The Resurgence of Amar'e Stoudemire

Exactly four years ago, Amar’e Stoudemire was soaking up the spotlight in Madison Square Garden.  The star power forward, who had just inked a max 5-year, $100 million contract that summer, was dominating night in and night out.  In the month of December, he averaged 29.8 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks while setting the franchise records for most consecutive 30 point games (nine) and most consecutive games shooting 50% or above (also nine).  Stoudemire went on to become the Knicks’ first starter in the All-Star game since Patrick Ewing and earned a spot on the All-NBA Second Team. Little did Stoudemire and the Knicks know what would lie ahead for the big man.

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Griffin, Love & Aldridge: On the Outside

Three of the NBA’s best power forwards couldn’t be more different.  Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, and LaMarcus Aldridge all have legitimate cases for claiming the title of top dog, (so does Anthony Davis, who has had two incredible games thus far) and each for completely different reasons:

Kevin Love might be the best rebounder in the NBA despite never being the biggest nor most athletic player on the court.  While he is a defensive liability, Love has an incredible basketball IQ, a plethora of moves in the post, a nice stroke from the outside, and one of the greatest outlet passes in recent memory. 

 

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Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: More Than a Number Game

The 2013 NBA Draft class didn’t exactly take the league by storm…. Of the top 7 picks, Victor Oladipo seems like the only player to truly meet expectations thus far.  Anthony Bennett became just the 5th number 1 overall pick in 26 years to miss an NBA All-Rookie team; Otto Porter was kept out with a hip injury for the first half of the year and was stuck behind Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster upon his return; Cody Zeller and Alex Len still look like big reaches as the 4th and 5th picks respectively; Nerlens Noel has yet to play a game due to an ACL tear during his one-year stop at Kentucky; and the most memorable part of Ben McLemore’s season came courtesy of LeBron James.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the 8th pick, doesn’t seem much different from his aforementioned fellow draftees….  Well, at least on paper he doesn’t: he averaged just 5.9 points per game on 39.6% shooting and not much of anything else, but quietly displayed his defensive prowess.

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Who Are You, Scotty Hopson?

You’re probably unfamiliar with a name that has quietly emerged in NBA headlines recently: Scotty Hopson. 

In the past week, Hopson was traded THREE times in TWO days. 

Yes, you read that correctly.  The 6’7” shooting guard found his fourth home in the NBA, all in just 48 hours.  He was originally sent from Cleveland to Charlotte in exchange for Brendan Haywood and the draft rights to Dwight Powell.  Shortly after, the Hornets shipped him to the New Orleans Pelicans for cash considerations (let the name change confusion begin).  Finally, he was sent to the Rockets as part of one of the biggest deals of the offseason, a three team trade that landed Omer Asik and Trevor Ariza with their new franchises, New Orleans and Houston respectively.

I have so many questions!  Why is this guy so popular?!  What could teams possibly see in a player who has appeared in only two NBA games, posting a staggering 1 point, 1 assist, and 1 steal in 7 minutes of action?  But really… Who is Scotty Hopson and how the hell did we end up talking about him?

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For Every Decision, There’s a Reaction

July 11, 2014. 

It may seem like just another date on the calendar, but LeBron James changed that in a flash.  James turned the sports world upside down with the Decision 2.0, opting to return to the place he calls home: Cleveland.

James has been dealing with the burden and stress that comes along with simultaneously being the face of the league and a free agent.  The media has had the King under a magnifying glass, watching his every move and updating the world on his agent’s meetings with other teams, his travel plans to Brazil, and what time he tucked his kids into bed last night (okay, okay, maybe the last one is a joke).

But now that James has made his move, the pressure has shifted to others to respond to his choice to return to Cleveland.  So let’s break down the situations of the people and teams most affected by the Decision 2.0:

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All Quiet on the Lakers’ Front

Magic.  Kareem.  Shaq.  Kobe.  Jeremy Lin?

As the days pass, the free agent market is slowly drying up.  James, Anthony, Bosh, and Nowitzki have already figured out their plans for the 2014-15 season, Wade looks ready to re-up in Miami, and Gasol looks like he’s headed to Chi-Town.

But where are the Los Angeles Lakers?  Well, they made some moves after the King announced he was going home, but these aren’t the marquee moves you Lakers fans are used to seeing (yes, I’m a Clippers fan).  Rather, they made an array of smaller moves that seem to reveal the front office’s strategy going forward: a patient rebuild.

With only Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, and Robert Sacre under contract for the upcoming season, the Lakers have a lot of work to do.  So let’s break down the recent deals made by Mitch Kupchak, Jim Buss & Co.:

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Stretch Bigs: Show Me the Money

Free agency has gotten off to a slow start, thanks to the one and only LeBron James.  However, there have already been a few signings, and big men with shooting range have been flying off the shelf.  Three have signed with new teams (Channing Frye, Spencer Hawes, and Josh McRoberts), while another took a hometown discount on his new extension (Dirk Nowitzki).

As defenses have developed smarter schemes and game plans, floor spacing and shooting have never been more important.  Thus, teams have been slobbering over big men who can shoot from distance (players also known as stretch bigs), throwing large sums of money their way.  But are all of these stretch bigs really worth it?

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