Can Derek Fisher Make The New York Knicks Stronger?

Fisher Jackson Knicks

Derek Fisher signed a five – year contract with the New York Knicks and he will now be the next head coach of the team. Fisher has strong ties with the new president, Phil Jackson and the two of them together are expected to work hard in order to make the Knicks a better team. So, what can Fisher really do to help the Knicks get back into a championship course? Can he even make the Knicks a better team? [Read more…]

NBA Finals: Heat v. Thunder Preview

This season reminds me of the fireworks on the 4th of July. It starts off slow, with some big explosions here and there. Gradually it speeds up, a few more big explosions. About two-thirds of the way through, you start to big explosions, until the final salvo where they hit with 50, 75, or 100 fireworks going off in a span of one minute. This is the NBA’s final salvo. And boy, oh boy we are in for a doozie!  [Read more…]

NBA Playoffs: Thunder v. Spurs preview

San Antonio Spurs v. Oklahoma City Thunder

This should be one of the most highly anticipated series since the Los Angeles Lakers v. Boston Celtics NBA Finals in 2010. Rarely do we get an extremely intriguing Conference Finals. We will get both on Sunday when the Oklahoma City Thunder visit the San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. There is so much to look forward to in this series, so let’s get it started.

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Final NBA Off-season Analysis

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By Paul M. Banks, David Kay, Peter Christian

In our final NBA team analysis before the offseason officially begins, we complete the set with the L.A. Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic


LOS ANGELES LAKERS
2. Trevor or Lamar? – Trevor Ariza and Lamar Odom were both integral parts in the Lakers title run. However, both are unrestricted free agents and should garner a lot of attention from other teams this off-season. I don’t think the Lakers will be able to afford re-signing both players meaning one is likely to leave. But which player do they pursue because they each bring something different to the table. Odom is a veteran who can handle the ball offensively and play multiple spots on the floor. Ariza is the type of defensive stopper that every championship team needs, is six years younger than Odom, and should come at a cheaper cost. Decisions, decisions…

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CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

1. Sell your soul to keep LeBron – LeBron will be to the 2010 off-season what Lil Wayne has been to hip-hop the past year; the hottest commodity in the game. The King can’t blink without someone mentioning the possibility of him leaving Cleveland for the bright lights of NYC. The Cavs need to do any and everything in their power to not let LeBron hit the free agency market in 2010 when any team with the cap space will do whatever it takes to sign him. Re-name Cleveland, “LeBronland” or call Quicken Loans Arena, “King James Arena.” Hire Jack Bauer to kidnap LeBron’s family and make him sign a contract before they are safely released. ANYTHING!

2. Sure up the inside game – With Anderson Varajeo likely opting out of his contract and rumors that Ben Wallace will contemplate retirement this off-season, the Cavs need to sure up their depth down low. Zydrunas Ilgauskas also has a player option, but will almost certainly return. Outside of Z, Cleveland is pretty thin up-front and needs to find another scoring option down low since Wallace is pretty worthless on the offensive end. Re-signing Varajeo would be a must since the Cavs don’t have the cap space to find his replacement, unless a player like Rasheed Wallace takes the mid-level exception.

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ORLANDO MAGIC

This past season was a magical one in Orlando, as the Magic emerged as one of the elite teams in the league, advancing to the NBA Finals for just the second time in the franchise’s brief history. Despite the fact that Orlando was defeated by the Lakers in five games, the team cannot be disappointed with their ’08-’09 campaign.

The success of the Magic directly correlates with Dwight Howard continuing to develop into one of the most dominant big men in the NBA. What put Orlando over the top though was the effectiveness of the players around Superman. Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu came up clutch in late-game situations, providing outside threats to compliment Howard’s presence inside. Even though Jameer Nelson missed the final two-plus months of the regular season, and pretty much the entire playoffs, the Magic didn’t miss much of a beat as the trade deadline acquisition of Rafer Alston helped fill the void. Courtney Lee seems like he will prove to be a steal of a late first round draft pick and should be an important piece of the puzzle for years to come. If Orlando can keep this core together, they should remain in the upper tier of the Eastern Conference.

For the full write up, click here

NBA Western Conference Finals Preview

By: Andy Weise

This is what playoffs are all about – star power. Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwight Howard. Four of the top 10 superstars in the NBA lead their teams now. Kobe has three rings but has as many as the other three combined when Shaq isn’t on his team: zero.

In the west, it was only a matter of time before the Los Angeles Lakers finished off the Houston Rockets. Ron Artest did everything he could to keep the Rockets going after losing Yao Ming during the series but Kobe and his boys were just too tough. Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals? Wow! After thinking they would be the team to implode this year, a great trade that helped Mark Warkentien win the executive of the year award now has paid great dividends as the Nuggets have become the surprise story of the year.
In the West, Chauncey Billups has brought what Allen Iverson was supposed to: a complimentary guard to Carmelo Anthony. The Nuggets are a completely different team with Billups rather than Iverson, but that’s not the only reason why the Nuggets are where they are now. Kenyon Martin and Nene have remained healthy while only playing a little more than 30 minutes a game during the regular season. Chris Andersen aka BIRDMAN has emerged as a capable defensive big for the Nuggets. The Nuggets gave up Marcus Camby in the offseason and without Andersen’s play this year, they wouldn’t have been here even if they would have gotten Billups.

How do the Nuggets matchup with the defending Western conference champs? Both teams have the dominant playmaker (Kobe/Carmelo), both teams have size on the block, both teams have really good sixth men (JR Smith & Lamar Odom). So where is the advantage? Bryant will be tough to stop whether it’s Anthony, JR Smith or Dahntay Jones guarding him. Trevor Ariza or Bryant will likely guard Anthony, which will make it a tough series for Anthony.

Billups and Anthony Carter are much better than Jordan Farmar and Derek Fisher. This is where the Nuggets have the advantage in the series and need take advantage. Fisher looked badly outplayed by Aaron Brooks in the Houston-LA series.
Andersen will have to be on his game as the energy guy off the bench too with Gasol, Bynum and Odom up front. Gasol is the most talented big man in this series, the Lakers need to take advantage of the Nuggets’ inability to cover Bryant and Gasol. If the Nuggets can slow down these two, they definitely have a shot but it’s much easier to talk about than actually do.

X Factor: Andrew Bynum. His minutes and play have been inconsistent, but all three times he played against the Nuggets this season the Lakers won.

My prediction: Lakers in seven. This series will be a good, back and forth but the Lakers are too tough upfront. It would be interesting to see the Anthony-led Nuggets get into the finals, especially if the Cavaliers also get there, but the Lakers are too tough at every position other than point guard.