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The Top 25 players in the NBA2014-11-11
The game has changed tremendously in regards to analytics and how players produce. The drive and dish for the three-point shot is the offensive choice for most teams and if you can draw fouls or score at the rim in the process, you are deemed a valuable asset. Also, if you are a big man that can face the basket and stretch the defense and rebound, then also you are indeed considered high caliber.
This list is littered with those types of players and unfortunately I had to leave off a few that will be challenging to be included by season's end DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic, John Wall, DeMar DeRozan, Gordon Hayward, Kyle Lowry and Rudy Gay to name a few. I know with any list questions and arguments will abound and yours truly will not hide in responding at the comments section.
25. Zach Randolph, Memphis
Beast in the paint with great touch. Reminds me of Alex English with that incredible size. Throw in the offensive rebounding reminiscent of Moses Malone and you get a consistent threat every minute on the floor.
24. Damian Lillard, Portland
A four-quarter scorer who is unafraid to fail in crunch time. Field goal percentages and defense need drastic improvement, but Lillard undoubtedly will become one the top point guards in the league very soon.
23. Kyrie Irving, Cleveland
Great handle with solid offensive skills, but needs a serious upgrade when it comes to defense, passing and overall knowledge of game from his point guard position. Playing with LBJ should help speed up the process (if he listens).
22. Dwyane Wade, Miami
Best array of shot-making in the paint and best post moves of any guard, but injuries and age are starting to take a toll on his body. LeBron allowed Wade to rest the last few years, but now he will be needed consistently every night.
21. Kobe Bryant, LA Lakers
Injuries have forced one of the most committed athletes in NBA history to play below the rim, but what we are seeing is the greatest perimeter footwork in the NBA. Kobe's ranking has fallen, but quite an accomplishment to still be a top player at 36 years old and with 18 seasons in the league.
20. Marc Gasol, Memphis
Marc is the most skilled big man in basketball and has a tremendous defensive mindset. He has slimmed down an looks much quicker, which means more problems for opponents. When he is making mid-range shots, he is impossible to stop.
19. Klay Thompson, Golden State
Quickly becoming best two-way big guard in the NBA. Lethal perimeter game. Defensively he might be quietly moving toward the top of the charts. His on-court focus and demeanor make you cheer for him.
18. Joakim Noah, Chicago
Best defender and big man motor in the NBA with improved offense. Can help the Bulls finally get out of the Eastern Conference this season. Outstanding leadership and commitment to the team.
17. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas
Still the best big man perimeter shot maker in the NBA. He can't play heavy minutes anymore, but if you get him into the fourth quarter in a close game he will get you a win most nights.
16. Chris Bosh, Miami
One of the most versatile power forwards in the NBA. Can post, dribble and shoot with range. Gets his chance to prove that he can still carry a team now that LeBron is back home in Cleveland.
15. Al Jefferson, Charlotte
Best player in the league at drawing double teams in the post with his lethal post moves. Jefferson has found a home in Charlotte and a coach in Steve Clifford that caters to his skill set and it makes him dominant most nights.
14. Tim Duncan, San Antonio
Duncan is a tremendous defender and winner with great heart and desire. The best leader in basketball from the frontcourt position. We will never know how good he is stat-wise because he is so selfless.
13. LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland
Lethal post game and consistent rebounding translate into wins. He has improved every year as a pro. Has learned to lead and win and that has put him on the map.
USA TODAY Sports Images
12. Kevin Love, Cleveland
Best rebounder and outlet passer in basketball, plus he stretches the defense with that great perimeter shot... But will he prove he can win big? Demeanor at times looks deflated when things don't go well, but is as consistent as any player in the league over the last few years.
1. Carmelo Anthony, New York
Top all-around scorer in basketball, but leadership and winning mentality not up there yet. The Knicks have given Melo the team and now they want more from him.
10. Tony Parker, San Antonio
The most underrated player in the NBA in the last decade. All he does is score, defend, lead and win championships. I would take him before any point guard in the league if I were focused on championships.
9. James Harden, Houston
He is the best offensive guard in the NBA because he gets to free-throw line consistently and has unlimited range. Has focused on improving defense and rebounding and that might elevate him more in the rankings.
USA TODAY Sports Images
8. Dwight Howard, Houston
Most physically dominant big man in the NBA when focused and healthy and no one is close when he is right. Infectious attitude and smile, which allows teammates to stay confident. Seems to be on a mission this season.
7. Stephen Curry, Golden State
Video game offense blows a game wide open. Has become a very good facilitator of the ball as well. He just keeps getting better and is probably the most exciting player in the NBA when he has the ball in his hands.
6. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City
Excellent two-way guard that can change a game on both ends whether it's scoring or defending. Best athlete and motor in the NBA, I would love to see if he could function off the ball, but regardless he is must-watch TV.
5. Blake Griffin, LA Clippers
Blake is the best above-the-rim player in the game with improved offense and free-throw percentage. I marveled last year at how much he improved as an all-around basketball player when Chris Paul was out with injury.
USA TODAY Sports Images
4. Chris Paul, LA Clippers
Paul is the premier point guard in the NBA. He needs to advance to Western Conference finals to solidify ranking, though. Has the full point guard leadership package, but can he carry a team on his back?
3. Anthony Davis, New Orleans
Scoring, rebounding and defense are oustanding for a guy that's just 21. Potential is just scary. By the time he's 30, he will probably have several MVP awards.
2. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City
He is the top scorer in basketball in regards to the perimeter game. His leadership is Top 3 and his defense has improved immensely. Although out with a foot injury, he still warrants second place here.
1. LeBron James, Cleveland
Best all-around basketball game in the league to go along with the best body to get it done. Struggles will test him in Cleveland, but all he does is win and he might take a clean sweep of the MVP award this season.
2015 Kentucky Derby Odds2015-04-15
Kentucky Derby week is one Apuestas Deportivas Golf Betting Online Bingo Tom Brady betting odds to win Poker Madden Betting Pandemonia
of the most thrilling times of the year. This race is known as "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports" for its approximate time length.
Check 2015 KY Derby Schedule May 1 and 24 at Sportsbook.com
Odds to Win 2015 Kentucky Derby
March Madness Bracket2015-02-15$100K MARCH MADNESS BRACKET CONTEST
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UCLA BRUINS (3-2, 3-1 ATS) at KANSAS JAYHAWKS (6-0, 3-1 ATS) Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series2010-12-02
Sportsbook.com using Kansas -16.5
Two legendary programs, one dynamic college basketball setting, history, tradition. That is about all that undefeated Kansas (6-0) and UCLA (3-2) will have in common when they take the court Thursday night in Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks bring a nation-best, 64-game home winning streak into play, and the Bruins will be about as welcome in Lawrence as LeBron James will be welcome Thursday night in Cleveland.
Kansas has been clicking on all cylinders, and they have yet to add top recruit Josh Selby to the rotation. The NCAA ruled recently that Selby can play beginning on December 18. So far without Selby, Kansas is shooting a Division I best 57.8% from the field. Their average margin of victory (35.3 PPG) is also tops in the nation. As a team, they are averaging 22 assists per game. The Morris brothers have been outstanding so far. Marcus Morris leads the team in scoring at 19 PPG, while brother Markieff is averaging 12.3 PPG and a team-high 9.5 RPG. Tyshawn Taylor has been stellar so far at the point, averaging a team high 7.2 APG to complement his 9.2 PPG.
After a 3-0 start, Ben Howland’s Bruins lost in the semifinals and then the consolation game of the Preseason NIT Championship in Madison Square Garden. Sophomore forward Reeves Nelson leads the Bruins in points and rebounds (17.6 PPG, 10.4 RPG), and totaled 30 points and 23 rebounds in the two losses in New York City. Nelson and Tyler Honeycutt (14.6 PPG, 8.0 RPG) are both sophomores, and headline a young Bruins club that does not have a single senior on the team. The poise and discipline of this UCLA team will be sorely tested on Kansas’ home floor. The Bruins have totaled 84 assists and 81 turnovers this season. The combination of a young team that doesn’t protect the basketball, playing in a hostile road environment against an experienced team that has won 64 straight on its home floor and loves to pressure the ball looks like a bad combination for the baby bears. Normally when Kansas and UCLA play, that smell in the air is tradition. Thursday night in Lawrence, that won’t be tradition you’re whiffing, but more like the smell of a young team getting smoked.
69% of action at Sportsbook.com is betting that the Jayhawks will cover the big spread against the Bruins.
KANSAS is 20-5 ATS (+14.5 Units) when playing against a good team (Win Pct. 60% to 80%) over the last 3 seasons. The average score was KANSAS 80.3, OPPONENT 63.6 - (Rating = 3*).
CBB: Early Dog Hunting2010-03-12
A handful of games had early lines for Friday, with the matchups already predetermined. Here is a look at the chances of those dogs that were assigned early numbers, attempting to figure out if they can cover or win outright. Get the latest odds on the Sportsbook.com LIVE ODDS page.
St. Bonaventure’s needs your prayers
The Bonnies won their opening A-10 tourney game 83-71 over DuQuesne as a one-point favorite. After torching the nets early in the season, conference play slowed down St. Bonaventure’s. However, recently the team has regained their shooting eye, converting on 49.2 percent or more in their last four outings. The Bonnies are 5-1 and 4-2 ATS in last six contests; unfortunately they will be up against Temple defense that allows 56.8 points per game and 38.1 percent.
The Owls have won seven straight and nine or 10, with only loss at highly respected Richmond. Temple has won and covered last nine meetings by an average of 19.2 per game. Sportsbook.com has the Owls sitting as 10-point favorites and they are 6-0 ATS as neutral site favorites for this high noon start.
Underdog Cover Chance – Slim
Contrast in style
St. Louis is the higher seed at four; nevertheless, they are the underdog to Rhode Island by three-points. Oddmakers tip their hat to coach Rick Majerus, but are not convinced the Billikens 8-2 SU and ATS close to the season is for real. Ignorance is bliss for St. Louis, since they perfectly suited for this moment, having only been favored twice during this stretch. The average total score of a Billikens game is just over 122 points, while the Rams prefer the speedy 94-foot version that goes up and down to the tune of 148.6 total points a contest.
Oddsmakers might be giving an indication of what they really think having the total at 128.5, definitely at more a St. Louis pace. Rhode Island sunk St. Joe’s at home Tuesday by nine points, giving them three victories in last eight games with 1-6-1 ATS record. The Rams are in the subemployment area with 2-8-1 ATS record as favorite.
Underdog Cover Chance – Not bad
The fight has come out of Illinois, losing five of six with two covers. After shooting 49 percent or better five out of six times from Jan.23 –Feb. 9, the Fighting Illini have become card caring members of the welders union having to repair broken rims since they have been clanging hoists at 38.3 percent or worse in most contests. (5 of 6) They shot 35.6 percent against today’s opponent Wisconsin only five days ago and they are 0-5 SU and ATS at neutral site locations.
The Badgers are favored by eight-points which seems a bit generous, but they are 12-4 and 9-5 ATS off a spread cover and are 5-0 ATS after scoring in 68-79 point range this year.
Underdog Cover Chance – Slim to none
Dayton chasing bid
Dayton was the preseason choice to be A-10 champions this campaign, instead it turns out they weren’t even the second best team in Ohio from the Atlantic 10. The Flyers reached the 20-win barrier with non-cover 70-60 home win against George Washington in opening round and needs more W’s to be strongly considered for NCAA bid. The players understand their task.
“We just know we have to give it our all every single night and we cannot let up," Dayton forward Kurt Huelsman said. "We're not perfect, nobody's perfect and we made mistakes. But we have to learn and move on." Dayton is just 1-6-1 ATS and faces their biggest rival Xavier.
The Musketeers have rattled off seven wins in a row and 11 of 12 (9-3 ATS) and are playing for A-10 title and NCAA seeding. Xavier has scars from last Dayton dual, being thrashed 90-65 and is listed as three-point fave. The favored squad has covered 13 of the previous 17 conflicts.
Underdog Cover Chance – Risky
Massachusetts dealing with arachnophobia
The Minutemen were the one lower seed (11th) to pull the upset in the opening round of A-10 tourney. They upset Charlotte 59-56 as nine-point road underdogs, despite shooting 32.1 percent. Next up is one the best defensive teams in the country in Richmond, who is also very efficient on offense. On the year, UMass shoots only 40.1 percent from the field and 30.1 percent from three-point range. Those figures correlate with the Spiders defensive numbers.
Massachusetts is on the receiving end of 9.5-points and is just 1-5 ATS as neutral site dog. The bright side is the Minutemen are 7-3 ATS with two days rest and has covered three previous meetings with Richmond. Unfortunately, these Spiders really get under opposing teams skin, with 10 wins in 11 tries (9-1-1 ATS) and only defeat was at Xavier by two in double overtime.
Underdog Cover Chance – I wouldn't take em'
Pacific Division Confrontation
Another late game-winner from Kobe Bryant didn’t make the Los Angeles Lakers feel much better, and their Firday night dual with Phoenix might be their last chance for a while to get a true boost of confidence. Before a very easy stretch of the schedule, the Lakers desperately want a strong all-around performance when they visit a well-rested Suns team that has been playing well. The Lakers are 2-point favorites according to Sportsbook.com.
While Phoenix (40-25, 36-28-1 ATS) has won 14 of 18 (14-4 ATS) to move into a virtual tie for fifth place in the West, Los Angeles (47-18, 27-36-2 ATS) has split its last 10 to see its lead atop the conference dwindle to 2 1/2 games over red-hot Dallas. “We need to play harder and execute a little better,” said forward Ron Artest, averaging 6.3 points on 4-of-24 shooting in the last three games. “Overall, we are not playing great.” Artest’s comment is supported by recent 2-8 spread record.
Bryant has been very critical of his team, particularly on defense, and referred to the Lakers’ most recent effort as “garbage” after a 109-107 home win over Toronto on Tuesday. It was nearly their fourth consecutive loss, but Bryant’s 17-foot fallaway with 1.9 seconds left provided the difference. “We scored a lot of points tonight, (but) that’s not going to win championships,” said Bryant, averaging 32.8 points in the last four games. “You’ve got to stop people.”
That could be tough against a Phoenix club which leads the league in 3-point shooting at 40.5 percent and with 109.5 points per game. Plus, the Suns should have fresh legs after getting the last five days off in a strange schedule quirk this late in a season.
“It’s important because we’re a little banged up,” coach Alvin Gentry told the team’s official Web site. “A lot of times it would be a bit discouraging because we’ve been playing with a good rhythm and you hate to break that up by going a full week without playing. But with us, I think it’s OK because we could use this week to get guys right.” It should be noted the Suns are 3-11 ATS with three or more days off. The Suns’ only four losses in the past six weeks were to teams among the West’s top eight.
The Lakers’ next three games after this one are against the West’s worst teams - Golden State, Sacramento and Minnesota - followed by a matchup with a last-place team from the East - Washington. “It’s giving these teams a quiet confidence where they think they can beat us,” an angry Lamar Odom said after the narrow win over Toronto. “I don’t expect that. We’ve got to take it to teams.”
Opening a three-game trip, the Lakers look to avoid losing five consecutive road games for the first time since March 4-15, 2007 and are 3-5-1 ATS as visitors since Jan. 31.
Los Angeles has lost two straight in Phoenix, giving up 118 points in each. Amare Stoudemire’s 26 points helped the Suns to a 118-103 home win Dec. 28 in the most recent meeting. “Everybody in Phoenix seems to dislike the Lakers which definitely gets us excited about playing them,” reserve Jared Dudley said. “But I think any time you’re playing one of the league’s best teams you’re going to get up for it.”
Stoudemire totaled 26 points in the previous two matchups this season and the Lakers won by a combined 39. He’s scored 30 in each of his last three games. Stoudemire and the Suns are 3-8 and 4-7 ATS against L.A. the past three years.
Another big man providing a lift is Robin Lopez, whose post presence defensively has helped Phoenix go 16-8 since he joined the starting lineup. Now Lopez tries to limit the effectiveness of Andrew Bynum, averaging 17.4 points and 10.4 rebounds in his last seven games against the Suns.
Sportsbook.com has the Lakers as two-point favorites with total of 213.5 and they are 15-6 and 9-11-1 ATS as road favorites, including being 1-6-1 ATS if the number is -4.5 or less. As expected, Phoenix has scored over 100 points in their last nine games and are 12-4 ATS after breaking the century mark. Seven of the last 11 meeting between these division rivals have gone Over the total and Los Angeles is 34-16 OVER off a close home win by three points or less and the Suns are 20-9 OVER after two consecutive games as a home favorite over the last two seasons.
This Pacific Division confrontation is available in local television markets at 9:00 Eastern with the home team having won and covered the last five contests.
StatFox Power Line – Phoenix by 4