Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Lovable Ballers (Pt III.) ... Stars Rule!

When you check the NBA’s team rosters out, on every squad there’s a player you like the most out of that respective bunch. Here are my choices:

Jason Kidd
Dallas Mavericks
The Mavs’ top playmaker is ready to play 82 games for Dallas this season. The Mavericks didn't truly adjust to his presence after a mid-season trade changed their point guard position entirely, but with a new head coach Rick Carlisle and a full training camp we should see plenty of eye-popping dishes from Kidd in 2008-09. But will that translate into bigger success in comparison with the past? Not probable.

Hedo Turkoglu
Orlando Magic
Hedo was the guy the Magic turned to at the end of games all last season, and he plays a lot of playmaker at the top of the key. That could change this season, with more playmaking options, but if last season was any indication, Hedo seems to be the guy the Magic will turn to in tight games. Whatever the result may be.

Ronnie Brewer
Utah Jazz
Brewer is an absolutely great kid. He's also an incredible athlete who has a chance to develop into one heck of an NBA player. This season will be a very important one for him. With so many swingmen on the roster, Utah has been waiting for a player to assert himself and definitively claim the starting job. Brewer seems to be on the odds on favorite, but after failing to do so during his first two seasons, he may be running out of chances.

Shane Battier
He’ll miss the Camp thanks to an injury. But he’ll be back in November. One of the most common mistakes NBA fans make is to talk wistfully about the Rockets' Rudy Gay-Shane Battier trade. People love to say the Rs would like to have that trade back, but the truth is Battier is every bit as indispensable as Yao Ming or Tracy McGrady. He's easily one of the top five defenders in the league, brings a tremendously valuable voice to the locker room, and is the consummate teammate. He accepts any assignment without complaint and plays as hard as anyone. The reason you hear his name come up so often in trade talks is because every team wants him, not because the Rockets are shopping him.

Grant Hill
Phoenix Suns
G-Hill is the personification of class and dignity. There is not another guy who has overcome more injuries to stay in the league than Hill. It would have been easy for Hill to retire and take with him all the money he made largely as a result of the lucrative deal he signed in Orlando. However, Hill truly loves the game of basketball and wants to play for absolutely as long as he's physically capable. People who point to modern-day athletes as folks who care about money and nothing else, obviously haven't ever met Grant Hill. He's not the same player he once was, but he's every bit the person.

David West
New Orleans Hornets
NOH’s top offensive player, D-West. While Chris Paul scored about a point more per game than fellow All-Star West, it's hard to argue the value of a guy that score in the post and move out to knock down relatively deep jumpshots. Paul runs the offense and makes things happen, but without a guy like West, CP3's assist numbers wouldn't be quite as high. If Paul is the grease that keeps the wheels moving, West is the steam that powers the locomotive. He had his first All-Star appearance last season and while that will be hard to repeat there's certainly no doubting that he has become one of the team's leaders and very easily could lead the team in scoring this season.

Andrew Bynum
Los Angeles Lakers
Without minimizing what the Lakers need defensively from Bryant (a regular on the All-Defensive Teams), LA needs a true center protecting the basket. Bynum has the potential to be a game changer with his shot blocking and rebounding. After watching from the sidelines last year with his knee injury, Bynum says he's and healthy and well aware of what he needs to do to on the defensive side of the ball. Before he got hurt, Bynum's growth was exponential. As the season progressed he began to look dominant. He still needs to cultivate his low post game but his potential is off the charts. If he can stay healthy, he's arguably a top four or five center. In the 35 games he did play last season, he averaged 13.1 points on 63.6% shooting, 10.2 rebounds and 2.1 blocks. Perhaps even more significant was his 2.8 personal fouls spread out over 28.8 minutes a game. Foul trouble is often the weakness of a developing big but Bynum's body control keeps him on the floor.

Tim Duncan
San Antonio Spurs
Ya gotta love Timmy. You cannot overstate the value of the Big Fundamental. Even with his production dropping Duncan remains the leader of The Team on and off the court. Despite being a surefire Hall-of-Famer Duncan remains the Spurs' hardest worker, something that coach Pop (Sorry Gregg for that last blog’s crazy photo, but that was a historic moment for my blog. The first appearance in the TrueHoop’s Bullets!) refers to as a vital part of their success. He's still the foundation of this team and everything runs through him. Duncan has gotten more rest than he's accustomed to this summer, and it's a good thing because with Manu out the Spurs need him to get off to a quick start.

Rodney Stuckey
Detroit Pistons
When Billups was injured last year, Stuckey came out of nowhere to develop into a more than affable NBA combo guard. With proper playing time (which he'll likely get as one of the first guys off the Detroit bench this season) he'll become quite a scoring threat. Maybe those early comparisons to Ben Gordon weren't so far off, after all. This young man is the future of the Detroit Pistons. If and when Joe Dumars makes a move to trade away one or more of his veterans, you can bet that Stuckey's name won't be involved in the deal. He's a Piston for now and for the future.

Rajon Rondo
Boston Celtics
Before ever playing in a game with him, Kevin Garnett predicted Rajon Rondo would be one of the best point guards in the next three to four years. Rondo, 22, is on the right path. Garnett's confidence in the young gym rat is a testament to his potential and room to grow. RR is definitely in my NBA Players Fave Five (the Spurs don’t count, obviously).

p.s.: The San Antonio Silver Stars of WNBA are in the Finals! What a success! Let’s go for that first championship, ladies!
p.s.2: *I like what [Coach Pop] he's going for, an intimidating look,*T-Duncan said. *I actually had a full beard going, but I came in and saw his beard and was intimidated by his beard and shaved it off.*
p.s.3: If you wanna know something about European basketball, look a this site:

Posted by Foreigner in CS - Oct 1 2008 8:00AM

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