Posts Tagged ‘nba eastern conference

25
Sep
09

Antawn Jamison is Talkin’ Computers and winning a Championship

Antawn Jamison 1

 

Even though the Washington Wizards suffered through one of their worst seasons in franchise history last season with only 19 wins, forward Antawn Jamison is thinking NBA Championship. Recently, Jamison spoke out with confidence that if healthy(lol), the Wizards are just as good or better than last season’s elite teams, especially Cleveland, Boston, and Orlando in the Eastern Conference.

Jamison was at Jefferson Junior High in D.C. as a spokesman for the NBA, to help launch the HP Digital Assist, which is a nationwide program that gives more than 5,000 students in various cities a chance to win more than $80,000 in Hewlett Packard products for their school. After promoting the educational program, he fielded questions about the Wizards chances this season.

In a story first reported by the Washington Post, Jamison spoke out about his squad’s chances of finally bringing a championship to Washington D.C., after playing 11 seasons in the NBA. He thinks the additions of Randy Foye, Mike Miller, Fabricio Oberto, along with the return of “the Hibatchi” Gil Arenas, Brendan Haywood, and Deshawn Stevenson from injuries bolsters the Wizards roster enough to be considered contenders for the NBA’s Championship trophy. When asked why he thought that way, Jamison responded emphatically, “Why not?” “I’ve been around here for six years and championship talk wasn’t a norm around our locker room. That’s all we’re talking about now.”

Jamison has quitely been one of the league’s best under the radar players over his 11 NBA seasons. He has averaged 19.9 ppg and 8.0 rebounds for the Warriors, Mavericks, and most recently, the Washington Wizards. Antawn has averaged over 20 ppg five times with a high of 24.9 ppg in ’00-’01 with Golden State. Rebounding has been one of his best skills by averaging over 6+ rebs/game every season of his career, with a high of 10.2 rebs in ’07-’08. He is entering his 6th season in Washington, one in which he missed the postseason after making it to the playoffs 5 straight years.

The pairing of Jamison, and Caron”Tough Juice” Butler, both 2 time All-Stars, with a healthy Arenas, who is a 3 time All-Star, gives Washington a tremendously talented trio which should be very good, but is it good enough to get the better of Boston, with Pierce, Garnett, Allen, and Sheed, Cleveland with Lebron and Shaq, or Orlando, with Howard, Carter, Lewis, and Nelson?

Antawn Jamison and Gil Arenas All Stars

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17
Aug
09

Is the Eastern Conference Stronger Than the West?

Garnett

Since the ’98-’99 season, the Western Conference has produced the eventual NBA Champion 8 times in 11 seasons. Only Detroit in ’04, Miami in ’06, and Boston in ’08 have won an NBA title from the East. In addition, the West has just been a deeper conference from #1 through #8 from teams making the playoffs. Case in point being Phoenix last season winning 46 games and missing postseason play where 46 wins would have been the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference. Whether it was parity or good competition, the East’s final #5 through #12 seeds were constantly in flux right until the regular season finale, with the final 3 spots finishing with record of .500 or under. The West’s top seeds beat up on the bottom teams within the conference as evidence of their conference records and that the #10 – #15 teams all had winning percentages below 36%.

The ’09-’10 season should see a swing in power to the East. Through player movement in free agency, prime talent returning from injuries, or young nucleuses maturing, the East could have upwards of 6 teams winning 50+ games. Boston, Cleveland, Orlando, Toronto, Atlanta, and Washington are all capable of reaching the 50 win plateau.

Boston, Cleveland, and Orlando should be legitimate title contenders through free agent acquisitions. Boston has now has the “Big 4″ for teams to contend with since adding Rasheed Wallace to the ’08 Championship trio of Garnett, Pierce, and Allen, along with budding star Rajon Rondo, who may challenge for an All-Star spot. Cleveland has added “Shaq Diesel“, “The Big Cactus”, or whatever O’Neal, the 7 foot, 4 time NBA Champion calls himself these days along with a slew of new supporting players to add to a team that won 66 games and had the best record in the league. Orlando chose addition by subtraction by choosing not to resign Hedo Turkoglu and bringing in Vince Carter, an 8 time All-Star from New Jersey, to a team that advanced all the way to the Finals last season.

The second tier teams in the East, Washington, Atlanta, and Toronto, have improved in different ways to almost certainly reach 50 wins as well. If healthy, the Wizards could vie for a #4 seed since they have made a decision to win now by trading their draft selections to Minnesota for a few good role players to compliment a talented trio of Jamison, Butler, and the oft injured Arenas. Toronto has two reasons for trying to improve in the standings. The Raptors have brought in Orlando Magic castoff Turkoglu and a few supporting players to try and move from mediocrity to contender and to persuade 2010 possible free agent Chris Bosh, to stay North of the border. Atlanta kept it’s young but talented nucleus intact for another run by resigning veteran Mike Bibby to be paired with newly re-upped Marvin Williams, Joe Johnson, and talented big men Josh Smith and Al Horford.

Miami, Philadelphia, and Chicago, while mired in mediocrity, have done little to this point to improve on their near .500 records and should be in the mix for the final two playoff spots with a noticeable dropoff with the rest of the East’s bottom tier teams.

Out West, only San Antonio and the LA Lakers are legitimate title contenders. The Lakers essentially return the same roster as last season’s championship squad with the exception of another adding by subtracting scenario. The Lakers allowed Trevor Ariza to defect to Houston while recruiting former Defensive Player of the Year, Ron Artest to Hollywood which is an obvious upgrade. San Antonio may now boast of having the deepest and most talented roster in the league by adding one of the NBA’s all around talents in Richard Jefferson and Antonio McDyess to future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan, and explosive guards, Parker and Ginobili. The West’s top two have improved to a greater degree than the rest of the conference and should separate themselves accordingly.

Although other Western teams are good, they aren’t on par with the NBA’s top contenders or even some of the second tier teams of the East. Denver through experience and veteran leadership, and Portland with their plethora of future young stars will hopefully prove me wrong by season’s end. The Denver Nuggets proved they are close by advancing all the way to the Western Finals last season and will try to improve after adding depth to an already talented roster through the draft. Although Portland, who with the addition of floor general Andre Miller should take some of the pressure off of the underrated and newly extended, Brandon Roy, are probably still a year or two away but would like to improve on their 54 wins and #4 seed last year.

In my opinion, the teams out West will see a drop off in wins after the top 4 teams. In the lead for the #5 seed should be the Dallas Mavericks. By resigning their on-court leader in Jason Kidd and bringing in Shawn Marion and other sharpshooters to be paired with Nowitzki, Terry, and Howard, the Mavs should be again be a very potent offensive quad but even things out by not playing much defense. New Orleans, while having arguably the best point guard in the league in CP3, better scorers in Doug West, and now having one of the best defensive big men in Okafor, are hamstrung by finances and will be hard pressed to duplicate their 49 wins last season. The consistently good Utah Jazz may have a decrease in wins depending on where they will undoubtedly dump their talented but unhappy leading scorer, Carlos Boozer and who or what they get back for him.

Two of the annual playoff participants in past seasons, Houston and Phoenix, should experience a major decline in wins because of injuries and player defections through free agency. This could create a logjam for the final few playoff spots which is similar to what the East has experienced the past couple of years. Young and talented squads like Golden State, Oklahoma City, and even the LA Clippers may contend for a spot in the postseason.

For the first time in a long while, I look forward to this wide open NBA season since so many teams have improved and have a shot at the title, especially in the Eastern Conference. I just wish my 76ers could compete with the big boys. Well, as long as we beat the Knicks……..!

lebron

21
Jul
09

Why the Wizards Could Be a Sleeper In the East

Allen Moll is an avid NBA and College Basketball fan who watches and studies games religiously and coaches youth basketball in his native Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania.  Allen also writes for Hoopdoctors.comWizards logo

When the Washington Wizards traded out of the #5 pick in this season’s draft, it left many people scratching their heads wondering why a last place team that finished a dismal 19-63, would do such a thing. There were more puzzling reactions once Minnesota used that lottery pick on European superstar Ricky Rubio. I am going to attempt to talk all Washington Wizard fans off of the ledge by breaking down why it was actually a good move to trade the pick, and how the Wizards can make the playoffs next season.

First of all, and most importantly, Gilbert Arenas, aka Agent 0, must be healthy. The Wizards have been hit by the injury bug harder than any team over the last few years. A close second may be Houston with the reoccuring T-Mac and Yao Ming injuries. When healthy, Arenas, a 3 time all-star, is as talented and deadeye shooter as you can find in the entire NBA as evidence by his career scoring average of almost 23 ppg. In his last three full seasons from 05′-07′, he established himself as one of the game’s elite players averaging 28-30 points, more than 5 assists, while shooting more than 42% on 3’s. The problem is he has played only 15 games in two seasons. Amazingly, reports have him making a full recovery, hoping to be ready by training camp.

A healthy Arenas, along with Antawn Jamison, and Caron Butler forms one of the most imposing offensive trios in the league. Jamison, an 11 year pro out of North Carolina, has a 20 ppg career scoring average to go along with 8 rebounds per game. He had arguably his best season in 08′-09′ at 22.2 points and 8.9 rebounds while playing in all 82 games. Caron Butler, a 7 year pro has apparently found his home playing for his 3rd team in Washington after establishing career highs in points averaging 20.8 and also has 1 All-Star game appearance. The question on Butler also is health, since he has never played a full season in the NBA.

The Wizards chose to try and win now when they traded the #5 pick and three players to Minnesota for Randy Foye and Mike Miller, a former Rookie and 6th Man of the Year. Why wait for a rookie to possibly develop when you can acquire two proven NBA veterans. Foye, coming from Big East power Villanova in college, has been a double figure scorer each of his 3 years in the league topping out at 16.3 points while averaging 4.3 assists in 09′. Many feel he hasn’t reached his full potential yet. Mike Miller, known as one of the leagues best 3 point shooters, is actually one of it’s most underrated all around players averaging 14 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists while shooting over 40% on 3’s for his career. Their roster also includes ever improving Nick Young(10.9 ppg), NBA badboy but talented DeShawn Stevenson, Brendan Haywood, and Andre Blatche(10 points, 5 rebs), who is performing well in the NBA Vegas Summer League, to come off the bench.

Trading Rubio may be a blessing in disguise since Minnesota is now having a hard time working out the details of his buyout from his European team. Some rumors even have him returning to Spain for another season with Jonny Flynn getting early reps at point guard. Financially, the Wizards are also in decent shape next season, with under achieving Mike James’ $9 million dollar contract due to expire at season’s end, allowing Washington to possibly acquire a better than average role player for 2010.

Hopefully, Washington Wizard fans can now take a deep breath and have some hope going into next season. Some rumors have the Wizards not quite a finished project just yet as they may add another player or resign free agent Juan Dixon before free agency is done. With an injury free Agent 0, along with a strong supporting cast. and a little luck, the Wizards may just surprise everyone and contend for an Eastern Conference crown




About the Author:

Allen Moll is an avid NBA and College Basketball fan who watches and studies games religiously and coaches youth basketball in his native Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. Allen also writes for thehoopdoctors.com, Bleacherreport.com, and UpperDeckblog.com.

Favorite teams include everything Philly, like Sixers, Eagles, Phillies, Villanova , St. Joe's , Hoops, LaSalle, and Lehigh University Hoops.

Contact info: mollallen@yahoo.com

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