Monday, July 26, 2010

Top 10 NBA Jerseys of All-Time

NBA Commissioner David Stern made the decision in 2005 to enforce a strict dress code rule on players. The reasoning behind this decision was that the NBA was no longer being represented as a business. Players would show up to games in baggy, hip-hop inspired clothing and Stern thought that it was hurting the perception of the NBA.

At first, players were hesitant to accept somebody telling them how to dress, but all of you out in Corporate America know that first impressions are everything. This is why you never see a CEO of a Fortune 500 company wearing pants three sizes too big and a T-shirt to match, because nobody would take him or her serious. In order to be perceived as credible, you must present yourself in a manner that suggests you are ready to take care of business, and that is exactly what Stern wanted.

Luckily for the Commish, not only did the players conform to this dress code rule (some more willing than others), but the hip-hop scene which is so strongly connected with the NBA has also changed. Now, instead of the biggest celebrities wearing their bed sheets around town; you see them delving into the world of fashion, and embracing it. The biggest NBA stars are following suit as well: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Kevin Durant have all made fashion statements (some good and some bad). Whether they are good fashion statements, or bad ones, anything is better than the things we would see before the dress code rule was instituted.

In honor of the NBA dress code, I am going to provide you with my top 10 NBA Jerseys of all time:

10. Phoenix Suns - Early to late 90's

This jersey, seen here on Kevin Johnson, provided everything I look for in a great uniform. It has fantastic colors, a great logo, and a sleek design. The road blacks are somewhat intimidating to opposing teams as well

9. Sacramento Kings - Powder Blues

The Kings wore this jersey in the 80's, seen here on Reggie Theus, and it adopted a sort of baseball style lettering with the cursive writing and underlining. Also, this was the first NBA jersey to have the players last name underneath their number on the back.

8. Washington Bullets - 1980's

In the 80's, the Bullets slightly changed their jersey from the one they donned in the 70's. Seen here on Moses Malone, a thin blue pinstripe was added between the thick red lines to give a little added style. Also notice the lower case letter "b", the Bullets were the only NBA team to not have a capital letter at the beginning of the teams name on their uniforms.

7. Indiana Pacers - 1980's

The Pacers wore this jersey all throughout the 1980's. The bold lettering and nice colors really made this jersey eye-catching.

6. Atlanta Hawks - 1980's

I think Atlanta should go back to this one for good. Great colors, nice lines and overall great style, if it weren't for the greatness attached to the Lakers and Celtics franchises, this would be in the top 5.

5. Boston Celtics

This jersey is just plain classy. Simple colors and lettering make this one of the best jerseys ever in the NBA. It doesn't hurt that the Celtics have won all 17 of their NBA Championships in the same exact uniform.

4. LA Lakers

Like the Celtics, the Lakers classic purple and gold have been the class of the NBA since they adopted those colors in the late 60's. So many great players and NBA Hall-of-Famers have worn the Lakers purple and gold jerseys, and when you ask anyone what color uniforms the Lakers wear, they will not hesitate in their answer.
3. Orlando Magic - Expansion Jersey's

The Magic had it tough as an expansion team in '89, but they did a fantastic job on the design of their uniform. One of the first teams in the NBA to use vertical pinstripes, the Magic combined great colors along with a striking logo to create one of the top three NBA jerseys of all time.
2. Golden State Warriors - "The City"

Some say "The City" was Golden State's attempt to make a joke on New York. Whether it was or not, I was torn between this great jersey and the one that I chose for the top spot. The lettering is simple and the use of the symbolic Golden Gate Bridge on the front, and the Cable Car on the back makes this a design masterpiece.
1. Denver Nuggets - 1980's to early 90's

The Denver Nuggets sported this amazing uniform from the 1980's through the early 90's, and I'm not sure why they decided to change it. The usage of the Denver skyline inside a shadow of the Rocky Mountains is genius, and the rainbow stripes that wrap the jersey are another great design feature. This is a much deserving recipient of FTS Top 10 NBA Jerseys.

Stay tuned for the 10 worst jerseys in NBA history.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

CP3 Update

In my last post, I shed light on which teams were atop Chris Paul's trade wish list. Since that day, a couple of teams have been added to the list: the Mavs and the Blazers. So let's take a look at the potential deals that could land Chris Paul.


Deal #1:
Caron Butler, Roddy Beaubios and DeShawn Stevenson in exchange for Chris Paul
I believe that Chris Paul is invaluble to any team that he may end up on, and the impact that he has on a basketball game is worth giving up these three players. Paul would fit well in the system that the Mavs already have in place, and he would be reunited with his old screen-roll buddy Tyson Chandler. The Hornets would do this trade because they are getting a versatile scorer and defender in Butler, and a young point guard with huge upside in Beaubios. Stevenson is merely a throw-in to match salaries.

Deal #2:
Jason Kidd, Caron Butler, Roddy Beaubios and DeShawn Stevenson in exchange for Chris Paul and Emeka Okafor
Rumor has it that any team considering trading for Paul must take back Emeka Okafor's huge contract, so in this trade I made that happen. New Orleans get the two guys they want, Butler and Beaubios while getting rid of Okafor's ridiculous contract. I think that Mark Cuban has too much respect for Kidd to ship him into the Bermuda Triangle, so some type of agreement may be in place to have the Hornets immediately start looking to trade Kidd to a contender in exchange for young talent or expiring contracts. If the Mavs do pull the trigger on this deal, look for them to start shopping Chandler or Haywood to make room for Okafor.


Deal #1:
Andre Miller, Jerryd Bayless and Greg Oden in exchange for Chris Paul and Julian Wright
I like this deal a lot for both teams. New Orleans gets an experienced point guard in Miller and a young combo guard in Bayless. Oden is the key in this deal, a former number one overall pick by the Blazers, Oden has been plagued by injuries his entire career and in my opinion, it's wearing thin in the Pacific Northwest. If Oden can stay healthy, many NBA exec's believe he has the ability to be one of the best defensive centers in the league. Not only does Portland get Paul, they also get a versatile young forward in Julian Wright, and we all know how much Portland loves versatile forwards.

Deal #2:
Andre Miller, Jerryd Bayless, Rudy Fernandez and Joel Pryzbilla in exchange for Chris Paul
If Portland is unwilling to part with Oden, they could still hammer out a deal by throwing in Pryzbilla's 7 million dollar expiring contract. New Orleans would have cap flexibility for the next two years (Andre Miller's deal expires in 2012) and they get two young talents in Bayless and Fernandez.

Stay tuned for more Chris Paul updates as he adds or subtracts teams from his list.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Paul Demands Trade: Knicks, Magic, Lakers Top His List

New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul used his friends wedding (Carmelo Anthony) as a platform to demand a trade out of the Big Easy. It doesn't come as a surprise to anybody in the sports world, however, as Paul has been very outspoken about what he wants in a franchise: a dedication to winning. Paul has looked at the roster moves that the Hornets brass have made this summer and came to the conclusion that this current team will not compete for a title in the Western Conference.

Not only was Paul looking for help on the court, he was looking for help on the sideline. Paul was unhappy when the Hornets front office decided to fire Byron Scott, someone who Paul looked up to and flourished under. When New Orleans decided to hire Monty Williams as their next head coach, it sealed the end of the CP3 era.

Why did the hiring of Williams seal the end of Chris Paul in New Orleans? First, because Williams coaching experience is five years as an assistant under Nate McMillan in Portland. When a player is evaluating a coach, its all about experience, and the 37 year-old Williams is not only the youngest coach, but he is also the most inexperienced. Second, because the hiring of an inexperienced coach doesn't show Paul that the franchise is dedicated to winning.

So, where are the possible destinations for Paul?

Lakers? ESPN's LandOLakers reports that the Lakers are now officially out of the CP3 sweepstakes


The Knicks are very much in the running to acquire Paul. The signing of Amar'e Stoudemire this summer gives Paul what he really wants: to play with another superstar. The Knicks also have Mike D'antoni who is well respected by players, and has the system that would allow Paul to best showcase his skills. The only snag is, what kind of package can the Knicks put together to make New Orleans pull the trigger? Any team vying for CP3's services needs to come up with nearly 15 million in contracts to make it happen. I'll start with the Knicks:

Deal #1:
Eddy Curry, Wilson Chandler, and Anthony Randolph in exchange for Chris Paul.
This is the deal that I think is a win/win situation. The Knicks get rid of Eddy Curry and his 11 million dollar contract, while getting Chris Paul and keeping Danilo Gallinari. New York does lose two young talents in Chandler and Randolph, but neither of them have the All-Star talent of Paul. New Orleans would pull the trigger on this deal because they would get Curry's 11 million dollar expiring contract, and two young talents in Randolph and Chandler.

Deal #2:
Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, Anthony Randolph and Danilo Gallinari in exchange for Chris Paul
This deal would be a somewhat desperate move by the Knicks. Is getting Chris Paul worth giving up a stable of young talent? I think they need to somehow keep Gallinari to have the deep threat that Paul needs to spread the floor. This deal is the best for New Orleans, they get Felton, an experienced point guard who can step right in, and a ton of guys with an extreme amount of upside.

Orlando would be a more understandable trade partner for the Hornets, they have better players to offer, and it gives Paul what he really wants: to play for a contender.

Deal #1:
Jameer Nelson and Marcin Gortat in exchange for Chris Paul
Gortat has wanted to get more playing time for a while, and could be a more than serviceable Center with more time on the court. Nelson has been great in Orlando, but he doesn't compare to Chris Paul. This is a good deal for New Orleans as well, they get a good point guard in return and a hard working big man who hasn't had the chance to show what he can really do.

Deal #2:
Vince Carter in exchange for Chris Paul
The Vince Carter Experiment didn't work out last year in Orlando, so the Magic would easily ship him out for Paul. If this deal happens, Orlando could use Nelson as a trade piece to acquire a shooting guard from another team to replace Carter. Carter would be the number one scoring option in the Big Easy and could resurrect his offensive prowess in that role, he would provide New Orleans with superstar talent and power that they would need to compete for a playoff spot in the West.

Paul has said that his first choice is New Orleans, but, the Hornets haven't shown a dedication to winning. The next couple months should be very interesting, and we can refer to this as: "The Demand".

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Doctor Delayed Knee Surgery, Not Bynum

Contrary to early reports that Andrew Bynum delayed his knee surgery, the LA Times reports,,0,183857.story, that his doctor was responsible for the 10 day postponement. Bynum will have surgery to repair the torn right anterior ligament that he suffered in Game 6 of the the Lakers first round series against the Thunder on July 28th, and he should be 100% by the start of training camp.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Oosthuizen a successful product of the Ernie Els Golf Foundation

The winner of the 2010 British Open Championship: Louis Oosthuizen!

Huh? Who?

That was the reaction from most people who didn't watch the 2010 British Open. For those who did, they saw a golfer with a beautiful swing, calm demeanor and soft touch on and around the green. Oosthuizen fought terrible conditions at the Old Course throughout the Open Championship and ended his weekend winning by seven strokes with a -16. His ability to overcome the high winds and Hall-of-Fame field shows that there might be a new force to be reckoned with on the links.

Where did this guy come from?

Before this weekend, Oosthuizen was unknown. In the previous seven Major Championships that he played, he was cut. Oosthuizen didn't let that get him down, though, he used it as motivation to get better; a quality he adopted from his mentor, and the guy who truly gave him a chance, Ernie Els. As I was watching this tournament, I noticed a lot of similarities between Oosthuizen and Els. They both have very sweet swings, they never get too high or too low, and they are both very soft around the green.

In 2000, Louis Oosthuizen was accepted into the Ernie Els Golf Foundation. The Foundation is set up to give underprivileged kids with talent, dedication and a love for the game of golf a chance to develop their skills. Oosthuizen's early career was supported morally and financially by the Ernie Els Golf Foundation for three years, and rightfully so. Els saw something in Oosthuizen that was more important than how long he was off the tee, or how many fairways in regulation he could hit; Els saw a good kid with a true passion for the game of golf.

Oosthuizen blossomed under the tutelage of Els and his staff at the foundation, he won the Junior World Championship in 2000. He went on to win five more events on the amateur tour before he turned pro In 2004. Oosthuizen's first professional win came in the Sunshine Tour in 2004, he won the Vodacom Tournament at Arabella, he went on to win four more titles on the Sunshine Tour through 2008.

Oosthuizen's success in the Sunshine Tour didn't necessarily mean he was going to have success at the highest level of Professional Golf. In his first eight Major Championships, Ooshtuizen missed the cut seven times. Louis stayed positive through the tough times however, and continued to work on his game. Finally, on March 28 of this year, Louis Oosthuizen won his first big tournament on the European Tour at Andalucia. It seems as if the great golf he played in that tournament carried over into the Open Championship at St. Andrews.

Oosthuizen's performance at the 2010 British Open, to me, was legendary. The conditions at the Old Course were as bad as ever and the field was a glamorous one, but the 27 year-old Louis Oosthuizen, nicknamed 'Shrek', never took his eyes off the prize. What made his performance so moving for me was his attitude about it. As you watched him at each tee, he was confident, but nowhere near cocky. As he trotted down the fairway, he had a pep in his step, but no swagger. When he knocked in that putt at the 18th to secure his first Major Championship, he tipped his hat and shook his playing partners hand. Louis Oosthuizen embodies what the game of golf is all about, The Gentleman's Game, he even bought champagne for the press after his victory.

From humble beginnings he came, and humble he stayed throughout the biggest moment in his life. I hope this is just the beginning for Louis Oosthuizen.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

How to Beat the Heat

No, I'm not talking about the weather, I'm talking about the newest "big three" down in South Beach. From the day that " The Decision" was made by LeBron James to join Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, every sports buff's mind has been running a mile a minute, thinking about all the different problems the All-Star trio presents to opposing teams. My mind, however, has been working day in and day out, figuring out ways that the opposing teams can stop LeBron, D-Wade and Chris Bosh.

One might think that there is absolutely no way to stop this three-headed-monster, but those people aren't looking at the big picture. The Heat, now with three players taking up nearly 55 million dollars of the franchises money, now have minimal money to fill out the rest of their roster. As of today, the Heat have signed G/F Mike Miller, F Udonis Haslem and are closing in on a deal for C Zydrunas Ilgauskis, leaving their roster looking as follows:
PG - Mario Chalmers
SG - Dwayne Wade
SF - LeBron James
PF - Chris Bosh
C - Zydrunas Ilgauskis
Mike Miller
Udonis Haslem
Dexter Pittman (Rookie)
Da'Sean Butler (Rookie)
Jarvis Varnado (Rookie)
*All rookies were Second round draft picks by the Heat

So I hope that every NBA General Manager and Coaching Staff is paying attention, because I am going to describe a few ways to put the fire out down in Miami.

1. Pack in your defense, maybe even play a zone.
I know this may sound crazy, but it would work. A zone defense is designed to be effective against a team who looks to attack the basket off the dribble, rather than beat you with the outside shot. Take a look at LeBron,Wade and Bosh, they are all guys who look to drive to the basket and finish with authority, and none of them are great outside shooters. I understand these guys are NBA players, but for a team who doesn't match up against the Heat as well as the Lakers or Celtics do, a zone defense would be a great option to attempt to stay in the game.

2. If you're going to play man defense, send smart double teams.
This seems like an easy concept to understand, but a lot of times you will find yourself watching a game and wonder why a defender left Kobe Bryant to double team Josh Powell on the block. Sending smart double teams means double off the guy who is least likely to hurt you offensively, and in this case, it means anyone besides LeBron, Wade or Bosh; if you're going to leave any of those three, leave Bosh. Look for teams to use their Point Guard to double Wade or LeBron in an attempt to get the ball out of their hands.

3. Let Bosh get his.
If one guy is gonna beat you, let it be Bosh. He hasn't shown the ability in the past to carry a team by himself, so make him prove that he can take over the game down the stretch. Bosh is a fantastic player, but he doesn't have the same ability that James or Wade have in truly dominating a game. So if one of the big three is gonna get off, let it be Bosh, because his impact will not be as detrimental to the outcome of the game.

4. Slow down the game, and get high percentage shots.
No one is sure what style of play this team is going to adapt, but I assume it will be a wannabe Showtime offense. If that is the case, opposing teams need to prepare and execute an effective and methodical half court offense. High percentage shots will be key, and I think that there will be plenty of them to go around. LeBron is a First Team All-NBA defensive player, but if you look down the entire roster, there are a lot of players that can be exposed on the defensive end. By slowing down the game and getting high percentage shots, it will limit the amount of fast break opportunities that I feel the Heat will live off of.

5. Take advantage of the Heat's bench.
I know that these three guys are in tremendous shape, but they do need to rest; and when they do, opposing teams need to capitalize on the weak Miami bench. Throughout the NBA season, you will hear a lot of talk about how a strong bench can make or break a team, and as of now, the Heat hardly even have one. When the roster is filled out, Miami will have one of the weakest benches in the league, and that could spell trouble for all they hype surrounding this team.