Saturday, June 28, 2008

2009 NBA Draft Winners and Losers


Milwaukee Bucks: Traded Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons to New Jersey for Richard Jefferson, drafted Joe Alexander (No. 8), drafted Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (No.37)
I want to start with my favorite NBA team. Milwaukee upgraded its talent level. The Bucks know what they are getting in Jefferson, and Alexander has a chance to be an absolute star in this league. The problem is, they both play the same position, although there's some notion that Alexander can play some 4. They needed help at forward and they definitely got it. Their starting lineup now looks pretty good with Mo Williams at PG, Michael Redd at SG, Andrew Bogut at C, Charlie Villanueva at PF, and Richard Jefferson at SF. They also created some cap space and freed up a bit of a logjam down low. I wasn't crazy about the Mbah a Moute pick when they could have had Bil lWalker or Chris Douglas-Roberts but overall I really liked this trade for the Bucks and I think they got a lot better last night!

Portland Trail Blazers: Traded Jarrett Jack and draft rights of Brandon Rush (No. 13) to Indiana for Ike Diogu and draft rights to Jerryd Bayless (No. 11), traded draft rights of Darrell Arthur (No. 27) and the draft rights to Joey Dorsey (No. 33) to Houston for draft rights to Nicolas Batum (No. 25)
For the second straight year, the Blazers came away the big winners. Last year Portland added its franchise center in Greg Oden, and this year it added a potential franchise lead guard in Bayless. He's going to complement Brandon Roy beautifully in the backcourt. Batum is an upside pick who may not play right away, but has great athleticism and slashing ability. A squad of Bayless, Roy, Martell Webster, Travis Outlaw, Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge, Channing Frye and Oden will compete for a low playoff spot next season and for an NBA championship within three years. The Blazers have had 2 great drafts in a row.

New Jersey Nets: Traded Richard Jefferson to Milwaukee for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons, drafted Brook Lopez (No. 10), Ryan Anderson (No. 21) and Chris Douglas-Roberts (No. 40)
I think the Nets also got better from their trade with the Bucks. Yi makes sense from a marketing standpoint, even if he never lives up to the hype and Bobby simmons gives them good depth at guard along with Devin Harris. Aside from the tradethe Nets finally added a low post scorer in Lopez to complement defensive-specialists Josh Boone and Sean Williams. Anderson should be a match-up problem who can stretch defenses, and Douglas-Roberts, a first-team All-American, was probably the steal of the draft in the second round.

Memphis Grizzlies: In an eight-player deal, Memphis acquired O.J. Mayo, Marko Jaric, Antoine Walker and Greg Buckner for Kevin Love, Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal and Jason Collins. Also acquired Darrell Arthur for Donte Greene and a future second-rounder
Memphis is the winner in the deal. I personally think Mayo is the most NBA-ready player in this year's draft and he will be electric when paired with Rudy Gay and Mike Conley Jr. . Memphis also did well adding Darrell Arthur, a lottery-level talent whose representation apparently dropped the ball on notifying teams about his physical condition causing him to slip hard.

Miami Heat: Drafted Michael Beasley (No. 2), traded two future second-round picks to Minnesota for Mario Chalmers (No. 34)
O.J. Mayo came up in discussions, but ultimately the Heat made the right choice. I think you can expect Beasley to step in and help turn this franchise around. If Beasley isn't a good fit, the Heat can always showcase his talents for a year or two and unload him, his value will be substantial as he's sure to tear it up right from the start. Chalmers was considered a possible mid-first rounder who slid. He gives Miami some much-needed depth in the backcourt and may even end up starting alongside Dwyane Wade if he improves his playmaking skills.


Indiana Pacers: Traded Jermaine O'Neal to Toronto for T.J. Ford and draft rights to Roy Hibbert (No. 17); traded Ike Diogu and draft rights of Jerryd Bayless (No. 12) to Portland for draft rights to Brandon Rush (No. 12) and Jarrett Jack
It's unclear exactly what the Pacers are doing. They added a point guard in Ford, but traded away their franchise big man and replaced him with Hibbert who is a skilled offensive player who is too slow and lethargic to excel at the NBA level. It was time to rebuild, but Indiana looks like it will be competing for a high lottery pick next season. Giving up Jerryd Bayless for Brandon Rush and change was retarded.

Charlotte Bobcats: Drafted D.J. Augustin (No. 9) and Alexis Ajinca (No. 20)
The Bobcats have a young point guard in Ray Felton and an obvious need at center. Drafting Augustin, a good college player who's lack of size and athleticism will hurt him in the NBA, was a mistake considering Jerryd Bayless was on the board. They compounded that error by using the 20th pick on Ajinca, a very long, very unpolished prospect who averaged just five points and five rebounds per game last year in France. Oops...

Cleveland Cavaliers: Drafted J.J. Hickson (No. 19)
The Cavs had a number of options at 19 but a 6-8 project power forward was not what the doctor ordered. Since losing Carlos Boozer in free agency, this team has failed miserably to surround LeBron with proper talent, and this pick is more of the same.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Acquired Kevin Love, Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal and Jason Collins for O.J. Mayo, Marko Jaric, Antoine Walker and Greg Buckner
Basically, it's a Love for Mayo swap with a lot of bad contracts. Minnesota did well unloading some terrible contacts (Jaric and Walker) while taking on Cardinal's terrible contract. Minnesota gave up a potential All-Star guard. Even more puzzling is the decision to move Al Jefferson to center and make Love a top 5 pick. On the positive side, Miller can step in and help this team win games next year and gives them great outside shooting. They also got a lot of cap room in the deal, I just think that Mayo is going to be great and I think he is basically NBA ready right now. Just seems like a big mistake to me.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

USA Olympic Team Thoughts

Since the roster for the USA Olympic Basketball team came out on Monday, I would like to give a few thoughts.

Overall, it looks like a very talented and great squad. We all saw how they blew out the competition at the America's Tournament so things are looking great for the Olympics later this summer.

I think they can and definitely will win the gold. I don't see why not. They should be the favorites and I have a feeling they will get U.S. basketball back to the top.

It's good to see Kobe Bryant on the team. We've needed him the last several years, a star player who can get it done and score some points, plus he is a true leader. He can keep the younger guys together and if they are struggling on the offensive end he is talented enough to get them over the hump.

It's good and all to see a veteran PG on the team. Jason Kidd may be out of his prime but this team needs his experience at the PG position. He is a tremendous passer and they need a veteran like him, especially at the PG position. Chris Paul and Deron Williams will be excellent backups at PG with their youth and overall talent. I don't think any opposing team can match up with the PG depth of the United States'.

I find it kind of puzzling that they took Tayshaun Prince over Tyson Chandler. They are lacking in size and at the international level you need depth and defense down low. I can see if they had plenty of big men but that's not the case. Prince won't be able to match up with strong PF's. They only have Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, and Carlos Boozer. They need another big man for down low; the international big men play pretty physical and Prince isn't going to solve that problem.

But overall, I like the talent and make up of this team. They should be the favorite and I think they will pull off their first gold medal since 2000.

Shaq Rap on Kobe

This may be a few days late but I just wanted to post Shaq's rap about Kobe.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sports Seasons too long?

Thursday night I listened to a little bit of GameNight on ESPN Radio hosted by Freddie Coleman. He started off with an interesting topic on how he thinks professional sports and even college sports may have too exhausting of a schedule, and I would have to agree.

The NBA Finals ended last Tuesday, June the 17th. What ever happened to basketball being a winter sport?

The NBA plays 82 games every season, I would have to agree with Coleman on this, it is was too long. Put the NBA at 70 games and move the first round of the playoffs back to a best of 5 series.

There is no need to end in the middle to late June, I don't think it benefits anybody. This way if you end in early May, it would give more players time off to heal up their injuries or as this year you have the Olympics.

A couple of players such as Amare Stoudemire and Tracy McGrady declined to play on the US Olympic team, if you have the season ending earlier, you would get more commitment to our national team and it would give players more time to rest.

Same goes with college basketball. Why is there a need to play more than 25 games (not including post-season)? 30 is too much (Kansas played 40 this season). If you make 25 the maximum for the regular season it would make more teams hesitate to schedule weaker, lower conference teams.

I think teams would schedule better teams if you lower the amount of games. Take Memphis for example, they already play in a semi-weak conference, if you lower the games they would have to go out and schedule tougher teams even more, to help them out with their seed come March.

This brings up another point. Why does March Madness end in April? Keep it consistent with it's name, lower the amount of regular season games, so March Madness truly ends in March.

Now comes baseball, why does the MLB need to play 162 games? If you lower the games to about 140 that could help ease the pain on some pitchers' arms; especially the younger pitchers who haven't been through or have thrown deep into a season. I think November is too late to end baseball, October is perfect.

I think some people would be against this because they say the leagues would lose revenue. For the most part I think this would create more interest, with bigger more intriguing games. By the time there's 162 games done in the MLB, the playoff teams are already set and stone, if there were 140 games, just imagine the scenario.

Overall, I think sports schedules are too long and I think it could increase fan base. It would benefit players, coaches, and teams more than it would hurt them.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Could this be the Yankee's Year?

The Yankees are one of the hottest teams in the majors right now. Mike Mussina is actually flirting with an All-Star bid or possible start and Johnny Damon is red hot at the plate. The team at one point today even had scored 24 unanswered runs going back to saturday! So really, what's not to like about the Yankees? For me, A LOT.

For starters I've never really liked the Yankees but this isn't about that. This is about me not liking the 2008 yankees. This is about me seeing past their current hot streak and me telling you why they're really not that good and why they may miss the playoffs this year.

Right now the Yankees are 39-33 and riding a 6 game winning streak. They are currently 5.5 games back in the AL East and 3.5 in the wild card. Fairly respectable. However, up until just this week the Yankees looked horrible. They were .500 and carrying a $207,000,000 + payroll! They're also old and aging quickly and not meeting expectations in the least.

I foresee a Mike Mussina fall from grace impending in the 2nd half of the year, assuming he doesn't get injured. Speaking of injuries to the starting staff, Chien-Ming Wang sprained foot running the bases earlier this week and looks to be out until September. That is a big hit for this team.

Speaking of the Wang incident, (if you just laughed you're immature like me) did anybody see Hank Steinbrenner make a total ass of himself by blaming this pivotal injury on the National League. He literally blamed the entire National Leauge for the injury. How retarded and simple-minded. It's not like Wang hasn't had to sprint from the mound to first while catching a throw/flip from a first baseman to make an out in the AL, which many would argue takes more effort/athleticism than simply rounding third. Hank is a joke.

It also doesn't help the Yankees that the AL East is tougher than ever this season. The Tampa Bay Rays are for real this year and the Red Sox are tough as always. And I honestly wouldn't be surprised if the Blue Jays surpassed the Yankees in the second half with their exceptional starting rotation. The divisional competition is getting younger, faster, smarter, and tougher while the Yankees really aren't.

You look at their current roster, they are an old team. Their elite players are all over 30 years, with many being in their late 30s. Their younger players, excluding Joba Chamberlain, haven't panned out. Melky Cabrera is just average. Phil Hughes has been unimpressive. Ian Kennedy has been a train wreck. Darrell Rasner has yet to prove himself and outside of Robinson Cano, their offense lacks youth.

In order to maintain the dynasty, the Yankees have had to decimate their farm system along the way, so their is no fountain of youth to tap into. So, with the Yankees' six games and their best pitcher Chien-Ming Wang out for most of the season now, could THIS be the year, the Yankees finally miss the postseason? We can only hope so.

Celtics show teamwork wins championships

The Boston Celtics proved once again that you need teamwork in order to win a championship.

Paul Pierce was the man, he was the center of NBA glory after denying Phil Jackson's quest for his 10th NBA Title.

Pierce did it all with his scoring, leadership, and stayed patient when the Celts needed it most. He kept his team calm and gave them a will when they were down. Pierce also kept Kobe in check and without number 24, the Lakers were pretty lost. I think you can give Pierce the most credit individually for their championship finals win over the Lakers.

You also have to give Ray Allen credit, he hit some big shots when they needed it, when Pierce was struggling in game 3. Allen was the hero when Pierce wasn't, but that was only one game. Then you have Kevin Garnett, Pau Gasol was no match for him. Garnett was just too athletic, more physical, stronger, and just simply better than Gasol. The Lakers sure did miss Bynum. The Big 3 got it done.

Then there are the role players. James Posey came through when the Celtics desperately needed it. He hit some big and devastating threes to keep them in the game and continue some big leads in the first few games of the series. Plus, his great defense helped contain the Lakers' inside presence and kept them out of the paint.

Also, you have to give credit to Boston's defense. They gave the Lakers fits, not only did they shut down the Lakers' 2nd and 3rd scoring options, they shut down their main option, Kobe, when they needed it most. Pierce gave Kobe fits and when he pushed Bryant out of his game the Lakers were lost. Defense does truly win championships but it was also some teamwork that got them the win as well.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Philadelphia Phillies will win the NLCS

Here's an early prediction for ya, the Phillies will win the National League and make a World Series appearance in 2008.

The Philadelphia Phillies definitely have the make up of a championship contender and I see them coming out on top of the NL.

The Phils have one of the most potent offenses in the Big's. Their offense can produce runs throughout the lineup and they have one of the best top of the orders in the MLB.

Jimmy Rollins is one of the best leadoff hitters out there and even one of the best hitters in the game. Shane Victorino is a solid two hitter, he can move Rollins and runners over whenever and also can hit for power, that combo is rare with most two spot hitters. Then there's Chase Utley. Utley is leading the MLB in HR and is third in RBI. Ryan Howard is one of the best young power hitters in the league, he is definitely capable of leading the Phillies to the top. Plus, you add a good fifth hitter in Pat Burrell and it is just plain scary for any opposing pitcher. They are solid all throughout the lineup.

The bullpen is what sets Philadelphia apart. They have the lowest ERA of any bullpen in the MLB and they know how to close out games. Brad Lidge is just as good as any closer with his 0.93 ERA, 18 saves, and 37 K. Chad Durbin (1.63 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) and J.C. Romero (1.38 ERA, 1.38 WHIP) have also been solid out of the pen. Their pitching is what can get them far and as far as the rotation goes, Cole Hamels is a very capable ace, being one of the top hurlers in the NL.

The Phils have shown they can win any type of game. They can beat you with their bats, their batting order is one of the best in the leagues, especially the top. Their defense is solid as well, they make the plays when needed and they have some of the best pitching out there. The bullpen is stellar and the starting rotation is just good enough to get them to the big game.

I think the Phillies should be the favorite right now, they are the most balanced team out there. The Cubs rotation has been pretty shaky and they need one more solid starter if they want to make the World Series. Also, it doesn't help that Alfonso Soriano is out again. And I think the D-Backs are just too young, they make some mental mistakes at times and they are a year or two away from playing in the WS. The Phillies are on a mission and watch out come October.

Monday, June 16, 2008

NBA Finals game 5 Reaction

I had coed softball sunday night so I missed a lot of the first half of the game but i caught the entire second half and would like to offer some thoughts.

-The Lakers really dodged a bullet here Sunday night. The series easily could have been over if a foul had been called on the Kobe breakaway dunk and had KG made some freethrows late.

-If the Lakers can't hold a lead at home at all I foresee this series not lasting long in Boston

-The Lakers are incredibly susceptible to the pick and roll and it really is a good thing that they didn't wind up playing the Hornets in the Western Conference Finals otherwise they might not even be here right now.

-It kind of looked like that the Lakers were the more physical team tonight for the first time in the series. I'm thinking this has to do with the Kendrick Perkins injury.

-Paul Pierce just about sealed the championship for the Celtics tonight by himself. With much help at all this series would be over already.

-Kobe needs to be more commanding down the stretch. He needs to earn all those Jordan comparisons and show everyone why he's MVP by wanting the ball in his hands down the stretch and knocking down shots.

-Lamar Odom chipping in 20 and 11 was absolutely HUGE for the Lakers tonight.

-I'm going to stand by my Celtics in 7 prediction although don't be surprised if this one ends in Boston in game 6

So what'd you think of Sunday night's game? Predictions for game 6?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

MLB Wants Instant Replay by August

I posted a Buy or Sell piece last summer on instant replay in baseball. HERE IT IS. My stance here hasn't really changed much so I'm using my old post to do most of the explaining so definitely check it out.

Baseball wants to implement the new instant replay system for boundary calls by August so that the system will be fine tuned in time for the playoffs and World Series.

To make this happen MLB and the umpires union will first need to reach an agreement before instant replay can be used and the two sides have begun discussions on the issue. Bud Selig, the comissioner of the league, will need to sign off on the deal in order for it to be implemented, and he has been a staunch opposer to instant replay in the past. After seeing many of the blown calls throughout the season (especially of late) it seems that Selig is softening his position on the use of instant replay in MLB.

Many people in baseball find themselves divided on the use of instant replay. Some people think that instant replay should be implemented as soon as possible. Still, others who consider themselves baseball purists or “old school” think that human error is very much an intended part of the game. Also, many believe that instant replay will only slow the pace of an already slowly paced game. But isn't getting it right the most important thing?

I'm not going to go into too much detail in regards of my personal feelings or thoughts with instant replay because you can read my old post. But instant replay has had so much success in other leagues that it is about time that MLB makes this happen.

The umpires do not want replay used for any other situation then boundary calls, which I am a little iffy on. If you are going to use instant replay why not make sure that you’re getting all the calls right, such as stolen bases and plays at the plate (think Matt Holliday sliding home in the NLCS Game 7 last season). I do however, agree with the notion that instant replay should not be used to determine strikes or balls as that would severely hamper the pace of the game.

If all goes well it looks like this is going to happen before the end of the season. So what do you think? Still for it? Against it? Hit the comment box!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Thoughts and Headlines

Here's some brief thoughts and headlines on different sports.

NBA Finals:
The Lakers are in trouble. While Kobe said there is nothing to worry about, he definitely should be worrying. Kobe has struggled shooting in this series and the Celtics defense has given the Lakers fits. Boston has not only shut down LA's 2nd and 3rd scoring option, but their number one as well. The Lakes have to win both games at home, because I don't see them winning any in Boston.

I would like to say congrats to Ken Griffey Jr. for hitting his 600th HR last night. Griffey is the greatest HR hitter of this era and although I am a Barry Bonds fan, I have to pay Griffey his dues. Griffey did it the right way, he went through the agonizing injuries. He felt the pain and bled his own blood without taking any illegal substances to endure any of it. If it weren't for his injuries he would easily have 700 HR right now.

College Baseball:
I just wanted to say I love watching College Baseball, especially when it's time for the Super Regionals and the World Series. Watching them hit with an aluminum bat is quite refreshing; although I love watching pitchers duals and great defensive play, I love watching slugfests and hard hit balls, it makes for an interesting and fun game.

The US Soccer team tied Argentina on Sunday, the number one ranked team in the world currently. It was great to see a good defensive effort but it was great to see the aggressive play in the midfield, which took a lot of pressure off of the defense; which is something they've been lacking for several years.

Also, it's been interesting to watch the Euro Cup that is currently taking place. I am not a big fan of soccer but when it comes to World Cup Soccer and qualifiers I love to watch. I would love to see a Portugal-Germany final, but I wouldn't mind watching Spain or France either.

Monday, June 9, 2008

TSF endorses John McCain

With the 2008 presidential election being one of the biggest ever, we would like to do a political post. The Sports Flow would like to announce it's presidential endorsement of Republican candidate John McCain.

We hope everyone who is eligible to vote will get out and vote this November. This is one of our most pivotal elections ever and we ask for everyone to look over the candidates and vote for the best candidate; who ever they agree with can lead this country in the right direction, whether it's McCain, Barack Obama, Bob Barr, or Ralph Nader.

Vote in '08.

Friday, June 6, 2008

NBA Finals Game 1 React

I'm sure most of you sports fans out there were watching the game tonight. I know I was. In case you missed it the Celtics beat the Lakers 98-88. Here are a few brief thoughts I had after game 1.

-Kobe was just not on tonight and facing the top Defense in the NBA didn't help either. Kobe managed to put up 24 points. However, he only shot 9-26 which is real bad.

-I'll admit I definitely thought the worst when Pierce went down like that. Then I was incredibly confused when he came out of the tunnel 4 minutes later ready to play. The whole things seems a little weird (I smell a fresh NBA Conspiracy Theory Post?)

-The big 3 looked good all putting up 20+. I'm very interested to see how Pierce's knee is feeling come game 2 though.

-The Perkins injury is going to be interesting to me because if he can't play anymore I think Pau Gasol could be a real problem for the Celtics to handle. Perkins didn't match up well against Gasol as it is and with him out I think Gasol could have a chance to really dominate. Unless if P.J. Brown is going to shut him down (which I highly doubt).

-KG's slam home on that rebound was straight ballin'.

-If the Lakers are going to win this series it needs to be in 5 or 6. I do not see the Lakers being able to come into the Garden and win a game 7.

-Game 1 was a little blah but I'm still convinced that this might be the best NBA finals in the last 10 years and I'm excited for Game 2 already!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Who's Hot, Who's Not

TSF hasn't done it's 'Who's Hot, Who's Not' post for quite sometime so I thought this would be a great time to do so...

Who's Hot

Chase Utley
The Phillies 2nd basemen is 15 for 34 his last 9 games with 7 HR, 20 RBI, and 10 R. He become only the 4th player ever to have two five-game home run streaks in one season.

Jay Bruce
Bruce is 18 for 29 in his first 8 games as a major leaguer with 3 HR, 7 RBI, and 12 runs scored. Said Bruce to the AP, "It's been a lot of fun."

Chicago Cubs
Could this be the year? The Cubs have currently won 8 straight games through June 3rd, winning their first road series since the beginning of the season.

Road to Omaha
With super regionals starting this week, college baseball is heating up. The top search of the month on ESPN was College Baseball. We will have a new champion as Oregon St. is out. All baseball fans love watching games with aluminum bats, the fun has just begun.

Who's Not

Alex Rios
Currently his 27-for-115 (.234 BA) is on a nosedive. Rios has dropped 52 points off his batting average since May 1. His sluggish power (9 HR, 69 RBI) and strikeout rate ('07 K%: 16.0, '08: 23.5) have raised some flags about his patience at the plate.

Paul Konerko
His current stat line is: .206 BA, 5 HR, 23 RBI, 18 R, 1 SB, and a 33/27 K:BB ratio. Can you say slump?

Seattle Mariners
The M's are now 21-38 and are 14.5 games behind the Angels and 8.5 behind the mediocre Rangers. Pitching has been a huge problem for them. Seattle starters are now 15-28 with an ERA of 5.23.

Miami, FLA- Kimbo Slice primetime fight
Yawn. Miami was home to the debut of mixed martial arts fight and Kimbo Slice on primetime television, which aired on CBS last Saturday evening. The night was full of horrible referring and boring fights. Slice didn't live up to the hype as he was embarrassed and knocked out by James Thompson.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

2008 NBA Finals Preview

On Thursday night the Lakers and Celtics will face off in a historical rematch of the NBA's two most storied franchises in the 2008 NBA finals.

Both teams entered the playoffs as the number one seed in their conference. The Lakers came out of the Western Conference by leaning on Kobe Bryant’s MVP skills and Paul Gasol down low. The Celtics are led by the trio of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.

Here comes some position breakdowns and analysis.

Homecourt Advantage
Both teams are good at home but I can't go against the Garden. Their rowdy fans will have the team fired up and ready to win.
Advantage: Celtics

Point Guard
Rajon Rondo vs. Derek Fisher
Obviously Derek Fisher has the clear advantage when it comes to experience, he has won 3 NBA Championships and played in 148 career playoff games and Rajon Rondo has won 0 championships and played in only 20 career playoff games. This is an interesting match up because neither player is one of the best players on their respective teams but both players can be very important to their team’s success. Both Rondo and Fisher are very good defensive players and both have already faced fantastic point guards in their run to the finals. Fisher has faced Allen Iverson, Deron Williams, and Tony Parker, three perennial all-stars, while Rajon Rondo has faced Mike Bibby, Delonte West, and Chauncey Billups. I believe that playoff experience is an over hyped statistic in this match up because although Rondo is very young and is in his first career playoff year he has played exceptionally well and has played much better than Fisher has statistically, out performing Fisher in every category but steals and turnovers, and has been more involved in the teams offense than Fisher.
Advantage: Rajon Rondo

Shooting Guard
Ray Allen vs. Kobe Bryant
Ray Allen is a great player. He experienced some struggles throughout the playoffs but has started to find his shot as of late. A shot that is the quickest, smoothest, and pretties in the league. But Kobe is the best player in the world and has been showing it as of late. This one isn't really that close.
Advantage: Kobe Bryant

Small Forward
Paul Pierce vs. Vladimir Radmanovic
I believe that this is the biggest mismatch of them all. Paul Pierce has routinely owned his opponent throughout these entire playoffs and this series and this matchup should be no different. Radmanovic is just too slow and simply not good enough to guard a player that is as good and hot as Paul Pierce is. Radmanovic only averaged 8.3 points per game in the series vs. the San Antonio Spurs even though he played over 24 minutes per outing. Radmanovic is not what you would call a shut down defender either, he is very slow on his feet and even though he has a height advantage most of the time he is not a very good shot blocker or rebounder.
Advantage: Paul Pierce

Power Forward
Kevin Garnett vs. Lamar Odom
Although Lamar Odom is playing very well in the post season I do not believe he is ready to deal with a player of Garnett’s ability. Garnett is the premiere power forward in the game today and might be in the top 3 all-time at the position. Garnett is not just a dead-eye shooter from 17 feet, an unstoppable turn around jumpshooter, or a fantastic leader, he is also the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in the NBA and has played his best defensive basketball of his postseason career. Garnett can control the entire paint for minutes at a time and that is a huge luxury. Lamar Odom is used to having a large height advantage or a big advantage in the quickness department but neither will be there in this matchup.
Advantage: Kevin Garnett

Kendrick Perkins vs. Paul Gasol
Kendrick Perkins has been playing great in the postseason up to this point but now he is dealing with a different animal than in his previous playoff matchups. Pau Gasol did not play great on the offensive end against the San Antonio Spurs but he sure did rebound great. Gasol is one of the best passing bigmen in the game and he plays good defense. Perkins is playing great but he still doesn't stack up.
Advantage: Paul Gasol

Overall I think this is going to be an amazing NBA Finals. My Prediction is Celtics in 7. I just think that KG, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen will not be denied after coming this far. Pierce will have a HUGE series, KG plays great D, and James Posey will be big off the bench as well.

What do you think? How would you break down the positional battles? Predictions?