The Moonball Blog

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Get me an Attorney

"Don may know that (Dirk) Nowitzki likes to turn toward his left shoulder not his right shoulder, but we don't think that's a trade secret or confidential information,"

John O'Connor, by phone Friday from his San Francisco office.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Draft Chat

I wasn't able to make it to the draft chat -- Mac based wi-fi at the studio where I was playing wouldn't let me on. Did anyone go? How did it work?

If I could get a permanent chat room for less than 20 bucks, that allowed us to view history of what was said, would anyone be interested? I might even be able to somehow hack it into our next year's fantasy site. Maybe.

Real reason I'm posting is I'm curious about your reactions to the draft -- especially Boston/Portland fans. I like the Blazers moves for the long term...the mix of young talent and long-term cap relief could really work out well for them. And looks like Seattle's really turning the corner too. Wish I could say the same for the Wolves. Brewer's a solid pick though.

As good as all those draft picks looked, I'll admit I'm a little relieved that we didn't panic and move KG. It's hard to let go. How about y'all? Any other reactions?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

What do Peter Cassel and Kevin Durant Have in Common?

From a True Hoop post on interviewing guys before the draft:

"He read the media guide through all that somehow. I got used to it. And every now and then he'd call out something like "Donyell Marshall was a second round pick?" (And this proves to be a mis-reading: Donny Marshall was a second-rounder in '95. Donyell was fourth overall in '94.)"

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Draft time...

This has to be the Craziest Draft Ever. First, you've got the legitimate Oden/Durant debate at the top followed by just nuttiness. Sadly, a lot of it revolves around KG, but it still should be a really interesting night. I am very sorry that TNT doesn't have the rights to the draft anymore - if any night called for four hours of Ernie, Kenny & Charles (with maybe a dose of Marv) this is it. Instead, we will be stuck with the now-annual ritual of having to listen to Dick Vitale pop a vein when Petteri Kopponen gets drafted ahead of some NCAA chump like Alando Tucker or Aaron Afflalo. We can only hope that somehow Hubie & Jeff Van Gundy are involved...

At any rate, thanks to the four-letter, here's my personal mock draft. I'm assuming that the Wolves are picking at 3, though I don't think it makes much difference to the result.

If anyone wants to participate in our quasi-annual mock draft, I'll volunteer to tabulate the results afterward to see who got the most right - post your mock in the comments.

Monday, June 25, 2007

For those that haven't forgotten Sid

So, for those of you that haven't lived in 'Sota since college, your memories of Sid Hartman may be a little fuzzy. He's the old dude that writes the 'jottings' style column in the Strib sports section. His main contributions to published English prose appear to be (in no particular order): a) sucking up to Carl Pohlad; b) sucking up to Glen Taylor; c) hating women's sports before Bill Simmons made it cool. At any rate, even if you don't remember him fondly, you should still check out this good old fashioned screed from my man Britt (with a little KG talk thrown in - Britt does my Boston trade one better...)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

KG to the C's

So, I think I'm in whatever stage of grief 'bargaining' is. It's clear that KG is gone. I don't think it's right, and the way it's progressed over the past few days is absolutely typical of the mickey mouse way the franchise has been run over the past four years, but I think the Wolves have past the point of no return.

I also don't think you can construct a deal with Phoenix. One thing I hate about the NBA media is that it's clear that most reporters don't understand the CBA, and a Stoudamire/KG trade is really difficult to make work because Stoudamire is BYC until mid-July, and KG's contract goes up July 1. Complicating matters, Diaw will be BYC starting in July, so even with Kurt Thomas' deal in the mix it's just really hard to come up with enough salary to make a deal work. Plus, it's not like Pheonix actually has a bunch of tradeable assets that could convince an under the cap team like Milwaukee or Atlanta to join in and help out. I just don't see it.

So, here's my idea to get KG to the Celtics. I think the stuff about him not wanting to go there is a bit overblown - I'm sure he'd rather go to Pheonix or LA, but if he can't I can't see him opting out and leaving all that cash on the table, particularly if my plan below happens. I have an entirely selfish motive for this move - if he goes to Boston, I will get about 40 hours more sleep next year since the C's are on Eastern time. So basically here's the gist:

Wolves send KG, Mad Dog & Hassell to the Celtics. Wolves send Ricky Davis to Sac.
The Kings send Ron Artest to Boston & Kenny Thomas to MN.
The C's send Wally, Theo, Big Al, the #5, & Allan Ray to MN. They send Gerald Green, Leon Powe & Scal to Sac.

I think everyone wins - The C's would absolutely be faves in the East with a core of Pierce, KG & Ron with some nice (if overpaid) role players like Mad Dog & Hassell, and four decent youngsters in West, Gomes, Perk & Rondo. Yes, Artest is a risk, but if anyone can keep him in line it's KG & PP, right? Now, the C's would still need a real coach, but that's another matter...

The Kings shed Artest and the albatross contract of Kenny Thomas and pick up a grade B prospect in Gerald Green. They also get Pretty Ricky, who they can probably flip at the deadline if they don't want to just clear space. The Celtics could probably send a draft pick of some sort their way as well. Yes, they have to take on Scal, but they were desperately short of red heads and he also makes half as much as Thomas.

As for the Wolves, this is as good as it gets. If you're trading KG, there's no point in keeping Madsen or Hassel - neither one is going to be part of the next good Wolves team. Yeah, you now have a lot of old, nasty power forward w/Juwan and Thomas, but both of those guys are pros and they'll help Big Al (or at least not stand in his way). For the Wolves, a post-KG core of Foye/McCants/Al/Craig Smith/the #5 /the #7 is about as good as you're going to get. It probably means you're looking at another 2-3 years in the lottery, best case, but you're probably looking at that if you keep KG anyway. This does mean that if in 2-3 years you're ready to be a good team, you'll have cap room to add a piece or two (assuming someone else is running the show by then).

The one big flaw - the C's #21 jersey is retired. Maybe Bill Sharman will let KG buy him dinner?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Hold Steady + Baseball

Nothing to do with basketball, but still entertaining.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Trade Rumors

Man, there's some serious shit flying around, what with Kobe and KG's name floating out there. I've read rumors of both of them going to Beantown and one unlikely piece of speculation that Kobe could maybe end up in the Motor. Which leads me to this question, how would you feel if Kobe were traded to your team?

Before the rape allegation, I didn't like the beef but I didn't hate him. Ever since he skated after all but copping to the charge, I've resented the fact that the media let up on him and essentially worked to rehab his image. So I've disliked him more than any player in the game over the last period, to the extent that I even avoided picking him in Moonball once or twice, even when he was the obvious choice.

He's really damn good though, isn't he? And unstoppable forces tend to look good in blue and red. How would some of the haters who are partial to the Celtics feel about him going to Boston?

One final thought--it would be good for the league if Kobe and KG headed east. Might even things up a bit.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Draft chat?

Hey--are folks planning to watch the draft? Any interest in setting up a TV Dave chat room like we had for the Moonball draft? It'd be cool to shoot the shit virtually.

7 Pieces of French Toast

Ok, this really has nothing to do with basketball, except perhaps that the Flash and I spent a morning together in NYC this weekend without discussing fantasy hoops at all and only a few minutes on the playoffs... I guess that's what happens when you have brunch with a 3 year old, a 2 year old, and a 7 month old. This leads me to the subject of this post...

I did learn over said brunch that young Ruth eats exactly the same lunch every day and gets horribly upset if there is even the slightest deviation. Like father like daughter in so many ways I guess. The only difference is what makes up this lunch:



Off season more interesting than the finals?

Wow, here I am referencing another Sports Guy column, but I think he actually puts his finger on something: that NBA fans are more interested in the off-season moves and the draft right now than they are in the Finals. Do people agree with this? I kind of do, evidenced by the fact that I emailed my one NBA fan friend in New Haven yesterday, to make plans to watch the draft, when I haven't joined him (he's from Texas and a Rockets fan who also likes the Spurs) for one game of the finals. What a weird turn of events, no?

Friday, June 08, 2007

Critical Drivers of Fan Satisfaction

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Follow the steps and apply to job #976.


If there is one seriously underrated aspect of being an NBA fan, it's that you get to listen to Marv Albert call games. I realize a lot of people like Mike Breen (I'm not a huge fan, but he's light year's better than the travesty that was the Al Michaels Era), but to me the drop-off between Marv and everyone else is Himalayan. Which brings me to this - you should all go out and download the Sports Misogynist's June 5 podcast, which is basically an hour of Simmons talking hoops with Marv. I listened to the first half on the way to work today and figured I had to share the love.

Anyway, the finals look like they're going to be pretty short and sweet. Cleveland acted like they won a ring on Saturday night, which in a way they did - they really don't have much chance against the Spurs. Which is too bad, because I have developed a very solid hate for San Antonio at this point. Even two-time Me Wolf Gino-belly (let alone dirty mother fucker Bowen).

Sunday, June 03, 2007


Seriously, to Cleveland, the better team in the Eastern Conference finals by far. Even the games the Pistons won I thought they got lucky. LeBron was fantastic and the other guys good enough. Daniel Gibson, again, wow.

Among many things, I wish the Pistons hadn't melted down so far in the 4th quarter so that I could bring up in good faith the fact that the Cavs shot 46 free throws, without getting fouled down the stretch. But even more equitable calls wouldn't have made a difference last night.

So, for me, the question is what becomes of this Pistons team. Even before the series, the future wasn't on their side and now that's even more true. Cleveland will only be better next year and the same with Chicago. The sad thing is that, even as good of a GM as Joe D. is, there won't be any easy fixes. Talk of Z-Bo, I don't know...

Taking a page out of one of the Detroit papers, I'll submit these final grades to the Pistons players for their last series.

Chauncey Billups: D-

He played his worst playoff basketball as a Piston. When he was scoring, he was not getting others involved. Abysmal turnover to assist ratio, no clutch play, weak leadership. Before the series, I couldn't imagine being ambivalent about his return to Detroit, now I'm wondering whether he'll be worth the money. He's still an above average point guard in the L, but he took a big hit in this series.

Richard Hamilton: B+

The only player who had a peak performance in a game in the series. The shot wasn't there every night, but he came to play in the final game, unlike any of his teammates and singlehandedly kept them in a couple of games. He also had some decent moments on defense.

Tayshaun Prince: F

What the hell happened to Tay? He regressed further than I would have thought possible. You all know he's been my favorite player over this run because he does a little bit of everything. Well, in this series, he did a lot of nothing. He failed to slow LBJ down much at all, so no trademark defense and his offense--holy suckitude. I still love ya, Tay, but man, you were terrible in this series.

Rasheed Wallace: D+

It's important not to forget how good he was in the first two games that the Pistons won in Detroit. However, he had a couple of essential no-shows in Cleveland. And then, while he played with fire, his blowup on Saturday night was embarrassing. You could almost feel this run ending with that tantrum. No apologies for Sheed this time, you blew it.

Chris Webber: D+

He gave it what he had, he just doesn't have enough anymore. He bounced back from a terrible game 4 to play all right in the last two, but he was slow, terrible on d, and devoid of power. I feel bad for him, ultimately. I hope he retires--he could probably find work next year, but it would be beneath him and he would cause trouble for it. I'm surprisingly dispassionate about this.

The Bench: D

Aside from McDyess and one great game from Maxiell, they were very bad.

Coach: F

It's not fair to pin it all on Flip, far from it. But he's such an uninspiring guy on the bench. I swear, whenever they showed him on the screen, my confidence waned. And his substitution patterns--what the fuck? Starting the 4th quarter with your season on the line and you go with a backcourt of Lindsay Hunter and Flip Murray? What? Then Cleveland goes on a mini-run, you call a timeout and then send them back out there?!! And the run continues and your season is over. I can't really blame Lindsay and Flip Murray, as Saunders hadn't given them enough burn in the series to get any kind of rhythm. Either ride your horses all the way or commit to getting your bench guys in, but switching up at that point and then not pulling them when it was clear it wasn't working?

The players have been bears from day one for Flip and he seems like a nice guy with a decent mind for the game. But I can't see him winning in a big way. Bring in Bill Laimbeer and be done with it.

So it's obviously frustrating, but I should acknowledge that this team rose quicker and went further than I imagined they would five years ago. There was that transcendent championship that I will always cherish and many other great moments. They've been good enough to want them to be better than they are, or at least as good as they thought they were. Alas, they weren't, and now it seems, as quickly as it arrived, the era of Piston championship aspirations is over.

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