Examining The NBA’s Free Agency Period

NBA free agency is in full swing, so let’s examine where some of the top free agents went.  We’ll break down the moves and decide if they are smart or not.

Dwight Howard to the Houston Rockets.
Great move: Dwight Howard left LA after one season and joined the Houston Rockets, instantly making them a contender in the West. He will be paired up with James Harden, and follow in the foot steps of Houston Rockets greats such as, Hakeen Olajuwon, Ralph Sampson, and Yao Ming. He will also be coached by legendary big man Kevin McHale.

Josh Smith to the Detroit Pistons.
Bad move: Josh Smith left the Atlanta Hawks after 9 seasons. He will join a young Detroit Pistons team, immediately being placed in a leader position.

This is a bad move, because the Pistons are trying to develop a strong front court with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. I don’t really see where Smith fits. While Smith is a great player, he just doesn’t work with the Detroit system; and with his lack luster shooting ability, he can’t really play the 3 spot. We’ll have to see how this one works out.

joshsmith

Andre Iguodala to the Golden State Warriors.
Good fit: The Warriors dumped off some bad salaries and were able to sign a great all around player in Iguodala. He is a veteran that the coaching staff can put around the young talent, already giving the roster a boost. Iguodala will help on the defensive end as well, a category that the Warriors ranked towards the bottom half of the league last year. All in all, this move will help the Warriors move into the upper echelon of the West.

Iguodala ill dunk

Monta Ellis to the Dallas Mavericks.
Okay move: This move screams desperation coming after the Mavs missed out on Dwight Howard. While it does scream desperation, Ellis is a great scorer however, and should play well aside Dirk Nowitzki. He has averaged almost 20 points per game throughout his career. The big problem with this move is that it doesn’t make the Mavs a top contender. It makes them a fringe playoff team at best.

While the playoffs are good, being a mediocre team isn’t, especially when next year’s draft class promises to be one of the best in recent years.

montaellis

Andrew Bynum to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Time will tell on this move: If Andrew Bynum doesn’t recover from injury well, this is a terrible move. If he recovers and plays like he did before the injury, then this is a smart move. When Bynum is healthy, he is arguably one of the best centers in the league. Plus, the opportunity to put him next to talents like Kyrie Irving and Anthony Bennett is intriguing. Only time can tell with this move.

Metta World Peace to the New York Knicks.
Good move but…: I really like the addition of World Peace to the Knicks roster. He will bring a tough defensive presence the Knicks need, but it isn’t enough to put New York in the top 4 of the East. Derrick Rose will be back, making the Chicago Bulls strong contenders. The Booklyn Nets made themselves a better team with their offseason moves. Also, Indiana and Miami will be as good as last year. So while this is a great move, New York is going to have to do more if they want to contend in a top heavy Eastern Conference.

Metta World Peace

-S.Dot

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Top Five Heisman Contenders 2013-2014

heisman trophy

With College Football season around the corner, here is my list of the top five contenders to win the Heisman Trophy this year.

1. QB Marcus Mariota- Oregon Ducks

marcus mariota
As a freshman, Mariota threw for 32 TDs and also ran in 5 more. Chip Kelly may be gone, but with offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich taking over, the offense will not skip a beat. I fully expect Mariota to put up even better numbers now that he has gotten a year under a belt in the Spread Offense. The only thing that will hinder his campaign is if he doesn’t play entire games to pad his stats.

2. QB Teddy Bridgewater- Louisville Cardinals

teddy bridgewater
Bridgewater will come into this season with high expectations, as Louisville will likely start the season in the top 10 and on a clear path to the National Championship. He said he doesn’t want to have a campaign this year, but his name is at the top of many Heisman lists. Last year, he quietly put up over 3,700 passing yards and 27 TDs. With another easy schedule, expect Teddy Bridgewater to contend for the Heisman. One thing that can hurt him though, is the fact that Louisville’s schedule is so soft. If he loses a game, he may fall out of contention.

3. QB Johnny Manziel- Texas A&M Aggies

mrfootball
Last year, Manziel became the first freshman to win a Heisman Trophy, as he put up a ridiculous 5,000 yards of total offense and 47 total TDs. Johnny Football and Texas A&M took the SEC by storm, featuring a signature win in Tuscaloosa against National Champs Alabama and a top 5 finish. This year, the Aggies and Manziel aren’t sneaking up on anyone, so we will see if his sophomore efforts compare or if he will succumb to a sophomore slump.

4. RB De’Anthony Thomas- Oregon Ducks

deanthony
Thomas took a step back last year, but will be the feature of the Oregon offense heading into his Junior year. Thomas can do it all from running to catching to special teams, and is a threat to score from anywhere on the field. The question is, will he be on the field for a full 4 quarters of football? If he is, and can handle the increased workload then expect the Black Mamba to put up ridiculous numbers this year.

5. DE Jadeveon Clowney- South Carolina

clowney
A primarily defensive player hasn’t won the Heisman since 1997 when Charles Woodson did it, and he was the only one. If anyone is to repeat this though, its Clowney. He is a flat out freak of an athlete and will be the number 1 pick in the 2014 draft. He is a complete nightmare for offensive lineman. Last year he finished the season with 13 sacks and expect that number to go up this year as he develops his pass rushing skills. And of course everyone remembers the hit…

 

Others to watch for: QB Braxton Miller- Ohio State, RB Todd Gurley- Georgia, QB Tajh Boyd- Clemson, QB Aj McCarron- Alabama

-S. Dot

Top 5 Contenders to Knock off the Heat

With Dwight Howard signing with the Houston Rockets, here are my top 5 teams that can knock off the Miami Heat next year.

1. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder are coming off a season where everyone questioned their trade of James Harden to the Rockets. Proving them wrong, OKC grabbed the top playoff seed in the west. However, Russell Westbrook went down with a tear in his meniscus during the first round. The Thunder weren’t able to get past the second round, falling to the Memphis Grizzlies. With Westbrook coming back from injury, and Kevin Durant getting better, OKC will once again be top dog in the west.

Westbrook tore his meniscus in the playoffs. Will he be ready for next season?

Westbrook tore his meniscus in the playoffs. Will he be ready for next season?

2. Los Angeles Clippers
The biggest challenge to the Thunder in the West are the Los Angeles Clippers. In the offseason, the Clippers have managed to resign Chris Paul, hire Doc Rivers as their coach, and add some shooters on the perimeter in J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley; However, they lose young stud Eric Bledsoe. While they weren’t able to grab Dwight Howard to pair him up with Chris Paul, this team will definitely be one of the best in the NBA.

3. Chicago Bulls
Derrick Rose sat out all of last season recovering from a torn ACL. He should be back next season though, and a fully healthy Rose on this Chicago team will be the biggest threat to the Heat in the East. Before Rose was injured in the 2012 Playoffs, the Bulls had the best record in the East and with him back Chicago will be a top contender.

Rose sat out last season but will be ready to suit up for 2013-2014.

Rose sat out last season but will be ready to suit up for 2013-2014.

4. Indiana Pacers
In last year’s playoffs, the Pacers took the Heat to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals. With Paul George and Roy Hibbert developing in to stars, Indiana is going to be one of the top teams in the East for years to come. The whole NBA should be on alert.

5. Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets won the Dwight Howard sweepstakes. Pairing Howard with James Harden will be like when the Lakers had Kobe and Shaq. The Rockets have talent to put around Harden and Howard with Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons. Last year, Houston ranked 28th in points allowed, and adding Howard will definitely fix that. And if Houston is trying to add Josh Smith like reports say, the Western Conference is going to be fun to watch.

Dwight Howard changed his Twitter pic to him in a Rockets jersey.

Dwight Howard changed his Twitter pic to him in a Rockets jersey.

Teams that just missed the top five: San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies, Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks

-S. Dot

Is Dwight Howard Worth it?

It’s the free agency period for the NBA, and this year’s top prize is center Dwight Howard.

When healthy, Howard is arguably the best center in the NBA, but if he leaves the Lakers it will be his third team in three years. He forced his way out of Orlando after he said he would stay, and then spent only one very unsuccessful season in Los Angeles. He has been described as immature, and at age 27 it is time for him to grow up. If he is going to lead a team to a championship, he has to stop being a cry baby and become the leader he needs to be.  

Dwight Howard had an unsuccessful season with the Lakers. Will he be back?

Dwight Howard had an unsuccessful season with the Lakers. Will he be back?

Although Howard can be troublesome, there is no denying the talent he has. He will make an instant impact to any team he joins. When healthy, he is a 20-10 monster and a major contribution to the defense. He has averaged double digit rebounds every year since he was drafted, and also has averaged 2 blocks a game for the past 6 years. Whichever team can sign Howard will become a championship contender. 

Howard will make an impact to any team he joins.

Howard will make an impact to any team he joins.

So is Dwight Howard worth it? Yes, absolutely. He is the best center in the NBA, and still in his prime. He has a lot of time to get even better, intimidating other big men across the NBA. Most teams would take his talent and ignore the immaturity. However, the big question still remains.

Where will he sign?

-S. Dot

A Tale Of Two Drafts

10 years ago, the 2003 NBA Draft produced stars like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, who are all still superstars in the league now. That draft went down as one of the best drafts in history. Tonight’s NBA draft has some big names as well, so lets compare this years top 5 selected with the top 5 picked in 2003.

LeBron James was the first picked taken in 2003 and is now the best player in the NBA

LeBron James was the first picked taken in 2003 and is now the best player in the NBA

Just like in 2003, the Cleveland Cavaliers held the first pick. In that draft, they selected Lebron James, now the best player in the league. Tonight, the Cavaliers surprised many by selecting forward Anthony Bennett out of UNLV. While Bennett is undersized for a PF, he has great athleticism. Next to Kyrie Irving, they can form a formidable duo for the next few years.

Darko Milicic. He was the second pick in 2003’s draft, but ended up never panning out for the Pistons after being projected as a can’t miss prospect. In tonight’s Draft, The Orlando Magic held the second pick. They chose SG Victor Oladipo out of Indiana. Oladipo has crazy athleticism, and is a ball hawk on defense. He will be a great piece for the Magic to build around in the future.

Darko Milicic was supposed to be a can’t miss prospect.  Instead, he ended up being one of the biggest busts in history.

Darko Milicic was supposed to be a can’t miss prospect. Instead, he ended up being one of the biggest busts in history.

The Denver Nuggets held the third pick of the 2003 Draft, selecting Carmelo Anthony. After 10 years in the NBA, “‘Melo” is arguably one of the best players. He plays for the New York Knicks currently, but during his Denver days he was a great leader. This year’s 3rd pick belonged to the Washington Wizards. They selected Otto Porter Jr. out of Georgetown. Porter will be a hometown favorite for the Wizards, but he also brings great length on the wing and excellent defensive skills. Putting him next to John Wall and Bradley Beal, this team has an excellent core to build around for the future.

Chris Bosh was the 4th pick taken in the 2003 Draft, selected by the Toronto Raptors. He never really got the help he needed while in Toronto, leading him to jump ship and join Dwyane Wade and LeBron James in Miami. He may be looked at as the third wheel to the Big 3, but he has been an important part of the Heat’s back-to-back title runs.

This year, the Charlotte Bobcats selected Cody Zeller out of Indiana. Zeller has great fundamentals and a high basketball IQ. Ever since the formation of the Charlotte Bobcats, they have only had one winning season. This team doesn’t have a lot of talent, but they have some young pieces. This team will need a lot more help if they want to be successful.

In 2003, the Miami Heat selected Dwyane Wade with the fifth pick. After a great tourney run at Marquette, his draft stock rose, eventually becoming a top 5 player in the NBA. Unfortunately, he was eventually slowed down by knee injuries. In this year’s draft, the Phoenix Suns selected Alex Len, the big man out of Maryland. Len is a true 7 footer with great post moves. Surely, he will be an anchor down low for years to come.

This year’s Draft also featured top prospects like Nerlens Noel, Ben McLemore, Trey Burke, C.J. McCollum, and Michael Carter-Williams. While this draft has lots of talent, the 2003 Draft had superstar talent that has anchored the NBA for the past 10 years. We can only wait and see what this year’s talent can do with their futures.

Can this year's draft class stack up to 2003′s? Only time can tell.

Can this year’s draft class stack up to 2003′s? Only time can tell.

-S. Dot

How Many More Championships Will the Heat Win?

The Miami Heat are coming off of their second straight NBA title and third straight NBA Finals. When the Big 3 got together they brought high expectations of multiple titles but the question is how many more can they win. When you look at the Heat roster you see that they don’t have a lot of young talent and the core of the team is starting to age. Each of the Big 3 members are heading into their 10th season in the NBA next year. The average age of the members on the roster is 31 years old making them one of the oldest teams in the NBA. As we see when teams get older is the inability to stay healthy.

Wade’s knees are going against him and that isn’t going to help the Heat. If they want to win championships they need him to stay healthy. You saw what Miami could be when Wade plays like the old Wade but when he doesn’t this team is less imposing to opponents. And with other teams getting better the Heat need Dwayne Wade at his best.

Next year when Derrick Rose comes back from injury he will instantly make Chicago the biggest threat to the Heat. Also the Pacers who took Miami to a seven game series are going to get better as Paul George and Roy Hibbert continue to develop making them a serious threat. In the Western Conference you will have Westbrook coming back from injury making the Thunder championship contenders once again. There are many more teams that can contend with the Heat making the road to a championship much harder.

th

Derrick Rose sat out this season but will be ready for next year.

So how many more championships are the Heat going to win? In my opinion the Heat have one more championship run left in them. With the Eastern Conference getting stronger and the Heat getting older their championship window is diminishing.

-S.Dot