Tag:Dwyane Wade
Posted on: November 24, 2008 11:35 am

Raptors - Week 4 in Review

Last week the Raptors would love to forget most of what happened to them. I know Raptors fans are very disgruntled right now with the inconsistent play from the team in general as they find ways to lose games in which they have huge leads. So far, after 13 games, the team is 6 – 7, which is exactly where it was last year after 13 games and at this point, there seems little hope for team fortunes to improve as the next week brings the Bobcats, the Hawks and the Lakers on the schedule.  With Jose Calderon still not even close to 100% healthy, it looks to be a long week again.

Here’s what I saw in the past week and what I am looking at for the next week.

The past week gave us 4 games against Eastern conference teams. Two were in the top 4 teams of the conference last season and the other two are hovering around .500 as we are. The Magic were first up in Orlando on our Florida swing with back to back games in Orlando and Miami for a re-match against the struggling Heat.

The Magic came into the game on a 3 game win streak and were 8 – 3 on the season at that point. We were able to open up a lead on the Magic as we were able to get the ball inside and keep Dwight Howard off the boards and off his game with only 4 points in the first half. He finished with 18 points and 9 rebounds, both off of his season averages. Chris Bosh had a huge game with 40 points, 18 rebounds hitting 14/19 shots while Jermaine O’Neal had 1t points and 10 rebounds. With Jamario Moon and Jason Kapono seemingly lost in their own heads, Sam Mitchell started Andrea Bargnani in the 3 spot and he struggled both on offense and on offense with only 5 points. Playing without Jose Calderon, this team turned the ball over 24 times and squandered the lead and the game away as Will Solomon attempted to run the offense with little success as the Magic just kept shooting the ball as Hedo Turkoglu, Jameer Nelson and Rashard Lewis all had 22 points and seemed to answer any run the Raptors threw at them causing turnovers or grabbing rebounds and running the floor scoring an easy 2 or 3 off the transition game.

Next up were the Heat who came into the game 5 – 5 and missing Centers Jamaal Magloire and Mark Blount up front leaving the Heat out manned against the front line of Chris Bosh, Jermaine O’Neal and Andrea Bargnani. Having beaten the Heat the previous Sunday, the rematch in Miami presented the Raptors with a good chance for a road win. Jose started the game but looked sore and careful on his injured leg. Though Dwyane Wade had 40 points and 11 assists and Shawn Marion had a 20 point, 14 rebound game, they were just not matched up well as Andrea Bargnani had a 25 point game and Jermaine had a 16 point 17 rebound effort. It was a very exciting game as Dwyane Wade took over and attacked the Raptors inside in the 4th to keep the game close. To me, the play of the game was JO’s rejection of Wade with a little over a minute left. It allowed the Raptors to get the ball back up court and pull ahead and out of range.

Next game was the Nets and Vince Carter. Although the Raptors opened up another 18 point lead, Vince scored 12 points in the last 22 seconds including the game tying 3 from 27 feet with Anthony Parkers had in his face. Then he scored on an ally-oop to win the game on the last shot. Dropping 39 points and grabbing 9 rebounds while Devin Harris, who left before half time with an upset stomach, scored 30. Together, they combined for half of the Nets points. Andrea had his best game as a pro scoring 29 points while Jose scored 26 and CB scored 42 as he and VC went back and forth all evening answering each other on both ends of the floor.

Sunday, the World Champions visited the ACC and from the beginning of the game, the Raptors appeared shell shocked, probably not recovered from the terrible loss Friday. The Celtics had 7 guys in double digits with Ray Allen leading the way with 21, Kevin Garnett, who harassed Chris all afternoon had 15, Kendrick Perkins had 12, Rajon Rondo scored 15 as did Tony Allen and Eddie House added 11. CB countered with 24 and AB added another 14 as this game was never close.

So, the past 4 games have given us a very deep look into this team, and it is very much in a state of flux. Our 4 main guys right now are Andrea Bargnani, Jose Calderon, who is hurting, Jermaine O’Neal, who is hurting as well, and Chris Bosh. Over the past week, their numbers look pretty good with Chris averaging over 30 points per game and 10.5 rebounds. He is shooting 54% from the floor with his first 3 point shot of the season, and 83% from the line. Andrea has stepped up his production as he continues to improve while adjusting to the SF position scoring 18.25 per game, 6 rebounds and 50% from outside the arc. Jermaine has become a very solid fixture on defense and hurt his knee during the Nets game. He has given us 11 points and 9 rebounds with the last two games being injured. It is obvious that he is becoming comfortable with Chris Bosh and his secondary role on this team which bodes well for the future as long as his knee keeps him on the floor, he will continue to add depth and strength up front. Jose Calderon missed one game this week but has continued to contribute 16 points and 10.3 assists per game and is still 100% from the free throw line to lead the league in that.

With all that great play from these 4 guys, all this team needs is someone – anyone at this point to step up and contribute some defense and a little on offense. Most nights, there is no one on the bench who seems willing to contribute other than Kris Humphries who offers good minutes when called on. Every game this week our second unit of Jason Kapono, Will Solomon or Roko Ukic and Jamario Moon has found ways to lose huge leads built by our first unit. Sam has little success adjusting as the guys just aren’t playing well as a group. Last season, our bench was a strong point, but this year, they are anticipated by every team we play as they endure or first line to get to the weak, ineffective second stringers. Until these guys can start adding to the team, we will struggle against every team in this league and will have little chance to make the playoffs as anything below .500% won’t make the playoffs in the east this year. This past week we allowed an average of 46.5 points in the paint per game. An unbelievable number with the guys we have up front! Where are they coming from? Wade and Carter – guards scored 40 and 39 with Harris, another guard adding 30, mostly off the dribble or at the line. Jameer Nelson and Dwight Howard with 22 and 18 with Nelson driving and dishing and shooting wide open looks over our guards. It becomes pretty obvious that this team can not stop any kind of wing game, as Paul Pierce showed in the first game. Night after night our guards and SF positions are exploited as teams out play our guys and Sam Mitchell seems lost as to how to stop it. With the Lakers and the Hawks coming up, this does not look promising as they are both bringing 2 of the best SG’s in the league with Kobe Bryant and Joe Johnson. I hope they can find a way to stop wing and guard penetration soon as we saw Sam unable to attack a zone defense. Should be a very long week for the Raptors and it’s fan base.

Posted on: November 20, 2008 10:27 am

Raptors - Heat Round 2 Review

Last night in Miami, Dwyane Wade and the Heat were looking to take advantage of a weakened opponent and gain a sense of revenge for the loss on Sunday in Toronto. Jose Calderon started last night and Sam Mitchell put Andrea Bargnani on the floor again and was rewarded with probably the best quarter the young Italian has played as a Raptors player. A quick 10 points by Andrea got the Raptors off to a good start as they worked to shake off the bitter loss in Orlando to the Magic the night before. He ended up with 25 on the night, a Raptors game high. After giving up 44 turnovers in Sunday and Tuesday’s games, the Raptors looked to Jose to provide some stability to the stagnating offense as Will Solomon tried to step in with Roko Ukic to fill the huge void Jose left.

The game was a very exciting one with the ball flying all over the court. It was fun to watch Andrea run the floor with Anthony Parker who broke out of his slump dropping 19 points while grabbing 6 rebounds including 1 Offensive. Down the stretch he answered several D-Wade dunks with smooth 3’s from the corner. A very welcome sight as his check scored 40 on us while collecting 4 boards and hanging out 11 assists and adding 5 blocks to a very solid game. Shawn Marion added 20 points and 14 rebounds to the mix.

These teams played a very even game as the stats reflect very little between them that stands out as the main reason one team won and the other lost. The Raptors made 38 baskets, the Heat 39, the Raptors hit 9 from 3 point land which was refreshing after the debacle in Orlando, while the Heat were a bit out done here making only 7. The Raptors shot 62% from outside while the Heat began to settle for outside shots when they started getting down in the 3rd ending up at 30% on 3’s. As I have stated many times and will as long as I breath basketball, this game was won and lost at the Free Throw line. The Raptors made 16 of 20 while the Heat made 10 of 15. Those 6 baskets were the margin of victory.

Some other things that I enjoyed watching last night was the steady play of Jermaine O’Neal as he has become the inside force we lacked for many years now. The play of the game from my perspective was the late block on D-Wade from the wing. That play stopped his momentum enough for us to come back down the floor and drop another 3. Defense really does matter in the NBA. Chris Bosh took the night off and ended up with another double – double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Kris Humphries came off the bench and gave us some great play attacking the ball all over the floor and making 6 of 7 Free Throws – an interesting number, no? Jamario Moon and Jason Kapono were both very quiet again, but Jamario did hit a huge 3 for the team and did manage 2 huge steals in the 4th quarter as the Heat were edging back.

Over all, this was a very well played game by the starters who responded to Chris’ huge game Tuesday, as well as the return of Jose Calderon who gave us 8 points, 7 assists and only 1 turnover. Cutting the turnovers in half from the Magic game allowed us to keep the pressure on the smaller front of the Heat and was one of the huge keys to the victory. With 4 guys in double digits and another game with two double-double guys, this team returned to a balance offense with great ball movement. I am still concerned by how easily the Heat were able to find wide open guys, it’s a good thing they didn’t make a couple more shots.

We now prepare for the Nets, the Celtics and the Hawks with the Lakers soon to follow.

Posted on: November 19, 2008 10:32 am

Raptors - Heat Preview - Round 2

Well, tonight will be a very difficult game for this Raptors team as they recover from the worst performance by a Raptors team in a long time. Other than Chris Bosh and Jermaine O'Neal, this team lacked focus, lack intensity and lacked the heart to keep the Magic on their heels posting a 10 point 2nd quarter lead only to lose it with bad offensive play. Tonight, the Heat will look to capitalize on the weak back court that we have unless Jose Calderon is ready to go. I hope he doesn't rush back and hurt himself worse as much as it pains me to say, we need him healthy for more than tonight.

Jermaine O'Neal has begun to play the solid game at both ends of the floor we brought him here for. Dwight Howard was frustrated all night and made 8 - 11 ft's to finish with 18 points and only 9 rebounds, well below his average for both. After these two, the team looks very thin. Andrea Bargnani is getting the ball where he should be, but is relying on pull-up jumpers again. Jamario Moon will need to step his game up quickly as neither him nor Jason Kapono looks able to play consistent basketball at this point in the year. Will Solomon had 7 of the 24 turnovers which destroyed this team in the 3rd quarter and down the stretch. I wish we could wave and wand and make Will play nba level, but it is a learning curve, one that both he and Roko Ukic suddenly find themselves looking straight up at.

The Heat, fresh off a victory last night against the Wizards, are looking to avenge the loss in Toronto on Sunday. Dwyane Wade rolled his ankle in that game but played last night in Washington. With a line-up that features Wade, Shawn Marion, Michael Beasley and Udonis Haslem as well as Mario Chalmers, the Raptors will need to play smart ball control offense and solid team defense, both of which have been lacking even with Jose Calderon in the line-up. Tonight Sam Mitchell will have a tough challenge to get his players ready to help Bosh at both ends of the floor. From here, there are no easy games with the Nets, the Celtics and the Lakers and the Hawks coming up. We need to right this ship NOW.

Posted on: November 16, 2008 5:10 pm

Raptors - Heat Post Game Wrap up

The Raptors today hosted the Heat without the services of Jose Calderon. I must admit that I was a bit hesistant going into the game with Will Solomon as the starter, but was happy that Sam decided to start our three bigs with Jermaine O'Neal and Chris Bosh up front and Andrea Bargnani in the SF position. A great way to exploit our bigs who have all been playing very well the last few games though we have lost to the Hawks, the Celtics and the Pistons, it has not been due to front court play.

With Jose on the bench, Will Solomon and Anthony Parker were left to provide the spark from the back court. Will responded with a solid 15 points and 11 assists as he seemed a bit anxious at times with 4 turnovers, he also grabbed 4 rebounds in 34 minutes of play in his first NBA start. Anthony Parker had 10 points and 3 rebounds while guarding Dwyane Wade. Roko Ukic came in and provided 4 assists as did Jamario Moon on an afternoon where the Raptors had 31 assists on 36 field goals. A very good game for the backups and perhaps we can rest Jose Calderon if he needs it as they both looked solid. Let's see if Roko can earn his stripes and score 15 points one night!

What can be said about the front line of this team that is adequate to describe what is happening right now? We have the franchise player keeping up with Dwyane Wade with Chris Bosh scoring 27 points while grabbing 7 rebounds to Dwyane's 29 points and 8 assists. Bosh and Jermaine O'Neal who had 11 points and 18 rebounds. What a game by the front court who out muscled and out played Udonis Haslem and Shawn Marion and Michael Beasley. Our front court out scored the Heat's total of Haslem, Marion Beasley and Joel Anthony who combined for 33 to Bosh, O'Neal, Andrea Bargnani and Kris Humphries total of 64. If you add Jason Kapono and Jamario Moon to the total, it becomes 82 of the 106 points from the active front! A very good game from the guards who moved the ball well and kept the Heat off-balance inside all afternoon.

A couple of concerns are the 92 shots the Raptors gave up, the 24 points off of turnovers they again gave up which is quickly becoming an area of huge concern. They were able to keep the Heat to 40% from the field which was a huge contributing factor to why this game ended with a solid win for this team. For the second game in a row the Raptors made it to the line more than their opponents with the Raptors taking 34 to the Heat's 15. To me, this means they were attacking the hoop and were rewarded with foul calls and hitting the line. Chris Bosh was 13 – 15, Hump was 4 - 5 and JO was 3 – 3 to lead the charge. I hope this becomes a recurring theme for this team.

This week we have a very busy week with a tour of Florida to take on the Magic and the Heat and then home for the Nets who are playing well so far. Should be a good week for this team. Let's hope Jose heels and returns 100%, but I am not as concerned about Will and Anthony and Roko as they looked better than replacements at times. Perhaps the playing time will give this team solid bench help down the stretch which was laking last season.

Posted on: November 14, 2008 9:55 am

Raptors - Heat Game Blog Preview

With Jose Calderon questionable for Sunday’s game against the Heat, Will Solomon and Roko Ukic will have to step up big time and play like they belong in the NBA. I think the fact that the Heat offer a back court of Mario Chalmers and Dwyane Wade. Chalmers is averaging 6.5 points per game and handing out 4.6 assists per game. Mario had 9 steals against the 76ers. Wade on the other hand is one of the premier off-guards in the league and has had 30+ points in his last 4 games and is averaging 28 points per game and 6 rebounds and nearly 8 assists. The pre-season line on this team was that it was ready to again move up the Eastern Conference with Shawn Marion up front along side the rookie Michael Beasley who brings his 16.4 points and 6 rebounds to the floor. With Marion nursing an injured groin and questionable for tonight’s game against the Wizards, I am not sure if he will be available to play Sunday. Tonight will be the third game he has missed. He has not played as well as we are used to with only 10 points per game this season but is always a force defensively that I am sure the Heat are missing right now. With Marion out, the Heat have started Yakhouba Diawara who has scored only 8 points in the 2 games. The front court is rounded out by Udonis Haslem and his 14 points 8 rebounds a game.

The Raptors will need to find a way to stop Dwyane Wade! I know that is no great revelation, but it is the truth. Without Jose bringing pressure from the back-court, this team will struggle to keep Wade on his heels. Our front court of Jermaine O’Neal and Chris Bosh with Andrea Bargnani off the bench should handle anything the Heat offer up front. I am worried about Beasley and his effectiveness off the dribble from any where in the front. This game will be won by solid team defense. Weak side awareness will be critical to keep Wade and Beasley from slashing us all day long. I look for our front court to have good games and need a complete game from guys like Jamario Moon and Jason Kapono who MUST play defensive ball. Pylon defense or relying on shot blocking will not contain these two very good ball players and with no Jose to bail them out from the outside, WHO will step up and lead this team? I wonder if Sam has considered starting Andrea at the 1 spot? Just kidding, but that would be interesting and we need a shake up at this point don’t we?

The fact is, this Raptors team has dreaded this idea all season and now is forced to play the hand they are dealt with no Jose Calderon in the lineup. This team is weak on the bench, weak on the outside both offensively and defensively and very thin at the guard position with Anthony Parker needing to step up Sunday and bring some scoring to the mix while trying to contain Dwyane Wade. That will be no easy task. Is this team up for the challenge? We shall see very quickly when the Heat come to town. Next week brings us the Magic and the blocking machine and probably the best Center in the league Dwight Howard, then we go to Miami to play the Heat again, then host Vince Carter and the Nets. With 4 games this week, our back court had better find a way to get the ball where it needs to go, the front court and play some defense. We need to get a handle on our offense and keep this season together while we adjust to the challenges shown so far this season.

Posted on: May 26, 2008 4:05 pm

7 worst nba teams prepare for next year

hey guys, i should not be allowed to be home sick.... ever

here is my latest nba entry on my blog... man am i bored LOL

As we come to the end of the 2007-2008 NBA season, I have begun to think about the “worst” teams in the league and their prospects for next year. I hope to begin a discussion about how these teams might fair next season as I evaluate their rosters and possible draft picks as well as coaching changes.

So here are the bottom 7 teams and their records last season:

Bucks 26 - 56
Clippers 23 - 59
Knicks 23 - 59
Timberwolves 22 - 60
Grizzlies 22 - 60
SuperSonics 20 - 62
Heat 15 – 67

I will start with the Heat and work up the list.

Miami Heat – Coach – Erik Spoelstra

A look at the Heat depth chart reveals a huge injury issue with this team that struggled with a consistent rotation all season. They ended the season with Dwyane Wade, Shawn Marion, Udonis Haslem, Dorell Wright and Alonzo Mourning all on the injury list.  As a group they lost 168 games to injury creating a huge hole in every position except point guard where Jason Williams was the leading player in games played at 67. The only player on the roster to play in 82 games this season was Ricky Davis, and he is an unrestricted free agent after this season averaging a little more than 3 points a game below his career average.

So here is what I see by position with the Heat.

At Center they have a huge hole after trading away Shaq and not really having a true backup with Mourning hopefully retiring and the options being small centers at best.  Earl Barron at 7’ 0” but only 245 pounds is too small to play a consistent role as a back to the hoop center and found himself behind Mark Blount who probably should be a PF not a Center.

Here is the Heat starting 5 as I see them next season

PG – Derrick Rose – 2nd overall pick in the 2008 draft! Will fit in very well.
SG – Dwyane Wade
SF – Ricky Davis – unless he signs and leaves
PF – Shawn Marion
C – Mark Blount

I think the biggest problem areas they have right now are in the SF and C positions. With no assurance that Ricky Davis will return, the are very thin with Stephane Lasme and Dorell Wright. If they can find a free agent Center along the lines of a Jamaal Magloire, the starting rotation would become very solid in every position. With Shawn Marion entering his option year, I suspect the heat will look to re-sign, but with Carlos Boozer a restricted free agent, one can only imagine what this team would look like with him in the front court. Or perhaps they will pursue a SF to replace Ricky and a guy like Ira Newble would look good in this lineup.

Miami will have a difficult off-season as they wait to see how their free agent situation pans out and how they recover from their many serious injuries. I sure hope that Dwyane will come back 100% next year and not suffer through a partially healed shoulder again.

L.A. Clippers – Coach – Mike Dunleavy

Well, the biggest issue for this team is found in this news report:

The Clippers hope they won't have to go back to square one this summer, but two major obstacles lie in the way -- securing the organization's future with forwards Elton Brand and Corey Maggette.
Both players are eligible to opt out of the final year of their respective contracts. In the case of Brand, he is due to make $16.44 million in 2008-09. Maggette is on the books for $7 million.
The possibility of this team losing BOTH franchise quality players would devastate this fragile franchise next season.

Here is another team that suffered huge losses due to injuries with Elton Brand recovering from Achillies tendon damage and C Chris Kaman missing 26 games this season as well while having a career season which took 13 points a game off the board while leaving them Paul Davis at Center, which can’t be a good thing.

Assuming that both Brand and Maggette back, here is the starting 5 for this team:

PG – Shaun Livingston
SG – Cuttino Mobley
SF - Corey Maggette
PF – Elton Brand
C – Chris Kaman

With the 7th pick they are projected to take either a SF in Danilo Gallinari from Italy, or Russell Westbrook, a SG from UCLA. We see that either of these would be chosen on the assumption of losing either Brand or Maggette. With Brevin Knight at backup PG and Al Thornton at backup SF those positions are solid and any additions would create a very good level of depth as Knight matures. Nick Fazekis is a free agent (restricted) and could be a good addition to any trade they might attempt this off-season.

IF the Clippers can solidify the Mobley Maggette issue, they could be a more consistent team unless injuries hit them again taking out Kaman and Livingston after a quick start and Brand only playing 8 games.

Knicks – Coach – Mike D’Antoni

Here is an organization in total disarray with no focus for the past 2 seasons while it seemed all news was about the coach Isaiah Thomas and the media frenzy that has surrounded him since he almost destroyed the Raptors.

Bringing in Mike D’Antoni instantly commits this team to an offense that will be explosive and exciting. And as we have seen, they will win a lot of games!  The question becomes how long will it take the team to clean out the dead wood and bring in some consistent players.  With Stephon Marbury able to opt out this off – season, Nate Robinson would probably become the starting PG but at 5’ 9”, he would be seriously out matched against most PG’s on a nightly basis. With the 6th overall pick, they are projected to get either Eric Gordon, a 6’ 2” PG/SG from Indiana or O.J. Mayo, 6’ 5” From USC. I bet Mike would love to get his hands on O.J. but Eric Gordon would fit well also playing either an SG or a PG position and O.J. would make a great PG replacement for the well-worn Marbury who seems to have run his course in New York. If the Grizz take the projected top C in the draft, then O. J. could fall to number 6 and the Knicks. If, as has been rumoured, LeBron James were to show up in 2010, this team would be set to run and score a lot of points!

Here is my projected starting 5 for the Knicks:

PG – O.J. Mayo
SG – Jamal Crawford
SF – Quentin Richardson
PF – David Lee
C – Eddy Curry

I am assuming that Marbury gets no offers and walks away to sign a free agent contract with someone like the Nets, wouldn’t him and Vince Carter look great whining together! Mike has a lot of work to do but has a lot of role players that the top teams would love to have on their bench and could get a few young players to develop in anticipation of 2010.

This team will still need a pass first guard and I suspect the Knicks will make the deal that will bring someone like Dee Brown to the team. Imagine that trio of guards in the Knicks back-court – O.J., Jamal, and Dee Brown. Very solid young running players, the kind of backcourt D’Antoni loves. Not sure anyone can run the O like Steve Nash did, but he would love to have Dee Brown’s energy and shooting. I suspect this team won’t lose 59 games next year.

Timberwolves – Coach – Randy Wittman

This young team has some young, talented players in Randy Foye, Corey Brewer, and Al Jefferson. A new coach and an off-season to blend this team that lost Kevin Garnett but has some young budding Stars on it will help them become respectable on a night to night basis. With the 3rd overall draft pick they are projected to get Brook Lopez. A 7’0” center from Stanford which would allow Al Jefferson to move to PF and become a very tough matchup against most western conference teams.

Here is the projected starting 5 as I see them:

PG – Randy Foye
SG - Corey Brewer
SF – Marko Jaric
PF – Al Jefferson
C – Brook Lopez

With a new coach and a new system, this team will have challenges, but trading Antoine Walker for say a Jamaal Magloire would give this team a solid Center and allow the kid to grow a bit before starting. This team will struggle the first half of the year I suspect as the front court finds its structure and roles. This team could have a +.500% second half.

Grizzlies - Coach – Marc Iavaroni

Here is a team that lost its star player in Pau Gasol, its PG in Damon Stoudemire and is in recovery mode. With Rudy Gay coming into his own, this team is very thin up front. Darko Milicic and Hakim Warrick do not inspire much fear in any team in this league and together offer up 18 ppg. That is not good enough to win more than 25 games at any level of basketball. This team needs help up front and would find it in the 5th over all pick with either Kevin Love of UCLA or Brook Lopez if the T’Wolves pass on him. Either would be a good fit with Rudy Gay and take pressure off the back court to score 50 points a game to win!  Even picking up Anthony Randolph would be a great pick as he would provide a rebounding presence up front.

I will work with the Grizz getting Kevin Love to replace the motion that Pau Gasol took with him for the starting 5.

PG – Mike Conley
SG – Juan Carlos Navarro
SF – Rudy Gay
PF – Kevin Love
C – Darko Milicic

Who knows, maybe someone will want Kwame Brown and make a deal for him and they pick up a true center. I am sure the Grizz are hoping that Lopez falls to #5 for them. This team will struggle next season as they recover from the loss of Gasol. The future looks better than next year as they need a mobile Center who can score. There aren’t many around at this point. I see a few deals being made to shore up the front court and give Rudy some help.

Bucks – Coach – Scott Skiles

This team should have won a lot more games this past season with Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut and Mo Williams and Charlie Villanueva, this team had injury issues and suffered through a very tough season. A new coach will bring a defensive energy to this team that will refocus them and allow the front court to provide the interior game that is potentially available. Mo Williams and Michael Redd offer a solid back court and with Ramon Sessions able to play either effectively, this team is solid on the back court. With the 8th overall pick, the Bucks should be able to land a solid SF prospect in Anthony Randolph or perhaps a Joe Alexander who would both provide a nice 3rd option up front and provide the Bucks a threat in the SF position. Projected by some to take Danilo Gallinari who has been compare to Hedo Turkoglu in talent and play sense.

Here is the starting 5 as I see them:

PG – Mo Williams
SG – Michael Redd
SF - Danilo Gallinari
PF – Charlie Villanueva
C – Andrew Bogut

This team has solid players and strong backups in the guard positions. It will need to strengthen the front court behind Charlie and Bogut to become solid with a bench that can compete as the falloff is too great. I suspect this team could make a couple minor deals to strengthen the bench with a vet or two.

SuperSonics – Coach – P. J. Carlisimo

Kevin Durant leads this team that struggled with youth at times. P.J. has little to work with beyond KD and Nick Collison. Luke Ridinour has spots of brilliance, but seems to be content with being in the NBA most nights. With no real Center, this team will need to shore up the middle to allow Durant the room he will need to patrol the paint and attack the rim. If they can do that, he could become a 25+ ppg player very easily.

With the 4th pick overall, the Sonics are projected to take PG Jarryd Bayless who can probably start at either back court spots. What they still will need is some power up front. Maybe they will sign someone like Jamaal Magloire to help, but unless they find a true center, this team will struggle a lot next season.

Here is my starting 5:

PG – Jarryd Bayless
SG – Kevin Durant
SF – Jeff Green
PF – Nick Collison
C – Johan Petro

With Francisco Elson an Unrestricted free agent, this team will be very thin up the middle. Can they find the guts to deal Luke Ridinour? I suspect his value goes down every season.

Posted on: May 26, 2008 3:42 pm
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