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Friday, November 14th, 2008 at 1:19 pm  |  160 responses

The Commish 10

Ten teams to watch…

Crazy Joseby Vincent Thomas

I don’t think I was alone in being dead wrong in how I predicted the 2007-08 season to proceed. Who foresaw the Blazer and Rockets streaks? Did anyone have any clue the Hornets and Lakers were going to battle it out for the West’s top seed? Miami winning just 15 games? Who even had an inkling that the situations in Dallas, Phoenix, Miami and New jersey would warrant Shaq and J-Kidd trades? Philly and Atlanta–you saw that coming? That’s the beauty of NBA Novembers–the rush of the unexpected future. I vowed, after last season, to never do the Record and Playoff Prediction Thing again. I mean, do I really have even the faintest idea if the Knicks will finish second, third, fourth or fifth in the Atlantic division, let alone if they’ll win 33 or 40 games? Nope. And I’m calling BS for any of my colleagues that do. But after two weeks of balling, there are more than a few squads that interest me–teams I will be watching closely throughout the season, for a variety of reasons. Check ‘em out…

Toronto: I was a guest on a radio show hours before the season tipped-off. One of the hosts asked me if I was looking forward to the Philly-Toronto match. I said something to the effect of, Of course not, Toronto’s soft and Philly’s overrated. Then, after the Rapts handled the Sixers, the host emailed me, warning me to rethink my stance on Toronto. I hedged, put my tail between my legs and said that maybe I spoke too soon, that maybe Toronto is street-tough now and the Eastern Conference is on notice. They’ve gone 3-4 since then, with losses to Boston, Detroit, Atlanta and Philly, four of the best squads in the Conference. I can’t figure this squad out. I’m definitely not cool with dismissing them as I have in the past. They have two big men playing exceptionally well. O’Neal is beyond solid in his new role and Bosh is a newly aggressive beast–I even saw him barking on his teammates after a blown defensive assignment. Calderon is often sublime. They have athleticism on the wing and Bargnani is an enviable option off the bench. Still, I remain skeptical, they just lack something abstract. I think they scare a lot of teams, but no one fears them. There’s a difference.

Cleveland: LeBron is going to have a historic statistical season, but his MVP candidacy will be tied to his team’s performance. Coming into the season, I suspected the Cavs would struggle early on and not hit their stride until after a huge ’09 shake-up–say, a big trade or coaching change. Instead, they’ve Tough tandemjumped out the block like Michael Johnson. The Mo Williams pick-up is key, because unlike Larry Hughes, he’s finally offering Bron a partner in attack. You ever been in a pick-up game where it seems that you’re the only one balling on your squad? Balling is different than hustling. The Cavs have always hustled (scrapping, rotating, going after loose balls, etc.), but Bron has always been the only Cav balling. Mo actually balls. He’s not tentative, he’s a little cocky, he goes in without any reticence. He’s paying noticeable dividends for Cleveland, right now. What doesn’t bode well for the Cavs are those two creaky geezers they start down low. Will Big Z and Big Ben hit the wall sometime in March or April? The early-season Eastern Conference contenders (Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Philly, Toronto) feature lithe, athletic bigs. Z, Ben and Anderson Varejao ain’t cutting’ it. And what’s up with Delonte and his Ronald McDonald bush?

L.A. Lakers: This team is so deep that they need not worry about the great unknown–injuries. Even if Kobe goes down for 10-15 games, L.A. could escape relatively unscathed. Every one of the players in L.A.‘s nine-man rotation would, at least, vie for a starting spot on most teams–even playoff squads. They have talent to spare. What’s important to consider is that L.A. has solved the problems that plagued them against Boston. They play exceptional team defense now, rotating and switching like the Piston and Spurs squads of a few years ago. Bynum is every bit of the interior presence that we suspected he’d be. Homeboy leads the League in blocks and does not allow opponents to indiscriminately grab offensive boards at their whims. And Ariza? Just as LeBron finally has another baller in Mo Williams, Kobe finally has another athletic wing to help pressure the ball, crash the boards and get out on the break. Notice that Ariza is almost always on the floor at the end of games…well, that is when L.A. isn’t up by 20-plus points. Analyze the Lakers and tell me: where are the holes, what are the deficiencies?

Washington: I lived in D.C. for five years. I saw the Jordan-Rip Era morph into the Gil-Jamison-Tough Juice Era. I loved the Wiz, able to root for a hometown NBA squad for the first time in my life, after the Braves left Buffalo months before I was born. Since leaving D.C. in 2005, I’ve continued to follow the Wiz closely. It’s been a frustrating franchise and team to root for. Gil is an enigma and almost always injured, these days; Eddie Jordan seems completely incapable of instituting a culture of accountability or any semblance of a commitment to playing serviceable defense; general manager Ernie Grunfeld has toggled between calculated prescience (letting Larry Hughes go in the summer of 2004 and signing Caron Butler for about $20M less) and an aversion to risk-taking that belies boredom (he‘s failed to improve the roster for two straight summers). This might be my final season as a Wiz fan. When Gil gets back, it’s show-n-prove time for this squad. They have a real possibility of being a dangerous dark horse or just a joke.

New Orleans: The Hornets are gaining traction as the consensus No. 2, the squad everyone ranks right behind the Lakers in the West. I don’t necessarily buy that. Chris Webber has been vocal in his skepticism of this squad and I see exactly where he’s coming from. I’ve never seen a contender so cripplingly dependent on one player, like the Hornets are with Chris Paul. Don’t let David West fool you. He reminds me of Elton Brand, in that they’re both a little undersized and lack the explosion of some of their peers in the class of elite bigs. Brand, however, has a more varied post-game and post-games are reliable first-options. I’d proffer that close to 50 percent of West’s offense is the product of pick-n-pops with Paul. Without Paul, West is less of an All-Star and more of an Udonis Haslem. Last season, the Hornets had Bonzi Wells and Janero Pargo coming off the bench to create offense and keep the game moving. James Posey brings a lot to the table, but creating offense isn’t one of them and when you watch the Hornets, they get bogged down in these stretches of extreme scoring ineptitude. They’re only averaging 96 ppg. This is an issue, especially when you factor in the good possibility that the best defensive minds in the NBA are in film rooms, studying ways to neutralize Chris Paul. Even a moderate neutralization of Paul would result in a catastrophic breakdown of the Hornets offense because of its almost comic reliance on the young virtuoso.

Charlotte: Is this going to be a squad that comes together, wins a surprising 45-48 games and snatches a playoff spot from one of last season’s top eight? Or are the Bobcats going to play yawn-ball and further sully the careers of Larry Brown and Michael Jordan? This team is full of first round picks, but not the type that transform franchises. They’re either solid lottery picks (Emeka Okafor, Raymond Felton), potential busts (Adam Morrison), overrated dudes (Gerald Wallace, Jason Richardson) or kats lost in the shuffle (D.J. Augustin). It all comes down to whether geriatric Larry Brown is truly up to this task and whether Michael Jordan is actually interested in running a professional franchise. We’ll see how it shakes out.

San Antonio: Have you seen this roster? George Hill? Roger Mason? Michael Finley? You can’t win with three stars–one older, two gimpy–and a squad full of should-be-retirees and marginal almost-D League dudes. The Big Three has never been surrounded with this level of mediocrity. I’m anxious to see how the Spurs perform once Parker and Ginobli return. Will Duncan–already on his seeming last legs–have enough left to shoulder an increased load, due to the suckiness of his teammates? The cliché is that we always underestimate the Spurs, then they end up winning 53-58 games and make us all look stupid. But I just don’t see how this squad wins more than 45 OKC Blundersgames in the West. I think it’s going to be like watching Rome’s demise.

Oklahoma City: Speaking of rosters: have you seen this one? It’s extremely young and practically devoid of the type of developed talent necessary to win games in the NBA. As much as I love Durant and Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook, that’s not a Big Three. As bad as they are, I watch this squad because I’m keeping tabs on Young Kev, concerned that playing for this dismal franchise is going to strand Durant’s career. I see 70-plus losses for the Thunder, which happens to be the worst team moniker in the history of professional sports.

Denver: The Nuggets play like a respectable team now that Billups is running the show. The rec league days left with A.I. Although they lack frontcourt depth (Denver would have been extra-dope with McDyess), this is a well-balanced, talented team that should be taken seriously. It’ll be interesting to see how much Melo benefits from playing with a real point guard and whether Billups will reprimand J.R. Smith after he jacks up his trademark 30-foot jumpers. With their roles more clearly defined and, what seems to be, a different, more practical philosophy, Denver seems more poised than the young Blazers to move ahead of the down-turning Suns, Spurs and Mavs in the West’s pecking order.

Atlanta:
The Boston-Atlanta game was the best of the season, thus far. If I were a Celtics fan, I’d be deathly afraid of the Hawks. If that game showed us anything, it showed us that the Hawks have only a healthy respect for Boston and nothing else. Atlanta is one of the few Eastern teams that suffers no inferiority-complex when it comes to the Cs and this is an unexpected testament to the soft-spoken, reserved Mike Woodson. Without Josh Smith, the Hawks went toe-to-toe with the champs. By the end of the season, we may be mentioning Joe Johnson with Pierce, Kobe, DWade and Bron; Marvin Williams is tapping into his potential; Horford is playing like he belongs right below Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum on the young big totem pole–the squad seems serious. They are better and deeper than they were last season. But here’s the big question: Are they still erratic? After eight games, I’m not confident that they aren’t.

Vincent Thomas is a columnist and feature writer for SLAM. He can be reached at vincethomas79@gmail.com.

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  • http://nba.com/celtics/ Moose

    FIRST

  • http://fashionsensei.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/jackie-moon.jpg Jackie Moon

    Not really a weakness specific to the Lakers, as all teams have this weakness, but if Pau and Bynum get into early foul trouble, that’s where we would most likely see the Lakers drop some games.

  • http://nba.com GermanMavsFan

    Go dallas ..wooot woot =(

  • http://www.ballislife.com Justin Walsh

    if the thunder REALLY get 70 losses+…that would be devastating to a good OKC fan base…and a small victory for seattle who got screwed out of a team

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    That Elton Brand David West comparison was on point except that David seems to have a bit more of that cutthroat killer instinct that is needed to succeed in the playoffs and no ones ever seen that from Brand. Not even at Duke.

  • AZ

    nice. Atlanta is looking like a force to reckon with this year

  • http://www.ballislife.com Justin Walsh

    yeah i love brand but he just seems to be chillin at the crib when he plays. although i dont exactly see KILLER INSTINCT from west either haha, just a refined midrange-18 foot jumper

  • ciolkstar

    I wonder what the vegas odds are on Bron winning the MVP? If he stays healthy I think he’s pretty much a lock. Maybe CP3, if the Hornest wind up with the top seed in the West. Which, honestly, I don’t see happening. Atlanta is gonna be this year’s darling, I love that team. So happy they really seem to be putting it all together, starting on the defensive end. I think Dallas will struggle all year, but I really like the Gerald Green signing. Carlisle is a good motivator and looks like he’s gonna give Gerald a chance atleast.

  • ciolkstar

    Brand looks slow to me. He was never a high flyer, but he’s pretty much nailed to the floor nowadays. Not good for an undersized post up guy. They need to run more pick n pop screen rolls with him and Dre Miller/Iguodala. Brand can nail that shot and it should bring out oppsoing bigs and open up lnaes to the rim. I think Philly can figure it out, but they need to play to their strengths.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    What is a Hornest?

  • ciolkstar

    The Spurs are very vulnerable right now but George Hill is a serious talent. Popp still has his leash pretty tight but he’s an explosive athgelete and already a strong defender. I’ve been making the Rondo comparison all year and I think its appropriate.

  • ciolkstar

    TYPO! BLong: your tempting me to make a mean joke, but I’ll keep it civil.

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    Vincent must have missed the Denver game last night.

  • Jess

    The Raps need a wing player…and quick..we need another scorer with JO anchoring the defence and Bosh being…well Bosh, a guy who could give say 15 a night would be just right. Bargnani may be that guy..but we cant wait much long, we need to get this right soon

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    I hope the Wiz figure out something that works and Caron starts to ball out because i’ve liked this team for the last few years. Eddie Jordan needs to figure out a defensive concept for these guys if he wants to keep his job.

  • NACHOveli

    actually, elton brand had a great showing in his only playoff appearance in 06′. i mean he led the clippers to one game from the west finals and gave the suns all they can handle. and thats with sam i am as his point. i’d take EB any day over mr. west

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    Caron deserves better. FREE TUFF JUICE!

  • Wiz

    The wizards will be alright they start bad almost every year, they have proved they can win with out gilbert so they jus need to get of this new season slump. And as the spurs mayne i live in san antonio and its bout to get ugly all there fans are a bunch of people who know nothin about basketball and think tim duncan is the most exciting player to ever play the game, once they dont make the playoffs im not sure how they are gonna react lol

  • niQ

    this is Atlanta’s year.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Two observations:
    1, LeBron’s had 2 or 3 historical stat seasons already. This is worth remembering.
    2, A reference to the Thunder roster as “extremely young” next to a photo of Joe Smith = guaranteed laughs.

  • ciolkstar

    I said this earlier… The Kobe v. LeBron debate will be over by the end of this season. In my opinion its already not even close. I think if JaVale McGee can step up and help the Wiz get it together on defense and Nick Young figures out other ways to contribute (besides scoring) the wizards can recover. But still, they need to avoid Bron and the Cavs in the 1st round (but so does EVERYONE else)

  • NBK

    Thank you for stating how David West is overrated, when yall did the top 50 there was countless people asking why he wasn’t in a better spot, when really he was ranked too high

  • ciolkstar

    No one think Tim is the “most exciting” but he has been the “most successful” player in the post Jordan era (except Shaq, I guess) This happens every year with the Spurs, someone gets hurt other guys step up. It won’t be pretty but the Spurs will keep their heads above water. George Hill is a real player, almost no one has heard of him (or seen him play) but the guy is very atheletic, a little raw, but he has a bright future. When manu and Tony get back this team will be who they always are: A defensive team that you want NOTHING to do with in the playoffs. That just the way it is.

  • NBK

    Cosign Ciolkstar- as long as you are incinuating (however you spell it) that LeBron is better.

  • NBK

    George Hill is no more of a talent then James White and what league is he playing in? Thats what i though

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    You guys must’ve missed the Slam Top 50.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Nice one, Vince. These are teams I’m keeping an eye on, as well. Well, except for Charlotte–sorry BETcats. I like your writing, if I haven’t told you that yet, Vince.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    I can’t believe those guys got suspended for that “fight”.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    NBK: What in the hell are you babbling about? David West is NOT overrated. He may be undersized, but he was a player way before he started receiving passes from CP3. Also, please do not compare James White to George Hill. White had a chance to prove himself and couldn’t. I would take Pop’s talent eveluation skills over your’s 10 days a week.

  • NBK

    B.Long>? who you talkin bout?

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    True dat about George Hill, Tad. He’s raw but under Pop he’ll develop even if he did go to college at I.U.P.I.U.O>P.I.O.*T.9.Z.

  • NBK

    White was with San Antonio for 1 year…and george hill? And David West did nothing before Chris Paul got there nothing.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    @NBK:The top 50 comment was aimed towards jokers who think a few 40 point games makes you the best in the L.

  • NBK

    Nobody said anything about a few 40 point games making LeBron the best player in the L. The fact that he plays better than everyone else is the reason i would say people think he is the best player

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    NBK
    Did Chris Paul magically bestow a jumper on David West? How about post moves?

    Just curious.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    I’m just saying, if Ryan Jones says that Kobe Bryant is the best basketball player in the world, who am I to argue? 8)

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    NBK: Do me a favor and youtube some clips of David West at Xavier U and then come back and talk to me. If it wasn’t for the fact NBA GM’s considered him a ‘tweener’ because he was a 6’7 PF, then he would have been a lottery selection.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    Ditto Allenp.

  • NBK

    Im pretty sure as stated in the article you just read, about 50% of wests offense comes from paul. I never said he did not have a good midrange shot, but so does matt bonner. If you take david west’s scoring average down by half he is scoring 9 points a game. That means he is no more useful than Kurt Thomas. Who has post moves and can hit the midrange J. He also plays better post defense than west. I am not saying west is not a good player but he sure is not as good as everyone thinks. Chris Paul can probably turn any PF in the league with the ability to hit a 20 footer into a 15 ppg scorer. Evidence of that can come from West improving his jumper after his second year and the arrival of paul to increase his scoring average from 6 to 17.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    and Tad.

  • NBK

    And Michael Olawakandi was a 1st pick i don’t care about where someone was drafted

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    Does NBK stand for No Basketball Knowledge?

  • NBK

    how is there no basketball knowledge, i point out facts and you guys use his draft position and insults to prove me wrong? There is no proof anywhere that David West is a top 50 NBA player without chris paul. Antonio McDyess would be a good comparison what is west so much better at than Antonio?

  • NBK

    Mid Range J

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    I did say that, didn’t I?

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    What Jones?

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    Well that was a Top 50 list of basketball players in the world, right? Or am I confusing it with a Top 50 people who’ve scorned Ryan Jones during his career? Too many lists to keep up with.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    Guess it really doesn’t matter since Kobe tops both.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Oh, nevermind. I think NBK dumbed me down for a brief period.

  • NBK

    Right cuz you guys came with a great counter argument. All you people do is throw insults when you don’t have any logical argument.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    NBK: WTF are you babbling about again? I didn’t advise you to watch West at Xavier? In case you weren’t aware, Vincent was stating a guess that 50% of West’s attempts were from pick-and-pops with Paul. It wasn’t a stated fact. Now, we all know that Paul makes his teammates better. No sh*t sherlock. But please look up the games West has when Paul hasn’t played and explain them to me? I’ll wait.

  • NBK

    Min Net Pts Off Def Net48
    71% +34 101.4 95.5 5.9
    Min Net Pts Off Def Net48
    84% +34 101.2 95.4 5.8

    Which one is david west and which one is NENE?

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    You tell me genius, you looked it up. You are right, David West needs to give his whole paycheck to Paul. He sucks.

  • NBK

    and 9 points a game of wests offense comes from jump shots. Meaning half his points.

  • NBK

    See insults again, read what i have said West is a good player but he is not as good as you all think he is. Nene is on the top by the way, and those statistics show that he has better production then david west. For his team.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    B. Long: I actually have that list. It’s in PowerPoint form, and it’s 19 pages long. Is there an FTP site I can upload it to? Holla.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Isn’t the point putting the ball in the basket? Does it matter how it gets there? Jump shots isn’t a basketball skill?
    Answer me this: How do you know that it isn’t David West who also makes Paul better?
    Answer me this as well: Who was better, Malone or Stockton?
    Point being, West is NOT overrated. F*ck a stat, watch a game. West HAS game.
    Ugh, i’m done with this.

  • NBK

    in 2 games without chris paul in 2007-08 david west scored 12points and 14 points. IN a win against Minnesota and a loss to indiana…what do you have to say now?

  • http://twentythreenine.blogspot.com Russ Bengtson

    Uh…shouldn’t a great deal of a scorer’s points come from his point guard? Isn’t that the way basketball generally works? Saying David West’s points would be cut in half without Chris Paul is ridiculous. They both make each other’s job easier.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    You see, NBK, when your team actually attempts to play defense like Nawlins does, it slows the game down and you don’t get as many offensive possessions. Nene’s team doesn’t have that problem. There isn’t a GM in this league right now who would take Nene over David West, unless Isiah Thomas got some job I don’t know about.

  • NBK

    I hope you didn’t leave yet TAD because i just proved me right and you wrong. YOu said look at David west without chris paul and there it is.

  • http://twentythreenine.blogspot.com Russ Bengtson

    Wait—is a guy not good if a lot of his points come from jump shots? If that’s the case, someone should kick Larry Bird out of the Hall of Fame and take Reggie Miller’s name off the ballot.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    @Ryan: Maybe we can read that next summer? What do I need to do between now and next June to be included? 8)

  • http://twentythreenine.blogspot.com Russ Bengtson

    NBK, you cited TWO games. That doesn’t a valid hypothesis make. (Not to mention I’d venture ANY player’s scoring would go down if they went from playing with an All-Star point guard to an average backup.) If your point is that David West isn’t on the level of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, well, yeah. If your point is that he’s an average player that is entirely a creation of Chris Paul, well, no.

  • http://twentythreenine.blogspot.com Russ Bengtson

    In unrelated news, I can’t wait for BETCATS to find out that Gerald Wallace and Jason Richardson are overrated.

  • NBK

    Larry Bird was an all-nba defender and three time MVP, reggie miller hit threes and played gaurd. David West is a PF playing 35 minutes a game, getting half his points from jump shots and not playing any defense

  • NBK

    TadOne: “But please look up the games West has when Paul hasn’t played and explain them to me? I’ll wait.”

  • NBK

    thats why i put up those two games russ. And i don’t think david west is on the level of Rasheed Wallace but everyone here seems to think he is a top tier PF.

  • NBK

    IF there is a gm in the league that wanted to win, and based his PF off of skill not age or mental issues would any gm in their right mind take west over wallace? Ok now would you consider wallace top 5 pf’s in the nba? Now how good is david west?

  • NBK

    oh and russ i can also point out the first two years of david wests career but that would not be fair because he was playing 15 minutes a game. For the record he was scoring 6 ppg and his career high was 15 before CP

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    …..

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    NBK
    So, you’re asking other people to prove their dissent to your argument, while you don’t have to provide any proof that your argument is true?
    Really interesting.
    How do you know what David West would be without Chris Paul? You yourself admitted that his development came after he developed a jumper. He already was a good on the block in college, but given his size would have had problems being solely a post player in the league. He added a jumper, and presto, now he’s a legitimate big man.
    Chris Paul makes David West better, but David West makes Chris Paul better. A power forward who can run the pick and pop does wonders for the game of a penetrating point guard. It forces faster rotations, it pulls big men away from the rim.
    Simply, you are arguing a hypothetical based solely on Vincent’s projections and your own bias that David West’s position on the Slam Top 50 was unjustified.
    How can you prove that West would be nothing without Paul, when you have never seen the current David West play without Paul? Do you think West couldnt get his shots with Brevin Knight running the one? How about Mo Williams or Deron Williams? What do you think about Jason Kidd, or Jose Calderon?

  • http://twentythreenine.blogspot.com Russ Bengtson

    Two games doesn’t prove anything. He had two games this year already where he scored 15 and 11 respectively. Then there was a three-game stretch in ’05-06 when Paul was out where West scored 21, 11 and 19 and shot over 50 percent from the floor in every game. Dude’s got game.

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    NBK
    You think Larry Bird was really an All-NBA defender, or was he just voted to the all defensive team. Because Jason Kidd made the all defense team last year right before Chris Paul gave him a much wider ass hole.

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    NBK
    West is a subpar defender and an average rebounder. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have game. Carlos Boozer has the same defiencies and no real post moves, do you think he’s solely a creation of Deron Williams?
    Come on, David west can put up the 15.6 points per game Nene is putting up if he played with decent point guard. Paul makes his game more efficient, but Paul doesn’t make him good.

  • NBK

    Ok russ but you leave out the games where west shoots 1-11 in 05-06 or when he ends up with 12. And the david west whose effinciency is no higher than NENE, and west has chris paul. Maybe the FACT that west only outscores his counterparts by an average of 6 points per game while guys like Rasheed are outscoring there opponent by 9 points per game. Plus the defensive deficincies of having west compared to a PF that protects the rim. I am not saying david west is not good never once did i say that. But to look at a pf who averages 19 and 7 with the best point gaurd in the league and think of him as one of the best pf’s around is ludacris. If you look at effect on a team in terms of success (this is factual information) Peja Stojakovic means more to the hornets winning then david west based off of wins produced. How do you explain that?

  • NBK

    Carlos boozer averages a double double allenp he is a better all around player than west. He also puts up 20 a game in a slower offense to counter the nene plays for a faster team argument from russ i believe

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    How do you explain that he made All Star last year?
    I’m so happy you finished your homework assignment, BTW.

  • NBK

    And mr. allenp name a pg in the league that can gaurd chris paul? Your jason kidd argument was stupid paul would have torched an pg in the world. And yes larry bird was a great defensive player that is why he made the all defensive 2nd team some 3 years in a row.

  • NBK

    He made the all star team by being a great compliment to chris paul. And the all star game was in new orleans

  • NBK

    Oh and the larry bird should be taken out of the hof thing, larry bird also rebounded better than west and also hit 3pt shots

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Yeah, he got added by the coaches because they were worried about attendance in the NO. Dude, everyone knows Chris Paul is arguably the best PG in the game and he makes his teammates better. I love Paul and he is my 2nd favorite player. Bottom line is David West is NOT overrated. Not in my book, but he is in yours. Fine, agree to disagree.

  • http://slamonline.com Josh D

    1.Spurs will win the Championship
    2. Roger Mason and George Hill aren’t mediocre( Micheal Finley isn’t either) so far Roger Mason has point average of 15.8ppg and GH has about 7.5 ppg

  • NBK

    Josh they still can’t win and thats what matter so those guys are worse than mediocre. Ok tad agree to disagree but west is overrated and i hope he ends up somewhere else so i can laugh at how is really just a really really good role player

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    ^”Do you want to know what dog food tastes like? DO YA? It tastes just like it smells…DELICIOUS!

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    actually^ and ^^

  • NBK

    uhm someone give b his meds

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Worse than medioccre? Do you just come on here to bash random players? Is it fun?

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    I thought every player had a role on a team? I guess CP3 is just a really, really, really, really, good role player.

  • NBK

    Why would some players who can only shoot (mason,finley) be anything more than mediocre at the least? Every NBA player was the man on a team at one point or another so it should not suprise anybody that over the years these guys have developed a jump shot. But if your not helping your team win and your getting outscored by your counterpart every single game how can you expect to be even mediocre?

  • NBK

    What does david west do other than score? He does not rebound more than the average PF that plays 30+ minutes a night. He is essentially a role player whos role is scoring. Chris paul scores, creates, and applies ball pressure he has multiple roles.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    If you play in the NBA, you are not mediocre. Get a grip. And your comment about Finley only being able to shoot lets me further know how much you actually know about basketball.

  • NBK

    Finley is too old to do anything else on the court. He supplies leadership in the locker room. And if we are only talking about NBA players than some are above average and some are below average. hence mediocre and not mediocre. Did i once say i or any other rec league basketball player is better than those guys? The term mediocre for an NBA player only applies when comparing them to other NBA players which is exactly what i was doing.

  • NBK

    YOu try and poke holes in what i am saying by bringing up irrelavent information. You try and say i know nothing about basketball but have proved nothing i have said wrong. I am aware of house michael finley used to be, i am aware of how good he would be if every player in the league was atleast 35 years old, but time has passed and michael finley is now a clutch jump shooter….and is relied upon to shoot and provide leadership in the lockerroom.
    He cannot stop the better perimeter players in the league and cannot create shots for himself hence him being less than mediocre

  • NBK

    of how good* i don’t know why i typed house

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    It’s cool man. You see the game way different than myself. Have a good weekend.

  • NBK

    If mason jr, finley, and george hill were better than mediocre or even mediocre would they be losing to teams like milwaukee and miami with a guy like tim duncan putting up 23 and 11? I doubt it very very highly

  • NBK

    The problem is biased opinion. I would say my favorite player in the league is overrated if he truely is. Other people will not go against a hometown player, or will not go against something they have previously said because of their amount of pride. I will also admit i am wrong if and when i am. But if i push fact after fact out and am told i know nothing about basketball that makes me assume i am talking to people who argue for the sake of entertainment and inturn actually know nothing about basketball

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    NBK
    You can’t use all defense selections as a criteria for a great defender and then turnaround and say all star game selections aren’t a big deal. Larry Bird was never, NEVER a great individual defender. He was a good team defender, but was a liability individually.
    Anybody who ahs watched basketball knows this. The same is true for Magic Johnson. Your willingness to use his all defense selections as your sole proof shows you must not understand how all defense and all NBA are selected.

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    NBK
    I have not attacked you, I have presented facts. YOur attitude sucks. Stop playing the victim. You are making hyperbolic arguments and then acting surprised when people call you stupid. That’s what’s going to happen when you say stupid stuff. Why are you so willing to accept Vincent’s argument that West’s points would drop by half if Paul wasn’t there? Just because Vince said it doesn’t make it true.
    Moreover, you keep talking about West’s inability to rebound, all while praising Rasheed Wallace. Rasheed Wallace, a normal sized power forward, has averaged roughly seven rebouns per game for his career! WTF. How is he a good rebounder and west horrible? Are you serious, are you using true baselines, or are you just saying inflammatory stuff becuase you think you’re smarter than everybody else?

  • NBK

    I said GM’s in the league would take wallace over west. And wallace is a better rebounder than west not based on numbers he just is and you know this if you know basketball like you claim. I never said west was horrible at anything. I said he was a bad defender and not an above average rebounder like so many people on these message boards claim. And it is pretty easy to think of a player as a good defensive player when the coaches around the league vote them as a top 10 defender. I understand how it works thank you. And if you go to 82games.com you can see proof that 9 points a game from david west come from jump shots. Although im sure not all 9 come from paul i am willing to bet a good 85% of his points from jumpers do>…

  • NBK

    all star selections mean jack sht. Point being Jamal Magloire you would not go around saying he is one of the top centers in the league now would you, you would not have said that the year he made the all star team either right? There is no way you can try and say david west is as good as he is being cracked up to be here on slam.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    Meh.

  • NBK

    Would you have said derrick coleman was one of the top pf’s in the nba in 1999?

  • NBK

    He was basically David West

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    NBK
    You clearly have missed the boat on Derrick Coleman. He was much more Rasheed Wallace than David West. Untapped potential like a mother.

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    NBK
    All-star selection mean something in context. Just like MVPs, all defense and all nba selections. They should not be used as proof, but rather in conjunction with first had observation to make astute judgements.
    You decided that all defense was trustworthy(voted on by the media) while all-star was not (voted on by the coaches and fans).
    How did you make that decision? Maybe because it buttressed your argument, not because you actually thought about why all-defense was such a more objective “true” honor.
    Anybody who watched Larry Bird play knows he wasn’t all-defense. Just like Jason Kidd wasn’t all defense last year and Allen Iverson probably didn’t deserve to be the defensive player of the year in the Big East his soph year.
    Those awards are not proof of anything.

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    NBK
    And once again, just because you think something or somebody says something doesn’t make it true.
    How do you know that more GMs would take Rasheed? He’s older, less consistent, a worse rebounder and can become a malcontent.
    Why would a GM want him over West to be their starting power forward? What is that based on?
    Salary cap, recent production, ability to fit in?
    You’re just saying stuff like it’s fact and then getting mad when people disagree with you, it’s bogus.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    Allenp: Just treat NBK the way Donnie Walsh treats Stephon. Ignore him.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Sorry, but how in the hell can you put the Bobcats on watch without mentioning the Knicks, who I may add, are improving like madmen?

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Where are the Rockets too?
    Ah well, I guess my favorite teams can’t all be mentioned ;)

  • Anton

    where’s Detroit?

  • Anton

    Kobe can’t do it without Shaq. End of discussion.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    Shaq can’t do it without an all star guard. end of discussion.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    No one can do it by themself. End of discussion.

  • NBK

    When i said Gm’s would rather have rasheed wallace i also said based solely on winning and taking out age and mental disorders

  • NBK

    Amd All NBA defensive teams are voted on by coaches, stop calling what i say bogus if you don’t know what you are talking about, clearly what you say is bogus. And all star selection can be seen as biased i am not saying it was or wasn’t but can be seen as biased considering the all-star game was being played in david wests arena…..and i’ll state it for the third time since you just think your all knowing, all defensive teams are voted on by the coaches also so obviously it is you who should not talk about something if you do not understand how it works. I would also like to point out that an all star selection is based off of 44 games while the all defensive team, mvp, all nba, etc. are over a span of 82 games.

  • NBK

    Plus if you watched Larry Bird you will realize how much he meant to the Celtics on the defensive end of the court. Taking charges, rebounding, making plays on the defensive end, for ex (1987 game 5, 5 seconds remaining, “larry bird with the steal”). Don’t make it sound like you are basketball buddah or something you clearly do not know what you are talking about.

  • NBK

    Lastly i know what Derrick Coleman was as a player, stop trying to correct everything i say. CLEARLY STATED 1999 LOOK AT DERRICK COLEMAN THAT YEAR, HE WAS DAVID WEST

  • Anton

    Iverson can’t do it without himself.

  • NBK

    Too whoever wrote the MVP predictions and left LeBron out, and put paul pierce ahead of him, if boston wins 60 and pierce keeps this ish up, then you are damn right

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ Moose

    That loss was shocking. I can’t believe I’m about to say this: Denver played great defense tonight.

  • Anton

    ^the universe will self-destruct now

  • Anton

    it’s because they’re still tired from playing the Pistons on sunday night and…yeah I can’t rationalize this away

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Okay Anton, since you seem incapable of a proper answer, I will give you guys one: Chauncey Billups.
    Chauncey Billups = Defense

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    @ TADone 4:42 pm: Uhh, okay, but there are a few exceptions. One that comes to mind is LEO RAUTINS. Say what you will about him, but the man flat out sucks a bag of turd. Even his play-by-plays are earbleedingly awful. I think Leo Rautins’ horribleness has just made me coin a new phrase. Wow.

  • JBreeze

    I have to say I find it funny that when Iverson leaves a team that all the negative media leaves with him. Vince is full of garbage, stays hating on Iverson. The entire time Iverson was with the Nuggets he hated, now that Iversons gone they are a “team to watch”? Give me a break. It could be they were playing “rec league” because they had no PG to help control that undisciplined offense. That could also be it. I watched the Nuggets play the Cavs the other night and they still looked crazy as ever, Chauncy should help that out..but the haters are going a little too far trying to act as if Denver got the better of the deal. It was a win/win for both teams.

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  • Sarah

    I don’t think mediocrity is the right word for the Spurs current squad, but okay. Barring anyMORE injuries, if Manu and Tony come back at the scheduled time, they will make the playoffs.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ Tariq al Haydar

    I love you Vince, and most of your points are valid. That being said, I’m sure David West benefits enormously from CP3′s presence (who wouldn’t), but UDONIS HASLEM????

  • Jacob

    70 LOSSES!!!! HAHAHA!!! That would be perfect for us sonics fans!!!

    pretty much a big middle finger to oklahoma city

  • da south

    Shaq wouldnt be a good player without Kobe = West without paul.
    Solve the equation

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    Gerald Wallace overrated? Vince i love 99% of your work, but ideas like that make it stay at 99% instead of 100%. Overrated? Are you kiddin me Vince? He hasnt had a major magizine interview him alone (he got a dual cover with J-Rich for Athlons Sport Magizine) and has got 1 poster in SLAM. Thats it. He didnt make this website’s Top 50, he didnt make the all star team last year even though up to that point he was playing like one, he plays in the smallest market in the NBA yet he still gets love from fans of all teams. Can any NBA team seriously say they would not be better or just as good as they are now if they had Gerald on their team? No they couldnt. Thats why he is on the trading block right now, because Micheal Jordan is a idiot and because he is a highly desirable player. Vince, like i said earlier, i got love for your work, but you seem to have not thought that idea of Wallace being overrated over enough or else you would see all evidence is to the contray. You problay wont even read this comment, if you do, you wont respond to it, but with all that in mind i would still like to tell you you are 100% wrong about that. End of Rant.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    and Russ to answer your earlier comment: i think J-Rich is rated perfectly right now, he still is a good player and although the J-Rich of G-State is dead, the J-Rich who lead the NBA in 3 point shots made was born out of him, and i am fine with that. As for Wallace, read my above comment, i am not gonna beat a dead horse in here.

  • Young Chris MP3

    The Hornets are “only” averaging 96 points a game.

  • Young Chris MP3

    Russ is gangsta for speaking Yoda at 3:46

  • Young Chris MP3

    And for the record: NBK is stupid.

  • Young Chris MP3

    da south: Shaq is old and sucks. Kobe is the greatest. Shaq is so fat that he should thank Kobe and D-Wade for giving him his championship rings. Shaq is so over-rated.

  • Young Chris MP3

    Also, don’t mention Andrew Bynum in the same sentence as Dwight Howard yet. Please and thank you.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    Young Chris, since shaq got all the Finals MVP’s with the Lakers (plus the All Star game MVP’s the regular season MVPS’ and scoring/rebounding titles and NBA first team honors all those years) and was willing to be D-Wade’s copiolt, i am not sure if you can call him overrated either. Plus he was nasty in Orlando (i didnt see him first hand but i seen the tapes) and can still be productive in Phoneix, your point is hard to find vaild. Prove me wrong.

  • Thomas

    Good blog. The Lakers only weakness is they are still not tough enough for the Detroits and the Bostons. After last nite i am thinking twice about them having an easier run towards the title than last year. But l trust Phil, Kobe & Co.

  • da south

    Young Chris,I dislike the big diesel too.But Kobe probably never could of manage to win a ring without shaq.Shaq on the other side has 1 title without kobe, and could of easily won more without kobe.
    Shaq>Kobe

  • NBK

    I like it when people call me stupid then say stupid sht

  • David

    I don’t get why NBK’s catching so much flack on this thread. The argument, as I understand it, is that West is better because of Paul. Does anyone actually disagree? I think this frequently happens in the league, now and in the past. If you play with certain people or in the right situations, then you look a lot better. For example, a lot of people think Vujacic is a positive part of the Lakers bench but I bet if he was on the Clippers roster, he’d go play in Europe within a year or so. Or how Jerome James was great for the Sonics in one playoff series because the other frontcourt players were Reggie Evans and Vlad Radmonovic – of course James got a bunch of garbage points. Or – would Bruce Bowen get so many minutes on any other team or with any other system?

  • Caleb

    West certainly is better because he plays with CP3, but the guy is still a really good player… he’s got a sweet shooting stroke, some nice post moves and good awareness.

    As for the Hornets being too reliant on CP3, I think that’s true too to an extent… but I think the Hornets biggest weakness right now is relying too much on jumpshots (they’re a team of shooters). When they fall, the Hornets are hard to stop… when they don’t fall, the Hornets can be beaten pretty handily. If the offense gets to clicking like last year and the defense can be more aggresive then I still think the Hornets can be contenders. They’ve had the toughest schedule thus far so I think they look a little more inconsistent than they actually are. We’ll see.

  • http://deleted DD

    The team to watch is detroit, with iverson in their offense they are impossible to stop. Stuckey is a growing talent, hamilton and iverson are highly reliable scorers, wallace and prince are defensive stops, they have everything they need. I was pleasantly suprised how well prince can pass and dribble. I’m not a detroit fan, but I think they are going to win this year!

  • NBK

    Caleb Kevin Love has good post moves, a good midrange shot, and good “awareness” (this is not nba 2k9). Does that mean he is really good? How about Antonio McDyess he can hit midrange jump shots, he has good post moves and he is better at defense then david west is he better? My point is Chris Pauls means so much to his success there is no way to figure out how good he really is, he is like a movie star, he looks great but no one has seen him without his makeup (Chris Paul). Except we did for 2 years but they were at the beginning of his career so can’t really use those years against him.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    @ Young Chris MP3: Are you serious? Shaq was the best center in the league during the Lakers’ reign, hands down. He’s one of the most dominant players in NBA history. He’s old right now, but a few years ago he was the f*ckin man. Sure his freethrows were really, really horrible and he didn’t have REAL finesse skills like The Dream, but he made up for those with his insane dominance of the paint.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    @ NBK: David West kicks @ss. That’s all there is to it.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    @ BETCATS: Young Shaq lead the Magic to a finals run back in ’94-’95, along with Penny Hardaway. That’s pretty damn impressive.

  • Caleb

    @NBK.. I think you can say the same thing about a lot of players, that is… how good are they really? Veterans and journeyman who have played with a few different teams, that’s one thing… but there are lots of players who look really good but have never really played in any other role. David West is not the only one who has benefited from a particular player or system. The thing is though, it goes both ways… we can’t say he wouldn’t be a great player if he didn’t have Paul because we haven’t really seen him play signifigant minutes without CP3. What I’m trying to say is… either way its just speculation. I do think a lot of people have *overhyped* West, but the fact is he generally performs at a very high level and not at a Udonis Haslem level.

    And by “awareness” I just he usually makes good decisions, no need for the snide “this is not 2k9″ stuff.

  • Caleb

    Or let me put it this way… You’re saying a straight up trade that sent West to Miami and Haslem to New Orleans would make sense because Haslem would be just as productive as West since he’ll be in a Chris Paul-led offense. Haslem would start scoring 20 or more on a nightly basis, shooting a higher percentage and averaging twice as many assists? I doubt that. I certainly can’t see Haslem putting up 38 and 14 in a playoff series against the Spurs, CP3 or not. Let’s not overrate West or underrate him.

  • Caleb

    er scratch the higher percentage thing.. Haslem shoots a pretty high percentage, otherwise my point stands.

  • NBK

    I never said Udonis Haslem is as good as David West anywhere on this thing..That was vince, i agreed that West is not as good as he is made out to be. And although i realize a lot of what i have said about David West has been “speculation.” Other than jump shots which account for half of david west’s points(fact), he is not a to tier pf. And Chris Paul being the one who gets him a good majority of his open shots makes it easy for me to look at him as overrated seeing as how he relies on another player to create for him. When you rely on someone else for offense and scoring is your strongest attribute then you are not as good as your numbers are indicating. And i know it is not all about numbers but i have seen david west play plenty of times, a few in person.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com.au Hursty

    NBK trying to make a coherent statement with logic? WOW thats a first.
    @NBK-’When you rely on someone else for offense and scoring is your strongest attribute then you are not as good as your numbers are indicating’.
    Logic=epic fail. They are holistic which means that both go together.
    @David- the above quote from NBK is why he cops so much flak on this site.
    West is a PF- how many other PF’s can create their own shot? How many off the dribble? How many off of a screen? How many off an iso play?

  • NBK

    Tim Duncan/Kevin Garnett/Rasheed Wallace/Dirk Nowitzki/Carlos Boozer/Amare Stoudemire/Chris Bosh/Elton Brand/even Jermaine O’Neal is better at getting his own shot. Granted they all need a gaurd to get them the ball, but they do no rely on that gaurd to get them half their points. And Chris Paul does not rely on David West 1/10 as much as west relies on Paul

  • NBK

    Tim Duncan/Kevin Garnett/Rasheed Wallace/Dirk Nowitzki/Carlos Boozer/Amare Stoudemire/Chris Bosh/Elton Brand/even Jermaine O’Neal is better at getting his own shot. Granted they all need a gaurd to get them the ball, but they do no rely on that gaurd to get them half their points. And Chris Paul does not rely on David West 1/10 as much as west relies on Paul

  • NBK

    David West is not a top PF in the NBA end of story.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    so West gets 100% of his help from Paul, while Amare is his own enitiy? Because Nash and Shaq have nothing to do with him having huge numbers? And before that Marbury didnt help STAT either? Bullsh!t. Elton Brand had 100% of the Clippers offense ran through him when he was in LA, so of course he would have big numbers. Rasheed Wallace is a top player, but doesnt ever fully aply himself unless the game is on the line. Boozer ‘needs’ Deron Williams as much as West ‘needs’ Chris Paul. J.O is a great player with horrible knees, if he was being honest even he would tell you that he is not better than David West right now. Dirk is NOT clutch but is a scoring machine for the first 47 minutes of any game, however that means nothing if you cant take a shot in the final 1. I am not saying West is better than any of them, but all the guys you listed curently have waay above average playmakers passing to them and all have different roles and different specialties than David West. NBK, you are wrong if you dont think David West is a top PF, but you obviously dont watch as much ball as you read about, so i wont say anything else until you fix that.

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