Saturday, August 21, 2010

More Movement

We all may have thought that the shakeup regarding conference movement in college football was over, and it was ... for awhile. I blogged awhile back about the Pac-10 expansion and everything that involved the University of Texas. Well, there is some news rising that has similarities involved with it.

The Pac-10 conference started all of this expansion drama. They initially wanted the University of Texas to bring five schools with it to the conference but the Longhorns decided to keep the Big XII intact and they even got their own TV rights which was a huge part of them staying put rather than leaving for the Pac-10. The Big XII now only has ten teams as Nebraska bolted for the Big Ten and Colorado to the Pac-10. The Mountain West Conference lost the University of Utah to the Pac-10 also. In doing so they replaced Utah's membership with Boise State moving from the WAC to the MWC. That's where everything left off.

Earlier this week there was word that Brigham Young University, the rival to Utah was going to leave the Mountain West Conference and become a football Independent with their other sports re-joining the WAC. A conference they were a part of for years. A conference they also willingly left to be a major part in creating the Mountain West in 1998 when the WAC split in half and eight schools formed the new Mountain West while the other eight remained. Why would BYU do this? Well, they aren't happy with the amount of exposure the Mountain West gives them on their TV network entitled The MTN. Almost nobody outside of the conference knows about that station and BYU has had enough with trying to gain national credibility and being a part of it. Brigham Young has their own television network that is titled BYU-TV. Tom Holmoe, BYU's athletic director has informed us that they have finished building a broadcasting facility that is state of the art. He says there's nothing like it west of the Mississippi. BYU leaving the MWC for Independence would allow them to broadcast their games on BYU-TV which is a regular station on all major cable providers. This new facility would allow them to broadcast in HD. Holmoe has also been talking to ESPN and they would broadcast some of BYU's games as well. With the TV contract with ESPN BYU believes they would have better scheduling for their football program. National television is imperative to exposure in college football.

Hearing the news of BYU's plans, Mountain West Conference commissioner Craig Thompson went into panic mode and extended invitations to Fresno State University and The University of Nevada-Reno to join the conference. Thompson stated not too long ago that there were no more intentions of expansion after the addition of Boise State. This is bad for BYU because that leaves the WAC with six schools. Not allowing them to have enough schools to compete, including BYU's non football sports. It seems that Thompson is just angry with Brigham Young and is trying all he can to intimidate them to remain in the Mountain West as nothing has yet been official.

So while the WAC explores their options to remain a conference, BYU is also weighing their options for plan B. That plan? To join the West Coast Conference for every sport except football. This would still allow their football program to be Independent. BYU being a private religious school would fit in well in the WCC as every other school is as well. However, if the WAC is able to replace Boise St., Fresno St., and Nevada the WAC may still be an option for the Cougars. It seems that regardless, BYU football will be independent and like the Texas Longhorns, will have their games broadcasted on their own TV network.

Lou Holtz, a member of ESPN's College Football Live team stated yesterday that two years from now Brigham Young would be a member of the Pac-10 conference or the Big XII. Since losing Colorado to the Pac-10 and Nebraska to the Big Ten, the Big XII conference has said it intends on remaining a ten team league. To some that doesn't seem like it will last long. Before that statement was made, there was talk that BYU and fellow member of the Mountain West the Air Force Academy were the two schools to replace Nebraska and Colorado. For now, that isn't so and for Brigham Young, anything but the Mountain West is what they seek. Perhaps they're competing with their bitter arch rival Utah as they'll get national exposure being in the soon to be renamed Pac-12. Perhaps they aren't. All I know, is I like this move for Bronco Mendenhall's football program. Their scheduling abilities will be much better than they were in the MWC. There will be national exposure for them which is a priority for the school. As a private school owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, exposure is very important to them. Not so much the money that comes along with these moves, although it is apparent that money is a factor.

Bronco Mendenhall has led his Brigham Young Cougars to 10 or more wins the last four seasons. They are one of five schools to do that with the others being Boise State, Texas, Virginia Tech and Ohio State. There's been some more recent news about the University of Hawaii having their football program go independent with the rest of their athletics playing in the WCC. Another WAC school gone. Again not looking good for the Cougars like they'd hoped. We will just have to wait and see what happens with everything as this scramble with the WAC and Mountain West unfolds.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

2010 NBA Preview: The Finals

With the college football season just two weeks away from kickoff, there is more conference realignment/movement/reconstruction what have you. I fully intend on blogging on that which means it's time to complete the 2010 NBA Preview.

The classic Finals rivalry continues with another Lakers/Celtics matchup.

The Lakers are coming off of two tough series' against the Thunder and Jazz. Last season Utah was just a cakewalk for the Lakers. Jack Nicholson referred to that series as the intermission of the playoffs for the Lakers. The 2010 matchup still ends up the same result just a lot closer and more competitive. Boston comes off of a seven game series against the favorite out of the east Miami Heat. That will raise alot of eyebrows and create much press. With that spotlight, the Lakers may be able to use that against Doc Rivers and the Boston Celtics. Lets look at the matchups.

The Point Guards: Rajon Rondo looks to prove his worth in the NBA as well as his worth to becoming a franchise player for the Celtics. He has Derek Fisher and Steve Blake guarding him. Rondo will have the best performance of his career in this series. D-Fish is close to the end of his career. Rondo will be too quick and smart for Fisher. I don't really know what to say about Steve Blake other than he will do nothing to threaten Rajon. Boston takes the point guard edge by a disgusting margin.

The Shooting Guards: Phil Jackson may look to have Kobe Bryant guard Rajon Rondo. That may be a good idea but it may not. Derek Fisher could do well guarding Ray Allen I guess. Ray doesn't pose that much of a threat driving to the basket. So that could be a wash. As far as the Kobe Bryant vs. Ray Allen matchup, the Lakers have the edge. Obviously. No disrespect to Ray Allen who I think will still hit some big shots for Boston, Kobe Bryant will be playing for ring number six and another NBA Finals MVP award.

The Small Fowards: Paul Pierce was the 2008 NBA Finals MVP as he made heroic performances for the Celtics. Ron Artest and Matt Barnes do not care. They will both be all over Pierce. Look for some heated battles and tempers flare. We all know Ron Artest is a hot head and Matt Barnes plays scrappy. They will get into Paul's head and cause some tention. I give the Lakers the edge here at the three.

The Bigs: This is where the series gets interesting. During the Lakers last threepeat the MVP was Shaquille Oneal each time with Kobe being the sidekick. Shaq will now be known as "The Big Shamrock". He will find himself in the Finals again as a member of the Celtics. He will likely come off the bench with Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins the starters. Glen "Baby Shaq" Davis and Jermaine Oneal will be the next bigmen off the bench. The Lakers will have Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol starting with Lamar Odom as the sixth man. L.A. also added vetern shot blocker Theo Ratliff. His minutes will be limited  but he will still be a decent presence when he's on the floor. The difference here to me is Jermaine Oneal, Daddy and Baby Shaq. KG and Gasol will be a wash as they both are a threat inside and with their jumpshots. Perkins and Bynum will battle and watch for tempers flaring there also. Some have been saying the if Perkins were healthy for game seven last year, the result would have been different. Lamar Odom is unpredictable. Some nights he's the X-Factor off the bench putting up 20 and 15. Other night's he'll have 3 points. If they can stay healthy and out of foul trouble, Boston should always have a well rested front court. A front court that is too stacked for the Lakers twin towers and Odom to handle. I cannot wait to see the big matchups between these two teams but I give the Celtics the edge here with the very much stronger bench. The Oneal's off the bench will make all the difference.

The Result: There is no doubt Kobe Bryant will put up MVP like numbers. He will battle to his best abilities for that sixth ring. But I am giving him the benefit of the doubt when I say his threepeat will end in six or seven games to Boston. Rajon Rondo and the major line on the front court  will be too much for the two-time defending champs. Rondo will utilize that front court and lead his Boston Celtics to victory as the NBA 2010-11 Champions. He without a doubt will be the Finals MVP.

Monday, August 16, 2010

2010 NBA Preview: Western Conference

Season ticket packages for college football should have arrived or be on their way this week. So it's time for the Western Conference 2010 playoff predictions and All-Playoff team. Can anybody beat the Lakers? Let's find out.

1 - Los Angeles Lakers
        Fresh off their back-to-back NBA Championship, the Lakers add Steve Blake to their roster, resign Shannon Brown and sign their two draft picks Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter. Nobody can argue that they are still the best team in the West (do I dare say best in the league). Replacing Jordan Farmar with Blake makes their bench even stronger. Some are thinking Blake is the point guard of the future in LA with D-Fish's future in question as he is seemingly aging on the court. Fisher just had his least significant season for the champs. They still have the big three and also added Matt Barnes and Theo Ratliff. This could be the best Lakers team we've all seen in this generation.

2 - Dallas Mavericks
      Jason Kidd isn't showing any signs of retirement. The guy is still putting up triple doubles. Some say his time is limited as it may well be, but I still think he belongs in the argument of the Top 10 point guards in the league. The Mavs added Tyson Chandler who's had some disappointing seasons but he could still be effective for Mark Cuban's Mavs. They will have Brendan Haywood and Caron Butler for an entire season now, and of course they still have Dirk. That's three seven footers. Cuban sure does know what he's doing. The Lakers are the team to beat and he's doing what he can to compete with their twin towers in Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. Look for Dallas to have their best season since the 2006 finals.

3 - Utah Jazz
     There hasn't been much love for the Utah Jazz. Even after they beat the Denver Nuggets as the 5 seed without Mehmet Okur and Andrei Kirilenko. Are you kidding me? They  did lose two key players to the Bulls this off-season though. Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver didn't show any signs of wanting to resign with the Jazz. The two of them recruited ex Jazzman Ronnie Brewer. The fans in Utah were disappointed and ready to discount GM Kevin O'Connor yet again. But Kevin made up for what he lost. The Jazz traded for Al Jefferson and brought back one time Jazzman Raja Bell. Jefferson is more Malone-esque than Boozer was and provides more of a threat. He will also be better for Paul Millsap and Mehmet Okur as he is more versatile and can play either the 4 or 5. With Andrei Kirilenko able to play the 3 and 4 Utah has alot of upside in their frontcourt. A front court that no other team really has. This could be Deron Williams best season yet. Jefferson has put up 20 and 10's with a terrible Minnesota team. What will he do with an All-Star point guard? If AK-47 can stay healthy and the Jazz get decent contributions from CJ Miles (who's also coming off of his best season) and new draft pick Gordon Hayward, Utah could be very dangerous. The Jazz will be debuting their new uniforms with a strong push in the playoffs.

4 - Oklahoma City Thunder
    The Durantula and OKC provided the toughest challenge for the Lakers in the western conference playoffs last season. That was only the first round. Westbrook and Durant provide the best PG, SF duo combo in the league. They acquired Morris Peterson and made moves in the draft to get Kansas big man Cole Aldrich. With Durant making a strong MVP run again, and Westbrook getting better I see a very similar Jordan-Pippen team here.  I think the Northwest division will be the most competitive this coming season which could fair badly for those who don't win the division because the rest of the conference is just as competitive. However OKC will be good enough to claim a first round home court advantage series. The future is bright for the Thunder. Maybe just a little more of a supporting cast could get them atop the conference in the next couple years.

5- Denver Nuggets
     Denver didn't do much in the off-season. They still haven't resigned Carmelo Anthony and it's not looking like they will. They did acquire Al Harrington to their supporting cast though. I don't really see much of an improvement to their team with the addition of Harrington. Billups is starting to get to the peak of his career (if he hasn't reached it already). Starting to become an old man of the NBA but with all due respect I believe he's still one of the best PG's in the league. Melo is melo. The frontcourt is where the questions for Denver pop up. K-Mart, and the Birdman both have struggled with injuries. Nene has put up decent numbers but I dont see enough from the Nuggets to get them a top 4 seed. Their youth in Ty Lawson, Aron Afflalo and JR Smith will be the X-Factor for getting them this far in a competitive Northwest Division. Portland will be right on their heels.  

6 - San Antonio Spurs
     Thre are many questions regarding the Spurs. They didn't really improve much this offseason either. They reached the 7th seed in the playoffs this last season but they also struggled with injuries throughout the regular season. Manu Ginobili is their most dangerous player. Tony Parker was out alot last year with an injury and that gave George Hill room to blossom. So there's talk of trading Parker because of that. With that tandem at PG I think they will still have enough to make the playoffs. They did lose Roger Mason who made big solid contributions. Duncan is nearing the tail end of his career. Richard Jefferson needs to improve off of his extremely disappointing 2009-10 season. If that happens, look for San Antonio here. As the 7 seed last year they upset the 2 seeded Mavericks. So the championship experience is still there.

7 - Portland Trail Blazers
     The Blazers are young and inexperienced. Some would say they're cursed. They've had so many injuries the past few years. All-Star Brandon Roy, the face of the franchise has even caught the injury bug. Greg Oden has become good friends with the bench because of injuries too. If they can get through those injury woes, Portland can be dangerous. Andre Miller, Brandon Roy, and Marcus Camby headline the veteran experience for this young team. LeMarcus Aldridge has alot of upside and he remained healthy all year last season. Portland also added sharp shooter Luke Babbitt from Nevada and signed Wesley Matthews to a disgustingly high contract. The Blazers have everything they need to be a top 4 seed. But I don't see it this coming year. With all the injuries and new key players in Babbitt and Matthews they will all still need to find themselves as a team. It will take more than a season for that to happen. But don't be surprised if they end up higher than seven.

8 - New Orleans Hornets
 The spot for the eighth seed is going to be a close one. Of course the Suns will be in the running but losing Amare and replacing him with virtually nobody is a huge blow. He was the X-Factor for Phoenix last season. Turkoglu will have a great year but I'm not sure the Suns have enough to make it. I believe the LA Clippers could also land here. Memphis is another team in the running. Houston took 9th last year but even if Yao does come back healthy, I still see the Hornets here at eight. Chris Paul is back for sure now. No more questions after the Darren Collison trade. I love the addition of Trevor Ariza. Marcus Thornton was a stud last season and he could start at the 2. Paul, Thornton, Ariza, David West and Emeka Okafor will be a solid starting lineup. Peja the sixth man and newbies Quincy Pondexter and Craig Brackins will get some playing time too. New Orleans will rebound after a disappointing injury filled season. But they still don't have enough to get any higher than the 8th seed. Even with CP3 running the show.

First Round
1 Lakers beat 8 Hornets 4-1
2 Mavs beat 7 Blazers 4-2
3 Jazz beat 6 Spurs 4-2
4 Thunder beat 5 Nuggets 4-3

1 Lakers beat 4 Thunder 4-3
3 Jazz beat 2 Mavs 4-2

1 Lakers beat 3 Jazz 4-3

     I know I said before that the Mavericks have the best matchup for the Lakers with their own smaller and less prominent big three, but I still think Utah has the edge over them. Home Court advantage means nothing for the Mavericks. Last season they had about the same record at home than they did on the road and that served as a negative aspect for them as San Antonio upset them. I think Utah is too powerful for Dallas. Deron Williams will have the edge over the aging Jason Kidd and he usually plays with a chip on his shoulder in his hometown of Dallas. Also, Okur, Jefferson, AK-47 and Millsap are just better than Chandler, Haywood and Marion. Dirk will still do his thing but Utah's frontcourt is too good for the rest of the Dallas frountcourt.
    The Thunder will provide yet another tough matchup for the champs but yes the Lakers will rise again out of the west after an extremely tough first two rounds. Utah will find themselves in the conference finals for the first time since 2007. The Jazz made an unexpected appearance there but got manhandled by San Antonio 4-1. Utah has since kicked the San Anotnio monkey off their back,  but this time the Jazz will fall to the Lakers who always seem to have their number. Having said that it will be a competitive series. Raja Bell will be all over Mr. Kobe Bryant. Deron Williams will be the star for Utah as there is really no threat for him at the point. It is the frontcourt that will make the difference in the series. Kirilenko, Millsap, Jefferson, Okur and Fesenko (if he resigns with the Jazz) still won't be enough to handle Gasol, Bynum and Odom even though I don't see Ron Artest being much of a factor. I see the home team winning each match and the Lakers make their run for another three-peat in the Finals.

All Conference Playoff 1st team

PG Deron Williams
SG Kobe Bryant
SF Kevin Durant
PF/C Dirk Nowitzki
PF/C Pau Gasol

All Conference Playoff 2nd team

PG Russell Westbrook
SG Jason Terry
SF Carmelo Anthony
PF/C Al Jefferson
C Andrew Bynum

Honorable Mentions

Mehmet Okur
Morris Peterson
Ron Artest
Jason Kidd
Caron Butler
Andrei Kirilenko

Friday, August 13, 2010

2010 NBA Preview: Eastern Conference

I've been wearing my new coaches sideline polo to the golf course. Got my draft day hat and Frank Gore jersey all ready for standby. Football season is only 3 weeks away and some change. That means it's time for another NBA preview to keep us occupied for a bit until the season starts. So here we go with the eastern conference playoff predictions, and all conference playoff team.

1 Miami Heat
     Yes I was a hater of LeBron's infamous decision. But I am still a realist. The bottom of the eastern conference got weaker. Miami will have a comfortable 5 or 6 game lead over the number two spot. Wade is still the man in South Beach. It is his town. He owns it. He just recruited his buddies and they'll be having a blast being the number 1 seed. Not to mention their supporting cast is ridiculous. Mike Miller's best season of his career awaits him. Let the wagon roll from South Beach.

2 Boston Celtics
     Look for Boston to remain atop the standings. They may have gotten older with the addition of Shaq or recently known as "The Big Shamrock" but they're still stacked with big guys. Perkins isn't quite to the peak of his career. KG can still put up 18's and 10's. Pierce too. Rajon Rondo is the glue of this team. He will lead them to the number 2 seed.

3 Orlando Magic
     The still got Dwight Howard. Jameer Nelson needs to stay healthy all season. Carter was a distraction and they'll look to get rid of him. If that departure of Vinsanity takes place, Rashard Lewis will have more signifance with his shooting. SVG still has arguably the best bench in the league. He still knows how to win and this team has been to the finals. They will make a run in the playoffs.

4 Chicago Bulls
     This is where it all gets interesting. Chicago has improved their team greatly with the additions of Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer. With Derek Rose, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng, look for the Bulls to be the sleepers of the east. Do not be surprised if they get far either. I won't be.

5 Atlanta Hawks
     Atlanta is just a boring team to watch when Jamal Crawford isn't on the floor. Smith, Horford and Johnson will still put up their numbers. Bibby is getting old and Marvin Williams has been a disappointment in my mind. I wouldn't be surprised to see Jamal Crawford start at the point and see rookie Jordan Crawford get some minutes at the two. Still, I dont think there's enough of a supporting cast. The Hawks are moving down in the standings.

6 Milwaukee Bucks
     I almost have the Bucks at the 5 seed this coming season. Maggette was a great addition. Jennings can only get better and if the injury bug stops biting Bogut he can compete with Bosh and Amare for the best PF in the east. The future is bright for Milwaukee but I still think the competition above them got better than they did. However, do not be surprised if they, like Chicago can raise some eyebrows this season.

7 Indiana Pacers
     Darren Collison was the perfect aquisition for this squad. They've been looking for a decent point guard for years now. He and Danny Granger are going to be the next great duo combo in the NBA. Perhaps the Westbrook and Durant of the East. I like how bright their future is. Give them a couple years and they could see some conference finals appearances like the Pacers of the late nineties.

8 New York Knicks
     Alas, the Knicks finally make the playoffs again. Felton and Amare will be a good combo with Chandler and Gallinari supporting. And I love the addition of Roger Mason. They failed on Project LeBron ... but the backup plan worked well and I'm sure they've started Project Melo for next year's free agent market.

First Round
1 Miami beats 8 New York 4-1
2 Boston beats 7 Indiana 4-2
3 Orlando beats 6 Milwaukee 4-3
4 Chicago beats 5 Atlanta 4-1

Second Round
1 Miami beats 4 Chicago 4-3
2 Boston beats 3 Orlando 4-2

Conf. Finals
2 Boston beats 1 Miami 4-3

I almost want to have the bulls upsetting the Heat in the 2nd round. But Miami has such a phenomenal supporting cast it's disgusting. I have always been a fan of Eddie House and Mike Miller. However I also think that the experience of the Celtics will overpower the inexperience of the entire Miami team (besides Wade ... and Big Z I guess.) Wade will carry this team into and through the first 6 games but it will not be enough. The most experience they have after Wades Finals MVP run in '06 is as follows. LBJ and Big Z having success but choking late in the playoffs. LBJ and Bosh's medals in the Olympics for the USA squad. Carlos Arroyo's Gold medal in the Olympics playing for Puerto Rico, and last but not least, Mario Chalmers "Shot" in the 2008 NCAA National Championship. Yeah, Boston takes this one.

All Conference Playoff 1st team

PG Rajon Rondo
SG Dwyane Wade
SF Paul Pierce
PF Chris Bosh
C Dwight Howard

2nd team

PG Derrick Rose
SG Ray Allen
SF LeBron James
PF Kevin Garnett
C Kendrick Perkins

Honorable Mentions
Andrew Bogut
Jameer Nelson
Luol Deng
Joakim Noah
Danny Granger

There ya have it for the East. Stay tuned for the West and of course, who will be crowned NBA Finals as well as the Finals MVP.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

2010 NBA Preview: Awards

It may be August and the off-season still isn't over. And we're all ready to dust off the tailgating paraphenalia and call our TV providers to get the football ticket packages in a couple weeks, but it's not too early for my pre-season NBA awards predictions.

Rookie Of The Year - John Wall PG - Wizards

       This could be considered "trendy" but lets face it folks, Wall is in the best situation and the future of DC's professional basketball program lies in his hands. Even if Gilbert Arenas doesn't get traded (which it's highly unlikely that he doesn't) Wall will still sail away with this award. Give Washington five years and we may just see them in the playoffs with an MVP at point guard leading the way. Don't be surprised people. Especially with a high percentage of the talent of the eastern conference being in south beach, there's much more room for teams like Washington to be successful and perhaps be a sleeper in the playoffs. Runner Up: Demarcus Cousins C - Kings.

Most valuable Player - Kevin Durant SF - Thunder

We can all agree that Kevin is the best up and coming player of the NBA. He is the face of the next generation of NBA superstars. OKC gave the champs their toughest western conference battle in the first round of the playoffs. The team can only get better with that experience. Russell Westbrook is a huge stud and I think he belongs in the discussion for one of the top 5 point guards in the NBA. The two are very Jordan-Pippen esque. However, I think Russell Westbrook is a better sidekick. It is the Durantula's show in OKC. Last year was is breakout season. Time for him to be crowned the 2010-11 NBA MVP as he competes for a northwest division championship and a top 3 seed in the playoffs. Runner Up: Kobe Bryant SG - Lakers.

Most Improved Player - Blake Griffin PF/C - Clippers

Lets face it, of course Blake is going to improve as he was sidelined his entire rookie season due to an injury in the pre-season. Heck, it's hard to find Blake on the court in a Clippers jersey on a google search. However, I still think he belongs in the running for MIP. Sure Kaman will probably serve as the main target in the post but it's time for Griffin to do what he was drafted to and I think that he and Kaman could switch roles in the front court come May. The highly touted number one overall pick in the 2009 draft dominated at the University of Oklahoma. Some say he could be the next Greg Oden. Leave school early and be injury prone each year after. But the Clips do show some promise. Although it's tough living in the Lakers shadow, I think they're solid. Baron Davis, and Eric Gordon provide a great 1, 2 punch in the back court (If Baron can cool down a bit). New draft pick Aminu could be the man at the 3 and insert Blake and Kaman in there and that sounds like a much improved Clippers team to me. For my bold prediction of this year I'll say that the Clippers contend for the 8th seed in the west. Look for Blake Griffin's numbers to be high up on their teams stat sheet. Runner Up: Al Jefferson PF/C - Jazz

Dwight HowardDefensive Player of the Year - Dwight Howard C - Magic

    No surprise here. And it shouldn't be either. No one has really challenged Superman in winning this award the last two years. No disrespect to Josh Smith, but Dwight has this one in the bag. Also no disrespect to Shaq but Howard really does remind me of a deisel. He is the Shaq of this upcoming generation. His dominance in the post has been the main force of Orlando's success atop the Eastern Conference standings these past years, including their surprising and impressive victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2009 East Finals. Look for Dwight to hoist that trophy for a third consecutive season. Runner Up: Josh Smith - Hawks.

Sixth Man of the year - Paul Millsap PF - Jazz

Now it is possible for Paul to be in the starting lineup to start the season for Utah with the injury to Mehmet Okur. Upon his arrival from the ruptured achilles, that should put Millsap back to his sixth man role. This one however will be much different from the one he played the last few seasons for Utah. Carlos Boozer was the starting power forward for the Jazz and it felt a little bit like Millsap was living in his shadow. But with Booz bolting for Chicago (which none found surprising) and Utah adding Al Jefferson to fill the void, I think Millsap could see more playing time and more significance to this team. At 6'7 he's a bit undersized. Only don't tell him that. He plays like he belongs to be considered a power forward. And he could be paired up very much next the Jefferson who will slide to the Center position often. It's time for Millsap to put up near 20 & 10's as the number one guy off the bench for Jerry Sloan. Okur, Big Al and Millsap will be the perfect frontline that all star point guard Deron Williams needs. You could also add Andrei Kirilenko in there too as he plays both the 3 and the 4. Look for Utah to be very dangerous if they stay healthy. By dangerous I mean a 2 or 3 seed come playoff time. Runner Up: Mike Miller - SG Heat

Coach of the Year - Scott Skiles - Bucks

Scott came close in the running last season and deservedly so. With John Salmons for a complete season and the addition of Corey Maggette, the Bucks are now a trendy sleeper in the East. They could very well challenge the Bulls for Central Division title. That means a potential top 3 or 4 seed. Bogut's broken leg was such a killer for the team. Not to mention is was terrifying to watch. Michael Redd's future is uncertain but regardless of the outcome that brings, look for Scotty to take this award away in what will be a close run with Tom Thibodeau and of course Jerry Sloan who's in the running every year but falls short. Runner Up: Tom Thibodeau - Bulls.

There is the award class of 2010-11. If I had to create my own I'd put the Phoenix Suns as the winners of the most disappointing season award. They may have added Hedo, but they replaced Amare with Hakim Warrik. Talk about pulling the short straw. From conference finals to no playoff appearance. Watch it all happen everybody. I'm out.