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Clippers vs Warriors

Top 10 Point Guards in NBA for the 2014 – 2015 season

Point guard play is a fascinating part of basketball to watch. When you see a great ball handler that can take control of his team and move the ball around with precision passes it is a great joy to behold. There is nothing like a great ball mover that will thread a strong defence and go to the goal or catch one of his teammates moving to the target out of the corner of his eyes and making that precision pass the keeps all the defenders at bay. Look for some of the movers and shakers lists below from 10 to 1 to keep a lot of defenders at bay this year.

10. Rajon Rondo:
Can put up some impressive triple-doubles with an average of almost 12 ppg and almost ten apg. He will be coming off an injury year where he only played 30 games in the 2013-14 season. Look for him to overcome his major knee injury to continue to put up numbers for the Boston Celtics. The game to watch for is the Celtics vs Spurs to see Rajon and Tony Parker go at it.

9. Tony Parker:
Tony is playing himself into a lot on NBA conversations when it comes top point guards. This San Antonio guard will continue to keep up the pace in the upcoming season. Averaging almost 17 ppg, he will become one of the fan favourites during the San Antonio campaign on 2014-15. The Games to watch will be Spurs vs Trail Blazers in Dec and Jan to see how Tony Parker and Damian Lillard stack up against each other.

8. Kyle Lowry:
With an impressive 17.9 ppg average, it is probably why Kyle Lowry was re-signed by general manager Masai Ujiri and the Toronto Raptors. You can bet he will continue to put the numbers and keep the Raptors moving into the 2014-15 with a strong shot at postseason play again. Watching Lowry and Wall on the court should make the Raptors vs Wizards one of best matchups for Lowry and the boys.

7. Damian Lillard:
This Portland guard can put on quit a show with an average of over 20 ppg. He is an excellent three-point shooter. With a 40 per cent three-point shooting average Damien Lillard will continue to be worth the price of admission to see him continue to put up impressive numbers again this year. The Trail Blazers vs Warriors will be a great test pitting Lillard and Curry against each other.

6. Kyrie Irving:
Kyrie will carry an average 20.8 ppg and almost seven apps into the 2014-15 season to keep the Cavs on their feet again this year. He is one guard that defence hates to see get hot and move the ball. He will have another good year carving up the defence during the quest toward the playoffs this year. When Irving and Parker hit the court for the first time at the Quicken Center, it will be a good preview of how well the new look Cavaliers and old Spurs will be. The Cavaliers vs Spurs in the NBA Finals is a pretty good bet this 2014-15 NBA season.

5. John Wall:
John will help the Washington Wizards to make some noise in the Eastern Conference this year. This is another NBA guard that averages close to 20 ppg. With almost nine apg his teammates are very appreciative of his unselfish ball movement. Look for the Wizards to continue the great play that led them to a great playoff run in the 2013-14 year.

4. Goran Dragic:
Making the ALL-NBA Third Team last year you can bet this point guard will pick up where he left off last year. Sporting a 20.3 ppg average will help him do just that. Look for him to continue to put up the points for the Phoenix Suns. A 50 per cent shooting average from the field will help lead the Suns to a strong push in this upcoming NBA year.

3. Stephen Curry:
Stephen is not known for his defence but who is when you have an average of 24 ppg. Curry was the NBA’s seventh-leading scorer in the 2013-14 season. He attempted an average of almost eight three-pointers each game. He will put a lot of numbers again this year while he leads Golden State to another playoff year. Curry vs Westbrook will be the matchup to watch when the Warriors vs Thunder games happen as they could easily end up being an NBA playoff preview early in the season.

2. Russell Westbrook:
This Oklahoma City guard averaged 26.7 ppg during the playoffs in 2013-14. That will bring his average to almost 22 ppg during his great NBA career. If he has an injury free year, he can put up some impressive numbers. The more he plays his consistency improve in a great way. He will put up some huge numbers in the Oklahoma City run this year. Russell Westbrook and Kyrie Irving will meet on the court for the first time under the new Cav’s look the Thunder vs Cavaliers could be an early NBA Finals look.

1. Chris Paul:
Chris Paul will show you why he is in the number one spot if you will take a look at him the next time you have the opportunity to see him. Chris is one of the best floor managers in the league. He also led the league in assists and stole last season. Look for him to maintain his 19 ppg and 10.7 apg in a powerful run for the Clippers. The biggest game of the year could be the Clippers vs Cavaliers not just because of Lebron, but Chris Paul vs Kyrie Irving could end up being where the game is won for either team. Also, the Clippers vs Warriors is another big game between Chris Paul and Stephen Curry as last year the two went at it.

Derrick Rose:
What about Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose you ask? I didn’t add him to my list because he has only played a total of 10 games in the past two years. While I would add him somewhere between 2-5, his mental and physical health factors still have questions. The Oct 31 Bulls vs Cavaliers opener will be a good test to see where he is at. Rose finished the preseason this year with 57 points in 56 minutes of playing time and went 24 of 41 and also over 50% in three-pointers and finished the eight-game preseason with a team-high avg of 16.2. If he can stay healthy and get through the entire season, the Chicago Bulls have an excellent chance of winning it all.

Would love to know who your top 5 NBA Point Guards are for this upcoming season?

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lamarcus aldridge trailblazers

LaMarcus Aldridge Is He Worth Every Penny?

LaMarcus Aldridge Portland Trail BlazersThe Portland Trailblazers were a struggling franchise during the first decade of the 2000s. They had some success near the turn of the millennium but had the bad boy, “Jailblazer” image. In a stacked Western Conference, they didn’t have the players or the image. Their best player, Brandon Roy, was one of the top young stars in the league, but his career was stopped short because of chronic knee issues. They were flat out, an unlucky franchise. They did have a young power forward to build around though. LaMarcus Aldridge does not get the attention that other big stars in big markets get in the NBA. He doesn’t even get the full attention from the media as the star of Portland and that instead goes to young, dynamic point guard Damian Lillard. The three-time All-Star is one of the top players in the league and the focal point of the Portland Trailblazers’ scouting report. Heading into a contract year, he is worth a maximum deal as the Blazers look to continue their surge in the Western Conference.

LaMarcus Aldridge by the numbers

When looking at LaMarcus Aldridge, you see a long, lean power forward. He strikes many as a finesse player based on his 6-foot-11, 250-pound frame. After finishing his freshman season at the University of Texas, Aldridge declared for the NBA Draft and was the second overall pick in 2006 by the Chicago Bulls. After a rookie season in which he didn’t play a ton of minutes, Aldridge announced his presence in year two. He averaged over 17 points per game, and since then he hasn’t averaged below that number. He is the top mid-range jump shooter among big men in the league. LaMarcus Aldridge can hit turnaround jumpers, face-up jumpers and is very difficult to block because of his high release point. From 2010-2012, he shot over 50 per cent from the field and averaged over 21 points per game. In 2012, he made his first All-Star appearance and had made three straight trips to the All-Star game.

LaMarcus AldridgeThis past season, LaMarcus Aldridge took an even further step forward in his development. Portland won 54 games during the regular season and made the playoffs where they advanced to the second round of the Western Conference playoffs before losing to the eventual champion San Antonio Spurs. Teaming with Lillard, Aldridge helped form one of the top inside-outside duos in the game today. LaMarcus Aldridge averaged career highs in points, assists, rebounds and free throw percentage. With his 23-plus point per game average and double-digit rebounding each night, he was a consistent double-double threat, a rarity in the game today. Also, LaMarcus Aldridge is an excellent free throw shooter, hitting over 80 per cent from the charity stripe which makes his offensive game even more difficult to defend. While he has a thinner frame, he also averaged a block and a steal per game.

One big knock on LaMarcus Aldridge is his durability, and he missed several games this season with various injuries. LaMarcus Aldridge has played in over 74 games per season in five of his eight NBA seasons and has never played less than 55 in a season. If the Portland Trail Blazers don’t offer him a max deal when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer, some other team will. He is one of the best big men in the NBA and is not even 30 yet. If Rashard Lewis can get a max deal in his career, LaMarcus Aldridge is sure as heck worth the price tag that comes along with his services. Chris M.

Emerging powers in NBA’s Wild Wild West

Western Conference

NBA WEST

The Western Conference has been the more powerful of the two in the NBA for several years now. This current season is no exception. Apart from the powerhouses, which were expected to dominate and they eventually did, we also saw several underdogs making their presence felt. The San Antonio Spurs, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder are considered as the three elite teams in the West, but the Portland Trail Blazers and the Golden State Warriors are also powerhouses, emerging ones. We could even say that the Los Angeles Clippers are an emerging powerhouse, given that it’s been just a couple of seasons since Lob City has made it to the top. Let’s examine each emerging power in the West.

Golden State Warriors

GS Warriors Tickets

WARRIORS

The Warriors are definitely an emerging powerhouse. Although the Dubs experienced several ups and downs this season, they also showed their potential. The Warriors entered the 2013-2014 campaign as one of the strongest championship contenders in the Western Conference, and the truth is that it took them a while to showcase their abilities. Playing without their starting centre, Andrew Bogut, the Dubs did manage to drag their first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers in seven games. They eventually fell to Lob City, but the future seems to be bright for Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, David Lee, Andre Iguodala and the rest of the crew. Every core member of the team is under contract for at least one more season.

Portland Trail Blazers

Blazers Tickets

BLAZERS

Rip City made it to the second round of the playoffs this year and but it also managed to made its presence felt across the NBA world. The Blazers have now found their new face of the franchise, in Damian Lillard. The second-year point guard as already reached a superstar level and although he is just 23, he seems to be ready to make it to the list of the elite point guards in the NBA, together with Chris Paul, Tony Parker and Russell Westbrook. On top of that, LaMarcus Aldridge has managed to revamp his career, and although he had some cold streaks during the playoffs, he seems to be capable of being the second-star pillar, alongside Lillard. Nicolas Batum is the third member of Rip City’s Big Three and things in Portland now look better than ever in the recent history of the team. Look for the Blazers to continue emerging in the seasons to come.

Los Angeles Clippers

LA Clippers Tickets

CLIPPERS

Forget about the Lakers. The next big thing in LA is the team called “Los Angeles Clippers”, also known as Lob City. The Clips possess every single element a true powerhouse; an elite team needs to have. They’ve got two megastars, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, an emerging star, in DeAndre Jordan, the best sixth man in the NBA, in Jamal Crawford and also one of the handfuls of guru coaches in the league, Doc Rivers. The Clippers have already emerged as a powerhouse in the West, but they are continuing their upward course. If they don’t win the NBA Championship this year, they will certainly have the chance to do so in the seasons to come.

Rip City Is For Real

Damian Lillard Blazers

Damian Lillard

The 2013-2014 season has been a roller coaster ride for Rip City. After reaching the top of the tough Western Conference early in the season, the Portland Trail Blazers fell to the fifth spot and they also saw their chances to make it to the top reducing. The Blazers entered the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs as the underdogs in their matchups against the Houston Rockets but they managed to eliminate them after six games. Now, they are being dominated by the veteran group of the San Antonio Spurs and their playoff trip might soon reach its end.

However, despite the failure to top the San Antonio Spurs, a task that is of course very difficult for any team around the league, the Blazers’ course during the 2013-2014 campaign is anything but bad. In fact, even if Rip City exits the playoffs in the second round, the entire city should feel proud about this team. After everything, the Blazers have gone through and after all those top-player severe injuries, Portland has found a way to turn things around.

In addition, the future looks really bright for this team, given that it has now found the Big Three around which it can build. Damian Lillard showcased his leadership skills not just during the playoffs but even throughout the regular season. The versatile point guard has already reached a superstar level and he is just 23 years old. He and LaMarcus Aldridge are under contract for the next season, with the Blazers holding a team option, which will most probably exercise for the season after and also a qualifying offer for the 2015 – 2016 season. Nicolas Batum is also under contract till the end of the 2015 – 2016 season but what is even more important is the fact that something seems to be changing in Rip City.

The Blazers are finally starting to find their way to success and whilst they still haven’t formed an elite team, they are certainly on the right track. Portland has found its new franchise face, in Damian Lillard and also a truly capable star veteran, in LaMarcus Aldridge, who might just be the perfect fit alongside Lillard. Nicolas Batum is the third wheel of the Blazers’ engine and several analysts compare them to the San Antonio Spurs, stating that the Blazers are a younger version of San Antonio. I couldn’t agree more with this statement and I would go a step further, stating that Damian Lillard will soon have the same essence to Rip City like Kobe Bryant has to the Los Angeles Lakers. Yes, he is that good.

So, summing up, there is absolutely no reason for Blazers fans to feel disappointed with their favorite team this year. The Blazers did what they had to do. They went as far as they could. Now, the fun part begins, as the team will try to further improve during the postseason. We should all expect the Blazers to stay in the forefront of the NBA for the next seasons.

Damian Lillard NBA

Damian Lillard The Next NBA Superstar

Damian Lillard Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard

is putting up significant performances this season. He and the Portland Trail Blazers are surprising the NBA world with their outputs. The last season’s Rookie of the Year is continuing to improve his performance this season. In fact, he does better in almost any part of the game, in comparison with the previous season. His scoring, his shooting, his defence and his clutch performances have seen improvement. But can he be considered as a star? Does he rank amongst the elite point guards in the league?

The 6’3” Weber State product has exploded offensively. After putting up two consecutive 36-point performances against the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Minnesota Timberwolves, he went on to score 29 against the New Orleans Pelicans. He also shot over 47 percent from the floor in those three games. In overall, Lillard is averaging 21.3 points per contest this season to go along with 5.8 assists and 3.7 boards. His shooting from the floor has reached the 41.0 percent mark on average and 42.6 percent from three-point range.

Damian Lillard Blazers

Damian Lillard

Despite the big numbers, Damian Lillard’s importance to Portland goes beyond that. He is a general when on the floor, he draws much defensive attention and that’s where the entire offence starts for Portland. Lillard has built a great chemistry with LaMarcus Aldridge, especially on the offensive end. He plays with him the pick and roll and due to Aldridge’s finishing skills and versatility, this duo is really hard to stop. Lillard started showing some real clutch and leadership skills. Several times this season he has hit game-winning shots.

Taking a look at Lillard’s attributes, we first see that very explosive. In fact, he ranks at the top spots of the most explosive guards in the league, together with Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker and Chris Paul. His first step is a super quick first step but he also has great body control when in the air. Additionally, he is an excellent ball handler and has developed his moves this season. His shot has also improved in comparison to the previous season. He has good court-vision although it could be further developed. What Lillard needs to work on now is improving his distributing role in the Portland Trail Blazers team. So can he be considered a star?

The answer is no. Because in order to rank amongst the elite point guards of the league, like CP3, Westbrook or Tony Parker Lillard will need to retain this exceptional performance. Consistency is what differentiates stars from the rest of the players who simply are on hot streaks. However, Lillard seems like he has the potential to do so.

In general, it’s fair to say that Damian Lillard is an emerging star. Really, he can reach the star and the superstar level but he is just not there yet. Nonetheless, the future is ahead and he will just have to continue and deliver.

What NBA Team Will Surprise in 2013-14?

The NBA regular season starts on October 29th, 2013 and millions of diehard fans are looking forward to this season. The biggest game of the Trail Blazers opening night is the Chicago Bulls travelling to South Beach to take on the defending NBA Champion Miami Heat. Most experts and fans feel as if both of these teams are going to be very good. Per the usual, teams like the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder are going to make a run at the playoffs but some will want to know what team or teams are going to surprise in the 2013-14 season.

Portland Trail Blazers

In the last few years, the Portland Trail Blazers have struggled to put together a good team. Last year they had the rookie of the year, Damian Lillard and this year they are hoping to put some pieces around this amazing point guard. The major concern for the Trail Blazers is their youth. Young NBA teams can take some time to develop as they have not played a large number of games together. Once these young athletes get to know each other’s style of play the sky could be the limit for Portland. There is only one player on the team that is over the age of 30 and the season is gruelling.

As I mentioned in an previous article on Barry’s Tickets, a young NBA team has a distinct advantage in the second half of the season. The question is, can the Blazers win enough games in the first half of the season so that the second half means something? If the Trail Blazers can get to the All-Star game in contention for the playoffs, they should be able to make a decent run in the second half of the season. Having fresh legs will make a world of difference this season.

Utah Jazz

The NBA has become a point guard dominated league. In the 70s, 80s and 90s NBA teams wanted a center that could dominate the paint. Shaq was a force as he helped the Lakers win multiple titles. Many experts feel as if Kobe has never been the same player without Shaq in the middle. When Kobe has a great season, it is often when there is a presence at the center position for the Los Angeles Lakers. That said, many teams have accepted that a point guard is now much more important than a center. The big men get hurt easier, and they don’t have the ball in their hands nearly as much as they used to. I am truly shocked that more NBA teams do not draft a prolific point guard with their top pick. One team that went out and got the point guard in the 2013 NBA Draft is the Utah Jazz.

Trey Burke was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves but was traded to Utah. In my opinion, this was a great move for the Utah Jazz as a point guard can completely change a team; much quicker than a centre or a big man. After watching Trey Burke play for the Michigan Wolverines last year, I can say that he will make a huge difference for a team in the NBA. He leads his Michigan team to the Final Four, and he has a floor presence unlike most athletes his age. I do not feel as if Trey Burke will be a high scorer in the NBA but he will be able to get his team in the correct offence. I think Trey Burke will be a similar player to Chris Paul. There is no way that we can predict he will be as good as Chris Paul but even if he is half as good, he will drastically improve the Utah Jazz.

New Orleans Pelicans

Most people know of this team like the New Orleans Hornets, but they have changed their name to the Pelicans for this season. That might be a little bit of foreshadowing for the season that is coming. If you look at the roster, it is littered with college basketball stars. Names like Austin Rivers, Jeff Withey, Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday immediately catch the eye of anyone that enjoys the college game. As we all know, you cannot put an NBA team together with just college basketball superstars. While many college players will go on to have great NBA careers, there are some college stars that simply do not fit the mould of an average NBA player. Height, weight, wingspan and overall athletic ability are often much more important than college stats.

If the Pelicans can find a true point guard to run the show, this could be one of the most improved teams in the NBA. The Pelicans were downright dangerous in the last two years as they won 21 and 27 games respectively. With this being the case it is not going to take that much to improve. After shipping Chris Paul to the west coast, this team has struggled to find its identity. As mentioned with the previous two teams, a point guard is now essential in the NBA. I would say that a point guard is more important than a center or a power forward. When I was growing up the power forward and shooting guard positions were essential as these were the positions in which most points were generated. Points come from everywhere on the court in the current state of the NBA. With the hand checking rule changing the way defence is played it is no longer difficult for teams to score 100 points.

A point guard is needed to distribute the ball and get the offence going. With the Pelicans being a young team one would think they are going to try to get up and down the court. This makes it even more important to have a solid point guard that does not turn the ball over. Finding that great point guard can be difficult which is why some teams cannot seem to turn the corner and make the playoffs. Some in New Orleans have wondered if it is going to end up being the curse of Chris Paul. There is little argument to be made that Chris Paul gave New Orleans their best years of basketball. They have yet to come close to that quality of basketball since they let him go to the Los Angeles Clippers. Speaking of the Clippers.

Los Angeles Clippers

It is hard to say that the Clippers are going to be a surprise team as they are already one of the best teams in the west. I think this is the season they can make some huge strides towards getting to the NBA Finals. Now that Blake Griffin and Chris Paul have played with each other for a few seasons they should be able to get off to a quick start. If the Clippers can get off to a start that is above .600 in the first 25 or 30 games, they have a chance to win the Western Conference.

Most experts are predicting the Oklahoma City Thunder to win the west, but there is an opening for the Clippers. What is unique about 2013 is the fact that coming into the season it is accepted that the Clippers are the best team in Los Angeles. It has been a very long time since this was even considered by the fans and the experts. Anyone that has watched NBA basketball for the last four decades knows that Los Angeles is dominated by the Lakers. If Kobe Bryant is not 100% healthy this year the Lakes are going to struggle to make the playoffs. There are even rumours that they might go out and get Carmelo Anthony. If this happens, we know there is truly trouble in paradise.

What to Expect in 2013-14

This is going to be a fascinating year for professional basketball. LeBron James and the Miami Heat are getting older so they are vulnerable. Dwayne Wade has had all kinds of injury problems. It would not be surprising to see him sit out several games this year just because of health issues. If the Heat runs into any injury problems that leaves the door open for some younger teams to grab the best record in the NBA. I think it is safe to say that the 1990s Bulls team has nothing to worry about when it comes to the all-time best record of 72-10. The only way a team will come close to that type of record is a team that has enough young players to make it through the entire season without injuries.

I don’t think we will see the Heat make it to the All-Star break without injuries. Keep an eye on some of the younger teams as they may surprise you in the upcoming season. As mentioned in this article, point guards are going to rule the league this year so take noticed of the teams that have a true leader at the point guard position.

Portland Trail Blazers Fan Appreciation Night

Portland Trail Blazers Preseason Brings Hope for the Fans

The NBA preseason is coming to a close, and most fans are gearing up for the new tip of the 2013-14 regular season. I have predicted that the Portland Trail Blazers tickets are going to have a breakout year. I was hoping to do some research on the preseason stats of this Trail Blazers team, but it does not look as if that is going to happen. The only stat I can find is the overall preseason record for the Trail Blazers. At this point, they are 4-2 with a final preseason game against the Golden State Warriors tickets on October 24th. After six preseason games, there is not a single website on the Internet that has team or player stats. Am I missing something?

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