Friday, June 11, 2004

Draft Update

Its still between Deng and Iguodala, says draft guru Chad Ford in his chat:

They'd prefer to trade the pick for a veteran and a number of teams are interested in moving up. However, there are two good fits for Chicago at No. 3 -- Andre Iguodala and Luol Deng. Iguodala and Kirk Hinrich would make an awesome backcourt and allow them to sign-and-trade Jamal Crawford possibly along with Tyson Chander. Luol Deng would fill a gaping hole at the three. If the Bulls can get a player like Al Harrington for the pick, they'll consider it. Otherwise Iguodala or Deng will be nice additions to their club.

If you can get Al Harrington for the pick, you gotta do it. I'm an Al Harrington guy, he's the athletic, defensive-minded 3 that the Bulls are searching for. While I'm not sure whether his desire to become a starter is out of diligence or selfishness, at least it sounds like he cares.

Speaking of that, I'm starting to go back to the Luol Deng bandwagon, based on the fact that I know that he's a hard worker. Iguodala may be that way as well, but I'm not certain like I am with Deng. Usually I go with talent over 'intangibles', but it seems that the difference in talent between these 2 is a narrow one. Also the fact that Iguodala is a 2, will complicate things. Trading Jamal Crawford isn't that easy of a task.

For all the Draft coverage you can shake a stick at, check out, they have a ton of info on the Chicago pre-draft camp. That camp is mostly for second round picks, but the Bulls have the 2nd and 9th picks (thanks Toronto) in that round, so there's still reason to read up. In a deep draft like this one, I'm guessing you can find a role player or two that could replace the likes of Linton Johnson or Paul Shirley.

And doesn't this picture get you excited?

Nothing can get by THAT brain trust.

Expansion Draft:

The Charlotte Bobcats (that name sounds like a girls softball team) have their expansion draft 2 days before the big draft, and the Bulls protected list is due today. They were allowed to protect 8 players, and by rule you cannot protect unrestricted free agents. I haven't gotten a confirmation yet, but I think I heard the following on the radio this morning:

  1. Curry
  2. Chandler
  3. Crawford
  4. Hinrich
  5. Jefferies
  6. Pargo
  7. Johnson
  8. Shirley

That means the names left off are Pippen, E-Rob, JYD, and Davis. The only one who isn't safe on that list is E-Rob, and that is because the Bulls will be begging Charlotte to take him. The most the Bulls can entice them with  is $3 million and draft picks. I would also worry about Pippen, because his contract would be valuable in a trade, since he is expected to retire. And that's also the reasoning behind why those bottom 4 guys were protected, to balance out trades and such.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

My Food Chain

From today's PTI, the top white American ballers. Here's my ranking, using the players that they had:

  1. Jason Williams
  2. Keith Van Horn
  3. Brad Miller
  4. Mike Miller
  5. Wally Z
  6. Kirk Hinrich
  7. Matt Harpring
  8. Mark Madsen
  9. Shawn Bradley

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

More on last night

Eric McClain rightfully takes the refs to task over the Laker possession that cut the game to 3:

the refs called a phantom foul on Rasheed Wallace as Shaquille O'Neal scored on an easy layup. After Shaq made his foul shot, the Lakers were within three, and simply needed one defensive stop to set up Bryant's game-tying shot.

He's right about that play, there was no foul as Wallace had his arms and body straight up and Shaq jumped into him. Should've been a definite no-call. But Eric loses me here with the conspiracy theory:

After that foul, I seriously wanted to turn the game off, as I knew there wasn't anyway the Lakers were going to lose. Looks like I should have grabbed the extra sleep.

I've never believed in the famous all-reaching NBA conspiracy, and I believe that call last night on Rasheed was simply a bad one, not loaded with hidden motive for the refs. There was a 5 minute stretch in the 4th quarter where Shaq had to sit out with 5 fouls. In such a grand conspiracy,  how could the refs let THAT happen?

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Great players make great plays....

Especially when the defense guards them like THAT.

So close to having the Pistons up 2-0, and now the Lakers have nearly all of their swagger back for 3 games in Detroit. And they should, they pulled out a game that they easily could've lost.

On the final shot, that possession ended in the worst way possible. Kobe Bryant able to square up for a 3-pointer. While a few feet behind the arc, he still had minimal obstruction in his sight or motion. Why...oh dear why....was there no foul on that play?

First off they could've fouled Shaq when he had the ball early in the Laker possession. But assuming Larry Brown figures time is his friend, fine let the ball go to Kobe's hands. But FOUL HIM!

While he's dancing behind the 3 point line, Hamilton should've just swiped at the ball as hard as he could. You either get a steal or a foul. Either scenario is better than what turned out to be. And I don't necessarily mean the shot going in. The fact that he had such a great look was a failure in strategy.

And then the Pistons can't get a shot off in the remaining 2 seconds. Hell....Derek Fisher only needed .4

But that's why they've won 3 titles. And why my Laker-Hate continues to grow.

Everyone looks great in a NBA Draft workout

ESPN Insider's Chad Ford was in Chicago recently at the famous Hoops Gym, watching draft prospects work out with famed trainer Tim Grover. If you remember, this Gym had such infamous pick-up game moments as Roger Mason Jr. separating his shoulder (prompting Jerry Krause to boycott the place), and Ron Artest breaking Jordan's ribs. Eddy Curry was there in recent weeks until committing to "Camp Skiles" at the Berto Center.

Two of the more interesting prospects to Bulls fans were there, Luol Deng and Andre Iguodala. As I wrote earlier, both players (along with Josh Childress) are being considered by GM John Paxson to fill the gaping hole at the wing positions. Here are some juicy scout blurbs on each player:

By now everyone knows Iguodala's strengths. He's one of the two or three most athletic players in the draft. Physically, his body is NBA ready. He has a massive 6-foot-11 wingspan and great lateral quickness, which likely will make him one of the top two on-the-ball defenders available.

Iguodala also has a special skill few players his size possess -- he's a legit playmaker at 6-foot-6. A point guard throughout high school. Iguodala has a real knack for handling and passing. He averaged 4.9 assists at Arizona last season and recorded three triple-doubles. He should be a devastating triple-double threat in the league.
The question, though, has been about Iguodala's ability to score. More specifically, about a jump shot that produced a 31 percent shooting average from 3-point range. As we reported over the past two weeks, Iguodala has been working on his shot and it reportedly showed in workouts in Charlotte and Chicago last week. In Monday's workout, his shot indeed looked very solid.

Deng has kept himself in very good shape since Duke's season ended, which allows Grover to put him through a very rigorous workout the first day. Two things really stand out: First, Deng is very, very long. He stands at least 6-foot-8, but when he raises his arms, he looks like a 7-footer coming at you. Second, and you may need to sit down for this, was his shooting.

Deng's reputation is as a smart player with a good mid-range game who can post up smaller defenders and take bigger guys to the hole. His weakness was supposed to be his 3-point range. Though Deng improved dramatically on his perimeter shooting this season, it still was supposedly a weakness.

What we saw Monday made us do a double-take. Deng didn't shoot the ball well -- he shot it extremely well. He was getting great lift on his jumper, and his mechanics were really sound. He shot effortlessly from just about everywhere on the floor, and in the same drill Grover put Iguodala through, Deng needed only 37 attempts to make 25. And this drill came at the end of the workout, when Deng was exhausted. Earlier in the session, he couldn't miss.

Seems to me that Iguodala is the more explosive talent, but not as big(and long) as Deng. That may translate into Deng being the better defender, although there have been notions that he isn't quick enough to handle opposing SFs in the league. I have no idea how much stock to put into these shooting drills, since even Linton Johnson can hit them when he's wide open. I wish these kind of things could be settled with a good ole' fashioned one-on-one.

Monday, June 07, 2004

I done told y'all, part 2

More on "Crazay" Ron Artest from My Man Sam(tm):

It was a wild ending for the Pacers and Ron Artest with Artest's technical fouls at the end of Game 6 in the Eastern Conference finals against the Pistons being pivotal. Artest had missed practices the previous days with migraine headaches, which he often gets. So he skipped the team flight to Detroit, also common for him, took a commercial flight, and then went to the movies to see the disaster film, "The Day After Tomorrow" the night before the game. Maybe they had the sound turned down.

In the Pacers' closing meetings, it became clear that the team will consider trading Al Harrington. The backup forward has brooded all season about being the sixth man and has told friends he would ask for a trade after the season. Bird said Harrington was the only player who said he'd be interested in playing elsewhere.

"We're going to look to see what we can do," Bird said. "It's like with any player who walks in and says they're not happy. You try to explain to them that the grass isn't always greener. When they think they can take their game to the next level and they want to get more minutes and more shots, you look around. But if you can't get the value you think you can get for them, they're still going to be here. It has to be a deal that makes us happy."

But the big issue facing the Pacers is whether to trade Artest. His value never will be higher after winning the Defensive Player of the Year Award and becoming an All-Star without many incidents. But the Pacers know the potential is there. And Artest, who breaks the offense constantly and takes wild shots, doesn't fit the controlled style coach Rick Carlisle likes to play. It might be their best move to get a big man or a scorer to take pressure off Jermaine O'Neal.

"I don't think this team will be back in its exact form next year," Carlisle said. "There will be some changes, either through free agency and the draft or the possibility of trades. There's going to be some things that are going to be different."

The Pacers trading Artest and keeping Harrington is in my opinion a great idea. Let Artest be someone else's headache, while getting some serious value in return.