Posts Tagged ‘kevin garnett

28
Apr
09

pissed (tell me you don’t know why) – bulls v. celtics – game 5

well that sucked.  i don’t know what could be done to make it better.

[PICTURE OF BLOODY BRAD MILLER AND KIRK HINRICH COMING SOON]

brad miller is (UNOFFICIALLY) flagrantly fouled

brad miller is (UNOFFICIALLY) flagrantly fouled

here’s a thought, someone with a lot more money than i have should put out an ad series: “nba playoffs – where shi*#y officiating happens.”

don’t get me wrong.  i’m not saying the bulls got screwed over start to finish.  it was more or less equally bad for both sides.  but it hurt the bulls in the end because they got the bad calls last.

look, i think all most of us want is for the games to NOT be decided by the referees.  i believe it’s hard being an nba ref.  so, what i demand as a fan is that they call the game consistently.  again, will it be easy? of course not.  but that has to be the goal.  it almost never seems like it is to me.

sometimes one team seems to get the benefit of the doubt.  it could be because that team is a more veteran team or did a better job complaining to the league offices after the last game (or randomly complained that two of the officials at the last game were chicagoans – stupid celtics).  OR, it could be one player gets the benefit of the doubt because he’s the most talented person on the floor, influencing refs to avoid calling fouls on him and rush to call fouls against him.  OTHER TIMES, the officiating crew on a particular night just refuses to call things consistently, regardless of which player or team they’re calling against.  this last case is what occurred in the bulls game tonight.

CONSTANTLY picks, shooting fouls, blocking fouls or charging that occurred or didn’t to some extent were being called in exactly the opposite manner one or two plays later.  you couldn’t help but believe that whichever team or team’s player RECENTLY did the best job of complaining earned that team the right to get a “make up” call soon thereafter.  REGARDLESS of legitimacy.

all i’m saying is, why aren’t nba officials held to the same IDEAL standard as the home plate umpire in an mlb game?  we know everyone is human and has different judgments, vision, opinions, etc.  what we demand out of our umpires is that when the ball is up and in at a given spot and called for a ball against one player, every pitch in that location is called a ball for the rest of the game.  does it always happen?  of course not!  but that is the widely accepted standard.

the thing that drives me crazy about my beloved nba is that this consistency consistently isn’t expected, certainly doesn’t occur, and doesn’t even seem to be hoped for anymore by nba commentators and analysts.  i could give you quotes from nba writers i correspond with defending the refs.  well, defending might not be the right word.  it’s more that they tell me, “yeah, it’s messed up.  so what would you do about it?  david stern has nothing either.”  i say, “NOT GOOD ENOUGH.”

we know from the tim donaghy scandal, these guys make somewhere in the $200K per year range (i have no idea why).  that amount is good enough to force them to work 300 days or so per year (anybody who disagrees is free to switch jobs with me, i’ll do yours, believe me, especially if it is watching nba games).  if they don’t like it?  what was that other high paying job that refereeing basketball games made you qualified for again?  oh yeah, that’s right, nothing.  work your ass of for this money or walk away. it’s your choice and that’s what we (should) demand.  you’re not just influencing the 30 players or so in the stadium that night.  you’re influencing the emotions of millions of fans.  you have to work for that right.  it is not, nor should it ever be, a given.  when they aren’t officiating, make them study tape, watch pickup games, i don’t know, anything to get better.  hell, bottom string PLAYERS make less than that and are CERTAINLY held to higher standards (except for brian scalabrine who is in the league only so the moronic celtics fans DESPERATELY want to BELIEVE they have an irish person [i have no idea if he has irish ancestry or not] on their team).  the point is, DEMAND BETTER.  i just don’t see the nba doing it.

someday i’ll learn.  as of today, i can’t quite give it up.

P.S. – what happened to KG?  there was a time i believed he was the ideal nba player.  he really cared about winning.  he was the consummate pro.  now?  he’s a little other word for a female dog.  end of game 1 when the celtics were losing to the “lowly” bulls? he couldn’t stand it and ran to the locker room out of the public eye.  end of game 5?  ONLY ONCE HE KNEW they were going to win, was he on some BS.

so youre yelling at ben gordon because hes playing hurt and youre not?

so you're yelling at ben gordon because he's playing hurt and you're not?

P.S.S. – sorry for all of the parentheses today.  i was in the mood to not care.

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17
Feb
09

Trade rumor frustration

I have to admit, I’m getting pretty sick of this.

Look, I was on the fence about the whole rumored Amare deal in the first place. However, how many years in a row can the Bulls be on the verge of getting a quality big at the trade deadline only to have it fall through.

First it was KG, then it was Gasol and finally Stoudemire. You know all those attractive, young assets on the Bulls roster that keep them in these trade rumors every year? Yeah, well it seems like they’re going to be NBA veterans by the time anything gets done.

Now this morning there’s some rumor about a three way trade with Toronto and Phoenix. Tell me why in the world the Raptors would be interested in turning Chris Bosh into Amare Stoudemire? They both can opt out after next season. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, they’re similar talents. Why would Toronto want to make this lateral move in terms of talent and contracts while ending up with the less popular, higher maintenance guy with a previously injured knee? Not happening.

Finally, the thing that drives me crazy every year, is how the Bulls continue to lose assets for nothing. Expiring contract are always valuable and have become insanely valuable this season. Make something happen. So Paxson is stepping down, well someone else has to do it. Get it done.

Tyson Chandler turned into P.J. Brown and J.R. Smith who turned into . . . nothing.

Knicks starting PG, Chris Duhon? Nothing.

Ben Wallace and Joe Smith were turned into Drew Gooden, Larry Hughes and Cedric Simmons. Now Gooden (and Simmons, but who cares) is on the verge of turning into nothing at the end of the season when he can leave as a free agent. Hughes might be a valuable chip next year with his expiring contract, but based on past non-moves, we don’t have much reason to be optimistic.

Oh yeah, and Ben Gordon is an unrestricted free agent this summer too. He can’t be traded without his consent this season because he’d lose his Bird Rights, so it’s too late to do anything about it. I’ve read rumors the Thunder are holding a spot and money for him. With the way negotiations have gone with the Bulls the last two years, I get the feeling Gordon would take less money in order to get out of town.

Good times.

At least there’s always Derrick Rose.

02
Feb
08

Angry rant about John Paxson/Bulls management

Ever since I found out about the Gasol trade this afternoon I’ve become more and more pissed off. John Paxson pulled the franchise out of futility and made them fun and respectable again. However, not a single move he’s made since the 2004 draft has worked out with the possible exception of re-signing Nocioni this past summer. As much credit as he deserves for turning the worst team in the league into a team that won 138 games over the three previous seasons, his more recent ineptitude has become completely unacceptable.

I’ll give Paxson a pass on signing Ben Wallace because nobody could have guessed how quickly Wallace would give up after receiving his final big payday. Ben was coming off of his 4th Defensive Player of the Year Award in 5 seasons and was known for his effort. If the Bulls needed anything at that point it was a veteran.

Trading Tyson Chandler was acceptable too because it became clear that while Tyson was skilled and athletically gifted, Skiles wasn’t going to accept him or let him be. It’s unlikely Chanlder would have turned into the quality player he is today if he stayed with the Bulls. HOWEVER, wasting what he got in return for Chandler by dumping J.R. Smith and letting P.J. Brown’s contract expire was as unacceptable as missing on Garnett, Gasol and Randolph.

The Eddy Curry trade was a disaster and although I’ve been guaranteed by multiple Bulls reporters that it isn’t true, I’m still convinced Paxson used Curry’s refusal to take a DNA test as a way to get rid of one of the last Jerry Kraus headband-wearing players without having to take blame from the fans. Eddy had a heart condition and Paxson claimed he wasn’t going to give him a guaranteed contract until he had a DNA test. The thing is that multiple doctors cleared Curry to play and everyone knew the players’ association would never have allowed him to set a precadent by being the first player to take a DNA test for his team. Paxson only required it because he knew it would never happen.

At the time of the Curry trade it looked like the Bulls might have done well. Two first round picks from the woeful Knicks sounded, and was, pretty good. The problem was Paxson blew one of them and came up with a weak draft year on the second. I like Tyrus Thomas coming out of LSU that year, but I like Brandon Roy a lot more and LaMarcus Aldridge a bit more. I know it sounds like 20/20 hindsight, but I thought at the time that the talent level seemed similar for all three players and the two Paxson didn’t pick fit the Bulls needs and character type much more than Thomas. They needed a low post scorer and an athletic, big 2 guard. Aldridge was only slightly higher on my list than Thomas because he wasn’t a clear low post player, but then Thomas was a 3. Roy was my first pick because he was the guard we clearly needed and, fitting Paxson’s somewhat irrational obsession, was a key player on a team that went deep in the tournament. But Paxson picked the wrong guy.

Joakim Noah looks like a keeper and there wasn’t a better player available, but he’s still going to be nothing more than an effort player with good defense and rebounding. I’m high on Noah, but he and Thomas don’t replace that hard to find low post game Paxson gave up with Curry.

Then finally a chance arises to pluck a star low post player for next to nothing and where’s Pax? The Bulls had more young talent than the Lakers and the between Duhon’s deal ending this year and Ben Gordon becoming a restricted free agent, they had the cap flexibility to offer as well. The Bulls are young enough that they have no need for an ’08 or and ’10 first round pick. Yet nothing happens? And now there’s nobody else available except maybe Jermain O’Neal who’ll make almost $10 million a year more than Gasol and is perpetually injured.

Enough is enough. It was time for new blood on the coaching side of things and this proves it’s time for new blood at the top.

28
Dec
07

Was trading Skiles for Boylan the right move Mr. Paxson?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow. This season has not gong as I predicted. Not at all.

I expected the Bulls to be a very good team in terms of their record. They are not and will be lucky to end the season at .500.

I expected them to play with levels of passion, effort and intensity that would rival or beat any other team in the league. Every night. I’m not sure I’ve seen them play at that level in a single game, not to mention each game.

I expected young players whose numbers went up every year of their professional careers – Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng, Ben Gordon, Andres Nocioni – to continue to improve. Hinrich and Gordon have been inexplicably bad and Deng and Nocioni have seen slight drop offs in their level of play.

I expected the sophomores on the team – Tyrus Thomas and Thabo Sefolosha – to show some improvement over last season after reading about each having strong summers while competing in different environments. Thabo has disappeared and Tyrus is, at best, looking exactly the same as last season.

I expected Ben Wallace’s abilities to continue to slowly decline, but to still be worthy of starting every night and continue to help the team, significantly. Instead Wallace has been possibly one of the worst players on the team while getting far more minutes than anyone with his production in the league. The heartbreaker about Wallace is that nobody would have expected the scrappy, effort-player from Detroit to turn apathetic and lazy once another team paid him big money. Sure, he’s getting older. Nevertheless, his play has reeked of indifference and lethargy.

I expected one of the better outside shooting teams in the league to continue to be able to shoot. Somehow they forgot.

I expected a team that was either first or second in the league in defensive field goal percentage over the past three seasons to continue to play great defense. It just hasn’t happened.

So, in the words of John Paxson, obviously I’m very disappointed.

Was Scott Skiles responsible for all of these problems? No. He was responsible for some of them. So what can the Bulls do to get better? You can’t fire the players. – – Though I demand they threaten to pull a Tim Thomas/J.R. Smith on Ben Wallace unless he starts playing better immediately. They need to tell him, regardless of $16 million a year and 4 PREVIOUS Defensive Player of the Year Awards, they will send him home if he doesn’t work his ass off. – – You can’t trade any of them for fair value right now since not a one is playing up to his abilities. You’d get nothing valuable in return. Paxson wants to keep his job so he pulls a classic GM panic move and fires the coach. It was a panic move pulled by many before him. Let’s call it the Kevin McHale. I’m sure there are more historic examples, but McHale has clearly become an expert.

One more thing I didn’t expect was Skiles getting fired before the all-star break. I believed, right up until the announcement was made, that Skiles had earned more trust from Paxson and Reinsdorf than would warrant a coach being fired this early in the season. I’m not saying that he didn’t deserve to be fired or that it was unfair, just that it surprised me.

In my opinion, the question is how does this move make the team better? Yes they were playing terribly and something had to change. But who is going to come in and coach them to better play right now? I hopefully will get one more thing I don’t expect, but I don’t expect Jim Boylan to make them better immediately or at any point this season. The team is really stressing that Boylan is his own man and not Skiles Jr. That may be true, but he’s also not much of a change no matter how you look at it. Paxson has said repeatedly he wasn’t going to go outside for a coach this season. I say what’s the point of firing the coach if you’re not? You’re going to get the same play you’re already getting and it’s a sign you’ve given up on the season. The only thing Pax could have been thinking with this move is that it would spark the players and he’d get that high level of effort back. Obviously based on the blow out in San Antonio, that hasn’t happened.

Today the team announced the big change that is going to turn things around. Chris Duhon is going to start while Ben Gordon is going back the 6th man role. Everything will be different now! I can’t begin to tell you how disappointed I was to see that Ben Wallace wasn’t the one to move to the bench. Duhon for Gordon? Been there, done that. It’s not that it’s a bad move; in fact I would have done that too. It just shouldn’t have been the only move. Nocioni, Gray or Noah in the starting lineup for Wallace would have helped. Look, the team is already dysfunctional and not playing well together. Moving Wallace to the bench would piss him off and cause further disturbance. However, he’s also a very proud man and would either give his all from that point forward or give up and go home. Either way the Bulls get better immediately.

The bottom line is that I think changing coaches in the middle of the season probably wasn’t a good idea, especially if they weren’t going to bring in an outsider to do the job. Changing coaches after only 25 games definitely was a bad idea because, in my opinion, it equates to giving up on the season. I would have let Skiles coach out the season not because he deserved it or because of some deep faith in his abilities, but because the current situation is no better and is in fact probably worse.

If Paxson felt completely secure in his job I don’t think he would have fired Skiles this early. ESPN’s Mark Stein writes that we should now focus the bull’s eye on John Paxson. I know I will. And it won’t be because he’s drafted or signed the wrong guys. When he signed Wallace everyone around the NBA knew he overpaid but almost all still thought it was a good idea. I wanted to draft Brandon Roy with the number two pick, I really did. However, I wasn’t too disappointed with getting Tyrus Thomas and I didn’t read, hear or see that many others disappointed with it. Paxson really did try to get Garnett and passing on Kobe was probably a good thing given the circumstances. I think he offered Gordon and Deng fair money at the time given their performances and the time left on their contracts. His moves haven’t always worked out, but most of them looked smart at the time, knowing then what we did.

Paxson has two major flaws on his record that I will continue to hold against him and that, in my opinion, he has to make up for soon in order to warrant keeping his job. First, though he always says he’s not going to loose a player for nothing, he lost Tyson Chandler for nothing. He traded Chandler for J.R. Smith and P.J. Brown. The Bulls promptly cut/bought out Smith. Smith wouldn’t have fit well on the team, but that’s losing half of a player for nothing. They were left with a valuable trading chip however in Brown’s large, expiring contract. Brown was a veteran leader, sure, but he wasn’t worth not trading. When Paxson failed to package Brown’s contract and some other player or players for more help for the team he failed miserably. Brown essentially retired at the end of the season and the Bulls have nothing to show for Tyson. Many people say Chandler never would have flourished under Skiles as he is now, but I guarantee he’d be bringing more to the table than any other big man currently on the roster.

Paxson’s second blemish was his selfish firing of Skiles. As stated above, I believe this move was made solely for Paxson, not for winning or for the good of the team. If Pax can somehow pull the Bulls out of their current state, all will be forgiven. If not, these two moves SHOULD have him following Skiles out the door. Right now, sadly, this looks like the most interesting Bulls story to follow.

22
Aug
07

The Celtics and Team USA

Today in Chris Sheridan’s column he pointed out that Team USA may have some trouble successfully blending the playing styles of Kobe, LeBron and Carmelo:

The uninformed might wonder: "How could they possibly lose with those
three playing together? To which the informed might reply: "Hey, that's
three guys on the court at the same time who, no matter how good they
are, all need the ball in their hands to be effective. It'll be tough
to make that work."

When you read Team USA’s dilemma, what current NBA roster does it remind you of? I know there’s some team that now has three superstars who have throughout their careers always had possession of the ball more than anybody else on their team. Now, suddenly those three players, – just like Kobe, LeBron and Carmelo – are being thrust onto the same team and everyone is as sure that they’ll easily win the Eastern Conference as they were Kobe, LeBron and Carmelo would easily handle the Select Team.

The difference between the Team USA trio and the Celtics trio is that the Celtics will have an entire season to work out the kinks while Team USA will have 10 games. So let’s say that the Celtics do work out the kinks. Paul Pierce becomes the dominant ball handler. When KG gets good position he’ll get the ball in the post and hold it until he shoots or is double teamed. If he’s double teamed he’ll kick it out to the three point line for Ray Allen. Sounds like a great system, right? It is, BUT it will be a vast waste of Ray Allen’s talents if things work out this way. He will be paid like the superstar he is, while playing the game that Jason Kapono plays. Think he’ll get tired of that at some point?

The other possibility is that they never can adapt to not having the entire offense run through them thus never develop a good chemistry. Either way it doesn’t matter because no chemistry means an 8 seed even in the East and good chemistry means a second round playoff series loss because they don’t have a bench. I don’t mean to hate on the Celtics, but Sheridan’s analysis of the Big 3 on Team USA perfectly illustrates my previous arguments about the Celtics and there’s really not a lot of NBA news to write about right now.

Oh well, at least Team USA has a bench.

15
Aug
07

The Clippers, Hawks and Grizzlies are relevant!

 

Ever since KG was traded to Boston the word relevant has been popping up everywhere in reference to professional sports teams.  The Celtics are suddenly relevant again, thank god they’re finally relevant again!  Every night when I went to bed before I fell asleep I would dream of the day when they would be relevant.  Not win a title, not make the playoffs, but become relevant.  My dreams have finally come true! 

Today I read an article about how quickly the White Sox went from world series champions to irrelevant.  It’s spreading!  At the ’08 NBA draft the talking heads aren’t going to be mentioning this player’s upside, that guy’s length, and whoever’s motor.  They’ll be telling us that with the #1 pick in the draft the Minnesota Timberwolves should select Derrick Rose, because no matter how exciting O.J. Mayo may seem, there’s no prospect out there more relevant than Rose right now.

 I’ve looked up several definitions for the word and they all hinge on “the matter at hand” or “the subject at issue”. 

e.g. from dictionary.com:
Having a bearing on or connection with the matter at hand.

So when they say the Celtics are relevant again, what is the issue at hand?  Sure, there are all sorts of issues in discussion of which the Celtics would be relevant.  However, the adjective isn’t appropriate without a given subject at hand.  You can’t tell me the Celtics are relevant again because they have Kevin Garnett.  They were relevant a couple of months ago when we were talking about the NBA draft even though they didn’t have Garnett.  They’re not relevant today when we’re talking about who will win the Western Conf. or (in my opinion) who will win the NBA championship.

In a recent article Jeff Passan calls Ozzie Guillen and the White Sox irrelevant.  This isn’t a basketball issue but it’s a good example for my argument.

Irrelevance can come with the ferocity and swiftness of a bee poised to
sting, and the results can be equally painful.

Doesn’t the fact that Passan is writing about Guillen and the White Sox make them relevant, at least right now and to him?  If they were irrelevant before, isn’t he making them relevant again by writing about them for Yahoo Sports?  It’s not that I disagree with his larger argument.  2 years ago Ozzie Guillen couldn’t do wrong despite his out of control, controversial personality because the Sox were in 1st place.  Now he’s not so popular.  But that doesn’t make him irrelevant when the subject at issue is Major League Baseball. 

31
Jul
07

Kevin Garnett and the Bulls

Now that everything is official and real let’s look at this situation from the Bulls perspective.

Right now Skiles and Paxson should be thinking that they’re team certainly isn’t in a better situation than it was last week, but there’s nothing to worry about.  The Bulls match up well against this new Celtics team.  Ben Wallace, Joakim Noah and Tyrus Thomas will provide a nice Garnett stopping team, especially since none of them will need to cover Kendrick Perkins.  Luol Deng’s defense came a long way last year and he should be able to match up well against Pierce.  As long as BG7 can carry the scoring load on nights they play Boston (Ray Allen isn’t known for his defense) Hinrich can focus on covering Allen.  They’ll have Thabo coming off the bench as a defensive stopper with length to shut down Pierce, as he’s done to Kobe, and Allen, as he’s done to D.Wade.  Rajon Rondo’s game even should be limited enough – at least for this coming season – that Ben Gordon will actually be able to cover him. 

This is where the Celtics weakness will show.  They will have 2 of the three best players on the court almost every night and they’ll likely have 3 of the top 5 every night.  Their problem is they’ll also have the two worst players on the floor on their team at all times.  They’ll also have 8 of the twelve worst active players on game night on their roster nearly every night. 

The Bulls on the other hand, as I’ve pointed out here, have one of the deepest teams in the NBA.  Garnett is an intimidating defensive presence down low.  Problem for the Celtics is that the Bulls don’t go down low very often and if they do it’s with a flying Tyrus.  Not even Garnett’s going to stop that once it’s off the ground.  Beyond KG the Celtics will be a weak defensive team and the Bulls will simply have too many weapons for them to cover, even if they don’t have any 27 ppg scorers, former MVP’s or 3-point champions (yet, Gordon will wear this crown someday).




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