The Atlanta Hawks have knocked off the Brooklyn Nets in six games, behind NBA Coach of the Year winner Mike Budenholzer who has effortlessly led these Hawks, who has heard of DeMarre Carroll and Mike Scott and Dennis Schroder, to a winning record. The Chicago Bulls have outlasted these feisty and long-armed Milwaukee Bucks with their size and half court offense with Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah. The Bulls have gotten under the Bucks’ skin late in Game 6, and I would expect a rematch between these two teams in the future. The Golden State Warriors dispatch of the New Orleans Pelicans was no contest. The Warriors will host the Memphis Grizzlies who got rid of the Portland Trail Blazers in five games. The Clippers outlasted the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 as they win 111-109 and will face the Houston Rockets in the second round, Kevin McHale’s squad playing outstanding with the play of James Harden and Dwight Howard were too much for the older, aging Dirk Nowitzki and these Dallas Mavericks.
I expect to see Ben Gordon contribute in some big way to the Charlotte Bobcats’ offense. I really don’t see the Bobcats having an exciting season to the NBA playoffs. Expect Charlotte to make an impact with their youth movement.
The Cleveland Cavaliers will be held back by the lack of depth. Kyrie Irving is the engine that runs the ship and he is the engine that will stop running the ship also. There will be no surprises here in the Cavs’ season.
The Mavericks get Elton Brand to pair up with Dirk Nowitzki? What are they thinking? Darren Collison has come abroad now with his scoring offense first and his assists-to-turnover ratio second. They’ve got Chris Kaman and O.J. Mayo from the Memphis Grizzlies now.
Watch and see the Denver Nuggets get hammered by Javale McGee’s personal development. He will hold back the Nuggets’ positive process as Denver is rebuilding behind their new acquisition in Andre Iguodala, their best perimeter defender.
Expect to see the Detroit Pistons rebuild in these better days behind draft pick Andre Drummond as he pairs up with Greg Monroe in the frontcourt. The Pistons aren’t expected to do any better, but is Tayshaun Prince happy in Detroit these few declining NBA seasons of missing the NBA playoffs?
The Golden State Warriors are in need of some really good bench players. They signed Andrew Bogut last season during the trade deadline. Watch and see how Harrison Barnes develops for the Warriors. He is a good NBA player who will be expected to thrive in this type of competitive and physical environment.
The Houston Rockets have too much youth. They have a lot of players on their roster who are either rookies or are 26 years old and under. They don’t have a clear-cut leader for this team. Better be Jeremy Lin or they’re really lost.
Non-USA Basketball Team U.S.A. Basketball team
PG Tony Parker PG Rajon Rondo
SG Leandro Barbosa SG Joe Johnson
SF Andrea Bargnani SF Tayshaun Prince
PF Dirk Nowitzki PF Paul Millsap
C Zydrunas Ilgauskas C Greg Monroe
PG Jose Calderon PG Ben Wallace
SG Manu Ginobli F/C Kevin Durant
SF Carlos Delfino SG/SF Anthony Morrow
PF Tiago Splitter F/C Kevin Love
C Andris Biedrins SG/SF Rudy Gay
PG Patty Mills PG Ty Lawson
SG Marco Bellinelli G/F Josh Smith
If I were to construct a basketball team to play against the Americans, here’s who it would be: Tony Parker would be the point guard here. I like how he’s structured and wired to play his best basketball. Make layups. I also like Leandro Barbosa’s speed here too. Barbosa has a good shooting mechanic. At small forward, I’d put Andrea Bargnani, my guy from Italy. I like having a big guy who is seven feet at small forward. It creates mismatches for opposing forwards. Bargnani can put the ball on the floor if he is being guarded by a slow forward. Dirk Nowitzki is my starting power forward. No questions asked. Nowitzki is a shooting dynamo. You can’t stop Dirk from making his shots. You can only hope to contain him. Zydrunas Ilgauskas is a fabulous center who can make jump shots. At 7-3, you can’t defend his jump shot. On the bench, I have Jose Calderon as my backup point guard who is a heady playmaker and offers steady floor leadership. Manu Ginobli is next on my list. I like Manu’s aggressive drives to the hoop. I like Carlos Delfino here. He is a good shooter and sometimes a willing passer. Then, I’ll have Tiago Splitter manning the power forward and center positions with his rebounding and shot blocking. Andris Biedrins is my backup center and will be relied upon for defense, energy, and rebounding. Patty Mills and Marco Bellinelli fill out the roster with their shooting. Luol Deng is a good option here because I like having Deng on my world basketball team. His all-around game will support his teammates on the offensive and defensive end. Ersan Ilyasova will help my team with his hustle and defense and shooting ability. Serge Ibaka will help here also with his defense and shooting ability. J.J. Barea from Puerto Rico will help my team get points at this point guard position. Then, lastly Kelenna Azuibuike will score points from his reserve shooting guard position. How about that? This is an all-European and African and South American basketball team.