With the NFL season now over, it is time for the sports world to focus on the NBA. With the All-Star Game coming up and trade deadline approaching there are several compelling stories. Each week I will post my NBA Power Rankings and trending topics.
Charles Barkley recently said that LeBron James doesn’t want to compete for a championship. This is probably the dumbest comment ever made by a commentator about an NBA player…of all time. That is saying a lot considering I listen to Steven A. Smith every day (BTW Smith is 0-6 in his last NBA Finals predictions.) James has played in 7 NBA Finals with 4 different head coaches. In 6 out of the 7 finals, James led his team in points, rebounds, and assists. In the last two championships series against the Golden State Warriors, James led BOTH teams in points, rebounds, and assists.
Time for the Knicks to trade Carmelo Anthony. New York will miss the playoffs for the 4th straight year. Anthony has a no trade clause so he must agree to be moved to another team. The Cavs have been rumored to be interested in the former Syracuse star but the Knicks don’t need Kevin Love. They already have a franchise power forward in Kristaps Porzingis. There would have to be a 3rd team involved.
Here is my Trade Proposal:
Knicks send Carmelo Anthony and Joakim Noah to Cleveland.
Cavs Send Kevin Love and Iman Shumpert to Sacramento.
Knicks get Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins.
NBA Power Rankings: Honorable Mention….Memphis Grizzlies, Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers.
#10 Oklahoma City Thunder- As long as Russell Westbrook is healthy the Thunder are a dangerous team. He will average a triple-double this season. Westbrook has gotten better since Kevin Durant left the team. He is averaging 30.9 points, 10.5 rebounds and 10.2 assists per game. Center Steven Adams needs to be a legitimate 15 points, 10 rebound per game player if they want to move up in the western conference.
#9 Washington Wizards- The Starting frontcourt of the Wizards has proven to be one of the best in the league. PG John Wall is averaging 23 points and 10.4 assists per game. Bradley Beal is averaging 22 points and Otto Porter is averaging 14.4 points per game. If they can continue to get solid center play from Marcin Gortat (11.5 rebounds per game) they can be a top 4 team in the east.
#8 LA Clippers – The best thing that could have happened to the Clippers long-term was Blake Griffin and Chris Paul getting injured early on in the season. If they can both be healthy come playoff time, they could finally make a push to The Western Conference Finals. Other players have stepped up while their two stars are sidelined. DeAndre Jordan is averaging 12 points and 13.7 rebounds a game. He has been their most consistent player. If the Clippers don’t get to make a deep run in the playoffs Doc Rivers should get fired.
#7 Utah Jazz- The Jazz are the Boston Celtics of the West. They don’t have a legitimate superstar but they have a few very good players, they are very well-coached and they play hard every night. This is a team is built for the future but can also win a first round playoff series now. Gordon Hayward has really become a solid player, game in and game out. He is leading the team averaging 22 points per game. Free agent signing George Hill has provided scoring punch at point guard by averaging almost 18 points per game. Center Rudy Gobert is averaging 13 points 12.7 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. The Jazz could be a young team on the rise.
#6 Toronto Raptors – This team is a two-headed monster led by DeMar DeRozan (27.5 points per game) and Kyle Lowry (23 points per game). I don’t think this team is a legitimate title contender but they should win 50 plus games.
#5 Houston Rockets- James Harden has been one of the most productive players in the history of the NBA this season. He is averaging 28.9 points, 8.2rebounds and 11.4 assists per game. This team is fun and exciting to watch but they still struggle big time on the defensive end. Eric Gordon could be the 6th man of the year, he is averaging almost 18 points per game. Harden is surrounded by solid players, but there is no one who scares opponents night in and night out, other than “The Beard.”
#4 Boson Celtics- A few seasons ago Danny Ainge traded veterans Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. He stockpiled draft picks and totally changed the team’s core. It was a brilliant move. The Celtics have depth and quality players at almost every position. PG Isaiah Thomas is averaging 30 points and 6.5 assists per game. Al Horford has done a tremendous job of being a point/center, He is averaging 15 points and 5.4 assists per game. Brad Stevens is one of the best young basketball minds in the sport. I would not be surprised if they make it to the Eastern Conference Finals.
#3 San Antonio Spurs- Gregg Popovich is one of the greatest coaches of all-time. He is a lot like former North Carolina coach, Dean Smith. He believes in the team first before the individual. With that said, Kawhi Leonard recently had a streak where he scored 30 or more points in 6 straight games. Considering Pop is all about ball movement and believes in passing up a good shot for a great shot, what KL did was amazing. The former San Diego State star has now scored 30 or more points in 16 games. LaMarcus Aldridge hasn’t played consistently all year but he is still averaging around 17 points and 7 rebounds per game. As long as San Antonio has Pop and KL, they will win 58-65 games per season. Leonard will be a serious MVP candidate.
#2 Cleveland Cavaliers- The Cavs are 35-15 and have no legitimate threat in the Eastern Conference. LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love are averaging 70 points per game combined. The addition of sharpshooter Kyle Korver will only help them come playoff time. Cleveland has the deepest shooting team in the league but I expect them to make another big move by the trading deadline. Tyronn Lue has done a masterful job of using his bench players and making sure the team moves the ball and stays away from isolation. James will go to his 7th straight NBA Finals.
#1 Golden State Warriors – Steve Kerr’s team is scary on offense. Kevin Durant is having another MVP-like season. He is averaging 25 points 8 rebounds and 5 assists per game. When he is not carrying this team on offense Stephen Curry leads the way. Curry is averaging 25 points and 6.4 assists. I like the addition JaVale McGee, he has provided an interior presence off the bench. Klay Thompson and Draymond are both averaging over 33 minutes per game. Look for Kerr to start resting his starters and get them ready for the playoffs after the all-star game.
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