1. By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies .This website or its third-party tools use cookies, which are necessary to its functioning and required to achieve the purposes illustrated in the cookie policy.Find out more.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Follow Casinomeister on Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Casinomeister.us US Residents Click here! |  Svenska Svenska | 
Dismiss Notice
REGISTER NOW!! Why? Because you can't do diddly squat without having been registered!

At the moment you have limited access to view most discussions: you can't make contact with thousands of fellow players, affiliates, casino reps, and all sorts of other riff-raff.

Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join Casinomeister here!

Grading the NBA

Discussion in 'Sports Talk' started by johnsteed, Feb 27, 2010.

    Feb 27, 2010
  1. johnsteed

    johnsteed Ueber Meister

    Occupation:
    N/A
    Location:
    N/A
    ***


    As I've been combing through ESPN, FoxSports, SI, various other NBA websites, and countless pre-season magazines, I thought it would be 'fun' to run through a team-by-team grading. I'll look at all the teams, as well as their individual players.



    Atlanta Hawks



    View attachment 21569



    How are they this year?



    They're playing great, and probably exceeding most people's expectations. Joe Johnson is playing great (as usual), and he'll likely not have a drop-off in the 2nd half (or in the playoffs), because the team can also rely on Jamal Crawford's instant offense coming off the bench. The critics will generally say that it's a combination of this team acquiring Crawford, with the maturing of Josh Smith that's got helped this team become one of the elite teams in the East, if not the entire NBA. I'd also point to the continuing development of Al Horford, as another key in the cog to bitter-ness (I refuse to call this team great).



    While they're playing great as a team, and should be good enough to do some under-the-radar damage in the playoffs (they've swept the Celtics this year), I'm kind of having a hard time figuring-out how in God's name they're doing it, with Mike Bibby looking like he's just about finished (8.7 PPG/4.3 APG/27.6 MPG). Sure, Smith is a pretty good passer (4.0 APG), and Johnson has been sometimes considered the teams primary ball-handler (4.6 APG), but that's not really going to make up for whatever Bibby isn't giving them. I'm also really disappointed in Marvin Williams.



    I've generally been an apologist for this guy, because I've always felt that he'd need a few years to develop into the guy that people thought he was to become, but he's done nothing by way of showing any real improvement of the years. He has tons of raw talent, but it's just not showing.



    This team doesn't have much of a bench either. Aside from Crawford - who's in the running for '6th Man of the Year', the rest of the bit parts aren't very inspiring.



    How did this team get this good?



    With a bunch of lottery picks, they've drafted an abundance of small/power forwards over the past decade, guys like Williams, Smith, Josh Childress (Europe), Boris Diaw (Bobcats), DerMarr Johnson, and the bigger ones like Al Horford, Shelden Williams (Celtics), and Pau Gasol (Lakers). While I've generally felt that it's hard getting a great SF, I could never understand the front offices desire to overstock their line-up with too many similar pieces.



    While focusing on these players, they could have drafted so many more desirable players at other key positions; specifically the '05 Draft when they selected Williams, but could and should have selected Chris Paul (who wanted to go there) or Deron Williams. I'd also look at the very next year, when Atlanta promised Shelden Williams that he'd be selected by them days/weeks prior to the '06 Draft, which was a mistake because he's been incredibly useless (although he really doesn't get any playing time), and they passed over Brandon Roy who was the next player selected in that draft, not to mention that they fell in love with the wrong forward, because they should have been thinking about Rudy Gay who was selected 3 spots down (8th).



    Sure, a few of their draft choices turned out to be pretty good players, but Diaw didn't deliver until he was traded to the Suns, and Gasol was traded the same day he was drafted (Grizzlies).



    I would have to say that the biggest move that the Hawks made over the past several years, was getting Joe Johnson from the Suns. He's not a superstar, but he is a legitimate (borderline) All-Star who I'd say made good on the contract he signed; a contract which came with a lot of skepticism considering that he'd not done much prior to becoming the man with the Hawks. I still think he's overpaid, but considering the other losers who're overpaid, I'd say his contract at this point in time doesn't really raise any eyebrows.



    Grading the key players



    Joe Johnson - A

    Jamal Crawford - A

    Josh Smith - A

    Al Horford - B+

    Marvin Williams - C

    Mike Bibby - D+

    Maurice Evans - C-

    Zaza Pachulia - D



    Mike Bibby being helped to his grave by Rajon Rondo...​




    This year - A



    Why? They've played great ball, probably better as a unit than what's on paper. Good defensive team, at least in the front-court.



    Long-term - B



    Why? I have a hard time seeing Joe Johnson re-signing with the team this summer - although it's not out of the question - and there's not much beyond the first few main players in the line-up. The franchise is still in a mess (front office legal issues), but there's still some hope with Smith and Horford there. Although I don't think Smith will get much better (more refined perhaps), but he's still pretty darn good, and Horford can still make another jump offensively.



    If I were the GM, what would I do?



    Again, I already have Horford and Smith for a while, both key cogs, but I still don't have that great player in the back court; especially now that Johnson is a free agent, and Bibby looking like he's just about done. I won't have a high draft pick this year, and next year's draft ('11) won't be very deep, so I have to make a splash in the free agent market. Dwayne Wade would be an ideal addition to the team (fits in as the team's PG & SG), but he's probably not looking to come to Atlanta. Convincing Joe Johnson is probably the best and most logical move, provided that we're willing to give him a long-term, maximum contract; which will hurt us in the long-run because he's almost 29-years old. Maybe I would do a sign-and-trade with someone like a Golden State, and get some nice young pieces from them (doable). Maybe I could gamble and get Arenas from Washington for .05 cents on the dollar. Since there's nothing in the back court, and the team has a real lack of creative offense, this move isn't THAT bad if there's a way to get Washington to take a monster size of his contract; which they're more than likely more than happy to do.



    ***



    Boston Celtics









    How are they this year?



    While their record is still very good, it's incredibly deceiving considering that they've been playing at or below .500 ball over the past several weeks. This team is an enigma, but it's not all that surprising, considering that the team isn't exactly young at key positions, they're too cocky (they act like they have a dynasty), and this team isn't as committed as it should be.



    The attitude on the team, seems to be 'Don't worry, we'll be ready come playoff time.' They could very well come together in the final weeks of the regular season, but that's the way to do it if you're really a truly great team. I can think back to the Bulls teams, and they NEVER took any time off during the season (mentally), because the process started in training camp, and progressed right up until the last game of the playoffs. Jordan would NEVER have it any other way. This Celtics team reminds me of SHAQ with the Lakers, out of shape, playing himself/themselves into shape when it matters, and bragging too much.



    Garnett shouldn't have been in this year's All Star game. He's not having a good season, he needed the rest, he should quit exhausting his boundless energy with all of his unnecessary cursing, taunting, and cheer-leading. Frankly, I think he should have done the Yao Ming thing by not playing this year. The Celtics window of opportunity is quickly closing, so I can understand the urgency for Garnett to want to get back, but he's been pretty terrible in the games that I've seen him play in.



    And hey, Garnett probably could be resting if Rasheed Wallace took it upon himself to get in shape this past summer, instead of being the useless player he decided to be this year. If Sheed were in shape, it could have allowed Garnett ample time to heal/rest, it would allow Glen Davis more time to develop (which would be VERY beneficial to the team now, come playoff time, and in the long-term), and it would make Sheldon Williams earn a paycheck. Kendrick Perkins is a nice player, especially if Garnett is Kevin Garnett, to which he isn't, there Perkins is good, but probably required to do more than he should be doing.




    Garnett, Pierce, Allen, Sheed 'n kid, Ainge...​





    I was thinking about this the other day, and even though Garnett at his peak was awesome, I actually believe that Rasheed Wallace is/was more talented. Wallace never put up numbers like Garnett, and despite his negative reputation, I've always felt that he blended in well with whatever team he played on, and did all of the little things needed to win. Basically, I never believed that Sheed cared about his stats, because if he did, and he felt that in order to get the recognition for being great by getting big numbers, he could have been a HOFer (easily). Duncan is great because he's a winner, Garnett is/was great because of his awesome physical talents, but Rasheed really had the whole package.



    Getting back to what I was talking about (ahem), Pierce continues to do his thing (although I think he's a tad overrated these days), and despite the critics complaints about Ray Allen, I think he's still pretty good, and could come up big in the playoffs. The best player on the team is Rajon Rondo. He's like a combination of Fat Lever/Jason Kidd/Darrell Armstrong, and I think he should get more freedom to take over the game; if his sometimes selfish teammates would be so kind as to allow him to be him.



    I like the Nate Robinson pick-up, because of his great energy off of the bench, he's a lights-out scorer, and he won't go astray because there are too many veterans on this team that he probably respects too much; something he didn't have in New York.



    Boston still has to considered dangerous come playoff time, because their bench is relatively deep, the players know what they need to do to win (it's a matter of execution at this point), they still play great defense, they move the ball well enough, and collectively, you'd think they'll come to the realization that this is probably there last real shot at a title. There's enough on this team to get by with Garnett on one leg, but if he were truly healthy and comfortable, they'd still be the best in the East.





    How did this team get this good?



    They became this good, basically, because Danny Ainge had the balls to deal away a lot of talent, for established players who were still bona-fide All Stars (Garnett/Allen).



    Although the Celtics were fortunate enough to draft Joe Johnson, Al Jefferson, and Jeff Green (who I think is pretty good), none of those players did much while playing with the Celtics; Green was traded away the day he was drafted. Jefferson was the key part in being able to get Garnett, while Green helped get Allen. Joe Johnson brought Rodney Rogers and Tony Delk, and I think that the Celtics would love to do that one over again (oy!).



    Pierce has been with the team for 12 years, and is generally still considered the franchise player (although I would think that Rondo is that guy now... even if no one will publicly state this as to not hurt Pierce's feelings).



    Prior to Ainge's being the G.M. (I think he came on in '04, but that could be wrong), the team drafted guys like Jerome Moiso, Joseph Forte, Kedrick Brown, Brandon Hunter, Troy Bell, although (again), they did get Joe Johnson (10th overall) in '01, Darius Songaila (has been okay for a role player), and Dahntay Jones finally made good by playing a key defensive role on a Nuggets team that surprised a lot of people last year.



    Grading the key players



    Paul Pierce - B+

    Ray Allen - B-

    Kevin Garnett - C+

    Rajon Rondo - A-

    Kendrick Perkins - B

    Rasheed Wallace - D

    Glen Davis - C+

    Marquis Daniels - C+



    This year - B+



    Why? There overall record is still really good, so they have to get a good grade, but they're not getting an A because they've not played great ball; even if they've won a lot of games. If they win a title this year - it's not out of the question although it certainly feels like a reach these days - they're correct by stating that the regular season isn't really all that important.



    Long-term - B



    Why? They did sign Rondo, very important, and they'll have a lot of money once Ray Allen comes off of the books (UFA this summer). Although I'm not a big believer in Glen Davis, he still has size, potential, and we'll only know how good he'll be once he gets more playing time. Perkins is a nice piece to have going forward. Pierce is also a UFA this summer, but he'll surely re-sign with the team; although I'd have to think that they'll overpay him to keep him which I'm not so sure is the best move going forward. Garnett's contract can hurt them, but it's not that long, so it's really not that bad.



    The biggest concern for the Celtics, is that they don't really have any assets to dangle as trade bait with other teams. They can't trade Rondo, because he's the new main cog in the line-up (and there likely not going to be able to get equal value for him... at least that's my feeling), the Big-3 are too old now, nevermind that 2 of them are UFA and the other guy's wheels are shot, so there's nothing in play there, and they'll be good enough for at least the next couple of years, so they won't be bad enough to get a quality draft pick. If they blew up the team this summer - which isn't really a bad thing long term - the fan base would be livid.



    Oops, wrong jerseys guys!​






    If I were the GM, what would I do?



    I wouldn't want to be their GM, but... I would try to do a sign-and-trade involving Paul Pierce. He has the most remaining value of the Big-3, he's also the youngest (born in '77), and I think he's still good enough on the surface to get a team that's loaded with talented young pieces that are in dire need of landing a veteran presence to their line-up (like a Golden State, maybe a Clippers, maybe a Memphis). That won't sit well with the locals, but tough luck, and they'll be happy, because the team would be able to land 2 very talented building blocks for the future.



    I'd try to convince someone off of the Suns training staff to come work for the Celtics (they work wonders... SHAQ, Hill, Amare, Nash), and focus on getting Garnett's legs back to 90% healthy; because they look like they're at about 60% as of today... not good. I'd try to pump-up Glen Davis's stats, by pounding the ball into him for several weeks, and when he's white hot, trade him because he was never that good anyway, and people tend to overpay for BIGS who are very young that show promise. I'd let Allen walk (though I've always been a fan of his), and hold onto my money for 2012, when there's a new collective bargaining agreement.



    Coming soon...



    Grading the Bulls, Bobcats, and the Cavaliers.






    Steed


    ***
     
    4 people like this.
  2. Feb 27, 2010
  3. NASHVEGAS

    NASHVEGAS Banned User - flamming, disrespecting admin,

    Occupation:
    LOL
    Location:
    MERS
    Amazing work Mr.Steed.............You are in a league of your own:thumbsup:

    Even got the memo on Big Baby, lol , impressive!
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Feb 27, 2010
  5. johnsteed

    johnsteed Ueber Meister

    Occupation:
    N/A
    Location:
    N/A
    ***



    Many thanks Nash! :thumbsup:



    Glen Davis was a nice draft choice by the Sonics (considering they selected him 35th overall in the 2nd round), and he was a bonus throw-in as part of the Ray Allen trade. The fact that he could learn from Garnett, while being slowly groomed to play the PF position must have looked great back in '07. Heck, it even looked good in last year's playoffs. But the team had put his name out there prior to the trading deadline, there was that whole crying thing that was caught on camera when Garnett was bitching at him (though Garnett seems to be doing that too much these days), and there's this feeling that he's nothing more than an Eddy Curry (although without the high expectations... at least at the start of his pro career).




    View attachment 21579
    Not the easiest guy (or baby) to cheer for...




    He's got soft hands for a big guy (like Curry), and he's got girth, so the feeling is that he should be a good rebounder, which he isn't and likely never will be (like Curry); though I could be wrong. He's a bit of a head case, he doesn't always seem motivated, he plays inadequate defense, he's not overly mobile, and he's a black hole like Elvin Hayes on offense (accept passes coming in/deny passes going out); yet he's nothing compared to Elvin Hayes offensively.



    People will think of that big shot in last year's playoffs against the Orlando Magic, and will think about that nice stroke that he has for (again) such a big guy. They'll think about his being a potential cheap-man's SHAQ, but he's not that either.



    I'd put Big Baby in that group of fat guys who tease at something greater, they have some redeeming qualities, and many teams pay-the-consequences of trying to think that they're the ones who'll convert him into something greater. I think that Ike Austin (way back when... Isaac Austin) was on the very chunky side at the beginning of his career, basically ate his way out of the league, hooked-up with Karl Malone (I still don't understand the connection there), and completely changed his body, won the 'NBA Most Improved Player Award' in 1997, and got himself a nice contract which basically paid him upwards of $20 million over 4 years. Although I don't think he made good on his contract, he did at least try to become a better player.



    The key here though, is that Ike was self-motivate enough to do that on his own (or I guess with the help of Karl Malone). No team did that for him, as he fought his way back in hopes of trying to get back into the NBA.



    Stanley Roberts, SHAQ's ole teammate at LSU, very talented, but just too big and too slow to be a major contributor over a full season. Oliver Miller, great passer (awesome actually), soft hands, reminds me of Big Baby w/o the crying, but made requests for a lot more second and third helpings with every meal. Both guys should have been out of the league, but there's always a team willing to gamble on size. And let's not forget about Sean May who was a lottery pick just a few seasons ago, and he's done nothing but eat since being drafted.



    Big Baby isn't that fat, but I have a hard time seeing him becoming thinner, better, whatever...



    While I don't necessarily hate having Big Baby, I have a very hard time seeing this team wanting to have this guy someday take over for Garnett as the anchor in the front court.



    He is a very hard guy to cheer for...



    Steed


    ***
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Feb 27, 2010
  7. NASHVEGAS

    NASHVEGAS Banned User - flamming, disrespecting admin,

    Occupation:
    LOL
    Location:
    MERS
    Nice read on Big Baby!

    I noticed in your grading of the Celtics that you did not refer to Glen Davis by his nickname. Thus, my reference to the "memo" aka the link below:D....I bet, oops ,Simmons never received this memo.;)

    Glen 'Big Baby' Davis wants to drop nickname--->You must register/login in order to see the link.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. Feb 27, 2010
  9. johnsteed

    johnsteed Ueber Meister

    Occupation:
    N/A
    Location:
    N/A
    ***


    That went completely over my head (when you wrote that), I was searching and reaching for something else, anything else, and now I get it. :oops:



    Yeah, I did read about that, and I quickly forgot about that (thanks for reminding me). He kind of looks like a deformed version of Antoine Walker; who looked kind of deformed in the first place (well... I'd say that Walker looked like a younger deformed version of George Foreman).



    I've been a huge fan of Simmons since about '02, but it was actually Eric Neel (another 'Page 2' columnist) that I had originally followed, or rather, liked first. I'm not sure what happened along the way, because I thought that Neel was the more interesting columnist who had been getting more of a push way back when, then suddenly I was confused with who was who, and Simmons basically took control within the confines of 'Page 2'. Now, he IS ESPN.com, even though a lot of the other people who work at ESPN quietly despise him (so I've read).



    Simmons really knows his basketball, and although guys like Charley Rosen, Mark Stein, Ryen Russillo, and I suppose Ric Bucher (but he's come around), don't take him very seriously, they really should. I've listened to enough Podcasts with Ryen Russillo (who's good too) to know that he doesn't know anything more than Simmons does; and he's just a basketball guy. I might give an edge to Charley Rosen (FoxSports), because he can break down everything, all of the X's and O's that columnists aren't really very good at understanding, and I generally love his tough love way of writing about the players, their coaches, and the league. He may be old, and he may be too stubborn (and he never lets up on his disliking of guys like Webber or Ewing), but he's always a great read (and he's too biased as well).



    If Bill James (baseball) wrote about basketball, he'd be the best, but he doesn't, so I'll go with Simmons. I must say, when I first started reading about sports online, I used to go to CNNSI.com. They eventually became very lame, so I moved to ESPN (with FoxSports soon after) because it was so much better. These days, with having to pay for all of these memberships to read guys like John Hollinger, David Thorpe, and such, I'm starting to like SI again. They're really hungry and determined to get more readers in, and even when the articles aren't very good, there's always the SI Vault (always and forever good).



    Back to Simmons, I prefer his basketball articles, or baseball, and most other things, although I'm not up to par with football; and a lot of his stuff in the fall/early winter is focused on football. I'll read it, but I'm just not as excited to read it. I actually don't care for his Podcasts with his friends like Jacko!, although 'House' seems okay. I do like it when he gets Stein on there with Bucher, those are easily the best ones. I also like it when he talks as host or as a guest with people that don't really like him (Rick Reilly, Ryen Russillo, Colin Cowherd, etc.). Essentially, he has my dream job (and probably everybody else's).




    Steed


    ***
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. Feb 27, 2010
  11. whitespade

    whitespade Banned User - flaming - dissing moderators - being

    Occupation:
    Sales
    Location:
    4:21
    Awesome work johnsteed!:thumbsup:

    Can't wait to see your posts about my Chicago Bulls and the mighty Cavs.
     
    1 person likes this.
  12. Feb 28, 2010
  13. johnsteed

    johnsteed Ueber Meister

    Occupation:
    N/A
    Location:
    N/A
    ***



    As promised (yesterday), I'll now take a look the Bulls, Bobcats, and save the Cavaliers for the next time.





    CHICAGO BULLS​










    How are they this year?



    They're in the race, but they're not in the upper-tier in the East. For as great as they played in the playoffs against the Celtics last year (a fantastic series), they've been a disappointment this season. One of the bright spots is that the team is 7-3 over it's last ten games, they started off the season playing some God-awful ball, but since their horrible start, they've solidified their rotation, and have played much better. Another reason for their terrible start, was that Derrick Rose wasn't 100% (hand injury I seem to recall), and since December, he's been averaging over 20 PPG and just a hair under 6 APG during that stretch.



    Joakim Noah has probably been their most reliable player all year, which is surprising considering that his first two seasons were basically wasted and he didn't project into a player that he would eventually become this year. Sure, he was lottery pick, but he seemed to be a bit of a bust after he was selected. He's probably the heart of the team, with only 10.7 PPG, but with 11.4 RPG to go with 1.6 BPG. I've always liked Tyrus Thomas, but people in Chicago didn't, and he never really solidified a position in the team's rotation. I don't hear much about Taj Gibson, but he's getting more minutes as year goes on, and he's a decent rebounder at 6.9 per game and shot-blocker (1.19) per 25.1 MPG, which is actually quite good.




    View attachment 21597
    One of the main cogs on this team, now and tomorrow...




    Luol Deng is the secondary scorer on this team, which is good, because he's not a true go-to-guy game-in/game-out. He's more along the lines of a Caron Butler or a Josh Howard; although he's taller and roughly 5 years younger than them. I don't know what's happened to Kirk Hinrich's shooting. I've always liked his sticky-defense, and his long range shooting, but his confidence isn't where it used to be. Brad Miller is okay in stretches, but he looks like he's about done. Hakim Warrick has talent, but he's been around now, and he looks like a guy who'll always be coming off the bench. Ronald Murray is a nice scorer off of the bench. Both guys are decent pick-ups, but the Bulls main problem is that they don't have a scorer in the post/down low. If Rose, Hinrich, Deng and Murray aren't hitting their long bombs, then it's not looking good for this team come playoff time. Those guys are incredibly streaky, too.



    How did this team get this good?



    They're not really that good, so I'll get that out of the way. But, there's potential to be great that's there, provided that they can land one of the major free agents this summer. They probably have the most attractive team to go to as well, with basically Rose as the starting PG, and Noah to do the dirty work. James, Bosh, Wade, maybe a Joe Johnson, about any of the major players could fit in and turn this team into a 50-60 game winner.



    Since the Bulls dynasty ended, the Bulls have had tons of lottery picks. Their best draft was back in '99, when they selected Elton Brand (1st), Ron Artest (16th), and even Michael Ruffin (32nd) who has been fairly productive role-player on the defensive end (and a Charley Rosen favorite because he interviewed him).



    But, I'm only counting this past decade (from '00 up until now), and I think it's safe to say that the Bulls have drafted some dogs since that time. Marcus Fizer could have been good, but he wasn't, and I think that had to do with Charles Oakley getting on him all of the time, including the fact that Chandler and Curry were more sought after and drafted (Chandler was traded from the Clippers for Elton Brand) the very next year. Fizer never really got going... Khalid El-Amin (so I thought) was a steal selected at 34, but he was kind of fat, or he looked fat, he wasn't very quick, and I'm unsure why I'm even mentioning him in the first place... :rolleyes:



    Eddy Curry has tons of talent, but sucks on the defensive end (and can't rebound worth shite). Jay Williams (2nd overall in '02) was supposed to be a core guy, probably what Derrick Rose is today, but more of a passer and less of a scorer. Unfortunately for him, he got into a motorcycle accident so it was over before it even really got started.



    Kirk Hinrich was a fine pick, and I still believe he could be a good enough player in the right situation. Ben Gordon was good, but he's no longer with the team; and he has a VERY bloated contract for being a 6th man who only scores. The Bulls picked LaMarcus Aldridge, but he was traded away very quickly, and that brought them Tyrus Thomas who is very talented, but was traded away for decent spare parts; which isn't very good in the end.



    For years, it seemed as though the Bulls were always going to land either Tracy McGrady, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, or Pao Gasol. They were never willing to trade enough pieces to get it done, which is too bad, because over the past few years, maybe they were pretty close to having a great team with a primary weapon. Garnett or Gasol would have been ideal for this team, considering that they've been too much of a guard/small forward type of a team for some time now.



    A great player to build around, cog #1 (Noah #2)...​




    The Bulls really only made one big free agent move over the past decade, which was the Ben Wallace debacle (I suppose Ron Mercer could be considered as well). There biggest trade is generally remembered as Brand for Chandler, but I thought that the Artest, Brad Miller and Kevin Ollie for Travis Best, Jalen Rose, Norm Richardson, and a 2002 2nd round pick really hurt the team going forward. Sure, Miller and Artest blossomed once they left Chicago, but it's not as though they weren't playing well enough with the Bulls, and as much as I liked Jalen Rose at the time, he had a VERY fat and basically untradeable contract.



    I'm not really a Vinny Del Negro fan (head coach), but he's doing an okay job; he more than likely won't be back next year.



    Grading the key players



    Derrick Rose - B+

    Luol Deng - B

    Kirk Hinrich - C-

    Taj Gibson - B

    Joakim Noah - A

    Brad Miller - C

    Hakim Warrick - undetermined

    Ronald Murray - undetermined



    This year - B-



    Why? They've not lived up to what people were predicting of them in the off season. They were probably thought of being the team on the verge of something bigger, probably where Atlanta is right now. They can still steal a 1st round series, but just based on the season thus far, they've been okay, but a disappointment.



    Long-term - A+




    Why? Brad Miller will be off the books (UFA), and that's about $12,000,000 right there! Rose and Noah are great building blocks, the kind of guys that play defense, the kind of guys that free agents would like to play with. Chicago is a great city, rich history, big market, etc. The Bulls will have so much salary cap space to go out and be a major player. Even if they don't get an 'A' star, even the 2nd tier star (at a good price) could make this team very good. Only time will tell if they'll become an elite team, but the pieces and structure is there for them to at least make a go of it.



    If I were the GM, what would I do?



    I'd try to get Bosh, and if possible, I'd love to get him in a sign-and-trade with Toronto for Luol Deng. Bosh can play with Noah, doing all of the scoring, while Noah does all of the dirty work (and passing which he's very good at). If LeBron is willing to come here (he just might but I'm guessing no), I'd try to do a sign-and-trade with the Cavs (giving them Deng and assortment of other goodies). I wouldn't even think twice about giving away Rose for LeBron (in a sign-and-trade), if I knew that I could part with Deng for Bosh. No one would in Chicago would have a problem with that, besides, LeBron doesn't really need a PG like Rose; it's more of a luxury and it would hurt Rose's career by not getting the ball as much as he should. There really is no other back-to-the-basket player out there on the market, so I suppose Bosh is the ideal choice here.



    Side Note: I thought that Noah was an immature punk, until I was happy to see him (anyone) stick it to LeBron.



    You must register/login in order to see the link.



    ***



    CHARLOTTE BOBCATS










    How are they this year?



    They're playing great D, and they've got the right pieces to be dangerous in the playoffs. They're probably a bit better than their record would suggest. I've never been a fan of 'Captain Jack', but he has been awesome with them. Yes, awesome! His shooting %'s have generally sucked, especially with the Warriors, but he's been shooting the ball well this year. If you look at his splits, you'll see that his numbers have gradually improved each month. I thought that the Bobcats were desperate trading for this guy, but I was so wrong. He's the perfect guy for this team, and he's fearless (if not insane).



    I think that they made a mistake by trading away Emeka Okafor this past off season, because Chandler has been useless. Somehow, all of that surprisingly hasn't hurt them much. Raymond Felton finally gets recognition for being the team's primary PG, but was Larry Brown (part of the fraternity of UNC boys) really not going to let him keep the job? Felton isn't as good as Paul or Williams (same Draft), but he's still a quality PG who plays good D while making a respectable number of shots at a respectable clip.



    Diaw is what he is, but with Tyrus Thomas being there now, it could help him (and I think it will). Shockingly, Nazr Mohammed has shown some life, and has had some monster games over the past several weeks. D.J. Augustin is in the same house that Chandler's in, which is the wrong one.



    Gerald Wallace has been everything for this team. He's literally done it all. I remember reading (almost 10 years ago), that some scouts had thought of Wallace as being a Pippen-like player, and I always felt that they were way off on that one, but this year - his 9th in the league - I can see what they were once predicting. It's rare that those type of predictions come true, but this is one of those rare times, and it's not much of a stretch (though he's not as good of a passer as Pippen was).



    How did this team get this good?



    I guess that for all of the slack Jordan takes (soon to be the new owner by the way) for his lack of GM skills, he and his team took Wallace in the NBA expansion draft back in '04 (great move). They've yet to draft a truly great player, which has hurt them obviously, and they've really only picked 2 quality players in Okafor and Felton (who's just starting to come into his own).



    The jury is still out on D.J. Augustin, although I happen to think he could be very good in the right situation. Sean May has been a complete bust, and a PR disaster for the team, and Adam Morrison was even worse than that based on what was supposed to be a very promising career). Jared Dudley is a quality bench player, but he was traded as part of a large deal with the Suns. Last year's pick Gerald Henderson (as well as Derrick Brown) have only played in spots, which shouldn't come as a surprise with a coach like Larry Brown. The deal with Phoenix that brought over Raja Bell and Diaw, has basically evolved to Diaw and Stephen Jackson for Jason Richardson (and Vladimir Radmanovic who was originally Adam Morrison).




    Grading the key players



    Gerald Wallace - A+

    Stephen Jackson - A

    Raymond Felton - B

    Boris Diaw - C+

    Tyson Chandler - D

    D.J. Augustin - D+

    Nazr Mohammed - B-

    Tyrus Thomas - Undetermined




    This year - A



    Why? They've exceeded the pundits expectations, and they have a unit that's built on defense first; which should help them in the playoffs. They've managed to improve, to the point where they can beat any team on any given night. Larry Brown has got the city excited about NBA basketball, which probably hasn't happened since the days of Baron Davis (or maybe even back to the days of Glen Rice).




    Great coach, with the greatest player ever! ​




    Long-term - B-



    Why? Wallace is pretty injury prone, and he's been playing above-his-head (although I hope I'm wrong), so everything is good this year, but what about next year? Jackson is happy to be away from all of the negativity surrounding the Warriors, but when will the honeymoon end with the Bobcats? He's great now, but will that fire be there next year, and he's almost 32 years old, and with his track record, he's not exactly movable/tradeable.



    Felton is a nice piece, but he's not the type of guy you build your team around. Boris Diaw is what he is, which is that he does a lot of little things well, but nothing really great. If Tyrus Thomas can get his act together - and he just might - then the Bobcats have that one great asset. While this team isn't exactly old, their window to do well is basically now.



    Jordan is just about to buy the team (good news), so I suppose that it's great because Larry Brown should be staying on for a while longer. Brown tends to leave teams -that he coaches - too soon, but in this case, I think he really loves working for/with Jordan, and being in Charlotte. I think that he probably makes a lot of the front office decisions; although that's just speculation on my part.




    If I were the GM, what would I do?



    Get something for Tyson Chandler; mission impossible. He's still only 27 years old, there will always be someone out there willing to take a chance and give him a shot (he is 7 foot 1 after all), and if you can't trade him, I do believe his contract is up this year or the next one. Ideally, I'd like to get him off the books, but this is the Bobcats, and a lot of players might not want to play in Charlotte under Larry Brown, so free agents probably won't sign here.



    A trade scenario could be better, by maybe trading for a younger big, someone like an Anthony Randolf (20 years old), who has tons of upside (and currently he is in Nellie's doghouse), and maybe get an Andris Biedrins (23 years old) thrown into the mix to make the numbers work. He's a great rebounder, great blocker, but he needs a team that can appreciate his skills.





    Steed


    ***​
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 12, 2017
    1 person likes this.
  14. Feb 28, 2010
  15. coloradobuff

    coloradobuff Experienced Member

    Occupation:
    Sports Writer
    Location:
    Denver, Colorado
    good read..looking fwd to what you will say about my team the denver nuggets
     
    1 person likes this.
  16. Feb 28, 2010
  17. whitespade

    whitespade Banned User - flaming - dissing moderators - being

    Occupation:
    Sales
    Location:
    4:21
    Another excellent read johnsteed.

    I think you are pretty much dead-on in everything that you said about the Bulls- especially the A+ for the future. Personally, I hope that they get D-Wade this summer. But I would also be happy if they got Bosh.

    The only thing that I disagree with you about is only giving Derrick Rose a B+.
    I would give him an A or A- (but I have been a fan of his since he was playing in highschool here in Chicago).

    For such a young kid he is so mature/unselfish/focused. Unlike the guy the Bulls just traded, Tyrus Thomas, who turned out to be the immature punk that you (and I) thought Noah was.

    Oh well. Maybe Jordan can straighten out Thomas in Charlotte. He has the potential to be an awesome player.
     
    1 person likes this.
  18. Mar 1, 2010
  19. johnsteed

    johnsteed Ueber Meister

    Occupation:
    N/A
    Location:
    N/A
    ***



    The only reason I didn't give him an 'A' is because of the hand injury, and his numbers weren't very good until the past couple of months. If he continues playing like he is now though, I'm sure that the grade would have to go up. He's without question their best player, but I think up until the past couple of weeks, Noah had been bigger; based on pre-season expectations going in. With that, the team's record coming out of the gate, and I think most observers would agree that this is HIS (Rose) team. I gave an 'A' to Noah because of his consistency, his improvement was unexpected, he was building a strong case that he should have been in the All-Star game, and he was the only piece on the team (earlier on anyway), who played with fire and urgency (in games that I had watched).



    I had higher expectations for Rose going into the season, thus I couldn't give him an 'A'. Over the past couple of months, he's been an 'A' player mind you, and for his career he'll be an 'A' caliber player, but I'm basing it solely on this year and he wasn't playing like that at the beginning of the year.



    Thank you for your feedback 'whitespade'.





    Steed


    ***
     
  20. Mar 1, 2010
  21. jod5413

    jod5413 Is That Better?

    Occupation:
    having a good time doing anything
    Location:
    somewhere on the planet
    You are remarkable, Mr. Steed!

    It is a shame you aren't as fond of football. There are a lot of football fans and fantasy football fans that would be thrilled with posts so succinctly written.

    I will try nagging you later in the year to see if you might have had an epiphany or two that you would like to share with us football nuts! I could use all the help I can get with the game and players.

    :thumbsup:
     
    1 person likes this.
  22. Mar 1, 2010
  23. same_old

    same_old Dormant account PABaccred webmeister

    Occupation:
    12th man
    Location:
    Australia
    Oh my god Steed, this is VERY impressive- i might place a bet based on those stats lol.

    you know all of this you cant take to a betting agency and they will buy stats from you.

    My mate does that exact thing, he does stats from the last few years up until now and put it all in a excel spreadsheet with graphs and everything.

    I should put you in touch with him.

    I have to ask you, are you placing bets on the game after doing your stats etc?

    Bloody impressive I really have to say.

    regards,

    Same_old
     
    1 person likes this.
  24. Mar 1, 2010
  25. johnsteed

    johnsteed Ueber Meister

    Occupation:
    N/A
    Location:
    N/A
    ***


    My interest in the NFL has been gradually increasing over the past couple of years, and I do look at the numbers and rankings on a weekly basis, but there's something drastically different which separates the NFL from the NBA, MLB, and the NHL. That would be the length of a player's career.



    A guy who's in the ProBowl one year, can get cut from his team in spring-training the next year, which is unheard of in any other major sport (team based sports). I find it to be a very cruel sport, because teams are always looking to upgrade, with very little loyalty. For the most part (and this is important), I'm not crazy about the average football fan either. True fans of the game, I appreciate, but the average fan, not really...



    Why is that? They tend to throw these parties, with everyone at the party claiming to be huge football fanatics, yet everyone is drinking, having a great time, and no one is paying attention to the actual game. Football is an event, and too much of it is diluted by the SuperBowl half-time show (which is absolutely useless). The year gradually builds-up to a half-time show, and huge advertisement spots. We get to see Janet Jackson's tit hanging-out, yet no one remembers who won the game, because the show basically ended once the half-time show ended. There's too much face-paint, pom-poms, hollering, showing off cardboard signs like it's the WWE, and not enough people just watching the game and admiring it's beauty (brutal beauty).



    Of course, there are fans who actually pay attention to the game, but too many of them are just riding the train if the team is good. I'm from Winnipeg, and this past year, literally everyone I went to high school with attended a Vikings Game, and they posted their photos on Facebook of them posing with the cheerleaders (even the girls posed with the cheerleaders which is kinda' weird), they show on average 5-10 photos of the tailgate party, yet there are no photos of the actual game. Huh? If I had asked them to name more than 2 players on the team, I'm not even sure that could have named anyone but Favre. If you asked about the actual game, they'd have just said it was 'fun', a 'blast' or my all-time favorite 'I really liked it'; not exactly adjectives/expressions that would detail the events of a game.



    MLB fans are bitter fans, who constantly question the integrity of the game, so they're somewhat annoying as well (so pessimistic), but they are generally fans of the game, and care about the outcome of the game. There's too much Yankees vs. Red Sox talk as well, which is annoying, because they're both corporate monsters who overspend on players, and are basically ruining the balance of the game (which isn't news and is not new information).



    NBA fans focus too much on the highlights, and overrate mid-season match-ups. The All Star game is generally a joke, although this year's game wasn't about alley-oops, and sloppy passing, it was an actual game (not as good as the '87 All Star game in Seattle which was a GREAT GREAT GREAT game if you have the time to watch that on YouTube I highly recommend it).



    The NHL was awesome up until the mid-90s, when there was all of this trapping, hooking and grabbing, and the league's scoring leader might have about 100 points at the end of the year, but Gretzky was putting up 200 points a year in the early 80s (!). It's exciting again, but I still think the scoring is down, which is boring when looking at the stats. I'm Canadian, but I don't like the mindset of the average Canadian thinking that hockey should be about the grinders, scrappiness, and Molson Beer. I like Don Cherry, but he plays up to that crowd, and generally puts down the more graceful players; who are the most skilled players in the league. He's never truly embraced the likes of Gretzky, Lemieux, Jagr, Federov, Forsberg, Selanne (who he hates for some reason yet he's easily the most likable guy in hockey), etc.



    I'm getting off track here, but I'd say that football is the ultimate team game. It's more of a war than a game actually. It's very controlled, and micro-managed, which is good and bad. The part about the game that I don't care for, is the way teams run out the clock in the 4th quarter. There's not really much freedom for the players to do their thing, but then again, it's not the NBA.



    I don't care for college football, because I don't go to an American college, and there's no vested interest in it for me because I don't know the players. College hoops is a bit better, although I think the U.S. cares more about college football (at least I think they do). Even though I'm from Winnipeg, I could never understand people's interest in the CFL. It's for guys who can't make it in the NFL, so why would I really want to watch a minor league game? I suppose that the CFL was better than it is now, but we're talking about decades ago, nothing much over the past 20 years (although I did like the fact that Flutie and Warren Moon polished their games up North).



    Last thing about the NFL that I touched on earlier, is that the length of a player's career is generally very short. Sure, guys like T.O., Rice, Favre have had long careers, but the average player is out of the league before he even gets to 30, and they don't start until they're 22-23 years old. LaDainian Tomlinson's career is pretty much on the skids, and he's only 30 years old, and he was the best player in all of football just a few seasons ago. He'll get picked-up, but he'll be lucky if he can be a starter again, nevermind returning to glory. Sterling Sharpe was done when he was just 29 years old, Terrell Owens was done when he had basically just turned 26 years old, and the list goes on and on and on.



    I've always liked the BILLS and the NINERS, which was good up until about 15 years ago (lol). Although the NFL has tons of stats, the careers of players generally doesn't have much by way of longevity, and I'm a stats guy, so it's not as fun to look at the box score come Monday morning. I still look, I'm liking the game more than before, so maybe you're right Jod, by next year maybe I'll have adopted the NFL as the next sport I dive into.



    Steed


    ***
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2010
  26. Mar 1, 2010
  27. same_old

    same_old Dormant account PABaccred webmeister

    Occupation:
    12th man
    Location:
    Australia
    double post-pls disregard
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2010
  28. Mar 1, 2010
  29. jod5413

    jod5413 Is That Better?

    Occupation:
    having a good time doing anything
    Location:
    somewhere on the planet
    I hear you about the length of a player's career. You can almost get sick watching a player drift from team to team, for lesser and lesser salaries, because they cannot perform as they did in years past.

    But, you have to admit, it is pretty exciting when you see a team led by an "oldtimer" kick the crap out of a team with a young quarterback and less seasoned running backs or wide receivers.

    I don't claim to be an expert, but I love watching the teams "gel" at the beginning of the season, and then watch to see who is tough enough to play in spite of injuries, and really give all.

    I was into it a lot more years ago, but I have found myself migrating back, and actually get giddy at the thought of the season starting.

    The only problem I have is with fantasy football. You can not focus on specific teams, just specific players. Sometimes I don't know who I am rooting for!! By the end of the season, I say the Hell with it and just enjoy the superbowl, the Hell with the fantasy players!
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2010
    1 person likes this.
  30. Mar 1, 2010
  31. johnsteed

    johnsteed Ueber Meister

    Occupation:
    N/A
    Location:
    N/A
    ***



    I completely understand your point here.



    I suppose that these days, I'm not necessarily a fan of any team, rather which players are in their line-up, or which major star is there. If I'm a Favre fan - and I suppose that I am in some ways - I don't really care if he's with the Packers, the Jets, or the Vikings. I'm rooting for whatever team he's playing for, the team really is secondary. Same with Joe Montana, I rooted for him even when he was with K.C. (and I'll still never forget that awesome Monday Night win over the Broncos back in '94). Doug Flutie, same. Jim McMahon, again, same (although I'm unsure why I was such a big fan of his).



    If I grew up in Seattle, then unquestionably, I'm a Seahawks fan (and unfortunately it's the Seahawks of all teams), and the players are probably secondary. Although with hockey, when I was growing up we had the Winnipeg Jets, I always talked myself into liking 90% of the line-up each and every season, good team or not. I would listen to them on the radio, even if it's a Monday night game in Hartford, and I would completely focus on them for the next 3-4 hours (nothing else mattered that day).



    About being committed to Fantasy Sports (players), it does take the focus away from the team, so I had mixed feelings on specific games, to the point where I'm trying to win my in my league, and I put my favorite teams on the back-burner if it interfered with my wanting a player on the opposite team to do well.



    Really though, aside from a handful of pro-teams, and specifically with the Winnipeg Jets, I've generally cheered for the player with the team being secondary.





    I'm not one who easily roots for the young, up and coming star. I've made it a habit to cheer for the 'old' guy, because the media wants to push him out of the spotlight, and force us to focus on youth and potential. Hogwash. Although I'm coming around on someone like LeBron James, I didn't cheer for him his first few years in the league, because he was already anointed King James before ever really accomplishing anything noteworthy. I've never liked any sports journalist/campaign telling me who I should like the most, so it's always been hard to digest stars like Kobe, LeBron, Crosby, or Reggie Bush, because they were huge before they ever played a game, and were over-hyped in the process. I need at least several years to gain perspective on a player's accomplishments and career impact.



    I know Barry Bonds gets a ton of negative press, and a lot of people hate him without knowing anything about him really, but I've always pulled someone like him, because he was doing incredible things at an advanced age. His numbers had always gradually improved, up until they ultimately peaked when he was 40 ('04). Steroids come into play, sure, but I still think that he became more disciplined as he got older, trained better, rested at the right times of the day, and above anything else, say what you will about him, he was always looking to improve; which is what made him great with all of that natural talent and great baseball IQ that he possessed.



    Same with Jordan, I only really admired him once he retired, and came back after the age of 30. I remember when a lot of scribes foolishly said that Jordan and the Bulls weren't the favorites going into the '95-96 season, and even then, I thought they were stupid for saying that. He was 32 by that time, and he quickly fought his way back to the top of the league, and really should have been the MVP in those 3 final seasons with the BULLS. Frankly, I hated the guy because he was too good prior to his first retirement. I only appreciated him once he took time off away from the game, and it amazed me that people doubted that he could come back to the same level that had grown accustomed to. I may have been 2-5% less athletic, but he was probably 15-20% smarter. He figured out how to dominate games, without having to just get by on athleticism, yet he was still probably the most athletic player in the game when he was 35 (!).



    I still remember talking to a friend during the '98 NBA lockout, where my friend said that he didn't want Jordan to come back, because it's boring, and he wanted one of the younger player to have a chance to win a ring. I didn't say anything to my friend, but I though that his statement bordered on ridiculous. Shouldn't a young player earn his stripes by having to go through the best? Wouldn't it be best to see Jordan defend his legacy? When has Jordan ever been boring? Again, people love to look for youth as the future, and oddly, in some ways, as guidance (I'll never understand or accept that).



    It's hard for me to embrace a young star, because he hasn't accomplished much, and I can't really know how good he'll ultimately become. You can't have a legacy until you've gone to war enough times, and have the battle scars to prove it. I'll always embrace the athlete who looks at age as a challenge, and tries to defy it by looking for other ways to improve, and not let age defeat them and their goals.



    Finally, something I forgot to address in my previous post, but it's the whole Favre-watch that takes place every off season. Literally, every sports page, every sport website, every sports show, focuses on whether or not Favre will retire, come out of retirement, what team he'll sign with, etc. Okay, he's an interesting story, because they wouldn't keep covering it if it was irrelevant. I think it's a tad much, but I'll still be curious to see whatever his next move will be.



    But, for the life of me, they'll all chime-in (scribes, sports anchors, columnists, etc.) about how all of this is so stupid. They'll all say how they're sick of Brett Favre. They'll say that he should make a quick decision, or just retire already. They've been doing this same dance over the past few years. It's old hat. Radio show hosts will say how they're sick and tired of these games that Favre plays with the media, yet, they'll talk about Favre endlessly for 3-4 hours, taking calls from the listeners who want to talk about Favre, and do this every day of the week. They say that they're sick of Favre, but they ALWAYS talk about Favre, so they can't really be sick about it. Are sports radio shows relevant anyway? They never talk about anything important, other than some sports-related scandal and such that's been overplayed to death; think A-Rod, Favre, Kobe, LeBron, Bonds, Clemens, etc.



    Jod, what is/are your favorite football team/teams? Who are your favorite players? I appreciate the feedback! :)




    Steed


    ***
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2010
  32. Mar 1, 2010
  33. johnsteed

    johnsteed Ueber Meister

    Occupation:
    N/A
    Location:
    N/A
    ***



    CLEVELAND CAVALIERS





    View attachment 21613




    How are they this year?



    As of today, they have the best record in the entire league, 46 wins against 14 losses (.767 winning %). The Lakers have the next best record, just behind them in the overall standings. LeBron is having his best season - statistically speaking - with 30.0 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 8.5 APG, 1 BPG, and his FG% at .503 is a career best. His defense, albeit overrated, seems to have improved. The Cavs will go as far as LeBron will take them.



    Mo Williams has drained .432% of his 3pt attempts, while chipping in with 16.2 PPG and 4.9 APG. With all of the focus going to LeBron, and at times SHAQ in the middle, Williams has been able to take more quality shots from far. He would certainly have to be one of the more underappreciated players in the league, and I think that has something to do with the notion that he's not good enough to be a #2 scoring option, and that he hasn't always delivered in big games. Both points are valid, but I happen to think he's pretty good.



    SHAQ is what he is, a giant and talented space-eater who's still capable of having dominant nights; at least in spurts. His FG% is still great, while his FT% is and always will be terrible. He seems to be doing okay as of late, becoming more and more of a fixture, or at least more and more comfortable fitting in with this line-up. He's really just there for the playoffs, and he'll be a match-up nightmare (with back-up Ilgauskas more than likely rejoining the team). The biggest bonus - thus far - is that SHAQ has tried to fit in rather than making his usual stupid demands. Knock-on-wood...



    With LeBron potentially leaving, he can be your main guy (edit out pages of laughter)!​




    Anderson Varejao plays selfless defense, and is the right type of guy for this team. He doesn't need the ball (more points for LeBron), and really, he's there doing a little bit of everything, keeping everyone happy. If LeBron bolts though, Varejao won't look so good with his $6,363,636 price tag on a team full of role-players without a franchise superstar. J.J. Hickson is a nice piece in this line-up, but please, he's not the future of anything. He's another Varejao, with slightly different tangibles, at a much better price.



    Delonte West isn't what he should be, and he never will be what he was supposed to be either. I thought that he could be the answer at PG, and I don't think that anymore. He's a pretty good streak-shooter, he can play tough at times, but he's an after-thought these days (only 24.1 MPG).



    Antawn Jamison is a nice pick-up for this season, but long term, I think it's a mistake. Jamison has been a very productive scorer/rebounder over the past dozen years, and nobody noticed. He'll likely surpass 20,000 career points before his career is through. As he proved with Dallas, he could play the role of the 6th man effectively and without complaints about a lack of touches. Also, he was still able to get 20 PPG/10 RPG in Washington, playing with another 20 PPG guy in Butler (and Larry Hughes before that), and Arenas who could score 28 PPG; similar to LeBron. He'll also stretch out the defense with being able to hit 18-footers as ease, while not clogging the middle while SHAQ is doing his work. He's also a fairly competent 3pt shooter, and can get wide-open looks (similar to Mo Williams) while defense collapse on LeBron, and to a lesser degree, SHAQ.



    Aside from the main parts, Anthony Parker is a great defender w/long range capabilities, and Jamario Moon can do a lot of garbage stuff with incredible athleticism (although he's been a bit of a disappointment). In Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who should be coming back in the next couple of weeks (although it's not 100% certain), he's an ideal back-up with his size and ability to shoot far to stretch the defense. Between he and SHAQ, they basically have the 2 biggest BIGS in the game, which can really help them come playoff time.



    I'm not a big fan of Mike Brown, but if the players like having him there (he's an Ohio native), so be it. A lot of teams could do worse. The biggest knocks on him are that he's there, but LeBron does what he does and the coach simply goes along with whatever is working. Brown doesn't demand more complex sets within the offense, again, everything generally goes through LeBron. If there's an element of his coaching style that deserves some praise though, it would have to be his commitment to defense. He must be doing enough right to still be there.




    View attachment 21615
    'Listen to me, give it to LeBron... don't look at me... LeBron makes the decisions!'



    I don't think any team from the East will win it all this year, but I have a very hard time not seeing Cleveland being in the Finals against the Lakers again, and probably losing again.



    It's my turn boys... NIKE says so!​





    How did this team get this good?



    They can thank their lucky stars that they were able to land the #1 pick in the '03 Draft, and get local (Ohio) high school sensation LeBron James. Most of the players that they had drafted, who turned out to be good/serviceable, have pretty much done so with other teams. Guys like Shannon Brown (Lakers), Jason Kapono (Sixers), Carlos Boozer (Jazz), Jamal Crawford (Hawks), Brendan Haywood (Dallas), and DeSagana Diop (Bobcats), were traded away too soon, or never caught on with the team. In case of Boozer, he snaked his way out of a contract and reneged on good faith, in order to get more money with the Jazz. He turned into an All Star with the Jazz, but it's not hard to imagine him dominating with LeBron either (which he was starting to do prior to bolting).



    Hickson (25th overall) and Daniel Gibson (42nd overall) are obviously still both with the team, and they're both nice additions considering where they were selected, but not impact players. I suppose that the biggest duds who were drafted were Diop (although he found his niche in time), and Dajuan Wagner; but that has to do with an injury that basically forced him out of the game, and he could never really find his way back into the NBA.



    The Cavs traded for Williams, by basically giving up Damon Jones who was a not-so-good free agent they had signed after he hit some big shots with HEAT. They got SHAQ for Sasha Pavlovic and Ben Wallace, who were both bought-out by the Suns. Zydrunas Ilgauskas was drafted almost 15 years ago.




    Grading the key players



    LeBron James - A+

    Mo Williams - B+

    Antawn Jamison - undetermined

    Shaquille O'Neal - B-

    Anderson Varejao - B

    Delonte West - D

    Zydrunas Ilgauskas - C+

    J.J. Hickson - B

    Anthony Parker - B-

    Daniel Gibson - B-



    This year - A+


    Why? They've got the right part built around LeBron. He can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, and they'll do whatever needs to done; basically the dirty work. This may be LeBron's last year in Cleveland, but this team could win it all, provided they make their shots at the most urgent times. They're playing as well as any well-oiled team can play. I don't think this is one of the all-time great teams, far from it actually, but what they're doing this year is nothing short of remarkable.


    Long-term - D



    Why? The looming question is if whether or not the Cavs can be enough to get LeBron to re-sign with them. I could easily give this team an 'A', and if he stays, then my long-term projection is so far off it's not even funny.



    But, let's say he doesn't sign with the Cavs - because there's a great chance he doesn't - then this team is completely screwed. This line-up is built around LeBron, but without him, it's like taking away Jordan, Pippen, and Phil Jackson from the '99 version of the BULLS. It was a major problem for them for the better part of this past decade. They'll still have Williams and Antawn Jamison, but that's not a good thing. Williams contract isn't that bad, and he's still only about 27 years old, but Jamison is soon to be 34, and still has a ton of cash owed to him. He's still a good player, but not as the main guy, and he's not a building block, especially given his age. This team is built like a house of cards, and you remove that one card (LeBron), there's nothing supporting this team.



    If he's gone, one would have to think that this team will be awful for at least a few years (probably several). Free agents only go to places like Cleveland, because nobody else wants them, and teams like Cleveland have to overpay them to get them to consider coming to a place like Ohio (although I happen to like Cleveland). If he's gone, there will likely be no one really great player coming out of college in '11 (that's the word) because of the potential strike that should be happening some time next year (NBA collective bargaining agreement). So pencil in '12 for that next big star, provided that the Cavs win the lottery; instead of signing mediocre borderline star players who keep the team around at around .500, which is good enough to get into the playoffs, to lose in the 1st round.



    Again, LeBron stays in Cleveland, the future is very bright, but he goes, get out of Cleveland while you still can. Maybe Michael Moore can do a documentary called 'LeBron & Me', about the sudden collapse of the city of Cleveland after their most cherished prize left them high and dry. I just hope they aren't skinning rabbits with no warning in that documentary. :cool:



    If I were the GM, what would I do?



    There's only 1 thing to do, get LeBron to sign on the line which is dotted. 'ABC, A Always... B Be... C Closing... Always Be Closing... ALWAYS BE CLOSING! ' If not, I'm out of a job like Shelley Levene.



    If I'm still the GM, and LeBron is gone, tank it, rebuild, unload bad contracts, don't sign any decent free agents, rather build from within. Do what the Knicks are doing now, but without the desire to pursue big free agents, rather by trying to land very high draft picks (like the Sonics and Portland were able to do).



    View attachment 21617
    LeBron's gone, who are we now? Where will we go?



    Steed


    ***
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2010
    1 person likes this.
  34. Mar 1, 2010
  35. NASHVEGAS

    NASHVEGAS Banned User - flamming, disrespecting admin,

    Occupation:
    LOL
    Location:
    MERS
    There may be no CBA or salary cap in the NFL in 2010. That said, since the beginning of the salary cap era in the NFL, the average NFL career of an player is 3 1/2 seasons.......CHEERS:thumbsup:
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2010
    1 person likes this.
  36. Mar 2, 2010
  37. johnsteed

    johnsteed Ueber Meister

    Occupation:
    N/A
    Location:
    N/A
    ***



    Ouch! I suppose the only reason I would choose football over baseball - provided I knew I was good enough to make it to the NFL - is that I would go directly from college to the pros, whereas in baseball, it's a much harder road to get there (playing AAA and AA for years). But - and this is a scenario that many top athletes go through having to decide on football or baseball - if I knew that I could get there (MLB), I'd have to go with baseball because I could have a much longer career; provided that I have a couple of big years in me. I'm not sure which baseball player said it, but he said that you can always draw interest from baseball teams, if you have a big season every 3-4 years. In football, you have to be the best, or else you're out of the league.



    Steed


    ***
     
  38. Mar 2, 2010
  39. johnsteed

    johnsteed Ueber Meister

    Occupation:
    N/A
    Location:
    N/A
    ***



    DALLAS MAVERICKS










    How are they this year?



    As of today, they're 5 games up on Southwest division rival the San Antonio Spurs. They're 3rd in the Western Conference, and 5th overall with 40 wins against 21 defeats. Also worth mentioning, is that they're currently riding an 8 game winning streak.



    Strangely enough, even though Dallas has received more than its share of press over the past decade, I haven't heard many people mentioning them as serious contenders this year, and I can't understand why; especially after the major trade that they pulled off with the Wizards recently. While the Lakers are the favorites to go to the finals, they'll have to go through Dallas to get there. I know that Denver seems to be the media darlings recently - and they are good - but this Dallas team is suddenly big, long, and stacked (refrain from many any dirty comments here). If Dallas can find a way to get past the Lakers - not out of the question (although I think it would have been a month ago) - I would also think they're the favorites to win it all.




    How did this team get this good?



    With Dallas being a highly competitive team since Mark Cuban bought the team, they've only had one lottery pick (Etan Thomas in '00/12th overall). They've generally packaged away draft picks, and have only selected 4 players in the 1st round over the past decade, and say for one, they've all been late round picks.



    View attachment 21627
    Kidd 'n company...




    The best pick was in the '03 Draft, where they stole Josh Howard 29th overall. And you know what, that's about it. This team was basically built through the 90s, through trades and signings, and have remained in the hunt for roughly 10 years. None of the major players who are key fixtures on the current roster where drafted by the Mavs, say for Jason Kidd (2nd overall in the '94 Draft), but he spent the majority of his career with the Nets (and a few years with Phoenix before that). Dirk Nowitzki has always played with the Mavs, but he was actually drafted by the Bucks ('98), and was quickly dealt to Dallas for Robert 'Tractor' Traylor (cha-ching!).



    Dallas drafted guys like Xue Yuyang, Mladen Sekularac, J.R. Pinnock, Milovan Rakovic, Kyle Hill, Pete Mickeal, Ahmad Nivins, Shan Foster, and Renaldas Seibutis, all of whom have combined to playe 0 minutes with the Mavs. Nick Fazekas, Maurice Ager, Vassilis Spanoulis, Kenny Satterfield, and Dan Langhi, have all played in the league at one time or another, but together have a combined to play roughly 3,500 minutes, which is about the same amount of minutes that Wilt Chamberlain would have played in any given season. Needless to say, I don't know what the heck Donnie Nelson (Don Nelson's kid obviously) and his scouts were thinking! I guess you steal Nowitzki, and you get Howard, so no one remembers all of the duds.




    View attachment 21624
    Not just an owner with deep pockets, but a HUGE fan with money to burn...




    Regardless, he's still a good GM, making a lot of great trades along the way, and thinking out of the box (going after European/Asian talent probably before most were going in that direction). He took a lot of criticism for trading away young Devin Harris for an aging Jason Kidd, a trade I was very skeptical of really until this year, because of the age, the history with Kidd, and the fact that Kidd commands a high contract to keep him.



    I didn't agree with the Shawn Marion signing, because he looked like he was about done, but he's not really done, he's just no longer a star player, and they did sign him at the right price. He fills in wherever they need him, and he's still reasonably good at all of the little things he was good at with Phoenix, just in a less significant role. Jason Terry was brought over in a trade which basically came down to him for Antoine Walker (another fantastic move). He's been superb coming over to a winning environment, and although he was under-the-radar productive in Atlanta, he looked lost back in those days (the staff in Atlanta were trying to convert him into a PG which he really isn't).




    Haywood, Stevenson, and the guy who chews on a dozen straws per game to keep himself relaxed!​





    Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, and DeShawn Stevenson were brought over in exchange for Josh Howard, Drew Gooden, Quinton Ross, and James Singleton. Talk about a coup. Howard was never going to be the same in Dallas, and he's done for the year with a torn ACL (perfect timing). Brendan Haywood is probably having his best season, and a lot of people are coming to the realization that he's actually an excellent defensive center. Even though no one is big on Stevenson, I am. He's a very underrated defender, who's a great fit for this team, coming off the bench. Caron is supposed to be the biggest asset in that trade (although I'm starting to wonder if it's not Haywood), and he'll play earnest defense, score in bunches, and play hard. He might not get 20 PPG, but if he can get at least 15 PPG, while chipping-in with about 6-7 RPG, a steal a game, then that's good enough.



    This team is really stacked now. They've got a lot of guys who are scorers but don't need to score in order to be effective or happy, and they have one of the premier scorers in the league in Dirk Nowitzki, so they know who's getting the ball in crunch-time (that - also - stacked Portland team in '00 were deep 1 through 12, but who was the main scorer when they needed it most).




    Grading the key players



    Dirk Nowitzki - A

    Jason Terry - B

    Caron Butler - undetermined

    Shawn Marion - B-

    Brendan Haywood - undetermined

    Jason Kidd - B+

    Jose Juan Barea - C

    Erick Dampier - C+

    DeShawn Stevenson - undetermined





    This year - A



    Why? I think the best has yet to come, or rather, they're currently in the middle of coming together. I predict they'll go very deep in the playoffs, maybe all of the way (stop laughing). Rick Carlisle is a great coach, a coach who demands defense, and someone who knows his X's and O's. I know he doesn't always do the best job at communicating with his players, but he does command a certain level of respect. As far as I'm concerned, he's always done a great job wherever he's been (Detroit and in Indiana when their line-up was relevant).



    Although Kidd isn't the Kidd of old, he's still a great quarterback. I think the issues he's had the past couple of seasons in the playoffs - defending the other team's PG - will still be an issue, but it won't be as big of a concern because this team just has too many weapons, and especially on the defensive end. The opposite team will get past players like Dirk and Kidd, but the rest of the line-up I'm not sure about. Kidd doesn't match well against Paul or Nash, but I'm thinking that Paul won't even be in the playoffs, while Nash's team doesn't have the depth that the Mavericks do, so that match-up isn't as pivotal as one would imagine (though I'm pulling for the Suns in that one).



    This team is solid at each position, and have very good back-ups at every spot. Not the type of team you want to be facing in the playoffs, especially if the chemistry is as good as we've seen as of late. Very dangerous team!



    Long-term - A



    Why? The reason they get an 'A', is that Nelson makes good trades at the right time. If he doesn't draft well - and he doesn't - he knows what pieces this team needs to operate, and if anything, Mark Cuban is confident enough in Nelson's judgment, that he's willing to spend top dollar in order to bring the stars to them. And hey, Dallas is the type of city and franchise, many players want to play for.



    If I were the GM, what would I do?



    I'd try to draft better! Aside from that, I'd basically use the Nelson blueprint of trying to trade for the right pieces; and staying one step ahead of the ballgame. As far as tinkering with the team, I'd give this team a window of this year and the next, as far as giving them enough time to win a championship. Beyond that though, Kidd will be 39 in 2012, Nowitzki will be 35, Butler will be 32, Haywood will be 33, Marion will be 35, and I think you get the picture. But that's okay, because by that time, there should be a big enough and solid enough free agent class to lure over a couple of Grade 'A' talents, and perhaps they can keep 1 or 2 of their own for continuity; provided that it's at a reduced price.



    "So, last night, I ran into Toni Braxton, and we've got a date tonight. Do you guys know Toni? She looks like a cross between Phil Ivey & pre-steroids Barry Bonds without the mustache."​




    I have a very difficult time seeing the Mavs of the past decade, being reduced the Mavs of the '90s again.




    Steed


    ***
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2010

Share This Page