Archive for the ‘NBA History’ Category

The league is still on lockdown with a smattering of hope that the 2011-12 NBA season commences. We’ll see what tomorrow brings, but NBA fans across the world are hoping for some good news. In the meantime, we all wait. So, what better time to ask a bunch of NBA bloggers to participate in an all-time NBA fantasy draft. We all need to bide our time productively, right?

The rules were the following: every NBA player from the beginning of time was eligible to be drafted, there were only five rounds for each of the starting positions, and if a player started at a position, he was eligible to be drafted as such. Also, this was a snake draft, meaning that in the first round, it goes picks 1 through 10 then picks 10 through 1 in the second round, etc.

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Those are the results. Each manager’s comments about their team are below.

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In every game of sport, there’s a winner and a loser. And if there isn’t, then it’s not really a sport, soccer excluded. But, how often does the best team win? It can be argued that the best team always wins, since of course, they won.

That being said, some of the teams that don’t win are pretty good too. What we have below is a look at some NBA teams that were right on the cusp of being the best, but not quite. Consider them the best losers of the past three decades.

10. 2001-2002 Sacramento Kings
Regular Season Record: 61-21
Playoffs Record: 3-1 over Utah Jazz; 4-1 over Dallas Mavericks; lost to Los Angeles Lakers 4-3 in Western Conference Finals

Despite finishing the season with the best record in NBA, the talented Kings fell short to the eventual NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers. Chris Webber, Mike Bibby and Peja Stojakovic led the way with solid contributions from Vlade Divac, Doug Christie and Bobby Jackson. What sunk the team was Robert Horry and some Game 7 duds from the Kings, to say the least. I call it karma for the way Christie and his wife had their corny signals to each other as there is unsubstantiated proof that his testicles are still in her purse.

9. 1991-92 Portland Trail Blazers
Regular Season Record: 57-25
Playoffs Record: 3-1 over Los Angeles Lakers; 4-1 over Phoenix Suns; 4-2 over Utah Jazz; lost to the Chicago Bulls 4-2 in NBA Finals

The Blazers owned the best record in the Western Conference, second-best in the entire NBA, behind only the eventual champion Chicago Bulls. At this point, the Blazers were one of the elite NBA teams for a few seasons running, led by the backcourt duo of Clyde Drexler and Terry Porter. Jerome Kersey, Cliff Robinson, Kevin Duckworth and Buck Williams were the frontcourt muscle. However, it was the Bulls’ year and there was no stopping Michael Jordan, which will be a running theme for this post.

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According to Wikipedia, VMAN magazine “caters to the modern, urbanized man interested in what’s new in fashion, art, music, travel and culture,” which I guess explains why they put Dwyane Wade in some crazy clothes for their newest issue. It’s not quite Kobe’s legendary all-white shoot, but a salmon suit, black hot pants and what appears to be leftovers from the “California Love” video are hilarious looks in their own right, like all the worst trends of the ’80s combined in to a single fashion spread.

Here’s hoping the Heat incorporate those shorty shorts in to their uniforms. Not only would they totally revolutionize the sports uniforms industry, they’d look really great on everybody. Who doesn’t want to see Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ pallid legs glistening under the American Airlines Arena lights?

(via The Post Game)

Last week, we took a look at the backcourt players on the verge of becoming NBA legends, so today, we continue with frontcourt players. I’m sure there will be some dissent from readers, but that’s fine. One thing about a list like this is that we won’t truly know its validity for at least several more seasons. By then I may have a different identity. In any case, the criteria to make the list is to have four or less seasons in the NBA and from there I look at statistics and potential.

Some players that I considered that didn’t make the top 10 include Greg Monroe, Nicolas Batum, Ed Davis, Tyler Hansbrough, Tiago Splitter, Jason Thompson, Roy Hibbert, Jeff Green, Derrick Favors, DeMarcus Cousins, Thaddeus Young, DeAndre Jordan and Hasheem Thabeet (kidding). But, let’s now focus on those that did make the top 10.

10. Michael Beasley, Miami Heat (2008-10), Minnesota Timberwolves (2010-Present)
232 G; 15.9 PPG; 5.8 RPG; 2.2 APG; 0.5 3PTM; 45.7 FG%; 77.3 FT%; 0.8 SPG; 0.6 BPG; 16.2 PER

At this point Beasley is more known for his love of grass, intricate braids and face mushing at pro-am games, than his basketball skills. It’s too bad, since Super Cool Beas just came off a season where he averaged a career-high 19.2 points per contest. He complements teammate Kevin Love very well, but with the drafting of Derrick Williams, what will the Timberwolves rotation look like? I’ll assume Beasley will get the most minutes between he and Williams, if only to up his trade value.

I’m sure that Beasley isn’t the only one in the NBA that loves Mary Jane, but maybe he should ease up a bit, because last season saw him flash that skill set many people in the NBA fell in love with before he joined the Association. He showed his ability to score from anywhere on the court and a degree of maturity. Beasley has the talent to do damage and needs to stay motivated in order to truly succeed. He has the ability, and considering his youth, I’m betting on him building on last season’s success, whether it’s in Minny or not.

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After spending the last several weeks focusing on the tops at each position during the past three decades, I’d like to continue my rampage of creating lists during this lovely NBA lockout by forgetting the past and focusing on the future. This week we put on our Zoltar turban and throw down some names of young guns (four or less seasons of NBA experience) in the backcourt that have the best chance of being one of the greatest ever. Feel free to comment on the players or order itself.

Let’s do this!

10. DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors (2009-Present)
159 G; 13.0 PPG; 3.4 RPG; 1.3 APG; 0.1 3PTM; 47.7 FG%; 79.7 FT%; 0.8 SPG; 0.3 BPG; PER: 14.4

DeRozan improved in every major statistical category, other than field goal percentage, from his rookie to sophomore season and there is still room to grow. He’s already one of the NBA’s better dunkers, but has improved his jumper. During DeRozan’s rookie season, he shot 31.0 percent from 10-15 feet and last season, he improved significantly to 46.6 percent. From 16-23 feet, he improved from 38 to 40 percent shooting, but showed more confidence in this shot as he went from 2.3 attempts to 5.1. Continued improvement from the perimeter will serve DeRozan well. (Shot location percentages via Hoopdata.)

DeRozan seems like a worker and will put forth the effort to get better. After going from 8.6 PPG his rookie year to 17.2 PPG last season, how big of a jump can he make? Starting 82 games in 2010-11 gives DeRozan solid experience and confidence. He should continue to be the team’s second option behind Andrea Bargnani, but will take over some nights as the main gunner. DeRozan will get a lot of opportunities to do it big and I’m betting he’ll seize them and shine.

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On Saturday night, before my bros and I hit the town, we watched Game 6 of the 1996 NBA Finals and Game 1 of the 1992 Finals. It was during that second game that we saw the best pregame introduction move of all-time.

You can see it here, on the left of the high five lines, but you have to pay close attention. Every time one of the Bulls’ starters runs out, reserve big man Cliff Levingston does a super smooth Michael Jackson-styled full spin that’s perfectly timed to end with a high five to his teammate. It’s kind of hard to see at first — check out the 1:00 mark to get a great example — but once you catch it, it’ll change your life.

Next thing you know, you’ll be spinning around and high-fiving your buddies every time you leave the room. You’ll be doing the Levingston while you’re waiting for your tacos. It’s a game-changer, and I can’t believe it took me almost 20 years of watching this specific game to catch it. Better late than never.

You need to watch this. It’s seven minutes of Magic Johnson talking, which admittedly sounds torturous, but I promise you it’s worth it. Between stories about the best shots ever, a Michael Jordan 360 on David Robinson, those legendary Dream Team scrimmages and a Christian Laettner diss, it’ll be the best seven minutes of your day. Someone needs to give this guy a talk show.

(via Los Angeles Times/I Am a GM)