HOOPSWORLD Week in Review
Chicago’s New Shooter?
By Joel Brigham
Here’s what isn’t in question: the Chicago Bulls need an upgrade at the two guard position. Nothing against Keith Bogans, Kyle Korver, and/or Ronnie Brewer, but not a single one of those guys is a player you’d expect to be the starting shooting guard on a championship team.
What is in question is what player would fit best with this team, and also what player Chicago can most realistically acquire. There are a few free agents on this list, but the Bulls don’t have any cap space, and who knows if the sign-and-trade option will be a possibility under the new CBA? The rest of the guys are already under contract, so Chicago will have to work out a deal to bring them in.
They’ve got some tradable assets, but not many. Taj Gibson and Omer Asik both make under $2 million next season and have considerable upside, and the team does hold what could eventually be a lottery pick from the Tyrus Thomas trade with Charlotte. It’s lottery protected in 2012, but loses more and more protection each year for four years. Charlotte projects to fall short of the postseason for the foreseeable future, so that could be something they toss into a deal, but beyond that pick, Asik, and Gibson, what does Chicago have that other teams would really want?
How The HEAT Made The NBA Better
By Stephen Brotherston
For years now, long-time fans, former players, and coaches have been complaining about how the NBA has become a love-in between players on different teams, and they were right. Where has the obvious dislike of the players on opposing teams gone?
Slowly, over the past twenty years, fans have begun to noticeably cheer the introduction of the star players on opposing teams as they enter their team’s court. Players openly hug and joke with their many friends playing for the other team. Something needed to be done.
The NBA had changed, and not entirely for the better, but fortunately a handful of players brought rivalry and distain for one’s opponents back to the game and during this year’s playoffs, they took it a step further. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh stepped up and gave us a villain to root against and helped drive interest in the NBA to new highs.
Barea: The Finals’ Big Winner?
By Mark Nugent
The Dallas Mavericks won the 2010-11 NBA Championship and Dirk Nowitzki won the Finals MVP, but no one may have won more this past postseason than free agent to be J.J. Barea. The Puerto Rican born Barea was an afterthought for much of the season, and if not for injuries to Roddy Beaubois and Caron Butler, he may not have seen the floor during the Finals.
As it stands, Barea is coming off two of the best games of his career and has an opportunity to cash in; he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1st.
“I think this was my best year,” Barea said to the media during his exit interview. “Every year I get better. I was more consistent this year and I was on the best team in the world and I was a big part of it so that proves a lot.”
The 2001 NBA Draft: Re-Drafted
By Tommy Beer
Well, the Finals are now finished, and I think we have dissected and psychoanalyzed LeBron James everyway possible. So, instead of contributing another HEAT-centric column, I figured I’d go in a different direction. The plan is this: over the next few weeks, I’ll go back over previous drafts and “re-draft” all the players. Of course, I’ll have the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, based on all that we now know everyone that came into the league years ago.
Admittedly, this is a bit of a frivolous exercise (and I assume others have done it elsewhere in cyberspace so I apologize ahead of time); nonetheless, I thought it’d be interesting to see how the talent would shake out and who would get selected where. (Also, if there is a prolonged lockout, we are going to need to find a way to keep ourselves entertained…)
Here is how we’ll approach this project: Every pick will be made pretending each organization is a first year expansion franchise and has no other players on its roster, so there is no need to factor roster needs as of June 2001 into any discussion. Selections will be made simply based on pure production – i.e. best player available.
Ready to Flourish; Just Need Change
By Lang Greene
The 2011 season is over, a new champion has been crowned and the focus has steadily shifted toward the upcoming NBA Draft and free agency (barring a lockout).
Every season there is a group of players, either through free agency or trade, who suddenly impose their presence on the scene or reinvent themselves after being buried deep on a team’s respective depth chart.
This past season granted us plenty of examples of redemption stories.
Michael Beasley emerged as a big time scoring threat in Minnesota after struggling with the veteran laden Miami HEAT early in his career.
Many Factor’s To Rubio’s Success
By Stephen Litel
For two years the fans of the Minnesota Timberwolves have heard everything there is to hear about Ricky Rubio. They have struggled through another two seasons where the team won 15 games and 17 games respectively. Jonny Flynn, Ramon Sessions and Luke Ridnour have all had turns at the point guard position with uninspiring success, as the Timberwolves continued to try to find a way to get Rubio to come to the States.
Now, as it looks as if Rubio will in fact join the Minnesota Timberwolves for the 2011-12 season—if there is one—many people wonder if Rubio can possibly live up to his billing.
Whether it is fair or not, Rubio will come to Minnesota with great expectations from those who follow the team and around the NBA. Although his perceived stock has fallen in the past two years, he is still a valuable commodity and his game translates to the NBA well. The big factor for Rubio will be to find the confidence he has, seemingly, lost recently. If he’s able to do that, he will be able to have an impact on the Timberwolves next season.