NBA Opening Day Power Rankings

 

 

 

 

MH’s NBA Start of the Season Power Rankings

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1. Miami Heat –

If you are shocked in this pick you might want to assess your standing as a basketball enthusiast and rethink things since you have clearly taken a 3-year hiatus from American sports. Miami is in the driver’s seat again and looks ready to head for a 3rd straight title and 4th straight championship appearance. LeBron James and a great supporting cast that allows for the Heat to dominate in almost any way imaginable the Heat are only left with one key weakness. This is the lack of a true big man that can eat minutes and play physical D. Until someone can actually exploit this weakness the Heat will continue on virtually unrivaled.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder –

This might seem to be somewhat of a questionable pick since Westbrook is out for now but Durant looks primed for a big time season with legitimate championship aspirations. If Ibaka can step up and handle some of the scoring duties in making up for Westbrook the Thunder will be in great shape with a young team with enough role players to keep them amongst the elite until Westbrook returns.

3. Indiana Pacers –

Some of the stiffest competition for the heat right here. The Pacers come in blessed with a talented big in Roy Hibbert as well as a dominate wing player in Paul George. The combination of the two multi-faceted stars and a strong supporting class that plays intense physical defense that wears down opponents will make them an elite team again.

4. San Antonio Spurs –

The Spurs benefit from facing some weakened opponents while also being a perennial contender with a budding star in Kawhi Leonard, a star Point Guard in Tony Parker, and a future Hall of Famer that somehow continues to perform at a high level in Tim Duncan. These pieces along with some solid role players and phenomenal coaching keep them amongst the NBA’s elite.

5. Golden State Warriors –

The new kid on the block in terms of the NBA’s elite teams. The relative newcomer, the Warriors armed with a scoring machine in superstar Point Guard Steph Curry alone keeps them in most games but they also have a healthy big man in Bogut, a phenomenal lengthy defender and decent offensive player in Iggy, as well as the sharp shooting number two to Curry in Klay Thompson. This group of talented players looks to carry the Warriors into continued relevance.

6. Memphis Grizzlies –

This pick is a bit of an odd one since the Grizzlies aren’t really a title contender but they are a top team. A bit of an oddity. They have the pieces to win a ton of games with the supporting cast they have assembled around one of the best defensive players and all-around big men in the game in Marc Gasol. But they don’t really have enough star power to compete for a title so unless they really surprise this will probably be as high as they get all season on the power rankings.

7. Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers are an established top team that hasn’t exactly dominated come playoff time. The combo of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul should be enough to keep them in contention. This is especially true with a decent supporting cast. They certainly have some glaring weaknesses to address though which is what keeps them from being higher.

8. Chicago Bulls –

The Bulls look set to return to being a competitor in the East after what was essentially a throw away year with the injury to Rose. With Rose back and supposedly ready to step right back in without losing anything from his game the Bulls tough D and scoring potential make them a top 10 team. The questions surrounding the injury keep them on the lower end of the top 10 though.

9. Portland Trail Blazers –

The first real shocker of the top 10. The Trail Blazers look like a team ready to finally reach its potential behind an incredibly talented cast of players. Lillard, Aldridge, Batum, Matthews, Robinson, Wright, Williams, and the promising rookie McCollum give them a great shot at making a statement this year.

10. Denver Nuggets –

A team similar to the Grizzlies in my opinion. Loaded with very good players but only 1 true star caliber player in Manimal. They look to win plenty of games but not necessarily challenge for a title.

11. Brooklyn Nets –

The Nets made some rather bold offseason moves giving them one of the most talented starting 5’s in the NBA, although this is true they are fairly old and don’t have incredible depth so minute management will be key and until that issue is settled they are held back in my power rankings. If they are managed well the ranking could skyrocket and they could contend for a title.

12. Houston Rockets –

The Rockets. Where to begin? They have what looks like a top 5-10 player in James Harden but I still have my doubts and question whether he can keep Dwight satisfied and in check. Dwight… I think we all know Dwight by now, not much to add on him. The Rockets definitely have the talent but how it fits together remains to be seen.

13. New York Knicks –

The Knicks still have Melo and that is enough to keep them just above the middle of the pack in the NBA. Melo is a scoring machine who, when motivated, can take over in all facets. Motivation though, is a big issue for him. Smith and Chandler look to be featured contributors as well.

14. Detroit Pistons –

The Pistons look to have one of the more underrated teams especially with some early injury troubles but the combo of Drummond, Smith, and Monroe is a force to be reckoned with and should win them their fair share of games. A few more years of picking up decent pieces and they could find their why amongst the elite.

15. New Orleans Pelicans –

The Pelicans also look a bit underrated but have a few very talented players in Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, and Tyreke Evans. If they find a way to incorporate Gordon well they could definitely be a force.

16. Cleveland Cavaliers –

The Cavaliers look to improve upon a quite lackluster season and fully emerge from the LeBron loss. Irving, Waiters, Bennett, and Bynum might be just what the Cavs need to do so. Look for them to surprise people this year.

17. Washington Wizards –

If the Wizards can stay healthy they should look much improved from last year. Wall appears to be a dominant player who, if he ever finds a jump shot, will be a top 5 player in the NBA. Beal, Gortat, and Nene provide a decent set of contributors around Wall.

18. Dallas Mavericks –

Dallas would be higher if it weren’t for the fact that they decided to field a team that plays literally no defense. Luckily they packed on the offense with Dirk, Monta, and Jose Calderon. Dallas should be able to score plenty but I doubt they make the playoffs this year.

19. Minnesota Timberwolves –

The T-Wolves have a ton of potential but are just filled with question marks. Love and Rubio need to come out of the gates strong for the Wolves to perform well. They also need to avoid injuries that have killed the team in the past.

20. Milwaukee Bucks –

The Bucks have a relatively young team with a strong defensive presence that should keep them in games. They may have a future star in Giannis but that remains to be seen and won’t really help them this year. Until then the Bucks should be scrappers with a lot of perimeter shooting and nothing more.

21. Atlanta Hawks –

The Hawks have some decent pieces in Horford, Teague, and Millsap. They also have a budding rookie in Schroeder but he is not expected to be a big contributor at the moment. The Hawks just have too many glaring weaknesses to be successful this year.

22. Toronto Raptors –

The Raptors seem to be in a bit of a pickle. Stuck with some budding youngsters but still way too terrible to really compete for anything and keep everyone happy while adding the right pieces. Look for the Raptors to be bad again this season.

23. Sacramento Kings –

One of my 2 teams to watch this season. Cousins, Vasquez, and McLemore look to lead this young potential filled team this season. With some strong performances out of their big three and some support from Luc Richard, Patrick Patterson, and Isaiah Thomas the Kings look poised to make a statement this season.

24. Charlotte Bobcats –

Team number 2 of my 2 teams to watch this season. The Bobcats have been bottom feeders for a while now and now is their chance to emerge. MKG has been working all offseason to fix that wicked looking jumper and if it has been even moderately successful he should look like a complete player and one of the best youngsters in the game. Accompanying him is the reliable and dominant post player, Al Jefferson. Those two alone should improve their standing over last season. But they also have a very good point guard in Kemba Walker, a gifted shot blocker in Biyombo, and a rookie with potential in Zeller.

25. Utah Jazz –

The Jazz have some talented young players in Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors that look to carry the team basically. Alec Burks and Trey Burke need to step up for the Jazz to make any real noise. Other than that the Jazz don’t have much to look forward to this year.

26. Los Angeles Lakers –

Kobe and Pau can’t do it all… They won’t be the worst but they will suck. The Lakers outlook in a nutshell.

27. Orlando Magic –

Not much to say here… The Magic certainly aren’t a passable team. Definitely an unfortunate start for Oladipo…

28. Phoenix Suns –

They have a couple of busts in the Morris brothers, 4 decent but unspectacular guards, and 1 potentially passable big man in Len. Not exactly the building blocks of a good year.

29. Boston Celtics –

… It could be worse. Could be the 76ers. Forced to start without Rondo they essentially have role players leading this young and unproven bunch for the most part. Should be interesting to watch. Once Rondo returns they should jump up substantially, but until then.

30. Philadelphia 76ers –

The only really redeemable players on the roster are Thad Young, Evan Turner, and the rookie who probably won’t play at all, Nerlens Noel. Michael Carter-Williams, Arnett Moultrie, and Tony Wroten don’t look like anything overly special at the moment. Definitely a poor outlook for the 76ers. Better luck next year.

Sunday and Monday Fantasy Football Starts, Sits, and Sleepers

Hello, I am Azane Massey, author of ZahiriSports blog. Today, I am going to be telling you who to start and sit so you can win your fantasy football matchup this week.

This week is very tough, six teams are on a bye week, so most of you guys are going to have to pick up players to play, or dig deep in to your bench to find players to play.

QB starts: Colin Kaepernick, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Tony Romo, Michael Vick, Matthew Stafford, RG3, and Peyton Manning and Peyton Manning. Everyone of these guys are very talented quarterbacks with a lot of good matchups and a lot of weapons. Expect all of these guys to have 20+ points this week

QB Start: For some of us who have quarterbacks on a bye week, or quarterbacks who are injured, look for someone on the waiver wire like Geno Smith to replace your starting QB. Geno Smith has a decent matchup this week against the Bengals defense. Look for Geno to have a decent game on the passing game and an alright running day too. Look for Geno to put up a solid 18-25 points this week

QB Sits: Thad Lewis, Eli Manning, Carson Palmer, Andy Dalton, Ryan Tannehill, Alex Smith, and Terrell Pryor. All of these quarterbacks have bad matchups and not a lot of weapons. Look at the waiver wire to find any other quarterbacks to start over these guys.

QB Sit of the Week Matt Ryan, he isn’t on this list a lot, but he has a bad matchup with two good weapons. Harry is going to be covered by Patrick Peterson the whole game, and Tony G is going to be either open or covered. He is going to be covered when he is playing against Daryl Washington, but will be wide open against Yerimiah Bell, he has been horrible against TE’s this year. So I would look for other options at QB.

RB Starts: Marshawn Lynch, Eddie Lacy, LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Charles, Adrian Peterson, Le’veon Bell, Fred Jackson, Steven Jackson, Stevan Ridley, Reggie Bush, Giovani Benard, and Frank Gore. All of these backs are starting against bad defenses, in dynamic, high-flying offenses.

RB Sleeper: Andre Ellington. Andre Ellington is a high-end FLEX this week, he is the starting back, and is available in a lot of leagues, pick him up, and plug him in.

RB Sits: Chris Ivory, Benjarvus-Green-Ellis, Zac Stacy, Willis McGahee, Brandon Jacobs, and Bilal Powell.

RB Sit of the Week: LaMar Miller. LaMar Miller, even though a starter is playing against a tough defense. Look for other options at RB.

WR Starts: Dez Bryant, Calvin Johnson,, DeSean Jackson, Victor Cruz, Demariyus Thomas, and Pierre Garçon. All of these guys have good matchups.

WR Sleeper: Jarrett Boykin. Boykin is creating chemistry with Aaron Rodgers, and has a very good matchup against the Vikings.

WR Sits: Dwayne Bowe, Mike Wallace, Danny Amendola, Stevie Johnson, and Larry Fitzgerald.

WR Sit of the Week: Josh Gordon. This happens very few times but the has a very tough matchup. Look for other options.

TE Starts: Vernon Davis, Rob Gronkowski, and Heath Miller.

TE Sleeper: Jordan Reed. Reed is RG3’s second option against a horrible Denver defense. Start him.

TE Sits: Jordan Cameron, Brent Celek, and Brandon Pettigrew.

TE Sit of the Week: Kyle Rudolph. Rudolph is picking him up, but had Ponder at QB.

Tell me your thoughts below. TELL ME IF MY PREDICTIONS WERE RIGHT!!!!!

TNF Fantasy Football Sits, Starts and Sleepers

Hi, I am Azane Massey, author of ZahiriSports blog. Today, I will be telling you who to sit, and start for Thursday Night Football. The Panthers are going to be playing @ the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There are not many starts that I would start in this game. But, if I had to, here is who I would start
The Passing Game: I wouldn’t start Mike Glennon. He is a rookie QB going against a very tough defense. Mike Williams has a hamstring injury, and hasn’t been able to produce. If VJax cannot get open, or isn’t catching passes, Mike Glennon’s only guy is Tim Wright. Tim Wright is a sleeper for me. Now, I know he had a bad week, but he might be the second option for Glennon tonight. When he had his first start in week 6, he caught 7 passes for 91 yards! Don’t be surprised if Wright has a big night. Cam Newton might not have the best passing night, but he will scorch the Bucs defense on the run game. Newton is hitting his stride right now. Newton will throw for 250 yards and 2 TD’s, and run for 85 yards and a TD. Newton is a high-end QB 1. I wouldn’t start Steve Smith. Even though, Smith is picking it up, he is going to be matched up against one of the best CB’s in the league, Darrele Revis. But I would start Brandon LaFell. Lafell has put up 17+ points in 2 of the last 3 games. LaFell is a high-end WR 3 this week.
The running game: Mike James is a sleeper for me. James is the RB filling in for the injured Doug Martin. James is a playing against one of the best run defenses in the league, but look for him to have a big impact on the passing game. DeAngelo Williams is a low-end flex play against a good rushing defense. Williams has been very inconsistent this year. If you have other options like Andre Ellington, I’d start him over Williams.
Defense: The Panthers defense is becoming a must start this year. Their front seven has been incredible this season. Which leads to good pass defense. I would absolutely start this defense this week. The Bucs defense is different. Their defense is playing average. Revis hasn’t been up to form, along with the rest of the Bucs secondary. Their defense is a shaky start this week against the Panthers high flying offense.

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section, tell me if any of my predictions helped you!!!! FOOTBALL RULES!

NFL Week 8 Predictions

Panthers over Bucs

Saints over Bills

Lions over Cowboys

Pats over Dolphins

Jets over Bengals

Broncos over Redskins

Packers over Vikings

Chiefs over Browns

49ers over Jags

Eagles over Giants

Steelers over Raiders

Falcons over Cardinals

Seahawks vs Rams

49ers’ secondary: Now and Later Part 1

Hello Readers! Today I will be writing about the current 49ers’ Secondary as well as their secondary of the future.

Last year, if you told me that the 49ers’ secondary would feature Eric Reid (who at the time, was projected to go in the late first round to the late second round), Donte Whitner (who allowed 16 receiving touchdowns last year in his coverage, including playoffs, according to PFF), Carlos Rogers (who looked downright horrible at times last year, especially when faced up against true slot wide receivers like Danny Amendola and Victor Cruz), Tarell Brown (who looked very mediocre at best in the playoffs), and Tramaine Brock (4-year roster bubble player), I would have been alarmed. In fact, I would have been even further irritated at the fact that Chris Culliver, who many, myself included, believed was the 49ers’ best DB last year, was out for the season.

But this secondary is playing amazingly so far. In fact, the 49ers have the 6th best passing defense in the league, allowing 217 yards a game through the air and just a 55.9 completion percentage. And in terms of QB rating, we are 4th in the league, allowing a meager 73.6 QBR. And while not all of our opposing QBs have been worthy opponents (looking at you Matt Schaub), we have faced the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, and Andrew Luck. Heck, we even handed Jake Locker his first interception of the season. While credit goes to the front 7 as well, this secondary has been doing there job–and more, forcing 9 interceptions on the year, the same amount of touchdowns they have allowed. All 5 of the defensive backs used in the 49ers nickel formation–Eric Reid, Donte (W)hitner, Tarell Brown, Carlos Rogers, and Tramaine Brock) each have PFF grade of +3.4 or higher on the season.

To start at the very top, Eric Reid has made Dashon Goldson proud, with his turnover-forcing ways and his extremely hard hits. But most 49er fans have already forgot that name by now, as Reid has so far been an upgrade over Goldson. He plays exactly like Goldson, with one major difference: He doesn’t take unnecessary risks. Reid is already playing like a true, experienced veteran, and while he is a great hitter, he has yet to be fined by the league for his viscous, yet legal, hits. But his partner in crime Donte (W)hitner has been doing amazing as well. In fact, he has yet to allow a single touchdown in his coverage so far this season. While his worst asset of his game last year was pass coverage, where he allowed a 128.5 QBR, he has only allowed a 44.5 QBR this year when he is targeted. The necessity of this safety tandem is well documented, and was shown this past Sunday. On the first play of the game that both Reid and Whitner were on the sidelines (viewed as minor injuries for both of them), the 49ers defense let up their first TD of the game, a 66 yard pass reception by Chris Johnson.

But the secondary group can’t be overlooked. Tramaine Brock has really come lit on fire in recent weeks. Ever since Nnamdi Asomugha was sidelined with injuries he has since recovered from, Brock has inspired the 49ers coaching staff and FO to keep Asomugha inactive. He had his coming out party against the Texans. In the Matt Schaub’s very first pass attempt, Brock made sure to give Schaub a favor and put Schaub’s name in the record books–by giving him the record for most games in a row with a pick six. But that wasn’t a one-play fluke– since that play he has added two more interceptions, giving him the team lead to share with Reid, although Brock has achieved 3 picks in much less PT. Carlos Rogers, on the other hand, has been a bit more on and off. Ever since his 6 interception effort in 2011, Rogers has only had 2 interceptions in 23 starts. But he has proven that he can be solid at times. The Arizona Cardinals game was one such example, a game where he had 2 passes defensed and one interception. And Tarell Brown, who most believe has been the 49ers’ best cornerback over the course of the season, has been nothing short of this. The only reason he doesn’t have an interception this season is because no sensible QB wants to pick on him. Despite this he still has an impressive 6 passes defended already this season. Games like the aforementioned 49ers-Texans week 5 matchup really shows this. That week he allowed just 25 yards in 7 passes intended in his direction, and graded out as PFF’s top corner of the week a +4.4 rating. Week 4 against the Rams wasn’t a bad game either, where he fell just one defensed pass short of his career high of 5 in a game.

In conclusion, the 49ers secondary has been stellar throughout the first 7 weeks of the season, and there is no indication as of yet that they won’t continue this trend. Every member of this 49ers’ secondary has played outstanding football and they are definetly outplaying their expectations. Please stay tuned. For Part 2, which will be released sometime later this week,  I will break down the future of this secondary, what the 49ers should do with many of their CBs hitting free agency next year, and how the 49ers should address the secondary through next year’s draft.

By the way all statistics are from NFL.com and PFF

Please feel free to discuss your thoughts on this article in the comments. And please share this with friends if you enjoyed this

Why the Ravens should trade for Fred Davis

With the trade deadline looming, there are reports the Redskins are trying to trade Fred Davis. Davis is a very good TE but the Redskins are higher on rookie Jordan Reed. Davis was considered one of the best TEs in the NFL in 2011, but since his career has been derailed by injury, suspension, and ineffectiveness. Davis was in fact inactive last game with a minor ankle injury as the team prefers Jordan Reed.

In a Tuesday interview, Fred Davis says he’s  open for a trade and feels his days in Washington are numbered and that a trade is inevitable.

With the “production” the Ravens have recieved from the TE position, you’d think Baltimore is definitely interested. Davis is a much better for fit for Flacco then he is for RG3.

The Ravens would be giving up very little for a player who proved he is a accountable starting TE and a talented one. He’d immediately be a weapon for Flacco and his salary is very cheap and affordable.

As for the Redskins, they are letting Davis rot on the bench and he will surely live next season as a free agent, so I’m sure they’d take anything for him. This trade could work:

Ravens get: Fred Davis

Redskins get: 2013 7th round pick

ProFootballFocus

Hey guys! Recently we have been cranking out quite a few articles, and in the coming weeks, expect us to be using ProFooballFocus, or PFF, as a source quite often. For those of you who aren’t familiar, PFF is a site with a dedicated staff that analyzes every game closely and “score” individual and team efforts on different areas of the game. In fact, these “scores” or often just as valued as actual stats by many professional sports writers. After all, they charge $27 a month for their full analysis for a reason. But a lot of their analysis is free as well. You can check them out here:

https://www.profootballfocus.com/

or through their Twitter and Facebook accounts.

This is just a heads up so our readers don’t get confused when we cite PFF. Anyways, stay tuned for many more articles to come this week. Don’t be surprised if we add a few more staff members as well this week.