Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Top Five Players in the NBA Right Now

Even though the NBA was going through a lockout this time last year, things are back on track, and it looks like the 2012/13 season will be one to remember. Here are the top five players in the NBA right now:

1. LeBron James
Without a doubt, LeBron is the best player in the NBA, and he'll probably end up dominating the league for years to come. Not only is LeBron a scoring machine, he's arguably the best non-point guard in the NBA at getting his teammates involved. At only 27 years-old, LeBron has already earned three MVP awards (He was also the 2012 Finals MVP). And with a career average of 27.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 6.8 assists per game, I'm sure they'll be many more accolades in his future.

2. Kobe Bryant
My biases might be affecting my judgment here, but I still think Kobe is better than everyone in the NBA except LeBron. Kobe is slowly approaching the end of his career, but he's still as dangerous as he ever was. With Dwight Howard and Steve Nash there to help him carry the Los Angeles Lakers, I expect Kobe to stay healthy during the 2012/13 NBA season, and I'm sure he'll put up impressive numbers.

3. Kevin Durant
At only 23 years-old, with a career average of 28.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per game; it's probably only a matter of time before Durant secures an NBA title. Things didn't go well for Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2012 NBA finals, but that should give him extra motivation for the upcoming season.

4. Dwight Howard
Howard has been hampered a bit by injuries recently, but he's still the best center in the NBA. His scoring continues to improve, and we already know how good the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year is when it comes to grabbing rebounds and blocking shots.

5. Kevin Love
Love is one of the most promising young players in the NBA right now, and he's arguably the second best power forward in the league. He averaged 26 points and 13.3 rebounds per game last season, and at only 24 years-old, I'm sure he still has a lot more of that left in his tank.

David is a Miami Heat fan that has followed the team for 16 years. Follow him on twitter @davidkingwriter and check out his blog.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sounders FC Secure Spot in CONCACAF Quarterfinals with 3-2 Win Against Marathon

The Seattle Sounders FC advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2012/13 CONCACAF Champions League on Sept. 19, defeating C.D. Marathon 3-2 in Honduras.

With the win, the Sounders can rest their star players when the two teams meet again on Oct. 14, at CenturyLink Field.

"It's tremendous," Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid told reporters after the game. "It's a goal we set for ourselves -- that we want to qualify tonight -- and we were able to accomplish that. It means that the last game now, which is during the last week of our season right before an important game with LA ... we can go into that game relaxed and free of mind. I was really proud."

Seattle opened up the scoreboard early in the contest, when Sammy Ochoa nodded in a Mario Martinez cross into the post.

Marathon got their chance to equalize towards the end of the first half, thanks to a penalty kick awarded after Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning was called for a foul inside the box. Mario Berrios capitalized on the ensuing penalty kick, bringing Marathon back into the game.

The Sounders started off a bit slowly in the second half, but Eddie Johnson gave them back the lead in the 62nd minute, making the most of a well-played pass from Andy Rose.

However, Marathon was awarded with another penalty kick five minutes later, and Berrios converted once again.

Fortunately for the Sounders, Brad Evans found the back of the post in the 78th minute, heading a Osvaldo Alonso feed past Marathon goalkeeper Jose Mendoza.

Given the fact the Sounders' offense struggled during their last outing against the Portland Timbers, it's nice to see them scoring goals once again. Seattle's offense did struggle a bit in terms of creating shots, but they made the most of their opportunities, scoring on almost half of their attempts.

The Sounders will now get two days off, before hosting the MLS Western Conference leading San Jose Earthquakes on Sept. 22. The Sounders currently trail the Earthquakes by nine points in the conference standings, and a win on Saturday will go a long way in their quest to finish the season with the top spot in the west.

David has been a fan of the Seattle Sounders for the past 3 years. Follow him on twitter @davidkingwriter and check out his blog.
 
Sources:
Joshua Mayers, "Brad Evans: 'This win under our belt will help us along the way…'"
Player and game information from ESPN and SoundersFC.com

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Top 5 Small Forwards in the NBA Right Now

The small forward position in the NBA continues to evolve, and many of today's 3's are capable of playing multiple roles on the court. Here are the top five small forwards in the NBA right now:

1. LeBron James
"King James" isn't just the most skilled small forward in the NBA; he's also the best player in the league. He consistently puts up unreal numbers every season, and he took away all doubts about his clutch abilities during the 2012 postseason, leading the Miami Heat to their second NBA title in franchise history. The Heat are currently poised to become one of the great dynasties in NBA history, and I expect LeBron to take his game to an even higher level next season.

2. Kevin Durant
Durant consistently puts up impressive numbers, and he took the Oklahoma City Thunder to the NBA Finals earlier in the year. At only 23 years-old, Durant will only get better as time progresses, and it's only a matter of time before he secures an NBA title.

3. Carmelo Anthony
"Melo" hasn't been as consistent lately, but he's still spectacular to watch when he's on. Unlike LeBron and Durant, Anthony isn't 100 percent committed on the defensive end, making him a liability at times.

4. Rudy Gay
Rudy is certainly one of the rising stars in the NBA, and he seems to improve every year. The Baltimore native has already proven that he's a reliable scorer, and he pulls down his share of rebounds as well. The 26 year-old still has a few things to learn in terms of getting his teammates involved, but time is on his side.

5. Paul Pierce
Pierce might be in the final chapter of his NBA career, but he's still one of the best small forwards in the league right now. The 34 year-old averaged 19.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game last season, and the 10-time NBA All-Star still has a little bit left in his tank.

David is a Miami Heat fan that has followed the team for 16 years. Follow him on twitter @davidkingwriter.
 

Top 5 Defenders in the NBA Right Now

While many NBA players would rather put points on the board, some remain committed to the art of defending. Here are the top five defenders in the NBA right now:

1. Dwight Howard
Howard had his share of problems last season, but he's still the best defender in the NBA when he's 100 percent focused on basketball. Howard -- who's still recovering from back surgery -- is expected to miss the first couple of months in the 2012/13 NBA season, but I expect him to put up serious numbers when he eventually suits up for the Los Angeles Lakers.

2. Tyson Chandler
Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry might get the credit for the Dallas Mavericks' 2011 Finals victory against the Miami Heat, but they wouldn't have been able to get past LeBron and company without Chandler. The 2011/12 NBA Defensive Player of the Year's aggressive, high-energy personality rubs off on his teammates, and I was impressed with the way he impacted the New York Knicks last season, instantly turning them into one of the top defensive teams in the NBA.

3. LeBron James
Most people associate LeBron with spectacular dunks and shots, but he's also one of the best defenders in the league right now. He's capable of guarding virtually every position on the court, and he never seems to take a play off.

4. Serge Ibaka
Some NBA fans might be surprised to find Ibaka on my list, but the 23 year-old has already established himself as a force to be reckoned with on the defensive end. He averaged 3.6 blocks per game during the 2011/12 NBA season (league high), and his best days are still ahead of him.

5. Andre Iguodala
There so many players in the NBA deserving of the fifth spot, but I had to give it to Iguodala. He's one of the best perimeter defenders in the league right now, and I'm sure he'll have an instant impact on the Denver Nuggets' defensive mentality.

David is a Miami Heat fan that has followed the team for 16 years. Follow him on twitter @davidkingwriter.