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Tag:Phoenix Suns
Posted on: October 15, 2010 12:32 pm
 

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 7, 2010 2:09 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2010 9:34 pm
 

Top Five Offseason Acquiring Impact Players

If you’re even a casual NBA fan, you know just how crazy of an offseason the league has had over the last few months.

From Atlanta re-signing Joe Johnson to an offseason highest $126 million deal, all the way to Shaquille O’Neal signing a veteran minimum contract with the Boston Celtics.

NBA Primetime’s Brandon Ribak breaks down the top five acquired players this offseason (excluding re-signings) that will have the biggest impact towards their new teams.

5. David Lee (C, GSW)

After being only one of two players in the NBA to average 20+ PPG and 11+ RPG last season, New York Knicks center David Lee agreed to a sign-and-trade in which he was shipped to Golden State.

Lee led the league in double-doubles during the 08′-09′ season and ranked fourth during last season.

The 27-year old will provide the Warriors with a sure fire double-double threat night in and night out with potential to improve on his career-high stats from last season.

Although the Warriors don’t have much of a chance to contend for a playoff seed this season, adding Lee, in addition to a new owner and head-coach, could be a sign of good things to come.

4. Amare Stoudemire (PF, NYK)

After eight long years with the Phoenix Suns , Amare Stoudemire signed a $100 million contract with the New York Knicks this offseason.

Stoudemire gives the Knicks a dominant threat on the offensive end of the court who has already proven to excel in his former head-coaches system of play.

During the D’Antoni reign in Phoenix, Stoudemire put together career-highs in PPG, FG%, RPG, and BPG.

With a solid core around the power-forward, Stoudemire should have no problem inflating his overall averages during the upcoming season and for years to come.

3. Al Jefferson (PF/C, UTA)

The Utah Jazz spent no time seeking another big man after unrestricted free-agent Carlos Boozer decided to sign with the Chicago Bulls .

Within five days of Boozer’s announcement, the Jazz already agreed in principle to acquire Al Jefferson from the Minnesota Timberwolves .

Jefferson boasts averages of 20.4 PPG and 10.5 RPG over the last three seasons with the Timberwolves (.243 win percentage over that span).

Big Al will be competing for a playoff spot for the first time in his six year career and while he most likely won’t convert his 20 and 10 averages over to his new team, he should be able to produce solid all-around stats (especially with D-Will feeding him the rock).

2. Carlos Boozer (PF, CHI)

Carlos Boozer decided to sign with the Chicago Bulls this offseason after spending the last six years with the Utah Jazz .

Boozer supplies Chicago with a much needed power-forward who can produce on the offensive end of the floor and grab rebounds on the defensive side.

Paired up with Joakim Noah , these big men give the Bulls one of the best front-court duo’s in the league.

With point-guard Derrick Rose blossoming into an even better player, center Joakim Noah continuing to make a name for himself amongst the elite big men in the league, and the acquiring of Carlos Boozer , the Bulls have all the weapons needed to contend for a championship.

1. LeBron James /Chris Bosh (SF/PF-MIA)

LeBron James ‘ presence on the court instantly uplifts the Miami Heat into championship contention.

Teamed up with Wade and Bosh, the Heat have undoubtedly the most talented trio in all of the NBA.

James gives the Heat a born leader (who is salivating for his first title) that can distribute the rock and virtually do anything on the court.

Bosh provides Miami with a big man that can dominate the boards and knock down perimeter jumpers from all around the basket.

Many believe that the Heat have weaknesses at the point-guard and center position, but with the trio on the court, anything will be possible for Miami this season.

For more of Brandon's content be sure to check out NBAPrimetime.com and follow him on twitter @_nbaprimetime
Posted on: October 5, 2010 12:24 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2010 12:27 pm
 

NBA 2010 Western Conference Preseason Rankings

The Western Conference has been the most dominate conference in the NBA for years, but after an off-season filled with transactions, that power has now shifted to the East.

Will the West, and by West I mean the Los Angeles Lakers, be able to make a three-peat this season?

Let’s cut to the chase to find out.

NBA Primetime’s Western Conference Preseason Rankings

1. Los Angeles Lakers- Last season record (57-25)

The back-to-back defending champs just so happened to improve on its only weakness this off-season, the bench. Steve Blake and Matt Barnes should provide the Lakers with plenty of spark off of the bench, keeping LA on top of the West until proven otherwise.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder- Last season record (50-32)

Kevin Durant has officially entered super-stardom in the NBA, but the rest of Oklahoma City’s roster must step up if they want any chance at rising to the one seed in the West. Regardless, the Thunder have a young core with massive upside (which is why they rank where they currently do).

3. Dallas Mavericks- Last season record (55-27)

Dallas is stacked with seven-footers, high-profiled players, and a franchise player who signed a contract extension this offseason. The Mavericks always enter every season as one of the elite teams in the West, but a strong playoff run is never definite.

4. San Antonio Spurs- Last season record (50-32)

The championship core is still intact, although a serious decline is approaching for Tim Duncan. The Spurs have assembled a solid group of youngsters (Hill, Blair, Splitter) over the years and it seems like their opportunity to step up is looming.

5. Denver Nuggets- Last season record (53-29)

With Carmelo Anthony still apart of the Nuggets roster (at least until the trade deadline), Denver will remain as a top competitor in the West. George Karl is back, Al Harrington will fill in for Kenyon Martin, and if everything goes well, the Nuggets should clinch another 50-win season.

6. Portland Trail Blazers- Last season record (50-32)

Both Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge are tippy-toeing into their prime and if 22-year-oldGreg Oden can manage to stay healthy for an entire season (unlikely), the Blazers have the weapons (Wesley Matthews, Marcus Camby, Andre Miller) to make a run for the title.

7. Utah Jazz- Last season record (53-29)

Al Jefferson was a great addition to the team, especially after Carlos Boozer decided to sign with the Bulls. The Jazz have talent, but it seems like its never enough to pass the second-round hump with Los Angeles in the way.

8. Phoenix Suns- Last season record (54-28)

Phoenix will in no way shape or form repeat last seasons performance; but as long as Steve Nash is on the court dishing out the rock the Suns should be in contention for a playoff spot.

9. Houston Rockets- Last season record (42-40)

Yao will return to the court this season but plenty of questions surround the 7’6″ center. With Aaron Brooks leading the way for Houston and Kevin Martin easing into his role the Rockets will fight for a playoff seed, just like Phoenix.

10. New Orleans Hornets- Last season record (37-45)

Trevor Ariza is now apart of the team, Marcus Thornton should continue to improve, and Emeka Okafor could be in for a breakout season. Is a playoff seed a possibility for Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets?

11. Memphis Grizzlies- Last season record (40-42)

Memphis lacks depth since the majority of the team is built up of inexperienced young guns (only five players on the team are above the age of 28). Their starting five is solid with potential to get better, but a playoff appearance is against the odds.

12. Los Angeles Clippers- Last season record (29-53)

Good news is Blake Griffin will be on the court this season. Bad news is head-coach Vinny Del Negro criticized Baron Davis for reporting to training camp out of shape (and already has a few nagging injuries). The Clippers will need B-Diddy at his all-time best if they want to see even a small chance at reaching the postseason.

13. Golden State Warriors- Last season record (26-56)

New ownership + New head coach = better record this season? David Lee will quickly make his presence as one of the best big men in the Western Conference and the Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis duo should uplift Golden State to 30+ wins this season.

14. Sacramento Kings- Last season record (25-57)

Sacramento is another very young squad that has a chance to improve upon last seasons performance. They drafted a few solid big men and acquired seven-footer Samuel Dalembert this offseason. In addition, franchise player Tyreke Evans should be able to elevate his overall game to the next level.

15. Minnesota Timberwolves- Last season record (15-67)

Michael Beasley stated the the Timberwolves are the team to beat this season. After losing Al Jefferson (the teams best player) and failing to win more than 30 games in a season since the 06′-07′ season, it’s very tough for many to believe Beasley. Maybe next year (but probably not).

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

Posted on: September 29, 2010 12:33 pm
 

Fantasy NBA Q&A: Concerns Entering Training Camp

In this Fantasy NBA 2010 Edition, Brandon Ribak breaks down a few critical questions heading into training camp.

Last season Hedo Turkoglu turned out to be a complete bust playing for Toronto. Being surrounded by a new team in Phoenix, how early should Turk be drafted this season and will he return to his fantasy form?

Head-coach Alvin Gentry has discussed moving Steve Nash to the shooting-guard position (at certain times throughout the season) so that Turkoglu could lead the way for Phoenix.

Turkoglu has terrific court vision (standing 6’10″) and knows how to pass the ball (averaging 4.5 APG during the last three seasons).

Playing on a run-and-gun type of offense, everything seems to be in place for the Turkish forward to resurrect this season. Turkoglu could easily end up returning to his 07′-08′ form when he averaged 19.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 5.0 APG and won the Most Improved Player Award.

Turkoglu should be drafted no later than the middle rounds of your draft as he could turn out to be one of the biggest bounce-back fantasy players this season.

First it was Jose Calderon that was expected to be traded to Charlotte, then it was Devin Harris who was supposed to join the team and start at the point-guard position. Although it seems like the Bobcats can’t make up their mind, is drafting D.J. Augustin a safe choice this season?

CBS is reporting that Charlotte’s starting point-guard position is Augustin’s to lose. Although it’s tough to say whether or not a trade will be made before the February trade deadline, Augustin could emerge as a solid fantasy contributor with Raymond Felton out of the picture.

Augustin averaged 11.8 PPG during his rookie season when he logged just 26.5 minutes per contest. The 22-year-old out of Texas is a dynamic scorer when given the opportunity and could turn into one of Charlotte’s secret weapons during the upcoming season.

The 6’0″ guard has shot an outstanding 42.0 percent from beyond the three-point line and 85.2 percent from the charity strike during his first two seasons in the league. In categorical leagues Augustin will be able to contribute in virtually every category aside form blocks and rebounds.

Augustin should be available during the late rounds of your draft, making him a safe selection with tons of fantasy upside (for now).

There has been some talk about Linas Kleiza and his fantasy potential playing for theToronto Raptors this season. Is it simply hype or is Kleiza really worth drafting?

Mentioned in my “Don’t Sleep On Em” Edition, Kleiza is a lock to enter the upcoming season as Toronto’s starting small-forward.

The Lithuanian impressed many during the FIBA World Championship, leading his team to an 8-1 record while posting 19 PPG on 57.8 percent shooting from the field.

During his four year NBA career, Kleiza never logged more than 24 MPG (as the back-up forCarmelo Anthony in Denver).

Being the sure-fire small-forward for Toronto, Kleiza could quickly emerge as a fantasy threat.

Kleiza has shown flashes of brilliance when given ample playing time throughout his career and is definitely worth drafting right before you begin to select your bench reserves.

With starters minutes the small-forward has potential to become one of the top fantasy sleepers for the 2010-11 season.

For more of Brandon’s content be sure to check out NBAPrimetime.com 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