Thursday, February 24, 2005

NBA Power Rankings: Week 2-Trade Deadline Edition
By Zach

First, some thoughts on the wild trade deadline we had today in the NBA. I like how before the deadline, all we heard was that nothing major (barring a Michael Redd trade) would happend...thanks, Chad Ford! (ESPN Insider required). Of course, all this deadline proved was that ESPN "experts" suck (and that the Knicks are the worst-run team in the league...check my boy KnickerBlogger for more). Anyhow, on to the rankings!

1. San Antonio Spurs (42-12)
Zach says: Ok, they're the best team in the league...I admit it. Plus, they brought Muhammad to the Mountain (if by mountain we mean flat desert of Texas).
Lance says: The acquisition of Nazr Muhammad added tremendous depth to the Spurs front court. Muhammad will provide insurance for Rasho Nesterovic, and by dumping Rose's contract, they saved $21 million in future cap space. All in all, a great move for the Spurs.
2. Dallas Mavericks (37-16)
Zach says: Keith Van Horn is coming to Dallas, giving the Mavs a poor-man's version of Dirk...and they rid themselves of the ugliest man in the NBA, John Kerry's look-alike Calvin Booth. Seriously, check out the guy's photo sometime. And they got a big win tonight over the Kings.
Lance says: By acquiring Keith Van Horn the Mavs add another shooter to an offense, but they still need to improve their defense. Booth and Alan Henderson are minor losses, but until Jerry Stackhouse gets healthy, the Mavs will have to rely on Dirk to carry them.
3. Seattle SuperSonics (37-15)
Zach says: My boys gutted out a tough win in Houston, then waxed the Hornets. Ray Allen stayed put, and so did everyone else. We'll see whether they resign Gary Payton after he refuses to report to the Hawks. My head says it would be a bad move (they'd have no minutes for him) but my heart would love to see him back in the Green and Gold.
Lance says: I'm surprised that the Sonics didn't make any moves at the trade deadline, considering that Vlad Radmanovic was rumored to be on the move. The Sonics have played consistant ball through the first half of the season, so I guess Rick Sund didn't want to mess up the chemistry of this surprise team.
4. Phoenix Suns (42-13)
Zach says: A tough loss to the hot Mavs, but the fact stands that this team may be starting to show some signs of weakness. The minutes are starting to add up for Nash and Co.
Lance says: Playing time is a big issue for their starters, since Phoenix has one of the weakest benches in the league, which will hurt them come playoff time.
5. Detroit Pistons (33-19)
Zach says: Heading into their Finals rematch against the Lakers, they're suddenly the frontrunner to make the Finals out of the East.
Lance says: The Pistons are starting to play the same exact basketball they won the Finals with last year. They're healthy, and the brawl is long behind them.
6. Miami Heat (40-16)
Zach says: The Shaq injury was a scare, but this team desperately needs frontcourt help. I'm not sure that the Human Kidney Disease Alonzo Mourning can be that help, but it had better be someone.
Lance says: First of all, congrats to ESPN for screwing up yet another story. Word of advice, never trust the Miami Herald again, either. With Shaq now being listed as day-to-day, Stan Van Gundy has nothing to worry about, and the acquisition of Steve Smith will compliment Wesley Person as another sharpshooter off the bench.
7. Cleveland Cavaliers (31-21)
Zach says: Someone had to go here. The Cavs have a chance to get homecourt advantage in the first round, and LeBron is very, very good.
Lance says: How many more trades are the Cavalievers going to make with the Celtics? I think Jiri Welsch will fit in well with the Cavs system, since he plays well in transition.
8. Houston Rockets (32-23)
Zach says: Yes, they lost twice, but losses to the Sonics and Spurs are quite understandable. Plus, they got a decent backup point guard in Mike James.
Lance says: By reacquiring Moochie Norris, I am declaring this year the year of players returing to their former teams. The Rockets got a great player in Mike James because he plays Jeff Van Gundy's style of ball, and will provide a spark off the bench behind David Wesley.
9. Washington Wizards (31-22)
Zach says: It feels like they've fallen into a bit of a lull. They really need Larry Hughes back to inject them witha bit of life.
Lance says: Kwame Brown was activated, so with him healthy the Wizards front court is a lot more solid. By the way, why was Gilbert Arenas in the skills competition? He couldn't dribble, pass, or shoot.
10. Chicago Bulls (27-24)
Zach says: One of the most dangerous low seeds (along with the Rockets) in the playoff picture.
Lance: The best thing the Bulls did was not make a trade. Keeping the team intact and maintaing their chemistry, when Scott Skiles has them playing their best ball, was big.
11. Sacramento Kings (34-21)
Zach says: The Webber trade makes a bit of sense from this angle, but I still think they could have gotten more. Plus, they still need to deal Peja...and start over.
Lance says: WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? A team that deserved to go to the NBA Finals, and could still have gotten their, ships away a five-time All-Star for what? Three mediocre forwards? How did they not get at least Kyle Korver or Andre Iguodala in return. Rick Adelman will have his hands full, but the Kings should still be competitive since they still have three All-Star calibur players.
12. Los Angeles Lakers (28-24)
Zach says: If the Lakers can fully integrate their talent, they could put a scare into a team early. But their pitiful front court dooms them.
Lance says: The problem with the Lakers is that Kobe doesn't know how to get the potential out of their teammates. They don't deserve to make the playoffs, but Lamar Odom has been great. He would have served for a good sub for Chris Webber had he been traded for Peja Stojakovic.
13. Memphis Grizzlies (30-24)
Zach says: Just not much here. They seem in good shape to make the playoffs, but I doubt they'll do much. They need to deal some of that depth for a legit star to team with Gasol.
Lance says: The Grizzlies are a very exciting team to watch, but why can't they start Earl Watson?
14. Indiana Pacers (27-26)
Zach says: If only they had Artest, we could be talking about a challenger to the Heat and Pistons. As it stands, neither of those teams will want to face this team in the playoffs.
Lance says: Don't send Reggie Miller to the retirement home too soon, because he's been playing great of late. He's sparked this team on a four-game winning streak, but I'm surprised that Donnie Walsh didn't make any moves since this team still needs another scorer to seriously compete in the East.
15. Philadelphia 76ers (26-27)
Zach says: Great trade for the team, it gives them their best team in the Iverson era. And, with the young talent they've acquired, they can be good for several more years.
Lance says: The Sixers are the most improved Eastern team, with the acquisitions of Webber and Rodney Rodgers. They could very well run away with the Atlantic Division.
16. Orlando Magic (28-25)
Zach says: Another team that seems to be staying the course. But they've struggled of late, as Doug Christie has underperformed.
Lance says: The Magic are a solid team, but not a true competitor in the East. Mediocre.
17. Boston Celtics (27-28)
Zach says: Reacquiring Antoine Walker is an interesting move. He does give them some added firepower, but they're going to have to get some big minutes out of Marcus Banks, who hasn't shown much in his short career.
Lance says: Antoine Walker is a Celtic. No wait, let me rephrase that. Antoine Walker is a Celtic...again. The dynamic duo are back together, as Pierce and Walker should return to their winning ways, since they compliment each other well. I'm very surprised that they traded away Payton after he was playing well and the team was winning.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves (27-28)
Zach says: I'm surprised this team didn't make any sort of deal, because their chemistry sucks. Then again, who in their right mind would trade for Sprewell, Cassell, or Olowokandi?
Lance says: Kevin McHale will provide a change of pace for the Wolves, but they just don't have the passion or chemistry that got them to the Western Conference Finals last year.
19. Denver Nuggets (25-29)
Zach says: Their play has slackened of late, and they're clearly not as talented as people initially thought. Plus, Nugget fans are getting desperate. After word of their trade came down, the Nugget fan I know called me, asking me if Eduardo Najera can shoot. I just laughed.
Lance says: The Nuggets were a team that really needed to make a big move, and all they did was add a mediocre small forward to an already weak bench. Too much pressure will be put on their starting lineup, and they'll fail to make the playoffs.
20. Milwaukee Bucks (22-30)
Zach says: I like how they've positioned themselves for the offseason. Unless the CBA changes majorly, they're going to be able to throw a ton of money at Michael Redd, and sign another good player or two. They've got some room to grow.
Lance says: The Bucks aren't going anywhere, but they're obviously putting all their eggs in one basket, hoping to resign Michael Redd in the offseason. Van Horn never reached his full potential in Milwaukee, but I'm surprised they gave up on Mike James.
21. New Jersey Nets (23-32)
Zach says: Suddenly feeling like last week's news, the Nets have been passed by the 76ers and Celtics. They'll have to wait until next year to see how RJ, Kidd, and Carter fit together.
Lance says: I've never been more disappointed with a team than I have by the Nets lately. Since the All-Star break, they've been sluggish and they stand around watching Vince Carter. With the moves the Sixers and Celtics made, they're now the third best team in the Atlantic and in serious trouble.
22. Toronto Raptors (22-32)
Zach says: Hard to figure this team out, but it's clear that they're going to have to overhaul this team in the offseason and build around Bosh.
Lance says: I can't believe Donyell Marshall and Jalen Rose weren't traded, but watch out for Milt Palacio, and Rafael Areujo is my new favorite player in the NBA.
23. Portland Trailblazers (21-31)
Zach says: It's a rare trade deadline that passes without a single Blazer deal. I guess there wasn't an overpaid, undersized point guard available.
Lance says: (Lance loved last week's comment so much we're leaving it up for another week. Plus, who cares about the Blazers?)The most exciting thing this year for the Portland Trailblazers was the illegal pitbull fighting in Qyntell Woods' backyard. Unsolicited advice for Mo Cheeks: start Sebastian Telfair.
24. Los Angeles Clippers (24-31)
Zach says: A team that looked good early in the year, they just snapped a monster 8-game losing streak. Time for another trip to the lottery for Elgin Baylor.
Lance says: The Clippers are a team where players that will never contribute in the NBA play well. That tells you all you need to know about them.
25. New York Knicks (22-33)
Zach says: Two terrible trades. They gave up a good young center for absolute trash. And redundent trash at that. Isiah is the worst GM ever.
Lance says: And the payroll continues to rise. Isiah never ceases to amaze me, picking up two players who have long term contracts and play the same position. Note to fans: Gregg Popovich thanks the Knicks for another NBA championship.
26. Golden State Warriors(16-38)
Zach says: A good move for the Warriors (wow, that looks wierd in print). They're stuck, for better or for worse, with the talent they have (Murphy and Richardson), so why not go for broke and gamble on the talented but injury-prone Baron Davis?
Lance: They did a solid job on the deadline, acquiring an All-Star point guard for almost nothing, but explain how Tskitisvili will fit into the gameplan. Will he last longer than Mike Montgomery?
27. Utah Jazz (17-36)
Zach says: Too bad they couldn't dump the undersized Boozer for the underappreciated Lamar Odom. As things stand, this team can't wait for the offseason to come.
Lance says: Message to Jerry Sloan: Get out while you still can. Maybe the Jazz should return to New Orleans.
28. Charlotte Bobcats (11-40)
Zach says: For having no talent, they're playing almost respectably.
Lance says: The Bobcats are playing decent ball considering their expansion status, but they've gotta be worried about Emeka's continuing absence.
29. New Orleans Hornets(11-43)
Zach says: The housecleaning continued, as they've cleared massive amounts of cap room for next year. The question is, who wants to go play in New Orleans?
Lance says: Byron Scott is looking to set a record for most players coached in a single season.
30. Atlanta Hawks (10-43)
Zach says: This team is absolutely awful. Gary Payton deserves much, much better. Can't they release him already?
Lance: Will Gary Payton follow the lead of Alonzo Mourning and Jim Jackson and fail to report to a crappy team? Al Harrington is now the superstar on that team. Yeah, that means they suck.


Blogger David Arnott said...

dear lord, he does look like john kerry!

as far as the warriors, people in the bay area were surprised that they didn't give up any of their nucleus to get the baron. wait and see. they'll draft hakeem warrick, pair him up in the frontcourt with murphy, have dunleavy provide a warm body at the three, and have richardson and the baron in the backcourt. looks like they could run a super-uptempo offense with foyle, fisher, and someone else to round out the rotation. they still need to re-sign murphy, draft someone decent with their lottery pick, and with all the money coming off the books this summer either pick up someone more useful than dunleavy so he can become a bench player or sign a guy to be the eighth man and roll over that money until the next summer. bring drew gooden home to northern california? could they sign nene? will they bother to re-sign dunleavy that year?
most likely, they'll fuck it up.

3:32 PM  

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