Tuesday, October 26, 2010

2010-2011 NBA season

Some things I loved in the off-season...

this group should have a ton of help this season
 L.A. Lakers...full disclosure I am a huge Lakers fan, but I will always call it the way I see it...for me this is the 2nd straight year that LA wins a Title and then improves in the off-season...last year it was the addition of Ron Artest...this year the Lakers make major improvements to their bench with the addition of PG Steve Blake - re-signing PG Shannon Brown - signing of Matt Barnes - signing of Theo Ratliff...all 4 of those guys go with Lamar Odom to form a great bench...add long time Lakers Sasha Vujacic and Luke Walton and we see the Lakers go at least 10 deep...I am excited about rookie Devin Ebanks (West Virginia) too...on the perimeter you have Kobe/Artest/D-Fish/Barnes/Blake holding it down on D, and at the rim any combo of Bynum/Gasol/Odom/Ratliff will keep the basket well protected...this team D should be great...the early moments of the season will have Kobe and Bynum nursing their current injuries, but we see a ton of depth in Lakerland this season

even more big-man depth for Doc and the Celtics
Boston Celtics...first (and most important) off-season move was getting Coach Doc Rivers to return for another season...then Ray Allen and Paul Pierce followed...Phil Jackson is on another planet and his records will never be approached in our lifetime, but the next tier of coaches has names like Sloan, Popovich, and Doc Rivers is right there too (side-note...next summer the biggest storyline other then the looming work-stoppage will be the question of will Doc be lured in by Pat Riley to coach the Heat)...Doc loses his great assistant Tom Thibodeau (new Head Coach of the Bulls) but replace him with Lawrence Frank (formerly of the Nets)...the C's also added to their roster...I like the addition of the O'Neals - Shaq and Jermaine...when Kendrick Perkins returns from injury this Celtics frontcourt is big - mean - really physical - really good...they will need to add some depth at the Guard spots...they need big play from any of Nate Robinson/Von Wafer/Delonte West/Marquis Daniels to help Rajon Rondo/Paul Pierce/Ray Allen on the perimeter

Yao and Aaron Brooks
 Houston Rockets...the x-factor team in the Association this season...F Luis Scola is as underrated a player as there is in the NBA...they add Yao Ming (he is back from injury...we have not seen Yao since the 2008-2009 season) and even though they will heavily monitor his minutes he can still of course contribute...they add Brad Miller for depth at the big-man spot...they have their first full season with dynamic SG Kevin Martin...they add SG Courtney Lee...G Kyle Lowry continues to get better and better...PG Aaron Brooks is the next household name - he is GOOD...a ton of assets here for great coach Rick Adelman, and a lot of tradeable assets too if they so choose

Chicago Bulls...I wanted the Raps to get Tom Thibodeau off of the Celtics coaching staff and make him their Head Coach...they did not, but the Bulls did and they get a good one...if you like what the Celtics have done on the defensive end for the last few years then you like Thibodeau...I also like adding PF Carlos Boozer...he will be down for the first part of the season with an injury (broken right hand suffered as he tripped over his gym bag at his house) but when he gets back and gets teamed with Joakim Noah that frontcourt is going to be gnarly and physical...plus they add veteran Kurt Thomas...on the perimeter they add Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver aka Ashton Kutcher

Atlanta Hawks...there was a lot of criticism directed at the Hawks in the off-season as they gave SG Joe Johnson more $$$ than LeBron James or anyone else made this summer...6 years $119 mill for Johnson to remain in Hotlanta...for me I liked the move...in his 5 years in Hotlanta Johnson has averaged 22 points per game, and in all honesty what other free-agent were the Hawks going to get to join them?!?!  Good luck to their new Coach Larry Drew too...

Orlando...I like the signing of SG Quentin Richardson...Q-Rich will start and is a sharp-shooter from downtown that will get a ton of open looks as teams have to double-team Dwight Howard...his 3-point shooting last season was the best of his career

Utah Jazz...this season could be the year where Jerry Sloan finally gets a Coach of the Year award...the expectations will be low as they lost PF Carlos Boozer in the off-season, but I love replacing him with Al Jefferson...I am a fan of Big Al...he has effort and skills that will fit in nicely in Utah...I also like the team adding SG Raja Bell...Bell has the grit and commitment to D that Jerry Sloan insists on

Sacramento Kings...while the team was criticised for drafting DeMarcus Cousins because he is a different kind of person (odd fellow, but only 20 years old so we can assume there will be maturing that he will do) I loved the move...he is a gifted athlete that can be combined with last seasons Rookie Of The Year PG Tyreke Evans to give SacTown a young and dynamic duo for years to come

Tiago Splitter
San Antonio Spurs...finally we will see the Spurs 2007 1st round pick Tiago Splitter...the 6'11" Splitter has been playing in the Spanish League for years now and is finally set to make his North American debut...perfect timing for the Spurs...they need a big man with Splitter's skills to give Tim Duncan extra rest in his aging years, and at times they can both be on the court conjuring memories of the Twin Towers the Spurs had with David Robinson and Duncan

Moves I did not like...
The Decision...if you do not know I am referring to the 1-hour show that Bron Bron did on espn to announce his decision, which was called of course "The Decision"...the biggest thing that you have to remember when it comes to Cleveland fans is that they are as tortured a group as there is...some cities have specific fans that have suffered for a long time...for example Chicago Cubs fans have waited forever - but the city of Chicago had the 2009 Blackhawks...2005 White Sox...and some Jordan guy stacked multiple Titles in the 90's for the Bulls...you can have examples from every city like this one...but Cleveland? Well Cleveland is a different story...the last Championship celebrated in the Cleve was 1964 when the Browns won a football Title (no not the Super Bowl - this was soooo long ago that the Super Bowl did not even exist yet!!!)...then, out of nowhere, comes a native son as special as James is...and also out of nowhere some more amazing news - your home grown Superstar is going to play for...YOU!!!  Not only can you start to realistically dream about your Championship drought ending, but it is one of your own who will be leading you to the promised land...but...then it all came crashing down on one of the worst thought out decisions I have ever seen...never mind that I think going to Miami was a mistake as far as a chance to win Titles (Boston, Orlando, and ChiTown all have superior PG's, PF's and Centers to the Heat)  but to go there via The Decision was brutal and ill-conceived...To go on National Television...to go out of your way to let the world know that you have shunned the Cavs was bad bad bad...the fan base that has provided you with love (not to mention enough $$$ that your Grandkids Grandkids Grandkids will never worry about money) deserved a better ending then that...even if at the end of the day you were going to bolt to South Beach a National TV show was never the right way to do it...we can argue for days about is Michael Jordan the best ever, but either way we know he was amazing and special...when MJ announced his return to the NBA he did it with a fax to the press that said in total "I'm back"...2 words...one of the greatest ever announced his return in a 2 word fax yet James and company thought it necessary and right to do The Decision...we see every day the backlash Bron Bron gets for that mistake...the truth is that he of all people should have had the accurate pulse of his hometown fans and known better than to leave this way...

And by the way the Heat fans are in for a rude awakening when they get a load of the "defense" that Chris Bosh plays, plus CB4 has missed games due to his wonky knees several years in a row and 2010-2011 will be no different...

Dallas Mavericks...the Mavs have an amazing streak of 10 straight seasons with at least 50 wins...to put that in perspective YOUR TORONTO RAPTORS have never won 50 games...however only once in the last 4 seasons have the Mavs made it out of the first round of the playoffs...How long will Mark Cuban put up with that?  They added Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood mid-season last year, and then add C Tyson Chandler this off-season, but I still think that either Disco Dirk Nowitzki or Jason Terry need to be moved in return for good assets to tweak this squad even further

Detroit Pistons...winning the 2004 Title has given GM Joe Dumars a very l o n g leash it appears...he has been brutal...it started when he passed on Carmelo Anthony, D-Wade, and Chris Bosh and drafted Darko Milicic in 2003...last off-season giving their $$$ to Ben Gordon and Charlie V was awful...he follows that this off-season by signing Tracy McGrady...brutal and awful...brawful

the cause of the Knicks woes
 New York Knicks...so lets look at what it must be like to be a Knicks fan...for 2+ years you are told by management that your team sucks and management knows your team sucks - BUT - bare with us as we are going to sign LeBron James/D-Wade/CB4 in the summer of 2010...we know now that plan went 0 for 3...they trade David Lee and add Amar'e Stoudemire...in many stats Lee is better than Amar'e, but they also add Anthony Randolph who has a ton of upside that has not been reached yet...the Knicks also add Kelenna Azubuike and Raymond Felton but all of that does not equal any of LeBron, D-Wade, or Bosh...to top it all off the reason you have bottomed out for years is because Isiah Thomas did an all-time butcher job on your roster/franchise...horrid mistake after horrid mistake by Thomas...and in the summer where you don't get any of your promised free-agent targets they actually re-hire Isiah Thomas!!!  In typical major screw-up fashion they are then told by the NBA that since Thomas is currently the Head Coach of Florida International University his hiring is completely against NBA rules and the contract to hire him is void...good grief

Denver Nuggets...do beware Nuggets - you are in dangerous territory here with Carmelo Anthony...did you notice that the Raps and Cavs got only trade exceptions in return for their departing assets Bosh and LeBron?!?!  You could be next...Melo clearly has no interest in signing an extension with the Nuggs...the toasts given by several NBA stars at Carmelo's wedding this summer all spoke about Melo playing in New York...heck even though the Nuggets owner was in attendance, and also made a speech, the other guys were not shy at all about openly talking about the impending move my Melo to the Big Apple...move him now Denver...the strategy of let's keep him and show him we can win to make Denver more attractive to Melo is dangerous...the Cavs had their own born-and-raised Ohio native leave them high and dry, and Bosh left an entire country high and dry...get as much as you can asap Masai Ujiri (Denver's new GM after spending 3 years as an assistant GM in...Toronto!)