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Team USA 19-Man Preliminary Roster

January 10, 2012 by  
Filed under NBA, Sports

Four years ago seems like nearly a decade by the way time flies these days. I was just 19 years old and entering my sophomore year at Indiana University when Team USA’s ‘Redeem Team’ took the gold medal at the ’08 Olympics in Beijing. The ’92 Dream Team is still the hardest team ever assembled with a Starting Five that consisted of Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, and Magic Johnson.

But the ‘Redeem Team’ were no slouches, either.

LeBron James was their best all-around player with Kobe coming in a close second, Dwyane Wade regained his ’06 championship form, and we got a chance to see both Chris Paul and Deron Williams be taken under Jason Kidd’s wing.

The way all that talented meshed together as one was a thing of beauty for a daily hoop-head, especially since most in my generation don’t remember watching the ’92 Olympic games. I grew as Carmelo Anthony grew into The Bully, and he’s since grown into my favorite player ever.

Although only 12 of the best players in the world will be selected to attend the 2012 Olympics in London this year (18 attend practice and try to earn a roster spot), but former ESPN beat writer Chris Sheridan is reporting that they’re planning on bringing in one more heavy hitter for his chance to shine: LaMarcus Aldridge.

From Sheridan:

The Portland Trail Blazers forward has gained the attention of Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski with his strong start to the season, averaging 22.6 points and 7.8 rebounds for the Blazers (6-2), who are tied with Philadelphia for the NBA’s fourth-best record. The Blazers are coached by Nate McMillan, an assistant under Krzyzewski on the national team staff.

“Everybody has had the number at 18, and everybody had Blake Griffin as the only guy who wasn’t on the ’08 (Olympics) and ’10 (World Championship) teams. But they don’t know about Aldridge,” a source with knowledge of USA Basketball’s plans told SheridanHoops.com.

With Aldridge added, this is what the 19-man roster would look like:

LaMarcus Aldridge
Carmelo Anthony
Chauncey Billups
Chris Bosh
Kobe Bryant
Tyson Chandler
Kevin Durant
Eric Gordon
Blake Griffin
Dwight Howard
Andre Iguodala
LeBron James
Kevin Love
Lamar Odom
Chris Paul
Derrick Rose
Dwyane Wade
Russell Westbrook
Deron Williams

Just by looking at that roster I see growth, more experience, and a better team than the ’08 squad. I don’t see Russell Westbrook knocking D-Will off the list, and as of right now I don’t see Lamar Odom beating out Kevin Love for a spot.

Which players do you think will make the cut? Training camp begins July 5.

Chris Paul & Derrick Rose Put On A Show

December 31, 2011 by  
Filed under NBA, Sports

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He might have lost a little bit of his explosiveness and speed since his knee surgery but one thing is for certain: Chris Paul still has the best handles in the NBA.

After squeezing out a win at the Staples Center on Christmas Day, Derrick Rose led his troops yet again into ‘Tinseltown’ to battle who many believe is the best point guard in the game, CP3, and the new-faced Clippers.

Shot after shot, speed after speed and dunk after dunk, both Paul and Rose went at it tonight. Period. But in the end, it was Rose and his Chicago Bulls who walked away with the victory and a ridiculous stat-line for the former league MVP: 29 points, 16 assists and 8 rebounds to Paul’s 14 point, 15 assist outing.

Oh, and don’t think Rose didn’t get some get-back on CP3, either:

This Is What Nike Basketball x Jordan Brand Rocked On Christmas Day

December 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Fashion, Kicks, NBA, Sports

Above (from l-r): Carmelo Anthony wore his Jordan Melo M8 Christmas Day kicks in a win against the C’s, Chris Paul wore his Jordan CP3.V XMas day kicks in his debut with the Clippers, and D-Wade rocked his Jordan Fly Wade 2 XMas day kicks in the Heat’s blowout over the Mavericks.

Below (from l-r): KD rocked the Nike Zoom KD IV “Coppers” against the Magic, LeBron put on the XMas Day LeBron 9′s, Kobe laced up Nike Zoom Kobe VII “Cheetahs” in a loss against the Bulls, and Amare wore his special XMas colored Air Max Sweep Thrus.

All of the shoes are in stores now!

Carmelo Anthony Is The Knicks New Point Guard

December 21, 2011 by  
Filed under NBA, Sports

When you think of Carmelo Anthony, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Scoring. There’s no question that ‘Melo can put the ball in the hole from anywhere on the basketball court — he’ll give you 26 a night, easy –, what about his passing, though? For starters, his career average of 3.1 assists doesn’t exactly jump-out at you, but Ive watched this guy play ball since his days at Oak Hill and I’ve seen him make some incredible passes, when he chooses to do so. I’ve seen him make no-look passes, behind-the-back passes, half-court passes and plenty of other jaw-dropping passes.

This video is a perfect example –

Amazing, right?

When ‘Melo was traded to the Knicks last February, things didn’t exactly go the way they had hoped. Did Amar’e and Anthony score a lot of points together? Yes. They even scored a bunch of points as a team, but their defense was non-existent and they had a 14-14 record post-signing. They couldn’t find the right spacing — which makes sense since both guys play from the same spot on the floor — and at times they looked lost. Shockingly, although not really since he’s playing under Mike D’Antoni’s offense, ‘Melo’s offensive stats skyrocketed once he could officially call Madison Square Garden his new home.

2010-11 stats with Denver: 25.2 points per game, 2.8 assists, 82.3% from FT, 33% from 3s and shot 45.2% from the field.

2010-11 stats with New York: 26.3 points per game, 3 assists, 87.2% from FT, 42.4% from 3s (which is just astounding) and 46.1% from the field.

Last month, D’Antoni stated that the Knicks offense would run through ‘Melo, not Amar’e (which makes sense). From high school, to college, to the pros, the offense has always ran through whatever team Anthony has played on. Offensively, he’s that good.

Kevin Clark of the Wall Street Journal put things in perspective when it came to Anthony’s new point guard duties:

So here’s how it will work — Anthony will decide when to run point (it’s mostly based on feel) and dribble up the floor. The former point guard will sprint to the corner and simply act as another shooting option or in some incarnations, there will be no point guard on the floor at all. Landry Fields, the team’s shooting guard, will be on the other side. From there, Anthony’s bottomless bag of moves will start. According to those that have guarded him, he is at an advantage because he is six-foot-eight, at least two inches taller than almost every guard, meaning he can see the defense in front of him without interference. He has fast enough feet to jet past even the peskiest of defenders and he has a quick release to his pass.

According to Iman Shumpert, the rookie who has guarded him in practice, he’s a threat to shoot as soon as he’s within 30 feet. Mostly, though, he’ll start a pick-and-roll, a play in which a player (Chandler or Stoudemire) sets a screen for the ball handler (Anthony) before slipping behind the defender. The big man not in the pick-and-roll will almost certainly be open for a jump-shot. It is, coaches say, an unguardable play.

Before this idea came to mind, ‘Melo always was an unarguable player. You can’t stop him. The only way he’ll be stopped is when he does it himself, which is when his shots aren’t falling and he decides to get trigger happy.

Although he’s basically done this his entire career, D’Antoni believes the Melo-run offense can be sustainable for at least 30 minutes a night:

“Oh yeah, it’s harder to isolate all the time and go one-on-one all the time. He did that 20, 30 minutes a game before anyway,” D’Antoni said. “I think it will be easier for him to run the point-forward, run the pick-and-roll and get easier shots. I think it will be easy for him.”

D’Antoni then went on to say that Anthony’s height is key:

“He’s 6-foot-9, he sees over the top of everything, he’s got good pace for it. Melo is a complete player, he understands the game, he has a finesse passing game with it and you can almost run anything with him at the point guard and it’s going to work,” Dan D’Antoni said. “I think Melo understands the positions to put Amar’e in, where can score, that’s what a point guard does. I think he has that mentality, he might be ‘Magic’ [Johnson] Melo, I don’t know.”

I mean, really, how do you stop a point-forward who’s 6-foot-9? Did you see how many guys struggled to guard Hall of Famer’s like Magic Johnson and Larry Bird? There’s a reason they have jerseys hung up in their respective team’s arenas. Those guys were phenomenal at what they did and paved the way for players like LeBron James and Carmelo to bring different attributes to the game than most would ever daydream about.

During the Knicks-Nets preseason match-up Wednesday night, I didn’t see a whole lot of the new offense, which is understandable considering that it’s only preseason (I wouldn’t want to play with all my new toys at the same time, either). The most important thing about all this doesn’t have to do with a new playbook, it’s the fact that ‘Melo has taken on an even bigger leadership role than he ever has. The ball is literally in his court now.

He’s now the guy who will have to develop a Chris Paul mind-state while maintaining his Michael Jordan scoring mentality..

If he makes the right decisions, the Knicks could be playing in the NBA finals come May.

And f he makes those decisions, he has a chance to do something LeBron never could.

Video: Blake Griffin And DeAndre Jordan React To Chris Paul Being Their New Teammate

December 15, 2011 by  
Filed under NBA, Sports

Video: Lob City

If it were me, I’d be jumping for joy in the middle of the street too. There’s not much that goes on in the video other than both Griffin and Jordan on their cell phones reacting to the news of landing the best PG in the league, Chris Paul, but Blake sums it up in one short answer: “Lob-City!”

Hollywood Makeover: Chris Paul Dealt To The Clippers

December 14, 2011 by  
Filed under NBA, Sports

So much for the Lakers trying to snatch-up Chris Paul, huh? The same city, two teams, an aging superstar and a primed one, who wins? As of right now, my money is on the Clippers. Not too long after reports surfaced that the Orlando Magic decided to pull Dwight Howard off the trading block – not a good idea if you ask me because they know he’s unhappy and doesn’t want to be there since the front office refuses to listen to him when it comes to bringing in another superstar — because they weren’t able to get the right deal that would be David Stern approved.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple hours, ESPN’s Marc Stein was first on the Twitter scene to report that the Clippers and Hornets finally reached a deal to send Chris Paul to Tinsle Town. The deal included Eric Gordon (easily a top 3 SG in the league), Chris Kaman (double-double capability when he’s healthy), Al-Farouq Aminu (promising young SF/PF) and Minnesota’s unprotected 2012 first-round draft pick. The Clippers also receive two future second-round picks.

Seriously, on paper, tell me the Clippers aren’t a playoff team and wouldn’t run the Lakers out of the building: CP3, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Chauncey Billups, Eric Bledsoe, Caron Butler, Mo Williams and Randy Foye. They have the best quadruple group of PG’s in the league — although they’ll probably end up waiving one and trading another –, but the only issue I see with this team is health. How long will Paul’s knee hold up? What about Griffin’s? Butler isn’t exactly Superman, either.

The Hornets, despite losing two All Stars in Paul and David West, still look promising. They have five returning players under contract, and you can expect to see a starting five look something like this: Jarrett Jack (PG), Eric Gordon (SG), Aminu (SF), Kaman (PF) and Omeka Okafur holding down the five spot. That’s a playoff team on paper in my eyes, and it also gives the Hornets much-needed depth to further strengthen their roster through free agency.

A lot of people didn’t think this deal would have gone through since Stern initially ended the deal with Paul going to Los Angeles, but that was only because it wasn’t fair. This deal is fair. The Clippers get a top 5 player in the league while the Hornets get a couple very promising players and a fistful of draft picks. Now, the real question is whether or not the Clippers will sell more tickets than the Lakers? Ha .. I know, bad joke.

David West Says He, Along With Chris Paul, Felt Disrespected In NOLA

December 13, 2011 by  
Filed under NBA, Sports

Basketball is a business, and most guys understand that anything can happen. But when you’re a franchise player, you deserve to be respected. I mean, that’s the only way things are going to work out at the end of the day. When you’re that guy, you expect people to come to you with questions about how the team should go forward, ect., right? Well, apparently that didn’t happen in New Orleans.

“There just really is no direction with no legitimate owner, so that just makes it tough,” David West told the Associated Press on Monday. “It really made it tough for me to see myself going back there.”

Similar to the Dwight Howard situation in Orlando, there were events that took place in New Orleans that led to the All-Star duo’s minds to start wandering elsewhere. West went on to that say that owner Jeff Bower “didn’t consult Chris with anything” and didn’t converse with him about letting go of his best friend, Jannero Pargo.

West also informed reporters that they were left in the dark about the Tyson Chandler trade.

“It’s nothing against Emeka, but from our perspective, being teammates with Tyson and knowing the type of impact he had on both of our careers at that particular time, I just felt like at that moment, things, in terms of the trust, the direction we were going, started to wane a bit,” West said. “When you have a franchise guy like Chris, build a team around him, I’m under the impression that you’ve got to keep your franchise guy happy.”

That’s just disrespectful. That’s like the scene from Roadtrip when Sean William Scott is selling women for the night but ignores the nerd who’s trying to purchase one. You have a team with chemistry, and your biggest strength is the trio (West, Paul and Chandler) of players who compliment each other well and constantly push each other, and then you decide to trade your best defender and energy guy for a better rebounder? It doesn’t make sense. Believe it or not but it has yet to prove the point that was trying to be made.

West made the smart decision by not re-signing with the Hornets knowing a long time ago things were headed south. Deep down he knew Chris wasn’t coming back — unless they somehow brought in another superstar — so why would he return? He’s 32 years old and coming off a season ending ACL tear, time’s running out for the spot-up shooter. Signing a two-year deal with the Pacers was a brilliant move; they still have some work to do in the backcourt, but they’re looking like a potential top-five team in the East. Adding a shooter of O.J. Mayo’s talent certainly helps, too.

Boston Celtics Close To Adding David West

December 10, 2011 by  
Filed under NBA, Sports

The Boston Celtics are out here making moves! It all started with constant trade rumors floating around that Boston was working on a trade with New Orleans to bring in Chris Paul for the year — although they had hopes of him signing a long-term deal — which, eventually fell apart after the Lakers hopped aboard with the Houston Rockets to bring Cp3 to L.A., while the Rockets received Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom went to New Orleans (lucky break for Bean-Town if you ask me).

On Friday, Boston worked a deal with the Orlando Magic that would send PF/C Glen “Big Baby” David down south in exchange for Brandon Bass (not sure exactly what either team gets out of this because one is better defender while the other is a better scorer), but I must admit that Davis’ skills depleted after he was given more minutes and Bass is more athletic and little bit tougher in the paint. There were also reports of the Celtics being extremely close to signing All-Star forward David West, which would ultimately land him a 3-year deal worth around $29 million — another undisclosed player — and would send Jermaine O’Neal to the Hornets. With the recent re-signing of Jeff Green (1-year deal), Boston looks to be right up there in competition with the Knicks and Heat (Chicago hasn’t made any kind of moves for another SG).

They now have a bunch of young scorers coming off the bench at nearly every position (fellow Purdue teammates JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore now have big opportunities to earned playing time in a shortened season), but the really need to address the situation at center. A longer off season will certainly help keeps the Celtics older players fresh, especially since they have one of the hardest road schedules in the league, and I’m sure Rondo is going to play lights out after the rumors have diminished and he’s finally gotten over the Kendrick Perkins trade.

Deron Williams Rejects Extension With The Nets

December 1, 2011 by  
Filed under NBA, Sports

You know what the best thing about LeBron’s “Decision” and Carmelo Anthony’s “I’ll keep playing with the fans and teams head and act like I don’t know where I want or will be traded to but secretly I know it’s New York” is? It gives all the other superstars in the league that are about to be in the same situation a little advantage. They got to sit back and watch players like ‘Bron make a national mistake and guys like ‘Melo prove that the players can control their own destiny in certain situations.

Now, it’s Deron Williams turn.

With the new rules due to the lockout, any chance the Nets had at saving millions of dollars and getting Williams to sign an extension are now out the window. Deron’s agent Jeff Schwartz went public earlier today stating that Deron will play out this season in New Jersey and will ultimately become a free agent once the season comes to an end. Now that doesn’t exactly mean he wants to leave the Nets — although he probably does unless they get another superstar — but he’ll become richer.

Deron will not be signing the extension,” Jeff Schwartz told The Record this afternoon. “Based on the new rules it doesn’t make any sense for him to sign the extension. It has nothing to do with how much he likes New Jersey. Because of the rules, he’s going to play the season out and probably opt out of his deal.”

With the new rules now set in stone, Williams can either choose to sign with another team as a free agent and roughly get around $73 million for four years, or he can re-sign with the Nets — if they get a superstar — for a five-year, $101 million ext. The only way he comes back is if they can somehow land Dwight Howard, which means goodbye to Brooke Lopez. Nothing against Lopez but, he’s nowhere near Howard’s level of play. Not even close. And he’s definitely not the kind of player that’s going to help lead the Nets to an NBA title. They already have some solid outside shooters and a decent bench, but they could use a couple upgrades in those areas as well. All big men in the league need someone to feed them the ball, and who better than Deron Williams? The biggest/strongest PG in the league who many consider to be better than Chris Paul.

Chris Paul Requests A Trade To The Knicks

December 1, 2011 by  
Filed under NBA, Sports

Well, as of right now, the “Rondo for Chris Paul” trade has been squashed by Boston’s own Danny Ainge. So what’s next for Paul you ask? According to Yahoo! Sports beat writer Adrian Wojnarowski, Paul’s agent spoke with team officials in New Orleans stating that CP3 wants to join forces with Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire in the Big Apple.

From Yahoo! –

Chris Paul’s agent informed New Orleans officials on Wednesday that his client will not sign a contract extension and wants to be traded to the New York Knicks, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

For now, it remains a rumor. The NBA hasn’t lifted lockout restrictions yet which means Hornets GM Dell Demps can’t have a meeting with Paul just yet to discuss his future with the team and what exactly he wants from the organization to stay. The thing is though, do the Knicks really want to make this trade for a 27-year-old Chris Paul with a bad knee and somewhat injury-prone? No way am I saying that Paul isn’t still a good player because that’s nonsense, but the Knicks really do have to look at the long run here: if they make a trade, they won’t be able to make another move for at least four years.

What they really need is someone like Raymond Felton — who played their before and did quite well — who is a tough guard that can get inside the paint and has a nice outside shot. They could also use a banging big man (someone like Marc Gasol from Memphis) and some more shooters like Nick Young or Jason Richardson. That’s the problem with the league right now; ever since Miami created their “Super Team,” teams are trying to up their arsenal just to keep up with those guys but don’t realize how they could hurt their teams in the long run. I’m sure Paul has reached out to Dwight Howard, who’s name is also on the trading blocks, to somehow team-up with one another (Lakers?).

Once Dec. 9 hits, expect things to shakeup dramatically.

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