Tuesday, November 01, 2005

2005 NBA Preview

The Elite

San Antonio

Cue Tina Turner, there’s no one nearly as good as the champs. Behind Duncan and Pops, they’ve become the most efficient machine the league’s seen since Sloan’s Jazz in the 90s. Only difference is, these guys do deliver on Sunday. Popovich understands what wins championships: serious D, a reliable halfcourt offense run from the post, and a single superstar surrounded by players that accept roles. Previous weaknesses were tendencies for the offense to sputter if Duncan didn’t get help and Parker’s inconsistencies. Finley takes care of the former and Van Exel gives Pop a better option than Udrih if he wants to pull Parker. No drama, no dead weights (past Rasho), experience, a Hall of Fame coach, and everyone still in their prime (other than Horry). It’s a lock. Only thing that could stop them is Timmy’s ankle.


Power overwhelming! Of course, everyone would be wise to remember Portland’s All-Star juggernaught of 2000. With Walker leading the charge, this could be the scariest second-string the league has seen in years. Of course, they have also assembled the greatest collection of locker-room cancers the league has seen since……the 2000s’ Jailblazers. Zo has oddly morphed into your best bet for a malcontent, publicly griping about not having a larger role in the offense last year. Bank on it: Shaq will sit out no less than 20 games this year as he takes advantage of this deep roster to coast through the regular season. If Pat Riley has set SVG up to fail, don’t cheer his return to coaching.


Made the Finals the last two years and made the country feel right again by killing the Wicked Dynasty of the West. We will forever owe them a debt of gratitude for that. But now they’ve traded a HOF coach for a guy that couldn’t ride KG to anything. Roster’s about the same, but Darko’s still looking like a bust. They aren’t falling off, but they aren’t about to take a step up, either. If SA handled them last year, how are the Piston’s going to stay with them now?

Playoffs and Bust


Fantastic trio with Artest, O’Neal, and Jackson, but the other pieces are lacking. The big guns can take this team deep if the role players are solid, but they’re also always one incident away from coming up short. And those incidents keep on happening.


Got their badly needed upgrade at the 4 with Stromile, but the backcourt is held together with string. Mutombo had an incredible year covering up any of Yao’s bad games.


These may not be championship pieces that Paxson added, but they sure are an impressive upgrade. There’ll be no excuses if LeBron can’t get the team to mesh and lead them to success.


Unhitching their wagon from Webber was a tremendous move. Maintaining a respectable team as well…….outstanding. This team probably won’t contend for a title with its stark lack of defense, but it has plenty of offensive pieces that should compliment each other nicely.


Dirk got exposed in the playoffs, and strangely, the “second best center in the league” got housed repeatedly. Only real offseason move was the loss of their #2 guy, and I hope you saw all the red flags when they declared Doug Christie and his wife the missing pieces of the puzzle. Avery Johnson’s change of direction has this team in heavy flux. This, on the heels of Nash’s defection, makes you wonder if this team is on the slide.


Don’t plan on seeing the Amare you’re used to for a while. Most fans are catching on to the trend of recoveries involving microfracture surgery. Trading Q and JJ for Kurt and Bell doesn’t help matters. Nash may feel heat over that MVP if he doesn’t channel Kidd and keep them in the race.


I just don’t think I buy a Melo-led team as a title contender. You’re pairing a guy that has almost petulantly looked for stardom to be handed to him with a notoriously abrasive coach that gets into pissing matches with his stars. Right. This will be smooth sailing. Kenyon Martin’s ridiculous contract will haunt the team soon: Melo and Nene expect huge payday this next offseason.

New Jersey

Kidd may never be himself again, but he’s got the best duo possible on the wings with VC and Jefferson. Turning away a discounted Shareef was daring for a team this desperate for bigs.


Smallish after ditching Curry, but they’re far better off not dealing with a guy this self-centered and lazy on a one-year deal. Skiles is doing an underrated job and is maximizing his roster’s abilities.


Be happy for Cheeks, put no faith in Webber, and be skeptical about Allen’s willingness to trust anyone else with the ball.

Stuck in the Middle

New York

Isiah got the last laugh on everyone that made fun of him for screwing up the Allan Houston Rule. Still, he also overpaid Jerome James just to also bring in the riskiest pickup in the league to man the same position. I don’t really think Curry’s heart will give him trouble; it’s more that he’s yet to dedicate himself as a player and is a pathetic rebounder as a center (4 RPG). Best bet on an incident in the NBA this year: Brown vs Starbury.


Trying to stay in the black in just about the smallest market in the NBA, the Bucks couldn’t afford a rebuilding stint. So they grossly overpay Redd, shades of the contract Allan Houston got from the Knicks. Passing up on Marvin Williams for Bogut was smart since they need a contributer this season. Plus, a fair big can take you further than a good PG like Paul in this league. Just pray he’s not another Bill Wennington. Not a good sign as far as that’s concerned? They’ve already traded for a starting center.


Losing Hughes because of an initial lowball offer may haunt this team. Cashing in Kwame for a couple of pieces and signing Daniels reduces the sting, but not enough. As amazing as Arenas can be, the team suffers from a lack of execution because he’s not a true point guard. They repeatedly fell into a habit of alternating fast breaks with one-on-one offense last year, despite Eddie Jordan’s dedication to a motion offense. Are they talented enough to still get away with that this year?

Los Angeles

Kobe and Phil get all the tabloid attention, but keep an eye on Odom. He sounds more and more like he may look to challenge Kobe’s rule in the locker room. Somehow, I doubt Phil would dissuade him from that, regardless of Therapist #8’s reaction.


Did everything fall apart last year because of AK47’s injury? Is Boozer a lemon? Is Sloan losing his patience with today’s players who lack the professionalism of his HOF-bound pair of retirees? Sloan has cast out more than a few players (Lopez, Arroyo, Snyder) that resisted his iron fist rule. Good luck, Deron.

Golden State

The franchise is at its most popular in SoCal since the days of Webber, thanks to BD. The honeymoon will last as long as his body does, which is increasingly tenuous. Mullin may never live down the contracts he gave to Fisher and Foyle.

LA Clippers

Looks like a good team on paper, but never estimate Cassell’s ability to poison a squad with his me-first mindset. Notice the mini-holdout he already managed to stage over (what else) an extension. Brand seems to be numb at this point.


Stuck in the middle between contending and rebuilding. Ainge has brought in an enviable pack of youngsters, and it’s past time to move Pierce. One question though: who’s buying?


Last season may or may not have been a fluke. But they’re now without the underrated McMillan and Daniels, and several key guys accepted one-year tenders to become free agents next year. Team unity will be iffy.


Weisbrod finally stepped down after dismanteling the decent running team he had built; breaking a professional sports record for building and busting up a winning roster. Be ready for a Francis-Howard feud over who’s the main option. Brian Hill shouldn’t inspire much confidence.


Was that one trip to the WCFs worth it? KG got his help, but the deal came at a cost that would make the devil proud. Now it’s right back to him and Wally. Owch.



The team made it clear on draft night: selling tickets takes priority over winning. Felton and May aren’t future stars, but Charlotte can sell UNC guys. Take that as a forewarning. Interesting enough, though, they are behind in season ticket sales versus last year.


Fed up with the antics of Williams and Bonzi, West kicked them out and replaced them with nice-guy Eddie Jones. Classier team, but with dim prospects short-term. Gasol is fools gold as the team’s star.


If they traded for Nash, LeBron, and Garnett, would they all become malcontent crackheads before the end of the season? You really have to wonder.


Worst run operation over the past 8 years. Clippers may take some flack, but they manage to field a decent roster. These guys have not only overloaded the squad with 2s and 3s, but almost all of them are raw “with potential.” Chris Paul was the perfect pick for them, but they couldn’t pass up Marvin Williams and all of his promise down the line. They needed someone to help immediately, though, and Paul had that written all over him. Belkin got removed as owner for protesting the Johnson signing, and you know what? He’s right. You don’t bring in a non-franchise player for the max and pray that he’ll magically become one. It doesn’t work. Unless they find a way to get Williams, Johnson, Harrington, Smith, and Childress on the floor at the same time, I don’t like where this is going. All that said, Collier’s death really puts sports into perspective. That was one of the best people you could meet in the league.


Most hapless franchise right now, today. Bosh would be lean as a PF, but he has to pretend to be a center. Rose is a classic example of a player that can get attractive numbers, but doesn’t help a team win. Babcock should be hanged for passing on so many guys (Green, Granger) in the draft.

New Orleans

I’ll go ahead and say it: they’re not going back. The 6 Baton Rogue games are only happening to save a little face. This team wasn’t drawing anyone before, and who exactly will have the disposable income for tickets now? Team has a fair outlook with Chris Paul running an entertaining break with Smith and Mason. If they win at least 30 games (a real trick), he’s my bet for ROY.

Introduction/Mission Statement

I’ll try and be as to-the-point as I can with this, and skip the gratuitous “Why this site is different from the rest” ramble. It probably isn’t, anyway.

What You’ll Find Here

Probably a bunch of NBA columns, as I’m a lifer. What’s sad is, interest is going arctic. Skip ‘em if you need to, but they’re going to be written.

Past that, I’ll probably talk about some of my favorite movies (Psycho is a masterpiece), places (Little 5 in Atlanta), guilty pleasures (horrible D-movies), and other bits that mean nothing to anyone. Possibly a few life-learnings tossed in as well. A few short rants and ramblings but those I’ll try to keep to a minimum.

What You Won’t

Political rants – while I certainly have my beliefs and opinions, I learn more and more that they’re best kept locked in a box. For one thing, no one truly knows what’s going on behind the closed doors. For another, people just get way too inflamed about things to care about what others have to say. I’ll just say: keep an open and independent mind; be well-informed, but not so much that you become jaded; and, to best find perspective, read foreign press.

A personal diary – similar to the political reasoning, I realize that no one will want to come here to catch up on the exploits of my pet rabbit, or how my in-laws pushed my buttons. We all had that friend that had an incessant need to run down every minute detail of their new almost-potential boy/girlfriend/crush goings-on each and every day. I swear to not be that person.

Finally, I swear to avoid the Lewis Black-esque posting that's all too popular these days. It's a little too easy to blindly criticize everything in the world, and it's only so fun to read negative-centric writing. Sure, I could have a field day jabbing Hillary Duff, Ashlee Simpson, Kimberly Stewart, and all the other make-believe professionals out there, but there's little point or challenge in it. Besides, no one makes them look as bad as they do on their own.

Anyway, welcome to the site and here’s hoping you enjoy it!