Posted on: January 21, 2009 11:12 am

2009 Free Agent Class - Overlooked and Forgotten?

I know we are all focused on 2010 when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh become free agents and the rumours that are swirling around with that, but what about next years class? looking over the list i see a lot of pieces that many teams would love to have, so, the question is do you think this season's batch of free agents will be pretty much ignored or will there be a flurry of trades and deals to secure some of these guys before 2010 which, in my opinion, is really a three team race right now.

Here is the list

Hawks -Josh Childress, Solomon Jones, Marvin Williams
Mike Bibby, Zaza Pachulia



Celtics - Glen Davis, Leon Powe
Eddie House (P)


Bobcats - Shannon Brown, Jermareo Davidson, Raymond Felton, Ryan Hollins, Sean May



Aaron Gray,Drew Gooden



Cavaliers - Lance Allred, Tarence Kinsey
Zydrunas Ilgauskas (ETO), Damon Jones, Joe Smith, Eric Snow, Wally Szczerbiak, Billy Thomas, Anderson Varejao (P)

Mavericks - Brandon Bass, Gerald Green, Eddie Jones, Jason Kidd, Keith McLeod, James Singleton



Nuggets -Linas Kleiza
Chris Andersen, Anthony Carter, Steven Hunter (ETO), Allen Iverson, Dahntay Jones


Pistons - Will Bynum (T), Jason Maxiell, Check Samb
Kwame Brown (P), Richard Hamilton (ETO), Rasheed Wallace



Warriors - C.J. Watson
Al Harrington (P)


Rockets - Mike Harris, Luther Head
Ron Artest, Ron Francis



Pacers - Danny Granger, Jarrett Jack, Josh McRoberts
Maceo Baston, Marquis Daniels (T), Travis Diener (P), Jeff Foster, Stephen Graham, Rasho Nesterovic


Clippers - Ricky Davis (P), Steve Novak, Brian Skinner
Jason Hart



Lakers - Coby Karl
Trevor Ariza, Kobe Bryant (ETO), Chris Mihm, Lamar Odom


Grizzlies - Juan Carlos Navarro, Hakim Warrick
Antoine Walker (ETO)



Heat - Stephane Lasme, Joel Anthony
Mark Blount (ETO), Shawn Marion


Bucks - Ramon Sessions, Charlie Villanueva
Malik Allen (P), Tyronn Lue, Desmond Mason



Timberwolves - Rashad McCants
Calvin Booth, Jason Collins


Nets - Nenad Krstic
Trenton Hassell (ETO), Jarvis Hayes (T), Stromile Swift



Hornets - Melvin Ely, Mike James (P)



Knicks - David Lee, Nate Robinson
Jamal Crawford (ETO), Eddy Curry (ETO), Jerome James (P), Stephon Marbury, Quentin Richardson (ETO), Malik Rose


Thunder - Johan Petro
Adrian Griffin, Chris Wilcox, Damien Wilkins (ETO), Donyell Marshall



Maqic - Marcin Gortat
Keith Bogans, Brian Cook (P), Adonal Foyle, Anthony Johnson (P), Hedo Turkoglu (ETO)


76ers - Royal Ivey (P), Andre Miller, Kareem Rush



Suns - D.J. Strawberry
Matt Barnes, Grant Hill



Trail Blazers - Ike Diogu, Channing Frye, Martell Webster
Raef LaFrentz



Kings - Bobby Brown (P), Francisco Garcia
Shareef Abdur-Rahim (ETO), Bobby Jackson



Spurs - Ime Udoko, Jacque Vaughn



Raptors - Carlos Delfino, Joey Graham, Jamario Moon, Will Solomon
Jermaine O'Neal (P), Anthony Parker



Jazz - Paul Millsap, Kyrylo Fesenko (T)
Carlos Boozer (P), Jarron Collins, Brevin Knight, Kyle Korver (ETO), Mehmet Okur (ETO), Ronnie Price



Wizards - Etan Thomas (ETO)

Posted on: January 5, 2009 2:18 pm

Raptors - Week 10 Review

Week 10 in the NBA for the Raptors provided an insight to this team long overdue. With games against the Warriors, the Nuggets, the Rockets and the Magic, we faced 3 teams with 20+ wins and a team that pushes the tempo any chance it gets. Starting week 10 with a 12 – 18 record after losses to the Clippers and the Trail Blazers and a victory over the Kings on the road, this team finished its 6 game road trip in Sacramento before heading home to face the Warriors. Here is how I saw the games last week

Monday December 29th, 2008 Raptors @ Warriors

Raptors 111
Warriors 117

With Corey Maggette and Monta Ellis out with nagging injuries, the Raptors looked to stem the tide of losses with a trip to the bay area. Stephen Jackson and Marco Belinelli had other ideas. With 55 points between them, this game was not settled until late into the 4th when C.J. Watson dropped a floater over Chris Bosh in the last minute. On a night when 6 Raptors had 10 or more points with Chris Bosh with 30 and Jose Calderon with 21, Kris Humprhies with 10, Jason Kapono and Joey Graham with 11, and Jamario Moon with 12, this was a very solid game offensively for the Raptors as Jose dished out 16 assists against the quicker Warriors. The difference in the game was points off of turnovers where the Raptors were -10 for the night. Though they lost a tough game, this team played tough grabbing 20 offensive boards on a night when Andris Biedrins scored 13 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and had 5 blocks after losing Jermaine O’Neal early in the game and we could find no answer for him. For being the last game of a brutal road trip, these guys played well enough to win in most aspects of the game, but allowed the Warriors to shot 50% from the floor and from outside the arc, and we won’t win many games when we allow those to both happen.

Wednesday December 31st, 2008 Raptors vs Nuggets

Raptors 107
Nuggets 114

The Nuggets came into the game after beating the Knicks but losing to the Hawks and looked to continue to be a force in the West and showed the balance that tends to happen when your coach has 899 wins heading into the game. Tonight, the Nuggets had 7 players with 10 or more points with Nene scoring 21, Carmelo Anhthony adding 20, Kenyon Martin, Chauncey Billups and J.R. Smith added 15, 18 and 16 respectively, but he damage was done by Carl Anderson with his double double off the bench and Linas Kleiza with 10 as well off the bench. Known for their love of transition ball, the Nuggets were held to 10 fast break points as the Raptors were able to control the tempo only giving up the ball 12 times on turnovers, but were quick to recover on defense to slow the Nuggets down. With Jermaine O’Neal out however, the Nuggets pushed the ball inside and attacked the rim at will and were +16 in the paint for the game. Anthony Parker had a very solid game as he started again for Jason Kapono with 12 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in one of his best games in a couple of months. Chris Bosh had another solid game with 24 points and 11 boards while Jose Calderon struggled with 11 assists but 5 turnovers and 18 points. Andrea Bargnani started at center and scored 26 points and grabbed 6 rebounds and was huge defensively with 5 blocks. Will Solomon put in 11 off the bench while Jamario Moon contributed another solid game on the boards, with 7 rebounds and 10 points on the night. The Raptors had opportunities to get the game back to level, but struggled with their outside shooting in the second half. All in all, they played well, but again allowed this team to shoot 51% from the floor. After watching Jay Triano burn a time out as they refused to push the ball inside after getting the Nuggets in bonus early in the second and they didn’t get free throws until late in the half, he yelled at the guys and sat down to let them figure out why they keep settling for jump shots in transition. As I watched, I could sense the guys finally were ready to listen to the coach. Though they lost the game, this team played hard and I think attitudes were adjusted that night, finally.

Friday, January 2nd, 2009 Raptors vs. Rockets

Raptors 94
Rockets 73

Too many people will say that this was a game that the Raptors won only because the Rockets are playing bad basketball right now having lost to the Bucks on New Year’s Eve. They came into the night after finishing December with a 9 – 5 record, beating teams like the Jazz and the Nuggets and the Nets, but losing to the Cavaliers and the Hornets and the Wizards. Still, they are a playoff team in the West sitting in 7th spot behind the Mavericks and still ahead of the Trail Blazers. The Raptors were missing starter Jermaine O’Neal, but welcomed Jason Kapono back to the floor after missing a couple games with a leg injury. The new starters included Andrea Bargnani in his second straight start at Center and Anthony Parker returning to play the 2 spot and Jamario Moon looking to solidify his spot at the 3 after a few good games rebounding, he looked to become more consistant at the offensive end as well. Chris Bosh played well scoring 19 points and grabbing 5 rebounds, but Jose Calderon went down in the first and left in the second quarters requiring Will Solomon and Roko Ukic to step up and provide the court leadership we would need on the night. Will Solomon responded with 8 points and 7 assists while Roko Ukic added 3 assists and 2 points. Jake Voskuhl was huge off the bench again with 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 points in 18 minutes on the floor. Kris Humphries and Hassan Adams both added 4 points as the team responded with solid offense and tough defense. The Rockets were held to just 34% shooting on the night while committing 22 turnovers which the Raptors took full advantage of turning those into 27 points. Andrea Bargnani looked very solid in the Center spot and had a very good game with 19 points and has begun to look like he belongs on the floor night after night finally. A much needed win by the Raptors as they not only built up a huge lead, but were able to hold on and beat a team that they should not beat. Happy New Years all around.

Sunday, January 4th, 2009 Raptors vs. Magic

Raptors 108
Magic 102

Any time Dwight Howard comes to town, the Raptors seem hold their breath and Sunday was no different. With the first 9 points of the game for the Magic, he seemed on a mission to show Chris Bosh and the Raptors why this team has gone 26 – 5 since dropping the first two games of the season. 39 points were not enough to secure the victory as he was unable to make the free throws the Raptors were more than happy to surrender to him as he missed 7 from the line. The Raptors were 23 – 24 with Chris Bosh making 13 – 14 while collecting 23 points for the game. The Magic were 17 – 24 and lost by 6. There is not a lot of other reasons why this game was won or lost as the teams were pretty even though the Raptors were +6 in the paint despite 39 from Superman. Rashard Lewis scored 20 and Jameer Nelson added 15 while Hedo Turkoglu had only 9 on the afternoon. The Raptors were +8 rebounding and +2 in turnovers while Roko Ukic scored 12 and offered up 7 assists on the game, Will Solomon starting for the injured Jose Calderon had 11 points and 4 assists and was able to control the flow effectively. Anthony Parker had 26 points as he spent the afternoon scoring at will as he took the ball strong to the rim and shot 13 – 16 on the day and seems to have returned to the offensive form having had a good week at both ends of the floor. His return to form is critical for this team as the new year begins. Andrea Bargnani making his 3rd start at Center scored 18 points, grabbed 5 rebounds and added 3 assists to a balanced offense that again saw 5 guys with 10+ points.

Coming up this week are the Bucks, the Wizards and the Grizzlies, it will be interesting to see how much momentum we can carry from this week.

Posted on: December 29, 2008 5:41 pm

Raptors - Week 10 in Preview

Tonight, the Raptors head to the Bay area for the conclusion of a dismal road trip that saw them lose to the Thunder, the Mavericks, the Spurs and the Trail Blazers while scoring victories against the Kings and the Clippers. Dirk Nowitzki, Josh Howard, Jason Terry, Tony Parker, Brandon Roy and LeMarcus Aldridge all played top notch games against this struggling Raptors team that saw great games by Chris Bosh and Jermaine O’Neal and some solid play off the bench by Andrea Bargnani and some awful play by Jason Kapono and Joey Graham. Jamario Moon is coming off a good week on the glass and looks to contribute more in the up tempo games to come this week. Here are the games as I see them this week.

Monday, December 29, 2008 Raptors @ Golden State Warriors

The Warriors come into the game after a win against the Celtics on Boxing day followed Sunday with a thumping by the Lakers in Los Angeles. With losses against the Magic and the Heat, this team comes into the game with a 9 – 23 record and with the addition of Jamal Crawford, this team can score in transition and do as the Celtics found out. With Corey Maggette and Monta Ellis out, the Warriors have been lead by Stephen Jackson and Andris Biedrins and have 8 players that average more than 9 points per game. The Raptors will have to play fantastic transition defense to keep this team in check as they did to open the season. A win tonight would bring the road trip to a 3 – 3 close. Not the best, but 3 much needed wins to say the least.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008 Raptors vs. Nuggets

The Nuggets carry a 20 – 11 record into the week with a win against the Knicks last night and a game against the Hawks who have returned to early season form and are now sitting with a 19 – 10 record, in 4th place in the East. The Nuggets are lead by Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups with Nene and J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin, this team is one of the top teams in the league and will be a difficult team to match up with as the earlier blow out indicates. Let’s hope we can keep this one close and our back court with Jose Calderon and Jason Kapono or Anthony Parker can provide a spark to this game.

Friday, January 2, 2009 Raptors vs. Rockets

With Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady, Rafer Alston, Ron Artest Luis Scola, this 20 – 11 team is tied with the Nuggets in the west and brings a lot of fire power to any game they play. The Raptors will have to get strong play from Jamario Moon and Joey Graham to contain Ron Artest and the rest of this band of scorers. Tracy McGrady is hurting and is questionable right now, but with games against the Wizards and the Bucks, he will probably be ready to play Friday.

This will be a character testing week for the Raptors who have shown little so far this season. Guys like Will Solomon and Joey Graham and Jason Kapono should be realizing that their jobs are hanging by a thread with this team and should begin to step it up. Jose Calderon needs to take his game back up to the level he was earlier this season, but with Jermaine and Chris demanding the ball everywhere on the floor, his job has required a lot more patience and better decision making which has failed him at times this past month. Should be a very interesting week for Raptors fans as we continue to sense change coming earlier than later.

Posted on: January 25, 2008 10:16 am
Edited on: January 25, 2008 12:08 pm

A little debate for the weekend... Point Guards!!

It seems the boards are full of GM types who have varying degrees of love/hate for point guards. What i am offering today, is a place to discuss and debate the position, the prototype and the current players who fill the spot.

A point guard has been equated to the quarterback on the football team. The analogy has merit, but i am not sure it says enough as Mark Rypien owns a Super Bowl ring as a starter.... hmmmm...  a canadian by the way, but not what i would call a great qb. Joe Montana, Dan Marino.. most would consider them great. what they brought was an ability to get the most out of the talent they had and the talent around them... that is why the point guard is compared to the qb is some aspects.

for me, Bob Cousey, Oscar Robertson - MR. TRIPLE DOUBLE!! Magic Johnson, Dennis Johnson, John Stockton. John Havelichek. these guys defined the role as playmaker and floor general. they scored when needed they passed the ball to the finishers and made thier teams winners by virtue of elevating the play of the entire team. A point guard often plays the role of coach on the floor as he runs the offense and sets the defense up either on his own or from the bench direction. Those great Celtic teams in the 60's, 70's and 80's with strong guard play and of course SHOWTIME!!!

Today, the NBA has a wealth of wonderful point guards, perhaps no other era has had the depth now from team 1 to team 30 for point guards. for me, this is fantastic as it has elevated the game on many levels.

So what follows is my take on the top guards in the association that play the true point.

here is the statistical link for the cbs ranking... i will try to give my take on the ranking..


Player                                     Rating   Last Wk    Change   GP    MPG  PPG  RPG  APG   FG % FT %

1. Chris Paul, NO                  82.00   81.62         +0.38        39     37.3  21.0    3.8   10.4  48.8   88.6
 2. Baron Davis, GS               81.76   81.26         +0.50        44    39.2  22.3    4.9     8.1   42.7   74.5
 3. Steve Nash, PHO             77.38   76.25         +1.13         42    34.1  17.5    3.5   12.1  51.3   90.3
 4. Deron Williams, UTA       76.24   75.86         +0.38         42    36.6  19.3    3.0    9.2   51.7   78.2
5. Jason Kidd, NJ                  73.43   73.25         +0.18         41    37.3  11.3    8.3   10.6  36.6   81.1
6. Chauncey Billups,DET     72.94   72.44         +0.50         41    34.0  17.9    3.0    7.1   45.5   90.6
7. Mo Williams, MIL                72.50   71.97        +0.53          40   37.6  16.8    3.6    6.8   47.5   86.6
 8. Tony Parker, SA                 70.46   70.51         -0.05          37   34.8  19.6    3.0    6.2   49.1   72.5
 9. Jose Calderon, TOR        69.63    68.62        +1.01         42   31.3  12.1    3.2    8.5   51.4   91.9
10. Andre Miller, PHI              68.96    69.09         -0.13         43   36.1  16.2    3.9    6.1   48.1   72.4

man i wish the formatting thing worked.. i hate notepad!!

We see by the rankings, that Chris Paul statistically is the top rated point guard. So what does this actually mean? does this mean he is the BEST in the league right now? does it mean that HE should be the starting all star? or does this just mean that he puts up numbers?

he is the top rated point guard on the one of the top 5 teams in the league. his team has never played better, and they deserve the position they are in. Baron Davis, Steve Nash, Deron Williams, Jason Kidd.. what a list.. all these players should be and would be guys ANY team would want playing for them.  Toronto Raptors have a unique situation with T J Ford out, Jose has developed into a top 10 guard... no one saw that talent, but his numbers are showing the growth he has had this past season.... what a position to be in for Sam Mitchell.

So the question becomes, what factors do we place the most emphasis on to say that one guard is BEST or that much better than another to determine the over all best or worst guard. i have seen posts that tell me that Steve Nash is a horrible guard, yet his numbers have him in the top 3 AND he is the overall assist leader, which to me is the point of emphasis for a point guard. another is assist/turnover ratio, which has Jose Calderon as the top full time PG on the list. this has been a large reason why the Raptors win... it sure isn't interior defense!!!

the question of value becomes subjective then. i might look for certain aspects of talent, character, team play and each of these will have greater of lesser value than someone else. some value experience more than youth - the Steve Nash and Jason Kidd are the best group as oppossed to the Chris Paul, Baron Davis, Deron Williams crowd. then there are PG's on great teams that seem to benefit more from the team than they contribute - Tony Parker, some would put Steve Nash here as well and Chauncey Billups of the Pistons.

Bottom line, we have a large pool of very talented point guards, each seems to bring his own flavor to the mix.... which to me means that each team with develop a unique style and not all guards will thrive in all the styles. We know guys like Nash and Davis LOVE the run and gun, but guys like Parker and Paul can run, and can play out of a set with the same effectiveness. Jason Kidd - love the guy, but guards should not necessarily be a leading rebounder on your team... theirs a guy who needs a team in front of him... he would look fantastic in a Maverick's uniform!!! Another thought.... as with any debate, imagine what the team would be without the player... could you imagine how pathetic the Nets would be without Kidd?? or the Hawks without Johnson? we have all seen the Suns while Nash rests his back... and even the Raptors have no answer when Jose is out. But what about the Hornets without Paul? Would the fall off be as great? I suspect it would be at least as far... the Warriors without Davis struggle at best. And look at the stability that Derek Fisher has brought the Lakers in perhaps the least talked about signing in the past couple years... what a catch he was for them and we see Kobe realize he doesn't need to run the show and they have responded as a team.

So what will it take to win a championship? how critical is guard play? well, last year we saw Tony Parker light up the Caveliers from the guard spot as they had no real answer for his play. We have watched Dwayne Wade light up the finals a couple years ago and lead the Heat to the promised land... he is not playing well despite his numbers as he has no one on that team he can work with ... sort of like Kobe .. having to do it all himself.. great numbers on a lousy team!! Look how the Timberwolves struggle without thier man Randy Foye... hard to watch... but they have enough to beat a sleeping Suns team..... go figure...

Let's not forget about the up-and-comers like Acie LawMike Conley and Juan Carlos Navarro with the Grizzlies, Taurean Green, and of course, Rajon Rondo with the Celtics... all with bright futures, some needing a lot of work, others in a groove at this point... the future will of course bring us more young guards to watch excel at their craft.

thanks for stopping by and please feel free to leave your thoughts

Category: NBA
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com