Tag Archives: Kevin Durant

Memphis vs. OKC: Their Futures

The theme of the NBA playoffs seems to be the youth movement. Aside from the Mavs, all three teams left are fairly young, and look like they’ll be around for years to come, which had me thinking more about the future than this year. Today I was looking at the Memphis and OKC rosters for the next few years, and there was one thing that stood out to me, how can they keep these cores together? There’s a couple of reasons I think a team like Memphis has a better chance than OKC at sustaining success for the next six years like say Miami and Chicago probably will too. The reason I decided to compare Memphis and OKC is because they are both small market teams that are very young.

I’ll start with the Grizzlies, since it’s a team that for some reason has grown on me a lot over the season. What made Memphis successful this season? Their size and scrappiness on defense. Their size with Marc Gasol and Z-Bo is tough to match for any team. Z-Bo already got his extension, and obviously Gasol is going to be making more than $3M next year and every year after that, so Gasol is priority #1 for them this off-season. They have a bargain PG in Conley locked up for five years, who seems to be slowly getting better even though barely anyone had faith in him (myself included). They will also have Rudy Gay back in the lineup next year. He’s been labeled over rated, but if you saw him play much this year you’d know that isn’t the case, and he might even be worth his huge contract when it’s all said and done. The media talk about Gay has bugged me, because everyone seems to think he is Joe Johnson part II, when a) he’s five years younger than Joe, and b) he gets more steals, rebounds, and blocks than Joe (ie. plays defense). Am I the only one that thinks it’s obsured that people think they need to trade Rudy Gay? After Gay played with team USA on the gold medal run this year, he seemed to get it, which is a time when normally players seem to figure it out (mid-20’s) or be destined to never figure it out. Unfortunately for us (and him), he broke his arm during the last month of the regular season, so he wasn’t around this year in the playoffs, and now he should be traded!?! Really!?! My question for those people calling for them to trade Gay is, are you really putting a lot of stock in OJ (I play no defense and am a little crazy) Mayo. That’s what you’d be replacing Gay with in the long term if they’re building from in house talent. Tony Allen and OJ Mayo both feel like 6th men types to me, and you can find them elsewhere if you need to. Tony Allen is a shut down defensive guy, but is limited in offense. OJ is great when asked to help out the offense, but doesn’t play defense as we saw Harden torching him over and over. Gay plays both ways, and no, I’m not sure on his sexual prefrences, but I do know he works as hard on defense as his offense. He also made a few game winners this year if you didn’t remember, don’t you think he would’ve helped in that triple OT game when they needed a clutch bucket from anyone badly? I do, and think this is a team that hasn’t reached it’s full potential as Gay, Conley, and Gasol will all improve. As I said in the past, Memphis has a bright future for at least the next five years.

The curious case of OKC. They currently have a roster that has ALL their big names at or under the age of 22, which seems great on the outside looking in. It’s amazing to me that everyone thinks that everything will be great for them for the next decade when there will be a ton of franchise changing decisions on the horizon. It’s a team that has dealt with little as far as basketball careers go, since almost all of the important players except Perkins and Durant are still on their rookie contracts. What I understand about this team is this, Durant works harder than anyone on the team, he’s their best player, it rubs off on everyone else, etc., but does it rub others the wrong way on how he’s mister perfect? I’m asking Westbrook this question as I go along, because he’s the main player that you have to question within this team. Forget all the ill-advised shots he took against the Grizzlies, the real question becomes does he want to be Robin or does he want to be Derrick Rose (aka Superman) on his OWN team?

It's all fun and games till someone wants more out of the relationship than the other one does.

Does Westbrook have the Scottie Pippen and Lebron gene that says “I’m okay being the sidekick”? From what I’ve observed, I feel like Westbrook has more of an alpha type personality than Durant as far as being demonstrative on and off the court. At times we saw him ignore Durant during the game, which begs the question if we have to pick one, who is it? If you didn’t pick Durant your fooling yourself. Yes, I understand that the way this team was built was genius, and the envy of the league at the moment, but how sustainable is this team? They picked Ibaka, Harden, Maynor, and Westbrook all in the top five, and all of them are going to be asking for their paydays once they are done playing for these very friendly rookie contracts they are currently in. I think Ibaka just started playing hoops last week and is getting better by the game, so aren’t he and Westbrook going to command top dollar? Would they stay to play with Durant for the sake of winning or do either of them think they can do it on their own elsewhere? That might not even be the biggest question for them moving forward. Money is a funny thing that can lure anyone away from anywhere, and I’m sure Ibaka has some homies that need help in the Congo. Westbrook was born and raised in LA, and doesn’t it seem likely with his alpha type character he’d want to try to spread his wings on his own to see if he can lead a team like Derrick Rose is? I’m not saying that this team is going to get blown up for sure, but you have to wonder in a small market like thiers how big is that window. You’d think with them all being so young it would be a decade long window, but at the moment I just don’t see it being anywhere near that long. The Heat and Grizzlies both have their cores locked up for a lot longer than the Thunder do. The 2012-13 season might be their last hurrah as a group together, and if that’s the case, Miami and Memphis will still have their cores locked up for three more years after that. All I’m saying is that this groups window might only be three years, and I’m praying I’m right since I’d love to see Durant getting frustrated and leaving so his paychecks aren’t signed by Clay Bennett anymore…


Storylines for the Upcoming NBA Season

Wow, the NBA season already starts next week! I’m always overly optimistic about my Warriors, and think they will be better than people think, but I always think that so I’ll spare you the preview. I don’t really expect it to be a playoff year for them, but am hoping that we at least find out what our strengths and weaknesses are with this newly formed squadron. I guess my hope is that we don’t have to sign five or six D-League players because the rest of our squad is on the injury report. If you didn’t know I love Curry starting at the point, but he’s been making a lot of turnovers this preseason. Maybe he’s trying to get too fancy with those passes or just isn’t used to his new teammates yet, but it did make this question pop up in my head. Do we even need him to be that great of a passer? David Lee and Ellis are fairly good at passing, so maybe we shouldn’t have the ball in his hands as much as we have been. I guess if Curry’s not worried about it, I shouldn’t be either. Anyways, the real reason for this post wasn’t to figure out how Curry, Lee, and Ellis fit together, it’s about the story lines for this season that I’m excited about that are non-Warriors related.

Too Many Technical Fouls

I wrote awhile back when the new rules for technical fouls came out that it would would ruin and take the emotion out of a game that really needs it. So far this preseason it’s already stirring some controversy. Some players feel that they will adjust to the new rules, while others feel that it’s going too far. I’ll lean towards the going to far side. Stern says that through the NBA’s research, fans want to see less complaining to the officials. This might be somewhat true, but was there a follow up question on that survey that asked  if they wanted all emotion taken out of the game? They probably forgot to include that one. Just looking at some of the ejections, you know that this rule is already getting out of hand. I understand if they want to keep guys like Rasheed and Stephen Jackson in check since they constantly bicker with the refs, but when stand up character guys like Grant Hill are getting ejected for a slap on the butt or KG for doing nothing, it’s just bad for the league. I never minded ejections or giving a player a technical if they gave overly emotional reactions, but now are they going to kick guys out for reacting period? Won’t this make the players more passive, and eventually soften the competitive fire? I think so, and I hope some of the true stars in the league push this to the limit. Imagine Kobe, Durant, and Lebron stepping up their arguing this year in a “boycott” of sorts, daring the NBA to throw them out of every game. Does the league want to keep kicking its best athletes out of games? You wouldn’t think so, because that’s bad for everyone from the fans to the players. This feels like worst imaginable way to show that the refs are doing a good job. Now were supposed to believe that if guys aren’t complaining, then the refs aren’t making bad calls? Yeah right, with super slo mo from ten angles we aren’t going to see less crappy calls. As much as they try to convince us that we will like this league better with these rules, they should’ve instead spent that marketing money on training the refs to get the calls right so there’s less complaining. Maybe next year they’ll make a new rule that you aren’t allowed to play defense with your arms!

Melo Continue reading


USA!

Many thought that the team that Jerry Coangelo & Coach K built and brought to Istanbul was a Silver medal team at best, but I begged to differ.  I was never worried, not for one moment that Team USA would fail to bring home the Gold.  And on the first NFL Sunday of the season, I celebrate basketball, and what our country accomplished against a good Turkey team.

Why I never faltered in my belief in our team?  For one, Coach K is a great, great coach, and aside from the X’s & O’s, he manages egos well.  What went on unnoticed during the selection process was the idea of building a “team.”  Due to the frenzied free agency that took place this past Summer, it was safe to assume that the top names in basketball would forgo making the trip overseas to play in the FIBA Championships.  So Coach K swooped up KD, and basically built a Euro style team around him, with some shooters, hustlers, and speed.  Take a look at the team the US presented, and all though there were plenty of All-Stars and franchise cornerstones, they all happily took a back seat to KD and the winning cause.  And quite simply put, they became a “team”.  Once that was established, KD led the way, Odom held it down, and the cast played their part.

It’s similar to when the US lost in Athens (despite winning a Bronze, we chalk it up as a loss), many threw around the idea of just sending the NBA Champions to the Olympics.  At the time, the team would have been the Detroit Pistons, the epitome of a team.  There’s no question in my mind that the Pistons would have won Gold that year.  Of course, in 2008 the Redeem Team willingly formed to take back what was rightfully ours in Beijing.  This time around, we didn’t have the luxury of sending the absolute best players in the planet to Istanbul, so Jerry Coangelo and Coach K basically built the 2004 Detroit Pistons 2.0, bigger and bolder.  The team was predicated on defense, and our undersized, scrappy, athletic group of kids shut teams down and suffocated them.

The result, we remain on top of the world in the sport of basketball!  USA!  USA!  USA!


Feelin the FIBA Championship More Than I Thought

I really didn’t think I’d get into the FIBA championship this year, but surprisingly I’ve caught at least a little bit of each game. Either when they decided televise them 12 hours after they happened on NBATV, or on ESPN3 when I’m at work, and not so busy. As much as I was unimpressed with the names on the squad we put together, I was very impressed with how well they’ve come together over the past month. If you watched their first game and last game, you’d see a dramatic improvement. They finally looked comfortable together against Angola, and sent them back to their country. I was surprised to find that the U.S. was not the favorite to win the title. I guess not winning the tourney since 1994 is a good reason for them to be ranked lower, but still, shouldn’t the country that invented the game be the favorite even with the rules being much different than the NBA? I’d think so, and even with the B squad they should beat down the competition. Continue reading


NBA Has Many Issues, But This is a Big One

Carmelo (or the media) made it known that he will not be keeping his talents in Denver past this season. He was offered the max three year extension adding about $65M onto his contract to stay with the Nuggets, but all the reports I can find seem to think that since he hasn’t signed it, he isn’t going to. Could be true, could be rumors, but either way it doesn’t sound like Melo is all that into repping the mile high city anymore. Since he has until July of 2011 to sign the extension, I’m not sure why everyone is so sure he will pass up the money. I mean, what if they happen to catch lightning in a bottle and come to terms on a CBA way ahead of schedule? What if Melo finds out he would only be able to make around $10M per year unless he signs his extension before the old CBA expires? Would that make Melo sign his extension and stay since he knows he’d never get the same type of guaranteed money again? I have no idea, nor should I speculate since I’m not an agent or a player that gets to make that kind of decision. All I know is the landscape for the NBA has forever changed in the wake of Lebron’s ill advised decision. The league is already top heavy. Just looking back at the last few decades, the league was either ruled by the Celtics, Lakers, Bulls or Spurs (it feels weird putting the Spurs in there with the other three, but no denying what they did in the Duncan era). The NBA tries hard to preach that there is parody, and I felt that we were getting some parody after the Shaq/Kobe three-peat with new teams winning each year eliminating repeats for a little bit there, but now the landscape feels a lot more clear on who the favorites are again after the Lakers just went back to back. Now, once again isn’t much parody, and it will continue to go that way if superstars keep leaving their teams to join multiple superstars in another uniform. The hostage style takeovers of these teams during contract extensions and free agency is getting a little ridiculous. I feel like the players have all of the power, and while it’s hard to argue that they shouldn’t have the power since they are drawing the crowds, but I think we’ve fallen too far that way. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but give franchises that have the top flight players more power to be able to keep them there or at least make it much tougher for them to decide to leave. Continue reading


Durant is Playing Like an MVP… Seattle Must Hate Life…

I have to admit the only time Durant has failed me was during the NCAA tourney as a Longhorn. He made me a believer that he could single-handedly win a title during the year hitting a few buzzer beaters. Unfortunately, he had a god awful performance in the 2nd round of March Madness, and was out of college basketball forever. Needless to say it destroyed my brackets that year. When he went to Seattle I was pretty happy, and grew a mini-mancrush on him through his rookie season. After Presti hi-jacked the team, I’ve found it very hard to watch them. I feel like I should be boycotting anything that is the Thunder. Another reason why every picture I put up of Durant on posts is him in a Seattle uniform. Alas, it’s impossible not to watch this amazing young team hitting full stride, and Westbrook has grown a TON since he came into the league. The main reason for their success has been Kevin Durant, and how he has put them into contender status at the vetran age of 21 years old.

He's a PC with Windows 7 at least!

The Sonics (still resisting calling them the Thunder) are like that up and coming boxer that is knocking out everyone that they face, skyrocketing up the rankings. Most likely they will fall to the champ in a fight for the belt, but it’s always fun to see the potential of the young guns. Rattling off 9 straight wins has made them relevant in the west, and I don’t see losing the last two being overly devastating. It hasn’t been a small story that KD had 29 straight 25+ point performances, until he scored a measly 21 tonight. He’s turned into the full package, and if he ever learns how to start dishing it, watch out. Then again, why would he pass, when he’s going to score no matter how he’s being defended. I’m already more impressed with his offensive game more so than I am with Melo’s. It doesn’t matter who the other team puts on him or what kind of double team he is facing, he figures it out and finds a way to score! If Melo is a PC, then KD has to be Mac. There’s one thing I’ve always liked about Durant, and that is the fact that he only cares about basketball. I mean, could you ever see him shooting up a night club or even having a gun for that matter? Making a rap video? Sending naked texts of himself? That’s what I thought. He’s a pretty clean cut guy, and only seems to care about getting better at basketball. I wonder if he’ll get arrogant like Kobe and Jordan are. You see something different with him, he’s just one of those competitors that won’t allow himself to waste away his talent.

One thing he has going against him is that he’s playing in the Lebron era, because in any other year, he’d get my MVP vote. It’s wild that if you took Durant or Lebron off either these teams, both would probably be counting how many ping pong balls they had for the John Wall lottery. That is why, I’m picking both of them above Kobe. Their importance to their teams is invaluable. I can still see the Lake Show making the playoffs with the supporting cast they have in place. Lebron looks like he’s hitting his Michael Jordan type stride, where it’s going to be nearly impossible for anyone to get an MVP but him for a few years. I guess Jordan wasn’t given the award a couple times in what many felt was the league getting tired of giving the award to him, and just wanted a change of pace. It seems like as long as Lebron is healthy, and has a good enough cast to get the top seed, it will be his award to lose. I’m praying that I’ll get to see his Big-O impersonation one year, and average a triple double for a entire season. My question is, when are we going to see the third puppet come out in the MVPuppet commercials? KD is already sponsored by Nike, why wouldn’t they throw him in there!  He’d be my favorite character of the three.


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.


Doin Work’s 2009 NBA Fantasy Mock Draft

nbadraftIt’s hard to not get fired up about the basketball season by doing a mock draft! The NBA kind of sucks in some ways because if you are unfortunate and a few of your top two picks get injured your team is already pretty much done for the season. It’s weird how there are the top 35 guys in the league that help your fantasy team win, and the rest of your team is filled with streaky guys that can impress or disappoint you nightly. We did the first three rounds in a 12 team league, bookmark it if you need to for your draft!

#1 – Odom’s Shoulder Vein – Lebron James, Cleveland

Its Lebron enough said…..Last year however I took Chris Paul at #1 over Lebron and was able to run away with a league title. So, there is a possible consideration with not going with the King here. That thought is fleeting though, Lebron is easily the most multi-cat producer in the game, and will only get better and more dominating, and he is simply too good to pass up under any circumstance.

#2 – Hard on for Rajon – Kobe “Doin Work” Bryant, Los Angeles

He is the best guard in the league, he’s still in his prime, and they’ve added one of the best defenders in the league to help take a bit of pressure of him in Artest.  Let’s not forget Ariza wasn’t more than a role player still at mid-season before he started to get more minutes with Walton injured.  Kobe will get his shots and be fresher in the 4th qtr this year.

# 3 – Oden Retirement Home – Chris Paul, New Orleans

Chris Paul CP3 Dwight Howard Superman

CP3 over Superman

In 2007, I took Chris Paul with the 8th pick overall.  It was a great pick and he led me to an 8th place finish.  This time, getting him up at #3 means better picks to surround him with championship talent. Or does it?  Even though I missed the playoffs last year, this yahoo snaking order isn’t helping me get competitive!

#4 Walker Texas Granger – Danny Granger, Indiana Pacers

He may not be a superstar in the NBA like the guys picked around him, but he is a fantasy stud. He fills up the stat sheets, and I named my team after him, so I had no choice but to pick him! He killed me last year every time I was against the team that had him, and my strategy is to pick those guys this year.

#5 Cross Over Kings – Dwayne Wade, Miami

Extremely happy Dwyane Wade was available here at 5. I think a case can be made that is a top three player, and with his huge scoring ability I would consider drafting him ahead of Chris Paul. Health concerns the last several years have been an issue you can’t ignore with Wade, however last years strong season should temper some of those larger concerns. No reason not to consider Wade a corner stone player with your squad come draft day.

# 6 – Nelly’s Belly – Kevin Durant, Seattle

At least we briefly saw KD in a Sonic jersey

At least we briefly saw KD in a Sonic jersey

That’s not a typo.  Much like I refuse to call South Florida USF, I choose not to acknowledge that there is an NBA team in Oklahoma City and not Seattle.  Anyway, Durant has proved he can do more than just score, and he’s the Yahoo cover boy! He has to have a big year right?

#7 – Pippen Ain’t Easy – Dwight Howard, Orlando

Superman, nuff said.  Would like to see that FT % finally go up, lot’s of hype last year and only a small increase.  Losing Hedu can’t hurt him too much, especially with Nelson coming back healthy.

#8 –  Who’s the Bosh? – Dirk Nowitzski

I can’t lie, the clock was running down on my turn, and I figured I may as well start my team off with a the top white guy on the board who plays nearly every game every season, and is consistent. I almost picked my boy Bosh, but I’ve always believed that picking your favorite player will jinx your team ,so I’m staying away from my Canadian brethren.

#9 – Artest Dog Kennel Co. – Pau Gasol, Los Angeles

Yikes where did all of the players I have targeted go? Crap, literally every player I wanted (some I had no chance to grab at 9) went flying off the board in round one. I had to quickly scramble for a player I want that would deserve a top 9 pick…..With only a few seconds left to spare I took a leap of faith on Pau Gasol. 20 & 10 a night at PF is not a bad building block for your team I guess, however Gasol lacks that buzz you might want from your first pick. Pau is a totally different type of player I’m use to building around so early out of the gates.

# 10 – Sovinet Union – Chris Bosh, Toronto

If we were drafting haircuts, I wouldn’t take Bosh in the first round.  But, when it comes to ball, I’m a fan of lanky guys, and he fits the mold.  Plus, he’s in a contract year, and although he seems to have a good relationship with Toronto, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind being courted by a few large market American teams.

#11 – Be All You Camby – Al Jefferson, Minnesota

Al Jefferson dunk MinnesotaTalk about a team built around one player.  It’s like Big Al and a bunch of speedy guards and forwards (except Kevin Love of course).  And they are all mediocre at this point in their careers.  The Twolves will struggle, but Big Al will get his.  Let’s put it this way, the active backups at C currently listed on the roster are Ryan Hollins and Jared Reiner.  Exactly.

#12 – Baby Curry – Deron Williams, Utah

With an injury plagued start to his season last year, I look for Deron to have a big bounce back fantasy season. It’s not like he didn’t show that he wasn’t healthy last year as he averaged 11.5 assists after the All-Star break, and looked like a top fantasy player for a month or so. I didn’t hesitate to pick him with the last pick in the final round.

ROUND 2

#13 – Baby Curry – Amare Stoudamire, Phoenix

The Suns can only hope!

The Suns can only hope!

Goggle boy should fit nicely with Deron, as I now have a solid base for nearly every category. I see Stoudamire having a great year under Gentry, and without Shaq he is the unquestioned low post option everytime down the floor. He once again has something to prove so I’m betting he steps it up a notch! Rumor has it he’s even been working on his defense.

#14 – Be All You Camby – Tim “TIMMAY” Duncan

I won’t lie, I just went with a huge line up drafting Tiny Tim and Big Al back-to-back.  Timmy might have lost half a step, but we know him as the Big Fundamental for a reason: he’s always textbook in every move he makes.  And he’s one of the strongest two-way players in the game at his size.

# 15 – Sovinet Union – Brandon Roy, Portland

I don’t have any fancy numbers or theory on this pick.  I was just simply taking the best player on the board.  He may not put up all-around numbers, but I’d sure rather check his box scores than JR Rider, who was my other choice at this spot.

#16 – Artest Dog Kennel Co. – Chauncey Billups, Dever

With my rebounds and pts locked up early, my attention quickly turns to grabbing a top flight PG before they all disappear. I’ve always marveled at the consistency of Billups and the fantastic stat line he puts up each night….This was an easy pick for me.

#17 – Who’s the Bosh? – Gilbert Arenas, Washington

Does Gilbert have any game winners this year?

Does Gilbert have any game winners this year?

I can’t say that this isn’t a reach, but there is a ton of upside here. I hope he’s back to dominant form. I somehow feel like I could get him later, but why wait for something that feels so right. He could be the NBA and fantasy comeback player of the year, so I’ll roll the dice. I usually lose leagues anyways, so I may as well try out a new strategy.

#18 – Pippen Ain’t Easy – Carmelo Anthony, Denver

I can’t tell if this is a gamble or an insult to Melo, being drafted 18th after the likes of Roy, his teammate Billups, and Arenas who has been bed ridden for the past 3 years.  Melo is such a moody player, it’s ridiculous.  I can only pray his in whatever mood it takes to put up his potential more often than not.  He’s 30-10 followed by 15-5, but he is becoming a slightly more consistent at least.

# 19 – Nelly’s Belly – Derrick Rose, Chicago

Maybe I’m reaching here, but I’m probably still thinking about Game 1 of the Bulls – Celtics series last postseason.  I know he didn’t live up to that game for the remainder of the season, but he ended up averaging 20, 6, and 6 for the series.  If that’s where he’s leaving off, I can’t wait to see how he progresses in his second NBA season.

#20 – Cross Over Kings – Steve Nash, Phoenix

Point guards, point guards, point guards…..Did I say point guards? Teams that win fantasy basketball titles are rich with talent at the PG position, and if the opportunity presents itself in the early rounds I’ll be drafting the best player at this position every time. This is a keeper league we’re drafting for, so I didn’t think twice about snatching up Steve Nash here, and team him up with D-Wade. I love the nightly production I can expect from these two, but now will be turning my attention to boards, and three pts with future draft picks.

#21 – Walker Texas Granger – Devin Harris, New Jersey

With Vince gone, I think Harris will have to assert himself all season long, and that’s going to be good news for fantasy owners. Although he usually gets injured at one point in the season, he was probably my steal of the draft last year, so I’m thanking him by taking him here.

# 22 – Oden Retirement Home –  Joe Johnson, Atlanta

Joe Johnson Hawks jump shotJoe Johnson is like that girl who looks pretty good most of the time, but isn’t quite gorgeous.  But, every once in a while she’ll look smokin and she’ll, I mean he’ll put up a triple double and you fall in love.  We’ve had an on and off relationship in fantasy hoops over the last few years, but with Atlanta emerging as a playoff threat and rounding into their prime, I’m ready to commit to Joe.  Flanked by Josh Smith, Bibby, and Jamal Crawford, I think he’ll be at the center of that offense dishing out plenty of dimes to go with his strong scoring numbers.

#23 – Hard on for Rajon – David West, New Orleans

David West can thank two guys for making his job pretty damn easy: the unbelievable CP3, and Peja when he’s healthy.  We already know about CP3, he’s the best PG in the league.  But Peja takes a lot of bodies out to the perimeter to get a hand in his face, opening up the post for the talented West to operate.  Lots of chances for Off Rebs and he’s solid on D as well.  Nice balance to first pick Kobe.

#24 – Odom’s Shoulder Vein – Jose Calderon, Toronto

Waiting an entire two rounds to draft again is a steep price to pay for having the number pick, however I find in basketball rounds three and four are still rich in talent. Top tier point guards disappear quickly in the first three rounds and had to make my move here to pick one up. I was excited to see Calderon available and didn’t give anybody else serious thought. He seems like an ideal PG to team up with Lebron…Assists, steals, FG%, Pts, 3pts are already in good hands two picks in.

#25 – Odom’s Shoulder Vein – Gerald Wallace, Charlotte

Gerald Wallace BobcatsNot sure about this pick after I made it….In retrospect I think Vince Carter was the better value. It’s not like Wallace is a bad player or won’t even put up very similar numbers…but if I can the player that is on a much better team (ie Orlando) with less health concerns that’s usually the better move. In terms of over all production, I’m extremely happy with my first three picks.

#26 – Hard on for Rajon – Andre Igoudala, Philadelphia

The other AI is in for an even bigger season with the loss of veteran PG Andre Miller.  Besides, with so many Andre’s on the court it was getting confusing.  It looks as though Iguodala will be starting with Lou Williams at the point and Thaddeus Young at the 3, so there will be plenty of opportunity to score in this offense.  We all know his athletic ability alone is pretty special.

# 27 – Oden Retirement Home – Shawn Marion, Dallas

I’m not a Shawn Marion fan by any stretch of the imagination.  Once he left Phoenix, his fantasy value has deteriorated.  However, I feel like this is the year the Mavericks either make one last push, or blow it up completely.  If it’s the former, it’ll be because Marion is enjoying a comeback season pertaining to his fantasy relevance.

#28 – Walker Texas Granger– Kevin Garnett, Boston

This pick is a risky one, since Garnett’s production has been falling off faster than Raiders ticket sales, but hopefully he’ll be rejuvenated after getting the last couple months of last season off. I have little doubt that when he’s in there he’ll produce, the question is will he be in there?

#29 – Cross Over Kings – Antawn Jamison, Washington

Antawn Jamison WizardsHere in the third round I was looking for an all-around producer from either the SF or PF position. If I can find a scorer who boards, and can knock down some threes as well, I feel like this would be an ideal addition. Paul Piece was a serious candidate, but I was hoping to get a few more rebounds, which made Jamison the most viable player to go with. His average of 8+ boards a night to go along with 20 pts, and a few threes seem like a good fit. I would argue Jamison is one of the most under valued players in the league when it comes to fantasy players….

#30 – Nelly’s Belly – Josh Smith, Atlanta

The Josh Smith saga continues.  I jumped on the bandwagon early, and by the time he hit his fantasy peak, he was in someone else’s hands.  In his third run on my team in 5 years last season, he had a disappointing campaign.  This year, I’m hoping to pair him with Anthony Randolph in a later round and have the scariest fantasy team ever on paper!

#31 – Pippen Ain’t Easy – Rashard Lewis, Orlando

I guess I’m all in on the Magic offense after the loss of Hedu in the off-season.  Long-range Lewis and Superman will get a few more touches, and a healthy Jameer Nelson will give them great opportunities to excel.

#32 – Who’s the Bosh? – Rajon Rondo, Boston

Woohoo, hi-five!

Woohoo, hi-five!

I guess I might need a backup plan at PG in case Gilbert goes down, and Rondo is a dishing machine that should only get better with age! I’m not sure if he’s an alien or not, but it’s good to have another Sam Cassell looking guy in the league.

#33 – Artest Dog Kennel Co. – Vince Carter, Orlando

Wow….Vince Carter sitting here so late is a nice gift if you ask me. And it’s these types of players you draft in rounds 3, 4, and 5 that can net you a fantasy title. With Carter playing for a winning Orlando team full of talent, I think it’s reasonable to think he has a decent chance to put up top 15 type numbers this season. I feel great about having top players at PG, PF, and SF….Carter does carry some health risks, but those fears seem to only come up when he is playing for bad teams!

# 34 – Sovinet Union – Paul Pierce, Boston

The Celtics took a year off to celebrate, and this season should be the last chance for Pierce, Garnett, and Allen to get one more ring.  Since KG and Ray both have the durability of a pine cone, Paul Pierce is going to have to hold down the fort through much of the regular season.

#35 – Be All You Camby – Jason Kidd

After taking two big men, I’m delighted to see two great PGs left to choose from: Kidd and Tony Parker.  I’m going with Kidd only because he outs up better assist numbers and more 3 pointers.  The Dallas offense looks filthy with a healthy Josh Howard, Dirk and Terry, plus new addition Shawn Marion keeping plays alive and providing a bit of energy.

#36 – Baby Curry – Monta Ellis, Golden State

The Warriors camp has been the most active, and not in a good way. I hate to pick the guy that told my mancrush that he couldn’t play with him, but he should be primed for a big season whether or not they end up being competitive. Anyone guaranteed starters minutes on the dubs should be a good pick!