Monday, June 25, 2012

'8 Things To Be Happy About Now That The 2011-12 NBA Season Is Over'

8.  Metta World Peace
Metta World Peace is cooler to use as a VERB than it is as a NOUN. 

7.  Greg Stiemsma
The CELTICS have two future HOFers to build around in Rajon Rondo and Greg Stiemsma a.k.a. 'The Next Bill Russell'.

6.  Mark Jackson
By this time next year, Mark Jackson will be back where he belongs . . . calling games for ESPN. 

5.  Stan Van Gundy
Stan Van Gundy went out in ORLANDO the way everyone expected him to. . . as AWKWARDLY as he possibly could.

4.  Charlotte Bobcats

You're better at YOUR JOB than Michael Jordan is at his.

3.  Kyrie Irving
One year closer to Kyrie Irving deciding to take his TALENTS to somewhere other than CLEVELAND.

2.  Jeremy Lin
Any Asian, at any level, that's good at ball, from now on, will be given the nickname JEREMY LIN.

1.  NBA Finals
Atleast LEBRON JAMES didn't do the EYEBALL THING in the Finals EVERY SINGLE TIME he scored a key basket.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

2012 NBA Draft Prospects: Dion Waiters

Waiters will add instant energy to any team that drafts him.
G - Dion Waiters - Syracuse - Sophomore
6-4 215 Life Center Academy/ Philadelphia, PA (12/1/1991)

Breakdown: The Orange were ranked in the top five for most of the 2011-12 season and most of their scoring punch was delivered by Waiters. The sophomore from Philly averaged 12.6 points per game in only 24 minutes per game coming off the bench and was effective from 3-point range, connecting on 36-percent of his attempts. Waiters showed great improvement in scoring from his freshman year, where he averaged 6.6 ppg, and raised his field goal percentage from 41-percent to 47-percent. He was also a solid defender in Jim Boeheim's matchup zone and averaged 1.8 steals per game last year.

NBA Skill-Set: Waiters body is NBA ready at 6-4 and 215-pounds with room to add more muscle. His best attribute in college was his Dwyane Wade-like explosion to the basket driving off screens and ability to finish in traffic with highlight reel worthy dunks. Waiters has a solid jumper and uses above-average ballhandling skills to create seperation from defenders to get his shot off. His frame will allow him to force the issue off the dribble and create fouls driving to the basket in isolation situations. He will need to work on decision making in pick-and-roll situations as that really wasn't his role in the Syracuse offense. The most intriguing quality that NBA GMs will like about Waiters is that he came off the bench for all 71 games he played for the Orange, so he should have no discomfort transitioning to a substitute role.

NBA Player could-be-like: James Harden. The physique, athleticism, and bulldoggedness are already there for Waiters. He will have to continue to work on his shooting so he can be more consistent with his percentages from 3-point and the foul line especially. And perhaps he could work on growing a long beard . . . it's really a Philly style anyway.

Monday, June 18, 2012

'No Ring . . . No Love?'

LeBron still searching for that first ring.
Hate is a strong word . . . unless of course, you're talking about LeBron James.  Many basketball fans use that term loosely when referring to him, and there are legitimate reasons as to why James, once one of the most beloved players in the NBA, has gradually turned into the league's top villain.  His biggest and most flagrant PR mistake: the sanctimonious departure from his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers in order to join forces with superstars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in South Beach.  The knock ever since is that James will never be as great as his idol, Michael Jordan, because of his inability/unwillingness to close in crunch time and carry a team to an NBA title. 
Last year, James' contribution in the Finals was considered marginal at best for a player of his caliber, and much of the blame for the Miami Heat failure to finish once again fell on his shoulders.  But in this 2012 postseason, James has been the clear-cut catalyst for the Heat, who are two wins away from a championship for the second year in a row.  LeBron put in two career performances in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics in Game 6 and 7 when facing elimination that for most players would be career defining.  Even in the Finals against the ever-so-likeable Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder, James has carried MIA on both ends of the floor and has not disappeared in crunch time, and the Heat hold a 2-1 series lead. 
But for most LeBron critics, it all won't mean a thing unless he gets two more wins.  It's probably unfair the amount of pressure put on James to win a ring --pressure from the media and pressure he put on himself -- because the longer it takes to get that ring, the greater a burden it becomes on a player who is not yet 30 years old and is a 3-time league MVP.  And then there is the possibility that he won't get love until he wins more than one championship (since LeBron was the one that promised Heat fans multiple championships).  Nowhere in sports history has a player needed to win more than one title to validate an already Hall of Fame career . . . but of course, we are talking about LeBron James.