Monday, November 21, 2005

NBA Buzz

El Guapo:
Out of the gates, Detroit is looking fierce and has Miami bandwagon-hoppers sweating. The Wallaces, Prince, Rip, and Chauncey have a chemistry not seen in the league for a solid decade. Flip may be due a whole bunch of credit from people like myself who thought he was simply riding KG all those years. And don’t look now, but it just might be last call for Darko jokes.
San Antonio’s 8-2 start isn’t too surprising, but the Clippers??! With a fantastic 3.5 A/TO (best yardstick for PGs, along with assists), Sam has them humming. Are they for real? Well, Livingston’s injury settles any PG controversy for the moment, but beware this team’s lack of depth.

El Guano:
Toronto and Atlanta are floundering at the bottom of the league, to no one’s surprise. Air Canada Centre security removed a couple fans with a ‘fire Babcock’ sign from a home game last week, and were rightly booed by the crowd. Babcock and Mitchell are clearly moving back to the States soon, but what’s hilarious is that it’s been speculated that John Weisbrod is in line for Babcock’s job. I now suspect that a fraternity somewhere has managed to hack into the Raptors’ network and are feeding the Maple Leaf execs prank “inside tips and recommendations” just to see how long it’ll take before they catch on. As far as the Hawks, I’m waiting for eyewitness reports of Joe Johnson slumped against his locker muttering “Rosebud” after games.
The alarm bells are sounding in Houston, shockingly in last place of the West. The reason is fairly simple: with McGrady (and Alston) out, there isn’t a single playmaker on the court for them. The roster is composed of guys that feed off of opportunities created for them, and the inability to generate shots without McGrady is glaring. Yao Ming has opened the season with all-around strong, assertive play that has rarely been seen in his previous seasons, but none of his teammates are capable of chipping in double-digit support and few are adept at feeding him in the post (Jon Barry being one of the lone exceptions).

Now that the Larry Brown – Starbury honeymoon couldn’t make it past the limo ride to the airport, the real fun begins. Starbury and Brown will happily agree that a trade is for the best, but then it goes to Isiah Thomas. Brown is a lover of vets that play roles: Eric Snow, Antonio Davis, etc; while Isiah has an obsession with reclamation projections. LB will want someone along the lines of Andre Miller, while Isiah will push for Darius Miles (knowing it will leave the Knicks with no one to play point). If someone can plant a hidden camera in the NYK’s offices, this would make for fantastic reality television.

No confirmation on Terrell and Latrell’s rumored OWENSPREE player representation agency, but we can all cross our fingers and hope to see it realized.

KG’s frustrated in Minnesota to the point that he’s publicly griped about management’s handling of last year’s troubled season. This, naturally, has set career dream-casters such as The Chicago Tribune’s Sam Smith into a delirious frenzy of possible Garnett trade scenarios. Start tapping those brakes a little. Big Ticket is the face of the Timberpuppy franchise, and moving him for cents on the dollar (guaranteed) will all but turn out the lights at the Target Center. Only names that promise sell-outs like Kobe or AI would entice the Wolves to move their golden goose. Far more likely, the Wolves will press hard to dump Wally and Kandi with draft picks to try and bring in a worthy sidekick. Paul Pierce, Steve Francis, Starbury, Jalen Rose, Al Harrington, and Darius Miles are all possible targets, but any trade will be difficult to pull off.

Utah owner Larry Miller unleashed a tirade for the ages during a game last week, showing serious frustration with a team cashing a major payroll but performing under expectations, compounded by Boozer’s continued absence. Much to the delight of Cleveland fans, Carlos has been out with karma-related injuries since February of last season.

Speaking of cripples, Dallas’ self-hyped acquisition of Doug Christie is panning out pretty much as expected. The property of Mrs. Jackie Christie is damaged goods and went home to Seattle for re-evaluation of his ankle and some sheltering from all of those dirty harlots in Texas.

Does it strike anyone else as odd that Nene Hilario (I refuse to ever grant him Pele status) and Kenyon Martin are down with knee injuries, but Marcus Camby is chugging along and on an early pace for a career season across the board?

So Kobe’s chucking them up far more than he ever has in the NBA and his assists are the lowest they’ve been since his third year in the L (pre-Jax). For added trivia, he’s tossing up FGs at a higher clip than Jordan ever did in any season of his career. Point made? No Jackson team has ever let a scorer run amok like this before, which is a bit fishy to me. Phil emerged from mediation with a completely new philosophy on basketball strategy, he’s resigned to L.A.’s lack of options, or he’s playing one of his notorious games. Sort of like letting a teenager get so drunk he’ll never touch a beer again. Some fun surprise may be around the corner.