Hi everybody. First off, I apologize for dropping off without notice last week. As you might recall, I was in a coffee place...and my connection just stopped working. But now I'm back home, with the iTunes going for musical backdrop...Let's get to it.
After watching the mavs last night I have come to the conclusion that its time to break up that team and yes that includes trading dirk....your thoughts
I thought at the end of last season they should think of moving Dirk, and nothing's changed my mind. It's time to realize they had their shot at winning with him and it passed. He'll never be better than he was in his MVP year, and they lost in the first round that season. Lost in the first round with JKidd last year...Now you're stuck paying luxury tax for a team that won't get past the first round again this year --- at best.
J.A! Been reading your columns since Hector was a pup. Defense has always won championships, but it seems like especially after the Celts' domination last year, the idea of being a great defender is in vogue. The superstars of today (CP3, Bron, Wade) all have a commitment to D that those of yesterday (AI, VC, Steve Nash) never seemed to match. Am I crazy, or is the league starting to get the idea that you must D up if you want to win?
I appreciate the Chick Hearn reference at the top there..But I wouldn't say that Bron and Wade have had much of a commitment to defense before...especially if you saw them in the World Championships a couple of years ago. But Bron is trying to shore up that aspect of his game, and I liked seeing him ask for 'Melo and step up to the challenge last night. But the Lakers, for one, sure got the message from the Celtics last season.
What's up with no suspension for Shaq???
For those who haven't seen, the punishments for the Suns-Rockets tussle was 2 game suspensions for Rafer Alston and Matt Barnes, 1 game for Nash and fines for Shaq and T-Mac. Just texted with Rafer, who grudgingly accepts it, but thinks Barnes should have received a bigger fine for starting it. I'm cool with no suspensions for Shaq. He was trying to diffuse the situation...it just happened that he knocked everybody over in the process.
JA - "Tonight's the night we're gonna take no prisoners" Seriously though, the Cavs offense was wicked last night, and we all know they are a good defensive team. Tell the boys in LA we aint scared.
More old school. "Tonight the Orange and Blue deliver! Do they still play that song? Have they updated now that they've changed colors? Anyway, I don't think the Cavs have the depth to match up with the Lakers. First units, fine, but do they want to go bench vs. bench?
Why is there so many rumors out there now about trades the season just started> Do you think Stephon will be able to find a team that would want him so he can get away from those catty spiteful people in NY (walsh/dantoni, crawford/DOLAN)
One reason all of the trade talk got hyped up is the Billups-Iverson deal got the juices flowing. I just talked with a GM who said things need to calm down, that Pistons-Nuggets trade was an aberration for this early. As for Stephon, if he gets bought out teams would take him for a bargain rate, but there's no way anyone's going to trade for his full $21 million salary. Stay safe in Iraq
The Pistons squeaked out a couple wins in Cali...are they starting to gel with AI? And btw, Tay Prince deserves to make the All Star team!
Tay Prince might deserve the all-defensive team, but not the All-Star team. And one of the downsides of the AI trade is Prince becomes nonexistent at times on offense. Just vanished last night. But it looks like they found something that worked in the second half, with AI, Rip and Sheed all getting in the flow. Looking forward to seeing them at Staples tonight vs. the Lakes.
I know it's early in the season and he's still learning the system, but are you surprised with Derrick Roses low assits totals? He seems more like A.I. and less like Chris Paul...
As long as he can get to the basket, he doesn't have to pass. And he's shooting 46%, which is better than AI did most seasons. I bet he'll learn how to set up his teammates and save his body by driving less, which is what Paul did in yer 2
I was trying to ponder with friends where Starbury could end up, and my guess was a contender with a lot of hurt players, like the Jazz, good guess?
Starbury and Jerry Sloan? Uh, no. I think the Heat would be a good spot though. Lessen the burden on Wade.
I'm listening to Chris Andrews - Yesterdays Man, and it got me thinking about Jason Kidd. I know he's not done, but how could he lose so much in so little time? The coaching in Dallas, the playbook or just age?
I don't think you can put this all on the teammates and system in Dallas, because JKidd wasn't his old dominant self in Beijing this summer, either. Also, he's back in the West. Remember, Kidd's greatest days came when he was in a weak Eastern Conference. Regular dates with Chris Paul, Deron Williams and the teams in the West won't help the cause. (I'm listening to Tribe Called Quest "Get a Hold"....which has no relevance to this response, just happened to pop on on iTunes.)
J.A. what is the NBA's justification for suspending Nash? I understand Barnes and Rafer, but Nash enters the fracas to break things up and ends up getting thrown to the floor by Mcgrady. Tracy deserves punishment more than Nash, yet receives none? Explain this.
Nash escalated things, which prompted Tracy to get more involved. Tracy doesn't shove Nash if Nash doesn't come running in from 1/4-way across the court. By the way, I like Nash sticking up for his boy there. In the past it seems like there's been a disconnect between him and his teammates, but his action here could pay off in the in long run. But in the short run, with his suspension and Barbosa back to Brazil for a death in the family, they're in trouble next game.
I'd like to know your thoughts about the five spaniards currently playing on NBA. Who do you think can make the biggest and most sustained impact on the league?
Hola! Pau has had the most sustained impact, and will have had the biggest impact of this crop when it's all done. But Rudy Fernandez is my favorite to watch. Can he be the cornerstone of a playoff team, as Pau was in Memphis and LA? I doubt it. But he'll be a very valuable asset for Portland
About Derrick Rose I never thought he was in the CP3 or D-Will mold. To me he looks like an uber-athletic (and bigger) Tony Parker. Who can get you 20+PPG and 6 AST a night. What are your thoughts?
I was thinking he could be CP3 at best, but you're right, Parker is looking like the better comparison.
"By the way, I like Nash sticking up for his boy there. In the past it seems like there's been a disconnect between him and his teammates..." Wow, not that I disagree with you, but that statement completely flies in the face of the conventional analysis on Steve "back-to-back MVP" Nash. Wasn't the whole misguided media love affair with Nash centered around his dubious ability to facilitate team chemistry and make his teammates better?
2 separate things. On the court he clearly helped his teammates out, brought out their best, made the whole system flow. But in the locker room he didn't seem to be tied into them. That's why this was a step forward
What's playing on your iTunes?
Now it's Black Moon. Enta da Stage is an underrated album.
Do you believe if Rip Hamilton knew Chauncey Billups was going to be traded would he have signed the three year extension?
Money is money, regardless of who's around when you pick up your check. He had to know the core group wasn't going to stick together after Dumars promised as much over the summer. Rip did what was best for him, Dumars did what he thought was best. That's life in the league. I don't think Rip got caught off-guard as badly as Baron did thinking Elton Brand would be there in LA with him.
Who has the highest ceiling: Joe Johnson, Al Horford or Josh Smith?
Interesting question. I think the highest ceiling is Josh Smith...but I don't think when it's all over we won't say he got as much from his talent as Horford did from his. Seriously, what more could you ask from Horford at this point? And if Johnson keeps doing things like a superstar, eventually we might just have to say he is a superstar.
Marbury to Spurs. Good idea or Bad idea?
Did you read Mike Monroe of the Express-News? Impossible idea. Not a Pop kind of guy.
Everybody is talking about the summer of 2010, and it seems that half the teams in the league are going to have cap space. That being said, do you see any chance that guys like LeBron, Bosh, Amare, or Wade would come to Sacramento? They can all offer the same kind of money, so would their rising talent be enough of a lure?
Sorry, don't see it happening for Sac-town, especially with no new arena under construction.Just not a top free agent destination, Remember, when they went to the WC Finals the big pieces like Webber and Bibby came through trades
Dwight H. looks like a man amongst boys. And even though he is probably the best center in the league the Magic look like they are far away from the Championship. What type of things do they need to do to take the next step and be a championship caliber team?
Still comes down to the PG. And as Boston showed last year with Rondo , it doesn't have to be an elite PG, just good production from that position.
Whats your opinion about the way NBA players are viewed for fights? In baseball and hockey fights are a regular but when the NBA does it we are seen as thugs. What gives?
It's one of the great double-standards in sports. What happened in Phoenix wouldn't even get mentioned on Hockey Night in Canada. There are worse skirmishes among teammates in NFL training camps (Steve Smith at the extreme). But the perception of NBA players is different, and that's hard to shake.
I keep seeing Boston mentioned as a possible team Marbury could end up at. Do you think that could happen? I can't imagine them ruining their chemistry like that.
I know Boston thought about it and the feeling was it wouldn't be good for Rondo...remember how he was spooked by Cassell's arrival last year? Just let Rondo progress on his own without having to look over his shoulder. It didn't turn out too badly last year.
Stop the revisionist history.... Nash was awesome his two MVP years, and made the team so much better. Marion needed Nash for his awesome, and so did Amare abck in the day.... Amare was just amazing dunker during Nash's NVP years... revisionist history is going to make it seem like Nash stole those MVPs
For the record, I never said Nash was a bad teammate, and I think he deserved his MVP awards. I'm just saying he wasn't always tied in to the team. Why can't you guys understand both of those things can happen simultaneously. In fact, they often DO happen simultaneously (MJ, anyone?).
"Still comes down to the PG. And as Boston showed last year with Rondo , it doesn't have to be an elite PG, just good production from that position." Well it helps to have all-stars at 2-4. Dwight's going to need more than a PG who can produce. With the competition currently in the league, he'll need at least 1 more legitimate, dominant star, which the Magic don't have.
Hedo's peak is all-star level. Rashard Lewis could get there. Those aren't the problems.
Come on J.A. show some laker love..how long do you think this streak can last, if the lakers get past the pistons tonight? given their soft schedule.
Man, the schedule's real favorable for the rest of the month. I always look for 2nd games on back-to-backs as the most likely place for streaks to end, which is why I thought they'd go down in NO this week. But they're not looking at one of those until they get to Philly Dec. 3. So how about there?
What's your take on paying guys to sit out, Tinsley, Marbury, etc. Who's the message really for, the other players? The fans?
In NY, it's for the other players, in Indy it's for the fans. Personally, I can't imagine loathing someone enough that I'd pay them to not work for me. Just seems so counterproductive. But it's their money, and as long as they're paying it there's nothing the union can do about it.
This might seem silly, but your point about nba fights and the double standard got me thinking. Do you think the NBA's image problem or policies towards fights are influenced by the 'recognizability' of NBA players vs. the helmet wearing, face covering sports (NHL, NFL). When you think about it, this recognizability has deeply influenced marketing/sponsorship potential in the NBA, but has also made the league dependent heavily on that source of volatile revenue. No?
I think that's part of it. They're the most "exposed", so their fights are more dramatic.
The other LA team seemed like they would have made a statement early but instead they look sad, what happened to all that potential?
It washed away in a bad match of coach and personnel. They need to be loose and free, and Dunleavy tries to orchestrate them too much. It isn't working.
J.A. - It's fair to say the East is better than the West this year, correct?
I'd say...equal. Part of that is because San Antonio is down (at least for now). But this shows why people shouldn't overreact and seed the playoffs regardless of conference. Conferences will go up and down. And in the NBA all it takes is one or two players changing conferences to shift the balance of power (as when Shaq came West in 96 or KG and Ray Allen went East last year)
So you're a GM who cleared cap space for 'Bron and missed out. Do you sign the next best player to make sure you get someone, or wait for the right player even if it means sitting on cap space? The latter seems more prudent, but most GM's seem to do the former.
You're right...(classic example, when the Clippers wanted Ray Allen, but wound up using the money for Cuttino Mobley) But I think as more and more teams worry about finances and the economy you'll see them hold onto their cap space if they don't get the superstar they want.
Can you see Jermaine O'Neal will opting out of his deal?
Can you see any sane person walking away from $23 million?
I love Brian Scalabrine! I dont have a question, I just love him!
He did give the best unrequested press conference in league history last year.
QUick fix for Dallas, Josh Howard and Dampier for Shawn Marion and Brandon Bass and Stackhouse for Gerald Wallace. Dallas gets super athletic on the wings, Miami gets younger and Bobcats the yooung big they crave, thoughts ?
can't see anyone wanting to take on Dampier's salary, though.
Gotta run. Thanks again for coming by. See ya next week.