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Posted on: May 9, 2008 10:46 pm
Edited on: May 9, 2008 10:47 pm
 

Different Europeans - Memo vs Pau

For many years teams from the Eastern Conference play different style of basketball than the teams from the West, with East coast being more conservative and the West featuring many run and gun teams. When it comes to players, you won't find any as different as two centers from the far East and far West of - Europe!

Ladies and Gentleman - meet Mehmet Okur and Pau Gasol.

Most of the time, I say that players playing different position should not be compared. This time, I'll try to break down the games of two almost uncomparable, but playing the same position, trying to find the ultimate edge and help you decide which player would you rather have on your team.

Offense


Pros:

Okur - deadly three point shooter, excellent in pick and pop sets, clutch

Gasol - numerous post moves, great finishing around the rim with both hands

both - very good passers, respectable mid range shot and free throw execution

Cons:

Okur - no back post technique, relies on the jumper to much

Gasol - extremely soft, practically never scores on game winning shot around the buzzer

both - lack of athleticism, can't leap

Defense


Pros:

Okur - able to step it up when needed, doesn't get intimidated, relatively strong

Gasol - has length and quickness, good shot blocker

both - good rebounders, understand how to defend picks

Cons:

Okur - disinterested until the playoffs, slow on covering ground

Gasol - poor vision of the backdoor cuts, can be overpowered

both - somewhat prone to personal fouls, aren't vocal enough for the anchoring position

 

Voice you oppinion - what style of play do you like better and who would you rather have on your team.

Category: NBA
Posted on: April 14, 2008 11:05 pm
 

All Defensive Teams - my call

Some like flashy crossovers or a nasty dunk, but I'm of those that like strong, gritty D. When I see players running, covering the space, contesting shots and get to the passing lanes - I see commitment and passion to win. These awards are for that. For the guy that want to win and are not afraid to sacrifice to do it.

1st team - NBA Best


PG - Rajon Rondo

Not one PG in the league destroyed him. He doesn't miss assigments, has excellent lateral movement and is long enough to contest many shots. He is the most overlooked good defender in the league, mostly because Garnett draws the attention.

SG - Kobe Bryant

There's a reason 2 position is called Shooting guard. Most of the players have offense as their primary task, so there's no a lock down defender here, and Bryant is the only not far from it. If he needs, he'll exert his energy on D and make a defensive stop. If he doesn't - he'll be steady, every game, every possesion.

SF - Shane Battier

Rockets have the best defence in the West, and Battier is the reason why. He'll defend top outside player night in and night out, and make them work for every shot. He is also always on the help at the right time and hustles as anybody in the league. Bowen wasn't at his best this season, so Battier gets the nod.

PF - Kevin Garnett

His passion got beyond all limits, and he must get credited for Celtics' success. Unmovable yet quick, KG will get to contest every shot and block a few. Still among the best defensive rebounders in the league. Add to all this his ability to get in opponents head with the trash talk and constant communication with his teammates, and you have a whole package.

C - Rasheed Wallace

The Best one-on-one post defender in the league. Sheed is a textbook defender. He always has his hand high up in the air prepared for a quick block or shot change, has a perfect angle on pick and rolls and plays well on thin line between foul and a no call.

 

2nd Team


PG - Chris Paul

SG - Raja Bell

SF - Bruce Bowen

PF - Tim Duncan

C - Dwight Howard

 

3rd Team


PG - Jason Kidd

SG - Ronnie Brewer

SF - Josh Smith

PF - Lamar Odom

C - Samuel Dalembert

 

Honorable mentions - Stephen Jackson, James Posey, Marcus Camby, LeBron James, Andrei Kirilenko

 

All defensive Worst Team [key players only]


PG - Mike Bibby

SG - Ben Gordon

SF - Peja Stojakovic

PF - Andrea Bargnani

C - Mark Blount

Posted on: April 7, 2008 9:11 pm
 

End of the season for nonplayoff teams

I decided to keep this topic on my blog too, as new threads about MVP competition will push this topic down the list quickly.

Group 1 - Miami Heat, New York Knicks


Knicks seem as the most experienced team come April. They know they have to pull up their sleeves and get to the work. Same expectations for years now, and same bitter start, mid and the end of the season. This time, some changes might actually happen. Tanking is same though. I'm impressed how the Heat had caught up. Two years after the title, they showed some creativity in giving absolutely no chance to win games. NBADL was there for a reason in Riley's mind.

 

Group 2 - Seattle SuperSonics, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves


These three doesn't seem to care much, but I don't think they actually tank. Trading Gasol, Garnett and Allen/Lewis is arguably another way of it, but I don't think these teams lose games on purpose. They just started their rebuilding and have weak rosters. All are looking forward to the draft and hope for a quick revitalization. Honorable mention for the Clippers here - who don't really belong to this group but were hit with several seasonwasting injuries, so they don't even count this year too.

 

Group 3 - Milwaukee Bucks, Sacto Kings, Portland Trailblazers, Charlotte Bobcats


Bucks insist that they won't tank. They feel they messed with the fate last year and insulted basketball gods thus fell from no3 to no6 on the lottery night. I want to believe them, but something's fishy here. First Yi and Bell, now Mo Williams get pulled - they might be injured, but Bucks can be jockeying for a position. Kings and Blazers took a goal to reach .500, saving their pride and confidence for the summer. They figured that they can't get too much pingpong balls by losing games as other teams lose by more than a fair rate of knots. Nontheless, I like teams trying to build on regular season, to establish winning mentality or stronghold at home. Charlotte are fairly new and have a record to beat every year, so this isn't too surprising. They feel they got stronger this year, but haven't had any luck with Adam 'Jim' Morrison and Sean May, and they even traded their last pick, so they don't care if it's no4 or no9, any will do.

 

Group 4 - New Jersey Nets, Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers


These guys fought as much as they could not to be in this group, but the Hawks pulled it out. Hawks have a young core and 10 year drought from playoff, so they won't mind to be the floor on the other side of Celtics broom. Others just plain suck. To give all you got and to finish around 35 wins is a disgrace for perenial playoff teams. They shouldn't even be allowed to pick in the first round.

 

Posted on: April 3, 2008 6:30 pm
 

Kevin Durant's first season...

I hate to see superb young players start their NBA careers in year One of the rebuilding phase. The thing I hate more, is when this happens to a good kid. And that's exactly what happened to one half of the coveted rookie duo. Getting Kevin Durant from the no2 spot in last year's draft meant only one thing to Sonics' management. Blow everything up. Down to the basement, Seattle franchise has been hit with earthquake Clay, and will need years to recover. New GM, new headcoach, two All Stars allowed to move on, new Arena and a new City.

In such an enviroment - I call Kevin Durant's first season A SUCCESS. Everybody knew that the kid can play. We were also anxious to see how he will cope with the transition to pros. Durant was named a savior, new face of the team, yet he didn't embrace the role. All he wants is to win. He will play team basketball, encourage his teammates, learn from the vets and give respect where respect is earned. But he won't win. Not this year, nor the next one. And it will strike him hard. It messes with your confidence, your beliefs and with your patience. People start calling you bust. Underachiever. It happened to Emeka Okafor. It will happen again. And organizations are to blame. Or plain bad luck. Oden was picked by the Blazers, who are already in year 3 of reconstruction, by the time he actually plays it'll be year 4. Same thing with Dwight Howard. They came in at the right time for their franchises. Kevin Durant wasn't that lucky - expiring contracts, DL centers and draft picks. You can't win with that - not in years to come.

So I see Al Horford is being mentioned as ROY. Solid season from a very good player who is actually playing his secondary position. Love the kid. But he is the last piece of the puzzle [or second to last, if we count Bibby] for the Hawks, not the first one. Give it to Durant. I don't believe he is into individual accolades, but it will boost his confidence and confirm that he was doing all the right things.

He is actually playing as one, especially recently. He raised his shooting from .400 to .530 in March and April, which is impressive considering he is the only Sonic defences have to guard. 20 points and 4.1 boards a night is pretty darn good for a rookie. And to be 28th best scorer in the league with the season best of only 35 shows how consistant he really was in that department. He scored in double digits only twice in 2008, and is 17th best rebounding guard in the league. So it won't be like he was donated.

Sadly, most of the fans came to Save the Sonics in Seattle and not to appreciate the talent Durant has. Will OC be able to identify themselves with him or CP3 and the Hornets stole their hearts already? How many years have to pass so this kid can be widely beloved and on a winning team?

I hope he'll be rewarded for this season with the best player in the draft, whomever it turns out to be. Or he might come to the Spurs, he'll be welcomed.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com