|Mock NBA Fantasy Basketball Draft||10.05.10 at 4:58 pm ET|
A breakdown of the first five rounds of a mock 10-team fantasy basketball draft, in addition to the top-10 late-round sleepers and the top-10 players to avoid. Full disclosure: I am unstoppable at fantasy basketball. I also consulted commissioner James Hough of our annual league, Mondo Rondo.
(NOTE: Your season depends solely on the health of this pick.)
1. Kevin Durant: Team USA’s best player; absolute monster; fills every stat category.
2. LeBron James: Has a legit chance to average a triple-double.
3. Kobe Bryant: Even if not 100 percent, the game’s best player can’t slip past No. 3.
4. Chris Paul: Might be the No. 2 pick if not for the whole knee surgery thing.
5. Deron Williams: Averaged at least 18 points & 10 assists per game last 3 seasons.
6. Danny Granger: Most underrated player in the NBA on a bad team translates into numbers.
7. Dwight Howard: You’re giving up FT% with this pick … but likely winning FG%, blocks & boards.
8. Dwyane Wade: Stats will suffer beside LeBron, but still warrants first-round pick.
9. Dirk Nowitzki: The first-round guy I’d least like to have on my team still fills the statsheet.
10. Pau Gasol: He may look like a llama, but he’s the best offensive center in the game.
ROUND 2(NOTE: Either diversify your roster or lock categories down in your favor.)
11. Chris Bosh: He’ll still score, grab rebounds, block shots and make free throws.
12. Steve Nash: It’s a good thing defense isn’t really a category in fantasy hoops.
13. Amar’e Stoudemire: Last season under D’Antoni: 25.2 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 2.1 bpg, 59.0 FG%, 80.5 FT%.
14. Josh Smith: Draft him with Howard, and you win blocks & boards every week.
15. Stephen Curry: A first-round pick on most boards, I wouldn’t take him until now.
16. Brook Lopez: Never would’ve predicted he’d be a top-20 pick.
17. Carmelo Anthony: A top-10 player, but on a team he doesn’t want to play for.
18. Rajon Rondo: Points, assists, steals and FG% have gone up every year.
19. Derrick Rose: Is anybody else thinking he’s going to have a huge season?
20. David Lee: You can count the number of centers who have average 20 and 12 on one hand.
|Celtics: Irish Coffee||10.04.10 at 10:23 am ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘¦
“I’d win, I’d win” Bryant said. “That’s what I do. One on one is … that’s easy for me, you know. Playing one on one is how I grew up playing, it’s like my thing. LeBron is more like a Magic Johnson, he’s a great passer and plays an all-around game. At the core of me, I’m a one-on-one player. I’d do that in my sleep.”
That’s a bold statement, but I tend to agree. He’s arrogant, but his breakdown is pretty much spot on. So, what do you think? Could any current Celtics beat Kobe 1-on-1? I think Ray Allen could beat him in HORSE.
Why Boston hates L.A.
This is the most ridiculous story I’ve ever heard. So, the L.A. Times is doing a weekly series on its Lakers Blog community. Each writer explains a little about himself, including how he became a Lakers fan. Well, this guy claims he was a longtime Celtics fan who became a loyal Lakers fan. I say that’s impossible.
“I liked winners, and they won every year–like the Yankees,” wrote Paul Hefti. “Following the Celtics, Yankees and Bruins seemed a natural thing to do. … I had moved to L.A. and the Lakers really got a hold of me. They were so clean, pretty, sunshiny–all things L.A.–and I was hooked. Getting beaten by the Celtics really started to kill me–my Boston family never forgave me.”
Is that the most ridiculous paragraph ever written in sports journalism history? No wonder Boston fans hate L.A. No true Celtics fan would ever become a Lakers fan. EVER. Anyone who roots for the Lakers and Yankees is called a fair-weather fan. Not a fan. And that’s the end of that.
Interested in singing the national anthem at a Celtics home game this season? Show up at the Hard Rock CafÃ© between noon and 5 p.m. today to audition in front of former New Edition member Michael Bivins, one-time American Idol contestant Ayla Brown and JAMN 94.5 personality Melissa. More info here. Try not to pull a Roseanne Barr or a Carl Lewis while attempting “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Celtics SCVNGR hunt
Foursquare competitor SCVNGR teamed with the Celtics to allow users to compete for a pair of season tickets. C’s fans with Android or iPhones can use SCVNGR to hunt around Boston, completing tasks at locations tied to the team. The fan with the most points by Oct. 22 wins a pair of season tix.
|Celtics: Irish Coffee||09.30.10 at 9:00 am ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘¦
It’s becoming fairly clear that Nate Robinson enjoys pranking his teammates, especially Shaquille O’Neal. This time, he’s seen with Paul Pierce, pouring a ton of salt into a glass of water before handing it to an unsuspecting Shaq. The Big Shamrock’s reaction is priceless. It’s stuff like this that builds camaraderie, and I’m all for it.
NBA rule changes?
The NBA is trying out a number of potential rule changes in the NBA Development League–with an eye towards adding them at the top level in the near future.
The biggest change? Potentially allowing defenders to knock a ball away while its on the rim, a huge change from the current goaltending rule, which forbids players from touching the ball while its in the cylinder. Just for the record, this is a terrible idea. I mean, I even dominated when we lowered the rim in our backyard and allowed goaltending. Can you imagine how good Bill Russell would’ve been?
The other potential rule change? Three-minute overtimes, as opposed to the current five-minute system. Another awful idea. I have trouble doing anything in three minutes, let alone playing the most important part of a basketball game. Is there anyone out there thinking, “You know what, I’d watch this overtime if it were three minutes. Five minutes? That’s much too long for me.”
Salary cap issues hit hard
“In a salary cap era–and soon a hard salary cap in the NBA like it’s in the NHL–if everyone can pay the same amount to the same amount of players, its the small nuanced differences that matter,” Leonsis told a crowd of local business owners at George Mason University.
If the currently salary cap of $56 million were a hard cap, and teams could not exceed that limit under a number of nuanced exceptions, the Celtics would have to cut almost $23 million in salary. Essentially, they’d only be able to pay their starting five. In case you haven’t figured it out, this would be bad news for the C’s.
LeBron James: Big Baby
Ran across this picture yesterday and found it pretty funny. Nice job by this kid …
NBA Jam redux
Failed marketing and harsh criticism have led EA Sports to postpone the release of the new version of the 1993 2-on-2 NBA Jam video game, NBA Elite 11, indefinitely. The move could cost the company as much as $60 million. That’s more than the current NBA salary cap, for the math-challenged out there.
In case you missed it, EA Sports released the rosters for the game, and the Celtics are one of only nine teams that include four current players–Pierce,Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen–plus two legends (Larry Bird and Kevin McHale). ESPN.com’s Marc Stein surmised that you may be able to unlock Shaq as a hidden player. In the original ’93 version, if you’ll recall, the C’s roster featured Reggie Lewis and McHale.
Let me ask you this: How does EA Sports screw up a 2-on-2 basketball game? The original version was probably the greatest video basketball game ever (other than maybe Double Dribble), so why not just update the graphics and players, and move on. That would be too simple.
|Why the time is now (and right) for Delonte West||09.28.10 at 6:26 pm ET|
WALTHAM ‘ Delonte West stepped on a foot stool he didn’t need with a broad, beaming smile and began to talk in a most relaxed fashion about how glad and grateful he is to be back in Boston with a chance to win his first NBA title with the team where it all began.
If ever anyone was grateful to be back in Boston with a chance at redemption, it’s the 27-year-old lefty-shooting guard from Washington, signed by the Celtics on Sept. 1 to a non-guaranteed free agent deal. West had been cut by Minnesota, which had acquired him from Cleveland just days after the Cavaliers lost free agent LeBron James to Miami.
“It feels great to be back in green and white, where I started my career,” West said. “That’s a great compliment, being picked up from a team that’s coming off an [NBA finals] Game 7 and got their eyes set on a championship. To be called to render my services to help this team put up another banner, that’s an amazing feeling.”
Before doing so, he must sit out the first 10 games of the season on gun charges after he pleaded guilty for carrying two loaded handguns, a loaded shotgun and two knives when he was pulled over in suburban Washington last September.
He spoke of being familiar with Doc Rivers when he broke into the NBA. He spoke of his experiences in Cleveland, where he was on a team favored to get to the NBA finals ‘ only to be twice denied by the Celtics.
But most of all, West spoke like a man who knows that ‘ assuming he can win a spot on the roster out of camp ‘ he will have his best shot yet to reach the NBA summit.
And it would certainly have been quite the journey. Read the rest of this entry »
|Shaq on D&C: ‘I would have played for free’ in Boston||at 8:49 am ET|
In an appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show, new Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal, who has made no less than $10 million in his last 14 NBA seasons and at least $20 million in his last nine campaigns, said that he had no problem taking a pay cut in excess of 90 percent in order to come to the Celtics. O’Neal signed a two-year deal for approximately $3 million this summer, and he suggested that money was virtually irrelevant in making his decision to join Boston.
“I had other options where the money would have been greater. But this franchise, this team, has a tradition of winning,” O’Neal said. “I’ve been one of the luckiest guys in the history of the game. I’ve had four max deals and one lifetime of play. So money wasn’t an issue. Money will never be an issue. But Danny Ainge had $1 million left, which was the minimum. If I had to, to come here and play, I would have played for free. Doesn’t matter to me.”
O’Neal ‘ who said that he wanted to be called The Big Shamrock while with the Celtics — also discussed whether he will be able to “blend in” in Boston both on and off the court, his bucket list, his experience of last year’s Celtics-Cavaliers playoff series from Cleveland’s perspective and his feelings on Dwight Howard and LeBron James, among several other topics.
A transcript is below. To listen to the complete interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
This is Shaquille O’Neal. Don’t mess with Dennis & Callahan, weekdays from 6-10 on the WEEI Sports Radio Network.
Skip the boring basketball questions. Is Boston big enough for your personality?
I always tell people that I was raised Karate Kid style. My father took me many places as a youngster. I started off in Northern New Jersey, born and raised. Went down south to Hinesville, Ga., then to West Germany, then to San Antonio, Tex. I say that to say that I can blend in anywhere.
You probably can’t blend in.
I can blend in. If people are looking for me in Boston, I’ll be in Sudbury. If you’re looking for the Big Shamrock, he’ll be in Sudbury, in the fields of Sudbury.
You’ve settled on the Big Shamrock?
Yes. The Big Shamrock. Yes.
|LeBron James at the point?||09.20.10 at 10:46 am ET|
One of the persistent criticisms of the Miami Heat is that while they are overloaded with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, they are weak at point guard and center. That’s if they run a conventional lineup.
Here’s the key quote: “He will be a playmaker. But he has also been a scoring champ. He will be at the end of plays to finish them. He will be a facilitator. He’ll be so many different things. We want to take advantage of all his skills.”
This is smart. There is no reason for Spoelstra to use a regular lineup when he has such unconventional talent. James is one the best playmaking forwards in the league and Wade has also run Miami’s offense. Both James and Wade have played on teams that demanded they take a huge percentage of shots, but both are also excellent passers. The Heat don’t need conventional players. They need shooters on the perimeter and a compliment to Bosh inside.
A lineup with Wade, Miller and James along with Bosh and Udonis Haslem is probably Miami’s strongest and one that leaves the traditional positions all mixed up.
Coming up with counters for the Heat will be a constant challenge and the Celtics have options. Doc Rivers experimented with a backcourt of Rajon Rondo and Nate Robinson at times last season, but it didn’t really take. Perhaps with a full training camp at their disposal it could have time to jell.
That would be a serious speed advantage, but obviously a gamble in terms of height. But in spots, or with Avery Bradley in the mix, it could be an interesting way to change the tempo, especially defensively.
The Celtics also have numerous options up front with Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O’Neal, Shaquille O’Neal and Glen Davis. Rivers said he prefers a set frontcourt rotation during the regular season, but he does have the pieces to play with in terms of matchups.
We don’t have much longer to find out. The Celtics and Heat open the season on Oct. 26.
|Shaq calls out Cavs, Mo Williams||09.04.10 at 5:07 pm ET|
There was a time when being a role player would not have sat well with Shaquille O’Neal. That time has passed.
In a recent interview with the Times-Picayune, O’Neal explained that he now looks forward to playing for an unselfish ball club, even if it means less time on the court.
“I’m at the point in my life where I can’t carry a team by myself anymore, but I can be a piece on a team that’s already good,” he said. “The Celtics are good with or without me. A lot of people say, ‘How can I be a complementary player?’ But at 38, it’s easy. If I was 28, it would be a problem, Doc.”
O’Neal called out his most recent team, the Cavaliers, for their approach on offense. He singled out one former teammate in particular.
“I like that they (the Celtics) play together and nobody really worries about shots,” O’Neal said. “When I was with Cleveland, guys who couldn’t even play were worried about shots. Why was Mo (Williams) taking 15 shots, and I’m only taking four? If LeBron takes 20 shots, that’s cool.
“So I said, let me get with a good team for the last two years. I don’t mind people calling me a journeyman. I’ve been programmed to move around every three years.”
O’Neal also added that he had been interested in the Hawks and Hornets before signing with the Celtics.
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