Monthly Archives: March 2011

Philadelphia 76ers Succeed

After trailing the Knicks in the playoff rankings for virtually the whole season, the 76ers finally became the 6th seed. The 76ers have shown great potential through the duration of the season and could be a formidable team come playoff time. The 76ers don’t necessarily have any great all-stars, but they certainly have some standout players.

First off, Elton Brand, a once fallen player, has reestablished himself back into the league. With this being his third year on the sixers, Brand has shown some real improvement. Although not as good as he once was, Elton Brand has done a good job assimilating to this team. Brand is an efficient all around player making him a lead contributor to the team’s success this year. In addition, Andre Iguodala has been solid all year. He produces nice numbers in just about every stat and has an extremely high, assist to turnover ratio. Iguodala’s efficiency on the court also helps make the sixers a good team. Lastly, the 76ers have very good young talent. Jrue Holiday and Louis Williams have both played very well at the point guard position this year. Overall, the sixers have a bunch of versatile players that mix really well together. Each player complements the other extremely well and that leads to their success.

A Corrupt Bargain

Once a team feels that they have no chance of making the playoffs, a difficult decision comes their way. In the NBA the team that finishes with the worst record has the highest chance of claiming the number one lottery pick in the draft and acquiring young talent that can possibly turn the franchise around. This system is corrupt because it gives teams incentive to lose games on purpose if their season is virtually over. Any sensible franchise would and probably should throw a bunch of the last couple games of the season in order to increase their chances in scoring big in the draft. This system essentially divides the NBA during the final weeks of the season into two parts, teams that are desperately trying to make the playoffs or increase their playoff rank, and teams that don’t give a damn.

A possible correction to this flawed system could be to organize the teams that have no chance of making the playoffs into a draw and have them compete for the top spot. The team that earns the top spot in this mock playoff event earns an extra ten percent chance of landing the top pick, the finalist earns an extra five percent chance, and the semi finalists earn an extra 2.5 % chance. These percentages could be subtracted from the bottom finishers in a system in which 25% of each of the bottom eight teams chances of acquiring the top pick are subtracted. This is a sure fire way of making the last few weeks of the regular season competitive and gives the teams competing for the playoffs a less corrupt way of acquiring the seed as they will play other teams competing for the same spot and not teams that are looking to throw games.

Denver’s Dominance

Since the Melo trade took place, not much was expected of the Denver Nuggets. People thought that Denver would surely fall out of the playoff race and lose their established dominance in the West. Dever has shocked all of those critics and even gotten better since the loss of Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups. Since the trade the newfound Nuggets have compiled an impressive record of 9-3 while the Knicks with the supposed “elite player” Melo have just gone 7-7. People have had low expectations for Denver since the trade and Denver has not only proved them wrong, but also set themselves up for a possible first round upset against Dallas assuming that the Nuggets maintain their six seed in the West.

Felton, Chandler, and Gallanari for Anthony and Billups was the fateful trade that shocked the entire NBA. This was seen as a high price for Anthony and Billups as the Knicks were seemingly trading away one of their elite players and almost all of their young talent. Still Felton, Chandler, and Gallanari were not expected to mesh well with Denver and the Knicks were supposed to receive the better end of the deal. This was seemingly perceived to be true as the Knicks got off to a quick start with an unexpected win over Miami. In that time period though, no one was paying attention to Denver as Denver won game after game with their new roster. Denver is still not being recognized as the elite squad they are because they have no leader. Rather, the Nuggets have a roster well-balanced with players that possess equal talent and therefore the team is a nightmare to defend. Double teams are detrimental when every player is capable of lighting the scoreboard up. This is why Denver is in a much better position now. Now Denver has a future and every player is no longer overshadowed by Anthony.

March Madness Bracketology

The competitive eastern region is going to be interesting.

1st Seed- For the most part, Ohio State should come out triumphant in this eastern region. Ohio is a great all around team. Jared Sullinger can do damage down low, Diebler has great range, and Aaron Craft is an elite defender. Ohio will undoubtedly win the east.

2nd Seed- North Carolina- They will go far, especially with Harrison Barnes leading the way . However, they could lose an upset game to the rank 7 Washington. Washington has Isaiah Thomas who has proven to be an offensive juggernaut all year. If North Carolina beats Washington , UNC will still have to get by Syracuse a three seed.

3rd Seed- Syracuse has played extremely well all year but when they match up against Ohio the odds of them winning is slim.

4th Seed- Kentucky is again another good team in the conference but Ohio is simply too much to handle in the long run.

Game to watch- Xavier vs Marquette- Marquette should win this game. Marquette was in a tougher conference so you have to disregard the ranks. Marquette has also played a top 25 team 14 times this season while Xavier has only played a top 25 team once.

Keep It Up Deron

D-will has been playing phenomenally as of late as a New Jersey Net. Although his scoring numbers have decreased significantly, Deron is racking up over 13 assists per games as a Net and benefitting the team greatly. The Nets have enjoyed success for the first time all season since acquiring Williams and are on a substantial 5 game winning streak assuming that they fare well against Chicago tonight. D-Will is a definite benefactor to the Nets and one of the elite players in the NBA. If Deron’s high level of play continues, the future looks bright for this once hopeless New Jersey Nets team.

Aside from Williams impressive stat line of 21 points and 10 assists a game, Deron also has a great effect on his teammates. Since William’s trade, players like Anthony Morrow, Kris Humphries, and Brook Lopez have been feeding off Deron’s positive energy and tremendous play making abilitiy. Brook is playing some of his best basketball this season due to Deron’s ability to set him up. Humphries has chemistry with Deron due to the two playing for the same Utah Jazz team in the past. Because of this Williams understands Humphries game and knows when and where to set him up. Morrow is a sharp shooter and is more than able to hit open shots and Williams is able to give Morrow plenty. The Nets as a team are playing much better since the trade and now might even be a dark horse to clinch the 8th seed in the east.

Williams is a great player and elite point guard. His style of play meshes will with New Jersey’s offense that is composed of sharp shooters and big men. Look for Deron to make a huge run next season with New Jersey that results in a playoff appearance.

March Madness Bracketology Southern Region

Southwest Region

The southwest is one of the most interesting divisions in 2011 March Madness.

Kansas is the obvious frontrunner with a well balanced offense as well as defense and an authoratative presence down low in Thomas Robinson.

Notre Dame, the second seed, is also fit to do some damage in the tournament with a dangerous offense jam-packed with perimeter shooters.

Purdue, the third seed has a well-balanced defense as well as an explosive offense and are able to take control of games in the later portions.

Louisville, the fourth seed is more reserved in style and win games by outlasting opponents which might not fare too well for them in this section of the draw.

Southeast Region

Pittsburgh is the clear favorite of this reason and are playing a level of basketball that is superior to most other teams in this region with the exception of the second seed, Florida.

Florida, the second seed, has been very erratic this year with many key losses, but a reputation for playing tough basketball and willing through games makes them a favorite to go reasonably far.

BYU, the third seed, has been decently weak this year, despite their admirable record due to the loss of Brandon Davies.

Wisconsin, the fourth seed, has a great style of play and are my pick to shake up this section of the draw.

Race to The 8th Seed in The East

Then you have to consider the dark horses who are not expected to clinch the spot but still lurking 5 games out. By dark horses I mean New Jersey and Detroit. Detroit’s recent struggles and three game losing streak have put them a considerable distance of 5 games out of a playoff spot. New Jersey’s recent success and 4 game winning streak have put them also 5.5 games out of the 8th spot. It is still feasible for these two teams to make a playoff push due to the 18-20 remaining games in the season.

The playoff race in the East is contested mainly by three teams but can be taken by either of our dark horses if New Jersey or Detroit catches fire. It will be interesting to see how this all fares out.

Ahead To The Future

The future of basketball is uncertain as of this point because the current audience is not focused on tomorrow but now. The teams that have the potential to win titles in the future are disregarded and labeled as failures and busts by todays NBA fans. For example, if you take a look at the Nets, Timberwolves, and Clippers, you see teams that are not doing as well now but have the potential to become elite in coming years.

The Nets are loaded with talent that most fans disregard. Center, Brook Lopez, is one of the most underrated players in the NBA. He is one of the most versatile centers in the league. Lopez can pull up from 15-20 feet out and drain jump shot after jump shot if the defense leaves him wide open. Brook is also athletic and can rebound and block reasonably well when given the opportunity. What I mean by that is when defensive specialist Kris Humphries is not working his magic down low. Humphries is a rebounding machine and a defensive threat. When playing well, Lopez and Humphries can form a lesser version of the Tim Duncan, David Robinson twin towers. They are led by NBA elite point guard, Deron Williams, who can explode for 15-20 assists any given night and sharpshooters in Morrow and Vujacic who are offensive threats. The Nets are a team that can definitely make some noise in the future.

Minnesota is another team that fan should look out for. Minnesota has crazy talent in Kevin Lowe who also has range extending to the 3 point line. The T’Wolves also have a scorer in Michael Beasley and a defensive stopper to an extent at least in Darko Milicic. Minnesota also has young talent in Wesley Johnson and a decent pointguard in Luke Ridnour. With an couple high draft picks coming up in the future, the T’Wolves are definately a team that can do some damage.

The Clippers are loaded with young offensive talent. They have a superstar in rookie Blake Griffin whose athleticism and size completely negate his lack of versatility and Eric Gordon who is one of the most prolific scorers in the NBA. The Clippers also have great young talent in Bledsoe, Aminu, and Jordan along with a defensive stopper in Chris Kaman. Look for this team to make a huge run next season and even possibly make the playoffs.

The Clippers, Nets, and T’Wolves are three team that aren’t so good right now but have the potential to be great. Don’t disregard these teams until you see them play to their full potentials.

Let me see you Euro Step

Everyone knows of basic moves like the crossover, behind the back, through the legs, but not everyone knows the euro step, also known as the 1,2 step.

It may seem like an easy move at first but there are a lot of factors that play into it in order to perfect it. If you would like to see the mechanics of the move I would suggest seeing the video above. The idea of the move is to fake out the last defender by planting a jab step one way and then explode onto your other foot so you can then get off a layup. Doing the move however is just not enough to get the easy basket. You must see which ever side the defender is leaning to, once you establish that in your head you must plant the jab foot in that direction and then execute the move how you normally would.

In particular, Manu Ginobili and Dwyane Wade are spectacular at executing the euro step (1,2 step). Both of these players are able to think on the dime and know exactly when to use the move. Also, they both have the athleticism to really execute the move very well.