Tuesday, October 2, 2007

My Predictions For '07/8

I can't wait for the season to start. I really can't. So much drama, so many good storylines. What's Kobe gonna do? Do AK47 and Matrix get shipped? Does the KG experiment work in Boston?

Let's start with the Leastern Conference, Atlantis Division.

I dig the KG/Pierce/Ray trio. Pierce and Ray are both versatile players who can get their own shots at any time. It'll be interesting to see who the alpha dog is in fourth quarter situations. I'm picking the Cs to win 52 games, have some injury problems and then end up losing to the Pistons in the Conference Finals. It also wouldn't surprise me if the team started slowly and Danny Ainge brought in Larry Brown to take over for Doc at the All Star break.

Who gives a shit, really? 45 wins. Another good year statistically for Kidd and Carter. Whatever. The only intrigue here is if Kidd gets dealt (please, come to the Lakers, pleasepleaseplease...).

I think they could slide this year, honestly. My crystal ball tells me that Bosh is gonna miss a lot of games and Bargnani won't be a star just yet. And doesn't Sam Mitchell seem like a dick?

Too much was made of their good run at the end of last season. Iggy and Andre Miller can play but this team still sucks. And don't forget Dalembert's already injured. At some point this year, you'll hear the words 'they really seem to miss Joe Smith.' I swear. Watch. 'They're just not the same without Joe Smith out there.' Hilarious.

What? The? Fuck? After last season, I thought it couldn't get any worse for Isiah and the boys. Boy, was I wrong! Losing a 10 million dollar suit AND signing Zach Randolph? Wow. Just wow. I'm picking them to win 20 games. Seriously, 20-62. Marbury's a nutjob. Curry could drop dead at any minute. QRich has the worst Knick back since Larry Johnson. This is the year it all bottoms out. And Isiah probably gets shitcanned. At least Knick fans will have Lebron rumors to keep them warm at night.

OK, on to the Central.

They'll win the division and go to the Finals. Big years for Sheed and Billups. Youngsters Maxiell and Stuckey show promise. They're so consistent, these Pistons, kind of like The Spurs of the East.

This Deng kid is pretty good. Reminds me of a young Pippen. And if Ty Thomas blows up the way I think he will, this team could knock off Detroit. But I don't see Skiles and Big Ben getting along for very long, do you? That's a Sprewell/Carlesimo Part 2 waiting to happen, right there.

Cleveland will disappoint. Their inability to improve this off-season will hurt not only their chances to win the title this year but also to keep Lebron James in '09. I wouldn't be surprised to see Mike Brown fired after a disappointing early playoff exit.

They'll be better than most expect. Jermaine O'Neal is still one of the best two way players in the league and Granger is poised to break out. Jim O'Brien's open offense will make everyone happy, even if they don't make the playoffs.

Huge deals for Bobby Simmons, Mo Williams, Charlie Bell? Those aren't guys you want break the bank for, Senator Kohl. And drafting Yi is not gonna work out well. He's got bust written all over him. Poor Mike Redd. He goes from the Dream Team to this?


With DWade back in MVP form, the Heat win 50+ games again. The Shaq/Zo combo platoon continues to be effective and lengthen their respective careers. I'm intrigued by Dorrell Wright. I'll bet he gets big minutes this year.

Dwight Howard will continue to dominate and draw 'young Shaq' comparisons. Rashard's shooting will open up a lot of space down low. Stan Van should be able to squeeze 45 wins out of these guys.

I don't think Gilbert's full strength yet. In fact, I'm going on record right now saying that he misses half the season. He'll come back in time to make sure he doesn't jeopardize his impending free agency, bet on that. Antawn Jamison will be traded soon, too. Who Grunfeld gets back will determine the future of the franchise, and obviously whether or not Arenas stays.

Why is Michael Jordan a GM, again? Gerald Wallace isn't worth all that money. And the Morrison pick is looking more foolish by the minute. The big story here is whether or not Meka's healthy. Doesn't really matter, though. They'll suck. JRich wasn't the answer, either. Another puzzling move by MJ.

No defense, no bball IQ. Horford's gonna be solid, though. Maybe not this year but soon. Joe Johnson gets to spend another year wondering why he left Phoenix. This team seems cursed. Maybe not as bad as The Clippers but close.

Over to The West we go. In the Pacific...

Nash wins the MVP again as the Suns get to 60 wins. Marion will be dealt before the season ends. Amare's knees will continue to be an issue. Title talks are premature, however. They still won't get past The Spurs.

My guys will win a handful more games than they did last year, maybe jump up to 48 wins or so. The addition of Fisher (and subtraction of Smush) assures that. And I'm one of those who actually believe in Andrew Bynum. I wouldn't NOT DEAL HIM FOR KIDD or anything but I do think he's gonna put up 13/8/2 this year. Kwame Brown's on the way out the door, probably for draft picks. Sadly, I don't anticipate Phil coming back, either. Kobe? Who knows? But if I had to bet, I'd put my money on him retiring a Laker.

Warriors, come out to play-ee-ay! This season will be rockier than the Warriors trying to get back home to Coney Island. Baron will get hurt like he always does. And that means Stephen Jackson is your team leader. Other ominous sign: a possible Nellie/Mullin rift.

I bet both Mike Bibby and Ron Artest get traded. And Brad Miller looks ready to hang 'em up. Reggie Theus will be coaching in front of small crowds.

Just like old times. Ah, that old familiar sting of being in last place. Sam Cassell can't leave fast enough. Sure, he'll end up in the front office but he's too smart to have it be THIS front office. You know what would be really funny? A fight between Kaman and Tim Thomas.

With 60+ wins, they'll have the best regular season record again. But their pansy- ass jump shooting brand of basketball will lead to another embarrassing playoff choke. Dirk and Cuban beef openly. Avery wins Coach Of The Year, ironically.

As always, they use the regular season to tune up and then win another title with strong D and continued improvement from Tony Parker, who gets MVP buzz. Duncan's got a few good seasons left in him.

Yao's not really an uptempo player so it'll be interesting to see how Adelman structures the offense. TMac will be phenomenal, possibly 1st Team All NBA, if he stays healthy.

Conley will be Durant's only competition for ROY. This team will play no defense whatsoever but Pau, Miller, Conley will all be amazing fantasy league players.

Not sure why, but I bet they implode. We get to see Chris Paul's ugly side. Byron Scott erupts! Tyson Chandler goes nuts and starts biting people. I'm feeling a dark energy from the Hornets...


Best team in a weak division. 50 wins sounds about right. Melo dominates, AI matures into a heady player. Karl's still one of the game's best coaches. KMart should just retire. He's not gonna come back. No way.

Distractions caused by DWill and Boozer free agency rumors will cause things to unravel a bit. AK will get traded to someplace unexpected like Philly.

The Oklahoma City-bound Sonics will feature Delonte and Durant in a supersized backcourt. Kurt Thomas has his best season in 5 years. They'll still be unwatchable.

With Oden, they were worth talking about. As is, they'll be boring, predictable and extremely unsuccessful in the winning of basketball games. Aldridge and Roy will continue to grow and wait for Golden Olden to return and anchor the middle.

Sucky. Foye and Jefferson will score a lot. Marco Jaric will get arrested for assaulting a woman. McHale really put together an awful team, eh?

MVP- Nash
Def Player- Garnett
Most Improved- Ty Thomas
ROY- Durant (Conley 2nd)
Coach- Avery

Champs- Spurs (over Pistons)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

We're Number 1!

Being the number one overall pick in the NBA Draft is a pretty big deal. But if you get picked #1 and you CAN'T PLAY, it speaks volumes about not only you, but all the people who put their necks on the line vouching for you. Simply put, the guy who goes number one overall should be a superstar, if not immediately then at least within a year or two. Anything short of that and people start getting fired.

With the 2007/8 season a few short months away, I start wondering whether Greg Oden will become the superstar everyone (including me) expects him to be.

Or will he be the next Kwame Brown, a colossal mistake/failure/disappointment that sinks franchises and kills careers?

So I dug up the #1 overall list for the past 20 years. Check it out:

2006 Bargnani, Raptors
2005 Bogut, Bucks
2004 D Howard, Magic
2003 Lebron, Cavs
2002 Yao, Rockets
2001 Kwame, Wizards
2000 KMart, Nets
1999 Elton Brand, Bulls
1998 Kandi Man, Clips
1997 Duncan, Spurs
1996 Iverson, Sixers
1995 Joe Smith, Warriors
1994 Big Dog, Bucks
1993 CWebb, ended up at GState
1992 Shaq, Magic
1991 LJ, Charlotte
1990 Derrick Coleman, Nets
1989 Pervis Ellison, Sacto
1988 Danny Manning, Clips
1987 David Robinson, Spurs

Looking at the list, only Lebron, Duncan, Iverson, Shaq and David Robinson would qualify as superstars. Yao's OK. CWebb in his prime was pretty good and Brand's been solid for a few years running now but overall, you find a suprising lack of dominant players. Howard might get there with some polish but currently, he can barely shoot and dribble.

Bargnani and Bogut...hmmm. Too early to tell but so far, I'm not that impressed. Both are capable but hardly worth mentioning in the same breath with the elite group above. Bogut's kinda Brad Miller-ish or Vlade-esque, a good passer who 'understands' the game but 'lacks atheticism'- effective but underwhelming. In other words, not the kind of guy who wins championships. And Bargnani could either be the next Nowitzki or the next Raef Lafrentz, depending on who you ask. For a seven footer, he spends a lot of time fading away from beyond the arc.

Guys like Kenyon Martin, LJ, Derrick Coleman, Danny Manning- they got screwed by injuries and never fulfilled their potential so I give them a pass.

But Kwame, Olowokandi, Joe Smith and Pervis Ellison? THESE GUYS SUCK! How did an entire organization of experts agree to pick these bozos over players like Vince Carter, Rasheed Wallace, Nowitzki or Kevin Garnett? How did that happen? Somebody tell me, please.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Is It Asshole Day?

Just read that the Bobcats signed Jeff McInnis. On the same day LA inks Ruben Patterson.

Any second now, Danny Fortson gets a deal somewhere...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

NBA's Biggest Asshole

On the eve of the Clips signing dickhead Ruben Patterson, I ask Germ who he thinks is The Biggest Asshole In NBA History, fully expecting him to say Luke Walton because of some autograph snub ordeal at a Lakers-sponsored event last year.

To my surprise, he comes back at me with John Starks and Kareem!!! Whaaaah??? Cap? Testy and temperamental, sure, but The Biggest Asshole In NBA History? And Starks wasn't even the biggest prick on his own team; I give that dubious distinction to Xavier ('I'll lose a tooth for every rebound') McDaniel. XMan was way more likely to throw blows and, on occasion, choke a bitch (holla back, Wes Matthews).

My answer for Biggest Asshole is former Mav center Shawn Bradley. Drafted #2 overall, the only thing Bradley did effectively was foul hard and piss people off. Every player in the league punched Bradley in the face at least once.

The next question: 'Which NBA player has probably killed someone?' Not surprisingly, we agree on Charles Oakley. Oak looks like he'd eat a baby.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

What Could've Been

Watching Kobe and Kidd zip around the court for Team America turning steals into dunks makes me livid at Kupcake for not pulling the trigger on that Bynum-Kidd deal last year. Despite rumors to the contrary, Kidd obviously still has a lot left in the tank. And while Bynum has shown glimpses of incredible promise, he's a long ways away from being a consistent starter, much less a dominant big man. How do you pass on a chance to get Jason Kidd when your starting point guard is Smush Motherfucking Parker?

Germ and Big Ben took me to a Lakers/Wolves game last year where Bynum had a double-double and was blocking shots like crazy. Staples was chanting 'By-num, By-num,' I swear this is true. Garnett was killing us the way he always does but everyone in that building knew he was gonna opt out and be wearing the purple-and-gold in '08. Everyone knew it. It was a beautiful night, and not just because the Lakers won going away. We saw the future that night- our dynastic, overpowering, title-winning front line. Granted we were full of beer, weed and Oxycontin, but we believed in this vision.

So what happened since then to put a damper on things?

Well, for one, Bynum didn't repeat that night's performance very often. A typical game for Andrew consisted of late rotations, dumb fouls and an earful from Phil or Kobe (or both). Sometimes Kareem would get in the act, too, pointing out his pupil's basic lack of comprehension. Then the whole Kobe-in-the-parking-lot thing went down and the lasting impression was that Bynum was Jim Buss' pet project, more important than getting Kobe and Phil what they need to compete with the Spurs/Mavs/Suns in the West.

Garnett wanted to come. But the Wolves got lots of better offers elsewhere. Maybe if LA had done a better job of drafting in recent years, they'd have some additional chips to throw in the pot but the sad truth is that the current Lakers roster has very few players that other teams covet and would want to trade for.

So now here we are, watching Kobe dominate the world and rub it in our faces. He's playing better defense than he has in five years for Los Angeles. He's cheating on us, in a way, savoring all the desirable companionship he's not getting at home. We just want him to be happy and to not leave us.

What a difference six months makes.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Beasts of the Least

Unlimited spending power, carte blanche over all personnel moves, a devoted fan base that supports your decisions no matter how boneheaded- how many more advantages can Isiah Thomas have over the rest of the league? And yet the Knicks still suck balls. You get the idea that NY could spend 500 million a year and still not win the Atlantic. It's just plain embarrassing. Isiah's like that superhot chick with no self esteem who'll fuck anybody just to get some attention. Everyone tells her she's special and if she waits, the right man will come for her (Kobe? Lebron?), but then she goes out and picks up losers like Crawford, Curry and Randolph. When the real men finally come calling, Zeke's passed out with his dress over his head.

Speaking of people that usually get screwed hard and put away wet, Danny Ainge finally seems to have figured out how this whole trading thing works (receive good players, not give them away). It shouldn't really count when the GM you're taking advantage of is Kevin McHale but now, basking in the glow of the Garnett heist, suddenly Ainge doesn't look like such a complete imbecile anymore. Hey, McHale: how about Randy Foye for Scalabrine? If Danny Boy's serious about making some postseason noise, he better get some guys on that bench. House and Pollard AIN'T getting it done. Tony Allen had a nice stretch after the All-Star break but then (infamously) fucked up his knee showboating after the whistle. Celtic mystique, indeed. Well, at least we've still got Olowokandi.

Of the remaining free agents, only Anderson Varejao is any semblance of an impact player. Yeah, I said it. The dude boards, plays good D, generally makes a positive overall difference on any game. Granted, that shot he put up against Duncan in The Finals with the clock winding down was pretty sad and yes, he flops his ass off but I'd still bet that San Antonio goes after him the first chance they get. Varejao's got one of the better plus/minuses in the league, a stat more telling than mere scoring average. Don't sleep on Sideshow Bob. Dude's money.

Somebody who definitely is NOT money: Adonal Foyle. Did you hear the 'buzz' about him signing with Orlando. Seriously? If Otis Smith is clueless enough to give Rashard Lewis 100 mil, he might drop some cash on the notoriously talentless Foyle. What, Pervis Ellison wasn't interested?

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Next Jordans

With Kevin Durant firmly in the lead for 2007's Next Jordan nomination, I'd like to point out some previous candidates, nominees and wannabees compared to His Airness by idiots in the press at one time or another.

Grant Hill- With a body made entirely out of balsa wood and construction paper, Hill once got injured eating a sandwich. That's actually a lie, it didn't happen- but you believed me for a second, didn't you? It IS feasible that a sandwich could injure Grant Hill. What a pussy.

Ray Allen- Also a pussy. Spent his career avoiding the lane and shooting ten 3s a game. If anything, Ray Ray turned out to be the Next Glen Rice.

Harold Miner- Baby Jordan dunked a lot at 'SC, then played a total of 47 seconds in the NBA. The only thing Miner had in common with Mike was male-pattern baldness.

Mitch Richmond- The M in RUN-TMC, but certainly no Jordan. Scored 20+ for ten years in a row but usually played on mediocre squads that missed the playoffs.

JR Rider-Expectations swelled when he was killing 'em at UNLV, one 'expert' going so far as to call him the best college player ever. Instead of turning that momentum into NBA stardom, JR decided he's rather roll up his career and smoke it.

Ron Harper- As a high-flying Cavalier, Harper drew the comparison frequently for awhile. Then he blew his knee out. Then he realized he'd been traded to The Clippers and aged fifty years overnight.

Vince Carter- Simultaneously the most athletic and apathetic player in league history. Would be pretty good if he gave a shit. Coaches hate him.

Jerry Stackhouse- I'll give him credit for socking Christian Laettner (Jordan definitely would have done that) but that's where the similarities end. This Tar Heel had neither the handle nor the leadership to make the label stick.

Lebron James- All the talent in the world but his killer instinct is still in question. Can you imagine MJ nervously chewing his nails in a playoff game? Of course not.

Kobe Bryant- A legit comparison, skillwise. Kobe can do all the same things physically but gets too enamored with his own ego-driven agendas. And only in the very beginning of his career did Bryant approach MJ's tenacity at the defensive end.

So bring it, Durant. You've got some big shoes to fill. Or not.