Friday, December 23, 2011

2011-12 NBA Off-season Review/Season Preview

This post will also be appearing at The Hardwood Courtroom (where it is also much prettier).  The Eastern Conference is written by myself (Canaan Christ), while the head man over at the Courtroom, Phil Welsh, covers the Western Conference.  Each team is given an off-season recap, a grade for their off-season, a projected record, and then a haiku to encapsulate a key component or components of the team.  Also, I added my projected records for each Western Conference team in parentheses alongside Phil's.  Enjoy, and have a nice holiday weekend.



Off-season Recap: The Hawks haven't made a significant off-season addition since trading for Jamal Crawford. The firm belief in Atlanta has been that the core of Al Horford, Joe Johnson, and Josh Smith will eventually develop into a championship contender, with no major additions needed. Marvin Williams is paid like he's part of that core, and his bloated salary forced the Hawks to wave goodbye to Crawford after two very successful seasons in Atlanta. Jeff Teague is being counted on to build on his promising series vs. the Bulls last spring and become the man at point, which he'll have to do considering Tracy McGrady is his lone backup with Kirk Hinrich sidelined following shoulder surgery. Vladimir Radmonivic was also brought in to provide three-point shooting.

Grade: C-

Projected Record: 41-25 (5th in the East)

Crawford cost too much
Hinrich hurt his shoulder
Teague must be the man

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ranking The Amnesty Moves (so far)

One of the big pieces of the NBA's new collective bargaining agreement was the return of the Amnesty Clause.  Called the Allan Houston Rule the first time it was implemented in 2005, the Amnesty Clause allows teams to use a one-time waiver that removes a player from their roster while also removing the player's salary from the hit against a team's salary cap space (ironically, the Knicks chose not to use the clause on Houston).  While the teams are still responsible for paying the remainder of a waived player's contract, albatross contracts that stymied payroll flexibility could be eliminated in a flash, granting owners and front offices that made crippling mistakes a reprieve.

Monday, December 12, 2011

NBA Transaction Round-Up: 12/12

This isn't every NBA transaction that's happened this past weekend, but just some that I found notable.  After getting burned by the Chris Paul non-trade, I've decided not to analyze a transaction until it's posted on the transactions page, which I assume means it's officially gone through the league office.  So, as of this writing, there won't be any thoughts on the David West signing, since it is not listed on the transaction page.

Toronto signs Jamaal Magloire, Aaron Gray, and Rasual Butler

None of these guys are going to make a huge difference, but Gray should at least provide replace some of the big man dirty work the departed Reggie Evans did, sans nut grabs.  That Gray is only getting a one-year deal is a testament to the fact that the NBA owners may finally be showing some restraint, since a seven-footer who showed the flashes of productivity Gray did in the playoffs last year used to be rewarded with 6-year, $30 million deals.  Magloire and Butler are fringe NBA players at this point, although Magloire does provide a little PR bump by becoming the first Canadian to play for the Raptors.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tyson Chandler, Iman Shumpert, and the Knicks' Commitment to the Four Seed

When Donnie Walsh undertook the epic feat of clearing the blight of the Isiah Thomas Era following his arrival in New York in the spring of 2008, it is doubtful that his ultimate goal was to re-bloat the Knicks' payroll with a collection of flawed "superstars," overburdened young role players, and past-their-prime vets eagerly gobbling up the league minimum salaries that the Knicks offer.  Unfortunately for the Madison Square Garden faithful, that's exactly where the Knicks find themselves following the sign-and-trade for Tyson Chandler and the unceremonious waiving of Chauncey Billups.

Friday, December 09, 2011

NBA Transaction Analysis: 12/9

Los Angeles Lakers acquire Chris Paul; New Orleans Hornets acquire Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, and Goran Dragic; Houston Rockets acquire Pau Gasol

For the Lakers: I don't know how they managed to get Paul without parting with Andrew Bynum, but bravo.  Dwight Howard's move to LA is now inevitable, and will give the NBA a fourth power trio (to go along with Boston, Miami, and New York (which I'll get to later)).  Until Dwight is in purple and gold, though, I can't say I see this being a rousing success for the Lakers.  Chris Paul is one of the five or six best players in the league, and on paper, adding him to a backcourt that already has Kobe Bryant should be a slam dunk.  However, both Kobe and CP3 are at peak operating efficiency with the ball in their hands.  Can Kobe add and develop a Reggie Miller/Ray Allen catch-and-shoot skill set and (more importantly) mentality while Paul runs the show?  Can Paul become Derek Fisher times 1000 while Kobe does his thing on the wing?  And what exactly are the Lakers going to do up front?  As it stands right now, Derrick Caracter is the only power forward on the roster (although his salary isn't guaranteed), so unless Mike Brown wants to go small ball with Metta World Peace at the 4 and the newly signed Jason Kopono or Matt Barnes at the 3, Caracter is about to get a big-time promotion.  None of this speculation really matters, of course, since Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu (I'm assuming any deal involving Dwight will also have to involve Hedo's atrocious contract) will be in LA before the new trade deadline, and 50-year old virgin AC Green could line up at power forward and the Lakers would be fine.  Personally, I love Chris Paul, and I'm depressed that I'm going to have to hate him now.

Fixing College Football (yet again)

It's December, which means that the BCS has yet again screwed up.  Regardless of whether you think Oklahoma State or Alabama deserves to play LSU for the national title, the fact that there is even a question of who should be in the championship game is a failure of the system.  Instead of settling things on the field, the opportunity to play for the title is left to coaches who haven't seen 90 percent of teams ever play and Harris poll voters who somehow think Oklahoma State is the sixth best team in the country, not to mention the actual national champion.  Once again, I'm going to have to come to the rescue.

Unlike my previous proposals to solve college football, this iteration shies away from the Super Conference idea, and instead embraces more smaller conferences.  By more, I actually only mean one more, and by smaller, I mean ten teams per conference.  That would create a landscape of twelve conferences with ten members each, and thus twelve conferences champions.  Add in four at-large teams, and you have a delicious sixteen team field for a scrumptious college football playoff tourney.  Intrigued?