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Dallas Mavericks

Offseason Report Card: Dallas Mavericks

Close but no cigar is a very good description of the Dallas Mavericks’ season. After taking a dominant 2-0 lead against the Miami Heat, the Mavericks faltered losing 2-4 in a complete team collapse. Though they can blame the refs, the team ultimately has to blame themselves for playing scared in the waning moments of the final four games. Josh Howard and Devin Harris lost their nerves in critical moments that contributed to crucial losses.

Marc Cuban is no stranger to the offseason. In the last five years, many big names, such as Antawn Jamison, Antoine Walker, Nick Van Exel, and Steve Nash, offered their services at some point in their careers. Cuban’s array of moves is probably the sole reason the team has always be a very successful team and naturally a shoo-in for the playoffs. Cuban continues the trend as he has been very adamant in acquiring playoff savvy and experienced veterans to instill the degree of poise necessary to battle pressure and finish games.

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NBA General

Team USA Player Reports: China

Different starting lineup, same result. Team USA cruised to a 119-73 blowout victory over China by applying pressure defense, finding steals, and forcing turnovers. The team is pumped and ready to start competition. Here is the second set of reports with a few added categories:

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NBA General

Team USA Player Reports

Last Thursday, Team USA dictated play on both ends of the court en route to a 114-69 blowout victory over Puerto Rico. Showing poise and passion, Team USA is off to a great start in reestablishing America as the king of basketball. Though I do not like to base performance on one game, here are my notes on each player’s performance that may prove critical when determining the final twelve.

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New Orleans Hornets

Offseason Report Card: New Orleans Hornets

Longtime Hornet icon Baron Davis is dishing dimes in the Bay Area, but the New Orleans Hornets still have sting. The Rookie of the Year turned team leader overnight, Chris Paul, has done an admirable job at point guard. His 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists performance this season resulted in an assortment of individual accolades such as Rookie of the Year, ESPY Breakthrough Athlete of the Year, and Team USA finalist for the World Championships.

Under CP’s era, the Hornets almost made the playoffs, reaching the seventh seed midseason. Unfortunately, the Kings and Lakers went on ferocious runs to close out the season, leaving the Hornets on the outside looking in. Given the lack of depth on the roster, the Hornets had to feel good about themselves. With just a few more pieces, mainly outside shooters, they will definitely be in the playoff hunt for seasons to come.

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NBA General

2006 Free Agency-Inked

Months ago, I previewed the 2006 free agent market. Since then, all of the prospective free agents, except Drew Gooden, have reportedly made their decisions. Where are they now?

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NBA General

The Fab Fifteen

The fifteen finalists continuing on to represent Team USA in the World Championship have been chosen.

Your Fab Fifteen finalists include:

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Chicago Bulls

Offseason Report Card: Chicago Bulls

After experiencing a quick reversal following the second retirement of Michael Jordan, the Chicago Bulls resurfaced, making the playoffs in three consecutive years. The numerous talented first round picks have led to this resurgence. Kirk Hinrich is the team’s point guard of the future, and Ben Gordon (Ben Jordan?) won the Sixth Man of the Year Award. The new generation of players has created a new image of baby Bulls who scrap and grind out their games.

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Toronto Raptors

Offseason Report Card: Toronto Raptors

Having gone a full year without longtime superstar icon Vince Carter, the Toronto Raptors officially entered the franchise’s next generation. Led by all-star power forward Chris Bosh, the Raptors are looking to once again enter the playoff picture. Management has been very active in the offseason looking for proper pieces to fit around their growing all-star. Careful decision planning must be made as they wish to avoid a Kevin Garnett situation, the player who in my opinion is very similar to Bosh in that both men are dominant forwards yet have skinny slender frames.  Without a deep team, Bosh could spend the majority of his career producing excellent numbers, rarely seeing postseason glory, and being blamed for it.

After another mediocre season, the Raptors’ only silver lining was Mike James’ breakout season in which he doubled his scoring and assists average. However, even James recognized his growth and was very adamant about his search for a big contract and his willingness to leave Toronto should that wish be unfulfilled. The main concern this offseason was addressing their point guard situation.

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NBA General

Flint Star: "All We Do Is Ball"

A copy of Marcus G. Davenport’s Flint Star DVD has been on my computer desk for some time. A documentary depicting the life of individuals attempting to leave the ghetto through basketball, I already had a few preconceived notions about the film. I have never lived in what people would deem a “rough” neighborhood rife with crime, guns, and drugs, so it might be an alarming yet insightful experience to be an outside observer. However, in my opinion, the subject matter appears to be overdone. Eminem’s 8 Mile chronicled the life of a rapper who wanted to “get a record,” leave his decrepit slum of a hometown, and live the rich life. Even the less glorified, less Hollywood, and more street Through the Fire detailed the life of numerous athletes, mainly Sebastian Telfair, from their time in the streets to the NBA…if they got that far. Yes, most hit the wall as one man interviewed in Through the Fire stated, “There comes a time when you realize that you won’t get paid for this [playing basketball].”

I do not have issues with people wanting to be professional athletes or any other type of famous icon; however, I have issue with those that feel that there is no other way to be successful. The Flint residents are blinded. They see basketball as the only key to success and place absolutely no value on education which to them is merely an obstacle. Mateen Cleaves, one of the successful Flint athletes, mentions how he went to school just to make whatever grade needed to keep him eligible to play basketball.

Attack me for not understanding the Flint culture, but the following explains why I think Flint has more options than playing ball:

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Random Thoughts

The ESPY’s: A Show Not About Sports

Before my religious viewing of Fox’s Sunday night programming, I flipped the channel to watch the ESPY awards. In days of yore, it would be a no-brainer whether or not to watch the show. I watched Kobe effortlessly climb up the Laker ladder of history, and I watched Vince Young single-handedly run his team to victory. Reliving those moments is simply a Youtube search away. However, being a college kid, I left home and had something of a long distance relationship with the boob tube (too much homework). As a result, I made a vehement effort to catch the sports highlights I missed this year while not sacrificing an extravagant amount of Simpsons, Family Guy, and (dare I say it) American Dad content.