While I was growing up the A’s, Raiders, and to a lesser extent the Warriors were good. I know they were, because people hated them, and the only reason you hate a team is because they are good. Lately I’ve noticed when I tell a new found friend my sports affiliations I hear pity more than anything. Tuesday, I was watching the Cavs-Lakers game and it hit me, I needed to make an anti-power rankings, and tried to decide which is the worst team in the NBA. I used some criteria for this glorious list. One, obviously team record, and second, how much hope they have for the future with their core players.
#7 Minnesota – Kevin Love is an All-Star. Nobody does what he does. He hits threes while scoring 21.1 ppg, and pulls in 15.8 rebounds a game. If Griffin owns the air above the rim, then Love owns everything below the rim. If the second best player on that team wasn’t Luke Ridnour now that Beasley is hurt, they might have some more wins than they do. I bet if they were in the East, they’d be the 8th seed. They have a solid young front court. If Kahn can finally use these guys to build off, they might be relevant again one of these years.
#6 Toronto – They’ve been hit hard by the injury bug this year, and on second thought, maybe losing Bosh was a bigger deal up there than I originally thought. Somehow they are only a couple games outside of the Eastern Conference’s 8th seed, which shows you why there are so many Eastern Conference teams on my list. Hockey still rules Toronto, the Raptors will be extinct there one of these days up there.
#5 Detroit Continue reading
Wall Street is closed on the weekends, but there were some major trades being made in the sports world over the weekend. The two biggest trades were undoubtedly the Magic getting Gilbert (a long time favorite of mine) from the Wizards, as well as Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, and Earl Clark from the Suns. My first reaction to the trade when I saw it flash up on the bottom line on TV was, what an upgrade! They got rid of Rashard, Pietrus and Vince, which is a win my book regardless of who came in. Nothing against Vince or Rashard, but if the Magic really want to be serious contenders they needed to get rid of both of them for the simple reason that they always choke in the playoffs. Here’s a reminder of how they felt last year about the Hedoless team. (NJ and Toronto fans nodding in agreement) Second, they got rid of Michael (I step out of bounds twice a game) Pietrus. I’m not positive how Air France has done this year since I really don’t follow the Magic that closely, but Pietrus is a guy that frustrated me when he was in a Warriors uniform. I can only assume that those are the same type of sentiments that Magic fans have about him, but maybe not. All in all it was like the how the A’s finally rid themselves of Jack Cust. Addition by subtraction.
How will this new look Eastern Conference beast be with all the new parts? I really can’t say for sure that they will be better than the old group, but since they are taking in veterans that have played in multiple systems, I’m sure integrating them into the game plan won’t take as long as many expect. I also believe that Hedo and Arenas want to prove that they are good again, and will have plenty of reasons now that they will be playing for a winning team. I’m sure both want to revive their image, and winning cures that quickly just look at Vick! A lot of people seemed shocked that they’d blow up their team like this with only a quarter of the season gone by, but my thinking is that all of this seeming panic goes back to the summer of Lebron. The Magic are about to find themselves in a similar situation that Cleveland faced last year with Dwight’s contract expiring in 2012. Feels like a do or die move to try and get a championship. If you are the Magic, you definitely should be scared that if they don’t get a championship in the next two years then their chances to re-sign Dwight will be nearly impossible as he looks to take his talents away from central Florida. They already have experience losing a once in a lifetime center seeing Shaq flee to LA. Centers don’t grow on trees as we’ve seen with guys like Oden and Bynum never really making it to their potential level or staying healthy for that matter. The Magic are now deep into the luxury tax, but it will only be worth it if they can appease their big man to stay, and a championship might be the only way to do that. I hope it works out for them, unless of course Dwight has an aching to come to Golden State! Then I wouldn’t mind watching his “Decision” from the Epcot Center.
Zack Greinke was the other big trade of the weekend. I love reading how the Royals got a good deal out of it. Really!?! You can already tell?!? They traded away their best player and have improved greatly?!? I guess they are like the A’s, but simply never win. The Royals have one of the youngest roster known to man. Aside from Vin Mazzaro who the A’s just traded to them, I don’t really recognize many names. I guess they could be like the Padres and sneak up on everyone, but that’s a laughable statement in itself. If they are a contender in two years I will gladly eat those words. I’d put the chances of them getting a Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips, and Grady Seizmore type haul at 1%. Personally, I thought the best part about this trade was that the Rangers didn’t end up with Greinke. He was supposedly their second target after they failed to get Cliff Lee. Now it looks like the A’s are still the only team that’s really improved in the AL West, which makes me that much happier. The Brewers get what they were desperately missing with Greinke’s consistent pitching, even if last year he wasn’t as great. Can you blame him? I’d have a hard time getting fired up for starts if I was on the Royals. I think he’s going to tear through the NL lineups and might be somewhat like Halladay was last year for the Phillies, although there’s a huge difference between the AL East and the AL Central. I actually picked the Brewers to win the NL Central last year, maybe I just picked them one year too early! Now that they’ll have Yorvani Gallardo and hopefully a healthy Chris Capuano, so there’s no reason to count this team out. Their young core can put up runs, but now they some pitching to match that powerful lineup. If they can find a way to bridge the gap between their new starters and the Axeman I will be saying I told you so 8 months from now when they are in the playoffs!
Well, another rigged NBA Lottery is in the books. To no one’s surprise, two East Coast franchises leapfrogged the likes of Minnesota, Sacramento, and Golden State. Fans across those three cities are moaning and groaning while Wizards and Sixers fans are wondering how they got such good luck. Fortunately, the two best rookies from last year’s draft ended up in Northern California despite David Stern’s best (or worst, depending on how you look at) efforts. No need to worry Kings and Warriors fans. The two best players came at picks number 4 and 7…. No reason to think they can’t come at the 5th and 6th position. Let’s break down how this year’s draft is going to pan out….
1. Washington Wizards – John Wall – Part of me thinks that the late Abe Pollin made this happen from up above. The other part of me thinks Stern did this from down below. At any rate, the Wizards will win the John Wall sweepstakes, but it’s not going to change their fortunes. This franchise has found a way to lose under any circumstance. They had a solid core with Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison, and Caron Butler and still managed to be a lottery team. This year, they’ll try to ease Wall along, if only to keep Arenas happy. John Wall will go on to have an Antonio Daniels like career and the Wizards will be back in Secaucus next year….and the year after that….and the year after that.
2. Philadelphia Sixers – Evan Turner – Evan Turner is the consensus #2 pick, but his game is strikingly similar to Andre Iguodala. He’ll also fight for playing time on the wing with Thaddeus Young. In the end, the Sixers will keep Turner on the court to try and prove that they drafted better than last year with Jrue Holiday, and they’ll miss the playoffs once again. I’m setting the over/under on Evan Turner’s rookie season right at, let’s say, Corey Brewer.
3. New Jersey Nets – Derrick Favors – The Nets have a solid 1-2 in Devin Harris and Brook Lopez. Therefore, they look to the wing and select Derrick Favors. Problem is, no one’s really sure that Favors really likes playing basketball. Prediction: Favors and Terrence Williams still make little to no impact on the Nets in 2010-11.
Playing host to the All-Star game in the city he owns, Mark Cuban, tried his hand in the celebrity game last night. He didn’t look to good on the court as the super slow white guy, but today he showed why he’s pretty good off the court in the front office. Early today it was reported that the Mavs will be sending two actual players Josh Howard and Drew Gooden, and two contracts Quinton Ross and James Singleton to Washington for Caron Butler, Deshawn Stevenson, and Brandan Haywood. We all knew the Wizards would do something, and it looks like they made their salary dumping choice. My first thought was, damn this is going to hurt Caron’s fantasy value, but then turned optimistic since he will be with Kidd in a faster paced offense putting up better numbers than Josh Smith did in the same role. Maybe going to a winning team will also inspire him to play a little better than he has so far this year.
I really like the move for Dallas. They get better at two positions, and Haywood is having a great year. I guess they didn’t want to do the Josh Howard for Caron straight up, so Washington threw Haywood in the mix and Cuban pulled the trigger. Josh Howard seems to regress more than improve, so Caron will be a huge upgrade. Haywood is one of the best defensive centers in the league this year, so I see him toughening up this soft Mavs team. Their main criticism over the years is being soft, and now with the addition of the three mentioned players it will also give them some attitude, which might actually make a few teams kind of scared of them come playoff time. I wouldn’t put them up there with the Lakers in the west, but it sure improves their chances!
One of my favorite players in the NBA, Gilbert Arenas, has been all over the news because he pulled a gun on his teammate, Jarvis Critteron reportedly over a gambling debt. I dunno if I believe that story, but something obviously went down considering they met with police today. I find it comical that Gilbert would be THAT angry over a gambling debt when he’s in his third year of a $111 million dollar contract! BUT, a ridiculous amount of athlete’s live outside their means, and Gilbert could be no different. Who knows, maybe he lost a few pay checks to Critteron playing cards, and pulled a gun on him to get his money back. Sounds very plausible. I’m thinking he has more common sense than that. Gil hasn’t been nearly as active on his blog as he used to be in the past, and has been far less of a showman this season on the court. I’m sure being on a losing team has something to do with it, but he was more outgoing a couple of years ago to the media. I guess I buy the most recent story that he was pulling a prank on Critteron. Since he spoke to police, they allowed him to clear it up. Honestly, it’s not a big deal to me if he didn’t have them loaded, and used them as a joke. Also, a side thought on DC, I hear it’s pretty ghetto around there, so maybe guys do need some guns around to protect those Bentley’s when they leave the arena. Either way, I love some of the reactions that players around the league had!
I noticed something after tonight’s Kings-Wizards game and couldn’t wait to launch this rocket off into cyberspace. After the horn, Tyreke Evans grabbed Gilbert Arenas’ arm from behind, presumably to say good game bla bla blah. Well, ESPN cameras cut away to something else, and when they cut back to Evans, accomplished lip readers like myself saw him yelling “Yeah fuck you homeboy.” Since a mere second or two had elapsed, one can only assume this was directed at Arenas. Personally, I’ve seen nothing to suggest Tyreke Evans is at all anything short of a humble, class act. Therefore, I’m left with the impression that Gilbert was sour grapes after losing the game by getting stripped by the rookie on national television. Though perhaps it’s possible Tyreke was being the Byron Hout to Gilbert’s LeGarrette Blount – minus the right cross. Nonetheless, I’m curious to know what really transpired, so someone please fill me in. Gilbert, you’re a fellow blogger. Tell us what the deal is!
ESPN recently added tonight’s Washington Wizards – Sacramento Kings game to their schedule. It will be broadcast nationally at 7:30pm PST. This marks leading Rookie of the Year candidate Tyreke Evans’ national television debut. Basketball fans throughout the country will get their first glimpse at Evans’ professional career, something I’ve been watching every step of the way early in the season. The red carpet has pretty much been laid out by the national media over the last few weeks, and tonight, Evans will make his much anticipated debut. Tyreke didn’t take long to make his presence felt in Sacramento. After Kevin Martin was sidelined with a wrist injury, Evans has assumed control of the team and become the franchise player. Honestly, he’s one of the best rookies I’ve witnessed in the entire decade. Let’s take a look at what he’s done thus far….
To this point, Evans is averaging 20 pts, 5 reb, and 5 ast per game. You can find him in the top 10 in numerous statistical categories among NBA point guards. Although his status as a point guard can be debated, his impact on the court cannot. He’s the primary reason for the Kings’ surprising 10-13 start. He’s playing 35+ minutes per night, and his ability to get into the lane and attack the basket is borderline unparalleled. One of the bigger knocks on him coming into the season is his jump shot, but he has knocked it down better than was predicted. Opposing teams have often put their best perimeter defender on him, only to see him blow by them and get to the basket. He’s also impressed with his defensive ability. His 1.55 steals per game rank him 20th in the league, and 6th among point guards. It will be interesting to see him match up against Gilbert Arenas tonight, someone whom I would compare Evans’ game with. Tonight will be a huge night for Tyreke, as it will mark his national coming out party. His name has been floated around in awards discussions, not only for rookie of the year, but he’s also garnered consideration for an all-star berth, and even MVP attention. If he plays well tonight, expect him to remain atop the Rookie of the Year rankings at least through Christmas. If this is your first time seeing Tyreke Evans play in the NBA tonight, sit back and enjoy the show. The kid is well on his way to a phenomenal NBA career.
I’ve always been a big Gilbert Arenas fan. It’s mostly due to the fact that he came up through the Warriors system, and was one of the many bright young stars that we let go. Warriors fans have always had to live through the many star players that have moved on, because we love our team, but we rarely win so you have to root for something. We rarely blame the players that left, as most our frustration is focused on the front office’s meager attempts to keep them. That’s a completely different topic though. Reading today about him has me eerily excited to see him on the court again, well hopefully he can stay out there. Although his $100 million contract seems pretty ridiculous at the moment, if he comes back to his former All-Star form the Wizards could actually be a contender.
New Wizards coach, Flip Saunders, went to check him out in Chicago last week and stated “He gets wherever he wants to on the court. His quickness is back.” Coming off three knee surgeries in 1 ½ years he has a lot to prove, and probably not a patient fan base after putting a big chunk of their apples in his basket (bank account). I just hope when this year is over he won’t be battling Elton Brand for the biggest waste of cap space for a second straight season. It also has been reported that Agent 0 is getting his shooting touch back. With Flip Saunders bringing tempo better than Timberlake can bring sexy back, the return of the hibachi will make the Wizards a fun team to watch whoever they play!
I’m not saying this team is going to win it all, but with Arenas, Butler, and Jamison leading the way they should be tough every night. It’s the same situation with Minnesota deciding on Rambis as their new coach, they will be fun to watch except the Wizards actually have some solid players. They also made some moves that have drastically improved their depth by adding Mike Miller, Randy Foye, and Fabricio Oberto. Deshawn Stevenson was injured most of last year he also gives them a little extra depth. I’m not saying they are going to knock Boston, Orlando, or Cleveland off, but they will definitely be a force if Agent 0 is like his old self. In case you forgot just how good he was, here is NBATV’s top ten Arenas plays from the 2006-07 season.