Sunday, June 26, 2011

Golden State Warriors 2011 Post Draft Analysis

The Second Coming of RUN TMC?
In the 1990-91 NBA season, the Golden State Warriors reached the Western Conference Semifinals.  They did it, with an unconventional, three guard lineup.  Here’s a history lesson for those who weren’t paying attention at that time.  Bear in mind, I was an 8th grader at Our Lady of Mercy Elementary School, that year.  And a die hard W’s fan, to boot. 
As mentioned, the W’s made their way to the Western Conference Semi’s.  We lost to the eventual Western Conference Champions, the LA Lakers.  That Laker team’s starting five consisted of Magic Johnson, Byron Scott, James Worthy, Sean Perkins and Vladi Divac.  The W’s boasted a lineup consisting of Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, Chris Mullin, Tom Tolbert and Alton Lister.  Basically, RUN TMC (Tim, Mitch and Chris), one future sports talk radio guy, and a “where are they now” guy.
Okay, Okay.  What am I getting at here?  It’s a bit premature, but I think Mark Jackson, Larry Riley and Jerry West, are conducting a séance to channel the spirit of the 90’/91’ Golden State Warriors.  They’re looking to compete with their backcourt, and hope for consistent frontcourt play. 
Also, there was depth on that team.  Marciulonis and Mario Ellie were key backcourt guys, off the bench.  Rod Higgins and Tyrone Hill offered quality frontcourt minutes, off the bench.  And as the Dallas Mavericks proved this year, depth is the key to success. 
With that said, I’d like to analyze the Warriors by position, post draft.
Point Guard
The incumbent at this position is Stephan Curry.  He’s good at the position, but needs to be held to a higher standard, after JJ Barea’s performance in the NBA Finals.  He’s proven himself as a great perimeter shooter.  He did well in the 3-pt contest, Allstar Weekend.  All good, but he didn’t prove himself as a PG who can create shots for others, play the penetrate and dish game, and show the toughness shown by Barea in this years Finals.  After all, when he suffered through his ankle problems, Monta, Reggie Williams and Acie Law, filled in without a loss of stride.
It’s funny that the media thinks that Monta is more expendable than Curry.  This is actually good for the W’s.  Why not ride the favor the press gives Curry, and get depth at power forward.  After all, they had Reggie Williams sign a tender to stay with the team.  Then, in the second round, they picked up a PG from Hofstra.  And, by the way, pull up some youtube clips on this Jenkins kid, and see how his size and play are favorable over Curry.
Best case scenario, the W’s keep Curry, and run the 2011 version of TMC.  I do believe that Curry, Ellis and their 1st round pick, Klay Thompson can do it.  With that said, I believe Charlie Bell, Acie Law and Jeremy Lin are in danger of losing their jobs.  Especially since Reggie Williams and 2nd round pick Jenkins, can run the PG position.
Shooting Guard
The incumbent is obviously the best player to not make an All Star squad.  The W’s brass should know that the reason behind their profits are ME8.  After all, there are marquee type NBA players, who admit they are enamered by Monta.  And the highly analytical Bay Area Basketball Fan, are equally enamered.  There are elite NBA playoff teams who don’t have the attendance that the W’s do.  Best believe, they aren’t there to watch Biedrens, David Lee, Dorrell Wright and even Steph Curry.  They are there to see Monta Ellis do something special.  In fact, I have a Facebook friend who said he’d stop being a W’s fan, if they traded Monta.
Pre Draft, Larry Riley and Mark Jackson stated that Monta is not up for trade.  Then, the W’s take Klay Thompson, a Shooting Guard at Washington State, as their first pick in the 2011 draft.  All of a sudden, wannabe soothsayer analyst, on TV and print, say that Monta is gone.
Really?  Like Larry Riley asked, what NBA Shooting Guards are as good as Monta Ellis?  Statistically, Dwayne Wade and Kobe Bryant.  Not to mention, Monta was the 8th leading scorer in the NBA this year.  He scored more than Dirk, last season.
Best case scenario,  Monta stays at SG, while the new kid Thompson earns his way to a Small Forward position.  After all, Thompson is 6’8”.
Small Forward
The incumbent is Dorrell Wright.  But, to tell you the truth, I believe the position as a whole, might be irrelevant this year, for the W’s.  I believe that the new kid, Klay Thompson, will have to compete with Dorrell Wright for the SF spot.  The W’s are desperate for youth at the SF position.  But since Klay Thompson is used to a SG position, Mark Jackson has a teaching project ahead of him.  After all, the alternatives are Vlad Radmonovic and Al Thornton, for the SF position.
Vlad Rad has a 6.8 Million Dollar salary.  They have to find a way to deal him, and perhaps, keep Al Thornton’s 600K salary.  I’m not sure Vlad is marketable, but if the W’s can equal him to a Turkoglu, they might have a chance.
Best case scenario, the W’s develop Klay Thompson into a viable Small Forward.  This way, he can compete with Dorrell Wright, and add depth to the SF position. 
Power Forward
The incumbent is the highly paid, David Lee.  David Lee might be the reason the Warriors make it to the NBA Playoffs in 2012, despite his high price.  The question is, who will be able to back him up.  The next best thing, would probably be Udoh.
Best case scenario, the W’s snatch up a free agent.  There are a ton on PF’s on the free agent market, however, I’m honing in on a hometown guy, named Leon Powe. He comes at a sub million pricetag.  His health is an issue, but I believe the gamble would be worth it.  This move would give the W’s two Pac-10 players of the year.
It’s hard to tell who’s the incumbent here, since Andres Biedrens started the year, with Udoh finishing it off.  The question is, will Biedrens be a Warrior next year.  Even if he does, he needs competition at that position.  Defensively, he can be backed up by Udoh.  Offensively, Udoh can’t cut it.  The W’s need a consistent double/double out of the Center position, to compete. 
The Warriors made a gutsy draft day trade with the Charlotte Bobcats, to acquire a gent named Jeremy Tyler.  To give some background, Tyler was a highly touted prep star in his Junior year of High School.  In fact, upon completing his junior year in High School, he was pursued by, and in principal committed to, Louisville University.  However, he decided to forgo his Senior year of High School, to play professional basketball, overseas.  After stints in Europe and Asia, he was finally able to declare for the NBA Draft in 2011.  In a trade for cash, the W’s were able to nab him from the Bobcats.
Regardless of your ideas of whether his path to the NBA was stupid, or not, please keep in mind that this kid has NBA talent.  I’ve mulled over his youtube videos, and although his opponents were of sub par talent, he seemed to have combination of skills that are NBA ready.  The cool thing is, he thought he was going to get paid by pulling his leave before graduating High School.  But little does he know, since he was picked so low, the W’s don’t have to pay him as much as a 1st rounder.
Also, there are a ton of veteran Centers available in Free Agency.  Most notably, Mark Gasol and Greg Oden.  Knowing that Biedrens is iffy about continuing on with the W’s, it’s smart for the W’s to look at free agency.  And to hedge their gamble, they drafted a past prospect, who made dumb decisions.
Best case scenario, the Warriors pick up Mark Gasol.  After all, Zach Randolph proved to be the man during the playoffs.  This way, Biedrens is expendable.  The W’s then can send Tyler through a GED program, and perhaps enroll him in Junior College courses.  All the while, learning NBA experience behind a proven NBA Center.
Projected Warriors Depth Chart
PGs: Stephan Curry, Charles Jenkins, Acie Law
SGs: Monta Ellis, Reggie Williams; Charlie Bell
SFs: Dorrell Wright, Klay Thompson, Al Thornton
PFs: David Lee, Epke Udoh, Leon Powe
Cs: Mark Gasol, Jeremy Tyler

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Post Eastern & Western Championship Analysis

Since it's in the past, this will be the last time I reference the fact that I called virtually all the games for both the Eastern and Western NBA Championships.  A true VISIONARY will never gloat.

However, this may be a point where the heretics start listening.  After all, we've reached the NBA Finals.

First of all, with the NFL being the king of revenue and viewers, the NBA needed something special this postseason.  After all, you are not competing with the NFL, if all your Playoff games are aired on CABLE television.  While all NFL Playoffs as well as, the Superbowl are always aired on NETWORK television (FOX, NBC, CBS or ABC).  Yes, you can watch the NFL playoffs and superbowl if you own a working TV and Bunny Ears. luck.

OK!  I agree.  This has nothing to do with the upcoming NBA Finals between the Lakers and Heat.  CRAP!!  Sorry, I mean the Mavericks and Heat.  All is well, because I believe this matchup will be entertaining to an average BASKETBALL fan.

But, will this be entertaining to the less than average basketball fan?  The same folks who were conditioned by the media, since the beginning of the NBA season, to expect a Lakers/Heat Finals?  The same people who the sports media, had dedicate a late summer evening to wait in anticipation to find out where LeBron was going to play this season? 

Well, the NBA got half of what they wished for.  Holding true, the night LeBron sat in a Boys and Girls Club somewhere in middle America, and announced that he'd be joining Wade and Bosh with the Heat, was the NBA's ticket to some kind of positive income.  With that, it would be safe to say that the NBA was probably BANKING on the Heat making the Finals.

The Mavs, in my opinion, got to the Finals in a more traditional way.  The ultimate favorites coming out of the west, were obviously the Lakers, defending NBA Champs.  To keep pace with the Lakers, they made mid season personell moves to improve their team.  Although they didn't have the best record, end of season, their new team was able to make it's way through the playoffs, and into the Finals.

Now, hopefully, the NBA Finals matchup between the NBA's favorite, and a blue collar, no expectations team, turns into a matchup for the ages.  I hope so, especially when it is reality that the NBA is struggling to keep pace with the popularity of the NFL.

There are rumors that the NBA is in for a change this offseason.  Free agent superstars, such as Dwight Howard and Chris Paul, look to join other existing championship contenders like Kobe, Gasol and the Lakers.  Is this the direction the NBA wants?  Only a few teams with power? Is the NBA going to turn into a handful of teams, acting as the Harlem Globetrotters, while the rest of the league, acts as the Washington Generals?  Is this entertainment?  At least the Globetrotters allow the fans to have fun!

If the NBA, and their Me, Myself and I attitude continue, I see the league reducing itself to nothing but a novelty.  Therefore, I suggest that NBA fans prepare themselves for such events as the Lakers vs Heat PPV, Lakers vs Heat on Ice PPV, Lakers vs Heat with UFC XXX PPV, Lakers vs Heat with Wrestlemania 82, Lakers vs Heat IF Pacquiao doesn't KO Mayweather before 6 round PPV, etc.

Blah blah blah...the Oracle shall talk about Game 1 NBA Finals, when he feel like it!!


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mavs/Thunder Game 3 Post Analysis

Ok!  So I didn't call the game PERFECT.  I did call the EXACT point total the Thunder scored (87).  However, I did think the Mavs would score more than 93.

I feel like Freddy Roach predicting Manny to KO Hatton in the 3rd, while Pacman threw the the most demolishing left hook in boxing history, and KO'd Ricky in the 2nd.  ARE YOU REALLY GOING TO PUNISH ME???

Like I said, PACE is the key in this series.  I referenced Horse Racing before, and I'll do it again.  The favorite of the Preakness today, Animal Kingdom, failed to acurately gauge the pace, and failed in his attempt to win the triple crown.  To the good fortune of the Mavs, they were able to gauge the PACE correctly.  Therefore winning the contest in the homestretch.

Moving forward, I see the that the Mavs know the pace they should play.  Strong, physical defense.  Going to the zone when needed.  Running the offense through Dirk.  Let the game, on the offensive end, come to them.  Pretty simple, and I think the Mavs have the Cliffnotes.

I still think that the Thunder have the mentality of a young, well bred racehorse, with no training.  They have all the tools, but not the adequate training.  They want to poke their noses in front, often and early, but that will not earn them the win.  With that said, I don't believe that OKC has the ingenuity to adjust.  And even though Westbrook scored 30pts tonight, in a game where he needed to prove himself, a majority of the wind has been taken out of his sails, since they lost.  In fact, I still haven't gotten out of the habit of thinking off the ultimate NFL failure, Michael Westbrook, ever time they say Westbrook, during this NBA playoff series.

I don't see this getting prettier for OKC.  The fact they were let back into the game, might have been because David Stern, and the NBA brass, made a call to Carslile to make the game more of a contest.  Especially since the NBA's cash cows (Lakers and Celtics) aren't in the equation right now.  A non-climactic, non-Reality TV style finish, would end up in bad ratings come game 4.

Assuming the Mavs don't get any calls to throw a game, or at least shave points, from the NBA brass, I presume they will move on after winning the next two games.  My full, pre-game analysis will follow, as we grow closer to the game.  At that time, I hope to get BOTH teams scores correctly.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Mavs/Thunder Game 2 Post Analysis

Keyword???  DELIBERATE.

From my analysis, it looks as if the Mavs intentionally tried something different, and stuck to it.  Despite the fact they knew they might lose.  Unlike Game 1, the Mavs didn't feed Dirk early and often.  When they did feed Dirk, he played hot potato, and got rid of the rock to others.  Much to their dismay, "the others" weren't as scene stealing as Ferrell and Wahlberg were, in the movie of the same name.

Despite their contrarian gameplan, the Mavs didn't account for the freakish performance of the OKC bench.  And the OKC bench octopule handidly  won this game.  I would have never though that OKC had a chance with Durant scoring only 24 points.  Watching the 1st half pace, I thought that OKC was going to punch themselves out, ala Ivan Drago.  Instead, they benched their starters, except Durant, and won the game handily.

Moving forward, I see the Mavs slowing things down, and feeding Dirk early and often, in Game 3.  Just as they did in Game 1.  I look for the Mavs to play more zone defense, taking Durant and their perimeter shooters out of the equation.  I don't think Harden and Cook will be able to have open, uncontested 3's, in a zone situation.

It doesn't take Einstein to see that this matchup is a good ole fashioned battle between youth and experience.  I see the Mavs taking their experience to DELIBERATELY have OKC play a pace like Game 1.  When I look at OKC, I see a young colt, ready to bust out the gate, giving their all to the finish line.  But an experienced horse handicapper knows, you need to know pace to win a Stakes Race.  I see Game 2 as the Mavs, an experienced and savvy racehorse, allowing a young colt in OKC, to run themselves out, and leave the finish line to the experience.

GAME 3 PREDICTIONS: Now that the Mavs see that they can't win at OKC's pace, they will DELIBERATELY slow things down, and make it more about DIRK.

Mavs 102 - Thunder 87