What Impact will the Andre Iguodala Trade have on the Warriors?

andre-iguodalaFormer Denver Nuggets small forward Andre Iguodala was already set to sign a 4-year, $48 million deal with the Golden State Warriors through free agency. However, he went to his new club via a three-team trade instead. This deal, which also involves the Utah Jazz and Nuggets, allows all three teams more roster and salary cap flexibility. Here’s a look at what all three parties got in the deal:

Golden State Warriors – Receive Andre Iguodala from Denver and guard Kevin Murphy from Golden State.

Denver Nuggets – Get guard Randy Foye from the Jazz along with a $9 million trade exception (for Iguodala) which they can use any time next year.

Utah Jazz – Receive Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins and Brandon Rush, and their $24 million in expiring contracts from the Warriors. Utah also gets Golden State’s 2014 and 2017 first round picks as well as 2016 and 2017 second round picks. Additionally, Denver sent the Jazz a 2018 second round pick.

Moving past the salary cap implications and trade exceptions of this deal, Iguodala is definitely the big news here. In his lone season with Denver, the 6’6″ guard/forward helped his team return to relevancy as they went 57-25 during the regular season – a 19-game improvement from the previous year.

The Nuggets rode into the playoffs on a high note, having grabbed the third seed in the Western Conference. However, they were bounced out of the first round by the sixth seed, Golden State. This certainly wasn’t Igoudala’s fault as he averaged 18.0 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 5.3 APG and shot 48.3% from the three-point line.

andre-iguodala-1During the regular season, he put up numbers of 13.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 5.4 APG and 1.7 SPG. Statistically, Iguodala has had better seasons during his career. But the numbers don’t tell the whole story here because the Arizona product’s impact on the Nuggets was huge.

Aside from helping Denver boost their win total, Iguodala was a true lockdown defender with the ability to shut down point guards, shooting guards and small forwards. Some even argue that Iguodala is the best wing defender in the league – LeBron James included.

The 29-year-old is also one of the NBA’s best passers from the wing, as evidenced by the 5.4 APG he averaged for Denver last year. With his excellent ballhandling skills, it was basically like the Nuggets had two point guards on the floor in Iguodala and Ty Lawson.

Now he’s bringing these same attributes to a young Golden State team that’s already on their way up. Iguodala should fit in very nicely with star point guard Stephen Curry, shooting guard Klay Thompson, power forward David Lee, wingman Harrison Barnes and center Andrew Bogut. Assuming Bogut and Lee can stay healthy in 2014, the Warriors have a truly complete starting five, with Barnes and Carl Landry providing some nice minutes off the bench.

andre-iguodala-2Curry and Iguodala’s chemistry should be excellent right away. The two became great friends during Team USA’s run to the 2010 FIBA title. And Curry was a huge reason why Andre turned down an extra $4 million from Sacramento to play for Golden State.

A couple of notable spots where Iguodala figures to have an immediate impact include passing and stealing the ball. Aside from Curry (6.9 APG) and the departed Jarrett Jack (5.6 APG), the Warriors had no true passing threats. Now they add a non-point guard who can dish out assists just as good as Jack did.

So where will the addition of Iguodala put Golden State in the Western Conference race next season? It’s hard to say because the West is so muddled, but our guess is that you can expect the Warriors to at least grab one of the top four playoff seeds – maybe even better. Of course, with the Thunder, Spurs, Clippers and Grizzlies all coming back with strong squads, this won’t be easy.

Golden State Warriors complete Impressive Turnaround

stephen-curryLast week saw the Golden State Warriors eliminated from the NBA playoffs after losing to the Spurs in six games. And while the Warriors wanted desperately to beat San Antonio and advance to the Western Conference Finals, they can’t be too sad about the way things turned out.

This is especially true when you consider that Golden State’s young team went from a non-competitive 23-43 record in the lockout-shortened season to a 47-35 record in 2013. Thanks to a strong regular season effort, the Warriors had the opportunity to dismantle a heavily-favored Denver Nuggets team in the first round. They also gave the Spurs a run for their money, before succumbing to a rash of injuries and makeshift lineups.

So where does this put Golden State now? Well, according to general manager Bob Myers, the Warriors organization no longer has to chase pipe dreams and take incredible offseason risks just to be competitive. He said the following regarding the turnaround:

I think that sense of desperation has passed. I think that whereas when you’re trying to do anything to get over the hump you do sometimes chase things that may be difficult to acquire. Whereas now, doesn’t mean we’re satisfied, it doesn’t mean we think our work is through, but we can be prudent and patient with opportunities as they come along.

What’s the best word to describe a 180? People do enjoy watching this group of players play. They do enjoy watching our games on TV and seeing what the crowd brings. They do enjoy watching our coaches get the most out of the players we have. What does that say? Well, if you’re a player in the NBA and you’re witnessing all these things, it does make it a desirable place to go and be a part of.

Golden State Warriors v Minnesota TimberwolvesIf Myers sounds really confident, it’s because the talent that he’s assembled in Golden State gives him reason to be. First off, there is sharpshooter Stephen Curry, who averaged 22.9 PPG, 6.9 APG, 4.0 RPG and shot 45.3% from 3-point territory. Now he may not have had the best playoff series against San Antonio, but Curry will no doubt be better prepared next time around.

Then there is David Lee, who had one of his best seasons yet after averaging 18.5 PPG and 11.2 RPG during the regular season. They key for Lee will be getting healthy since he played sparingly in the San Antonio series and will soon undergo surgery to repair his torn right hip flexor.

Klay Thompson is yet another integral part of this ballculb. He combined with Curry to make Golden State a very dangerous team with his 40.1% shooting from 3-point land and 16.6 PPG.

From here, the Warriors have a roster full of strong role players and talented youngsters. Jarrett Jack (12.9PPG, 5.6APG) and Carl Landry (10.8PPG, 6.0RPG) provided big contributions last year and could do the same in 2014, if they’re re-signed.

klay-thompsonStarters Harrison Barnes (9.2PPG) and Andrew Bogut (7.7RPG, 1.72 BPG) will be back again next season. Golden State will be hoping to see Bogut on the floor more next year since he was injured throughout most of 2013. Rookie reserves Rookie reserves Draymond Green, Festus Ezeli and Kent Bazemore should also play prominent roles on next year’s team too.

Based on everybody that will be coming back in 2014, it’s easy to see why head coach Mark Jackson doesn’t want the roster to change much. “I don’t want to overreact because we had a great year. I want to build on it,” he said. ”This is a great offseason to challenge every one of them to come back better. And I’m excited about it. I have no problem coming back with the same group, but this is truly a business.”

The players are definitely in place for the Warriors next season. But the main thing will be ensuring that everybody is healthy when the postseason comes around. Curry (ankle), Lee (hip flexor) and Bogut (knee) all had their ailments last year. However, this core group needs to stay on the court in order for Golden State to make another great run in 2014.

2013 NBA Playoffs Betting – Second Round Matchup Analysis

tony-parkerThe first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs won’t exactly go down in history. Seven of the first round series ended after six games or less. And the only series that did go the distance – Bulls vs. Nets – was loaded with injuries, thus preventing a great matchup between two full-strength teams.

Fans will no doubt be hoping for some closer series in the second round of the playoffs, though we’re sure some of the matchups look prime for more blowouts. Assuming you’re betting on the 2013 NBA Playoffs, hopefully you’ll be on the right side of these potential blowouts. With that said, let’s take a closer look at all of the second round series.

Eastern Conference

Dwyane Wade JaVale McGee#1 Seed Miami Heat vs. #5 Seed Chicago Bulls – The Bulls overcame a rash of injuries to pull out an emotional Game 7 win over the favored New Jersey Nets. Unfortunately, Chicago also comes out of this series with a large number of bumps and bruises. Kirk Hinrich is day-to-day with a calf injury while Luol Deng is coming off a major illness.

Miami, meanwhile, is entering this matchup relatively healthy. Dwayne Wade (knee) is slightly banged-up, but participating in full-contact practices. Seeing as how the Heat already have the three best players in this series with Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh, Chicago doesn’t stand a chance. However, Joakim Noah and the Bulls might pull out one game in a gutsy performance.

Prediction: Miami wins the series 4-1

paul-george-pacers#2 New York Knicks vs. #3 Seed Indiana Pacers – The Knicks look to continue their success after winning the club’s first playoff series in 13 years. However, they face a very tough matchup in the defensive-minded Indiana Pacers. This pairing is so tough, in fact, that all of the experts are divided on who’ll take the series.

New York didn’t exactly look dominant in beating the Boston Celtics four games to two. But they do have a lot of offensive weapons in Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, Amar’e Stoudemire, Raymon Felton and Tyson Chandler. Expect Indiana to limit some of these weapons, while scoring plenty of points themselves with Paul George, David West and George Hill. But in the end, home court advantage may be the deciding factor for New York.

Prediction: New York wins the series 4-3

Western Conference

zach-randolph#1 Seed Oklahoma City Thunder vs. #5 Seed Memphis Grizzlies – Don’t expect Oklahoma City to use not having Russell Westbrook as an excuse. They still feature one of the league’s best scorers in Kevin Durant along with solid players in Serge Ibaka and Kevin Martin. However, the Thunder were built heavy at the top and don’t have a lot of firepower beyond these three.

Along with Indiana, Memphis is one of the league’s top two defensive teams. Marc Gasol and his Defensive Player of the Year award are a testament to the Grizzlies strong D. Overall, you can expect a pretty low-scoring series where Memphis comes out on top, thanks to the Westbrook season-ending injury.

Prediction: Memphis wins the series 4-2

stephen-curry#2 Seed San Antonio Spurs vs. #6 Seed Golden State Warriors – Golden State pulled off the biggest upset of the playoffs when they defeated Denver 4-2, despite David Lee getting injured. They did it with exceptionally hot shooting and will be hoping the momentum caries over against the Spurs.

San Antonio comes into this series relatively fresh after destroying the Lakers in four games. However, they do have some minor injuries issues to key contributors Tiago Splitter and Boris Diaw. However, the trio of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili should have no trouble leading the Spurs to victory. Expect Stephen Curry and Lee (if he plays much) to help Golden State pull out at least one win though.

Prediction: San Antonio wins the series 4-1

Could Brittney Griner survive in the NBA?

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brittney-griner-nbaIn 1979, Ann Meyers became the first and last woman to sign a contract with an NBA team. She inked a $50,000 no-cut clause contract with the Indiana Pacers, but, unfortunately, didn’t survive her three-day tryout.

Since that time, standout women basketball players have far more avenues to continue their playing careers. There are plenty of female European leagues along with the WNBA. And up until this week, the WNBA is pretty much where everybody expected 6’8″ Baylor Bears star Brittney Griner to be heading….that is, until Mark Cuban made some attention-seeking remarks about her.

Before a game between the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers, Cuban claimed that he’d actually think about taking her in the 2013 NBA Draft. His statement went as follows:

If she is the best on the board, I will take her. I’ve thought about it. I’ve thought about it already. Would I do it? Right now, I’d lean toward yes, just to see if she can do it. You never know unless you give somebody a chance, and it’s not like the likelihood of any late-50s draft pick has a good chance of making it.

She’d still have to make the team. I’m not going to carry her just to carry her. I don’t think, anyways. But I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to giving her the opportunity.

brittney-griner-nba1Cuban went on to say that he thinks Griner would have plenty of marketing potential if she were to try out for his team. But is that where the discussion of Brittney Griner playing in the NBA ends, with marketing potential?

The Houston native has fascinated many basketball fans since YouTube videos surfaced of her throwing down two-handed dunks. Sure she wasn’t the first woman to dunk; however, Griner is the first known lady to be putting down two-handed slams with ease. She certainly lived up to expectations at Baylor too after racking up the following accolades:

– Led the Bears to the 2012 NCAA title and a 40-0 record
– Blocked 736 career shots, more than any college female or man
– Dunked a record 18 times, more than all other college women combined (15)
– Averaged 23.0 PPG or more for her last three seasons

Obviously Brittney Griner was a fantastic collegiate player – quite possible the best ever in women’s college hoops. This being said, it’s no wonder why the Phoenix Mercury are assuredly going to take her with the first pick overall in this year’s WNBA Draft. But is she good enough to transcend the women’s game and actually play in the NBA?

Brittney GrinerStarting with the positives, Griner has a huge wingspan (7’4″) and excellent timing, which easily explains her incredible shot blocking ability. She also developed a nice mid-range game while at Baylor and greatly improved her basketball IQ.

However, Griner weighs just 207 pounds, which at 6’8″ isn’t exactly the ideal NBA frame. Seeing as how she would probably be playing power forward in the NBA, Griner would regularly be competing against the likes of Blake Griffin (6’10”, 250 pounds), Paul Millsap (6’8″, 253 pounds), Zach Randolph (6’9″, 260 pounds) and David Lee (6’9″, 240 pounds). It’s hard to envision a scenario where she wouldn’t be constantly backed down by these guys and scored on at will.

Luckily we won’t ever have to see this scenario because Griner will be picked number one overall on April 15th. Cuban wouldn’t be able to draft her until June 27th, at which point he would have to purchase her rights from the Phoenix Mercury. And while Cuban may be an attention whore, he’ll likely be more focused on rebuilding a Dallas franchise that has spiraled downward following a 2011 championship season.

This being said, the hypotheticals involving Brittney Griner to the NBA are just something for the media to have a good time with. And if there ever is a female player who goes to the NBA, it’ll likely be a talented guard who doesn’t have to bump heads with 250 and 260-pound men in the paint.