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The Pistons New Look

Looking at the moves and line up, Joe has just been trying to get the best available player as shown in the draft as well as free agency. The question is, where will Tayshaun and Rip play next season? They haven't came much in many trade rumors, but I would guess they might work out a trade once when everyone knows where there going (free agency wise). So sometime in late July, early August. Obviously Detroit would have to trade for a big man, but the only two big men that are on the trading block are Chris Bosh (who Detroit can't get) and Carlos Boozer (who seems to be picking up a lot of interest). There have also been rumors of Affalo and Sharpe leaving to clear cap for a starting center.

Now with this line up where is Detroit headed? Well for one Detroit has trading options in Rip and Tayshaun, a young developing point guard in Stuckey, a good shooter who has earned the name mr.4th quarter in Ben Gordon and a developing PF with experience in Villanueva. Detroit still has alot of options whether they trade to sign a big man or trade for a big man that could be a starting center for 2 or 3 years in Detroit. Unlike last year, this teams ego has faded when AI left. Detroit actually got some good character players. Charlie Villanueva is known as "the twitter king" and Ben Gordon is pretty modest and doesn't care where he plays as long as he contributes.

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What Really Happened to the Phoenix Suns.

Unless you been hiding under a rock for the past year, then you know that the sun are entering or is in meltdown mode already, well loads of rumours have been circulating the internet about trade moves from all over the league. The 2006/07 was one of the greatest seasons the suns have ever had, winning 61 games and having notched multiple 12+ game win-streaks during the course of the regular season. The Suns showed there wasn’t any push over by winning streaks of 15 and 17 games straight (tied for fifth longest in NBA history) but to breakdown so quickly doesn’t really add up.

People say it all began when the suns completed a trade for a certain big man called Shaquille O’Neil for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks; they say it ruined the chemistry that the suns built over the years with the D’Antoni and suddenly have a man who won multiple titles with Lakers and Heat, and take over the suns team like he was the puppet master, the system has to be changed, just for Shaq, a system that has made them into a fearful team.

This obviously didn’t turn out that Kerr would have liked.

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Race to the 2010 NBA MVP

The season hasn't even started yet, but I'm already starting to think about who can possibly win the MVP of the 2009-2010 season. To me, it came down to the top three finalists in this past seasons MVP race. I don't see any people surprising us, and becoming a major contender in this years MVP race right away. Here are some previews to this years upcoming season.

1. Dwyane Wade, Guard, Miami Heat
Dwyane Wade has one of the best shots at winning his first MVP title, so long as he can get a good supporting cast around him during the off-season. If Wade had the supporting cast that LeBron had, or that Kobe had, Wade would have been the 2008-2009 Regular Season MVP. D-Wade has all the skills to do anything and everything, and have his way with other teams defense.

Wade is definately one of the quickest Guards in the NBA, and he shows it with his full court fast breaks, and his ankle breaking maneuvers. Also, after this past summers Olympic Games in Beijing, Wade's defense picked up tremendously, and being with all those all-stars, and gold medalists, Wade learned alot from them.

Dwyane Wade should have won the MVP this past season, if it weren't for his bad supporting cast. Wade proved he could score with the best, leading the league in scoring, with his average of 30.2 PPG over the span of last season. Wade also averaged 7.5 assists, showing that he is an excellent playmaker, but again, that goes along with having some good teammates to finish off his plays.

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Pistons Draft Preview.

Yes the era is over,Chauncey is gone a few player declined and Detroit is in a big mess. But things can start back up again and that's what most piston fans, hope this can help Detroit get back to the top.

A Leader:Yes Stuckey is a great player, But he is still young and learning the league, Detroit needs a leader who can guide this team to the top of the league. Someone who is experienced and has a good NBA reputation, also a ring wouldn't hurt as well. Obviously Detroit can't draft a guy like that.

A young Center:Does anyone know our future center? Jason Maxiell? Detroit needs someone young to be our center for the next couple of years. I think Detroit needs someone who can score inside and do it well. BJ Mullins comes to mind but he is a bit of a reach, and I don't think Joe is ready to draft a 19 year old no matter how good he is. This is one of the many reasons why I feel Joe will trade the pick.

Defenders:Some might be thinking, "how could Detroit be one of the top defensive teams for years, and then need defense right when they rebuild?" Well Detroit's defense has really declined,which was probably the result of trading Chauncey. I do like how Affalo is developing as a defender,But there is still a need for a few starters and bench defenders.


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NBA Hoops Online 8th annual awards

MVP, MIP, 6th man all your favorites and some uniquely NHO awards.

What Really Happened to the Phoenix Suns.

Unless you been hiding under a rock for the past year, then you know that the sun are entering or is in meltdown mode already, well loads of rumours have been circulating the internet about trade moves from all over the league. The 2006/07 was one of the greatest seasons the suns have ever had, winning 61 games and having notched multiple 12+ game win-streaks during the course of the regular season. The Suns showed there wasn’t any push over by winning streaks of 15 and 17 games straight (tied for fifth longest in NBA history) but to breakdown so quickly doesn’t really add up.

People say it all began when the suns completed a trade for a certain big man called Shaquille O’Neil for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks; they say it ruined the chemistry that the suns built over the years with the D’Antoni and suddenly have a man who won multiple titles with Lakers and Heat, and take over the suns team like he was the puppet master, the system has to be changed, just for Shaq, a system that has made them into a fearful team.

This obviously didn’t turn out that Kerr would have liked.

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Second Playoff preview

Boston Celtics VS. Orlando Magic- What is up with Boston and 7 game 1st round series’? Boston struggled with the front line of the Bulls so how do you think they will fair against Dwight Howard the man that was chiseled from stone? With KG not coming back all playoffs and the Magic are no where at the playing level of the Bulls this is all Orlando . Magic in 6.

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23 vs 24: The Race for the MVP

Reigning league MVP, Kobe Bryant, scored 61 points against the New York Knicks February 2, 2009, now holding the record for the most points scored in Madison Square Garden. Not to mention that he only played 36 minutes. Two nights later, LeBron "King" James scored 52 points in MSG, adding 11 assists and 10 rebounds. He became the first player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in '75, to have a triple double while also scoring 50+ points. James and Bryant hold the 2nd and 3rd spot in leading points per game, behind Dwayne Wade, at 28.5 ppg and 27.5 ppg respectively. The Lakers and Cavaliers are also among the league's top four teams of the season. The race to become Most Valuable Player just got a little more interesting.

Kobe has three championship rings, but hasn't won a championship since 2002. The previous times he's been to the Finals, in 2004 and 2008, the Lakers have come up short. LBJ has only been once, and after a phenomenal series against Detroit, the Cavaliers were swept by the Spurs in 2007. Both players are amongst the best in the league, and both players are trying to lead his team to a championship. The Lakers began the 2008-2009 season with a 11-0 start before losing to Detroit at home,

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Mo Town Blues

November 3, 2008, Joe Dumars traded Chauncey Billups to Denver for Allen Iverson. Three days later, Charles Barkley stated during a halftime show, that the trade would benefit Detroit more than it would Denver . Boy was he wrong. After acquiring Iverson, the Pistons went below .500, and are down to the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. Recently, they suffered their first five-game losing streak since 2004, before Rasheed Wallace joined the team. They've lost to the NBA's worst teams, such as the Washington Wizards and the Oklahoma City Thunder; two teams that, even if their wins were combined, are not going to the playoffs. They are currently 24-18, five losses away from meeting last season's record losses (they finished 59-23), and it's only January. So what exactly is it that Detroit is lacking?

1. Leadership. It wasn't just points and game finishers that Chauncey brought to the team, it was also how he led them. Obviously, after playing with the same roster for so long, there is a strong bond. The team seemed to sulk after losing Billups, especially Rip Hamilton. Rip's numbers dropped, and his ability to play nearly vanished. There is no one on the team to stop and say "Hey, we need to play better." It's almost as if they're giving up. The drive and ambition has almost disappeared. The team seems to be disconnected. They need a player to get them back where they used to be. Maybe Iverson was supposed to be that leader, but being the new kid at school, he can't fully jump into that role. The question is who can?

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Top 10 PF of all-time

The best Power Forward of all time… there are many great candidates from many different eras and they way to judge would be so hard, you could go on individual success (stats awards etc.) players like Karl Malone and or you could do it on winning and success of the team they were in, then the top of that list become McHale, Tim Duncan and Dennis Rodman all of whom have been very successful, however I have made my list of the top few PFs on a mixture of both success in stats and success in play offs and regular season. The other problem is distinguishing a PF from the C because of the lack of height many of the larger forwards ended up playing center.

NO.10 Dirk Nowitzki,
Dirk is one of the better shooters of all time, his name is often compared to greats like Larry Bird and Kevin McHale. Dirk over his career he has averages of 22.4 points a game, along with 8.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists a game defensively he averages just less than a steal and one block a game. Dirk shots efficiently with 47 percent from the field and 38% from beyond the arch he is also a very successful line shooter, at 87% from the line (he has his routine in which he hums whilst taking his shot) Dirk has won an MVP, and in the same season(06-07) his Dallas mavericks won 67 games, He has been selected to seven All Star teams, and he has been selected to eight All-NBA teams, with three of them as a first-team member. He is also the first and only player from Europe to win an MVP. His style is more of finesse than brute and strength you seem him do some really good mid range jumpers do open up his inside game, as many bigger men struggle with guarding a player with his permitter abilities.

NO.9 Dave Debusschere
Dave was one of the first super Power forwards nicknames “D” and “BIG D” which stood for defence, he was an amazing player with unreal hustle and determination definitely in his times top handful of defenders. In 1996 he was recognised at being in the top 50 players of all time and is unlucky not to be higher on this list. Everyone who ever came up against would leave bruised, he is one of the most physical players of all time. He was never afraid of trading elbows and really fighting for a rebound or lose ball. He was also known for his Amazing Defensive skills, which helped earn his nicknames, he made the All Defensive 1st team 6 times. In his career he averaged a solid 16.1 points and 11 rebounds a game as well as getting 3 assists and shooting 43.2% from the field. A player like him in more recent times was Dennis Rodman, however Dennis didn’t have nearly the same offensive game as Dave. His style of play almost the opposite of Dirk’s as Dave would power it home more often.

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Power Rankings week 4

26) Charlotte Bobcats- previous rank, 24, week record 0-4, year record 3-9. What a terrible week, and they think they can land Mcdyess!

25) Memphis Grizzlies- previous rank, 25, week record 1-2, year record 4-9. Got off to a hot start in the first two weeks, the next two weeks- typical/expected Grizz basketball.

24) Sacramento Kings- previous rank, 21, week record 1-3, year record 5-9. Despite their record, they are a really tough team.

23) Golden State Warriors- previous rank, 22, week record 1-1, year record 5-7. Great trade to land Crawford and if their youth can keep playing better than expected, this team will surprise.

22) Indiana Pacers- previous rank, 20, week record 1-2, year record 5-7. Expected record after 4 weeks.

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Power Rankings week 3

10) Houston Rockets- previous rank, 9. Week record (2-2), year record (6-4). Lose to the Spurs, but beat the Hornets? Ming and McGrady aren’t playing well either

. 9) Utah Jazz- previous rank, 2. Week record (1-4), year record (6-4). Could kind of see this coming, can only stay undefeated so long without Okur, Williams, Kirilenko and Harpring all week and Harpring and Williams for 1 game combined so far this year.

8) New York Knicks- previous rank, 12. Week record (3-1), year record (6-3). THE KNICKS ARE IN THE TOP 10! THE KNICKS ARE IN THE TOP 10!!

7) Orlando Magic- previous rank, 10. Week record (2-1), year record (6-3). On their expected pace and Howards still Howard.

6) Atlanta Hawks- previous rank, 3. Week record (2-3), year record (6-3). Lost 3 in a row and 2 came in a home in home with the Nets. How bad do they need Josh Smith?

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And The Better Deal Goes To...

Overall, Joe Dumars should be happy with the deal he made for AI this past Monday. He wanted a change, and he got one. The fans (from what I’ve heard) are ecstatic about the completion of this deal, so that in itself should put a smile on Joe’s face. If it makes the team better, the fans happier, and the money more plentiful, I’d consider it a great deal. But I’m just not sure you could put a check next to all three of those categories.

The Pistons, with Chauncey, haven’t made the Finals since 2005, where they were taken down by the almighty San Antonio Spurs. In 06, they were knocked out in the Conference Finals by D-Wade’s Heat. In 07, my Cleveland Cavaliers sent them packing in the Conference Finals yet again. And last year, we all know what happened with the Big 3. As a Pistons fan, I’d imagine that you’d be sick of constantly coming up short. A change was needed. Whether it was smart to give up Chauncey Billups and possibly Antonio McDyess, only time will tell.

Pistons: Like I mentioned in my opening paragraph, the Pistons haven’t been to the Finals since 2005. And for sports fans, three years could feel like an eternity. I would know – I’m a Yankee fan. So Joe Dumars and the Pistons front office did the only logical thing they could do, make a trade sending away the face of their franchise.

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Power Rankings week 1

30) Oklahoma City Thunder- pre rank, 29. After a winless week (0-2) they move to last.

29) Sacramento Kings- pre rank, 18. Winless week (0-3), drop 11 spots. I was wrong with this pick.

28) Washington Wizards- pre rank, 16. Winless week (0-2). Look lost without Arenas leading the way.

27) LA Clippers- pre rank, 14. Winless week (0-3). Simple Baron got hurt.

26) San Antonio Spurs- pre rank, 4. Winless week (0-2). Tremendous surprise, there looking old.

25) Memphis Grizzlies- pre rank, 30. 1-2 week. Big upset of Orlando and hung with Houston, surprise team this year?

24) Golden State Warriors- pre rank, 23. 1-2 week. Needs a PG, severely. 23) Milwaukee Bucks- pre rank, 22. 1-2 week. Only beat the Thunder this week, ouch!

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This Week in the Nba:10/30/2008.

So here it is, week one of the 2008-09 Nba regular season, and this promises to be one of the most exciting yet. From another champion looking to defend their illustrious crown, to up-start teams yet again hoping to make some noise in an ever better league. Our individual journeys for this season will differ from fan to fan. And yet, they all have the same ultimate goal- Lifting that Nba Trophy come the summer, with a bottle of champagne popping, and a cigar in hand... err...oops, perhaps that last one isnt to everyone's taste, but for some fans, including myself, that is an exciting and entrauling moment to think about. Thats the thing with this sport, everyone who's anyone has that thought- their own personal vision as to what they would do or be doing come that day when they can finally proclaim loud and proud, "We are, Nba Champeene's". Well, we do, dont we?

You see, their is a beautiful, sometimes monumental moment in an Nba season... can you guess? The play-off finals? The All-Star game? Seeing your favourite player win MVP?... If you said any of these its time to re-think your logic, because the moment I am thinking of is that of the first day of the season. That one day, that one moment where all banter and witty humour about your friends favourite ball club is justified. That one moment where all the off-season means nothing, that one moment where all teams are equal, when noone is right or wrong about their favourite team. Thats a beautiful time dont ya' think? ... No?.. well, I guess if your a title contender fan, and you've got to sit and listen to your best friend jibba-jabber on about the team with the worst record last year, which just so happens to be his or her favourite team, I guess "beautiful" isnt the operative word for you guys. But come on, dont you think that is the sort of thing that gives it its "beauty"?.. Hmm, well I'll let you ponder that over for yourselves... and dont worry, in time, when your looking at your team sitting pretty in a playoff spot, or when your team is trailing the pack at the bottom of the conference.

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Pheonix Suns [Road to Success]:10/30/2008

Pre-season report Terry Porter introduction to the Phoenix Suns, has been a massive impact to the style of which they play in. He has promised to work on the defence on which was the main reason to sun’s failure in the play-offs. Of what I have seen so far, I think the suns have an improvement in the defensive state, but isn’t good enough yet. Picking Robin Lopez in the 2008 NBA Draft, was a huge step for the suns to work on the defence. Out of the two brother’s (Robin and Brooke) Robin is known for his defensive capability. What to Look Out For In The Start In the begging of the season, everyone is fresh and all healthy so the season start should be a breeze for the suns. Nash will take the headlines once again in the start of the season, but people should start to look at it as a team victory rather than a single player. But with Amare still having issues with his eye, Shaq..Well being Shaq.

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Boston Celtics Season Preview

2007-08 was a dream season for the Boston Celtics and their fans. The team won a league best 66 games en route to the 18th NBA Championship for the storied franchise. The old mystique had returned to Bean town and the Celtics were once again the top team in the league. Entering the 2009 NBA season, the Celtics are arguably the favorites to get back to the Finals out of the Eastern conference, but every team will be targeting them all year long. The loss of defensive star James Posey won’t help in the conquest for back-to-back titles, but the Celtics still look just as deadly and hungry as they were last year. The rest of the teams in the East certainly look like they have caught up with the rest of the league, including the Celtics, so the path to the title will be much more difficult this year, as it always is for a team hoping to repeat as champions.

Offense: With the Boston Celtics, the offense will always seem to run through the Big Three; Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen. With great role players surrounding the three superstars, the Celtics managed to average over 100 points per game and blowouts at the TD Banknorth Garden were a weekly occurrence. The Celtics live by a one for all mentality that focuses on pure team play and even with Garnett, Pierce, and Allen, everyone plays a vital role to the team and each player shares the limelight. This team might not be the most deadly offensive squad in the league, but the teamwork makes them a near unstoppable unit on offense as well as defense. There really is no weakness on offense for this team and the story likely won’t change this season.


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The First Basketball: The Mesoamerican ballgame

Well before James Naismith invented the game of basketball in 1891, the peoples of Mesoamerica had a very similar game where the point was to get a ball though a hoop. The games origins date back as far as one-thousand years before the common era. The game has gotten many names over the years such as; juego de pelota in Spanish; pitz in classical Mayan; and ullamaliztli in Nahuatl. Each area had a variation of the game with different rules and customs but generally the game was the same. The game, which combined aspects of modern basketball, soccer and modern American football, was popular in both secular and religious life before the Spanish invasion of the area starting in 1520.

The game is played with a rubber ball called an ulama and depending on the region can either be played like soccer were a ball must go into a ground goal or like basketball were the ball must go through a stone “hoop” mounted above the playing court. Like the game itself, the courts vary in size and structure as well; from the very small courts found through-out small Mexican villages to the huge courts found at places such as Chichen-Itza. The size and scale of the game and court had an impact on exactly what type of game was going to be played. Much like in modern sports in areas were equipment is rare, the players had to make do with any substitutes they could find. This appears to be exactly the case with the Mesoamerican ballgame, and is a likely reason as to the variations of the game. In the more rural areas the game is played much lower to the ground and the ball is kicked or struck with the lower body more. In the more urban areas where materials and equipment is readily available the game is played higher up on the body, and decorative protective masks are sometimes worn.

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Milwaukee Bucks Season Preview

Posting a record of just 26-56, the Milwaukee Bucks were a dreadful team during the 07-08 NBA season, but after all the changes this summer, there is no question they will be a better team. Michael Redd has been one of the top scorers in the league each and every year, but has been without a teammate who could take a share of the offensive load. That problem was answered when the Bucks traded for Richard Jefferson, a proven scorer, who alongside Michael Redd will create one of the most prolific perimeter duos in the game. The Bucks did trade away their starting point guard Mo Williams, but were able to acquire Luke Ridnour, and still have Ramon Sessions, so his loss has been accounted for.

The team has also improved in that they now have a new coach, Scott Skiles, who was successful in Chicago. Scott Skiles is known for holding his players accountable on both the defensive and offensive ends of the floor, so he may have trouble getting through to this team right away, considering every starter is under the age of 30. Skiles was able to gain the trust of his players on the Bulls, but things really fell apart last season before his firing, though that was mainly due to the Kobe trade rumors. Skiles should fit in well with this team, but until they hit the floor, there will be plenty of questions about him, and this team


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Chicago Bulls Season Preview

Following the Kobe Bryant trade rumors last offseason, the Chicago Bulls produced a very forgettable season. After missing the playoffs, they were fortunate to have the NBA Draft ping pong balls bounce their way when they ended up with the first overall pick. They would select Illinois native Derrick Rose, hoping he could turn their fortunes around and take them back to the postseason. Along with Rose, the Bulls were able to lock up talented forward Luol Deng, who is now going to be looked at as the team’s leader. Ben Gordon, however, has been holding out on the team all summer looking for a big-time contract like Deng, which, regardless of what people say, is dragging the team back down, just like the trade rumors of last summer. Gordon will probably be back for at least one more season, and that will ultimately help the Bulls, but the team will lack the chemistry it once had, and it will take some time to repair the damages of these last two summers. This team is chock-full of talent, and is heading down the right path, but this team is still full of questions.

ATL | Den | GSW |

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Atlanta Hawks Season Preview

The Atlanta Hawks were the darlings of the league last year. They made the playoffs for the first time since 1999 with a record of 37-45. After sneaking into the postseason, the Hawks played a stellar series against the 66-16 eventual Champion Boston Celtics, which brought the fans back to Philips Arena. Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, and company have brought entertainment and winning back to Hotlanta, but this year they may have some trouble. The 76ers, Heat, Bucks, and Bobcats have all improved, and they will be vying for some of the last playoff positions in the East. Atlanta made the playoffs last year, but had trouble in the process. Despite the constant development, and bright future, this year should be no different.

Den | GSW |

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Golden State Warriors season preview

The offseason for the Golden State Warriors has been full of both ups and downs. Baron Davis bolts for L.A., leaving many questions about the fate of the team. The Warriors, though, did anything but sit around and mope over their loss. They were able to lock-up Monta Ellis for the future, sign powerful swingman Corey Maggette, trade for point guard Marcus Williams, and draft the talented Anthony Randolph, all in just a few months. The loss of Baron Davis seemed to be sustainable due to all the acquisitions, and looked like everything might be okay after all, but that all came to a crashing halt when Monta Ellis injured his ankle. With no date set for Ellis’ return, the team is in the hands of Stephen Jackson, Corey Maggette, and third year point guard Marcus Williams, who will be forced into the position of leading the team. The loss of Ellis for any part of the season hurts, and Golden State’s playoff chances seemed to go right out the window after his injury. If Captain Jack can rally the troops in the Bay Area until Ellis returns, the Warriors have a shot, but it is a long shot at best

Den |

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Denver Nuggets season preview

The Denver Nuggets had anything but an uneventful summer. Starting with trade talks involving Carmelo Anthony, and a shocking trade that would send Marcus Camby to the Clippers for a second round draft pick, the offseason was full of surprises. Obviously, the loss of Camby, a former Defensive Player of The Year, will hurt, no matter how you look at it. The Nuggets seem to feel, though, that they made the right decision, as it was a cost cutting move, and are now putting their full support behind Nene and Kenyon Martin to hold the fort down low. The addition of both Chris Andersen and Renaldo Balkman should help up front, if only a little bit. This team, though, will go wherever Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony take them. 2008-09 might be Iverson's final year in Denver, so considering the investment the Nuggets put into acquiring him, he has a lot to prove. Coming off an impressive showing in Beijing, Carmelo Anthony's expectations have never been higher. If Anthony fails to get Denver to the second round, much less the playoffs, the fans may want his head, along with coach George Karl's. The Nuggets don't seem to be going in the right direction, but assuming they make things work, they should be a playoff team again this year. The second round, though, seems to be a laughable stretch at this point.

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JFK, LBJ, Watergate and the NBA Commish.

There are many strange connections in history and politics, but maybe none as strange as how an eventual NBA commissioner would play a role in bringing down a president. Before David Stern’s monarchial grasp on the office there was Larry O’Brien. A Massachusetts native of Irish decent born in the birthplace of basketball, Springfield, Massachusetts.

Before he became the commissioner of the NBA, O’Brien had been one of the most successful political strategist in American politics. He had a natural talent for politics and got his very first campaigning job when he was 11 years old in 1928. O’Brien slowly moved through the ranks of the Democratic party until in 1952 a young Massachusetts war hero approached him about leading his campaign for Senator; that young mans name was John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

O’Brien did such a successful job on Kennedy’s election campaign that in 1959, when the Senator was running for president, he asked O’Brien to be in charge of his election campaign. After Kennedy won the 1960 presidential election O’Brien became a special assistant to the president.

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OKC team logo leaked

All the names do have some historic sense and roots in Oklahoma. Thunder because the area is prone to violent storms. Barons would be named after the cattle barons, most famously in Texas and Kansas, but in order to get to the rail depots in Dodge City and Abilene, Kansas from Texas the long cattle trains would have to go through the Indian territory(now since named Oklahoma). Bison would be named after the long hair native animal of the Great Plains. Energy would be named after both the violent storms and the new bio-fuel industry taking place in Oklahoma. Finally, Marshalls would also go back to the states cattle days, as well as be a reminder of the wild west which the lower plains became famous for.

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Team USA, why it's lost and why it'll win.

Finally! After 8 years of mediocre play by the American basketball teams the USA is poised to win a major international competition. The 2008 US men’s senior national team, nicknamed the Redeem Team, has created quite a bit of attention around itself for not having been made up of superstars. But that isn’t exactly true. The Redeem Team is almost exclusively made up of superstars in fact, but the difference between this years team and previous teams is this years team does not have the superstar attitude which previous teams have had. All but two player on the Redeem Team, Deron Williams, and Tayshaun Prince, have been named to the all-star team at least once in their career and only Chris Paul is not a multiple time all-star.

Having the all-star power on a team is what separates this team from past teams. Take for instance the 2006 team, two players from that team, Kirk Hinrich and Shane Battier, have never and will likely never be all-stars in their careers. The 2006 team was also filled with mediocre all-stars. By mediocre all-stars I am talking about guys who occasionally make it but you would not consider them super-star all-stars. Elton Brand, Antwan Jamison, and Joe Johnson qualify as such.

For as bad as it seemed the 2006 team was, it gets worse.

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Top 20 Spurs players of all-time.

The San Antonio Spurs have been one of the NBA’s most consistent franchises since they joined the NBA from the ABA in 1976. One reason for their success has been their ability to get players at the right time and then get rid of players at the right time. Since 1976 only the Lakers have been a more consistent franchise than the Spurs, who have missed the post season only four times. The Spurs are one of only four NBA franchises to have more than three NBA titles; the other being Boston(17), Los Angeles(14) and Chicago(6). Here are the top 20 San Antonio Spurs players of all-time. Not included are players who played fewer than 70 games with the team, or played the majority of their Spurs careers while the Spurs were still in the ABA

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Rocky Mountain Revue Day 6

The 2008 Rocky Mountain revue came to a close on Friday. The revue offered some good insight into the future stars of this league as well as future stars in Europe, the D-League, and China. I’m not going to dive deep into a recap of the Jazz-Mavericks game because it was a boring game with not much new insight.

2008 ALL RMR First Team

George Hill Guard. San Antonio Spurs
Hill lead the League in steals with three a game, and was eight in scoring. He proved that he was a good leader who could run an offense. I liken his game to that of teammates Tony Parker, except Hill is a much better shooter and defender. He did have a few bad moments because he was not use to playing against this level of competition, but overall he did a fine job and should beat out Jacque Vaughn for the back up point guard spot with the Spurs.

Anthony Morrow Guard Golden State Warriors
Morrow, an undrafted rookie from Georgia Tech, was a surprise to many at the revue. He has unbelievable ability to score for anywhere on the court. He lead the RMR in scoring with 21 points a game, while shooting 49% from the field. I expect Morrow has played his way into a contract this year, so expect him in the NBA next season.

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 4 | Day 5 |

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Rocky Mountain Revue Day 4

The first game was between the Hawks and Spurs. The Spurs got off to a good start taking a five point lead after a Malike Hairston. Hairston had a very good quarter and helped them establish a Spurs presence in the paint. Anthony Toliver entered the game guns a blazing, he hit three three-pointers in the quarter and helped the Spurs build a nine point lead. One reason the Spurs had success was their rebounding, especially the rebounding of point guard George Hill; who had 5 rebounds in the quarter. The Hawks got some good play from point guard Acie Law; was able to get into the paint for an easy shot and knocked down some free throws. The Hawks had some troubles because Othello Hunter did not play.

The Spurs went up nine again after a Toliver shot, but like he did in Saturdays game Acie Law took over and helped bring the Hawks back. Law has been able to get into the paint in every game, but he still continues to struggle to score when he does this. The Spurs had some issue with turnovers, especially when Hill was not running the offense. After a Law lay up near the end of the quarter the Hawks trailed by only two points.

Day 1 | Day 2 |

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Rocky Mountain Revue Day 2

Iran vs. Dallas, not something you ever thought you’d ever hear in the annals of basketball, but it happened. Iran is the FIBA Asia representative and like China last year in Las Vegas, was invited to play against the NBA summer league teams. This is one of four scrimmages for Iran before they head to China for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Iran got off to a good start behind their big man Hamed Ehdadi who score at will against the much smaller Maverick line up. Ehdadi would score the first four of the game, and Mohammad Samad Nikkhah Bahrami would add a lay up making it 6-0 Iran. Ehdadi had nine points and five rebounds in the quarter. Richie Frahm kept Dallas alive in the first quarter, when Iran started to build a small lead Frahm hit a couple of threes to keep Dallas close. To the delight of the crowed the Islamic Republic of Iran lead 20-18 after the first quarter.

The second quarter saw Iran continue to run their offense through Ehdadi. Iran really lacks the depth of the Mavericks and after Ehdadi made it 22-18 Iran, the Mavs went on a run. Aaron Miles went crazy scoring at will on Iran, and totally torching Amir Amini and Hamad Afagh. Dallas would go on a 14-0 run in the second to build a 32-25 lead. Iran made a little head way late in the quarter but trailed 44-33 at the half

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Rocky Mountain Revue Day 1

The 2008 RMR got started with a game between Dallas and Atlanta. The game started slow with both teams playing very poor. But with about six minutes to go the tempo picked up. The Hawks continued their good play coming out of the six minute time out. Jeremy Richardson hit three deep shots during a nine to four run giving the Hawks a six point lead. JuJaun Smith tried bringing the Mavericks back, cutting the lead to four. But a Luke Jackson three and a Richardson lay-up at the buzzer gave the Hawks a 28-21 lead.

Gerald Green got the second quarter off well for the Mavs by hitting a couple of jump shots, but poor defense continued to let the Hawks get wide open jump shots. Turnovers and bad shots began to hurt the Mavs, a turnover near half court and an ensuring dunk gave the Hawks a 39-25 lead with 6 minutes to go in the second quarter. The Hawks played some very good defense in this game. The Mavericks began to cut into the Hawks lead some, but after an Othello Hunter dunk the Hawks lead 46-32. The Mavs cut into the lead again late in the half making it 48-38, but once again Jeremy Richardson hurt the Mavs at the buzzer, this time with a three pointer.

The Mavs played better at the start of the second half. They were able to get past some of the smothering Hawks defense to get some easier shots. Atlanta also committed some turnovers which lead to easy Mavericks points. Dallas was able to cut the lead to 9 for the first time since the early second quarter, but once again turnovers began to haunt the Mavs.

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West Team Needs

Dallas- Their free agents are Jamaal Magloire, Malik Allen, Devean George, Juwon Howard and Tyronn Lue. Re-signing Diop was big and if Gerald Green finally plays up to his potential, Dallas looks strong again. All they could use is a true SG but they have many options their if they dont get one. Some FA's they could use-(re-sign Devean George, Yakouba Diawara, Shannon Brown, Jeremy Richardson, Linton Johnson, Ron Dupree, Mo Evans or look overseas at Bracey Wright, Taquan Dean and Keith Langford).

Houston- Their FA's are Dikembe Mutombo and Carl Landry. If they re-sign both their FA's and both their draft picks, Houston is solid. The one and only thing they need is for McGrady and Ming to stop getting injured and miss huge chunks of the season if not all of it.

Memphis- Their FA's are Kwame Brown, Andre Brown and Casey Jacobsen. Okay, to make this easier on me and everyone else, I'll do what they don't need first and that is guards. They have six of them and are all very young. On a side note, I do not like OJ Mayo as a player, he reminds me of Harold Miner without the Jordan comparison.

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Las Vegas Summer League: Day 3

The first game was a typical summer league game, both teams struggled and it was low scoring. On the plus side the game was very entertaining.

Jamereo Davidson had a fantastic game for the Bobcats, he continued to find himself open to get easy shots. He is a hard worker on the boards too, but if he could just box out a little bit more he’d be so much better. Alexis Ajinca had a much better second game, he was able to make a few shots early and got into a good rhythm offensively His game still needs a lot of work defensively and at the most I think he is going to be the second coming of Johan Petro. DJ Augustine also continued to impress, he finds his teammates open but they do not capitalize on it when they get the ball, so he doesn’t have a lot of assists. He does however play good defense and is efficient and running the offense.

Orien Greene was again the best of the non contract guys for the Bobcats, he can move without the ball and did an excellent job of getting himself to the free throw line.

Julian Wright would have laid a complete egg today had it not been for his defense. Other than getting steals which lead to dunks he did not do much of anything positive. He struggled on defense again and just cannot play defense. Hilton Armstrong looked better today, but he still is struggling in this league.

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Las Vegas Summer League: Day 2

Toronto and Sacramento was one of the funnest games I have seen in the two years of covering this league, it was really up and down good solid basketball. Though the referees did call the game a little bit to close.

Joey Graham of the Raptors put on a nice show offensively. He played in the paint a lot and that got him to the free throw line a lot, my biggest criticism for his game offensively is he needs to learn how to finish a play, he did really bad on that as he’d get hit and then go up soft. Defensively he was a bit to aggressive at times and that got him a lot of fouls. The Raptors other contract guy Hassan Adams struggled a bit, he cannot create his own shots and has a hard time getting open by himself.

The non contract guys for the Raptors had a pretty impressive game, especially Jaycee Carroll and John Lucas. Lucas is a capable pg and he does have NBA experience so that seemed to set him apart from the other guys on the Raptors squad. Jaycee Carroll is a fantastic shooter with a great knack for getting open. He reminded me of a white less athletic version of Reggie Miller.

The Kings contract guys carried them in this game, especially Spencer Hawes and Quincy Douby. Douby played well on both ends of the court and is able to get himself into the right place at the right time. Hawes really looked bigger than what I remember him from last year.

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Las Vegas Summer League: Day 1

I finally made it to Vegas about two hours before the first game, and oh boy is it hot. The first game I got to see was the Sixers and the Warriors, which was a very good game.

The Sixers contract guys played really well except for Jason Smith whom got 11 fouls, yes that is right he got 11 personal fouls because there is no foul limit in the summer league; funny rule but it keeps guys on the court. Marreese Speights is a very good player, he had a double double for the Sixes getting 22 points and 13 rebounds, but his defensive is really bad and he only focuses on the glamour part of basketball. Sixers second year guy Thaddeus Young lead all sixers scorers with 27, but he used his athleticism instead of basketball know how to play, by that I mean he is not a smart player and only did well because he has raw talent.

Only one of the Sixers non contract guys made any impression on me and it was Pat Carroll; brother of Charlotte Bobcats Matt Carroll. Pat played just like Matt, he shoots like him too.

The Warriors were lead by Anthony Randolph who was magnificent in the game. He got 30 points on 12-18 shooting. Marco Belinelli really struggled today missing about 10 shots. The only other contract guy from the Warriors was Brandan Wright and he shined in the game. He is a very good defender and can block shots, he is a lot of Atlanta’s Josh Smith.

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Eastern Conference Team Need in Free Agency

First and foremost, congrats to the Boston Celtics for winning the chip. Now back to business and this weeks topic is Free Agency. I will first break down the East teams needs and who they should consider signing in the offseason.

Their FA's are the Joshs, Mario West and Salim Stoudamire. It's very important for them to re-sign one of if not both of the Joshs. If they both leave they are not totally in trouble, they could just slide Al Horford down to the four, move Zaza Pachulia back over to the starting five and look for a decent C and PF in free agency. Another option they do have but will very unlikely happen, is to bring over Dave Anderson from FC Barcelona. If Josh Smith leaves here are some potential FA's Atlanta could sign-(Kwame Brown, David Harrison, Andre Brown, Michael Doleac, Chris Andersen, Michael Ruffin, Alexander Johnson, Jake Voskuhl, Brian Skinner, Othella Harrington and Jelani McCoy from the D-League)

Their FA's are Okafor, Ryan Hollins, Earl Boykins and Derek Anderson. A must for them is to re-sign Okafor, unless they somehow sign Elton Brand. With Okafor back in the mix and if Morrison and May can stay healthy for a full season, all I can really see this team needing is a back-up C. That option can come from re-signing their own R FA Ryan Hollins or one of these guys

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Top 10 Power Forwards of the 1990s

The Power Forward spot in the 1990s was another one of the decades strong spots. The spot was dominated by two players who earned a total of 3 MVPs in Karl Malone and Charles Barkley. The spot was unusual in that almost every team had an all-star four man on their roster at least once in the decade.

10. Tim Duncan
The Big Fundamental coming in at number ten may be a bit of a shock to some, as he is one of the top two Power Forwards to ever play the game. But Duncan only played three seasons in the decade. But in those three seasons he put himself on the All-NBA team twice and was a two time all-star; there was no All-star game the lockout year. Duncan and the Spurs also won their first NBA championship in 1999.

9.Kevin Willis
Somewhat of an underrated player, Willis was a one time all-star in 1992 and a key contributor on many solid teams. Willis was one of the best rebounders in the decade putting up double digits in the category through most of the early 90s.

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Top 10 Centers of the 1990s

In the early to mid 90s the center position was at its apex, nearly all 27 NBA teams had a quality starting center and usually one serviceable back-up. But by the late 1990s the position had crashed nearly to rock bottom. The greats who had once dominated had begun to decline and teams found out that they could start smaller and quicker guys to get an advantage over their aging dinosaur counterparts. But during their reign, some of the 1990s centers were amongst the greatest that ever played.

10. Elden Campbell
A solid but somewhat unknown commodity in the NBA world, Campbell was the Lakers center in the pre-Shaq days. After O’Neal’s arrival he was moved to power forward before being shipped off to Charlotte. He never was an all-star but was a consistent player who averaged around a double-double. He is however helped out by the decline of the center position in the late 90s, as he likely wouldn’t make the list in some decades.

9. Vlade Divac
A teammate of Campbell on the Lakers from 1991-96, Divac is one of the most successful European players to ever play in the NBA. His lone All-star appearance came in 2001 as a member of the Kings, but in the 90s he was considered a solid player who would give you what you needed. He averaged a double-double for three seasons and was a very underrated defender. His defense gets bad rap from the fact that he liked to flop a lot, which earned him the nickname floppy Divac.

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Top 10 SGs of the 1990s.

The shooting guard position in the 1990s was one of great disparity. There was the one man who dominated the game and the position like none other, and then there was two other great but not as great players behind him and finally there was a plethora of solid but not great shooting guards. The one man who dominated the decade was His Airness, Michael Jordan.

Jordan may be the most recognizable of all the shooting guards on this lists, but the others were fantastic players in their own rights and nearly all of them went against Jordan at least once in the playoffs.

10. Nick Anderson
A player whose appearance on this list may surprise many. Anderson was never an all-star or all NBA player but he was a solid shooting guard who contributed to many very good Orlando Magic teams. He made an appearance in the NBA Finals, and the hall of shame in 1995 where despite being a very good free throw shooter, he missed to clutch freebies that allowed the Rockets to win the game and ultimately the Championship.

9. Hersey Hawkins
Hawkins is a player most have forgotten about, but he was a formidable scorer and a one time All-star. Hawkins was the team leader for the Sixers after they traded Charles Barkley averaging 20 points a game for three seasons before going to Charlotte and taking the job as a role player. Hawkins was always a solid role player and in 1996 he was a key player on the Seattle Sonics team which made the NBA finals

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Top 10 PGs of the 1990s

The 1990s saw some of the greatest basketball ever. There was a plethora of fantastic players but not position was so diverse as the point guard position. Between 1990 and 2000 a total of 22 different point guards played in the all-star game, and 3 times during the 1990s did a point guard win MVP of the All-star game; Twice by Magic Johnson(90,92) and the other by John Stockton(1993).

So who was the best point guard of the 90s and how do they stack up?

10. Terry Porter
Porter is somewhat of an underrated player today, but back in his prime with the Trailblazers he was putting up 15 points and 10 assists a game while helping the Blazers reach two NBA finals and making two All-star apperances. Porters 4,190 assists rank him 9th in the decade in assists.

9. Mark Price
Price is one of the best free throw shooters in NBA history, but he was also a very capable point guard who helped guide Cleveland to the Eastern Finals in 1991, and was all NBA a year later. Price was also a dead eye shooter who could kill a team from down town.

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NBA Playoff Predictions

Playoff time is here again, and here is my first round playoff predictions.

Boston Celtics vs. Atlanta Hawks

My prediction: Boston in 4

My reasoning: Boston was assembled for one reason and one reason only, to win! Atlanta has not been in postseason play since 1999 and aside from Bibby and Joe Johnson, lack the experience needed to compete with the hungry Celtics.

Detroit Pistons vs. Philadelphia 76ers

My prediction: Detroit in 5

My reasoning: Clock work, Detroit makes the playoffs every year and has been to two recent NBA Finals, winning one. The Sixers are definitely a surprise team seeing how this was supposed to be a rebuilding year and have certainly earned their way in, but this young team will not be able to hold off the Pistons in a seven game series and will be tremendously intimidated by Detroit. The Sixers only win a game because of the Andre’s and Mo Cheeks being a hell of a coach.

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2007-08 NBA Hoops Online Awards.

All the common awards(MVP, MIP, DPOTY) and some awards unique to NBA Hoops Online. The awards were all chosen by NHO staff members and contributors.

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2007-08 NBA Hoops Online Awards.

All the common awards(MVP, MIP, DPOTY) and some awards unique to NBA Hoops Online. The awards were all chosen by NHO staff members and contributors.

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Odd Man Out

Is it me, or is the Western Conference playoffs harder to get into then an ivy league college? With a week and a half remaining in the regular season the Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors are all tied and all vying for the last two spots in the West playoffs, so who gets in?

All three teams have six games left and the Nuggets and Warriors still meet one more time, so these three teams might need more than the regular season to settle this.

I will now break down each team and tell you my guess on who of the three get in.

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Deron Williams vs Chris Paul

Deron Williams or Chris Paul? Experts have debated this question since they were drafted and there still debating this question up to and including today. In the newest version of HOOP magazine in the jumpball section on pages 42 and 43 titled head 2 head, they break down both point guards based on scoring, floor game, defense, clutch play and leadership. They gave Chris Paul the edge in scoring and floor game and gave Deron Williams defense, clutch play and leadership, thus saying that Deron Williams is the better point guard of the two.

My rebuttal to this is Chris Paul is leading the league in steals and by a wide margin so how could you give the defense edge to Williams? I will now give you my head to head comparison of these two point guards using the same categories except I will add assists and turnovers.

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Random Ramblings 2

Very impressive. The thing that I like most about the team's performances as of late, are that although we may not have dominated every game, we have pulled out more "W's" than losses. I have always thought that one sign of a great team, is one that can pull out victories, even when the game is not easy, pretty, or simple. Or even when you are not playing partically your best basketball. Recently, Ray Allen has fallen off the pace with the other 2 big names, and although he is still playing his part, he has taken his game down just a notch.

However, even if all 3 of the big ones were to go down for some reason, I think it is a measure of how great the team has been performing this year that the bench would be able to put out a great account of them. And lastly on Boston, I am extremely proud and happy with how KP has been playing, he has been playing great as of late, putting up solid numbers and rebounding the ball, so I am very happy at his improvement, as I am Rajon Rondo's.

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10 Greatest teams in NBA history

#1. Los Angeles Lakers. Alltime Record: 2848-1799 (61.3%). NBA Titles: 14, Conference Titles: 28, Division Titles: 27, Playoff Appearances:54.
Yes, the winningest team in NBA history. The Lakers reach the NBA Finals about as often as we elect our presidents. The Lakers hold a tradition unmatched by any other NBA organization (except for those bastard Celtics). Consistancy is the key here. The Lakers are one of the most consistantly successful teams in all of professional sports, as well as being "America's Team" having fans in every city and every arena, yes, even Boston. Main Rivals: Boston. Other Rivals: New York, Detroit, San Antonio, Portland

#2.Boston Celtics. Alltime Record: 2794-1963 (58.7%). NBA Titles: 16, Conference Titles: 20, Division Titles: 25, Playoff Appearances: 45.
If this were the 1980's, the Celtics would be the clear #1. But the whole sucking ass for 20 years kinda screwed that up. The C's are kinda like my avatar: Dominant in the 1960's, great in the 70's, still great in the 80's and then dead by the early 90's. My, what could have been. That said, 16 titles is still no joke. Most younger fans today don't know much about the great Celtic dynasty from 1959-1976. That's too bad. A lot of history is found on that old-ass disgusting looking parquet floor. Not to mention the genius and innovations of Red Aurbach. I still miss those old "Red on Roundball" commercials. Or, whatever they were called. Main Rivals: Lakers, Philadelphia. Other Rivals: New York, Detroit.

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Team name History

One might not know it from just a casual glance, but history has played a big part in the naming of most of the NBA franchises. Many of the NBA franchises get their names for the cities historical past, or from a city in which the team first originated in. This is especially true with the teams who entered the League after 1949, but even those teams have some history behind their names.

Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks were first called the Tri-Cities Blackhawks. Tri-Cities(Molina and Rock Island, Illinois, and Davenport, Iowa) is located in the midwest, in lands which once belonged to the Kickapoo,Sauk, and Fox indians. The three tribes fought a long war against the United Stated called the Blackhawk war after their chief Blackhawk. The Teams name was shorted to just Hawks after the team moved to Milwaukee.

Boston Celtics

The name Celtics refers to Boston’s Irish American population Many Irish believe they are ancestors of the ancient druid people called the Celts. The teams logo and mascot also reflect the Irish connections as it’s a traditional symbol of Ireland; the Leprichan.

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How to make NBA games more meaningful

To a lot of fans the NBA is becoming mundane. No longer do you have great rivalries in the league, and the majority of the 82 game schedule is filled with unimportant and meaningless games. Division races use to mean something, but now with the adopted of the rules a couple of years ago which makes playoff seeding based more on record than division, winning the division is practically meaningless now days. Yes, being able to raise a division championship banner may make fans of teams like Denver and Toronto happy, but for teams like Detroit and San Antonio they have become expected.

The winner of a division does not necessarily mean that team is the best team within that division. Take the Toronto Raptors for instance, they won the Atlantic last year but got mauled by the Nets, a division foe, in last years playoffs.

In Baseball and Football divisions mean everything. Besides their automatic playoff bid, winning the division in those sports gives the winning fans something to brag about. This is something the NBA is lacking, but it didn’t always use to be that way.

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What to look for this season

The NBA season’s just a couple of weeks away, and there are a lot of intriguing scenarios shaping up. Each of the 30 teams has a player or group of players which should change their perspective teams this year. But I won’t be able to cover them all. So here are a few that I have seen enough of, that I can give a fair perspective of their games.

Boston Celtics
The Celtics are of corse the most interesting and exciting aspect of basketball going into this season. They have practically a brand-new team. They added superstars’ Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett as well as solid talent in guys like James Posey, and Eddie House. The Celtics have gone from a forgotten team to the team on every ones minds, as they could be searching for their 17th franchise NBA title.

Kobe Bryant
What is up with Kobe? Will he stay with the Lakers? Will he get traded? Who knows? But the situation with Bryant has put him and the Lakers back into the spot light. In fact his situation has gotten as much press as what the Celtics.

Golden State Warriors
After last years improbably finish to the season, can the Warriors keep the momentum going? They traded Jason Richardson to the Bobcats for the draft rights to Brandan Wright. The Warriors also had a scare the first day of training camp when Monte Ellis got a neck injury, Ellis appears to be all right but hasn’t been playing so he could be a bit rusty.

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The Teams: Denver Nuggets

This team originated in Kansas City, and for a while were called the Rockets. No, they aren’t the Sacramento Kings or Houston Rockets; they are the Denver Nuggets.

The original Nuggets team was from 1948-50 was one of the original founders of the NBA. This current Nuggets team gained the nickname Nuggets in 1974 with the threat of a merger with the NBA and the potential conflict with the NBA’s Houston Rockets emerged.

In 1966 investors announced the formation of a new basketball league which would compete with the NBA. The new league, named the ABA, would not compete in the same markets, except Los Angeles and New York, but instead compete using teams in smaller market cities. A group of investors purchased a team for Kansas City, which was originally going to be called the Larks. But before the season could start arena conflicts and the potential of an NBA team moving to Kansas City forced the Larks to move to Denver; where they became the Denver Rockets.

The first ever Rockets season started out well for the team, they won 45 games and finished 3rd in the western division. The teams first star was Walter Jones, who would lead them in scoring and be 5th in the ABA that year with a 23-point average. The regular season success did not extend to the post season as the team lost to the New Orleans Buccaneers 3 games to 2.

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Western Conference preview

Dallas Mavericks

Key Additions: Nick Fazekas, Eddie Jones, Brandon Bass
Key Losses: Austin Croshere, Pops Mensah-Bonsu

Can Dallas recover mentally from that beating given to them by the Warriors? I think they will, but another question is to ask “Will other coaches emulate the Warriors and will the Mavericks adjust?” Dallas is the favorite to be the best team in the west again this year, and they’ll likely live up to that billing. They still have the MVP Dirk Nowitzki and they’ve added a veteran in Eddie Jones. The Mavericks also added youngster Brandon Bass who is potentially a big sleeper in the free agent market.

Projected Finish: 1st Southwest 64-18

Denver Nuggets

Key Additions: Chucky Atkins, Steven Hunter, Bobby Jones
Key Losses: Steve Blake, Reggie Evans

Denver had a mild off-season but they did lose a key component in their offense in Steve Blake. Blake may not be a player many think of as important in an offense. But he was very good for the Nuggets last year and they will miss him. The addition of Chucky Atkins will help but he isn’t the facilitator that Blake is. The biggest key for the Nuggets of corse is Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony. The Nuggets will need both of their stars to play at their peaks if they want to become a threat in the western conference.

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Eastern Conference Preview

Atlanta Hawks

Key Additions: Al Horford, Acie Law IV
Key Losses: None

With the Warriors making the playoffs last year the Hawks no own the NBA’s longest post-season drought, unfortunately for the Hawks and their fans it looks as if their drought will continue into next season. The Hawks did add some great talent in Horford and Law but they still lack a lot of depth and a coach who can use the talent that they have.

Projected Finish: 5th Southeast 27-55

Boston Celtics

Key Additions: Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, James Posey
Key Losses: Al Jefferson, Wally Szczerbiak, Gerald Green, Delonte West, Theo Ratliff, Sabastian Telfair.

Perhaps no team in the NBA made the moves the Boston Celtics did this year, the added two all-stars and a solid swing man. The Celtics goal this year will be to win the championship, and they do have the weapons to do that, but their biggest problem will likely be at the point guard spot. Rajon Rando and Eddie House look to be their point guards, Rando is an untested second year player and House is more of a scorer first type of player, nonetheless the Celtics should win the Atlantic this year and have a deep playoff run.

Projected finish: 1st Atlantic 50-32

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The Early Stars of Basketball

We all know about players like George Mikan, Bob Cousey, Bob Pettit, and Bill Russell, but who were the stars of basketball before these guys? Not many people know the answer to this question, few if any have heard of Bobby McDermott, LeRoy Edwards, Mel Riebe, Gene Englund, or Ed Sadowski. But in a by gone era of basketball history, these guys were the best of the best, they were the true pioneers of professional basketball.

Gene Englund

Englund was a six five forward who played his college ball at the university of Wisconsin. Englund was never really a superstar but he was an above average player who would finish 3rd all time in scoring in the NBL.

England would play one season in the NBA, appearing in 46 games during the leagues inaugural season for both the Boston Celtics and Tri-Cities Blackhawks, but by the time the NBA formed Englunds career was well over with.

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