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Old 02-10-2007, 04:58 PM   #1
doublee
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Default Surprises, Disappointments, etc.

Since it is almost the All Star Break it is time to talk about the biggest surprises, busts, and an assortment of other topics.

Surprises thus far:

-The Toronto Raptors are a big surprise at 27-23 right now. They have already won as many games as they did last season (27) and are on pace for a winning season for the first time in five years. After starting the season 5-10 they have gone 22-13 and have won 14 of the last 18. Trading Charlie Villanueva for T. J. Ford has turned out to be a stroke of genius for Bryan Colangelo as he has turned out to be the catalyst this team has been missing for years. Top pick Andrea Bargnani has given them some much needed socring punch off the bench and his play has gotten better as the season goes on and his confidence rises. Jorge Garbajosa, another rookie, has given the team some much needed production in the low post allowing Bosh to play the perimeter a bit more.

-The fact that Houston is the number 5 seed in the West and only three wins behind last year's total of 34 at this stage with Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady both missing significant playing time is pretty astonishing as well.

-Before his injury Yao Ming was in the middle of a pretty surprising run. I think most who follow the NBA had pretty much resided themselves to the notion that Yao was going to be nothing more than a 18-20 point and 8-10 rebound per game type of player. The injuries that kept him from playing for the Chinese National Team last summer may have been a blessing in disguise as he got to stay in the states to rehab and could be a reason why he was so dominant in the early going this season.

-Caron Butler is finally putting up the type of numbers everyone thought he would coming out of UConn.

-Carlos Boozer is finally showing why the Jazz gave him such a fat contract a couple of years ago. When he is healthy he is one of the best PFs in the league.

Disappointments:
-After the Bulls gave the Heat the worst defeat of a defending champion in its opening game in league history I thought they were going to be a major force in the East. But, thus far, they look like the same old Bulls teams we have seen the past couple of years that will muddle its way to 45 wins and a playoff berth only to flame out in the first round. They just cannot seem to beat anyone on the road this year.

-Boston has far more talent than its record indicates. I know Paul Pierce has missed half the season but this team should have more than 12 wins playing in the weakest division in the league. I would not be surprised if neither Ainge nor Rivers survive this season in Boston.

-Milwaukee seems to have taken a step back this season after trading T. J. Ford.

-The Clippers were supposed to challenge the 50-win barrier this year. Thus far they are struggling to stay at .500 and maintain a playoff spot.

-The same can be said for the Kings. They were a playoff team last year and are currently five games under .500.

Breakout Players:
-Carmelo Anthony has taken his game to the next level and is becoming the elite scorer everyone thought he would be.

-Ben Gordon is averaging over 20 (21.1) points per game for the first time in his career.

-Kevin Martin has almost doubled his scoring average from 10.8 last year to 20.9 this year and has emerged as one of the league's elite marksmen hitting 41.9% of his 3-point attempts.

-Eddy Curry is averaging 19.6 points per game, six points above his career average, and shooting .581 from the field.

-Luol Deng has raised his scoring average from 14.4 to 18.1 and is shooting a career-high .519 from the field.

-Deron Williams is averaging 17.3 points and 9.1 assists per game after averaging only 10.8 and 4.5 in his rookie season.

-Monta Ellis has gone from 6.8 points per game in his rookie season to 17 per game this year.

-Andris Biedrins is averaging 10.2 points and 9.5 rebounds per game after barely seeing the floor his first two years.

-A change of scenery is just what J. R. Smith needed as he is averaging a career-high 15.6 ppg in Karl's high octane offense.

Still waiting on:
-Shaun Livingston to step up and become the playmaker the Clippers expect him to be.

-Delonte West to be the premiere player that the Celtics keep telling evreyone he is going to be.

-Andrew Bogut to be anything more than a servicable big man. So far he has been nothing special and has not really shown any marked improvement in his second season.

-Nene to show me why Denver shouldn't trade him.

-The Hawks to actually be competitive again. One would think with all of the talent they have amassed that they would accidentally make the playoffs one of these years as it does not take much in the East.

-Ditto for the Bobcats with Okafor finally healthy and a good young talented PG in Raymond Felton there is no reason this team should not be in the playoff mix in the East.

Keep an eye on:
-J. J. Redick - He is finally healthy and gettin regular minutes in Orlando. He is scoring 11.8 points per game and shooting .462 from behind the arc in the month of February.

-Andre Igoudala is averaging 19.1 ppg since the AI Era came to an end.
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Old 02-15-2007, 09:04 PM   #2
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Nice post. How about the Lakers becoming a solid team around Kobe? Guys like Bynum have re-energized a previously-veteran team. It's no longer one-on-five with Kobe.
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Old 02-15-2007, 10:30 PM   #3
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I thought about the Lakers but truth be told they are only on pace to win about a game or two more than last year. That is why I didn't mention them.
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Old 02-17-2007, 11:19 AM   #4
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I thought of another one to add to the disappointment/bust list and that is the Heat. I know Shaq has been injured most of the year but if Antoine Walker and Gary Payton had not gone from being solid contributers to just a couple of guys simply going through the motions and collecting a paycheck this year then the Heat would be a lot further up in the standings.
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Old 02-28-2007, 03:09 PM   #5
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Great post doublee. Well-thought out and researched, I am sorry I haven't gotten around to responding to this thread before now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by doublee
-The fact that Houston is the number 5 seed in the West and only three wins behind last year's total of 34 at this stage with Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady both missing significant playing time is pretty astonishing as well.
More surprising than Houston's performance so far this season is the fact that the Rockets, who are presently in third place in the southwest division, are only win behind Detroit who is the top team in the Eastern Conference.

The entire Eastern Conference should have made your disappointment list.
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Old 03-01-2007, 09:22 PM   #6
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I don't know, that is somewhat relative to what your expectations were coming into the season.

I thought the Nets would be a contender in the East this year but it is hard to label them too big of a disappointment considering both Richard Jefferson and Nenad Kristic have missed upwards of 30 games this year.

I'd say Orlando is a bit of a conundrum as well. They looked like the best team in the East the first month or so of the season and then the wheels fell off sometime in December. I really thought this was the year for them to take the next step up and win in the neighborhood of 45 games and get into the playoffs.

But, on the flipside of that you have Charlotte and Atlanta who only need four more wins to match last year's total with over 20 games to go and Toronto and New York have already won more games than they did all of last year.

I did think of another surprise to add to the list though: The fact that Vince Carter has not missed one game this year is a shocker to me. Usually by now he has already had at least a two to three week stretch where he was out due to a pulled hammy or groin. :lol:
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Old 03-03-2007, 11:20 AM   #7
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The Clippers are a big dissapointment. I thought they would build upon last season.

Biggest Surprise - Miami being as bad as they are, can Shaq find it in him to be the dominant player he needs to be again?

Of course, I am a Mavericks fan so I'm ready to get bashed here since it's my first post.
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Old 03-03-2007, 12:06 PM   #8
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The biggest thing about Miami is how quickly Antoine Walker and Gary Payton have gone in the tank this year. If those two were playing with any kind of energy or purpose this year then the Heat would be right in the middle of the playoff pecking order instead of on the fringe as they are now. It is a pretty sad state when Jason Kapono is being counted on as your number two scorer out there
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Old 03-04-2007, 12:02 AM   #9
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I've lived through Antoine Walker here in Dallas and those were a frustrating few years. The man has talent, but makes poor decisions. Nobody can take the ball down the court and throw up a brick from 3-point land like he can. Gary Peyton is just over the hill.
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Old 03-04-2007, 09:50 PM   #10
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Payton was pretty much over the hill when he was with the Lakers. But he has gone from being a reliable guy off the bench to a guy just picking up a paycheck this year.

I feel 'ya on 'Toine. I have always felt he was an overrated player. But, with either Wade or Shaq being out of almost every game Walker should be out there giving the Heat 15 ppg not 8 to 9 or whatever it is he is giving them this year.
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You SU-DIDDILY-UCK Flanders!!
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