Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Playoff Tid Bits Part Duex

Well we are nearing the end of Round 1 and it's time for a new set of Tid Bits about what we are seeing and in some circumstances, what we are not. From Part 1 we have Dallas and Denver hanging on for dear life after impressive games 1's and OKC and Portland making their respective series interesting when most wrote them off 10 days ago. Without further ado here we goooooooooo ...

-T - LeBron might be the best player in the NBA and is certainly playing that way in the playoffs as well but if I had to pick someone to be numero dos? Hello Deron Williams. Carmelo has done everything he can do to keep Denver rolling but the way DWill is controlling the series (and Chauncey), Utah looks poised to roll into round two.

-I- Sticking with Denver. Us here at HoopsBar love B'More's finest but when you say "I need some help, I can't do it alone", you are pointing fingers. I'm not mad because your 100% right but you're pointing fingers. And calling out your teammates in the playoffs generally works the opposite way you want it. Have a nice summer Nuggs.

-D- Orlando, to me, still looks like the team to beat in the East. LeBron can't do it alone and as much as I love the way the Celtics took care of business in round one, they still need to step up another level before they are beating Orlando four times in seven tries without home court.

-B- With a series with the likes of future HOF Kidd, Nowitzki and Duncan and studs like Parker, Ginobili, Butler and Marion it is becoming more and more clear that the most important player is turning into George Hill. Not only does he give the Spurs that all important 4th option but just might as well pave the way for Tony Parker out of town after next season when his contract is up.

-I- I have been very skeptical the past two years about whether Derrick Rose was going to become truly ELITE. I am now officially sold. It has nothing to do with this blazing speed or ease getting to the basket. It has nothing to do with his shaky jump shooting because I believe he will get there with that as well. It has to do with the fact that he is 21 years old, does not seem phased at all by the big moment in the playoffs and clearly is already the leader of that team. Oh and next year when big Free Agent X signs there, he is still going to be the leader.

-T- Can somebody please put a picture of Micheal Beasley on a milk carton and let me know when he is found. I remember when Riley didn't want to take him #2 and wanted Mayo instead but felt he had to make the pick. Follow your gut Riles, follow your gut.

-S- Last night on twitter Rudy Gay said that Jason Terry's head looks like a gumdrop, haahaa. Feel like I just needed to put that out there.

One closing thought on some of the awards handed out. No complaints at all. Crawford deserved the sixth man for sure. Good for him to get some recognition. I always thought he was the spitting image of Jason Terry. Looks like his career is heading the same way and you know what, there is nothing wrong with that. Hey Ben Gordon, pay attention.
As far as ROY goes, it has been leaked that Tyreke Evans is going to take it home. Can't argue with 20-5-5 from a rook and consistent start to finish. Nice year young man. That said if I had to choose one rookie this year it would be Brandon Jennings. It takes more than people realize to be in such a bad shooting slump for the past 4 months and still keep your confidence, composure and lead a team to the playoffs. Yes Bogut had a great year before he was injured and the addition of John Salmons certainly helped, but it was "The Young Buck" who is breathing life into this franchise again.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Playoff Tidbits

It's Monday Morning, the first slate of of NBA Playoff games are in the books. Some big wins, unexpected performances and series altering injuries have occurred and all I'm hearing about this morning is Roethlisbergers wandering hands and the NFL Draft. What's it gonna take for us hoops junkies to get some respect?

Oh well, Here are a few random thoughts from the first weekend of the NBA Playoffs.

- T - 87, 79, 76, 85 and 83. Do you want to know what those are? Those are the final scores for the Lakers, Thunder, Heat, Celtics and Bulls in the opening games (respectively). For everyone who says that NBA teams don't play defense? Choke on that.

- I - 5 points, 7 rebounds. Superman puts up these modest numbers (also 9 blocks) and the Magic win with relative ease in the first game. This is why Orlando should still scare Cleveland.

- D - Staying with the Magic. 32 points and 6 assists by Jameer Nelson on Sunday. Kind of makes you wonder how last years final would have shaken out if he was healthy.

- B - Dirk drops 36 out of the gate but it was the 22 by Tough Juice and and the 18 boards by Dampier and Haywood that will make these guys a real contender in the West.

- I - Melo was on point (42 efficient buckets), Earl showed up in the 4th Quarter but I think the injuries in Utah are going to be the 6th man for the Nugs in this series. Tough pill to swallow.

- T - KG doesn't have the athletic ability to change games the way he used to. Due to that he needs to control his temper because he can't bail the C's out of the jams he gets them in anymore. That being said he might have just lit a fire under the rest of his teams asses and if this actually makes Sheed try in the playoffs then it is clearly the cherry on the Big Tickets HOF career.

- S - Would Portland play this well without all of the injuries and adversity or is that the reason they are playing well? Tough to say but adding BRoy, Oden and the Vanilla Gorilla to this team would sure look like Western Conference Champs. No?

No shock to this guy that the first weekend of the NBA playoffs were fantastic and I'm looking forward to it controlling my consciousness for the next two months as well.
(Oh and have a nice summer OKC, Charlotte and Chicago).

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Eddy Curry has value? Yup

Donnie Walsh has been magical in getting rid of most of the Knicks immovable contracts. Unfortunately he has whiffed in the draft passing up both Eric Gordon and Brandon Jennings. The latest move to get Jarred Jeffries off the books was enough for a run at LeBron and a sidekick but probably just shy of two max deals. If they were able to get Curry off they could have chased three. With that said Curry will have the all important "expiring contract" next to his name next season, just over 11 million.

Although the 2011 FA class isn't as elite as 2010, players like Tony Parker, Yao Ming, Tim Duncan and David West will all be available. Although these guys will most likely be resigning with their current teams, the crop more likely will look like Samuel Dalembert, Troy Murphy, Jason Richardson, Caron Butler, Andrei Kirilenko and Micheal Redd.

The more likely use is taking that 11M and turning it into another key to whoever else joins the Knicks this off season. Here are some potential targets that Donnie and D'Antoni might be able to turn Eddy into.

- Ben Gordon (Pistons, SG)
Detroit rolled the dice with its free agent money last summer and turned it into two guys who are better suited coming off the bench. Not Joe Dumars finest moment. Would the Pistons be willing to clear themselves from under Gordons huge contract and enjoy the financial flexibility? It's worth keeping an eye on.

- Monta Ellis (Warriors, SG)
The Warriors were rumored to be in talks about moving Ellis at this trade deadline and with the stellar play of Stephen Curry, Ellis could become even more available next year. The Warriors are constantly in rebuilding mode and Curry, Randolph and this years lottery pick might make the financial flexibility too irresistible to pass up.

- Danny Granger (Pacers, SF)
Is Danny Granger really a #1 on a good team? I have my doubts and Larry Bird is smarter than me, so I think he probably thinks the same thing. Troy Murphy will be coming off the books next season as well and moving Murphy for a valuable young piece or picks and Granger for cap relief starts the process of building a contender. Plus Donnie Walsh has ties to Indiana and, well, stranger things have happened.

- Andre Igoudala (76ers, SF)
The Sixers almost pulled the trigger this deadline because of the financial situation they are in due to Elton Brand. Trading Brand isn't a real possibility but Igoudala has a lot of value and is the perfect #2 who would be an excellent #3 on an elite team. A 3rd team would probably have to be involved but I know the Knicks would be interested.

Other salaries that match up (or are close) that could make sense are Emeka Okafor, Devin Harris, Jose Calderon, Richard Hamilton and Antwan Jamison (do you really think the Cavs want to pay that if LeBron bolts?).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

NBA Trade Fun

Other than the NBA Draft (because nothing can top it), the NBA Trade Deadline is one of the top 3 most exciting times of the season. For the record the playoffs and All Star weekend round out the top 3 in some order yet to be determined.
With this spirit in mind I have come up with a few trades that not only make a bunch of sense for both teams but also work under the salary cap rules.

*** Side Note on recent NBA trade rumors***
Yes the Cavs will get either Jamison or Murphy.
No I don't think Amare or Monta are getting traded by February.
Yes Toronto has to trade Bosh if they can get Bynum back. No I don't think it will happen. Yes I think a healthy C's team would have a field day with the soft interior of Bosh and Pau.

Trade #1
Minnesota Timberwolves trade Al Jefferson to the Utah Jazz for Carlos Boozer (ec) and the New York Knicks unprotected #1 pick this year.

Although he is saying all of the right things Booz is probably leaving the Jazz this summer. Big Al moves into the starting lineup with Milsap and they have AK47 and Okur coming off the pine. This gives the Jazz a very flexible and potent front court. Minnesota has already leaked they aren't sure if Big Al and KLove can coexist but having the Knicks 1st round pick and cap relief is a decent haul. I know the Knicks are playing well enough to knock them out of the John Wall sweepstakes but I still think they miss the playoffs and give Sota another lottery pick. Besides, Minnesota will have one of the worst records anyways and their own shot at John Wall. Can we say bye bye Ricky Rubio?

Trade #2
New York Knicks trade Eddie Curry and Danillo Galinari to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Etan Thomas (ec) and Nick Collison

This might be one of the few ways to get rid of Curry and clear some cap room. Unfortunately they are giving up the Rooster and taking back Collison who has another year left on his deal at 6M. This will shave 4M off the Knicks cap to try to get them to their goal. OKC pres Sam Presti could swallow up the extra 4M Curry makes over Collison next year if it means getting another potent scorer to go with the young crop he has already collected.

Trade #3
The Chicago Bulls trade Tyrus Thomas (ec) and John Salmons to the Portland Traiblazers for Steve Blake (ec), Travis Outlaw (ec) and Jerryd Bayless.

Portland has been killed by injuries and a guy like Ty Thomas could be a nice stopgap for this season to help with a playoff push. Salmons will add nice depth behind Roy as well. I also believe if they could resign Thomas at a decent price he would be the PERFECT backup behind Oden and Aldridge next season. On Chicago's end they get a ton of cap relief going into this offseason as well as one of the best young bench scorers in Bayless. If Chicago wants to be a player this offseason this will help with Salmons off the books.

Trade #4
The Dallas Mavericks trade Josh Howard and Erick Dampier to the Philadelphia 76ers for Andre Iguodala and Samuel Dalembert.

This is purely a cost cutting move for the Sixers. Both Dampier's and Howard's contracts are team options for next season so in theory the Sixers could cut 24 million and try to build around Lou Williams, Jrue Holiday, Marreese Speights and Thaddeus Young. AI2 is a definite upgrade over Howard and Dampier and Dalembert are about a wash. This would boost Dallas on both ends of the floor and push them closer to legit title contender status. Ideally Philly would probably want a young piece or draft pick back (which Dallas has neither) but it might be worth it anyways.

Trade #5
The Sacramento Kings trade Kevin Martin and Beno Udrih to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Brian Cardinal (ec), Mark Blount (ec), Nathan Jawai (ec) and the rights to Ricky Rubio.

This one is a bit of a stretch but SacTown obviously plays better with Tyreke as alpha dog and Rubio is the perfect sidekick to Evans in the backcourt. This also gives the Kings more cap flexibility by dumping Udrih's contract. Minnesota get's the backcourt scoring punch they need in Martin as well as a strong backup PG to help Johnny Flynn. Like I said this is a bit of a stretch but I think in the short and long term this makes both teams much better.

Well there you have it.
Let me know if you have any other suggestions, if you think I'm an idiot or just the genius my mom always told me I was.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dunk Contest Field = Huge Disappointment

Look, I have no issue with the contestants in the field: two-time defending champ Nate Robinson, Gerald Wallace and Shannon Brown (my early favorite to win) can all get up with the best of them. They can dunk and certainly have some highlight reel moments that are resumè-worthy. But, there are no household names in the contest - and that is what makes the dunk contest interesting.

For the last three years, we at least had Dwight Howard in the contest (who easily shattered the notion that big men cannot hang in a dunk contest). And I'd argue that the last two years of the contest have been more memorable just BECAUSE Dwight Howard was in it (whether or not he won it is irrelevant, in my opinion). This year, no Dwight. LeBron James teased us for literally a full year when he said he was going to be in the contest. Mind you, LeBron has done that windmill power dunk for his entire career, but this is easily the most popular player in the league. His inclusion would have made the contest worth watching; in fact, I'd be willing to say that it would be the most viewed contest of all time. The field gets announced... and no LeBron. Either Andre Igoudala or Josh Smith, both borderline All Stars and prior dunk contest participants (Smith won in 2005 and Igoudala probably should have won in 2006), are at least recognizable to the casual basketball fan. Neither are participating.

Both Robinson and Brown play in huge markets and can dunk, but don't play nearly enough for the hype machine to get rolling on this thing. Nate plays 23 minutes a night - this includes his banishment to the bench for a stretch of 14 games. Brown averages 18 minutes a contest. Wallace is easily having the best season of his NBA career, but unless you follow basketball closely you might not know what team he plays for (Charlotte Hornets Bobcats).

What's crazy though is that I can remember contests from over ten years ago. Mike won back to back in 1987 and 1988. Look at the cast he beat: Dominique Wilkins, Gerald Wilkins, Clyde Drexler, Jerome Kersey (and this was "young, lemme rip the rim off the basket" Jerome), and Terence Stansbury were ALL highlight reel worthy dunkers in their day. Not only do I remember MJ's dunks, but I remember what he had to beat too. They were great contests that people still talk about. Kobe won in 1997 - and it was memorable. Here we have a brash high-schooler participating in the contest, and he was pulling off dunks with ease that other cats were using to WIN contest as recently as two seasons prior. Vince Carter won in 2000 - and I am convinced that half of the other contestants (Tracy McGrady and Steve Francis) might have won the contest in other years had they participated. Their only hurdle in 2000 was Vince Carter. Some hurdle considering he put the contest into another stratosphere (and might have raised the bar waaay too high in the process!) - and I'm not shocked that they didn't participate again. Why? They couldn't do any of the dunks that Vince had done. I can think of other guys who won (Jason Richardson and Desmond Mason had some serious dunks), but when they did those dunks and versus whom? That's hazy. I vividly remember 1987 and 1998. I vividly remember 1997. I vividly remember 2000. And, I remember Dwight Howard from the last 3 years.

The league is trying though. A dunkoff at halftime of the Rookie/Sophomore game between Eric Gordon of the Clippers and DeMar Derozan of the Raptors is a new idea (and WAY better than having players spin a wheel to determine what dunk they're supposed to do). But exactly how many dunks will these guys be able to come up with? Are they going to recycle dunks for the real contest? Why not have all five in the real thing from the jump if you are asking them to dunk in the first place?

I'm not looking for an entire revamp of the competition. Dunks are still the exclamation point of any basketball game. But with guys people don't know, and the guys we do know sitting on the sideline, the contest lacks that exclamation point. Period.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

All Star Time

The NBA All Star Game is about a Month away, being played in Jerry Jones' fun house in Dallas this year. The All Star ballots have been out for a while now and America needs to stop voting like morons (TMac and Ivo? Really?). Not only would those two hurt the game that everyone is excited to watch, it also takes away a pretty cool opportunity from some people that should be there. Without further ado I'm going to break down my votes for the East & West All Stars, Dunk contest, 3 point shootout, skills competition and rookie soph game.

Skills competition:
This is basically the point guard showcase so we might as well treat it as such. Let's see returning champ Derrick Rose compete against Chris Paul, Jason Kidd and rookie standout Brandon Jennings. A little bit of the old guard, a little bit of the fresh faces and the best PG in the league. Sounds good to me.

Three Point Shootout:
This event has been lacking in recent years and that has a lot to do with the guys they have shooting the rock. Danny Granger and Rashard Lewis are volume three point shooters not traditional marksmen. My choices for this event would be Steve Nash, Jason Kappono, JJ Reddick, Anthony Morrow, Eddie House and Deaquan Cook (since I guess we need to bring back the defending champ).

Dunk Contest:
LeBron James, Josh Smith, Nate Robinson & DeMar DeRozan ... Done and Done!!

Rookie Squad:
Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings, Omri Casspi, DeJuan Blair, Johnny Flynn, Stephen Curry, Ty Lawson, James Harden, Jonas Jerebeko and Tyler Hansborough.
** They are a bit undersized but this class is very backcourt heavy**
Sophs Squad:
Derick Rose, Eric Gordon, Micheal Beasley, Marc Gasol, Brook Lopez, OJ Mayo, Russell Westbrook stick from last year and I would replace Oden and Rudy Fernandez with Jason Thompson and Danillo Galinari.
(Oh and the Sophs are much much better)

And Now for the Main Event (starters in italic)

East All Stars:
Guards: Dwayne Wade, Joe Johnson, Rajon Rondo, Vince Carter, Paul Pierce
Forwards: LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Josh Smith, Antwan Jamison, Gerald Wallace
Centers: Dwight Howard, Brook Lopez
Hardest Omissions: Danny Granger, Derrick Rose, Ray Allen, Mo Williams

West All Stars:
Guards: Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Monta Ellis
Forwards: Tim Duncan, Kevin Durrant, Carmelo Anthony, Dirk Nowitzki, Zach Randolph
Centers: Amar'e Stoudemire, Pau Gasol
Hardest Omissions: Carlos Boozer, Al Jefferson, David West, Chauncy Billups & Melo from the starting lineup.

Make it Happen David Stern!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Another Nail in the Coffin

The night of December 5th started off with such promise. The Houston Rockets were in Portland that evening for a showdown of probable Western Conference playoff teams. The Trailblazers hadn't played in 3 days and all the buzz was about the breakthrough performance of their young 7 foot center. Greg Oden is coming off of a 13 point/20 rebound / 4 block performance. All Star buzz was swirling and the phrase coming out of every ones mouth was, "He has arrived". No more bust talk. No more second guessing on passing on Kevin Durant. No more the next Sam Bowie chatter. This is what everyone had been waiting for.

Then ...

4 minutes into the game Rockets guard Aaron Brooks drives to his right and into the paint. He takes off and releases a floater just over the outstretched hands of Oden. Their knee's collide and the young 7 footer is on the floor screaming into the hardwood. I can only imagine the sound in the arena at that time. Probably a skin crawling silence. The sound of 20,000 people screaming "Not Again" without a single word being spoken.
Here on the east coast I'm one of the few that still defends the Blazers for taking Oden. I still remember watching the All American game when he was in High School when he was a man among boys. I still remember the NCAA final where Oden put up a 25 and 12 with 4 blocks against a Florida front line that all got drafted in the first round of the NBA draft.
Oden always seemed like he was trying so hard to be the "Next Great Big Man" when his body clearly had other ideas. You can tell he cares. You can tell he wants nothing more than to help Portland over the hump and start collecting jewelry. Unfortunately you can also tell he is probably never going to get to that level. This seems like another nail in the coffin of "Greg Oden the future HOF". Just remember a bust is someone who didn't have it in them or someone who didn't care enough to bring it out of themselves. Greg Oden's body betrayed him. That's not a bust, that's just bad luck.

Fantasy Fortune Teller

By now you have discovered what the strengths and weaknesses of your team are. Although you would like to dominate 2 or 3 categories you never want to do that at the expense of others. Although punting is a little smarter in head to head formats a well rounded team will always give you the best chance to win. With that said it's always difficult to work out a trade for a top 25 player to instantly come in and help your team. The real bargains are the middle tier guys that can fill out your team exactly where you need the help. Also finding guys who contribute in categories that usually don't come from that position help IMMENSELY! Here are a list of guys you can target that can help you fill in some holes on your team without having to trade your 1st or 2nd round talent.
(keep in mind points and rebounds are the easiest things to fill so they will not be discussed here)

Need Assists?
Guys like Boris Diaw, Marcus Camby, Lamar Odom and Joakim Noah all perform well above the league average for their position in this category. Averaging 3 assists a game might not sound like a lot but when most PF/C types only average 1-1.5 you are picking up around 8-10 dimes a week on your opponent.

Need 3's?
Try trading for guys like Channing Frye, Rasheed Wallace, Matt Bonner, Ryan Anderson or Ryan Gomes. When playing a team with traditional big men sprinkling in a few of these guys could give you a 5-6 3pm advantage over the course of a given week or match up.

Need blocks?
This is one of the toughest categories to get help in but in return can be one of the easiest to secure if you have the right guys. Having multiple players contributing in a category is the best way to win it and few players can average a block a game. Guards such as Dahantay Jones, Thabo Sefolosha and John Salmons as well as Small Forwards such as Wilson Chandler, Shane Battier and Charlie Villanueava can all bring you a cheap source of blocks.

Are your %'s lacking to where they should be?
Most big men shoot above 50% but finding PG's who do that is scarce. Getting your hands on plyaers like Beno Udrih, Ramon Sessions or Jose Calderon can go a long way in helping out. Also SG's such as Ronnie Brewer and Anthony Marrow can help out as well.
On the opposite side of things your guards are usually the ones carrying your FT%. Getting big men like Carl Landry, Al Harrington, Elton Brand and Brad Miller will give you a chance to stabilize a normally tough category.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Teams That Actually Matter

What's up Hoops Bar Faithful (There are few of you but we love you)?

Here is our first Power Rankings of the NBA season thus far. We wanted to wait until things shake out for a few weeks. After week 1 of the NBA season,does it really matter what teams are 3-0? Not so much. Now that things are settled we are gonna start hitting you with this on a weekly basis. We also aren't going to list every team because it really doesn't matter if we think the T'Pups are better than the Knicks or the Knicks are better than the T'Pups. That said enjoy feel free to let us know what you agree with, disagree with because we are always interested. Just know we are still always right.

1. L.A Lakers - Pau is back, Bynum is in beast mode and Khlomar haven't caused any problems yet. Oh yeah, and that Kobe guy is aight too.

2. Atlanta Hawks - Do I think the Hawks are the best team in the East? No. Do I think the Hawks will win the East? No. With that said no East team is playing better and the addition of JCraw and the subtraction of JSmoove taking 3's has really got this team off to the right start.

3. Phoenix Suns - Nashty might be in the twilight of his career but "Twilight" seems to be the craze right now anyways. Is it just me or do you want Amar'e to grow an afro and mutton chops and embrase his inner 70's stud with those glasses? I thought so.

4. Orlando Magic - I admit I thought when Jameer went down the swap of Hedo for Vince would turn ugly, but after big wins in Boston and Toronto I guess they are better than I gave them credit for.

5. Dallas Mavericks - The Big German has been an absolute monster for Dallas (and my fantasy team) this season and they look like they are going to be an issue all season long.

6. Denver Nuggets - I'm gonna type the word "Melo" for every game B'More's finest has dropped 25 or more in a game. Melo Melo Melo Melo Melo Melo Melo Melo Melo Melo Melo Melo. Yes folks that is 12 times. What's more absurd is that they have played only 14 games all season.

7. Boston Celtics - This little 4-4 skid has been kind of ugly and KG clearly doesn't have the explosivness of the past. That said, when they get healthy and Sheed starts hitting ANYTHING they should still become contenders in the East.

8. Portland Trailblazers - Everyone that wrote off Greg Oden and said they made a huge mistake in the 2007 draft might have to wait a bit. Durant is clearly better and IS the franchise down in OKC but Papa Oden has been great this season (at least per minute).

9. Cleveland LeBrons - Shaq went down and they started playing better with Hickson getting more minutes. Hmmmmm, who is surprised there? Just so you know I'm not raising my hand.

10. Milwaukee Bucks - Young Money is exactly that: MONEY. Redd is back soon and with the way Jennings is playing right now I'm pretty sure Donnie Walsh throws up in his mouth everytime he sees Jordan Hill and his WNBA hair-do.

11. Houston Rockets - Just a little advice from the braintrust at Hoops Bar: keep TMac on the sidelines. You're better off without dude. Aaron Brooks could very easily be this years M.I.P

12. Utah Jazz - They still couldn't beat a rec league team if it was away from Salt Lake but they are starting to round into form and Boozer definitely has that contract year glow in his eye and hop in his step.

And a Little bit of randomness:
Toronto looks good but I don't think it's good enough to keep Mr. Bosh after this season. OKC has been fiesty and look like they can sneak into the playoffs. We will see what SanAnt can do when healthy but for now they don't look so good. The kids up in SacTown (like I predicted) are showing they are better than we thought and DRose looks like that ankle injury is just about behind him. Oh yeah and the Knicks, Nets, T'Pups, Pacers, Hornets and Grizzlies are still bad.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Week 1 Fantasy Update

Well a week of basketball is in the books and even though it's early it looks like we can pick a few things out of the rubble.

Yes Studs like LeBron, Kobe and DWade have lived up to their first round production while some others are playing well but haven't really turned it on yet. Let's take a quick rundown of players to target, dangle, grab off waivers and leave alone. Today we will talk about the highrisers of the week.

Come to Papa

- Danilo Gallinari of the Knicks had himself quite the coming out party. Building projects with all the bricks he was throwing up during the preseason he has come out blazing with 18 3 pointers in 3 games. D'Antoni was quoted in the preseason saying Galinari is the best shooter he has ever seen. Now that's high praise. He will make Wilson Chandler an afterthought and have a similar season as Al Harrington did last year.
- Channing Frye is really seeing his career come back to life with the Suns. After a strong rookie campaign he has been a non factor for much of the past few seasons. Now he's the starting center in Phoenix and hoisting up 3's like his life is depending on it. He's putting a slight crink in my Amare pick this year but he seems to have found his nitche.
- Carmelo Anthony was a consensus 2nd rounder this year and so far seems determined to lead the league in scoring. Now JR Smith is out right now but other than Mr. Big Shot I don't see anyone else on that roster who is going to take shots away. The 7 boards and high %'s are quite loveley too. Keep firing Melo, we here at the Hoops Bar salute you and love you.
- Brandon Jennings spent a year minding his P's & Q's on the other side of the pond last year and everyone forgot that at the McDonald's All American game back in 2008 EVERYONE said he was a lock for the top 5 and the best PG in the country. Oh how stingy Euro coaches with cigarettes on their breath make us forget. I argued the Knicks should have taken him #8 this year, thanks for making me look good (anyone who emerges from the back on draft night and poses and points to the crowd before he shakes the Don Stern's hand is ok with me). He has the spot, the minutes and the swagger to push Blake Griffin for ROY.
- Andrea Bargnani is building on his strong season last year and is beocming the perfect compliment to Chris Bosh (and to tell you the truth, he might turn out be better). The big Italian is averaging 22ppg on almost 3 3's per game as well at 56/100 in FG/FT %'s. I wish he would board a bit more but that should go up once Bosh stops boarding at a 14.7 clip and his almost 1 block per game should settle around 1 for the season. Go target him and don't be afraid to trade the likes of Josh Smith or David West to get him.

Coming Tomorrow ... Players to be left alone