Thursday, December 25, 2008

Lakers vs. Celtics Post-game Comments

Image from

Now that was what I call a real game.

The Lakers have ended Boston's win streak at 19 wins with a 92-83 victory. This victory was also significant because it was Phil Jackson's 1000th victory, making him the fastest coach to reach that mark in NBA history.

The game was a lot closer than the score may indicate. It wasn't til the final minutes that the Lakers pulled away. The lead was passed numerous times back and forth up until the end of the game. The Lakers can take this victory and use it as a confidence booster for future match-ups with the Celtics; LA needed this win to prove to themselves that they could compete at the same level.

Pau Gasol and Trevor Ariza came through for LA at the right times, and they're going to need to do the same come June. Ariza had two notable hustle plays, where he ran the length of the court to save a ball going out of bounds. Both plays led to buckets for the Lakers and fan pandamonium. Pau, who only shot 3-9 in the first half, found the zone in the 4th quarter. He consistently attacked the rim and forced Garnett to work on the defensive end.

Boston on the other hand shouldn't be too worried. A lot of iffy calls went against them, and there's no doubt that the home crowd definitely helped LA pull out the W. However, what they should be worried about his how well their second line can hold up against opponents. During a critical stretch of the fourth quarter, the second line failed to get the ball to Ray Allen, who had been shooting very well for the game. Instead, Eddie House was running around picks jacking up 25ft jumpers. Doc Rivers is going to have to make sure that his backups remember to defer to the big guns when apppropriate.

Another key factor in this game was free throws, or in Boston's case, the lack of free throws. Paul Pierce and Garnett were satisfied settling for long jumpers. While they did manage to hit many of them, they failed to draw fouls and play their physical game with Laker's bigs. Normally getting to the line more 25 times a game, they only shot eight free throws tonight. In comparison, the Lakers shot 15.

In no way did this game disappoint. Congrats to the Lakers and Phil Jax for his milestone victory. Luckily these two giants will meet once more in the regular season.

Christmas Day Live Blog

First and foremost, Merry Christmas to all you Double Dribbling readers. Hopefully you all had a great time with your families.

And if you didn't, there's no need to fret yet; we've all been blessed with 5 great NBA games on Christmas day. Double Dribbling will be updating continuously today with updates on the Suns v Spurs game, and a postgame analysis of the Lakers/Celtics.

Earlier today, the Hornets got man-handled by the Magic. CP3 needs more help...but more on that later.

Suns and Spurs up now; here we go:

1st Quarter:
  • Suns win tip and go right to Shaq for two straight plays: 2 pts on the first play, assist to Amare for the second.
  • Suns are out of the gate HOT and up 9-0 on 4-4 shooting two minutes in to the game. Pop had to call the timeout.
  • 7:08 left in the quarter. The Spurs are on the board down 13-4, and the Suns have cooled off. They are imposing their will in the paint.
  • 4:30 - Tony Parker just got SWATTED by STAT. These Suns are starting to look like the Suns of old.
  • 1:50 - Spurs just went on 6-0 run. Shaq is sitting on the bench, and Lopez's inexperience is evident; he came up way short on his first jumper and turned the ball over on the next play. He also looks a step slow out there - I thought this guy was supposed to be athletic.
    *Haha Yao is in Barkley's and Wade's new T-mobile Fav5 commercial. Eat the Head!
  • End of the Quarter Thoughts: Phx is up 27-18. Despite the slowdown at the end of the quarter, the Suns are still doing all the right things: attacking the basket, making the extra passes, not forcing up shots. It'll be interesting to see how the Spurs respond to Phoenix's fast start. SA's shots have started to fall, and Manu is making plays off of the bench. As much as I dislike Ginobili, I gotta give him props for his game.

2nd Quarter:
  • Jrich is excited to be ballin for a good team again. He's playin with intensity.
  • 9:30 - O'neal with a nice move under the bucket, losing Duncan with a spin.
  • 7:45 - O'neal with another nice assist to a cutting Barbosa on a backdoor play. I love how despite his diminished athleticism, Shaq is finding a way to contribute effectively. Duncan had a textbook baseline baby-hook on the preceding possession.
  • 6:00 - Hahaha O'neal again! A smooth spin move plus baby hook for the bucket and the fans are loving it. He's got 12 points already.
  • 4:30 - Tony Parker is starting to heat up; Spurs are going to need more from him if they want to win this game. For all the injuries he's been through and his age, Grant Hill still looks surprisingly quick. He just caught a nice pass from Barnes for the easy put-in.
  • 2:14 - Spurs within four: 43-39. Bonner for a three...that's all this guy can really do.
  • End of the Half thoughts: The Phoenix big men are tearing it up. Amare's got 14 and Shaq has twelve. They've combined to shoot 12-18. For the Spurs, being down 45-39 isn't bad considering how that half went. If Manu can start hitting some shots, they'll make this real exciting.
    *Just saw the Slam Dunk contest commercial. We've got Russell Westbrook, Rudy Fernandez, and Joe Alexander vying for a spot against returning champ Dwight Howard. Whoever ends up winning the spot, I can guarantee you this will be an awesome contest. I'm especially excited about Joe Alexander. Reports say that this rookie is SICK athletic. Rudy is also regularly on the receiving end of alleyoops, and Westbrook is one of those small guys that can get UP. All-Star weekend is going to be nice. The other two contestants are Rudy Gay and Nate Robinson.
    *Another T-mobile Fav5 clip: Old-School video game where you play the stars when they're old. Magic and Dr. J make special appearances in this one.
3rd Quarter:
  • 10:29 - Shaq has 4,998 FT misses right now, 3 of them coming earlier today. He just made his last three to delay hitting that 5 grand mark for a little while longer.
  • 10:02 - Duncan has come out aggressive and has two quick buckets this quarter.
  • 9:17 - Jrich hits a long jumper from a Nash Pass. Did you know this guy's 3pt% is better than his FG%? Crazy stuff....
  • 8:09 - Bulldozing! Crowd goes wild as Shaq collects 2 offensive boards off his own misses and throws it down on the third attempt. There's some classic Shaq for you.
  • 6:56 - SA ties the game. This is why they're so good and why so many people hate them; even when the momentum seems to be going against them, they find a way to come back. Phoenix better be careful...
  • 6:08 - Amare hits an 18 footer. He's been quiet this quarter. The momentum is starting to shift towards the Spurs favor. These guys are just so consistent and persistent. Duncan is hittin from everywhere.
  • 4:51 - Nash with a couple of buckets to get the crowd going again. He's had a subtle 10 points and 8 dimes. 59-54 Suns.
  • 2:31 - The Suns are trying to pull away, but Spurs are sticking with em. Finely just hit a triple to bring SA within three.
  • You'd think with Jrich and Amare...there'd be more highlight-reel plays in this game. Jrich only has 8.
  • Amare's back on the attack, he's got 20.
  • 0:54 - Shaq misses another FT of two. 4,999...
  • 0:36 -Hack-a-Shaq is in full swing. SA fouls him again...and he hits the first one...the second goes up and IN! Shaq has 20pts now. Suns up 74-69.
  • Duncan hits another from the top of the key. This guy is solid as a rock
  • 0:08 - Shaq is fouled again and hits another two free throws! Crowd is going crazy. He's hit 8 of his last 9 free throws.
  • End of the quarter thoughts: I wonder how long Shaq can put off hitting his 5,000th miss. The Phx fans are happy, but we know better than to count the Spurs out. I've gotta bad feeling for Phx only because I know that the Spurs always do something crazy to pull the win out against these guys.
4th Quarter:
  • 11:17 - STAT attacks and gets the bucket plus a FT. Barbosa has been a ghost today...actually he's been a ghost for a while. I need to drop this guy from my fantasy baskeball team.
  • 10:57 - Ginobili hits another triple. This guy is heating up...
  • 8:09 - Spurs on 8-2 run. Suns up by 2.
  • 4:43 - Dang Shaq just missed one of two free throws. That's number 5,000 folks. Game tied 84-84.
  • 3:44 - Spurs up 2, but Duncan just picked up his 5th foul. In the Shaq FT tracker, Shaq just missed 2 more free throws.
  • 3:04 - Jrich hits a huge three for the Suns. They're still down one.
  • 1:52 - Duncan's getting frustrated with a couple of calls going against him.
  • 1:20 - Spurs by 1. Crowd is on their feet but Amare can't hit. Parker goes back the other way and misses. Refs give Tony a Technical after arguing a no call.
  • 0:24 - Holy moley. Game tied 88 all. Amare has missed his last three attempts right next to the bucket, but luckily the Spurs haven't capitalized either. Phx calls a timeout.
  • 0:07 - Suns manage to inbound but are forced to call another timeout after the trap. With no more timeouts left, they need to inbound.
  • 0:04 - Amare with a nice pass to Hill off of a backscreen for an easy lay-in! Suns up two. Spurs have 4.3 seconds to try to tie it or go for the win.
  • NO FREAKIN WAY. The Spurs do it again! Parker drives, kicks to Roger Mason in the corner for the game winning three at the buzzer. The fans are silent and in disbelief. Merry Christmas Phoenix. Somehow I saw this coming. Daaang.
That's going to be all for Double Dribbling Live Blogging today. I'll be back later for a post game analysis of Lakers v Celtics.

Man, you have to feel for the Suns. Spurs win it at the buzzer again...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Why the Celtics Won't Win 72 Games

Currently on an 18-game win streak, the Boston Celtics (26-2) are on pace to surpass the once thought untouchable record of 72-10 established by the 96' Bulls. The Big 3 in Boston have been playing unbelievable ball, and have received substantial boost by the improving Rajon Rondo. While Boston fans are hyped and ready for history to be made, the rest of the league watches green-eyed (no pun intended).

Hold up a sec

I will be so bold as to make this claim; The Boston Celtics will not reach the much-coveted 72 wins mark. "Why not?" you ask. I'll tell you why. Here are the factors that will contribute to the Celtics just barely missing the goal:

I'm sure you all remember the theatrics Paul Pierce pulled in game one of the finals last June. You know the one I'm talking about; Pierce falls to the hardwood in the third quarter clutching his knee in what appeared to be gut-wrenching agony. Unable to walk on his own, three grown men carry Pierce to the bench, and wheelchair him into the locker-room. Minutes later, a "miracle" happens. Paul Pierce comes bouncing out of the locker-room to the applause and cheer of thousands of Celtic fans. Back in the game, Pierce hits a couple of game changing threes to help Boston not only take game 1, but also set the tone for the ensuing series.

Pauly Paul, you may have pulled a quick one on the nation last June, but the Basketball gods know what was really up. Real or not, that effects of that injury were clearly over-exaggerated. Game one was won on the momentum of Pierce's miraculous return. Don't be surprised if Paul Pierce finds himself sidelined for a couple weeks to a month with some injury later this regular season. With one leg of the Boston Three-Party missing, the Celtics will lose a couple of normally winnable games.
In no way am I wishing harm upon this Pierce; I respect him as a basketball player, but justice must be served. Karma is karma; it forgets no one.

On a more serious note, it's no secret that the Big 3 can't in any way be considered "young". While each of the three's talents are still superior to many of their NBA counterparts, their physical condition might not measure up as well to the rest of the young guns in the league.

According to a recent report by Kelly Naqi of ESPN, Doc Rivers doubts that his players are even aware of their current winning streak. The Celtics are focused solely on winning the title next summer, and will not mind losing a few of the last couple of games in the season if it means a fully charged Garnett/Pierce/Allen for the playoffs.
*This is also something to keep in mind for all you fantasy basketball players out there. I've been screwed over a couple of times because I had superstars on teams that had no reason to play 40 minutes a night during the last couple of weeks in the regular season. Think about getting rid of these three before your league's trade deadline.

Kobe Bryant
Kobe and the Lakers now have NO excuse for losing to the Celtics. Last summer, they were missing Andrew Bynum's physicality to anchor their defense. With Bynum back this year and straight-up jacked (then and now), LA should now be able to better match-up with the physicality and rebounding of the Celtics. Bynum has also had plenty of time to acclimate to playing with Gasol. The Lakers also have no injuries to significant players. Kobe is very much aware that their game on Christmas day will be a critical measure of how well the Lakers can handle the Celtics, and that it will also set the tone for future clashes in the playoffs. Black Mamba/The Doberman will not let the Lakers lose either of the two times they face Boston this year. You can count on it.

The Cleveland Lebroniers
Let's not forget the man-child. Lebron and the Cavs took the Celts to game 7 last year in the Eastern Conference finals, and fell short primarily because Lebron had no consistent help on the offensive end. Now I know that the Celtics have already beat the Cavs three times this year (narrow wins I might add), but those wins were all within the first month of the season. The Cavs are now on a roll, and at times look unstoppable. Mo Williams has figured out his role in the offense. Ilgauskus is playing fairly consistent ball. Delonte West has also improved to be an adequate plug-in at SG. If Lebron continues being the beast that he is (and he will), the Cavs can take the Celtics no problem. These two teams face-off three more times this season. Chalk up at least two losses for Boston from those meets.

Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan? Yup. If MJ feels truely threatened by the Celtics' attempt at his Bulls's record at any point, he will come out of retirement for the third time and personally ensure that Boston doesn't reach 72. You don't think MJ could still step in for a game or two, drop 30 points and a buzzer-beating game-winner on the Celtics? I know I do.

Taking all these factors into consideration, and adding some random variables (like those Atlanta Hawks, who are bound to win one against the Celtics), Boston is destined to come close, but not hit that magic number 72.

*Please note: The preceding passage was written by a bona fide Boston Celtic hater.

NBA's New Ad-Campaign

Thanks to AlanaG for these leaked NBA commercials scheduled to air on Christmas day.

Personally, I really liked the previous series of "Where Amazing Happens" ads. But the most recent version did seem to get repetitive. Instead of the melodic piano tunes of yester-year, the NBA has decided to go down the comedy route. Of the three new ads posted below, Lebron's has to be the best. Looks like Lebron gets pumped up with some Cyndi Lauper. He's also rocking Beats by Dr. Dre (everyone who's somebody seems to have those).

Drop a dime and let us know what you think of the new campaign

Monday, December 22, 2008

Asian American Basketball

I stole this link from DimeMag. It's an insightful article on the status of Asian-Americans in basketball (or the lack thereof). Definitely worth a read, let me know what you think.

Being an Asian-American myself, I do agree with many of the claims of the article. From a young age, Asian parents apply a lot of academic pressure on their children - sometimes overwhelming pressure. Traditionally, Asian parents won't butter the facts to any extent. As a kid, I wanted to be an NBA player. My parents made it clear to me that I wasn't athletic nor skilled enough to make it. When you hear that at age 7, you believe it.

I'm not saying that I could have actually made it anywhere had I received proper encouragement; turns out my athleticism is average at best, and my self-motivating abilities suck. But I'm sure there are a number of kids out there that could have gone places if their dreams hadn't been crushed so early in their adolescence.

On the other hand, I have also met number of successful Asian athletes in my day. People who I believe, if had spent enough time practicing, could've played college ball. The question then becomes, why don't they?

The truth is that most Asian Americans innately recognize that it would be easier to make a living through academic routes rather than athletic. A friend of mine states,
"I don't know too many asians who feel like they "need" sports to get into college and have a future. i think that says something about the amount of effort/desperation that we put into sports."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Waiver Wire Watch (12/18/08)

Waiver-wire watch will be a series of posts keeping you updated with a collection of players close to being fantasy relevant, not must-pick-ups. Acquisition of the listed players will depend on your own team needs. However, make sure to keep an eye out for these guys.

Mike Conley has been somewhat of a disappointment this season. While many expected the second year player to improve, Conley has experienced a drop across most stat categories. Despite his underwhelming performances thus far, his only real competition for the point position is Kyle Lowry, who hasn't done much to impress anyone either. Conley is currently averaging 8pts, 4assists, and 3 rebounds in 25 mins. You'd think with Mayo and Gay at 2 and 3, Conley would be able to dish out a few more assists. He has the potential to bust out given some more minutes, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Kyle Korver has been relatively quiet this year. However, Jerry Sloan has recently expressed his unsatisfaction with his current starting lineup, and has proposed to shake things up a bit. Ronnie Brewer and CJ Miles are on their way out of the starting five, and Korver is looking to take one of those spots. If he starts, look for 25-30 minutes a game. "Ashton" Korver won't provide much else besides 3 pters, but he shoots good percentages and keeps his turnovers low, so he won't harm your team either. Look for him to be Jason Kapono of the West. Speaking of Kapono...

Jason Kapono has seen enough minutes to be fantasy relevant, but has not produced with the minutes granted. Though he has shown flashes of brilliance, he is wildly inconsistent. In his last five games, he's scored 5, 17, 7, 16, and 25 points while shooting 28%, 46%, 21%, 40%, and 68% respectively. He's getting his shots, but isn't making them on a consistent enough basis to warrant a roster spot. However, if you're up for a risk, Kapono could pay off huge.

Nick Young started off the season on fire. In fact, I even had him on my own team for a good 3 weeks. However, since mid-November, the 2nd year player that was supposed to step up in place of injured Gilbert Arenas fell off the map. Like Eddie Jordan, Ed Tapscott is keeping a short leash on all his bench players. Recently, the Washington Post reported:
"I'm going to take a little blame for Nick's troubles," Tapscott said. "I've had him thinking a little too much... Some guys are better just playing in the flow, so I gave him the release today. I said, 'Look, I'm going to play you the full segment and leave you alone and let you play.' "
In other words, Young is in line for more minutes once again. And it's not like the Wizards are going anywhere at the moment. Optimistically, Young will be a good source of points with an occasional three. Other than that, don't expect much else in peripherial stats.

Marreese Speights is the guy I'm actually most excited about on this list. Elton Brand just went down yesterday with a dislocated shoulder, and is expected to be out at least a month. In his abscence, look for Speights to get more minutes and produce. This Florida product has an NBA ready body, and can bang with the bigs of the East. The 76ers are in desperate need of some reliable post production, and while Thaddeus Young will get some of Brand's minutes, he's not a traditional PF. In his last game, Speights put up 12pts, 7 rebs, and a steal while going 6-7 from the free throw line in 18 minutes. With Brand out of the picture, look for him to get at least 25 minutes a game.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Lebron "The Six" (Lebron VI's)

Here's a link to a wordsearch-ish type of thing from promoting Lebron James's newest shoe, The Six.

The Drive Inside

Basically, you need to find 16 words/things that motivate and inspire Lebron to do what he does. If you're up for the challenge, give it a shot. But if looking at the image gives you a headache, I've gone through the trouble of finding all 16 words and posted them below.

Once you complete the wordsearch, you're entered in a drawing to win a pair of The Six. Yes, I know you're probably not going to win, but it's worth a shot right?

Lebron The Six Answers
  • witness
  • family
  • basketball
  • akron
  • vision
  • four horsemen
  • winning
  • chosen one
  • respect
  • Lebron jr
  • bryce maximus
  • passion
  • rising son
  • ohio
  • gloria
  • fearless

(make sure you keep the two-word answers separate as two words)

Good luck with that.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Name the NBA Teams

You think you know NBA Basketball?

Try this nifty quiz and see how many NBA teams you can list off the top of your head.

I got 23/30

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Brandon Roy - Your next elite combo guard

Brandon Roy is a beast. His last 3 games, he has scored 101 pts, including a career high of 38 pts last night against the Clippers. Additionally, Roy is good for at least a steal or block every game, and is averaging 5 reb, 5 ast, and a 3pt made per game.
Throw in a FG% hovering around .500 and a FT in the upper .800s, and you have yourself an elite fantasy option right there.

The scary part, Roy is still improving... As his young team around him gains more experience, and Roy has more confidence when to defer to better shooters, or post presences, Oden or Aldridge, and when to create his own offense, Roy can pick his spots and best-case scenario, Roy can evolve into a threat for 35 pts, 10 reb, or 10 ast any given night.

If you are in a fantasy league, and own Roy, you would be very tempted to sell high on him right now, but DON'T. This is not a fluke, it is in fact merely a harbinger of things to come.

Plus, the dude's got a flair for the dramatic, as evidenced by this buzzer beater from earlier in the season.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

JRich to Phoenix in 5 Player Deal

The NBA's latest 5 player trade just sent Jason Richardson, Jared Dudley, and a future 2nd round pick to Phoenix for Raja Bell, Boris Diaw, and Sean Singletary.

Not that the Bobcats were going anywhere this season anyways, but I'm not sure what Michael Jordan is thinking up there in Charlotte's executive offices. Richardson was their top scorer, and giving him away leaves them with who? Gerald Wallace? Emeka Okafor?

Maybe Jrich was meshing with Larry Brown's system. Who knows? It was so sudden.

Bell and Diaw are valuable additions to the team. Optimistically, Larry Brown can put together a vague poor man's version of the Pistons circa 2004: no star player, great team chemistry. Realistically, Bobcats are about to get a nice lottery pick this year.

Phoenix's offense has been in a recent funk. Jrich may potentially give it a spark and allow them to run a bit more like they used to.

Lebron Posterizes Toronto

For your viewing pleasure:
Here are some highlights of Lebron's complete destruction of the Raptors from last night. The 4th dunk is the straightup ridiculous.

I couldn't even look this good on a 7ft rim...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Fantasy Market (12/9/2008)

Image from

Sorry to have gone such an extended period of time without updating the blog. Final exams are coming fast, which equates to less time for blogging. However, a lot more time should clear up after the 17th. Without further ado...

Buy Low

Kevin Martin:
Under normal circumstances, Kmart2 is a highly efficient scorer. He's capable of putting up 22+ points a night while shooting a respectable 45% from the field. This year was supposed to be his year; Ron Artest was shipped out of Sacramento to Houston, making Martin the clear cut first option on offense. However, an ankle sprain has severely dampened the start to this young phenom's season. After missing 12 games last month, Martin attempted to come back too quickly and re-aggravated his injury. There's no doubt that those fantasy owners out there who used an early draft pick on him are frustrated, making Kmart a perfect buy low candidate. Ankle sprains have plagued the league this year, and each sprain has sidelined their respective player for an extended period of time. However, Kmart at 100% is a great asset in pts, 3pters, and FT%. Despite the current abscence of a timetable for return, Kmart is worth targeting in your league.

Mike Miller:
This season, the Timberwolves have resorted to spreading more shots around to the younguns on the team like Foye and McCants. As a result, Miller has experienced a significant droppoff across a number of statistical categories. However, the Timbercubs are far from proving that they can even be competitive with the rest of the west with the system they're currently running. Just yesterday, Kevin McHale announced that he would replace Randy Wittman as headcoach of the Twolves. With McHale at the helm, expect the Twolves to look for more production from Miller. I predict that he'll be able to at least raise his statline back to last year's level, if not higher. He has also recently missed two games due to a minor ankle sprain, so you could potentially use that to your advantage in targeting for him.

Deron Williams: I don't know how low you could actually acquire him for, but Deron hasn't had the hottest start to the season. After missing numerous games at the beginning of the season, and making one premature attempt at a return, Deron's ankle now seems to be completely healthy. Though his assist numbers have picked up right where he left off last year, his shooting has been subpar at best. He's averaging just under 12ppg (18ppg last year), and is shooting .41FG% (down from 50% last year) at the moment. Expect these numbers to rise significantly in the coming months. Boozer has been out with an injury the past couple of weeks, dampening Williams's production. Once (or if) Utah can get running on all cylinders, Deron will continue his qualitative and quantitative growth as a player. Williams will challenge CP3 for the league's best point guard title. Expect averages of 20pts, 11 assists, and 1.5 threes after the new year.

Sell High

Paul Millsap:
The Jason Maxiell of the West has been an absolute monster in Carlos Boozer's abscence. Starting in Boozer's place, he's been averaging 17pts, 11rebs, 1.4stls, and 1.1 blocks while shooting ridiculously well from the floor and respectably from the line. The only problem is that Boozer is close to returning, and Millsap will return to his role coming off the bench. Trade him away while you still can for a low-end consistent starter like Rip Hamilton.

Allen Iverson: The Answer has been anything but since being traded to the Pistons. Curry and the Pistons have already discovered what Karl and the Nuggets have known for the last 2 years; AI can't run the point. Getting shifted to SG in the starting line-up might be the spark Detroit needs, but I doubt it. Rodney Stuckey isn't really a pure point guard either. The Pistons are a mess right now, and AI absolutely must stop dominating the ball for them to succeed. His point production is down, FG% isn't great, and TO's at a high rate. Use is name appeal and get rid of him if you can.

OJ Mayo: I have been hating on this guy all year, and thus far he's proven me wrong. Don't sell him immediately; he's been lighting it up from everywhere for the Grizz and doesn't look like he's slowing down. But come the All Star break, I expect him to cool off a little like so many rookies have in the past. The fatigue of the long NBA season will catch up, causing a slight statistical drop across the board. Shop him around and see what kind of value you can get in return; there's no rush to get rid of him yet.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Hey all, my name is Kamal Yechoor, and I will be a regular contributor to Double Dribbling. A little bit about me, I've been following the NBA since I was about 3 (no joke). I've been a fantasy basketball addict since the 2001 season and my current favorite team to watch is the Portland Trailblazers.

After almost a month into the basketball season, I feel its worth recognizing those players that have outperformed their expectations, as well as those perennial all-stars that are simply underachieving.

So without further ado, the Booms and Busts of the first month of the 08-09 campaign of the Association...


1) Nene Hilario PF/C DEN - Nene after being plagued by injuries for much of the last few seasons has been receiving a career high 33 minutes per game thus far and has not missed a game this year. He is making the most of those minutes as well, putting up career highs in PTS (15.4), REB (7.3) and BLKS (1.8). Not to mention a league-leading 63.6% from the floor and a commendable 74.6% from the line. Not bad for a guy that played only 81 games in the previous 3 seasons combined.

2) Devin Harris PG NJ - After the Mavericks spent the 5th pick of the draft on this kid in 2004, nobody ever questioned his talent, we just had never seen what he could do as a full-time starting point guard. Thus far this season Harris has exploded for over double his career scoring average with 23.0 ppg, and is averaging almost 12 FT attempts a game. Strong peripheral stats of 6.2 assists, 1.3 steals, and 3.5 rebounds a contest, have him as an early frontrunner for Most Improved player of the year.

3) Andris Biedrins C GS - Simply put, Andris has been a beast. For the last few seasons, Biedrins has struggled to find consistent minutes and was at the mercy of Don Nelson's small-ball whims. However, this year Biedrins is manning the pivot with intensity and is averaging a career high in PTS (16.6), REB (13.2), and BLKS (1.6). Biedrins has always had the potential for these kind of numbers, but his consistency this year is the key to his breakout, as evidenced by his 10 consecutive double-doubles to start the season.


1) Deron Williams PG UTAH - This one is quite obvious. This was the year Deron Williams was to take the next step to be considered with the elite point guards of the NBA, building upon his success in the playoffs last year and the Olympics this summer. However, Williams has been slowed by an ankle injury and reaggravated it by trying to come back too quickly, resulting in only two games of limited action thus far into the season. Although reports say that he will be fully healthy by the end of this week, Williams still has to be one of the biggest disappointments early this season.

2) Steve Nash PG PHX - We may finally be witnessing the slowdown of one of the fastest and most prolific point guards in recent history. While its hard to qualify per game averages of 14 pts and 8 ast as being a bust, coming off 4 seasons of double-digit assists, 8.1 apg is a dropoff. Nash's attempts from the field and the line have dropped off as well, leading to his lowest scoring output since 1999.

3) Kevin Garnett PF BOS - Similar to Nash, its hard to justify 16-8 as being disappointing, but it looks like age is catching up to the 32 year old Garnett as well. Coming off of an emotional season which gave him his first championship, KG's numbers have dropped off considerably. His points, rebounds, and assists numbers are the lowest they've been since his rookie season, and he is averaging a career low in blocks (1.1). After 14 seasons in the NBA, its hard to continue to expect superstar production from Garnett, but for those that drafted him in the first few rounds of fantasy basketball, these numbers are unsatisfactory.

Fantasy Market

This will be my first entry of what I hope to be a consistent string of posts dedicated to fantasy basketball. I hope what's stated here will be helpful to you and your fantasy endeavors. Here we go...

Buy Low

Rudy Gay: I was honestly targeting this guy in one of my leagues, but someone beat me to him. Don't let his current rank discourage you from trying to acquire him; he's much better than his 79th (Yahoo rank) suggests. As hot as OJ Mayo has been in his first month as a Grizzly, Gay is the go to guy on the team. Take advantage of his recent shooting slump to get him; he's bound to recover. He throws up 17 shots a game with 4+ threes (he's only shooting 24% from behind the arc this year, but he's a career 35% 3pt shooter). As the season wears on, I see OJ cooling down a bit - every rookie does. When that happens, Memphis is going to fall back on Gay.

Al Harrington: Getting out of Golden State is going to work miracles for this guy. A number of fantasy owners (including myself) are probably frustrated with his month of DNP's. However, in D'Antoni's run-and-gun offense, Al has the potential to flourish. He's going to get 28+ consistently at PF and C. Act fast though, he's already played his first game as a Knick. Despite only scoring 13pts, he did collect 11 rebounds and shot the ball 16 times.

Lamar Odom: Here's a suggestion I'm not so confident about, but I still feel he's worth the pick if he pans out. Odom is coming off the bench as the 6th man this year, and he's been struggling to be consistent. However, I think he's slowly adjusting to this new role. Odom still gets 25-30 mins a night, and will only become increasingly efficient in the minutes that he does get. Right now, he's averaging 10pts, 6rebs, and 2 assists. Given an adjustment period, I see him growing to around 14pts,6rebs, and 4 assists with a steal and a block. Don't throw anything huge to get him, Odom is known for disappointing owners, but I'd still be willing send some offers for him.

Sell High

Zach Randolph: It may be to late already, but get rid of him if you can. He may have played lights out on the Knicks, but ZBo won't see anywhere close to that level of success with the Clips. LA is already have solid big men in Camby and Kaman, both of who can rebound and defend well. Thornton is an emerging offensive force. Baron Davis will also get his shots, and Eric Gordon is getting more and more shots as well. He's going to come off the bench and give you 15pts and 6 rebs at best.

Ronnie Brewer: As much as I love this guy, I'd advice trading him away in fantasy leagues. Brewer has made the most of Deron Williams's absence to show what he can do. In his last four games, his shot attempts of been 11,13,14, and 19 respectively. He's scored, pitched in some rebounds, assists, and most importantly been HUGE in steals. However, the fact of the matter is that Brewer will not get 15 shots a game once Dwill returns (tentative date this Wednesday). His recent stretch of good games won't continue. He's still valuable for steals...but shop him around right now and see what you can get in return.

Nene Hilario: I was shocked to find that Nene is currently ranked 8th in Yahoo rankings. He has been surprisingly productive this year and contributes across the board in pts, rebs, FG%, blocks, and steals. The problem I have with him is that he's injury prone. In his last four seasons, he's played 55,1,64,and 15 games. It's true that many of the injuries like his thumb and calf injuries may have purely been bad luck, but it's bound to happen again. Sell him while his value is still high.

Waiver Wire Pickups

Russell Westrbrook(owned in 30% of Yahoo leagues): The Thunder's replacement of P.J. Carlesimo with Scott Brooks is beginning to show off the potential of this first round draft pick. Brooks has been playing much more small ball, allowing OKC to play both Earl Watson and Westbrook at the same time. Westbrooks's minutes have steadliy been growing, and now it looks like he'll get between 25-30 mins a game. Despite only shooting 31% from the floor, he still gets a good 12+ shots a game. Additionally, both his assists and steals have risen. Pick him up right now if he's available.

Andray Blatche(owned in 11% of Yahoo leagues): Blatche started off the year with promising potential, but soon after found himself in Eddie Jordan's doghouse. Fortunately for him, Eddie Jordan got fired, and interim coach Ed Tapscott may give him another chance to prove himself. The only competition at the center position in Washington is veteran Etan Thomas and rookie Javale Mcgee. I don't see Washington using Thomas as anything more than an energy backup, and though Mcgee shows promise, I don't think he's strong enough yet to take over. Both Blatche and Mcgee will split minutes at center, but Blatche has more experience and an NBA ready body. He's worth a pickup in deeper leagues.

Darko Milicic(owned in 8% of Yahoo leagues: Don't look now but we've just had another Darko sighting. Milicic put up 11pts, 11rebs, and some blocks in his latest game. If you're extremely weak at the center position, Darko is worth a look. This is definitely not a for sure recommendation, but definitely keep an eye on him. I haven't given up on this guy yet!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Knicks send Jamal Crawford to Golden State for Al Harrington

The New York Knicks have dealt shooting guard Jamal Crawford for Golden State's Al Harrington.

Crawford, a high volume perimeter gunner goes from one up-tempo team to another. After losing Baron Davis over the summer, and Monta Ellis to a moped injury before training camp, Golden State was in desperate need of someone to pick up some scoring responsibility behind SJax and Corey Maguette. Crawford immediately adds another scoring threat to Golden State's offense. Though in no way a point guard, Crawford can take over some primary ball handling duties as well.

Al Harrington has been in Don Nelson's dog house for the majority of the season. This trade comes as a much welcomed change of scenery for Harrington (and all fantasy basketball players that own him). D'Antoni's run-and-gun style of play is perfect for Harrington; he's an undersized power-forward with above-average scoring abilities, but a poor defender and rebounder. It will be interesting to see how playing time works out in New York with David Lee, Wilson Chandler, and Zach Randolph playing a similar position.

More importantly, this trade freed up cap space for the Knicks in 2010 to make a run at the ridiculous free agent class include Lebron and Dwayne Wade. As for Golden State, they seem to be more concerned with the current year's playoff run.

Fantasy Implications

Jamal Crawford's role in Golden State will remain pretty much unchanged from his situation in New York: He will called on to score. However, beware of some consistency issues, especially when Monta Ellis returns; Golden State has a number of proven scorers, all who require lots of touches to be effective.

Al Harrington - Like mentioned above, this trade comes as a godsend. Harrington has been piling up the DNP's because of his issues with Don Nelson. Though the Knicks still do have Lee, Chandler, and ZBo, I expect Harrington to jump in and resume regular levels of production. Expect around 14-16ppg, 5 rebs, and a three pointer in about 28 mins on most nights.

Nate Robinson - Look for his value to go up. Robinson can put up points in bunches and the back court just opened up for him to start raining shots. The Knicks just lost 19points a game; Nate will fill in for a lot of those.

Anthony Randolph/Brandon Wright - I don't know how effective either of these guys will be, but getting rid of Harrington shows a commitment from Golden State to these young guns. Keep an eye out to see who takes advantage.

For the story:

Friday, November 7, 2008

Trailblazer Believer

Expectations for this team have been brewing and building for a while now, and it would be wrong for me to call Portland a "surprise" team in any sense; this ball club has received its fair share of recent hype. If you just took a look at their 2-3 record, it would be easy to to consider all the hype surrounding them unwarranted. In addition, they're still a very young team, have no superstar (Roy isn't there yet), and have an unproven/rookie (and injured) starting center.

However, if you turn on the TV and watch a Blazer's game, these flaws suddenly don't seem quite as important. 

These guys are exciting.

Though at times wild/erratic, these guys play with passion and energy. Offense isn't just ISO-ing one guy on the wing and depending on him to score. Each guy is willing to make the extra pass. No one is flopping around trying to draw stupid fouls. The Trailblazers do all the little things that make basketball fun to watch. Now I know that an exciting team doesn't necessarily make a good team, and this ball club's success is anything but certain given the competitive nature of the Western Conference. But here's why I think the Blazers will succeed this year: depth.

Portland has a glut of talented players that can play multiple positions. While this year it looks like Blake handles primary point-guard duties, Brandon Roy and Rudy Fernandez are both capable ball-handlers. Sergio Rodriguez is also a high-energy sub that provides a nice boost of the bench. Let's also not forget Jerryd Bayless, the quick-footed summer league standout who could receive a chance to prove himself later on in the season. 
On the wings, they have Brandon Roy, Travis Outlaw, Martell Webster, and Rudy Fernandez. These guys provide the bulk of the scoring, and a nice inside-outside threat for the offense, each capable of penetrating and shooting the three. 
Portland's frontcourt is questionable, but has great potential. Lamarcus Aldridge has been solid since entering the league in 2006. He's a legitimate inside scorer and an adequate shotblocker. Greg Oden is athletic, but raw, unproven,and injury prone. However, if he develops his offensive game some more and can stay healthy, he and Aldridge will be a scary tandem in the middle.

Key Players to Success
  • Brandon Roy - Roy needs to be solid and consistent for this team to reach the next level. He needs to be able to handle the pressure of being the goto guy.
  • Rudy Fernandez - I hated him when he posterized Dwight Howard in the Olympics, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't impressed. Rudy is instant offense, an European high flier/gunner that can score from anywhere on the floor. I can only see good things happening if Nate McMillian gives him consistent playing time. 
  • Greg Oden - The NBA has a ton of beastly bigs, and Lamarcus can't guard the best of them. Oden has the potential to be an Amare-Bynum hybrid, but needs to at least be Tyson Chandler-esque for the Blazers to succeed
Not only will the Trailblazers make the playoffs, they're going to pull a first round upset. Think Golden State Warriors circa 2007 playoffs. 

It's Official; I've joined the Portland Trailblazers Bandwagon

* I just watched what may be the best game of the 2008-2009 season. Portland just beat Houston in OT. Three back and forth buckets in the last two seconds of the game. Brandon Roy hits a buzzerbeater three pointer for the win. =)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Lebron to Detroit in 2010?

After reading the million-and-one breakdowns of the Iverson-Billups trade. Yahoo writer Adrian Wojnarowski has come up with an interesting look into the deeper implications of the trade.

This right here, is why us fans in Detroit love Joe Dumars; this guy always has something up his sleeve: a hidden plan. While the majority of the basketball world is looking at how Iverson will fit into the Pistons, or whether or not Billups will be able to carry the Nuggets, Dumars is sitting in his office looking to lure (arguably) the best player in the NBA.

Think about it; the Iverson deal is actually genius. Regardless of how well he fits in...he is still ALLEN IVERSON. The Pistons have too much talent on the team to fall too far. At worst, Detroit loses in the second round of the playoffs. I even dare to say that Detroit would make a second round appearance without AI or Billups; Hamilton, Sheed, and Prince are strong enough to carry the team that far in the Leastern Conference.

I won't go into detail over the relations Joe Dumars has with Lebron's agents. Go read the linked article, it makes this trade sound that much more appealing.

So as of now, the Pistons have a superstar tapering to the end of his career joining a very strong core of players. By the time 2010 comes around, the Pistons still have Hamilton, Prince, and more matured versions of Stuckey, Maxiell, and Amir. What other organization has this type of team to offer Lebron in 2010? Whether or not they win the championship this year, the Pistons will remain highly competitive while positioning themselves to adjust for the future. Gotta love Joe D.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pistons Finally Shake It Up

If you haven't heard yet, the Detroit Pistons and Denver Nuggets have reached a tentative agreement to trade Chauncey Billups, Antonio Mcdyess, and Cheik Samb for Allen Iverson.

Now this comes somewhat as a surprise. For a moment there, it seemed like Joe Dumars was ready to give the Piston's core one last shot at getting the title. ...guess that's not the case. As much as I loved Billups, this move was a much needed move. Despite having a new coach in Michael Curry, the Pistons essentially had the exact same players return for the 2008-2009 season (with the exception of Kwame Brown).

With Iverson, the Pistons have now added versatility to their backcourt. I'm assuming AI will start at PG, leaving Hamilton at the SG, Prince at SF, Amir at PF, and Wallace at C. However, if the Pistons want to play small ball, they can shift AI to SG and play Stuckey at point. Amir gets bumped out leaving Prince to play PF. AI is also that guy that can single handedly bring the Piston offense out of the bog-downs that always seem to hit them during crucial games. His quickness, slashing, and ability to finish consistently around the basket is something the Pistons haven't had for a while. Iverson, being at the latter end of his career, knows that he has to do whatever he can to attain that championship that has eluded him his entire career. Now he has the chance to do so.
Billups, a Colorado native, provides the Nuggets with playoff experience, stout defense, and much needed floor leadership. Mcdyess (and Samb) also adds some depth to the Nugget's thin front line.

Fantasy Implications
Chauncey Billups's value is going to go up. Billups, though consistent, has been in somewhat lackluster the past season. The change of scenery will revitalize him (and his stats). In Denver, he will be counted on to score and distributed much more than in Detroit (where one off-night was made up for by one of the other three starters). I predict his points will go up, while maintaining assists, and adding some more three pointers.
Allen Iverson's value is going to drop...but only by a bit. Detroit doesn't need him to score as much as Denver did. Joe Dumars's utter confidence in Stuckey also shows that Iverson won't need to play PG the entire time as well. Thus, I foresee a slight drop in both points and assists.
Jason Maxiell/Amir Johnson These two will rise in value purely because Detroit is less one big man. Mcdyess's minutes have to be redistributed amongst the two. Keep an eye on these two to see who benefits the most.

I know it's an old picture

Welcome to Double Dribbling

Welcome readers to my Basketball blog. Here you will find my commentary and analysis on various events and games of the National Basketball Association. As an avid follower of the NBA, I also participate in Fantasy Basketball. Thus, I will also be regularly updating with Fantasy Basketball news: players I like, those I don't, etc. I hope you enjoy.