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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

Lebron vs. Kobe, the showdown

By: Michael Dunham

Of all the stars and big time players in the NBA, two men stand above them all.  Thats right, Lebron James and Kobe Bryant.  Ever since it came time to vote for mvp it has been of great debate whether Lebron has taken over the reigns as the biggest star in the league.

Ever since the days of Shaq and Kobe, Kobe has been the face of the NBA and the most loved and hated player in the league.  After he famously had Shaq shipped off to the other side of the country, Kobe haters have argued that he can’t win a title without Shaq and that Shaq is what made Kobe great.  Those on the other side of the arguement say that ever since Shaq left Kobe has single handedly carried the Laker team on his back.

Lebron has been a huge star and basketball icon ever since his senior year at St. Vincent-St. Mary high school in Akron.  When he was drafted into the NBA out of high school he was instantly a star, winning the Rookie of the Year award his rookie year and making his first all-star team in year two.

It has been hugely hyped that Lebron’s per (player efficiency rating) was a record high 31.76 this year, which makes Kobe’s 24.46 look miniscule, even though its 10 points higher than the league average.

What really makes a great player and an NBA icon is what they are able to do in the playoffs.

Lebron has increased his per to an incredible 43.39.  He has also improved from his season average in every major statistical category, including ppg from 28.4 to 34.7, rebounds from 7.6 to 9.3, and steals from 1.6 to 2.0.  Kobe has countered by improving in most major statistical categories but not by as big of margins.

With a Lebron vs Kobe finals matchup looking inevitable I think that the winner of the finals will take home the crown as the face of the nba; for the next year, at least.

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More to read:

Cavaliers vs Magic preview:

https://themiclounge.wordpress.com/2009/05/17/preview-cavaliers-vs-magic/

Lakers vs Nuggers preview:

https://themiclounge.wordpress.com/2009/05/17/preview-lakers-vs-nuggets/

Kobe Doin Work review:

https://themiclounge.wordpress.com/2009/05/17/kobes-doin-work/

Categories: Basketball, Sports

Preview: Cavaliers vs. Magic

While it only took the Cleveland Cavaliers eight games to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals, it took the Orlando Magic 13.  This huge difference in number of games presents fears for both Cavs fans as well as Magic fans.

The obvious fear would be in the eyes of Magic fans, who not only have to go up against the Mvp of the league and the team with the NBA’s best record, but also have to worry about the fatigue of playing so many extra games.

To beat Cleveland you have to bring your A game, and when the Cavs are at home, even that will probably not be enough.

With all these extra games, fatigue could prevent that Magic from playing at their A game, in which case Lebron and the Cavs will keep on coasting strait to the Finals.

With Cleveland’s last game being a week ago, Cavs fans fears might be that Cleveland will come out rusty and give up a home game to the Magic.  While it doesn’t sound like a big deal to give up a home game, in a 7 game series it is huge.  Not only does it give the Magic home court advantage, it will also give them the confidence that if they can beat Cleveland at home, they can win the series.

While it is a possibility, I don’t think that a few days off will slow the Cavs roll at all.  This being said, Orlando will be more of a challenge than the Hawks or the Pistons were and they will not be able to sweep.  As long as the Cavs don’t come out rusty and give up one of the first two home games, they take this series in 5.  If they do lose one of the first to games then it will be more of a series than the Cavs want it to be and will likely go to 7.

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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

Kobe’s Doin’ Work

Spike Lee’s new “Joint”, Kobe Doin’ Work, premiered on Espn on Saturday.  By using multiple camera angles and mixing on-court audio with game commentator audio and commentation from Kobe Bryant, a new, interesting dynamic was shown on Kobe’s game.

I’ve always viewed Kobe as a ball hog and not much of a team player but after watching this show it is apparent that he tries to focus just as much on his teammates game as he does his own.  This is good from the aspect that most people do not know that about him but throughout the show also became kind of a negative to me.

As the show went on and on it seemed that Kobe did not respect the basketball I.Q. of his teammates.  He would talk to them and give them instructions as if they were a group of middle school basketball players instead of a group of top tier, NBA basketball players.

I can understand him calling out “i got ball” or “cutter, cutter” to warn his teammates about certain actions taking place on the court, but some of the things he would call out seemed completely pointless and a bit annoying.

By the end of the show, I would not have been surprised at all if he called out the he was about to dribble before doing so.

With all this being said, I acknowledge that Kobe is one of the best, if not the best, basketball players on the planet at this present moment; so he must be doing something right.  Outside of how he communicates with his teammates, this program showed me a lot of good things I did not know about Kobe, and how the professional basketball game is played.  I also gained a lot of respect for Kobe’s ability and knowledge of the game of basketball.

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Categories: Basketball, Sports