You Asked, I'll Answer (Part IV)

Question No. 6, From kalo_rama:
Mike, how do you see the East stacking up this season? Given all the offseason deal-making, which teams helped themselves the most and least?

I think that the Eastern Conference is shaping up to be extremely competitive. It's been a while since the East had so many talented teams, not just individual talents surrounded by lousy teams. The process to reach this point has been tedious, but it was bound to happen with franchise players arriving this decade in the draft lottery (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh), other prominent players making free agent defections (Gilbert Arenas, Joe Johnson, Rashard Lewis, Elton Brand), and others coming through trades (Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen). The East looks really good.

But this summer, several teams in the East were diligent in their efforts to build contenders. The teams that I think helped themselves the most were Boston, Orlando, Atlanta and Washington.


You got my back, Sheed? (Photo by Brian Babineau/Getty Images)

The Celtics made some great signings with the additions of Rasheed Wallace and Marquis Daniels. Wallace has been in decline in recent years, which makes his arrival as a sixth man the perfect match, given that he won't be asked to carry the team. He will also serve as a great insurance policy if Garnett is unable to make an immediate return and play heavy minutes. Wallace will also be motivated to win a championship, which means that he should be on his best behavior. The only problem I see there is that the Celtics were one of the whiniest teams in the league last season and should lead the league in technical fouls with Wallace joining Kendrick Perkins, Paul Pierce and Garnett.

I'll get to Orlando in the next question, but I also like what the Hawks have done to keep their core intact while adding some solid additions. The Hawks were the fourth seed in the East and advanced to the second for the first time this decade last season. This summer, they have retained Marvin Williams, Mike Bibby and Zaza Pachulia, flipped some excess foliage to help Jamal Crawford end his postseason drought, and helped their frontcourt with the veteran additions of Joe Smith and the recently signed Jason Collins.

Although Mike Miller, Randy Foye and Fabricio Oberto don't have the "wow" factor, I recall Hawks General Manager Billy Knight telling me something a few years ago when his team had tons of salary cap space. I asked him if he was going to do anything to make a big splash in free agency. He told me that sometimes, when you try to make a big splash you can hurt yourself landing in that pool. So, while Ernie Grunfeld didn't make a big splash in dealing the fifth pick, he did make a nice, solid move that should improve the Wizards' depth and provide some security if either Gilbert Arenas or Caron Butler get injured. The Oberto signing may not amount to much, but if he can give a few postseason hard fouls and provides some hustle, the move could pay dividends.


You know the first guy to get the ball is shooting it, right? (Photo by Allen Einstein/NBAE/Getty Images)

The Pistons made the biggest splashes this summer in signing Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, but I'm still scratching my head to understand how adding Gordon doesn't duplicate some of the same problems Detroit had last season with Allen Iverson. He might be more willing to play the role of sixth man, but he really only thinks one thing when he's on the floor -- fire away! With Villanueva also in tow, I think Detroit will be competitive, but new coach John Kuester will have to be really creative to get this group to share the ball.

Toronto had perhaps the busiest offseason, giving Andrea Bargnani an extension, getting Hedo Turkoglu in a sign-and-trade deal, signing Jarrett Jack and Rasho Nesterovic and trading for Marco Belinelli, Amir Johnson and Reggie Evans, but I'm not sure how it will all work out. It looks like a lot of names on paper, but I'm not sure how much better those moves will make the Raptors. The Bulls have taken some heat for letting Gordon walk without compensation, but I won't pounce on them too much because I think Derrick Rose is only going to get better, so it might be a good idea to led him take on more of a leadership role next season.

I think the Miami Heat has been hurt this summer by the troubling Michael Beasley saga, which came at a time when Miami did nothing more than add Quentin Richardson to team. I also haven't got a clue what's going on in New York, where the Knicks' infatuation with the summer of 2010 has left them virtually inactive and without a single star player to promote on a Madison Avenue billboard. What are Knicks going to say? "Come see Al Harrington and your New York Knicks take on [fill in the team]!" I really wish that they had just signed Iverson for one season. He would've brought some nightly sizzle to Madison Square Garden, rather than the buzz that only comes from visits from Kobe, LeBron and D-Wade.

I haven't mentioned Cleveland, but I think they will be okay because they have LeBron James. That automatically makes them an elite team, but if I had to list the top eight teams in the East, I'd have to go (in order) with Cleveland, Orlando, Boston, Washington, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia and Miami. The lottery teams in the East should be Detroit, Toronto, Charlotte, Indiana, Milwaukee, New Jersey and New York.

I'm still a little uneasy about the bottom three playoff teams because I'm not completely sold on Miami. If Beasley isn't ready at the start of the season, then it would take more Herculean efforts from Wade. My order could change between now and the season opener, but that's how it looks to me on paper.


Question No. 7, From tgoren71:
Do you really think that Vince Carter will fit in well with Orlando? Or will have trouble being the second, and possibly third, option on the team? And the same questions about Shaquille O'Neal and Cleveland.

I really liked what Orlando did in acquiring Vince Carter. This will be the first time in his professional career that he won't have to carry a team and be the No. 1 option. He'll turn 33 this season and I honestly think he has been waiting for an opportunity like this -- to share the floor with several talent players. Carter grew weary and frustrated in Toronto, especially after Tracy McGrady skipped down to Orlando. He has never made it past the second round. And, his best chance came in 2001, when he made the controversial decision of walking with his graduating class from North Carolina the day before Game 7 of the conference semifinals against Philadelphia.


Oh, Shaq. You just wait until I'm dropping off passes to Dwight Howard. (Photo Noah K. Murray/Star Ledger)

Orlando will give him a chance to win on a high level. I believe that he will enjoy being able to play off a dominant big man (Dwight Howard) for the first time since he came to the NBA. Carter is an underrated playmaker and he has adjusted his game from being a slam-dunking, highlight reel. A lot of my frustration with him over the years was that he often looked disinterested and drifted in both Toronto and New Jersey. But losing will do that you. He's kicked around enough of his prime years to do everything he can to make it work. Not to mention, he's back in his home state.

The only downside of the trade is that having 6-foot-10 forwards Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis made Orlando unconventional and created major matchup problems. Essentially replacing Turkoglu with Carter puts Orlando back into the usual box of a center, power forward, small forward, shooting guard and point guard, but they are pretty talented at each position. The most underrated part of that deal with New Jersey was the inclusion of Ryan Anderson. That was a great pickup. I like what the Magic has done this summer.

As for Shaquille O'Neal, I have really enjoyed watching him on "Shaq Vs." I'm not sure if he is the missing piece to LeBron James's championship hopes. I think that his presence creates more problems than it solves (Will he clog James's driving lanes? How will his presence affect Zydrunas Ilguaskas? What does he have left at age 37). You also have to wonder if he will really be okay taking a backseat to James. O'Neal struggled as Dwyane Wade's sidekick in Miami and his demands for more touches really disrupted what Steve Nash and Amaré Stoudemire had going in Phoenix.

I don't see O'Neal making the Cavaliers much better. They did win 66 games last season and their problems in the playoffs had more to do with the fits caused by Lewis and Turkoglu. I liked picking up Jamario Moon and Anthony Parker. If Leon Powe recovers from his knee injury, that could be a good move as well -- and add a juicy subplot if Cleveland meets Boston in the playoffs. I'm just not that sold on the O'Neal move.

By Michael Lee |  September 4, 2009; 12:08 PM ET
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If I had to list the top eight teams in the East, I'd have to go (in order) with Cleveland, Orlando, Boston, Washington, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia and Miami.

Mike,

I hope you're right and the Wizards get the 4th seed, I would hate to play Atl in the 1st round with them having the home court advantage.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | September 4, 2009 12:36 PM

Ok, Ok, Ok, I have to ask your thoughts. Yesterday I posted my un sureness about Amare or any "star" player citing the potential impact and lack of team chemistry. HOWEVER, the Wiz have $22M coming off the books next year, I doubt any team (other than Chicago) will let an asset go for nothing. What is Mike James, Foye, Miller, and potentially Blatch and/or Young Worth? Provided we have a lack luster 1st half...I feel the Wiz have the potential to be the top seed if no one takes a game off. Any thoughts?

Great post(s) btw.

Posted by: Gooddad | September 4, 2009 12:57 PM

I can honestly see Boston get old quick right before our eyes. KG is slowly starting to break down. Ray is always iffy. And The Truth is in a contract year and may try to do to much to get one more payday. Factor in the Rondo incident this summer and the fact that he's the only pg on the team, and you have a recipe for disaster. And I can see the wizards sliding into the 3rd slot.

Posted by: CBell29 | September 4, 2009 12:59 PM

Ok, Ok, Ok, I have to ask your thoughts. Yesterday I posted my un sureness about Amare or any "star" player citing the potential impact and lack of team chemistry. HOWEVER, the Wiz have $22M coming off the books next year, I doubt any team (other than Chicago) will let an asset go for nothing. What is Mike James, Foye, Miller, and potentially Blatch and/or Young Worth?

Posted by: Gooddad | September 4, 2009 1:01 PM

I love what Toronto has done this season. If they don't make the playoffs with Bosh, Calderon, Turkoglu and a ton of quality role players, then Bosh isn't as good as people think.

And if Miami makes the playoffs then Wade should get the MVP. Any other star would quit on that team.

Posted by: djnnnou | September 4, 2009 1:50 PM

Bosh already isn't as good as people think.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | September 4, 2009 2:07 PM

ESPN had Wizards 8th. ESPN and TNT has some Wiz haters on there. Then again, Charles Barkley's best friend was fired by the Wiz. I like the Wiz to finish 3rd ahead of Boston. KG's time is done. He'll be 34 next year, and the dude's a jerk. Wallace will turn 35 this month.

Posted by: t-train | September 4, 2009 2:51 PM

"I can honestly see Boston get old quick right before our eyes. KG is slowly starting to break down. Ray is always iffy. And The Truth is in a contract year and may try to do to much to get one more payday. Factor in the Rondo incident this summer and the fact that he's the only pg on the team, and you have a recipe for disaster. And I can see the wizards sliding into the 3rd slot.Posted by: CBell29"

You also have a recipe for a stirring comeback season, if just one thing happens: Kevin Garnett stays reasonably healthy (translation: on the court) for the entire year. He started 57 games last year, 14 of which he basically played on one leg, and the Celts with and without KG were like the Wiz with and without Arenas.

Only more so.

Ray's getting older, Kevin's getting older, Paul is no spring chicken. They're thin on the bench (like almost every NBA club these days). But they added Wallace and that doesn't hurt.

Posted by: Samson151 | September 4, 2009 2:52 PM

Once again, good solid analysis. Maybe you should be an NBA scout or analyst if the Post doesn't give you a contract.

Posted by: Izman | September 4, 2009 2:53 PM

You also have a recipe for a stirring comeback season, if just one thing happens: Kevin Garnett stays reasonably healthy (translation: on the court) for the entire year. He started 57 games last year, 14 of which he basically played on one leg, and the Celts with and without KG were like the Wiz with and without Arenas.

Only more so.

Ray's getting older, Kevin's getting older, Paul is no spring chicken. They're thin on the bench (like almost every NBA club these days). But they added Wallace and that doesn't hurt.


Posted by: Samson151 | September 4, 2009 2:52 PM

I agree Samson. They just remind me of the Pistons team that deteriorated right before our eyes last year. And it funny how Sheed is apart of both teams.

Posted by: CBell29 | September 4, 2009 3:00 PM

psdfx,

I don't care if the player is a 1st or 2nd round pick. My grading was based on out of the 14 players on the roster only 4 are his draft picks and they all are the (waiting to see if they play to their potential) players. If you would like I will give Ernie an I and in 2 years we will see what grade he deserves.

Until one of the players he has drafted steps up how can you give him a better grade?


Posted by: bulletsfan78 | September 4, 2009 1:22 PM

OK...Again, I don't mean to sound liek Kalo, but this is the dumbest thing anyone has ever posted on this board.

According to this argument, we should have drafted Dwight Howard in 2004; Lebron AND Bosh in 2003; Chris Paul in 2005; Brandon Roy in 2006; and Durant in 2007.

Of course that would be a great team, but really? You are kidding, right?

Posted by: Blurred | September 4, 2009 3:36 PM

Until one of the players he has drafted steps up how can you give him a better grade?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | September 4, 2009 1:22 PM

As I said before, EG can only draft from the players available to him at the slots where the Wizards had picks. Giving him a D- for not drafting better players when better players weren't available is, well, I'll let those on the board draw their own conclusions.

Posted by: psdfx | September 4, 2009 3:49 PM

psdfx - sorry. the way I cut and pasted made it look like I was saying your comment was dumb. I meant the quoted text from bulletsfan78 was the dumbest ever posted on here.

Posted by: Blurred | September 4, 2009 3:52 PM

"Yesterday I posted my un sureness about Amare or any "star" player citing the potential impact and lack of team chemistry."

I'm a fan of Amare -- one of those players I really enjoy watching -- and his comeback from microfracture surgery has been remarkable, but I just don't see the guy as a terrific fit for the Wiz.

Posted by: Samson151 | September 4, 2009 4:03 PM

psdfx

2007 Ernie drafted NY ahead of Critt in the 1st round and DM ahead of Marc Gasol in the 2nd round

Neither NY and DM will not play much this year but they did play last year which equaled a 19 win season?

2006 Ernie drafted OP instead of Rondo, Farmar, S. Rodriguez, D. Gibson which kills us but we don't need someone who can shoot the 3 ball...wait isn't that why he traded this years 5th pick for Miller?

2005 Ernie got AB which again is still a work in progress

If there was nobody on the board to pick when they made their pick, how does that make him good at drafting players?

You explain to me who he picked that is a good NBA player?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | September 4, 2009 6:37 PM

People draft to needs...so part of that is irrelevant.

Blatche averaged 10 and 5 with a block with less minutes that Gasol...he averaged 11 and 7...so what are you saying? And Gasol had already been playing professionally so he came more polished.
Besides...NY, Critt and D-Mac I'd take over Gasol anyway. AND Gasol played for a team that lost more games. Pech didn't work out...but we turned that into Foye AND Miller. Nice recovery.

Like I said Bulletsfan...gimme an example of a GM who gets an A.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | September 4, 2009 7:16 PM

78 - The fact that he picked up McGee when he did (who will be a serious threat for the next 12 years) and traded ricky rubio and some bad contracts, Pech included, this year, for 2 potential starters makes him a genius.

he blew it with Pech and Verm, we all agreed there.

I'd say NY is going to have a better career than Crit but either way, its not like he passed on Jordan to get Bowie. and Marc Gasol isn't exactly an all-star either, although I wouldn't mind him on our team. But again, its not like he drafted kenny green instead of Malone.

AB is a better player than over 50% of the people drafted ahead of him and 90% of the people drafted after him (Gomes being the one exception), so you get a pretty solid B for that. What was he going to trade a 49 pick for? A bag of magic beans?

You just wanted us to draft #1 picks each time and we didn't have the #1 pick so it is impossible. Don't waste our time with this anymore. Call his drafts a C if you want, I'll still disagree with you, but a D-? You and the folks on crack are the only ones that believe that.

Posted by: Blurred | September 4, 2009 7:26 PM

78 can't give you an example of an A except for people who drafted all stars with number 1.

I can give you a couple of examples of D- work though:

Drafting Olowakandi ahead of Carter, jamison, Pierce and Nowitzki

drafting Kwame Brown ahead of - well- anybody

Posted by: Blurred | September 4, 2009 7:45 PM

And the last word on 49 picks...out of the past 15 drafts (2009 not counted), the 49th pick has panned out as follows:

4 49ers never played a single NBA game
1 49er played exactly ONE game
6 49ers played games but scored fewer than 500 pts
4 49ers have scored over 1500 pts. - one of them is Andray Platche

Only James Jones and Darius Songaila have scored more than Andray.

So, I am pretty sure that within 2 years, Andray Blatche can clearly be heralded as the the absolute best 49th pick from 1994 through 2008.

And the odds are pretty good thathe will be better than the 2009 49th pick, Sergyi Gladyr.

Go Ernie; Go Ernie, get your Blatche on; Its the 49th pick YO!

Posted by: Blurred | September 4, 2009 8:00 PM

So. i am bored so I did the research:

Over the 15 years prior to the 15 listed above:

10 49ers never played a game in the NBA
2 scored fewer than 100 points
1 scored like 790
2 scored over 1000, including the one time bullet Haywoode Workman

So, I can definitively say that Andray Blatche is the BEST 49th pick ofthe past 30 years.

Interestingly, the best 2nd round pick ever? Your call; Jeff hornecek or Clifford Robinson. Robinson has him clobbered in points, but Hornecek may have been an all around better player

And third round best player ever? A toss up between Frank Brickowski and Craig Ehlo.

There you have it. Enjoy.

Posted by: Blurred | September 4, 2009 8:56 PM

Blurred is cooking tonight! Hopefully Samson will see these statistically-laden posts.

Now if Andray could only get his PER into the 18-20 range this coming year....

Posted by: Izman | September 4, 2009 9:27 PM

Blurred

Who are you Ernie's agent?

So we disagree on his grade about draft picks. Hopefully AB will step up his game this year a become a player.

You stated one good pick at 49 which is how ernie made his rep by drafting Redd in the first place. If you give him an A for drafting AB than I give him a D+ since he drafted OP with the 18th pick.

Here is a guy with a better track record in the draft...

http://hoopshype.com/general_managers/danny_ainge.htm

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | September 4, 2009 11:10 PM

Wouldn't Manu or Gil be considered better 2nd round picks than Jeff Hornacek? Clifford Robinson played for a long time, but was he ever an impact player on the level of those two guys (fingers crossed that Gil recovers ~90% of his pre-surgery athleticism)?

Posted by: cwack | September 4, 2009 11:30 PM

Danny Ainge?

If Ernie gets a D for Pech. Then Danny Ainge gets a D for Gerald Green, Dahntay Jones and Troy Bell. Look how long the Celtics sucked an how many 1st round picks they WASTED. Using your logic...how many players are on Boston's team that Ainge DRAFTED?

Posted by: SDMDTSU | September 5, 2009 12:36 AM

Yeah, Gil was a second rounder and off the top of my head is probably the best second rounder ever. Michael Redd would have to be in that mix as well, whom ironically enough EG drafted. And, then astutely acquired Arenas before he blew up. That along with Blatche and McGuire pretty much makes EG the king of the second round.

Here's a useful analysis of his draft picks: What would they be worth if the draft were redone and/or what is their trade value compared to where they were picked in the draft? I assume you know where they were drafter originally.

AB - Middle to late first round.
DM - Late first round most likely.
NY - Pretty close to where he was drafted, but would probably move up a few spots.
JM - Probably a lottery pick based on the potential fact.
PECH - Late second round.

This year:
Two legit lottery pick talents for one lottery pick in a weak draft.

It's pretty clear EG has had one miss and many more hits or damn near home runs.

Posted by: rphilli721 | September 5, 2009 1:01 AM

Mike,

Since no one wanted to answer Kal's question I thought I would help out and get the guys geared up about what king of grade Ernie deserved from his drafting.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | September 5, 2009 2:12 AM

vince will kill the magic, one way or another, manu was a second rounder, so was boozer, the worm, mark price, and rashard lewis, either way blatche was just as solid at 49 as pech was awful at 18, case is still out with nick/javale, by the way if blatche plays the 4 he's a new man, there is no way he should play center in the league

Posted by: bford1kb | September 5, 2009 3:14 AM

I have to admit, I really only looked at the guys from 79-93 for the best all time 2nd rounders. I have to say how impressed I was that Cliff Robinson had almost 20,000 pts though.

Hopefully Gil will make his comeback and prove he is the best 2nd rounder ever.

Micheal redd is in the running, but so far doesn't matchup with Robinson and Hornecek.

Posted by: Blurred | September 5, 2009 7:41 AM

SD ainge was no doubt a terrible gm before he swung the KG trade and Ray trade.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | September 5, 2009 9:01 AM

SD ainge was no doubt a terrible gm before he swung the KG trade and Ray trade.

I look at that KG/Ray Allen trade as a blind knockout punch to win a boxing match. Ainge was about an hour and a half away from losing his job. KG didn't wanna come to Boston...Seattle wanted to dump Ray and he pulled off a great trade.

However, he better be glad they got that one championship is going to cost them. In the next couple of years Pierce, KG, Ray and Sheed are going to be gone. Probably Rondo too after the drama from this summer.

Behind those 4 they have NO youthful talent almost and they are going to need a major rebuilding process. Ainge went all in and hit the jackpot but it's gonna be ugly when it's all over and that time is coming.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | September 5, 2009 9:09 AM

but they did get that chip, worry bout the future in the future.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | September 5, 2009 10:08 AM

"Atl signs Jason Collins to deepen bench"

i just read that on espn's website. collins is a legit 7 footer and a semi-goon on defense. would anyone here take him over oberto?

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | September 5, 2009 3:55 PM

"It's been a while since the East had so many talented teams, not just individual talents surrounded by lousy teams."

Exactly. That's a huge distinction that I don't think a lot of people really understand.

"The teams that I think helped themselves the most were Boston, Orlando, Atlanta and Washington. "

I'll be really interested to hear what Michael has to say about Orlando. There seemed to be a lot of knee-jerk fan/talking head response that they took a step back by not keeping Turkoglu, Alston, and Lee. But looking at the cost/reward of the guys they lost versus the ones the got, I think they the Magic got better in a number of areas that were clear problems for them in the playoffs. People point to the fact that they made it to the Finals as reason why they shouldn't have made any major moves. But the key point isn't that they got to the Finals it's (A) how they got there (every series going at least 6 games) and what happened once they got there (got spanked).

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 5, 2009 7:10 PM

"Behind those 4 they have NO youthful talent almost and they are going to need a major rebuilding process."

Perkins and Rondo are solid building blocks at the two toughest positions to fill. There's not much after them, but that alone puts them ahead of the game, because the other positions are easier to fill. Rondo isn't going anywhere for at least the next two years unless the Celtics trade him, in which case they get some solid value in return. After that, it's a shot in the dark because once the old guys are gone, the entire landscape changes for the Celtics. Two years is plenty of time for him to grow up.

"Ainge went all in and hit the jackpot but it's gonna be ugly when it's all over and that time is coming."

That may be true, but I'm pretty sure that even if it is, Ainge would do it all over again, as long as a title was the result.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 5, 2009 7:20 PM

"The only downside of the trade is that having 6-foot-10 forwards Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis made Orlando unconventional and created major matchup problems. Essentially replacing Turkoglu with Carter puts Orlando back into the usual box of a center, power forward, small forward, shooting guard and point guard, but they are pretty talented at each position. The most underrated part of that deal with New Jersey was the inclusion of Ryan Anderson. That was a great pickup. I like what the Magic has done this summer."

I think a lot was made of the so-called "matchup problems" created by having Turgoklu and Lewis on the floor, but not enough attention was paid by the matchup problems it created for the Magic. Neither Lewis nor Turk could defend the interior or rebound well against true bigs. As a result, Howard was left carrying the entire load on the interior, and I think it took a toll on him. Bass gives them a much needed interior presence from someone other than Howard, and his ability to score means that they can give him longer run next to Dwight without worrying about the offense bogging down, which they can't really do with Gortat.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 5, 2009 7:34 PM

Kal,

You like Michael's prediction for the season? Notice where Atlanta is predicted to finish. Seems familiar...lol.

Posted by: rphilli721 | September 6, 2009 3:56 AM

Yeah, because if some sportswriter predicts it, it must be true. Hell, they may as well cancel the season, right?

Yawn.

(And that's not even touching on the fact that I never actually predicted the Sixers would finish ahead of the Wiz. Someone else made that prediction (I believe it was a panel of ESPN writers in an article someone linked to). I simply explained how I could see the reasoning behind the choice.)

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 6, 2009 5:06 AM

With all the new acquisitions and players coming back from injury, realistically, how long will it take before the Wizards know what they have and can measure success ? I would be surprised if we're .500 after 20 games.

Posted by: jthicks | September 6, 2009 11:52 AM

Can someone here inform me when training camp begins and when the Wizards will have their friendly match-ups?

Thanks!

Posted by: Goelez | September 7, 2009 4:51 AM

lol...thanks for stating that Captain Obvious. I was merely pointing out that I am not the only one who thinks the Wiz will finish ahead of Philly. None other than Michael Lee seems to agree with me. I don't feel like going back and searching for your comment to throw back at you as you are wont to do, but I know you were arguing that position while throwing out your "they made the playoffs last year and we won 19 games" lame argument. As if it's not a new season. Obviously, we'll see.

Posted by: rphilli721 | September 7, 2009 8:12 AM

vince will kill the magic, one way or another, manu was a second rounder, so was boozer, the worm, mark price, and rashard lewis, either way blatche was just as solid at 49 as pech was awful at 18, case is still out with nick/javale, by the way if blatche plays the 4 he's a new man, there is no way he should play center in the league

Posted by: bford1kb | September 5, 2009 3:14 AM
____

Have to agree that Vince "phone it in" Carter will not be a better fit than Hedo.

Not sure why you listed the other 2nd rounders, but I'll say none of them are better players than Arenas was and hopefully will still be.

Here is who was drafted right behind Pech and you'll see there is not much there especially if you're drafting for need as we were. We weren't in the market for a G at the time.

Quincy Douby G
Renaldo Balkman F
Rajon Rondo G
Marcus Williams G
Josh Boone F
Kyle Lowry G
Shannon Brown G
Jordan Farmar G
Rodriguez G
Maurice Ager G
Mardy Collins G
Joel Freeland F

Nobody there to even miss except maybe Rondo and he was not going to be drafted by us and get playing time in front of Arenas. Rondo is happy we didn't I'm sure for multiple reasons...lol.

Posted by: rphilli721 | September 7, 2009 8:35 AM

Here is who was drafted right behind Pech and you'll see there is not much there...(list deleted, scroll up) Nobody there to even miss except maybe Rondo and he was not going to be drafted by us and get playing time in front of Arenas. Rondo is happy we didn't I'm sure for multiple reasons...lol.

Posted by: rphilli721 | September 7, 2009 8:35 AM

Exactly, RP. People call OPech a bust. I'm not so sure. The list of players drafted after OPech reflects the reality that unless you have a lottery pick in a deep draft, starting sometime early to mid-first round, the NBA draft is a crapshoot. For someone to be a bust, wouldn't he have to come with incredibly high expectations?

Drafting in the middle of the first round, you just aren't going to get a ready-to-start, legit 7 foot plus, interior dominating, space eating, super athletic, scoring, defending, shot-blocking and rebounding machine. You just aren't. Those guys go in the top 1. So you have to gamble with guys who have holes in their game. The same thing that led EG to draft OPech (not a win, obviously) led EG to draft McGee. McGee's lack of strength and experience coming out were question marks. And EVERY big drafted in the mid-first round has some sort of question marks. So you gamble. Sometimes you win (it appears as though McGee may turn out to be a win) sometimes you lose (OPech). But I'm not sure that makes OPech a bust. If the next 5 bigs drafted after OPech were all excellent NBA performers, then I'd grant that EG missed badly, but that simply isn't the case.

Posted by: psdfx | September 7, 2009 9:13 AM

A little more on what I said yesterday about Blatche not yet being a useful member of the Wiz.

One has to ask oneself why no coach so far has put Blatche in the rotation for very long. Playing well is more than just gradually improving stats.

Playing well means being dependable and reasonably consistent. Playing well means not making so many bone headed plays. Playing well means not taking one step forward and two steps back most of the time. Playing well means not having to be taken out of games because he is too tired and not really in shape to play in the NBA.

I am sure other posters on this board can think of other negatives concerning Blatche.

When an NBA head coach is willing to give Blatche consistent minutes in the rotation for a significant number of games, he likely will have then overcome many of the negatives mentioned above. A coach has to have confidence in and be able to depend on the players he gives significant minutes to.

Until this happens, he is just holding a roster spot, pending further development.

Posted by: cannontl | September 7, 2009 10:17 AM

The best thing about that losing season is the cheap price of season tickets. You get all 41 games for the price of 14. $1200 to sit in the 100 section? Hell win or lose I enjoy being at the games, and my little boy loves it. I can sell my tickets from the games I don't go to and end up probably breaking even financially.

Can't beat that.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | September 7, 2009 11:52 AM

Blatche is CaptUnderwhelming. Who knows, maybe he will develop eventually- but that could be when he is 28 and long gone from here.

Obviously this is his last chance to take a big step with this organization, and hopefully he plays like it.

Posted by: divi3 | September 7, 2009 1:43 PM

I am with you, Divi3. I hope he comes around this year, but I've about given up on him. Just shows that even the best 49th pick of the past 30 years is still a 49th pick!

As far as Gil being the best 2nd rounder ever, I think he needs to have a couple more good seasons before we call him that. No doubt he had 3 great seasons, but he needs to be back and play like that for a few more to match those too.

Manu, too.

Cliff Robinson was an AllStar, 6th man, has the 35th most points ever and is 12th in 3pters. I'd dare say he is top 100 in blocks, too. Plus he played in the playoffs 17 out of 18 seasons and went to the finals at least twice, if not 3 times. Also scored 50+ pts in a game when he was 33.

And like the weed. I guess that's why they called them the "Blazers"

Jeff Hornecek, just got it done. Watched some of the Utah game where stockton set the assist record today and hornecek just played...Defense, getting open, ball handling, 3 pters, passing. A complete gamer and that was like his 11th season or something.

It's easy to think that a lot of todays guys are better than guys from a different era,But those guys could play. maybe not jump and and grab boards from 5 ft above the rim, but they had serious basketball skills.

I like Manu a lot and wish he was on our team, and he has accomplished a lot. But, he has only scored about half the pts Horn did and about 35% of Robinsons. In my opinion, he needs the longevity to match with those guys.

Posted by: Blurred | September 7, 2009 7:07 PM

8th place and below .500...would this be considered a failure?

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?page=OffseasonPredictions09-EastStandings

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | September 7, 2009 11:03 PM

After a 19 win season no one should be giving the Wiz anything. They should have to go out and earn people's respect every night out. After a 19win season there isn't a lot that you can say & I sure wouldn't expect the ESPN panel to give the Wiz anything.

That's why I'm encouraged by the team's attitude so far, there hasn't been a lot of talking or predicting by these guys. So far it's been a pretty old school approach
by these guys.

Gil's always played best with a chip on his shoulder, I'd expect this whole team to come out sharing a big chip. No way to get past 19 wins but to win.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | September 8, 2009 7:31 AM

below .500 and the 8th seed would definitely be a disappointment if all our major players are relatively healthy.

Taking out LeTravel and the Big Loudmouth in the 1st round would of course be an instant fix though.

Posted by: divi3 | September 8, 2009 7:38 AM

DCMan -
I'd say 39 wins, 8th in the east and a first round exit is a complete failure for this team. I can also see why ESPN would put them in that place. However, most of these guys have watched, what, maybe 15 Wizards games the past 2 years and forgotten how gamechanging a healthy Arenas is.

So we basically had that record without Arenas 2 years ago and now we have hm back with the addition of MM and AF and the maturing (hopefuly) of AB, JM and NY? Plus a more than decent backup pg? I just don't see how that can't translate into at least 6 more wins, getting us to 45 - 47.

I still maintain the Celtics are more likely to have a 47 win season than a 57 win...and be pretty banged up by the playoffs.

I think Atlanta looks good on paper until you realize that no one on that team has ever had an ounce of success...plus, they are the Hawks...and I just trouble taking them seriously. So maybe thats my fault.

Chicago is as likely to be a 29 win team as 43 and Philly has some talent, but their 39 wins sounds about "average" for a consensus, because they are a great unknown that could win 25 or 50.

I think the Wizards have allowed themslves to be underestimated and that may result in a couple of surprises early.

I hope so, anyway.

Posted by: Blurred | September 8, 2009 7:51 AM

So I see:

1) Cleveland - 60 wins
2) Orlando - 56
3) Washington - 53
4) Celtics - 47
5) Miami - 43
6) Atlanta - 42
7) Toronto - 42
8) Either Charlotte or Philly - 41
9)
10 New York - 35
11) Chicago - 35
12) Pistons - Will officially break up and go like 33 and 49
13 - 15) Indiana, NJ and Milwaukee each team getting between 25 and 32 wins.

Posted by: Blurred | September 8, 2009 7:59 AM

So YAHOO has a list of the top 10 2nd round picks of the past decade here: http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/The-top-10-second-round-picks-of-the-last-decade;_ylt=AoFWYnzNpUlLDmQFcohS6MC8vLYF?urn=nba,187610

I guess they didn't count Manu cuz he was drafted in 99 even though he didn't play until 2002. I am glad they read this blog and were influenced by our discussion!

Also, they have a list of the 10 worst teams of the past decade and the Wiz aren't on it.

Posted by: Blurred | September 8, 2009 8:15 AM

The East is tougher then it's been in years & Shaq's been known to take a night off every now and again. I really can't see where Cleveland's going to cruise to 60 wins.

They have the potential to be a very good team, but Shaq isn't the scary force that he was just a couple of years ago. He also is away from the Suns Holistic medicine approach and there's been some rumbling that he's been putting on weight this summer too.

They could get off to a slow start while he plays himself into shape.

The question mark in Orlando is, did they give up too much to get Carter? Turkalu's opting out left them with an interesting problem. He's a hard guy to replace,he did a lot of the playmaking last year from the forward spot.

They've got to get the offense going back through Nelson's hands while working Carter into the mix, I'm assuming they move Lewis to small forward and install Bass at the 4. They could be better, they could be worse, but the will sure be a different team then last year.

The upside for them is Howard is just coming into his own. If Superman learns some post moves, he's taking it to another level. If he does that, they could be the best in the East.

Miami is the team that I think many may be over rating, I sure can't put them above Atlanta.

And Toronto could be a tough regular season team with Turkalu dishing to all those 3 point shooters.

If Arenas is healthy, it shouldn't take the big three long to regain their chemistry. I think Flip's been working hard to get the feel of the team so he can get a running start in camp.

I'm thinking that the bottled up frustration after a 19 win season is going to bring these guys to camp ready and willing to adapt to a new coach and system. So I'm really not buying the Wiz get off to a slow start.

If anything they might come out of the gate too strong...
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | September 8, 2009 9:57 AM

The ranking depends upon the coaching. Will FLIP SAUNDERS be able to get this collective bunch of misanthropes to play ball? I predict eight right now with the right to change my mind after I see the product he puts on the floor the first month.

Posted by: glawrence007 | September 8, 2009 10:00 AM

blurred: 'I'd say 39 wins, 8th in the east and a first round exit is a complete failure for this team."

Why? It's more than double last year's total. Maybe the Wiz will blow up and win 53, as some predicted, and maybe they won't. They still have a number of vulnerabilities. Something goes wrong, and maybe 39 wins becomes quite an achievement.

I know it's fun to speculate, but still... this is pro basketball, not Donkey Kong.

Posted by: Samson151 | September 8, 2009 10:21 AM

"i just read that on espn's website. collins is a legit 7 footer and a semi-goon on defense. would anyone here take him over oberto? Posted by: lilhollywood10"

I always liked his effort, but as a ten to twelve minute player? I don't know. He's not much of a shooter, he seems to have lost his touch at the free throw line the past couple seasons, and he's struggled with injuries.

Posted by: Samson151 | September 8, 2009 10:31 AM

at just a few minutes a night, i doubt there's any critical difference between collins or oberto on the floor. Though I do like the semi-goon part

Posted by: divi3 | September 8, 2009 10:36 AM

There's not a team in the league that can loose both starters from their backcourt, the 1st gaurd off the bench, and their starting center and not show it in the win column.

With all of the injuries the decision to let Mason leave for SA really looked big with 20/20 hindsight. This time last summer people were posting we'd never miss him.

This time last summer Arenas was the only guy that there was any reason to expect was going to be question mark about.
So a lot can happen between now and the start of the season.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | September 8, 2009 10:49 AM

The ranking depends upon the coaching. Will FLIP SAUNDERS be able to get this collective bunch of misanthropes to play ball? I predict eight right now with the right to change my mind after I see the product he puts on the floor the first month.

Posted by: glawrence007 | September 8, 2009 10:00 AM

I agree that Flip is the key to the season. We've brought in a few good, logical pieces to add to the puzzle, now Flip needs to arrange them in the right order and get the most out of the team.

As for calling our team misanthropic, I think you need to look up the definition of that word. If anything our guys are a bit too happy-go-lucky. Maybe you meant to refer to some of the posters on this blog instead.

Posted by: ManuteBogues | September 8, 2009 10:51 AM

the collins boys are known for their lack of finese and some would say skill. but they're good for some hard fouls and charges and they're 7 foot.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | September 8, 2009 12:08 PM

Samson -
I say 39 wins, 8th and a first round exit is a failure because this team is built for now and the next 2-3 years. if we don't at least get to the 2nd round and are competitive there, then we will never advance further for at least the next couple years, because there will something fundamentally wrong with the core of this team. If we win 45+ games and lose in the first round, then there only needs to be tinkering; same with if we win 39 and make a 2nd round competitive.

If we do 39; 8th and 1st round exit it means at least 3 of the following are true:

1) Arenas is not recovered and will never be "Agent 0" again, thus locking us into a gazillion $$$ contract for the foreseeable future.

2) Foye had his best year next year and will never be an impact player.

3) Miller is truly on the decline and has lost his shooters touch.

4)out of NY, AB and JM, at least two are not maturing into "real" NBA players.

5) Haywood is as weak as many have claimed over the years.

6) jamison and Butler miss significant playing time. Indicating that Jamison may be "over the hill" in NBA standards and Butler will never be a full season player.

I don't know what Donkey Kong has to do with it, but if any of these issues come up, it means there is a significant flaw with the makeup of the team, but could be fixed in the off season.

If three or more (what I believe it would take to get to 39/8th/1st round) happen, then this team is unrepairable.

Posted by: Blurred | September 8, 2009 1:15 PM

On problem #2:
2) Foye had his best year next year and will never be an impact player.

I meant that LAST year was his best year and he was not improving

Posted by: Blurred | September 8, 2009 1:24 PM

"but if any of these issues come up, it means there is a significant flaw with the makeup of the team, but could be fixed in the off season. If three or more (what I believe it would take to get to 39/8th/1st round) happen, then this team is unrepairable.Posted by: Blurred"

Wow. As far as intuitive leaps, you've made a bucketload. To which I can only answer: sure, it's just the way you said. Or not.

My point was simpler. Forget the future for a moment. How do you consider a team that doubles its win total a failure? Answer: only through the burden of expectations.

Pushing aside that complex scenario, I do think that if Ernie doesn't get in the playoffs this season, Abe pulls the plug. And if he does, it isn't because Grunfeld is a bad GM. And it won't necessarily make the Wiz a better team. But to date the plan won't have worked, and somebody has to pay the price. The way of the world, I guess.

Posted by: Samson151 | September 8, 2009 1:48 PM

I just don't see how the team the Wizards have today isn't at least a .500 team if most players are healthy and everyone is playing near their potential.

I also believe that this team was built to have a "plan B" for almost any one or two set backs (injuries - just not getting it). So it would take a cavalcade of misery, such that we wizards fans have come to expect, to go 39 wins.

For most teams coming off a 19 win season, 39 would be almost unthinkable - a dream come true. But most 19 win games are 19 win teams because their talent pool sucks (think Washington c 2000) and they had some injuries, not because they had 80% of their starting lineup injured at the same time.

You have to remember that the core of this team won an average of 42 games a season from 05/06 - 07/08. And I believe this team has more and better talent than those teams.

If they aren't improving, or at least performing as well as those teams, I think it is a failure.

So your right. I am judging them based on the burden of expectations. Expectations that they have themselves set.

Posted by: Blurred | September 8, 2009 2:20 PM

"If they aren't improving, or at least performing as well as those teams, I think it is a failure. So your right. I am judging them based on the burden of expectations. Expectations that they have themselves set.Posted by: Blurred"

LOL Actually, I believe you set the expectations. That's your right as a fan, of course.


Posted by: Samson151 | September 8, 2009 2:56 PM

BTW, I wouldn't necessarily consider them a failure at 39 victories and a first round exit. But that's just me.

Posted by: Samson151 | September 8, 2009 2:58 PM

This is a pivotal year for the Wiz, IMHO. Considering the payroll they have and the fact that they have constructed a team designed to win now and give the big three one more shot, I would say they have to at least get to the second round of the payoffs to try to continue with the same core personnel.

If they finish around .500 and exit in the first round again (or worse), I think there will be alot of pressure on EG to go in a different direction, i.e. start breaking up the team.

I don't think health will work any more as an excuse either.

Posted by: cannontl | September 8, 2009 3:25 PM

Cannon - that's what I was trying to get at. Thanks for being far more succinct than I was.

I am in the middle of writing a technical brief and love the excuse to put it off another couple minutes!

And just so you know - I actually check my grammar and spelling on my real work.

Posted by: Blurred | September 8, 2009 3:45 PM

Samson;

They set the standard for this team's record with their 41, 42 and 43 win seasons. To not even meet those standards would dissappoint me greatly; EG and AP, I am sure; and the players, I would hope.

But really, I can't wait to start watching games in HD by the fire!

Meanwhile I have to busy myself with all the what ifs here.

Posted by: Blurred | September 8, 2009 3:49 PM

"They set the standard for this team's record with their 41, 42 and 43 win seasons. To not even meet those standards would dissappoint me greatly;"

Now wait a minute -- how come that 19 win season didn't count? That sure lowered my expectations.

Posted by: Samson151 | September 8, 2009 4:19 PM

I am sometimes have trouble with grammar and spelling in my posts also. Hope no one holds it against me.

Posted by: cannontl | September 8, 2009 4:51 PM

A good example above.

Posted by: cannontl | September 8, 2009 4:59 PM

Now wait a minute -- how come that 19 win season didn't count? That sure lowered my expectations.
Samson1

I don't count last season because this team was not on the court together. We were playing two starters most of the season and a mix of B teamers.

OK, so the last time we had our "A-team" or varsity core of Jamison, Arenas, Butler and Haywood playing together (and Stevenson) they had a 43 win season and made it to the second round. The last time they had 4 of those five together, they had 42 wins.

Last year was an incredibly unlucky fluke and if that same core of 4 or 5 players can't at least meet or exceed what they did last time they were together, it means they are done.

Also, because it burned, burned, burned deep within my soul and I'd rather never remember that feeling.

Posted by: Blurred | September 8, 2009 5:26 PM

"OK, so the last time we had our "A-team" or varsity core of Jamison, Arenas, Butler and Haywood playing together (and Stevenson) they had a 43 win season and made it to the second round."

How many years ago was that? It's pretty unrealistic to assume that they'll just pick up where they left off. Not only do they have the internal issues of age, injury recovery, chemistry, integration of new players, and increased dependency on the development of their young players to deal with, but there's also the fact that the Eastern conference has gotten much better since then. Time hasn't stood still for the rest of the NBA while the Wiz were licking their wounds. Several of the teams that were behind them back then are now in front of them, and they're not likely to give the Wiz free cuts in line.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 9, 2009 12:05 AM

So are you saying that time, injuries, and age only effect the wizards? By the way, Jamison is the oldest Wizard who is depended upon. Compared to Shaq and Big Z, Pierce, Allen, Rasheed.

Do I expect the wizards to just pick up and run like they were pre-injury to Gil? No, but they can get on a role, just like the rest of them. And please don't imply that the wizards have not improved since then. Those wizards had NO DEPTH AT ALL!

Posted by: G-Man11 | September 9, 2009 8:13 AM

The Wizards haven't exactly stood still in time either.

Last time the "new big three" played together Butler had only about a 2/3 of a season playing here. He was a good NBA player, but a predictable one. he was a catch, dribble drive, pull up for the mid range jumper guy.

He's greatly expanded his game since then, and has really worked hard again this summer to expand it again after getting humbled trying to play the two.

He's coming back, leaner, quicker, and stronger. I'll bet his 3 pt range will be further improved as well. Tough Juice will be a far improved player from the last time the big 3 were together.

Gil,if you believe the reports out of Chicago, is stronger then before the injury. He'll be in a system that will require him to be more of a floor general. But Flip's not afraid of a point that can score, he's had "Big Shot" Billups and Sam Cassell, so he's used to points that want the ball when it's time to take "the shot".

Gil's had a lot of time to think about it, practice, work, rehabb, do it all again, then get up tomorrow and put in another day. He's not going to be the same player that he was before the injury. I think he'll probably be better.

If you go back to when Gil got hurt, Jamison was the first guy to start to pull up lame. Since that time he added to stretching and Yoga in the off season. The guy's been a work horse ever since.

There's no more Thomas vs. Haywood main events in the locker room. Haywood's claimed the job and seemed healthy in his brief appearance last year. Last year should have given Wizards fans a taste of how important Haywood is to this club.

The supporting cast, at the 2 DeShawn's got competition from Miller, Foye, a more seasoned Young. Before Gil got hurt, he was the number one option at the 2 in the 4th quarter when Daniels ran the point. Why? Jarvis Hayes, Mason(as a walk-on that year)and the rookie Young made up the backcourt depth.

It seems to be a summer pass time to diss Blatche on this site. It's been two years since the kid's smelled a hint of trouble. On this sight he's a lazy slacker, new coaching staff says he's working hard.

But tell me, #1 guy off the bench at the 4, prefer Blatche or Ruffin?

At center, McGee and Oberto? Or bring back Thomas?

The dirty secret about that version of the Wiz was, outside of the big three, who could score? Now there's Foye, Miller, Young in the rotation to fill it up. And Critt can push the ball and force the tempo when Gil sits down.

It's not the same team, or the same coaching staff. There's been a lot of improvements.

Posted by: flohrtv | September 9, 2009 8:59 AM

"And please don't imply that the wizards have not improved since then. Those wizards had NO DEPTH AT ALL!Posted by: G-Man11"

Well, I'll imply it. There's no way that this team, coming out of the gate, can be better than the playoff Wiz of several years ago. That's not how basketball teams work. It takes time to develop the 'chemistry' on the court that coaches are always talking about.

Posted by: Samson151 | September 9, 2009 9:15 AM

Kal makes my point exactly -

This team was built around the core of "varsity" players, as I called them. Therefor, if this team can't exceed what they did 2 and 3 years ago, for whatever reasons (age, injuries, meshing) then we have been barking up the wrong tree and have placed our eggs in the wrong basket and whatever other cliche you want to use.

I think this team can come out of the gate strong and have the best season in 30 years, but if they only win 39 games and get bumped in the first round, I will be disappointed and consider this year a failure.

Posted by: Blurred | September 9, 2009 9:35 AM

First off, i don't believe we will do that porly, but secondly, I don't want to have another .500 year that we can build on. We have been building this team for 4 years now and if we can't at least be competitive in the 2nd round then its time to start over.

But as I say, I DO think we will be successfull this year and success to me means at least the 2nd round.

I think by midseason, the Wiz will be getting plenty of TV time as not only a top level team with star appeal, but one of the most exciting teams to watch.

I'm getting the wood fireplace insert installed in 2 weeks and will be ready to watch all season.

Posted by: Blurred | September 9, 2009 9:43 AM

Excellent points, GM.

Caron is not only a major upgrade of his old self, but behind him we have a knock-down three-point shooter (Miller) in place of Arvis Hayes. And behind him perhaps the best perimeter defender on the team in McGuire.

And Nick Young is finally being groomed to develop a broader array of offensive tools, running off screens and hitting mid-range jumpers, in place of shaking, baking, and shooting fadeaways.

I also suspect we're going to see a renewed emphasis on defense and installation of a zone defense that will be better suited to the Wiz's personnel. I don't think they'll be magically transformed into a lock-down defensive team, but even a middling defense combined with the Wiz's potent offense is going to make for a much better team than in recent years.

I am also sensing in the comments among the players and coaching staff, maybe too hopefully (hope springs eternal in the pre-season), a commitment on the part of more of the players, especially the young guys, to work hard. The whole team (especially the young guys) has something to prove and there seems to be -- dare I say it? -- maturity afoot.

Can't wait for the season to begin!

Posted by: Prazak | September 9, 2009 9:47 AM

The Wizards have made a lot of changes. They're only improvements if they produce better results than 43 wins and/or a second round sweep. We don't know that they will. But we do know that since 2005, a number of of the other East teams have gotten better because they've proven it on the court. The Wizards haven't. Those teams have a head start over Washington and going into the season the Wiz will be playing catch up from pretty far behind. That's a tough position to start from and there's no guarantee they can make up that ground, because even if they pick up where they left off, where they left off isn't good enough to be among the top teams, given how the East currently stacks up. They'd have to make a big jump forward from where they were (in terms of wins), just to get back to the same position (relative to the rest of the field). Not saying they can't, but there's no reasonable, logical basis for simply looking at the roster sheet and assuming they will.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 9, 2009 12:47 PM

It's also not reasonable to say they won't either, that's why they throw the ball up in the air...
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | September 9, 2009 1:22 PM

You're right, it's not reasonable. That's probably why I never said that. In fact, I quite explitcly said the exact opposite, at the very beginng of the sentence you pounced on:

Not saying they can't...
Posted by: kalo_rama | September 9, 2009 12:47 PM

"that's why they throw the ball up in the air..."

Which, quite clearly (to anyone who actually read my post before responding) was my point.

And, what was yours again?

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 9, 2009 2:08 PM

Gee Kal,
I'd suggest maybe it's time to move up a size when you buy your next pair of underware. Your current size seems to get bunched up, A LOT.

Did I say, you said, Anything?

Could be said that I was agreeing with you.

In fact, I thought I was just making the point that none of us know how any of these teams will fare until the games are played.

Pretty simple concept, I know, it went right over your head. But that happens a lot. When you're sitting at your computor, do you hear a swishing sound?

Orlando is a very different team then the one that went to the finals last year. No way to assume they'll have the same success. New 4, old 4 goes to the 3, new 2 that likes to go 1 on 1, starting point returning from injury and wasn't part of last year's succes.

I'd be really down on them, except they've got Superman. The guy developes an actual lowpost game, and that team, regardless of other problems, is tough to beat.

Atlanta has has brought in different pcs.

Philly has a new coach that going to bring a new system and his maddening lineups with him.

Boston is a year older, and all three of their big three are showing the signs of wear and tear on their bodies. And they brought in Sheed, I love the guy as a player, his antics over the years has diminished the value of his play. Any Portland or Piston fan can tell you, the guy, he can pick the damnedest times to just loose it.

The Pistons learned to live with it, can Garnett? Peirce? the fans? the coaches? the rest of the team? That situation is like Chem 101, too much Sheed, it could blow up, too little Sheed, he could go into a sulk and the thing just fizzles.

And then we come to Cleveland, LeBron & Shaq. Bron Bron doesn't like a guy in the post, tends to clog the lane. Z comes out sets picks,cans those little jumpers, and gets to post up just enough to keep teams honest and Z happy.

Shaq loves to camp out down low, somebody's got to adjust. No way to know for sure just how that's going to work until the get on the floor together.

Point is: Every year, is a new year, no one knows until you get on the court how addtions are going to work, or not work, with the players or coaches already on a team.

Sometimes guys just come out of no where and play at an Allstar level. Some guys get traded once and stink, go somewhere else and they're allstar material.

But there's no reason to assume that any team that's made changes to their roster or coaching staff are ahead, or behind anyone else.

Standing pat doesn't always work out either, guys can show up on one leg like Daniels did last year. No one can tell how it's all going to work out until they start throwing the ball up in the air.
GM


Posted by: flohrtv | September 10, 2009 9:51 AM

All Dennis Rodman most rings for a second rounder ever '86 pistons. We all know about Dennis.

for rphilli721 agreed
Ernie Picks will bear fruit this year.
AB reminds me of Lamar Odom in early Miami. JM,NY will have significant minutes.
I blame Jordan and Tap for lack of development for EG picks.
Mike Lee - dreamshake article with Sam Cassell!!
Rubio! at the 5 :) Thanks Ernie!
Great young insurance packages with with long bright futures in RF and MM.
The real question about ernie can he find another franchise player for the WIZ.
THE question will be can the bigs BH, JM, AB have ONE or TWO money moves when the season opens. If you can name the money moves off the top of your head by the ALL Star break - then we will be an elite team.

Posted by: zariah | September 10, 2009 7:46 PM

49 wins + and book it.

The 43 win team and this team are two different animals and let's not even talk about the 19 win season last year. That's as intellectually lazy as it gets and is only used by haters.

The bench on this year's squad is light years better than that 43 win team.

The core players on this squad are matured and in their "absolute" primes as players. Meaning they still have all their skills with all the experience they are going to ever have. Unlike, most of Atlanta's squad, for instance.

The coaching on this this team is now top notch. We are not guide by Mr. 44% career winning percentage.

Posted by: rphilli721 | September 11, 2009 8:47 AM

The biggest question mark is still Arenas and if he is comfortable enough on that knee to play on asphalt at Berry Farms and the reports out of Chicago are true, I think he is ok.

And, for all the talk of an ever improving conference, there are some major digressions as well like Detroit first and foremost, perhaps Philly without Miller, Miami looks more like chumps than champs, NJ is going to stink even more, etc.... Plus, Boston has gone from 66-62-who knows how many wins this season. I would look for about 57/58 this season as they are not playing to win the regular season and age is definitely a factor. Throw in the usual team or two struck down by injuries (hopefully not us this season) and I see absolutely no reason to believe that we are a .500 team lucky to make the 8th seed in the East. I think that will belong to Miami and others. Not us.

Posted by: rphilli721 | September 11, 2009 9:10 AM

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