Tag:Grizzlies
Posted on: February 11, 2009 2:31 pm
 

Raptors - Week 15 Catch up Review

Week 15 – Catching up with the Raptors

Well, let’s see, we lost Chris Bosh for a few games, lost to the Magic, the Cavaliers, the Lakers, the Hornets and the Grizzlies, but we recovered to beat the Al Jefferson – less Timberwolves, but barely. This team is now 20 – 34 and they play the Spurs, then have the All-Star break to rest, though they should have training camp at this point and start over! Then they have the Cavs again and the Knicks a couple of times, then the Wolves again, then the second game against the Suns to end the month. Not much to look forward to at this point.

The Magic game – Jameer Nelson and Dwight Howard had huge games as the Raptors offered little resistance. Jose Calderon lead the team with 16 points while Chris Bosh had 9 rebounds. Joey Graham had the first of a series of solid games this past week. Lost by 23 and it was flattering at best!

 

 

The Cavaliers game – LeBron James – 33 points, monster block on Chris Bosh, Wally Szczerbiak – 16 points, Daniel Gibson – 18 points off of the bench. The Raptors looked awful again as the Cavaliers toyed with them the whole game after opening a 22 point 1st quarter lead. For the Raptors, Chris Bosh had a good game with 29 points while Jermaine O’Neal offered 20. Anthony Parker was solid with 8 assists. Lost by 18 but really had no chance after that first quarter as LeBron sat a lot of 2nd half.

 

The Lakers game – Kobe Bryant – 36 points, Pau Gasol – 31 points, Lamar Odom – 13 points and Derrick Fisher had 12 points as the Lakers continued the season without Andrew Bynum, but just keep rolling on. The Raptors played an ispired game and kept within reach for most of the game but couldn’t climb all the way back as Jermaine O’Neal, Joey Graham and Andrea Bargnani all had more than 20 points each in the loss. Chris Bosh added 12 and left with a sore knee. Anthony Parker started for the ailing Jose Calderon and added 18 points and 9 assists. Jamario Moon scored 2 points as Joey G started. Roko Ukic added 8 points and 2 assists off the bench. Loss by 8.

 

The Hornets game – No Chris Paul should bring joy to the hearts of opposing coaches, but the Raptors could not find a way to stop Peja Stojakovic who scored 28 points and David West, James Posey and Rasual Butler all added 17 points. The Raptors held an 83 – 75 lead with 6:52 left and held an 11 point margin, but still lost. The key to the game was the 3 point scoring of the Hornets who hit 15 while the Raptors could only manage 7. Loss by 9

 

 

The Grizzlies game – Probably the worst NBA game I have seen in the past 10 years or so, it should be removed from all highlight packages as game not played and the fans should all be refunded and offered therapy. Two bad teams playing badly. Only 6 players score 10 or more points – Mike Conley, O.J. Mayo and Hakim Warrick for the Grizzlies and Jose Calderon, Joey Graham, and Jason Kapono for the Raptors. With a combined score of 148 points, it was painful to watch. Marc Gasol played ok, but looked like a very old man all game, while the Raptors just keep fading. Loss by 8.

 

The Timberwolves game – The Raptors played a bit better, but without Al Jefferson, this Wolves team is bad. Randy Foye dropped 33 while 5 other ‘wolves scored double digits – Mike Miller, Sebastian Telfair, Kevin Love, Ryan Gomes, and Rodney Carney, while the Raptors were lead by Jermaine O’Neal with 22 and Joey Graham playing well with Chris Bosh down scoring a season high 24 points. Jason Kapono scored 18 as did Andrea Bargnani. Win by 8.

 

 

Raptors close the week with a 20 – 34 record second last in the Eastern Conference, but only 5 games behind the Bucks for 8th overall. With the Bobcats, the Pacers, the Knicks and the Bulls and the Nets between us and 8th, the prospects are not good for this team. At least the Wizards are in worse shape than we are at this point. Thank goodness the all-star break is on now.

Posted on: January 21, 2009 11:12 am
 

2009 Free Agent Class - Overlooked and Forgotten?

I know we are all focused on 2010 when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh become free agents and the rumours that are swirling around with that, but what about next years class? looking over the list i see a lot of pieces that many teams would love to have, so, the question is do you think this season's batch of free agents will be pretty much ignored or will there be a flurry of trades and deals to secure some of these guys before 2010 which, in my opinion, is really a three team race right now.

Here is the list

Hawks -Josh Childress, Solomon Jones, Marvin Williams
Mike Bibby, Zaza Pachulia
 

 

 

Celtics - Glen Davis, Leon Powe
Eddie House (P)
 

 

Bobcats - Shannon Brown, Jermareo Davidson, Raymond Felton, Ryan Hollins, Sean May

 

 

Aaron Gray,Drew Gooden
 

 

 

Cavaliers - Lance Allred, Tarence Kinsey
Zydrunas Ilgauskas (ETO), Damon Jones, Joe Smith, Eric Snow, Wally Szczerbiak, Billy Thomas, Anderson Varejao (P)
 


Mavericks - Brandon Bass, Gerald Green, Eddie Jones, Jason Kidd, Keith McLeod, James Singleton
 

 

 

Nuggets -Linas Kleiza
Chris Andersen, Anthony Carter, Steven Hunter (ETO), Allen Iverson, Dahntay Jones
 

 

Pistons - Will Bynum (T), Jason Maxiell, Check Samb
Kwame Brown (P), Richard Hamilton (ETO), Rasheed Wallace
 

 

 

Warriors - C.J. Watson
Al Harrington (P)
 

 

Rockets - Mike Harris, Luther Head
Ron Artest, Ron Francis
 

 

 

Pacers - Danny Granger, Jarrett Jack, Josh McRoberts
Maceo Baston, Marquis Daniels (T), Travis Diener (P), Jeff Foster, Stephen Graham, Rasho Nesterovic
 

 

Clippers - Ricky Davis (P), Steve Novak, Brian Skinner
Jason Hart
 

 

 

Lakers - Coby Karl
Trevor Ariza, Kobe Bryant (ETO), Chris Mihm, Lamar Odom
 

 

Grizzlies - Juan Carlos Navarro, Hakim Warrick
Antoine Walker (ETO)
 

 

 

Heat - Stephane Lasme, Joel Anthony
Mark Blount (ETO), Shawn Marion
 

 

Bucks - Ramon Sessions, Charlie Villanueva
Malik Allen (P), Tyronn Lue, Desmond Mason
 

 

 

Timberwolves - Rashad McCants
Calvin Booth, Jason Collins
 

 

Nets - Nenad Krstic
Trenton Hassell (ETO), Jarvis Hayes (T), Stromile Swift
 

 

 

Hornets - Melvin Ely, Mike James (P)
 

 

 

Knicks - David Lee, Nate Robinson
Jamal Crawford (ETO), Eddy Curry (ETO), Jerome James (P), Stephon Marbury, Quentin Richardson (ETO), Malik Rose
 

 

Thunder - Johan Petro
Adrian Griffin, Chris Wilcox, Damien Wilkins (ETO), Donyell Marshall
 

 

 

Maqic - Marcin Gortat
Keith Bogans, Brian Cook (P), Adonal Foyle, Anthony Johnson (P), Hedo Turkoglu (ETO)
 

 

76ers - Royal Ivey (P), Andre Miller, Kareem Rush
 

 

 

Suns - D.J. Strawberry
Matt Barnes, Grant Hill

 

 

Trail Blazers - Ike Diogu, Channing Frye, Martell Webster
Raef LaFrentz

 

 

Kings - Bobby Brown (P), Francisco Garcia
Shareef Abdur-Rahim (ETO), Bobby Jackson
 

 

 

Spurs - Ime Udoko, Jacque Vaughn

 

 

Raptors - Carlos Delfino, Joey Graham, Jamario Moon, Will Solomon
Jermaine O'Neal (P), Anthony Parker

 

 

Jazz - Paul Millsap, Kyrylo Fesenko (T)
Carlos Boozer (P), Jarron Collins, Brevin Knight, Kyle Korver (ETO), Mehmet Okur (ETO), Ronnie Price

 

 

Wizards - Etan Thomas (ETO)

Posted on: January 10, 2009 1:28 pm
 

Raptors - Week 11 in Review

As 2008 came to a close, the Raptors struggled losing their last 3 games of the year to the Trail Blazers, the Warriors and the Nuggets. With a 12 – 20 record, they were looking for a new year that could offer hope that indeed had a team that could be competitive every game. As the year began, they picked up a huge win over the Rockets which brought them into this past week and games with teams they felt were beatable. Here is how I saw the past week in Raptorsland.

 

Sunday, January 4th, 2009 Raptors vs. Magic

Raptors 108
Magic 102

On a day where Jermaine O’Neal and Jose Calderon were both out with injuries, the Raptors were lead from inspired back court play by Will Solomon and Roko Ukic who were both needing and wanting the opportunity to show they can play well at this level. Dwight Howard led the Magic with 39 points while Andrea Bargnani started at Center for the third straight game. With 18 points and 5 rebounds, he played a solid game and looked very comfortable with his new role in the low post as he was still able to stretch Howard out to a place he was unable to be effective defensively and as a result of the extra room, Chris Bosh was able to collect 23 points and 11 rebounds in the game. Rashard Lewis scored 20 on 6 for 6 from 3 point range while adding 9 assists. The big step up of the game was Anthony Parker who has struggled all season with not only his defense, but his shot has been very suspect as his confidence has waned. Sunday, he scored 26 points on 13 – 16 shooting taking 0 3 point shots with many coming off drives as the interior defense of the Magic was stretched. Ending the game +6 on points in the paint against a tough Magic team was a large part of why they were able to carry the play down the stretch. Back to our point guards who both played excellent games. Will Solomon scored 11 points and added 4 assists, but committed only 2 turnovers in the game. Roko Ukic scored 12 points and had 7 assists while committing 2 turnovers as well. 23 points and 11 assists from the guards who both showed that they belong in this league and should allow Jose Calderon to take the time he needs to heal his ailing hamstring. Jamario Moon added 9 assists as the Raptors shot 53.5% from the field and were +8 for total rebounds while committing only 10 turnovers.

Monday, January 5th, 2009 Raptors @ Bucks

Raptors 97
Bucks 107

The Bucks were lead by Michael Redd and Charlie Villanueva who scored 35 and 25 points in a game they needed to win coming off of losses to the Bobcats and the Rockets, this team looked to extend it’s lead on the Raptors who are still in the race for that 8th playoff spot in the east, so any chance they can get to extend that is welcomed, and they took advantage of a Raptors team that has struggled in close games this season. Down the stretch, the Raptors went 0 – 5 while the Bucks hit shot after shot lead by Luke Ridnour who hit a huge 3 point shot over Chris Bosh after the Raptors had extended the lead to 4 at 95 – 91 with 2:52 left in the 4th. Ridnour added 2 more before Charlie Bell tied the game at 97. The Raptors then missed their next 5 shots while the Bucks pulled away. The game was a tough loss on the road but the signs are there that this Raptors team is moving the right way. The Bucks played without Andrew Bogut and Malik Allen while the Raptors were still without Jermaine O’Neal and Jose Calderon. Ramon Sessions added 11 points off the bench for the Bucks. The Raptors were led by Chris Bosh with 31 points and 11 rebounds, Andrea Bargnani with 21 points and 8 rebounds and Will Solomon matched his career high 11 assists with 4 points and only 2 turnovers starting again. Roko Ukic added 11 points and only 1 assist. 16 turnovers turned into 23 points as the Bucks were +9 in that category and were +5 in offensive rebounds. Jason Kapono looked and played bad with 5 turnovers which seemed to occur at critical points of the game.

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009 Raptors @ WizardsRaptors 99
Wizards 93

After dealing Hassan Adams to the Clippers in the afternoon, the Raptors faced the Wizards with only 9 players as both Jermaine O’Neal and Jose Calderon were both at home trying to find a TSN2 feed to watch the game and Jamario Moon was in Alabama awaiting the birth of his daughter. The Wizards came into the game with a 7 – 26 record and last in the Eastern conference, but coming off a week in which they beat the high-flying Cavaliers and the Rockets. With no Gilbert Arenas, this team has struggled all year and like the Raptors, have had an early season coaching change. Led by Antawn Jamison with 32 points and 7 rebounds and Caron Butler with 15 points, the Wizards had trouble controlling the Raptors shooters as they ended the game shooting 54.5% for the game while the Wizards could not find many answers. Though the Wizards were able to be +4 on second chance points and +3 on the offensive glass, the Raptors were hot from outside ending the game 8 – 16 from 3 point range and +9 on the game. This was a game we were supposed to win, and a much better effort from the team as our very short bench contributed 22 points. Mike James and Andray Blatche were solid for the Wizards while Andrea Bargnani poured in 25 points and gathered 4 rebounds in one of his best games this season as Chris Bosh struggled with 18 points but added 8 rebounds and 6 assists to his solid game. Anthony Parker added another solid game with 15 points and 7 rebounds and 2 assists while Will Solomon starting again for Jose chipped in 14 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. Jason Kapono had a strong game off the bench with 12 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist. Jake Voskuhl added 5 rebounds and 1 assist to the mix.

Friday, January 9th, 2009 Raptors vs. Grizzlies

Raptors 103
Grizzlies 82

The Raptors ran out to an early 13 point lead only to once again give it all back in the third quarter as Rudy Gay scored 22 points in the game but was shut down in the 4th quarter. Memphis came into the game having lost 11 of 12, but did pick up a win last week against the Mavericks while losing to the Nets and Timberwolves. Hakim Warrick scored 18 off the bench while O.J. Mayo, a leading contender for Rookie of the Year, scored 11 on a tough shooting day as he went 4 – 14 on the night. Marc Gasol added 9 points and 5 rebounds for the struggling Grizzlies who are now 2 – 15 on the road. Chris Bosh scored his 10th 30+ game of the season finishing with a double double with 32 points and 10 rebounds on the night. Andrea Bargnani continued his inspired play with 21 points and 8 rebounds as he out played the smaller front line the Grizzlies threw at him. With 64 points from our front line of Bosh, Bargnani and Jason Kapono who added 11 off the bench, the Grizzlies were only able to answer with 31 from their front of Gasol, Warrick and Darrell Arthur. Will Solomon had a steady game with 10 points and 9 assists and 3 turnovers. The first half had the bad Raptors show up with 8 rebounds which allowed the Grizzlies to keep the game close after closing the score in the second quarter. With only 5 in the second, they were able to pull away and put this team away and were able to sit both Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani with about 4 minutes left in the game giving the bench some valuable minutes to put the game away. They responded with 31 points as a group and were a huge reason why this game ended early for the Grizzlies. With 10 points from Jake Voskuhl and Kris Humphries and 6 assists for Kapono, these guys pulled away in the 4th and were instrumental in maintaining the lead the team rebuilt in the 3rd.

Players of the Week

Chris Bosh – with Jermaine O’Neal missing the entire week, Chris recorded 2 30+ games and 2 double double and averaged 26 points and 10 rebounds and 3.75 assists. He lead this team at both ends of the floor and shot nearly 60% from the floor on the week as he spent a lot of time attacking the rim and working the boards.

Andrea Bargnani – As he continues to make starts as this teams Center, he continues to flourish with his solid inside play combined with excellent outside shooting making him a very tough player to matchup with for most opponents. Making 14 3points shots over the week, he opened up the interior all week so Bosh could make use of the open floor.

Will Solomon – Starting for Jose Calderon, Will was able to use the opportunity to have consistent minutes to elevate his game to a level most expected him to perform at. His week ended with him averaging 9.75 points, 7.25 assists on 2.25 turnovers and 1.5 rebounds per week. Combined with Roko Ukic, the two gave us 16.75 points and 10.25 assists per game. Solid play by both, but Will was the leader as he played the bulk of the minutes and controlled the floor and got the ball where it needed to be and was able to push the tempo when he could. This was his best week as a Raptors player by far and very a timely display of the skill we were waiting to see.

Honorable mentionsAnthony Parker, Jamario Moon and Jason Kapono all played solid this week and at times were stellar performers. Parkers 14 points per game were critical as were Moon’s nearly 7 rebounds per game. He isn’t scoring as we would like, but his defense has picked up and I am sure his offense will return. Jason had a couple of good games and a couple of bad games, but he is working hard and it will pay itself off soon as he finds his stroke again.

With a back to back with the Celtics followed by games against the Bulls and the Pacers with the Suns and the Hawks early next week, this was a much needed week for the Raptors and, who knows, the Celtics look vulnerable right now and an inspired game by the Raptors could bring some positive results for this team.

Category: NBA
Posted on: January 5, 2009 5:05 pm
 

Raptors - Week 11 in Preview

Week 11 begins tonight with a game against the 16 – 19 Bucks, currently in 8th place one place ahead of the Raptors for the last playoff spot in the East. In the past 10 games, they have won six including wins over the Spurs, the Jazz and the Knicks, split games with the Bobcats and have lost to the Rockets, the Pistons and the 76ers. Following this on Wednesday, the Wizards complete a short 2 game road trip with neither Jose Calderon nor Jermaine O’Neal traveling with the team. The Wizards are struggling for consistency as well and are a dismal 7 – 25, yet were able to defeat the Cavaliers who have gone 2 – 2 this past week splitting games with the Heat and defeating the Rockets before losing last night to the Wizards. Friday brings the Grizzlies to town and their 11 – 23 record having lost to the Suns, the Spurs and the Timberwolves before knocking off the Mavericks Sunday. Here is how I see the week shaping up.

Monday, January 05, 2009 Raptors @ Bucks

With Andrew Bogut questionable for the game tonight and Malik Allen out, the Bucks will have a tough time up front with Andrea Bargnani and Chris Bosh both playing very solid games this past week. Starting Dan Gadzuric and Luc Richard Mbah a Mouteand and Richard Jefferson up front, the Bucks will have trouble with our inside game and should Jamario Moon continue to gather rebounds as he has been, the Bucks will be forced to beat us with Michael Redd and Luke Ridenour. Not entirely out of the question and the Raptors will have to be sure to keep the defensive pressure on as Will Solomon, Roko Ukic and Anthony Parker look to continue the guard play that has been solid this past week. Jason Kapono is set to have a big game and he should find lots of room to shoot, as the Bucks send a smaller line up to the court.

Wizards - 7 - 23 heading into the week following a win over the CavaliersWednesday, January 07, 2009 Raptors @ Wizards

The Wizards start Antawn Jamison and Andray Blatche with no real Center as Caron Butler fills the other forward position. This should give the Raptors the edge inside as Andrea Bargnani and Chris Bosh will look to put pressure on the interior of the Wizards all night long. With Gilbert Arenas and DeShawn Stevenson hurt, the Wizards have been starting 4 forwards with Dominic McGuire filling the 4th forward position and Mike James running the point. Anthony Parker and Jamario Moon should be able to control this lineup with speed and help defense as Will and Roko should be able to control this game from start to finish. I can’t see the Wizards winning unless the Raptors fall asleep as the Cavaliers did.

GrizzliesFriday, January 09, 2009 Raptors vs. Grizzlies

The Grizzlies bring Marc Gasol, Rudy Gay, O.J. Mayo and Kyle Lowry to the game with Darrell Arthur as well as Hakim Warrick. The Raptors had best be paying attention as this team could take advantage of any attitude that might develop should they win the first two games this week. I think they will be ready after a short road trip and looking to prepare for the back to back with the Celtics on Sunday and Monday. I am confident that Coach Triano won’t let this team drift away this week.

Celtics - starting the week 29 - 6, 1st in the East and second over allSunday, January 11, 2009 Raptors vs. Celtics
Monday, January 12, 2009 Raptors @ Celtics

I will do both here as they will be hard to separate in the course of the weekend. The Celtics have been inconsistent the past 10 games winning only 6 losing to the Lakers on Christmas day then the Warriors on the 26th. Since then, they have lost to the Trail Blazers and the Knicks but are still comfortable with a 29 – 6 record and still 1st overall in the east, but second over all in the league just behind the Lakers. With Kevin Garnett playing as well as he ever has and the surging play of Rajon Rondo, this Celtics team offers depth and skill to about 10 players with Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Leon Powe, Kendrick Perkins, Glen Davis and Tony Allen leading the way. The Raptors will need to be at the top of their game but will be looking to steal one of these games and I think they might be ready to do it at this point. The Raptors have looked more confident with a lead than at any other point this season so I look for 2 very good games.

Next week brings us the Bulls, the Pacers and the Suns as this team heads to the all-star break looking to get back to or above %.500. That would be a very good recovery from what looked like a dismal season not 2 weeks ago.

Posted on: May 26, 2008 4:05 pm
 

7 worst nba teams prepare for next year

hey guys, i should not be allowed to be home sick.... ever

here is my latest nba entry on my blog... man am i bored LOL

As we come to the end of the 2007-2008 NBA season, I have begun to think about the “worst” teams in the league and their prospects for next year. I hope to begin a discussion about how these teams might fair next season as I evaluate their rosters and possible draft picks as well as coaching changes.

So here are the bottom 7 teams and their records last season:

Bucks 26 - 56
Clippers 23 - 59
Knicks 23 - 59
Timberwolves 22 - 60
Grizzlies 22 - 60
SuperSonics 20 - 62
Heat 15 – 67

I will start with the Heat and work up the list.

Miami Heat – Coach – Erik Spoelstra

A look at the Heat depth chart reveals a huge injury issue with this team that struggled with a consistent rotation all season. They ended the season with Dwyane Wade, Shawn Marion, Udonis Haslem, Dorell Wright and Alonzo Mourning all on the injury list.  As a group they lost 168 games to injury creating a huge hole in every position except point guard where Jason Williams was the leading player in games played at 67. The only player on the roster to play in 82 games this season was Ricky Davis, and he is an unrestricted free agent after this season averaging a little more than 3 points a game below his career average.

So here is what I see by position with the Heat.

At Center they have a huge hole after trading away Shaq and not really having a true backup with Mourning hopefully retiring and the options being small centers at best.  Earl Barron at 7’ 0” but only 245 pounds is too small to play a consistent role as a back to the hoop center and found himself behind Mark Blount who probably should be a PF not a Center.

Here is the Heat starting 5 as I see them next season

PG – Derrick Rose – 2nd overall pick in the 2008 draft! Will fit in very well.
SG – Dwyane Wade
SF – Ricky Davis – unless he signs and leaves
PF – Shawn Marion
C – Mark Blount

I think the biggest problem areas they have right now are in the SF and C positions. With no assurance that Ricky Davis will return, the are very thin with Stephane Lasme and Dorell Wright. If they can find a free agent Center along the lines of a Jamaal Magloire, the starting rotation would become very solid in every position. With Shawn Marion entering his option year, I suspect the heat will look to re-sign, but with Carlos Boozer a restricted free agent, one can only imagine what this team would look like with him in the front court. Or perhaps they will pursue a SF to replace Ricky and a guy like Ira Newble would look good in this lineup.

Miami will have a difficult off-season as they wait to see how their free agent situation pans out and how they recover from their many serious injuries. I sure hope that Dwyane will come back 100% next year and not suffer through a partially healed shoulder again.

L.A. Clippers – Coach – Mike Dunleavy

Well, the biggest issue for this team is found in this news report:

The Clippers hope they won't have to go back to square one this summer, but two major obstacles lie in the way -- securing the organization's future with forwards Elton Brand and Corey Maggette.
Both players are eligible to opt out of the final year of their respective contracts. In the case of Brand, he is due to make $16.44 million in 2008-09. Maggette is on the books for $7 million.
The possibility of this team losing BOTH franchise quality players would devastate this fragile franchise next season.

Here is another team that suffered huge losses due to injuries with Elton Brand recovering from Achillies tendon damage and C Chris Kaman missing 26 games this season as well while having a career season which took 13 points a game off the board while leaving them Paul Davis at Center, which can’t be a good thing.

Assuming that both Brand and Maggette back, here is the starting 5 for this team:

PG – Shaun Livingston
SG – Cuttino Mobley
SF - Corey Maggette
PF – Elton Brand
C – Chris Kaman

With the 7th pick they are projected to take either a SF in Danilo Gallinari from Italy, or Russell Westbrook, a SG from UCLA. We see that either of these would be chosen on the assumption of losing either Brand or Maggette. With Brevin Knight at backup PG and Al Thornton at backup SF those positions are solid and any additions would create a very good level of depth as Knight matures. Nick Fazekis is a free agent (restricted) and could be a good addition to any trade they might attempt this off-season.

IF the Clippers can solidify the Mobley Maggette issue, they could be a more consistent team unless injuries hit them again taking out Kaman and Livingston after a quick start and Brand only playing 8 games.

Knicks – Coach – Mike D’Antoni

Here is an organization in total disarray with no focus for the past 2 seasons while it seemed all news was about the coach Isaiah Thomas and the media frenzy that has surrounded him since he almost destroyed the Raptors.

Bringing in Mike D’Antoni instantly commits this team to an offense that will be explosive and exciting. And as we have seen, they will win a lot of games!  The question becomes how long will it take the team to clean out the dead wood and bring in some consistent players.  With Stephon Marbury able to opt out this off – season, Nate Robinson would probably become the starting PG but at 5’ 9”, he would be seriously out matched against most PG’s on a nightly basis. With the 6th overall pick, they are projected to get either Eric Gordon, a 6’ 2” PG/SG from Indiana or O.J. Mayo, 6’ 5” From USC. I bet Mike would love to get his hands on O.J. but Eric Gordon would fit well also playing either an SG or a PG position and O.J. would make a great PG replacement for the well-worn Marbury who seems to have run his course in New York. If the Grizz take the projected top C in the draft, then O. J. could fall to number 6 and the Knicks. If, as has been rumoured, LeBron James were to show up in 2010, this team would be set to run and score a lot of points!

Here is my projected starting 5 for the Knicks:

PG – O.J. Mayo
SG – Jamal Crawford
SF – Quentin Richardson
PF – David Lee
C – Eddy Curry

I am assuming that Marbury gets no offers and walks away to sign a free agent contract with someone like the Nets, wouldn’t him and Vince Carter look great whining together! Mike has a lot of work to do but has a lot of role players that the top teams would love to have on their bench and could get a few young players to develop in anticipation of 2010.

This team will still need a pass first guard and I suspect the Knicks will make the deal that will bring someone like Dee Brown to the team. Imagine that trio of guards in the Knicks back-court – O.J., Jamal, and Dee Brown. Very solid young running players, the kind of backcourt D’Antoni loves. Not sure anyone can run the O like Steve Nash did, but he would love to have Dee Brown’s energy and shooting. I suspect this team won’t lose 59 games next year.

Timberwolves – Coach – Randy Wittman

This young team has some young, talented players in Randy Foye, Corey Brewer, and Al Jefferson. A new coach and an off-season to blend this team that lost Kevin Garnett but has some young budding Stars on it will help them become respectable on a night to night basis. With the 3rd overall draft pick they are projected to get Brook Lopez. A 7’0” center from Stanford which would allow Al Jefferson to move to PF and become a very tough matchup against most western conference teams.

Here is the projected starting 5 as I see them:

PG – Randy Foye
SG - Corey Brewer
SF – Marko Jaric
PF – Al Jefferson
C – Brook Lopez

With a new coach and a new system, this team will have challenges, but trading Antoine Walker for say a Jamaal Magloire would give this team a solid Center and allow the kid to grow a bit before starting. This team will struggle the first half of the year I suspect as the front court finds its structure and roles. This team could have a +.500% second half.

Grizzlies - Coach – Marc Iavaroni

Here is a team that lost its star player in Pau Gasol, its PG in Damon Stoudemire and is in recovery mode. With Rudy Gay coming into his own, this team is very thin up front. Darko Milicic and Hakim Warrick do not inspire much fear in any team in this league and together offer up 18 ppg. That is not good enough to win more than 25 games at any level of basketball. This team needs help up front and would find it in the 5th over all pick with either Kevin Love of UCLA or Brook Lopez if the T’Wolves pass on him. Either would be a good fit with Rudy Gay and take pressure off the back court to score 50 points a game to win!  Even picking up Anthony Randolph would be a great pick as he would provide a rebounding presence up front.

I will work with the Grizz getting Kevin Love to replace the motion that Pau Gasol took with him for the starting 5.

PG – Mike Conley
SG – Juan Carlos Navarro
SF – Rudy Gay
PF – Kevin Love
C – Darko Milicic

Who knows, maybe someone will want Kwame Brown and make a deal for him and they pick up a true center. I am sure the Grizz are hoping that Lopez falls to #5 for them. This team will struggle next season as they recover from the loss of Gasol. The future looks better than next year as they need a mobile Center who can score. There aren’t many around at this point. I see a few deals being made to shore up the front court and give Rudy some help.

Bucks – Coach – Scott Skiles

This team should have won a lot more games this past season with Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut and Mo Williams and Charlie Villanueva, this team had injury issues and suffered through a very tough season. A new coach will bring a defensive energy to this team that will refocus them and allow the front court to provide the interior game that is potentially available. Mo Williams and Michael Redd offer a solid back court and with Ramon Sessions able to play either effectively, this team is solid on the back court. With the 8th overall pick, the Bucks should be able to land a solid SF prospect in Anthony Randolph or perhaps a Joe Alexander who would both provide a nice 3rd option up front and provide the Bucks a threat in the SF position. Projected by some to take Danilo Gallinari who has been compare to Hedo Turkoglu in talent and play sense.

Here is the starting 5 as I see them:

PG – Mo Williams
SG – Michael Redd
SF - Danilo Gallinari
PF – Charlie Villanueva
C – Andrew Bogut

This team has solid players and strong backups in the guard positions. It will need to strengthen the front court behind Charlie and Bogut to become solid with a bench that can compete as the falloff is too great. I suspect this team could make a couple minor deals to strengthen the bench with a vet or two.

SuperSonics – Coach – P. J. Carlisimo

Kevin Durant leads this team that struggled with youth at times. P.J. has little to work with beyond KD and Nick Collison. Luke Ridinour has spots of brilliance, but seems to be content with being in the NBA most nights. With no real Center, this team will need to shore up the middle to allow Durant the room he will need to patrol the paint and attack the rim. If they can do that, he could become a 25+ ppg player very easily.

With the 4th pick overall, the Sonics are projected to take PG Jarryd Bayless who can probably start at either back court spots. What they still will need is some power up front. Maybe they will sign someone like Jamaal Magloire to help, but unless they find a true center, this team will struggle a lot next season.

Here is my starting 5:

PG – Jarryd Bayless
SG – Kevin Durant
SF – Jeff Green
PF – Nick Collison
C – Johan Petro

With Francisco Elson an Unrestricted free agent, this team will be very thin up the middle. Can they find the guts to deal Luke Ridinour? I suspect his value goes down every season.

Posted on: May 26, 2008 3:42 pm
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