I’ve decided to come back again and write about the game I love and see where this blog can go. This off season has been very eventful with plenty of stories dominating the headlines. From big free agent signings to the USA mini-camp and a certain Cav’s contract holdout. I’m going to touch on each of these topics and more in the coming days as well as try to keep on top of any new storyline that has to do with basketball.
To start I’d like to talk about which free agent signings are studs as well as a few that I think were duds.
Lamarcus Aldridge – Of course every free agent discussion about this off season needs to start with the big dog himself. Lamarcus is one of the best big men in the game today. He’s a lock to give you 20 and 10 and he’s no slouch on defense. What I love most about this signing is that he has a very similar game to Tim Duncan, skilled low post player who’s able to step out and hit a 15-20 footer. It will allow LA to take some minutes from TD and allow TD to finally pass on the burden of banging with the big boys to another player. With their current crop of talent, the Spurs look to be a favourite in the uber competitive Western conference.
Demarre Carroll – This was a really good pick up for the Raptors. They’ve been good enough to get a top 4 seed in the East, but not good enough to punch through to the second round. What has dogged them for years now is not having a big bodied small forward who can match up with Lebron, Melo and yes, Paul Pierce. They’ve got him now in the Junk Yard Dog 2.0 who will instantly be a fan favourite in Toronto if he can bring that gritty defensive play. I’m looking for the Raptors to take another step forward this year and break the 50 win mark and at least advance in the post season.
Paul Pierce – Maybe this signing has flown a bit under the radar but to me this signing can finally put the Clippers over the edge in the West. As Raptors fans know all to well, Pierce is a big game player. He may not get big numbers during the season any more and will most likely average under 10ppg this year, but we all know that come playoff time he’s going to have his game face on as well as get his team mates prepared. He’s a proven leader and reunited with Doc I think the two of them will be able to push Chris Paul and Blake Griffin into the Western Conference Finals at the very least.
Anthony Davis – If the list starts with Aldridge, it has to end with the resigning of Davis. This kid has superstar written all over him and he’s ready to take the league by storm. Locking him up for the foreseeable future was a move the Pelicans couldn’t afford not to do. The Pelican’s have a very talent young team with an experienced coach in Alvin Gentry who, I think, will squeeze the most out of Davis. If the Pelicans can keep the injury bug at bay, look for them to leap into the top 4 in the West.
Enes Kanter – This is a move the Thunder almost had to do but probably wished they didn’t. They had to retain him because they gave up so much for him in the trade last year. 4 years for 70 million was too much to give to possibly the worst defensive big man to play the game in decades. Yes he’s skilled offensively and can give you 20 and 10 on a good night, but on a team where you have Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, who are the last two scoring champs, scoring isn’t a priority, low post defense is. Which is why I think Steven Adams will be the starter and will be getting the big time minutes to close out games. So the Thunder are essentially paying a back up center 17.5 million/year to not play very much and to not sniff the court in the 4 quarters.
Wes Matthews – Another 4 year 70 million dollar deal gone bad. You never really know how a player will come back from an achilles injury and to pay a shooting guard exiting his prime max money to find out is a deal destined for disaster. I get why these deals are made, they’re made out of desperation, in Dallas’s case, they need to capitalize on Dirk’s final years but rolling the dice on an injured shooting guard very rarely works out and will only cripple the team moving forward.