Thursday, June 28, 2007

2007 NBA Draft

Kobe. O'Neal. Garnett. Stoudemire. Marion. Carter. Jefferson. Many big names have been thrown out this week amidst the tirade of annual trade rumors that surround the NBA Draft, but no one envisioned this shocker:

Boston gets:
Ray Allen
Glen Davis (Drafted No.35)

Seattle gets:
Wally Szczerbiak
Delonte West
Jeff Green (Drafted No.5)
Celtics' 2008 2nd round pick

Note that Wally's contract expires in two years. That is, his contract is what made him attractive to new 30-year old general manager Sam Presti as opposed to talent. Speaking of Presti, he must have balls of steel to come into an already skeptical fan base and trade the best player within the same month of taking the job. Note that the likely Oklahoma bound Sonics are the only NBA team that went through the draft without a head coach.

The Rashard Lewis situation keeps on getting more interesting. With Kevin Durant and Jeff Green, that would make three very similar players on the same team. Throw in Ray's departure and the uncertainty surrounding the new ownership and arena situation, and Seattle is not an attractive team for a free agent. Unfortunately, Orlando is the only sensible option for Lewis, and they would have to give up Darko to do so. Chances are that Seattle low balls Rashard and forces him to stay as there are no better options, or signs and trades him, completely revamping the team.

Note that Boston fans are not too happy about the trade either, despite the dangerous combination of Allen, Paul Pierce, and Al Jefferson. After all, the big chips here were the No.5 pick for an aging 32-year old.

Portland and New York made some great moves, highlighted by a trade with each other:

Portland gets:
Channing Frye
Steve Francis

New York gets:
Zach Randolph

Big contracts in exchange here, but this frees up room in the middle for Greg Oden and LaMarcus Alridge to flourish. Francis and Frye join Brandom Frye to form a deep and promising young team that will be well guided by Nate McMillian.

Hey, Paul Allen, think you can move your team back home to Seattle? Just a wishful thought...

Oh yeah, a boatload of good players were taken in what is expected to be the deepest draft since the 2003 Lebron/Melo/Wade/Bosh combination, but ESPN and company have them covered well enough, and we have the next two decades to discuss top selections Greg Oden and Kevin Durant.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Low Ratings?

Sports Illustrated's Peter King writes in his popular Monday Morning Quarterback Column:

There are approximately 113 million television households in the United States, and the average rating for the NBA Championship Series showed that 6.9 million of them watched the series between Cleveland and San Antonio.

Remember the late-night Monday night opener on ESPN last year between Oakland and San Diego? Awful game. San Diego won, 27-0. It was pretty much over at the half, when the Chargers led 13-0 and the Raiders couldn't get out of their own way on offense. That game -- after a weekend that started with Thursday night football, went into Sunday afternoon football and Sunday night football, and had a Monday nighter before the second game on the West Coast -- started at 10:25 p.m. EST and ended at 1:14 a.m. Tuesday. And it was on cable TV, which gets a lower rating anyway because not every TV household in America is wired for cable.
The Raiders-Chargers debacle was seen by 7.9 million American TV households [one million more than those who watched the NBA Finals]

We all know football is king in this country, but if the best the NBA has to offer gets trounced by the worst the NFL has to offer ... well, the NBA is in more than a little trouble.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

When I Grow Up, I Want to be Tony Parker

Coach/Commentator Jeff Van Gundy asked San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker if he had to choose from winning the NBA championship, being a top-5 point guard in the world, or marrying Eva Longeria, which one would he take over the other two? Tony choose the beautiful girl. Duh.

In case you have been living on another planet, the 25 year old Frenchman is set to marry the 32 year old Desperate Housewife on 07/07/07 in Paris. Longoria joined the championship celebration in tears taking pictures as Parker was awarded the Finals Most Valuable Player trophy.

In other news, there were supposedly four basketball games played in this series sweep, although the San Antonio Spurs seemed fully in control against the helpless Cleveland Cavaliers. The imbalance of power in the NBA between the western and eastern conferences has never been more clear, and the true Finals may have taken place back in the second round between the Spurs and Phoenix Suns. It is a pity that series was so severely altered by the infamous suspensions of bench clearers Boris Diaw and Amare Stoudamire.

While this Finals was never going to live up to last years series of amazing Dwayne Wade comebacks, the 2007 playoffs certainly had some great moments. The Warriors upset of the Mavs, the amazing Phoenix-San Antonio series, Lebron's LeLeap, and finally the brilliance of the amazingly balanced Spurs.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Rescue Me

The fourth season of the critically acclaimed comedy-drama starring Denis Leary kicks off tomorrow night on FX. agrees with my assessment that Rescue Me is the most moving comedy on television, and is right up there with 24 and Friday Night Lights in terms of best overall series. Warning though, this cable show is not for the faint at heart as it includes just about every disgusting and immoral act you can imagine. Check it out Wednesday nights on FX at 10pm.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


The Anaheim Ducks won the 2007 Stanley Cup tonight, ironically just one year after dropping the "Mighty" from their team name and changing their logo and team colors from the familiar Disney era. Hockey has yet to recover from the 2004-05 cancelled lockout season as most sports fans, including myself, cannot even name one of the champions in Anaheim, but at least America's distant fourth favorite sport made an important step in getting some games on NBC the past few months.
Now, the real Finals series begins tomorrow night in San Antonio...

Monday, June 04, 2007

Lebron's LeLeap

Lebron followed up his 48-point performance including 29 of his team's last 30 through double overtime in Detroit with another superb game in Cleveland on Saturday as the Cavs stunned the Pistons in six, advancing to the NBA Finals. Perhaps just as importantly, James has finally found his worthy sidekick in Daniel "Booby" Gibson. Let the Jordan and Pippen comparisons rain.

Speaking of MJ, even he marveled at James' performance.

It is a pity that, during this same week, Kobe has made a fool out of himself.

The Detroit Pistons are getting a lot of heat as the media speculates on the potential breakup of the team. After all, the East may be owned by James for years to come. And let us not forget about some fellows named Wade, Howard, and Bosh. But the big difference that no one is talking about between this series and last year's was Ben Wallace, or rather the lack thereof. Chris Webber was simply not as much of an inside force as Big Ben was in allowing Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Drew Gooden, and Anderson Varejao to make plays in the inside. More significantly, Booby and Lebron were constantly penetrating and having their way in the paint.

ESPN's Bill Simmons writes:

When he passed up the game-tying dunk in Game 1 for an ill-fated pass to Donyell Marshall, in retrospect that turned out to be the most important lesson of his career. He needed to take the abuse, needed to hear the questions, needed to hear everyone call him out. Both Detroit losses hardened him, leading to his transcendent Game 3 and another focused performance in Game 4.

You could see him harnessing his considerable gifts. Every fledgling superduperstar needs one of these moments -- Jordan had the series-winning shot in Cleveland, Tiger had the '97 Masters, Magic had Game 6 of the 1980 Finals, Bird had the banker in Game 7 of the '81 Philly series -- when they can say to themselves, "I came through when it mattered, I can do it again." LeBron was one crowd-killing game in Detroit from pushing himself to another level, almost like someone completing a mission in "Grand Theft Auto.

If you care about basketball, this game immediately joined the Bird-Dominique Duel, The Flu Game, MJ's Last Shot, Magic's Sky Hook, McHale's Clothesline, the Sleepy Floyd Game, MJ's 63-Point Game, the Bernard-Isiah Duel, the '87 All-Star Game, the Suns-Celts Game, Bird's Steal, Havlicek's Steal, West's Half-Court Shot, the Miller/Spike Lee Game and every other classic over the years that can be described/remembered/rehashed in three or four words. We'll call this "LeBron's 48-Point Game" someday. 'Nuff said.

And everyone knows how much I love these types of quirky remarks:

"I love the NBA. Can you think of any other avenue in life in which a 22-year-old black kid from Akron, Ohio, would excitedly jump in the air and lovingly embrace for a good 20 seconds a 7-foot-3, 31-year-old from Lithuania?"

Twenty five years from now, every man will still remember where they were when they were a WITNESS to Lebron making his LeLeap.