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Stuck In The Warriors’ Elevator: How Klay And Steph Get Open Threes

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In 28 games this season, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry have combined for 172 threes. Between the two of them, they attempt 15 threes per game, and knock down 6.5. They are also both shooting over 41.5 percent from the perimeter, which is just terrifying. So what I'm trying to say is that you could say - if you really, really want to - that they are living up to their "Splash Brothers" nickname.

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10 Things To Watch For In The 2011 NBA Playoffs


The 2011 are right around the corner, and are sure to be the most competitive NBA Playoffs we’ve seen in years.  While the 2nd round and beyond, are the rounds everyone’s anticipating, there are a few things we need to be on the look-out for.  Here are 10 of them…

1st Round Upsets

1.  The New York Knicks vs. The Boston Celtics

How can this happen, you ask?  Simply put, Youth and Hunger.  The Knicks are considerably younger, and faster than their Boston Counterparts.  The running style that they live by, is the exact opposite type of game that the C’s want to get in to.  Yes the Knicks have had their struggles versus the Celtics this season, but have also had their moments.  When their backs were against the wall, their closer showed up. Carmelo Anthony put the team on his back on multiple occasions, and performed like the star that he is.  These are the leadership qualities that I spoke of before, that are there, just inconsistent.  If Melo can maintain that drive, and killer instinct throughout the series; The Celtics are in Trouble.  Now the likelihood of an upset isn’t in the Knicks’ favor.  However, the Celtics haven’t been the same team since the Perkins trade, and are injured across the board.  The funny thing about this series is that the Knicks lack that “Inside Toughness,” but then again, so do the Celtics.  Yes of course KG is still the backbone of the team, but then what?  You have an old and injured Shaq, who’s paired with another old and injured Jermaine O’neal.  Either way, the Knicks will make a series vs. ANYONE they play this year; you can put money on that! Continue Reading

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Diesel Fuel: Would Shaq Work in Boston?

It’s the end of July, and the league’s oldest player, Shaquille O’Neal remains unsigned. Teams like Atlanta, San Antonio, and Miami have all been mentioned as potential suitors, but there’s still no offer on the table. Now, coming toward the end of the offseason, rumors are now starting to pick up that the Diesel might make his way to Beantown for one more ride with the Boston Celtics.

The first obstacle to signing Shaq, of course, is overcoming his demand for a high salary. After signing Jermaine O’Neal and others, the Celtics don’t have the cap room to offer him anything more than the veteran’s minimum in a straight-up deal. So either Ainge needs to work his magic to convince Shaq to take the money in exchange for a very good shot at another championship or he needs to devise a sign-and-trade deal with Cleveland. The issue with that? Any player signed and traded must have a contract of three or more years, which is a very long commitment to make to O’Neal. That said, the team has the cooperation of the retiring Rasheed Wallace to use his midlevel deal as a trade chip if they so choose.

Let’s say they overcome the issues and the Big Cactus joins the Green for one more campaign. Would the experiment work? Despite Shaq’s dwindling numbers compared to those of his prime, he has still been very effective on the court over the past few seasons in limited minutes. In fact, last year in Cleveland, Shaq’s per-40-minute averages were: 20.5 points, 11.3 boards, 2 blocks — and he still shot 57 percent. Furthermore, he’s still a force on defense who can match up with the Dwight Howards of the league. And his deficiencies guarding the pick and roll can be covered up by Jermaine, Kevin Garnett, and, when he comes back, Kendrick Perkins.

And Perk’s injury is another key factor for the Shaq signing. In Games 6 and 7 of the NBA Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers showed how crucial Perkins is to the Celtics, and he’ll still be out for quite some time. They did bring on Jermaine O’Neal, but after his addition (which effectively fills ‘Sheed’s void), they’re still down one rotation big man from the four they had last year so long as Perkins is out. Shaq completes that frontcourt with a skillset that’s pretty similar to Perkins, but Shaq is better on offense.

What about when Perkins comes back, though? Will Doc Rivers be able to get all of these guys minutes with Glen Davis in the picture, too? That remains to be seen. You know Garnett won’t mind giving up a few minutes here or there if it means the team will win, but the same can’t necessarily be said for the O’Neal pair. Shaq comes with plenty of baggage on the side, and his ego could be a problem. Even in Cleveland he started, so he’ll have to learn to give that up if he wants to play in Boston. Also, he likely won’t get as many touches as he did with LeBron — which was probably too many anyway. But considering the age of KG and the O’Neals, having an insurance policy in case of injury isn’t a bad idea.

This signing could be a difference-maker for the Celtics. They’ve just got to get the money straightened out with the Diesel, and he might be playing ball in New England come October.

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Grading Offseasons: Atlantic Division

Sure, the NBA offseason isn’t over yet, but with the passing of Summer League and most of the key free agents signed, let’s grade each of the NBA teams’ progress this summer, starting with the Atlantic Division.

Boston Celtics (50-32, Lost NBA Finals): A-

For the aging Boston Celtics, the objective is clear: keep the team competitive for one more season while the Big 3 still have value. This summer, the Celtics did exactly that. Danny Ainge managed to reach agreements with both Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, keeping the core of the team intact for yet another year. Then, with Rasheed Wallace retiring and Kendrick Perkins out for who knows how long, he inked Jermaine O’Neal to a contract, who can do most of the things Sheed did while replacing his outside shot with better post skills. He rounded out his effort by re-signing Nate Robinson, who demonstrated his value as a backup point guard in the playoffs, and nabbing Avery Bradley in the draft. He’ll provide a great shooting touch in the second unit that the team previously lacked. The one error? They let defensive stalwart Tony Allen slip through their fingers.

Toronto Raptors (40-42, Missed Playoffs): D

The only reason this isn’t an F is because Chris Bosh’s departure was basically inevitable and there was nothing they could really do. Nevertheless, when a lottery team loses its one star, it’s a recipe for disaster. Ed Davis won’t be ready for a couple years, and while dumping the disgruntled Hedo Turkoglu and his bloated deal on the Suns was a good move, LeAndro Barbosa isn’t going to save the team. And giving Amir Johnson $34 million over 5 years? Please. It’s going to be a miserable year north of the border for the Raptors.

New York Knicks (29-53, Missed Playoffs): B-

Amar’e Stoudemire is a great get for the Knicks, but can he really be a difference maker for them? After all, he’s not that much of an upgrade over David Lee, and no one has seen what he can do without Steve Nash’s wizardry. Donnie Walsh’s plan was to snag two A-List free agents off the market, and he didn’t come through. Raymond Felton’s a good point guard, but $8 million a year is a little steep for someone who hasn’t shown he can be an elite player. Andy Rautins and Landry Fields aren’t going to set the court on fire either. All this notwithstanding, the Knicks have an outside shot at the playoffs this year even in the talented Eastern Conference.

Philadelphia 76ers (27-55, Missed Playoffs): B+

The Sixers’ biggest addition came via the draft in Evan Turner, who figures to be a poor man’s Brandon Roy within a couple years in the NBA. When you add on Jrue Holiday’s development at the point and the swap of Samuel Dalembert for Spencer Hawes, and it’s pretty promising lineup to go along with Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young. If new coach Doug Collins (another plus) can figure out how to motivate Elton Brand, this team could surprise a lot of people this year.

New Jersey Nets (12-70, Missed Playoffs): F

New owner Mikhail Prokhorov wants a championship within five years, but his Nets were the only key players to strike out in the pursuit of top-of-the-line free agents. Instead of reeling in LeBron, Chris Bosh, or Carlos Boozer, the Nets overpaid Travis Outlaw and brought in three role players in Anthony Morrow, Jordan Farmar, and Johan Petro. While the team will inevitably improve its record as Brook Lopez improves and Devin Harris bounces back, this summer was a total disappointment for the Newark Nets.