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Thursday, 31 December 2009 13:56

           BODIROGA VIDEO                                          BODIROGA VIDEO

           BODIROGA VIDEO                                          BODIROGA VIDEO
Fans in the nations of Italy, Spain, Greece as well as his homeland fans of Serbia know and have witnessed, the true greatness of Dejan Bodiroga, but NBA fans, unless they are basketball junkies like myself, missed out on watching one of the greatest basketball players I have ever seen. At 6' 9" tall, Dejan was a combination of Toni Kukoc, as he would shake power forwards, like Karl Malone off the dribble, with his famous (Bodiroga Cross-Over Dribble), and a combination of  Larry Bird. Bodiroga was a spledid passer, always looking to make his teammates better, and could post-up smaller defenders like Andres Nocioni, if they crowded his cross-over handle. Bodiroga lived for taking and making big shots in close Championship games, just like Larry Bird, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson.    He started his career in 1989 as a 16 year old playing with KK Proleter, he also played with KK Zadar and then moved on to the deeper Italian league, where he won an Italian title in 1996, with Olimpia Milano. After the success in Italy, Bodiroga signed a big money deal to play with Real Madrid in the Spanish ACB league, where he won a European Cup in 1997. His talents then took him to the tough, blue-collar Greek league, from 1998 to 2002, to play with Panathinaikos, where he won numerous Greek titles and also brought him his 1st Euroleague title in 2002, as he outdueled Manu Ginobili of Kinder Bologna in the Final, earning Dejan the Final Four MVP.  His amazing play in 2002 for Panathinaikos, earned Bodiroga a return to Spain, with ACB powerhouse  FC Barcelona, where he played from 2002 to 2005, and it did not take Dejan long to pick-up where he left off in Greece, as he became the go-to guy along with teammate Sarunas Jasikevicius, winning an ACB title and also winning his 2nd consecutive Final Four MVP award as he gave FC Barcelona a long awaited Euroleague crown.  After FC Barcelona, Dejan finished his amazing career in Italy playing with Lottomatica Roma, picking and choosing his spots to guide this young team to a number of upset victories, before retiring after the 2007 season.        Playing for his national team, Bodiroga was even more of an assassin, as he won 3 European Gold Medals at Eurobasket's , and a Siver medal in 1996, against the 2nd Dream Team, at the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta.  He won a 1998 World Championship Gold medal and was named the MVP of the event, but his greatest feat was at the 2002 World Championships in Indianapolis, as he helped guide Yugoslavia, to a victory over a deep NBA roster, and in the Championship game against a formidable Argentinian team, led by Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola, Andres Nocioni and Fabricio Oberto, Bodiroga took over the 4th quarter when his team was down, as even NBA teammates (Vlade Divac and Peja Stojakovic) , watched Dejan, as he took Oberto off the dribble , and punished smaller defenders, Ginobili and Nocioni in the post, and threw in a vintage, deep 3 pointer, when the game was on the line, to win the Gold Medal at the event , and again win the MVP.      Bodiroga was the 51st pick of the Sacramento Kings in the 1995 NBA draft, and if he would have made the trip over to the NBA, he would have been a tough cover, especially in close playoff games that the Kings lost to the Lakers, and probably would have helped  put Chris Webber and Mike Bibby, to go along with Stojakovic and Divac over the top to a Championship, as he was Europe's ultimate closer in pressure games , against any competition.      







Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 August 2010 02:22
Sunday, 20 December 2009 20:04

Carlos Arroyo has had an up and down NBA career, that has recently landed him in Miami, with a low 1.1 million dollar non-guaranteed deal. Carlos started working on his skills on the island of Puerto Rico and played his college ball at Florida International. He began his NBA career with Denver and has also played with Toronto, Utah, Detroit and Orlando. He also had a brief stint in Spain with TAU during the 2002 season. During the 2002-03 season he moved on to Utah and sat behind John Stockton and Mark Jackson. When Stockton retired he took over the point-guard duties for Utah and had a fine season playing in 71 games, averaging 12.6 pts. per gm. and 5 assists  in 28.3 min. a game during the 2003-04 season. After the fine season playing for coach Jerry Sloane, Carlos played for the Puerto Rican national team at the 2004 Olympics, in Athens Greece. Arroyo put on an amazing show against team U.S.A, going for 25 pts., 7 assists, and 4 steals and also breaking Amare Stoudemire's ankles on a fake pass that brought the house down. Puerto Rico won the game 92-73 in a stunner and Arroyo went on to be named to the All-Olympic 1st team, with his consistent play the rest of the tournament. That game made Carlos puff-out his chest to the basketball world, that he was a player on the rise in international play. But that game also might have hurt his NBA future, because Jerry Sloane is an old-school coach, who is set in his half-court type of system. The Puerto Rico national team, is a fast-break system that lets Arroyo use his AND 1 type of ball handling skills, and let's it be his show. Carlos might have gone back to Utah alittle cocky, and the constant pounding of the ball, did not sit well with Sloane. Carlos was dealt to Detroit, and again this new team did not fit his fast-break mentality. He eventually moved on to Orlando, where he had a fine season in 2005-06, splitting time with Jameer Nelson while scoring 10.8 pts. per game and shooting 50% FG in 22 min. per game. He eventually fell out of favor with Stan VanGundy as his minutes dropped after a shooting slump. For the 2008-09 season Arroyo was given a 3 year 7.5 million dollar tax free deal with Israeli powerhouse Macabbi Tel Aviv of the Euroleague. Carlos played 1 season with Macabbi, and had a fine season, averaging 15 pts. per game and 5.8 assists in 31 min. of play. But Carlos always had the urge with being on an NBA club, so he optioned out of his big deal to return with the Heat this season for 1.1 million dollars. He is averaging 5 pts. and 2.1 assists, shooting 46.7(FG) and 40.0 on 3(PT) shots in 16 min. per contest after 22 games. The Heat went through a losing streak, and starter Mario Chalmers was late, so  the team decided to insert Arroyo into the starting lineup, and for the last 2 games it has put spark into the Heat, as they have won both games with Arroyo averaging 9 pts. per game and 5 assists with no turnovers, and Chalmers gives Miami more of a scoring threat of the bench. The fact that Arroyo had to wait so long this summer to find a team, after being the best player on the court at the 2009 Fiba Americas tournament in Puerto Rico, makes me think that NBA teams should have looked at what impact Carlos has in the Hispanic community, where ever he has played. Orlando has said Carlos would bring in many Puerto Rican fans to the building, which is why 2 Northeast teams should have looked into picking up his relatively low salary. The 76ers and the Nets would have gotten a fine player and would have seen 1000 extra fans in the stands of Puerto Rican descent, it was a move worth looking into after watching him at the 2009 Fiba Americas tournament this past summer.

Last Updated on Saturday, 26 December 2009 23:06
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 18:31

Allen Iverson's long summer of waiting for an NBA team, ended with the  Memphis Grizzlies making a deal with the former MVP and long-time sportscenter highlight package. Memphis saw a chance to bring in a big name player at a good price and maybe boost low ticket sales and also have a proven scorer off the bench to help in close 4th quarter games, but as the practices and games went along, the pride in Allen Iverson took over as he saw a  very young  team, that had a very little chance of making the playoffs, and to top it off he was sitting on the bench for good portions of the games.The Grizzlies and Iverson parted ways and he is waiting for a call from another NBA team. Many people say, Iverson still wants to be the man with the ball, as he was in Philadelphia, taking a role playing defensive minded roster all the way to the Finals with his dynamic scoring ability over larger opponents. Other people say New York would be a good team for the rest of the season, but with a bad record, even the bright lights of New York are not on his radar at this point. I have also heard a return to Philadelphia would be the way to go for A.I , as he would put some juice back in the building he often would sell out in his prime. He would put life back in ticket sales for the 76ers, but I do not think that appeals to him anymore, being the show will not get him any closer to an NBA championship ring. I think Iverson sees the same thing I see out there, with the Cleveland Cavs being the perfect fit at this stage of his career, to try to win a ring. As I wrote in my last article, Lebron James needs more help off the bench to contend with the deep rosters of the Celtics and the Orlando Magic. Iverson would be on the court with Lebron and Shaq and knows he would be a key player on the court in 4th quarter clutch minutes of playoff games ,over the solid and professional, but yet still 35 year old Anthony Parker and streaky shooter Daniel Gibson. Iverson's penetration ability would draw opposing centers into help defense, leaving Shaq to gobble up easy put back buckets. The acquisition of Shaquille O'neal will slow down Dwight Howard in a playoff match-up, but the minutes of pounding the ball at the top of the key, for Lebron will take it's toll on him. With Iverson in the game at the top, Cleveland can actually use Lebron's big body in the post to punish weaker defenders. The Cavs are the perfect fit for Iverson and probably his last chance at the NBA finals. Iverson knows he can still score 25 points a game on a bad team, but in the end he needs the championship ring, so I do not see any problems occurring for a one year run.  If Cleveland does not make an offer, then Greek power Olympiacos might be an option for A.I , as they are in a constant struggle with fellow Greek rival Panathinaikos, to try to win the Greek championship, it is like the Red Sox and the Yankees of Major league baseball as the 2 teams owners try to out bid each other for mega Euroleague star talent. The Euroleague may have to wait until next season though because the Cavs are playing well now, but in the end they must give Lebron another proven scorer to go for the ring that both Lebron and Allen Iverson both need, before the offers start rolling in next year from the New York Knicks in the NBA and Olympiacos of Greece with a 35 million dollar offer for Lebron's services.

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 December 2009 04:06
Tuesday, 24 November 2009 00:45

One of the best post-up centers in Europe, Greek big man (Lazaros Papadopoulos) has been waiting for a big name club to sign him all summer, and one month into the European season, he finally was picked up by Greek team PAOK of Thessaloniki for the remainder of the 2009-2010 season. The 29 year old 6' 11", 270 pound big man, has been a handfull in the paint for opponents, on former teams, Greek power Panathinaikos where he won the 2002 Euroleague title and with Dynamo Moscow in 2006, where he won the ULEB Cup, with fellow Greek talent Antonis Fotsis. After the Dynamo Moscow years, Lazaros signed a big money deal with Real Madrid of the ACB league of Spain, but his dominant old school post-moves went to waste on Real Madrid's, more up-tempo style. Real Madrid used a more mobile big-man, in Felipe Reyes at center, thus Lazaros sat most of his 1st season with the club, and was loaned to Italian team Fortitudu Bologna last season and showed flashes of the post-dominance, that he also displayed at the 2004 Olympics, playing with the Greek national team, where he outplayed Australian big-man Andrew Bogut and also helped foul out team U.S.A's future Hall of Fame big man Tim Duncan. When Tim Duncan was off the court, other U.S.A  big-men, Amare Stoudemire and Carlos Boozer had little shot at stopping Papadopoulos, without a double team. Lazaros is not a 35 to 40 minute center in the NBA, but for 20 to 25 minutes, Lazaros would demand a double team in the post to free open shooters for wide-open looks at 3 pointers. That is why I look at the Denver Nuggets, who played the World Champion L.A Lakers, very tough in last years playoffs, but have very little post-up ability other than Brazilian big-man Nene. Chris Anderson is a good energy guy, but himself and fellow forward, Kenyon Martin both do little damage in the post to give  good outside shooters, Chauncey Billups and J.R Smith along with star Carmello Anthony in getting good looks in a more half-court playoff tempo. The re-signing of French center Johan Petro, will not get the Nuggets over the top against the elite teams like the Lakers, but a post-presence like Lazaros Papadopoulos could have helped the Nuggets chances in tight half-court playoff games. Lazaros has decided to donate his salary, this season with PAOK, to the Wheelchair Basketball federation, a wonderful act by the big-man. Lazaros will only be 30 years of age next off-season, and with his old-school Kevin McHale type of game, he could help many NBA teams in the post, if you think I am crazy just take a look at the 2004 Olympic game against Tim Duncan, Carlos Boozer and Amare Stoudemire, the video does not lie.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 December 2009 01:47
Friday, 30 October 2009 01:11

Many experts, going into the 2009-2010 season, had the Cleveland Cavs, led by Lebron James as the consensus pick to represent the Eastern conference in the NBA Finals  this June, due to the huge addition of Shaquille O'neal in the recent off-season. The aquisition of Shaq, will help the Cavs, slow down Dwight Howard  in a playoff match-up, as big Zydrunas Ilgauskas was manhandled by the quicker and stronger Howard, in last years playoff series. But the problem is that Shaq will slow down the Cavs offense and take away Lebron's driving lanes, forcing him to take more jumpshots (the one flaw in his game). Another problem with the Cavs in the past was their guard tandem of Mo Williams and Delonte West, was on the smallish side, and had trouble on the defensive end and also getting their shots off with the taller Orlando Magic players, guarding them last year in the playoffs. Cavs GM, Danny Ferry, went out and aquired Anthony Parker in the off-season, to help the Cavs come playoff time, at 6' 6" tall  he has better size to get off good looks from the outside, but he will be 35 yrs. of age, during this yrs. playoffs. Parker is a solid player who plays hard all the time and gives you an occassional 20 point game, during the regular season, but his days of dominating from the outside with Maccabi, in the Euroleague, were several years ago.    The Magic aquiring, Vince Carter, Brandon Bass and Jason Williams, to go along with an already deep bench might be too much for the Cavs to overcome. Infact, Boston picking up Rasheed Wallace and Marquis Daniels, also puts them back in the championship picture. Lebron is the best player on the court in every Eastern Conference playoff game, but his bench,  has to step up to contend with Boston and Orlando, especially on the perimeter. Daniel Gibson is a nice scorer, but at 6' 2' tall, he also gets exposed on defense, and Koby Karl could not even get consistent minutes in Spain last year, with DKV Joventut. The Cavs had the chance to strengthen their bench with the 30th pick in last years NBA draft. Instead of drafting proven NCAA college players, Sam Young or Dujuan Blair, they took Christian Eyenga, who played on a minor league type of program, with DKV Joventut's 2nd division team in Spain,playing infront of 50 to 75 people in the stands. He has unbelievable leaping ability and only 21 yrs. of age, but can not help Lebron, like the 2 former Pittsburgh stars could have this season. Eyenga might be a star or a dud, but he will not come over until he shows signs of greatness against veteran ACB players in Spain. Lebron might get frustrated at the task of putting his team on his back,during the long tough grind of this years playoff push and could wind up in New York next year or even with Olympiacos, for a 1 yr. 35 million dollar deal. 

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 December 2009 04:39

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