Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday Breakdown

*Although injured for another few weeks, Martell Websiter signed almost an identical deal to Jason Maxiell, getting $20 Million over 4 years.  It's a good value deal, but I would have rather seen him come back strong, and test the restricted free agent market.  However, Kevin Pritchard has been great the last few years, and probably assumed someone else would offer more at the end of the season, that he would want to match.  

*Shaq talking to Marc Stein, ESPN, and back-tracking a little on his comment this summer, of having 735 days left.  Now he's saying it was just how many days until his contract runs up.  They also cover topics like Tim Duncan's greatness, the "Kobe Rap," and his future on the Suns.  Also in this weekend dime, a quick Q&A with T-Mac.

*Staying with ESPN, Hollinger gives us his All-Decline Team, covering fluke players, guys who can't shoot, bigs with bigs (known to Knicks fans as the Zach/Curry), and then calling out the Spurs, Suns, and Mavs (wow).  I don't believe it, not yet.  Tim Duncan is playing great and as long as they make it to the playoffs, Manu will be healthy again and they'll be really hard to beat.  Why are people counting out J.Kidd, Josh Howard and Dirk Nowitski?  That's a pretty good threesome.  There's a lot of talk about J.Kidd not being able to guard anyone, but I just don't buy it.  Shaq really, really wants another ring (see the article above with Marc Stein).

*The latest on Stephon Marbury.  They put him on the inactive list, Mike D'Antoni's attempt at being respectful as possible.  Good luck with that.  There are more people than I expected, that think D'Antoni has no right coming into New York and pushing people around.  I, for one, am not one of those people.  I'm sorry, but Stephon had his chances.  I think parting ways is best for both parties at this point.  Stephon won't be part of the future of this team, and his contract is basically untradeable.  He's basically being held hostage.  He's not allowed to leave or play ball till the end of the season.  That's going to be rough.  At this point, the Knicks would be doing the right thing if they just bought him out.  Let him sign somewhere else (or go play in Italy like he said he would).  

*It doesn't sound good in Washington.  One loss, and the Wizards need a motivational speech.  The second game of the season is coming up and these guys aren't excited?  The affect of Gilbert Arenas taking $111 million and having a 3rd surgery is doing more harm then we originally thought.  This is bad news for Wiz fans.

*Dime Magazine, having faith in Vince Carter.  Yea, for about 2 months until his team goes on a 5 or 6 game lose streak.  Vince will be a chucker all season.  He knows it won't matter, they won't make the playoffs.  When they're out of reach, enter mysterious ankle injury that didn't look nearly as bad as it looks on VC's face.

Friday Wake and Break

There were only 3 games Thursday night, 2 of which were featured on TNT. The third game had this guy LeBron James. Might have heard of him. Here's how it went down:

*It was opening night in Cleveland, and the Cavs were down 0-1 after a loss to Boston, Wednesday night. Trying to go 1-0 with the Bobcats, was new coach, Larry Brown. LeBron and Co. dominated from the get go, eventually winning by 17, the final score 96-79. LeBron had 22-9-9, but still not hitting a high enough percentage of his FT's. He's got to start hitting those to get to the next level, especially considering how many times he gets to the line per game (he hit 8-12 last night). The man of the night was Boobie Gibson, getting 25 points on 10-14 shooting, including 4 from downtown. Mo Williams igave them exactly what they expected, in 17 points and 7 dimes. The blowout let LeBron rest more than usual, logging only 30 minutes for the game, but still got two VISCOUS dunks I highly recommend seeking out.

*A Texas battle and another coaching debut, Rick Carlisle for the Dallas Mavericks facing the Houston Rockets with newly acquired Ron Artest. Yao Ming led the way scoring 30 points and grabbing 13 boards. Ron Artest was Yao's sidekick tonight, almost matching his total with 29, leading a crucial run in the fourth quarter. There was a bit of a scuffle with Yao and Josh Howard, that led to an Artest technical (for seemingly trying to break up the players, but replays showed he was a little pushy with Howard). If there's a zero-tolerance policy for anyone in the game, it's Ron Ron. Dirk scored 36, and Josh "420" Howard had a great game with 27 points (15 of which in the first quarter), 11 boards, but it just wasn't enough, since they couldn't stop the Rockets from scoring. T-Mac played a good game as well, but sat out the fourth, taking it easy as he recovers from time off.

*Finally a third coaching debut, this time on the home court, Terry Porter in Phoenix taking on Chris Paul and his New Orleans Hornets. CP3 was himself, and playing against Steve "D-Liability" Nash, made his job easy. He finished just short of a triple-double with 20-8-10. Mo Pete was the surprise of the night, with 22 points, 2 steals and 0 turnovers. But the big story was at the end, with Posey showing why he got the money he asked for, by draining a few key 3's.. At around the same time, Steve Nash commits 3 turnovers on precious possessions, getting the lead to more than 10 a final time, sealing the deal. On Saturday, the Hornets play their home opener with LeBron James coming into town. LeBron vs. CP3, the two top bets for MVP. Get Excited!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thursday Breakdown

*So we knew there would be stories about Steph and Curry not getting any playing time, but a story about D'Antoni cursing at the fans was not expected! While the crowd was chanting, "We Want Steph!," D'Antoni was seen saying, "Are you [expletive] kidding me?" Alan Hahn at Newsday caught up with him for an explanation. Staying on the Newsday tip, Ken Berger is getting hate mail from Marbury fans because of an article, so he cools 'em down with clips from writers around the league in agreement.

*This following article is the one of the main reasons BDTG exists: to find, read, and comment on articles like the following. Eric Mussleman, ex-coach of the Kings and Warriors has a blog focusing on basketball coaching. Today he posted John Wooden's 8 Principles of Practice. A few days ago, he also posted this next article, which compares life to high school. These are must reads for coaches in the making. Actually, this is a must read for anyone, focusing on the simple guidelines for success in any field. Great stuff.

*Get this, the NBA All-Star Game will be played in the new Dallas Cowboys stadium that is currently in construction. This place holds more than 100,000 seats. A basketball game! 100,000 seats! The largest crowd for a basketball game before this was just over 44,000. Pretty good chance I find my way over there for this. February 14th, 2010! Now that's the way to celebrate Valentine's day, with my main squeeze. I <3>

*An awesome discussion between two of my favorite writers at ESPN, David Thorpe and Henry Abbott. It's about the injury of Greg Oden, and for one very optimistic coach, and one super Blazer fan, this is a real, "glass half-empty," convo on Oden's future.

*Andrew Bynum is gettin' paid. Great signing for the Lakers. It looks like he healed up really well. It's a lot of money, but that basically locks in Bynum and Gasol for a few years, giving Kobe an easier decision next year when his player option comes up. With those bigs in LA, they'll always compete, and you know Kobe's needs to be competing at the highest level.

*Jason Maxiell, signing a slighty smaller deal (no, a lot smaller) in Detroit. That's a great bang for the buck, 4 years, $20 Mil. 5 per year is nothing for a talent like him. Great move by Joe Dumars who just continues to be one of the best GM's in the game.

I'm really mad at Kobe for making this commercial:

Chattin' with David Thorpe, ESPN

I've been attending Chat's of David Thorpe for a long time, on the ESPN Website. Most 'chatters' stick to the script and just talk basketball. Thorpe, however, chats about anything under the sun. While he knows a great deal about basketball, coaching, the NBA, etc., even Thorpe would agree that X's and O's don't matter nearly as much as your attitude and work ethic. Here's a few questions he was kind of enough to answer:

D.Miz (BreakinDownTheGame): Sup Thorpe. I don't know if i'm sad, or mad about the Isiah thing. I hope what they say about him throwing his 17 year old daughter under the bus is not true, but its hard to deny....

SportsNation David Thorpe: Pure sadness all around. Hope everything ends up ok.

D.Miz (BreakinDownTheGame): Last night at the ring ceremony, Tom Thibedeou was introduced as "Associate Head Coach." I don't recall hearing that before. I know he deserves it, without a doubt, he was a key reason for success (their D was one of the best ever). Does anyone else have that title?

SportsNation David Thorpe: I think he had it last year. Anyone know?

D.Miz (BreakinDownTheGame): 2 weeks back, i didn't attend a post, but i read it afterwards. You put a list of the top coaches in the league and left Byron Scott off. Considering I've seen you praise him in the past, we'll chalk that up as a typo! Future Hall of Fame coach (no?). He'll never have trouble getting another job, he's so good.

SportsNation David Thorpe: You are right. He's been terrific.

D.Miz (BreakinDownTheGame): Lopez bros are looking great early on. You see them sticking around? Hollinger said the only thing Robin and Bynum have in common is their last names have 5 letters. That's silly i think. With the right practice/coach, both of them have a chance to be like Bynum.

SportsNation David Thorpe: Listen, can they get at least one real game under their belts first?

Hey, we can't always get the answers we want!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Live From The Garden: Knicks -v- Heat

Opening night at Madison Square Garden, the "Mecca of Basketball," the "World's Most Famous Arena". I forgot what it's like to go to the Garden and it be packed like this. In the lobby of the Garden, was Al Trautwig and Allan Houston chatting away in front of the cameras and 100's of fans. Moving past them, it was a pleasure to have to fight our way through the long will-call lines. All's well when the Garden is packed. Like the Giants, if a New York team is doing well, the whole city goes crazy. For the NBA, it even brings international attention to a higher level.

One of the big stories tomorrow will be the total ignoring of Stephon Marbury by pretty much everyone. Well, towards the end of the 3rd quarter we heard chants, "We Want Steph!," but even that didn't get him in the game. From Shoot-Around, to the half, to the end of the game, it looked like no one was talking to Steph except maybe his fellow bench warmer (at the very far end). The only thing more negative than this, was the National Anthem. That was the worst version of the National Anthem I've ever heard in my life, not just the Garden. As soon as I find that on YouTube, it's getting posted. It reminds me of the that one time, when Mo Cheeks had to intervene and help finish.

Jamal Crawford grabbed the Mic, gave a little intro I could barely hear, and then the party started. This Introduction was about 50X more intense and fun than last years. The music was intense, the crowd was going wild, and....Q-Tip? A Tribe Called Quest's main man, Q-Tip, gave a New York, Hip-Hop welcome to the Knicks fans. While I love Tribe, and I thought that was very cool, I got the feeling it was very unattractive for the average Knicks fan. Keep in mind the average Knicks fan and ticket holder has no clue who Q-Tip is, and only got annoyed by 'that rap music.' Fun for me, no bueno for the suits downstairs.

The game started off with a beautiful layup by Michael Beasely, #2 pick of the 09 Draft and favorite to win this year's Rookie of the Year Award. That was pretty much it from him. Beasely missed the next 11 of 14 shots. Tonight was also Coach Erik Spoeltra's debut. Coach Spo, winner of the I-worked-my-ass-off-to-go-from-the-very-bottom-to-the-top Award, had almost identical mannerisms to Pat Riley. Clearly this guy has been groomed for the job. Hands on his hips and everything. I wonder if he's got the Pat Riley whistle. You can tell Spo is giving D.Wade the green light, as Wade was taking any shot he wanted. He was stuck on 8 points for a majority of the game, going 9 for 24 overall.

For most the game, the Knicks played great. Really, they played good, team ball. They were moving the ball a lot, and the crowd's intensity was willing the ball in. With about 10 minutes left in the 2nd quarter, the Knicks missed an opportunity to capitalize on Miami's foul trouble. There were 3 quick fouls early, and the Knicks didn't get them into the penalty until 2:43 left. With as many possessions as the Knicks get, they should have pushed more and gotten a 5th foul, to extend the lead. Nonetheless, the Knicks wound up leading by 15 in the half. Last season, I remember wondering when it would be that they ran an actual offensive basketball play, instead of going 1 on 5 with Jamal Crawford. Tonight was much different and very encouraging. Last year they won the first game at home, beating Denver in a close game, and it was exicting. But it was was a lot different because this time they played good ball. We'll see though, I don't want to get my h0pes up (again).

With about 4 minutes left in the game, the Heat starting making a run and closing the lead. The Knicks held on, mostly because D.Wade got his 6th personal foul right when it looked like it might get even. That was the end of the game, as the Heat are basically a D-League team without Wade. Beasley showed he wasn't ready tonight, and Shawn Marion isn't the same without Nash feeding him the rock.

John Hollinger, over at ESPN, talks a lot about how the margin of victory is more important than winning close games. Watching tonight, that made more sense. It was great to see a blowout win (well, for most of the game). I haven't seen one of those for a while, from the Knicks. The new system is working thus far, and basketball at the Garden hasn't been this exciting for a very long time.

Breakin' Down the Box Score...

One of the biggest surprises from the Box Score was the +/- on Quentin Richardson. When he was on the floor, the Knicks were at +14. Earlier, I was talking about Wilson Chandler taking his spot as the starting 3, but if they're doing best when he's on the floor, keep his ass on the floor! Speaking of, Wilson Chandler had a great night, shooting over 50% from the field. I liked to see that he played 23 minutes and only had 1 turnover. He was cold from downtown, but finished with 17 points and 9 rebounds, and a couple of gorgeous moves. Get excited about this kid. Z-Bo had some good shooting percentages, and got his hands on 2 steals. 2 steals from Z-Bo? I'll take em. Eddy Curry and Steph, both got DNP-CD's. That's about 30 Million in salary warming the bench. Thanks Isiah!

As I mentioned earlier, Michael Beasley had a pretty rough night, going 1-5 from downtown, and 4-15 overall, finishing up with 9 points, 4 rebounds and 3 turnovers. Rough debut for Beasley, but I'm sure he's happy he's not in Greg Oden's shoes (or boot now). Mario Chalmers made his NBA debut tonight also, and he had a great line. Being a rookie, and a starter, it's hard to believe he only had 1 turnover in 35 minutes. He had 17 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds, while shooting 50% from the field and 2 shots from downtown (wow!). You might want to keep an eye on this kid for fantasy purposes. That's a fantastic line.

The Knicks are undefeated for the season! Game 2 Friday in Philly, home of the World Series Champs.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ring Ceremony and TNT Tip-Off

TNT started their NBA action a little early today, to cover the Boston Celtics Ring Ceremony. It was definitely an emotional one, and I'm sure there will be a lot of talk about it tomorrow. Paul Pierce got hit the most, a lot of tears. This is a real Celtic. Not like Ray or KG. How many guys play for the same team this long in today's game? Kobe, Timmy, sheesh, I think that's about it.

I loved how they introduced Tom Thibedeou as the "Associate Head Coach." Oh, he definitely deserves that. Thibedeou is widely regarded as one of the best coaches in the league. You could definitely make an argument that KG and Tom's Defensive intensity combined, is #1 reason they won a chip. He was heavily pursued by some teams this summer, but stuck with the Celtics. Defensive specialist, JVG apprentice. Boston Herald today had a feature on Tom. You want to learn about this guy.

Charles Barkley agreed with me on my Rookie of the Year pick, OJ Mayo. I'm kind of doubting my pick for the first time now. I joke, I like that pick plenty. David Alrdige cleared up some of the Monta Ellis mess. Basically Monta Ellis doesn't want to be suspended 30 games and let the Warriors reserve the right to terminate the contract.

I've heard in the past that TNT's Ernie Johnson is NOT the nerdy white guy he acts like on TNT. He's supposedly a lot more casual. This video definitely does NOT show that.

Must see TV right here:

Inside the NBA: Is Ernie Black or White?

Tuesday Breakdown

Quote of the day: "I'm at a point in my career now, if I don't win an NBA championship, it's a failure" - LeBron James, quoted by Jeff Zillgitt, USA Today.

*Gilbert Arenas talkin' trash about the Cavs to Dime Magazine. Uhm, Mr. Zero, I mean, Agent Zero, let's not talk trash for a little bit. (That'll rattle my boys down in D.C.)

*The Sports Guy, Bill Simmons put out, I guess what you could call a Season Preview. He likens the NBA to the curves of "Mad Men" actress Christina Hendricks. If you follow Bill Simmons, then you didn't doubt that for a second.

*A 6'8" woman dunks on some little girl's head over at You Got Dunked On

*Michael Wilbon of the Washington Post (and PTI) writes about the NBA having one of it's highest approval ratings in the last few years.

*I think people are starting to finally accept that Deron Williams and Chris Paul will always be compared to each other. Fact is, they came in together, and they're both sick, sick, point guards on fantastic teams. It shows what a "tiny" decision like 'draft pick' can mean. Same thing will happen with LeBron, D.Wade and Melo, only Melo and LeBron want, what D.Wade has. Well anyway, ESPN the Magazine breaks down the best two point guards in the league.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday Breakdown

Very slow day today. You get the vibe that the media, players, coaches, everyone is getting ready for Opening Day. Starting tomorrow, one of the best seasons in NBA history awaits. I can say that with confidence because every year just gets better. It begins on TNT, an Eastern Conference Finals rematch, where the Cavs barely lost to the Celtics in 7 games. The Celtics are looking to prove they still have the fire and intensity it takes to win a championship. The Cavs just want revenge. Following that game is Greg Oden’s debut, facing of against Mr. 81, Kobe Bryant. Twin tower combos facing off, in Oden/Aldridge, and Gasol/Bynum. The third game of the night is Scotty Skiles going back to Chicago to face his former team.

Let’s break down Monday…

*The power rankings came out on both and I am all about the quote from Ray Allen that Marc Stein got. “MJ told me when you win one, you’ve just [been] lucky.’ That is so hardcore and every time I hear something about Michael this is exactly how I feel. He’s just THE man. There was an article on ESPN that Scoop Jackson wrote way back when, that described how he felt when Michael Jordan came into a party he was attending. He said the whole place froze and everyone stared, and before you know it, he was gone like a gust of wind. That’s sick.

*A really long story on Donnie Walsh in New York Magazine. It’s a great read about New York, the Knicks, and some very specific moments in basketball. I went to the Donnie Walsh Forum for Knicks Season Subscribers, and listening to him speak, it just feels like you’ve been chatting with him for years. He sounds so familiar, and is such a New Yorker. It’s really nice and comforting to have him at the helm.

*Monta Ellis finally speaks to the media about his moped accident. It looks to me like the Warriors should have gone with their gut and just cut Monta immediately for voiding his contract. They tried to play nice, and only suspend him 30 games ($3 Mil), but now he’s contesting the suspension with the Players Union.

*Henry Abbott, whom I’d love to have his job, wrote a great article about ‘his’ Blazers. It’s a great article of course in data, facts, etc, but most important it shows his passion for the team and the game. Something’s wrong if you’re a basketball fan and this doesn’t pump you up. Did I mention opening day is tomorrow?!

Latest on Isiah Thomas:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Breakin Down the 08-09 Fantasy Season

A few notes before I get started: Most of the comments below assume players who are normally healthy, stay healthy. Random injuries (as opposed to reoccurring injuries) can always happen and will ruin your fantasy squad. Just remember to try and keep a Bench spot open so you can quickly grab the backup for your fantasy stud.

Also, I’m going to stick to reviewing Guards, Forwards, and Centers. If a player is eligible at multiple positions, then his value goes up. Since some leagues vary in eligibility, we’ll just stick to the basics and a do a 3 position summary. For each position, we’ll have the cream of the crop, bright spots, players I don’t think will do as good as projected, and some sleepers.

Last but not least, you’ll see at times I put a WW next to some players. It means I just don’t trust them for 82 games, and they should be monitored closely on the Waiver Wire. If they have 4 games the following week, you might to check their last 5-10 games and see if you should make use of the 4 games.

This was a lot harder than I thought I’d be. Next year I’ll get this out earlier.


Cream of the Crop

*Last year, CP3 had a very special Fantasy season and will have another great year.

*Kobe scored 81

*Dwayne Wade is back!

Bright spots

*Deron Williams would have been on the list above, but got hurt early and they’re sounding down about it in Utah

*Allen Iverson is in a contract year, should mean big things

*Jose Calderon might finish the year with better Fantasy value than anyone else on this (besides the top 3)

*Kevin Martin is a scoring machine

*I think Jason Richardson will either have a huge year, or do orrible under Larry Brown. I’m sticking with good for now

*Joe Johnson quietly will get his numbers

*Devin Harris will have the ball in his hands for almost 35 minutes a night. Big numbers

*J.Kidd is getting old, but he’s in a contract year and this will be one last shot with Dallas before he signs with a contender at a bargain.


*This is a perfect year for Baron Davis to take off. New contract and not much to look forward to in L.A.

*Vince Carter (see: Davis, Baron)

*Terry Porter wants to slow the game down, so what is Steve Nash doing on the floor at all? He can’t guard anyone. He’ll still put up great numbers, but don’t expect last year’s assist totals.

*Chauncey won’t need to play as many minutes with Rodney Stuckey behind him in the lineup

*Mo Williams will have a good year, but not as good as most people thing stat-wise. He might hit a few more 3’s with LeBron dishing him the rock.

*I don’t think Brandon Roy will have a big year. That team is just so deep, and they’re need more defense from his position than scoring.

*Hinrich and Gordon might split time at the 2, too often to be very good fantasy players. WW

*Jameer Nelson just isn’t very good most of the time. He’ll get you excited one week, then let you down the next. WW

*Andre Miller is in a contract year, but the young Lou Williams is who the Sixers will want to grow with the Elton Brand. WW


*Nate Robinson is playing great for D’Antoni so far, but that backcourt is just weird and inconsistent. However once in a while Nate might get you three or four 3-points in a game, and score 18 points on good FG%

*Randy Foye will log a ton of minutes.

*TJ Ford, the new guy running the show in Indiana. He’s got the keys, so he’ll be driving often.

*Beno Udrih was great at the end of last season. He’s the Kings only PG. WW

*O.J Mayo might kill your FG%, but if you’re in a league where points count double, he’s the man.

*Once Ivo gets traded, JR Smith will come up huge. He might regardless, unless he goes back in Coach Karl’s doghouse. WW


Cream of the Crop

*LeBron James does not seem human. When you’re watching football today, take a look at some of the linebackers and just think about how crazy it is that LeBron James is bigger than most. That’s incredible.

*Elton Brand is psyched to play for the Sixers and they needed him at that spot badly. Should be a perfect fit.

*K.G just does it fantasy-wise every single year. Don’t bet against KG. Anything is Possible!!!

Bright spots

*Carmelo, might challenge LeBron for the scoring title this year, but I worry that Denver might go into rebuilding mode went hey fall out of the playoff race. I also think Melo’s rebound numbers will go up a bunch now that Camby is out of town.

*Shawn Marion is in a contract year, and regardless of which team he’s playing on by season end, I suspect that he’ll want to play as hard as possible.

* Dirk will put up some big numbers wit J. Kidd finding him on open shots. He’ll get you great %’s and score around 19 points per game, adding at least one 3-pointer per game.

*Al Jefferson might be up there with the best, but his team might do so bad that they have him sit some time towards the end of the season to tank for another lottery pick.

*Micahel Redd, you know will give you best effort for the season, and that goes a long way in Fantasy.

*Chris Bosh will have a monster year, and might end up competing for the #1 Forward spot for Fantasy by the end of the season.

*Rudy Gay, with no exectations to win in Memphis, will have a monster season.

*Boozer is another one who is playing for a contract, and will be giving it his all every year.

*Rashard Lewis has openly said that this year he expects to be much more selfish with his shot selection and more aggressive to the basket.

*Ray Allen wil play sparingly until the playoffs.

*David West is going to have another monster year. That team is just too well constructed for motivation to be an issue, and Chris Paul takes up too much attention for West’s job to become difficult

*Don’t sleep on Timmy D. His going to put up big numbers with Manu out and hopefully continue that when Manu returns

*Pau Gasol will get even more familiar with the Triangle Offense, and will be helping on weak side D (since Bynum will defend the big post players on the other team), so expect blocks to go up, and easy buckets increasing his FG%

*Caron Butlers is a monster. If he stays healthy, he’ll be a top 15 Fantasy player overall.

*I expect Gerald Wallace to have a big year under Larry Brown. He’s a steal machine.

*Ron Artest…like everything with him, either bust, sleeper or star. No one, will know until the season is over.

*Kevin Durant, expect the same as last year, maybe 1 or 2 more points and 1 more rebound. Still FG% that could kill that category.


*Josh Smith is going high on most fantasy boards, but his attitude worries me very much, especially fresh off a new contract. Also, his dislike for his head coach, might mean that he doesn’t play his hardest until there is a new sheriff in town.

*Danny Granger and Mke Dunleavy both are projected to have great fantasy years. Well, I don’t believe it.

*Paul Pierce will finally show some age, and play less minutes in favor of some of the young studs off the bench. The C’s know they can win a ring, and so they’re not going to be trying to prove that every game this year, like they did last year.

*Corey Maggette / Stephen Jackson combo. I think they’ll hurt each other, that is, unless Jackson moves to the Point Forward replacing Baron Davis and Monta Ellis. I also think that the team falling apart will affect both players and they’re too similar to both put up big numbers.

*Z-Bo is a 20-10 caliber player, but his blocks are despicable. Last year he played 2,244 minutes, and got only 16 blocks. Horrible.

*Richard Jefferson is not happy playing in Milwaukee.

*Tayshwan Prince has to watch his back with all the young talent on the Pistons bench. He’s a great guy to have on the floor, but won’t be asked to put up numbers, only facilitate for his teammates.

*Peja led the lead in 3-point shots last year, but his constant injury issues make him a great WW prospect.

*T-Mac, no idea how many games he’ll miss, so I’d put him in WW territory for now.


*Matt Barnes was just given the starting 3 in Phoenix, in order to save Grant Hill for the playoffs.

*Similar story in Chicago for Ty Thomas, who will be starting at the 4.

*John Salmons is going to be asked to do a lot more on offense this year, since the Kings don’t have many scoring options after Kevin Martin.

*David Lee might be eligible for two positions and is also having a good time playing for D’Antoni.

*Ditto for Wilson Chandler. I don’t know how long this will last, but if it continues, Chandler could be a 3-point stud. WW

*Al Harrington is going to play a lot of minutes in Nellie’s system and has the green light to shoot when open. Since he’ll likely play the 5, he’ll be open a lot. WW

*Mike Miller might not be a sleeper to some, but there’s been very little hype about him and he’s a great fantasy player.

*Bobby Simmons, will have a ton of minutes this year for the Nets, hopefully he makes good use of them.


Keep in mind, a bunch of the forwards above are also eligible at Center. In fact, most of them

Cream of the Crop

*Dwight Howard, only know that you’re basically giving up on the FT% category.

*Amare is the hot name this year for #1 center, but I just can’t forget his multiple knee surgeries. If you don’t want to worry about which day you’ll hear Amare needs to get his knee drained, then you might want to let someone else draft him. He’ll put up monster numbers, but for how long?

Bright Spots

*Yao Ming is the perfect Fantasy player. Points, Boards, Blocks, FG%, and amazing FT%. If he can stay on the court, he’ll be a top 3 Fantasy player. If he shows signs of fatigue early, trade him.

*People are worried about Jermaine O’Neal’s health, but I say he was healthy last year and just didn’t want to play. Expect 17 points 10 boards and 2 blocks. Not too shabby.

*Rasheed Wallace is one of those players, that if motivated, is a top 5 Fantasy stud. He gets you valuable steals, blocks and 3’s on top of his points and rebounds.

*Greg Oden wants to make a splash early, and I expect him to.

*Andrew Bynum is back and is playing for a contract. His selfishness might cause the team chemistry issues, but it’ll help your fantasy squad. Before he got hurt, he was leading the league in FG%

*Memet Okur has great range for a big man, and at the end of last season was playing great.

*I surprised myself when I put Drew Gooden on this list, but he will get a ton of run and should get some easy buckets.

*I think Chris Kaman will have another big year, but it will depend on how much time Camby plays.

*Andres Biedrens doesn’t put up a lot of numbers, but is super efficient, finishing the year with the best FG%

*Tyson Chandler had too great of a season last year to repeat that success. I think that makes him overrated this year.


*Ronnie Turiaf is supposed to get a lot of minutes in Golden State, I just don’t see it happening his first year with the team

*Marcus Camby, injury waiting to happen. WW for sure for blocks.

*Nene (see: Camby, Marcus)

*With talks that LeBron will play more at the 4 this year, I think Ben Wallace will barely be used

*Kwame Brown, stay way.


*The Lopez twins looked great this preseason. When Shaq can’t be on the floor, Robin Lopez will fit in nicely in Terry Porter’s system. In New Jersey, foresee him being the young big of choice to develop, so he’ll get a lot of run.

*Al Horford is not being talked about much, but he gets a ton of minutes and was close to a nightly double double last year.

Questioning the 08-09 Season - Part VI of VI

The Western Conference: Southwest Division

The Hornets picked up James Posey in the offseason, in a signing that most people would agree was too expensive. New Orleans is still a young team in terms of age, but with that signing, they made it clear they want to win NOW. Is CP3 at his prime? I’m not saying that in a negative way, in fact, I’m saying it in a very positive way. The Horents must think so, since they’re building a contender. Chris Paul looks like a seasoned vet out there. Last year, he ended the season being #1 in Yahoo Fantasy, which is extremely difficult for a guard. He had just less than 22 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 steals per game, with great shooting percentages and low turnovers. Now with Tyson Chandler playing great, David West becoming a monster, and Mr. James Posey who just got two rings of his own, this team is a serious contender for the championship. While CP3 is getting all the hype, we know the real brain behind the operation is Byron Scott, last year’s NBA Coach of the Year. Twice went to the Eastern Conference Finals with the Nets, and now doing something special in New Orleans. Is Byron Scott building a Hall-of-Fame Career? He’s definitely one of the best coaches in the game, and I hope to see him on the sidelines for many years.

I don’t expect to the Grizzlies to rack up many wins, but I do expect them to put on a show. They’ll be at the bottom of the division when the season ends, and I think that might work in their rebuilding effort because the expectations will be so low. Marc Iavaroni had a bumpy ride his first year as coach, so this year will make or break him. Will Iavaroni click with these young players? O.J. Mayo is my pick for Rookie of the Year, and I’m very confident in that pick, barring injury. Most people have it going to Michael Beasley of Miami, or Greg Oden of Portland, but O.J. Mayo has the green light to shoot in Memphis, and I expect him to score a lot of points, albeit on very low FG% (see: Durant, Kevin). When you’re not watching O.J. Mayo, you’ll be paying close attention to Rudy Gay. Rudy Gay has superstar potential, without a doubt. He’s long, can shoot, can defend, can fly, and can score whenever he wants. Will Rudy Gay play to his potential? Last year, the numbers were getting close, but the attitude wasn’t. It’s too bad he’s been on such a bottom-feeding team his entire career. I’d like to see him on a playoff contending team. I’d bet his career will be a mirror image of T-Mac’s when it’s all said and done (hopefully without T-Mac’s back problems).

I’m a big Mark Cuban fan, but this time his big mouth screwed up the team. In a panic move to get better, to compete with the Lakers, Spurs and contenders in the West, they traded a young, intelligent point guard for a old, fading Hall of Famer. When the Mavericks sent Devin Harris to the Nets for Jason Kidd, they inherently declared they want to win in the near future. But now, with the West being so competitive, Will they even make the playoffs? Josh Howard dug himself a whole in Dallas when he went on the radio talking about how he likes to get high, and even worse, said it was common in the NBA. Way to throw everyone under the bus, man. Speak for yourself, not the league. Then, he did another dumb move, by saying in a camera phone that he doesn’t respect the American Flag because he’s black. Uhm, what? Will he play well enough to make everyone forget these stupid mistakes? With Jason Kidd running the point, it should be a good year for Josh Howard, but with a new coach and a tough western conference, I think they’ll falter early and give up on the season. Jason Kidd’s finishing a contract, and will be looking towards which contender he’ll join, at a bargain, next year.

The big move in the West this offseason sent Ron Artest to the Rockets, giving Houston a third ‘star’ to compete with the likes of the other contenders. It’s never really been about talent in Houston, just about staying healthy. They’ve had high-quality head coaches and amazing talent, but can’t seem to be able to keep T-Mac and Yao healthy long enough to make a run in the playoffs. Is this, finally, the year T-Mac and Yao make it out of the first round? I know, I know, that same question gets asked every year, but it is definitely interesting to see if the drought continues, or if they stay healthy enough to win a series. Ron Artest is an amazing player, and is one of the only guys in the league that can literally play all 5 positions, but Are we sure he isn’t going to flip out? He acts cool in front of the cameras, but he definitely has a short fuse and I’m pretty sure he can go nuts at anytime. Also, I’m sure there is some lingering frustration at the fact that he thought he’d get a contract extension from the Rockets when he came over. This season could end with the Rockets getting a ring, but it just seems like there are too many high-risk variables.

San Antonio really has created some kind of dynasty over the past decade. I’m sure it killed Coach Pop to see Manu go down during the Olympics. That’s every coach’s nightmare during the offseason. Will Manu be the same explosive player that he was in the past? I have Tony Parker having an even better year than last year, and will carry the Spurs through thick and thin until Manu gets back. A lot of people are thinking Tim Duncan is going to finally lose a step, but I don’t see it happening this year. The place I see the Spurs faltering this year is the bench. Michael Finley, while he starts, always played backup minutes. This year he’ll be asked to do more than his legs can handle while Manu sits. Will their age and lack of depth prevent them from contending? I don’t see this Spurs team winning another championship, so they will have to start asking themselves if its time to get some value back for their aging veterans.

That’s the end of my 6-part season preview. There are a lot of exciting questions this season, and it’ll be awesome seeing how it all plays out.

Reminder: Tuesday on TNT, opening day! Eastern Conference Finals rematch (Cavs/C’s) and then Greg Oden’s debut against Kobe and the Lakers, with Bynum/Pau playing together for the first time. Enjoy.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Questioning the 08-09 Season - Part V of VI

The Western Conference: Pacific Division

Last preseason, all we heard about from the Lakers was Kobe whining about his team. He basically demanded help from the front office to get him a better squad. However, when the season started, Kobe was all smiles, seeing the work his teammates did during the offseason. Andrew Bynum turned into a nightly double double with 2 blocks per game, and the bench, lead by Jordan Farmar and Ronnie Turiaf turned into one of the deepest benches in the league. Will those role players continue to play at the same level? All of a sudden, Bynum went down with a season-ending injury, and left the Lakers with a major size shortage in the middle. Then (some say) Laker-ulum Jerry West got involved and orchestrated a trade for one of the best big men in the game, Pau Gasol. With Pau, it gave the Lakers the best big man since Shaq left town, and immediately made the Lakers the favorite to take the Western Conference. That team did take the Western Conference, only to fall short to a tougher Celtics team. Does the return of Andrew Bynum get the Lakers a championship? There are reports that Bynum and Gasol are having trouble co-existing on the court, but I’m 100% sure that Phil Jackson will be able to sort it out. That combined with Kobe’s disgusting ambition, the Lakers are again favored to take the West, and if I had to bet on who would win the NBA championship this year, I’d choose Kobe and his Lakers.

The “other LA team” had a rough offseason when they lost Elton Brand to the Sixers. However, the Clippers bounced back and made a big signing in Baron Davis, and picked up Marcus Camby from the Nuggets for practically nothing but cap space. This move is going to push Chris Kaman, who had a breakout season this past year, to the 4 where he should be able to improve his stats further. In theory, this team has one of the best starting 5’s in basketball, with a seriously good youngster in Al Thornton at the 3. But can they stay healthy? Injuries have plagued both new pickups their entire careers. Last year was probably the most games B. Diddy has played since he first got into the league. Same with Camby. The types of personality on this team, and the fact that Coach Dunleavy’s starting to sound like another cry baby, Will this team give up on their coach, if they don’t stay in the playoff mix? Not just give up on the coach, but Baron Davis especially has a knack for getting re-injured just when his team falls out contention.

The Golden State Warriors are going to have a very tough season. Their most promising player and winner of the 06-07 Most Improved Player, Monta Ellis, went down in a mo-ped injury this summer and then tried to lie about it. Will he come back the same explosive player as he was last year? This dude was fast, real fast. I loved watching him play last year, especially running with Baron Davis, and flying to the hoop for the layups. It was like Scottie Pippen, if Scottie Pippin was about a foot shorter. The new sole leader on this team is Stephen Jackson. Yes, THAT Stephen Jackson. Their major free agent pickup this offseason was Corey Maggette. How are Jackson and Maggette going to split minutes or stay on the floor at the same time? This signing was a last ditch effort to try and replace the points that they’ll miss with Baron Davis. I just don’t think the two of them are going to play nicely together, and I know what happens when Stephen Jackson gets upset. Dude goes nutso.

I don’t know how he kept them going, but Reggie Theus did a remarkable job with his Sacramento Kings last season. They played hard all season, even when injuries to Mike Bibby and Kevin Martin took them out of the playoff mix early on. Their role players stepped up big time, especially Francisco Garcia and John Salmons. This offseason, the team did nothing to improve, in hopes that their home-grown talent can compete with the rest of the West. Do the Kings have any shot at making some noise this season? No, not really. Sacramento was one of the worst teams in the league last year on the defensive end, ranking 26th in efficiency. Factor in the loss of Ron Artest, one of the best defensive players in the game, and opposing teams won’t find it hard to score. The one bright spot in Sacramento is youngster Kevin Martin, who has been improving exponentially every season. When will they make some moves to build around this young stud? The Maloof Brothers can’t stay content with the team the way it’s currently constructed. When all is quiet in Kings-land, expect the Maloofs to make a splash and bring on some talent to go with their amazing fan base.

Mike D’Antoni and his “:07 or less” offense got run out of town (pun intended) and replaced with a defensive oriented, half-court coach in Terry Porter. Steve Kerr made it clear that he did not agree with D’Antoni’s philosophies and lack of defensive focus during practice and games. Will letting Mike D’Antoni go, be the worst mistake he’ll be allowed to make as a GM? When the Knicks picked up D’Antoni, it was widely thought of as the best possible choice in an available head coach. However, this off-season, the players have been openly praising Porters style and his focus on the defensive end. It almost sounds back-handed the way they talk about taking the game more seriously then they did last year. This year they intend to slow their game to a more playoff-suited pace. Can Steve Nash play ANY defense? Steve Nash is the worst defensive starting point guard in the game. How he won two MVP’s is beyond me. Speeding the game up and getting more possessions worked in their favor last year, because of their high FG% and ability to score easy buckets. Slowing the game down requires more advanced Defensive skills, skills that will only give the Suns a more glaring weakness when Nash is on the floor.

I expect Steve Nash fans to have something to say about that. Well, bring it on then.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Isiah Thomas tried to kill himself?

Earlier today, reports came out that someone had to be taken out of Isiah Thomas' home and brought to the hospital. Later in the afternoon, we're hearing that the police were interviewed and said the person was a 47-year-old man. Finally, the day concluded with Isiah saying that it was her daughter, and not him that accidentally O.D.'d on sleeping pills.

I said in an earlier post, that last season the Knicks hit “rock bottom” about 7 times. I’m really not THAT surprised that Isiah is back in the news, and its for something that might be far worse than his shortcomings with the Knicks. So the cops say that it was an older man who was in need of care, and Isiah is saying it was his daughter. This is definitely a lose-lose-lose-lose situation. If Isiah pinned this on his daughter, or if Isiah tried to kill himself, or even if Isiah over-dosed and then tried to pin it on his daughter, this is not going to be pretty. Or…the cops were lying. Those are pretty much the only options, right? Full story here and here.

Oldie but goodie:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Questioning the 08-09 Season - Part IV of VI

The Western Conference: Northwest Division

Ever since the Portland Trail Blazers went on a 13 game win streak last year, they’ve been the most intriguing team in the league (in a positive way, we’ll get to most intriguing negative below). With all the young talent on the roster, some think Kevin Pritchard should make a move before he finds himself in the likes of John Paxson (waiting too late to move your assets). There’s another major factor that will haunt the team for the remainder of the season. Will Darius Miles play 10 games for another team? If he does, then $9 Million goes onto the cap for the Blazers, limiting how they improve the roster in the upcoming season(s). We know the team last year competed for a playoff spot, only to fall short, due to the fact that you needed 50 wins just to get an 8th seed in the West. However, this year, we’ll finally get to see if the #1 pick of last years draft pays off. How will Greg Oden do, in his (official) rookie season? Rookie of the year might be a stretch, considering that award often goes to a player who racks up points, but so far GO seems like a glue-guy, and a great teammate, and that always translates well in the NBA.

The sleeper team in the West, is the Minnesota Timberwolves. Most people don’t have them making any noise. In fact, I have to admit that I’m in that group. However, there’s a school of thought that has them playing an in-and-out game that utilizes their major strength: high percentage 3-point shooting. The Wolves trade with the Celtics clearly paid off for the C’s. Now, will Al Jefferson start paying off for the Wolves? If the team does well, you can bet Al Jefferson will be in the All-Star game this year. If they make a stink, he’ll also be the one to blame. From the beginning of the draft this off-season, the Wolves had their eye on their guy, Kevin Love. Since then, there has been some people to criticize, but the people that have watched him play seem to fall in 'love' with his game. What effect will K-Love have on the Wolves? It might be big, it might be small, but whatever it is, I’m sure it will wind up having a major effect in the long run.

Last time I checked, Oklahoma City wasn’t in the Northwest, not even close. Okay okay, we’ll let them slide on that one. Goodbye Sonics; Hello Thunder. Oklahoma joins a very elite and exclusive group of sports teams that don’t end with the letter “S.” And…that’s about the coolest thing I can say about them. They have some young studs for sure. Will Kevin Durant and/or Jeff Green go to the next level? KD played great last year, for what he had to work with. The kid is so young, and still hangs out with his little brother, but still wound up lifting that horrible FG% by the end of the season, on a horrible, horrible squad. There’s only one thing that matters for this team right now: How will Oklahoma City take to their new NBA team? After Katrina hit, they got a great following of NBA fans with the Hornets temporarily playing in town. I just worry that if the team doesn’t show success early, they might wind up being the next Bobcats.

The most intriguing team, definitely in a negative way, is the Denver Nuggets. Last year, they should have made the playoffs. Everyone kept saying how poorly the Nuggets played D, but really they weren’t that bad. Their perimeter D was horrible, but they had former Defensive Player of the Year, Marcus Camby, erasing the mistakes of the guards. Now, without Camby, How will they stop people from scoring? Kenyon Martin and Nene aren’t going to be able to fill that void. Also, the Nuggets play such a high-pace game, so that means a ton of possessions for the opposing squad. High pace team, with no defense, and messy personalities….wait a second….Are the Nuggets the Knicks of the West? If any Nugget fans are reading this, I’m sorry in advance, but that’s sure is making a lot of sense in this head. J.R. Smith is a great player, but can implode at almost anytime. Same goes for Melo Melo. I expect the Nuggets to struggle early, and make a trade to someone who would like to have Ivo’s expiring contract.

Before a few days ago, most people had Deron Williams competing for ‘best point guard in the league’ honors with CP3. These two will always be compared to each other because they came into the NBA in the same draft. In fact, Deron went to the Jazz before CP3 went to the Hornets, and while most people are enamored with CP, no one argues the pick. How serious is Deron Williams injury? We’re hearing that it’s not serious, but the way he was carried off the court, and the fact that even if he was hurt, the Jazz wouldn’t go around displaying that info, definitely worries me. Besides that, the Jazz really have the perfect team. Solid starters with a great point guard, a solid inside man in Boozer, 3-point shooting from Kyle Korver and Memet Okur, and an even more solid bench now that Kirilenko has been placed there. The Jazz have always been in the playoff mix because of Jerry Sloans consistent coaching, but there comes a time when a coach has to change to adapt to the league. Now that the hand-checking rules have been put in place, and the fact that star players get to the line so frequently, Can the Jazz stop fouling so frequently? John Hollinger of ESPN has a great breakdown of how badly this hurt the Jazz last season.

Agree or disagree, I don't really care. Drop me a line and tell me your thoughts.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Smuve J: Questioning the 08-09 Season - Part III of VI

We have a Guest Blogger for Part III of our season preview. At first, when he sent me the writing, I was doing a lot of editing, mostly because I didn't agree with a bunch of what he wrote. Then I remembered, we never agree on anything. So he'll say his piece, but you better believe I'll be leaving some comments down below.

If you would like to be a Contributor for BDTG - please go to this website. I joke, I joke. Just email me.

Ladies and Gents...Smuve J

The Eastern Conference: Southeast Division

Obviously Dwight Howard has emerged as THE big man in the league, and he continues to improve every aspect of his game (minus free throw shooting). Last season, the Magic got a breakout performance by Hedo Turkaglu, winner of the Most Improved Player Award, even though based on salary, it should have been Rashard Lewis to have the big year! The big concern for the Magic, is their backcourt. When will they give up on Jameer Nelson? To me he’s nothing more than a 6th man, to come off the bench and rack up some points. Youth can only be an excuse for so long. Now is the time for the Magic to capitalize on Dwight Howard insane abilities and challenge the top teams in the East. Can they take the next step? Let’s not forget, this team won 52 games last year.

With the emergence of their big three; Antwan Jamison, Caron Butler, and Gilbert Arenas; the Wizards could be considered among the best teams, not only in the Eastern conference, but also in the league. But there has been one problem that has plagued and continues to plague the Wizards going into this season: THE INJURY BUG. Coming off the teams 4th consecutive playoff appearance, this season’s outlook is unsettling to say the least. Fresh off signing a $111 million dollar contract, Arenas is sidelined for at least the first month of the season, recovering from knee surgery (his third operation in 2 seasons). Is the Agent Zero we’ve come to love, gone forever? The return of Etan Thomas is important, but on the flip side, Brendon Haywood is out. Andray Blatche has shown in stretches that he can be a versatile big man, but he also lacks the focus to show that he can bring it every night. The Wizards have enough talent to get into the playoffs again this year, but they need to step it up and position themselves as a player in the East. When they do get to the playoffs, Will they have to face the Cavs, again!?

The Atlanta Hawks could be extremely good, or just awful, depending on motivation and if things don’t go their way early. The starting five that took the World Champion Celtics to 7 games is returning, and this team is loaded with talent and players with exceptional potential. Just off potential, the starting five of Mike Bibby, Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Josh Smith, and Al Horford should put a scare into most East teams. But it’s not the starters they’re worried about. How much will it hurt, to lose Josh Childress to the Greek Club, Olympiacos? The bench could be somewhat shady with Zaza Pachulia, Flip Murray and Acie Law as the most notable contributors. They’ll need to improve their defense and their half-court offense drastically. It was a down year for the East last year, hence the Hawks making the playoffs with just 37 victories. How many wins will get you an 8th seed this year?

To watch the Heat go from NBA Champions, to winning only 15 (!) games last season, was unreal. I expect this team to win A LOT more games this year. If any team in the league is set for a rebound, it’s the Heat. D-Wade and Shawn Marion have had an off-season to practice together, and the addition of Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers means impact IMMEDIATELY! One huge question will be rookie head coach, Erik Spoelstra. How will Coach Spo do in his rookie campaign? I can tell you one thing…I bet they win more than 15 games! The biggest factor in the Heat’s success is simple. Is Dwayne Wade back? D-Wade has only played 102 games over the past 2 seasons, so you don’t want to expect too much. However, watching him this summer in the Olympics, was [expletive] awesome. Expect Wade to have an MVP caliber season and to re-establish himself as one of the premier players in the league once again.

The Bobcats have been a dismal team since their inception in the 2004-2005 season. The addition of Larry Brown as head coach could either be a gift or a curse, depending on who ask. Brown has shown that he can take a team with talent but an inability to win, and at least make them competitive. Will we see the Brown with the Pistons, or will we see the Brown who was ineffective with young talent in New York? Emeka Okafor, Gerald Wallace, and Nazr Mohammed make a formidable frontcourt, and Jason Richardson and Raymond Felton should be an explosive combination in the backcourt. Did Michael bring together the right pieces for a playoff caliber team?

Leave comments below!

Smuve J


First week on 'the job' and today we got got picked up by NEWSDAY!!! Ken Berger is writing for Newsday, covering all things NBA, after covering the Jets for the past 7 years. You might have recently seen Ken on the back page of Newsday, in this perfect picture to describe Stephon Marbury (and his relationship with the Media). Hilarious!! Check out what he has to say about Breakin Down the Game here!

Many thanks to Ken for throwing a shout out to BDTG. This is just the beginning folks...

Keep coming back for NBA News, Rumors, Fantasy, Coaching, Interviews, Guest Bloggers and more!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Questioning the 08-09 Season - Part II of VI

The Eastern Conference: Central Division

Without a doubt, we know the Pistons are contenders. We know the potential they have and we know this core group of players has done it before, so they can do it again. Besides handing the keys over to Michael Curry, this off-season was supposed to bring in some new faces to the roster. Instead, they're keeping their core and letting the young guys add some fresh legs to the mix. Check out the job Joe Dumars is doing in DE-TROIT. How many execs can keep their team a contender and rebuild at the same time? Let me count - None. Even the Spurs, you get the feeling they're going to have a few slow seasons coming up. But the Pistons have three youngsters that are total beasts. Amir Johnson, Rodney Stuckey and Jason Maxiel make for the deepest bench in the league. This is probably the last year for Sheed, Chauncey, Rip and Tayshawn doing it together, so hopefully they take it seriously, like they did for LB. If the Pistons do that, then they are most definitely in it to win it. But are they too late, and the opportunity passed?

The most boring team in the East, just got a lot quicker. TJ Ford finally brings to the Pacers a full-time point guard. Last season, JO and Jamal Tinsley were hurt almost the entire season, and they wound up missing the playoffs by one game! The trade of JO for TJ Ford doesn't just give the Pacers a solid option at the point (as long as he doesn't get taken off the court in a stretcher...again), but also has the last of the three main faces from 'The Brawl' leaving the team. Does this start a new era for Pacer Basketball? Danny Granger is a flat out stud. Last season, Mike Dunleavy played out of his mind. However, the departure of JO leaves a gaping hole in the post. Who exactly is even playing the 4 and 5 in Indiana? They have Jeff Foster, Troy Murphy and Rasho Nesterovic. Wow. Good luck with that. They better pray this guy Hibbert out of GTown is the real deal (or at least a decent deal).

When is Lebron James going to stop exceeding expectations? No, seriously, this is nutso. When he was in high school, most hyped player ever, no problem. Rookie, again. Took his team the playoffs, took his team to the FINALS! Last year, the Cavs almost went back, but lost to the eventual champs in a playoff perfect, defensive battle, in Game 7. You can pick any WNBA team, add LeBron James, and they’re a contender. Does Mo Williams push them over the top? I think he does, but I'm worried about Z's knees. Last year he played a lot more than usual, so we shouldn’t expect the same this year. Besides that, the Cavs are more of the same. It's amazing to watch Coach Brown focus almost entirely on Defense and see this team advance in the playoffs. This is the perfect example of how defense, slowing the game down, playing half-court ball are essential to playoff basketball. Offense comes and goes, but consistently solid defense can be dominant all the time.

Before the start of last season, people had high hopes for the Chicago Bulls. In fact, they were favored by many a sports writer to win the east. We don’t know if it was the Kobe trade talk, or the over-hyped expectations, or the fact that they tuned out their coach after years of tough practices and 100% effort. Do the Bulls redeem themselves from last years disappointing season? While they weren’t the worst team of the season last year, they wound up drafting like one. With the #1 pick in the 2008 draft, the Bulls select: Derrick Rose! How good can Derrick Rose become? I don’t quite see him winning the Rookie of the Year Award, but in a few years, this kid might turn into a total beast (See: Williams, Deron). The contract negotiations with Ben Gordon fell short of an agreement, but that just means Benny G is playing for a contract this year. They should see some production from him as first off the bench, as usual.

I’m not quite sure what they’re doing in Milwaukee. You have to think they lost out in the Yi Jianlian deal, strictly for the reason that the interest from China will no longer be there. In return, they got Richard Jefferson, who with Michael Redd could give the Bucks one of the best 2-3 combos in the game. This should allow Michael Redd to get some set shots, instead of having to create his own. Did the Bucks get good enough to make some noise? I still don’t think Andrew Bogut is going to be a solid center in this league. He simply seems too short to play that position. He gets crushed on the D-Boards (while funny enough putting up decent numbers on the O-Boards). He’s a great passer, but I just don’t see him matching up with the Elton Brands, Chris Bosh, JO, KG, etc, of the Eastern Conference. Are the Bucks too thin in the frontcourt? For now, it’s a sure thing. They have Dan Gadzuric as their backup big. Who??


'BDTG' gets some pub!

Very proud to announce 'Breakin Down the Game' getting some publicity on the Game Over Website. Game Over has been the kings of New York street ball and high school ball for over 13 years. Check out their website. I'm particularly fond of the Video Coach section, especially right now, since they're highlighting some Locker Room footage. There's a lot you can do with X's and O's, but how the coach talks to the players, keeps them hyped, keeps them positive - that's going to be the difference maker, on every level from high school to the pros. There's a difference between coming to play, and playing to win. Keep the energy high, communicate well, stay positive and work as hard as you can. Is that too much to ask?

What are your thoughts? Break it down with me!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Questioning the 08-09 Season - Part I of VI

The Eastern Conference: Atlantic Division

The Knicks have no where to go but up, Right? I would love to think that, but I also said that approximately seven times last season and was wrong every time. Will the Knicks show some respectability this year? Can Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni right the ship? Let’s just hope so, since the best franchise in basketball, playing at the world’s most famous arena, has the potential to bring an extraordinary amount of popularity to the game. The Knicks are playing to improve, while Donnie is playing to get some cap space. When will the damage from Isiah go away? They’re still the highest salary in the league, and they’re still in cap trouble until 2011, so something needs to happen. David Lee, and Nate Robinson would be nice contracts to sign long-term, but if they can’t shed some of the Isiah-made mess, then they might have to pass on that grass.

This off-season, the Nets unloaded some big contracts and the seemingly century-long services of Richard Jefferson. They picked up the Chinese star, Yi Jianlian, which will bring about 100 million or more viewers to what projects to be the one of the worst teams in the East. Rod Thorn is going into LeBron for President, er, I mean, LeBron-for-the-Brooklyn-Nets-in-the-2010/11-season mode. That is, if they even move to Brooklyn. A story that hasn’t been touched on often…How long can Lawrence Frank last? We know he’s highly regarded as one of the best, and definitely the hardest working coach of the league. But, similar to Scott Skiles in Chicago, How long can the students listen to the same teacher? Hopefully he can make it through the growing pains, to LeBron coming into town. If so, we’ll be talking about Lawrence Frank like we talk about Jerry Sloan. If not, there will be a very high quality coach available to the highest bidder.

Surprisingly enough, one the hottest stories of the Northeast, is north of the border. The Raptors made the biggest trade of the off-season, getting X-Pacer Jermaine O’Neal, but, Can he stay healthy? Is losing TJ Ford making the backcourt too thin? If Jose Calderon avoids an injury, they’ll be fine. Most of last season, Calderon had one of the best Assist to Turnover ratios in the league, and his stats, if repeated, will land him in the All-Star Game. Pushing CB4 to his natural position will definitely improve his numbers. We also must mention, he was one of the best players/surprises in Beijing. You know what that’ll do to confidence, and you know what confidence can do to your game.

Ed Stefanski is clearly making his mark quickly in Philadelphia. The Sixers picked up Elton Brand after he walked out the back door of a Los Angeles signing. This was the perfect pickup at the perfect time. This season they have essentially the same exact team, plus EB. Does that make this former 7-seed, an instant contender? With the abnormal agility/ability of A.I.v2, Andre Miller’s experience running the point, Dalembert constantly improving on both ends of the court, What will stop them? At first you’d think an Andre Miller injury at the point, will slow this team down, but don’t forget about the Rondo-like abilities of Lou Williams.

Oh yea, I know what will stop them….The 2008-2009 World Champion Boston Celtics. When the season started, they weren’t losing; we wondered how did they pull it together so quickly and When will they stop winning? The playoffs started, and we thought the pressure would be too much for Game 7 after Game 7, but they just kept winning. Finally, taking it to the Lakers and getting the ring. The only thing we play for; rings. Can the Celtics keep up the fire, the intensity, and the motivation, to do it again? Repeating is usually the hardest thing to do, because you’ve gotten to the top of the mountain, and you've accomplished your goal. However, they have the single most intense basketball player to ever play the game. KG won’t let them slow down, no way. If that’s the case, there’s only one question to be asked: Can these old legs (or ankles, in Ray’s case) carry the weight of every team looking to take down the champs?

Soon, we’ll get some answers...