Monthly Archives: February 2014

Top 5 NBA Power Forwards

    The 2013-14 NBA season has been filled with exciting highlights and significant play from the power forward position thus far. A debate that has fans and critics discussing is who is the best at that position. With various styles of play, here are the top 5 power forwards in the NBA today.

5. Dirk Nowitzki

    Dirk Nowitzki has been able to resurrect his play this season and return to his star form after battling frequent injuries last season. As the Dallas Mavericks are in playoff contention in the Western Conference, he has been able to lead the way averaging 21.8 points per game. With the added support of players such as Monta Ellis & Jose Calderon, Nowitzki has proven he is still a reliable number one option for his team. With the revival of Nowitzki, he might have extended his career and the short window of opportunity of Mark Cuban’s championship aspirations.

Will Anthony Davis' Injury Dislodge New Orleans Pelicans from Playoff Race?

4. Anthony Davis

The New Orleans big man in Anthony Davis has proven he can handle the offensive duties as a primary option in the league. While leading the NBA in blocks, Davis is also averaging 20.2 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. Davis has drawn comparisons to Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan with his all around approach. The next step for him will be to grow as a facilitator. While only being 20 years old, the New Orleans Pelicans continue to build their franchise around Davis, while he brings a great deal of respect to this Pelicans franchise.

 

 

LaMarcus Aldridge:

3. LaMarcus Aldridge

Portland has captured the center of attention of many as they have become one of the elite teams in the NBA. Through the first half of the season, LaMarcus Aldridge has arguably been the best at his position. Posting career high numbers in points and rebounds with 23.9 ppg and 11.4 rebounds. He has been a significant piece to the puzzle of the Portland TrailBlazers, while becoming a MVP candidate. As Aldridge is sidelined with a groin injury, he must regain his groove back in order for Portland to have postseason success.

 

 

Is Kevin Love Starting to Lose Patience with Minnesota Timberwolves?

2. Kevin Love

Kevin Love has been a dominant force for the Minnesota Timberwolves. With the numbers he is averaging this season, Love would be in the MVP discussions if not for the lack of success that his team has. With the offensive repertoire he brings to the table, the lack of defense and leadership intangibles are what keeps his team grounded. Love has people wondering if he is just a good player on a bad team or if he needs a change in scenery. Nevertheless, it is hard to find any power forward with Love’s attributes.

 

 

1. Blake Griffin

Look out below as Blake Griffin has emerged into a superstar in the league. The shoulder injury to teammate Chris Paul has been a blessing in disguise for Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers as he stepped up. He has become more of a leader as he led his team to a 13-6 record without Paul. With the coaching of Doc Rivers, the overall game of Griffin continues to grow as the season moves forward averaging a career high in points per game at 24.3. With Griffin developing a mid range jump shot and improving his free throw shooting, the sky is the limit for the Clippers as they are preparing for what looks to be a lengthy postseason run.

Under the Radar Players Watch List 2.0

   With less than a month away from Selection Sunday, there are various players across the nation who are capable of carrying a team for stretches when called upon. We continue our under the radar players watch as we get closer to March Madness.

Jordan Clarkson- University of Missouri

     After sitting out the previous season while transferring from Tulsa University, Jordan Clarkson has not disappointed Tigers fans this season. The 6’6″ point guard has the athleticism and versatility to create for himself or teammates. Averaging career highs in points, rebounds, assists, and steals, he will have to duplicate his success on the court in order for Mizzou to have a chance to win games in postseason play.

Melvin Ejim- Iowa State

     A valuable piece to the Iowa State Cyclones success this season has been the senior play and leadership of Melvin Ejim. He is one of the latest Canadian born players to burst onto the basketball scene averaging 19.1 points per game while grabbing 8.6 rebounds per game posting eight double doubles. Ejim has became the backbone of this Cyclones team as they prepare for March to approach.

Marcus Paige- University of North Carolina

     Without 3 point shooter P.J. Hairston this season, sophomore Marcus Paige has been asked by head coach Roy Williams to carry a heavy load on offense and has done an incredible job while accepting the task. Paige, averaging a career high in points and rebounds, has became a focal point and leader to the Tar Heels recent success winning seven in a row. They will look towards him down the road as they continue to struggle with offensive perimeter play.

Jordan Bachynski Breaks All-Time Conference Block Record

Jordan Bachynski- Arizona State University

     With Arizona State on the rise in the Pac-12 Conference, the heart of the team is the man in the middle that is Jordan Bachynski. The Canadian born center has improved his overall play during the course of his Sun Devils, averaging career highs in points, rebounds and blocks with a staggering 4.6 per game. Having a big man with Bachynski’s abilities on the defensive end will give you a chance as a team to win games in the tournament.

Shabazz Napier- University of Connecticut

     Shabazz Napier is arguably the best point guard in the nation. Becoming a finalist for the Bob Cousy award given to the nation’s top point guard, the catalyst for the Huskies, he has contributed in many aspects with 18 ppg, 5.8 rpg, and 5.5 apg. His contributions will pay dividends in the NCAA tournament as we have seen teams move on due to elite guard play.

Kyle Anderson- UCLA

     Recently finding a place in the AP top 25, the UCLA Bruins have became one of the hottest teams in the country behind Kyle Anderson. The sensational sophomore has done it all playing the hybrid point forward position for first season head coach Steve Alford posting 15.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 6.8 assists per contest with 13 double doubles this season. Expect UCLA to make a push in March behind Anderson as his draft stock rises.

 

Wesley Saunders- Harvard University

     The best apart college basketball is the hidden talent flooded throughout the nation. At Harvard University, that is swingman Wesley Saunders. After found success last season in the NCAA Tournament, the junior from Los Angeles, CA has been able to duplicate his success picking up where he has left off. With the Crimson Tide at 20-4, they are poised to receive another tournament birth with Saunders leading the way as the teams go to guy.

Dwayne Evans- St. Louis University

     As the St. Louis Billikens strive to reach their pinnacle of last season, the senior leadership of Dwayne Evans. Averaging 14.8 ppg while grabbing 6.5 rebounds per game, he has his team currently ranked No. 10 in the AP top 25 and undefeated in Atlantic 10 Conference play.

Tyler Haws- Brigham Young University

     Tyler Haws has became one of the most exciting players to watch in college basketball this season. At 18-10, the Cougars hopes of a birth in the field of 68 are decided by the play of Haws as he averages 24.1 ppg with the tangibles of taking over a game where anything can happen in the tournament.

Caris LeVert- University of Michigan

     Becoming a focal point this season, Michigan Wolverines sophomore Caris LeVert has stepped into a bigger role from the previous season. As his minutes drastically increased from 11 last season to 33, LeVert is the second leading scorer on the team with 13 ppg along with 4.5 rpg. He is the glue guy to this team with Mitch McGary sidelined with an injury and Glen Robinson III not performing up to expectations this season. In order to reach the championship game, his valuable talents and effort will need to rise come March.

Top 5 NBA All-Star Weekend Moments

 

The 2014 NBA All-Star weekend was an overall success for the debut of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. A time out of the busy NBA schedule to recognize the best players of our league was rejuvenated as they showcase their talents to the world. While there were many exciting highlights that we witnessed, here are the top five moments from New Orleans.

 

5. Ovation for Bill Russell

During the intermission going into the 2nd quarter of the NBA All-Star Game, the All-Star players representing both conferences stood and applaud for Bill Russell celebrating his 80th birthday. To acknowledge one of the greatest centers of all-time and pioneers by today’s players and fans was significant for the game of basketball.

 

 

 

4. Marco Belinelli become Three Point Champion

     Coming into the competition leading the league in three point field goal percentage at 45%, Marco Belinelli would become the dark horse to win the shootout that also featured Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love. Only to prevail in overtime defeating Bradley Beal, the NBA journeyman was able to enjoy this victory, adding on to a consistent season thus far with the San Antonio Spurs.

3. Dion Waiters vs. Tim Hardaway Jr.

     On the eve of NBA All-Star Saturday Night, the highlight of Friday was the one on one battle between 2nd year player Dion Waiters and rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. in the Rising Stars challenge. The duel of two NBA bright stars grasped the attention of their NBA peers and fans that had people raving about what was taking place.

 

 

2. John Wall becomes Slam Dunk Champion

     What was once lost in the Slam Dunk Contest has been found by Washington Wizards John Wall. Started off as a team competition between the Western Conference vs. Eastern Conference became a dominating performance for the East while Terrance Ross would defeat Damian Lillard and Paul George handled Harrison Barnes. Wall would steal the night with his leap over the teams mascot while completing a reverse dunk that left the crowd appalled and social media buzzing as legends Julius Erving and Magic Johnson proclaim the Slam Dunk Contest being revived.

 

 

 

1. NBA All-Star Game

Capping off an exciting weekend, the 63rd annual NBA All-Star Game did not fail to disappoint fans across the world. The best players in the game today put on a performance filled with vigorous effort and jaw dropping highlights from both conferences as it became a lack of defensive effort that resulted in an offensive record setting night. While Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin were to able to score 38 points each, the spotlight belong to Kyrie Irving becoming Most Valuable Player with 31 points and 14 assists.

Top 10 Under The Radar Players

     While the Men’s College Basketball season continues to unfold, the national landscape of competition has tilted as many teams on the horizon are preparing for a poised run in the NCAA Tournament. Our center of attention is primarily on the phenomenal freshmen play that are potential NBA prospects. It may be the time to give recognize players under the radar across the nation for their play.

 

 

Xavier Thames- San Diego State

Xavier Thames has been a focal point for the recent success found by the San Diego State Aztecs. The senior point guard has found himself into a leader role for his team as he is averaging a career high 18 points per game. If the Aztecs expect to make a deep run in the tournament, Thames must be the person to lead the way.

 

 

Nick Johnson- University of Arizona

Although many have praised the coaching of head coach Sean Miller freshman forward Aaron Gordon for his dominant play, the unsung hero for the Arizona Wildcats has been Nick Johnson. The third year guard has been the Wildcats most consistent player on the defensive and offensive sides of the basketball, scoring a career best 15.9 ppg. Johnson’s play on the court becomes a X-factor on how far he can lead this team.

 

 

Kareem Jamar- University of Montana

A name that does not get the national exposure it deserves comes from Missoula, Montana in Kareem Jamar. As a senior, he has continuously improves every season since being at Montana by becoming an honorable mentioned All-American the previous season. This season, Jamar has continued to be the best player in the Big Sky Conference as the Grizzlies are riding a current four game winning streak. Jamar  is poised to lead his team to a third straight NCAA tournament birth as his tangibles are what is looked for at the NBA level.

 

 

DeAndre Kane- Iowa State

While there are many headlines to a college basketball season, DeAndre Kane has become one of them. The Marshall transfer has came into an Iowa State program where he has became a catalyst for the Cyclones, averaging 15.9 ppg, 6.5 rebounds along with 6 assists per game. As the Big 12 Conference slowly becomes one of the toughest in the nation, Kane has solidify himself as a Conference Player of the Year with aspirations of leading the Cyclones to the postseason tournament.

 

 

Chaz Williams- University of Massachusetts

The UMASS Minutemen have had early success due to elite guard play of Chaz Williams. The 5’9″ point guard who started off his career at Hofstra University has led his team to a 19-4 record thus far while being ranked in the AP poll this season due to a 16-1 start. Averaging 16 ppg and 7.4 assists, Williams must continue to be the floor general he is in order to seal a postseason birth.

 

Chris Walker- University of Florida

The highly coveted freshman has seen limited minutes on the floor after being cleared by NCAA to play this season. Florida Gators have not display signs of missing him out of their lineup as they are current ranked No. 3 in nation. However, the talent and athleticism of Chris Walker can elevate the Gators to a championship contending team come March.

 

Jahii Carson- Arizona State University

     Sophomore guard Jahii Carson is considerably one of the most electrifying point guards in the NCAA this season. Picking up where he has left off last season, Carson has led the top half of the Pac-12 Conference at 19-5. Being the team leader, he is putting up consistent numbers across the board at 19 ppg, 4.3 rpg, and 4.7 apg. The Sun Devils have goals to reach the NCAA Tournament behind Carson’s ability to control the tempo of the game.

 

 

Cleanthony Early- Wichita State

The Cinderella story in Men’s College Basketball has been the Wichita State Shockers led by senior forward Cleanthony Early. Early epitomizes the Shockers ‘play angry’ mentality with his aggressive play on the floor while posting career high numbers this season 16.3 ppg and 6.3 rpg. Wichita State’s formula isn’t predicated on one man’s success, but they will need Early to come up big and sometimes late in situations when called upon to reach the Final Four for the second consecutive season.

Villanova Basketball: Way-Too-Early Grades for Wildcats Starters

 

James Bell- Villanova University

Sitting atop of the Big East Conference, the Villanova Wildcats have found success with James Bell leading the team. The senior guard has continuously improved his game for head coach Jay Wright averaging a career highs in points and rebounds. The No. 6 ranked team in the nation eyes a high seed in the NCAA tournament with a deep run that starts with Bell.

 

 

Marcus Foster- Kansas State University

Marcus Foster has became the latest freshman to attract national attention for his assertive play for the Kansas State Wildcats. Currently third in the Big 12 Conference, Foster is the leading scorer for this team averaging 15 ppg. As Kansas State position themselves to make a run for the tournament, he needs to extend his offensive productivity when the time comes.

 

MJ Mondays- 2003 NBA All-Star Game

      The NBA All-Star game has been significant to the association. A weekend of celebration for fans to appreciate the many talents of star players being put on display. As the NBA festivities approaches, we revisit Michael Jordan’s last appearance as a player during All-Star Weekend.

   During the 2002-03 season, Jordan averaged a career low 20 points per game that would essentially lead to voters not electing the six-time champion into the game as a starter. However, he would be given the opportunity to start the all-star game one last time.

     Voted by the fans as a starting guard, Allen Iverson was the first player to offer his starting position to Jordan followed by Tracy McGrady, which he declined respectively. While many wanted to see him start his final all-star game, the spotlight shifted to Vince Carter who was resistant in giving his starting spot to MJ. Prior to the game, Carter would offer his spot to Jordan as he would accept.

     Jordan would come out missing his first seven shots, being blocked on four attempts. He would finish the game with 20 points shooting 9 for 27 from the field. Nevertheless, we would see him turn back the clock during the game with, ironically, the shot of the game.

 

Michael Jordan would shoot the fadeaway jump shot over Shawn Marion that could have potentially clinched the game for the Eastern Conference All-Stars. Instead, the game would be sent to double overtime due to a Jermaine O’Neal foul that sent Kobe Bryant to the free throw line where he would make both free throws.

 

The Western Conference All-Stars would go on to spoil the Cinderella ending of Michael Jordan and the Eastern Conference as they would prevail with a 155-145 win. Kevin Garnett would become the game’s MVP with 37 points, 9 rebounds and 5 steals. Jordan would give NBA fans one last hurrah before closing the curtain on the all-star stage where we all gave him a standing ovation for what he had done during the course of that weekend.