of 82 right?

Dark Horse - Gerald Wallace

When he was with the Bobcats he was a DPOY contender a couple years as he's a strong rebounder and excellent help defender. He didn't get as much time and action with the Trail Blazers last year as LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicholas Batum didn't leave tons of minutes for him. However, this year without Roy, I expect Wallace to take an increased role with the team. Aldridge can lead this team on offense, but not on defense and that's where Wallace will have to step up. If he gets back to 8-10 rpg and 2+ spg and bpg like he was with the Bobcats and the Blazers have a good season behind Aldridge and Wallace, he could be a DPOY candidate.


- Rookie of the Year -


Kemba Walker

He didn't win a national title by accident; he's the real deal. Kemba has alot of thigs going in his favor this year that easily point to him as the ROY. First of all, who the hell else do the Bobcats have? D.J. AugustinBoris Diaw? Yeah, not like Kemba is going to have a tough time taking over this team. He's going to be thrown into the fire as the leader right out of the gate and after watching him play at UConn, I think he's up for the task. This guy just seems like a natural born leader and winner. Excellent scorer and a pretty good passer as well. He may not put up Blake Griffin rookie numbers, but they will still be impressive nonetheless and earn him the DPOY.

Runner Up - Brandon Knight

Biased Pistons pick? Maybe, but let me at least make a case before you call me a homer right off the bat. I know the easy way to discount him right off the bat: "The Pistons have too many other guards. He has to fight Rodney StuckeyBen Gordon, and Will Bynum for minutes." Ah, but it's not that simple. Gordon is a 6th man and no matter how much money is thrown at him by the stupidity of Joe D, it doesn't change that. He is able to put up some points off the bench and light up the scoreboard at times, but you can't trust him on defense or to be consistent and fit well with his teammates on offense. Stuckey is no longer a PG, he's an SG and that's how new coach Frank will use him. He doesn't have a shot, but has a great slashing ability to get to the rim and has the size to play the spot and not be a weak spot on defense. 

Bynum and Knight will be the PGs this season and while I love Bynum and he has spurts of great play, both I and coach Frank know he's not the future. Knight may start on the bench, but it won't be long before he gets the starting job and takes over as the PG of this team. He's already shown to be a willing passer and does well at getting his team involved and finding open shooters (which the Pistons have plenty in Gordon, Daye, and Charlie V). He's also shown the willingness to give effort on defense and pick off passes and turn them into transistion offense. Then there is the obvious that everyone knows: he's a strong shooter and can beat his man to the paint. Knight and Monroe will provide a great inside-outside core to this young team for many years to come and show glimses this season of a team on the rise and on it's way to getting back to the playoffs.

Dark Horse - Bismack Biyombo

This was the guy I was begging for the Pistons to get. However, that was before I knew Knight would drop all the way to the Pistons. Still, I would love to have this guy next to Monroe. He's the best defensive prospect since Howard and has rare explosiveness, wingspan, and leaping ability. He's going to get time with the thin front court of the Bobcats and as long as he's not completely incompetent on offense, he'll get enough time to put up some impressive numbers on defense. I wouldn't be surprised to see 8-10 rpg and 2-3 bpg. Future DPOY is in Biyombo's future.


- 6th Man of the Year -


Lamar Odom

From what I've heard and understand, despite him being traded from the Lakers to the Mavericks, he's still going to be used in the 6th man role off the bench (with Shawn Marion and Dirk Nowitzki starting at the two forward spots). With his role not changing much and going to a team that needs rebounding and bench scoring (after losing Tyson Chandler on the boards and Juan Jose Barea for the bench scoring), I don't see any reason for him to not win the 6th man award again this season.

Runner Up - Jason Terry

Yes, the 6th man will come from the Mavericks. Terry is still going to put up points and with Kidd gettin ga year older and no more Barea, he'll have to run the point at times for the Mavs and play an important role in the Mavs having another shot at the Finals.

Dark Horse - Austin Daye

Another Pistons player? Yes, I can't help myself. Daye wasn't very good last year; he looked very uncoordinated and horrible on defense. If he couldn't shoot the ball so well, he wouldn't have gotten any time at all. However, this year under a smarter coach and one that is actually teaching the young players and giving them direction, Daye looks to be responding well to coach Frank. What's most impressive is he looks focused especially on the defensive end. He got 5 blocks in the first preseason game and 2 more in the second game. He's got lots of length at 6'11" and can shoot the ball very well. He looks to take a big step this year and the only thing that might keep him out of contention for this is that he gets moved to the starting lineup. 


Most Improved Player of the Year


Andre Iguodala

I don't believe Iggy was as bad as he played last season. I know he's never been a great #1 option for a team and I would expect his numbers to drop off some when he got other good players around him in Philly, but I never thought he'd be that bad. It wasn't just on offense either. He use to be a strong defender, but last year lost alot of that strong play as well. He was banged up quite a bit last season as well, and is reportedly in much better shape this season dropping 10 pounds and not having any lingering injuries. I expect him to bounce back closer to his old self; maybe not as many assists this time around as he's Jrue Holiday looks ready to take over as PG, but I expect to be scoring well and back to his strong defensive play.

Runner Up - Andrew Bogut

All he has to do is stay healthy, that's it and he will be a contender to win this award. 

Dark Horse - Richard Hamilton

Giving the best attacking PG in the game a shooter like Billups is dangerous for the Bulls and makes it so much more diffcult to defend them. After the big MVP season Rose had last season, I can't see teams just inviting him to score and dominant. Thus, Rip will get plenty of open looks and chances to knock down shots like he was with the Pistons. I don't expect him to score anywhere near 20 ppg, but scoring about 15-16 ppg on a lot higher FG% than he did last year is a big improvement from what he was doing last season for the Pistons.

- Coach of the Year -


Lionel Hollins

The Grizzlies seem to come out of nowhere at the end of last season and making a strong playoff performance. This year there will be no "surprise factor" for the Grizz and there are big expectations out of them from alot of people. In order for them to deliver, it will be coach Hollins job to make sure they can duplicate that late season success and even improve on it. The tricky part will be doing it this time with Rudy Gay in the lineup as he was hurt when the Grizz made the late season run. Chemistry is a huge part of teams and he's got to make Gay and Randolph able to work well with each other as well as the rest of their teammates. If he can do that, this team will be in the playoffs again and maybe even make a run at a Top 4 seed.

Runner Up - Tom Thibodeau

The Bulls had a great season under coach TT last season, so it's kind of hard for them to get any better right? Wrong, they were without Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah for big chunks of the season last year, and also had no respectable shooter to take pressure off Rose. They have the shooter in Rip now and Noah and Boozer (at least for now) are healthy. If they stay together all season long, the Bulls will not only be one of the best regular season teams, they could get to the Finals this time around.

Dark Horse - Nate McMillan

He no longer has Roy as his franchise player and now has Aldridge as his go-to player. However, that doesn't seem to be a huge deal for the Blazers and Coach McMillan as they still made the playoffs. Aldridge will big improved with another season under his wing, Wallace should be even better in a full season with the Blazers, Batum should improve in a bigger role, and they have couple new guards in Jamal Crawford and Raymond Felton to make the loss of Roy not sting as much. Blazers should again be the playoffs and maybe have a shot at being a dark-horse team in the West.


- All NBA Teams - 


All NBA First Team:

G - Chris Paul
G - Dwyane Wade
F - Kevin Durant
F - Blake Griffin
C  - Dwight Howard

All NBA Second Team:

G - Derrick Rose
G - Kobe Bryant
F - LeBron James
F - Dirk Nowitzki 
C  - Al Horford 

All NBA Third Team:

G - Rajon Rondo
G - Eric Gordon
F - Paul Millsap
F - Kevin Love
C  - Andrew Bogut 


All NBA Defensive First Team: 

G - Rajon Rondo
G - Dwyane Wade
F - LeBron James
F - Gerald Wallace
C - Dwight Howard 

All NBa Defensive Second Team:

G - Chris Paul
G - Russell Westbrook
F - Josh Smith
F - Bismack Biyombo
C - Andrew Bogut 


All NBA Rookie First Team:

G - Kemba Walker
G - Brandon Knight
F - Derrick Williams
F - Marcus Morris
C - Bismack Biyombo 

All NBA Rookie Second Team:

G - Kyrie Irving
G - Darius Morris
F - Jan Vesley
F - Tristan Thompson
C -  Enes Kanter


That's all folks! Discuss, make your own predictions, or just rip mine if you can't think of anything better to do.
Posted on: May 22, 2011 1:46 am
 

Detroit Pistons Draft Outlook

Well I was hoping to see the Pistons get lucky and move up in the draft from their originally slotted 7th spot, but instead it was the Cavaliers that got the lucky draw and the Pistons went the opposite direction and moved down one spot. With this draft lacking alot of potential huge stars, it's likely the Pistons won't be getting any player that is going to be able to be a future leading star for them. So the most important thing will be to draft a guy that not only has talent, but also can impact their team and be a great role player right off the bat. There are a few options, but I think it clearly comes down to two guys: Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo.

When Chauncey Billups was at the PG helm for the Pistons leading their offense, they were contending for the East title each year and always at least in the ECFs. The won a title and went to back to back Finals appearances in the Billups era, but since trading him to the Nuggets they have dropped off significantly and that's really an understatement. Allen Iverson was one of my favorite players of all time, but that experiment failed miserably. They had picked Rodney Stuckey in the 2007 draft and had hoped he was going to be able to step up and be Billups understudy and eventually take the starting job once Billups got too old and had to step down. He showed flashes of amazing talent and ability to get to the lane and create offense; even in the 2008 NBA playoffs where he was penetrating the Celtics defense very well at time (and I remind you this was the #1 defense at the time that went on to win the title).

This is what gave Dumars the thought that he could trade Billups now, get Iverson and use his expiring contract to free up cap space in the 2010 super FA market to get players to go along with Stuckey and the other younger Pistons players to start the transition from the older 2004 championship players to a new Pistons team. Well as we have seen since, Stuckey hasn't stepped up and Joe D decided to use his extra money on Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, which has also proven to be disappointing. Stuckey has still shown those flashes, but has to be consistent enough to be that PG they need to lead the offense. Now he has shown horrible attitude problems and refuses to play for the team at the end of the year because of arguments with the coach. Well I say good riddance to him as he has obviously failed to live up to expectations and is now being a whiney baby that has no business being our point guard.

So now the question will be who will fill that spot? I love Will Bynum as he is a tenacious defender with quickness and lots of athletic ability (dude can throw down for a little guy), and I like how unselfish he is on offense always looking to pass first and creating open players by being able to penetrate the lane well. But I know he is never a guy that is going to be able to lead their team, so they will need to get someone he can. A guy that could do that is Kemba Walker. He has proven to be a strong leader and able to take a team on his shoulders and win them games. He has amazing scoring ability as well as some good passing skills (didn't use it a whole lot in college but he does have it when I watched him play games at UConn). He has the ability to get into the lane, stop-n-pop for jumpers, and get them big shots. Sound familiar? The next Mr. Big Shot maybe? Of course if they do this they need to try and trade Stuckey, and he still has talent and with some teams needing PGs I'm sure someone would bite. They would have a good two-man, inside-outside tandem with Kemba and Greg Monroe that could be the future of the new Pistons squad and possible start turning things around back to at least making the playoffs.


The other option is to look down low, which is most likely the bigger concern at the time. They got Greg Monroe last year and I really liked what I seen from him. He should be the main big for the Pistons for years to come. He's got size, good rebounding, good passing, and a developing offensive game that will get better each year. He can anchor them in the post on offense for sure, but while he's a solid post defender he's not the best help defender and is not great and helping on driving players. Ben Wallace was the doing this for the Pistons in his prime years (being the best defensive player in the league) and is doing it now at the twilight stage of his career. But he's not the young athlete he once was and is close to hanging it up and focusing on becoming a defense attorney upon his retirement (fitting isn't it?), and the question is now who is going to do that? The Pistons have turn things around on defense because that had been their identity for years and always what was the backbone of their success. A guy that could fill that role is Bismack Biyombo.

The young (or old depending whether you think he's 18 or 30) kid from Congo is not someone that was a big time draft prospect all year. He hasn't been playing in any big time college basketball, and has only recently been playing big time professional Euro basketball for Spain. However, what he lacks in experience at high levels, he makes up for freakish talent and athleticism. He can jump out of the jump, has energy galore, and a monstrous 7 foot 7 inch wing span. When I looked at his size, 6'9" 240 lbs, I thought to myself: "That looks familiar; I think that was Big Ben's size." Then I watched tape on him and I got a chill up my spine as Big Ben flashbacks went through my mind.

He is a very strong defender, with strong rebounding, great leaping ability, a long wing span, and lots of energy and hustle that just makes him a carbon copy of a young Ben Wallace in terms of physical attributes and abilities. I even watched a few highlights where he was playing up and pressing the ball handler after the ball was in-bounded, and the only other big man I ever seen do that was Big Ben. I'd love to put Bismack alongside Monroe and give them an excellent post duo for their future. Monroe can lead them on offense while focusing on man defense and Biyombo can do the dirty work, clean up the boards, swat shots left and right, and just straight out hustle. While I'm tired of watching the Pistons drafting European players and them failing to pan out (Darko ruined Euro players for me to be honest), the potential ability Bismack has to be the next "Big B" just has me hoping they get him at the 8th spot.

Either way it's time to end the transition phase and move onto to the new generation of players. Tayshaun Prince's contract is up and while I wish they would have been smart enough to get something out of him (someone would have wanted an expiring contract), it's time to cut ties with him and move on. Richard Hamilton will always be remembered and loved for what he did with the Pistons and is probably their best pure shooter in history and I think one of the best shooters running off screens of all time, his time has passed as well and they need to trade him along with Stuckey. Guys like Monroe, Bynum, Jonas Jerebko, Gordon, and Austin Daye are their future now and they can add another young gun to that group in a couple months with their 8th overall pick. Whether they choose to get a guy that can lead their offense in Kemba or a guy that can impact and improve immensely their post defense in Bismack, it's time to get the new era of Pistons basketball started. We finally have a new owner, Flint's own Tom Gores, and we can finally move past this phase of unbearable to watch basketball.

I want to be proud again to say............

DEEEEEEETROIT BAAAAAAAAAAAAASKETBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
AAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com