Thursday, June 25, 2009

NBA Round Up: Shaq, Vince Carter, and a billion Wolfie Points

Many quick thoughts on what went down in the Association the past few days...

> The Magic got Vince Carter for a combo platter with one real player (Courtney Lee), one problematic piece (Rafer Alston) and one waste of space (Tony Battie). The more curious thing really is what this represents, which is that a team that got all the way to the Finals with a 4-1 offense (i.e., Dwight Howard down low, four three-point shooters out high) would blow that up, rather than try it again with a presumably healthy Jameer Nelson.

Having seen a fair amount of Nets basketball in the past few years, I can say that I think Vinsanity still has hops and game... but he's also still the soft and selfish guy that quit on the Raptors and stopped playing defense once the Nets stopped being a threat. Putting him on a roster with presumably young and impressionable players like Nelson and Howard just spells disaster, unless you think that Magic Management is just doing everything they can to make sure that when they come for Stan Van Gundy's job, he'll resign in relief.

> Shaq to Cleveland... um, I suppose and all, in that he's a better defensive matchup than than clowns they had trying to stop Dwight Howard last month, but the time to do this deal was last February, not now. Sure, LeBron James will enjoy playing with him, and Shaq's good hands and ability to finish down low will make him a better fit than Zydrunas Ilgauskas setting up for mid-range jump shots... but the reason why the Magic beat the Cavs was because Claveland couldn't defend the pick and roll worth a damn. Shaq defends the pick and roll about as well as he shoots free throws. It's a good move for them, since they gave up the living definition of nothing in what amounted to a salary dump by the Suns, but I'm still not sure it makes them the next champion.

> My Sixers got Jrue Holliday from UCLA with their relatively late round first pick. Smarter people than me really like the pick, and he's super-young with good size... but on some level, I'd like to have seen bigger numbers from him during his year in the Pac-10. He looks to me like the new Eric Snow, and that's a pretty good thing, really... but still not exactly something that you win championships with. (And honestly, with this team's history of not being able to hit from distance, and the way the Association has changed to over-value that shot, I want back-up power forwards to be able to hit from downtown now.)

> I'm not the most knowledgable guy when it comes to Euro and college players, but from the little I can tell, this was a draft to load up on baack-up point guards and athletes that need to develop before they can really help anyone. When you see that some pick didn't even have double-digit points per game, I'm not seeing how they're going to score enough to get minutes in the Association.

> Hasheem Thabeet to the Grizzlies with the second pick... just like Shawn Bradley went with the second pick all those years ago. NBA Fan has gotten smart enough to know that the freaky tall guy is not something you really need to be afraid of.

> The Minnesota Timberwolves took back to back point guards (Ricky Rubio and Johnny Flynnn) high in tonight's draft, and honestly, I can't see what they were thinking, unless there's some massive trade coming later. Both guys will be good players -- Flynn's undersized but gutty, and the league doesn't have so many point guards that can post up anyone anymore, and Rubio makes people just go into Hype Overdrive with his court vision and Olympic performance -- but if you really think you can win by playing them at once... well, um, no.

Why not? Because half of the game is defense, and your front court is (presumably) Ryan Gomes, Al Jefferson and Kevin Love... which means that if you play Flynn and Rubio with that, you've got five guys on the court who can't defend without help. I admire it as an experiment, but as winning basketball? Not so much. (On the other hand, after having to watch Sebastian Telfair play point for them last year, maybe you draft four point guards just to restore your sense of sight.)

> I always like it when some no-name Euro is in the room when he's drafted in the second round... but since most of these guys are just going to get stashed overseas for a few years, um, why are they here again? Just hire some tall actor to walk to the podium for you, people. Let's save the plane fare. There's a recession on.

> Finally, the Draft is always entertaining... but note how the defending champion Lakers more or less took a miss on this entire experience. If your draft was really amazing, there's little chance that your team was, or will be anytime soon...


The Truth said...

I think the Magic just admitted they won't be re-signing Turkoglu since he is going to opt out of his current contract. So they went looking for another scorer.

I'd rather have Turk on my team than Carter.

DMtShooter said...

Agreed, but I don't get why the Turk wants to leave town. He's in the best possible situation for his game in Orlando, and I don't see another club with cap space that will make him more money. Besides, there's that whole "Florida Has No Income Tax" thing that all of the kids are into these days. Unless he's really desperate to get back to the West Coast, or (and this is the For The Win moment) he just can't stand Stan van Ron Jeremy... I don't get why you don't stay where you are.

Anyway, Team #3 for Vince, Team #5 for Shaq. Not exactly the way to build a legacy, though maybe no one cares about that anymore.

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