Tag: Kevin Garnett

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Boston Celtics

Should the Celtics trade Rajon Rondo?

Free agency 2014 is done and dusted, with most teams finalizing their transactions, and beginning to prepare for the long NBA season ahead of them. The West is stacked, and the East is getting better, but there are still teams who have failed to match the off season efforts of others. 

One team which has failed to make a splash in the market is the Boston Celtics, who have become a non-factor in a lackluster eastern conference these past few years, calling into question the true metal of much revered General Manager and former player Danny Ainge. 

Since trading Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in the summer of 2013, fans of the 17-time Champs have become increasingly more unnerved about the direction of the ball club, and how they plan on returning them to their rightful place atop the eastern conference. 

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There are picks a-plenty, and the future looks bright with young rookies Marcus Smart and James Young joining the ranks via the draft this summer. They also have a young core of Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger and Jeff Green, all of whom are ready to help the team progress into the next stage of Boston basketball. But what is the next step? What direction will this team, steeped in history, take? 

There is zero doubt that Boston’s back court is deep, having drafted a one and a two, in addition to their already talented lineup of guards, leaving many asking the question why they let enforcer and 7th overall pick Julius Randle fall to the Lakers during June’s NBA Draft.

Drafting Marcus Smart was curious, given 1 x Champ and former All Star Rajon Rondo is still performing at an optimum level for the team, and will return at full strength this October, following knee surgery in February, 2013. Smart is projected to be a high performance player for Boston, but it’s hard to imagine they’ll be able to fully utilize him as a back up behind Rondo.

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In this lies an interesting debate – Does it benefit the Celtics to trade their cornerstone, and franchise player before his free agency next summer? 

Let’s look at the facts.

As mentioned previously, the roster is deep with guards. Rondo, Avery Bradley and Evan Turner only scratch the surface of their back court, with Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk and Jeff Green the only players of considerable note anchoring down the paint. Having prided themselves as a defensive stalwart for years, the Celtics would undoubtedly benefit from the addition of a top 15 big, who can average 20/12 on a nightly basis, and help reinforce Boston’s leaky defensive structure. 

Injury is a concern. While Rondo is one of the league’s top point guards when healthy, there is uncertainty about his durability after a torn ACL restricted his playing time drastically this past season. Thus far, his value remains high, but should that decrease, and his ability begin to decline, so will his appeal. There is interest in Rondo throughout the league at this point in time, so at the very least, the Celtics should be willing to listen to offers. 

An article surfaced earlier this week which indicated that Rondo wants to be “wined and dined” this summer, in similar fashion to Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James. Of course, this may be nothing more than a player wanting to have his ego stroked, but it could also indicate that that Rondo is willing to listen to offers come summer 2015. If the Celtics let Rondo test free agency, they’ll run the risk of losing him for nothing, and while he has said he wants to stay a Celtic, no one truly knows. 

Portland Trail Blazers v Boston Celtics

Should they keep Rondo beyond 2014/15, it will no doubt take up considerable cap space with the team having signed Avery Bradley to a four year, $30 million deal. There is little doubt he’ll sign for anything less than the max next summer, so the Celtics must make a decision about the style of basketball they’ll be playing for the foreseeable future. There is also the question of whether keeping Rondo will impact the development of Marcus Smart, if Boston do intend to utilize him to his full potential. 

So, while it remains unlikely that Rondo will sign an extension with any team beyond 2014/15, there could still be something in it for Boston – It’s not so much that we’ll see a Kevin Love/Minnesota type situation between the Celtics and Rondo (given Rondo’s love for the team. A notion Love did not share when it came to the Wolves), but it would benefit Boston in a big way to shop him before he leaves for nothing when the opportunity at a title and max money rears its head. 

So, with the information we have, does trading Rondo benefit the Celtics? In short, yes. Given what we know about the team’s current structure, Rondo’s tenure as a franchise guy/healthy player, and his impending free agency, it absolutely is in Boston’s best interests to move him. 

While this may be the case, one must wonder if it hasn’t happened yet, will it at all? It’s getting to a point now where it looks more and more likely that the team is all in on Rondo, and should they decide against it in the coming months, it may already be too late.

Whichever way you look at it, expect to see a lot of Rajon Rondo in the trade winds throughout season 2014/15. 



The Best of the All-Stars

There you have it. All-Star Weekend done and dusted for another year. It had its highs. It had its lows. And the less said about the Dunk Contest the better. So here’s what I’ve done. I’m going to give you my All-Time, All-Star 5. Forget about who has played the most games or has the most points. This is coming purely from a “who would I pay my hard earned money to see” perspective. Which players have made me jump from my seat over the years? Who has left me most entertained? Here is where you find out. I’m sure you have your favourites. Let’s see how they line up with mine.

Center

This was a tough one. Judging by the ballot this year center’s don’t exist but we’ve seen some great bigs over the years. All-Star Games are known for their entertaining and highlight driven big men. Shaq. Dwight. Hakeem. But I’m going to come at this from a different angle and be slightly controversial. My pick at the center position is Dikembe Mutombo. Don’t hate me just yet. I have reasons for picking him. Usually watching All-Star Games I’m looking for dunks, alley-oops and ankle-breaking crossovers. Mutombo brought a defensive energy to what is usually a glorified pick up game. Whenever Dikembe goes up for a block you know it’s going to be exciting. He’s either going to get the block or become a poster. Either way the viewer wins. In 2001 I found myself absolutely transfixed by a defensive performance in an All-Star Match-Up. Mutombo was ripping down rebounds like a man possessed. Shot goes up. Dikembe gets the board. Shot goes up. Dikemebe gets the board. It was amazing. I wanted players to miss shots just to give Mount Mutombo a shot at the All-Star rebounding record. Sadly he was five short of the record and registered 22 rebounds for the game along with 3 blocked shots. On the plus side he’s made my All-Star 5.

Power Forward

Some amazing plays. Incredible ‘oops. Kidd to Martin is mint…

Choosing this position was brutal. So much talent. So many highlights. Barkley. Malone. Kemp. Larry Johnson. Bird. Garnett. Griffin. Nique. Duncan. The list is almost endless but I’ve made my decision. KG. Kevin Garnett. Controversial again. Many are more qualified but remember the team is based on entertainment value. When KG was with the Wolves he walked around with a chip on his shoulder. A superstar player on an underperforming team. All-Star break was KG’s time to shine and the Big Ticket always delivered. Intensity. Points. Dunks. Trash talk. His multiple connections with an afroed Kobe Bryant. MVP performances. 15 time NBA All-Star team selection. Check out his highlights below if you don’t believe me.

Small Forward

Another endless list of wicked highlights to choose from and another tough decision to make. Lebron gets it. I’m not the biggest Lebron fan but it’s difficult to discount the array of thunderous dunks he has thrown down during All-Star match ups. His in game dunks rival anything the Dunk Contest has thrown up in the last ten years. What makes Lebron so intriguing is that everybody has an opinion. Nobody can sit on the fence when it comes to James. It’s either all out love or masses of hate. He’s either the greatest in waiting or an overrated, overhyped flopper. Lebron thrives on his haters and always strives to prove them wrong. There is nothing he has not done on the All-Star court. ‘Bron shoots the long ball, dunks in traffic, chases down attackers and always gives the fans a show. He’s willing to put rivalries aside (Joakim Noah) or let them grow (Kobe) depending on what the situation calls for. Even his missed dunks look good (See vid above).

Shooting Guard

Now this one is a gimme. We all know it’s MJ. There is no doubt about it. He is still somebody who transcends the game of basketball and is the definition of an All-Star. Because it would be so easy to pick MJ, I’m going top pick somebody else. Two shooting guards that were pure entertainment in their prime were Tracy “T-Mac” McGrady and Vince “Air Canada” Carter. There are similarities between their careers. Each played for Toronto. Both look lazy and lethargic on the court at times but always found the energy to put on a show. Both are known for fearsome dunks. Both have been called ball hogs and selfish. But both have made names for themselves during the All-Star Weekend and All-Star games. Vince put on the best Slam Dunk Contest performance of all time. Nothing has come close to it since. T-Mac threw down the best in game dunk the All-Star Game has ever seen when he threw the ball off the backboard to himself, caught it in mid-air and still had time to pump. Vince copied T-Mac a few years later but for pure ingenuity and showmanship McGrady gets my vote.

Point Guard

This comes down to two ballers for me. Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Isiah Thomas. Magic was a point guard in a big man’s body. Thomas was anything but big. Magic took show time to new levels every time he walked on the court. Thomas’ vision on the court is unrivalled to this day. Both could read the game like they had written the book.

When word came out that Magic had contracted HIV it hit the league hard. Because of the contagious nature of HIV, physicality of the game of basketball and the fears of players and fans alike, Magic was forced to retire. Despite his retirement in 1991 fans voted Magic into the 1992 All-Star Game. It was the only game Magic played that season. Johnson dominated. Assists, points, flair and finished as the games MVP. There is one moment from this game that everybody remembers. Magic had the ball. 14 seconds remaining in the 4th. Johnson backs Thomas to the three-point line and hits one of the most magical shots you will ever see. With 14 seconds to go the game stopped. Nobody took another shot. Everybody gave Magic a hug or high five. At that point things became bigger than basketball. Everyone forgot about the ‘announcement’ and showed their respect to a great of the game.

Isiah could beat anyone off the dribble. He could get to the rack and throw up shots from impossible angles and still get them to drop. Thomas made the players around him better. But his passing skills were immaculate. Players wouldn’t be open but Thomas would still find a way to get them the ball. Bounce pass through a defenders legs. Over the top for an alley-oop. A bounce pass from three-quarter court. Thomas did it all.

I can’t split them. I wrote this thing so I make the rules. I’m having two point guards. Feel free to disagree with me and let me know who you would have in certain positions.

Nathan Darby



What’s Up in Brooklyn?

An easier question would probably be what’s right in Brooklyn? Anyone…? Anything…? Just as I thought. Thus far it seems the best thing to happen to Brooklyn was the fact that Beyoncé and Jay Z turned up to a few games. Other than that the good times have been limited. There has been some comedic gold with J-Kidd calling for one of his team to bump into him and spill his drink everywhere in a hope for a timeout. It didn’t work but this was one play that the Nets actually ran well and should try running some plays on the court in the future. (more…)



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Weekly Hoop Scoop #2

So last week’s edition of the weekly hoop scoop was M.I.A due to some much deserved, OK, maybe just needed, holiday time for myself and now that I’m back in the realm of weekly drudgery, a few kilos heavier and with an even bigger drinking habit than before I left, I felt it was time to get back to informing our loyal readers with all that’s been happening in the world of the NBA.

There’s been a veritable plethora of action as per usual this week so welcome back to the Weekly Hoop Scoop at NBA Nation Australia.

Monday November 11th

San Antonio Spurs 120 – New York Knicks 89.

The New York Knicks horror start continued when they were blown out by last year’s NBA finalists the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs were led by the stellar three point shooting of Danny Green and by the ever improving Kawhi Leonard. Green had 24 points and went 6 of 9 from the behind the arc and Leonard added 18 points on 7 of 10 shooting.

The Knicks shooting was abysmal, 37.8% from the field and 27.3% from three point range. Carmelo Anthony had 18 points and 8 rebounds but it was nowhere near enough to keep the Knicks in the game. The pressure mounts for Coach Mike Woodson.

Oklahoma City Thunder 106 – Washington Wizards 105.

OKC and the Wizards fought out a memorable clash in Oklahoma City. The Thunder got the win in overtime thanks to superstar Kevin Durant’s 33 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists, including a game tying 3 point shot in regular time and the go ahead free throws to win in overtime. The game was a fierce battle which included a heated exchange between Russell Westbrook and Nene which ended with both players being ejected. Westbrook might want to hit the weight room or try pushing someone more akin to his own size next time, I don’t think Nene moved at all!

Bradley Beal was superb for the visiting Wizards scoring a career high 34 points, which included 6 of 8 shooting from behind the arc. John Wall had a particularly frustrating night shooting just 3 of 13 from the field.

Phoenix Suns 101 – New Orleans Pelicans 94.

Markieff Morris and Eric Bledsoe continued their scintillating, early season form as the Phoenix Suns brought up win number five for the season over the New Orleans Pelicans. Morris had 23 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks on 9 of 12 shooting and Bledsoe had 24 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds as he continues to flourish in his new role out of the shadow of Chris Paul.

The Pelicans were led by the play of big man Jason Smith as he scored 22 points and grabbed 8 boards. They dropped to a 3-4 record after the loss.

Minnesota Timberwolves 113 – Los Angeles Lakers 90.

The ‘Dwightmare’ may be over but the nightmare continues for the Lakers. They lost to Minnesota after having won the last 22 times against the Timberwolves. Minnesota were led by the maestro, Ricky Rubio. Rubio registered a triple double with 12 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds on 5 of 9 shooting and had a +/- of +27 for the game. Kevin Love added 25 points and Kevin Martin, who looks to have found a suitable home in Minnesota added 27.

The Lakers are a mess; they shot 38% from the field and 55.6% from the line, were out rebounded and only had three players with double figure points and not one player score more than 19 for the game. Next seasons draft is shaping up as a very important one for this proud franchise.

Tuesday November 12th

Chicago Bulls 96 – Cleveland Cavaliers 81.

The Chicago Bulls started the season with very high expectations and so far, its safe to say they have been way below them. They may have got the win against their Central Division rivals today but it came at the cost of an injury to Derrick Rose.

The Bulls were led by the one player who has been phenomenal for them so far this season, Carlos Boozer. Boozer is probably the most unheralded of the Bulls starting five but has produced so far this season when others have not. He had 17 points on 7 of 11 shooting, 7 rebounds and 4 assists in the victory.

The game was billed as a matchup between two of the NBA’s best point guards, Derrick Rose and Kyrie Irving, two stars who hadn’t played each other in a game before but neither point guard played well in the contest.

Derrick Rose left the game with a strained hamstring as his horror start to the season continues.

Atlanta Hawks 103 – Charlotte Bobcats 94.

The Atlanta Hawks got the win on the road against the Bobcats thanks to the play of big man Al Horford and some great fourth quarter shooting from Cartier Martin. Horford had 24 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists and shot 9 of 15 from the field whilst Martin added 16 points including three triples in the final term to help the Hawks secure the win.

The Bobcats dropped to a 3-4 record and a 2-2 home record with the loss. Josh McRoberts led them with 19 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists.

Indiana Pacers 95 – Memphis Grizzlies 79.

The hottest team in the NBA right now continued to sizzle with a win over the Memphis Grizzlies to take them to a league best 8-0 start for the season. Lance Stephenson registered his first career triple double with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists and Paul George added 23 points on 9 of 16 shooting with a +/- of +24 for the game.

The Pacers are the first team since 2000 to start 8-0 and the 18th in NBA history to achieve the feat.

The Grizzlies Marc Gasol top scored for the visiting team with 15 points as the Grizz drop to 3-4 for the season.

San Antonio Spurs 109 – Philadelphia 76ers 85.

Danny Green continues to shine, he drained 5 of 7 threes as the San Antonio Spurs made light work of the 76ers. Green top scored for San Antonio with 18 points and added 7 rebounds and 3 assists.

Sixers rookie Michael Carter-Williams fell back to earth as he shot 2 of 11 for the game and Evan Turner top scored for Philly with 20 points on just 9 of 21 shooting.

San Antonio led for the entire game apart from a brief period where they were down by one point but they were quick to regain the lead and take a fairly easy victory.

Boston Celtics 120 – Orlando Magic 105.

The Boston Celtics had a fairly convincing win against the Orlando Magic at the The Garden in Boston. Avery Bradley top scored for the Celtics with 24 points on 10 of 15 from the field and Jordan Crawford had 16 points, 10 assists and 5 rebounds. Boston shot a phenomenal 60% from the field for the game and 41.7% from three point range and only turned the ball over 13 times in the win.

The Magic’s Nikola Vucevic had 15 points and 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals in the loss as the Magic’s record dropped to 3-5 for the season.

Houston Rockets 110 – Toronto Raptors 104.

The Houston Rockets took out a thriller at the Toyota Center in Houston as they defeated the Toronto Raptors in double overtime. James Harden missed a shot to win the game in regulation which sent the game into overtime where it was Rudy Gay who had the final shot for Toronto to send it to double OT, where James Harden took over to close it out for the Rockets.

The Rockets were led by the trio of Jeremy Lin, Dwight Howard and James Harden. Lin had 31 points on 10 of 17 from the field, Howard had 18 points and 24 rebounds and Harden had 26 points and 10 dimes in the game.

The Raptors shot the ball poorly at 33.3% for the game and Rudy Gay, whilst he had 29 points went 11 for 37 from the field.

Denver Nuggets 100 – Utah Jazz 81.

The hapless Utah Jazz are still winless this season as they fell to the Denver Nuggets at home. They have now started the season 0-8 and things are looking decidedly glum in Utah. The Nuggets were led by Ty Lawson’s 17 points, 10 assists and 6 rebounds. J.J Hickson had a huge dunk over Marvin Williams which pretty much sums up just how much every team is abusing the Jazz so far this season.

Utah shot 40.3% from the field and an abysmal 17.6% from behind the arc, were out rebounded 52-35 and the question still remains as to when they will get their maiden win this season.

Portland Trail Blazers 109 – Detroit Pistons 103.

Portland registered its third straight victory with a win over the Pistons at home. Their three point shooting continues to impress as they went 11 for 23 from behind the arc. Last year’s Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard had 25 points including 5 of 8 from three, 5 rebounds and 4 assists for the game.

Detroit’s ball control was excellent throughout the game as they only turned the ball over 8 times but struggled with their shooting, 46.2% from the field and 21.4% from three point territory. Brandon Jennings top scored with 28 points and Andre Drummond added 16 points and 16 rebounds.

Los Angeles Clippers 109 –Minnesota Timberwolves 107.

The Los Angeles Clippers won a tight one at Staples against the Minnesota Timberwolves in a game where two of the games best power forwards, Blake Griffin and Kevin Love went at it. Griffin had 25 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists for the game whilst Kevin Love had 23 points including 4 of 8 from long range, 19 rebounds and 7 assists but missed a tip in to tie the game and send it to overtime.

Jamal Crawford added 18 points on 7 of 11 shooting for the Clippers whose record improves to 5-3 as the Timberwolves record drops to the same mark, 5-3.

Wednesday November 13th

Miami Heat 118 – Milwaukee Bucks 95.

The Bucks were never in the contest against the Heat as LeBron James dropped 33 points on 13 of 21 shooting, including 4 of 7 from long range.

The Bucks defensive efforts were all but in vain as Miami shot 58.2% from the field, 52.2% from behind the arc, turned the ball over only 13 times, in fact the box score really doesn’t do the Bucks any favours, the only major statistical category they bettered Miami in was steals, 10-9.

A rout if there ever was one.

Dallas Mavericks 105 – Washington Wizards.

Dirk Nowitzki passed Jerry West on the NBA’s All Time Scoring list as the Dallas Mavericks beat the Washington Wizards courtesy of a big second quarter where they outscored the Wizards 28-15.

Nowitzki had 19 points which took him to 16th in career scoring in the NBA, surpassing Jerry West’s 25,192 points. He also had 8 rebounds and 2 assists in the contest.

The Wizards Trevor Ariza had a game high 27 points on 10 of 17 shooting including five treys.

Golden State Warriors 113 – Detroit Pistons 95.

The Golden State Warriors got the jump out of the gate, basically winning the game in the first quarter thanks to a 35-16 start. Steph Curry led the Warriors with 25 points on 7 of 10 shooting with 8 assists and 2 rebounds. Jermaine O’Neal turned back the clock with his performance, scoring 17 points on 7 of 8 shooting with 6 rebounds.

Golden State shot 60% from the field, 50% from three point range, were +9 in rebounds, +12 in assists but turned the ball over 23 times.

Detroit shot just 16.7% from three point range, 3 for 18 for the game.

Los Angeles Lakers 116 – New Orleans Pelicans 95.

Jordan Hill had a night to remember for the Lakers as he posted 21 points on 7 of 12 shooting, 11 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals as the Lakers got a big win over the visiting New Orleans Pelicans.

The Lakers were very efficient in the win; shooting 55.7% from the field, 55% from behind the arc and 81% from the charity stripe.

The game will be best remembered for Xavier Henry’s huge dunk over rookie big man Jeff Withey. Henry completely posterised Withey as he attempted to take the charge under the basket. Check it out here – http://nbanationaustralia.com/2013/11/13/put-it-on-a-poster-lakers-xavier-henrys-gigantic-slam-video/

Jrue Holiday continued his shooting woes for the new season going 2 for 11 in the loss.

Thursday November 14th

Orlando Magic 94 – Milwaukee Bucks 91.

The Orlando Magic rallied back after a slow start to get a victory over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks. The Magic were led by Aaron Afflalo who scored 36 points on 11 of 15 shooting with an amazing 8 treys. He also had 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals in the huge performance.

The Bucks had the better of things early on and took the lead into the break but the Magic came home strong and took the win in a close fought affair.

O.J Mayo top scored for the Bucks with 25 points and Khris Middleton added 19 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals.

Philadelphia 76ers 123 – Houston Rockets 117.

A bruised left foot was the catalyst for keeping both James Harden and Michael Carter-Williams out of the game and the loss of Harden proved to be too much for the Rockets as they went down to the surprisingly good Philadelphia team.

Tony Wroten, in his first career start, registered a triple double for Philly with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists whilst James Anderson added a career high 36 points on 12 of 16 shooting.

The Rockets Jeremy Lin scored 34 points and dished out 12 assists but it wasn’t to be enough to beat the underdog 76ers.

Charlotte Bobcats 89 – Boston Celtics 83.

The Charlotte Bobcats biggest off season signing Al Jefferson led them to a victory over the Boston Celtics at The Garden in Boston. Jefferson scored 22 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and had 3 assists and 2 blocks in the victory.

The expectation of both teams at the commencement of the season was quite low and whilst they have both exceeded expectations so far this game wasn’t one for the casual fan. Both teams shot the ball poorly, below 40% as the low score line suggests.

Jordan Crawford and Jeff Green were the only Celtics to score more than 10 points in the game.

Toronto Raptors 103 – Memphis Grizzlies 87.

The Memphis Grizzlies disappointing start to their 2013/14 NBA campaign continues as they lost to the Toronto Raptors at home in Memphis. The Raptors ball control, (13 turnovers) and defense, they kept the Grizzlies to 42.7% shooting, were the main reasons behind the surprise win for Toronto.

Rudy Gay led the charge with 23 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists but his shooting woes continue as he shot 5 of 18 from the field and his field goal percentage sits at 36.5% for the season so far.

The Grizzlies won the battle in the paint by outscoring Toronto 36-24 but their 17 turnovers and overall shooting percentage cost them the game.

Minnesota Timberwolves 124 – Cleveland Cavaliers 95.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are beginning to look like the real deal this season. Led by the stellar play of stars Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio they completely blew out the Cleveland Cavaliers to take their record to 6-3 this season.

All five of their starters scored in double figures for the game with Kevin Love leading the way with his 33 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists whilst Corey Brewer added 27 points and Ricky Rubio had 16 assists.

The Cavaliers, a team that many people were banking on having a big season, have started poorly and drop to 3-6 for the season. Kyrie Irving led them with 20 points in the loss.

New York Knicks 95 – Atlanta Hawks 91.

The New York Knicks won for the fifth straight time against the Hawks with Carmelo Anthony and Andrea Bargnani leading the way. Anthony, playing in the power forward position for the first time this season scored 25 points and Bargnani continued his surprising recent form by adding 20 points and 11 rebounds on 8 of 15 shooting.

The Hawks were led by Jeff Teague with 25 points but lost their first game at home for the season and drop to 4-4 for the year.

San Antonio 92 – Washington Wizards 79.

The Spurs have always been a team that doesn’t garner too much mainstream media attention in the regular season and this continues to be the same as they racked up their eighth win of the season against the Washington Wizards.

San Antonio had it all their own way as they led the contest from start to finish and never looked in any serious trouble. Their brand of team basketball was reflected in the box scores as they had six players score in double figures.

8-1 on the season and 4-0 at home, you know this team will be as dangerous as ever come the post season.

The Wizards however are a team that’s struggling to find their rhythm and they drop to 2-6 for the year.

Denver Nuggets 111 – Los Angeles Lakers 99.

Kenneth Faried may have been the target of many a trade rumour recently but he hasn’t let it affect his game. He scored 23 points on 8 of 13 shooting and grabbed 13 boards to lead the Denver Nuggets to a victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Nuggets led the game from start to finish and despite having the inferior record to the Lakers, they had things mostly their own way. Timofey Mosgov had 23 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks in the win.

Jordan Hill continues to impress for a Laker team that’s in fairly unfamiliar territory as they struggle to keep close to .500 this year.

Utah Jazz 111 – New Orleans Pelicans 105.

It was bound to happen eventually. The Utah Jazz registered their first win of the season in their ninth attempt with a victory over the Pelicans.

Gordon Hayward has been putting up some huge numbers but to no avail as the Jazz have been on the losing end of things until now. Hayward scored 27 points and dished out 10 dimes in the win and his season averages stand at 20.3 ppg, 6 rpg and 5 apg.

The Pelicans Anthony Davis continued his break out season with 29 points and 15 rebounds but the Pelicans drop to 3-6 for the season.

Portland Trail Blazers 90 – Phoenix Suns 89.

A late layup basket by Damian Lillard sealed a close fought win for the Portland Trail Blazers over the Phoenix Suns at the Moda Center in Portland.

The Blazers were led by the play of big man Robin Lopez who had 13 points and 15 rebounds in the win. Thomas Robinson top scored for Portland off the bench with 15 points as he attempts to find his way in what has been a fairly underwhelming NBA career to date.

The Suns Eric Bledsoe was their best on court, scoring 23 points with 6 assists and 3 rebounds.

Sacramento Kings 107 – Brooklyn Nets 86.

The Brooklyn Nets, the super-rich, fully stacked, albeit long in tooth team with a payroll bigger than most countries GDP have endured a more than disappointing start to this season and the disappointment continued with a blowout loss to the Sacramento Kings.

The Kings were led by the play of Marcus Thornton with 24 points and Greivis Vasquez with 17 points and 12 assists.

Brooklyn shot the ball woefully at 37.8% from the field and 23.1% from behind the arc. They fall to 2-5 for the season and a certain Russian billionaire is undoubtedly fuming at his lack of return on his big investment so far this year.

Los Angeles Clippers 111 – Oklahoma City Thunder 103.

The Clippers got the win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in a controversial game where both Matt Barnes and Serge Ibaka were ejected.

The ejections came after a scuffle that occurred in the dying seconds of the second quarter. Ibaka became tangled up with Blake Griffin, a player with which he has some history with, and pushed him off before Matt Barnes took offense at Ibaka and shoved him. The ensuing scuffle, or lack of, caused the ejection of both players.

The Clippers would go on to win the game led by Griffin’s 22 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists. Chris Paul had 16 assists in the game and he continues to lead the league in dimes.

Kevin Durant had 33 points, 6 rebounds and 10 assists in the loss between two of the western conference’s better teams.

Friday November 15th

Houston Rockets 109 – New York Knicks 106.

Carmelo Anthony dropped 45 points and grabbed 10 boards, Andrea Bargnani bested Dwight Howard and kept him to just 7 points on 1 of 5 shooting but it wasn’t enough to see the New York Knicks get the win at Madison Square Garden.

The Rockets won a hard fought battle thanks in most part to the play of James Harden, who scored 36 points and added 9 boards for the Rockets.

Howard was disappointing in a matchup which for all intents and purposes looked to be one that favoured him. He did well on the glass grabbing 15 rebounds but will need to have more of an impact offensively should the Rockets look to be a serious contender come playoff time.

The Knicks fell to 3-5 for the season and the pressure of playing in New York City just never goes away, especially when they’re losing more than they’re winning.

Golden State Warriors 116 – Oklahoma City Thunder 115.

The Oklahoma City Thunder lost their second game in two days with a close loss to the Warriors on the road in Oakland.

Golden State were led by the stellar play of sharp shooter Klay Thompson who scored 27 points on 10 of 15 shooting including 6 three pointers. His partner in crime Steph Curry added 4 threes of his own and 22 points.

The Warriors ball control was excellent as they only turned the ball over 7 times in the contest and shot the lights out from long range hitting 60.9% of three pointers.

OKC were led by Russell Westbrook’s 31 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists.

Saturday November 16th

Chicago Bulls 96 – Toronto Raptors 80.

The Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose sat out this one due to a strained hamstring and the Bulls looked none the worse for it as they completely dominated the Toronto Raptors on the road. All five of the Bulls starters scored in double figures for the game as they kept the Raptors to 35.4% shooting.

Luol Deng led the Bulls with 19 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists and an impressive +/- of +24.

DeMar DeRozan dropped 37 points and Rudy Gay added 20 points but the other ten players to see court time for the Raptors could only manage a combined 23 points, a truly forgettable game for Toronto fans.

Indiana Pacers 104 – Milwaukee Bucks 77.

The difference in class was more than apparent in this game between the undefeated Pacers and the 2-5 Bucks.

The Pacers made easy work of Milwaukee and were led by the play of big man Roy Hibbert who scored 24 points, grabbed 10 boards and blocked a phenomenal 8 shots on the game. Hibbert is now averaging 4.78 blocks per game and whilst its early days that number would be good enough for fourth all time for a single season in NBA history.

Paul George added 22 points for the Pacers in the win but it was the defensive efforts for Indiana which kept the Bucks to 34.1% shooting that led them to such a blowout win.

Atlanta Hawks 113 – Philadelphia 76ers 103.

Jeff Teague scored a career high 33 points to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 113 -103 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Teague shot 10 of 16, grabbed 4 rebounds and dished out 10 assists in the win. DeMarre Carroll added 21 points and Al Horford 20.

Evan Turner continued his great season by top scoring for the 76ers with 27 but it wasn’t enough as Philly drops to 5-5 for the season.

Portland Trail Blazers 109 – Boston Celtics 96.

The Portland Trail Blazers won their fifth straight game when they defeated the Boston Celtics at The Garden in Boston. They take their season record to a surprising 7-2.

LaMarcus Aldridge led the Blazers with 27 points and 12 boards. Nicolas Batum added 18 points including four treys and Mo Williams had 18 on 8 of 13 shooting.

The Celtics Jared Sullinger had 26 points in the loss on 11 of 18 shooting but the Celtics were badly beaten on the glass being out rebounded 47-34.

Charlotte Bobcats 86 – Cleveland Cavaliers 80.

The Bobcats, led by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist defeated the Cavaliers on the road to take their season record to 5-4. Kidd-Gilchrist had 16 points and 8 rebounds in the win which was the Cavaliers the first home loss this season.

Charlotte had five players score in double figures in the game.

Cleveland who were led by Kyrie Irving, 18 points and 10 assists, drop to a disappointing 3-7 for the year.

Miami Heat 110 – Dallas Mavericks 104.

LeBron James scored a season high 39 points as the Heat won a hard fought battle over the Dallas Mavericks in Miami. James shot 14 of 18, grabbed 6 rebounds and dished out 4 dimes in the win.

Both teams shot over 50% in what was a very entertaining clash. Dallas suffered with their ball control as they turned it over 24 times in the game.

Dirk Nowitzki had 28 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists in the loss and Monta Ellis added 20 points.

Denver Nuggets 117 – Minnesota Timberwolves 113.

Expectations for the Nuggets weren’t exactly sky high this season for most pundits, but they continue to play hard and sit at 4-4 after a good win against the Minnesota Timberwolves at home in the Pepsi Center.

Kenneth Faried led the way with 16 points and 10 rebounds and Wilson Chandler in his second game back scored 19 points including 3 of 4 from long range.

Kevin Love’s big numbers were once again on display as he put up 28 points on 10 of 20 shooting with 10 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks but the Timberwolves drop to 6-4.

Brooklyn Nets 100 – Phoenix Suns 98.

Joe Johnson was responsible for Brooklyn escaping with a last second win over the Phoenix Suns. Johnson hit a floater with 30 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime and then with the clock winding down in the overtime period he hit a buzzer beater to win the game for the Nets.

Despite hitting two very important shots Johnson didn’t have the best of games shooting just 6 of 19 for the game. Big man Brook Lopez was Brooklyn’s best with 27 points and 7 rebounds.

The Suns who were led by Goran Dragic’s 19 points drop to 5-4 on the season while the Nets improve to 3-5.

San Antonio Spurs 91 – Utah Jazz 82.

The Utah Jazz started their game against the Spurs with a 29-16 run in the first quarter but the Spurs were good enough to weather the storm and when it really counted they made their move, outscoring the Jazz 31-15 in the fourth.

Tony Parker led the Spurs with 22 points and 6 assists as they improved to 9-1 on the season.

The Jazz drop to 1-9 for the season and it seems the lottery is their final destination this season. Derrick Favors scored 20 points and grabbed 18 boards in the loss but the Jazz shot a woeful 38.5% from the field.

Memphis Grizzlies 89 – Los Angeles Lakers 86.

The Grizzlies and the Lakers were two teams desperate for a win coming in to this one but it was Memphis who took out the win in a tight one in Los Angeles.

Zach Randolph led the Grizzlies with 28 points including 14 in the final term. Marc Gasol added 18 points for Memphis in the win but it was the play of Z Bo that will be remembered as the catalyst for the victory.

Jodie Meeks played well for L.A with 25 points on 10 of 16 shooting with 5 threes.

The Lakers drop to 4-7 for the season as their fans start to talk lottery and Memphis improve to 4-5.

Detroit Pistons 97 – Sacramento Kings 90.

The Sacramento Kings fans set a world record for arena decibel levels during the game but on the court things weren’t so loud for the Kings. They went down to the visiting Detroit Pistons in a close one.

Josh Smith was outstanding for Detroit and fantasy owners would have been more than impressed with his numbers. He put up 21 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 steals and 4 blocks in the win. The Pistons improved their record to 3-5 whilst the Kings drop to 2-6.

DeMarcus Cousins played well for Sacramento in the loss scoring 26 points and grabbing 13 boards.

Sunday November 17th

Chicago Bulls 110 – Indiana Pacers 94.

The Chicago Bulls haven’t had the start that many expected but a big win over the undefeated Indiana Pacers should go a long way towards building some much needed confidence for the Bulls and their star point guard Derrick Rose, who also looked very good in the win.

Rose scored 20 points on 7 of 16 shooting including 6 of 11 from behind the arc. He also managed to not the turn the ball over once in the game, something with which he has had a lot of trouble with so far this season.

Luol Deng looked like the All Star he is by adding 23 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals and kept Pacers star Paul George to 12 points on 3 of 14 shooting.

The Pacers drop their first game of the season and sit at 9-1 while the Bulls improve to 5-3 with the big win.

Miami Heat 97 – Charlotte Bobcats 81.

The Miami Heat made light work of the Bobcats in Charlotte as LeBron James scored 30 points on 13 of 18 shooting with 7 assists and 4 rebounds. James is shooting the lights out this season as his 62.2% from the field for the season attests to and it was more of the same in Charlotte for ‘The King’.

New addition to the Heat squad, Michael Beasley, played some good minutes in the game and added 15 points on 7 of 14 shooting.

Kemba Walker was the Bobcats best in the loss with 22 points including three treys.

Dallas Mavericks 108 – Orlando Magic 100.

The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Orlando Magic in Orlando in what was an entertaining game between the two teams. Both teams shot the ball at better than 50% but it was the Mavericks experience that shone through in the end.

Monta Ellis led the Mavericks with 19 points on 8 of 18 shooting with 8 assists and Dirk Nowitzki added 18 points of his own including four threes.

The Magic’s Aaron Afflalo scored 25 points in the loss which saw the Magic drop to 4-6 while Dallas improved to 6-4 for the season.

Cleveland Cavaliers 103 – Washington Wizards 96.

The Cleveland Cavaliers won a thrilling contest in Washington as two of the NBA’s best point guards battled it out.

The Cavaliers Kyrie Irving had the better of things with his 41 points in the overtime win while Wizards point guard John Wall, who looked phenomenal early on, scored just 9 points on 3 of 13 shooting but had 12 assists in the game.

Aussie Matthew Dellavedova played 31 minutes in the game including most of the overtime period and while he only put up 2 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists his contribution to the game went beyond the box score and will no doubt give him confidence in the fact that Mike Brown gave him such an opportunity.

Atlanta Hawks 110 – New York Knicks 90.

The Knicks lost their fifth straight home game to the Atlanta Hawks, who are playing some seriously good team ball, took out the win.

The Hawks had eight of their ten players score in double figures in the win and they shot an impressive 56.4% from the field against what can only be described as a hapless Knicks team who played little to no defense.

Paul Millsap had 14 point and 13 boards in the win.

The Knicks drop to 3-6 and 1-5 at home with the loss and the pressure of playing in NYC just keeps rising.

Houston Rockets 122 – Denver Nuggets 111.

The Nuggets played ‘Hack a Howard’ and for once the big man made a team pay by hitting most of his free throws. Howard scored 25 points in the win and shot 17 of 24 from behind the stripe. All five of Houston’s starters scored in double figures and the team shot the ball well at 50.6% from the field.

The Nuggets Ty Lawson had a spectacular game albeit in a losing team as he scored 28 points on 11 of 19 shooting and dished out a huge 17 assists.

Houston improved to 7-4 on the season while the Nuggets drop to 4-5.

Minnesota Timberwolves 106 – Boston Celtics 88.

It was always going to be a tough ask for the visiting Boston Celtics to get a win in Minnesota and it played out exactly that way. Minnesota are proving to be a tough ask for most teams this season. Kevin Love led them to victory with his 23 points and 12 rebounds while Nikola Pekovic added 20 points and 12 rebounds of his own.

The Celtics Avery Bradley top scored with 27 on 12 of 23 shooting but it wasn’t enough as there were only three players who scored in double figures in the game for Boston.

Boston drop to 4-7 while Minnesota improved to 7-4.

New Orleans Pelicans 135 – Philadelphia 76ers 98.

New Orleans completely blew the 76ers away thanks to a huge game for Ryan Anderson in his return to play. Anderson scored 26 points off the bench and shot 6 of 10 from downtown. Anthony Davis scored 13 points, grabbed 9 rebounds and blocked 8 shots in the win and continues to keep fantasy owners very happy this season.

The Pelicans had seven players score in double digits and shot an unheard of 60.5% from the field and 46.4% from three point range.

The 76ers conversely shot 42.1% from the field and drop to 5-6 on the season with a loss they would be best to forget quick smart.

Oklahoma City Thunder 92 – Milwaukee Bucks 79.

Russell Westbrook’s comeback continues to be a success as he led the Thunder to a win over the Bucks in Milwaukee.

Westbrook scored 26 points on 10 of 20 shooting, Kevin Durant added 24 of his own and Serge Ibaka added 15 points and a huge 20 boards in the win.

The Bucks poor shooting, 34.9% from the field, was the catalyst for another disappointing loss for them and they drop to 2-7 on the season. They’re looking more and more like a lottery team with each game that passes.

Golden State Warriors 102 – Utah Jazz 88.

The Utah Jazz are becoming seriously embarrassing. They lost their tenth game of the season when the Golden State Warriors blew them away 102-88 in Oakland.

The Warriors were led by Klay Thompson’s 25 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists. Thompson shot 9 of 14 and 5 of 8 from three point range and is having a breakout season currently averaging 20.9 points per game on 55.2% shooting.

The Jazz were no match for the Warriors and it showed. It’s a long road to the NBA draft for Jazz fans this year.

Los Angeles Clippers 110 – Brooklyn Nets 103.

The Brooklyn Nets were without big name players Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett, Brook Lopez and Paul Pierce so the odds were well and truly stacked against them against a red hot Clippers team.

The Clippers were led by Blake Griffin who had 30 points and 12 boards for the game. The Clippers had to rally late in the game to ensure they got the victory and despite the loss the Nets played well, all things considered.

Brooklyn drop to 3-6 and the Clippers improve to a 7-3 record for the season.

Keep an eye out next Monday for another edition of the Weekly Hoop Scoop and don’t forget, Pierre is watching you….

Thanks to http://believethehypenba.com/ for the picture.

Thanks to http://believethehypenba.com/ for the picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Steph Curry

Five overrated teams for NBA season 2013/14

Golden State Warriors
There’s nothing quite like a fairytale playoff run to unrealistically heighten expectations for the following season.

I love watching the Warriors play, especially Steph Curry when he’s on fire and hitting shots from 35 feet off the dribble. I also have no doubt the Warriors will makes the playoffs again this season. But a legitimate championship contender? Hhhmm.

I think the Dubs might miss Jarrett Jack a lot more than people think. Curry is a great shooter, and can get to the paint at times, but his slender frame means he’s not built for consistent penetration. Jack provided that, especially in the fourth quarter of games.

Andre Iguodala isn’t bad with the ball in his hands, but I look at this team, and they’re certainly going to have to move the ball around – and have bodies in motion – in order to get cheap baskets, because there are not a lot of elite level creators on the roster. Iggy might have to be relied upon to create a lot of offense for this team. Which is fine, he’s more than capable of doing it. But I get a feeling the loss of Jack (and Carl Landry) will take some adjusting to.

Throw in the lack of defense by key players – Curry and David Lee – and is this team really likely to be holding the Larry O’Brien trophy at season’s end? I really struggle to see it.

Cleveland Cavaliers
There has been a lot of buzz in the off-season surrounding the Cavs. Though I understand any excitement surrounding Kyrie Irving, I’d be nervous making any overly positive projections for this Cleveland roster.

Don’t get me wrong, there is some nice young talent on the team, with Tristan Thompson and Dion Walters joined by first overall draft pick Anthony Bennett. Combine them with the veteran leadership of Jarrett Jack and the hustle of Anderson Varejao – not to mention the All Star level play of Irving – and you’ve got the bones of a nice lineup.

However, any team that needs to rely heavily on the flaky Andrew Bynum deserves serious question marks about their potential. Even if Bynum returns 100% physically healthy, I fear he’ll never be 100% mentally healthy.

This team doesn’t deserve some of the lofty predictions I’ve heard touted, and it would shock me little if they only won 30 odd games.

Los Angeles Clippers
This team is either wildly overrated, or I wildly underrate the influence coach Doc Rivers will have upon the team.

Yet as much as I respect Rivers, is he really going to help the frontcourt’s free throw shooting, especially in the fourth quarter? Is he really going to improve the team’s low post play? Can he improve the perception around the league that this team can be bullied around?

I’m not so sure.

The Clips added Jared Dudley, Antawn Jamison, Byron Mullens and JJ Reddick to their roster for the season. Absolutely fantastic recruiting, especially if the team’s biggest concern was outside shooting. Yet I’m not convinced it was.

If the Clippers had pulled the trigger on the trade to bring in Kevin Garnett, I would legitimately consider them a championship threat, because he would have addressed their biggest weaknesses. But at present, I see this roster crushing teams all regular season, before getting crushed themselves once the real basketball starts in the playoffs.

Houston Rockets
I fear this is the prediction that will come back to haunt me the most.

Last season, the Rockets were a young and exciting 8th seed in the Western Conference, and won 45 games. In the off-season, they added arguably the best centre in the game, and a player whom – when 100% healthy – is a top 5 talent in the league. All without losing anyone significant from their roster.

So how could I possible think they’re overrated?

Primarily because I’m consistently nervous about Dwight Howard. I have a nagging feeling that he is the epitome of ‘fools good’; a player that gives every impression that he’s a superstar, and yet when you scratch beneath the surface a little bit, he’s found to be lacking true superstar credentials.

He throws his coaches under the bus, he’s a poor free throw shooter, he’s unprofessional, he whinges when things go wrong, he’s unaccountable, he’s unreliable, he doesn’t appear to like pressure, he worries what people think of him, he jokes around too much, and he hasn’t really improved as a player since his rookie year.

Not exactly a player a championship contender should be built around.

Here’s the catch though – the Rockets aren’t really built around Howard. Well, not on offense anyway. On that end of the floor, everything runs through James Harden, who, if he isn’t already a superstar, is on the cusp of being one.

If everything clicks, you could easily envisage the Rockets in the NBA Finals. Yet, it wouldn’t shock me if this team fails to gel, Howard causes issues, and they disappointingly limp into the lower bracket of the Western Conference Playoffs.

Philadelphia 76ers
Some pundits are predicting the Sixers will win double-digit games.

Against who? They’ll only play Phoenix twice, won’t they?!

I bow to no one in my praise and admiration for coach Brett Brown and his basketball IQ, but seriously, look at that roster and tell me how anyone could think this team will get ten or more wins.

I sincerely hope Andrew Wiggins is all he’s cracked up to be, because this team has the potential to be historically lousy, and is aiming to be just that. For Sixers fans, I hope the pain of tanking the season is rewarded with winning next year’s draft. Double digit wins for the Sixers? I think that’s overrating them.



Shake and Bake: The Best Duos of the NBA

While these dynamic duos may not be NASCAR superstars and they probably don’t discuss the pros and cons of a bearded baby Jesus, what they do is give their teams the best opportunity to win and entertain millions of fans along the way. I don’t know how many countless hours I’ve spent watching YouTube highlights of these duos doing work. Below I will discuss my personal favourite NBA duos. Taken into consideration are various factors like wins, what they did for their respective teams, entertainment factor, how each individual developed in the partnership and whether or not I’ve actually seen them play. Take a look and see what you think. (more…)



Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game One

Rajon Rondo’s More Than Important Season And How He Will Succeed

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game One

This upcoming season will feel dramatically different for anyone from or fans of the Boston Celtics.

With the trading of Boston legends Paul Pierce & Kevin Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets and Coach Doc Rivers , it was definitely the end of era.

While Boston fans aren’t expecting too much from the forthcoming season, it is still in fact a very important one for star Point Guard Rajon Rondo.

In this feature we take a look at some key points Rondo will need to face if he is to have a successful season.

1. Not To Rush Comeback From Injury!

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The Best of the Big Three Phenomenon*

Big threes. Every team wants one. Most teams have one. They just come in varying degrees of awesome. Recently it all started again with Boston. Garnett, Allen and Scalabrine…. sorry. Typo. Garnett, Allen and Pierce. They could do it all and turned a once struggling team into a powerhouse and became the team everyone wanted to be.  After Boston came Miami. They jumped on the Big Three bandwagon. Massive trades. Huge dollars. Ridiculous press conferences. Lebron. Wade. Bosh. From then on the Heat have been almost unstoppable. Believe it or not, Big Threes aren’t a new craze. They’re like pogs or tazos, they come and go. What I’ve done here is chosen my personal favourites and most entertaining Big Threes of all time.

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FULL 2013/14 NBA SEASON SCHEDULE

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Finally, we get out first look at what the new season will look like with some BIG Christmas Day games and a few homecomings that will be sure to ruffle some feathers. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett return to Boston January 26th with the Brooklyn Nets, while Dwight Howard and his Rockets will visit Kobe and the Lakers February 19th. Please note all dates and times are local to the United States.

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NBA Nation Australia’s Roundtable Featuring Tom Read And Matt McLean

Its been sometime since we had a roundtable discussion here at NBA Nation Australia and with all the moves being made via the NBA Draft and free agency we thought now would be a great time bring back the roundtable. We would like to welcome back Tom Read of the Believe The Hype podcast and introduce Matt McLean who is an NBA fantasy aficionado, whose work can be found on his blog at  www.fantasyballaus.wordpress.com. Again we appreciate the time and effort our guests put in to answering questions and being a part of each an every roundtable. We, an of course our readers, appreciate it so much. We would also like to welcome newest team member Dan onto the roundtable. We’ve got some great topics that have already invoked some heated discussion amongst NBA fans so far in free agency, so let’s get straight into it!

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