Jimmer Fredette, he’s actually good?

There are many similarities between J.J. Redick and Jimmer Fredette. They both wear the Imagenumber 7. They both were insanely good in college. Both of them have a name that starts with the letter J. They also both came into the league and were known as shooters and were discounted by many into the 2nd season of their career. However when you look at the numbers both of them were very effective on the offensive end in the limited time they were on the court. The reason J.J. didn’t play very much however was due to his lack of ability on the defensive end. His coaches were Brian Hill and Stan Van Gundy two guys who will not put you out on the court for long periods of time unless you have the ability to play defense. J.J. couldn’t get on the court due to his inability to play defense. Jimmer can’t get on the court due to the Kings being a franchise that can’t do the simplest things right at the moment (THANKS MALOOFS! YOU’RE AWFUL!) and that’s sad because Jimmer is having a pretty good 2nd season.

Jimmer has played in 32 games this season and has a PER of 16.9 which is a little above average. He also has a TS% of .563 and an eFG% of .495, both up from last year, which is quite impressive for a sophomore player whose usage went up from 20% last year to 25% this year. Most young players see a decrease in efficiency when used more, Jimmer just did more good things. What’s amazing is despite Jimmer being a successful player on offense this year there are people out there who still think he’s going to be out of the league soon. I call this the Maloof affect. The Maloofs are a cancer and infect everything around them and destroy it. The Maloofs have made the Kings and everything about them and it is hurting the career of guys like Demarcus Cousins and Jimmer Fredette.

Jimmer still has plenty of flaws in his game just like any other player. He’s far from the best defender in the world and he struggles at finishing at the rim only making 26 of his 63 attempts there. However he can improve on these things just as Redick did. Redick is currently the most sought after player on the trade market and everybody out there thinks they could use him on their team. Jimmer has already shown that he has the shooting ability to be useful to a team. Add an ability to finish at the rim and improve on defense and he could be even better. 

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Clippers get big win over Heat

Final Score: 107-100
Player of the Game: Blake Griffin
Turning point of the game: Chris Paul’s DEEP 3 towards the end of the Third Quarter

The Clippers came out prepared and ready in their game against a Miami team who in my opinion does not match up very well against this Clippers team. The game stayed close up to half time with the Heat staying in the game largely because of Lebron James and their 3 point shooting. The game continued to stay close through the 3rd quarter but there was a point towards the end of the 3rd and the beginning of the 4th where the Clippers took the lead and the Heat never caught up. The final score is closer than the game was as once the Clippers took control they held it.

I’ve always said the Heat’s biggest weaknesses are great PG’s (but really who doesn’t have that weakness?), strong big men, and 3 definitely 3 point shooting. The Clippers have all 3 of these things and they used them all to their advantage. Many people like to say PG defense doesn’t matter but the way Chris Paul was making entry passes and penetrating I’m pretty sure the Heat wouldn’t have minded Chalmers being a better defender. Paul wasn’t the reason the Clippers won though. Blake Griffin killed the Heat. Shooting 8-16 (with few midrange jumpers!!!), Blake was the one who ran the offense the majority of the game. Why the Heat didn’t move Bosh or Lebron over to defend Blake is beyond me but Shane Battier had no chance against the much stronger, more athletic, and faster Blake Griffin. Blake Griffin ran the offense from the post most of the game with Chris Paul giving him the ball almost immediately into possessions.

“ALL BLAKE GRIFFIN DOES IS DUNK”-Somebody who didn’t watch this game.
Blake Griffin’s footwork and technique down below were superb. He used his speed to get around Battier and once the help showed up Griffin would do a pump fake or two and use his feet to get around the defenders for layups. He did this multiple times throughout the game. When the Heat tried to double Griffin he would pass right out of it to begin a swing play of passes, or he would roll around it and look for the open man himself. Griffin finished with 6 assists.

Despite Blake’s performance the Heat managed to keep it close most of the game. The game started to become all Clippers after Chris Paul hit a deep 3 and then hit another 3 the very next possession. The Heat’s biggest weakness is the 3 point shot and once they started falling for the Clippers it was pretty much over for the Heat. Clippers get a big win and anybody who questioned them is probably thinking a little differently now.

Fight the Death Threat

According to CBS Sports Mike Brown’s son has been receiving death threats over the Lakers poor start to the season. While this doesn’t shock me it still irritates me and somewhat sickens me. The internet is gonna internet and there is nothing we can do about it but I feel like this whole anonymous death threat thing has to be put to an end. There are always reports every year about a player who received death threats from fans through the mail or on twitter that and honestly it’s never going to change. As long as sports exists we’re going to have extremist morons who will ruin it for everybody. But we can fight this.

For those of you wondering what this has to do about basketball, it has everything to do with it. There is no sport where players are more visible than basketball. They don’t have padding and a helmet to hide themselves from fans. They are also closer to fans than any sport with fans sitting in court side seats. Basketball players are the most marketed and the most well known. They are the most visible and because of that are the easiest targets for this kind of idiotic behavior.

With the explosion of social networking, especially twitter, it is easier than ever to send someone a death threat and that’s a problem. Fans are some of the fakest tough guys you will ever see. They yell stuff from afar in their seats and know that no matter what they say the player can’t touch them. It’s even worse on the internet where a fan from miles away can threaten your life and face no consequences. There is really nothing better to describe the worst part of the internet than a guy sitting at home threatening someone’s life while he hides behind his computer screen. These people should be outed and publicly shamed. In my opinion I wouldn’t mind them spending a day in jail for it. 

I’m going to attempt to find some bloggers, athletes, celebrities, etc.. who have received death threats on the internet. I’m going to ask them to give me a quick summary on it and how they reacted. If you know of anyone who has can you tell me in the comments their twitter handle so I can contact them? Thanks, lets try and fight what is easily the dumbest part of the internet and put an end to it. 

David Stern will step down

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David Stern commissioner of the NBA will step down as commissioner on February 1st, 2014. The end of an era and in my opinion the best commissioner in sports. Adam Silver will take over as commissioner after being selected by the board. “The Board has selected Adam Silver to succeed me as NBA Commissioner, and I am very pleased with their choice,” said Stern in an email.

Indiana Pacers Season Preview: High Expectations

Team Capsule

Last year the Pacers reached the 2nd round of the Eastern Conference playoffs thanks largely to Roy Hibbert. They were able to frustrate the Heat in a lot of successful ways and it’s no surprise the team and some of the fans have high expectations for them this year.

They did something I love in hiring Donnie Walsh. They know that the east is significantly weaker with Dwight gone, the Celtics another year older, and the Bulls pretty much already having a lost season. Their biggest threats are the Heat, Nets, Sixers, Knicks and Celtics. The Heat are obviously a threat as the defending champions and you can’t just ignore a team that has Lebron James on it.

Will this Pacers team be able to get past the wall that is the Miami Heat? Unlikely. Can this team reach the Eastern Conference Finals? Definitely.

Biggest Strength: A weak Conference

The Pacers biggest threats are the Heat, Nets, Sixers, Knicks and Celtics. The Heat are obviously a threat as the defending champions and you can’t just ignore a team that has Lebron James on it. The Nets and Sixers both made huge trades this offseason that improved their teams but new teams don’t always mesh together perfectly the first season. The Knicks have the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in Tyson Chandler, Carmelo Anthony who can score at will, and the young Iman Shumpert who established himself as one of the great perimeter defenders in the league last year. However the Knicks are the oldest team in the league. The Celtics are a threat for only 3 reasons, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, and Doc Rivers. A Doc rivers coached team should never be underestimated especially one that has a top 4 PG in Rondo and a player who’s absolutely insane in KG despite being as old as dirt.

The Pacers aren’t bad. They’re a very good team. But if you put them in the West they’re unlikely to be a top 4 seed while out in the east anything less than one of the top 3 seeds would be ridiculous for this team.

Biggest Weakness: Inconsistency

Besides Roy Hibbert and Danny Granger there isn’t a huge amount of consistency on this team. Nobody on the roster screams at you that they are a guy you need to worry about every night. Again it’s not that the players on the team are bad. It’s more of they aren’t very threatening.

Player to Watch: Danny Granger

There were talks last year that Danny Granger had already peaked and was fast approaching the downside of his career. When you look at the stats it’s hard to not see why people are saying this. Granger still had an average PER and Win Shares but his eFG%, FG%, and 3PtFG% were all the worst of his career despite an average usage. It’s possible that this had to do with the weird strike season last year. Granger is definitely the player to watch on the Pacers this year.

2011-2012 Record: 42-24

Coach: Frank Vogel

Key Additions: Miles Plumlee, Donnie Walsh

I love love LOVE! The Donnie Walsh hiring. That guy is going to put this team over the hump in a couple years.

Key Losses: Larry Bird, Leandro Barbosa

Team Trajectory: Rising and fast

I think despite all the new and old threats out east the Pacers get past them and lose in the playoffs to the Heat. The question is not if they lose to them but when based on their seeding. The Pacers are the only team besides the Heat, in the east, that is for the most part the same as last year and didn’t have any huge losses. However they also didn’t do much to improve besides their young guys having another year of experience. Unfortunately for the Pacers it’s another year of getting ousted by the Heat. This year might not be the year for the Pacers but Donnie Walsh is really good at making teams better and I see the Pacers as real title contenders in 2 years, just not this year.

Projected Record: 56-26

Portland Trail Blazers Season Preview: Down with JJ Hickson

Team Capsule

The Blazers at one point were on the ups. They had Brandon Roy who was becoming a superstar and they had just drafted Greg Oden. Oden had some knee problems but that was okay cause he was going to be fine. The team was young and was ready to hit the next level. At least that’s what they thought and many of us thought. Greg Oden never overcame those knee injuries and Brandon Roy suffered injury after injury.

Last year was a lost cause for the Blazers. There was some hope but about halfway through the season management decided this team had no chance of winning an NBA championship anytime soon. The decision was to act sooner rather than later and the team began to tank. They fired Nate McMillan and finally hired Neil Olshey as the new GM in June.

The team made some new additions that weren’t very good and they look like they might be even worse than last year. LADIES AND GENTLEMAN!  START YOUR TANKS!

Biggest Strength: The fans

This fan base has gone through a few rebuilds already and they know it’s no fun but we all saw how the fans reacted after the Blazers were no longer the jail Blazers. The Rose Garden was once again electric. Portland has some of the best fans in the NBA and, even though they’ll be losing, those fans will be right there cheering them on night in and night out.

Biggest Weakness: Bad Contracts

Maybe I’m wrong but I’m not sure I completely agree with the way the Blazers decided to tank. It looks like they’re signing already bad veteran players (Talks of re-signing JJ Hickson) to short cheap contracts. If this is their method of tanking it’s a very high risk high reward. They’re going to be bad but if they flop in the draft they could end up with a bunch of useless players under contract making them even worse for even longer. If they instead signed a bunch of unsigned rookies/1-3 year guys there’s a chance of finding a diamond in the rough while continuing to lose. But tanking is tanking and there are multiple ways to do it. I might be completely wrong

Player to watch: Lamarcus Aldridge

Aldridge has shown he’s a patient guy. But how long is willing to continue to lose? He thought he was going to be on a team full of winners a couple years ago not one going through another rebuild. Pay attention to him. Does he look frustrated? Does he look like he’s giving effort? If Aldridge isn’t happy that could be a problem for the Blazers rebuilding plans.

Coach: Terry Stotts

Key Additions: G Damian Lillard, C Meyers LeonardG Will Barton.

The rookies should be fun to watch.

Key Subtractions: Brandon Roy

Team Trajectory: Down

This team is going to be a lottery team for a few years. They’re bad. Really bad. A winning team does not have JJ Hickson. The only good thing they have going for them is Lamarcus Aldridge and hope in their young players. The Blazers will need to show massive improvement in the next 3 years if they want to keep Aldridge happy. Aldridge is no drama queen but a player can only take losing and being the only good player on a team for so long. Sorry Blazers fans. Prepare for more tanking and a continued rebuild. If it’s done right you’ll be back in the playoffs soon.

Orlando Magic Season Preview: The Rebuild has begun

 

Team Capsule
Last year was…oye. It’s still painful to even think about last year with the Dwightmare, the diet pepsi incident, and the early exit in the first round of the playoffs. But it all happened and there’s nothing the team can do about it. Stan Van Gundy was fired, Dwight Howard was traded, and Otis Smith Resigned. It’s time for a new season, new players, new faces, new everything. It’s time for rebuilding to commence and it’s time for a new era in Magic basketball. As any Magic fan knows the beginning of these eras are usually less than pretty.

To get a sense for the Magic this year I had to watch their pre-season game against the Hornets to get an idea of what they were going to look like. I came off more impressed than I was expecting. Yes it was pre-season so you have to take everything with a grain of salt but I liked that the team still involved a lot of ball movement and player movement. The main difference being that rather than focus on looking for the 3 point shot the team will be looking for any way to score. The defense wasn’t good but it wasn’t terrible. It’s definitely going to get torched by better teams in the regular season. The main problem is the bench. The bench in the pre-season game gave up a huge lead (not that it matters) and was extremely stagnant on offense. Actually the entire team would go stagnant on offense at times but the bench couldn’t do a thing. On the positive side Big Baby is still hustling, JJ Redick is still awesome, and Jameer Nelson still passes before he looks. Okay that last one isn’t very positive but it’s kind of funny. It’s not funny? Well who asked you?

Biggest Strength: Preperation
One thing that Stan Van Gundy always made sure of his teams was that they were prepared for every game even the ones that didn’t seem all that important. The Magic looked very prepared for their game against the Hornets despite it being a meaningless game.

Biggest Weakness: The Bench
The bench is incredibly bad. The players on the bench go stagnant on offense quite easily and the defense leaves a lot to be desired. This team isn’t going to have to tank at all this season. Thanks to this bench they’ll lose plenty of games on their own without any help from the coaching staff or front office.

Player to Watch: Any Rookie, sophomore, or 3rd year guy
I’m going to cheat here and not say one specific guy. The Magic are rebuilding and because of that a lot of these faces aren’t going to be around for a very long time with trades and cap space being cleared. The guys who have the best chance of staying are the young guys such as rookies. If you’re a Magic fan you want to pay attention to these guys so you know who will be the futures of the team.

2011-2012 Record: 37-29

Coach: Jacque Vaughn

Key Additions: Andrew Nicholson, Kyle O’Quinn, Arron Aflallo, Al Harrington

Key Subtractions: Dwight Howard, Stan Van Gundy, Chris Duhon, Ryan Anderson

Team Trajectory: Losing. Lots of losing
The Magic are going to lose a lot this season. It’s not going to be fun but rebuilding is a painful process that involves a lot of losing and draft picks. The hope is that the high draft picks will lead to drafting better players and these better players will lead to more wins in the future. Hopefully new GM Rob Hennigan can put together a team that will go back to its winning ways. Until then try and enjoy watching the development of the new younger players.

Projected Record: 23-59

LosAngeles Lakers Season Preview

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Offseason Moves-Traded for Dwight Howard, traded away Andrew Bynum in the Dwight Howard trade, kept Pau Gasol, got Steve Nash…uhh is anything else they did important?

Expectations-58 Wins, 1 of the top 2 seeds in the West, at least the Western Conference Finals
Worst Case Scenario-Dwight’s back injury is worse than they feared, Dwight is never at 100%/goes down again, 4th seed in the West due to Dwight being hurt.

Yeah…the Lakers are good. Like really good. Like really really really oh come on good. The offseason they had was just unfair enough in getting Steve Nash. But Dwight Howard? I still get mad sometimes that my favorite team made a team I really for the most part have never liked get so much better. So who are threats to the Lakers? Well the Clippers and Spurs obviously. Am I forgetting someone? Oh right the Thunder. They’re an under the radar team this year with a guy named Kevin Durant. You may have heard of him. Believe it or not but the Lakers entire season depends on the gigantic shoulders of Dwight Howard. This guy will make or break this team’s season. Dwight Howard is more important than Kobe, he’s more important than Pau Gasol, he’s more important than Steve Nash. Without Dwight this team doesn’t make the finals. Dwight Howard’s defensive ability alone makes the Lakers an automatic Top 10 defense and Mike Brown being a coach who prides himself on defense this team will be absolutely scary on defense. Ron Artest (no I’m not calling him that) may not be the ruthless defender he once was but he can still play defense. He doesn’t have the ability on the perimeter to stop Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook like he once did but that’s okay. Mike Brown, Arest, and Dwight, This trifecta of defense will cause havoc for other teams. Kobe Bryant is Kobe. Kobe’s ability to score, at times it seems like at will, makes him the #1 option on offense. Kobe may not be the player he once was but the name still strikes fear into younger or not as good defenders, he can still shoot, he can still create problems for a defense and he demands attention. This attention will be great for Pau Gasol. Pau is no slouch on defense but his main contributions to this team will be offense. Pau at times struggled last year but I don’t think that will happen this year. Dwight’s ability on defense will allow Pau to put some more energy towards offense which will let him play a little tougher and he can clean up any rebounds Dwight can’t get to. The final piece to the puzzle is Steve Nash. Nash is the glue that holds this team together. This guy likes to run and when he needs to run he has Dwight, who is arguably the fastest running big man in the league, to run with him. Nash is one of the best passers and best floor generals in the NBA, he can spot up and shoot, he has one of the best floaters ever, he has a great offensive game. His defense isn’t the best in the world but when you have Dwight behind you that isn’t so important (Jameer Nelson is proof of this). The Lakers bench is meh, nothing too spectacular on there so if teams are going to strike at them it will have to be during a period where the starting lineup has to take a breather. I have the Lakers in the NBA finals. It’s not going to be an easy road but I think Dwight is going to be MVP this year. I’m going to be angry watching the Magic lose 60 games while the Lakers win 58 but so be it. Lakers fans you get another great team just be sure to give Dwight his due.