The draft is long past. Free agency is nearly a month old. Summer league has just ended. Andwhile we’re still nearly 2 months away from the start of training camp, most teams are nearly completely built withonly a few moves aroundthe edges yet to be completed. So, I figure now is as good a time as any to take a look around the league at some of the teams andhow they’re coming together. We’ll start with our very own Lakers…
*With Raja Bell spurning the Lakers for a second stint with the Jazz, the Lakers have moved on to re-signing Shannon Brown. At this point, I think Brown is the best option on the market for LA andI am hopeful that a deal can get done to bring back the high rising combo guard. I understand that many would still like the Lakers to make a run at T-Mac or at Matt Barnes, but in the end I’d rather have the guy that knows the system, is comfortable in his role, and is well liked by his teammates in the Staples Center locker room. If Brown is indeed brought back andwe make the assumption that both Lakers 2nd rounders make the team, the Lakers are looking at 12 players on their roster – Fisher, Kobe, Artest, Pau, Bynum, Blake, Odom, Sasha, Brown, Walton, Caracter, and Ebanks. If the Lakers look to carry 13 players (like they did last season) adding a big man that can play some minutes at C is in order. We’ve discussed this before, so I won’t discuss names as the usual suspects have not changed. However, the Lakers may also look to add another guard andthe name being floated around is the Guard from Harvard, Jeremy Lin. It’s been reported that the Lakers have contacted Lin’s agent to discuss him joining the Lakers and I must say that I’m intrigued. Lin’s surely a season or two away from being a contributor, but at least one person has already said that Lin could be a “Derek Fisher” type of guard as his savvy and competitiveness are two things that shine through when watching him play. So, this is something to continue to watch.
*The Miami Heat sure are rounding out their roster nicely. Brought in to flank the Pep Boys (my nickname for Wade/Lebron/Bosh) are Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem, Big Z, Jamaal Magloire, and James Jones. Those guys join Mario Chalmers, Joel Anthony, and 2ndround picks Dexter Pittman, and Jarvis Varnado. That’s 12 guys is all of them stick with Juwan Howard expected to be the 13th when he signs a deal within the next few days. And while the there’s some older guys in that group and a couple of 2nd rounders (that likely won’t see any time), that’s a solid few role players to play next to the Heat’s big guns. If I was a Heat fan, I’d still be worried about the lack of real size (outside of Z) and whether or not a crunch time line up of Wade/Miller/Lebron/Haslem/Bosh has enough toughness on the glass anddefensive presence in the paint. But, other teams will also need to be concerned with a trio on the wing like the Heat can offer while also having mobile bigs that can play the pick and pop game quite nicely. No one will know how this will work until the games start, but I will give Riles credit for bringing this team together in a way that many doubted as possible when “the decision” was first announced.
*The other team that I’ve been impressed with is the Chicago Bulls. They’ve added Boozer, Korver, and Brewer to the Rose/Noah/Deng/Gibson mix andnow that looks like a pretty complete team with a nice mix of complementary pieces that should work well together. Obviously the key is the continued development of Rose andwhether Boozer can keep up his high level of play (I have little doubts about either), but if those things happen the Bulls will have a very good team that could easily slide into that top 3 or 4 in the East with Miami, Orlando, and Boston.
*Speaking of Orlando and Boston, they’ve been a bit under the radar in the off-season but should still be considered major threats. They’ve essentially held on to the rosters that got them to the ECF this past season and they’ll surely be hungry to try and get back to the Finals next year. Yes, Boston is a year older and have added Jermaine O’Neal to replace ‘Sheed while losing Tony Allen to Memphis. Andthey still must deal with a recovering Perkins that won’t be in action early in the season. But, they’re still in the Matt Barnes “sweepstakes” andwith Doc, Pierce, Allen, andKG all returning with a steadily improving Rondo, I don’t think we can write them off quite yet. As for Orlando, they held onto Redick and have returned every major piece. They still have Dwight and Jameer and if Lewis can have a semi-bounce back season they’ll also be a major threat to win the East. I mean, who in that conference really guards Howard well?
*Earlier I mentioned Raja Bell andhis signing with the Jazz. We’ll Utah is another team that has been quietly good this off-season. Sure they lost Boozer and Korver to the Bulls. They also let the Blazers over pay for Wesley Matthews (whom I like, just not at the salary he got in the first year). But, they’ve added Bell (who is a very good shooter in his own right and will be better on D than Matthews and light years ahead of Korver) and they traded for Al Jefferson from the ‘Wolves. So, they’ve essentially replaced Boozer and Matthews/Korver with Big Al and Bell, still have Deron (who is a monster) and have AK47 who is surely now recovered from the calf strain that limited him in the playoffs. When you look at that team, I like a crunch time line up of Deron, Bell, AK47, Milsap, and Jefferson. And when Okur recovers from his achilles injury, that’s another weapon that they may be able to use.
*As for the rest of the West, lets just say it’s a mixed bag. I think Dallas overpaid for Haywood and that they had to be hoping for more than Chandler when trading Dampier’s non-guaranteed deal. Meanwhile Denver needed more size and rebounding in their front court and they signed Al Harrington to a full mid-level deal. Houston is a team that I really like if Yao is back healthy as I think their top 8 guys (Brooks, Martin, Battier, Scola, Yao, Ariza, Lowry, Brad Miller) are good pieces for Adelman’s system andyou know they’ll defend well. And the Spurs have also had a quietly effective off-season by getting a commitment from Tiago Splitter while also Jedi mind tricking Richard Jefferson to opt out of his contract while (reportedly) still in talks to potentially bring him back for much cheaper.
My final thoughts on all of this is that we’ve likely seen the exporting to the East of enough talent that we may now see more conference parity than we’ve seen in recent years. The West will still be tough with the Lakers, the still up andcoming OKC, Portland, Houston, Spurs, Mavs, Nuggs, and Suns (who added Turk, Childress, and Warrick to make up for Amar’e going to the Knicks). But the East is now much more respectable with anywhere from 2-4 very good teams at the top and teams like the Bucks, Hawks, ‘Cats and even Knicks still talented enough to push a team in a series. Too bad we’re still two months away from seeing it all unfold.
Looking at Miami’s current roster, it’s pretty obvious that one of their thinner spots is the PG position. Still wondering what they’re going to about that… out of curiosity of course.
If Luke is unable to play next year and we resign Shannon Brown (or Lin for that matter), who is going to be our backup small forward? Does this mean either Artest or Kobe has to be out there at all times? What if Artest gets hurt?
Does anyone know how much Shannon Brown was going to be paid next year if he had not opted out of his contract? Is there a chance he could be paid less and lose money by opting out?
2 Notorious, unfortunately Sasha has had stints in which he has slid to the 3 spot when our line-up is thin and/or we’re just not getting enough out of Luke. That was a main reason why I’d rather us pick up a 2/3 like T-Mac or even Barnes (who is more of a 3) than pick up a Shannon or Critt, who are 1/2’s . Having Blake, Fisher, and Sasha (most effective at pg imo) is enough to make it through the season in that position but having Artest, injured Luke, and most likely Ebanks is not enough.
You make a good point and hopefully the FO is making sure that this priority is right up there with a backup center.
I hope Lin goes to the Lakers for the following reasons:
a) I’m a Lakers fan and I think he’s a good player with big potential that we could pick up for a reasonable contract.
b) Lin is a smart player (Harvard), athletic, big for a PG (6’4 – fits with the triangle), he can move without the ball, he can make a jump shot, he doesn’t appear to have a big ego… a lot of great things to say about him.
c) I think it would be a good opportunity for Lin to go the Lakers to learn from Derek Fisher and Steve Blake, both are PGs in this league that have been underrated for years. They will help Lin get better and make him tougher. Also, there’s Phil and Kobe too, both tough on rookies, but if you put in the work, you’ll earn their respect.
d) The marketing opportunities for Lin, if he plays well, would be huge for himself and the Lakers. Plus he’s from CA so it would be good for him to be closer to home.
e) Sign him Mitch!
I like what Phoenix has done. Warrick is no Stoudamire, but Nash will make him more productive than he’s ever been.
Turkoglu is coming off a sub-par season, but he’ll bounce back in Phoenix. His versatility is something else. He helps alleviate the burden of playmaking, and allows Nash more minutes to rest. He’ll create more space than Stoudamire and open up driving lanes for their mainstays and new addition Josh Childress.
Childress is a terrific defender. He’s going to force his man to take a lot of long jumpers, which will lead to long rebounds, and more fastbreak opportunities.
I thought the Bulls should have kept Brad Miller. He’s not the Brad Miller of old, but he’s skillful and doesn’t clog the paint, which is important for Rose and cutters like Brewer and Noah.
With only 2 guaranteed years, Miller was a steal for the Rockets. In Adelman’s offense, he’ll give players that can’t create for themselves more high percentage opportunities.
My 2 cents: Chicago is going to be really good and folks are sleeping on how good the team can be. Think back to last season – the biggest problem with the Bulls was inside scoring. Now they added Boozer, who is a legit low-post presence. They also added Kyle Korver an ace 3 point shooter, and 3 point shooting was a big problem of theirs. Finally, they got Ronnie Brewer to shore up the 2 guard spot. Finally, they got Tom T., probably the best defensive coach in the league. Add to this a year of improvement for Rose and Noah and you’ve got a heck of a team.
Wouldn’t surprise me to see Chicago reach the ECF at a minimum.
@ jeremy, most definitely agreeing with most of what you said. that is why i am also for a combo sf/sg wing like a tmac and a barnes. and regarding shannon, are the lakers really keen on just 13 players? why not get both shannon with what we can and the rest of the mle for either mac, barnes or rasual? then perhaps add lin as a project and the backup C. well, that’s why i am not a laker GM. i’d be a lot like maybe the por or dal GM.
i can’t underscore enough the need for backup C. first, lamar and pau are PFs and so is caracter. we still need that legit banger, rebounder and blocker inside. things can get messy over the course of the season. bynum isn’t exactly 100% yet. the silence of kurt thomas’ camp may be a good thing for us. too much noise lately has translated to less chance of signing for LA.
agreed as well that chicago is a sleeper here. i’d easily put them top 4 in the east and that top 4 is a monster. i think that trumps the west’s top 4 of lal, den, dal and sa/okc. atl, nyk, and mil are no jokes either.
balance of power shifting indeed, but the one on top resides on the west coast. GO LAKERS!
I watched Lin battle Wall in a similar fashion to how Caracter battled Cousins: he held his own and never backed down.
I’ve wondered a lot about the Lakers SF position, does anyone have a clear sense of Luke’s status? Is he definitely out, or is the FO banking on him?
Decent wing players are fairly easy to find (much easier than pgs and bigs), so I wouldn’t be surprised if the Lakers don’t wait to address it until they know Luke’s status.
HEAT: Impressed with the moves that ‘Showtime Riles’ was able to pull off, considering their financial restraints. Mike Miller & James Jones will definitely stretch/space the floor & allow Lebron and Wade to do what they do best, which is penetrate/attack the rim. Retaining Haslem was huge for them. Rumor has it that they’ll also be bringing back Carlos Arroyo to upgrade the Point position
MAGIC: Not to enthused with the addition of Q. Rich & Duhon @ the expense of Barnes & J. Will. Though Q is a better perimeter shooter than Barnes, I believe that on the ‘Championship End of the Court’, Barnes is more capable of guarding Scoring Wings. If SVG can’t get it done this year, I believe he’ll be relieved of his duties.
BULLS: IMO, they were hittin’ it out the park all off-season (additions of Boozer, Korver & Brewer) until they lost Brad Miller through Free Agency. Although up there in age & not being able to leap over a Sheet of Loose Leaf Paper, his Leadership + Passing Ability and Solid Interior D will be missed.
CELTICS: Good pick up of J. O’neal to hold down the fort ’til Perkins returns. This move would look even better if Rasheed happens to return (still no definitive word on whether he’s calling it a Wrap or Not). But age & the loss of Tony Allen will be there Downfall.
HAWKS: Giving Joe Johnson a Max Contract was Asinine. I mean, Real Talk, what has he ever done in ‘The Association’ to warrant such a deal. Owners have No Reason to Cry Broke when they’re giving away Money like this. Even Stevie Wonder was Upset by what He Saw of Joe in that Orlando series. NOTHING.
MAVERICKS: Every season it seems as if Cuban makes moves to Upgrade his roster that never pans out. Never big on Chandler & as Darius mentioned, overpaid for Haywood. Bottom Line: As long as Dirk is the leader of this unit, I’ll never bet on them. Nothing ‘gainst the German, but to me, he’s always been a Robin masquerading as Batman.
NUGGETS: No Birdman (finger) or K. Mart (Knee) to start the season. Harrington was a bad move because the last thing this squad needed (in the long run) was another Offensive minded individual. Contract year for ‘Melo, so we have to see how that plays out. And last, but definitely not least, is the health concerns regarding Coach Karl.
SUNS: None of the moves that they made in the off season (bringing in Hedu, Warrick & Childress) will make up for the loss of STATS. Team is still too Perimeter oriented. Who are they going to stop? Also, they have no Bigs.
THUNDER: As we can attest, this Crew is up & coming. Supreme athletes & a Home Court Advantage like no other. Brought in Daequan Cook to shore up the outside shooting. Only thing holding them back is size @ the 4 and the 5 spot.
ROCKETS: If Yao can stay healthy (that’s a Big if, literally) this squad should be able to make some noise. Retaining Scola was pivotal. As was signing Brad Miller (Yao Insurance). Backcourt of Brooks & Martin is a problem (in a Good Way). Excellent wing defenders in our boy Trev & Shane Battier.
SPURS: Not to familiar with this kat Tiago Splitter, but from all accounts, he’s a big, who should be an upgrade over McDyess & is able to provide Duncan with the help he needs dealing with all of the huge lineups out West. Not a big fan of his, but I’m pretty sure Jefferson will resign with them and I like what I saw in the summer league from the young ‘n Alonzo Gee.
TRAILBLAZERS: Now out of all the Teams out West, these katz from Portland worries me the most. If healthy (another Big If), they have 4 legit Bigs (Oden, Przybilla, Camby & LA. All 6’11 and better) who can not only match-up with us, but pose a threat. Their backcourt is Sound & Proficient with size, speed & athleticism (Roy, Miller, Fernandez & Bayless) and they have a Wing Defender in Batum who makes Kobe work for everything he gets. Their fans are Passionate and as we all know, we don’t perform too well within their confines. And can’t Overlook the Job that McMillan is doing out there. Arguably, could’ve been Coach of the Year last season (considerin’ his teams excellent record despite the rash of Injuries).
Granted, I know that it’s a lot to take in, but that’s just how Passionate I am about ‘The Association.’
Laker 4 Life
I don’t think the East got stronger by much. Of the big name players, Amare went to the East. Boozer and Jefferson exchanged conferences, but that’s a wash IMO. Other players like Korver, Harrington etc. also changed conferences, but overall they would not have shifted the scales by much. So, all combined, the only effective move is Amare to the East, which does not change the balance of the conferences that much.
However, the top teams in the East (MIA, CHI) became much stronger at the expense of the weaker ones (MIN, TOR, CLE).
I was lucky enough to catch the Wash-Dall game in Vegas last week. It was the 3rd game of the day after I had caught the Laker game earlier. I had liked Lin in the few instances I had watched him on NBA TV. But live, he looked even better.
He did a much better job running and controlling the offense than Beaubois did that day. Great court awareness and yeah his teammates cost him a few assists at least by mishandling the easy pass or blowing the easy bucket. But there was just a palpable sense of calm and control he exerted. Dallas’ offense was just so much smoother when he was in there. Much more confused and helter skelter when Roddy was in. The contrast was so surprising to me.
He had a very nice highlight play that elicited some crowd noise. He grabbed the rebound, weaved his way through traffic all the way up the court, saw an opening and burst through it to finish.
Defensively he didn’t get destroyed by Wall. I’d guess he wouldn’t be a defensive liability and probably could be solid average defender. He seems to understand where the help defense is and what he needs to do to funnel his man.
He’s definitely got potential and would love to see how he’d do in camp for Lakers.
@6 I agree 100%. personally, I like their “team” better than miami. they have quality players/depth at every position except pg and I would expect them to sign a backup before the season begins.
the bulls’ parts fit better than the heat. They have all the pieces of a successful team: size, shooting, energy and one of the best pgs in the game in rose.
three weeks ago i’d have been surprised if the Lakers offered Jeremy Lin so much as an invitation to training camp. however, when you look at his draftexpress profile and read about his movement off-the-ball and smarts, you understand he’s a triangle guy.
But to guarantee him a spot on the roster before even ebanks and caracter? before training camp? wow. that would be an incredible endorsement.
perhaps this is another (brilliant?) move being done at the behest of Son of Buss?
I don’t know about this Lin business. Disclosure. I am also Asian-American, and attended Penn (who played Harvard in the Ivy League. Represent Jaaber!).
I understand the hoopla about him. Asian-American baller, dropped some nice games against BC and UConn in college. But I’m hoping that he doesn’t take a spot away from a Shannon Brown or Rasual Butler. He’s simply not a proven quantity just yet. He’s a nice developing player, but let’s get real here. What is a little disconcerting is his lack of 3 point range. Most of our PGs in the triangle have had a good 3 point game.
But if he’s going to get a training camp invite and he earns that last spot, I trust the FO’s decision. But let’s not begin to anoint him just yet.
Why do we hear more about the Lakers FO resigning Shannon Brown instead of Matt Barnes who appears to be a better fit?
From Mark Stein at ESPN:
Matt Barnes to Toronto: 2 years/10 million
At that price, we were never in the running. First Bell, now Barnes. What’s next? Kurt Thomas signing with the Wizards for 5 years/35 million. I wouldn’t be surprised.
CJ Watson to Chi on S and T.
Matt Barnes to Tor.
As to Miami, James will play a lot of 1.
Igor Avidon says
Miami’s PG ‘hole’ is overblown. Wade and LBJ can both handle the ball well, bring it up court, and initiate the offense. Mario Chalmers is a pretty good player too. He will blossom playing next to two superstars and another all-star (much like Rondo did, except he won’t be anywhere near as good) There is no deficiency on that team when it comes to filling in the PG duties. They simply need a player to shoot well and know how to move without the ball.
The rumor is Phil ALMOST backed out of coaching another year after hearing that LBJ was going to Miami
Speaking of Kurt Thomas, I came across this Lakers-Spurs game from 2008 where they mic a couple players for the broadcast: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Rwp8ECZXFk
At 0:49, Kobe asks Kurt, “You going to play until you’re about 50?”
Kurt: “Hell yeah.”
they have never released that phil signed yet
This Chicago thing is amazing to watch…
The GM has executed a fantastic Plan B…
I’d be proud if i were a Bulls Fan…
Travis Y. says
I was able to catch some of Lin’s play against Wall. He showed polish and confidence. He didn’t back down and showcased a lot of savvy.
Now everyone come back down to Earth. If Lin is signed he’ll be the 12th or 13th man off the bench. He’ll have a stint in the NBDL and he’ll be someone we store for awhile in hopes he’ll be ready in 2-3 years (Fisher’s retirement).
I’m more concerned with having a big take some punishment for Bynum and Gasol during the regular season.
I have an idea I’d want to throw out there due to the fact that Barnes is now out of the picture and the Clippers will most likely overpay T-Mac if we try to go after him.
What if we signed two more guards that can fill the sg guard spot (Shannon as primary and Lin or Critt for a minimum) and then let Kobe get half his minutes at sg and half his minutes at sf. I think it hurts Kobe when he has to burn energy on the bigger sf’s but at this point it seems like the talent at the 1/2 combo guard is way more abundant than at SF.
I know it’s not the optimal strategy going into our final stint with a PJ dynasty in the making. Although, right now we have I believe 3 vital slots to fill in the roster (bench.) If we throw a couple of Adam Morrison’s and Mark Madsen’s in the slots we will have an even weaker bench than last year. Hopefully Mitch will be as savvy as we all know he can be and make the right decisions.
Bulls just got CJ Watson for a future second.
Man, that’s a move I could’ve really celebrated had the Lakers made
I mean I’m still hoping out for Ra’s al Butler and if ShanWOW comes back I’ll welcome him with open arms
Went to look up some Lin stuff, and wow, his dad sounds like me 😉
Now let’s see if I can drill my child (not sure if it’s a boy or a girl yet) early and if he/she develops a love for the game as well.
Anyway, fun stuff, but I don’t recall Harvard winning their conference, not that I actually bothered to look up how the Ivy League was doing (I barely follow my golden bears!). And if Lin couldn’t lead a team to a title in a no-scholarship conference, his ceiling seems quite low.
Chris J says
Leave it to well-known Laker Hater Henry Abbott to dig up this classic bit of idocy from LeBron in yet another of Henry’s efforts to take due credit away from Kobe.
“James shoots plenty with the game on the line, already produces like one of the two best players in NBA history (hitting at a better career rate than Bryant), wins a lot of games and even called himself leader of Team USA.”
“I lead by example and I lead vocally,” LeBron told Time magazine (in the link attached to Abbott’s story).
Awesome. I can’t wait until next summer, when LeBron’s idea of leadership when a tough game, a championship-deciding game, is being played out and the end result has Kobe dropping 13 points in the fourth quarter to help his team pull away.
Spain pulled within two (91-89) with 8:35 to go. Fernandez had hit a three, and momentum had swung. Yet Kobe came right back down the floor and scored to put the U.S. back up by four. Two minutes later Kobe drilled a 3-pointer to put the U.S. up by nine.
Spain got back to within five with 3:27 to go, so Kobe came down the floor again and hits a three plus a free throw. The game was never close again after that, as Kobe dropped 13 in the fourth to put Team USA over the top.
LeLeader, meanwhile, had a whopping two points in the fourth, content to stand aside and let other, more-clutch players lead him to the promised land.
LeBron wasn’t even close to being the leader of that team; they all deferred to Kobe, and Wade was arguably the best player on the floor until Kobe took over down the stretch.
hrm. the barnes deal seems to have hit a snag. there’d be enough room for him under the cap if they dealt somebody like reggie evans or marcus banks to somebody with capspace.
i figure somebody backed out of that kind of cap-clearing trade at the last minute.
“Anyway, fun stuff, but I don’t recall Harvard winning their conference, not that I actually bothered to look up how the Ivy League was doing (I barely follow my golden bears!). And if Lin couldn’t lead a team to a title in a no-scholarship conference, his ceiling seems quite low.”
I don’t follow NCAABB but Cornell was really good last year. They upset like two teams before getting dismantled by a super stacked Kentucky team
something odd: david aldridge’s latest piece on the barnes-to-toronto story mentions that the lakers have about $2.3M remaining from their MLE. This contradicts reports of Blake receiving a flat $4M/per year deal. I don’t know if this is an error on Aldridge’s part.
the only way Aldridge can be correct is if the Lakers’ contract offer starts between $3.5 and $3.55M. Then, if there are 8% raises each year, Blake’s 4yr deal amounts to $16M.
It kind of makes sense. Why wouldn’t the Lakers try to free up as much of their MLE as possible?
How funny, today I was reading a college humor article on the topic of irony and now the top NBA story today is Matt Barnes hitting a snag in Toronto… If you don’t know where I’m going with this than think back to Hedo (Turkeyglue) standing up Portland after publically agreeing to join the team just to pack his bag and put a big old red maple leaf sticker on the front of it and head to Toronto. Now this season, Toronto already got stood up on a Bobcats transaction including Mavrick’s new addition, Chandler and of course now they may miss out on their attempt to add a new small foward to replace Hedo. The Raptors are a neutral in my “NBA likeable meter” so I can’t say this makes me feel happy or sad to see this potentially happy to them. Yet on the other hand, if we land Barnes than I will be extremely happy that this happening occured.
Are there really that many people who really knew this “Lin” guy before he hit the media like an Asian-American, Ivey League hurricane? It’s very impressive that he held his own against Wall, who seems to be a very big offensive threat a few years from now. Yet, I just don’t know enough about him to really know if he’s in the media because of what he is or what he can do. Obviously he’s no scrub but I’ve seen guys say they wouldn’t trade him for CP3. Maybe it was a joke but I just don’t know why everyone is on this guy’s back when nobody mentioned him a week ago.
Renato Afonso says
On the Lakers Roster:
Assuming we sign both rookies, as it would be idiotic not to do so, we currently have in our roster Fish, Blake, Kobe, Sasha, Artest, Luke, Ebanks, Odom, Caracter, Gasol and Bynum. People are talking about Luke’s injury and all that but I see enough versatility in this team to overcome that injury! You have Ebanks to sub in for some minutes, and he will make mistakes and improve during the season. You have Kobe and/or Sasha to fill in some minutes at SF when we’re facing a smaller SF. We even have Odom to play point forward if necessary (and I REALLY hope it isn’t).
What we do need is a PG to groom for the impending Fisher’s retirement and a C to block some shots and get some rebounds. Jeremy Lin would be perfect to groom for 2 years between the D-League and some brief stints in the team due to injury. I hope we do sign him for 3 years. This is a kid that will be able to develop a good jumpshot if given time to work on it. I don’t care if he’s black, white, blue, yellow or green. I see a kid with potential and whose only flaw is something that you can work on and improve. Get him now while he’s cheap. Mold him with time. And rejoice that we picked him so soon in two years time when he’s our backup PG.
Regarding the shot-blocking and rebounding presence. Is it possible to sign Mbenga with the vet’s minimum? If he takes it, we should definetly do it! Regarding Shannon Brown, I don’t think he will ever improve past what he is now… And if that is the case, I don’t think he has a future in this team.
Now, if you look at our current roster, who scares you? Certainly the Celtics and the Heat as they have (will have) very strong starting lineups. One will be a defensive juggernaut with a good enough offense and the other will be an offensive juggernaut with a good enough defense. Worst case scenario? They’re both at the Lakers level but we will only have to worry about one of them, if we meet in the Finals.
Now, in the West there are two teams which do scare me: Portland and OKC. 3 years ago I said that Portalnd and OKC would be our main concern in 3 years. That time is here! Portland has every necessary tool to beat us and enough size to withstand our best punch. Plus, as mentioned, we don’t do well in the Rose Garden. I just hope we don’t have to face them in the playoffs. OKC is steadily improving and their glaring need is a C with size. Let’s just hope they don’t address that during this summer, otherwise you’re looking at #2 and #3 seed in the west.
And then you have the Spurs who will do the same thing as always and be the unwanted opponent in the playoffs. Believe me, Splitter is an AWESOME addition to that squad and will basically balance their roster against us. A Parker, Manu, (Jefferson?), Duncan, Splitter lineup can go head to head with anyone in this league including us. And that may be our second round opponent, unfortunately.
And guess what? For all the talk about the East getting stronger, their top teams didn’t get stronger at expense of the West except for Chicago (Utah). And I do see the Lakers, OKC, Portland and San Antonio winning against Boston, Miami, Orlando and Chicago without causing any surprise. And the #5 to #8 seed in the west is far tougher than the rest of the East.
28, we upset Temple and Wisconsin before going down swinging against Kentucky is what you meant to say, right? In all seriousness, we did manage to get it down to 6 against Kentucky sometime in the 2nd half. Cornell was the consummate team, a bunch of role players playing beyond the sum of their parts because they fit well together. Louis Dale was the floor general who couldn’t really finish inside; Jeff Foote was the big man with little or no post game but gave us an inside presence; Ryan Wittman was the pure shooter, draining threes of curls and kickouts from Foote. Not one guy was a star, but all of them worked together.
24, only reason that move is possible for the Bulls is because they have cap space. Since the Lakers have none, such a move was never possible for them.
Based on his history, they need to assume that Bynum will be hurt again (until he proves otherwise) and so they need to have a decent backup for Gasol and Odom. I don’t think Caracter is ready for that yet, so they should still be looking for a decent backup center/PF.
I still say the team to fear in the West is the Thunder. Their home court has officially taken the crown from the Trailblazers and Jazz as the loudest and most supportive crowd of all time, and as a team they are only going to get better and better as time goes by.
I’m actually scared of what they will do in the conference playoffs next year… unless Durant goes down with a crippling knee injury in January they’re going to be there, and they’ll be hungry, deadly, and overall very dangerous.
You’re a Cornell guy? So Cal kid in the middle of New York state?
(32) I was hoping for more, but it was good to see Cornell advance as far as they did in the NCAA tournament.
New post up on Lamar Odom trying to make the USA National Team
Zephid, my brother attended the Big Red and graduated with honors. We also are from SoCal. Unfortunately the hockey team was the only outstanding sports club at the school when he attended though.
I’m not doubtful of us beating the Thunder on a talent and cohesive unit level but their athleticism scares me. There is not one position in our starting line-up that can outrun the coorisponding guy on their line-up. If their halfcourt defense get’s a little better this year, they could really do some damage in transition.
Bill Bridges says
CJ Watson for a 2011 2nd round pick is a steal at 3.5M per w/ a team option for the 3rd year.
Of all of the free agents he is the one I wanted at PG. Good defense, decent athleticism, good shooter, nice floater, solid IQ.
Maybe timing was the issue. Once GS signed Lee to the monster contract and threw out their best talent and their best wing player, Watson was available. But we already had Blake and Fisher.
I simply cannot believe that Farmar got 4m per for 3 years guaranteed and Watson got less.
But then the Johnson and Gay deals shows that there is no shortage of insanity in the NBA.
Good trade for the Bulls. Too bad for Watson that he has to back-up an all star who will get 40 minutes per game rather than starting for the Lakers in 2011.
I went to same high school as Jeremy Lin (Palo Alto) so I say we sign him!