Tag Archive | "NBA"

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Former Terp Len has stress fracture surgery

Posted on 03 May 2013 by WNST Staff

Gaithersburg Md.- Sports International Group announced today that NBA Draft candidate Alex Len has undergone successful surgery to stabilize a partial stress fracture in his left ankle. The surgery was performed by renowned Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“This was a preventative measure to stabilize a partial stress fracture of the ankle,” said Dr. Anderson. “Although it is possible that this injury could have healed on its own, surgery was felt to be the safest and surest option to ensuring a long and successful NBA career for Alex. His prognosis is excellent, and I
anticipate he’ll make a full return to basketball within the next few months.”

Len opted for surgery after several opinions from orthopedic specialists. “I decided that surgery was the best long term option for my career,” said Len. “I didn’t want to risk it not healing properly. I want to make sure I’m fully healthy and ready for training camp.”

The surgery will keep Len out of action 4-6 months and will force him to miss all on-court activities leading up to the 2013 NBA Draft.

“The tough part about Alex’s injury is the timing,” said Len’s agent Michael Lelchitski. “Everyone who knows Alex knows that he would have been incredible in the pre-draft workout setting. However, Alex is one of the elite prospects with arguably the biggest upside of anyone in the draft. The most important thing is his long-term health.”

Len, who is a likely lottery pick, was diagnosed with the partial stress fracture after he had declared for the NBA Draft.

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Turgeon thinks Len will be “special” in NBA

Posted on 16 April 2013 by WNST Staff

Alex Len

Opening Statement:

I want to start off saying this: it has been two wonderful years here. I am thankful for everything. Thank you to the coaching staff, the administration and academic staff to help me succeed at the University of Maryland.

“I have decided to take the next step and enter my name into the NBA Draft. My family and I have been thinking about this for some time now. With Coach Turgeon we came to the decision, and we think this is going to be a great decision for me, and my career. I am very blessed and thankful to have had the opportunity to be a Terp. I want to thank the Maryland Basketball family for welcoming me with open arms and for helping me become the person I am today.

“I want to thank Coach Turgeon. When I got here he asked me what my goals were. I told him that I wanted to be an NBA player. I want to thank him and the entire coaching staff for putting me in the position to accomplish that goal. I also want to thank my teammates. They were always there for me on and off the court. We shared some great moments together and I will always have these memories for the rest of my life.

“I want to thank the best fans that any team has. They always came out to support us no matter the score or even the weather. They always stood up behind us 100 percent and I hope they will continue to stand behind me in the next phase of my basketball career. I will always be a Terp.”

 

On how he came about this decision:

“After the season I talked to my family and met with Coach Turgeon to talk about it. We have been thinking about it and we came to the conclusion that the right time was now.”

 

On where he has to improve:

“The last two years I came here I learned a lot and really improved. All you can do is work hard. I am excited for this next step. All I want to do is work hard and learn as much as I can.”

 

On telling his teammates he was declaring and how they reacted:

“The guys were really excited for me and they told me it was the right decision. They were just excited.”

 

On favorite NBA teams:

“I watch a lot of NBA, but I don’t have any preferences. I have favorite players but I’m going to play for any team that chooses me. I want to go somewhere I can contribute and I can improve myself.”

 

On if he considered coming back:

“During the season I didn’t think about it at all. I was just focused on the season. After the season I made the decision together with my family and coach Turgeon and we just decided it was the best decision.”

 

On if he’s looking forward to the NBA game:

“I’m excited. It’s going to be a huge step. The post in the NBA is a different game and I’m ready for that. I’m just ready to work hard.”

 

Head Coach Mark Turgeon

Opening Statement:

“I want to thank everyone for coming out. I know this has been a lingering story. You can’t keep secrets, especially good secrets very easily. It is an exciting day for all of us, our program, for Alex. It just seems like yesterday that he walked into our office; it was August of our first year here. This big seven-foot skinny kid walks in. He knows very little English, and less than two years later he is going to put his name in the draft and most likely be a lottery pick. I think top ten pick before it is all said and done.

“Quick little story, his mom came in when he committed and he gave me this little turtle for Maryland. She said I am giving Alex to you as a baby, when he leaves here I want him to be a man. He has grown up a lot. In two years I have never seen a kid learn a language, learn the game, the European game is a lot different than ours, and just the way he has progressed. I don’t think I have ever been around a player who has progressed as much as Alex has as quickly as he has. The reason the NBA is so intrigued and I know he is going to be a great pro is that he is only 19. I can’t imagine where he is going to be when he is 23.”

 

On Alex’s contributions to the team:

“I think we finished third or fourth in the country in field-goal percentage defense, and it was for one reason. It was this guy right here. The Iowa game, we would have lost by 20 if he wasn’t out there altering shots and blocking shots. His shot-blocking late in the season — really it was at the Virginia game. I was always talking about being a presence at the rim. ‘Protect the rim, Alex.’ I’d hit him on his chest so he had to look down at me — I didn’t hit him hard — but he’d look down at me and I’d just say protect the rim. He’s an unbelievable shot blocker and that’s what I asked him to do. He’s special. I talked to a couple NBA guys yesterday that had really high picks and I told them don’t mess up. I think he can be the No. 1 pick. They’re talking about the other guy being No. 1, and you guys saw the same game I saw when we played them earlier in the year. This kid’s going to be special.”

 

On the sense of pride he has:

“Alex and I teared up a little bit in our office when he said he was leaving because I was like, “Wow, it happened so quick.” That’s why I came to Maryland. To coach guys like Alex. He wasn’t the first kid to commit to us, but he was the first player to commit to us that played for us – if that makes sense. For him to be a lottery pick a year later says a lot about him, says a lot about how lucky we were to get him and also our program and our staff. A guy who hasn’t been mentioned is Kyle Tarp, the strength and conditioning coach. He did a great job. He put 30 pounds on this guy in one summer and so it’s just really good for our program. Hopefully I’m here for a long time. I’m going to have an NBA wall and he’s going to be the first one and hopefully this becomes an annual event for us where we have someone going to the NBA draft in the first round.”

- Terps -

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Your Monday Reality Check: “Ready” or not, Terps worse without Len

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Your Monday Reality Check: “Ready” or not, Terps worse without Len

Posted on 15 April 2013 by Glenn Clark

As soon as Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported the news, I knew what the response was going to be.

“He’s not ready.”

“He’s soft.”

“See you in the D-League.”

“Maybe he should have asked Jordan Williams for some advice.”

What Wojnarowski reported is what we all expected was coming since the Maryland Terrapins lost to the Iowa Hawkeyes in the NIT semifinals two weeks ago. Center Alex Len will forgo his final two years of eligibility and enter the NBA Draft. Wojnarowski noted Len will hold a press conference later in the week in College Park to make the news official.

In fairness, the news has been “official” roughly since the Terrapins tipped off against Kentucky at the Barclays Center this past November. On that night, Len went off for 23 points and 12 rebounds while working to hold Wildcats freshman phenom Nerlens Noel to just four points.

That Nerlens Noel is still expected by many to be the #1 pick in the NBA Draft despite the fact that there’s no guarantee he’ll be able to return from a torn ACL in time to start the 2013-2014 season.

If you shut down a guy that is thought to be the #1 pick despite a torn ACL, you’re probably going to be in pretty damn good shape to end up a top pick yourself. But if Alex Len’s uneven play for most of the 2012-2013 season left anyone questioning where his stock sat, he addressed that swiftly just after Valentine’s Day.

On February 16, Len went toe-to-toe with another expected NBA Lottery pick. In his showdown with Duke’s Mason Plumlee, the Terps’ big man scored 19 points and pulled down nine rebounds while limiting the Blue Devils’ first team All-ACC center to just four points and three rebounds.

Fans who rushed the floor after Maryland’s win that night at Comcast Center might as well have asked the Ukranian big man if they could borrow money from him this summer. A scout in attendance that night told me that while he wasn’t completely sold on Len’s game, he knew the soon-to-be former Terp wouldn’t be falling out of the Top 10 in the Draft.

I never sensed that Maryland fans were particularly hopeful that Len would decide to pass on money in favor of another year’s worth of seasoning, so I was understanding of why the reaction wasn’t particularly disappointing Sunday night.

I also understand many of the responses about Len’s “readiness” to make the jump to the NBA. I saw the same player who lacked the physical toughness to use his over seven foot frame to go right at defenders on many occasions. I saw the same guy that appeared a little too willing to settle for jump shots in post-up situations. I saw the same guy that looked like he might have the talent to be an All-American but who instead seemed to forget when games were scheduled to tip-off in ACC play.

I question Alex Len’s “readiness” about as much as the rest of you, but I understand why scouts believe he’s capable of still making improvements at the next level.

Inexplicably, Maryland’s win over Duke provided a bit of a blueprint for what scouts see in Len as a pro. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is as stubborn as he is successful, choosing to keep Plumlee (and a couple others) matched up one on one with Len instead of doubling him. At the next level, Len will be more likely to see similar styles of defense, especially considering the longer three point line and greater amount of available space on the floor for offensive players to use.

Combine that with the fact that Len proved himself to be a strong defender and capable rebounder and it’s much more easy to understand why NBA types believe Len’s collegiate production might not be indicative of what he has to offer at the pro level.

Moreover, I’m a bit troubled by how dismissive Maryland fans have been about Len’s departure. Len’s 12 points and eight rebound averages don’t seem particularly significant until you remember Maryland averaged just over 60 points per game as a team during ACC regular season play. For all of Len’s struggles, he equated to about a fifth of their overall offense and did much more defensively.

Maryland also loses Senior big man James Padgett this offseason, meaning they will return with sophomores-to-be Charles Mitchell and Shaquille Cleare up front to combine with incoming Michigan transfer Evan Smotrycz and incoming freshman Damonte Dodd. The inexperienced group will be expected to carry the load, but more importantly wings Dez Wells and Nick Faust will be needed to carry the offensive load with more consistency.

The loss of Alex Len may by no means be damning to the Terps’ chances of reaching their first NCAA Tournament since 2010, but dismissing the significance is can only be an attempt to justify the acceptance in a fan’s own mind. Maryland is not only not even remotely better without Alex Len, they are most certainly a worse team today than they were when they fell to the Hawkeyes at Madison Square Garden.

So fare the well, Alex Len. I’ll always be thankful for this.

And also very much so for this.

-G

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Former Loyola F Etherly receiving Draft attention

Posted on 09 April 2013 by WNST Staff

Etherly Named Alternate For Portsmouth Invitational

 

BALTIMORE – Just two weeks after concluding his collegiate career at Loyola University Maryland, forward Erik Etherly has been selected as an alternate at the 2013 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament.

 

Known as The “PIT”, the event is the only postseason camp that is open to college seniors only. It is used by NBA and European scouts as a proving ground for future professional players.

 

As an alternate, Etherly will attend The PIT but is not yet guaranteed a spot on a team.
Etherly was a two-time All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference First Team member, earning the honors in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 as Loyola won a combined 47 games and advanced to the postseason in consecutive season for the first time in the program’s Division I history.

 

This season, Etherly averaged 15.7 points and a team-high 6.5 rebounds per game in 30 contests, helping the Greyhounds to a 23-12 record and berth in the CollegeInsider.com  Postseason Tournament.

 

He earned National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-District I Second Team honors for the second year in a row, the first Loyola player to do so.

 

Etherly earned his bachelor of arts degree in communications in December 2012 and then scored his 1,000th career point weeks later in a January game at Fairfield. Over the final seven games of the regular-season, he had five games with 22 or more points, including three in a row with 23-plus.

 

The native of Alexandria, Va., finished his three years at Loyola – he transferred to the Baltimore school in 2009 after playing his freshman season at Northeastern University – with 1,245 points, 669 rebounds, 140 assists, 121 steals and 114 blocked shots.

 

Loyola won 62 games in the three years he was on the court, and Etherly leaves the school as the No. 20 scorer in program history. He also finished 10th in both rebounds and steals and fourth in blocked shots.

 

This 2013 PIT will take place April 10-13 at Churchland High School in Portsmouth, Va.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 12 February 2013 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Golf-PGA Tour Northern Trust Open (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel Saturday & Sunday 1pm live on Golf Channel 3pm live on CBS. All golf from Pacific Palisades, CA), Champions Tour ACE Group Classic (Friday & Saturday 6:30pm Sunday 7pm from Naples, FL on Golf Channel), ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open (Thursday & Friday 12:30pm Saturday & Sunday 3pm from Yarralumla, AUS on Golf Channel); Women’s College Basketball: Clemson @ Maryland (Thursday 7pm from Comcast Center live on ESPN3.com), Maryland @ Virginia (Sunday 5pm from Charlottesville, VA live on ESPN2); Tennis: ATP Tour SAP Open (Saturday 4pm & 11:30pm Sunday 6pm from San Jose live on Tennis Channel); Boxing: Adrien Broner vs. Gavin Rees (Saturday 10:30pm from Atlantic City live on HBO)

10. Mumford & Sons (Wednesday & Thursday 8pm Patriot Center); Big Head Todd & The Monsters (Friday 9pm Rams Head Live); Crack The Sky (Sunday 4:30pm & 8pm Rams Head on Stage), Tim Reynolds & TR3 (Monday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Brian McKnight (Thursday 7pm Rams Head Center Stage); Little Big Town (Thursday 7pm 9:30 Club); Anthony Hamilton (Tuesday & Wednesday 8pm Howard Theatre); Soul Asylum (Tuesday 8pm State Theatre); Pentatonix (Monday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); the virginmarys “King of Conflict” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

Can’t think of a bigger no-brainer than Mumford & Sons’ “Babel” having won Album of the Year at the Grammys. In fact it was such a no-brainer I was certain it would be messed up…

The name Tim Reynolds doesn’t jump out at you? Maybe this will help.

I honestly dig Little Big Town a lot. But nothing they’ve done has ever topped their debut…

The virginmarys were the last really cool band I heard in 2012. I will need this record.

9. Royal Comedy Tour feat. Sommore, D.L. Hughley, Bruce Bruce & Mark Curry (Friday 8pm 1st Mariner Arena); Seth Myers (Sunday 8pm Stevenson University Owings Mills Gym); Mike Epps (Friday 7pm D.A.R. Constitution Hall); Nick Offerman (Friday 8pm & 10:30pm Warner Theatre); Larry The Cable Guy (Saturday 5pm & 8pm Meyerhoff Symphony Hall); A Good Day to Die Hard” out in theaters (Thursday); Skyfall“, “The Sessions” and “The Man With The Iron Fists” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); Glenn Clark’s Valentine’s Day plans (Thursday)

As you know, my Valentine’s Day plans don’t change much from year to year, even if I’m now celebrating as a soon-to-be married man. I put on a little D’Angelo, grab some massage oil and then head DIRECTLY to this…

It’s called “romance”, kids. Get in on it.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Grunfeld

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Grunfeld Taking a Wiz on D.C.

Posted on 19 December 2012 by Brett Dickinson

Ernie GrunfeldAfter watching and following the Wizards for the past several years, only one thing comes to mind. To quote the great Vince Lombardi, “what the hell is going on out here?” No team can be more infuriating in this massive media market, than the basketball team in D.C. It all starts and finishes with one man, who has torpedoed the franchise from a consistent playoff team to the garbage that witnessed at the Verizon Center in China Town.

Luckily for Ernie Grunfeld, Michael Jordan took over another flailing franchise, or talks across the NBA would consider the Wizards one of the worst teams in the history of the game. Yet, Grunfeld returned to D.C. for another season of empty seats and an even emptier effort on the court. Now may be it is the beloved owner, Ted Leonsis’, fault for trying to instill the same ideals that have made the Capitals so relevant and successful in the NHL for such a long stretch.

This is the NBA, where building through the draft, as noble as it sounds, does not work for 90% of the teams and championships are won through free agency and buying superstars. And in a top 5 market, with a team that has a deep pocketed owner and the luxury of a fan base extending from Virginia to Maryland, spending money shouldn’t be a problem. But even if the youth movement was the goal for this team, Grunfeld completely threw that philosophy out the window with his ineptitude. He has done a halfway decent job selecting role players but it if weren’t for the luxury of picking in the top 3, two out of three seasons, this roster would have no one to build upon. John Wall can become a star but is hindered by the team around him. Bradley Beal was the best pick for this team, but what if the Bobcats took him instead, one pick before? Which role player would be riding the bench for the Wizards right now? The point is, Grunfeld has never had a good draft and only selected Wall and Beal because they were handed to him.

You can’t build through the draft with a GM that cannot draft talent.

Let’s start from the beginning to realize where and why the D.C. demise has come about. Gilbert Arenas really screwed things up, not just for his gun toting locker room antics, but his balky knees and massive contract he stole from Mr. Leonsis’ pockets. Arenas gave little for his contract and was soon on his way out of the Capital, once John Wall was drafted. But that also coincided with Grunfeld convincing everyone in the organization that the young core of Nick Young, Andray Blatche and Javal McGee would develop into a formidable starting roster.

To build a team around the dumbest three players is not only idiotic in itself but egotistical and irresponsible. Basically, Grunfeld fed Wizards fans hot dog water and presenting it as French Wine. Now they have all been moved, and even though the moves removed three cancers from a locker room, the return makes no sense, what so ever.

They received absolutely nothing for Nick Young to the Clippers or Blatche to the Nets; literally. But the big mistake was reprising McGee for Nene, Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza’s massive contracts, depleting the most valuable chip the team had; cap room.

James HardenFinally, and the last straw for a General Manager that makes a living of destroying a team and basketball fan base, was the move, or lack thereof, this offseason. Yahoo Sports reported that Grunfeld turned down an offer which included, No. 3 draft pick, Bradley Beal and last year’s top pick, Chris Singleton from the now Rockets star, James Harden. Now Beal could become a star but is more likely to be Alan Houston instead of Ray Allen (which many have compared him to). But we know what Singleton is (a decent defensive player off the bench) and we now know what James Harden is; a legit star that is carrying a Houston Rockets team to the playoffs. Not to mention he, along with his sweet man beard, is marketable and could rebuild an excitement at the Verizon Center. Harden is probably the third best shooting guard in the league (behind Kobe and Dwayne Wade) but was not worth two unproven Grunfeld draft picks.

Here at WNST Nestor started the initiative to “Free the Birds” from the Peter Angelos reigns. Well I’ll be the first here to say it is time to “Free the Wizards” from the ineptitude that is Ernie Grunfeld’s tenure. This story will continue with a look towards the future coming soon.

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Bovada gives Birds 25/1 odds to win 2013 World Series

Posted on 29 October 2012 by WNST Staff

Courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv,  Twitter: @BovadaLV).

 

Odds to win the 2013 World Series

Detroit Tigers                                         6/1

New York Yankees                                7/1

San Francisco Giants                             10/1

Texas Rangers                                      12/1

Washington Nationals                            12/1

Los Angeles Angels                               12/1

Philadelphia Phillies                               14/1

St. Louis Cardinals                                 14/1

Cincinnati Reds                                     14/1

Atlanta Braves                                       14/1

Los Angeles Dodgers                             18/1

Tampa Bay Rays                                   20/1

Boston Red Sox                                    22/1

Arizona Diamondbacks                           25/1

Baltimore Orioles                                   25/1

Milwaukee Brewers                                25/1

Oakland Athletics                                  25/1

Chicago White Sox                                28/1

Pittsburgh Pirates                                  30/1

Toronto Blue Jays                                  35/1

Seattle Mariners                                    40/1

Miami Marlins                                        40/1

New York Mets                                      40/1

San Diego Padres                                  60/1

Minnesota Twins                                    66/1

Chicago Cubs                                        75/1

Cleveland Indians                                   75/1

Colorado Rockies                                   75/1

Kansas City Royals                               75/1

Houston Astros                                      150/1

 

 

 

NBA Odds

 

“The huge trade with James Harden going to Houston no doubt will improve the Rockets but maybe not to the extent some people expect and in turn their win total jumped up by 3 from 30.5 to 33.5 , while the Thunder were less impacted dropping slightly from 59.5 to 58.5. Our Championship odds have not changed too much over the course of the last few weeks but some trendy teams seem to be the Nuggets whom we lowered from 66-1 to 33-1 and the 76ers have taken quite a bit forcing us to move them down from 50-1 to 33-1.”

-Kevin Bradley, Sports Book Manager, Bovada.lv

 

2012-2013 Regular Season – Total Points Per Game – James Harden (HOU)

Over/Under                                21.5

 

2012-2013 Regular Season – Total Points Per Game – Kevin Martin (OKC)

Over/Under                                14.5

 

2012-2013 NBA Regular Season Wins – Houston Rockets        

Over/Under                                33.5

 

2012-2013 NBA Regular Season Wins – Oklahoma City Thunder

Over/Under                                58.5

 

***First odds for all of these are the current odds, any changes are to the right of the current ones. This is for the Championship and Conference odds. Teams in blue have shorter odds, teams in red have longer odds, and teams in black are unchanged. The Divisional odds are new. 

 

Odds to win 2013 NBA Championship

                                                Current                        On 10/9/12

Miami Heat                                9/4                                11/5

Los Angeles Lakers                   11/4                              5/2

Oklahoma City Thunder              9/2                               

San Antonio Spurs                     12/1                              18/1

Boston Celtics                           14/1                              18/1

Chicago Bulls                            18/1                              14/1

Los Angeles Clippers                 25/1                             

Brooklyn Nets                            28/1                              30/1

Indiana Pacers                           30/1                              35/1

Denver Nuggets                         33/1                              66/1

Philadelphia 76ers                      33/1                              50/1

Memphis Grizzlies                     35/1                 

New York Knicks                       35/1

Dallas Mavericks                        40/1                              33/1

Atlanta Hawks                           75/1

Minnesota Timberwolves             100/1                            75/1

Utah Jazz                                  100/1

Portland Trailblazers                   125/1                            100/1

Golden State Warriors                150/1                            125/1

Houston Rockets                       150/1                            75/1

Milwaukee Bucks                       150/1                            125/1

Orlando Magic                           150/1                           

Cleveland Cavaliers                    200/1

New Orleans Hornets                 200/1                            150/1

Phoenix Suns                            200/1                            150/1

Detroit Pistons                           250/1                            200/1

Sacramento Kings                     250/1                            200/1

Toronto Raptors                         250/1                            200/1

Washington Wizards                  250/1                            200/1

Charlotte Bobcats                      500/1


Odds to win the 2012 – 2013 NBA Eastern Conference

Current                        On 10/9/12

Miami Heat                                4/7                                5/8

Boston Celtics                           7/1                                8/1

Chicago Bulls                            15/2                              11/2

Brooklyn Nets                            12/1

Indiana Pacers                           14/1

New York Knicks                       16/1                              14/1

Philadelphia 76ers                      16/1                              18/1

Atlanta Hawks                           35/1                             

Milwaukee Bucks                       66/1                              60/1

Orlando Magic                           75/1                              60/1

Cleveland Cavaliers                    100/1                           

Detroit Pistons                           125/1                            100/1

Toronto Raptors                         125/1                            100/1

Washington Wizards                  125/1                            100/1

Charlotte Bobcats                      200/1

 

Odds to win the 2013 NBA Western Conference

Current                        On 10/9/12

Los Angeles Lakers                   13/10                           

Oklahoma City Thunder              9/5

San Antonio Spurs                     6/1                                17/2

Los Angeles Clippers                 11/1                              12/1

Denver Nuggets                         15/1                              33/1

Dallas Mavericks                        18/1                              16/1

Memphis Grizzlies                     18/1                              16/1

Minnesota Timberwolves             45/1                              40/1

Utah Jazz                                  45/1                             

Portland Trailblazers                   66/1                              60/1

Golden State Warriors                66/1                              60/1

Houston Rockets                       75/1                              40/1

New Orleans Hornets                 100/1                           

Phoenix Sun                              100/1                            75/1

Sacramento Kings                     100/1

 

Odds to Win the 2012 – 2013 Atlantic Division 

Boston Celtics                           11/10

Brooklyn Nets                            17/4

New York Knicks                       7/2

Philadelphia 76ers                      7/2

Toronto Raptors                         50/1

 

Odds to Win the 2012 – 2013 Central Division  

Chicago Bulls                            10/11

Indiana Pacers                           10/11

Milwaukee Bucks                       22/1

Cleveland Cavaliers                    50/1

Detroit Pistons                           50/1 

Odds to Win the 2012 – 2013 Southeast Division          

Miami Heat                                1/25

Atlanta Hawks                           10/1

Orlando Magic                           50/1

Washington Wizards                  50/1

Charlotte Bobcats                      150/1

 

Odds to Win the 2012 – 2013 Northwest Division

Oklahoma City Thunder              1/9

Denver Nuggets                         6/1

Minnesota Timberwolves             30/1

Utah Jazz                                  30/1

Portland Trailblazers                   40/1

 

Odds to Win the 2012 – 2013 Pacific Division

Los Angeles Lakers                   2/7

Los Angeles Clippers                 3/1

Golden State Warriors                30/1

Phoenix Suns                            75/1

Sacramento Kings                     75/1

 

Odds to Win the 2012 – 2013 Southwest Division         

San Antonio Spurs                     4/7

Memphis Grizzlies                     3/1

Dallas Mavericks                        7/2

Houston Rockets                       25/1

New Orleans Hornets                 50/1

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Olympic Hoops Age Limit Not As Stupid As It Sounds

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Olympic Hoops Age Limit Not As Stupid As It Sounds

Posted on 19 July 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

In his near 3 decades as NBA Commissioner David Stern has at times been misguided, conspiratory, overbearing, greedy and contemptuous but rarely has the commissioner been stupid. Still, as Kobe Bryant surmised as much in assessing Stern’s desire to limit NBA participation in the Olympics to those 23-years old or younger, many seem to agree that the commissioner’s idea is stupid.

The United States never took kindly to losing in the international game, and in 1992 set out to prove their dominance on the world stage despite the fact that said dominance was already universally acknowledged. The result was the Dream Team and the 20 years of basketball history that has followed. The US while no less dominant is no longer the lone source of NBA talent, and the NBA has benefited immensely from the influx of global superstars to their ranks.

 

It’s probably safe to say now though that the Dream Team era has run its course and the excitement of seeing the NBA’s best on the Olympic stage has dampened. The NBA’s global reach is constantly growing as foreign-born players in the league’s ranks continue to compel new eyes to the game. It’s probably safe to assume that the risk/reward equation that the NBA once embraced in an effort to gain international exposure is now upside down and as a result the league is rethinking their growth philosophy.

 

One other thing has changed since the 1992 Dream Team. When the Dream Team was conceived, the NBA and the Olympics were both the broadcast property of NBC. Surely the NBA had a lot less issue with offering up their talent (essentially donating it) to the crown jewel sports property of their own broadcast partner than they do now, as the NBA has moved to ABC and recently agreed to stay there through 2016. Safe money suggests that ABC can’t be altogether happy about paying premium dollars to broadcast NBA games then watching the best talent compete for free while making money for rival NBC in the Olympics.

 

Now that the NBA has reached global status, it’s time to take another step forward. If you’re looking for a model to follow in growing a game worldwide look no further than FIFA and the world’s soccer scene for an ideal path to follow.

 

International soccer teams don’t send their best to the Olympics. They send very good players, but the best are reserved for World Cups and the like where FIFA stands to make the lion’s share of the money. Make no mistake; putting an age limit on Olympic participation is only step one for the NBA. The logical step two would be to create their own international tournament, own it, and pocket the money rather than providing talent to NBC and the Olympics. That’s not stupid.

 

Also, if the NBA limited its players, from all countries, from participating in the Olympics after age 23 it would only further stack the Olympic deck in favor of the US which still enjoys a seemingly endless supply of young talent, while other countries with less NBA players to begin with would lose most of their top end talent to the age limit.

 

From a competitive standpoint, the US would likely continue to shine while the rest of the world takes big steps back. From a US interest standpoint, it might be fun to see younger, more excitable, more anonymous players showing and proving on the international stage instead of the same collection of talent we see year after year at the All-Star game. There are some (myself included) who would much rather watch the rookie/sophomore game than the actual All-Star game on the NBA’s All-Star weekend.

 

Here’s my 12 man, 23 and under roster for the US this year. Not bad.

 

Notable Players Left Out for Injuries

 

Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving and Blake Griffin

 

The Bigs

 

Kevin Love, DeMarcus Cousins, DeAndre Jordan, Greg Monroe, Anthony Davis

 

Swing Forwards

 

Kevin Durant, Evan Turner, Gordon Hayward

 

Guards

 

Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Jrue Holliday, Brandon Jennings

 

Notable Players Left Out

 

Tyler Zellar, Derrick Favors, Kenneth Faried, Al Farouq-Aminu, Kawai Leonard, Terrence Jones, Derrick Williams, Michael Kidd-Gilcrest, Thomas Robinson, Tyreke Evans, Kemba Walker, John Wall, Jeremy Lin, Brandon Knight, Eric Gordon, Paul George, Josh Selby

 

 

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Has the Media Changed the Landscape of Free Agency in Modern Sports?

Posted on 05 July 2012 by andrewtomlinson

If you are a hockey fan, then you have probably been following the Ryan Suter and Zach Parise story for the last week. What has been fascinating is despite the two players not being superstars, when they signed it seemed as if the teams who did not get them had lost out on this generation’s version of Wayne Gretzky.

While both players are extremely good, could the shear amount of discussion and media “buzz” about the two have created a perceived value higher than what it truly is?

Hockey isn’t the only league where we have seen solid players become perceived superstars through the buzz of media. Steve Nash is a very good basketball player, but I highly doubt he is going to put the Los Angeles Lakers over the top. No one would know that if they checked Twitter though, with people saying he makes the Lakers practically unstoppable. Now people would still be fantanical when it comes to moves like the one for Nash, but I highly doubt it would reach the levels we are currently at in the days before Twitter, Facebook and instant access to radio.

Any owners and general managers who says they do not pay attention to “the noise” on social media sites and large news networks is straight up lying. It is hard not to listen to the noise, since it is everywhere, but at the same time they truly would not be very good at their jobs if they did not gauge what their fans’, their true customer, demands and wishes were. Too often though, it seems the people creating the buzz about players seem to condem the owners and general managers who don’t listen to them.

It is fascinating to me to see pundits and members of the media eliminate NHL teams from the playoffs and crown others Stanley Cup Champions just because of a few signings. You would think after what we saw with Nnamdi Asomugha last year and how many crowned the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl Champions with his addition, sports media personalities would learn from their mistakes. Yet, it seems every year a big free agent signing can cause analysts to go bonkers over some guy they themselves talked up.

Take a look at Prince Fielder and his signing with the Detroit Tigers for instance. People started calling him the best younger hitter in baseball and a better free agent target than Albert Pujols. Sure, he may have out hit Pujols early on this season, but look at where the Tigers are in the standings, below .500, and the Angels, in position to have one of the Wild Card spots. Sure, Mike Trout might have something to do with it, but the underlying theme is the big singing of Fielder isn’t making the Tigers a World Series lock like many predicted in January and it isn’t because Fielder has played poorly. Instead, it is because one player can only have a limited impact.

Much is the same with Parise and Suter, while talked up on Twitter, they aren’t going to guarantee Minnesota a Cup. Now is the interesting part of free agency where we truly test this media affecting free agency theory. With the media darlings off the board, who do they talk up next? Is it former Capitals left-wing Alexander Semin, or could it be someone like Shane Doan? Regardless, it will be interesting to see who gets the most buzz over the Internet, airwaves and through the “noise makers.” If the hot name is signed to a huge deal, even if he probably doesn’t deserve the money spent on him, it will be hard for anyone to say media isn’t influencing the way team’s spend their money.

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Joe Johnson vs the Nets

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What Joe Johnson to the Nets Means For The Wiz

Posted on 02 July 2012 by Jesse Jones

Joe Johnson vs the Nets

Joe Johnson has been traded to the Brooklyn Nets

The Atlanta Hawks have agreed to trade superstar shooting guard Joe Johnson to the now Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro, Anthony Morrow, Jordan Williams and former Wizard DeShawn Stevenson, along with a future first round pick.

My initial reaction: The Nets are serious about getting better now. But, we all knew that since they’ve been in contention for Dwight Howard for the past year.

Let’s break down what the trade meant for both teams.

The Nets get Johnson to go along with Gerald Wallace. If Deron Williams decides to stay, the Nets will have three All-Stars in their starting lineup, and quite frankly, that’s it. They now have no cap space left to trade for Dwight Howard, as all three players have max contracts. Brook Lopez is a free agent so there is no guarantee that he’ll be back next season. Even if Lopez comes back, the Nets now have no depth, especially in the front court.

Having three All-Stars is certainly a nice thing, but depth is so key in the NBA, in fact any professional sport.

The Hawks and new general manager Danny Ferry got rid of Joe Johnson’s huge contract, and appear to be in rebuilding mode with the team also trading Marvin Williams. Why they are rebuilding, I have absolutely no idea since they’ve made the playoffs the past five years, but it’s clear they are.

In return for a superstar, Atlanta now has expiring contracts of bench players and not one starter, except Stevenson because of his defense. The future first round draft pick is certainly a plus, but for right now, it seems the Hawks want to undergo a face lift.

So what does this mean for the Washington Wizards?

The Wiz Kids, who have a promising team this season, have an even better chance now to make the playoffs. The Hawks will have trouble keeping up with Miami and Orlando (if Howard stays). With a veteran front court, a young, speedy back court, and a coach that the team wants to play for in Randy Whitman, the Wiz should be good enough to finish second or third in the Southeast Division, depending on of course what happens with Howard in Orlando. They are certainly better than the Bobcats and Hawks now, but they are far away from competing with Miami for first.

With the Hawks transitioning from a playoff team to a rebuilding team, look for the Wizards to be in contention to make the playoffs, finishing anywhere from sixth to eighth place.

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