Thursday, May 26, 2005

A Sampler
By Zach

Today's post is like Homer Simpson's favorite poker hand, the Royal Sampler. In other words, it's a bunch of crappy paragraphs which combine to form the winning hand only because everyone else is fixing the game so I win.

Topic: NBA Playoffs
I've been telling everyone I know all year that the Phoenix Suns are a sham. My Sun loving buddy over at, my fellow Cheap Seaters, and anyone else who would listen. Their lack of bench scoring, their inabilty to play defense, and most of all, their reliance on scoring on the primary and secondary break meant that they would be unable to go deep in the playoffs unless they got unbelievably lucky. If they had somehow gotten to play the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals, things would be different. But against the Spurs, they aren't getting enough points in the primary, and especially the secondary break, to win. And since they can't stop the Spurs at all on the defensive end, they end up giving up 37 points per fourth quarter. Yeah, that's bad. At this point, not even Joe Johnson can save them. While his return to the team would undoubtedly make the Suns better, they'll be luck to make it back home for Game 5.

In the East, I still think Detroit is in firm control of this series. It took a monster performance from Dwyane Wade for the Heat to win a must-win game at home, and no matter how good Flash is, he's not doing that every game. I think Detroit closes this one out in 6.

Speaking of the NBA, I was stunned to see that Milwaukee, of all places, got the number one pick in the upcoming draft. Of course, this isn't a Yao Ming/LeBron James number one pick, this is more of a Glenn Robinson(last first overall pick by the Bucks)/Kwame Brown/Kenyon Martin first pick (maybe you get a good player, maybe you don't...but don't count on a Hall of Famer). I tend to think that the Bucks should take Andrew Bogut, because ever since I saw him at the beginning of last season at the Great Alaska Shootout, I thought he could be a damn good NBA center. I stand by that, though I do have a soft spot for the two Seattle-area kids in the draft, Marvin Williams and Martell Webster. Beyond that, I saw Ian Thomsen's mock draft, and I disagreed at numerous points. First of all, if the Hawks draft Deron Williams, it will merely ensure more years of suffering for the ATL. Not that Deron isn't a nice player, he is...but he's no better than Jameer Nelson. No way he's worth the second overall pick. Also, Ray Allen will not sign with the Hawks, no matter how much money they offer him. He's not taking a million or two more per year to suffer through rebuilding season after rebuilding season, not when the Sonics can win now. Beyond that, I think Channing Frye to the Knicks would be an excellent move. They need to get someone on their roster who is over 6'9" and can actually play. I'm not sure Frye will ever be a dominant post player, especially on the offensive end, but he's bound to be a better player than Loren Woods was. Plus, he's a legitimately good guy, and the Knicks could use a few more of those.

I used to care about the Indy 500. Really. As a kid, I used to love watching it. Then I grew out of my fascination with fast-moving objects, and stopped paying attention. I think this corresponded with my no longer recognizing the names of the guys winning the race, because they were all from Hungary or something. But you'd better believe I'll be watching this weekend. While I'm not too proud of buying into the Danika Patrick hype, you've gotta admit that it's an intriguing story. Fairly attractive woman does well at pseduo-sport. Better yet, she does it while beating a field full of men. This isn't Annika Sorenstam barely missing a cut at a minor PGA event...this is a woman possibly winning the premier open-wheeled racing event of the year. So I'll be watching.


Blogger David Arnott said...

Wait a second... "...the Phoenix Suns are a sham... Their lack of bench scoring, their inabilty to play defense, and most of all, their reliance on scoring on the primary and secondary break meant that they would be unable to go deep in the playoffs unless they got unbelievably lucky."

Please explain how the Suns have been "unbelievably lucky" thus far. They're deep in the playoffs, which, to me, seems to discount the idea that they're a sham. It's no shame to be second best in the West, especially to a team that LOST THREE GAMES AT HOME THIS SEASON. True, the Suns don't play defense all that well. However, they were remarkably good at both scoring in quantity AND efficiency, so the defense question never had to be answered. (According to points per 100 possessions, they were just a shade worse than league average, defensively, and the best in the league offensively) To my mind, the baseball equivalent would be having to go with Brian Anderson and Miguel Batista as your third and fourth starters in the World Series. As long as you're absolutely confident that Schilling and Johnson can get the job done in their starts (that the Suns' offense would score like they'd done in the regular season), then it's okay. Do you really think that any of the less-than-elite defensive teams could have stopped the Suns?

As far as Marvin Williams, I wish no one ill luck, but I would be wary of drafting him. First, he was the 6th man on his college team. That has to stand for something, however minimal. Second, with him I keep hearing about "upside" and "potential" which are euphemisms for, "I'm imagining what he eventually could be, not envisioning how he would look on an NBA court right now." We've talked about this, and I hope you're still on my side when I say it's lunacy to draft mostly on potential/upside. Teams should weight immediate talent more heavily than they do. If a guy can contribute right away, he has much more value than guys who, at the soonest, will be significant contributors three years down the road.

11:01 PM  
Blogger Zachary Geballe said...

I mean the Suns are a sham in the sense that the mid-90s Sonics were a sham (beyond the 1996 team)...because most of their regular season success was predicated on a playing style that, while difficult to prepare for on a one-game basis (like in the regular season), but less imposing to deal with for a seven-game series.

Phoenix got unbelievably lucky in the sense that they happened to get a pair of very favorable matchups to start the playoffs. They avoided teams that might have given them more trouble (Houston, for one), and instead got the horribly overmatched Grizzlies, and the Allas Mavericks...and they struggled to put the Mavericks away, despite the fact that all the Mavs tried to do was outscore the Suns...their supposed strength.

In all honesty Dave, it's not about having an elite defense to stop the Suns as much as it is having a disciplined team. You beat the Suns by not turning the ball over, not letting them get easy fastbreak points, and then finding their shooters in the secondary break. I think the Rockets and Sonics could have given them plenty of trouble.

And of course I agree with you about the draft...

2:17 AM  

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