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Wednesday
Jun042008

How much Power does a 19 year old Have ?

Truth.  We finally got truth from an NBA owner on a hugely lopsided trade.  A trade that will continue the ineptitude of a lowly, dismal franchise, while continuing the staggeringly winning traditions of another.  I'm sure you've already heard Michael Heisley, pondering whether he received equal trade value ( Don't you just love delayed reactions) when offering up Pau Gasol to the Lakers for the likes of Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, and, given the overwhelming talent on the Lakers, a 1st round draft pick that will prove to be near, if not the end of the 1st round.  Such poor managing disproves the theory that the league and NBA executives have been tossing around for years...that youngsters are killing the game.  It's the idea that they are somehow responsible for sub par talent you might see from struggling teams on a given night. 

Oh it's easy to get sucked into this mantra, with hall of fame coaches and players preaching the familiars like ball movement, passing, moving without the ball, the lost art of the mid-range jumper... and on and on we go. But to negate the draft choices and trades that many of these executives pull off (or worse yet don't) is ridiculous.  Just look at the examples we have of executives making poor moves and the ramifications it has on their team later:

1.  In 1996 the Charlotte Hornets trade the draft rights of Kobe Bryant to the Lakers for Vlade Divac.  Poor trade for the Hornets because Kobe becomes, well Kobe, averaging 24.8 points per game and winning three championships.  Divac plays two seasons with the Hornets, and then signs with the Sacramento Kings to help solidify them as a formidable Western Conference opponent.  "How badly did this trade affect the Hornets?",  you might say.  They end up  relocating to New Orleans because of poor attendance. 

2.  1998 the Milwaukee Bucks traded Robert Traylor to the Mavericks for Dirk Nowitzki.  Nowitzki raises the bottom feeling Mavericks from obscurity to title contender while winning an MVP in the process.  Traylor goes on to recently receives three years probation for money laundering for a drug trafficker.

3.   The Suns trade Penny Hardaway and Stephon Marbury to the Knicks for Antonio McDyes, Charlie Ward, and a host of other players not worthy of being mentioned.  This trade eventually allowed the Suns to create cap room and sign Steve Nash, while the Knicks become the laughingstock of the league.

You know we can go on all day with these blunders, from The Hawks and Bucks missing out on the likes of Chris Paul, Derron Williams, or Andrew Bynum, to the number of teams who passed on Amare Stoudamire.  The bottom line is that good teams and smart executives often times get it right when it comes to making decisions.  And usually, even when they get it wrong (ie the Pistons taking Darko instead of Melo) it doesn't kill their franchise.  So go ahead  and blame the age difference on the problems of the NBA.  It just won't be the truth.

Saturday
May312008

I hate Reminiscing

Celtics-Lakers.  Isn't it amazing.  I bet you ran around your room screaming it at the top of your lungs, high fiving everyone one as the Psitons season continued to dwindle with each closing second.  You probably even called up that old friend of yours in Boston or Los Angeles that you haven't talked to in a couple of months.  Ahhhh...isn't reminiscing sweet.  At least that's what the NBA, ESPN, and all of the sports hosts are saying.  But I hate long walks, especially down memory road.  And if there's anything this year has taught me ( I really wanted to love Indiana jones and his Crystal Skull), the trip is never as good as the first time you've been there.

Oh don't get me wrong.  Being the greedy basketball fan that I am (wanting greatness and entertainment at once), I can truly appreciate not having to watch the Spurs and Pistons play another awful championship series.  And I will be forever grateful to Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett for ensuring that misery doesn't take place this year.  But let's not lose perspective.  For all of the allure about this being the throwback showdown that conjures up the mystic nostalgia of yesteryear, it just doesn't add up.

For one thing, we've seen that this Celtics team is not a "great" team.  They barely made it pass an athletic, but obviously just glad to be there Hawks team.  They beat the one man band Lebron show, which, with that team, should have been over in 5.  And now they've beaten an entitled  Pistons team that feels that they can turn it on whenever they feel like it to win games...even though that theory has resutled in only one championship in four years.

Second, these Celtics are hired guns.  This isn't like Celtics-Lakers rivalry from the past.  We haven't grown up watching this Celtics team go through any sort of growth (unless you call winning a road game growth ).  We haven't watched these guys as they've adjusted to their roles, and gone through the learning curve of understanding how to win as a team, or beat teams who dominated them in the past.  At least the Lakers have guys in Farmar, Turiaf, and Vujacic whom you've grown with...at least if you're a Lakers fan.  This team struggled a couple of years since they won their last championship, watching other teams pass them by in the western conference.  We've even seen Kobe transform from a do-it-all myself player the past few years into the team mentor that Phil Jackson has so desperately needed him to be.

If you're looking for Bird vs Johnson you'll be disappointed.  Kobe was dominant against Bruce Bowen, the best defender in the league and no one on the Celtics ( discounting Garnett who won't be guarding Kobe ) comes close to his caliber of defense.  Plus this Lakers team has proven they can take their starters out and win with their bench.  No, I fully expect this series to be over in 5 games.  You'll be left with fond memories...just not as good as those from the past.

Thursday
May292008

Apologies are overrated

Isn't it nice to have the NBA come to its senses.  Don't you feel better knowing that they owned up to their mistakes.  I mean, I'm sure that's what the Spurs fans wanted...to have someone just say I'm sorry.  I'm sure that takes the sting out of being down 3-1 and having to go back to LA to face Kobe and his staff, right?  At least you saved them from losing on ESPN or TNT.

Obviously not!  This outcome was easier to take when Kobe was getting interviewed directly after the game holding back that sheepish grin that said it all...(aka we got away with one).  It even would have been easy to take had not the entire Spurs staff stated plain and simple that it was a good no call.  But to come back later and basically say "My bad" serves no purpose whatsoever.  The Spurs had already done them a favor by basically killing the story, but this league, so conscious driven about its image ( need we bring up the dress imposed dress code, or the accusations about fixed games ) felt the need to do the "right thing".  The right thing would have been to say nothing at all. 

Even more unbelieveable was that Joey Crawford was in that position to not make the call in the first place.  Given his track record should he really be officiating Spurs games?  Should he be the one to make or not make crucial call that change the outcomes of their games? Oh well, nothing to sweat but possibly a lost series and your 5th NBA championship in 10 years.  Nothing an apology can't solve.

 

Tuesday
May202008

I love Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley is one of the most polarizing figures in sports today.  And yet despite his ability to divide the masses, by and large, he is beloved by most sports fans.  Now I have no statistical data to back up this claim ( I barely know how to use my calculator, let alone perform statistical analysis), but I'm going to go out on the ledge and state my claims.  I believe the majority of people who tune in to listen to his thoughts, mainly those on TNT, appreciate his candor, especially when it comes to his own shortcomings. 

But Charles is walking a very thin line when it comes to those shortcomings, particularly when it comes to his gambling problems.  Don't get me wrong.  We all know he is a "grown man" and certainly no one is trying to tell him what to do with his money.  But this doesn't bode well for the everyday common man that has come to love Barkley.  The common man doesn't understand blowing through $400,000.  The recent accusations of NBA games being fixed also doesn't make for great timing. 

Barkley knows this could alienate his audience and should be given credit for owning up to his mistakes.  As impulsive as he is honest, I hope he does go cold turkey and make good on his statements about not gambling in casinos for the next two years.  But more than that, I hope he seeks help for what has been an ongoing problem for him.  All I do know is that gambling can be a serious addiction, where you need serious help...so I wouldn't bet on him kicking the habit with out counsel.  And I hope with those types of odds  he doesn't either.

Friday
Jan252008

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