Thursday, October 4, 2012


Hey everyone, I apologize for not writing frequently, I have a lot of school work at the moment.

I would like to let everyone know that I will now be writing pieces for a new Celtics website called Causeway Today. When the website is finished being made, I will send everyone the link so you can follow me and the other writers on that site. I appreciate all the feedback and comments I have gotten from you all, and I hope to see you at Causeway Today. Thanks!!


Sunday, September 2, 2012

5 Players to Watch this Season

5. Kris Joseph:

Will Kris Joseph make the opening day roster? Joseph is a second round pick out of Syracuse; he is the definition of a jack of all trades. Joseph can score, averaging about 15 points a game in College, he can also rebound and pass at 6'7, as well as providing solid, hard working defense. Kris is a player who could learn a lot from Paul Pierce. Don't expect him to get a great amount of minutes, but he will be there.

4. Chris Wilcox:

Wilcox missed the majority of last season after undergoing heart surgery, but in his time with the team he was a good role player who gave Kevin Garnett more of a cushion. Wilcox was brought back for a small amount of money, and he will play a key role behind Garnett at center. Wilcox will only play about 10 or 15 minutes a game, but that will be ample support for a body as old as Garnetts.

3. Courtney Lee:

Courtney Lee was brought on in a sign and trade from Houston for 4 years/21 million $. Lee may come into the starting job immediately if Avery Bradley isn't ready to go on opening day. It will be interesting to see if the 6'5 shooting guard can provide the same spark for a team that will love to have it this season.

2. Jared Sullinger:

Sulley was the first of the Celtics 2 first rounders this past draft, and fans have high hopes for the rookie out of OSU. Sullinger dropped to the C's because of a back injury that had prospects waving red flags. Sullinger likely will not play that big of a part this season due to the presence of Jeff Green and Brandon Bass, but next season, with Boston's star players getting older, he will be expected to brerak out.

1. Rajon Rondo:

This can be the season where Rondo cements his claim as the best point guard in the NBA. If he is to do this, Rondo will need to consistently show his scoring touch, while keeping his assist and rebound totals high. Rondo will play the tenacious defense that he has his whole career, but will all this combined be enough to snatch the trophy from Lebron James and Kevin Durant?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Philadelphia 76ers Preview

The Philadelphia 76ers were thrust into the Eastern Conference race this season when they helped the Lakers get Dwight Howard. While LA got the best center in the league the Sixers got the second best center in Andrew Bynum. Now that Howard is out of the Eastern Conference, Bynum can grab the spotlight in Philly, as he is their number one man now that Andre Iguodala is gone. The Sixers are very similar to the Indiana Pacers, I team I previewed two weeks ago. They both have star centers and superb supporting casts. It seems to me that the two squads will be battling it out for the third and fourth seed playoff spots this season. Lets take a look at Philly's roster:

PG: Holiday/Ivey/Wayns
SG: Richardson/Young
SF: Turner/Young/Wright
PF: Hawes/Allen/Moultrie
C: Bynum/Brown

The first thing I notice about the depth chart is the abundance of growing stars on the roster. Jrue Holiday runs the show on offense. Holiday is a seasoned, fundamental player who has really impressed in his first few years in the "city of brotherly love". Now that Holiday has a center like Bynum to help him, expect his assist numbers to go through the roof. Holiday was at 4.5 assists last season, this year I would love to see Holiday go up to 8 assists a game with all the talent on this roster. If Holiday can enter into the elite echelon of Eastern Conference point guards, Philly will be sitting pretty through the season. Royal Ivey, an NBA journeyman, is a solid option as a backup to Holiday. Former Villanova point guard Maalik Wayns, showed a lot of life during summer leagues in Orlando and Vegas, and could jump Ivey for the primary backup spot.

The main battle in Sixers camp this year will probably be at shooting guard. Jason Richardson and his hefty contract were acquired in the Bynum trade, while Nick Young was signed this offseason to offset the loss of Lou Williams. As of now, Richardson looks set to start, but I wouldn't be surprised if Nick Young was given the nod on opening day. Richardson and Young are both lengthy at 6'6 and 6'7 respectively, but Young has the better statistical numbers. The Sixers have done a pretty good job replacing the production of Williams and Iguodala. Both Young and Richardson will contribute something close to 15 points a game (Young averaged 14.2 points, Richardson 12) and play tough defense. I'm expecting Richardson to transform into somewhat of a role player, while I have high hopes for Nick Young.

Evan Turner is expected to start at small forward this season, and Philly fans are excited to see how good he can become. Turner was a standout in college at Ohio State and has found some success at the NBA level, but is still looking to become the star that people see him as. Turner put up 9 points and 6 boards last year coming off the bench, and this year should be his breakout campaign. Behind Turner is Thaddeus Young, yet another player who could become a force this year. If coach Doug Collins can squeeze in some more minutes for him,Young, a 6'8 man out of Georgia Tech, could have a sixth man of the year award like season. Young scored 12 and picked up 5 boards a game with limited time last year; if he could get 30-35 minutes he could become more of a 16 and 9 type of guy. I expect big things for him this season. And then there's Dorrell Wright, a sharp shooter who will likely fill Jodie Meeks' role from last season, now that Meeks is a Laker.

The PF position this year isn't full of stars, but I think the play from Lavoy Allen and Spencer Hawes will be very consistent this year. Hawes had a solid year last year, but he didn't take the league by storm. Any production from him that goes along the lines of 9 points/8-10 boards would be considered good enough from a 76ers fans perspective, looking at all the other talent they have. Lavoy Allen was a very strong rebounder last year, especially come playoff time, so look for him to come off the bench and clean up the boards for 20 minutes a game. First round pick Arnett Moultrie won't be expected of much *this* season, but I think he could make some decent contributions along the line of 6 points and 5 boards in maybe 10 or 15 minutes of game time this season. Moultrie will take on a larger role as he progresses through the league in the next few seasons.

And finally, at center, Andrew Bynum is ready to lead these Sixers to the top. Bynum expressed how happy he was to be in Philly in his opening press conference a few days ago, and I think he as the potential to become an All-NBA first teamer. Bynum will certainly get alot of looks in his new uniform, especially since he's the only *dominating* post player on the roster. Don't be surprised to see this guy average 25 and 13 on a nightly basis. That being said, if Bynum goes into a funk and wants out at some point in the season, watch out. Personally though I see great things from Bynum this season. Behind Bynum is Kwame Brown, arguably the biggest NBA bust of all time. Brown will get little time unless Bynum gets hurt, even then Spencer Hawes would likely assume the role.

The 76ers are a dark horse to win the Title this year. They have all the makings of a champ team, a star player (Bynum) a young leader (Holiday) and a vast amount of young players with a lot of talent and energy (Turner, Young, Thad Young, Hawes). I would say the Sixers are still behind the C's, Heat and Pacers in terms of how their regular seasons turn out, but I can imagine a scenario where the Sixers obtain the four seed and upset the Heat in the second round. I just like the overall depth of this team, and how they have a core of young guys who have all been in Philly the past few seasons, waiting for a star like Bynum to show up. My bold prediction is that the Sixers will make a run to the ECF, knocking off the Heat and setting up a rematch of last years battle between them and Boston. For 76ers fans, this will be a great year.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Brooklyn Nets Preview

At the beginning of free agency, the East looked like a three horse race this year, with Indy and Boston coming behind Miami. That all changed when Joe Johnson was traded to the Nets, and Dwight Howard was kept in Orlando for the time being. If you ask me, the Nets may be a better team without the superstar. They were able to hold onto two big men, a low post scorer in Brook Lopez, and a double digit machine in Kris Humphries. They were also able to keep a hold of the young scorer Marshon Brooks from Providence, who looks like he could blossom into a 20 points a night guy.

So, lets look at the Nets roster for this year. 

PG: Williams/Watson/Taylor
SG: Johnson/Brooks/Bogans
SF: Wallace/Stackhouse/Shengelia
PF: Humprhies/Evans/Teletovic
C: Lopez

Aside from Center, every position is extremely deep. The starting five is as good as any in the league with Deron Williams leading from the point and Johnson and Gerald Wallace scoring from the wings. The team doesn't have a legitimate "big three" but Williams is the second best PG in the league, while Johnson is probably a tier two or three shooting guard. You know what you're going to get from Lopez and Humphries, but they both are solid players who do what they're asked of (Lopez scores, Humphries rebounds).

Deron Williams had many people thinking he was taking a hike to Dallas, but he had a change of heart and decided to sign a 5 year/98 million dollar deal. Williams had a fantastic year last season having a final stat line of 21 points and 9 dimes a game. Williams is a player who knows when he has to be selfish for the team to be successful, he frequently takes the ball to the hoop and draws quite a few fouls. Williams has two reliable backups one in the form of ex-Bull C.J. Watson. Watson put up solid numbers last year in Chicago, scoring 10 points and dishing out 4 times a game. Keep in mind the numbers are inflated due to Derrick Rose's injury last year, but Watson won't do more than spell Williams for 10-15 minutes a game. Tyshawn Taylor was a star in Kansas during their national title run, but he won't get many minutes in Brooklyn. Taylor is a developing prospect who won't see much floor time. 

Joe Johnson went from the quietest star in the NBA to having one of the worst contracts in basketball history at 6 years/119 million and being labeled a bust. That doesn't mean Johnson isn't useful anymore; he's still a bulls eye shooter (39% from outside the arc in 2011-12, 19 points a game) and he also records 4 rebounds and 4 assists per. Johnson will likely be expected to be the Nets go to scorer, and with a point guard like Deron Williams getting him the rock, Johnson could explode this year. His backup, second year player Marshon Brooks, will be the sixth man this year for the Nets. Brooks is a pure scorer, puting up 13 points a game last season as a rookie; you won't get much else out of Marshon aside from points. The Nets brought in Bogans to add some veteran leadership, he will get next to zero minutes.

The Nets thought they were going to lose Gerald Wallace in free agency but managed to snatch him back with a 4 year/40 million $ deal. Wallace is a reliable scorer with 14 points a night, but more importantly he rebounds; last year he grabbed 7 boards per game. Wallace's all around ability will be extremely helpful for Brooklyn these next few years. Behind Wallace, the Nets don't have much, Jerry Stackhouse is too old to be playing in the NBA and Tornike Shengelia won't do much in his first year in the NBA.

The Nets are two guys deep at PF with Kris Humphries and Reggie Evans. Both guys are rebounding machines, but neither will put up a lot of points. Evans is a defensive bruiser down low, and Humphries is also a tower at 6'9. At center the Nets have Brook Lopez, a guy who signed a 4 year/60 million $ deal in July. Lopez will put up close to 20 points a game, but will need to get a lot better at rebounding and defensive for the contract to be justifiable. Mirza Teletovic, the Nets first round pick, is a highly touted big man out of Serbia. Nets fans are optimistic that he has a chance to be big off the bench, I disagree. Teletovic will need his first year to adjust in the NBA. 

The Brooklyn Nets look good on paper, they have a star point guard, two solid wing scorers, and two big guys who can battle down low. The problems that lie with them are that they are an average defensive team, and they don't have a lot of reliable players off the bench (they traded most of them in the Joe Johnson deal. 

When comparing a team like the Nets to the Celtics, I look at the experience factoid. Most of Brooklyn's players have little playoff experience and haven't made it out of the second round of the playoffs. In a seven game series against Boston I would pick the Celtics in 6 games, they're deeper, they have experience and they have a solid core that has been in Boston for the last five years. The battle between Rondo and Williams would be a duel, but in the end Rondo has more guys to pass to then Williams does. The only problem I could see is the height factor of Lopez and Humphries. The C's don't play with a traditional center, KG is the tallest guy on the floor at 6'11 while Lopez and Humprhies are both big bodies. That being said the Nets don't have much behind those two while Boston has Jeff Green, Chris Wilcox and Jared Sullinger. Depth would prevail at the end of the day. 

 The Nets will only get better as the years go by, and if they pick up a few solid bench options in free agency next year they could be right in the NBA title debate, but right now they aren't ready. At this point I would rank Boston, Indy, maybe New York, and Miami ahead of the Nets. I would say you can expect 45-50 wins in Brooklyn this season, with the four or five seed in the east and a second round playoff appearance. Thats as high as I'll go... for now.

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

How Dwight to the Lakers Shakes Up the League

The saga has ended. For now. At this point in time, nobody really cares.

Dwight Howard is set to be the next big center for the LA Lakers, after being dealt in a four team trade that included the Nuggets, Sixers and of course the Orlando Magic. What would have been a mind blowing front page story last year is now somewhat of a backstory leaving most people thinking "its about time".

Howard heads to LA along with Earl Clark and Chris Duhon, while the 76ers received Andrew Bynum along with Jason Richardson and his hefty contract. The nuggets made out well in acquiring Andre Iguodala, while the Magic received Aaron Afflalo, Al Harrington (from the Nuggets) , Moe Harkless and Nikola Vucevic (from the Sixers) and Christian Eyegna and Josh McRoberts (from LA).

It is strongly perceived by many that a coup was pulled on Orlando; they gave up a franchise player and most likely future Hall of Famer, for a bunch of spare parts that they may not even keep. Moe Harkless may turn into a solid scorer, and Aaron Afflalo can put up decent numbers, but outside of those two, the Magic may not keep the other four. One has to look at the trades Orlando passed up earlier, trades that could have made the Magic a playoff team in 2012. The Magic had a shot at a stockpile of talent in Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries and Mashon Brooks or up to three of four first round draft picks. This trade wreaks of desperation on the part of the Orlando front office. It will take a minimum of five years for this team to be competitive, and a star Orlando center has flown the coup, yet again.

On the other hand the Nuggets got a significant from Afflalo to Iguodala, an outstanding defender who still may have his best ball ahead of him. Iguodala puts the Nuggets at around the five seed, seeing as thought they already have quality pieces in Ty Lawson, Kenneth Farried and Javahle McGee.

The Sixers part of the deal may be overlooked because of the hype behind D12, but Andrew Bynum to Philly is a big deal! The Sixers could make some serious noise in the EC playoffs this season, as they now have a star big man in Bynum as well as young players like Jrue Holiday, Thad Young and Evan Turner. Philly hopped into the upper echelon of the East along with the likes of Indy, Boston and Miami, and will be expected to challenge Boston for the Atlantic division title.

The big part of the trade is obviously Howard finally moving to LA, and this certainly does not bode well for the rest of the NBA. Howard to the Lakers gives the Lakers a big three of their own in Kobe, Nash and Howard. This will most likely pit the Lakers with the Thunder for the Western Conference Title. The only concern I have with the Lakers is that they have little depth on the Wings. Ron Artest is no longer the player he was and rarely puts in a good offensive contribution. The Lakers desperately need a good small forward, but won't likely find one for at least another year. That means Kevin Durant will likely roam the perimeter stroking threes like he has been. Not to mention Steve Nash isn't fast enough to contain someone like Russell Westbrook. The good news is that we won't have to listen to anything regarding Dwight Howard trade/free agency least for a year.

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Sense of Defeat

The greatest part of being a sports fan is thinking about the stuff you don't know, rather than the facts that you do. Who is going to start at shooting guard tonight? I wonder if so and so will be able to perform as well as last night...who do you think will come out of the bullpen first tonight? My favorite part of the game is before it starts, I have no nerves; I contemplate how the game will be decided and who will win. When the going gets tough I often start to shake and begin to imagine all the horrible outcomes, no matter how far fetched they are.

These feelings were ever present before and during the game 7 loss to Miami in last years ECF. Living in Germany, I am not able to watch every Celtics game for the sole purpose that they are played at very late hours (6 hour time difference). I woke up the morning after game six had been played and turned on my blackberry to check the score. I fully expected to see the headline read something like "Celtics Earn Trip to Finals After Embarrassing Miami Once More". It was however, nothing close to this. A huge picture of Lebron James filled the cover of and I immediately began thinking of game 7. I started reading analysis of game 6 and a look ahead to game 7 and the C's were unanimously picked to lose. I had no problem with this because as I've said before I'm a fan, not a realist. I thought the C's had just as good a chance as they did in game 6, there was no way Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and KG were going to play as bad as they did in south beach the next evening. "Lets take it to those south beach pricks, and make them the laughingstock of the league again" I thought. I welcomed a game 7, just because of the thrill of it. Game 7's contain the most tantalizing moments in sports.

I stayed awake for the entire morning and at 2:30 AM, the game began. I was watching on my school laptop on a streaming website.The American Airlines arena was packed with Heat bandwagon jumpers from left to right. The game began and the Celtics pulled up to an early 9 point lead, but the Celtics followed the "Big Three Era Big Game Script" down to a science. They jumped out to an early lead, stretched the lead in the second quarter, took their foot off the gas in the third, and got wiped in the fourth. Brandon Bass was playing the game of his life in the first half connecting on all 6 of his shots and going for 16 points, while playing fantastic D on Lebron and posterizing Wade right before the half. He was finished though, and in the second he didn't score a single point. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen both looked spectacular for much of the first half, connecting on treys while also taking the ball to the cup, something Allen rarely does as a 38 year old on his last legs. KG never really found that rhythm that had made him such a factor in the postseason, and he was noticeably off target.

As the third quarter ended I prayed for a miracle, but nothing was to come. Despite Rajon Rondo's amazing triple double, talent prevailed and Lebron carried the Heat to victory. I came to grips with the end when Lebron hit a three from the nosebleed section, that resulted in the C's losing any wind left in their sails. As I watched Lebron drain the three I put my laptop down and sat up on my couch; I was defeated. I put my face in my hand and wondered how it had come to this.

The worst feeling in sports is watching the team you love get slaughtered in a crucial playoff game in front of a phony fan based crowd such as Miami's.Coming to grips with the fact that the opposing team is noticeably better than yours is an awful feeling that I associate in moments such as the game 7 losses to Miami and of course the debacle in LA in 2010. Watching Garnett, my favorite player since I was six, walk off the court without a second ring for the fourth time in as many years was terrible. Of all the players in the league KG deserves a second ring.

If I were 10 and this had happened, I would be outraged; how could we let this one get away? Now, I realize that those guys did everything they can and just didn't have enough left in the tank. But its these moments that make you love the team even more (unless you're a Red Sox fan), the moments that make you dream of what it will be like when they walk off the court victorious, in front of the raucous Miami crowd. It brings you closer to the group of guys that you idolize as a kid, a feeling that only can be shared in a loss.

And thats what makes me all the more excited for this season, I actually believe that the Celts can pull one last title off with the core of guys they have now. I guess we'll just have to wait and see how we feel at the end of the year...

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

New York Knicks Preview

The Knicks are in my opinion,  the most interesting team. The Knicks, given their talent, could have a serious claim for the NBA title, but at the same time the Knicks, given their inconsistency, may bow out in the first round to a team like the Heat or Celtics (the two teams who have eliminated New York the past two seasons). Jeremy Lin made the most noise coming out of New York as he left for Houston, but the Knickerbockers have made some quality pickups that could help them finally make a deep run into the playoffs, and reward their fans who have been starving for a championship for so long.

The Knicks are unquestionably led by Carmelo Anthony, the most important cog in the team, and one of the best scorers in the NBA. Melo has been one of the strongest players on this years Olympic squad and he isn't even starting, most notably his 37 point performance against Nigeria, which included 10 treys in just 14 minutes of action. Anthony said that he would be the next to get his ring after Lebron won his in game 5 this season. Anthony posted 22 points a game, a line that is down from Melo's usual 28 points a game.

Anthony does have help however, with Tyson Chandler anchoring the defense, Amare Stoudamire still an able bodied offensive player. Chandler won't contribute a whole lot on the offensive end, but he has officially transformed the Knicks from a disgraceful defensive unit, to a respectable group. Stoudamire is definitely past his prime, and would likely be better off being traded rather than staying in New York, where the pressure is on and the fans are getting sick of him. That being said, Stat can still put up 20 points a contest, that is if he is able to keep his second hand. Marcus Camby was also brought to NY to strengthen the front court. Camby will grab a lot of boards with Chandler at second, which is great for the Knicks, because of the fact that it will give guys like Melo and the Steve Novak more bullets and second chance points from the three point line.

 The Knicks are iffy at the guard position, especially after the departure of Landry Fields and Jeremy Lin. The Knicks did acquire Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton, plus holdovers J.R. Smith and possibly Iman Shumpert, if hes healthy enough after tearing his ACL against Miami in last years first round playoffs. If Shump is indeed good to go, he could take a huge leap and potentially become a starter. Shumpert is a tenacious defender who also holds his own on the offensive end with some major ups when driving to the hoop. Steve Novak is also a decent holdover who can shoot lights out from 3 point range.

As for Kidd, he took a U-turn and signed for the Knicks rather than returning to the Mavs. Kidd can still distribute the rock and make all his teammates around him better offensive basketball players. Kidd can also play some defense, which is good news for the Knicks, who are always looking for better defensive players. He won't average 10 assists per game, but he will be a playmaker and thats what the front office is asking him to do.

Ray Felton is looking forward to his second stint in the big apple, primarily because he was pretty successful in his first. Felton averaged 15 points and around 6 assists during his time in New York, until being traded in which he moved to two different teams in the space of two years (Nuggets, Blazers). Felton will be asked to play solid defense, and make a good all around contribution on the offensive end in the 25 or so minutes behind Jason Kidd. We have all been waiting for J.R. Smith to blow up and become one of the best players in the league, but he hasn't. Smith may get the starting nod at the 2 if Shumpert isn't able to play at the start of the season, and the front office will look to him for offensive explosiveness.

PG: Kidd/Felton
SG: Shumpert/Smith
SF: Anthony/Novak/White/Copeland
PF: Stoudamire/Thomas
C: Chandler/Camby

Expectations for the Knicks are always high in New York, and they will be around the States this year as well. The Knicks have a loaded roster and a solid coach in Mike Woodson, so the sky is the limit for this team. Call me crazy, but I could see the Knicks hoisting the Larry O'brien trophy at the end of the season, with Melo carrying them on the offensive end and Chandler carrying them on the defensive side of things. I wouldn't mind it either, Melo is a fantastic player; it wouldn't hurt that he would be remembered as the player who finally brought a title to New York.