Thursday, June 25, 2009

Breakin' Down the Trades, Rumors, Draft and more...

The "Big" news of the day, I'm sure you've already heard. Even if you go to for your news, you'll see the "Big Shaquisition" (aka Shaquille O'Deal, aka the Big Cavtus, aka...well, you get the point).

Shaquille O'Neal and LeBron James are now on the same team, at least for the 2009-2010 season. Will it extend past that? Doubtful, but at least they have a year to make one "Big" run (okay, I promise to stop that). More on the details here, here and here.

Other trades in the last few days....The Wiz sent scrubs and the 5th pick to the Wolves for Randy Foye (sucks) and Mike Miller (can shoot, but is he coming off the bench?)

Not a fan, but I expect this to be just the beginning. They have way too many guards and no big man to count on. Can they get into the playoffs, and even take home court for round one? Yes, with a healthy Arenas, I believe so. But if they're going for a chip, which is what this trade says they're shooting for, then they'll need better than the Haywood, Blatche, Mcgee poo poo platter in the front court (especially after the Cavs picked up Shaq!). Also, if for some reason Ricky Rubio gets dropped to 5th in the draft, this is an awful mistake. Not because I believe Ricky will be successful with that crew in DC, but because that 5th pick would get a ton more trade value, and can easily get a hell of a lot more than Randy Foye (sucks) and Mike Miller. I know Flip Saunders is known as an offense coach, but as Hollinger agrees, this is not nearly enough defense to get deep into the playoffs.

The Spurs made a big splash by getting Richard Jefferson from the Bucks for Bowen, Oberto and Kurt Thomas. The move was financially based for the Bucks, and for the Spurs, a bit of a surprise that they'd take on that contract in this economic climate (same for the Wiz above). Oberto got flipped again, and Bowen made some suggestions that he's considering retirement, but if I had to bet on it, I'd say they'd both be on the Spurs roster come playoff time.

To try and do a Mock Draft at this point would be nonsense. First of all, not even the "experts" around the league have any idea whats going to happen (after #1 of course). It's the most uncertain draft in many years. There are guys projected to go 6th and 20th, 8th and 21st, etc, etc. That's bananas. Tonight should be a lot of fun, between picks and trades, so make sure to tune in.

Other news around the league and NBA blog world:

*Basketbawful, takes us through the 2008-2009 worst moments (hilarious).

*K-Berg says the Wolves are now in the drivers seat for the draft, after securing both the 5th and 6th pick. Hopefully David Kahn (protege of Donnie Walsh) can throw us a bone and get us in the mix for Steph Curry who is clearly a match for D'Antoni (and LeBron!). However, the Wolves need to start thinking about getting some more guards, since at this point, they have 10 forwards and 2 guards on the roster, which clearly is a problem.

*D-Wade is a twitter maniac.

*Speaking of twitter....Shaq wants to play this guy in HORSE for a G (good luck). JA Adande gave us this great press conference mix/video/rap, and most importantly, FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER FOR UPDATES AND MORE!!

*Someone explain to me Danny Ainge's thinking on totally bashing his champion point guard. I'm gonna go ahead and say that's probably not great for trade value nor the relationship for next season. Good luck with all that...

Enjoy the Draft!

Friday, June 12, 2009


Kobe took too many shots

Rashard didn't take enough shots

Hedo missed some easy shots

Howard blocked 9 shots (!!)

Fish hit the big shots...

Up by 3, with 11 seconds left, it's very simple: No fouls, no threes. That has to be very clear to everyone leaving the huddle after the time out. Stan Van Gundy might have forgot to make that clear, since he assumed everyone on the team would know, but the key thing is, the player defending Fisher should NOT have been Jameer Nelson. He simply is not in NBA-shape yet (and no one would expect him to be). Let's do the math: When Rafer Alston ("Skip") plays and plays confident, they're 1-0 in the finals. When his coach is juggling his minutes and benching him for large periods of time for a player who hasn't played in the NBA for four months, they're 0-3. Hmmm....

I'm not 100% sure, but I'm very confident that Skip has been playing a lot more crunch time basketball recently, and would know to close out on shooters at the 3-point line in that situation. Skip is also taller, with longer arms, and stronger legs (Jameer clearly isn't getting off the ground like he was months ago). The Magic want anything but a foul, or a three in that scenario. The time it takes for Fish to dribble around Jameer, and shoot the layup, is even better in that scenario since it leaves the Magic up 1 and turns into a free-throw battle.

But instead it was a night of choking for the Magic. Howard choked on crucial free throws, Hedo choked on crucial free throws, and the worst of all SVG choked with, again, shuffling his starting PG spot, killing his starting PG's confidence, and taking away the Magic's best shot at another victory (it was Skip who was the necessary contributer in their only win). We haven't even mentioned Anthony Johnson, who might as well not even suit up, hasn't played a minute yet. I know AJ is closing out on that 3, and I know AJ has proved in the past to have some BIG playoff games (see: Indiana/NJ last year's 40-point performance). Jameer should barely be in the rotation at this point, and certainly not relied on to play the entire fourth and OT. (duh) It's not just me, Chris Broussard has another quote from a Magic player saying those decisions are "eye-popping."

Funny enough, last night, the Lakers were more worried about how to handle Kobe Bryant than the Magic. The Magic have their game plan, but the Lakers are still adjusting to Kobe's unique (selfish?) ways. Often, you could see Pau's confusion during the game. "Do I screen for Kobe?" "Do I get in the triangle?" But mostly, it was "Do I get the hell out of the way??" Yup, that's the one. Even Phil Jackson said of Fisher after the game, "[He's] not afraid to go away from Kobe when sometimes Kobe is asking for the ball and he knows better, and I need a guard like him to do that." Basically a guard to tell Kobe we should stop playing one-on-five and start playing like a team again.

Another big story for Game 4 was the flagrant foul that Pietrus put on Gasol in the closing minutes. Ken Berger says a suspension is in order. I totally disagree. First of all, there's nothing wrong with upgrading it to a Flagarant 2, fining him 25K, and calling it a day. If this was a repeated incident with a trouble-maker, then i can understand. Was it a stupid play? Of course, but it's the NBA finals and you don't want the last game of the year (possibly) to end with controversy, and that's what you'd get if you suspend Orlando's "Kobe-stopper" for Game 5.

UPDATE: No suspension for Pietrus. No fine? Yet...

Regardless of how they won, the Lakers won and they're up 3-1 in the series. No team since 1966 has come back down 3-1 in the Finals, and I'd suspect the same result this coming week. Phil's about to get ring #10 (wow), and Kobe #4 and his first Finals MVP.

Oh, and thanks to SLAM for the highlight of the night:

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Kobe's Accuser on the Mic??