Sunday, February 27, 2011

NBA Trade Deadline Review

Obviously this was an insane, frantic trade season. Some teams did very well for themselves, some did not, and some blew some major opportunities.

Traded: Mike Bibby, Jordan Crawford, Maurice Evans, 2011 first-round pick
Acquired: Kirk Hinrich, Hilton Armstrong

With their assets there wasn't much they could do to upgrade the point guard position. Mike Bibby shouldn't be starting anywhere and other than his lack of a jump shot, Hinrich should be. Especially when he's sharing the backcourt with Jamal Crawford and Joe Johnson (who won't have to compensate for Bibby's dismal defending any more). Even Jeff Teague could benefit from a few extra minutes.

Traded: Kendrick Perkins, Nate Robinson, Marquis Daniels, Semih Erden, Luke Harangody
Acquired: Jeff Green, Sacramento Kings' 2017 second-round pick, Cleveland Cavaliers' 2013 second-round pick

Perkins for Green is the only deal of real consequence. A lot of people are saying they traded away their title hopes but I'm not going to go that far. I will say that before the deal I was confident that the Celtics were a step above the Heat, Bulls and Magic. Now? Notsomuch. I like Jeff Green a lot and if they do happen to resign him he'll flourish with Rondo, and he can only improve if KG's intensity rubs off on him. I'd also like to see a bigger role for Avery Bradley with Nate gone.

Traded: Gerald Wallace, Nazr Mohammed
Acquired: Joel Przybilla, Dante Cunningham, Sean Marks, DJ White, Morris Peterson, New Orleans Hornets' 2011 first-round pick, Portland Trail Blazers' 2013 first-round pick

Salary dump. And Jordan tried to say those first rounders will be a major part of the franchise's future. But a pick in the 18-23 range in this draft (as New Orleans' is likely to be) is like playing Russian Roulette with 5 bullets, and who knows how late Portland's pick will be in three years with the core they have now.

Traded: James Johnson
Acquired: Miami Heat 2011 first-round pick

FAIL FAIL FAIL. Jesus Christ. I like James Johnson a lot; he just never found his way into Chicago's rotation. He'll be a good player in Toronto. Know where else he could've been good? IN MEMPHIS. If the Grizzlies accepted Josh McRoberts and a first-rounder, I refuse to believe Chicago couldn't have done Johnson, a first-rounder, and maybe something else. I understand the concerns surrounding Mayo but come on. We're talking about a 23-year old with all the potential in the world to be one of the most complete guards in the NBA. Oh well. A deal could still be made after the season, as I can't imagine Mayo staying in Memphis.

Traded: Mo Williams, Jamarrio Moon, 2013 second-round pick
Acquired: Los Angeles Clippers 2011 first-round pick, Baron Davis, Luke Harangody, Semih Erden

I'm not gonna sit here and pretend like I know a thing about Erden, and Harangody is nothing. Losing Mo Williams is great for a rebuilding process, though bringing in Baron Davis to do so is thoroughly confusing with his history with head coach Byron Scott. I can't help but feel bad for Boom Dizzle. I know even he admits that he doesn't put forth much effort if he doesn't see reason to, but to be a part of this Clipper resurgence only to be shipped off to the single worst situation he could ever ask for is a bit much. But maybe, karmically speaking, this is exactly what he deserves and serves a lesson to us all; life isn't fair.


Nothing. They should've traded for Stephen Jackson. Oh well.

Traded: Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Renaldo Balkman, Anthony Carter
Acquired: Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov, Kosta Koufos, conditional New York Knicks' first-round pick, Golden State Warriors' 2012, 2013 second-round picks

Carmelo Anthony is a top-10 player and you're never going to get fair value in trading one of those away, but they should be sending fruit baskets to Mikhail Prokhorov, Isiah Thomas and James Dolan for the coup they landed. I have no clue why Timofey Mozgov became a hot commodity, but Gallinari and Chandler are both solid players. Wish they had moved Felton on to the Lakers so Ty Lawson gets his full shot, but it appears he's going to be the starter, so good for him.


Richard Hamilton nixed a trade that would've allowed him to play for a contender, notably either Boston or Chicago (who wanted to START him). He is an asshole.

Traded: Brandon Wright, Dan Gadzuric
Acquired: Troy Murphy, New Jersey Nets' 2012 second-round pick

Murphy's deal expires, and he'll be elsewhere soon. Just your run-of-the-mill salary dump.

Traded: Shane Battier, Aaron Brooks, Ishmael Smith
Acquired: Goran Dragic, Hasheem Thabeet, DeMarre Carroll, Phoenix Suns' 2011 first-round pick (lottery protected), Memphis Grizzlies' 2011 first-round pick

Dragic has fallen off the map this year, but he comes cheap and still with a lot of upside. The first-rounders are okay, and Brooks and Battier weren't really helping them go anywhere (Brooks especially).


They almost pulled off a hell of a steal in that OJ Mayo trade (for a first-round pick and Josh McRoberts)... then again, who knows how that would've worked. Although I'm surprised Larry Bird tried to trade for Mayo... maybe he meant to send McRoberts to get him some tuna salad with extra mayo and some orange juice?

Traded: 2011 first-round pick, Baron Davis
Acquired: Mo Williams, Jamario Moon

They must really have wanted to get rid of Davis. Mo Williams? I mean, I guess it's a pretty good fit in actuality, but still... Mo Williams? It's not like they saved much money, and they gave away a lottery pick to boot. Really it's not a bad deal, they don't need any more rookies and Davis really isn't the best mentor for young players. Mo Williams tho?


Wish they had tried to get Felton. Or blown everyone's minds and worked out an Andrew Bynum-for-Dwight Howard deal. Ha.

Traded: Hasheem Thabeet, DeMarre Carroll, 2011 first-round pick
Acquired: Shane Battier, Ishmael Smith

I guess they want to make a push for the playoffs, and feel that's possible with Battier, even with Rudy Gay injured. More power to 'em. I guess a winning culture has to start somewhere.


Nothing to do.


Nothing done.

Traded: Corey Brewer, Kosta Koufos
Acquired: Anthony Randolph, Eddie Curry

Well done, T'wolves. Well done. Randolph is the only player here of any real consequence. Brewer can defend, but it doesn't matter in Minnesota or New York.

Traded: Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, Troy Murphy, 2011 first-round pick, Golden State Warriors' 2012 first-round pick (partially protected), 2012 second-round pick
Acquired: Deron Williams, Brandon Wright, Dan Gadzuric

Obviously, the jury is pretty much out until 2012 when we'll see what else they do to the roster and D-Will decides whether or not he'll sign an extension. But they wanted to trade Harris and never wanted Favors, so to get a player even better than Carmelo is a hell of a take.

Traded: Marcus Thornton
Acquired: Carl Landry

Big-time mismanagement of Thornton's trade value. This is another guy Chicago should've maybe targeted. James Johnson and change? As for the Hornets, it fills a need.

Traded: Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Anthony Randolph, Eddie Curry, Timofey Mozgov, 2014 first-round pick, Golden State Warriors' 2012, 2013 second-round picks
Acquired: Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Corey Brewer, Shelden Williams, Renaldo Balkman, Anthony Carter

They gave up far more than they had to. 'Melo wasn't going anywhere besides NY. That's a fact. But 'Melo is a top-10 player, and they got him. So it's a win.

Traded: Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic, Morris Peterson, DJ White
Acquired: Kendrick Perkins, Nate Robinson, Nazr Mohammed

They couldn't have asked for a more perfect fit than Perkins, and would you expect any less from this franchise? He brings the basket protection and rebounding they need, but also a championship pedigree that should be invaluable to that locker room. Plus, Serge Ibaka gets to move over to power forward where his athleticism will shine. I think they're the second best team in the West once Perkins eases in to his role.


They did their trading already.


They should've traded Iguodala. Maybe try to enter in to the Carmelo sweepstakes. Or go after Deron Williams, for that matter.

Traded: Goran Dragic, 2011 first-round pick (lottery protected)
Acquired: Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks? Really? Just strange.

Traded: Joel Przybilla, Dante Cunningham, Sean Marks, New Orleans Hornets' 2011 first-round pick, 2013 first-round pick
Acquired: Gerald Wallace

Two major issues with this deal. First, Wallace has had injury problems, and if you join the Blazers with the sniffles, you'll have full-blown AIDS within days. Everyone gets hurt there. Second, and more tangible, Wallace is most effective in the open court and the Blazers are perpetually in the rightmost lane. Other than that I love the deal, and I can't wait to see how it works out.

Traded: Carl Landry, 2017 second-round pick
Acquired: Marcus Thornton, Marquis Daniels

I like Thornton.

Traded: Miami Heat 2011 first-round pick
Acquired: James Johnson

This was a steal. Johnson will be good, and for Miami's first rounder?

Traded: Deron Williams
Acquired: Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, New Jersey Nets' 2011 first-round pick, Golden State Warriors' 2012 first-round pick (partially protected)

Well... if you have to trade a franchise player, this is the deal you hope to get in return. I don't like Harris but he's a pretty good player. I do like Derrick Favors a lot. And the Nets' pick could net a pretty good player, even in this draft.

Traded: Kirk Hinrich, Hilton Armstrong
Acquired: Mike Bibby, Jordan Crawford, Maurice Evans, Atlanta Hawks 2011 first-round pick

Meh. I don't really get it. We didn't save any money and the players are all non-factors. But I get an excuse to watch this again:

Crawford has some talent but it'll be wasted on this structureless team. Maybe Atlanta's first rounder can yield a diamond in the rough, or be parlayed into moving into position to get Perry Jones (who would probably flop on this Wizards team). What pisses me off is I had to have my high hopes brought on by Andray Blatche trade murmurs dashed when no deal was actually made. I fucking hate that kid. Something needs to be done, though. John Wall is pissed, and I'm all for him being a vocal leader, but the problem is when someone is on their own wavelength like Blatche is, Wall getting in Dray's face would only blow the locker room to pieces, and wouldn't do anything for Wall's development. Good thing Grunfeld gave him that long extension!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

NBA Midseason Report

Every time I make a post it comes with a comment about how I never write anything anymore, and how I promise to get back into it. Not this time.

First I'll do my East and West all-star teams, w/ brief explanations on my differences.

Eastern Conference
Derrick Rose
Dwyane Wade
LeBron James
Amar'e Stoudemire
Dwight Howard

Rajon Rondo
*Raymond Felton
*John Wall
*Josh Smith
Paul Pierce
Kevin Garnett
Al Horford

Outside of those top six players, the East is entirely unimpressive and difficult to differentiate. Even so, Ray Allen and Chris Bosh had no business near LA. Felton had some huge games for the Knicks and there's no question that he should've made it. Wall hasn't been other-worldly like I hoped, but he's still averaging 9 assists per game and has had some impressive moments for a terrible Wizards team. Homer pick, sure, but who wouldn't want to see him in an all-star game (as evidenced by his 22-assist performance in the Rookie-Sophmore game).

Western Conference
Chris Paul
Kobe Bryant
Kevin Durant
Blake Griffin
Pau Gasol

Russell Westbrook
*Monta Ellis
Deron Williams
*Rudy Gay
Kevin Love
Dirk Nowitzki
*LaMarcus Aldridge

Tim Duncan... come on, Pop. You know how far down the list of Western Conference scorers you have to go to find Tim Duncan? #43. Right behind Beno Udrih. People take Beno to prevent gas. Meanwhile, Portland is eight games above .500 entirely because LaMarcus Aldridge has taken it upon himself to finally play like a grown man. I took 'Melo off the list because he's tanked his way out of Denver (he's just that good that he can still score 25/game), and I threw in Monta Ellis because he just looks like a better player now. Don't get me wrong, he's still a gunner, but he's much more refined now. Also, Rudy Gay deserves more credit than he'll probably ever get.

Look Ahead

I'll start with the 'Melo deal. Sorry, Knicks fans, but this will never work. It just won't. And more than anything, because it has Isiah Thomas' aura attached to the whole thing. If Donnie Walsh had made his own decision to give up everyone but Amar'e in the deal I'd be more confident. Sucks to see a franchise like the Knicks do some stupid shit like this. Let's all be real for a second: the moment the next free agency period begins was the absolute last moment that Carmelo Anthony was going to become a Knick. He wasn't going to Houston. He wasn't going to New Jersey. He was always going to be a New York Knick. He doesn't make this team a championship contender this year, so why give up what would've been his entire supporting cast?

They will be fun to watch, though. No doubt about that. And unquestionably, at least to my mind, they are a better team today than they were two days ago. Wilson Chandler is a nice player and Galinari sometimes is. Felton-Billups is probably a wash at this point, except Felton is having the best year of his career and Billups is 34. And I don't understand the hubbub over Blake Griffin launching-pad Timofey Mozgov. What they get is a player in Carmelo Anthony who, when he wants to be, is still a top-10 player in the league (I have eight others definitely on my list, in no order: LeBron, Kobe, Durant, Rose, CP3, Dwight, Wade, Deron Williams). And he wants to play in New York. With Amar'e also there, who is on a short list for that last spot on my top-10, you're going to have a formidable team. Having two players who command as much defensive attention as those two guys automatically opens the court for the rest of the team. It's just too bad that they don't really have much in the way of 'rest of the team,' and they might now be even WORSE defensively.

(I broke my own rule and read Bill Simmons' trade value column He commented on Amar'e's knee, playing time, and declining production. I don't know if there's any validity to the inevitability of Amar'e breaking down, but I'm going to keep an eye on it for sure.)

I'm also a little surprised that there was never any talk of Ricky Rubio. This would've been a relatively quiet way for Minnesota to get past the inevitable embarrassment that'll come with Rubio finally deciding to come to the NBA and still avoiding the Wolves like the plague. And it'd give the Knicks a bargain for their point guard of the future, instead of waiting a couple years to find out they can't afford Chris Paul or Deron Williams. And they'd be better off with Rubio and Dwight Howard anyway, considering Dwight can make a team with Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis starting at the forward spots a defensive powerhouse worthy of an NBA Finals trip.

Lost in all this is Ty Lawson, who not only loses the perfect mentor in Chauncey Billups but is also now stuck behind Felton for 3+ years. Chapel Hill is happy, at least (actually, the six people who actually follow their players after they leave campus).


DERRICK ROSE. Told you he was gonna be an MVP candidate, and right now, based on what I've seen, he's EASILY the MVP of the league. 22-8 without Joakim Noah, 11-7 without Carlos Boozer, and 2-1 without both. Which leads me to point out that after losing the first two games in which all three played together, they reeled off seven straight wins before Noah was shelved. Noah is slated to return on Wednesday, and after a brief adjustment period I fully expect the Bulls to be a force to be reckoned with. They probably need a shooting guard in order for me to call them a true championship contender, though. Talks of JR Smith (NO) and Courtney Lee (meh) have surfaced, but there really isn't a viable option out there. OJ Mayo's name was mentioned and Memphis shot that down immediately, but I'd love to see that happen. I don't see how it could, but a Rose-Mayo backcourt? Goodness.


The Lakers are still winning the championship, get over it. They should go after Felton and seal the deal. And speaking of LA, I wonder how Donald Sterling is gonna fuck all this up. Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon are bona fide stars, and they have a ton of young talent AND cap space, especially when they have Chris Kaman's expiring deal to work with after this year is finished. Seems like they're building up for a MAJOR collapse.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gilbert Arenas Trade and the Washington WIZARDS

The roots of the 'We Believe' Warriors (Look at how young Gil
looks, and how J-Rich hasn't aged a millisecond).

It's been over a month since I've written. Oops.

First the trade. Obviously I'm a huge Arenas fan and will take that fanhood to the grave. And, obviously, he was not happy in the shithole that is the present-moment Washington Wizards organization. He was as good as gone the instant he fired off his finger gunz (really, sooner, but you get the point) so this was essentially a formality, especially considering Otis Smith was the only GM in the league willing to take him on.

So now we have Arenas, Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Earl Clark in Orlando, Rashard Lewis in DC, and Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus in Phoenix. First, Steve Nash might've got the worst of this deal. He re-ups with the Suns in the hopes that they'll make one last legitimate push for a title before his career is done - laughable as that might be. Instead, they trade their next-best player for "the best backup center in the NBA" and a Vince Carter who makes you think Drake's debut album was titled for his career. Considering I was holding out hope that Dirk would join Nash in Phoenix this past offseason, this is awful. At least Pietrus might have a career year...

I'm excited to see how the Magic come away from all of this. Losing Gortat will hurt a little, but they still have the best center in the NBA and finding bodies to fill Gortat's 15 minutes won't be all that difficult. And what they got in return? First, they upgrade from the eggshell of Vince Carter to a Jason Richardson who's not only playing some of the best basketball of his career, but his shooting makes him a much better fit for their offense. And speaking of upgrades, going from Rashard Lewis to Hedo Turkoglu certainly qualifies. Turkoglu gives them another playmaker, a guy who can create his own shot, and still someone who can knock down the three. It also opens up more minutes for Brandon Bass, a guy with real Paul Millsap potential (better shooting touch, not quite the rebounder). Hell, this could even be a nice landing spot for Earl Clark, who actually has a similar skill-set to Turkoglu and could wind up blossoming - though don't hold your breath.

And of course, there's Gilbert. I'm gonna hold off on predictions, instead offering up a bit of a hypothetical scenario. He was miserable in DC, we all know this. I even noted on several occasions that he passed on those long buzzer-beating threes that he was known (and loved) for taking, when he'd instead do the "right thing" and draw the defense, kick to the open man blah blah blah. This whole season he's made a point to do the "right thing." And he played pretty well. The explosiveness wasn't there (can't expect it to be) but there were times where he really looked like Agent Zero again, except this time with quite a bit more maturity. But he was a truly great player when he was in his zone, comfortable. And he was not comfortable in DC. Now, he's essentially wearing his favorite player's jersey in Orlando (#1, for Penny) and he's joining forces with fellow jokester-turned-"down to business" guy, Dwight Howard. In sports - in life - it's impossible to deny the importance of (mind)set and setting. Now all he needs to do is "find out where to put [his] dominance." (Yes, that's a real quote. Agent One has arrived.)

As for the WIZARDS... kill me now. Beginning of the season, when the Arenas-to-Orlando rumors began, the question was "should we buy out Vince's last year of his deal, or just let him walk after the season." Now we're dealing with, "we traded the second worst contract in the NBA (Arenas) for the absolute worst (Lewis)." Of course our fearless GM Ernie Grunfeld (the same one who opted to pass on an Al Jefferson-for-Etan Thomas trade - I'm never, ever, letting that go) can't even contain his jubilation at booting Gil out the door. But not for VC and his expiring deal, noooo, we get Rashard Lewis and the rest of his guaranteed SIXTY-SIX MILLION DOLLARS over the next three seasons. It's cool though, 'cause he's a former all-star. It's not like he's already 31 years old (three years older than Arenas), or has numbers that are steadily declining since he signed one of the worst contracts in NBA history. It's not like he's a 6'10" power forward averaging 12 points and 4 rebounds per game. It's not like he's shooting a paltry 36% from beyond the arc, perimeter shooting being is one redeeming attribute.

Wait, it is?


Hey, at least he fits right in with Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee to make up the softest frontcourt in the history of organized basketball. Nice to see where the team's - not even the franchize's, the team's - priorities lie. Like I said, kill me now.

And speaking of good news, I had the pleasure of attending last nights Bulls-Wizards game. NOT FOUR MINUTES IN and we are treated to this:

SWEET FUCKING JESUS. But hey, it provided a nice laugh. We actually jumped out to an early lead and took it in to half time as Kirk Hinrich did his best John Wall impression. (Obscure reference, I know; he's this former first-round pick that used to play basketball....) This team is an abomination. Nick Young is so good that even though he's been our best scorer in the last three games (...), he gets substituted out on defensive possessions in lieu of LESTER HUDSON. Hinrich is just good enough to warrant playing time and never good enough to run an offense. I like McGee, I think maybe he could one day grow a pair and become a really good center, though I realize how much of a homer that makes me. Blatche... I could fight speechlessness and go on for days, but I'll save everyone the headache. And big Rashard Lewis... missing all five of his threes, BADLY... maybe Wall can make something of this mess if he ever gets healthy (something I'm seriously doubting at this moment) but if we win another 20 games all year it'll be a miracle.

A Christmas miracle? Anyway, happy holidays.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick, and the Warshington Redskins

I think I can speak for every sane Redskins fan when I say the last 24 hours have felt like being on the other end of a Mike Tyson first round knockout. Two huge haymakers to the chin. First, Donovan McNabb's five-year extension that makes him the FIFTH HIGHEST PAID quarterback in the NFL. Then, of course, the electrifying performance Vick put on, choking the life out of the 'Skins season. I'm still a little speechless because what happened last night was why Vick was placed on this planet. Otherworldly doesn't even begin to describe what viewers were witness to.

(Something should be made very clear, however: the Redskins are not a good football team. At all. And we've historically been killed by athletes like Vick; Brian Westbrook comes to mind. Let's wait until next week's Giants game before we crown his ass.)

Anywho... great job by the Skins for not signing him when we had the chance. I know there are roughly 31 other teams and fanbases who are probably thinking some form of the same thing, but it still hurts. Jason Campbell was obviously never getting a fair shot at success and there was no risk in bringing him in. And I WANTED VICK. Damn. But it's cool though. We got Donovan McNabb!

Donovan McNabb!

Lets be clear here. As much as I despise the Eagles, I've always been a fan of Donovan. He's a great player and he's good peoples. But he's been visibly declining for a couple years, finding new ways to put passes just out of receivers' hands each week. But I was OK with the trade. I wanted to keep Campbell and trade for Brandon Marshall, but hey, Mike Shanahan has Super Bowl rings (remember the last coach we had with rings? That turned out pretty swell).

*Fast forward to November 15th.*

The team is 4-4 coming off a bye week, and McNabb just got benched at the end of a tough loss to the LIONS for REX GROSSMAN because, essentially, he's too dumb and fat to be a better option than REX GROSSMAN. And he's is still finding new ways to put balls frustratingly out of reach of his targets, and we just passed on signing the only player in NFL history who might give McNabb trouble in his quest to overthrow and underthrow every single target he sees. So what's the best plan of action? GIVE THAT MAN A FIVE YEAR DEAL WORTH UPWARDS OF $90 MILLION.


Now look at this, taken from the link:

  1. Sam Bradford: Six years, $78 million, $50 million guaranteed
  2. Tom Brady: Five years, $78.5 million, $48.5 million guaranteed.
  3. Matthew Stafford: Six years, $72 million, $41.75 million guaranteed.
  4. Carson Palmer: Six years, $118.75 million. 
  5. Donovan McNabb: Five years, $78 million, $40 million guaranteed.
  6. Phillip Rivers: Seven years, $98.25 million, $38.15 million guaranteed.
  7. Peyton Manning: Seven years, $98 million, $35.5 million guaranteed
  8. Eli Manning: Seven years, $106.9 million, $35 million guaranteed
  9. Ben Roethlisberger: Eight years, $102 million, $33.2 million guaranteed
  10. Tony Romo: Six years, $67.4 million, $30 million guaranteed.
  11. Matt Ryan: Six years, $66 million, $34.75 million guaranteed.
  12. Mark Sanchez: Five years, $44 million, $28 million guaranteed.
  13. Vince Young: Six years, $58 million, $25.74 million guaranteed.
  14. Matt Schaub: Six years, $48 million, $24.3 guaranteed.
  15. Matt Cassell: Six years, $63 million, $23 million guaranteed.
  16. Jay Cutler: Five years, $49.7 million, $20 million guaranteed. 
  17. Aaron Rodgers: Six years, $65 million, $20 million guaranteed.
  18. Drew Brees: Six years, $60 million, $20 million guaranteed.
  19. David Garrard: Six years, $60 million, $18 million guaranteed.
  20. Brett Favre, One year, $16 million, $4.4 million guaranteed.
Brady is probably the best comparison for McNabb right now. Two months ago, Brady received a new five-year, $78.5 million contract with $48.5 million guaranteed. Brady is 33 years old and has 17 touchdowns and four interceptions this year, with a 64.5 percent completion percentage and a quarterback rating of 98.8, for a 7-2 team. McNabb is 34 years old and has seven touchdowns and eight interceptions this year, with a 57.4 percent completion percentage and a quarterback rating of 76, for a 4-4 team.
However, I almost feel like Buster Douglas after finding out that we could cut or trade him at the end of the year and only be on the hook for $3.75 mil. Hopefully this was just a token apology for the Detroit benching and we let him go, and head into a draft with a few quality QB prospects.

Vick still hasn't gotten his extension either.

Monday, November 8, 2010

2010-2011 NBA Preview - Individual Awards

All-Star teams, sixth man, all-rookie team and rookie of the year, MVP. These aren't predictions on how the voters decide, these are the players who will be most deserving.

Eastern Conference All Stars


Rajon Rondo - The man is unreal.
Derrick Rose - It'll be Wade, but Rose is... kinda good.
LeBron James - There are a lot of good forwards in the East, and not many of them really stand out. I think 'Bron certainly will have figured his role out by February.
Josh Smith - Like I said... but Smith needs more recognition for his impact on that team.
Dwight Howard - Come on.


Dwyane Wade - Should still be Miami's leading scorer.
John Wall - Go ahead. Call me a homer. BALL DON'T LIE.
Brandon Jennings - Tough call on the 3rd guard. I think Jennings will get his act together.
Danny Granger - Well deserving.
Amar'e Stoudemire - Could he really not make it?
Joakim Noah - I can't decide if he's the perfect all-star or the antithesis. No, I'm kidding, definitely the latter. Still will earn it.

Western Conference All Stars


Chris Paul - *Copy/paste Rondo's description*
Monta Ellis - Yep.
Kevin Durant - No explanation needed.
Dirk Nowitzki - Same old, same old.
Pau Gasol - Not really sure where he is on the ballot, but this is MY team.


Kobe Bryant - He just isn't needed to put up all star numbers. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Steve Nash - Who knows how many he has left? I'm securing him a spot based on lifetime achievement merits alone.
Deron Williams - There are a bunch of deserving guards out West. Deron has to make it, though.
Rudy Gay - I'm telling you, there's going to be times where you'll stop and think, "maybe he is a max player."
Carmelo Anthony - Assuming he's still in Denver.
Blake Griffin - He's a manchild. Though he'll be in plenty of these, so maybe hold off on this one.
Al Jefferson - I'm gonna hang on to my preseason thoughts and say he'll warrant this.

Sixth Man

*Jamal Crawford - He's in a contract year and considering his role on that team is similar to Adam Dunn's, in that all he needs to do is swing for the fences, he should have another worthy season.

Lamar Odom - Depending on when Bynum comes back (and if he doesn't just come off the bench as he probably should) Odom would make for a worthy adversary to Crawford.

Wilson Chandler - He's going to put up some numbers in 'Antoni's offense, so he could be a dark horse if he continues to come off the bench.

All-Rookie Team (*Rookie of the Year)

*John Wall - The game against Philly is one of the most amazing rookie performances I've ever seen. Ever. Regardless of sport. Sorry, Blake Griffin fans. It's impossible for me to hyperbolize with this kid, unless I declare him the second coming of Christ....
Eric Bledsoe - This is contingent on the Clippers doing the right thing and either trading Baron Davis or giving him the TO treatment. It's also a reflection on A) how few rookie guards there are and B) how little I like Evan Turner. Turner is going to make a career out of putting up inconsequential numbers. But I digress... Bledsoe isn't a prototypical point guard, but he's definitely a player, and he's the best option the Clippers have at the position.
Evan Turner - It was hard to keep him off this list. I tried, believe me. But I'm not going overboard on my assessment of him. He can play basketball. And he'll get the minutes. Wes Johnson, Derrick Favors, Greg Monroe were just behind him for the other forward spot.
Blake Griffin - He would've beat Tyreke Evans out for last year's award. He probably would've beat out every ROY winner since LeBron (other than Chris Paul). At the least he'd very much be in the running. And there've been some good ones (Kevin Durant, Brandon Roy, Derrick Rose...). Too bad he's up against Wall this year.
DeMarcus Cousins - He's gonna have an up-and-down year, but when the dust settles his numbers will place him here. And he'll have some monster games scattered throughout the season.


*Kevin Durant - Once he gets going it'll be his award to lose. Last year he was a 21-year old averaging 30 points per, to go along with almost 8 rebounds a 3 assists, on a 50-win team. I have OKC winning 59 this year, and even if KD merely equals those individual numbers, he wins.

Chris Paul - This award was made for CP3. If he doesn't win multiple MVPs before his time is up it'll be due to injuries or just God-awful teams.

Derrick Rose - I have never seen someone cover so much ground in the half-court offense in so little time. Nobody has a quicker first step. He's a lot like Chris Johnson (of NFL fame), in that if he gets by the first defender, it's over. He's getting the basket or he's getting to the line. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I saw someone make the case that because it is so damn easy for him to get to the basket he really has no need to do anything else, and his playmaking skills will suffer for it. I respect the concern, and I respectfully disagree. His career path to date has been similar to the model of development he showed in his year at Memphis, when he started off as the supremely physically gifted kid who relied solely on those gifts and transformed into the all-around superstar everyone remembers.

Oh yea, and he's got a jumper now, too.

Dwight Howard - LeBron and Wade teaming up opens the door for all these other guys to take a step up. If Howard's offensive game really has developed, he'll be a viable contender to Durant. Though my issue with Dwight's candidacy hasn't been his scoring as much as his inexcusably low assist numbers.

LeBron James - Wade's hope of ever winning one of these went out the window (he should've won a couple years ago) when LeBron took his talents down to South Beach. If James takes that Magic role I've talked about and averages the double-digit assists that he can, he's right back up here.

Monta Ellis - Unfortunately I think I jinxed Ellis. Just as I've been talking him up, as I'm typing this he's in the Warriors' locker room having x-rays done on his back. SPINAL. I really hope he's gonna be fine because he alone has made League Pass worth every penny. He's just so much more in tune with the flow of the game than he's ever been. Maybe it's 'cause he got married in the offseason..?

Rajon Rondo - There are two main forces conspiring against Rondo's candidacy, and I'm not sure which is bigger. For one thing, that Celtics team is STACKED. The Old Three, plus every other player on that team would crack just about every rotation in the league. Rondo also can't shoot or score. Like, at all. Dallas just left him WIDE OPEN with a two point lead (guess what happened). To his credit his shot does seem to pick up in opportune times, especially in the playoffs, but that doesn't really help him here. But if he somehow averages 15+ assists on a top-seeded Boston Celtics team he'd at least have to be mentioned.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

2010-2011 NBA Preview - Playoffs and Champion

Obviously based on my projected records. One thing is for certain: the title is the Lakers' to lose. They are far and away the most perfectly constructed team in the league. Something would have to go drastically wrong for Phil to not get his 12th ring. Anywho...

Eastern Conference
1. Miami Heat (62-20)
2. Orlando Magic (60-22)
3. Boston Celtics (56-26)
4. Chicago Bulls (53-29)
5. Atlanta Hawks (54-28)
6. Milwaukee Bucks (52-30)
7. Charlotte Bobcats (40-42)
8. Washington Bullets (39-43)

9.  New York Knicks (38-44)
10. Indiana Pacers (38-44)
11. New Jersey Nets (35-47)
12. Philadelphia 76ers (30-52)
13. Detroit Pistons (29-53)
14. Toronto Raptors (23-59)
15. Cleveland Cavaliers (22-60)

(All five Southeast teams made it. Yikes.)

Round 1

Miami Heat over Washington Bullets 4-0
C'mon son.

Orlando Magic over Charlotte Bobcats 4-1
Don't think Charlotte has the same magic as last year, pardon the pun.

Boston Celtics over Milwaukee Bucks 4-3
Jennings vs Rondo will be very interesting. And the Bucks can compete with Boston's depth, and they're younger. A 50-win Bucks team is probably the last matchup Boston wants to see.

Chicago Bulls over Atlanta Hawks 4-2
Derrick Rose averages 30 and 15.

Round 2

Chicago Bulls over Miami Heat 4-3
Rose and Noah are infinitely better than Miami's counterparts at the 1 and 5. Miami would get more calls than the '06 Finals, though, so this wouldn't ever happen. Still...

Boston Celtics over Orlando Magic 4-2
Pretty easy, unless Dwight really does become an offensive juggernaut.

Conference Finals

Boston Celtics over Chicago Bulls 4-3
Remember that opening round series a couple years ago, when Rondo and Rose (and BG) battled for seven games and it was awesome? Me too.

Western Conference
1. Los Angeles Lakers (60-22)
2. Oklahoma City Thunder (59-23)
3. Dallas Mavericks (58-24)
4. Utah Jazz (55-27)
5. San Antonio Spurs (52-30)
6. Portland Trail Blazers (51-31)
7. Denver Nuggets (47-35)
8. Memphis Grizzlies (45-37)

9. Golden State Warriors (44-38)
10. Houston Rockets (42-40)
11. New Orleans Hornets (42-40)
12. Phoenix Suns (41-41)
13. Sacramento Kings (36-46)
14. Los Angeles Clippers (35-47)
15. Minnesota Timberwolves (24-58)

Round 1

Los Angeles Lakers over Memphis Grizzlies 4-0
Battle of the Gasols. While that matchup is a lot closer than people realize right now, this wouldn't be a series AT ALL. Though the Grizz do have one of the best starting fives in the league.

Oklahoma City Thunder over Denver Nuggets 4-2
Assuming Denver's roster is intact and healthy, this'll be a good series. Durant vs 'Melo will always be a treat.

Dallas Mavericks over Portland Trail Blazers 4-2
Slow vs fast. If Oden is somehow healthy for the playoffs, watch out. This would be verrrrry interesting.

San Antonio Spurs vs Utah Jazz (7 games)
Utah FINALLY gets to host a playoff series... against a Spurs team that knows this could very well be their final shot at a title. Easily would make for the best series of the first round.

Round 2

Los Angeles Lakers over Spurs/Jazz 4-3
The Spurs would be a great opponent, and if the Jazz are, in fact, good enough get past San Antonio they would be as well. Lakers still win, but another great series.

Oklahoma City Thunder over Dallas Mavericks 4-2
Dallas is too old to compete with OKC in a seven game series. I think Rodrigue Beaubois will have a big impact for them (if he really is getting an expanded role once he's healthy), but not enough to beat Durant, Westbrook and co.

Conference Finals

Los Angeles Lakers over Oklahoma City Thunder 4-3
You want it to happen. I want it to happen. The gods want it to happen. Most importantly, David Stern wants it to happen. Hopefully everyone gets what they want.

NBA Finals

Los Angeles Lakers over Boston Celtics 4-3
What a way to send us all off into the lockout. Why will there be a lockout? Because the owners are complaining about losing money and in the same breath giving MIKE CONLEY 45 MILLION DOLLARS. Rajon Rondo "only" got 55.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

2010-2011 NBA Preview - Southwest Division

Dallas Mavericks
This division is the toughest to handicap. Dallas and San Antonio are old, Houston is just strange (and might have a little Ewing Theory in effect with Yao), New Orleans lives and dies with Chris Paul, and the Grizzlies are the Grizzlies. I'm giving the nod to Dallas because they're the deepest team and there's a promise of Rodrigue Beaubois in the starting lineup (when he gets healthy). Kidd is an ageless wonder (for now) and Dirk is Dirk. Final Prediction: 58-24

San Antonio Spurs
Last hurrah for these guys, I'm afraid. But they'll be strong this year. No need to go into further detail. Final Prediction: 52-30

Memphis Grizzlies
Rudy Gay has always been a world-class talent. But he's always seemed to be content with being a B-level player. One theory: he never really had that talent validated (and the confidence that comes with it). On draft night he watched the likes of Adam Morrison, Sheldon Williams and Tyrus Thomas get selected in front of him. Then he got drafted by the Grizzlies, aka The Franchise Where Talent Goes To Die. But then last year happened. The team wins 40 games, and Gay is rewarded with a quick max-dollars extension (and a spot on a gold-medal winning Team USA). In other words, validation. I don't think Gay becomes an MVP candidate, but signing that deal may have meant as much for his continued development as anything. Final Prediction: 45-37

Houston Rockets
I don't really see any improvement on last year. I know, I know... Yao. Right. But they always seem to be better without Yao than with. I may be severely underrating them, but I really don't think so. Final Prediction: 42-40

New Orleans Hornets
Another team I might be severely underrating, only because Chris Paul seemingly can win 50 games with any semi-competent roster. Still, I don't like 'em. Paul wants out, and that might weigh on the team, at least in some way. Final Prediction: 42-40