Tag Archives: Joe Johnson

Remember Us? Don’t Count out the Chicago Bulls in 2012-2013

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. The Bulls have become an afterthought due to Derrick Rose’s injury, but with Tom Thibodeau (pictured above) running the show, don’t count Chicago out just yet.

By Wesley Kaminsky

In the wake of Dwight Howard going to the Lakers, Andrew Bynum going to the Sixers, and Joe Johnson going to the Nets, the 2012-2013 Chicago Bulls lie somewhere in the desert.

This is the team that had the best record in the NBA over the past two seasons and lost their superstar Derrick Rose to a torn ACL in the first round of the playoffs last season.

This is the team that was the biggest threat to Miami in the Eastern Conference before that injury.

Yeah, that team. Remember them? It seems like a lifetime ago in which they were championship contenders. Continue reading

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“My Super Early Top 5 in the East”

For my super early NBA predictions, the Orlando Magic are the team to beat in the East.

With all the action going on this offseason in the NBA, I feel like it is time to start making predictions for the 2011 season.  Many have said that this free agency period will heavily affect the League for the next decade.  And they are right.

So I figure it is never too early to start predicting what is going to happen next year.  Most of the big moves this summer have occurred in the East.  Here is my super early 2011 Eastern Conference top five:

1.  Orlando Magic

2.  Boston Celtics

3.  Miami Heat

4.  Chicago Bulls

5.  Atlanta Hawks

So I am sure you are asking, how can’t you rank the Heat number 1?  I will state that the Heat definitely have the potential to be the top team in the East next year.  And the pick up of Mike Miller was definitely a good start on adding to the star trifecta.  But I am very curious to see who else gets filled in on this roster.  They need to grab a physical center and some role guys off the bench.  It remains to be seen if this will happen.  We will learn a lot more in the next few weeks.  Can guys like Da’Sean Butler and Dexter Pittman make an immediate impact?  The way things are looking they will get a chance to.

Then you got the Magic.  They have been to the Conference Finals 2 consecutive years.  They are determined to grab a title.  This team won 59 games last year.  They look pretty much the same.  Dwight Howard is the most dominant physical presence in the League.  Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis are great coming off the wings.  Then you have the steady play of Jameer Nelson.  This team has been through the fire, and will be determined to get back to the NBA Finals.  Though letting Redick go to the Bulls would be a big mistake in my eyes.

At number 2 I have the Boston Celtics.  Now I did not think Doc Rivers was going to return for another year.  But with his return to the sideline, the team will be kept together.  A team that arguably could have won the title last year had Kendrick Perkins been healthy in the Finals.  Though the trio is getting older, they still can play, not to mention Rajon Rondo has emerged as the best all around player on the team.  Rondo fills up the stat sheet better than any player in the League and is definitely one of the game’s elite point guards.  Lastly, the quite pickup of Jermaine O’Neal will pay dividends.  Though O’Neal is not as good as he once was, he is only 31 and could really get re-energized playing alongside Kevin Garnett.  These two could be a very dangerous threat up front.  So do not sleep on this team.

Then as I mentioned before, the Heat are my number 3.  And this is definitely subject to change.  It remains to be seen how they fill out the remainder of their roster.  It has been highly publicized the past couple of days that they have been having talks with 5 time NBA Champion Derek Fisher.  This would be a huge pickup and definitely leapfrog them into my top 2.  But I feel like the Lakers in the end will cough up the cash and keep their clutch, veteran performer.

At number 4, I have the Chicago Bulls.  This is a team that many are overlooking entirely.  So what if they did not get Lebron.  I mean with Lebron, they probably would have been my number 1 team, but they have Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, Kyle Korver, and possibly the up and coming J.J. Redick.  This team is well-rounded, young, and hungry.  I feel this is a definite team of the future.  But will be in the upper echelon of the East still.  They do not have a player over the age of 30 and are extremely talented.  The ability of Derrick Rose to drive and kick will pay huge dividends with Korver and possibly Reddick camping out on the perimeter.  Not to mention they will be very tough on the boards with the bash brothers, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah.  They will be fun to watch.

Finally at number 5, I have the Atlanta Hawks.  This has been the team of the “future” for over 3 years now.  They are very talented and fun to watch.  Unfortunately, they did not really improve this offseason and will not be able to leapfrog the East’s elite in my eyes.  They also spent entirely too much money on Joe Johnson.  Joe should have taken less money and given the Hawks an opportunity to get a Carlos Boozer type player.  Joe is a great player, but the team gave him money as if he was one of the League’s top 3 players.  Still the Hawks will be tough in 2011.

So that is my Super Early top 5 for the Eastern Conference next year.  Much of this could change depending on where a couple of players end up over the next few weeks.

I know I am already excited for next season with this new look Eastern Conference.

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.

-Kraze

“When a Man Becomes Bigger than the Game Itself”

Lebron James has turned into the Brett Favre of the NBA and is now bigger than the game itself.

The NBA Free Agency frenzy this past week has shown me many things.  It has shown me what chaos is like.  It has shown me the power of coattail effects (power of mouth).  It has shown me the power of money.  It has shown me that NBA analysts can act like John Kerry and constantly flip-flop their opinions by the hour.  But the main thing it has shown me.. 

One man has become bigger than the game itself.  The man who proclaimed himself “King James” from a young age is the NBA.  The NBA should now be answering to the “King.”  Lebron has single-handedly turned this offseason into the Lebron show.  And sure there has been other players involved in this, but it all has been about James from day 1.  All the buildup of what the other players would do was all secondary to what the King would do.  And wouldn’t you know it, Lebron will be the last big time player to decide his fate tomorrow evening.  Do not forget to tune in to the hour special tomorrow night of Lebron’s big “announcement.”

Give me a break..

Now I will be the first to tell you that Lebron is probably the best player in the world at this time.  He is an exceptional athlete who has really redefined the game with his amazing size, grace, and skill.  But I think people are forgetting one major thing.  The kid, and that is what he is a kid (25 now), has not even won a title.  He has 0 rings and the world has gotten on its knees to worship this guy.  I mean if Michael Jordan was a free agent 15 years ago (and mind you he had rings),   would there have been an hour-long special on ESPN for his “announcement?”

I love the NBA.  And I will admit that I have enjoyed playing with the scenarios of what would happen during this highly anticipated free agency period as much as anybody.  But enough is enough.  There has been a super buildup for really a lack of movement.  Joe Johnson stayed put.  Dirk Nowitzki stayed put.  Paul Pierce stayed put.  Dwyane Wade stayed put.  Lebron may even stay put.

All the hype for what?  Sure it has been exciting, but not all that much has happened.  Other than Amare going to the Knicks, Bosh going to the Heat, and possibly Lebron heading to NYC, not much else out of the ordinary has occurred.  Now I do understand the significance this summer has played in molding the League for the next decade.  Even guys staying put is key to the future of the League and who will be its main contenders, but really not all that much has happened.

So Lebron James will really put a close to the main part of this free agency frenzy tomorrow night.  And I for one will be happy to see it end and be able to move on.  It will most likely be Cleveland or New York as the self-proclaimed “King’s” destination.  And that brings me to another point that has been bothering me for some time now.  Did Michael Jordan ever have to refer to himself as Air Jordan?  Well Lebron James has to refer to himself as “King James.”  Is this symbolic?

I would love to see Lebron end up on the Knicks in that I am a Knick’s fan.  But Lebron has turned into the Brett Favre of the NBA. 

A man who is bigger than the League and bigger than the game itself.

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.

-Kraze

“The Dawning of a New Day”

We are all witnesses to the Free Agency period of the summer, 2010.

 It is less than 24 hours away.  The scope of the NBA will be completely altered and fans will “witness” a new day for the League.  For the past decade, the NBA has been dominated by the Western Conference.  For the decade before that, the Eastern Conference reigned supreme (Michael Jordan era).  Now it is up for grabs.  As the world braces itself for the Free Agency period of a lifetime, we have 24 hours left to reflect on the NBA that was.  Because it will be no more.. 

I know most of you are probably sick and tired of hearing about the NBA Free Agency period of 2010.  I will admit it is turning into a Brett Favre type saga.  The only difference is this story actually has a valid excuse for being talked about every day for over 2 months.  This is not about one player’s selfish cry for attention.  This is a story that involves the entire League.  It is a story that is honestly bigger than the game. 

Now I will admit that I have no idea what is going to happen during this Free Agency period.  I can speculate like all of the other experts and analysts.  And I have my opinions and theories on who will go where and why.  But let’s be honest, nobody is sure about what will transpire over the next few weeks.  People can hypothesize, but there are no sure-fire take the bank type facts.  The only way to actually get a better idea would be to sit at the player’s roundtable, which sounds similar to a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen type event.  And wouldn’t you know it, 2 more marquee names added themselves to the Free Agency pool last evening (Paul Pierce and Dirk Nowitzki). 

So heading into the final 24 hours before the insanity begins, lets take a look at what players are on the market.  You have both your Superstars and your All Stars in this class (and of course other solid players that are getting no mention this offseason).  I will also put in parenthesis next to each player where I think they will land (no analysis will be provided though). 

Superstars: 

-Lebron James (Chicago), Dwayne Wade (Miami), Chris Bosh (Chicago), Dirk Nowitzki (newly added name) (Dallas) 

All Stars: 

Paul Pierce (newly added name) (LA Clippers), Joe Johnson (New York), Amare Stoudemire (New York), Carlos Boozer (Miami) 

This is just a small crop of the marquee names available.  There is much more out there, but these are the guys who have been getting the majority of the press. 

In a way, all of this buildup, preparation, and hype, could be compared to a Presidential election.  Teams have been cutting salary in any way possible over the past 2 years in preparation for this July.  This is sort of like fundraising for a campaign.  It has all been about positioning.  In addition, teams have been wooing players in any way possible that falls within the rules for well over 2 years.  The same way Presidential candidates try to woo people to vote for them by touring the country making speeches.  Lastly, the entire NBA is involved in this.  This is similar to how the entire country is involved in a Presidential election.  The only difference between this and a Presidential election really other than voting is that this will have an effect on the entire League for well over 4 years.  The Presidential election only results in a 4 year contract while most of these contracts will be for more than 4 year periods (and their impacts on the League will extend for well over a decade). 

So there you have it.  I would love to give you further analysis and reasoning on my predictions on where everybody is going to land and what is going to happen during the course of this bonanza.  But my predictions, similar to the experts like Bill Simmons, Tim Legler, Tony Kornheiser, Michael Wilbon, etc are all void in that nobody really knows what is going to happen (as I stated before). 

This is truly an enigma and is the only reason why I and most people can tolerate all the attention it has been getting each and every day for the better part of 3 months. 

Get ready for the dawning of a new day in the NBA. 

Also, if you would like to see a conversation that I had with a fellow sports enthusiast/blogger (Bryan Setz) a couple of a days ago, who has a blog called 3 Cats 1 Nut, go to http://www.3cats1nut.com/  and check out the gist of the conversation. 

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze. 

-Kraze