Tuesday, August 24, 2010

MADE IN THE USA

With Rajon Rondo's withdrawal, the U.S. National basketball team has finalized it's roster for the 2010 FIBA World Championships.


Just days away from the start of the 2010 FIBA World Championships in Turkey, Team USA has it's final roster. After a DNP against Spain, Boston Celtics all-star guard Rajon Rondo felt he was on the bubble and decided to withdraw from the competition in order to take care of family business.

With a 12-man roster that does not include Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, or any of the 12 players that took the gold medal in the 2008 Olympics, Team USA will have their work cut out for them and their share of skeptics. This is how the roster will break down:


Guards: Chauncey Billups (Denver Nuggets), Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Eric Gordon (Los Angeles Clippers), Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls), Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder)

The team is stacked with small, quick guards. Billups will get playing time at the off-guard spot because he is big enough to handle the smaller guards of opposing teams. Curry will provide some much-needed outside shooting. Gordon is the wildcard of the team. He is the only true off-guard of the group. He is a great outside shooter and can make strong, hard drives to the basket. If he continues to perform as he has in camp, he will be an integral part of the team's success.

Forwards: Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder), Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies), Danny Granger (Indiana Pacers), Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers), Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves), Lamar Odom (Los Angeles Lakers)

Durant is expected to be the star of the team but Iguodala has looked great. He has seemed to take great pride in his defense and has been extremely active at both ends of the floor. Lamar Odom got the start at center against Spain and is the kind of big man that is necessary in international play. He has worked with Rose to form a deadly pick-and-roll combination. The two-time defending champion probably will not light up the stat sheet but is expected to do a lot of the little things and provide veteran leadership to the team.

Centers: Tyson Chandler (Dallas Mavericks)

The team will go small for the tournament but might regret cutting Javale McGee. It will be difficult to replace Chandler's size if an injury occurs. McGee is the perfect up-and-down type of replacement that would fit in with the team's fastbreaking strategy. The team will look to Chandler for shot-blocking and rebounding.

Obviously, the team is not nearly as talented as it's predecessor. However, this team will play a different style in order to capitalize on it's strengths. Expect to see a fast-paced team and more zone defense. Spain is probably the favorite to win the competition but Team USA can beat them with a solid team effort.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

EAST SIDE STORY

Most free agents are signed and the balance of power in the NBA has shifted to the East.


Now that free agency is basically over, winners and losers can be determined. Obviously, the Miami Heat were the big winners for securing two of the NBA's best players and the top three players of the free agent class. The Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks also made bold moves during the offseason. But who was the biggest winner of the Summer of 2010? The Western Conference.

The Heat became a perennial title contender but other teams in the East also improved. The Chicago Bulls made their big splash by signing Carlos Boozer but also added Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer, C.J. Watson, and Kurt Thomas to a core that already includes Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose, and Luol Deng. Add new coach Tom Thibodeau and the Bulls have a new formula for success. The Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks improved their teams with great new additions and the Boston Celtics kept their team together for one more shot at a title.


While the Celtics, Heat, Magic, and Bulls will be discussed as title contenders, the only true contender in the West is the Los Angeles Lakers. The Phoenix Suns took the Lakers to six games in the West Finals but they lost big man Amare Stoudemire and sixth man Leandro Barbosa. The Utah Jazz lost several key pieces including Boozer, Korver, and rookie defender Wesley Matthews. The Denver Nuggets tried desperately to add a veteran big man like Jermaine O'Neal or Zydrunas Ilgauskas but lost out to teams in the East. The Suns acquired Hedo Turkoglu, Josh Childress, and Hakim Warrick. The Jazz traded for Al Jefferson and the Nuggets signed Al Harrington. However, all those teams failed to address their lack of size and toughness.

Each team in the league is aiming to defeat the Lakers now but L.A. managed to improve in the offseason. The Oklahoma City Thunder and Portland Trail Blazers got better but still do not have enough to take down the defending champs. Expect L.A. to beat out a weaker Western Conference and face one of the new Eastern powers in the NBA Finals.

Monday, July 26, 2010

THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME

Michael Jordan returns to the game virtually in the upcoming NBA 2K11.


While Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls were dominating teams throughout the 1990s, gamers were left using a random guy named Player using #99. Jordan would later sign off on using his likeness for games that were made during his Washington Wizards days but he was not the same dominate player.

Now, Jordan is teaming up with 2K Sports and will appear, in all his Bulls dominance, in NBA 2K11. Users will get to compete in a series of "Jordan Challenges" aimed at recreating several of Jordan's greatest moments. Ten top games will be highlighted, including the "Flu Game" and the 1991 NBA Finals. Each challenge will have a number of in-game goals to reach. For example, in the "Last Shot" game, users must score at least 45 points and obtain 4 steals with Jordan as well as win the game.

2K Sports has gone to great lengths to visualize the events. All players on both the Bulls and the opposing teams will appear in the game. His Royal Airness will even do things like the famous shrug after hitting six threes in a row against the Portland Trail Blazers. Just hit six straight threes in the game and hope that your mind does not literally blow up from the awesomeness.


2K has been the best basketball game since it arrived on the Sega Dreamcast in 1999. Now, it adds a player who is mostly regarded as the greatest player of all time. NBA 2K11 hits stores on October 5th.

Friday, July 9, 2010

LEBRON: THE NEW SCOTTIE PIPPEN

The superstar chooses to leave Cleveland to join Dwyane Wade's team in Miami.


The guy has played in multiple all-star games, including winning an MVP in one. He plays small forward but has the ball-handling and passing skills to run the point. He was selected as an All-NBA player and NBA All-Defensive player multiple times. He is regarded as one of the best players ever to play the game. No, not Lebron James; Scottie Pippen.

Pippen was a great player. So great that he was named one of the NBA's 50 greatest players during it's 50 year celebration. He averaged over 16 points, 6 assists, and nearly 5 rebounds per game; basically a triple-nickel every time he touched the floor. But no matter how good he was, he will always be regarded as Robin to Michael Jordan's Batman. With Lebron James' decision to join Dwyane Wade in Miami, he is stepping into a new role: wingman.


Lebron's decision disappointed some and let down others. At the end of the day, James wanted to go to Miami and play with his friends because, let's face it, he has always seemed to care more about having fun than winning. Going to the Heat means he will be joining a team that is already claimed by Dwyane Wade. He is now the sidekick.

The two superstars coexisting will mean that each will have to sacrifice some stats. More than likely, James scoring numbers will curtail as he will be expected to handle the ball. His huge ego should not get in the way because he had a chance to lead a team and could not claim the ultimate prize. If he is able to defer to Wade, especially during crunch time, it could work. Wade is more like Jordan in his style of play and his fourth quarter moments. James has had a few game-clinching plays but he is nowhere near as good in the clutch. That is why he will only be second fiddle on this team. Expect Wade to maintain his scoring numbers while James looks to add more assists and rebounds.


As the 23 jerseys burned in Cleveland it might have allowed James to come out of the shadow of Michael Jordan. His chance at "global icon" status is likely in doubt because he will merely be known as part of a big three. "King James" was always more like Magic Johnson but compared to His Royal Airness. Now, the comparisons can stop as James will try to become the great facilitator.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

INDECISION 2010

Lebron James makes his decision tonight live on ESPN and he could not be handling free agency any less like a king.


There is not much more to say about the Lebron James free agency debacle that has not already been said. So take a look at a few links that show what people are thinking about Lebron James...

William C. Rhoden of the New York Times says the Summer of Lebron is making Kobe Bryant seem so much better.

Ian O'Connor of ESPNNewYork.com thinks that James needs to stop listening to outsiders in his ear and listen to himself instead. The reference to James becoming Alex Rodriguez instead of being Derek Jeter is especially good.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports says what everyone is thinking: an hour-long special to announce "The Decision" is ridiculous. Lebron is more worried about winning the "Championship of Me" instead of actually winning an NBA championship.

John McMullen of the Montreal Gazette questions the journalistic value of airing "The Decision."

Reports are saying that James will be joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. The backlash in Cleveland has already begun...and it is not pretty. However, the Cavs and Knicks are still keeping their fingers crossed. The world will know later tonight.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

BOSH SAYS NO TO CLEVELAND

Lebron James has yet to decide what team he will play on next season. By choosing not to play in Cleveland, Chris Bosh delivered a message to his free agent friend.


After months of speculation, it was announced that free agent forward Chris Bosh will be joining guard Dwyane Wade as a member of the Miami Heat. Bosh drew interest from several teams but it seemed from the outset that he wanted to join Wade in Miami. An intriguing team had interest in Bosh before he made his decision: the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Reports had the Cavs and Toronto Raptors close to agreeing on a sign-and-trade deal involving Bosh. The players going to Toronto are not clear but it most likely involved F/C Anderson Varejao, guard Delonte West, and forward Jamario Moon. Only one thing stopped the potential deal from happening: Bosh did not want to play in Cleveland.


Bosh made a good decision. If James really wants to play with Bosh, he still has the opportunity to do so with the Heat. Miami certainly is a more fun place to be an NBA superstar than Cleveland. Bosh's choice shows Lebron that he might have a hard time attracting NBA talent to join him on the Cavs.

Although Cleveland has changed a lot since James first joined the team as a rookie in 2003, it lacks the appeal of the bigger markets in L.A., New York, Chicago, Miami, and the cities in Texas. If the Cavs wanted to bring in help for Lebron, they have been forced to do so via trade. Last year, free agents Trevor Ariza and Ron Artest were recruited by the Cavs before taking the same amount of money to join the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers respectively. Cleveland also failed to acquire Amare Stoudemire at the trade deadline, instead settling for Antawn Jamison.

How this effects James' choice is unclear but it should become a late factor in his decision making. If he really wants to play with marquee talent at his side, he should leave Cleveland. The world be tuning in Thursday at 6 P.M. PT to see what's next for Lebron James.

Monday, July 5, 2010

LAKERS GET NO MILLER TIME

Free agent Mike Miller opted to see the rest of his options over chasing a championship in Los Angeles.


Free agent G/F Mike Miller has said many times that he would like to play for the Los Angeles Lakers. Apparently he didn't want it that bad because he passed on the opportunity.

The Lakers are looking to revamp a lineup that includes six free agents. Kobe Bryant has been pushing management to act quickly in the offseason in order to ensure another run at a championship. So, GM Mitch Kupchak immediately targeted Miller when the free agent negotiation period began on Thursday. The Lakers slapped a 5 year, $30 million offer on the table, offering most of their mid-level exception. However, the Lakers wanted to make sure they did not get left without a dance partner in free agency so they gave Miller a short time window to accept or decline.


Miller, who made $9.8 million last season in the last year of his deal, does not want to win as bad as he implied. He did not accept the offer, opting to see what else is out there in free agency. The Lakers quickly moved on to point guard Steve Blake, who agreed to a 4 year, $16 million deal. Miller has met with the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, and New York Knicks while the Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers are also said to be interested.

Maybe Miller wants to play with his good pal Lebron James in Cleveland or maybe he wants more money. Either way, he contradicted himself and declined to step into a perfect role. His skill set would have allowed him to play three positions in the triangle offense (PG, SG, SF). Miller is a very good complimentary player but is no better than a great third option on a good team. He does not have the mentality to be a star. Any team that pays him big money will be sorely disappointed.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

THE BUCKS DON'T STOP HERE

The Milwaukee Bucks have been the most active team in the offseason so far and it continued on Day 1 of NBA Free Agency.


Last season the Milwaukee Bucks looked like a team that could compete in the East. Behind rookie point guard Brandon Jennings, the Bucks made the playoffs for the first time since 2006 before losing in the first round. They improved their record by 12 wins over the previous season and 20 wins over 2007-08. However, a first round exit left a bad taste in their mouths.

The Bucks want to continue to improve and feel they have a great foundation in Jennings and center Andrew Bogut. Michael Redd is one of the best shooters in the league but rarely stays healthy and his massive expiring contract could serve as a trade chip for the upcoming season. His health was the reason the team acquired swingman John Salmons at last season's trade deadline. With Salmons opting out of his contract, the Bucks immediately began their offseason by looking for players who could fill his role.

Milwaukee was one of the worst teams in the league at getting to the free throw line. Taking advantage of the cost-cutting Golden State Warriors, the Bucks acquired 6-foot-6, 225 pound wingman Corey Maggette. He ranked first in the league last season with 551 free throw attempts (83.5% of which went in).

Then the Bucks used the New Jersey Nets desperation to clear cap space to get G/F Chris Douglas-Roberts for a future second round pick. Douglas-Roberts reached the NCAA Championship game in 2008 with Derrick Rose as a member of the Memphis Tigers. He averaged 9.8 points per game in his rookie season but did not get much of an opportunity with the Nets. He is a solid scorer who will add depth to the roster.


Today, the Bucks were the most active team in free agency, agreeing to deals with Salmons and big man Drew Gooden. Salmons addition last season clearly made the Bucks much better. In 30 games with the Bucks, he averaged 19.9 points per game and was very effective on the defensive end. Although it is not yet official, Salmons is close to agreeing to a 5 year, $39 million deal. The average income of $8 million a year is a reasonable price for Salmons, although the length is probably too long. It will be great for the Bucks to have some stability at the shooting guard position after dealing with Redd's injuries for years.

Gooden reached a 5 year, $32 million agreement with the Bucks. He will now join his eighth NBA team in eight seasons. While Gooden is no all-star, his career numbers of 11.9 and 7.9 rebounds per game are decent. At 6-foot-10, he will fit in nicely at the power forward position for the Bucks. They probably could have waited for a better price but $6 million per year is not bad for a solid role player and veteran.

With those moves, the Bucks are more than likely done with their offseason moves. They addressed some of their biggest needs and added stability to a team that has had a revolving door of players for years. If Bogut can stay healthy throughout next season, they will be a force in the Eastern Conference.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

LET THE GAMES BEGIN

After years of waiting, the 2010 summer of free agency is officially underway.


In 2008 the New York Knicks fired Isiah Thomas and began preparing for the offseason...of 2010. The reason why: Lebron James. James and some of the NBA's best players are free agents this offseason and teams have been working hard to free up spending money. Turns out it does not take that long to prepare for one offseason because the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers, New Jersey Nets, and Chicago Bulls all also cleared up cap space to go after the most coveted free agents.

Now that the 2010 offseason is here, free agents will have big decisions to make. These choices could affect the balance of power in the NBA for years to come. This is where the top players will land, according to Dikembe's Finger.


Lebron James: He is the most important domino and he knows it. His decision won't be made in haste but also will not be dragged on. LBJ will get offers to play with his pal Dwyane Wade in Miami, the other L.A. team in the Clippers, the up-and-coming Nets, the Knicks, and the Bulls. The lure of the bright lights in the big city and possibly joining a "Dream Team" will be difficult to turn down but James will once again be wearing a Cavaliers uniform. At some point, he will realize he does not want to leave his hometown team.

Dwyane Wade: He will likely entertain offers from the Clippers, Bulls, and Mavericks but there is little doubt Wade will be leaving the Heat. Instead of worrying about a team, he will focus on pitching the Heat to some of the top free agents in hopes of landing some help in South Beach.

Chris Bosh: There have been farfetched ideas about Bosh joining the Los Angeles Lakers or Dallas Mavericks. The Houston Rockets might have the pieces to offer the Toronto Raptors in a sign-and-trade deal but they do not have a superstar player. Bosh seems comfortable being a sidekick so he will latch on as one. Wade is his friend and shares the same agent so expect Bosh to leave Toronto for the warm beaches of Miami.

Amare Stoudemire: It seems that his time in Phoenix is over, which is probably not a good idea for his career. However, his next move is intriguing. Of the free agents, he seems most likely to agree to a sign-and-trade deal. That could land him in Cleveland as Lebron's new sidekick. The Nets will also make a hard run at Stoudemire. Predicting his next team is difficult but the Knicks would be a logical choice as they have plenty of cap room and Mike D'Antoni, Amare's old coach in Phoenix.


Joe Johnson: The Atlanta Hawks are a team that needs to make a change. The roster currently assembled will not advance further than it already has. Johnson will get a maximum offer and probably stay with the Hawks. However, he got his point across. Coach Mike Woodson is gone and expect forwards Marvin Williams or Josh Smith to be used as trade bait to get a true big man.

Carlos Boozer: Not too long ago it seemed that Boozer would eventually become a member of the Heat. Now, his playing future is in question. He will get plenty of attention from the Knicks, Nets, and Bulls. Where he goes depends on the decision of fellow free agent Chris Bosh. An interesting rumor has popped up recently that the Orlando Magic would like to acquire him via a sign-and-trade deal with the Utah Jazz. This would be a great move for all parties but is complicated. The best guess is that he ends up with the Nets.

Every free agent's decision will be based on the decisions of others. It all starts with Lebron James. His decision will be the real start of free agency. Dikembe's Finger will have more free agent coverage as the offseason plays out.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

SCOTTIE NOT TOO HOTTIE

Villanova's Scottie Reynolds was not selected in the 2010 NBA Draft.


Last season, Scottie Reynolds was an AP All-American. He averaged 18.5 points and 3.3 assists per game. He led his Villanova Wildcats to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and the team was ranked in the top 10 all season long.

But the 6-foot-2 guard did not hear his name called on draft night. He is the first All-American not drafted since the NBA and ABA merged in 1976. Reynolds will get his chance with the Phoenix Suns summer league team but the question remains: Why?

In pre-draft camps Reynolds was quickly labeled as too small and too slow. He does not have the length and speed expected from NBA prospects. Plus, as a senior, his upside is limited.

However, a team should have taken a chance on a guy who has shown a tremendous ability to score the basketball throughout his college career. Now, he will go into summer league as an underdog, a role he has embraced in the past. He may not make an impact right away but look for Reynolds to become a solid NBA player. He could excel in a Jordan Farmar type of backup role as a sparkplug off the bench.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

CAVS CLEANING HOUSE

The Cavs fired head coach Mike Brown and let go of GM Danny Ferry. What's next in Cleveland?


While the NBA Finals is still underway, most teams have already started their offseason. This is, by far, the biggest offseason in Cleveland Cavaliers history. Lebron James is a free agent and the team hopes to get him back, no matter what it takes. Apparently, the thinking is that Mike Brown and Danny Ferry were not Lebron's favorite people because both are now gone from the team.

According to reports, Ferry did not want to fire Brown but owner Dan Gilbert forced his hand. This made the decision for Ferry and the Cavs to part ways much easier. His assistant, Chris Grant, will now take over his duties but it is clear that Gilbert will be calling the shots.


What's next for the Cavs? They are making desperate moves to convince Lebron to stay, so they will look to change the team. Guards Mo Williams (who has shown he can't be trusted in the playoffs) and Delonte West (fresh off his rumored affair with Lebron's mom) are being shopped around the NBA. However, the Cavs can not expect to get much in return for either player.

Other teams can offer better teammates or a potential partnership with another superstar. The Lebron sweepstakes are starting to heat up (pun intended) and Cleveland has to hope home court advantage is enough to convince him to stay.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

NBC SCHREMPFIFIED

Former NBA star Detlef Schrempf guest starred in a recent episode of NBC's Parks and Recreation.


During his 17 year career, Detlef Schrempf knocked down a ton of threes. The former Maverick, Sonic, Pacer, and Blazer recently did some other type of work, appearing in an episode of NBC comedy Parks and Recreation.


Schrempf's part was pretty funny and he actually was a decent actor. Tom was his escort in the episode, in charge of making sure Schrempf made it to his scheduled appearance on a telethon. Tom stole the show in this episode but Detlef could have some more acting roles lined up after this appearance.

OVERTIME: Check out this trading card with a young Detlef Schrempf. His hair and moustache were beyond awesome.

Friday, May 7, 2010

TOINE WANTS BACK IN

Former NBA star Antoine Walker is eyeing a comeback to the NBA.


According to reports, former star forward Antoine Walker hopes to return to the NBA. His old college coach Rick Pitino said he will work out with some of his players from his current job at Louisville over the next few weeks. Walker will also deliver some advice to the youngsters regarding the temptations that come with being a pro athlete.

If anyone can give advice on this, it's Walker. It was reported recently that he owes money to people in Las Vegas. He tried to make some money by playing professionally in Puerto Rico but that lasted only a few weeks.

Walker's chances of making a team are not very good but he should get respect for his effort. Even as an all-star, Toine was never in the best physical condition. His appearance on Pros vs Joes last year only showed how badly he needs to work in order to get back into playing shape. Don't expect him to be wearing an NBA jersey next season but if he does, his return will only add more entertainment next season.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

CHRIS BOSH TWITTERIZING

Soon to be free agent Chris Bosh is asking fans where he should go...and loving it


Raptors forward Chris Bosh is getting ready to get paid big time through free agency. He will be free to sign anywhere this offseason and there will be plenty of teams lined up to go after him. The Toronto Raptors don't have any pieces to entice him to stay, so chances are he will leave. He recently showed that he is prepared to go by posing a question to his Twitter followers.


That sparked quite a controversy and made more people believe his time in Toronto is effectively over. If that wasn't enough, Bosh just made some more changes on Twitter. Gone is his bio that says he is the Raptors captain and his location has changed from "Toronto" to "Everywhere." Bosh was even seen in the stands at the Lakers-Jazz playoff series, sparking the L.A. media to wonder if he will end up in purple and gold (Ron Artest attended a Lakers playoff game last year and now is a Laker).


It is doubtful that Bosh will become a Laker but it is increasingly more obvious he will be leaving Toronto for greener pastures. The Miami Heat or Chicago Bulls could be his next destination.

Meanwhile, Bosh wants to make sure people don't forget about him while the NBA Playoffs is going on. He wants to have his choice of where to go so he is trying to stay relevant. The Twitter thing is a bit immature and disappointing for the fans who have followed him in Toronto. At least they don't have to hold onto false hope that their star is staying. In the meantime, Bosh is enjoying all the attention.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

OLD DOGS, SAME OLD TRICKS

Perhaps the two best defensive plays of the playoffs came courtesy of some of the NBA's oldest.

With the Suns victory over the Blazers, Grant Hill became the oldest player (in terms of years pro) to make it out of the 1st round for the first time. How did he celebrate? By stuffing young buck Jared Bayless.



Meanwhile, Spurs big man Antonio McDyess showed that he still has some ups left in those creeky knees. He demolished a Jason Terry layup attempt en route to eliminating the Mavs.



The moral of all this is that anyone can persevere no matter what is thrown at them. Both these guys have missed numerous games to do serious injuries yet they both are starters on teams who will be playing in the 2nd round of the NBA Playoffs.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

WHAT REALLY GRINDS MY GEARS

Peter Griffin visits Dikembe's Finger. He's here to tell you what's got his gears grinding so far in the NBA Playoffs 1st round...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

BASKETBALL REALITY CHECK

VH1's new reality series, Basketball Wives, follows the lives of NBA player wives and exes.


One of the new reality series in VH1's lineup is the series Basketball Wives, which is produced by Shaquille O'Neal's ex-wife Shaunie. The show also stars former Nets forward Eric Williams wife, Clippers #1 pick Michael Olowokandi's ex-girlfriend, Antoine Walker's ex, Matt Barnes wife, and a former Heat and Magic dancer. It follows the crew as they party it up and wonder if their men are cheating.


The ironic part of the show is that only 2 members of the cast are actually current basketball wives. When those 2 are involved is the only time the show is actually interesting. It is intriguing to see the dynamics of the relationship between the wives and the players, with Matt Barnes and Eric Williams making frequent appearances in the show.

The rest of the show is filled with dancing, partying, and fake beef between the girls. If you like VH1 reality shows, you will enjoy this. However, the few parts when the relationship between the players and wives is highlighted is not enough to sit through the drama. Now if Shaq was on the show, it would be interesting.

Monday, April 19, 2010

YOU'RE FIRED

While the playoffs began for 16 NBA teams, the others were starting their offseason and two coaches have already become casualties.


After an abysmal 27-55 season, the Philadelphia 76ers fired head coach Eddie Jordan. Jordan had very successful years in Washington before being cut loose and did not have any success during his first and only season with the 76ers. However, the 76ers did not solve all their problems. With Elton Brand still on the books, they will continue to struggle. He just does not fit into their style of play. Losing point guard Andre Miller (who is the type of player you don't miss until he's gone) was also a huge blow for the team. Rumors are already swirling that current Charlotte Bobcats coach Larry Brown would want to return to Philly.


Meanwhile, the other L.A. team decided to cut ties with their interim coach Kim Hughes. The Clippers were horrible all season and Hughes just had to step in and take the hit after the firing of Mike Dunleavy. The Clippers have talented players and a bunch of money to spend in the offseason. If they start to trust each other, they can be a successful team (barring more injuries). They will try to entice Lebron James by giving him the ability to choose his next head coach, and possibly GM. Larry Brown also appears to have some interest in this job.

The New Jersey Nets are also expected to have a new head coach next season. Other coaches that could be on the hot seat are Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro and Pistons coach John Kuester while Celtics coach Doc Rivers may opt to retire. Avery Johnson, Byron Scott, Jeff Van Gundy, and Mark Jackson will be names brought up for head coaching jobs.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

U-F-CHICAGO

Chicago Bulls head coach Vinny Del Negro and VP of Basketball Operations John Paxson were ready to throw blows over an argument about playing time.


Bulls big man Joakim Noah has had some pain this season. With the Bulls fighting for the last playoff spot in the East, Noah has played despite an injured foot. He did miss a few weeks earlier in the season and when he came back, he was supposed to get limited minutes. But coach Vinny Del Negro decided he needed him on the floor and let him play.

That's where John Paxson comes in. The Bulls exec was apparently not happy about this and approached Del Negro after the game. According to Yahoo! Sports...
After a loss to the Phoenix Suns on March 30, an irate Paxson walked into the coach's office at the United Center and confronted Del Negro over a narrow breach of a management-imposed minutes limit on injured forward Joakim Noah. Sources said Paxson first grabbed a hold of Del Negro's tie and seemingly tried to provoke him with two successive jabs into his chest. Paxson was even heard to angrily challenge Del Negro to a fight.
According to another report from ESPN, Del Negro was the one who initiated the physical contact. So it's another issue of he said, she said. But does it really matter who you believe?


Two grown men with multi-million dollar salaries pushing and shoving each other over a guy's playing time? Grow up. The real issue is that the Bulls don't seem to like Vinny Del Negro. But why? Last season, as a first-year coach, the Bulls took the Boston Celtics to seven games. They lost Ben Gordon, and later John Salmons, yet still were able to get to .500 and make a playoff series. Seems that Del Negro has done a lot with a little. If Paxson really has a problem with him, throw them in the octagon.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

NBA PLAYOFFS: LAKERS VS THUNDER

The first matchup officially set for the playoffs will be the best as the Thunder will try to dethrone the champs.


Ok, it's not Lebron vs Kobe but it is the other dream matchup. Kevin Durant and his Oklahoma City Thunder will face off against Kobe Bryant the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. The rest of the matchups have to yet to be set but this series will be the most entertaining first round match.

Durant is the up-and-coming star. He finishes the season leading the league in scoring at 30.1 points per game and he broke a record for scoring 25+ points in 29 consecutive games earlier this season. Recently, Durant made headlines when Rolling Stone declared him the NBA's second-best player, ahead of Kobe. Now will be his chance to prove it.


Kobe played down the idea of Durant surpassing him amongst the league's best but there is no doubt he will have that chip on his shoulder during this series. Unfortunately, the duo will not face off against each other as Ron Artest will guard Durant and Thabo Sefolosha will try to D up Bryant. The home crowd in OKC will be difficult for the Lakers to deal with but in the end the experience will provide a major advantage for both the Lakers players and coach. Kobe will destroy the smaller Sefolosha in the post.

PREDICTION: The Thunder will win two games at home but the Lakers will take the series 4-2

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

NO CROSSOVER

The latest documentary in the excellent ESPN "30 for 30" series debuted Tuesday and "No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson" did not disappoint.


The world does not know much about Allen Iverson. We know he loves Philadelphia and we've heard how much he loves practice but he has, for the most part, remained a mystery since he came into the league in 1996. "No Crossover" gives us a intimate look into an event that changed 17-year-old Iverson's life.

Iverson, who was then a skinny high school kid, was bowling with a group of friends on Valentine's Day 1993. Somehow an argument erupted into a huge brawl, pitting Iverson and his young black friends against a group of older white men.


While the film does give great incites into Iverson's background, the main theme is the racial divisions in his hometown of Hampton, Virginia. Iverson was charged with "maiming by mob"(which was originally conceived to combat lynching; Iverson was charged this for throwing a chair at someone). A.I. was only 17 but he was charged as an adult. The trial showed the clear racism that was still alive in the town and, according to residents, still haunts the town.

Director Steve James, who also directed the great 1994 documentary "Hoop Dreams," does a great job of balancing Iverson's background with the issues of racism. He provides voiceover, showing a deep understanding and passion for the topic. James raised a topic that everyone knows still exists but nobody wants to talk about. There is something to learn in this film; not just for sports fans but for everyone.

Monday, April 12, 2010

MAD MONEY

The sad stories of ex-NBA stars keep pouring in. Derrick Coleman had a 15-year NBA career and now faces bankruptcy.


The Wall Street Journal is reporting that ex-NBA player Derrick Coleman has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and owes his creditors $4.7 million. During his 15-year NBA career, Coleman played for the 76ers, Nets, Hornets, and Pistons, making over $87 million. Now, he has only $1 million in assets, including a Bentley and five fur coats. Smart investments.

Coleman is just the latest in a string of NBA players to blow it all. Recently it was reported that former Celtics and Heat forward Antoine Walker owes $4 million to his creditors and has a felony fraud charge in Las Vegas. The 33-year-old Walker, who made over $110 million from NBA contracts, supposedly supported around 70 people while he was playing in the NBA. Some entourage.


First off, let's be clear that not all of the money was blown in excess. Coleman invested in a project called Coleman's Corner in an effort to revive one of Detroit's worst neighborhoods. He's not a bad guy, just not so smart a businessman.

But there is an obvious issue with NBA players and finances. A report a few years ago from the Toronto Star said that around 60% of NBA players go broke within five years of retirement. The NBA needs to do something about this and start teaching their players to be smart. They can't completely fix the problem or make their players brilliant business minds, but they can help.

It all starts in the schools. Recently, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan suggested bans on postseason play for NCAA teams that do not graduate 40% of their players. This is another smart way to help young players learn how to handle their money and fame. The problem will never completely die but the NBA can preach higher learning and financial sense to the few people who have the privilege to play in the league. Those players need to be trained because, eventually, they will also have to encounter the "real" world.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

BALLIN IN YOUR LIVING ROOM

The trailer for the new NBA Jam brings back classic memories of some of the best basketball games ever.


The trailer for the reincarnation of NBA Jam was released last week and it looks to have all the great elements of the original. Of course, NBA Jam was one of the greatest video games of all time so hopefully the new edition that will be released later this year on Nintendo Wii can live up to the name. Until its release, let's take a look at the top 5 greatest NBA video games of all time...

5. Jordan vs Bird: One-on-One

Who was the greatest basketball player of all time? The debate was hot. Some thought it was Larry Bird and some thought it was Michael Jordan. To settle that argument, Jordan and Bird faced off in a game of 1-on-1 on the Nintendo console or Sega Genesis.

4. NBA 2K2


The Sega Dreamcast is the most underrated game console of all time. It brought great exclusive titles such as Sonic Adventure and Shenmue. It was also the birth place of the 2K franchise. It is a difficult choice but 2K2 was the best of the franchise. It had smooth animations, good controls, and good graphics for the time. Post play gave the game a whole new element but taking it in and throwing it down was always the best.

3. NBA Live 2000


This is one of the top basketball games ever because of two words: Michael Jordan. After years of having to use a guy named "Player" with #99 in games, Air Jordan finally authorized his character come back in a video game in NBA Live 2000. Users picked an NBA player to take on Jordan in a seemingly impossible game of 1-on-1 in a street court. When he was beat, players could finally have a chance to control Michael Jordan.

2. NBA Street


NBA Street took elements from classic games such as NBA Jam and combined them with NBA basketball and the then-popular And 1 street style ball. Users created a new player to work his way up to some of the most famous streetball courts around the country, adding new players from defeated teams along the way. Amazing dribbles, spectacular dunks, fresh styles, and challenging bosses always makes for a great game.

1. NBA Jam Tournament Edition


Go ahead, say it. BOOM SHAKALAKA! There is no denying the greatness of NBA Jam T.E. It really put basketball gaming on the map. Surprisingly, Shaq and Charles Barkley did not sign off on this game because they were each pushing their own awesome games (Shaq Fu, Charles Barkley's Shut Up and Jam). However, they needed the game more than it needed them. 2-on-2 basketball action was never better. Perhaps the greatest part of this game was the codes. You could play as Mortal Kombat characters such as Sub-Zero (although they were removed in later versions due to controversy with the violence of their game), Bill Clinton, or Will Smith and Jazzy Jeff. Hopefully, the newest NBA Jam uses the same elements as the classic arcade style basketball game.

Honorable Mention: Shaq Fu, Double Dribble, Arch Rivals, NBA Showtime, Charles Barkley Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden (awesome fan-made RPG available for download online)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

GOOD HAIR

Ron Artest and Brandon Jennings recently have played with some head-turning hair styles. Here's a look at some of the greatest styles of the NBA season.


Summoning Dennis Rodman, Ron Artest dyed his hair Lakers gold and purple. The words in his head spelled out "DEFENSE" in three different languages. Not a bad message being delivered. Unfortunately, his team lost the only game in which he used this hair style. By the time the next game came around, his head was clean shaved.


Don't forget Artest's opening night hair. His barber, Boogie, cut out a Lakers logo into the back of Artest's hair. He wasn't part of the team last season so he didn't get a ring. He had to have something to stand out.


Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings is well known for his various hair styles. Early in the season, he stuck with the Kid N Play style flat top that he wore in high school.


Jennings was in Dallas for All-Star Weekend Festivities and he had to do something special. For his participation in the the Rookie Challenge and Skills Challenge, Jennings wore his now famous "Gumby" style hair.


Most recently, Jennings has changed to an interesting customized mohawk. It is a mix between a fauxhawk and mohawk. He also left a small amount of hair over the rest of his head and has lines shaved into the sides.


He could have simply left this as mohawk but Jennings spiced it up by dying the spot down the middle red. Nice touch. Because it is so recent, no clear pictures exist at the time but these two show enough.


Well, your thoughts are always welcome. Who has the better style? Was it over the top?