NBA General

Around the Rim: Greg O-Done?

1. With the First Selection

A lot of the draft talk has been about Greg Oden, and deservedly so. Oden will be an immediate blessing to any team that is coming off a lottery level season. But before anyone starts dropping games in order to pick up ping-pong balls for Oden’s rights, they should be willing to be flexible because there’s a kid at Texas who just might change the way the draft plays out. Longhorn guard/forward Kevin Durant is dropping jaws across the nation with his dominance and versatility as a freshman. In 15 games, Durant has averaged 23.4 points (49% FG, 39% 3FG, 85% FT), 10.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists, while blocking 1.9 shots and snatching 1.5 steals per game. Durant torched Colorado for 37 on Saturday and followed that up by picking up his fourth straight double-double with 34 points and 13 rebounds in a win over Missouri last night. Durant’s performances should have teams like the Sixers, Hawks, Celtics and Bobcats reconsidering exactly what all this losing is for.

2. Kings of Comedy
Mike Bibby is trying to get his teammates to rally together and focus on winning, but pointing fingers might not be the way to approach it. Bibby said, “Try to win a game instead of trying to see how many points you can score or how many shots you can get up.” The hot-headed Ron Artest has never been one to take criticism lightly which could lead to problems down the road if he feels Bibby is placing blame on him. But it’s hard for Bibby to accuse others of taking too many shots when he leads the team in shots per game, yet he has one of the worst field goal percentages on his team. The frustrations for the Kings continue to pile up as Sacramento sits at the bottom of their division after losing three in a row and 12 of the last 18 games.

3. Webber Can Come, Garnett’s Got To Go
Chris Webber is a free man and now he’s searching for a team that will bring him a ring. Most rumors are focusing on joining Webber with Kevin Garnett in Minnesota. K.G. has said that he would love to bring Webber aboard, but the move couldn’t possibly bring the Timberwolves any closer to a championship ring than a move for Allen Iverson would have. It’s going to take a lot more than an old Webber who can’t stay healthy to get Garnett into the Finals. Once A.I. was sent to Denver, it became painfully obvious that Minnesota is going to remain a one man show. Perhaps, the time for a K.G. trade is upon us. If Minnesota won’t bring a superstar to Garnett then there are multiple teams who would love to bring Garnett to their superstar.

Wednesday’ Player of the Day: Dwight Howard @ Golden State 45 min, 30 pts (FG: 11-18, FT: 8-15), 25 reb, 2 stl, 1 blk

Thursday’s Game to Watch: Cleveland (22-12) @ Phoenix (26-8) The Suns have been tough to beat this season, but an opponent’s chances are greatly diminished when they must travel to Phoenix where the home team is 15-3. The Cavs are undefeated in 2007 and own the longest winning streak in the Eastern Conference with five in a row, but despite their recent success, Cleveland is only 7-9 on the road. It’s going to be difficult for the Cavaliers to keep up defensively in the transition as Phoenix will try to beat the Cavs down the court on every possession. Cleveland has proven they can produce on offense but Zydrunas Ilgauskus’ abilities on defense could be negated in the up and down game.

Buzzer Beater: You’ve gotta love a short, stocky basketball coach. At least Memphis seems to like theirs. The Grizzlies are 3-3 under their version of Rick Magerus, interim coach Tony Barone. Now, 3-3 might not sound like much, but when you start a season off by going 6-24, a six game stint of 3-3 becomes a big deal. Can Barone keep it up? It depends on if Pau Gasol can remain healthy. Gasol has strung together four consecutive games of 24 or more points and he continues to improve his efforts on the glass. If only Stan Van Gundy were around, he’d be so proud.

By Vin

Vin is a Philly boy who shouldn't be invited into your house because he'll judge you on your book and music collection. He owns Dawkins, Utley, Iverson, and Lindros jerseys, which is all you really need to know about him. He can be reached at [email protected]

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