Tuesday, November 4, 2008

AI for Chauncey

Allen Iverson was traded from the Nuggets to the Pistons for Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess. What does this do for the teams?

Let's see: Iverson, in the last year of his deal, along with Rasheed Wallace, will not be playing for new contracts, they will be playing to win. Iverson came closest to a championship in 2001 when the Lakers handily defeated them in 5 games after dropping the first game to Iverson's Sixers. He'll be a good little warrior, and a huge change of pace from Billups for the Pistons. I don't think the Pistons made this move to win this year. Maybe they did (the Pistons needed a shake-up there's no doubt about that), but I can't see it. What I see is two huge contracts coming off the books this summer and a chance to get Boozer (though I doubt it). What I'd guess is they make a small splash in free agency and wait another year or two through rebuilding to get LeBron. Either way, what with Stuckey, they have a great core for the next few years (especially if they resign Sheed for a much lower rate). The trade gives them a chance to win this year as well as in years to come.

The Nuggets? Well, they're still not going anywhere anytime soon. Billups doesn't change that. He'll be a great influence on a locker room full of guys who have never been there and his championship pedigree and and Finals MVP give him instant credibility. But does that mean that they'll play defense because of it? It does get JR Smith into the starting lineup, which is good, as long as he's hitting shots. He is one of the three streakiest shooters in the NBA along with Vujacic of the Lakers and Donyell Marshall who is with the Sixers (I think). Either way, the best the Nuggets can hope for is an 8th seed this year and a first round exit. It handicaps them for the next few years as well (Billups is under contract for 2 more years with a team option for the third) when they're already dumping salary for nothing (see Camby, Marcus). I don't see why they made this trade.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Alphabetical Analysis of 08-09 Season

Atlanta Hawks: The loss of Childress is a serious blow but the bigger problem is that a lot of teams in the East made serious improvements while the Hawks stood pat. Don't expect them in the playoffs this year. They'll win fewer games this year than last, and will only go as far Josh Smith can take them, not Joe Johnson.

Boston Celtics: Best seed in the East for them. The Boston Three-party and Garnett's intensity carries them through another season. Don't expect 60 wins because without Posey they won't get them. The bigger loss will prove to be PJ Brown, though. A lot of Posey's production and defensive presence will be filled by Tony Allen who, talented though he be, will not be able to fill his shoes. PJ Brown shored up their frontline and provided veteran leadership to a bench that what way too young to have done anything.

Charlotte Bobcats: If Morrison can learn to be a spot up shooter that hits anywhere near 35+ percent of 3's they'll be happy at this point, provided he can learn to stay in front of his man, which is all they need him to do. Larry Brown could coax a 10 win improvement from these guys.

Chicago Bulls: Not going anywhere. They're a perimeter team with a rookie point guard, a mess at the 2 including a guy who can't shoot (Larry Hughes), a 6th man of the millenium (Ben Gordon) who will make the Hall of Fame if he decides to come off the bench his whole career but who doesn't want to, Kirk Heinrich who's been replaced by some kid, and no one seems happy. It's like they've forgotten that you need a post presence to win in this league.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Mo Williams is an improvement but all they really needed was someone to get the ball to LeBron and inbounding the ball to him isn't what I mean. LeBron deserves MVP every year with what he's done with this squad. Ben Wallace is deteriorating by the second and they need a better answer from the other forward spot, but the pieces are there for a run to the Finals.

Dallas Mavericks: Dirk's criticism of Avery Johnson aside, Johnson is a good coach and Dallas wasn't losing because of him but in spite of him. All the criticism of Dirk from early in his career still holds true, but he is what he is. Jason Kidd trade? Dumb. I'd like to have seen what this team could have done with Harris-Howard-Dirk. Suddenly they're old with a new coach and Howard is everyone's new favorite whipping boy. The best thing Kidd can do is teach him how to come back from negative media coverage and get him to grow up a little.

Denver Nuggets: Worse than they were last year. The only guy who played defense is gone. Not in the playoffs, and AI is gone at the end of the season.

Detroit Pistons: The core, provided it's not blown up, is good enough for a 2nd or 3rd seed in the East. Of course, they could just as easily be terrible as they're getting older and everyone's upset with everyone. They've run their course, and their window for a championship is closed.

Golden State Warriors: Baron Davis for Corey Maggette? Monta Ellis is good, but he can't do it alone. With a line-up like Ellis next to Jackson and Maggette, though, they'll score a lot, but who'll get them the ball? I'm sure Nelson will come up ith something, but they won't be in the playoffs.

Houston Rockets: So many questions: 1) Will Artest be a good boy? Probably, which will help them. 2) Will McGrady be healthy? Probably not. Artest will help them when McGrady goes down, but they need all three of their top players to get through the West. 3) Will Yao be healthy? The law of averages says yes, he has to make it through a season sometime. This team rises and falls with him. He goes down, they're sunk. 4) What about Battier? Great guy, I've always been a fan, but he'll be screwed with Artest in town. 5) Who else can play center when/if Yao gets hurt?

Indiana Pacers: Never trade big for small, but when you need a point guard and the big is Jermaine O'Neal you can sort of understand. Still, not likely to be a year where they step forawrd in any significant way. When your team is based on Mike Dunleavy, you're in trouble.

Los Angeles Clippers: Poor Baron. He thought he'd be playing with Elton Brand and gets screwed over. I'd feel for the guy if I didn't think he was overrated and overpaid. Oh, and they're not making the playoffs unless they happen to be the best defensive team in the league.

Los Angeles Lakers: A couple issues is all I have with this team: 1) Lamar Odom needs a place to play. But when you don't have a place for one of the better all around talents in the league, you're doing well. The problem is that he's too good to be backing up any of the other guys on the team who would play instead of him. If he'd come off the bench then he'd be my pick for 6th man of the year already. 2) Most of what people are saying about them having a great year this year is based upon Bynum's improvement. Let's see what he can do with Gasol taking up space. I like their chances, though. 3) Kobe not opting for surgery is going to come back and haunt them. He'll have played a year and a half of basketball straight without getting it fixed. Look, you're the best pure scorer in the league (not player, scorer) so you've got the opponent's best defender on you all game for 82 games last year, a deep playoff run, the Olympics, then again this year, and a deep playoff run. He'll be tired and that pinky will be problematic.

Memphis Grizzlies: OJ Mayo might be good, but he's not saving this team from anything. If they win one more game this year than last I'll be surprised.

Miami Heat: Biggest improvement from last year to this, guarenteed. That's easy to say when they won so few and they're getting Dwayne Wade, one of the best talents in the league, Shawn Marion, a dynamo everywhere, and Michael Beasley, who's aiming to be MVP his rookie year to play for them. I'd like them more if they had anyone besides those three, though. Still, with them they can make the playoffs in the East.

Milwaukee Bucks: Skiles'll get them to play defense. Redd and Jefferson will be good, like they are every year. Still, they won't be going anywhere this season.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Love is overrated and playing out of position. Jefferson is underrated. There's no one else on this team and they're not going anywhere.

New Jersey Nets: Devin Harris trade was great for them. But who knows how they'll mesh this year. I imagine them stuggling through the division getting used to one another. Look for Harris to have a good year, though.

New Orleans Hornets: My pick for best record in the West and maybe the league. Chris Paul is the best point guard in the league since Stockton (sorry Nash). They're good on paper, but better on the court.

New York Knicks: Trainwreck. Why would D'Antoni go there?

Oklahoma City Thunder: When they get a second option Kevin Durant will learn how easily he can score 20 points in a game. Right now, he's going to find it difficult.

Orlando Magic: Jameer Nelson is not their point guard, but people put down Rondo, too. Howard is good, but I'm convinced that most of his production is straight athleticism. They'll make the playoffs, but not do much.

Philadelphia 76ers: Will rival Heat for best improvement. Andre Miller, Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand, Samuel Dalembert - sounds like a playoff line up to me. Elton Brand was exactly what they needed. I'm excited to see what they can do, and how good Iguodala will look when he's a number 2 option (which he should be). Maybe Brand can even teach Dalembert to block shots without fouling.

Phoenix Suns: Old, confused, and hurt. Remember those 3 words, because you'll use them a lot talking about this team this year.

Portland Trailblazers: Don't underestimate what Oden will do for this team. They'll win close to 50 games and look around and say, "What were all those old guys talking about? That wasn't hard." Then proceed to do the same thing for the next 5 years. This crew will win a championship together in the next 5 years. When Kobe slows down, Ginobli reties, the Celtics are too old, it'll be the Hornets and the Blazers fighting it out.

Sacramento Kings: Kevin Martin is the only reason to watch this team.

San Antonio Spurs: Same old, same old. Too good to count out, ever. If I had one year to win a championship and was to build a team from scratch, I'm picking Duncan. The guy does everything for you and does everything well. LeBron might be the best player in the league, but Duncan is everything you could want. Besides all that, I'd never count the Spurs out in an odd year.

Toronto Raptors: Bosh and O'Neal are probably the best frontcourt in the league on paper. Let's see what happens. They have the players to do well.

Utah Jazz: If Paul is the best point guard in the league, Williams is right on his heels. For some reason I feel people overlook Williams, but that's ok, because they overlook the Jazz in general. They are one of the best 5 teams in the league (Celtics, Lakers, Spurs, Hornets, and Jazz).

Washington Wizards: Arena is the question mark. And who knows what will happen without him, and with him for that matter.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Not that I'm any great prognosticator or that I know much about anything, but here are my thoughts on the upcoming NBA season as training camps open.

1. No way the Hawks make the playoffs again. You can forget about it. After the improvements of the Raptors, Pacers, Sixers, and Heat and the loss of Josh Childress along with Josh Smith's underwhelming development, I don't see it happening. Don't get me wrong: I love Josh Smith. He is a great talent, but he needs to play to his strengths, which don't include 20 foot jump shots. He really should pull a Dwayne Wade or Tony Parker and just give up the 3 point line altogether. Anyway, the East playoff teams will be: Celtics (no doubt), Pistons (provided the team doesn't implode or explode), Cavaliers, Sixers (I remember thinking last year that if they had an Elton Brand type they'd be one of the best teams in the East), Magic, Wizards, Raptors, and Heat. Not in that order, but those are your teams.

2. No way the Clippers or the Warriors make the playoffs. It's going to take over 45 victories to make the playoffs in the West with at least 5 teams winning over 50 (Lakers, Spurs, Hornets, Jazz, and Rockets). The Clippers, with only Baron Davis, will not be close, and the Warriors without him will also be battling the Kings for last in the Pacific Division. Your West playoff teams: the 5 above plus the Suns, Blazers, and Mavericks.

3. The Blazers will be better than anyone expects, even me. They'll end up north of 45 wins and a solid 6 or 7 seed in the playoffs where they will lose in 5 games. Greg Oden is your ROY. And they will make the playoffs every year until all those young guys' contracts are up.

4. The Suns will disappoint. Shaq will start some 50 games this year, Nash will start 70. They'll win 45+ games, but only by beating up on the dregs of the league. Their style will be foreign while Shaq's playing with them under Porter, and when he's hurt they won't be able to adjust back. Defense is still their biggest issue, and figures to be worse this year than in years past, but they'll give up fewer points since they'll be running less.

5. The Rockets will be just fine. Yao has to be healthy for a postseason sometime, right? With Artest playing the good guy for at least one season, they'll go deep in the playoffs.

6. The Celtics will be the top seed in the East again unless Mo Williams can pull a Jason Kidd. The East is improving, but the talent of Allen, Garnett, and Pierce in Boston and Garnett's intensity will keep them ahead of everyone else. This says less about Boston and more about the overall state of the top contenders in the East. All of them are have huge problems and the only team I can see challenging the Celtics is the Cavaliers.

7. OJ Mayo is overrated and will be frustrated in Memphis to the point of implosion.

8. Derrick Rose is a great talent and deserved to go Number 1, but will have a worse year than Beasley who will look better next to Dwyane Wade and Shawn Marion.

9. Kwame Brown still sucks.

10. What position does Kevin Love play? The best answer is a Chris Webber type PF, but Al Jefferson plays PF and neither can play center for a full season. I didn't like Love at UCLA, and he went to the worst place for him to play.

11. The Bucks will challenge for 8th, but will fall short.

12. Boldest prediction of mine: Kevin Martin wins the scoring title.

13. The Lakers need to find something to do with Lamar Odom. He doesn't fit in except as the first man off the bench to run the second unit, which would be great as long as he doesn't disappear as is his wont, but that's not going to happen. More than likely he'll end up being traded in December to a struggling team for a draft pick and an expiring contract.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

NBA Finals 2008

So I'm a big Celtics fan and I am excited about their winning the championship. The Game 6 dismantling of the Lakers was one of the best things I've ever seen. I'm still not sure how the Celtics put up 73 points in the second half considering that they often looked a little out of sync Maybe it was the ridiculous amount of offensive rebounds that were the Lakers undoing. Here, in brief, is my analysis of the NBA Finals.

Celtics: Excellent defense all series long. The second half of game 4 was one of the best halves of basketball I've ever seen, right up there with the Suns against the Lakers a couple years ago when they hung 68 points on them in the first half. What the Celtics did to Kobe Bryant was one of the most impressive feats of defense in the history of the NBA.

Lakers: Looked awful for most of the series. They were standing around waiting for something to happen and never really learned to play defense. I'd put this on Odom and Gasol, but really, I don't feel it's their faults. Most of the blame has to be put on Kobe, not because of his numbers, but because he is, undoubtedly, the leader of this team and he needed to find some way to motivate his teammates to play harder and more physically. The leads they took in Games 4 and 5 seemed to make them complacent.

Pierce: Finals MVP and well deserved. Outside of Game 3, was the best player on both ends of the floor. I give him credit over Bryant for holding him down defensively while also getting off offensively.

Garnett: The heart of the Celtics team and what got them to the championship as well as being the rock during the series both offensively and defensively. I was never concerned about him during the series, even when he struggled to score.

Allen: Shooting slump? I don't care about that. Shooters like Allen just need to keep hoisting shots and eventually they'll start to fall. My prayers are with him and his family.

Rondo: I'm proud of him. And I'm proud of Doc Rivers for sticking with him. I'll be honest, I feel most comfortable with him on the floor and not at all comfortable with Sam Cassell who just worries me.

Bryant: Could we stop with the comparisons to Michael Jordan now? Couldn't enforce his will on the game because the Celtics were simply staying in front of him so that he couldn't drive to the basket, making him a jump shooter, then contesting his shots. The Celtics defense was awesome. His defense was good, at times. Did the right thing in roaming off Rondo, but probably should have been more proactive in guarding Pierce during the games when Radmonovic was out.

Odom: Up and down throughout series. Needed to be more aggressive when the Celtics defense swarmed Bryant, like he was in first quarter of Game 4.

Gasol: Not his fault, he played his game. The Lakers just did not get him the ball in good spots when Perkins was in foul trouble and he had smaller or slower defenders on him (not Garnett).

Vujacic: There's not really a fourth person to go here, so I thought I'd attack Vujacic again for his defense on Allen in Game 4. Terrible, mainly because Allen didn't even put a move on him, just dribbled right past him. I could have done better.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

First Post

I thought I'd start with something easy and trite: An all-time NBA first and second team. Here goes:

1st Team

PG: Magic Johnson - Best passer in the history of the game.
SG: Michael Jordan - Any questions?
SF: Larry Bird - My personal favorite player in the history of the sport.
PF: Tim Duncan - The most underrated player in the game by the average fan.
C: Wilt Chamberlain - Yes, Russell won more championships, but Wilt was too dominate.

2nd Team

PG: John Stockton - Dirty? Still, you just can't ignore him.
SG: Jerry West - He's the logo for crying out loud.
SF: Lebron James - Too early? He could retire tomorrow and I'd still put him here.
PF: Karl Malone - Either he or Elgin Baylor are the best players to never win a championship.
C: Bill Russell - 11 Championships. Enough said.