Thursday, June 28, 2007

Grading the 2007 NBA Draft, Trades included

I'm going to go in Alphabetical Order by team.

Atlanta Hawks - A
Hawks made the right move by getting Horford over Conley Jr. I like Conley better for their team, but at the 11th pick Acie Law and Crittenton were available, while Spencer Hawes and Joakim Noah were not, so they made they right move by getting the big man first.

Boston Celtics - B+
They get Ray Allen while getting rid of Delonte West, Szczerbiak and his overinflated contract, and the #5 pick. I think they're fed up with Delonte, and Szczerbiak and his conract is just dead weight. I think they got rid of a bunch of parts because they were too afraid to pick YJL, Hawes, or Noah. Then they got Glen Davis and Gabe Pruitt to fill in their PG needs and backup forward needs. I think they had to do what they did or else Pierce and his fat body would whine and moan and bitch. A Ray Ray, Pierce, Al Jefferson lineup should do well in the East, except for the lack of Defense.

Charlotte Bobcats - B-
They drafted Julian Wright with the 8th pick, and then traded him for Jason Richardson. They didn't really need Wright as much as they would a Hawes or Noah, but a SG was in need. Now they can have Felton, Richardson, Wallace, May, Okafor. Of course they could have traded for someone better than Richardson, GS wanted to get rid of him, he was injured last season, and he'll cost a lot. GS also had a ton of prospects they could've tried for.

Chicago Bulls - B+
They got Noah, when they should've gotten Hawes. Hawes fills their NEED, while Noah fills their profile, with a high energy, versatility player. In the 2nd round they got Aaron Gray and JamesOn Curry, who has a world of talent. Not a bad 2nd round pick, considering you probably won't get much there, you might as go for a high risk high reward pick. Gray will be a solid backup center in the Todd Macculloch mold.

Dallas Mavericks - A-
They had 3 second round picks and made the most of it by drafting Fazekas, Renaldas Seibutis, and Milovan Rakovic. Fazekas could be a bust, but if not, he'll be a decent rebounding tall man who can also shoot from the outside. Seibutis is someone the Sonics were looking at at 35, so he could be solid, and Rakovic I don't know much about, but might as well go for upside with the 2nd last pick.

Detroit Pistons - B+
Great draft. Stuckey and Afflalo are great combo guards who can play both ways. Stuckey will be able to light it up more, and Afflalo will be more of a shutdown guy. Then they got Sammy Meija, who is ok, but not great at anything. I don't know why they got him, because he's 24, and they just got 2 shooting guards. The only reason they didn't get an A, is because I think they might want to get another SF. They are set at the big positions however with C-Webb, Rasheed, McDyess, Dale Davis, and Amir Johnson.

Golden State Warriors - A
I like Golden State's picks. They got Brandan Wright for Jason Richardson, which is good because they have a ton of swing men. Then they got Marco Bellini who'll be great in a few years but needs some time. In the 2nd round they got Jermareo Davidson and Stephane Lasme. This is great Becasue Jermareo is 6'11" and is talented, and will be a good backup at worst, and Lasme is a shot blocking machine.

Houston Rockets - F
Aarong Brooks for the 26th pick? He's a bit undersized, a bit selfish, and won't be as good of a shooter. He's more of a pick-me up off the bench type of guy. Plus they already have two PGs, and needed a PF when Fazekas, Glen Davis, and Josh McRoberts were available. In the 2nd they got Brad Newley, a slashing guard from Australia, whom no one was talking about.

Indiana Pacers - F
Stanko Barac? I don't know what to say.

LA Clippers - A
They had a great draft here. It sucks for them that Julian Wright and Thaddeus Young were taken right before Thornton, but they get the less risky, less upside Al Thornton with the 14th pick. Then they get solid backup PG Jared Jordan, who had great stats in college, and while he won't be a great starting PG, he wll be solid for when Cassell and Livingston invetiably getting injured.

LA Lakers - A
They didn't panic when the ugys they wanted weren't there, instead, they took the best guy available in Javaris Crittenton, who is young, and can pass real well. Sun Yue is a good pick because he's a Boris Diaw-type player, he's a big guy who's an OK shooter, and a great passer. With the final pick they got Marc Gasol, who's just a big brute down low, but could be a decent backup center.

Miami Heat - D
I guess Miami felt like they didn't need anything this draft, so they got Daequan Cook, who won't be NBA-ready for 2 years. So a close-to-championship team with Shaq gettig older did nothing to get better immediately.

Milwaukee Bucks - C
I like the Yi pick, if they trade him, but otherwise why draft a guy who'll refuse to play there. The Chinese will hate Milwaukee for this, and they shouldn't have put basketball ahead of politics. I think Yi was the best player available, but he's worth less to Milwaukee than he is to another team. Ramon Sessions in the 2nd round is a great pick. He can be a great backup PG, or could maybe even be a decent starting PG.

Minnesota Timberwolves - C
I like Brewer, but they should have got someone who could help KG out more. If they trade KG, they should get someone with more upside. Their 2nd pick was horrible. Chris Richard was a solid backup, but he only got 6 pts 3 reb. Drafted after him was Derrick Byars, Adam Haluska, ReyShawn Terry etc.

Memphis Grizzlies - A
The next two best players were either Horford or Conley Jr. and since Atlanta took Horford, Memphis took Horford. Similar to the Sonics position, they did what they had to.

New Jersey Nets - A
They need a big man, and they chose the risky big man in Sean Williams. But that's really the only move they could've done, except get Jason Smith, who played in a JV conference. He's athletic and can block real well, NJ hopes he's more Marcus Camby more than Theo Ratliff.

New Orleans Hornets - A
I love Julian Wright, he's a study offensively, and he's a stud defensively. He may not be a #1 player, but he has a ton of upside, and is young. They did a good job by picking him over Thornton. In the second round, they got do-everything Adam Haluska, a solid 2 guard who is versatile, and a hard worker.

New York Knicks - F
I didn't like the Renaldo Balkman pick last year, and even though he did better than expected, I still don't like him. Same goes for Wison Chandler. Even if he's a good player, it's like drafting Prince Fielder in the 2nd round this year in a fantasy baseball draft, he's "worth" going there, but if you could get him in the 8th round, why not do it?

Orlando Magic - A
Reyshawn Terry. Great player, 6-8 230 lbs, and he can really play. He's versatile, adn is a great fit for their team.

Philadelphia 76ers - A+
In the first round, they got Thaddeus Young and Jason Smith. Young had the most upside of the 3 SFs in his draft area, and that's who Philly pick. Smith was the best center available, and they traded up to get him. In the 2nd round they got a big man with upside, 21 year old Fesenko. Then they got a steal with Derrick Byars, who could've gone at the end of the 2nd round.

Portland Trailblazers - A+
In the 1st round, they got Oden, Rudy Fernandez, and Kopponen. I'm high on all three. Oden doens't need to be written about, Fernandez will be a good 2 guard, and he might stay in Europe for a few years, which is fine for Portland, and Kopponen might do the same, since he's a 19 year old Finnish PG who lit up draft camps. In the 2nd round they got McRoberts, who has a ton of Potential with his height, passing, and blocking, Taurean Green a solid backup PG, and Nichols, a 6-8 SF who can shoot lights out, and has decent athleticism.

Phoenix Suns - B+
They could've had Rudy Fernandez but traded him away. Instead they got Alando Tucker and DJ Strawberry, two swingmen who play a bit bigger, and can play good defense. I thought they'd go with a big, but I guess when Stoudemire isn't in, they won't have any big guys in their lineup (unless you count Kurt Thomas as a "big").

Sacramento Kings - A-
They got Hawes, who was probalby the best player available. They could've gotten Thaddeus Young or Julian Wright, but it's hard to tell where the team is headed with Ron Artest.

San Antonio Spurs - A
I usually hate SA's drafts. Besides Duncan and Parker, their last few draft picks haven't been so hot. But Tiago Splitter, Marcus Williams, and Printezis (who?)? Good picks. Splitter won't be around for a while, perfect for them. Williams is versatile, and gives them someone in case Brent Barry or Michael Finley get old or leave.

Seattle SuperSonics - B
Durant is an obvious pick. Green is an ok pick with #5, but I don't know if he has much upside. He hasn't improved all that much since his freshman year, though his stats are a bit misleading because GTown plays such a slow game. Hopefully he can be Pippen to Durant's Jordan, but that's a big too much I think. I don't know what Presti is thinking wanting 3 SF's, playing, (7 if you count Szczerbiak, Damien Wilkins, Gellybelly, and Landry). I like Landry, but I think he's overkill, we don't need another SF, we could've had Gabe Pruitt, Josh McRoberts, Glen Davis, Fazekas, Derrick Byars, Marcus Williams, etc. We really need a SG too since we don't have one.

Utah Jazz - A+
They needed a SG who can shoot, and Morris Almond is that. Perfect pick this late. Then they got Herbert Hill, whom I don't know, but if Hollinger has him rated 16th according to his new rating systems, it looks like a good risk pick that could pan out. Who knows, maybe he can be Ryan Gomes?

Washington Wizards - A-
Nick Young is a great pick. They don't really need a scorer, but they need a SG or a C, and Nick Young was the best available. Dominic McGuirre is a great pick this late, a poor man's Kirilneko this late? Pretty good.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What if the Blazers took Durant?

The longer this draft goes on, the more I love Durant. Even so, I would love to have Oden still. Imagine if the Blazers took Durant, several "What if" scenarios arise.
What if the Celtics' Ainge was willing to give up his #5 pick for Robert Swift, a player he's loved and coveted for a while.
What if the Hawks were willing to trade their #11 pick for Ridnour (a veteran PG is something they've coveted for a while. Since they don't have their 1st round pick no matter what next year because Phoenix gets it, they want to be good next year right away).
What if Conley Jr. fell to #5 and we drafted him. What if Hawes fell to #11 (or YiJianLian) and we drafted him as well?

We could be looking at THIS team.
Conley and Watson
Ray Allen and Gellybelly
Durantula and Wilkins
Hawes (or YJL) and Collison
Oden and Wilcox and Sene

As improbable as all this is, I haven't even talked about trading Rashard Lewis.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

2007 NBA Mock Draft 1st Round+ 5

Draft is just a week away, and the Sonics have the 2nd overall pick, and the 1st and 5th pick in the 2nd round, so it's key to see who's available and who should go where. Here is my mock draft of what SHOULD happen given realism, I've also said what will probably happen if the picks are different.

Round 1

1. Portland C Greg Oden Ohio State
This pick is pretty obvious, I think they want to take Durant, but they'll take Oden just to be safe. That being said, I'd be glad to trade them the number 2 pick and something like Wilcox for Oden.

2. Seattle F Kevin Durant Texas
This pick is even more obvious, whoever Portland takes, the Sonics will take the other. Can't go wrong with either pick and I think that barring injury, both players will be top 25 of all time. Also, it just goes to show what the press can dig up when it has to, Oden might be "too injury prone" and Durant isn't athletic enough, though he is taller than 6'10" and has the biggest wingspan in the draft.

3. Atlanta PG Mike Conley Ohio State
What this team needs is a center and a point guard. Unfortunately, Hibbert pulled out, Hawes apparently doesn't deserve going this high, and neither does Mike Conley. So they go with the safest pick, Horford, who measured out as 6'10" and is the strongest guy in the draft. He got a lot of blocks, so he looks to be a good pick, but his upside is not as high as say, Brandan Wright (whom they should never draft because he's too much like Marvin Williams, weakish PF who showed potential as a freshman and UNC). They should pick Conley though, because I think he'll be Andre Miller at worst, and if he gets down his shooting, he could be as good as Chris Paul.

4. Memphis PF Al Horford Florida
Good worker, Jerry West kind of guy. They will take Conley if Horford is gone, but they only real strengths of the Grizz SF Gay, PF/C Gasol, and SG/SF Mike Miller. So it's either PF or PG. I think they go the safe route (though I'm not so sure Horford can't be the next Elton Brand) and pick up Horford.

5. Boston PF/C Joakim Noah Florida
I know, I'm not a fan, but he is a big tall dude who can do a lot of things well. A team with Delonte West, Pierce, Green, Jefferson, and Noah, is pretty formidable. The Celtics already have scoring, what they need is another presence inside, and a guy who can pass well for a big guy, and that's Noah perfectly. That being said they would've picked YiJianLian, but that would be career suicide for Ainge if he was wrong. I think they go the safe route and pick Brewer because they don't believe in Green for some reason. Brewer is a good pick though it leaves them a big man short (Perkins is garbage on offense, Gomes is an undersized rebounding machine in the form of a nice guy Fortson).

6. Milwaukee SF Corey Brewer Florida
They're "set" at SG, PF, and C with Redd, Villaneuva, and Bogut, and PG is too high for them to take, so it's between Jeff Green and Corey Brewer. Can't go wrong with either, but I think they go with Brewer Both are great two way players, Brewer is great and ball handling and has stepped up his outside shot, and Green has been the leader on Georgetown and can play inside and outside, either way, Milwaukee gets a great role player, not a star, but a guy that'll put up 16, 6,3 while playing top 15 (for a wing) defense.

7. Minnesota SF Jeff Green Georgetown
They'd do better with a great scoring wing, but Jeff Green is the best player available. Ideally, Foye is a SG and Davis is a SF, Foye can be the PG and Davis can be the SG. Another upside of Jeff Green is that along with Acie Law IV and of course the first two picks, he's possibly the most NBA ready and can put up Brandon Roy numbers right away. Brandan Wright could also be a good pick, but he's not as NBA-Ready.

8. Charlotte PF Brandan Wright UNC
If a good UNC guy is this late, they can't pas him up. Their 3 bigs, Sean May, Emeka Okafor, and Primoz Brezec, are oft-injured, so Wright would be a good pick here. If Gerald Wallace leaves, then Julian Wright, Thaddeus Young, Nick Young, or Al Thorton would be good picks as well.

9. Chicago C Spencer Hawes Washington
What does Chicago need? Inside scoring, who's the best at this in the entire draft? Spencer Hawes. Hawes can also pass well as shown by his 7 assists in his first college game, and he is a good shot blocker as well. He's a much safer pick than YiJianLian. Hawes has great inside moves, as shown in his Stanford game, he can make a 20 footer, but has an array of spin moves, and hook shots.

10. Sacramento PF YiJianLian China
After several years of playoff success, they've had trouble in the last few years. The Artest fiasco has been bad, they fired long time coach Rick Adelman, and they've been rumored to want to move out of Sacramento, so possible big-time international star is just what the doctor ordered. I think YJL will be good, but it may take a few years until he's an All-Star.

11. Atlanta PF/C Sean Williams Boston College
Since they already took their PG in Conley, all they need now is a center and the only ones left are Sean Williams and Jason Smith. Sean Williams was kicked off BC because of marijuana, but a lot of guys in the NBA smoke MJ, so I don't know if this'll be much of a negative against him. He had 5 blocks a game for BC and he's extremely athletic. Who would you take, a goofy white kid from Colorado State, or a athletic shot blocker from BC with upside? If they do take Horford with the 3rd pick, look for Acie Law IV or Javaris Crittendon. I think Javaris would be a big mistake, he has more upside, but I dont' think he's that good. Too much is made of the fact that he has upside, he's from Atlanta, and he's a tall PG. Acie Law has shown he can shoot and pass extremely well. He's at a perfect height too, 6-3, and could be a poor man's Nash.

12. Philadelphia SG Nick Young USC
The best thing the Sixers have is a pass first PG, and an athletic wing player. So with 4 athletic wing players available and not much else, they take the one who can score the best. Julian Wright, Thaddeus Young, and Al Thornton are all fine, but they're all projected at this point. Thorton is more polished, but Young can score in a variety of ways. Any of the four would be a fine pick however.

13. New Orleans SF Thaddeus Young Georgia Tech
I've heard of this guy for the last 5 years, so he must be good. He has more upside than the other two wings. NO would rather take Young in hopes that Peja come back, but that's doubtful. Young never really hit his stride in colelge, yet still put up decent numbers. He could be a future superstar, and I wouldn't be surprised if he went a lot higher.

14. LA Clippers PG Acie Law IV Texas A&M
I don't know what's wrong with him except he's a senior. He' 6-3, can shoot lights out, takes over the end of games, Cassell breaks down, and Livingston is breaking down. I don't know how you can be 6-7 170 and get injured, he puts no stress on his body, but he does. They could end up taking Thornton or Wright, making Magette even more expendable.

15. Detroit SG Rodney Stucky Eastern Washington
I like Stuckey, and I don't know why he's not ranked as high as Nick Young, and I don't know why Young isn't rated as high as Brewer. Apparently Detroit made Stuckey a promise. Stuckey is a great guard, he lit up Washington this year, and it was clear that he was a man amongst boys. He is a pretty good shooter, good slasher, and has a well built body. He is a bulldog on defense as well, and his only flaw is that he' 6-4, not 6-6, and he's not an amazing Kobe-like dunker, other than that, I think he's great.

16. Washington C Jason Smith Colorado State
The Wiz need a SG or a C, and because there are no SG except Morris Almond, they take Jason Smith. He's been remarkably consistent the last 2 years, at around 16, 9, 1.8. Of course the competition he faced was inferior and being in a mid major while being 7 feet shouldn't be that hard. The only real quality team he faced was Kansas state, and he did alright with 15 and 5, but it's hard to tell from one game.

17. New Jersey SF Julian Wright Kansas
Its hard to have him slip anymore than this. With VC possibly gone, Julian Wright is a great pick this late. He was clearly the best player on Kansas last year, and he has great athleticism. Even if VC stays, in the east, Julian Wright might be able to play PF a la Antwaan Jamison.

18. Golden State SF Al Thornton Florida State
Here's a team that doesn't really need anything. They have a great starting lineup of Davis, Richardson, Jackson, Harrington, Biedrins, with a great bench of Ellis, Barnes, Pietrius, Foyle, O'Bryant. So they can either go with most upside, or best available, and Thornton is a great trade piece, but he also allows the to trade Richardson if need be.

19. LA Lakers PG Javaris Crittenton Georgia Tech
The Kobe thing is still up in the air, but the Lakers have SG, SF, PF, and C locked down, they need a great point guard, but in the triangle system one that can shoot and defend is probably preferable than one who can pass and dribble extremely well. Crittenton is bar the best available, and he's a big PG in the Ron Harper mold. He's talented enough that he might just pique Kobe interest if LA gets a decent FA as well.

20. Miami PG Gabe Pruitt Georgia Tech
They don't need much, a PG and a SF, and Pruitt is the best PG available. I'm glad both him and Nick Young are ranked in the top 20, because people were saying they'd be early second round at first. Pruitt isn't a pure PG, which is fine with D-Wade on the team.

21. Philadelphia PF Josh McRoberts Duke
I don't know why he's dropped so low, ESPN seems to think Philly can take him with their 30th pick but I'm not too sure. Sure he got dominated by Hansbrough, who'll supposedly be a marginal NBA player, but he still had decent stats. He's still agile for a big man, and is a good shot blocker as well. He won't be a star, but he can be a number 3 player on a championship team possibly. Plus with three picks, Philly can be a bit risky and draft for upside.

22. Charlotte SG Morris Almond Rice
Assuming they get a big man in Brandan Wright, they really only need a SG, unless Gerald Wallace doesn't resign, in which case they might spend their money on Rashard Lewis though. It's between Almond and Bellini and since Charlotte doesn't seem too fond of foreign players, I'll take Almond. I think after their streak of only drafting players from college basketball powerhouses will end, and rightfully so, with Morrison.

23. New York SF Wilson Chandler Depaul
I don't know who this is, but Chad Ford says someone in the first round promised him something, so it's probably the Knicks. If it was a foreign player it might be the Spurs, but since its a relatively obscure one, its the Knicks. Chandler is aparently athletic and versatile, like most of the Knicks players, however they'll still be bad no matter what.

24. Phoenix SG Marco Bellini Italy
Phoenix is ecstatic to get this guy here. He's pretty much a Manu Ginobli. I can see him going a lot higher. They could also go with Rudy Fernandez, whom I can't tell the difference from anyways. Either way they get a versatile SG who can handle the ball well and shoot the ball as well. Sounds like their types of players.

25. Utah SF Derrick Byars Vanderbilt
Jazz apparently want a wing who can shoot, and play some defense. This could be Rudy Fernandez, or it could be Jared Dudley. I hope Dudley doesn't get this high, because I hope the Sonics could get him, but if Byars fell to us it wouldn't be so bad. Alondo Tucker would also fit Utah's search.

26. Houston PF Glen Davis LSU
Apparently Houston will probably take Glen Davis or Nick Fazekas (assuming McRoberts isn't available. I actually think Davis could be good. He tested out to be 6'9" with only 11% body fat. The one thing that worries me is that he was dominated when he played Washington, because Brockman, despite being 40 pounds less, was outmuscling him. He is quick for a big dude though, and he is a pretty tenacious rebounder. If Houston has to pick a PF, this isn't a bad pick.

27. Detroit SF Jared Dudley Boston College
Dudley seems thuggish enough for Boston College. He plays good defense and has a good outside shot. He's also strong enough to bang with the big boys outside. Detroit tends to make odd first picks like the Knicks, so it might work out. I think Dudley will be a great player, and I wish he'd fall to the Sonics.

28. San Antonio PG Petteri Koponen Finland
What can I say, he's only 19, and he's torn it up in the past year in international play, and in workouts against American prospects. I like this kid a lot, and wouldn't mind if the Sonics traded their 2 2nd round picks to get him. Hopefully they get Zabian Dowdell.

29. Phoenix PF Tiago Splitter Brazil
They already got their swing man in Bellini, so they go after a international big. It's between Splitter and Fesenko from Ukraine, so I say they go after the more NBA ready one in Splitter. Splitter has been a "potential lottery pick" for the last 4 or so years, so I'm a littler weary of him. Mobile 7 footers don't fall from trees though, so he could be a good bench player for the Suns.

30. Philadelphia C Kyle Visser Vanderbilt
He didn't get above 17 minute a game until his senior season, but got 17 and 7 with 1.4 blocks in a pretty tough ACC (some would say elite but that's really only reserved for the Pac 10). Anyways, Philly addressed their needs with McRoberts and Young, so they could go with a C here or just fill best available need. I see them getting a center.

Round 2

1. Sonics SG Marcus Williams Arizona
Sonics get Seattle Native from Roosevelt High. Williams definitely has the talent, but it remains to be seen if he has the focus or the drive. He looked talented enough to be a multi-all-star in the NBA but we'll see. He's got height at 6-7, above average athleticism, shooting, and dribbling, and the Sonics do need a backup swingman because Damien Wilkins is overrated. I wouldn't mind Rudy Fernandez here or Arron Afflalo. I know Afflalo wold be a great bench player, and he'd play great defense while being able to shoot a spot up J. He also showed he can be a leader, and take over at the ends of games when he has to.

2. Boston SF Demetrius Nichols Syracuse
Boston doesn't have anyone that can shoot besides Wally, so this would be a nice pick. Not much to say about him except he shoots a lot and he shoots real well, though it only seems that he's been a lights out shooter his senior year.

3. San Antonio SG Arron Afflalo UCLA
Afflalo seems like their kind of guy. Since I keep comparing him to Bruce Bowen, and Bowen is getting older, it'd only make sense for them to get him. They could got with an international big and stash him overseas though.

4. Mavericks SG Rudy Fernandez Spain
Too much talent, and they need a better SG since Terry is not a real one, and is being used as trade bait right now.

5. Seattle PG Ramon Sessions Nevada
This is assuming we trade one of our PG. We would need a backup PG and Sessions is good, he isn't too athletic, but he isn't turnover prone, a fairly good shooter, and isn't a ball hog. I would love Zabian Dowdell as well, as he is 6-3 with a 6-10 wingspan. Also, like Sessions he has performed well in the Orlando pre-draft Camp. Jared Jordan is also interesting, he put up monster stats at Marist (17 pts 6 rebs 8.7 assists). He's not athletic at all, and isn't a great shooter, but he seems to have a level head, and is doing well in NBA pre-draft camp as well. Aaron Brooks, Taurean Green, and Mustafa Shakur might also get looks.
If we don't need a backup PG, defensive SF's like Alondo Tucker, Reyshawn Terry, Carl Landry, Marc Gasol, Kyrylo Fesenko (hey, we can't go a draft without getting a 19/20 year old foreign center) might be options to consider.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Reasons for the Spurs winning

Years from now, people will look back and wonder why the Spurs were so good. The answer is simple, apparently, to win a championshi nowadays, you need 1. A truly great player (just one, not two anymore) 2. two way players (being great a defense doesn't mean anything if you can't do anything on offense, and vice versa), and 3. unselfish payers that are really good at one or 2 things. The Spurs definetley have this, and Greg Poppovich has the perfect plan to make this team work.
Tim Duncan is a truly great player, no argument there. He is the safety net for his perimeter defenders, and if need be, he can guard the likes of Kobe or LeBron one on one. He's also smart enough to not draw stupid fouls and get in foul trouble. He's also got an array of moves on offense, he's unselfish, can make a jump shot, hook shot, and an array of close shots.
Two way players are things the Spurs also have. Ginobli, Horry, Elson, Oberto, are all above average defenders with Duncan and Bowen being elite defenders. Are any of these players useless on offeense, at first glance, perhaps, but not really. Elson has a 15 footer than he showed several times in the Finals, Oberto is a beast inside, getting tons of offensive boards, and Bowen as a 3 point shot which is very useful for a shut down defender because both of these qualities are key but scarce for playoff teams, and he has both at the same time.
Finally, players that are extremely good at what they do. Tony Parker and Ginobli are the best finishing players in the leagues. Many players can get to the basket with the ease they do, but none can finish at such a high percentage, except for maybe Steve Nash. Bowen and Duncan are both top 5 players in defense, one on the interior, one one the perimeter. Barry, Bowen, and Ginobli are also some of the best three point shooters, and Elson and Oberto are both big guys who undertand they they're not too good, so they work on their inside hustle, 15 foot J's, and helpside defense.
Of course another reason they won was that there were only 3 real teams that could've challenged them, and they only had to beat one. The Suns could've challenged them, but defense always beats run and gun in the playoffs (at least nowadays it does). It also helped that Stern was a big dick and suspended Amare. The Mavs could've beat the Spurs, but the one team they would've had struggles with, Don Nelson's Warriors, had to oust them out of the first round. And lastly, the Pistons could've had a chance, because despite losing Ben Wallace, they still had a three headed monster of Dale Davis, Antonio McDyess, and Chris Webber to replace him, and with this, they're essentially the same team, except they have Flip Saunders as coach. Are the Spurs a dynasty? Sure why not? They didn't win after their first title because the Lakers were just better. The Lakers won three in a row, though the Spurs almost stopped them, but there's no shame in that because the Lakers are also a dynasty, and Robinson was getting old and the Spurs young guys couldn't help out yet. After that, the Pistons and the Heat broke up their other chances for repeats, and the reasons for this are the Lakers reloaded, and the Mavs just got a bit lucky. Sure they're not the Lakers and Celtics of the 80's, but all you need is one superstar nowadays, and a bunch of really good role players.

Mariners back to 4 games over

As soon as I write that the Mariners are contenders, they drop 5 straight to NL teams. Reasons for this? No one besides Ichiro is hitting, and our starting pitching all sucked. Felix still hasn't had a great start since he hit the DL, Washburn has "regressed" to his normal stats, except he's even worse. Our defense is horrible with Beltre out and Ibanez and Guillen sucking.
What we should do, as everyone in the M's Blogosphere is screaming for, is promote Adam Jones, Baseball America's number 1 hot prospect right now, and rightfully so. He's been hitting .400 with .450 obp and and .800 slugging in the last 2 weeks and he only seems to get better. Hed be a major upgrade over Ibanez or Guillen in the field, and we could just sit Vidro down, except against lefties we could sit Ibanez.
This losing streak hopefully isn't all bad, when we were winning, there was no way management would "fix what's not broken" and promote Adam Jones, but now that we have a 5 game losing streak, hopefully this is the sign they needed to promote Adam Jones, and possibly Ryan Feierabend (maybe Campillo too?), because Weaver is done as a starting pitcher.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Mariners 9 games above .500

Mariners have won 5 in a row and 9 of their last 10. They are currently 3 games back for the division lead, and 1 game back of the wild card lead. In their current 5 game streak, all games have been on the road, 2 went into extra innings, and 4 were 1 run wins with last night's being a 2 run win in the 13th inning.
Why're we doing so well? Probably because we are so solid 1-9. Lopez is hitting .295 with 7 hrs, Betancourt is hitting .302 and just had a 20 game hitting streak. Our three "big hitters", Sexson, Beltre, and Guillen, are hitting .268 or below, so that's the weak link, especially Sexson and his sub .200 average. We also have the best bench in the league, Burke is hitting .421, Broussard is hitting .265 with 3 hrs, Bloomquist has upped is average to .267 with several clutch hits, and much needed baserunning at the end of games, while Ellison proves to be useless except for giving us range at the corner outfield positions late in games.
Of course we wouldn't have out 5 game win streak if it weren't for our amazing bullpen. O'Flaherty looks like a keeper, being good in the setup role or when he has to pitch 3 innings. Morrow and Sherrill are as lights out as setup men get, and obviously Putz has been amazing, having 19 saves in a row.
Of course the Mariners have been lucky in this past couple of weeks, but they do look like a team that can make the playoffs, if not go deep in the playoffs.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sonic Sign GM, Durant below average in workouts
Sonics hired 30 year old Sam Presti of the Spurs, who apparently was the best GM on the market. 30 seems kind of young, but I don't know, the Spurs are a good organization, and maybe he'll turn out to be Paul DePodesta. The Coaching Job is still up for grabs, and the candidates are Dwane Casey, Rick Carlisle, or PJ Carlesimo. The first two are ok, but Carlesimo seems to be just a good assistant coach. Anyways, Presti said he had defense in mind, so we'll have to see the changes he can make.
Durant ranked 78th, the worst score of anyone who complete all the workouts. He measured out out be 6-10 1/4, 215 pounds, with a 7-4 3/4 wingspan and a standing reach of 9-2. This is all good stuff, as a 6-10 guy with his ability to shoot makes him Garnett mixed with Rashard Lewis.
Bad news is that he has a no step vertical of 26 inches, a normal vertical of 33 inches, and he benched 185 pounds 0 times, which is less than either I or my brother (both under 140 pounds) can do. Even worse is that his lane agility was 12.33 seconds, a full second behind Rodney Stuckey and .42 seconds behind un-agile center Hawes. His 3/4 court sprint was the 2nd slowest among the top 25 prospects (except YiJianLian, who did not participate) at a time of 3.45.
Good news is that Durant has been so busy with endorsements, he hasn't done many of the drills that other guys have done. Most of these experts who train athletes for these combines get an extra 5 reps on the bench press or 5 inches on the vertical leap, so I'm not worried. I knew Durant wasn't a jaw dropping athlete before anyways.

Lastly, and interesting trade proposal my brother suggested, Rashard Lewis in a sign and trade, Chris Wilcox, Earl Watson, one of our three centers, and the next 2 first round picks (2008 and 2009) in exchange for Garnett. This would make our starting rotation: Ridnour, Ray Allen, Durant, Garnett, Petro/Swift with a bench of Wilkins, Gelebale, Collison, and Sene.