Tag:Cleveland Cavaliers
Posted on: October 15, 2010 12:32 pm
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NBA's Top Players Destined For a Breakout Season

As the NBA season nears its debut, NBA Primetime’sBrandon Ribak breaks down the top players destined for a breakout this season.

J.J. Hickson (PF, CLE)

Last season J.J. Hickson posted 8.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in just 20.9 minutes per contest. With LeBron not around Hickson should be provided with plenty of minutes per game, giving him an opportunity to average close to a double-double every night.

At the age of 22, Hickson has potential to be a top candidate for the Most Improved Player of the Year Award, especially if he can remain healthy and produce with the ample amount of playing time given.

Anthony Randolph (PF/C, NYK)

The 6’11″ 21-year-old was a top name on this list just one season ago, but after playing just 33 regular season games and averaging a mere 22.7 MPG (due to Don Nelson) the athletic power-forward is getting the chance to make up for lost time in the New York Knicks run-and-gun system.

Randolph has extreme upside and has the arsenal to average a double-double on a nightly basis along with over a steal and block per game.

If Randolph can log starters minutes on a consistent basis, the young gun is capable of posting eye-popping statistics.

Brooke Lopez (C, NJN)

Lopez will look to build upon his sophomore season averages of 18.8 PPG, 8.7 RPG, and 1.7 BPG. Centers that can score, rebound, and defend efficiently are a rare commodity in the NBA and at the age of just 22, Lopez has the ability to emerge as a top two center in the league.

Considering that he has yet to miss a game throughout his two year career, with career shooting averages of 51.5 percent from the field and 81.0 percent from the charity stripe, Lopez has all the weapons necessary to emerge as an All-Star this season.

Jrue Holiday (PG, PHI)

In only 24.2 MPG last season, 20-year-old Jrue Holiday averaged 8.0 points, 3.8 assists, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game.

Holiday will enter the upcoming season as the Sixers’ starting point-guard, signaling that the former UCLA Bruins should be in for a breakout year.

We can expect Holiday to become a top leader in steals per game, along with an above average assist rate.

Robin Lopez (C, PHX)

With Amare Stoudemire out of the picture, Robin Lopez will be leaned upon to log heavy minutes for Phoenix at the center position.

While Robin Lopez certainly doesn’t have the same game as his brother Brooke, he does have the capability of averaging close to a double-double per game.

Starters minutes with Steve Nash as your point-guard is the recipe for a breakout season for any big man.

For more of Brandon's content be sure to check out NBAPrimetime.com and follow him on twitter @_nbaprimetime
Posted on: October 11, 2010 12:10 pm
 

Will LeBron James average a triple-double?

The debate continues on whether or not LeBron James can average a triple-double for an entire season. Brandon Ribak and Ross Boulware debate on the topic below.

Boulware- If LeBron James was going to average a triple double, he would have done it in Cleveland. LeBron’s running mates will ultimately lead to his rise to a championship and his downfall of individual accomplishments. It will be a reverse effect from Cleveland where he won individual awards like MVP but no titles. Wade and Bosh will lead to lower stats for the King.

Ribak- What makes him have less of a chance to do so in Miami? Although Wade and Bosh will be alongside of him, his biggest drop in production will be his points per game average. James will be directing traffic at the pointguard position more than he did in Cleveland and should be able to grab close to ten boards with an undersized front-court in Miami.

Boulware- James is playing with the best rebounder he has ever played with. Rebounds in the double digits would be hard to come by on a nightly basis. He played with an aging and much less mobile Shaq and Ilgauskas only averaged four to five rebounds in Cleveland’s most dominant years. If he couldn’t average 10+ with average big man rebounders then it’s easy to doubt he can with an even great rebounder in Bosh.

Ribak- Varejao averaged 7.5 RPG last season and Shaq had just under 7 last year when James logged over 7 RPG. The Cavaliers also had Jamison for 25 games during last season. The Heat have Bosh and Anthony to collect the majority of rebounds with Haslem contributing as well. James will record career-highs in RPG, especially because he will be playing the point-guard role, which should enable him to pick up a few more easy buckets per contest.

Boulware- Overall, I see this Heat team getting more rebounds up-front then what LeBron is used to. In addition to that, it is not even convincing that James is the dominant player. I dont think the ball will be in his hands as much as he is used to and certainly to get triple doubles consistenly he needs the ball.

Ribak- Why won’t the ball be in his hands as much as he is used to? The Miami Heat are James’ team now and he should be able to rack up the assists and rebounds just like he did in Cleveland, except now he won’t be forced to score 30 PPG.

Boulware- An age old adage is possession is nine tenths of the law. The laws are no different in basketball. Possessions rule all and this year will be the fewest numbers of possessions LeBron has ever had in his career. He will certainly have the ball in his hands often but less than he did in Cleveland  because the laws of possession are much different when you cross the border into Miami Wade County. James is the new kid in town so at the start of the season it’s Wade’s team until LeBron shows the initiative to make it his own.

Ribak- You just proved my point. Fewer possessions will mean less points for James. When the ball is in his hands he will be distributing it to Wade more than half the time or Miller and Chalmers standing around the three-point arc.

Boulware- I believe in the assist stat just not in the rebounding. I’m not sure assists will be in double digits but it will certainly be very high. I believe James is perfectly capable of averaging a triple double based off his talent but I don’t believe this is a team that will be designed for him to do so. The acheivements are shared. Wade gets points, James gets assits and Bosh will get the rebounds. I believe he gets close to averaging a double double at best.

For more of Brandon's content be sure to check out NBAPrimetime.com and follow him on twitter @_nbaprimetime
Posted on: September 30, 2010 1:11 pm
 

NBA 2010 Eastern Conference Preseason Rankings

The 2010 NBA season is just around the corner and boy oh boy did we have one heck of an offseason.

From LeBron taking his talents to South Beach, to Shaq joining the Boston Celtics , to Amare Stoudemire joining the Knickerbockers, to Joe Johnson signing the offseasons fattest contract, this historic offseason will surely be one that goes down in the record books.

But enough of who went where. Let’s get into NBA Primetime’s official Eastern Conference Preason Rankings.

1. Miami Heat - Last season record (47-35)

Is too much star-power a bad thing? Miami boasts three of the top players in the league on their roster. Doubters believe a mixture of ego and chemistry could crumble this three-head monster (LeBoshade), but until then they enter as the team to beat in the East.

2. Orlando Magic - Last season record (59-23)

Shifting Rashard Lewis to his natural small-forward position will allow forwards Brandon Bass and Ryan Anderon to showcase their unseen talents. Bass will inevitably emerge as a beast in the paint while Anderson will arise as one of the leagues top three-point shooters. Oh yea, Orlando also has a 24-year-old Dwight Howard and Vince Carter , who’s itching to prove his worth after a disappointing season.

3. Boston Celtics - Last season record (50-32)

It’s tough to ever rule out Boston, regardless of how many gray hairs Garnett, both O’Neal’s, and Allen would have if they weren’t bald. Injuries continue to be the teams biggest concern, but with enough depth at the four and five spot the Celtics should be in for another deep playoff run.

4. Chicago Bulls - Last season record (41-41)

After leading the league in RPG and ranking second in BPG (during the regular season) last year, the Bulls acquired Carlos Boozer this offseason to provide the team with a dominate power-forward. The Bulls are young, talented, and deep with a new head-coach. What more can you ask for?

5. Milwaukee Bucks - Last season record (46-36)

Milwaukee surprised us all last year, winning the most regular season games (46) since the 2000-01′ season. With young gun Brandon Jennings leading the way, along with John Salmons , Corey Maggette (currently injured), Andrew Bogut, and Drew Gooden , the Bucks have the talent to rise as a top 5 team in the East.

6. Atlanta Hawks - Last season record (53-29)

It’s funny how Atlanta gives $126 million to Joe Johnson and somehow they drop in rankings. The Hawks have the same core with virtually the same roster as last season. Reigning Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford continues to seek an extension, so keep tabs on just how well he plays this season if he fails to get one.

7. New York Knicks - Last season record (29-53)

Even though New York failed to acquire LeBron, they made a few impressive offseason moves that should land them in the postseason since who knows when. Amare Stoudemire will easily adjust to his former coach’s run-and-gun offense, while newcomers Raymond Felton and Anthony Randolph should quickly begin to excel in it. Knick fans are pumped for the upcoming season and for once, they should be.

8. Philadelphia 76ers - Last season record (27-55)

Head-coach Doug Collins should be able to turn this Sixers team (that won only 27 games last season) around this year. Jrue Holiday will start at the point and should emerge as one of the league leaders in steals. Spencer Hawes will get his opportunity to shine in a new light and rookie Evan Turner could make a case for the Rookie of the Year Award.

9. Washington Wizards - Last season record (26-56)

With John Wall and Gilbert Arenas penciled in as Washington’s backcourt duo, it wouldn’t come to a surprise if this team quickly becomes a serious threat in the East. Height and depth will ultimately be the Wizards’ weakness and that solely could be the reason why they miss the postseason.

10. Charlotte Bobcats - Last season record (44-38)

After making it to the playoffs for the first team in team history, Charlotte decided to let go of both their starting point-guard and center this offseason. 33-year old Nazr Mohammed will most likely start at the five spot with D.J. Augustin assuming the point-guard duties. Unless Darius Miles gets signed to the roster and somehow becomes a top player in the league, this Bobcats team is in for a downfall.

11. New Jersey Nets - Last season record (12-70)

Anything the Nets do this season will be considered a success due to their horrific 12-70 record last year. Devin Harris , Troy Murphy , and Brooke Lopez sound like a great core on paper, and if Derrick Favors could unleash the beast the Nets could make a run for a playoff spot. Don’t forget, New Jersey is still in the race to acquire Carmelo Anthony .

12. Indiana Pacers - Last season record (32-50)

Indiana hit the jackpot acquiring point-guard Darren Collison this offseason. Throw him into the starting lineup with Danny Granger and Roy Hibbert and you’ve got yourself a pretty decent core. It’ll take time before Indiana makes an appearance in the postseason, but they’re surely on the right path to success.

13. Detroit Pistons - Last season record (27-55)

Injuries plagued the Pistons last season and with Tracy McGrady on the roster, the injury bug could devastate this team once again. Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva will definitely improve after a terrible first year with Detroit and young guns Rodney Stuckey and Greg Monroe should be able to shine this season.

14. Toronto Raptors - Last season record (40-42)

Losing Chris Bosh will force this Raptors team to be entered in the draft lottery for years to come. Andrea Bargnani will lead the team in PPG, and Linas Kleiza is lined up to be in the race for the Most Improved Player Award. Aside from that, the Raptors will end the season near the bottom of the totem pole.

15. Cleveland Cavaliers - Last season record (61-21)

It’s truly crazy how one team could go from leading the league in wins (back-to-back seasons) to ranking dead last in their conference. LeBron James did it all for the Cavaliers and now being in a state of LeBron-less, this team is more likely to re-acquire James then make the postseason.


Posted on: September 8, 2010 9:33 pm
 

Fantasy NBA 2010: "Don't Sleep On Em" Edition

As training camp nears (less than three weeks to be exact) fantasy owners tend to get the occasional jitters as draft day approaches.

Instead of researching for the players that will improve based on their new surroundings or system of play, owners tend to base their draft around the top fantasy leaders of the league and those who are predicted to break out.

Forget those projections, and if you're not fortunate enough to obtain the first three picks in your draft, don't bank on selecting Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, or LeBron James.

With that out of the way, you can now focus your attention to the players that you shouldn't be sleeping on in Brandon Ribak's fantasy edition of "Don't Sleep On Em".

Linas Kleiza (SF, TOR)- Not Ranked in top 100 for SF position on CBS and Yahoo! 

Does this name ring a bell? Well, it definitely should. Kleiza was apart of the Denver Nuggets squad from the 05'-06' season up until the 08'-09' season. 

In that time Kleiza made quite a name for himself amongst the Nuggets organization and certainly the fans, averaging 8.3 PPG and 3.5 RPG in 19 MPG during his four years as Carmelo Anthony's back-up.

The Lithuanian joined the Olympiakos in Greece during last offseason and ended up leading the Euroleague in scoring, dropping just under 18 points per contest.

In six games played in the FIBA World Championship thus far, Kleiza is posting an impressive 19.5 PPG and 7.2 RPG on an efficient 55.2 percent shooting for Lithuania. 

Whether you're sold or not, Kleiza has vastly improved his overall game since parting ways with the Denver Nuggets and heads into training camp as the projected starting small —forward for Jay Triano and the Toronto Raptors. 

With starters minutes on a rather young roster, Kleiza will undoubtedly emerge as a top candidate for the Most Improved Player of the Year Award.

Quick Tip - Kleiza should be drafted during the mid-rounds of your draft, don't miss out on his fantasy upside. 

Roy Hibbert (C, IND)- Ranked 26th amongst centers on CBS, not ranked in top 100 for Yahoo! 

11.7 points and 5.7 boards per game doesn't seem all that impressive for a 7'2" center, but let me tell you why this guy is worthy of being selected on draft day.

Hibbert has spent the offseason working on his strength, conditioning, and overall game with Larry Bird's former teammate, the legend Bill Walton. In that time the seven-footer has reportedly dropped his body fat to a ridiculous 10 percent, according to the Indianapolis Star. 

The 23-year old has tons of potential to expand his game and emerge as a fantasy stud this season for two key reasons.

Firstly, the Pacers acquired point-guard Darren Collison via trade in which the young gun will assume the starting role for Indiana. With Collison—who averaged 5.7 APG in 27.8 MPG during his rookie season—being a traditional pass first type of PG, Hibbert will see a surplus of easy buckets around the rim (rising his scoring average).

Secondly, Indiana dealt rebounding machine Troy Murphy to the New Jersey Nets. With Murphy no longer around to snatch 10-12 boards per night Hibbert's rebounding will inevitably increase, giving the center an opportunity to bring down close to 10 rebounds per contest.

Quick Tip - With Collison around and Murphy gone, Hibbert's PPG, RPG, BPG, and FG% should shoot up during the upcoming season. If you decide to wait until the later rounds of your draft to select a center, Hibbert will be a sleeper in all fantasy formats.

J.J. Hickson (PF, CLE)- Ranked 99th out of 100 amongst forwards on CBS, not ranked in top 100 for Yahoo!

Fantasy owners got the opportunity to see glimpses of J.J. Hickson play at his best. Although he was never an option to pick up off of the waiver wire last season, the 22 year-old could become one of the biggest sleepers of the year this season. 

Hickson averaged 9.5 rebounds per 40 minutes last season and will have a chance to average around 8-10 boards per game this year, especially if head-coach Byron Scott decides to give Hickson the starting power-forward role (which he reportedly stated during an NBA Summer League game).

With LeBron James and Big Z out of the way, the ingredients are placed for Hickson to emerge as a perfect fantasy recipe for all fantasy owners. 

Last season Hickson averaged 14.3 PPG and 7.1 RPG in 13 games when he logged 30+ MPG. With virtually no consistent production on the Cavaliers roster outside of Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison (who could be dealt before the trade deadline), imagine what the forward could do for fantasy owners this season

Quick Tip- Draft Hickson in the mid to late rounds of your draft, you'll be happy you did so!

For more of Brandon's content be sure to check out NBAPrimetime and follow him on twitter @_nbaprimetime


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