Monday, February 28, 2011
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
All three are excellent guards but lack something. Curry is a well rounded offensive player but lacks the proper on-ball defensive skills. Ellis is an incredible scorer but is lackluster on defense. Rondo is an assist machine and an excellent defender, but his shot is less than impressive.
Rose is an incredible scorer who contributes to his team in every other possible way as well. Paul is an outstanding player who could shine even more on any other team. I can't wait to see him in 2011-12 on another team.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
10. & 9. NFL – Seattle Seahawks & Arizona Cardinals – The NFL has a perfect product, but they must be included in the list, if only to hope for a talent overflow somewhere in the league. (If I didn't enjoy the Jaguars, I'd have them and Houston here. The two teams picked have been to Championships in the last 6 years.) At least two teams really stink every year, but the Bills and Lions and Bucs and Browns (no, not them) all have great histories. Take Carolina, if you want, but two teams must go.
8. NBA – Minnesota Timberwolves – Didn't they draft two point guards in the top six overall in 2009? No one's seen either of them since (Sure, Jonny Flynn plays almost 20 MPG, but I don't watch Minny, and neither do you). They didn't draft their two best players: Kevin Love and Darmichael Beaslicic. And Nick Calathes went there and died along with the real Jonny Flynn and Rubio's rights.
7. MLB – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – This is a good team with a great manager (like that matters in baseball). But the name makes me want to eat Bartolo Colon's hair. No one does this. They are the Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie of the MLB. Or the nerd wearing a Hollister T-shirt, when his glasses and pocket protector scream Bugle Boy. Anaheim, stop using Los Angeles' name to look cool.
6. MLB – Pittsburgh Pirates – History doesn't matter; look forward. The biggest splash they've made in the last three years is dumping Jason Bay. And we all thought he was good. I'm sorry, Andrew McCutchen. We know your secret.
5. NBA – Charlotte Bobcats – Supposedly, this is a real NBA franchise (No confirmation, as Collin is my source). If your most attractive personality is a non-player, you need contraction, even more-so if he's your owner. I'll let you keep your team when you re-replace your mascot: back to the Hornets now, jerks.
4. NBA – Toronto Raptors – Canada has a basketball team—not football or baseball, basketball. I'm no sociologist, but something seems off. Yeah, Montreal wasn't right for baseball, but Toronto would be. With all of the traveling-between-countries-with-customs woes, I'd rather the Buffalo Bills move to Toronto, then the players would only have to travel over a border 10-12 times a season (or 24, depending on the NFL's new CBA) instead of the 41 (and only 41, because Toronto doesn't make the Playoffs—don't Google, just trust......Darn you). Note: the previous portion of this paragraph was written in a Who Jays Haze. Yeah, there sure are four teams in the AL East. You're cute. What? Five? Now you're just talking crazy.
3. MLB – Florida Marlins – Yeah, they have two World Series wins in their short tenure. But their dumping of players upsets me, wins Boston a ring and puts Miggy the Alcoholic in a bad situation. You can't tell me that he would have been arrested or even drunk if he was in South Beach. Also, Hanley Ramirez told me he's tired of playing in front of twenty-nine people every night. If a city cannot fill seats for a team, they don't deserve it (Oh God, what am I saying? Mr. Weaver, I didn't mean it.)
2. NBA – New Orleans Hornets – There are three simple reasons to get rid of you, NO: it would release CP3 to run freely on a good team with management that appreciates him (or just management, which bring me to reason two) ; the NBA owns you; somehow, you're in the Western Conference. The last one discredits all names in the NBA, with New Orleans being farther East than like fourteen Eastern teams (but I'm no geographer either) and...You aren't the real Hornets.
1. NFL – Oakland Raiders – Al Davis is Jerry Jones without charisma (or the need to be liked and known, whichever Jones has). If you are affluent enough to own a professional sports team, you are not qualified intellectually to manage one. So Al, stop.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Sunday, February 20, 2011
37 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals. That was Bryant's stat line at the end of the game. He was awarded with his 4th MVP of an All-Star game. Bryant sent a reminder to the rest of the league that he is still the best player in the league. No play summed up Bryant's statement greater than his dunk on LeBron James. It made you ask yourself if Kobe really ages. Speaking of if someone ever ages, Halle Berry, is she still in her twenties?
Veterans like Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, and Paul Pierce barely combined for 30 minutes in the game while Kobe played 29. Those same veterans combined for a total of 12 points on 5-13 shooting. Kobe shot 14-26 from the field. I understand the world is ready for Kobe to move off into the distance but the man refuses. In a game catered to the high energy of young players, Kobe shone the brightest.
Sure, the Lakers are on a three game losing streak and one of those was to the Cleveland Cavaliers (yes, those Cleveland Cavaliers). Yes, the Lakers have looked too old at times to even make a jog in the playoffs much less a run. Sure the league is better served by the explosive dunks of Blake Griffin, "Dream Team" in the Miami Heat, and a team in New York that is not a complete eye sore but in our haste to look for the next great "thing" we may have neglected the greatest thing since "His Airness". So Fat Lady please sit back down. Mr. Bryant still has some games to play.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
With the All-Star break coming up this weekend, we thought we'd take a look at all the teams in the NBA in some sort of season-so-far column or maybe a look ahead. After some thinking, I decided to go with a power rankings, but with a twist. These aren't just ranking the 32 teams, but ranking them in the order of who has the best chance of holding up the trophy come the end of the season.
1. San Antonio Spurs- The Spurs gaudy 45-9 record is the complete opposite of their "boring" play. Come playoff time the experience this team has is going to best friend. They just hope the age of their stars doesn't start to become a problem when game 100 rolls around.
2. Boston Celtics- The Celts are in the same boat as the Spurs. They have lots of experience, but their stars are getting up there in age as well. Their bench is pretty deep but they are also being hit by the injury bug, which could turn out to be a big problem.
3. Los Angeles Lakers- Things are somewhat ugly in LA right now, but I don't think anyone is worried about the two-time defending champs. There's definitely still a strong possibility of a three-peat.
4. Chicago Bulls- The Bulls have arguably the NBA MVP right now in Derrick Rose and lead the league in team defense. Also, they're 36-16 without Boozer and Noah being on the court at the same time. Throw in a nice bench, and this could be a sleeper pick to make the finals.
5. Miami Heat- They definitely have the star power to make the finals, but what worries me is their 0-5 record this season to the teams listed above. Though I still have them ranked high because you can't ever count out a team that has Wade and LeBron
6. Dallas Mavericks- This team is actually pretty deep as well. I think they live and die by Dirk a little bit to much, but if players like Butler can step up, and they can keep getting excellent play from Barea and Chandler, then they definitely have a good shot at making a run.
7. Orlando Magic- The 8 game losing streak to teams with a winning record was ugly, but the stomping of the Lakers Sunday was impressive. Inconsistency is their downfall, but this team does have the talent to take them there.
8. Oklahoma City Thunder- They're an extremely young team which is great for the future, but could be their downfall in this year's playoffs. Durant and Westbrook are gonna be stars in this league for years, but I don't know how far they can carry the rest of the team this year. Especially without a legitimate big man.
9. Atlanta Hawks- I'm not sure if Atlanta is ever gonna make the jump from 4-5 seed to legitimate Finals contender. Joe Johnson is playing outstanding this year though, as well as Al Horford. If they can consistently get big games out of Jamal Crawford and Josh Smith, then this might be the year that they start scaring people.
10. New Orleans Hornets- Okafor has been a nice addition for the Hornets this year, and could help take some of the pressure off of Chris Paul in the playoffs.
11. Memphis Grizzlies- This team reminds me a lot of the Thunder with all the young talent that they have. Rudy Gay is a stud, and Zach Randolph is playing like a man possessed. I just wonder if they're going to get absolutely anything positive out of OJ Mayo this year.
12. Portland Traiblazers- LaMarcus Aldridge is tearing it up this season. His numbers are ridiculous. I'd have this team a little higher, but Brandon Roy scares me if he's not completely heathly. They need him to come back strong.
13. Denver Nuggets- This ranking is only this high if they keep Carmelo. I like the rest of the Nuggets alright, but they will need 'Melo if they want to make a push for the finals.
14. Philadelphia 76ers- It's definitely not been pretty all season, but the 76ers have seemed to fare pretty well against the better teams in the league. They could put together a little run come playoff time.
15. New York Knicks- If they pull off the Carmelo deal then I'd rank them a few spots higher, but until then they stay here in the middle of the pack. Felton and Landry Fields have been playing well, and Amare has been quite the addition but without 'Melo they don't have much of a chance.
16. Indiana Pacers- The Pacers aren't very good, but the Eastern Conference is weak and so the Pacers would make the playoffs as it stands now. I give them slim to no chance on winning the finals.
17-21. Still a shot at the playoffs, but at this point wouldn't make it: Charlotte, Milwaukee, Utah, Phoenix, Houston.
22-25. Barely alive: Detroit, New Jersey, Golden State, LA Clippers.
26-31. No chance: Washington, Toronto, Sacramento, Minnesota
32. Cleveland Cavaliers- They had to be grouped by themselves considering how awful they are.
Monday, February 14, 2011
In 2003, the Jacksonville Jaguars selected a Tight End from The University of Oregon by the name of George Wrighster in the fourth round. In just two years at Oregon, Wrighster had 8 total touchdowns as well as 52 receptions and 691 yards. George played for six seasons with the Jaguars ('03-'08) and totaled 9 Tds, 94 receptions and 850 yards. Recently, Wrighster won the UFL championship with the Las Vegas Locomotives while grabbing 18 receptions.
George Wrighster was willing to take the time to answer questions for us at Salute Your Sports about life, the draft process, and the potential NFL lockout. Here is the interview:
SYP: Pepsi or Coke?
GW: Neither. Sprite. I rarely drink soda anyway.
SYP: Oregon Championship or UFL Championship?
GW: Oregon. I love the Ducks
SYP:Madden or Call of Duty?
SYP:Tom Brady or Peyton Manning?
GW:Peyton every time
SYP:Kobe or LeBron?
GW:Lol. Kobe #Lakers
SYP: Favorite stadium to play in the NFL?
GW: Baltimore Coliseum
SYP: Best player you ever played with?
GW: Fred Taylor
SYP: Funniest player you ever played with?
GW: Adrian Awasom
GW: Donovan Darius in practice.
GW: It's funny when people have such strong opinions and get mad about things I could care less about.
SYP: If you could have one person follow you on Twitter who would it be and why?
GW: Obama- that means I'm making moves for real!
SYP: You are on a desert island and can have three items with you? What are they and why?
GW: I only need 1. iPhone. I have everything I need. All the tools I need to get off and books to read/music to listen to to keep me busy till help arrives or I build a raft off. Lol.
SYP: After a game you can go get a drink with three players, who are they and why?
GW: Adrian Awasom, Samie Parker, and Rashad Bauman
GW: If was hectic. Flying to teams and working out. U just want to put yourself in the best possible situation to succeed.
SYP: You were drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2003 in the 4th round out of Oregon, what was the feeling like when you got the call?
GW: Instant chip on my shoulder. I felt like I should have been drafted higher.
SYP: You recently won the championship in the UFL with the Las Vegas Locomotives, how was that experience for you?
GW: It was so much fun. The business of football is still there but not as prevalent so it's was a lot of fun. Winning is always great!
SYP: You've said on Twitter that you hope to get back in the NFL, what does that process look like for you?
GW: Trying to get workouts lined up. As soon as I get on a team I will prove I'm still one of the best TEs around.
SYP: When was the moment in your career that you realized you could not only compete but succeed in the NFL?
GW: In training camp my rookie year. I was making some plays and a light when on and I said, "Hey I can do this. "
SYP: What was it like to score your first TD in the NFL?
GW: Bittersweet. We were getting blown out by the Buffalo Bills the 1st or 2nd game of my rookie year.
SYP: Is there a play that you made that stands out in your mind?
GW: Yes. 2. A TD against the Bengals on Monday night and the game winning TD against the Browns in the snow.
SYP: What is your perspective on the potential lockout looming over the NFL and how does it, if at all, impact your return to the league?
GW: It affects your health care for your children and yourself until the deal is done. Everyone knows a deal will get done eventually it's just a matter of when. It does affect my return to the league because free agency will be non existent until CBA is done.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Thursday, February 10, 2011
The NFL is a quarterback driven league. Unfortunately, not all offensive systems are the same so it makes it difficult to determine the top quarterbacks in the league. Do we base it strictly off numbers? Wins? Clutch plays? Potential?
My rankings are based on the premise that all things are created equal. This means that coaching staffs, offensive weapons, and defenses are equal across the board. [I.e. Is it really fair to compare Drew Brees (41 passing attempts per game) to David Garrard (26 att/game, which was an NFL low) based strictly on numbers?] Some QBs in the rankings were backups in 2010 but I expect them to be starters in 2011. Obviously, rookies from the 2011 draft are not included. Also, only 32 QBs are ranked (Sorry Alex Smith). So with all things considered, here are the rankings:
1. Tom Brady- 36 TDs and 4 INTs. This man succeeds regardless of who he throws to.
2. Peyton Manning- Arguably the greatest regular season QB of all time but it's his post season accolades or lack there of that hurt.
3. Phillip Rivers- I know he has never one a SB. However, he finished 2010 with 4710 yards, 30 TDs and a 101.8 rating. Who did he throw to again? Exactly.
4. Aaron Rodgers- Fresh off the best post season we have ever seen played by a QB, yes the best, Rodgers only knock for me is that compared to Rivers he has better weapons at his disposal and never ever hands the ball off. Lower yards per attempt but he could be higher in most lists.
5. Ben Roethlisburger- Morals aside, this man wins. I am not even sure if this is truly accurate but he seems to make the most crucial plays more than any other QB. This SB aside, he is the one QB I would not want against me.
6. Drew Brees- He looks good throwing but his offense is strictly a passing offense and I'm not sure he has the same success in a balanced offense.
7. Josh Freeman- Love everything about this guy. he made the Bucs relevant this year and has them on a course to greatness. Has that it factor that everyone looks for.
8. Mike Vick- When healthy he is a weapon all to himself. He showed this year that he has matured as a QB and leader.
9. Matt Ryan- Matty Ice is clutch. He is one of those guys that seems to make the big play when it is most needed. By the way, is the NFC South really this loaded with QB talent? It is.
10. Joe Flacco- The Ravens play calling is horrible. Flacco is often times placed in situations where odds are against him. Plus, if TJ Houshmanzadeh catches that long 4th down reception against the Steelers, Flacco might have been playing last Sunday.
11. Sam Bradford- This guy impressed me because he took every snap as the STL QB last season and performed extremely well. He won at home and will learn how to win the tough game on the road.
12. Tony Romo- He's too high. Probably five spots too high but he has above average numbers and wins in the regular season.
13. Matt Schaub- Great numbers and great arm. Sometimes he seems to lack the ability to lead a team to victory.
14. Kyle Orton- Why is he getting moved so much? He won in Chicago but they chose Cutler. Now the Broncos are forced to try Tebow and part ways with Orton. If my team were to get Orton I would-be more than pleased. ( see #25)
15. Ryan Fitzpatrick- I'm a fan. He had no running game. No WRs until he made S. Johnson a name. No Defense yet he finished with 23 TDs.
16. Matt Stafford- Please stay healthy. My God you have Calvin Johnson to throw to!
17. Jay Cutler- hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
18. Kevin Kolb- He will be a starter next year. Crazy how one year can make us forget that he was projected borderline top 10 QB heading into last year. I will take him. ( see #25)
19. Matt Cassel- It's not that he has had great numbers but I blame the offense he plays in more than his actual ability.
20. Tim Tebow- He played better than I expected in his four games last year. He has all the intangibles but is inconsistent in passing plus he can not run all the time with his bruising style.
21. Carson Palmer- Where has this guy gone?
22. Eli Manning- see #21.
23. Donovan McNabb- He is getting old. But for me it's the drama that follows this guy. Every season he is involved in some story. It has to be bad for a locker room.
24. Chad Henne- He makes some great throws and then some horrible throws. He's young. In the right situation this guy could lead a team deep in the playoffs. Also, the Wildcat kills a QBs momentum.
25. David Garrard- He can not win a game by himself. He is as inconsistent as they come. I hate placing him this low and understand that personal heartbreak has influenced my decision. "The chip has been compromised."
26. Mark Sanchez- Who does he scare? He has had one of the best defenses, very good WRS and RBS and his numbers are still pedestrian.
27. Matt Hasselbeck- Often times hurt. Don't see much from him next season.
28. Colt McCoy- He will never be an elite passer. If he is going to succeed he will have to take the Mold of Big Ben. make big plays when they need to be made. I saw glimpses of that last year.
29. Vince Young- I actually would rank Jim higher if A.) he had a team and B.) he had only one personality.
30. Jason Campbell- mediocre on a good day
31. Kerry Collins- I believe Brett Favre laughed when he realized Collins was still playing. He's the next Mr. Wrangler.
32. Jimmy Claussen- Zero, yes zero, TDs to a WR last year. He has Steve Smith ( the crazy one) on his squad. I say Smith throws Jimmy under the bus around week 3, of the preseason.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
1. Los Angeles Lakers- There technically isn't even an actual offer yet but the negations are ongoing as we speak. From what I've seen the deal is Carmelo for Andrew Bynum straight up. It's a strong possibility that the Nuggets would throw in some players with expiring contracts as well, maybe Kenyon Martin or Chris Andersen. For the Lakers I think this a good trade because life after Kobe is coming fast and Melo is a superstar and will be for another 8-10 years. Gasol can play Center and Odom comes into the starting lineup and you still have a great team on the court. On the Nuggets side of the deal I like it as well. Melo isn't gonna stay so they must trade him and get some young talent for him while they can. Bynum is supposed to have already been a superstar if not for some injuries. The Nuggets have a good center in NeNe, but adding Bynum would be a great addition.
2. New York Knicks- Carmelo wants to go to the Knicks over almost anyone, so they have a little leverage, but I think the Lakers have put a better package on the table. The Knicks deal is actually a three team deal involving the Timberwolves as well. As it stands right now the Knicks would receive Carmelo, the Nuggets would receive Wilson Chandler and Corey Brewer, as well as Minnesota's first round pick. The Timberwolves would end up receiving Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry. There's actually a couple of things about this deal that are holding it back. First, the Timberwolves want to receive more in this deal, which makes sense because I think they're getting completely screwed in this deal. Another think is that the Nuggets are concerned with the health of Wilson Chandler, and they could be looking to receive more as well.
Either deal is interesting and could really change things for the second half of the season. I'm just ready for a deal to happen and this Melo soap opera to be over with. Which trade do you like better? Any other interesting deals you think could be made? Heck, by the time this is posted there could be two more different trade scenarios everyone is talking about.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Monday, February 7, 2011
10. Philadelphia Eagles- I would probably rank them higher, but until I'm sure that Michael Vick is the official starter, I will leave them here. I believe they have the fastest offense, and the defense is solid enough to get them far in the playoffs.
9. Chicago Bears- They were close this year to making it, and I believe they can get back as long as Jay Cutler doesn't qui...I mean get injured again.
8. San Diego Chargers- Philip Rivers is a mad man from December on. As long as they don't put themselves in a hole next year by starting slow again, I believe we'll see them in the playoffs and see them make a run for the Super Bowl.
7. New Orleans Saints- They still have Drew Brees...
6. Atlanta Falcons- Matty Ice is young and should just keep getting better, and the rest of the offense is super talented. If the defense improves a little in the offseason then this could be the team to beat.
5. Baltimore Ravens- I really like this team, and if wasn't for a couple of huge dropped passes, then we could've seen them in the Super Bowl this year. The stars of their defense are getting a little old, but I think they can still hang with the youngsters for another year.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers- You can never count them out. This team seems to always be close every year, and I don't think next year changes anything.
3. New England Patriots- Belichick and Brady got as far as they did with arguably the worst possible supporting cast they've had in years. The defense is super young and should only get better. I like this team to improve and be even better next year.
2. New York Jets- Maybe I've bought into the "Hard Knocks" hype too much, but I loved this team this year, and like them even more for next year. A young, talented offense, and a veteran defense should take them far. Plus, I imagine Rex works his butt off to make sure he doesn't get knocked out in the AFC Championship game for a third year in a row.
1. Green Bay Packers- I think we all saw last night how dangerous this team is. Aaron Rodgers is an elite quarterback in this league, and he's only getting better. They also have one of the top defenses in the league. As long as this team stays together, they'll be the team to beat in 2011-12.
Friday, February 4, 2011
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
The other day I was thinking about the NBA All Star teams, and I noticed something interesting about the projected East lineup. I saw that 10 of the projected 12 players were from Miami, Orlando, Chicago, Boston, and Atlanta. There is only going to be two players from the other 10 teams combined. Now I realize that it is the All Star game and that only the best players should go, but it got me thinking about what the All Star team could look like if every team had a representative (sort of how the MLB does it). Here are the stipulations of the list and how those teams would turn out.
- One and only one player from each team. If there were multiple of each team, the lineups would be way too big.
- The roster consists of three of each position: PG, SG, SF, PF, and C.
- All stats listed are from 2/1/11 (before games played that evening).
- You will notice some snubs, and some people who don't deserve to make an All Star game, but we did what had to be done to meet all the team and positional requirements.
Atlanta Hawks: Joe Johnson, SG: 20.1 PPG, 5.4 APG, 4.3 RPG
The 9 year vet hasn't lost a step as he is putting up numbers right at his career average, and in doing so he should make his 5th consecutive All Star appearance. Al Horford is also a very deserving candidate, but JJ fit our positional requirements the best.
Boston Celtics: Rajon Rondo, PG: 10.4 PPG, 12.6 APG, 2.4 SPG
There are arguably four, maybe five, deserving candidates from the first place Celtics. And I know that Rondo doesn't have much of a shooting game, but his 12.6 APG would be 11th all time if the season ended now. Throw in those steals and the fact that he's first on the team with 1.4 offensive rebounds per game. Easy choice.
Charlotte Bobcats: Stephen Jackson, SG: 18.4 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 3.4 APG
Shooting guard was a position that is a little more difficult to fill in the East, but Stephen Jackson fit nicely as he does lead his team in scoring and second in assists. D.J Augustin is also a consideration.
Chicago Bulls: Derrick Rose, PG: 24.4 PPG, 8.1 APG, 3.6 RPG
This is probably the easiest choice, considering I believe this is your first half of the season NBA MVP. The Bulls are third in the East with a 33-14 record, despite missing Carlos Boozer for half the year and Joakim Noah the other half. You can thank Derrick Rose for that.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Antwan Jamison, PF: 17.1 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.6 APG
Jamison has surprisingly decent numbers for someone on such an awful team—by far the only person we could've chose.
Detroit Pistons: Tayshaun Prince, SF: 14.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.8 APG
I think that about sums up your 2010-11 Pistons team—not a whole lot to see for a team that has somehow won 17 games. Rodney Stuckey is in the talks for Pistons, but doesn't fit our team's positional needs as well as Prince.
Indiana Pacers: Danny Granger, SF: 21.0 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.8 APG
Granger is another fairly easy decision from a woeful team. Detroit looks almost like a college All Star team to me with some of these big college names, but Granger is the only one really producing numbers.
Miami Heat: LeBron James, SF: 26.0 PPG, 7.3 APG, 7.2 RPG
The LeBron-Dwyane Wade debate on this one was extremely tough. Their numbers are so close to each other, but the slight edge goes to LeBron. James is also leading the team in Win Shares, the estimated number of wins contributed by a player.
Milwaukee Bucks: Andrew Bogut, C: 13.4 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 2.8 BPG
Brandon Jennings is a good player and a consideration for this team, but I don't see how we can leave off a guy who is averaging a double-double (and leading the league in blocks with nearly three a game!). Bogut also leads his team in Win Shares, Defensive Rating, and PER (Player Efficiency Rating, a standardized measure of minute-to-minute production.)
New Jersey Nets: Devin Harris, PG: 15.4 PPG, 7.8 APG, 1.1 SPG
Statistically speaking Brook Lopez probably deserves the nod from the Nets, but in the confines of the system we're working with, Devin Harris fit better. That being said, Harris is no slouch. He is right behind Lopez in almost all advanced team stat categories.
New York Knicks: Amar'e Stoudemire, PF: 26.2 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 2.2 BPG
First off I know that Amar'e plays lot of Center, but he also spends some time at PF which qualifies him for this position on our list. Second he is a statistical monster this season. Aside from the gaudy numbers above, he also has a hefty lead on everyone else on his team in Usage Rate (an estimate percentage of team plays used by a player while he is on the floor), which is unusual for a big man. Also, Raymond Felton deserves an honorable mention, who is also having a heck of a year.
Orlando Magic: Dwight Howard, C: 22.4 PPG, 13.6 RPG, 2.2 BPG
Is there even a question of who's going from the Magic? He is the second person we filled on our list after Derrick Rose. He is beating his career average in almost every category and looking at finishing 2010-11 with a career year. Another no-brainer.
Philadelphia 76ers: Elton Brand, PF: 14.9 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 1.2 SPG
That's a name I didn't expect to put on this list, but he's leading his team in the following: Scoring, Rebounding, Blocks, PER, Win Shares, Offensive Rating, and Defensive Rating.
Toronto Raptors: Andrea Bargnani, C: 21.1 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 1.7 APG
The Raptors suck. With that out of the way, the big man from Italy is putting up some nice offensive numbers. When's the last time you saw a 7 footer lead his team in 3 Pointers?
Washington Wizards: Nick Young, SG: 17.0 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 1.3 APG
Who? Exactly. The Wizards are another team who just aren't good. That being said, John Wall and Andray Blatche are thoughts, but Young leads the team in scoring. And we need another SG to fit our puzzle of a lineup.
Here's what your East lineup would look like under our rules:
Dallas Mavericks: Dirk Nowitzki, PF: 23.1 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 2.5 APG
This is another fairly easy one to start off the West. Not only are his numbers the best on the team, but the Mavs saw how important his presence alone on the court is when they went on a losing skid while he was injured.
Denver Nuggets: Carmelo Anthony, SF: 23.9 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 3.0 APG
Even amidst all of the trade talk this season Carmelo has still put up solid numbers. He leads his team in scoring and, more impressively, rebounding from the Small Forward position.
Golden State Warriors: Stephen Curry, PG: 19.1 PPG, 5.9 APG, 1.9 SPG
I'm a big Monta Ellis fan and was about to write his name down as an automatic for Golden State until I took a closer look at the numbers. Monta may have better looking box scores, but Curry is leading the team in PER, Win Shares, and in Offensive Rating.
Houston Rockets: Luis Scola, C: 19.3 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 2.4 APG
Scola at Center might be a little bit of stretch, but the West is weak at Center and Luis is more than capable of handling it. Kevin Martin is also having a good season, but Shooting Guard is stacked in the West.
Los Angeles Clippers: Blake Griffin, PF: 22.8 PPG, 12.7 RPG, 3.6 APG
Props to Eric Gordon for having a heck of a season, but this is hands down Blake's team. No one deserves it more than him from the Clippers. Plus, I can only imagine what he could do in the All Star game with barely any defensive resistance.
Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe Bryant, SG: 25.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.8 APG
Pau Gasol averaging 18-10 is impressive, but the player from the Lakers has to be Kobe. He's averaging a 25-5-5 with a steal a game, and he's the NBA leader in Usage Percentage. This is still Kobe's Lakers.
Memphis Grizzlies: Rudy Gay, SF: 20.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 1.7 SPG
My deepest apologies to Zach Randolph who undoubtedly deserves it with his monster 20-13 season, but Power Forward is a tough position in the West. Rudy is a great player and fits the best with our team. He rounds out a stud group of Small Forwards on our West team.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin Love, C: 21.6 PPG, 15.6 RPG, 2.5 APG
I could go on and on about the ridiculous numbers, consecutive double-doubles, or the insane box scores he's put up this year. Instead, I'll just say that the best stat I've read is this: according to the Win Share rate, he has accounted for 7.8 of his team's measly 11 wins. Thats nuts. And yes I know he also is a Power Forward, but he sees significant time at Center.
New Orleans Hornets: Chris Paul, PG: 16.7 PPG, 9.7 APG, 2.6 SPG
CP3 is another easy decision considering he does this stuff every year. He is your NBA leader in Steals and in Win Shares.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Kevin Durant, SF: 28.9 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 2.8 APG
Kevin Durant is a specimen. A 6'10” Small Forward who leads the NBA in scoring and his team in rebounds. Quite impressive. On a side note, I hate not being able to take Russell Westbrook. He is having a heck of a season as well.
Phoenix Suns: Steve Nash, PG: 17.0 PPG, 11.0 APG, 3.6 RPG
The two-time MVP may not be doing enough to make the actual All Star team, but he is absolutely making ours. There is no one even close to as valuable to Phoenix as Nash is.
Portland TrailBlazers: LaMarcus Aldridge, PF: 21.0 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 2.0 APG
LaMarcus is contributing every way possible for Portland. He is averaging a block and a steal a game, and he leads the team in Usage Percentage, PER, and Win Shares as well.
Sacramento Kings: Tyreke Evans, SG: 17.8 PPG, 5.5 APG, 4.8 RPG
Tyreke starts at Shooting Guard but runs a lot of the offense. He is extremely valuable to the Kings offense, but his 1.8 steals a game prove he's no slouch on defense either.
San Antonio Spurs: Manu Ginobli, SG: 18.8 PPG, 4.9 APG, 3.8 RPG
The best team in the NBA is arguably one of the more boring teams to watch. They definitely aren't flashy, but Manu can be very fun to watch as he takes over games. He leads the team in a handful of categories and very much deserves an All Star nod.
Utah Jazz: Al Jefferson, C: 16.6 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 1.9 BPG
Anyone who watches the NBA knows that Deron Williams is the best player on the Jazz. That being said, PG is heavy and C is weak in the West, so Big Al fits best on our team. He's quietly having a pretty good season and has been a nice addition for Utah.
So your West team looks like this:
Alright, there it is. Will this system ever happen? No. Should it ever happen? Probably not. Did the idea intrigue me? Yes. Did I enjoy the heck out of writing and researching it? Absolutely. Hopefully you will enjoy reading as much as I did putting it together. I'm interested in your thoughts, agreements or disagreements. Maybe even your own list.