Rose playing for team USA

The presence of Derrick Rose at the U.S.A. basketball camp is a ray of hope for the Chicago Bulls fans. NBA fans will be glad to see the former NBA season MVP plays for the Bulls. It will be the second most important event in the Eastern Conference this summer if Rose can get through the camp and play important minutes for his country.
Rose playing for his country in a controlled environment and Coach Mike Krzyzewski knows he must control Rose’s minutes during the tournament. The NBA wants the former MVP playing in their arenas next season.
The Bulls starting 5 is as good as any team in the Eastern Conference with the return of Rose, Joakim Noah (Defensive Player of the Year last season), Pau Gasol (a two-time NBA Champion), Jimmy Butler (excellent defender) and small forward will be either be Nikola Mirotic or Mike Dunleavy.
The first three players off the bench will also be valuable contributors: Kurt Hinrich (solid Pro), Taj Gibson (could be a six man of the year winner), Nikola Mirotic or Mike Dunleavy and Doug McDermott.
The Bulls have great team chemistry; their players were forced to become better players due to Rose’s absence and coach only has to incorporate Gasol, Mirotic and McDermott to the team.
The key to Rose’s season will be how Coach Tom Thibodeau handles the point guard’s minutes and not play him in back-to-back games early in the season. An assistant coach must be in charge of reminding Coach Thibodeau how many minutes Rose has played in each half.
The Bulls organization has seen how the San Antonio Spurs protect their older players and the Miami Heat reducing Dwayne Wade’s playing time. All the Bulls need is Rose to play 60 games and he should be fresh for the playoffs.
The Bulls will be a serious threat to prevent LeBron James from reaching the NBA Finals 5 years in a row. It would be the best Eastern Conference Finals in a long time having the Bulls versus the Cavaliers. They could easily be the number one and two seed going into the playoffs.
Will Rose be a difference maker next year?
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Harden’s comments about Parsons

The Houston Rockets lost Chandler Parsons to the Dallas Mavericks. James Harden says the Rockets will be fine without Parsons. Harden, “Dwight Howard and I are the cornerstones of the Rockets,” said Harden. “The rest of the guys are role players or pieces that complete our team. We’ve lost some pieces and added some pieces. I think we’ll be fine next season.”
Harden must have forgotten how his departure from the Oklahoma City Thunder greatly affected the team. The Thunder team have Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, but it is not enough to win a NBA title. They would love to have Harden as a third scoring option, which in turn make the Thunder a much stronger team.
The loss Parsons will have the effect on the Rockets roster because Trevor Ariza does not have the same scoring ability. This will give the opposing team one more player to double team either Harden or Howard without a third option.
The nights where Howard is in foul trouble; Harden will be the only reliable scoring option. Harden will enjoy the fact he can have the ball in his hands more than last year and can take as many shots as he wants. This situation will not lead to more wins.
The comments that Harden made that he and Howard are the stars with their teammates being bit parts is shameful. The Rockets won 55 games not only because of Harden and Howard; they had a very good eight man rotation that was torn apart to chase star players who didn’t’ sign with Houston.
Harden will have to show his ability to raise the level of play of his teammate’s not just score a ton of points and take a lot of shots. He will make the all-star team again next year and that is all he will win.
Someone should remind Mr. James Harden how the San Antonio Spurs bit parts contributed at different times during the playoffs to help them be the Champions. Patty Mills, Matt Bonner, Marco Belinelli, Danny Green, Cory Joseph and even Aron Baynes all were key players to the Spurs being a Champion.
Will the Rockets win 55 games next year?
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Jose Bautista putting up MVP numbers

The Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista is showing every that he can put up great numbers with a winning team. Many thought before this season that Bautista was a talented player who hit a lot of homeruns because he didn’t have the pressure of playoff race.
Jose has proven his critics were wrong to believe he couldn’t hit for power and lead his team to the playoffs. He is top 3 on the Blue Jays roster in all important offensive categories: homeruns, RBIs, walks, stolen bases and batting average. His 5 steals are tied for third on the team.
Bautista has continued to hit even though the Jays lost Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Lawrie for a long stretch. Jose knows he has to produce and with the added pressure on him; he still delivers every night either defensively or offensively. He is clearly the club house leader. Bautista has played first base and outfield for his team this year.
The American League MVP should not only be a two man race this year. Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers and the Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout are the front runners to win, but Baustita’s name should also be mentioned as a possible winner.
Cabrera won the MVP title in the last two seasons; he is bar far the best hitter in baseball.
The MVP voters should also take into consideration the leadership and how much support they get from their teammates. The Tigers had no major injuries to any of their key players this year. The Angels Trout is carrying his team offensive even with the presence of future Hall of Fame player, Albert Pujols in the line-up.
The Angels 63 wins is second in the MLB. Trout will be the front runner this year to win the MVP award as long has he doesn’t sustain a major injury before the season ends.
Bautista should be in the MVP conversation and will probably be second or third in this year’s ballot. He is 10th in homeruns, 14th in RBIs and second in walks in the American League. The Jays are fortunate he has one more year remaining before he is a free agent.
Who will win the AL MVP trophy this season?
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Could this be a playoff season for the Jays?

The Toronto Blue Jays are playing in the American League East that has no dominating team.
The Baltimore Orioles are the best defensive team in the division and have an excellent manager in Buck Showalter. The loss of their gold glove catcher Matt Wieters will prevent them from holding on to the division lead. Chris Davis’ .199 batting average and Manny Machado not dominating opposing pitchers like they did last year.
The New York Yankees have too many injuries to key players, but somehow are still in position to make the playoffs. They have three players who are having sub-par offensive years: Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann. They would need two of those players have to get hot for them to have any chance.
The Tampa Bay Devil Rays have the best pitching staff and manager (Joe Maddon) in the division. Maddon convinced his organization not to trade future free agent David Price. A 9 game winning streak and now they have as good as chance as any team to win the division. The Rays only have one player who has more than 50 RBIs compared to that to the Blue Jays who have 3 with two of them having more than 60. Maddon finds a way to use his 25 man roster to win games.
The Toronto Blue Jays have the best offensive line-up when healthy. The Jays have been able to stay in the race despite injuries to key players Edwin Encarnacion (70 RBIs) and Brett Lawrie (38 RBIs). Can manager John Gibbons make the right moves and lead his team to a playoff appearance? The pick-up of Danny Valencia gives them a right handed hitter who can play third and hit against left handed pitcher. I have mentioned many times to my friends that it is easier to find a third baseman who can hit than a second baseman who can hit.
The Blue Jays have an excellent chance to make the playoffs for the first time in 21 years. They can make the playoffs either by winning the American League East division or win the second wild card spot.
Can the Jays make the playoffs this year?
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Good news for Pacers…

The Indiana Pacers coaches and fans are ecstatic to hear that Roy Hibbert will be working with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar during the summer. Hibbert reaching out to greatest NBA scorer of All-time to help him will have a positive effect on HIbbert’s statistics next year.
The 7’2” Pacers center had a few playoff games where he didn’t play in the fourth quarter and had four zero point games during the playoffs. Hibbert was an NBA All-Star in 2012 and 2014 that lost his mojo during the playoffs for long stretches.
The 2013 playoffs Hibbert averaged 36.5 minutes, scored 17.0 points, had 9.9 rebounds with 1.9 blocks a game. The 2014 playoffs his numbers dropped to 28.5 minutes, 9.3 points, 5.5 rebounds with 1.4 blocks a game. The fact Indiana made it to the Eastern Conference Finals each time doesn’t take away how poorly Hibbert played.
The Pacers need Hibbert to return to his 2013 form and Abdul-Jabbar would be the man to help regain his confidence.
The departure of Lance Stephenson would definitely lead to more touches for the big man. The Pacers lost a big part of their offense with the departure of Stephenson’s numbers 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists a game; he led the team in rebounds, assists and field goal percentage.
Hibbert’s number of double-double games will increase and his consistency will also improve. He has never averaged 10 or more rebounds during his 6 NBA seasons. Hibbert will have to help to fill some of the rebound responsibilities with the departure of the Pacers leading rebounder.
I would be surprised if Hibbert is not an All-star next year.
Many teams in the Eastern Conference have improved their rosters, which will make it difficult for the Pacers to win 56 games next year. Indiana will be a playoff team again; their season will depend on their All-star center being a rim protector who can score when the opportunity present itself.
Will Hibbert be an All-star next year?
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The Blue Jays centerfield should be?

Manager John Gibbons has to decide who will be the everyday center fielder for the Toronto Blue Jays. Colby Rasmus and Antony Gose bring different skills to the table that help their team. Gibby seems to prefers having a power hitting outfielder with a low batting average.
The Jays organization has given up on Gose as an everyday player; they keep trying to give opportunities to other players to play outfield. Moises Sierra, Kevin Pillar and Darin Mastroianni have not been able to hit major league pitching, can’t play defense like Gose nor have his speed. Gose has stolen 9 bases and was caught 4 times, which should be a concern; did he get the proper coaching or when the Jays send him on steal attempt it is too obvious to their opponents. He is clearly the fourth best outfielder for the Jays organization right now. I believe he is the best center fielder on the Jays.
Rasmus will be an unrestricted free agent next year. He strikes a lot, doesn’t steal bases, not a good hitter with runners in scoring position and doesn’t take many walks. The Jays need to make a decision if he is an everyday player or not because the Jays are in the playoff hunt.
Gose .242 batting average and .345 OBP while Rasmus numbers are .219 with a .274, but Rasmus’ slugging percentage is .451 and Gose .289 because Colby has 13 homeruns. The numbers clearly shows the different skill set the outfielders have.
It comes down to which type of player the manager prefers. The Jays have Melky Cabrera and Jose Bautista to provide the offensive production. A center fielder like Gose can help his team win games when they are not hitting a lot of home runs.
The Baltimore Orioles will not run away with the American League East title. The Jays have an excellent chance to play meaningful games in August.
Who would choose between Gose and Rasmus?
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Kawasaki or Tolleson when Lawrie returns

The Toronto Blue Jays great start to the season has kept them in the playoff race. The Blue Jays are 54 – 49 with 59 game remaining; they are only 2.5 games out of 1st place in the American League East and are tied for the second wild card playoff spot. Manager John Gibbons has to make a decision with the platoon rotation of Munenori Kawasaki, Steve Tolleson and Juan Francisco when Brett Lawrie returns.
Once again the player the Blue Jays tried to replace has come through; Munenori Kawasaki is hitting .279 with a .333 (OBP) on base percentage in 111 at bats. He has played solid defense, finds a way to get on base and makes an opposing pitcher throw a lot of pitches before finishing an at bat.
The Blue Jays got more than they expected out of journeyman Juan Francisco who has 14 home runs and 34 RBIs at this point in the season. He has a very good chance to finish with more than 20. Francisco has struck out 93 times in 211 at bats (44% rate) is a concern, but his power is needed in the line-up.
Gibby has to continue to play Kawasaki even when Lawrie comes back. Steve Tolleson and Juan Francisco have been platooning with Lawrie moving from third to second base depending on which player was in the line-up early in the season. Tolleson is batting .248 with a .318 OBP in 117 at bats. Kawasaki has clearly been better than Tolleson and should be getting more at bats.
The Blue Jays have brought up Ryan Goins from Buffalo and has been inserted in the line-up. Goins has increased his batting average to .181 in 68 at bats due to 5 hits in his last 15 at bats. He has the best arm and is the best defender in the second base group.
Who should play 2B when Lawrie returns: Kawasaki, Tolleson or Goins?
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Trade Love already…

Everybody in the media and basketball fans want to know where Kevin Love will play next season because we all know it will not be in Minnesota Timberwolves uniform. No one knows what the Timberwolves President and part-owner Flip Saunders is trying to accomplish by letting the process drag on? The sports writers and bloggers get to write about the topic for another few weeks.
Kevin Love has stated that he will not sign with Minnesota after his contract is up; therefore, the front office team should trade him before the season starts and get maximum value for one of the top 5 big man in the NBA.
Do the Timberwolves believe Andrew Wiggins could be the next great superstar that can carry the franchise from lottery pick to playoff contender? Saunders should tell the Cavs what player he wants included in the trade and make it happen. The fact J.J. Barea must be included in the deal may have complicated the trade.
The list of teams making offers for Love has increased doesn’t mean their offers’ includes a potential star player, which the Cleveland Cavaliers can offer them. The Cavs are on the verge of signing Wiggins; therefore, he can’t be traded for a minimum of 30 days. This could mean three more weeks of non-sense and Love dominating the NBA news.
The Love soap opera is on the verge of not being the number one topic anymore because Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is back in the news.
Saunders wants to make people believe he is taking his time to get best deal possible. No one is winning with this process except the media. Timberwolves seem uncertain as to what they want in return for Love; the players mentioned in the trade rumours don’t feel appreciated by their teams and the Timberwolves fans would Love an end to the trade soap opera.
Which package would you accept if you were the Timberwolves President?
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Sterling is still the owner of the Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers are still owned by Donald Sterling despite the owner voted to remove him as owner. The NBA Draft went and now Summer League has started. The NBA season is 2 months away from starting another season and Sterling is fighting with his wife for the control of the team.
I have said that Sterling would still be owner of the Clippers unless the players threaten a boycott. Doc Rivers said he would quit if Donald Sterling remains the owner of the team that is not enough pressure to force the Clippers owner to step down. Rivers hasn’t given a deadline when he will step down, which could be the end Clippers championship aspirations if he did.
Don’t believe the rumour Sterling has to sell his team to pay off his debts. Billionaires’ live off credit and understand they will be in the negative in some parts of their portfolios. It is a license to print money when someone owns an NBA team. The television revenue keeps on going up, ticket prices continue to increase and merchandising money is tremendous; therefore, why would Sterling sell the team despite fellow owners, NBA fans, players and coaches don’t want him to be an owner.
Sterling is still stubborn despite having battling dementia; he has lawyers willing to charge him a lot of money in billing hours for frivolous lawsuits and will keep the NBA in court for a long time. There is a strong possibility that Sterling will still be the owner of the Clippers when the next season starts.
NBA President Adam Silver hands are tied and his swift move to vote for the removal of Sterling looks like a joke. Silver was hoping that Sterling’s wife would have won and sold the club to Steve Ballmer for 2 billion dollars.
It will be interesting to see if the NBAPA (NBA Players’ Association) will make their voices heard if Sterling hasn’t sold the team two weeks before the season. The Clippers point guard Chris Paul is the head of the union and has been very quiet about this situation. The Sterling Saga will not be over for a long-time.
Will Sterling still be the Clippers owner when 2014 – 15 season starts?
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H.S. star Mudiay gets $1.2 million dollars

Emmanuel Mudiay signed a $1.2 million dollars contract to play in the Chinese Basketball Association instead of attending Southern Methodist University (SMU). He will be the first high school star to use the overseas option instead of attending one year in the NCAA since Brandon Jennings.
Jennings played 1 year (2008 – 09) season in Europe before entering the NBA Draft and still was selected 10th overall by the Milawukee Bucks. He didn’t dominate the league. He played in Italy for Lottomatica Virtus Roma where he scored 8 points a game. He practiced twice a day, was asked to play defense and hit the open shot; therefore, he learned how to do fundamentals that many USA high school layers don’t work on.
Mudiay will have at least $500 000 in his pockets after taxes and paying his agent instead of getting a couple of free pairs of sneakers, t-shirts, practice and play a lot of games on ESPN. The NCAA coaches, universities, T.V. networks and apparel companies make billions of dollars off the student-athlete play. He may help his family financially.
The NCAA student-athlete who is a one and done who doesn’t show up to classes, rumours about someone writes their papers or writing exams for them, worry about being investigated for taking illegal payments and worry about an injury that my end his NBA career. Mudiay bought an insurance policy in case he may get a career ending injury.
I hope more high school players will use the overseas option and get paid to play. They deserve to be paid for their performance on the court. The athlete wants to train to be a basketball player and get drafted as high as possible. Many professional basketball players in Europe begin their professional career at 16 years old.
Mudiay already has a NBA professional body; he is 6’5”, 200 pounds and very athletic. His year in China will not prevent him from being drafted high because the season ends in March, which will give him two months to prepare and visit teams before the draft.
Did Mudiay make a good decision going to China?
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