Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Best of the NBA's Central

Here are my starting fives in the history of each franchise in the Central division. On the left are my subjective starting fives and on the right are the starting fives according to win shares.

Chicago Bulls
Position My 5 Win Shares 5
PG Derrick Rose Kirk Hinrich
SG Michael Jordan Michael Jordan
SF Scottie Pippen Scottie Pippen
PF Bob Love Horace Grant
C Artis Gilmore Artis Gilmore

Cleveland Cavaliers
Position My 5 Win Shares 5
PG Mark Price Mark Price
SG Austin Carr Austin Carr
SF LeBron James LeBron James
PF Larry Nance Hot Rod Williams
C Brad Daugherty Brad Daugherty

Detroit Pistons
Position My 5 Win Shares 5
PG Isiah Thomas Isiah Thomas
SG Joe Dumars Joe Dumars
SF Grant Hill Grant Hill
PF Bailey Howell Dennis Rodman
C Bob Lanier Bill Laimbeer

Indiana Pacers
Position My 5 Win Shares 5
PG Mark Jackson Vern Fleming
SG Reggie Miller Reggie Miller
SF Chuck Person Danny Granger
PF Jermaine O'Neal Dale Davis
C Rik Smits Rik Smits

Milwaukee Bucks
Position My 5 Win Shares 5
PG Oscar Robertson Sam Cassell
SG Sidney Moncrief Sidney Moncrief
SF Glenn Robinson Marques Johnson
PF Terry Cummings Terry Cummings
C  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Best of the NBA's Atlantic

Here are my starting fives in the history of each franchise in the Atlantic division. On the left are my subjective starting fives and on the right are the starting fives according to win shares.

Boston Celtics
Position My 5 Win Shares 5
PG Bob Cousy Bob Cousy
SG Sam Jones Paul Pierce
SF John Havlicek John Havlicek
PF Larry Bird Larry Bird
C Bill Russell Bill Russell

Brooklyn Nets
Position My 5 Win Shares 5
PG Jason Kidd Jason Kidd
SG Vince Carter Kerry Kittles
SF Richard Jefferson Richard Jefferson
PF Buck Williams Buck Williams
C Brook Lopez Mike Gminski

New York Knicks
Position My 5 Win Shares 5
PG Walt Frazier Walt Frazier
SG Earl Monroe Carl Braun
SF Carmelo Anthony Kenny Sears
PF Willis Reed Willis Reed
C Patrick Ewing Patrick Ewing

Philadelphia 76ers
Position My 5 Win Shares 5
PG Allen Iverson Maurice Cheeks
SG Hal Greer Hal Greer
SF Julius Erving Julius Erving
PF Charles Barkley Dolph Schayes
C Wilt Chamberlain Wilt Chamberlain

Toronto Raptors
Position My 5 Win Shares 5
PG Jose Calderon Jose Calderon
SG Morris Peterson Morris Peterson
SF Vince Carter Vince Carter
PF Chris Bosh Chris Bosh
C Antonio Davis Antonio Davis

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Charles Oakley List

This is a top 10 list of the best Charles Oakley-like players. It consists of hustle guys, defenders, and glue guys. Last year's ranking were posted on May 20, 2012. (H stands for Honorable Mention last year.)

# David (PR) - Mike (Previous Rank)
1. T. Allen (5) - Ibaka (5)
2. Ibaka (NR) - K. Leonard (NR)
3. Faried (9) - M. Barnes (NR)
4. Battier (4) - Splitter (NR)
5. A. Bradley (6) - Faried (NR)
6. Hinrich (NR) - T. Gibson (6)
7. K. Leonard (NR) - Asik (NR)
8. R. Evans (H) - T. Allen (3)
9. Asik (NR) - L. Stephenson (NR)
10. Sefolosha (H) - Sefolosha (NR)

Honorable mentions
David: Prigioni (NR), L. Stephenson (NR), T. Gibson (8), Tr. Thompson (NR).
Mike: Battier (7), Chalmers (NR), D. Green (H), Odom (NR).

Friday, May 24, 2013

Best of the NBA's Southeast

Here are my starting fives in the history of each franchise in the Southeast division. On the left are my subjective starting fives and on the right are the starting fives according to win shares.

Atlanta Hawks
Position My 5 Win Shares 5
PG Lenny Wilkens Mookie Blaylock
SG Lou Hudson Lou Hudson
SF Dominique Wilkins Dominique Wilkins
PF Bob Pettit Bob Pettit
C Zelmo Beaty Tree Rollins

Charlotte Bobcats
Position My 5 Win Shares 5
PG Raymond Felton Raymond Felton
SG Stephen Jackson Matt Carroll
SF Gerald Wallace Gerald Wallace
PF Boris Diaw Boris Diaw
C Emeka Okafor Emeka Okafor

Miami Heat
Position My 5 Win Shares 5
PG Tim Hardaway Tim Hardaway
SG Dwyane Wade Dwyane Wade
SF LeBron James LeBron James
PF Chris Bosh Udonis Haslem
C Alonzo Mourning Alonzo Mourning

Orlando Magic
Position My 5 Win Shares 5
PG Anfernee Hardaway Anfernee Hardaway
SG Nick Anderson Nick Anderson
SF Tracy McGrady Tracy McGrady
PF Horace Grant Horace Grant
C Shaquille O'Neal Dwight Howard

Washington Wizards
Position My 5 Win Shares 5
PG Earl Monroe Gilbert Arenas
SG Phil Chenier Phil Chenier
SF Antawn Jamison Greg Ballard
PF Elvin Hayes Elvin Hayes
C Wes Unseld Wes Unseld

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Start of a Memorable Comeback?

The Knicks refused to go gentle into that goodnight in Madison Square Garden. Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith hit shots early and although neither ended with a good field goal percentage, they provided the early shot making the Knicks needed to succeed. The Knicks defensive intensity was at a fever pitch, a far cry from their pitiful Game 4 display.

Chris Copeland got some more playing time and scored 13 points on 4 of 6 shooting in 19 minutes. But the Knicks defense was the story. The Pacers shot 36% and committed 19 turnovers. The absence of George Hill, who was out with a concussion suffered in Game 4, hurt the Pacers offensive flow.

Rebounding was also a story as the Knicks were competitive on the glass with Indiana. The Pacers seemed like they grabbed a good bit more offensive rebounds than the Knicks, but the numbers suggest otherwise. The Pacers only took down two more.

After a hot start, the Knicks held a modest lead throughout much of the game. But it felt like they were in control the entire time, even on the rare occasions when Indiana took the lead. The Knicks won 85-75 to pull to close Indiana's series lead to 3-2 as the two teams head back to Indiana for Game 6.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Knicks Down 3-1

The Knicks didn't come out with the necessary energy to even the series in Indiana in Game 4. The Pacers led fromt he outset and never looked back. Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith continued to struggle from the field. They shot a combined 16 for 45. Anthony fouled out with 24 points and Smith had 19.

Kenyon Martin got the start to match the Pacers' size and with Iman Shumpert the two were 0 for 9 fromt he field. Adding Jason Kidd's 0 for 2 won't help things. Kidd can't seem to get the ball anywhere near the basket of late. Even Tyson Chandler shot below 50%.

In this game, Roy Hibbert struggled, but George Hill picked up the slack with 26 points. Hill suffered a concussion late in the game when he ran into a Chandler pick.Paul George hasn't shot the ball well, but he helps his team in other ways. The Pacer bigs helped Indiana outrebound New York by 18.

The Knicks didn't turn the ball over this time, but did shoot around 35% from the field again.The poor shooting has led some to call for more playing time for Steve Novak and Chris Copeland, who are both better offensive players than defensive stoppers.

The Knicks lost this one in the first half, trailing by 14. They never mustered a proper comeback and lost 93-82.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Pacers Take 2-1 Lead

The Knicks are at their best when they're moving the ball and playing a ball-hawking style of defense. The former certainly wasn't in effect in Game 3. New York's offense was dreadful.

Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith have struggled to shoot since Game 4 of the Celtics series. They were a combined 10 for 28 in Game 3. That was especially bad because Anthony's 21 points qualified him as the only double digit scorer for New York.

The real story was Roy Hibbert, who dominated the game. His 24 points were crucial. He and David West each had 12 rebounds, helping the Pacers outrebound New York by 13 total and 8 offensive boards. The Pacers defense also prevented the Knicks from relying on the 3-point game, which is their trademark. The team that shot and made the most threes during the regular season shot only 13 in Game 3 and made only 3 of them.

The Knicks also uncharacteristically turned the ball over. They shot about 35% fromt he field. Put it all together and the Knicks were lucky to only lose by 11. The Pacers took the game 82-71 and a 2-1 series lead.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Knicks Even Things

In danger of losing two games at home, the Knicks once again came out strong. Carmelo Anthony had his first game of the playoffs shooting at least 50%. He hit on half his shots and scored 32 points.

The Pacers hung tough, closing the Knicks' nine point lead after one to five by the half. Paul George bounced back from a tough first game to score 20, but he got little help. New York, on the other hand, was efficient offensively. The Knicks shot nearly 50% and committed only 6 turnovers.

Conversely, The Pacers turned the ball over a whopping 21 times. If the Knicks can capitalize on Indiana's lack of a point guard, New York will have a good shot at taking this series. Anthony will have to make up his mind, however. He better make half his shots or get his teammates involved. His play in the playoffs has been disappointing, despite the high point totals. That's due to his focus on isolation ball and taking the air out of the ball at the top of the key. The offense stalls and Anthony is left to try to hit a tough shot at the buzzer. Because he's great, some go in, but it's not a way to beat the Pacers consistently.

The game was still close heading into the fourth. That;s when the Knicks piled on, winning the quarter 33-13 and the game 105-79.Every starter shot 50% over better and only J.R. Smith was inefficient among the Knicks who took at least five shots. He was a miserable 3 for 15.

The Knicks even the series at one. For some reason, Game Three isn't until Saturday night. The way the NBA stretches out the postseason kills the momentum of each series. This is something the NBA needs to correct for next season.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Knicks Fall in Game One

After a strong start in the first quarter, the Knicks collapsed in the two quarters bookmarking halftime. Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith were a combined 14 for 43 from the field continuing their cold spells.Anthony went one for four from beyond the arc, which is not good until you realize he hadn't ht a three in a while.

The Pacers got balanced scoring with David West controlling the paint. In the past, he's struggled against Kenyon martin, but no one could quiet him in Game One. Raymond Felton was the Knicks best option again, but he only amassed three assists.

New York stormed back in the third to make the score respectable, but never really had a chance. The Pacers won 102-95 to go up 1-0 in the series.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

The Knicks Close Out the Celtics... Finally

New York wasted no time jumping out to an early lead in Boston. The Knicks held a 24-10 lead after the first quarter. The Celtics simply couldn't score. After the first half, they had more turnovers than made baskets.

Pablo Prigioni and Iman Shumpert were the catalysts. Their energy helped keep the Knicks ahead. The lead ballooned up to 26 with nine minutes to go. But then everything seemed to go wrong. Avery Bradley scored all 10 of his point in the fourth in addition two dramatic steals that led to easy buckets.

Jason Terry added 14, but Jeff Green took over the game The Celtics scored 20 consecutive points in about three minutes. The Knicks looked shell-shocked. It was as if a witch had cast a spell on the Knicks. The cared less about the ball than they would about a receipt for a Slurpee.

But the Knicks held on .Shumpert ended the streak by jumping into the passing lane and dunking home his treasure. Anthony dribbled the ball at the top of the key and waited until the shot clock rolled down before forcing tough shots. Only when he allowed Felton to drive and kick to him, did Anthony get an open shot.

Ultimately, the Celtics ran out of gas. Green became exhausted. With a minute to go, the Celtics surprisingly gave up. They refused to foul and the Knicks held on for an 88-80 win. The Knicks won the series 4-2.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Gone Cold

The Knicks scorers were ice cold against the Celtics at home. Coming off of a one game suspension, J.R. Smith missed his first ten shots from the field. Carmelo Anthony hit only a third of his 24 shots.

The Knicks raced to an 11-0 lead, but the Celtics all but erased the lead by the end of the first. Boston went into halftime with a six point lead. Smith and Anthony continued to shoot and rely on isolation plays. Meanwhile, the Celtics held onto and even extended the lead.

Boston relied on balanced scoring. Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, and Jason terry all scored between 16 and 18 points. Terry was particularly hot in the 4th. Raymond Felton again showed that he could be trusted with the ball, when Anthony and Smith were willing to give it up. Felton shot 10 for 19 for 21 points.

The Knicks began hitting threes late in the fourth, but it was way too late at that point. The Knicks lost 92-86, but the score was closer than the game. Boston has narrowed the Knicks' series lead to 3-2.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Possible Boxing Matches and Tournaments

Here are fights and mini-tournaments I'd like to see:

Wladimir Klitschko vs. Vitali Klitschko for the true heavyweight championship of the world. I don't get why they won't fight. I love my brother very much, but I would punch him in the face right now for free. You don't even have to give me a belt.

A tournament with:
David Haye vs. Tomasz Adamek
Alexander Povetkin vs. Robert Helenius
This isn't the greatest tournament, but we need second tier heavyweights to fight each other to get better. Right now, they feast on washed up vets and then get thrown into a big money fight with a Klitschko and receive a beating.

Light heavyweight:
The winner of Lucian Bute-Jean Pascal to face the winner of Carl Froch-Mikkel Kessler.
If Froch wins, we'll have a rematch either way, but it's likely that all three fights would be entertaining in this little tournament.

Either Sergio Martinez vs. Floyd Mayweather
A tournament with:
Sergio Martinez vs. Peter Quillin
Gennady Golovkin vs. Julio Cesar Chavez
This would make money and create a new star. I'd pick a Quillin-Golovkin final with Golovkin capturing the middleweight crown.

Victor Ortiz vs. Amir Khan
Andre Berto vs. Timothy Bradley

This tournament doesn't feature the best welterweights- in fact three of them have not lived up to expectations- but it damn sure would be exciting. Ortiz, Khan, and Berto all have power. All four men have been knocked down often. Bradley has the least power, but the most will. The winner would be back in the mix for a big fight. If Bradley won't be in, how about Keith Thurman? Although that might make the fights less exciting.

Junior welterweight:
The winner of Lamont Peterson-Lucas Matthysse against the winner of a Danny Garcia vs. Adrien Broner fight.

Another fight I'd like to see soon, but maybe not right away is Terence Crawford vs. Broner. it wouldn't be action-packed, but it would be a match for those who enjoy the technical side of boxing.

Yuriorkis Gamboa vs. Gary Russell Jr.
Maybe not right away for this one either, bu I'd like to see Russell begin to step up and face the best in and around his weight class.

Junior featherweight
Guillermo Rigondeax vs. Abner Mares
Perhaps the winner (I predict Rigondeax) could face the Gamboa-Russell winner eventually, potentially setting up an all-Cuban battle for the crown of best little man int he world.

Mares vs. Leo Santa Cruz
That would be a fun one.