Weekly Countdown: A peek into the offseason for some playoff teams
Who should be hired to replace
Nash has excelled for two up-tempo coaches throughout his career -- Nelson and D'Antoni -- and to insist on a different style of play, as any defensive-minded coach would do, would likely diminish Nash's strengths. I don't see these guys taking well to longer practices, either.
Let's be honest: If the Suns want to become more of a defensive team, then they need to overhaul their roster, because a simple coaching change is not going to bring out new qualities in All-Stars with 10 or more years of mileage. Before starting over again, they may want to review how things have been going in Sacramento since its high-scoring team bottomed out a few years ago. To change the way they play, the Suns will have to change the players, and that is going to be painful. Wouldn't it make more sense to see if they can contend for one or more years with Shaq, Nash and Stoudemire in training camp with D'Antoni?
No team has won a championship in modern times by playing to the high-scoring style of
These come from an NBA advance scout ...
"Detroit has got someone who can defend
"If Cleveland winds up meeting Boston, Boston is the stronger team. They will make
"If Washington can get by Cleveland, the next round would be interesting because the Wizards competed with Boston well [in beating the Celtics three times during the regular season]. Antawn Jamison would be the key. He's their glue at both ends, and if he starts being a little more assertive then [
"I really like the way New Orleans is playing. It isn't so much whether
"My respect for New Orleans has been growing throughout the year, but I was really impressed with them in that Dallas series. San Antonio's going to be better defensively than Dallas. But you look at New Orleans, they have the perimeter shooting plus they have the center and shot-blocker; sometimes you've got to give one of them up, or you have a guy like [Utah's
"I wouldn't say that San Antonio has such a big advantage in coaching. The bigger deal is that they've been together so long, they've been through all these series and that gives them a definite advantage in being comfortable together. But it isn't like
"I'm going to say New Orleans takes them. New Orleans in six.''
I don't think he's overrated. He's a terrific player, a true quarterback who has improved each year in his ability to create for others and for himself. He is the most skilled player in basketball. It wasn't like he was appointed MVP: They had a national vote and in each of those two seasons he was judged the best.
I'll remind you that it's a regular-season award. I looked this up: 17 MVPs were voted their awards
I hear an inordinate number of complaints from fans about Nash, and I'm sure most of those opinions -- Jay's among them -- are based strictly on perceptions of his play. But I also think some of them are colored by Nash's public stance in 2003 against the invasion of Iraq when it took courage to oppose the buildup to war. In two instances, I've run into fans who have complained that Nash should have kept his mouth shut; one fan argued that because Nash is a Canadian native he should keep his nose out of American affairs. Now public opinion obviously has shifted the other way, but that doesn't change the fact that Nash had every right to say his piece, nor will it change the minds of those who will criticize him for his conscientious statements.
Look, the fans in Oklahoma City were terrific in their support of the Hornets, and everyone expects the Sonics to be welcomed sincerely there. This has nothing to do with the people in Oklahoma and everything to do with the injustice to the fans in Seattle who have supported their team and helped build the NBA for 41 years.
As for Arjun's question about Stern, the commissioner couldn't have changed the playoff seedings during the season, and when he opened up debate on the Horry-Nash skirmish at a league meeting after that season, none other than
In the case of Seattle, Stern is acting on behalf of a new owner who spent $350 million -- more than the team was worth -- to buy the Sonics. As I've written before, one of Stern's priorities is to drive up the value of franchises, because that's a big factor in how his owners measure the health of the league. I believe most objective observers would say that Bennett did not make a good-faith effort for a full year (as he promised in writing to do) to negotiate an arena deal in Seattle; that he showed little patience or interest in compromise in his approach to a negotiation that required vats of both; and that he too quickly found comfort in the idea of moving the team back to his home state of Oklahoma. Stern may disagree with this assessment, but he had to decide what was in the best interests of the league, and in his mind it was more important to support a new owner and keep the value of franchises rising -- even at the expense of a traditional market like Seattle.
(Of course he's read the e-mails that have been released in the papers; Stern reads everything.)
If the court rules that the Sonics must see out their lease and spend the next two seasons in Seattle, then Bennett's total losses may soar to well over $100 million by the time he moves the team to Oklahoma City in 2010. In that case, would he be willing to sell to a local group led by Microsoft's
I don't see it. The luxury tax and the financial rules governing trades are more important to the league than the playoff format. The former is crucial to balancing the books; the latter isn't. This league, like all others, exists to make money. It isn't going to unbalance its finances for the sake of postseason aesthetics.
By trying to fix one problem, you would create a larger problem elsewhere. I applaud you for trying to make the system completely fair. But if fairness is the goal, then you have to acknowledge the unfairness of rewarding some teams in one conference and penalize some teams in the other conference based on schedules that are not weighted equally.
For an exaggerated example, consider grouping all of the baseball teams into a single playoff bracket based strictly on the won-lost percentages of the teams. Baseball fans would riot because the teams in the American League play a schedule that is vastly different from the schedule of teams in the National League. Much like the NBA, there are inequities in postseason baseball with poorly rated teams in one league qualifying at the expense of winning teams in the other league, but I don't hear anyone in baseball calling for a single bracket. Because it would not be fair.
My point is this: If you want to promote the winningest teams to the playoffs regardless of conference, then you must change the scheduling to make it fair across the board with every team facing similar opposition. You want fairness, yes? Then every team would play every opponent three times. There would be 87 games, the cross-country travel would be increased and any hope of creating regional or divisional rivalries would be lost. The regular season is weak enough as it is. A new playoff system would create more harm than good.
Fewer playoff games means less money. I wish there were fewer games, but it isn't going to happen.
When you bring that one up at the next NBA Board of Governors meeting, I propose not mentioning that it came from the Canadian Football League. Just a suggestion.
That has always been GM
"He has an internal motor that's boundless,'' 76ers director of player personnel
Young embodies the post-Iverson era in Philadelphia. The 76ers traded
"I've surprised a lot of people this season,'' said the 19-year-old Young, the second-youngest player in the league behind
That changed in the playoffs, as the Pistons realized that Young has an instinct for scoring though no plays were called for him during the series. The hope is that he'll improve his ball handling and shooting to permit him to become a small forward, which in turn would shift Iguodala into the backcourt. Or the 76ers may decide that Young's immediate future is as a combo forward.
The Sixers have cap space to sign a max free agent this summer, and their first target should be Clippers power forward
In any case, the 76ers' future is more promising than it appeared three months ago.