NBA EASTERN CONFERENCE:
#15: Charlotte Bobcats
#14: Orlando Magic:
This team lost it’s two top player in the off-season in Dwight Howard and Ryan Anderson. They turned those two players into… Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Moe Harkless, Nikola Vucevic, Josh McRoberts and Christian Eyenga. To steal a reference from Mr. Bill Simmons, the Magic traded a loonie and a quarter for a quarter, a dime, and four nickles.
In discussions with fellow First Off The Bench writer David, he made some solid arguments that the Magic have actually set themselves up well to rebuild in the post-Dwight era. Instead of floundering in the middle of the Eastern Conference (see Western Conference team below) with some of the other reasonable trade packages they could have received for Dwight, they are preparing to rebuild through the draft. Rebuilding through the draft requires getting high draft picks, which requires doing very badly, which is why I have them projected to finish #14 in the East.
To expand a bit further on their actual team, not just the players they lost from last year, this team will be able to put a line-up of reasonable professional basketball players on the floor every night. Their roster will include a strange mix of players which include Hedu, Jameer Nelson, Big Baby Glen Davis, and JJ Redick, as well as the players listed above. While these guys are in no way the worst players in the league it is a strangely build team that is a shell of the roster that was built around the best Center in the game, and is not built to thrive without him.
I wouldn’t be surprised if a the Magic look to ship out a number of these quality trade pieces to contenders throughout the season. Just another reason for this low ranked projection for the team that lost the most in the summer of 2012.
NBA WESTERN CONFERENCE:
#15: Sacramento Kings
#14: Houston Rockets:
The jury is still out on the Daryl Morey General Manager experiment in Houston, but the jury is getting tired. Daryl has been trying to somewhat reinvent the game of NBA team-building by working to acquire “assets” that he will then flip for a superstar demanding out of an unfavorable situation. Teams who find themselves with said disgruntled superstars are usually looking for a package of draft picks and young cheap prospects in return for their franchise player.When you look at the current roster of the Rockets you see a collection of trade packages… without and big trade targets available. Unfortunately trade packages are probably not going to win many games in the NBA. The Rockets are chalk full of very young talent, but at the moment none of it seems to be top-top quality young talent, in comparison to the Anthony Davis’s and Kyrie Irving’s of the League.
Something tells me that Daryl Morey isn’t quite finished trying to achieve his goal of landing a superstar player in Houston, but if he gets to the end of the season with this roster he will, by default, have laid the game plan for the Rockets future. That is to bottom out and rebuild through the draft.
My #13 seed projections for both Conferences will be up tomorrow!
For the next 15 days I will be posting my end-of-season-placement predictions for both Conferences. That means today I will preview the two teams I think will finished 15th in both the Eastern and the Western Conferences and on the day the season starts I will preview the two #1 seeds in each Conference.
I will fully admit that this is a near-direct rip-off of the season preview being done by Scott Carefoot on The Basketball Jones (Big shout out to the TBJ Crew who has kept me entertained with podcasts all summer long). I am doing my preview in a slightly different format, in trying not to completely rip-off Scott Carefoot, to help to force me to keep writing every day again, and to help me not have to write too much every day, because I am lazy. Let’s see how it goes.
NBA EASTERN CONFERENCE:
#15: Charlotte Bobcats:
I started writing this article with the Orlando Magic as the #15 team in the East, but that was until I looked at the depth chart of the Charlotte Bobcats. Regardless of the fact that the Magic lost the franchise’s two best players (Howard and Anderson) and went through a massive organizational change, they are still going to be able to put more professional basketball players on the court than the Bobcats.
The “Cats”, as their new third jerseys state, are not looking that much better on paper than you would think after having an off-season to recover from 7 win season. They are going to be starting their #2 overall draft pick, Kidd-Gilchrist, at Small Forward with Ramon Sessions and Ben Gordon. That is about where the list of names known to the average NBA fan ends and I doubt those three names drum-up much excitement.
When we take a look a bit deeper you see a small flicker of light on this roster that could eventually grow in the next few years. With a young core of Kemba Walker, Bismack Biyombo and the already mentioned Kidd-Gilchrist there is some hope, but not enough to get out of the basement of the NBA East. Hope is going to come through lottery draft picks for the next few more years. (Please Andrew Wiggins, do not get selected by Charlotte in 2014!!)
NBA WESTERN CONFERENCE
#15: Sacramento KingsA lot of people have been talking about the ultra-competitive Western Conference this year in terms of there being three teams that could conceivably finish first (OKC, Spurs, Lakers) and that there are probably 11 teams that could conceivably make the playoffs. I believe this thinking of an ultra-competitive Western Conference can also be applied to the bottom feeders. In my rankings it was tougher than expected to put the bottom 5 in the right order.
As for the Kings, I don’t know what else to say about this team other than I have no faith in either the individual players that are on the team, the way that this roster has been put together, or the stability of the franchise in Sacramento.
I can group this most of this ramshackle of a roster into three categories, none of which are overly flattering. First we have the “quality college players that are still unproven in the pros” with Cousins, Tyreke Evans, Jimmer Fredette, and Thomas Robinson (I know he is a rookie but he goes into this category by default). Then we have the “overpaid under-performers” with John Salmons, Chuck Hayes, Travis Outlaw, and Aaron Brooks.
Lastly there is the “players I do not recognize by name” category with Jason Thompson, Marcus Thornton, James Johnson, Tyler Honeycutt, and Franciso Garcia (OK, I do recognize James Johnson only because he was on the Raptors last year). I do not want to make too harsh a judgment on any of these players as I have not caught many Kings games in the last few years, but for the team’s sake I hope they are decent players as two of them are pegged as starters.
Any Kings fans will notice that I have left Isaiah Thomas off this list. He is the one player that I couldn’t put in one of the three categories because all I have heard about him is that he actually pretty damn good and has outperformed all of his professional expectations.
Considering the strength of the Western Conference from top to bottom, it is hard for me to project a team higher than 15th when 93.3% of the roster is able to be slotted into disparaging categories I just made up.
My #14 seed projections for both Conferences will be up tomorrow!
When the color commentators of prime time games in which the Cowboys were getting killed (there were a few last year), the cameras were at least able to focus in on Rob to grab the audience’s attention. Anything to detract from hearing John Gruden slobber over Tony Romo’s footwork in an attempt to convince Jerry Jones that he is the right man for the next Cowboys’ head coaching job.
While watching a few minutes of the Ravens & Cowboys game today I saw Rob’s new hair-do and I had to find out what happened. I guess, according to this article, he cut it for a nonprofit that uses that hair for children who have lost their hair, a noble cause yes, but there are some issues.
1) He looks like a 70-year-old woman.
2) He didn’t cut it short enough for the nonprofit to use properly.
All of this equals FAIL.
Bryan Colangelo, 47-year-old son of basketball mogul Jerry Colangelo, has been the general manager of the Toronto Raptors since February of 2006. Since that time Colagnelo has secured his second Executive of the Year Award, taken the Raptors to the playoffs in the first two of his six years with the organization, and accumulated a .433 win percentage over 476 regular season games.
While Colangelo was previously praised during his time as General Manager for the Phoenix Suns, for managerial moves that acquired two-time MVP Steve Nash and the drafting of Shawn Marion and Amare Stoudemire, his time in Toronto has been much more contentious. His contract with the Raptors is up after this season and in light of his recent off-season maneuvers I have my doubts whether Colangelo is the right man for the job of getting the team competitive again.
There seem to be two schools of thought in the NBA of how management should piece together a winning team: 1) through the draft; or 2) by trading or signing for star talent. Being in the most northerly city in the NBA, not to mention the only city outside of the US, Toronto has built in challenges for any GM. Generally, players are not intrinsically drawn to sign free agency contracts with Toronto as a destination to live. Other places like Miami, LA, and New York are blessed in this sense. Read more…
I try to look at the free angency decision that Steve Nash has to make this summer from his point of view:
- He grew up in Victoria/Vancouver area
- He has lived in Texas/Arizona for most of his professional life
- He lives in Manhattan during the summers
Ok, so being near the end of his career I would assume he would make his next decision by choosing between (a) winning and (b) lifestyle/money. My completely uninformed top choices for him would include:
- Toronto: they might be able to pay him, but he would be going to a new city which, although it is Canada, he is not getting anywhere closer to “home” .It would be as if I lived in the states for 20 years then I moved to Halifax to be closer to Edmonton…. Also there is no chance Toronto is winning anything any time soon. The only reason someone could make an argument for it is that he is now affiliated with Basketball Canada which is in Toronto, but hell, if he is going to be doing that post-career why bother moving there now??
- New York: They probably won’t be able to pay him much, they don’t have a realistic chance of winning a title (but more so than Toronto or Phoenix), but it is his preferred place to live.
- Phoenix: they can pay him the most money, he has a comfortable lifestyle, but no chance in hell of winning.
- Miami: Best chance of winning, Miami wants him, very limited money.
When I look at these I would say he probably chooses Miami or Phoenix. He is either going to want to win, or get paid. He can spend all the time he wants in Toronto and NY when his career is over (or during the extended off-seasons he will have if he stays in Phoenix).
I don’t see much of an argument for Toronto despite Colagelo putting on the very public full-court press which is going to make him look like a fool when Nash doesn’t come to the Raptors.
Last Thursday we saw the long awaited crowning of King James on top of the NBA Throne. Despite LeBron James accumulating two MVP trophies and two appearances in the Finals, some NBA purists and general LeBron-haters loved to rant about how LeBron will never win a championship with the top-heavy Miami team that he created along with Dwayne Wadeand Chris Bosh in South Beach during the summer of 2010.
The claims of LeBron’s fate of being championship-less for his entire career, although popular during a time of extreme scrutiny on James, were fairly unfounded. It was pretty unlikely that the arguably “best” player in the NBA would go his entire career without winning a championship. It just wasn’t going to happen, especially in a league defined by star players.
Well, it’s that time of year again. March Madness begins in earnest tomorrow, and I’ll be looking to defend my championship from last year’s FOTB Bloggers Cup. My method last year revolved around ranking teams by a combination of SRS and Win Shares. For a quick refresher on those two terms, feel free to check out last year’s article here.
This year I’ve decided to expand my system by including a few new statistical categories that I think are important to tournament success. This was done mostly because my long-term plans include developing arthritis, and I figured that wasting a couple hours over at www.sports-reference.com/cbb (the holy grail of basketball statistics sites for nerds like myself) would help expedite the process.
The result is called the RUN system (Ridiculously Unnecessary Numbers).