Blogging for the man
Sunday, November 02, 2003:
At long last....
Here are my takes on each of the teams of the NBA's Eastern Conference (in no discernable order as always)
New Jersey Nets- Showed that they really didn't need a dominante center to make it to the Finals last year, so getting a (hopefully) healthy Alonzo Mourning to replace the useless Dikemebe Mutumbo will nicely complement their blazing frontcourt of Kenyon Martin and Richard Jefferson. Not to mention that Jason Kidd guy. I do hear he's quite the fine point guard.
I expect them to make it back to the NBA Finals for a third straight season.
Detroit Pistons- Shaking things up by dumping Rick Carlisle to bring in Larry Brown could be quite a
For one, Larry Brown will certainly be able to apply himself much more without having to deal with a difficult player like Allen Iverson. However, his dislike of inserting rookies straight into the mix could hurt them with his refusal to play Darko Milicic when he provides a consistent inside scoring threat (albeit not a complete one yet) the Pistons so desperately need
Cleveland Caveliers-So far LeBron James has certainly lived up to his share of the hype and I predict we will see more of the same from him. Whether or not he, along with new coach Paul Silas, can get into the heads of an underachiever like Darius Miles and a stat-padder like Ricky Davis and can help change these players of the better of the team.
I have a feeling he will in the long term, just not this year. They will be something to watch however.
Washington Wizards-Recently acquired (from Golden State) point guard Gilbert Arenas did guarantee that the Wizards will make the playoffs this year but I have a feeling history will prove him wrong. Don't get me wrong, the Wizards finally have the right catalyst for their offense with a player like Arenas but they just haven't given him enough to work with to make them a playoff team.
Chicago Bulls- With the Junior twin towers of Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler entering their third year, a lot of people are expecting their talent to flower and bring the Bulls back into the playoff in what has been, speaking as a Bulls fan, too long on the outside. Scottie Pippen will help by bringing in a needed veteran presence and I do predict a playoff appearance, albeit a brief one, come this summer.
New Orleans Hornets- Violated rule number 1 in professional basketball: When you have a good, but not spectacular coach who can never seem to get it done in the late stages of the playoffs (Read: Paul Silas) when it comes time to replace, never get a coach who could barely break the Mendoza line with his NBA win-loss percentage (Read: Tim Floyd)
I have a feeling everyone who loves this franchise will be glad that it's New Orelans where they play.
Philadelphia 76ers-Not having Larry Brown around does not mean that Allen Iverson will suddenly run wild, but it certainly won't help. With a off-season which contained to no real steps to improve their team
Milwaukee Bucks-Having (necessarily) dumped the old guard of Ray Allen, Glenn Robinson and Sam Casell and the horribly overrated George Karl, they are making the fresh start they need, but it will likely be a couple of years until any changes are tangible. This year, expect malaise in Milwaukee.
New York Knicks- Another case where a fresh start was needed and recieved. Luckily for them,it appears as if Keith Van Horn has finally found a place for his admittedly large scoring proclivity and if their twin tower project in Maejec Lampe and Mike Sweetney can go a bit faster than planned, they will be force for a while to come. A mid-lower tier playoff team this year.
Atlanta Hawks-Plenty of talent, almost no cohesion. In this East however, they could very well find themselves with the 7 or 8 seed in the playoffs.
Indiana Pacers- Resigning Jermaine O'Neal was really all they needed to be back in the playoff picture but Ron Artest's temper could prove to be an issue as it was last year. It will be interesting to see how Rick Carlisle will deal it if that happens
Orlando Magic-Solidified themselves in the frontcourt by signing Juwan Howard and allowed Darrell Armstrong to go somewhere he can actually make a difference, bringing in Tyron Lue to fill in that gap at 2 guard. Even with Grant Hill's career hopefully not but unfortunately over, they'll still be contenders. I don't buy into them being the best in the East however
Toronto Raptors-With Vince Carter appearing to return to the 2000-2001 form which led to (premature) comparisons with Michael Jordan, it appears as if the Raptors are primed for another jaunt into the playoffs, but unless other players can step up (perhaps rookie Chris Bosh who has looked impressive at flashes), it'll be a short one
Tuesday, October 28, 2003:
Are you ready for some.....basketball?
After one hellacious off-season, the NBA is finally ready to get its game on and I, for can't wait.
Things are obviously too early to make any sort of rankings which I will just end up eating anyways but things just wouldn't be complete without some pre-season pontification. So here goes:
Los Angeles Lakers-As long as Kobe and Shaq can keep from imploding the team with their latest verbal sparring, and Kobe can stay out of legal troubles, the Lakers are the team to beat. With Kobe gone, or the relationship troubles between Kobe and Shaq spilling onto the court, they'll still be a strong contendor, but not nearly as invincible.
San Antonio Spurs- Only real loss was an already diminished David Robinson and added the versatile, Rasho Nesterovic as a suitable replacement for the departed Robinson and Ron Mercer for extra scoring support. They kept themselves from being blown off the map (talentwise) when the Lakers added Malone and Payton and I think they'll be rewarded because of it.
Dallas Mavericks- A whole ton of firepower. Not enough defense to deal with the big guns.
Sacramento Kings- With no Chris Webber for at least a month and a depleted bench, which was their strong point, they'll be hard pressed to duplicate anything resembling their successes of the previous two seasons.
Houston Rockets- If Jeff Van Gundy can continue the transformation of the Rockets into a team which runs through Yao Ming and not Steve Francis, they'll be a cinch for the playoffs.
Minnesota Timberwolves- Along with the Lakers, the prime mover in the NBA this offseason. Adding both Latrell Sprewell and Sam Cassell give the T-Wolves more viable scoring options beyond just Wally Szczerbiak and Kevin Garnett and Michael Olowakandi is an upgrade from Rasho Nesterovic in at center. Unfortunately, the T-Wolves will likely encounter the same problems as the Mavericks with the excess of scorers, especially when Troy Hudson returns from injury.
Phoenix Suns- With Penny Hardaway seemingly healthy for the first time in a long time, all they need to do is to put all the pieces together, and they'll do some serious damage.
Portland Trailblazers- With no real stabilizing influences (read: Scottie Pippen) on this team, look for them to implode.
Golden State Warriors-Losing both Gilbert Arenas and Antwan Jamison means we're going to likely have to wait a bit longer for the Warriors to make the playoffs; and that's assuming Nick Van Exel can live up to his potential.
Denver Nuggets-Drafting Carmelo Anthony and signing Andre Miller will infuse some life into this long-suffering franchise. The playoff are a long shot this year but I have a feeling they will exceed a lot of people's expectations regardless.
Los Angeles Clippers- A team in need of veteran leadership loses...veteran leadership in the form of Michael Olowakandi. And then lose Andre Miller and Lamar Odom. This won't be their year.
Memphis Grizzlies-A 35 win team if Jason Williams can step up and become a competent 2-guard.
Seattle Supersonics- Ray Allen with Glenn Robinson and Sam Casell couldn't get it done in Milwaukee. Therefore, I have no reason to believe Ray Allen with Brent Barry will even come close to getting it done, especially in this Western Conference.
Utah Jazz- No John Stockton + no Karl Malone= long season.
Eastern Conference previews will come tomorrow.
EDIT: Result of a combinaton of laziness and actual business, Eastern conference preivew is coming much later than usual, but will still be hear in order to ensure the East Coast bias when it comes to sports stories remains.
Monday, October 20, 2003:
With the whole Kobe Bryant ordeal looming like a spectre around it's easy for the casual basketball to ignore stories which actually pertain to sports and only sports. Luckily for the NBA addict (such as myself), there has been a pretty big flurry of activity with lots of players moving to new places.
Much like the Lakers in the offseason who acquired Karl Malone and Gary Payton, the Dallas Mavericks were busy getting Antawn Jamison from the Warriors earlier in the summer and today acquring Antoine Walker from the Celtics.
As much as I like Employee Number 8 and 'Tawn, I do question the wisdom of both of these moves. I understand dumping both Raef LaFrentz and Nick Van Exel, who were more less just dead-weight on a starting five which wasn't wanting for any more scorers but to replace with two more ball-hogs, espcially Antoine Walker who's never seen a shot he did like, appears to me to be the Dallas Mavericks trying to make like their really doing something too challenge the Lakers/Spurs/Kings but are just spinning their wheels with bigger names.
Perhaps Mark Cuban is hoping that both of these players will but unlike Karl Malone and Gary Payton who would likely be willing to experience a diminished role for that last chance at a Championship (though how diminished is obviously dependent what happens to/does Kobe Bryant), Antawn Jamison and Antoine Walker, who I doubt are willing to make much sacrifice, are young and therefore really don't have much to lose personally by padding their stats.
So the Mavs will certainly be quite a fun team to watch, but I'd put the chances of a superstar meltdown akin to that seen in Portland above them winning it all this year.
Thursday, October 02, 2003:
Know when to fold 'em
Via Kevin Drum (aka Calpundit) I see that Florida Senator Bob Graham will drop out of the 2K4 Presidential Race
Certainly this a good move from the Democratic perspective as it gives them a greater chance of holding on to Graham's senate seat, which is up for grabs as well in 2004.
I can't help but wonder now if another Southern Democratic Senator, who isn't polling too well, will follow Graham's lead and try to improve their chances of regaining a majority in the Senate.
NOTE: There seems to be a quite a bit of confusion here. Here's an additonal AP story where it appears that a lot of people around Bob Graham who aren't Bob Graham say he's in the running but when it comes to a story about an individual, I always take the view that it's much better to trust the source as opposed to their handlers.
Monday, September 22, 2003:
Chronicles of a waining libido
There's way too much good stuff in here
to cover but I'll go with a personal favorite:
1. Lip liner. To paraphrase David Cross: "Lip liner makes your mouth look like an asshole. You're talking and I'm imagining six different types of shit coming out of your mouth."
Mad props to Tbogg
Tuesday, September 16, 2003:
Fall from Grace
Although I may have several conservative leanings, I usually end up disagreeing with conservative comentators as a result of their general abrasiveness. One of the few who I believe adds anything to a debate is David Brooks.
Since they started a couple of weeks ago, I've found his New York Times columns at least readable (which is more than I can for any other of the Times's columnists as of late).
Today, though, he comes out with what pretty much can be described as a stinker .
He attempts to try to show why Howard Dean is the weakest of Democratic Presidental candidates through some basic facts about the American electorate (more polarized, more educated, etc.) but really not much except for the tired old charges of how Howard Dean is just another member of the far-left, where a careful examination of some very important issues shows nothing of the sort.
Obviously Howard Dean has put his foot in mouth, especially on military manners, but I wonder if those GOP pollsters who Brooks but so much stock into will be so happy if Dean is sucessfully able to paint himelf back into the centrist corner if he does indeed get the Democratic nomination.
Friday, August 22, 2003:
Man bites dog
He's been called a wacky liberal by some, a stalwart cenrist by others; but people must now be ready to add something else to the resume of Howard Dean: Wall Street Journal op-ed contributor.
No need to adjust you monitors