We all know what an awesome rookie campaign Mr. Blake Griffin is having. As the all-star game approaches, discussions have heat up among commentators and fans on whether Blake Griffin should be on the all-star team.
Below is a list of Western Conference forward candidates I deem worthy of consideration.
1. Kevin Durant
2. Carmelo Anthony
3. Tim Duncan
4. Pau Gasol
5. Zach Randolph
6. Blake Griffin
7. Kevin Love
8. Michael Beasley
9. Lamarcus Aldridge
10. Dirk Nowitzki
11. Luis Scola
12. Lamar Odom
13. Rudy Gay
First and foremost, Duncan, Odom, and Beasley are not having as good of a season as the other players on the list. Timmy will make it simply because he is Tim freaking Duncan and Odom is only receiving votes because he is wearing a Lakers uniform. I strongly believe Duncan will be the starting center for the West. Durant and Carmelo are locks thanks to the fans voting them in as starters. Pau Gasol won't garner enough votes to be a starter but will make the team as a center or forward. That leaves at most 3 spots of the remaining 7 players.
Dirk is the lone standout among this bunch as the clear cut #1 scorer on his team. Nowitzki's proven ability to help his team win games gives him the nod over the 6 young forwards. Scola and Aldridge are worthy of being mentioned but will not be considered any further due to inferior numbers.
Based purely on player statistics and merits, Griffin should be in. Now, if you count the extra media buzz he will generate as one of the most explosive and entertaining player in the league who delivers crowd-invigorating dunks. In addition, Griffin will represent LA's other team for the hosts. Blake Griffin as a 2011 all-star is a no-brainer!
Despite the negative point differentials for Griffin, his ewins statistics show he contributes the most to his team's victories compare to the other studs in the table.
Coaches of the NBA, please do the right thing and put Blake Griffin the the all-star game. Putting TD at center is no slight to his legend and the forward spot should be reserved for a better current performer and future star. This is what the fans want. WE WANT BLAKE! WE WANT BLAKE!
ALL WANT BLAKE!!
*Per-36-minute rates are relative to 100 points and 44 rebounds per game (by opponents). e484 is eWins per 484 minutes, in which 1.00 represents average productivity.
While LeBron, Kobe, Dirk are putting up top 15 stats, there are some other real surprises.
Stars with an awesome week
Carmelo Anthony, F, Denver
You probably saw Melo shoot the lights out in all three games so far. He shot 54 percent from the floor, 88 percent on free throws and 37 PPG will get it done. He's also getting good rebound and assist numbers against just six turnovers.
Rajon Rondo, PG, Boston
He has 47 assists plus 10 steals in four games. Add 56 percent field goals and 20 rebounds to that and Rondo is really rewarding those who drafted him early.
Andrea Bargnani, F/C, Toronto
Thus far, he's putting up 22 PPG, more than two threes, with awesome efficiency numbers. Look for this to continue all season. Capable of being a top-30 fantasy player.
Channing Frye, F, Phoenix
Ridiculous shooting numbers so far, going 6-for-10 in threes in one game. You definitely want him on your team, and he's only owned in 57 percent of Yahoo! leagues. He can single-handedly carry your team's three-point need all season and add in some decent rebounding numbers. Think last season's Troy Murphy with more threes, but half the rebounds.
Danilo Gallinari, G/F, New York
Even more threes than Frye, yet only 70 percent owned so far. He should be owned in all leagues simply because the volume of threes he'll be taking (and making). Definitely capable of shooting 42 percent from long range, but he's one-dimensional and won't contribute elsewhere. His shooting percentage is bad for a forward.
Andray Blatche, F, Washington
Draining mid-range jumpers at a 72 percent clip. That'll definitely slide, but he should be a good source of blocks and rebounds as long as either Caron Butler or Antawn Jamison aren't in the lineup.
Marc Gasol, C, Memphis
Only 80 percent owned? Pick him up NOW! RIGHT NOW! There were concerns about Gasol getting enough touches with all the newcomers on the Memphis squad, but he's put up 20 PPG plus 11 RPG in three games. He'll shoot an awesome percentage from the stripe, and the field goal percentage is likely to be 55 percent-plus. He'll provide double-digit scoring and rebounding in addition to the great percentages. Turnovers might be a concern, but it should be less than three per game.
Chris Kaman, C, L.A. Clippers
Perhaps getting overshadowed by other top performers this week. He has 22 PPG, 10 RPG, 1.8 BPG with career averages of 50 percent field goals and 74 percent free throws. He's certainly capable of 15 and 12 with two blocks as seen in 2007-08 season. It's just a matter of if he's interested in basketball. Right now, the answer is yes.
Marcus Camby, C, L.A. Clippers
Puts up some gaudy scoring numbers with his usual boards and blocks. Sell high soon, as come December he won't be getting the same playing time.
Youngsters taking flight
Louis Williams, G, Philadelphia
Not getting the same attention as Frye or Danilo, but he put up big scoring numbers with just two turnovers in three games. He won't continue to shoot 63 percent, but 17 PPG-plus and 1.5-plus steals can be had. Check if he's still available!
Aaron Brooks, PG, Houston
Shouldering the scoring load for Houston, he has 22 PPG and eight APG so far. We should expect 18 PPG, 6.5 APG this season. Look for his shooting average to be closer to 43 percent than the current 49, though. He'll be a great source of threes and steals all season, but you have to take his turnovers too, which will hover over three.
Worthy mentions of non-superstars
Al Horford, C, Atlanta
Brook Lopez, C, New Jersey
Grant Hill, F, Phoenix
Marreese Speights, C, Philadelphia
Gilbert Arenas, PG, Washington
Trevor Ariza, G/F, Houston
Andrew Bynum, C, L.A. Lakers
Ryan Anderson, F, Orlando
Mario Chalmers, PG, Miami
The Poopy List (Disappointing Stars)
Jose Calderon, PG, Toronto
Monta Ellis, G, Golden State
Stephen Jackson, G, Golden State
Anthony Randolph, F, Golden State
Derrick Rose, PG, Chicago
Charlie Villanueva, F, Detroit
Baron Davis, PG, L.A. Clippers
Fallen Stars (Injured)
Pau Gasol, F/C, L.A. Lakers
Antawn Jamison, F, Washington
Devin Harris, PG, New Jersey
Mehmet Okur, C, Utah
Nate Robinson, G, New York
Caron Butler, G, Washington
Josh Howard, F, Dallas
Richard Hamilton, G, Detroit
Vince Carter, G, Orlando
Ryan Gomes, F, Minnesota
Very solid for points, rebounds and threes. Won't hurt your team in the shooting categories. Definitely deserves a spot in any standard 12-team roto league.
Brendan Haywood, C, Washington
Should be owned already. Playing the Pacers and Suns back-to-bacl late in the week. Should definitely be a good play for those two.
Ben Wallace, C, Detroit
Getting lots of playing time. The steals, blocks and rebounds are there. The free throws ... well ... have never been there.
Cory Brewer, G/F, Minnesota
Managers looking for steals and blocks should take a look at Brewer. He'll even throw in a few threes to help.
Good Luck and beat your friends or win money(or both)!
10) Out of bounce: First come first serve.
When the ball goes out of bounds, it shall be thrown into the field of play by the person first touching it. In case of a dispute, the umpire shall throw it straight into the field. The thrower-in is allowed five seconds; if he holds it longer, it shall go to the opponent. If any side persists in delaying the game, the umpire shall call a foul on that side.
It would fun to see Shaq diving race Nate Robinson into the stand to retrieve a errant pass.
9) Spiderman Basketball
Backboards are moved two feet from the wall of the court. Previously, players would climb up the padded walls to sink baskets.
It might be pretty cool to see that today. Vince Carter slamball style off the wall 360 windmill dunk.
Silence is a virtue?
Coaches allowed to talk to players during timeouts.
So what is Jeff Van Gundy supposed to do if he can't talk during timeouts?
7) Did you see the fight outside?
Refs can call fouls away from the ball.
So Ron Artest and Stephan Jackson can be tag-teaming poor Adam Morrison and no fouls would be called.
6) Stand Still
Coaching box is introduced.
They need to bring this rule back.
5) 3,4,5,10,11,12 - find the pattern
Uniform numbers "1", "2" and any digit greater than "5 " are banned.
No Kobe, you can't have #8 back. This rule is so absurd.
4) Open Era
The bottom of the net is left open.
Good. We don't have to see Joe Crawford climg up a ladder every made basket.
3) Desginated Free Throw Shooter
A fouled player must shoot his own free throws.
Sweet, now we can have the World Series of Basketball featuring the AL Cavs with Mo Williams shooting free throws for Lebron.
2) Application Accepted...
Any team tendered an NCAA tournament bid must accept it or be banned from postseason play.
... welcome and just so you know, you can't go anywhere else.
1) Dunk no more
Dunk is outlawed.
Lets see you score now, Dwight Howard. This is dumb.
3 Lamar Odom re-signs with the Los Angeles Lakers (4-yrs, $33m)
Resigning Odom is a very big deal for the Lakers, especially at less than 9 million per year. Odom had the second highest roland rating(see glossary for explanation) on the Lakers behind Kobe. He has led the team in on court +/-. Odom’s presence makes the Lakers super versatile and hard to match up. Los Angeles can play big or small, fast or slow with no problems. I think it would be very interesting to see Odom play some point forward with Kobe, Artest, Gasol, and Bynum against oppositions with slower point guards. Odom can matchup against the opposite 3. I doubt this will ever happen but it would be very intriguing to watch.
Grade: A+ (Los Angeles Lakers)
2 Milwaukee Bucks traded Richard Jefferson to the San Antonio Spurs for Bruce Bowen, Fabricio Oberto, Kurt Thomas
The Spurs made a trade to upgrade their starting lineup in acquiring Richard Jefferson. They really did not give up much. Bruce Bowen is basically a corpse on the court and they signed McDyess in place of Kurt Thomas. Jefferson shot 39% from 3s last season and as long as he can keep it at that range, the Spurs will be hard to defend. Jefferson is a very good defender and an established scorer. He fits into the mold of Popovich’s Spurs. The Spurs gave up 3 old, crippled guys for a former all-star who will buy into Popovich’s system. Although this may or may not bring them back to championship level, it is still a very good acquisition.
Grade: A (San Antonio Spurs)
1 Orlando Magic traded Courtney Lee, Rafer Alston, Tony Battie to the New Jersey Nets for Vince Carter, Ryan Anderson
However much I despise Vince Carter for being the biggest waste of talent ever, he is still a much better player than Turkoglu. If you thought Vince settled for too many 3s(29% of his shot attempts) then consider Turkoglu. A whopping 36% of his shot attempts are 3s. That is a lot for someone who is initiating the offense and someone who only makes 35% of his 3s. Carter shot 38.5%. So the Magic upgraded their SG/SF position while adding Ryan Anderson. They did have to give up Courtney Lee who was really coming into his own at the end of last season. Ryan Anderson should add to their three-point attack and Battie wasn’t going to see any playing time behind D. Ho and Gortat. It is impossible to know if the loss of Turkoglu going to affect their chemistry. If Vince wants to be remembered for something other than his dunks, he would savor this opportunity.
The Nets weren’t really going anywhere with Vince. They dumped his contract for the young Lee and Alston’s expiring contract. Lee should be a solid player along side Devin Harris and Brook Lopez.
Grade: B+ (Orlando Magic), A (New Jersey Nets)
9 Washington Wizards traded Oleksiy Pecherov, Etan Thomas, Darius Songaila, 5th pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Randy Foye, Mike Miller
The wizards traded away their lottery pick and a bunch of bit PFs for Mike Miller and Randy Foye. I believe this is a very good move by Washington. There was really no one the Wizards could draft at No. 5 that would contribute immediate or even in 2 years on a playoff roster. This is important because Jamison is already 33 and will start to decline within the next three years. They received Mike Miller, who is a very solid contributor. Personally I believe Miller performs better on a good team which may explain his struggles last season. An amazing article on bulletsforever.com offers statistics/explanations on Miller’s strange season in Minnesota. This deal helps the wizards tremendously as now they can bring Nick Young off the bench. That means no more DeShawn Stevenson and his stupid hand waving taunts. The wizards may not be very deep but Arenas-Jamison-Butler combo is plenty lethal. Blatche and McGee should continue to improve.
Minnesota drafted Johnny Flynn then Ricky Rubio which didn’t make a whole lot of sense. However, if Rubio turns out to be as good as I think he will be then the Wolves made a great trade. That is a big if and it is not even guaranteed that Rubio will play in the NBA within the next 2 seasons. So for now Minnesota is going to receive a big fat F but I reserve the right to change it as David Kahn might get Rubio to come and/or turn Rubio/Flynn into other assets.
Grades: A (Washington Wizards), F (Minnesota Timberwolves)
8 Rasheed Wallace signs with the Boston Celtics (3-yrs, $20m)
Many people might be surprised that Rasheed never averaged more than 20 points nor 9 rebounds in a season. In fact, he has averaged just 12/7 over the past 3 years. Many people believe that he will be able to spread the floor for the Celtics but ‘sheed has not shot over 45% since 2003 season. He is a good 3pt shooter you say. Well, he is a 35% shooter from long range; that is serviceable… for a PF. He does make a decent backup that is if KG is able to come back from his mysterious knee injury. KG/’sheed combo at power forward is lethal but I don’t think it will make the Celtics better than their competitors. Their goal is to win the championship, not be a second round fodder to Cleveland or Orlando. The Celts better hope Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins get even better. All I am trying to say is ‘sheed aint no fab four. Garnett, Wallace and Davis all like to shoot from the outside. What they really need is some inside play to help out Perkins. Of course, getting Rasheed is better than not getting anyone at all.
3 years also seem to be one year too many for the Celtics’s need. Although it would be an attractive expiring contract in 2012.
Grade: C+ (Boston Celtics)
7 Andre Miller signs with the Portland Trailblazers (3-yrs, $21m)
Rumor is that Miller would be coming off the bench behind Steve Blake. However, I am not sure how long that will last. In any case, Miller will be playing the majority of minutes at PG(32min+). Blake will see some action as he is a much more capable long ranger shooter. There is no reason that Brandon Roy won’t mesh with Miller. Everyone was talking about Derrick Rose last season, but in reality Andre Miller had a better regular season than Rose. Miller is a dependable distributor who can direct a young team like this and advance them post season. I believe Miller makes a much better addition than Turkoglu would have been. The Blazers have youth at SF (Batum, Outlaw, and Fernandez) but Blake or Sergio isn’t going to cut it as a starting PG for an elite team.
Grade: A (Portland TrailBlazers)
6 Ron Artest signs with the Los Angeles Lakers (5-yrs, $34m)
I really believe Artest is a better player than Ariza is at this point and will continue to be for the next 2 years. His toughness will definitely improve the Lakers biggest weakness: softness. The deal does seem long especially given Kobe and Artest’s age and mileage. Playing for Phil Jackson will keep Artest in line. Not too sure how well he will mesh with Kobe but it is only fitting for Hollywood if some sort of drama flares up between them. There is not much to say here except Artest is a very good player and his presence will certainly improve the Lakers.
Grade: B (Los Angeles Lakers)
5 Memphis Grizzlies traded for Jerry Stackhouse, 2016 2nd round pick. Orlando Magic traded for cash, $9m trade exception.
Dallas Mavericks traded for Shawn Marion (5-yrs, $38m), Greg Buckner, Kris Humphries, Nathan Jawai, cash.
Toronto Raptors traded for Hedo Turkoglu (5-yrs, $53m), Devean George, Antoine Wright.
Orlando receives a $9 million trade exception that they can use any time until next summer. If they are one of the top 2 seeds at the trading deadline, they can use it to acquire a big name start. Or if Vince Carter isn’t working out for them, they can use it the next offseason. This allows them a lot of flexibility and ability to exceed the salary cap. Whatever big move Orlando makes will probably bring them even closer to a championship.
I think Dallas did great in getting Marion. He is super athletic and is great playing transitional offense. He is still signed for 5 years and he is already 30. I actually believe this is okay because Dirk will start to decline in about the same time period so the Mavs will have lots of flexibility when the time comes. Marion will push the Mavs into the playoff but just how far they go is up in the airs. In acquiring Marion, Josh Howard became expandable. Kidd-Terry-Marion-Dirk-(center). So the Mavs has some trading chip in Howard and could significantly upgrade their frontcourt with a trade. Humphries is capable of playing solid minutes as a backup.
A contract for 5 years at more than $10 million per year is pretty ridiculous for a player who has never been an all-star. Toronto reminds a purely jump shooting team without good defense and that is just not going to make them competitive among the top teams. They want to keep Chris Bosh but I am not really sure if this is going to work. I don’t see them being better than Atlanta to even get home court in the first round. At least they are trying.
Grade: A (Orlando Magic), C (Memphis Grizzlies), B+ (Dallas Mavericks), C+ (Toronto Raptors)
4 Phoenix Suns traded Shaquille O'Neal to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Ben Wallace, Sasha Pavlovic, 2010 2nd round pick, cash
Giving up a crippled Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic for Shaq? Hell yes. Adding Shaq really helps the Cavs at the offensive end. They have true point and 2 good outside shooters to go with Lebron. Add Shaq as the inside force and a scrappy player in Varejao. That is a truly solid lineup with everything you need. However much old age has robbed Shaq, he will still be an effective inside presence and a tremendous offensive player. This will only be a good move if Shaq stays motivated and healthy. I doubt motivation will be a problem as he gets to play with Lebron and get a chance to beat Kobe in the finals. One drawback that is coming up in the news is that Lebron did not really give Shaq a welcoming reception. I believe Shaq knows his role and will delight his teammates with his excellent passing ability.
Grade: B+ (Cleveland Cavaliers)