Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Young Mutombo

Roy Hibbert went to Georgetown. Dikembe Mutombo went to Georgetown. Hibbert wears #55, as does Mutombo. Hibbert is 7’2”, Mutombo is 7’2”, and they both play in the NBA. The only difference between the two is 21 years of age, and when listening to Roy Hibbert you actually can understand what he’s saying. Georgetown has produced good centers in its history (Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo, and most recently Michael Sweetney) and Roy Hibbert could become a name on that list…here’s a look at the new Indiana Pacer, and how he compares to Mutombo’s style of play.

Since his freshman year at Georgetown, Hibbert has shown his tremendous work ethic by improving in virtually every category. His hook shot is smooth and fluent; he’s really nailed it down. For a big guy, he has soft hands and great touch around the basket. He has good ball control and can take hits in the paint and still finish. Although he’s no Shaq, he needs more training at the free throw line; he shot less than 70% in his career at Georgetown. Hibbert isn’t as strong as Mutombo, but don’t take his uncut frame for granted.

Defensively, very few even come close to the level of play produced by Dikembe Mutombo. However, since Hibbert has great length and enviable work ethic, the sky is the limit with what he could turn into. If Hibbert is fortunate enough to have a good trainer that improves defensive awareness and mentality, he could develop into a feared player. At the other end, while Hibbert has good touch around the rim, when shooting 10-15 foot jumpers Hibbert becomes inconsistent. He knocked down a game winning three vs. UConn (which was hilarious when I saw it, I couldn’t stop laughing; he looked so awkward) but behind the arc he has ways to go before he really becomes a threat.

In terms of athleticism, I previously took note of Hibbert’s length, but in all honesty that’s about all he’s got. Running the floor he seems to tire out quickly, only playing 26 minutes a game. If he is going to be a starter in the NBA he will have to be able to put in 35 minutes every game.

Sorry Roy, but I’m not quite done exploiting your weaknesses.

Hibbert has many extra hours in the gym calling his name, especially leg workouts. I could finish my chemistry homework quicker than he can shuffle ten yards, and I’m more of the English type…his jumping ability is weak although he doesn’t need more than a three or four inch vertical with his height. Hibbert and Mutombo have yet another thing in common, and that’s overall speed. I’m not saying Hibbert needs to get his 40 time up to the Devin Harris/Derrick Rose neighborhood, but somewhere in the vicinity of Amare Stoudemire or Andrew Bynum.

I’m no fortune teller, but I don’t really see Hibbert ever making anywhere near what Mutombo has raked in (114 million dollars) but he could become a great basketball player if he really, really works at it.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Southeast Shaping Up

Since their birth in 2004, the Southeast division hasn’t had a collective winning record. They’re a relatively young division; the average player is about 26 years old. After the draft, recent trades, and young players beginning to embrace their potential, the division is finally looking up.

Let’s start out by looking at the Atlanta Hawks. Last year, Atlanta shocked America with their play against the future champions, taking the number one seed Celtics to seven games. Al Horford had an astounding rookie season, and looks to improve his numbers as well as the Hawk’s record this year. Also, look for Mike Bibby to step up this year; he joined an unfamiliar offense last year when he was traded from the Kings. Bibby also was battling thumb, ankle, and quad injuries, but he’s healing up well and hopes to have a much better season. Joe Johnson remains a reliable scorer, and with Childress gone and the Hawks short on guards, watch for second-year player Acie Law to get in more playing time. Law has potential to be a good point guard, and this is his chance to break out and earn a starting job.

Projected 08-09 record: 44-38

The Charlotte Bobcats have never made the playoffs, and it’s likely they won’t this year either. In the scheme of things, however, they will improve their record. Rookie center Alexis Ajinca is the first step to improving the Bobcat frontcourt. It still needs work, but they won’t be as embarrassing to watch. Emeka Okafor will continue rebounding and blocking shots, however if he could improve his inside scoring ability they would have another option besides Jason Richardson and Gerald Wallace. Beware of Jared Dudley this year; he will likely see more playing time. The “sophomore” out of Boston College is a great shooter, and his court vision is top-notch. Expect him to sneak in more minutes as the season progresses.

Projected 08-09 record: 37-45

Although Rose would have been a better fit, Beasley will produce big things for the Miami Heat. Don’t forget about the other rookie, Mario Chalmers, who shut down Rose in the summer league match-up. The Heat may finally be seeing the light at the end of a very dark tunnel they’ve been in. With a healthy D-Wade in the starting line-up, and a consistent forward in Shawn Marion, the Heat have much better chances at making the playoffs this year. The one thing I’m concerned with is the mix-up at the point guard position. At first, it was Chris Quinn, who is way below average for a starting NBA point guard. Some say Marcus Banks will start, and others have generated the idea that Wade might take over at the 1 spot even though he doesn’t want to. If the Heat can trade for, or sign, a solid point guard, expect an immense improvement in their record.

Projected 08-09 record: 50-32

With strictly three point shooters in the starting line-up like Rashard Lewis and Keith Bogans, the Orlando Magic are thankful they have the best rebounder in the NBA, Dwight Howard. Averaging over 14 rebounds per game and finishing with thunderous dunks, Howard is a highlight reel waiting to happen. Howard, too, is thankful that Lewis and Bogans actually make their threes; Lewis finished 3rd last year in threes made, and Bogans 22nd. Let’s not forget about last year’s Most Improved Player-Hedo Turkoglu. Turkoglu averaged over 19 points a game and helped the Magic win the division for the first time. Orlando recently signed Mickael Pietrus, adding depth to the small forward position.

Projected 08-09 record: 48-34

When you talk about a team plagued by injuries, the Washington Wizards are always in that conversation. Antawn Jamison was the only consistent scorer on the team who didn’t miss more than ten games. Added together, stars Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler played a total of 71 games, not even a full season. Well, Gilbert seems to be healthy and serious about winning, and Butler is also healed up and ready to go. Andray Blatche is a young player with good potential, and Washington needs help at the center position. With the big three finally re-united, and a center with potential on the roster, the Wizards are a playoff contending team, and also help the Southeast become one of the top divisions in the NBA.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Breaking Down Beasley

When it comes to athleticism, rebounding, scoring, and overall versatility, Michael Beasley’s name goes on the list of people who can do it all. Beasley does have a few weaknesses, however, and I’m going to look into the pros and cons of the second pick of the draft.


An amazing player athletically, he is a difficult person to guard because of his length and jumping ability. Has a soft inside touch, but his shooting range extends to the NBA three. He has a smooth release with good arc on his shot, does well getting his legs up while shooting, leading to great elevation on his shot. Beasley is deadly from the high post, if the defender lays off he’ll knock down the jumper, if the defender plays tight he has moves to get to the basket with ease. With a quick first step, his shot fakes become very efficient, if the defender goes up for a fake, Beasley will bolt around him and take it inside. When it comes to inside scoring, Beasley has improved greatly; he can knock down hook shots and convert on fadeaways. He is strong enough to get good position in the post, creates a big target for guards to feed him the ball. He crashes the offensive boards hard, his leaping ability and strength allow him to pull down lots of rebounds. Defensively, he takes away passing lanes well with his long arms, and helps well on the weak side by blocking shots. Beasley has a good personality, shows confidence and poise, and never seems to sulk in difficult situations or after he makes a bad play. He will be a good player in the NBA, no doubt.


Although Beasley is a strong player, the fact that he only measured in at 6'8" with shoes makes him undersized at the power forward position. He has a good three point shot, but not well enough to be an effective scorer at the small forward postion, so there is some confusion at which spot he will play. He’s left handed, which helps him confuse defenders, but he has great trouble going right, his ball handling with his right hand is terrible. He doesn’t have a variety of default post moves, moves that he can rely on against any defender. Sometimes he gets out of control and chunks up bad shots. He tends to try to do it all himself, he never thinks pass, only shoot, and this leads him to ill-advised shots against multiple defenders when other players are open. This may have been because his teammates weren’t good scorers, but still he could have looked to the open man in those situations. Beasley only averaged 1.2 assists per game, mainly because he wanted to score most of the time, but his court vision is also questionable. He has the potential to be a great defender, but right now he could improve his lateral quickness. He doesn’t seem to play physically on defense; he shows no effort in denying the other team from scoring. His work ethic is also questionable, he is already a great player but it's possible he won’t want to try to get better. He recently signed a deal worth $3.6 million this season, $3.87 million next season and $4.14 million in 2010-11, so this may cause him to relax with his paycheck rather than improve his game. He’s only 19 years old and has some growing to do; mentally and as a player, too.

Friday, July 25, 2008

5 Bucks Says Milwaukee Makes Playoffs

This may come as a surprise, but I strongly believe the Milwaukee Bucks will make the playoffs this year, and I have good reasons why.

Reason #1- The Dynamic Duo

Star shooting guard Michael Redd and newly acquired scorer Richard Jefferson could become the best scoring combo in the league next year. Redd, who is easily on the top five shooters in the NBA list, finally has help to score. Over the last three years Redd has been doing it himself, averaging roughly 25 points per game. Now, with Richard Jefferson coming in, who averaged 22.6 points per game in the 07-08 season, the two could pose a double threat to opponents, a slick shooter and a slashing forward. Jefferson commented on joining forces with Redd; “He's much more outside; he's one of the best shooters I've ever seen. Me, I'm more of a slasher," explained Jefferson. "But, we both do the other things well. With that, I think we have a chance to have a very good team, especially in this conference.”

Reason #2- Rookies

Leading the Big East in scoring, rebounding, and blocking, Joe Alexander steps into a franchise in need of help in many categories, especially the ones mentioned above. This addition to the team helps the Bucks try to complete a solid roster. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is an energetic forward who is athletic and brings down a lot of boards; however he does need to improve offensively. For a few years or so he will be a good player off the bench, he can always earn his way into a starting job.

Reason #3- Young, talented non-rookies

20 points, 8 rebounds, and 24 assists. These are the numbers of Ramon Sessions, the 22 year old out of Nevada. That was just one game he played while starting guard Mo Williams and reserve Charlie Bell were out with injuries. It didn’t earn him the starting job, but he will definitely do some damage off the bench this year. Mo Williams, 25, will remain starter, and will have no trouble getting assists thanks to former 1st pick Andrew Bogut and Charlie Villanueva.

In the end, the Bucks are a very young team with a lot of potential. I’m not saying they will make it deep into the playoffs, I don’t think they have quite enough experience or team chemistry yet, but they will make the playoffs. In three or four years if things turn out well and they continue to grow, this is a championship contending team.

Sources: (photo)

Chris Paul v.s Deron Williams

If you have trouble deciding who's a better player, imagine how the Utah Jazz felt in the 2005 NBA Draft.

The Jazz ended up selecting Deron at number 3, and the Hornets jumped on the oppourtunity to draft Chris Paul at pick number 4.

Since then, both have put up solid numbers, but who is the better point guard all around?

Lets start off looking at Chris Paul's strengths.

Paul has great court vision, which is a neccessity in today's NBA. Not only can he pass, but he goes into the lane without fear of bigger defenders, he can make floaters and pull up jump shots consistently. Has quick hands and feet, which results in the ability to get steals. Paul is a good ball handler, he can shake almost any defender in the Leauge.


Although he has quick hands, Paul doesn't seem to anticipate where the ball is going to be, and while he gets 2 or 3 steals he can also let the guy he's guarding score 40. He also seems to get a bit out of control, in college he developed a reputation as a guy who is willing to throw a cheap shot, even before the incident in the last game of the regular season where he punched Juilus Hodge below the belt. *

Overall, he is a great guy with amazing talent, but needs improvement on defense and attitude.

On to Deron Williams:

First of all, he may not look like it, but Williams is strong as an ox. This strength enables him to knock down deep threes, go into the lane and finish with contact, and fire passes to other teammates that defenders can't get to. He shoots fundamentally and consistently, and has fantastic playmaker skills. He has a good basketball IQ, he makes smart decisions and handles the ball well.


Although he shoots well, he could have a quicker release on the ball, this way he won't get blocked as much. He isn't very quick, so defense becomes a major concern. He lets guys like Wade and Parker score on him pretty easily, but if he could improve his lateral quickness he would be a force to reckon with.

Overall, he is a smart point guard with good all around skills, but he needs to get faster and improve on the defensive side.

My take on who's better:

Right now, Chris Paul is the better point guard. He doesn't have a very good team but took them to the playoffs with a good record. He basically did everything himself, he played a lot of minutes but didn't seem to tire out. He is very competitive and has a winning attitude. Williams could get to Paul's level if he could just win in the playoffs and improve on defense. Paul would burn Williams in one-on-one, but Williams' passing and shooting skills are better. If i were to build a franchise around one of these players, it'd have to be Chris Paul because of his abilities, and leadership.

Favre From Perfect

January 26th, 1997. The day of Super Bowl XXXI, and the day I became a Brett Favre fanatic at age 5. Favre and the Packers won the game, and since then I have watched nearly every Green Bay game to date. I wore his jersey minimum twice a week, and now, after all that's happened as of late, I've lost all my respect for the future hall-of-famer.

When Favre "retired" at the press confrence, I was actually surprised. I knew he had been back in forth in his decision for the past couple years, but after going so far in the playoffs I thought for sure he wouldn't stop there. But, he did, and I had to deal with it.

A friend of mine that lives in Wisconsin sent me down a few notorious Wisconsin newspapers, and all had Favre on the cover. I framed the cover of "The Capital Times" which had Favre looking triumphant, and the background was inscribed with LEGEND.

Hardly. In his interview with Greta Van Susteren, Favre declared that he wanted to be released from the Packers, and went on whining about how nobody wants him in Green Bay, and after watching five minutes of it I was indignant about everything he was saying. I think he is being beyond selfish, its obvious that he's just bored at home and wants his football fix. He's throwing away his legacy, and seems to not care at all. He says he does, but if he did then he wouldn't try to play for a different team. says the Jets and Bucs are interested in Favre.

I just can't picture Favre in a different uniform. Imagine him throwing to Joey Galloway in those hideous Bucaneer uniforms. It's disgusting.

ESPN also reports that the Packers are postponing retiring Favre's jersey, and I couldn't agree with the Pack any more. I think Mike McCarthy is handling the situation very well, he says that he will not release Favre, and Favre won't start if he stays in Green Bay. He couldn't have thought of a better idea, but he couldn't stop Favre from demanding a trade, so now we get to see Favre go fail at another team.

Why, Brett. Why.


First of all I have to give credit to the New York Knicks for drafting a virtual nobody in front of all the crazy New York fans in the 2008 NBA Draft.

Unfortunatley, I can't really agree with the pick, as they took Danilo Gallinari. Gallinari isn't a bad player, but for the oppourtunity that the Knicks had to draft an established ballplayer I can't see why they took the 6"9 forward. On the board when the Knicks were on the clock: Eric Gordon, Brandon Rush, D.J Augustin, Jerryd Bayless, and Brook Lopez- all impact players who could help turn around the once-legendary franchise. Gallinari is a consistent shooter and solid passer who has a good basketball IQ, but one has to question if he is quite ready for the NBA. He is the antisthesis of quick, and for his size he isn't very strong. He also tends to gamble on defense and overall is a risk to put on the floor in crunch minutes because of his lack of defensive awareness.

A better fit: The Knicks are an interesting franchise right now, they have a lot of average players so its hard to decide what position they need most. In the end, i believe the best pick for them would be Jerryd Bayless. Bayless has tremendous potential, he is extremly quick, strong, and is a nightmare for opponents on defense. He plays better than his 1 steal per game average, he forces turnovers on defense and is a great leader on the court. Averaging 4 assists per game, he is a good point guard, although he could improve his court vision. He shot 40% from three, which is average but he found ways to get the ball in the basket which shows in his 19.7 points per game.

The Knicks need a solid defender on the court, their defense last year was subpar. Gallinari can help them offensively, but the Knicks already have decent scorers(Marbury, Randolph, Curry) and the defense needs a lot of improvement.