After getting done dirty by LeBron James last offseason and winning only 19 games in the Post-Bron Era, the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the odds and won the NBA Draft Lottery and, if you believe the multitude of mock drafts out there, the rights to point guard Kyrie Irving. Oddly enough, the Cavaliers, coming in with the second-best chance to win (19.9%) with their own pick, actually won with the Los Angeles Clippers (2.8%) draft pick. The Cavs acquired this pick with the trade of Mo Williams to the Los Angeles Clippers for Baron Davis. This immediately brings up two questions - why didn't the Clippers protect the pick and why didn't the Clippers protect the pick?
Despite losing to the Dallas Mavericks 108-105, the Minnesota Timberwolves' Kevin Love set an NBA single-season record by posting his 51st consecutive double-double. Love broke the tie he shared with NBA Hall of Famer Moses Malone, scoring 23 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. If the T-Wolves did well to any degree this season, Love would be an MVP candidate, however, they are not and are once again on pace to be one of the lesser teams in the NBA. Love, along with Michael Beasley are the main highlights this season. Rookie Wes Johnson has come on of late and if the team can get any cohesiveness, maybe they can elevate their game as Love clearly has. To think that the team was criticized for trading O.J. Mayo to the Memphis Grizzlies for Love after the 2008 NBA Draft.
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The Toronto Raptors have hit the road for most of November. My buddy Larry has been fuming over their lack of defense. Ironically he was loudest during a two-game stretch where they held their opponents to under 90 points. Granted, he makes a good point. When only the Golden State Warriors and New York Knicks rank below you in opposing team scoring, it should send a message that the D needs to be cranked up.
The Miami Heat came to town riding low on a similar three-game losing streak. These two downward trending teams meeting each other resemble the proverbial unstoppable force against the immovable object, only much less impressive. I had not been to a game since the thrilling season opener win against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Here are my first-hand impressions of the game, with of course some fantasy spin thrown in when possible.
I appreciate musical mash-ups. Fantasy Alphabet will be my mash-up combining articles that look at hot waiver wire pick-ups, players of the week, and notable injuries. The format will consist of quick hits focusing on one player per team, and arranged in alphabetical order to help make quick scanning easier. This week, I arrange the teams in reverse alphabetical order because I want to shine the spotlight on the artist, I mean player formally known as Agent Zero.
Washington Wizards: Gilbert Arenas. I experienced immediate non-buyer’s remorse on Arenas. Over his first four games, he averaged 36 minutes of playing time while putting up 26.5 ppg on 47.3% shooting and 6.3 apg. On the down side, he has coughed the ball up four times a game, and has shot less than 80% from the charity stripe. Yet his threats to curb his three-point shooting have not come to pass, as he has drained two moneyballs a game. I took Andre Iguodala over him in one league after much deliberation, and opted for Vince Carter in another, and feel okay about those selections, but will still shake my head in frustration any night Gilbert goes for 30-plus. He came back to earth a bit on Friday against the Pacers as the Wizards were down pretty much from the start, but he shot 50% for the game so there are still good signs from a down game.
The Orlando Magic were so close to winning the 2009 NBA Championship, they could practically taste it. However, poor foul shooting by star big man Dwight Howard, and simply being overmatched by the Los Angeles Lakers snuffed that dream rather quickly. However, the Magic are back with renewed spirit and added depth in hopes of getting another shot. Meanwhile, the rest of the Southeast Division hasn’t gotten any easier. Some believe it to be one of the toughest divisions in the league. The Washington Wizards also added depth and seem to be healthier than last year; the Miami Heat hope its young prospects can emerge to give Dwayne Wade a decent supporting cast; and the Atlanta Hawks look to take its immensely talented, but immensely unproven roster to the court again.
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