Thursday, January 21, 2010

All Star Post - West Center Position

DH - Ay you make it this year?!
AB - Nahhhhhhhhhhhhhh...
(Photo from espn)
Well, I was wrong. Andrew Bynum won't be the starting Center for the West All Stars as he got about half or less than half of Amare Stoudemire's 1.8ish million votes, which was probably his best chance given that Yao was out for the season and Shaq had moved to the East again.

I cry bull shit.

In that earlier post I mentioned that the only way Bynum wouldn't get it would be if he got injured, or Tim Duncan or Amare Stoudemire were listed as Centers on the ballot. In which case, if they out performed Bynum (which they did), their vote in to the starting lineup would be justified. But to be listed as a Center, you better be playing Center for your team. Amare Stoudemire is a tall guy playing forward for the Suns. Not Center. Who's been starting at Center every game this season except the last two games? Channing Frye. Who started at Center for the last two games? No, they didn't move Amare up a position, they started Robin Lopez.

Well whatever Suns. You wanted a guaranteed Suns player in the biggest all star game in history at the 80,000 seat Dallas stadium (by the way, why would anyone go if they had anything but really good seats? Anything around the 300 section equivalent to an NBA arena is going to be watching tiny ants dunking a split atom. Yes they have that jumbo jumbo jumbo tron but who goes to a live basketball game to watch a large TV above the live game?) Anyway...

The Suns wanted that guaranteed spot. They knew Yao was out and Shaq was in the East. They knew Chris Paul could easily take the starting guard spot over Nash if his team was playing better (and TMAC of all people almost edged him out). They knew Amare probably wouldn't have been voted in over Tim Duncan (all star constant), Carmelo Anthony (after an all star like performance against the Lakers in the playoffs), Dirk Nowitzki (first team all NBA last season), and maybe Pau Gasol (huge part of the Laker championship last season). They knew he'd put up around 20 points and 10 rebounds with high flying dunks and alley-oops from Nash while Bynum would put up around 15 and 8 (2009 stats) on not so many fast break high flying dunks and hook shots and post moves and on a stacked Laker team that has 5 guys that can put up 30 if they wanted to and hey! He might injure his knee again!

And yet the suns LIED. They played Amare at Forward every game this season while Channing Frye brought out opposing Centers because he can hit the 3 pointer so Amare could cut and have the lane all to himself, not to mention taking the defensive responsibilities from the other league's centers so Amare didn't have to (although Amare having to guard the leagues PFs isn't that much easier).

Well, maybe in another lifetime Bynum. Amare's high fly act won the fans' affection and adoration which lead to your assassination in the voting polls. You increased your PPG by a point, shot over 55%, increased your FT% by 3%, stayed out of foul trouble, and played good defense against the league's top centers. You were the best Center in the west (Biedrins, Camby and Kaman [LAC record], Marc Gasol, Hawes, Jefferson, Nene, Oden, Okafor, and Okur) and you lost to a forward. That sucks.

Little sloppy, but thunderous no doubt.

Yes Amare's probably a better scorer than Bynum, but they are two different positions. If Amare played center for the Suns, this post would never have happened. Good day.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Until next year, Blake Griffin

How many days you out?
10, you?

(Photo from
If you're the Clippers, a Clipper fan, or have even a little bit of pity for the Clippers, you seriously have to be saying, "You gotta be kidding me." Blake Griffin, who was supposed to be playing his first game of the season next week, will instead undergo season ending knee surgery to repair his broken knee.

Of course this reminds you of Greg Oden. Of course you think of a Clipper curse. But here are some things Clipper fans can look at to fill that half empty glass to half full:

1. Blake Griffin broke his knee on a monster dunk after blocking a shot, getting the rebound and outletting to Sebastian Telfair for a nice fast break play.

Fun Fact - I was (un?)lucky enough to go to this game and this play had the crowd roaring.

He didn't hurt himself moving boxes in his house, or wrestling with an old teammate, or snowboarding and lying about it later (Artest, Glen Davis, Radmanovic). Blake Griffin works hard, lifts weights, and stays in shape. He's 6'10'' 251 lbs. To compare, Karl Malone was 6'9" 250 pounds, and he was a big PF. Blake Griffin, as big as he is, was still being considered to play Small Forward as well as Power Forward by Mike Dunleavy. I'm thinking of a reverse Lamar Odom (referring to weight) where he can out-run and cut through slower power forwards and post up smaller small forwards.

-Couple examples: Against the Miami Heat, he could post up Michael Beasley and Quentin Richardson. Against the Phoenix Suns, he could post up Grant Hill and can more than likely get around Amare's defense.

2. With said work out regime, if I'm betting on someone to take rehab seriously and work hard to come back, it's Blake Griffin.

3. The Clippers didn't have Blake Griffin last year and have still improved record wise so far this season. In 37 games last year, they were 8-29. Through 37 games this year, they are 17-20 with impressive wins over the Celtics and Lakers (the latter in which they really took advantage of their height, FINALLY). Although I stand by my post in that they were/are a good team but got riddled with injuries last year. Disclaimer - Telfair and Craig Smith have been nice additions to the team, despite their per game numbers. Rasual Butler has been an awesome addition, per game numbers and all.

But Blake Griffin is a game changer. He has a chance to be a star and much more than the supposed comparisons to Carlos Boozer. If I'm the Clippers, I'm not making any drastic moves as far as a Forward spot to replace Griffin. Cut your losses this year and if you make the playoffs great, if not, draft again and let Griffin come back and let this team finally start getting some winning seasons. Are we talking championships? Hell no. Are we talking about a new era starting at the grassroots? Yes. Clippers, please don't panic!

By the way, I have a lot to say about the Clippers as I am lucky enough to have season tickets. Buy low on those Blake Griffin rookie cards and jerseys my friends.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Rafer Alston (Skip to my Lou!) Returns to the Heat - Breakdown of PG position of the Heat this season

(Photo from
The News: Rafer Alston agrees to buyout with the Nets, clears waivers, and is signed by the Heat.

Quick tangent: Whatever happened to And1 anyway? I guess there are only so many ways you can cross someone over while taking 4 to 5 steps and triple dribbling and having neat nicknames like Hot Sauce, The Professor, and Sik Wit It. Plus with the invention of youtube, no one needed to buy the DVDs anymore. But before all that happened, Skip to my Lou/Rafer Alston made it to the NBA. Drafted by the Bucks in 1998 with the 10th pick in the 2nd round. (Photo from tumblr).

Since this isn't a history lesson on Rafer Alston Fast, forward to when he finally got some minutes on the Heat in 2003/04 and played 82 games, starting in 28 of them, helping the Heat in Wade's rookie year make the 2nd round of the playoffs, but lost to Ron Artest and the Indiana Pacers in 6 games.

Three teams and five years later as a starting PG (mainly Houston for 4 seasons with a Finals appearance against the Lakers last year -- only to be benched in favor of a just coming back from injury Jameer Nelson!) and Rafer is back on the Heat, who averages 12.8 points and 5.8 assists as a starter.

What have the Heat been doing this year with their PG situation? Well they signed Carlos Arroyo away from Europe who came off the bench while Mario Chalmers started. This resulted in an 11-11 start after 22 games. Mario Chalmers averaged 9.5 pts and 4 ast while Arroyo averaged 4.7 pts and 1.9 ast off the bench. (Photo from Yahoo).

The Heat's 23rd game against the Raptors, Mario Chalmers came off the bench for the first time in his young career because he was late to the shoot around (Yahoo! Sports). Only he hasn't started since. I doubt he's been late to shoot arounds every game since then. But the Heat went 5-1 with Arroyo starting. With their roles reversed, Arroyo is averaging 5.2 and 3.7 and Chalmers off the bench is averaging 6.4 and 3.6. Nothing too significant with those stats except the Heat were winning including a nice win over the Orlando Magic (Photo from SIKids).

Then they lost three in a row to New Orleans, San Antonio and Charlotte, won against the Hawks, and then lost in OT to the Celtics, making Arroyo's record as a starting PG another .500, 6-6. The Heat are now 17-17 for you math wizards.

So here comes Rafer Alston, free from the New Jersey hell hole, returning to the Heat in what can safely be assumed as a starting PG role for the Heat? Rafer can run and can play better (not amazing) defense than Chalmers and Arroyo against the league's other PGs. If he isn't going to stop the league's top PGs, they'll have a tough time trying to stop him in return. He can run a nice fast break and with Wade alongside him, the Heat have a much more appealing starting backcourt than they've had this season.

We'll have a better idea of what the Heat's plans are with Alston once the terms of the contract are released but for right now, they want to win a little more than 50% of their games and at the moment, they believe that key is in the PG position.

(Stats are from Basketball Reference).

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Allen Iverson Update Post

(Photo from MoonDogSports)
Allen Iverson has played 11 games this season. Three off the bench for the Grizzlies, and eight for the 76ers as a starter. First things first, YES, HE CAN STILL PLAY. But let's dig a little deeper. For the Grizzlies, off the bench, he was 0-3 (3 away games @ Sacramento, Golden State and LA Lakers). You could say that the Grizzlies at that time were a lost team anyway and would have lost those games with or without AI on the bench, starting, on the team, or not, but the Grizzlies have been putting on an impressive showing the past few weeks with wins against Dallas, Cleveland, Denver and a close game (loss) against Boston. But you could also say that the Grizzlies have gotten some inspired play from Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph (wow). I can't say I know how the team operates with and without AI because none of their games are televised and I've only seen one game against the Clippers (3 pt loss, without AI).

(Photo from GGPHT)
Fast forward to his desired role as a starter on the 76ers and his record up until today is 3-5. He was injured for 4 games in between those eight he played where the 76ers went 1-3. But back to AI's 3 wins (Portland, Golden State, Sacramento) and 5 losses (Denver, Detroit, Houston, Cleveland, and just before the 2010 ball dropped, the Clippers). The most significant injury we should take note of is Lou Williams, who was doing well as a starting guard before AI came. Williams was out and recently came back for the 3 game losing streak (reserve for first 2 games, starter for 3rd) and the 2 wins when AI came back and with whom he started alongside, and then the loss to the Clippers.

For the 76ers, he's shooting 43.3% from the field, getting 15.5 points, 4.4 assists and 1.1 steals a game. Yes he can still play. But is he the answer? No. But let's also note that these 76ers aren't that good. Elton Brand has been anything but the star they paid for a year ago and has been demoted to 6th man duties. Andre Iguodala is doing his all around game at almost 19 points, 6.8 ast, and 5.7 rebounds (with 1.9 steals a game). Dalembert is doing his thing getting boards and blocks. Thaddeus Young has been doing well as a starting forward getting 15 points and 5 boards. Add to those starters Willie Green, Marreese Speights, and Jason Kapono etc. and you have a team that people would get excited about if this team was together maybe 5 years ago. Now, they are 9-23 only better than New Jersey, good for 14th in the East.

As said before, AI can play. He doesn't seem to be ball hogging, averaging 11 shots a game and 6 trips to the FT line. His coach has been happy with his performance and even AI himself has said he's there to help his teammates gain confidence (Yahoo Sports). Iverson can play but he isn't going to transform a team into a instant contender. No one should really be surprised as it's been said since he stopped playing for Detroit last year. He didn't transform the Grizzlies, and he's not transforming the 76ers. As everyone said and agreed to, he'd be a great bench player for a contender but again, his pride might be in the way.

AI cried during his press interview when the 76ers signed him. Perhaps Larry Brown was right when he said AI was a little embarrassed that every team wasn't going out of their way to sign him. The fact is, AI is an undersized SG who get's a lot of steals by playing passing lanes but is susceptible to being beat by the league's better PGs in one on one situations. He made up for it during his prime by scoring 30 points a game and outrunning those same PGs on offense but GMs have taken notice and don't want to give him the starting nod over their younger up and coming PGs. Take a look at all the teams in the league. Who needs AI as a starting PG? Even the worst teams are fine at starting PG: The Nets have Devin Harris. Sacramento has Tyreke Evans. The Warriors have Stephen Curry/Monta Ellis. Detroit and Washington have Rodney Stuckey and Gilbert Arenas. If Lou Williams hadn't gotten hurt, would Philly have gone after AI? Maybe not: AI signed a one year deal for a little over $1 million. NOT A LONG TERM PLAN as they also drafted Jrue Holiday this summer.

So what's going to happen this summer when AI is a free agent again? It doesn't look like any team needs him as a starting PG. Will he retire again? Do what every sports writer wanted him to do and be a bench player on a contender? Who knows? This is only your update.