Thursday, April 05, 2007

Wizards Woes

So the Wizards now lost Gilbert Arenas, to go along with the loss of Caron Butler. How utterly depressing. It went from talk of the Wizards finally making a breakthrough in the playoffs to wondering if they'll even win a game in the first round. Hopefully they'll come back stronger next year and a real key is going to be the development of Andray Blatche to develop an inside presence. But this year looks like it's toast. Oh well. There are still the Nationals...and Capitals....and don't forget Danny Snyder's Redskins.

Ugh.

13 Comments:

Anonymous Phil said...

The huge race now is between Miami and Toronto for third as the winner essentially gets a bye, with the loser facing Chicago/Cleveland. Here's hoping it's not Miami which has been very lucky this year (six games over despite a negative point differential). Washington, as currently constructed, may be the worst playoff team ever, with one good player (Jamison), three OK players (Daniels, Haywood, and Stevenson) and a bunch of replacement level stiffs.

10:22 AM  
Anonymous tyson said...

talk of the Wizards finally making a breakthrough in the playoffs

Washington, completely healthy, would not defeat Cleveland, Miami, Chicago, New Jersey, Detroit or Toronto in a 7 game series. And a win over any other playoff team couldn't be considered a breakthrough. Way to see the light Gilbert. At this point he's ecstatic to be the whole show and you can't win titles that way. Talk to us about the Wizards when they don't give up over 105 PPG. The only team that even resembles a winner that gives up over a 100 is Phoenix, and nobody takes them seriously.

The huge race now is between Miami and Toronto

Miami was able to overcome two of their star players being injured, I think it'd be fair for them to grab that 3 and advance. DWade comin back to play the Bulls is interesting, the Bulls should jump the Cavs for the 2 spot creating a Toronto-Cleveland matchup that might be a bit less intriguing but more entertaining than Chicago-Miami or Cleveland-Miami. Ultimately the NBA would prefer not to lose Chicago, Cleveland, or Miami before Round 2. And what's good for the NBA, is good for the players.

Schedules down the stretch..
Raptors 42-33 - PHI (x2), CHI, MIN, NY, DET (x2)...(4 H, 3 A)

Heat 40-34 - CLE, BOS (x2), CHA (x2), WSH, IND, ORL...(4 H, 4 A)

Lookin at this with a little help from the Pistons and Knicks, Miami should have no problem locking up the 3. Was there really ever any doubt they weren't gonna win the Southeast or play in the Eastern Conference finals?

11:05 AM  
Anonymous mcory said...

I think you gotta give credit to Phoenix this year. They accomplished a lot last year without Amare and you gotta think that having him for the playoffs is gonna make a huge difference this time around. Plus, Barbosa really took his game to the next level this year. Phoenix has really improved an already great team.


In the East, I like Detroit. I hate to say it, but I think Chris Webber is a much better fit for this team than Ben Wallace. They've slowly been shifting away from that stifling defensive intensity that they had under Larry Brown and you can just see the offense open up with Webber on the floor. They have a lot of experience and so much depth that Nazr is barely seeing playing time.

Cleveland is a 1-man team (witness the loss to Boston this week). Chicago is probably another year away unless Deng instantaneously metamorphoses into Kobe. Toronto is too banged up. NJ wasn't all that great to begin with. I like Miami, I really do BUT I think the acquisition of Webber puts Detroit over them by a shade. It seems to me that Shaq, Zo, Antoine, Payton all got one year older while the Pistons core got one year better.

Detroit over Miami 4-3 (it's close though).
Phoenix over Dallas 4-1.

Phoenix over Detroit 4-2.

12:03 PM  
Anonymous Uncle Morty said...

Mccory's logic is pretty solid, until it comes to Phoenix beating Dallas in the West finals. I would love to see that, myself, but I'm wary that the Suns are tough enough to pull off a series victory over a team with the size and depth of the Mavs. It is a shame about Gil, but, even in an Eastern Conference lacking in a real strong title contender ( I'd put Detroit at the top, with the Heat a question mark depending on who's healthy and for how long), I don't think the Wiz were going to get past Round One, anyway.

2:37 PM  
Anonymous todd martin said...

People are sleeping on the fully healthy Wizards. With Butler, Arenas and Jamison all in the fold they are a tough team to beat. Arenas and Butler both really stepped up their games this year. I would take them over the Nets, Raptors or Cavs, particularly at home. And I think they could pose difficulties for the Bulls, Pistons or Heat as well. The East is wide open this year. Of course without Butler and Arenas, worst playoff team ever doesn't seem that far off the mark.

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Dave S. said...

I just have to question the basketball knowledge of the guy who posted above that "nobody takes [Phoenix] seriously." They are clearly one of the top 2 teams in the entire NBA this year. They've won 2 playoff series each of the last 2 years, and this year's team is clearly superior to those teams. The Suns blow everyone off the floor, and play much better defense than in previous years. The only team that can possibly beat them in a 7 game serious is Dallas.

5:33 PM  
Anonymous tyson said...

to me that Shaq, Zo, Antoine, Payton all got one year older while the Pistons core got one year better.

What did Dwayne Wade do?

Losing Ben Wallace only weakens their interior defense. Shaquille O Neal as he ages has been becoming one the most underrated big men in the league. Detroit has no answer for him and Flip Saunders has never won anything. Larry Brown's defensive principles are what won the Pistons the title. If it is Detroit-Miami, Detroit is built to shoot jump shots. They have not shown me at any point during the season that over the course of 7 games that their shooting is good enough to overcome a strong Miami team that wins in multiple ways.

The only team that can possibly beat them in a 7 game serious is Dallas.

Phoenix needed 7 games to beat both the Clippers and Lakers a year ago so I'm not going to give them a ton of credit for those victories. It helped to instill confidence through playoff experience for this young team but those series' were played without Amare and they're a different team with him.

The group is much improved but so is everybody else in the west. They will have their hands full in the first round with AI, Melo, NeNe and co. And even if they do escape them they will be prey for a Dallas or a San Antonio. The Suns shoot the lights out on a nightly basis, but when you live by the jump shot, you die by the jump shot. If you're willing to take Leandro Barbosa or Raja Bell over a Manu Ginobilli or a Josh Howard in the Western Conference playoffs, the more power to you.

As far as the Wizards. They're wack. Sorry, I like their style of play and all and I think that they might be able to give the Nets are run for their money. But they have one guy who attempts to play D in Butler, and his game was off once the spotlight started shinin' in his eye. I'm a huge tar heel fan and I'll be the first to tell ya Haywood or Jamison don't play any resemblence of defense. They have a good core and a fun group, they're like the Suns, except they don't win as much and their point guard isn't a real point guard. Bosh would eat them alive inside, as would LeBron and his ability to get to the basket.

I wouldn't go so far as to say the east is wide open. I think there are really only two contenders in Miami and Detroit, but should they have to meet in the 1-4 matchup Cleveland could be the benefictiary. LeBron has been under the radar, and it's not because hes young or not good, it's because he's not an attention whore like Mr. Bryant.

Nobody does take the Suns seriously. As I look at them right now I see a bunch of undersized guys scrambling around the court to find the easiest jump shot. Without Nash on the floor they get no penetration and are a totally different team. Steve Nash is the MVP for a reason, and if you believe that Dallas or San Antonio by this point don't have an idea on how to check him enough to gain a victory in a 7 game series. Well, friend, I would in turn have to question your basketball knowledge.

7:30 PM  
Anonymous mcory said...

Mccory's logic is pretty solid, until it comes to Phoenix beating Dallas in the West finals.

It looks to me as if Phoenix has Dallas' number this season. I believe the head-to-head games favor Phoenix. I will admit that I live on the East Coast so I catch very few West Coast games so I am really ill-qualified to be a definitive source for that conference.

As I look at them right now I see a bunch of undersized guys scrambling around the court to find the easiest jump shot.

Yet it is extremely effective thanks to the new no-hand-check rules. I followed the Suns in the playoffs last year and I kept thinking if only they had a post presence. Well, now they have one in Amare.

Without Nash on the floor they get no penetration and are a totally different team.

I completely agree and you will see Nash playing 40+ minutes every night in the playoffs.

Steve Nash is the MVP for a reason, and if you believe that Dallas or San Antonio by this point don't have an idea on how to check him enough to gain a victory in a 7 game series.

Honestly, how do you stop him? This isn't Shaq where you can send him to the free-throw line. This isn't Kobe where you can double him. You can't play zone because the Suns are too good from 3. I'm sure the Mavs & Spurs will have a plan, but the Suns will have a counter-plan. It should be fun to watch.

What did Dwayne Wade do?

Dislocate his shoulder. A lot of the playoffs will be determined by how well he responds to pain. The wily veterans will be nudging and chopping at that shoulder every chance they get. I agree that losing Ben hurt their defense but now they aren't playing 4 on 5 during offense. The Pistons have guys like Dale Davis and Nazr on the team for a reason. That reason is to put muscle on Shaq and send him to the free-throw line if necessary. I think the Pistons would win that series with superior offense. But it's close. Real close.

5:44 AM  
Anonymous tyson said...

So because Wade dislocated his shoulder that negates everything he's done in this season up to that point? I dunno about that.

Spurs did a pretty good job checkin' Nash last night. And they don't have to stop him because he's unstoppable. Hence the two MVPs. You have to be able to defend against him in key situations and while Bowen can't keep up wit him for 40+ the final 3 when the game is on the line is all he has to. The strategy worked and the Spurs now have the tiebreak over the Suns. I guess they got their number.

I live on the east coast as well and watch as many NBA games as possible. West/East whatever, I don't think living on a particular side of the country invalidates any kind of information or knowledge you may have about the sport of basketball and what it takes for a team to succeed.

And if the Suns weren't able to beat the Mavericks (who steve nash use to play for) during the regular season and the Spurs and Mavs had both workked them out during the regular season. How many people do you think would take them seriously then? Seeing as the only people who do take them seriously are the people that say "damn that team is fun to watch".

The no hand check rule? With the debacle of last seasons playoff officiating, the NBA referees will be suckin' the whistle this year without a doubt.

How is Amare Stoudamire a post presence? In fact, when was he ever one? Can't score with his back to the basket, can't post up, can't defend the post up, can't rebound over a Duncan, a Dampier or a Yao Ming. Great on the fast break with the follow finish and he can take his man off the dribble, his range is iffy at best. So again, how is he a post presence?

Sending Shaq to the stripe has never worked out in the playoffs or Finals. The NBA in fact implanted the rule under 2 mins you can't hack-a-shaq or hack-a-duncan or else the team gets the free throws and possession negating that whole strategy. Kobe's never seen a double team he couldn't split and finish on.

I'm sorry but I'm taking Coach Pop and Avery Johnson over Mike D'Antoni and his euroball as far as planning is concerned. I do agree it will be fun to watch.

As far as the Pistons, you said yourself Nazr has gotten little to no playing time and Dale Davis is a free agent hacker. They have no center, Rasheed is a hacker in the post and Chris Webber has been scared of the paint since 1998. I just don't see how that core has gotten better. Especially with the way Rip Hamilton looks in that offense nowadays. I'll agree that this years Suns are better than last years Suns based on Amare alone, but is there anyone that is going to argue that this years Pistons are better than last years or the team that won the title? And with the marked improvement of DWade, Jay Williams, James Posey and Jason Kapono this season that the Heat are at all worse off than a year ago? If ya think that DWade is gonna come back only to have other players take shots at his injured shoulder, well, then you have no understanding of Shaquille O Neal or Alonzo Mourning or Udonis Haslem are.

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Dave S. said...

I'm sorry, but anyone who thinks that the Suns are a team of undersized guys who just take a bunch of jumpshots knows absolutely nothing about the NBA. And why are you talking about them as if they don't have Nash? He is racking up monster assist numbers on a nightly basis. The fact is, teams don't just randomly end up with over 60 wins in a tough conference by chucking up jumpers and praying they go in. Phoenix has an intricate offensive system and the perfect players to execute it with. And like I said above, they are playing decent defense this year, unlike the past 2.

6:11 PM  
Anonymous tyson said...

I'm sorry, but anyone who thinks that the Suns are a team of undersized guys who just take a bunch of jumpshots knows absolutely nothing about the NBA. And why are you talking about them as if they don't have Nash?

At the time I was writing the post Nash wasn't on the floor there was nothing happening except pass, two dribbles, pass, two dribbles, pass, two dribbles, jump shot. Not very intricate without the two time reigning MVP penetrating and dumpin off inside or kickin it outside for a jumper or a quick reversal for a different jump shot. Or just dribbling through the entire defense, faking a kick out and pulling up for a baseline jump shot.

Nobody's callin the Suns success a fluke, just stating they don't have what it takes to be a championship team.

Yes I agree, ranking 25th of 30 in points allowed is an improvement over 28th.

I don't think there's anyone who can argue that the Suns aren't undersized when compared to Dallas (multiple 7 footers) Denver (ditto) San Antonio (ditto) Houston (ditto) Utah (Boozer is a prototypical left tackle minus about 20 lbs.). Not to say the Suns can't defeat some of these teams in a series, but they are most definitely overmatched in the size category.

6:51 PM  
Anonymous tyson said...

--Sportsgamer at www.sportsgamer.com/content/695/wwe-superstar-cm-punk-gets-his-game-on/ has a story on C.M. Punk wrestling, playing videogames and not using drugs. Do you realize what a fucked up business this is when somebody's gimmick is that they don't use drugs? Can you imagine an NFL game and the announcer going, there's Jeff Garcia, and he's drug free. - Dave Meltzer

Do you realize how fucked up our society is that we actually have terminology such as "straight edge" and that millions of people are represented by somebody's "gimmick"? its actually a positive millions of people are willing to cheer for someone who represents that cause. But it's just a gimmick right? St. Pierre couldn't draw huh? Or is that not the best possible story? Looked like he didnt have enough gas this time.

11:25 PM  
Anonymous mcory said...

tyson, sorry so late in responding. But yes, I feel the Pistons are a BETTER team with Webber instead of Big Ben. As proof, look at their thorough dominance of Orlando. And once again, yes, the Heat are worse than last year's team. Much worse. 0-3 vs. the Bulls worse. Yikes. And lastly, Phoenix Sun "euroball" sure looks effective to me vs. the Lakers.

6:08 AM  

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