October 31, 2008
The NBA season kicked off this Tuesday so it’s time for some thoughts.
Aldridge and Roy
Greg Oden gets hurt in his first game in the NBA and is now out 2-4 weeks. People are making a ton of Sam Bowie jokes but I feel these are misplaced. As are the feeling that Oden should be the savior of the franchise. With players like Roy, Aldridge, and Fernandez there are plenty of other places to go. The Blazers will just have to figure out a way to utilize Pryzbilla in the starting line-up which is something that worked pretty well last season. Plus as the season moves along I’m predicting other players on the team will improve as well such as Channing Frye, Travis Outlaw, Jerryd Bayless, Sergio Rodriguez. It was one game and it was against an LA team firing on all cylinders while it looked like only Rudy Fernandez was at full speed on Tuesday. I still have high hopes for the TrailBlazers and expect them to reach the playoffs regardless of what Oden does. John Canzano of The Oregonian agrees with me.
Then we have my Golden State Warriors. With an off-season where we lost Baron Davis and Monta Ellis was injured in a freak moped accident (how bizarre is that) things are not looking great for the fans of Oakland. Luckily Correy Maggette was added to the mix and in his first game came out and led the team in scoring. Stephen Jackson played well also. Al Harrington is asking to be traded, and I feel that it’s probably time to let him go anyway as he doesn’t seem to be fully utilized in Nelson system. Hopefuly a complementary piece can come back in trade. I’m a fan and I hold out hope that they can make the playoffs, but things are going to have to fall into place pretty quickly for that to be an option.
People are talking about how the West is falling off compared to last year. And it pretty much had to. So many teams were at a basically level point of competitiveness in the West last year as the former(?) powerhouses of San Antonio, Dallas, and Phoenix saw a slight decline while other teams are becoming the new powerhouses like New Orleans, LA Lakers, Utah. The Rockets have maintained for a while, but adding Artest seems a savvy move that I think will pay dividends over the next couple of years. I think they’ll at least make it out of the first round of the playoffs (finally!).
The East is looking better with the Knicks and Heat looking like they could be competitive as opposed to the total pushovers they were last year. I still think the top of the east comes down to Boston, Detroit, and Cleveland, but the Raptors are on the rise and Dwight Howard and the Magic are nothing to trifle with.
My initial feeling is that we’ll see a New Orleans vs. Detroit final as New Orleans figures out how to make it through the playoffs and Detroit’s young talent becomes more valuable while the veterans will see little drop-off. I give it to New Orleans, though.
June 26, 2008
Kellan – It is currently an hour and a half until the draft officially starts, but I thought that I’d get some thoughts out there before this happens. I’m going to try and be fair in my coverage of the draft, but will probably end up talking mostly about the Blazers and the Warriors, so fair warning. And I guess I’ll start with what these two teams need to do. For the Blazers I think that they trade every pick they have as well Jarrett Jack to the Nets for Devin Harris. The Nets will have put themselves into a position to use those picks or leverage them. It would help them clear cap space for the Lebron shoot-out that people have been anticipating for so many years. And with Jason Kidd gone and now Richard Jefferson being swapped for “ChairMan” Yi and Bobby Simmons it looks like the Nets are in rebuilding mode which means that they can stockpile young talent and let them develop. And then the Blazers get Devin Harris and go on to be a dominant team for nearly a decade. C’mon Nets, make the trade.
Kellan – Well bayareasportsguru I’m pretty excited to see what the Warriors do as well. I think that you’re right that the best move they can make would probably to trade and get another piece that can start contributing immediately. I don’t think that any of the players projected to go at 14 will be able to make meaningful contributions early on. With the Warriors having won 48 games last year all that they need is a little extra something to get them into the playoffs. I would like a trade with Detroit, but before being totally sold on it I’d have to see who the Warriors would be losing.
Kellan – So the beginning of the draft is only minutes away. Will Chicago shock the world and take Beasley over Rose? Or will they do what everyone things and go with the hometown hero? Can Pat Riley pass on Beasley and go with OJ Mayo? We will soon find this all out. I do like that the NBA draft happens all at once, instead of having it take an entire weekend like the NFL.
Kellan – So Rose goes with the first pick in the Draft. Now what is Chicago going to do with all of those guards? Hmm, maybe they’ll sent one to Portland for Martell Webster or Travis Outlaw?
Kellan – And the second goes to Michael Beasley. Pat Riley just proved that he does do a better job when he has just one. On the ESPN live chat everyone thinks that the Timberwolves go with OJ Mayo for this pick, but I’ve heard that Kevin McHale is a huge Kevin Love fan. I think it’d be great to see Kevin Love as the number 3 pick.
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May 30, 2008
So the Lakers won last night. They are the Western Conference champs and are on their way to the finals. I’ll admit it, I underestimated the Lakers. They won in five games when I expected the Spurs in six. Then again I underestimated the Lakers and I think overestimated the Spurs. I’ve just seen the Spurs over-acheive year after year. But this year I think there were too many teams that were of a high playing level. Throughout the season everyone (including me) talked about the West vs. East dominance. That the West is so close in skill level while there appears to be a huge disparity in the East. There is some truth to that, but the Lakers has not had a truly close series yet. They haven’t had to go to a game seven yet. They’re the only team in the playoffs to sweep, costing me a hard earned dollar.
I still think that the Lakers are going to have to go up against Detroit, though. Rip Hamilton is listed as ready to go, Detroit is at home, and Boston nearly blew a huge lead in the fourth quarter at home. My initial pick of Detroit in six is no longer possible, but I think it’d be a good time to watch Detroit beat Boston in Boston. Watch Rasheed Wallace go crazy tonight after being fined for complaining about the refs and using curse words to do it (note to ‘Sheed, wait until you get in your car and then let loose the expletives, then you don’t have to pay a fine).
Ray Allen is going to disappear again. He had a big game in game 5, but I think he’s done for the year. I’m not sure what happened, but him sucking started awful close to an E:60 story coming out about his family troubles (someone tried to kill his dad, or his stepdad, and the trial finished a little bit ago). He played great while all the drama was happening in his life, and once it stopped he did too. Just a conjecture.
Garnett will score a lot of points and get a lot of rebounds, but his teammates will struggle all night long until Detroit finally goes on a run to keep things out of reach. Watch out for Maxiell to step up, or Stuckey. Those guys are good and getting better, pretty much the opposite of Ray Allen who is currently good buy steadily getter worse.
My prediction for tonight, Detroit 101-Boston 84.
May 22, 2008
I’ve picked a San Antonio vs. Detroit NBA finals. Both of the teams I have picked have dropped game 1. Am I wrong? I say no. San Antonio did fall apart, but I could see it happening in the first half. At the point where my roommate was cheering for San Antonio being up by so much and Kobe seemingly doing nothing about it. I explained to him that what Kobe was doing was making his team stay in the game. Kobe can take over a game, but that is a much more effective strategy in the second half than the first. Instead he kept his team in the game and when it came time for Kobe to take over all of his teammates were able to act like a good supporting cast rather than a bunch of people stuck on the same team as Kobe. It worked, San Antonio fell apart. I think the problem was that they didn’t take enough threes, you know, since their percentage was so high.
In Game 2 I see San Antonio coming out and doing what they need to do to prevent a third quarter slump that has been plaguing them. And maybe they’ll start taking it to the rim and slowing the game down when the other team is making a run. I still think that San Antonio is strong and has enough fire power to take down the Lakers.
I have to admit that I missed a lot of the Celtics-Detroit game, but I caught the end. KG is the man, but what happens if Detroit actually plays a good game? Allen is next to non-existent at this point leaving the big 2. And Pierce and Garnett are nothing short of amazing, except that Garnett doesn’t seem to be able to hit that extra gear in crunch time because he starts out using it. Plus the Celtics have Doc Rivers as their coach. A man whose success is not really his own (as has been shown by his inability to take advantage of the disparity between the Celtics and the competition). In the regular season teams feared the Celtics, but Detroit has no fear. They have a better coach. One who can make good decisions and knows who should be playing in the game.
So am I wrong, I don’t think so, but a week from now I guess we’ll see the answer.
May 20, 2008
Last night the Hornets lost to the Spurs finalizing the final match-ups in the Conference Finals. The Hornets did an amazing thing this year, they made people realize how good they were and got their attendance to a point where it no longer seems like they’ll have to move from New Orleans. Chris Paul had a breakout year to become the best point guard in the league. The Hornets got much needed experience (which really looked to be what San Antonio used to finish the Hornets at home.) Look out for them next year.
I’m taking San Antonio in 6 over the Lakers. A lot of people have the Lakers as a favorite, and a Lakers Celtics Finals would be crazy, but I still think the Lakers are a year away. The Spurs have had a much tougher road to the Conference Finals. When they played the Suns it only went 5 games, but it was 5 hard fought games. Plus they didn’t get a rest because the Hornets took down the Mavs in 5 games as well. Then it took 7 games to put away the Hornets. I have a feeling that the Lakers will come out big in Game 1, but wil then start having problems in Game 2. Kobe has been good, but it seems like he’s shifting back into a me-first offensive style. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how the games actually play out.
Boston against Detroit should be good times. The “best team of the regular season” has been anything but in the playoffs. If not for Paul Pierce having the biggest game of his career (he may have had a better game before, but this was a game 7 shootout with Lebron James) the Celtics could have been sent home. If a Cleveland player (other than Lebron and Delonte) was able to hit a couple of shots it could have made the difference. Then it also took the Celtics seven games to beat the Hawks? I am going to pick Detroit in 6 for this series. Detroit knows how to keep their composure, and they look like a better team than they were last year. I don’t see Boston being able to maintain unless Ray Allen is able to make his presence known. Boston won’t be able to maintain for long if they don’t turn things around. The Atlanta Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers are both teams that should have taken Boston no more than 5 games a piece to beat. They are currently underachieving by 4 losses at this point (by my reckoning). I think it may be too late for Boston to turn things around. Detroit is going to be fresh when they tip off tonight and I think that they have a real chance to steal home-court advantage in one of the first two games.
Again time will tell, but I’m feeling that we may be seeing a Detroit vs. San Antonio Finals again. David Stern will not be happy, and neither will I. But then again the Hornets were the last team in contention that I was able to root for. Now it’s time to root for good games and see which team is truly the best this year.