Tuesday, September 8, 2009

20+ ppg scoring breakouts

Aron Phillips from Dimemag put out an article on dimemag.com about 5 players that will average 20+ points this season and i decided to put my take on paper (err... digital paper at least). Here goes...

First, I agree with the Monta, D-Will, and Arenas except those are all easy calls. By virtue of being healthy they will all be scoring option numero uno.

There are a lot of notable mentions that i think would make the highest ppg under 20.0 list:
Iguodala - not every player was meant to continually progress especially with thadeus, brand, and williams all looking to improve on last years outing.

Nate Robinson - love this kid, would love for him to break 20 ppg, but he's a defensive liability and knicks would more likely have him be the offensive spark plug off the bench... easily candidate for 6th man of the year.

Scola - as popular a choice as he may be, he won't even be close. T-Mac is ahead of schedule on rehab and i think brooks is more likely to be houston's break out performer (though he won't average 20 ppg for the season). If T-Mac goes down (I should say, "when T-Mac goes down..."), look for Brooks, Ariza and the rest of the rocket bench to pick up the scoring slack, but no one person on that squad will be talented enough to support a 20+ avg. Maybe the Rockets should consider picking up AI (anyone know what rocket salary cap is at right now?)

Bargnani - I like, I like, he'll be a fantasy stud but not b/c his scoring will increase, but b/c he'll be consistent this year. You can expect roughly the same production from Bargnani, post the O'Neal trade (17/18 ppg, 1.5 treys, 6 rebounds, 1.5 blks) but having Turkoglu for a full season, derozan and bellini working for PT, and Bosh playing at his peak prior to the 2010 free agency market, Bargnani at 20 ppg is a tough sell.

Rose/Deng - Actually how about Salmons??? Rose will improve dramatically especially with Gordon out of the way, but Salmons is the heir apparent, and Deng's game isn't good enough to support 20+ ppg (he doesn't shoot threes, he doesn't slash to the basket) and he's coming off injury.

Hedo - no way. The atmosphere is different in Toronto - He won't have the inside presence that Dwight draws, or the attention that Lewis and Nelson draw. He may be looked on for scoring production, but it will be behind Bargnani and Bosh (as mentioned he will be playing for a big time contract come the 2010 free agency market). Jarret Jack and even Calderon will have their nights, enough to disrupt Hedo from gaining any offensive consistency.

Jeff Green/Westbrook - Green maybe, Westbrook unlikely. Westbrook will be sharing the pg responsibilities with Livingston and Watson, and unless Westbrook improves his shot he'll be a better version of Chalmers. Green is much more experienced and has a good offensive game, but an improving Durant averages over 25 ppg and tell me how many teams do you see have 2, let alone 3 players that average more than 20 ppg? Wizards (Butler, Jamison, Arenas), Warriors 07/08 (Monta, Davis, Jackson), Nuggets (AI, Melo)...

The new 20+ ppg performers i agree with:

JR Smith - He'll average at least 20 and maybe up to 21/22... Dahntay is out, AI is out, and everyone knows by now Carter shouldn't be in a nuggets starting lineup. With AI and Dahntay's contributions gone that's around 10+ ppg up for grabs (most of the slack picked up by Billups' arrival and Nene's improvement. Melo should return to superstar form at about 26/27 ppg. That's 4 ppg out of the 10+ and with Smith getting the starting gig, he's almost a lock to add 5 points to his average. I disagree with Dimemag on the Celtics comparison... Nene is no KG. He's not capable of 20+ ppg, at least not with Melo on the team and Smith is in the perfect storm to get more minutes to support 20+.

Aldridge - I like this pick. The Blazers have a well defined team, playoff experience, and are shaping into the NBA's newest top contender. Aldridge is going to step up his game along with the rest of the Blazers squad. He averaged close to 20 ppg for the second half of the season and should be poised to hit that mark with Miller feeding him the ball.

Rudy Gay/OJ Mayo - both will improve their scoring averages above 20 ppg. Gay was a standout at the US Olympics try outs and he's made it a goal to be an All Star this season. Mayo has all the offensive weapons and he's on a young Grizz squad that trusts the rock in his hands. Of course i take it all back if the Grizz pick up Iverson. Then all bets are off.

Eric Gordon - Gordon got his break with all the injuries the Clipps suffered last season. No Zach Randolph this year and assuming Bdiddy distributes the rock instead of jacking up the ill-advised 3, Gordon should be on track to break 20 ppg. Griffin should not impact the scoring distribution too much considering he will be inconsistent his first year, and Thornton should improve but not as dramatic as Gordon will.

Josh Howard - This guy is a beast. Although not tracked as a stat, he's one of the top players (maybe second only to Lebron/Wade) when it comes to first quarter scoring. Assuming he stays healthy (and can get past the national anthem... ahem) then look for Howard to take some of the scoring load off the Jet's shoulders. I don't think Marion should disrupt his PT since the Matrix's offense does not match up with Howard's ability to create shots for himself. This is a bit premature to say but i think Dirk is getting old and quite possibly nearing the downward slope of his career. Dirk has seen many playoff series, has stayed relatively healthy to play near complete seasons every year throughout his nba career, and played many games with his national team. Even more of an indication is Cuban's decision to not let Dirk play on the national team this summer. Howard is the future of that squad and was on pace to break 20 ppg had he not suffered an injury last year.

John Salmons - As mentioned this guy is the heir apparent to Ben Gordon and should pick up enough of the scoring slack to average 20+. Rose will improve but his number one priority is to distribute the ball and he will have plenty of offensive weapons to choose from - Salmons, Deng, Tyrus Thomas, Brad Miller, Hinrich.

Hoopsworld offers their take on breakout performers of the year - http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=13753

Also a link back to dimemag.com where this post was inspired from - http://dimemag.com/2009/09/5-new-players-that-will-average-20-points-this-season/

Friday, September 4, 2009

Golden State Warriors summer drought

Once again the most boring part of the season... I'm seriously on google every day searching for any golden state warriors related news... it's kind of pathetic but man do i miss my basketball... So far Anthony Randolph and Anthony Morrow made splashes at the Vegas Summer League... Both are projected to have big impacts next season, Anthony Randolph more so than Anthony Morrow. Anthony Randolph was invited to the Olympic team practice which was pretty cool for warriors fans. He had decent numbers (12 points on the 2nd day of scrimmaging) but other than that the show was focused on Durant and Gay who had exceptional performances for their respective teams, and of course to Rose who did not live up to the hype but still manages to attract a lot of attention as he is touted to be the future pg of the olympic squad... anyways onto more warriors updates... The Golden State warriors picked up some players - moore, law, claxton, george... all wack of course but most (if not all) have expiring contracts so in a way it was a good move for the warriors as it looks like Rowell and Riley will be making cap space next year for the big 2010 free agency market... I'd still like to get Amare this year but he doesn't seem like the type that would help improve warrior chemistry... but the dood is a beast in the middle and i think any team that lands amare will just have to put up with the good and the bad... with that said i say throw in curry, biedrins, and buike to the offer and see if we can strike a deal... I don't like wright but i wouldn't give him up yet b/c i think he's going to have a breakout year and he would make for a great backup to Randolph.

Stephen jackson requests a trade - i actually don't mind this assuming we get back something good in return... I mean we lost Bdiddy already and i don't think Capn Jack is going to hold down the locker room by himself for the next few years... so i'm willing to accept whatever locker room drawbacks the warriors will face if we lose Jackson... it may actually get better... Jackson does take a lot of ill advised shots (although he does make a lot at crucial times in the game), but i think we need to eliminate that kind of inconsistency from the warriors team... Give the keys to Monta and let him drive/lead this team to wherever it's going. Monta is an effin stud and i think he's got all-star/superstar ability... He'll have a great supporting cast... but i guess the Jackson trade request saga will continue as i don't see any of the playoff bound teams needing to pick up a player with about $20mil left on his contract...

Anyways... till next time... Go Dubs... can't wait for the season to start... and can't wait to start blogging about fantasy player projections, trade debates, etc.