The great migration of talent from West to East continued the last few days, as yet another superstar fled the Western Conference. This time it was Utah Jazz franchise point guard Darron Williams heading for the glamorous destination of… New Jersey?
Granted, the Nets will soon be calling Brooklyn home, but the move certainly qualifies as a surprising one; and one that caught even other NBA GM’s completely off guard. In return the Jazz get Devin Harris and the incredible potential, albeit as yet unrealized, of Derrick Favors.
A little less publicized was today’s trade between Boston and Oklahoma City. The Celtics shipped Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to the Thunder in exchange for Nenad Kristic and Jeff Green. It is an odd trade in that neither party really saw it coming, and also interesting in that either team would want to shake up its roster with less than two months remaining in the season considering how well each team was playing.
It remains to be seen where Green fits in with the Celtic Green, being that the Celtics are pretty well stocked at the 1-4 positions with Rondo, Allen, Pierce and Garnett; all four of them All-Stars. For the Thunder, they lose a versatile swingman and excellent defender, but also acquire a solid defensive presence to pair with Serge Ibaka and form quite possibly the best interior defense in the league. It’s clear this move was aimed at ONE thing – beating the Lakers.
It just might work.
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Today’s Free NBA Picks:
Washington Wizards @ Miami Heat -14
At first glance, my initial thought was ‘how can you lay 14 points in an NBA game?’ The more I looked at the numbers, the more I thought, ‘how could you not?’
There have been few teams in the history of professional basketball more inept on the road than this year;s edition of the Wizards. They did manage to steal the hard fought win at Cleveland to avoid going 0-fer on the season, but don’t be surprised if that’s the only one they muster.
Throw out the Cleveland game and look at the disasters they’ve participated in away from home: By 23 at Phily, by 25 at Orlando, by 22 at home against the Spurs. Those are their last three outings. Now they have to take a young team that has cashed it in for the season on a road trip to South Beach to play the most talented basketball team in the world. Fourteen? I’d lay 24 and not blink.
Gimme LeBron and company in a romp. They are 21-5 at home, and are winning by an average of 11 points a game at home. And no team in the NBA, save for possibly the Cavs, is a more inviting home matchup.
Free Pick: Miami Heat -14 – Click here to bet it at BetED ($250 FREE)
Phoenix Suns -4 @ Toronto Raptors
First Carmello exits, now Darron Williams. Opportunity has opened its door for the Phoenix Suns and they seem intent on walking through it. They still trail Memphis and the Jazz by a few games, but with nearly twent five to play, there is still time to stage a rally.
It’s been a long time since Steve Nash was absent from the Playoffs, and despite some rebuilding to the roster, it is likely the end of the road for he and Grant Hill. While the Suns have some renewed purpose, there is little motivating the hapless Toronto Raptors, who if not for Cleveland and Washington would get more attention for the awful 16-42 record.
The Suns have won twelve in a row after the Raptors – that includes both home and away games. That equates to a little more than six years without a defeat. Yes, the Suns are not the Suns of the Mid-2000’s, but these Raptors are worse than they’ve been in a while when Chris Bosh was in town to at least keep them competitive.
During the twelve game win streak the Suns have been putting up over 120 points per game, and have +/- of 11.2 ppg. Covering the four on the road tonight isn’t asking much once you take a look at their history.
Free Pick: Phoenix Suns -4 – Click here to bet it at BetED ($250 FREE)