Tag Archives: dwight howard

Getting Back To Work

It’s Monday, which pretty much explains itself. I made the smart move of putting some work off on Friday in the name of leaving early, and in turn, set myself up for a pretty impossible Monday. I feel like I’m not the only one having a hard time getting back to work though. There’s a few baseball teams out there that didn’t look like they were ready to get back at it after the All-Star break. Sounds like the NFL and its players will soon be getting back to work. And while the NBA seems like an afterthought now, some of its players have begun to look for work overseas – a trend we’re likely to see continue as the beginning of the season fast approaches. So, while it’s been a dreadful past month in sports if you don’t watch soccer, it starting to feel to me like the calm before the storm. Pretty soon, we’re likely to see flurry of player movement in all sports. The Major League Baseball trade deadline is looming, and it sounds like nearly every team is exploring options. Once the NFL lockout is officially over, it figures to be one active offseason since teams will be scrambling to get their rosters set and into camp. In the NBA, hearing about guys like Avery Bradley and Pooh Jeter looking to sign overseas doesn’t get me jazzed up, but who knows, maybe the dominoes will fall faster – and bigger.

Baseball Trades I Expect To See – No Explanations (or prospects) – Toronto trades SS Yunel Escobar to San Francisco for SP Jonathan Sanchez. Anaheim trades C Hank Conger to New York Mets for OF Scott Hairston. New York trades OF Carlos Beltran to Texas for OF Julio Borbon and C Taylor Teagarden. Seattle trades 3B Chone Figgins and SP Doug Fister to Detroit for OF Ryan Raburn and P Phil Coke. Pittsburgh trades 3B Pedro Alvarez to Oakland for OF Josh Willingham and OF Hideki Matsui. Los Angeles trade OF Andre Ethier to Philadelphia for RP Antonio Bastardo.

Football Signings I Expect To See – No Explanations – Nnamdi Asomugha to Dallas. Cedric Benson to Jacksonville. Terrell Owens to Tampa Bay. Braylon Edwards to Kansas City. Antonio Cromartie to San Diego. Tamba Hali to Chicago. Santonio Holmes to Oakland.

Basketball Players I Expect To See Sign Overseas –  As if the previous predictions weren’t asinine enough, how could I possibly know who’s going to play in what country? Instead, I’m just going to visualize what it could be like if more guys like Deron Williams, who just made his deal to Turkey official on Friday, made the jump to an international location. All of a sudden, Dwight Howard is hinting at going international and specifically mentions China. I just hope he doesn’t take his talents to Foshan to team up with Stephon Marbury. Howard would be a perfect fit on the Shanghai Sharks. It’s Yao’s former team (and I think he even owns it), and Shanghai is really the only city that’s big enough for Dwight. Even though he could join a Flying Tigers team that featured MVP Quincy Douby and went 31-1 last year, I can’t imagine Howard moving to Xinjiang. Seriously, look it up. It’d be like if Alaska had an NBA team. Instead, he could turn the 12-20 Sharks into instant contenders, and quite possibly be the Dirk to Yao’s Cuban.

NBA Early Season MVP Rankings

1. Lebron James (66 pts)

This race is nowhere near decided. In fact, it’s barely getting started. Lebron only got one first place vote from our panel, but coming in at the top based on our points system just shows that we all agreed he’s one of the frontrunners. As is the case with all superstars, the Cavs have been trying to surround Lebron with quality talent to compete for a championship. Nonetheless, it’s still a one-man show, as James is accounting for about 30% of his team’s scoring. After starting 0-2, the Cavs have rung up 13 of their last 16, placing them at the top of the Central, and Lebron at the top of our list.

2. Steve Nash (65 pts)

Nash is back to his form that he won his back to back MVP awards with! Even more impressive, is how well his team is playing! They look like contenders again with Nash leading them to a 14-4 record! He’s averaging nearly 12 assists per game, and is the best on-court offensive general of this era.

3. Kobe Bryant (64 pts)

Interesting that Kobe fell behind Nash in our voting, alas at such an early stage of the season I might not begrudge it. Nash has the underrated Suns playing at a high level, while Kobe is doing what he has done for years, on a team that is suppose to win every game they play. Having said that, it’s hard to argue with the numbers Kobe is putting up. Through December 2nd his 28 pts, 5 brds, and 4 assists are extremely impressive. And his early November stretch of three 41 point games in four games was an early warning shot to the rest of the league he intends to grab his second MVP award.

4. Carmelo Anthony (62 pts)

Melo, seems to have kicked his habit of showing up two out of every three games. Maybe he finally realized that they NEED him every game and he is the main key to their success. If he can keep from having those down games and continues to play D, he should be in the MVP conversation at the end of the season.

5. Paul Pierce (54 pts)

Pierce has been Mr. Everything for the Celtics, and has been the superstar of the team. He’s shown that he can single handedly win games for them, and he knows when to take a back seat to let the others make plays. The question for him is, will his age catch up to him later in the season?

6. Dwyane Wade (48 pts)

Miami has cooled off since their hot start, and they’ll struggle to keep up with Atlanta and Orlando in the Southeast, but it’s no secret who’s running the show. They still have a respectable 10-7 record at the moment, and it’s no wonder where they’d be without D-Wade dropping 27, 5, and 5 each night.

7. Dirk Nowitzki (46 pts)

I’ve got to say Dirk is being screwed here at the 7th spot. Boiling it straight down to numbers, Dirk is averaging 27 points, 9 boards, and 3 assists a night. Factor in his 88% FT and 47% FG and he is making a massive impact on a surging 13-5 Mavericks team. I’m pissed… forget the rest of what I was going to write.

8. Joe Johnson (45 pts)

Atlanta has been taking steps forward each season, and this year looks like they might finally be on the brink of contention. They aren’t quite mentioned with the likes of the Lakers, Celtics, and Cavs, but they’re nipping at their heels. The Hawks are one of the more balanced teams, with huge contributions from Josh Smith, Al Horford, and Jamal Crawford, but this is still Joe Johnson’s team. He could probably afford to cut down his 3 point attempts, but the sky is the limit for this team. If they’re in the thick of things come April, Joe could very well find himself getting a handful of second and third place votes.

9. Kevin Durant (39 pts)

KD made his leap into the fantasy elite last season, and now is poised to make MVP runs regularly as he continues to improve his game. He’s a better version of Dirk in my mind, and has a lot more room to grow. I don’t see him winning the award this year, but as the Sonics, I mean Thunder get better he will surely be a candidate!

10. Deron Williams (22 pts)

Trailing only Steve Nash DWill is having himself a special season out in Utah. He’s very close to averaging 20 and 10, and if you round up, that’s exactly what he is. He’s helped make Boozer turn back into a superstar, and looks to make the Jazz a force come playoff time!

11. Brandon Roy (15 pts)

Has Portland keeping pace (2 games back) with division leader Denver. Plays 37 minutes/night while carrying Greg Oden around so he doesn’t hurt himself.

12. Josh Smith (11 pts)

Finally stopped jacking up threes and is blocking more shots instead.

13. Chris Bosh (9 pts)

He’ll get more love if Toronto’s record improves – or he makes more Youtube videos.

14. Dwight Howard (9 pts)

Probably should be a little higher, but collective effort in Orlando has taken away from his shine.

15. Tyreke Evans (8 pts)

A lot more likely to win the ROY than MVP, but he’s the primary reason for the NBA’s biggest surprise team in Sacramento (9-8)

16. Trevor Ariza (5 pts)

Like the Kings, the Rockets were supposed to struggle. Instead, Ariza is dropping 18 per game and leading the Rockets to an impressive start.

17. Brandon Jennings (4 pts)

Had the world in his hands after his 55 point outing, but his scoring, and the Bucks record, has been sliding of late.

18. Carlos Boozer (3 pts)

Back to his old form, averaging 20 and 10, just in time for a contract year.

19. Vince Carter  (1 pt)

Averaging 20 ppg, but jacking up wayyyyyy too many shots. Pass it to Rashard, Vince.

20. Rajon Rondo (0.5 pts)

Easily the most debated spot on our list. Rondo gets the nod over Kidd for being a better PG on a great team.

Do The Magic Have a Chance to Win the NBA Finals?

Howard put up 40 en route to a series clinching win on Saturday

Howard put up 40 en route to a series clinching win on Saturday

Most would agree that the Orlando Magic have looked like the best team thus far in the NBA Playoffs.  The problem is, that can, and often does, all change when you step on the court with the Lakers.  Prior to Game 6, I was questioning whether Dwight Howard could be the centerpiece of an Orlando offense that seems to live, and occasionally die by the three.  Saturday night, Howard proved he could be a force inside on more than just open dunks and second chance points.  Even in doing so, however, the Magic still jacked up 29 three pointers.  That’s great when they’re going in, but the problem with the Lakers is they will bury a team, more so than any other squad, when the threes are not falling.  Look no further than Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals.  The Nuggets converted a fairly solid 8-19 from beyond the arc, but the missed attempts seemed to stand out.  That is ultimately what did them in Friday night.

The Lakers have an uncanny ability to stick to their game plan.  Thanks to the presence of Kobe Bryant – who I still can’t help but to concede is still the best player in the league – they never seem as flustered as anybody else.  Even without any standout shooters of the same caliber as Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu, Mickael Pietrus, and even Rafer Alston, they boast an impeccable balance of size, speed, length, and basketball IQ that it would be surprising if they lost more than two games in the upcoming series.  Can the Magic match up with Bynum, Gasol, and Odom down low?  I just can’t see that happening.  What happens if Howard gets in foul trouble?  I have a hard time seeing Gortat patrolling the paint and doing anything defensively to slow the Lakers on the block.  I never thought I’d say this, but Adonal Foyle could be a key x-factor in the championship series.  Problem is, Foyle has logged a total of 4 minutes the entire postseason.  However, the Magic will need all the big bodies they have, and Stan Van Gundy doesn’t seem likely to call on Foyle off the bench.  There’s probably a reason for that.

You won’t ever hear me call Phil Jackson the best coach in the league – I’m of the crowd who chalks his success up to having great players.  But you can believe he will have his team defending the three-point arc without any lapses.  The key guy in this series, and not many people would see this the same way, will be Courtney Lee.  Lee has shown a supreme mastery of the ever popular mid-range jumper.  With LA likely having one or two big men locked into the paint and the other guys firmly planted around the three-point line, it will be imperative for Lee to dominate the 15-20 foot area.  The Magic must set an unofficial Finals record for most pump fakes and pull up jumpers to have any chance in this series.  I just don’t know if guys like Turkogu and Pietrus will be able to stray from their three point dependancy.

THE KEY ASPECT I look to in the postseason is, for lack of a better word, swagger.  What I mean by this is having players who have the mental toughness to go for the jugular and not get rattled when the other team is making a run.  The Lakers have this. They always have.  Sure, they’ve looked far from immortal this postseason, but we all know when it’s on the line, they’ll bring their A game.  Any time you have Kobe on the floor with you, you know the game is always within reach and there’s no reason to panic or get scared.  The Celtics were able to counter this thanks to the presence of Kevin Garnett.  The Magic don’t have a guy like this.  Looking up and down their roster, I don’t see many guys who can keep their composure when the Lakers are laying it on thick.  I’ve seen guys like Turkoglu and Pietrus crumble in big situations.  If Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony couldn’t do it, how can they?  Orlando will need flawless execution and resiliancy to pull this one off.  If they can survive the Staples Center and come away with a split, perhaps we can believe in them in a little bit.  But there’s no way they will win a Game 5 or 7 in Los Angeles, so they definitely have their work cut out for them.  Needless to say, I don’t see it happening.

Lakers in 4. ….maybe 5.

Might as well add 2009 to this

Might as well add 2009 to this