The Moonball Blog

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

αντίο, J-Chill

Who will assume the throne of best NBA 'fro?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Dunking makes me happy

Something about newly drafted players and summer league play: the hopes, the highlights, the potential. I have been happy to see all sorts of young fellas struttin their stuff: Top picks Beasley, Westbrook, Gordon, Mayo, Randolph, and Rose all seem like they can play; Rodney Stuckey leading a group of 2nd years like Thaddeus Young, Mike Conley, Brandan and Julian Wright. The promise of better days ahead.

In that spirit, me and monkeyshoes were checking out some highlights of the two new Celtic draft picks. Youtube highlight packages. All the makes and none of the misses.

But you cannot fake the funk on the monster dunk.

These two new unproven wings player both have a special knack for the cram shot. You should check these links.

I did not fully realize how muchJ.R. Giddens likes to throw it down. This clip from his senior year is a little longish, but not as longish as Giddens' extendo arms on some nasty dunks. Bill Walker is well known as a dunking maniac. Crazy style.

Who knows if either of these cats will be able to compete at the NBA level. Drafting swingmen always gets me sort of nervous. I know I would go nuts to watch either Giddens or Walker tomahawk on Elton Brand's bean. More likely they will struggle mightily to fill the limited role last year played by Tony Allen, a dunker in his own right.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Hot-lantic Division

OK, so maybe Brand vs. KG isn't quite the Doctor vs. Bird, but after having had to suffer through the re-emergence of the Celtics, it's great to see the Sixers putting together a good f^cking team in the post-AI era that might be able to go throat-to-throat with the Evil Empire.

Although I admit some personal sadness that Philly didn't get Josh Smith, adding Brand makes them a talented, versatile, and dangerous team. (I really hope he stays healthy, and they can sign AI2.)

Who's giving McHale heat for making that trade? It's a good trade for Minny -- the second in a row for the Hibbing hero. Carney could be a good player, Booth's a big body to have around, plus another 1st round pick (more cushion for McHale inevitably blowing one of the other picks), and they gave up nothing to get it. Why shouldn't McHale make that trade.

What's New? Clips screwed agin

Well so much for L.A.'s second team taking a step forward. . .

In a trend that is now undeniable, the East continues to get better. Elton Brand going top Philly is a great move for the former Dukie and his new team. No question he is a great fit for a team loaded with talented wings, a top grade shot blocker who lacks offense, and a point guard who knows how to share the rock. Assuming that Brand is recovered from his achilles injury, and that Philly locks up Iguodala and Williams, the Sixers are in position to challenge for home court advantage in the 09 Playoffs.

Looking West, the Clips roster looks barren even with Baron. Are they better than Sacto? Or even the depleted GState? Aside from Kaman and Davis, does LA have another legit starter?

Aside from Brand, two other moves of significance: Maggette to GState and Mickeal Petrius to Disney World. Maggette will certainly put up numbers in Nellie land, but with he and Jax playing essentially the same position, the hope of off-setting the loss of Davis is wishful thinking. I like Petrius to the Micky's. He has been waiting his chance for some time now, and I see him as a very productive 30 minute a game swing man. His defense is top shelf and offense is under-rated. Again, the East grows stronger.

As for McHale taking heat for facilitating the Brand move, I actually think the Wolves made out well by getting a 1st round pick. Plus, Carney may have some sh*t in his game as he gets some experience. Booth has learned to be a patient bench stiff. . . not a bad role for a team intent on starting a young front line.

More dominoes to fall in the days to come. . . hot fun in the summertime.

p.s. how bout Durant suiting up in the summer league juts for fun?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Summer Breeze or Winds of Change?

Lots of earlier movement in the NBA off-season. Baron Davis' signing with the Clip-jobs, JO to Toronto, rumors of Josh Smith strongly considering Philly, Richard Jefferson relocating to the Dairy Land and a bevy of newly drafted players swirling with potential. Wow! All this, and nary a Moonball post after TV Dave's Shire-ian Special.

I like Davis to L.A.. Despite the body blow to the Bay Area, Davis is an Angelino both by birth and by the stars in his eyes. The Clips gotta bring back Brand, but assuming that they do, things could get interesting in the Staples Center next season. Sure L.A. has to figure out a better idea than starting an aging Cuttino Mobley, and their bench is currently occupied mostly by numbs nuts and do nothings. But with Davis, Brand, Kaman, and young guns Al Thorton and Eric Gordon, Los Angeles the Lesser is a couple defensive oriented role players away from challenging the Lakers' ultimate home court advantage. The West is getting old at the top. I am sure San Antonio will be back strong, but I have my doubts about Dallas and Phoenix. Denver proved themselves as suckers, and GState just lost their juice. Even with Portland on the rise, there is all the sudden some room for new faces in the brutal Western Conference.

Jermaine O'Neal appears old and broken, but if he can stay on the court, the work of emerging superstar Chris Bosh just got a lot easier. No knock, but Boshy is a finesse guy. Silky jumper, gliding drives, swooping rebounds. J.O. is a grinder. He holds his position on the block, bangs in the paint and defends the rim with force. Toronto's style will challenge O'Neal to rediscover his up and down game, but what he will offer the Raptors on D will be significant. Losing T.J. Ford is not a small change for Toronto. I am a big Jose Calderon fan, but holding down the pg position for 82 on a good team will be a challenge for the young Spaniard.

Smith to Philly could also change the playoff landscape in 09. From a Celtics perspective, no individual player presented more defensive problems for the Champs than the high riser Smith. Losing the young fella would be horrible for the Hawks. Despite their bevy of forwards, Smith has the potential as a game changer like few others in League. He and Horford were developing into a monster front line, despite being undersized. Put Smith next to Dalembert, and last season mercurial finish in Philly could be just the beginning of something real good. The Sixers have a bunch of free agents of their own they need to wrap up, and signing Smith without securing some of their perimeter shooters may not amount to much. But going hard for the best young talent on the market is a good sign for the City of Brotherly love.

Whether the Nets are positioning themselves for a run at LeBron, or just shedding a max wing player in an effort to regroup, Milwaukee finds themselves much better equipped to compete in the coming season with a real scorer joining Michael Redd in the line up. Mo Williams will have to work on his distribution skills, especially as Andrew Bogut inches into his prime. But for the first time since breaking up the Robinson-Allen-Cassell trio, the Bucks are trotting out a squad with legitimate talent to make some noise.

As for the newbies, most rookies have little to no impact on their team, and the 2008 Draft will not be an exception. Beasley should get a chance to score some points in Miami, and Derrick Rose may find himself a starter in the Chi. I like Love in Minny, and I worry for OJ in the Memphis morass. Maybe two or three other guys will make some waves in League, but expect most to post 10-16 minutes on the good nights. The Rookie of the Year? Greg Oden, with team mate Rudy Fernandez running a distant second.