Making Sense of the NBA Off-Season

First off, sorry for the hiatus…life has been hectic.  But no matter how busy things get, Ive always got a finger on the pulse of the sports world, especially the part of it that interest me most: the NBA.

Its hard for me to write about sports in a coherent way, because I get excited and have too many thoughts about the same topic.  So, here goes:

The Clippers have to be bummed about losing Elton Brand, big time.  Sterling was trying to shake his image as the tight-wad owner by signing Baron Davis to a big deal (though impressively shrewd), and after he did that no one thought Brand would seriously give up the chance to play with a top PG.  Brand didnt even really get more money than what was offered.  I understand business is business and Brand has to look out for himself, but Im disappointed by how he handled this because since he got the same money than LA was willing to give him, he must have had other reasons for leaving for Philly, probably cuz it was a competitive playoff squad last year without him and figures to be a conference contender with him…but i think he went out his way to make the Clips think he was gonna resign and encouraged them to sign another player who he could contend with in LA, and after they did what he asked for, he still bolted.  I’m not hating him for playin the game, but when he does youve got to call him a playa. Maybe Im biased cuz now Philly is gonna dominate the division that my beloved Knicks will serve as a doormat to.

Yes, Philly will dominate the Atlantic because Toronto is overrated and NJ is in it for the green, not the gold.  The Toronto trade of a TJ Ford, one half of the most productive PG platoon in the league for a broken and beat up Jermaine ONeal who is making something like $42 million the next 2 years alone is not a good deal.  TJ Ford is agreat player and they couldve gotten more for him.  If ONeal returns to full strength and plays the defense he was playing a few years ago, then the trade will have been a good one, but I think that it way too improbable for the Raptors to bank on.  

NJ traded Richard Jefferson for Yi Jianlin for the SOLE pourpose of cashing in on his popularity in his native country of China and opening up the market in order to lure LeBron in 2 years.  Pitiful.  So now they have Yi, no Jason Kidd, no RJ, and a player in Vince Carter who will be in the first year of a rich multi-year contract…oh yea, he’ll play with tONS of trademark tenacity.  They have some decent rookies but they are still gonna stink it up for a while.

I like Washington giving Arenas his money because you never have to worry about his motivation to play hard — he’s too cocky to let his rep suffer.  To think…Rashard Lewis got a contract worth $15 million more than Arenas.  That is nuts.

Bur Lewis’ Orlando squad was good last year and will be better with newly signed and underrated Mickael Pietrus, who can guard the perimeter and shoot the 3-ball.

Dallas gave Dasagna Diop something like $30 million to resign with them. ¿¿¿WTF???  The dude does nothing but block a shot or 2 a game and he gets $30 million? I dont get that. Nor do I understand the Bucks giving Andrew Bogut $72.5 million (!) to stay in Milwaukee, and then trade Yi and his Chinese fan base for Jefferson only to then draft Joe Alexander, who plays the same position.  They shouldve saved 72 million by letting Bogut go, drafted Brooke Lopez who was the top center prospect in the draft but gets paid rookie money, an then put themselves in position to be a major player in free agency with all that money and a promising young core of Michael Redd, Jefferson, Lopez, Mo Williams, Charlie Villanueva and Charlie Bell.  Tell me they couldnt have gotten a top free agent to join that squad!  They couldve signed Emeka Okafor who is a top defensive center (perfect for coach Scott Skiles and the new defense oriented style he will surely implement) for way less than 72 million.  This is maddening to me.

Golden State losing out on Davis and Brand has to hurt, and no, signing Corey Maggette does not ease the pain.  I like him as a scorer because he gets to the line (hes insane at drawing fouls. In a  healthy season most fans would be surprised to learn that Maggette gets to the line more than almost any other player in the league — 3rd most in 06-07) which puts a lot of pressure on the opposing defense and makes things easier on his teammates, who can be more aggressive against defenders in foul trouble or a team in the penalty.  But he’s not a facilitator, he needs the ball in his hands and doesnt make much of a difference on defense.  He could be a great complimentary player, to say, Elton Brand..or..Baron Davis. Yes Warriors fans, it’s time to worry.  At least they seem committed to keeping Monta Ellis, who is restricted and crazy talented, but theyre gonna end up overpaying Andris Biedrins big time so they can have at least one decent big man in the lineup.  Im not so crazy about Chris Mullin’s personnel moves, I gotta say. 

As for the Clips, who knows what to expect.  I dont think theyll make the playoffs next season with the lineup they have.  GS didnt make it last year and they had a better and more cohesive lineup than LA has this year..so far at least.  Al Thornton will continue to impress, Kaman is a good 5 and Davis is nasty when healthy, but that he played 82 games in his contract year does not mean that he will go the distance again now that he has a brand new contract and is closer to his Hollywood homies trying to convince him to focus on his film production company (Davis is a member of the screen actors guild).  I think the Clips are back to being the Clips that we know and love to not care about.

Not basing this on the one preseason game he played, I think Beasely is gonna make a loT of people feel stupid for saying he did not deserve to be picked first in this year’s draft.  That kid has something to prove but wont even be the 3rd best player on his team, so the spotlight is not on him and he can just play the game.  Rookie of the Year, write that shit down.

As for my beloved Knicks, it’s too early to write a seaon preview but I like the Gallinari draft, I guess, kinda sorta, because the obviously better players were off the board, the other impressive talents did not fit team needs at all (Jerryd Bayless), and Gallinari isnt the typical young European “project”.  This kid has been a star in very competitive and heavily scouted European leagues, already knows how to play the game, has guts and size and shooting skills, and most importantly, if there is anyone who is qualified enough to determine whether or not a Euro league player can make the transition to the NBA, its Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni. 

If Gallinari develops, D’Antoni can work his offensive magic to get Curry and Randolph to be productive, and the Knicks do something smart with the many, many millions coming off the books this year, NYK can compete for a low playoff seed while working it’s way out of the tangled mess known as Isiah Thomas’ legacy.  After 7 years of ineptitude, I am a humble and patient man.

Catch a glimpse of Gallinari in action here:

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2 Comments on “Making Sense of the NBA Off-Season”

  1. Travis Says:

    The knicks could have drafted Jerryd Bayless, Eric Gordon, DJ Augustin over the Italian Stallion. Didn’t the knicks need a point guard? I know Bayless is more of a shooting point guard but its not like he can’t pass the ball. DJ Augustin was perfect he’s a great passer though only 5’11 but he’s still good enough that the bobcats are going to make him their starting point guard. Eric Gordon is the obvious mistake. Gordon is going to be a star for sure and the knicks basically passed up on him because they like Jamal Crawford. This is the perfect case of a team passing up on the best player available because they have too many at that position. The Knicks better hope Gallinari turns into the next Nowitzki.

  2. Zuér Says:

    Dude, Im trying to be positive here, dont rain on my parade. Im nervous as hell about the pick and I was hoping theyd get a PG also, either Augustine or Westbrook because Augustine is a great floor general and Westbrook plays solid D and gets to the hole. But Westbrook was taken and Augustine is small, and Gaillinari is not a total project — this kid has proven talent, refined skills, and a lot of guts. And can you imagine a lineup of Eric Gordon, Jamal Crawford, Quentin Richardson, Zach Randolph, and Eddy Curry? They’d need 5 different basketballs out there to be effective. So ill give Donnie Walsh and the Mike “the Godfather of European Basketball” D’Antoni the benefit of the doubt and say they knew what they were doing here.


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