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Breakfast with Berndon: Paid Professionals Edition

March 11, 2010

In this edition of "BBE: PPE," Berndon gets back to his NBA Madness pool, shows you where the power lies, and banishes two off the island.

NBA Madness
Since this is March, I've decided to have a little hypothetical tournament as all eyes will be concentrated on the collegiate ranks. I've taken the 18 colleges that have at least 5 players in the NBA, and will hold my own tournament where NBA'ers battle it out to see which school has truly produced the best talent. I will go through this round by round for 4 weeks. This week, we have the round of 16.

(1) UCLA (16) Southern Cal: I already mentioned what USC has in last weeks edition when they bested Villanova. This time, they’ll get knocked out by their fellow Los Angeles rival. UCLA is the number one seed for a reason. Just at the point guard position alone, they are absolutely stacked with Baron Davis, Jordan Farmar, Russell Westbrook, and Darren Collison. They can also throw Trevor Ariza and Aaron Affalo in at the wing, and while they’re weaker inside, they still have Kevin Love and an instant double-double. He would probably also dunk on Brian Scalabrine multiple times. If I were UCLA, I would just run the whole game and that is what they would do, beating the Trojans in a landslide.

(8) Kentucky v. (9) Texas: Kentucky’s only potential advantage would be at the point guard spot, with Rajon Rondo being better than Texas’ combination of D.J. Augustin and T.J. Ford. Aside from that, Kentucky could offer a decent nucleus of Tayshaun Prince, Nazr Mohammed, Chuck Hayes, and Keith Bogans. This could not match Kevin Durant himself, but then the Horns can also throw in LaMarcus Aldridge, allowing them to advance to face the Bruins.

(5) Arizona v. (12) Wake Forest: Much like the real tournament, where the 5-12 games always involve a lot of upsets and close games, this one would be a classic. Arizona kills Wake with its depth, but they don’t have Tim Duncan, nor to they have, at least in this tourney, a healthy Chris Paul. Arizona trots out a guard-heavy lineup of Mike Bibby, Jason Terry, Gilbert Arenas, and Jeryd Bayless. They do have Channing Frye and Jordan Hill down low, but Duncan would torch both of them. Josh Howard and rookies Jeff Teague and James Johnson make Wake a more complete team, and although depth would be a question, Wake wins on the strength of their best two players being better than anyone on Arizona’s roster.

(4) Duke v. (13) Memphis: Memphis would bring in a dream backcourt of Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans that would make this contest close for a while, but Duke, with Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, Shane Battier, and Elton Brand would crush Memphis on the boards, leading to the Devils wearing Memphis down and advancing.

(6) Florida v. (11) Georgia Tech: What concerns me about Florida is that Jason “White Chocolate” Williams is their only point guard. So Jarrett Jack and Will Bynum would be able to do whatever they want. However, the Gators have the likes of David Lee, Al Horford, and Joakim Noah to bother Chris Bosh. They also would be able to score from the perimeter and on the wing with Mike Miller and Corey Brewer. That’s too much for Georgia Tech to handle, enabling the Gators to move forward.

(3) UCONN v. (14) Ohio St.: This would be the most lopsided game of the tourney. UCONN is stacked. Ohio St. has Greg Oden and his nude cell phone pictures and numerous injuries. The Huskies could rotate Ben Gordon, Ray Allen, and Rip Hamilton in at the wing. Ohio St. could hope Kostos Koufos can get a rebound or two. UCONN advances handily. Ohio St. waits for Evan Turner to make the Association.

(7) Kansas v. (10) LSU: LSU has no point guard to speak of, but could unleash a frontline of Big Baby Davis, Ty Thomas and Shaq on the Jayhawks. It wouldn’t matter however, as Kansas has Kirk Hinrich, Mario Chalmers, Paul Pierce and Brandon Rush as perimeter options, while Drew Gooden, and Nick Collison could handle the inside play well enough for the guards to take over. Kansas wins in a relatively close game.

(2) UNC v. (15) Syracuse: This is almost cathartic, because it reminds me of times and memories of the past, when UNC had quality players and a quality program. They get Cuse on their depth here, as they could throw a combination of Marvin Williams, Jawad Wiliams, Vince Carter, and Danny Green at Melo. Meanwhile, Ty Lawson and Raymond Felton would be able to handle Johnny Flynn. The Heels advance.

Next Week:
(1)UCLA v. (9) Texas
(12) Wake Forest v. (4) Duke
(6) Florida v. (3) UCONN
(7) Kansas v. (2) UNC

Man of the Match Leaderboard
Weekly Leaders:
1. Dwight Howard 3 (16 pts, 15.7 rbs, 3 asst, 2.7 blks)
1. Dwyane Wade 3 (30.7 pts, 5 rbs, 10.7 assts)
3. Russell Westbrook 2 (16 pts, 7 rbs, 9 assts, 4.5 stls)
3. Andrew Bogut 2 (22 pts, 13.5 rbs, 3 assts, 4.5 blks)
3. Deron Williams 2 (23 pts, 14.5 assts)
3. Stephen Jackson 2 (22.5 pts, 6 rbs, 3.5 stls)
3. Dirk Nowitzki (29 pts, 8.5 rbs, 2.5 blks)
3. Boris Diaw (12.5 pts, 10 rbs, 7 assts)
3. Luis Scola (24 pts, 15.5 rbs)

Dwight Howard and Dwyane Wade were the players of the week, as Howard’s scoring dropped, but his rebounds and blocks remained consistent. Wade probably had his best week since coming back from injury a couple of weeks ago. Westbrook, Bogut, DWill, and the German all have been here before, and are leading their respective teams into prime position for the post season. Luis Scola is putting up better numbers now with Carl Landry in Sacramento, and Stephen Jackson and Boris Diaw were the catalysts for the Bobcats during their 4-0 mark on the week.

Season Leaders:
1. Dwight Howard 11
2. Lebron James 10
3. Josh Smith 9
3. Andrew Bogut 9
5. Kevin Durant 8

Power Rankings:
Since this is basically the time of the year where attention to the NBA tends to wane, and since I’m starting to run out of ideas for catchy little one-sentence snapshots about each team, I’m only going to deliver power rankings this week with one little catch at the end.

1. Cleveland 50-15
2. Dallas 45-21
3. LA Lakers 47-18
4. Orlando 45-20
5. Denver 43-21
6. Utah 42-22
7. Oklahoma City 39-24
8. Atlanta 40-23
9. Phoenix 40-25
10. San Antonio 37-25
11. Boston 40-23
12. Portland 38-28
13. Milwaukee 34-29
14. Memphis 34-31
15. Charlotte 32-31
16. Miami 33-32
17. Houston 32-31
18. Toronto 32-31
19. New Orleans 32-33
20. Chicago 31-32
21. LA Clippers 25-40
22. Sacramento 22-43
23. Philly 23-41
24. Washington 21-40
25. New York 22-42
26. Indiana 21-43
27. New York 22-42
28. Golden St. 17-46

29. Minnesota 14-51
30. New Jersey 7-57

Teams that are mathematically eliminated from playoff contention will cease being ranked from here on out. I know, I know, I’m piling on here because it’s already embarrassing enough to have the kind of records these teams have compiled without a “highly-read and thought of journalist” like myself opining about how terrible they are. But tough noogies. Life is hard, and then you die. Blanket analysis will follow in about two words.

Minnesota: I’ve talked about how I think they’re about 2-3 more draft picks away from being competitive, and I still believe this. They have solid young pieces in place with Kevin Love, Al Jefferson, Corey Brewer, and Johnny Flynn. If Ricky Rubio decides to come to America and play in the next year or two, they will move up even quicker. Right now Darko Milicic is their starting center, so I’d say an upgrade here, with maybe a DeMarcus Cousins or someone of that ilk might be a priority. The Wolves also score cool points here for having the sweetest looking floor on their home court in the whole league.

New Jersey: I’d say at least they’re getting John Wall potentially, but then what do they do with Devin Harris. The only things I like right now about the Nets are the fact that they’re probably moving to Brooklyn, and that they have Courtney Lee, Brook Lopez, and Terrance Williams. It’s probably not a good thing that 2 of the 3 names I just mentioned sound like names on a girls’ field hockey roster, not an NBA team. Poor jokes aside the Nets are simply awful, and have to somehow win 3 out of their last 18 to avoid being the worst team in NBA history. If I was someone inclined to wagering on sporting events, I would have to say bet that they go down in history as the worst of all-time.

Game Recaps:
( 3/4/10) Utah 116, Phoenix 108: I also watched the Memphis-Chicago game, so allow me to break off into a little tangent about how annoying it is to watch every single NBA player bitch to the refs about every single call. When Hamad Haddadi of the Grizzlies is bitching about getting hit on the arm when he made probably his third field goal of the whole season, something needs to be done. I remember in 5th grade parks and rec, when I received the first and only technical of my life for slamming the ball down when I didn’t like the ref’s call, my father, who reffed games for years in Chicago, told me that if I ever did that again, he would yank me off the court in the middle of the game by my hair and take me home, never to play basketball again, I got the message. The referee’s call was final. Every single player complains about everything. Granted, the officials miss some calls, but stop crying and play ball. It all evens out, especially with Tim Donaghy out of our lives. Wow, I feel better now. In Phoenix, we saw Grant Hill having flashbacks to 1997, dunking on fellow Dookie Carlos Boozer. We also saw Amare Stoudemire continue to dominate with 30 points and 7 rebounds. Utah was down 11 entering the 4th, but showed that they are tougher than Phoenix, closing the deficit and getting the win. Boozer once again owned the boards, with 15, while Deron Williams took over in the last stanza, with 13 of his game-high 27 points on 5-8 shooting. As of right now, these two squads would face off in the playoffs, and I’d give the edge to the Jazz because Steve Nash can’t stop Williams, and Boozer will dominate the boards.

Man of the Match: Carlos Boozer 15 pts, 15 rebounds, 3 steals

(3/7/10) Denver 118, Portland 106: This one lost a smidgeon of its luster with no Marcus Camby, no Kenyon Martin and no Ty Lawson. I’ll take my movie popcorn without butter or salt please. I think every single Denver game I watch, they start the game out on fire, shooting at a 71% clip at the beginning of this one. One element that makes them a potential champion in a couple months is the fact that they are extremely deep. Seemingly whoever they plug in makes a worthwhile contribution, which dating back to my beloved 90’s Bulls teams, is the mark of a team that has great chemistry and no ego problems. Tonight, Johan Petro and third string PG Anthony Carter both came in and made up for the losses of Martin and Lawson. Carter had 7 points and 6 assists off the pine, while Petro started and chipped in with 6 points and 10 boards. Now if Martin is gone during the playoffs, the Lakers, Dallas, and Utah all would beat them. But Petro did the job tonight. As for Portland, I think they’re inevitably going to be the 8th seed, and will get beat by L.A. Brandon Roy still is struggling coming back from injury, and even with Camby, they still don’t have enough inside.

Man of the Match: J.R. Smith 22 pts, 2 rbs, 7 assts, 2 stls


Deckfight said...

I think LSU would win. Now Marcus Thornton plays regularly. Drew Gooden & Nick Collison are not taking Shaq, Big Baby and Tyrus Thomas. There's no way. Then you forgot Anthony Randolph & Brandon Bass. Thomas, Randolph & Bass are all better than Rush.

Put Julian Wright on the Kansas team though, too. It would be a good game. Outcome depends on how well Paul Pierce played. I'd give Randolph the PG duties for LSU.

March 11, 2010 at 9:24 PM
berndon4 said...

I haven't really seen Randolph play, although from what I've heard he's a freak athletically. I didn't think about him playing the point. I mainly went with Kansas because they have too much depth with the guards they have. Gooden and Collison couldn't necessarily stop Shaq,Thomas etc, but they could neutralize them, and would have Darell Arthur and Darnell Jackson to back them up. I don't see LSU stopping Pierce,Hinrich,and Chalmers. Kansas has too much depth.

March 16, 2010 at 3:40 PM

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