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NBA OFF-SEASON PREVIEW: INDIANA PACERS
“Bartender, pour me another”
BLOGHEADS: We give you our final team preview – saving not the best, but the most painfully entertaining, for last. To celebrate that fact, KC & I decided that if we were to write a season preview on the Indiana Pacers, we must, of course, do so while intoxicated.  And if we expected any of you to actually read this, you must likewise be on our level. 
So since we’re now prepared to drink, let’s make a game of it!  Settle in for a long’un.  Ladies and gents, without further adieu … our Indiana Pacers Drinking Game.
The rules are simple: grab a bottle or two (honestly?  you may need more than two) of your favorite drink. Whenever any of the following is mentioned in this article, you must take a sip, or a chug, or a shot, or Ice a bro (what-have-you):
1.       Any mention of a player of Caucasian descent
2.       Any mention of a player with legal trouble
3.       Any mention of Larry Bird
4.       Any reference to “rebuilding”
5.       Any reference to “potential”
6.       Any mention of “lottery”
The Pacers are a team in-flux, stuck somewhere between rebuilding (DRINK!) and Chernobyl.  Most of the issues came about long before Larry Bird (DRINK!) took the reins to the team’s front office.  The Malice at the Palace is now one of the darkest and most pathetic moments in NBA history.  All lines were indubitably crossed – professional, moral and legal (DRINK!).  The Artest-era left traces of arsenic in the mouths of everyone: fans, coaches, front office, David Stern, kindergartners in Bargersville, your 98-year-old grandmother … literally, everyone.  The Hoosier State’s only solution was to ship-out the All-Stars, dismantle a 60-win team and commence the rebuilding (DRINK!) process.
Only thing is, they weren’t truly committed to the rebuilding process (DRINK! See? Aren’t we having fun?!).  They traded for a few decent players who had a lot of years and a lot of money left on their contracts.  You know, guys the likes of Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Troy Murphy (DRINK! Aaaand DRINK!).  What Bird (DRINK!) never realized is, well, if you’re going to rebuild, then tanking, purging your roster and starting from scratch is a (the) smarter solution.  NOT, as demonstrated, keeping the mediocre guys around, hovering somewhere between 35 and 40 wins and ending up at the ass-end of the draft lottery (DRINK!) every year.  What, exactly, does a strategy like that get you?  Tyler Hansbrough? (DRINK!) Shawne Williams?  Jerryd Bayless, who somehow turned into Jarrett Jack, Josh McRoberts (DRINK!) and Brandon Rush?
Honestly, you have to feel a little sorry for this team.  They are most definitely a storied franchise, what with winning three ABA Championships before their jump to the NBA.  In the Association, they’d kept that winning spirit going, advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals five times and even making it to the NBA Finals once.  Plus, this is INDIANA we’re talking about: home of the Hoosiers, legitimate down-and-dirty high school basketball, Hinkle Fieldhouse, and some of the greatest college basketball fans on earth (unless you’re from Purdue.  Sorry, KC is a Hoosier alum.  DRINK! for the obvious bias, and also because she said so, and also for Robbie Hummel).  So, if you’re from Indiana or simply admire the state’s intrinsic connection to basketball, hearing rumors of the team moving is more than disconcerting … it’s downright depressing.
Key Departures
Earl Watson, Troy Murphy (DRINK!)
Ok, let’s skip over Earl Watson. Sorry.  The guy is just not a factor, and plus, he doesn’t help us drink. Troy Murphy (DRINK!) was a big part of Indiana’s game last year (14.6 ppg, 10.6 rpg). He’s one of the only power forwards we can think of in the NBA that can hit 3-pointers with consistency and still nab 10+ boards a night (oh yeah … also, Kevin Love.  DRINK!). Cleveland made the wrong move last year in pursuing Jamison, they should’ve targeted Murphy (DRINK! heh) instead.
Key Additions
Paul George, Lance Stephenson, Darren Collison, James Posey, a much-improved Roy Hibbert.
At one point, Lance Stephenson was the best player coming out of high school.  But like most of the recent New York product PGs, “Born Ready” can’t seem to stay on the right side of the law (DRINK!).  After a promising preseason game, he went home and done threw his girlfriend down a flight of stairs.  This is what we call “pulling an Elijah Dukes.”  And it is not smart.  We ain’t even bullshittin’.
Paul George might turn out to be an absolute beast if he can live up to his potential (DRINK! weeee are you drunk yet?).  This might very well be the first legit player Larry Bird (DRINK!) has drafted since he took over the GM job.  Wait, no, make that the second … Roy Hibbert is looking like the center Indiana was hoping he’d become.
James Posey was nothing but a throw-in, New Orleans didn’t want him and naturally, Indiana didn’t want him.  BUT, Indiana really wanted Darren Collison so they bit the bullet and took on Posey’s albatross contract.  Darren Collison showed the world his skill set last year when Chris Paul was injured and Larry Bird (DRINK!) was sold on Collison’s potential (DRINK!).  Darren could actually turn out to be an 18-and-8 player this year for the Pacers.
Conclusion
Indiana needs a basketball team.  Not just any team, no, they need the goddamn PACERS and they need them to start winning games like, now.  It’s seriously the only way this team can pull out of such sticky financial woes and keep the franchise in Indiana.  It has to happen this year and with this roster.  Reggie Miller ain’t walkin’ in through that door.  Rik Smits (DRINK!) and Dale Davis ain’t walkin’ in through that door.  The burden lies with everyone involved to put points on the board, W’s on the schedule and people back in Area 55.
If the Pacers can get these youngsters to mesh and Danny Granger can play at an All-Star level, they have a good shot of taking that 8th seed out East.  It’s that simple.  Granger can straight-out ball.  Hibbert spent his offseason with Bill Walton (DRINK!), a man who had endless moves and dominant defense.  I am expecting big things this year.  KC is expecting big things this year.  Larry Bird (DRINK!) is expecting big things.  And damnit, Indiana is expecting big things.
The time is now for this team because if they don’t find themselves still on the court into May, they just might find themselves playing in a different city come next year.  And that just won’t do.
Fun Stuff
We have taken 24 shots during this preview. YEAAAAYUHHH!
Calling it now: Indiana will take the 8th seed out East. (Sorry, Cleveland)
Roy Hibbert WILL BE AN ALL-STAR
Twitter:  @hoya2apacer, @8pts9secs, @indycornrows
Web: http://www.indycornrows.com, http://www.eightpointsnineseconds.com/
-KC and @Suga_Shane
MIKE DUNLEAVY JR. (DRINK!)

NBA OFF-SEASON PREVIEW: INDIANA PACERS

“Bartender, pour me another”

BLOGHEADS: We give you our final team preview – saving not the best, but the most painfully entertaining, for last. To celebrate that fact, KC & I decided that if we were to write a season preview on the Indiana Pacers, we must, of course, do so while intoxicated.  And if we expected any of you to actually read this, you must likewise be on our level. 

So since we’re now prepared to drink, let’s make a game of it!  Settle in for a long’un.  Ladies and gents, without further adieu … our Indiana Pacers Drinking Game.

The rules are simple: grab a bottle or two (honestly?  you may need more than two) of your favorite drink. Whenever any of the following is mentioned in this article, you must take a sip, or a chug, or a shot, or Ice a bro (what-have-you):

1.       Any mention of a player of Caucasian descent

2.       Any mention of a player with legal trouble

3.       Any mention of Larry Bird

4.       Any reference to “rebuilding”

5.       Any reference to “potential”

6.       Any mention of “lottery”

The Pacers are a team in-flux, stuck somewhere between rebuilding (DRINK!) and Chernobyl.  Most of the issues came about long before Larry Bird (DRINK!) took the reins to the team’s front office.  The Malice at the Palace is now one of the darkest and most pathetic moments in NBA history.  All lines were indubitably crossed – professional, moral and legal (DRINK!).  The Artest-era left traces of arsenic in the mouths of everyone: fans, coaches, front office, David Stern, kindergartners in Bargersville, your 98-year-old grandmother … literally, everyone.  The Hoosier State’s only solution was to ship-out the All-Stars, dismantle a 60-win team and commence the rebuilding (DRINK!) process.

Only thing is, they weren’t truly committed to the rebuilding process (DRINK! See? Aren’t we having fun?!).  They traded for a few decent players who had a lot of years and a lot of money left on their contracts.  You know, guys the likes of Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Troy Murphy (DRINK! Aaaand DRINK!).  What Bird (DRINK!) never realized is, well, if you’re going to rebuild, then tanking, purging your roster and starting from scratch is a (the) smarter solution.  NOT, as demonstrated, keeping the mediocre guys around, hovering somewhere between 35 and 40 wins and ending up at the ass-end of the draft lottery (DRINK!) every year.  What, exactly, does a strategy like that get you?  Tyler Hansbrough? (DRINK!) Shawne Williams?  Jerryd Bayless, who somehow turned into Jarrett Jack, Josh McRoberts (DRINK!) and Brandon Rush?

Honestly, you have to feel a little sorry for this team.  They are most definitely a storied franchise, what with winning three ABA Championships before their jump to the NBA.  In the Association, they’d kept that winning spirit going, advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals five times and even making it to the NBA Finals once.  Plus, this is INDIANA we’re talking about: home of the Hoosiers, legitimate down-and-dirty high school basketball, Hinkle Fieldhouse, and some of the greatest college basketball fans on earth (unless you’re from Purdue.  Sorry, KC is a Hoosier alum.  DRINK! for the obvious bias, and also because she said so, and also for Robbie Hummel).  So, if you’re from Indiana or simply admire the state’s intrinsic connection to basketball, hearing rumors of the team moving is more than disconcerting … it’s downright depressing.

Key Departures

Earl Watson, Troy Murphy (DRINK!)

Ok, let’s skip over Earl Watson. Sorry.  The guy is just not a factor, and plus, he doesn’t help us drink. Troy Murphy (DRINK!) was a big part of Indiana’s game last year (14.6 ppg, 10.6 rpg). He’s one of the only power forwards we can think of in the NBA that can hit 3-pointers with consistency and still nab 10+ boards a night (oh yeah … also, Kevin Love.  DRINK!). Cleveland made the wrong move last year in pursuing Jamison, they should’ve targeted Murphy (DRINK! heh) instead.

Key Additions

Paul George, Lance Stephenson, Darren Collison, James Posey, a much-improved Roy Hibbert.

At one point, Lance Stephenson was the best player coming out of high school.  But like most of the recent New York product PGs, “Born Ready” can’t seem to stay on the right side of the law (DRINK!).  After a promising preseason game, he went home and done threw his girlfriend down a flight of stairs.  This is what we call “pulling an Elijah Dukes.”  And it is not smart.  We ain’t even bullshittin’.

Paul George might turn out to be an absolute beast if he can live up to his potential (DRINK! weeee are you drunk yet?).  This might very well be the first legit player Larry Bird (DRINK!) has drafted since he took over the GM job.  Wait, no, make that the second … Roy Hibbert is looking like the center Indiana was hoping he’d become.

James Posey was nothing but a throw-in, New Orleans didn’t want him and naturally, Indiana didn’t want him.  BUT, Indiana really wanted Darren Collison so they bit the bullet and took on Posey’s albatross contract.  Darren Collison showed the world his skill set last year when Chris Paul was injured and Larry Bird (DRINK!) was sold on Collison’s potential (DRINK!).  Darren could actually turn out to be an 18-and-8 player this year for the Pacers.

Conclusion

Indiana needs a basketball team.  Not just any team, no, they need the goddamn PACERS and they need them to start winning games like, now.  It’s seriously the only way this team can pull out of such sticky financial woes and keep the franchise in Indiana.  It has to happen this year and with this roster.  Reggie Miller ain’t walkin’ in through that door.  Rik Smits (DRINK!) and Dale Davis ain’t walkin’ in through that door.  The burden lies with everyone involved to put points on the board, W’s on the schedule and people back in Area 55.

If the Pacers can get these youngsters to mesh and Danny Granger can play at an All-Star level, they have a good shot of taking that 8th seed out East.  It’s that simple.  Granger can straight-out ball.  Hibbert spent his offseason with Bill Walton (DRINK!), a man who had endless moves and dominant defense.  I am expecting big things this year.  KC is expecting big things this year.  Larry Bird (DRINK!) is expecting big things.  And damnit, Indiana is expecting big things.

The time is now for this team because if they don’t find themselves still on the court into May, they just might find themselves playing in a different city come next year.  And that just won’t do.

Fun Stuff

We have taken 24 shots during this preview. YEAAAAYUHHH!

Calling it now: Indiana will take the 8th seed out East. (Sorry, Cleveland)

Roy Hibbert WILL BE AN ALL-STAR

Twitter@hoya2apacer, @8pts9secs, @indycornrows

Web: http://www.indycornrows.com, http://www.eightpointsnineseconds.com/

-KC and @Suga_Shane

MIKE DUNLEAVY JR. (DRINK!)

NBA OFF-SEASON PREVIEW: CHICAGO BULLS
“The best offense is a good defense.”
The above quote, which I’m sure none of you have heard used before, was perhaps the go-to mantra for my coach throughout my brief stint in YMCA pee-wee basketball (3rd – 5th grade, what’s up now?!).  Egregious clichés and unnecessary authorial nostalgia aside … this phrase proves incredibly applicable regarding the fledgling Thibodeau-era Bulls, for reasons both intelligible and nebulous – but all of which should resurrect *some* of that 1990s Windy City basketball pride.  
CH-CH-CH-CH-CHANGES (tuuuurn, and face the strange)
While they didn’t have the offseason publicity of certain teams which-shall-not-be-named, the Bulls saw a myriad of roster changes and, perhaps most notably, said hello to a first-time NBA head-coach in Tom Thibodeau, whose specialty as an assistant coach in Boston was (duh) producing defensive ninjarobots, most clearly evidenced in the 2007-08 Celtics squad.  With Chicago, Thibs inherits defensive beasts Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson (the former averaging 11 RPG in 2009-10), Derrick Rose, the 22-year-old All-Star PG (the first All-Star Bull since #23) who has become the unquestioned team leader for all his lack of professional experience, a solid but injury-prone Luol Deng, and a noticeably more in-shape James Johnson (likely from those off-season workouts with Scottie Pippen, heyooo).  Add to that eight new faces (including basically half of the Utah Jazz) and the word “chemistry” takes on an exasperatingly redundant meaning for Bulls fans.
“Winning brings team chemistry … I expect our chemistry to be very good.”  -Tom Thibodeau
Last season, da Bulls ranked 10th in defensive efficiency.  Under Vinny Del Negro (seriously!).   On the offensive end of that spectrum … they finished dead-last in the Central Division.  To counteract such pick-and-roll-induced horror, Thibodeau has introduced a motion offense, which is not only more exciting to watch but allows the squad to exercise their newfound depth.  And hopefully, surpass a 41-win season.
I plan on a more detailed review after this first game — and as a lifelong Bulls fan, I promise equal parts historical bias and unrelentingly hopeless optimism — but IMO, three things need to happen to make a deep playoff run viable for Chicago:
1) Rose needs another All-Star caliber season; 2) As their best low-post scoring threat in recent memory, Carlos Boozer needs to come back strong and stay that way; 3) The team MUST buy into Thibodeau’s defense.  That’s perhaps the most important to keep in mind … not only for a playoff berth, but simply to remain contenders in their division.  
After all, they’re relatively untested … and a team without chemistry is a team without wins.  Right, Thibs?  RIGHT?!?
-KC

NBA OFF-SEASON PREVIEW: CHICAGO BULLS

“The best offense is a good defense.”

The above quote, which I’m sure none of you have heard used before, was perhaps the go-to mantra for my coach throughout my brief stint in YMCA pee-wee basketball (3rd – 5th grade, what’s up now?!).  Egregious clichés and unnecessary authorial nostalgia aside … this phrase proves incredibly applicable regarding the fledgling Thibodeau-era Bulls, for reasons both intelligible and nebulous – but all of which should resurrect *some* of that 1990s Windy City basketball pride.  

CH-CH-CH-CH-CHANGES 
(tuuuurn, and face the strange)

While they didn’t have the offseason publicity of certain teams which-shall-not-be-named, the Bulls saw a myriad of roster changes and, perhaps most notably, said hello to a first-time NBA head-coach in Tom Thibodeau, whose specialty as an assistant coach in Boston was (duh) producing defensive ninjarobots, most clearly evidenced in the 2007-08 Celtics squad.  With Chicago, Thibs inherits defensive beasts Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson (the former averaging 11 RPG in 2009-10), Derrick Rose, the 22-year-old All-Star PG (the first All-Star Bull since #23) who has become the unquestioned team leader for all his lack of professional experience, a solid but injury-prone Luol Deng, and a noticeably more in-shape James Johnson (likely from those off-season workouts with Scottie Pippen, heyooo).  Add to that eight new faces (including basically half of the Utah Jazz) and the word “chemistry” takes on an exasperatingly redundant meaning for Bulls fans.

“Winning brings team chemistry … I expect our chemistry to be very good.”  
-Tom Thibodeau

Last season, da Bulls ranked 10th in defensive efficiency.  Under Vinny Del Negro (seriously!).   On the offensive end of that spectrum … they finished dead-last in the Central Division.  To counteract such pick-and-roll-induced horror, Thibodeau has introduced a motion offense, which is not only more exciting to watch but allows the squad to exercise their newfound depth.  And hopefully, surpass a 41-win season.

I plan on a more detailed review after this first game — and as a lifelong Bulls fan, I promise equal parts historical bias and unrelentingly hopeless optimism — but IMO, three things need to happen to make a deep playoff run viable for Chicago:

1) Rose needs another All-Star caliber season;
2) As their best low-post scoring threat in recent memory, Carlos Boozer needs to come back strong and stay that way;
3) The team MUST buy into Thibodeau’s defense.  That’s perhaps the most important to keep in mind … not only for a playoff berth, but simply to remain contenders in their division.  

After all, they’re relatively untested … and a team without chemistry is a team without wins.  Right, Thibs?  RIGHT?!?

-KC

NBA Off-Season Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

The 2009-10 Minnesota Timberwolves were a bad team. They went 15-67, which was the second-worst record in the league. New coach Kurt Rambis installed the triangle offense, a bad fit for his team, who struggled to defend, rebound, or shoot from the outside. GM David Kahn turned over half the roster after the season, dumping his best player, Al Jefferson, finding some athletic wings to play the triangle, and taking a flyer on the much-maligned Michael Beasley and Darko Milicic. He also signed a European center, dumped both of last summer’s free agents, and sent Ricky Rubio approximately three hundred text messages saying “I MISS U.”

The results? The small forwards look better. Martell Webster, Wesley Johnson, and occasionally Michael Beasley will take minutes that were going to Sasha Pavlovic and Damien Wilkins last year. Luke Ridnour replaces Ramon Sessions, who was a bad fit for the triangle (unfortunately, so is Jonny Flynn). The new bigs should get rebounds, if nothing else. Kevin Love is still the team’s best outside shooter, and there’s still no one in the rotation who especially plays defense. The team should be significantly more watchable than last year’s abomination, and they’ve got three first-round picks next year. Unfortunately, David Kahn will still be making those picks.

Minnesota is a much more acceptable basketball team, but have they really built a foundation for a future playoff team? They’re waiting for Ricky Rubio to come over from Spain, but besides Rubio, who on this roster projects to be a star? Love could make an All-Star game down the road. They got rid of Jefferson to clear space for Love, then traded for Beasley, a top pick who plays Love’s position. Regarding Jonny Flynn’s rookie season, John Hollinger said, “As disappointing as he was offensively, he was worse on defense.” Wesley Johnson was a lottery pick, but he’s 23 years old.

Are You Older Than A Wesley Johnson?

Wesley Johnson was born on July 11, 1987, making him almost 23 at the time of the draft, fairly old for such a high pick. He’s eight months younger than teammate Martell Webster. He’s 14 months older than Kevin Love, and 18 months older than Michael Beasley. He’s three months older than Wayne Ellington. Darko Milicic is a seven-year veteran, and he’s only two years older than Johnson. Mike Conley, Jr. was the #4 pick in the 2007 draft. Conley is already considered a bust, and he’s three months younger than Johnson.

My friend and I like to play a game where we name a basketball player or celebrity, and have to guess if that person is still younger than Wesley Johnson. John Wall is more than three years younger. So is DeMarcus Cousins. So is Ricky Rubio. Xavier Henry, picked eight slots behind Johnson, is nearly four years younger. Haley Joel Osment is eight months younger than Johnson. Hilary Duff is three months younger. The Olsen twins are only a year older than Johnson. Rihanna is seven months younger.

All this doesn’t mean that Wesley Johnson can’t be a good player. But it does mean that what you see from Johnson this year is pretty close to what you’re ever going to get from him.

What Did the T-Wolves Get For Kevin Garnett?

Originally, Minnesota sent Kevin Garnett to the Celtics for Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff, Sebastian Telfair, a 2009 first round draft pick and a return of their own 2009 first round draft pick.

  • Jefferson turned into Kosta Koufos and two lottery-protected 2011 first-rounders (from Utah and Memphis). They better get value out of their three 2011 picks, because the 2012 pick will be going to the Clippers. Minnesota also has no future second-rounders until 2014.
  • Gomes was traded (with Luke Babbitt, obtained for the Ty Lawson pick) for Martell Webster.
  • Theo Ratliff was waived for salary relief.
  • Sebatian Telfair and two others were swapped to the Clippers for Quentin Richardson, who was flipped for Mark Blount, who never joined the team.
  • The Wolves’ own pick became Jonny Flynn.

Effectively, the Wolves got three years of Al Jefferson, plus Jonny Flynn, Kousta Koufos, and two draft picks for Garnett. Also of note: the Wolves are manning the center position with Koufos, Darko, and Nikola Peckovic, which represents the biggest whitewash since Tom Sawyer’s days doing chores. It seems like the plan is to blind opposing big men with the glare coming off of their skin.

Fun fact!

Kosta Koufos was born in America!

David Kahn Loves Point Guards

Even though David Kahn has only been on the job for a year and a half, he has acquired seven different point guards in that time. The list:

  • Ricky Rubio
  • Jonny Flynn
  • Ramon Sessions
  • Ty Lawson (immediately traded)
  • Sebastian Telfair
  • Luke Ridnour
  • Delonte West (waived)

David Kahn: point guards :: Billy Knight: swingmen :: Imelda Marcos: shoes

Prediction

The Wolves would have a better chance in a less-competitive division, but they wouldn’t make the playoffs no matter where they were. I predict that Minnesota returns to the high lottery, where David Kahn will select another point guard.

(Sean Keane)

NBA OFF SEASON PREVIEW: ORLANDO MAGIC

After being the blog fave last season for winning the title (how we failed you, internet!) the Magic have still got their eyes on the prize this season, especially with their potential new state rivals and possible division champs in the Miami Heat looking to take it away from them. Not to mention the Boston Celtics, who defeated the Magic last season to advance to the finals, picked up some dudes as well. Needless to say, the Orlando Magic have some (good) competition this year in the East.

When they made their way to the finals in 2009, the world was exposed to their formula for pick-and-rolls and perimeter shooters, as well as Dwight Howard's dominance in the paint both offensively and defensively. In the 2009-2010 off-season, they made improvements in substituting Hedo “Pizza Party” Turkoglu for Vince “Half Man, Half Retired” Carter, as well as the addition of Matt Barnes, Brandon Bass, Jason Williams, and Ryan Anderson. On paper, the Magic were stacked. But due to Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis, and at-times Jameer Nelson failing to step up, the Magic never really managed to find that same dynamic which worked for them in ‘09 with this new lineup.

This season with Matt Barnes going to the Lakers and joining Ron Artest to form the NBA’s version of the Bash Brothers, Stan Van Gundy and GM Otis Smith made a few additions to make sure their team would not lose the intensity Barnes provided. In addition to drafting rookie Daniel Orton, they acquired Quentin Richardson, Malik Allen, and moved Rashard Lewis to Small Forward while playing Marcin Gortat or Brandon Bass as Power Forward for an extra swoll lineup. Oh and yeah, Chris Duhon is also in the team now. 

In a word, the 2010-2011 Orlando Magic can be described as: LEAN.

As if Dwight could get any leaner. During the off-season, Howard worked out with The Dream, Hakeem Olajuwon and picked up a few post moves. Most notable was *gasp* a jump shot which Dwight has been incorporating each game and to his credit, they have been going in. Dwight is also in no-nonsene mode this season as he is keeping his goofy grins and on-court antics to a minimum. Expect the same defensive domination, only with an improved offensive game, and less smiles.

Vince Carter also went through some improvements, shooting just over 60% from the field and averaging close to 18 pts a game in the pre-season. This is also Vince’s contract year so maybe he’ll play the career of his life. Or maybe he’ll get hurt. Or maybe he’s Vince Carter and he already peaked when he dunked over that Euro dude 10 years ago.

Rashard Lewis’s game is also leaner. Now that he’s switched positions he’s camping out at the three less, and driving to the hoop more. For being the highest (over)paid player on the team ($63 mil!), he should have been doing this all along. Simply put: Rashard Lewis needs to step up. 

JJ Redick is also leaner and has time to flex while driving because he’s sitting on a nice $20m contract. The Magic signed him and without hesitation JJ’s already buying $40 coffees in Portland during the off-season.

Quentin Richardson also got leaner. Since GM Otis Smith is not a fan of headbands, QRich got a lot more leaner in the forehead area. QRich’s three-point shooting fits in nicely with the Magic’s system and now that Rashard Lewis will be more of a slasher, Q can camp out at the three as much as he wants. (head bump)

Rookie Daniel Orton is also eating apples to get leaner this season. It’s hard to tell if he will be getting any minutes but at least he’s entertaining off the court.

Even coach Stan Van Gundy got leaner this off-season

KEY ADDITIONS:

Marcin Gortat’s mohawk

New Amway arena

New black uniforms (lean and mean)

KEY DEPARTURES

  • Matt Barnes
  • Stan Van Gundy’s signature mock turtlenecks

MISTAKES

  • Signing Chris Duhon

(Mark)

NBA OFF SEASON PREVIEW: DETROIT PISTONS
The Detroit Pistons are flat. They are a flat team, a flat franchise playing in a city littered with flat tires, in a country with a flat economy, “discovered” by a genocidal explorer who proved the world was round. (okay now watch this) —> LIKE A BASKETBALL IS! <—
Since their ‘05 loss to the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals the Detroit Pistons have been rebuilding on the fly. Maybe you can do that if you have a top 10 player to build around, but the Pistons won as a team. It’s what was endearing about their 2004 championship. They were a Jenga tower. Pull away one piece and the entire thing collapses.

Of course the Pistons still have some of those pieces, but they’d fit so much nicer on other teams. The experience and skill of players like Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince seem like deadline trades waiting to happen. And isn’t it kind of sad that the Pistons best rebounder is still Ben Wallace?

The Pistons need to let go of the past. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault. Actually it is your fault: Billups for Iverson? What was that?
They need a jolt of something. Maybe the reported Miki Ilitch purchase of the team will breath new life. Especially if he moves the team out of the suburbs back into Detroit proper, as it should be. Whatever has to happen ought to happen.
Key Additions

I can only assume the Pistons signed Tracy McGrady over the offseason for the same reason the Knicks traded for him. To keep cap space free and try and maybe catch big sleep in a bottle. Well done. Mcgrady’s questionable legs and droopy eyed on court demeanor will only add to the wane in enthusiasm in Auburn Hills.

The more optimistic addition is the 6-11 rookie Greg Monroe. He’s not the typical Georgetown big man. He has an almost European game, pick and popping rather than rolls to the basket, but he could fare well in a guard heavy offense that likes to spread the court.
Conclusion
Welcome to the Office of Redundancy office. Has anyone else checked out the Pistons roster? It’s like Noah’s Ark, two of everything. Richard Hamilton and Ben Gordon? Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum? Austin Daye and Tayshaun Prince? Chris Wilcox and Jason Maxiell? That John Mason echo effect must have gone to Dumars head.
The Pistons are a 30-win team at best. No playoffs. But The Dirtbombs are still an awesome band. They should play at halftime.
Predictions and Fun Facts
Someone on this roster gets traded. It has to happen. This team makes no sense.
Ben Gordon joined the British Olympic team.
In 2008 Will Bynum hit a man with his car outside of a Tel Aviv nightclub. Courts later ruled Bynum was in tangible danger at the time.
Joe Dumars is still underrated.
The Pistons held tryouts for a new rooting section called the “Pistons Power Plant.”
Twiiter: @Adaye5
Sites: DetroitBadBoys, PistonsPost
[SlapClap]

NBA OFF SEASON PREVIEW: DETROIT PISTONS

The Detroit Pistons are flat. They are a flat team, a flat franchise playing in a city littered with flat tires, in a country with a flat economy, “discovered” by a genocidal explorer who proved the world was round. (okay now watch this) —> LIKE A BASKETBALL IS! <—

Since their ‘05 loss to the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals the Detroit Pistons have been rebuilding on the fly. Maybe you can do that if you have a top 10 player to build around, but the Pistons won as a team. It’s what was endearing about their 2004 championship. They were a Jenga tower. Pull away one piece and the entire thing collapses.

Of course the Pistons still have some of those pieces, but they’d fit so much nicer on other teams. The experience and skill of players like Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince seem like deadline trades waiting to happen. And isn’t it kind of sad that the Pistons best rebounder is still Ben Wallace?

The Pistons need to let go of the past. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault. Actually it is your fault: Billups for Iverson? What was that?

They need a jolt of something. Maybe the reported Miki Ilitch purchase of the team will breath new life. Especially if he moves the team out of the suburbs back into Detroit proper, as it should be. Whatever has to happen ought to happen.

Key Additions

I can only assume the Pistons signed Tracy McGrady over the offseason for the same reason the Knicks traded for him. To keep cap space free and try and maybe catch big sleep in a bottle. Well done. Mcgrady’s questionable legs and droopy eyed on court demeanor will only add to the wane in enthusiasm in Auburn Hills.

The more optimistic addition is the 6-11 rookie Greg Monroe. He’s not the typical Georgetown big man. He has an almost European game, pick and popping rather than rolls to the basket, but he could fare well in a guard heavy offense that likes to spread the court.

Conclusion

Welcome to the Office of Redundancy office. Has anyone else checked out the Pistons roster? It’s like Noah’s Ark, two of everything. Richard Hamilton and Ben Gordon? Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum? Austin Daye and Tayshaun Prince? Chris Wilcox and Jason Maxiell? That John Mason echo effect must have gone to Dumars head.

The Pistons are a 30-win team at best. No playoffs. But The Dirtbombs are still an awesome band. They should play at halftime.

Predictions and Fun Facts

  • Someone on this roster gets traded. It has to happen. This team makes no sense.
  • Ben Gordon joined the British Olympic team.
  • In 2008 Will Bynum hit a man with his car outside of a Tel Aviv nightclub. Courts later ruled Bynum was in tangible danger at the time.
  • Joe Dumars is still underrated.

[SlapClap]

    NBA OFF SEASON PREVIEW: PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
Fitting isn&#8217;t it that 76ers head coach Doug Collins already has a head injury? That&#8217;s what happens when you don&#8217;t pay attention while Andre Iguodola is shooting threes.
If you want something pretty go watch the Grand Canyon or Selita Ebanks in that Kanye movie.  Philadelphia - or &#8220;Illadelphia&#8221; if you&#8217;re Will Smith probably - is not a  pretty situation heading into the season. A lot of faith in positive  thinking. Like if Iguodola and Elton Brand both have career years, and second overall pick Evan Turner outperforms his subpar summer league and preseason, then maybe Philly can compete for the ninth seed in the playoffs.
What do you mean there&#8217;s no ninth seed?

Selita Ebanks in that Kanye movie.
Key Departures
They lose center Samuel Dalembert to Sacramento and replace him with backup center Spencer Hawes.

Aaaand  it just got cold in here. What happened? I mean REALLY cold. Like my  soul is being judged. Is Spencer Hawes one of those &#8216;eternal names thou  shalt not speak under peril of eternal damnation&#8217; dealies? Because if it  is you guys have GOT to warn me about that stuff. 
Key Additions

Obviously, the big addition is Turner and so far early returns have  not been all together positive. Turner showed up out of shape in summer  league and has played catch up ever since, not cracking the starting  lineup on opening night. The good news is that, as I said, these returns  are super early. Quite a way to go before we know about Evan Turner.
Honestly, the 76er&#8217;s best move may have been in the front office. In August Rod Thorn was introduced as new team president, with a proven track record of  rebuilding both with the Nets and when he drafted Michael something for  the Chicago Bulls. Jorban? Michael Jorban.
Conclusion

No  playoffs. This is a team waiting for a new CBA before it makes any  waves, but Elton Brand has a nice bounce back year and the Iguodola  situation gets less cloudy as he switches from &#8220;franchise player&#8221; to &#8220;a  piece.&#8221;
Predictions &amp; Fun Facts
Doug Collins will go nowhere even near a TNT game this year.
Jrue Holiday will change his name to Jrueish Holiday.
The Nocioni eyes respect and stares it down each and every time.
Try to keep Jason Kapono out of a 3-point competition. It&#8217;s why he plays!
Turner went to St. Joseph&#8217;s Academy in Chicago. The same high school as Isiah Thomas and William Gates from the movie Hoop Dreams.
Twitter: @AI9, @thekidet, @SoyElChapu
[SlapClap]

    NBA OFF SEASON PREVIEW: PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

    Fitting isn’t it that 76ers head coach Doug Collins already has a head injury? That’s what happens when you don’t pay attention while Andre Iguodola is shooting threes.

    If you want something pretty go watch the Grand Canyon or Selita Ebanks in that Kanye movie. Philadelphia - or “Illadelphia” if you’re Will Smith probably - is not a pretty situation heading into the season. A lot of faith in positive thinking. Like if Iguodola and Elton Brand both have career years, and second overall pick Evan Turner outperforms his subpar summer league and preseason, then maybe Philly can compete for the ninth seed in the playoffs.

    What do you mean there’s no ninth seed?

    Selita Ebanks in that Kanye movie.

    Key Departures

    They lose center Samuel Dalembert to Sacramento and replace him with backup center Spencer Hawes.

    Aaaand it just got cold in here. What happened? I mean REALLY cold. Like my soul is being judged. Is Spencer Hawes one of those ‘eternal names thou shalt not speak under peril of eternal damnation’ dealies? Because if it is you guys have GOT to warn me about that stuff. 

    Key Additions

    Obviously, the big addition is Turner and so far early returns have not been all together positive. Turner showed up out of shape in summer league and has played catch up ever since, not cracking the starting lineup on opening night. The good news is that, as I said, these returns are super early. Quite a way to go before we know about Evan Turner.

    Honestly, the 76er’s best move may have been in the front office. In August Rod Thorn was introduced as new team president, with a proven track record of rebuilding both with the Nets and when he drafted Michael something for the Chicago Bulls. Jorban? Michael Jorban.

    Conclusion

    No playoffs. This is a team waiting for a new CBA before it makes any waves, but Elton Brand has a nice bounce back year and the Iguodola situation gets less cloudy as he switches from “franchise player” to “a piece.”

    Predictions & Fun Facts

    • Doug Collins will go nowhere even near a TNT game this year.
    • Jrue Holiday will change his name to Jrueish Holiday.
    • The Nocioni eyes respect and stares it down each and every time.
    • Try to keep Jason Kapono out of a 3-point competition. It’s why he plays!
    • Turner went to St. Joseph’s Academy in Chicago. The same high school as Isiah Thomas and William Gates from the movie Hoop Dreams.

    [SlapClap]

    NBA OFF SEASON PREVIEW: THE NEW YORK KNICKERBOCKERS
In nine years there have been four playoff games in Madison Square Garden. FOUR. That&#8217;s as many Olympic games as Knicks home games. New York is a basketball town in a basketball coma.
In previous years the Knicks have been little more than a team of horrible contracts not passing the ball to each other. Of course all of that was destined to change this summer. After two years of unraveling the Isiah era fans held bated breath counting down to free agency. It stirred old echoes in the world&#8217;s most famous arena. Any excuse to feel something about anything, even if it was Tracy McGrady.

When the Knicks failed to sign LeBron it was hard not to expect outright misery, but fans proved either too smart or too desperate for that. Instead they realized the Knicks did sign, arguably, the third best free agent on the market. They signed a big man with the most talent wearing the uniform since Patrick Ewing. They signed a guy who, on the day he arrived, proclaimed to the press &#8220;The Knicks are back.&#8221;

New Yorkers know that Amare Stoudemire is not LeBron James, but they also know LeBron James is not a New Yorker. He didn&#8217;t want to be in New York, and it&#8217;s the arrogance of New York to see rejection as the other person&#8217;s folly. &#8220;LeBron don&#8217;t want us? Well guess what? WE DON&#8217;T WANT LEBRON!" And so on.

Meanwhile Amare seems meant for New York. Could Donnie Walsh have known? He&#8217;s taking in SoHo, making the rounds at Fashion Week, embracing multiculturalism, even his bohemian side. He plays hard, speaks with an edge, wants to be a leader. Most of all though he wants to be a New Yorker.
The Knicks finally have a team. They are latching on to hope, and not just any old hope. They are dragging at the feet of Shepard Fairey HOPE this year.

Key Departures
Everybody?
Key Additions
Everybody?
Actually there are four holdovers from last season&#8217;s roster: Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Bill Walker, and Toney Douglas. The biggest addition after Amare is Raymond Felton. While Felton isn&#8217;t underrated he may be undervalued. He was point guard on a national championship team, survived Larry Brown&#8217;s offense intact, and led an over achieving Charlotte team to a seventh seed in last years playoffs.

The other key adds come from the David Lee sign and trade: Ronny Turiaf, Kelenna Azubuike, and Anthony Randolph. Azubuike starts the year hurt, but Turiaf&#8217;s hair and hustle seem destined to make him a Garden favorite. Randolph&#8217;s worth is TBD. He&#8217;s all upside right now. Lets just say this. If he, and his expiring contract, get sent to Denver this year his upside will have been tremendous.
The Knicks also quietly signed Spurs shooting guard Roger Mason Jr., a surprisingly shrewd move by a front office not known for them.
Indeed, two overlooked offseason moves may prove the shrewdest. Most noticeable is Timofey Mozgov a lean, soft touch 7-feet left-hander from Russia. Mozgov turned heads in the preseason, working his way into Mike D&#8217;Antoni&#8217;s starting line up. His problem is foul trouble but if he stays on the court, keeping Amare at the 4, his value will be tremendous.
A more minor addition is 2nd round draft pick Landry Fields from Stanford. Fields is a swing player who led the Pac-10 in scoring and turned heads in summer league, and he may have played himself into D&#8217;Antoni&#8217;s rotation.
Conclusion

I&#8217;m high on the Knicks. I should point out &#8220;high on the Knicks&#8221; means an 8th seed. There seems to me an irrational pessimism about New York&#8217;s playoff chances this year, but they added a top 10 scorer and a top 15 point guard. The team has good locker room guys playing for a player&#8217;s coach in front of a very invested fan base. With all the new pieces it may be a slow start but give it some time. They&#8217;ll be seeing Miami, or Orlando, or Boston in the first round this spring. And you know what that means? Six playoff games in ten years! CHA-CHING!
Unless of course…. keep on big city dreaming New York.
Predictions &amp; Fun Facts:
Tickets for the Knicks annual open practice at Madison Square Garden sold out in two hours.
These kids are Knicks fans. 
In the &#8216;92 biography &#8220;Woody Allen&#8221; the filmmaker and longtime Knicks fan says his favorite current basketball player is Isiah Thomas, whom he calls &#8220;a latter-day Earl Monroe.&#8221;
Fun Fact Sad Fact: the movie Eddie.
Timofey Mozgov will have a better rookie season than Derrick Favors.
Carmelo will be a Knick.
Trent Tucker had a Gilbert Arenas beard and wasn&#8217;t so sad about it.
Key Twitter Accounts: @Amareisreal, @gallinari8888
Sites: NY Mag, therealkingfish, The World&#8217;s Most Famous Blog
[SlapClap]

    NBA OFF SEASON PREVIEW: THE NEW YORK KNICKERBOCKERS

    In nine years there have been four playoff games in Madison Square Garden. FOUR. That’s as many Olympic games as Knicks home games. New York is a basketball town in a basketball coma.

    In previous years the Knicks have been little more than a team of horrible contracts not passing the ball to each other. Of course all of that was destined to change this summer. After two years of unraveling the Isiah era fans held bated breath counting down to free agency. It stirred old echoes in the world’s most famous arena. Any excuse to feel something about anything, even if it was Tracy McGrady.

    When the Knicks failed to sign LeBron it was hard not to expect outright misery, but fans proved either too smart or too desperate for that. Instead they realized the Knicks did sign, arguably, the third best free agent on the market. They signed a big man with the most talent wearing the uniform since Patrick Ewing. They signed a guy who, on the day he arrived, proclaimed to the press “The Knicks are back.”

    New Yorkers know that Amare Stoudemire is not LeBron James, but they also know LeBron James is not a New Yorker. He didn’t want to be in New York, and it’s the arrogance of New York to see rejection as the other person’s folly. “LeBron don’t want us? Well guess what? WE DON’T WANT LEBRON!" And so on.

    Meanwhile Amare seems meant for New York. Could Donnie Walsh have known? He’s taking in SoHo, making the rounds at Fashion Week, embracing multiculturalism, even his bohemian side. He plays hard, speaks with an edge, wants to be a leader. Most of all though he wants to be a New Yorker.

    The Knicks finally have a team. They are latching on to hope, and not just any old hope. They are dragging at the feet of Shepard Fairey HOPE this year.

    Key Departures

    Everybody?

    Key Additions

    Everybody?

    Actually there are four holdovers from last season’s roster: Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Bill Walker, and Toney Douglas. The biggest addition after Amare is Raymond Felton. While Felton isn’t underrated he may be undervalued. He was point guard on a national championship team, survived Larry Brown’s offense intact, and led an over achieving Charlotte team to a seventh seed in last years playoffs.

    The other key adds come from the David Lee sign and trade: Ronny Turiaf, Kelenna Azubuike, and Anthony Randolph. Azubuike starts the year hurt, but Turiaf’s hair and hustle seem destined to make him a Garden favorite. Randolph’s worth is TBD. He’s all upside right now. Lets just say this. If he, and his expiring contract, get sent to Denver this year his upside will have been tremendous.

    The Knicks also quietly signed Spurs shooting guard Roger Mason Jr., a surprisingly shrewd move by a front office not known for them.

    Indeed, two overlooked offseason moves may prove the shrewdest. Most noticeable is Timofey Mozgov a lean, soft touch 7-feet left-hander from Russia. Mozgov turned heads in the preseason, working his way into Mike D’Antoni’s starting line up. His problem is foul trouble but if he stays on the court, keeping Amare at the 4, his value will be tremendous.

    A more minor addition is 2nd round draft pick Landry Fields from Stanford. Fields is a swing player who led the Pac-10 in scoring and turned heads in summer league, and he may have played himself into D’Antoni’s rotation.

    Conclusion

    I’m high on the Knicks. I should point out “high on the Knicks” means an 8th seed. There seems to me an irrational pessimism about New York’s playoff chances this year, but they added a top 10 scorer and a top 15 point guard. The team has good locker room guys playing for a player’s coach in front of a very invested fan base. With all the new pieces it may be a slow start but give it some time. They’ll be seeing Miami, or Orlando, or Boston in the first round this spring. And you know what that means? Six playoff games in ten years! CHA-CHING!

    Unless of course…. keep on big city dreaming New York.

    Predictions & Fun Facts:

    • Tickets for the Knicks annual open practice at Madison Square Garden sold out in two hours.
    • In the ‘92 biography “Woody Allen” the filmmaker and longtime Knicks fan says his favorite current basketball player is Isiah Thomas, whom he calls “a latter-day Earl Monroe.”
    • Fun Fact Sad Fact: the movie Eddie.
    • Timofey Mozgov will have a better rookie season than Derrick Favors.
    • Carmelo will be a Knick.
    • Trent Tucker had a Gilbert Arenas beard and wasn’t so sad about it.

    [SlapClap]

    NBA OFF SEASON PREVIEW: WASHINGTON WIZARDS



    Wizards’ fans be hopeful.  I know you endured a tumultuous year, but things are changing…



    John Wall has arrived, and lived up to all the hype.  ‘Dray appears to be healthy and MOTIVATED to improve.  JaVale McGee is the wildcard; we all know he can block shots and dunk on everyone in sight, but can he be consistent?  Yi is poised after dominating the FIBA tournament, but its questionable how much will carry over come October 26th.  I’m a fan of the addition of Kirk Hinrich.  He brings veteran leadership and a defensive presence that the team was lacking last year.  Josh Howard hasn’t said a word this whole off-season and the owner deemed him one of the team’s leaders.  Al Thornton avoided a possible career-ending car collision, and rookie Trevor Booker will NOT be punked.    

    Then there’s Gilbert Arenas.  I’m sure you’ve heard about his little fib, the beard fiasco and the awkward interview. Without question his mind seems to be elsewhere.  If depressed Gil continues on in Debbie Downer-mode, Washington has to seriously consider trading him and his apathetic brain.  I’m hopeful that he’ll at least give 2/5 of a shit once the season commences.  I guess we just have to wait and see.




    We all know the Wizards’ success hinges on the team’s continuity; especially the chemistry between Arenas and Wall.  Thus far in the preseason we’ve been witness to the quickness, intelligence and tenacity of Wall’s game.  He can flat out ball.  Yet with Gilbert out nursing an injured hammy (karma kills), it’s difficult to gauge how well the tandem will perform.  Luckily, they have a patient coach.  Flip Saunders has proved he can nurture a young team into a playoff contender (1999-2004 Minnesota Timberwolves).  I know they’ll improve greatly from last year’s debacle, filled with (real) injuries, miscues (Gil, I’m looking at you) and very little consistency.  The team is in good hands, as new owner Ted Leonsis has a knack for rebuilding lost franchises (he did so with the Capitals).  All I know is there will be a lot of ebb and flow in Washington this season.  The ride is going to be a bumpy one.

    Key Additions:

    • John Wall, Trevor Booker, Kirk Hinrich, Yi Jianlian’s “potential” & Adam Morrison’s useless soul.

    Key Subtractions:

    • Randy Foye, Mike Miller & the guts of Earl Boykins.

    Predicitions & Fun Facts:

    • Gil reveals his happy face.
    • Adam Morrison shaves his head.
    • Twitter: @MrMichaelLee @WashWizards @bigdaddywookie
    • Site: Truth About It
    • The Wizards win 30 games.

    - huhwhatandwhere

    NBA OFF SEASON PREVIEW: CHARLOTTE BOBCATS

    Any team coupling the spirit of Stephen Jackson with the coaching methods of Larry Brown has to be intriguing to watch.  You have to admit, it’s sort of impressive how they limped into the playoffs last year on their defensive ability alone (DRtg- 102.8, 1st).

    This upcoming 2010-11 season seems to hold the same amount of mystery as last year.  There wasn’t too much shuffling of the roster this summer.  The one glaring loss has to be at point guard, with Felton (Win Shares- 6.5) leaving for New Yawk.  Other than that, the core of the franchise remains in tact. 




    CRASH will be CRASH.  Jax is going to put up the usual 19, 5, 4.  Boris Diaw will flummox fantasy owners worldwide.  Coach Brown will shout defensive schemes until his diaphragm slowly deteriorates (I hope that doesn’t happen). Tyrus Thomas is going to finally become the Stromile Swift-like player we all KNOW he was meant to be.  Derrick Brown could turn into David West 2.0.  The rest is up to the basketball gods.

    Sounds fun, doesn’t it? 



    However, with an owner like Michael Jeffrey Jordan, mediocrity cannot be tolerated.  He knows better; the greatest expects greatness.  Thus, I expect them to barely miss out on nabbing that coveted 8th seed in the East.  The Knicks, Heat, Pacers, and Bucks all improved greatly in the off-season, while Charlotte stood pat.  Maybe it’s because I hate D.J. Augustin.



    Key Additions:
    Kwame Brown (?), Sherron Collins, Darius Miles (head bump).



    Key Subtractions:
    Raymond Felton, Raja Bell’s defensive presence & Tyson Chandler’s innate ability to finish alley-oops.

    Predictions & Fun Facts:

    • The ‘Cats win 40 games and miss the playoffs.
    • Kwame will be waived.
    • Nazr Mohammed starts at least 15 games at center.
    • Twitter: @bobcats @tythomas12 @NazrMohammed
    • Site: Queen City Hoops
    • D.J. Augustin makes me look bad.

    Stats via BasketballReference.com

    - huhwhatandwhere AKA: oakley&allen.

    NBA OFF SEASON PREVIEW: SACRAMENTO KINGS

    The Sacramento Kings are gritty. 

    With Reke Havoc (Tyreke Evans) leading the pack, Paul Westphal guiding, and the Maloof’s making moves, the franchise is headed in the right direction.  Last year they teased NBA fans everywhere, showing random glimpses into what the future holds.  This season, the Kings’ have a revamped front-court (Samuel Dalembert, DeMarcus Cousins, Hassan Whiteside), solid nucleus of talent (Carl Landry, Jason Thompson, Omri Casspi, Donte Green), and they’ve added depth via free-agency (Luther Head, Antoine Wright). 

    Defensively, they MUST improve.  The Kings ranked 22nd (105.3) in offensive efficiency and 20th (109.9) in defensive efficiency.  Newly acquired Samuel Dalembert should help out in that sector.  His arrival means  Carl Landry can slide over to his natural position as a power forward and destroy in the post.  Yet, in order to rise above the mediocrity, they must find an equilibrium.  Cousins has to control his inner diva and play basketball.  Next up is the backcourt.  Beno Udrih needs to understand his role as the main distributor and defend his ass off.  Tyreke Evans will continue to dominate as the team’s  scoring guard and maybe even improve his jumper (he worked on it this summer). Then there’s the wing; a serious glut of untapped potential.  

    Key Additions:

    • DeMarcus Cousins & his high school coach, Samuel Dalembert, Luther Head & Hassan Whiteside.

    Key Subtractions:

    • Jon Brockman, Andres Nocioni, Spencer Hawes & Kenny Thomas’ absurd contract.

    Predictions:

    • George Maloof gets in trouble with the law again.
    • Tyreke Evans hires a chauffeur to drive him everywhere.
    • Twitters: @SacramentoKings @Casspi18 @PoohJeter
    • Site: Cowbell Kingdom
    • DeMarcus Cousins averages 15 and 7.

    Stats via BasketballReference.com

    - bojacksonish

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