Andy Flint

I'm a huge sports fan who decided to take to the web and write about my views on a wide variety of sports and sporting events. The NBA is my main catalyst, but I also write a lot about the NFL and other sports. Check out some of my non-NBA work at www.sports-kings.com!
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WATCH: Vince Carter rejects Dirk Nowitzki at the basket

Former teammates must still keep lines of communication open, right? Well, if that’s the case, then Dirk Nowitzki can be expecting a buzz from former Mavericks’ teammate, Vince Carter, after the HUGE block Carter laid on Dirk during Monday’s preseason action between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Dallas Mavericks, in Dallas.

Don’t be fooled by Carter’s athletic decline. He’s still more athletic than the average person. VC shows this off, by climbing the ladder and meeting the seven-foot, Nowitzki, at the rim with a brutal block. carter’s not usually known for his defensive prowess, but perhaps his short time in Memphis, so far, has changed his ways. I suppose it’s hard to play on that roster and not pick up on some defense.

Dirk was actually blocked twice on the possession. Once by Tony Allen (who else?), as he attempted a three in the corner. Dirk grabbed the loose, ball, but managed to get stuffed, again, by Carter at the rim. Dallas actually got the rebound, but Brandon Wright failed to convert.

Despite the block part on Dirk, the Mavericks managed to hold on and win 108-103, as preseason winds down.

WATCH: Derrick Rose vs. Kyrie Irving

Listen, the season starts one week from today (Tuesday, October 28th), and I’m so excited that I may have an aneurysm, die, and miss the entire thing play out. Despite the excitement, I’m rightfully upset that we’ll be without Paul George all year, and without Kevin Durant to start. However, the league welcomes back Derrick Rose, who decided to go HAM on Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night, notching 30-points in 24 minutes of play. Kyrie Irving was no slouch, putting up 28-points and seven dimes in 38 minutes of play.

Two of the leagues premier point-guards doing battle is one of the most exciting things you can watch in all of sports. This two-minute clip highlights some of the best moments from what’s sure to be a new rivalry in the making, as the Chicago Bulls traveled to Cleveland to take on the Cavaliers during Monday night’s preseason action .

The Cavaliers defended their home floor well, defeating the visiting Bulls by a score of 107-98, behind Irving’s 28. But the biggest story of the night was Derrick Rose dropping 30 in less than 25 minutes, and looking like MVP Derrick Rose.

Check out Rose as he takes it coast-to-coast at right about the 15-second mark. Speed, quickness and strength to finish that basket, with the harm. Can we FINALLY count on a comeback season from D-Rose? I hope so!

2014-15 team previews: Southeast Division

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Welcome to the 2014-15 preview for the NBA’s Southeast Division. Check out where the team ranked the Miami Heat, Charlotte Hornets, Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic this season.

The southeast lost LeBron James, gained some interesting rookies, and looks to see the emergence of the Hornets and Wizards, respectively. Can Paul Pierce help advance the Wiz to the next level? Can Al Horford and company improve on a winning season in Charlotte. How will the Heat recover after losing LeBron James? Can the Magic’s young crop put up wins? Will Jeff Teague take the leap for the Hawks? Have all of your questions answered below.

Be sure to check out our previous divisional previews, and stay tuned for Friday’s look at the Southwest Division.

1st Place – Charlotte Hornets

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Last Season: 43-39

2014-15 Projection: 47-35

Key Additions:Lance Stephenson (IND), Marvin Williams (UTA), Noah Vonleh (Rookie), Brian Roberts (NO)

Key Losses: Josh McRoberts (MIA), Chris Douglas-Roberts (LAC), Luke Ridnour (ORL)

The Charlotte Bobcats are no more. The 10-year reign that only saw the franchise make it to the playoffs only two seasons in that time span has officially ended. With the burying of the Bobcats, the famous Charlotte Hornets name has resurrected. The purple and teal colors are back in an effort to bring a retro re-brand to the forefront of NBA in Charlotte. Owner Michael Jordan and coach Steve Clifford will look to reflect the future Hornets in comparison to the successful teams in the 90’s. The organization is in fact the right direction to make a splash in the Eastern Conference and drive to a deep postseason run.

The offseason signing of free agent Lance Stephenson, who played for the Indiana Pacers last season, gives the Hornets an immediate step-up at the shooting guard position. The large issue that could plague Stephenson to play at his best, who averaged 13.8 points per game with the Pacers the previous season, is his questionable locker room attitude. Other than that, the young SG is bound to have a substantial breakthrough 1st season with Charlotte. Signing FA Marvin Williams to a multi-year deal provides this team with reliability at power forward. Team captains Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson are solid picks for the point guard and center positions, respectively. Jefferson proved his multi-year deal with Charlotte last season wasn’t a fluke as he received All-NBA Third Team honors. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist could turn some heads with a surprising turnaround season with a ton of talent not fully exposed to the highest level.

The loss of Josh McRoberts to Miami hurts the flowing pattern of shooting and passing across the court and setting up Jefferson for bigger situations.

Things to look closely at for the Hornets this upcoming season: Consistent offensive efficiency (third-best in the league last season), a condensed points per possession average, and the possibility of bench player Cody Zeller out to prove his worthiness to Charlotte. If all goes well for Charlotte in their first season back as the Hornets, they have potential to be a top-5 Eastern Conference and possibly take the Southeast Division crown for a likely home court advantage in the playoffs. (Kevin Smith)

2nd Place – Washington Wizards

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Last Season: 44-38

2014-15 Projection: 46-36

Key Additions: Paul Pierce (BKN), Kris Humphries (BOS), DeJaun Blair (DAL)

Key Losses: Trevor Ariza (HOU), Trevor Booker (UTA)

Last season was a huge step in the right direction for the Wizards. Led by one of the best backcourts in the Association and a veteran frontcourt, they are staking their claim as a top four team in the East.

The loss of Trevor Ariza and Trevor Booker was significant, but the Wizards were able to re-sign Marcin Gortat, and the addition of Paul Pierce, Kris Humphries and DeJaun Blair gives them a balance of veteran leadership and young talent.

Second year player and former no. 3 overall pick Otto Porter Jr. could be a major factor in the Wizards’ season. After struggling in his first year, which could be attributed to injuries, the former no. 3 overall pick could see a significant increase in opportunity. The Wizards can be penciled in for a playoff birth, and could realistically finish as the 3 seed in the East.

Bradley Beal’s injury will set them back for the first part of the season, but he will be back and healthy for the bulk of the season. (Mark Pace)

3rd Place – Miami Heat

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Last Season: 54-28

2014-15 Projection: 45-37

Key Additions: Luol Deng, Shannon Brown, Danny Granger, Josh McRoberts, Shabazz Napier

Key Losses: LeBron James (CLE), Ray Allen (FA), Shane Battier (Retired), Michael Beasley (CBA)

The Heat will look drastically different, and blah, blah, blah. I can go on all day about how losing LeBron James will negatively impact ANY team out there, but I’ll spare you all the constant grind of talking about LeBron James.

The Heat still have a ton of talent. Dwyane Wade may be nearly done, but he’s still better than most players hanging around the association. Chris Bosh is still in town, after re-upping on a monster $100+ million deal. Bosh is such an undervalued player in this league. Look for Bosh to resemble the his former, Raptors’ self this season, as Miami will need a true cornerstone player, and I’m just not sure Wade has that left in him for an entire season.

I also look to the additions to make a big splash. Look to guys like Luol Deng, Danny Granger, rookie Shabazz Napier, Shannon Brown and Josh McRoberts to give the Heat enough of a push to finish as a playoff seed in the east. (Andy Flint)

4th Place – Atlanta Hawks

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Last Season: 38-44

2014-15 Projection: 43-39

Key Additions: Adeian Payne (Rookie), Thabo Sefalosha (OKC)

Key Losses: Louis Williams (TOR)

The Hawks didn’t make any moves to really improve their roster, but bringing in the stretch capabilities of rookie, Adreian Payne, will bolster their rotation. The development of Jeff Teague should also continue to make this team harder to beat, while Al Horford’s return from injury is sure to warrant the Hawks additional wins in 2014-15.

All in all, their rotation players look solid on paper. We know what we’ll get from guys like Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver, Thabo Sefalosha, Jeff Teague and Al Horford. It’s the young players who could make the difference. Guys like Payne and Dennis Schroder should see opportunity to play quality minutes this season. Whether or not they put this opportunity to good use is up in the air.

All in all, I believe Atlanta is a good team, who made a good run at the Pacers in the first round, last season. Having Al Horford to anchor their defense for an entire season is what makes this team tick. They just need to keep the big fella healthy. (Andy Flint)

5th Place – Orlando Magic

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Last Season: 23-59

2014-15 Projection: 32-50

Key Additions: Elfrid Payton (Rookie), Aaron Gordon (Rookie), Channing Frye (PHX), Devyn Marble (Rookie), Evan Fournier (Den), Luke Ridnour (CHA)

Key Losses: Arron Afflalo (Den), Jason Maxiell (CHA)

Look, losing Arron Afflalo seems like dark spot in what is already shaping up to be another tough season for the Magic and it’s fans, but the key here is patience, much as it’s been the last two seasons. The development of Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris, Nikola Vucevic, Maurice Harkless, Elfrid Payton and Aaron Gordon is crucial to this young team.

The Magic may have struck gold in the 2014 NBA Draft, acquiring the young, freak athlete, Aaron Gordon, the under-the-radar point guard, Elfrid Payton, and even the surprising Devyn Marble, who Orlando got lucky with in the second round.

The Magic have the fourth youngest roster in the league, with an average age of 24.6. Take into consideration that newcomers, Ben Gordon, and Channing Frye boost their average age considerably, as do both Wllie Green and Luke Ridnour, being as all four players are in their 30’s. But every other player on the Magic’ roster is under the age of 25. In fact, Aaron Gordon, Elfrid Payton, Nikola Vucevic, Victor Oladipo, Evan Fournier, Andrew Nicholson, Devyn Marble, Maurice Harkless, and Tobias Harris all combine for an average age of 21.5. These are the guys who the Magic will be banking on, long term, which is why I preach patience with this young roster.

The sky is the limit! (Andy Flint)

WATCH: Blake Griffin and Trevor Booker get physical

Blake Griffin has become a major target of hard fouls over the years, and it makes perfect sense, being that his calling card is posterizing his opponents. One of the biggest knocks on Blake has been his inability to defend himself from taking rough fouls. He’s been called out by guys like Zach Randolph and DeMarcus Cousins in the past, but perhaps it’s time Blake lays down the law a bit.

The Utah Jazz were leading the Los Angeles Clippers 66-61 on Friday night, during preseason, when Blake received a pass from Chris Douglas-Roberts on the fast-break. Trevor Booker was the last man back for Utah, but instead of contesting the shot, Booker reached high and landed a paw on Blake’s head, which needless to say, didn’t go over so well with Griffin.

As you can see from the tape, Griffin had already made up his mind, prior to landing, and then went right at Booker. Even grabbing Booker around the back of his head. I like this new Blake Griffin. Play hard, dunk on people, and don’t put up with the hard fouls. You have to make a stand at some point, and apparently this is the season where we see a new Blake Griffin, in terms of not standing for the overly-physical play from defenders.

Perhaps the most hilarious part of this encounter was the fact that Spencer Hawes and CDR, of all people, were left to try and sort out the controlling of Blake Griffin.

2014-15 team previews: Pacific Division

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The Pacific division is one generally dominated by the Los Angeles Lakers. But lately the story has changed, as the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors have become the teams to beat. Watch out for the Phoenix Suns as well, while the Kings look to build around DeMarcus Cousins.

The real story of the Pacific may be the return of Kobe Bryant. The Lakers’ legend looks to make his triumphant return, after missing the majority of the 2013-14 NBA season.

1st Place – Los Angeles Clippers

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Last Season: 57-25

2014-15 Projection: 55-27

Key Additions: Spencer Hawes (CLE),

Key Losses: Darren Collison (SAC), Jared Dudley (MIL)

The Clippers will win the division again, even with the Warriors winning more games and the Clippers winning less games than they did in 2013-14 respectively. 57 wins is  a hard mark to hit, even with the NBA’s third best player on your roster, which is why I have the Clippers slated to snag 55-wins in 2014-15.

Chris Paul is still one of the league’s elite players, and Blake Griffin will continue to get better, as he puts in a bid to become a top five NBA talent. He has the skill and we’ve watched his work ethic pay dividends since he joined the league back in 2009. LAC also boasts a core that stayed mostly in-tact since last season. DeAndre Jordan, Jamal Crawford, J.J. Reddick and Matt Barnes are still in-tow, as Paul and Blake look to lead this team to a high seed, and more importantly, an NBA Championship. (Andy Flint)

2nd Place – Golden State Warriors

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Last Season: 51-31

2014-15 Projection: 50-32

Key Additions: Steve Kerr (head coach), Brandon Rush, Shaun Livingston, and Leandro Barbosa

Key Losses: Mark Jackson (head coach)

The Golden State Warriors’ biggest offseason move was letting go of head coach Mark Jackson and hiring Steve Kerr to replace him. Jackson reportedly had issues with the front office which ultimately caused management to fire him and go in a different direction. Perhaps the biggest thing to look for in this Warriors team is what adjustments Steve Kerr makes and how the team responds to him. If the team plays well and buys into Kerr’s philosophy, the hiring will look like the right move. If the team struggles and doesn’t respond to him, then people will start to question the decision to let go of Jackson.

In addition to a coaching change, the Warriors also were involved in the Kevin Love drama this summer. For a while, they were entertaining the idea of letting go of Klay Thompson to get Kevin Love before ultimately not getting involved in the Kevin Love trade at all. The Warriors and Thompson now are trying to work out a deal on a contract extension and at the moment, they are said to be millions of dollars away per year from reaching an agreement. If Thompson and the Warriors can’t agree on an extension soon, the Warriors’ relationship with Thompson could be strained which obviously could have a negative impact on the team. However, I do expect the Warriors to smooth things over with Thompson and find a way to pay him what he wants.

As for how the Warriors perform on the court this season, I don’t see any reason to think they’ll do any  better than last season. The only thing that could make them better is if they can stay more healthy than last season. Andrew Bogut, Stephen Curry, and Andre Iguodala all have had injury problems. If those guys stay healthy, then the Warriors will do a lot better. Especially since they don’t have much of a bench and Steve Kerr is new to coaching. Health will be key to this team’s success.

I already mentioned that the bench is suspect, but they did add some guys who could make their bench better. These guys are Brandon Rush, Shaun Livingston, and Leandro Barbosa. If those guys play well, that will really make things easier on their starting lineup. Especially Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson who are relied upon to score the bulk of the points.

In conclusion, this Warriors team is very good. Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry are the best backcourt in the NBA and their 3-point abilities will make them a dangerous team come playoff time. However, they didn’t make any big splashes in the offseason outside of their head coach, and I don’t think Steve Kerr will make so big of a difference that this team vaults into the NBA Finals. Teams like the Spurs, Thunder, and Clippers I still  think are better teams, but the Warriors will once again find themselves in the playoffs ready to prove us wrong. (Ben Parker)

3rd Place – Phoenix Suns

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Last Season: 48-34

2014-15 Projection: 51-31

Key Additions: Isaiah Thomas (SAC)

Key Losses: Channing Frye (ORL)

The Suns were the biggest surprise in the NBA last season after finishing 27 wins above their pre-season Vegas prediction. The team sports a deep backcourt, and Isaiah Thomas has the potential to be the Sixth Man of the Year.

They also added T.J. Warren and Tyler Ennis to an already young team. The Phoenix Suns will be better than last year (assuming they can stay healthy,) but that might not be enough for a playoff birth in the loaded Western Conference. More than likely, 50 wins will put them in, but Dallas and Memphis (last season’s 7th and 8th seeds) should be better too.

As impossible as it sounds, the 7, 8 and 9 seeds in the West should be even better than they were last season. Even with three more wins, the Suns are going to have to battle to make the Playoffs. (Mark Pace)

4th Place – Los Angeles Lakers

NBA: FEB 07 Lakers at Celtics

Last Season: 27-55

2014-15 Projection: 47-35

Key Additions: Julius Randle (Rookie), Carlos Boozer (CHI), Ed Davis (MEM), Jeremy Lin (HOU). Ronnie Price (ORL)

Key Losses: Steve Blake (POR), Pau Gasol (CHI), Chris Kamen (POR)

I’m going out on a ledge and giving the Lakers a major spike in wins (20) for this season, and it’s for a few reasons.

A) Kobe Bryant is back and looks hungry. I don’t think he’ll average 27 points per game this season, but Kobe averaging 20+ (which he will) is FAR superior to Kobe sitting on the bench with an injury.

B) Sure, they lost Gasol and Steve Blake, but they reloaded. Look at the names mentioned above. Julius Randle and Carlos Boozer will combine to do as much, if not more, than Pau Gasol did for the Lakers last season. Bank on that. Ed Davis is also a capable big man, with youth and size. And then you have Jeremy Lin and Ronnie Price. I’m high on Lin with the Lakers, because he’s going to give Nash quality minutes to rest, while not needing to bring the ball up on every possession, which if you’ve ever watched Kobe play, is a necessity.

Overall, I feel like these guys will miss the playoffs, but give it a heck of a go late in the year. Hopefully Nash and Kobe both stay healthy, but I won’t hold my breath. (Andy Flint)

5th Place – Sacramento Kings

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Last Season: 28-54

2014-15 Projection: 37-45

Key Additions: Darren Collison (LAC), Ramon Sessions (CHA), Nik Stauskas

Key Losses: Marcus Thornton (BOS), Isaiah Thomas (PHX)

I don’t expect a ton out of the Kings, despite them having the best center in the NBA. You ever notice that Sacramento has DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and a bunch of dudes who may give you production, or may go out and drop two points? The word unreliable comes to mind. They have a logjam of young shooting guards, who can’t possibly all receive a productive amount of minutes. They have two backup point guards, and four backup power forwards, without a true starter in sight. Tell me how this team is supposed to win.

If Sacramento is smart, they use the fact that Rudy Gay seemed rejuvenated late last season, and package that with either McLemore, or Stauskas, and look to land another difference-maker to pair with Cousins. I like Ray McCallum and I believe they should give him a legitimate shot at starting point guard. What do they have to lose?

The Kings do have some nice young pieces to roll with Boogie, they just need to figure out which guys to go with, moving forward. (Andy Flint)

 

Second annual NBA power-forward draft

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Join Frank Santos and Andy Flint, as they bring you their power-forward installment of the back-and-forth draft styled list that ranks the top 30 current players at each NBA position. Look out for the centers draft next Wednesday.

You can check here to see where Frank and Andy ranked each power-forward last season, and you can follow the ranking next to each player to see if they moved up or fell down since last year.

1 – Blake Griffin – Los Angeles Clippers (Andy Flint) +2

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Last year I took LaMarcus Aldridge with the second pick, and stated that I would have taken him first overall, because, simply put, LMA is a bad, bad man. But, Blake Griffin has also become a bad, bad man, and his 2013-14 campaign really opened up my eyes.

Blake put on his big boy pants last season and led the Clippers to a 13-6 record, while Chris Paul missed time with a Grade 3 AC joint separation.

If you would have asked me what I thought of Blake, heading into last season, I would have explained that he was a talented leaper, who will always find a way to score, being that he’s one of the most athletic players at his position. I honestly felt like it ended there, but Blake surprised me, by expanding his all-around game last season.

2 – LaMarcus Aldridge – Portland Trail Blazers  (Frank Santos) Same

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These top five guys are all so close, it really comes down to personal preference, and what you are looking for in a power forward. If it were my pick, I would have taken Aldridge #1, but Blake’s game has grown so much, its hard to argue against him.

I think there is a misconception we need to clear up. LaMarcus Aldridge is NOT a “stretch 4″. He has an excellent post game, so his talent is not strictly in the mid-range. However, that mid-range game is by far the best of his peers in this group. Aldridge is simply unstoppable when he is on his game.

You are probably expecting me to say that last years playoffs were LMA’s “coming out party”, but he’s been low-key killing dudes for years now; most people just don’t notice because he plays in Portland at 2AM EST.

3 – Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans (Andy Flint) +3

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I was really on the fence with this pick, as I obviously had Kevin Love on my mind a bit. This isn’t a slight against Love, but rather me praising Davis for his ability and what I believe he is turning into. The polished offense we all heard about when Davis was drafted back in 2012 is starting to show its face, while his defensive prowess is years ahead of most players in this league.

I believe Davis will be the top dog in this list next season.

4 – Kevin Love – Cleveland Cavaliers (Frank Santos) -3

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First off, #BowToTheBrow, but I was quite shocked that Flint took him over Kevin Love, who we appear to be quite low on. Before the season started last year, I think Love was the popular consensus for the #1 pick on this list. Part of his drop has simply been the performance of his peers, but I think Love’s game has taken a serious PR hit. He now has what I call “Carmelo Anthony Syndrome”, where people don’t deny your talent, but throw that question around of “does he make his teammates better?”

Obviously, that has all changed now, as Love is about to be playing alongside LeBron James, and won’t need to be the alpha dog anymore. However, we are about to see how Love adjusts to now being the third option on a championship contender as opposed to the first, second, and third option on a team lucky to hit .500. Love should have been watching Chris Bosh film all off-season, as he should expect to play a very similar role for the Cavs this season.

5 – Chris Bosh – Miami Heat (Andy Flint) Same

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Much to the surprise of most of you haters, Chris Bosh is still a top-tier talent in this league. I understand that Bosh is everyone’s favorite player to hate, but the dude has skill, and the Miami Heat will only go as far as Bosh’s skill can lead them, because Dwyane Wade (and his knees) are done.

6 – Tim Duncan – San Antonio Spurs (Frank Santos) +1

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Do I need to really tell you about the Big Fundamental? He’s a Hall of Famer who somehow has told Father Time to sit down and shut up while Timmy does his work.

I usually don’t resort to this argument, but… Count The Rings.

7 – Dirk Nowitzki – Dallas Mavericks (Andy Flint) -3

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You can say a lot of the same things about Dirk that Santos just said about Timmy D. Storied NBA career. Dirk is the top European player to ever lace ‘em up in the NBA, and at the tender age of 36, you can still count on The Germanator to average somewhere around 20 ppg, while leading his team to the playoffs.

8 – Serge Ibaka – Oklahoma City Thunder (Frank Santos) +6

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I can’t believe we drafted Ibaka 14th last year; that seems far too low. Ibaka is by far the best defender on this list, at least for now (I think The Brow can enter the conversation this year), and he has carved out a role in the OKC offense that many didn’t believe he could, even stretching out to the three-point line.

As Dirk and Duncan age another year, I expect Ibaka to leap over them this time next year if he continues his progression this year.

9 – Zach Randolph – Memphis Grizzlies (Andy Flint) -1

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Zebo! Heart, grit, determination. And all of that came from one Google search for Zach Randolph.

All joking aside, name five players who leave it out on the floor the way Zebo does. This guy pours everything he has into the game, and it shows, as you can never count Memphis out.

Randolph may be the best below the rim player at his position, but don’t let the lack of athleticism fool you. Zach is tough as nails, and if you get in his grill, you may have a boxing match on your hands. Randolph embodies bully-ball, whether it be hard play in the paint, or sheer intimidation.

10 – Pau Gasol – Chicago Bulls (Frank Santos) -1

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Fact: Pau Gasol, in an age of overly sensitive basketball players, may be the most sensitive player in the league.

Fact: Pau Gasol is still underrated as hell, and you guys need to stop sleeping on him.

Fact: Pau Gasol will play an important role in the Bulls run to the #2 seed, and possibly the NBA Finals for the Chicago Bulls.

Fact: I picked the Bulls to make the Finals last year too, and that didn’t go so well for me.

11 – Paul Millsap – Atlanta Hawks (Andy Flint) +1

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It’s about that time where I start to ask Paul Millsap what he’s actually worth. I like the guy and I like what he can do out on the hardwood, but It’d be nice to see a greater overall impact from him.

If you’ve been reading Frank and I’s drafts over the past few weeks, you’ve probably caught on to the fact that, while I love guys who impact the stat sheet, I also need to see the big moments, and much like I rode Ty Lawson for lacking these moments, I’ll ride Millsap for never seeing any from him either. Perhaps Jeff Teague can loan Paul some of the ice water he has flowing through his veins.

12 – David West – Indiana Pacers (Frank Santos) -1

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Andy says I am way too high on West, and thinks this is a reach. I don’t see it that way (obviously), as West is the one constant that keeps the Pacers afloat. It got so bad for the Pacers last year during the playoffs that West literally had to put the team on his back OFFENSIVELY to get them past the Atlanta Hawks. And he did, because he’s David West and if he wants something, he will bully his way there.

West has high basketball IQ, toughness, and is a great defender. What’s not to like?

PS I would have taken him over Millsap too, and I have a legitimate basketball crush on Paul Millsap.

13 – Greg Monroe – Detroit Pistons (Andy Flint) +2

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To be clear, I don’t hate David West or anything, and no, Frank didn’t claim that I do. I just know how your minds tend to work. I just don’t believe he’s top 15.

Greg Monroe on the other hand, has some real potential to be a huge impact for any team. Although, much like Paul Milsap, I need to see more of those big moments. I want to see Monroe’s 15 and 9 develop into 18 and 10, and I want to see his play translate into wins.

14 – David Lee – Golden State Warriors (Frank Santos) -4

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Lee was one of the losers of the Andre Iguodala addition to the Warriors last year, which explains his slight fall on this list. Then you combine that he can never seem to stay healthy, and that his defense continues to leave much to be desired, and 14 seems like a good home for him.

15 – Kenneth Faried – Denver Nuggets (Andy Flint) +4

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Faried is a dude that I’ve been highly critical of, but the skill is there, and I fully expect to see him have a breakout year in 2014-15.

His play-style fits this Nuggets’ team well, and the addition of a true shooting threat in Arron Afflalo should make it a bit easier on everyone, but particularly for Faried, who should suddenly find more space to move, as the floor will spread more for the Nuggets this season.

16 – Nene Hilario – Washington Wizards (Frank Santos) +9

Nene and Marcin Gortat were like those cousins that share the same birthday week: they just decided to have their coming out party at the same time to make things easier for us. We appreciate that, guys.

It has never been a question of talent for Nene, but rather consistency, and staying on the court. He still has issues with both, but certainly made strides last season, enough to earn him the biggest leap on this list.

17 – Josh Smith – Detroit Pistons (Andy Flint) -1

How the mighty have fallen. Could you have pictured Josh Smith not being in the top 10 or top 15 two years ago? Me neither. I always said that Smith needs to do a bit more, but I never imagined he’d become the third best player on his team. But that seems to be the case now with the arrival of both Monroe and Andre Drummond.

I wonder if Stan Van Gundy can find a way to squeeze the sponge and revive Smoove’s career?

18 – Thaddeus Young – Minnesota Timberwolves (Frank Santos) +N/A

You’ll notice we didn’t draft Thad Young last season… that’s because last season he was a small forward. Did we convert Thad to a power forward because that is the position he will play for the T’Wolves, and NOT because we forgot to draft him in the small forward draft?

Sure, we will go with that.

19 – Derrick Favors – Utah Jazz (Andy Flint) -2

Young kid still trying to figure out the league and the tremendous size and athleticism he possesses, or career 14 and 8 player? Listen, either way, Favors will find a job, but this kid has the size and tools to be a great big man. I just hope he realizes it soon.

Note: Favors is just 23-years old still. Seems like he’s been in the league for 8 seasons.

20 – Taj Gibson – Chicago Bulls (Frank Santos) +8

Poor Taj Gibson, man. He FINALLY gets Carlos Boozer out of town and thinks he is going to get the starting role he has long since earned, and what do the Bulls do? They bring in Pau Gasol, and now Gibson is relegated back to his backup role.

Taj Gibson should be a starter in this league, but them be the breaks, kid. I expect Gibson to perform at a high level once again, and be in contention for Sixth Man of the Year.

21 – Carlos Boozer – Los Angeles Lakers (Andy Flint) -8

Washed up? Boozer’s on the back nine, and getting away from one of the league’s top defensive teams will probably expose exactly how close he  is to sitting up at the clubhouse, enjoying dollar hotdogs and drinking whiskey sours.

The fact that he’ll have the young Julius Randle waiting to tee off behind him won’t make things any easier for the 32-year old. Doesn’t it seem like just yesterday Boozer was a 20 and 10 guy around the association?

22 – Tristan Thompson – Cleveland Cavaliers (Frank Santos) -2

I am very curious where Tristan Thompson fits into the Cavs new look. Playing him at center instead of Anderson Verejao is an option, but the Love/Thompson front-line isn’t exactly a defensive juggernaut.

However, Thompson should be able to find some easy buckets in transition with LeBron and Kyrie running the break. He has the potential to be one of the big winners of LeBron coming to Cleveland. Let’s see if he can capitalize.

23 – Channing Frye – Orlando Magic (Andy Flint) +N/A

Frye is a career small-forward, who isn’t graceful or quick enough to play the three, thus forcing him to be a power-forward. Good thing for Channing, the NBA loves stretch-forwards, who shoot a ton, and are generally unfazed by the concept of having to play defense.

However, as a Magic fan, this is the part where I say that I’m in love with him arriving in Orlando… yeah, let’s go with that.

24 – Luis Scola – Indiana Pacers (Frank Santos) -3

I don’t even want to talk about Luis Scola.

I just want to have a moment of silence for the 2014-2015 Indiana Pacers. We hardly knew you. Enjoy the couch while watching the playoffs.

25 – Jared Sullinger – Boston Celtics (Andy Flint) +1

22-years old and already making some impact on the block. I do like Sully as a throwback type of PF, but Boston is at a funny crossroads and I’m unsure where Jared fits in the long run. Perhaps he’ll end up being their longterm option at the four, but who knows with Boston anymore.

26 – Amir Johnson – Toronto Raptors (Frank Santos) -2

I feel like Amir Johnson has just found a great fit with the Raptors, and the role he plays is exactly what the Raptors need him too. In another situation, I am not sure if Johnson even sniffs this draft, but with the Raptors, he is clearly a starting caliber power forward in this league.

27 – Ryan Anderson – New Orleans Pelicans (Andy Flint) -9

I feel like Ryan Anderson was coming into his own and had found a solid home in The Big Easy, but he got injured, and then he found his girlfriend dead from a suicide. Ugh.. AWFUL!

Hopefully Ryan can turn it around and bounce-back in 2014-15. The tools are there.

28 – Kevin Garnett – Brooklyn Nets (Frank Santos) -5

Andy didn’t even have KG on his list… The Hate Is Real.

Okay, yeah its a homer pick. So what? For some reason, I feel like KG is going to go out with a bang in what is presumably his last season in the league.

29 – Kelly Olynyk – Boston Celtics (Andy Flint) +N/A

KG is trash. I’ve always wanted to say that, because I truly dislike the guy, but I had to keep it real, and the truth is, Kevn Garnett is one of the best to ever play this game. That being said, he’s not good anymore and I didn’t have him ranked inside the top 30.

Oh.. Kelly Olynyk. Yeah, he’s okay. Perhaps it will be him as the longterm fix in Boston and not Sully. Who really knows?

30 – Markieff Morris – Phoenix Suns (Frank Santos) +N/A

Markeiff is the good twin, right? Don’t look at me like you can tell them apart. You can’t.

Pick Too High

Frank: Flint and I had a few discrepancies in this draft, especially toward the end. I thought the one player that went far too high was Channing Frye. You can have your power forward provide nothing but threes if you want. I prefer my power forwards to be… useful. (Frye was 30th on my list, and I almost left him off.)

Andy: Says the guy who drafted KG. Tisk, tisk, Santos. Although, Garnett isn’t the pick I felt went to high. That label is reserved for David West. I would have liked him somewhere closer to the 17, 18 area, but hey, that’s just me.

Pick Too Low

Frank: It’s natural to forget just how much a guy brings to the table when he’s out with injuries, and I think we did that with Ryan Anderson. Slipping nine spots from last year is a bit steep. He should have gone around 22-24.

Andy: I guess Josh Smith could have gone a few picks higher. I sort of feel silly seeing it in writing, but what the heck, quit shooting threes, Josh!

Pick You Could Take Back

Frank: I am pretty satisfied with my picks here. Flint and I do these drafts via Facebook, and then write up the drafts after. Usually, I come into the write-ups and look at one pick, and say “what the hell was I thinking?”. That wasn’t the case this time. Props to me for having faith in myself for more than a week in my convictions I guess.

If I had to pick, I would probably say Luis Scola was a slight reach at 24.

Andy: I agree with Frank on this one. I’ve actually felt content with my picks in every draft we’ve done this year, which is an accomplishment, since I generally tend to second-guess myself with these things. But, keeping with tradition, I’ll still choose one, and I guess it will be Ryan Anderson, who wish I had taken a couple of picks earlier.

 

WATCH: Stephen Curry earns Kobe’s respect with a deep three

We all know that Steph Curry can shoot. We also know that Kobe Bryant generally seems like one of the hardest people on the planet to impress. Check this video, from Saturday night, of Kobe guarding Stephen Curry, during a preseason matchup between the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Kobe smothers Curry, as he attempts to make a move up court, even making Curry stumble a bit, but Steph keeps his composure, finds space, and nails a deep, deep three-ball in Kobe’s eye.

At that point in the game, the score didn’t really matter anymore, as the Warriors were ahead 82-48, but Kobe still wore a smile and patted Curry on the rump, as both players made their way back down the court.

You don’t play the game as long as Kobe has without getting the occasional shot jacked-up in your eye. Curry is one of the best, if not the best, shooters in the game today, so I’m sure Kobe knows what he’s capable of. Welcome back, Mamba!

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Staff & Writers
Co-Founder/PTP Manager
Jason Whitney
Co-Founder/PTP Manager
Andy Flint
Lead Columnist
Cameron Wilkosz
Lead Columnist
Mark Pace
Contributor
Ben Parker