How I Stopped Ranting And Learned To Love Dell Or...(NBA Mid-Season Rant 1/2)
Alright, true story. I was all set to type my Slam Dunk and LeBlock-ulous NBA column when the software in my Mom's computer caused a system meltdown. So for three weeks, I was out of commission and ya know, it's a great thing. It gave me the necessary time to sit back and analyze well, everything. From All-Star Weekend in Jerryland to the Trade Deadline to the Best Player On The Best Team Award compared to the actual MVP award itself, which Big Stevie Cool aka Steve Nash is a three time winner of. So in no real particular order at all, I'm just going to write on what hit me as it comes to me, because that's what I do. Well, that and piss off the masses with my writing which has to be the truth or well...
Something's wrong if you're getting hot and bothered over a lie.
Nate The Slam Dunking Great Three Times Over...Knixed To Boston.
- There's just something about "Nate Robinson, Three Time Slam Dunk Champion" that just seems OFF to me. But then again, we're just two seasons removed from saying "Arizona Cardinals, NFC Champions" and even "Cleveland Cavaliers, Eastern Conference Champions" so perhaps this is a sign of the times we're living in. Still, in NY's neverending quest to do whatever they can to get two "max free agents" to play a part in perhaps the single greatest resurrection project since Jesus Christ...they send their best guard to Boston for Boston Baked Beans (or the equivalent thereof). On the Slam Dunk note, look, I'm done saying "it's dead" because every talking head from here to Sacto has beaten or is still beating that dead horse.
What I will say to this effect is I've never in my 20 plus years of watching this sport had this much disinterest in what's supposed to be the NBA's premiere event during All-Star Weekend. Once upon a time, this event was on par with the actual game itself. I can recall going to school on Monday talking about the "OMFG, did you see what that cat did" dunks we saw two nights ago. Now, we've got dunks that wouldn't have gotten you out of the first round a decade and change ago winning the damn event. I'm not sure that the surefire answer is throwing LeBron out there, but someone has to have something we haven't seen yet. And by someone I really mean, ANYONE. But enough about that. As for Nate to Boston, well, this was MUCH NEEDED for the Celtics for this eason. Who here can drive to the hole and create easy scoring chances the way Nate can? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
None. What at one point in time looked like a slam dunk to challenge Orlando to regain their crown now looks as unstable as anything conceived. KG may or may not be healthy, Allen and Rondo are exceeding expectations but with everything else in flux, this is a moot point. I'm in the part of the tax bracket that believes when every part of this machine is turning at the same speed at the same time, you want no part of them in a seven game series. NONE. Note, I also feel the same way about San Antonio out in the Wild, Wild West. Boston still has height and depth in its frontcourt that Cleveland doesn't quite have, but is pretty much dead even with Orlando in the same department. I like the deal for Boston and I think this will help them going down the stretch, but ONLY IF THE CELTS REGAIN THEIR BADASS FORM FROM TWO SEASONS AGO.
This Would've Been Great...If Not For The Fact They're Spinally Challenged.
- This particular thing is twofold going out to moves that Dallas and Cleveland made. Of course Cleveland will get its own mention, but let me mention Dallas first. Dallas more or less got in on the purging of Washington, or to not mince words, a "fire sale" (*insert laughtrack here*) that netted them Brendan Haywood and Caron Butler to shore up their roster making an already good team, that much deeper. Now before any of you Cubanites get the thinking the outrageous, let me shut this down right now. The deal probably puts them on par with the Lakers from a sheer talent perspective, but that does NOT in any way mean you're beating them in 7 games this Spring. Let me repeat...
The additions of Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood do not give you your first Western Conference crown since the Great Heatwave of 2006. It makes them deeper, yes. It may even vault them over a Denver team that's as bi-polar as the word may allow for that 2nd seed come playoff time. However, I'm not entirely convinced this will have the desired ending Mark Cuban's aiming for this Spring when the final shell casing hits the floor.
This Would've Been Great...If Only It Were...
- And this is where the sentence sorta takes a stutter step before stopping altogether. Because for the life of me, I really can't figure out what it is the Cavs are doing. I don't know, maybe I'm overly critical and everyone else who's saying virtually the same exact fucking thing has it dead on point. Maybe the addition of Jamison and subtraction of longtime Cav Zydrunas Ilgauskas is what Cleveland needs to finally get "The King His Crown". Maybe they just couldn't stand to part with Hickson in what would've netted them Amare Stoudemire, forming a hellaified 1-2 punch upfront with Amare and LeBron, both men who could get you 20-10 in their fucking sleep.
Yet, for the second year in a row after flirting with Phoenix near the trade deadline, they went the other way. Oops, Shaq's done for the rest of this regular season (not like they'll need him to lock up homecourt throughout the Eastern Conference and they hold the tiebreaker over Los Angeles for homecourt in the NBA Finals) and they have to wait until March 22nd to regain Z. So why am I so very skeptical about this move? Couple of reasons.
A) Remember back when Washington and Cleveland had their mini-feud in the playoffs? Does anyone remember anything significant that Antwan Jamison contributed to the Wiz beating Cleveland? Anything at all? No? Thought so. That Wizards team was essentially Agent Zero and Da Butler, with Antwan in the background. As far back as I can remember, Antwan has ALWAYS been in the background. He was there back at Chapel Hill when he and Vince ran together oh and remember, on draft night he was traded for Vince, so go fig there.
B) Age. Apparently, Cleveland management is operating under the modus operandi that players are like fine wine that get better with age. In the last three seasons they have traded to get Grandfather Clock Ben Wallace, The Big Geriatric Shaquille O'Neal and now Antwan Jamison who's on the sunny side of 33. Unless there's a precedent for this that I'm totally unaware of or oblivious to, you don't win championships by surrounding your young Uber Stud with a bunch of old folks who need walkers and Metamucil. You win by surrounding him with studs that can run with the Alpha Dog. Even if they get Z back later this month, I still can't put this team above Orlando in the pecking order and only the underachieving nature of Boston has me keeping them ahead of the C's. This team still has the same problem it did a year ago, that ended up dooming them and it's one nobody will acknowledge or address until LeBron's walking off the court and down the tunnel for possibly the final time as a Cavalier.
Then again, maybe that's when everyone will acknowledge that I'm not just the blogger who drank Haterade on "Prince James and his Court".
Thunder, Thunder, Thundercats! HO!!!!
- This goes out to MVP frontrunner Kevin Durant and his Thunder. Note, I referred to him as MVP frontrunner and not "Best Player On The Best Team". Officially starting this year, yours truly will seperate the two since they are rarely if ever one in the same. LeBron James will be the Best Player On The Best Team at the end of this regular season, there's no question about that. HOWEVER...your MVP for this present campaign is the tall, lanky guy in Oklahoma City that has the Oh Kay Cee a month and a half away from playing playoff basketball. He's the guy who has Scott Brooks looking like Coach of the Year and Sam Presti as Executive of the Year with his otherworldly play.
I said at the start of this year Oklahoma City would make the jump and go fig that the rest of the talking heads, had this happening one year later. For reasons I seriously couldn't explain, I just felt it would happen this year and damned if I wasn't right. Oh wait, I did get into it. I said it was their YOUNG NUCLEUS (HELLO CLEVELAND!!!) that would put them over the top and it shall. Depending on the matchup in the first round, I think they're young enough to give someone fits. Depending on the matchup a month from now, I don't think an upset is totally out of the realm of possibility. Nobody can stop Kevin Durant. NOBODY. These guys are what the Sonics never were, even in the mid 90s when they had their run near or at the top of the West. They're scary good, borderline great. If ever there was a team I'd say is the potential "Kings In Waiting" out West, this is it. When the Lakers finally hit their expiration date so to speak, don't be too surprised if it's Kevin Durant and his posse standing over Los Angeles holding the smoking gun.
As for their resounding thumping at the hands of Denver last night...eh. Oh, that does remind me...
Maybe They Are Better Than I Think They Are...Mood Pending.
- This definitely goes out to Denver. The Rich & Creamys are proving that their run last Spring wasn't a one hit wonder. That not only can they do this thing twice, but this time they're out for L.A.'s blood and crown to boot. Make no mistake about it, I don't really see any scenario playing out that has a team from the East outside of Orlando winning the NBA Title. I just don't. Hell, short of something other worldly happening, I'm not sure if the title comes back East anytime in the next 4 to 5 years MAX. But there's just something about this Denver team that has me very intrigued. They remind me of a very poor man's Chicago Bulls team from the mid to late 80s, only this one has a great point guard in Billups. I think the only real problem Denver has is ironically, the same one Cleveland has had. No real #2 to put alongside Carmelo and out West, unlike the East, this can send you home earlier than expected. Denver to this point has operated under the 'the sum of the parts is greater than the whole' or something to that extent. Even with the revelation that George Karl has throat cancer, I think this team has the spinal fortitude required to stand head up with Los Angeles this Spring. Unfortunately for Denver, I don't see them having enough guns to take down the reigning and defending champions.
So of course this begs to ask...who does? Because I've been gone for so long, I'm going to split this up. In Part 2, I will seperate the real from the silicon fake and give you your NBA Champions. Along with a few awards of my own, just cause I can.