James Harden trade makes sense for both Thunder and Rockets

james harden rockets

I’m at a Halloween party Saturday night; Lucky Strike cigarette hanging out on my mouth, glass of a scotch in my hand (I went as Don Draper from Mad Men) when I get a text that the Oklahoma City Thunder traded James Harden to the Houston Rockets.  I had the same look on my face that Don did when his wife Megan sang “Zou Bisou Bisou” in front of their friends at his 40th birthday party; one of shock and pure amazement.

The deal seemed to come from nowhere as I had seen no rumor tweeted or written anywhere leading up to the deal.  Here is my breakdown of the trade.

[Read more…]

2010 NBA Draft Lottery Re-Do

John Wall

With the NBA All-Star weekend upon us, it is time for an annual tradition here at The Sports Bank; the NBA Draft Lottery Re-do.  Peter Christian and David Kay will alternate re-drafting the top fourteen picks in the 2010 NBA Draft taking into account what they know about the rookies based off their performances so far this season.  They will factor in how each team’s roster looked at the time of the draft (for example, Gilbert Arenas was still with the Wizards and not the Magic, so when the Wiz pick first, Arenas will be part of the team) and give their reasons as to why the selection would be made.  You can check out our 2011 NBA Mock Draft by clicking here.

[Read more…]

Cole Aldrich: More Than a Big White Stiff?

cole-aldrich

By: David Kay

The pre-conceived notion about all non-European, white basketball players taller than 6-10 is that they are stiffs.  Kansas’ Cole Aldrich is trying to buck that trend.

The Bloomington, Minnesota native and Jayhawk junior emerged as one of the most productive big men in country this past season after taking a backseat on the loaded 2007-2008 KU team that won the national title.  His 14.9 points, 11.1 boards, and 2.7 blocks per game caught the attention of NBA scouts, sky-rocketing his stock as a future pro.

Aldrich made a wise choice in deciding to return for his junior on what should be the top ranked team in the country when the first polls are released.  If his numbers continue to improve, he could possibly be a top-five pick in the 2010 Draft.  A little high?  I think so.

Click here for more on Aldrich and his pro potential.

2010 NBA Draft Center Prospect Rankings

78112005MW018_Kansas_v_Nort

By Paul M. Banks and David Kay, Walter Football.com

The 2009 class of centers didn’t offer much to NBA teams as only two true centers were taken in the draft. While there isn’t one player with the height or defensive presence that Hasheem Thabeet brought, the 2010 crop should be much deeper.

The rest of the 2010 NBA Draft Prospect Rankings to be posted soon.

1. Cole Aldrich, Kansas
Height: 6-11. Weight: 245. Year: Jr.
Projected Selection: mid-to-late lottery.
’08-’09: 14.9 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 2.7 bpg, 59.8 FG%, 79.2 FT%

2. Solomon Alabi, Florida State

Height: 7-1. Weight: 241. Year: So.
Projected Selection: late lottery-mid teens.
’08-’09: 8.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.1 bpg, 54.0 FG%, 68.0 FT%

3. DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky

Height: 6-10. Weight: 245. Year: Fr.
Projected Selection: late lottery-mid teens.
’08-’09: n/a

4. Jan Vesely, Czech Republic

Height: 6-11. Weight: 240. Year: 1990.
Projected Selection: mid first round.
’08-’09: 4.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 0.7 bpg, 51.7 FG%, 67.4 FT%

To view the rest of this list, click here

Top Ten College Hoops Teams for ’09-’10

By: David K.

The 2008-2009 college basketball season has only been wrapped up for a week, but it is never too early to start looking ahead to next year.  Several elite college players are still sorting out whether or not they will return to school which obviously has a major impact on how loaded some teams might be next season.  I have taken into account which players appear likely to be returning to school when coming up with top ten rankings for next year.

1. Kansas- Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins are returning to Lawrence, meaning KU will have everybody back from a team that won the Big 12.  Add on two top 25 recruits and the Jayhawks earn my #1 ranking.  Aldrich replaces Tyler Hansbrough as college basketball’s most hated player.

Starters:
C- Cole Aldrich (Jr)
F- Marcus Morris (So)
G- Brady Morningstar (Jr)
G- Sherron Collins (Sr)
G- Tyshawn Taylor (So)

Bench: F- Markieff Morris (So), G- Travis Releford (So), G-Tyrel Reid (Jr), G- Mario Little (Sr), PF-Thomas Robinson (Fr #20), SG- Elijah Johnson (Fr #25)

Gone: Nobody

2. Kentucky- Even if John Calipari didn’t come to Lexington, I would think highly of Ashley Judd’s favorite team next season.  Everyone should be back (even though Jodie Meeks declared for the draft, he did not sign an agent) and on top of the two top 100 recruits already committed, DeMarcus Cousins (#6) has followed Cal from Memphis to UK, and Xavier Henry (#4) could join them as well.

Starters:
C- DeMarcus Cousins (Fr #4)
PF- Patrick Patterson (Jr)
F- Perry Stevenson (Sr)
SG- Jodie Meeks (Sr)
PG- Michael Porter (Sr)

Bench: F- Ramon Harris (Sr), F- Darius Miller (So), G- Kevin Galloway (Sr), G- DeAndre Liggins (So), C- Josh Harrellson (Sr), C- Daniel Orton (Fr #12), SF- Jon Hood (Fr #36)

Gone: Nobody

Footlocker.com

3. Duke- A top ten ranking depends on Gerald Henderson’s status.  If he declares for the draft, the Devils likely drop out of my top ten team.  They add some size up front with a pair of talented, but not very physical freshmen.

Starters:
C- Lance Thomas (Sr)
F- Kyle Singler (Jr)
SG- Gerald Henderson (Jr)
G- Elliott Williams (So)
PG- Jon Scheyer (Sr)

Bench: PG- Nolan Smith (Jr), C- Brian Zoubek (Sr), PF- Miles Plumlee (So), PF- Ryan Kelly (Fr #11), PF-Mason Plumlee (Fr #19)

Gone: G- Greg Paulus

4. North Carolina- I am assuming Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington leave Chapel Hill after winning their National Championship.  Despite the likelihood of losing four starters, the Heels have another loaded recruiting class and should be a top ten team.  Getting Marcus Ginyard back from injury and Will Graves from suspension will definitely help.  If Lawson and/or Ellington do return, move the Heels above the Dukies.

Starters:
C- Ed Davis (So)
PF- Deon Thompson (Sr)
G/F- Will Graves (Jr),
SG- Marcus Ginyard (Sr)
PG- Larry Drew II (So)

Bench: C- Tyler Zeller (So), PF- Jon Henson (Fr #3), SG- Dexter Strickland (Fr #18), PF- Travis Wear (Fr #41), PF- David Wear (Fr #42), SG- Leslie McDonald (Fr #63)

Gone: PF-Tyler Hansbrough, SF-Danny Green, G-Bobby Frasor, PG-Ty Lawson, SG-Wayne Ellington (Sr)

5. Purdue- Matt Painter will return his top six players from this season, but will lose a little bit of depth.  If the Boilermakers stay healthy, which was a major issue this year, they should be a top ten caliber team.

Starters:
C- JaJuan Johnson (Jr)
F- Robbie Hummel (Jr)
G- Chris Kramer (Sr)
G- E’Twaun Moore (Jr)
PG- Lewis Jackson (So)

Bench: G- Keaton Grant (Sr), PF- Jeff Robinson (Fr #91)

Gone: C Nemanja Calasan, F Marcus Green

6. Texas- Damion James’ status is still up in the air whether or not he will turn pro.  Even if he does not return for his senior season, the Horns should be a top ten team.  Florida transfer Jai Lucas will be eligible in December and two top 15 recruits will certainly boost this team’s status.

Starters:
C- Dexter Pittman (Jr)
F- Damion James (Sr)
F- Gary Johnson (Jr)
G- Justin Mason (Sr)
PG- Jai Lucas (So)

Bench: PG- Dogus Balbay (Jr), G- Varez Ward (So), F/C- Clint Chapman (Jr), SG-Avery Bradley (Fr #10), SF- Jordan Hamilton (Fr #13), SF- Shawn Williams (Fr #44)

Gone: G A.J. Abrams, PF Connor Atchley


7. Michigan State-
Sparty loses a few important pieces to their team, but still brings back some very talented players, especially in the backcourt.  If they can find some consistency up-front, State will be tough once again.

Starters:
F- Delvon Roe (So)
F- Draymond Green (So)
SF- Raymar Morgan (Sr)
SG- Durrell Summers (Jr)
PG- Kalin Lucas (Jr)

Bench: G- Chris Allen (Jr), PG- Korie Lucious (So), C- Tom Herzog (So), PF- Derrick Nix (Fr #56)

Gone: C Goran Suton, PF Marquise Gray, G Travis Walton, C Idong Ibuk

8. West Virginia- Bob Huggins has everybody back except for Alex Ruoff.  Joe Missoula should get a medical redshirt since he missed all of the past season with a shoulder injury.  Combine that with a maturing group of long, athletic forwards and the Mountaineers will likely be the best team in the Big East.  Watch out for Devin Ebanks next season.

Starters:
F- Wellington Smith (Sr)
F- Devin Ebanks (So)
F- De’Sean Butler (Sr)
G- Joe Missoula (Sr)
G- Truck Bryant (So)

Bench: F- John Flowers (Jr), F- Kevin Jones (So), F- Cam Thoroughman (Jr)

Gone: SG Alex Ruoff

9. Florida- Calathes is the charge in the Gators offense.  He has put his name in the draft, but has not signed an agent and should be back in Gainesville.  The addition of Georgetown transfer Vernon Macklin should give Billy Donovan the low post presence he lacked this past season.

Starters:
C- Vernon Macklin (Jr)
F- Dan Werner (Sr)
F- Alex Tyus (Jr)
G- Erving Walker (So)
G- Nick Calathes (Jr)

Bench: F- Chandler Parsons (Jr), G/F Ray Shipman (So), C Kenny Kadji (So), SG- Kenny Boynton (Fr #8), PF- Erik Murphy (Fr #39), PF- Deshawn Painter (Fr #52)

Gone:
G Walter Hodge

10. Villanova- The Wildcats lose their three starting forwards, but do return the best guard play in the country.  If Jay Wright can get his four top 31 recruits to contribute right away, Nova should once again be a factor on the national scene.

Starters:
F- Antonio Pena (Jr)
G- Reggie Redding (Sr)
G- Scottie Reynolds (Sr)
G- Corey Fisher (Jr)
G- Corey Stokes (Jr)

Bench: SF- Dominic Cheek (Fr #15), PG- Maalik Wayns (Fr #26), PF- Mouphtauo Yarou (Fr #28), PF- Isaiah Armwood (Fr #31)

Gone: F Dante Cunningham, F Shane Clark, F Dwayne Anderson

Honorable Mentions:
Ohio State- If B.J. Mullens didn’t turn pro, Buckeyes would be a top five team.
Syracuse- If Flynn, Devendorf, and Harris return, Cuse is a top two team.
Tennessee- Tyler Smith is expected to turn pro, but everyone else is back for the Vols.
Butler- Everyone is back, Bulldogs should be the elite of the mid-major teams.
Michigan- Harris and Sims should help the Wolverines take the next step.
Georgetown- Greg Monroe will lead the Hoyas who return four starters.
California- Return all their players under second year head coach Mike Montgomery.
Xavier- We’ll have to see how they respond without Sean Miller in charge.

Footlocker.com