Month: March 2014

Not so Fierce

  Well here is a team only 6 games out today of the final 8th spot, but chances are they will not make it. Reason being? No defense what so ever. We talked earlier about most of the bottom Wetern Conference teams who can score but cannot defend, add the T-Wolves to the list. This team is fourth in the NBA in scoring, seventh in assists and sixth in rebounding. Kevin Love is MVP threat any year and has made a juggernaut out of himself by adding assists to his game. Rubio has shown himself as a scoring threat but is still a pass first point guard and with that he automatically makes himself a threat even more. Kevin Martin adds twenty points a game and Corey Brewer around 13. Pekovic has been labeled by the league as the fiercest and strongest guy. He can bang with anyone in the league and most importantly he is an efficient scorer. So I did some research on some of Minnesota’s losses and they have lost 7 games by five or less, which goes a little far to say they are still inexperienced and cannot close out games. What it also said was that they have lost 11 games by 10 or more points, an astounding number by the 4th best scoring team in the NBA. This shows purely that defense is their struggle. Sad to see another talented team in the Western conference have a great scoring record but poor defense and double digit losses on their mark. Here is a scary stat that will prove this mark, 23 of their 33 wins have been by 10 or more. This team is soo hit or miss it is not even funny! Rick Adelman has been around for awhile and knows the NBA inside and out, it seems that teams with too much overall talent have trouble exception the Heat, because Lebron Wade and Bosh just click perfect and Lebron is the best in the NBA overall as of today. Contract wise they are one of the most largest salaried team at 68 million dollars a year. Kevin Love earns almost $15 million and his dues are up after the 2015-2016 season. I am sure the front office would like to see him stay but he has a big say on what he wants. Sure he could stick around and be the best player on this team and average 30 and 15 every night and be a sure first ballot hall of fame player. I think there is more to Love though, he shows in his body language and game that he is a winner and wants to win. The Wolves though definitely pay way too much for their players for a team that maybe will not make the playoffs this year with 16 games left and 6 out of the eighth spot. He might man up and ask for a trade and many teams will be willing to shelve out a lot for Love. I am thinking a couple options; possibly some high caliber players plus draft picks or just good players all around in exchange for Kevin. No matter what Love will hopefully end up where he wants but if the Wolves decide to go draft pick then they look like they are in trouble. Rubio and Pekovic do not have what it takes personally do do damage. There are plenty of teams in the NBA though who would take some of the bench players that Minnesota has in order for them to clear cap room and decide to bring someone in for Love to mingle with. The team needs defense though and even with the fourth highest record in the NBA, they can’t escape their defensive demons without some changes. 

 

Spurs Lakers Prop night for Wednesday the 19th of March

 

 

   At 10:30pm eastern time, the Spurs of San Antonio take on the Fake(Lake) Show. Here tonight is some reasons one should bet on the player props for this game. For one I have a 65% winning percentage on over 400 player prop bets I have placed in the NBA. Secondly, I will not charge for you for my tips as they are free and I offer them to you as a gift! Thirdly the matchup. Tonight we have a veteran consistent Western conference powerhouse going against the “Lowly Lakers.” Kobe said he was surprised that Phil Jackson went to NY to take the job rather than wait for a LA job to open up again. The Lakers are miserable wether playing at home or on the road. So here is actually a player prop I like tonight, is Jodie Meeks. He can light it up from outside and has been a reliable Laker to put points on the board. At 16.5 points I am taking the over. He will do well tonight. Not sure if I truly want to pick Gasol tonight, only because he is rather inconsistent and the Spurs defense is big time in the paint, especially with Gasol who complains more than he scores. I like Gasol don’t get me wrong, but Kobe is right he is kinda soft. Moving on to the Spurs side I like Parker over 18 points and seven assists. Kawhi Leonard over 20.5 rebound and points. CHANGE I AM TAKING GASOL POINTS OVER 19 AND REBOUNDS TONIGHT, I FEEL HE WILL GET SUBSTANTIAL MINUTES IN ORDER FOR THEM TO BE SOMEWHAT IN THE GAME. Also taking Mr. Fundamental over 23.5 rebound and points. That is is for tonight good luck and god bless.

A list of Mile High Issues

  It is easy to preview a team and think of how great they will be before the season starts. But let me tell you something, it is hard to criticize and pick at a team such as the Denver Nuggets who in my opinion are at least a 5 seed any given year with the squad they have. I like the Brian Shaw coaching decision. He was coached by Phil Jackson and held a assistant job with the Lakers as well. He has a good philosophy on the game but needs to implement the defensive point of view with this team. Its like here we go again with another team who can score lights out but once again…you know the drill already I will not even mention it! The Nuggets are interesting in the fact that they have so much talent on the starting five and even Mozgov has turned out to be a solid center. Lawson is average defender but he hustles hard and thats all that matters. Foye is mediocre as he loves the three ball, just not defending it. Faried I love with his dreads and tenacious defense and rebounding skills. Hickson can either come off the bench or start and he is a rebounding machine as well. Mozgov is okay defensively, more tall than strong and a threat in the paint. Chandler I never see as someone who I really think can shut a team’s number three down for the night. Obviously having someone like Lawson can instantly ignite your team very quickly. This team gets beat at its own game, the fast break and transition. It is quite nerve racking to be beat at your own game, and that is what the Nuggets are dealing with. A team does not need to have a Lebron James player defensively wise, they just need to play good as a unit. Knowing who is cutting to the basket, calling picks out, and obviously rebounding and the intangibles such as steals and blocks amount to a quality foundation of defensive basketball. There is such thing as a balanced team in the NBA although some teams do not like to do it. The reason why they don’t do it? I think it is a pride thing; too much is image and brand related  such as what is going to put fans in the seats. So with a team like Denver, they have a show-stopping lineup that can run for days on the court but don’t run back on D. Very frustrating for Shaw, but he has the offseason to figure out what needs to be done. The offensive talent is there undoubtedly, now lets take a look at the bench and contract issues. Lastly, before moving on, I would like to mention they have 6 players in double figures and one with 9 and another at a good 8.4. Vesely was included in a trade this year, but at 3 million I hope they get rid of him and free up some space. There is no need for him plus they have guys like Mozgov, Darrell Arthur and Anthony Randolph at the 4-5 position. Gallinari is getting 10 million even though he has been hurt. I would be too harsh to say they rid him, although I do not see much room for him on this team. He is a slow, minimal defensive and intangible player who shoots 3’s and wastes his size. Javale McGee will be back and will anchor that defensive frontline with Faried down low. That gives you Hickson and Mozgov at a 4-5 or 5-5 sub off the bench. That is already looking good. At the small forward they also have Quincy Miller, who has been playing quality minutes this year despite injuries to others. Here is where it gets tricky though, the guard situation! Lawson obviously starts on any NBA roster. Nate Robinson hurt this year but everyone knows no matter where he goes he will give you instant energy and quality minutes and points too. They have a 21 year old Frenchman by the name of Evan Fournier, who in my own eyes view as a future star in this league. He is a prospect you want to keep for the future coming. That leaves Randy Foye and Aaron Brooks left. I did not mean to leave them last thinking back at it, but maybe my zen knowledge predicts they will be gone by years end. Brooks picked up in a trade to help fill the void on Robinson’s number, but at 884,000$ and Foye at 3$ millon, I do not expect these guys to stay. Maybe Foye but even then what does he do beside shoot threes? If you are trying to win with the Nuggets you have your big men and guard at point, a quality bench, just need a few changes on the defensive end and not be afraid to lose your image as a team. Just because it is not attractive basketball does not mean you cannot win, ie. Chicago Bulls, enough said.

Trouble in the Big Easy

 Well then, another team who can score 100 but give up 103. No need to bore you with irrelevant stats we already know. Let us cut to the chase. Starting with the coach, Monty Williams, this team will get nowhere with him and I believe a good percentage he will be axed in the off season. This is his fourth year coaching and his first year he went 46-36 with two wins in a opening round playoff loss. After that it has been 20 something wins and forty plus losses a year. Let us take a watch at who this team has to propel it and figure out if Williams is the problem. Starting at the point guard position they have had a sad season losing Jrue Holiday, Holiday is a 20 8 assist a night kind of guy. Filling the void has been Brian Roberts who is above average point guard and has held his own this year, averaging about 10 points and a couple assists. Then you have Eric Gordon at shooting guard who is hit or miss if you ask me. I have had the chance to see this young man play and he has had career years of scoring 20 points a game, but his shots have been limited due to the emergence of ‘Tone Davis. Gordon is a major disappointment though, he is just too trigger happy and does not provide this team with a lot of firepower based on his hit or miss capabilities. He can score 30 one night  then 12 the next, his shooting fg% is just hovering in the low 40s this year and for his career. Pelicans definitely need to think of ridding him, he costs them 13$ million a year!  Backup Austin Rivers is a work in progress and will probably never amount to anything more than a work in progress. I bashed his decision to come out of Duke after a year and I will continue to ride that notion until he proves otherwise. He had freakish athletic skills in high school and college, but his small frame (needs to get stronger) and overall hoop IQ is too low. SHOULD HAVE STAYED IN SCHOOL! One thing Monty Williams did not do well was look at Tyreke Evans. Man oh man I am gonna harp on this for a good minute. Tyreke was hugely successful in his first couple years at Sacramento, scoring and dishing as an oversized guard. He is now running a smaller, and less notable forward role in Williams’ system. Too much is being focused and put on the shoulders of Anthony Davis. Sure he is a freak of nature due to his size and defensive presence but he still has room to improve and build a stronger frame. Tyreke would have at least put them as a more attractive and free flowing team by him running the point. He is a great passer and rebounder but his abilities were taken away from him not playing a larger role. Plain and simple, if his role is downsized by any means, then he might as well be traded or be labeled “insignificant.” Paying 2.2 million for Stiemsma is wacked out, cannot believe it, 2 points and 4 rebounds a game, for what? At 4 million its Aminu, who is a player i actually like. Off the bench or starting he gives you 7 points and 6 rebounds a game. It is what it is in this league, but if New Orleans wants to win they will have to reorganize their roster and hope Ryan Anderson and Jrue Holiday show up next year. Also Gordon and Evans need larger roles and with Davis this team can be good.

(Not) The King of their Castle

    My last article featured a legendary but forgettable team, the Los Angeles Lakers. This time we continue our review of the 2013-14 NBA season with the Sacramento Kings. In case you were wondering, I am reviewing each team from their respective conference from the bottom up.    This Cali team does not have the accolades and glory that the Lakers possess but I think a much brighter future. First off, both teams are very close to each other in the top 15 (or bottom) in scoring at over 100 points a game, but bottom of the league giving up 103.5 points a game. The two teams (Lakers) and Kings may have the same record virtually and the same ppg and opponent ppg but the Kings play with much more heart and play teams close wether at home or against the road. It would take me some time to gather the data for how many close games they were in that they lost but the record does not recognize that, only wins and losses. I am not a huge advocate or fan of gathering unnecessary and petty stats such as that, only wins and losses count for me. The ability to close out the game is what matters, not if u were down 2 or up 10 the whole game and then suddenly lose. On another note, it comes down to defense. Sure the Kings may have 3 20 point a night scorers in Thomas, Cousins, and Gay, but defense is critical man, if u cannot defend even though if u keep up the score, you will lose and results will not be good. It kills me to see this team struggle as the diminishing franchise was almost moved several times from Sacramento, to places like Vegas or back to Seattle for a reprise of basketball in Washington. Kings were bottom 10 in opp FG % at 46 and second to last in 3pt fg % at 37 percent. The defensive players are not there, Gay played in a defensive style in Memphis for some time and DMC has grown up to be a good man, although that might be going to far as he still lacks discipline. Nevertheless the Kings need to tighten up defensively as Mike Malone can coach a hell of a basketball game, but fails defensively. I think Reggie Evans, Derrick Williams and DMC will load up to go off defensively next year as the Kings are third to last in blocks this year at 4 per game, may not mean a lot to people but having a defensive and animal mindset in the paint can input fear onto others. On another note, they need to shoot higher % from three point range only 33 %, pretty awful considering they have Gay and Thomas who can light it up, but Ben McLemore the rookie is pretty awful shooting 36 and 33 from the field and beyond the arc. He will only get better, I just do not understand the jump from the NBA from college, and how these rookies, most who left early, think they can come in a just ball. The John Wall’s and Lebrons of the world are far and scarce, there needs to be more decision making, raw talent does not just cut it. Discipline, and intangibles, most important a knowledge of the fast paced and constant changing game. Moving forward the staying put of the Kings in Sacramento and the three 20 ppg scorers are nice things to look at and be happy about, the good bench players such as Carl Landry, Reggie Evans, Jason Terry, Ray McCallum, and Travis  Outlaw, are good enough to maybe get this team into the playoffs. How many teams do you know have three twenty point a night scorers? Not many. Defense needs to tighten up, DMC needs to be a leader and McLemore needs to shoot more efficient and smarter shots. Thomas and Gay will continue to shine and Malone will need to toughen these guys up next year. It kills me to see no teams trying to emulate the Chicago Bulls system defensively. The Bulls have no 20 ppg scorers, but have so much heart and defensive authority on the game that results in positive victories. Best of luck to the Kings, keep Northern California basketball relevant!

Laker Love? Not likely: Laker Season Review and offseason tasks

   I have no mercy to show to a franchise so big time and prime-time and all time such as the Los Angeles Lakers. A Hollywood scripted franchise where movie stars flood the seats and fans pay for overpriced and inflated rate tickets, I am giving myself permission to go off on the Lakers. With all the Kobe hype and what not that brews every time someone speaks of the Lakers, this team seriously has issues. Even with Kobe this team at best is a squeak by 8th seed in a powerhouse conference. As a passionate, die hard Warriors fan I always give teams the benefit of the doubt and take the positives but always report fair and honest facts. That being said, this team is nothing but overpriced salaries and contracts, and people and fans still holding on to the Shaq and Kobe, or Kobe, Pau and Bynum days. Who was the coach during that time? Right it was Phil Jackson, who know takes his throne at the helm of the Knicks, best of luck Phil. Mike Brown could not help this team and the organization made a fool out of themselves by hiring Mike Dantoni only a week or so after the start of the season. Dantoni cannot coach, his offensive juggernaut mentality has not won him anything and lots of critics such as myself have put him into a category going far as saying he simply does not belong a head coach in the NBA. There is no excuse for the second worst record in the league. If any coach can win, and be hired for a big time club such as LA Lakers, there is no excuse. At least give us a .500 season, not even that is going to happen this year. That being said with your point guard being a platoon of Nash (hurt) Kendall Marshall, and Jordan Farmar, nothing terrible but Dantoni could not get it going this year. Granted the coach can only do so much, front office and injury play a big part. So Nash and Kobe are out, understandable, but this team literally could be so much better. Nick Young, Pau Gasol, Marshall, Meeks are all starting players anywhere else so what happened? First off the bench stinks. Robert Sacre is terrible, awful player. Ryan Kelly has shown promise just needs to get tougher. Wes Johnson and Xavier Henry need to leave, both are college stars but NBA busts. Jordan Hill is average, but someone I would enjoy on my team, he hustles and plays hard. Kaman, please do not get me started. Kaman is a slow non athletic center getting paid 3$ million this year. It just boggles my mind how Sacre ($782,000/yr.) and others are getting this much money, makes me sick but also reminds me to not think about it because the NBA is a business and if you don’t perform you will be fired! Some players who shall not be named better have a good investment or retiring plan, or a college degree and get back to school once this season ends. It has come to this point where I feel the need to go off on this mirage of a franchise. All that once was is now lost in the Laker land. Talking contracts now let’s just look at a couple of them before this gets out of hand (as if it is not already). So we talked Sacre contract and his contribution and how we hope he has a college degree or good investment plan. Well, where do we start? Nash, 9$ million a year, the guy is 40 and you think he and Kobe are gonna do it? I choose not to elaborate such an idea such as this, simply put. They traded mid season for Marshon Brooks, 1.2$ million, once again nothing I will say that can argue this terrible contract for the good. Gasol at 19$ million does not surprise me and he is still a good player that can do a double double every night. Hill and Kaman both 3$ million each, 6$ million for these guys a year? Huge reconsider this coming offseason. Nick Young and Meeks should stay put, I like them they can score but not really defend, something to consider the Lakers were 29th in the league this year and 12th in scoring offense. Dantoni’s presence at 12th best scoring is okay but he should have known Kobe will be gone for awhile and Nash being as old as he is, his plan should be reorganized to a defensive mindset. That clearly was not the case, Dantoni very easily cannot be considered a good coach in this league just caring about offense. So as the end of my rant about the Lakers ends here is what needs to change this coming offseason. A good  draft pick, hopefully someone at the power forward or center spot needs to happen first. Bad contracts and trades need to happen to the players I mentioned before. Lastly, Dantoni must leave and not be given another chance because regardless this team will have no heart and everyone will continue to shoot and not play defense. He has not proven himself and if LA wants to live up to its hype, they will be smart and follow these offseason tasks. 

 

Utah Jazz Season Review

 

 Although this article is about numbers and statistics (both do not lie) I personally enjoy the Jazz roster and entertain it to and idea of making the playoffs next year as a 8 seed maybe 7. If this is to happen they need to get a better coach, offseason will be used to do that but let us continue to review their 2013-2014 season. Two recent college stars in Alec Burks and Trey Burke made the transition to the NBA in fine form. Burke averaging almost 13 points a game and over 5 assists is awesome and just why they drafted him. He and Gordon Hayward seem to be the future of this franchise. Burks is second on the team with 13 points a game and gives u a quality shooter and scorer but lacks anything more than that at this time. For a guy that shoots as much as he does being his only weapon, he is only 44% from the field. He will only get better as his focus on scoring will improve. Hayward is big time in my opinion and does not get a lot of coverage, playing in Utah does not help. He has the intangibles and gives you rebound and assists 5 and 5 respectively. But Hayward who is 15 points leads the team per game, is just 40% from the field. He shoots 13 shots a game on average and only 40%, not something you wanna see from a good guy like Hayward. Second leading scorer Derrick Favors is to me, the ultimate star on this squad. Only 13 points a game but 8 rebounds and is only 22, a huge upside for the Jazz club. Enes Kanter is also big time in his rebounding and scoring abilities, enjoy seeing his physical presence day in and day out. Rudy Gobert is a work in progress but was drafted for his size, over 7 feet tall. Gobert hopefully will pan out to be a platoon center and someone you can rely on as a defensive and offensive threat. So why is this Jazz team so bad this year and last in the Western Conference? For one, their team shooting percentage is not good from its top players as I noted earlier. Kanter and Favors flirt in the low 50% which is good, but Burke, Burks and Hayward are 38, 44, and 40%, I find that atrocious from players that are relied on. It is hard to write about the Jazz because of their young talent and had 6 players averaging double digits. There are the 8th worst shooting team in the league and it is pretty black and white why they are. Also the Jazz are in the last ten in 3 point % at 35%. Defense wins championships they say, I do not necessarily agree as we live in a powerful offense first NBA league. The Jazz simply do not have enough offense to keep up with others based on their shooting skills, although they do have the talent. Jazz are second worst giving up 47% opponent shooting percentage, with a young inexperienced squad you can guess that, but second worst?  Well rebounding is huge as well in this league, being able to capitalize on the mistakes of others is vital. With only Kanter and Favors as legitimate rebounders, the likes of Gobert should pan out, but probably not as soon as you would like,as he is a work in progress. It just has not been a good year period for the Jazz, they should however get a lottery pick and another young player who they hope will instantly impact their squad. Im sure the Utah Jazz faithful do not want this rebuilding process and second guessing of the team’s strength to go on for much longer. I like the Jazz but simply put they do not have enough weapons to continue the old days of Jerry Sloan era. Perhaps he should come back and revive this team, it is not like their is no talent, there is plenty. This team needs heart and a better coaching methods to work with the young talent. Lastly, I expect Trey Burke to shoot more and get better as a point guard, he can be dangerous if used correctly, providing the scoring and passing threat. Well for that being said I wish them a good draft pick and much better record for next year, come back Jerry!