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D-League Report: Cousin, McNeal, Alabi and Temple

Another week of heavy activity for the D-League this week as teams try to grab the assets they need to fill holes due to injury, or attempt to shake things up for the stretch. Here are some highlights:

Marcus Cousin Ready for Jazz, His Uniform… Not So Much

Marcus Cousin signed a ten-day deal to join the Utah Jazz on Tuesday and were excited to get him involved quickly. He joined the team in Toronto as the Jazz began a four game road trip with a number of players (Paul Milsap, Andrei Kirilenko, Ronnie Price, Francisco Elson, Kyrylo Fesenko and Mehmet Okur) injured.

Unfortunately, things happened so quickly, that the Jazz failed to make up a new uniform for Cousin in time for his first game, so he had to wear a number 0 jersey with no name on the back.

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Should the Miami Heat be Panicking?

Given that the Heat have now lost four games in a row, and just got swept in their season series with the Bulls, I think it is appropriate to shed some light on the issue. Let me start out by saying that I’m not a Heat fan, but I have watched more Heat games than any other team this year, so I do think I am unbiased in this discussion. There are three things I want to discuss; whether the Heat will succeed in the playoffs, whether crying was warranted after the rough stretch, and whether we are all making too much of this.

So, will the Heat succeed in the playoffs? I’m going to post some numbers and let you decide for yourself. Their average scoring margin is +6.71, which is second in the league. Their offensive rating is 110.5 which is 6th in the NBA. Their defensive rating is 103.2 which is 5th in the NBA. Their field goal percentage is 47.5% while opponents are scoring on 43% shooting. They have LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, three players who were undisputed number one options on their teams last season. Yet, they have struggled against good teams. Does that mean anything? The main problem with the Heat is lack of depth. In the playoffs rotations tighten, which means more minutes for stars. Continue Reading

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Should the Miami Heat be Panicking?

Given that the Heat have now lost four games in a row, and just got swept in their season series with the Bulls, I think it is appropriate to shed some light on the issue. Let me start out by saying that I’m not a Heat fan, but I have watched more Heat games than any other team this year, so I do think I am unbiased in this discussion. There are three things I want to discuss; whether the Heat will succeed in the playoffs, whether crying was warranted after the rough stretch, and whether we are all making too much of this.

So, will the Heat succeed in the playoffs? I’m going to post some numbers and let you decide for yourself. Their average scoring margin is +6.71, which is second in the league. Their offensive rating is 110.5 which is 6th in the NBA. Their defensive rating is 103.2 which is 5th in the NBA. Their field goal percentage is 47.5% while opponents are scoring on 43% shooting. They have LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, three players who were undisputed number one options on their teams last season. Yet, they have struggled against good teams. Does that mean anything? The main problem with the Heat is lack of depth. In the playoffs rotations tighten, which means more minutes for stars. Continue Reading

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D-League Report: Sundiata Gaines, Othyus Jeffers and Jeremy Evans

As the NBA season heads into crunch time, we have started to see solid activity in the D-League. NBA teams who are either battling the injury bug or potentially looking for something new are looking to the D-League to help them do so.

For today’s report, I’ve highlighted a few important news items in the world of the D-League and included a list of all the D-League Call Ups and Assignments so far this season. Enjoy!

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West is Best: Lack of Superstars Means Nothing

With all the superstars in the league defecting to the East, we seem to have forgotten that the Western Conference is still home to the leagues best teams. Everyone is busy debating which team will come out of the East, well look at the West! It’s arguably more competitive, and holds the best teams in the league.

Now, I know the Celtics, Heat and Bulls are good teams, and I guess you can throw the Magic in there too, but look at the West. The Spurs are quietly the best team in the league. So much so, that people can’t refer to the Spurs without saying they are quietly the best team in the league. The Mavericks are pretty good as well. If Dirk Nowitzki wasn’t injured early in the year, they might have a better record than the Spurs. Even with their poor play when Dirk was out, they still have more wins than any team in the East. The Spurs and Mavericks may be the two top teams in the West, but the Lakers are still favored to reach the NBA Finals. Continue Reading

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Thunder: Legit Title Contenders?

The trade deadline passed us and plenty of moves went down in the process. Teams made moves left and right. Hasheem Thabeet is a Houston Rocket, and Semih Urden is a Cleveland Cavalier. Oh yeah, and some guy by the name of Deron Williams went to the Nets. One of the most surprising moves, that no one saw coming, was the move that sent Kendrick Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The trade came at the winding minutes of the deadline. The trade consisted of Perk going to OKC along with Nate Robinson for Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic and a 2012 first round pick. This caused a big shock wave across the league. No one saw this coming and no one knew why it happened. Perk was viewed as the Celtics best interior defender along with Kevin Garnett. He was also thought of as the Celtics best counter punch against the Lakers size. Now that he is gone some people wonder if the Celtics are even the favorite in the East anymore.

The HUGE winners of this deal have to be the Thunder. They finally got the size they desperately needed. Not to be overlooked is also the acquisition of Nazr Mohammed. Nazr was acquired in a deal that sent D.J. White to Charlotte along with Morris Peterson. He is another big body that will help the Thunder. Certainly a busy trade deadline for this team. These moves now have people thinking the Thunder as legitimate title contenders. I for one come to agree with these people. The reason I say this is the simple fact that this team just got better.

You have Kevin Durant, Russel Westbrook and Kendrick Perkins as your core three players. Then you add Serge Ibaka and James Harden coming off the bench. Plus some good role players in Nick Collison, Nate Robinson (when he’s not erratic), Nazr Mohammed and Thabo Sefolosha. This team looks like it could be built for a deep playoff run. Continue Reading