Gambo & Scottie’s 2012 NBA Mock Draft

It’s hard to believe that the NBA Draft is already upon us but tomorrow night it all goes down, starting with the consensus No. 1 pick Anthony Davis. The “unibrow” is that good and proved it, helping Kentucky to a National Championship. This class is stocked with talent as there are potential starters into the 20’s. The Celtics pick back-to-back at 21 & 22 thanks to the trade of

“Fear the Brow”

Kendrick Perkins. GM Danny Ainge has already confirmed they are looking for size but could also be in position to take the best player still on the board with one of the selections if someone slips as this is probably the best draft class since 2003.

Scottie & I broke up the draft going pick-by-pick (of course I get the first; I always win) and gave some insight on each player.

Here, we, go:

1) New Orleans Hornets- Anthony Davis F/C, Kentucky (Gambo)

The only sure-fire pick to go to a team is the Unibrow himself. Davis has the potential to be a Kevin Garnett type player and will help transform a New Orleans team desperate for resurgence. If you didn’t like this kid before, the fact that he has already trademarked “Fear the Brow” and “Raise the Brow” should make you a believer.

2) Charlotte Bobcats- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist G/F, Kentucky (Scottie)

MKG is dropping like a rock on many other mock drafts that I have seen.  I can’t understand why.  I saw a fair share of Kentucky games this season and I saw a kid with boat loads of talent.  The Bobcats need anything and everything to get their franchise going.  In my opinion they should play it safe and go with the closest to a sure thing they can.

3) Washington Wizards- Bradley Beal SG, Florida (Gambo)

I’m with Scottie on the MKG pick, but could understand MJ taking Beal or Robinson there if he doesn’t trade. Beal is a sure-fire pick for the Wiz and makes for an intriguing backcourt combination with John Wall; one that could be a force in the league for years if the mesh well over the first few seasons.

4) Cleveland Cavaliers- Thomas Robinson PF, Kansas (Scottie)

Many people have Robinson going behind Davis in this year’s draft.  The kid does have an incredible skill set and did put Kansas on his back on their way to the National Championship.  Watching him and Kyrie Irving play together just may help those Cleveland fans that are bitter about that someone who left town 2 years ago.

5) Sacramento Kings- Harrison Barnes G/F, North Carolina (Gambo)

The Kings are rumored to be pedaling Tyreke Evans and Barnes could be a perfect replacement for him. Harrison has been stated by numerous media members as being the type of player that is better as a pro than in college and the UNC product has the potential to produce.

6) Portland Trail Blazers- Andre Drummond C, UConn (Scottie)

Drummond was a consensus number 1 pick most of the season.  Then he was everyone saw exactly

Will the “motor” be there in the NBA?

what he was.  He is a freakish athlete but extremely raw when it comes to basketball.  He can jump through the roof, run the floor, and block shots.  After that he is very much a work in progress.

7) Golden St. Warriors- Jeremy Lamb SG, UConn (Gambo)

The Drummond pick is the first one that I disagree on with Scottie. Portland is rumored to be salivating over Damian Lilliard and should be the pick at six. As for the Warriors, a two-guard to replace Monta Ellis should be on their list. Lamb looked disinterested at times this season, but should get motivated and put up points as a better “Marshon Brooks-type” player.

8) Toronto Raptors- Austin Rivers G, Duke (Scottie)

Most people have Damian Lilliard ahead of Austin Rivers in their drafts.  Toronto needs a point guard and I think Doc’s kid is the best one in the draft.  He has a great basketball pedigree.  He has an uncanny ability to get to the basket and can also bury his jump shots.

9) Detroit Pistons- John Henson PF, North Carolina (Gambo)

With the trade of Ben Gordon the Pistons could target Lamb or Rivers if they fall, but they could still use a shot-blocking and rebounding presence to team with Greg Monroe. Henson was intimidating near the basket and if he can add some size to his frame, Detroit would have an impressive one-two combo down low.

10) New Orleans Hornets- Damian Lilliard PG, Weber State (Scottie)

The Hornets also need a point guard and Lilliard is right behind Rivers in my opinion.  Lilliard comes from Weber St. I am not big on guys coming from small schools at all.  It is probably the wrong prejudice to have but I feel that Rivers has more big game experience and more exposure.

11) Portland Trail Blazers- Dion Waiters G, Syracuse (Gambo)

Depending on what the Blazers do with the first pick getting size or a point guard, they will most likely draft the opposite here, but if a player like Waiters is still on the board they could go after him, especially if they are serious about trading Jamal Crawford. Waiters played off the bench at Cuse, but when he was on the floor he often took over as the most dynamic scorer on the court. He could instantly contribute in the same way this coming season.

12) Milwaukee Bucks- Terrence Ross G, Washington (Scottie)

The Bucks need a 3 to play with Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis.  Ross handles the ball very well and would be able to find Monta and Jennings on the break.  At 6’7 he would be an oversized 2 that could come off the bench as well.  The Bucks are a team that would like to run and Ross is a terrific rebounder for a guard.

13) Phoenix Suns- Kendall Marshall PG, North Carolina (Gambo)

It’s hard to believe but Steve Nash may not be in a Suns jersey next season. Time for Phoenix to find “who’s next.” Marshall was fantastic for UNC before injuring his wrist and should be back to form in no time. The deft-passing, good-sized point should fill in nicely for the former MVP.

14) Houston Rockets- Tyler Zeller F/C, North Carolina (Scottie)

I once was a Tyler Zeller hater.  That changed this year with each game I saw him play.  I attribute a lot of his success to playing on a stacked team with Henson, Barnes, and Marshall.  But Zeller was no slouch either.  The kid doesn’t miss around the rim and has a deadly hook shot.

15) Philadelphia 76ers- Perry Jones III F, Baylor (Gambo)

Will he realize his potential?

PJ III had a disappointing return season at Baylor but that does not mean he doesn’t have talent. The Sixers would luck out seeing jones slide to 15 and if they do end up trading Iguodala, he could be a key along with Thad Young in replacing his production.

16) Houston Rockets- Meyers Leonard C, Illinois (Scottie)

Let me start this out by saying I think Meyers Leonard is awful.  Every game I saw him play this year he was softer than a baby’s bottom.  He gets frustrated to easily and turns the ball over way too often.  But as the saying goes, “you can’t teach size” and size is something the 7’1 Leonard has.

17) Dallas Mavericks- Terrence Jones F, Kentucky (Gambo)

The Mavs could be in “best player available” mode and taking a National Champ at 17 is definitely not a bad thing. Jones is a player that could contribute immediately off the bench as Dallas looks to surround Dirk with talent and push for a return trip to the Finals.

18) Minnesota Timberwolves- Royce White F, Iowa State (Scottie)

White was very impressive this past season at Iowa State.  If the Timberwolves do in fact take him they just might become the best passing team in the history of basketball with White, Kevin Love, and Ricky Rubio.  I think this kid might be the most intriguing kid in the draft.  There aren’t many 6’8 guys that can handle the ball like he can.

19) Orlando Magic- Arnett Moultrie F/C, Mississippi State (Gambo)

If the Magic end up dealing Dwight they will need some serious size and shot-blocking. Moultrie flew under the radar this season at Mississippi State but scouts love his frame and wingspan. Orlando is facing some tough decisions across the board, but a defensive presence never hurts.

20) Denver Nuggets- Jared Sullinger F, Ohio State (Scottie)

Sullinger was projected to be the #1 overall pick in last year’s draft but decided to stay in school.  He has been red flagged by doctors because of a back injury and he his stock has plummeted.  Some say he can be another Kevin Love.  I disagree.  But the Nuggets need scoring in the paint and if healthy Sullinger could do just that.

21) Boston Celtics- Moe Harkless SF, St. John’s (Gambo)

Hmmmmm, I’m picking for my favorite team and the best player from my Alma Mater since Ron

This man would look good in Green.

Artest is still on the board? MOE BUCKETS! First, I don’t think he lasts past Denver, but Harkless is an athletic talent that played the 4 and 5 last year but is a true 3 in the League. A chance to learn from someone like Paul Pierce could transform Moe into an impressive player.

22) Boston Celtics- Fab Melo C, Syracuse (Scottie)

One thing that was apparent in the playoffs this season was the Celtics had a hard time defending at the rim.  There was nobody other than Garnett that could contest shots in the paint.  I am not a Fab Mello fan by any means but he is the fit for what the Celtics needs down low.

23) Atlanta Hawks- Andrew Nicholson PF, St. Bonaventure (Gambo)

Nicholson was a stretch-4 at St. Bonaventure and while you may not have heard of him, that doesn’t mean his isn’t good. The Hawks have been rumored to be off the Josh Smith bandwagon and if he ends up switching jerseys, Nicholson could have a sizable role in replacing him.

24) Cleveland Cavaliers- Jeffrey Taylor G/F, Vanderbilt (Scottie)

The Cavs need size and perimeter defense. Having Taylor and Varejao on the floor at the same time may limit the Cavs offensively but they would sure be difficult to score on.  The Cavs are a very young team and Taylor is a 4 year college player.  He would be able to provide some experience and compliment Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson pretty well.

25) Memphis Grizzlies- Marquis Teague PG, Kentucky (Gambo)

Memphis has transformed itself into a Western Conference Playoff fixture and is another team that can just go “best player available.” Teague is young but could become an efficient point guard in the league. Jeff’s little brother doesn’t have his size but is a someone who can get up and down the floor and can press the pace with the second unit.

26) Indiana Pacers- Doron Lamb SG, Kentucky (Scottie)

Doron Lamb is the best pure shooter in the draft.  The Pacers’ success revolves around everyone knowing their role and no superstar play.  Lamb fits in perfectly at the 2 alongside Danny Granger and Darren Collison.  Opposing teams would be reluctant to double down on Hibbert leaving Lamb open from the outside.  Lamb could be a steal in this draft.

27) Miami Heat- Quincy Miller F, Baylor (Gambo)

Miller’s injury has pushed him down draft boards but the World Champs would be glad to add an athletic player to their roster who could run with Bron, Wade and Rio. Miller was overshadowed by PJ III and never really found his niche, but could be a solid forward in the NBA for years.

28) Oklahoma City Thunder- Will Barton SG, Memphis (Scottie)

In reality the Thunder really don’t need any additional parts. They really only need to gain experience. Barton is a guy that can come off the bench and give Durant a quick rest.

29) Chicago Bulls- Tony Wroten G, Washington (Gambo)

Wroten could most definitely be gone at this point but with Derrick Rose on the shelf,

It’s a Festivus miracle!

Washington’s 6-foot-6 PG could fill in nicely for the Bulls. Even though his size may throw some people, Wroten is a true point that could run an NBA offense and would fit well with Deng, Boozer an Noah, while also sliding to the two at times once Rose returns.

30) Golden St. Warriors- Festus Ezeli F/C, Vanderbilt

Festivus for the rest of us! Golden State needs a big man to compliment Andrew Bogut, David Lee, and Andris Beidrins.  Plus I just wanted to sneak in a Seinfeld reference, so Ezeli it is.

We can be followed on Twitter @Big3Sports and @ScottieNTCF

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2011 NBA Mock Draft: NTCF Edition

UPDATE: The Bobcats, Bucks and Kings have agreed to a three-team trade that sends Stephen Jackson to Milwaukee and nets Charlotte the No. 7 pick which they are expected to use on fast-rising Texas PF Tristan Thompson. The Kings meanwhile are said to be targeting Jimmer Fredette at 10.

 

Charlotte receives the No. 7 overall pick and Corey Maggette, while the Bucks get Jackson, Beno Udrih, Shaun Livingston and the No. 19 pick. The Kings get the No. 10 pick plus John Salmons from the Bucks.

Also, the Wizards have invited staff members of the Czech Republic Embassy to their draft party Thursday night. It’s a clue that the Wiz are planning on taking Czech F Jan Vesely

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – With less than 24 hours before the 2011 NBA Draft in Newark, N.J., at the Prudential Center, numerous questions remain, but one thing is certain. This is a two-player draft. The Cleveland Cavaliers appear primed to take Duke freshman point guard Kyrie Irving, and the Minnesota Timberwolves should take Arizona forward

Potential No. 1 Overall Pick Kyrie Irving

Derrick Williams, but could end up trading him, especially if they can get a young center in return. These two studs are the can’t miss pieces, but several other players could prove to have significant value.

This draft lacks the star power, talent and depth of recent drafts past, but both Irving and Williams have potential to be All-Stars. The youth of Enes Kanter and Brandon Knight make them intriguing prospects, but should need more time to make adjustments to the rigors of the NBA.

There are a few players who could make an impact down the road and one of the top ones is Kemba Walker. Walker put his name on the map, leading the Huskies through the BIG

UConn Star Kemba Walker

EAST and then on to the NCAA Championship. Walker may be a tad undersized, but his scoring prowess and leadership should vault him up the draft board.

There is also an international flavor to this year’s draft. Bismack Biyombo is a virtual unknown out of the Congo, but could be the best defensive player in 2011. There is some question as to how old he really is, but he should still be a lottery pick. Biyombo could be the defensive force that Ben Wallace was, but unfortunately he also shares his offensive prowess.

Jan Vesely should be the first international player off the board, but Jonas Valanciunas could be the best player. Valanciunas could slide to as far as 14 however, because of the uncertainty surrounding his buyout status.

One of the other big “names” in this draft is Jimmer Fredette. “Jimmer Mania” could go

"Jimmer Mania" > Draft Lottery

as high as No.5 (a stretch I know, but Toronto needs all the publicity it can get) and as low as No. 20. Expect Fredette to go in the lottery, but most teams are still unsure if Jimmer will be as productive on the offensive end as he was in college.

Surprisingly, there are a fair amount of seniors this year, which does further point to weakness of this class. Jimmer will probably be the first one off the board, but Providence star Marshon Brooks, NCAA rebounding champ Kenneth Faried, do-it-all Florida forward Chandler Parsons and Purdue standout JaJuan Johnson should all get a look in the first round.

The Celtics are slated to pick at No. 25, but could move up should Danny Ainge become

What is this man thinking?

enamored with someone earlier in the draft. Should they stay where they are, Michigan’s Darius Morris could make a lot of sense. After a picking Avery Bradley last year (a 6’3” SG), taking Morris (a 6’5” PG) could make for a dynamic backcourt with an eye toward the future. Should the C’s look big, they could take a look at JaJuan Johnson, Jeremy Tyler or Kenneth Faried should he slip.

Mock Draft

1. Cleveland: Kyrie Irving, Fr., PG – Duke

2. Minnesota: Derrick Williams, So., F – Arizona

3. Utah: Brandon Knight, Fr., PG – Kentucky

4. Cleveland: Enes Kanter, Fr./19, C – Kentucky/Turkey

5. Toronto: Kawhi Leonard, So., SF – San Diego State

6. Washington: Jan Vesely, 21, SF – Czech Republic

7. Charlotte: Tristan Thompson, Fr., PF – Texas

8. Detroit: Bismack Biyombo, 18*, PF – Congo

9. Charlotte: Jonas Valanciunas, 19, C – Lithuania

10. Sacramento: Jimmer Fredette, Sr., PG – BYU

11. Golden State: Marcus Morris, Jr., PF – Kansas

12. Utah: Jordan Hamilton, So., SF – Texas

13. Phoenix: Kemba Walker, Jr., PG – Connecticut

14. Houston: Chris Singleton, Jr., F – Florida State

15. Indiana: Klay Thompson, Jr., G/F – Washington State

16. Philadelphia: Markieff Morris, Jr., PF – Kansas

17. New York: Alec Burks, So., SG – Colorodo

18. Washington: Donatas Motiejunas, 20, PF/C – Lithuania

19. Milwaukee: Marshon Brooks, Sr., SG – Providence

20. Minnesota: Nikola Vucevic, Jr., C – Southern California

21. Portland: Kenneth Faried, Sr., PF – Morehead State

22. Denver: Tobias Harris, Fr., F – Tennessee

23. Houston: Iman Shumpert, Jr., G – Georgia Tech

24. Oklahoma City: Tyler Honeycutt, So., SF – UCLA

25. Boston: Darius Morris, So., PG – Michigan

26. Dallas: JaJuan Johnson, Sr., PF/C – Purdue

27. New Jersey: Chandler Parsons, Sr., F – Florida

28. Chicago: Josh Selby, Fr., PG – Kansas

29. San Antonio: Davis Bertans, 18, F – Latvia

30. Chicago: Jeremy Tyler, 20, C – Japan

Would this man look good in green?

Pre-Draft NBA Depth Charts

PG SG SF PF C
Atlanta
J. Teague J. Johnson M. Williams J. Smith A. Horford
K. Hinrich J. Crawford D. Wilkins J. Powell Z. Pachulia
P. Sy M. Rolle H.Armstrong
J. Collins
E. Thomas
Boston
R. Rondo R. Allen P. Pierce K. Garnett J. O’Neal
D. West V. Wafer J. Green G. Davis T. Murphy
C. Arroyo A. Bradley S. Pavlovic
Charlotte
D. Augustin G. Henderson S. Jackson B. Diaw K. Brown
S. Livingston M. Peterson D. McGuire T. Thomas J. Przybilla
S. Collins G. Temple M. Carroll D.Cunningham D. Diop
E. Najera
Chicago
D. Rose K. Bogans L. Deng C. Boozer J. Noah
C. Watson R. Brewer K. Korver T. Gibson O. Asik
J. Pargo R. Butler B. Scalbrine K. Thomas
J. Lucas
Cleveland
B. Davis A. Parker A. Jamison J. Hickson A. Varejao
R. Sessions D. Gibson C. Eyenga S. Samuels S. Erden
M. Harris A. Gee L. Harangody R. Hollins
Dallas
J. Kidd R. Beaubois S. Marion D. Nowitzki T. Chandler
J. Barea J. Terry C. Butler B. Cardinal B. Haywood
C. Brewer D. Stevenson I. Mahinmi
D. Jones P. Stojakovic
Denver
T. Lawson A. Afflalo D. Gallinari K. Martin Nene
R. Felton J. Smith W. Chandler A. Harrington C. Anderson
G. Forbes M. Ely T. Mozgov
K. Koufos
Detriot
R. Stuckey R. Hamilton T. Prince C. Wilcox G. Monroe
W. Bynum B. Gordon A. Daye C. Villanuva B. Wallace
T. McGrady D. Summers J. Jerebko
J. Maxiell
Golden State
S. Curry M. Ellis D. Wright D. Lee E. Udoh
J. Lin R. Williwams A. Thornton V.Radmonovic A. Biedrins
A. Law C. Bell L. Amundson
Houston
K. Lowry K. Martin C. Budinger L. Scola C. Hayes
G. Dragic C. Lee T. Williams P. Patterson B. Miller
M. Harris J. Hill H. Thabeet
M. Cousin Yao
Indiana
D. Collison P. George D. Granger T. Hansbrough R. Hibbert
A. Price B. Rush M. Dunleavy J. McRoberts J. Foster
T. Ford L. Stephenson D. Jones S. Jones
J. Posey
Los Angeles Clippers
M. Williams E. Gordon R. Gomes B. Griffin D. Jordan
E. Bledsoe R. Foye A. Aminu C. Smith C. Kaman
W. Warren J. Moon I. Diogu B. Cook
Los Angeles Lakers
D. Fisher K. Bryant R. Artest P. Gasol A. Bynum
S. Blake S. Brown M. Barnes L. Odom T. Ratliff
T. Johnson L. Walton J. Smith
D. Ebanks D. Caracter
Memphis
M. Conley T. Allen R. Gay Z. Randolph M. Gasol
G. Vasquez O. Mayo S. Battier L. Powe D. Arthur
I. Smith X. Henry S. Young H. Haddadi
Miami
M.Chalmers D. Wade L. James C. Bosh J. Anthony
M. Bibby E. House M. Miler U. Haslem J. Howard
J. Jones D. Pittman Z. Ilgauskas
E. Dampier
J. Magloire
Minnesota
R. Rubio W. Johnson M. Beasley K. Love D. Milicic
L. Ridnour M. Webster L. Hayward A. Randolph N. Pekovic
J. Flynn W. Ellington A. Tolliver
S. Telfair
Milwaukee
B. Jennings J. Salmons C. Delfino L. Mbah a Moute A. Bogut
K. Dooling M. Redd C. Maggette E. Ilyasova D. Gooden
E. Boykins C. Douglas-Roberts D. Hobson L. Sanders J. Brockmon
New Jersey
D. Williams A. Morrow D. James K. Humphries B. Lopez
J. Farmar S. Vujacic T. Outlaw J. Petro D. Gadzuric
S. Gaines M. West S. Graham B. Wright
New Orleans
C. Paul M. Belinelli T. Ariza D. West E. Okafor
J. Jack W. Green Q. Pondexter C. Landry A. Gray
J. McNeal P. Ewing Jr. J. Smith D. Mbenga
P. Mensah-Bonsu D. Anderson
New York
C. Billups L. Fields C. Anthony A. Stoudemire R. Turiaf
T. Douglas R. Mason B. Walker S. Williams S. Williams
A. Carter A. Rautins R. Balkman D. Brown J. Jeffries
Oklahoma
R.Westbrook T. Sefolosha K. Durant S. Ibaka K. Perkins
E. Maynor J. Harden D. Cook N. Collison N.Mohammed
R. Ivey N. Robinson C. Aldrich B. Mullens
Orlando
J. Nelson J. Richardson H. Turkoglu B. Bass D. Howard
G. Arenas J. Redick Q. Richardson R. Anderson D. Orton
C. Duhon E. Clark M. Allen
Philadelphia
J. Holiday J. Meeks A. Iguodala E. Brand S. Hawes
L. Williams E. Turner T. Young M. Speights T. Battie
J. Kapono A. Nocioni D. Songaila C. Brackins
Phoenix
S. Nash J. Dudley G. Hill C. Frye M. Gortat
A. Brooks M. Pietrus J. Childress H. Warrick R. Lopez
Z. Dowdell G. Lawal G. Siler
Portland
A. Miller W. Matthews G. Wallace L. Aldridge M. Camby
B. Roy R. Fernandez N. Batum C. Johnson G. Oden
P. Mills E. Williams L. Babbitt E. Barron J. Collins
A. Johnson
San Antonio
T. Parker M. Ginobili R. Jefferson T. Duncan A. McDyess
G. Hill G. Neal J. Anderson T. Splitter D. Blair
C. Quinn D. Butler S. Novak M. Bonner
Sacramento
T. Evans M. Thornton F. Garcia D. Cousins S.Dalembert
B. Udrih M. Daniels O. Casspi J. Thompson H. Whiteside
P. Jeter J. Taylor D. Greene D. Jackson
Toronto
J. Calderon D. DeRozan J. Johnson A. Johnson A. Bargnani
J. Bayless L. Barbosa L. Kleiza E. Davis R. Evans
M. Banks S. Weems J. Wright J. Dorsey S. Alabi
A. Ajinca
Utah
D. Harris C. Miles A. Kirilenko P. Millsap A. Jefferson
E. Watson R. Bell G. Hayward D. Favors M. Okur
R. Price J. Evans F. Elson K. Fesenko
Washington
J. Wall J. Crawford R. Lewis A. Blatche J. McGee
M. Shakur N. Young T. Booker Yi H. N’diaye
O. Jeffers M. Evans L. Owens K. Seraphin

Wild Wild West: Picking the NBA All-Star Reserves

The NBA All-Star reserves will be announced tomorrow night after starters were selected last week for the annual event taking place in Los Angeles. We already know Derrick Rose, Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, Amare Stoudemire and Dwight Howard will represent the East, while Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Yao Ming have been selected in the West. With so much talent and impressive performances so far this season, someone will definitely be left off the roster, especially in the Western Conference, where as many as five deserving players could not make the team.

Each conference team will have a seven-player bench and the Western team will actually have an injury replacement due to Yao being selected as a starter. David Stern will make the final pick.

Let’s take a look at the deserving players on each side and who may end up with the short end of the stick.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Reserves

Tim Duncan (Commissioner’s Pick)

Pau Gasol

Manu Ginobili

Blake Griffin

Kevin Love

Dirk Nowitzki

Russell Westbrook

Deron Williams

The Western Conference is near impossible to predict correctly as selections could go any number of ways. The guys that are sure to be there: Pau Gasol, Manu Ginobili, Blake Griffin and Dirk Nowitzki. That leaves just three spots left. Deron Williams will probably be on this team for the next ten years so do not be surprised to see him there this year. Russell Westbrook is averaging over 20 points and eight assists for a first-place team so I think he needs to on this roster. That leaves one spot for everyone else. Since I think Tim Duncan will end up being Stern’s pick to replace Yao, Kevin Love gets the nod. I recently saw the stat that says he is averaging more rebounds than anyone since Dennis Rodman, and “the crazy one” gave you nothing on offense. Love averages 20 points a game. Those numbers should be enough to overcome a last-place team.

Snubs

LaMarcus Aldridge

Chauncey Billups

Monta Ellis

Rudy Gay

Steve Nash

Lamar Odom

Zach Randolph

Tony Parker

Parker is the point guard for a number-one team, but it’s a stacked year so no dice. Monta Ellis averaged 25.2 points per game last year and didn’t make the team. This year he is averaging 25.1. LaMarcus Aldridge has been playing great as of late, but was quoted as saying he did not expect to make the team so no harm no foul. Gay and Randolph have been great for the Grizzlies, but I still don’t think the league is ready to have anyone from Memphis on the team (although Randolph’s point and rebound averages make him a deserving selection). The toughest omission here is Steve Nash. To not have the former MVP on the team seems almost wrong and I would not be surprised to see him make it over Kevin Love.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Reserves

Ray Allen

Chris Bosh

Kevin Garnett

Al Horford

Joe Johnson

Paul Pierce

Rajon Rondo

The reserves for the East are fairly obvious to pick. Just about everyone here is a shoe-in. A case could be made for Raymond Felton from our snub list, but there is no one that you can really take off the reserve list to put him on. Josh Smith has had a solid season, but once again, not good enough to trump anyone on the reserves.

Snubs

Carlos Boozer

Elton Brand

Raymond Felton

Danny Granger

Andre Iguodala

Josh Smith

No matter who is picked to be on the teams, it should be a phenomenal game, and one that I will enjoy more than since (yes I am going to continue to use this line) when Michael Jordan was still in the league.

2010-2011 NBA Midseason Awards

For basketball purists, this has to be one of the best seasons since… well since Michael Jordan was still in the league. You have transcendent superstars (see Kobe Bryant) dominant players (see Dwight Howard), grizzled veterans (see Kevin Garnett) and up-and-coming youngsters (see Blake Griffin). Now all those examples are just one of many choices you could make from an extremely deep list.

This is possibly the toughest year in recent memory to actually pick winners for awards because of the exorbitant talent level across the NBA.

Because there are so many potential choices for each of these awards, I thought it best to have two options/opinions on our awards so the spectrum of deserving players can be diversified.

Last night while Gambo was channeling his inner Tom Gugliotta and I was doing my best to honor the great Tom Chambers in some pick up basketball, we realized it was midseason in the NBA and we started discussing who is deserving of some NBA hardware.  We learned we had different view points and figured it would be nice to share them with our faithful readers.

All NBA Third Team

Gambo:

Dwight Howard

Blake Griffin

Paul Pierce

Dwayne Wade

Derrick Rose

Scottie:

Pau Gasol

Kevin Love

Paul Pierce

Manu Ginobli

Russell Westbrook

All NBA Second Team

Gambo:

Amare Stoudemire

Dirk Nowitzki

Kevin Garnett

Manu Ginobili

Deron Williams

Scottie:

Dwight Howard

Dirk Nowitizki

Kevin Durant

Monta Ellis

Rajon Rondo

All NBA First Team

Gambo:

Pau Gasol

Kevin Durant

LeBron James

Kobe Bryant

Chris Paul

Scottie:

Amar’e Stoudimire

Blake Griffin

LeBron James

Kobe Bryant

Derek Rose

All-Defensive Team

Gambo:

Dwight Howard

Kevin Garnett

Rudy Gay

Kobe Bryant

Russell Westbrook

Scottie:

Dwight Howard

Kevin Garnett

Corey Brewer

Tyreke Evans

Chris Paul

All Rookie Team

Gambo:

DeMarcus Cousins

Blake Griffin

Greg Monroe

Landry Fields

John Wall

Scottie

DeMarcus Cousins

Blake Griffin

Gary Neal

Landry Fields

John Wall

Executive of the Year

Gambo: Pat Riley

As much as you might hate the Heat, the “architect” himself was responsible for putting together a big-three that will contend for years to come. It took some time but the studs in South Beach seem to have it all figured out now. Runner-up: Danny Ainge, for keeping the Celtics together for another year.

Scottie: Pat Riley

I hate Pat Riley.  I hate the Heat. But there is no getting around the roster moves he made in the off season making the Heat a sure fire force for years to come.  Just saying that last sentence leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

Sixth Man of the Year

Gambo: Serge Ibaka

Now he probably should be starting for the “Zombie Sonics,” but Serge does the majority of his damage off the bench. If the Thunder want to challenge the Lakers, Spurs and Mavs in the West, they will need his size and shot-blocking down the stretch. Other deserving candidates: Jason Terry, Jamal Crawford and Glen Davis.

Scottie: Glen Davis

I am picking Glen Davis and it has zero to do with him being on the hometown team.  No one brings more energy or is more valuable to his team off the bench than Davis is for the Celtics.  He is averaging 12.5 ppg and grabbing 6 boards a game.  As of January 19, he has taken 34 charges! With that absurd number he has basically created a new stat! He has developed a nice outside jumper that forces defenses to respect him and he is not getting blocked nearly as many times as he did last year.  He is finishing around the rim and is punishing his opposition with a sweet little spin move reminiscent of Antoine Walker.  Give Big Baby the 6th man of the year award right now.

Most Improved Player of the Year

Gambo: Raymond Felton

There are a lot of good choices out there with players such as Kevin Love, Rudy Gay and Eric Gordon, but Felton is player I almost completely wrote off last season. Now, he is the quarterback of D’Antoni’s offense and a borderline All-Star. Not bad for a guy who was more-or-less run out of town by Larry Brown.

Scottie: Eric Gordon

I was debating between Kevin Love, Michael Beasley, and Eric Gordon here.  Gordon has improved his stats from last year (16 points a game to 23 a night) and has been able to handle different tasks assigned to him.  When Baron Davis was out with an injury, he stepped right into that role and played well.  It is clear his summer with Team USA has made him a better player. Beasley and Love were also picked higher than Gordon and they should be playing as well as they are. I don’t think anyone ever expected consistent production out of Gordon.

Coach of the Year

Gambo: Greg Popovich

Coming into the season the Spurs had a ton of question marks with age, declining play and young players in bigger roles. “Pop” has done a great job of tailoring everyone’s new role while pushing Ginobili into starting lineup and monitoring Tim Duncan’s minutes.

Scottie: Tom Thibodeau

The Bulls are in line for the 3 seed in the Eastern Conference at the mid point of the season. Their front court has been decimated by the injury bug with Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer playing in about half the team’s games. Sure, Derek Rose is an MVP candidate but this is largely the same team Vinny Del Negro had one year ago. Other than Derek Rose and Luol Deng this team doesn’t really have any key contributors that have gotten them to their 29 wins.  The reason for their success is because of Coach T.

Defensive Player of the Year

Gambo: Dwight Howard

No one changes opponents’ game plans on both ends of the floor as much as Howard. A force in the middle that clogs the lane and deters players from driving the lane; he also possesses amazing quickness for someone his size.

Scottie: Kevin Garnett

Call me a homer but is there anyone more valuable to his team on the defensive side of the ball than KG? He is the most intense player in the NBA hands down and he brings out that intensity on the defensive side of the ball.  He missed nine games and in those nine games it was apparent how much the Celtics missed him.  He may not stuff the stat sheet on the defensive end but teams that play the Celtics don’t generally put up a high field goal percentage.  That can be attributed to KG.

Rookie of the Year

Gambo: Blake Griffin

Entering the season, there was a question if John Wall or someone like DeMarcus Cousins could challenge Blake for the top rookie honor, but it quickly became clear that Mr. Griffin is head and shoulders above the rest.

Scottie: Blake Griffin

Not only is Blake Griffin hands down the Rookie of the Year, if the MVP vote was made on stats alone, he would be getting some votes. At the time of this writing the Clippers are 7-3 in their last 10 games and there isn’t a player in the NBA that’s on more of a hot streak than Griffin.  He routinely has 3 posters a night as he takes out all his aggression on the rim when he drives to the basket.  More importantly he has improved outrageously over the course of the last 3 months.  Here’s some stats to take in: October:  16.7ppg and 11.0  rpg. November:20.9  ppg and 11.7 rpg. December:23.0 ppg and 13.5 rpg. January:27.8 ppg and 13.6 rpg. Sick and wrong.

MVP

Gambo: Dirk Nowitzki,

Prior to his injury he was a shoe-in for the award. Dirk is the only guy out there right now that is doing it without at least another boarderline superstar. I know Scottie will say Kevin Durant, which you can easily make an argument for, but Westbrook definitely helps more than a quickly-aging Jason Kidd. Boston, Miami, Los Angeles and San Antonio all split votes, so Dirk it is. Runner-up: Kevin Durant

Second Runner-up; Derrick Rose

Scottie: Amar’e Stoudimire

Last year I argued (and will continue to do so) that Kevin Durant was the MVP of the 2010 season.  When I think valuable, I think of how good the respective team of the MVP candidate would be if they weren’t on the team.  With that being said Amar’e is far and away the MVP of the first half of the NBA season.  Last season the Knicks were a joke.  This season they are nearly a lock to make the playoffs because of Amar’e.  He is second in the league averaging 26.4 points a night, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists.  More importantly he has put people back in the seats of Madison Square Garden. He had one stretch of ten games with over 30 points.  There is no one playing better ball than this man right now.

Celtics Christmas Day

Well, I’m finally back from a short hiatus to give a little insight on the Boston Celtics with a short post. As if you did not know, the Celtics have won their last 14 games in a row. Sadly, we have to sit through this Bulls-Knicks in order to get to the Celtics, but the wait should be well worth it.
The Magic have completely revamped their lineup, most notably shipping off perennial underachiever Vince Carter and acquiring Jason Richardson (who ALWAYS plays well against the Celtics for some reason), Gilbert Arenas (who looks to have guns ablazin coming off the bench, pun intended), and choosing to have Hedo Turkoglu come back to possibly be the power/point he was when they went to the finals 2 years ago. The problem for the Magic is they traded defense for offense and became smaller, especially by relinquishing Gortat in the middle, who seemed to step up his game whenever he played the C’s.
So in the end you can look for the Celtics, who are averaging 100 ppg and giving up just over 90 ppg, to be too much for these new look Magic to handle…just like last year. Merry Christmas.

Celtics Recap 10/26-10/30

 Finally, FINALLY, the Celtics are back.  I will be doing a weekly recap of the teams games and how they performed as a new segment to Not the Common Fan.

10/26 Heat @ Celtics
 
The Eastern Conference Champion Boston Celtics opened their 2010-11 season against the already anointed favorites Miami Heat, although I obviously dispute this.  The game did not start the way anyone expected with a combination of defense and sloppy play the score after the first quarter was 16-9 in favor of the Celtics.  Keep in mind that the Heat scored more than 9 points in every game last season without their “juggernaut” squad.  The Celtics were the team that kept the defense up and finally started clicking on offense taking a 15 point lead into halftime.  The Heat made a run, as every NBA team does, cutting the double digit lead to single digits heading into the fourth quarter.  Behind Rondo and his 17 assists, the C’s fended off the eventual champs (at least from what everyone says) and gained their first big win of the season.  The problem is closing the game became really tough, foreshadowing the week.

 Celtics 88 Heat 80

 Record: Celtics 1-0

 10/27 Celtics @ Cavaliers

 Herein lies the fear of the regular season for the older Boston Celtics; the back-to-back game nights. All you hear is that the Celtics are a team that is made for the playoffs.  While this may be true, you have to expect that this team of veterans and minimal young talent should easily be able to dismantle the young teams in the NBA.

The Cleveland Cavaliers lost LeBron James.  I know this is somewhat of a shock to all of you, but yes it happened.  The Cavs came out on their opening night with something to prove.  At 3 specific points (twice in the first half and once late in the second) the Celtics had the opportunity to pull away and put the game out of reach.  It was either the Cavs imposing their opening night, “we lost LeBron but can still win” will to keep scoring or the tired legs of the older Celtics scoring 14 fourth quarter points (hopefully the former) that made Cleveland win that game.

Celtics 87 Cleveland 95

Record: Celtics 1-1

10/29 Knicks @ Celtics

Finally on this opening week the new look Knicks came to Boston with newly acquired Amare Stoudemire and Raymond Felton.  The Celtics once again started extremely slow.  Six turnovers in the first six minutes along with a quick 9 point deficit seemed to be a bad omen.  The Celtics got back on track, and aside from an exceptional shooting night from a somewhat unknown 3rd year player Wilson Chandler, the Celtics held the Knicks at bay.  Yet, once again, with under 2 minutes to play the lead started to slip away.  On the back of the best point guard in the league, Rajon Rondo and his triple-double (including 24 assists, 4 away from Bob Cousy and his team record for a game) the Celtics held off the late push and won the game.

Celtics 105 Knicks 101

Record: Celtics 2-1

What we have learned:

We have learned exactly what we already knew, with a possibility of surprises without overreacting to it being the opening week.  First, the Celtics are not exactly young.  It has taken them a few minutes to find a rhythym in all 3 games so far this season, but we should expect that to change during the course of the next week or two.  Second, Shaq came prepared to do what Rasheed Wallace was supposed to do, at least as far as he thought.  Shaq looks in shape and determined, once again trying to not overract.  Third, Paul Pierce is in the best shape of his life.  This is going to help his agility, but the problem is going to be that there is the chance for the small forward he guards to really body him and enforce their own will driving the lane and working the post.  Fourth, Rajon Rondo will lead the league in steals and assists and will push for the MVP…ok that was more of an opinion.  Any way about it, as Celtics fans we have to enjoy this year because they will be around to have a say in who wins the title.

Games Week of 10/31-11/6:

Tues. 11/2 – @ Detroit

Wed. 11/3 – Milwaukee

Fri. 11/5 – Chicago

2010-11 NBA Preview: Eastern Conference

Finally, the most hyped NBA season since the days of Jordan is upon us. Tonight’s game between the Heat and the Celtics is already being billed as a preview of the Eastern Conference Championship and floor seats for the game are going for over $3,000. If you have been paying too much attention to the MLB Playoffs and your fantasy football team, this column is for you. The following is run down of each team in each conference from first to 15th with a special fantasy focus section for studs, duds and sleepers on each team. Enjoy; I know I will this season.

Eastern Conference

Miami Heat

The “new big three” have dominated the offseason now that LeBron James and Chris Bosh have joined Dwayne Wade in South Beach. 70 wins is definitely in play with just those three and even though new addition Mike Miller is out until January, he will eventually play a valuable roll on this team. Bit players Carlos Arroyo, Mario Chalmers, Joel Anthony, James Jones and Eddie House will all see time with Arroyo and Anthony joining the starting lineup to start the season. Miami also recently signed Jerry Stackhouse to try and fill Miller’s void for the time being. Udonis Haslem is one of the main holdovers from last year’s squad and could end up starting by the end of the season. Zydrunas Ilguaskas was also brought in to provide depth at the center position.

Fantasy Studs: James, Wade, Bosh

Duds: Chalmers, Anothony

Sleeper: Haslem, Miller (Once he returns from injury)

Orlando Magic

The Magic kept most of their pieces from last year aside from Matt Barnes, but did add Quentin Richardson and Chris Duhon. Dwight Howard remains the focal point and is a top-five player in the league. Jameer Nelson looks to rebound from an injury riddled season while Rashad Lewis hopes to rebound from just an underwhelming one. Vince Carter is far from the player he was in Toronto, but does provide a veteran presence, much in the mold of Ray Allen. Marcin Gortat will back up Howard while Brandon Bass and Ryan Anderson will provide depth along the front line. J.J. Reddick is one of the best 3-point specialists in the league.

Studs: Howard

Duds: Richardson

Sleeper: Reddick (if Carter goes down), Lewis (look for a bounce-back season)

Boston Celtics

After coming within just a few minutes of the Championship last season, the Celtics realized it was the inside game that cost them and went out and added two veteran O’Neal centers: Shaquille and Jermaine. Both will fill fin or Kendrick Perkins as he rehabs his knee injury and will provide depth in the playoffs. Along with the Magic, the Celtics are one of the deepest teams in the league. The original big three is still intact and presumably all healthy for the first time since 2007. Rajon Rondo has developed into one of the top-five point guards in the league and looks to improve more this season. The improved depth is evident in holdovers Glen Davis, Nate Robinson and Marquis Daniels along with new additions Delonte West and Von Wafer. The draft class was also a good one with the selections of Avery Bradley and Luke Harangody.

Studs: Rondo

Duds: Both O’Neals

Sleepers: Garnett, Pierce (most people think they are just too old)

Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks are a team who did not do much in the offseason roster wise, but did make the coaching change from Mike Woodson to Larry Drew. His new motion offense should benefit all players and hopefully push the team further in the playoffs this year. Joe Johnson is the consummate All-Star and constantly underrated. Josh Smith is one of the best shot-blockers in the league and after he finally abandoned the 3-point shot last year, improved his field-goal percentage immensely. Al Horford is a guy to look out for as he is an intense rebounder with an offensive game and can run the floor. Marvin Williams should be the player to benefit the most from Drew’s new offensive scheme. Jamal Crawford comes back to defend his sixth-man of the year title and second year point guard Jeff Teague will push Mike Bibby for the starting gig. Jordan Crawford, the team’s first round draft pick has a phenomenal offensive game, but would need an injury to Johnson or Crawford to make a mark.

Studs: Johnson, Smith, Horford

Duds: Bibby

Sleepers: Williams, Teague

Chicago Bulls

The Bulls missed out on LeBron and Stoudemire but got the consolation prize of Carlos Boozer. Unfortunately he is now injured and will miss the first few months of the season. The team will rest on the shoulders of Derrick Rose who should take another step in his development this year. Joakim Noah is becoming one of the best centers of the league with his abundant energy and defensive presence. Luol Deng will be the third offensive option and needs to stay healthy to really make an impact. Taj Gibson will fill in for Boozer while he is down. Ronnie Brewer was brought in to be the starting two guard but an injury has allowed Keith Bogans to take the starting job. Kyle Korver was also brought in from Utah and should be the sixth man off the bench.

Studs: Noah, Rose

Duds: Bogans (don’t let the starting job fool you)

Sleeper: Brewer

Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks made a giant leap last year to the playoffs with the additions of Brandon Jennings and John Salmons. The injury to Andrew Bogut hurt the team down the stretch and even though he is not 100 percent healthy yet, he will improve as the season goes on. Jennings is still raw and does not shoot at a great percentage, but will continue to grow into his game rapidly. Salmons has missed the preseason but should round into shape soon. The Bucks are undersized aside from Bogut, but are deep. Drew Gooden, Luc Richard Mbah A Moute and Ersan Ilyasova will all get time at power forward while Carlos Delfino has laid claim to the the starting small forward job. Corey Maggette was the big offseason addition, and while he does add scoring, his lack of defense may not fit well with Scott Skiles scheme.

Studs: Jennings

Duds: Mbah A Moute

Sleepers: Delfino, Salmons (don’t let the missed preseason sway you)

Indiana Pacers

The Pacers are an interesting team and could make the playoffs this year. The trade that sent Troy Murphy to New Jersey finally gives Indy a legit point guard in Darren Collison. It could take the former UCLA product some time to figure out the offense, but he should be a top-10 option by the end of the year. The season really depends on the health of Danny Granger. A top-10 player overall when he is healthy, he is bound to miss at least 10 games and has already missed preseason action. Mike Dunleavy is also healthy and should provide solid production off the bench or in the starting lineup. Roy Hibbert is a player primed for a breakout season. There is really no one else to take time from him and he could come close to averaging a double-double with two blocks a game. Josh McRoberts has been handed the starting power forward gig but could lose time to a deep rotation. T.J. Ford, Brandon Rush, Paul George, James Posey, Jeff Foster, Tyler Hansbrough, Dahntay Jones, Lance Stephonson and A.J. Price form a solid bench.

Studs: Granger, Collison

Duds: McRoberts

Sleepers: Hibbert, George (if anything happens to Granger)

Detroit Pistons

The Pistons had a tough 2009-10 and hope to return to the playoffs this season. They still lack a true superstar but are deep enough to make it back in a weaker Eastern Conference. Richard Hamilton and his facemask hope to come back healthy and form a solid backcourt with Rodney Stuckey. Tayshaun Prince was awful last season and will need to step his game up with Austin Daye and Charlie Villanueva at forward. Ben Wallace is back in the middle but should eventually split time with former Georgetown star Greg Monroe. Speaking of former BIG EAST stars, Ben Gordon is back and hopes to regain his sixth-man, gunner form. Hard to believe we talk about Tracy McGrady as a sixth man, but if he can get healthy he could make the difference for this team late in the season.

Studs: sorry, none on this team

Duds: McGrady (too much of an injury risk)

Sleepers: Daye (really could be great), Hamilton, Stuckey, Villanueva, Monroe (yes all of them)

Charlotte Bobcats

So Michael Jordan and Larry Brown run a team. How could you not pull for them?The Bobcats are much better as a fantasy team, but will need someone to really step up for them to make the playoffs. Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson should carry the scoring load. D.J. Augstin takes over at point guard and while he many not rack up assists he will shoot plenty of threes. Boris Diaw is the starting power forward and may be one of the best passing big men in the league. Tyrus  “The Human Pogo Stick” Thomas will be fun to watch this season and could prove to be a great sixth man. Nazr Mohammed, DeSagana Diop and MJ’s former No. 1 pick Kwame Brown will man the pivot.

Studs: Wallace

Duds: Mohammed

Sleeper: Thomas (could be gold if he starts), Augustin

Washington Wizards

No. 1 overall pick John Wall has made Washington relevant even with all of Gilbert Arenas’ antics last year. The two of them make a very intriguing backcourt if they can get over Arenas’ past transgressions. The Wizards also boast two of the most intriguing young big men in the Association. Andray Blatche has locked down the power forward spot and JaVale McGee looked great in his time with the national team. Josh Howard hopes to return in a couple months while Al Thornton holds down his spot. The reserves are interesting with Kirk Hinrich and Yi Jianlian, both of whom has started for the majority of their careers.

Studs: Wall

Duds: Arenas (he could be overshadowed by Wall)

Sleepers: Blatche, McGee, Hinrich

Philadelphia 76ers

The Sixers have a new coach in Doug Collins and hope to get as much as they can out of Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala. Young players Jrue Holiday, Thaddeus Young and Lou Williams will be asked to play bigger roles this year. They also traded Samuel Dalembert for Spencer Hawes and Andres Nocioni, both of whom should contribute immediately. In the draft, they took Evan Turner No. 2 overall, but with Iguodala and Holiday in the backcourt, he will need to play very well in order to contribute early.

Studs: Iguodala

Duds: Brand (needs to stay healthy)

Sleepers: Holiday

New York Knicks

The Knicks added prized free agent Amar’e Stourdemire and only retained Danillo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Toney Douglas and Bill Walker from last year. Stoudemire, Gallinari and Chandler should join former UNC standout and Bobcat poing guard Raymond Felton in the starting lineup. Toney Douglas and Roger Mason could start if coach Mike D’Antoni decides to go small or Timofey Mozgov and Rony Turiaf at center if they go big. Anthony Randolph is an intriguing prospect but is extremely raw. Stourdemire will have to truly carry this team on his back for them to make the Playoffs.

Studs: Stourdemire

Duds: Chandler (still not sure if he’s playing SG or PF; may have value late in season.)

Sleeper: Randolph

New Jersey Nets

New owner Michail Prochorov brings a new era to the Nets, who have stated they want to be in contention for a championship very soon; just not this season. Brook Lopez has quickly become a topflight center and even though Devin Harris has not lived up to the hype of the Jason Kidd trade, he is one of the better scoring point guards in the league when he is healthy. Newly acquired Troy Murphy is as solid when they come at power forward; when he’s healthy. Expect Terrence Williams to take a jump in year two. He is proving to be a triple-double threat any time he gets the minutes. Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow, Kris Humphries, Travis Outlaw, Johan Petro and first rounder Derrick Favors are all new this year. Morrow will probably start at shooting guard while Favors should see playing time as an extremely talented one-year college player.

Studs: Lopez

Duds: Murphy (new system and injury risk)

Sleepers: Williams

Toronto Raptors

The bottom two teams in the east are the two teams that lost out on the biggest superstars. The post-Bosh era begins and all spotlights point to former No. 1 pick Andrea Bargnani. While he is no Dirk Nowtizki, he is a very talented seven footer who can shoot from outside, but the help is just not there yet. DeMar DeRozan begins year No. 2 in the NBA after his one college season. Another talented, young player, but he is not ready to step up to All-Star level yet. Toronto is probably the team with the greatest European feel to it, but that will not translate to postseason success this year.

Studs: Bargnani

Duds: too many

Sleeper: DeRozan

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavs really could go from first to worst in 2010-11. We will find out early how much LeBron James really means to a team. At first glance this would appear to Antawn Jamison’s team, but word has come down that he will come off the bench in favor of J.J. Hickson. Hickson has amazing potential and should pair well with starting center Anderson Varejao. Much of the scoring load will fall on Mo Williams who pairs with former Milwaukee Bucks teammate Ramon Sessions. Remember, neither really thrived when they played together before. Boobie Gison will launch a lot of threes while Anthony Parker and Leon Powe will be relied on for solid minutes.

Studs: None

Duds: Parker

Sleepers: Hickson

That does it for the Eastern Conference. Check in this afternoon for the Western Conference.