The Dwight Howard trade saw so many different scenarios in the last 10 months who knew what teams would end up being involved in a trade, if it were to happen. Well when drama finally ended in Orlando the Denver Nuggets turned out to be one of the winners of the deal. The trade involving the Lakers, 76ers, Nuggets, and Magic sent Dwight Howard, Chris Duhon, and Earl Clark to the Lakers. Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson to the Magic, Andre Iguodala to the Nuggets, and the Magic receiving Aaron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Moe Harkless, Josh McRoberts, Nikola Vucevic, and Chrisian Eyenga.
With the Nuggets landing AI they may have found that player that can help them advance past the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs. The Nuggets have been a .500 team and have had numerous runs into the postseason but have always ran into those teams that have an elite player they can’t stop or contend with. Well with the addition of AI in Denver the future for this team is as bright as ever, with AI striving in a fast paced, run and gun offense. The style of play for the Nuggets is an up and down style and they have been one of the highest scoring teams in the league the last few years with PG Ty Lawson setting the tone. AI also is familiar with backup PG for the Nuggets Andre Miller from their playing days in Philadelphia.
With this addition the Nuggets will look to be a top 4 team in the West this season and try to get over that first round struggle that manages to find them in the playoffs and take the season out of their hands. If the Nuggets can get home court advantage next season they hold a much stronger chance to advance in the playoffs, and the addition of AI will be that player they need to win games in late gametime situations. With 2 main players out of the rotation from last year and 1 key one added the Coach Karl should be able to solidify a solid 10 man rotation that can keep up with the best in the West.
I look for the Nuggets to fast break as much as possible next year while playing good solid team defense. They have a shut down defender in AI and have all the other pieces a team needs to make a deep playoff run. Denver Nuggets fans should be excited for what the 2012-13 season has in store for the fans and they hold a strong chance of turning some heads in the NBA this regular season and most importantly in the postseason.
When The Nuggets drafted Kenneth Faried with the 22nd overall pick in the 2011 draft they knew they were getting a hard worker that has been undersized at his position his entire life. Faried is listed at 6’8 and numerous times is matched up against other teams power forward or sometimes center, but never backing down Faried is one of the most ferocious young rebounders in the game. Bouncing around like Dennis Rodman, battling like Ron Artest, and getting in the air like Barkley, Faried is one of the best rebounding big men in the game already.
Coming into the NBA Faried was known as one of the hardest workers that college basketball could remember and he continued that success at the next level. Being able to rebound with the best of them has made Faried a key part to the future of the Denver Nuggets who are a contender in the Western Conference. If Faried can come back his sophomore season and continue to what he started in his first year in the league this kid has a bright future. Pulling down 7.7 Rebounds per game in only 22.5 minutes a game are some good numbers for a young man in the NBA who was held back from a locked out season as well.
Coming into this season Faried is projected to start for the Nuggets and play a major role in what they want to get done this next season. The Nuggets will be looking to run teams out of the gym this next season and with a big man that can run the court the Nuggets will be able to do just that. Faried is able to take advantage of other big men by getting out in transition on offense and beating the defense back for easy layups or dunks. Faried learned a lot in only one short season and showed us how bright of a future he has if he continues to work.
Just when you thought the Heat had already did enough offseason building by picking up Ray Allen the ex-Celtic sharpshooter, the madness continued today. Miami has now inked a deal with veteran forward Rashard Lewis who spent last season with the Wizards and was involved in a trade recently that sent Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor to the Wizards in return the Hornets received the 46th pick and Rashard Lewis in which they bought out his contract making him a free agent.
Money was not a major concern for Rashard Lewis as he was bought out by the Hornets for $13.7 million so signing for the veterans minimum was not affecting Lewis. Knowing his career is in its final years Lewis wanted to be on a championship contending team and who better to play for then the defending champions. Rashard Lewis will fit right in to what Miami sees in the future and thats spacing the floor with jump shooters and giving James and Wade options to get to the hole or kick to some of the best shooters the game has seen in Allen and Lewis. Lewis ranks 8th all time in 3-point shots made and has hit numerous big game shots in the playoffs.
Rashard Lewis will be a good backup to Chris Bosh and LeBron James when they are at the 4. He will fill a void the Heat haven’t had and have been missing. A solid forward who can shoot from 22+ consistently and defend on the other end of the court. If Miami has a Allen, Wade, James, Lewis, and Bosh lineup it will be real tough to cover all of them during a 48 minute game with unlimited spacing on the court and 3 of the top 15 players in the world on the court. Lewis will be a key piece to the Miami Heat if they want to repeat as the NBA Champions.
Quincy Miller will be a major building block in the future of the Denver Nuggets. Coming in with a chip in his shoulder is something this young kid is used to and something he will continue to experience throughout his young NBA career. Growing up in Chicago we know this kid can handle his own on the court and can deal with some criticism on and off the court. But the NBA is not your ordinary playground, its a league full of grown man that are the most talented at what they do something Miller wasn’t recognized for until 2009 when he made his way into the AAU circuit and found his name on numerous college lists of players to recruit.
Stepping onto the scene as a sophomore Miller was ready to make a name for himself and that he did. Getting numerous national awards like SLAM MAGAZINES top prospect and being selected to the Boost Mobile Elite 24. By his Junior season Miller was ready to put up big numbers on the court and continue to make a name for himself. Drawing numerous comparisons to Kevin Durant the potential is never ending in this kid and the Denver Nuggets found a gem late in the draft.
Proving himself early at Baylor Miller went on to score 17, 17, and 20 respectively in his first games in a Bears uniform. 5 games into his first season he recorded his first double double with a 17-11 performance against Texas-Arlington. Miller was able to put up 21 points after a slump against a tough Oklahoma State team and responded with a 17 point effort as the Bears suffered their first loss of the season against future National Runner Up Kansas Jayhawks. To end the season Miller took home the Co-Freshman of the year in the Big 12 (LeBryan Nash) and Miller was the player of the year in the Big 12 by Sporting News.
Coming into this season the Nuggets aren’t expecting starting numbers from Quincy Miller but the potential in this kid is never ending and there isn’t a better coach for him to learn from then George Karl. If Miller is able to get his hands on the NBA game you could see him making an impact on this team as early as year 2. The potential is never ending.
If the Miami Heat want to do one of the toughest thing in modern day sports that need to make a move or two to keep there roster balanced out with their 3 all star players. Coming off an incredible post season run in which the Miami Heat were down in 3 straight series and still managed to claim the NBA championship when the season was over. With Mike Miller and James Jones contemplating retirement the Heat will need to make some moves to keep a bench that can compete with some of the best in the NBA and with this off season filled with role players the Heat should have no problem filling the voids on this team.
Rashard Lewis, Chris Kaman, Ray Allen, Jamal Crawford, Jason Terry, and Marcus Camby are all likely candidates to make a visit with the Miami Heat in the most recent version of free agency in the NBA. Ray Allen could be the biggest pick up the Miami Heat could get this off-season, although he is coming off a slow end of the season which resulted in surgery for bone spurs in his foot Ray Allen should be ready to return in great shape as he always does. If Ray Allen could make his way onto the Heat roster he would become the biggest threat on this team and would benefit from the style of play that LeBron James and Dwayne Wade both poses which both are fearless at getting to the basket. Ray Allen would find himself wide open on numerous occasions doing what he does best, hitting 3’s.
Rashard Lewis would be another huge pick up for a team that lacked size and size that can shoot from 15+ft and Lewis could fill that void. Proving himself as a 3 point shooter that hits big shots at big times Lewis could make the Heat much more difficult to guard. If Rashard Lewis could end up with the Heat this would continue to spread the floor for a team that plays this type of game very well and Lewis makes the Heat that much better.
Jason Terry and Jamal Crawford are both long shots but both would help the Heat greatly off the bench as they both are capable of putting up 15-25 on any given night off the bench. This would make the Heat bench the best it has been in the era of the big 3 in Miami. Both have been named the 6th man of the year in their respected NBA careers and could continue there success in Miami on a championship caliber team.
Size, one thing every NBA team could use and the Miami Heat could use it most. Chris Bosh could convert and play the center position but Miami needs a reliable back up to come in an beat up on the big guys from other teams and this is where Chris Kaman and Marcus Camby come into play. Both could come off the bench and deepen this Miami squad in a much needed way. Getting bigger will make it less work for LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Joel Anthony in the future on this team. Miami needs to get a big and they need one by next season as every other team continues to add big pieces to their teams. This off-season could be huge for Miami and the moves they make will determine if they can go back to back in the 2012-2013 campaign.
Harrison Barnes entered Chapel Hill with expectations a young kid from Ames, Iowa has never experienced before. Coming into his freshman season as the top rated player by Scout.com the weight on his shoulders was already stacking up before he took a step on the Chapel Hill, North Carolina campus. With the level of pressure it takes for a 18 year old to come in hyped to be the next big thing in NCAA basketball Harrison was ready to show this honor was not a fluke.
Proving to people throughout his freshman year Harrison was able to grow up and become a better player throughout the season. Whether it was his struggles in the first part of the season or his game winners in conference play, Harrison Barnes started to evolve into a new player. Coming up big in games was going to be needed for this Tar Heels squad and Harrison Barnes was the answer, UNC had their star player.
Coming into his sophomore year with heavy expectations after being bounced in the Elite 8 from a Kentucky team coached by John Calipari. Harrison had heave expectations for this second year on campus trying to prove he is worthy of the number one rated player in the nation. Coming into the 2011-2012 the North Carolina Tar Heels were the unanimous #1 ranked team coming into the season and expectations were as high as ever for this star studded UNC team coming off an early exit from the previous year.
Looking to prove himself early on Harrison look to struggle a bit in his second season and seemed to sleep as the season progressed. Harrison benefits from a good PG and good ball movement which was a plus with the crafty Kendall Marshall running the offense for this team. Harrisons best part of his game is his size and ability to beat you off the dribble and get to the hole or the one dribble pull up, with Marshall going down in the end of the season Harrison was left to show he can do it, but falling short in the elite 8 to the Kansas Jayhawks leaving the Chapel Hill campus questioning if they will see this young star team suit up again. The answer was clear as the major 4 players declared for the draft with Harrison being the first one drafted at #7 going to the Golden State Warriors.
Never thought I would wake up everyday and check the sports section to see what team Dwight Howard wants to play for that day. It seems to change on a daily basis and the man is making this choice a drama scene that the NBA doesn’t need to deal with. After LeBron James made his choice to go to South Beach on a nationally televised show called “The Decision” we thought other stars in the NBA had learned how to make the right choices in free agency and off-season moves. Well we better think twice because the NBA is turning into a reality TV show with Dwight Howard treating his free agency like a modern day princess.
It all began when the Magic lost a few games last season and Stan Van Gundy as Dwight Howards frustration began to show with one another, resulting in Dwight Howard putting out a request to be traded to either the Brooklyn Nets, Dallas Mavericks, or the Los Angeles Lakers. With the Magics season starting to slide the frustration began to increase daily and it was a visible problem in Orlando. Weeks later Howard decided to add another team to his list and the Chicago Bulls were now in the Dwight Howard sweepstakes but only to drop out within a few weeks.
Things became interesting when rumors came out that Howard had the power to decide which coach he wanted in Orlando and which GM he wanted as well, bringing up numerous concerns with the direction of the franchise in Orlando. With Howard getting injured in the end of the season we saw some interesting moves once Howard’s season was officially over due to back surgery. May 21 was a changing day in the clubhouse of the Orlando Magic as they fired Head Coach Stan Van Gundy and also decided to part ways with GM Otis Smith who had gave Howard all the power in Orlando.
With the offseason in full bloom now we have seen Howard change his mind a few times but also clear up that his number one choice is still the Brooklyn Nets. Saying if he doesn’t get traded he will play out the season in Orlando and wait till free agency next year where Atlanta, Dallas, and the Lakers are going to be heavily after the big man to keep their rosters at the highest level possible. Howard will more then likely be gone from Orlando before the 2012-13 season if the team makes the right moves that will benefit them from losing one of the top defensive players in the league.
Coming into the off-season we knew it would be filled with drama and numerous changes to some NBA rosters but many of us saw this Dwight Howard drama coming whether we wanted to see it or not. My best advice to Dwight Howard is stay out of the news and go about you business to decide you future with the team that best bits you. Until then please stop drawing attention to yourself, your only hurting your own image.