What Was Len Grimey's NBA Wrap Up...Wasn't It?(1 of 2)
What was...the Hornets. I know everyone's inclined to go the other way for the top story this year, but for me, this is it. No, I'm not going to play the 'Hurricane Katrina, let's feel sorry for them' bit, because that's overplayed. With as minute a 'home court advantage' as one could have this year and being in hands down the toughest division in the Western Conference (maybe the NBA period), the Hornets were a lot like the survivors of Katrina. Left for dead by EVERYONE in the preseason. Presumed afterthoughts, lottery team, you name it.
CP3 was not amused by your snide. Neither was Byron Scott, whom lest we forget, guided two Nets teams that weren't overly talented to the NBA Finals. Byron has my vote for Coach of the Year, even if the Hornets aren't able to lock up homecourt through the West Finals. I'm split on MVP between CP3 & Kobe Bauer. Chris Paul is making more Atlanta fans sick than Billy Knight or Joe Torre (man responsible for most of Atlanta's latter World Series woes, by way of him going to the N.O. instead of the ATL. Now, with what I'm calling the P Dubya Cee Clique or Paul, West & Chandler...Byron has these boys thinking title. And guess what? Even though I picked the Spurs to repeat, I think they're the biggest threat to San Antonio's repeat prospects outside of Phoenix.
What wasn't...the Cavaliers. They are NOT who everyone thinks they are. Oh and for those of you who have them penciled in facing Boston in the second round, Agent Zero wants all of you to turn your pencils in now. He's healthy this year. As the Giants proved against the Cowboys albeit in a much different context and I believe the Wizards will prove this time out, it's tough beating the same team three straight times in the postseason. Last year, the Cavs benefitted from having to play the Wizards' practice squad. This year, that practice squad has gotten significantly better. And as I said before, Agent Zero is back and I don't think he has forgotten about two years ago, whne LeBron talked him home for the summer. The Cavs' attempt to repeat as conference champions will be thwarted and their "gamble" to sacrifice two vital cogs from last season's runner-up will be bust.
Ben Wallace is nothing more than a big name on a trade and nothing more. They will quickly see why Chicago was so quick to give him up after a year and a half. Chicago, with a new head coach next year will probably be better off with Gooden in their offense along with Hughes. LeBron, MVP pretender that he is, will more than likely be ousted from the first round for the first time in his career and see this is not the place for him. He'll be gone when his contract ends and you heard it here first, whether he ends up in Brooklyn or not...he's going to go nuclear where ever he lands.
Nuclear? What do you mean? Take what he's doing now in Cleveland, add it up with what most think he SHOULD be doing and then multiply it by like a thousand. Got a figure? Good. Take it and trash it, cause that's not even close to what he's going to end up doing when it's all said and done. I believe before Kobe retires, we're eventually going to end up getting Kobe Bauer versus LBJ in the postseason. But LeBron won't win in Cleveland. It's fact, people. Nobody ever "wins" in Cleveland. Every major "urban legend" you can affiliate with Cleveland didn't "win" until they left. Bernie Kosar didn't get his first ring until he went to Dallas as Troy's understudy. Earnest Byner didn't get his first ring until he went to Washington a few years later. No famous Cavaliers to speak of come to my mind as far as this goes, but LeBron will be the first. Hell, Man-Ram didn't get his first ring until he went to Boston. Think about that for a second while I rest my case.
What was...the merciful end for Donnie Walsh in Indiana. What has quietly gone unnoticed as one of the more tragic collapses of a franchise that for the better part of the past ten years has been a preeminent contender, was all but solidified by Donnie Walsh leaving his post to Larry Legend as he goes...
What wasn't...a "lateral" move for Donnie Walsh. I've heard of "from bad to worse", but this is like way past ridiculous. He leaves Indiana to come to...New York?! Are you serious? Who's his dealer? What coke was he snorting when someone convinced him this was an actual great idea? This defies logic, reason, everything you can think of. Seriously. Oh and while I'm at it...those of you who think this means the end of Isiah Thomas (here's one of those cases where like with the Giants in SBXLII, I'm right for being wrong...)...think again. I think this is Dolan trying to "lighten the load" for Isiah to focus on coaching. Remember people, it's hard work trying to dismantle a franchise while coaching it down to its worst mark in franchise history. I mean, when David Stern is putting your franchise on blast publically...you have issues.
What wasn't...Kobe being traded making Mitch Kupchak and Jerry Buss the worst executives in sports history. Seriously, to trade away two of the top 20 players of all time at their respective positions within 5 years of each other, you've earned this spot.
What was...Kobe not playing out his prime for a perennial loser thanks to Jerry Buss and Mitch Kupchak. Bill Simmons aka The Sports Guy writes a column every so often which he calls the Atrocious GM Summit. Basically a mock assembly of the worst GMs in their respective sport sitting down and talking about the horrendous moves they've made. Kupchak was at the last one. Me thinks by virtue of him pulling off one of the biggest robberies in recorded history short of the Indians giving away Manhattan for next to nothing and the Vikes giving away three Super Bowl rings for rundown Herschel Walker...he's not gonna be able to make this next one.
Another side note of this is Kupchak's justification of him NOT dealing Bynum to the Nets. I got this a year ago and here's why. Whether most of you are getting this or not, seven footers who play the center position are incredibly rare to find these days. So if you're one of the fortunate ones to get one, short of being held up at gunpoint...you don't let them go. Bynum has become what a lot of people didn't think he'd be, a lot sooner than expected and here's a word to the wise for the Lakers. Don't rush him back. If it means you have to bite the bullet this postseason without him, then so be it. Let him take the summer, get better, get acclimated to playing with Pau Pau and Odom, then live to fight next season with Da Band back together.
What was...Mark Cuban officially going postal. Cubes, who up until this point in time, has done a rather splendid job building the Mavericks into a respectable contender. They were Finals runners up two seasons ago in the worst collapse in Finals history, then followed that up by having the worst collapse by any #1 seed this side of Seattle in 1994 or Miami in 1999. Although in Miami's defense, New York was probably the best #8 seed in NBA history. Last year's G-State team would be #2. Cubes decided to pull the trigger on a move that as ironic as it is, Devean George was in the right for stalling to begin with. Which leads me to...
What was ignored...Devean George. Devean's got a ring and he had what was sorely missed a few months ago. Hindsight. Devean knew aside from protecting his Bird Rights, he was doing the right thing by not signing off on the deal that would've put him and Devin Harris in New Jersey. Say what you will about the absurdity of Stack's bold proclamation about returning. George did everything short of run up to Cubes screaming, "for the love of almighty God DON'T BRING J-CLOWN HERE!!!"
because he knew that team as it was constructed, wasn't exactly THAT bad. I mean, they were Conference Champs two years ago and all told, last year they were simply outcoached and outmuscled. Dirk's inability to lead was rendered null and void, although his inability to have a backbone was exposed by a smaller, yet more physical G-State squad. So common sense would say, we need an enforcer type in here to instill some heart and balls to this team. What wasn't...ignoring conventional wisdom and getting a washed up J-Clown anyway. Cubes for some reason which to this day, remains unknown, got Jason Kidd from Jersey. As Bill Simmons said, this trade was about three years past the point of needing to be made. As I stated a while back, if you do a deal and it puts you in no better a position than you were in before you did it, you probably shouldn't do it. Dallas didn't need to do this deal. They get slower at the 1 and on top of that, they lose a potential scorer because J-Clown can't score to save his life. (Net fan, I know what I speak.) They don't have any quickness, because J-Clown can't run anymore and on top of that, he can't defend. There's not ONE playoff team out West that doesn't have a reasonably good if not great PG that Kidd can or will be able to keep up with. So what intangible does Kidd bring to the table? Leadership? He fucking quit on the Nets in December!!! How is that "leadership"? How is that "making those around him better"?
If there's a Basketball God up there, it'll be NO/Dallas in the first round and I'll be able to smile as Byron Scott and Chris Paul run J-Clown into the offseason. Byron can have his measure of payback on the man who unjustifiably ran him out of town after he won not one, but TWO FUCKING CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS!!! He got you to the Finals twice and you dare have the temerity to get him run?! Fuck you J-Clown! I'm glad you'll never see the Finals again you fucking twit.
What was...tanking. Well, if karma has anything to say about it, we won't see Beasley and Wade playing together. Come to think of it, even if they do win it, maybe we still won't see those two play together...much.
What wasn't...the Celts' lack of depth. Wow. Who knew they could play, huh? I mean, everyone thought coming into this year it'd be The Boston Three Party carrying nine men back to the Finals for the first time since I was about 6 years old. Now...they've reincarnated the Boston Garden (God help the poor team that has to win a Game 7 there...seriously) and their depth makes them a very formidable draw no matter who plays them.
What was...Steve Kerr showing he has balls the size of watermelons. Vince McMahon has overdone the 'grapefruits' thing and even that is a backhanded insult unto itself. Watermelons are bigger than grapefruits. When Steve Kerr pulled the trigger bringing The Big Trophy to Phoenix for an unhappy Marion and who cares, he showed he has balls the size of watermelons. That unlike his other former benchwarmers turned execs, he wasn't content with just riding this thing to a usual conference semis exit. He wants to accomplish the one thing Jordan may never do as an executive...
Win a ring. I might be one of the few outside of the Phoenix area who sees the logic in this, but as we approach the playoffs, you're going to get this a lot clearly now. The Big Trophy (my new name for Shaq, since this guy has only lost TWICE in his career with the proverbial belt on the line) was brought here for this time of the year. You break out your big guns for the big fight and guess what? It's about go time. Phoenix's medical staff has worked wonders for previously thought to be walking wounded Steve Nash and Grant Hill. Newsflash kids, Grant played more than 90% of the year for the first time since his days as a Piston. They got cred. So scratch all that 'Shaq's health is suspect' crap. Shaq can't run and he's going to slow down the Suns. Ran just fine to me when I saw him in March. Know the biggest reason he was brought to Phoenix?
Think back to Game 3 of the Spurs/Suns series a year ago, when Horry body checked Nash into the boards in a 'you may have won the fight, but we're going to win the war' move that sealed the deal for the Spurs. Now, imagine Horry doing that this year with Shaq present. Or even still, him doing it a YEAR AGO with Shaq in a Sun jersey. Shaq's there to preserve Big Stevie Cool and make sure nobody fucks with the Platinum Canadian that is MV3. (I'm calling him the uncrowned MVP from a year ago, because Dirk was atrocious. Stern should be ashamed of himself for even giving that trophy to that Hasselhack fan.)
What was...charitable. Stephon making a low-cost sneaker line designed for families who can't afford the LeBrons and other pricey sneakers. I think he's rather low for his role in that "Truck Party" incident, but I give him much props for doing this.
What wasn't...Isiah being fired for a job misdone. Sorry Knick fans, until you clowns wisen up and stop buying season tickets, Dolan's going to continue thinking you're happy with the job he's doing. So if you want Isiah ruly and truly gone, here's what you do...stop going to the Garden. Don't go to the games, don't watch. The Knicks even with Donnie at the helm as team president won't go any farther than Isiah's misleadership will run them under. And as long as you continue shelling out the cash to sit courtside and boo, it's like the WWE with Cena who gets booed in spite of being the top good guy quote unquote in the company. Vince won't stop with putting him out there unless people stop coming to see him and buy his merchandise.
What wasn't...a repeat playoff appearance for the Warriors. To no fault of their own, okay, they didn't win when they had to like last night...the Warriors will finish at WORST 16 games over .500. They will finish as the best team in NBA history to not make the playoffs. Let me say that again, a team that could finish 16 games over the Mendoza Line will NOT make the playoffs. If they were in the Least, they'd be hosting the Cavaliers in the first round. Instead, they're gonna have to elect a guy to go to New Jersey as they're given barring a fluke occurence, the 14th pick in June's draft.
What was...mediocrity running wild. The Atlanta Hawks will make the playoffs as a sub .500 team. Actually, it's not the sub -500 part that gets me so much as...the Hawks are in the playoffs part. I mean, this is the team that didn't draft Roy, didn't draft Paul and has Billy Knight as a GM. Aside from Josh Smith, you'd be hard pressed to name four men off this team. The Hawks will make the playoffs...to paraphrase Charles Barkley...
Jon Koncak is rolling over in his grave right now. Mookie Blaylock, Steve Smith, Spud Webb are all rolling over in their graves right now.
*This concludes Side 1. Turn the tape over for Side 2...Thursday.*