NBA Lord's NBA Blog

NBA Lord's NBA Blog

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Orlando Magic: The Jekyl and Hyde of the NBA

The Orlando Magic are the most up and down team in the NBA. Some nights they look dominant and in a position to contend for the Eastern Conference title. Other nights, they look just awful like they did this past week against the Bulls, who drubbed them 85-59 without D-Rose even in the lineup. Their next two games, they went on to slaughter both the Suns and Cavaliers. Granted, those two teams aren't the Bulls. But the Magic looked like a vastly superior team, well ahead of both the Suns and Cavs.
What makes the Orlando Magic so frusturating is the way that they seem to disappear and not show up at certain games. It seems like some nights, the Orlando Magic just mentall check out, and don't even try to give an effort, aside from Dwight Howard. This is why Dwight Howard has considered leaving Orlando. He's not confident his team is all in on being a championship caliber team. But with Dwight Howard now commited for the rest of the season, and also the start of next season, the Magic should be able to put some of that Dwight Howard trade drama on the backburner and just go play basketball. These random occurances of utter apathy need to stop right away. The Magic have the talent with Howard in the middle to give the Heat and Bulls a run come playoff time. But until they get used to playing hard every night, the Magic will get bounced out early in the playoffs. They're way to good to not be a factor in the East. But their attitude has to change. I hope it does, because as an NBA fan, I'm very excited to see what Orlando is capable of doing in the playoffs with the crew that they got.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

NBA Trade Deadline Grade Report

The trade deadline has come and gone. Some teams made moves, and some teams did not. But sometimes not making a move is making move in its own way. What I will do is list all teams that made a move on trade deadline day, grade their trades, and also make a list of notable teams that didn't make any sort of move, and tell you all what I think.

Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks made the first big move of the trade deadline period by trading away Center Andrew Bogut and SG/SF Stephen Jackson to the Golden State Warriors for SG Monta Ellis, C Ekpe Udoh, and
C Kwame Brown. I like this trade for the Bucks for several reasons. (A) They got rid of Andrew Bogut who wasn't playing due to another injury. It was starting to seem like his lack of minutes on the court was a hindrance to their overall growth as a team. Even though Bogut's injuries were due to falling down off a dunk, and other pretty hard physical plays, the reality is Bogut has shown to be injury prone, only playing 12 games this year, and 65 the year before that. In the 08-09 season Bogut only played 39 games. Getting rid of him is a huge relief to Milwaukee fans for that very reason. (B) They got themselves immediate help for a playoff run. The Bucks are currently in the mix for the 8th seed out East, and they just bolstered themselves to practically secure a playoff spot. They've won 5 games in a row, and are getting a boost from this deal at the right time. Ellis will help provide Brandon Jennings with better help in the backcourt than Stephen Jackson did, and it will provide them with a very scary back court. The Bucks now have a pretty legit 1-2 punch in the back court with Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings. They're gonna be a fun team to watch and a scary little team as well.
(C) They got a big back! Yes they may have given up Andrew Bogut, but here's the deal: They are getting Epkeh Udoh in the deal, who is a very promising young Center. Udoh has the potential to be as good as Andrew Bogut should he work hard and continue to expand his game. If he gets anywhere near Andrew Bogut level of production or better, they will have clearly won this trade. The Warriors gave up a big and an elite scorer to get a big. But the Bucks gave up a big to get an elite scorer and another big. Bucks won on this deal big time for sure, and they have to be laughing that the Warriors were so stupid for not asking more for Ellis.
(D) Where were they going with Bogut really? Bogut is a very nice Center, no question about it, but with his solid production, where were they going? They were still not an elite team, and barely sniffing out a playoff spot. Bucks had to make a move, and Bogut was their best asset. Dealing him for a promising young big guy in Udoh, a veteran big in Brown, and an elite scorer in Monta Ellis isn't bad to get back for an injury prone Bogut. Bucks won this deal big time. I give it a solid B+.

Warriors: The Warriors were clearly eager to deal Monta Ellis and get rid of a guy who they felt was "hogging" the ball, and preventing the team from playing more unified. But here is the deal: Monta Ellis is an ELITE scorer in the NBA. That's right, I called Monta Ellis ELITE. Not many guys can create shots like Monta can, and the Bucks just got an elite level scorer. Not only that, but other parts of Monta's game such as his defense, and his ability to distribute the ball went underrated in Golden State. Everybody has viewed him as a poor man's Carmelo Anthony, but that is an unfair label on him. He played his butt off every night, and carried that team on his back every night. The Warriors right now don't have a guy that is comfortable doing that. So to recap, the Warriors dealt an ELITE level scorer, a very promising young Big Man in Ekpe Udoh, and a solid veteran big man in Kwame Brown for a top 5 Center in Bogut, and an aging small forward in Richard Jefferson. They traded Stephen Jackson to the Spurs for Richard Jefferson and retired TJ Ford (for cash purposes). They could have gotten a LOT more back than that. Orlando could have offered Jameer Nelson, Ryan Anderson, Jason Richardson, and possibly a JJ Reddick for just Monta Ellis. I guarantee the Magic would have made that deal, and that would have been a better deal. Or they could have dealt him to the Bulls for maybe Boozer and Noah, something along those lines. The point is, I'm not high on this trade on the Warriors end because they didn't get as much back as they could have gotten. Plus, Bogut is injury prone, and is currently out with a broken ankle. If Bogut plays, this trade may work out, but until he does, the Bucks are for sure the winners of this deal. I give this deal a C for this deal.

Memphis Grizzlies The Memphis Grizzlies dealt Sam Young to the Philadelphia 76ers for the rights to Ricky Sanchez a 6'11 Puerto Rican currently in the D-League and future considerations. Not a whole lot to really say about the Grizzlies other than maybe they were just making a spot for Gilbert Arenas? I give this move a C+ for the Grizz.

Philadelphia 76ers: Sixers give up Ricky Sanchez and future considerations to get Sam Young, a young SG out of Pittsburgh. Still in only his second year, the Sixers are getting a promising young SG to help add depth to their back court. I like the move because of Young's potential to end up being good down the road. I give this move a solid B for the Sixers.

Indiana Pacers: The Pacers made a quiet but good move at the trade deadline, by giving up a 2nd round pick to get G Leandro Barbosa from the Raptors. Good move for the Pacers because Barbosa can add some depth to their back court like Sam Young can for Philly, only Barbosa will actually help them out now. Barbosa is averaging a solid 12.2 points a game. I give this move an A by the Pacers because trading a 2nd rounder to get a guy of Barbosa's caliber is a steal.

Toronto Raptors: Giving up Barbosa for a 2nd round pick was stupid. Not because they need Barbosa, but because they could have gotten more for him. I give this trade deadline deal a C- for the Raps.

New Jersey Nets: They dealt F/C Mehmet Okur, F Shawne Williams, and a top 3 protected first round pick to the Blazers for Gerald Wallace. Not a bad move at all for the Nets if Gerald Wallace decides he wants to stay in Jersey. This gives Deron Williams more help and doesn't put all the burden squarely on his shoulders. Wallace is a good enough player that they should be able to convince Deron Williams to stay with this news. It's good enough to convince him to stay for sure. If he leaves, it'll be because he didn't like Jersey. But at any rate, I didn't think they gave up too much, and the Nets were one of the teams that had to make a move. They made a solid one, and so I'll give them a solid B on this move.

Portland Trail Blazers: On the flip side of this Nets/Blazers deal, the Blazers did get a protected first round pick that is only top 3 protected. So as long as the Nets don't get one of the top 3 picks, it's going to the Nets. The Blazers would be happy with a #4,5, or 6 pick. They need new blood to rebuild that team and revitalize it. Giving up Wallace was not a small price to pay for a draft pick (Okur and Williams were thrown in for good measure). But it may work out in their favor. One thing to keep in mind, the Blazers don't usually make smart drafting decisions. For the time being though, I give them a B-.

Los Angeles Lakers: Lakers dealt Luke Walton, Jason Kapono, and a lottery protected first round pick to the Cavaliers for Christian Eyenga, Ramon Sessions, and the right to swap picks with the Heats 2013 first round draft pick. Overall, I gotta say the Lakers made a good move on this end. Getting Sessions and only giving up Walton and Kapono is pretty good on their part. This addresses their need for a Point Guard and makes them a better team this season for sure. The head scratching move for them though was dealing Derek Fisher and a first round pick to the Rockets for F/C Jordan Hill who is only averaging 5 points a game. I know Sessions can probably do more than Fisher at this point, but giving up Fisher who was a vocal leader on your team is puzzling and a tad disturbing. Something tells me this will create more drama in LA in the ensuing months. But anyways, I really disliked this move for the Lakers. So combining the Sessions deal and the Fisher deal, I give the Lakers a B- overall. The Sessions deal is an A, but the Fisher deal is D, so I'll give more weight to the Sessions deal, and dock the Lakers down a little over a full letter grade.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Dealing Sessions and Eyenga for Walton, Kapono, and the Lakers first round pick? That was a dumb trade. Getting rid of Sessions is fine, since they got Kyrie Irving, but please don't tell me they couldn't have gotten more for Sessions! I give this move a C- because it was smart to deal Sessions, but not for what they got.

Houston Rockets: The Rockets deal Jordan Hill to the Lakers for Derek Fisher and a protected first rounder which the Lakers got from Dallas. But then they bought out Fisher's contract,so now he's free to go wherever he wants. I give this move a B- for the Rockets because of the draft pick. It wasn't like Hill is a budding star.

San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs move at the deadline was shipping out TJ Ford and Richard Jefferson to the Warriors for Stephen Jackson. TJ Ford had already retired, so in effect it was RJ for SJ. Stephen Jackson has played in San Antonio many moons ago, and is familiar with their system. He's a high energy guy that can come in and get hot. He's sort of an older version of J.R. Smith if you will. Richard Jefferson wasn't doing anything for them, and they did need to make a move. Bringing in Stephen Jackson could help spark their bench play and give them enough of a boost to maybe win the west. It's not a move that I think likely pushes them over the top, but it will provide their bench with even another lethal scoring weapon for Popovich to utilize. I give this deal a B- for the Spurs. Not the kind of move they were really in need of (adding a big man), but they did strengthen their bench. It does make them better for sure.

Denver Nuggets: The Denver Nuggets were involved in a 3 team deal with the Clippers and Wizards. What the Nuggets gave up was Nene to the Wizards but in exchange they got Ronny Turiaf (now with the Heat) and JaVale McGee. For the Nuggets, I liked this move. Nene is a nice player, and he's a really solid big guy. But they need something to get them excited for the future, and JaVale McGee has the potential to be even better than Nene, and he's younger. He's a long freakish athletic young man who can swat shots, and get up like few people can. He's basically a more athletic version of Jeremy Evans with better skills. The Nuggets definitely made a good decision here, and I gotta give them a B+ for this move. I'm not going higher than that just because McGee is still young and does have to mature emotionally. Otherwise this likely is an A move for them.

Washington Wizards: The Wizards sent Ronny Turiaf and JaVale McGee to the Nuggets, and also Nick Young to the Clippers. In exchange, they got Nene, Brian Cook, and a future 2nd round pick from the Clippers. Not a bad move for the Wizards either. They are a struggling team with not hardly any veteran leadership. Nene is a solid Center who is a very professional leader on and off the court. He's a real solid citizen. The Wizards need a voice of reason like that in their locker room, and Nene right now is a better Center than JaVale McGee. Giving up Nick Young hurts a bit, but getting Nene for them is worth it. Brian Cook is another big guy who can crash the boards for them and do some dirty work, and getting another draft pick could help them out in the future. But getting a veteran in the locker room who can start and help take some pressure of John Wall is huge. It was necessary for either JaVale McGee or Andray Blatche to get out of DC due to their attitudes. They chose to trade the guy who could give them more in return. I give this move an A-.

Los Angeles Clippers: They gave up a second round pick, and Brian Cook to the Wizards to get Nick Young. The Clippers clearly won this trade in which all teams benefited. They get rid of Cook who was warming his seat on the bench because Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan were getting more minutes in front of him in the front court, and a second round pick to nab a young and talented shooting guard who can fill the role that Chauncey Billups had. Young averages 16 points a game this season, and will clearly give the Clippers offense a much needed Boost. He's not Billups, but not a bad replacement to pick up in a trade. Especially for not giving up hardly anything. The Clippers are the only team involved in this deal with a real shot at winning their conference this season. This trade enables them to now threaten to do that, and so I gotta give this deal an A+ on the Clippers end.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

10 Teams That Need To Make A Move Before The Deadline

The NBA Trade Deadline is This Thursday (March 15) at 3 PM ET. A lot of different rumors are out there, and a lot of different teams are in circumstances where a trade could bolster them for their playoff run or future. Here are my list of teams that need to make a move before the trade deadline.

#1. Orlando Magic: Here is the deal, the Magic are being held captive by Dwight Howard, and they seem frozen at the moment and unsure about what they want to do. Do they trade Howard? Do they bring somebody else in? What do they do? The truth of the matter is they can't get frozen here, let the deadline pass and do nothing. If you're planning on keeping Howard, then trade some other pieces like Jason Richardson, Jameer Nelson, Hedo Turkoglu, or some draft picks in addition to a few of those guys to add somebody to help Dwight Howard. If they don't get the feeling that such a move like that is realistically going to up their chances of keeping Dwight, then they need to read Dwight Howard's poker face and decide whether or not he plans to stay. If they don't think their chances are higher than 75% that Dwight stays, then the Magic should deal him and take the best offer. But regardless of which route they go (Deal Dwight or Keep Him), they gotta make a trade.
#2. Los Angeles Lakers: I understand that Ron Artest may be waking up from his slumber, which COULD put the Lakers back in the mix to win the west, but the reality is that the Lakers need to make a move. Even if it is to bolster their bench a little bit. They gotta do something. I actually think their best piece to trade for something like that could be Ron Artest. Some other teams may want him, and they could get a couple of solid bench guys back for him. Of course if the Magic are calling, dangling Dwight Howard in front of their noses, they'll have to really consider that at the expense of Gasol or Bynum.
#3. Los Angeles Clippers: They've already made a big trade this season, but now with Chauncey Billups out, they gotta pull one more good deal off. Jamal Crawford would be the perfect addition to them, and they wouldn't have to give up too much.
#4. Portland Trailblazers: This team is snake bit, and they've fallen a great deal from where they were entering this season. Remember those talks of Portland winning the west? Those talks seem like ages ago. But maybe with a good move, they could get back in the picture. The problem is who to deal. In many ways, maybe dealing Gerald Wallace wouldn't be a bad thing if they got something good for him. But I'd be hesitant to deal him. Maybe trading Crawford makes more sense because they wouldn't give up as much. Regardless of what they are thinking, they gotta do something.
#5. San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs are slipping with the retirement of TJ Ford, and the injuries that Manu Ginobili keeps incurring. Spurs are still in the mix, but they better trade for a big real quickly, otherwise, they are out of the race early once again.
#6. Dallas Mavericks: Something tells me this Lamar Odom saga isn't ending very well. Deal Odom to a team not called the Lakers (perhaps the Clippers?) and get something good back for him. The Clippers is where he started off, that'd be a nice place for him to end his career. In the opposite locker room from Kobe.
#7 Chicago Bulls: Let's face it, Rip Hamilton has not delivered the goods for the Bulls. He is old, injury prone, and not producing when in the games. They need to do something to get Rose scoring help in the back court. Kyle Korver is a nice shooter, but he has been shaky all season.They got guys to move, but where will they move them is the question. They don't have to make a push for Dwight Howard, but that would be an awesome duo with Rose and Howard. Miami would sure as hell be in some trouble. They can go big and shake it up, or they can fine tune their team through some smaller trades. But either way, the Bulls need to do something by the deadline.
#8. Oklahoma City Thunder: As well as they are playing, they need to deepen their bench a little bit, or add another good scorer to their bench. Maybe Rip Hamilton would succeed in OKC better, and the Bulls could get some nice young assets in exchange to use in the future. A Bulls/OKC trade smells good to me for both sides.
#9. Golden State Warriors: Is it Curry? Is it Ellis? Which one is it gonna be? I'm tired of hearing all these talks about Stephen Curry/Monta Ellis on the trading block. The reality is they have to make a move and get over with it.
#10. New Jersey Nets: Deron Williams won't stay unless they land Dwight Howard. Period. Nets better get creative with their offers, or they're rebuilding in 6 months.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

NBA Power Rankings Week 11: Grizzlies Crawl Into Top 5; Bulls #1

Here are my Power Rankings for Week 11. Enjoy!

(+2) 1. Chicago Bulls (33-9): The Bulls are playing some good basketball, lead by Derrick Rose. They can't be thrilled with how the Rip Hamilton situation has worked out. Look for Chicago to make a deal.
(-1) 2. Miami Heat (30-9): They had a couple tough losses at the end of last week in Utah and Los Angeles. But Chris Bosh was out due to family matters. I think Bosh's absence showed his value.
(-1 )3. Oklahoma City Thunder (31-8): They may be the best in the West, but that bench is still thin. There's a lot of pressure on James Harden to bring the spark off the bench. They need to add another weapon off the bench if they wanna make a serious run at the title.
(+/-) 4. San Antonio Spurs (26-12): The biggest concern for the Spurs is health. Manu Ginobili slipping in and out of the lineup due to his health, etc. The Spurs are younger than last season. But the core has a ton of miles on them. Gregg Popovich is gonna have to manage every minute of his team very carefully down the stretch.
(+8) 5. Memphis Grizzlies (23-15): The Grizzlies have come out of nowhere, winning 5 in a row, and 9 of 10 since Valentines Day. The Grizzlies are rolling, and once Zach Randolph gets back, this team will really threaten to win the west.
(+3) 6. Los Angeles Lakers (23-16): Big win on Sunday against the Heat, but road losses to the Pistons and Wizards cooled things a bit for them. They are not a very good road team at only 6-14, but they are 17-2 at home. They really need to solve their road woes. Also, Metta World Peace's good performance against the Heat really showed how much they need him to wake up.
(-2) 7. Los Angeles Clippers (22-15): Lob City is cooling a bit, and it sounds like they really are looking to deal for a SG to replace Chauncey Billups. Jamal Crawford, Ray Allen, and Kirk Hinrich are names that are being leaked as possible replacements for Billups.
(+/-) 8. Orlando Magic (26-15): Can the trade deadline come any faster? The future of Dwight Howard is on every body's minds when it comes to the Magic.
(-3) 9. Dallas Mavericks (23-17):Lamar Odom better put up or shut up. He needs to be grateful he didn't go to bad team like Charlotte. He's playing for the defending champs, not a lottery team.
(+2) 10. Indiana Pacers (23-14): They are still a dangerous team, but as expected, they've hit some bumps along their journey. Still don't sleep on them come playoff time.
(-1) 11. Atlanta Hawks (23-16): Josh Smith wants out of A-Town, and Joe Johnson has been linked in trade rumors. Change could be coming in Atlanta.
(+5) 12. Denver Nuggets (22-18): Ty Lawson is stepping up as the leader of that team. A leader has so far been what they lack. Their depth is superb, but they need a go to guy in crunch time. Maybe Lawson will be that guy.
(-6) 13. Philadelphia 76ers (23-17): They have really slipped, losing 7 of their last 10 games, but their lead for the division is still secure. Maybe they're just getting complacent.
(+5) 14. Minnesota Timberwolves (21-19): The Wolves are on the rise, and they are definitely a team to watch for in the coming years. But are they ready to make the playoffs is the big question in Minneapolis.
(+1) 15. Boston Celtics (20-18): The fact that these Rajon Rondo trade rumors won't die leads me to think there is something to these reports.
(-2) 16. Houston Rockets (21-19): The problem in Houston is they are ok. Just ok. Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, and Kyle Lowry make up a nice little trio, but nothing to really fear.
(+1) 17. Utah Jazz (19-19): They've won a couple in a row in their road trip, and they got a much needed win at home against the Heat. Utah is an under the radar team that can do some damage. Especially if Devin Harris wakes up.
(-3) 18. Portland Trailblazers (19-20): Remember when we were talking about the Blazers maybe winning the west? It seems like that was eons ago.
(-8) 19. New York Knicks (18-21): They are hitting a rough patch, and are really struggling to gel. Don't be surprised if the Knickerbockers pull the trigger and make a big move.
(+1) 20. Phoenix Suns (17-21): Steve Nash is playing great basketball, but the rest of his team is looking sub-par. They can play great at times, but they aren't consistent enough.
(+2) 21. Golden State Warriors (15-21): At some point, these Monta Ellis trade rumors gotta go somewhere, maybe this is the year they actually deal him. They gotta retool and start over up in Oakland.
(-2) 22. Milwaukee Bucks (15-24): So much talent with Brandon Jennings, Drew Gooden, Eran Ilyasova, and Andrew Bogut. But somehow they don't gel. Losing Bogut hasn't helped either.
(-1) 23. Cleveland Cavaliers (14-23): Kyrie Irving is already playing like a 5 year veteran. The Cavs got a future with Kyrie Irving at the helm.
(+/-) 24. Detroit Pistons (13-26): They still got a ways to go, but I'm encouraged by what I'm seeing from Brandon Knight.
(+1) 25. Toronto Raptors (13-26): I wonder where this team would be if Andrea Bargnani hadn't gotten hurt.
(-1) 26. Sacramento Kings (13-26): This Jimmer Fredette story isn't helping things out, they gotta find a way to develop him and not hurt the team chemistry. Or trade him.
(+/-) 27. New Jersey Nets (13-27): That game winning shot by Jordan Farmar over the Clippers, and Deron Williams' 57 point game has made this a nice post-all star break period of time for the Nets. Landing Dwight Howard could make things even sweeter.
(+/-)28. Washington Wizards (9-29): Last night's victory over the Lakers gave us a glimpse into how good they could be if they were more mature. They do have some pieces that look good. They just gotta develop.
(+/-) 29. New Orleans Hornets(9-30): Next stop Seattle? This team is really looking bad.
(+/-)30. Charlotte Bobcats (5-32): zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz... ok, I'll say something about the Bobcats. All they got to look forward to is the lottery.