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Rick Senger
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Posted: 19 June 2013 at 9:30am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

True.  But the point is, getting bad enough to win the lottery is better on paper than in reality.  And while there are examples of lower picks panning out big time (Larry Bird, Kobe Bryant), given the Clips well-reasoned belief that getting Rivers and Garnett and potentially Pierce would put them in the top echelon, a #29 or 30 pick doesn't seem to really be a deal breaker, especially given the Clips pretty weak drafting history.  So why did they balk after the Celtics already agreed to pull Bledsoe out of the equation?

I think the answer is the small sidebar yesterday where we learned  Chris Paul is copacetic with the deal not going through.  Sterling is infamously cheap and Rivers would have been the highest paid coach in the league ($35 mill over 5 years).  Coupled with Garnett's big bucks, Sterling's wallet was surely starting to sting.  Paul was reportedly in touch with the Clips throughout the talks so I'm guessing if he'd really made this deal a precondition to his re-signing it would have been harder for the Clippers to walk away.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 20 June 2013 at 5:14pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Oh what a tangled basketball net:  David Stern is now threatening to block the revived Clippers' Doc Rivers/Kevin Garnett trade.  At least last time he dubiously interfered he was purportedly acting as a temporary owner when the league owned the Hornets.  Now he's quoting and interpreting chapter and verse that doesn't even exist in the CBA:

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Troy Nunis
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Posted: 20 June 2013 at 6:59pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

::ahem:: Larry Bird was the 6th player in the 1978 draft, not a low pick. But again, i agree with your points -- a draft pick (lottery or otherwise) is only going to fully turn a team around on a rare occasion - a Shaq, a LeBron, a David Robinson -- and i don't think anyone sees that calibur player in the upcomming draft.

Sterling and the money is very likely the sticking point - which makes you wonder if the Clippers might not hold together what they've got going regardless of who is the Coach.

Stern stepping, at this point, is a very interesting turn of events, as well.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 20 June 2013 at 10:41pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

::ahem:: Larry Bird was the 6th player in the 1978 draft
*****
Bird wasn't a lottery pick; only the top three are.  To be fair, Bird would've been a lottery pick but Auerbach took him a year early (he played another year of college), and that unorthodox move was obviously brilliant and changed Boston's fortunes.  The NBA quickly changed the rule afterward so that future teams couldn't draft players before they're ready to sign or have declared their eligibility.


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Rick Senger
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Posted: 20 June 2013 at 11:04pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

I don't care that the country hates LeBron.  After some chokes early in his career he has cemented his reputation as a winner and clutch player with this dominating and captivating performance on the biggest stage in the biggest moment.  I groaned every time he took a three or long jumper in game seven but he buried them time after time and proved without a doubt he deserved the MVP and is the best player in the league.   Bosh had a bad game (zero points) but Wade came up big too and with Battier's threes it was enough to carry the Heat.

Miami had just enough but it is clear they no longer have a big advantage over the elite.  Wade played well but he's on the downslope.  Bosh had a mediocre finals and playoffs in general (12.7 pts, 7.3 rebs).  I don't think LeBron is going to exercise his player option to leave next year after two straight titles and three straight finals appearances, but I think Miami's window is closing.  LeBron could win one more title with this present configuration, but he's going to need some help soon.

Have to feel for the Spurs.  They were one made foul shot or a LeBron or Allen three miss away from winning it all in game six.  As quick as the Heat's window is closing, the Spurs would seem to be closed.  Ginobli had one great game but he's just worn down and not what he once was.  Parker and Duncan are still solid but they, too, will be eroding more in the coming months and years.   I've said the Spurs were done before, and but for Duncan's missed layup and tip follow-up, this game could have been tied with under a minute to play.  Still, barring some drafting or trading, I just don't see the Spurs keeping up with the Clippers or Thunder in future years.
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Troy Nunis
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Posted: 20 June 2013 at 11:51pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Bird wasn't a lottery pick because there was no Lottery. that started in '85 (at which point all non-playoff teams were sorted by drawing, not just 1-3) - and i still contend 6th isn't a "low pick" - particularly given that at that time there were 10 rounds with over 200 players taken.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 21 June 2013 at 11:48am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Troy, you seem to want to correct things I'm not saying and never said.  This discussion was about the pitfalls of trying to get bad short term in order to get a high pick and get good, not about what constitutes a "low pick" (your term and your meaning, I just said Bird was a "lower pick.")  My use of the term lottery pick was its common meaning, a top three pick.  Bird wasn't top three because his draft status was uncertain.   In fact, Indiana originally had the #1 pick in the 1978 draft and tried to get Bird to agree to sign but he refused, which caused Indiana to trade the top pick to Portland, who also couldn't get Bird to agree to sign so they drafted Mychal Thompson.  Nobody wanted to take a chance on Bird but Auerbach, who saw nobody he wanted at #6 and was willing to roll the dice.  If Bird's status was definite, he would have gone #1.


Edited by Rick Senger on 21 June 2013 at 12:16pm
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 21 June 2013 at 6:25pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Thought this was pretty interesting.  A New York Times columnist analyzes LeBron's chances of catching Michael Jordan:

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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 21 June 2013 at 6:44pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

At this moment I rank LeBron as the 7th best player of all-time.
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Joe Alexander
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Posted: 21 June 2013 at 9:08pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Joe Hollon
At this moment I rank LeBron as the 7th best player of all-time.
-----------------------------------

Ok Joe, now I have to know your list. My own:
1-Michael Jordan
2-Bill Russell
3-Larry Bird
4-Magic Johnson
5-Wilt Chamberlain
6-Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
7-Oscar Robertson
8-Moses Malone (to me the most underrated in these discussions I hear on sports talk radio, etc.)
9-Tim Duncan
10-Kobe Bryant

So I don't have LeBron yet cracking my top 10, but he's somewhere in my next ten-- not sure where yet. He would be with Jerry West, Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O'Neal, Julius Erving, Karl Malone, Isaiah Thomas, Charles Barkley, Kevin McHale and my wildcard Bill Walton.

Edited by Joe Alexander on 21 June 2013 at 9:14pm
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 21 June 2013 at 9:50pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Regarding Nate Silver's piece, I think two more championships are about right. With this team, I think it will be hard to win another, especially as teams like Houston can copy Miami's formula and bring in multiple All-Star players. If LBJ goes to another team, it might be another year or two for the new team to gel.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 21 June 2013 at 11:50pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Getting the second ring moves the needle for me because it was all on LeBron's shoulders to supply both the offense and to shut down the Spurs and he delivered for a second year in a row, proving it wasn't a fluke.  Still, LeBron is somewhere in the lower top ten all-time (I'd put him about eighth) because he still has much to accomplish as a winner to get to the level of the greatest of all time.  Still he's only just entering his prime and has arguably 5-6 more really productive years in front of him to move a lot higher. Jordan only had two mvps by this age and one ring.  LeBron has doubled this.  However, LeBron had extra years because he came straight from HS so that's not entirely apples to apples, either. 

LeBron is a top defender (he shut down Parker when called upon), a tireless rebounder, a capable and talented passer and facilitator, a sensational shooter and penetrator and a guy who can play every position.  Jordan has a slight edge in his scoring ability and a slighter edge in his defensive ability, but LeBron has gained in both of these areas this year.  LeBron is a better passer and rebounder than Jordan. 

But Jordan still has the rings and the winning thing down.  LeBron has been to the finals four times but he's only won twice.  Jordan is 6-0 in the finals.  And Jordan consistently dominated the stage longer and more emphatically.  LeBron has wowed everyone the past two playoff seasons, but Jordan did it for much longer.  James has plenty of time to improve his tally, though, and I suspect he will. 
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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 22 June 2013 at 5:57am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Ok Joe, now I have to know your list. My own:
1-Michael Jordan
2-Bill Russell
3-Larry Bird
4-Magic Johnson
5-Wilt Chamberlain
6-Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

*********

Joe A:
My top six (in some order) is the same as yours.  Then LeBron is my #7.


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Rick Senger
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Posted: 22 June 2013 at 10:37am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Same top 6 as you guys.

Charles Barkley and Karl Malone are likely the most talented power forwards of their generation  (arguably history) who dominated at both ends of the floor but tragically neither won a ring.  John Havlicek won 8 titles and averaged 21 ppg over his 16 yr career with one season where he averaged 28.5 ppg, 9 rebounds and 7.5 assists, something LeBron has never done.  Still, he was an average shooter and he never won MVP. Tiny Archibald was an awesome scorer with the fastest first step I've ever seen in his early years who led the league in both scoring and assists (only guy ever to do that) and won a title late with the Celtics, but his defense was average and he had a shaky outside shot.  Oscar Robertson averaging a triple double over the course of an entire season is ridiculous and his stats make your jaw drop, but he only won one ring, too.

There are players like those five who were overpowering in several or more areas and were deservedly all stars and hall of famers but they weren't quite well rounded enough to make the list.  The greatest players for me have to excel in almost every facet and not have any major weaknesses.  That means winning repeatedly, being recognized as league MVP at least once, and having a long career.   If you win a ton of titles it helps your cause, so some of it is luck but I tend to believe winners find ways to win, so the best make their luck.  LeBron is the only guy to make my list with only two titles, but he made it this high because he has dominated the league in so many ways for nearly his whole career and since finally getting some better players around him he has become a great winner and clutch presence, as well.  If Duncan had won this year, he would be where LeBron is on my list.

Jordan
Russell
Bird and Magic
Kareem
Chamberlain
Kobe
LeBron


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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 22 June 2013 at 11:12am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

LeBron is the only guy to make my list with only two titles...

****

Wilt also won two.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 22 June 2013 at 11:47am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Wilt also won two
*****
Right.  He's the only other guy who could make the list with only two because like James he crushed the league in every statistical way.  Only player in NBA history to average both 40 & 50 points in a season, score 100 points in a single game, and grab over 2,000 rebounds in a single season. 7 scoring titles, 9 field goal percentage, and 11 rebounding, even lead the league in assists one year.

Plus he's the all time leading scorer (20,000 women.)
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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 22 June 2013 at 2:17pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

No one will ever have to sell me on Wilt.  He's probably my all-time favorite athlete as a matter of fact.  I hate that he's actually criticized basically as a "loser" despite having won two championships.  Obviously when you play in the same era that Bill Russell was winning a ridiculous 11 out of 13 titles there are going to be less titles to go around.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 22 June 2013 at 7:07pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

when you play in the same era that Bill Russell was winning a ridiculous 11 out of 13 titles there are going to be less titles to go around.
*****
Yeah, just like Barkley, Ewing, K. Malone and others had the disadvantage of playing in the Jordan era, Wilt played in the Russell era.  But Wilt's too unbelievable not to be in the conversation and on the list.

With this team, I think it will be hard to win another, especially as teams like Houston can copy Miami's formula and bring in multiple All-Star players.
*****
It's going to be much harder to win the third than the second and they barely won the second.  And Miami is already over the cap so they don't have room beyond the mid-level exception, though that usually can attract a title-hungry veteran role player of value.  There's also buzz that Riley is going to sign Greg Oden for the veteran's minimum.   Oden has had like 10 surgeries and hasn't played since 2009 so he could be a total bust, but imagine if he were to play even to 2/3rds of the form that made him a #1 pick.  He would be the desperately needed big that Miami craves.  Even if he only plays 15-18 minutes a night he could get 10 points, 9 rebounds and a couple blocked shots (he did that for a stretch back when he was still playing) and fill the kind of role Bill Walton did for the Celtics back on their dominating 1986 championship team.  Oden is fragile but he wants to play for the Heat and has to know this is his last chance to salvage any piece of his career so he will be motivated.
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 22 June 2013 at 7:39pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

The Knicks tried that approach with Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby last season and they barely played.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 22 June 2013 at 9:10pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Well, Sheed is 38 and Camby 39 whereas Oden is 25, so there's a little more upside potential in Oden.  But it's true that Miami would be rolling the dice.  
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 23 June 2013 at 6:51pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

And now the Doc Rivers deal is apparently settled, assuming Herr Fuhrer Stern allows it.  Apparently the hold up wasn't about a second pick (there won't be one) but about whether the first pick was lottery protected (it won't be.)  Also, the pick is not for the highly anticipated talent rich 2014 draft as widely reported but instead 2015.  Unless the Clips implode, a lottery pick seems highly unlikely, though two years out is harder to predict than one. 

The Garnett trade is reportedly dead with the Clips because it would be perceived as linked even though it occurred separately and later.  Garnett has said nothing in public since Boston got knocked out of the playoffs other than that he would sync his plans with Pierce and Rivers.  He was willing to rescind his no trade clause to move to the Clips with Rivers, but with Rivers gone and Pierce possibly about to be amnestied, Garnett would seem most likely to just retire.  Heil, David Stern!

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Jason Mark Hickok
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Posted: 28 June 2013 at 11:43am | IP Logged | 22 post reply

I totally forgot about the draft until it was well into it. That was the one
thing left that I watched from the NBA. That final nail may have been
struck.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 28 June 2013 at 12:45pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

Bennett going #1 was a surprise and Noel going so low surprised some people, too, though the ACL procedure obviously would give anyone pause.  Time will tell how many in the top ten will contribute immediately to their teams, but this was not a heralded bunch.

When Ainge said blow it up he meant blow it up.  Garnett, Pierce and Terry off to Brooklyn in exchange for three future first round picks, Kris Humphries' expiring contract, Marshon Brooks (a guard who had a decent rookie season but didn't play much last year), 31-year-old-shell-of-his-former-self Gerald Wallace (owed a brutal $30+ mill over the next 3 seasons) and some old leftovers.  Boston definitely appears to be attempting the short-term tank in order to get a good look at the talent rich 2014 draft, a move I've never liked because the play-to-lose-to-win mentality is dangerous and pretty sleazy.  One thing's for sure:  Boston ain't gonna be pretty next year and trading to their division rival Nets has got to hurt. 
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 06 July 2013 at 12:40am | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Dwight Howard headed to the Rockets.

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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 06 July 2013 at 8:11am | IP Logged | 25 post reply

The consensus is that having Howard will move the team up to the four or five spot in the West next season.  Do you think they need Josh Smith to win a championship?

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