Spurs Sweep Away Cavs

No big Surprise that the Spurs finished off the Cavs last night in Cleveland. Let’s face it Cleveland just wasn’t on the same level as the Spurs. Cleveland rode Lebron to the Finals, and probably shouldn’t have been there. Cleveland was honestly probably about the 6th best team in the NBA this year (Spurs, Suns, Mavs, Jazz, Warriors and Miami would have beaten them in a series). Tony Parker was amazing in the Finals and definitely deserved that MVP award. Something needs to be said about Parker. That is that he is absolutely living the dream. The guy is still very young, has already won 3 titles, has a finals MVP award under his belt, and is getting married to Eva Longoria (need I say more?). How about the fact that he is never even  considered when experts talk about the best point guards in the League. That is pretty amazing. The guy is lightning off the dribble, and has proven that he finishes better in the paint than most big guys (Varejao included). Also lately has become a more effective outside shooter, and can hit them when they count as he proved in the Finals. So I guess what I am saying to Tony Parker is “kudos” you are a great point guard with three titles and a beautiful gal.

Now onto this talk about the Spurs being a “Dynasty”. Not that it really matters that much, because there is no real certain criteria, but I just don’t see them as a dynasty. They aren’t that dominant team that everyone fears each year, and the team that dominates each year. They haven’t won back to back titles, they have no flash to them, and they have never really had any big moments. No game winning shots that were absolutely amazing. The only thing I think of when I hear Spurs and a game winning shot, is the one that Fisher hit to beat them in SA a few years back. They just don’t quite have that “Dynasty” thing about them. So for now I will just say that they are an unbelievable team that knows how to win when the money is on the line.

 The thing that hurt me the most about the Finals was not finding out about that patch of hair on Drew Gooden’s head. All I wanted was a special sitdown with Gooden, or at least a sideline report that told the story behind that patch of hair. Yet all I got were 4 games that lacked offense, and big moments. So be it now we can look forward to the draft and who the Celts will take. Just for the record if they take Yi Jianlan I might not be around to see his first game. I have said it before and I will say it again there really is something about Noah that just seems right. He fits the Celts need of a center, and the Celts offense perfectly. Doesn’t need the ball to be effective, and he can do all of the little things. He knows how to win, and is as much of a competitor that you will ever find. You need to look no further than his recent workouts for NBA teams, which he is doing with an injured shoulder. That isn’t stopping him from going hard every other day working out for NBA teams. I can just feel something special coming from him, and that is all I’m saying………..

NBA Draft Lottery Dissapointment

  • Well so much for tanking the second half of that season. So long to Greg Oden and Kevin Durant. Goodbye to an overhyped 2007-08 season for the Celts. So much for the luck of the Irish. Somewhere deep inside of me I knew that this would happen. Now the Celts are left to choose 5th, and all of their tanking efforts of 07 got them nothing at all. Maybe Ainge secretly knew this before the lottery was shown on ESPN and therefore gave Doc an extension so he could tank us right on through next season to try to get the #1.
  • I need therapy.
  • Looking on the bright side (if there is one) the Celts can still get a decent player with the 5th pick. They have a young team already (doesn’t need to be any younger), and a few veterans that can get it done. So what do they do with the 5th pick? I think it is pretty simple. You have to go with Noah. Let’s face it he is a WINNER. Shouldn’t we be talking about him as the next Russel instead of Oden. After all he is the one with back-back titles. He does all of the little things that Russell did. Rebounds, blocks shots, and comes up with all of the big hustle plays. He can play the center position, and pass from the high post in Doc River’s offense. He fits perfectly alongside Al Jefferson who will see the majority of touches in the low post, but Noah can post up once in a while too. The thing that you have to love about Noah is that he is soooo intense when he is out there. He is going to give you 110% each time he is out there. There really isn’t a better fit for the Celtics in the draft. He passes, scores when you give it to him in the right spots, wins, rebounds, plays D, plays hard, and fills the spot that the Celts need to fill.
  • That being said I still think that the most talented overall player in the draft is Corey Brewer, and he will be an absolute steal for someone.
  • Besides Oden is like 28 years old, and Durant is bound to be a bust. Right? (banging my head on desk).
  • The real question here is……who is the uglier human Oden or Noah?

Al Horford

Continuing with our draft preview: today we look at our second player of the Florida quartet. Al Horford was a key part to the back-back National Championships for Florida. He averaged 13ppg and almost 10 boards in his junior season. Horford was a very consistent force for the Gators inside. He never wowed anyone with his post up moves, or with his ability to make mid-range jump shots, but he always got it done.

Horford is a very solid defender who blocked about 2 shots per game last year. At 6’10 he has the size to defend NBA players at both the power forward and center positions. He will likely play a lot of power forward, but also has that ability to play center. You have to love his length and athleticism. He will definitely be able to step in next year, and be effective for any team that he is drafted by. He is a smart player who has good passing ability, and as he has proven at Florida is a great “team” player. I don’t really see an ideal comparison for Horford in the NBA right now. I would have to say that he will be a lot like Drew Gooden though. Gooden has more range on his jump shot, but plays very similarly. Horford will need to become a more effective low post player, and also become a better shooter. I see Horford going somewhere in the first 6 picks, and being a solid NBA player for many years to come.

Kevin Durant

Today’s draft coverage features is the freshman stud from Texas: Kevin Durant. Durant put up amazing numbers (25ppg and 11rpg) on his way to becoming the Naismith player of the year. His size (6’9) and ability to score from anywhere on the floor made him the most feared offensive player in the country. Many games he carried a young Texas team in a tough Big 12 Conference, and landed them a number 4 seed in the NCAA tournament. What was great about Durant was that you never knew when he was going to break out with one of those 35 point 20 rebound games. Truly impressive that he dominated so much last year. He had that ability to have HUGE games yet he was also very consistent. Durant score 20 or more points in 30 of his teams 35 games last year. That is very impressive.

So what about Durant as an NBA player next year? Well we know that he will be a top 2 draft pick. Either in front of, or directly behind Greg Oden. We know that Durant is an incredible talent as I wrote in the first paragraph, but can he really dominate the Pros like he did the NCAA. The aswer: Probably not. First off Durant will be going up against defenders that can match up with him heighth wise, and quickness wise in the NBA. Something that he didn’t see much of if at all in the college ranks. Also he will likely be asked to be a star at a young age, which can be both good or bad. I feel like he will have too much on his shoulders too soon, and not be able to live up to the billing that he made for himself at Texas. At the same time part of me says that Durant will be a hard worker, and probably improve a lot over his first three years or so. After that he will be a perennial All-Star. He needs to add some upper body stength and quickness to his game. I also think that he could have a better shot selection than he did, and be a better passer. I guess I also need to remember that the kid is only 19 and if he isn’t the franchise guy that everyone is looking for he will have a solid NBA career. Let’s be honest there probably isn’t a perfect fit for this guy on an NBA team right now. Obviously he could fit in with any of the teams drafting in the top 5, but I don’t see one clearcut place for a perfect for Durant. One thing that he will do for any NBA franchise next year is put people in the seats, because everyone is going to want to see what he can do. Even though I am not a Kevin Durant lover I have to tell you I can’t wait to see what he will do either.

Jeff Green

The Big East player of the year Jeff Green just recently declared his eligibility for the draft along with front-court mate Roy Hibbert. The Georgetown stud showed off his all around great game throughout the season, and then turned it up a notch in the conference tourney and then in the NCAA Tournament. He led the Hoyas to a Big East Tournament championship with many of big time plays, and then continued the display of excellence in the NCAA tournament. He made that incredible shot (on which he traveled and also busted my bracket because I had Vandy) vs. Vanderbilt to win the game, and then played great in the comeback win vs. UNC.

Green’s all around game should make him a lottery pick in this years draft. He has solid athleticism, the ability to pass the ball, a decent jump shot with range that extends to the college 3 point line, and plays smart. He was always one to crash the boards in college and use his well-built 6’9 frame. He is one of those guys who is going to use the glass when he can, and will finish a nice play inside with a beautiful touch instead of always looking for a power dunk. I think he can be a great high post player in the NBA. With the ability to be a great passer and see the floor well. Also he can hit that mid-range jump shot and take slower players of the dribble. I see him primarily as a small 4 in the NBA, but he will definitely see minutes at the small forward position. He will be a solid pick for anyone who drafts him. Look for Green to jump right into a prominent role for a team, and contend for the ROY award next year. He has all the tools, and if he plays in the right system he could be an All-Star in the future. Coming with national player of the year Kevin Durant tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Mike Conley Jr.

Day two of NBA draft coverage focuses on Mike Conley Jr. The diaper dandy point guard from Ohio State averaged 11ppg and 6 apg in the 06-07 season. He was rather quiet for the first half of the year, but showed quite a bit of improvement. Culminating in his stellar tournament performance that helped guide OSU to the title game. If not for the late game heroics of teammate Ron Lewis in the second round, or the lack of intentional foul called on buddy Greg Oden (same game) we might not have seen all that Conley Jr. has to offer. In the next few tournament games he showed his ability to penetrate into the lane, and finish with floaters from either hand. He also showed the ability to be a reliable playmaker, and make perimeter jump shots.

Conley Jr. is average size for a point guard at 6’1. He has great speed and quickness, but does seem to lack some explosiveness going to the rim. Not that that is needed, just look at what Nash does. He reminds me of a Marcus Williams. Drafted last year by the Nets, and is now playing behind Jason Kidd. Williams and Conley have the same type of game. Although I would say that Conley is probably faster off the dribble, and better defensively. Williams was a better playmaker, and passer. At only 19 years old Conley who also went to high school with teammate at Ohio State Greg Oden has plenty of time to develop into a better point guard. I’m not sure if it is the right move for him to come out right now, but it is a good time if he is looking to get drafted high. Many have him rated as the best point guard in the draft, which I don’t agree with. Sure he had a nice tournament and all, but really he doesn’t do anything great. He won’t be able to get by the good defenders in the NBA and get into the lane like he did in college. Also his perimeter shooting is very suspect just like Marcus Williams. I don’t see Conley with the ability to be a really great playmaker either. He isn’t a real solid pick and roll player, because of the lack of jump shot. Also he only averaged 6 assists per game in a wide open Ohio State offense that he ran all year long. I just don’t see him as a true lottery guy right now even know that is where he will go. Teams shouldn’t draft Conley Jr. and expect him to be a franchise type player. They will get a solid point guard who knows the game, and is an all around good player. Expect his first two seasons to be much like this season was for Marcus Williams though. What is promising is the amount that Conley Jr. improved throughout the season. You like to see a kid work and work at his game, and really improve. That is a sign that he is dedicated.

Although he will probably never be an All-Star or an All NBA player Conley will still be a very serviceable point guard in the future. I would like to see him go to a contending team where he can contribute, and learn from a veteran or two. Conley would fit well with many teams, and likewise many teams would love to have the young talent. I think he could be a solid contributor next year on a team like Cleveland or Houston, but don’t expect that. He will be a higher pick and likely end up in a rebuilding scenario. Back tomorrow with the take on Georgetown’s Jeff Green.

Corey Brewer

Each day for the next however many weeks the Sports Zip will be breaking down one of the many players eligible for the 2007 NBA draft. To start we will go with a 2 time champion gator: Corey Brewer.

The 6’9 swingman averaged over 13 ppg for the champion Gators in the 06-07 campaign, and was the spark plug in the Gators run to their second straight title. He has made himself draft eligible along with his teammates, and will fore-go his senior year.

The stats don’t tell you anything about the tremendous talent that Corey Brewer is. He is most comparable to Detroit Piston Tayshaun Prince. He is long and athletic. Can score from anywhere on the floor anyway that he wants. Keeps the defense honest with his solid perimeter shooting. Is a very good defender, because of his length and athletic ability. Is great in the open floor and knows how to finish around the rim. He most needs to work on his perimeter shooting, strength, and back to the basket scoring ability.

Brewer is a guy who doesn’t mind playing tough defense, and not being the star. He took sort of a backseat role at Florida, and then blossomed when his team needed him most in the NCAA tournament. He can step in and play for any NBA team right away. One of the few guys in the draft who could step in as role players, and do their jobs very well. He will likely be a top 10 pick, but I don’t feel like he will ever be a franchise guy. Teams shouldn’t draft him expecting that either. They should know that they are getting a skilled, and well accomplished player. Who can be a great role player for many teams, and will help any contender get closer to a championship. I see him stepping in and doing the same things that Tayshaun did for Detroit in his rookie year. The best fit for Brewer would probably be a team like Washington. Where he can use his athletic skills as well as stretch the defense a little. All while being a great complement player to Arenas and Jamison. That team could also use a solid shut down defender along side the serviceable defense of Caron Butler. I would love to see a contending team trade up to get Brewer in the draft. I would hate to see Brewer end up in Portland, Atlanta, or Memphis. Just not good fits. Back tomorrow with Mike Conley Jr.