Even though we are not yet halfway through the NBA season it is pretty clear who the playoff teams in the Eastern Conference will be. With the Knicks recent surge it is hard to envision the likes of Milwaukee or Cleveland sneaking into the eighth spot.
The jockeying for position, however, among the eight playoff teams should be interesting as only four games separates third place Philadelphia and eighth place New York/Boston. For any of the six teams seeded third through eighth to manufacture a long postseason run they will have to avoid the final two seeds. A first round matchup against either the Bulls or Heat is not an ideal path into the second round.
Some of the trade scenarios surrounding Dwight Howard that the national media have mustered up are absurd. Thankfully these trades are only possible in the writer’s mind. Actually believing that the Knicks would trade Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler for Howard or the Heat would give up Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in a package that included Ryan Anderson along with Howard is comical.
Here’s a news flash; Howard is overrated. He is a limited offensive player who can’t shoot free throws and a majority of his blocked shots go out of bounds. He also turns the ball over a lot for a center. To think it is a good idea to give up top offensive players like Anthony and Wade as well as All Star quality big men like Chandler and Bosh for Howard is ridiculous. He is not a player you build your team around and he is certainly not a player you dismantle your team to get.
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If you’re a Timberwolves fan it is exciting to see your team relevant again but things could have been so much better with wiser draft picks over the last three years. Instead of choosing Jonny Flynn after Ricky Rubio in the 2009 draft they could have had Stephen Curry or DeMar DeRozan. If they had chosen Curry he wouldn’t be starting on this team but he sure would have made a nice trade piece to get a quality shooting guard or small forward. Speaking of shooting guard how bad does the Wesley Johnson pick at the four spot in the 2010 draft look now especially when they could have had Paul George or Greg Monroe. Finally, though it is still too early to tell, Derrick Williams has been a huge disappointment in his rookie season after being drafted number two overall. The T-Wolves may have been better off trading down in a weak draft to try and get a quality veteran on a team full of young players.
I caught the end of Game 2 of the 1980 first round series between the Sonics and Blazers on NBA TV last Saturday. While watching the original Jeremy Lin, Bill Ray Bates, dismantle the Sonics in an overtime thriller I noticed that despite the presence of the three-point line neither team was attempting many treys. This got me going into major research mode. The three-point line was actually introduced into the NBA that year but teams were not eager to take advantage of the new way to score.
The San Diego Clippers led the NBA in 1979-80 with 543 three-point attempts while the Atlanta Hawks were the most reluctant team to shoot threes with only 75 attempts. If you compare this to last year’s three-point shooting numbers the differences are stark. For the 2010-11 season the Orlando Magic attempted a whopping 2,103 threes, four times more than the Clippers did 31 years before. The Memphis Grizzlies only attempted 926 treys, which is still nearly 400 more than San Diego’s league leading total in 1979-80. While the league wasn’t ready to embrace it right away the inclusion of the three-point line has drastically changed the way teams try to score as time has gone on.
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A Staff Writer for RotoExperts, Tamer Chamma is a two time top 50 Finalist in the WFAN Fantasy Phenom contest as well as a weekly guest on the SiriusXM "RotoExperts" morning show. Tamer is also a fill-in co-host for the show. You may contact Tamer @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @RotoExperts_TC