Posted on: October 31, 2012 12:20 am

NBA Predictions

Eastern conference

1. Heat- front court is thinner, wades health is more suspect, and yet they remain the best because no one else in the conference is good

2. Pacers- the best starting 5 in the nba, they also will have George Hill starting for the full season, and expect hibbert to dominate

3. 76ers- expect bynum to dominate inside, and for big uears from holiday and turner but the lack of perimiter defense will prevent them from being elite

4. Bulls- without rose still the best defensive team in the conference, and hinrich will lead the way with his veteran leadership

5. Raptors- expect valanciunas and ross to emerge as solid starters immediately, lowry gives this team the athletic pg theyve needed, and bargnani and derozan will play better now that they have a good supporting cast

6. Nets- front court is very soft defensively, johnson is way past his prime, but expect a motivated dwill to carry this team into contention

7. Celtics- the loss of ray really hurts and kg and pierce will have trouble staying healthy, luckily the addition of sullinger will keep this team in contetions

8. Hawks- should be solid once again with horford and smith holding down the line, but the loss of johnson really hurts

Western conference

1. Thunder- should still be the best as martin and lamb can help fill hardens production, but expect them to miss the beard come playoff time when defense picks up

2. Spurs- an easy pick as they are as consistent as they come, they return the same team and leonard looks to tale that next step and become an elite player

3. Lakers- another easy pick, as howard should dominate with this team, but expect them to struggle offensively in eddie jordans newly introduced princeton offense

4. Grizzlies- similar theme here, another consistent defensive team that will compete for the top spot in the west with the 3 teams above

5. Clippers- a theme among vinny del negro coached teams is stagnation, they also lose their defensive mvp Kenyon Martin 

6. Mavericks- consistency they got it, but dirks health seems to be worrisome this year

7. Timberwolves- should be a great team once love and rubio return, expect them to make some noise come playoff time

8. Nuggets- a full season without nene will hurt, mcgee and faried combine as the worst defensive front court, but once again this team will make the playoffs because of its unfair home court advantage
Category: NBA
Posted on: April 4, 2011 1:13 am

Fantasy Baseball Team-- HELP WANTED

Hey guys, my fantasy league just drafted a few days ago and I'm curious to get other's opinions of moves that I need to make. I didn't do as much research as other years. I have good general knowledge of most of the league's players, but there are some prospects I picked that I really didn't research and just picked them hoping that they would pan out. I drafted in a 12 man league on yahoo, which scores by stat categories (unlike CBS scoring). Here is the team:

C- Carlos Santana
1B- Kevin Youkilis
2B- Rickie Weeks
3B- Pedro Alvarez
SS- Hanley Ramirez
OF- Mike Stanton
OF- Carlos Lee
OF- Jose Tabata
Util- Derek Lee
Util- Lance Berkman

SP- Tim Lincecum
SP- Josh Johnson
RP- Huston Street
RP- Andrew Bailey (DL)
P- Brett Myers
P- Johnathan Sanchez
P- Dan Haren
P- Josh Beckett
BN- Jeremy Helickson
BN- Kyle Drabek
BN- Johnny Cueto (DL)
BN- Jair Jurrjens (DL)
BN- Travis Wood
BN- Jose Contreras (until Bailey comes off the DL)

My usual strategy is to focus on infield early on and then draft pitchers late. But this year, I decided against that and snagged Lincecum and Johnson early on. I used my high picks to get Han-Ram, Youk, and Weeks. I wanted a catcher who would play everyday (not Brian McCann) so I went with Santana fairly early since he plays 1B occassionaly. Now my riskiest pick was Alvarez and Tabata, both Pirates who I don't know much about. I want to know from you guys whether or not I should sell early on these guys because they're not that highly touted. Also, Stanton is another prospect who everyone figures will have a breakout season. Is it worth keeping him or selling him now? Lee and Berkman I'll probably replace, so if there are any under the radar prospects that are most likely not on anyone's rosters, you guys can tell me. Weeks is another guy who seems to be entering his prime and yet may be worth trading (only 1 full season healthy). Anyone have any thoughts on Weeks?

As for the starting pitching, I'm a little more knowledgable about some of the prospects I'm picking (like Drabek and Helickson), but I'm fairly uncertain about Cueto, Jurrjens, and Wood. Have these guys looked good and camp and are they worth hanging on to?

Thanks for the help.
Category: Fantasy Baseball
Posted on: October 27, 2010 2:18 am
Edited on: October 30, 2010 3:25 pm

NBA Eastern Conference Predictions


1. Miami Heat

They will find their rhythm as they progress throughout the season. Their front court with the likes of Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas can spread the floor and get offensive rebounds as well as any front court in the NBA. Obviously no other team can bring attention to LeBron James or Dwyane Wade as they both possess enough awareness to find the open man if there is some sort of double team.

2. Boston Celtics

They may cruise through the season and give their starters time off or they may get injured again (one or the other), but that will be no matter as their bench is as strong as ever. Like the Bobcats last year, this team can throw at you some of the best big man of the last decade from their bench. They also have playmaking versatility with Nate Robinson. Not to mention Glen Davis, who has also improved greatly in the offseason.

3. Orlando Magic

They flipped around some of their role players in the offseason to make themselves slightly improved. The real deal for them this offseason, however, was resigning J.J. Redick. Expect Vince Carter and Brandon Bass to play better as they build more chemistry with this lineup. Guys like Chris Duhon and Quentin Richardson will be better players when designated to the role of only shooting 3 pointers.

4. Milwaukee Bucks

They made some nice additions this offseason after a strong finish to last season. Corey Maggette gives this team a true inside scorer to pair with Andrew Bogut. This allows them to keep a very deep bench which is also improved with the addition of Keyon Dooling and Drew Gooden. If Brandon Jennings can limit his role to distributer then this team should have no problem living up to expectations.

5. Chicago Bulls

Like the Heat, they should find their rhythm as the season progresses and Thibedau figures out the right rotations. Boozer finally gives this team a low post presence. However, his lack of post defense does not pair well with Joakim Noah who struggles in that area as well. A lack of shooters in the starting lineup and role players on the bench are two more reasons to worry. This team goes as far as Derrick Rose carries it.

6. Atlanta Hawks

They still have a solid core, but failed to address their bench issues in the offseason. Jordan Crawford could be useful as he has tremendous athleticism and can score in a variety of ways. Many have been awaiting the breakout season of Josh Smith, who's shown tremendous potential but has failed to take his game to the elite level. Chemistry issues that were present in last year's embarrassing sweep against Orlando could be the downfall of this team. Expect big things from this team if Larry Drew can create a better team atmosphere.

7. Indiana Pacers

They added a lot of talent in the offseason. Darren Collison's court awareness will allow the shooters on this team to get open looks. Tyler Hansbrough gives this team a forward that plays tough inside and pairs nicely with formal rival Josh McRoberts. Pair these guys with Roy Hibbert and you have yourself a legit NBA front court. This team now has the talent to succeed, now it's up to Jim O'Brien to mesh this talent into a functioning team by year's end to return this team back to mediocrity.

8. Philadelphia 76ers

Their front court issues look to be too great for this team to overcome after losing Samuel Dalembert. If Elton Brand continues to struggle, perhaps they will look to Marreese Speights or Craig Brackins to take more minutes away from him. Jrue Holiday has shown all-star potential, but his youth may prevent him from reaching that potential this year. While they have many shooters off the bench, this team doesn't have any shooters that can also play defense. Turner could be that guy, but he will have to adjust his style to the outside for that to happen.

9. Charlotte Bobcats

This is an old team that didn't make any offseason additions to improve themselves. Larry Brown will keep this team competitive, but they will need D.J. Augustin and Tyrus Thomas to improve for them to reach the next level. Also, with Larry Brown and head cases like Stephen Jackson come the inevitable chemistry issues that plagued the Sixers with Iverson in the middle part of the decade.

10. New Jersey Nets

Category: NBA
Posted on: January 3, 2010 4:43 am
Edited on: January 3, 2010 1:44 pm

Your Philadelphia 76ers- According to

Here are some interesting statistics that show which players make the most impact on the team.

In terms of both offensive production and production by the man they guard, there are only 4 players that help the team more than they hurt it:

Allen Iverson (+4.9)- He's provided a short run for the Sixers since his arrival, however this small sampling of games probably doesn't represent his true defense. Right now 82games has his opponent production allowed as the highest on the team (11.2). Just from watching the games alone, one cannot avoid to notice how many times the man he guards will blow right by him.

Lou Williams (+4.4)- He has the greatest offensive production on the team (22.2), while his defense has been average (17.8). This has been a breakout season so far for the quick 23 year old. While shooting well in small spurts last season, Lou has finally played consistent basketball and is shooting a cool 48% from the field. He's a versatile scorer, who is great at fighting through contact and taking the ball to the rim as well as stepping back for the jump shot.

Andre Iguodala (+5.2)- Besides the small sampling of AI's stats, Iguodala is the best defensive player for the team by far, with opponent production extremely low (15.3) and the third highest offensive production on the team (20.4). Most of his offense comes from fadeaway jumpshots created in 1-on-1 play and not from alley-oops or dunks on fast breaks like they had in the past.

Marreese Speights (+2.5)- He has the second greatest offensive production on the team (25.7) and it's no surprise. He's having a breakout season in only his second year in the league. He has a well developed game with a slew of post moves learned over the summer in his arsenal, as well the patented 15 foot jump shot he's had since his Florida days. However, he is lacking defensively as he allows the greatest amount of oppenent production by anyone else who contributes regularly to this team (23.2).

Here is another list of players who help the team in terms of intangibiles. This is a simple +/- statistic that measures the time when on the court as opposed to being off the court. For the Sixers, there are only 3 players who help the team more than they hurt it:

Allen Iverson (+8.7)- While I believe the other statistic is somewhat of a fluke, I believe this one has some merit. Iverson brings a lot to the team in terms of intangibles. He is great at providing help defense and is great at finding players open, as he is the best passer on the team. Also, he is the only vocal leader on the team.

Lou Williams (+6.3)- While it's great to see a player put up big numbers, it's also nice to know that he actually helps the team win games as opposed to some guys who put up good numbers but don't help the team at all. Gilbert Arenas, for example, is +1.2 in production but -3.2 in terms of the score change during the times he plays and the times he sits, meaning, the Wizards are better without Gilbert Arenas. Yeah, I said it.

Elton Brand (+3.4)- Brand has had somewhat of an inconsistent year, but is finally starting to show some promise after returning from two major injuries. He brings a lot of intangibles in terms of physical play on defense and ability to hit clutch shots. I think Brand is a winnner deep down. However, it will take a team effort for a turnaround of this franchise.

Thaddeus Young and Jrue Holiday also fall into this category, but their numbers are too close to zero to count them as making a positive impact in terms of intangibles.

Here are some players who didn't make these lists and suprisiningly (or not surprisingly) hurt the team more than they help it:

Thaddeus Young (-3.0 production)- While a great inside scorer with a vast array of post moves, Young lacks greatly on the defensive end. As a result, he allows one of the highest opponent productions on the team (18.0). While he is both lanky and athletic, his lack of physical play in the paint, hurts Young defensively. As a result, he's hurt the team more than he's helped it.

Jason Kapono (-6.7 production)- He's a one-dimensional player offensively that can't defend or rebound despite his size. He really shouldn't be playing in this league until he learns how to defend.

Jrue Holiday (-8.5 production)- While still only 19 years old, Holiday has been on the bad end of some great shooting performances that are difficult for any guard to defend. One performance against Mike Bibby has severely hurt his defensive production (19.4). However, as he matures he will gradually become better at contesting shots. Also, his offensive game is limited to driving to the basket as he fails to make jump shots on a regular basis.

Marreese Speights (-3.1 +/- differential)- While Speights is great at putting up numbers offensively, his lack of defense and lack of physical play on the boards, as pointed out by Elton Brand, have hurt the team. However, he is still in his second year and has a while to mature.

Jason Smith (-13.5 production)- While limited offensively, Smith still has a lot to learn defensively.

Now here are the % of the game a player's minutes take up (I listed some of the more surprising figures):

Allen Iverson (13%)- While sitting a lot of the games early on, Iverson is playing more and more and is playing a lot better as a result.

Lou Williams (40%)- While this number may be reduced due to injury, Williams is one of the best players on the team in terms of scoring and intangibles, and yet he loses minutes to the likes of Jrue Holiday and Willie Green (who is about neutral in terms of production). Compare this to 74% of the minutes played by Gilbert Arenas.

Andre Iguodala (83%)- While putting up great production numbers, Iguodala has by far the greatest number of minutes played. There's no denying he's been the most valuable player so far. However, he has a negative +/- rating (most likely because he plays the most minutes on a losing team). However, this begs the question whether or not he plays too much. As a point of reference, LeBron James plays 80% of the game for the Cavs.

Marreese Speights (25%)- This is another surprising number considering the amount of production he's put in offensively. Unfortunately Samuel Dalembert (-1.1 production) plays 51% of the minutes at his position.

Thaddeus Young (77%)- While not playing terribly defensively, there's no question that Young hurts the team more than he helps it. With the next figure I'm about to show, you will question why Young continues to get so many minutes.

Elton Brand (57%)- While his production isn't a whole lot better than Young's, his intangibles are noticably greater (+3.4 vs +.6). This begs the question why a proven veteran who gets paid a whole lot more isn't playing more than an inconsistent 3rd year player who's still learning how to play defense.

Jason Kapono, Jrue Holiday, and Jason Smith (29, 27, and 21%)- It's certainly interesting that 2 of the 3 players who hurt the team more than they help it (with 3 of the worst +/- differentials on the team) play more than Marreese Speights, who clearly helps the team.

The message I'm trying to get across here is that Jordan's rotations are clearly hurting the team. Players like Jason Kapono or Jrue Holiday can play 20 minutes one night and then less than 10 minutes the next. Jordan needs to create a much better rotation that values defense with guys like Elton Brand and not offense with guys like Jason Kapono. It's not a coincidence that the Jordan coached Wizards were reputed to be the worst defensive team in the league.

Also, if you look at the top 5 man floor rotations, you'll notice that the second lineup that we play the most contains both Thaddeus Young at power forward and Samuel Dalembert at center. This lineup, besides the lineup which features Willie Green as the point guard and Jason Kapono at small forward, allows for the greatest disparity between eFG% and eFGA% at (-11%). The lineup which produces the greatest disparity for us (+8.2%), we only play the 4th most minutes. This lineup contains Elton Brand at power forward and Marreese Speights at center. It's interesting how much better defensively Young plays at small forward as opposed to power forward. Another interesting thing to note is how all of the lineups Iverson plays in have a positive difference between eFG% and eFGA%. Another thing I want to say is how two lineups with identical front courts (Iguodala, Young, Dalembert) have a rebounding percentage disparity between 49.5% and 61%. The only difference between these lineups is that Allen Iverson plays shooting guard as opposed to Willie Green. I believe the reason for this is the lack of consistency from Samuel Dalembert. Dalembert is a guy who can't motivate himself, so with a vocal leader like Iveson, Dalembert will play much more physically underneath the basket. I believe this is one of the reasons why Samuel Dalembert had that monster game, in Iverson's return against the Nuggets, by producing 6 or so blocks and a ton of rebounds.

Category: NBA
Posted on: October 14, 2009 9:22 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2009 9:51 pm

76ers 2009-2010 Season Preview

A team ready to take the step above mediocrity, the 76ers still have many questions heading into the new season. From Lou Williams taking the reigns at point guard to Elton Brand returning from two injury laden seasons to Eddie Jordan replacing Tony DiLeo as head coach, this is a much different team than last season. Here is a breakdown of the key players heading into next season.

PG- Lou Williams

Entering his 5th season out of South Gwinnett high school and still only 22 years old, “Sweet Lou” still has many question marks in his game. Although lightning quick and aggressive to the basket, he has a career assist/turnover ratio less than 2:1 and a career field goal percentage of 41.5%. Even though he’s 6-2, he struggles to see the floor well for a point guard. While having a nice chemistry with rookie Marreese Speights last season and other role players, Williams has seldom played with the other starters. While he may still shoot a low percentage while taking some questionable shots, Williams should be able to develop a better passing game this year as he gets most of his playing time with the likes of Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand. Because of the loss of our former facilitator, Andre Miller, Lou Williams’ play becomes crucial to the success of the 76ers this season.

SG- Andre Iguodala

With Eddie Jordan coming in as head coach, expect Iguodala to start at shooting guard, similar to Mo Cheek’s lineup at the beginning of last season. Iguodala is entering his 6th season out of Arizona, still 25 years old. Since last year, “Iggy” has been refining his game to that of an offensive superstar. While developing a Kobe-esque fadeaway, Iguodala has also improved his passing game averaging 5.3 assists per game which is 3rd among shooting guards. Despite taking well-contested fadeaways whenever trying to score in the half court, Iguodala is a very efficient scorer shooting 47.3% from the field. Another strength from this rising superstar is his ability to hit clutch shots. At Amway Arena in the 1st round of the playoffs against the Magic, Iguodala nailed a game-winning 20 footer right in the grill of Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu. Everyone knows Iguodala for his defense and uncanny dunking ability, but this year look for Iguodala to take his game even further and make his first career all-star game.

SF- Thaddeus Young

Young is another blossoming talent, entering his 3rd year as a pro and his 2nd as a starter out of Georgia Tech. Because he left college as a sophomore, he is only 21 years old. “Yungsmoove” played last season mostly at power forward because of the absence of Elton Brand, but this season he will get to start at his natural position of small forward. A lanky yet athletic forward, Young has improved his shooting most notably from the 3 point line, over the last couple summers. Young shot a dismal 20% from the 3 point line in his first season. Last year, he improved to 41.7%. Like Iguodala, Young is a great defender and can perform spectacular dunks. While he is not as consistent of an on-ball defender as Iguodala, Young is great at blocking the passing lanes and had 100 steals last season. Because Young is back at his natural position and gets to guard smaller players, expect a big year from this rising star.

PF- Elton Brand

“El Train” enters his 11th season and 2nd with the 76ers at the ripe old age of 30, having played for Duke back in their glory days. Being the lone veteran on the team after the loss of Andre Miller, Brand becomes the crucial piece to this 76ers puzzle. Without him, they are a mediocre team that lacks an offensive force in the post. With him, they could very well be the same. Having signed Brand to a lucrative 5 year 80 million dollar offer two summers ago, 76ers General Manager Ed Stefanski has placed the future in the hands of Elton Brand. Although undersized for the power forward position at 6-8, Brand possesses great power in the post. Because of his strength, Brand has averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds a game for his career, mostly with the Clippers. However, because of an Achilles injury and a dislocated shoulder, Brand has barely played for the last two seasons, playing 37 out of a possible 162 games. It still remains a mystery whether Brand has fully recovered from either of these injuries. But only one fact remains certain. The 76ers success this year is completely dependent on Elton Brand.

C- Samuel Dalembert

Along with other team stars Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand, Dalembert makes over 10 million dollars a year. While not quite worth the check, “The Haitian Sensation” remains a solid role player who sometimes doesn’t understand his role. Entering his 8th season, Dalembert still complains about his role with the team and rightfully so. While averaging at least 30 minutes a night from 2007-2008, his minutes dropped to 25 minutes a night in 2009. Dalembert is a solid defensive player who generates fast break opportunities with his blocking ability, averaging 2 blocks a game for his career. Unfortunately, Dalembert is inconsistent in the rebounding department. Dalembert has averaged over 9 rebounds per game in a season only once. Another weakness for Dalembert is his lack of basketball I.Q. Last season, he averaged over 6 turnovers for every assist which was the worst in the league. Another criticism for this hapless man is his lack of post game. Attributed to a lazy work ethic, Dalembert has failed to work on his post game while focusing on his “mid-range” game. Now it is evident why Ed Stefanski desperately tried to trade him at last season’s trade deadline. Because most of his points came from Andre Miller alley-oops, look for Dalembert’s play to continue to decline and his frustration to rise.

Key Role Players

Another weak spot for the 76ers may be their bench. Spot up shooter Jason Kapono, newly acquired from the Raptors in a trade, looks to get only a minimal amount of playing time. Even though jump shooting has been the key weakness for this team, Kapono will struggle for minutes because of his inability to play defense. Shooting guard Willie Green, who started last season, will see the most playing time and will even start some games. He’s primarily a defensive specialist and most of his scoring comes in the 1st quarter before he gets tired. Power forward Marreese Speights is heading into his sophomore year and is another part of this team’s young nucleus. With a solid post game and a good outside shot, Speights has shown a lot of potential. If Speights proves he can play defense, look for him to continue to take more minutes from Dalembert. Another new addition to the team is UCLA rookie Jrue Holiday. Despite underperforming in his short college career, Holiday was a top recruit coming out of high school and still has a lot of potential because he is only 19. Unlike Lou Williams, Holiday can play shut down defense, which is a lost art for the point guard position. Holiday should get some minutes this season, but he is still far away from being NBA ready.

Coach- Eddie Jordan

Signed by Ed Stefanski last offseason to replace interim coach Tony DiLeo, Eddie Jordan will attempt to implement his version of the Princeton offense into a traditionally high-tempo team. Jordan believes that his offense will make the 76ers a better jump shooting team, while still attempting to score as efficiently as possible. While at Washington, Jordan helped develop 3 all-star players and never had a losing season. In 2005, he led the Wizards to the Eastern Conference Finals. However, this was his best accomplishment as a coach. Stefanski acquired Jordan believing he could incorporate Elton Brand into a high-tempo, fast-paced offense. While former coach Mo Cheeks failed to do this, it is certainly possible for Eddie Jordan to achieve this. As long as Brand remains healthy and Lou Williams can step up his game, Eddie Jordan will have a successful year in his 1st year as a coach for the 76ers, meaning he will lead this team past the 1st round of the playoffs.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or