Saturday, November 21, 2009

T-Mac says he's ready, is he?

ATLANTA -- Tracy McGrady is eager to play. The Houston Rockets say he'll have to wait.

The seven-time All-Star had microfracture surgery on his left knee in February, but insisted before Friday night's game against the streaking Atlanta Hawks that he's fully recovered.

"Right now, I could play," he said.

Not so fast. The Rockets believe McGrady needs more time and would risk hurting his knee again if he comes back too soon. The next step is an MRI exam on Monday.

"We have a difference of opinion," coach Rick Adelman said. "He wants to play. He's not ready to play. It's as simple as that."

Both sides denied a Yahoo! Sports report that the situation degenerated into a heated argument before the Rockets' previous game at Minnesota. The report quoted a person close to McGrady who was not identified.

"I don't know where that came from," McGrady said. "We talked but it was nothing that was reported like that. I mean, screaming and all."

Adelman shrugged off the report as "our world of the Internet."

"It seems like nowadays people want to dwell on one particular thing that may be newsworthy," he said. "Or maybe catch your eye when you look at it."

Whether the argument actually happened, it's clear that McGrady considers himself much further along in his recovery than the team's timetable.

"I don't know," he said. "It's all about what they want to do."

- Source

Tracy McGrady, used to be my favorite player in the league when I was younger, still is one of them, but this is what I want to see. Over the years the one thing I criticized him on was the lack of passion, the lack of fire, he was more of a player that relied a lot more on his talent rather than working hard because damn... he is pretty damned talented and athletic. But really, if he had it in him to really work hard, had a Kobe-like type of mentality to take care of his body and work on his game, the possibilities are endless, hell, we might be saying that someone other than #24 and #23 (soon to be #6) is currently the best player in the league. Him wanting to come back early really sounds good.

What could T-Mac have worked on? Like I just said taking care of his body, Kobe went through a number of injuries himself, but he had the tenacity to get through it all and get better ASAP, he even played through numerous injuries that most players will sit out with. All T-Mac had to do over the past couple of years was sneeze and his back would go out, and he'd be out for a couple of weeks.

Efficiency, could do anything and everything you want a guard to do, drive, slash, dish, shoot, finish inside, had a post game, but he never really shot the ball particularly well. He has a career 43%FG and 33% from downtown. Not horrible, but that's barely below average. While he had everything in his repertoire, T-Mac always liked to use screens not to drive to the hole, but to stop and pop it even when he had open lanes to the basket. One reason why his percentages aren't that good. In the post-season it's not much better, his FG is around the same at 43%, but his shooting actually goes down. Goes from 33% on the outside to 30%. His averages are higher, he averages more points, rebounds, and assists in the post-season, but he just puts so much unnecessary pressure on himself that he needs to just play the game. I think that's what gets to him. He has stated before, "This team is going to go as far as I take them" and while that may be true to a certain extent, it's not ALL on you T-Mac. There are 4 other guys on the floor, and at least 12 guys on the bench with the same jersey ready to come in and contribute at any time. A lot of the game is mental, and I really do believe that T-Mac thinks he's all alone out there. Sure he's had Yao Ming, but you can't just go in with a "it's us two against the world" type of mentality, what about the other guys? Take advantage of your advantage, and while T-Mac is a very talented player and can take over at any given time, he tries to do it too much in the post-season, his nickname "Me-Mac" begins to manifest itself and he constantly tries to will his team to victory, which is what you want from a star player... but not all the time.

I guess you can't really blame him though, he's also right when he asks who has he ever had? Ming's always injured, Grant Hill was injured back in Orlando, and T-Mac was out while Artest was in Houston. Aside from those guys, he really has been surrounded by nothing but role players. Like I said in my last post, think Pau Gasol with the Grizzlies. All role players that fit perfectly with your star player is fine, but not one player has ever shown that he could do it all by himself. Although there was one year where T-Mac could have had a chance to advance, and that was back in '05 when he and Yao Ming took the Mavericks to a 7 game series in the first round, but again this is where T-Mac's mental ability comes into play. T-Mac started that game really really cold, shooting as poor as you can get (missed his first 7 of 8 shots), and got frustrated early in that game picking up an unnecessary technical, as the Mavericks took advantage and blew out T-Mac's Rockets by 40+ points.

Again it all boils down to his state of mind. Does he have the passion, the fire? Does he really have it in him to advance his team to the next round? Is he looking too much into himself to win the game? He's had his chances, and was just unable to deliver. It was more of the same in 2007 against the Jazz in the first round. 7-game series and the superstar T-Mac couldn't pull out the victory on his own home floor after winning the first three home games in that round.

Like I said with Jennings, T-Mac has "it", and while his situation is different the problem still is what he's doing with "it". Reports are saying that T-Mac looks like a new guy and feels really good. This article says T-Mac really wants to come back and that's already a good step forward for him so start really proving his worth. I remember reading an article about him going through some therapy this past summer that I can't find, it said that T-Mac's working with a new trainer and it has him feeling better then ever. He supposedly was able to dunk off his legs a lot faster after not being able to with past treatments.

If any of this is true, I'm looking forward to a resurgent T-Mac to see if he could reignite the fan-ship we all once had with him. So far everything looks and sounds right, he even changed his number to signify a new start. Kobe really changed as a player when changing to #24. Let's hope that it's the same for the Mac.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Early Team Profiling: Toronto Raptors (Current Record: 5-7)

C: Andrea Bargnani
PF: Chris Bosh
SF: Hedo Turkoglu
SG: DeMar DeRozan
PG: Jose Calderon

6th Man: G Marco Belinelli

Key Bench Players: G Jarret Jack, F Antoine Wright, F Amir Johnson, C Pops Mensah-Bonsu

Bench Warmers: G Marcus Banks, G Sonny Weems, C Patrick O'Bryant

Head Coach: Jay Triano


Points: Chris Bosh | 28.6

Rebounds: Chris Bosh | 12.3

Assists: Jose Calderon | 6.3

Steals: Jose Calderon | 0.83

Blocks: Andrea Bargnani | 1.25

Overview: This team went through a big overhaul in the 2009 offseason in an attempt to keep Chris Bosh around and show him that they can build a contender around him. As it is, Bosh is the face of this franchise, sometimes quite literally because when he does his war cry he looks like a Raptor... actually he pretty much just looks like one overall. The problem with that is, Bosh is not a real superstar type of player. Can do anything and everything you want a post-player to do, he can be a first option, but in my view while he is a very good player, if he wants a championship, he's gonna have to settle and be more of a 2nd option side-kick type. Think Pau Gasol with the Grizzlies, everything was based around him, they surrounded him with shooters, slashers, complimentary post-players, had a very good team built around him and his skill set, yet they were always at the bottom of the playoff pile. The Raptors do not have that player do not have that Bryant, Wade, James, or Paul type of player that could knock in the walk-off homerun when the game is on the line. Another situation if they can't find a such a player, (because really, how many are there in the league?) Toronto may want to try to find themselves in is a team like Detroit's championship teams (Billups/Hamilton/Prince/Wallaces), or right now, Boston's big three(Allen/Pierce/Garnett). They all have very good a slew of very good players, none of them were really true superstar types, but they all helped each other to win it all. No matter what team you are, that's not a bad situation to have because the goal is to win it all, right?

Offense: For now the Raptors are averaging 106 PPG good for 5th in the league. Shoot's a combined 46% FG (11th), 39% 3pFG (4th), and 77% FT (7th) so they're a very efficient offensive team. Andrea Bargnani is finally looking like the player they thought he would be when they drafted him 1st overall back in 2006, he's second on the team scoring 17.9 PPG, shooting 47%FG, and 41.8% from downtown. The thing with Bargnani is that he doesn't really compliment Bosh's style of play. Both of them are face up post players and that's where Toronto is hurting the most in the front court. While Bosh does his best, Toronto doesn't have a true bruiser that does the dirty work down low(offensively you want size, a guy that could push people around, throw it down low to and let him do work on occasion) ala Kendrick Perkins, Erick Dampier, etc. Sometimes the best defense, is to make the other teams play defense. Get a team tired and frustrated down low, it could make all the diffrence at the end of the game. With that said, the Raptors play a weird combo type of ball, On one side and during certain sets they're very European. In other words, they're shooters first, do everything else second (Calderon, Belinelli, Turkoglu, Bargnani) . The other unit however, mainly DeRozan, Jack, Johnson, and Wright are more American street ball type of players. Sometimes they do combos like a Calderon/Jack backcourt, with TurkeyGlue/Johnson/Bosh up front. So far this type of versatility has been working... offensively. While Bosh is the go-to guy they use Calderon a lot for a lot of screen and rolls, or screens to open him up for jump shots. They use the screen and roll/pop in a lot of different ways. When it's in DeRozan's or their other slashers hands, Bosh and Bargnani screen and pop out. DeRozan has the option to either take it to the hole, or drive and dish. For Calderon & Turkoglu it's the opposite, set the screen and roll to the basket, or have Calderon and Turkoglu pop up for the J' or dish to an open teammate. Just your classic screen and roll/pop team. Very effective for what they have.

Defense: Defensively is where the Raptors are hurting, and bad. They give up 107 ppg, 47%FG, & 40% 3pFG. As I alluded to earlier, the Raptors don't have that bruiser down low that does the dirty work. Outside of Bosh, they don't have a guy getting down low and grabbing rebounds (Bargnani's second on the team with only 6.2 RPG as a team Toronto's 19th in rebounding!). Speaking of that, while Bosh and Bargnani are very good offensively, their defense leaves much to be desired. Barg's doesn't have the strength to bang down low, so he gets pushed around a lot, and while he's improved he's not a great shot blocker either. He's also pretty slow so defending perimeter oriented big men is a problem as well on his man and stepping in to clog the lanes. Subjected to dumb fouls as well. He's pretty bad overall defensively. As for Bosh, he has the speed and athleticism to counter the perimeter big men, good help defender, is a good weak side shot blocker, gets his fair share of steals for a big buy, but his one on one defense is hurtful. He has trouble against real low-post players, and against lower tier teams this is fine, but the real contenders have those guys that can really play their backs to the basket so this is a problem in the long run. Turkoglu, offers a lot of offense, but just Barg's, doesn't offer much defensively. He's smart, crafty, has length, always puts a hand up, and he tries so that's good, the problem is his foot speed, the other thing higher-tier teams have good slashers on the wings and that's what kills him and the Raptors. Their perimeter defense is no better, Calderon and DeRozan aren't lockdown defenders, so the Raptors rely on a lot of help defense... something they don't do very well. Nothing really to offer from the bench either, Jarrett Jack showed to be a good defender in Indiana, but so far he has been horrendous with the Raptors. For whatever reason coach Triano likes to play Calderon and Jack at the same time, and that has been very very very very bad for them.

As recently identified in the True Hoop Article: What’s Working For The Raptors, when Jose Calderon and Jarrett Jack on the floor together, the Raptors are surrendering 136.8 points per 100 possessions. Now that’s unbelievably bad! It’s historically bad! - Source

They don't have anyone on their bench that helps in this regard either. Head Coach Jay Triano has said that they're working on their help defense because no one's concerned about them scoring, but we have yet to see anything from that. Granted, it's still early, so forward progress can still happen, but the Raptors really can't afford to dig themselves a deep hole early, especially if they don't want Bosh to leave. At the very least, get a shot blocker down low, a last line of defense, someone that can be left on an island alone defensively in the post, because when you double and help you have to rotate, the Raptors have shown to be far from being aware defensively to do that consistently.

TPD's Final Opinion: The obvious: Lots of offense, very little defense. The Raptors have a lot they could offer up. Boston pretty much gave away their entire roster for KG and Allen, so I don't see why Toronto can't do the same for Bosh. But if they don't want to go to that extreme, really the Raptors only need a few pieces. The problem is finding the right ones. The league is rather thin in the Raptors area of needs. Big effective bruisers are really hard to come by because for whatever reason, big guys are coming in (seeing it in a lot of HS & college players now as well) wanting to shoot more and more. The shooting guard position could stand to be upgraded as well. I like DeRozan a lot, loads and loads of potential, but Bosh wants to win now (I don't know, maybe make a play for Rip Hamilton?), otherwise DeRozan's going to have to start progressing, fast.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Retire #23? Why?

23.. it is 1 second off the NBA shot clock... it's a minute off one half of a NBA basketball game... (wow that's some really bad nitpicking) it was Michael Jordan's number playing with the Chicago Bulls.

Since LeBron James said it, everyone's listening and actually thinking about this business of retiring the #23 in all of baskteball. Oh yeah, if you haven't heard by now The "King" is going to change his number from 23 to 6 in honor of Michael Jordan.

A lot of everything I want to say can be found and said by the likes of Kevin Durant and Stan Van Gundy in this article on NBA.Com.

"I have a lot of respect for Michael Jordan and LeBron is one of my best friends, so whatever he wants to do as far as his own number I'm behind. But I also know who came before me," Durant said. "Nothing against MJ, but if you retire his number around the league, what about Bill Russell and Oscar Robertson and Elgin Baylor? And all of the other great players who went before?

"If you're going to do that for Michael, you should do the same for the rest of those guys. Whatever happens, happens. I just don't think guys like Russell and Robertson and Chamberlain should be forgotten."

"I guess that's a nice gesture on his part, but [Jordan] isn't Jackie Robinson," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy countered. "They did it in baseball, but it had a historical significance."

And while I criticized Brandon Jennings earlier for his approach to the game on the court, I agree with him when he says,
"It's a good thing, but you've got to remember Bill Russell also played this game. Bill Russell won 11 rings. A lot of people didn't get to see Bill Russell. They didn't have ESPN in his time or anything like that, but the dude was a winner, too. When you talk about putting a guy's number away, there are a lot of great players that came through here. Magic Johnson, Bird. Those guys all won championships, too, and they also were great."

and then there's HOF coach Larry Brown,
"We should retire 6 [Russell], we should retire 13 for Wilt, we should retire Larry Bird, we should retire Magic, we should retire Oscar. I'm so thankful I've got a job. Those guys all gave me a career, so I love Michael and I really love what LeBron said. I don't he was trying to offend any of those other people. This kid has loved Michael since he's been a young kid and I think Michael was a pretty good role model for him, and I'm not so sure we won't be saying the same thing about LeBron's number down the road."

I'm agreeing with Stan Van Gundy?!
"I understand these young guys because LeBron didn't grow up watching any of those old guys. He thinks Michael Jordan is the greatest player ever, but there were actually guys who could play the game pretty well before Michael. You're going to retire all of the numbers and pretty soon our guys will have to wear No. 372."

But, there's one quote I really want to point out in the first article I linked to:

"Now, if I’m not going to wear No. 23, then nobody else should be able to wear it." - LeBron James

I'm sorry LeBron, we are all witnesses, you bring a lot to the NBA on and off the court, I appreciate what you do, but please don't kid yourself. His nickname as the "King" must really be getting to his head. Not that I have to dumb it down even more, but he really is essentially saying that since he's not doing it, no one else can. He's actually saying that, there isn't anything to read inbetween the lines here, it's right there, he actually said it. BOW DOWN TO THE KING!!... NOT!!

This is really ridiculous. Michael Jordan I don't want take anything away from you, truly revolutionized the game, but you came in just at the right era where media was booming; tv, the news, and world wide networking was taking effect. Let me ask, how many of you have really honestly heard of Alex English? I'll tell you who he was, he was a SF that played for the Denver Nuggets back in the 80's. Interesting fact about English? He was the leading scorer in that decade of basketball. That's right, he outscoured the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in that span of time. How many people know that? I'll tell you that I didn't until last year when I picked up NBA 2k9 and actually took time to answer the questions in-between loading times, and that's exactly my point.

If we had national television, youtube, the internet, and all of these marketing tools back in the day, I really do feel that Jordan would not be as celebrated as he is today. Bill Russell? Of course everyone's heard of him, superb defensive force that won a record 11 NBA Championships. By the way, he wore #6, where's his tribute? But outside of the big cities there were other places that held professional basketball teams that had some pretty damned good players on them, but at a time to where we didn't have the resources we have today, it's all junk and they're all forgotten. If Carmelo Anthony was playing back in the 80's no one would have heard of him because what kind of media was there in Denver back in the day? None, even today we don't really hear much of anything about the entire state of Colorado outside of their sports teams. Yet everyone knows about Illinois, New York, and of course, California.

To quote a genius that romes the myspace Lakers groups, "MJ is held above many of the other greats cause of sponsorship and capital. Not saying MJ is not great, just saying LeBron is an idiot."

I wholeheartedly agreed.

Before Jordan there was Magic Johnson(#32) and Larry Bird(#33). If there are numbers that the whole league is going to retire it has to be these guys' numbers. The rivalry these two had put everything on the map, the NBA finally got its shine, it represented everything you could have imagined between the poor, the rich, the black, and white man. You want historical significance? This rivalry was it, what did Jordan do besides do what you're supposed to do when you suit up and play basketball? What historical movements did he start? What did Jordan put on the map? Repeat basketball championships? Already been done. Jordan was great as a player, but he hardly did anything for the NBA itself other than bring in extra media outlets that were started by Bird and Magic.

The NCAA game between Bird's Indiana State and Magic's Michigan State is still the highest rated NCAA finals game ever, and for good reason. The Lakers/Celtics rivalry? Still, the greatest ever.

Johnson and Bird gave life to a dying sport,and it even extends back to their college playing days. Drug problems everywhere, and and no one went to any games.

It's as if it was all written perfectly. Bird went to Boston, a blue collar city. Magic's showtime style was the right fit in Hollywood. Bird was white, playing in Boston, a city with a history of racial intolerance. Magic? Black and in Los Angeles, one of the more diverse cities in the nation. The Celtics had black fans, definitely. But the whole race issue just added more fuel to the blazing inferno.

Stern, where would you be without these two guys? Magic Johnson, truly revolutionized the point guard position. Larry Bird, gave nonathletic white guys everywhere hope. Black man vs the White man. Both players extremely loyal to their team, organization, city, and coasts. Neither of them ever wanted to leave their team whether it be for more money, or to go ring hunting. Everyone fed off of it, and everyone loved it. This was a real rivalry. Both were winners, sometimes against each other. Jordan? The team he faced the most in the finals was the Utah Jazz, but that's no rivalry at all.

If people want to honor Jordan by not wearing #23 then far be it from them to do so, but if you want to retire someone's number that truly impacted the game, than, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, this is to you. If #23 is even thought about being retired by all teams, than #32 and #33 should be retired from basketball forever.

Let's show them how it's done

The official Lakers twitter tweeted tonight "@Lakers A very limited number of $10 tickets have been released for next Tuesday's game against the Knicks:"

While many reasons could be out there for $10 tickets in some good seats, I know the real fans are ready to jump over it, and it couldn't make my anymore happier. I'll bitch about it once, I'll bitch about it again. When you watch a Lakers home game, you think those are real Lakers fans in the stands? Fuck no. The rest of us that grew up outside of Hollywood and northern LA are restricted to watching at home/bars because of ridiculous fucking ticket prices and it pisses us off. Hollywood and all of these pretentious bitches scared to really stand up and cheer for the team in fear of looking stupid or breaking all the plastic in their faces are giving all of us a bad name. Compare the Lakers home crowd as opposed to the other top-tier teams in the league. It's not hard to see or say (even for us LA natives) that we have some of the worst fans around sitting on those lower level seats. Outsiders have such a skewered vision of Los Angeles and Southern Cali because these pretentious bitches are the only ones that are getting any shine. No one knows about how the rest of LA is hard working and has to earn their dues, but you know what, we're okay with that because we know who we are. What I love about urban LA is that we're humble people.

Oscar De La Hoya said on Lopez Tonight, "I grew up in East LA. What I learned growing up there is that no matter what kind of success you have, be humble."

He couldn't be anymore right. See, outside of Hollywood we have to work for what we have so we know not to take things for granted. We know who we are, we know where we're from, we know where the real fans are at. Look at my all-time favorite comedian George Lopez, you think that his skits are all made up? Hell no, most of what he says is actual reality. Other people find it funny because of the stereotypes, we find it funny because it's true and we have it in us to laugh at ourselves.

So be scared you old men with your expensive Hollywood prostitutes that you're hiring to look like your wives because for at least one game, the real fans are going to show up and show you how it's done. I know I will. Thank you Lakers for opening up this opportunity.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Really Early New Jersey Nets 2010 Offseason Preview

First of all; congratulations Kobe Bryant on your 100th career 40 point game. The Lakers are 69-31 when Kobe scores 40 or more. Pretty damned good percentage. But everyone's going to blog and talk about that tonight, so I'll go in a different direction.

The New Jersey Nets. Winless through 11 tries. 0-11. WINLESS. The Nets must love donuts. This is hurtful to me though because the Nets are my Eastern Conference team (I spent some time in New Jersey, following Lakers basketball was hard, there was no such thing as NBA League Pass at the time, they grew on me, so sue me). They lost to the Pacers tonight 91-83. What sucks for the Nets is that a lot of their losses have been close losses. Remember the Miami game? They were so close to stealing one if not for Dwyane Wade's game winning three-pointer. You feel bad for this young squad, Devin Harris, Courtney Lee, and Yi Jianlin are injured. Their top options currently are Chris Douglas-Roberts (Had a career high 27 tonight) and Brook Lopez, who went off tonight for 26 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 blocks... in a losing effort.

But the numbers don't matter, something I've always said, and something CDR said after the game tonight, "It's nothing if we don't win," Douglas-Roberts said. "My numbers don't matter if we're losing because you are labeled a loser. It doesn't matter what you're doing on a losing team. Nobody really cares. I know I don't."

The good news is that the The Nets so far is the team to have the most money at the end of the season to play with once the 2010 offseason comes around, but money, or not, if the Nets don't start salvaging some pride and scrapping out some wins who would want to come to New Jersey? Right? Wrong. That's the reasoning you use for the New York Knickerbockers because unlike the Knicks, the Nets actually have some very good pieces to build with.

The big names are obviously LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, but the thing about them is that they all have options that they would need to decline or exercise in order to become free agents. If things go very well for their teams, or if things just don't look good coming in the offseason than who says they won't pick up their options and resign with their current teams? The reality is that New Jersey is still winless, and the Knicks who somehow have a win are even worse. Toronto, Miami, and Cleveland are all playoff contenders. Why leave?

Well, stay within the conference and look at Joe Johnson who despite playing on a loaded Phoenix team wanted to play for the Hawks for more money and a bigger roll because that's exactly what the Nets have going for them. The Hawks were in purgatory at the time yet Joe Johnson wanted to go there. A few moves here and there, and now look at where the Hawks are now, on top of the Eastern Conference (over Cleveland, Boston, and Orlando?!?!). The good thing about crappy teams with a lot of money is that there are players who look towards two things first and foremost, money, and to be the man. Despite how they do this season, the Nets look primed and ready to take it to the next level once they get that guy. What the hell makes me think that? Vince Carter, the guy they traded away to make all this CAP room, with a worse squad they were producing wins with one superstar caliber player. The Nets have enough to bring in not just a superstar player, but also a nice side-kick to boot. Also hey, as it just so happens Joe Johnson has yet to resign with the Hawks, and is going to be an unrestricted free agent this coming offseason. Oh lawd.

Here's a good look at this seasons free agents via ESPN.

Heading into next season these are the returning Nets coming into 2010
G Devin Harris
G Keyon Dooling
F Yi Jianlin
F Eduardo Najera
C Brook Lopez
G Terrence Williams
F/C Josh Boone
G Courtney Lee
G/F Chris Douglas-Roberts

Projected amount of money to play with in the offseason?
$53.6 million salary cap: $24.9 million in cap space
$50 million salary cap: $21.3 million in cap space

If you ask me, as bad as they look now, the next few years look oh so very promising for the Nets. Lots of young progressing talent already having the luxury of going through early growing pains by being thrown in the fire so early. The biggest pieces the Nets currently have is Devin Harris an all-star point guard, Courtney Lee who played a pivotal roll in Orlando's run to the finals run last season, and Brook Lopez, a big man who is showing lots and lots of promise.

So say that Wade, James, and Bosh do stay with their current teams. What big names are available on the wings? Joe Johnson, Ray Allen, Tracy McGrady, Josh Howard (T), & Rudy Gay (R). Plug any of these guys and why wouldnt they be able to win as much games as when it was a Harris/Carter tandem?

To make things even better for the Nets, if they are able to sign one of these guys, they will probably still have enough to play for a big man, someone that will do just enough to fit in and play next to emerging center Brook Lopez in the post because the Nets already have much depth in the back court.

Best big men available? Ama're Stoudemire, Dirk Nowitzki, Yao Ming, Carlos Boozer, Tyson Chandler, Marcus Camby, Jermaine O'Neal, Shaquille O'Neal, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Luis Scola, David Lee, Carl Landry (R), and Tyrus Thomas (R).

Here's my most realistic and best scenario for right now(well with a little bit of wishful thinking);

C - Brook Lopez
PF - Carlos Boozer/David Lee/Jermaine O'Neal
SF - Chris Douglas-Roberts
SG - Joe Johnson
PG - Devin Harris

6th - Courtney Lee

Bench - Terrence Williams, Yi Jianlin, Josh Boone, Eduardo Najera, Keyon Dooling

Tell me why that wouldn't be a playoff squad in the east?

Also let's not forget that with the way things are going, the Nets are going to have a very high pick in the draft(BPA would help them in any way). So that's an extra young stud coming in for them in 2010. Also, I did this disregarding the fact that LBJ, D.Wade, and Bosh could opt out of their contracts. If any of them do... that makes things look even brighter in the gloomy NJ state. But keep in mind many things can happen, JJ might end up resigning with the Hawks (who look very good and only need one more piece to really be a true contender) after the season, the same with Boozer because he's starting to warm up to the fans in Utah again. They might sign elsewhere, the other big names might resign/sign somewhere else, the Nets just might shoot blanks in the big 2010 offseason. Many types of various things and trades might happen that could throw everything out of wack. This is just one person's hopeful projection. The season is still very early. We're only 11 games in out of an 82 game season. Remember, like the title says, this is just "A Really Early" preview.

But the fact still remains, the Nets have a very good looking high-potential filled offseason ahead of them.

AI the 2nd Still Has Much To Learn

A lot of people have jumped on the Jennings bandwagon lately, me not being one of those people. Probably because he reminds me too much of Allen Iverson. I don’t hate either player, they’re exciting to watch, and their passion is evident, but basketball is a team game.

Jennings is playing phenomenal, something that any casual NBA fan probably would have heard by now, but tonight’s game against Nowitzki and the Mavericks showed us exactly why he’s not ready to step into the next level. Don’t get me wrong, AI is a HOFer, and at the pace Jennings is going, he probably will be too, but he needs to build some trust with his team. He needs to quit acting like he’s the only reason the Bucks are winning, seemingly undermining the fact that there are four other guys with the same jersey on the floor. You’re looking great now, Jennings, but are you seeing how AI’s career is concluding? Don’t want that do you? Star players need to be selfish to an extent because they need it in them to drive that fire to win games when they’re on the line, but Jennings really forced the action tonight. He hit some big shots, Nowitzki hit a real huge one at the end of the game, but Jennings just tried too hard, chucked up really dumb 3s, completely ignored open teammates, and that’s what really cost the Bucks the game. Remember Kobe and the selfish tags put on him? He used to play the exact same way, and while he was seen as a very talented player, he was yet to be considered to arguably be one of the best to ever play the game outside of the Lakers huddle. Changed that, and now look at the guy’s status.

Granted, Redd is injured, and Jennings' only other real reliable offensive option is Andrew “Bogans” (Jennings doesn’t even know his own teammates names lol), so we have yet to see how he would play around an adequate supporting cast. The problem though is we’re not just seeing this on the court. Jennings bitched about needing to go to college before the NBA and decided to go overseas instead of reading a couple of books (Doesn’t matter though because he’s a basketball star and that’s his life, right?Such a sad society, isnt it?—). The kid has “it”, the problem is the attitude and approach to the game. He needs to check himself to see if he’s either going to go down the path of AI, or to step into the next level and get into the conversation of the truly elite guards like Kobe, Magic, MJ, Kidd, etc. etc.

What’s your opinion on B.J. ? Wow, that is a rather unappealing nickname, especially in today's society.

Monday, November 16, 2009

About Me?

Why hello there. I always have been bad at this intro stuff. I have no problem throwing down my thoughts, and going on endlessly about a subject, but the start off is always rough, kind of like a Honda. That seems to be the problem with most people though, right?

Me? I am nothing more than the fan that has his fair share of opinions that has to do with anything that has to do with the inflatable orange rubber ball called a basketball. I'm the guy kickin' back with his girl downing nachos and suddenly jumping straight up when someone makes a ridiculous pass. The one waving his hand up and down when someone makes an "And1" play as if I was the referee. The one pointing at the corner of the screen yelling, "HE'S OPEN!" wondering why he didn't pass it completely forgetting that not only do the players not have birds eye view of the action, but that I don't have a 6'0+ FT 180+ lbs. guy in my face blocking my vision. The one that puts both hands on his head when someone blows a wide-open fast break layup. The one yelling randomly out of frustration when his team commits a turnover by throwing really obvious pass that results in easy points for the opposition. The one that talks to the TV yelling, "PUT IT IN KOBE'S HANDS" when it's crunch time. I am all that and the bag of chips I destroy while drinking a cold beer and watching the game.

My favorite team?

Jealous? You should be. :) Don't worry, I'm not like other Lakers fans, my favorite player while he's one of the tops on my list isn't even Kobe Bryant(Tim Duncan is, SAY WHAT?!). My all-time favorite player wasn't a Laker either(Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon, can't argue that one can you?). I just happen to be from Los Angeles, and yes I am a die-hard Lakers fan, BUT I am also a NBA fan in general. Don’t really care much to argue about who’s better or their individual accolades (like the MVP award for example). I value cohesion and team play a lot more because when the season is over, the most celebrated and cared about accolade is the winning of the championship ring. If I'm talking about an individual player it most likely will be about what he does, and how he helps and or hurts his team instead of what the player can do individually and how "great" he is. Yeah, I don't really care about individual success, I'm the kind of guy that likes helping and watching other people succeed. I'm kind of like the prototypical point guard. I'd rather make the pass and make sure things are working instead of worrying about if I get my points.

Interested? No? Oh well, this isn't really for you, this is just for me to throw down my endless thoughts on this great game called basketball. Why? Because it's hard finding anyone that shares the same passion I do about the game. Wanna follow? That's great, if not, oh well.

Yup, that's me in the basketball sense. That was a lot longer than I expected.

EDITED ADD IN: 3 days in and I'm already starting to get some nice support on this. Hmm, depending on how things go I might wanna start taking it to the next level, whattya think?