A Look at the Western Conference

San Antonio Spurs – So much for the Spurs getting old and their window closing. Yet again Parker, Ginobili, Duncan and company find themselves atop the Western Conference. Other than their big three, the Spurs are arguably younger and deeper than ever. They’ve had 5 straight years of tough losses in the playoffs. Will this be their year? I’m going to go out on a limb and say they’re hoping Memphis falls a spot as it’s a bad matchup for them.

Oklahoma City Thunder – No Harden no problem. Durant and Ibaka took big leaps forward this season and Kevin Martin has fit into the 6th man role flawlessly. With the largest point differential in the league at + 9.1, it looks like the Thunder successfully improved their long-term outlook without sacrificing in the short term, giving them a good chance for a finals rematch against the Heat.

Los Angeles Clippers – No doubt about it, the Clippers are the best team in LA. The only rough patch of the season came when Chris Paul went down for a few games. Griffin and Jordan have both improved significantly over last year and the bench has been amazing with Barnes, Bledsoe and Crawford all playing above expectations. Now that Grant Hill and Chauncey Billups are back, this team goes 12 deep.

Memphis Grizzlies – Looks like the hangover from losing Rudy Gay didn’t last too long. Seven wins in a row for a sneaky good team. Prince has fit in well for them, adding more defense and consistent shooting than Gay was providing. Let’s not forget the huge frontline of Randolph and Gasol is a matchup nightmare for most teams. Continue reading

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Ball Don’t Lie

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Rasheed Wallace got ejected after yelling “Ball Don’t Lie”  I wasn’t aware that this has been Rasheed’s catch phrase for a while so I did some research and found out what it means:

“Ball don’t lie” is said when a player misses one, two or all three of his free throws after a questionable (read as: bullshit) foul call is made by an official. The ball is, essentially, the unbiased judge who will not reward the player by going in if the apparent foul was indeed bullshit.

*Andrew Bogut locks arms with Rasheed Wallace and trips over his own feet, prompting a foul call from the referee

* Rasheed: That’s BULLSHIT, man!

*Andrew Bogut toes the line and proceeds to miss his first free throw

*Rasheed: BALL DON’T LIE!

*Bogut then attempts a second free throw and misses again

*Rasheed: BALL DON’T LIE, DAMNIT!

Grading all of the Trades

For the weeks leading up to the trade deadline all anyone would talk about is where Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Rajon Rondo were going.  Well none of them got moved.  There were a bunch of other moves, so lets take a look at them:

The Wizards acquire Nene, Brian Cook, Clippers 2nd round draft pick (via Hornets)
The Nuggets acquire JaVale McGee and Ronny Turiaf
The Clippers acquire Nick Young


Denver: B

This was the most surprising move of the day for me.  In the offseason Nene signed a 4 year, 53 million dollar contract.  He also is having a bad season and has been injured constantly, so maybe that made Denver think twice about their franchise center.  In other words Denver decided that their 29 year old center who is injury prone should be sold while his value is still high instead of waiting until the injuries kill Amar’es, I mean Nene’s value and the contract is worthless.

McGee makes dumb mistakes.  A lot of dumb mistakes.  Maybe coach Karl will help with that.  I’m guessing Denver really really hopes that’s the case.  McGee is also only 24 years old, scores as much as Nene and rebounds and blocks much better.  He’s going to get paid this summer, but that contract won’t be as high as Nene’s.  Which is good because Lawson and Faried are going to need bigger contracts soon.

Turiaf and McGee also both fit in the $7 trade exception from the Raymond Felton trade (not as upset about losing him after seeing what a fat mess he’s become in Portland), which means they now have a $13 trade exception.

We’ll see if McGee works well with the rest of the team.  It’s a big risk because Denver is a playoff team right now, but it gives them a lot of cap flexibility and potentially a more lethal scorer in the post.

Washington: D+

I know Washington didn’t want to move forward with McGee or Young, but it looks like they pretty much gave Young away in this deal.  They are also banking on a very high paid and injury prone center.  When you have a young team that is very far away from even making the playoffs I don’t know why you roll the dice on an older center.  By the time Wall and company are ready to make some noise, Nene is going to be as productive as Dampier or worse.  I don’t bet but if I did I would go to the best sports betting sites and put money on Washington really regretting this move in a year or two. Continue reading