Friday, May 23, 2008


So I have absolutely nothing meaningful to say about tonight's Spurs-Lakers game. What should the Spurs do? Win, I suppose. Ya, that's about where I'm at. I would like it if we closed out a little more quickly on their shooters, I was a little frustrated with the open perimeter looks they were getting, particularly in the 2nd quarter. I also would like it if we made a little more of an effort to create space for Ginobili on the perimeter. Buck Harvey very correctly pointed out yesterday that Ginobili needs a lot of time to setup his shot, so trying to get him that would be an improvement. I am also officially on the "play Barry over Finley" bandwagon. I'm sorry, Fin-Dog, I stood by you this whole season, but its the playoffs and I just can't take you shooting any more 3-pointers from 4 feet beyond the arc 4 seconds into a possession when we're up by 5 with 3 minutes to go. I just can't take that. Ok, so maybe I did have a couple of things to say about tonights game. But I am in need of a little distraction nonetheless, so....

Let's mindlessly postulate about the draft. Come on, it'll be fun.

The Bulls: I've already been over this, but as time goes by I feel increasingly less confident about my initial "pick Rose" declaration. I still lean in Rose's direction, mostly because I think the Bulls are going to try to nab Tom Thibodeau as their coach once the Celtics lose to Detroit in 6, and I'm not sure Thibodeau has the offensive expertise to help Hinrich develop at all. I'm not sure even Phil Jackson would, but I'm pretty positive Thibodeau doesn't. I'm not saying Rose is absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt gonna be a marques point guard (even though, actually, yeah, in the past I may have said that), but I'll take his potential over Hinrich's clearly visible ceiling.

That being said, there are Point Guards out there. Both Baron Davis and Monta Ellis with GS would be completely legitimate pick-ups. As would Gilbert Arenas, but Agent Zero claims his future will be based upon any moves Jamison makes. Also, if Phoenix decides to blow it up, maybe you could nab Leandro Barbosa, but I think Barbosa is ill-equipped to actually dictate an offense. He'd be an improvement on Hinrich, but only because of his speed. He's still a combo guard with a decent jump-shot and poor court vision and let's just go ahead and say that's not what the Bulls need.

So...being that they're may be PG talent available, maybe you want to pick-up the guy who could legitimately be a 1st option for the next decade? I do think, if you're in the midst of rebuilding (which the Bulls are in a bit of denial about, but the sooner they realize this isn't a playoff squad that had a bad year but in actuality is a unit with some serious flaws, the better) just straight up taking the guy with the most talent makes a lot of sense. I don't think you need Michael Beasley, Drew Gooden, Tyrus Thomas, and Joakim Noah in your frontcourt, but I don't think anybody is gonna shed too many tears if one of those three current Bulls get shipped out of town. (Actually, I would be a little sad about Thomas. He has a lot of potential, but I think Paxson, or at least the fans, realizes that and in most trade scenarios wouldn't put him on the table).

One thing Beasley won't be is a solution to both problems. People in Chicago are obsessed with the is whole concept of the "point-forward." First of all, it takes not merely a special player but a sophisticated coach to implement such an offense and right now the Bulls have neither. Even if they make a good coaching decision and take B-Easy, I'm not sure Beasley has the basketball I.Q. to be that guy. I'm not saying he doesn't, but its a serious gamble (and just plain lazy on the part of a front office) to say a 19 year old kid is gonna not only put up points in the paint and on the wing but simultaneously distribute the ball effectively. All I'm trying to say is not every versatile Power Forward is the next Scottie Pippen.

The Heat: Well, I don't buy the "Mayo may slip into the top 2" rumor. I watched that kid this year and although talented, I think 99% of people would agree Beasley and Rose are more talented. So I'm sticking with the "whoever the Bulls didn't take" scenario for South Beach.

So what would a Miami Heat with Rose look like? Well, a healthy D-Wade, a healthy Matrix and a so far uninjured Rose would be a serious 1-2-3. Although, I must admit I believe the Marion trade rumors, and think he may end up in Dallas, with Howard coming over to Miami. And, although I really despise the Miami Heat, as a basketball fan I would look forward to a Rose, Wade, Howard 1-2-3. Somewhere in between his admissions about marijuana and his lousy first round performance, people stopped digging Howard, but I still like his style. I just have an affinity for loose, relaxed guys who float out on the wing. Either way, any combination of those 3 could be a good show.

I also think Beasley would fit in well with that squad. In fact I think he would fit in a lot better than Rose. Really this is all entirely based off of the dubious proposition that I believe Rose should come back to his home town and Beasley would look good in black. Well, not entirely, but I can envision it, and just ask Kelly Dwyer how important "visions" are.

Minnesota Timberwolves: I think the T-Wolves should take Brook Lopez. I don't think he is the 3rd most talented guy in the draft, but I think once you're no longer talking about guys with transcendent talent that you can legitimately build a franchise around, the "pick for talent" argument falls to pieces. Past Beasley and Rose, we are squarely in the "pick for need" category. And the T-Wolves need some height. I don't think anybody on that team is 7 feet tall.

Plus I like the fact that Lopez is athletic (quickly becoming my second favorite vague adjective behind "tough") and can get up and down the floor with Jefferson, Telfair, McCants and Brewer. He's probably the second most "athletic" big man behind Dorsey, who doesn't have his height, and Matt Moore very astutely pointed out the other day on Ridiculous Upside that you can't teach height. Although I don't think he came up with that.

Seattle Supersonics: I am about to be wildly hypocritical, but here's a team that should pick O.J. Mayo because he's the most talented guy left in the draft. This all goes back to my "teams completely rebuilding don't need to pick for necessity because who truly knows what their necessity is going to be" theory. I'm working on a more concise name for that theory. Either way, this team has been in full scale house-cleaning mode for a while now, and with Durant as the 1st option the Sonics have made a nice first step towards a return to relevance. Other than at SF where don't you need to improve? So I say take Mayo. His aggressiveness will fit nicely with Durant's easy-going trigger happy style. That is the beginnings of a tough backcourt.

Memphis Grizzlies: Since Gasol fulfilled his manifest destiny and made it to Hollywood, the Griz have been a bit in need of a big man. But to be honest I don't think any of the remaining big men, whether it be Kevin Love, Roy Hibbert, Robin Lopez, or Joey Dorsey really strike me as a number 5, much less a top 10 pick. Although if you're going to take any, I'd say take Kevin Love.

I use to be all about Roy Hibbert, but after watching Georgetown a lot this year, hoping to see him develop, I increasingly found him to be soft. He reminded of Tim Duncan if you replaced his quiet focus with a quiet timidity. I still believe Hibbert could develop into a very good post player (I think he has the highest basketball I.Q. of any of the big men in the draft), but he's going to need to get a little bit more fierce to make that happen. Robin Lopez reminds me too much of Anderson Varejao, and its not just the hair (he's the one with the fro, right?). No matter who has what haircut, Robin is a good defensive player (he's just a lot scrappier than his brother) but has no idea what to do with the ball in his hands, and that's why he reminds me of Varejao. Joey Dorsey is just a more flammable version of Ben Wallace.

Kevin Love, although he screams "Warning, Warning, Unathletic White Big Man!", kind of reminds me of Turkoglu or Sheed, which is a good thing. At the end of the day he's got a nice jumper and a little bit of an attitude, and those combined with his height can get you far in this league. So if I'm the Griz I stick with Love.

Wow, I made a lot of very reductive player-to-player comparisons in those last two paragraphs.

I may or may not be back with further draft thoughts. To be honest, it takes a lot of my focus away from wildly obsessing about the Spurs, and I don't want to jinx anything by not being completely petrified with anxiety 24/7. I'll leave you with a pretty hilarious quote from my friend Ben, who emailed me earlier about the difficulties of watching the NBA in Manhattan during baseball season:

"why are the nba playoffs so difficult to watch in the village? every bar in this area is obsessed with mets and yankees unexemplary baseball than the nba playoffs. its terrible. my friend and I had to request the game in a bar (with about 8 tvs), and they put it on in the most remote corner of the bar next to a band covering toto and rick springfield."

Ah, the difficult life of an expatriate Texan trapped in the big city. I couldn't empathize more.

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