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Sunday, April 01, 2012

OT: NBA monthly thread: April 2012

I estimate that only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, but with our own thread, we won’t detract from what the site is really about: JoePo leaving SI and Mike Sweeney endorsing Rick Santorum.

News link is to story on Jeremy Lin’s injury.

baudib Posted: April 01, 2012 at 05:35 PM | 2013 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   201. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 05, 2012 at 04:04 PM (#4098607)
Wojnarowski upps the Howard story a bit:

Within the Orlando Magic, there were those suspicious of the possibility that Dwight Howard could’ve played the past two games with so-called back spasms, sources told Yahoo! Sports. Only Howard knows his threshold for pain, but everyone else knows this for a fact: His threshold for criticism is far less, and the possibility of becoming the bad guy for Stan Van Gundy’s eventual dismissal troubled him far more.
   202. andrewberg Posted: April 05, 2012 at 04:25 PM (#4098691)
I honestly didn't think anyone remembered him or anyone for that matter off those first few Beilien teams. Clearly I underestimated the appeal of Pittsnoggle. He did end up having a few good years in the CBA


I was also terrified of Mike Gansey on those teams. He was a small, unathletic wing who shot like 58% from the floor.

He's certainly overrated. He's got a permanent winner's shine for being a starter on a world champ. I don't know if his defense is as good as his rep, but he's a non-factor on offense, and is a center who grabs 6 boards a game. He's OKC's third-leading rebounder.


It is weird how that reputation is applied. Deshawn Stevenson was a starter on a championship team last year, and everyone has already moved on from him.
   203. Spivey Posted: April 05, 2012 at 04:38 PM (#4098735)
Perkins is a weird case. He's really valuable if you're playing Dwight Howard or the Lakers. Against most other teams, he's probably closer to a backup.
   204. nick swisher hygiene Posted: April 05, 2012 at 04:57 PM (#4098772)
let's call it the "Perkins Theory": if a mediocre guy starts at a key position for a over-mediated team that wins the championship, said guy will retain his undeserved rep until the team wins again without him....
   205. andrewberg Posted: April 05, 2012 at 05:11 PM (#4098832)
let's call it the "Perkins Theory": if a mediocre guy starts at a key position for a over-mediated team that wins the championship, said guy will retain his undeserved rep until the team wins again without him....


Can there be a BJ Armstrong corollary where the guy can play poorly enough elsewhere to tarnish his own reputation?
   206. madvillain Posted: April 05, 2012 at 07:17 PM (#4098971)
Holy heck is that SVG, Howard video awkward. SVG comes out looking like a champ and Howard looks like a complete buster imo. Howard is a helluva player, but I just dont' know about his mindset at times.

Rose is warming up, we'll see if he plays.
   207. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: April 05, 2012 at 07:40 PM (#4098992)
Andrew Bynum's averaging 24 and 10.4 over his last 16 games (minus the ankle-sprain game), 76% from the line. Perhaps it's Orlando approaching the Lakers about a Howard trade in a few months.
   208. Der-K thinks the Essex Green were a good band. Posted: April 05, 2012 at 09:58 PM (#4099081)
That Howard/SVG video is kind of amazing.
   209. Into the Void Posted: April 05, 2012 at 10:00 PM (#4099084)
Howard sure is a head case. With the way he lets the Orlando media affect him I'd hate to see him in NY or LA.
   210. tshipman Posted: April 05, 2012 at 10:38 PM (#4099109)
Good for SVG. Why should he cover for Howard's whiny ass? Because Howard doesn't want to have to deal with the criticism? Clearly they're either going to fire SVG or not. At least this way he gets the truth out there.
   211. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: April 06, 2012 at 03:19 AM (#4099179)
Draft news: Fab Melo in, McAdoo staying at UNC.
   212. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: April 06, 2012 at 03:41 AM (#4099181)
While Griffin insisted he was moving on from the back-and-forth with Cousins, Sacramento's second-year center has other plans.

"That's what Blake is going to say because he's in L.A., where actors belong," said Cousins, held to eight points and three rebounds before fouling out in the final seconds. "And he's an actor."
   213. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: April 06, 2012 at 08:50 AM (#4099218)
Just watched the Van Gundy/Howard video. I love Howard as a player, but man, he's Shaggy here ("It Wasn't Me")
   214. AROM Posted: April 06, 2012 at 09:22 AM (#4099244)
Draft news: Fab Melo in, McAdoo staying at UNC.


I hope he winds up with the Knicks. It would be wrong to deny Melo and Fab Melo a chance to be teammates.
   215. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: April 06, 2012 at 09:59 AM (#4099260)
It appears the race for the Atlantic Division crown will go to season's end. Considering this is just about the only way Philly, NY, and Boston have a chance of getting to the 2nd round, it should be interesting.

In Knicks-specific news, the team is up to 5th in Hollinger's Power Rankings and has moved up to 20th in O-Rating and 5th in D-Rating. Tyson Chandler really deserves a DPOY push from the Knick PR people.
   216. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: April 06, 2012 at 10:33 AM (#4099293)
ESPN: "Syracuse's Melo Declaring For Draft"

Deja vu!
   217. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 06, 2012 at 10:45 AM (#4099312)
It appears the race for the Atlantic Division crown will go to season's end. Considering this is just about the only way Philly, NY, and Boston have a chance of getting to the 2nd round, it should be interesting.

The 4/5 and 3/6 series should be pretty good, no matter what teams up end in each spot. I wouldn't put any of Bos/NYK/Phi/Ind/Atl/Orl as a significant favorite over any of the other teams in that group (some matchups favor some teams more than others, but there's no clear hierarchy in that bunch right now). Obviously, those teams all need to avoid falling to 7th or 8th.

In Knicks-specific news, the team is up to 5th in Hollinger's Power Rankings and has moved up to 20th in O-Rating and 5th in D-Rating. Tyson Chandler really deserves a DPOY push from the Knick PR people.

I don't understand how the Knicks are so high (or how last night's Bulls win over Boston dropped them to 4th), but whatever... OTOH, this is interesting:

StevePopper: Carmelo said afterward how impressive it is that Tyson Chandler is doing this with a fractured hand. Knicks quickly deny that. We'll see.


Also:

Tom Haberstroh: Dwight Howard in 3 games vs. Tyson Chandler this season? 9.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.7 turnovers.


We all know awards aren't always given out to the guy who deserves it most, and I'm not saying Chandler doesn't deserve it, but with all this off court stuff I highly doubt Howard has a chance at winning DPOY this year.
   218. tshipman Posted: April 06, 2012 at 10:48 AM (#4099317)
I wouldn't put any of Bos/NYK/Phi/Ind/Atl/Orl as a significant favorite over any of the other teams in that group (some matchups favor some teams more than others, but there's no clear hierarchy in that bunch right now).


I think Orlando's pretty clearly the cream of that crop. Boston might be better than their reg season record due to the longer playoff schedule. Other than that ... the Hawks are the usual frauds, and PHI might have totally tuned out Doug Collins. IND is a weird team. I'm not sure what to make of them.
   219. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: April 06, 2012 at 10:52 AM (#4099319)
I don't understand how the Knicks are so high (or how last night's Bulls win over Boston dropped them to 4th), but whatever...

The weighting of the last 25% of the schedule. The Knicks have been really, really good under Woodson while facing a solid schedule. As for the Bulls, their BOS victory probably dropped a more impressive victory from the earlier portion of the last 25%.
   220. Jimmy P Posted: April 06, 2012 at 10:54 AM (#4099322)
Just watched the Van Gundy/Howard video. I love Howard as a player, but man, he's Shaggy here ("It Wasn't Me")


What is he now that he mailed the game in? And then did a "Next Question" when asked about all the stuff that happened earlier in the day. Ugly.

What's the line on SVG not making the next game?
   221. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 06, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4099325)
I think Orlando's pretty clearly the cream of that crop.

Maybe on paper. But everything that's happened this year has to mean something, no? I have absolutely no confidence in them whatsoever, even if they fire SVG now. And firing him, even though it probably has to be done, is a downgrade for this season.

Boston might be better than their reg season record due to the longer playoff schedule.

Perhaps. They're so thin up front and so old, the easier playoff schedule might help them. But they're in big trouble against a team with a big front line (like Orlando, Indiana, even Atlanta).

Other than that ... the Hawks are the usual frauds

I know we all say this, but I don't think it's true. The fact that they're right in the mix while missing Horford for most of the season sort of contradicts that. They weren't supposed to beat the Bulls last year, but they made it much tougher than anyone thought it would be. Also, they own Orlando. They go up a notch in my mind if Horford comes back.

IND is a weird team. I'm not sure what to make of them.

Weird how? They're a good team, but young. And they could really use a good PG. They're in the drivers' seat for the 3 seed, and they legitimately might be the 3rd best team in the East.
   222. jmurph Posted: April 06, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4099326)
I can't decide what the right call is for Stan Van: step down to get away from this circus, or make them put their money where their mouth is and actually fire him? He's clearly going with the latter approach.
   223. Jimmy P Posted: April 06, 2012 at 11:06 AM (#4099335)
I can't decide what the right call is for Stan Van: step down to get away from this circus, or make them put their money where their mouth is and actually fire him? He's clearly going with the latter approach.

He did the whole team player bit in Miami. I think that and the fact that this is coming from a player is going to make him stick to his guns.
   224. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 06, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4099340)
He did the whole team player bit in Miami. I think that and the fact that this is coming from a player is going to make him stick to his guns.

Rumors are it was Shaq that forced SVG out in Miami, so it's a similar situation. It was fascinating watching the TNT postgame show where Shaq wouldn't really rip Howard and had to choose his words very carefully when talking about SVG. When EJ asked him directly about SVG, Shaq wouldn't answer. OTOH, Kenny and Charles lit into Howard, and also rightfully pointed out SVG didn't exactly cover himself in glory yesterday either.

Side note - the Clippers really have to consider this stuff strongly when picking their next coach, especially if they're considering D'Antoni or SVG, right? I mean, Melo is very anti-D'antoni and Howard is anti-SVG. Paul is supposed to be good friends with both guys, and he still will be a FA after next season.
   225. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: April 06, 2012 at 11:21 AM (#4099343)
I think Orlando's pretty clearly the cream of that crop.

and

[IND] legitimately might be the 3rd best team in the East.

FWIW, Since Woodson took over the Knicks have done the following:

v POR +42
v IND +15
@ IND +14

v TOR +19
v PHI +3
@ TOR -17 (bizarre game)
v DET +22
v MIL +9
v ORL +22
@ ATL -10
v CLE +16
@ IND -8 (they were up 20something in the 4th IIRC)
@ ORL +16
   226. Jimmy P Posted: April 06, 2012 at 11:33 AM (#4099355)
OTOH, Kenny and Charles lit into Howard, and also rightfully pointed out SVG didn't exactly cover himself in glory yesterday either.

It was all deserved. Howard's just acting even more indecisive than before. Someone asked him about how Stan said Howard wanted Stan fired. Howard literally asked, "Who told you that?" Hey, genius, he just said STAN DID. And then all the talk during the post game presser about how they can't let outside influences tear the team apart and distract them. Dude, you've been that influence all season. Take a little responsibility.

Stan's not blameless either. He should keep that stuff in house. But, Stan's a no BS type of guy. You can tell he's been sick of it all year, and something made him lose it. It's totally inappropriate, but as I said a few posts ago, he did the good soldier bit in Miami. I don't think he wanted to do that again. He wants to set the terms of his ouster. He knows that he's got the PR high ground here, and he knows that he's really got nothing to lose. He's going to lose his job either way, and he's a good enough coach that he'll get another job next year regardless.

Side note - the Clippers really have to consider this stuff strongly when picking their next coach, especially if they're considering D'Antoni or SVG, right? I mean, Melo is very anti-D'antoni and Howard is anti-SVG. Paul is supposed to be good friends with both guys, and he still will be a FA after next season.

I guess it matters where Paul can go. The Clippers still look like a place he can be really successful. If no one else good has cap space, it may not matter. You never know, he and Stan may click, too. People are different from their friends.
   227. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 06, 2012 at 11:38 AM (#4099361)
Come out and say it, if you think it, NJ. :)
   228. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 06, 2012 at 11:41 AM (#4099364)
You can tell he's been sick of it all year, and something made him lose it.

David Aldridge said last night that SVG told the team before the Knicks game that he's known all year that Howard wanted him gone.

I guess it matters where Paul can go. The Clippers still look like a place he can be really successful. If no one else good has cap space, it may not matter. You never know, he and Stan may click, too. People are different from their friends.

I'm not saying they should or shouldn't hire those guys, but they really have to consider it and maybe talk about it with CP3. It's the Clips, so should we expect them to handle it the right way?
   229. Jimmy P Posted: April 06, 2012 at 11:42 AM (#4099365)
And the Raymond Felton situation in Portland has gone from bad to comical. Felton's actually trying now. So, of course, the fans are ticked. Now that the Blazers are pretty much out of the playoffs, Nate's been fired, and his contracts up at the end of the year, NOW he's trying. The Blazers are in a pseudo-tank, and you've got Felton playing harder than he's played all year. He also challenged all the fans (one would assume to fight) and told them which condo building he lives in and to come on down.

Would it look too bad if the interim-coach just outright didn't play him?

Also, lots of talk of Allen selling the Blazers, and also of trying to hire Steve Kerr as GM.
   230. andrewberg Posted: April 06, 2012 at 12:37 PM (#4099425)
In Knicks-specific news, the team is up to 5th in Hollinger's Power Rankings and has moved up to 20th in O-Rating and 5th in D-Rating. Tyson Chandler really deserves a DPOY push from the Knick PR people.


What were the odds that this particular Knicks team would become underrated? Lin being out diverts some attention, Amare's injury diverts more and without much lost on the court. Everyone has turned on Melo, but now he has the situation he wants where he gets to be the unquestioned focal point. Even moreso, the rest of the lineup is full of guys who are better than their current reputation: Davis (thought to be washed up, but not totally), Chandler (underrated since he's a defensive specialist), Fields. It is pretty crazy how they got here.

I can't decide what the right call is for Stan Van: step down to get away from this circus, or make them put their money where their mouth is and actually fire him? He's clearly going with the latter approach.


Another complicating factor is that the Magic have an irrational and dysfunctional front office. I think most teams would have just cut bait after last night, but it seem that everyone involved in management there is nutty. Maybe SVG got loose lips from playing paddleball and drinking wine with the CEO. If I was running the team, I'd keep Stan, wait out the season, and trade Dwight + Turk for the tankiest/rebuildingest package I could get (not Bynum and Steve Blake).
   231. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: April 06, 2012 at 01:03 PM (#4099449)
David Aldridge said last night that SVG told the team before the Knicks game that he's known all year that Howard wanted him gone.
He told the team that? Woooooooooow.
   232. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: April 06, 2012 at 01:32 PM (#4099474)
v POR +42
v IND +15
@ IND +14
etc.
@ IND -8 (they were up 20something in the 4th IIRC)
@ ORL +16


NJ is channeling his inner STEAGLES!
   233. andrewberg Posted: April 06, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4099480)
NJ is channeling his inner STEAGLES!


"I'm not saying the Knicks are going to beat the Heat, but they can play with them and they definitely have a shot."
   234. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: April 06, 2012 at 01:40 PM (#4099485)
[232] I don't get it.
   235. Famous Original Joe C Posted: April 06, 2012 at 01:47 PM (#4099497)
[232] I don't get it.

"My team is on a hot streak, but because I am a fan and thus irrational by nature, I am starting to believe it is a new level of performance, and thus I think they are the 3rd best team in the East and possible challenger to the top two if everything breaks right."
   236. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 06, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4099507)
He told the team that? Woooooooooow.

As if telling the press about it wasn't enough. I really think he's daring them to fire him now.
   237. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: April 06, 2012 at 02:00 PM (#4099513)
NJ, I just joshing you a little. You don't really have that breathless excitement that STEAGLES displayed early in the year.
   238. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 06, 2012 at 02:03 PM (#4099517)
KBergCBS: Stan Van Gundy is expected to travel to Philadelphia with team after practice, source says. Status quo as of now for #Magic coach.

KBergCBS: #Magic CEO Alex Martins is on vacation, but has been reached and apprised of the situation. Martins on board with not making change now.


BTW, appraised of the situation? "Hey Boss, turn on SportsCenter."
   239. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: April 06, 2012 at 02:09 PM (#4099520)
"My team is on a hot streak, but because I am a fan and thus irrational by nature, I am starting to believe it is a new level of performance, and thus I think they are the 3rd best team in the East and possible challenger to the top two if everything breaks right."

I would never consider the Knicks a legitimate threat to the top 2. However, given the fact that Melo said he wasn't trying under D'antoni and will now that Woodson is in place and the play has reflected that, as well as their 4-1 record, with large margin of victory, against the top two contenders for the 3rd best team title, I just think they may be undersold if we just assume they are definitely not the 3rd best team (excuse the run on). Plus, it's not like I'm just pulling stuff out my ass, Hollinger's thingamajig, which I know from years past a lot of people here hate, agrees.
   240. clowns to the left of me; STEAGLES to the right Posted: April 06, 2012 at 02:44 PM (#4099552)
NJ, I just joshing you a little. You don't really have that breathless excitement that STEAGLES displayed early in the year.
in fairness, i was displaying that excitement last year, and throughout this past offseason as well. my excitement didn't start with their hot streak earlier this season, and honestly, it didn't end because of this recent stretch of losing. my fire isn't entirely gone, but it's more of a smoldering ember than a raging inferno. i think the talent is still there, but the entire team has lost focus, and they're just not going to beat miami or orlando or indiana in a 7 game series when they're playing this poorly. with the same personnel, and with an extra year of experience, they're actually a worse team now than they were last season.

   241. Famous Original Joe C Posted: April 06, 2012 at 02:50 PM (#4099559)
   242. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 06, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4099564)
Great post on Hardwood Paroxysm about the Sixers and long twos

Also, the April 4th entry here.

and they're just not going to beat miami or orlando or indiana in a 7 game series when they're playing this poorly.

Anyone else though...
   243. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 06, 2012 at 03:05 PM (#4099574)
   244. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 06, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4099580)
A couple of interesting Dwight stories (links from Point Forward):

Link 1 and Link 2.
   245. clowns to the left of me; STEAGLES to the right Posted: April 06, 2012 at 03:22 PM (#4099592)
Anyone else though...
i love the way the sixers match up against the bulls. and they can beat the celtics and the knicks and the hawks. so, yeah, against anyone else in the east, as down on the team as i am, i'd give the sixers more than a fleeting chance.
Great post on Hardwood Paroxysm about the Sixers and long twos
i can't really argue with that, but i don't think any of the statistical arguments get to the heart of the sixers struggles as well as this paragraph by kate fagan
Since around early March, guys on the team have struggled with Doug Collins’ coaching style. Look, we all knew at the beginning of last year, when Collins took over this young team, that he had a history of turning around young squads. And we also knew that he had (sometimes as early as the second season) a history of over-coaching, at which point his players tend to become frustrated and tune him out. The Sixers have been struggling with this for at least a month, if not longer. This has led to heated interactions, sometimes even in the middle of games. On more than one occasion, players have let Collins know — during a game — that they’re sick of the relentless nitpicking. This incessant nagging (or even the perception of it) leads to fractured relationships. The Sixers have reached the point where, at least some of them, have addressed this issue with Collins. Has it reached the point of tuning him out? At times. Collins has made an effort to try to step back, but he’s only occasionally successful. It’s been day to day. One day, Collins will release control and give his guys the reins; the next day, he’s all over every play, every cut, every missed screen. Frustration exists on both sides. Collins wants to figure out an answer, fix every problem. Many of the guys wish he would stop being so anxious and nervous — because it’s not helping.



maybe the shape of the sixers offense would have doomed them anyway, but i think their current issues are more chemistry-related than basketball-related.
   246. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 06, 2012 at 03:27 PM (#4099597)
There's a nice dig at Bill Simmons in this great piece on Rubio from Kahn:

"Neither of us are listening to any of the bullshit right now," Kahn says. "It's kind of ironic, the founder of your site has probably been the most hysterical, overdramatic poster child for why people should pay no mind to people who don't know."
   247. AROM Posted: April 06, 2012 at 04:09 PM (#4099635)
Lots of baseball fans think they could be successful managing a team. The more knowledgeable among them have a good case for some aspects - they probably could do as well or better in setting lineups, deciding when to bunt or steal. Probably not hard to do better than current managers in deciding if you should pinch hit for your starter in a close game, bottom of the 6th with men on base. The question is how much worse they'd be in gaining the respect of players, motivating them to play their best, and how much that really matters.

When it comes to basketball, does anybody here think they'd stand any chance in coaching an NBA team?
   248. andrewberg Posted: April 06, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4099638)
When it comes to basketball, does anybody here think they'd stand any chance in coaching an NBA team?


I had enough trouble coaching 8th grade girls. If I coached the Heat, I'd probably find a way to get them to 50 losses.
   249. Famous Original Joe C Posted: April 06, 2012 at 04:15 PM (#4099642)
When it comes to basketball, does anybody here think they'd stand any chance in coaching an NBA team?

Hellllllll no.
   250. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: April 06, 2012 at 04:28 PM (#4099654)
My coaching ability is limited to fundamentals. I'm pretty sure even Brian Scalabrine knows how to run a layup line.
   251. robinred Posted: April 06, 2012 at 04:36 PM (#4099662)
I'd keep Stan, wait out the season, and trade Dwight + Turk for the tankiest/rebuildingest package I could get (not Bynum and Steve Blake


We're clear on this point. You can relax. I think there is very little chance that Howard is coming here, as I have been saying for over a year. I do not think the Orlando FO feels the same way about Bynum that the Lakers do, and Bynum has myriad immaturity issues of his own. He has become quite a beast on O, as Lowe noted/explained in his write-up of the Lakers/Clippers game.

Orlando may wind up doing exactly what you think they should do, but as I suggested when I posted the first SVG/12 link, IMO their first play will and should be Nash/D'Antoni. Nash and Howard with floorspacers might work very well, and Nash's crowd-pleasing style and great public image would really help Orlando's optics as well as their production. For all the talk, Howard has re-upped for '13, coaches come and go, and other stars, including Magic Johnson, have forced out coaches. An Orlando team with Nash on the trigger, Howard getting dunks, Anderson nailing 3s, and getting out of the gate at 11-2 or so would make the ORL fanbase forget about SVG in seven seconds or less.

Of course, whether Nash would sign cheaply there is a very open question, but one would think that D'Antoni/Howard would make Nash take a serious look at it.

That is not a knock at SVG; he is a fine coach and as he said himself yesterday, "No one needs to worry about me. I'll get another job." But, frankly, I think people talking about keeping him and getting rid of Howard are misguided. That is not how the NBA works--ask D'Antoni and Carmelo Anthony. Howard, like James, has badly mishandled certain PR aspects of his FA, but it is not as if he has been accused of a crime, openly quit on the team, let himself get out of shape, (SVG made a point of saying in the presser last night that Howard played hard against the Knicks) or been suspended for dirty play. And, again, he decided to stay one more year.
___

Bryant is 39/63 from the floor since the New Orleans game, has been nailing everything in crunch time the last few games, and his crunch time numbers are up in general since Sessions showed up. The Lakers D, however, has struggled. Sessions is not much of a defender, Kobe and Bynum are taking a lot of plays off, are slow laterally, and they are tired from the Mike Brown-is-nervous workloads. How this plays out will be a big factor (along of course with matchups) in how they do in the post-season.

In a scheduling quirk, the Lakers and Spurs have not yet met and will play three times before the season ends.

I will be interested to see where Memphis ends up. IMO, they are better off strategically in the 6 or 7 spot, playing the Lakers or Spurs, avoiding the Clippers in RD 1, and then avoiding OKC if they get to RD 2. Lakers fans seem to be more or less unanimous in not wanting Memphis in RD 1, and while I am sure the Spurs would like a shot at payback, I doubt that they really want to see the Grizz in the first round again, either.
   252. robinred Posted: April 06, 2012 at 04:37 PM (#4099663)
Hellllllll no.


Agreed. Have only worked in that role with middle-school kids. Tough gig; as hard as teaching effectively.
   253. robinred Posted: April 06, 2012 at 05:00 PM (#4099683)
Add:

The Spurs still can get the top seed. My guess is OKC gets it, but the Spurs are right there.
   254. madvillain Posted: April 06, 2012 at 05:22 PM (#4099698)
When it comes to basketball, does anybody here think they'd stand any chance in coaching an NBA team?


No, I would be limited to VDN style coaching. Run the pick and roll as my main offense and tell the guys to try hard on defense and play a bunch of zone if that doesn't work.
   255. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: April 06, 2012 at 05:25 PM (#4099702)
When it comes to basketball, does anybody here think they'd stand any chance in coaching an NBA team?


Nope.

If you're going to trade Howard, I'd much rather receive Bynum than Lopez and a bunch of late 1st round picks, which is where the Nets will pick if they have DWill, Wallace, and Howard.
   256. smileyy Posted: April 06, 2012 at 07:32 PM (#4099753)
I wouldn't be worse than some coaches. I'd be useless, but so are the coaches whose teams have quit on them or coaches who were never be able to connect. In short, there are replacement level coach/team combinations in the league
   257. smileyy Posted: April 06, 2012 at 07:37 PM (#4099754)
So, OKC is really Damn good, and the fact that the Spurs are right there is quite the accomplishment.Popovich and the front office do an amazing job.
   258. Der-K thinks the Essex Green were a good band. Posted: April 06, 2012 at 09:07 PM (#4099776)
I'd be clueless - coaching basketball is hard. (so is refing it, I lasted all of 1 game)
   259. Tripon Posted: April 06, 2012 at 10:06 PM (#4099790)
Isiah Thomas fired at FIU. The ESPN article on the firing is stunning on how Thomas thinks he done nothing EVER in his post-playing career.
   260. JC in DC Posted: April 06, 2012 at 10:24 PM (#4099795)
Memphis really looks good right now, with the health of Randolph and even the add of Arenas.

Unrelated, but I'm becoming a big DeMarcus Cousins fan.
   261. smileyy Posted: April 06, 2012 at 10:32 PM (#4099796)
on how Thomas thinks he done nothing EVER in his post-playing career.


I assume there's a word missing in there, but yeah, that sounds about right.

Isiah Thomas has so little self-awareness, I'm not sure he sees himself in the mirror.
   262. smileyy Posted: April 06, 2012 at 10:34 PM (#4099797)
Can people who know things about college recruiting tell me about Chris Thomas? He was/is the Rivals #5 recruit who's going to JUCO, then apparently to Xavier. I wasn't exactly amazed by his mixtapes, but its also possible the tapes aren't doing a good job of showing what he's good at.
   263. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: April 06, 2012 at 11:17 PM (#4099802)
San Antonio's bench scored 82 points tonight. Is that a record?
   264. madvillain Posted: April 07, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4099948)
what's the Lebron Story

Here's how my friend remembers it: "They were excited in the huddle because they knew they were close (to finishing Dallas off). I was right there, I was sitting three feet away from their trainer. LeBron sat down and started chewing his fingers. I remember (assistant coach) Bob McAdoo and a few other bench guys kept coming over, slapping him on the shoulder and saying, 'Come on, Bron, take us home.' And he was just staring into space and chewing his nails. I remember AT THAT MOMENT wondering, 'How would MJ be right now?' I thought for sure LeBron would get fired up and feed off those guys. He looked like he wanted no part of it! So they go back out and Dallas starts coming back. Next timeout, same thing. 'Come on, Bron, take us home.' And he's staring into space and chewing his nails. I could see Wade's face. Remember, Wade played his ass off in those Dallas games. Wade had this look on his face like, 'Oh, #### me.' That was when I knew Dallas could win. I don't think LeBron has it in him. I will never forget watching that from that close. I feel like I witnessed history and actually felt that way as it was happening."
   265. smileyy Posted: April 07, 2012 at 02:39 PM (#4099983)
The Legend of Michael Jordan would tell the assistant coach and the bench to go *($# themselves -- he doesn't need them to tell him its time for him to win the game for them.
   266. madvillain Posted: April 07, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4100018)
Seems like teams are just dragging towards the finish. Miami, Chicago and OKC have all fallen off a bit this past week. Except of course, Pops' Spurs. I guess his strategy of resting guys has paid off big time.

Rose said all his other injuries are completely healed and that his groin is feeling pretty good. Tmr should be exciting. A possible 1st round preview.
   267. robinred Posted: April 07, 2012 at 05:36 PM (#4100050)
I guess his strategy of resting guys has paid off big time


Maybe. There is clearly a connection between the Spurs' remarkable ability to find useful role players and the fact that Popovich actually plays his role players. The compressed schedule has probably underlined the value there.

OTOH, looking at the playoffs, the Spurs lost 4-1 in the first round in 2009, got swept in the 2nd round in 2010, and lost an 8/1 matchup in 2011. One can (and SA fans do) say that Popovich's strategies were impactful all along and the fact that Ginobili was not 100%/not there caused the defeats. But I think that this year the "Don't sleep on the Spurs!" and the "The media diss the Spurs!" narratives should be balanced by the fact that the Spurs have simply not done much in the playoffs recently. So I am a Spurs skeptic at the moment. Even if SA gets the 1 seed, I still see OKC as the clear if not overhelming favorite, and if the Spurs do make it to the Finals, I think it will be more about Ginobili than about their depth or about Popovich's careful monitoring of minutes.



   268. Maxwn Posted: April 07, 2012 at 08:45 PM (#4100122)
The Grizzlies decided that holding the Heat to 12 pts in the 1st worked so well that they should hold Dallas to 10. Dallas made their second shot from the field with 16 secs in the 1st. 13% shooting.
   269. Maxwn Posted: April 07, 2012 at 09:29 PM (#4100128)
I will be interested to see where Memphis ends up. IMO, they are better off strategically in the 6 or 7 spot, playing the Lakers or Spurs, avoiding the Clippers in RD 1, and then avoiding OKC if they get to RD 2. Lakers fans seem to be more or less unanimous in not wanting Memphis in RD 1, and while I am sure the Spurs would like a shot at payback, I doubt that they really want to see the Grizz in the first round again, either.
I disagree with this, essentially. I would rather play the Clippers than any of the other 3. They've beaten us twice this year, but I just don't really believe in them. I think MEM could also still pass LAC for the 4 and HCA in the 1st rd. If SAS manages to nab the 1 from OKC, LAC/SAS seems like a vastly better 1/2 rd potential pairing than LAL/OKC.

It's very possible that you are right, robin, and LAC is a worse matchup than LAL or SAS, but I'm not convinced. 2 games is not really enough to tell and in the abstract I think they are a worse team than the OKC/SAS/LAL troika by enough to matter. Add in the fact that the DAL/DEN/HOS group is certainly capable of throwing in a first-round upset on someone and I think the Grizz should just try to get as high in the seeding as they can to maximize their odds of getting HCA in a series or two.

   270. Into the Void Posted: April 07, 2012 at 10:38 PM (#4100142)
I understand that the Sixers are tanking so they can sweep the Bulls in the first round, but if they aren't careful they're going to miss the playoffs altogether.
   271. robinred Posted: April 07, 2012 at 10:43 PM (#4100143)
If Memphis can actually get up to 4, they are better off there, and if SA gets the 1, that changes the calculus. The Grizz winning tonight pulls them temporarily to within one game of the Clippers--but Memphis is as close to 8 as to 4.

Also, there is no particular reason to think that the Lakers are better than the Clippers. They have identical point differentials and the records are very close. Neither squad has a coach that anybody trusts or respects or has proven he can run a playoff series. Lakers fans are hoping that the lighter post-season schedule and a slower pace will help the team, and that might be true. But the Paul factor will be a big one come post-season, and Griffin, even with a few warts, is rough for anybody to deal with. The Clippers have some holes, but they will be a very tough out.

In any case, I won't be surprised if the Grizzlies are in the NBA Finals, nor will I be surprised if they lose in RD 1.

As an aside, along those lines, the current playoff races really show that the NBA doesn't have anything resembling a "competitive balance problem." I am sure Stern would tell you that the original Paul deal would have created one, of course.
   272. robinred Posted: April 07, 2012 at 10:50 PM (#4100145)
Kobe is not playing tonight, BTW, due to the shin bruise. Ebanks, taking his place as a starter after about 30 straight DNPs, is 5-7 from the floor. Bynum, eating first, is 4/14. Lakers down 2 in the 2nd q.

I complained in pre-season about the Lakers FO signing Kapono instead of Michael Redd.
   273. Maxwn Posted: April 07, 2012 at 11:45 PM (#4100158)
The Grizz winning tonight pulls them temporarily to within one game of the Clippers--but Memphis is as close to 8 as to 4.

No, they aren't. Even if LAC wins tonight, the Grizz will be 1 1/2 back(only 1 in the loss column) with a game against the Clips in Memphis on Monday. Meanwhile they are 2 games up on the 7/8 and more importantly there are 3 teams between them and the 8. It's fairly tight in both cases, but they are absolutely closer to the 4 than the 8. Also, the Grizz just made it through the toughest part of their schedule, going 5-2 in their 7 games in 9 days stretch. They play LAC on Mon and SAS on Thurs. After that they don't play another playoff team until ORL in the season finale. They ought to be able to win a lot these games. LAC plays a much tougher schedule. The Grizz should be gunning for them.

Also, there is no particular reason to think that the Lakers are better than the Clippers.

Sure there are. There also reasons to think the Clips are better or equivalent, which you mentioned. But the core of this Lakers team was a great team in very recent history, they just shored up their most glaring weakness at the deadline, and they have 3 legitimately great players. The Clippers have 2, and I'm not totally sold on Griffin, at least at this point in his career. I also think you're handwaving away the Vinny Del Negro factor by equating him and Mike Brown. I'm no fan of Brown, but he's won quite a bit more in his NBA tenure than Vinny, including in the playoffs. Team context explains a lot of that, I suppose you can argue it explains all of it, but I suspect he's a fair bit better.

Maybe Paul is enough to make up for those issues, but at the moment I think the Lakers are a bit better and more likely to be dangerous in the playoffs. I don't think matchup advantages do much to change that, partially because I am unconvinced that the Lakers are actually a better matchup for the Grizzlies.

I don't know what's going on with Kobe's shin thing though. Obviously if he's out or significantly impaired, I would rather play LAL.
   274. robinred Posted: April 08, 2012 at 12:37 AM (#4100165)
No, they aren't.


Prior to tonight's games:

3. LAL 35-21
4. LAC 33-22
5. MEM 31-23
6. DAL 31-25
7. HOU 30-25
8. DEN 30-25

Denver is losing, the Lakers lost, but the Clippers are winning, (although they are only up 8) as I noted they likely would in the post. But I posted that about 10 minutes after Denver tipped off. Beating Dallas put Memphis two up on Dallas, and if Denver loses (down 8) they will be 2.5 up on them. But Memphis is still probably going to be 1.5 out of fourth. If you want to make a big deal out of it, go ahead.

As far as Brown, you can "suspect" whatever you want, but I have seen about 35 Lakers games this year, so trust me on this, it is not a question of "handwaving." One basic point: defense, what Brown is supposedly good at. The Lakers team D has been very bad lately, worse than it was with Fisher. They got torched for 112 last night and 125 tonight. Part of that, I think, is simple fatigue. Part of it is Sessions and Blake. Part of it is being old and slow. Part of it is game planning. But whatever it is, it needs to be improved in a hell of a hurry if they are going to go anywhere. The Clippers, meanwhile, have been playing well since all the "Will Vinny get canned" stories ran. I really like Sessions and what he has done for the O, but the Lakers are now only 8-6 since the trade.

"Great" is a subjective term, but Kobe, Pau, and Bynum are all a bit short of that level at this point, I think. They all have PERs around 22-23; their D, indiviudally and collectively, has not been good lately. I don't consider 2009 "very recent history" in NBA team-evaluation terms, and that was the only year this group was a great team. It is nowhere near to being a great team now, and that is what matters. Kobe supposedly has a bad shin bruise. If that is all it is and he gets 2-3 games off, it might actually end up helping the Lakers. We will see.

As to Memphis' schedule advantages, Memphis can beat anybody, and they can lose to almost anybody. Same with the Clippers, and as we have seen, teams seem to go up and down a lot in this compressed schedule. Given the competitive ecology of the West, I would want to see more details to be convinced. For example, tonight was the Lakers 5th game in 7 nights and last night, Houston had had a couple of days off. Toss in Bynum's ejection, Kobe's shin, and little margin for error, and there you go.

   275. clowns to the left of me; STEAGLES to the right Posted: April 08, 2012 at 01:32 AM (#4100173)
I understand that the Sixers are tanking so they can sweep the Bulls in the first round, but if they aren't careful they're going to miss the playoffs altogether.
there's no strategy to this, and there's no gamesmanship. the team is just falling apart.
   276. Spivey Posted: April 08, 2012 at 01:52 AM (#4100175)
I'm a bit of a Mike Brown apologist. When was the last time his team finished with a regular season record where you would have said "they should have done better". He took LeBron and a lot of spare parts to a 66 win season, among other things. LeBron, Wade, and Bosh - with a coach I think most agree is at least solid - haven't put up a winning percentage that good yet.
   277. Booey Posted: April 08, 2012 at 02:58 AM (#4100187)
As an aside, along those lines, the current playoff races really show that the NBA doesn't have anything resembling a "competitive balance problem." I am sure Stern would tell you that the original Paul deal would have created one, of course.

I'm not sure if this is true. Since more than half the teams in the league make the playoffs, doing that alone doesn't prove "competitive balance." In most seasons, two thirds of even the playoff teams have no realistic shot of winning the title. Since 1980, only 9 different franchises have won a championship.

When small market teams without a top superstar like Memphis actually start winning titles rather than just making the playoffs, then I'll concede that competitive balance has been reached. But I'm not expecting it to happen this season.
   278. robinred Posted: April 08, 2012 at 04:32 AM (#4100195)
When small market teams without a top superstar like Memphis actually start winning titles rather than just making the playoffs, then I'll concede that competitive balance has been reached.


__

This will never happen. The nature of the sport is such that teams with "top superstars" win titles most of the time and that will always be the case. But being in position to win a title doesn't really have much to do with market size, as the Thunder and the Spurs clearly demonstrate. The current Bulls have a very fine team, but the way it was put together has very little, if anything, to do with the size of the Chicago market. In the 1990s, the Jazz were in position to win titles when they had two Hall of Famers in the lineup and a HOF coach. They couldn't beat Jordan, but neither could anyone else. But they had a serious shot playing in a small market and made the NBA Finals twice.

Today, there are several pretty good teams in both conferences, most of the bad teams have some guys to place hopes on, and the best teams all have flaws and are beatable. The two top teams in the West are both small-market teams. That is the type of "competitive balance" you are going to get in the NBA.
   279. robinred Posted: April 08, 2012 at 04:43 AM (#4100196)
I'm a bit of a Mike Brown apologist.


This is certainly a reasonable position. But in watching the guy for a full season, I see little reason to believe that he is really helping the team or that he can manage the egos and the tactics successfully enough to get the team to its playoff ceiling, which is probably the WCF. The Lakers have been fortunate with injuries. Bynum has missed one game due to injury, Kobe one, and Pau zero. With that being the case, I think most coaches could have the Lakers at 35-22.

I didn't explain myself very well, in that I wasn't trying to say "Brown is exactly as crappy as Del Negro." He may be, but I kind of doubt it. But I stand by the point that Brown, like VDN, does not seem to be a guy whom a team's players (and fanbase) should feel confident about going into a crowded and contested post-season.

   280. smileyy Posted: April 08, 2012 at 11:33 AM (#4100262)
Echoing rr, when's the last time a large market team without a top superstar won a title. The list of title winners without a top star starts and ends at that Pistons team.
   281. tshipman Posted: April 08, 2012 at 12:23 PM (#4100278)
Echoing rr, when's the last time a large market team without a top superstar won a title. The list of title winners without a top star starts and ends at that Pistons team.


You could arguably say that the Boston title was most similar to the Pistons. KG wasn't the same player as earlier in his career, nor was Paul Pierce.

Even if you grant the 2008 Celtics, though, those teams are the only examples of teams without superstars since the '79 SuperSonics.

If you look at teams that lost in the finals as well (since there isn't a ton of difference in quality between winning and losing the finals), you get the Pistons for another year, arguably the Celtics in 2010 (depending on how you feel about Rondo) and the 1999 Knicks in the lockout year.

It's really, really rare to do very well in the playoffs without the Super Star type player.
   282. robinred Posted: April 08, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4100310)
29-11? Just got back from a workout and turned Bulls/Knicks on.

29-17 now.
   283. smileyy Posted: April 08, 2012 at 01:35 PM (#4100313)
Last years Dallas team was also similar, depending on how little you think of Dirk's career (but he did play out of his mind, if I remember the playoffs right)
   284. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: April 08, 2012 at 01:41 PM (#4100317)
Last years Dallas team was also similar, depending on how little you think of Dirk's career (but he did play out of his mind, if I remember the playoffs right)

I'm unaware of the assessment in which one of the best players in NBA history doesn't rank as a superstar.
   285. Charley Root of All Evil Posted: April 08, 2012 at 01:45 PM (#4100320)
robin, I don't know whether this was by design or by lack of energy, but Rose was functionally out there...not even as a decoy, but as a warm body, for about the first 4-5 minutes. One pass and then standing around watching on the weak side on offense. The Bulls tried to get him involved with some high P-R after that but everyone including him was playing like the ball was greased. Hamilton and Rose both looked very, very bad.

Bench mob might make a game of this but I'm not holding my breath.
   286. robinred Posted: April 08, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4100331)
I think Nowitzki qualifies as a "top superstar" and certainly did even prior to last season. What made Dallas unusual was that they had one star and didn't really have a true "#2" like Pau, Ginobili, 2000-2002 Kobe, Pippen, etc. Chandler/Barea/Marion/Terry/Kidd et al played well enough, they played well enough together, and Nowitzki was so great in the playoffs, that they won anyway. In that sense, Dallas was kind of like the 2003 Spurs (Duncan) and the 1994 Rockets (Olajuwon).

We discussed this right after the CBA settlement, but the new CBA seems to have been created with the idea that about 15 teams will have one star apiece, no one will really be able to afford more than two if that, and that if, say, Charlotte or Sacramento gets one, it will cost that guy a fair amount of money if he decides he wants to play the second half of his career in New York or LA. Whether that will work or will be a good thing remains to be seen, and of course the CBA was ultimately mostly about getting more money for the owners. To the degree it was about "competitive balance" it seems to have been based on the idea that the Heat are bad for the NBA, and as I have said many times, I simply do not think that's true. One could argue that 2 or 3 "Heats" would mess up the league and I said myself in pre-season that the Lakers getting Paul and Howard would have pissed enough people off that it might have been a problem.

We have seen many teams with several very good players but no Top-10 guy that came very close (Pacers, Kings, Blazers) and there are teams like that now that might have a shot over the next 2-3 years (Pacers, Grizzlies) but the odds are against them.

   287. tshipman Posted: April 08, 2012 at 02:00 PM (#4100334)
Melo since the D'Antoni firing:

20 points, 6.5 boards, 3.2 assists, 6.2 FTA on 44% shooting (49% from 2p).

If he stopped shooting 3pers, he'd be a legit stud. Today's game will improve those numbers most likely.
   288. Booey Posted: April 08, 2012 at 02:03 PM (#4100341)
But being in position to win a title doesn't really have much to do with market size, as the Thunder and the Spurs clearly demonstrate.

But haven't you noticed that all these small market teams that are in good position to win titles rarely ever actually do? (the Spurs are the only exception) They're often on the wrong end of an officiating blunder (or several) that prevents it from happening (Jordan's infamous push off and the two blatant shot clock miscalls that sunk the Jazz in the 1998 Finals, LJ's ridiculous 4 point play that screwed Indiana in the 1999 ECF, the horrendous free throw disparity in the 4th quarter of game 7 that sent the Lakers to the finals over the Blazers in the 2000 WCF, the Tim Donaughy game that gave the Lakers game 6 over the Kings in 2002, etc).

The current Bulls have a very fine team, but the way it was put together has very little, if anything, to do with the size of the Chicago market

I'm not sure about that. Boozer bolting Utah for Chicago very likely had something to do with market size. And I doubt the Bulls will have trouble re-signing Rose when his contract is up the same way that New Orleans had with Paul or the Jazz were anticipating having with Williams. People often say that small market teams need to win 50 games a year in order to keep their stars, but that's not even true; Cleveland, Utah, Phoenix, and Denver all WERE winning 50+ games a season, but that didn't stop LeBron, Boozer, Stoudemire, or Melo from jumping ship to Miami, Chicago, and New York (all teams with WORSE records than their former teams the previous year, BTW).

In the 1990s, the Jazz were in position to win titles when they had two Hall of Famers in the lineup and a HOF coach. They couldn't beat Jordan, but neither could anyone else. But they had a serious shot playing in a small market and made the NBA Finals twice.

Oh trust me, as a lifelong Utahn and diehard Jazz fan, I'm well aware of this. But in the 1990's Jazz case, even though they had 2 HOF players and a HOF coach, their market size (or the negative reputation of SLC itself) made it very hard for them to sign decent free agent role players to help them fill in their holes. They needed another rebounder and inside scoring threat desperately, and probably another 3 point shooter too. But because no one wanted to play in Utah, they were generally forced to try and develop productive players from their own very low first round and second round draft picks. Other top competitors in larger markets didn't have this much trouble finding a worthwhile supporting cast.

Echoing rr, when's the last time a large market team without a top superstar won a title. The list of title winners without a top star starts and ends at that Pistons team.

Exactly. The 2004 Pistons are the only team since 1979 to win a title without having a player that ranked in the top 5 players in the game at the time and the top 25 or 30 players of all time. The 2008 Celtics don't qualify; when you factor in defense, Garnett was still a top 5 guy back then.

since there isn't a ton of difference in quality between winning and losing the finals

That's not always true. The post-Jordan Eastern Conference was an absolute trainwreck between 1999-2007. Finals teams like the 1999 Knicks, 2001 Sixers, 2002-2003 Nets, and 2007 Cavs had no business even sniffing the Finals. They'd have been gone in the first round if they played in the west.
   289. Booey Posted: April 08, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4100347)
To the degree it was about "competitive balance" it seems to have been based on the idea that the Heat are bad for the NBA, and as I have said many times, I simply do not think that's true.

I absolutely think the Heat and the way they built their team is bad for the NBA, as are the Lakers (how the hell did they get Pau Gasol for Kwame Brown?), Celtics (Kevin McHale giftwrapping Minnesota's best player for his former team? Nice), and Knicks (hadn't had a winning record for 10 years cuz of horrible management and still pick up two top superstars just cuz of the city they play in). Teams like OKC, SA, Memphis, and Indiana are good for the league.

Just cuz having all the top teams/stars in the largest markets usually means higher ratings, it doesn't make it good for the league. Dallas beating the Heat last year was the best thing that could've happened. When all the top talent is loaded onto 5-6 superfriends teams, it makes the sport pretty much irrelevant in the rest of the markets.
   290. Booey Posted: April 08, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4100351)
We have seen many teams with several very good players but no Top-10 guy that came very close (Pacers, Kings, Blazers)

And all 3 of these teams were jobbed by horrendous calls. Maybe it's changing a bit now, but in the late 90's and early 2000's, the WWE level officiating specifically did everything they could to make sure teams like this wouldn't win championships. I'm generally not a conspiracy theorist, but there was too much of a pattern of this back then to simply be a coincidence.
   291. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: April 08, 2012 at 02:39 PM (#4100364)
The tech on Shumpert was so ####### weak. Hate the NBA sometimes.
   292. robinred Posted: April 08, 2012 at 02:50 PM (#4100371)
Booey,

I absolutely think the Heat and the way they built their team is bad for the NBA, as are the Lakers (how the hell did they get Pau Gasol for Kwame Brown?), Celtics (Kevin McHale giftwrapping Minnesota's best player for his former team? Nice), and Knicks (hadn't had a winning record for 10 years cuz of horrible management and still pick up two top superstars just cuz of the city they play in). Teams like OKC, SA, Memphis, and Indiana are good for the league.


I have heard all that before, and frankly, I think it is mostly just air and small-market fan anger, mostly centered on the Heat and coming from small-market Western Conference fans who hate the Lakers. Saw a lot of it on mainstream sites prior to the CBA. It's OK if you feel that way, but it has very little to do with analysis or the health of the league. Revenues, ratings, etc--all going strong. I note that you mostly left out the Spurs, who have been at or near the top of the league for 15 years, lucked into two franchise big men, benefited greatly from a controversial ref decision in 2007, and have won four titles. You left out the fact that Durant has already re-upped with the Thunder and they are primed to be in the championship conversation for years to come. You left out the fact that the Grizzlies got Marc Gasol in the Pau deal and it has wound up helping them. You left out the fact that Minnesota now has a star who has also re-upped. Get a star, run the team right, and you can win--wherever your team plays.

As to the Bulls:

a) Rose has already re-upped.
b) He is from Chicago.
c) The Bulls have a quality coach and are a strong contender.

Those aren't market size issues.

If Boozer is about market size, why did he sign with Utah to begin with? Also, many Bulls fans are not all that happy with Boozer or his deal.

Anthony did want to play in New York. But James left in large part because he decided he couldn't win with the guys around him in Cleveland, and Stoudemire left because the Knicks offered him a lot of money and the Suns aren't contenders anymore. And, of course, the Knicks are not that good--likely headed for an 8th seed and a first-round exit.

I am aware that you are a Utah fan; that is why I included the Jazz. When they had stars and the right coach, they were contenders--like anybody else. As to your narrative that the market prevented them from getting the pieces they needed, that may be, but:

Whoever they got, the other team had Jordan. They didn't.
Cold-weather small markets will always be at a disadvantage to some extent. Nothing Stern does will ever change that.

The reality is that you probably need a variety of narratives, including big markets and charismatic superstars, for a healthy league.
   293. robinred Posted: April 08, 2012 at 02:52 PM (#4100374)
69-67. Rose got warmed up, it appears.
   294. Squash Posted: April 08, 2012 at 02:56 PM (#4100380)
Man you could just tell the Knicks were going to give that huge lead back.
   295. robinred Posted: April 08, 2012 at 03:05 PM (#4100391)
Yeah, the Bulls are tough.

   296. Tripon Posted: April 08, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4100394)
I personally think if you want all teams to get 'healthy' both large and small market teams, you need to do several things.

1) make the NBDL a true minor league where you can stash players who don't make your team so they can still develop under your watch. Maybe put a service time requirement similar to baseball where you don't accrue service time in the minors for say, the first two years of your career. I realize that the players won't go for this without major concessions. A compromise might be for only players who were not drafted are subject to this.

2) Expand rosters and let teams decide how many players they need on that roster.

3) Get rid of the dumb 'can't trade 1st rounders' in successive years rule. It was an over reaction to a truly incompetent owner. Its unneeded now.

4) Either place a hard cap, or no cap at all, or alternatively, switch to a heavily punitive luxury tax model. A hard cap will dissuade teams from trading at all, forcing all moves to either the off season or waivers, and forcing teams to go with the hand you're dealt with. No cap will actually spur more trades since teams don't have to bother with salary cap implications. You either can afford to take on the team's salary or you can't. You can argue with the team you're trading with to help pay for the salary if you want. Right now, a team with a bad contract they can't trade just waives him with most of the salary paid out and still on the books.

   297. robinred Posted: April 08, 2012 at 03:20 PM (#4100397)
Add,

As to the ref conspiracy issues, I have heard that before, as well. Has been discussed here many times. There is something to it, probably, but the best team wins the NBA title almost every year. I have talked in detail about the 2000 and 2002 Lakers, so won't rehash it again.

As to 1998 Bulls/Jazz series, one thing Jazz fans never mention: it seems like the league would have killed for a Game 7 that year. Jordan trying to top Game 6, with Pippen banged up (Jazz fans never mention that, either--that Pippen was hurt), trying to get the second three-peat in a hostile environment in the first Game 7 in the Finals of his career. Must-see TV. So I have never been totally sure what the motivation was supposed to be for fixing Game 6 for the Bulls.

I have always thought the 2006 Mavericks have the best "the refs screwed us" narrative. But even they didn't get to a Game 7. The 2002 Kings have a good one based on Game 6, but they always skip what happened in Game 7.
   298. robinred Posted: April 08, 2012 at 03:25 PM (#4100401)
Good stuff (from Abbott!) via a Suns blog on the PHX training staff:

http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/40143/the-secrets-of-the-suns-training-staff

Wonder if Nash will actually stay.
   299. Maxwn Posted: April 08, 2012 at 03:27 PM (#4100402)
I cosign most of robin's 292.

That said, if the Grizzlies winning the title will ease Booey's mind about competitive balance, I would be glad to see it happen.
   300. Squash Posted: April 08, 2012 at 03:31 PM (#4100406)
Man I'm not big on Rose's decision making in the last few minutes of this game.
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