Random thoughts from around the league (An Onging Thread)

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Re: Random thoughts from around the league (An Onging Thread)

Post by tjmakz on Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:40 pm

bob,

Caracter was not a top college player and was not expected to be drafted high. That is why he was picked 58th.
He did have some nice games in summer league but so did Jeremy Lin who can't get off the bench for GS.
Maybe I am wrong about Caracter but he doesn't do anything real well. It is hard to be a rebounding tough guy if you are undersized and don't have much leaping ability.
For $788k they might give him another year but how much more playing time will he get next year? Not much if any.
There are so many picks that don't work out that I can see LA's mindset toward first round picks. They would rather trade the pick for an established player or trade/sell their pick like they did in 2009 to NYK.
Why pay a guy a guaranteed multi-year salary (plus luxury tax) just to sit on the bench? If it is a top 10 pick, that is a different story.
If I was LA's management, I would draft a couple of 7 footers this year and take a chance on them even if they are projects and maybe see what interest is out there for Caracter. Some team might like him and would be willing to give up a 2nd round pick in a trade for Caracter.
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Re: Random thoughts from around the league (An Onging Thread)

Post by RosalieTCeltics on Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:07 pm

Bob - I have finally come to the conclusion that most of these lists that are being put together are done by guys 30 years old and under. They have no
real memory of the game before the 1980's and 90's. It is as if Bill Russell never existed in alot of these guys minds. West, Baylor, the Jones Boys, Heinsohn, Cousy, the list goes on and on, these guys didn't exist in the younger generation's mind. I am tired of reading the lists and their omissions, The league didn't start with Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, et al. Now I am not saying that I don't believe these guys were great players, it is just the ones that are not even considered that bothers me. So I have finally decided that I will ignore most of these and keep my memories in tact. I
have been a basketball fan for many, many years and have seen the best.
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Re: Random thoughts from around the league (An Onging Thread)

Post by MDCelticsFan on Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:01 pm

Rosalie:

I completely agree with you! Not only the ones you mentioned, but Luke Jackson, Nate Thurmond, Jerry Lucas, Lenny Wilkins, Bob Pettit, Gus Johnson, Connie Hawkins, the starting 5 from the '70 & '73 Knicks title teams. None of the people 30 and under probably have a clue as to who the aforementioned are.

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Re: Random thoughts from around the league (An Onging Thread)

Post by bobheckler on Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:37 pm

tjmakz wrote:bob,

Caracter was not a top college player and was not expected to be drafted high. That is why he was picked 58th.
He did have some nice games in summer league but so did Jeremy Lin who can't get off the bench for GS.
Maybe I am wrong about Caracter but he doesn't do anything real well. It is hard to be a rebounding tough guy if you are undersized and don't have much leaping ability.
For $788k they might give him another year but how much more playing time will he get next year? Not much if any.
There are so many picks that don't work out that I can see LA's mindset toward first round picks. They would rather trade the pick for an established player or trade/sell their pick like they did in 2009 to NYK.
Why pay a guy a guaranteed multi-year salary (plus luxury tax) just to sit on the bench? If it is a top 10 pick, that is a different story.
If I was LA's management, I would draft a couple of 7 footers this year and take a chance on them even if they are projects and maybe see what interest is out there for Caracter. Some team might like him and would be willing to give up a 2nd round pick in a trade for Caracter.


TJ,

As I remember, the biggest reason why Caracter was drafted so low was because of concerns about weight issues, which suggested poor self discipline, NOT a dearth of talent.

If I were Kupchak, I'd go for a wing or a beefy PF over a 7 footer. You have height, you need bulk and depth. You also have a SF, Walton, who's near the end due to back problems. Artest is 31 and will need backup. With the departure of Ariza and Farmar, and replacement by Artest and Blake, the Lakers have become a much slower team. A little speed from a young SF would be helpful. If you got a 6'8-6'9", 240# PF that might be enough to hold the fort when Odom, who is also 31, is playing center for Gasol. Such a player would more likely be ready for his game (i.e. he doesn't need to grow into his body before it'll do what he needs to compete at this level), so a faster return on LAL's draft investment.

Another reason to draft some speed is Kobe. He's playing bone-on-bone on at least one of his knees and getting out and running straight might be less wear-and-tear on him. He currently has more NBA minutes on his body than KG, and that's a lot of minutes by any standard, but especially on increasingly battered knees.


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Re: Random thoughts from around the league (An Onging Thread)

Post by tjmakz on Wed Mar 30, 2011 4:06 pm

bob,

I don't think LA will draft a SF because they already have 4 under contract.
Barnes is not very strong but he is quite athletic. Devin Ebanks is an extremely athletic wing who could be a major contributor in the next couple of years.

Speaking of Ariza, he is finishing up his 2nd dreadful season in a row. Shooting under 40% and 70% from the FT line and not rebounding.

Due to LA's defensive problems at the PG position they need their big guys to protect the basket. LA would love to draft speed but that is hard to find in the 2nd round or late 1st round. They need speed at PG the most, so hopefully one of these years they will get a quick pg. LA tries hard to not use Odom at center but has to on occasion.
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Re: Random thoughts from around the league (An Onging Thread)

Post by tjmakz on Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:31 pm

I never thought I would see Fisher, Walton, Ratliff, Smith and Odom all on the court at the same time. That might be the least amount of talent that I have seen a team send out onto the court.
The Lakers are 9-0 in games that Theo Ratliff plays in...
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Re: Random thoughts from around the league (An Onging Thread)

Post by Outside on Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:50 pm

And Adam Morrison has two rings. Some guys are just lucky to be around for the ride.

Sad to say, but the way things are going for the Celts at the center position, Ratliff or Smith could start for them.
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Re: Random thoughts from around the league (An Onging Thread)

Post by Sam on Fri Apr 01, 2011 7:15 pm

TJ,

Great example of the importance of cause and effect.

Do the Lakers win big because Ratliff or does Ratliff earn a minute or two in garbage time because the Lakers win big?

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Re: Random thoughts from around the league (An Onging Thread)

Post by tjmakz on Sat Apr 02, 2011 8:40 am

The "Best Team in the NBA" (San Antonio Spurs) lost for the 6th straight time last night.
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Re: Random thoughts from around the league (An Onging Thread)

Post by steve3344 on Sat Apr 02, 2011 8:57 pm

tjmakz wrote:The "Best Team in the NBA" (San Antonio Spurs) lost for the 6th straight time last night.

Yes they did. And with still being the only team in the league with less than 20 losses on the season they're technically the best team in the NBA right now. At the moment. That's usually the deciding factor while a season is still in play. They don't give out official bouquets to the team that's PLAYING the best in the league until that team is crowned champion. And we know that's not the Spurs right now.

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Re: Random thoughts from around the league (An Onging Thread)

Post by Sam on Sat Apr 02, 2011 9:48 pm

There's nothing like belaboring the trivial to get under people's skins.

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Re: Random thoughts from around the league (An Onging Thread)

Post by bobheckler on Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:39 pm

Bynum and Gasol's knees are both hurt in their loss to Denver. Gasol planning an MRI. Doesn't sound too serious for either player. Gasol said he did have "some swelling". Bynum's injury appears to be an aggravation of an old injury and not a new one.

http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/la-sp-lakers-nuggets-20110404,0,51761.story

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Re: Random thoughts from around the league (An Onging Thread)

Post by tjmakz on Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:32 pm

Gasol came back and played after his knee got checked out and Bynum wanted to go back in but was held out the last half of the 4th quarter.
It should not be a problem for either of them.

I hope LA rests their starters as much as possible over the next 1 1/2 weeks. I have been saying all along the #2 seed is best for LA. OKC is a worse matchup for LA then Dallas.

Good win for Denver yesterday. They wanted that game a little more then LA did.
The Denver/OKC series will be quite entertaining.
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Re: Random thoughts from around the league (An Onging Thread)

Post by Outside on Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:15 pm

Thought I'd chime in about the first-round playoff matchups.

The first-round series in the East all look like the higher seed should win comfortably, but we'll see if anything surprising develops. The real fun for the first round is out West.

Spurs vs. Grizzlies
I think the Spurs will have their hands full with Memphis. The Grizzlies match up well with San Antonio. The Spurs are vulnerable inside, and Memphis has a significant post threat in Zach Randolph. Memphis also has athletes who can defend the Spurs' perimeter shooters. The two teams enter the playoffs on different trajectories -- Memphis played well over the last two months, including going 2-1 versus San Antonio, while the Spurs went 12-11 since March 1. These are very good reasons why Memphis tanked their last two games to stay in the 8th spot to play San Antonio rather than pass New Orleans for 7th, where they'd have to play the Lakers.

There's also the issue of the Spurs' health. Popovich managed Duncan's minutes well this season, but Duncan is wearing down, and he suffered a bad ankle sprain late in the season. Manu hyperextended his right elbow in the last game and will have an MRI today (he's left-handed, but it's still going to affect him).

Even more impressive to me is how Memphis grew as a team over the course of the season. They were underwhelming the first half, going 19-23 and looking like an underperforming team with poor chemistry, but they came together the second half and finished 46-36 despite throwing away the last two games. They could've fallen apart when Rudy Gay hurt his shoulder and was lost for the season, but they acquired Shane Battier at the trading deadline and didn't miss a beat. I think it shows what a great job Lionel Hollins has done as their coach. It's not as if I'm going to give Memphis the coaching advantage in this series, but Hollins deserves a lot of credit for getting them into the playoffs and bringing them together into a solid contender.

It's hard for me to pick Memphis outright, but I think they'll give San Antonio a battle.

LA vs. New Orleans
Should be a mismatch, but LA is capable of lowering their level of play to head-shaking depths. LA will win, but if New Orleans wins a game or two, the level of angst in Lakerland will rise considerably.

Dallas vs. Portland
I'm picking Portland, and I'm probably not alone. I watched Dallas recently, and they looked nothing like the team I saw earlier in the season. On offense, Jason Terry is in a funk, Jason Kidd makes the occasional three but is really a terrible shooter, they don't play together as a unit, and they expect Dirk to bail them out half the time while everyone else stands around. On defense, teams have learned to take it to Tyson Chandler physically because he's so light, which negates his impact. They don't look like they're built for the playoffs.

Portland, on the other hand, has a lot to like. Despite all the biblical plagues that have befallen them in recent seasons, they're a dangerous team. One benefit of all the injuries is that it forced LaMarcus Aldridge into the spotlight, and boy has he responded. He is a stud, and I'd take him on my team over Dirk in a heartbeat. Dirk is a better shooter, but I can't think of any other aspect of the game where Aldridge doesn't have the advantage. Portland stole Gerald Wallace from Charlotte at the trading deadline, and he's stepped right in to fill Brandon Roy's shoes, plus Brandon Roy actually made it back this season and contributes off the bench. Andre Miller is an underrated point guard. Portland plays at the slowest pace in the league, which means they can keep doing what they do in the playoffs while faster-paced teams have to adjust to slowing down. If Camby can stay healthy, they even have a serviceable big man. I'm not picking Portland to win the title, but they've got a lot of good things going. Plus, after all they've been through, I'm just rooting for them.

OKC vs. Denver
This one should be fun. It stacks up to be the best first-round match. Athletes galore. Division rivals who don't like each other. Which team will be the first to have a player receive a flagrant foul? Thrown out for two techs? (Perkins might do that the first game just to make a point.) Suspended? Actually, I hope none of that happens and they just play hard-nosed, competitive basketball at a very high level.

OKC should be favored, but Denver should make it interesting. We'll see how OKC responds to being the favorite and playing a plucky underdog, a role-reversal from last year.


Playoffs!

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Re: Random thoughts from around the league (An Onging Thread)

Post by beat on Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:42 pm

Outside

Damn, you a joy to read! Nice summations with just a touch of humor!

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Re: Random thoughts from around the league (An Onging Thread)

Post by Outside on Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:55 pm

Thanks Beat. One thing I hope I bring to the table as a non-Celtic fan is an appreciation and awareness of the good stuff going on throughout the league. As Boston fans, you rightly have your focus on the Celtics, but it's also good to look up once in a while and see what's going on in other places. Plus, there are quite a few board members who live outside of Boston, and they can offer insight about other teams. I enjoy kick-starting these conversations. Hopefully others will throw their two cents in.

Take care.

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Re: Random thoughts from around the league (An Onging Thread)

Post by beat on Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:17 pm

Outside

Hard to add to what you've got started. If a team is ABLE to make the other play at a "speed" or pace they don't like or want, even if an underdog they have a shot BUT this being the playoffs when you play the same team, good teams and coaches will adapt and make the moves they need to make.

For example when Orlando playes the Bulls in the second round. Can the Magic make Rose be an outside shooter and keep him out of the paint. He is a much poorer outside shooter and is ranked 25th in thee point % FOR Point guards.

Seems SVG might be able to figure out a way to contain him and if so they might have a good shot of beating them in a 7 game series.

Again it was a nice read and it is hard to add to it.

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Re: Random thoughts from around the league (An Onging Thread)

Post by Outside on Fri Apr 29, 2011 10:27 am

Revisiting the first round. And what a round it was.

First round in the East
What I said: The higher seeds should all win easily
Verdict: Meh

I didn't count on Atlanta beating Orlando. The two most inconsistent, perplexing, head-shakingly undecipherable teams in recent memory. Somebody should take them both out back and shoot them.

The East was supposed to be relatively simple, with the top of the bracket severely outclassing the bottom, but it didn't work out that way. Chicago, Miami, and Boston all won 4-0 or 4-1, but each looked mortal in doing so. Philly and Indiana put up a good fight.

Spurs vs. Grizzlies
What I said: Memphis would give San Antonio all they could handle
Verdict: Ding! Ding! Ding!

Okay, it's muted a little because I didn't have the guts to pick Memphis outright. The series is still undecided as of this writing, and we'll see if Memphis can seal the deal at home tonight, but they have been the better team.

Did anyone else think Zach Randolph should've intentionally missed the second free throw at the end of regulation with 1.7 seconds left? It would've left them up two, and even if the Spurs got the rebound cleanly, they would've only had time for a full-court heave. Making the second free throw put Memphis up by three, but it also allowed the Spurs to advance the ball to the front court, where they could (and did) get a good shot off. Memphis screwed up by inexplicably defending inside the three-point line, but I still like the option of missing that second free throw.

Sadly, I think it's time for Duncan to retire.

LA vs. New Orleans
What I said: Should be a mismatch, but LA is capable of lowering their level of play to head-shaking depths. LA will win, but if New Orleans wins a game or two, the level of angst in Lakerland will rise considerably.
Verdict: Nailed it

I really can't gloat, because this was low-hanging fruit. What I found most interesting:

-- Chris Paul stepping up to carry his team. I've had my suspicions about him, but maybe he really is that good.

-- Trevor Ariza playing well. He's been mediocre-to-awful since leaving the Lakers, so maybe there is some hope for him.

-- Andrew Bynum showing why he can be a difference-maker.

Dallas vs. Portland
What I said: Portland would win
Verdict: Bzzzzzzzz

The biggest surprise here to me wasn't Portland, but Dallas -- they actually played well. We'll see if they can keep it up.

OKC vs. Denver
What I said: Should be the best first-round match
Verdict: Meh

They were good games, but Denver didn't pull enough out to make it the series it could've been. What I found most interesting:

-- OKC playing like they belong with the big boys. We'll see if they can keep it up.

-- Serge Ibaka. Oh. My. Goodness. We had him on our fantasy team, so it's not like I didn't know about him, but he's showing that he can be something special. Considering that they already have elite talent in Durant and Westbrook, Ibaka can make a huge difference for them.

-- If they can keep Westbrook from turning into a knucklehead, these guys could be really, really good. They have a much better chance than Miami of fulfilling what Miami was supposed to be. They're not there yet. They've only won one playoff series with this group, and they could use another piece or two, but they are on the cusp.


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Re: Random thoughts from around the league (An Onging Thread)

Post by Outside on Fri Apr 29, 2011 11:30 am

And on to round 2.

Chicago vs. Atlanta
Question marks are popping up so fast around Chicago that they look like an FAQ page in Spanish. Boozer isn't playing well, they're too dependent on Rose, and no one among the role players is stepping up like typically happens for a true contender. But they're playing Atlanta. Chicago in 5.

Boston vs. Miami
Everyone will dissect this elsewhere, but I'll just go with Boston in 6.

Memphis/San Antonio vs. OKC
Assuming OKC plays Memphis, this could be the matchup that OKC-Denver was supposed to be. Memphis is playing well, but they don't match up as well with OKC as they do with San Antonio. OKC is building momentum like a semi truck rolling downhill, so Memphis needs to get them early to make it a series. OKC over Memphis in 6.

If San Antonio comes back from the dead to beat Memphis, OKC over the Spurs in 5. I really hope that doesn't happen. Poor Timmy would look like a wounded zebra surrounded by cheetahs on espresso, and sportswriters might demand hazard pay to ask Popovich any questions in the post-game interview sessions. Tinkerbell's light would go out.

Lakers vs. Dallas
Assuming no significant injuries for the Lakers, LA in 5. I just don't trust Dallas, and LA is usually better after the first round.


I've got be wrong about something here. Shouldn't at least one of these go seven games?

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Re: Random thoughts from around the league (An Onging Thread)

Post by tjmakz on Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:46 pm

Memphis looks like they can be a dangerous team even without their best player Rudy Gay. I doubt they will beat OKC but it should be a great series.

The link below is an interesting story about how the Grizzlies were built.
Through the players that they received in the Gasol trade and from trading some of those players, Memphis really improved their team long term. With the financial savings they received in trading Pau, Memphis was able to trade for Zach Randolph for Quentin Richardson's expiring contract.
These are the players that are Grizzlies now directly or indirectly from the Pau Gasol trade to LA:
Marc Gasol
Zach Randolph
Sam Young
Darrell Arthur
Xavier Henry
Greivis Vasquez



http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/01/sports/basketball/01grizzlies.html?src=tptw
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Re: Random thoughts from around the league (An Onging Thread)

Post by MustangGator on Sun May 01, 2011 4:06 pm

Grizzlies still looking good. Leading OKC in GM 1 by 13 with 8 minutes left in the 4th.
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Re: Random thoughts from around the league (An Onging Thread)

Post by tjmakz on Thu May 05, 2011 11:21 am

There are only two things that the Lakers need to fix right now.
1) Offense
2) Defense

In all seriousness, their offense was just dreadful last night.
They started off 0-15 from 3 point range. If they would have made 4 or 5 of them it would have been a different game.
I cannot figure out why Phil kept Steve Blake in the game for so long. He had no confidence at all last night. The deer in the headlights analogy would be about a 10x upgrade over the way Steve played. He played 20 minutes and had as many turnovers as points, rebounds and assists combined.
In game 1 I felt that LA toyed with Dallas and just got burned at the end because Dallas shot over 50% from 18+ feet. They were up by 16 in the 3rd period and diddled around until they lost the lead. In game 2 LA just could not hit any big shot they needed and they were terrible from the FT line.
Dallas has played well. Dirk is an unbelievable shooter even with guys right on him. His step back fade away is unstoppable.
Ron Artest will probably get suspended for game 3 which clearly hurts LA.
I am not overly discouraged because LA can only play better. Hopefully last night was rock bottom for them. But they have put themselves in a huge hole. It just might be that Dallas is the better team at this point in the season and that they will win the series because they outplayed LA.
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Re: Random thoughts from around the league (An Onging Thread)

Post by swedeinestonia on Thu May 05, 2011 12:59 pm

I feel Lakers have the advantage player wise, more skill and depth in general. Dallas is getting more out of their personnel though that is for sure. If Lakers get over the hump aka a blowout win in game 3 I think they will take the series.

They need something, anything, to just get them started.
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Re: Random thoughts from around the league (An Onging Thread)

Post by Outside on Thu May 05, 2011 1:51 pm

The Lakers were dreadful last night. As far as the series goes, the problem isn't that they lost game 2, it's that they let game 1 slip away. Losing game 1 hurt them two-fold -- the actual loss, and boosting the Mav's confidence immensely.

The Lakers have shown the tendency to fall flat in a game or two during a series, and last night was a game like that, although on a more epic scale, considering that they'd already lost game 1 and should have been energized and somewhat desperate. Kobe's shooting stats may have been okay, but I thought he disappeared in the second half when they needed his leadership at the offensive end. Other than Bynum, I didn't think anyone played well, and as someone else pointed out, his impact diminished in the second half as the Mavs took control. So many missed shots in close and inexplicable turnovers. Blake was dreadful. Half the roster was MIA.

To counter that, Dallas played very well, and they're playing like a team with hunger and talent. Dirk was just plain awesome. What a shooter. I'd take him over any shooter in the league, Ray included, because Ray can be affected by a determined defense, but Dirk's shot is unstoppable, maybe the most unstoppable shot I can think of (and that includes Kareem's hook). Barea was outstanding off the bench. Kidd, Terry, and Marion all played well, and Chandler neutralized Gasol effectively. I saw the Mavs play a game in the last couple weeks of the season, and they looked awful. About everything that was a negative then is a positive now. I think LA at their best is better, but LA is not very good right now and the Mavs are playing great.

It's so hard to sustain the energy and drive needed to win a championship over even two seasons, and the Lakers have been in the finals the last three years. If they somehow summon the will to do it again, it will be a remarkable achievement. At this point, it doesn't look like they have it in them.

The first technical against Artest was bogus. The second one was deserved, but I thought the forearm to the head was unintentional. I thought Artest was going to grab Barea's shoulders, but Barea is so darn tiny that Artest wound up getting Barea's head. Artest seemed to want to hold Barea up after the contact, which just made it look worse, like he was extending the clothesline a little longer. Others may disagree with my assessment, but that's what it looked like to me.

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Re: Random thoughts from around the league (An Onging Thread)

Post by tjmakz on Thu May 05, 2011 2:29 pm

With Dirk's fade away, he never gets a "shooters bounce".
I would say 75+% of those shots that go in never hit the rim. Nothing but net.
He runs like Herman Munster but man can he shoot and score.
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