Friday, October 10, 2008

NBA Preview Part I

I know you just shat your pants a little. You read the title of this post and thought, “great, here comes a 10,000 word posting about the upcoming NBA season.” Wrong. Here comes a 2922 word posting about the upcoming NBA season, jackass. And this is just part one.

In Pro sports, you are either improving or getting worse. If you think you are staying about the same, you are actually getting worse. Here is my pre-season ranking, coach commentary, thought or two, and mobility ratings (upward or downward) of each team.

Brian Scalabrine Division: Only the truly awful earn a spot in this division. I mean, there's scal, definitley drawing the blocking call.

30. Oklahoma City Thunder
Coach: P.J. Carlesimo-not a good head coach. He once got the shit choked of him by Latrell Spreewell. No, Spree was no saint, but I haven’t heard of too many other coaches getting choked out before. I’d guess PJ will wear out his welcome by New Year’s.

Roster: Player-wise, OKC only has one real weapon, and that is Kevin Durant. I didn’t love their drafting of Jeff Green or of Russell Westbrook. This team lacks an identity and frankly, I don’t see them improving much.

Mobility: Downward
This is going to make a lot of you scratch your heads, but I can’t see this roster ever being very good, nor do I see a lot pieces to use in a trade to improve the team, due to bad drafting over the years. (see Swift, Robert, Sene, Mouhamed)

29. Memphis Grizzlies
Coach: Marcus Iavoroni
I only know what I thought about him as a player, and that was that he sucked. He might be a great coach. It’s as hard to make a good team out of this talent as it is to make filet mignon out of cow turd.

Roster: This team is a complete mess as well. They do have some talent, however, with borderline All-Star in the making Rudy Gay (by the way, it is a shame they traded Kevin Love away on draft night, robbing us of all the Gay-Love jokes to be had in the future.) Oj Mayo should be a solid pro, and this will be Mike Conley’s break out year as he takes the starting role.

Mobility: Upward
It’s going to take some time, but Memphis has the cap space to land a free agent or two, and a few chips to trade with if a deal comes up. I doubt we’ll see a huge improvement in the W/L column, but give it a year or two and with some wise drafting and a free agent signing or big trade, this team could be on the up.

28. Minnesota Timberwolves
Coach: Randy Whitman
Whitman has been a career loser, but again, has coached talent-less teams. If he can improve this team by 5-10 wins, we’ll know if he has what it takes. If they are about the same at mid-season, expect the axe.

Roster: Draft night has not been kind to Wolves fans, as Kevin McHale and the brass have continuously effed everything up. The starting lineup of Foye, McCants, Mike Miller, Kevin “Color Me Badd” Love, and Al Jefferson is intriguing to say the least. They should score and be scored upon at will. Oh, and I’ll throw McHale a bone on the Garnett trade. Getting Jefferson, a future all-pro, and Ryan Gomes, a solid role player, for Garnett was better than getting Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum in my estimation.

Mobility: Upward
If this young team can jell and Whitman can teach his team to play some defense, this might be a kind of fun team to watch. Jefferson is 23, Love is 20, and if they can use the Lottery Pick they are bound to get to get a solid defensive point/defender, they could move up in the west.

27. New York Knickerbockers
Coach: Mike D’Antoni
D’Antoni is one of the best things to happen to the NBA. His teams are fun to watch, which says a lot. There is talent on this team, and if D’Antoni can get the players to play as a unit, they could be decent, but I don’t see it happening this year. The Knicks are going to ride out the mistakes of Isaih “I just got back from Red Lobster” Thomas, and make a play for the big names in 2010.

Roster: Again, not horrible. There is talent at every position. The big problem is that there is no on-court leader, and if the Knicks are banking on Chris Duhon to be that leader, they are in serious trouble. They should score a lot, but have little to no defensive presence. Oh, and they have Jerome James. That fat-ass deserves to be commended. I mean, he played hard for 3 games because he knew it would score him enough money to eat all the food he wanted for the rest of his life.

Mobility: Downward
For now, this team isn’t going anywhere. While I like the addition of D’Antoni, the team is handcuffed by deals like the one Stephon “Cheap Shoes” Marbury has. In 2 years, this may change, but that is all conjecture at this point. The Knicks should be awful this year and next.

26. Milwaukee Bucks
Coach: Scott Skiles
I know this: I would hate to play for Skiles. He just seems awful. But he isn’t a bad coach. He might be able to get this team to play defense, something they never, ever, ever did last year. Probably not, but here’s dreaming.

Roster: They will never be what they can be as long as they have Michael Redd. Redd is a good player, but he just shoots too much. This team needs to focus and run it’s offense through Andrew Bogut, one of the best passing big men in the league, but too often you just see Redd hucking some crap up indiscriminately. Even with Redd, Bogut, and Richard Jefferson, this team should be awful. The rest of the roster is just crap stew and the draft hasn’t been kind.

Mobility: Downward
Maybe 26 is too high for this team. I can’t even write anymore about this team but this: Milwaukee has certainly had its share of visitors. The French Missionaries and Explorers were coming here as early as the late 1600’s to trade with the Native Americans. Actually, it’s pronounced Mil-eee-a-wa-kay, which is Algonquin for “The Good Land.” I think one of the most interesting aspects of Milwaukee is the fact that it’s the only major American city to have ever elected 3 socialist Mayors.

Jarron Collins Division: Still awful, for sure, but at least they can do a good thing or two, like Collins can draw a charge every now and then. There's Jarron Collins, not grabbing the rebound.

25. Charlotte Bobcats
Coach: Larry Brown
I know Coach Brown is some kind of Basketball Stephen Hawking, without the weird talking computer (can you imagine Stephen Hawking coaching basketball….sorry), but I just don’t think he relates to the NBA anymore. This is going to end badly.

Roster: Actually not that bad at every position but center, with Ray Felton, Jason Richardson, Gerald Wallace, and Emeka Okafor, but for some reason, this team just can’t put it together. I would guess it is because it can’t shoot straight, and don’t defend well enough, but I’m not going to look up the stats to prove it. This is another team with a decent amount of talent, but no on-court leadership. I didn’t like the draft, and can’t see this team contending for a playoff spot under any circumstance.

Mobility: Downward
I hate to say that, but this roster is not going to change any time soon, and I just don’t see much room for improvement. Michael Jordan might be the worst GM in sports now that Elgin Baylor got fired. PS-who the hell is scared of a Bobcat? What a lousy team name.

24. New Jersey Nets
Lawrence Frank: I think Frank is a good coach. His teams seem to play hard, and the players seem to like him. The next 2 years will determine a lot about Frank and whether he is a top-level NBA coach or not.

Roster: This team isn’t as talented as half the teams below it, but they are talented where it matters: Point Guard. Devin Harris was a steal for Jason Kidd. He’s already better than Kidd, is 10 years younger, and makes $12 million less. Other than that, they have Vince Carter as trade bait. The reason I put this team above the licks of Charlotte and the Knicks is because the coach gets a lot out of this team.

: Upward
I like the GM here. I like the trade bait in Carter. This team is going to dedicate itself to rebuilding, which it should.

23. Sacramento Kings
Coach: Reggie Theus
I don’t know if he can coach or not, but I know he can’t act. Either way, he’s in for a long year as the Kings didn’t play defense last year and they had Ron Artest. Artest is long gone, and so is any chance of this team being remotely entertaining.

Roster: I’ll say it here: Kevin Martin is solid. Brad Miller isn’t bad, Udrih is okay, Spencer Hawes showed some skill at the end of last year, Fransisco Garcia is a nice role player, and John Salmons is much better than I thought. That being said, they have 3 players named Bobby and not one of them is good.

Mobility: Downward
This team traded away it’s best player, got basically nothing in return, and still owes Kenny Thomas 17 million for the next two years. The team has little talented youth, and nothing with which to trade. That being said, they have a decent nucleus.

22. LA Clippers
Coach: Mike Dunleavy:
I think Mikey D is a decent coach, who has fallen into some good situations early in his career and now has to coach this train wreck. Oh, well. At least he’s getting paid.

Roster: This is the oddest assortment of talent. Baron Davis, Marcus Camby, Chris Kaman and Al Thornton sounds okay, but look at the rest of that roster and you have serious problems. They have 4 players I’ve never even heard of on their roster. I can’t tell if they will be good at defense or not. I just can’t see it working out well for the Clips, because it never does.

Mobility: Downward
I thought Eric Gordon was a reach at 7, I thought they vastly overpaid Baron Davis, they let their only reliable scorer (Maggette) go for nothing. This team just isn’t improving any time soon and should be a low lottery pick. (The worst thing to be in the NBA.)

The Jamaal Magloire Division: You were an All-Star once? Man, the league must have sucked that year. There's Jamaal Magloire, covering his face in shame at his own All-Star Nomination.

21. Indiana Pacers
Coach: Jim O’brien
I like O’Brien enough as a coach. He gets his teams to play hard and play tough. He seems to rub people the wrong way, though. GM Larry Bird trusts him, which could be a good or a bad thing, I’m not sure.

Roster: Oh, how the mighty have fallen. That brawl killed this franchise, plain and simple. I like a few of their pieces: Tj Ford and Danny Granger namely, but this just isn’t a talented enough roster to legitimately contend for a playoff spot. Mike Dunleavy is somehow uglier than his father, which is saying something, and may deserve an honorable mention on the All-NBA Ugly Team.

Mobility: Downward
Until they can shed themselves of the $20 million they pay Marquis Daniels, Jamaal Tinsley, and Rasho Nesterovic, this team is going to be stuck in late lottery land and won’t be able to significantly improve, frankly.

20. Miami Heat
Coach: Eric Spoelstra
We’ll see. I don’t know anything about this guy other than he’s supposed to be a Pat Riley clone. That just means his team will be boring, but probably successful. (As an aside, how did Riley go from coaching the ever watchable Showtime Lakers to the coaching the most boring good teams in history: the 90’s Knicks and Heat?)

Roster: This team can be good if Dwayne Wade is healthy. Not championship good, but solid, bottom tier Eastern Conference good. I don’t see it happening with how he plays. I know it is messed up, but I am predicting an injury for him and a long season for the Heat. Shawn Marion is a cancer from everything I have read, and they have holes at every other position. Without Wade, I put this team dead last. That just proves how much respect I have for him.

Mobility: Upward
Things can’t get worse, and the drafting of Michael Beasley will pay dividends for years. Getting Marion off the books will help, and maybe they can lure Carlos Boozer or someone like that to help in the interior.

19. Atlanta Hawks
Coach: Mike Woodson
I don’t think Woodson is a good coach. He doesn’t seem to know how to use the Hawks talent very well, or how to develop it. I can’t believe he got an extension just for almost beating a Celtics team that was so rusty from not playing hard for 2 months.

Roster: This team is top heavy with Bibby, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Marvin Williams and Al Horford, but virtually nothing after that. They could contend for the final spot in the east, but probably won’t get there. By the way, I love watching Josh Smith. Imagine if Mike D’Antoni coached these guys and had them fast breaking. It would be amazing.

Mobility: Downward
What did they do during the off-season? Bring back an idiot coach and lose Josh Childress. Not a good sign for the future.

18. Chicago Bulls
Coach: Vinny Del Negro
I don’t think coach From The Black can turn this roster into a true playoff contender. Who knows, maybe he’s really good. We’ll see soon.

Roster: Again, the Bulls have talent, but lack that star-power that is needed to be a contender. If Noah and Tyrus Thomas can reach their potential, this could be a lower tier playoff team, but that is a big if. I think it was time to make a big move 2 years ago and they didn’t do it. They just fell in love with their own guys and now, they must reap what they have sowed.

Mobility: Downward
The drafting of Derrick Rose was a mistake. Mark my words. They will regret it. The Bulls still have the pieces to make a move or two, but GM Paxon obviously lacks the balls to pull the string on such a deal, so have fun on the down slope Bulls fan.

17. Golden State Warriors
Coach: Don Nelson
Don is a great coach. He’s proven that time and again, so you have to give him his credit. More importantly than his results, is the fact that his teams are fun to watch. Thanks, Don.

Roster: This is one of the hardest teams for me to peg down. I think losing Baron Davis may be addition by subtraction, but I don’t know who will play point. Picking up Maggette was a steal, and it looks like Brandon Wright may be developing as some predicted. If he does, watch out. I think these guys will just miss the playoffs again, barring major injuries from a team above them.

Mobility: I don’t know
I can’t tell. Sorry. This team has me flummoxed.

16. Washington Wizards
Coach: Eddie Jordan
I don’t see anything special about Jordan, but his teams have always been pretty good, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, plus, his eyes scream “FUTURE MURDER”, so I ain’t gonna say anything bad about him.

Roster: If Arenas, Butler, and Jamison are all healthy, this is a fun, talented team to watch. That happens so rarely that this is not a fun, talented team to watch. I think Caron Butler is one of the most underrated players in the league and any team would be crazy not to want him. How he is the lowest paid of the 3 is beyond me. The rest of the team is okay, but just not good enough to compete for anything more than a bottom half playoff seed.

Mobility: Downward
While I understand why the team wanted to sign Arenas and Jamison to huge new contracts, I don’t think they should have, as now, they are going to be the same, or worse as they have been the last 3 years for the next 6 years. That proposition has to be unappetizing, at best for Wizards fans.

15. Denver Nuggets
Coach: George Karl
Karl is an interesting dude, and maybe even a decent NBA coach, but he has never gotten a team over the hump, and never will. Sorry, George.

Roster: The talent here is solid. The Nuggets basically bet that Nene and Kenyon Martin could come back enough to offset the giving away of Marcus Camby. In my book, that is not a good bet. As long as AI and Carmelo are healthy, they will always be decent, but they just won’t be able to stop anyone in my estimation.

Mobility: Downward
AI is an ageless wonder, but he probably won’t last the year in Denver. They don’t have enough young talent, and are capped out for a long time with the contracts they gave to Martin and Nene. ($21 mil) This is still a fringe playoff team, if healthy, but if they get in, they will be easy fodder for their first round opponent.

On Monday I’ll get to the teams that actually matter.


Che said...

Boyd, this is one of your best posts in my recent viewing history. I am so glad you, as opposed to T-bone, have chosen this undertaking. No offense Troy, and I know I don't know you, but who else could give us lines like "imagine Stephen Hawking coaching basket ball" and "his eyes scream 'FUTURE MURDER'". It had to be Boyd, the fates have decreed.

I also like Lawrence Frank as a coach, though I think it might be based solely on the fact he looks so much like Cheeth. Everytime I watch the nets I'm like, "look at Red out there in his little suit . . . bout this big (holding out thumb and fore finger)"

Taylor said...

Boyd is the NBA guru - I can't do a post half this long on the NBA. I don't have the same obsession level.


Che said...

Taylor, did I call you Troy in my previous response!?! Well don't I just feel like the horses patoot! Also, no offense to you, Taylor.

Taylor said...

None taken - I too enjoy PlayBody. I would eat his babies.

Taylor said...

Of course I meant to write PlayBody. It works just as well as PlayBoyd.