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Young Guns

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 3/16/2011 12:23:27 PM

With the NBA season hitting the home stretch, now could be a good time to look at why the exciting young guns in the league will affect the spread records of several teams down the road.

Blake Griffin is a no brainer, but since everybody that has not been under some rock, he’s common knowledge.

Wes Johnson has performed well as the shooting guard for the Minnesota Timberwolves and it is no fluke.

For a team that won only 15 of their first 64 it’s kind of an amazing that they were only a minus 2 against the spread during that span on the road. Johnson is a big reason for that success.

Wes was the 2010 Big East Player of the year and was an All-American first time selection. He has a tremendous wingspan to go along with better leaping ability than most 2 guards.

The kid has great court vision, can drive or shoot from long range and he is unselfish. The thing he has to work on is creating his own shot off the dribble and not to depend on just being a spot-up shooter.

Johnson, along with Luke Ridnour, gives the Wolves a nice nucleus to build on for years.

When Landry Fields does something special in Madison Square Garden, the music automatically plays Strawberry Fields Forever over the loud speaker and those sweet tunes figure to continue for years to come.

Sure, Fields was on the block in the Melo deal but the Knicks did not want to part with him and he has contributed so much to make New York one of the best cover teams in the league.

The Knicks were only a plus one against the spread at home this season after 30 games but a monster of a team on the pavement with a 21-8-1 slate as a cover squad and must of that string is because of the professionalism of Fields.

As for Fields, he was an All-Pack 10 first time selection while scoring 22 a game and pulling down nearly 9 boards as a senior. He is the overall package as a good ball handler and passer despite not being the best all-around athlete.

If he dedicates himself to working on his range and to adding some bulk, he could break out next season.

For all the problems the Detroit Pistons have endured this season, Greg Monroe has been the one shining star and he should be for years to come. He has been a big part of why the Pistons are a plus 5 against the spread on the road through 31 away games.

Six eleven 250 pound pure big men do not grow on trees, but Monroe learned the lessons of the trade at Georgetown where he was the 2009 Big East Rookie of the year.

He has a great style and can see guys cut to the hoop before the play unfolds and he has a pretty nice jumper for a big man. He has averaged nearly 7 bounds a game and is shooting 54% from the floor but he has some things to work on.

Greg has to find that killer instinct. Much like Derrick Rose dug inside of himself in the off-season and demanded more accountability, Monroe has to stop being passive and pick up his aggressiveness. If he is willing to work, Monroe could be the cornerstone piece that can turn this once proud franchise around again.

Hoop bettors have to look for good scheduling and proper match-ups in the coming weeks that will allow these young turks to shine and they will impact the spread at crunch time.


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