Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rating the Trade Deadline Deals

As a change of pace, Zee and I have decided to post our first debate blog entry. We've selected a handful of the most significant trade deadline moves, and we are going to argue back and forth on which side got the better deal. We flipped a virtual coin to determine who would get each side to minimize any bias that we might have. Feel free to chime in with your comments and let us know who threw down the stronger argument, or whether you disagree with both of us.

1) Alston to Orlando Magic
Lowry/Cook to Houston Rockets
Foyle/Wilks/1st-Round Draft Pick to Memphis Grizzlies

Houston Rockets: I suspect that part of the reason Houston pulled the trigger on this trade was because Alston had openly called out his teammates. He's been a surprisingly solid point guard for this team, but I think they needed to get younger and faster. This trade allows them to start Aaron Brooks who had been a beast when given the minutes. He provides them with more athleticism and quickness than Alston. He's an explosive scorer and can hit the open 3 as well. Lowry as the backup PG provides them toughness and defense. Both are capable passers, as well. It should be a fun point guard battle to watch in the future. As a Rocket fan, it was painful to watch Alston jack up so many bad shots. And he's horrible from the charity line. I don't think that Cook will play much on this squad, if any. I like the Rockets as a dark horse team. Losing T-mac is addition by subtraction. (Kay)

First off, Houston is going nowhere fast, and I think everyone but Kay understands that. Houston is not a dark horse, they are a DEAD horse. Between injuries to Artest, Yao, T-Mac, and Battier, this team is destined to continually look good on paper but never live up to the expectations that people have set for them. When this trade went through, I was excited for Rafer simply because he'll be in a position to influence how far the team he's on can go. And for the record Kay, Skip's FT% over the course of the season was a solid 78%. This moves makes so much sense for the Magic, as they couldn't think Anthony Johnson was an adequate replacement for the injured Jameer Nelson. by acquiring a savvy veteran point guard in Alston, the Magic have added to their collective team strength: the 3 pointer. Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu will continually have wide open shots as defenders sag off to prevent Skip from getting inside and dishing the ball to Dwight Howard. All you need to do is look at Rashard and Turkoglu's numbers when Anthony Johnson was at the PG position, and look at the numbers now that Alston is running the point. Also look at Skip's first game with the Magic: 12 pts on 4-9 shooting, 9 ast, and two 3pt's for good measure. The Magic are trying hard to make sure they can compete with the top dogs in the east, especially now that Detroit is showing that for the moment, they are not among the eastern elite. This trade adds to that push they are trying to make in a big way. (Zee!!)

2) Salmons/Miller to Chicago Bulls
Gooden/Nocioni/Simmons/Ruffin to Sacramento Kings

Chicago Bulls: Hah! Brad Miller back in a Chicago Bulls uniform again. How ironic. But Miller gives them a legit post presence finally. He'll be a solid pick-n-roll partner with Rose, and can hit the open shot. He's also one of the best passing big men, and an underrated rebounder. He should eventually be able to force his way into the starting lineup. Salmons is insurance in case Ben Gordon leaves the team during the summer. He's a legit scorer, and can play either the SG or SF position. He's a bigger body than Gordon or Hinrich at the SG. And as an added bonus, he has a shorter contract than Nocioni. Trading Gooden away shows that the Bulls have faith in Tyrus Thomas, who is finally showing some signs of consistency. He could be the difference maker for this team. I think this trade should enable the Bulls to make a charge for one of the last remaining playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, where they will lose in the 1st round. (Kay)

Ahh the Sacramento Kings. Seems like yesterday, the Arco arena was abuzz with cowbells and rowdy anti-Laker fans. Then we spanked you a few times, got some pretty rings and a couple shiny trophies. My how the semi-mighty have fallen. Now the team is in danger of being moved to another city, any links to the fun & gun teams from the early 2000's are gone, and Reggie Theus was a coach for like 5 minutes. Now that I've gotten out of the way, I'll say this, we're in a recession and the Kings are really having crappy attendance the last few years based largely on the economic situation in Sacramento, and also because of the product that is being trotted out onto the court and shamefully being passed off as a NBA team. The players that were moved, were sent packing simply because of money. If you look at the Kings roster, you'll see that the youth (read:cheap) movement is underway. The Kings are doing two very good things, they are giving young skilled players like Spencer Hawes and Jason Thompson a chance to play. Also, they are sending away skilled, but expensive players in Miller ($11,375,000) and Salmons ($6,077,151) and were able to position themselves to get 3 decent players in return. (Gooden, Nocioni, Simmons) Not exactly earth shattering, but it's a start in the right direction. (Zee!!)

3) O'Neal/Moon/1st-Round Draft Pick to Miami Heat
Marion/Banks/Cash to Toronto Raptors

Miami Heat: Like the above picture, I'm not overly excited about this trade. It's clear that Marion was not in their future plans, though. What I like about this trade is that the Heat were able to unload Banks contract and also pickup a future 1st-Round draft pick from Toronto. Jermaine is paid a ton, but his contract expires in the summer of 2010. If he can stay healthy, he provides Wade a legit big man. He can blocks shots, intimidate the opposition, and grab some rebounds. Also he's a much more capable scorer than any of the other C's on their roster: Magloire, Anthony or Blount. Ugh. Moon has struggled this year, but he's like a super-lite version of Marion. He has the potential to contribute in many different categories, and could play a nice role for this team. His contract expires this summer, and he's literally paid peanuts. This trade should allow the Heat to play Beasley more minutes. And allow Haslem to slide back to his natural PF position. (Kay)

This was the epitome of a meh trade. I'm sure Toronto didn't want to admit that picking up O'Neal was a knee jerk reaction to try and convince Bosh that they were trying to build a solid team around him, but nothing ventured, nothing gained right? (Riiight) Anyhow, good thing they were able to pawn J.O. off on the Heat, works out for them by receiving Marion because he has a veteran Point Guard who can feed him the ball in the right positions, which he has shown is the only way he can thrive offensively as he is incapable of creating his own shot. Losing Moon sucks, but he was under-producing in T-dot and was pretty much a lock to get moved outta town. I really can't comment on Marcus Banks as he has been a question mark his whole tenure in the league. and cash is always good right? Regardless, Bosh is bolting as soon as his contract is up, so this is merely a temporary fix until the real tragedy begins. (Zee!!)

4) Hughes to New York Knicks
Thomas/James to Chicago Bulls

New York Knicks: Amazing! I thought they'd never get rid of Jerome James. That automatically makes the Knicks the winner in this trade in my mind. Haha. Hughes is horribly overpaid, but is a decent talent. He may see a slight career resurrection playing for D'Antoni. He'll provide the Knicks with a backup PG, and allow them to rest Duhon finally. He's a decent playmaker, will gamble for steals, and can score in the open court. His jump shot is a little suspect, however. He's more a volume scorer than an efficient scorer, so that means David Lee will help more rebound opportunities. Haha. This will also allow Nate Robinson to move to backup SG where he is more comfortable. Losing Tim Thomas, the chronic underachiever, is no big deal. Walsh has done a fine job at cleaning up the Knicks roster. (Kay)

Fire Both Chicago and New York's GM's. (Zee!!)

5) Wilcox to New York Knicks
Rose to Oklahoma City Thunder

New York Knicks: Malik Rose had been collecting DNP like they were doing out of style. So shipping him off for Wilcox can only benefit their team. Both players have expiring contracts at the end of 2009. So it's not a risk for them either. Best case, Wilcox proves to be a valuable role player and he helps the Knicks make the playoffs in the East. If the gamble does not pay off, they can just let Wilcox go. The Knicks are preparing for the summer of 2010, so if they do resign Wilcox it will be for a 2-year deal only. The Knicks needed some depth at the frontcourt positions desperately. He's a decent scorer, but weak rebounder and defender. Which means he will fit in with this Knicks team. Haha. I don't think we'll be seeing Eddy Curry at all. And Jared Jeffries is both injury prone and a non-factor on offense. So don't be surprised to see Wilcox get some decent burn on occasion. (Kay)

Do we really need to cover this one? Oklahoma got rid of a cancer in Wilcox who was known to whine about playing time and also had a horrible work ethic ever since the thunder were in Seattle. (I still can't believe they moved!!) The Knicks continue to cement their reputation as one of the worst decision making teams in the NBA. (Zee!!)

6) Sefolosha to Oklahoma City Thunder
First-Round Draft Pick to Chicago Bulls

Oklahoma City Thunder: Sefolosha fills a need of OKC at the SG spot, with Desmond Mason out for the season. He's a nice young talent that has shown flashes of brilliance. And should eventually replace Kyle Weaver in the starting lineup. He's a solid defender and his all-around game should be a nice compliment to Westbrook and Durant. He'll need to improve on his range to really thrive on this team, however. It's too bad they rescinded the Chandler trade. A lineup of Westbrook-Sefolosha-Durant-Green-Chandler sounds pretty potent. They'll have to rely on Krstic returning to form to man the C position. He's a much better scorer than Chandler, but not nearly as efficient of a defender. It's a nice low-risk move. Sefolosha has a cheap contract, too. OKC has 3 draft picks this summer, and the bulls are getting the lowest one; which will probably the pick DEN owes them. (Kay)

Ummm.....I bet George Karl likes it!!! I'm just assuming Chicago is just trying to move money around in their much publicized attempt to land Chris Bosh in 2010. If they somehow can manage to move Kirk Hinrich, then they may be ahead of the game. And isn't that all any of us want to be? (Zee!!)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Andre Igoudala will have nightmares

Yikes.....and it's not even like Andre wasn't playing defense! What do you do??

Friday, February 20, 2009

From the vaults.....

Just something a friend of mine sent to me, I never even heard of this, let alone knew ESPN televised it. Enjoy!

He's Baaaaaccckkk!!!!

Last night marked the return of Charles Barkley to Inside the NBA. He was rather subdued for most of the show, but then again, look at the games that TNT was televising. Anyhow, welcome back Chuck!! The show hasn't been the same without you. Also, can we swap out Kenny Smith with Chris Webber? Please?!?!

The Charles I know and love:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Random Oddities

Just a few funny things that have gone on in the league in the last couple of days:

1) Tyson Chandler, aloha, and aloha!

This is pure comedy. The Thunder rescind a trade that would've given them Tyson Chandler and sent Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox to N'awlins. George Shinn, karma is a beast isn't it? It kills me how people are talking junk about Tyson when first off he's averaging 8.8 points and 8.3 boards a game and his career highs are only 11.8 points and 11.7 boards!! I understand the potential people think this guy has, but stop acting like it's some monumental disappointment that his numbers have dropped slightly. The season isn't over yet, the Hornets have time to make a strong run and for the time being Tyson is going to be a part of that.

2) Phoenix Suns - Terry Porter = 282 points in 2 games!!!!

Fellas, please tell me why you have to run up the score on a undermanned, and over matched L.A. Clippers squad? I'm not really sure I'm impressed by this offensive output mainly because it was against the Clips. Granted, this was a quick turnaround to the fast break Suns style of play from a year ago, but I'll be impressed when they do it against some of the better teams in the league. And looking at my NBA schedule, it would appear that they have a game on Sunday against the Celtics. I can't wait. And fellas, don't pour it on so much unless you want KG to do this:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Working For The Weekend

I have to agree with you, Zee. Kobe was being a total douche bag over the weekend. There's no reason for him to have 10 shot attempts in the first quarter alone. And there's no reason for him trying to outshine Shaq in potentially his farewell all-star game. This isn't the Kobe Bryant show. That's just another example of why Kobe rubs people the wrong way. Both literally and figuratively. Hah! It was a nice gesture to give Shaq Co-MVP honors, even if he did not deserve the award. I can't help but wonder if the ending was predetermined and the voting was rigged. Kobe and Shaq reuniting for one last time, and them sharing the MVP honors? It sounds too good to be true. It's like a hollywood ending. Shaq's line of 17 pts, 5 rebs and 1 blk in only 10 minutes of action is mighty impressive.

Chris Paul's performance was mighty underrated. He almost had a triple-double. 14 pts, 14 asts, 7 rebs and 3 stls. I think he should have been named MVP; or at least, been in the running. But I guess CP3 has no shot of winning the award unless the all-star game is held in Oklahoma. He's not the media darling that Lebron, Dwight, Kobe and Shaq are. On the flip side, Joe Johnson had a horrible performance. In 21 minutes, he has 5 turnovers and 0 points on 0-4 shooting. Hilariously bad for an all-star game. He was the only player not to score on both squads. The West just dominated this game. They made a bold statement. I blame it partly on the league for picking horrible all-star replacements for the East squad. I mean the team already had too many guards, and they replace Bosh with Mo Williams. Come on! No make-up calls! Don't add the guy just to appease Lebron.

I was pretty bored with all-star weekend this year. But I say that just about every year, and I still go out and watch it. Heh. Let's start with Friday night's events. I won't even comment on the Celebrity game. That was just pure garbage. It reminded me of those old Rock-N-Jock games they used to show on MTV. Except this one was not entertaining. WNBA players + NBA Legends + Harlem Globetrotters + Celebrities = Yuck! The Rookies vs Sophomores game was pretty nice though. I remember talking to Zee last week and saying that the Sophomores stood no chance at winning unless Durant went for like 50. Kevin was pretty close to that hitting 46 points, a new record in the event. We both agreed that the rookie squad was more talented, but they just did not play with the same focus or urgency as the sophomores. Durant did a great job of setting the tone and taking over the game. He showed everyone that he deserves to play in the big game. He's a superstar in the making. Beasley put on a nice show, too. I still have no idea why they invite players (Wade and Howard) to coach the teams. But I must say that Lebron as a commentator is a nice fit. He knows his stuff.

Saturday was hit or miss. But more miss than hit. Heh. The inaugural H-O-R-S-E, I mean G-E-I-C-O event was disappointing. The players lacked creativity and it quickly turned into a 3pt shootout. None of the players looked like they wanted to be out there, especially Kevin Durant the eventual winner. He showed like 0 emotion and charisma, and looks like this generation's Tim Duncan. Next year, I hope they invite some cocky players like Rasheed Wallace or Gilbert Arenas to hype up the event more. Guys who will actually try some trick shots. The commentating by Kenny Smith and Chris Webber was pretty funny, though. I will skip over the Shooting Stars and the Skills Challenge events. Those are just a waste of time. The 3pt shootout was alright. I liked it better when the shooters would face off with one another on opposite ends of the court. But now, the players just take turns going. It was hilarious when Kenny Smith said that Daequan Cook had 0% chance of winning the contest. Not only did he win the contest but he had the top 2 scores of the night. What an idiot. They need to pick better players for this event also. Everyone knew guys like Bibby and Granger had no chance at winning. They aren't pure shooters.

Lastly, the slam dunk contest was pretty weak. The judges were on crack, too. Why oh why did they have famous Suns players judging the contest instead of players who actually know something about dunking? They gave perfect scores to some undeserving dunks. And its clear that Rudy and JR had no chance at making the final. Nate vs Dwight was their goal before the event even started. Also I don't understand why they only had 4 contestants. That number seems to go down every year. But back to the dunks, JR's double bounce windmill dunk was aight. But Sonny Weems screwed him over on his second dunk attempt. Rudy's dunks were both underrated. His second attempt when he took a pass of the backboard, grabbed it out of bounds and scooping in a one-handed jam on the other side of the rim was a work of art. He definitely did better than Nate in the first round. I liked how Rudy wore a jersey of Fernando Martin, who was the first Spanish player in the league, but none of the commentators knew who he was. I think one of them jokingly asked if Martin was a reference to Ricky Martin. Hah!

Excluding the dunk over Dwight Howard, I thought Nate Robinson's dunk weren't too memorable. I liked his celebration dance, however. Hah! The dunk off of Chandler's back was especially weak. How is that an impressive dunk? He used his back like a trampoline which makes the dunk even easier to finish. But the above dunk was enough to win the contest for him. The green jersey and ball, the nickname KrypoNate was a nice touch though. It was the best dunk of the night. The dunk contest is not about athletic creativity anymore. It's all about putting on a good show, using the right props, switching jerseys, and stuff like that. Dwight had some nasty dunks though. The 12' foot dunk was crazy. I think he could have gone like another foot or something, too. Also the one-handed jam off the side of the backboard and the 180 degree windmill dunk from out of bounds were both nice. But his last dunk didn't leave a good impression. The free throw dunk looked horrible from a 7 footer. He needed to finish off on a bang rather than a whimper if he wanted to win the event. All in all, a decent event. But Dwight just could not live up to the monster hype and expectations that he set for himself.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Are you kidding me?!?

Normally during the all star game, there's an unwritten rule that usually happens when a superstar/marquee player is doing one of two things: Either wrapping up his career, playing in his teams arena (in some cases not all). That unwritten rule is to get that player the ball, let him score, repeat. End result of this being to get him the MVP Bill Russell Trophy when the game is concluded. Now last night was the perfect way to send the Big Cactus, Big Aristotle, Big etc, etc off with a nice parting gift of the games MVP award. And for the most part, it seemed as if the west had their sights set on this outcome, correction MOST of the west squad had their minds set on that outcome about I'd say about 99 percent of them did.

But it seemed as if Kobe didn't get the memo, hey Kob we get it, you're a superstar player who can score whenever you want, but seriously man, let someone else shine for once. Normally I'm a huge Kobe/Lakers fan, but between Kobe almost breaking the All-Star single quarter shot attempt record in the first quarter of the game, and Phil Jackson making the west team play zone defense (Really?, Seriously? Zone in an All-Star game?!) I'm really disappointed in them both taking a lot of the excitement outta the game on Sunday. And because it would've been a travesty of justice for Shaq not to get the hardware for this game, the NBA thought it'd be cute to do this:

Part of me wished Shaq would've just cracked Kobe over the head for not allowing him to shine in his possible final ASG appearance. But thinking about it, hasn't this been the pattern of their relationship? Both would produce, and when one should have deferred to the other and gone with the plan, one didn't, leading to a selfish out for one's self mentality. And one only needed to look at half of the game to see that on display, pretty much if Kobe got his hands on the ball, he was shooting it.

This isn't the first (or last) occasion Kobe has had to have people talk about his inability to compute logic when it comes to playing with others, and this is eventually why Lebron James has, and will continue to get so much more support than Kobe does from fans, and talking heads alike, who want to anoint him the best in the game ASAP. Realizing strengths and weaknesses, and learning to win with your team as opposed to trying to outgun your opponent by yourself is what will always set the two apart. Real classy Kob, real classy.


Just a quick post, I know that this has been posted everywhere, but this was why we'll miss the big fella so much once he's hung his up his sneakers for good.

There will truly never be another Shaq.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Bynum Effect

Since Andrew Bynum has gone down with a damaged MCL, the Lakers have:

1) Won 6 straight games on the road.

2) Halted yet another Boston Celtics double-digit winning streak.

3) Hung the first home loss on a Cavs team that hadn't sniffed a loss at the Q since last season.

All these milestones weren't supposed to happen according to some pundits, who because of the loss of the big fella in the middle were supposed to fold up and allow the tougher, stronger teams from the big bad eastern conference to run all over them.

But some interesting things happened along the way:

1) 61 aka the Roger Maris game.

Mr Kobe Bryant solidified his spot as the League's best player by dropping 61 big ones on your New York Knicks, setting the all time scoring record in that building along the way. (Sidebar: Pau Gasol had 31 in that game as well, but no one spoke about it.)

2) Someone woke Lamar Odom up.

Seriously, I hate that it took Drew tearing his knee up for this to happen but L.O. woke up Sunday in Cleveland and went to town, showing a toughness I hadn't seen since ..... um ..... Miami? Ok, ok, Lamar has never been lauded for his toughness, but hey 28 pts, 17 rebounds is always gonna be a good look in an important game like last Sunday's contest. Follow that up with a 12 point, 18 rebound effort against the hapless Thunder yesterday and one would think Lamar has finally stopped hitting that snooze button, either that or he realized that he'll be a free agent at the end of the season and this may be the nice chance to rack up some big $$. Whatever it is, his uptick in minutes, coupled with the production is most welcome in La-La land.

3) Pau expletive Gasol.

My man rated PG turned in some NC-17 performances for the majority of the first half of the season. If the Lakers happen to win the chip this year, (all signs point to Si) then Dr Jerry Buss needs to send his next 3 years of draft picks to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for nothing at all. If he wants to push the issue, maybe some tickets to Graceland, but that's it. For the 2008-09 campaign, Gasol is putting up averages of 18 ppg, 9 rpg and close to 4 dimes per contest. And that was WITH Bynum in the lineup. What happens now that Drew is out for the rest of the regular season? Buckets, that's what.

What does this rambling post teach us class? Well, it should put the league on notice that the Lakers have learned from last year, and have grown as a result. They now know what is expected of them, and what they have to do to make it to the promised land, with or without the services of a Mr Andrew Lee Bynum.