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Draft Week Frenzy

By: Michael Dunham

For a draft class that is being thought as one of the weekest in recent memory, the week leading up to the 2009 NBA Draft has been nothing short of crazy.  The 1st round of the draft was really no surprise, as everyone had Griffin first and Thabeet second but some of the trades and major names moving around has created quite the buzz.

San Antonio started the week off when they traded Bruce Bowen, Kurt Thomas, and Fabricio Oberto to the Bucks for Richard Jefferson.  This makes the Spurs a lot younger and puts another All-Star caliber player on the court to work with Duncan, Ginobli, and Parker.  The negative in this trade is the Spurs bench gets a lot shorter with the departure of these three players.  The Bucks gain a large amount of cap room with this trade and sets them up with the ability to make more big moves.

The next major trade was the Timberwolves sending Guard Randy Foye and Forward Mike Miller to the Wizards for a 1st round pick and three players, including Etan Thomas and Darius Songaila.  This gave the Timberwolves the 5th, 6th, 18th, and 28th picks in the 1st round.  The Wizards benefit from the trade by getting two strong position players to help them reach their aspirations of making the playoffs and, if Gilbert Arenas can return to his play before he got hurt, maybe even a finals appearance.

The biggest, literally and figuratively, trade of the draft was the Suns sending ‘The Deisel’ Shaquille O’Neal to Lebron and the Cavaliers for former Defensive Player of the Year Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic.  This trade makes Cleveland the favorite to reach the NBA Finals out of the Eastern Conference by far.  It also makes it far less likely for Lebron to leave in 2010 to possibly play for a major market like a New York.  While Ben Wallace is no Shaquille O’Neal, if he can return to the defensive form he had while in Detroit, he can help the Suns a lot as he will not be neaded to score.  Also, Sasha pavlovic should be a solid bench player to come in when Steve Nash needs a rest.

From one blockbuster trade to another, Vince Carter of the New Jersey Nets was traded down to Orlando for Rafer Alston, Courtney Lee, and Tony Battie.  This really helps the Magic even out the playing field with the Cavaliers in the battle for best in the East.  With Jameer Nelson expected to be back and 100 percent at the start of next season, the Magic had no need for Rafer Alston and traded him while he was at his maximum worth.  Vince Carter will now be the two guard in a starting line-up that includes Jameer Nelson, Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis, and Dwight Howard.

The last major deal before the start of the draft sent Jamal Crawford from Golden State to Atlanta for 2nd year player Acie Law and Speedy Claxton.  This trade could help the Hawks resign current free agent Mike Bibby.  For the Warriors, the trade opens cap room as Crawford was set to make $20 million in the next two years and was not in Coach Don Nelson’s plans for the teams future.

While the draft has come and gone, the trades will still continue to happen.

Major names still likely to move are Houston’s Tracy McGrady, whose injuries and poor play have forced the Rockets to shop him, and Elton Brand of the 76ers, who, in his first year as a Sixer, had a down year while making nearly 14 million dollars.  Celtics Guard Rajon Rondo will likely be traded after his dispute with GM Danny Ainge.  Other players who could possibly be traded include David Lee, Jordan Farmar, Ray Allen, Jerry Stackhouse, Travis Diener, and Ime Udoka.

The first round of the draft had no big surprises and went as follows:

1st- Blake Griffin (Clippers)

2nd- Hasheem Thabheet (Memphis)

3rd- James Harden (Oklahoma City)

4th- Tyreke Evans (Sacramento)

5th- Ricky Rubio (Minnesota)

6th- Jonny Flynn (Minnesota)

7th- Stephen Curry (Golden State)

8th- Jordan Hill (New York)

9th- DeMar DeRozan (Toronto)

10th- Brandon Jennings (Milwaukee)

11th- Terrence Williams (New Jersey)

12th-Gerald Henderson (Charlotte)

13th- Tyler Hansbrough (Indiana)

14th- Earl Clark (Phoenix)

15th- Austin Daye (Detroit)

16th- James Johnson (Chicago)

17th- Jrue Holiday (Philadelphia)

18th- Ty Lawson (Minnesota – to be traded)

19th- Jeff Teague (Atlanta)

20th- Eric Maynor (Utah)

21st- Darren Collison (New Orleans)

22nd- Victor Claver (Portland)

23rd- Omri Casspi (Sacramento)

24th- B.J. Mullens (Dallas – traded to OKC)

25th- Rodrique Beaubois (Oklahoma City – traded to Dallas)

26th- Taj Gibson (Chicago)

27th- DeMarre Carroll (Memphis)

28th- Wayne Ellington (Minnesota)

29th- Toney Douglas (Lakers)

30th- Christian Eyenga (Cleveland)

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Kobe vs Lebron, The Showdown

Finals Preview: Lakers vs Magic

Categories: Basketball, Sports

Finals preview: Lakers vs Magic

By: Michael Dunham

Unfortunately, the Kobe-Lebron matchup we all, including the NBA, wanted to see was put off for at least another year by Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic.  Instead we will get to see the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Orlando Magic in the NBA finals.  While this match-up will not generate the revenue that a Kobe-Lebron finals would have generated, it will undoubtedly be just as exciting to watch.

The Lakers defeated the Denver Nuggets in six games and a times were dynamite on the court.  The problem that could get in the way of the Lakers on their quest to get their 15th championship, and 10th in Los Angeles, is their hot and cold unpredictability.  In both the Western Conference Semi-finals and Western Conference Finals, the Lakers have been up and down.  They will go out and win by 20 or 30 then the next night they will lose by the same amount.  This rollercoaster type basketball could, and in my book will, be what costs the Lakers the championship.

The Magic have taken the role of underdog and run with it.

They have been placed under the radar all season while they quietly beat all of the “great” teams in the league.  Even though they had taken the regular season series from the Cavs 2-1 i thought the Magic wouldn’t be able to show up like that in the playoffs and they proved me wrong.  They turned a 5-5 game into a Lebron-5 while the rest of the Cavs flat out did not show up.  I think the Magic will take advantage of the fact that they will be written off as not good enough again and use it to their advantage in the series.

I am not going to make the same mistake that I made in the Eastern Conference Finals and write off the Magic and that is why I am picking them to win their first NBA championship in 6 games over the Lakers.

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Categories: Basketball, Sports

Preview: Lakers vs. Nuggets

As the Lakers played the Rockets in Game 7 of their Western Conference Semi-final series the Denver Nuggets and the fans watched and waited to see who they would be playing.  What they saw was a fairly dominating game by Kobe, Lamar, and co. over the Yoa and McGrady-less Rockets; winning the game 89-70.

Kobe and Melo will square off in the Western Conference finals starting Tuesday, May 19th and you can expect it to be a show.  The Lakers have been the best team in the Western Conference all you, but as of late they have been very hot and cold.  They will go out and get dominated by a Rockets team that has just lost their superstar then win the next game by 40.

This inconsistency could prove to be a problem against the Nuggets (or Thuggets as we in Dallas like to call them) who have had their eyes on one thing this entire post season, the first NBA championship in the teams history.

Behind the Cavs, the Nuggets have been the hottest team in the playoffs.  With a playoff record of 8-2 they really haven’t been that tested either.  The Lakers are that team that can really test them and that is exactly what will happen.  If the Lakers can play with the same intensity and mindset that they played with in game 7 then this could be a very fun series to watch.

I think that the Lakers will heat up when the bright lights turn on and that is why I’m picking them to win in 7.

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Categories: Basketball, Sports