Monthly Archives: May 2012
The New Orleans Hornets won the top spot in the 2012 NBA draft thanks to the NBA draft lottery during halftime of the Celtics-Heat game (wasn’t that a great game?). Ah the NBA lottery, where the NBA gives us all a reason to watch teams who sucked beyond recognition.
But I digress…
At any rate, folks are crying foul because the league-owned Hornets won the rights to draft Captain Unibrow himself – Kentucky power forward/center Anthony Davis. These are the same Hornets that are soon to be owned by the Saints owner Tom Benson.
While I do not think the draft lottery is fixed (last I checked the NBA would be committing a felony if it did), I do believe the NBA has a huge perception problem. I think they should have the teams picked live online with the balls moving. That way NO ONE could concoct any conspiracy theories (frozen envelopes).
Look, I do not have a problem with the lottery, and I do not think its fixed. It’s just that sometimes perception is reality.
Once again I am late as hell in my NBA playoff preview, this time it’s the conference finals. While I have been dealing with a lot of personal stuff lately – grandmother’s death – I apologize for being late with this. Having said that, it’s time to get it going.
Note: despite what has already transpired, the results do NOT impact my predictions (you’ll see)…
Eastern Conference Finals
Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics
This is the match-up that everyone wants to see. Heat-Celtics. New school vs. Old school. Both teams are the walking wounded, with the Heat missing Chris Bosh and the Celtics being, well, OLD. Ray Allen is banged up and Paul Pierce is not 100%. While Kevin Garnett is balling, he is now a jump shooter.
Look, the Celtics are in the Heat’s heads. That alone gives Boston a shot to win this series. However, the Heat are just better – with Bosh or not. While this will be a competitive series – after all this is Heat-Celtics – this will not go seven. In fact, I’d be shocked if it takes Miami six games to eliminate Boston.
Prediction: Heat in five.
Western Conference Finals
San Antonio Spurs vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
I love this series because it shows everyone what happens when franchises go about their business the RIGHT WAY. Both teams are small market squads that many think on paper have no business competing with the likes of the LA Lakers, the Heat, the Celtics, the New York Knicks, and the Chicago Bulls.
This will be a highly contested series, but I am going to give an edge to the Thunder. I learned my lesson from the last round when I picked the Lakers over the Thunder (what in the hell was I thinking?). They are younger, and more importantly hungry after last season’s loss in the Western Conference Finals to the Dallas Mavericks. While the Spurs are strong – in fact, they are SCARY STRONG – I think the Thunder will rise up and get to the next level.
Prediction: Thunder in six.
Remember when the small market owners were trying to strong-arm the players into taking a lesser deal? Remember when those same small market owners were bitching over stars joining forces on teams in major media markets?
And here’s my favorite: remember that “woe is me” bullshit that Cleveland Cavaliers owner and noted dipstick Dan “Danny Boy” Gilbert spewed during the lockout, mainly because LeBron James spurned his ass for the Miami Heat?
Now let’s fast forward to the 2012 NBA Playoffs.
The Western Conference finals has two small market teams vying for a spot in the NBA Finals. So why have the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder been so successful you ask?
Three words: good basketball business.
The Spurs and Thunder do things the right way. Both draft well, both scout well, and make wise investments in free agents. Those are testaments to how the basketball operations are run in both organizations. Both have smart general managers who invest time in scouting and work in concert with their head coaches to decide what types of players fit in their program.
More importantly, ownership in both franchises let the basketball folks make the basketball decisions no matter what.
It’s not just limited to the Spurs and Thunder. The Indiana Pacers, Utah Jazz, and Denver Nuggets have shown what it takes to be a winner in today’s NBA. All of those teams exhibited the traits the Spurs and Thunder share.
Meanwhile, teams like the Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, and Charlotte Bobcats (yuck!) show us all why some teams – small market or otherwise – have a hard time fielding a winner in the NBA. All those teams run things ass-backwards.
You have one team with an owner who cannot STFU (the Cavs’ Gilbert), another who willingly waves the white flag in selling its best players just to reduce payroll (the Warriors’ group), and an absentee owner who doesn’t put the work in and therefore doesn’t know what the hell he is doing (Bobcats’ Michael Jordan).
Speaking of Jordan, it’s no wonder that he is considered the worst owner in all of pro sports. Not only does he spend more time on the golf course than in the meeting rooms breaking down film on potential players, he overrules his basketball people and surrounds himself with “yes” men. Not shocking to see his Bobcats finish with the worst winning percentage in NBA history this past season.
Now I may not be a Republican, but I will vouch for one of the GOP’s principles here: as long as you work hard enough, you will be successful. If the Spurs, Thunder, Pacers, Jazz and Nuggets can do it, then the Bobcats, Cavaliers and Warriors can do it.
Orlando just set itself up for disaster. I do not care who the player is (if he’s not Michael Jordan), you never NEVER let the inmates run the asylum – especially if said player may not stick around.
Howard is going to test the free agent waters, no matter what he says. Magic management needs to realize that Howard is not going to stick around for the long hall.
First of all, he ran off a pouty, but good coach in Van Gundy. That means chances are the next coach is going to be nothing more than a puppet. Second, while he chose not to opt out, he still not signed past NEXT SEASON. They should have traded for Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol when they had the chance. Now they will be lucky to trade for Lance Stephenson. Who is Lance you may ask: exactly.
The Magic will be lucky to finish in third place in Southeast division next season. They will be looking up at the Charlotte Bobcats the season after that.
Speaking of Charlotte, if Jordan had half a brain, he’d bring in Van Gundy to coach his team and stick it to Orlando several times a year. Then again, since Jordan does not have a brain of any kind to begin with, he’ll do what he always does: hire a friend/puppet to do his bidding…
FSU’s chairman of the Board of Trustees poured gasoline on the flame when he opened up his yap over the ACC’s new contract with ESPN. Head football coach Jimbo Fisher didn’t help put out the flames with his initial comments in saying that FSU needed to do what was in its best interest.
Look, having grown up in ACC country I know that the ACC is more of a basketball league than a football league. I have written MANY times (check the archives) that the ACC had a chance to be a good football league, only to let me down time and time again.
I also know that the ACC did the best it could given the fact that it is frankly a JV-level football conference. The ACC knew it was at a disadvantage when it renegotiated its contract with ESPN. We all knew it and more importantly, ESPN knew it.
And I pin the cause of the ACC’s diminished cachet as a football conference on one thing: Florida State (and to an extent, Miami).
Let’s be real about one thing, FSU is not that good anymore. I could mention the fact that it hasn’t won the ACC since 2005, but let me point out other more important FSU fallacies:
- FSU has lost four out of its last six games to Wake Forest – WAKE FOREST!
- FSU lost six out of its last nine games to Clemson.
- Since 2005, FSU has lost AT LEAST four games per season.
The ACC brought in FSU (and Miami) to enhance its football profile. If anything, FSU (and Miami) has made it worse. So instead of clowning the ACC, the FSU brass should look in the mirror and say the following:
“We’re not good enough, we’re not cool enough. And got-dammit, people know we suck…”
So, FSU can go crying to the Big 12 if it is about the $$$ (and it obviously is). FSU can also run to the Big 12 if it makes them feel as important as U. of Florida.
All of this could have avoided if the Florida State Seminoles did what it was supposed to do the last few seasons – WIN MORE GAMES…
San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Analysis: The Spurs are a team on a mission. They have won 13 in a row counting the last series sweep. They may be “Team Geritol”, but they are focused and more importantly: healthy.
The Clippers are in rare territory as a franchise as they reached the second round in only the third time in franchise history (what the hell?!). Props to the Clips for showing heart and grit in Memphis, but they are too banged up to match the rested and playoff-savvy Spurs blow for blow. This should be a short series.
Prediction: Spurs in 5.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Analysis: This should be one exciting series. Old school vs. new school. I’ll tell you what, I would love to see how the Thunder will react to the playoff-tested Lakers in the clutch.
I think the Lakers will give the Thunder its best shot in Game 1. They want to put as much pressure on the young Thunder in taking home-court advantage. I think OKC will be rusty and lose tonight’s game. That will be just enough for the Lakers to steal this series.
Prediction: Lakers in 6.
Due to the the Western Conference having two Game 7s to be played out (Grizzlies-Clippers tomorrow afternoon and Nuggets-Lakers tonight), I’m going to focus on the Eastern Conference semifinals today. My Western Conference semifinal preview will be tomorrow night.
So, without further ado…
Miami Heat vs. Indiana Pacers
Analysis: A lot of folks think this will be a short series. I mean, how can the Pacers match up with Miami’s “Big Three (really Two)” right? Well, I think this will be more competitive than what people think. The Pacers are not afraid of the Heat. Hell the Pacers’ coach called Miami a squad of “floppers”! Indiana has the heart and toughness to push the Heat.
Indiana has a better frontcourt and will abuse the hell out of Chris Bosh with the likes of Roy Hibbert and David West. Plus, that Danny Granger fellow is not all that bad. Still, I think LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are on a mission. That alone will push Miami over the top.
Prediction: Heat in 6.
Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Analysis: Now THIS has “short series” written all over it. Boston is head and shoulders better than the Sixers. Let’s face it, if the Bulls were A LITTLE healthier they would have beaten Philly. Did you see how Philly eked out wins over a Bulls team that was without Derrick Rose AND Joakim Noah?
Meanwhile the Celtics may be “Team Geritol”, but those old-ass brothers can ball. Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce are playing at a high level. There are not many answers to Mr. Triple-Double himself Rajon Rondo (the Sixers sure as hell do not have one). I wouldn’t be shocked if this series ended in a sweep.
Prediction: Celtics in 5.