Wednesday, December 22, 2004

It's getting hot in here

The Celtics played a pretty nice up tempo game with the Heat last
night. The first half was really exciting with the Celtics leading
the score 60-58 and breaking very nicely. There were good passes,
silly oops, and goofy grins. The players looked happy on the court,
even GP. It's a nice sign as it seems that this is a team that is
enjoying playing together. Except for maybe Pierce. He seems to be
in a weird place this year. Not sure.

The second half was a much, much different story. First LaFrentz left
the game due to some unknown injury. Then Ricky was fouled out on a
flagrant foul. I think he was making a play for the ball and was just
too aggressive, but I can understand why the Refs tossed him. I only
hope he's not suspended. After that play really bogged down. Pierce
kept trying to work a two man game with Al and it was really
ineffective. And inspite of Shaq being out, the Celtics could get
nothing done inside. Blount looked flustered and Al got a little
overwhelmed by Laettner's craftiness.

On the other side of things, nobody can contain D. Wade. What a
player. He makes everything look so effortless. His penetration is
killer and he lays the ball off at the right time and to the right
players. I don't really blame Tony Allen for getting killed by Wade
because for the most part he played him pretty well and forced him to
dish. The problem was the help defense. Blount in particular would
just stand still and look dazed as Wade drove into the lane and then
dished to Haslem whom Blount would invariably let roam towards the
rim. Blount needs to decide sooner to either step up, or cut off his
man's lane to the tin. I was impressed with Tony Allen still though.
His defense is great, and his offense isn't bad.

I was also impressed with Al Jefferson. He nearly notched a
double-double (14 points and 9 boards) in only 14 minutes of play.
Not bad numbers for a rook. He also showed a deft touch passing the
ball making two nice back door assists to Payton. I'm feeling really
good about this kid. He's starting to remind me of Zach Randolph.
Jefferson isn't the most atheletic guy, but knows how to spin and use
his hook to get off shots. Also, his touch is very soft. Once the
ball lands on the rim, it generally goes down.

So all that said it was nice that the C's competed on the road with
the top team in the East (albeit one without Shaq), I don't really
expect them to frequently beat the best teams in the league. I'm
encouraged that the team likes playing together and that Allen and
Jefferson are starting to become heavy contributors. Everything is
positive right now.

Friday, December 17, 2004

General notes of NBA concern

Umm, the Bulls have won 4 of their last 6 games. Don't want to say
anything, but if they keep that up they may not be in lottery land
this year.

Additionally, before the season began I thought the acquisition of
Eric Snow by the Cavaliers was a good move. I felt that his veteran
presence and solid, if unspectacular, point play would help Jeff
McInnis continue his development. Boy was I ever wrong. Snow is not
playing much and apparently is becoming a bitch about it. Last night
Paul Silas had to send him into the locker room after Snow said some
crap to Silas. I applaud Silas too. I think he's a good coach and
he's got the Cavs going in the right direction. And as long as LBJ
buys into his program, he can demand proper respect from his players.
But still, I'm a little surprised by Snow's actions. I have a feeling
Snow will be changing locales before the season is over.

And finally, the Lakers are doing better than I anticipated. Beating
the Kings on the road so convincingly was a nice win from this club.
It helps when everybody steps up. It seems only Kobe can bring it
consistently on this team. Last night everybody brought their A
games. And Kobe's double fisted reverse baseline cram over Mrs.
Christie? Oooooooooo.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The East is not the least

The Celtics seem to be getting off to a good start on this west coast
swing. They lost to the Blazers, but have just had consecutive wins
over Seattle and the Clippers. Last nights victory over the clips was
particularly sweet. They won it in double overtime and it went into
the first overtime when Tony Allen made a humungous block on Corey
Maggette. Really a nice play. And they managed to do all this with
Pierce on the bench having fouled out. Ricky Davis had a great game
too. This is the stuff that gets you hooked. Hopefully they can keep
it up. I'd still like to see Jefferson cutting his teeth on the floor
a little bit more, especially against a crafty post player like Brand.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Stuck in the middle with you

It is definitely early in the season, but one man who needs to begin
stepping up again is Mark Blount. He worked hard to get his contract.
Now that he has it he should be working harder. It is entirely
unacceptable that he is averaging only 5 rpg. With his size and the
lack of competition he faces in the paint in the East, this number
should be up closer to 8.

Boston needs a closer

Another tough loss for the Celtics yesterday. They were able to hang
with a much more talented Miami squad and had a chance to win things
down the stretch. It again comes down to execution, execution,
execution. Too much dribbling leads to a defense that is set. Worse
yet is that the Celtics crunch time defense is not what it could be.
Of course, Dwyane Wade (aka The Flash) is pretty hard to handle. He
gave Celtics defenders headaches with his crossover and atheleticism.

In other news, the Bulls finally won. They beat Utah. At least
they're off the consecutive loss schnide. For now.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Mr. Pierce goes to Washington

The Celtics. Ugh. I've complained about this a million times and I
thought it was one of Coach O'Briens bigger flaws, but all the crucial
possessions down the stretch and every overtime possession amounted to
isolations for Paul Pierce. He was clearly pretty gassed and was
being defended by a much younger and taller Jared Jeffries who was
also fresher because all he was in to do was defend Pierce. Pierce
took step back jumper after step back jumper and missed shot after
shot. The Celtics almost didn't score in five minutes of overtime.
Just pathetic. I'm a big proponent of attacking a defense. Why let
one guy stand around, dribble out the shot clock, and then take a
difficult shot? Pierce is a great shooter so why not get him a good
look? I would prefer to see Payton get the ball (did I just say
that?) and either penetrate and kick to Pierce or initiate an
offensive set where Paul gets to come off a few screens that leave him
with the option of a quick catch and shoot or a better chance to drive
towards the tin. Pierce knows how to get to the line and is
profficient when he gets there, so why the coach does not put him into
a situation where he will have that chance is beyond me. Pierce is
not Allen Iverson. He cannot out-quick a guy one-on-one and that
showed as Jefferies made Pierce look like a fool time after time with
his defense.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Rookie Report

1. Emeka Okafor is doing great. He rebounds strong and I watched him
put some nice blocks on people tonight. Very good weakside help. And
his turn around jumper is proving to be a nice offensive move on the
low block.

2. Luol Deng. I believe I wrote earlier that I thougt Luol would be
very good and that he was being widely underestimated. He now leads
all Rookie scorers with 18.5 ppg and is also getting 7 rpg coming off
the bench. He has a very smooth effortless game with good perimeter
shooting and savy moves to the tin.

3. Dwight Howard. I underestimated this kid dramatically. He is
rebounding like a beast and could be in the midst of an Amare type
year. I think Grant Hill is really raising everybody's play on
Orlando so without him Dwight would be lower.

4. Chris Duhon. I frequently fail to understand why the NBA avoids
four year seniors who were leaders from good teams and displayed good
skill. Boozer comes to mind. And this years pick is Duhon. I wanted
the Celtics to draft this kid. He's coming off the pine to average
5.8 assists a game and is playing good hard man defense. I think he
would have been a better pick than Delonte West to be the Celtics
point guard.

5. Nocioni. He is the leading rebounder on the Bulls right now. This
tells you two things. He has a nose for the ball at the small forward
spot, but also that the Bulls twin towers are soft as hell.

Wait and See:

Celtics trio. Delonte West comes back this week. Al Jefferson looks
to be a mean rebounder and Tony Allen is very atheletic and appears to
be a very good rebounder. Problem is each is playing only 9 minutes a
game. This hurts the C's rookies a lot in the evaluation because
they just don't get the playing that Okafur and the rest on this list
get. We'll see how they keep contributing in limited minutes though.

All together though I have to say I think this was a really strong draft.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

All is not lost

Barring evangelical nation deciding to ban games as wicked, at least the NBA is hear to apply salve to my mental wounds incurred on November 2nd and 3rd.

Some Quick hits. The Pistons looked great. The Mavs seem good and have given the keys to their Rookie Harris. L.A. is not going to be as good as they looked last night. Kobe Bryant won't be content to just shoot 14 times a game.

The Celtics are having a very good opening night. The shots are falling, and Pierce is dominating. The Rookies are not getting much burn either. We had to wait until well into the 3rd quarter to see Al Jefferson. Payton is playing well too. He's dishing assists with the broken thumb and everything. Philly looks a little rough around the edges. Iverson is gunning a lot and nobody else is doing much. Their defense isn't playing all that well either which is a mild surprise considering Obie gets his teams to play good defense. Iverson is one tough cookie though. He just hit a very difficult double clutch floater from the wing. Wow. But then Tony Allen just skyed to cram back a rebound. What a hammer. I'm excited. If nothing else this team should be exciting.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Three the hard way

The Western Conference had a slight brown out during the finals, most
likely due to the soap opera that is the Lakers. We all know that
most of the talent is still out West, but there were some moves that
brought things a little bit closer. Let's see who the performers are
out West from first to worst:

1. San Antonio - Timmy Now! still anchors this team with solid
fundamental play. They were upset by the Lakers after going up 2-0 in
a stirring series, a lead that probably woke the Lakers up and got
them to start playing a little bit. I liked the moves they made in
the offseason: 1. Ginobli is back, coming off a gold medal experience
with Argentina 2. Brent Barry is in. Having Barry is huge. He has
great 3pt% and overall field goal percentage too. He plays smart with
the ball and has plenty of experience. He is going to be what the
Spurs needed to get over the hump last year. The Lakers dared
Turkoglu and Bowen to hit threes and they didn't. Nobody is going to
be able to pull that garbage with Barry. Plus with Shaq and Malone
gone, who will defend Duncan? Nobody. Malone was actually the most
effective defender on Duncan. He was physical and quick on him. He
was "pulling the chair out" from under Duncan at least two times a
game and getting travelling calls on him. Malone also saved O'Neal
from getting in foul trouble. Nobody else out west has proven capable
of defending Duncan, not K.G., not Webbs, not Amare, and certainly not
Gasol. I see an MVP and a trip to the finals for Timmy and Co.

2. Minnesota - They got over the first round curse in a big way. They
made it all the way to the conference finals but Sam Cassell was too
banged up when they got there. He didn't even play in some of those
games. They really needed his outside shooting and leadership. They
also had no answer for Shaq. Well, nobody does, but now they won't
have to worry about that issue until possibly the finals. This team
kept all the pieces it needs to make another deep run. They just need
to keep Golum healthy for the playoffs. As an added boost though,
Troy Hudson should be a contributor this year which will go a long way
towards keeping Sam off the I.L. If KG gets just a little bit more
aggresive (less fadeaway please, you're 7' freaking-1" for godsakes!)
then Minny is in for a great year.

3. Denver - This could be a bit of a stretch, but let me defend this
placement. They had a nice offseason with the addition of Kmart and
the resigning of Camby. Carmelo has another year of seasoning and a
chip on his shoulder because he didn't play much during the olympics
(even though he might have been USA's best shooter). Kmart I think is
big because he gives this team a tough-nosed defender and rebounder.
They now have a front court of Nene/Camby, Kmart, and Melo. Throw in
Veshon Lenord at the two spot and Andre Miller and Pedros Midget (aka
Boykins) at the point and you have a talented team top to bottom.
They tasted the playoffs last year and had some success which they are
going to build strongly on this year.

4. Dallas - Okay, they lost Nash, Jamison, Najera, and employee #8.
They gained Erik Dampier, Jerry Stackhouse, Jason Terry, Devin Harris
(r), and found out last years rookies (Daniels and Howard) are for
real in the playoffs. Losing Nash hurts but they were wise not to
overpay for him. He's getting up in years and it would suck to be
handing out cash to an injured guy. Dampier gives them a big physical
presence in the middle which they sorely needed. He'll help make up
for some of their defensive problems on the perimeter and should be a
good rebounder. Jason Terry brings a scoring guard/pg who can light
up a scoreboard ala Van Exel but won't dish like Nash. But none of
that should matter because everything hinges on Dirk becoming a
superstar this year. He's going to be the offensive focal point so
his assists should go through the roof. He showed some defensive
prowess in the playoffs. And those rookies from last year can
really, really play. Stack brings some instant offense, but lets see
how much he pouts. Maybe playing for a winnner will help. He's
mainly there to keep Finley's minutes down. I like this group a lot
and think they can go far in the playoffs. But there's a big team
chemistry change and we'll see how they survive it.

5. Sacto- Well, Peja is GREAT until the pressure is on. And Webber is
pretty much done physically. He was hobbling all over the place in
China. Vlade left town, and he was Peja's best friend. Oh, Peja
demanded a trade and Webber called him out for not stepping up (excuse
me Mr. Webber, where were you?) after another dissapointing playoff
run. Perhaps this group will unite once more to make their final stab
at the title now that Shaq is out of town. But it seems like the
clubhouse will be poisonous this year. They'll still make the
playoffs, but I think they'll wimper out again. Oh, and watch out for
Songalia when Webbs is out (and he will be). The kid can play and is
great insurance for Webber. I wonder which team had the smarts to
draft him? Hmmmm.....

6. Houston - Van Gundy got what he wanted, which was to be done with
Stevie Franchise. He gets one of the NBA's best players in return,
albeit a guy who dogged it last year big time. Yao continues to
impress and should be the most dominant pivot man in the West this
year. In the playoffs Shaq got motivated playing against Yao and
destroyed him. This year, Yao is the man who should be doing the
destroying. This team is similar to last years Lakers in that the
role players are total garbage. Charlie Ward at the point? Bob Sura
working on his tan? Dikembe Mutumbo growing roots in the floor? Jim
Jackson and Juwan Howard are the only bright spots here. Whenever Van
Gundy goes to his bench, "Houston, we have a problem." will be the
catch phrase to use. Still as the Lakers showed two Superstars can
shine, even in the West. It only remains to be seen if Tmac can bring
his level of play back up and be more than a scorer.

7. Utah - You know, I'm probably underestimating them by placing them
here. They had an amazing infusion of talent this offseason. Memhet
Okur and Carlos Boozer added to AK47 equals one of the NBA's best
front courts. They drafted two very atheletic and talented players in
Kris Humphries and Kirk Snyder who will have the luxury of learning
from a coaching master and not having to shoulder too much of a load
their first year in the league. Back from the I.L. is Matt Harpring,
their best player two years ago when nearly averaged a double-double
from the 3spot. Carlos Arroyo has his confidence up after dismantling
the U.S. in international play at the point and again, they have the
BEST coach in the league right now. Jerry Sloan almost got the Jazz
into the playoffs last year in the west with a motley crew of players
(AK47 excluded). With this kind of talent I expect some big things
from this group. I don't see any reason why they can't be higher on
this list of teams, and they probably will be. This team is a reason
to get NBA-League pass in my opinion because they are going to be a
well coached thing of beauty. Sloan gets coach of the year this year,

8. Lakers - I'm not sure what to make of this team. Kobe is going to
be allowed to shoot as much as he wants. Whether or not that's a good
thing, I dunno. I can't wait to see what happens the first time he
demands the ball and doesn't get it. I see some fist-fights on this
team, with Lamar Odom winning. Lamar can't be happy about being #2
man on the totem pole again after really flourishing in Miami and
playing a very team oriented game. I was tempted to leave them out of
the playoffs, but I think Kobe has a lot to prove after forcing Shaq
out of town. I don't think he let's them miss the playoffs. But for
the sake of team-chemistry it's a good thing most NBA players can't
read. Phil's book could have really cemented the opinions of some of
Bryants new teammates.


9. Memphis - They played the most team oriented game last year and
broke their streak of futility since entering the league in Vancouver.
Gasol is a stud and they just maxed him out. Hubbie Brown showed
that coaching isn't all about relating to the players, it's about
coaching them up which he did. He rightly deserved coach of the year
honors. However, the offseason was less than productive. The only
major addition was the human swiss army knife that is Brian Cardinal.
He'll do anything to help a team win, making him a perfect fit for
Hubbie's system. But the Logo really wanted Erik Dampier. He wasn't
willing to pay the asking price in talent or cash so maybe Dampier
isn't worth it. Still, Memphis has a lot of talent stock piled on
their roster and they should be active come trading deadline time. I
think Memphis could bump the Lakers out of the playoffs.

10. Phoenix - They sure did load up their back court with free agent
signings of Steve Nash and Quentin Richardson. I can see Nash, but
why Q? Joe Johnson really broke out at the end of last season and now
they've got a higher paid less atheletic version of him in the
presence of Q. Amare Stoudemire really regressed last year and he
looked totally lost out at the Olympics. I think he's bought his own
hype and isn't really working on getting better. I don't like
anything about Phoenix's offseason and I don't like this teams

11. Seattle - Rumor has it that Ray Allen's back is already an issue
and he could miss substantial playing time again. Rashard Lewis is
decent, but has clearly hit his talent cap after signing a fat
contract. Seattle was wise not to give him the max. They lost a great
team player and a leader in Brent Barry and got nothing in return.
What they do have is rookie Nick Collison coming back after a
dissapointing first year in the L when he missed every game due to
injury. I thought Collison was really going to help this team last
year, and I think he will this year. I look for him to have a decent
year. But this team needs another dip in the lottery after drafting
first round token white-bust Robert Swift. He sure will look goofy on
that bench.
12. New Orleans - Not only did George Shinn screw the city of
Charolette over, he screwed his own team over. Welcome to the Western
Conference you idiot. Here are Charolette's problems: Masburn ain't
coming back. Ever. B.Diddy is good, but plays recklessly and is
going to break down physically. A bad back is hard to get rid of in
the NBA. Magloire wants out of Charlotte because he hates the owner
and doesn't want to be in the West where he is not going to be making
any All-Star teams, that's for sure. Look for this team to be moved
again too because the last thing the residents of a city below sea
level need is to watch another overpriced group of gentlemen dog it on
the court/field.

13. Portland - They pushed for a playoff spot because Maurice Cheeks
is a great coach. During the offseason Qyntel woods was arrested for
arranging dog fights, Zach Randolph got caught with pot and harrassed
a police officer, they drafted a small high school point guard who was
over hyped and will be out of the league soon, and they failed to move
a very disgruntled Shareef-Abdur Rahim. The Chemistry is going to be
explosive with this bunch and not in a good way. I feel bad for
Cheeks, he deserves better. More importantly, the good people of
Portland deserve much, much better than this group of players.

14. Da Clips - Another year, another trip to the lottery. Elton Brand
is on track to put up hall of fame numbers and never even taste
playoff action. There's not much to say about this team. Maybe
Dunleavy can coach 'em up, but this half of the NBA is too talented to
get by with a bunch of pretenders.

15. Golden State - They resigned Adonal Foyle to a ridiculous contract
and let in successive years both Gilbert Arenas and Erik Dampier walk.
Mully has a lot of work on his hands, this team doesn't really have
many prospects.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

When I say dozen, you know what I'm talking about

It's about that time again, time to get the NBA previews down and in
order. Due to claiming the championship, the East will be up first.
I'll start with the favorites and go down to the cellar.

1. Detroit "Rock" City - Unexpectedly grabbed the title last year. Were
they the best, or were the Lakers just a sinking ship that took on too
much water when they got to the finals (Phil's book will answer this
question)? They lost Memhet Okur, who barely played after Rasheed
Wallace came on board. They gained Carlos Delfino (will spell Rip and
Tayshaun sometimes. 22 y.o. and can ball. Just came off an olympic gold),
Antonio McDyess, and this kid from Western Kentucky named Nigel Nixon.
McDyess is a wait and see. His injury history is not positive, but
he has looked decent in the preseason. He reminds of Larry Johnson
during his Knick years. A guy who was done physically, but because of
his natural agility, awareness, and experience could still be
effective. They don't need McDyess starting or playing more than 20
minutes a game so he should be a nice boost for Detroit. The dude
that makes me think Detroit might repeat is Nixon. This kid was up to
425lbs in college! He lost 100lbs last year to get himself to a
svelte 325 lbs. In spite of his weight this kid can move! He
devestated the C's this preseason with great defense. He really
doesn't have an offensive game, but does anybody on Detroit have one?.
With this guy backing up the Wallace Brothers at the power spots
Detroit is in very, very good shape. I think they're going to win the
crown again and I think this kid could be a big part of it. He
reminds me of O. Miller a little. I could see him ballooning right
back up after a good season too.

2. Indiana Pacers - Made it to the conference finals last year and Ron
Artest didn't blow up or cost his team any games. They let Al
Harrington walk because he wanted too much money and wanted to start.
That's fine because Harrington isn't that good (great sixth man, he
won't handle max minutes well). In return Atlanta shipped Stephen
Jackson off to Indianna. I think this is a great move as it gives
Indy more offense and better perimeter defense. Jackson demonstrated
in San Antonio that he can be a team player and deliver in the clutch and in
Atlanta he proved he can be a GREAT Roto player. The big question is
who will step up for Indy to help out O'Neal. He's a beast, but has
looked tenative. Some more muscle would help. Brad Miller, where are
you? The other question about this team is can Reggie pull that fork
out of his back? It's time to hang 'em up Quark. Tayshaun showed you
the way out, now take it.

3. Miami Heat - The heat stripped down their quick playoff engine and
rebuilt it with a monster Diesel. This team is going as far as Shaq
can take them. Supposedly he has lost weight and is looking good.
But he's getting up there in years and has had some nagging foot
injuries that can be tough for big men to bounce back from. Shaq will
tear through the imposters that play center in the East but how ready
will he be for the playoffs? Moreover, who is going to help out Shaq
besides all-world player Dwyane Wade? Eddie Jones might benefit most
from having Shaq around as he's a good outside shooter and has lost a
step so cannot defend or get to the hole as well as he once did. With
Shaq having his back defensively and drawing players from the arc to
double down Eddie Money could have a big year. Thisis the most
exciting team in the East and they have the biggest
expectations, but ultimately I think they will be dissapointed.
4. Boston - This is where the talent drops off a lot, hence the line
in the sand. However, the core of the group that got Boston to the
playoffs last year is intact and
Paulie should have some help this year. Blount has maxed out his
talent, but it's good enough for the East and a lot of NBA teams would
like to have him on board. This team could be volatile too with G.P.
and Ricky Davis playing games all season. But if they can keep the
winning up, that should cover up their problems. To earn this ranking
LaFrentz has to play 85% of the games at the minimum. Word out of
Boston is that Summer league aside, Al Jefferson is not ready to go
major minutes. If LaFrentz goes down at all there is a major void at
the 4-spot. I have to like the C's here though because the rest of
their division is total dog shit.

5. Orlando - This team got a long overdue makeover. Tmac wasn't getting
it done and was looking to put the blame anywhere but on his
shoulders. He's a great player, but a top five player doesn't let a
team sink to the depths that McGrady let this team sink to. I like
that the Magic got Stevie Franchise and Cat Mobley. These two almost
made the playoffs in the West without Yao so they should get the job
done in the East. They also picked up some servicable veterans in
Tony Battie, Hedo Turkoglu, and Stacey Augman. With Pat Garrity back
and the Top pick Dwight Howard cutting his teeth (could have an Amare
type year based on the burn I've seen him have in the preseason) this
team should be able to hold their head above water. And if Grant Hill
plays the whole season, they could make a little noise in the playoffs

6. The Wiz - I really like them bringing Antwan Jamison on board. If
Gilbert Arenas stays healthy (big if) these two pack a lot of
offensive punch of the high low variety. Kwame Brown is still an
enigma. He has all the physical tools to be a very good player, but
his head is out of the game. Too bad M.J. couldn't detect the lack of
fire. That said, this is a contract year for him so he should be
motivated to play hard. Etan Thomas and Brendan Haywood are
servicable at the center spot, Larry Hughes may be learning how to
apply his talent, and Jared Jeffries still has some promise. So I
like the feel of this team. Last year having Stack and Arenas miss
most of the season killed their chances. I think with a healthy core,
Eddie Jordan is going to show why he was hired to coach this crew.
They're definitely going to the playoffs.

7. Philly. Allen Iverson is back at the Point and Willie Green is
going to get a chance to play some 2 guard. I'm not sure how this is
going to work. Iverson has managed to dish out around 5 assists/game
over his career, but that's not as the guy who sets the table. That's
coming off fastbreaks/steals/and chaotic drives to the rim that draw
weakside help. I thought we were past the Iverson is a PG thing but
apparently the Sixers were done with Snow. Still Iverson has so much
fire and competitiveness that he can will this team into the playoffs.
The big reason they didn't make it last year was all the time he
missed with injury. Samuel Dalembert can really play and looks to be
a less brittle version of Marcus Camby. Andre Iguodala was a GREAT
draft pick. I think he's going to vie for Rookie of the year if he
gets burn. He has Richard Jefferson with better defense written all
over him and I think he will make a real difference with Philly.
Kenny Thomas does a lot of the dirty work as an undersized 4 with
heart, I like him a lot and he always sneaks onto my roto team. They
still have marksman Kyle Korver, and
somewhere in the back room the Big Dawg is still wimpering. They
should trade him because he plays NO D and that is how this team is
going to win a lot of games. Plus,
he's getting injured too. And he ruined my Roto team last year. I
don't like him basically. Still, Philly in the playoffs, but won't
make it out of the first round.

8. NY. This pick I'm very iffy about. I guess Starbury's presence is
the only thing that warrants an appearance here. This team is WAY
overpaid and isn't very good. Marbury is too selfish and not a table
setter at the PG. He would be much better suited to being a two guard
ala Iverson. I think Allan Houston may be done. He looks so creaky.
And bringing in Jamal Crawford at huge expense? I think Isiah is
really reaching or he's expecting Houston to not contribute. As it
stands they have Shandan Anderson, Penny, Marbury, Houston, and
Crawford. All guys limited to the 1 and 2 spots. If Lenny coaches
this team to 50 wins it will be the greatest job of his career. I'll
be impressed if they're at .500 come May. I don't like this pick, but
I'm not really sure who else will be here.


Vying for the last playoff spot:

9. Cleveland. Losing Boozer is going to prove to be a very huge
problem. Who is getting tough rebounds for them now? I like that
they brought in Snow, and I love their draft pick of Luke Jackson.
Jackson could definitely be Robin to Lebron's Batman. Luke can shoot
lights out and has good size and atheleticism. It remains to see what
kind of on the ball D skills he has because Oregon relied heavily on Z
due to their undersized back court. Now imagine if they kept Boozer
on board. This team would be up a few. Paul Silas is a great coach
and I've underestimated Lebron before. If he starts willing this team
ala MJ, then they will be in the playoffs. But it's going to be hard
work for him.

10. Milwaukee. I don't have them in because I think the possibility
that TJ Ford may not come back this year is a big, big problem. They
also lost Brian Skinner, who is junk, but was 6'11 and played okay at
the 4 spot. Toni Kukoc is still on the team, but really has lost a
step and can't go more than 20 minutes a game. Michael Redd is
awesome, but he needs more help. This is where Van Horn needs to step
up. He needs to get close to a double-double and be aggresive. His
career track record suggests that he may have a hard time doing this.
However, being buried in a small Market may be one of the better
things that's happened to him. Still without TJ Ford I see this team
having difficulties.

11. New Jersey. Traded Kmart and extended Jefferson. This was a bad
move. Jefferson is great, but he's kind of one dimensional. Kmart
was big, played his ass off on D, and had decent offense. They also
didn't get anything in return for Kmart as the old owner is just
dumping salary to make the team sale attractive. Kidd's knee seems to
be a problem and he's making noise about being traded and what not.
That said, if Kidd stays on plan then he and R.J. and crew should be
good enough to get this team into the playoffs where they can enjoy
being swept. That's a big if and that's why I have them outside
looking in.

The rest:

12. Atlanta. Walker and Harrington make for an interesting front
court. But Walker will be gone, possibly by the trading deadline and
is heading for a career of obscurtity. The rest of this group is a
motley collection of over the hill veterans and role players. It
would take a miracle for Atlanta to get to the playoffs.

13. Chicago. It pains me to say it. But they won't fool me again
this year. The problems: Eddie Curry is in shape, but he's still
soft as hell. Chandler rebounds and plays D but is totally retarded
on offense. Oh yeah, his back is shot too. So that's the front
court. The rest of the team is really, really young. And while I
like the rest of the team that they've got (Gordon (r), Deng (r),
Nocionni (r, Argentina), Heinrich) they're all back court players.
They'll need time to gel, but maybe the Bulls can sucker somebody into
giving up either a high draft pick or some respectable size for one or
both of the Baby Bulls.

14. Toronto. Vince carter is a bitch. 'nuff said.

15. Charolette. Great grab in Emeka Okafor, but there isn't much
help on this team. Another dip in the lottery and a full salary cap
next year should help them make some moves. There will be a good free
agent crop this year and they'll be in position. It just won't happen
for an expansion team in the NBA, the rules handicap them severly just
coming in. But Charolette is a great basketball market and I expect
with good management they'll be back in business soon.

Eastern Conference finalists:

Detroit and Indiana.



Western conference preview coming soon.

Friday, October 08, 2004


Gary Payton is wearing Celtic Green now. I am not happy about this. Supposedly he is saying the right things. Of course, underlying this is how vocal he has been, and it seems that he is trying to establish top-dog status with the Celtics after being totally ambivalent about even showing up to play this year (I guess the $5.4 million helped that decision. Cash is still bigger than ego). Paul Pierce for one was surprised by how vocal G.P. was at the first day of practice. And he should be. Gary should be trying to fit in, not lead this team. He is a one year stop gap that could be traded during the season. If he's not traded, he won't be resigned. This is strictly about cap room, not G.P. making the Celtics any better. My prediction, G.P. is a locker room problem by Christmas time. My other prediction, either Ricky Buckets or G.P. will be gone at the trading deadline. You can't have two basket cases on one team. The smart money would be on Rickey leaving town because I think Jiri will win the starting spot as he is a better player, and Rickey seems to think he's one of the top players in the league. So, when Jiri starts, Rickey will fume and it won't take long for him to blow. After that, he should be gone.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The Glove is ambivalent

G.P. has yet to show his ugly mug in Boston and I can't say I'm dissapointed. He's apparently working out in Las Vegas, and his agent said we'll know within a week whether or not he'll be reporting. My bet is that G.P. is trying to engineer a trade and I'm sure Danny Ainge will abide him if he can get a deal he likes. However, this seems unlikely for two reasons. The first is that G.P. is going to make $5.4 million dollars this season. No team in their right mind wants to pay an old point guard who has questionable talents and effects on team chemistry. And two, it's too early in the season to trade cap fodder like G.P. I think he should be dealt midseason so that Boston can position themselves well to get the next best thing, like cap room in return or a good draft pick. I would think the Clippers might have interest in such a deal. They're loaded with young high picks and they don't need anymore influxes of talent. Donald Sterling is cheap and as such likes cap room. From the Celtics perspective, the Clippers are unlikely to reach the playoffs this year so a return draft pick would likely be a good one that could be A) traded B) turned into more size. This is my hope of hopes.

The other best case scenario is that G.P. doesn't show up at all. He will be awful for the Celtics. Ricky Buckets is enough to deal with on his own. If only the Trailblazers hadn't changed their stance on the talent/character ratio recently. Boston could probably have suckered them into taking Buckets and the Glove in years past.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004


Supposedly Eric Dampier, Evan Escmeyer, and Dan Dikau are coming to big D in exchange for Eduardo Najera and Christian Laettner. On the face of it this looks like a good trade for Dallas. They get a legit 7' center in Dampier and a back up to him to boot. They get rid of Laettner, whom nobody wants and give up Najera. The downside to this trade is that you lose your hustle guy in Najera who can give a team a big lift off the bench. He was key to Dallas' playoff performances the last few years as he was the only person willing to really play defense. The other potential problem is Dampier. He averaged 12-12 on a subpar team and this was his best season ever. He was clearly playing for a contract. He says he wants to go to a contender, but he was getting close to signing with the Atlanta Hawks. He's 30 years old. I think he may be poison to Dallas much the way Olowakandi was in Minny. If he comes to ball this year like he did last year then Dallas is in pretty good shape. They'd role a starting line up of Damp, Diggler, Josh Howard/Jerry Stackhouse, Michael Finley, Jason Terry/Marquis Daniels. This overall is a pretty impressive starting 5, especially now that Shaq has crossed the Mississippi. I'll hand it to Mark Cuban, he is not afraid to deal if he sees something he wants, and I'm impressed that all he gave up was Najera and Laettner. I'm still predicting Dampier to be a bust, but I haven't really seen him play as he's been in Oakland for a while.

Monday, August 16, 2004

The Glove ain't got the love baby

I was waiting for the dust to officially settle on the trade before writing anything about the G.P. for Marcus Banks (plus others) trade.

1) Danny is clearly willing to give up on Marcus Banks quickly. I thought he had potential, but maybe the sports guy is right and Banks is only the poor man's Robert Pack. So now that Ainge has Marcus back in his lap and unhappy, what will he do with him? Is he a trade asset? I'm not sure. I'm thinking that the Pistons could use him, or maybe the Pacers, possibly the heat but who are any of these teams going to trade for Marcus. This is concerning. It's also bad for Marcus. If he's on the Celtics he needs to just show up and play so he can get himself out of town to a better situation for him. He hasn't shown enough to be demanding trades or anything like that.

2) Danny made a smart move. Looks like he's clearing cap and committing to his guys Allen, West, Jefferson, Blount, and Pierce. Everything else is expendable and not worth losing cap room. I'm fine with that. This team is young though, and it remains to be seen how talented. If Jefferson and West can step up so that Pierce doesn't have to lead the C's in every statistical category then Boston will do okay in the East this year. The East is still weak with the final 4 playoff slots being open to anybody, but the division the C's are in will help them hit the playoffs.

3) Thank god G.P. is threatening to retire rather than come to Boston. Nobody wants him here. They just want his contract to expire and if he wants to pull the plug on that himself, fine. He has become a parody of his once proud self failing to accept his declining skills with any grace.

4) The Lakers got screwed by G.P. not showing up for his physical because I think they wanted Marcus, not Jumaine Jones. This is also good. Stupid Lakers.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Ainge makes a good move

Danny Ainge finally did something right. Blount resigned with Boston today ($41 mil for 6 years). This is good. He is a viable NBA center and that's important if you want to win. I was pretty sure Mark was skipping town so this is a very good deal. I'm surprised Blount didn't get more money from other teams. Considering what Foyle and Okur signed for I thought Blount could go for more than the midlevel exception. No matter. Now all the Celtics need to do is trade away Ricky Davis and I can really start feeling better about the team.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Post-NBA Draft Jitters

A few words on the NBA draft:

1. Orlando is stupid. Okafor can come to play. His game only got better by the year at UConn and he is going to work the glass and the D, what else could you ask for from a big man? Charlotte couldn't be happier though.

2. The Celtics finally drafted some size and were hoping and praying that Sergei Monya would fall to 24. They got size in the form of a high schooler. I'm not pleased that he is "raw" or has "upside". But size is good. I know nothing about this kid other than the fact that he can dominate a team of 6'4" and under white kids. Yeesh. As for drafting more small guards, I hope Ainge has a plan to trade something. And will he give up on Marcus Banks too soon? That said, I like both West and Allen, but not for the Celtics. They don't have much need for players like this. Maybe they can trade them for Shaq. And as a final Celtics draft note, thank you Seattle for taking this years big-white stiff Robert Swift. I guess he wasn't going to fall to the Celtics anyway, but still. The idea of Swift in Boston was not an appealling one. They should just go sign Ostertag if they want to realize the upside of Swift. None of my wish list players landed in the Celtics hands. Also, I'm not sure if this draft really helps them avoid the lottery next year.

3. The Bulls. They did right. Jamal Crawford, the door is that way. Ben Gordon, welcome to what will hopefully be one of the best backcourts in the NBA for the next decade. Just don't go riding any motorcycles. And I love the Deng pick. I think people were a little harsh on him the way Tayshaun was ripped coming out of college, but I think Deng could play. He was pretty dominant during just one year at Duke.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Expansion Draft Fears Realized

A'yup. Brandon got his walking papers. It wasn't unexpected, but I am dissapointed. This kid would not be a star, but I think he brought a lot to the table. It's a shame he got lost. I thought maybe Charlotte would want Chucky and his veteran leadership, but they clearly were not trying to take on salary. They took a ton of restricted free agents that they now do not have to sign. Smart move. Maybe Ainge could learn something from Bickerstaff et al.

NBA trades

Tmac in Houston? I'm not so sure if that's the move Van Gundy wants. Tmac is not a playmaker, he is a ball hog. Sure he can drop 40 and look flashy doing it, but where are the wins? Remember when he said it sure felt nice to be in the second round against the Pistons and then lost three straight games? I don't like this move at all. Except from the standpoint that it gets rid of Stevie Franchise and Cat Mobley who turnover and dominate the ball too much to let Yao run wild. I was thinking Houston could parlay their backcourt for a solid PG and maybe a higher draft pick to help get them a respectable 4. We'll see. And from Orlando's perspective, this makes no sense. Getting SF and Cat does make them a lock to make the playoffs in the east (especially when combined with Okafor) but it doesn't seem like the right direction for them. Though, with all their recent ineptitude, the playoffs will be the right direction. The whole trade could be made moot if Charlotte takes Juwan Howard or Kelvin Cato in the expansion draft tonight, but that is highly unlikely.

At the very least, this will make the next month of NBA news very, very exciting. Oh, the expansion draft drops tonight at 7pm on NBATV (I know you don't have it). They've also been showing old drafts, today their going from 1981 to 1986. And yes, I thought about calling in sick today. And yes, that is wrong.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Celtics Expansion Draft

Chad Ford from reports that Brandon Hunter has been left unprotected for tomorrows expansion draft. I'm not sure if I see the logic in letting a young, inexpensive bruiser depart for nothing in return. Hunter showed a knack for rebounding during the season and toughness as he refused to back down to J. O'Neal in the playoffs. He just took O'Neal down for trying chippy shit under the glass, as he should have. This kid doesn't have much offense, but someone that can work the glass like him should be kept and polished. It's tough to find heart, hussle, and energy guys and they're important. Just ask the Detroit Pistons about that.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Throwing the baby out with the bath water

Apparently a number of players have withdrawn their names from the NBA draft. Looks like Ainge's strategy of stockpiling late first round picks is blowing up in his face. At least Krispy Kreme Krause waited until after he had the rings to screw everything up. But I'll try to be optimistic about this.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Lottery Balls Bounce not for the

I can't wait to see where the C's will land in this years lottery tonight. Oh right, they were the worst team in known history to land in the playoffs and thus are on the outside looking in tonight. Sigh.