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Yesterday at ESPN, Chris Sheridan wrote about team USA’s success and went on to evaluate each player’s contribution in a grade format. Of course it’s easy to give Carmelo, Kobe and LeBron an A, A+ and A respectively. Those guys are on any school’s honour roll (although I would argue Kobe should just as likely have an A+ too). The grades that surprised me and I disagree with are specifically Tyson Chandler, Tayshaun Prince, and Michael Redd. Starting with Chandler, Sheridan gave him a B. This is unfair because the role he was set out to play, he played unbelievably! He wasn’t chosen to be the starting centre and put up those numbers. He was chosen to be a solid defensive specialist and be a rebounding machine. He accomplished all of this, and blocked 14 shots in total! In we’re evaluation his contribution based on what he was supposed to do, I give him an A! Next, Tayshaun Prince. Sheridan gave this guy a B. I was so happy when the team added this guy in the first place. The team chose him because every team needs role players like himself. They didn’t need him to come in and score points at all, but rather do everything else (ie: rebound, play defense,etc). Although his shooting percentage was down, he was one of the team’s leading rebouders! I remember catching that he had something around 12 rebounds one game! This guy should get more credit for job he did well that he was supposed to do. I’d give him an A-. Finally, we have Michael Redd. Sheridan gave him a B+. Unlike Chandler and Prince, Redd was brought in for instant scoring. The last time I checked, he average 15.4 point on a team where the scoring was so spread. This is impressive! Although that average would be mediocre in the NBA, this is significant for a bench guy in international play. His job was to score, and he was reliable in this position. He deserves and A!

Of course, anyone and everyone could argue a half grade here and there, but I was taken back by Sheridan’s harsh grading. I know he’s a teacher in school I would NOT want.

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In honour of the Kobe vs. LeBron debate recently posted here, I felt it was right to put up a great LeBron video for everyone’s viewing pleasures.  Since I recently put up a Kobe video here, it is Lebron Bron’s turn. Out of all the videos I was browsing through, this one is completely of Bron in high school.   It’s a little long, but the entire thing is ridiculous.    Here we go…..

LeBron or Kobe?

August 17, 2007

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(ESPN)

When the time comes for Team USA to take on the best of the rest of the world, which US superstar is going to be the leader.  Clearly, the two names at the top of the list are LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.  Both bring their assets to the table.  If you ask me, I’d want the ball in Kobe’s hands.  Why you might ask?  As good as LeBron is, and he’s damn good, he’s not on Kobe’s level, yet.  Kobe is a proven leader.  He has championship rings.  He’s consistent, and he’s incredible to watch.  As shown in this year’s past playoffs, LeBron is getting good really quickly, but he’s not on Kobe’s level yet.  He still has a year or two until he hits that status.  In these international competitions, you never know when another team might give the US a good run.  If that happens, I could see coach K giving Kobe the ball.  What’s the worst that can happen?  Kobe gets double teamed and he passes to LeBron?  That’s fine by me.

 

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Around draft time, all basketball fans get really excited. It carries on….and on and on. For me, I’m still in draft mode. This year’s draft has potential to be one of the best classes of all time. I started to reflect on past drafts, and what class was the best most recently? It didn’t take me long to reach the draft of 2003, featuring…everybody! This class was stacked! If there was an all-star game between draft classes, these guys would be laughing at everyone else. If you have ever looked at the full list of draft picks, you would be just as surprised as I was to see that some of the best players in the league today were drafted way too late in this draft, as well as some of the bigger busts ( and I’m not just talking Darko ) come from this class. So, I have attempted to compile my list of the top 10 players from this draft, in order from best to worst. Trust me, it wasn’t that easy, even for the first pick! Here we go…

1) Dwyane Wade- picked 5th overall.

It’s true! I didn’t pick the LeBron first. Why not? Well, this guy has already proven himself. He has the championship trophy. He’s made that extra step above the rest. He is in a different world when he takes over games, and he does when he needs to.

2) LeBron James-picked 1st overall

Inevitably, LeBron is due. He has become the face of the NBA with his talent, but still has to make over that hurdle to win the championship. He got so close this year, and just showed all of us ( especially in the Pistons series) as to why we will continue to be addicted to watching this guy play on a nightly basis.

3) Carmelo Anthony- picked 3rd overall

Remember when it was Melo or Lebron (ring a bell?)? At that point, I was saying that I would pick Melo in a heartbeat. Even though I would definitely withdraw that comment if I could, this guy still has a lot of growing to do, yet he is already developed so much. Melo has the pieces around him to become a contender, but his leadership still needs to develop.

4) Chris Bosh- picked 4th overall

I bet all Canadians wish he could play for team Canada. He has become the face of Toronto ( the face of Canada still goes to Steve Nash). This past year was a big growing year for Bosh, but he showed that he still needs to keep his game going into the playoffs. He lacked that fire that he had in the regular season. Now that he has the guys around him, it’ll be interesting to see how far these Raps can go.

5)Josh Howard- picked 29th overall

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw JHoward was picked almost in the second round! What was everyone before him thinking? Clearly, all the GMs didn’t see this much potential in him, but wow! He made the all-star team! He stands on a team full of high profile players. This was by far the biggest steal of the draft, or was it???

6)Maurice Williams- picked 47th overall

Sorry JHoward, the biggest sleeper pick goes to Maurice Williams. This guys was drafted at the point where there was probably no one even left at the draft. He was 11 picks away from not even getting drafted. I consider him one of the most underrated players in the league. He has an all-around type of game, silimar to Jason Kidd’s, except Williams seems like a more accomplished scorer. The Bucks will be holding onto this guy for a while, as he is still young and can even get better!

7)Kirk Hinrich- picked 7th overall

This was a hard one for me to do. I put Hinrich here, and not one spot ahead because Hinrich is blessed with the players around him. Mo Williams has a harder time getting his assist, where Hinrich has Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, etc. Not that this is a bad thing, but we are judging on an individual level. Hinrich showed this season that he is ready to become one of the elite point guards in the league, and I’ll be watching pretty closely.

8)Leandro Barbosa- picked 28th overall

He was picked one spot ahead of Josh Howard. How did these guys get avoided? Its these types of picks that make your team elite. Barbosa’s 18, 2 and 4 are incredible numbers coming off the bench. Obviously a well deserved 6th Man of the Year award this past season. He crumbled a bit in the second round of the playoffs, but it gets overlooked on a team of all-stars. This guy could start on any other team. If you’ve ever watched him, you might notice that he is one of the fastest players in the league, as you get amazed how quickly he can jet out ahead of everyone and just blow by them.

9) T.J. Ford- picked 8th overall

This guy had amazing written all over him coming out of Texas. With a slow start with the Bucks, he is starting to show what everyone saw in him with the Raptors. Along with Bosh, if these guys can stay healthy, they might be able to do some damage in the weak East. The problem again is his injuries. Let’s hope he doesn’t become one of those players who’s career is plagued by them.

10)Boris Diaw- picked 21st overall

Another late pick. This one is a bit more justified. Coming from France, Diaw was a gamble that paid off, if the Hawks held onto him. He made the Joe Johnson trade somewhat worth it ( though who saw Joe Johnson becoming this incredible?). Diaw has found his comfort with the Suns, and is a fantastic role player on a team of players needing this ball. With Grant Hill coming in, his minutes might dimish, but probably not that much seeing as GH is a 50/50 bet to lose his season to injury.

Note: I just wanted to point out that Kyle Korver was selected 51st overall! He’s a pretty impressive player for this position in the draft. Almost undrafted!

Honourable Mentions:

Luke Ridnour- picked 14th overall

Jason Kapono- picked 31st overall

Luke Walton- picked 32nd overall

Mickael Pietrus- picked 11th overall

Nick Collison- picked 12th overall

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How did Barbosa and JHoward get overlooked?

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After reading ESPN’s article about tomorrow’s crazy showdown of inhumane eating, I had a thought. With all the hype surrounding Kobayashi along with all the hype of this year’s NBA draft, I pose a question. Would you rather see a showdown of Kobayashi vs. Chestnut in a hot dog eating contest in HD, or would you rather a one-on-one game of classic street basketball between the top two picks of Oden and Durant? Personally, I’ve never watched Kobayashi but I can’t help but get caught up in all the excitement that surrounds this little Asian man. I will be tuning in tomorrow to try and catch a glimpse of the “action” or at least some highlights. But when all is said and done, a feud between Durant and Oden would be priceless, especially with such hype surrounding both of these guys. There hasn’t been this much hype on two guys coming out of the draft since LeBron James. I would end up putting my money on Durant, as his speed and agility would overwhelm Oden. When it comes to eating, how about Oden vs. Kobayashi? I wonder….

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Who would win one-on-one in a street ball match?