Tag Archives: future

Memphis vs. OKC: Their Futures

The theme of the NBA playoffs seems to be the youth movement. Aside from the Mavs, all three teams left are fairly young, and look like they’ll be around for years to come, which had me thinking more about the future than this year. Today I was looking at the Memphis and OKC rosters for the next few years, and there was one thing that stood out to me, how can they keep these cores together? There’s a couple of reasons I think a team like Memphis has a better chance than OKC at sustaining success for the next six years like say Miami and Chicago probably will too. The reason I decided to compare Memphis and OKC is because they are both small market teams that are very young.

I’ll start with the Grizzlies, since it’s a team that for some reason has grown on me a lot over the season. What made Memphis successful this season? Their size and scrappiness on defense. Their size with Marc Gasol and Z-Bo is tough to match for any team. Z-Bo already got his extension, and obviously Gasol is going to be making more than $3M next year and every year after that, so Gasol is priority #1 for them this off-season. They have a bargain PG in Conley locked up for five years, who seems to be slowly getting better even though barely anyone had faith in him (myself included). They will also have Rudy Gay back in the lineup next year. He’s been labeled over rated, but if you saw him play much this year you’d know that isn’t the case, and he might even be worth his huge contract when it’s all said and done. The media talk about Gay has bugged me, because everyone seems to think he is Joe Johnson part II, when a) he’s five years younger than Joe, and b) he gets more steals, rebounds, and blocks than Joe (ie. plays defense). Am I the only one that thinks it’s obsured that people think they need to trade Rudy Gay? After Gay played with team USA on the gold medal run this year, he seemed to get it, which is a time when normally players seem to figure it out (mid-20’s) or be destined to never figure it out. Unfortunately for us (and him), he broke his arm during the last month of the regular season, so he wasn’t around this year in the playoffs, and now he should be traded!?! Really!?! My question for those people calling for them to trade Gay is, are you really putting a lot of stock in OJ (I play no defense and am a little crazy) Mayo. That’s what you’d be replacing Gay with in the long term if they’re building from in house talent. Tony Allen and OJ Mayo both feel like 6th men types to me, and you can find them elsewhere if you need to. Tony Allen is a shut down defensive guy, but is limited in offense. OJ is great when asked to help out the offense, but doesn’t play defense as we saw Harden torching him over and over. Gay plays both ways, and no, I’m not sure on his sexual prefrences, but I do know he works as hard on defense as his offense. He also made a few game winners this year if you didn’t remember, don’t you think he would’ve helped in that triple OT game when they needed a clutch bucket from anyone badly? I do, and think this is a team that hasn’t reached it’s full potential as Gay, Conley, and Gasol will all improve. As I said in the past, Memphis has a bright future for at least the next five years.

The curious case of OKC. They currently have a roster that has ALL their big names at or under the age of 22, which seems great on the outside looking in. It’s amazing to me that everyone thinks that everything will be great for them for the next decade when there will be a ton of franchise changing decisions on the horizon. It’s a team that has dealt with little as far as basketball careers go, since almost all of the important players except Perkins and Durant are still on their rookie contracts. What I understand about this team is this, Durant works harder than anyone on the team, he’s their best player, it rubs off on everyone else, etc., but does it rub others the wrong way on how he’s mister perfect? I’m asking Westbrook this question as I go along, because he’s the main player that you have to question within this team. Forget all the ill-advised shots he took against the Grizzlies, the real question becomes does he want to be Robin or does he want to be Derrick Rose (aka Superman) on his OWN team?

It's all fun and games till someone wants more out of the relationship than the other one does.

Does Westbrook have the Scottie Pippen and Lebron gene that says “I’m okay being the sidekick”? From what I’ve observed, I feel like Westbrook has more of an alpha type personality than Durant as far as being demonstrative on and off the court. At times we saw him ignore Durant during the game, which begs the question if we have to pick one, who is it? If you didn’t pick Durant your fooling yourself. Yes, I understand that the way this team was built was genius, and the envy of the league at the moment, but how sustainable is this team? They picked Ibaka, Harden, Maynor, and Westbrook all in the top five, and all of them are going to be asking for their paydays once they are done playing for these very friendly rookie contracts they are currently in. I think Ibaka just started playing hoops last week and is getting better by the game, so aren’t he and Westbrook going to command top dollar? Would they stay to play with Durant for the sake of winning or do either of them think they can do it on their own elsewhere? That might not even be the biggest question for them moving forward. Money is a funny thing that can lure anyone away from anywhere, and I’m sure Ibaka has some homies that need help in the Congo. Westbrook was born and raised in LA, and doesn’t it seem likely with his alpha type character he’d want to try to spread his wings on his own to see if he can lead a team like Derrick Rose is? I’m not saying that this team is going to get blown up for sure, but you have to wonder in a small market like thiers how big is that window. You’d think with them all being so young it would be a decade long window, but at the moment I just don’t see it being anywhere near that long. The Heat and Grizzlies both have their cores locked up for a lot longer than the Thunder do. The 2012-13 season might be their last hurrah as a group together, and if that’s the case, Miami and Memphis will still have their cores locked up for three more years after that. All I’m saying is that this groups window might only be three years, and I’m praying I’m right since I’d love to see Durant getting frustrated and leaving so his paychecks aren’t signed by Clay Bennett anymore…

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Who is Trying to Kill the A’s? Selig? Wolff? The Giants? Or the City of Oakland?

A common sight at the Coliseum, empty seats.

It’s no secret; the A’s have needed a new stadium for the past 15 years. What’s crazy is there’s still a few cracks from the 89 earthquake. I’ve wanted to break down the whole A’s moving somewhere situation, but I knew it would be a long winded effort. Since the Raiders moved back into town, the Oakland Coliseum has been less than adequate for a baseball team. Brad Ziegler recently tweeted that he was disappointed in the fans for not coming out, and why wouldn’t he be? The A’s sported the lowest attendance in all of baseball averaging a measly 17,392 per game last year. This year they’ve only played 15 games, but still have only averaged 17,056  per game. Ziggy later tweeted “I understand some come in late, but it’s frustrating to be at this level and know that at Triple-A (Rivercats), there are twice as many fans at the game.” I’ve been to both stadiums, and sadly it’s true, the Rivercats are a bigger draw in Sacramento than the A’s are in Oakland, and the crowd is probably louder in Sac too for AAA games. It’s also a reason Mceezy and I feel they would be a nice fit in Sacramento, but the feeling there seems to be that it’s too small of a market to support an MLB franchise. The Rivercats stadium was built in a way that it can be added on to easily, but I’m sure A’s Owner, Lew Wolff, has looked into that option, and most other possible options over the past seven plus years he’s been looking for a new stadium deal. The former owners pretty much sold Wolff the teams majority stake, because they were tired of getting rejected on their new stadium proposals. The saddest part is, that the few fans that are showing up, are being thrown out if they have negative signs ala Washington Redskins style. I don’t buy that Lew Wolff is a Sam Presti, so we can squash that rumor that he hasn’t tried in the city of Oakland. He wants to keep the team in the area, so I think or I’m sure he would’ve tried to move them. He reportedly released a 227 page book on his efforts to stay in Oakland from 2003-2006 when the Freemont deal sort of went through. Either way, the A’s need a new stadium somewhere, and whether that’s going to be in Oakland or not remains to be seen. Continue reading


Monta Doesn’t Want to Play with Curry and SJax Still Wants Out…

Most media days for the beginning of the NBA season are pretty boring, but when it comes to the Warriors they always seem to have something interesting going on. It’s not a good thing, but I feel it was mildly better than last year. Last season they had a lot to talk about with, the direction of the team, the big contracts that they should have given to Baron over Maggette, and Monta’s scooter accident. Once again, Monta made a splash at the media day, and SJax had his fair share to say about his ongoing trade demands. All of the hoopla this season doesn’t really discourage me as much as last seasons distractions did.

Don Nelson Steven JacksonWell, since I’ve been following SJax on his rampage of trade demands, I’ll start with him. It sounds like not much has changed since his Dime Interview when he said he wanted to go to a contender. He basically reiterated that he did want out of Golden State during media day, but also verbally vomited on a few other subjects that I found interesting. He answered my question as to why he signed that extension just before asking to be traded, which was “Who’s going to turn down that money? I’m not stupid. I didn’t go to college but I’ve got a lot of common sense,”. I see his point of view as nobody would have given him that much, but if you really want to be on a winner why would you handcuff your team like that? Shouldn’t he have taken the Artest route and signed for less than what he was worth on a contender when his contract was up?! Honestly though, I don’t find SJax as being a distraction, because one thing is for sure, when he’s out on that court you know he will play his hardest. Whether he’d rather be somewhere else or not he’s just the kind of player that tanks games, he’s competitive and wants to win games period. If he doesn’t play hard for himself he’ll do it for his teammates, which is why I still agree with making him a captain. He played a lot of meaningless minutes last year and seemed to give it his all, so if we don’t move him I don’t see it being a big problem. For some reason he also spouted off about not regretting anything he’s done including going into the crowd with Artest in the Detroit melee.Monta Ellis Dunking Warriors He felt that may have been one of the reasons the NBA picked to fine him $25K for his comments, and didn’t fine a guy like Kobe for making the same statement. Here’s the whole interview, but don’t take TK’s words too strongly he’s a douchebag.

Monta came out to talk with the media a little while after Jackson did. He usually is pretty boring in interviews, and rarely says anything of relevance. He started off good saying the right things just about winning, and how his ankle was 100%. He want’s to show everybody that his hard work over the off-season would made him better than he was before his injury. When asked about playing PG this year he kept re-iterating that he didn’t care where he played just as long as he was on the floor. He didn’t seem fazed by SJax’s situation either as he knows that when the ball is tipped off Jackson will be there ready to play. He also said that it’s Jackson’s deal to work out, so he can’t be concerned with it.

Monta Ellis Anthony Randolph Warriors

Randolph and Ellis ARE the future of the Warriors

The interesting /controversial part of the interview came next when he was asked about playing with Stephen Curry, their newly acquired first round draft pick. He stated that they couldn’t play together, because it’s not a way to win having two small guards on the floor. He was very adamant that it wouldn’t work unless there was a rare case that the other team went really small. I’ve had a man crush on Curry since before he took Davidson to the Elite 8, and for some reason drafting him was bittersweet as I knew in the back of my mind that we were going to be upsetting Monta, since before the draft he pleaded for the W’s not to pick a PG. Well, it looks as though it didn’t really upset him, but didn’t address any area that he felt they needed. He felt they’ll lose if Nellie goes small and plays them both. Here’s the rest of the interview with Monta, keep in mind that TK’s analysis is off the wall at times. Nellie already said that Jackson, Randolph, Biendris, and Ellis would be starters, but who is the fourth? Azubuike, Morrow, Wright, or Curry? Only time will tell, but I hope it’s Buike or Morrow. I’m not sure why I’m even worried about Nellie playing a rookie too much anyways! At least the Warriors problems this season are more on the court instead of off the court distractions!


Optimism For Athletics Fans, Once Again: A Rebuilding Process in Review

Even Stomper's excited!

Even Stomper's excited!

The A’s had their fans hopes sky high going into this season after making many moves and signings to acquire talent, instead of their normal MO of trading away talent. One thing led to another, and we found that the guys we signed either weren’t that good in an A’s uniform, or were just plain old. This season has been a disappointment to say the least especially with some of the experts picking them to win the AL West at the beginning of the year. Those dreams were quickly dashed as we saw Matt Holliday consistently getting fooled by pitches, and taking the crown for most fly ball outs since Eric Chavez was healthy and playing. Once his trade to the Cardinals went through Oakland once again had hope for the future.Rivercats Brett Wallace 3-Run Home Run At the time of the trade all A’s fans wanted was a bag of peanuts for Holliday, but instead we got what looks like a great hitter in the near future with Brett Wallace, and a possible good end of the rotation pitcher in Mortensen.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t been paying that much attention to them since they dipped below the 20 games out of first. Alas, they have been playing very good as of late, which has inspired me to pay attention to them again. Maybe it’s because the games don’t matter, or maybe it’s because they have finally adopted a new style of play since their most recent rebuilding began. Since being swept by Seattle on August 26th, they’ve won or tied every series since, going 16-6, and are currently on a seven game win streak. Once again, A’s fans will be able to go into the off-season hoping that a fresh start will rid us of our recent losing ways.

The A’s main failings over the past couple season’s have all pointed to their incompetence on offense, and since getting rid of Holliday, Giambi, and Cabrera they’ve surprisingly done much better in that department. Post All-Star break, the A’s have led the league in stolen bases, doubles, and are third in runs scored. For a team that never used to steals bases, and isn’t known for manufacturing runs, it’s refreshing to see them make a change for what suits their players. The always referenced “Moneyball” will finally be an afterthought, as they seem to be turning to a new page. I haven’t read anywhere that they’ve had a change in philosophy, but it’s pretty obvious if you ever pay attention to them. Even Rajai Davis, a guy I never thought I’d like, is tearing it up. He stole his 40th bag of the season last night against Cleveland, and is the first big threat on the base-paths since Rickey Henderson was around. Rex Hudler, the Angels announcer, whom I completely despise, actually made a good point about the A’s and how they have adapted to so called “Angel way” of manufacturing runs. He likes how they are putting pressure on opposing defenses to worry about runners taking off at any given moment, which opens holes in the infield for more of those dribblers to get through. In a post steroid era the A’s can’t rely on power as much as they once did as we all know it was rampant in the Bay Area. So the shift to stealing bases and manufacturing runs has looked like the a good change in their philosophy, and is starting to pay dividends in the win column late in the season.

Chris Carter hits his fourth home run of the playoffs and is tied for most by a Rivercat in one series.

Chris Carter hits his fourth home run of the playoffs and is tied for most by a Rivercat in one series.

The greatest part about these late season stats is the fact that this isn’t even the reason I’m optimistic for next season. I’m excited about the guys going to be in our offense of the future. Sure guys like Kurt Suzuki are going to be mainstays in the lineup for awhile, but since everybody digs the long ball, A’s fans should be very excited about the two power hitters coming to Oakland sooner rather than later. 3rd baseman, Brett Wallace (#2 in Baseball Prospectus) and 1st baseman, Chris Carter (#4 in Baseball Prospectus) are the new reasons there is optimism in Oakland. They’ve already contributed to the Sacramento Rivercats (AAA) team during their playoff run for a PCL championship. Carter had three home runs in one game since being called up from AA about a month ago, and he is the closest to Ryan Howard type hitter the A’s have in their farm system.  Many point to Carlos Gonzalez as the biggest position player gained in the Dan Haren deal, but Chris Carter has the potential to have much more power than C-Gon. It also looks as though we kept the best pitcher from the Haren deal as well in Brett Anderson, who has had a rocky season, but has shown that he has ace type stuff. Brett Wallace should be on the other corner for the A’s infield solidifying a position that’s been a problem since Chavez went on the DL, about three seasons ago. Personally Wallace reminds me of Troy Glaus, and if we got that I’d be pretty happy. If the A’s can continue to steal bases and hit doubles the way they have been at the end of this season, and add the power of Wallace and Carter to the lineup they will undoubtedly have a chance to challenge the Angels for years to come.

Brett Anderson has won two straight decisions for the first time in his career over his last two starts.

Rookie, Brett Anderson, has won two straight starts for the first time in his career.

Their pitching has been shaky at times this year, and may continue to stay that way as their under 25 year old rotation learns the ropes. Between Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, Vin Mazzaro, Gio Gonzalez, and maybe Justin Duchscherer (if he snaps out of his depressed mental state) we should have a solid rotation come next season. The young guys have taken their lumps this season, but they have also shown that they can shut teams and shown glimmers of domination. This year should have taught them the ropes as they find out what types of adjustments they need to make going into the off-season to prevent those crooked numbers from going up on the score board. Michael Inoa is a long way from being called up, but he’s another young guy I will be keeping my eye on, especially since we gave him a Strausberg like contract for a 16-year-old, which I still feel is kind of ridiculous. All in all I couldn’t ask for much more from our management on a tight budget. You just have to hope it all pans out!