Tag:Charlotte Bobcats
Posted on: August 11, 2010 11:04 am
Edited on: August 11, 2010 11:08 am
 

Breaking down the back-to-backs

Posted by Royce Young

Other than the fact that since it's August and we're all starved for NBA news, the schedule release typically doesn't have a ton of surprises. On the surface, all schedules are created equal with everyone having 41 home games and 41 road games. (Unless you're the Lakers and you get a couple extra home games when you go on the "road" to play the Clippers.)

But all schedules are not equal. Not in the slightest actually. Other than some teams getting contenders four times instead of three because of the way the scheduling rotation works and the fact the Clippers have a 10-game road trip (!), there's the issue of back-to-backs. And back-to-backs can take what looks to be an easy month and turn it into a 30-day grind.

The Bulls and Bucks lead the way with 23 back-to-backs. That's a bummer for the Bulls who had one of the highest totals in the league last season. For all you Laker haters, here's some more ammo: The champs only have 15, which is tied for the fewest in the league. The Suns have just 16 and the Thunder and Hawks have only 17.

Six teams have 22, six have 21, two have 20, six have 19 and four have 18. The full list:

1. Chicago - 23
2. Milwauke -  23
3. Charlotte - 22
4. Cleveland - 22
5. LA Clippers - 22
6. New Jersey - 22
7. Philadelphia - 22
8. Portland - 22
9. Detroit - 21
10. Houston - 21
11. Indiana - 21
12. Memphis - 21
13. New York - 21
14. Washington - 21
15. Dallas - 20
16. Orlando - 20
17. Boston - 19
18. Denver - 19
19. Miami - 19
20. Minnesota - 19
21. Toronto - 19
22. Utah - 19
23. Golden State - 18
24. New Orleans - 18
25. Sacramento - 18
26. San Antonio - 18
27. Atlanta - 17
28. Oklahoma City - 17
29. Phoenix - 16
30. LA Lakers - 15

One underrated angle on the back-to-backs is how many games a team gets against a team on the second night of a back-to-back. Phoenix has the most in the league with 15 games against teams that played the night before. The Suns are followed by Cleveland (10), Oklahoma City (10), Atlanta (10) and San Antonio (9).

The Lakers, who have the fewest back-to-backs in the league, only have four games against a team that played the night before. Sacramento has the fewest in the league with only one.

Related to that, the Bucks, Cavs, Celtics, Bobcats, Bulls, Grizzlies and Clippers all have four or more games against a team playing in its fourth game in five days with no rest. The Lakers, Suns, Warriors, Spurs and 76ers have zero such games.
 
And on the flip side of that, the Bobcats, Cavs, Bucks, 76ers and Wizards all have four games that are on the fourth game in five days with no rest. So clearly the league tried to even that out. You get some, you give some. A bunch of teams only have to do that once including the Suns, Thunder, Lakers and Heat.

Based on back-to-backs, days off and playing against unrested opponents, you could make a strong case that Oklahoma City and Phoenix have two of the most favorable schedules in the league. The Lakers, while having the fewest back-to-backs, also have one of the lowest amount of games against unrested opponents.

While the schedule is going to be unfair for some teams because that's just life, it's clear the league tried to even things out. Playing against a team that is coming in off a red eye flight and that played just 20 hours ago is a huge advantage. Probably even more than having a low number of back-to-back games.

But back-to-backs are just part of the schedule story. Who are the back-to-backs against? What about long road trips, days off and long home stands? In the end, it doesn't matter all that much. For the most part, the best teams win and the bad teams lose.

Info pulled from NBAStuffer.com
Posted on: August 10, 2010 5:56 pm
Edited on: August 10, 2010 5:58 pm
 

5 can't miss national TV games in 2010-2011

Posted by Matt Moore

The story of the 2010-2011 national television schedule is about what you'd expect. Lots of Heat, lots of Boston, lots of Lakers, and the rise of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Boston Celtics surprisingly lead all teams in national television appearances across NBATV, ESPN, ABC, and TNT with 33 appearances. The Miami Heat, no shock, are second, with 29 appearances, while the defending champion Lakers appear 27 times. That number is likely to increase signficantly with NBATV's fan night. The Orlando Magic also appear 29 times, compared to the East's three-seed Atlanta Hawks, who appear just 14 times. Of the 15 games on ABC, 14 feature the Heat, Celtics, Lakers, or Magic.

New York appears 18 times, while Phoenix has certainly earned some faith from the producers, landing 25 national appearances. Oklahoma City were the big winners, with 24 big-time appearances, and the first post-Christmas ABC game, facing the Heat at home. It's a big win for a small market club.

Of course, most other small-market clubs didn't fair so well. Indiana is without a single appearanc. Charlotte and Memphis have 6 each, New Orleans 7, and Milwaukee only has 8, despite being playoff or near-playoff teams. This is in contrast to the Clippers, the freaking Clippers, getting 12 appearances. Win total didn't have much to do with these decisions.

Your top five nationally televised games not on Christmas, Opening Night, or MLK Day:

  1. Heat at Magic, November 24th, ESPN: The Sunshine Massacre. The Heat's primary weakness, true size, is tested against Dwight Howard while Jameer Nelson could have a huge game against Mario Chalmers.
  2. Lakers at Thunder, February 27th, ABC: Welcome back, Lakers. They barely got out of the Sooner state with their playoff lives last April and the Thunder should be improved. Kevin Durant will likely take this one personally, while Kobe loathes challengers to his throne.
  3. Heat at Cavaliers, December 2nd, TNT: "Peace? Peace. I hate the word. As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee."-Cleveland
  4. Blazers at Jazz, April 7th, TNT: Let's imagine Greg Oden stays healthy. Let's imagine Al Jefferson stays healthy. Deron Williams, Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Marcus Camby, Andrei Kirilenko, Paul Millsap. The Northwest Division is a bloodbath.
  5. Lakers at Celtics, February 10th, TNT: It's refreshing when the networks give you two seldom-seen teams that never match up. It's a once-in-a-lifetime type game, really.

Posted on: August 5, 2010 11:59 am
Edited on: August 5, 2010 12:18 pm
 

Celtics, Bobcats eyeing Larry Hughes

Posted by Royce Young

Somehow, Larry Hughes continues to hang around. Reliable, veteran scorers seem to always have a place in this league. And as Marc J. Spears reported late Wednesday , both the Celtics and Bobcats have interest in the 12-year veteran.

If Hughes were to sign with Boston, all the Celtics could offer is the league minimum.

Hughes spent last season in both Charlotte and New York, appearing in just a total of 45 games. He averaged nine points a game and shot 31 percent from 3. The Bobcats are interested because they need more scoring punch off the bench, even if that means Hughes only plays 10 or 15 minutes a night.

The Celtics seem to be a haven for veteran players and even though they re-signed Nate Robinson, still have interest in Hughes. The reason is, Hughes is 6-5 and can move up to small forward and provide some depth behind Paul Pierce, something the C's don't have.

Spears said Hughes has been looking especially good in workouts and that's mainly why he's still drawing interest from teams. Though he's had some issues in the past, Hughes is still a guy that can score in his sleep. That might mean he takes 15 shots in 15 minutes, but if you're looking for added scoring help, Hughes can definitely help in that regard.
Posted on: July 27, 2010 11:34 am
Edited on: July 27, 2010 11:36 am
 

What's actually in your food at the arena?

Posted by Royce Young

A report on Outside the Lines Monday looked in detail at stadium food and the vendors that serve it.  The report compiled inspection reports for 107 venues and the results were pretty interesting. Or maybe actually, disturbing.

For instance, remember how Ted Leonsis said he was going to take everything up a notch for the Wizards' home games to make fan experience as good as it can be? Well, maybe instead of urinal cup holders he should start with removing the mice droppings for his concession stands. One hundred percent of the vendors in the Verizon Center were found in criticial violation. Yikes.

Some of the worst scores in the NBA :
  • Utah Jazz: 50 percent found in critical violation (Hot dogs waiting to be served had dropped below safe temperatures at several locations)
  • San Antonio Spurs: 48 percent (Inspectors found 18 pounds of hot dogs that had expired more than 10 days prior.)
  • Dallas Mavericks: 40 percent (Expired milk, brown lettuce and employees caught drinking or eating while they were working in the stand accounted for some of the stadium's critical violations.)
  • Portland Trail Blazers: 53 percent (In a cooler, inspectors found raw meat and seafood stored above ready-to-eat tacos during a prior inspection.)
  • Charlotte Bobcats: 73 percent (At one location, inspectors found debris under a slicer blade and pulled three pans that needed to be cleaned again.)
  • New York Knicks 61 percent (At one stand, inspectors found "53 mouse excreta" including 38 on top of a metal box underneath the cash registers in the front food-prep/service area and 15 on top of a carbonated-beverage dispensing unit.)
  • Orlando Magic: 75 percent (At a location that sells fish, inspectors found potentially hazardous ready-to-eat food not consumed/sold within a week of opening/preparation.)
  • Miami Heat: 93 percent (Critical violations included several safety issues related to electrical wiring and such equipment as gas boilers.)
  • Denver Nuggets: 67 percent (At one bar, inspectors found phorid flies, sometimes called coffin flies, in a bottle of cognac.)
So who can't wait to take their family to a ballgame and have some nachos with a side of phorid flies? Me either!

Some of the best were the Bulls and Raptors who had a stellar zero percent found in critical violation, the Thunder, the Lakers and Clippers, the Cavs, the Rockets, the Grizzlies and the 76ers. All of those scored under 20 percent.

Nobody goes to a game thinking they're getting a five star meal. And every food establishment battles these issues. But regardless, it's eye-opening. Knowing that mice poo could be near your hot dog in Madison Square Garden or raw meat next to some tacos in Portland is a little disturbing. Well, scratch that. A lot disturbing.
Posted on: July 24, 2010 1:16 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2010 1:18 pm
 

Report: Chris Paul prefers Orlando

Posted by Royce Young

The Chris Paul situation is heating up. He has a meeting with the team Monday that could influence him to stay or maybe to go. And now there's a report telling the world where he wants to be: Orlando.

Chris Broussard of ESPN reports the Magic have emerged as Paul's top preferred destination, supplanting the New York Knicks. In the story, Broussard mentions that while the Knicks are still high on Paul's list, he believes the Magic would be a better fit. Plus, CP3 also realizes Orlando has much more to offer New Orleans in a trade and thus believes it's a more realistic destination than New York,

CP3's desire to play in New York is largely tied to Carmelo Anthony and the chance to form a new Big 3 in the Big Apple with Amar'e Stoudemire. But that's not a guaranteed situation, especially with reports indicating Anthony prefers to re-sign with Denver. On top of that, the Knicks probably will be able to present the least attractive offer to the Hornets. Ken Berger's original report mentioned the Hornets would want to move Emeka Okafor with Paul, and if the Knicks took back Okafor, they wouldn't have the cap space to sign Anthony anyway in 2011.

Paul does have two years left on his contract so the Hornets don't have to move him by any means. But the team understands the predicament its star is in and realizes the unwanted situation new coach Monty Williams would have starting his coaching career with an unhappy star.

That's why the Hornets may indeed decide to trade Paul. But New Orleans would not limit itself to the four clubs on Paul's list, Broussard points out. Instead, the Hornets would look for the best deal for its franchise, according to his sources.

Currently the four teams Paul reportedly prefers are the Knicks, the Magic, the Mavericks and the Trail Blazers. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported on Friday that Paul's agent Leon Rose reached out to all four teams this week. The Bobcats and Nets have also made inquiries about packaging a deal for CP3.

If Monday's meeting doesn't go well for the Paul camp, there are teams lined up ready to pony up just about anything to grab CP3. This thing is getting good. Well, that is unless you're a Hornets fan.


Posted on: July 22, 2010 8:36 pm
 

Stephen Jackson's wife held at gunpoint

Posted by Matt Moore

Terrifying news out of Charlotte tonight, with Bobcats forward Stephen Jackson's wife held at gunpoint. WSOCTV 9 in Charlotte reports that Jackson's home in Charlotte was robbed early Wednesday, with armed gunmen holding his wife at gunpoint before locking her in a bathroom while they robbed the residence. Jackson himself was not at home when the robbery occurred. The robbers apparently took "several Louis Vuitton wallets, jewelry, a stun gun and a 9 millimeter handgun."

Reports are unclear as to whether Jackson was specifically targeted. It would be blatant speculation to say that Jackson's history of violent incidents could be connected, but that likely will not stop people from doing so. Regardless of what his past has been filled with, no one deserves to have their home invaded, much less their wife threatened at gunpoint. The incident will likely draw comparisons to that of NFL safety Sean Taylor, who was killed in a home invasion in 2007. Thankfully no one suffered gunshot wounds to the knowledge of the report at this time. We'll update with more details as they come available.
Posted on: July 22, 2010 5:59 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2010 11:11 am
 

Offseason Reviews: Southeast Division

Posted by Matt Moore

With only a handful of free agents left on the market and with summer league over, we thought we'd take a look at how various teams did over the summer in negotiating their moves.

Atlanta Hawks

Added: Joe Johnson (re-signed for eleventy billion dollars) Jordan Crawford (draft)
Lost: Josh Childress (didn't really have him anyway, but technically, they lost the rights to him in trade)

Philosophy: "Self-delusion is all the rage this summer!"

What are you going to do if you're Atlanta in six years? When Joe Johnson's crossover is no longer deadly and you're paying him $20 million? The goal, apparently, is to try and contend for a title in the next three years, hoping Al Horford and Josh Smith keep developing, Jeff Teague turns into a starter-caliber point guard, and maybe figure out some big name free agent you can sign on the cheap, like Shaq, that will put you over the top. It's not that the Hawks are a bad team. Far from it. While everyone was mocking them in the mid-00's for stockpiling forwards, they've either developed them into quality starters or raised their trade value enough to move them for pieces or cap relief. But this summer, they have only made one signature move, and that was spending way too much for Joe Johnson.

The vast number of ways in which the Johnson signing was poorly conceived is staggering. The full max, all six years? That much money? The roster had potential to really contend, but instead, the Hawks simply avoided the great collapse of losing a high usage player with low efficiency. Johnson can take over a game like few in the league. But he also simply isn't worth the money, and it's hamstrung their franchise for the future.

Grade: D+

Charlotte Bobcats

Added: Shaun Livingston (free agency), Dominic Maguire (free agency), Matt Carroll (trade), Erick Dampier (trade), Eduardo Najera (trade)
Lost: Raymond Felton (free agency), Alexis Ajinca (trade), Tyson Chandler (trade)

Philosophy: "Slight derivatives"

Did the Bobcats get better? Did they get worse? Did they stay the same? No, those aren't rhetorical. I'm asking. Because looking at that list above, I really can't be sure. They lost an underrated point guard who worked hard but never could stick with Larry Brown. They added a recovering injury-plagued point guard who can't seem to stick with any coach. They lost a veteran seven foot center with wear and tear on him and a large contract. They brought in an aging behemoth with wear and tear issues and a big contract. And they got Dominic Maguire, so they've got that going for them.

Larry Brown and Rod Higgins have built a program of improvement through trade and have kept up with this offseason. Adding Livingston provides a high-upside, low-risk replacement for Felton and they managed to trim some long-term money off the books. But you can't look at the roster and say they've improved dramatically. Status quo for the Cats. Underrated moves that still don't move them up dramatically in the NBA world.

Grade: C-

Orlando Magic


Added: J.J. Redick (re-signed), Chris Duhon (free agency), Quentin Richardson (free agency), Daniel Orton (draft), Stanley Robinson (draft)
Lost: Matt Barnes (free agency)

Philosophy: "The fear of losing out."

Marcin Gortat wants a bigger role. Benched. Brandon Bass wants a bigger role. Benched. J.J. Redick wanted a bigger role and more money. Offer from the Bulls matched and benched. The Magic seem to really believe in this roster, and it shows in them re-signing Redick and only addint marginal adjustments at other positions. Their draft essentially yielded them a raw, underdeveloped player who has little to no chance of getting playing time (Orton) and another wing to be buried deep. They didn't lose anyone, which means the luxury tax and the Magic are best of friends, especially after matching the $20 million offer for Redick from the Bulls.

Without any adjustments, and with how much better the East has gotten, it's hard to argue that the Magic have improved by not subtracting. Chris Duhon might be considered an upgrade over Jason Williams, but we're talking inches, not miles, and Quentin Richardson brings better three point shooting than Matt Barnes . That may be the best addition the Magic made, adding another shooter that provides an alternative reason not to play Vince Carter when he goes in a hole. But all in all, for a franchise that has spent the money to contend, they simply haven't done enough to get there.

Grade: C-

Miami Heat


Added: LeBron James (free agency sign-and-trade), Chris Bosh (free agency sign-and-trade), Dwyane Wade (re-signed), Mike Miller (free agency), Udonis Haslem (re-signed), Zydrunas Ilgauskas (re-signed), James Jones (re-signed), Joel Anthony (re-signed), Jamaal Magloire (re-signed), Juwan Howard (free-agency), Dexter Pittman (draft), Jarvis Varnado (draft), Da'Sean Butler (draft),

Lost:
Jermaine O'Neal (free agency), Quentin Richardson (free agency), Michael Beasley (trade), Daequan Cook (trade)

Philosophy:
"So, that went pretty well."

That's how you build a title contender. Any questions? The Heat managed to add all three of the top free agents this summer, fill out the roster with veteran talent that knows how to win and supports their Big 3, and did it all in a little less than fourteen days. Think about that. The Heat remade their team into a title contender in less time than it takes for your milk to go bad. It was a sweeping coup, one that has to lead people to believe it probably took much longer to orchestrate (cough*tampering*cough). What could the Heat have done better? Well, not allowing for the act to paint them as the most obnoxious triumverate in modern sports would have been nice. Other than that, it's hard to argue Pat Riley's anything but a genius. Getting Quentin Richardson would have been nice, but adding Mike Miller more than makes up for it. Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Joel Anthony gives the team some size to go along with the incredible talent they have. From when once mortals stood, now there be gods. Geez, Riley, save some for the rest of the class.

Grade: A

Washington Wizards


Added: John Wall (draft), Kirk Hinrich (trade), Trevor Booker (draft), Yi Jianlian (trade), Hamady N'Diaye (draft), Hilton Armstrong (free agency), Kevin Seraphin (draft)
Lost: Randy Foye (free agency), Mike Miller (free agency), Shaun Livingston (free agency)

Philosophy:
"Let's see how this goes."

One thing is absolutely certain. John Wall is the future. Everything is built around Wall as the future. He is the singular sure thing. Other than that, sussing out a pattern that goes beyond "keep it flexible, stupid" is tough. The team acquired Kirk Hinrich in one of the more baffling moves we've seen. Hinrich brings a veteran defensive guard that can play on or off ball, back up Wall, and anchor the defense. But he's also an underwhelming shooter (oh, where, oh, where have you gone, 2005 shooting average?) and doesn't seem like an ideal fit next to Wall. Neither does the incumbent shooting guard, Gilbert Arenas , who you may remember from such films as "The Single Worst Offseason Meltdown in the History of the League" and "Little Blogger, Get Your Gun, Then Bring It To The Arena."

Arenas' ability to play next to Wall will decide his future in Washington. No longer is the team willing to build around him. If he can slide into an off-ball shooter that complements Wall? Terrific. Redemption abounds. Provided he stays out of trouble, of course. If he can't, he's trade bait. He may be already. The addition of Yi Jianlian seems like a "let's see what this does" kind of tinkering. The team still needs a long-term solution at small-forward, and with Andray Blatche recovering from injury, there are questions all over in the frontcourt. When you realize that JaVale McGee seems like the player best adapted to mix with John Wall, you know you've got a ways to go in the rebuilding process.

To evaluate? They failed to make any signings or trades that wow you, but they also managed to not screw up the #1 overall pick and cleaned some salary off the books for the future. Not a bad day at the office. And that's better than last year.

Grade: B-
Posted on: July 22, 2010 5:59 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2010 11:11 am
 

Offseason Reviews: Southeast Division

Posted by Matt Moore

With only a handful of free agents left on the market and with summer league over, we thought we'd take a look at how various teams did over the summer in negotiating their moves.

Atlanta Hawks

Added: Joe Johnson (re-signed for eleventy billion dollars) Jordan Crawford (draft)
Lost: Josh Childress (didn't really have him anyway, but technically, they lost the rights to him in trade)

Philosophy: "Self-delusion is all the rage this summer!"

What are you going to do if you're Atlanta in six years? When Joe Johnson's crossover is no longer deadly and you're paying him $20 million? The goal, apparently, is to try and contend for a title in the next three years, hoping Al Horford and Josh Smith keep developing, Jeff Teague turns into a starter-caliber point guard, and maybe figure out some big name free agent you can sign on the cheap, like Shaq, that will put you over the top. It's not that the Hawks are a bad team. Far from it. While everyone was mocking them in the mid-00's for stockpiling forwards, they've either developed them into quality starters or raised their trade value enough to move them for pieces or cap relief. But this summer, they have only made one signature move, and that was spending way too much for Joe Johnson.

The vast number of ways in which the Johnson signing was poorly conceived is staggering. The full max, all six years? That much money? The roster had potential to really contend, but instead, the Hawks simply avoided the great collapse of losing a high usage player with low efficiency. Johnson can take over a game like few in the league. But he also simply isn't worth the money, and it's hamstrung their franchise for the future.

Grade: D+

Charlotte Bobcats

Added: Shaun Livingston (free agency), Dominic Maguire (free agency), Matt Carroll (trade), Erick Dampier (trade), Eduardo Najera (trade)
Lost: Raymond Felton (free agency), Alexis Ajinca (trade), Tyson Chandler (trade)

Philosophy: "Slight derivatives"

Did the Bobcats get better? Did they get worse? Did they stay the same? No, those aren't rhetorical. I'm asking. Because looking at that list above, I really can't be sure. They lost an underrated point guard who worked hard but never could stick with Larry Brown. They added a recovering injury-plagued point guard who can't seem to stick with any coach. They lost a veteran seven foot center with wear and tear on him and a large contract. They brought in an aging behemoth with wear and tear issues and a big contract. And they got Dominic Maguire, so they've got that going for them.

Larry Brown and Rod Higgins have built a program of improvement through trade and have kept up with this offseason. Adding Livingston provides a high-upside, low-risk replacement for Felton and they managed to trim some long-term money off the books. But you can't look at the roster and say they've improved dramatically. Status quo for the Cats. Underrated moves that still don't move them up dramatically in the NBA world.

Grade: C-

Orlando Magic


Added: J.J. Redick (re-signed), Chris Duhon (free agency), Quentin Richardson (free agency), Daniel Orton (draft), Stanley Robinson (draft)
Lost: Matt Barnes (free agency)

Philosophy: "The fear of losing out."

Marcin Gortat wants a bigger role. Benched. Brandon Bass wants a bigger role. Benched. J.J. Redick wanted a bigger role and more money. Offer from the Bulls matched and benched. The Magic seem to really believe in this roster, and it shows in them re-signing Redick and only addint marginal adjustments at other positions. Their draft essentially yielded them a raw, underdeveloped player who has little to no chance of getting playing time (Orton) and another wing to be buried deep. They didn't lose anyone, which means the luxury tax and the Magic are best of friends, especially after matching the $20 million offer for Redick from the Bulls.

Without any adjustments, and with how much better the East has gotten, it's hard to argue that the Magic have improved by not subtracting. Chris Duhon might be considered an upgrade over Jason Williams, but we're talking inches, not miles, and Quentin Richardson brings better three point shooting than Matt Barnes . That may be the best addition the Magic made, adding another shooter that provides an alternative reason not to play Vince Carter when he goes in a hole. But all in all, for a franchise that has spent the money to contend, they simply haven't done enough to get there.

Grade: C-

Miami Heat


Added: LeBron James (free agency sign-and-trade), Chris Bosh (free agency sign-and-trade), Dwyane Wade (re-signed), Mike Miller (free agency), Udonis Haslem (re-signed), Zydrunas Ilgauskas (re-signed), James Jones (re-signed), Joel Anthony (re-signed), Jamaal Magloire (re-signed), Juwan Howard (free-agency), Dexter Pittman (draft), Jarvis Varnado (draft), Da'Sean Butler (draft),

Lost:
Jermaine O'Neal (free agency), Quentin Richardson (free agency), Michael Beasley (trade), Daequan Cook (trade)

Philosophy:
"So, that went pretty well."

That's how you build a title contender. Any questions? The Heat managed to add all three of the top free agents this summer, fill out the roster with veteran talent that knows how to win and supports their Big 3, and did it all in a little less than fourteen days. Think about that. The Heat remade their team into a title contender in less time than it takes for your milk to go bad. It was a sweeping coup, one that has to lead people to believe it probably took much longer to orchestrate (cough*tampering*cough). What could the Heat have done better? Well, not allowing for the act to paint them as the most obnoxious triumverate in modern sports would have been nice. Other than that, it's hard to argue Pat Riley's anything but a genius. Getting Quentin Richardson would have been nice, but adding Mike Miller more than makes up for it. Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Joel Anthony gives the team some size to go along with the incredible talent they have. From when once mortals stood, now there be gods. Geez, Riley, save some for the rest of the class.

Grade: A

Washington Wizards


Added: John Wall (draft), Kirk Hinrich (trade), Trevor Booker (draft), Yi Jianlian (trade), Hamady N'Diaye (draft), Hilton Armstrong (free agency), Kevin Seraphin (draft)
Lost: Randy Foye (free agency), Mike Miller (free agency), Shaun Livingston (free agency)

Philosophy:
"Let's see how this goes."

One thing is absolutely certain. John Wall is the future. Everything is built around Wall as the future. He is the singular sure thing. Other than that, sussing out a pattern that goes beyond "keep it flexible, stupid" is tough. The team acquired Kirk Hinrich in one of the more baffling moves we've seen. Hinrich brings a veteran defensive guard that can play on or off ball, back up Wall, and anchor the defense. But he's also an underwhelming shooter (oh, where, oh, where have you gone, 2005 shooting average?) and doesn't seem like an ideal fit next to Wall. Neither does the incumbent shooting guard, Gilbert Arenas , who you may remember from such films as "The Single Worst Offseason Meltdown in the History of the League" and "Little Blogger, Get Your Gun, Then Bring It To The Arena."

Arenas' ability to play next to Wall will decide his future in Washington. No longer is the team willing to build around him. If he can slide into an off-ball shooter that complements Wall? Terrific. Redemption abounds. Provided he stays out of trouble, of course. If he can't, he's trade bait. He may be already. The addition of Yi Jianlian seems like a "let's see what this does" kind of tinkering. The team still needs a long-term solution at small-forward, and with Andray Blatche recovering from injury, there are questions all over in the frontcourt. When you realize that JaVale McGee seems like the player best adapted to mix with John Wall, you know you've got a ways to go in the rebuilding process.

To evaluate? They failed to make any signings or trades that wow you, but they also managed to not screw up the #1 overall pick and cleaned some salary off the books for the future. Not a bad day at the office. And that's better than last year.

Grade: B-
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com