2012 Fantasy Basketball: Top 5 Forwards

LeBron James

Lebron James of the Miami Heat leads the list of the top 5 NBA Fantasy Basketball forwards.

One of my colleagues made a point to point out that Kobe Bryant wasn’t a point guard if you get my point. I apologize for the confusion, but I meant to say top 5 guards, which can be PG or SG. The same colleague also wanted to know my player name on Fantazzle, because he recently joined and claimed he wanted to make sure he knew who to beat. For all other players motivated by beating me (ha-ha I hope not many) the name is Tobinator44 and I look forward to all Fantazzle challengers. With NBA opening day looming closer I move on to my highest scoring fantasy basketball position, the Forwards. I love the fact that King James and the Durantula can potentially score me 50 a night, but I also have to realize how much they cost in salary games. They are excellent picks in limited lineup games. So here it goes, my top 5 forwards and this can be SF or PF.

Lebron James: I have to admit, this may be because of some personal bias. I am a huge King James fan. Lebron is the most prolific player in the NBA (take that Kobe fans.) His presence of the court reminds me of MJ’s presence (I know he doesn’t have all the rings, but he will.) For daily fantasy players he is a promise of 25 pts and 10/10 rebounds/assists, for me he is a promise of NBA greatness!

Kevin Durant: The Durantula is sick. The guy is crazy good and he rivals the fantasy power of the King himself.  The guy just recently put up 44 in a preseason game, along with points in each fantasy category. He will average exactly the same as Lebron, but will run you a pretty penny in all salary leagues. He will score, but will he be worth the price in anything but limited lineup leagues.

Blake Griffin: Griffin is the greatest dunker of all time. Big statement, but the guy dunked over a car and he makes the Sports Center Top 10 daily. Griffin is in the teens in points and rebounds every night. He solidifies the term double double. I have to take him just because of the alley’s he gets from Chris Paul. He will be a little less pricey and a better option in salary leagues. Read more…

Blake dunks, world awaits

Vince Carter once dunked over Frederic Weis in international play. Weis stood seven feet tall and Carter cleared him.  To this day, that is Weis’ claim to fame and commonly considered one of the greatest dunks of all time.

This time around, there’s a new dunking sheriff in town.  His name is Blake Griffin.

Griffin was one of twelve NBA All-Stars named to the US Olympic team as they attempt to bring home another gold medal in London this summer.  While his game is not without flaw, he is still the most electrifying dunk artist in the game today.

At a recent USA Basketball training camp, the third year Clipper showed the rest of the world what they’re in store for by throwing a basketball up against the gym wall, catching it and throwing it down with just a hint of authority.

Rest assured, this summer, somehow, some way, and over somebody, Blake Griffin is about to show the rest of the world why we love this game.

See the video here…

Random thoughts on the NBA Playoffs so far, looking ahead

After watching the Clippers outscore the Spurs by 22 points in the first quarter of Game Three of their playoff series, it appeared, if ever so briefly, that San Antonio was not as invincible as everyone thought.  Then we saw them retaliate with a 50-17 run of their own and realized, perhaps they are.

At only 23 years old each, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are disturbingly good.  The Los Angeles Lakers had to play their very best just to be able to stay on the same floor as them.  The future of the league is in good hands.

Read more here…

Redrafting all 32 teams of the 2009 NBA lottery

Blake-GriffinBlake Griffin, Ricky Rubio and James Harden all correctly went in the top 5 in 2009, but Hasheem Thabeet at #2 overall is one of the worst draft picks in NBA history. With the value of hindsight, here’s how the draft would look today, with who they actually took in parenthesis:

1. Los Angeles Clippers – Blake Griffin, PF (Blake Griffin)

He’s been a human highlight reel since returning from his knee injury his rookie season, and there’s little doubt the future is very bright for Griffin in LA. Kevin Love is more effective, although not nearly as flashy, but Griffin is certainly in the discussion for being the best power forward, even if he isn’t quite there yet.

2. Memphis Grizzlies – James Harden, SG (Hasheem Thabeet, C)

OJ Mayo has fallen out of favor over the last few seasons in Memphis, and at this point he’s nothing more than instant offense off the bench. Harden would give Memphis a great backcourt partner to pair with Mike Conley, and Harden would fit in better with Rudy Gay as well.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder – Steph Curry, PG (James Harden)

This was a tough choice between both Rubio and Curry, but since Russell Westbrook came out before the draft saying he’d be upset if the team took a point guard, Curry would be an easier pick to spin. Curry could play the 2 guard at times with Westbrook running the point, although the defensive issues would likely mean they couldn’t play together for extended stretches. Read more here…

Rock, Paper, Clippers

spurs400-timduncan20101201-306x329Congratulations, goes out to the Los Angeles Clippers for there most recent success of advancing to the second round of the NBA playoffs. Unfortunately for this club, they ran into a franchise that is the juggernaut of the NBA. San Antonio took a while to get back, but now they are back in full force! With the dynamic nucleus of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginoboli they are looking like the team to beat once again. Don’t discredit the Clippers however, a franchise that was down in the dumps for some years now. It seems that their fortunes have changed starting from the inside out. Blake Griffin the Clippers 2009 first overall draft pick, has been everything that they could have asked for and he’s only getting better. This past season has been no different, averaging 20 ppg, 11 rpg, 4 apg and shooting 54% from the field has been dynamic. The real story has been the acqusition of Chris Paul, averaging 20 ppg, 4 rpg, 9 apg, and 3 spg. Paul has done everything to get his teammates and the young Blake involved. Paul is the undisputed leader of this team and has been huge down the stretch, especially in the playoffs which is uncharted territory for this young team. Read more here…

Have the Clippers blades gone dull, can they finish?

Blake-GriffinThe Los Angeles Clippers set the NBA world ablaze with the team acquiring  the top 5 point guard in the league, Chris Paul. The minute that the trade was announced everyone immediately put the Clippers in the playoffs. Then to my shock everyone began to write off the Lakers and say that the Clippers were the best team in town.Now that the playoffs have started I think the calls for the Clippers being the best in town has silenced but right now, its no guarantee that either will make it to the next round. The Clippers are dead locked in a battle with the Memphis Grizzlies and for the moment seemed to have the series in the bag. They leaped out to a commanding 3-1 lead in the series but 2 days ago failed to close the deal. Not only did they fail to close the series but they had some injuries to stars Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. Both players averaging over 20 ppg for the team in the playoffs. Read more here…

Blake Griffin gets the highlights, Kevin Love gets the wins

Griffin vs Love

Here’s an interesting fact for you. The Minnesota Timberwolves and the Los Angeles Clippers have played each other three times so far this season. You know what the record is between these two teams? 3-0 Minnesota.

Yeah that surprised me too. How can a team that is composed of Kevin Love and a band of misfits beat a team with Blake Griffin and Chris Paul three times in a row? This is the same Clippers team that has already beaten the Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks this season. They can’t beat the Timberwolves even once?

This is why basketball is such an interesting sport. No matter how good a team is there is always a team out there that will give them matchup headaches. For the Clippers it seems to be the Timberwolves.

And one Timberwolf in particular that seems to haunt them the most is Kevin Love. Two of the three games that these two teams have played against each other have been decided by three points or less.

The very first game was in Los Angeles back in January. Love hit a three at the buzzer to pull out a 101-98 victory for the Timberwolves in that one.

Love’s statistics weren’t very lofty in their second meeting which was also on the Clippers’ home court. Love only managed 10 points and seven boards but they won by a 12-point margin despite huge games by Paul and Griffin.

So after two losses in Los Angeles the Clippers were set on exacting their revenge on Minnesota’s home court on Monday. Love wasn’t having that though and ended up having the biggest game of any player who has participated in the series so far this year.

Love erupted for 39 points and 17 rebounds going 13 of 25 from the floor, 5 of 10 from behind the arc and hitting 8 of his 11 free throw attempts. Although the highlights on Sports Center featured Griffin’s athletic dunks, they failed to showcase the dominant game that Love had over Griffin on the night.

Lob City has been great for the sports show highlights but three straight losses to the Timberwolves shows that there are still some major deficiencies that the Clippers need to address.

One major issue is Griffin’s need to improve his game away from the basket. We all know he can jump over tall buildings in a single bound but when will he ever develop a consistent jump shot?

Many of Griffin’s numbers are down from last season which has to be baffling to Clippers’ management who were hoping that Paul’s presence would help Griffin improve but it has not. Griffin’s rebounds, scoring, assists and free throws are down from his rookie season.

Love has also seen his rebounding numbers and his shooting percentages decrease but he has improved his scoring by almost five points-per-game. Love has increased his scoring by at least three points per game every year he has been in the league which is impressive considering the inconsistent play Minnesota has had at the point guard position during Love’s time in the league.

So can we expect more dominance by the Timberwolves over their Lob City foes? Even if Minnesota makes it to the playoffs it is doubtful these two teams will see each other then unless both make it to the second round.

They do still have one more regular season game to play in Minnesota on April 12th so the pressure is on the Clippers not to get swept. I can imagine that Timberwolves’ fans will have their brooms ready for that one though.

Roosevelt Hall is a Managing Editor for The Sports Blitz. You can also follow him on Twitter @sportmentalist.

Should Blake Griffin defend slam dunk title?


Some people called it the slam heard around the world. 360 degree whirlwinds, windmill tomahawks and even the no-look dunk couldn’t touch it. It was arguably the most talked about slam dunk since Michael Jordan jumped from the free throw line. Blake Griffin jumping over a car (yes, it was the hood, but a car is a car!) to win the 2011 slam dunk contest. But Griffin most likely won’t compete in this year’s slam dunk contest.

“Those dunk contests aren’t my thing, I said that last year. There’s a lot of guys that can put on a great show and do some good stuff.” Griffin told ESPN. His winning dunk was one of, if not the, most highlighted clip from the all-star weekend last year. But what could Griffin really do this year to top last year? Jump over a Hummer?

Not many people can jump over the front of a car, and even less can do it while slam dunking. But in the end, Charles Barkley was right. A dumb pretty girl, is still dumb.  It was an absolutely impressive slam dunk, but Griffin’s talent isn’t really a spectacular dunker. A massive, power dunker? Yes, see Mozgov and Perkins. But admittedly by Griffin himself, dunk contests aren’t really his thing.

If Griffin isn’t in the contest though, this would allow his teammate, DeAndre Jordan, to enter the contest. Jordan could enter the contest even if Griffin was participating, but has said he wouldn’t if his teammate was defending his title. And so far this season, Jordan’s already delivered some great dunking action.  Imagine if Jordan did enter into the contest and does well, possibly even winning? Granted, winning the slam dunk contest gains one nothing but bragging rights, but two slam dunk champions being thrown alley-oops from Chris Paul is even more reason for Clippers fans to go and root for their team.

Ron Tucker is a NBA team writer for The Sports Blitz, contact him @_RonTucker_

Pieces in place for Clippers championship

Blake GriffinThere was a time when the Los Angeles Clippers were one of, if not the most, laughable team in the NBA.  There was a time when Clipper fans faded to the background when sports fans in L.A. debated who the best team of the city was, regardless of sport.  There was a time when the Clippers owner was thought of as one of the worse in the league.  Okay, that last one is probably still true, but as for the other two thoughts, Clippers fan so “no more”.

With the arrival of The Blake Show in L.A. things started looking up for true Clipper fans.  I say true, because the more the Clippers start winning, the more people are going to jump on the bandwagon. But Clipper fans dared not get their hopes up to high.  They’ve seen it all before.  The “other” L.A. team, as the Clippers have been referred to in the past, have had stars and fans have watched them come and go.  Elton Brand.  Lamar Odom. Brent Barry. Each of them has been all-stars and Odom and Barry have helped teams win NBA titles.

So when Blake Griffin came back from injury so strong that he actually won the NBA Rookie of the Year, Clipper fans didn’t get too excited. They’d seen this movie before.  An all-star caliber player on the Clippers one day, traded the next. But then, just when you thought you knew how this story was going to end, the team pulled the old switch-a-roo.

Chris Paul had wanted out of New Orleans and it looked like the Los Angeles Lakers were going to get him.  But wait! The NBA put the Kibosh on the trade, keeping Paul on the Hornets. All of a sudden other teams were in the hunt for acquiring Paul and one of those other teams was the Clippers. After a few days of tug-o-war with which players to give up the Clippers finally got Chris Paul. Now, it seems, Clipper fans are letting themselves believe things are different.

Why shouldn’t they?  A perennial all-star, a rookie of the year and the Clips have just acquired Kenyon Martin. They have the all-stars in place and a supporting cast of players that include Chauncey Billups, Eric Gordon, Mo Williams, and others. And as of this time the “other team” in L.A. is actually in first place in their division. If the Clippers stay healthy and consistent, there’s no reason to think they cannot vie for an NBA championship.  Not just this year, but if Clippers management do the right thing, for years to come.

R.H. Tucker is an NBA team writer for The Sports Blitz

Should the Clippers trade Griffin for Howard?

Over the past week, Dwight Howard has added the Los Angeles Clippers to the list of teams he would like to be traded to. There’s not a scarier thought for teams around the league than the idea of Howard joining Chris Paul in Lob City but should the Clippers trade Blake Griffin to get him?

Both Griffin and Howard are freaks of nature. Both are long, athletic big men who can jump out of the gym. They are usually good for about 20 points-per-game and at least ten rebounds although both are horrible free-throw shooters.

Despite their similarities though, I don’t think that anyone will argue that Howard is the much better player right now. While both still have a lot of upside to their games, Howard has more experience on the big stage having been to the NBA Finals and he is miles ahead of Griffin on the defensive side of the ball.

Howard is probably one of the best shot blockers in the league and is averaging over two blocks-per-game. Griffin on the other hand hasn’t shown as much interest in that part of the game averaging .6 blocks-per-game. Now many people will say that Griffin doesn’t have to be a shot-blocker with DeAndre Jordan in the lineup but he should be able to average at least one block-per-game with hardly any effort considering all the athleticism he possesses.

Their shot-blocking numbers are just one of the statistics that prove the fundamental difference between these two great young players: Howard is a defensive-minded player who can score while Griffin concentrates on offense first.

Case in point, Howard didn’t average 20 points-per-game until his fourth season in the league. Griffin averaged 22.5 points as a rookie and is currently scoring 21 points-per-game this season. Griffin also has a career average of 3.7 assists-per-game. Howard is averaging 2.3 assists-per-game so far this season but has never cracked two assists-per-game in the six previous years he has been in the league.

Howard is four years older than Griffin which would play a factor in the Clippers’ decision to trade him. The other thing that will hinder this trade is the fact that the two players’ salaries won’t allow for a one-on-one swap.

Howard makes over $17 million this year while Griffin comes in at about $5.7 million. The Clippers would have to either give up another player or two, or involve a third team in the trade to make it happen. Plus, the Orlando Magic also seek to get rid of Hedo Turkoglu’s contract which is another thing that could impact a potential trade.

And considering what the Clippers had to give up in order to get Paul they may not be able to muster enough assets to bring in Howard without hurting themselves at some other position. They are thin enough as it is without losing more depth and possibly another starter.

If it were possible to do a straight-up trade for both players though, I would be hard pressed to say that it would be a bad trade. The Magic would get another player to build with who they would like much better than Andrew Bynum and his injury-filled history while the Clippers would get a player who is ready to help them win right now. Sadly, the other factors make this too costly of a trade for the Clippers to make at this point. Sorry Clippers fans, maybe you can still get “Superman” as a free agent after the season unless the Dallas Mavericks beat you to him first.

Roosevelt Hall is an NBA Featured Journalist for The Sports Blitz