miaowang123 » Discussions


DeJuan Blair and Kris Humphries

  • 29 Jun
    SONOMA, Calif. [b]Jay Liggins Jersey[/b] . -- Although Dario Franchitti hasnt won an IndyCar race since last years Indianapolis 500, hes in prime position to snap that unpleasant streak when he starts on the pole Sunday in an excellent Honda at Sonoma Raceway. But if he can help Scott Dixon by stepping off the gas a bit, Franchitti would be happy to follow team orders. Franchitti wont put his personal success ahead of Target Chip Ganassi Racings fortunes. That means Dixon will get every chance to gain ground on IndyCar points leader Helio Castroneves (453 points), who leads second-place Dixon (422) with five races to go. "I want to win the race, obviously," Franchitti said after turning a lap in 1 minute, 17.5271 seconds to win his 33rd career pole. "But the big picture -- and we say this every year in our team -- we sit in the first meeting of the year, and our two goals are to win the 500 and win the championship. We didnt win the 500, so weve got to win the championship. Scott is our best shot at that, and whatever I can do to help him win that championship, I will." Will Power also hasnt won an IndyCar race since early last season in Sao Paulo, yet he feels the same way about Team Penske teammate Castroneves, who needs a strong finish in the waning weeks of the IndyCar season to earn his first championship. "Anything to help Helio win the championship," said Power, who finished second in each of the last three years. Dixon finished qualifying in second place at 1:17.7196, while Castroneves starts back in fifth behind Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay. That distance isnt much, but its a bit tougher to make up at Sonoma Raceway, a 2.385-mile road course in Northern California wine country. Passing is uncommonly difficult on the winding, 12-turn Sonoma track, which makes qualifying particularly important. Four pole-sitters have won the race, and nobody has moved up to win from farther than fifth. Its tough even under ideal conditions, but the Bay Area wind has been unpredictable this week, its direction changing 180 degrees over the course of many afternoons. The wind also blows Sonoma sand onto the track, creating unpredictable tire conditions and general uncertainty with every turn. "It was all over the place," Castroneves said after qualifying. "You really have to expect the unexpected all the time -- and then the sun is really beautiful right now, and actually no (wind). It was very difficult for everyone." Charlie Kimball continued his impressive recent work with a sixth-place run Saturday, easily his highest qualifying position in Sonoma. Ganassis Kimball earned his first career victory in IndyCars most recent race in Ohio. "The wind does totally change the track," said Power, who set the track record in qualifying last year. "Our car was quite tough. Im pretty happy. I think the Ganassi guys have definitely got a leg up on everybody here." Franchitti earned his third pole at Sonoma and his fourth pole of the season. The Scot said his team spent a sombre week working on the race after the recent deaths of Chip Ganassis father, Floyd, and the wife of former Ganassi engineer Andy Brown. "Its obviously been a very tough week," Franchitti said. "Were pretty focused on bringing a good result for the team." While the top two teams will do anything to help their top two drivers, nobody is conceding the IndyCar series title to the two front-runners just yet. Five drivers are within 111 points of Castroneves, including Andretti Autosports Hunter-Reay in third place and Franchitti in fifth. Castroneves said hes feeling fine after spraining his neck and cutting his shin when he crashed a stock car during practice on a street course in his native Brazil two weeks ago. He insists hes in top condition to handle the demanding Sonoma track -- as does defending Sonoma champion Ryan Briscoe, who qualified well back in 22nd place for Panther Racing in his final IndyCar event of the season. [b]Nate Sudfeld Jersey[/b] . -- Aaron Rodgers isnt out for revenge in Green Bays season opener. [b]Ron Jaworski Jersey[/b] . There are some early surprises in the race for the Hart Trophy, but two of the contenders are the leagues biggest stars over the past decade. There are many more players in contention for the awards than just the three that Ive named, and a good or bad week can easily alter the landscape, but through the first 20 or so games of the NHL season, this is how the awards races look to me.With the regular season right around the corner, TSN.ca profiles each NBA division before the first tip. TSN Basketball analyst Jack Armstrong also gives his pick for division champ and a player to keep an eye on this season. We finish our trip around the NBA with the Southeast Conference where the defending champion Miami Heat begin life without LeBron James, John Wall and the Washington Wizards look to emerge as an Eastern Conference power, while the Hornets return to Charlotte for the first time since 2002. Atlanta Hawks Jeff Teague in 2013-14: 16.5 PPG, 6.7 APG, .438 FG% Coach: Mike Budenholzer (second season) GM: Danny Ferry (third season) Last year: 38-44, fourth in Southeast (eighth in Eastern Conference) Playoffs: Lost in first round to Pacers Notable additions: SG/SF Thabo Sefolosha (acquired from Thunder), PF Adreian Payne (drafted) and SG Kent Bazemore ($4M, two-year deal) Notable subtractions: SF Louis Williams (traded to Raptors) and SF/SG Cartier Martin (signed with Pistons) Hawks Depth Chart POSITION STARTER BENCH Point Guard Jeff Teague Dennis Schroder, Shelvin Mack Shooting Guard Kyle Korver Kent Bazemore, John Jenkins Small Forward DeMarre Carroll Thabo Sefolosha Power Forward Paul Milsap Mike Scott, Elton Brand, Adreian Payne Centre Al Horford Pero Antic, Mike Muscala Few teams are looking forward to the regular season more than the Atlanta Hawks and not because of why they should be looking forward to this year. The Hawks should be looking forward to the regular season because they were gamers in the playoffs. Fading down the stretch in the regular seasons, the Hawks looked to be a soft touch in the postseason, but they were a big surprise, taking the top-seeded Pacers to a surprising seventh game in the first round. That should have been a momentum builder for a team struggling to assert itself in the Eastern Conference. Instead, nobody is even talking about the Hawks on the court. The real reason why the Hawks are looking forward to the regular season is because actual basketball might shift the focus away from their front office’s disaster of an offseason. Mired in scandal stemming from a racist e-mail sent by general manager, Danny Ferry (now on leave), the Hawks hope that the regular season will provide some sort of respite from this massive PR nightmare. Though, Ferry isn’t with the team or involved with day-to-day operations, the longer the situation persists and the longer the team is in search of new ownership, the Hawks have a cloud hanging over them. As the Clippers can attest to last season, off-court issues will distract as best the players attempt to put them on the backburner. This certainly isn’t something any of the players have asked for or deserved, but it’s up to them to persevere. On the court, the Hawks’ fortunes are tied to Al Horford’s health. Horford going down in December with a shoulder injury (his second major shoulder injury in three seasons) limited him to just 29 games last year and ensured that the Hawks would be life-and-death for the playoffs. A two-time All-Star, Horford can take the Hawks from a very average team to a pretty decent one and a club that will contend for the playoffs. Elsewhere, Thabo Sefolosha returns to the Eastern Conference looking for a fresh start. Sefolosha fell out of favour in Oklahoma City, but feels that he can still be a major contributor and can play starter’s minutes. He’ll be afforded the chance to prove his credentials under Mike Budenholzer and the Hawks will gladly welcome a return to form. Still, the team is in for a fight in the East and might not have the horses to make a return to the postseason. They will need more steady production in the back from Jeff Teague and hope that being in a contract year raises the game of Paul Millsap. If anything, after what they’ve gone through with this team, Hawks fans deserve a winner or, at the very least, a club that won’t embarrass them on the court. Projection: Fourth in the Southeast (10th in the Eastern Conference) Charlotte Hornets Lance Stephenson in 2013-14 (with Pacers): 13.8 PPG, 7.2 RPG, .491 FG% Coach: Steve Clifford (second season) GM: Rich Cho (fourth season) Last year: 43-39, third in Central (seventh in Eastern Conference) Playoffs: Lost in first round to Heat Notable additions: SG Lance Stephenson ($18M, two-year deal), SF/PF Marvin Williams ($14M, two-year deal), SG PJ Hairston (acquired from Heat), PF Noah Vonleh (drafted) and PG Brian Roberts ($5.59M, two-year deal) Notable subtractions: PF Josh McRoberts (signed with Heat), PF Anthony Tolliver (signed with Suns) and PG Luke Ridnour (signed with Magic) Hornets Depth Chart POSITION STARTER BENCH Point Guard Kemba Walker Brian Roberts, Jannero Pargo Shooting Guard Lance Stephenson Gerald Henderson, Gary Neal, PJ Hairston Small Forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Jeff Taylor Power Forward Marvin Williams Cody Zeller, Noah Vonleh, Jason Maxiell Centre Al Jefferson Bismack Biyombo The Bobcats are the Hornets again (because the Hornets are the Pelicans now…look, let’s not get into this. It actually makes sense, I promise) and Charlotte is a team on the upswing after making only its second postseason appearance in a decade Like its first appearance in the playoffs, last season ended in a first-round sweep, but fortunes are looking up for Michael Jordan’s club. Lance Stephenson comes over from the Pacers as the team’s prized free agent signing. Stephenson led the league in triple-doubles last season with five and represents a massive upgrade at the two. He’s a creative, two-way player with explosive speed. He can also be temperamental as seen in last year’s playoffs, including the ridiculous episode of blowing in LeBron James’s ear. The Hornets figure that Stephenson’s extracurriculars can be reined (as well as his below-average shot selection) in Charlotte and he can get a fresh start with a team crying out for a player of his ilk. His contract isn’t remotely egregious and, if Stephenson can perform up to the level he’s capable of, he could end up being a steal. His partnership with Kemba Walker will be a fun one to watch this season. The other addition to the Hornets’ starting five is Marvin Williams to replace Josh McRoberts who headed south to Miami. Williams is a serviceable veteran who can stretch the floor, but he’s a downgrade to McRoberts, who was a surprisingly adept playmaker for a guy of his size. The addition of Williams should also be seen as a bit of a warning sign to Cody Zeller. If the fourth-overall pick in the 2013 had any designs of starting with McRoberts gone, those were dashed with Williams coming aboard. Zeller got better as his rookie campaign progressed, but he’s still a long way’s away from being the impact player that Hornets fans hoped they drafted. This is also a pivotal year for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. While a fine perimeter defender who will gladly welcome the help that Stephenson will provide in that regard, MKG has struggled mightily with his offensive game in the pros. A gifted athlete, Kidd-Gilchrist’s offensive inefficiency is forgiven due to his tenacity for the most part, but his jump shot needs to improve in a hurry so that his offensive game doesn’t go from a detractor to an actual burden for the Hornets. The only lights out member of the Hornets frontcourt is Al Jefferson, who quietly had an outstanding season last year (21.8 PPG and 10.8 RPG). The Hornets have more depth this season, but the absence of McRoberts will hurt. That said, Stephenson is going to help a lot and the Hornets should even win their first playoff game this season. They might not take a series, but you will see progress. Projection: Third in the Southeast (sixth in the Eastern Conference) Miami Heat Chris Bosh in 2013-14: 16.2 PPG, 6.6 APG, 1.0 SPG Coach: Erik Spoelstra (seventh season) GM: Pat Riley (20th season) Last year: 54-28, first in Southeast (second in Eastern Conference) Playoffs: Lost in NBA Finals to Spurs Notable additions: SF Luol Deng ($20M, two-year deal), SF Danny Granger ($4.25M, two-year deal), PF Josh McRoberts ($22.65M, four-year deal), SG/PG Shannon Brown (claimed from Knicks) and PG Shabazz Napier (acquired from Hornets) Notable subtractions: SF LeBron James (signed with Cavs), SF Michael Beasley (signed with Grizzlies), SG Mike Miller (signed with Cavs), SG Ray Allen (unsigned) C Greg Oden (unsigned) and SG/SF Shane Battier (retired) Heat Depth Chart POSITION STARTER BENCH Point Guard Norris Cole Mario Chalmers, Shabazz Napier Shooting Guard Dwyane Wade Shannon Brown, Andre Dawkins Small Forward Luol Deng Danny Granger, James Ennis Power Forward Shawne Williams Udonis Haslem, Josh McRoberts (IR) Centre Chris Bosh Chris Andersen, Justin Hamilton A year ago, it would have sounded utterly bizarre, but the Miami Heat finds itself in the role of underdog for the first time in recent memory. With LeBron James taking his talents away from South Beach and the Big Three down to a duo, there are no more givens in Miami and this team will have to fight for everything it gets this season. Obviously, the best player on the planet is irreplaceable and the hole LBJ leaves is immense, but there are still some very good basketball players on this team and the Heat are far from dead just yet. As the forgotten member of the Miami troika, people tend to overlook just how dominant Chris Bosh has proven himself capable of being. It’s not so much that he forgot to how to hack and slash in the paint or be a double-double man every night, menacing the boards when he left Toronto– his role changed. He was no longer the focal point of an offence and he dropped back into a tertiary role. With James gone and Dwyane Wade’s health of constant concern, the Miami Heat is very much Chris Bosh’s team right now. I don’t think anybody is expecting him to score the near 25 points a night he averaged in his final year in Toronto, but you’re going to see an assertiveness that Bosh has yet to show with the Heat. Choosing to stick with the Heat, rather than signing with the Houston Rockets and becoming the third guy in another Big Three, Bosh hass reaffirmed his desire to be a number-one scoring option and lead a team. [b]Wendell Smallwood Jersey[/b]. In many ways, this could be the most important season in his career. As for Wade, Erik Spoelstra had the luxury of resting the 10-time All-Star as often as he liked last season, knowing that the scoring would be taken care of from James. It was more important to have Wade ready for a playoff run. That luxury doesn’t exist anymore. Not to take anything away from what a Luol Deng or a Josh McRoberts can bring to the table, the Heat will need more from Flash. Wade is an all-time great and will welcome the challenge – it’s all a matter of his body being willing to do so. He’s only 32, but it’s an old 32, considering the wear and tear. Wade hasn’t played anything close to a full season in three years, so it might be optimistic to expect him to do so now. As Wade goes, so will the Heat. Even after James’s exit, the Heat retain a vast majority of last season’s team. Along with Bosh and Wade, the likes of Norris Cole, Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem and Birdman Andersen are back in tow. Obviously, the loss of James means big changes in terms of actual systems and a game plan, but Spoelstra has players he can trust and is greatly familiar with to make those adjustments. The Heat will struggle like they haven’t in sometime, but the post-James era won’t be nearly as rough as their first season after Shaquille O’Neal left where the team was the worst in the conference. Though not the juggernaut they were, not close, the Heat will still be a playoff team and they have enough veteran savvy and quality to make the team that everybody will want to avoid in the first round. Projection: Second in Southeast (fifth in Eastern Conference) Orlando Magic Victor Oladipo in 2013-14: 13.8 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 4.1 APG Coach: Jacque Vaughn (third season) GM: Rob Hennigan Last year: 23-59, fifth in Southeast (12th in Eastern Conference) Playoffs: Did not qualify Notable additions: PF Aaron Gordon (drafted), PF/C Channing Frye ($32M, four-year deal), SG Evan Fournier (acquired from Nuggets), PG Elfrid Payton (acquired from Sixers), SG Willie Green (claimed from Clippers), SG Ben Gordon ($9M, two-year deal) and PG Luke Ridnour ($5M, two-year deal) Notable subtractions: PG Jameer Nelson (waived, signed with Mavericks), SG Arron Afflalo (traded to Nuggets) and SG/PG ETwaun Moore (signed with Bulls) Magic Depth Chart POSITION STARTER BENCH Point Guard Elfrid Payton Luke Ridnour Shooting Guard Evan Fournier Ben Gordon, Willie Green, Victor Oladipo (IR) Small Forward Maurice Harkless Devyn Marble Power Forward Tobias Harris Aaron Gordon, Kyle OQuinn, Channing Frye (IR) Centre Nikola Vucevic Andrew Nicholson, Dewayne Dedmon The Magic were in the basement of the Southeast a year ago and will be back there again this season. The team went with youth in a big way last season with impressive rookie Victor Oladipo being thrown right into the fire, playing 31 minutes a night and finishing second in Rookie of the Year voting. They’re going to do that again this season, but they’ve supplemented the kids with some savvy veterans. Still, this team is going to have trouble scoring and the goal this season will be an attempt to form some sort of identity going forward. In June’s draft, the Magic just missed out on one of the three franchise-changers in Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid and went with a guy considered a reach with the fourth pick in Aaron Gordon. Gordon has a good head on his shoulders and is a superior athlete with impressive smarts. He’s got a good first step and doesn’t take plays off. The issue with Gordon is the questions around whether or not he’s going to be able to score at an NBA level. He scored 12.4 points a game in his only year at Arizona and doesn’t handle the ball particularly well. He’s not the thickest guy in the world and will certainly need to bulk up. Don’t look for Gordon to be given the responsibility that Oladipo was last season and that’s for the best because Oladipo was much more of a polished product coming out of Indiana. Still, he’s only 19 and has room to grow and Orlando is a great situation for that. The team’s other first-rounder, Elfrid Payton, Jr., son of CFL Hall of Famer, Elfrid Payton, is likely to see more of a workload than Gordon in his freshman campaign out of necessity. With Jameer Nelson allowed to go in search of a winner, Payton gets to start at the one. A tenacious defender, look for Payton to be among the league’s leaders in steals in a hurry. He’s big for a point guard and cuts well, but will need to work on his shot. Like Gordon (and most rookies, for that matter), Payton is going to need to pack on the muscle. The biggest challenge for the Magic seems to be on who’s going to score for this team. With Arron Afflalo and his near 19 points a game back in Denver and Oladipo on the shelf to start the year (next to the absurdly overpaid Channing Frye), there’s no obvious offensive leader. Tobias Harris regressed offensively last season and is a potential trade candidate and, while Nikola Vucevic looks to be a double-double guy every night, he’s not a dynamic scorer. The Magic are a couple of year away from contending for a playoff spot, but they have a couple of very nice pieces, and, by the time the team will be fighting for the postseason, the likes of Oladipo, Gordon and Payton will be just at the cusp of their best years. Couple that with another high lottery pick this year and the Magic’s cupboard is far from bare. Projected finish: Fifth in Southeast (12th in Eastern Conference) Washington Wizards John Wall in 2013-14: 19.3 PPG, 8.8 APG, .351 3P% Coach: Randy Wittman (third season) GM: Ernie Grunfeld (12th season) Last year: 44-38, second in Southeast (fifth in Eastern Conference) Playoffs: Lost in Eastern Conference semi-finals to Pacers Notable additions: SF Paul Pierce ($10.85M, two-year deal), PF/C DeJuan Blair (acquired from Mavericks), PF/C Kris Humphries (acquired from Celtics) and SF Rasual Butler ($1.45M, one-year deal) Notable subtractions: SF/SG Trevor Ariza (traded to Rockets) and PF Trevor Booker (signed with Jazz) Wizards Depth Chart POSITION STARTER BENCH Point Guard John Wall Andre Miller, Garrett Temple Shooting Guard Glen Rice, Jr. Martell Webster, Bradley Beal (IR) Small Forward Paul Pierce Otto Porter, Jr., Rasual Butler Power Forward Nene Hilario DeJuan Blair, Drew Gooden Centre Marcin Gortat Kris Humphries, Kevin Seraphin The Washington Wizards would have gladly driven LeBron James’s personal effects back to Akron, Ohio had he asked. The team that gained the second-most with James returning to the Cavs, the Wizards smell blood in the Southeast. The team is positioned to capture their first division crown since 1979 when the Bullets made an NBA Finals appearance. But it won’t come without adversity. The first challenge facing the Wizards is an injury to one half of the House of Guards in Bradley Beal. Breaking his wrist in the preseason, Beal was lucky not to incur any ligament damage, which would have put his entire season in question. As it stands, Beal should be out until mid-December, though, the two-guard himself is optimistic about coming back earlier than that. The 21-year-old is coming off of a breakout campaign in his sophomore season and forms, along with John Wall, one of the most dynamic young backcourts in the NBA. The sooner Beal is back, the better. Randy Wittman’s team feels prepared to weather the storm of his absence, namely because of Wall. Blistering speed, supreme vision and no shortage of panache have made the 24-year-old one of the best point guards in the NBA with a claim to perhaps being the best. An absolutely mind-blowing statistic about the emergence of Wall: the former Kentucky Wildcat assisted on 43 per cent of every field goal made when he was on the court last season. Even with Beal out, the Wizards’ backcourt is in good hands with Wall, but Beal isn’t the only injury concern there. Veteran Martell Webster is still feeling the aftereffects of a lingering back injury and Glen Rice, Jr., is banged up with an ankle sprain. Otto Porter, Jr., a forward by trade, will start the year at shooting guard. Though out of position, the Wizards believe that Porter’s athleticism is enough to adequately defend at the two. If you’re talking about the Wizards and health, you’d be remiss not to mention Nene. With Paul Pierce, who proved last season that reports of his demise were greatly exaggerated (just ask Kyle Lowry), and Marcin Gortat, who just missed out on averaging a double-double a night in his first year in DC (and was rewarded with a bumper new deal), comprising two-thirds of a solid frontcourt, the onus falls on the big Brazilian to stay fit. Nene’s two full seasons in Washington haven’t exactly been that, missing 21 games two years ago and 29 games last year. When he’s healthy, Nene is fine contributor on both sides of the ball and an imposing figure in the paint. The acquisitions of DeJuan Blair and Kris Humphries provide depth when it comes to bigs, but this Wizards team will be at its best if Nene is playing significant minutes. If the team can manage Beal’s early injury, make up for the loss of Trevor Ariza’s athleticism and get close to a full season out of Nene, the Wizards win this division. None is a given, but all three can be done and the Miami Heat are looking at the usurpers of their division crown. Projection: First in Southeast (fourth in Eastern Conference) Jack Armstrongs Pick: Bradley Beal in 2013-14: 17.1 PPG, 3.1 APG, .402 3P% Washington Wizards - The Wizards will deal with the early injury to Bradley Beal just fine and the leadership of Paul Pierce will help. Theres a good talent level there and John Wall is still emerging. They gotta keep Nene healthy, though. Hes a bit fragile. Jack Armstrongs Player to Watch: Dwyane Wade in 2013-14 (54 games): 19.0 PPG, 4.7 APG, .545 FG% Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat - Its funny how just a few weeks ago NFL fans were questioning how much Tom Brady had left. Well, not anymore. Those same questions exist here with Wade and they might be more relevant. Can he still bring it? Yes. Can he do it 75-80 times a year? Not anymore. Hell still be Flash, but not as consistently as in past years. Wholeslae Jerseys NFL Jerseys Cheap Wholesale NBA Jerseys Cheap NHL JerseysCheap MLB Jerseys Wholesale Soccer Jerseys Cheap College Jerseys Cheap Football Jerseys Cheap Basketball Jerseys Cheap Baseball Jerseys ' ' '