Day: April 15, 2011

derrick Rose bulls

Video: Derrick Rose’s best plays of regular season


Has there been a better show this season than the one Derrick Rose put on?

Make your argument for Blake Griffin if you want, but Rose’s show came with a team on its way to the best record in the NBA. That is special. And it’s worth watching his highlights from the regular season. Just so your jaw can drop again. And again.

I can’t wait to see what he does in the playoffs.

NBA playoff odds: Lakers, Heat are favorites. Of course.

Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers

Here’s the thing to remember about gambling odds — it’s not about who the odds makers really think has the best chance, it’s about keeping money evenly spread around so the house doesn’t lose money.

Meaning the favorite on the betting line is really about that being the team bet the most so the book doesn’t want to give a lot of money back to those bettors.

In this case Lakers betters. And Heat betters. Because you all love those teams.

From, here are the odds for the NBA playoffs this season. You could make a lot of money on the Pacers… but maybe you should just send that money to me instead.

Odds to win 2011 NBA Championship
Los Angeles Lakers 11/4
Miami Heat 13/4
Chicago Bulls 7/2
San Antonio Spurs 7/1
Boston Celtics 15/2
Oklahoma City Thunder 12/1
Dallas Mavericks 18/1
Orlando Magic 18/1
Denver Nuggets 35/1
New York Knicks 45/1
Portland Trailblazers 50/1
Memphis Grizzlies 100/1
Atlanta Hawks 125/1
Philadelphia 76ers 150/1
New Orleans Hornets 175/1
Indiana Pacers 250/1

Odds to win 2011 Eastern Conference
Miami Heat 8/5
Chicago Bulls 7/4
Boston Celtics 7/2
Orlando Magic 9/1
New York Knicks 25/1
Atlanta Hawks 60/1
Philadelphia 76ers 65/1
Indiana Pacers 100/1

Odds to win 2011 Western Conference
Los Angeles Lakers 1/1
San Antonio Spurs 9/4
Oklahoma City Thunder 13/2
Dallas Mavericks 8/1
Denver Nuggets 14/1
Portland Trailblazers 25/1
Memphis Grizzlies 60/1
New Orleans Hornets 80/1

Owners taking their time with coaches on hot seat

Kurt Rambis

The coaching carousel has not started spinning yet.

We keep expecting the music, we hear who is on the hot seat or likely gone, but nothing yet. Because owners are taking their time, reports Marc Spears at Yahoo.

Take Kurt Rambis in Minnesota. (Please.) Everyone knows he’s expected to be let go, but so far nothing.

Rambis is expected to be fired, but it’s uncertain when the decision will be announced, several league sources told Yahoo! Sports….

Another league source described Rambis’ chances of keeping his job as “slim,” saying the only thing that could save him is if Wolves ownership doesn’t want to eat the remaining money on his contract and hire someone new with a possible lockout approaching.

That lockout concern will be a running theme with coaching changes.

In Detroit, John Kuester is still on the job because the sale of the team is not complete to Tom Gores yet, Spears reports.

A source close to the Pistons said the season’s drama will likely lead to Kuester’s dismissal under new owner Tom Gores, even though an official decision isn’t expected soon. Kuester is 57-107 in two seasons coaching the Pistons and the franchise failed to make the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1995.

NBA Commissioner David Stern said in press conferences today they expect the sale to be complete around the end of May.

Then there is Keith Smart in golden State, where no decision has been made.

An NBA source, however, told Yahoo! Sports that Warriors ownership is in no rush to make a decision on Smart. It also will be interesting to see if the new owners feel the need to make a splash with a new coach.

The lockout complicates thing for any coach hired — there will be shorted training camps and very possibly a shortened season. Changing systems will be more difficult. That may cause some teams to stand pat this summer when they otherwise would have made a move.

Deron Williams says he’d consider extension with Nets

Jonny Flynn, Deron Williams

New Jersey is in full on sales mode — they have to keep Deron Williams in house. They send out Derrick Favors, they made their bet that if they got D-Will to the team they could keep him and build around him.

That bet may pay off.

Williams can opt out of his current deal after next season, but tells the New York Post he would consider an extension to help the Nets move to Brooklyn.

“I like the organization a lot,’’ said Williams, who will be a free agent after next season, assuming a lockout doesn’t cancel the NBA’s 2011-12 campaign. “I like the direction it’s going. I could definitely see myself staying here.’’

Williams, who will be moving his family to New Jersey, said he’s open to signing a contract extension this offseason.

“I would like to not have the distraction (of looming free agency) during the season,’’ he said.

Keeping Williams is step one and he needs to at least say something like this to allow for step two, recruiting better players. Williams and GM Billy King (and owner Mikhail Prokhorov) wouldn’t be able to get else in if Williams is not locked down, or at least sounding like he’s going to stay.

But the Nets can’t start talking to Williams about an extension until after the lockout is over. Nor can they start recruiting other players before then. So it’s nice to hear, but….

10 players without household names who can swing a series

Memphis Grizzlies v Portland Trail Blazers

It’s not all about Kobe and LeBron and KG.

Part of the beauty of the playoffs is the little guys (not used literally in the NBA) who don’t get the national media spotlight but often enough suddenly show up and blow people’s doors off. People that couldn’t have picked Tony Allen out of a one-man lineup suddenly love him like a long-lost uncle.

Here are 10 players who are all-too-often overlooked but could swing a playoff series.

Gerald Wallace, Portland Trail Blazers. The forward was in the All-Star game in 2010, but playing for a bad Bobcats team then being traded to Portland seemed to take him out of the spotlight. However, he has played maybe the best ball of his career since the trade, averaging 15.8 points per game. He could key a Trail Blazers first round upset of the Mavericks. Wallace is a versatile player, can defend and is an offensive force, plus can rebound. He’s tough, he gets under your skin (he did with Ron Artest recently). He’s going to get a lot of time on Dirk Nowtizki and if he can keep the German in check Portland has a chance. .

Thaddeus Young, Philadelphia. If the 76ers are going to push the Heat, it’s because Young will be having a great series. He is a hard working defender who slashes to the rim. He has given the Sixers 12 points and 5 rebounds a game off the bench, and big production from the Philly bench will be key for that team against the top-heavy Heat.

Tony Allen, Memphis Grizzlies. He is a hard-nosed, old school defender who got a lot of playoff experience in Boston. Now, Memphis needs him to shut down Manu Ginobili (well, when Ginobili gets back from his injury). He was shooting 60 percent the last 6 games of the season, and if they get offense out of him their chances of pushing the Spurs goes way up. The Grizzlies need the perimeter production.

James Harden, Oklahoma City Thunder. He’s always has been important to the Thunder, but since the Jeff Green/Kendrick Perkins trade he has stepped up his game, averaging 15.8 per game since the All-Star break. A fun player to watch, he just always seems to make the right play. He will be key in the second round and beyond.

Ty Lawson, Denver Nuggets. He is key to any chance the Nuggets have against the Thunder. The quick point guard averaged nearly 16 points per game on 57 percent shooting against the Thunder this season. He needs to break down the Thunder defense, and if he can get a couple fouls on Kendrick Perkins that would help.

Ronny Turiaf, New York Knicks. New York’s chances of knocking off Boston will hinge on getting some stops — the Knicks have some guys who can put up points, but can they keep Boston from scoring? Turiaf will be key here, he was their best defensive center with the four starters after the trade. They need him to protect the rim and rebound.

Ryan Anderson, Orlando Magic. He’s a big man with a sweet stroke, hitting 39.3 percent from beyond the arc this season, 41.1 percent in his last 10 games. A real stretch four. He will create matchup problems and if he can wear out guys like Al Horford of Atlanta his team will be a lot better for it.

Jason Collins, Atlanta Hawks. It’s this simple — if he can hold Dwight Howard in check this series, doing so in man-on-man coverage without a lot of help, the Hawks have a chance. During the regular season he was able to single cover Howard and that allowed the other Hawks defenders to stay home on the Magic’s many shooters. He is key to the Hawks chances.

Carl Landry, New Orleans Hornets. He has stepped up big for the Hornets since David West went down injured — in the team’s last 10 games he has been the leading scorer at 14.9 points per game on 51.8 shooting. He will be matched up with Pau Gasol and for the Hornets to have a chance of beating the Lakers he’s got to win that battle.

George Hill, San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs count on their bench guys to come in, play the system, defend and knock down shots. Hill does it beautifully. He shot 37.7 percent from three and gave the Spurs 12 points a game, getting big minutes (28 a game). The Spurs bench has been their undoing (well, part of it) in recent seasons and Hill will be key to changing that this time around.