BY ALEX WIESNER, Feedcrossing.com syndication
I know Linsanity has already hit New York but it was short lived. After his knee injury, I think Lin will realize that he has to get himself in better shape. He openly admitted to being tired after playing in the amount of minutes he did after his promotion to the starting point guard role. Last season he averaged 18.2 points, 7.7 assists, 2 steals and 3.7 rebounds per game as a starter. I think that, if the Knicks’ make some roster changes (I want to see Dwight Howard in a Knicks’ uniform), Lin could have even better numbers. Keep in mind he doesn’t have to shoot a lot to be effective. He did shoot 44.5% last year from the field but, his best value is when he is distributing the ball. In games where Lin totaled 7 assists or more, the Knicks’ were 11-5.
Many people won’t consider Lin to be a breakout candidate but I do, and here’s why: he only played in 35 games last year, and only 25 as a starter. Lin is still relatively new to the scene and therefore, in my eyes, is a breakout candidate. If you can remember back to early February on our radio show, I called Linsanity about a week before it got mega-popular. I know what I’m talking about (non-humble brag).
When will Kevin Love finally get the credit he deserves?
The 6’10 third-year power forward from UCLA is singlehandedly compiling one of the more impressive yet overlooked statistical streaks in NBA. He ranks fourth in the league in scoring with 25.3 points per game, behind only Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Kevin Durant, three of the NBA’s most prolific scorers. He also is currently sitting at second in rebounds, averaging 13.5 boards a game. The only person with more rebounds is the athletic monstrosity known as Dwight Howard. Out of his 22 games this season, Love has accrued 20 double-doubles.
When will these stats get his name throw into the MVP race?
Along with the help of Spanish rookie passing sensation Ricky Rubio, Love is making the Minnesota Timberwolves not only relevant again but also incredibly fun to watch. His shot versatility and formidable rebounding ability has shaped him into a potent offensive threat that opposing teams have yet to solve.
Despite his phenomenal recent success, it makes sense as to why Love hasn’t been getting as much love as he deserves. First off, the Timberwolves play in a very small market, a place where the bright lights of the national media rarely venture. Second, while the Timberwolves have improved exponentially, they still currently sit at a meager 11-12.
So much for Ricky Rubio being unable to adapt to life in the NBA.
The 6-foot-4, 180-pound point guard from Barcelona has shown he is right at home amongst the fast-paced play and formidable competition of the NBA. Plus, it’s just been too much fun watching SportsCenter highlights of Rubio’s precise and lighting quick passes.
So far this season, Rubio has demonstrated impressive court vision and pinpoint passing accuracy. His unselfish team play and desire to make everyone look good has allowed him to divvy up a bevy of impressive bounce passes, lobs, and alley-oops which have translated into points. While he’ll never put up huge scoring numbers, Rubio is currently averaging 11 points per game and shooting 46 percent from the field.
Immense basketball IQ aside, what really makes Rubio special is how his passes don’t simply make it into the hands of his intended targets; they help create shots. He uses his passing prowess to put his teammates in a better position to score. He is currently averaging 8.3 assists per game, along with 2 steals and 3.8 boards. Rubio recently posted his first double-double in a game against the Miami Heat.
For the longest time, sports pundits and analysts questioned Rubio’s ability to effectively make the transition from European basketball to the faster paced and more athletic NBA. He has shown that not only can he adapt, he can potentially excel. The increased physical skills of his teammates allow him to deliver faster passes on the break and give him the opportunity to dazzle audiences with alley-oop lobs that bring crowds to their feet. His job is also made easier due to the fact he is playing with double-double machine Kevin Love, athletic rookie specimen Derrick Williams, and aspiring second year shooting guard Wes Johnson.
BY TREVOR GOULD, Couchsideshow.com writer
Despite consisting of relatively weak collegiate basketball talent, the 2011 NBA Draft class still had its share of skill and potential.
There was Kyrie Irving, the 19-year-old freshman point guard from Duke who only played 11 games but still managed a stellar stat line of 17.5 points per game, 53% field goal percentage, and 3.4 rebounds while averaging 27.5 minutes per game. There was the highlight reel small forward Derrick Williams, who powered the University of Arizona to the Elite Eight with his strength, effective inside game, and versatile shooting abilities. There was the shooting maestro Jimmer Fredette, BYU’s virtually unstoppable guard who averaged a miraculous 28.9 points per game and who was named the 2011 national player of the year by the majority of the influential sporting publications.
As sports fans, we have been constantly hearing about how these collegiate stars have been performing on the professional level. Irving got off to a slow start but is beginning to steady himself; Ricky Rubio to Derrick Williams is becoming a potent offensive combination; Markieff Morris is providing some toughness and defense to the offensive minded Phoenix Suns, etc etc. Yet whatever happened to Bismack Biyombo, the polarizing Congolese power forward whose defensive abilities were being hailed as top-notch?