Tag:Troy Murphy
Posted on: November 26, 2010 12:40 pm
Edited on: November 26, 2010 6:08 pm
 

Your NBA Fantasy Black Friday Deals

Your NBA Black Friday Fantasy deals: come find the bargain fantasy guys you're looking for.
Posted by Kevin Goodwin

Well, folks, it's that time of year again. The day we shake off those paralyzing turkey chemicals and drag ourselves out of bed in the wee hours. The day we maraud from store to store like a pack of ravenous credit-wielding zombies. The day we do the ridiculous in the name of big deals and unparalleled savings. Black Friday hath cometh.

Fortunately, Fantasy owners don't even have to leave their couch to find great bargains … and it's the right time of year for those as well. I've got 10 super-saver steals that could put your team on the track to success in the New Year.  Don't let those other fantasy shoppers beat you to the bargains!

Fantasy Shopping Cart: Calderon's Fantasy value is sky high, and Fantasy owners are clearing out long-term roster space to snatch him up. Since Jarrett Jack was traded to New Orleans, Calderon will see the lion's share of minutes up in Toronto.  He has been producing at a high level recently, and is averaging 12.3 points and 6.5 assists over his last four games entering Black Friday. He should continue to perform for the Raptors, and for Fantasy owners from here on out.

Real Deal Equivalent: Squinkies Bubble Pack - $11.99 at Babies"R"Us
They're definitely not the most glamorous item on the list, but are widely considered to be one of the hottest grabs of the season. It's kind of like the Furby toy from a few years ago, except they're supposedly very collectable to kids, and will likely be worth holding on to for the long haul.

Fantasy Shopping Cart: Flynn still doesn't have a timetable for his return, but it's getting closer. Minnesota brought in veteran guard Luke Ridnour to push Flynn for the starting job this year, but a hip injury to Flynn deflated any competition. Now, Flynn will have to prove his worth to coach Kurt Rambis. We all know Rambis was limiting Kevin Love's minutes to start the season, so it's unclear how he'll treat Flynn when he does return. But Fantasy owners who are hurting in the guard position should keep an eye on Flynn. He has more of an upside than Ridnour, and can offer you around 13-15 points and 4-5 assists per game. He also shot 35.8 percent from downtown last season, which is a nice gift for Fantasy owners around the holidays.

Real Deal Equivalent: 1/3 Carat Diamond White Gold Bypass Bridal Ring Set - $219 at Wal-Mart
Gets the job done... and looks enough like the high-end alternatives when the time comes to take it out of the box. Plus, it'll be easy to cry poverty when you're dealing with those pesky alimony hearings.

    3. Troy Murphy, forward, New Jersey Nets (Owned 85 percent/Started 10 percent)

Fantasy Shopping Cart: Murphy has been inactive for five games now, and is sitting behind Kris Humphries and rookie Derrick Favors on the depth chart. Coach Avery Johnson hasn't been able to figure out what to do with Murphy. He missed the preseason and the start of the regular season with a back injury, but is now on the shelf because of his conditioning. The Nets traded for Murphy with the hope that he could be a starter, and now he's not playing or bringing in any Fantasy points. Not what anyone wants from a Round 5 or 6 draft choice (his average in CBSSports.com Fantasy leagues). Still, in leagues where he's available, Murphy would be worth grabbing while you can. If he gets traded by the Nets, he could go back to his 15-10 stat line, and smart Fantasy owners could get him on the cheap if they can afford to keep him reserved until he sees more court time. Keep in mind, Murphy also has a history of late-season success -- Since the 2006-07 NBA season he's averaged 11.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game before the All-Star break and 14.8 PPG and 9.1 boards post All-Star.

Real Deal Equivalent: Samsung SMX-F40 SD camcorder - $119 at K-Mart
Sure, it might not be something you're going to use all the time, but when the battery is fully charged, this baby could come in pretty handy. Just think how useful it could be when one of your buddies falls asleep in the middle of a party. Youtube!  

Fantasy Shopping Cart: Okur hasn't played yet this season, and is available in almost half of Fantasy leagues. With the Jazz playing so well to start the year, owners with room on their roster may have good reason to add the veteran big man. As a career 37.8 3-point shooter, Okur is hardly a typical center, which makes him a nice player to own in category-based leagues. Utah's addition of Al Jefferson may scare some owners off, but nabbing Okur now before a timetable is set could pay nice dividends.

Real Deal Equivalent: Yankee Candle Pine & Cinnamon Jar Candles - $17.99 at Kohl's
Maybe you didn't have time to cut down a premiere 7-footer in the draft. Maybe you're just desperate to hide the despicable funk emanating from those 1997 Jordans that can't seem to find their way to the trashcan. Either way, this is a great way to Spruce up your lineup for the winter run... terrible pun, definitely intended.

Fantasy Shopping Cart: Przybilla is set to make his season debut on Black Friday, which gives Fantasy owners a perfect opportunity to check him out. He'll likely be rusty coming off knee surgery, but is a center worth keeping tabs on or adding in deeper formats. He doesn't score many points, but is a good source of rebounds and shoots with high efficiency from the field -- 55.5 percent for his career. Also, take in to account that Portland needs bodies on the frontcourt, which means Przybilla will get plenty of playing time. Remember he should be targeted in deeper Fantasy formats, not standard leagues.

Real Deal Equivalent:  Craftsman 179cc 24'' Two-stage Snowblower - $583 at Sears
Powerful, but a little one-dimensional. Still, winter can be long and arduous, as can the NBA season. Finding a bargain like this could be the easiest way to clear your path to the playoffs.

Fantasy Shopping Cart: Butler isn't having a very good start to the season, which means now is the time to buy. Some Fantasy owners may want to drop him, but realize he's worth too much to just throw away. That being the case, they may be willing to part with Butler for next to nothing. He hasn't fully adjusted to being in Dallas since coming over from Washington, and the one thing that would help Butler's Fantasy appeal most is being traded. So, owners that like to gamble could make the move for Butler now. Last year, Butler averaged 15.2 points and 5.4 boards with the Mavericks, so the potential is there for Fantasy owners to see a nice return on their investment.

Real Deal Equivalent:  55" Westinghouse 120Hz, 1080p LCD TV - $799.99 at Best Buy
Still a great grab if you need to upgrade. Sure, it may not shine as brightly as LED or have the pop of 3D, but, a few years ago, this was a top-of-the-line model.

    7. Brandon Roy, guard, Portland Trail Blazers (Owned 99 percent/Started 22 percent)

Fantasy Shopping Cart: Roy should be owned in every Fantasy league out there, but while he battles knee injuries, owners are definitely grinding their teeth for drafting him so high. Some owners may be looking to jump ship, since this is the lowest Roy's Fantasy value has ever been, and that means it's the perfect time to get an upper echelon guard for dirt cheap. If you can pry Roy away from another owner, there's a good chance he would make your team better immediately. Portland may limit his court time to preserve him for the year, but Roy has the ability to produce solid numbers in 20-25 minutes of action.

Real Deal Equivalent:  High-Performance Samsung Laptops - $150 off at Best Buy
Yeah, you may have to open up your wallet if you want to bring home a big toy like this, but it's definitely a great option if you want to get some high-caliber equipment without paying full retail.

Fantasy Shopping Cart: Collison was undoubtedly overvalued entering this year. He was taken with an average draft pick of 40, based solely on his 18.8 points, 9.1 assists and 3.5 rebounds as a starter last year in New Orleans. This means that current owners are probably very disappointed with his 14.3 points and 4.3 boards per game through the first five weeks of the season. I smell a sale. Collison still has the potential to be a 17 and 7 guy, and owners should check their league and see if they can strike up a deal.

Real Deal Equivalent:  All adult jeans - $15 at Old Navy
Not exactly the designer dungarees you might find in a Madison Avenue boutique, but a reasonably stylish alternative for the price. Let's face it; you could easily pay twice as much any other time of year. Yeah, I used the word "dungarees". No, I'm not a septuagenarian

Fantasy Shopping Cart: Carter is currently dealing with some bumps and bruises which are keeping him out of the Magic lineup. He's also averaging career-lows in points, rebounds and assists: 13.9, 3.2 and 2.5, respectively. Clearly, Carter is no longer the high-flyer he once was, but he does have the capability to go off on any given night. Again, we've got a player who could be reeled in for cheap based on the disappointment tied to inflated preseason expectations. If you don't mind being patient with the veteran, trading for Carter could be a steal.

Real Deal Equivalent:  Radio Flyer Big Wheel - $35 at Wal-Mart
Yeah, we all remember how awesome these were when we were kids. Of course, back then, a few rocks in the tires would only help you sound cooler when you peeled out down the driveway. It's a sentimental choice, I know, but you can't look past the classics when you're in the market for a dependable option.

Fantasy Shopping Cart: Andersen just made his season debut for the Nuggets, which is why he's available in 90 percent of CBSSports.com Fantasy leagues. He's coming off an offseason knee surgery, so he's a bit of a risky option, but there are definitely Fantasy owners out there who are in desperate need of a big man. Injury bug, anyone? Those owners might be happy to see Andersen fill a void in their lineups. He's not worth owning in standard leagues, but is definitely worth a flier in deeper Rotisserie formats. He's a bargain and a half right now.

Real Deal Equivalent:  46" APEX LCD TV, 1080p 60 Hz - $449 at Target
Absolutely jaw-dropping color. And, while it's not the most recognized brand on the market, it's got some versatility -- Size enough to hold it down in the living room, and could be a huge addition to a bedroom-sized fantasy lineup.

Posted on: November 26, 2010 1:53 am
Edited on: November 26, 2010 12:43 pm
 

Black Friday: Your NBA Shopping Guide

A list of NBA deals on the biggest shopping day of the year. Posted by Matt Moore




As we speak the hording masses are overrunning exhausted store clerks in a mad Turducken-leftover fueled crush of commerce that we call Black Friday. From sweatpants to hot pants to hi-def televisions and tablets with screens two sizes too small, the countryside is alive with the sound of financial transactions, and everything is on sale.

But what about in the NBA? Surely as your aunt is busy buying you long underwear that looks like it may have been part of Carrot Top's personal brand, there are similar discount deals available across the league, and indeed, we have some. If your team is looking for that perfectly holiday gift to complete their team, here's a few of the bargain Black Friday deals they can find on sale right now.

Expiring Veteran Power Forward, 50 cents on the dollar!
Troy Murphy is healthy. Troy Murphy has a good track record of production. Troy Murphy is not with the Nets. The Nets sent him home to "get in condition" even though he says he's good to go. It's partially because he's having trouble getting up to speed with his injury and partially because Avery Johnson is as temperamental as that dynamite they found on LOST . Just because it's not working out for him so far in New Jersey doesn't mean he wouldn't work fine. He's like that toaster with the beat up box that's sold as-is.

Numbskull Wing, Buy 1, get 1 pick free!
Speaking of Avery Johnson and his endless spring of patience, Terrence Williams is also at home , after being suspended for violating team rules. Now, Ben Golliver thinks Williams is just a knucklehead , and that's certainly possible. But this is the NBA. Knuckleheads make millions of dollars and wind up winning championships. Williams is talented but apparently doesn't have a spot in Averyland. Teams looking to snag a rookie contract with some talent can likely get Williams for a kind word and low first round pick at this point. Throw the Nets a bone with some actual talent and you can likely swing Williams and one of the Nets' picks. That is if Avery doesn't let him go on Black Friday all together.

Slumping Sub-Star, 75 cents on the dollar! O.J. Mayo is in a slump. He hasn't hit a wall, he's not regressing, he is still the third best player on the Memphis Grizzlies. But he's hit a slump. And instead of the endless amount of patience spent on Mike Conley over the past four years (which is working out brilliantly for the Grizzlies, despite my being a moron and blasting him as the worst point guard in basketball which is no longer true), apparently all those games O.J. helped win them mean less as he's been jerked to the bench. Lionel Hollins says it's just because he wants scoring punch off the bench . But Xavier Henry is now starting, despite him being approximately as prepared as a 9th grade pothead for organic chemistry. With Mike Conley's (totally reasonable!) extension, and Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph also due extensions, moving Mayo would simplify matters significantly for the Grizzlies. But they have to do so while he's in a slump. Trading a brilliant scrorer while he's lighting it up just won't do. Get 'em while the Mayo's... nevermind.

"Off-Limits" Superstar, Super-Secret Bargain Find! Denver's 8-6. Which ain't bad. It's also not great. And while there have been times when Denver looked decent, there have also been times when they look like they're inches away from utter implosion. and still... Melo doesn't have an extension.

And without an extension, he's still on the market. Denver's holding out hope, but they're also swaying. It just takes the right set of pressure applied to the right time to get a crack. And from there, you've got Melo. The idea of needing him with extension is fading as teams start convincing themselves they can convince him at season's end. So the trick is to apply the pressure and get Ujiri at the right moment before the offers start increasing, driving the value up. Melo's not off the table. And as long as he's not locked down, he's for sale.

Mega-Star Up for Grabs, Inquire For Availability
. Chris Bosh can't be on the market. Right? I mean, he can't be. He just got there. But if there's one member of the team that best represents the failures of the team's promise, it's Bosh. Bosh, who never waned to play center specifically because he's not made of steel and brawn, has been seen as a failure because he isn't those things on a team that needs it. He's less of a power forward and more of a grace forward. At least LeBron's got the numbers; Bosh has a few nice games and that's all.

Moving Bosh would be nearly impossible even if the Heat wanted to, due to the fact that right now he looks like a weak-willed third wheel with a massive contract. But if some team really wanted a superstar and had a package of talented bigs to offer, it's hard to see Pat Riley not at least writing the figures down on a notepad to kick around later.

Vintage Antique, Will Accept Best Offer. Juwan Howard is easy to make jokes about at 37 years old. But he got it done for the Blazers last year and wasn't the worst Heat player this year. If your team needs a big with experience, Howard's got it in spades. Just make sure you wipe the dust off the bottle.

Posted on: November 19, 2010 12:26 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:54 pm
 

Nets 'probably' going to trade Troy Murphy

New Jersey Nets forward Troy Murphy looks headed for the trading block. Posted by Ben Golliver troy-murphy

When the New Jersey Nets traded for former Indiana Pacers power forward Troy Murphy this summer, there wasn't any preconceived notions about his future with the team. Carrying a massive expiring contract and still a productive player offensively, Murphy, on paper, was an ideal stop gap solution for the Nets as they waited for 2010 first round pick Derrick Favors to develop into the monster he is destined to become. 

Well, it hasn't worked out quite like that, because Murphy has been limited by injuries and Kris Humphries has emerged in the interim to take his minutes. Less than a month into the season, the Star-Ledger reports that Murphy is headed back for the trading block.
Troy Murphy, the Sparta-bred Delbarton grad who was acquired by the Nets over the summer, will “probably’’ be traded this season, according to a person with knowledge of the team’s thinking.
But in the last week, he has lost his starting job to Kris Humphries, who first started Nov. 10, when Murphy sat out a game in Cleveland because of a sore foot. Humphries played well that night, and coach Avery Johnson has kept him in the starting lineup for four straight games.
So what could the Nets get for Murphy? It's hard to say, as NBA executives are keen to note that expiring contracts like Murphy's don't always command the high value that public perception gives them. If I'm New Jersey, I'm targeting backcourt help, particularly a traditional bigger-bodied wing scorer. The Nets currently rank near the bottom of the league in offensive efficiency so that kind of a piece would be invaluable. The only question is, then, would be how bad of a salary are the Nets willing to take on in return for Murphy?
Posted on: November 19, 2010 8:21 am
 

Shootaround 11.19.10: Friends and enemies

Posted by Royce Young
  • Joey Graham is making friends in Cleveland: ''He'll be in the rotation for a little while,'' Cavs coach Byron Scott. ''I wanted to try something different. With Joey, I know I can get some scoring in the post. He's kind of made his living there.''
  • Cole Aldrich is blogging for Dime : "Someone asked me the other day to compare Coach Brooks and Coach Self. I would say the main thing that sticks out is both of their philosophies are defensive-minded. If you look at the teams that have won NBA championships, they were strong defensive teams like Boston and the Lakers. In terms of differences, Coach Brooks is probably a slight bit more laid back than Coach Self. He always expects a lot out of you, and he’ll get after you a little more."
  • J.R. Smith is losing his role to Gary Forbes: "I think J.R. knows exactly where we're at," Karl told The Denver Post Wednesday. "I think right now, it's J.R. and me, and I think J.R. should understand what's going on. I've got a kid playing better than he is playing. And I don't have minutes to share."
  • Eddy Rivera of MagicBasketball on Orlando's win: "There was no one from Phoenix that could slow down Howard, let alone stop him, so they were forced to double-team him nearly every time he touched the ball in a 4-out/1-in offensive set. This forced Howard to be a passer and, aside from a few turnovers here and there, he was able to spur some ball movement. Perhaps the one thing to takeaway from Howard’s performance on offense was that he was able to make two jumpshots on the left elbow with the third quarter winding down."
Posted on: November 4, 2010 2:08 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:27 pm
 

Troy Murphy returns for Nets after back injury

Forward Troy Murphy returns from injury to make his debut for the New Jersey Nets. Posted by Ben Gollivertroy-murphy Nets veteran power forward Troy Murphy, acquired in a summer trade with the Indiana Pacers, finally played his first game for New Jersey Wednesday night, after dealing with a back injury throughout the preseason. The Star-Ledger reports that the season debut wasn't anything to write home about for Murphy, who is originally from the Garden State.
Murphy, a Sparta native and Delbarton School graduate, played 18 minutes in the game, 12 in the first half, and finished with two points, on 1-of-3 shooting. He also had two rebounds, a blocked shot and two personal fouls in his first game since coming home to the Nets from Indiana in a four-team trade which sent Courtney Lee to Houston.
“I felt okay,” Murphy said. “It was great to be out there.”
He said his conditioning was okay, but his timing was off from not having played with his Nets teammates. [Nets coach Avery] Johnson said he will continue to limit Murphy’s minutes until he gets into better game shape.
The big question facing Johnson involves how to work Murphy, a versatile scorer who is accustomed to big minutes and lots of touches, back into his lineup without infringing upon the development of rookie power forward Derrick Favors, who was impressive in Murphy's absence.  Favors, the Nets' first round draft pick who went one-and-done out of Georgia Tech, was widely regarded as a project entering this season because of his youth. Yet, through his first four NBA games Favors is averaging 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in 22 minutes a game, astounding per-minute production. ESPN.com reports that Johnson is making Favors' development his top priority.
Regardless of whether it happens against Charlotte or not, Johnson made it clear that Murphy's return will not cut into Derrick Favors' playing time.  "This whole year is about Favors growing as an NBA player. So his minutes won't be affected," Johnson said. 
Given that Murphy is in the final year of his contract and Favors is the future, it's a no-brainer.
Posted on: October 18, 2010 2:47 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 7:52 pm
 

Troy Murphy out until regular season

New Jersey Nets forward Troy Murphy will not play during the rest of the preseason due to injury. Posted by Ben Golliver

Back in August, the New Jersey Nets traded for Indiana Pacers power forward Troy Murphy in part of a massive four-team trade . Murphy is in the final year of a large contract so it made sense financially for the Nets, who also could use his offensive versatility and scoring ability to ease first-round draft pick Derrick Favors into their rotation. Unfortunately, Murphy has been dogged by a back injury during the preseason. The Nets report on Twitter today that Murphy "has made considerable progress, but will not play in either of the remaining preseason games. Murphy is expected to resume practice with the team this weekend."  In Murphy's absence, the Nets will likely continue a frontcourt by committee approach. Centers Brook Lopez and Joe Smith, along with Favors and fellow forwards Travis Outlaw, Johan Petro, Kris Humphries, have all seen double-digit minutes per game during the exhibition season.
Posted on: September 20, 2010 6:08 pm
 

Report: Nets emerging as frontrunner for Carmelo

Posted by Royce Young

Ken Berger of CBSSports .com reported last week that the Nets were separating themselves as potential frontrunners for Carmelo Anthony, quoting a source that said New Jersey is "working hardest to get a deal done."

And here's some more fuel to toss on that fire.

Chad Ford of ESPN added today that of all the teams in serious contention for Anthony's services (Knicks , Bulls, Rockets, Clippers and Warriors), the Nets have the best offer.

"They've got what the Nuggets want," one general manager told ESPN.com. "We're trying to put a package together that matches what the Nets can offer, but it's tough."

The reports coming out earlier today revealed that the Nuggets are indeed hearing out offers and are most interested in picks, cap relief and a top young talent. What is New Jersey reportedly offering? All three.

Ford said the Nets are willing to offer No. 3 overall pick Derrick Favors, the expiring deals of Troy Murphy and Kris Humphries plus at least one future first-round pick for Carmelo. Ken Berger mentioned Favors as potential bait in his report as well, but adding Murphy and Humphries plus a pick or two certainly sweetens the pot. 

However, a source close to the Nets told ESPN.com that the Nets weren't necessarily the frontrunners for Anthony, nor were they willing to confirm what the Nets would offer. However, it was said that New Jersey was in serious contention based on Denver's reluctance to trade Anthony to a Western Conference team and the Nets' combination of expiring contracts, draft picks and a young player with talent and upside.

All of this begs the question though: Is New Jersey actually the one getting worked in this deal? Obviously, nobody knows about what Favors will be. Murphy is a quality power forward, Humphries is a throw-in and the picks are nice. While the Nets gets the prize of Carmelo, doesn't this upset the once balanced roster they had?

The Nets are trading every power forward on the roster. No seriously, they won't have a single guy that plays the 4 on the role sheet. Plus, New Jersey signed Travis Outlaw over the summer and now, he's immediately pushed to the bench. New Jersey's roster immediately becomes a mess with Anthony's addition and while they have a star, they don't have any kind of coherent symmetry remaining.

I'm not saying Denver wins this trade by any means because again, Favors may or may not be good, Murphy isn't anything more than solid and Humphries plus picks are just add-ons . And the Nuggets are still losing their star. But if New Jersey goes down this road to get Anthony, it'll require another roster restructuring. Which is something they were pretty much close to completing already. 

But then again, the chances of this being the actual trade is probably pretty unlikely. But it's definitely the one Denver might be happiest with.

Posted on: August 26, 2010 10:31 am
Edited on: August 26, 2010 11:13 am
 

Pop Quiz: Who's the worst?

Posted by Matt Moore

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

Who will be the worst team in the NBA this season?


It's a depressing question, isn't it? Who's going to fail more than any other? Someone has to win the fewest number of games this year. So who's on the list?

The Returning Champ: The New Jersey Nets

You can't just let the reigning "champs" off the list without giving them a chance to repeat! The Nets were the worst team in the league last year, only able to avoid the worst mark of all time due to a late surge. It was a startling development, one that baffled a lot of NBA heads, because the team really did have talent. But for whatever reason (injury, chemistry, coaching, pure terrible luck), it never came together and the team plummeted into the depths. So are they doomed to repeat history?

The Nets struck out in free agency for the top names but still brought in good players. Anthony Morrow, Jordan Farmar, Travis Outlaw, and Troy Murphy will all be suiting up for the Nets alongside Devin Harris, Terrence Williams, and Brook Lopez. With the development of the younger players, the addition of a few talented veterans, and a more demanding coach in Avery Johnson, the Nets may not be in position to push for the playoffs, but they are unlikely to repeat as the worst team in the NBA.

The New Kids: The Toronto Raptors


Our first victim of the free-agency summer of doom. After losing Chris Bosh to the triad, GM Brian Colangelo went on a firesale. He ditched Hedo Turkoglu for Leandro Barbosa and sent Marco Belinelli for Julian Wright. He did spend some money, though, giving Amir Johnson a hefty new deal and bringing Linas Kleiza back from overseas. The Raptors lost a huge chunk of salary, and weren't that great to begin with. They are teetering on the abyss. Will they fall off?

Bear in mind that we're talking the worst here. Not bad, but the worst. And the Raptors could assuredly reach that mark if everything were to go wrong. But there are bright spots. Andrea Bargnani, for all his rebound-void, yogurty, forceless  weaknesses, can still hit from anywhere on the floor, and might actually get to play where he's best (high-post and mid-range) with Bosh gone instead of trying to impersonate a traditional center. DeMar DeRozan has the athleticism and range to be able to become a leader. Sonny Weems continues to impress, Amir Johnson will forever be lauded as the next great (whistle) defensive player (whistle) if only he could (whistle) stop fouling (whistle). If the Raptors drop off a cliff, it'll be because the chemistry wasn't fit to hold, or because the real problem in Toronto hasn't been Colangelo's roster, but Triano's coaching.

The Dark Horse: The Washington Wizards


How could any team with John Wall be the worst team in the league? When you have as fragile a chemistry set as this team does. That's how. The Wizards are a long shot to burrow into the trash heap the furthest, but with Gilbert Arenas anything but a sure thing, there's just no telling how this is going to work out. We thought the biggest concern with Arenas last year was if he could stay healthy a full season. We didn't even get to answer that. Andray Blatche is the third best player on the team, and that could go any number of ways. He could be a consistent scorer, working in tandem with Wall, and showcasing the scoring ability he showed last season. Or he could become a space cadet again. JaVale McGee showed great things in Summer League, but he's yet to prove he can be someone to be relied on as the primary big.

Wall is likely to be good enough to drag this team out of the very basement, and if everything were to go right (and I mean everything), the Wizards could find themselves in contention for the playoffs. But if another chemistry blow-up happens and Flip Saunders is unable to contain the damage and get through, the Wizards could be a two-year disaster.

The Favorite: The Minnesota Timberwolves


Okay, let's try the opposite. Let's try and figure out how the Wolves could avoid being the worst team in the league. Option No. 1, another team has a rash of injuries that makes Houston seem like Phoenix. Okay, barring that, Option No.2, we need the following to occur:

A. Luke Ridnour picks up where he left off in Milwaukee, being a solid game manager and reliable shooter.
B. Martell Webster slides in and immediately begins to contribute as he did in Portland, providing the perimeter scoring missing in Minny last year.
C. Wesley Johnson was in fact, the best player available at 3, better or at least within range of DeMarcus Cousins only without the chemistry problems, and is able to pick up the pro game's speed and awareness necessary to contribute.
D. Jonny Flynn recovers on schedule from hip surgery.
E. Kurt Rambis and David Kahn get over whatever problems they had with Kevin Love last season, and Love is allowed to be on the floor and become the player everyone else believes he is.
F. Darko Milicic actually was worth five years and $20 million, and alongside Love makes for a stout front court.
G. The triangle, one of the more complex and difficult systems to run, which has only been successful for two teams under one coach with the best or second best player in the league at all times, magically works for a lottery team lacking in both veteran smarts and talent.
H. Mike Beasley really was just misunderstood.

That's a lot that needs to go right. Wolves fans tend to think the media picks on them because of their market. As a proponent of small markets, I'm here to say that's not the case. It's because this team is bad. It was built badly, with bad contracts for bad players, with a bad system for its personnel, and it needs significant upgrades at nearly every position and at multiple depth levels in order to make itself right. The Wolves could come together and shove it in the faces of all the doubters. But until we see the actual manifestation of all the supposed potential the roster holds, your Minnesota Timberwolves are expected to be the worst team in the NBA this season.


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