Posts Tagged ‘Blogtable’

Blogtable: ‘Melo aftermath

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

The ‘Melo deal: Who/what comes out the big loser in all that maneuvering?

[Editor’s note: That question, and the following answers, were submitted before the Nets’ stunning deal to get Deron Williams from Utah on Wednesday.]

David Aldridge: Gotta be Jersey. The Big Russian has swung and missed at LeBron, STAT, Boozer and now Anthony, and has to put all of his eggs in the 2012 free agent basket. Big gamble. Prokhorov could well get the last laugh; with a hard cap he may wind up with two or three stars for a fraction of what his opponents have had to pay in the past year. But that’s way too much iffin’ for anyone to feel comfortable with, having to sell season tickets and suites for Brooklyn in early 2012–before those free agents commit. The Nets may be forced to overpay, either via trade or free agency, to get the first star in place, and hope the dominoes fall their way later.

Steve Aschburner: New Jersey got spun around and turned inside out by all the maneuvering for Anthony. Loved Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov went he drew his stern line in the sand – somebody had to stop, or at least stall, the madness at that point – but his line was just that: sand. His team got involved again and ultimately just expedited the deal that delivered Anthony to New York. The fallout – how rattled some Nets players got by all the speculation – undercut whatever they were hoping to accomplish this season on the court.

Fran Blinebury: Don’t know that anyone came out “a big loser,” unless you count fans in cities other than NY, LA, Miami & Chicago, who have to be feeling like they are living in mere bus stations that the superstars will pass through on the way to their destinations. While the earlier Nets deal that was on the table was better, the Nuggets eventually got a decent package in return for Carmelo. The Knicks didn’t lose, but to mix sports metaphors, they didn’t hit a home run either.

Art Garcia: The ‘Melo Man is getting what he wanted all along, the big money and the bigger stage of Broadway. Denver gets some nice young pieces and usable draft picks to rebuild with, and just as importantly avoids the embarrassing fate of Cleveland and Toronto. The ones getting it in the shorts now, as they have for the last seven months, are those too often are forgotten in all of this. Nuggets fans today feel like it’s been a wasted season. Not only did they lose a franchise player — those don’t come around too often — they also had a hometown favorite (Chauncey Billups) get snatched away. Less than two years ago they were tearing the lid off the Pepsi Can in the Western Conference finals. Cheering on ping-pong balls can’t be as fun.


Blogtable: Heat coaching situation

At what point do the Heat have to make a move with their coach?

David Aldridge: How about we let Erik Spoelstra get to Christmas before we pronounce this experiment a failure? Good Lord, the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately, 24-hour news-beast cycle is going to destroy this country. (Not to inject politics into this, but for example: it might take longer than 18 months to recover from a near-depression, so maybe this isn’t the time to buy a new Range Rover, you know?) The Heat has dropped two superstars into Spoelstra’s lap, with next to no effective role players, and said ‘win a title.’ Now, Erik’s a big boy and he knew the gig, but he also deserves some time to figure out a way to make this work. Like, the rest of the season, maybe?

Steve Aschburner: The summer of 2011 figures to be the time for a coaching change in Miami if things don’t sufficiently perk up this season. The roster isn’t good enough to win big right now, so a move by Pat Riley would waste its impact. But going 20 games or so into 2011-12 before pulling a “Stan Van Gundy” would bring on way too much negativity for a team far more ballyhooed than the 2005-06 Heat. I think Erik Spoelstra is a good enough coach to survive and thrive once he breaks some of his superstar’s bad habits. But if a change happens, whether it’s Riley or some other Star Replacement To Be Named, it would best come in the summer in tandem with plugging holes in the Heat’s rotation.

Art Garcia: Last Saturday. Let’s face it, LeBron, D-Wade and Bosh aren’t getting fired … even if they’re in the wrong. Erik Spoelstra doesn’t deserve this fate. By all accounts he’s a solid young coach who’s done a bang-up job for two seasons. But if your players don’t respect you or tune you out or don’t believe in your system, it doesn’t matter how the X’s & O’s get shuffled. There’s no shortage of Hall-of-Famers who turned on their coach; Magic, Jordan and Shaq come to mind. I suspect we’ll know before the All-Star break if Spoelstra-SuperFriends can work. (more…)

Blogtable: Is Griffin top rookie?

If he stays healthy and does what he’s doing, but the Clips stay horrible, is Blake Griffin your T-Mobile Rookie of the Year?

David Aldridge: Probably, though we’ll have to define “horrible.” Is that one game better than the Wizards, for example? ‘Cause if the records are close, I wouldn’t count out John Wall just yet.

Steve Aschburner: Two very big ifs, especially for anyone lugging the curse of the Clippers on his shoulders. But sure, if Blake Griffin keeps this up and stays available, he’s my ROY. That award, less than most of the individual honors doled out each spring, doesn’t get bogged down by a team’s win-loss record. But John Wall doesn’t plan to sit out December through March, last I checked.

Art Garcia: Sounds like a column I once wrote. I’ve got Blake Griffin as the early leader, but weren’t we sold on Brandon Jennings at this point last year? John Wall is going to have something to say about this year’s rookie race, and considering the Wizards figure to dwell in the East’s cellar, I don’t believe a team’s record is going to be the decider factor. (more…)

Blogtable: Nash’s value

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the five most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Say you’re the Suns. What would it take for you to trade Steve Nash?

Steve Aschburner: Here’s what it would take for me to trade Steve Nash: A replacement point guard capable of starting immediately and starring within two years. Another proven starter at one of the big positions. A first-round pick, of course, and maybe a couple of seconds. A check for $3 million. Nash’s blessing of both the deal and the destination. And the paperwork all getting signed on the wrong side of midnight, in the throes of a bender that would make “The Hangover” seem like a Disney flick.

Fran Blinebury: Assuming they can’t get back their former first round pick Rajon Rondo, the Suns are starting over by trading Nash.  So they should chase the biggest expiring contract possible.  Eddy CurryTayshaun Prince?  Peja Stojakovic , if you can get a third team involved.

Art Garcia: Other than Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook? Since that’s not going to happen, I don’t know how the Suns trade the face of their franchise and save face with a fan base that’s watched many of its favorites split town in recent years. Captain Canada is 36 and has only one year left on his contract after this season. Let him continue to mentor Goran Dragic, while working the line of succession. Now if Nash asks out, take the best deal out there.

Scott Howard-Cooper: A lot. I’m not of the camp that believes the Suns should do Nash a favor by getting him to a championship contender. The Suns need to look out for themselves. They need bigs. And they need to see if they can force someone to take Hedo Turkoglu as part of getting Nash.

Shaun Powell: If another team offers any combo of a young big man or young point guard, plus a quality backup, I’d send Nash and throw in some hairclippers. He turns 37 this spring, for goodness sake. His value won’t get any higher. Why wait?

John Schuhmann: I’d look for the same type of package that most teams look for when they’re ready do deal a star: A solid young player, a couple of draft picks, and cap relief. Right now, my building blocks are Dragic, [Jared] Dudley and [Robin] Lopez, so in the young player, I might look for a scorer on the perimeter or an athletic big man.

Sekou Smith: The Heat dancers (all of them) kicking down the door to my office with “Will Dance For Nash” t-shirts on might make me think about. I said think about it. This Suns team has a fighting chance to compete for a top four spot in the Western Conference playoff race (it’s WIDE OPEN). They have no reason to panic and do something crazy with one of the most beloved players in franchise history, a guy that’s the face of the franchise. Trade Nash? Why?

Blogtable: Heat’s Burning Need

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the five most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Pick one: Good big man or good point guard. What do the Heat need more?

Steve Aschburner: This is easy: Gotta go big. Getting a reliable center actually would help with both concerns. He would even out the matchup problems Miami’s bigs have had and he would provide that last line of defense against the dribble penetration that has been a problem. Besides, with a more stable frontcourt, the Heat could afford the luxury of sticking Dwyane Wade or LeBron James for long stretches on someone like Rajon Rondo or Chris Paul. (more…)

Blogtable: Some Love love

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the five most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Kevin Love’s 31-31 the other night was impressive, no doubt. What impresses you most?

Steve Aschburner: What impresses me most about Love’s big night was how craftily he kept following his own shot, even the missed bunnies at the rim, to effectively pad his rebounding total. That was vintage Moses Malone, and it made me feel bad that Ricky Davis got ripped so ruthlessly a few years back when he shot at the wrong basket in a vain quest for one measly (bogus) rebound to complete a triple-double. Love benefited from his failures (11-of-26 shooting) same as a pitcher who allows a bunch of base runners, then sets some sort of pickoff record. Oh, here’s something else that impressed me: Learning that of the 19 players who amassed the 131 30-30 games in NBA history, Wilt Chamberlain had 103 of them. (more…)

Blogtable: Big player, big flaw

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the five most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Ponder this: Of the very best players in the league, who has the biggest flaw in his game?

Steve Aschburner: Dwight Howard has worked mightily on his low-post offense, up to and including lab work with Hakeem Olajuwon and some added range on his jump shot, but he’s still more robotic than rhapsodic. Ditto his foul shooting, which makes him a liability late in close games. Either Magic assistant Patrick Ewing isn’t earning his money as Howard’s tutor in residence or coach Stan Van Gundy is thwarting the efforts to serve his preferred attack and keep Howard focused on the defensive end. (more…)

Blogtable: Do you believe in … ?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the five most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

The Magic are good, but can they hang with the Celtics and, we guess eventually, the Heat?

Steve Aschburner: No. Overpaying guys doesn’t turn them into clutch performers, so I still have reservations that Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis can step up when it matters most. Jameer Nelson has maxed out, Matt Barnes‘ feistiness will be missed and J.J. Redick was kept at too high a price. Now, if you could find a way to air-drop in Kevin Love to bang alongside Howard … (more…)

Blogtable: Good team, bad record?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the five most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Who gets your early season vote for the best team with a bad record?

Steve Aschburner: Milwaukee. The Bucks have a lot of new faces, several of whom didn’t play or practice together much in October. So November has become their preseason deferred. I do wonder if coach Scott Skiles has enough evangelist/drill instructor in him to keep Corey Maggette, Drew Gooden and John Salmons focused and motivated, and I wonder if they’ll miss Luke Ridnour‘s steadiness more than they imagined.

Fran Blinebury: The Rockets had questions with Yao Ming‘s rehab process. But Fear the Deer has turned into deer in the headlights wearing a blindfold with two hooves tied behind their backs. The Bucks are the lowest scoring team in the league, ranked 29th in shooting, which means rather than a dark horse contender, they’re venison.

Art Garcia: Call me coo-coo or part of Team Coco, but I’m still digging those Rockets. Yes, losing Aaron Brooks for at least a month hurts big time, as does being without his more-than-capable backup Kyle Lowry. And throwing Ishmael Smith in as starting point guard isn’t fair to the undrafted rookie. Still, look at the talent on this roster: Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Yao Ming, Chase Budinger, Shane Battier, Courtney Lee, Chuck Hayes. That’s a playoff team, right?

Scott Howard-Cooper: Easy choice. The Rockets are not dregs-of-the-West bad, even with the lurching adjustment to Yao Ming‘s time restrictions, even with the injury to Aaron Brooks. Losing Brooks is an obvious blow, but there’s too much talent to have an entire season like the first couple weeks.

Shaun Powell: The Thunder are better than this, of course. But Oklahoma City may eventually regret two decisions. They passed on Stephen Curry and Tyreke Evans in the 2009 Draft for James Harden. And they didn’t reach for a free-agent big man last summer (Carlos Boozer, Amar’e Stoudemire?) when they could’ve spent money and then given Kevin Durant his extension.

John Schuhmann: Houston, for sure. Their five losses to start the season were all against good teams (yes, even Golden State), and even though they’re 1-5, they’ve been statistically better than a couple of teams with three wins. They have great depth on that roster and Rick Adelman is too good of a coach not to eventually figure out a way to make the 24-minutes-of-Yao thing work.

Sekou Smith: Houston is 1-5 with a rugged schedule, the only bad team they’ve played (Minnesota) they thumped. Yao Ming is doing his Jack Bauer thing with the clock ticking down on his 24 minutes in real time … on the nights he actually plays. And that’s disrupted this team’s flow. The bottom line is simple. Right now the Rockets are better without Yao than they are with him. And the sooner they figure that out the better off they’ll be.

Blogtable: Bad team, OK record?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the five most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

OK, then. Who’s the worst team with a decent record?

Steve Aschburner: Tempting to say Cleveland, but I don’t want to rain on what little parade -– about a half block long down Euclid Ave. -– the LeBron-less Cavaliers might have this season. So I’ll go with Golden State, whose 5-2 start has been built mostly at home (1-2 on the road), whose defense still is suspect and whose backcourt persists as an awkward fit. (more…)