Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fantasy Football: Week 5 QB Rankings

Notes: - These rankings aren't strictly for this week, they're rankings as of this week.
           - Previous rankings from Week 3 (not 4)

1. Drew Brees (Up 1)
2. Peyton Manning (Up 1)
3. Aaron Rodgers (Down 2)
4. Matt Ryan (Even)
5. Tom Brady (Even)
6. Matthew Stafford (Up 1)
7. Cam Newton (Up 1)
8. Robert Griffin (Down 2)
9. Tony Romo (Up 1)
10. Michael Vick (Up 4)
11. Andrew Luck (Up 2)
12. Matt Schaub (Even)
13. Philip Rivers (Up 3)
14. Colin Kaepernick (Down 5)
15. Eli Manning (Down 4)
16. Jay Cutler (Up 3)
17. Russell Wilson (Down 2)
18. Ben Roethlisberger (Up 3)
19. Joe Flacco (Down 2)
20. Alex Smith (Up 3)
21. Andy Dalton (Down 3)
22. Sam Bradford (Down 2)
23. Terelle Pryor (N/A)
24. Ryan Tannehill (Even)
25. Matt Cassel (N/A)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Fantasy Football: Week 3 RB Rankings

Note: These rankings aren't strictly for this week, they're rankings as of this week.

1. Adrian Peterson (Even)
2. Doug Martin (Up 1)
3. Arian Foster (Down 1)
4. Marshawn Lynch (Even)
5. Jamaal Charles (Even)
6. LeSean McCoy (Up 1)
7. CJ Spiller (Up 1)
8. Matt Forte (Up 2)
9. Ray Rice (Down 3)
10. Alfred Morris (Down 1)
11. Chris Johnson (Up 2)
12. Trent Richardson (Even)
13. Steven Jackson (Even)
14. Maurice Jones-Drew (Down 3)
15. Reggie Bush (Up 1)
16. DeMarco Murray (Up 1)
17. Darren Sproles (Up 2)
18. Frank Gore (Down 3)
19. Ryan Mathews (Up 1)
20. Darren McFadden (Up 2)
21. Stevan Ridley (Down 3)
22. DeAngelo Williams (Up 2)
23. Lamar Miller (Up 2)
24. Eddie Lacy (Down 3)
25. Rashard Mendenhall (Up 1)
26. Daryl Richardson (Down 4)
27. BenJarvus Green-Ellis (Up 1)
28. Giovani Bernard (N/A)
29. Ben Tate (Up 1)
30. Knowshon Moreno (N/A)
31. James Starks (N/A)
32. Chris Ivory (N/A)
33. Fred Jackson (N/A)
34. Bernard Pierce (N/A)
35. Joique Bell (N/A)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fantasy Football: Week 3 WR Rankings

Note: These rankings aren't strictly for this week, they're rankings as of this week.

1. Calvin Johnson (Even)
2. AJ Green (Even)
3. Brandon Marshall (Even)
4. Demaryius Thomas (Even)
5. Dez Bryant (Even)
6. Victor Cruz (Even)
7. Julio Jones (Even)
8. Andre Johnson (Up 1)
9. Wes Welker (Up 2)
10. Larry Fitzgerald (Down 2)
11. Randall Cobb (Up 2)
12. Jordy Nelson (Up 2)
13. Vincent Jackson (Down 1)
14. Roddy White (Down 4)
15. Reggie Wayne (Even)
16. Marques Colston (Even)
17. Torrey Smith (Up 1)
18. Hakeem Nicks (Up 2)
19. Mike Wallace (Up 4)
20. Pierre Garcon (Up 5)
21. DeSean Jackson (Up 3)
22. Steve Smith (Down 5)
23. Eric Decker (Down 1)
24. Stevie Johnson (Up 3)
25. Danny Amendola (Down 4)
26. Dwayne Bowe (Down 7)
27. Anquan Boldin (Down 1)
28. Julian Edelman (Up 3)
29. James Jones (Down 1)
30. Antonio Brown (Down 1)
31. Brian Hartline (Down 1)

32. TY Hilton (Up 3)
33. Cecil Shorts (Down 1)
34. Miles Austin (Even)
35. DeAndre Hopkins (N/A)
36. Mike Williams (Down 3)
37. Eddie Royal (N/A)
38. Emmanuel Sanders (Even)
39. Greg Jennings (N/A)
40. Marlon Brown (N/A)

Fantasy Football: Week 3 QB Rankings

Note: These rankings aren't strictly for this week, they're rankings as of this week.

1. Aaron Rodgers (Up 1)
2. Drew Brees (Down 1)
3. Peyton Manning (Even)
4. Matt Ryan (Up 1)
5. Tom Brady (Down 1)
6. Robert Griffin (Even)
7. Matt Stafford (Even)
8. Cam Newton (Even)
9. Colin Kaepernick (Even)
10. Tony Romo (Even)
11. Eli Manning (Even)
12. Matt Schaub (Up 2)
13. Andrew Luck (Down 1)
14. Michael Vick (Up 4)
15. Russell Wilson (Down 2)
16. Philip Rivers (Up 1)
17. Joe Flacco (Down 2)
18. Andy Dalton (Up 1)
19. Jay Cutler (Up 2)
20. Sam Bradford (Up 3)
21. Ben Roethlisberger (Down 5)
22. Carson Palmer (Down 2)
23. Alex Smith (Up 2)
24. Ryan Tannehill (Even)
25. EJ Manuel (N/A)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fantasy Football: Week 2 RB Rankings

Note: These rankings aren't strictly for this week, they're rankings as of this week.

1. Adrian Peterson (Even)
2. Arian Foster (Even)
3. Doug Martin (Even)
4. Marshawn Lynch (Even)
5. Jamaal Charles (Up 1)
6. Ray Rice (Down 1)
7. LeSean McCoy (Even)
8. CJ Spiller (Even)
9. Alfred Morris (Even)
10. Matt Forte (Up 2)
11. Maurice Jones-Drew (Down 1)
12. Trent Richardson (Down 1)
13. Steven Jackson (Up 3)
14. Chris Johnson (Down 1)
15. Frank Gore (Even)
16. Reggie Bush (Up 1)
17. DeMarco Murray (Up 1)
18. Stevan Ridley (Down 4)
19. Darren Sproles (Up 1)
20. Ryan Mathews (Up 1)
21. Eddie Lacy (Up 1)
22. Darren McFadden (Up 3)
23. Daryl Richardson (Up 4)
24. DeAngelo Williams (Up 8)
25. Lamar Miller (Down 6)
26. Rashard Mendenhall (Up 7)
27. Ahmad Bradshaw (Up 3)
28. BenJarvus Green-Ellis (Down 5)
29. Ben Tate (Up 6)
30. Isaac Redman (N/A)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Fantasy Football: Week 2 WR Rankings

Note: These rankings aren't strictly for this week, they're rankings as of this week.

1. Calvin Johnson (Even)
2. AJ Green (Even)
3. Brandon Marshall (Even)
4. Demaryius Thomas (Even)
5. Dez Bryant (Even)
6. Victor Cruz (Up 1)
7. Julio Jones (Up 1)
8. Larry Fitzgerald (Up 3)
9. Andre Johnson (Even)
10. Roddy White (Down 4)
11. Wes Welker (Down 1)
12. Vincent Jackson (Even)
13. Randall Cobb (Even)
14. Jordy Nelson (Even)
15. Reggie Wayne (Up 1)
16. Marques Colston (Up 1)
17. Steve Smith (Up 3)
18. Torrey Smith (Up 1)
19. Dwayne Bowe (Down 4)
20. Hakeem Nicks (Up 6)
21. Danny Amendola (Up 3)
22. Eric Decker (Down 4)
23. Mike Wallace (Down 2)
24. DeSean Jackson (Up 5)
25. Pierre Garcon (Down 3)
26. Anquan Boldin (Up 9)
27. Stevie Johnson (Down 3)
28. James Jones (Down 3)
29. Antonio Brown (Down 2)
30. Brian Hartline (Up 9)
31. Julian Edelman (N/A)
32. Cecil Shorts (Down 2)
33. Mike Williams (Even)
34. Miles Austin (Down 3)
35. TY Hilton (Down 1)
36. Lance Moore (Up 1)
37. Denarius Moore (Up 3)
38. Emmanuel Sanders (N/A)
39. Leonard Hankerson (N/A)
40. Michael Floyd (N/A)

Fantasy Football: Week 2 QB Rankings

Note: These rankings aren't strictly for this week, they're rankings as of this week.

1. Drew Brees (Even)
2. Aaron Rodgers (Even)
3. Peyton Manning (Even)
4. Tom Brady (Even)
5. Matt Ryan (Even)
6. Robert Griffin (Up 1)
7. Matt Stafford (Up 1)
8. Cam Newton (Down 2)
9. Colin Kaepernick (Up 1)
10. Tony Romo (Down 1)
11. Eli Manning (Even)
12. Andrew Luck (Even)
13. Russell Wilson (Even)
14. Matt Schaub (Even)
15. Joe Flacco (Up 1)
16. Ben Roethlisberger (Down 1)
17. Philip Rivers (Even)
18. Michael Vick (Up 2)
19. Andy Dalton (Down 1)
20. Carson Palmer (Up 1)
21. Jay Cutler (Up 1)
22. Josh Freeman (Down 3)
23. Sam Bradford (Even)
24. Ryan Tannehill (Even)
25. Alex Smith (N/A)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Allen Iverson retires a legend

Allen Iverson is a sure first-ballot Hall-of-Famer that has made his mark on the history of the game.  Sure, A.I. may not have ended his career on the note he would have liked to.  However, a superstar status like Iverson truly can’t go a whole career without receiving criticism and making a few poor decisions.
For the majority of his career, Allen Iverson was fantastic, to say the least.  “The Answer” was definitely one-of-a-kind with his lethal combination of blazing speed and scoring ability.  That brings me to an interesting point.
Zach Tennen on Allen Iverson
Iverson came into the league as pure a scorer as they get as he averaged 23.5 points per game his rookie season (that’s harder than it sounds).  A lot of great players take a few years to become first-class bucket-makers.  Even rookie LeBron James didn’t quite have the touch to consistently put the ball in the basket like Iverson could (excluding LeBron’s strength to get to the line).
At his peak, A.I. averaged 31 points per game and he did that three different years.  Unfortunately, Iverson wasn’t able to stick around as long as Kobe Bryant as an elite superstar.  Had Iverson been in the same situations as Kobe, maybe he would have.  Regardless, it was almost impossible to make a gameplan to stop both Kobe and Iverson.
Allen Iverson managed to reach the Finals only once and lost in five games to the Kobe & Shaq-led Lakers.  You can’t hold that against him, though.  There were definitely times Iverson could have been more mature in the locker room.  However, all-in-all, Iverson ultimately brought his team to another level (2001 76ers).
It wasn’t only about skill and craftiness for A.I., though.  He had that hunger almost nobody else played with.  His mentality to carry his team and be that guy is what brought him to the top of the NBA.  His swagger and mean attitude to go along with that, Iverson would never go unnoticed by his NBA peers.

Follow me on Twitter @ZTennen11

Monday, August 19, 2013

NBA All-Underrated Team

There are always NBA players that are overlooked and regarded as just ordinary bench players.  I always keep an eye out for those type of players; the players that aren’t recognized enough for the impact they make on the court as well as players who have the potential to be solid players for their team.  That said, let me introduce you to my NBA all-underrated squad:

Zach Tennen on Reggie Jackson
Courtesy of
PG: Reggie Jackson (OKC) 
Jackson is a very athletic, well-rounded player that probably is capable of being a starter.  Playing behind Russell Westbrook, it’s difficult for Jackson to expose his talent.  Jackson actually had the chance to prove himself when OKC was hit with Westbrook’s season-ending injury.  While it’s unreasonable to expect Jackson to replace Westbrook, he did do a quality job of stepping up as the team’s starting point guard in the playoffs.
Although there’s the possibility of him being stuck behind Westbrook for a bit longer, there’s also the possibility of the two starting together at some point.  Point guard isn’t Russell Westbrook’s natural position.  However, OKC loves the advantages they have by putting him there.  Assuming Westbrook continues to start at point guard, Jackson will be a key contributor off the bench for a contender like the Thunder.

SG: Evan Fournier (DEN) 
Zach Tennen on Evan Fournier
Courtesy of
The 20-year-old from France isn’t talked about a whole lot outside of the Nugget organization.  Fournier is a really smooth player who has the ability to play both the two and three.  When given the opportunity to play last season, he showed his ability to be a dynamic offensive player.  He has a really nice stroke and he’s also capable of getting to the basket.
With the departure of Andre Iguodala, Fournier could start to see some more time at small forward.  Denver signed two guards in Nate Robinson and Randy Foye so they are pretty guard heavy.  Don’t expect Denver to utilize Fournier to his fullest just yet.  He is still very young and they will probably keep their focus on developing him for the future.Zach Tennen on Quincy Pondexter

SF: Quincy Pondexter (MEM)
One noticeable trait about Quincy Pondexter is his work ethic.  Pondexter isn’t up there with the best wing players, but he works harder than almost all of them.  That, alone, should allow him to have a successful NBA career.  Quincy does what is asked of him and keeps his mouth shut.  Not only is he a hard worker, but he has a dependable long-range jumper from the corner.
After a few great seasons, Memphis has the potential to start slipping a little bit.  They traded Rudy Gay which freed up a ton of room for Pondexter last season.  As Zach Randolph and Tayshaun Prince continue to age, Memphis is going to turn toward other players.  If Prince continues to start, they will depend on Pondexter as sixth man where he should excel.  Quincy brings tremendous energy to a team that thrives off high energy.Zach Tennen on Patrick Patterson

PF: Patrick Patterson (SAC)
Patterson is a face-up power forward who has the ability to stretch the floor.  Just looking at him, you wouldn’t think he’s a shooter.  But Patterson can hurt you if you give him too much space.  Although Patterson likes to face up, he can play the post as well.  He has a big, strong frame at 235 lbs. but he can also put the ball on the floor and attack the basket.  Patterson reminds me of a young Al Harrington with a little less versatility.
I have no idea what Sacramento’s rotation is going to look like.  They have about 12 players that are worthy of getting playing time.  The only sure starter on the whole roster is DeMarcus
Cousins.  Other than that, these players all have to prove themselves.  Patterson has stiff competition at power forward: Jason Thompson, Carl Landry, etc.  We’ll have to see if Patterson can make his way into a comfortable role this season.

C: Derrick Favors (UTA)
Favors was a highly sought big man coming out of Georgie Tech.  Thus far in his pro career, he has played behind two very good bigs, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson.  Since being drafted, talk about Favors has quietly dwindled.  Favors is one of those guys that puts on a show in practice and only his team knows about it.  Favors has an excellent body and he has solid post skills to go with that.
Now that Al Jeff and Millsap have both departed Utah, Favors’ big opportunity starts now.  The NBA no longer has many players than average a double-double.  Favors is definitely capable of doing so in the near future if he keeps improving.  Utah has an unbelievably young starting lineup: Burke (20), Burks (22), Hayward (23), Favors (22), Kanter (21).  Don’t be surprised to see strong production out of Favors as early as this season.
Zach Tennen on Derrick Favors
Courtesy of

Follow me on Twitter @ZJTbasketball11

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fantasy Football Rankings: Running Backs

1. Adrian Peterson
2. Arian Foster
3. Doug Martin
4. Marshawn Lynch
5. Ray Rice
6. Jamaal Charles
7. LeSean McCoy
8. CJ Spiller
9. Alfred Morris
10. Maurice Jones-Drew
11. Trent Richardson
12. Matt Forte
13. Chris Johnson
14. Stevan Ridley
15. Frank Gore
16. Stephen Jackson
17. Reggie Bush
18. DeMarco Murray
19. Lamar Miller
20. Darren Sproles
21. Ryan Mathews
22. Eddie Lacy
23. BenJarvus Green-Ellis
24. Montee Ball
25. Darren McFadden
26. David Wilson
27. Daryl Richardson
28. Chris Ivory
29. LeVeon Bell
30. Ahmad Bradhaw
31. Shane Vereen
32. DeAngelo Williams
33. Rashard Mendenhall
34. Mark Ingram
35. Ben Tate

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Kobe Bryant is the generation’s greatest

I’ve been watching basketball since the day I was born.  When I say the day I was born, I mean the day I was born.  If you’re a little older than I am, you’d probably say you’ve never seen anyone like Michael Jordan.  I wasn’t quite old enough to clearly remember Michael Jordan.  Therefore, it is my privilege to say that I’ve never seen a player like Kobe Bryant, A.K.A the Black Mamba.
Kobe Bryant is the best player I have even seen play because, well, just because he’s Kobe Bryant.  Mamba’s combination of unbelievable skill, extremely rare clutch genetics, and number one assassin mentality have made him the most unbelievable player I have ever seen.  Of course, the only other man in this debate is LeBron “King” James.  As I see it, there are two significant differences between the two.
Zach Tennen on Kobe Bryant
Courtesy of
Although James may not be done, the first difference is ring count: five to two.  Killer mentality was a huge force that drove Bryant to his five championship trophies.  Mamba has always been determined to be the best of the best.  Sure, it’s awesome to be remembered as one of the greats of a generation.  But there’s nothing better than being remembered as a champion.  Both Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan have that label while James still has to prove he can win with an older team or, perhaps, a change of scenery.
The second difference between the two greats is coming through in the clutch.  James may have an everlasting highlight reel of vicious dunks and unbelievable plays, but he doesn’t have this: Kobe Bryant’s career game-winning shots.  This video shows Kobe’s 28 game-winning shots at the last second.  Kobe and Jordan somewhat resemble each other in the aspect of being clutch and hitting game-winners.  There’s no defending Kobe Bryant when the clock is about to strike zero.  The opposing coach could never expect his team’s defense to cause Kobe to miss.  However, all he could ask for was 100% effort in trying to stop the cold-blooded mamba.
As explained in Phil Jackson’s novel, Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success, Kobe and Jordan were uniquely different in how they succeeded.  However, I can tell you that both players absolutely killed to win.  They did whatever they had to do get the job done.  In fact, both would get the job overdone.  Both Kobe and M.J. would push their teammates to the point their teammates could no longer stand them.  At the same time, everyone understood they had no choice but to respect the game’s greatest because it would only help.
I’m not, by any means, writing off the possibility of LeBron James being considered the best player of the 21st century.  But as it stands today, Kobe Bryant sits on the throne and James has a lot of work to do in order to overtake it.

Follow me on Twitter @ZJTbasketball11

Monday, August 5, 2013

Greg Oden regenerates the Heat

A couple weeks ago, I wrote an article about Greg Oden and the impact he could make as ahealthier player (he likely won’t be anything near what he would have been).  I had suggested some possible teams that would benefit from signing Greg Oden since it was a low risk-high reward situation.  The Miami Heat was the first team I brought up, and the Miami Heat it will be.
The one and only phrase that comes to mind about Miami’s signing of Greg Oden is ‘why not?’  Think about it; why on earth shouldn’t the Heat have signed a rehabilitated Greg Oden?  The 2007 first pick will make just over a million dollars in his first year of a player option.  He’ll make about $1.15 million his second year, if he exercises that player option.  In today’s NBA, it’s pretty easy for any team to sign a player to a near-minimum or substantially cheap deal.
A big man in the middle, such as Oden, was exactly what Miami has been craving ever since the “big three” has come together.  Not only does this greatly benefit the Heat, but this destination could very well be a turning point in Greg Oden’s career.  Oden will not be expected to play 20-25 minutes every game.  Those expectations would be too much to ask for.  He’ll have to ween his way back into the game and start by playing about eight minutes per half.  On top of that, Miami will likely allow Oden to sit out the second game of back-to-backs.
Zach Tennen on Greg Oden
Courtesy of
Being cautious is the first step for Miami and Greg Oden.  The two sides will have to work together to do everything they can to make him a healthy, effective player again.  Although Greg Oden joining the back-to-back champions is a jolly story, don’t get your hopes too high.  One could only guess if Greg Oden will be able to stay on his feet for very long.  Injury-prone players to the extent of Oden are just unpredictable so we’ll have to wait and see how this works out for Oden and the Heat.
Let’s look at the hypothetical situation of Oden being able to play a comfortable 60-plus games: Like I said before, Miami hasn’t had a real starting center on this championship team.  A man with the build and skill of Greg Oden makes life a lot easier for an NBA team.  Centers like that just don’t come around too often and that is the reason the Portland Trail Blazers selected Greg Oden with the first pick in the 2007 draft.
Although Oden won’t make the impact that the pre-NBA Greg Oden was expected to make, he does have the potential to be a big difference maker for this Miami Heat team.  Miami’s roster is not very young.  In fact, they are the definition of a veteran team.  Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will be a year older and slower (LeBron won’t because he’s LeBron).  Role players such as Ray Allen, Udonis Haslem, and Shane Battier are toward the end of their careers.  That’ll make Oden one of the youngest players on the team, in company with Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole.
LeBron gives Miami unbelievable floor spacing and that is the reason that Miami has been the most dominant team for two years straight.  Their floor spacing couldn’t possibly be better, right?  Wrong.  Now that they have Greg Oden, their floor spacing has the potential to be even better.
The thought of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh on the same team was pretty scary.  The three envisioned championships for years to come and two of them have been delivered.  With a rejuvenated Greg Oden, Pat Riley’s ultimate squad is even scarier.  With the addition of Greg Oden, Miami’s title window may have just opened for a little bit longer.

Follow me on Twitter @ZJTbasketball11

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Fantasy Football Rankings: Wide Receiver

1. Calvin Johnson (DET)
2. AJ Green (CIN)
3. Brandon Marshall (CHI)
4. Demaryius Thomas (DEN)
5. Dez Bryant (DAL)
6. Roddy White (ATL)
7. Victor Cruz (NYG)
8. Julio Jones (ATL)
9. Andre Johnson (HOU)
10. Wes Welker (DEN)
11. Larry Fitzgerald (ARZ)
12. Vincent Jackson (TAM)
13. Randall Cobb (GNB)
14. Jordy Nelson (GNB)
15. Dwayne Bowe (KAN)
16. Reggie Wayne (IND)
17. Marques Colston (NOR)
18. Eric Decker (DEN)
19. Torrey Smith (BAL)
20. Steve Smith (CAR)
21. Mike Wallace (MIA)
22. Pierre Garcon (WSH)
23. Danny Amendola (NWE)
24. Stevie Johnson (BUF)
25. James Jones (GNB)
26. Hakeem Nicks (NYG)
27. Antonio Brown (PIT)
28. Greg Jennings (GNB)
29. DeSean Jackson (PHI)
30. Cecil Shorts (JAC)
31. Miles Austin (DAL)
32. Tavon Austin (STL)
33. Mike Williams (TAM)
34. TY Hilton (IND)
35. Anquan Boldin (SFR)
36. Justin Blackmon (JAC)
37. Lance Moore (NOR)
38. Darrius Heyward-Bey (IND)
39. Brian Hartline (MIA)
40. Denarius Moore (OAK)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Detroit Pistons trade for Brandon Jennings

“Deeeeeetroooiiiit baaaaasketbaaaaall.”  There’s a phrase we can be excited about using again.  The Detroit Pistons made a huge blockbuster deal on Tuesday that will send Brandon Knight, Khris Middleton, and Vlacheslav Kravtsov to the Milwaukee Bucks for Brandon Jennings.  The Pistons meant business this offseason.  When Dumars and the organization said that there were big moves to be made, they were not lying.
Before I give you my take on the trade and new Piston roster, I’d just like to point out an interesting fact: the Pistons now have three lefties in their starting lineup (Jennings, Smith, Monroe).  I’m not sure if that has ever happened on a team before, but all three of these lefties are legit players.  Smith and Jennings are both all-star caliber players and Monroe is almost at that level.
Now, on to the trade: honestly, I don’t think Dumars had much thinking to do about this deal.  The Pistons, 100%, got an amazing deal that could change their whole future.  Forget about taking that next step from being a lottery team to a lower-seeded playoff team.  Detroit is sick and tired of playing games.  They’re ready to start embracing the culture of winning basketball again.
Zach Tennen on Brandon Jennings
Courtesy of
Brandon Knight brought a nice amount of potential to the table and the Pistons were likely willing to be patient with him.  However, Dumars and the front office came across an opportunity they simply could not pass on.  Jennings is a point guard and a point guard’s main job is to control the floor and make their teammates better.  Although Jennings still has to work on his decision-making as a point guard, he can consistently score 20 points per game.  That is something this team has not had for a few years, probably since Rip Hamilton was slowed down by the departure of Chauncey.
Jennings gives Detroit a bonafide scorer who is willing to do a lot, from taking game-winning shots to being the point guard of the future.  Put him with Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, and Andre Drummond.  Now, this squad has a lot to work with.  The addition of Jennings and Smith adds much more funk and excitement to the offense.  Although both have trouble taking good shots at times, there is an upside to that: the previous team Detroit had was made up of players who were hesitant to shoot the ball.  Jennings and Smith sure aren’t shy when it comes to that department.
Now, let’s throw Smith aside and look at the trio of Jennings, Monroe, and Drummond.  Talented big men greatly benefit off good point guards and vice-versa.  As Drummond continues to develop his offensive game, he and Jennings have the potential to be the best point guard-center combo in the league, someday.  Jennings and Drummond may not click right away because it’s going to take some time.  But both are young players with very promising futures.  Because of that, don’t be surprised if we see Detroit back in the Conference Finals a couple years from now.
Now that the Pistons have a squad of a few young all-stars, I think quite a few fans will come back to support them.  Of course, the real fans such as myself, bear with them through their ups-and-downs.  We must understand that the NBA is a business.  Teams have times where they’re dominant, when they’re just average, and when they’re going through a period of struggle.  When the opening game of Detroit’s season kicks off, make sure to flip on those television sets and stay tuned.

Follow me on Twitter @ZJTbasketball11

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterback (UPDATED)

1. Drew Brees (NOR)
2. Aaron Rodgers (GNB)
3. Peyton Manning (DEN)
4. Tom Brady (NWE)
5. Matt Ryan (ATL)
6. Cam Newton (CAR)
7. Robert Griffin (WSH)
8. Matt Stafford (DET)
9. Tony Romo (DAL)
10. Colin Kaepernick (SFR)
11. Eli Manning (NYG)
12. Andrew Luck (IND)
13. Russell Wilson (SEA)
14. Matt Schaub (HOU)
15. Ben Roethlisberger (PIT)
16. Joe Flacco (BAL)
17. Philip Rivers (SDG)
18. Andy Dalton (CIN)
19. Josh Freeman (TAM)
20. Michael Vick (PHI)
21. Carson Palmer (ARZ)
22. Jay Cutler (CHI)
23. Sam Bradford (STL)
24. Ryan Tannehill (MIA)
25. Jake Locker (TEN)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The well-balanced point guard

Evolution is a concept that many use to explain how we developed as human-beings.  Evolution is also very much alive in the game of basketball and is a process that takes place over the years.  There are different forms of evolution and, obviously, the players determine them.  There are certain shots that become more popular such as the Tony Parker floater.  There are also certain roles that diminish in the league such as the Shaq-esque post game.  But in this article, I’m going to talk about the evolution of the NBA point guard.
One of the oldest all-time great point guards is Bob Cousy, a 13-time All-Star and six-time NBA Champion.  Cousy’s career high in points per game was just about 21 along with 9.5 assists at best.  Although Cousy was a very poor percentage shooter, he played a significant role in the development of the NBA point guard as he started playing in the early 1950s.  Cousy helped bring alive the concept of being a playmaker first for your team.
Zach Tennen on Oscar Robertson
Although Oscar Robertson (A.K.A the “Big O”) wasn’t the prototypical point guard and didn’t play with the flash and speed of other greats, he deserves to be brought up in this conversation.  Oscar Robertson was most definitely the LeBron James of the 1960s as he was able to play at least three positions.  Despite the weaker athleticism and competition in the 60s, the “Big O” posted extremely similar numbers to James with career averages of over 25.7 points, 9.5 assists, and 7.5 rebounds.  Although neither James or the “Big O” were strictly point guards, both had the complete package that allowed them to manage the game like a point guard.
Walt Frazier, two-time NBA Champion, was the point guard that headlined the 1970s.  Although he did not have the outstanding playmaking ability of Cousy or the “Big O,” Frazier got the job done with his amazing all-around play.  Frazier shot a fantastic percentage for a point guard at 49 percent along with career averages of about 19, six, and six.  Those aren’t the type of numbers that will blow you away, but Frazier brought irreplaceable leadership to the table for the New York Knicks.
Everyone knows the 1980s had Earvin “Magic” Johnson written all over it.  The 80s was the era where competition really held a grudge against each other.  Isiah Thomas was an unforgettable great that’s also most definitely in this conversation.  Magic had the honor of playing with some of the greatest (Laker) teams of all-time that included Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy.  Both champions and maybe the two most talented point guards of all-time, they had different playing styles.  Magic’s career averages weren’t too bad: 19.5 points, 11 assists, and seven rebounds.  Isiah’s were pretty impressive too: 19 points and nine assists as he averaged double-digit assists four times in his career.
Size combined with his unbelievable court vision and IQ was the biggest reason Magic was able to stand out as the greatest point guard of all-time.  His 6-9 frame gave him the ability to see the whole court and hit his teammates in spots you wouldn’t think possible.  Magic was a God and a turning point in the game of basketball.  He truly exhibited everything an exemplary point guard could have: talent, athleticism, leadership, court vision, IQ, scoring ability.  You name it.  Even though Johnson’s Laker teams certainly helped him win five championships and three Finals MVPs, he helped LA just as much as they helped him.
The 6-1 standing Isiah Thomas was much shorter than Magic Johnson.  However, he found a way to give Johnson excellent competition with his skill, speed, and drive to be better than Magic.  Just as Magic was asked to carry a talented Laker team, Isiah Thomas was the floor general that the “Bad Boys” couldn’t live without.  ”Zeke” was entertaining with the ball but also was a great decision maker.  He provided the Pistons with enough scoring as well as hit his teammates (Dumars, etc.) in the right spots and it was almost impossible for any defender to stay with him.
Zach Tennen on Magic Johnson
John Stockton played a very long time (19 years) and it is rare for any player to stay conditioned and healthy for that long (Kidd/Nash did it too).  Stockton may have never been the most gifted scorer on his team but he is remembered as one of the most amazing passers of all-time.  Although Stockton did average 17 points per game at best, he really didn’t need to score that much to make a true MVP-like impact on the game.  Stockton averaged an incredible 14-plus assists a couple years including nine straight seasons over 11 assists per game.  Stockton wasn’t extraordinarily athletic and he had a pretty small frame at about 6-1 and 170 lbs.  Stockton was the definition of a true, regular-sized point guard because he didn’t have the body or athleticism of other greats but he strived off his remarkable ability to set up his teammates.
Both Jason Kidd and Steve Nash emerged as the frontrunner point guards of the 1990s and 2000s.  Kidd didn’t only have unbelievable court vision like Magic and Stockton, but he was a great defender and rebounder.  J-Kidd averaged a career five rebounds per game which is invaluable as a point guard.  Kidd was probably the most inefficient scorer out of all the great point guards but it didn’t affect his game in the least bit.  Passing wasn’t the only way that Kidd improved the players around him.  Kidd had a brilliant basketball IQ.  He provided intangibles in his game that greatly benefitted the team and the locker room.
The list of great point guards is endless (Gary Payton, Tiny Archibald, etc.)  As you can see, basketball starts with the leadership and skill-set of the team’s point guard.  With no point guard (or LeBron/Robertson) to run the show, plays are tough to execute and it is extremely difficult to find longterm success.  The talk about all-time great point guards isn’t over, though.  It will continue as long as the game of basketball is around.

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Brooklyn Nets expect nothing less than NBA Championship

In a highly competitive 30-team association that is famous for making memories, a championship is a lot to ask for.  You can ask for any other Christmas present (league MVP, scoring title, etc.) but compared to an NBA Championship, it means nothing.  Before the 2010-2011 season, new owner Mikhail Prokhorov made a very bold statement regarding his expectations of his newly-invested Brooklyn (New Jersey at the time) Nets franchise: “I expect us to win a championship in the next five years.”
Zach Tennen: Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov
Courtesy of
Three years have gone by and the Nets have taken the necessary steps to improve their team year-by-year.  At the trade deadline in the 2010-11 season, they swapped some very promising young assets for superstar point guard Deron Williams.  The Utah Jazz got young big man Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, and two first-round picks in return (one of whom ended up being Enes Kanter).  Based on that risky trade, it was clear that Prokhorov and the Nets wanted to start developing a ‘win now’ mentality.
During the 2011-12 campaign, the Nets made a trade for Gerald Wallace.  Unfortunately for Brooklyn, Wallace wasn’t able to produce at his highest level in which he did for the Bobcats.  ’Crash’ struggled through injury problems in his time with the Nets and found his place as just a role player.
Previous to the 2012-13 season, the Nets made a deal to send away a few expiring contracts to the Atlanta Hawks for Joe Johnson’s oversized contract.  The possible dynamic duo of Deron Williams and Johnson warned the rest of the Eastern Conference.  However, the two were not able to play up to their potential together despite Joe Johnson being one of the most clutch players in the NBA last season.  Brooklyn will continue to depend on this All-Star back court to bring them as far as they can get.
Finally, we get to the last step of the Brooklyn Nets’ attempt to build a championship-caliber team.  Recently, the organization made a huge offseason splash in trading first-round picks and expiring contracts for three players with a championship on their resume – Jason Terry, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett.  That gives the new-look Brooklyn Nets probably the most talented starting lineup in the league: D-Will, Joe Johnson, Pierce, KG, and Brook Lopez.
Zach Tennen: Nets - Pierce, Garnett, Terry
Courtesy of
Every single part of this organization knows darn well that there is no time left to waste.  The Brooklyn Nets must treat this like the only chance they have because that very well could be true.  While Pierce (35) and Garnett (37) say they still have a lot left in the tank, there is no denying the fact that they’re considered ‘old players’.  We saw it in the first round of the 2013 playoffs: Pierce and Garnett no longer had the young legs and high energy to take down the fairly beatable New York Knicks.  Therefore, there was no use for them to stay in Boston.  That trade benefitted both the Celtics, who needed to call for a rebuilding period, as well as Pierce and KG.
Despite their age and the fact that they’re at the end of the careers, Pierce and Garnett do bring a lot to the table.  That includes experience, leadership, killer mentality, stability, and much more.  Inserting the two multi-time All-Stars in the forward spots gives the Nets an outstanding starting lineup on paper.  However, we should look much deeper into the possible success of this team than just the starting lineup.  Brooklyn has also put together a very respectable bench including Jason Terry, Andrei Kirilenko, and Andray Blatche.  That eight-man rotation can most definitely compete with any other roster in the league but they obviously have to prove that.
Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov came up with a five-year plan and is about to be in the fourth year of executing it.  But considering the situation Brooklyn is in now, this could end up being considered as a four-year plan.  Now is the time for the Nets to go for all the marbles and they won’t be satisfied if they’re short just one.

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Will Greg Oden make a healthy return?

In the 2007 NBA Draft, little did the Portland Trail Blazers know that they would make one of the biggest mistakes in NBA Draft history.  They chose Greg Oden, the muscular, seven-foot center over the three-time NBA scoring champion, Kevin Durant.  Durant has already made his mark as one of the best players of this generation.  On the other hand, Oden has played a total of 82 games over six years.
Oden had to have microfracture surgery on his right knee just a couple months after the Blazers drafted him, forcing him to miss the entire 2007-08 season.  He had a promising season the next year in which he averaged nine points, seven rebounds, and a block in 61 games until missing the remainder of the season due to injury.  Ever since then, Oden just has not been able to stay on the court.  Since the ’07 draft, he’s had to undergo five major surgeries and, evidently, he hasn’t been able to recover from any of them.  After putting up with over four years of Oden’s absences, the Blazers finally decided to part ways with him in 2012.
Zach Tennen on Gren Oden/Kevin Durant Draft
Courtesy of
After being released by the Blazers, Oden had to step away from basketball and take the time to try and prove he could step on the court ever again.  It’s been about 17 months since Oden had his last major surgery and there are, indeed, a list of suitors willing to give him another shot.  Some of those teams include the Mavericks, the Heat, the Pelicans, the Spurs, as well as a few more.  Ironically, Oden has made pretty good money while not even playing.  On the other hand, as he hopes to return to the court injury-free, Oden likely won’t make more than $3 million in the first year of his contract.
My theory about the amount of big men on a roster is that you can never have too many of them.  Oden can start as a backup center and eventually try to settle into a bigger role with the franchise that signs him.  Any team would take a healthy Greg Oden who reaches his maximum potential.  However, at the moment, he could greatly benefit teams in certain situations:
1. The two-time defending champion Miami Heat who have found a way to succeed without a true starting center.  Oden would make the job that much easier for them especially considering they’ll be a year older and slower.
2. A team that is looking for new future pieces such as the Mavericks.  It certainly would be a risk but it might be worth it for a Mavericks team who desperately needs to rejuvenate their roster.
3. A young team that wants to add depth such as the Pelicans.  New Orleans has reportedly offered him a deal recently.  A future duo of Anthony Davis and Greg Oden could really open some eyes.
4. Anyone who wants to sign him.  Although the Blazers made a historical mistake in picking the seven-foot beast over Kevin Durant, he was no mistake as a center coming out of Ohio State.  We know the damage he’s capable of doing when he’s fully healthy.
We can continue to discuss Greg Oden and his possible return as much as we want.  However, it all comes down to this one question: Will Greg Oden be healthy enough to contribute to an NBA team in the future?

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Detroit Pistons: Chauncey Billups back where he belongs

Chauncey Billups never should have been traded in the first place.  In 2008, Billups, along with Antonio McDyess, was traded for Allen Iverson.  However, Dumars was most definitely premature on pulling the trigger.  Billups went to Denver and continued to play excellent basketball (2008-2011) as he arguably benefitted their team more than Iverson had.
Five years later, the beloved Chauncey Billups is returning to play at the Palace of Auburn Hills, where he commonly was referred to as “Mr. Bigshot.”  When Billups got traded to Denver, he expressed a strong interest in finishing his career in the mile-high city.  However, the five-time NBA All-Star’s wish was not granted as he later bounced around to the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers.  Most of Billups’ tenure with the Clipps (2011-13) was plagued by injuries forcing him to miss months at a time.
You could not ask for much more out of Chauncey Billups in terms of both, individual accomplishments and the impact he’s had on his teams, throughout his outstanding career.  Mr. Bigshot has won his fair share of awards including Finals MVP in 2004.  But Billups has been a very unique player throughout his career.  Although he is a five-time All-Star, Billups was never the most talented point guard in the league, but Chauncey never feared any of his competition.
Zach Tennen on Pistons' Chauncey Billups
Courtesy of
In Chauncey’s best years with Detroit, he was the ultimate teammate and one of the main reasons the Pistons were successful for so long.  If it weren’t for his exemplary leadership, the team never would have glued together like it did.  Billups made sure everyone was comfortable and playing their role, not only on the court, but in the locker room.  Billups was a class act and a role model for the city.  Other than coming through in the clutch and nailing huge shots, that is why the fans of Detroit love him.
Focusing more on Billups’ style of play with the Pistons, Chauncey has always been known as a shoot-first point guard.  But at the same time, Chauncey still knows how to be one of the most unselfish players in the league.  Billups had the skill-set as well as personality to always keep his teammates satisfied.
Not to mention, CB’s return to Motor City is going to sell a few extra tickets this season.  Chauncey Billups’ comeback story to the Detroit Pistons is a thing of beauty.  I think just about everyone in town is thrilled to have him back where he belongs.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Miami Heat: How much is left in the tank?

Almost three weeks removed from the NBA Finals, everybody is caught up in the hype of free agency. Dwight Howard is now a Rocket and looking ahead to next offseason, where LeBron James is thought to opt out and become a free agent.  But I’m back to talk about NBA championships, and specifically, how many the Miami Heat can win.  To make that statement clear: no, I don’t have the answer for you.  All I can do is speculate on what could happen.
LeBron James and the Miami Heat set sky-high expectations for the new squad in the 2010 offseason.  By now, we should all be familiar with the famous words that came out of his mouth (it may have been Wade or Bosh, but they all speak as one): “not three, not four, not five…”  The Miami Heat have won back-to-back championships, whoop-dee-doo.  I’ve got news for you guys, though.  According to them and according to basically every fan and critic, stopping there isn’t going to cut it.
Stopping after two rings is kind of like a tease.  We could look back and say: “okay, you guys won two championships but that’s it.  It’s not like you were the Chicago Bulls of 1991-1998 or any of those remarkable Boston Celtic teams.  You won two championships but then you disappeared and let other teams takeover the league”
Zach Tennen on LeBron & Heat Championships
Courtesy of
Miami would be damned if they “let other teams takeover the league” from here on out.  LeBron James would get some props but everyone would remember him as not being able to win with Dwyane Wade in All-Star form.  James’ legacy can’t really afford that, unless he chooses to take his talents to another city, bring along another star, and eventually win a championship there (possibly L.A.?).
Coming off two well-deserved titles, next season is absolutely huge for Miami.  There were times when Dwyane Wade looked to be getting old and sluggish in the 2013 playoffs.  On top of that, Chris Bosh turned more into a solid starter rather than a borderline all-star.  James may have to carry this team more and more as we get further into time.  Even during the 2013 playoffs, James compared his situation to his Cavalier days, where he was expected to carry the bulk of the work.  Only, in 2013, he had transformed as a player and a person.
Because of the money that Mickey Arison had to dedicate to the “big three,” they don’t have any money to spend in offseasons.  However, that was a choice that the organization made, knowing that they’d have to ride a core of James, Wade, and Bosh for as long as they could.  While other teams, such as the Pacers, Rockets, and Clippers, are making significant roster changes to become championship-caliber teams, Miami just awaits the team that’s talented and energetic enough to take them down.
As of 2013, the LeBron James-led Miami Heat sit atop the mountain.  But as time goes on and circumstances change, their position at the top may not be as secure.  Back-to-back championships are impressive but, in the NBA, they are somewhat commonplace.  The 2013-14 Miami Heat are going to have to push even harder to do it again, but it’s unclear how much is left in the tank.

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