Of past drafts and coming playoffs. And Alonzo doesn't say thanks
No practice yesterday so precious little about the local Heroes Of The Hardcourt.
Hope this offering satisfies at least some of the hoops cravings:
A whole bunch of people are up in arms because the Raptors may slide back from the No. 8 pick in the draft because (egads!) they are winning games at the moment.
Yeah, like that’s going to make a difference. Check out the past five drafts in the second half of the lottery:
8: Joe Alexander, Milwaukee; 9: D.J. Augustin, Charlotte; 10: Brook Lopez, New Jersey; 11, Jerryd Bayless, Indiana; 12: Jason Thompson, Sacramento; 13: Brandon Rush, Portland; 14: Anthony Randolph, Golden State.
Best pick: Jury’s still out but I’d say Lopez, No. 10.
8: Brandan Wright, Golden State; 9: Joakim Noah, Chicago; 10: Spencer Hawes, Sacramento; 11: Acie Law, Atlanta; 12: Thaddeus Young, Philadelphia; 13: Julian Wright, New Orleans; 14: Al Thornton, L.A. Clippers.
Best pick: Right now? Thornton, No. 14, maybe Young, No. 12.
8: Rudy Gay, Memphis; 9: Patrick O’Bryant, Golden State; 10: Sare Sene, Seattle; 11: J.J. Redick, Orlando; 12: Hilton Armstrong, New Orleans; 13: Thabo Sefolosha, Philadelphia; 14: Ronnie Brewer, Utah.
Best pick: I could make the case it’s Brewer, No. 14, for what he does for the Jazz but I’ll give you Gay, No. 8.
8: Channing Frye, New York; 9: Ike Diogu, Golden State; 10: Andrew Bynum, Lakers; 11: Fran Vazquez, Orlando; 12: Igor Korolev, Clippers; 13: Shawn May, Charlotte; 14: Rashard McCants, Minnesota
Best pick: I guess Bynum, No. 10, if he’s ever able to stay healthy.
|RICK EGLINTON/TORONTO STAR|
|One of the more painful slaps in the face for Raptor fans has to be the results from the 2004 draft.|
8: Rafael Araujo, Toronto; 9: Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia; 10: Luke Jackson, Cleveland; 11: Andris Biedrins, Golden State; 12: Robert Swift, Seattle; 13: Sebastian Telfair, Portland; 14: Kris Humphries, Utah.
Best pick: Guess it has to be Iguodala, No. 9, but there’s lots of love for Biedrins, No. 11, around the league.
So, what’s this tell us?
There can be good players found at any spot in the second half of the lottery; a lot depends on what teams picking ahead of you do, and how good your scouting department is at unearthing good players with late lottery picks.
But we can all agree that it’s more a crapshoot than anything and just because you have No. 8 doesn’t mean you’re going to get a far better player than if you have No. 11 or 12.
I didn’t hear the whole speech so maybe I missed it but I don’t think Alonzo Mourning thanked Rob Babcock and the Raptors for repatriating him to Miami, where they retired his number last night.
But how crazy is this?
Normal halftime breaks are 14 minutes; the Heat-Magic game was delayed 43 minutes at halftime for the Mourning ceremony.
Thank goodness we’re at least a decade away from ever having to worry about something like that happening at a Raptor game. Or until they decided to play some Little Urchin Basketball Tournament that includes five or six games.
Okay, so we’ve got two weeks and a day or so left in the regular season and there’s still lots of jockeying for playoff position – and even one playoff berth, perhaps – in the Eastern Conference.
Here’s a quite subjective list (like everything around here of) – ta-da!:
Three Teams With Something To Prove
The reigning champs are, for them, stumbling along at 7-3 in their last 10 and they’re in third by percentage points. Kevin Garnett’s hurt, Stephon Marbury hasn’t really been the answer (who’d have have seen that coming?) and Doc Rivers has already given up hope of finishing first overall.
But as we saw last year, when they were horrid on the road in the playoffs in the first two rounds – and when they were running far, far more smoothly to end the season than they are now – the Celtics need homecourt more than almost anybody.
If they can’t reel in the Magic, I can see them not even making it to the conference finals this time around.
A playoff spot isn’t locked up by any means – although it’s a pretty safe assumption – but to think the Pistons are doing anything but stumbling into the post-season is dead wrong. Can they get Allen Iverson to truly buy into a backup role? How will Rodney Stuckey handle the increased pressure of running a team when every possession is like life and death? Which game, or games, will Rasheed Wallace blow with some Rasheed Wallace-esque temper tantrum?
I can see the Pistons finishing eighth, going out in four and making radical change.
Yeah, I know. Every time you look at a boxscore, Dwyane Wade’s got 30 or 40 or 50 or something stupid like that and he’s increasing his odds of finishing a strong third in MVP balloting. And then you wonder? Surely to goodness someone else on that team is going to do something, right? Maybe not. And in the playoffs, when teams can lock down on one guy because they have days and days to prepare, someone else has to do something good for anyone to have any chance of winning. The Heat’s only got eight games to find out if that guy exists.
Tomorrow: The West.
Oh yeah, the much anticipated e-mail from the league office arrived yesterday, carrying with it the ballots for the post-season awards.
And like a kid a Christmas, I opened it eagerly to see what I got.
A tough job is what I got.
How about MVP, Coach of the Year and Rookie of the Year.
Three difficult, difficult choices. Luckily, there’s a couple of weeks left before they have to be returned. It’ll give me some thinking to do.
Seriously, the scoreboard when I shut the machine down last night said Milwaukee 79, New Jersey 48 in the third quarter. Now, that’s the way to tank. Go big or go home, I say.
Now, would you rather have players and coaches talking about how good they feel, or saying how sorry they are, as my man Dave reports here.
Seriously, if the world doesn’t bounce Steve Wozniak this week, the world needs to re-examine itself. (It’s sort of code, regulars will get it).
This wraps it all up and is gleaned from a very good e-mail basket I’m going to have to get to quickly this week. Lots of interesting questions that’ll get me through Wednesday-Thursday-Friday when I’m not in Florida (I’m picking ‘em up in New York):
Q: Doug, one thing that annoys me, is that when I tune in to watch the post game show of a Raps game, I have a hard time hearing the reporters questions. Is it too difficult or time consuming to have someone handle a microphone? I'm sure other viewers must feel the same way. Keep up the good work, and keep us entertained during the offseason!
Ken B, Matheson
A: Well, frankly, I’m not sure we want to be part of a studio audience. They could get boom mics, I suppose but I’m there to get my questions asked and answered and, honestly, sometimes I save my good stuff for private conversations because I’d rather not have the dozens of people watching on TV get my best stuff before the readers do.