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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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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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King’s Speech: 2011 MVP Candidates

I know it may seem a little early for this, but with the season winding down and the trade deadline behind us, I couldn’t think of a better time to do this. That’s right, it’s time to breakdown the MVP candidates for the 2010-2011 NBA regular season!

At this point of the season, the cream rises to the top, and the list of candidates becomes surprisingly thin. So who are these players? I’ve narrowed my list down to three. I cannot realistically see anyone besides these three players winning the MVP. It may shock you to learn, that all three candidates come from the same conference, and that all three play different positions. While I am leaning towards one guy on this list more than the others, websites such as ESPN seem to disagree. So, without further ado, here are the three MVP candidates.

One more thing, you might need to keep THIS page handy, if you aren’t too clear on advanced stats, such as PER, Wins Shares and other advanced stats. Just scroll through that page if you are ever confused on what a stat means. Continue Reading

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NBA Trade Deadline Wrap-Up

So with the bevy of deals made in the past few days, some surprising, some not, I think it would be appropriate to discuss all the major deals with our loyal readers. These deals are sure to change the landscape of the NBA. There are two deals in particular that really delivered. This trade deadline has certainly lived up to the hype. So without further ado, let’s breakdown all the major trade talk.

TRADE ONE:

The first major trade was obviously Carmelo Anthony going to the Knicks.

TO NEW YORK: Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Renaldo Balkman, Shelden Williams, Corey Brewer

TO DENVER: Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov, a 2014 first round pick, and 2012 and 2013 second round picks

TO MINNESOTAA: Eddy Curry, and Anthony Randolph

This trade obviously is huge. Carmelo gets his extension, and gets to play with his good friend Amar’e Stoudemire. He also gets to play under the shining lights in New York. Carmelo had a solid first game in blue and orange with 27 points and 10 boards. Chauncey Billups may be the key to this trade, as he has plenty of playoff experience and a Finals MVP under his belt. He may be the leader that this team needs. Look forward to big things from New York next year, especially if they can land Chris Paul or Dwight Howard in 2012. Continue Reading

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Trades, Playoffs and MVPs: What to look for after the All-Star Break

After the NBA All-Star Weekend, we usually see the NBA rise in popularity. This is the glorious time between the Super Bowl and MLB Opening Day, where basketball is the only sport worth watching (sorry hockey fans). Of course people still enjoy watching NCAA basketball, but with March Madness a few weeks away, we can all focus our attention to the NBA. With so many intriguing stories this year in particular, it’s easy to see why so many people love the NBA. Today, I’ll discuss trades, playoffs, and the potential MVPs, and anything that is destined to steal our attention as the regular season winds down.

Image from hothothoops.com

  • Trades

Trades are what will ignite the most discussion in the next week. The trade deadline (at the time of writing) is 3 days 2 hours and 45 minutes away (thank you NBA.com!) and some big names are likely to be moved. Rumor has it, Carmelo Anthony isn’t exactly happy to be a Denver Nugget. Whether he joins the New York Knicks is yet to be seen, as the New Jersey Nets are still clinging to life in talks, but he will likely be playing for an Eastern Conference team next Friday.  The Knicks have reportedly offered a package of Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, and Wilson Chandler. Timofey Mozgov and Eddy Curry would also be included for salary concerns. The Knicks would receive Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams and either Anthony Carter or Renaldo Balkman. Continue Reading

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Game Preview: Spurs versus Lakers

Tonight, the San Antonio Spurs head into Los Angeles for a big game against the Lakers. If the Lakers vs Celtics game on Sunday was a preview of a potential NBA Finals, this game could be a preview of the Western Conference Finals. The Spurs head into this game following a tough loss to Portland Trailblazers, while the Lakers narrowly avoided defeat in a game against the Houston Rockets. So what does this game mean?

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Quick Hits: Random Thoughts on the NBA and Other Stuff

Today, I thought I’d try something new. Instead of an article about the NBA, I thought I would list off a bunch of random thoughts about the NBA, mixed in with thoughts about life in general. Of course you can look to Saving the Skyhook for a new article soon, but today I thought you, the reader, might enjoy something different.

Image from Hoops Collective

1. Ron Artest is complaining about the criticism he’s received playing for the Lakers. Should we expect anything less from a guy who thanked his psychiatrist after winning the Larry O’Brien trophy last June?

2. Sticking with Ron Artest, what team would want any part of that contract? I honestly think he’s almost impossible to move at this point.

3. From one Western Conference team to another, when will the Nuggets trade Carmelo Anthony? I think they may have lost all of their leverage at this point. How many times can you almost trade a guy?

4. Speaking of the Nuggets, wouldn’t JR Smith look good in a Bulls uniform? I know I’ve discussed this already, but with news that the Bulls may be adding Anthony Parker, I think Smith deserves a look. I think his impact would be much greater than Parker’s.

5. Who would do more damage in the playoffs, the Bulls or Magic? I’m still not sold on the moves the Magic made; outside of adding Hedo Turkoglu have they really improved? Continue Reading

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OJ Mayo: Where Do We Go From Here?

Will things get better for OJ Mayo before they get worse? What does his recent steroid bust do for his career? Better yet, what does it do for the future of the NBA? While steroids aren’t as prevalent in basketball as they are in sports such as football, or baseball, two prominent players have now tested positive for having performance enhancing drugs in their systems. Is this an issue that should just be swept under the rug?

So if you haven’t already heard, OJ Mayo was suspended on January 27th for testing positive for dehydroepiandrosterone (what a mouthful), better known as DHEA. He was suspended for 10 games. Add this to Mayo’s recent troubles this season. Mayo was taken out of the starting lineup, and also got into an in-flight fight with teammate Tony Allen over a card game. Mayo claims that the positive test was due to an energy drink. Continue Reading

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Heroes and Zeros: An Amare/Bosh Discussion

Amar’e Stoudemire and Chris Bosh have a lot in common. Both are 6’10” power forwards. Both have been All-Stars. Both were free agents in the Summer of 2010. And both are in arguably better situations now, then they were in last season. So why are people so quick to praise Amar’e, when Chris Bosh did it first? Why is Amar’e getting so much credit, so much recognition, this season, when Bosh hardly got any in Toronto? Geography, that’s why.

Let’s first look at the facts. Are they really so different? I mean, I don’t remember Chris Bosh getting any MVP chatter during his days in Toronto. Last season, both put up very similar numbers. Chris Bosh averaged 24 points a game, Amar’e averaged 23.1 points. Chris Bosh averaged 10.8 rebounds a game, Amar’e averaged 8.9 rebounds. Amar’e played 12 more games (82 total), and shot 55.7% to Chris Bosh’s 51.8%. So as you can see, both had pretty similar individual numbers last year. Continue Reading