Posted on: January 18, 2011 4:17 pm
Okay, it has been a while since I dropped a blog so I thought now was as good a time as any. I have always felt that the Hornets and Bulls of recent had some very similar teams, but I really think I struck something while researching a bit. This seasons Bulls team has a ton in common with the 07-08 Hornets and in a way I find is a bit scary, because the Hornets did lose in the 2nd round, but I could see the same thing happening to the Bulls. So let us take a look down memory lane and find some eerie similarities together shall we?
The Paul/Rose Factor. In 07-08 it was CP3 third season, just as it is Rose's third season, but that is just the cherry on the top of the cake. Paul had his breakout season that year with 21ppg, 11.6rpg, 4rpg, and 2.7 spg, just as Rose is having his with 24.5ppg, 8.1apg, 4.7rpg, and .376 3P%. At the time Paul was on the short list of players to become the MVP. I remember thinking he should have won the Award, but in the end Kobe became the MVP and CP3 finished 2nd in voting. Not to shabby for a 3rd year player. Paul became a household name. All of these things seem to be in the works for Rose as well. He is at the top or near the top of every MVP rankings I have seen, and while he may not be quite as good as CP3 was and is, Rose is certainly now a household name and a superstar. Rose will also be landing some votes for the MVP award if he continues to carry the Bulls. I just find this very interesting, that both of these players broke out bigtime in the third season, but this is only the begining of how the Bulls and Hornets mirror eachother.
The Rest of the Roster. Now comparing Derrick Rose and Chris Paul and what they mean/meant to their teams in the 3rd seasons is a bit creepy, but let's look at the other major players on these two teams. David West was in his prime this season and put up 21-9 for the season and was the post player that meshed so well with Paul. The Bulls have Boozer, who has been hurt, but in the 25 games that he has played he has averaged 20-10. West and Boozer are very much alike in many regards and both supply their teams with post scoring and 15 foot jumpers. Now let's look at the centers. Tyson Chandler had his best NBA season this year after being traded to the Hornets form the Bulls for P.J. Brown. Chandler was a double double machine and averaged 12ppg and 12rpg. He played above the rim and fit very well with Chris Paul. Now Noah is not really the above the rim type of player that Chandler was but both put up about the same numbers with Noah averaging 14ppg and 12rpg. Chandler was considered by many to be a top 10 center if not better at the time and Noah is also considered a top 10, if not top 5 center by many as well. Both are energy guys that play hard-nosed defense in the paint and both are very very vocal. It does not end there my friends. Let us look at the 3rd scoring options on both of these teams. The Hornets had the highly overpaid Peja Stojakovic and guess what? The Bulls have the highly overpaid Luol Deng. Both play the small forward position and both are known as streaky shooters that can light it up from time to time. Both have long histories of being injured and both put up very similar numbers. Peja with 16ppg and 4rpg and Deng with 18ppg and 6rpg.
The Records. This brings up another factor. What about the teams records? Well the 07-08 Hornets finished with a 56-26 record and the Bulls are now at the half way mark and sit on a 28-13 record. Do the math people. Yes, if the Bulls go 28-13 for the rest of the season they too will end up with a 56-26 record. Creepy. Now remember this is all in fun and I do understand that the Bulls play a defensive halfcourt game and the 07-08 Hornets got out and ran a lot more then the Bulls do, but the numbers are scary. The fact that the top 4 players on both teams were so much alike in so many ways is at the very least a bit weird. Now I certainly hope the Bulls end up doing better in the Playoffs this season but I could see the same outcome happening.
What this all means. Well if the 10-11 Bulls follow this pattern to the final outcome, then I for one will be freaked out. I could see it happening. I really could. The Hornets won there first round battle against the Mavericks. I see the Bulls, as do most, getting out of the first round. The Hornets then took the Spurs to an epic 7 games and a great series were the Hornets led the series early by winning the first two games before the wheels started to fall off. Well, what team in the east reminds me of that 07-08 Spurs team? Hmmmm. Maybe the Boston Celtics? Yes. If the Heat get the 1st seed and the Celtics and Bulls end up in the 2nd and 3rd seed(which they are both in now) then this would set up a 2nd round battle between the Bulls and Celtics. The Bulls and Celtics matchup very well on the floor and neither has played the other with a healthy roster this season. The Bulls took the Celtics to 7 games 2 years ago in perhaps the best 7 game series I have ever seen with a record 7 OTs. I could see the Bulls and Celtics putting on another show in the 2nd round this time and I could see it going 7 games. Sadly, I could see the Bulls losing that final game. Then the Bulls would be just like the 07-08 Hornets.
Posted on: June 2, 2010 2:14 pm
Okay, so a debate started on another thread about these two teams and why Tom Thibodeau should choose to coach them. I think this is a great debate but I think we should move away from the arguments about which city is better, which city is bigger, or even which team plays in which conference and I think our focus should be on which roster looks better to an incoming coach. The other stuff is nice but I think Head Coaches know that it is really the players that make the difference. So let us take a look and debate.
For fun I am ranking both teams rosters together. Feel free to yell at me or post your own rankings. Now you must also consider that the Bulls will add a player or two with their cap space. LeBron James or Dwyane Wade might not happen but Chris Bosh could or even Amar'e Stoudemire. Heck the Bulls might just land David Lee on the cheap and then pick up a 3 point shooter. In any case the Bulls will have one or two impact players heading into next season to consider. To be fair the Hornets will also have cap space after this next season to go after a max player their own so that is on the horizon. But you are playing the part of the head Coach and you must pick which team's roster looks better now and in the future.
1. Chris Paul. He is clearly the best player of the bunch. He is a superstar and the best all around point guard in the league. Rondo and Deron may be better defenders, Rose a better scorer, Nash a better playmaker, and Billups a better clutch shooter and leader, but CP3 is in the top 5 in each of those catagories.
2. Derrick Rose. A rising star and a scoring machine. He has a great jump shot but needs to work on his 3. His defense is average and is his only real weakness. Ranked 14th in scoring in his 2nd season and could be top 5 this year.
3a. David West. A good inside scoring option and an overall solid player. He should average more rebounds for his size and is not a shot blocker at all. A good back to the basket player but just an average defender at best.
3b. Joakim Noah. The anit-David West if you can follow me. Noah is an average scoring bigman but a savvy defender. He is a top rebounder and shot blocker and is full of energy and is vocal which can be good at times. Needs to work on his offense a bit.
5. Luol Deng. He plays the part of a second option but should really be a third option. He is a solid defender with his length and has a silky jumpshot. He has yet to become a threat from downtown.
6. Emeka Okafor. A good defender of the paint and can sometimes be effective on offense. It is he later that is his true weakness. I do not think he will ever become an Allstar level player but is close.
7. Darren Collison. He is an explosive player that could be a starter on a few teams around the league. Will continue to grow as long as he gets playing time.
8. Taj Gibson. A steal in the draft Gibson only got better as the season went on and should come close to averaging a double double if he gets the playing time. He is a good defender and has a nice jumper and reminds me of a smaller P.J. Brown. Needs to add size.
9. Kirk Hinrich. A streaky shooter that looks to often to pass then shot, but he is a top shelf perimeter defender and often is guarding the other teams top scorer even if that means playing small forward at times when he is clearly a point guard playing out of position.
10. Marcus Thornton. He is a young scoring stud that has a bright future and could move up this list if he works on other aspects of his game. We know he can score but I want to see what else this sleeper can do before I am sold.
Good arguments could be made in a few spots but I think that is a fair top 10.
So based on rosters alone which team would you rather be the Head Coach of going into next season.
Posted on: May 25, 2009 2:39 pm
I understand that many will call me crazy for even thinking that the Celtics should trade Kevin Garnett, but there are plenty of reasons as to why it is the right move. I made mention of this idea back on one of the Bulls vs Celtics playoff threads and then again on another thread about Bostons future and I got mixed feedback. I have since taken a little time to research a bit more as to a few trade ideas and to also solidify my argument. So let us take a look at a few reasons as to why it makes sense for the Celtics to break up the big three.
Be honest with yourselves. What will it take for the Celtics to get back to the Finals and win another championship? It will take a few things happening that I feel is just a huge gamble for Boston. Kevin Garnett will have to return and be near 100%. Leon Powe will have to heal and continue to grow. Ray Allen will have to shoot consistently and stop aging. Celtics will have to resign Big Baby somehow to slowly take over for the fading KG. Paul Pierce will have to show up a little more in the playoffs. Rajon Rondo will have to pick up the slack by becoming a superstar.
Can all 6 of those things happen? I think not. If Garnett returns and plays well then the Celtics will make it to the second round of the playoffs again, but the east is fastly changing and the Celtic's core is getting very old. If Boston does not make moves this summer they could very well turn into the next version of the Pistons. An motley grouping of aging vets and mismatched parts that have little trade value. Think of what the Pistons could have done a few years ago if they were smart enough to break up their team. But instead they pressed on and slowly slipped out of contention. Sad.
The time is now for Boston to bypass this fate. If KG can recover and pass a physical then they should move him while he still have some value. In a year or less he could be worth as much as Rasheed Wallace. Scary. Yes it would be a cruel thing to do to KG after he gave Boston a championship, but basketball is a business not a retirement home. Kevin Garnett could recover and have 1 or 2 good seasons left but that is a big risk to take. I think moving him now is the best option. Rajon Rondo is clearly the future of this team as Paul Pierce will himself slowly start to fade in the next 3 or 4 years. He has a lot of miles on him and to me Rondo looks to be the most well rounded talent on the Celtics right now.
Many have been saying the Celtics should move Ray Allen but he has only one year left on his contract that expires in the summer of 2010. Having 18 million dollars in cap space next summer might be enough to grab a superstar free agent if the Celtics aready have the right players on board. I say hold onto Ray. Here are a few ideas for the Celtics.
1) I understand that the Raptors are in the same division as the Celtics, but both can gain somthing by making a deal. The Raptors have to understand by now that Chris Bosh is most likely bolting after next season and they need to start listening to offers now. I want my Bulls to make an offer to be honest. I think if the Celtics offered Garnett and thier 1st round pick they could land Bosh and Jason Kapono. Bosh is not as good as KG was in his prime but Bosh is younger and Kapono gives the celtics another three point threat which they could really use. Toronto gets a superstar in KG and a pick. All of these trade ideas work on the ESPN trade machine just so you know. Different combinations of picks could be used to even out this trade but I think if they can move past the idea of both being in the same division that this is a solid moves on both ends. Raptors will either want another superstar for Bosh or young talent and picks. Few other teams can offer a player like Garnett to the Raptors so they might swallow his huge contract to just fill some seats at home.
2) OK, I understand that Zach Randolph is a nightmare in the locker room but the Celtics could try to move him during the season or a third team could be involved. I think Camby is a solid replacement for KG. They are both old and Camby is not what he used to be but both ZR and Marcus' contracts expire before KG's contract. In the end this trade really just gives the Celtics a little more flexability and I am sure the Clippers would throw a future draft pick on the table. Clippers love to make bad trades so maybe the Celtics could pull a John Paxson and land two future 1st rounders. The Clippers really want to move Zach. I understand that this is not a sexy trade and it would certainly have the Celtics taking a step back, but if they can land a 1st round pick or two from the Clippers then it is a no brainer to me. The Clippers are always in the lottery and often hold a top 5 pick.
3) Now I like this idea. Peja Stojakovic's contract is hard to swallow for what he offers but it is one season shorter then KGs. David West on the other hand is a solid young power foward. The Hornet could bite if the Celtics ate another contract and offered a 1st and 2nd round pick. The Hornets might not want to give up a young star like west for an aging one like Garnett, but they might also want to make it look like they are trying to build a contender to keep Chris Paul happy. I seem to remember the Mavericks trading away a budding star in Devin Harris for Jason Kidd. You just never really know what a team will do. But If the Celtics can bring home a player like David West then I think they would remain contenders. I also think that boston can stand to let go of a couple of picks. Rondo, Pierce, and West could be a deadly trio.
4) Speaking of the Mavericks what about a trade for Josh Howard and Erick Dampier. I think that this could be a nice even trade as is. Howard has a few injuries to ovrecome and a fondness for herbs and Dampier is also getting older but is still a solid player in the paint. Plus Howard's contract ends next summer to give the Celtics some extra cap space and Erick's ends the next summer. Mavericks could be scary with Garnett and Dirk on the floor together. If Jason Kidd can muster a bit more out of his HOF career then the mavericks could contend with this move. Howard would look nice running the floor with Rondo and if the Celtics lose Big Baby then Dampier could be a short term fix. I think with this move the Celtics would free up enough money for the summer of 2010 to go after perhaps Amar'e, Bosh(if he is not already traded), or Wade.
5) This trade is all about freeing up a bit of money. Celtics would save 5 million right off the bat with the differences in contracts and Matt Harpring's contract ends next summer and Kirilenko's is a year shorter then KGs. AK47 could play the 3 or 4 and be a solid replacement for KGs defense. I am not saying he is as good but he is a very good defender. With freed up cap space the Celtics would have money to add a superstar and maybe resign Big Baby this summer. A 2010/2011 lineup of Rajon Rando, Dwyane Wade, Paul Pierce, AK47, and Big Baby would be a great team to watch and a very good defensive team. Maybe a big instead of Wade might more sense. For the Jazz they get KG to replace Boozer who is sure to leave this summer.
Well, I hope you enjoyed the read. Please understand that these trade ideas can be tinkered with a bit by adding smaller pieces or draft picks to even thing out. I can already see all the negative replies about a couple of these trade ideas. What I really want to hear from other posters is 1) is moving KG in and of itself just a bad idea? and 2) what other trade ideas can you come up with?
Posted on: October 12, 2008 11:49 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2008 4:36 pm
A person would have to be the captain of the championship debate team in order to convince me that the Southwest Division is not the best and deepest division in the NBA right now. With four teams that won more that 50 game apiece last season and each of those four look to win as many if not more again this year, it is hard to argue against the Southwest. Some of the best players of the past decade along with some of the brightest future stars reside here. The Hornets, Mavericks, Rockets, and Spurs are all but locks to make the playoffs again this year. Unfortunately for the Grizzlies they are still the blacksheep of the division, but there lies hope in some of their young talent.
It is a difficult task for one to attempt to wrap their mind around this season and just how the Southwest will play out. The Spurs have made no real roster changes, but are always a threat to make a run for another title as long as Tim Duncan is still wandering in the paint. The rags to riches team of last season, the Hornets, look like they will be even better with the addition of the gritty James Posey. This could be the Rockets' season to return to the Finals with the risky acquisition of Ron Artest, or will major injuries to either Yao Ming or Tracy McGrady hold those dreams in check? Will the Jason Kidd trade look like a great move as the Mavericks make it to the final dance, or will lack of defense and passion make the trade look like a mistake?
The only way to get to the bottom of these questions and many more is to take a good look into each team and try to seperate fact from fiction. Let the breakdown begin:
1. The New Orleans Hornets (60-22) (2nd Seed)
The only true challenge that faces the Hornets this season is if they are good enough to have another great season after surprising the league last year. They are no longer off the radar. Will they be able to step up and play against harder competition? I think they will take that step. My reasoning is simple. They have Chris Paul. To me Paul is the second best player in the league this year and if the Hornets are as good as they were last season, I think he will take home the MVP. Who is the best player you ask? Well, he is not in this divison so I will refrain from that agrument. Chris has that special talent that makes everyone on his team better. He is the ultimate team player. The Hornets also have a balanced team with David West, Peja Stojakovic, and Tyson Chandler. West is now considered one of the top low post players in the game and Tyson is a great defender and put-back man. The player that is standing out this preseason is Mike James. I understand that it is only the preseaon, but having another scoring threat on the floor only makes Chris Paul more dangerous. I also love the addition of James Posey. The Hornets will only benefit from having the tough as nails Posey around. Every great team has that player who can get under the opposing players skin. Think Rodman or Bowen. Posey will not put up big numbers, but will be responsible for more then a couple of wins. Overall, the Hornets have a great chance to go all the way, but so do three other teams in the division. I just think they have the most complete team with a superstar handling the ball.
2. The Houston Rockets (57-25) (3rd Seed)
I would love to see everything work out perfectly for this team, but something deep in the back of my head says something will happen to take the glory from McGrady's hands. I do not believe in curses, so I do not think that some force from the outside is toying with poor Tracy. What I do believe in is injury reports and history tells me not to put too many eggs in the Rockets' basket. With that being said, If the Rockets stay healthy, both Tracy and Yao, then they could very well make it to the Finals. Yao Ming is a top center and Tracy McGrady is one of the best players in the NBA period. With the addition of Ron Artest the Rockets could finally have all the parts needed to take that next step. I think Artest is a great player for the Rockets. He can drive a fan and a coach crazy at times, but if his talent is harnessed correctly he could be the key. The Rockets also have some other interesting players to consider. Brent Barry is a solid pick-up. He can open up the offense with his sharp-shooting. Luis Scola will only get better, and Shane Battier will always play smart ball whenever he is on the floor. Rafer Alston is a solid Point Guard and is able to run the team on the floor. Overall, The Rockets could be the best team is the league if they suffer no major injuries to McGrady or Ming.
3. The San Antonio Spurs (53-29) (5th Seed)
As much as I love to watch Tim Duncan and the Spurs, I truly feel they are starting to fade. It all started last year when they were pushed to seven games against a much younger and less experienced Hornets team. However, I can not just write them off. I think they will still be a top team and cause a lot of problems for other teams. At the end of the day though, I am not sure they have enough left in the tank to win another Championship. If somehow I am a fool and they do win another ring, then Tim Duncan will be the best Power Forward that the NBA has ever seen. Many already make that claim now, but nobody would be able to refute it if they win it all again. The other key factors on the team are also getting older as well. Bruce Bowen, Kurt Thomas, and Michael Finley are all about ready to sign up with AARP. I thought the Spurs would make a splash in the offseason, but it never happened and now they face the season one year older. Tony Parker is the young guy on the team and he is certainly a superstar in the league, but he can only do so much. Manu Ginobili is now 31 and his body might start slowing him down. Will manu still have his quickness and in turn still be so effective? I am not sure. In many ways that is a good way to look at this team now. "I am not sure". In the end however, I can think of really no team that would want to face them in a seven game series. I just hope they get some more talent around Duncan before it is too late.
4. The Dallas Mavericks (52-30) (6th Seed)
Yes, I think the Mavericks will be a better team this year. Not a lot better, but a little better. I do think they will edge out the Suns for the 6th seed as well. Sorry Suns fans. Jason Kidd has much to prove and will play quite well this season. The thing is is that the Mavericks still just have so much talent that they can not lose. Will they play hard defense under new Head Coach Rick Carlisle? No. Will they score a lot of points and out run most teams? Yes. Dirk Nowitzki will do what he has always done. He will score like crazy from all over the floor. Jason Terry and Josh Howard will also just flat out score. This will work in most cases. This will get them into the playoffs. However, the Mavericks will never win the Finals without some more defense. The Mavericks are the best team in the NBA on paper, but only the tenth best on the floor. The Mavericks really should have made the trade for Ron Artest, even if it meant losing Josh Howard. The NBA is full of Josh Howard type players, but there is only one Ron Artest. Say what you want about Artest, but he would have been a nice fit on the Mavs. A bright spot in Dallas however is the young Brandon Bass. He looks like he could turn into a real monster down low. Overall, I really do not see the Mavericks making it out of the first round. That is sad because they ooze talent.
5. The Memphis Grizzlies (24-58) (miss playoffs)
This brings me to the bottom of the pack. The Grizzlies have a few parts, but let's face it, they are a long way from being any good. To top it off they are in the best division within the best conference. I gave them two more wins this year simply out of pity. Rudy Gay is the star of a one man show. Sure there is Hakim Warrick, Mike Conley, and the rookie O.J. Mayo to make things interesting and entertaining form time to time, but really this team is in a rebuilding period. Maybe even a promising one at that, but they are far from competing. The Grizzlies fan must sit back and not look at the wins and loses. He must look to see if the young guys are getting better. He must make a fist pump when Marc Gasol slams one home and jump out of his seat like a madman if Gay hits a buzzer beater. Take it from a Bulls fan, you must find some joy in the little things. The real doom of this team can be found on the roster. His name is Antoine Walker. I predict that he alone will account for at least 50 of the 58 loses. All kidding aside Grizzlies fans, you are the underdogs, so stand up and have some pride in yourselves. You are going to need it.
Well I hope this was half as fun for you to read as it was for me to write. I really like the Hornets this season to go all the way. They are the one team that really stands out to me from the rest of the pack in the Southwest. However, Anything can happen, as it often does, in this wonderful game we call the NBA.
Tags: Brandon Bass, Bruce Bowen, Chris Paul, David West, Dirk Nowitzki, Grizzlies, Hakim Warrick, Hornets, James Posey, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Josh Howard, Kurt Thomas, Luis Scola, Manu Ginobili, Marc Gasol, Mavericks, Michael Finley, Mike Conley, O.J. Mayo, Rafer Alston, Rockets, Ron Artest, Rudy Gay, Shane Battier, Spurs, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Tracy McGrady, Tyson Chandler, Yao Ming