Monday, June 26, 2006

Celtics Draft Scenarios: 2006

So what were the 2005-2006 Boston Celtics? A weird collection of
talent that came and went on the trade conveyer belt. Some of the
young players started to live up to their promise (Perk and West come
to mind) and some didn't (Big Al). Ricky Davis was sent packing along
with Blount (yipee!) which brought us Wally World. Wally proved
likeable, but not much else in my opinion. The trade was all about
getting rid of Blount and making frontline room for Perk and Big Al.
Room that Ryan Gomes clawed his way into, which was great. Pierce
delivered a stellar all around performance, again leading the team in
almost every statistical category. The Celtics then sport a lineup
with one superstar, a fading high quality player, and lots of up and
comers? What will the Celtics do on draft night? Nobody knows. But
I'm going to think about the players that I wouldn't mind seeing the
Celtics draft, assuming there is no trade in the works for Jermaine
O'Neal or Kevin Garnett (or the preposterous Iverson rumor). Last
year I did this and the player I really wanted the Celtics to get,
Hakim Warick, was available. The C's took a pass and got old 4 finger
Green. The Logo took Warick. This year there aren't as many obvious
prospects to me and the draft order seems highly to change. But this
is who I would love to see fall to the Celtics at #7:

1. Marcus Williams - This guy is the best pure point guard available.
And while Connecticutt proved to be a bunch of too-cool-for-school
slackers in the tournament, Williams was busy raising his game. They
wouldn't have made it to the elite eight without Williams all around
game of penetration, scoring, and dishing. This guy could easily hold
down the position for years. Rondo is the other player I hear bandied
about, but he's a scorer that people would try to make into a PG. And
that always works. Williams I think is the best player in this draft,
and could very well fall to the C's at #7.

2. Kyle Lowry - Again, another point guard. He may be a bit of a
reach at #7 because he's a little smaller and doesn't score all that
great, but he is a very good playmaker. He's less attractive because
when paired with Delonte it would make for a very small backcourt.
But still, I think the C's need a point guard as Delonte isn't it,
Dickau most definitely isn't it, and Orien? Well, you get the

3. Tyrus Thomas - He's going higer than this, but what kills me about
this is that Hakim Warick was this guy last year, but with more
polish. A freak athlete with long arms, he could become a Shawn
Marion type player, and we could all use a guy like that.

4. Pittsnogle - Don't laugh. He's a center with deep shooting range
who is not afraid to get on the boards. Some of his biggest plays
have come in the clutch during the tourney, something that has to be
respected. With Raef getting older we could use another center to
pair with Perk. Snoggle woudl give the C's a different look as he's
more offensive than defense minded. Plus he has some totally boss
tatoos. I will not accept it if Ainge has Snoggle Available in either
late first round or the second round and doesn't pull the trigger.

5. Adam Morrison - Sure he cried when UCLA turned the tables on them
in the tourney before the game was over. Sure he's got Diabetes and
wears an insulin pump. But he has a nice offensive game. He can move
without the ball and get his shot do to his size and craftiness. He's
no Larry bird, but he does rock a sweet mustache. But I severly doubt
he'll fall to the Celtics at #7. Larry Bird is eyeing Morrison, and I
think this is a good sign.

6. Ruddy Gay - There's definitely a chance he'll be here. Gay would
be a future pick becuase right now the backcourt is too crowded for
him to contribute. The biggest problem though is that he looks
disinterested on the court a lot during college. Connecticutt should
have won the tourney this year, and Gay should have been their king.
But he settled for jumpers and slacked on defense. The upside on Gay
is huge, but the downside is a sulker who doesn't work. Would the C's
be the right environment to get more out of him? Maybe so with the
scrappers they have on this team currently. And of course, if Wally
gets injured (we won't even consider Pierce getting hurt. It just
doesn't happen) Gay could step up in the second scorer mold and
provide decent minutes at the 3, where the Celtics have nobody.

7. David Noel - a second round pick on him would be great. He was
the team leader of a UNC team that greatly over achieved last year
considering the number of rooks they had on board. He would look
great at the three spot as a solid defender and a player to fill lanes
and get hustle points off the offensive glass. He could be a real
asset and a player whom I think shows signs of getting better as he
goes along. I'm thinking of him as a Josh Howard type player. He may
surprise the right team that gets him.

8. Mike Gansey - Another WVU Mountaineer who is tough as nails and a
great shooter. He more than anyone reminds me of DAnny Ainge. And I
think he's better than Danny Ainge ever was, without being as much of
a pest. He could easily play the two or the three. Another player he
is reminicent of is Jeff Hornaceck, and maybe a slightly bigger
Michael Redd. The kidd can stroke it and shows no fear when the game
is on the line. I think that's a pretty good quality. Plus he's
white, which would make Danny happy.

That's just a minor shopping list. There aren't a lot of stand out
players in this draft, but I felt that way about last years draft a
little bit too. Hopefully Danny will do right. He has a decent track
record with the draft. It's the other half of the GM position that
could use some polish.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Keep Michael out of the front office

So if we know anything about MJ, it's that he doesn't necessairly have
the best eye, or the patience for talent development. He drafted
Kwame Brown. He traded Richard Hamilton. He got fired from the
Washington Wizards, thank you very much.

Now that His Airness is once again part and parcel of an NBA team,
joining up with the Charlotte Bobcats, we have to wonder what his
influence on the draft and the management of the team will be. The
rumor is that he's all about Brandon Roy. I think Roy is a good
player too. But the MJ endorsement is sometimes the kiss of death.

For instance, he has tabbed such notables as Darius Miles and Quentin
Richardson for his Jordan Brand (Nike) apparel line. I'm just not
sure I would trust MJ with important decisions like these, that's all.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Avery Johnson's Cherry

Here's the things that puzzled me a little about Avery's calls down the stretch:

1. Hack-a-Shaq used once. Shaq 1-2 (with a lane violation, so actually 1-3). Then dissappeared after and let Wade hit shots.

2. No defense thought up for the Wade iso at the top of the key. I realize Wade is a good player, but you've got to force him to give up the ball. The play where he went behind the back and Payton hit the three was awfully casual, and I think the Heat were fortunate. More of that should have been done. I would much rather have Walker or Payton with the ball in their hands than Wade. But that's just me. Maybe bring Haslem's man up. Leave the center in the pivot and just hack if either Shaq or Haslem get it. Neither are good foul shooters.

3. The last play was a little too conservative. But I can blame Terry too. Should have given the ball back to Howard, and I'm sure that was talked about in the huddle.

4. The timeout.

Now what did Dallas need to do better?

1. Nowitzki missed the second free throw. Second time in the finals he's missed cluctch.

2. Umm. Keep finding Howard on screens. The iso on terry was good for a while, and bought a dunk for Dampier at the end that could have won the game.

3. Pay the referees more than Miami does. Wade got to the line a little bit too much. Every ticky-tack on Wade was called. Not many ticky's were c alled on the other end.

What was good?

1. Avery's last play to get Dampier a dunk was sweet.

2. Wade was totally sweet, despite getting a very favorable deal from the refs. It was so beneficial it was amazing when the Refs didn't blow a whistle in his benefit.

3. Payton hitting clutch shots? This is unreal. A big three in regulation. A big lay-in in OT (high, high off the glass).

4. Diggler's HUGE shot in OT over Shaq after Terry and Howard look scared. I'd say he's looking for freedom.

5. The refs not letting the Miami shot clock operators get away with any funny business this game.

6. Wade hitting his free throws, even if undeserved.

What was sour?

1. Howard blowing two free throws in OT. Ouch. Hadn't missed all game. Kid's not quite ready.

2. Refs. Not sure what the FT tally is, but I think it's at least 2-1. Granted there were a few hack-a-Shaq's, but those were a minor component.

3. Players trying to twist Dirk's ankles on FT attempts. It's subtle. But it's still dirty. Posey in particular is a champion of this. Bruce Bowen may have pioneered the move (and is a major reason why he has drawn the ire of several premier swing players in the league).

4. Showing Shaqs wife. She's not even that hot anymore. It's south beach ABC. If you must point the cameras at the crowd, more bimbo action.

5. Wade bailed out with 1.9 left, after putting on a sweet dribbling show.

6. DAllas for not clobbering wade if they're going to get a foul called.

7. Avery Johnson signalling like an idiot to call a timeout and then getting angry when Howard did. This is strictly Avery's fault. He was arguing for two timeouts after he called it. I don't think so. I can't emphasize how dumb this was by Avery. He was jumping around like a chicken with his head cut off asking for a timeout and not knowing he had one timeout, not two.

8. And in closing, Mark Cuban wearing a Suckhouse jersey. Nice job kid billionare.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The artist formerly known as Shaq

This is the look Shaq saw most of the night. Two seven footers preventing him from even thinking about offense, and chumps like Antoine Walker standing out beyond the three point arc waiting to brick a three, or turn it over on a drive. This lead to Shaqs lowest output in the finals of his career of only 5 points. The new story of this is going to be, "yeesh, when did Shaq get old on us?". He put up some solid performances before this, including the throw back 26-16 in the Detroit series. He also protected the paint a lot better in the Eastern playoffs. But now he's got to deal with more height and more quickness and the creakiness is showing badly. He can't do anything about Dirk when he drives to the tin, and Mavericks have multiple players who can all finish around the basket better than most players the Heat faced in the East. In addition, O'Neal is shooting free throws worse than at any time in his career. And when he was frustrated by the Dallas defense last night, it was sad to watch him forcing up shots with no hope of going in.

The standard comeback rules apply here. After a blowout the humiliated team usually comes back strong. But this Dallas team is more talented, and troubling for Miami, has the confidence and the know-how to get the job done. Miami needs to win the next three games at home to have any hope in this series, and I just don't see that happening. Especially with Udonis Haslem getting injured.

So with this series we will bid Shaq adieu. He'll play for a few more years to be sure. And the Heat will go deep into the playoffs with Wade carrying much of the load. But the days of Diesel dominance are definitely over.