Point guard has quickly become the most talented position in the NBA. There are so many good point guards (sometimes at the expense of the shooting guard position) that having a good player in that position is more essential now than ever.
The most talent in the free agent class of 2014 belongs to the small forwards. LeBron James, who is inarguably the best basketball player in all of the land, leads this group which also includes his would be rival, Carmelo Anthony, and the talented yet aging Paul Pierce and the enigmatic talent of Rudy Gay who still hasn’t quite found his footing as a franchise piece.
Recently, the Portland Trail Blazers, among other teams, received two nods for all-stars with Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge. After their 34-13 start to the season, pundits have believed that making it to the second round was a realistic expectation. Having two all-stars should signify that your team is having great success.
His lack of finishing inside, which has plagued him all season, is most worrisome, as his biggest jump has actually been his three-point shooting (but has been free-falling lately). Assists are down, and so is his usage rate, but I’d like to think that the final pass is going through Nicholas Batum much more as he has become the playmaker. And lately, when coaches are in the process of picking out the reserves, Lillard just hasn’t played well.
We’re at the halfway point in the NBA and several teams have risen to the top. I’ve identified what I consider the eight best teams. With how the Eastern Conference is shaping up I could only choose two, while the west has six teams that are vying for finals splendor.
Watching the Portland Trail Blazers dismantle the Dallas Mavericks in the first three quarters this weekend, followed by the Mavericks’ bench dominating the Blazers’ in the fourth, I postulated, is bench depth that important?
Until the recent nine game win streak, the Warriors had been inconsistent. Many pundits picked the Warriors as a dark horse Western Conference Finals team, but they hadn’t met those expectations until the return of Andre Iguodala from injury.
It’s easy to forget that Darren Collison had excelled as Chris Paul’s backup once before in New Orleans, and that he exceeded all expectations when Paul was befallen by injury.
As of the end of December, and of the twelve games the Blazers have played, they have given up less than 100 points, two times. While their offensive rating continues to rank at the top of the league (currently first), their defensive rating, which was at best, 17th early in the season, has now dropped to 23rd.
In the long-term Russell Westbrook's health is vital to the success of the Thunder, and there is no doubt that his presence makes it easier on his teammates, but he'll need to be 100% for the Thunder in the playoffs for them to advance as seen last year.
he Portland Trail Blazers' recent winning streak of 11 games finally came to an end. Until the recent dismantling by the Phoenix Suns, the winning streak showed the Blazers actually did improve on many of the things that Coach Terry Stotts talked about in the offseason; improved defense and a ball moving, potent outside attack.
Western Conference Preview for the 2013 NBA Season. Projected records, starting lineups, key players for each team. Click to read the entire preview, starting with the Pacific Division and the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Clippers just plain got better as a "team" during the offseason. They didn't need flash, they needed tools, and they got two useful ones (Jared Dudley and JJ Reddick) and one great one (coach Doc Rivers). Many pundits are saying that Rivers was the best "get" of the offseason, and while I don't agree with that, I do think it was a tremendous acquisition. This team is expected to make it to the playoffs and Doc has been there twice in recent memory.
Eastern Conference Preview for the 2013 NBA Season. Projected records, starting lineups, key players for each team. Click to read the entire preview, starting with the Atlantic Division and the Brooklyn Nets.
There wasn't a more built to win now transformation for a team in than for the Brooklyn Nets. Without giving up any significant pieces (Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries and MarShon Brooks) the nets added Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Andrei Kirilenko and Jason Terry. That's even a pretty good group of starters by itself and that lineup doesn't include the current starters.