Saturday, November 27, 2010

Fwd: NBA 2010-2011 Preview

These days I don't have much time to pay attention to anything but my kids, work, and my drinking.  So I'm keeping this years NBA preview short, after the incomplete job last year.  I'm not sure why I'm sending you this either as it seems that you are probably dead.

Eastern Conference

1. Miami Heat - They are going to cruise through the regular season and kill  all the low hanging fruit in the NBA.  People think they'll get more tough games because they are a target, but I disagree.  Most of the contending teams are older and saving some gas for the playoffs. 

2. Orlando Magic - They still have a  lot to prove.  Howard needs more offense and the Magic need more toughness from somebody besides Dwight.  A nice regular season cruise results.

3. Atlanta Hawks - They have a lot to prove too after another disappointing playoff run.  Many of their young players now have more seasoning and the roles are well defined except for how much Bibbies minutes will drop off.  But playoff disappointment looms again.

4. Chicago Bulls -  We know the defense will be even better because of Thibadou as the head coach, and the offense will be somewhat improved with Boozer on board.  The big question to me is how much better does Derek Rose get.  I think a lot.

5. Boston Celtics - Old, but showed in the playoffs last year that it doesn't matter.  The regular season is about staying healthy, and that's it.  They would probably like one home series in the playoffs, and then don't care.  This team is built to beat the Heat and Lakers.

6. Milwaukee - Fear the Deer indeed.  It remains to be seen if Bogut can recover, and that's the key to everything.  He still hasn't' regained full motion in his elbow, and since he is clearly their best player it makes sense that they make no noise without him.  The Maggette trade is puzzling at best, he's never been a part of anything good.

7. New York - Looks like the Knicks had a big whiff on the Lebron sweeps.  Amare is a nice consolation prize and will probably result in a high flying, playoff bound team, that will do nothing when it counts because there are no defenders on this team. 

8. Charolette - Larry Brown is out by the All-Star break.  He is not going to like coaching this bunch since they seem due for regression after the questionable player moves they made.  But it was nice to make the playoffs last year and this year.

Also rans:

New Jersey - Actually has some good players, but not enough.
Philly - What a fucking mess.  Igudola has been miscast as a star for years now.
Toronto - There is nothing left here post Bosh.  Probably killed NBA ball in Canada.
Cleveland - Speaking of nothing left.  Lebron's teammates were not good and we'll see why.
Detroit - Joe Dumars really fucked up this team with the Villanueva and Gordon signings.  Bad, bad, bad.
Indiana - I get that Larry Bird likes corn fed white boys, but this is not how to make a team.
Washington - John Wall is going to be on the highlight reel at least once a week, but things with Gilbert will get ugly.  Fast.


Round 1.

Miami over Charolette - Most lopsided sweep since I don't know when.
Orlando over New York - Dwight Howard looks good offensively because Amare and Garngnari can't play defense.
Atlanta over Milwaukee - I think Bogut is not coming back 100% this year.  If he does and Jennings continues to improve I would pick MWKE.
Boston over Chicago - And we get to see why Boozer does not make a good power forward.  He won't score on Boston's lineup, just like the problems he had with the Lakers.

Rnd 2.

Boston over Miami - I think the crunch time offense for Miami will lead to strife with these guys.  Also, Chris Bosh is an overpaid punk.  He is not a good defensive force and not a banger at all. 

Orlando over Atlanta - Dwight Howard gets to destroy another team with no big men.

Conf. Finals

Boston over Orlando - Howard gets challenged by Boston's size and once again responds poorly.  Rondo eats the magic alive yet again, and Pierce abuses Lewis at SF.  Basically last years thing with Shaq being extra angry and breaking Howards nose with an elbow at some point.


1. Lakers - It's the best team top to bottom with the only question being how does Bynum hold up. 

2. Utah - I think the trade for Big Al was the best possible move for these guys.  He can go against Gasol and Bynum on the block where Boozer could not.  But can he stay healthy?

3. OKC - Durant is clearly a top five player and showed it in the playoffs and world championships.  His teammates are okay, not enough to beat the Lakers.

4. Houston - A team of nice parts, but no real alpha dog hampers their ability to jump to the next level. Ming is pretty much in the Sabonis phase of his career and needs better teammates to be very effective.

5. Dallas - Dirk is very consistent and keeps things solidly in the 50 win area.  Is Kidd done this year?  Who knows, but their championship window shut a while ago.

6. San Antonio - Low player movements after last years flops, this team is all about arriving at the playoffs as healthy as possible. 

7. Portland - Greg Oden, Branden Roy, the brittle PacNW! 

8. LA Clippers - predicated on Blake Griffen remaining healthy all year, a big iff.

Also rans -

Denver Nuggets - Should be better, but Carmelo trade demands weigh down whole franchise.
New Orleans - Should be better, but Paul trade demands weight down whole franchsie. 
Memphis - Overpaid Gay.  Gritty team, but not good enough in this conference, though I could see them in the 8th playoff spot.
Phoenix - I figure Nash has to break, and a team of Small Forwards can't possibly keep winning.
Sacramento - They really have a few nice young pieces, but Cousins won't transform them overnight in his rookie year. 
Golden State - New owner, new coach, same old Warriors.
Minnesotat - This is the NBAs worst team.  The GM should be fired for trading away Jefferson for nothing and taking in the talented, but underperforming Beasley in exchange.  And for not sending the Celtics anteing to win the title, that's the MN GM's job after all.

Playoffs -

Round 1.

Lakers over Clips.  Fun intracity rivalry is only fun for Lakers fans.
Utah over Porltand.  Jefferson and Williams set to make a run.
Spurs over OKC - tough draw in my imagined world for Durant.  Duncan is the kind of post player they have no answer for.
Houston over Dallas - And the Dallas blow up plan begins.

Round 2.

Lakers vs Spurs - A battle royal of epic proportions is one the Lakers are easily equipped to win with a healthy Bynum.  He is the key to everything for them. 

Utah vs Houston - This is an easy win for Utah with their new low post stud and array of big ment to toss at Houston's undersized lineup.

Conf. finals - Lakers over Utah - Same old same old for the Jazz.  Can't beat the Lakers.

Finals - Boston over Lakers.  Two things.  Apparently Allen was injured in the finals and that's why all his shots were off.  And the Celtics just needed some more rebounds to win the ttitle last yea.r  ONce Perk went down they were doomed.  HOpefully the new O'Neal brothers can insure that at least one seven footer is out there at PF/C and we don't have Baby guarding Bynum.  Hopefully.  Because though Shaq is slow, he still fucks with Bynums shit because of his size alone.  And though he can't play pick and roll, since when are the Lakers a pick and roll team?  Triangle and Bryant is what they run.  Boston in six games and exacting revenge for last year.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

NBA preview 2009-2010 (Playoff teams only)

Well this is unfinished, but it's getting later and later in the year so eventually these will look just dumb.

Eastern Conference.

1. Boston - I thank the crappy economy and Aingegenious for resinging Rondo at a reasonable cost.  $11 mil/year is solid.  Bringing on Rasheed Wallace and Marquis Daniels is solid.  And to top if off he signed Ken Griffey Jr. after drinking too much nerve tonic.  Big moves.  Big team.  The only question is KGs knee, but God is a Celtics fan, so this won't be a problem.  The C's are going to the finals.  Unless God isn't a Celtics fan that is.

2. Cleveland - Lebron on five is a good, not great offense.  Shaq brings the muscle to mess with Howard, but he's very, very specific for that match up.  If Cleveland's road goes through Boston (which it will) they are going to be out.  Another year of dissapointment from Lebron, who is pretty fantastic given the poorly constructed teams he's lead to, and close to the NBA finals.

3. Magic - If Vince Carter steps up, I like the offseason moves a lot.  Hedo was getting old, even though he lead the team to the finals.  That was the best Hedo performance everyone is ever going to get and it's all down hill from here.  The Magic have an outstanding young nucleus, and I will be very curious to see what moves Howard has added in the offseason.  If it's none, these guys have a conference finals ceiling.  IF he has jumpers and semi-reasonable post moves, they could upset the C's. 

4. Heat - The Lebron theory applies.  Dwayne Wade is exceptionally skilled and can lead a bad team to the playoffs and out of the first round.  If Beasley is ready to play (questionable given his offseason of substance abuse treatment) then this could be a pretty good team.  Somehow though I see them underachieving like last year.

5. Atlanta - It seemed like this team was only going out after pushing the Championship winning C's to the brink in the first round two years ago.  But instead it was a plateau.  Josh Smith is proving to be freaky, but he's not getting any better, and frankly he's not good enough to eat up that much playing time and cap space.  Joe Johnson is a good shooting guard, a perfect third banana, but here he is hte best option.  I see them being frisky, but not much of a threat.

6. Washington - Gilbert Arenas is supposedly back in full, and if that's true they are talented enough to make an ultimately dissapointing playoff run.  Good for them.

7. Chicago - This team has a lot of nice, and not necessairily complementary pieces.  Tyrus Thomas and Joachim Noah for instance cannot share floor time.  But the backcourt is solid with a stellar young PG in Derrick Rose who lets the young team run all day while he plays very good defense and offense himself.  He's an exciting young player and a reason the Bulls are back on the rise.

8. Toronto - Chris Bosh, Hedo, and that pesky PG whose name escapes me at the moment.  The Euro guy who is kind of good.  Phoenix Suns East is perfect for uptempo hoops, but with lesser talents (Bosh instead of Amare; Euro guy instead of Nash; Hedo instead of Grant Hill).  They will be entertaining and present a few matchup problems.  But a versatile team like the C's can bang the hell out of them and run them out of the gym too, ala what happene dto Phoenix against the Spurs a few years ago.

Western Conference:

1. San Antonio Spurs - The got a little more athletic with Richard Jefferson coming on board and I'm wagering Duncan has one more hall of fame title run in him.  He's not retiring, but this might be the last year he is a game changer throughout.  Manu is supposed to be healthy and if that's the case, these guys have the coach, the hunger, the pieces, and the experience to hoist another trophy.

2. Lakers - I guess it will take a while for Ron Artest to fit into the mix, but he shouldn't downgrade the Lakers regular season success from last year.  I'm not convinced that Artest is what the Lakers need in the playoffs as he's not as athletic as he used to be and I don't believe he can guard quicker threes like Trevor Ariza is capable of doing.

3. Denver - Melo.  Melo.  Melo.  Melo.  Melo.  Melo.  Melo.  And Chauncey.  Maybe Karl reestablishes a faux-Seattle defense.  Nice.  I see Western Conference finals as the ceiling.

4. Utah.  Jerry Sloan utilizes another hall-of-fame point guard to pick and roll opponets to death.  There is a weird subtext to this season with Paul Milsap getting paid and Carlos Boozer probably looking for a new team in a shitty NBA economy.  I don't believe those two conditions can co-exist on a succesfful team.

5. Portland - The youngins are starting to get old and that means it's time to tap that potential that makes you exciting before you realize your just a shitty midlevel team.  I think Portland will tap this seaosn as Roy has proven to be a capable leader and all around scorer who can alpha-dog other pieces of this team to success.  I'm not sure about Greg Oden anymore, but he's apparently learning more about the center post and not acting like a complete and total spaz on defense.  Just most of the time.

6. Dallas - It's one last run with a rapidly aging team.  I personally think that it's time to blow it up and restart without Nowitzki, but Cuban loves him too much.  Does adding Marion to a mix of aging veterans really do much but remake a 2001 Phoenix Suns team?  Nah.  They'll be okay, but I see an early exit from teh playoffs for these guys.

7. Houston - Scrappy players make for a nice 45 win season and a spirited bouncing from the playoffs.  You just do not win in the NBA without at least all-star level talent and without McGrady and Yao they dont' have it.  God, just think how it must suck to flush all the money down the drain on their salaries.  Moreover, it seems like Yao is destined to be the cheap-Chinese import of Sabonis.  Big head.  Check.  Injury riddled body check.  All world passing?  Non.

8. OKC - This team has some talented young players, first-and-foremost among them is Kevin Durant.  Why can't a young guy at least get his scarppy team into the playoffs to be decimated by a more experienced team?  I say it happens this year, though another year in lottery land wouldn't be bad for them.


East.  Round 1.

Boston vs. Toronto - This is a joke.  Ray Allen/Paul Pierce make mince-meat out of Hedu and KG/Sheed demolish WAllace.  Rondo matches up well in this duel of PGs.  Boston in 6.

Cleveland vs. Chicago - This is a good match up for Cleveland.  Shaq overpowers Chicago's lithe front line and Lebron can neutralize Derrick Rose defensively.  Cleveland in 5.

Magi vs. Washington - Too much Howard, though also too much Vince Carter results in a longer than should be opening round series.  Magic in 6.

Heat vs Atlanta - Atlanta is a mystery team to me.  They took the C's to the brink in '08, but I don't know anything about them as a team.  They have talented players but they remain a total mystery.  The Heat have potential with a capital P.  Wade's healthy is the first big question adn Beasley's mental health/drug tests will determine how far this team can go.  In last years match up each team only won at home.  I see ATL winning in 6 games.

East.  Round 2.

Boston vs. ATL - a rematch of the '08 heart attack inducer.  Boston is calmer and better adjusted.  Plus they have size and better perimter defending with Marquis Daniels.  Mike Bibby must have lost SOMETHING by now, so how much can he bring.  Bosont in 6.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Like Sands through an hour glass

The Celtics early season run has been quite nice. Only three losses, a good start to their road trip, what's not to love? For me, it's Doc Rivers insistence on continued shitty coaching. What we know about the newest incarnation of the Celtics is that they are built for the postseason. They could get 50 wins in their sleep. And that's how it should be. The Boston Three-Party is all 30+. This means that their MPG shouldn't go much above 35. Right now though Doc is relying on his superstars far too much to win meaningless games in December. For instance, let's look at Paul Pierece's last 6 games:

12/30 vs. L.A.: 37 Minutes
12/29 vs. Utah: 43 Minutes
12/27 vs. Seattle: 43 Minutes
12/26 vs. Sacto: 41 Minutes
12/23 vs. Orlando: 41 Minutes
12/21 vs. Chicago: 27 Minutes

Other than the Chicago game, Doc is maxing out Pierce's minutes. This is unacceptable for a player who is over 30, has logged a boat load of minutes already, and is coming off of an injury plagued season. The Lakers game is probably the ideal amount of minutes for Pierce and his running mates to play.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Let the new Superstar Era Begin

It goes without saying that the League offices have to be overwhelmingly satisfied with the results of the Eastern Conference Finals. Lebron James, Boobie, and some other guys are representing the Eastern Conference. Better yet, they're doing so with the blessing of the Basketball Moses himself, Bill Russell (he presented the trophy that James holds aloft). Most amazing of all perhaps is that James changed the way he is portrayed and probably the way he will play in a single game. In game 5 Lebron certainly put on a great performance. I'm not among the chorus that would consider it one of the best performances in NBA history. Nonetheless, this performance showed that Lebron is capable of taking over a game and winning it single handledly. Given the sorid state of affairs in the Eastern Conference, it almost guarantees that we can expect to see Lebron in this position for the next 8 years at least. And thus he's starting to realize the massive promise that has been pushed in our faces since he first came into the league.

Can Lebron continue his ascent to the heights of the league by conquering the Spurs in this series? The reaction of Kenny, Charles, and Reggie on Inside the NBA after Lebron and Boobie vanquished the Pistons when asked this question by Ernie was telling. They all laughed and said no way. And this is not an indictment of Lebron at all. It's an indictment of his team, which is poorly constructed. If not for the very compelling emergence of Daniel Gibson, a second round draft pick this year, the Cavaliers would likely be at home right now. The Spurs are simply the better team and it shows in every facet of their game. Their passing, their defensive rotations, and their unselfish play. Lebron is too physical to be stopped by Bruce Bowen alone, but the Spurs will play disciplined team defense against Lebron and the Cavs. They will not take their opponent for granted, like the Pistons did and have frustratingly done for the last four seasons.

What do I predict for this series? I'm compelled to think that San Antonio will sweep the Cavs. I'm reminded of Shaquille O'Neals first appearance in the finals where he met the veteran Hakeem and his well rounded Rockets. These Cavs are less talented than those Magic as O'Neals team was not as entirely dependent on one player as the Cavs are. It's nice to have a fresh face in the finals to be sure, but the Cavs are not ready to threaten the Spurs for basketball dominance. Spurs 4-0.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Warm and Fuzzy side of the NBA Playoffs

There has been much to like and dislike from this current NBA playoffs. But watching Cleveland win the other night, I was reminded of one of my favorite things about the NBA playoffs. The emergence of a young player. Cleveland has that young player right now. Daniel Gibson. A second round pick out of Texas who is playing at a very high level right now. Gibson was averaging about 4 points and 10 minutes of burn in the previous two rounds. Larry Hughes goes down (surprise) and Gibson has emerged as the additional outside shooting threat and point guard that Cleveland has been hurting for. His game 4 performance was simply amazing for a rookie. On 7 shots (4/7) he scored 21 points! He was 12/12 from the free thow line as well. And he played a very steady role as the point guard. Kenny Smith noted that Gibson was showing point guard like instincts (the way he spaced the floor on a break where he threw an alley-oop to Lebron) and play (maintaining his dribble while getting bumped). He even changed his game from the third game where he was mostly a spot up shooter. In game four he was aggresive in driving to the hoop, as evidenced by his free throw numbers. As much as I don't really like Cleveland as a cohesive team, I've enjoyed watching Daniel Gibsons play. If Cleveland is able to upset Detroit, he's going to be one of the biggest reasons why. Kenny and Chuck said he's a veteran now with this performance, but that he has the chance to be a star if he does this on the road. I wouldn't go that far, but it's fun to watch.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Stop the Presses! Celtics beat Bobcats!

I have to say, I am not feeling this Celtic team at all. The only
reason the C's even made it to overtime was Paul Pierce deciding to
take over down the stretch and make 4 straight hoops to build a lead
with 1:30 remaining. That cushion was quickly eclipsed and then the
C's played for overtime, winning on a last second shot.

Also too, for someone as highly touted as Rajon Rondo has been in the
local media, how the hell does he get a DNP-CD last night? Somebody
explain this to me. Unless Rondo did something that warranted a
benching (late for shoot around, grabbed a dancer's ass, etc.). This
just says to me that the C's have a lot of young, decent players.
Great role players, but no legit NBA starters to make you better.

It's going to be a long season.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Other Reviews are in on Hakim Warrick

From the Sportsguy's latest list-o-rama on the first week of the NBA:

4. Hakim Warrick
Wait, so an excellent college player with big-game experience went a
few spots too low in the NBA draft and turned out to be a good pro?
You're kidding!!! This never happens!!!! I can't believe it!!!!!

I was so high on this guy, and he's starting to show why he's a legit
NBA player. Maybe when he's a free agent Boston can sign him, and
then Gerald Green can carry his bags. If Green is still in the league
by then.