NBA Talk It Up, Talk It Down

LeXXah Drew’s Thoughts on Sleepers & Busts going into the 2012-2013 NBA Season

10/29/12

Okay, so the season is about to start, but before it does, I would like to insert a few things on my take of the upcoming season, based off of the article on yahoo. Here is the actual link:

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/fantasy-roto-arcade/holding-court-sleepers-busts-2012-13-010515795–fantasy.html

Lets start with the GUARDS:

I got a chance to watch a little bit of Damian Lillard during summer league. He really showed that he was a man amongst boys out there. He has also shown that he’s definitely ready for the NBA. I think he has a lot of passion and determination for the game, but I would still like to see him in the real games. Pre-season and summer league don’t necessarily tell you everything because their is so much involved in preseason. But I really can’t say what I think of him just yet. He appears to be promising though.

Klay Thompson has alot on his plate due to Stephon Curry’s inability to stay healthy. Thompson had the pressure on him anyway even if Curry wasn’t hurt for the mere fact that at some point in time he was going to to get hurt, its just about knowing when. Let’s face the facts, Curry has weak ankles. They aren’t able to handle the speed of the NBA. Sorry Curry, I call it how I see it. Thompson has to step up since we all know that this is going to be an all year injury affair with Curry.

Isaiah Thomas is nice, but unfortunately he poses a problem on the defensive end due to his size. I put him on the same level as Barea. They are both speedy little fellas that hustle, change the pace of the game and step up when their number is called. Thomas is going to have a solid year. But, again on the defensive end I feel at times he will struggle. Guys with more height, speed and athleticism will definitely be a challenge.

George Hill will have to step up to the plate. Indiana lost quite a few players during free agency and It doesn’t seem like they got alot for their losses, of course, Roy Hibbert came back, so that has to count for something. But with the loss of Darren Collison, who has proven to be a starting guard in this league. This will be a huge jump for Hill since he left the Spurs.

John Wall came in with a lot of hype as the #1 draft pick for the Wizards 2 seasons ago. But, now looking at how he has progressed and what he has brought to the table since then, other than the face of the Wizards organization, he really hasn’t showed us anything special. Wall plays hard and that’s what has kept him afloat for these few seasons. He doesn’t have the greatest speed, the greatest shot, he doesn’t steal the ball much, let alone not a great defender on the ball. I kind of feel like in most cases he’s undersized, but it doesn’t help at all that he has been dealing with knee injuries. Wall has much to prove. I hate to say it, but I kind of feel like if things don’t get better in ;Wall’s; game that in a few years they will be mentioning him in the articles of “NBA’s #1 draft pick busts and/or disappointments.” Along with Kwame Brown and Greg Oden. Not necessarily as bad as these players, Kwame Brown and Greg Oden, probably being #1 & #2 on the list and John Wall being #25 on that list. #1 Draft picks have a lot to live up to and if you’re not cutting it, you are considered to be a disappointment or a bust. But, Wall is still young and between now and then anything is bound to happen.

Kyle Lowry is a guard, but that’s about it. When he was at the Rockets, it seemed as though he was on his way up but obviously, things didn’t max out because he’s with Toronto now. I feel like this is the same situation with Wall, Lowry works hard, but there is nothing extremely great about his game. I think he’s undersized and game has not progressed. What lies ahead for the season, well, things can’t get any worse right?

FORWARDS:

Kenneth Faried really impressed me last season during the playoffs in the first round against the highly favored Lakers. He really showed up and showed out, displaying stellar performances in game 4, 5 & 6 to give the Nuggets a chance to win and force a game 7. Being a rookie was not an excuse for him. He quickly matured and improved drastically within that series. It was a proverb of what is to come as he progresses his game. I enjoyed watching him a lot in that series. The way he and McGee went toe to toe with the Lakers Bigs was outstanding. I am excited to see the steps he’s made for this upcoming season. Expectations are high for him, taking his performance in the playoffs from last season to a whole new level this season. His ceiling for improvement is ridiculous. Be on the lookout for this guy.

J.R. Smith is the same guy, different day. It really hurts me to watch Smith sometimes because this guy is ridiculously talented. His raw talent alone makes him so lethal, but he has yet to elevate to the next plateau. I wish I knew the answer for this guy. His inconsistent play during regular season and playoffs is a nightmare. With all the talent in the world, maturation and being consistency is his Achilles heel. It appeared that the Knicks were trying to make him a 6th man, that player to give the team a spark off the bench with his scoring and ability to run the floor. Last season you saw that the Knicks wanted him to handle the ball more, but that didn’t seem to pan out. Smith’s game is so confusing to me, but as I said before, its the same crap, different day, different season. I don’t know if he will ever reach his full potential. Its like he is holding himself back. I don’t think the Knicks can expect anything more, anything less for this guy. But again, we shall see. One thing I will say is that he will help the Knicks win a few games with his scoring, that is if he’s feeling it.

Danny Granger has really been the only life support since the Pacers fiasco with the Pistons. He was there when everything was rock bottom. He gave the Pacers a much needed pulse that has sustained them somewhat up to this point. But Granger has battled injuries and has taken a decline. With that being said, stats have taken a decline. But setting that detail aside, Granger needs to get himself together as far as where he is as a player. Granger’s peculiar battles with Lebron James during the playoffs was quite annoying. We can agree that Granger is not a high caliber player like Lebron, but he sure did make an effort. Granger has much to improve with his game. I have always known him to be a scorer, but that’s all that stands out to me. I don’t consider Granger to be a lock down defender or a great rebounder. His game just seems one dimensional. He seems to settle for the jump shot in most cases. For a guy his size it would be nice to see him go in more. Paul George, in the little time that he’s been at the Pacers, seems to have surpassed Granger in so many ways, as a defender, rebounder, slasher and jump shooter. The Pacers will definitely need Granger to provide a little bit more in multiple areas. With Gerald Green in the picture now, its possible that Granger could be pushed aside to make room for players who have more to offer. Wake up Call!

Serge Ibaka, I believe, has trash talked his way down and performed his game out, to the point where he’s lost a little bit of respect. He received a reality check during the 2011-2012 NBA Finals against the Heat when he criticized Lebron James a numerous of times and was shut down badly by Shane Battier who kept Ibaka off the boards. Even his shot blocking became void during the series. Its like he didn’t show up with all the talk he was talking. Then again, he opened his mouth in the Olympics, talking about Team USA and again, he had a reality check when it was Team USA holding the gold on the platform. Ibaka needs to do some soul searching with his game because the shot blocking now, is not cutting it. Their are areas in his game that he needs to address in order to help the OKC Thunder this season, possibly get back to the NBA Finals. He’s going to have to do more than just talking. He’s got to back it up where it counts. I think he can still be effective, but he’s got to get better and now that James Harden is gone for good, the Thunder as a whole will need to step it up big time. Losing a huge piece and productive player of your team is devastating. We shall see in ;Ibaka’s; performance how well he learned from his reality checks!

CENTERS:

Joakim Noah, is the only definite hope for Chicago to sustain until Derrick Rose gets back because Carlos Boozer has proven that he’s not going to do it. Joakim talks quite a bit, but I have grown to respect him because he does back it up. The guy plays hard, plays with a lot of fire and passion and his game is improving. Although he could still use more work on his offense, he’s taken positive steps in doing that and he has been effective. You may laugh at me about this, but until Rose gets back, Joakim Noah is the MVP of the Chicago Bulls. I think he will have to be the one to carry the the Bulls throughout regular season. Deng is going to do his part, but I think Noah is more equipped with the vocal leadership to put the. Bulls on his back. Noah is definitely going to step up. He has answered the call before, but this could be his biggest challenge yet.

_____________________________________________________________

James Harden, TRADED!!!???? You’ve gotta be kidding me!

10/28/12

WOW! I can’t believe the Thunder traded this guy. On many occasions, it was Harden who bailed OKC out or gave them a huge much needed spark off the bench, henceforth 6th Man of the Year!

Not to mention, James Harden would come in and get the game back in order after Russell Westbrook screwed things up. Now whose going to be that man to fix his mistakes!!???

What a horrible loss for the Thunder. I wonder how KD feels?

Harden was even trying to work with the Thunder, but they couldn’t even meet him halfway, which is just messed up.

But all things happen for a reason. Commentators knew that Harden could go anywhere and start because he’s that good of a player. But, by being the 6th Man of the Year, Thunder had to pay that man more.

I mean, if Jeremy Lin is payed more for the 10 or 20 games he played in, surely James Harden has gotta be payed and he’s put in way more time, effort of proving himself that he does deserve to be paid more.

It will be interesting to see how the Thunder do this year. There has been so much talk of the Lakers, that it seems like everyone forgot that the Thunder were the Western Conference Finals Champs. SMH. That’s just weird to me and again, the Spurs have been left out of the loop and always, every year pose a problem in the West.

ALL will be revealed in due time!

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