VIDEO: Tottenham Hotspur training with Lakers PG Steve Nash

steve nash

Former NBA MVP and soon to be retiring superstar Steve Nash joined Tottenham Hotspur during their training in Toronto. It was the day before Spurs defeated Toronto FC 3-2 in an international friendly.  Nash grew up in the west coast of Canada wanting to play professional soccer as a child. That sport, not basketball, was actually the first love of the current Los Angeles Lakers point guard.

His father and grandfather were both from Tottenham, so being a true Spurs supporter runs deep in his bloodlines.

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Dwight Howard will head to Los Angeles

Dwight Howard

After months and months of endless bull, the Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers completed a trade package that included Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum. But thanks to two unlikely teams, this deal would not have been completed. Who is the winner? Who are the losers? 

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NBA Playoffs: Predicting LeBron James’ game tonight

LeBron James

There is no denying the significance of tonight’s Game 5 between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat in Miami. After winning the first two games of the series, the Heat dropped the next two and allowed Boston to bring it back to Boston, to either close the door on the Heat’s season or stave-off elimination. Tonight’s game will decide the situation. But know that LeBron James should have a big game, but it doesn’t mean the Heat will win.  [Read more…]

Phoenix Suns’ future depends on free agent Steve Nash

Steve Nash

With Steve Nash hitting the market as an unrestricted free agent this off-season, it could be the end of an era for the Phoenix Suns and the beginning of a re-building effort.  Here is a look at the Suns’ off-season team needs.

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Top 25 Toughest Players to Guard in the NBA: 20-16

Steve Nash

This is the second installment of “25 Toughest Players to Guard in the NBA“. Here are players 20-16. Take a look and feel free to leave a comment!

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The Closest Thing to Michael Jordan? It’s NOT About the Numbers!

Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan

No one will ever be what Michael Jordan was to the Chicago Bulls, NBA, or basketball in general. Several great players have been compared to Jordan, most notably Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. Everyone thought that James was going to be the next Jordan when he entered the league. Nine years later, James hasn’t accomplished anything more than a couple of MVP awards and two appearances in the NBA Finals, both resulting in losses. Most of the James-Jordan comparisons stopped when James decided to “take his talents to South Beach” to become Robin to Dwyane Wade’s Batman. That leaves Bryant, the last standing talent of the late 1990?s.

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Big Questions in Cubdom: Should the Cubs Re-sign Kerry Wood?

In a tumultuous off-season for the Chicago Cubs, there have been a slew of players who have found themselves on the outside looking in with the new regime of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer doing some serious housecleaning. Aramis Ramirez has departed to Milwaukee, Carlos Pena won’t be brought back by the club, and Carlos Zambrano, Tyler Colvin, Sean Marshall, and Andrew Cashner have all been dealt away. One free agent, however, has Cubs fans torn between their loyalty to him and their willingness to allow the new baseball brain trust to shape the team as they see fit.

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NBA Western Conference Predictions

kevin durant thunder

While the Eastern Conference seems to be a two or three team race, the Western Conference is pretty wide open as six or seven teams have a realistic chance of advancing to the NBA Finals.  Here are my Western Conference predictions.

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Carlos Boozer can be Robin to Derrick Rose’s Batman

So many failed experiments, and finally the Chicago Bulls have found their big man.

By my count, I have ten failures by the organization at the power forward position: Elton Brand, Tyrus Thomas, Tyson Chandler, Drew Gooden, PJ Brown, Andres Nocioni, Michael Sweetney, Lonny Baxter, Antonio Davis and Donyell Marshall. Almost all were expected at one point to deliver the franchise a low post presence, and every one of them has been shown the door out of Chicago.

But things are different now. When that magical ping pong ball revealed in May 2008, despite only a 1.7% chance, the Bulls would have the rights to draft Derrick Rose, the search began to surround the talented point guard with sufficient help.

It’s finally here.

Carlos Boozer, the same Alaskan who sent a recruiting video to Mike Krzyzewski because he wasn’t receiving any attention, is the Bulls‘ new $80 million answer to what seemed to be their lingering problem over the past decade – finding a legitimate and versatile post threat.

By Ethan Asofsky and Paul M. Banks

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Sun is setting on Nash, Phoenix’s Title Chances

By Paul M. Banks

PHOENIX, AZ- Watching Steve Nash operate the Phoenix Suns’ offense these past few years has been transcendence. I’m not saying they’re the best team to not win a title this decade, but they are likely the most entertaining team not to win it all. If there was a song about watching the Phoenix half-court set in motion it might be Outkast: “I like the way you move, do-de-do. I like the way you move, do-de-do”

And that’s why it’s a little sad: realizing their best days are now behind them, and they don’t even have a Finals appearance to show for it.

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The Sun Not Yet Setting in Phoenix

nash0508

By David Kay

When the Suns dealt Shaq to Cleveland for ultimately two expiring contracts and a future second-round pick, it seemed as if a re-building process was imminent in the Desert. There were even rumors that Amare Stoudemire was going to be traded to Golden State. But instead of tearing apart the nucleus that helped Phoenix rise to one of the best and most exciting teams in the Western Conference, they ensured that the squad would continue to shine brightly.

The rise of the Suns directly coincided with the signing of Steve Nash in 2004. Nash took the reigns of the offense and earned back-to-back MVP honors. Entering the final year of his contract in Phoenix, the Suns and Nash agreed to a 2-year contract extension worth $22 million, further proving that Phoenix is not ready to blow up their roster.

Nash is getting up their in age, but he is still a very valuable player who knows how to run an offense, is a solid three-point threat, and happens to be automatic from the free-throw line. Eleven million is a reasonable price to pay for Nash, assuming he still has gas in the tank to play at a high level for another three seasons.

It is a little surprising that Nash decided to re-sign now rather than wait until the 2010 offseason and see what the market for an established veteran point guard would be. But since he is turning 36 this season, Nash may have been wise in taking the guaranteed money now in case this was the year that his age caught up to him.

To read the rest of this analysis click here

For a similar analysis of the Jarret Jack signing click here

UCLA Pair Part of Point Guard Heavy Draft

jrueholiday

By Paul M. Banks and David Kay

In recent years, we have seen how drafting a point guard can help change the face of an NBA franchise.  Think of the impact Chris Paul has had on the Hornets, Deron Williams in Utah, Rajon Rando with the Celtics, or just this past year, what Derrick Rose brought to the Bulls.  If you are a team in need of a point guard this year, the crop of point guard prospects is deeper than any draft this decade, possibly of all time, and could produce a couple players who may have the impact of the aforementioned young NBA floor leaders.  Two prospects who play “the one” Jrue Holiday and Darren Collison played their college ball at perhaps the most storied of all programs, UCLA.

Ricky Rubio, Brandon Jennings, Jonny Flynn, and Stephen Curry join Holiday in a group of players that could be picked in the lottery to run the point at the next level.  That list doesn’t include Tyreke Evans who ran the point at Memphis, but figures to be a two guard in the NBA.  Add in the likes of Eric Maynor, Ty Lawson, Jeff Teague, Nick Calathes, and Patrick Mills, and I have ten point guards being taken in the first round in my latest mock draft.  It’s possible that number could grow to as high as 12 if Holiday’s teammate Collison or Florida State’s Toney Douglas sneaks into the first round.
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Jrue Holiday

Despite grossly underachieving in his freshman year at UCLA, Holiday is catching the eye of many NBA teams.  Holiday was highly recruited coming out of high school, but played out of position with the Bruins, spending more time at the off-guard than the point since Darren Collison was already the squad’s established leader.  He struggled in Ben Howland’s offense which is more a grind-it-out style rather than an up-tempo system which would better fit Holiday’s game.  Still, based on his potential and athleticism, Holiday decided to declare for the draft and could possibly go as high as #4 to Sacramento. Playing at possibly the most high profile program of all may give Holiday an advantage over other rookies in adjusting to the bright lights of the NBA. “At UCLA you’re definitely an icon at school, around campus and pretty much everywhere you go because of the stature that UCLA has built, and it definitely prepares you for NBA life,” Holiday told me at the NBA Draft Combine.


Darren Collisoncollison

As for Collison, he would have been better off declaring for the draft after his sophomore or junior season when he was considered a possible lottery pick.  Returning to UCLA and putting together a less than stellar senior season really hurt his stock as he will most likely be taken early in the second round.  There is a chance that due to his experience, quickness, and shooting ability, he could end up being selected in the latter part of the first round. “I’m an unselfish teammate, I’ve never been on a team where it’s ‘I’ and we have to work around an individual. A team that takes me will get a great point guard because I’ve been in school for four years so I know what it takes to win at the second highest level and I’ve been to the final four three out of the four years,” Collison said at the NBA Draft combine.

Truly, this is the NBA’s Golden Age of point guards. Older veterans like Steve Nash, Tony Parker and Chauncey Billups are still in their prime or just slightly dropping off it. They’ll be remembered among the games’ all-time greats because they played in a era where young star floor generals like Deron Williams, Chris Paul and Derrick Rose also emerged. The Association’s talent level at the point will only increase with the ’09 draft class.

“This is the draft you want to be in right now if you’re a point guard. Everyone’s getting so much credit, from Jonny Flynn, to me, to Eric Maynor right on down the list because everyone knows they need point guards to win ballgames, to take that next step. And teams need a first string and a second string the whole game to be solid, and all the point guards in this draft have the potential to do that,” Collison said.