Monday, May 20, 2013

Thirst for Grizzlies/Pacers Finals

I think the Heat will be making the Finals, but I'm thirsty for a Grizzlies/Pacers series.  It would be such a fun series! Two teams pounding it in the post and beating each other up.  I'm still not sure who I favor in the Spurs/Grizzlies Western Conference Finals; both teams are really good.  Having 3 of the last 4 teams in the NBA being small market teams is cool to me, but I doubt the higher up NBA guys aren't happy about it, and am sure they'll do whatever they can to keep it from being 2 small market teams in the Finals.

A Finals featuring two hardworking teams that don't get much national coverage, who put more into effort than show has my mouth watering.  I do not expect to see this, but I am hoping to be surprised.

The playoffs have been entertaining this year with the Golden State firestorm (I'm still a little bitter), the Bulls' heart on display,  the Spurs showing once again to never forget about them and the Grizzlies pushing to their first Western Conference Finals appearance.  I'm really hoping the entertainment continues, though the Nuggets are already in the offseason and fans are already hypothesizing how to improve the team next year.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

NBA Clinging to the '90s

The Los Angeles Lakers fired Mike Brown.  Brown had been the head coach for all of last years shortened season and 5 games this season.  Some are saying the firing was premature, many had been calling for it since he was hired.  I don't really have an opinion on that.  I never made up my mind.  I just knew he'd be fired eventually so I didn't need to.

Rumors had started well before the firing of the Lakers bringing back Phil Jackson to take Brown's place.  The Zen Master has coached more champion NBA teams than anyone and is heralded as the greatest coach of all time.  He's viewed as the only guy who could handle the 3 stars currently receiving the majority of the Lake Show's salary.  I don't have an opinion on what is best for the Lakers, but as a fan of the NBA, I think it's a bad move to bring him back.

The league is just starting to grow into its own again.  It's starting to get back those people who "quit watching after Jordan retired".  To bring back the biggest coach of the '90s heyday would be clinging onto those days instead of letting the league grow into the new generation. 

Phil Jackson is obviously an amazing coach and may not even want the job.  He did cancel a speaking engagement this week, so logic says he's at least going to hear what the Lakers front office has to say.  

I understand that the Lakers are a win now team, but so were the Heat.  The Heat kept their young coach and didn't win the first season of the assembled super team, but did the next year, so is it really necessary to bring back the Zen Master?  I think not. 

My opinion is obviously not going to have any sort of merit on this, but I feel like clinging to the '90s could prevent the NBA from growing into what it's on its way to. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Bench Mob: Upgrade

The fan base of the Chicago Bulls made a huge deal about their "Bench Mob" last year like it was the best bench in the league.  It wasn't.  It wasn't bad, but it wasn't the best, either.  This year, it still probably won't be the best, but it's a lot better than last year.

They got Kirk Hinrich back.  I thought it was dumb when they traded him away before, especially since they used the cap space it freed up to get Carlos Boozer.  Maybe their plan all along was to get Hinrich back for a lot cheaper, but Boozer is going to have to do a lot better to make his contract worth it.  Hinrich is stuck with the task of filling in for Derrick Rose until his return, hopefully he'll do a decent job keeping them afloat until then.  In my opinion, after that he should start in place of Rip Hamilton but probably won't, unless Hamilton's old bones crumble or he gets injured in another way.  It may be best to bring him off the bench, though, for chemistry purposes and it puts some more talent into the second unit.

Bulls fans went crazy about John Lucas III last year.  He was a great spark plug off the bench, but was inexperienced and had plenty of weaknesses, like allowing Lebron to jump over him.
He's out of Chicago, now, but he's been replaced with another short dude.  This time it's one who's a little stronger and more experienced, though.  Nate Robinson is a fun dude to watch play the game.  He's a former Slam Dunk Champion and he's got a ring from his stint with the Celtics to replace Scalabrine's in the Bulls locker room.

Their post players coming off the bench should show to be an improvement, as well.  No matter how great anyone thought Omer Asik was, they shouldn't be saddened over Chicago letting him walk.  He's not worth what Houston gave him.  Nazr Mohammed should be better, at worst he will be on the same level that Asik was at, but with different strengths and weaknesses.   They also still have Taj Gibson coming off the bench, who is still improving.  I'm curious to see if they try to make some moves to keep him around or let him leave when his contract is up. 

They also lost Kyle Korver in the off season.  I like Korver, but all he can do is shoot.  And they got Marco Belinelli to take his place, and Belinelli can score in more ways than a set three pointer, and should show to be quite an upgrade. 

Bulls fans, this year you can really embrace your Bench Mob.  Even though Scalabrine is gone, these guys should give you plenty of reason to cheer.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


     Andre Miller didn't want to be a backup after being a starter in the NBA for so long.  He'd still rather be a starter, but he's helping lead the young Denver Nuggets.  They'd love it if he'd stay.

     Dre got his share of criticism throughout the season, including from me.  I was not impressed by his play.  The first part of the season, he seemed to only be playing for himself; taking poor shots, throwing the ball away, etc.  Then he separated his shoulder and played through it like a warrior.  I'm assuming its because of the injury that he stopped taking the bad shots, and seemed to find his groove.  Since then he's been making everyone on the team look better with his playmaking.  He's shown he's one of the best passers in the league constantly setting the Mile High squad up for easy buckets and alley oop dunks.  From the surface, it would appear "The Manimal" Kenneth Faried and JaVale McGee benefit most from his play, but everyone on the Nuggets has benefited due to him.  Although, he and JaVale obviously have a chemistry that can't be denied.

     He still takes the occasional ill advised jumper that makes Nuggets fans cringe, but occasionally they fall with a sigh of relief (like the 2 three pointers last night).  Even though, the poor shots are fewer these days, as he's been getting to the rim like the rest of the team.  

     He even gave a pep talk to the team before last nights Game 5 victory in LA to stay alive and force a Game 6 back in Denver.  I don't know what he said, but I've been convinced he is a good piece for this team.  He offers experience and knowledge for the young guys, and can help guide them and help them mature into a great team. 


     "The Junkyard Dog" DeMarre Carroll was drafted in the first round by the Memphis Grizzlies in '09.  He never saw significant minutes for them, and even did a stint in the D-League.  He was then a piece of the Hasheem Thabeet/Shane Battier Trade and was waived by the Rockets after a few months.  He got invited to the Denver Nuggets training camp this year, and made the team, only to be cut yet again, after no significant minutes on a crowded roster.  Then on February 8th, he signed with the Utah Jazz.

     With the Jazz he worked his way up the rotation to eventually starting on the playoff squad.  They were the 8 seed in the West, and got swept by the Spurs, but it's still an inspiring journey.  It shows you what can happen when the right guy gets in the right system with the right coach and players around him.

     Many didn't expect Carroll to be a great NBA player, though he was a standout at Mizzou.  He was the heart and soul a Tigers team that made it to the Elite 8 in 2009.  He's still not a standout player in the NBA, but he's getting noticed a little more now and making a name for himself.  You can't help but respect him for working hard, which is something he was known for in his college years.


Sunday, January 22, 2012


Alright, So Dirk Nowitzki needs 8 days of uninterrupted working out and nursing his knee so he can get in game shape.  Maybe that should have been done over the extended lockout?

I respect Dirk for finally learning to play a little bit of defense and winning a title, but the greats also work in the off season.  I understand that the prolonged lockout and not playing NBA games probably takes you out of the mindset a little and you just won a title so you think you want some time off, but you've got to improve.  Now people are going to play you like the Championship team and not be writing you off.  You've got to train and try to get better.  If you aren't improving you're taking a step back.

Winning a title was supposed to help Dirk get onto the list of all-time NBA greats, this may do the opposite.  I see it being spun as Cuban blowing up the team, but with this happening, I'll be putting at least some of the blame on the star player the team is built around.

Here's a quote from When The Game Was Ours by Larry Bird and Magic Johnson with Jackie MacMullan about Larry Legend after winning the 1984 championship.

The morning after Boston's celebration, Bird finally went home for a little shuteye.
Around midafternoon, Buckner, who was experiencing his first NBA title, drove to 
Bird's Brookline home with the hope of celebrating all over again.  Dinah (Bird's wife)
informed Buckner that Larry wasn't there.
"He was out running," Buckner said.  "When he got back, I said to him, 'Man, what
are you doing?'"  Bird looked at him quizzically before he answered.  "I'm getting
ready for next year," he said.

That's what the greats do after winning a championship, they start preparation for the next season.  Nowitzki could have used the extended lockout to work on his game, and maybe he did....but needing to take time (and games) off to "get in game shape" doesn't make it sound like he was.

Stay fresh and keep calm,

Sunday, January 15, 2012


The Defending Champion Dallas Mavericks started the season horribly and are starting to find their stride, or what's left of it after letting Tyson Chandler and J.J. Barea leave the Lone Star State.  After winning their last 5 they're sitting in the 7th spot in the West.

The Boston Celtics decided to give it one more shot, even though the analysts said they were too old.  So far, it looks like the analysts were right.  The C's are currently not in playoff contention, though it is still very early and they could make a fight for the 8, possibly the 7, but I don't see them going any higher than that.

The Miami Heat, hailed as the best team in the league and expected to win the Championship this year, just finished a road trip to the Western Conference where they lost 3 in a row to the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers on back to back nights, then to the Denver Nuggets rested.  With these losses they have dropped to 6th in the Eastern Conference Standings.

The Los Angeles Lakers, the most loved and hated team in the league, currently reside in the 5 spot in the West after losing to the team across the hall, the Clippers.  No one thinks they're the championship team anymore, but Kobe will continue to do as much as he can to get them as far as they can, even if it may hurt the team more than help at times.

With the greats falling spaces are opening up for other teams to make some noise and maybe get a little media coverage.  The Sixers and Pacers have moved to the #2 and #3 spots in the East, which is a pretty big step forward for lower playoff teams last year, as the East was basically Chicago, Miami, Boston, Orlando and then a few levels down sat the rest of the East.

In the West some familiar teams are in the top spots, with the Thunder and Spurs sitting at the top, though no one planned for the Spurs to be that high before the season.  The Nuggets currently sit at #4 since they lost a head-to-head matchup with the Spurs.  The #3 spot is held by the Clippers currently, as their winning percentage is tied with the Spurs and Nuggets, though they haven't yet played as many games as them.

Stay fresh and keep calm,