Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Miller, McMillan, Media Need To Chill The Fuck Out

Lots of overly dramatic things being said/written this week about The Andre Miller Situation in Portland. He's not happy coming off the bench. He's not buying into the team concept. The team doesn't want to ruin chemistry by moving Steve Blake out of the starting lineup.

Hold up, everyone. Just chill the fuck out.

This entire story comes down to one thing and one thing only: Andre Miller is better than Steve Blake. The sooner Nate McMillan and the Portland media realize this, the better off the team will be.

And it's not like last year's team won the title or anything. They got their collective asses kicked in the first round, for fuck's sake. And Blake was absolutely annihilated by Aaron Brooks. Don't fear change, people. Sometimes, change is needed to grow.

Plus, I'm inclined to think that Miller will play 30 plus minutes whether he starts or not, similar to Lamar Odom's role with LA during the first half of last season. Even if Nate does opt to start Blake for outside shooting, Miller will still be the guy on the floor in the 4th quarter with the clock running down.

Because of all this fake drama brewing daily in the Oregonian, many national writers/bloggers are picking up the story and predicting doom in Portland. Whatever. Miller's an upgrade in their guard rotation any way you look at it. He's better than Blake and he's way fucking better than last year's backup, the hapless Sergio Rodriguez.

And his contract's short (only two years guaranteed with a 3rd year option) so if it doesn't work out, who cares?

Nothing silences critics or ends controversy like winning. And I can say with full confidence that, barring injuries, the Blazers will be just fine in '09/10. Miller might not be Chris Paul but he gives the team the best chance of winning. Let's move on, shall we?

Pictured: the best PG on the Blazers roster

Recipe For A Championship

Every GM should have the same goal: win a championship. Selling tickets is nice and community outreach is commendable but really, if your team isn't winning any rings, you should consider your organization a failure.

So what's the best way to build a championship team? There are lots of cliches out there. "Defense wins championships." "No rebounds, no rings." I studied the DNA of every starter on every champion of my generation and found some interesting tendencies.

PG- So what do Derek Fisher, Rajon Rondo, Jason Williams, Tony Parker, Chauncey Billups, Avery Johnson, Ron Harper, Sam Cassell, Isiah Thomas, Magic Johnson and Dennis Johnson have in common? Good asst/TO ratios.

SG- How about Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen, Dwyane Wade, Michael Finley, Rip Hamilton, Michael Jordan, Vernon Maxwell, Joe Dumars and Byron Scott? Good outside shots and the ability to defend multiple positions.

SF- Trevor Ariza, Paul Pierce, Bruce Bowen, Tayshaun Prince, Scottie Pippen, Robert Horry, James Worthy and Larry Bird? Shooting range and (except for Bowen) good rebounding skills for a wing.

PF- Lamar Odom, Kevin Garnett, Udonis Haslem, Tim Duncan, Rasheed Wallace, Dennis Rodman, Otis Thorpe, Horace Grant, Kurt Rambis and Kevin McHale? Versatile enough defenders to guard post players or step out onto the perimeter.

C- Pau Gasol, Kendrick Perkins, Shaquille O'Neal, Fabricio Oberto, Ben Wallace, Bill Cartwright, Luc Longley, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Bill Laimbeer and Robert Parrish? Everyone can rebound. Most have excellent post games, offensively.

So put these elements together for a second. A PG with a pass-first mentality and good handle. A shooting guard with range who can defend PGs or SFs on switches. A SF with an outside shot who also rebounds. A PF who can defend inside or out. A C who cleans the glass and can score on the block.

Based on that criteria, it looks like Lakers/Celtics in the Finals again, folks.

Pictured: The Hick vs Buck

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Places I'd Rather See CP3

Every time Chris Paul dumps the ball into David West for a turnaround J or kicks out to Peja for a spot up 3, I wonder how good CP3 would look in a different offense with more athletic players around him. No disrespect to those two guys (well, some disrespect to busted-ass Peja who should retire NOW), but here are the uniforms I'd prefer to see Chris Paul in:

Duh. LA needs an upgrade with Derek Fisher at or near his expiration date and Farmar/Brown not really getting it yet.

I know. They already play slow. But Mike Bibby? Yawn. Give me CP3 on the break with Josh Smith and Marvin Williams on the wings. Even Micro-Manage Woodson couldn't screw that one up.

I don't like this team. At all. I didn't want to include them in this list. But it would be amazing to watch Paul work with Vince Cancer and Dwight Howard. So many dunks. On second though, screw the Magic.

Pritchard's wet dream. Paul/Roy/Aldridge. Not the most athletic bunch but it would be exciting. And if CP3 can make Tyson Chandler an offensive threat, imagine what he could do for Greg Olden.

This one requires some mental adjusting. Dunleavy and Murphy- out. Brandon Rush and Danny Granger- in. Got it? See how nicely that works?

There are lots of other teams that Paul would make better, obviously. Spurs, Cavs, Celtics- almost any club in the league would rather have Paul than their current PG. But I'm getting really sick of seeing him pound the rock or drive and kick. Plus, he absorbs way too much contact in the Hornets half court sets. After watching Dahntay Jones molest him repeatedly during last season's playoffs, I began to fret over CP3's long-term health. He needs to get out of that offense before someone decides to sweep the leg.

Pictured: Dahntay Jones "getting all Bruce Bowen" on Paul

Friday, October 9, 2009

Russell Westbrook, Meet Steve Francis

Russell Westbrook just completed his rookie season and many experts and pundits are predicting stardom. The explosive 6'3" guard from UCLA put up 15 ppg and over 5 apg while frequently getting on SportsCenter for his highlight dunks and acrobatic forays to the bucket. Few people talk about the fact that he shot under 40% or that his TO/Ast ratio was less than stellar- 5.3/3.3. The team finished 23-59 and was outscored by 6 ppg. Yuck.

When he first came into the league, Steve Francis was hailed as a game-changer- a freakishly athletic 6'3" guard who could dunk on anyone but still needed to learn the nuances of managing an offense and distributing the ball. His rookie season, Francis averaged an impressive 18 ppg to go with 6.6 apg and over 5 rpg. He shot an amazing 45% from the floor, a testament to his ability to finish at the rim. He also turned the ball over 4 times a game, an alarming rate even for a rookie. The team finished 34-48 but nobody in the organization blamed their shining star, who was dubbed Stevie Franchise. You know where the story goes from here. Francis NEVER got the hang of running an offense without turning the ball over. As injuries mounted, his trademark athleticism declined with his shooting percentage. He clashed with Jeff Van Gundy, got traded to Orlando, clashed with Brian Hill, got traded, and finally ended up on that disastrous sinking ship known as Isiah's Knicks. He played 10 games for Houston in 2007/8 before retiring.

I hope I'm off-base with this comparison. Westbrook seems like a much cooler dude than Francis, who acted like a bitch from the second he was drafted (holla back, Vancouver). I was actually happy to see Francis' career crash and burn.

Pictured: Stevie Franchise, riches to rags story