BY JORDAN WHEELER, Couchsideshow.com blogger
1. Memphis Grizzlies (4) – Memphis is playing the best basketball in the league right now. They have beaten the Heat, the Thunder, and the Knicks so far this early season. Gay, Gasol, and Randolph are all playing well, this team really looks like a contender.
2. San Antonio Spurs (2) – The Spurs are just a sold basketball team. I would not be surprised if they ended up with the best record in the league this year. They have 12 players who are getting 10 minutes or more. That is rare to see in the NBA, I believe this is going to help them down the stretch.
3. L.A. Clippers (3) – Lob City is for real. This team will be very good at the end of the season. They have beaten all the good teams, Miami, Lakers, Spurs, and Memphis. Most of their games have been at home, they have a tough 4 game road trip this week. We will see how well Lob City can travel.
READ MORE: For rankings 4-8 and Western Conference teams on the bubble, visit Couch Side’s NBA Power Rankings Page
1. Miami Heat (1) – After I watched them play Boston the first game of the year, I thought that they were unbeatable. Against Boston they got 29 points from D-Wade, 26pts and 10 rebounds from Lebron, 19pts and 10reb from Bosh, and 19 points off the bench from Ray Allen. If they can continue to get this production, they might break the record for wins in a season.
2. Chicago Bulls (2) – The Bulls haven’t showed me anything to lower themselves in the Power Rankings. They are getting good production from their starters, everybody but Kirk Hinrich is averaging over 11. Noah is averaging nearly 15pts, and 9 rebounds. Once Derrick Rose comes back they could win the east.
3. Indiana Pacers (3) – All of their starters are averaging over 10 pts. They are also getting 10 pts off the bench from Lance Stephenson and Tyler Hansbrough. If they can continue to get this kind of production they will be just fine. They will be dangerous by the endo of the season.
READ MORE: For rankings 4-8 and Eastern Conference teams on the bubble, visit Couch Side’s NBA Power Rankings Page
Blazer fans, welcome your new fearless leader, Damian Lillard.
The buzz around Lillard grew throughout the summer, into camp and more during the preseason. Then, in a season-opening win over the LA Lakers, it boiled over even more. It’s for good reason – the No. 6 overall pick scored 23 points and had 11 assists in his professional debut. That’s great.
But that wasn’t his biggest contribution. He came through the biggest on what was probably his worst decision of the night. And it was a missed shot.
It came early in the game when the 6-3, 195-pound Lillard tried to dunk over the hulking 6-11, 265-pound Dwight Howard. Lillard got stuffed, fell to the ground and the ball went out of bounds.
This play, this one unspectacular offensive play, proved to everyone in Portland that Damian Lillard is here to play ball and he is not backing down from anyone. He saw an opportunity and he tried to seize it. Sure, the smarter play is to float the ball over Howard. But it was the rookie’s first game and he wanted to make a statement – he wanted Howard on a poster. (more…)
If you watched the NBA Draft on Thursday night, odds were you had to wake yourself up on a few different occasions.
There were no mega deals, veterans to new teams or huge surprises. It was just a basic, boring draft. Every year the NBA Draft usually has some sort of spunk, but 2012’s was a snoozer. And one team was especially quiet despite doing everything imaginable to make some noise prior to the draft.
Call me crazy, but weren’t the Houston Rockets supposed to turn themselves into the fantastic franchise they once were in the days of Hakeem Olajuwon? It seemed during the days approaching the draft the Rockets were geared up to do so and had the appropriate arsenal to rebuild in just one offseason. So what happened? Here’s a list of Houston’s mistakes during the NBA Draft and in the short-lived offseason, so far.
• Missing out on Howard
I thought the reason the Rockets made trades for all of these picks was to obtain Dwight Howard. And hell, they probably could’ve had Superman. The only problem was that D12 doesn’t want to play for Houston, which probably spoiled a lot of the team’s plans for this season’s draft.
What boggles my mind is why Howard doesn’t want to play for the Rockets. This is a franchise that once was one of the greatest teams in the NBA and has tried just about everything to regain that image for the past two seasons. Houston can’t, however, because marquee players don’t want to play there for some reason. It seems to me that Houston is a basketball town. The days of Hakeen, Clyde the Glide and Charles Barkey are over, but lately the front office has made valiant efforts to land superstars — more than one.
Last season, the Rockets tried to obtain Pau Gasol and the trade fell through, mainly because NBA commisioner David Stern didn’t want Chris Paul to join the Lakers. So what how did the Rockets respond? They finished out the shortened 2012 campaign, missing the playoffs and decided to aim high, really high this offseason. (more…)
With the NBA regular season winding down, some hardcore fans may already be pondering about who will win this year’s MVP award.
Certainly, there is a handful of superstars deserving of the honor, but the award is about more than just leading the league in scoring, rebounds or assists. An MVP has to truly be a leader, who would change the whole dynamic of their team if they were absent from the starting lineup. Think about when Michael Jordan retired from the NBA to pursue a baseball career. The following season, Scottie Pippen definitely didn’t get any MVP love and the Chicago Bulls simply weren’t the same.
So when I look at this year’s field of possible deserving candidates (in terms of what they do for their teams) for the 2011-2012 MVP award, there is really only three players — Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Kevin Love — who fit that profile. The only problem is, Love’s Timberwolves have already been eliminated from playoff contention, so don’t expect him to even sniff at the trophy until Minnesota is better. And Dwight Howard’s absence from the Orlando Magic because of back spasms has only proven that he is the heart and soul of that team after Orlando slowly slipped further and further down the Eastern Conference standings once Howard started to miss more and more time.
So that leaves Kobe. Will he run away with the MVP award? Maybe not. After all, right behind him are superstars Kevin Durant and LeBron James, who rank No. 2 and No. 3 in the league, respectively, for points per game. But how much would Durant’s Thunder and James’ Heat be suffering if they weren’t there? Miami certainly could hold its own with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh running the show and you have to believe Oklahoma City could do the same with its depth. (more…)