Greetings folks! Here are five quick thoughts from around the world of basketball for a Wednesday.
1. CARMELO ANTHONY (Knicks): Drops 50 on the Heat last night. He and his team are on a roll right now winning nine in a Row. I really like how J.R. Smith has emerged and settled down as a player. When this club is sharing the ball, taking care of the ball and keeping the court spaced well with accurate three-Point shooting they're tough to beat. Carmelo gives you that guy that helps attract the double team to open up offensive opportunities for others. It's important to develop momentum and organizational/team confidence as you approach the playoffs - the Knicks have it right now.
2. JERRYD BAYLESS (Grizzlies): The former Raptor is developing nicely as a third guard in a winning situation. He's a competitive and very driven individual who has a terrific work ethic. Ideal scenario for him to learn how to take the next step in his career. Shoots it well from three at 37 percent and is having a solid year at 8.6 ppg and 3.3 apg. A valuable piece off the bench who can give your team a nice offensive jolt when needed.
3. TAJ GIBSON (Bulls): Hurts his knee again last night and who knows if he's going to be able to play anytime in the near future. With a team that's been a mess all season with injuries limping into the playoffs with Marco Belinelli, Rip Hamilton, Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose currently sidelined it's going to be a battle for the Bulls to keep it together to even be a competitive bunch in the playoffs. Not a good development for them. The positive - they're in the playoffs. The negative - it's been basically a write off year for them with D-Rose being out the entire season and other guys being banged up. Standards are high in the Windy City. With a healthy bunch next year, I see the Bulls being the second best team in the East behind Miami. When they're completely on - they're very good. Sadly for their fans, it's going to be a frustrating thing to watch the end of the regular season and playoffs unfold with a team far from clicking on all cylinders. Good news for the Toronto Raptors - they get to play a banged up Bulls team twice next week - maybe they can steal a win or two. Gotta get them when they're down.
4. CRAIG 'NOODLES' NEAL (New Mexico): For you longtime Raptors fans you'll remember this name. He was a scout and assisant coach for the team during the Glen Grunwald (Now GM of the Knicks) era. He was hired to replace his Buddy, Steve Alford as the head coach at New Mexico. Great opportunity for a good basketball man. Congrats!
5. GREG WILLARD (RIP): Longtime Veteran NBA Referee lost his Battle to pancreatic cancer this week. Class act and outstanding official. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers. The NBA lost a good man.