Hoopin' It Up With Savage & Cohen



Throughout the course of the NBA season, OrlandoMagic.com's Dan Savage and Josh Cohen will report and blog on various subjects.

OUR SELECTIONS FOR ALL-STAR RESERVES

By Josh Cohen
January 30, 2011


One of the most discussed topics over the last several days since the All-Star starters were announced is who else deserves a free trip to Los Angeles to compete in the 2011 NBA All-Star Game.

It’s been a vehement debate for years as to what the criteria is for being named an All-Star. Some observers, on one hand, seem to think that the best players on “winning” teams, particularly championship contending teams, deserve first consideration.

If this interpretation is more appropriate, then incontrovertibly Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker should all be invited for the West since San Antonio has the best record in the league. For the East, similarly, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen should all earn the honor since Boston is No. 1 in the conference.

Some NBA enthusiasts, on the other hand, believe invitations should be handed out to players who simply are dominating the competition irrespective of what team they play for.

If this elucidation is more proper, then categorically Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, Steve Nash and Monta Ellis should earn admiration from coaches in the West. Likewise, Andrea Bargnani, Danny Granger and Andrew Bogut should be considered in the East.

Dan Savage and I decided to pick who we each think should be the reserves for both the Eastern and Western Conferences.

Since Yao Ming will not participate after being voted in as a starter, both Savage and I agree that Pau Gasol should replace him in the starting lineup.

In the West, Savage opted for Nash, while I favored Tony Parker. The rest of our West reserves are identical (Click below for our rosters).

In the East, meanwhile, Savage and I differed in that he chose Ray Allen, Josh Smith and Raymond Felton, while I selected Kevin Garnett, Andrea Bargnani and Joe Johnson.

Here are our entire selections for both the East and West All-Star reserves.





SAVAGE


R
R
R
R
R
R
R
EAST
Rajon Rondo

Ray Allen

Al Horford

Chris Bosh

Paul Pierce

Raymond Felton

Josh Smith
WEST
Russell Westbrook

Manu Ginobili

Kevin Love

Dirk Nowitzki

Blake Griffin

Deron Williams

Steve Nash




















COHEN


R
R
R
R
R
R
R
EAST
Rajon Rondo

Paul Pierce

Al Horford

Chris Bosh

Kevin Garnett

Andrea Bargnani

Joe Johnson
WEST
Russell Westbrook

Manu Ginobili

Kevin Love

Dirk Nowitzki

Blake Griffin

Deron Williams

Tony Parker





















If the All-Star Game Was Played Today...

By Josh Cohen
January 24, 2011


One of the more intriguing debates each year around the NBA is determining who deserves to play in the All-Star Game.

While it’s pretty simple in deciding the starters since the fans vote for them, it’s somewhat more intricate when choosing the reserves.

Here is the process on how the reserves for both conferences are selected:

Each head coach has to pick seven players (two guards, two forwards, one center and two more regardless of their positions) from the conference he coaches in. Also, each coach is disallowed from choosing his own players.

A common trend throughout NBA history is that coaches tend to favor players on winning teams when settling on their selections. Here are some facts:

Of the 372 total All-Star selections in league history, only 65 of the players were on teams that had a below .500 record and 55 of them were on non-playoff teams.

With standout players such as Blake Griffin and Kevin Love having extraordinary seasons, it will be interesting to see if coaches decide they are worthy of earning an All-Star bid in spite of playing for losing teams. The same can be wondered for Houston’s Kevin Martin, Indiana’s Danny Granger, Golden State’s Monta Ellis and Toronto's Andrea Bargnani.

Everyone has a different definition and interpretation of what being an All-Star means. If you put any of the aforementioned players on any of the current playoff teams, in all likelihood those teams would be even better. As a result, it seems only logical that it’s generally unjustifiable to deny a player from competing in the All-Stars just because they don’t have a quality supporting cast.

On another note, since Yao Ming is going to earn the most votes for all Western Conference centers, it is likely that a power forward is going to start in the All-Star Game.

Take a look at who I would select to the All-Star Game if the decision had to be made today.





POS.
EAST
WEST
PG
Derrick Rose

Chris Paul
SG
Dwyane Wade

Kobe Bryant
C
Dwight Howard

Pau Gasol
PF
Amar'e Stoudemire

Dirk Nowitzki
SF
LeBron James

Kevin Durant
R
Rajon Rondo

Russell Westbrook
R
Paul Pierce

Manu Ginobili
R
Andrea Bargnani

LaMarcus Aldridge
R
Kevin Garnett

Kevin Love
R
Danny Granger

Carmelo Anthony
R
Chris Bosh

Blake Griffin
R
Josh Smith

Deron Williams


Which player not in these selections do you think should definitely be an All-Star?
Which player not in these selections do you think should definitely be an All-Star?
Latest Opinions





WHO IS BEST IN THE EAST?

By Josh Cohen
January 5, 2011


I believed it before the start of the season and I probably believe it even more now: If it’s not Orlando, Miami, Boston and Chicago in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, it would be quite surprising (barring major injury or injuries).

No disrespect to Atlanta or New York – two teams that believe they have enough firepower to contend with the East’s alleged elite – but it just seems those other four clubs are primed for a highly anticipated conference semifinal round.


Josh Cohen
Depending which teams match up (if playoff started today, Boston and Orlando would clash in a rematch of last season’s East Finals) may determine which teams advance to the conference finals.

While it may only be January and teams may not be finished shaping up their rosters (ex. Orlando may acquire another big man, Chicago may deal for a more prolific starting shooting guard), it can’t hurt to start analyzing what we can expect to transpire come playoff time.

Much will rely on the health of each team. Will Joakim Noah be 100 percent after having surgery on his thumb last month; will Kevin Garnett overcome his recent leg injury; will Udonis Haslem return from his foot problem?

By examining the rosters – and out of respect to the Hawks and Knicks who deserve to be included since they have both played very effective basketball – and by foreseeing what you expect from each team by the beginning of the playoffs, vote on which squad you think ranks No. 1 in the following categories.





TEAM
PG
SG
C
PF
SF
R
R

Derrick Rose

Keith Bogans

Joakim Noah

Carlos Boozer

Luol Deng

Taj Gibson

Kyle Korver

Rajon Rondo

Ray Allen

Shaquille O'Neal

Kevin Garnett

Paul Pierce

Kendrick Perkins

Glen Davis

Mike Bibby

Joe Johnson

Al Horford

Josh Smith

Marvin Williams

Jamal Crawford

Zaza Pachulia

Carlos Arroyo

Dwyane Wade

Zydrunas Ilgauskas

Chris Bosh

LeBron James

Mike Miller

Mario Chalmers

Raymond Felton

Landry Fields

Amar'e Stoudemire

Danilo Gallinari

Wilson Chandler

Ronny Turiaf

Toney Douglas

Jameer Nelson

Jason Richardson

Dwight Howard

Brandon Bass

Hedo Turkoglu

Gilbert Arenas

J.J. Redick



Most Offensive Firepower
Most Offensive Firepower
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Most Oppressive Defense
Most Oppressive Defense
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Team With Most Depth
Team With Most Depth
Latest Opinions


Team Most Likely To Win Pivotal Game on Road
Team Most Likely To Win Pivotal Game on Road
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If the All-Star Game Was Played Today...

By Josh Cohen
December 30, 2010


It’s no surprise that Dwight Howard leads all players in Eastern Conference All-Star voting after second returns.

Superman is having another spectacular season – averaging a career-best 21 points and also being his usual self on the boards and on defense – and undoubtedly is miles ahead of every other center in the NBA.

I generally agree with half of the fans’ selections in All-Star balloting. I have five exceptions, however.

While Kevin Garnett has been the catalyst (before his leg injury on Wednesday in Detroit) to the Celtics’ stellar start, Amar’e Stoudemire deserves to be the starting power forward for the East. STAT, as the Lake Wales, FL native is affectionately nicknamed, is posting astronomical statistics and has helped resurrect the Knicks franchise.

Similarly, while Chris Paul has rebounded from an injury-plagued 2009-10 season to assist in the redevelopment of the Hornets, CP3 has not quite performed up to Deron Williams’ supreme level.

It’s obvious that Yao Ming is a fan favorite in China and throughout other parts of the world, but evidently he is not All-Star praiseworthy since he has been sidelined most of the year.

I would have agreed that Rajon Rondo was more worthy of a starting All-Star bid over Derrick Rose, but Boston’s superb floor general has missed the last two weeks with a sprained ankle. In comparison, while Carmelo Anthony has been outstanding as usual, he has missed some time with injury and personal grievance. As a result, I think Dirk Nowitzki, who is enjoying another MVP caliber season, should slide into his spot.

Here would be my All-Star rosters if the midseason classic were to be played today.





POS.
EAST
WEST
PG
Derrick Rose

Deron Williams
SG
Dwyane Wade

Kobe Bryant
C
Dwight Howard

Nene
PF
Amar'e Stoudemire

Dirk Nowitzki
SF
LeBron James

Kevin Durant
R
Rajon Rondo

Russell Westbrook
R
Paul Pierce

Manu Ginobili
R
Andrea Bargnani

Pau Gasol
R
Kevin Garnett

Kevin Love
R
Danny Granger

Carmelo Anthony
R
Chris Bosh

Tony Parker
R
Josh Smith

Chris Paul


Who not mentioned do you think should definitely be an All-Star this season?
Who not mentioned do you think should definitely be an All-Star this season?
Latest Opinions



Evaluating the Eastern Conference

By Josh Cohen
December 21, 2010


After Saturday’s overhaul in Orlando, I think the Eastern Conference got even more enticing.

It’s very difficult to determine which of the elite teams in the East has the overall edge, especially since it is still early in the season and teams are in the middle of developing chemistry.


Josh Cohen
I do think, nonetheless, that the 2011 NBA Playoffs will be extraordinary and it remains possible that by the trade deadline, more tweaks will be made to each of the contenders.

I also believe that each of the top-tier teams have their own respective strengths and weaknesses.

The Miami Heat, for example, although electrifying at finishing on the fast break and also suffocating opponents on the perimeter defensively, lack interior intimidation. With LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, however, Miami is a lethal opponent with a championship-or-bust attitude.

The Boston Celtics, although playing terrifically lately, seem to be dealing with frequent injury bugs and because of the ages to their premier players, it’s indefinite who will be healthy come playoff time.

The Orlando Magic are probably the biggest mystery because of their refurbishment. It will take some time for them to jell and learn what system works best.

The Chicago Bulls endured a wearisome blow when Joakim Noah (out 8-10 weeks) injured his thumb that required surgery. But with Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer clicking and with the belief they are actively seeking a legitimate starting shooting guard, it’s possible the Bulls can sneak up on the other top teams.

The Atlanta Hawks, meanwhile, although generally off the radar because of their recent failures in the playoffs, remain a threat against anyone in the league. In spite of not possessing much depth on their bench or much size in the middle, the Hawks have plenty of scoring options and seem to be enjoying their new motion offense.

Here is how the top of the East stacks up. The teams are in the order of where they are currently positioned in the standings. Evaluate each of the anticipated rosters come playoff time and vote on which team you think will ultimately advance to the NBA Finals.

Follow Josh Cohen on Twitter here


TEAM
PG
SG
C
PF
SF
R
R

Rajon Rondo

Ray Allen

Shaquille O'Neal

Kevin Garnett

Paul Pierce

Kendrick Perkins

Glen Davis

Carlos Arroyo

Dwyane Wade

Zydrunas Ilgauskas

Chris Bosh

LeBron James

Mike Miller

Mario Chalmers

Derrick Rose

Keith Bogans

Joakim Noah

Carlos Boozer

Luol Deng

Taj Gibson

Kyle Korver

Mike Bibby

Joe Johnson

Al Horford

Josh Smith

Marvin Williams

Jamal Crawford

Zaza Pachulia

Jameer Nelson

Jason Richardson

Dwight Howard

Brandon Bass

Hedo Turkoglu

Gilbert Arenas

Quentin Richardson




Which team do you think will ultimately advance to the NBA Finals?
Which team do you think will ultimately advance to the NBA Finals?
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Bigger Magic Nemesis: Pierce or LeBron?

By Josh Cohen
December 16, 2010



I got sick to my stomach (not literally – I just want assure you I did not catch the infamous stomach virus that recently disseminated around the Magic locker room) when I watched Paul Pierce bow down to the Madison Square Garden crowd after the Celtics edged the Knicks on Wednesday.

But figuratively, I felt downhearted, infuriated and disturbed. I experienced slight dizziness and I don’t completely remember, but I think I may have forgot to take my laundry out of the dryer because of how focused I was on the television.

Pierce is indisputably one of the best players in the NBA and seems to always deliver in the clutch for the men in green. I respect him and admire his basketball skills.

However, he is a little too boastful for my taste and there are plenty of incidents to prove it. Last season during the conference finals, for example, The Truth, as he is affectionately nicknamed, brashly said after Boston went up 2-0 that the C’s “were coming home to close it out.”

After Pierce’s antics in New York, I started to evaluate, which opposing player is more of a target on the Magic’s list of stars they want to outduel on the hardwood.

There really are only two options today: Pierce or LeBron James.


Josh Cohen
Some may suggest Kobe Bryant because the Lakers defeated the Magic in the 2009 NBA Finals, while others, on the other hand, may propose it is Tracy McGrady because of his despondent exit from the organization.

But let’s be realistic; the Magic and their fans want to impede Pierce and LeBron more than any other players today.

James, for one, generated unprecedented turbulence when he publically announced he was signing with the Heat on national television over the summer. It seems, based on reactions around the league, that LeBron is a mark on every team’s radar (even in places like Sacramento and Salt Lake City).

Pierce, meanwhile, developed into one of the more egotistic superstars in the NBA ever since he helped catapult the Celtics to the NBA championship in 2008 and earned Finals MVP honors.

After witnessing (no pun intended) James up close and in front of the thousands at Amway Center on Thanksgiving Eve, I have an idea of how ostracized he is among Magic fans.

I am very curious, especially after what transpired last season in the conference finals and with Boston playing extremely well, how the Magic faithful will react to Pierce when the C’s come to town on Christmas.

My opinion: I still think James is probably the more detested athlete among fans in Orlando, largely because the Magic and Heat have formed an exhilarating Sunshine State rivalry.

But, Pierce deserves to be a close second in my book and I wouldn’t be surprised if on Christmas the fans suggest otherwise.

With all this said, Pierce and James are astounding players and we should all be thankful they are a part of the NBA because of their ability to compete at a high level and entertain us with all of their jaunts.

Follow Josh Cohen on Twitter here


Who do you think is a bigger Orlando Magic nemesis?
Who do you think is a bigger Orlando Magic nemesis?
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Ranking All-Time Funny NBA Interviews

By Josh Cohen
December 9, 2010



Josh Cohen
When not watching NBA games, I tend to enjoy analyzing viral videos on the Internet. Some of the best are sports-themed, and in the NBA, there are several hilarious interviews that have been documented on film.

I, as a result, thought it would be interesting to evaluate some of the most captivating ones and rank my top 10.

After reading through each one, vote on the interview that you think was the funniest to watch.

RANK
INTERVIEW
ANALYSIS
1
"Practice"
There have been innumerable comedy skits, remix melodies and imitations of the notorious Allen Iverson “practice” rant from the 2002 NBA season. Besides this press conference being hilarious because of the vast number of times A.I. stated the word “practice,” this tirade is largely so humorous because the entire interview is a paradox.

He basically says that practice can’t help make his teammates better. Although this unforgettable press conference wouldn’t be ranked No. 1 if he didn’t say “practice” more than 20 times, the point of his outburst is amusing in of itself.

WATCH
2
"Ball"
It was very apparent that Hedo Turkoglu abandoned the Toronto Raptors during the 2009-10 season when he decided to be slothful during a peculiar interview after a victory over the Knicks.

Noticeably delirious and lacking the desire to methodically answer a question, Hedo opted to provide a mysterious one-word reaction, “Ball.”

Rather than dissect Turk’s uncanny answer to a seemingly normal query, the television reporter elected to take matters into his own hands and further analyze the meaning behind “Ball.” All in all, the Turkish superstar, who was traded to Phoenix after last season, clearly “had nothing else to say.”

WATCH
3
"Game 7!"
If I was a public speaking teacher and I was evaluating Zaza Pachulia’s final exam after Game 6 of the Hawks’ 2008 First Round series against Celtics, here would be my assessment:

Zaza earns an A for eye contact, an A for enthusiasm and an A for capturing the crowd’s attention. He looked like a politician in the making. Pachulia for President!!

Whoever decided to hand the microphone to Zaza, though, should be his vice president.

WATCH
4
"Fumigation"
The entire insect community assembled recently and concluded that it is not safe to parade around an NBA press conference room when Dirk Nowitzki is at the podium.

After Game 1 of the 2006 NBA Finals, Dirk had no patience to deal with some irritating, niggling gnat. Compelled to be worry-free while answering questions from the media, the former MVP decided it was time to obliterate this unwarranted creature.

WATCH
5
"Tooth"
All of Hollywood is still trying to figure out what character Steve Nash was playing during a halftime interview after chipping his tooth during the 2007-08 season.

Although it remains a mystery, everyone seems to be in consensus that Nash’s acting performance deserves serious consideration for an academy award.

WATCH
6
"Parade"
It’s hard to say what was more amusing during the 2001 L.A. Lakers championship parade: Mark Madsen’s untamed speech or his feral dancing to Shaquille O’Neal’s rapping.

Maybe Madsen is the type of guy every championship team needs on their roster: An eccentric individual that has no limitations when given the chance to show off his talents (or lack their of).

WATCH
7
"My Fault"
It’s not exactly known if Tracy McGrady was trying to emulate Allen Iverson’s epic performance for most times saying the same thing during an interview. But either way, if we accuse him of replication, it’s probably his fault.

The seven-time All-Star wanted to make sure everyone knew that he is responsible for all the problems in the world.

WATCH
8
"Imitation"
It’s a toss-up as to what’s more funny about the Houston Rockets trying to imitate Dikembe Mutombo’s incomprehensible, yet endearing babble: The team’s surprising ability to capture all of Deke’s expressions or Yao Ming’s one-word replication, “Finger.”

WATCH
9
"Confirmation"
It’s no secret that LeBron James skipped college to play professional basketball, but in case there was still some uncertainty about it, LBJ confirmed his original “decision” before “The Decision.”

WATCH
10
"Bizarre"
Besides adoring the style of play from most of the European players in the NBA, I also revere the way they articulate their opinions during interviews. Kyrylo Fesenko confirmed this judgment of mine a few seasons ago.

WATCH


Which interview do you think is the funniest to watch?
Which interview do you think is the funniest to watch?
Latest Opinions





If the All-Star Game Was Played Today...

By Josh Cohen
December 6, 2010


It’s going to be extremely difficult to determine who deserves to play in the All-Star Game this season.

There are so many players having superb seasons and unfortunately some of these standouts will be left off the card.

My idea was to pick the first 10 All-Stars from each conference who would receive automatic invitations to play in the midseason classic. Then, I would allow the next best 10 to come to All-Star Weekend and compete in a position-by-position one-on-one tournament on Saturday to decide the final two spots for the East and West.

As a result, it would be virtually impossible to have any snubs and even if a player doesn’t win the one-on-one tournament, nobody can complain that they weren’t given a chance.

At any rate, although we still have a few weeks to verify who should and shouldn’t qualify for a spot, I decided to select who I think should be in it if the All-Star were to be played today.





POS.
EAST
WEST
PG
Derrick Rose

Deron Williams
SG
Dwyane Wade

Kobe Bryant
C
Dwight Howard

Tim Duncan
PF
Amar'e Stoudemire

Dirk Nowitzki
SF
LeBron James

Carmelo Anthony
R
Rajon Rondo

Russell Westbrook
R
Paul Pierce

Manu Ginobili
R
Joakim Noah

Pau Gasol
R
Kevin Garnett

Kevin Love
R
Danny Granger

Kevin Durant
R
Jameer Nelson

Tony Parker
R
Andrea Bargnani

Chris Paul


Who not mentioned do you think should definitely be an All-Star this season?
Who not mentioned do you think should definitely be an All-Star this season?
Latest Opinions





If the Playoffs Started Today...

By Josh Cohen
December 5, 2010


I know it’s only early December and the standings today may look nothing like the standings in mid April, but I can’t help but start analyzing possible playoff matchups.

It’s just in my disposition to always be evaluating teams and exploring what the NBA playoffs may have in store for us all.


Josh Cohen
If the postseason started now, the Orlando Magic would be the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference and matched up with the vastly improved Indiana Pacers.

The Miami Heat, meanwhile, would be the No. 3 seed and therefore if the two Sunshine State rivals won their respective First Round playoff series, they would meet in a highly anticipated Eastern Conference Semifinal series.

Envision all of the drama, suspense and exhilaration that would inevitably transpire during a Heat-Magic seven-game playoff series. It would be like my 10th birthday when I received a Sega Genesis with Sonic The Hedgehog on the side. I was enthralled and flabbergasted to say the least.

While gazing at the standings and examining the various records and trends (ex. active winning streaks), I can’t help but begin projecting playoff outcomes.

As a result, I figured I would get all of you involved.

While I know some of you may find it ridiculous to start predicting playoff series in early December, we are all guilty of having such a curiosity about what may happen when it counts most.

Vote on who you think would win each First Round playoff series if the postseason started today.

I will periodically update this throughout the course of the season leading up to the playoffs.




EASTERN CONFERENCE



1) BOS vs. 8) TOR
1) BOS vs. 8) TOR
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4) CHI vs. 5) ATL
4) CHI vs. 5) ATL
Latest Opinions



2) ORL vs. 7) IND
2) ORL vs. 7) IND
Latest Opinions
3) MIA vs. 6) NYK
3) MIA vs. 6) NYK
Latest Opinions



WESTERN CONFERENCE



1) SAS vs. 8) PHX
1) SAS vs. 8) PHX
Latest Opinions
4) LAL vs. 5) DEN
4) LAL vs. 5) DEN
Latest Opinions



2) DAL vs. 7) NOH
2) DAL vs. 7) NOH
Latest Opinions
3) UTA vs. 6) OKC
3) UTA vs. 6) OKC
Latest Opinions






RANKING NBA NOTABLES

By Josh Cohen
November 28, 2010


Surprise Teams: These are the clubs that have exceeded their expectations and surpassed the win totals that were projected for them at this point of the season. They may not necessarily be championship contenders, but are definitely possible playoff teams.

Disappointments: These are the teams that have underachieved based on the expectations they had heading into the season. These clubs were supposed to be legitimate playoff caliber teams, and in some cases championship contenders, but thus far have not performed at the level they are capable of.


Josh Cohen
Best Summer Additions: These are the players that were acquired by a new team over the summer and have made an immediate positive impact on the court. The difference-makers either signed with their new club as a free agent or were traded to their new squad.

Top Storylines: These are the topics that have created the most chatter and roar around the NBA. Stories can range from on the court performances or off the court incidents and matters.

Power Rankings: These are the five teams that have proven thus far to be playing at the highest level and deserve to be in the discussion as a legitimate championship-caliber club.

On the Market?: These are players who are viewed as stars around the league and have been reportedly discussed in trade talk. Though some of the reports that have circulated around the media may just be false rumors, these are players that based on logic may be dealt by the trade deadline.


SUBJECT
NO. 1
NO. 2
NO. 3
NO. 4
NO. 5
SURPRISE TEAMS
San Antonio

New Orleans

Indiana

New York

Golden State
DISAPPOINTMENTS
Miami

Milwaukee

Memphis

Houston

L.A. Clippers
BEST SUMMER ADDITIONS
Amar'e Stoudemire

David Lee

Trevor Ariza

Michael Beasley

Shaquille O'Neal
TOP STORYLINES
Miami Debacle

Jazz Comebacks

Clutch Magic

Still In Denver

Maybe Next Year?
POWER RANKINGS
San Antonio

Orlando

Boston

L.A. Lakers

Utah
ON THE MARKET?
Carmelo Anthony

Andre Iguodala

Stephen Jackson

Rip Hamilton

Kevin Martin


What do you think is the most intriguing storyline thus far in the NBA season?
What do you think is the most intriguing storyline thus far in the NBA season?
Latest Opinions





RANKING AWARD CANDIDATES

By Josh Cohen
November 26, 2010



Josh Cohen
Throughout the NBA season, I will rank the top five candidates for the end of the year awards, including Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, Most Improved Player, Defensive Player of the Year, Coach of the Year and Sixth Man of the Year.

Although it is extremely early in the year, it's always intriguing to start predicting what could happen down the road.





AWARD
NO. 1
NO. 2
NO. 3
NO. 4
NO. 5
MVP
Dwight Howard

Pau Gasol

Manu Ginobili

Derrick Rose

Kobe Bryant
TOP ROOKIE
Blake Griffin

John Wall

DeMarcus Cousins

Landry Fields

Wesley Johnson
MOST IMPROVED
Roy Hibbert

Kevin Love

Michael Beasley

Andrea Bargnani

Nicolas Batum
TOP DEFENDER
Dwight Howard

Chris Paul

Rajon Rondo

Josh Smith

JaVale McGee
TOP COACH
Monty Williams

Gregg Popovich

Jerry Sloan

Jim O'Brien

Mike D'Antoni
TOP SIXTH MAN
George Hill

Wilson Chandler

Brandon Bass

Daniel Gibson

Brandon Rush


Who do you think is the MVP right now?
Who do you think is the MVP right now?
Latest Opinions





If the All-Star Game Was Played Today...

By Josh Cohen
November 23, 2010


I am a huge proponent of the fans voting for the All-Star starters. But I admit, it bothers me a little when fans decide to vote for their “favorites” rather than those who truly deserve to participate in the annual midseason classic.


Josh Cohen
Last year, for example, the fans voted Allen Iverson in as a starter, who at that point only played in a handful of games after being released by the Memphis Grizzlies and picked up by the Philadelphia 76ers. Ultimately, nonetheless, Iverson missed the game due to personal reasons.

I also have no problem with the coaches selecting the All-Star reserves. Although I think it is reasonable that the larger percentage of players that are chosen come from winning teams, I don’t think it’s necessarily true that just because a player is a part of a “championship contender” that he automatically deserves consideration.

Two seasons ago, for instance, Mo Williams was selected as an All-Star substitute largely because he played for the team who had the best record at the time.

If the All-Star Game were to be played today, here would be my All-Star cast. My selections are primarily based on performance and how they have helped their team’s improve from last season.

Until the All-Stars are named in late January, I will periodically document who I think should be playing in this season’s NBA All-Star Game. Keep in mind, it is only November and things by then will likely change.





POS.
EAST
WEST
PG
Derrick Rose

Chris Paul
SG
Dwyane Wade

Kobe Bryant
C
Dwight Howard

Emeka Okafor
PF
Kevin Garnett

Pau Gasol
SF
LeBron James

Kevin Durant
R
Rajon Rondo

Deron Williams
R
Paul Pierce

Manu Ginobili
R
Joakim Noah

Tim Duncan
R
Amar'e Stoudemire

Dirk Nowitzki
R
Danny Granger

Carmelo Anthony
R
Jameer Nelson

Tony Parker
R
Andrea Bargnani

Monta Ellis


Which player not mentioned do you think should have definitely been included as an All-Star right now?
Which player not mentioned do you think should have definitely been included as an All-Star right now?
Latest Opinions





All-Time Best Centers

By Josh Cohen
November 17, 2010


Once upon a time when transistor radios, rotary telephones, antenna televisions and typewriters (rather than computers) were selling like beanie babies and furby’s in the 1990’s, 7-footers were enjoying their time in the paint on the hardwood.

Back in the day, centers such as Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Willis Reed, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Moses Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing and David Robinson were the focal point of an NBA team’s approach to success.


Josh Cohen
Today, however, besides Dwight Howard and a healthy Andrew Bynum (which seems like every other Tuesday of the third month of the season but only during a leap year and it can’t be on the 8th, 16th or 24th) or vigorous Yao Ming (which seems to happen only during a cold front when it is party cloudy with a mix of sleet, freezing rain and hale storming down), there really aren’t any true centers playing in the post.

In fact, because of this insufficiency, many of the elite power forwards such as Tim Duncan, Amar’e Stoudemire and Al Jefferson have had to slide over to the center position to give their respective teams an interior presence.

I’ve always been a huge supporter of big men who appropriately play their position. Like Howard and many of the vintage centers, I enjoy watching a 7-footer dominate near the basket.

Thus, it got me thinking. Who is the best “true” center of all-time? By evaluating the player’s offensive skill set, defensive tenacity and intimidation factor, which all-time great big man deserves to be labeled the best?

Although I generally don’t like to conclude that any one player is definitively, irrefutably, incontrovertibly the absolute best because it’s nearly impossible to compare guys from different generations, I still think it is fascinating to hear people’s opinions.

As a result, I have decided to create a tournament, which includes all of the past, and present top centers of all-time. Vote in each round on the center you think was/is the better all-time big man.



VOTE IN FIRST ROUND



Round 1
Round 1



Round 1
Round 1



Round 1
Round 1



Round 1
Round 1






Favorite All-Time Magic Team?

By Josh Cohen
November 15, 2010


I am always flabbergasted to hear people tell me who their favorite all-time teams are.

For example, it’s always fascinating to listen to some of the old-timers explain to me why the New York Yankees of the 1970’s (ex. Reggie Jackson, Bucky Dent) was a more adored team than the Yankees of the late 1990’s (ex. Paul O’Neal, Scott Brosius). Or similarly, it’s enlightening to hear a New England Patriots supporter describe why they admired the 2001 Super Bowl team more than the 2003 or 2004 championship teams.


Josh Cohen
There are a variety of reasons why sports fans may cling to a particular year/roster rather than a team as a whole.

Perhaps it had something to do with their work/school schedule at the time. For instance, maybe they were more available to watch the team in a certain year that permitted them to be more focused on the everyday events of the team.

Possibly it has something to do with the personalities of the players. For example, maybe a fan was able to identify with a specific roster that allowed them to enjoy that group’s championship quest.

As these thoughts tend to do, I started getting curious which all-time Orlando Magic team captured the attention of fans the most.

Although certainly for you it could have been during a peculiar season, I would imagine that most Magic fans cling to one of five teams of the past.

Perhaps it’s the inaugural 1989-90 campaign just because it was the first year central Floridians had the opportunity to call a team their own.

Or maybe it was the 1994-95 season, which was the first time the Magic advanced to the NBA Finals.

How about the Cinderella 2002-03 team? Although not exactly the most talented roster in team history, that squad nearly pulled off the greatest upset in NBA history.

We can never forget the 2008-09 team, which overcame countless obstacles to earn a trip to The Finals.

And finally, the 2009-10 team provided fans with periods of total dominance – sweeping their first two opponents in the playoffs.

Here were the starting lineups for these five seasons. After glancing over the rosters, vote on which Magic team is your all-time favorite.

Hopefully, when the 2010-11 season is complete, you will all be able to say that this year’s Magic team was your all-time favorite.





YEAR
PG
SG
C
PF
SF
1989-90
Sam Vincent

Reggie Theus

Mark Acres

Terry Catledge

Otis Smith
1994-95
Penny Hardaway

Nick Anderson

Shaquille O'Neal

Horace Grant

Dennis Scott
2002-03
Jacque Vaughn

Tracy McGrady

Andrew DeClercq

Drew Gooden

Gordan Giricek
2008-09
Alston/Nelson

Courtney Lee

Dwight Howard

Rashard Lewis

Hedo Turkoglu
2009-10
Jameer Nelson

Vince Carter

Dwight Howard

Rashard Lewis

Matt Barnes


Which Magic team is your all-time favorite?
Which Magic team is your all-time favorite?
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Orton and Foyle Go One-On-One

By Dan Savage
November 11, 2010



Dan Savage
Adonal Foyle’s playing days may be over.

However, he still stepped on the court during the team’s practice this week.

The Orlando Magic’s Director of Player Development went one-on-one with Magic rookie Daniel Orton to share his wisdom during a few drills.

Take a look at their epic battle:






McDonald's All-American All-Time Tournament


By Josh Cohen
November 9, 2010


After the Magic’s practice on Tuesday, Dwight Howard talked about his experience playing alongside Al Jefferson, his opponent on Wednesday when Orlando clashes with the Utah Jazz, in the 2004 McDonald’s All-American Game.


Josh Cohen
While his high school class was, by and large, one of the most talented of all-time, I started wondering who would win a tournament if the best all-time McDonald’s All-Americans from recent years collided in a tournament.

I looked through the archives and picked out the years that featured the best talent of active NBA players.

I, then decided, it would be fascinating if I matched up the teams, year-by-year, to determine which year turned out to have the best players.

I had to alter some of the player's positions to assure that the most skilled players qualified for their year's starting five. Kevin Garnett, for example, had to slide over to the center position for his 1995 team, while Rudy Gay would suit up as the shooting guard for the 2004 team.

Here would be the lineups:





YEAR
PG
SG
C
PF
SF
1995
Chauncey Billups

Vince Carter

Kevin Garnett

Antawn Jamison

Paul Pierce
1997
Baron Davis

Tracy McGrady

Elton Brand

Lamar Odom

Ron Artest
2002
Raymond Felton

J.J. Redick

Amar'e Stoudemire

Chris Bosh

Carmelo Anthony
2003
Chris Paul

Luol Deng

Kendrick Perkins

Brandon Bass

LeBron James
2004
Rajon Rondo

Rudy Gay

Dwight Howard

Al Jefferson

Josh Smith
2007
Derrick Rose

OJ Mayo

Kevin Love

Blake Griffin

Michael Beasley


Which year's team do you think would win in a tournament?
Which year's team do you think would win in a tournament?
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