Saturday, December 6, 2008

NBA Noise has moved!

Hello everyone! Just wanted to give you a big NBA Noise update. You may have already noticed if you have typed NBAnoise.com in your browser in the past week that things looked very different. That is because I'm packing up my bags and moving over to MVN (Most Valuable Network). Please, if you have this page bookmarked to the blogspot address, change it to just NBAnoise.com

NBA Noise will be bringing you the same content on its own personal page, but now you will have easy access to articles from MVN writers that cover the league broadly. I hope you take a moment to register with MVN for quick commenting access on our future posts, but of course, you can continue to post anonymously if you are the sneaky type.

Thank you for all of your support in the past and for making NBA Noise a success.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Studs and Duds: 11/29/08

Studs: New York Knicks (138-125 victory over Golden State)

Despite the fact that the Knicks were playing against one of the few teams equally disinterested in playing defense as they are, they had a few players put up some ridiculous numbers. Chris Duhon set a franchise record in assists with 22, David Lee chipped in 37 points and 21 rebounds, and the new-Knick Al Harrington contributed 36 points and 12 boards. If only I had just one of these guys on my fantasy team...

Duds:

Mike Miller, Minnesota Timberwolves

Aside from a few assists, Mike Miller didn't do much to help his team tonight, as he shot an ice cold 2-10 from the field and scored only four points (in 3o minutes of play). The T'Wolves fell to the Denver Nuggets 106-97. [boxscore]

Raymond Felton, Charlotte Bobcats


While Raymond Felton was active in several facets of the game (7 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals), he was ice-cold from the field as he only connected on two of 15 attempts. Felton finished with only four points a night after he poured in a career-high 31. The Bobcats fell to the Celtics 89-84. [boxscore]

Friday, November 28, 2008

Studs and Duds: 11/28/08

Studs:

Dwyane Wade, Miami HEAT


Dwyane Wade was spectacular in the HEAT's first meeting against the Phoenix Suns since the Shaquille O'Neal for Shawn Marion trade. The HEAT got the better end of the matchup this time around, as Wade poured in a season high 43 points (on 15-24 shooting) along with six assists. [boxscore]

Emeka Okafor, Charlotte Bobcats

Emeka Okafor logged 43 minutes in the Bobcats' 115-108 overtime win against the Indiana Pacers. In that time, he contributed 14 points on an efficient 6-9 shooting, and amassed an impressive 20 rebounds. [boxscore]

Duds:


Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics

Paul Pierce was a virtual non-factor in the Celtics' 102-78 romp over Philadelphia, as he was limited to six points on 1-6 shooting from the field. [boxscore]

David West, New Orleans Hornets


David West was largely ineffective against the Trail Blazers tonight, as he scored only 10 points on 5 of 15 shooting. The Hornets lost to the Blazers 101-86 [boxscore]

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Backcourt insubordination


Allen Iverson apparently decided that practicing on Thanksgiving day was too much to ask, as he was the only Detroit Pistons player absent from a mandatory practice today. Pistons coach Michael Curry said that Iverson will be issued a "hefty" fine and hasn't decided if A.I. will play in Friday's matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks. I can't wait to hear Iverson's reasoning on why he missed practice, but I'm sure the Pistons brass are finding this press-conference to be much less funny at this point.

Stephon Marbury's boycott to play for the Knicks continues as he declined to play for the team last night against the Pistons. This leaves the Knicks in a very difficult situation as they are down to two healthy guards (Chris Duhon and Anthony Roberson). Marbury is slated to make $20.8 million this season, and it looks like he has no intention of doing anything to earn this money. I know this is a deep and complicated situation that we will likely not get to the bottom of anytime soon, but Marbury isn't doing himself any favors by not playing. His boycott further portrays himself as a headcase, and as a player whose attitude and actions outweigh his on-court talent. According to the New York Daily News, Marbury's actions will lead either to his release from the team or to be ordered to stay home indefinitely.

Maui Invitational: Texas tandem

The University of Texas has produced some of the best NBA prospects in the NBA over the last several years. Among them are D.J. Augustin, Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, Daniel Gibson and T.J. Ford. The past several days I was able to get an up-close look at Texas in the Maui Invitational, and two players stuck out in my mind as serious NBA prospects.

Damion James
- Texas, Jr.

It's clear when you see Damion James step onto the court that he has a body that was made to play in the NBA. Standing at 6'7, much of Texas' high hopes for the season rest on his broad shoulders. James has a good feel for the game and has the ability to created good looks for himself. Having played in the post for his first two seasons at Texas, he seems most comfortable when slashing in the paint and is a solid finisher around the hoop. James has the potential to be a lottery pick in upcoming drafts, but he will have to diversify his game and play at a consistent level for this to happen. Increasing his accuracy from the perimeter will be crucial to his draft stock this year. If he is able to develop that consistencey, I can see James eventually developing into a Corey Maggette type of player.

A.J. Abrams - Texas, Sr.

Although undersized, A.J. Abrams is great at moving without the ball and creating great looks for himself. He is a solid shooter and is effective at both spotting up and coming off of screens. His range demands respect from opposing defenses. Texas uses an NBA-distance three-point line during their pick-up games, and in Abrams case - it shows. In the NBA, I can see Abrams playing the role of a scoring point/combo guard, in a similar role such as Juan Dixon or Eddie House. To improve, Abrams should look to expand his distribution skills and use the attention he receives from defenses to get his teammates involved.

What I'm thankful for - NBA edition

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you from NBA Noise! I'm spending Thanksgiving in Maui, since I'm still over here after the EA Sports Maui Invitational, but I have family here with me so life is good! There's lots that I am thankful for in this current NBA season:
  • Shaquille O'Neal is on Twitter. Nothing is better than getting short updates from Shaq himself. You never know what's going to come out of his crazy mouth. Imagine if Twitter was around during the Wilt Chamberlain era - that would be interesting to say the least.

  • An exciting crop of rookies. What's not to love about this group of newcomers? Derrick Rose is exceeding all expectations. O.J. Mayo is showing some serious firepower. Michael Beasley is showing his offensive versatility. The Blazers have an exciting rookie combo in Rudy Fernandez and Greg Oden. Gotta love it.

  • NBA League Pass Broadband - Now I can stay glued to a digital screen and stay on top of all of the NBA games I can stand, no matter where I am, even when I should be socializing.

  • The dominance of the Celtics (14-2) and Lakers (12-1) - Having these two teams excel like they are this year is a fantastic thing for the NBA. Major markets, major players, major marketability. It would seem as though these two teams could be poised to have a Finals rematch this year, and with Andrew Bynum back in the Lakers' lineup the Celtics vs. Lakers rivalry is even more intriguing.

  • And as always, thank you Stephon Marbury. You always give me something to look forward to writing about.
What are you thankful for thus far in this young NBA season?

Maui Invitational: Bigs with potential

This year's Maui Invitational tournament had its fair share of NBA-prospects, but here are a few post players who I think may eventually develop into solid pros.

Luke Harandody
- Notre Dame, Jr.

At 6'8" and 250 lbs., Notre Dame junior Luke Harangody is a force to be reckoned with in the paint. He has more than adequate size and strength to be a solid power forward at the next level. Although it looks a bit awkward, he has a decent mid-range jump shot for a big man (18-20 feet), which allows him to impact the game in a variety of ways. Harangody also has the ability to improvise in mid-air to evade opposing defenses. He has a good knack for coming up with loose balls and rebounds and finds a way to get involved on the court wherever the action is. One thing I specifically noted with Harangody was his ability to establish position on offense, which is crucial in helping his perimeter players feed him the ball. I think that Harangody will develop into an offensively superior Jason Maxiell-type of player.

Michael Dunigan - Oregon, Fr.

Michael Dunigan was a McDonald's All-American last year and is now Oregon's prized recruit. He might be the most heralded big man that Oregon has ever landed. Dunigan isn't ready to make the leap to the pros just yet, and maybe won't even be after next season - but when he does, he will surely be an impact player. Dunigan has a soft touch around the hoop and has a well-developed drop-step and baby-hook in his arsenal. While he has tried to incorporate a baseline fade and mid-range jumpshot, he still has a lot of room for improvement. I get the feeling from watching him that he isn't in top condition right now, which is somewhat encouraging to what he could be with the right kind of training. Already, he is a double-double threat, and a noticeable presence on the defensive end. As this Oregon team learns how to incorporate Dunigan more within their offense, I think we will start to see his production (and future draft stock) increase.

Ahmad Nivins - St. Joseph's, Sr.

Ahmad Nivins has a great NBA body and has a non-stop motor on the court. He puts in a strong effort on the glass and is active in the paint. Although he is not a natural scorer, his athleticism creates quality looks for him around the basket. Nivins also has a respectable mid-range shot from 10 to 15 feet out. Because of the Hawks' emphasis on perimeter play, Nivins often draws double teams when he receives the ball in the post. On defense, on several occasions I noticed Nivins changing or blocking shots while playing help defense, which speaks well for his defensive awareness. While he is a power-forward by NBA-size standards, Nivins plays more like a center. His size and effort could make him a serviceable big at the next level.

Tom Pritchard
- Indiana, Fr.

While he is by no means NBA-ready at this point, I think that Hoosier freshman Tom Pritchard has the potential to develop into one of the better post players in the country with the proper progression. While he didn't impress me much by the numbers he was putting up, I was impressed with his size, coordination and (most importantly) his composure. In their first game of the tournament, Pritchard was matched up against Harangody, and while he didn't win the battle he played confidently and made some solid plays. Indiana is one of the youngest teams in the country, so Pritchard will likely be a focal point for them for years to come.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Maui Invitational: UNC is full of NBA talent

In the following day, I will take a look at the numerous NBA prospects that we saw in action throughout the tournament. But as the University of North Carolina was crowned tournament champions after a convincing win against Notre Dame, I think it is only fitting that we start with the immense amount of potential NBA talent that is on the Tarheel's roster.

Ty Lawson
- 5'11", 195 lbs, Jr.

Lawson came away with the tournament's MVP award, and rightfully so. Throughout the tournament, Lawson had 22 assists and only two turnovers (that's an 11/1 A/TO ratio for those non-math whizzes) Lawson is a rare mix of speed, handles and scoring ability that makes him a serious NBA prospect. I was particularly impressed with his smooth stroke from outside, and his ability to finish in traffic. Lawson is highly effective in the open court, and has shown that he has solid playmaking abilities. His height is a bit of a concern, but his skills will help to make up for that deficiency. I see Lawson as being a smaller-version of Baron Davis. He's like Baron Light, or shall I say Diet Diddy. Either way, Lawson will be a factor at the next level, and I would expect him to enter his name into next year's draft pool.

Tyler Hansbrough
- 6'9", 250 lbs, Sr.

Psycho T was selected to the Maui Invitational's All-Tournament Team in only two games of action. While he has been knicked up with shin and ankle injuries, he seemed as good as ever in the championship game against the Irish. Hansbrough dropped in an impressive 34 points, that came from a variety of methods and distances (including a three-pointer). He has clearly extended his range in the offseason, and he should only become more effective as his conditioning improves. Hansbrough realistically could have been drafted in each of the last four years (including after his senior year in high school) had he made himself eligible. Hansbrough plays with an intensity on the court that is rivaled by none. He plays his heart out every night, and is an impact player on both ends of the floor. I'm always impressed with his soft touch around the hoop, and his ability to make difficult shots. If he continues to hone his jumpshot, his draft stock will continue to rise - and if you think he is the second-coming of Mark Madsen, you are out of your mind. This is the consensus 2007 National Player of the Year we are talking about, here.

Danny Green - 6'6", 210 lbs, Sr.

Danny Green was the third Tarheel to be named to the Maui Invitational All-Tournament team, after several stellar performances. He had declared himself eligible for last year's NBA Draft, however he pulled his name out before the deadline. Green has good NBA size and athletic ability, and he will be a solid shooting guard at the next level. He has adapted well to his starting-role with UNC and hit his offensive groove in the first two games of the tournament (career high 26 points vs. Chaminade; career-high 5 three-pointers vs. Oregon). Green has an effective stroke from outside and he is a fundamentally sound defender, which will make him very appealing to NBA teams in need of some perimiter help next season.

Wayne Ellington
- 6'4", 200 lbs, Jr.

Ellington is a pure scorer, and one of the focal points of this high-octane UNC offense. He has a quick-release shot and is serious threat on the outside. Ellington also runs the floor well and is a capable ball-handler, allowing him to run the point if need be. He will likely need to hone his playmaking skills to boost his draft stock, as he is a bit undersized for a traditional two-guard in the NBA. However, Ellington's all-around talent and athletic ability will make it difficult for many NBA teams to pass him up.

Also keep an eye on:

Deon Thompson - at 6'8" Thompson has great NBA size, and he plays very naturally in the post. He has a nice mid-range touch, and is beginning to prove himself as a force on the boards. Thompson is usually overshadowed by Hansbrough, but he was a key contributor in their win against Notre Dame. If he decides to stay at UNC another year, I wouldn't be surprised if he emerged as one of the best bigs in the country when he doesn't have to share time and stats with Psycho T.

Ed Davis - While only a freshman, Davis is a silky smooth lefty that could be a big deal for the Tarheels in the following years. He has already shown solid rebounding and post-scoring ability, and he will only improve. If he can put some muscle on his lanky frame, he could become a household name amongst college hoops fans.