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Home - Aaron Golden's Basketball blog January 2011

  Aaron Golden's Basketball blog January 2011

Portland-The Struggle to Survive
Posted by: aarongolden | January 27, 2011

Greg Oden- first overall pick of the 2007 NBA draft-Injured

Brandon Roy- three time all-star-Injured

Marcus Camby- defensive player of the year in 2006-2007- Injured

With the deprivation of three exceptional players, it is almost unfathomable that Portland is still holding the 8th seed in competitive West.  It’s even harder to believe that the Blazers were recently on a five game winning streak.  Although this Portland team has become injury prone, key players are stepping up and are making the best of what they have.

First off, LaMarcus Aldridge has been an outstanding player thus far.  Playing at an all-star caliber, Aldridge is making his team look competitive.  Bound to make his first all-star appearance, LaMarcus Aldridge since December 15 has been averaging 26.3 points per game as well as 10.3 rebounds per game.  Aldridge has stepped up as much as he can since his team has been plagued by injuries and has really been the go to guy for the Blazers.  Secondly, Andre Miller has also helped his team out a lot.  Currently in his 13th season, Miller has been a valuable asset.  He constantly gets it done on both sides of the court averaging 1.7 steals per game while also dishing out 7.1 assists per game.  Essentially, Andre Miller has stepped up in the absence of Camby and Roy and continues to produce solid numbers.  Next off, Wesley Matthews has really established himself on the Portland Trailblazers.  This un-drafted player has filled much of the void at the shooting guard position in place of Brandon Roy.  Matthews has been quite the contributor, averaging 16.2 points per game, and even more staggering, Matthews has averaged 22.7 points per game in the last 3 games.  Moving on, Rudy Fernandez has been a spark off the bench for the Blazers putting up some descent numbers as well as making the highlight reel every once in a while.  Lastly, Nicolas Batum has also been showing progression in the absence of Roy and Camby.  He recently scored 23 points and then four days later scored 24 points.  Batum has shown some potential during this period of injuries and has been a solid small forward.

Hopefully this array of talent continues to mesh well together as well as keep on winning ball games.  It is important they keep on winning games in order to hold their spot in the playoffs.  These next few weeks will really test this Portland team.

Bottom Line- Portland is a solid team that could have a promising future if Roy, Camby, and Oden ever get back onto the court.

Kevin Durant
Posted by: aarongolden | January 24, 2011

Kevin Durant’s versatility and profusion of talent puts him amongst the top echelon of people to ever play the game of basketball.  Durant has a great multifaceted game which allows him to be a deadly player.  Now let’s get an inside look of Durant’s game

To start off, Durant can shoot from an infinite range.  Whether he backs up to the three point line or hits the small jumper in the lane, their is no stopping him.  With such a slender body, Durant can’t back people down on the post as well as a big man can.  However, he more than makes up for this with a great jump shot.  Durant knocks down 1.7 threes per game and averages 28.3 points per game.  Kevin Durant can shoot over virtually any defender because of his long body and even longer arms.

To complement Durant’s shooting skills, is his elusiveness and dexterity.  Durant’s astounding athleticism allows him to create shots for himself and allows him to drive and finish at the basket.  Being such an agile big man, it is so hard for opponents to guard him.  If Durant has a height advantage in a given matchup he will pull up for a jump shot because he knows the smaller players won’t be able to block him.  Now if Durant is guarded by a bigger fellow he will utilize his quickness and beat you to the basket.

When a defender can no longer keep up with Durant’s skill he has only one option left- to foul.  Although this may seem like a way to stop Durant from producing points, you are sadly mistaken.  When you send Kevin Durant to the line it is an automatic two points for his team.  Kevin Durant hits 88% of his free throws ranking him among the highest in the league.

Another thing that makes Kevin Durant a great player is his defense.  Kevin Durant is a player that can haul down 6.3 rebounds per game as well as get a big block or steal.(1.1 steals, 1.0 blocks)  As you can see, Durant contributes in all aspects of defense making him an even better player.

Finally, Durant not only makes himself look good but he also helps out his team tremendously.  Durant averages nearly 3 assists per game.  There is also another thing Durant has,  however this does not show up in the stats column.  Kevin Durant has become a leader through his past experiences on team USA.  Leading team USA to a championship Durant developed many leadership qualities that he now brings to his Thunder team.  Kevin Durant helps his team on the court and points them in the right direction.  Lastly, when Durant is on the floor he draws double teams creating space for his teammates leading to better shots and resulting in wins.  With such an offensive presence, teams often overlook Durant’s teammates.

Bottom line- When you have a repetoire like Durant you are bound to be a great player.

The Knicks
Posted by: aarongolden | January 20, 2011

With the acquisition of Amar’e Stoudemire during the offseason, there was no question that Amar’e would have an immeasurable impact on the New York Knicks.  The question moreover, was how far would Stoudemire be able to take his new team and would he be able to turn around this New York Knicks franchise that has been suffering for over a decade now?  From 2002-2009 the New York Knicks have not finished above 500.  With the addition of stoudemire the Knicks are now 22-18, 4 games above 500 and look better than ever.  Since Amar’e Stoudemire came to the Knicks he has been averaging career highs in both points(26.4)  and blocks(2.4).  It is astonishing to see that since Stoudemire has left Nash he is averaging more points, and this really makes one consider how good the point guard for the Knicks really is.  Raymond Felton is on his way towards a breakout season, currently averaging 17.7 ppg and 8.9 apg.  Felton has really filled the void for the Knicks at the point guard position and has been able to set up his teammates as well as leading Stoudemire to one of his best season’s ever.  Although Felton and Stoudemire are great, they are backed up by a great all around squad.  Danillo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler have improved their play and really get the job done on the offensive side of the court.  Gallo contributes his superb shooting skills and has become an excellent 3 point shooter for the team.  In addition, Chandler is a spark off the bench averaging over 17 ppg.  To top it all of, Landry Fields has been a true X-factor for the Knicks; the rookie has made great plays throughout the season and during the stretch, often giving the Knicks the upper edge over the opposition.  Bottom Line- Knicks will almost definitely make the playoffs and it should be interesting to see how far they actually wind up going.

Return of the Celtics
Posted by: aarongolden | January 18, 2011

After a devastating loss against the Lakers in the 2010 championship, the Celtics were in quite the dilemma.  Many Celtic fans thought this would be their last shot of winning because of their aging superstars Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce as well as the possibility of Ray Allen not re-signing with the Celtics.  As the new season neared, everything seemed to fall in place for the better.  Ray Allen re-signed, Pierce and Garnett did not leave, and Doc Rivers, head coach of the Celtics stayed as well.  Although the Celtics were able to maintain their all-stars and coach; the Celtics still needed to improve their team.  So in order to take their team to the next level, especially because Rasheed Wallace was retiring and Perkins was hurt, the Celtics acquired Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal or as I like to call them, The Twin Towers.  With depth from their two new big men, along with retaining their veteran all-stars, and with their rising all-star Rajan Rondo stepping up, the Celtics were looking like one of the most dominant team’s in the league.  Early in the season, the Celtics looked like a championship contender when they took a huge win over Miami on opening day.  The Celtics looked as good as ever especially with Rondo dishing out a total of 82 assists in the first five games of the season.  Unfortunately though, the Celtics were plagued with injuries.  Even with injuries from Rondo, Garnett, Shaq, Jermaine, West, and Perkins, the Celtics were still able to maintain dominance in the league.  The Celtics currently have a record of 30-9 which is truly astounding, considering all the adversity they had to overcome.  So far this season, Pierce and Allen have scored the bulk of the points and remain to be great contributors to the Celtics even at their old ages.  Shaq has also stepped up quite a bit this season, when scoring 23 points and recording 5 blocks in his last contest.  Pierce as well continues to play exceptionally well averaging nearly 20 points and hauling down over 5 rebounds per game.  Bottom line- The Celtics have built a well balanced team and it should be very interesting to see how they do when all their players are healthy.

Rookies On The Rise
Posted by: aarongolden | January 16, 2011

Each year roughly 60 new players make it into the NBA. However, only a handful of rookies have success let alone potential. Here is an analysis of rookies to look out for this season.

Blake Griffin- Without a doubt Blake Griffin is the most dominant rookie in the league today. So far this season Blake Griffin has a staggering 30 double-doubles. To perform such a feat is mind-boggling, yet Griffin is able to do this as a rookie. The talent and potential that lies within Blake Griffin is limitless. Not only does Griffin has the strength to overpower some of the most formidable defenders but is also extremely agile and elusive. When a big man such as Griffin can run up and down the court and maneuver smoothly through opposition it is nearly impossible to stop. His astounding ability to be as quick as a guard and as powerful as a big man allows him to play at an all-star caliber day in and day out. Griffin currently averages 22 points per game and 12.7 rebounds per game, however; Griffin averages a minuscule .7 blocks per game as well as .7 steals per game. If Griffin continues to improve and work on all aspects of his game, Griffin could be an all-time great.

John Wall- After John Wall was selected 1st in this season’s draft, he quickly lived up to the expectations. During his first few weeks of playing with the Wizards, John Wall was exceeding tremendously. Wall was among the league leaders in steals and averaged over 10 assists per game during his first seven games. During the early stages of the season Wall was phenomenal and was in the midst of becoming an all-star. This streak however ended to abruptly. Wall’s success was instantly hindered by an injury. Once Wall recovered from injury he failed to put up the numbers he had at the beginning of the season. Although John Wall hit a minor setback his game is gradually progressing back to the way he was. Hopefully Wall will continue to progress throughout the duration of the season and even surpass what he had done earlier in the season.

Landry Fields- Fields can rebound, shoot, pass, block, steal, but there is something he will never be able to do. He will never be a first round pick. Although Fields was a second round pick in the NBA draft he has had an immense impact on the Knicks this season. The rookie Fields shocked us all when he started for the Knicks on opening game. A second round pick had somehow cracked his way into a starting lineup. Although it may seem unfathomable it is all true. So far this season Fields has shot over 50 percent from the field, has averaged 7.4 rebounds per game and scores 10 points per game. Fields however has more than just stellar stats. Landry Fields is the type of player that makes big plays without being asked. This rookie hustles on offense and defense and is prominent to Knick fans for his follow-up dunks. Landry Fields has proven himself among the top rookies and continues to elevate his game.

The Clippers rise, putting Miami in demise
Posted by: aarongolden | January 14, 2011

The Clippers extended their winning streak yesterday after an exhilarating win over the Miami Heat. With contributing efforts from Blake Griffin, Baron Davis, and Eric Gordon the Clippers came out with a 111-105 victory. The overconfident Miami team had their hands full right from the start when the Clippers scored 44 points in the first quarter. The Clippers were able to hold on to their lead the for the rest of the game which resulted in an unexpected loss for the nearly unstoppable Miami Heat.
Although shaky at the beginning of the season, the Clippers are now looking like a great NBA team. Blake Griffin continues to show his dominance on the court with his insane dunks. In addition, Eric Gordon continues to succeed for he is averaging 23.6 points per game. Not only that, Baron Davis is gradually progressing from his injury earlier this season. Last night we saw signs of what he did as an all-star years ago when he dropped 20 points and dishing out 9 assists. The Clippers are now looking great and playing competitive games against the elite teams in the NBA.
Now moving onto Miami- Right when it seems that Miami has lived up to the hype and reached greatness; Miami hit another setback when losing to the Clippers last night. The Big three are still struggling as of now in building a good chemistry. Although James, Wade, and Bosh played well together scoring a total of 84 points, the rest of the heat did not contribute enough. Those three can’t win a title alone and need contributions from other starters and bench players. Winning is a team effort, and in order for it to happen everyone has to contribute. Sure Lebron, Wade, and
Bosh are great but they’re not a 12 man NBA roster themselves. If the Heat want to be successful and make it deep into the playoffs, they need to get better contributions from role players like Joel Anthony and Carlos Arroyo.

D-Rose and The Bulls
Posted by: aarongolden | January 13, 2011

Derrick Rose is one of the elite point guards in the NBA today. His ability to get to the basket and dish out assists is extraordinary. What separates him though from other top-notch point guards? The answer is simple; his explosiveness is like no other player in the league. Rose is so quick off the dribble and can accelerate to the basket at will. To complement Rose’s explosiveness, is his extreme dexterity. Rose is capable of duking out big men like Amar’e Stoudemire in midair while still finishing gracefully at the basket. To make matters worse for the opposing team, Rose has added a lethal jump shot to his offensive arsenal. Rose currently averages 1.6 3s per game which is literally 8 times the amount as what he did last year from 3 pt land. Aside from Rose’s ability to shoot and score, he has also shown he is capable of being an efficient passer averaging 8.1 assists per game. Throughout the season thus far Derrick Rose has been able to create open shots for his teammates.

In addition, Rose has also been helped tremendously by the Bulls off season move to acquire Carlos Boozer. Boozer has become a valuable asset to Rose’s passing game and together they lead their team with a record of 25-12. Rose has a very good all around game as well as being able to average nearly 5 rebounds per game. Rose has carried his team this season, and are now one of the top teams in the East. Although the Bulls are one of the better teams in the league they are not quite championship material for they lack a shooting guard and young Derrick Rose still needs to develop his game for the Bulls to have a shot at winning the championship.

Charlotte - A Happy Ending?
Posted by: aarongolden | January 12, 2011

Before the start of the 2010-2011 season the Bobcats neglected to re-sign Raymond Felton and also traded away Tyson Chandler. With these detrimental mistakes it seemed as if the Bobcats were destined for failure. This was all too true when the Charlotte Bobcats began an ignominious season under head coach Larry Brown. The Charlotte Bobcats started out 9-19 and during this stretch they put up abominable stats such as last in turnovers per game, 29th in points per game, 20th in Fg%, and 23rd in 3ptFg%. Although Larry Brown is a hall of fame coach his desired style of play is not applicable to this Charlotte Bobcats. Larry Brown’s defensive-minded and slow pace game did not pass muster with the young Charlotte Bobcats. In addition, as the season progressed matters only got worse for Coach Brown. Players no longer listened to Brown nor did they execute his plays during the game. With the Bobcats losing interest in their coach, it was time for a change. Larry Brown decided to resign from his coaching job and Paul Silas took the job as interim head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats. During the Bobcat’s first practice with the new head coach, drastic changes were made instantly. Silas wanted to bring energy to the table by introducing a fast pace game to his young Charlotte Bobcats team. By the time of the Bobcat’s first game under new head coach Paul Silas, the new uptempo pace of game immediately clicked for the Bobcats. The Bobcats wound up beating the Detroit Pistons 105-100, with major contributions from D.J. Augustin scoring 27 points and Stephen Jackson with 23. This new uptempo pace worked like a charm for the Bobcats. Not only does Silas like playing uptempo but he also accentuates the importance of taking the open shot. Silas allowed his team more reign over the game by minimizing the amount of plays called and letting players like Jackson and Augustin to do their “thing” on the court. As of now the Bobcats are 5-2 with Coach Silas, and have an overall record of 14-21. With this record they are in playoff contention and can make the eighth seed or better if they continue to play the way they do. Lastly, former all-star Gerald “crash” Wallace will be returning to the Bobcats soon, once he is fully recovered from his injury. After traveling the downward slope, the Bobcats could be making their way back up the ladder.

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